May 31, 2005
A second request for help
If anyone can direct me to a good internet cache of heinous or hilarious prom portraits for a gag, I'd appreciate it.
Jennifer links to a disturbing development in the world of fast food advertising: let's just say the words Paris Hilton, garden hose, Bentley, some sort of Hardee's Burger.
Quarter pounder with cheese indeed.
What book can both appeal to your inner Hamburgler AND completely annoy those pesky neighborhood Straussians?
Jane Novak: I always thought she was more of a Charlie Parker gal myself
Armies of Liberation trashed in the Yemen Times for her attachment to Thelonius Monk?
Word up to Saleh, the author of the piece: "docile" is not a word to use to describe Jane, unless by "docile" you mean a rambunctiously liberated American woman who is more than able to hoist you up and hang you by your dirty little terrorist shorts for the dreaded "Pinata Wedgie" wherein she hangs you to a swingset and passes out broomsticks to the neighborhood kiddies who beat you senseless thinking that Tootsie Rolls are going to come tumbling out of your butt.
I did the local alternative radio station's Sunday morning talk show this week, and you can listen to the podcast of it here.
Rise of the Machines?
"The goal of iRobot's swarm project is to coordinate the actions of groups of hundreds of individual robots. A Swarm Operating System (SwarmOS) is under development to control as many as 10,000 robots or SwarmBots."
Oh sure, they're cute now......
But just consider what they tend to grow up to be....
Yeah, I'd say this article o-fficially gives me the creeps.
Fearful Yips! to the Pious Agnostic.
Yes, indeed. Scary stuff. Yips! to Colossus for reminding me.
"On Second Thoughts, Let's Not Go To The Street Pedlar. It 'Tis A Silly Place."
Here's a silly little meme I picked up from the Impenetrable One:
1. Take the lyrics to a favorite song.
2. Go to Babelfish, translate the lyrics into German, then from German to French, and finally from French back into English.
3. Post the results verbatim.
4. Invite friends to guess the song based on the interesting new lyrics.
Okay, mine ought to be pretty easy for you lot. But it's still amusing:
We are knights of the round table. We dance more whene' er which us in LageSIND. We make programs and scenes of choral society with the perfect work of leg. Us infants well here in the Street pedlar. We eat many hams and a congestion and Spam. We are knights of the round table. Our publication impressing, much marks which to us are given Reime, are however which is enough unsingable. We are the opera which is furious in the Street pedlar. We sing much the membrane. In KriegSIND us durably and the situation, rather untiring. Between our research us western sequin and Clark Giebel impersonate. It is a life employed in the Street pedlar. I must support on Pram with much.
UPDATE: Here's another (non-Python) song that I've always liked. You'll either recognize it or not:
There Herr-Horrible Mr who terrible phone call for Mr Horrible Drank, before it cannot speak it with ugliness the men a terrible business is on the left, so that it considers déagréable something, ruined on his become brain, like it washes it, says far "is terrible this one? Terrible this one is it? They are ugliness the men, Mr Horrible, to test us right is to hear you, us thought that our a thing could be dreadfulness to disturb to you."
Mr said Horrible however," I do not worry who disturb to shift around the thing who is me somebody holds wants to say, the chair "
"You would worry, more if we compensate for this milk glass, in which your friend of visit was killed by error? It made today differently with you, if we wrote an advertisement of things which we forget, with a green magic marking okay its, if it is well on the back of your head?"
"Mister terrible Herr-Horrible us are not made with you, but it must to test above Mr Horrible You, therefore can Ugliness men to decide, if they are as painful right, as we think as we must be sure on this one."
Mr. Horrible say however, "me do not worry who are around of the thing, to me some one hold want to say, the chair disturbs to shift these trousers some one holds, wants to say the chair to shift." Mr said Horrible, "I worry who do not disturb to shift around thing which is me some one holds wants to say, the chair"
Kinda poetic in a Bizarro-World way.
Oh, and here's the original, in case you're curious.
If We Want To Get On Top Of Wonkette, Where Would We Go With This One?
Since Steve-O got the ol' skank-blogging ball rolling today, I'll just note that tomorrow is the o-fficial publication date of Jessica Cutler's The Washingtonienne: A Novel.
I understand the book is the story of how a young intern comes to Dee Cee, discovers the power, intrigue and corruption, and learns to put it all behind her.
Gratuitous Placeholder Post
Nothing to say really. But putting the post above this one right next to the one just below it was just too schizophrenic even for me......
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Bedtime Reading Division
I am currently reading the Llama-ettes Charlotte's Web. I haven't touched this book in years and years and had forgotten just how good it really is. Not only does it tell an entertaining story, it doesn't flinch away from the realities of farm life (i.e., that animals aren't kept about merely for aesthetic purposes). And indeed, I had also forgotten all about the rather bloodthirsty introduction of Charlotte herself - we hit that point last evening and the gels had the same squeemish initial reaction to Charlotte's feasting on the fly as did Wilbur. But I think they got over it.
Another thing I notice is that this book is great for reading aloud at bed time. The chapters are just long enough so that one can be comfortably read each night. And the characters are ready-made for hamming it up - the Llama-ettes think my rendition of the goose ("Listen to me! Listen to me!") is hysterical. My Wilbur is turning into a kind of young Kermit the Frog, while my Charlotte is as calm, cool and collected as Galadriel.
Of course, I anticipate some rather stormy emotions when we hit Charlotte's eventual demise, but I don't think this is a bad thing. I'll let you know how it goes.
I'm Steve the LLamabutcher, and I need your help
First, let me start this strange posting by congratulating a real blogger on a big traffic milestone. If I know Bill, though (what from all our snippy/snappy emailing back and forth over the last year and a half) what really matters was the big item from Howie Kurtz crediting INDC Journal for pointing out a slanted pro-Newsweek item in the Post. Way to go, hombre!
And by "real" blogger I mean compared to the LLamas---overeducated pseudo-hacks with itchy fingers on the Photoshop trigger.
That leads me to the real point of this post: we need your help on an important project vital to preserving the very fabric of the Republic!
The TLLB ecosystem is long popular because it gives us what we all desired back in high school: a precise, scientific basis to daily tabulate popularity. It is the ultimate tool in the hands of our inner "Farmer Ted". (Wait, maybe I should rephrase that)
Anyhoo, as many have long known, the TLLB is, how do you say in your language? ah, yes, quirky. It's been known to bounce you around like the proverbial Samsonite in the hands of a orangutan. Unexpected climbs followed by a whipsaw down coupled with periods of unexplained obscurity. Actually, a lot like High School, now that you mention it. All the cool kids follow technorati, they say, or the TLLB traffic monitors.
Yet, there it is, and what are you gonna do?
Anyhoo, here's where we need your help:
It's long been our goal to get on top of Wonkette. Being underneath Wonkette briefly on Saturday was quite a bit of fun, but let's face it, we're guys, we're Republicans, we're Americans---we don't settle for the undercard.
So here's what we need: link this post. Sixteen measley links for a lifetime of memories. It's pathetic---but then again, we're admitting that upfront. Think of it as a Victory for all those Farmer Ted's out there and a defeat to the "cool" people everywhere! Your links can help us out this last little bit! Down with the Gawker Empire! Up with People! I realize we have to step on John Hawkins for this, but dammit, man, think of the children! If you are fed up with the whole Panties-in-a-wad-Sully/Wonkette/TPM/Willis Axis of soft-core liberal schmooze, link this post! Send a shiver down the spine of media elites everywhere!
And if you want to throw in some chump change to the Tasty Bits Sack (TM) to help defray the cost of latex and penicillin, then feel free.
Help us reach this lifetime goal!
EDITOR'S NOTE: Robert the LLamabutcher had nothing to do with the making of this desperate piece of link-whoremongering!
UPDATE from Steve: I kind of feel like I'm at the end of an NC-17 Version of It's a Wonderful Life.....
WE....ARE THE CHAMPIONS....MY FRIEND....power chords here
As sure a sign of The End Of Days (TM) as any:
FOR THE LOVE OF DARWIN, NO!
Phin, step back from the photoshop and no one will get hurt!
Fighting The Good Fight
Mr. Peperium has a nice little essay posted about Jane Austen and the Iron Duke and their mutual attack on a common foe that is well worth reading.
Yips! to the Maximum Leader.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Outdoor Division
Achillea millefolium. Image courtesy of Dayton Nurseries.
As a general rule, I'm not overly big on garden design with a planned balance of colors and textures. Instead, I tend to prefer a more hodge-podged approach, splashing different colors more or less at random.
However, I was strolling around the local nursery Friday morning and was suddenly inspired to pick up a couple of yarrow plants like the one above, take them home and intersperse them among and behind my short-stemmed shasta daisies. I think the contrast of red and white will look quite nice.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - "It's Da Plumber. I come ta fix da sink!"*
The kitchen faucet died Friday, succumbing, I think, simply to age and fatigue. When turned on one minute it was fine. The next, it was spewing water in ten different directions from a galaxy of pin-prick holes.
What to do about it? Well, it didn't strike me as anything I couldn't reasonably handle myself, so after I took the eldest Llama-ette out for breakfast Saturday morning, we duly trekked over to Home Despot and picked out a new one.
Conceptually, there is nothing very complicated about this task. But let me just tell you here and now that replacing a kitchen faucet is a messy, soggy job. I've never tinkered with plumbing repairs before, but I do have the sense to know one is supposed to shut off the water before taking anything apart. Nonetheless, no matter how much care one takes in turning off the main and allowing the open taps to drain, the fact is that as soon as one disconnects the pipes, water is going to start dribbling out of them. Right on to the floor of the cabinet. The floor on which one is going to have to lie in order to work on the faucet from underneath. The floor, also, on which the kitchen trashcan lives. Bleh.
Furthermore, at least in our case, when the faucet was installed thirty years ago, somebody went high, wide and handsome with the putty and sealant. Over the years, the whole assembly had got quite cruddy and corroded. The only way to shake it loose was to go at it with a screwdriver from underneath, thereby adding a generous sprinkling of junk to the slop in which I was lying.
(I should mention here that the seven year old, who was assisting me by shining the flashlight in all the wrong places, was indignant that she wasn't being allowed to get messy. At one point, she asked if maybe she couldn't just stick her feet in, just to get a little dirty. I flatly refused. But I made it up to her by allowing her to push and pull on the faucet from above while I winkled away at it from below. Destruction proved to be a suitable substitute for sloppiness.)
The other thing I can tell you is that replacing the kitchen faucet is an awkward bastard of a job. As I mentioned, you have to do it lying on your back and working over your head, peering up into a very dark recess. On top of that, the main problem is the vast bulk of the garbage disposal that imposes itself exactly where you need to get your wrench and/or your hands. The whole time, owing to the wet, the dark and the cramped conditions, I had the curious sensation of working in the engine room of a submarine. Fortunately, I have small hands and thin fingers - otherwise, I'm not sure how I'd have managed some of the more remote nuts and screws. (You can stop sniggering, by the way. That's just a myth.)
Anyhoo, at last the new faucet was in and the Moment of Truth arrived. I turned the main back on and then....very gingerly.....tried the faucet. Mirabile dictu, it worked just fine - no ceiling-high geysers, no cold and hot backwards - even the spray hose thingy worked. I've checked the connections to the water lines a couple times since, and so far, no leaks either.
So there you have it. I like to think that if this law gig gets tiresome, I've got another career to fall back on. And who knew chicks dig plumbers so much? But that's a different story. Heh.
(*Spot the quote. An oldy but goody.)
May 30, 2005
Memorial Day Snapshot Posting
Yup, nothing says "remembering the supreme sacrifice that our brave men and women in uniform have made for our freedom" better than spending all day painting the zarking basement.
Much more later.
May 29, 2005
Is it just me or is it particularly ironic that this smashing, crushing defeat and repudiation of Jacques Chirac happened on the same day that Lebanon went to the polls free of a Syrian military presence in their country in thirty years? A vote that wouldn't have happened without the pressure on Arab autocrats created by Dubya?
And, I wonder what departing prize the lovely Carol Merrill will have for M. Chirac for playing our game? The life time supply of Rice-a-roni, the San Francisco Treat?
I'm hoping for one of those giant size tubes of Preparation H myself.
Oh and for those playing along with the home game, the score is "Freedom simplesme" 1, "Gaullic sophistication" 0.
Death of a dream?
Something about "not with a bang but a whimper" is coming to mind....
May 27, 2005
LEST WE FORGET
Douglas MacArthur reminded us in his Farewell Address:
"It is the soldier above all other people who prays for peace for it is he who must suffer the deepest wounds and scars of war. But always in our ears rings the ominous words of Plato, that wisest of all philosophers: 'only the dead have seen the end of war.'"
Fly the flag on Memorial Day in remembrance of all who gave their lives for the cause of freedom for America and her allies.
May 26, 2005
Behold the power of blog
Dr. Rusty Shackleford: evil genius of modern interpretive art, or downhome jackass with a PhD?
I don't know about you, but I'm smelling beaucoup NEA grant money for THIS. If not, it's a sign the theocrats have won.
Definitely NSFWIYWISA (Not safe for work if you work in Saudi Arabia)
Books On Tape
Ann Althouse has an interesting meditation on the difference between reading a book and listening to it on tape. (As an aside, btw, I recently met a guy who had just graduated from U. Wisconsin Law. He tells me that Althouse is brilliant but scary tough on her Con Law classes.)
Ann seems to shade more towards reading, but doesn't damn books on tape out of hand. Instead, she talks about some of the relative merits and problems of each and concludes that it really is in the power of the individual to either take or squander the advantages of one or the other.
I think I generally agree with Ann. I never listen to books on tape, but I don't have any particularly harsh prejudice against the practice so long as it's done well. On the other hand, I don't have any desire to try it out.
One thing Ann doesn't get into here is having a book read to one in person. This can have an interesting impact. When I was in fifth grade, I had a homeroom teacher named Mrs. Cook, a silver haired older woman. During the course of the year, she read Tom Sawyer aloud to the class. To this day, I still automatically envision her whenever I think of Aunt Polly.
Happy Birthday To The Duke
Today is the birthday of John Wayne, born this day as Marion Morrison in 1907 in Iowa.
In tribute, I specifically chose the photo above to illustrate a point about Wayne: As an actor, he had a very narrow range, a very specific screen persona. He was smart enough not to try and wander too far away from that range. But when he was "being himself" on screen, as it were, he did it very well. Rooster Cogburn isn't the greatest of movies, but it is perfectly evident that the Duke and Kate are enjoying themselves and each other and that each one respected the other's talents. And if Kate Hepburn is willing to stamp you with the mark of approval, you must be doing something right. Further, as I mentioned just recently, his performance with Lauren Bacall in his last movie, The Shootist, was superb.
Another point, one that strikes me as amusing, is how John Wayne has become a synonym for mindless 19th Century western expansionism and all the violence and cruelty that went with it (as well as the more modern political caracature of American cowboy diplomacy). But if you look carefully at his westerns, you'll see that Wayne's character is very often the most enlightened American on the scene - knowledgeable of Indian customs, languages and beliefs, sympathetic to their concerns and values and often intolerant of government officials and/or schemers trying to treat them badly or do them down. My sneeking suspicion has always been that the people who use John Wayne for this kind of sneering probably have never actually watched a John Wayne movie.
Anyhoo, I thoroughly enjoy Wayne movies, particularly the westerns. In addition to the two mentioned above, among my favorites (in no particular order of preference) are:
The Undefeated - I can't get over Roman Gabriel as Wayne's adopted Indian son. Classic Wayne line: "Windage and elevation, Mrs. Langdon, windage and elevation."
El Dorado - with Robert Mitchum, another actor I'm growing increasingly fond of.
The Sons of Katie Elder
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance - here Wayne and Jimmy Stewart make a very interesting combination.
The Horse Soldiers
Fort Apache - with Henry Fonda
So hats off, Pilgrim, and drink one to The Duke!
UPDATE: Brian B. tags me for leaving out The Cowboys. My mistake. This is the one where Wayne and a pack of kids have to ride herd. I only saw it once, but remember enjoying it. As long as I'm at it, and to keep Colossus from getting cranky, I'll toss in She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, too.
Wuzzadem is a freakin' genius. Trust me on this: you'll be bragging on your friends two years from now about how you used to read Wuzzadem way before he jumped the shark by getting his own reality show on Fox where he plays a coked out private dick in Vegas with Simon Cowell and Mr. T.
SEKRIT MESSAGE TO WUZZADEM: Yeah, I'm such a loser I'm seeing it again tonight. Sigh.
Current Events roundup
A quick check of how some of the headlines of the day are playing out over at Tradesports.com's futures markets:
Oui on the EU? Tradesports bettors: Non!
Market chart for the "France adopts the EU Vote"
Z-Man: soon to be worm-food?
Tradesports bettors: nyet in the short-term, but by December, a decided maybe.
Bolton the Barbarian to be US UN Ambassador?
Tradesports bettors: Bring. It. On!
What's revealing about this last graph is notice the point where the market broke in favor of Bolton's likely confirmation: the market seems to believe that Bolton was the secret protocol in the Judicial filibuster deal. So here's what happened: Dubya gets up or down votes on the core nominees, the ones most likely to become Supreme Court appointees. And in return for letting the Democrats save face on a couple of less significant appointments, he gets The Man He Wants for bringing the fight to the United Nations.
Sounds like a sweet deal to me.
The hardcore bitterenders on the appointment issues need to take a good look at history: the last president to really get his way with the judiciary in the way they desire was Andrew Jackson. FDR was able to completely restructure the federal judiciary, but only at the tremendous political costs incurred in the Court Packing debacle. If they want to get the long term results, they need to rack up 4-5 more Senate victories in 06, which is not outside the realm of possibilities. In the meantime, take what they get, and keep forcing the Senate Democrats to increasingly act and feel like a minority party, which after awhile politically becomes self-reinforcing.
I'm smelling win-win here, but that's just me, Mr. Vegas.
More Gratuitous Domestic Posting - Garden Division
We have a plot of raspberry bushes out back, maybe 5 feet deep and about 35 feet long. The plants are completely self-sowing and produce a very large crop of berries if properly tended.
Proper tending generally means clearing away the deadwood once you're sure it's not going to bud for the season, as well as being vigilant against the weeds taking over, particularly the wild morning glory, which will overwhelm the whole area if not dealt with.
One of the many things I have to do this weekend is clean out the raspberry patch. Unfortunately, as you can see from this pic, their stems are covered with tiny thorns. They don't puncture like a rose because they're not big enough, but instead scrape and scratch.
I think I must be growing increasingly allergic to this. For the past couple years, the scraping hasn't bothered me at all. But last weekend I was out fiddling with the patch and got a couple of fresh ones on my forearms that I've been furiously scratching ever since because they itch so much. Indeed, I'm starting to look something like a heroin addict or an extremely inept self-cutter.
Worth it though - there's nothing like watching the Llama-ettes work their way down the line on a lazy summer afternoon, hoovering berries off the bushes (except, of course, managing to snag a few for myself).
This is a cool site: One Hit Wonder Central. Flipping through the 60's, 70's and 80's Songs O' My Youth, I came across all sorts of buried memories, some good ("Hooked On A Feeling" - Oohgashagahoogahoogahooga!) and some bad ("MacArthur Park" - 'nuff said.)
There are one or two questionable entries - Marvin Hamlisch, fer cryin' out loud? And Thomas Dolby ought to get credit for a hit and a half because "Airhead" was moderately popular for a while. But overall, the lists are a lot of fun.
Yips! to Lynn S.
UPDATE: Uh, oh. Just got a call from the Missus reporting in on my five year old's end-of-year class production. One of the activities was that each kid was privately asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. The responses were written down and read out to the class as a whole and the game was that everybody tried to match up each response with the child who'd made it. Here is the gel's, which totally gob-smacked everybody (including both the Missus and me):
When I grow up I want to be a Rock Star because I love to sing. I'll live in McLean somewhere. I'm going to buy my own car, a van, and I'm going to put all my instruments in the back. I'll have a big drum set and ten guitars. The first one is pink, the second one is blue, the third one is brown, the fourth one is white, the fifth one is red, the sixth one is yellow, the seventh one is black the eighth one is green, the ninth one is blue (another blue one) and the tenth one is turqoise. I'm going to make my kids into Rock Star Babies and leave them at home with a baby sitter!
I have absolutely no fargin' idea where any of this came from. We're doomed, I tell you. Doomed.
Children's Songs Blegging
Brian B. is kind of a twisted dude. But he reminds me of a question that Dad raised the other day in connection with his entertaining my sister's daughter:
Where did "I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly" come from?
It's a great song to sing to kids (one of my favorites) and, with a little imagination, one can really cut loose with facial expressions, wriggling, jiggling, tickling, bouncing and props. At the same time, it is rather ghoulish, especially the final line. (I'm suddenly channelling an episode of The Muppets from way back when - the old lady was done in silhouette and at the end, if memory serves, she blew up.) Given the bubble-wrap world of modern "parenting", I'm surprised it hasn't been banned. But no, you can go to a book store and still find sing-along books, dolls and recordings.
Anyhoo, back to the question - does anybody out there know the roots of this particular song? (I ask without doing any Googling because I'd rather chat with you guys about it than do dry research.)
UPDATE: Some amazing information from Llama-friend Janeyek in the comments. Go and read. And here is the Amazon link that the Colossus dug up for the book collection, My Book House, that they're talking about. This is what I really love most about blogging.
Oh, The Humanity!
Following up on Michelle Malkin's and INDCent Bill's columns today about the Left's and the MSM's apparent blind desire to believe anything alleged by the prisoners at Guantanimo Bay, we Llamas present for your consideration (with apologies to Dave):
THE TOP TEN OTHER GITMO PRISONER ALLEGATIONS
10. Camp cinema charging full price for matinee showings of Star Wars III.
9. Forced to milk 100 cows every morning before walking four miles to holding cell and back. In the snow. Up hill. Both ways.
8. Took my liver even though I was still using it.
7. Head held under water for three hours straight before every meal.
6. Forced us to move entire island of Cuba six feet to the left. Then forced us to move it back.
5. You think photos of Saddam in his undies are disturbing? They're showing us Fidel in a thong!
4. Beaten by guards whenever we ask to buy a vowel during camp "Wheel of Fortune" tourney.
3. Forced to cut down a tree with a herring.
2. They've killed me five times already, but my insurance company will only pay out the benefits once!
1. Routinely shuttling us to Klingon Home World for some serious ass-whuppin'.
Today's Required Reading
I have to admit that as much as I worship the Divine Peggy Noonan (mmmm.....Peggy....mmmmm......), even I sometimes get tired of her more maudlin and sugary essays.
Well, Sweet Baby Jesus, there's none of that in her column today! Instead, she lets rip a humdinger on the Great Senate Compromise, expanding on P.J. O'Rourke's basis rule that politics is the business of gaining power and status without merit.
Go. Read. You'll be glad you did.
UPDATE: Oh, I forgot to say it - We're not worthy!
May 25, 2005
Why I Refuse To Give Up My Luddite Club Membership
Technology is supposed to make things easier. But it's also supposed to do so in such a way that you don't have to think about it. If it's working properly, you shouldn't even notice that it's there.
While I was away at lawyer boot camp, Father Justice replaced all the computers in my section with brand new ones. I've got a nice big flat screen monitor now, together with a redesigned keyboard, which is fine by me. I've also got various software upgrades that are causing problems. Specifically, someone left the email notification functions on (that lets me know when an email I sent to someone else in the Department has been received and opened) and I can't figure out how to turn the damned thing off. They also seem to have bolstered the Internet security package - it is giving me far more messages about ActiveX controls than it used to.
Then again, a guy in my office made a big production of sending a bunch of e-vites around to a party he's going to have. After some alarum and confusion, he finally managed to get it through to me. Then he sent a follow-up email to confirm that I'd gotten the original e-vite. My reaction was to wonder why he didn't just send an email to begin with.
And don't even get me started about Power Point and other electronic presentations. People get so consumed with the bells and whistles and trying to figure out how to make the damn thing work that they totally lose sight of the content they were supposed to be presenting in the first place.
In such incidents, I always think back to this passage from The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy:
"Good afternoon, boys."
The voice was oddly familiar, but oddly different. It had a matriarchal twange. It announced itself to the crew as they arrived at the airlock hatchway that would let them out onto the planet's surface.
The looked at each other in puzzlement.
"It's the computer," explained Zaphod, "I discovered it had an emergency backup personality that I thought might work out better."
"Now this is going to be your first day out on a strange new planet," continued Eddie's new voice, "so I want you all wrapped up snug and warm and no playing with any naughty bug-eyed monsters."
Zaphod tapped impatiently on the hatch.
"I'm sorry," he said, "I think we might be better off with a slide rule."
"Right!" snapped the computer, "Who said that?"
"Will you open the exit hatch, please, computer?" said Zaphod trying not to get angry.
"Not until whoever said that owns up," urged the computer, stamping a few synapses closed.
"Oh, God," muttered Ford. He slumped against a bulkhead and started to count to ten. He was desparately worried that one day sentient life forms would forget how to do this. Only by counting could humans demonstrate their independence of computers.
"Come on," said Eddie sternly.
"Computer....," began Zaphod.
"I'm waiting," interrupted Eddie, "I can wait all day if necessary...."
"Computer....," said Zaphod again, who had been trying to think of some subtle piece of reasoning to put the computer down with, and had decided not to bother competing with it on its own ground, "if you don't open that exit hatch this moment, I shall zap straight off to your major data banks and reprogram you with a very large axe, got that?"
Eddie, shocked, paused and considered this.
Ford carried on counting quietly. This is about the most aggressive thing you can do to a computer, the equivalent of going up to a human being and saying Blood.....blood.....blood....blood....
Finally Eddie said quietly, "I can see this relationship is something we're all going to have to work at," and the hatchway opened.
An icey wind ripped into them. They hugged themselves warmly and stepped down the ramp on to the barren dust of Magrathea.
"It'll all end in tears, I know it," shouted Eddie after them and closed the hatchway again.
E.M. Forster And The Movies
I see where Ismail Merchant, half of the Merchant/Ivory film-making duo, has died.
As faithful readers know, I tend to be extremely cranky about film adaptations of literature, at least of books that I know and love. But Room With A View has always been one of my favorite movies. I confess that I only read the novel once, and that a long time ago, so for all my expertice, Merchant and Ivory might have gone completely bananas. However, what I remember thinking at the time was that they had got it bang on - the tone, the style, the story and so forth.
If there are any Forster afficionados out there, I'd be interested to hear what you think about this.
Let Your Fingers Do The Talking
Via Witnit, I came across this interesting post by Harvey at Bad Example about finding your blog voice. Harvey's basic thesis is that successful blogging is more a function of mimicked natural speech than formal composition. For the most part, I think this is probably correct, although, as Harvey notes, there are times and places for more traditional essays as well.
Harvey goes on to suggest a number of ways to use the text of a post itself to emphasize the natural rhythms of speech patterns, using spaces, bolding, italics, caps, interjection and so on.
Unfortunately, Harvey drives his subject into the ditch at the end by suggesting that it is okay, indeed at times necessary, to use emoticons as a replacement for the facial expressions impossible to convey in a written format.
Allow me to express my own feelings on the topic:
ARGH! Emoticons are bad!
AIEEE!!!! Emoticons are EVIIIIIIIIL!!!!!
Damn! Emoticons are hellspawn!
We hatesssss the nasssssssty emoticonsssseeessss..........
See? No facial expression necessary!
Just in time for Father's Day
Field of Dreams is one of the movies I'll admit to crying while watching. Damn that scene where he's playing catch with his dad's ghost!
Sheila goes on with another post looking back at Ebert's review of it: I'll say this about the movie that it's in that rare group where the movie is actually better than the book. Now, the book is actually a collection of short stories with a common narrative line, and the movie does away with Ray's twin brother and some other confusing elements. But nothing can really top it's opening line:
My father said he saw him years later playing in a tenth-rate commerical league in a textile town in Carolina, wearing shoes and an assumed name.
Tarnation, that's one crisp line!
"He'd put on fifty pounds and the spring was gone from his step in the outfield, but he could still hit. Oh, how that man could hit. No one has ever been able to hit like Shoeless Joe."
Three years ago at dusk on a spring evening, when the sky was robbin's-egg blue and the wind as soft as a day-old chick, I was sitting on the verendah of my farm home in eastern Iowa when a voice very clearly said to me, "If you build it, he will come."
I think the only way to really top that would be with something that begins "Sing in me, muse..."
John from Wuzzadem straddles that exquisite crossroads where art and politics meet. Go. Now.
According to the Gaijin Biker, Fox appears to be toying with the idea of bringing back Futurama, at least with new DVD's or perhaps a movie.
I confess that I stopped watching the show early on because I just didn't think it was living up to its potential. But numerous devotees have informed me that it picked itself up considerably later in its run. Presumably, if it comes back, it will hit the ground running.
UPDATE: Oh, and just in case you were wondering, in the Leela vs. Amy debate, I'd go with Leela all the way. But that's just me.
"England Suggests That Every Person Should Do WhatEver He Or She Thinks Is Most Appropriate"
Roger Kimball relays the low-down on what political correctness is doing to Britain's upcoming celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.
A sure Sign Of The Apocalypse
The Derb actually has something posivite to say about pop culture.
I, for one, am heading for the bomb-shelter right now.
Ask the Llamas
Someone Googled in here on the query the name Ruger for a little boy.
Our advice? Don't.
If he's lucky, his little chums will call him "Luger". If not, he's doomed to "Booger" for life.
On to Pillage.......
Remember how P.J. O'Rourke once said that giving money and power to politicians was like giving whiskey and car keys to teenagers? Well here's another simile to add to the list: It's also like giving guest-blogging privileges to your friendly Llamas.
And yet, that is just what has happened - Our dear pal Kathy the Cake Eater has decided to take a few days off and, in a moment of insanity, asked us, along with Fortnightly Sadie, to stand in for her.
Oh, this is going to be fun......
More Gratuitous Garden Posting (TM)
We could get a wave going here - Jordana is at it and she's got the gen-u-ine pics, too, not stand-ins lifted off of Google like me.
Interestingly, Jordana lives in Nashville, but her garden appears to be a week or two ahead of mine here in Northern Virginia, given that her hydrangia, daisies and coneflower are already blooming and mine haven't started. For some reason, I'd have thought the Cumberland Valley would be at about the same stage as my neck of the woods, or else maybe even slightly behind. Evidently, I was mistaken about this.
On the other hand, my own garden has a northern exposure and I've noticed that it seems to lag behind some of the other ones in my area as well. I've got a young hedge of oak-leaf hydrangia coming up on its northern side and it will be interesting to see if this changes the timetable once it has filled in and provides an effective screen.
This Is Nice
This article caused a particular ganglion in my brain to twitch. [Bonus: Spot the movie reference.] I couldn't read it without thinking of James Thurber's story which mentioned his Great-Uncle Zenas dying of the blight that wiped out the chestnuts in the early 20th Century and the need for a family friend to impersonate him in order to calm Thurber's senile grandfather. The story is from My Life and Hard Times, one of the funniest collections of essays ever penned, but I simply cannot remember right now which specific essay it comes from. For some reason, I think it's either "The Car We Had To Push" or else "The Night The Ghost Got In", but I may be wrong. Guess that means it's time to reread the book.
Yeah, It's That Time 100 Best Movies List
I'm a bit slow this morning, having stayed up too late watching North By Northwest last night. It may be a sign of age, but I noticed that while, as usual, I daydreamed a bit about a young Eve Marie Saint seducing me, the first thing that I wished was that I could get my suits to stay as crisp and wrinkle-free as Cary Grant's.
Anyhoo, I've finally had a look at Time's 100 Best Movies list. God only knows how they put it together. Darts would be my guess. In any event, JohnL has cut n' paste the list and marked both the ones he's seen and the ones he intends to. Below the fold, I'll do the same thing (bold for seen, italics for want to see) and add some commentary as well.
Aguirre: the Wrath of God (1972)
The Apu Trilogy (1955, 1956, 1959)
The Awful Truth (1937) - I've a vague idea I saw this once long ago, but if so, I've completely forgotten.
Baby Face (1933)
Bande à part (1964)
Barry Lyndon (1975)
Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980)
Blade Runner (1982)
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Brazil (1985) - I first saw this in my college cinema, the architecture of which bore a remarkable resemblance to that of the city in the movie. Walking out was almost as surreal and scary as watching the movie itself.
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Casablanca (1942) - I hadn't paid much attention to this before, but while watching this recently it suddenly occurred to me that Dooley Wilson's Sam wasn't really playing the piano, at least the couple of times I watched his hands closely.
Charade (1963) - What fun it is when Cary flashes that charming smile of his and you're not absolutely sure which side he's really on.
Children of Paradise (1945)
Chinatown (1974) - For some reason, I've just never got around to this.
Chungking Express (1994)
Citizen Kane (1941)- I'm going to reveal my philistinism by admitting that I have never understood what all the fuss was about. A good movie, yes. Why it is called the greatest eludes me.
City Lights (1931)
City of God (2002)
Closely Watched Trains (1966)
The Crime of Monsieur Lange (1936)
The Crowd (1928)
Day for Night (1973)
The Decalogue (1989)
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)
Double Indemnity (1944) - When Fred MacMurray first starts doing the film noir tough-guy shtick, calling Barbara Stanwyck "Baby", you're inclined to smile. It's Steve Douglas, fer cryin' out loud! But you quickly forget all the My Three Sons stuff once you get into it, a thing that is very easy to do.
Dr. Strangelove: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) - As with most 60's and 70's anti-war movies, the message is hammerhanded. But the characters and dialogue are so entertaining that this really doesn't matter much.
Drunken Master II (1994)
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) - I must be the only person on the planet who's never actually seen this film. And frankly, I have no desire to do so.
8 1/2 (1963)
The 400 Blows (1959)
Farewell My Concubine (1993)
Finding Nemo (2003) - If Time was reserving a slot for a modern animated feature, surely there were some better choices? The Incredibles would be the gimme here. I'd probably also nominate Toy Story 2. Nemo was perfectly fine, but I didn't think it was that good.
The Fly (1986)
The Godfather, Parts I and II (1972, 1974) - Oh, if only they'd stopped there!
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966) - I can't recall if Steve-O was around at the time, but one evening in college a bunch of us were watching this on tee vee and the local station cut to a commercial right in the middle of the climactic face off.
A Hard Day's Night (1964)
His Girl Friday (1940) - Rosalind Russell - yow!
In A Lonely Place (1950)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
It's A Gift (1934)
It's A Wonderful Life (1946)
Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) - As fond as I am of Alec Guinness, I've never actually seen this one. Must take corrective action immediately.
King Kong (1933)
The Lady Eve (1941) - I believe Mom was talking about this the other day.
The Last Command (1928)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962) - Speaking of Alec Guiness, one of my favorite lines: "With Major Lawrence, mercy is a passion. With me, it is merely good manners. You may judge which motive is the more reliable."
The Lord of the Rings (2001-03) - Must....resist....cranky....outburst....
The Man With a Camera (1929)
The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
Miller's Crossing (1990)
Mon oncle d'Amérique (1980)
Olympia, Parts 1 and 2 (1938)
On the Waterfront (1954)
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) I believe Clint Eastwood was supposed to star in this Sergio Leone spaghetti western in the part that eventually went to Charles Bronson. Frankly, the movie is too long, but it's great to watch any way. And Henry Fonda as a cold-blooded gun-slinger is one of the most alarming things you'll ever see on the screen.
Out of the Past (1947)
Pulp Fiction (1994) - Another one of those films that, when I finally saw it, I didn't understand why it had got so much hype.
The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) - This one mystifies me a bit. Again, if there's an obligatory Woody Allen slot on the list, surely there are some better candidates?
Raging Bull (1980) - My wife's cousin is married to a member of the La Motta family. Spookiest. Wedding. I've. Ever. Been. To.
Schindler's List (1993) - I confess that I haven't yet nerved myself to see this.
The Searchers (1956) - Again, I suspect that Time felt there should be a "John Wayne" slot on the list. This is the Wayne movie always tagged for such slots by people who don't like Wayne movies because it is somewhat different from most of his work - harsher and darker. I happen to love John Wayne westerns, even the goofier ones. But if you want a Wayne movie of the first caliber, so to speak, I'd go with The Shootist.
Sherlock, Jr. (1924)
The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
Singin' in the Rain (1952)
The Singing Detective (1986)
Smiles of a Summer Night (1955)
Some Like It Hot (1959) - As I've said before, I've no interest in Marilyn Monroe.
Star Wars (1977)
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
Swing Time (1936)
Talk to Her (2002)
Taxi Driver (1976)
Tokyo Story (1953)
A Touch of Zen (1971)
Ulysses' Gaze (1995)
Umberto D (1952)
Unforgiven (1992) - Perhaps Time felt that one aging gunslinger movie on the list was enough. (See The Searchers above.) When people were talking about favorite Gene Hackman movies the other day, did anyone mention this one? His Little Bill is superb.
White Heat (1949)
Wings of Desire (1987)
May 24, 2005
Words Fail Me
Yes, it's squirrel-blogging. Go on over and peruse the photo archives of Sugar Bush Squirrel. And when you're done, go check out Sobek's place for conclusive proof that Steve-O wasn't the only one huffing paint thinner and playing with Photoshop while I was away.
I have no earthly idea what any of this means, but I'm sure the word "nuts" can be inserted somewhere in the explanation.
Name That Grown-Up
My pal Marjorie, writing over at Chocolate and Peanut Butter, asks the question: how should your child's friends or friends' children address you?
Personally, I detest the practice of children calling adults by their given names on the grounds that children should not be overly familiar with adults but instead should maintain a degree of respectful formality. The major exception that comes to mind is the case of very close non-family connections - God-children and/or children of long-time friends - who may address me as "Uncle Robbo" or "Uncle Llama". But for ordinary friends of the Llama-ettes, it's strictly "Mr. Llama" for me or, if I actually know the kid, "Mr. L" will do. (I believe that the Missus' class at school generally refers to her as "Mrs. L".)
I've also been called "Llama-ette's Dad" by some of their little friends, which I don't mind, especially as it is only the younger ones who do this.
Conversely, we do not encourage the Llama-ettes to familiarity with other adults, but instead instruct them to address grown ups as "Mr., Mrs. or Ms. So-and-So". We do this even when other adults have invited the girls to address them by their first names. To my knowledge, this has never caused trouble with anybody else, almost all of whom have respected our wishes to preserve this particular formality, even when they don't actually approve of it themselves. The sole minor exception that I can think of regarding this practice has to do with a pair of women at church, one of whom runs the youth programs and the other of whom does a lot of musical work with the kids. They are uniformely known as "Miss Lisa" and "Miss Ashley". I don't interfere with this practice.
As an aside, it is only when she is really trying to bait me that my seven year old starts calling me "Robert".
Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)
(Haven't done one of these in a few weeks.)
The local classical station is currently running Felix Mendelssohn's Rondo Capriciosso for Piano in E Major, Opus 14, a piece I've always enjoyed because it is a keyboard version of the things I like about Mendelssohn's orchestral works (particularly in the scherzo from Midsummer Night's Dream, the Fingal's Cave Overture and the Scottish Symphony) - a wild, sometimes impish melodic line over a powerful, romantic bass.
I occassionally try to play this piece myself. I can get through the slow introduction without any real difficulty, but can't play the body of the piece at anything like the speed required for a real performance. And after a while, all those bloody arpeggios start to make my fingers hurt. Unfortunately, it isn't a piece designed for messing about on a casual basis, but instead requires a good deal of technical rigor and a lot of practice to master.
Anyhoo, if you're interested in some good Mendelssohn piano music, I'd recommend this piece.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. James Lileks
This is what I get for neglectling to read The Bleat for one lousy day: A three way movie review of Team America, Star Wars I-III and The Incredibles in which James not only lifts it out of the park, he sinks it in the hole on the 18th green of the golf course across the river. Just read this:
“Team America” was made by 17 year old boys who cut class to smoke cigarettes. “Star Wars” was made by a sophomore who was bumped ahead to the senior class because of his smarts, but never fit in and spent lunch hour drawing rocketships in his notebook. “The Incredibles” was made by 30 year olds who remembered what it was like to be 16, but didn’t particularly care to revisit those days, because it’s so much better to be 30, with a spouse and a kid and a house and a sense that you’re tied to something. Not an attitude; not some animist mumbo jumbo, but something large enough to behold and small enough to do. “Duty” is a punchline in “Team America”; it’s a rote trope in "Star Wars" that has no more meaning than love or honor any other word that passes Lucas’ cardboard lips. But it meant something in “The Incredibles,” and all the more so because no one ever stopped to deliver a lecture on the subject.
Beautifully said, James, just beautifully said, especially the bit about the sense of being tied to something "large enough to behold but small enough to do". As a recently ex-30's guy with spouse, kids and house, I am aware of that sensation on at least some level 24 hours a day. But it is so ingrained and omnipresent that it is never discussed, much less made the subject of a lecture.
Go on and read the rest. I agree with Lileks that Team America was amusing, although (he said ducking and covering) I never understood all the hype. As for the latest Star Wars entry, I guess I'm on the wrong side of a generational divide that even George Lucas himself recognizes.
UPDATE: Well, so much for that theory. We Llamas seem to be the No. 1 response to a Google search for Blog Swingers, so evidently we aren't taking our duties to heart as much as we should.
Not Exactly Gratuitous Unseen Movie Bashing
The posters for the new Bewitched movie are going up all over town, which prompts me to post a pic of Elizabeth Montgomery, the original "Sam", who was always one of my favorites.
I'm not going to set up an Elizabeth Montgomery/Nicole Kidman cat fight here, nor am I going to damn the new movie out of hand - even though I loathe Shirley MacLaine and really don't like Will Ferrell very much either. I will simply point out that Hollywood has a pretty dismal track record when it comes to mining classic tee vee series for new movie material.
We shall see what we shall see. [Insert nose-wrinkling here.]
BOMB SCARE BLOGGING AND THE NUKE OPTION
A bomb scare emptied out the office so I walked back to Fort LMC for lunch. The Republicans ducked the nuclear option last night. In doing so, they merely only delayed the reckoning. The "extraordinary circumstances" "opt out" will be evident when the president nominates the next candidate for the Supreme Court. Whoever it is, they will be labeled "extreme." John McCain and Lindsey Graham will pay the price during the presidential primaries in '08.
By the Mother of All That Is Holy, are the 'Fins out of their freakin' minds?
I had thought I caught something about this on the tee vee headlines late last week, but dismissed it as merely trial-prep-induced hallucination. But it looks like I won't be waking up from this nightmare for a while.
I have no interest in basketball, whatsoever. But I did just want to cheer a bit for the only team I've ever paid any attention to. I went to a few of their games as a kid, back in the days of George "Iceman" Gervin, James Silas and Coach Doug Moe, and followed them on tee vee and in the papers during the many years when they were just mediocre. So I feel I still have a right to call them my team.
And, of course, I learned to dance the "Cotton-Eye Joe" line-dance because of them. That ought to count for something, especially as having four feet to kick makes it rather tricky.
"The Cockpit? What Is It?"
Just because I wanted to watch a movie and there was absolutely nothing else on last night (sorry, I just don't find The Glass Bottom Boat to be very funny and Commando is one of Ah-nold's flops), I flipped over to the Lifetime Network and watched a pair of back-to-back airline disaster movies, Rough Air: Danger on Flight 534 and Final Descent.
They're basically the same movie: Something Bad Happens To Commercial Jet and Heroic Crew Must Get It Down, Finding Themselves In The Process. In the first, it was the Conflicted First Officer together with the Gutsy Stewardess. In the second, it was the Maverick Captain together with the Gutsy First Officer Girl Friend (with whom Maverick Captain had been having relationship issues). The second was particularly painful to watch, as the Maverick Captain was played by poor old Robert Urich, who I had previously thought to have struck bottom when he was doing tee vee commercials for the local Smooth Jazz radio station a few years ago. Even worse, he was being hectored by the Rigid Management Supervisor played by Star Trek Has-Been John de Lancie. If you were ever infuriated by the snide behavior of Q toward the crew of the Enterprise, rest assured that he paid for it. Of course, the passengers were bought wholesale from Stereotypes R Us - the Pregnant Woman, the Adorable Kids, Crusty Old Guy, Panicky Guy, etc.
As I watched these two dogs in fascinated horror, a couple of thoughts occured to me:
1. Surely the Writers' Guild can come together and agree on a ban on airplane disaster movies? They must recognize that they're never going to recreate the big-budget exuberant awfuless of the Airport series from back in the 70's. Furthermore, they must realize that Airplane! forever soured the genre by so cleverly aping it. Leslie Neilson wasn't on either one of these flights, but you kept expecting him to appear.
2. Why on earth is Lifetime running this sort of stuff? Is it some kind of Empowerment Marketing thing? If so, then why is the Gutsy Woman character still only second chair? On the other hand, I can't think of any other reason: it certainly can't be because they expect their audience to drool over the male leads. I mean, c'mon. (Speaking of which, I remember seeing poor old Eric Estrada in one of these train-wrecks called Terror in the Skies a few years back. There the Gutsy Woman role was played by Kate Jackson. Interesting that there appears to be a high-altitude graveyard for certain movie careers.)
3. Speaking of drooling, I also noticed that the production values really weren't very much different from the sort of stuff Skinemax runs late at night. Throw in a couple extra steamy scenes and the producers could repackage these movies for a completely different audience. Indeed, the plot of Rough Air involved the plane being talked down by an Icelandic Flight Control Babe. The post-landing scene between her and the Heroic Flight Crew Couple just cried out for menage treatment.
These films and their ilk certainly don't merit Truly Bad Film status. But I would think that, with a little imagination, we can come up with some kind of Honorable Mention subcategory for them. Such awfulness deserves to be recognized somehow.
Peace In Our Time
Well it seems the Senate has avoided going nuclear on the subject of filibustering judicial nominations, at least for the very short term.
My gut tells me this is a bad deal for the Republicans. Yes, it gets several judges to an actual floor vote in the short term, but it also shows that the GOP will blink, even when it has the upper hand. For all the talk of comity and compromise that you will read in the next day or so, I guarantee that this is what Harry Reid and his pals will remember.
I think the move probably also shows that the Senate GOP, or at least a sizeable chunk of it, still doesn't feel compelled to govern by conviction as does Dubya, but is instead more concerned with keeping its comfy status quo. On the other hand, Bill Frist seems to be well aware of what happens to Senators with wishy-washy records who try to make a move toward the White House, which probably explains why he is disassociating himself from the agreement. That McCain should be in the thick of it is pretty typical of the sort of maverick-centrist shtick he's been pulling for years.
UPDATE: Glenn's got a round-up of mixed reaction.
UPDATE DEUX: Michelle Malkin also rounds 'em up and has a great graphic too.
UPDATE TROIS: The Corner is all over it, of course, but not in lock-step.
UPDATE QUATRE: Oh, and I already know Steve-O is going to weigh in with his "what goes around, comes around" admonition. But I feel like being cranky this morning.
UPDATE CINQ: The Colossus is cranky, too.
UPDATE NEXT: Meanwhile, Trader Rob and See-Dubya are fighting for the controls of the Sandcrawler and squabbling over which direction to take it. I feel compelled to highlight one of TR's pro-agreement arguments:
It will be virtually impossible for the Dims to try and filibuster one of these nominees if they are ever in line for the Supreme Court because they have already capitulated on them.
You're kidding me, right?
UPDATE LAST: Kevin at Wizbang links to a copy of the agreement.
More Peony Posting
Image courtesy of UK Student Life.
Another peony opened up yesterday, this time what Nicholls Gardens calls a "Gold Standard" (Rosenfeld 34). I have a pair of two year old plants, each with about half a dozen buds on it. They form a beautiful creamy-white flower with a yellow button that looks much like the one pictured above, only a slight bit paler. (Some day Santa will bring me a digital camera so I can start posting pictures of my own flowers instead of stealing them from other people.)
May 23, 2005
Papist Plum Blogging
It is rare that one finds a good collection of P.G. Wodehouse (1881-1975) in any English-speaking home nowadays. But in Catholic homes his works ought to be right below the missals, the Latin primers, the Douay-Rheims Bible and the Imitation of Christ. For we cannot always be reading religious books, not even the holiest of us. Our leisure ought therefore to be such that it strengthens and reinforces the spiritual progress we make each day by prayer and by penance. And there is probably no writer more appropriate for Catholic leisure than Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (pronounced 'Woodhouse'), in whose shadow even Dante would tremble for his unworthiness.
Along with the King James Bible and a very few other works, his output represents the English language at its purest. Of the ninety or so books that poured out from his hand before his death in 1973, at least half come as close to perfection in art as we can. He was the last and one of the greatest writers of Christendom.
And how exactly does Plum tie in with the Almighty? Mr. Woo gives us the clue:
As Waugh once remarked, 'for Wodehouse there has been no fall of Man...the gardens of Blandings Castle are the original gardens of Eden from which we are all exiled'. We should all thirst after this world before our exile, the beautiful works of the Lord unsullied by our wickedness. We all know in our hearts what this unfallen world once was, but some of us, for a variety of reasons, choose to forget about it. These same reasons lead us to ignore Wodehouse. To love Wodehouse may not be necessary for our eternal salvation, but we must say that we find it very hard to believe that anyone who knowingly rejects him is all right with God.
Read the rest. Also, I concur with the WA's assessment of the right books with which to start. Leave It To Psmith was my first novel, although I read the early Bertie & Jeeves stories at about the same time.
It Is Our Destiny
Take a guess as to who is the No. 1 Google search hit for "Darth Llama".
Seems like the circle is indeed complete.
UPDATE: Sigh. Turns out we're also No. 1 for "Star Wars Padme porn". See what happens when I leave for a few days?
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Garden Division
"Garden Lace" - Image courtesy of La Pivoinerie D'Aoust.
Yes, it's peony blogging! While I was away, the first of mine opened up. It is a variety that Nicholls Gardens, from whom I bought my stock, refers to as an Angelus (Auten 33), although it looks very, very much like the Garden Lace pictured above. Very nice, indeed. All the rest of my peonies are about ready to cook off too, although we're supposed to have cool and rainy weather for the next few days, so that might put them back a bit.
Also, my columbine is going gangbusters, not just the yellow that I mentioned a couple weeks ago, but also several whites and magentas, together with one that has a white flower coupled with spurs in red and blue. I was rather shocked to discover I actually had to stake them on Saturday, something I've never associated with columbine before. But these plants are three or four feet tall and top-heavy with flowers.
What else? The Siberian Iris is in full swing - I've got two thick plantings of them in blue and peach. Also, the salvia is starting to come out. Meanwhile, most of the more summery flowers - the black eye susans, coneflowers, shasta daisies and whatnot, are beginning to form their first buds.
It occured to me while surveying everything that I seem to have an aweful lot of pastel colors in my garden, lots of lavenders and yellows and blues and whites. Perhaps it's high time to start adding some dashes of boldness here and there - some bright reds, for example. (The exception to this is the peony plot itself, where several of the plants do have bright red flowers, but that's on the other side of the fence from the main beds.) I am planning to hit up the local nurseries this weekend to see if anybody has some half-price foxglove - I may have to keep my eye open for some other plants as well.
Oh, several of you have been wondering about the exploits of Sauron's Wraithrabbits. Well, so far, no depredation that I can see, although the furry little bastards are lurking back along the wood line. Last year, it was a young one that caused all the trouble - I believe the mature ones were too big to squeeze through the fence, or at least didn't really try till they saw Junior going at it. In the short run, I'm going to try using some blood meal to keep them disinterested. If that doesn't work, I'm going straight to Daisy. Really. I'm not kidding this time.
"Speak, That I May See Thee"
Via Bryan at Spare Change, here's an interesting list: The Top 100 Voices In The Movies. I won't quibble with it one way or the other - just going down the entries is entertaining - except to say one thing about the entry on Christopher Walken: There is no such thing as being "most unique". Either something is unique or it is not.
I Just Flew In From The Coast And BOY Are My Arms Tired!
|What military aircraft are you?|
You are an F/A-22. You are technologically inclined, and though you've never been tested in combat, your very name is feared. You like noise, but prefer not to pollute any more than you have to. And you can move with the best.
|Click Here to Take This Quiz|
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.
Yips! to Owlish.
Another Book Meme
(I can't resist this sort of thing.) The Irish Elk tags me with a litter-chur questionaire I don't recall having seen before. Are you ready? Here goes:
1. Total Number of Books I've Owned. Difficult to say. I've never actually counted the collection. However, recently I did a quick calculation in my library based on number of books per shelf and number of shelves and arrived at a figure not far under 1000. Coupled with the books scattered about upstairs and in my Fortress of Solitude in the basement, I expect that is a pretty accurate figure.
2. Last Book I Bought: As I noted in an earlier post today, I picked up several volumes of the collected works of Charles Kingsley yesterday.
3. Last Book I Read: I am currently reading Winston Churchill's memoirs of the Second World War for the first time and am about two thirds of the way through The Gathering Storm. Wonderfully lucid - very much in the style of his History of the English- Speaking Peoples in terms of his ability to explain the big picture in simple terms.
4. Five Books That Mean A lot to Me: I'll cheat a bit and name five authors instead: Evelyn Waugh, Patrick O'Brian, P.G. Wodehouse, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Obviously, different authors (and different books by those authors) have different kinds of meaning. And there are plenty of other names that deserve inclusion on the short list. I picked this lot primarily because I find myself coming back to them again and again.
5. Tag five people and have them do this on their blog.
Kathy - Isn't this sort of thing just made for us?
Sadie - Time to pull your nose out of the law books.
JohnL - Here's another chance to wax eloquent about Robert Heinlen.
Jordana - Because you tagged me with one of these the other day.
Chan S. - The first name in bookish (gardener) blogging.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)
Our seven year old lost her first tooth this weekend. Being the sort of girl she is, she was adamant that the Tooth Fairy should make the cash-for-tooth swap under her pillow, with no interference whatsoever from Mom or Dad.
Being a parent means being prepared to lie through your teeth from time to time - we assured the girl that we would keep out of the way and let the T.F. do her business unaided.
Of course, there is no family action without some kind of equal and opposite reaction. For the past two mornings, the five year old has come out of her room absolutely in tears because the "Money Fairy" didn't leave anything under her pillow.
Being a parent also means being prepared to stomp on bad ideas when they manifest themselves - we assured this girl that there is no such thing as the Money Fairy and she had better stop having tantrums about it right now.
Never a dull moment.
YIPS FROM STEVE:
MEANWHILE, BACK AT RANCHO NON-SEQUITOR... our eldest lost her tooth around the same time Saturday evening. It's the fifth (I think), so a little less of the hoopla, but not by much.
The excitement began however when she proceeded to drop it down the sink in the bathroom while washing it off to put in her "tooth bag" that she knitted at school (make no sense? Ask Jordana to explain the ways of the hippie kraut school).
So while Gordo, Rusty, and Vader knows who else were up in Dee-Cee whooping it up at Jawapalooza 05, I was on my back earning my keep (quit the snickering in the back row!) undoing the trap in the sink.
Let's just say that the house is seven years old, and so there was quite a bit of crud in there. I emptied the sucker into the sink above it, with the plug thingee thorougly in and a bucket and towel underneath.
So I did my best Ed Harris/Apollo 13 impersonation and open up the plug-thingee just a teensy bit (can you imagine Ed Harris using the words "thingee" and "teensy bit" in Apollo 13? No? What if George Lucas wrote the script?) This was necessary as there was no way in the world I was sticking my hand into that sink full of gunk.
Three minutes later, sure enough, there was the tooth on the bottom. Wahlah! Greatest Dad of All Time.
Who would have thunk unexpectedly washing the van and retrieving a lost tooth out of a sink trap is the basis of marital bliss?
Oh, and Rob, we'll have to make sure the kids don't compare notes, as the "Money Fairy" gave E K's money.
Just So You Know - Nailing Tracts to the Door Of The Death Star, Dept.
Everybody else is posting their Revenge of the Sith reviews.
I, for one, hereby state categorically that I refuse to see the movie. Maybe when it comes out on pay-per-view. But not before.
Because I feel that I am being hustled. The tee vee is full of the most blatent and gratuitous plugging - Yoda trying to get some guy's Pepsi being one of the least obnoxious. Many other programmers are jumping on the bandwagon - I saw a few minutes of a Discovery Channel series on "The Science of Star Wars" that had a lot of George Lucas yapping and very little real science. Meanwhile, the press is full of breathless stories about all the financial records the movie is breaking, as well as a fresh batch of reviews discussing Lucas as the Master Myth-maker of our Times.
Well, sorry. I hate this kind of hype. When I sense that much energy being put into an effort to manipulate me into shelling out ten bucks, or whatever it is, to see the thing, I naturally rebel. Especially given the fact that the series has been spiralling in ever since Empire Strikes Back.
More importantly, and particularly after the last two dogs, the message now seems to be that one has to see Revenge, well, because one has to. Because how else will we ever know how things got to be what they were at the beginning of the original Star Wars? Because how else will the circle be made complete?
Screw it. I am perfectly content with leaving the backstory of the original as that: backstory. To date, Lucas' attempts to fill in and expand on that story have been an artistic trainwreck and I don't see anything about this latest opus to indicate that it is any different. Lucas is rightly praised for the original, which was fresh, imaginative and fun. But that was a long time ago and, let's be honest, he plainly has jumped the shark since then. I refuse to let my enjoyment of the original be used to hold me hostage to this latest installment.
UPDATE: Ith has some interesting thoughts about Lucas' downward slide and the (often admittedly conflicted) willingness of fans to overlook this in the name of devotion to what might be called the idea of Star Wars. I believe that various religious excesses, from time to time, have been justified or explained away on similar grounds.
UPDATE DEUX: Ace weighs in with a critique that is both more comprehensive and more blistering than mine. Then again, he actually saw the film.
UPDATE TROIS: M'heh. Beautifully Atrocious Jeff has the Mother of all Star Wars hatred round-ups.
UPDATE, Oh Goddamit, What's French for "FOUR" Again?: Kathy The Cake-Eater posts her take, a la the Reduced Shakespeare Company, whom I've seen on stage. The vision of these guys doing a Star Wars review is exquisite.
Random Literary Posting
With an intro like Steve's below, how can I resist?
We spent all afternoon yesterday at the Fun Fair at the Llama-ettes' school. After last year's nightmare, it was surprisingly restfull. The weather was perfect, warm but not hot. And the seven and five year olds are mature enough that they need not be watched with the hawk's eye on a constant basis. They spent the afternoon paling around with various friends of theirs. Meanwhile, the Missus and I tag-teamed on the three year old. Since she spent the majority of her time on the moonbounce, this was fairly easy as well.
Anyhoo, as it does every year, the school held a silent auction. We wound up getting some Nats tickets for a game later next month, but what I really glommed on to was a set of collected works of Charles Kingsley. I've never read Kingsley. The filofax card in my mind said "Victorian novelist and historian....associated with "muscular Christianity" tailing off into Christian socialism....Westward Ho! an adventure story..," so it struck me that, especially at a bargain price, he was worth snapping up at least for purposes of exposure.
So I am interested to dive in and see what he has to say. In the meantime, anybody out there who's actually read any of his work?
Random Roadtrip Observations
The drive from Columbia up to Dee Cee on Friday was, shall we say, a lively one, primarily due to the weather. I left Columbia Friday morning in the middle of a blazing thunderstorm, with lashing rain, microburst gusts and all the attendant highway perils that go with them, all under a sky the appearance of which passed through every definition of the word "ominous" I could think of, up to and including that greenish tinge that makes one automatically start scanning around for the funnel cloud. Heading east, I outran the line of storms just as I pulled into Florence and hit I-95 north. I was able to stop at a gas station and coffee up just before they caught me again, dogging me until I hit Fayetteville. The rest of the drive wasn't too bad until I crossed a frontal boundary around Richmond and smacked into a new wodge of much colder rain. (I should mention that I did not take the back or side panels of the Jeep with me, just the door panels. So I got the full sound, smell and feel of the weather as I tooled along. I actually rather prefer this to being cooped up in a hermetically sealed box, although it does have its disadvantages as well. However, with the door panels on, it's surprising how little moisture makes its way into the front, even in the heaviest rain.)
Anyhoo, I just wanted to mention two things that caught my eye on the trip. First, in the Department of Redundancy Department, there is a river in South Carolina called the Wateree River. Just to distinguish it from the Dustee River, I suppose.
Second, I saw some species of Cadillac roadster convertible that must be pretty high up in the list of potential Ugliest Car on the Road candidates. I don't know what it was called, but it looked like the bastard love child of a PT Cruiser and the old German kubelwagen (aka, the Volkswagen "Thing"). I shudder to think that someone spent at least 40K on something like that.
UPDATE: After a little digging, I see that what I spotted was, in fact, a PT Cruiser convertible. (I didn't know they made one.) But I stand by my statement about its ugliness.
The Return of Robert the LLamabutcher
Well, if you're like me, you're anxiously anticipating the return to posting of one Robert T. LLamabutcher. You've gotten the shakes, you've trolled through the archives to scrape the resin out of the Gratuitous Musikal postings to get your fix; you've been jonesing reaaaal bad to find out what exactly Sauron the Rabbit has done now; even worse, you've tried mainlining the high speed scroll button...must.......have.......Robbo......posting!
Take a deep breath, people.
I realize the last week has been a bit (a tad, perhaps?) juvenile around the LLama Shop. Yes, things have been, well, as if the grownup has left to be out of town for a week, leaving a credit card, the car keys, and the access code to the naughty channels on the satelite dish. You know, my element.
But all good things (and even most crappy ones) must come to an end. We will resume normal blogcasting anon.
And everyone stand at attention with your hand over your heart as we lower the infamous LLamabutchers Star Wars Week logo.
(cue Imperial March)
As you were.
"LL" Is for LLosers
My humblest apologies for bagging out on the gang that met Saturday night for Jawapalooza.
As much as I had been looking forward to going, the impact from the force of two weeks of pent up domestic duties, accumulated during my absence at lawyer boot camp, was much stronger than I had anticipated (translation: I spent all day hustling Llama-ettes to soccer games and things and working like a sum'bitch in the yard). Also, we had some friends over for dinner Saturday and by the time that was done, it was way late for me to be thinking about heading into town.
Not an excuse, just an explanation.
But at least it looks like a good time was had by all.
May 21, 2005
What the top Hackman flicks? Mine are, in this order: Mississippi Burning, Enemy of the State, Behind Enemy Lines, Bat 21, and Uncommon Valor. Gene is like Cal Ripkin was before he retired from baseball, not too flashy, comes to work, cranks out solid peformances, and never complains.
BLUE RIBBON COMMISSION FLASHES IN THE PAN
There was a note or two in the news this week about how the 9-11 Commission was going to "monitor" progress on its recommendations, etc. Boys (that's you, Lee Hamilton and Tom Keane) and girls (I'm talking to you, Jamie Gorelick), the 9-11 Commission closed on August 20, 2004. Time to hang up the cleats and make a graceful exit before you find yourself looking into movies on the estrogen channels, photo shoots in skin mags, and devoted-readers-of-my award-winning-series-you-know-what else.
Did Juliet Huddy nail Jar-Jar Binks? Inquiring minds want to know
It's Saturday morning in LLama Land, which means it's time for our weekly onslaught of visitors who google up the LLamas in search of "Juliet Huddy naked pictures." Juliet is some sort of nooz babe who is on on Saturday morning.
For once and for all: get a grip, people! There are no Juliet Huddy naked pictures, hot lesbian shots, wmv porn or anything on this website! We do politics, pop culture, occasionally the cranky gardening stuff, but not that! Okay, sure, Linda Lovelace comes up occasionally in discussions of constitutional law, but that's it! And sure, lately we've od'ed a bit on the Star Wars geekery, but hey, that's us. Fortunately we haven't gone over the edge: no pshopped Padme porn, no Wookie love, nothing about supporting the marriage rights of gay robots. And absolutely nothing on the love triangle of the Olsen Twins and Jabba the Hut.
Okay, a little something on that but not much.
Anyhoo, for those who are worried about our medication levels, the LLama Star Wars logo is coming down later today.
I'm off to watch the Purple Sharks dominate the Hot Shots 6 + under soccer league.
May 20, 2005
Cooking with Jordana
The Carnival of the Recipes is up over at Curmudeonry, and if you're not a regular reader over there, you sure as heck don't know what you are missing...
Movies I'd see again and again
They never explained exactly why Anakin is only 6'1" and Darth Vader is 6'7"
And why did it take 19 years to build the Death Star?
FILE UNDER, "YEAH, WHAT HE SAID":
Ace files his very, umm, Aceian perspective:
6. Threepio gets his memory wiped. Artoo does not. That means that little bastard has known throughout the entire trilogy that Darth was Luke's father, and Leia his sister, and yet the little piece of shit never said a word. (And he could have of course-- not only did Threepio understand his buzzes and beepings, but of course Luke picked up his musical language eventually, too.)
7. No one has yet explained why, if the idea was to hide Anikin Skywalker's child "where the agents of the Sith would never find him," the best place to do so was on Anikin's home world of Tatooine, with his brother's family, and under his actual given name of Luke Skywalker.
Jesus. You want to knock the Stormtroopers' marksmanship; but they seem to be better shots than the Imperial Intelligence Division are detectives.
Revenge of the Sith---the LLama Review
I went to the 10:15 showing last night, and the theater was half full with mostly college kids doing the post-exam drinking in public thing. No costumes, and surprisingly no cell phones ringing.
What to say about the movie?
To call the acting wooden is an insult to the memory of Charlie McCarthy. Let's just say I've seen cans of Dinty Moore stew with greater depth than Hayden Christensen. Mr. Bill was able to emote better. Padame? She basically spends the first two acts biting her finger nails and pouting from her balcony.
During the pivotal dramatic love scene of Act 2, I kept looking at Anakin and hearing him whine, "Padme, I think Chuck hates me....why does Chuck hate me? I think he wants to kill me, Padme..."
The first two acts are horrible: the Jedi synthesis of cold logic and hot passion, ie tepid water. Everything hateful about Episodes I & II are on full display--the whiny petulant Anakin, the lack of fershizzle to Padme, the CGI overkill, the presence of Jar-Jar Binks and Count Dooku.
The greatest failure is the writing out of Han Solo. Every other character that has any impact on the middle trilogy makes an appearance or is set up with a backstory---except Han Solo. Solo is what makes the first movie work: the disrespect for all the Force mumbo jumbo, the insouciance, the swagger--let's face it, Han Solo is fun. It's the element that the starting trilogy completely lacks--a sense of fun. It would be like the Harry Potter stories without the Weasleys, and it makes the betrayal by Anakin that much less believable.
The whole seduction of Anakin never really clicks. Othelo needs Iago, Macbeth the witches and his wife: Anakin has Palapatine, yet the tension never really is there.
The movie just doesn't work at the end of Act Two, when Anakin becomes Darth Vader.
It comes together in Act Three, when Darth Vader goes and kills the children at the Jedi Temple. This is the Vader we know, this is where the seduction and trickery of evil becomes clear, when the full price is clear of the sale of his soul. To kill the children--starting with a Jedi youngling who likes a lot like the annoying moppet Anakin of Episode I--is when Vader is really born.
The last Act delivers it all: all the good guys die, save Obi-Wan and Yoda. The juxtaposition of the birth of the twins and the birth of Vader. The movie is worth all the hype and all the crap of the first 2 2/3rds episodes simply for the scene of Obi-Wan, leaving the desiccated Vader at the edge of the river of lava, and picks up Anakin's light saber, followed shortly by the hooded Obi-Wan delivering the baby Luke into the hands of Aunt Beru and she turns to Uncle Owen, who is standing in the same position as Luke, looking out at the Tatooine moons in Episode IV.
The mythical line is complete: the wizard/priest delivers the boy-king wrapped in swaddling clothes to the kindly shepherd, and will wait patiently to deliver the sword of fire.
EIGHTIES MOVIE BABES
Amidst the welter of the hot-button issues of the day, "nuclear option", Iraq, Revenge of the Sith, etc. you can count on your humble correspondent to ask the really important question: "what ever happened to Sigourney Weaver?" IMHO, she was one of the most talented of the eighties starlets. Best movie: Aliens. Best scene in best movie: riding down the elevator into the atmosphere processor, sporting a tight t-shirt, that athletic look that says "I know how to break a sweat," and enough firepower to lay waste to a planet. Last movie--some forgettable flick with Bill Pullman in 1994. Surfaced for an interview a few years ago with Esquire magazine in their "Women We Love" feature. Believed to be in hypersleep in a lifeboat in deep space after rigging the engines of her star freighter for overload. The men of my era live in the certain hope she will be found.
May 19, 2005
Letters From Lawyer Camp, Part Seven - Making Mom Proud
Just got done with the big mock trial at the end of Father Justice's legal boot camp. I wound up doing the closing for my team (defending a PO-lice officer in a Fourth Amendment lack of probable cause/excessive force case).
They get a bunch of Fed'ral magistrate judges to come in and do the final trials. After we were done, mine sidled up to me and said, "How long did you work on that closing?"
Here was one of those questions you really don't want to answer until you know where the guy is going with it. I didn't want to say that I'd slaved over it and have him tell me that it blew fetid dingos' kidneys anyway. At the same time, I didn't want to admit I'd knocked it together in a hurry and have him say something like, "Yeah, I could tell....."
So I hoom and hommed and, lamely, came up with, "Oh, well, you know - the usual amount of work."
So the judge said, "That was one of the best closings I've ever heard."
Wow. I don't mean to toot my own horn, but, well, wow. I don't get that kind of praise very often, and especially not for my speaking skills - most people who know me think I'm pretty reserved and tight-lipped. But getting up on your hind legs in court is not unlike performing on stage, something I've always enjoyed. You play a part, a character that isn't your ordinary self. (I find the same thing to be true about blogging and have sometimes mentioned the Stanley Ipkiss/Mask difference between plain ol' Rob and Robbo the Llamabutcher. Those folks who are gonna meet me at Jawapalooza this weekend are probably going to be pretty disappointed.)
Anyhoo, I was extremely pleased at the compliment and was only slightly put off when he went on to tag me about reading my notes from the podium. I restrained myself from pointing out that if he'd written the damn thing an hour before trial, he'd be sight-reading to.
So it's all over now. I'm gonna head back to my room, get in a nap and then see about getting myself packed up. I head out tomorrow morning and will be on the road most of the day. Regular blogging will probably pick back up next week.
Then again, those few of us hanging around tonight are probably gonna blow our per diems in the bar upstairs, so who knows? I might feel inspired before then. Just keep checking back to see.
Either way, Yip! at you later.
In what way could Episode III pretentiously suck even more? How about the West Wing of the Death Star
This is so profane it should cause rioting and random murders throughout the Geek-American community.
UPDATE: The simple profanity of the "Queen Andrewalda" is priceless. Although, to be true to Axis Sully, you'd really need something with a Wookie with loose morals in it.
Here's a good reason to support the Republic
Sheila has beaucoup hilarious entries today on the (un)making of the original Star Wars movie.
And yes, I wonder if that duct tape is for sale on eBay....
What the heck was she smoking?
Wizbang has the mug shot of the runaway bride along with the nooz that she was on the run to find her old flame.
The LLamas, of course, have the exclusive pic of her furtive sekrit beau who was the Penelope of her one woman Thelma & Louise oddysey:
May 18, 2005
WHY BOTHER WITH PBS?
Bill Moyers is ranting of dark conspircies because the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has undertaken efforts to provide balance in its programming by adding talking heads with a conservative perspective. This is the same nut who announced on Election Day that he expected a right wing coup if W. was not re-elected. This underscores why we need to pull unplug the whole public broadcasting system and let it loose in the marketplace. The programs that people watch/listen to will be picked up. The remainder, whose market share is often too small to measure, will go by the wayside. The proliferation of stations on AM and vast array of programming on cable are more than capable of providing the diversity that once justified public broadcasting's existence. Frankly, I would rather spend the federal tax dollars on something a little more pressing, such as munitions. Here is one suggestion.
YIPS from Steve: Once they whacked Rukeyser, I said to hell with the whole stinkin' lot of em. Durn commies.
FLASH IN THE PAN CHICKS OF THE EIGHTIES-REHAB DIVISION
The Guide to Midwestern Culture linked to last night's Flash in the Pan Double Feature. A read of his post had a link on Tatum O'Neal which leaves one to wonder if a photo shoot in Playboy and movies on the estrogen channels cannot be far behind.
EIGHTIES ROCKER BABES
Can you believe it? Pat Benatar, like Cyndi Lauper, is still touring. Although she has not been big since the eighties, she is still out there at the age of 52, still doing her thing, and not looking too much worse for the wear. Married to the same guy for 23 years with two kids to boot. Linda Ronstadt should take notes.
Just in time for sweeps week too!
The DARTH W. Vader P-shop contest
Ruffini is running a Star Wars pshop contest! Here are our entries:
Thanks for that report, Nina Totenberg. In a surprise move today at the White House, President Bush, Senate Majority Leader Frist, and noted neo-con Admiral Ackbar announced their new strategy to deal with recalcitrant Senate Democrats filibustering judicial appointments...
Here's one from the LLamabutcher Classic File, from the Democratic Convention last summer:
WARNING! NANCY PELOSI PICS FOLLOW!
The Daily Ewok
The Jawa Report has the details of the Fonda-banning theater somewhere down South.
That one's gonna leave a mark
I didn't write much about the whole Ward Churchill kerfuffle when it was big in March as it was a serious crunch time at work pulling together the article on Jefferson's influence on the Indian removal policy. But my sense of the story was this: his scholarship was fraudulent not because of Michael Bellesiles-style fakery of sources per se (although it seems now to be the case for parts of his work), but rather that his scholarship was imbued and defined by his claiming the mantle of an oppressed Native American. And he wasn't. It would be as if Catherine MacKinnon was actually a man (although, that would explain a lot, to be perfectly honest).
This story should end the debate once and for all: he's not an Indian, he's not a scholar, he's a performance artist.
And not a very good one at that.
Arab Spring Update
The freedom train rolls into Syria: President for life "lil buddy" Bashar Assad announces free municpal elections, the legalization of political parties, and a free market economy.
Our prediction still stands: he'll be practicing opthamology full-time on the Riviera full time by the end of the summer.
Or be dead. One or the other.
I'm sure from the bowels of his government-funded mad scientist's liar, LBBuddy is spitting Mountain Dew through his nose, trying to blame this somehow on Halliburtonstarbucksbarnesandnoblegeneraldynamics or something.... It's like the scene towards the end of Ten Commandments, where he's Yul Brenner in that cute little skirt, and he's laid the dead body of his ideology across the lap of the cold stone statue of Noam Chomsky....
REd state Vader?
X-Donk has the proof!
D'OH! Ruffini is running a red-state Star Wars contest. Admiral Ackbar, report immediately to PShop Bay Gamma Delta 5!
EXTRA BONUS BREAKFAST LINKAGE! Michelle Malkin has a great roundup of where to get the latest on the impending Kaboom of Doom on Harry Reid and his merry band of obstructionists.
May 17, 2005
FLASH IN THE PAN BABES-PART II
LDH, Colossus, this is for you. The second half of tonight's double feature is Deborah Gibson f/k/a Debbie Gibson. This eighties babe was the Britney Spears of her era. Best song: Lost in Your Eyes. Best attributes: bus-stoppin' body, great voice. Worst attributes--no idea how to gracefully exit from the scene. Most recent indication of career desperation, eight-page skin photo shoot in Playboy to coincide with a new single, Naked that was to launch her comeback. Instead, it was the swan song. Sorry, Debbie. You are past your sell-by date and lack the talent and the class it takes to keep a classic rocker like Cyndi Lauper on the road.
FLASH IN THE PAN BABES OF THE EIGHTIES-PART I
Tonight, we have a double feature of Flashes in the Pan. First up, at the suggestion of Mrs. LMC, the Final Authority on All Matters of Popular Culture here at Fort LMC, we have Patty Smyth as in Patty Smyth and Scandal. Best hits: The Warrior and Sometimes Love Just Ain't Enough. Dropped out of sight for much of the nineties, surfacing to marry John McEnroe post-Tatum. Lots of energy, great voice, and that personality that screams "I'll try anything twice." She is the type of gal you ran into in college that re-defined the term "stunt dating." No question about it, the woman is deadly.
Apparently slavery is alive and well in Amerika
"We are all under the influence -- and it's a very bad influence -- from America," said the 49-year-old Dane. "In my country everything has to do with America. America is kind of sitting on the world.
"America has to do with 60 percent of my brain and all things I experience in my life, and I'm not happy about that," von Trier said. I'd say 60 percent of my life is American so I am in fact an 'American' too. But I can't go there and vote or change anything there. That is why I make films about America."
He goes on to say he'd be perfectly happy watching a movie slamming Denmark: which of course leads to the question of why bother?
"Slamming Denmark," by the way, would be a great comeback vehicle for Ben Affleck and Kevin Smith.
Arrested Development has been renewed for another season!
Which means, I guess, that Fox is clear to start showing reruns this summer. If you haven't watched this show before - start.
Yips! to Lord Floppington, who left the hint in the Tasty Bits (TM) Mail Sack.
Letters From Lawyer Camp - Part (Where are we?) Six
So we're coming up on the big finale here at Father Justice's Legal Camp: The mock trials. Just got out of a settlement meeting (much to our chagrine, we were informed ahead of time that we would not be allowed to settle and therefore leave early) and am getting ready for our pre-trial meeting with the judge.
I am on a team of three, facing off against another team of three. By chance (or is it Fate?) each team is
blessed saddled with its own gunner - ours being an overly-energetic control freak just out of law school. The amusing part is that there is a semi-tacit agreement among the rest of us to just let these two have at it and stay out of the way. We also have no shame in shoving off the, er, scut-work on ours.
Heh. Just like being back in school.
The tipoff should have been
The backpack was sitting in a "Dateline" Pick up truck.
Perhaps the absolutely worst tee-vee show of all time
That's a big distinction we're talking about here.
Geena Davis will "star" (yeah, I realize that's a relative term here) in a show I'm sure was pitched in the following manner: Judging Amy meets the West Wing, Desparate Housewives on Pennsylvania Avenue. Geena Davis as president? That's an insult to fake tee-vee presidents everywhere! Where's CJ Craig when I need her to put a lid on this story?
Geena Davis as president makes the quioxtic campaign of "Matt Santos" on this year's lame West Wing seem downright believable.
Will this stink more than Cutthroat Island, the chick pirate flick that, if there were any justice in the world, would have ended her career once and for all? Can it stink more than "The Court" featuring Sally Field as a perky, veal-fed gosh-darn loveable liberal Supreme Court Justice?
Only time will tell.
This tee-vee show alone has the potential to set back the election of an actual woman to the presidency by years.
Getting jiggy with google
Lot of jiggety-jag in the Tasty Bits (TM) Mail Sack over the new LLama Logo over on the right. I wasn't making a social comment per se, it's just the right hand llama is more in profile, and so the side-bagel hairdo looks exceptionally good on him versus the one with the cig, who is looking straight ahead.
Good thing I didn't change the names to "Obi Wan" and "Princess."
Sheesh. Some people are just pervs.
Righting the wrongs most Amerikans boorishly ignore while flushing their korans
The HMQ takes on the Kraft Corporation over "Cheez Nips."
The Pew study on the impact of Blogs on the 04 elections is in. I have to trot off to a meeting and do some assorted crap, but I'm going to digest and go through this piece in great depth later today.
Also later today: I'm sorting through the suggestions that you came up with last week for the "Pick Steve the LLamabutcher's Summer Reading List" contest. I'll put up the (extensive) list of the semi-finalists and let you the reader(s) cull it down.
May 16, 2005
Whip me, beat me, make me write bad checks
Sheila's talking about the Revolution again, and you know what that means.
Although, the title is rather, how do you say in your language? ah yes, unfortunate, as it brings rather too quickly to mind the image of a dancing, singing, Ken "The White Shadow" Howard.
FINGER ON THE BUTTON
Bill Frist may go nuclear as early as this week. Before he does, I would like to see him force a real filibuster over Janice Rogers Brown. I would like nothing more than to see the former grand kleagle Robert "Sheets" Byrd thunder on for hours about how she is too far out of the mainstream having been re-elected in California with 76 percent of the vote. If Teddy Kennedy is taking requests, I would like the Gasbag in Winter to read aloud from the findings of the coroner's inquest concerning the death of one Mary Jo Kopecne. That would be something to experience.
FLASH IN THE PAN BABES OF THE EIGHTIES-MALL RAT DIVISION
Tonight's stroll down memory lane brings us to perhaps the most forgettable of eighties babes, Tiffany. Best attributes: easy on the eyes, red hair, passable voice. Her biggest hit was "I Think We're Alone Now", a shameless ripoff of an earlier cut by a better artist whose name escapes me. (I could ask Mrs. LMC, the Final Authority on All Matters of Popular Culture here at Fort LMC, but she will remind me of the ever-lengthening "honey-do" list.) Tiffany cut her first record in the mid-eighties but the record company sat on it for months and she wound up performing in shopping malls where she generated enough buzz for her five minutes of fame. Her meteoric rise to No. 1 on the charts was followed by an equally swift crash, complete with an emancipation battle against her mother, way-too early marriage, reproduction, divorce, and the obligatory restraining orders. Last seen working a cell phone stand at the mall where she belongs.
In Vino Veritas
Along with the Maximum Leader, I too, am pleased to see the decision by the Supreme Court today to toss the preposterous state regulations governing the direct interstate sale of wine from vineyards to consumers. IMHO, such laws were nothing more than protectionist piffle.
But I have to confess I'm not that excited. As the WaPo points out, the Supremes' decision means that it will now be easier for, say, a New Yorker to obtain wine produced by Virginia's growing grape industry. But in the end, all that New Yorker gets is, well, Virginia wine.
No offense to the great Commonwealth in which I live, but every wine I've ever had that was produced here basically [Ed. - Insert non-gratuitous, non-inflammatory verb here] sucks. [Ed. - D'oh!]
Damn You, Photo Shop!
So, uh, Steve - you wanna explain why I get the braid-ball hairdo? Huh? Huh?
Letters From Lawyer Camp - Part, Ur, Le Five
Day Seven. And so it goes.
This evening I made the usual call home and did the round of Llama-ette greetings. The five year old said (and I quote more or less):
At school today my teacher read us a story and then after that we got to put our heads down on the table and rest and I rested and had a dream that I was running to you and then that you were hugging me and we were all alone and I was so very happy because I miss you so much.
Pardon me for just a minute while I gash my arms with knives and pound my forehead into the keyboard.
No, it doesn't really feel any better. Which doesn't mean I'm not going to keep doing it. Sigh....three more full days here and then home on Friday.
Why I love Beautiful Atrocities
But no Hillary and Tipper?
D'OH!" That's just cold.
Why I hate Everything Wal-Mart
And this blasphemy? Jordana, I'm reporting you to the hippie-kraut school polezi.
But, my wrath could be allayed with the gift of a light-saber spoon....
An honest mistake by Newsweek in "Koran in the Can Gate"
Hopefully similar rioting will not errupt in Greece over next week's installment on "Dana Plato: Casper's luv slave?"
The Voices in my head are harmonizing in an early Beach Boys version of "Peace Train"
Busy weekend around Rancho Non-Sequitor as little Q had his christening. Mrs. Robbo came down without her brood to stand in as godmother, and in fine Barbara Bush godmother fashion, ordered water balloon hits on the mailboxes of the local Democratic party establishment.
What a gal.
Anyhoo, I've been smacked low with a case of blog-mutes the past couple of days---that periodic feeling of having nothing much to say. Grades are in, the schedule is clear, and it's time to spread the mulch. I'm hoping some good outside work in the garden can clear my otherwise clouded mind.
In the meantime, I leave you with this work of deranged genius from Wuzzadem. Personally, I'd like the Noam Chomsky Clippy(TM) downloaded for my word processor (It looks like you are writing a letter, undoubtedly to support the heirarchal exploitation of indigenous cultures by corporate constructivist ontologies: would you like the standard form?) I also commend to you these posts from X-Donk, if only in his ability to capture the coveted "Diane Lane George Allen Star Trek Vagina" google demographic.
JUST SAY "NO" UPDATE: Kids, let this be a lesson: Crack Kills.
Did we learn nothing as a nation from New Jack City?
CATS AND DOGS, LIVING TOGETHER: INDCent Bill finally getting some serious props for Rathergate from Tom Friedman. I mean, when I used to think of flat earth, I thought of Bill, but now it's official....
WTF? Canada has a......spy agency? Who knew!
May 15, 2005
From the "Dog Ate My Fack-checking" Files
Newsweek is backing off its story that
Gestapo U.S. Intelligence Officers desecrated copies of the Koran -including flushing them down toilets - while interrogating prisoners at Auschwitz Gitmo.
Not before major riots in Afghanistan that killed 15 people, injured many more, destroyed lots of property and inflamed Muslim anti-
Nazism-Americanism, of course.
But, hey - who's keeping score?
Top 100 War Movies
A Tee Vee station is running a contest for the 100 greatest war movies ever made. Here is a list of the nominees.
I dunno who put the nominations together, but after a brief glimpse I'm somewhat dubious about it: any list of deserving war movies that includes Troy but doesn't include Gettysburg, Memphis Belle or The Bridge at Remagen seems pretty, well, uneven.
And where the hell is Stripes?
Yips! to Sheila.
The Enemy Within
Fortnightly Sadie (d'you mind if I call you a Fistfull for the future?) exposes the Internal Workings of the Blogger Mind. Some samples:
3. You will care what other people think: Even if you really don't. Stats will become an important part of your blogging life (also self-esteem), even though you detest math. You'll be glad your web-stalker is gone but regret losing the hits. When stats go down, you will start padding your posts with words like "kirsten dunst" and "nipples."
No Julie Huddy nude pics posting here! Nope, none. Nada.
Every blogger I've ever read has, at some point, written something to the effect that they don't care if they ever get any hits, they just appreciate having a place to express themselves. What. A bunch. Of crap. You lie and you know you lie.
5. You will feel the need to post, even when you have nothing to say. Just in case other people are reading. Guilt will actually settle in. I'm a slave for you.
This is pretty close akin to my old collegiate meeting girls anxiety, actually. Once I worked up the nerve to start talking, I felt I had to keep talking, just to keep their attention, just to buy myself a little more time to come up with something brilliant/meaningful/soulful/funny/sexy. One patch of dead air and they'd wander off and find that really cool guy the other end of the room and I'd be left alone to walk out of the party with yet another giant red "L" stamped on my forehead. (Of course, the fact that idiotic yammering was also punishable by a scarlet-L branding only made the experience that much more bitter.)
7. People irritate you more than usual outside the blogosphere. At least your readers understand. Why talk to those irritating, clueless, inane people in your office, when you can sneak a quick peek at your favorite blogs for clever quips, interesting insight, and comment-based conversations? You expect your friends to be witty and clever, as you are "surrounded" by bright, witty people with bright witty blogs. You simply cannot fathom how the rest of the world survives without this distraction. More than likely, your significant other will find the blogging bemusedly adorable, but he will never really "get it."
My significant other doesn't find the blogging so goddamedly adorable when she notices I've posted something at 6:30 PM from the office when I should already be on my way home to help deal with the kids.
9. You will stop having normal conversations with family and friends: Real life conversations will go like this. "Oh, hey, I saw So-And-So in concert and the weirdest thing happened..." Friend, "Yeah, I know, I read about it on your blog." Silence. Friend, "Did I tell you that I'm..." You, "Blog." Friend, "Yeah."
Telephone conversations with the 'rents have devolved into this sort of thing. Which is actually an advantage, sometimes, because a) I always seem to get a bad connection to their house and b) whenever I pick up the phone, the Llama-ettes take it as a cue to start raising holy hell.
The other thing is that I've noticed people in my immediate circle starting to pepper their conversations with "yips" and "orgles", which is really starting to weird me out a bit.
10. On a slow posting day, your first thought tends to be, "Why aren't you all busy shirking your jobs and entertaining me? I need INTELLECTUAL STIMULATION, or, barring that, something really silly and totally useless to peruse. Seriously. I'm bored to tears here people. For the love of f*cking g*d, POST SOMETHING. NOW."
Um....ahem. I said, AHEM!
Now go read the rest.
May 14, 2005
It's scary because it's true....
From Scrumptious Sadie we get this test:
Your Deadly Sins
|Chance You'll Go to Hell: 14%|
|You will die with your hand down your underwear, watching Stargate.|
Of course, if blogging counts as Sloth, privily I say unto thee I'm screwed.
If This Pasture's Rockin, Don't Come A'Knockin!
It's the Wonder of Nature, Baybee!
What can I say. Where do ya suppose all those Llama-ettes came from? Spain?
Yip! to Paparazzi-Perve Beck.
Some time earlier this afternoon, the ol' traffic meter ticked over the 250K mark.
All I can say is dayum.
Yip! Yip! Yip!
Terry Teachout puts up his review of The Tempest at the Shakespeare Theatre in Dee Cee. Money quote:
On stage, it's a fantastic procession of sights and sounds that will set your head to spinning. Kate Whoriskey, the director, may fancy herself a purveyor of ideas, but in fact she's something infinitely more precious—a natural-born stage magician….
As I mentioned earlier, the Missus and her class went to see this production last week. She said almost exactly the same thing - that the stagecraft was fantastic. She also added, however, that the acting seemed a bit on the flat side, which is too bad. As I also said earlier, my major advisor in college had played Prospero at some point and when he quoted in class, one could almost feel the air beginning to tingle.
Which It's A Post About Patrick O'Brian, Ain't It?
A long but very informative article about Patrick O'Brian by Robert Messenger over at the New Criterion, written in conjunction with a new five-volume bound collection of O'Brian's twenty-one Aubrey/Maturin novels. I particularly like Messenger's comparison of O'Brian to Jane Austen. There is much in what he says. (Super- Seckret Message to Mom: Click over to the article to read some short passages - you may see what I mean on this point.)
While I don't think I've read the series fifteen times, I would estimate that I have read it at least seven or eight times, and some books more than that. Unfortunately, I've always felt that there was a definite arc in terms of style and quality - the last few books (following The Wine-Dark Sea) have always made me rather sad, as they reflect a deepening melancholia within O'Brian himself, a kind of cranky, bitter tiredness that is painful to observe. (Just as an aside, I don't think I've ever quite forgiven PO'B for wiping out certain characters this late in the cycle.) Also, the fact of the matter remains that the last books became rather formulaic, with O'Brian simply slipping in a new enemy for Jack Aubrey to biff and a new exotic locale for Stephen Maturin to explore. (I have not yet read 21, the incomplete last novel, and am still not sure that I want to.)
Nonetheless, I think it would be very foolish not to appreciate the importance of this series to Twentieth Century literature.
Yips! to Sheila.
Letters from Lawyer Camp - Part Trois
I was checking our traffic this morning and see that we have been losing altitude all week. I take that both as a bit of a compliment and as a bit of a burden, because I feel that I am letting all you Orgleheads down somewhat by not serving up fresh helpings of Tasty Bits (TM) on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, Father Justice is keeping me on the hop. I've another week to go - regular yipping will return after that.
They feed us breakfast and lunch here as part of the package, but we have to fend for ourselves for dinner. Because the ol' per diem doesn't go very far and I'd like to make at least one trip without losing money on the deal, I've been dining on bar food and sandwiches upstairs. Last evening, however, in celebration of completing our first week, a bunch of us went down to the Vista to a place called the Liberty Tap Room. I ordered a big ol' prime rib and felt just like Joe Pantoliano's Cypher in The Matrix when I took that first bite. Damn, it was good. You can have all the mainframe codes you want, Agent Smith, just give me that steak.
May 13, 2005
FLASH IN THE PAN ROCKER BABES OF THE EIGHTIES - ONE HIT WONDER DIVISION
The Colossus made mention of Katrina and the Waves in a yip to Wednesday's post on Cyndi Lauper. A little Internet research turned up, well, very little. Usually, when I conduct research for this award-winning series, I can count on hitting a few fan sites that border on stalking. This time, zero. At least she did not resort to any of the usual acts of desperation that many resort to when they feel their fifteen minutes of fame slipping away. Think kind thoughts of Katrina whenever you hear Walking on Sunshine.
May 12, 2005
Letters From Lawyer Camp - Part DEUX
Just checking in with another lunchtime note.
We did direct and cross exam exercises this morning and I'm (cough, cough) happy to say that I got a very good review from an AUSA who most emphatically was not throwing softballs at us. Somehow, despite the fact that I blew off the assignment last evening (after attending a class reception that - I think - was deliberately timed to screw with us) and got up at 4:00 AM this morning to work on it, I sailed right through. Now I have to drag myself through a couple lectures this afternoon. And go to another reception tonight. And get ready at some point to cross examine an expert witness on his opinion tomorrow. And so the cycle repeats itself. Aside from a morning class on Saturday, we're off the rest of the weekend. [Note to the Missus: SHUT YOUR EYES] I plan to spend the entire time in a semi-comatose state. [Okay, now you can open them.]
I have to say again that this litigation business is so infinitely more interesting than the admin work I was doing, I should have got into it years ago.
Yip! at you later.
Tonight at the Smithsonian
I'll be speaking on "Shaded Media? The Strange New World of Electronic "Citizen Media" and the Future of American Politics" for the Smithsonian Associates program. And yes, I'll be using INDCjournal.com as an example of the great potential for blogging's impact on American politics.
And yes, count this right up there with the Red Heifer and the mediocrity of Notre Dame football as signs of the impending Apocalypse...
May 11, 2005
MILITARY ON CAMPUS
Kathy the cake-eater links to a piece in today's Opinion Journal on efforts to bring ROTC back to Columbia University. The current faculty excuse is the military's ban on alternative lifestyles. Law schools underwent similar convulsions in 1991 when the American Association of Law Schools, one of the two accreditation bodies (the other is the American Bar Association) threatened to pull accreditation from any school which permitted employers on-campus who discriminate against gays. The public law schools in Virginia (UVA, William and Mary, and George Mason) were wringing their hands about how they had no choice but to ban JAG recruiters when they were reminded by the legislature at budget time that a Vietnam-era state law guarantees access to military recruiters. The private schools, mainly Richmond and Washington and Lee, fell in line when alumni threatened to cut the schools off. Nothing will focus the attention of any university president like the sound of a checkbook closing.
GREAT EIGHTIES ROCKER CHICKS
This evening we continue our stroll down amnesia lane with Cyndi Lauper. Yes, THAT Cyndi Lauper. One of the more unusual rockers of the mid-eighties who had a string of Top Ten hits, including the LMC favs, True Colors and Time after Time. She has that slightly twisted allure about her that has to be taken only in small doses--any more and she becomes annoying. She is still out there, still touring-love her, hate her, but like Jerry Garcia, she keeps on truckin'. (Yes, I know Jerry's dead but the fact he managed to make it into his fifties, diabetes and all, is a testament to how much abuse the human body can take and still function.)
Mistakes you only need to make once
It's been my experience that you never EVER want to screw with a librarian.
The Revenge of the Sith
X-Donk speculates on the coming offensive on Capitol Hill.
My question: how long are the other Republicans going to let Bill Frist set the agenda? Where's turdblossom when we need him?
The Vikings of Mediocrity
Lunch time crankolicious roundup:
Damn that Cranky Neo Con!
Let's just say Western Civilization comes out the victor.
Sobek Pundit is dancing to the timewarp with Bob Herbert, who is shocked---SHOCKED about the lack of media coverage over Abu Grahib. Seems that the NYT is taking that corporate recycling policy a wee bit too seriously---reuse, re-rant, regurgitate.
Wuzzadem viciously mocks the Kos-sacks latest hero, but defiles the memory of Beavis and Butthead in the process.
Defaming the canon of Western cultural greatness
Precocious Sadie takes on the greatest bad movie of all time, Showgirls, while asking the question, "what is the deal with stripclubs, anyway?" In defense of Showgirls, we visit the Truly Bad Films archive for Chai-Rista's homage to the "Tits and monkeys" genre.
Yeah, and peppering your posts with references to cheesy sleazy stripclubs will have absolutely no effect on your traffic either, Sadie. Feisty weighs in with her sorrid tale of busting her hubby's chops for New Orleans conference strip-club trawling, while Kathy the Cake Eater relates the touching story---sure to be a sachrine episode of the CBS Sunday Night Movie Hallmark Cheez fest starring Treat Williams and Kim Williams---of how her husband came to buy her a lapdance in Des Moines.
Lileks, whatever you do, don't look over your shoulder: Kathy's got you beat, old man.
BTW, anybody see those scary pics of the Olsen Twins divorce from last week? Sound of Steve-O doing the heebie-jeebie shiver shake. NAH-steee.
Now indeed I have lived to see it all
No word on whether they'll do a special version of "Brown Sugar" in honor of Jefferson's extracurricular interests....
Yips! From Robbo The Wonder-Advocate
Just dialing in from my secured location in South Carolina to leave a quick note for all you Orgleheads wondering what the hell happened to me. (Okay, okay, I mean Mom & Dad.) Suffice to say that this civil advocacy course I'm on for Father Justice has turned out to be a whoooole lot more labor-intensive than I had previously suspected. Homework and trial prep and, and, and everything! Classes all day yesterday and then hitting the books from about seven til midnight last night and again this morning at 5:30 - I don't recall studying this hard since law exams all those many years ago.
Anyhoo, we did an opening arguments workshop this morning. It was one of those deals that is videotaped, and afterwards you go off with one of the advisors to get a "critique". I'm sure it will make INDCent Bill smile sarcastically, but I was told that I am a bit too formal in my delivery- that I use dollar words where I ought to use the ten cent variety.
My critiquer also said that my style reminded her a bit of a lecture she had recently seen by Tom Wolfe. I think she meant this as a bit of criticism, but frankly, I rayther took it as a compliment.
I'm on break at the moment owing to our section finishing a bit early. God knows when I'm going to have the time and energy to get back here in the next week and a half. But I'll try.
In the meantime, have fun and be good. By the way - what the hell is going on in the world?
Yip! at you later.
Yip! Yip! Yip!
Of course, Karl Rove and Diebold are to blame
Jim Lampley unintentionally puts the "huffing" in the "Huffington Post."
Easy on the Testors, Jim: leave the fume-induced blogging to the pros here at the LLamabutchers!
In the immortal words of Joey Lawrence
My sense of this is that two things are going to happen: one, the adjunct is able to turn this whole thing into a movie starring Tina Fey; and two, immense ridicule will flow upon the narrow and certainly dandruff-laden shoulders of the feckless administrator who pulled the trigger on this one.
But then again, this is why I enjoy so much teaching at a large engineering school in the Pacific northwest.
SEKRIT MESSAGE TO JAWA: Just submitted my grades---who's the beeyatch now, Rusty?!!?
May 10, 2005
FLASH IN THE PAN BABES OF THE NINETIES
Following up with the Ally McBeal trend from yesterday, we continue with Calista Flockhart, perhaps the best example of the look that was once called "heroin chic", that rail-thin, bony, minimal curves look. Best line or best attributes? I have not the slightest idea. Dropped off the radar scopes after her series on the small screen ended and has not been seen since except with Harrison Ford who dumped the prior Mrs. Ford. Quite frankly, I never got what was supposed to be hot about CF. If anyone has any idea, I would appreciate an assist.
I guess Ben's just firing blanks onscreen.
Could be worse, though...
New in fiction
Chai-Rista has the lead on a new novel out that will probably make the LLamabutcher Summer Reading List.
Old Yeller and the Commie
X-Donk has the details on Mad Howard's latest fun foray.
Michelle Malkin's Secret Shame
Let's just say all you guys out there whose wizards and palladins have cloaks of studliness, it looks like you'll be able to roll those funky dice to victory! Ace, of course, has the details on the new "Hoist the Black Flag" radio show on Right Talk Radio.
Your humble LLamas, while not a member of the "in" crowd over on webradio, will be speaking Thursday night on the subject of "Shaded Media?" as part of the UVA Center for Politics lecture series at the Smithsonian. The event is open to the Smithsonian Associates members only, but should prove to be quite a hoot. I'm going to be speaking in context of my day job, and so therefore will be the "undercover LLamabutcher."
May 09, 2005
FLASH IN THE PAN BABES OF THE NINETIES-LOUNGE SINGER DIVISION
Today, your humble correspondent gives you Vonda Shepard who screeched the opening tunes for Ally McBeal. Plucked from obscurity for the TV show, she headed straight back after the series ended. Unquestionably easy on the eyes for the male of the species, she proved you need more than looks to make it. Seems to be working the East Coast bar scene.
Over the weekend, the news broke that Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, U.S. Army Reserve, was reduced in rank to colonel for her colossal leadership failure that contributed to Abu Graib. The former commander of the 800th MP Brigade blamed Richardo Sanchez, the ground commander in Iraq, saying he did not like her because she was a reservist and a woman, sure signs of desperation, as if General Sanchez would want to make his own job more difficult by preventing her from doing hers. The investigation turned up a few problems for Karpinski such as a charge of shoplifting cometics from an Air Force PX while she was being considered for promotion. This provides the ignoble end to her career it deserves.
Steve the LLamabutcher, Grading Machine
Just finished my senior grades with half an hour to spare. As it is, the Registrar hates my guts for regularly defiling deadlines of all sort, and THAT is a deadline that even I won't mess with.
I'm on a grading binge for the rest of the day as I attempt to plow through the other non-graduating kiddie pile, so blogging will be light. However, I'd like to throw open the floor for nominations for the official summer 2005 "Steve the LLamabutcher Reading List" in which I cast my fortunes upon you, our loyal readers, and let you make my reading life a living heck.
So here are my parameters: I don't do heavy fiction. It's quite embarassing, actually, given that the Missus was an English major and is in three book clubs, and that some of the people I am closest to on campus are actual real novelists. How do you say in polite circles "Hey, I bought your new award winning novel, and read the first three pages, but noticed a distinct absence of either 1.) someone being murdered, and a genre-driven unconventional PI there to solve it while also dispensing cooking advice; B.) Navy SEALS kicking butt; or III.) the distinct absence of any time-travel opportunities." What can I say, I'm a philistine.
But you knew that already.
Anyhoo, I'm putting it in your hands: you guys make the list, Robbo will cull it, and then I'll read em and write about them.
Caveat: I'm open to both fiction and non-fiction. In fiction, I like genre stuff, and will try to read all of an author's stuff if I come across something new that I like. In history, I like the new popular science and nature writing, plus the usual sorts of things you can intuit from what I write about. I don't like polemicals, so ix-nay on the coulter-aye. Also, since I do so much history and American politics for work, I like to stay away from it generally when I'm reading for fun.
Lite Posting Alert
I'm hitting the road in a few minutes for my trip to Columbia, so will be out of it for the rest of the day, probably. Also, I don't know exactly what Internet access is going to be like at the other end, so posting probably will be spotty at best for a bit.
Two quick Weekend Round-Up observations before I clear out: First, after a soccer game and pool party on Saturday and spending all afternoon mowing the lawn and planting begonias yesterday, I can tell you that Gnat Season officially has returned to Northern Virginia.
Second, although I've been critical of it, I'm pleased that The Simpsons still manages to serve up a small helping of its old magic now and again. Last night's send-up of American Idol was moderately amusing, but the best line by far was Homer's: "It's okay, honey. I wrote you a song so shmaltzy it'll make "Moon River" sound like a farting orangutan." I'm still laughing out loud over that one this morning.
Yip! at you later.
May 07, 2005
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Outdoor Division
I was out poking about in the garden this morning. How terrific it would be if we could somehow preserve the perfection of this time of year: The place is all cleaned up of winter's detritus; everything is fresh and green and growing; there is no sign yet of blight or disease; all of the weeds have been yanked for the moment; and the rabbits, slugs and insects haven't started in yet. It's all so pristine, like one's house just before a dinner party.
As much as I look forward to the main blooming season (i.e, the party itself), I also know that it's only a matter of time before I lose control of things. There's simply too much to keep up with and once it gets out of hand, one spends the rest of the summer playing catch-up. Oh well.
By the way, one of my peonies has forty buds on it this year. I can't wait to see what the blooms look like and find out exactly what it is. This plant was a leftover from the previous owner. I found it among the raspberry brakes, dug it up, divided it and moved it to my peony bed. It didn't bloom last year, probably because of all the trauma of the move. But this year I think it's going to pay off the wait with dividends. (The other half of the original also has about thirty buds.) I'll keep you posted.
1. If you were a writer, what kinds of books would you write? - As far as non-fiction goes, I think I'd write histories. Give me a time and a place and I'm interested in it, both in and of itself and also for how it fits into the overall scheme of things. As for fiction, I don't think I could manage much more than light comedy a la P.G. Wodehouse or John Mortimer. My personality is such that I just can't sustain the deeper passions long enough to churn out anything more weighty.
2. Do you expect to ever be famous in your lifetime? If yes, what do you expect to be famous for? - Nope, not me.
3. Say something liberal. Small-l liberal: Be excellent to each other. Large-L Liberal: Civil unions are a humane and equitable idea.
4. Say something conservative. Small-c conservative: Quoting P.J. O'Rourke, politics is the business of gaining status and power without merit. Large-C Conservative: Social Security is a dying system from which I will never see a single dime. Give us private savings accounts any time.
5. What did you dream about last night? I had an insane dream about tagging along with some smart-ass kid who was doing a home-made documentary about corruption inside the World Trade Center. A girlfriends was involved as well.
6. What have you read this week? Include everything: magazines, emails, blogs, books, etc. E-mails and blogs are a given. Also on-line news sources. I read the Wall Street Journal On Dead Tree editorial page and the WaPo front section every day. I also skimmed through the latest issues of Down East, Washingtonian and Town & Country magazines. My current metro reading is Evelyn Waugh's Officers and Gentlemen and my evening book is Winston Churchill's The Gathering Storm.
7. Tell me about your worst date ever. My twenty fifth birthday when I was a second year law student. It was a blind date. There was nothing at all wrong with the girl. But we had absolutely nothing in common, no basis whatsoever from which to even communicate with one another. By the end of dinner, we were pretty much just staring at each other. We went on to a party afterward and, by mutual consent, ditched each other.
The punch line is that I was so browned off by this date that when the same friends who had set it up brought over another girl for me the next night, I was so completely indifferent that I was extremely relaxed and unselfconscious when she arrived. And it's just as well, because when the door opened, in walked the Missus. And the rest, as they say, is history.
8. Name three of your bad habits and three of your good habits.
Bad Habits: I never answer the phone at home. I speed all the time. I don't recycle.
Good Habits: I am very neat and clean. I am punctual to the point of obsessiveness. I read to my children every evening.
9. Tell me something you're very proud of. I have three of the most beautiful and intelligent daughters on the planet. And I am married to a woman deserving of sainthood.
10. Give me a piece of wisdom that I should pass on to Parker Grace (who is now twelve weeks old). Just wait - some day you'll have kids of your own and then you'll understand.
Flash In The Pan '90's Babes - Feeder Edition
This one is for our LMC:
Whatever happened to Minnie Driver?
Her best friends would not call her beautiful in the standard Hollywood glamour sense, but I thought that was the whole point: she had a charm and a character that made her extremely attractive nonetheless. Best film that I can remember: Grosse Point Blank.
Potentially Gratuitous Cranky Musickal Posting (TM)
After having been trapped at a church function earlier this evening, I finally got home and flopped down in front of the teevee. Being in the mood, I popped in what I thought was a bargain bin copy of The Magnificent Seven that the Missus had picked up somewhere. After a minute or two, I realized it was not the original, but some made-for-tee-vee remake. Bag that!
Instead, I popped in our copy of Tombstone. (Sekret Message to LMC: Dana Delany - what happened to her?) If you've seen the movie, you will recall that there is a scene featuring a stage performance in Tombstone, AZ, by a travelling company. They do a Dr. Faustus pantomime to the strains of Camille Saint-Saen's Danse Macabre, one of my favorite pieces from childhood. This struck me as slightly suspicious, so I did a little checking: The gunfight at the OK Corral, around which this film centers, occurred in October, 1881. Danse Macabre was first performed in (I think) Paris, in 1874 and was, admittedly, an instant hit. It is perfectly conceivable that it could have made its way to the frontier in that period, but I am somewhat skeptical.
I simply mention this. If I am being overly paranoid, I do apologize.
May 06, 2005
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Kitten Cannon. Just point and shoot! My top score after a couple minutes playing with it: 577 feet.
Yips! to Jonah.
UPDATE: 899 feet - got some excellent secondary boosts.
UPDATE DEUX: 1246 feet! Yesssss! Those ammo dump strikes really kick that baby along!
UPDATE TROIS: Whoops! Major faux pax on my part - here I was thinking of my own cat, who has taken advantage of the recent demise of our other cat to make a thorough pest of herself in the attention department, and I completely forgot about the sensibilities of our pal the WSK! My apologies!
YIPS from Steve: Re WSK---it's a feature, not a bug!
FURTHER YIPS from Steve:
Read it and weap, LLamaboy!
New! Girl-Girl Blogging!
(Ha ha ha - I simply couldn't resist the Google-bait in that title.)
It just so happens that Anne and Marjorie are the only two bloggers out there (other than the members of our Llama Crew) who I actually know in real life. I always find this slightly disconserting - that people (outside of the 'rents and my innermost circle of friends) should know both the Mask and the Stanley Ipkiss side of me. Of course, I knew them in real life before I knew they had blogs. As I am planning to attend Dr. Rusty's Jawapalooza in a couple weeks, I'm going to get a chance to try it the other way 'round and see if the effect is any different.
Anyhoo, please nip on over and wish them luck!
Yip! Yip! Yip!
Kingdom of Bunkum
Beautifully Atrocious Jeff has a horrifying round-up of commentary regarding the new Crusader movie Kingdom of Heaven.
I call it horrifying for two reasons:
First, the amount of howling historical ignorance and baseless contemporary moral equivalency displayed in these comments is truly appalling.
Second, consider how many people there are out there, especially kids, for whom this movie will be the first, last and only exposure they ever have to the Crusades, and the warped historical perspective they'll take away from it.
Memes To The Rescue!
Thanks to Cake-Eating Kathy for giving me something to run with:
1. What is your favorite word?
Furshlugginer - although I don't use it very often. Once when I did let it fall in public somewhere, I got the warmest look of humorous recognition from a complete stranger.
2. What is your least favorite word?
Hmmmm....their name is Legion. Prestigious is probably the worst of the lot because of the way in which it gets slapped on every imaginable object of faux-sophistication, from jimcrack McMansions to overpriced cars to high-flying hucksters in the worlds of law, business, politics, the media and the arts. Ironically, what most people don't realize is that this word is derived from a French root that carries connotations of deceit.
3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Grace and Sophistication - style, polish and poise. Always has.
4. What turns you off?
Displays of fussiness -pulling off sophistication takes a lot of hard work, but nobody should see you doing it. (This is another way of saying, "Stay out of the damned kitchen while I'm cooking!") Vulgarity - and by this I don't mean using bad language, I mean acting common.
5. What is your favorite curse word?
I virtually never use George Carlin's seven dirty words. On the other hand, I do a good bit of damning and blasting. "God rot your soul," is, alas, too archaic for everyday use. But I still like it.
6. What sound or noise do you love?
(I assume this is aside from music.) Rain on the roof. A lawn mower in the distance on a lazy afternoon. And you'll think this bizarre, but I love the sound of an old VW Beetle engine shifting through its gears.
7. What sound or noise do you hate?
Most bodily functions. Not all. But most.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
9. What profession would you not like to do?
(It's interesting how "profession" has become a synonym for "job".) Two that immediately leap to mind: I would not practice family law for all the tea in China. And I would not go into politics for any reason whatsoever.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"You're early. Go back and wait till I call you."
Hither N' Thither N' Yon
I'm getting ready this morning for my two week junket down in Columbia, SC, courtesy of Father Justice. This means scrambling about to various offices to pick up cellphones, Blackberries, laptops and whatnot, together with sorting out which files I'm going to need to take with me. (I'll be down there for training, but I'm working a couple of cases that can't lie doggo for that long.)
Two nice things about this trip as opposed to some of the others I've taken recently are 1) that I can drive instead of fly and 2) that I'll have Internet access the whole time.
One bad thing about this trip is that I'm racking up huge amounts of debt on my Family Visa Card for ditching the Missus and the Llama-ettes this long. The interest payments alone are gonna kill me.
I'll be taking part in a civil trial advocacy refresher program which, given the years of practice I've spent doing regulatory and contractual work, is just what the Llama ordered. There's a lot of courtroom performance analysis involved - I'll be sure to pass on to you all the funny things the trainers have to say about my histrionics. I'm also going to see if I can work the words "orgle" and "yip" into my performances. After all, isn't Rule One of successful presentation to be yourself?
Gratuitous WWII Movie Posting
I was watching The Longest Day again last night for the umpteenth time and something occurred to me: although this movie can't hold a candle to Saving Private Ryan in terms of the cinematography of war from what you might call the soldier's-eye view, those bird's-eye set pieces hold up quite well. I'm thinking of the strafing runs by the German and American fighters, respectively, and, in particular, of that long, panning shot of the French commandoes attacking the German-held casino. I've always considered this sequence to be a beautiful piece of film-making.
At least she didn't call us nerf-herders!**
Yips! to the Impenetrable One.
* I assume I don't have to hint that this is a movie quote.
May 05, 2005
Storm Troopers Got Your Tongue?
Sorry to cut out on you today, folks. Father Justice's system crashed hard around lunch time, leaving us cut off from the rest of the world.
I'm assuming that this little incident didn't have anything to do with our pal Freakin' Jen's training today.......
Bumper sticker ideas from the Merchants of Hate
The Crack Young Staff at the Hatemongers Quarterly are pondering the issue of how to create the new wave bumper sticker that would become de rigeur on the Volvo wagons at the local Fresh Fields parking lot.
Somewhere in Texas, a Village is Missing Its Idiot
and he keeps wiping the floor with my candidate of choice!
I wish for a world where schools had all the money they need and the Air Force would have to hold a bake sale to buy a new bomber
because that would be one fucking awesome bakesale!
That goes up there with our old LLamabutcher Industries standby:
This SUV runs on pure, clean WHALE OIL
A google hit INDC Bill would love
Someone came to the shop after googling up "safari llama slaughter"
Holy Mexican Ambushes, Batman!
As a special Cinco de Mayo commemoration, our (cough!) friends (cough!) Cranky Gordon, Cake-Eating Kathy and Fortnightly Sadie thought it would be fun to bushwhack us Llamas with a collection of libelous speculation as to our humble origins.
I suppose we should have seen this coming. All those little signs and tell-tale clues - the odd, cryptic comment, the giggling - but we were off our guard. Kathy has been so caught up in her Star Wars Dork-A-Thon that she seemed seriously distracted. Gordo probably staged that whole thing with his son breaking his elbow so he could adopt a lulling, harmless, "Caring Dad" persona. And as for Sadie, well, that whole flirt with Smallholder shtick- which left us feeling abandonded and out in the cold - was all a sham, wasn't it. Wasn't it?
Of course you know this means war.
Yip! Yip! Yip!
UPDATE: Oh, by the way, I hope you kids realize that tagging us with this Mexican connection is going to have Michelle "Mine the Borders" Malkin all over us now. Thanks a lot!
UPDATE DOS: It had to be said:
"But if you miss, you had better miss very well. Whoever double-crosses me and leaves me alive, he understands nothing about Llamas."
YIPS from Esteban:
BLAM BLAM BLAM
When you have to shoot, shoot: don't talk!
Break out the cowbell, Ace!
Budget sur...coughWhat the....? I thought Smirky McChimpitler was going to put us all non-billionaires in the poor house? I though supply-side economics (tax cuts produce more tax revenue through a growing economy) only works when a Democrat is president?
After three years of rising federal budget deficits, a surge of April tax receipts brought unexpected good news to fiscal policymakers -- the tide of government red ink appears to be receding.
The Treasury Department this week reported there would be a $54 billion swing from projected deficit to surplus in the April-to-June quarter, after an unanticipated gush of tax payments poured into the Treasury before the April 15 deadline. That prompted private forecasters to lower their deficit projections for the fiscal year that ends in September.
Budget analysts inside and outside the government said the positive turn is likely to be short-lived. Indeed, after a four-year absence, the Treasury Department announced yesterday it is considering reissuing its 30-year Treasury bond to help finance long-term government debt, jolting the bond markets and pushing down the price of existing 30-year securities.
But in the short term, many forecasters said the budget deficit appears to have crested.
"I think it has turned the corner," said David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor's, the credit rating agency. "My guess is 2004 will have been the worst year."
For that fiscal year, the government recorded a $412 billion deficit, the largest ever in nominal dollar terms, although not as large as some of the deficits of the 1980s when measured against the size of the economy. The 2004 mark was up from 2003's $378 billion deficit, which topped 2002's $158 billion deficit.
The rest of the article has a good analysis of the Treasury Department's move toward reissuing the long bond.
Spanking the LLama?
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)
As the Missus was off indulging herself in Shakespeare last evening, it fell upon Self to retrieve the Llama-ettes from school, where they had been freeloading off of the pre-performance pizza party of the Missus' class, take them home and put them into the bedtime circuit.
As they were plashing about in the bathtub, the five year old suddenly requested that I sing the Oompa-Loompa song. This puzzled me, slightly, as she has always disliked the song. I taxed her with this, to which she simply replied, "Well, I like it now." So I sang. I don't remember many of the verses all that well, but it's remarkable how long one can keep up simply ad-libbing the "oompa, loompa, doompadeedoo" bit.
Anyhoo, this led to a more general discussion of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I always enjoy these conversations because they provide the perfect platform to hammer home lessons about greed and gluttony. (I always put on my Dad-ish, "Well, and look what happened to those naughty little girls and boys" manner when talking about the fate of Charlie's fellow guests.) We ran through the downfalls of the various undeserving children, speculating idly about what happened to Augustus after he came unstuck in the tube and where Mike Teevee had to be taken to be made full-sized again. But as is always the case, the conversation finally settled very firmly on Veruca Salt.
My seven year old has a deep-seated hatred of Veruca. The business about her father turning over his army of factory slaves to hunt for golden tickets particularly infuriates her. I've always thought this was a good thing. If Veruca is the very model of the Spoiled Brat, then surely it's healthy for the Llama-ettes to develop a distain for her. But last evening, I was reminded that even when the ship is sailing on a wind, you still have to navigate carefully.
"Veruca is bad," said the gel, "because she's rich."
Whaaaaa-? Class warfare in the Butcher's House? Not on my watch.
"No, Sweety, there's nothing wrong with being rich," I said as brightly as possible, "Veruca's problem is that she thinks being rich makes her better than anyone else. And her other problem is that she's not grateful for what she has - no matter how many nice things she gets, all she wants is more." I also pointed out that Willy Wonka himself was very rich, but he was also very good.
She thought about that one for a few minutes. The signal that I had successfully sheered off from this egalitarian danger came when she dropped the subject and went on to the topic of Wonka's curious office with all of its cut-in-half-furniture and decorations. But even then, it wasn't smooth sailing yet - she suddenly got on the question of whether Wonka's potty was similarly constructed and speculated about the mess that would be made if he ever tried to use it. For what it's worth, they all thought that was very funny.
The Scylla of Marxist cant or the Charybdis of potty humor? Sometimes there are no easy choices for a parent.
YIPS from Steve: I always had the same thought too, in addition the sink and the fridge as well...
Pages from the AQ Yearbook
May 04, 2005
ANDIE, FOR THE LOVE OF GAWD, WHY?
What ever possessed Andie MacDowell to appear in anything with that wildebeast Rosie O'Donnell? I am beginning to detect a trend among the second-string starlets that women who have any hope of getting movies cannot ever appear to be anti-gay. Sarah Michelle Geller's publicist entertaining the idea of an on-screen lip-lock with Jennifer Beal and SMG comes to mind. If Andie has to appear in a flick with a member of the alternative livestyle set, at least pick one who is a babe, say, Portia de Rossi.
Tradesports on Blair's reelection contract (ie Labour winning)
Meanwhile, here's the contract on the big "OUI" for the EU Referendum in France:
Now This Takes Me Back!
A lot of our younger readers probably won't understand completely, but I love this column by one Betty Cuniberti of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. According to her, this week's episode of the runaway Georgia bride-to-be was All Reagan's Fault!
Between Gilded Age frenzy, celebrity emulation and the seductive $72 billion wedding industry, the pressure to put on a big show is ferocious. The first giant leap in cost came in the Reagan years, from $4,736 in 1980 to $15,208 in 1990 - an increase of more than 300 percent.Ahahahaha! - I knew The Gipper had to be involved in this poor gal's trauma somehow!!
Nostalgic Yips! to Michelle Malkin.
More Nancy n' Ronnie cheescake:
Paula Abdul has her Angela Lansbury moment.
When she slipped the tongue to her son in the original Manchurian Candidate..........sound of Steve-O shuddering....NASTY
Speaking of which, Angela Lansbury was on Law & Order: Special Parking Ticket Police or whatever it's called. Doc from the Love Boat was the judge, and on Sunday the villain was played by Darrell Hammond.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Law & Order machine has officially jumped the shark.
UPDATE: Wuzzadem liveblogs---live blogging at its finest!
SORRY FOR THE TECHNICAL DIFFICULTY
Faithful readers--sorry for the multiple stories on PFC Lynndie England. I was in the guts of the super-secret Llama site, finished the post on the mistrial, and pushed "save." When the edit menu did not save and post it immediately, I pushed the button again, and again . . . I will get the hang of this one of these days if Steve-O and Robbo do not revoke my vistor's pass.
YIPS! from Robbo: Problem fixed with a quick site rebuild. Nothing like the sound of an over-excited LMC watching a serious legal fumble committed in front of a military tribunal.
NOTHING LIKE THE SOUND OF A GUILTY PLEA GOING DOWN THE TUBES
PFC Lynndie England's attempt to plead guilty and avoid a trial on Abu Graib flew apart earlier today during the second day of what was the sentencing phase of her court-martial according to the wire reports. I knew it was not going well on Monday during hearing on the guilty plea when PFC England stated, in so many words, that she did not think what she did was wrong. Such a statement is inconsistent with acceptance of reponsiblity and the requirement that one plead guilty because one is, in fact, guilty. The defense asked for a recess during which the client was no doubt reminded of what she needed to say. She did better after the recess and the plea was accepted. Testimony during the sentencing phase this morning suggested a colorable defense to the charges against her and the judge called a mistrial. I have little doubt there will be no further guilty pleas and PFC England will now face the full measure of military justice. As a federal judge said to me not so long ago when one of my clients flubbed a guilty plea: "Mr. [LMC], the charges against the defendant are serious and he deserves every one of his constitutional rights."
More Geek than thou
This is Star Wars Geek inside pool---everyone else can just pretend this isn't happening.
X-Donk reviews the soundtrack.
John raises some good questions of what were the elements of Episode I & II that betrayed/screwed up the latter movies, and comes up with the Midichlorians, Anakin's virgin birth and Anakin's construction of 3PO.
These are all good, but I'd add my central beef: the material culture is all screwed up. The material culture---the clothes, the decoration of everyday objects, body language etc.---just doesn't match the simplicity and 70s cheesiness of the original movies. The presence of technology and its use is all wrong to, as their society in effect de-advances in how everyday ordinary technology looks and is used.
Capital "H" Capital "E" Capital "H"
The Guardian wonders whether Smirky McChimpitler and his evil Sith Masters at Hallibechtelurton might have been.....right......must stop, choking......all.....the Horror! the Horror!along.
Naturally, Captain Ed is there, holding the bucket and the mop.
it would explain the dramatic weight fluctuations, girlfriend!
Time to Mack the Sandcrawler
Think undercarrige neon, plus the bouncy hydraulics....
In serious danger of turning into the cheescake page at lucianne.com
Much more at the Nancy n' Ronnie page.
Desparately courting the Axis Sully vote?
Or the most brilliant performance since Nancy's "Second Hand Rose" performance in 1982(?).
UPDATE: Why I love the internet---this took about 1 second to find:
Who needs Jeff Gannon?
Geez, he's making Bob Crane look like a Boy Scout leader.
Wait, maybe that's not the best analogy...
"Cats and Dogs...Living Together"
My eyes inexplicably burn as I type this, but I've got to go with INDCent Bill on this whole horse-lover joke thing.
In addition to a whoooooole lot of people seeming to misunderstand the point of the joke (i.e., Dubya was an idiot), it strikes me that this kind of whining over something so trivial simply makes social conservatives look like, well, liberal caricatures of social conservatives:
"Well, what's the horse's name? Is it.....SATAN?!!!"
UPDATE: Well, everyone else probably has seen it already, but I agree with the Instapunk's assessment.
UPDATE DEUX: Of course, I'm only a pretend social conservative myself. Everyone knows that I'm really a hell-raisin' Llama Libertine!
UPDATE TROIS: Bill, I must say that I'm impressed. Heh, indeed.
Today's Required Geek Reading
Jim Geraghty takes down George Lucas. Stop what you're doing and go read this.
YIPS from Steve: Not to mention that he took perhaps the greatest movie villain of all time and turned him into a petulant, pouty, pretty-boy whiner.
I mean, I look at Vader now and all I can hear coming out of the mask is
Caitlin....Chuck wants to kill me...I have no idea why...everyone hates me
Gratuitous Envy Posting (TM)
The Missus is off to see The Shakespeare Theatre's production of The Tempest this evening with her class.
This play has always been a favorite of mine. One of my lit professors in college had played Prospero at some point in his career. His quotations of some of Prospero's speeches were perhaps the single most moving recitations I've ever heard, the magic in them almost tangible.
I frankly admit my envy. At the least, I'll try and do a little vicarious theatre posting based on what the Missus thinks of the production.
Movie Mix N' Match
I have two basic problems with this little exercise. One is that I really don't see that many movies compared to most people. The other is that I'm not exactly sure whether some of my movie choices count as chick flicks or not. Somebody or other (I forget who, now) hosted a debate/discussion about that not too long ago. I'll just say in advance that the line between art movie and chick flick gets a bit blurry sometimes, and if I cross it here and there, I apologize.
Anyway, where were we? Ah yes. Here we go:
List #1: "Guy" movies that I, a guy, do not like:
You can toss whole bins of films into this category. First is the bin of actors whom I particularly dislike: Chuck Norris, Claud Van Damme, Vin Diesal, Steven Segal (except, as Steve-O notes, Executive Decision, which is really a Kurt Russell vehicle) and Sylvester Stallone. I'll also second Steve-O's disdain for the Louis Gossett Jr./Ralph Machio axis. I let Burt Reynolds off on the grounds that he started out as a parody of himself and never changed.
What else? I dislike most cop movies, including (duck and cover!) the Dirty Harry and Death Wish series.
The first two Die Hard movies (although I thoroughly enjoy the third).
Certain Mel Gibson movies:
Mad Max and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (but Road Warrior is a classic)
List #2: "Chick flicks" that I, a guy, like:
Bridget Jones' Diary
Steel Magnolias (actually, I never saw the movie, only a stage version)
Like Water For Chocolate
A Room With A View
The Joy Luck Club
Four Weddings and a Funeral (does this count?)
List #3: Movies that I, as a hardened, cynical, unfeeling, soulless person tend to break down in tears while watching:
-The Wizard of Oz (when Dorothy says goodbye, especially to the Scarecrow)
- Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (Kirk's funeral oration for Spock)
-Independence Day (when the President's wife dies)
-Armageddon (Shut up!)
-The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (the Baron's funeral procession scene)
-Ray (lots of places)
UPDATE: Tee Bee has her picks and asks some legit questions: I didn't really know what to do with Kevin Costner or Tom Cruise, either. In general, I loathe Costner, except that Bull Durham is, of course, the greatest sports movie ever made. And I watch Waterworld and The Postman out of pure horrified fascination.
UPDATE DEUX: Speaking of Cruise, Owlish notes a possible category for combined sports/chick movies like Jerry McGuire : Spork Films.
YIPS from Steve: Our old pal Tee-Bee over at the Mid-west culture blog has got her list up.
YIPS! back from Robbo: We have got to get ourselves a copy editor.
YIPS from Steve: D'Oh!
Did you link Cathy's list with Hope Floats as one of her tear jerkers?
May 03, 2005
Stephen Bainbridge, having cleared his head of the miasmatic fumes of Hero Worship that permeate every inch of the campus of "Mr. Jefferson's University" (known to many as "T.J. State"), has much more realistic (and harsher) feelings towards That Man these days.
Heh. FWIW, those of us picking up our degrees at another pair of Virginians' school down the road spent a good bit of time snickering at young Mr. Bainbridge and his cohorts. (We never indulge in that sort of idolatry. No, sirree! And take your hat off when you speak of the Generals.) Glad to see the Prof. has broken free of the Jeffersonian Spell.
(Note to Steve-O: I dare you to tell everyone about what you did to T.J.'s statue that time. And don't say you simply misjudged the wind.....)
Chick Flicks v. Guy Flicks
Sheila kicks off the great debate of the 21st century.
I don't have time to even begin to do this justice, so more later. But feel free to start the wrasslin, Robbo!
The authentic Redneck Ringcycle: accept no substitutes!
YIPS from Steve:
How about this? I embarassed the crap out of myself when, last month flying back from Oakland, I cried like a (insert stereotype here) during the very end of Finding Neverland. Like. A. (Insert stereotype again). But completely without shame.
Other movies I've cried during:
The first five minutes of Saving Private Ryan
The A&E version of Pride and Prejudice
Field of Dreams
The Bad News Bears
Okay, I'm kidding about the Bears.
Anyhoo, to follow the format of the meme:
Guy movies I don't like:
The collected works of Quentin Tarentino
Anything in the whole Iron Eagle/Karate Kid genre (the dreaded Louis Gossett, Jr./Ralph Macchio axis)
The Rocky series
The collected works of Stephen Segal (with the exception of the flick he gets whacked in by being sucked out of the airplane in the first ten minutes, leaving the field to a tuxedo clad Kurt Russell to kick terrorist butt)
Chick flicks I like:
Driving Miss Daisy
The aforementioned A&E Pride and Prejudice
The Crush (hmm, detecting a theme here)
Shakespeare in Love (hmmm, another theme, better get serious)
When Harry Met Sally
You've Got Mail (yeah, sue me)
and of course
TO QUOTE JOEY LAWRENCE, "Whoa!"
Somehow Robbo's entry got rubbed out---I think because this entry was still in the screen in the older version, so when I updated it I wiped out Robbo's stuff by mistake. My bad.
Still clueless for Mom Day?
And yes, the screen-guard/no hot beverages unless you want them coming out through your nose warning is in effect.
Yes, but does he do Windows?
All I know is that Gordo could kick Dilbert's ass.
Why I hate INDC Journal, volume LXXVIII
THIS just leaves me.......Outraged!
I'm outraged, I tell ya!
Here's an interesting slice of the electorate: the coyote democrats
Julie with a B has an interesting discussion of the Coyote Democrats---basically the Democratic Party's version of the South Park Conservatives.
Is there common cause to be made? I think one of the interesting things to watch going into ohh-eight is how the two parties handle these two critical slices of the electorate.
Here's a little something for my sister, who mentioned casually the other day that she was interested in the subject: Tee Bee has a post up about handing words of bee-keeping wisdom across the generations. Looks like a good place for Sis to start.
"His Arm Has Grown Long."
No sooner do I taunt the minions of the Dark Lord Mickey again than I get notice that I'm probably going to have to head down to Orlando in the near future on behalf of Father Justice.
Frankly, I think it's all a set-up. I have every expectation of being kidnapped by Mickey's Nazgul at the airport, carted off to the Magic Kingdom and being broken before the The Great Ears himself.
Our hands already hurts ussssss.......
(Not actually mine, but close akin. Image courtesy of The Australian.)
Well here's a bit of good news. My baby is all better. It turns out the clutch master cylinder had gone duff and needed to be replaced. What is a clutch master cylinder, you ask? One of these things:
An ugly spud, to be sure. But without it, you can't shift gears, which gets to be rayther a problem.
The even better news is that my warranty covered the repairs.
Barely coming up for air
Today is crunch day: I have to finish all the papers so they can be handed back to the kiddies for the last classes tomorrow, as well as write two final exams. Blecch.
I have a weird sense of foreboding: this is the first spring semester in a number of years that has ended without any............drama. The past couple of years have always featured end of the semester disasters of one type or another involving underachieving yet high maintenance students, parents, and administrators of various stripes. This time last year I was like Mister Clean in Apocalypse Now: "Never leave the boat, man, NEVER LEAVE THE BOAT!" (Was it Pvt Tyrone "Mister Clean" Miller [a very young Laurence Fishburn] who uttered that line? Hive mind, activate!) At the very minimum, it's definitely been like the penultimate scene in We were soldiers once..., when, out of ammo and dawn breaking, Mel Gibson orders them to fix bayonets. (Yeah, right.)
But this year, nothing.
Now, most people would look at that as a sign of "hey, ease on out, man!" But not me. I can smell danger.
Or maybe that's just the three day-old mac-mac stain on my sweatshirt that the 2 year old left with her spoon oh so affectionately on Sunday. She's like Van Gogh, that one: if macaroni and melted cheese were a recognized artistic medium, she'd have her own room in the Musee d'Orsay.
Blogging provides way too much of an incentive for procrastination: I'm going to excercise some discipline and call it a day.
EDITOR'S NOTE: I'm making some plans for decorating the site in advance of the upcoming religious holiday on May 18th, and am taking suggestions. SEKRIT MESSAGE to the anonymous Tasty Bits (TM) Mail Sack interloper who suggested one of our trademark LLamas adorned with Princess Leia's side-bagel hairdo is that you are such a twisted and disturbed person, you need to be both rewarded and encouraged.
So look for our Star Wars LLama Geek logos coming soon!
The procrastination continues: My only response to THIS is huh?
Yips! from Robbo: My only response is to note that whatever it is, Father Justice doesn't want me to see it. Hmph.
UPDATE: A very serious stretch of power grading accomplished. For some reason, a panoply of A minuses and C pluses, with not a lot inbetween or around. Sometimes you get these funny bimodal distribution of grades, basically between the "they got its" and the "haven't a clue"istas. Sigh.
Could be worse: I could be teaching at Roger Williams College in Rhode Island, where the dean apparently subscribes to the Vernon Wormer/Mister Rooney approach to academic leadership.
Speaking of campus politics (and since I'm allegedly a con law scholar) Sobek has a great discussion of the Solomon Amendment/DADT policy/campus military recruitment case the Supremes have taken for next fall's term.
Sorry about the lack of posting this morning. I got jerked out of the dreamless unusually early by the baying of a pack of very cranky Llama-ettes and have not yet recovered my equilibrium. It started out as a dispute at ten till five with the three year old over whether she was in the proper time to be allowed to come snuggle with Mom and Dad and just snowballed until I found myself in a blazing argument with the seven year old over the simple geometric fact that all five of us no longer will fit on one queen-sized mattress.
As a result, my brain seriously hurts. It's all that much more difficult because it happens so rarely.
Back in a while. In the meantime, if anybody would like to adopt one or more pig-headed little girls, feel free to drop me a line.
YIPS from Steve: Holy wayback machine, Batman! I've had that same sleep whiplash and resulting explanation of the physics of bedding three times in the last two weeks.
May 02, 2005
FLASH IN THE PAN BABES OF THE NINETIES
Robbo's suggestion earlier produces today's gold medalist of Flash in the Pan Babes: Anne Heche. Last decent movie: Six Days, Seven Nights with Harrison Ford, followed by a predictable string of flicks no one has ever heard of. Best attributes: tight figure, big blue eyes, and that that slightly twisted alluring quality. Reminds me of the slightly twisted girls in school that your friends warn you about but you dive in anyway. A few months later you wake up to realize your friends were right, she is bad news and that slightly twisted way about her you found so alluring is now so annoying. No question about it, this gal is a drama queen. Bad news for Ellen Degeneres to find out that your "wife"/partner/whatever is a nut with repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse and all of that "Hollywood's Cutest Couple"/Lesbian Chic/Avant Guard was Anne's manifestation of some deep issues and that she really plays for the majority ball club. And likes it.
but oh so hilarious.
Yips! from Robbo: Sheila was an eye-witness as well. In fact, I had toyed with watching (in part because I always thought Andie MacDowell was such a looker), but went with the whole Anne Heche thing instead. In retrospect, I wish I had hung around.
Tales of The Dark Lord Mickey
I assume that CNN isn't making this up. One of several horrible, horrible quotes:
Reiger has found in Disney the happiness he never had in childhood. His parents divorced in Tampa when he was young, and his mother sent him to Pennsylvania to be with his grandmother. The adults in his life had two or three jobs, so the television -- especially the Mouseketeers -- became his baby sitter. He got his first Disney character tattoo -- Mickey Mouse from "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" -- on his first honeymoon in the early 1970s, around the time of Disney World's opening. He has since covered his body in quarter-inch-size tattoos and has gone on five more honeymoons -- each time to Disney World.
"I'm reliving my childhood basically through Disney," he said. "I'm making up for things I didn't do as a kid."
Read the rest. The whole thing is both pathetic and, at the same time, sinister.
One mouse to rule them all,
One mouse to find them,
One mouse to bring them all,
and in the darkness bind them,
In the land of Mickey where the shadows lie.
Emey Memey Mimey Mo
Sadie tasked us with this a while back, but I haven't yet got around to responding. So here goes:
If I could be a chef...I could pass off the large glasses of Chateau Thames Embankment I indulge in during my periodic bouts in the kitchen as professional idiosycracy. And charge people for it.
If I could be an architect...I'd design a real beaut' of an abattoir.
If I could be a proctologist...It wouldn't be much of a stretch, since most people think I'm something of a pain in the ass anyway.
If I could be an innkeeper...I'd make damn sure that if a powerful wizard gave me a letter to pass along, I'd do it. Instanter.
If I could be a bonnie pirate...I'd hunt down Captain Feathersword and hang 'im from the foreyardarm as a disgrace to the profession. Arrrr.....
Homey Don't Go There Dept: If I could be a llama-rider...I can't think of a response to this that would not provoke an infuriated smack upside the head from the Missus, so I'll just let it go.
Okay, for those of you scratching your heads and saying, "Spain?" the key to this little meme is below the fold. I'm not going to tag anybody with it because it's already been around most of the 'sphere, but if you want to jump in, consider this a generic invitation.
Here's how it works. Following there is a list of different occupations. You must select at least five of them. You may add more if you like to your list before you pass it on (after you select five of the items as it was passed to you). Of the five you selected, you are to finish each phrase with what you would do as a member of that profession. Then pass it on to three fine bloggers.
Here's that list:
If I could be a scientist...
If I could be a farmer...
If I could be a musician...
If I could be a doctor...
If I could be a painter...
If I could be a gardener...
If I could be a missionary...
If I could be a chef...
If I could be an architect...
If I could be a linguist...
If I could be a psychologist...
If I could be a librarian...
If I could be an athlete...
If I could be a lawyer...
If I could be an innkeeper...
If I could be a professor...
If I could be a writer...
If I could be a backup dancer...
If I could be a llama-rider...
If I could be a bonnie pirate...
If I could be a midget stripper...
If I could be a proctologist...
My English Major Tuition At Work
Your English Skills:
This about says it all. While I've always been good at most writing-related subjects, spelling has been my nemesis time out of mind. I blame those goddam Norman French and their nancy-boy "Romance" corruption of perfectly good phonetic Latin.
Yips! to Lintenfiniel Freakin' Jen.
YIPS from Steve: This will come as no surprise to my Mom:
Your English Skills:
All I can say is that I'm glad there wasn't a category for penmanship, as my handwriting is illegible.
More Composer Effects
Funnier and funnier.
Monday Afternoon This 'N That
Here it is, mid-afternoon. I'm on my third pot of coffee and my brain is still pretty foggy. I popped some allergy pill this morning to help with my ongoing pollen problems, so perhaps it is affecting me more than I realized.
So, for lack of anything better, I'll give you another helping of randomness:
- I note that The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy has a current approval rating of 62% on the Critics' Tomatometer over at Rotten Tomatoes. This doesn't really mean much to me a) since a good many of them (both pro and con) obviously have never read the books and b) with each passing day I give less of a damn what professional movie reviewers think. I also did an informal poll of my office mates, who gave the movie some lukewarm praise but also a good deal of shoulder shrugging. I'd be interested in hearing what the Blogsphere has to say, so if you've got a comment or a link, I'd appreciate it if you would shoot it over to me.
- The Irish Elk has a nice post up about Mary Gardening. I see a number of my own flowers listed: columbine, lilly-of-the-valley, hollyhock, bleeding heart, peony, etc., as well as a number of my favorites that I hope to plant in the future, foxglove and lupine being prime amongst them. But morning glory? It's a freakin' weed that I have to fight every summer to keep from strangling my raspberries. The language that I typically employ during such skirmishes is not, I'm sure, of a quality appropriate for the Virgin's ears.
- Can I say it now? Please? Please? Okay - Kathy is a dork. MWAHAHAHA!!! (For those of you about to hit the comment button with something about pots and kettles regarding my own THHGTTG ranting in this post, hey - blame it on the drugs.)
- In the matter of Llama-ettes, unless I unexpectedly slip one past the goalie, we are strickly three and out. But I'd be interested to see what Steve-O has to say about this post on how to deal with Number Four. Yips! to Jordana.
- No word yet on what's wrong with my jeep's clutch, but thank Heaven it went duff today, instead of next Monday when I drive down to South Carolina.
- Enoch Soames, Esq., has up a terrific anti-pop culture quiz that leaves me feeling thoroughly worked over. Number 24 is indeed a gimme, but most of the rest are pretty tough.
You Can't Go Home Again
We had rather an odd occurance at the Butcher's House yesterday. Shortly after we got home from church, there was a knock at the door. It turned out to be a woman who had grown up in our house - she was visiting the neighborhood from out of town and wanted to show her husband where she had lived as a child. While we had never met this woman, we did know her parents, the previous owners, slightly from church. We also know several people in the area who grew up with the family. So, of course, the Missus invited this woman to come in.
Well so far, so good. But the woman, on catching a glimpse of the front hall, suddenly turned unfriendly. "Oh, but you've changed everything," she said in what the Missus reported as a cold and surprised voice, "Maybe we'll just look around outside." They only stayed for a minute or two more.
This episode rankles me. I can understand the natural shock of living in a house for nearly twenty years and then coming back to find that it's been changed, but what I can't understand is the surprise and hostility. What in Heaven's name did she expect? It's our house now and naturally we've decorated it in a manner that suits our tastes. And suddenly becoming all huffy in the face of hospitality, especially after having invited oneself in in the first place, is downright rude.
What with one thing and another, I've never been back to any of my childhood homes, or even to the house we sold five years ago out in Reston. If I ever were to go, I would think that the first thing I'd tell myself was to be prepared for the fact of change. The quality of the change - for better or for worse - is a different issue. But even if I detested what somebody else had done to the place, I'd make sure I was well out of view before I had a good rant, cry or snicker about it.
UPDATE: Speaking of house and home, here's a very telling article from this morning's WaPo about the insane market in the Dee Cee area and the dampening effect it is having not just on buyers, but on sellers as well. I know exactly of what this article speaks - we skootched into our house just ahead of the latest pricing spiral, which started about four years ago. If we sold now, we could make a very good profit, but even with that, we certainly couldn't trade up, most probably could not trade sideways and likely would have to move backwards. No, thanks.
Monday Morning This N' That
I don't know how much posting I'm going to manage this morning. In addition to being busy today, I'm still half asleep as well, the cumulative effect, I suppose, of a pretty hectic weekend.
Instead of starting the day with anything substantive, I'll just toss out a few random thoughts.
First, the clutch on my Jeep died yesterday for reasons known only to itself. This involves both a disruption of the morning routine today plus a rather complicated plan to get the thing over to the dealership to fix. While the Blessed Missus is actually doing most of the leg-work re coordinating this, it still drains me as well.
Second, I sat through the Simpsons' vaulted 350th episode last night. Eh. In a vacuum, I'd probably say the show was okay. But given the memories of what it used to be like, it's hard not to harsh on it now. The Fat-Boy Bart episode that followed was a bit better.
Third, it seems a few ears perked up out there on Friday when I started riffing on Firesign Theatre. I'd do more, but the only two albums I know well enough to quote are How Can You Be In Two Places At Once and Eat or Be Eaten, so I have an extremely limited range. I just don't want to get people's hopes up unreasonably.
I believe that's all for now.
UPDATE: Alas, I have sunk even further in the eyes of Kathy the Cake Eater, if that is possible. But Volcano was running on one of the movie channels and I felt obligated to research the issue of whether or not Anne Heche should be a candidate for the LMC's Flash In The Pan Babes of the 90's series or not.
UPDATE DUEX: Dammit, Bill, this is the last time we invite you to the compound! We said No Pictures!
YIPS from Steve: I have only one word for INDCent Bill's pshop: sublime.