July 31, 2005
THE BEST LAID LMC SINGLE PARENT PLANS . . .
Glad to see Robbo is not the only one with single-parent weekend issues. The Mrs. blasted off yesterday morning after I got back from the pool. At first, everything went according to plan--made the obligatory home improvement trip, checked in with KMR, the Crown Prince and Princess LMC went down for their naps on time, and got everyone up and took them on a walk around the neighborhood (earning Sensitive Dad brownie points from the neighbors). The plan went off the rails when we got to the evening Mass. As soon as we sat down, I realized that my six month-old daughter's sun dress was on inside out (Robbo would not have made this mistake since he has seven years of experience with gels as offspring). Princess LMC became more and more fussy over the course of the service, finally prompting my 76-year old mother to lean over and quietly suggest it might be time to make an early exit. We did, and I used the opportunity to put the sundress on right side out and the Crown Prince and I split a cookie at Starbucks. All seemed well as my progeny and I hoofed it over to my mother's house for the customary after-Mass adult beverages. Once there, Mom had a laugh over The Sundress Incident and then compounded the embarassment by asking: "doesn't that outfit have a matching pair of panties?" How should I know? I'm not the mommy! The answer is, of course it does. For the female of the species, wearing a dress without matching panties means your kid is wearing only her diaper under the sundress--not just a fashion faux pas, but a fashion felony. Another indignity visited upon Princess LMC who will no doubt remind me of it when she wants $300 for a prom dress. Think I'm watching the clock, waiting for Mrs. LMC to get home? You better believe it.
July 30, 2005
Lost Weekend Update
With the Missusess Robbo and LMC off on an overnight par-tay, I'd thought of calling the LMC to commiserate on the subject of placing hapless Dads on the firing line. However, not knowing my God-daughter's witching hour(s), I decided to refrain.
In the meantime, so far, so good at Casa del Butchers. We spent some time this afternoon putting new deer netting up around the back of the garden and then later all watched The Incredibles together. I love this movie more and more every time I see it. And while much of it goes rocketing right over the heads of the Llama-ettes, I am sure some of the more basic points stick.
Nonetheless, it has not all been smooth sailing. Memorable Quote of the Day - Self to the three year old: "If you pee in your undies one more time, I'm going to buy a crododile just so I can feed you to it!"
Tomorrow should prove interesting: I've pulled duty as chief usher at church. While I can get rid of the three and five year olds in the playroom downstairs, my seven year old is hell-bent, as it were, on helping me. She seems to get a particular gleam in her eyes when we discuss the Offeratory. Perhaps she has a future as a Mob enforcer.
MOVE BABES OF THE EIGHTIES-DOUBLE FEATURE SECOND HALF
Debra Winger had two back-to-back big chick flicks: Terms of Endearment and An Officer and a Gentleman in the early eighties and has not had a big, or decent, flick since. Gut-check time boys--who saw either movie on the big screen with a date? Who went for the purpose of showing your date that you could suit up in the armor of the Sensitive Male? Who went for the more nefarious reason that the movies were guaranteed to leave your date weepy at the end and thus more receptive to your charms? Be honest.
MOVIE BABES OF THE EIGHTIES-DOUBLE FEATURE
First up: Melanie Griffith Best movie: Working Wench, er, Working Gel, I mean Working Girl. Best attributes, easy smile, nice curves, gal next door quality. Worst move in personal life: getting involved with Don Johnson. Least known good flick: Once an Eagle, an adaptation of the novel about two Army officers: one a selfish, careerist, glory-seeker and the other an up-through-the-ranks soldier's soldier (Melanie played the glory-seeker's daughter). Melanie has done it all: rehab, high-profile marriages, decent movies--one wonders what is next.
Big LLama Yips!
Congrats to Sobek for surviving the bar exam. Go on over to his place for posts ranging from new-law-school-grad-knowitall-punditry on the Roberts nomination to a quiz testing your knowledge of who met what violent death in the Alien movies.
July 29, 2005
80's/90's Icon Babe-age
Lea Thompson, ladies and gentlemen. One can hardly call her "flash-in-the-pan" because she was around for such a long time. Best attribute: Girl Next Door looks just barely covering smoldering passions underneath. First major role: Psycho-Girl in one of the kick-ass Truly Bad Films of all time, Red Dawn. Say it with me, y'all - Wolverines! Best role: the incredibly hot chick trapped in the Eisenhower Era in that paramount of High Reaganism movie making, Back to the Future. The scenes between her and 4 foot 11 inch Michael J. Fox are truly inspired. Take your damn hands off her, Alex P. Keaton! Not enough to break gravitational pull but still fun to watch tee vee series: Caroline in the City , a show which, although I couldn't tell you a single thing about it now, I watched with regular intensity back in the day.
I somehow understood that when Lea started doing car commercials, she was professionally doomed. Nonetheless, she seems to be hanging about in made-for-tee-vee-movie land these days. The LMC often states that Estrogen Channel movies are a flash-in-the-pan staple. Of course, he also says that lesbian experimentation is another such marker, but so far as I know, she has not gone this route.
YIPS from Steve: Mmmmmm, Leah Thompson. But you are forgetting her star making turns in Jaws 3-D as "Kelly Ann Bukowski," not to mention as Tom Cruise's goody-two shoes band geek girlfriend in All the Right Moves. From there, how can you go wrong career-wise appearing in Howard Duck and in Casual Sex, opposite Andrew Dice Clay?
Speaking of which, Gary at XDONK is seriously in arrears for his weekly Diane Lane orgle-a-thon. I mean, its been Saturday for five minutes and it's not up yet, for crying out loud! Have you no shame, man?
SATURDAY YIPS FROM STEVE: Situation rectified!
SO WHAT IF I WAS VOTED "MOST LIKELY TO BE FOUND IN A CLOCKTOWER, RELOADING"?
| You scored as Loner. |
What's Your High School Stereotype?
created with QuizFarm.com
Hat tip to Dr. Rusty, who scored high as a Punk/Rebel.
Ric Flair v. Lil' Kim
This has got to be the weirdest thing I've read all week.
All I can say is too bad he didn't have Andre the Giant along for the ride.
A SHORT HISTORY OF BATMAN
A good friend down the street just cued me to Left of the Dial as well as Here in the Bonny Glen, husband and wife bloggers and real world authors (and neighbors to boot--unfortunately, this is a pretty good description of our neighborhood). Actually, she mentioned them to me about 5 months ago, but hey, I'm a little slow.
But you knew that already.
What will you find? A rich compendium of information about homeschooling, writing, music, kids----basically the type of blog I aspire to but always let the juvenile antics, snarky pop culture, and pshp pranks get in the way of.
The Right Woman For The Times
Steve-O got folks talking about the POTUS-Chick thing earlier today.
It strikes me that everybody is overlooking the obvious candidate:
"Madame President Janeway" has a nice ring about it, doncha think?
N.B. - I was googling around for a pic of her and her obvious chick-twofer Veep choice (Seven). It's amazing what naughty minds some people have......
The Lost Weekend
Our Llama Military Correspondent and I are in the same boat this weekend as our respective Missusees down tools and scuttle off to an undisclosed location to indulge themselves in irresponsible frivolity, leaving us knee-deep in kids.
I don't know how the LMC is going to deal with his brood, but I'm toying with the idea of vodka in the lunchtime Splash Juice.
THIS IS FOR ALL THE MISSILE DEFENSE OPPONENTS
The Good Times is reporting that China is kicking around the idea of a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the USA in the event we go to the mat over Taiwan. It should come as a wake-up call to those living on the West Coast most likely to get the brunt of any strike from China. Then again, probably not.
GI JOE AND THE BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS
Daddy kisses infant child on the bellybutton. Mom takes pictures and drops the roll off at the drug store. Gentle domestic commonplace. Everybody go, "Aaaaww..."
Ha! Not zo fast, Amerikanner Pig! Kissing babies on der stomachs ist Verboten!
Apparently somebody developing the pics got suspicious and showed them to the police. The next thing they know, Daddy is charged with sexually assaulting his son, and Mommy is arrested for taking sexually explicit pictures. It's all for the children, right? Riiiiiight - the baby gets shuttered off to "protective custody" and his half-sister goes to her dad's place. Neither one is allowed to see their mother for quite some time.
Meanwhile, Daddy spends six months in the slammer before an "expert" determines that "there was no criminal intent in the photos".
Super Seekret Note To The Missus: You know all those scrapbooks you've made of the Llama-ettes? Burn 'em.
Yips! to Owlish.
A QUESTION FOR THE AGES
The correct answer is "No."
But I say that, head laying on the table, beaten down by the inevitability of impending middle age.
IF THERE WAS ANY JUSTICE IN THE WORLD
The UN would go and hire Trump to do the whole refurbishing of the UN building at Turtle Bay, and then he would find the clause in the contract that would allow it to become the setting of a reality show headed up by Omorossa.
"BUT...BUT...BUT WHEN WE SAID "YANKEE IMPERIALIST DOGS GO HOME!" WE DIDN'T MEAN, LIKE, THAT YOU'D ACTUALLY LEAVE AND ALL....
The US Army is planning on closing more Amerikan bases in Germany.
Talk about your quagmires, it's been, what, sixty years?
MSM TAKES A LEAK ON THE ETERNAL FLAME
The Jawas on the emerging media strategy to keep Judge Roberts off of the Supreme Court: why, he's a Catholic, and you know what a bunch of sinister potato eating ring-kissing Satan worshipping Papists they all are!
That, plus the fact that he and his wife are raising polite, well-dressed children are reasons enough to keep him off the Court!
I mean, you can't get more out of the mainstream than to be raising polite children, right?!?
Krauthammer today says the same thing I've been saying about the American response to the recent British subway bombings:
The American response to tightening up after London has been reflexive and idiotic: random bag checks in the New York subways. Random meaning that the people stopped are to be chosen numerically. One in every 5 or 10 or 20.
This is an obvious absurdity and everyone knows it. It recapitulates the appalling waste of effort and resources we see at airports every day when, for reasons of political correctness, 83-year-old grandmothers from Poughkeepsie are required to remove their shoes in the search for jihadists hungering for paradise.
The only good thing to be said for this ridiculous policy is that it testifies to the tolerance and good will of Americans, so intent on assuaging the feelings of minority fellow citizens that they are willing to undergo useless indignities and tolerate massive public waste.
Assuaging feelings is a good thing, but hunting for terrorists in this way is simply nuts.
Krauth offers some proposals for making "random" searches more efficient by blocking out various groups. Personally, I think he's dreaming if he's serious about this. Ain't. Gonna. Happen. Until, that is, we get hit again.
In the meantime, I still favor junking the whole business of "random" searches altogether and instead focusing on refining the criteria that would justify "for cause" searches. I have no expertice in this area of the law whatsoever, but from what I understand it could give the police greater flexibility to use their limited resources in a way that might do some good.
IS THERE NO LIMIT TO THE PERFIDY OF KARL ROVE?!?
Der Commissar investigates.
What do you expect from the man who brought us "New Coke" and "Blossom"?
The way I understand this, all he has to do is to run for the presidency for one day.
Maybe we can get the pills from the Canadian black market---or if it's immolation, some gasoline especially flown in from France and poured out with extra taxes and in liters.
JUST SAY "NYET" TO PRESIDENT GEENA DAVIS
We provided the early smackdown back in the spring over news of the impending Geena Davis as the first chick president tee-vee show, kind of a "Judging Geena: The Most Desparate Housewife on Pennsylvania Avenue" thing. My initial sense was that it was a sinister move by ABC to undercut the most obvious plot line for the West Wing---which involves new VP Leo and President Jimmy Smits crashing Air Force One into a mysterious, haunted island in the South Pacific. Alas, they had been transporting the UNC women's lacrosse team as well as the leadership of the Union of Pouty Male Actors Who Don't Know How To Shave Closely. Meanwhile, back in Dee-Cee, "Josh" discovers a little known clause in the Constitution which makes the Chief of Staff become President---allowing us to properly Hail to the Chief to our righteously first woman president:
President C.J. Craig. Accept no substitutes!
Instead, ABC seeks to bypass this noble plot line by inserting the has-been hackette into the Oval Office. I mean, starring in "Cutthroat Island" to me is sufficient a high crime and misdemeanor to warrant impeachment, no? I mean, it was enough to destroy the career of Matthew Modine (allowing him only to briefly crawl back from waiting tables to play CJ's love interest in one oh-so-memorable episode of The Wing.)
Anyhoo, our old pal The Colossus takes a preemptive crack at the President Geena bandwagon, hitting it at the waterline.
WHAT IF WW2 HAD BEEN CHAT ENABLED?
The newly returned and X-tra vengeful Kathy the Cake Eater has the transcript. Do not read while imbibing morning wakey-wakey beverages.
And why the vengeance? Geez---I mean you hack into someone's blog and accidently reveal their sekrit luv liasons with one Orenthal James Simpson and Rosie O'Donnell and suddenly everyone's getting all huffy.
WHY IS THE SMOKING LLAMA GRINNING?
Inquiring minds have always wanted to know.
Sadie--bless her little hear---lets the, um, cat out of the bag.
SOOPER SEKRIT LLAMABUTCHER IRONY MOMENT: Inside joke for LB Buddy and Robbo---somewhat funny given the name of the original LLamabutcher, no?
WHY I LOVE PIXY MISA, PART MCMLXVIII
For some reason, when I read this it came out in the voice of the French knight from Holy Grail.
Who Knew? Mu Nu---Woo Hoo!
The Cockpit? What Is It?
Y'know, I've long held the view that in its utterly perfect send-up of the genre, Airplane! made it absolutely impossible to ever watch any of the old air disaster epics with a straight face again. I mean, yes, they were Truly Bad Films (C) to start with, but now every time I see something of which Airplane! made fun, I'm instantly reminded of it and start to snicker. (This bubbles over. Try watching The Poseidon Adventure without smirking in expectation that Leslie Nielson's Captain Harrison is going to say something like, "Yes, a giant tidal wave is going to overturn this ship. And don't call me 'Shirley'."
With that in mind, I was positively delighted when I caught some of The High and The Mighty last night. It's a rarely-seen John Wayne movie about a commercial flight trying to make it from Honolulu to San Francisco at night, in a rainstorm, with an engine out and skosh fuel.
Why my delight? Because the plane's captain was played by Robert Stack. And damme if I didn't see before my eyes the genesis of Airplane's! Capt. Rex Kramer, the straight character that the later one would lampoon, the Vito Corleone to Jimmy the Tucan, if you will. It was exactly the same feverish manner, the same brooding intensity and sudden outbursts. Every time one of the crew suggested some operation to aid the plane, I kept expecting him to say, "No! That's just what they're expecting!"
Ha, ha, ha. I love it when a satire's anticedents come together.
July 28, 2005
WEDDING CRASHING UPDATE
Jen is posting all the latest details for her wedding planning----just no one let her in on the sooper sekrit plans for the biggest wedding crash of all time!
Here's what I'm going to wear:
I'll be going by the name of "Rodolfo," the paramour of cranky yet naughty old auntie Liz.
(The Macktabulous Pimp Wear courtesy of Botany 500, and Ace).
I FEEL MUCH BETTER, THANK YOU VERY MUCH
Nothing like an online quiz to elevate the old mood, eh?
|Your Hidden Talent|
You put the "MOI" in atomic wedgie.
GREAT NEW BLOG DISCOVERY OF THE DAY
Go say hello to Rose over at No Credentials.
As Martini Boy would say, read and scroll, baby, read and scroll.....
LIVIN' THE DREAM
His advice to guys everywhere: don't get married.
And get cable, for the love of all that is holy!
Now THAT'S a movie vehicle for Dennis Quaid if I've ever seen one....
Dogs and Cats, Living Together!
This week, the Demystifying Divas and the Men's Club take on the whole thorny issue of how pet preferences affect dating relationships. Jump on over to Sadie's to link away.
Personally, I've always looked on cats as the French of the pet world - snide, opportunistic and willing to slash your hamstrings the instant they think they can get away with it. Dogs, on the other hand, truly are Man's Best Friend, honest, loyal and dependable. Alas, the Missus tends to think exactly the opposite. Fortunately, while we were dating this was a moot point, since we were both in school at the time.
Since we got married, however, I've patiently endured 12 years of cat-infestation. But with the kids getting big enough to pitch in, the Day of the Dog is coming soon. Oh, yes.
Why I Love The 'Net - Reason #5506
Insert sound of snickering right about here.
RUN DICK, RUN
Helen Thomas says she will off herself if the vice president runs for president. While this sounds like the celebs who promised to leave the country if W. was re-elected, hope springs eternal. Who wants to chip in for Cheney's FEC filing fee?
A SHORT LOOK BACK AT THE HISTORY OF THE PAST FIVE YEARS
James Taranto's Best of the Web turns five with an excellent retrospective.
WHERE'S BOTTICELLI WHEN YOU NEED HIM?
See, it's the flip flops that make the picture complete. That, and the bucket of chicken obscured by the other person's butt.
MAYBE THERE IS HOPE FOR PEACE ON THIS OUR DISCORDANT ISLAND HOME OF EARTH
Bono and that wanker weasel, the Archbishop of Canterbury, will probably shed a tear of joy over THIS irreconcilable conflict---that has rent asunder the moral fabric of Western civilization---is finally resolved.
Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me!
Happy Birthday, Beatrix Potter
Born this day in 1866. Here's a nifty biographical site.
All I can really say in celebration of this day is: Mr. McGregor was right.
Lock and load!
Monty Python's Travel Guide
I happened to catch an episode of Palin's tee vee travel show just the other night. He was journeying through the Himalayas and down to Bangladesh. Quite impressive.
As it happened, the latter part of this trek cut right across the part of Bangladesh that P.J. O'Rourke had written about in All The Trouble In The World, one of my favorite books. Palin mentioned briefly the Grameen Bank and some of the scut-work that many Bangladeshis are forced to do, but said nothing about jute which, as Peej noted, is a substantial (but uneconomical) part of the Bangladeshi economy. The whole time, I kept saying to the tee vee: "The jute! What about the jute? Where's the jute???"
Note To Self
Self - no more big juicy black cherries for lunch at the office. And thank your lucky stars that it's cool enough today that you can wear your suit jacket outside when you leave.
Al Franken Is Still A Big, Fat Thief
On MAY 24, 2004 the newly formed PIQUANT LLC acquired the principal assets of AIR AMERICA RADIO from the prior ownership entities. PIQUANT has owned and operated AIR AMERICA RADIO since that time. The company that had run AIR AMERICA RADIO till then no longer had anything to do with the network.
PIQUANT had no involvement whatsoever with funds from GLORIA WISE BOYS &GIRLS CLUB. PIQUANT neither received nor expended any of the sums that are the subject of the City's investigation of the CLUB.
PIQUANT is not being investigated by the City, which is investigating a
transaction that took place before PIQUANT existed.
Michelle and others have lots of follow up questions and comments. One thing that occurs to me: you don't just buy an operation like this without doing some serious due diligence, including of contracts and agreements. If, indeed, there was some kind of quid pro quo between AA and the clubs re on-air promotion (which seemed to continue after the date of transfer), that kind of agreement would carry over with the station assets, not disappear into the night with the former owners. I bring this up simply because it appears to cut against the "Evan Cohen? Who's he?" attitude of the PIQUANT release.
Of course, I don't know. I'm just asking.
UPDATE: Kevin at Wizbang has more on the shell-game nature of the transaction.
The California Yankee has all the bases covered on the House's passage of the Central America Free Trade Agreement, touching not just on its economic importance, but its political significance as well.
I haven't followed the proceedings closely enough to debate about the particulars of CAFTA, but in general I am heartily in favor of this kind of free trade legislation. There are those on both the Left and the Right who howl to the high heavens over the perfidious eviiiiils of globalization that this kind of agreement promotes, but I think CY, who has a few qualms himself, nails it on the head:
I sometimes wonder if these free trade agreements are truly in our best interest. My misgivings stem from the negative effects of globalization, such as the continuing loss of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. But we aren't going to stop globalization so it makes sense to manage it through these free trade agreements.
Yup. I don't buy the Fortress America crap economically any more than I do in terms of national security. The economic base shifts whether we like it or not - better to ride the wave than attempt to fight it.
(I should mention that I have a friend, a legislative assistant, who has been pulling her hair out trying to push this bill through. Congrats!)
Message To NASA: Lead, Follow or Get The Hell Out Of The Way.
Yup, NASA needs to junk the shuttle program and move on. Improved TANG and warp drive. I can go for that.
Attention Fellow 'Fins Fans!
Alert reader Mike dropped a note to say that the Miami Herald has started a Dolphins Blog. The site's blogroll contains a number of other 'Fin sites as well.
So what of this A. J. Feeley/Gus Frerotte QB thing? I dunno yet. I've been around here long enough to remember when Frerotte was the Darling of Dee Cee. Feeley, caught up in last year's disasterous season, probably hasn't had the chance to show his stuff completely.
In the end, I think it will probably depend on how each one responds to Saban's coaching. Nobody knows that answer to that yet.
(Continuing Message to Pats Fans: Shut the hell up. )
This Is Way Cool.
Apparently, archeologists have uncovered the remains of an ancient Roman city in China. The city, called Liquian, was founded by the surviving Legionaires of Crassus' ill-fated expedition against the Parthians in 53 BC, who had been detained in a prison camp in what is now Northern Afghanistan and then wandered into Western China.
It seems this place has been known about in China for some time but is only now coming to light in the West. As I say, I hope it's true - simply because I love little historical factoids of this sort.
More Wine Blogging
Naked Mountain, deep in the Blue Ridge, provided some of the best views and the most casual atmosphere. We simply walked up to the counter and the bottles were laid out before us. The riesling was exceptionally crisp, though they are better known for their buttery chardonnays. (Some are aged in oak, others in steel.) Best of all, there is no tasting fee.
He's quite right about the view and atmosphere. This place is tucked way back in the hills, not too far from the Shenendoah River. The afternoon we went, some kind of Spanish band was playing on a little bandstand down in a dell below the main building. We bought some chardonnay and sat out on the hill under a tree to listen. Beautiful scene.
Unfortunately, the wine tasted like alchoholic hummingbird food and I wouldn't dream of drinking it at home. However (enthusiasts, please cover your eyes), sometimes, when you're out having a really pleasant afternoon, the fact that you've got a bad bot with you isn't all that much of a problem.
UPDATE: Oh, I forgot to mention. Matus calls Middleburg "rustic". It isn't anything of the sort and if you stay there, prepare to pay through the nose. The place is a focal point of hunt country toffs and the most famous B&B, The Red Fox Inn, requires some serious bucks. Ditto most of the shops and stores along the main drag. The good news is that there are other B&B's scattered all over the Valley. With a little research, you can find a really nice one not nearly as pricey.
UPDATE DEUX: Oh, what the hell. Two other places I can tell you something about. One is Prince Michel Vineyard south of Culpepper on Rte. 29. This place, the oldest major winery in Virginia, has always been Exhibit A in my diatribe against over-priced, faux-quality Virginny wines. The Vinyard itself in recent years has tried hard to capitalize on its value as a potential tourist center. They've installed over-night accomodations and, from what I've read, now have a first class restaurant. But bring money. You're going to need it.
Then again, if you really want to go into the depts of the Commonwealth, might I suggest Rebec Winery down in Amherst County. My visit there lo these many years ago for, of all things, a Garlic Festival, was my very first experience with Virginia wine. (As I recall, our LMC was along on that visit as well.) I can't remember anything about the wine except that it was pretty awful. But again, that seemed a reasonable price to pay for spending an enjoyable afternoon strolling about in the Piedmont which, IMHO, is some of the prettiest country in the, er, country.
I WOULDN'T BET ON ALLEN
XDONK follows in his role as Marcy to Senator George Allen's Peppermint Patty in the run-up to Allen's run for the White House in Oh-Eight.
The problem is, however, he's got to get reelected in Oh-Six, and Governor Mark Warner--who is also weighing a run for the presidency---is making noises about running against Allen. A Rassmussen poll has Warner out front, but as it's based on a sample of 500 likely voters, it's about as useful as a fortune cookie at this point.
Yips! from Robbo: Speaking of Warner, Stephen Moore has an article up about him in today's OpinionJournal.
July 27, 2005
AND NOW FOR A SPECIAL MOO-KNEW MOMENT
Speaking for Robbo and myself, we've come to truly enjoy blogging here at our Moo-Knew home, aided and abbetted in our criminally seditious libel n' hijinks by the wise defenestrations of the all-seeing and all-knowing poo-bah of Moo Knew Mu Shu Domain of Doom, the Right Reverend Pixy Misa.
The only down side to mu.nu (other than sharing domain space with those pesky Jawas) is that they're proliferating faster than Tribbles on good Shenandoah I-81 Crank: there's something like 50 of them just since May, it seems.
Anyhoo, one nifty new moo-knewer you should become acquainted with is Princess Cat over at A Swift Kick and A Band-Aid. Lots of ribaldry and wry commentary, peppered with a hefty sprinkling of ye olde intellectual arse-kicking.
Needless to say, our kind of site.
UPDATE: Yips! from Robbo. Done and done.
IN THE IMMORTAL WORDS OF MONTGOMERY BURNS, "EXXXXXCELLENT....."
THIS is going to make the pshop construction of our "Margi Lowry" for our Action Figure Babes of the Blogosphere soooooo much easier!
COOL NEW BLOG DESIGNS
Jordana over at Curmudgeonry has a sleek and fresh new look.
I've turned The Dear One(TM) on to Curmudgeonry, so that it's the only blog she reads. And if that's not an endorsement, I don't know what is.....
JUST IN CASE THAT FAT BASTARD WAS BLOVIATING ABOUT PROTECTING SOCIAL SECURITY YESTERDAY
Yesterday should have been Mary Jo's 65th birthday.
FORBIDDEN LOVE, CAKE EATER STYLE
Oh, the dirty little sekrit things you discover when you house sit....
FLASH IN THE PAN TV BABES OF THE EIGHTIES-'NAM DIVISION
Tonight's feature is none other than Dana Delaney, best known for her role as Colleen McMurphy in the critically acclaimed small screen series China Beach. Best attributes: girl-next-door quality. Has not done too much since China Beach, no doubt shaking off the effects of delayed PTSD as shown by occasional appearances in movies featured on the estrogen channels (known to the more erudite as Lifetime and Oxygen). Fortunately, she is not known to exhibit either of the other signs your humble correspondent has identified as the signs of a starlet desperate to revive a sagging career. Think of Dana whenever you hear Diana Ross and The Supremes sing that song of good loving gone bad: "Reflections."
WHEEZING, PANTING, UTTERLY STUPIFIED REJOINDER OF DISBELIEF from Steve: What? The? Heck?
Not done anything since China Beach?
Okay, so it was in perhaps one of the two wurst movies of all time, if only because, well, you have to get past the Rosie O'Donnell bits. But, come on man, have you no respect for Exit to Eden?
I mean, for the love of Darwin, man, four words: Dana Delaney, in leather, with a whip.
Okay, that's seven, but you get my drift.
So enough of this Dana Delaney mealy-mouthing, or you're banned!
LMC FIRES BACK: The loss of A/C at stately LLama Butcher Manor on the hottest day of the year has addled your brain, Steve-O. I said she "has not done too much since China Beach." Appearing with Rosie "Rocky" O'Donnell does not count as anything no matter what she is wearing, particularly for a flick that must have set a record for the time it took to come out on DVD.
Here It Comes.
Not that I'm obsessing, or anything, but here comes the cool front! Looks like I'm going to get caught in the worst of the storms on my way home, but I don't care. It's worth it.
Meanwhile, Lynn S has some great pictures of what we can expect on the other side, only even more so. I almost agree with her that the misery of the heat is worth it because of the extra delight in the contrast when it cools down.
UPDATE: Made it to the Metro just ahead of the storm and in the teeth of a 30 mph headwind that put so much grit under my contacts as to essentially blind me. By the time I got off in Virginia, the storm had mostly passed over already. The power was out at the Butcher's House when I got home and stayed that way until some time around midnight, meaning dinner was a box of saltines, some fruit and a bottle of wine.
Geeks of the world, take heart! Can't get a girl to give you the time of day? Build your own! Says Prof. Ishiguru, the developer of the Repliee Q1 android, and who you will one day worship as a god:
"Repliee Q1 can interact with people. It can respond to people touching it. It's very satisfying, although we obviously have a long way to go yet."
Yeah, I'll bet. My first thought when I saw this photo was that pron, which has long been known as a driving force behind the development of Internet commerce, is now leaking into the realm of robotics. My second thought was that the pensive, brooding look on the doctor's face suggests he's already obsessing over the idea that Repliee is going to throw him over for Data.
Yips! to Jonah.
A Point of Order
Someone got here googling Alexandra Steele weather babe.
Let us clarify this matter. As I have said before, Alexandra Steele is not a weather babe, she's a weather bimbo. And she's getting increasingly Jim Cantori-ish, in my opinion.
(Those of you who watch the Weather Channel know exactly what I'm talking about. As for everybody else - don't worry about it.)
Gratuitous Llama Book Review
A Good, Clean Fight by Derek Robinson.
A good, but not great book, in my humble opinion. In this novel, Derek Robinson tells the story of the war behind the lines in the Libyan Desert in 1942, following the exploits of a daring SAS ground force and a squadron of British-piloted P-40 fighters on the one hand, and their Luftwaffe antagonists on the other.
The story itself it quite fascinating, but I think the novel suffers from a lack of pacing. Too much that should be explored in greater depth -character development, relationships and even some of the battle descriptions - blows past at a furious clip while other, less important matters receive perhaps too much attention. In this, the book reminds me very much more of Robinson's WWI novel Goshawk Squadron, which I also found jerky and rushed, rather than of his subsequent Piece of Cake, in which I think Robinson got the flow just about bang on. As I say, I don't think he's able to repeat it here.
And speaking of Piece of Cake raises another, related issue. That book told the story of Hornet Squadron as it fought the Battles of France and Britain. In this novel, set two years later, Hornet has been transferred to the desert. Several of the characters from the previous novel - Fanny Barton, "Uncle" Kellawy, "Skull" Skelton and "Pip" Patterson reappear here, but there is hardly any continuity. Their characters are, in several cases, radically different from their previous incarnations, yet no explanation is given for this. And speaking of reincarnation, we also see the reappearance of Air Vice Marshall "Baggy" Bletchley. In Piece of Cake, he died in a German strafing attack on an RAF base. Yet here he is again, fit as a fiddle and sound as a dollar, with no explanation forthcoming. GCF is deliberately pitched as a sequel to P of C, yet none of these gaps are filled in. Very annoying, especially if you're a fan of P of C, which I am.
All in all, I'd recommend the book. But not enthusiastically.
RUSTY WAXES POETIC
Of course, since he's visiting fair Troy, a much better version would have gone something like this:
ODE TO A TROJAN URN
THOU still unravish'd bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What dread raptors fear to flap?
Oh, the place at USC,
where in grad school I did crap.
DARWIN BE PRAISED!
The A/C guys are here.
UPDATE: It sounded dangerously like they needed to replace the "flux capacitor." But it could be me being delirious after a three hour unfiltered blogging jag. Tarnation, it's been awhile. Fortunately, though, it sounds like a lot less than replacing the entire heat pump, which I sullenly factored into the family macro budget last night.
UPDATE DEUX: Ahh, it was just the "capacitor," no flux. Total bill (including labor) much less than I was willing to shell out around 5 pm tonight for a window-mounted unit for the master bedroom (the kids had the whole campout already planned).
I'm such a wuss, but you knew that already.
WOULD YOU HAVE GIVEN LLOYD DOBLER A PEN?
The answer, to Lawren is of course no.
HETERO GUY ALERT!: Follow the link only if you can sustain being bombarded with serious John Cusack photons. Mrs. Robbo---click early and often.
WUZZADEM IS A FREAKIN' GENIUS OF THE GENRE
Cases in point:
Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn pretend to be anti-war Lt. Governor funeral crashers. (see, it's a funny twist on the movie as Owen Wilson resorts to funeral crashing at the end of the movie....)
And soon to be on the classic required reading list:
SOMETIMES, TIMING IS JUST EVERYTHING
Kathy the Cake Eater is a long-time friend of the LLamas, and if she's not a daily read of yours, she should be.
But something timing is everything. Today, Kathy is taking a little blogging break for a couple of days to visit friends at the lake.
Today, as mentionned below, I am stuck here in the basement kingdom in a house with no A/C, holding down the proverbial fort until the arrival of the repair guy, scheduled sometime between this morning and Arbor Day.
And I just realized, Kathy left us the keys to casa Cake Eater the last time she went away........
Show of Hands!
If you haven't already, scroll down and read the last couple posts by Steve-O. Excellent stuff. Who here thinks we should lock him in a broiling basement more often?
I CAN'T BELIEVE I MISSED THIS!
One of the pre-positioned questions was whether Cosmo the wunder dog was now, or has ever been, a member of the Federalist Society, stemming from the whole kerfuffle as to whether John Roberts was ever in the Federalist Society.
I'm in the weird and unique position of probably being the only person who has ever been intentionally to a meeting of both the Federalist Society and the Communist Party USA.
The Federalist Society meeting was at the beginning of grad school up at the UVA law school. It was pretty funny, with plenty of liquor and some very good looking women---frat girls with their distinctive blonde pony tails and boots masking their 1500 SATs. I even went to a meeting up in Dee-Cee and had my picture taken with Ken Starr and everything. Why didn't I stick with it? Well, mainly because they were law school folks, and therefore the most part a box of tools, if you get my drift. The big beef I had though was more aethetic: on their ties they had their logo, which was the profile of James Madison. Why for the life of me I could never figure it out----Madison? The author of the Virginia Resolution of 1798? Madison, the intellectual equivalent of Thomas Jefferson's jailhouse bride, who Hamilton traded back to TJ for a carton of Luckies? I mean, for goodness sakes, he wasn't even a Free Mason! What about John Marshall, or Hamilton himself? I never could understand, and obviously I had too many questions.
The CPUSA event was a little different. My roomate in college was in a "Peace Studies" class which was required for his major: he was majoring in history, with a concentration in "European Imperialism in the Third World." His senior thesis of course was entitled "A How To Guide." People didn't realize he was quite serious----that's the fun thing about overly earnest college age liberals. (He now works for a major health care company managing a group of "skinners" and if you know anything about the lingo of the bidness, yes, be appalled.) Anyhoo, on a Tuesday night in my senior year, Tom finds me during dinner and says "hey, butthead, want to go to NYC tonight?" Silly question, Rabbit: Tricks are for Kids! Chucking all work responsibilities aside, I of course sign on. Tom's class was going, and he was driving the van, and I was shotgun. Tom of course waited until we were actually in the City before he let me know where we were going. I fell out of my seat, laughing, and when the humorless instructor sitting two rows back wanted to know what was so funny, Tom turns around and said "I was just telling Steve the joke about the Commissar, the earnest proletarian, and the goat walk into a bar...."
We arrived there, and of course we signed in as "J. Edgar Hoover" (Tom) and "Freidrich Hayek" (Me). There was a cash bar---but of course---and four women from Vassar in the back. The drinks were watered down---I mean, what type of Commie cuts the vodka like that? Talk about the scales falling from your eyes! The Vassar girls? Distinctly preppy-bohemian, black jeans and Peruvian vest types, dark hair, rings, but dad's Gold Card in the purse for sure. One of us--okay, it was me---actually led with something along the lines of "Hey, I've got an etching of the Theses on Feurbach back in the van." The all thought my "Haig for President" button was an ironic commentary on the creeping emergence of neo-fascism in Reagan's police state. I didn't disabuse them of the notion, even though I thought the General would have made a damn fine president. We all left after about five minutes as it was too loud to get acquainted, what with the members of the middle-age and balding communists league cackling as the stock market having just crashed, it being late October 1987 and all. We went to a bar around the corner, where the quite enraged professor finally found us around midnight. A good time was had by all.
Such is the extent of my experience with the extremes of Amerikan politics: Federalist Society, open bar with strong drinks, cute n' perky UVA sorority girls a little too into it; CPUSA, cash bar with watered-down drinks, cute Vassar bohemian girls not really in on the joke.
You make the call.
HAS BIN LADEN BEEN WATCHING TOO MUCH LATE NIGHT RERUNS ON THE USA NETWORK?
I mean, I can see how his hatred of Amerika stems from too many marathon watchings of Wings, if only to see how "The Man" crushes the superior acting talents of Tony Shaloob, but I think this harebrained plot can only but stem from one to many viewings of Tango and Cash.
Amerikan foreign policy brimming again from the bottomless fount of....Kurt Russell movies.
DEBATING THE WURST OF KEVIN COSTNER
When thinking of movie actors who really know how to stink up the joint, usually you don't have to go much farther than Kevin Costner. I mean, his touchy-feelie Robin Hood made Errol Flynn's seem downright, um, heterosexual. His two JFK movies were downright weird, if not outright funny in ways that perhaps the director didn't mean them to be: at the very minimum, they were useful refutations of the theories of social historians that any person is "great" in their influence on history. Let's face it, no one except their linear descendants gives a rat's patoot about the peripheral antics of Jim Garrison or Kenny O'Donnell. It's the Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern are Dead! approach to real history, but without Stoppard's inside joke that his protagonists aren't important to the story. I mean, who would read the history of Hogwarts as told though the eyes of the Creevey Brothers?
The problem with Costner is he made five bona-fide outstanding movies in a 2 1/2 year period: The Untouchables, No Way Out, Bull Durham, and Field of Dreams, finishing with Dances with Wolves.
The Untouchables is in the guy hall of fame, but not because of Costner. It's Sean Connery's show, with the over-the-top support of Robert De Niro. Quick: rattle off one of Costner's lines from the movie. Can't do it, right? Now think Connery: about a dozen come to mind, starting with "Just like a Dego to bring a knife to a gun fight" right through the whole "It's the Chicago way!" soliloquy. De Niro? "You know what I love about baseball? It's a team sport!" But Costner? He was the straight man.
No Way Out was simply excellent at so manly levels. It's one of those movies which is funny to watch now to realize how much the world has changed: not just the absence of the Soviet threat, but simply how different technology is now. I mean, the supercomputer doing the color enhancement of the clouded Polaroid, which takes the Cray about a day and provides the dramatic tension, as you know that it's Costner's face in the picture? Photoshop could do that in what, ten minutes tops? Still, what this single movie did for the dee-cee limo business is enough to put it in the Hall of Fame.
Bull Durham and Field of Dreams we've often written about. Bull Durham is great for too many reasons to list, if only for it's embracing the concept of coming very close to your dream but just not making it, and what you do then. I've had to laugh at the movie in a different way now, however. One thing I've noticed as a weird side effect of reading blogs often is that my vision of individual bloggers---what I think they sound and look like---is starting to pop up into my head when I read books. Usually it's someone I know that forms the image (for example, when I was reading the Harry Potter and Hillary Clinton Corrupt the Children of the World and Take their Lunch Money for Satan Worship book over the weekend, I kept imagining the scenes of the younger Lord Voldermort as being one of my neighbors, while the Peter Pettigrew character was being played by INDC Bill. Creepy.) Anyhoo, with Bull Durham now, I see the Annie character and of course I think of Sheila O'Malley.
Now the problem with Dances with Wolves is that is shouldn't have worked. Just too much of the durn thing screams out "this shouldn't work! This is a buffalo chip laced with treacle tart!" I don't know why it works---I think it has nothing to do with Costner as an actor, but how the Sioux were portrayed, specifically having the actors speak in Sioux with subtitles. That, and the scene where the old man unwraps the buffalo hide to show the old, battered Spanish helmet. That was a pretty cool touch.
But since then----stinkola, with the exception of Tin Cup, where he revereted to jock romantic comedy, this time with his Crash Davis character from Bull Durham as a washed-up never was golfer in love with a loopy sports psychologist played by Rene Russo. Speaking of which, I saw a giant cutout movie display last night for a remake of the 1968 Henry Fonda/Lucille Ball comedy "Yours, Mine, and Ours" starring Dennis Quaid as a Coast Guard admiral and Renee Russo, who together from previous marriages have 18 kids.
I'm sorry, but Renee's must have been adopted.
And you'd think that the pitch wouldn't get past "Okay, Dennis Quaid is this Coast Guard Admiral, see, and...."
"I'm sorry, that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. NEXT!"
Yours, Mine, and Ours is a cultural icon in two important ways: it's the movie that launched the premise for "The Brady Bunch," and it helped launch the career of Tim Matheson, the child actor who would one day rise to be pledge chairman of Delta House and Vice-President of the United States under a very ungrateful and grumpy (not to mention priggish and unhip) Jed Bartlett. Mess with Icon and die, bubby!
Now you know my take on this: Kurt Russell could have pulled both of these movies off, and made their stench be truly epic unintentional comedies. As it is, Costner kills both of them, rendering them nigh on unwatchable.
But which is worse, and why?
TATER TOT TIME AT RANCHO NON SEQUITUR
This week is by far the hottest of the summer, so of course the A/C went out yesterday morning.
I'm holed up in the basement kingdom right now waiting for the A/C repair guys to call about whether they're coming today or not. The Dear One(TM) and the four clowns are packed away for a day's activities inside: they're off to the newly opened Target for back-to-school shopping, then to the mall for some clothes shopping, then to swim practice this afternoon.
Needless to say, I'm having one of my "Pa Envy" moments, where its painfully aware how deficient in the daily survival skill set I am from "Pa" in the Little House on the Prairie series. Pa would know how to build a whole new heat pump from scratch, using his trusty axe, some bailing wire and maybe some linens from the the Olson's Christmas party. Me? I've got nothing.
Spririts are relatively high, though: The Dear One has decided to turn the narration of the day into that of a really bad reality tee-vee show, called "Hot House." (Motto: Their love was hot, but the house, zee eess hotter.) Which has kind of turned surreal, not to mention thoroughly confusing the heck out of the kids. At least she's not walking around with the video camera while she's doing it.
Sekrit message to INDCent Bill: and no, this doesn't mean that one of our favorite games is The Dear One pretending she's Jeff Probst, and I'm a naughty survivor who will do anything to keep from being voted off the island. Pervert.
Anyhoo, so as I said, I'm holed up in the basement, where the home office is located. It's stuffy, but relatively cool for now. How to describe the basement kingdom? The office is pretty large---it's directly underneath the family room, so it's not cramped. I have two large desks forming a right angle in the back corner---one of which is a door on two filing cabinets, the other a large wooden table. The door desk has been with me since early on in grad school, and has become sort of a good look talisman. The table is stacked pretty high with books, notecards, and files. The books at the front are predominantly on stuff dealing with the first Barbary War, as I'm writing an article on Thomas Jefferson's policy dealing with American Indian tribes, comparing it with his foreign policy decisions to deal with the Barbary pirate states. I came across the connection quite by accident, but there is a strong conceptual linkage between the two in his mind---the key to understanding Jefferson's Indian policy is to see it as part of his foreign policy, in particular his foreign policy dealing with "lesser" sovereigns. I came across a number of letters where he discusses both problems, and uses similar language to describe addressing them. At some point, I'll do a longer post and give a more in-depth explanation.
One whole wall is bookcases. I don't have as many books as Robbo does in his home library, but it probably evens out when I get to factor in my office at school. At home I keep the core of my American history/political development stuff, as well as most of my political theory and economic history books. At school its pretty much all the American politics as well as law & society texts. On top of the bookshelves I keep my junk----school mugs, autographed baseballs (I've got a nice Luis Tiant/Carlton Fisk one that I wouldn't part with under any circumstances), and a picture of my Dad and I standing in our driveway the day I left for grad school. While I've been back quite often over the past sixteen years, I didn't have any clue that it would be moving away from Connecticut for good. Such is life. Other junk is up there: lead soldiers from London, some framed and signed stuff, a clay head sculpture I did in seventh grade, my Eagle Scout certificate, and most prized possession of all: a student journalism award from my local noozpaper from when I was the high school newspaper editor. You know, I'm sure you've always sensed that about the LLamabutchers: we are award winning journalists, after all!
The last bizarre thing about the office are the maps: I collect old maps, mostly of the United States. Most are not originals but copies: my favorite of the copies is one I got in New Orleans a couple of years ago, which is a copy of a French map from 1825 showing the United States. There's another one that I got from the Monticello store showing the US in 1818, as well as some later western ones. I love old maps, particularly in the ways that they are "wrong" or incorrect, as the errors are windows into the limits of their understanding---kind of the opposite of Rummy's "unkown unknowns," the things you think you know but you don't.
Anyhoo, I'm going to try to get a modicum of work done, although the wall clock has the temp at 92 and the humidity well into the humid zone. Waaaah.
Bring Out Your Dead!
Sweet Jaysus - John Donovan's trying to get Eric Idle to bash the Nats over their collective head so he can toss them on the dead-cart.
C'mon, guy! Yes, we've been skidding since the break. Yes, we're a game behind the Braves now. Yes, statistically we ought to be in a screaming power dive toward the cellar. And maybe we're about to go into one. But we feel happy! At least let us go for a walk first!
Al Franken Is A Big, Fat Thief.
Michelle Malkin is all over a story about Air America, the "My God, are these people still on the air?" lib radio network, apparently being investigated for helping itself to funding in New Yawk City meant for inner-city kids and the elderly.
Here I was thinking it was only us Scrooge McDuck conservatives who specialized in kicking Alzheimer-riddled grandmas down the front steps and slapping the spoonful of gruel away from little Johnny's mouth, but apparently I was wrong. Of course, I suppose in the end AA felt it was necessary to grab the cash "for the children".
[Insert sound of snickering here.]
July 26, 2005
MOVIE BABES OF THE NINETIES
Colossus: this one is for you. Tonight's feature is Jeanne Tripplehorn .Breakthrough flick: Basic Instinct where she played a police shrink. Best line in a movie: "My husband will be home any minute" in The Firm. Best attributes: nice curves, dark eyes, big lips. Unfortunately, she will probably be best remembered as the babe in that global warming epic, Waterworld. (I have to confess, I actually liked the movie although practically no one else did.) Last film of note: Word of Honor, a lame adaptation of the novel of the same name.
The Man Post*
I've been hovering about my real-life pal Marjorie's joint-blog Chocolate and Peanut Butter lately, but have neglected to keep up with her other blog The Unclimber. Thus, I just now came across this excellent set of Man Rules. Ladies, pay attention. There will be an exam:
(Please note...these are all numbered "1"ON PURPOSE!)
1. Learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.
1. Sunday sports. It's like the full moon or the changing of the tides. Let it be.
1. Shopping is NOT a sport. And no, we are never going to think of it that way.
1. Crying is blackmail.
1. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one: Subtle hints do not work!Strong hints do not work! Obvious hints do not work! Just say it!
1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.
1. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.
1. A headache that lasts for 17 months is a problem. See a doctor.
1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after 7 days.
1. If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us.
1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.
1. You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done. Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.
1. Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials.
1. Christopher Columbus did not need directions and neither do we.
1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.
1. If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that.
1. If we ask what is wrong and you say "nothing," we will act like nothing's wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.
1. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, expect an answer you don't want to hear.
1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine...Really.
1. You have enough clothes.
1. You have too many shoes.
1. I am in shape. Round is a shape.
1. Thank you for reading this. Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight; but did you know men really don't mind that? It's like camping.
(*Sorry, no girls on trampolines. Ometimes-Say e-thay issus-May eads-ray is-thay og-blay.)
SPECIAL INDCENT BILL UPDATE:
"Bite me, William."
I actually took a BASIC course in high school, back in the first heady days of the Tandy TRS-80 when it was thought that if you didn't learn computer programming you might as well just give it up and prepare yourself to say, "Want fries with that?" for the rest of your natural existence. See how much that helped.
Yips! to Owlish.
RUSTY'S LITTLE MINIONS GET RESULTS
The Sandcrawler wreaks havoc upon the pillars of British journalism.
BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, PATRIOTISM IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF DISSENT
Here's a nice flag-burning-as-my-Darwin-given-right twist: noble leftist protester gathers up flags flying on lawn of recently KIA Marine, piles them on car in the driveway, and sets the flags (and the car) on fire.
Such a noble act of bravery, truly what the authors of the Declaration had in mind when pledging their lives and sacred honor, is I'm sure what he'll be thinking when he's swallowing his teeth.
If you haven't already seen it, be sure to check out the Maximum Leader's new design over at Naked Villainy. Well done, your Supremacy!
Le Gasp, Le Pant, Le Heave!
The afternoon forecast for Dee Cee:
Hazy...hot and humid. A slight chance of a late day thunderstorm. Highs near 100. Southwest winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation 20 percent. Heat index values 105 to 110.
Goddammit, this is why I was so happy to leave San Antonio all those years ago!
The difference is that in San Antonio, one first sees this forecast in April and it's more or less constant through November. Here's Dee Cee's Thursday forecast:
Mostly cloudy and cooler with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the lower 80s. North winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30 percent.
Hmph. It better be. Or I'm getting my money back.
Shay at Booker Rising has an interesting post about the GOP and conservative to moderate blacks, whom he dubs as potential "Cosby Republicans". I'm particularly intrigued by his notion of how the influx of such voters would shake up the current definition of moderate Republicanism as one of social liberalism and fiscal conservatism.
All in all, I still think it'll be an uphill challenge for the GOP to bring in large numbers of such voters. At the same time, I'm increasingly of the belief that the GOP is ready to go for it.
Yips! to, er, Shay, posting over at Dean's place.
Yes, I'm glad Discovery got off the pad safely this morning. But at the risk of being pelted with rocks and garbage, I really question whether it was worth it. Almost everything I've ever read about the shuttle program suggests that it is obsolete to the point of near uselessness and, by the pricking of my llama ears, I sense that this mission has more to do with politics and NASA's place at the federal trough than anything else.
My goodness, ain't I being cynical this morning? Must be the heat.
For all that, though, Godspeed to the crew.
UPDATE: Now that's what I'm talking about:
The House Friday overwhelmingly endorsed President Bush's vision to send man back to the moon and eventually on to Mars as it passed a bill to set NASA policy for the next two years.
Among other things, the bill speaks to retiring the shuttle fleet and developing new manned exploration vehicles. However, that's not for another few years. In the meantime, the Discovery launch reminds me of an old joke our rector once told:
It seems the Pope was sitting in his office one morning in the Vatican when an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared before him. To his astonishment, the angel announced that Jesus was going to appear in the middle of St. Peter's on the following Friday at noon. The Pope quickly summoned the College of Cardinals and relayed to them the good news. The Cardinals looked about them in some consternation and then asked, "What should we do when he arrives?"
The Pope responded, "Look busy."
YOUR WILLIAM H. MACY QUOTE OF THE DAY
You know, for my money, a day isn't complete without at least one "buck naked" story, in which the husband of Felicity Huffman, diva star of Desperate Housewives and Sports Night, uses the words "buck naked" on three separate occasions. Not, mind you, Felicity Huffman buck naked, but still funny nonetheless.
ALL THE HATE THAT FITS, PRINT
The Crack Young Staff at the Hatemongers Quarterly have dispatched intern "Chip" to take on the ACLU's answer to AQ terror attacks in London leading to ratcheted up security on the NYC subway:
Now, let us overlook the fact that the ACLU, as we mentioned above, did not appear to be particularly concerned about the Boy Scouts’ freedom of assembly; its members blithely dropped their regard for “the great traditions of American liberty” in order to put those fearsome Cub Scouts in their place.
If the members of Hamas simply wore Brownie uniforms, perhaps the ACLU would defend America against them.
The image of Osama in a girl scout uniform just caused me to spray orange juice out of my nose. I just thought I'd share that with everyone.
Because you can't spell "AWFUL" without "AFL"
One of my favorite opening lines for a joke is "So, Jimmy Hoffa, Elvis, and Salman Rushdie walk into a bar...."
I've always liked to think of Jimmy Hoffa hanging out in witness protection, sitting poolside somewhere outside of Butte, Montana.
But I wouldn't want to be hanging out with old Jimmy as of late, what with the Teamsters getting ready to split apart the AFL-CIO. X-DONK has the details.
I'm up to an 18:1 ratio in my email box of spam to legitmate emails; of the legitimate emails, only 1 in 5 is worth reading or needs an actual reply.
ASK AND YE SHALL RECEIVE: Well, to paraphrase the old joke, it's a start.
Fighting For The Helm
I noted this L.A. Times article over at Drudge about Hillary and the effort of the Democratic Leadership Council to reestablish its power in the Democratic Party. I think ol' Hill is well aware of the fact that the S.S. Donk, under the command of Capt. Dean, is in danger of going on the rocks and breaking up unless the DLC can get control of the bridge. Even if she can manage this, however, she still faces the serious possibility of mutiny by the crew. It is not a happy ship.
All fooling aside, I wish the DLC success. It's important for the country, I think, to have two healthy, viable political parties offering reasonable alternative foreign and domestic policy ideas. As long as the Donks are consumed with simply getting ChimpyMcSmirkHalliburonHitlerShrubya, this isn't going to happen.
UPDATE: Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, there appears to be a bit of Mitt Mania today, as Romney has kyboshed a Massachusetts contraception bill and, if you believe K-Lo's ecstatic take, has effectively announced his run for '08. I have to say that, although I've heard about him at a distance for some time now, I just don't know enough yet to say what I would think of a presidential run.
Aha-ha, ha! My very Insta-lanche! What a nice way to start a Tuesday.
YIPS from Steve: Suuuuuh-WEEET!
July 25, 2005
FLASH IN THE PAN BABES OF THE EIGHTIES
Tonight's venture into popular culture: Meg Tilley. Breakthrough movie: The Big Chill in 1983 where she played Chloe, the suicide victim's very young shackup. Best attributes: dark hair, dark eyes, incredible flexibility as shown by her ability to put her knee behind her head. Last critically acclaimed movie: The Big Chill. Dropped off the radar scopes and has not seen in fifteen years. If she stayed as limber as she did in the movie, she would not have lacked for dates.
I think might have been Karl Marx his own self (who, by the way, recently topped a Beeb poll as greatest philospher in the World) who once said something about great events and people appearing twice in the course of history: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.
Anyhoo, while I would certainly not go so far as to call her "great" ("notorious" being closer to the mark), that was my reaction to the story that Hanoi Jane has come out of retirement, so to speak, and plans a cross-country anti-Iraqi war bus tour.
UPDATE: Forget Baghdad Jane. I give you, instead Baghdad Bushra, as in Sgt. Bushra Jabar of the Iraqi Army. Publius Pundit has got the story and pics - serious gun-toting babe-age, if I may say so. The terrorists are doomed.
This week's RINO Roundup is up over at Countertop Chronicles. Go on over and graze.
Return of the Prodigal 'Fin
"There were things about life that I wanted to explore outside of football, and I had never had the chance," he said. "I realize by making that decision, I affected the team in a negative way and upset a lot of fans. I'm very regretful that people were hurt in the process of me doing that. I do realize that to a lot of people it comes off as being very selfish. So I do offer an apology to all the people who were negatively impacted."
Gee, ya think?
I continue to believe the Ricky Return is going to lead to (another) hideous embarrassment of some sort. I'm going to keep believing that for at least this season, and probably several more after it.
I sure as hell hope Nick Saban knows what he's doing. And at the least sign of another flake attack, I hope he chops Williams into bait and tosses him into the Florida Straits.
Not that I'm bitter or anything.
UPDATE: Oh, and message to all you Pats fans out there: Shut the hell up.
How To Bring Down The Wrath Of The Klingon Fleet
Soon-To-Be-Deleted Lemuel passes on a fun idea.
Happy Birthday, Thomas Eakins
John Biglin In A Single
Today is the birthday of Thomas Eakins, the great 19th Century American painting heavyweight, born this day in 1844 in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Museum has an on-line exhibit covering the breadth of Eakins' portraiture, sports painting, studies of the body and so-on.
Most people who take up crew - especially those who find themselves rowing on the Schuylkyll, sooner or later learn about Eakins' interest in the sport and many of us had the obligatory prints stuck up on our college dorm room walls. The fact of the matter is that the man had a much broader range of subjects and interests than this, but it is what I always remember him for. Indeed, when looking at one of Eakins' rowing paintings, I usually find that my hands and knees start aching spontaniously.
The Frontier of Life And Art
Friday afternoon as I was mowing the back yard, I suddenly noticed that the deer had found a way through the netting stretched out behind the border of oak-leaf hydrangia by the back fence and had stripped a number of the bushes.
Friday evening, the Missus and I watched The Princess Bride, she having discovered a DVD of it in a bargain bin somewhere.
Friday night I had a dream that I was looking out at the hydrangias from the back porch. The herd was there again. However, as I looked more closely, I realized that they were not deer but, instead, Rodents of Unusual Size.
I think this pretty much sums up what I think of those white-tailed bastards. I wonder what it would cost to install my own home-made firejets in the woods out back.
Llama Marketing Research
Over the weekend, the Missus informed me that she had somewhere or other discovered the existence of Cafe Press and that she thought it would be an excellent vehicle by which we Llamas could market t-shirts, coffee mugs and the like. Never one to let the grass grow under her feet, I understand she also talked to Steve-O about this while I was out snoozing in the hammock.
So I'll ask you lot: If we were to offer a range of Llama tchotskes and apparel, would you actually buy it? Show of hands, please.
UPDATE: Our pal Lintenfiniel Jen mentions collecting blog mugs. This got me thinking how much future hilarity could ensue as some poor archeology doctoral candidate pours over a heap of dug up crockery, trying to figure out why on earth early 21st Century drinking vessels were decorated with such a bizarre assortment of images. Mwahahahaaa!
Think this couldn't happen? Robert Graves (of I, Claudius fame) was of the opinion that many of the creatures and stories that have come down to us from Classical Greek mythology - the minotaur, centaurs and so on - were the result of the Greeks of the Classical Age misinterpreting the images left by the pre-Myceneans, who lived some 1000 years or so previously. Graves believed that these images - of bull-headed men, half-men/half-horses and so on - were actually totemic in origin and denoted membership in various fraternal orders. He also thought the various stories portrayed on the walls of, say, Knossos, were allegorical in meaning, likening them to modern political cartoons. I must say, his explanation seems at least plausible to me. If you want a really good adventure story that, at the same time, explains some of this, I highly recommend Hercules, My Shipmate.
In the meantime, buy lots of bloggger junk and bury it in your back yard. Then stand by for some fun!
UPDATE DEUX: Speaking of the future, here's mine.
Carnival of Music #8
The five year old had her very first violin lesson this weekend. She came home delighted in her new-found ability to bow out "Mississippi-mud-flat" on the A and E strings. And when she played the first few notes of "Twinkle, Twinkle" and actually fingered the E string correctly to hit the F-sharp high note, her eyes positively blazed. It all starts somewhere, folks, and although I haven't yet revealed to her my dream that some day we can sit down and play Mozart and Beethoven sonatas for violin and piano together, I see this as a first, tentative baby-step toward that goal. (If I don't get shouldered aside, of course. The seven year old starts piano lessons this fall. She can already pick out tunes on the keyboard, but is intent on "learning how to use all of [her] fingers like Dad." God knows which direction the three year old will go but, given the fact that she never stops talking, my guess would be opera.)
I sneak in this bit of gratuitous domestic posting by way of introduction to this week's Carnival of Music, an idea originally got up by our good friend JohnL at TexasBestGrok as a chance to draw together blogposts on all types of music, whether serious, pop, experimental or somewhere in between. In this, I'm reminded of Duke Ellington's line, "If it sounds good, it is good."
Anyhoo, here is this week's offering. And I'd encourage everyone not just to hit the link itself, but to stop and look around, especially if the blog is new to you. Plus, don't forget to check out our intrepid band of recommenders if you aren't already a regular reader of their blogs. You'd be surprised by what you might find.
From Scott at Musical Perceptions comes a recommendation of this post by Heather of In the Wings, wherein she muses on the use of multi-media presentation in musical performances, analogizing to the wearing of skinny jeans.
Our old pal Chan the Bookish Gardener forwards two interesting articles:
The first is by Hucbald of A Monk's Musical Musings, announcing the intent to analyze Beethoven's 9th Symphony in its entirety, based on the piano transcriptions by Franz Liszt. The prologue is up now. I must say that Hucbald has a considerably more favorable opinion of Liszt than I do, but this looks like a very interesting project.
And for those of me droogies who haven't had enough Ludwig Van, Bart at The Well-Tempered Blog points us to the Unheard Beethoven Project. Go on over and browse around. Some of Beethoven's unheard music is better off remaining that way, but some of it isn't. The purpose of the UBP is to give the opportunity to make that call.
Mixolydian Don points to Meredith at Kiss Me, I'm Catholic (if my Latin isn't completely rusty) who gets some serious geek bonus points for giving her violin a Quenyan name. (Perhaps I could get the Llama-ette interested in something like this, but I'm afraid she'd probably wind up naming her own instrument Captain Feathersword.)
Also, Sarah at A Glass of Chianti has some wise words about the relationship between a piece of music and its composer and whether one's opinion of the latter should influence one's assessment of the merits of the former. Short answer: no. Go on over and read her expanded thoughts.
Finally, a commenter to a post by Jessica Duchen linked to an article in the SF Chronicle about a new "slimmed down" Berkely production of Wagner's Die Miestersinger. At first, I hoped this was a musical equivalent of The Reduced Shakespeare Company's treatment of Shakespeare, the Bible and other opii, but alas, it is not. I still think this is a good idea, though, and would be perfectly applicable to the entire Ring cycle as well. If anybody wants to follow through with it, be my guest.
UPDATE: Oh, I forgot - go here for FAQ and info on future Carnival stops.
Watching Mr. Roberts
It’s an article by Robin Givhan in the WaPo about the clothing worn by the Roberts clan – sorry, klan – sorry, family during the announcement that Roberts would be using his cool, serene, gay eye-beams to make everyone forget about Karl Rove. Read it all. Apparently they dressed not wisely but too well. Here’s what I love:
Dressing appropriately is a somewhat selfless act. It's not about catering to personal comfort. One can't give in fully to private aesthetic preferences. Instead, one asks what would make other people feel respected? What would mark the occasion as noteworthy? What signifies that the moment is bigger than the individual?
Good questions. Big questions! And now, the problem:
But the Roberts family went too far.
Did your neighborhood civil defense sirens go off when they appeared on TV? Mine did. Now I know why.
You can’t blame the Roberts family for wishing to dress up nicely. But the Roberts went too far. Do you understand? They went too far. If that child’s nice old-money anti-hoi-polloi skirt didn’t sound your klaxons, you’re just not paying attention. People who dress like Mormons are creepy. Creepy as real Mormons. Women who do not feel a surge of resentment when they put on hosiery are traitors to the gender; men who carefully knot their ties are repressing something, probably sexual; parents who put their kids in nice dress-up clothes that are 21% more formal than a newspaper reporter would have worn on Friday are rejecting modernity and the lower four quintiles. You. Have. Been. Warned.
Now go read the rest.
And when you're done, head on over to Wuzzadem for a foretaste of the Roberts nomination hearings in the way that only John can do.
Speaking of which, if Drudge is to be believed, the S.S. Hillary '08 has tacked to starboard on the matter. This should surprise absolutely nobody.
COOTER TAKES ON HOLLYWOOD
The impending cultural backlash against the faux Dukes of Hazzard movie coming out soon heats up with the latest barrage from one Ben Jones, whose presence as "Cooter"---a semi-literate, moonshine swilling naif whose appearance suggested the unholy breeding attempt by Yul Brenner and Aunt Bea---has translated into a trip to Congress and an empire of Cracker Barrell restaurants. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, never has so much been made of so little with so few brain cells.
Anyhoo, "Cooter" is up in arms about the new movie (starring Johnny "Jackass" Nashville, Steve Stifler, that annoying talentless chick with the gams, Burt Reynolds, and Johnny Cash as the ghost of King Hamlet, bent on warning "Bo" of the nefarious plans of Uncle Jesse to seize the throne of Hazzard County by marrying his niece Daisy and murdering Boss Hogg).
So he's sent this missive to the loyal Dukes of Hazzard fan base:
I thought this would be a good time to let everybody know my feelings about the upcoming "Dukes of Hazzard" feature film, since if it weren't for the "Dukes" fans, I'd have to get a real job fixing the Slurpee machine at the Pic' n' Save. The folks who love our show have kept it alive and well, despite the lack of respect it has been shown by "Hollywood."
Web sites like ours have been an extraordinary means of communication for the "Duke" community, no matter what that rat bastard Krzyzewski keeps trying to say about us diluting their "brand." What do you expect from an uptight tool driving a Chevy Prowler convertible anyway? The power of the internet has enabled us to not only keep the show viable, mainly because of what "Bo & Luke Duke" is a euphamism for in Pashtun and Bengali. Something about man/goat love. In our business, it doesn't get much better than that.
Like our fans, those of us who worked on the show have a special affection for it. For over 25 years we have cared about it, nourished it, burped it, grounded it when it got all sassy and thinks its all that, damn teenage show, what the heck did it think bringing "Blossom" over to MY HOUSE thinking it can take that sluttly little show to the USA Network junior prom or something? And it seems to me that it is time for us to have our voices in our head heard again. Skitzo, moi? Whose laughing now, Sigmund! From all I have seen and heard, the "Dukes" movie is a sleazy insult to all of us who have cared about cashing the "Dukes of Hazzard" teat for so long.
You probably know that the creators of this film wanted absolutely nothing to do with the original members of the cast. Okay, sure, we're old, and a bit flabby, with not a lot of our original hair, and maybe one or two teeth. Doesn't that seem strange to you, given how popular our show is right now, and how popular our cast still is? After all, our huge success for so many years is the reason they are making the film, and the film, after all, is about us. I mean, for a quarter of a century fans have been laughing with us, not at us, right?
In the last few years I reckon I've done many hundreds of interviews around the country on radio and television and for dozens of newspapers. I always tell them that ours is a classic family show with positive values, great action, wonderful slapstick comedy, mighty fine country music, and a very gifted cast who had great chemistry. Sure, we were portraying an American south with no blacks, hispanics, non-Baptists, an America where a man could repeatedly crash a bright orange car festooned with Confederate regalia without ever seeing a negative impact on his insurance premiums, and where are Yankees are slimy little weasels with thousand dollar suits who can be outwitted in 48 minutes by a town completely lacking a complete set of natural teeth. America could tell that we were clearly enjoying what we were doing and for that hour folks could forget their troubles and just have fun along with us. It had nothing to do with making fun of the homestate of the then current president of the United States who was the source of so many of their troubles, and it had nothing to do with the Brezhnev Doctrine going on the offensive, what with invading Afghanistan, and getting all uppity in Angola, Nicaraugua, and that little effing island we knocked over in 1982. No siree, nothing at all. It is exactly the kind of entertainment that families crave right now.
Lately most of the interviewers want to know my opinion of the "movie" version that is coming out in August. I've always tried to be candid with my opinions, and when it comes to this film, I think it would be a mistake for me to pull the punches. Like you, I haven't seen the film, but I have read the script, I've talked to a lot of people who worked on the set, and I've seen the raunchy TV commercial. Frankly, I think the whole project shows an arrogant disrespect for our show, for our cast, for America's families, and for the sensibilities of the heartland of the Cooter bank account.
Unless they clean it up (and by that, I mean make a nice healthy deposit into my bank account, not to mention the delivery of those three virginal goats) before the August 5th release date I would strongly recommend that true blue Duke fans hold their noses and pass this one up. And whatever you do, don't take any youngsters to see it. As plain as I can put it, the only thing this movie shares with our show is the title. Oh, they do have the General Lee flying through the air, although according to the New York Times, they didn't even use stunt drivers.
Sure it bothers me that they wanted nothing to do with the cast of our show, but what bothers me much more is the profanity laced script with blatant sexual situations that mocks the good clean family values of our series. Now, anybody who knows me knows that I'm not a prude. But this kind of toilet humor has no place in minority-free Hazzard County. Rather than honoring our legendary show, they have chosen to degrade it.
When CMT brought our series back on the air in February of this year, 23 million viewers tuned in on that first weekend. Very few, if any, movies have ever matched those kind of numbers for an opening weekend. Our show is a hit right now! Very young children have fallen in love with the "Dukes" on CMT, just as their parents did 25 years ago. They love the positive values of our show, its wholesome friendliness, and the fact that Bo and Luke are heroes who always make the right moral choice, except for that season when they wanted too much money so the producers canned their sorry expendable asses for some week cousin "Breaux and Lake" Duke thing. How can the producers of this film be so cynical, so jaded, so out of touch with America's heartland as to trash a great family show in this way?
Well, there may not be much we can do, but we have to do all we can. Let's send them a message: "If you don't clean it up, we're not going to see it." Maybe a kick in their pocketbook will get their attention.
The Hon. Ben Jones
LOOKING FOR EVIDENCE OF THE IMPENDING END OF THE WORLD? LOOK NO FURTHER!
"Left Behind: Eternal Forces" is a real-time strategy game set in New York during the End of Days, which will allow gamers to choose between the angelic Tribulation Forces and the demonic Global Community Peacekeepers in a multiplayer online mode. The game is set to ship before Easter.
Left Behind CEO Troy Lyndon said the books have a diverse loyal reader base of more than 10 million parents, single adults, teens and kids. He said the company, which was founded in October 2001, will invest more money and resources into its first game than any Christian game has ever seen. Lyndon also said his games will be sold at Wal-Mart, which accounts for about 25% of all game sales.
"If only 10% of the readership buys our game, it will be a top hit, selling more than 1 million units," Lyndon said.
Pidgeon said that while a game success on the level of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" movie might be possible down the road with a big franchise like "Left Behind," films are still much more accessible to the Christian demographic than video games.
"'Left Behind' will not likely convert gamers to Christianity, but will need to convert Christians (the books' fan base) to video gaming," Pidgeon said.
I'm looking forward to the version with super-Ninja Jesus kicking Roman ass kung-fu style. Like, double-click the right way, and he rips Pontius Pilate's heart out. Not to mention the obvious Coliseum bonus round, where the Christian martyrs---this time with access to neXt generation Martian weaponry---go head to head with the best the zombie gladiators have to offer. Not to mention Jesus and Lazarus take on the zombie underworld--as long as the spraying holy water would make the zombies blow up into a million pieces with a cool sound effect.
Yips! from Robbo: The question is whether there's going to be a special code available that allows players to access a very special "dance" of Salome. Seems to me that Congressional hearings are called for.
Llama QC Check
We had a complaint over the weekend from one of our faithful readers that something appeared wrong with the site formatting. Apparently, the center column was getting dropped to the bottom of the page.
Anybody else having any problems like this?
July 24, 2005
Michelle Malkin links to this on "temporary vows." Amen, Michelle, and happy anniversary. When Mrs. LMC and I tied the knot, the vows were "one time, for all time" as KMR once put it. I get annoyed at Mass when couples are invited up to "renew their vows." Recognition for people celebrating a silver or golden anniversary is one thing but "renewing" vows made for a lifetime seems quite another.
July 23, 2005
EIGHTIES FLASH IN THE PAN BABES
This weekend's feature: Danish movie chick Brigitte Nielsen who was the big, bad, blonde girl in Beverly Hills Cop II. Cinematic debut: Cobra. Best attributes: bus-stoppin' body, legs that seem to go up to her ears. Has not been seen in a decent flick since BHCII. The tabs reported she married hubby number six, fifteen years her junior, in March. This babe is dangerous. Approach with caution.
July 22, 2005
"SHOOT TO KILL" HYSTERIA
The talking heads on "Fox and Friends" are breathlessly covering the morning takedown of an apparent would-be suicide bomber on a subway car in the London Underground. The F&F team is usually level-headed but seem to have gotten a little rattled by making comments about police "shoot to kill" orders and wondering why the police did not "shoot to wound." Unfortunately, these are the ruminations of people who do not know the first thing about firearms or the use of deadly force. If a police officer has drawn his pistol, you can assume he is willing to kill you before you kill him or someone else. If you survive, it is your dumb luck. The police, like the military, are trained to shoot at the center of the target which means the lower chest about where the heart is located. It is infinitely more difficult to accurately fire at both of a bad guy's hands, particularly if the bad guy, and his hands, are in motion. The bad guy was wearing a winter jacket on a subway in the middle of summer, the odds are good he was wearing a bomb belt which means it likely had a trigger on it. The sooner the bad guy is down and his hands are not moving, the safer for the police and the other passengers.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)
Song of the morning among the Llama-ettes: "Chewie, Chewie, Chewie ate Chewbaccaaaa...."
Could be a hit, I'm thinking.
July 21, 2005
Llama Jargon Blegging
The Missus and I watched The Incredibles again this evening just because we could.
A thought occurred to me yet again: As Elastigirl is piloting the jet towards the exocit island and trying to dodge the SAMs, she says to Island Control, "We are buddy-spiked."
I take this to mean that her plane is a victim of (what she thinks is) friendly fire. But I've always been curious whether this is a recognized military term for friendly-fire incidents. Anybody have an opinion?
MOVIE BABES OF THE EIGHTIES AND NINETIES
Tonight's excursion into popular culture features Jami Gertz. Best attributes: dark eyes, nice curves. First decent movie: Twister. Last decent movie: Twister. No sightings on the estrogen channels or skin mags. Sound bite characterization: "an Ally Sheedy wannabe" (courtesy of Mrs. LMC, the Final Authority on All Matters of Popular Culture here at Fort LMC).
Lite Posting Notice
I'll be out and about (or oot and aboot, as they say in the Tidewater), most of the day tomorrow, so posting should be pretty light. On the other hand, maybe not. Ya never know till you check, do you?
HUNGER STRIKE AT GITMO
This just in. More food for the 460 detainees who are not striking.
Public Service Announcement
To the googler who got here searching for Caddyshack Lines Hey Llama:
This is a Llama:
This is a Lama:
I promise you that Spackler didn't get death-bed total consciousness hanging around this place. Kinda makes a difference to the joke.
I was chatting with the Missus this morning when she mentioned somebody she knew who had recently flown into something of a panic at the notion that children's MMR vaccines and/or vaccines containing a mercury-based preservative called thimerosal, were responsible for an epidemic outbreak of autism.
Somewhere on the edge of my brain, I said, I recalled having read an article about this recently. Well, here it is - Michael Fumento writing in OpinionJournal.
I did some more snooping about on the Web, and while I don't pretend that half an hour's research qualifies me with any kind of expertice about this issue, I quickly recognized a depressingly familiar pattern: The vast bulk of research to date - including government and peer-reviewed studies - says either that there isn't a connection or that there probably isn't but that more research is called for just to make certain. (You can go read the Institute of Medicine's massive report on the matter here. And here's the CDC's page on the issue.) A few parties, already convinced that there is absolutely a link, dismiss the majority opinion as nothing more than a government-pharma conspiracy. Meanwhile, a shoal of ambulance chasers and lobby groups thirsting for political power (and donations) dance around the fringes, scaring the beejesus out of people like the Missus' friend and causing them to do seriously goofy things like, for instance, not vaccinating their kids. Oh, and the press eats it up because it sells papers.
Look, as I say, I don't know the truth here. But I've seen this before - Alar, the persistent myths about cellphones and high-tension electrical wires causing cancer, and other such episodes. Most of the time, such scares come to absolutely nothing.
The politics of public health scares can be downright infuriating. What bothers me the most about this sort of thing is the tremendous distortion of priorities they cause. There is only so much time, money and talent available for public health matters. It strikes me that these resources are squandered if they must be used to repeatedly smack down an issue that, however shaky its basis in fact, has been seized upon by the popular imagination. And this is to say nothing of the legislative, regulatory and legal mischief that is caused.
My advice to the Missus' friend? Don't panic. And for heaven's sake, get the kids their shots.
Draft John Howard '08!
Foreign birth issues be damned. He gets it:
PRIME MIN. HOWARD: Could I start by saying the prime minister and I were having a discussion when we heard about it. My first reaction was to get some more information. And I really don't want to add to what the prime minister has said. It's a matter for the police and a matter for the British authorities to talk in detail about what has happened here.
Can I just say very directly, Paul, on the issue of the policies of my government and indeed the policies of the British and American governments on Iraq, that the first point of reference is that once a country allows its foreign policy to be determined by terrorism, it's given the game away, to use the vernacular. And no Australian government that I lead will ever have policies determined by terrorism or terrorist threats, and no self-respecting government of any political stripe in Australia would allow that to happen.
Can I remind you that the murder of 88 Australians in Bali took place before the operation in Iraq.
And I remind you that the 11th of September occurred before the operation in Iraq.
Can I also remind you that the very first occasion that bin Laden specifically referred to Australia was in the context of Australia's involvement in liberating the people of East Timor. Are people by implication suggesting we shouldn't have done that?
When a group claimed responsibility on the website for the attacks on the 7th of July, they talked about British policy not just in Iraq, but in Afghanistan. Are people suggesting we shouldn't be in Afghanistan?
When Sergio de Mello was murdered in Iraq -- a brave man, a distinguished international diplomat, a person immensely respected for his work in the United Nations -- when al Qaeda gloated about that, they referred specifically to the role that de Mello had carried out in East Timor because he was the United Nations administrator in East Timor.
Now I don't know the mind of the terrorists. By definition, you can't put yourself in the mind of a successful suicide bomber. I can only look at objective facts, and the objective facts are as I've cited. The objective evidence is that Australia was a terrorist target long before the operation in Iraq. And indeed, all the evidence, as distinct from the suppositions, suggests to me that this is about hatred of a way of life, this is about the perverted use of principles of the great world religion that, at its root, preaches peace and cooperation. And I think we lose sight of the challenge we have if we allow ourselves to see these attacks in the context of particular circumstances rather than the abuse through a perverted ideology of people and their murder. (Emphasis mine)
Good on ya, mate!
Transcript lifted from K-Lo in the Corner.
WILKINSON SCOTUS RUNNER-UP?
This article in the NYT should give some comfort to Steve-O that Fourth Circuit Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson made it into the finals. If the Chief hangs up the cleats, Wilkinson would be a good replacement. I liked the questions about exercise although if that is a prerequisite for a job as a federal judge, I will not be a contender until we get a swimmer in the White House.
I'm not saying anything yet about today's apparent terror attacks in London. Too much confusion at the moment. All I will say is that these attacks at least appear not to be in the same league as those of two weeks ago in terms of size, damage and casualties. So far, no reports of deaths. Let's hope it stays that way.
UPDATE: Hmmm....so far it appears to be the work of amateur hack copycats. But whether varsity or the bench, the bastards are the bastards. Meanwhile, defiant Headmistress Sondra K has come up with an inspired symbol that even I, a hater of all ribbon culture, like. Yes, it's the Bacon Ribbon:
Go on over to Sondra's and get your own, available in small and Hungry-Man sizes. Mmmmmm......bacon....mmmmmmm.
Today In History
Today is the anniversary of the First Battle of Bull Run (yes, I use the Yankee name). Fought this day in 1861, it was the first major battle of the Civil War and resulted from the Union's attempt to capture the strategic railway junction at Manassas, Virginia. (When I first moved to the area, I lived in an apartment very close to the junction itself.)
Many people believed at the time that this would be the only battle of the Civil War and that the Union troops would quickly crush the Confederates. Had the Union army been at all seasoned, this might very well have been the case: the Union battle plan of a sweep on the flank coupled with a frontal diversionary assault was a good one. However, the Northern troops were as green as their Southern counterparts and were simply not up to the kind of precision such an attack required. Furthermore, as the battle wore on, the Southerners proved to fight far more bravely and stubbornly than anybody had imagined they would.
After the initial Union sweep south, the battle lines solidified at the top of a wide, flat hill, where the Southerners dug in and "Stonewall" Jackson earned his nickname. This resistence allowed Confederate reinforcements the time to come up in support and deprived the Union of the quick victory they had been seeking. At the same time, the Union army still probably could have won, had it been sufficiently organized and aggressive in its attacks.
The lines were fairly close together, hammering away at each other. Finally, Union General McDowell sent two artillery batteries - those of Ricketts and Griffin - to a position where they could enfilade the Confederate line, that is shoot along it from the side. This, of course, put the batteries in a dangerously exposed position. They were just beginning to do some serious execution when a new unit - wearing blue uniforms - appeared out of the woods nearby. The batteries hesitated, not knowing whether these were Union reenforcements or not, and did not fire at them. Unfortunately for the Union, the new troops were Confederates, most probably the 33rd Virginia Infantry, although there were other units that made the claim as well. The Southernes fell on the Union batteries and silenced them. After a further struggle, the right flank of the Union line caved in and the Federals started to flee in panic, a panic made worse by the presence of many civilians who had come out from Dee Cee to watch the fun. The hasty Federal retreat might well have turned into a rout, but the Southerners were too tired and too inexperienced to capitalize on their fortune. Altogether, the Federals lost about 3000 troops to the Confederates' loss of about 2000.
I've said before that Bull Run is an excellent battlefield to visit, especially for beginners. It's compact enough to allow one to take in most of the field of fighting from one spot. Furthermore, despite the enormous development around it, the immediate area looks pretty much the same way it did back then.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. James Lileks
Screeding today on the state of pop culture, James lays into the director of the soon-to-be-released-disaster remake of The Bad News Bears who wants to let kids know "it's okay to be a rebel":
Yes, everything in the culture today argues against being a rebel, doesn’t it? For heaven’s sake, rebellion is the assumed default position, even if it’s used to make a certain soda brand assume market dominance. Of course there’s an unforgiving sort of conformity undergirding all the “rebellious” messages, but the idea is still quite plain: the cool & the hip define themselves by opposition to whatever the status quo is. (Unless the status quo is the iPod. In which case, conform!) Ever since Brando, all you have to do is say “he’s a rebel” and people nod approvingly. Ah, the rebel. We need those! But a rebel against what? Yes, I know: whaddya got, the stupidest answer in the history of movies. Well, we have rule of law, food inspection, penicillin, and building codes. Okay, if that’s all you got, I’m rebellin’ against that.
Go read the rest, including his juicy takedown of Jon Stewart.
Today's Required Reading
Mom's favorite columnist, writing in the Wall Street Journal, climbs the hill and takes a good long big picture look at fifteen years' worth of post-Cold War U.S. foreign policy as he charts the rise and maturation of the neo-con movement. Just go and read it already.
Random Commuter Thoughts
Saw my first Metro car plastered over with a whacking big McDonalds ad this morning.
I suppose this kind of advertising arrangement is good for Metro itself, which famously bleeds money, but it suuuuure is an assault on the senses. Especially that early in the morning.
July 20, 2005
Luke! I Am Your Elder!
Check out what happens when translations go awry.
Who knew my great grandfather the minister and Darth Vader had something in common?
Yips! to Mixolydian Don.
Why Is John Roberts Smiling?
Google the Moon
This is cool. In honor of today's anniversary of the first moon landing, Google has rigged up a neat lunar map toy. Be sure to zoom all the way in at least once.
Yips! to the Impenetrable One.
A Piece of Advice
Never go against the Crack Young Staff of the Hatemonger's Quarterly.
Go. Read. The No Hot Beverages Rule is in effect (too late, in my case).
It seems Dee Cee is mulling the institution of random bag searches on the Metro. Frankly, I think this is not a good idea.
If Metro police start conducting true random searches - frisking little old ladies and children, for example, it would simply be a waste of scarce resources that would do nothing except promote the false image that they are Doing Something.
If, on the other hand, Metro tries to use the cover of "random" searches in order to concentrate on more likely specific target groups, the ACLU will be all over them like a wet blanket for profiling.
Either way, I don't think it's worth the effort. Better to beef up "for cause" monitoring.
In Vino Veritas
A couple of months ago, I used the Supreme Court's decision to toss the preposterous state regulations barring the interstate sale of wine direct from vinyards to consumers as a platform to take another gratuitous bash at Virginia wine which, at least in my experience, is overpriced and vile.
Well, little did I know that the fifteen minutes of fame clock was rolling, but it seems that Slate picked up on my comments.
I bring this up because Duane Gran, who was also quoted by Slate, just dropped a nice comment to my post:
If you get a chance, I would suggest visiting the Barboursville vineyard if you have a chance to be in the Charlottesville area. From my limited survey of Virginia wines they are head and shoulders above the rest -- probably in the league of some finer Italian wines I've experienced abroad.
Thanks much, Duane. Very intriguing. As it happens, I love Italians. And while I've never been out to Barboursville, I see the signs for the vinyard all the time as I chug up and down Rte. 29 between Dee Cee and C-ville. (There is a junk shop at the corner of 29 and Rte 33 in Ruckersville - the turn off for Barboursville - that the Missus and I used to haunt a great deal back in the day.) In fact, a roadtrip taking in the vinyard and Montpelier might make a very satisfying Saturday afternoon some time when the weather cools off.
Anybody else out there know anything about this place?
Hurricane Ricky, Category 5 Storm, Bears Down On Miami
Williams is cleared by the NFL to report to the 'Fins training camp this weekend.
I tell you truly, this is going to mean nothing but trouble. Trouble. Time to get out the plywood and nailgun.
X-Treme Flash In The Pan Babes - 1960's Edition
Tania Mallet aka Tilly Masterson in Goldfinger. Her entire movie career consisted of showing up just long enough to get whacked by Oddjob. A shame, too. I know that Honor Blackman, as Pussy Galore, is considered one of the heavyweights among Bond Girls, but her voice has always grated on me. I'd have much rather seen more of Mallet.
Random Commuter Observations - SCOTUS Edition
I studiously avoided getting wrapped up in the big Supreme Court Announcement Event last evening. So I only learned that Dubya had tapped John Roberts when I glanced at the headline of the WaPo in the rack outside the Metro station this morning.
My first reaction was, "Huh?"
My second was to start laughing. Psyche.
Okay, so I didn't scoop the office pool. But it was worth it for that laugh.
July 19, 2005
FLASH IN THE PAN BABES
Amidst the confusion of these uncertain times, count on the Llamas to ask the really important questions, such as "what happened to Darva Conger?" Nurse, turned millionaire's wife turned ex-wife turned Playboy bunny--to what? The world wonders. . .
The president announced his nomination of D.C. Circuit Judge John Roberts, burning every office pool that had money on the Ediths. Charles Schumer wasted no time announcing his intention to delve into "deeply held personal beliefs" which translates to abortion--Any doubts, just ask Bill Pryor.
The Estrangement of the Children of Illuvatar Continues...
The folks in Iceland seem to be having ongoing Elf zoning issues. And problems:
"My next-door neighbor is an elf woman," explained retired museum director Hildur Hakonardottir. "She lives in a cliff in a rock in my garden."
In Kopavogur in 1996, someone tried to flatten a hill to build a cemetery, but bulldozers malfunctioned and television cameras trained on the site failed to work.
"We're going to see whether we can't reach an understanding with the elves," the construction project supervisor told a local newspaper at the time. "Elf communicators" were brought in and after some time work successfully resumed.
[Icelandic accent on]
You son of a bitch. You moved the rocks, but you left the elves, didn't you? You son of a bitch, you left the elves and you only moved the garden rocks. You only moved the rocks. Why? Why?
[Icelandic accent off]
I think the good folks of Iceland need to, um, get out of the Arctic Circle a bit more often. Perhaps working as Icelandic Honey Salesmen is a good idea after all.
Yips! to Ith.
We had a troll stop by and give us some rather graphic, albeit anatomically confused, advice about what we could do based on said troll's apparent belief that we are somehow anti-llama 'round here.
Anyhoo, lest there be any further question, let me just say that the dog in this article, sent over to us by Gunner over at Target Centermass, got exactly what was coming to it. And I hope they catch the owner, too. Sick, sick, sick.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Watch
Dean reviews the new Johnny Depp movie in glowing terms. This is about the umpteenth positive review I've seen so far so I suppose there might be something to it after all. What I like about Dean's review is that he gives me a way to preserve my loyalty to the 1971 version without being backed into an either/or corner.
FWIW, the seven and five year old Llama-ettes saw CATCF over the weekend and both liked it. Indeed, this morning I had a rambling conversation with the five year old over the alternative fates of Veruca Salt: squirrels and bad nuts vs. geese and bad golden eggs. Tough choice.
UPDATE: Damned siren turned off.
Anyhoo, word is out that Dubya has picked and will announce at 9 PM tonight, which almost certainly means that I won't learn who it is until tomorrow morning.
(I tossed a buck in the office pool for Priscilla Owens just to be contrary.)
UPDATE: Michelle Malkin, as usual, has got it covered with lots of Clement-linkage.
UPDATE DEUX: Gary the Ex-Donk passes on word that everyone may have the wrong Edith. Who knows? Maybe my long-shot bet is still in play. At any rate, I'm also delighted to see that he's got his priorities straight viz this evening's plans. (Sooper Sekrit Message to Gary: I hear that Wedding Crashers is a surprisingly good movie.)
UPDATE TROIS (5:00 PM): K-Lo in the Corner is saying it is not Clement. I've still got a shot at the pool - Llama needs new shoes!
No Fun For You!
The Playground Nazis descend on Broward County, Florida:
"It's too tight around the equipment to be running," said Safety Director Jerry Graziose, the Broward County official who ordered the signs. "Our job was to try to control it."
How about swings or those hand-pulled merry-go-rounds?
"Nope. They've got moving parts. Moving parts on equipment is the number one cause of injury on the playgrounds."
"Nope. That's moving too."
"Well, I have to be careful about animals" turning them into litter boxes.
Cement crawl tubes?
"Vagrants. The longer they are, the higher possibility that a vagrant could stay in them. We have shorter ones now that are made out of plastic or fiberglass."
As a matter of fact, I don't blame this poor guy. As the article makes clear, he's playing defense. Take a guess at the real gunners:
Since 1999, Broward County schools paid out about $561,000 to settle 189 claims for playground accidents, about 5 percent of the amount the district spent on all injury claims in that time. To keep those numbers low, Graziose said, he needs to keep thinking of ways to make playgrounds safe.
Broward County School Board member Robin Bartleman understands the pressure Graziose is under, even though the playground at Everglades Elementary in Weston makes her 6-year-old daughter's face droop into a formidable pout.
"To say `no running' on the playground seems crazy," said Bartleman, who agreed to be interviewed on a recent outing at Everglades. "But your feelings change when you're in a closed-door meeting with lawyers."
'Zactly. Sanity and restraint have to start with parents not automatically going for the draw every time they think something's happened to little Joey. This isn't just a playground thing, but is endemic to all aspects of school. Buh'lieve me - I'm on the Board of the Llama-ettes' school and even though it's private and has considerably more leeway than the public system, the possibility of lawsuits always lurks in the background, no matter what the issue.
Yips! to Michael Graham in the Corner.
Things that make you go "hmmmm"
This bit of navel-gazing focuses on U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Edith Clement as the latest front-runner to succeed SDOC. I do not know much about her but a passing reference to Fourth Circuit Judge Karen Williams caught my eye. I was a law clerk way back when she was a new judge on the court of appeals. I could listen to her read directions for mixing concrete with that soft South Carolina accent all day long.
Cathy Seipp, writing at NRO, has a nice article up on one of my favorite comedians, Bob Newhart. Apparently, PBS is planning to run a special on him...lessee... why, tomorrow.
By the way - when the hell did Newhart start doing Desperate Housewives? And why didn't anybody tell me?
Along with Monty Python and Fawlty Towers, Newhart's Buttoned-Down Mind album is heavily quoted in my family. Among the favorite lines are:
"You're going too fast, Mrs. Webb."
"No, that's alright - I'll get out on your side."
"No, no, Abe. First a rail-splitter, then a lawyer."
"He banged the kid with the door!"
We also agree with the article that the ending of the old Newhart series was one of the classic moments in tee-vee. (Just as an aside, have I mentioned before that Suzanne Pleshette was one of my very first tee vee crushes (along with Mariette Hartley)?)
General William C. Westmoreland, USA (ret.) threw in the towel yesterday at age 91. He had a long and distinguished career and is best remembered for his service as commander of American forces in Vietnam. NRO wrote a good piece on his libel suit against against CBS for claiming he conspired to cook the casualty numbers during that war. Read it.
The NRO story brings to mind so many scams the MSM has run over the years, ranging from the Westmoreland hit piece, to the CNN story that we used nerve gas on American POWs collaborating with the NVA, to the NBC story on exploding gas tanks, Rathergate, Korangate, etc. And they wonder why their influence, readership, and viewers is on a long slide.
Carnival of Music #7
Is up over at Podcast Bumper Music. Go on over and browse - these music round-ups cater to all tastes and styles. "Something for everyone," as the song says.
I might mention that we Llamas will be hosting next week, so get your gratuitous musickal thinking caps on. JohnL, who created this particular carnival, has all the details about submissions, future hosting and the like.
Color Me Extremely Dubious
The New Pillar of Gentility. Y'right.
I see where Madonna is doing her Mary Magdalene shtick again.
Not too long ago, I came across the eldest Llama-ette reading one of Madonna's children's books. I think I was visibly appalled, which was extremely confusing for the gel because she has no earthly idea who Madonna is, yet was thoroughly enjoying the book. (It turned out that the book was on her Brownies reading list and that she'd checked it out from the library.)
Forbidding her from reading the book struck me as rather preposterous since, from what I gather, the thing is pretty harmless in and of itself. At the same time, I was not at all interested in encouraging her to buy into what one might call the Madonna Empire since I disapprove of that woman intensely.
We wound up having a long talk about reputations. Without going into detail, I told her that Madonna had done a great many greedy, selfish and awful things in her past and, because of this, I didn't really believe that she was writing children's books now because she had suddenly become good and respectable. "Oh," said the gel, "You mean she's writing them just to get even more money?" Probably yes, I replied. And even if she really is good now, it's terribly hard for anyone to truly believe it. And that, I said, sneakily inserting the lesson, is why your reputation is such a very important thing.
Hey, that's me. Mr. Bourgeoisie.
Anyhoo, we left it that she could borrow the book from the library but that I wasn't going to buy a copy of it. I think this was a reasonable compromise.
More Gratuitous Griping About The Heat
I had to slog out to a vestry meeting from work last evening. Driving along, I'd swear that cars were actually tearing brief holes in the steam/mist/soup, particularly in the valleys. Most of the summer I get on well enough without A/C in the car, but in this particular sort of blanketing, smothering, maddening atmosphere, I pay for it pretty badly, especially when trapped behind some duffer going 15 MPH. (There aren't very many places to pass in my neck of the woods.) By the time I got to church, I was so hot I was actually getting stomach cramps. (Made worse by some stuff I bought called AquaCal. Don't bother with it - it's vile.)
As it turned out, I probably needn't have gone because I wound up dozing through most of the meeting. For all I know, we voted to install disco lights around the alter and approve the blessing of group marriages.
(Actually, I'm just joking about the lights. The Episcopal Church would never condone something like that.)
UPDATE: And it isn't just me. I'm going to O-fficially blame the Nats' post-break slide on this miserable weather. They must still be thinkin' Canada, eh?
July 18, 2005
Semi Flash In The Pan 80's Babe Posting
(with apologies to our Llama Military Correspondent)
I was noodling an interesting phenomenon while watching Octopussy last evening:
Off the top of my head, it seems that in general when there are two babes in a Bond flick, one of them meets a gruesome death early on, usually not long after James bags her. Yet in this one, aggressively Swedish Kristina Wayborn's Magda manages to survive her encounter with 007 and is still very much on the scene when he winds up with Maud Adams, (who I didn't realize was not Jacyln Smith for a long time).
Mind you, I don't complain. And the fact that they command an army of Amazon Warrioresses makes up for what is otherwise a pretty silly movie. (Major exception: the fight scene on the roof of the airplane at the end always gives me the willies.)
A quick check of the database shows that neither Bond Girl really went anywhere in the movies after this one.
Okay, I'm just too worn out and heat-crazed to think any more deeply that this at the moment. So sue me.
This Is Cool
A collection of silver buried at Pompeii under the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D. and recently recovered. The CNN link has a couple of detailed photos as well.
Here is an account of the eruption by Pliny the Younger, who was an eye-witness and whose uncle, Pliny the Elder, got caught and killed while nosing around. And here are some photos of some of the buildings that have been excavated.
I've never been to Pompeii, although the Missus has. I understand that a fair portion of the city has not yet been excavated and that the same holds even more true for Herculaneum, which was located nearby and suffered a similar fate.
Sorry - when I see this kind of story my inner JCL Geek comes right out.
Damn You, James Lileks!
I like hot weather. I prefer that dry aching baking heat to the torpid sullen soup we have now, but remember: it snowed May First. If the pendulum has to swing the other way as far as it can to make amends, I understand.
You do? I don't. You're just encouraging him.
I've got a vestry meeting at church tonight which means slogging through rush hour traffic with no A/C and a heat index of better than 100. Take a wild guess at how spiritually-minded I'm going to be feeling by the time I get there. "To hell with all of them," about sums it up.
It's the Acme License Maker. I decided to steal a slogan from an old Conn College rowing shirt I still have that somehow seems particularly appropriate to my great Commonwealth:
Yips! to Owlish.
UPDATE: Actually, as a practical matter, this one is probably better:
YIPS from Steve: Here are my entries:
Too Darn Hot
BTW, for those of you keeping track, the Missus and the Llama-ettes arrived home safe and sound yesterday. Much mayhem ensued.
Steve? Over to you.
UPDATE: Oh, one correction to note. Last week, I said I had thought Plame-Gate had finally jumped the shark. However, as the Commissar discovers, it's probably more accurate to say that the story has gone to the dogs.
July 15, 2005
Orgle In The Court!
SCOTUS-Watch Update: I know Rehnquist says he isn't retiring, but I still think he's gone before the end of the summer.
Meanwhile, the groundswell continues. Write, call or email Dubya today!
Hats Off To The Bear
Jack Nicklaus hung it up today after failing to make up enough ground to make the cut at the British Open. But what a way to finish:
[P]redictably, the Golden Bear still ensured it was a farewell to remember, a curling 15-foot putt dropping into the hole on the 18th green for a birdie that ensured he could sign for a level par round of 72.
Nice. Very nice.
At Home: 1st baby: You spend a good bit of every day just gazing at the baby. 2nd baby: You spend a bit of everyday watching to be sure your older child isn’t squeezing, poking, or hitting the baby. 3rd baby: You spend a little bit of every day hiding from the children.
Now go read the rest. The funniest part is that, apart from the coin-swallowing stuff, I can personally attest that each and every one of them is completely accurate. Heh, indeed.
Just So There's No Doubt...
Beat that, LMC!
Yips! to Brian B., who's a flamin' flower child compared to me.
"It's the Arts" Birthdays
Christ in a Storm on the Sea of Galilee
Today is the birthday of Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. In honor of it, I thought I would post the above sea-scape, the only one Rembrandt is ever known to have done. (This painting was one of several stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston in 1990 and, apparently, never yet recoverd.)
It also happens to be the birthday of Inigo Jones, the great 17th Century architect and some-time collaborator/feuder with Ben Jonson. In his honor, I thought I'd post one of his most famous works - the Queen's House, Greenwich.
So far as I know, nobody has made off with it.
Dumberer and Dumberer
I said that with the Missus gone I've been feeling like I've gotten progressively stupider over the course of the week. Well now it's been scientifically documented:
Because everything you read on the Internet is true, right?
I'll take 21st Century female non-slave owning Thomas Jeffersons for 50, Alex.
UPDATE: I'll take potentially dead rock stars for 100, Alex.
STOP THE MADNESS!!!
Ya' know, as a P.G. Wodehouse enthusiast, I've tried to be tolerant of the whole Ask Jeeves thing. There is something at least nominally justifiable about the nod to Plum's creation of benevolent wisdom (even though the image is quite mistaken insofar as Bertie Wooster commented time and time again that Jeeves never smiles).
But things have gone too far.
Heretofore, Jeeves has been pictured as above, quiet, serene and ready to be of service. But recently, a whole series of flash animations has started polluting my screen - Jeeves jamming to tunes on his I-pod, Jeeves parasailing and now, for the love of Pete, Jeeves working out on a rowing machine.
This. Is. Wrong.
Jeeves is stately and dignified. He reads Spinoza. His only unbendings are evening visits to the Junior Ganymede Club, occassional trips to the track and his annual trek to Bognor Regis for the shrimping. He isn't hip or cool. He doesn't go in for trendy things. He abhors pop culture. Putting him in these ridiculous poses is preposterous or, as he himself would put it, "taking a liberty".
It must stop.
That is all.
Bachelor Llama Blegging
Message to the Missus: You are not reading this.
The Missus and the Llama-ettes are scheduled to return home from the beach either Sunday or Monday, which leaves me trying to figure out what to do over the weekend. Should I:
1) scramble to get done everything I semi-promised to do but have more or less blown off, or
2) keep blowing it off.
Decisions, decisions. Normally, I'd make up my mind pretty quickly. But during this week by myself I seem to have gotten....dumberer. Don't know why.
DID WILSON OUT PLAME?
This article in NRO makes a compelling case that Wilson "outed" his wife. Read it.
Yips! from Robbo: Glenn has this morning's round-up. I have to say that this whole business seems to be in the process of jumping the shark.
La Belle Kathy the Cake-Eater has touched on one of the eternal mysteries: Just what the hell happens in the first ten minutes or so of The Great Escape? Beats the hell out of me.
(Actually, I waived off last night and watched McLintock instead. 40-odd years ago, Stefanie Powers was looking pretty fine.)
Random Commuter Thoughts - Subtropical Update
I'm going to go ahead and O-fficially classify this as one of Dee Cee's nastier summers.
I noticed this morning that the air is starting to stink in a way that reminds me very much of the summers I spent on the Texas Gulf Coast - the excessive humidity traps all that sweat, garbage, diesel and general stink, then the heat cooks it up. Only thing missing is the smell of salt, which I almost imagined I was picking up today.
Geh, as I say.
The local fish wrapper reports she is 59. Back in the day, her smile adorned many a bedroom wall. Play a little Linda today and think of her in her prime, not the ghastly reincarnation that made the Today summer concert series five or six years ago.
July 14, 2005
Red Storm Rising?
But when it comes right on top of Martini Boy musing about the recent unexplained drop in Chinese oil consumption and what it might mean, well........., I get just a hair more antsy than normal, like I'm stuck at the beginning of a Tom Clancy novel and the first few pieces of Something Big may be falling into place.
Not saying it's time to dig a bomb shelter or anything. Just maybe that it's worth keeping a bit of a closer eye on Beijing.
Joe Wilson calls for Rove's resignation. No law was broken, Rove account is backed up by Matt Cooper's e-mails to his superiors, and Wilson's accounts of how he wound up with the Niger gig lack any consistentcy. The fact that this story continues to have legs is proof that the summer slump in journalism has come early this year.
Yips! from Robbo: All the more reason to nominate Rove for SCOTUS right away and really give the boys and girls something to bloviate about! We're talking Christmas in July, here.
The Revenge of the Sixth
The Harry Potter book comes out tomorrow. To celebrate, in traditional LLamabutcher style, we present our official "LLamabutcher Harry Potter Week" with this abomination:
Let me present Hermione LLamabutcher!
INDCent Bill kicked things off yesterday mocking the position of the Holy See on Harry Potter (It sux, man: Lemony Snickett kicks Rowling's boohonk!) by reminding the Church to mind the beam in its own eye:
The Pope's condemnation is especially surprising in light of the series' popularity with Catholic priests, many of whom are known to own a great deal of Harry Potter novels, coloring books, toys, themed candy and children's sleeping bags.
At least he spared us the jokes on wand usage.
One Cathy Gallagher has got the bright idea to market a line of adultery greeting cards. Says she:
"People make choices," she says. "I'm not making a choice for them. People make choices. And by the time they buy this greeting card, they're already involved deeply in the affair…. This is an entrepreneurial venture. And this is an untapped market. That's the bottom line."
Can't argue with that. So let us Llamas provide a public service by noting some other "untapped markets" that anyone eager to make a buck might want to consider pitching:
- Pedophiles ("Boy, do I miss you.....")
- Islamofascists ("Being apart while killing infidels is killing me....")
- Klansmen ("Sheeeeeet, I burn to cross paths with yew again")
- Sheep-dippers ("I want you baaaaaaad')
- Polygamists ("If this is Tuesday, it must be your turn")
- Spousal Abusers ("My knuckles hurt, but not as much as my heart when you're gone")
- Euthenizers ("I'm dead-set on you....")
- Arsonists ("I burn, baybee...")
- Scientologists ("Hubbard we get together soon and cruise...")
- Rove-Bashers ("Don't Plame Me for Loving You!")
- Former British Royal Dynasty descendants ("You're Tu-dor for....")
Okay, okay, okay. Heh. I'm just tossing 'em in here as they occur to me. Feel free to suggest your own.....
Yips! to K-Lo.
Guys, could you just, y'know, leave me out of your fantasy life for a bit?
Gratuitous Llama Slap-Shot Movie Reviews
Sat through a bit of War and Peace last evening. (I had not seen it before.) In the who-gives-a-damn-about-accents department, I found Henry Fonda's Pierre to be rather....transcendental. He could just as easily have been fighting the Comanche as the French.
Fortunately, for I had no intention of staying up til midnight to finish off W&P, the Hallmark Channel was running The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. I love watching Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne working together, although I haven't figured out a way to put why I enjoy it in words yet.
Oh, by the way, I believe it was from War and Peace that Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure pinched those few seconds of Napoleonic battle. Now there is a movie that is a lot more sublimely clever than one would have thought at first. A particularly fitting line for today:
Bill: You ditched Napoleon? Deacon, do you realize you've stranded one of Europe's greatest leaders?
Deacon: He was a dick!
HOW DID I EVER BEAT ROBBO ON THIS ONE
For the record, the only Democrat I ever voted for was Bert Crush for clerk of the circuit court about ten years ago.
YIPS! from Robbo: I yield the field to you, Sir. It was probably the dentist visit question that sank me - I'm very lackadaisical about that sort of thing.
Cooter Jess Says "No"
Ben "Cooter" Jones is urging fans to stay away from the upcoming Dukes of Hazzard movie:
"Basically, they trashed our show," said Jones, who read a script of the Warner Brothers movie, which is scheduled to be released next month. "It's one thing to do whatever movie they want to do, but to take a classic family show and do that is like taking 'I Love Lucy' and making her a crackhead or something."
Yeah, family values. That's the ticket. Like many boys who hit their teen years in the late 70's, I've still got retinal damage from staring at Catherine Bach's legs in those cut-offs. As far as "family" went, my chief feeling towards mine was a wish that they'd all go away so I could ogle in peace.
UPDATE: Science proves I can take the Dukes or leave them alone -
Yips! to slightly more trashy Bryan of Spare Change.
'NUTHER UPDATE: Yeeee-haaaw! Looks like James Joyner was Daisy-goggling in them days, too!
Gratuitous Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkey Bashing - Bastille Day Edition
Och! Ya kin keep yer bloody frogs' legs, ya beret-headed bastards!
Yes, it's Bastille Day and the celebration of the ol' French Revolution. And like Lady Bracknell, I presume you know what that unfortunate movement led to? The Terror and the rise of the Corsican Tyrant come to mind.
I read somewhere of an incident during the Terror that was as chilling, in its own way, as any of the other atrocities committed in the name of liberty, equality and fraternity. A young woman came to Paris from the country and was immediately arrested. On further investigation, it was discovered that her arrest had been a mistake - she happened to have the same name as someone else the authorities were hunting. The poor woman went to the guillotine anyway on the grounds of having an anti-revolutionary name.
And don't think the modern French are any better. Not only did Vichy France roll over under the Nazi onslaught, in the summer of 1940 when things were looking very bad for Britain, there were those in Vichy actively interested in joining in the Nazi attack, partly to get in on the distribution of spoils and partly through pure Anglophobia. Fortunately, Churchill (together with FDR) was able to put sufficient diplomatic pressure on the Vichy government to prevent it from doing anything foolish. A memo written by Churchill on November 14, 1940, sums up his view of the French situation nicely:
Although revenge has no part in politics, and we should always be looking forward rather than looking back, it would be a mistake to suppose that a solution to our difficulties with Vichy will be reached by a policy of mere conciliation and forgiveness. The Vichy Government is under heavy pressure from Germany, and there is nothing that they would like better than to feel a nice, soft, cosy, forgiving England on their other side. This would enable them to win minor favors from Germany at our expense, and hang on as long as possible to see how the war goes. We, on the contrary, should not hesitate, when our interests require it, to confront them with difficult and rough situations, and make them feel that we have teeth as well as Hitler.
It must be remembered that these men have committed acts of baseness on a scale which have earned them the lasting contempt of the world, and that they have done this without the slightest authority from the French people. Laval is certainly filled by the bitterest hatred of England, and is reported to have said that he would like to see us "crabouilles," which means squashed so as to leave only a grease-spot. Undoubtedly, if he had had the power, he would have marketed the unexpected British resistance with his German masters to secure a better price for French help in finishing us off. Darlan is mortally envenomed by the injury we have done to his Fleet. Petain has always been an anti-British defeatist, and is now a dotard. The idea that we can build on such men is vain. They may, however, be forced by rising opinion in France and by German severities to change their line in our favor. Certainly we should have contacts with them. But in order to promote such favourable tendencies we must make sure the Vichy folk are kept well ground between the upper and nether millstones of Germany and Britain. In this way, they are most likely to be brought into a more serviceable mood during the short run that remains to them.
A few years back, I recall reading an article about the superiority of dogs over cats as pets. The author said something to the effect that cats look at one with a supercilous sneer that says, "The only reason I don't eat you is that you're bigger than me." I think the French Government is very cat-like. And although Winnie went out of his way to champion the virtues of the French people, as opposed to the Vichy Government, the fact remains that Vichy could not have existed without, if not popular support, at least popular resignation.
No, I haven't forgotten the disgraceful way France has behaved towards us since 9/11. France is not our ally.
UPDATE: Here's the classic Bastille Day Goldberg File, written by Jonah in his prime.
UPDATE DEUX: Here's Jonah's 2001 Tribute.
UPDATE TROIS: Okay, I will give the French credit for one thing - they think Tom Cruise is a crackpot.
UPDATE Le FOUR: The Irish Elk posts the words to La Marseillaise.
Random Commuter Observations
A woman in front of me at the Metro station this morning was carrying a big, tinfoil-covered baking dish. At the top of the escalator, the transit cops swooped down on her.
Message to terrorist bastards - don't try the stealth casserole technique because we've got that one covered.
July 13, 2005
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Outdoor Division
Image borrowed from Hawks Nursery.
In the next few days I'm going to have to stake up my gladiolas, which are just now starting to bloom.
I don't know why I planted them, I really don't. There's plenty of other bright color in the garden, but glads are somehow too garish, too over the top. It's as if the rest of the flowers are holding a nice afternoon garden party and the glads are the guests who show up not having got the message that the vicars and tarts fancy-dress has been cancelled.
Dee Cee is right on the borderline in terms of gladiolus winter survival. Anywhere north of here the bulbs have to be treated as annuals, dug up and stored every fall to avoid the cold. Anywhere south and they'll make it all the way through the winter. Here, it's a year to year coin-toss. I didn't bother to dig mine up last fall because I was rayther hoping the cold would finish them off for me. However, we had a relatively short and mild winter, so they came back. This year, I suppose I'll have to dig them out.
Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)
The Missus and the Llama-ettes were prowling about the Southampton Library this morning and picked up this nifty-looking opus for me from their used book sale:
Handel by Christopher Hogwood.
While I have a fair number of Hogwood's recordings of various composers (including Handel), I've never read any of his writings on the subject of music. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to reading this. If you're good, I'll write a review. If you're very good, I won't.
We were purple sharks once, and young
It's Wednesday in July, so tonight is swim meet night at Rancho non Sequitur.
Tonight, the 8 yr old is going to swim butterfly in a race for the first time, which should be cool. She's going to swim backstroke in the medley relay, than the 25 free, back, and fly.
The 6 year old is doing his second meet, and it will be a resounding victory simply for getting to the other end of the pool.
Their favorite part is when they do their team cheers at the beginning, and I've begun to mark the progress of the summer by when I get to hear them yell "I SAID A BOOM-CHECKA BOOM!"
The Chief is not doing well. This is beginning to look like the coverage preceding John Paul II's demise.
It Is OFFICIALLY A Slow Day...
UPDATE TROIS: Then again, there's Disco Stewie. He's kind of a dork. Anybody out there know a nice girl? We're sorta desperate.
UPDATE Le FOUR:
Yes, it's Store Wars. Go on over and watch. The thing's put together by the Organic Trade Association so it's slightly screedy, but they're at least hippies with a sense of humor.
Yips! to Cake-Eating Kathy.
Some Completely Random Thoughts
I throw these out for what they are worth:
- Bill Cosby's brain-damaged children routine gets funnier and funnier every time I see it. Come here! Come here! C'mere! C'mere! C'mere! C'merec'mere'c'mere!!!
- If you're thinking of investing in some Jos. Banks lightweight wool khakis, you might want to reconsider. They don't hold up very well, they wrinkle at nothing and they are surprisingly uncomfortable in the heat.
- Richard Sharpe and Horatio Hornblower are entertaining heroes, but dang do they spend a lot of time bitching and binding and agonizing. Reading too many of their adventures on end has a cumulative depressing effect. I think this is one of the things that makes Jack Aubrey so refreshing by contrast, his being such a Jovian personality. (How anybody got the bright idea that Russell Crowe could pull this off is beyond me. Crowe is broody and moody. He would make a good Richard Sharpe. But Jack Aubrey? Fuggedaboudit!)
- If Elastigirl is so maliable, why would she ever be concerned about starting to look dumpy in her Mrs. Incredible suit? Couldn't she simply sculpt the ol' hips and backside any way she wants?
The Impenetrable One has this to say in the comments about Elastigirl:
As a never-recovered superhero geek, my take on the Elastigirl shape issue (not having yet seen the movie) is that using her powers to look all Kate Moss-ish (or whatever) would be a mental distraction/drain of superpower resources/what-have-you that she didn't want to devote to vanity when (one presumes once one is in 'the suit') she would likely have other more important things to occupy her mind about...
Ha! says I. Since in the movie she uses her superpowers to, among other things, a) vacuum under furniture, b) discipline squabbling children and c) pinch Mr. I on the bottom from long distances away, I have to assume there's no limit on her powers. And if that's the case, why wouldn't it be easy for her to give herself whatever figure she wants?
Our good pal Chan the Bookish Gardener is normally a calm, cool, refined writer. However, I've been reading her long enough to know and relish the one topic that brings out her Inner Fiend, the one subject that frees the Mr. Hyde behind her Dr. Jekyll, the Hulk inside her Dr. Banner.
That topic is, of course, the annual attack of the Japanese Beetles. Go on over and see Chan cut loose.
Random Commuter Thoughts
Dayum it's hot and humid this morning. I know it's technically impossible to have humidity greater than 100%, but I believe Dee Cee has nonetheless managed it today.
Walking up from the Metro reminded me irresistably of my old high school gym locker room. I kept expecting fuhball players to leap out from behind corners and thwok me with rolled up towels.
UPDATE: My office is supposed to knock off and spend the afternoon having a picnic in some park or other today. Think I'm going? Not bloody likely.
UPDATE DEUX, INSULT TO INJURY DEPT.: What made this morning even more infuriatingly awful was the memory that when checking in yesterday afternoon from eastern Lon Gyland, the Missus noted how the Llama-ettes only spent a little while at the beach because the breeze coming off the ocean was "a little chilly". Grrr.
UPDATE TROIS: Iced latte. Ahhh. Ambrosia ain't in it.
July 12, 2005
The LLamas can reveal: Karl Rove IS the Half-Blood Prince!
And be sure to kick them when they are down
Man, days like today Granny's advice sure comes in handy.
What with all the hype attending the new Willy Wonka movie, I thought I'd go back to the LLama files for this classic:
And I will not give up my fight, until every Oompah-loompah can have great health care, and be respected in the world again. And won't be discriminated against or defamed because they are mistaken for those terrorist Marshmallow Peeps. Man, I hate those things---I always get Jeeves to pre-chew mine for me.
THIS is CNN...?
We report, you decide.
Somewhere at a roadhouse in Altoona, James Earl Jones is crying dramatically into his beer, while Ted Turner is getting the shit kicked out of him in the back alley.
Howard Dean was rendered speechless for a whole two minutes....
while Jacques Chirac attempted the international sign for "Don't shoot! We surrender!"
But do let us know when you've arrived!
"Effete Slack" Indeed
I thought I would just take this opportunity to state again my theory that Kurt Russell and Patrick Swayze are, in fact, the same person.
I say this for no purpose other than to needle Steve-O.
That is all.
YIPS from Steve: It's quite simple, really: The Kurt is able to stink up a movie a new way each time. The man is a genius, an avatar of schlock, a true artist of the mediocre.
Whereas Swayze was always one to many Haagen Dazs from obscurity.
Gratuitous Llama Re-Run Posting
This past weekend, I found out that Dad had not seen a long article I linked awhile back about golf course architecture.
Well, Dad - here's the post. Go on over. And enjoy.
Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)
A.C. Douglas is musing about the closing scenes of Mozart's Don Giovanni.
First, he argues that the Commendatore, in dragging the Don to his fiery fate, is engaged in a bit of free-lance vendetta and is not, as is sometimes thought, on a mission from God:
But to question further, why does the Commendatore repeatedly command Giovanni to repent? It's simply too much to imagine that the Commendatore has any interest whatsoever in saving Giovanni's soul (or whatever), or that the Commendatore is, for reasons hidden, an instrument or agent of God or heaven sent to accomplish that task. The idea is just too absurd, and effectively given lie to directly by the inscription on the Commendatore's graveyard statue.
No, the Commendatore is no-one's instrument or agent, and acting entirely in his own behalf and interests in the matter of Giovanni. And for the Commendatore, it's a win-win proposition. If he secures Giovanni's repentance for his crimes and way of life, he will have secured a confession from Giovanni that he wrongly killed the Commendatore, which in turn will secure for the Commendatore's unquiet spirit the release it requires, thereby permitting it to go to its eternal rest. If he fails to secure Giovanni's repentance, then the Commendatore's vengeance will be satisfied by Giovanni's descent into everlasting torment (which is also tacit confirmation of his guilt), which descent will also release the Commendatore's unquiet spirit from its earthly roaming, and permit it to go to its eternal rest. For the Commendatore it's a heads-I-win, tails-you-lose deal, and the Commendatore doesn't give one fig how the coin lands.
I've got no problem whatever with this view and furthermore I don't think Mozart or Da Ponte went out of their way to camouflage it in any way. Nonetheless, Mr. Douglas posits that this interpretation went sailing right over the heads of many of Mozart's own audience and continues to do so today. Perhaps. I frankly don't know.
Mr. Douglas also has some excellent staging suggestions for the concluding sextet, in which the surviving characters wrap up their affairs and reflect on the lesson of the Don's demise. But he also suggests that Mozart is using this finale to slyly thumb his nose at the audience:
My take on that sextet is that, as I've above remarked, it's an extended, sardonic, and slightly malicious Mozartian joke; one targeted at the bourgeois sensibilities of the audiences of the time, and perpetrated at their expense by Mozart whether those audiences were made up of aristocrats, the middle-class, or the proles, all of which classes Mozart held pretty much in equal contempt (although for different reasons). Mozart knew precisely how those audiences would understand Giovanni's fate: as just recompense and divine retribution for his profligate, sinful, and even criminal life, and would understand it in that way not least because those audiences needed the comfort of knowing that Giovanni had met his end in such a morally decisive manner because of the threat such a one poses to the moral, social, and cultural status quo of the prevailing order. In that closing sextet, Mozart, with a sly and slightly malicious off-stage grin undetectable by most of his audiences, assures those audiences that Giovanni has been dealt with fittingly, and now everything is once more restored to proper bourgeois order with nothing of consequence left to threaten or disturb their good and just bourgeois sleep.
I dunno - if there is a joke about the "proper bourgeois order" there, it sure doesn't start with the final sextet, because it's been demonstrated time and again throughout the opera that all of the characters have flaws and imperfections of some kind or another: Don Ottavio is a hey-you. There is a good deal of ambiguity about exactly what the Don was doing in Donn'Anna's room at the beginning of the opera and what she actually thought of it at the time. Donna Elvira is a crackpot ("e pazza, amici miei"), Zerlina an opportunistic minx, Masetto a hot-headed dolt and Leporello a mercenary. If these are the pillars of the bourgeois world, Mozart's shown us the cracks in their plaster long before they start singing the old song about bad things coming to bad people. But perhaps I misunderstand the point.
Anyhoo, go read the rest.
Gratuitous Bachelor Llama Posting
Again, sorry for the lite posting. As I say below, I am pretty busy at the moment. Furthermore, this kind of nasty, hot, sticky weather positively filets me.
Of course, the other big factor is the continued absence of the Missus and the Llama-ettes at the beach. As tired as I might get of the continuous demands on my time and energy when the house is full up, the truth of the matter is that once everybody leaves, I quickly start to drift aimlessly. There are any number of things I could be doing with my free evenings that I've been meaning to get around to, but damme if I haven't wound up reading listlessly and repeatedly glancing at my watch, wondering when I can legitimately just go to bed.
I suppose that's a round-about way of saying I miss them.
UPDATE: Okay, okay. I haven't spent the entire time since Saturday morning simply moping around. In Weekend Medieval News:
The British longbowmen obliterated a hostile neighboring community of Saracens. Having first taken control of a key ford between their respective lands, the Brits slipped a raiding party of several peasants and archers deep into enemy territory and successfully captured several critical deposits of gold and stone, thereby accelerating the attrition caused by the Saracens' repeated suicidal attempts to storm the ford. A Saracen spokesman could not be reached for comment because they were all dead.
Picking up the effete slack of Robbo the LLamabutcher
Yesterday was EB White's birthday. Sheila has the commemoration.
Yips! from Robbo: Uh-huh, Uh-huh, effete slack? Hello, kettle? This is pot. Anyhoo, sorry for the lite posting but, as Cole Porter would say, it's too darn hot. My brain goes into vapor lock in this kind of weather. Plus, what few amps it is cranking I need for some work projects that are, er, heating up.
I will say this about White - that time and again as I've been reading Charlotte's Web to the Llama-ettes, he has demonstrated that he's absolutely dialed-in on their wavelength. Example (inaccurately quoted, I'm sure, but you'll see what I mean):
Charlotte: "You'll be absolutely incandescent!"
Llama-ette: "What's 'incandescent'?"
Wilbur: "What's 'incandescent'?"
Charlotte: "It means to shine a lot."
You can imagine what kind of kick the gels get out of this. And it also says something about White's skill as a children's author.
Cleanup on Aisle Five!
Doing whippets when you're 16, working the produce aisle at the Stop n' shop? Dumb-ass move, lose your job and have to pay the store for the cans. (I'm NOT speaking from personal experience here, so hush). $3.95
Why I love Australia, part MCMLVII
And it's not just because of the serene wisdom of Pixy Misa, benevolent Meister Burger Burger Meister of the domain of Moo-Knew.
It's because, along with the Brits, they are our true allies in the world.
Case in point, the editorial in today's Australian about last week's attack This is not a war of our own making:
But there will be more attacks. That is beyond debate or doubt. And the brutal truth is there is nothing the West could or can do to appease the terrorists. They will strike wherever they can, whenever they can. And any rag-bag argument in support of slaughter will do them. If the allies fled in fear from Iraq tomorrow attacks around the world would continue, only the excuse would alter – to revenge for past wrongs. Bin Laden has denounced Australia for helping East Timor win independence from Indonesia – another foreign policy blunder we have "paid the price" for. His allies threaten France for its ban on head scarves in public schools. And the Islamists talk of punishing crusader states, as if Australians, of all ethnicities and religions, are to blame for wars fought a thousand years ago. And it is false comfort to assume that the bombers are interested in improving the lot of ordinary Muslims. As with the appeasers who urged Australia to bow before the Nazi or Soviet empires, commentators who say we can cut a deal with evil, that Islamic terrorists will leave us alone if we only give them a little of what they want, do not understand what we confront. This is a war with people who believe murder is not a means to an end, but is an end in itself.
Read the whole thing, for a concise statement of what this is all about.
UPDATE: Here's the Sydney Morning Herald echoing the theme.
Ah, le perfidy of zee French
Remember how, the day after 9/11, the French were united with us, and we had their moral support and fraternite?
And how Amerikan lefties screamed bloody murder at our own leaders when mere weeks later, France was back to acting in their own interests, which means regularly crapping on les Etas-Unis?
And remember how the French were in solidarity with the Brits last week, with the Socialist Mayor of Paris declaring how "we" were all Londoners?
Surprise, surprise, surpise! Right on schedule.
And I'd be willing to bet that he gives the same interview to al-Jazeera, but blames it on the JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOZ.
Public Service Announcement
Kathy's got the info on a great cause.
SEKRIT MESSAGE TO THE CAKE EATER: Kiss the ring? Hell no. You're from the old neighborhood.
Just climb into the front seat---no, don't mind that the LMC is sitting right behind you.
And to your commentator, Bill isn't our Moe Green, he's our Johnny Fontane.
McCAIN ON JUDICIAL FILIBUSTERS
Drudge is carrying this post, quoting the senior senator from Arizona as saying that there will be no filibuster on Bush's SCOTUS appointments. This could be McCain's way of signalling to Bush he will support pedal-to-the-metal nominees and an attempt to mend fences with the conservative base with the '08 primaries in mind. In any event, the Gang of 14 deal is looking more and more inconsequential.
This disturbing news about the Supreme Court popped up today:
Key GOP and Democratic members of the Senate met this morning with President Bush for a first discussion of the upcoming nomination of a new Supreme Court justice, with Minority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) declaring afterward that he was confident that a "consensus" candidate satisfactory to both parties would emerge from the process.
Several in the meeting said as well that they had urged Bush to appoint a justice who is not sitting on any U.S. court of appeals in the interest of getting someone with practical experience.
Reid, the minority leader, said that while Bush "didn't give us any names, there were names mentioned in the meeting."
Reid, reflecting the comments of others in attendance as well, said he thought there has been "enough contention on judges."
Someone with practical experience, eh? How about a solid conservative son of the South with extensive experience heading the district attorney's office in NYC?
There's no other word for it: I'm......(wait for it, wait for it) OUTRAGED!
"Consensus" of course means delaying the all-out legal/political/ideological war we've been promised! Talk about your coifus interruptus! All our dancing around the severed head of Robert Bork on a pole gone to naught! All our secret conferences on the "constitution in exile," all our toasts commemorating the retirement of Justice Brennan, all our Federalist Society meetings spent learning the Illuminati handshakes----nothing!
The horror.....the horror.....
UPDATE: I was wondering how long it was going to take for George Mitchell to insert his ugly mug and razor sharp elbows into this fiesta.
Yet another reason to boycott Disney.
The Midsummer Classic
The All-Star Game is always bittersweet for me, as it seems to be the point in which the rest of summer becomes a blur and the next thing you know the garden's dormant, leaves are falling......
I've already had three students email me to get the syllabus for a class this fall: weenies!
Anyhoo, one of my first baseball memories was when I was five, when Reggie Jackson hit the homer on the roof at old Tigers Stadium. Somehow that made a real impression on me. Irish Elk has a roundup of the like that can only be found at the Irish Elk, which includes his (decidely premature) rooting for a White Sox/Nationals World Series.
Other vivid All-Star game memories: when we were kids, we used to play Stratomatic constantly through the summer. We played lots of board games: Monopoly games that would last 2 weeks, Risk games that would inevitably end in backyard brawling, but Stratomatic was the King. I remember we tried playing a 160 game schedule with four teams that we created (I think we just shuffled, we didn't have a "draft"), but I can't remember whether the whole season got played. But the All-Star game was always fun because we'd listen on the radio on the back screened porch, but lie on the floor and play our own game. My older brother Lou would keep score of both games, and we'd pore over the score sheets for weeks.
Anyhoo, I haven't watched or listened to the All-Star game in eons, but I always note its passage, and with it the passing of Summer in a hazy blur.
A Link-whoring festa that not even I could ignore
Skippy the Kangaroo takes it all to the next level, and we bow before a master of the genre---Skippy is certainly the Mr. Miyagi of link and traffic whoring, which I guess would make Rusty be Daniel LaRusso and INDC Bill Ali Mills.
Funny, I Didn't Notice The Severed Head Of A Llama Next To Me When I Woke Up This Morning
Well, we seem to have misplaced the new site design.
Perhaps those copyright lawyers move faster than I had supposed. Can you say "cease and desist"? Sure, I knew you could.....
INSTANT UPDATE: Never mind. Found it.
July 11, 2005
More on Caddyshack
The LMC's posting the other night on Caddyshack produced a nice tide of comments, including in the comments section a link to carlspackler.com
And if you don't know who Carl Spackler is, well, you must be below the age of 33 or above the age of 46.
Or you're a regular viewer of The Bachelor/ette series.
License to kill gophers by the government of the United Nations. Man, free to kill gophers at will. To kill, you must know your enemy, and in this case my enemy is a varmint. And a varmint will never quit - ever. They're like the Viet Cong - Varmint Cong. So you have to fall back on superior firepower and superior intelligence. And that's all she wrote.
Lincoln's generation relied on the Bible and Shakespeare for metaphorical language to describe their world view: mine has the entire oevre of Bill Murray.
I mean, come on, how many times have you stood at the practice tee and had this baby go through your mind:
What an incredible Cinderella story, this unknown comes outta no where to lead the pack, at Augusta. He's on his final hole, he's about 455 yards away - he's gonna hit about a two-iron I think. Oh he got all of that one! The crowd is standing on its feet here, the normally reserved Augusta crowd - going wild - for this young Cinderella, he's come outta no where, he's got about 350 yards left, he's gonna hit about a five-iron, don't you think? He's got a beautiful backswing - that's - Oh he got all of that one! He's gotta be pleased with that, the crowd is just on its feet here, uh - He's the Cinderella boy, uh - tears in his eyes I guess as he lines up this last shot, he's got about 195 yards left, he's got about a - its looks like he's got about an eight-iron. This crowd has gone deathly silent, the Cinderella story, outta no where, a former greenskeeper now - about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mirac - It's in the Hole!
Yips! from Robbo: I'm going to slip the head into the ol' noose here and suggest that Bill Murray is, in fact, the only real reason to watch this movie.
Of course, the you-know-who's are to blame.
And by that, I don't mean Voldemort.
Operation REd Wing update
The Return of the Deaniacs
An unintentionally humorous story in the WaPo today about local MoveOnistas and Deaniacs getting all fired up for action on the Supreme Court confirmation front.
Somehow, I get the feeling that they'll be about as effective as they were last time.
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The tee-vee show
PBS has made Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel into a three part series.
This is one of those instances in which a "no-brainer" turns out to be, well, evidence of no brains. Don't get me wrong: GG&S is an outstanding work of theory. I've used it quite a number of times in different courses (often in conjunction with Victor Hanson's Carnage and Culture, where VDH puts forward a contrary theory that focuses on cultural organization) to put forward different meta-theories for the development of societies. Diamond's thesis, revolving as it does around the significance of ecological development and the uneven distribution of natural resources, presents a compelling way to understand what drives societal change over the long haul. I teach at a women's college, so I'm spared the rounds of snickering that would inevitably come from college boys noting Diamond's fascination with, um, farm animals
But that doesn't explain why this book was a bestseller. My theory on this comes from seeing this book advertised over the past 5 years in airport bookstores: in the larger airport bookstores, you can almost always find a large display of this one book within 15 feet of the cash register.
My theory is that this is the greatest book of all time to completely foreclose any possibility that the person sitting next to you will attempt to even look at you, let alone think of trying to talk to you. Better than an iPod, better even than The Economic Consequences of the Black Plague, alas, even better than my previous favorite for this role The Road to Serfdom, pulling out Jared Diamond is the best way for people to take one peripheral vision look and think to themselves, "pyscho." Which is a shame really, because it is a good book.
Anyhoo, the review of the show is pretty vicious, as far as these things go:
Unfortunately, there's also no contest between this television series and Diamond's book. Part of the problem is Diamond himself. The producers put the professor at the center of the story, and we watch him traveling the world, in a dugout canoe in New Guinea, walking along a railroad track in Zambia, paging through a book in a Spanish library. But the scenes are static and Diamond is no Carl Sagan. Even the supposed emotional climax of the series, which comes when he visits a facility for African children with malaria, has almost no punch.
The show compounds its difficulties by relying on a set of hokey techniques that call attention to themselves. Granted, the beginnings and spread of agriculture aren't the easiest things to dramatize. But there's enough time-lapse photography of clouds in this series to last a lifetime. And the historic reenactments look like animatronic versions of the dioramas that used to populate natural history museums. Indeed, those of a certain age might feel they're watching the modern equivalent of a school filmstrip: ponderous in pace, with its didacticism guaranteed to be 100 percent sugar-free.
For anyone truly interested in Diamond's ideas, there's a better piece of real estate than in front of the tube. It's a comfortable chair, with his book open in your lap.
The bit about Carl Sagan is going to leave a mark.
Anyhoo, I think they really blew it here, as GG&S would have made the basis for a great reality/game show, kind of like Survivor meets Age of Empire. You'd divide them up into teams on their different islands, but give them access to different types of things which could be parlayed into technology. I'd love to see those boneheaded coffee baristas and disaffected lawyers try to figure out how to smelt bronze.
Personally, I'll pass on this one and wait for when they make a series out of Steven Levitt's Freakonomics, if only to see the Mick Jagger of American academics crown pass from the obsequiously ubiquitous Brian Greene.
July 10, 2005
COMPLETELY USELESS JUDICIAL TRIVIA
Since Steve-O started the random judicial trivia, I cannot resist throwing an item of completely useless knowledge. Retirement for any justice does not prevent them from hearing cases in the lower federal courts. Lewis Powell periodically sat on panels of the Fourth Circuit after his retirement from the Supeme Court. Byron White did the same for the Ninth Circuit, lending some sanity to a court of appeals that is often out of control.
J. Harvie Wilkinson for the Supreme Court
George Will has an excellent piece today laying out the case for Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson for the chief justiceship. Judge Wilkinson was until recently the chief judge of the reliably conservative Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Overcoming my instinctual bias against someone named "J. Harvie" I can think of no person more qualified to be the Chief. If merit---integrity, legal acumen, and judicial temperament---was the sole criteria, it would be Judge Wilkinson, hands down.
But then again merit hasn't been the sole criteria since Hoover appointed Benjamin Cardozo.
Conservatives who are hoping against hope for the reincarnation of Cotton Mather, or of the intellectual heir of Willis van Dervanter, can forget about it. But those who've replaced the old concern with geographic balance with the real estate of ideology---ie that some seats are the "moderate" seats in much the same way there was a "southern" seat and a "Massachusetts" seat for a long time---should also not double down their bets.
COMPLETELY RANDOM SUPREME COURT GEEK FUN!
At the magnificent Oyez website that Jerry Goldman runs out of Northwestern, on the pages for the individual Supreme Court justices it has a feature that lets you see who the previous occupants of that seat were. Interestingly enough, O'Connor occupies Owen Roberts' seat, he of the famous vote switch from the New Deal era.
I'm such a nerd for that type of stuff.
It is a hot summer afternoon, the kids are napping, Mrs. LMC is out doing girl stuff--the perfect afternoon for a stroll down trivia lane. What are your favorite lines from one of the funniest movies ever made? Mine is Lacey Underall's favorite recreational activities: "Skinny skiing, going to bullfights on acid."
AMPUTEE TRYING TO GET BACK IN THE FIGHT
This comes courtesy of BlackFive. Read it.
FLASH IN THE PAN MOVIE BABES OF THE NINETIES
This weekend's feature: Rachel Ticotin, the present Mrs. Peter Strauss and the former Mrs. David Caruso. Best flick: as Arnold's sidekick in Total Recall. Best attributes: dark, good looks; no pretensions that I know of to opine in public on global warming, nuclear weapons, foreign policy, or poverty in Africa. Co-starred in a string of forgettable flicks since TR, including that cinematic epic, Con Air.
July 09, 2005
Never Go Against the Llamas
YIPS from Steve: So are we giving Robbo his long overdue props or what? After having his LLama dressed as the Statue of Liberty, Robin from Batman, Princess Leia, the Easter Pimp Bunny's chief Ho, and Missus Klaus, he gets center stage in the new look. Well deserved for a good sport!
Of course, he probably won't like the Hermione Granger LLama makeover for the impending Harry Potter Week Coverage.....
July 08, 2005
THE TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN WARRIOR
The Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in the nave at Westminster bears this inscription:
Beneath this stone rests the body of a British warrior
Unknown by name or rank
Brought from France to lie among
The most illustrious of the land
And buried here on Armistice Day
11 Nov: 1920, in the presence of
His Majesty King George V
His ministers of state
The chiefs of his forces
And a vast concourse of the nation
Thus are commemorated the many
Multitudes who during the Great
War of 1914 - 1918 gave the most that
Man can give life itself
For King and country
For loved ones home and Empire
For the sacred cause of justice and
The freedom of the world
They buried him among the kings because
He hath done good towards God and His house.
Four smaller inscriptions are on it, one on each side:
No greater love than this
Unknown, yet well known - dying, behold, we live
The Lord knoweth those that are his
In Christ all shall be made alive.
In The Last Lion, William Manchester wrote that upon becoming prime minister, Churchill said he "thought long and hard these last few days about whether it is part of my duty that I should enter into negotiations with that man [Hitler] and I have concluded that if this long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end when each of us lies on the ground choking in his own blood."
This is the stuff of which the British are made. Such spirit may sleep and some may think they have gone soft but once awakened they will do whatever it takes to defend their island home and their way of life. Ask the Romans, the sailors of the Spanish Armada, Napoleon, the Kaiser, Hitler, Mussolini, Hirohito, Galtieri, and Saddam.
Drudge is carrying a note in red that the media is "on standby" amidst "growing reports" the Chief is hanging up the cleats.
UPDATE: Drudge has goosed up the bells and whistles to include a flashing light. Watch the libs twist themselves into a lather with calls for "balance," "consultation", "advice and consent," etc. The more paranoid types on our side will fret that Bush will screw them with a "moderate." BTW, for all those that call for Bush to replace O'Connor with a "moderate" or a "pragmatist" to preserve "balance"--where where you when Clinton replaced Byron White with Ruth Bader Ginsburg?
YIPS from Steve: Our old pal everyone's favorite Commie is speculating about returns far ahead of the Five Year Plan, fanning talk that Ruth Bader Ginsburg is going to go soon.
I'll only add this, that the last time I saw her at the Court she looked almost spectral, and seemed to almost float into the room.
Boy, Rehnquist and O'Connor sure were clever, waiting five years and one presidential election to leave the bench after delivering the election to the Chimperor so they could retire.
And look for Netanyahu to get advance notice of the next two resignations....
Here's an idea: since people are already floating the Fred Thompson for the Supreme Court idea, why not, if Rehnquist and Ginsburg go this summer, appoint Diane Weist and Steven Hill to the other two spots?
That way, instead of the "Oyez oyez" crap, the Marshall could gavel in each session of the Court by saying
In America's war on the Constitution
The people are "protected" by two sets of judges:
Liberal activists who want to let local governments seize their homes and property, but let them play hokey-pokey with their pie-hole,
and conservative originalists who want to preserve your right to carry a brown bess and twisted knickers, but get completely screwed by the modern state.
These are their stories.
Followed, of course, by the Law & Order "BWONNNNNNNNG" noise.
The New Llama Look....
...is on its way this weekend. Do not be alarmed. Do not attempt to adjust your computer.
That is all.
UPDATE: I unveiled the new design to the Missus just now. She laughed and called it great. Good enough for me.
YIPS from Steve: YEAH, BAY-BEE!!! Let it rip, Phin!
Man, are WE going to get sued!
Lite Posting Notice
A day of domesticity here at the Butcher's House as we get things ready for the Missus and the Llama-ettes to head off to the beach.
Tomorrow, of course, begins the annual Llama Bachelor Week. The ideal for this week usually involves buckets of range balls, cigars, Guy Movie marathons, good Scotch, heavy workouts, playing the piano well into the evening and just generally revelling in peace and quiet. The reality usually consists of me aimlessly rattling around an empty house longing for the return of the familiy.
Well. We'll see.
Speaking of Llama time-wasters, the other day, I noted how reading a book about the Battle of Britain seemed to improve my WWII air combat computer gaming skills. I wonder if rereading Henry V would improve my British Longbowmen's performance against the Teutonic Knights in Age of Kings.
Not that they really need any help. (Yeah, I'm talkin' to you, Steve-O.)
More Gratuitous 80's Pop Culchah Stuff
The Missus was out having a birthday drink with a friend last evening, so I sat down to watch Silverado, which I had never seen before.
My friends, let me just tell you here and now that this movie is conclusive proof that a heavy-weight cast does not, repeat not, guarantee a good movie. I actually found myself feeling sorry for Kevin Kline, who is normally one of my favorite actors.
Discuss amongst yourselves.
Gratuitous 80's Pop Culchah Stuff
I was on the treadmill last evening jamming along to one of my favorite running CDs - Duran Duran's "Decade". (The fact that I feel compelled to work out at home to get in sufficient shape to show myself at the gym is, of course, a side issue.)
Anyhoo, I found myself asking the same question I always do: In "Is There Something I Should Know", there's a bit with a slow harmonica doing the same couple of notes over and over. This sounds to me very much like Charles Bronson's "Harmonica" character's playing in Once Upon A Time In The West. I've always wondered whether that was a deliberate reference or just a coincidence.
(Okay, okay. But give me a break - half an hour into a run my brain is usually in vapor-lock. These delusional questions will come up.)
And as long as we're on the subject of 80's bands, I also found myself reaching hard to try and remember the name of a flash-in-the-pan duo who had an MTV video that seemed to play endlessly during my college days. The song was called something like "She's Got The Look" and the band was a guy and a girl. He had rectangular steel-rimmed glasses and one of those bushy 80's hair styles. She played bass. That's all I remember. Ring a bell for anyone else?
SUPER SEKRET MESSAGE TO BILL: Next time you think I'm overdoing the Mozart blogging, just remember this post. And count yer blessings. Heh.
July 07, 2005
"We Are All Brits Now"
The Bull Moose: "We are all Brits now." Fly the Union Jack today.
(Detached from previous post and moved to the top of the page for the day.)
UPDATE: A good idea whose time has come again:
(Image lifted from Rich Lowry.)
FLASH IN THE PAN BABES OF THE EIGHTIES
Mrs. LMC had "Dirty Dancing" on a little while ago which I had never seen as my existence for the period 1981 to 1991 was spent here and here. Apparently, I did not miss much on the large screen during my extended stays in the boonies of America, but I digress (or regress?). In any event, Jennifer Grey's claim to fame was she co-starred with Patrick Swayze in DD and was in "Farris Bueller's Day Off." A short clip this evening of the "where are they now" variety had Jennifer going on and on about what a big moment it was for her and how great it was that DD was made into a musical. This woman is on the ropes. Poor Jennifer, gone and forgotten but at least she did not do the skin mags and movies on the estrogen channels.
UPDATE: A faithful reader corrected me on the spelling of poor Jennifer's name but even that will not save her from obscurity, richly deserved. Mrs. LMC, the Final Authority on all Manner of Popular Culture, thinks Jennifer had cosmetic surgery. Colossus inquired if we have ever done a feature on the babe from Flashdance. We have, and here it is.
MORE REHNQUIST RUMORS
Robert (not Michael) Novak has this piece predicting the Chief's retirement as early as tomorrow.
UPDATE: once again, a faithful reader gently corrected me on the appropriate Novak. If this keeps up, Robbo and Steve-O will take away my keys to the super-secret Llama server farm. However, unlike Dan Rather, I will not hide behind "false, but accurate" or any other such nonsense.
Chatting with Red in the post about Robert McCloskey's books below got me dreaming again about vacation time and this place: Popham Beach State Park. We make a point of spending some time there every summer when we go up to Maine. It's a very large, very uncrowded beach, with beautiful scenery and very good sand. The only drawbacks are that the water is cold as hell and you have to keep your eyes open for the riptides.
Sigh......Another month to go before I make my exodus from this steam-bath known as Dee Cee. But it'll be worth the wait.
In this article about Middle Eastern reaction to this morning's London bombings, we find Hamas, of all people, shaking their collective heads:
The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, responsible for many suicide attacks on Israelis, condemned the London bombings.
"Targeting civilians in their transport means and lives is denounced and rejected," Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy chief of the group's political bureau told Reuters in Damascus by telephone.
Yeah, uh huh, right. Hi, Kettle? This is Pot.
Yips! to Mr. Evolution, who has lots of other links as well.
I suppose that DHS really had no choice but to raise the terror alert level for mass transit here in the U.S. after this morning's bombings. But really - God help any idiot fool enough to try a stunt today of all days. If half the people around here are feeling as flat-out angry as I am about the bad guys hitting us, anybody found carrying what the Metro authorities delicately like to call a "suspicious package" probably would be set upon and torn to shreds long before the transit cops could get anywhere near him.
A Little More Mid-Afternoon Mood-Lightening Frivolity
Separated at Birth?
Similarities are being noticed between Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka and a certain recently-acquited Hollywood freak. And lest you think I'm making all of this up just because of my own prejudices, I'll have you know that no less a Blog Eminence than Laurence Simon his own self is the one who brought it to my notice:
"It's very scary," laughs Houston-based blogger Laurence Simon.
Like other moviegoers, Simon made the Depp-Jackson-Wonka connection almost instantly when he saw the Chocolate Factory trailer. An offhanded remark last month on his blog, This Blog Is Full of Crap (IsFullofCrap.com), about how much he wasn't looking forward to Burton's film led one commentator to crack, "What's the problem...? Don't have the stomach for Michael Jackson and the Chocolate Factory?"
[Insert sound of sniggering here.]
Yips! to Ith.
BTW, for those of you interested, I've now read the original Roald Dahl novel to the Llama-ettes, who thoroughly enjoyed it. We're starting in on Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, which doesn't seem half as good, at least from the early chapters. The whole "Spaceship U.S.A." bit with the cardboard paranoid Amuricans had me tapping my foot with some impatience. I hope Dahl gets over this kick quickly, but experience suggests that I shouldn't let this hope get too high.
UPDATE: Rechecking the comments to my previous post, I see that Fausta scooped the lot of us on the whole Depp/Jackson thing. Well done.
UPDATE DEUX: In a story related to today's events, Evil Glenn reports that the Gloved One stands ready to whip out his support for the Brits. N'yung-chuk! Oooh, Hooo!
Blogging in Berryland - Updated
A little lite mid-afternoon relief for this bad day. (And isn't this Why We Fight, after all?)
Following up on my post about blueberries and the Llama-ettes the other day, long time Llama commenter Sarah recommended this book:
Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McCloskey.
Thankee much, Sarah - I'll let you know how it goes!
The Storm of the Century Of The Week
Hey, Dee Cee! Forget the terrorists - Mother Nature is coming for ya:
... Threat for heavy rainfall and isolated severe thunderstorms heads toward the region...
The remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy will move across the region
later today and tonight. This will bring significant rainfall to
Scattered showers and thunderstorms will be possible today. The
rain will become widespread and heavy at times after 5 PM and
continue overnight. A Flash Flood Watch remains in effect from
midnight through Friday afternoon. Total rainfall of 3 to 5 inches
will be possible. This amount of rainfall could cause flooding of
river systems and flash flooding of localized areas.
There will also be a risk of isolated tornadoes... this evening and
overnight... as the remnant circulation moves across the region. The
tornado threat area is from Charlottesville northeast to the
District of Columbia and Baltimore... and points further east to the
Chesapeake Bay. The threat for tornadoes should be from about 5 PM
and continuing overnight.
Quick! To Giant! Buy all the batteries, toilet paper and bottled water you can! Well? Why are you still sitting there? Run!
UPDATE: Yes, and milk too! Buy lots. Pour it in your bathtub. Toss in a few ice cubes. It'll do fine for days and days. (Thanks to our brainy commenter LB Buddy. He's a scientist, ya' know, so he knows what he's talking about.)
James Robbins at NRO:
According to the MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base, there have been 126 terrorist incidents in London since the late Sixties, making it among the most targeted European capitals. (Note: There have been 309 attacks in Paris over the same period.) London has been attacked not only by the IRA, but also the Popular Front for the Liberation, Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Abu Nidal Group, and now al Qaeda. Not to mention the Blitz during World War II. If Hitler's Luftwaffe could not break Britain's will, what chance do the terrorists have?
Wizbang has more.
What a difference a day makes
THE OLYMPICS: I'd comment but I find the entire event a crashing bore. I'm glad that Britain beat France. But I'd be glad if Britain beat France in a turtle race. I just hope London isn't crippled by the wrong kind of development. But if they survived the Millennium Dome, I guess they can survive anything. Even the tedium and cant of the "Olympic Spirit." Grouchy enough for ya? Bah: humbug.
This followed a screed on banning male circumcision.
I guess Andrew's been stuck in that July 6th mindset for over a year now.
Yips! from Robbo: Unless your name is George Galloway (MP, Vichyshire), in which case things never change:
We extend our condolences to those who have lost their lives today and our heartfelt sympathy to all those who have been injured by the bombs in London.
No one can condone acts of violence aimed at working people going about their daily lives. They have not been a party to, nor are they responsible for, the decisions of their government. They are entirely innocent and we condemn those who have killed or injured them.
The loss of innocent lives, whether in this country or Iraq, is precisely the result of a world that has become a less safe and peaceful place in recent years.
We have worked without rest to remove the causes of such violence from our world. We argued, as did the Security Services in this country, that the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq would increase the threat of terrorist attack in Britain. Tragically Londoners have now paid the price of the government ignoring such warnings.
We urge the government to remove people in this country from harms way, as the Spanish government acted to remove its people from harm, by ending the occupation of Iraq and by turning its full attention to the development of a real solution to the wider conflicts in the Middle East.
Only then will the innocents here and abroad be able to enjoy a life free of the threat of needless violence.
UPDATE: For all your Moonbat Reaction needs, go check out Michelle Malkin's round-up.
IRA or AQ? Worstall has the answer
Our old friend Brit ex-pat Tim Worstall:
There is no way that this is the work of the IRA. Sky News is reporting that the bus was blown up by a suicide bomber. Irish people don't blow themselves up. There is no Guiness in the afterlife.
UPDATE: That was Tim quoting Tigerhawk. My bad.
UPDATE DEUX: So far, no one is pinning this on the imminent return of Lord Voldemort, which is odd given one of the attacks was at Kings Cross Station, home of Platform 9 3/4.
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day
WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here But one ten thousand of those men in England That do no work to-day!
KING. What's he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
Make him a member of the gentry, even if he is a commoner.
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
The Price of Greatness is Responsibility
The last time I attended a ceremony of this character was in the spring of 1941, when, as Chancellor of Bristol University, I conferred a degree upon the United States Ambassador, Mr. Winant, and in absentia upon President Conant, our President, who is here today and presiding over this ceremony. The blitz was running hard at that time, and the night before, the raid on Bristol had been heavy. Several hundreds had been killed and wounded. Many houses were destroyed. Buildings next to the University were still burning, and many of the University authorities who conducted the ceremony had pulled on their robes over uniforms begrimed and drenched; but all was presented with faultless ritual and appropriate decorum, and I sustained a very strong and invigorating impression of the superiority of man over the forces that can destroy him.
Here now, today, I am once again in academic groves - groves is, I believe, the right word - where knowledge is garnered, where learning is stimulated, where virtues are inculcated and thought encouraged. Here, in the broad United States, with a respectable ocean on either side of us, we can look out upon the world in all its wonder and in all its woe. But what is this that I discern as I pass through your streets, as I look round this great company?
I see uniforms on every side. I understand that nearly the whole energies of the University have been drawn into the preparation of American youth for the battlefield. For this purpose all classes and courses have been transformed, and even the most sacred vacations have been swept away in a round-the-year and almost round-the-clock drive to make warriors and technicians for the fighting fronts.
Twice in my lifetime the long arm of destiny has reached across the oceans and involved the entire life and manhood of the United States in a deadly struggle.
There was no use in saying "We don't want it; we won’t have it; our forebears left Europe to avoid these quarrels; we have founded a new world which has no contact with the old. "There was no use in that. The long arm reaches out remorselessly, and every one's existence, environment, and outlook undergo a swift and irresistible change. What is the explanation, Mr. President, of these strange facts, and what are the deep laws to which they respond? I will offer you one explanation - there are others, but one will suffice.
The price of greatness is responsibility. If the people of the United States had continued in a mediocre station, struggling with the wilderness, absorbed in their own affairs, and a factor of no consequence in the movement of the world, they might have remained forgotten and undisturbed beyond their protecting oceans: but one cannot rise to be in many ways the leading community in the civilised world without being involved in its problems, without being convulsed by its agonies and inspired by its causes.
If this has been proved in the past, as it has been, it will become indisputable in the future. The people of the United States cannot escape world responsibility. Although we live in a period so tumultuous that little can be predicted, we may be quite sure that this process will be intensified with every forward step the United States make in wealth and in power. Not only are the responsibilities of this great Republic growing, but the world over which they range is itself contracting in relation to our powers of locomotion at a positively alarming rate.
We have learned to fly. What prodigious changes are involved in that new accomplishment! Man has parted company with his trusty friend the horse and has sailed into the azure with the eagles, eagles being represented by the infernal (loud laughter) - I mean internal -combustion engine. Where, then, are those broad oceans, those vast staring deserts? They are shrinking beneath our very eyes. Even elderly Parliamentarians like myself are forced to acquire a high degree of mobility.
But to the youth of America, as to the youth of all the Britains, I say "You cannot stop." There is no halting-place at this point. We have now reached a stage in the journey where there can be no pause. We must go on. It must be world anarchy or world order.
Throughout all this ordeal and struggle which is characteristic of our age, you will find in the British Commonwealth and Empire good comrades to whom you are united by other ties besides those of State policy and public need. To a large extent, they are the ties of blood and history. Naturally I, a child of both worlds, am conscious of these.
Law, language, literature - these are considerable factors. Common conceptions of what is right and decent, a marked regard for fair play, especially to the weak and poor, a stern sentiment of impartial justice, and above all the love of personal freedom, or as Kipling put it:
"Leave to live by no man 5 leave underneath the law" - these are common conceptions on both-sides of the ocean among the English-speaking peoples. We hold to these conceptions as strongly as you do.
We do not war primarily with races as such. Tyranny is our foe, whatever trappings or disguise it wears, whatever language it speaks, be it external or internal, we must forever be on our guard, ever mobilised, ever vigilant, always ready to spring at its throat. In all this, we march together. Not only do we march and strive shoulder to shoulder at this moment under the fire of the enemy on the fields of war or in the air, but also in those realms of thought which are consecrated to the rights and the dignity of man.
At the present time we have in continual vigorous action the British and United States Combined Chiefs of Staff Committee, which works immediately under the President and myself as representative of the British War Cabinet. This committee, with its elaborate organisation of Staff officers of every grade, disposes of all our resources and, in practice, uses British and American troops, ships, aircraft, and munitions just as if they were the resources of a single State or nation.
I would not say there are never divergences of view among these high professional authorities. It would be unnatural if there were not. That is why it is necessary to have a plenary meeting of principals every two or three months. All these men now know each other. They trust each other. They like each other, and most of them have been at work together for a long time. When they meet they thrash things out with great candour and plain, blunt speech, but after a few days the President and I find ourselves furnished with sincere and united advice.
This is a wonderful system. There was nothing like it in the last war. There never has been anything like it between two allies. It is reproduced in an even more tightly-knit form at General Eisenhower's headquarters in the Mediterranean, where everything is completely intermingled and soldiers are ordered into battle by the Supreme Commander or his deputy, General Alexander, without the slightest regard to whether they are British, American, or Canadian, but simply in accordance with the fighting need.
Now in my opinion it would be a most foolish and improvident act on the part of our two Governments, or either of them, to break up this smooth-running and immensely powerful machinery the moment the war is over. For our own safety, as well as for the security of the rest of the world, we are bound to keep it working and in running order after the war - probably for a good many years, not only until we have set up some world arrangement to keep the peace, but until we know that it is an arrangement which will really give us that protection we must have from danger and aggression, a protection we have already had to seek across two vast world wars.
I am not qualified, of course, to judge whether or not this would become a party question in the United States, and I would not presume to discuss that point. I am sure, however, that it will not be a party question in Great Britain. We must not let go of the securities we have found necessary to preserve our lives and liberties until we are quite sure we have something else to put in their place which will give us an equally solid guarantee.
The great Bismarck - for there were once great men in Germany - is said to have observed towards the close of his life that the most potent factor in human society at the end of the nineteenth century was the fact that the British and American peoples spoke the same language.
That was a pregnant saying. Certainly it has enabled us to wage war together with an intimacy and harmony never before achieved among allies.
This gift of a common tongue is a priceless inheritance, and it may well some day become the foundation of a common citizenship. I like to think of British and Americans moving about freely over each other's wide estates with hardly a sense of being foreigners to one another. But I do not see why we should not try to spread our common language even more widely throughout the globe and, without seeking selfish advantage over any, possess ourselves of this invaluable amenity and birthright.
Some months ago I persuaded the British Cabinet to set up a committee of Ministers to study and report upon Basic English. Here you have a plan. There are others, but here you have a very carefully wrought plan for an international language capable of a very wide transaction of practical business and interchange of ideas. The whole of it is comprised in about 650 nouns and 200 verbs or other parts of speech - no more indeed than can be written on one side of a single sheet of paper.
What was my delight when, the other evening, quite unexpectedly, I heard the President of the United States suddenly speak of the merits of Basic English, and is it not a coincidence that, with all this in mind, I should arrive at Harvard, in fulfilment of the long-dated invitations to receive this degree, with which president Conant has honoured me? For Harvard has done more than any other American university to promote the extension of Basic English. The first work on Basic English was written by two Englishmen, Ivor Richards, now of Harvard, and C.K. Ogden, of Cambridge University, England, working in association.
The Harvard Commission on English Language Studies is distinguished both for its research and its practical work, particularly in introducing the use of Basic English in Latin America; and this Commission, your Commission, is now, I am told, working with secondary schools in Boston on the use of Basic English in teaching the main language to American children and in teaching it to foreigners preparing for citizenship.
Gentlemen, I make you my compliments. I do not wish to exaggerate, but you are the head-stream of what might well be a mighty fertilising and health-giving river. It would certainly be a grand convenience for us all to be able to move freely about the world - as we shall be able to do more freely than ever before as the science of the world develops - be able to move freely about the world, and be able to find everywhere a medium, albeit primitive, of intercourse and understanding. Might it not also be an advantage to many races, and an aid to the building-up of our new structure for preserving peace?
All these are great possibilities, and I say: "Let us go into this together. Let us have another Boston Tea Party about it."
Let us go forward as with other matters and other measures similar in aim and effect - let us go forward in malice to none and good will to all. Such plans offer far better prizes than taking away other people's provinces or lands or grinding them down in exploitation. The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.
It would, of course, Mr. President, be lamentable if those who are charged with the duty of leading great nations forward in this grievous and obstinate war were to allow their minds and energies to be diverted from making the plans to achieve our righteous purposes without needless prolongation of slaughter and destruction.
Nevertheless, we are also bound, so far as life and strength allow, and without prejudice to our dominating military tasks, to look ahead to those days which will surely come when we shall have finally beaten down Satan under our feet and find ourselves with other great allies at once the. masters and the servants of the future. Various schemes of achieving world security while yet preserving national rights, traditions and customs are being studied and probed.
We have all the fine work that was done a quarter of a century ago by those who devised and tried to make effective the League of Nations after the last war. It is said that the League of Nations failed. If so, that is largely because it was abandoned, and later on betrayed: because those who were its best friends were till a very late period infected with a futile pacifism: because the United States, the originating impulse, fell out of line: because, while France had been bled white and England was supine and bewildered, a monstrous growth of aggression sprang up in Germany, in Italy and Japan.
We have learned from hard experience that stronger, more efficient, more rigorous world institutions must be created to preserve peace and to forestall the causes of future wars. In this task the strongest victorious nations must be combined, and also those who have borne the burden and heat of the day and suffered under the flail of adversity; and, in this task, this creative task, there are some who say: "Let us have a world council and under it regional or continental councils," and there are others who prefer a somewhat different organisation.
All these matters weigh with us now in spite of the war, which none can say has reached its climax, which is perhaps entering for us, British and Americans, upon its most severe and costly phase. But I am here to tell you that, whatever form your system of world security may take, however the nations are grouped and ranged, whatever derogations are made from national sovereignty for the sake of the larger synthesis, nothing will work soundly or for long without the united effort of the British and American peoples.
If we are together nothing is impossible. If we are divided all will fail.
I therefore preach continually the doctrine of the fraternal association of our two peoples, not for any purpose of gaining invidious material advantages for either of them, not for territorial aggrandisement or the vain pomp of earthly domination, but for the sake of service to mankind and for the honour that comes to those who faithfully serve great causes.
Here let me say how proud we ought to be, young and old alike, to live in this tremendous, thrilling, formative epoch in the human story, and how fortunate it was for the world that when these great trials came upon it there was a generation that terror could not conquer and brutal violence could not enslave. Let all who are here remember, as the words of the hymn we have just sung suggest, let all of us who are here remember that we are on the stage of history, and that whatever our station may be, and whatever part we have to play, great or small, our conduct is liable to be scrutinised not only by history but by our own descendants.
Let us rise to the full level of our duty and of our opportunity, and let us thank God for the spiritual rewards He has granted for all forms of valiant and faithful service.
Mayor of London: "F*ck, YEAH!"
"Red" Ken Livingstone, who can usually be counted on to say something completely asinine, gets it today:
"I want to say one thing, specifically to the world today - this was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful, it was not aimed at presidents or prime ministers, it was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian ... young and old ... that isn't an ideology, it isn't even a perverted [faith], it is an indiscriminate attempt at mass murder."
"They seek to divide London, they seek Londoners to turn against each other ... this city of London is the greatest in the world because everybody lives side by side in harmony. Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack."
Yips! to Warren Bell in The Corner.
Never Give In, Never, Never, Never
Almost a year has passed since I came down here at your Head Master's kind invitation in order to cheer myself and cheer the hearts of a few of my friends by singing some of our own songs. The ten months that have passed have seen very terrible catastrophic events in the world - ups and downs, misfortunes - but can anyone sitting here this afternoon, this October afternoon, not feel deeply thankful for what has happened in the time that has passed and for the very great improvement in the position of our country and of our home? Why, when I was here last time we were quite alone, desperately alone, and we had been so for five or six months. We were poorly armed. We are not so poorly armed today; but then we were very poorly armed. We had the unmeasured menace of the enemy and their air attack still beating upon us, and you yourselves had had experience of this attack; and I expect you are beginning to feel impatient that there has been this long lull with nothing particular turning up!
But we must learn to be equally good at what is short and sharp and what is long and tough. It is generally said that the British are often better at the last. They do not expect to move from crisis to crisis; they do not always expect that each day will bring up some noble chance of war; but when they very slowly make up their minds that the thing has to be done and the job put through and finished, then, even if it takes months - if it takes years - they do it.
Another lesson I think we may take, just throwing our minds back to our meeting here ten months ago and now, is that appearances are often very deceptive, and as Kipling well says, we must "…meet with Triumph and Disaster. And treat those two impostors just the same."
You cannot tell from appearances how things will go. Sometimes imagination makes things out far worse than they are; yet without imagination not much can be done. Those people who are imaginative see many more dangers than perhaps exist; certainly many more than will happen; but then they must also pray to be given that extra courage to carry this far-reaching imagination. But for everyone, surely, what we have gone through in this period - I am addressing myself to the School - surely from this period of ten months this is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. We stood all alone a year ago, and to many countries it seemed that our account was closed, we were finished. All this tradition of ours, our songs, our School history, this part of the history of this country, were gone and finished and liquidated.
Very different is the mood today. Britain, other nations thought, had drawn a sponge across her slate. But instead our country stood in the gap. There was no flinching and no thought of giving in; and by what seemed almost a miracle to those outside these Islands, though we ourselves never doubted it, we now find ourselves in a position where I say that we can be sure that we have only to persevere to conquer.
You sang here a verse of a School Song: you sang that extra verse written in my honour, which I was very greatly complimented by and which you have repeated today. But there is one word in it I want to alter - I wanted to do so last year, but I did not venture to. It is the line: "Not less we praise in darker days."
I have obtained the Head Master's permission to alter darker to sterner. "Not less we praise in sterner days."
Do not let us speak of darker days: let us speak rather of sterner days. These are not dark days; these are great days - the greatest days our country has ever lived; and we must all thank God that we have been allowed, each of us according to our stations, to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our race.
Be Ye Men of Valor
I speak to you for the first time as Prime Minister in a solemn hour for the life of our country, of our empire, of our allies, and, above all, of the cause of Freedom. A tremendous battle is raging in France and Flanders. The Germans, by a remarkable combination of air bombing and heavily armored tanks, have broken through the French defenses north of the Maginot Line, and strong columns of their armored vehicles are ravaging the open country, which for the first day or two was without defenders. They have penetrated deeply and spread alarm and confusion in their track. Behind them there are now appearing infantry in lorries, and behind them, again, the large masses are moving forward. The re-groupment of the French armies to make head against, and also to strike at, this intruding wedge has been proceeding for several days, largely assisted by the magnificent efforts of the Royal Air Force.
We must not allow ourselves to be intimidated by the presence of these armored vehicles in unexpected places behind our lines. If they are behind our Front, the French are also at many points fighting actively behind theirs. Both sides are therefore in an extremely dangerous position. And if the French Army, and our own Army, are well handled, as I believe they will be; if the French retain that genius for recovery and counter-attack for which they have so long been famous; and if the British Army shows the dogged endurance and solid fighting power of which there have been so many examples in the past -- then a sudden transformation of the scene might spring into being.
It would be foolish, however, to disguise the gravity of the hour. It would be still more foolish to lose heart and courage or to suppose that well-trained, well-equipped armies numbering three or four millions of men can be overcome in the space of a few weeks, or even months, by a scoop, or raid of mechanized vehicles, however formidable. We may look with confidence to the stabilization of the Front in France, and to the general engagement of the masses, which will enable the qualities of the French and British soldiers to be matched squarely against those of their adversaries. For myself, I have invincible confidence in the French Army and its leaders. Only a very small part of that splendid Army has yet been heavily engaged; and only a very small part of France has yet been invaded. There is a good evidence to show that practically the whole of the specialized and mechanized forces of the enemy have been already thrown into the battle; and we know that very heavy losses have been inflict upon them. No officer or man, no brigade or division, which grapples at close quarters with the enemy, wherever encountered, can fail to make a worthy contribution to the general result. the Armies must cast away the idea of resisting behind concrete lines or natural obstacles, and must realize that mastery can only be regained by furious and unrelenting assault. And this spirit must not only animate the High Command, but must inspire every fighting man.
In the air -- often at serious odds, often at odds hitherto thought overwhelming -- we have been clawing down three or four to one of our enemies; and the relative balance of the British and German Air Forces is now considerably more favorable to us than at the beginning of the battle. In cutting down the German bombers, we are fighting our own battle as well as that of France. May confidence in our ability to fight it out to the finish with the German Air Force has been strengthened by the fierce encounters which have taken lace and are taking place. At the same time, our heavy bombers are striking nightly at the tap-root of German mechanized power, and have already inflicted serious damage upon the oil refineries on which the Nazi effort to dominate the world directly depends.
We must expect that as soon as stability is reached on the Western Front, the bulk of that hideous apparatus of aggression which gashed Holland into ruin and slavery in a few days will be turned upon us. I am sure I speak for all when I say we are ready to face it; to endure it; and to retaliate against it -- to any extent that the unwritten laws of war permit. There will be many men and many women in the Island who when the ordeal comes upon them, as come it will, will feel comfort, and even a pride, that they are sharing the perils of our lads at the Front -- soldiers, sailors and airmen, God bless them -- and are drawing away from them a part at least of the onslaught they have to bear. Is not this the appointed time for all to make the utmost exertions in their power? If the battle is to be won, we must provide our men with ever-increasing quantities of the weapons and ammunition they need. We must have, and have quickly, more aeroplanes, more tanks, more shells, more guns. there is imperious need for these vital munitions. They increase our strength against the powerfully armed enemy. They replace the wastage of the obstinate struggle; and the knowledge that wastage will speedily be replaced enables us to draw more readily upon our reserves and throw them in now that everything counts so much.
Our task is not only to win the battle - but to win the war. After this battle in France abates its force, there will come the battle for our Island -- for all that Britain is, and all the Britain means. That will be the struggle. In that supreme emergency we shall not hesitate to take every step, even the most drastic, to call forth from our people the last ounce and the last inch of effort of which they are capable. The interests of property, the hours of labor, are nothing compared with the struggle of life and honor, for right and freedom, to which we have vowed ourselves.
I have received from the Chiefs of the French Republic,and in particular form its indomitable Prime Minister, M. Reynaud, the most sacred pledges that whatever happens they will fight to the end, be it bitter or be it glorious. Nay, if we fight to the end, it can only be glorious.
Having received His Majesty's commission, I have formed an Administration of men and women of every Party and of almost every point of view. We have differed and quarreled in the past; but now one bond unites us all -- to wage war until victory is won, and never to surrender ourselves to servitude and shame, whatever the cost and the agony may be. this is one of the most awe-striking periods in the long history of France and Britain. It is also beyond doubt the most sublime. Side by side, unaided except by their kith and kin in the great Dominions and by the wide empires which rest beneath their shield - side by side, the British and French peoples have advanced to rescue not only Europe but mankind from the foulest and most soul-destroying tyranny which has ever darkened and stained the pages of history. Behind them - behind us- behind the Armies and Fleets of Britain and France - gather a group of shattered States and bludgeoned races: the Czechs, the Poles, the Norwegians, the Danes, the Dutch, the Belgians - upon all of whom the long night of barbarism will descend, unbroken even by a star of hope, unless we conquer, as conquer we must; as conquer we shall.
Today is Trinity Sunday. Centuries ago words were written to be a call and a spur to the faithful servants of Truth and Justice: "Arm yourselves, and be ye men of valour, and be in readiness for the conflict; for it is better for us to perish in battle than to look upon the outrage of our nation and our altar. As the Will of God is in Heaven, even so let it be."
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep
Froggy has all the information on Operation Red Wing, including the addresses to help support the families through the Special Forces foundations.
I've got nothing at the moment, so I gladly defer to the heavyweights. Yes, we all make fun of the Puppy Blender, but you can't help admitting that at times like this Glenn is the central source for, well, Insta-linkage. Go on over.
As for the report that the Dee Cee Metro is being searched, I came in on the Orange Line this morning to Metro Center per usual and didn't notice anything. I admit I'm usually three quarters asleep, but I'm pretty sure I'd have spotted dogs or machine guns.
More as the day goes on, I'm sure.
FWIW, forget the G-8 protesters. They're just a bunch of loud-mouth hippies. This smells of Al Qaeda to me.
UPDATE: SOOPER SEKRET MESSAGE TO THE MISSUS: No, that's okay. I'm sure the Metro is perfectly safe for getting home.
UPDATE TWO: The Command Post is posting some links revising upward initial casualty figures - now something between 40 and 45 dead, with up to 1000 wounded.
UPDATE THREE: Some people get it. Some don't. K-Lo over in the Corner posts this email from a Londoner:
I'm writing this sitting in my office in London working as normal.
As I look out the window I see no buses, very few cars but lots of people walking on the streets; however, these are not the images of Sept 11 - people walking in one direction out of the city. These are Londoners walking left, right, up the street, down the street, going about their normal lunchtime business.
We have faced terror before - Nazi terror, Irish Republican terror - and have not been beaten. This will not beat us either.
The overwhelming feeling round our office is "Is this best they can do?" - it looks and sounds much worse on 24hr news channels than in person.
Meanwhile, the discussion thread over at DU is consumed with a debate over whether Tony Blair had his G8 speech this morning fed to him via an earpiece. And one commenter named "John" has this to say:
These attacks were clearly the result of Blair's willingness to take part in Bush's war in Iraq. What happened in Madrid last year has happened again in London today. I hope people in Britain take the opportunity to bring pressure to Blair's government and bring their troops home from Iraq. If he does not, then Labour should make an effort to remove him from 10 Downing Street.
MORE: Tim Worstall, our favorite Brit ex-pat, has an ongoing roundup of links and reactions, plus this sensible advice:
[F]or now, save the anger until we really know who did it, keep the political posturing until we’ve buried the bodies and if it’s one of the things you do, pray for those who have been murdered and those they’ve left behind.
Amen to that.
July 06, 2005
Why the Kelo Decision Stinks
Will Collier digs into the dirt on emminent domain development and campaign donations to the Democratic Party. No wonder Nancy Pelosi liked the decision so much.
The human side of the story: Susette Kelo speaks to a large property-rights demonstration in downtown New London.
I've said it before but I'll repeat myself: of all the corrupt to the core one party muncipalities in New England, New London is probably one of the worst. The irony here is that they have a gem of a public asset in Ocean Beach Park, which the city government has run into the ground.
I'm all in favor of having Justice Stevens' Florida estate seized to make way for a museum of judicial arrogance, incompetence, and stupidity.
Guilty As Charged
If, as you live your life, you find yourself mentally composing blog entries about it, post this exact same sentence in your weblog.
Yeah, well, isn't that what any author or diarist might do? Why should we electronic bloviators be singled out?
Of course, it's not as if it's a constant thing. Most active times of mental post composition: mowing the lawn, walking to the office. Least active times: never you mind.
We were Purple Sharks Once, and Young
If it's Wednesday night in the summer, it's swim meet night at stately LLamabutcher Manor. This is our second year for our 8 year old daughter, who is going to be swimming in the 25M free, 25 breastroke, 25 back and probably the freestyle relay. This is also the first meet for the six year old boy, who will be doing the 25 free (and hopefully making it the length of the pool without having to be fished out by the Coast Guard).
The kids love the whole ritual and structure that the swim team creates for the summer, and boy does it take the edge off.
I'll have the wrap-up later.
UPDATE: We didn't get home until 1050, and the meet never really finished: they had to call off the freestyle relays because it was too durn late. The teams were just too big.
Anyhoo, the results: the little man swam his first meet, coming in 21st (out of 21). What mattered was that he finished---he got to the proverbial other end of the pool, and within a minute had a smile bigger than Christmas morning on his face. He whispered to me, "Daddy, I just pretended I was swimming for Gryffindor, and FairView was the Slytherins!" Whatever works to motivate the 6 year old crowd, eh?
The eight year old did great: in the 25 free she was flat and off her seed time by 1.5, but, more importantly, finished right ahead of one of her friends from school, who swam for the other team. Much dancing around ensued. She kicked butt in the backstroke, and did smoothly in the breaststroke. Personally, I was quietly relieved they had to cancel the freestyle relay, as she was pretty beat. This was her first meet swimming three discplines, so she had the delightful combination of elation and exhaustion. Needless to say, I carried her in from the car.
Hallmark doesn't make a card for that.
Further evidence that the LAwhd Gawhd is a Tar Heel
I was over at UVa today to spend a glorious 4 1/2 hours in the stacks doing research on the Barbary Wars and Jefferson's foreign policy for a lecture I have to do in two weeks. Walking across by the Rotunda was like navigating an obstacle course left by a petulant 3 year old Jolly Green Giant who was tired of playing with his train set. A large thunderstorm blew through town yesterday afternoon and sprouted a mini-tornado, which cut a very narrow swath about 15 yards from the University Avenue side of the Rotunda, before disintegrating right before the Old Medical School building. There were a number of very old trees which looked like someone had strapped a couple of sticks of dynamite to about 20 feet off the ground. I've never seen trees blown up like that. In the schadenfraude department, there was a really nice Porsche roadster convertible that had a very large tree dropped along its keel line.. Of course, it had New Jersey plates.
Of course, I'll be stripped of my Sekrit Decoder Ring and membership in the "Glenn Reynolds is Clapton" Fan Club, as I didn't have my digital camera with me, so no pics.
SECOND THOUGHTS: Hmmm, evidence of the over the top use of explosives within the sacred perimeter of Jefferson-land? I wonder if our own LLama Military Correspondent was in town and didn't look me up.....
Sooper Sekret Message to Steve-O
Ead-ray In-Phay's email-ay about-ay e-thay emplate-tay anges-chay.
I-ay ike-lay em-thay.
YIPS from Steve: In-nay e-thay mortal-imay ords-way fay-ay Uckwheet-Bay, "Oh-Tay"-ay.
I think he's refering to the Top Secret New LLamabutchers Design Template that our old pal Phin has been working on lo these many weeks.
UPDATE: Alia iacta est. Stand by.
Happy Birth-Day, Mister Puh-resident....
Yes, today is Dubya's birthday. It also happens to be the Missus' birthday. This is a matter of keen interest to the Llama-ettes.
Happy Birthday to both of my bosses, indeed.
IS ANYONE SURPRISED BY THIS?
Drudge is carrying this story on Charles Schumer overheard on a call "going to war" over nominees to SCOTUS, busting on the Gang of 14, and kissing up to Lindsey Graham (who looks more and more like a lightweight every day).
The Stuff To Give The Troops
Sheila posts a wonderful letter of advice that F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote to his then 11-year old daughter Frances while she was at camp. I am strongly inclined to print it out and nail it to the Llama-ettes' foreheads. (Like Fitzgerald, I even have a cat I can whack if the gels don't pay attention to me.)
Worry about courage
Worry about cleanliness
Worry about efficiency
Worry about horsemanship...[Robbo - But not yet. Not yet.]
Things not to worry about:
Don't worry about popular opinion
Don't worry about dolls
Don't worry about the past
Don't worry about the future
Now go read the rest.
THe LLama Plug
You know, one of those things that sounds nasty but isn't.
Anyhoo, Robbo linked to this post by Wuzzadem lighting a Roman Candle up the skirts of the Fox News Nooz Babes. But let me just say this for the record: for my money, Wuzzadem is the funniest, wickedest blogger out there. Hands down---it's like watching Allahpundit on the way up, before he went all Tony Montana on us so to stay up on three day Testors and meth benders playing Sonic the Hedgehog until his fingernails fall off.
Methinks Wuzzadem just might win the Coveted LLamabutcher Award for the Funniest New-ish Blog in the Universe----and with it the One Day Supply of Tender Vittles Flavored Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco Treat.
Zoot Alors, I'm busted!!!
|You Are 10% American|
Yikes! I hope they forward my subscription to the New Yorker to my cell!
Yips! from Robbo: Get the damn toga and tiara off me and I might just raise the bail money.
YIPS from Steve: Hey, watch it! That's not the type of mouthyness we come to expect from Lady Liberty, now, is it?
Yips Back! from Robbo: "That's why the Lay-dee is a tramp..."
Further "For The Honor Of The Llamas" Yips! from Robbo:
|You Are 77% American|
Wine and Bleu cheese for me, please. Also, the escargot and tete de veau bit was a beanball - I'd much rather have good French food than the other options. The song "Proud to be an American"? I've had more than enough of it.
YIPS from Steve: Everyone wants to know how I was able to score lower than Kos: well, you had to email them to ask for it in metric, and as I outed myself as a Sekrit Metric user already, it was the icing on the cake.
Shelby Foote, RIP
I don't know how I missed this last week. Over the weekend I did my annual re-reading of Stars in their Courses, his unequaled account of the Battle of Gettysburg that is just a small part of his epic three volume history of The War. It was Ken Burns that turned Mr. Foote into a star as the co-narrator of the 1990 Civil War documentary series. Heck, I'd pay good money to listen to Mr. Foote read the phone book. There was something magnetic about him. He will be missed.
Summertime and the Readin' Is Easy
While I am currently plodding through Edmund Morris' Theodore Rex and savoring the preparations for the Defense of Britain in Churchill's Their Finest Hour, it struck me that it's high time to inject some new, lighter reading into the list. Thus, I am launching out on some new books by old favorites:
A Good Clean Fight, by Derek Robinson. This is the continued story of Hornet Squadron, last seen fighting off the Nazi Blitz in Piece of Cake, now sent to North Africa. I've been meaning to get this for quite some time, but was put off a bit after reading Robinson's Goshawk Squadron, a story about a WWI fighter squadron that I didn't think anywhere near as good as P of C. But I still have high hopes for this one.
Sharpe's Battle, by Bernard Cornwell. The only infuriating thing about Cornwell's Richard Sharpe series, set during the Napoleonic Wars, is trying to sort them out chronologically. Cornwell keeps writing new ones and sticking them in between older novels. I have Sharpe's Rifles, Sharpe's Company and Sharpe's Eagle and it seems as good a time as any to plunge back into the Wars.
Flying Colours, by C.S. Forester. The eighth in the Horatio Hornblower series. The last one I read was Ship of the Line, which immediately proceeds this chronologically. Forester can't possible match Patrick O'Brian for the richness of his writing, but he still cranks out ripping good sea stories nonetheless.
SUPER BONUS BOOK RECOMMENDATION
In Their Finest Hour, Winnie mentions the "riddle of the sands", i.e., the question of German naval activity among the sandbars and shifting channels of the Southern Baltic. What he is referring to is, in fact, this:
The Riddles of the Sands, by Erskine Childers. It is, essentially, a very early spy novel, and tracks the adventures of two Brits in a small sailboat poking about that stretch of water in the early 1900's, slowly realizing what the Kaiser is up to.... A very entertaining book with much fascinating material on the art of sailing.
Take that, you cheese eating surrender monkeys!
You heard it here first: Sir Stephen Redgrave will light the cauldron in the opening ceremony.
SUPER SEKRIT MESSAGE TO ROB THE LLAMABUTCHER: Field trip?
JAMES B. STOCKDALE-R.I.P.
The local paper reports that retired Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale, USN passed away at age 81 of Alzheimer's. While he known best to the public at large as Ross Perot's running mate in the 1992 election, he was revered in the Navy for his courage and leadership as the senior naval officer in captivity in North Vietnam for which he earned the Medal of Honor. (Anyone interested in a good account of Stockdale and his fellow POWs in the infamous "Hanoi Hilton" should read Rear Admiral Jeremiah A. Denton's book, When Hell was in Session.)
Yips! from Robbo: Poor guy. To think that he went through all of that in Vietnam just to be remembered nowadays for his public humiliation in the '92 vice-presidential debate. (I still use the expression "Having an Admiral Stockdale Moment" myself. [Ed. - Perhaps you ought to cut that out.]) I never thought much of Perot to begin with, but after seeing the Admiral saying, "Who am I and what am I doing here?" in front of the entire nation, I had an overwhelming urge to hunt H. Ross down and punch him out.
UPDATE: Elizabeth at Daily Inklings posts on Stockdale's Vietnam heroism.
UPDATE DEUX: James Joyner has more links, information and tributes.
July 05, 2005
THE QUICK AND THE DEAD
Watched The Quick and the Dead last night with the Chief of Staff after our offspring went to bed. Good brainless action movie. Gene Hackman showed the talent that keeps him coming to work, cranking out movies, and never complaining. Sharon Stone was good without having to bang everyone in sight or show much skin--she looked particularly fetching in the last scene strolling down the street in leather, spurs clanking amidst the fire and explosions.
REHNQUIST PREDICTION-RELOADED AND SANDY'S SUCCESSOR REVISITED
The Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference has come and gone without an announcement from the chief justice about retirement. I am inclined to agree with one of our readers that the Chief will leave the courthouse feet-first with a sheet over his head.
As far as the retirement of SDOC is concerned, the President may be using the excuse of the G8 conference to let the Left get hysterical without even a nominee being put up. The outrageous soundbites over the weekend can be worked into a media campaign for the midterm elections down the road. However, waiting much after his return from Scotland will look like indecision so expect an annoucement shortly after his return. The nominee will a pedal-to-the-metal conservative. Bush is not the type to play it safe and won't this time.
Blogging in Berryland
(With apologies to Bruce Degan.)
We harvested our first blueberries over the weekend ("harvested" in this case meaning "scarfed right off the bush"). This comes on top of the appearance of the first raspberries last week. The bulk of the blueberries will come and go in the next two weeks or so, but the raspberry crop is more spread out, several of the bushes continuing to produce berries until the first frost. Around the Butcher's House, this is a sure-fire sign of High Summer.
There is nothing more pleasant to me than lounging in the hammock and watching the Llama-ettes work their way up and down the rows on a lazy summer afternoon, enjoining each other to only pick "the nice juicy ones". The sentimentalist in me hopes that as they grow older, this will be one of those happy memories they associate with their childhood. The pragmatist in me hopes that their continued fondness for raspberries will aid me in getting them to take charge of weeding the bed.
Speaking of fruits, our grapes are coming along nicely this year as well. I've got an arbor of five or six big vines of, I think, Concords. For some reason, though, every year it seems that just as the grapes are about to fully ripen, something happens to them - they shrivel up and turn odd colors. I don't know the first thing about viticulture, so I don't know if I'm doing something wrong with them to cause this. (Or more accurately, since I don't do anything, whether I'm not doing something I'm supposed to be doing.) Dad suggested that perhaps they're infected with botrytis cynerea, a mold that causes grey rot in unripe grapes, but causes something called noble rot in ripened grapes, a condition that leads to a concentration of sugar and flavor and allowing for the production of dessert wines, including Sauternes. One of these days, I'll figure it out.
UPDATE: Super-sekret message to Steve-O - Better start talking about your tomato crop, or I'll have to start talking about mine......
A perfectly reasonable thing to ask any nominee to the US Supreme Court
"What exactly is your position on the controversial issue of llama rescue?"
Because, like, we've got that part of the blog market covered.
We Few. We Happy Few.
Heh. It looks like we Llamas and our good pal Lintenfiniel Jen have a Harry and Westmoreland lock on Google-searches for P.J. O'Rourke's description of Henry David Thoreau as a "sanctimonious beatnik".
I hope those of you remaining a-bed while we fight this field are busy thinking yourselves accursed and holding your manhoods appropriately cheap.
"Hello and welcome to Target. My name is Satan. Can I Tempt You With Anything?"
We had the neighbors over for a 4th of July barbeque. They recently had their second child and we got around to talking about car trips with small kids. It was then that they mentioned this: the Kawasaki portable DVD system.
In the matter of teevee in the car, the Llama-ettes live under what we call the Four Hour Rule: If the trip is longer than four hours, we bring along a portable tee vee that plugs into the cigarette lighter and plays videotapes. Frankly, the thing is a pain in the arse - it sits on the armrest between the two front seats and hampers one's freedom of movement. Also, the speakers are built into the sides, so most of the audio goes right into Mom and Dad's ears.
But this, this may be a different matter. Screens hang off the seatbacks and, most importantly.....headphones.
We're coming up on Big Trip season here. The Missus heads off to the beach with the Llama-ettes next weekend and a month from now we all pile into the car for the annual trip to Maine.
Lawd knows I'm something of a Luddite when it comes to electronic gadgetry, but I can feel the sweet seductive power of this one.
UPDATE: Walmart does, indeed, have a cheaper one, with three headphone jacks instead of two. On the other hand, I've never heard of Durabrand.
This Is How The 19th Century Robber Barons Operated
John at Wuzzadem, in a single, masterful stroke, is cornering the entire Fox News Babe google-search market.
Bang goes half our traffic.
What "They" Said
"Chip" and the rest of the crack staff of the Hatemonger's Quarterly take on this past weekend's Live 8 extravaganza:
As those who diligently followed the vicissitudes of Live 8 well know, the concerts weren’t even indebted to raising money for Africa. Rather, they were intended as a kind of sub-musical passive-aggressiveness aimed at the world’s G-8 nations. It’s Bjork’s way of bitching.
Yep. Go read the rest.
UPDATE: Read Villainous Cassandra. What she said, too.
Coincidence? I Think Not.
Readers of a certain age may remember an episode of Fantasy Island that involved a librarian who could, despite his nerdy appearance, do all sorts of wonderful things like sword fighting because he'd read about them in books. I happened to remember this because it may a distinct impression on my mind: even in my tender youth, I thought the notion was preposterous.
Well, age and wisdom may have a few things to say about my long-held notions. I recently reread one of my favorite pieces of military fiction:
Piece of Cake, by Derek Robinson, that tells the story of a British Hurricane Squadron from September, 1939 to September, 1940. (Before you ask, yes, I saw the dramatization Masterpiece Theatre ran a few years back. I thought it was rubbish.)
Anyhoo, having finished the novel, I dashed upstairs, popped in my WWII Air Combat game and immediately scored a Victoria Cross for successfully defending Bristol against an attack by a gang of ME-110's. (And this in a Spitfire, mind you, a plane I consider inferior to the Hurricane in close combat.)
So, message to you kids out there: keep reading. Someday, you might just save the world from an imaginary enemy!
Munuviana has been suffering some sort of access issues this morning. The problem seems to be fixed at the moment, but I don't know if this is permanent or temporary.
If you've been having trouble dialing in to Llama Central, now you know why.
The Missus sends in this amusing bit o' language fun:
The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.
Here are this year's winners:
1. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you
realize it was your money to start with.
2. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly
3. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stop bright
ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of
breaking down in the near future.
4. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting
5. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject
financially impotent for an indefinite period.
6. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
7. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who
doesn't get it.
8. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
9. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.
10. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)
11. Karmageddon: its like, when everybody is sending off all these really
bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious
12. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming
only things that are good for you.
13. Glibido: All talk and no action.
14. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they
come at you rapidly.
15. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've
accidentally walked through a spider web.
16. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your
bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
17. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the
fruit you're eating.
And the pick of the literature:
18. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.
Death to Woody!
I find this little story to be amusing because I spent the better part of Sunday slapping a new coat of preservative on the Llama-ette's swingset/treehouse and counting the holes punched in it by the furshlugginer woodpeckers, which holes I am going to have to putty up, sand down and paint.
The Colossus has CNN dialed in on his bias-radar.
I had two thoughts upon hearing the news of Sandy Dee stepping down.
The first was a sudden weariness. "Aw, Jeez, here we go. Sisyphus, meet Rock." It doesn't matter who Dubya taps - Solon, King Solomon, Yoda - there's gonna be one hell of a fight. This weekend's Pravda on the Potomac was busy setting up the same "Right Wing One Short Step Away From Completing Construction of Death Star" meme as is CNN and, I suspect, most of the rest of the MSM. (All political considerations aside, it livens up the summer doldrums and sells papers.) Importantly, I believe the fight is going to be characterized by the same level of tongue-swallowing histrionics on the part of the Left as has recently dominated their attacks on Iraq, Gitmo and other hot-button issues.
The second was the thought that, given the inevitability and character of the approaching storm, Dubya should simply chuck any "consensus calculation" and go with exactly who he wants. If he wins, he wins. And if he loses, he rolls into the midterms with a potential kick-butt campaign issue: For the Donks, there is a subtle line between being perceived as defending the Republic from the maraudings of the GOP Juggernaut and indulging in obstructionism for its own sake, but there is little evidence that those in charge have the faintest idea where this line is. A betting man would be sorely tempted to see if he could draw the Donks over it.
Air Llama Roundup
Well, I can say this about my trip down to the Florida Gulf Coast on Friday - I'm reasonably sure I was the only man in the greater Tampa-St. Pete area actually wearing a tie. (Mom remarked rather dryly that she was surprised I wasn't the only one wearing a shirt.)
I flew out on an airline called "Ted" . That's it - just "Ted". "Ted" was remarkably happy to see me. "Ted" thought it was a great day to fly. "Ted" was glad I was aboard. Just so there wouldn't be any confusion, "Ted" even slapped his name on the side of the plane in twenty foot high letters. "Call me 'Ted,'" he kept saying. "This 'United Airlines' nonsense is so formal for buddies like us, right?"
Message to Edward: Sir, you presume too much. Your over-familiarity is unwelcomed and your faux casualness, a hideous example of corporate groupthink if I ever saw one, is not appreciated. I would prefer very much if we kept our relationship on a strictly professional level. You just concentrate on driving the damn plane. I don't want to be your buddy.
(FWIW, I was sitting up near the bulkhead and overheard a lot of the stewardess' talk. They were snickering about the whole "Ted" idea themselves and consoling themselves with the fact that at least they weren't unfortunate enough to be flying on Delta's subsidiary "Song".)
Gratuitous Masthead Griping
How is it that when Steve-O tinkers with the portrait, I'm always the one who ends up in drag?
Must. Get. Photoshop.
July 04, 2005
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. —Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
The signers of the Declaration represented the new states as follows:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton
The one he forgot:
Bill's parody is priceless, except that the next strand of debate would be as to whether blue was Hitler's favorite color, and whether it has any relationship to the Israeli flag and Halliburton.
And yes, this is my way of trying to put my big toe back in the pool.
July 03, 2005
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT
Contrary to vicious rumors, Fort LMC is not being considered for closure during the current proceedings of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission. This should come as a relief to my two year-old son, the future ROTC Scholarship Recipient and heir to the vast real estate holdings that comprise Fort LMC, and his little sister. Mrs. LMC, the post Chief of Staff, will no doubt be disappointed. This was my bachelor pad before we were married and she pines for a home she helped pick out, whatever that means.
SUPREME COURT PICKS
The speculations in print over who is on the short list for the Supreme Court reminds me of the buzz over papal prospects. In any event, they are worth reading if for no other reason than to glean the MSM's longing that Bush will appoint a justice to their (liberal) liking. The Virginian Pilot ran a front-page article on favorite-son J. Harvie Wilkinson, III, a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, former editorial page editor for the paper, law school professor, and Reagan appointee to the court of appeals. The Pilot longs for a nominee in the O'Connor/Lewis Powell mold, baby-splitters whose decisions often wound up promulgating a three-part test to whatever the issue at hand happened to be. Such jurisprudence inevitably fails to produce settled law and too often puts the courts in the position of making policy decisions better left to the political branches. As for Judge Wilkinson, he is in the Powell mold only in the sense that he is the consummate Southern gentleman. His published decisions reflect a consistently conservative judicial philosophy closer to Scalia than O'Connor. Wilkinson has the added benefit of being a Virginian, which makes it a bit more difficult for Gang of 14 sellout John Warner to oppose the "nuclear option" should it come to it.
DISSENTING OPINION FROM JUDGE STEVE DE LLAMABUTCHER: If merit were a factor, Judge Wilkinson would be Chief Justice of the United States. He's a great jurist.
And The Tempting of America was a flaccid piece of post-hoc rationalization.
REBUTTAL: Thank you Steve-O. I agree that Wilkinson should be chief justice but must repectfully disagree with your characterization of Bork's book. While his account of the nomination is important, the real value of the book is his treatment of original intent and the importance of it in judicial philosophy. Original intent is a prudential doctrine every bit as important as standing, ripeness, mootness, actual case or controversy which operate as checks on the exercise of judicial power. Judging without any anchor in the intent of the framer or the legislator is little more than exercise of judicial fiat. (Too few people realize "fiat" comes the Latin meaning "I will it.")
July 02, 2005
THE COMING STORM
Anyone who thinks that there is a Supreme Court candidate that Bush will nominate that will somehow avoid the coming storm over confirmation should read the chapters in Robert Bork's book The Tempting of America: the Political Seduction of the Law devoted to his nomination to the Supreme Court. The Gasbag in Winter's speech in the Senate after Reagan nominated Bork sounded alot like the remarks made by Kennedy on Friday after the announcement of O'Connor's retirement with the same references to abortion and civil rights. The only notable difference was that Bush has not even put up a nominee. The libs in the Senate and the media will savage any nominee sent up to Capitol Hill so the president might as well go petal to the metal. It is gut-check time for the Sellout Gang of 14. The safe bet is that the Democrats will cry "extraordinary circumstances"-rookies such as Lindsey Graham will be shocked that his fellow senators reneged on a deal so quickly. McCain will not be but will use the opportunity to go where he always likes to be: in front of a camera.
July 01, 2005
If the chief justice is going to annouce his retirement any time soon, it will not be until after the annual Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference, a confab in the mountains where all of the federal judges in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and the Carolinas gather. It is part business and part social, with the chief justice playing the piano and leading a sing-along. The conference is typically in mid- to late June and he has a particular interest in it because he is the Circuit Justice. Since the federal judges here have not been around for most of the week, my guess is that the conference got rolling a few days ago and wraps up today.
SHOW YOUR TRUE COLORS
Fly the flag this weekend for our country, for all in uniform in harm's way, and for their families. Play a little Cyndi Lauper while you do it. It will drive the wackos nuts.
ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION ALERT
Alternative Dispute Resolution or ADR (meaning usually mediation) has been a fad in the law schools for at least the last twenty years, judging from my own experience and that of one of our summer clerks. It has been hailed as a means to keep down litigation costs and bring global harmony, etc. The cold hard reality is that a matter in litigation or headed that way will not settle by mediation or some other method of negotiation until both sides see it in their self-interest to do so and each understands the strengths and weaknesses of their positions. Mediation/negotiation for the sake of negotiation is a waste of time. By the way, the same applies in the diplomacy and foreign policy context. What is generating this rant? A fruitness, all-day mediation yesterday that ended with the parties half a million dollars apart.
MOVIE BABES TO WATCH
Today's feature: Rosario Dawson who was one of the babes in Men in Black II. This fan site borders on cyber-stalking but has a great pic at the bottom with Rosario Dawson, Jessica Alba, and Jaime King. No movies with Tom Cruise or anything on the estrogen channels in the offing so it seems that her career is not in danger of going off the tracks anytime soon.