October 31, 2005
The gift that keeps giving
Check this picture out at John Hawkins' funhouse---that Bubba sure is a rascal, no?
I see the need for a massive federal relief program to fix the wake of Hurricane Katrina
Ladies and gentlemen, our vodoo-industrial complex is in dissaray! Hexes and mojos are being outsourced to cheap, low-cost vodoo outfits in Maccau and the subcontinent! Something must be done to stop the undermining of this classic Amerikan industry, or fear the wrath of health care costs skyrocketing from cheap, inferior workmanship vodoo dolls and rooster claws being used in American workplaces to cast hexes on pointy-headed bosses in pidgin Portugese/Cantonese patois.
It's for the children, I say!
Stephen Green: The Sobek Interview
Fortunately, Sobek was able to get Chris Matthews to sub in for him. Jailarity results.
Wouldn't they make a great Nathan Detroit and Sky Masterson?
Lane and Broderick are working their way through the classics. Next stop: The Frogs, no doubt.
Thank your revolutionary patriot forefathers this horse's ass aint your King
After slipping on the standard white gloves, Bonnie Prince Charlie looks for the proverbial ten foot pole before doing his royal duty...
Everybody's favorite Menshevik is running a caption contest.
Remembering Charles The Hammer
Rusty's citing Leo Strauss commemorating the Battle of Tours, which, you will probably not want to know, makes me feel a little funny in the pants.
NOTE TO RUSTY: That's funny in the pants only in a "good" way, I swear! Strauss is never the "bad" kind. Really.
Phin's on a bender
NURSE! GET THIS MAN 300CC'S OF MOISTURIZER, STAT!
I didn't realize they were showing repeats during November sweeps
RICKY WILLIAMS SAYS: That crazy white chick Catalano retired? AGAIN? Someone need to teach that women about not giving up!
UPDATE: Someone REALLY needs to get this guy to take a Catalano.
Well, over the weekend I started in on watching Firefly (which I hadn't seen before). Five episodes down, I can now say yes I am crabby about it.
Nonetheless, so far I enjoy the series. One key is the fact that the "Sci" doesn't overwhelm the "Fi", if that makes sense. All the technology is assumed to be part of everyday life and, at least so far, the crew isn't reduced to long debates about "bypassing the overflux tachion modulator with a retro-zed hyper-conversion damper" in order to get themselves out of a particular fix.
The only thing I find a bit silly is the Alliance cruisers. They remind me irresistably of the episode in The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe when Zaphod Beeblebrox visits the offices of Mega-Dodo Publications and the Frogstar Fighters sent to take him to the Total Perspective Vortex simply uproot the entire twin-towered building and fly it into space.
Oh, and now that I've seen the show, JohnL's Babes of Firefly polling makes much more sense to me. Tough, tough call on that one......
Lileks is skewering MoDo today:
Itís interesting: women writing about what men want always comes down to the Problems of Women, and men writing about what women want comes down to the same thing. Women writing about men always seems like cats writing about dogs; they just canít believe that sitting around and waiting for supper or intruders is what itís all about. It has to be something more. A writer of the Dowd Brigade will ask: why does he want to go have pizza after sex instead of cuddling? A man, or a married woman, will say: because heís hungry. No, it has to be more than that. Is he using the trip to the fridge as a hedge against intimacy? No, heís using it as a means to get pizza. Because heís hungry. You want him to stay, put a frozen Totinos between the mattress and the box spring before you start.
On an impulse last week, I picked up a copy of James' Mommy Knows Worst. It arrived this weekend and was immediately glommed on to by the Missus, who spent a fair part of early yesterday evening guffawing over it.
Well, That Was Fast
CNN is reporting that Dubya will pick Judge Samuel Alito of the 3rd Circuit for the Sandy Dee SCOTUS slot.
I admit knowing nothing about the man as yet. As the Russian cosmonaut says in Armaggedon after drawing the wire, "Ees dees gud? Ohhrr bahd?"
I expect I'll find out soon enough.
"HIT THE MASCOT" UPDATE:
Stanley Kurtz on Alito -
This is a winning political move. Alito is at least as qualified as Roberts, and his Casey opinion will not sustain a convincing filibuster. The Democrats seem trapped here. Reid has warned the president not to nominate Alito. And despite the narrow and non-substantive character of Alitoís dissent in Casey, the Dems will be forced by their groups to make abortion the issue. So if there is no filibuster, this is going to come off as a huge victory for the president.
On the other hand, a failed filibuster against this qualified a nominee will be an even bigger victory. A filibuster will inundate us with repetitive analyses of the Casey decision. But there is nothing in that decision that will carry a majority of the public against Alito. Conservatives will be infuriated by the attempted ďborking,Ē the Democrats will look obstructionist, and the filibuster will fail. If anything, that would be even better politically for the president and the Republicans.
The third, and least likely possibility, is a successful Democratic filibuster. That could only be the result of a successful borking, with major media malfeasance, and would make conservatives even madder. The result would be a gigantic election showdown with conservatives even more activated than liberals.
So every political outcome is positive. The downside is the possibility that a filibuster will hold up the larger legislative agenda. But I donít think even moderate Republicans are politically endangered by this. They will break a filibuster and will not be punished. Moderate Democrats will be in more danger if they do filibuster. Again, I think this traps the Democrats between their own groups and the broader public. Big win for the president.
I still don't know whether the Miers wild pitch was deliberate or not, but Dubya certainly seems to have followed up with a fast ball right down the middle.
(Yips! to Margi for the toy.)
Y.E.T.A.N.O.T.H.E.R. UPDATE: The RINO's are water-holing over at the Politechnical Institute.
October 29, 2005
Prince Charles is a bloody idiot
Inbreeding in the royal family hits an all-time new low:
The Prince of Wales will try to persuade George W Bush and Americans of the merits of Islam this week because he thinks the United States has been too intolerant of the religion since September 11.
The Prince, who leaves on Tuesday for an eight-day tour of the US, has voiced private concerns over America's "confrontational" approach to Muslim countries and its failure to appreciate Islam's strengths.
The Duchess of Cornwall will accompany her husband
The Prince raised his concerns when he met senior Muslims in London in November 2001. The gathering took place just two months after the attacks on New York and Washington. "I find the language and rhetoric coming from America too confrontational," the Prince said, according to one leader at the meeting.
It is understood that Prince Charles did not - and does not - believe that the actions of 19 hijackers should tarnish the reputation of hundreds of millions of law-abiding Muslims around the world.
Khalid Mahmood, the Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Bar, was also at the meeting at St James's Palace. "His criticism of America was a general one of the Americans not having the appreciation we have for Islam and its culture," he said.
The Prince also spoke of his sympathy for America after the terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of almost 3,000 people. He said he wanted to promote better relations between the different religions of the world.
By surrender, no doubt.
Folks, thank your lucky stars for George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, the Adamses et al tonight that this horse's ass has no role in our polity.
What a wanker.
October 28, 2005
The Coverup is ALWAYS worse than the crime
Scooter indicted for perjury, obstruction, and false statements.
Let me just say this as a warning for Fitzmas revelers: I'm a Republican who believes in the importance of the perjury and obstruction rules, and will not tolerate this behavior by officials in my party. Or yours, for that matter. Go ahead, laugh while you can, Monkey Boy, and then we'll see what happens when you nominate Hillary.
Also, I'm enjoying the special constitutional gift of Fitzmas: the aggressive if not zealous prosecution of leaks and leakers who compromise the national security. First up: the need to get Daniel Ellsberg for the incalcuable harm to American national security for the leaking of the Pentagon Papers, and the prosecution of Ben Bradlee and others for publishing them.
This precedent is going to bite the revelers in the ass, big time.
UPDATE: Twice in one week we scoop the Great One. In the immortal words of Joey Lawrence, "Whoa."
UPDATE: Quote of the day so far from the Corner:
when the subject is perjury indictments, is it really putting forth your cleanest expert to interview George Stephanopoulos?
Donks and wingnuts go ape over strong assertion of CIA secrecy/sanctity of national security over public's right to know.
Entirely logical in my universe, Captain.
Yes, and I realize "Donks and wingnuts go ape" would make a great addition to the "bumfights" video series.
UPDATE FOUR: Sigh, now I know what it was like for the Donks the first time a Clinton administration official was indicted.
Now what it felt like the ensuing 39 or 40 times remains a mystery....
UPDATE FIVE: Comment of the day over at Ace's:
So no conspiracy, not "retribution", no agent outed, no nothing except Scooter brain-fart. Well, we don't allow brain-farts so Scooter's history. Fuck, they got Scoots, man!
But no one's irreplacable. Sure, he was the guy with the plans to intern all the peaceniks until the war's over, but that plan is already in motion. He can watch from jail!
Gannon, Scooter--the price of liberty is high, men, and the blood of patriots and shit, right?
UPDATE: More snark from the dudes at Politech:
Not Scooter Libby! Iím crying now. When I voted for Bush, Libbyís presence in the administration was key to my vote. I had been 99% for John Kerry until I learned that Libby would be staying over in a second Bush administration. Well, thatís enough for me.
Now he could go to jail for 25 years! Why, oh, why, oh, why wasnít Judith Miller stronger? She couldíve run the clock out and saved our Scooter from such a jail term.
This is the worst day in the history of the Republic.
My only comment was what exactly is it about my original post that was "not sarcastic?" I mean, I have the Donks in a frothing lather over the indictment of a Muppet, for chrissakes!
UPDATE: BECAUSE WE ARE BLOGGERS, AND NOT SERIOUS NOOZ PEOPLE
We interrupt the Fitzmas Yule Log for the following nooz flash: there are lesbians in the NBA! And in Star Fleet! Intrepid Chip at the Hatemongers Quarterly has the beaver by the tail, so to speak.
UPDATE: Wizbang has up what has to be two of the least flattering pictures of all time. Damn that left-wing media bias! Someone alert Malkin!
Karl Rove leaks the CIA guarded secret of the size of Jeff Gannon's luv rocket.
October 27, 2005
I'm off tomorrow to do all those little things that, taken together, always seem to give one such a sense of satisfaction - haircut, oil change for the car, changing all the burned out lightbulbs, taking in the porch furniture for the season, filling up the bird feeders, etc., etc. Plus, this weekend is probably the last time I'm going to have to mow the lawn this year, a milestone I've been looking forward to since, say, July.
In the meantime, I have to go home this evening and explain to a very upset seven year old that no, she will not die if she doesn't get a flu shot.
As Professor Kirk said, what do they teach children in these schools?
Yip! at you later.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Fawlty!
Today is the birthday of Python alum and all-around lunatic John Cleese.
I posted this particular pic in tribute because Fawlty Towers is my favorite work of Cleese's. Python certainly has its moments, but I don't think it can match FT for sustained sublime silliness. But that's just me. I'm sure all of you have your favorite Cleese moments - why not drop a comment about them?
(BTW - the curious thing about Cleese is that I have seen him interviewed a number of times and on occassion am struck by the sensation that he doesn't really understand why people think he's so damn funny. It's just something about the way he talks about things - flat, dull, misdirected. Then again, he may be doing in on purpose just to spike the interviewer.)
Right, we'll have the watch ready at midnight. The watch. The Chinese watch.
Right. Bye bye. Mother...
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Prenatal Division
Margi posts a nifty little piece to make any expecting Mom happy. It struck me in particular because yesterday my seven year old announced that she did not want to go to a birthday party scheduled for Sunday morning because she did not want to miss church. (In fact, she's become obsessed with scoring a perfect attendance record in her Sunday school class, but I'll chalk it up as a Good Thing anyway.)
Meanwhile, congrats! to the Random Penseur who, as I noted in comments to his post, is about to discover the joys of shifting from man-to-man to zone defense. My advice? Watch the creases and, above all, don't let one of them get behind the coverage.
UPDATE: And just to head off any speculation, no, there are no plans for Llama-ette v. 4.0. I've had the same woman ask me this question three times in the past three weeks. I consider this doubly rude because a) it's rather too personal a question from somebody I really don't know that well and b) the fact that she keeps repeating it means she's not really listening to the answer I keep giving her.
UPDATE DEUX: This is turning out to be a fun day in that, I suppose with the Miers kerfluffle, sitemeter is registering incoming traffic from a bunch of new-to-me sites. From V the K comes this excellent suggestion for both Margi and RP on what one might call useful multi-child management techniques.
By The Way
I'm back in harness, as you can tell. I was down yesterday with a bug, as were the Missus and the seven year old.
Taking it easy, I started rereading one of my favorite books - Glenn Tucker's High Tide at Gettysburg. I'm in no way an expert on the matter, but this book has always struck me as an excellent introduction to the battle, although it is somewhat biased toward the Southern perspective.
For some odd reason, little bits of biographical trivia are sticking in my mind this time around. Did you know that General Meade's father had provisioned Wellington's army during the Peninsular Campaign? Or that Charles Marshall, who served on Lee's small staff right through the war, was the nephew of Chief Justice John Marshall, one of Steve-O's judicial heroes?
I dunno why, but these little nuggets fascinate me.
Later on, the Missus and I sat down to do a little post-childrens' bedtime movie watching. Unfortunately, we were thwarted in our original choice, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, because the copy Netflix sent us was completely cracked down one side. So we settled on Sideways, which neither of us had seen before, but which I remembered getting all kinds of rave reviews when it came out. Frankly, I fail to understand what all the fuss was about. It struck me early on that Paul Giamatti's character was really nothing more than warmed-over Napa Valley Woody Allen. Once that image floated into my mind, I couldn't get it out. The rest of the movie seemed to me to be nothing more than people behaving rather badly and then whining about it. Feh.
And speaking of whining, why is Peggy being such a cranky-pants today? Reading her column, you'd think we were in the same position as Numenor just before it was engulfed.
UPDATE: All hail the Emperor Pixy Misa! Peggy may find it rather hard to sit down for a while.
Woo, Ah say, Woo-Hoo!
Michelle has it.
I've been trying all this time to analogize Dubya's pick of Miers to that scene in Bull Durham where Crash tells Nuke to hit the mascot on purpose in order to throw off the batter. After Nuke does so, Crash looks up at the batter, shrugs and says, "I dunno where it's goin'," and gives him an evil laugh. The next pitch, of course, is a perfect heater that catches the batter flat-footed.
I still hope this is what the White House had in mind, because the alternative explanation - that this was a genuinely accidental wild pitch - is rather unpleasant to contemplate.
In either case, if Dubya does bring the heat now, this whole issue vanishes. The base will rally round.
UPDATE: I think K-Lo speaks for everybody:
The pretext seems to be White House counsel docs and recusal issues. Fine. Can we have a great, qualified candidate now? Mistakes were made. That's okay. Let's get back on track!
The White House and Miers deserves credit for ending it now. And senators who I suspect went to the White House behind the scenes know who they are.
UPDATE QUATRE: So who's next? Sooper Sekret Message To The White House - JUST SAY "NO" TO 'BERTO!
UPDATE CINQ: Dude, this is freakin' me out right here.
October 26, 2005
Your Hurricane Katrina Victim du Jour
I think the headline on this one should be:
MASHPEE STRIPPERS NARC ON HIGH-LIFE BOOZER REFUGEES
Federal relief money goes to pay for hookers, beer, and lap dances
I think we need to maintain cultural sensitivity here, and remind ourselves these are refuges from Louisiana, after all.
And you might want to keep a close count of those goats.
Signs you've been reading too much Heidegger
You know, I made the same mistake too, thinking too myself, "Daaaaaam, Vince is kind of a mope---a funny mope, natch, but still a mope---but his Moms is Hot!"
Well, THAT'S a no brainer!
Ummm, Emma Peel?
Does this make any sense to anybody with prosecutorial/legal experience? LLama Military Law Correspondent, thoughts?
For. The. Love. of. Gawhd. NO!
I'm with Ace on this one---put me down for flight or penicillin, even that there internets thing. Not this crap.
Rusty LUVS Chomsky?
For a second, I thought that Dr. Rusty was spending too much time with his head on the interior of the microwave, tin hat firmly in place, when I saw this headline: "A note to fellow academic bloggers: follow Chomsky's lead."
But he's actually got something useful to say in a heartfelt sort of way, kind of like the "Issues" section of the program where Sideshow Bob would explore the tender psyche of Springfield's youth. Here's the punch:
I don't post on my academic area of expertise for the very same reason Chomsky does not lecture outside of MIT on his: I know the difference between peer reviewed theories put under academic scrutiny and theories about world politics driven by my ideology. Hopefully, the latter--my opinions about the war on terror--are accurate. What they definitely are not, though, are rigorously thought out analysis in the same manner as my academic work is. None of my posts--as far as I can tell--has ever produced a hypothesis that any one -- as far as I can tell -- has tested.
So, to fellow bloggers in academia remember what your blog is and what it is not. It is a place to post random thoughts and observations. It is a place to stroke your own ego. It is a place to editorialize. It is a place to say inane, meaningless, and occasionally offensive things. It is a place where on a rare occasion you might just get an important point across. However, it is not a place to further your academic career nor is it a place that your credentials have any meaning.
Blogs are the great levellers of our day. Whether auto-mechanic or nuclear physicist, the opinions of both are of equal importance in the blogosphere. Blogs have made Chomskys of us all. And that, believe it or not, is a good thing.
I would concur wholeheartedly, with the one nit to pick that you forgot the most pleasurable element of blogging: stuffing the weak into lockers.
SOOPER SEKRIT NOTE TO RUSTY: Hang in there buddy, and if you need any help I know a place where I can get my hands on a few severed horseheads.
SOOPER SEKRIT NOTE TO JAY ENNN: That goes for you too---if you need the horseheads, you know who to call. Capiche?
Note to self
Never EVER make an enemy of Christopher Hitchens.
But what I'm liking about all this is the distinction between "good" and "bad" perjury.
"Bad" perjury--the kind that needs to be studied, dealt with, and punished by death--is the kind committed by Karl Rove, Libby, etc.
"Good" perjury---that kind that we need to "MoveOn" about---is the type committed by George Galloway.
My sense? Perjury and obstruction are crimes, no matter who commits them. Throw the book at all of it, or throw up your hands in a metaphysical way and pursue none of it.
And while we're on the topic of prosecuting leakers of classified materials compromising national security, is it too late to prosecute Daniel Ellsberg?
Oh, sorry, of course---"good" leaking to compromise national security.
Got it. MoveOn, nothing to see here.
October 25, 2005
A bizarre thought
I've been wondering for awhile how outsourcing would eventually come to American higher education, joking with Liz and the few who will speak to me about it showing up in having grading and other servile tasks of graduate students done for even lower wages on the subcontinent.
But tonight I realized that I was thinking about it from the wrong direction: it's already here, and it's being led by jackasses like this.
MSM FEEDING FRENZY
Hats off to U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steve Boylan for calling the "2000th death in Iraq milestone" for what it really is:
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, director of the force's combined press center, described the number as an "artificial mark on the wall."
"I ask that when you report on the events, take a moment to think about the effects on the families and those serving in Iraq," Boylan said in an e-mail. "The 2,000 service members killed in Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom is not a milestone. It is an artificial mark on the wall set by individuals or groups with specific agendas and ulterior motives."
"The 2,000th Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine that is killed in action is just as important as the first that died and will be just as important as the last to die in this war against terrorism and to ensure freedom for a people who have not known freedom in over two generations," Boylan wrote.
"Celebrate the daily milestones, the accomplishments they have secured and look to the future of a free and democratic Iraq and to the day that all of our troops return home to the heroes welcome they deserve," Boylan wrote.
Sir, Yes Sir!
Of course, that isn't going to stop the cut-and-run crowd from going ape. I gather Mother Sheehan is still toying with the idea of chaining herself to the White House fence. Perhaps she could find a nice muntions train instead?
Life just keeps getting better
I NEED A MILLION BUCKSAnd yet we're still worth zippo.
HOW ABSOLUTELY GAUCHE OF US, CIRCA 1998 What's weirder: that we're #2 on MSN search for
sweet leetle Monica halloween
or that some tool even punched that into a search engine?
Payback's a beeyotch
Now, if they'll only start looking into the mysterious funding behind the Saddam Hussein Tyrant Payola Chair in Theoretical Linquistics at MIT.
The LLama Geography Quiz
Here's the picture again:
The guesses so far have been way off base, except for the persons who identified the semi-star shaped object as a fort of the same class as McHenry. The picture hasn't been altered in anyway (except to size), and hasn't had it's orientation shifted from Google Map standards.
From that, you can deduce it's on the Atlantic coast of the continental United States on the west bank of a river.
UPDATE: One more hint: the source of the controversy is the brown speck about 200 M SW from the 7 oclock orientation of the Fort.
YIPS from Steve: I shamelessly stole this contest idea (but not this particular image) from the superior intellect over at The Colossus. Go over there and give the Big Guy some Yips.
HINT 3: The Fort is named after a painter.
WE HAVE A WINNER! Actually, two winners---Ted of Rocket Jones and The Colusssus himself who correctly identified the brownish black speck as 8 East Street, New London, Connecticut---the house of one Susette Kelo that was seized by the surrounding City of New London, and the dispute at the heart of Kelo v. City of New London.
The cool geometric building is the new(ish) Pfizer research facility; the fort is Fort Trumbull, and the sandpit looking area is the remains of the Naval Underwater Sound Research Facility, known in the area as the Soundlab.
And what do the winners get? The Traditional One-Day Supply of Rice-a-Roni, the San Franciso Treat!
Yeesh, Another Potter Movie?
Not to give away any spoilers or anything, but I think in this one Corporal Klinger finally convinces Potter to sign that Section 8 release after he (Klinger) insists that he's married to the camp goat and offers ample proof that the relationship has been, er, made official.....
Oh, wait a minute. Never mind.
In fact, I've never seen a Harry Potter movie nor read a Harry Potter book. [Insert modest bow here.] At first it was simply a lack of interest - as fond as I am of Tolkien and Lewis, I don't really care that much about fantasy in general. However, now that the HP marketing juggernaut is in high gear, it's more a matter of obstinant resistance to being hustled.
Eventually, I'm sure the Llama-ettes will stumble across this stuff and start reading it. Perhaps I'll take a squint over their shoulders at that point, but until then I say the figgo for Hogwarts.
YIPS from Steve:
The only response I have to this is
SNAPE WAS FRAMED!
Deep breath....warm, happy thoughts.....frolicking puppies......smiling clowns....
Quag-Miers Watch Update
Question: Well into his second term, mired in scandal and obvious unending lies and deepening crisis, did any senior Democrat turn on Bill Clinton? One year into his second term, and days after a huge and historically significant election in Iraq and a month after yet another unfair savaging at the hands of the MSM over Katrina, George Bush surveys his allegedly supportive pundits and the GOP Senate majority that he made, and he finds what?
Is the GOP incapable of governing as a majority?
Is Hugh really suggesting that knee-jerk Clintonista wagon-circling is a model the GOP should want to emulate? Especially on an issue as incredibly important as a SCOTUS nomination? Or that as a party we've no right to say, "Great job on Iraq, sorry you got screwed over Katrina, but you don't get a bye on Miers - go back and try again"?
Sorry, but if we've stooped to the level of wanting to hold on to the White House merely for the sake of holding on to it without being able to examine and debate the wisdom of what we're doing with it, then we don't deserve to be governing as a majority.
Yips! to Weapons of Mass Discussion, who put the hurt on Hugh.
Clenched-Fist Yips! to the Commissar.
UPDATE DEUX: Oh, and just to make it O-fficial for N.Z. Bear, we're opposed to the nomination.
I Just Lost A Bunch Of Brain Cells By Listening To Geico Ads
Geico has been running a very annoying radio ad in the Dee Cee market that features all sorts of fun facts about the District in an effort to make the company sound more local - things like references to the official Dee Cee flower and bird and so on.
The ad copy tries to tie all this back to the company by claiming that the gekko is the "official amphibian" of Dee Cee.
I'll leave aside the fact that Dee Cee doesn't have an "official amphibian". Instead, may I point out to any of you associated with Geico or its advertising firm that a gekko is a reptile? I mean, is it too much to ask that you pretend the gekko is the official lizard of Dee Cee? Or did one of your marketing people decide that would be too off-putting for Joe Public?
Stupid insurance company.......
"Their's But To Do And Die"
As regular reader RBJ notes, today is the anniversary of the Charge of the Light Brigade, the famous Crimean War incident in which a body of British Light Cavalry, through some appalling miscommunications, charged a heavily defended Russian artillery position head on. As everybody on both sides knew perfectly well, this is not something that lightly armed cavalrymen were meant to do. But they did it anyway. How can we pass up the day without quoting Tennyson's famous poem on the subject?
Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
"Forward, the Light Brigade!
"Charge for the guns!" he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
"Forward, the Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Someone had blunder'd:
Their's not to make reply,
Their's not to reason why,
Their's but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.
Flash'd all their sabres bare,
Flash'd as they turn'd in air,
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wonder'd:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro' the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel'd from the sabre stroke
Shatter'd and sunder'd.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro' the jaws of Death
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.
When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honor the charge they made,
Honor the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred.
This is Victorianism at its absolute highest and I'll confess that I've always found the poem stirring despite the fact that I generally hold this kind of high-blown heroic romanticism to be somewhat, well, hokey. As for the Charge itself, here is a detailed account.
The Cold Touch Of Wilma
I know that she has a sultry, tropical heart, but by the time Wilma got up to the Dee Cee area yesterday, she had assumed the damp and chilly form that she usually presents to the world. Having attempted to embrace her in that mood, I now seem to be developing a cold.
If posting seems lighter and more incoherent than usual, you'll understand why. Thank you, Col. Deering, Ma'am. May I please have another?
The Colossus continues his series of identifying landmarks from Google maps. The only one I've gotten so far was the Golden Gate Bridge.
The downside is that I've started to play around with google maps too much.
Damn you, Colussus! To HELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!
STEVE THE LLAMABUTCHER'S "NAME THAT PROPERTY" QUIZ:
Okay, sports fans, the following area has been in the news quite a bit since the late spring and has caused quite an outrage throughout the land. Where is it, and why are people pissed off?
Hey Liz, don't show this one to Kermit
His investment in vast stocks of moisturizer are about to become worthless.
Maybe she can make her next album be "schaudenfraude"
I'm sorry, but this made me laugh a wee bit too hard.
But that's because I'm a bad, bad person.
Who knew moo nu kung fu Depardieu Phin had it in him?
Congrats on a job well done!
Just think, if it's a girl, she can grow up to romanced by TomKat's son, and your grandchildren can be alien freaks!
One of my favorite days of the year
HAPPY ST. CRISPIN'S DAY FROM THE LLAMABUTCHERS!
I for one am looking forward to Robbo's paen to the 550th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt.
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;
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.
My, how the fatwahs keep piling up! or "Hey, we're the LLamabutchers, and we put the MUT in the Mutaween"
One of the things that amuses the heck out of me is that now that we have almost two years worth of blogging in our pants, and since we write on a whole variety of different topics, we tend to get----how do you say this politely?---some abso-freakin-lutely bizarre traffic from google searches that just make you want to laugh at the macktastickally funktablous freak show that is the internet.
But today, I think we've topped them all. And boy, are we going to be hearing from the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice---the Saudi Nazi Religious police---as we are number 2 on Google for:
women in jeddah
And let me say by "women," the rest of sites are of a decidedly scarlet nature.
So that's your humble LLamabutchers for you: the Avis Rental Car of Saudi Arabian prostitution!
News a lot of folks don't want to hear
I think this is spot on---having looked extensively at the 94 elections, and having taught them many times as part of the Congress seminar, I would say that folks who will not even permit the possibility of seeing this are in denial mode.
I think a dimension of this is going to be the increasing sense of many voters that divided government is a good thing. Call me a mutineer, but I can't really argue against that at the moment.
October 24, 2005
THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HHMMM
A still from Serenity--what more can be said but: River Tam a/k/a Summer Glau must get lots of dates. I am reminded of a story from law school. A second year student was doing volunteer work at the local high school in Lexington. She was watching the cheerleading squad doing the splits and indicated she could do it as well because, back in the day, she had been a cheerleader. And so she did. All the way to the ground. Without warming up or stretching. Which sent her to the emergency room at Stonewall Jackson Hospital with torn hamstrings or muscles or something like that.
WHICH WOLF ARE YOU?
| You scored as Alpha Wolf. You are an ALPHA WOLF. You stand tall and are recognized by your followers. You are the leader, dominant, strong and intelligent. You are in charge and make sure that it is known. Despite the way you show your emotions towards others, you really do care for your pack.|
Where do you rank in the Wolf Pack?
created with QuizFarm.com
Your Comic Conspiracy Theory For This Afternoon
CNN has a piece up about Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin & Hobbes, one of the truly great comic strips of all time.
The article goes on about how Watterson, always a recluse, has gone even deeper into cover since C&H hung it up. But the truth of the matter is that nobody has yet proved to me that Watterson isn't really the talent behind this strip.
Now y'all excuse me - just got word from home that the garage door has jammed again. Grrrr.
The High School Reunion: Go, or No-go?
Gary comes down firmly in the "go" category, but I'd have to take the opposite tack of having Mrs. LLamabutcher talk the folks up and say, "Yeah, he is kind of a goober..."
The Sobek Interview
Next up in the cross-hairs: Goldstein.
Who is your blogfeudal overlord and master?
Everybody's favorite commie is doing an interesting charting of the blog family tree. I put myself in under Stephen Green, whose style probably influenced me the most to both blog and how to do it. That said, I found myself very early on not reading him as frequently, mainly because I wanted to grow in my own way and not be derivative. In that sense, the only blog that I read then two years ago that I still read with any regularity is Instapundit. I guessed Robbo being more of a Lileks creation than anything, but I'd be interested to see what you come up with.
Anyhoo, it will be interesting to see how this one plays itself out, and to see if there are any who would claim us as an influence.
And I was completely surprised that INDCent Bill didn't try to put himself on there under "Immaculate Conception."
Yeah, but we knew that anyway
which is a fancy way of saying we came out at $0.00, unlike our servile master who is worth the big blog money.
UPDATE: WHY THE MAN IS, LIKE, TOTALLY SCREWING WITH US
How could we be worthless when we are #5 at MSN for
"peruvian flute players in ohio"
I mean, talk about your relevance!
Hopefully, not of the proverbial "dead cat" variety
Zogby's detected a bounce?
Much bigger fish to fry at the moment.
Separation of Church and State in France
The 2007 presidential election is starting to roll out of the gates with this development.
UPDATE: Nazi racoons on the march? Hopefully they'll not arrive soon amongst Robb-O's parsnips.....
Life Imitates The Onion
You just can't make this sort of thing up:
British banks are banning piggy banks because they may offend some Muslims.
Halifax and NatWest banks have led the move to scrap the time-honoured symbol of saving from being given to children or used in their advertising, the Daily Express/Daily Star group reported today.
FWIW, the article also quotes a Muslim MP, Khalid Mahmoud, as telling the banks not to be twits.
Yips! to Trader Rob over at The Jawa Report.
Carnival of the RINO's is up over at Louisiana Libertarian. Go on over and graze on the veldt.
Ladies and Gentlemen, say hello to James Tiberius Phin.
Soon-to-be Daddy Phin, say goodby to sleep.
Frasier Crane In Space?
| You scored as Simon Tam. The Doctor. You have a gift for healing that goes beyond education. You took an oath to do no harm, even when your patients have tried to kill you. You are out of place where you are, being used to refined society. However, if you take that stick out of your arse you should be fine. |
Which Serenity character are you?
created with QuizFarm.com
Not having seen Serenity yet, I'm not quite sure how to take this. However, as somebody recommended a while back, I've tossed the first season of Firefly into my Netflix queue. Once I've caught up on that, I'll check out the movie. Then I'll decide whether or not to be crabby about this.
Yips! to Jon at Misplaced Keys.
Llama Broadband Blegging
Dude, we got a Dell!
This past weekend saw the arrival of a brand-new Dell PC at the Butcher's House to replace the eight year old Gateway dinosaur with which we have been struggling along and which is now so hag-ridden with viruses n' stuff that we basically can't open any of its programs anymore.
Given this, we're now finally going to take that step into the 21st Century and sign up for broadband service. So the question is: Verizon or Cox? DSL or cable modem? Any opinion would be greatly appreciated.
(BTW, a word of warning to Some Of You: I am also going to get my hands on p-shop. Payback's a beyotch. That is all.)
UPDATE: I stand corrected in that Verizon does not offer DSL at my house, but instead something called FiOS.
UPDATE DEUX: The cable-bundling option that a couple of commenters mention seems very attractive. We've got Verizon phone service, Sprint long distance, DirecTV and AOHell Dial-up. I'll have to sit down with the Missus and crunch the numbers, but just off the top of my head it would seem that combining everything would both save money and improve service.
YIPS from Steve: I'm so screwed.
Gratuitous Pre-Halloween Ranting
rather disliked the whole concept of Christmas gingerbread houses. Not only are they of the kind of kute n' kuddly krafts that make my skin crawl on general principle, it is inevitable that once the damned things are put together, they're just going to sit there moldering until somebody gets around to throwing them away. Confess that you never actually eat the thing. Confess, I say!
Well, perhaps I've been under a rock for too long, but this weekend was the first time I've become aware of the spread of this particular seasonal virus to other holidays. Yes, it's the Haunted Halloween Gingerbread House:
(I rant, btw, secure in the knowledge that our Internet access is out at home and there's very little chance the Missus will read this post.)
Anyhoo, one of these blighted kits showed up at the Butcher's House and the Missus and the Llama-ettes put it together yesterday afternoon (while I tried to make myself invisible behind the newspaper). And for all the alarums and excursions involved in putting it together, it'll meet the same fate as any other such project, sitting on top of the fridge until somebody remembers to chuck it.
There was one aspect of the project that did accord more closely with what I consider to be the proper Halloween spirit: The kit the Llama-ettes were using contained a great deal of black frosting, to which all of them helped themselves, of course. The stuff stained their lips and teeth to the point that they spent the afternoon walking around looking like the Children of the Damned. Boo, indeed.
October 23, 2005
FORGOTTEN BUT NOT GONE
Speaking of just in time for Halloween . . .
The Virginia Governor's Race LLama Update
Here's your LLama scoop of the evening, from an unnamed source high up in the political commentary food-chain that I used to work for:
As far as Kaine, I've heard he wouldn't even be in favor of the death penalty for John Wilkes Booth. Pass it on. And Kilgore? He just isn't being straight with the people of Virginia; the guy actually likes Rock Hudson films.
Which gave me the idea for a great new horizon for wisenheimer bloggers like us: fake campaign ads. The one I was thinking of would mock the entire Virginia governor's race through a faux ad for Jerry Kilgore about how the only death penalty execution Tim Kaine was ever in favor of was the one for Jesus H. Christ.
Cranky, I think I need to call on your Flash Media skills on this one!
The late great Washington Blog meetup
John over at Texas Best Grok lived to tell the tale, replete with pics.
Yips! from Robbo: Yeah, well you can see why my acting career never went anywhere.....
ACTION MOVIE BABES
Tonight's presentation: Asia Argento, Vin Diesel's sidekick in xXx. Best attributes: toned-up bod, big lips; attractive in that bad-girl, Euro-trash sort of way. She reminds you of the gal in college your friends warned about because she was bad news, a skank, etc., and who told you herself she was bad news but you jumped in anyway. Here is her official site for your review and consideration.
BREAKING NEWS!! MUST CREDIT THE LLAMABUTCHERS!!! SCOOTER LIBBY BOOKED!
Taking the cue from Tom Delay's "proactive" booking this week, Scooter Libby decided to go ahead and turn himself over to authorities today!
Insider sources at the Arlington Courthouse zapped the news immediately to your humble LLamas of this stunning turn of event, and we bring the world the first view of Scooter's mugshot:
MONDAY MORNING UPDATE: The possibility of indictments are trading at $80 and $69 for Libby and Rove respectively at Tradesports.
And here's the chart for the "Miers confirmed by the Senate" contract:
Looks like a plotting of my attitude as of late.
Just in time for Halloween
The real magilla, or the most bizarre marketing stunt in the post-J.K. Rowling publishing universe of witchcraft and wizardry?
You be the judge.
October 22, 2005
On the downlow with long-time commentator "LB Buddy" and INDCent Bill
It gives me the shivers just to think about it....
October 21, 2005
Your Weekend Assignment
Solve this. Instructions? You don't need no steeenkin' instructions!
(Oh, and uh....tell me how you did it. I need to check your work. Yeah, that's the ticket.)
Friday Afternoon Sci Fi Movie Meme
Yeah, yeah. I know. But it's late Friday afternoon, it's cold and it's drizzling. Besides, I already had something to say about Buckaroo Banzai today, so I feel this is Meant To Be. This comes from Dan. The ones I've seen are bolded and, as always, I add some commentary here and there:
* The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension! - I ran this off the other night. It's wonderful how fresh it stays. And I'm still picking up on new jokes after all these years.
* Alien - I don't like scary movies.
* Aliens - Ditto. And I'm really not that crazy about Sigourney Weaver, either.
* Back to the Future - If you had to make a short list of Quintessential 80's Movies, this would definitely be on it. And is not Christopher Lloyd one of the most entertaining actors around? Sometimes I secretly watch Cyberchase from the doorway behind the Llama-ettes just to hear him doing Hacker.
* Blade Runner - Just once, long ago. I need to revisit it.
* Brazil - One of the most horrifying things about this movie is watching Michael Palin, of all people, being chillingly sinister. And doing it well.
* Bride of Frankenstein
* Brother From Another Planet
* A Clockwork Orange
* Close Encounters of the Third Kind - I never liked it, frankly. Too 70's for me.
* The Damned
* Destination Moon
* The Day The Earth Stood Still - Mostly for the sake of Patricia Neal.
* Escape From New York - Surely the acme of Truly Bad Films.
* ET: The Extraterrestrial - I am proud to say I've never seen E.T. and furthermore, I have absolutely no interest whatsoever in doing so. Feh!
* Flash Gordon: Space Soldiers (serial)
* The Fly (1985 version)
* Forbidden Planet - This movie isn't half bad, considering it was made in the 50's. The only trouble is that the hero is played by Leslie Nielsen, who nobody who's seen Airplane and The Naked Gun could ever take seriously again. I believe this movie heavily influenced Gene Roddenberry, because you can see an awful lot of proto-Star Trek ideas in it.
* Ghost in the Shell
* Gojira/Godzilla - Several of them.
* The Incredibles - What a great movie. What. A. Great. Movie.
* Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956 version)
* Jurassic Park
* Mad Max 2/The Road Warrior - I was ruminating on the Mad Max series the other evening. The first movie was really quite good in terms of concept and story, but it was ruined (for me) by its lousy production values. The third one - Beyond Thunderdome - had all the coo-el post-Apocalypse freaks, costumes and machines worked out, but the spirit of the original had died out. Road Warrior represents the happy medium.
* The Matrix - Yes, the series tanked. And yes, this movie is full of college dorm room bull-session crap. But it's still a damn fine flick.
* On the Beach
* Planet of the Apes (1968 version)
* Sleeper - C'mon, Sheila, this is Woody Allen! And one of his funnier slapsticks. Plus, it's got a suh-wheet jazz soundtrack.
* Solaris (1972 version)
* Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan - The Best Thing ever to come out of the entire Star Trek franchise. And I'll put a spread of photon torpedoes into anybody who disagrees with me.
* Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope - I'm putting on my flak vest to say this, but while I still marvel at the innovation of this movie, the more I see it the more I'm aware of its flaws. It just isn't aging well with me.
* Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back - I'm willing now to go along with those who argue that this was the peak of the Star Wars cycle.
* The Stepford Wives
* Superman - Well, no, can't say that I did believe a man could really fly. But have you ever seen Gene Hackman do a bad job with anything?
* Terminator 2: Judgement Day - Why this one, I wonder? The original was a classic. I no longer bother with the rest.
* The Thing From Another World
* Things to Come
* Tron - I haven't seen this in 20 years. Wonder if it's worth going back just for old times' sake.
* 12 Monkeys
* 28 Days Later - I don't much care for zombie flicks.
* 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
* 2001: A Space Odyssey - However, I've never made it all the way through without dozing off.
* La Voyage Dans la Lune
* War of the Worlds (1953 version)
Don't mind me, just making some adjustments
Completely Random Netflix Observation
Despite the fact that he never makes it through the second verse and the performance is interrupted by gunfire, I've always preferred Buckaroo Banzai's rendition of Since I Don't Have You to the Skyliners' original.
I often wonder how the whole thing would have sounded had Penny not started shooting.
Lord help me, but I'm definitely going to Hell
The old maxim about "idle hands being the Devil's workshop" has been redefined a wee little bit since the invention of photoshop.
Anyhoo, in response to Robbo's erudite and well considered paen to the Battle of Trafalagar below, I immediately thought of this image; and within minutes of the Picard in my head saying, "Make it so" here it is:
"Hey France, you sail like my Mother! And she's in Jail! HA-HAAAH!"
Lord Nelson Muntz
The tragedy of a liberal arts education wasted on a complete philistine.
Yips! from Robbo: To quote the sniper guy from Saving Private Ryan, "Y'all got that right."
Stick A Fork In Her - She's Done
SOOPER SEKRET MESSAGE TO THE WHITE HOUSE: Read Krauth's column today. Learn it. Live it. Love it.
UPDATE: I think the responses of Rich and K-Lo to Jonah in this little exchange over in The Corner are exactly right:
RE: WHAT IF MIERS WITHDRAWS [Rich Lowry ]
The likeliest result is that everyone forgets about Harriet Miers within a month, and we all unite around the new nominee.
Posted at 10:51 AM
RE: WHAT IF? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
I'm not sure there is actually a large contingent of people who really think Miers is the bee's knees as far as a SCOTUS pick. There are people who know her and think she's a cool person and good lawyer and support her, partly out of personal loyalty. There are people who trust the president. There are people who are just resigned. But a lot of people recognize that this doesn't seem to be a brilliant pick--and you can think she's a good person and good lawyer and generally trust the president and still recognize that.
If she withdraws and the president nominates a Luttig type, the Dems will be so rabid and the Right will be so rallied, I don't know that there's any significant long-term damage on the Right.
Posted at 10:45 AM
WHAT IF MIERS WITHDRAWS [Jonah Goldberg]
It's worth ponderng the possibility that if Miers is withdrawn the damage to the conservative movement will be more lasting than if she's voted up or down. If she pulls out, the folks who think she was great will blame her conservative critics and attribute any of Bush's weaknesses as a result of conservative disloyalty. The benefit for the movement is that if she's confirmed, the debate gets settled eventually. One side will be right the other wrong. But if she's yanked, there will be no resolution.
Of course, none of this should be weighed very heavily in the argument over her nomination. Helping conservatives bury the hatchet isn't a particularly strong rationale for confirming her.
To me, Jonah makes a false assumption that there is a body of people out there who actually think Miers is "great". K-Lo nails the description of those people still defending Dubya's pick. And she and Rich are both right that if Dubya came back post-Miers with the genuine conservative heat (as I argued he should have done to begin with), the Right would quickly rally round. I really don't see the potential damage that Johan worries about.
(Image borrowed from BritishBattles.com)
Today is the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, one of the greatest naval engagements in history, in which Admiral Viscount Lord Nelson smashed a combined French and Spanish fleet under Admiral Villenueve and thus utterly dashed whatever hope Napoleon had ever had for invading England. While the battle was one of the signal victories in the annals of the Royal Navy, the success was marred by the death of Nelson himself, cut down on the deck of HMS Victory by a sniper in the rigging of the French ship Redoubtable.
Nelson in full regalia
The battle opened with the Royal Navy divided into a double column of attack aimed at piercing and overwhelming the Franco-Spanish line at two points, and at the same time cutting off the van of the Allied fleet, which would take some considerable time to turn around and sail back into the fight:
This is actually the reverse of a maneuver sometimes called "crossing the enemy's T" and is extremely risky: the majority of a sailing ship's cannons are ranged along her sides and the line of ships broadside on to the attack is able to bring a tremendous amount of gunnery to bear, while only the foremost ships of the attacking column could at first fire. Furthermore, on the day of the battle the winds were quite light and the progress of Nelson's attacking squadrons very slow. Had Admiral Villeneuve been looking for a genuine knock-down, drag-out fight, he was in a perfect position to start one. However, the truth of the matter is that all the Franco-Spanish fleet wanted was to get away from Nelson and escape to the French ports on the English Channel, there to guard the invasion flotilla.
As the Royal Navy smashed into the line, a series of fierce close-quarters battles took place, during which superior British gunnery and seamanship took apart the enemy. By the end of the battle, 22 French and Spanish ships had been sunk or captured while, although many suffered damage, not a single British ship was lost.
Now, Villeneuve certainly had his orders, and Napoleon's first, last and only interest in his navy was its ability to keep the British off his invasion flotilla, but I also think this battle says something both about the relative qualities of the two fleets and about Nelson himself. First, it is important to understand that the French Navy in particular suffered under an enormous psychological as well as skills disadvantage. It had been every bit as competent as the Royal Navy prior to the French Revolution (see A.T. Mahan's Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783 on this subject), but a great part of the seasoned, experienced officer class had been wiped out during that time, to be replaced by Jacobin toadies who, whatever their political zeal, had no real understanding of naval warfare. When Revolutionary France declared war against England in the mid-1790's, its navy promptly and repeatedly got thrashed, despite on many occassions outgunning and outmanning its Royal Navy adversaries. This largely shaped the outlook of both fleets that lasted right on into the Napoleonic era - the British became used to winning almost as a matter of course, no matter what the odds. The French, on the other hand, tended to be timid and hesitant, what is nowadays called "risk averse".
Then there was the skills issue: At the outbreak of the Napoleonic War, the British promptly blockaded the major French ports, bottling up large parts of the French fleet. Thus, while the Royal Navy had to keep to the seas in all seasons and weathers, constantly honing its skills, most French ships sat idling in port, their crews gaining very little experience beyond the occasional tour around the harbor.
Then there was Nelson himself, who was both a product and a cause of these circumstances. While we have become hard-bitten and cynical about dashing, flamboyant heroes in our day, Nelson was about as close to the real thing as one could imagine - supremely confident in the skills of himself and his men, daring to the point of occassional recklessness, and utterly convinced of the right of what he was doing. Furthermore, he sought to instill these ideas in those around him - his reference to the captains of the Royal Navy as a "Band of Brothers" encouraged such levels of professionalism, confidence and aggression in his fellow commanders that, really, the Royal Navy was virtually unstoppable until the rise of the German challenge in the early part of the 20th Century. And when Nelson flew his famous signal just before the battle, "England Expects That Every Man Will Do His Duty," it was as much an exhortation, an appeal to the Fleet's pride, as it was a command. The results speak for themselves.
UPDATE: The Big Hominid over at Naked Villainy posts more on close quarter combat tactics, French psychology and the "Nelson Touch".
UPDATE The SECOND: And of course, what would Trafalgar posting be without Kathy's Nelson pic?
UPDATE The Third: Coming Anarchy has more, including a little animation of the battle which both nicely demonstrates Nelson's tactics and also somewhat chillingly depicts the scope of his victory. Also, here is another link that has some detail of the individual encounters within the melee.
And if you're really into this business, here's the roll of the 1640 British officers and seamen who took part in the battle.
UPDATE The Fourth: Where I should have started, probably. Tim Worstall has thoughts from the Royal-Navy-family-member perspective and more links about this year's celebrations and what Nelson's victory meant.
October 20, 2005
Here's a fun little time-waster:
Don't look now, LB Buddy, but your position has been automated!
Yip! to Ethne.
UPDATE: Okay, so it's an old one. Bite me - it's still fun.
THIS EXPLAINS (ALMOST) EVERYTHING
Some in the audience urged him to run for political office. But Wilson said he'd been a true child of the 1960s and had ``too many wives and taken too many drugs. And, yes, I did inhale.''
That helps explain why he is a nut and perhaps how he managed to rise to the rank of Ambassador in the State Department. What I want to know is: "Who at CIA sent this nut on his mission to Niger in the first place?" Whoever it was ought to be sacked.
Eat Yer Heart Out, George Lucas
How seriously cool is this picture of Dione, one of the moons of Saturn, as snapped from 310 miles away during a fly-by of the Cassini spacecraft?
Clench-fisted Yips! to the Commissar.
Happy Birthday, Christopher Wren
St. Clement Danes, Strand, London, 1680
Today is the birthday of that greatest of English architects, Sir Christopher Wren, born in 1632 in Wiltshire.
Most people these days associate him primarily with St. Paul's Cathedral. While this is indeed a beautiful building, I rather prefer the more intimate churches Wren constructed, many of which replaced or modified buildings burned down in the Great Fire of 1666. London was (and still is) an extremely crowded place, yet Wren devised a style that managed to look graceful, lofty and dignified even when squashed into narrow spaces.
As Steve-O knows, my primary gripe with Braveheart is that it turns one of England's better Medieval monarchs into a cartoon villain. So perhaps this is appropriate:
|King Edward I|
You scored 64 Wisdom, 77 Tactics, 53 Guts, and 50 Ruthlessness!
|Or rather, King Edward the Longshanks if you've seen Braveheart. You, like Edward, are incredibly smart and shrewd, but you win at any costs.... William Wallace died at his hands after a fierce Scottish rebellion against his reign. Despite his reputation though, Longshanks had the best interests of his people at heart. But God help you if you got on his bad side.|
|My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:|
|Link: The Which Historic General Are You Test written by dasnyds on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test|
Yips! to fellow Plantagenet Owlish.
Should I Stay Or Should I Go?
I picked up and started reading this book over the past couple days:
It purports to tell the story of a group of WWII American pilots shot down in the Pacific off the island of Chichi Jima in February, 1945, including a young George Herbert Walker Bush, and to detail the gruesome fate that awaited the majority of them at the hands of their Japanese captors.
I'm only a couple chapters into the book, but I'm wondering if it is really worth while to keep going. Bradley hasn't got to the stories of the individual pilots yet, but instead starts off with a rather extraordinary history lesson. You see, Japan had been peaceful and civilized for millenia, but only turned into a savage, psychotic, empire-building monster because she saw us hypocritical Westerners at it and thought she should get involved, too. After all, what she did to the Chinese and Koreans was no different than what WE did to the Indians and the Mexicans. Right? Right? And she had no choice in bombing Pearl Harbor because America forced her into it economically. You see, we really deserved it. Oh, and perhaps my favorite bit - Bradley sings the praises of everybody's favorite guerilla leader, Mao, because of the respect with which he and his people treated non-combatants. Sixty-odd million Chinese deaths later, this strikes me as something of a reach.
Anyhoo, I mention all this because I find this kind of pop-revisionist history extremely aggravating. I'd like to push on to where he actually starts talking about the individual men he sets out to write about. My question to anybody out there who's read this book: Is it worth the effort to go on?
Seriously Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)
Well, well. Sometimes things work out just fine.
Last week I was pounding very hard to meet a couple of intersecting work deadlines. Specifically, I had to prep for the fourteen witness interviews I did over the past couple days and (unexpectedly), I had to get together a couple of litigation plans for review by the suits much earlier than I'd expected.
While, as I say, I worked awfully hard on all of this, I rolled into the weekend neurotically fretting that I still needed to do a whole lot more.
Friday was a day off, although I was planning to work at home anyway. The only other thing I had on the agenda was a board meeting at the Llama-ettes' school early in the morning. These typically last maybe forty-five minutes, so I figured the rest of the day would be free and clear. But it didn't work out that way. After the meeting was done, I found myself touring around the gels' various classrooms. My three year old insisted on showing me one of her phonics recognition exercises, which she performed at a very lackadaisical pace with many interruptions and ad-libs. My five year old's class sang Halloween songs for me. Lots of Halloween songs. And then we got into a game of naming what I could be for Halloween and seeing my reaction to it. (Example: "You could be a volcano!" I would throw my arms in the air and make eruption noises. They thought this was hilarious.) And my seven year old took me on the grand rounds of her room. Since this is a shrine to Saint Maria of the Blessed Educational Method, there was a lot of stuff to see. Suddenly, it was noon. And because we almost never get the chance, the Missus and I took the opportunity to go out to lunch together. But there was always the afternoon, right? Wrong. I got home and - full of gyros - promptly fell asleep. And I've always found that once you doze off in the afternoon, it's almost impossible to fully wake up again - goodby productive Friday evening.
Saturday came around with an 8:00 AM soccer game. Okay, I thought, take the seven year old to soccer, then out to breakfast, then home again, home again jiggity-jig. Except it didn't work out that way. Yes, we did the game and breakfast, except that by the time we were done, I couldn't help noticing that we were only around the corner from the five year old's soccer game, which was then in progress, so I suggested we ought to go meet up with the rest of the family to cheer her on. What about Saturday afternoon, you ask? Well, the lawn hadn't been mown in two weeks and I couldn't let it go again.... Saturday evening? Nope - Alexandria Blog-Meet.
Sunday, it was off to church where, because of all the post-service Sunday school stuff, we don't get out until past 11:00 AM. Okay, that still leaves Sunday afternoon, right? Nope - my seven year old recently announced that she was tired of barracks life and wanted to move into her own room. We'd been thinking it was getting time for this as well. So Sunday afternoon saw me heavily involved in shuttling her things down the hall to what had previously been the nursery, as well as spreading things out a bit for the other two in their bedroom.
So there it was - three days I had expected to devote to working my tail off were instead taken up with spending time with my family. And you know what? I don't regret it in the least. Not only did I actually get to enjoy the people I do all this for, but my interviews went off without a hitch and I just got word this morning that the suits are very pleased with my litigation plans.
Happy? Bet your ass I'm happy.
Our holy trinity
Sorting through the LLamabutcher Industries file looking for the Robbo-Gone-Wild logos made me realize we need to do a special homage to the Holy Trinity of the LLamabutchers:
I'll defer to Robbo on "The Father" if he can get a nice JPEG of Commander Adama....
Yips! from Robbo:
I'll let Adama go in favor of the fish guy. But since all of us Llamas have Catholic sympathies to one extent or another, how about making some room for the Holy Mother as well:
GIVE US YOUR MONEY!
Alrighty, the great LLama Blogads experiment is underway. Apparently, it takes a couple of days for the thing to process, so we'll see what happens.
T-shirts and the like in the next few days.
I'm Steve the LLamabutcher, and I need YOUR help!
Holiday season is rapidly descending upon us, and I'm sure as you are out there bravely putting together your holiday "to-do" lists you are wondering, "Jimbo, what exactly ARE those wacky LLamas going to do for their logo this holiday season?"
We've been thinking the same thing, and we need your help. We've got Christmas all sown up---a Santa and Mrs. Claus theme is just too precious to pass up. Thanksgiving? Why, Priscilla Alden and a kind of surly, naughty looking Squanto will flow rather seamlessly from the evil hands of photoshop. But Halloween has got me stumped: what do you, our faithful readers, truly desire in a photoshop logo which satisfies all our necessary requirements in a LLama Holiday Logo(TM)?
Let's refresh our memories as to what we look for in such a thing:
Well, you get the drift---Robbo LLama humiliation is the key to sucessful holiday marketing.
We've got reams of data to support it!
Anyhoo, drop us a comment or some suggestions to the TastyBits(TM) Mail Sack and watch the upper right logo for the beginning of the holiday season!
Yips! from Robbo: Jaysus - the things I'll do to fund the Llama-ettes' college tuition.......
Some template reshuffling underway
We're moving some of the furniture around here at Rancho non-Sequitor to make way for our new FilthyLucre(TM) Consumer Marketable Division of LLamabutcher Industries: gone are the days where we bootstrap the LLama-ettes and the Lil' Ones' college funds by gun-running, money-laundering, and assorted selling of WorldCom stocks to clueless non-profit foundations; now, we're going for the BIG MONEY of Blogads and t-shirt, mug, and bumper sticker sales!
Yeah, I know, how 2003 of us.
Anyhoo, I'll be playing around with the template a bit so if it loads funny, that's just me. But just think of it as the price to pay so that you can order your fur-lined official LLamabutcher Thong.
Test, 1, 2, Test.....If I leave here tomorroooooooowwww.....
Who should rule the world?
John Hawkins over at Right Wing News is putting together a survey to counteract the BBC thing from last week asking depraved leftists to pick who they would want to rule the world, by asking conservative types who they would choose in such a thing.
Of course, it's silly, as a devotee to the political and economic theory of Freidrich Hayek the answer is nobody should or can rule the world.
That said, however, here was my response (given that I think I went outside of the spirit of the request, the odds of my answers showing up in the results are, as they say in your measley earth-languages, slim):
First of all, I object to the premise, as we all know Ted Nugent already rules the world; that said, here are my answers:
1. William Shatner (as Capt. James T. Kirk)
2. Kurt Russell (as Snake Plissken)
3. Kurt Schilling (we would conquer Mars under the banner of the bloody Sock!)
4. Ann Coulter (sure, she would enslave us all and install herself with all the depraved decadence of Pharaoh, but come on, the image of Ann, up on the Sedan Chair, being carried around by a bunch of oiled up enslaved Kos diarists is too rich to pass up)
5. The Triumvirate of Dave Barry, Tony Kornheiser, and James Lileks (because there would be "fart" jokes on the currency)
6. The mummified body of Jeremy Bentham
and last but certainly not least:
7. Pope Jonah I, with his infallible sidekick Cosmo the wunder Cardinal dog.
Needless to say, I prefer to be ruled by a world that amuses me.
The Picture of Dorian Jagger
Cranky has some questions about the half- century-long run of Mick's kavorka.
(Sooper Sekret Message to Gordo: We rather like big, red, empy rectangles, thank you very much!)
Random Commuter Thoughts - Business Road-Trip Edition
Memo to the guy rolling into Frederick, Maryland from the north around 5:30 last evening in the seriously tricked-out PT Cruiser:
You'd save yourself a lot of money if you chucked all that and simply had the words "I'm a Doofus" inscribed on your hood.
That is all.
October 19, 2005
From the LLamabutcher Archives
I was strolling through the Attic here at LLama Manor looking for a good jpeg I know I have of Ricardo Mountalban in the Wrath of the Neo-Khan for the "William Shatner Republicans" post from below. Couldn't find it (damn that Cakeeater and her compulsion for neatness!) but instead I found this lil' juicy one that for whatever reason made me laugh severely:
BORK ON MIERS
Here from Journal Online. (I have been on the fence about Miers but am leaning towards the "this can't be the best we can do" end of the spectrum. Perhaps the president should have nominated the man who was at the top of everyone's short list fifteen years ago: Solicitor General of the United States, former appeals court judge, youngest partner in the history of Kirkland & Ellis. He was passed over in favor of another appeals court judge and would go on to take the most thankless legal job ever--Independant Counsel investigating Bubba. He is, of course, Kenneth Starr.)
UPDATE: Colossus had such a good observation that it should not be allowed to languish as a mere comment:
Ken Starr, rammed through on a 50-50, nuclear option tie, with an indicted Dick Cheney throwing the tiebreaker? Man -- the left would absolutely go f*king nuts. I'd pay money to see it.
Fox covered the opening of Saddam's trial this morning which is apparently being broadcast throughout the Middle East. The trial judge, now a marked man for the rest of his life, kept a tight rein on the proceedings. Hopefully, the trial will progress in an orderly fashion with each side presenting their evidence through witnesses and exhibits and provide the people of the Middle East a good example of the rule of law in action. As one talking head said of the trial judge: "He's no Judge Ito." Amen.
More Google Insanity
That's right, ladies and gentlemen: your humble LLamas are #8 out of 51,900 on Google for
william shatner republicans
That's just because we are Neo-KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNs.
October 18, 2005
Tradesports Data mine
The futures market on GOP control of the House and Senate after 2006 has opened. This will be extremely interesting to follow.
Other markets: whether Meirs will be confirmed (trading at $63), the number of votes she'd get in the Senate, and on the potential of Rove/Libby indictments.
Your Blue Ribbon Google Search of the Day
Maybe perhaps for the century, as someone from Bridgeport, Pennsylvania visited the LLama Abode after googling up this beauty.
That's right, your LLamas are the one stop shop for all things:
blues clues satan
Personally, I feel fulfilled as a blogger to know that we are a true success now: of the 45,200 sites that google comes up with connecting Blue, Steve, and the Prince of Darkness, we're #4. (Sadly, we're only #18 on MSN search for "Steve O naked", but hey, I guess that's a good thing, particularly since I'm right after Steve Jobs.)
That, and the bizarre "Jennifer Millerwise" traffic has started again. Let me state right now this isn't funny: this started out as a joke last year when we started getting searches for said individual, and I put out a call for an explanation, as we were getting bizarre traffic looking for naked pics of Weather Channel babes (pathetic, I know!) It was a little stunt in google bombing---we would emphatically declare people who were looking for such things were complete pervs and we would have nothing to do with such tomfoolery! And sure enough, the traffic from the pervs came in, particularly after Wonkette linked to us on it. Now she's back in the nooz with the whole Plame/Flame/Fitzgerald thing from working with the Cheney people, and entries number 6 & 7 on google are our little stunt, right beneath an entry from her new boss---the Director of Central Intellligence.
Ha, as Dave Barry would say! (sound of Steve-O sweating bullets, legally obtained ones at that!) It could be worse (really!); instead of the Spokesperson for the CIA she could be the one for the IRS.
UPDATE: TIME TO QUIT WHILE YOU'RE AHEAD CATEGORY: Now we're going to be in trouble with the Attorney General: we're #1 on Yahoo for "Llama mating pics." Thanks, INDC Bill! Sadly, alas we're only #6 on google for "gay klingon" for our expose.
FURTHER UPDATE: I just noticed that I screwed the pooch on the initial link---I thought I was linking to the hard page showing the individual search, but apparently sitemeter rolls that through so I'm taking down the link.
From today's Best of the Web: "Tinfoil Hat Watch". The Lefties have figured it out--Bush, Halliburton, disease, martial law.
RHODE ISLAND SENATE RACE
This from NRO. I have never understood why the Republican leadership and campaign apparatus gets involved in fending off primary challenges from conservatives against sitting office-holders, particularly those loyalty to the party platform is less than predictable (the Pat Toomey/Arlen Spector dustup comes to mind). Any thoughts Steve-O, Colossus?
Message to Robbo: You're being mocked
And it doesn't have anything to do with pshopped cross-dressing LLamas from Jane Austen movies, either.
Sobek's version of a Gratuitous Domestik Posting (TM) is gold, gold, I say, GOOOOLD!
The only thing missing would be a pshopped Beatrix Potter character riding the top of the Worm ala Paul Artreides.
hint hint hint
The third law of office hallway dynamics
Shiela has some interesting musings on everyday social phenomena, but I'm completely at a loss as to the whole "poo stall" thing.
But then again I'm a known transgressor of the social norms and customs at my workplace, as the macktabulous Chai-Rista could attest.
You really don't see mention of this in discussions about the superiority of the European health care/social/educational systems from the American left. I've got to run and don't have time to look it up, but what' the comparable rate in the US? My sense is that it's lower; and if it is, it certainly answer the question if things are so much superior in Europe why are so many people sucking the tailtipe?
The Law of Unintended Consquences in Action...
Who would've thunk it: Rafael Palmiero and Bob Dole, saviors of endangered species.
October 17, 2005
Just ask Dr. Rusty
As Dr. Rusty likes to argue, there's your "good" gay and your, umm, not good(?)
I guess this would help us understand the difference between "good" topless pics and baaaaaaaad topless pics.
T-shirt slogans for the insurgents
Finally, a group blog for the rest of us!
None of that nancy-boy "oh, we're just a jolly bunch of progressive Harvard grads writing about things too controversial for the Nation" crap over here.
Where the Hoof Hits The Highway
I'm heading out for the Back of Beyond and probably won't check back in until Thursday morning. In the meantime, have fun, win awards and try to keep the p-shopping abuse to a minimum.
Yip! at you later.
Post Blog-Meet Thank You Note
Well, well. I am very pleased to report that a group of bloggers can meet in a public place without spiking the Dork-O-Meter into the red zone.
Saturday evening, a little group of us got together at Olde Towne Alexandria's Union Street Public House. Among the attendees were JohnL from TexasBestGrok, in town on the company dime for, er, important legal edification, (yeah, that's the ticket), the Maximum Leader from Naked Villainy, Princess Cat from A Swift Kick and a Band-Aid, together with her non-blogger (but very flattering) friend Matt, Buckethead from The Ministry of Minor Perfidy, Ted from Rocket Jones, Dawn from Caterwauling, who was amusedly tolerant of all us Digital Brownshirts, and Lysander of Alexandria. An extremely pleasant time was had by all.
I've been reading some of these guys for quite some time and, above everything else, I went down to Alexandria extremely curious to see how closely the real deal matched up to the mental image I had built up from their blogs. As it turned out, nobody was really that much different than what I had expected. And I mean that in a good way - everyone was just as witty and enthusiastic and fun to talk to in real life as they are in their Blogsphere manifestations. Perhaps in testimony to this, I was rather amazed that the evening went by so quickly. (A lot of pictures were taken, btw. I haven't seen any yet, but if anyone posts them, I'll link it up.)
Many thanks again to all of you who were there for such a great time. I think the consensus was a) that we should definitely do this again and b) that we'd love to have some other folks come and join in the fun next time.
October 15, 2005
Bookie odds on the existence of G-d
Everybody's favorite commie is posting an interesting hypothetical about what a betting spread would look like over a definitive answer to the question of the existence of The Divine. He's looking for answers and since I'm a serviceable guy I'll give two:
First, I'm not sure what the market spread would tell you about the existence of The Most High, but I'd be pretty sure what it would tell you on the likelihood on Old Screwtape collecting the vig;
Second, I'd like to go with the classic high school suburban football headline from the Washington Post from a few years back: Christ the King Stomps Eleanor Roosevelt; star quarterback shows no mercy or forgiveness in stunning come from behind victory
With that, I'll take the Saints and 6 1/2 points.
Kind of like the scene in Godfather 2 where they divide up the cake of Cuba
The great dee-cee bloggo meetup should be underway right now with Robbo, Rocket Jones, Princess Catt, the Maximum Leader and assorted other nefarious individuals getting together for charred cow flesh and adult beverages. Right now, if I were INDC Bill, I'd be checking to make sure my windows and doors were locked, and that the cat was not out.
Unless he's into shaved cat.
The Language Police
Your gold star legacy media quote of the day
NBC Nooz, the people who brought us the exploding Dateline truck:
"It's not like we were trying to pass it off as something it wasn't," spokeswoman Lauren Kapp said.
Ironic given the Edward R. Murrow movie opening this weekend.
Damn Rethuglikkkans and that durn Chimpy McHitler undermining the freedom of the press!
UPDATE: I guess this just makes us derivative hacks, no?
SEKRIT MESSAGE to the Pot, RE criticism of the Kettle:....ummm, Bubba? Normandy? Cross? Something's ringing a bell....
October 14, 2005
Why did the chicken cross the road?
That's not funny and is exploitative of the economic conditions that compel members of the lower poultry class to seek jobs, health care, and a clean environment in cross-transportation thruway scenarios.
More shennanigans from our paragons of civic virtue in New Orleans
The next thing you know they are going to legislate away the existence of hangovers.
So much for the monolithic vast right-wing conspiracy
Wuzzadem? He's taking hostages.
Did I read this right that Kathy likes it by, umm, the yard?
YES, IT CAN ACTUALLY GET WORSE! Geez, who is he going to fight? What's a fair fight for a semi-literate AARP member? Rocky VI versus Richard III?
WaPo: World to end tomorrow; women and minorities to be hardest hit
Well Katrina relief has gotten down to the nuts and bolts of rebuilding Louisiana's system of patronage, graft, and voting chicanery. The central concern? Ray Nagin has to run for reelection in February, and the Democratic Party of Louisiana is desperate that they are going to let this slip between their fingers:
Less than two months after Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, leaving much of New Orleans and surrounding areas unlivable, Louisiana officials are beginning to grapple with the bewildering new political landscape. The storms and resultant flooding caused more than 1 million residents to flee their homes, many for far-flung destinations from which they may never return. ...
The unprecedented population shift is likely to have its first political impact in New Orleans, where Mayor C. Ray Nagin, who captured 44 percent of the black vote in 2002, and other municipal officials are facing a February election. ...
That reality has left some Democrats concerned that the party could lose its tenuous grip on power. Both Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco's 2003 election win and Sen. Mary Landrieu's 2002 reelection victory came with margins of fewer than 60,000 votes, which included overwhelming support from African Americans.
"All of that's gone. So you are going to have a restructuring," said state Sen. Derrick Shepherd (D-New Orleans), a member of the elections task force.
"We are concerned that there are both a land grab and a power grab going on," said Theodore M. Shaw, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. "If there is not a significant return of black residents to New Orleans in the near future, at what time will there be an attempt to redistrict?"
And here I thought patronage, graft, and electoral chicanery were our specialities? The answer of course coming from Louisiana politicos is to spend FEMA money advertising the election.
Mad scientist update
Dr. Krauthammer is not amused.
Which is why we have our own in house mad scientist: LB Buddy, what to make of all this?
LB Buddy---Mad Scientist Extraordinaire---responds:
I read the papers when they came out last week. They did score a GEE WHIZ on my scientist Geek-O-Meter (TM). It is important work to understand how otherwise merely annoying flu viruses can convert to someting much more virulent. IMO, the dangers of publishing genomes of dangerous viruses is generally overstated by a press that is prone to hyperventilation. While it is true that setting up a biolab is much easier than starting a nuclear program, it is very difficult to do what these scientists do. Making a little virus might not be too hard, but making enough to cause any real harm would be very difficult. Nightmares of tainted water supplies are ridiculous. Just to give you an example: the LD50 dose (the dose required to kill Ĺ of the test subjects) for a mouse (weighing less than Ĺ lb) is 1000 viral particles directly administered. There is no way to generate and deliver enough viral material to even harm water supplies for a small town (probably not even a private well). Some havoc could be wrought maybe on a chicken farm or something of that sort, but our management of pandemics is much better than it was in 1918. Way more benefit comes from opening the data to all scientists. Actually the extremely virulent strains like this one are actually easier to contain because they work so quickly. Something like HIV is much more dangerous in the long run because people don't know they are infected for years and can spread the disease to multiple people.
Microbiologists these days are in a Catch-22. A bunch of federal money opened up for bioterrorism research, but also a whole bunch of new regulations about whether the research can be published or not also came into play. Publishing is the coin of the realm for scientists, so if they canít publish their results, their careers are doomed. You are seeing scientists steer clear of these areas even though there is a lot of funding (an open letter to the president from microbiologists from around the world actually said too much money is being marked for bioterror to the detriment of important work like this).
So there you have it.
She's psychic too?
I can't remember if I've ever revealed this fact: I allowed myself to be hypnotized once, and it was a really cool experience. And the person who did it was our very own uber-librarian Chai-Rista.
Little did I know she's also puts the "chic" in "psychic."
The clock is ticking on Bashar Assad
I tell you, that deposed-dictator only optometry practice on the Cote d'Azur is looking better every day.
Here's my prediction:
China is going to go for a moon landing during the Bejing Olympics in 2008.
Yeah, that will about do it
I think Jordana is going to chum up one heck of an interesting google surge from this post.
Assuming, that is, that there are a lot of Pauley Perette fans out there.
October 13, 2005
Trust me: stick to the horse-whispering
Weird thing at the conference last week in Dallas: I'm sitting in the lobby bar, drinking a beer and watching the end of the Sox getting Hosed, and I'm joined by two other conference-ites, one working with the organization running the thing and the other a true lunatic of a compadre from Brownsville. I can't remember how it came up, or who brought it up---which really stinks, as this was one of those Margaret Meed anthropological ninja moments---but somehow it came out that all three of us blogged. I can't remember Martin's address, but stop by and say hi to Jayme, a true nut and a class act. And if you scroll through to the macaroni story, it has Goldstein written all over it.
Busy Weekend At Hand
I'll be working at home tomorrow, preparing numerous docs for a business trip into the wilds of Pennsylvania next week. Unfortunately, our seven year old home computer with AOHell dial-up service officially has died. It has ceased to be. It is an ex-computer. So no blogging over the weekend. (There may be some serious silver-lining action here, but I'm not at liberty to discuss it just yet.)
Anyhoo, I'll have the house to myself all day tomorrow, other than having to go to a school board meeting in the morning.
Saturday features that bugaboo of suburban domestic life - the 8:00 AM soccer game. I'm already tired thinking about it, and I won't even be the one playing.
As I mentioned yesterday, the Olde Towne Blog Meet is still on for Saturday evening. If you show up, ask for the "Llama Party". I kid you not.
I'll be sticking my nose in for about half a day on Monday before taking off. I'm driving this time and just couldn't help noticing that my route takes me right past Gettysburg. On the way home, it would be a shame if I suddenly developed car trouble around there.......
Anyway, Yip! at you later.
Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)
This is interesting - A long-lost working manuscript of Beethoven's has been rediscovered in Pennsylvania. The piece, a "Grosse Fuge", written late in Beethoven's life, apparently is a piano - four hands transcription of a finale for a string quartet. What is most interesting about the manuscript is the information it gives about Beethoven's compositional style:
Written in brown and black ink, sometimes over pencil and with later annotations in red crayon, the manuscript shows the extent of Beethoven's working and reworking with some corrections so deep that the paper is rubbed right through.
"The passion and struggle of Beethoven's working can be seen graphically," Sotheby's said, highlighting how the notes were written larger as the music intensified.
"What this document gives us is rare insight into the imponderable process of decision making by which this most complex of quartet movements is made over into a work for piano four-hands," said Richard Kramer, a musicologist at the University of New York.
Beethoven is famous in musical circles for having sweated like a bastard over his scores, seriously struggling to sort out what was in his head on paper. This example seems to bear evidence to that.
Then, of course, there was the constant rat problem.
Also interesting to me for tangental reasons is the history of how this particular manuscript came to be where it was:
The manuscript was last seen at an 1890 auction in Berlin. The buyer was believed to have been William Howard Doane, a Cincinnati, Ohio, industrialist who loved composing hymns.
In 1952, Doane's daughter made a gift to the Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Philadelphia to establish a chapel.
The gift included music manuscripts including Mozart's Fantasia in C minor and Sonata in C minor, a major find 15 years later which together with other manuscripts fetched 1.7 million dollars.
This caught my attention because, while I sight-read Mozart's C minor Fantasia on occasion, the C minor Sonata (K. 457) was one of my performance pieces back in high school. It's a beautiful piece and, at least as far as I know, doesn't get as much attention as it deserves. I was pretty technically proficient back in the day, but don't think I ever really "got" the piece. I "get" it now when I play it, although I am way out of practice. (Funnily enough, I still automatically use the old fingering for some of the harder passages even though it's been nearly 25 years since I seriously practiced them.)
Wow. Go check out the PETA-sponsored "Mommy & Daddy Kill Animals" comic books over at Truly Bad Films.
Orwellian. But so cute n' cuddly!
Happy Birthday, Baroness Thatcher!
Margaret Thatcher is celebrating her 80th birthday today.
Truly one of the giants of the 20th Century, she kick-starting a Britain mired in the swamp of Socialism and was instrumental in bringing down the Soviet Juggernaut.
When I was interning in Parliament, I got the opportunity to see the Iron Lady in action. I distinctly recall one Prime Minister's Question Time when Neil Kinnock, then head of the Labour Party, attempted to score some political points off Thatcher over whatever the issue du jour was. Her response to the screwball question he threw was so clear, powerful and heartfelt, that about thirty seconds into it Kinnock's jaw swung open and about fifteen seconds after that he simply sat down. The Tory benches were roaring away in support, Thatcher, having hit her stride, just kept pounding away at his assumptions and philosophies, and Kinnock could do nothing but sit and feebly shake his head. It was a truly awe-inspiring sight.
Self-Interest Makes Strange Bedfellows
Pravda-on-the-Potomac stalwart Richard Cohen, who I don't usually bother to read, is arguing today that Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who is investigating the Plame Game, should simply pack it all up and go home. This in the face of those on the Moonbat Left who see visions of Karl Rove indictments dancing in their heads:
More is at stake here than bringing down Karl Rove or some other White House apparatchik, or even settling some score with Miller who, by herself, is sometimes accused of taking this nation to war in Iraq. The greater issue is control of information. If anything good comes out of the Iraq War, it has to be a realization that bad things can happen to good people when the administration -- any administration -- is in sole control of knowledge and those who know the truth are afraid to pipe up. This -- this creepy silence -- will be the consequence of dusting off rarely used statutes to still the tongues of leakers and intimidate the press in its pursuit of truth, fame and choice restaurant tables. Apres Miller, comes moi.
Is Cohen actually a deep-cover sleeper Rove agent suddenly called to active service? Ya never know, do you?
Underpants = Jihad
Gary the Ex-Donk makes a very good observation regarding the al-Zahawiri plan for pan-Middle Eastern Wahabist Islamic domination.
Meanwhile, go read Citizen Smash's point by point analysis of al-Zahawiri's view of the state of Al Qaeda in Iraq.
You're Putting Me On.
Lemuel has the latest in gob-smacking school name PC insanity and it's got nothing to do with Indians.
Somebody should take Peggy Noonan's column today and staple copies of it to the forehead of every single person in the White House.
Regardless of what you might have thought of Harriet Miers to begin with, Dubya and his people have made a pig's breakfast of presenting her case the past week and a half. It's time to admit the error, climb down and start over.
UPDATE: Fred Barnes, on the other hand, puts some of the blame on the Conservative Rebels (now there's an expression you don't often hear) for shooting first and asking questions later. He urges that everybody wait for the confirmation hearings.
UPDATE DEUX: John Fund has a rather appalling article about how the White House got into this mess to begin with.
Random Commuter Thoughts
The Tim Kaine for Guv'nor crew were out at the Metro this morning handing out big, glossy pamphlets outlining Kaine's proposed transportation plan for Virginia.
I dunno what long-term effect the plan might have, but I can tell you its immediate effect, insofar as a very large person came to a complete stop on the escalator reading the damn thing, thereby blocking it just as a train was pulling into the station.
October 12, 2005
Olde Towne Blog-Meet Update
Just a reminder to you Dee Cee area bloggers out there that some of us are going to be getting together at the Union Street Public House down in Alexandria on Saturday evening in honor of the visit of our pal JohnL from TexasBestGrok to the neighborhood. We'll be getting together at about six or so, and you're welcome to come on over and join us.
Two Minute Drill Memeage
I don't have the time to really think through the Three Things Meme Red has posted today, so I'm just going to shoot from the hip and see what happens:
THREE THINGS I DONíT UNDERSTAND:
2. Organic chemistry. (Why do you suppose I'm a lawyer?)
THREE THINGS ON MY DESK:
1. A picture of the Llama-ettes
2. Several litigation binders getting ready to burst their rings.
3. A Pet Tornado.
THREE THINGS IíM DOING RIGHT NOW:
1. Planning yet another bidness trip.
3. Listening to Haydn.
THREE THINGS I WANT TO DO BEFORE I DIE:
1. Have grandchildren.
2. Own a harpsichord.
3. Take down Steve-O and his girly-men Teutonic Knights in a game of Age of Empires II.
THREE THINGS I CAN DO:
2. Roll my tongue. (Sooper Sekret Message to the Missus - HA, ha!)
3. Sight-read music on the piano.
THREE WAYS TO DESCRIBE MY PERSONALITY:
3. Keeps to himself.
THREE THINGS I CANíT DO:
2. Chug a beer. (Never could, despite years of earnest collegiate study.)
3. Get the slightest bit interested in basketball.
THREE THINGS I THINK YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO:
1. Your mother.
2. Emma Kirkby and Evelyn Tubb singing Monteverdi Duets and Solos. The single most beautiful recording I have ever heard in my entire life.
3. Your Inner Grown-Up.
THREE THINGS I DONíT THINK YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO EVER:
1. The Funniest Joke in the World.
2. Michael Moore.
3. The Missus trying to give driving directions.
THREE THINGS YOU SAY:
1. "The Englishman's Shortest Prayer."
2. "Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite. See you in the morning when the sun comes up." (My signature exit from the Llama-ettes' room every night.)
THREE THINGS YOUíD LIKE TO LEARN:
1. Ancient Greek.
THREE BEVERAGES YOU DRINK REGULARLY:
2. Red wine
3. See 1 & 2
THREE SHOWS YOU WATCHED WHEN YOU WERE A KID:
1. The Bugs Bunny/Road-Runner Show.
2. Johnny Quest
3. Lost in Space.
THREE THINGS YOU WISH PEOPLE WOULD LEARN TO DO:
1. Stand to the right on the escalator.
2. Stop saying "carbs".
3. Recognize the concept of "too much information" in their public cell phone conversations.
Cue "Odd Couple" Theme
I smell another Random IM Conversation with Goldstein (TM) on the horizon:
INDCBill: It's like the guy is, you know, really starting to bug me.
Proteinwisdom: You got any fruit roll-ups?
INDCBill: He must think he's funnier than me, or something.
Proteinwisdom: I really like the cherry ones.
INDCBill: Or have more Pajamahadeen cred.
Proteinwisdom: I hear Katie Couric might be dating again.
INDCBill: What, he thinks he can just stroll in here and grab the mantle?
INDCBill: I mean, just who in the hell does he think he is, trying to usurp my throne?
Proteinwisdom: Yeah, I might do her. If I had a few drinks first. And she promised not to giggle.
INDCBill: I am the fighting Uruk-Hai! I slew the Great Dan Rather! I defeated the Moonbats!
Proteinwisdom: I'm not saying she'd be my first choice or anything.
Proteinwisdom: But Angelina Jolie, for instance - now we're talking prime real estate.
Proteinwisdom: Got any more of those cherry fruit roll-ups? I really like them.
You know, now that I think of it, let the door hit you in the ass on the way out
Say good night, Gerhard.
Next up: Chirac.
UPDATE: While Germany must retain good ties with Russia, Mr. Schaeuble said, the "Paris-Berlin-Moscow axis" that Mr. Schroeder helped create in opposition to Washington before the war in 2003 has no place on the international stage.
"We are against a 'special relationship' with Russia," Mr. Schaeuble, who will be interior minister in the new Cabinet, told a group of visiting American journalists.
Yeah, because the last time didn't work out to well, did it?
And This Is A Problem How, Exactly?
I know the story of UNICEF's new anti-war ad campaign in Belgium has been around the 'net for a few days already, but I'm still puzzled about it.
I mean - wiping out Smurf Village is supposed to be a bad thing? My only criticism is that there appear to be survivors.
Oh, and while UNICEF is locked and loaded, what are the chances that they might also take out the Care Bears, the Fisher Price Little People and the Tele-Tubbies?
Hell, start running ads like that and I'd pony up just for the entertainment value.
Yips! to Kathy.
YIPS from Steve:
Guernica it's not.
Tolkien Geek Threefer
I've been a bit remiss this week in keeping up, but Gary is carrying on his great journey through The Fellowship of the Ring.
First, he winds up the visit of the Fellowship to Lothlorien with FOTR, Book 2, Chpt 7 - The Mirror of Galadriel and FOTR, Book 2, Chpt 8 - Farewell to Lorien. Among other things, there is some good backstory about Galadriel. She is a far older and more important character in the history of Middle Earth than people who have only seen the Jackson movies might imagine.
Next, Gary sends the Company along in FOTR, Book 2, Chpt 8 - The Great River. As Gary notes, this is an important chapter insofar as the River Anduin represents the demarkation line between what might be called the Eastern and Western Theatres of Operation and sooner or later each member of the Company must decide which direction to take.
The only other observation I would add about these chapters is that they map out the steady decay of Boromir under the evil influence of the Ring. (I assume that I don't need to worry about spoilers in discussing all this.) While he had displayed some impatience at the Council of Elrond over the refusal of the Wise to use the Ring themselves, he had seemingly let that idea go after receiving Elrond's correction. It was only after his first meeting with Galadriel that Boromir began consciously to dwell on the notion of taking the Ring himself, although it is made clear that Galadriel did not put that thought into his mind - only that she forced him to become aware of it. However, once he did so, he never let it go, and it gradually ate away at him until the climactic moment in the final chapter of FOTR - The Breaking of the Fellowship.
Susan Estrich was on Fox & Friends this morning hawking her book on Hillary. Estrich believes Hillary is unbeatable because she is a moderate who will attract Republicans. I think Susan needs a urine screen for controlled substances.
Yips! from Robbo:
"Give in to your anger, Young Republicans! Feel the Dark Side of the Force!"
The Pentagon released an English translation of a letter from Al-Zawahri to his followers. I guess someone forgot to tell him that Iraq is not a central front in the Global War on Terror and that the media's coverage of the conflict has no impact on the course of it or its eventual outcome.
October 11, 2005
HATCHET JOB ON FREEH
That product of an unholy union between Kim Gandy and Hillary Clinton, the tiresome Katie Couric, "interviewed" Freeh this morning on Today. Rush played excerpts on his show this afternoon, the transcript is here. And the MSM wonders why they are losing viewers to cable. . .
The latest addition to CBS' NCIS: Mossad agent Ziva David a/k/a Cote de Pablo. Cote is very easy on the eyes and good with a knife and large caliber semiautomatic. Will defintely cover your six o'clock in any bar fight while earning style points for you from your admiring friends.
Shaken And Stirred
Pierce Brosnan is now saying that getting sacked as James Bond is a "body blow":
Brosnan, 52, who incarnated the British secret agent in four screen outings that reaped 1.45 billion dollars in ticket sales, said he was stunned and disappointed over the decision to dump him.
"I was terribly upset. It was a real body blow," the Irish star said in an interview with The San Francisco Chronicle, breaking his silence on the decision by producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson to replace him.
"I was looking forward to making (Bond) edgier and grittier -- and for all of that to go down in one phone call was highly disappointing," Brosnan said, adding that he had been invited to make a fifth Bond film but that negotiations suddenly collapsed without explanation.
"To this day Im not sure why," he said, dismissing media reports that his demands of an exorbitant salary of 30 to 40 million dollars had scuppered the talks.
But wait a minute! I seem to recollect that Brosnan, in fact, quit the franchise. Am I getting totally senile? Set the Wayback Machine for July, 2004, Sherman:
Pierce Brosnan told Entertainment Weekly that he is quiting James Bond, "That's it," says the actor otherwise known as Bond, James Bond. "I've said all I've got to say on the world of James Bond."
Brosnan said that "Bond is another lifetime," and unless Brosnan's statement is a negotiating ploy -- Sean Connery, for example, quit for a whole movie before being lured back for bigger bucks -- Eon productions must find another star to carry 007's Walther PPK in the as-yet-untitled 21st Bond movie, which is already scheduled to be released on Nov. 18, 2005.
For Brosnan, playing James Bond will always be a fond memory. "We went out on a high," he says, "and I look back affectionately at that time and doing those four movies. But I've said all I gotta say on it."
Oddly enough, we had a sermon this past Sunday on the fallacy of believing oneself indispensible. I think Mr. Brosnan may understand that lesson a bit better now.
Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)
A while back, my pal Marjorie's daughters gave to one of the Llama-ettes as a birthday present a CD called Mozart's Magic Fantasy. It's basically a kiddie version of The Magic Flute, with the plot cut down a good deal, some of the libretto kiddy-cized and a couple of extra characters - a young girl and a talking dragon - added in order to make the story more identifiable, I suppose. But - and here is the important point - all of the music is straight out of the original opera with, as far as I can tell at a casual listen, little or no editing. And although some of the speaking voices are rather grating, the singing and the orchestral performances seem quite competent.
We've had this CD for a while now, but for whatever reason the Llama-ettes have gone bananas over it in just the past couple of weeks and have been listening to it over and over again. For one thing, they think Papageno is hilarious. And they ask me an awful lot of questions about the relationship between Sarastro and The Queen of the Night. I also think they genuinely love the music - this weekend they started belting out the Queen of the Night's signature aria at me - quite the experience, let me tell you.
While I've told the gels that there is a "grown up" version of the story, I'm not too concerned with the alterations this CD makes. The truth of the matter is that I've always thought The Magic Flute to be rather silly. As Dad has pointed out, the trick is to ignore the plot and just concentrate on the music, which itself is divine. So mangling the story a bit "for the children" does not rankle, since the music hasn't been messed about.
This CD is in English, of course, so the kids can make sense of what's going on. However, I see another bonus in it as well, since I've always thought German an ugly language - harsh and gutteral and suggestive of wolf-haunted forests, dismal swamps and cries of, "Varus! Give me back my Eagles!"
But that's just me.
Anyhoo, if you're looking for a good way to introduce small kids to opera, you seriously should consider this CD.
UPDATE: Here's the whole Classical Kids series. All of them look like they're pretty solidly grounded, musically. Some interesting biographical material woven in as well.
Back in Black
I'm back from Dallas, but have a ton of unpacking/grading/sleeping to catch up on so nothing from me until tomorrow, probably. However, here are some of my observations:
1. If United Airlines goes Chapter 11, I will sit back with pleasure and cackle with glee. The ground gate people at DFW were the rudest bunch of incompetent rubes I have ever experienced. You could have gotten better service trying to fly out of Siberia on Brezhnev's birthday on Areoflot in 1979. I've never felt this way before, but in particular I hope United Airlines employee Alan Timmlin gets a kidney stone the size of a golfball. That's a horrible thing to wish for, but laughing at someone who is going to miss going on his daughter's field trip because he's going to miss his connection is low....
Seriously, ask me how I really feel....
My flight didn't get into Dulles until midnight, so I had to go over to Avis to rent a car to drive the 2 1/2 hours to get home. But I did it, got home at 4 am, up at 730, and then the field trip was cancelled because the teacher has the flu or something.
I'm sure Alan is having an even heartier laugh at that....
2. Never liked guacamole before because I had never had the really thing. Mother. Of. Gawhd. Sweet!
3. Texas/OU game: Okay, Timmy, slooooooooowly put the gun down......it's only a freakin' game, dude!
4. For a restful sleep, try staying in a generically Marriott stuffed with Sooner fans drinking off a big defeat and Philly fans drinking up for a big victory; never EVER stay in the same hotel with Philly fans after the Eagles have gotten their ass kicked on national tee-vee, let alone by Parcells.
5. Repeat after me: there is no such thing as civic virtue.....
That is all.
Yips! from Robbo:
Now This Is Cool
M.I.T. eggheads attempt to recreate the legendary (?) Death Ray of Archimedes.
Wasn't this a plot device in one of the Revenge of the Nerds movies?
Yips! to Dean Esmay.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)
I am a complete moron.
Regular readers will no doubt shrug their shoulders and mutter, "So new?" but this weekend I feel that I set some sort of new benchmark in idiocy.
You see, I was on my own with the five and seven year olds and I thought it would be really nice to take the Llama-ettes out Saturday afternoon to the new Wallace & Gromit movie and then on to some dinner. Just me and the gels having some time together. Good ol' Dad.
The trouble is that the place I decided to take them to do all this was Tyson's Corner Mall.
Tyson's, for those of you not familiar with the Dee Cee Metro area, is in the "That's no moon, it's a space station," class of suburban mall awfulness. It's very large but it sits on a relatively small piece of ground, so that the access roads are squashed and labrynthine. Snuggled up to the Beltway on one side, it is flanked by two of the busiest arterial routes in Northern Virginia - Route 123/Chainbridge Road and Route 7/Leesburg Pike. Furthermore, the paper was full of articles last week about the brand new wing that's just been opened there, complete with sixteen screen multiplex cinema, expanded food court and new "hip" shops.
This is where I decided to take the gels. To see a blockbuster new movie that was just opening. At three o'clock on a Saturday afternoon. In the pouring rain.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is why I am a moron. Not because I didn't understand all of these facts, but because I did and went anyway.
I was aiming for a four o'clock show, so we set out from home at three. It's only about three miles in a straight line from my house to Tyson's, and I laughed at myself for being so compulsive about leaving so early. However, I thought, I'm not absolutely sure where the theatre is. We may have to walk a bit. And anyway, I can always fob the gels off on a video game or two if we're too early.
Ha. Bloody. Ha.
Getting to the mall from our direction wasn't at all difficult. But once we got on the grounds, I began to get an inkling that we were really for it. There were a couple of guys wearing security jackets feebly attempting to direct traffic, but hardly anyone was paying attention to them. Instead, traffic was operating on the principle of the rugby scrum - everyone simply put their heads down and kept pushing, with more and more people piling on from every angle.
Eventually, I aimed at one of the multi-story parking garages - I didn't care where it was in relation to the theatre - all I wanted was a spot. We'd leg it in from there. Seeing an opening, I darted through and got in out of the rain. That's when Time came to a complete standstill. Gridlock in an intersection is bad enough. Gridlock in a garage is outright maddening. This wasn't the ordinary patrolling up and down the rows, looking for somebody who was leaving. We simply sat in a long line of cars for a solid half hour, going just about nowhere. Meanwhile, the Llama-ettes, who knew what time the movie started, were eyeing the clock with increased impatience and demanding to know why we weren't moving. I waived an exasperated hand at the windshield and said, "Take a look! Why do you think we're not moving?"
Eventually, the slow, sluggish current took us all the way around the first level of the garage. Rather than facing the madness of trying to climb to the next floor, I bailed back into the rain to try another one. Eventually, I got all the way around to the far side of the mall and tried again. This time, the traffic was actually moving, so I kept climbing and climbing. Suddenly, at the sixth floor up, Bango! - somebody was pulling out. I jammed on the brakes and waited. The five year old kept saying, "Go, Daddy! Somebody will take that spot!" while the seven year old said, "No, it's okay! Nobody can get around us!" Such are the skills learned in a suburban education.
Well, we all tumbled out of the car and headed across the catwalk into the mall. It was about five of four and I still had no idea where the theatre was. But damme if the first thing we saw when we came in was the theatre, across a big crowded food court. Well that's a bit of luck, I thought. We might make the four o'clock show after all!
"Not so fast, monkey-boy," said Fate. When we got in line, I saw that the four o'clock show was sold out.
The next show was at five thirty. Well, okay. Change of plan. "Say, girls, are you hungry? We'll have to wait a bit, so why don't we grab dinner early? There's a TGI Friday's right over here." The gels, to their credit, accepted this proposal enthusiastically. So we went over to TGIF's.
"I said, 'Not so fast, monkey-boy,'" said Fate. Forty five minute wait to get a table. Jesus, I thought. Well, okay. We've got an hour and a half. We've got the tickets. We can muddle about for a bit, then eat, then pop right in. It still works. "Give me a pager, then. What's the range on these?" "Uh...oh," said the guy, "you can go anywhere around here."
Fine. Now what do we do for forty five minutes?
"Look, Dad! A play area! Can we go?"
Deus ex machina. "Oh, sure. Why not."
Over on one side of the food court was one of those kiddie play areas, covered in foam carpet and surrounded by a waist-high wall. It had a big plastic tree in the middle and a bunch of toadstools and what not for the kiddies to climb on. The place was an absolute sea of children and the gels quickly threw themselves into it, while I took up a station along the wall and began to fume. Tyson's tag line is, "Where the stores are." Perhaps, but a more accurate description of the place would be "Where the Mob is." You know, my religion teaches me to love my neighbor. But Jesus never had to deal with a rainy Saturday afternoon mall crowd. If he had, I'm pretty sure he'd have stayed strictly Old Testament. Every conceivable type of lumpen mall-goer was there, stepping on my toes, leaning against me and having loud conversations on their cell phones about a variety of subjects no sane person would ever want broadcast. As I say, the place was full of kids, too, having a vast array of fits, accidents, tantrums and crises. Furthermore, if there was supposed to be any kind of age limit for the play area, it was not being enforced - I watched three girls who must have been at least twelve or thirteen, all of them decked out in Bratz Fashion, clamoring about on playsets designed for three year olds. (Given the way they looked and acted, I thought it distinctly possible that one of them probably had a three year old.)
Periodically, the Llama-ettes would emerge to ask if it was time for dinner yet. But so far, the ol' vibrating pocket-buddy had not gone off. Once again I found myself staring at my watch. Half an hour gone. Forty minutes. Forty five. Fifty. Enough of this! I collected the gels and went back over to check on the status of our table.
"Uh," said the guy, "Well, I think we called you already."
"Uh....oh. Well, go see that woman over there and she'll get you seated."
So we went to see that woman over there who would get us seated. Except we didn't actually see her, because I was never able to make eye contact. She resolutely declined to glance away from the computer screen she was watching, instead making a series of hand signals over her shoulder to a group of waiters loitering nearby. I had the curious sensation of not actually being there.
Eventually, though, we sat down. And we still had a bit over half an hour until the movie started. I quickly ordered some soup for myself and some macky cheese and hot dog for the gels, and we waited.
Fifteen minutes later, the waiter shuffled up and reported that there was some kind of hold-up in the kitchen and our meals would be delayed. The seven year old promptly rounded on him, stating that we were seeing a movie and five thirty and we needed our food quickly. The guy tried to suck up to her by asking about the movie, but she continued to glare at him. The five year old, however, was quite chatty and enthusiastic, much to the waiter's relief. This offered a glimpse of how my girls are going to deal with men in later life - the seven year old is going to terrorize them a la Katharine Hepburn. The five year old, meanwhile, is going to vamp her way to everything she wants.
Eventually, just before I cancelled the order and walked out, the food showed up. It was now getting on toward ten past five. "Eat fast, girls," was the order of the day. The gels dutifully hoovered their meals, as only the young can do, and we got over to the theatre with ten minutes in hand. As we walked in, I was pleased to see that there were plenty of empty seats.
Except they weren't actually empty. Instead, almost all of them were saved with somebody's jacket or the like. I hate it when people do this sort of thing. There oughta be a law. Punishable by summary execution.
Eventually, we wound up way down front where you can never quite get your eyes to focus all the way because the screen is so close. However, by that point, I didn't much care anymore. The powers of darkness had been conspiring all afternoon to derail our plans, but we were going to see them through, dammit, no matter what.
And we did. Once we got used to where we were sitting, the gels and I actually enjoyed Wallace & Gromit. It's quite clever and very English - there's always something going on to keep the kiddies amused, while there also are frequent grown-up jokes that go rocketing right over their innocent little heads. And some of the effects are quite beautiful - just thinking about the amount of time and effort it took to create all of that in stop-motion animation makes one dizzy.
Anyhoo, we wound up having a good time, which is really what counted in the end, I suppose. Not much more happened, except that as I tried to navigate out of the garage in the rain and the dark, with the windshield fogging up and the brakes grabbing from the wet, the gels stared peppering me with questions about how the moonlight made the were-rabbit happen. Under such circumstances, my ability to come up with Creative Dad Answers was at rather a low ebb, and I couldn't say much more than, "Oh...magic, I suppose." Perhaps sensing that I'd about had enough, they didn't press for further elaboration.
So there you have it. Like I say, I am a complete moron. If ever I suggest that I might do something like this again, feel free to give me a blow on the head.
October 10, 2005
UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE IN A WORKERS PARADISE
Opinion Journal Online today. Something to remember when someone talks about universal health care in a Communist country.
CAT LOVERS-AVERT YOUR EYES
The danger of allowing your feline to roam your Florida backyard.
SADDAM FACES THE MUSIC
Next week (in case you missed it in the MSM).
COLUMBUS DAY MOONBAT LINK
The Corner at NRO has this link.
October 09, 2005
Jen, formerly Jen Speaks, has had several posts on being single , the latest is her attendance at a workshop held by her church. I have The Butcher's Wife to thank for seeing that my bride and I were a far better fit than I first realized.
UPDATE: Jen, thanks for the gentle correction which I used to update this post.
FREEH UNLOADS ON BUBBA-PART II
Freeh's interview with Mike Wallace was occasion for me to watch 60 Minutes for the first time in many a long year. Among the many interesting factoids: Bubba refused to ask the Saudis to allow the FBI access to the Khobar Towers bombing suspects, forcing Freeh to ask George H.W. Bush to intercede (he did and access was promptly granted) and Freeh's requests for vastly increased resources for counter-terrorism were routinely axed--leaving plenty for congressional Republicans and DOJ management at the time to answer for (Jamie Gorelick, care to comment?). Will definitely buy the book.
LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED
Yours truly is keeping an eye on things since Steve-O is away from stately LLama Manor and Robbo's home computer now works only in an alternate bearded cat Spock universe (or something like that). This state of affairs is likely to last through tomorrow since Robbo is a guv'mint lawyer who will not doubt faithfully observe the Evil Pale European holiday tomorrow. (Not sure how the holiday affects Steve-O since large public West Coast universities like his often hold classes on Columbus Day to denounce colonization, Halliburton, and the like.)
October 07, 2005
Busy Weekend Ahead
Minimal blogging this weekend. For one thing, our computer at home appears to have died, so unless I can figure out what the problem is, I'm effectively cut off.
Also, the Missus is off tomorrow morning with the three year old to visit her family in Connecticut. And while the other two gels mercifully don't have soccer games this weekend, I'll still be shuttling them to a birthday party tomorrow morning, followed by an afternoon of Wallace & Grommit and dinner out. Sunday, I have to host coffee hour after church, then it's off to another birthday party and, if we still have the energy, another church-group grown-up party after that. Pluuuus, I have to figure out how to work some grocery shopping and lawn-mowing into the equation.
But I'm not greatly troubled. For tonight, I know, even if it's pouring rain out, there's pizza and a new bottle of wine in the house and Netflix delivered The Big Lebowski to my mailbox today.
So, as I say, probably little or no posting this weekend. But perhaps plenty to talk about after the fact.
Yip! at you later.
"Well It's Just Gone Six O'Clock And Time For The Penguin On Top Of Your Television Set to Defecate."
'Ow did 'e know that was going to 'appen?
Olde Towne Blog-Meet
Long time Llama friend JohnL of TexasBestGrok is going to be in Dee Cee next week and a bunch of us thought it might be nice to get together. So far, the list includes such esteemed bloggers as The Maximum Leader, Ted from Rocket Jones and Princess Cat from A Swift Kick and a Bandaid.
We're planning to meet at Union Street Public House in Alexandria on Saturday, October 15 at 6:30ish. If you're in the neighborhood, you're more than welcome to stop by. (And yes, Bill, that includes you.) Stalkers and moonbats need not apply. But groupies are always encouraged.
Bearded-Spock Universe Cat Blogging
Heh. (Warning: Think about the title of this post before you click over.)
Yips! to Naked Villainy's Foreign Minister.
Tolkien Geekery Watch
Gary has put up FOTR, Book 2, Chapter 6 - Lothlorien.
It just goes to show how useful it can be reading somebody else's description of the book, because even after all these readings I'd never made the connection between Frodo's night on the flet and his dream way back at Crickhollow before. Also, I don't think I've ever read the events of the Elder Days - the Kinslaying, the Ban of the Valar, the destruction of the Elven Kingdoms in the West of Middle Earth and the destruction of Thangorodrim described as "such a great brouhaha". (Just teasing.)
Another important aspect of this chapter is that it gives some sense of the way in which the power of the Elves works. As they travel deeper into Lothlorien, Sam says he feels like he's "inside a song" from the Elder Days. Frodo, undoubtedly because of the Ring, can feel the source of that power even from a distance, and when he climbs up the flet of Amroth and Nimrodel (the name of which escapes me at the moment) with Haldir, he can clearly see the difference between the Land of Lothlorien, in which the light of the Elder Days is preserved, and the world outside, which is subject to all the ills and decay of mortality (or as Tolkien puts it, on which the shadows lie).
Gary also mentions the conflict between the Elves and the Dwarves. This is a theme that Tolkien used a lot - strife among various peoples who ought to be allies against the True Enemy. It comes up a number of times and, indeed, is said by Gandalf later on to be one of Sauron's chief strengths and delights.
UPDATE: Following up on Gary's comment, I had to post this: Eeeexcellent.
Who's "Scruffy Looking"?
Interesting to see what we look like from the other side of the aisle. Perusing sitemeter, I came across CDBustard, which appears to be a lefty staging point to send debaters into the right half of the Blogsphere. Here's what they have to say about us:
The Llama Butchers - Conservative Geeks trying their hands at humor and Satire. The writers at The Daily Show need not fear for their jobs.
Pardon me while I pick myself up off the floor after that haymaker.
Anyhoo, some of our friends and allies make the list as well:
The Corner - Of No Redeeming Social Value: Jonah Goldberg and his corps of Cheeto Loving, Basement Living 101st Division Keyboarders. Not "No Sacrifice is too Great", Simply "Me No Sacrifice".
The Jawa Report - Their motto is a quote from Thomas Mann: "Tolerance:A Crime when applied to evil" These guys manage the evil portion just fine; it's anything similar to tolerance that is totally beyond them.
AceofSpadesHQ - He slammed the MSM, expressed a lot of outrage, because Osama got a Time Magazine cover earlier than Ann Coulter. It's clear who he thinks is more important. At times displays ferocious, demented sense of humor.
Annika's Journal - This lovely lady says Al Gore is "fat" and "tacky" Possibly her body is thin, but her brain spews nothing but vile bile. I'm confident that she is as tacky as it gets. [Note to Bustard - she's packin' too, so be nice.]
Beautiful Atrocities. - Atrocious attempt at humor: On Earth Day they suggest that you "Club a Seal". 'How to flush a Koran.' Happily, it's seems to be getting less popular.
Dean's World - The thoughts of Dean Esmay. He says that he's a liberal. But he gets his TV news from the likes of Brit Hume and McLaughlin. He likes the idea of Condi as President. This is a special kind of liberal?
Michelle Malkin - One of the Biggest: No comments: No reason to go unless you like to see evil in action. Mithras.blogs.com said it best "so bigoted she'd arrest herself for trying to cross a border."
Outside The Beltway - Also outside mainstream America, but not way out.
and my personal favorite:
The Bleat - The "thoughts" of James Lileks. Boilerplate Right Wing Blather. Don't Bother.
Well, all I can say is that if I'm getting slanged on the same blog as James, then I must be doing something right.
There are plenty more, most being more or less snide, although a few actually conceding a bit of praise. One that made me extremely suspicious:
Cranky Neocon - Truly is a neocon, and truly is cranky and can still be somewhat amusing.
Gordo, have you become a war bride?
Hurricane Kelo Threatens Dee Cee
According to this story, the District intends to use eminent domain to clear out a group of landowners in order to be able to build the new Nationals' ballpark.
As much as I look forward to seeing the Nats play in a new state-of-the-art-retro park, this ain't right. It's unclear from the article whether the District wants to use eminent domain powers just with regard to parcels of property owned by people it hasn't heard back from, or whether it also intends to go after landowners who think they're being low-balled in purchase negotiations. Either way, it's rather horrifying.
This somehow reminds me of Lando Calrissian trying to negotiate with Darth Vader over Han and Leiah. "I'm altering the terms of the deal, Calrissian. Pray I don't alter them more."
Draining the Fever Swamp
Well, shoot. The ever-delightful Meghan Cox Gurdon is hanging it up. Her weekly doses of domestic mayhem at the hands of (now) five kids will be missed 'round here.
I Have Seen The Promised Land, Beavis. And It Is Good.
FREEH UNLOADS ON BUBBA
Drudge is carrying this preview of the coming attractions in Louis Freeh's book on his tenure as FBI Director. Anyone still wonder why Bubba burned through a record number of White House Counsels during his two terms? Keep in mind, he recruited (and ran off) a number of capable members of the Dem Establishment: Bernard Nussbaum, Lloyd Cutler, Abner Mikva, et al.
NO FREAKIN' WAY
I do not see this happening. While the Al Gore global government types see it as inevitable, my response is: if you do not like the way we run the Internet, set up your own!
October 06, 2005
Let's Be Careful Out There
For all of our Noo Yawk readers, I hope this comes to nothing.
Margi has an excellent rant on the subject of the new Eeyore-on-Prosac.
Meanwhile, I've been facing my own toy issue. The Llama-ettes have a Dora the Explorer doll. The thing is about a foot tall and lives in the basement. Lately, when I've been watching tee vee late at night, I'd swear it's been staring at me with malice in its eyes:
"Hola! Can you help me carve up Papa? You can? Fantastico!"
I, for one, am starting to get seriously creeped out.
UPDATE: Of course, if this shows up at the Butcher's House, I'll know that I've lost and that Dora might just as well put me out of my misery:
Yips! to K-Lo in the Corner.
UPDATE DEUX: And just to show more of what parents of young girls are up against, allow me to direct your attention to Club Libby Lu. This is a place at the mall where girls can get "make-overs" as rock stars and the like and then are encouraged to "perform" for people strolling by. The eldest Llama-ette recently was invited to a Libby Lu birthday party. Fortunately, we already had a commitment for that afternoon, but if we hadn't, I'd have unhesitatingly invented one.
Today's Required Reading
We must win the war against Islamo-fascist terrorism, and Iraq is a major front of that war:
There's always a temptation, in the middle of a long struggle, to seek the quiet life, to escape the duties and problems of the world, and to hope the enemy grows weary of fanaticism and tired of murder. This would be a pleasant world, but it's not the world we live in. The enemy is never tired, never sated, never content with yesterday's brutality. This enemy considers every retreat of the civilized world as an invitation to greater violence. In Iraq, there is no peace without victory. We will keep our nerve and we will win that victory.
Too much else to quote here - the Iraq issue is just one part of the speech's overall strategic analysis. Just go read the whole thing, already.
In the end, this is what really matters above all else right now, including SCOTUS picks, NO rebuilds, pork-barrelling and the rest of the hurly-burly of everyday politics. Dubya gets it. And until I see signs that he no longer gets it, I just can't get myself overly worked up about these other issues. Oh, I may grumble about them, but I won't jump ship. I can live with ballooning Federal deficits or stealth-liberal Supreme Court Justices. But I can't live with a suitcase nuke going off three blocks from my office.
Who is Richard Sharpe, you ask? Go here to find out.
As cranky as I generally get about dramatizations of books, this is one series with which I've never had any issues. For one thing, Bernard Cornwell's style translates very easily from page to screen. For another, for some time now as the novels and films have marched along side by side, Cornwell has specifically had Bean in mind (at least I believe) as he has created his stories, much the way John Mortimer zeroed in on Leo McKern as the definitive Horace Rumpole.
Personally, I can't wait, especially as I'm happy to say that DirecTV carries BBC America.
Balm To My Eyes
Statement as of 11:03 AM EDT on October 06, 2005
... Heavy rain with potential for flooding this weekend...
A cold front will approach the region from the west on Friday. At
the same time... the remnants of Tropical Depression Tammy will
head up the East Coast. The interaction of these two systems over
the mid Atlantic region will lead to an increasing threat of heavy rain
tonight into early Saturday. Rain may be heavy at times Friday and
Friday night. The steady rain will gradually move east of our area
on Saturday as the cold front moves east.
Rainfall amounts of 3 to 5 inches are possible at this time with
localized amounts in excess of 6 inches even possible. These
amounts look sufficient to produce flooding of small
streams... urban and poor drainage areas. River flooding is not
anticipated at this time. A Flood Watch will likely be issued
later this afternoon.
Stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio all hazards or your favorite media
source for further updates.
You have to understand that it hasn't rained around the Dee Cee area literally in months. I know this particularly because I planted some roses and foundation shrubs after we got back from Maine at the beginning of August and I've had to go out and water the damn things every single weekend since.
Now if only it were going to be a wee bit cooler - say, 45 degrees and rain, my very favorite combination of weather. D'ye ken me ancestry, Laddies?
Finally, This Blogging Thing Has Paid Out
Sure, we've had our share of requests from Nigerian government officials anxious to enlist our aid to transfer vast sums of wealth in return for a healthy cut, but this note to the Tasty Bits (TM) Mail Sack looks like pure gold:
DUTCH UNION LOTTERY INTERNATIONAL NL INTERNATIONAL PROMOTION/PRIZE AWARD DEPT. REF: MLI/231-ILGI0431/03 BATCH: IPD/15/096/PTNL RE: WINNING FINAL NOTIFICATION
We are pleased to inform you of the result of the
Lottery Winners International programs held on the
3th of OCTOBER 2005. Your e-mail address attached to
ticket number --------------- with serial number
--------------- drew lucky numbers ----------------, which
consequently won in the 2nd category, you have
therefore been approved for a sum pay out of
500,000.00 Euros (FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND EUROS).
Due to mix up of some numbers and names, we ask that
you keep your winning information very confidential
till your claims has been processed and your
prize/money Remitted to you. This is part of our
security protocol to avoid double claiming and
unwarranted abuse of this program by some
participants. All participants were selected through a
computer ballot system drawn from over 200,000,000
company and 300,000,000 individual email addresses and
names from all over the world.
This promotional program takes place annually. We hope
with part of your winning you will take part in our
next year 100 million Euros international lottery.
To file for your claim, please contact our/your
MR.KOVIO JOHNSON of the,SILVER TRUST AGENT
From NRO today, read it. The most powerful person in the courtroom in a criminal case is the prosecutor, particularly in state court, for the simple reason it is the prosecutor who decides whether to bring charges, and what charges to bring. Ronnie Earle's pursuit of Delay is riddled with abuse of prosecutorial discretion and responsiblity ranging from bringing a movie crew into the grand jury room, to sloppily charging as criminal conduct in the first indictment actions that were not even a crime at the time they occurred, to bypassing one grand jury which refused to indict Delay to another that would. Can you imagine the MSM's reaction if these actions had been taken by a Republican D.A. against Nancy Pelosi?
I'm giving this round to Peggy. She says the same thing we've been saying here for the past couple days:
The president would have been politically better served by what Pat Buchanan called a bench-clearing brawl. A fractious and sparring base would have come together arm in arm to fight for something all believe in: the beginning of the end of command-and-control liberalism on the U.S. Supreme Court. Senate Democrats, forced to confront a serious and principled conservative of known stature, would have damaged themselves in the fight. If in the end President Bush lost, he'd lose while advancing a cause that is right and doing serious damage to the other side. Then he could come back to win with the next nominee. And if he won he'd have won, rousing his base and reminding them why they're Republicans.
He didn't do that. Why didn't he? Old standard answer: In time of war he didn't want to pick a fight with Congress that he didn't have to pick. Obvious reply: So in time of war he picks a fight with his base? Also: The Supreme Court isn't the kind of fight you "don't have to pick." History picks it for you. You fight.
James is funny, but I don't think he can uber-arch his way out of this one with Souter-Sith jokes.
*Not my own.
UPDATE: Rachel relays Steyn's take. Let me make it abundantly clear that I hope my misgivings are groundless. Steyn seems to suggest they might be.
Going to Dallas
Okay, I'm going to Dallas for a couple of days for a conference. Anybody have any suggestions of any places to eat etc.? I'm not bringing the laptop with me and so I'll probably be radio-silent until Tuesday.
Kathy and Sadie, this means your big opportunity to use your key to stately LLama Manor (you know, the one under the flowerpot on the back porch) for some completely merciless pshop rueage and mockage of my end of the business, of which I would not be able to respond to defend my honor for @96 hours. Heck, the Scottish Dwarf might even make a return....
Random Commuter Observations
The jocks on the radio this morning were hosting a sort of open-mike call-in session for observations on the new season of Lost.
I no longer feel the least pang of guilt about my own Tolkien geekery.
October 05, 2005
Calgon, take me away!
Grrrrrr......this is getting old.
SIGN OF THE END TIMES
This. Nicole Kidman and Mimi Rogers are unavailable for comment.
UPDATE: Ow. Looks like Robbo beat me to it. But Nicole and Mimi are still unavailable for comment.
Joel, Get Off The Babysitter!
One word reaction: Ew.
He must have thought it was a wafer-thin mint
Headline of the day: Python explodes after eating alligator.
Lenin pushing daisies?
The Fabtabulous and Macktastic Chai-Rista has the latest on the unrestful sleep of Vladimir Lenin.
Personally, I think someone could make a killing hiring his body out for a speaking tour of Amerikkkan colleges. They could roll his cadaver up to the podium, and some honors student who is doing her honors thesis on ventriloquism amongst immigrant lesbians in North Chicago, circa Tuesdays in January, 1888 could do the honors of fronting some rallying cries, "McChimpy Walmart Hitler must die to appease our pacifist souls! Down with the race-traitor Rice, up with the master-baiter Moore!" and such pablum and drivel. The students would eat it up because the speaker would be as lifelike and authentic as their senior professors, and the ideological messages would help them in their classes deconstructing ontolgoically the heirarchy apparent in 1970s tee-vee show lunchboxes, or from the study of the history of cookbooks.
But see, there I go, thinking like a capitalist...
"A Disabled Young Man From Copenhagen..."
No, I'm not above linking to the Beeb story today about the disabled Danish guy who wants the guv'mint to pay for hookers to visit him. And if that proposition is not enough in and of itself to, er, get a rise out of you, just read on into the backstory:
In Denmark, prostitution and other forms of sex work are not illegal so long as it is not a woman's sole means of income.
I wonder exactly how much more income she needs in order for her horizontal activities to be legal. Would operating a small souvenir and newspaper stand in her bedroom count? Or if she travels, could she also double up by delivering pizzas?
Mr Hansen started seeing a prostitute after attending a course at a social centre.
There, he and other disabled people were taught that if they had needs, they "could do something about it".
"I had a strong desire to have sex, and I think I gained the confidence around that time to get the call girls to come to me.
"Since then I've had a lot of escort girls coming to see me - but I've also had girlfriends."
File this one under Nanny State Horror Stories. The Danes were once the terrors of Western Europe. Now they're reduced to taking Continuing Ed classes on how to ask, "How much?" Need we say any more?
He also said there had been "much research" into people in his situation, and that it had showed that not being sexually fulfilled can lead to "frustration and aggression".
As Taranto might say, what would we do without researchers?
"It's unfair to deny people with disabilities the right to a sex life," he added.
Funny, back in my X-treme Dork Bachelor Days, I tried a variety of different arguments, bribes and outright pleas to get girls to take an interest in me but it never occurred to me to put it in Constitutional terms. I'm sure Madison put something in the Federalist Papers about the inalienable right to get some.
Actually, I can't really blame this guy for being confused. The inmates seem to be in charge of the asylum:
Kristen Brosboel, a Social Democrat member of the Danish Parliament, is among those who have argued against Mr Hansen.
"Obviously I recognise that he has a problem that people without a disability may not have - but I disagree with the fact that we should support his visits with a prostitute with tax money," she told Outlook.
"We also spend tax money on trying to prevent prostitution, helping women out of prostitution - and we have a clear policy that this is a social problem that we want to solve."
Emphasis mine. Who was it who once remarked that in a totalitarian society everything that isn't forbidden is mandatory? (I think it was Peej, but I also think he was quoting somebody else.) This guy just seems to be going along. But the Danish Government seem to be trying to have it both ways at once. If they're shelling out tax money to try and stop prostitution, um, well, then, why is it legal? (The cynical side of my brain is whispering "tax revenues.....tax revenues.....")
UPDATE: Okay, I had to give it a try once I had started it.....
A disabled young man from Copenhagen
Had issues financial 'bout hooker-shaggin.
He applied for the dole,
To help make him whole,
Now he smiles even when his paycheck's laggin'.
Thangkyuh verrah much.
YIPS from Steve: Hooker-shaggin ?????????????????
You leave the founding father of Connecticut out of this!
Would you play kickball with this man?
What about medical knockout?
The Split we all feared
My gawhd, how can we go on!?!? I blame McHitler the Chimp and the Halliburton-constructed levees. (which, to pimp off Dave Barry, would be a good name for a band or a blog)
Did I mention that Apothegm Designs rules the free world in a KISS circa 1979 sort of way?
No? Really? Sadie gives some reasons why.
It actually gets worse
No, you know your motivation level is at true rock bottom when you are linking to people describing their motivation level as being at rock bottom.
It just goes to show you
For some odd reason, we're getting more mail on our Battlestar Galactica takedown than our criticisms of Harriet Meirs.
What does it show? I have no idea. No, that's not true: I have an idea, but it's not charitable.
Yips! from Robbo: Not only that, our remora-like linker Unpartisan.com is not only still labelling us as a liberal blog, it's now linking to the wrong posts!
The good news there is we typically get exactly zero hits from being linked by these guys, so there's little danger of anybody being disappointed by this mistake.
Hello, Kettle? This Is Pot.
In his otherwise enjoyable diary about touring in the United States that I mentioned yesterday, Eric Idle takes some time to launch some gratuitous digs at John Ashcroft and the blanket of oppression that he and his minions sought to cast over freedom of expression in Amerikkka.
Um, Eric? On the subject of out-of-control state censorship, you might want to phone home.
This story keeps getting weirder and weirder
I don't what to make of this.
Random Trashy Movie Question
This may be the wrong level of inquiry for this kind of movie, but as I caught a bit of The Mummy Returns last evening, a thought reoccured to me: At the end, Brendan Fraser's Rick and the High Priest Imhotep are involved in a three-way battle with The Rock's Scorpion King which is plainly a big, bad, evil monster.
And yet, when The Rock got his very own movie the next year about how Mathayus became the Scorpion King, he was undoubtedly the Good Guy.
Did I miss something here? Or was the theory that I'd be paying too close attention to babes (nominally) dressed up as ancient mistresses and sorcoresses to really notice that sort of thing?
(BTW, I think The Rock should/should have pursued this franchise. He could be/ could have been the next Conan.)
Your Daily Dose of Tolkien Geekery
Gary posts today on FOTR, Book 2, Chapter 5 - The Bridge of Khazad-Dum.
I think Gary is right that this is the chapter where, after gradually transitioning from a narrow, Shire-based point of view to that of greater Middle Earth and building up a solid strategic exposition with the Rivendell chapters, the story really goes into epic high gear. It is a terribly exciting chapter. And, of course, there being a lot of action, this part of the book is much more easily adapted to the screen (although I think Jackson wastes too much time on the troll and on cheap dwarf-tossing jokes).
Gary's post includes a discussion (and an informational link) of the Balrog. I agree with Gary that the Balrog actually did have wings, but they obviously couldn't have been air-worthy, or else the Balrog would not have tumbled into the gulf after Gandalf destroyed the bridge. (The same holds true regarding the means of its eventual destruction.)
As to the loss of Gandalf himself at this point, it certainly is a shocking moment the first time through. Gary mentioned in his previous post Aragorn's warning to Gandalf not to go into the Mines. But I've never been certain about how much Aragorn actually knew of the threat that waited there, whether it was a general fear or a specific one. Aragorn had been in Moria before, so he might have spotted the Balrog previously. However, in Lothlorien it seems that he did not know exactly what the Balrog was other than some "ancient evil". And how he might have known the threat this evil posed specifically to Gandalf remains a bit of a question. Gary suggests that this episode is really more of a manifestation of Aragorn's hesitancy over having to take the burden on his own shoulders, but I don't know.
Congratulations and many happy returns! Yip! Yip! Yip!
More Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)
The Missus is heading up to Connecticut this weekend to visit her family, taking the three year old with her. Thinking about what I might do with the five and seven year olds in their absence, I was toying with the idea of taking the gels to see the new Wallace and Gromit movie.
Well, after reading the review quoted by Terry Teachout's Girl In Chicago, I am almost definitely going to take them now.
UPDATE: Tee Bee is pumped, too.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)
I was chatting with the five year old last evening about holidays. She said, "Christmas is my very favorite. And Daddy, do you know what my favorite thing is about Christmas?"
I made a face of concentration and said, "Hmmm.....I'll bet your first favorite thing is....presents."
"Yessss!" she smiled.
"And," I continued, "I'll bet your second favorite thing about Christmas is....presents. And your third favorite thing about Christmas is......more presents."
She started giggling.
"And Daddy," she said, "Do you know what present I want the mostest this year?"
"Hmmmm," I said, "I'll bet it has something to do with......Barbie."
"Yessssss," she smiled again, "And do you know what kind of Barbie?"
"Hmmm," I said again, "I'll bet it has something to do with......Pegasus!"
"Hooray!" she said, "Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus! But, Daddy," and here a look of wonder crossed her face, "how did you know?"
I narrowed my eyes and said, "Because I'm Daddy and I know everything."
It's good to remind children of one's apparent powers every now and again. Keeps 'em on their toes. And however much they might deny it later on, they'll never quite totally give up believing that you have them. (Until they have children of their own, of course, by which time it won't matter that they've finally seen through you because they'll be too busy hiding their own man behind the curtain.)
George Will runs his rapier through the Miers nomination. Will seems to put the pick down largely to a cave on the part of Dubya to identity politics, while I still believe it probably has more to do with cronyism, but his reasoning for rejecting the nomination is pretty sound. (There! I said it! I think she's a poor choice!)
UPDATE: BTW, I'm not completely convinced that this isn't some kind of stunt, that Miers might have been, well, a deliberate wild pitch. I'm not saying I believe this yet, just that I haven't dismissed it as being beyond the realm of possibility.
UPDATE DEUX: Jonah's G-File today nicely sums some theories behind Dubya's pick and the dilemma it has created:
But President Bush has put himself in the awkward position of asking his base to trust him at precisely the moment the base was expecting Bush to demonstrate their trust was well-founded in the first place. For this reason and others, the Miers nomination has opened up several crisscrossing fissures on the Right: East Coast credentialists vs. outside-the-Beltway populists, Bush loyalists vs. conservative-movement activists.
The press will spend a lot of time wondering what the Democrats will do. But for now the more interesting question is, what will the Republicans do?
Emphasis mine. This seems to be the basis of the bulk of the criticism coming from the Right, at least what I've seen of it. As I say in the comments, whether the hissy-fitting is justified or not, the White House should have seen it coming. Either it didn't, which is worrisome, or else it did and chose to ignore it, which would appear to lend some credence to the charges of arrogance being hurled about, and certainly strikes me as something of a political gamble.
YIPS from Steve:
Mr. President, I've supported you on a LOT of issues. I've taken my share of crap about it, and I've never complained. But there are a few places I won't stick up for you. The first is your abandonment of the issue of border security. The second is your spending our money like a drunken Kennedy (but I repeat myself). And the third one is your judgment of other people.
To cite three examples: appointing Michael Brown head of FEMA without discovering he had padded his resume'; naming and keeping Leon Panetta on as Secretary of Transportation; and your saying "you've looked into Vladimir Putin's soul" and trusting him. Sorry, sir, but three strikes and you're out. I don't feel I can rely solely on your sense of personal judgment about other people.
Yes, except the pesky issue of Norm Minetta being the incompetent triple-token Transportation Secretary, instead of Leon Panetta, who while I disagree with on most ideological issues has a distinguished record of public service.
My beef with all this is the missed opportunity for a Transformative Appointment to the Court: the party at the national level has one three sucessive national elections for the White House, the Senate, and the House. Now is the opportunity to get our William O. Douglas or Hugo Black on there. People keep saying, "sure, there have been lots of Supremes who haven't been judges before" (like Douglas and for all real purposes Black for that matter), but it's annoying to keep lumping the former Chief into that category. No, Rehnquist hadn't been a judge, but he had clerked at the Supreme Court for Justice Jackson. The whole conservative legal movement has spent the last generation focused on building this network, and to now not use it, well, it's baffling. It's Truman-esque in many ways.
UPDATE from Steve:
John at Wuzzadem blows the lid off of all this...
UPDATE DEUX from Steve:
Dr. Rusty weighs in with the Meirs/bin Laden connection, plus a photo which is going to lead to some pretty bad pshopping....
This is not good
LMC, what do you make of this?
October 04, 2005
FLASH IN THE PAN BABES OF THE SEVENTIES
Your humble LMC gives you Pam Dawber, best known for her role in Mork & Mindy with the much-overrated Robin Williams. She has done done hard time on the estrogen channels ever since but I like to remember her the way she was. Admit it boys, how many of you watch M&M just for Pam? Confess!
WHATEVER IT TAKES
Mrs. LMC, the Chief of Staff and Final Authority of all Manner of Popular Culture, is cruising the real estate listings and I suspect she is massing for another attempt to put Fort LMC on the BRAC list so We Can Move Into A Home We Bought Together. I have been crunching the numbers and two jobs (both mine) may not be enough in today's inflated real estate market. Fortunately, these fine folks are advertising for "Quality Bood Plasma Donors" for "up to $580 per month." If a house does not drive me to such a desperate measure, parochial school tuition in a few years probably will.
Imminent Rue-age Watch
Of course, regular readers of our little opus will remember that one of my guiding principles in life is "What Would Dusty Do?"
(Incidently, The Big Lebowski, which I haven't yet seen, is in my newly reloaded Netflix queue.)
Gregg Easterbrook, in his Tuesday Morning Quarterback column today, unloads on Battlestar Galactica:
One of my problems with Battlestar Galactica is that the men and women in the show are depicted as so astonishingly across-the-board stupid, it's tempting to root for the robots. The military officers are stupid; the politicians are stupid; the civilians are stupid. In the pilot, we learn that the entire defense network of the human society could be deactivated by one single numeric code. The evil robots, called Cylons, obtain the code, transmit it, and instantly all the human society's military equipment shuts off. Planets are left defenseless as the Cylons bombard them with nuclear bombs; numerous powerful battlestars are shown hanging in space helpless, their engines and weapons shut off, as the Cylons smash them. (The Galactica escapes via plot contrivance.) Now if you were an advanced society capable of building gigantic faster-than-light outer-space battleships, would you design them so that one single numeric code renders them all totally useless at the same time? Plus the numeric code that instantly shuts off every military device in the entire human society has been entrusted to a psychologically unstable computer scientist, who accidentally gives it to the Cylons. Halfway through the first season, the computer scientist became vice-president of the survivors' government, and everyone -- including military intelligence -- is so astonishingly stupid as to never realize that since scientist was the only one who had the code, he must have been the one to give it to the Cylons.
Next, the show has premise problems that appears unsolvable. One aspect of the premise is that there are no other intelligent beings in this part of the galaxy -- just the beleaguered humans and the malevolent Cylons. This means there are no aliens to meet in various episodes, no alien societies to depict. True, it must be hard at this point to come up with new alien ideas for sci-fi. You can imagine the scriptwriters' conference: "Okay, how about they find a planet where people can only speak when the sun is out?" The other premise problem is that the Cylons are depicted as having become so powerful, Galactica cannot hope to defeat them. If the characters can't overcome the Cylons and can't meet interesting aliens, to create dramatic tension the scriptwriters are forced to have the humans fighting each other, which is what happens. Almost every episode concerns internecine fighting inside the human fleet: plots, mutinies, martial law, claims of treason, everything but people accusing each other of witchcraft. Galactica story lines have become so similar that I have trouble telling whether an episode is new or a repeat.
Indeed. He also has a fair bit to say about the season cliffhanger ending involving the meeting between the Galactica and the Pegasus. All I've got to say about this is that Lloyd Bridges is the legendary Commander Cain and I refuse to accept any substitutes.
What? Isn't Gregg's column supposed to be about football (and cheerleaders)? Absolutely. And Gregg is pretty unkind this week to a certain Buffalo football team that just so happens to be facing a certain (cough) other team this weekend that (cough!) is coming off its bye (ahem!) leading the AFC East.
Eric the Diarist
I'm currently reading a nice little book that I found quite by accident in the San Francisco airport:
The Greedy Bastard Diary, by Eric Idle.
Here's an enthusiastic review. If you're a Monty Python fan, I think you'd like this. Basically, it is a journal of Idle's 49 city North American tour in 2003. In fact, it is essentially a paper blog - full of brief descriptions of the places he visits, noodlings on stage performing, observations on this, that and the other, and reflections on the Python crowd and other folks he has known (such as, for example, George Harrison). Idle's style is good humored and chatty. A sample:
You think I'm the only greedy bastard? You haven't heard the half of it. Wait till I get on to the tall one [John Cleese], whose love of the odd nickel leads him to be constantly yearning for a hammock, an island, and a book, but who we all know will never make it. He has been saying this since 1968, but he works so hard, he'll never stop. In fact he is in so many movies with "two" on them that we have labelled him The First Among Sequels. John once told me he would do anything for money, so I offered him a pound to shup up, and he took it.
The book is full of this sort of thing. As I say, if you're into something completely different, I think you'd find it very enjoyable.
Cornerites Behaving Badly?
I'm reasonably sure that the impeccibly proper Kathryn Jean Lopez wasn't actually suggesting anything, um, naughty with this line:
Hey, Mr. President! Do I get credit for highlighting the sodomy position too?
But just in case she was, well, let me know.
Now, if they can only make a catfish...
That, or cross breed a Fiddler crab with a nice sharp white cheddar.
(Image provided by government scientist/gadfly new hampsterite/moonbat extraordinaire LB Buddy---I have no idea whether it's real, but Stevie likes).
More Tolkien Geekery
Gary is now up to FOTR, Book 2, Chapter 3 - A Journey In The Dark.
One of the fun things about this chapter is that Gandalf suffers from an apparent nic-fit, taking off both Pippin's and Boromir's heads when they foolishly bother him as he is trying to figure out how to unlock the doors of Moria. Later, after he again flails Pippin over the latter's dropping of the stone into the well in the Mines, he suddenly realizes what ails him and proceeds to light up. Interesting that one of the Maiar apparently is susceptable to tobacco addiction.
Finally! Something Mom can put about me in the Christmas Letter
It's getting to be that time of year when Mom decides to gin up nooz and outright burnishings for the dreaded Christmas letter. Needless to say, she's been telling her golf & bridge friends that in my spare time I'm a maitre 'd at a lesbian coffeehaus. But, as Yoda would say, "Hide my blogging son no more will I."
Why? Well, we're #5 on Google for "Make dangerous stuff"
You know, your one stop shop for, like, apathetic revolutionaries.
(Note to Robbo, the LMC, and our various and sundry guest posters: somehow we've got to find a way to overcome in the rankings those charlatans and reich-wing rethuglikkkans at "unwise microwave oven experiments." The very fate of the Deaniac Revolution and with it Gaia herself hangs in the balance!)
More Llama Butcher Stuff Suggestions
News of our impending merchandizing blitz prompted our pal Kathy to send over a couple of images that she'd been saving for some rainy day Robespierrean taunting. But regardless of their Jacobin antecedents, I actually think they look pretty durn classy:
The Llama Butchers: "We Got Yer Age of Reason Right Here, Pal!"
Happy Birthday, Frederick Remington
"His First Lesson"
Today is the birthday, in 1861, of Frederick Remington, whose drawings, paintings and sculptures can be said to have defined the way Americans view (or at least used to view) 19th Century western expansion.
I toss this out primarily because the first book of art my parents ever gave me was a collection of Remington's work. I was quickly taken in by the images of the cowboys, cavalrymen and Indians and the harshness of the frontier, particularly since I lived in Texas and spent a lot of time tramping around in the Hill Country. An old stage road ran through the ranch where we used to hunt and the remains of a number of pioner homesteads still dotted the landscape. Further, there was a story about an outlaw being gunned down by the Texas Rangers near one of the hollows we frequented - he was supposed to have been buried somewhere around there with his spurs on.
Even though I've long since come back East, this kind of thing still holds an appeal for me.
This story keeps getting weirder and weirder
Turns out Gaia wasn't as pissed off about global warming in Her Wrath as we thought....
Increasingly the role of the construction companies that built the new style storm wall levees is becoming more important.
They should go ahead and hire the child psychologist right now
Movie-star dad or not, this boy's going to spend most of junior high hanging by his feet, head first in the girl's room toilet, with the balance of time spent stuffed in a locker, with all the big boys chanting around him, "Son, you've got a panty on your head!"
The Metaphysics of cleaning
Jordana has a beautiful essay on cleaning out her closet.
Constitutional Law scholar Orenthal James Simpson questions the propriety of the Meirs nomination
My concerns are both ontological and epistemological: what does this crazy white bitch know about textualist interpretations of the commerce clause, yet alone the interactions of the republican guarentee clause with section five of the fourteenth amendment?
Further nuttiness ensues over at the OJ Simpson law blog.
UPDATE: congrats go to Kathy for being #1 on Google for "Harriet Miers" "cheesed."
Hehehehehe...she said "cheesed."
"Just for Men" sponsors the Saddam Trial
See, this is just the sort of stuff I miss out on by only watching the Lifetime Network.
Nice use of the Keith Hernandez humor. However, John, if you dare to even try to do something with the Raffy Palmerio-endorsement angle, we're going to have to go all jihad on your mangey butt.
Hurricanes wipe out congressional seat, patronage, and graft
That was one mighty powerful storm.
Just in time for all your Ramadan gift needs
Robbo's wife has been pressuring me for awhile to get our t-shirt sales going. My sense is that we'll do it through cafepress; even though we'll clear two cents per, the thought of having llamabutcher gear out there just gets me all, well, leafblower fired up if you know what I mean.
So....what should be the LLamabutcher T-shirt design? And by t-shirt design, I of course mean thongs. Because what would really say "joyful greetings upon the 2006th birthday of the Son of the Most High" more than a thong with surly sunglasses wearing, smoking LLamas on it? Exactly: not much.
Anyhoo, what should be the look? My original thought would be some variation on the classic logo:
(and all it's subsequent permutations: Batman and Robin LLamabutchers, Obi-wan and Princess Leia LLamabutcher, Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty LLamabutchers, Tijuana Bikeweek prison LLamabutchers etc.) (not that there's anything wrong with that)
There's the Ferris Bueller motif:
The infamous Colin Firth Darcy LLamabutcher:
A little retro-oh-four look:
Let us know in the TastyBits(TM) mail sack what you think. Our early retirements depend on your answer!
UPDATE: I'd like to use this one, but there's no way I'm going to subdivide my share of the crazy blog money with Sadie.
October 03, 2005
Sooper Sekrit message to long time moonbat poster LB Buddy: whoa! Which leads to the question, how can science be advanced in such a Nobel-esque way that we can retrospectively justify setting one's hair on fire doing flaming shots of 151 as a Kuhnian great moment in the history of Science?
Sifting through a couple weeks worth of detrius of the Tasty Bits(TM) Mail Sack, I came across this little nugget which gave a hot curl to my heart from Dave at the Glittering Eye:
Here's something to add to your trove of llama lore.
Last weekend we stayed with Bob and Nancy Varner
at the Varner's Caboose Bed and Breakfast just outside
Davenport, IA. As it happens they have llamas. We were
there for a dog show and asked them if they showed their
llamas and how they dried them after bathing them. Their
answer: leaf blower.
Thought that might curl your hair.
I don't know about you, but I think that's kind of hot. Hoses and leaf blowers---it's definitely the only way the Dear One can get me to cut the lawn.
And while we were making snide and jackassy Emperor Palapatine comments, Dave was scouring the waterfront and bring back the rat kabobs, served up with a brisk yet refreshing hint of majorum.
CHENEY: "TRUST US ON THIS ONE"
Vice President Cheney made the radio talk-show rounds today with a simple message: "trust us on this one" which was reassuring, although not as much as reports that she urged the ABA to put its pro-abortion rights position to a referendum of the membership in 1992 when she was president of either the Texas bar or the Texas ABA chapter. Twenty-five year membership in an evangelical Protestant church does not make it seem like she is going to go Souter on us. Could it be that Harriet is a closet member of Feminists for Life? Perhaps all she needs is a makeover like the one Robbo did for Helen Thomas. Perhaps, something like this.
The X-Donk visits Hippy Land
In a non-Harriet Miers aside, my pal Marjorie is toying with the idea of a really terrifying Halloween costume for her three year old.
My own three year old, who is dressing up as the Little Mermaid this year, has developed a game of suggesting costumes for me to wear: She names various Disney princesses and I'm supposed to recoil in disbelief. And so:
She: How about Pocahontas?
Me: Not Pocahontas! She's a giiiirl!!
The Llama-ette thinks this is extremely funny. I find it endearing the first ten or fifteen times, after which it begins to pale a bit.
Ever since she started this little game, I've had the song "Lola" stuck in my head. In fact, yesterday - as she suggested Cinderalla, Snow White and Belle for the umpteenth time, I started singing it at her. This may prove to have been an inspired choice, because it got her to stop, although whether this was because she doesn't like Ray Davies or because she doesn't like my singing, I couldn't quite tell.
We've been screwed!
Why? This endorsement:
ďďI look forward to the Judiciary Committee process which will help the American people learn more about Harriet Miers, and help the Senate determine whether she deserves a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court.
In my view, the Supreme Court would benefit from the addition of a justice who has real experience as a practicing lawyer. The current justices have all been chosen from the lower federal courts. A nominee with relevant non-judicial experience would bring a different and useful perspective to the Court.
I look forward to the Judiciary Committee process which will help the American people learn more about Harriet Miers, and help the Senate determine whether she deserves a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court.
Okay, not President Geena, but close enough!
Contrary To Rumor...
No, I am not Judith Martin in disguise.
Not exactly a transformative appointment....
Unfortunately, the Lyndon Johnson analogies keep piling up: first it was guns and butter, and now it's appointing his own lawyer---shades of Abe Fortas.
To quote INDCent Bill, "It's just this war and that, that lyin' son-of-a-bitch Johnson."
YIPS! from ROBBO:
However, is it just me, or is there a certain familiar something about her appearance......
YIPS from Steve: Why I love the internet, volume LCMXXVI (thanks to Althouse)
After the non-battle over the Dread Justice Roberts, I had been hoping for some ideological fireworks this time around. And from a conversation I had with a friend pretty high up in the Rovian Hive over the weekend, I had begun to think that there might be some ground for such hope.
Now, I dunno. Initial reaction seems to be overwhelmingly underwhelmed, but I still can't help wondering if there isn't a missing piece to this play that most people just haven't seen yet.
[Insert large shrug here.]
The LLama Sport Weekend
Cavs adopt Maginot Line defense; Al Groh looks to open Vegas P.I. firm with Pete Gillen
Settle. Down. Now.
It's still waaaaaay too early.
UPDATE: However, if you're up for a little Monday Morning Schadenfreude, go here.
October 02, 2005
I drove from Fort LMC to a reserve center on the edge of Andrews Air Force Base outside of D.C. yesterday morning to re-enlist one of my far-flung instructors. (For all of you non-military types, a soldier who re-enlists gets to choose the commissioned officer who will administer the oath and it is both a sign of respect and an honor for the officer.) It was a beautiful day for a drive so I was cruised up I-64 with the windows down and sunroof open. Outside of Williamsburg, I was pleasantly surprised to see a bald eagle circling overhead at treetop level in all of its glory (snow white head and tail feathers), no doubt looking for lunch. It was my first sighting of an eagle ever and could not have happened on a better day.