November 30, 2005
The US absorbs direct hits from two major hurricanes and the economy........................grows 4.3% in the quarter?
Somewhere, were the moisturizer flows as freely as the pinot, Dean-o doesn't take the news too well:
Ace has the reactions from the NYT.
ADVENTURES IN GOOGLE CHUMMING
November 2005 turned out to be the biggest month ever here at the LLamabutchers. Bigger than October and November 2004, where we blogged non-stop about the election, providing astute legal and political analysis and witty cultural humor.
How did we do it?
Well, my advice to new bloggers is this: if you really want to build traffic, I'd suggest writing and linking a lot about lesbian bar-fighting NFL cheerleaders, and posting a lot of pictures of French Nooz Babe Melissa Theuriau.
Thanks for the memories.....
LMC LIGHT POSTING NOTICE
I have another three-day weekend with Uncle Sam at Fort Bragg coming up so maybe a post or two tomorrow and then that's it until Monday. My bride fixed me up with satellite radio so I am actually looking forward to the drive.
FLASH IN THE PAN BABES OF THE EIGHTIES
This evening's feature: Stephanie Zimbalist. Best known for her role as Laura Holt on the series Remington Steele. Best attributes: long, thick brown hair, girl-next door quality, one of the few women who can look good in a fedora. She had steady employment since Remington Steele up until 2001 but nothing major. Like Mary Crosby and Gene Hackman, she comes to work, does her job, and never complains.
The LLama Question of the Day
Actually, something on the more serious side:
Discuss, using at least 5 sources from the syllabi we have covered since the midterm.
When in doubt, pixalate
Nicely done by MoveOn: caught with their, umm, pants down featuring British soliders in one of their ads, they do honorable thing: photoshop the image so the Brits are wearing US issue camo pants and boots.
Mary Mapes could not be reached for comment.
Sorry for the light posting, friends. Mr. Sinus Infection caught up with me and drove a pair of hot skewers into my ears. But I actually went to the docs this morning (something I almost never do) and am now stocked up on antibiotics n' stuff, so hopefully I'll kick it in pretty short order.
In the meantime, I leave you with this question: Do grocery store pharmacies deliberately delay filling your prescription in the hope that you'll wander around the aisles and buy more stuff, or does it just work out that way?
November 29, 2005
ON SHEEP, WOLVES, AND SHEEP DOGS
My brother, a former paratrooper and Gulf War I vet, passed this along. Read it.
On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs -
By LTC (RET) Dave Grossman, author of "On Killing."
Honor never grows old, and honor rejoices the heart of age. It does so because honor is, finally, about defending those noble and worthy things that deserve defending, even if it comes at a high cost. In our time, that may mean social disapproval, public scorn, hardship, persecution, or as always,even death itself. The question remains: What is worth defending? What is worth dying for? What is worth living for? - William J. Bennett - in a lecture to the United States Naval Academy November 24, 1997
One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this to me:
"Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident." This is true. Remember, the murder rate is six per 100,000 per year, and the aggravated assault rate is four per 1,000 per year. What this means is that the vast majority of Americans are not inclined to hurt one another. Some estimates say that two million Americans are victims of violent crimes every year, a tragic, staggering number, perhaps an all-time record rate of violent crime. But there are almost 300 million Americans, which means that the odds of being a victim of violent crime is considerably less than one in a hundred on any given year. Furthermore, since many violent crimes are committed by repeat offenders, the actual number of violent citizens is considerably less than two million.
Thus there is a paradox, and we must grasp both ends of the situation: We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is still remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are sheep.
I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep. To me it is like the pretty, blue robin's egg. Inside it is soft and gooey but someday it will grow into something wonderful. But the egg cannot survive without its hard blue shell. Police officers, soldiers, and other warriors are like that shell, and someday the civilization they protect will grow into something wonderful.? For now, though, they need warriors to protect them from the predators.
"Then there are the wolves," the old war veteran said, "and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy." Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.
"Then there are sheepdogs," he went on, "and I'm a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf."
If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero's path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed
Let me expand on this old soldier's excellent model of the sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. We know that the sheep live in denial, that is what makes them sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world. They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout their kids' schools.
But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police officer in their kid's school. Our children are thousands of times more likely to be killed or seriously injured by school violence than fire, but the sheep's only response to the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their child is just too hard, and so they chose the path of denial.
The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, can not and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheep dog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours.
Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn't tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports in camouflage fatigues holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, "Baa."
Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.
The students, the victims, at Columbine High School were big, tough high school students, and under ordinary circumstances they would not have had the time of day for a police officer. They were not bad kids; they just had nothing to say to a cop. When the school was under attack, however, and SWAT teams were clearing the rooms and hallways, the officers had to physically peel those clinging, sobbing kids off of them. This is how the little lambs feel about their sheepdog when the wolf is at the door.
Look at what happened after September 11, 2001 when the wolf pounded hard on the door. Remember how America, more than ever before, felt differently about their law enforcement officers and military personnel? Remember how many times you heard the word hero?
Understand that there is nothing morally superior about being a sheepdog; it is just what you choose to be. Also understand that a sheepdog is a funny critter: He is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night, and yearning for a righteous battle. That is, the young sheepdogs yearn for a righteous battle. The old sheepdogs are a little older and wiser, but they move to the sound of the guns when needed right along with the young ones.
Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think differently. The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep, that is, most citizens in America said, "Thank God I wasn't on one of those planes." The sheepdogs, the warriors, said, "Dear God, I wish I could have been on one of those planes. Maybe I could have made a difference." When you are truly transformed into a warrior and have truly invested yourself into warriorhood, you want to be there. You want to be able to make a difference.
There is nothing morally superior about the sheepdog, the warrior, but he does have one real advantage. Only one. And that is that he is able to survive and thrive in an environment that destroys 98 percent of the population. There was research conducted a few years ago with individuals convicted of violent crimes. These cons were in prison for serious, predatory crimes of violence: assaults, murders and killing law enforcement officers. The vast majority said that they specifically targeted victims by body language: slumped walk, passive behavior and lack of awareness. They chose their victims like big cats do in Africa, when they select one out of the herd that is least able to protect itself.
Some people may be destined to be sheep and others might be genetically primed to be wolves or sheepdogs. But I believe that most people can choose which one they want to be, and I'm proud to say that more and more Americans are choosing to become sheepdogs.
Seven months after the attack on September 11, 2001, Todd Beamer was honored in his hometown of Cranbury, New Jersey. Todd, as you recall, was the man on Flight 93 over Pennsylvania who called on his cell phone to alert an operator from United Airlines about the hijacking. When he learned of the other three passenger planes that had been used as weapons, Todd dropped his phone and uttered the words, "Let's roll," which authorities believe was a signal to the other passengers to confront the terrorist hijackers. In one hour, a transformation occurred among the passengers - athletes, business people and parents. -- from sheep to sheepdogs and together they fought the wolves, ultimately saving an unknown number of lives on the ground.
There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men. - Edmund Burke
Here is the point I like to emphasize, especially to the thousands of police officers and soldiers I speak to each year. In nature the sheep, real sheep, are born as sheep. Sheepdogs are born that way, and so are wolves. They didn't have a choice. But you are not a critter. As a human being, you can be whatever you want to be. It is a conscious, moral decision.
If you want to be a sheep, then you can be a sheep and that is okay, but you must understand the price you pay. When the wolf comes, you and your loved ones are going to die if there is not a sheepdog there to protect you. If you want to be a wolf, you can be one, but the sheepdogs are going to hunt you down and you will never have rest, safety, trust or love. But if you want to be a sheepdog and walk the warrior's path, then you must make a conscious and moral decision every day to dedicate, equip and prepare yourself to thrive in that toxic, corrosive moment when the wolf comes knocking at the door.
For example, many officers carry their weapons in church.? They are well concealed in ankle holsters, shoulder holsters or inside-the-belt holsters tucked into the small of their backs.? Anytime you go to some form of religious service, there is a very good chance that a police officer in your congregation is carrying. You will never know if there is such an individual in your place of worship, until the wolf appears to massacre you and your loved ones.
I was training a group of police officers in Texas, and during the break, one officer asked his friend if he carried his weapon in church. The other cop replied, "I will never be caught without my gun in church." I asked why he felt so strongly about this, and he told me about a cop he knew who was at a church massacre in Ft. Worth, Texas in 1999. In that incident, a mentally deranged individual came into the church and opened fire, gunning down fourteen people. He said that officer believed he could have saved every life that day if he had been carrying his gun. His own son was shot, and all he could do was throw himself on the boy's body and wait to die. That cop looked me in the eye and said, "Do you have any idea how hard it would be to live with yourself after that?"
Some individuals would be horrified if they knew this police officer was carrying a weapon in church. They might call him paranoid and would probably scorn him. Yet these same individuals would be enraged and would call for "heads to roll" if they found out that the airbags in their cars were defective, or that the fire extinguisher and fire sprinklers in their kids' school did not work. They can accept the fact that fires and traffic accidents can happen and that there must be safeguards against them.
Their only response to the wolf, though, is denial, and all too often their response to the sheepdog is scorn and disdain. But the sheepdog quietly asks himself, "Do you have and idea how hard it would be to live with yourself if your loved ones attacked and killed, and you had to stand there helplessly because you were unprepared for that day?"
It is denial that turns people into sheep. Sheep are psychologically destroyed by combat because their only defense is denial, which is counterproductive and destructive, resulting in fear, helplessness and horror when the wolf shows up.
Denial kills you twice. It kills you once, at your moment of truth when you are not physically prepared: you didn't bring your gun, you didn't train. Your only defense was wishful thinking. Hope is not a strategy. Denial kills you a second time because even if you do physically survive, you are psychologically shattered by your fear helplessness and horror at your moment of truth.
Gavin de Becker puts it like this in Fear Less, his superb post-9/11 book, which should be required reading for anyone trying to come to terms with our current world situation: "...denial can be seductive, but it has an insidious side effect. For all the peace of mind deniers think they get by saying it isn't so, the fall they take when faced with new violence is all the more unsettling."
Denial is a save-now-pay-later scheme, a contract written entirely in small print, for in the long run, the denying person knows the truth on some level.
And so the warrior must strive to confront denial in all aspects of his life, and prepare himself for the day when evil comes. If you are warrior who is legally authorized to carry a weapon and you step outside without that weapon, then you become a sheep, pretending that the bad man will not come today. No one can be "on" 24/7, for a lifetime. Everyone needs down time. But if you are authorized to carry a weapon, and you walk outside without it, just take a deep breath, and say this to yourself...
This business of being a sheep or a sheep dog is not a yes-no dichotomy. It is not an all-or-nothing, either-or choice. It is a matter of degrees, a continuum. On one end is an abject, head-in-the-sand-sheep and on the other end is the ultimate warrior. Few people exist completely on one end or the other. Most of us live somewhere in between. Since 9-11 almost everyone in America took a step up that continuum, away from denial. The sheep took a few steps toward accepting and appreciating their warriors, and the warriors started taking their job more seriously. The degree to which you move up that continuum, away from sheephood and denial, is the degree to which you and your loved ones will survive, physically and psychologically at your moment of truth.
Lenin's famous description of the Fabian socialists who saw themselves as "fellow travellers" on the road to a workers' paradise or some such nonsense. Unfortunately, these misguided "peace activists" are finding out that their captors are not misunderstood peasants but hardened militant fanatics intent on putting to the sword the infidels and any Muslim who does not subscribe to their ideology.
UPDATE: PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: The link below goes to some moonbat website. Your hosts here, to quote Ken Hamblen, "assume no responsibility for your predictable discomfort."
A Little Dose Of Joe-Mentum
Gary the Ex-Donk highlights the critical bits of Joe Lieberman's stay-the-course-in-Iraq op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today.
Another innocent run aground in the Gommorah of the City of Angels
Word to the wise: leave such stunts to the experts.
She needs to be stopped.
THIS is how bad, bad, bad, BAD rumors get started. If Cameron Diaz was Maria, I'd really have to nominate Judd Nelson to play the Captain, as he'd add the gravitas necessary to carry the show. Maybe they could get the Olsen Sisters to play Gretel, and Gretel's twin sister Golum.
The postscript though is rather funny, as it brings to mind one of the fantasies of the Original LLamabutcher, who confessed to a marked desire to chase after Julie Andrews, dressed as a nun, in an alpine glen, while he was astride a Toro Lawnboy, sucking on a bottle of Budweiser.
Great world religions have been founded on dreams much smaller than that.
You are getting sleepy....
The fabulous Liz over at Truly Bad Films has a posting up where she spills her guts on her experience as a hypnotist.
Believe it or not, I let Liz hypnotize me once, and it was a pretty darn cool experience. She's the real McCoy. To the best of my knowledge, she's not a psychic, but if you think about it, it would be pretty cool to have a colleague at work who is a pyschic librarian. I'm sensing that that interlibrary loan book holds the key to your thesis, yet the driver of the van on the way from the library at University of South Dakota will feel remorseful upon hearing that Sarah McLanahan song on the radio that was playing right before his wife told him she was a lesbian, and, zoning out, he'll accidently run over famous canine celebrity movie star soccer playing dog Air Bud. So you'll have THAT on your kharmic account, Mr. Fancy Pants Professor!
A free LLamabutchers Thong if you can make the TrulyBadFilms(TM) connection.
Help us end the scourge of the Lifetime Network in our, umm, lifetime
Bill gets all metaphysical
INDC Bill makes a cosmic discovery involving tequila and Angie Harmon.
Careful with the Buddhist insight, man: you wouldn't want to go and become a Lama on us.
Arlen Specter: He'll defend T.O. but not Bork
So let me get this straight: defend the honor, integrity, and character of Republican nominees to the federal judiciary? Arlen Specter's above all that. Defend the honor, integrity, and character of Terrell Owens, the spoiled prima dona team-killer of the Philadelphia Eagles? Arlen Specter's your man.
James Madison had one word for statesmen like that: asshat.
After All, He Isn't A Tame Lion.
Rachel relays C.S. Lewis' opposition to the notion of a Narnia movie. Key quote:
"Anthropomorphic animals, when taken out of narrative into actual visibility, always turn into buffoonery or nightmare. At least, with photography."
I'm afraid the poor man didn't realize the half of it. And what he would say to the notion of the face of Aslan flogging every kiddy product under the sun from toothpaste to cereal to fast food to God know what else, I'm sure I could hardly imagine.
November 28, 2005
More Poetry Blogging
"What do you mean, 'William Blake'?"
"I mean, 'William Blake'!"
Want to know what was behind that particular piece of banter? Go on over to Sheila's for a nice tribute to the poet on his birthday. Frankly, I'm more partial to Keats and Coleridge, but I think Sheila does a very good job at capturing the essence of the man.
It just so happens that I am currently re-reading Victor Hanson's Carnage and Culture and have started in on his chapter analyzing this particular battle. In the book is a photograph of some of the members of B Company of the 24th Regiment, Her Majesty's forces that took part in the battle. For those of you, like me, who are fans of the movie Zulu, I have to report that, although the movie actually is very good in portraying the general facts of this battle, the truth is that the real Lieutenant Bromhead looked absolutely nothing like Michael Caine. For one thing, the man had a full, dark beard.
And speaking of movies, TCM ran off Gunga Din tonight. I have to admit that, even though it is a Cary Grant flick, I just have never been able to get into it. For one thing, there are hi-larious continuity problems, like the fact that the rescuing sergeants ride off to the Golden Temple with very obviously empty bandoliers. For another, I simply cannot disassociate Victor McLaglen with John Wayne cavalry movies. I keep expecting the Duke to ride up and point out where the Comanche are hiding in the hills.
Nonetheless, the film put me in mind of the famous poem. Do you like Kipling? What's that? You've never Kipled? Then drop below the fold:
You may talk o' gin and beer
When you're quartered safe out 'ere,
An' you're sent to penny-fights an' Aldershot it;
But when it comes to slaughter
You will do your work on water,
An' you'll lick the bloomin' boots of 'im that's got it.
Now in Injia's sunny clime,
Where I used to spend my time
A-servin' of 'Er Majesty the Queen,
Of all them blackfaced crew
The finest man I knew
Was our regimental bhisti, Gunga Din.
He was "Din! Din! Din!
You limpin' lump o' brick-dust, Gunga Din!
Hi! slippery hitherao!
Water, get it! Panee lao!
You squidgy-nosed old idol, Gunga Din."
The uniform 'e wore
Was nothin' much before,
An' rather less than 'arf o' that be'ind,
For a piece o' twisty rag
An' a goatskin water-bag
Was all the field-equipment 'e could find.
When the sweatin' troop-train lay
In a sidin' through the day,
Where the 'eat would make your bloomin' eyebrows crawl,
We shouted "Harry By!"
Till our throats were bricky-dry,
Then we wopped 'im 'cause 'e couldn't serve us all.
It was "Din! Din! Din!
You 'eathen, where the mischief 'ave you been?
You put some juldee in it
Or I'll marrow you this minute
If you don't fill up my helmet, Gunga Din!"
'E would dot an' carry one
Till the longest day was done;
An' 'e didn't seem to know the use o' fear.
If we charged or broke or cut,
You could bet your bloomin' nut,
'E'd be waitin' fifty paces right flank rear.
With 'is mussick on 'is back,
'E would skip with our attack,
An' watch us till the bugles made "Retire",
An' for all 'is dirty 'ide
'E was white, clear white, inside
When 'e went to tend the wounded under fire!
It was "Din! Din! Din!"
With the bullets kickin' dust-spots on the green.
When the cartridges ran out,
You could hear the front-files shout,
"Hi! ammunition-mules an' Gunga Din!"
I shan't forgit the night
When I dropped be'ind the fight
With a bullet where my belt-plate should 'a' been.
I was chokin' mad with thirst,
An' the man that spied me first
Was our good old grinnin', gruntin' Gunga Din.
'E lifted up my 'ead,
An' he plugged me where I bled,
An' 'e guv me 'arf-a-pint o' water-green:
It was crawlin' and it stunk,
But of all the drinks I've drunk,
I'm gratefullest to one from Gunga Din.
It was "Din! Din! Din!
'Ere's a beggar with a bullet through 'is spleen;
'E's chawin' up the ground,
An' 'e's kickin' all around:
For Gawd's sake git the water, Gunga Din!"
'E carried me away
To where a dooli lay,
An' a bullet come an' drilled the beggar clean.
'E put me safe inside,
An' just before 'e died,
"I 'ope you liked your drink", sez Gunga Din.
So I'll meet 'im later on
At the place where 'e is gone --
Where it's always double drill and no canteen;
'E'll be squattin' on the coals
Givin' drink to poor damned souls,
An' I'll get a swig in hell from Gunga Din!
Yes, Din! Din! Din!
You Lazarushian-leather Gunga Din!
Though I've belted you and flayed you,
By the livin' Gawd that made you,
You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!
Somehow I missed this...
The Commissar is hosting his reactionary counter-revolutionary contest to replace this year's missing Christmas stamp. This was one of the official neokulturny proposals:
Needless to say, we are officially floored, and are muzzling the inevitable responses.
What the sixteenth minute of fame looks like
A picture so cruel you can almost hear the crickets chirping....
Apparently it's Cyber-Monday, one of the busiest on-line shopping days of the year.
And where is our Llama Stuff? Huh? Huh?
YIPS from Steve: Dude!
I had to wait to print the logo on the color laser, so to rescan at a much higher resolution so it will look nice and not all blurry and stuff. That, and send the thing over to you for approval. Look for it later this afternoon.
Rigidly Hidebound Llama Christmas Decorating Tips
[Originally posted 12/06/2004]
I've been flooded recently by emails along the lines of this one:
Tom, what is the grouchy conservative overview regarding Christmas decorations?
Well it's funny that so many people should ask li'l ol' me, as there are very few things about which I am more cranky and hidebound. Herewith, then, a general summary of my Christmas Decoration Laws. I understand that you may not agree with some or even any of them. That's cool. After all, we live in an open, tolerant and pluralistic society. If you want to expose yourself as a cretinous, hydrocephalitic moron, why go right ahead and God bless.
1. Outside Decorations. There is nothing I love more than a big evergreen wreath on the front door with pinecones and a large red bow. To me, this is the epitome of the exterior decoration. This year, we are actually expanding on this theme a bit by also wrapping the lamp post at the end of the sidewalk in garland and red ribbon. You can even go so far as to give this treatment to porch or stair railings as appropriate and available. Aaahhhh.....green branches and red ribbons.
But this is where it ends. Any kind of mailbox decoration is going to encourage teenagers with baseball bats - don't do it. Exterior lights - bad. Yard ornaments of any kind, including the eight foot tall illuminated blow-up Snoopy on display three doors up from us - worse. Nativities, sleighs and/or reindeer either on the grass or the roof - wrong, wrong wrong. And if you try to simulate snowfall in any way, shape or form, don't ever come back to this blog again.
In short, all that Griswold Family Christmas stuff is right out. I read about those neighborhoods that pride themselves on their yearly displays and recoil. I read about people who actually drive around to look at such neighborhoods with horror, meanwhile fumbling around for my branding irons so I can stamp a large letter "L" on their foreheads.
(N.B. - On the other hand, if you must, putting those fake candles in all your windows is acceptable, so long as you confine yourself to one per window and they don't flash.)
UPDATE: The local Giant is flogging an eight foot inflatible snow globe this year, complete with little electric motor to ensure a constant cascade of faux flakes. I have assembled a collection of pointed sticks just in case I see one.
2. Interior Decorations. Rule Number One: Do it yer damn' self. Hiring out someone else to decorate your house is loathsome enough as it is. Hiring them to put up your Christmas decorations is infinitely worse. Don't do it.
Now, some general guidelines. As I noted above, there is no such thing as too much garland. Ditto ribbon and candles. Mistletoe is fine, too. And pinecones, whether mixed in with the greenery or in a nice glass bowl as a table centerpiece. Go nuts. But keep in mind that all greens should be real. Plastic garland is a flogging offense. So are electric candles. (Don't laugh - I've seen them.)
A creche is, of course, perfectly fine for those who wish it. But be plausible- no Disney or other theme nativities. No mechanized ones. None with built-in illumination, dialogue or soundtrack. (Okay, I don't know if any of these actually exist. What I DO know is that most creche sets available are pretty hidious. Just go with the one that is the least garish, if possible.) And fer cryin' out loud, nothing "edgy" or "hip"- this is supposed to be a solemn religious symbol, not an opportunity to show off how cool and ironic you are.
Many folks like to set up miniature villages, rail lines and that sort of thing as well. I have no problem with this in general and merely rely on ordinary standards of taste to judge on a case-by-case basis. Something Dickensian is fine. Something Ewokish is not.
In a special exception to the taste rule, it should be noted that all crafts made by kids at home, school or church, no matter how hidious, may properly be displayed. The sole exception to this is gingerbread houses. I don't know whose bright idea those things were, but it was a bad one.
Here is my list of prohibited indoor gew-gaws: Santas; reindeer; plastic candles or snowmen; anything at all related to Mickey, Elmo or some other teevee or movie figure; all Nutcracker dolls of any sort, period; anything legible - whether wall hanging, crockery, sculpture or otherwise - with the possible exception of cocktail napkins.
3. The Tree. Here we are at the center of things, so to speak. Needless to say, the first rule of trees is that they must be real. There is no excuse whatsoever for a fake tree.
Again, decorate the damn' thing yourself. I mean, that's half the point, isn't it? Having it done for you simply tells the world that you are a very shallow person who cares about nothing except surface appearances. And no "theme" trees, please.
Now for some of the basics: I prefer those small, white lights and lots of 'em. But we'll also allow tho older, big-assed color lights on grounds of nostalgia. The latter may also flash. The former never should. And don't mix them.
Increasingly, I think tinsel is a mistake, particularly those "icicle" things that you'll keep finding scattered around the house well into next September. Long strands of gold and silver beads are fine, as are red wooden cranberries. Popcorn is a tougher call. I suppose if you've got the patience to actually string that many kernals, you are entitled to hang your trophy. Good luck keeping the kids off it, tho. Ditto candycanes.
For the top, an angel, star or (as was the case when I was a kid) a dove is nice. A Santa hat is not.
There is an interesting reversed value-added phenomenon with respect to some ornaments. One can go to Wal-Mart or CVS and spend ten bucks to get more than enough simple glass balls in a variety of colors, for example. These are much more aesthetically pleasing that the overdone baubles you might pick up from more fru-fru places at infinitely greater cost.
With respect to other ornaments, again, be plausible. Bows, fiddles, drums, trumpets, angels, birds, bells, mementos of places been, etc. All of that is just fine. (One of our favorite ornaments, in fact, is a pair of sand dollars with red ribbons sent to us by some dear friends in the Carolinas.) But anything with a brand label, for example, is out (no Mercedes hood ornaments, for example). Ditto references to pop culture, politics, technology (no boom boxes) or the macabre. The two great themes to aim for here are festivity and non-commercialism.
A Christmas tree is also a kind of depository of family memories. (This, by the way, is another major reason why having someone else decorate for you is so wrong.) For example, I still have a a number of cheap ornaments that my parents picked up over the last forty years or so. They are falling apart and fading. I put them on the tree every year anyway because of their sentimental value. Sooner or later, they all will come to grief, but because new ornaments are constantly being added to the collection (as, for example, the silver stars to mark the year of each of the Llama-ettes' birth), the cycle is a gradual, rolling one. The point is that such ornaments represent a kind of tangible scrapbook. The memories they invoke each time you take them out, like good wine, improve with age.
4. Timing. When I was a kid, we had a tradition of putting up wreaths and whatnot a week or two before Christmas, and then decorating the tree itself on Christmas Eve. I've loosened up about this somewhat in my old age - plan to go get the tree next Saturday (although we probably won't trim it until the week after that). As a general rule, I think once Advent starts, you should consider yourselves at liberty to get going. Thanksgiving is too early. Halloween is preposterous.
5. Miscellany. A few other thoughts. Stockings: If you're old enough to date, you shouldn't hang one. For the kiddies, stockings should be functional (i.e., able to hold the smaller bric-a-brac). My mother used to put our stuffed stockings on the landing in order to hold us off for an extra hour or two on Christmas morning. Music: There is nothing wrong with playing lots of holiday music, but be respectful - Bach and Handel are not meant to be background noise. Don't try to listen to them and do something else (especially with other people) at the same time. There are plenty of other tunes available. Also be wary - most holiday music gets very old, very fast. Consider this when you think about turning it on. The only exception to this rule that I know of is the Vince Guaraldi Trio's "Charlie Brown Christmas".
Well, there you have it. Follow these simple guidelines and you will have a Stodgy Old Christmas indeed.
Lintenfiniel Jen points out that the real First Thanksgiving actually took place in the great Commonwealth of Virginia two years before those uptight Yankee Puritans got around to it.
As I was explaining to the eldest Llama-ette the other day, the reasons Plymouth gets all the credit are a) Northern cultural dominance after the Civil War and b) the fact that the Martins Hundred settlers were all massacred by the Indians shortly after its establishment and largely forgotten.
November 27, 2005
As best I can tell, Serenity has had its run in the theaters so it looks like I will not be able to see it on the big screen. However, it will be out on DVD on December 20, 2005, just in time for Christmas if this is reliable. Not dropping any hints to The Butcher's Wife who is known to speak to Mrs. LMC frequently, no sirree. Nothing to see here, move along . . .
Yips! from Robbo: Indeed, I tossed the entire Firefly series onto my newly-created wish list over there in the right-hand column. (Sooper-Sekret Message to Robbo Family Members - *Ahem!*) But I'm not sure how sympathetic the Missus is going to be to either one of us - when I mentioned how much I liked the show the other day, she said, "Well, why can't you just rent it whenever you want to watch it?"
FLASH IN THE PAN BABES OF THE EIGHTIES
Once again, it is late Sunday evening and ol' LMC invites you on yet another excusion down amnesia lane where we reflect upon the babes of yesteryear. (Occasionally, this is done with class but most of the time we gawk like rubber-neckers passing an accident scene on the interstate.) Tonight's feature is Mary Crosby. Her claims to fame were she shot J.R. in the most famous cliff-hanger end-of-season episode for the series Dallas, came back a season or two later and wound up floating face down in the Southfork swimming pool. Judging by her credits, it has not been pretty since Dallas with roles on the likes of Fantasy Island and The Fall Guy. Still, Mary seems to just come to work, do her job, and never complain. She is aging more gracefully than most women in their mid-forties.
Miss Sadie has opened the holiday season with a little gratuitous Llama mockery, little realizing that I soon will have the power to respond in kind......
Ask The Llamas
Somebody came here on an MSN websearch for The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony Cliff notes.
As it happens, I do have a copy of the book, written by Roberto Calasso.
Kid, I'll give you a two word analysis to help speed you on the way with that paper: It's rubbish.
Gratuitous Netflix Movie Mini-Reviews
Yes, I am playing catch up still, but I finally got around to seeing a couple more movies for the first time this weekend:
Pirates of the Caribbean: Aaargh, Johnny-lad! Aside from the fact that it could have been about half an hour shorter, it wasn't too bad. However, Netflix is under the impression that the action takes place in the 17th Century. And yet, the musicians at Port Royal were quite clearly playing Handel, a composer who died in the late 1750's. And the Royal Navy uniforms were 18th Century as well. Quite ruined it for me.
Star Trek - Insurrection. Simply because this is the one Star Trek movie I hadn't yet seen. A better title would have been Captain Picard and the Lost Planet of the Hippies. Eternal youth, rejection of technology, perfection of the art of "living for the moment" and speaking power to The Man? Yup, looks like Baby Boomer Utopia to me. I will say this though - hasn't Martina Sirtis' Troi come a long, long way from the early days of home-spun body stockings and "I feel you are conflicted about this, Captain."?
November 26, 2005
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Outdoor Division
A very satisfying afternoon's work here at the Butcher's House, in which I got the leaves mulched up and put on the flower garden beds, which are now O-fficially asleep for the winter.
In the meantime, I had got the idea of encouraging the Llama-ettes to pick up sticks in the yard by promising them 10 cents per stick. (How things have changed - when I was a kid, my reward for working in the yard was to get only two beatings per day instead of the usual four. But I digress.)
Anyhoo, I had too much to do to stand over the gels and monitor them, so I was careful to impress upon the seven year old that the honor system was going to be in effect.
"Is that like pinkie-swear?" she asked.
"Yes," I said, "That's what grown-ups use when they promise to tell the truth."
She thought about this for a minute. Suddenly, all that Greek mythology we've been reading lately kicked in.
"I know," she said, "I can swear by the River Styx!"
Incidently, she really turned out to be quite a help. Indeed, we eventually had to cap her fee. She was good enough to say that this was okay and that she would have helped out anyway, even if we weren't going to pay her. As for the other two, the five year old racked up a respectable sum but came in under the cap. The three year old....well, she earned a dime.
November 25, 2005
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)
Some people might find the sentence, "I THOUGHT I TOLD YOU KIDS TO STOP SCREAMING!!" to be illogical, indeed almost oxymoronic.
But rest assured, it makes perfect sense.
Someone's smoking some serious bacon
I think even LB Buddy would admit this is the stupidest freakin' thing of all time:
I seem to remember, though, that the space alien at the Weekly World News endorsed Dubya in 2000?
Dave: extra bonus points for your statement
Actually, Canada's done a pretty good job of keeping outer space Canadian free, when you think about it.
It's got my vote for understatement of the year...
OH, AND BY THE WAY: Canada nukes Kyoto. I blame McHitler the Chimp and his Sith Masters at Halliburtondeathdudes.
Liz has got the details, along with sorid tales of "petting the goat". Yeah, we all know what THAT means to you librarians!
Why do I like Liz and Pep so? Because they hate the Da Vinci Code even more than I do, yet are more funny in mocking it.
Gratuitous Husband Advice
Grasshoppers, do not remark that it is too chilly to work outside within the hearing of a wife with painting projects on her mind......
Monsters In The Attic Update
Well, I think I put the kybosh on those noisy attic monsters.
The most difficult part of the business was actually getting up there: the only access to the space under the roof is through a trap-door in our closet ceiling. I don't have a ladder long enough to reach it, so I had to stand on a step-stool and hoist myself up. Well, I'm not exactly 22 anymore....
Once up among the rafters, my chief fear was that I'd bring the whole ceiling down through stepping on the wrong bit. Nontheless, it held up and I was able to get to the two heat vents. The first was a piece o' cake - some WD-40 all around the moving parts and the noise was quickly reduced to a whisper.
The second one turned out to be one of those irksome surprises that show up from time to time in older houses with previous owners. Apparently, it had been causing too much noise for quite a while because somebody, at some point, had jammed a cardboard tube through its spokes. Evidently, the summer sun had heated the aluminum sufficiently in the past few years to burn right through the cardboard - it had been sliced in half and was charred all about the slice marks. I cleared the cardboard out and tried to WD-40 the metal. But despite the fact that I used about three fourths of a can, the thing still cavitated loudly in the wind. So I did the next best thing and lashed it down with wire. Hopefully, we'll hear no more of those nasty monsters.
As I mentioned previously, I understand that one can buy flat-paneled heat vents these days. Furthermore, they're electric - you can flip them on in the summer when you want the heat dispelled and flip them off in the winter when a coat of hot air above the upstairs bedrooms wouldn't be such a bad thing.
The LLamabutchers Christmas Logo
Okay folks, I've got two themes I'm playing with: seriously religiously profane, or culturally obtuse.
Suggestions/votes/ideas, drop them in the Tasty Bits (TM) Mail Sack.
Yips! from Robbo: SOOPER-SEKRET MESSAGE TO KATHY - Time to deploy the "package". I'll send an email from the Llama Yavin Moon Base.
Reform at the TLLB
Inside pool below.
Phin links to the NZ Bear's decision to reform the way trackbacks are counted as part of the TLLB rankings. Our response? About time. Seriously, I was afraid WE were going to be the poster chilluns for this as something was screwy with the way our trackbacks were being counted last year: at one point, we got into the high teens, and for one day were bigger than Drudge. Hence, our logo at the time: "the biggest blog no one has ever heard of or read or visited." Serious Canseco issues.
Hopefully this will make the TLLB be more---slightly---functional. People bitch and moan about the TLLB when they are a tiny blog, and pooh-pooh it when they are a big one, but we all read it and we all know why: it's the thing all of us geeks dreamed of when we were in high school, a computer-calculated daily updated determination of popularity and coolness. It represents the ultimate triumph of the Farmer Ted's of the world.
The Weekend Read
In between entertaining various inlaws, playing serious games of Monopoly with the kids (last night team LLamabutcher---as always, playing with the Top Hat---reigned victorious over assorted competitors: nothing is quite as much fun as whupping one's father-in-law in a game of Monopoly), the weekend read around here is
Johnson was a critical figure in colonial America as the Indian agent of the British to the Iroquois Confederacy. Review to follow. I'm sure Robbo would love it as it's rife with the politics of the British Empire in America just before its fall; that is Robbo would like it except for the "just before its fall" part....
Wax on, wax off, goodbye
On Kelly Bundy's 34th birthday, no less.
TODAY'S REQUIRED READING
R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. on WFB.
November 24, 2005
I WASN'T A DRAFT PICK EITHER
Welcome to the club, Bill.
UPDATE: This looks like a well-placed leak/shiv to the ribs to take out a competitor in much the same way Bob Kerrey was taken out well before the 2000 primaries. I never cared much for Bill Richardson but he is one of the more credible candidates in the Democratic field. If Evan Bayh or Mark Warner are suddenly the subject of embarassing articles in the coming months, we will know that someone is clearing the field.
YIPS from Steve: The problem with Richardson as a candidate was that as UN Ambassador, he was prepared to give Lewinsky a job. Automatic political disqualification, as it will completely blow apart (so to speak) the wall a successful Democratic candidate will have to create against Clintononia.
The whole story reminds me of Jim Belushi's character in About Last Night who utters the ultimate pick up line: "Hey, do you know anything about boxing? No? Too bad---I'm the Heavyweight Champion of the World."
LLamabutchers Thanksgiving Contest
What's the greatest Thanksgiving novel or movie?
Second place goes to the Ed O'Neil biopic Dutch, capturing the essence of the Thanksgiving week travel odyssey.
BABES OF THE SMALL SCREEN
Your humble LMC, recently returned from Forward Operating Base Llama, gives you what you have been clamoring for--another installment of award-winning takes on Flashes in the Pan Babes, Movie Babes of the Eighties, the Nineties, and whatever this decade is called. Today's Thanksgiving feature is none other than Lauren Holly, a recent addition to the cast of NCIS. Best attributes: big lips and the hot older chick thing going on in an understated way.
Ho! Ho! Hooooooooooo!
Why not kick off the Christmas Season this year with the Catapult Santa? Click once to get the catapult rolling. Click and hold to pull back the scoop (but not too far!) and when you're ready, let it go!
Yips! to Dave Barry.
The Storm Of The Century Of The Week And The Monsters In The Attic
Nature made up for her dawdling around about getting into the autumnal spirit by giving us a dusting of snow in the western suburbs of Dee Cee last evening. While it is not unusual to see the first snows out in the Blue Ridge at this time of year, I cannot remember the last time we had any snow at Thanksgiving up here in NoVA.
Must be global warming or sumpin'.
The storm system that came through this week also re-awoke the monsters in our attic. We have a couple of those bulbous, whirling heat vents on the roof. They must be starting to rust a bit, because in the past two winters, whenever the wind hits a certain speed, it causes them to start grating and scraping in a manner that generates the most God-awful noise - in fact, it sounds like a pair of woolly mammoths trumpeting at each other across the primordial bog.
The Llama-ettes had always slept through this before. But the past couple of nights, one or more of them has appeared at our bedside, complaining that the monsters are frightening them. Therefore, it's time for Super-Daddy to swing into action. I'm going to climb up into the space under the roof this weekend and see if I can WD-40 these things from the inside. (This is just a temporary fix - eventually I plan to get rid of the hidious chunks of aluminum altogether and replace them with nice, non-eyesore, flat vents.)
That'll show those nasty monsters a thing or two.
November 23, 2005
TOO PRETTY TO GO TO PRISON
Debra LaFave, a teacher who apparently has problems finding men her own age, pleaded guility to banging a 14-year old and got house arrest for three years followed by seven years of probation. Her lawyer is said to have argued that she was too pretty to be in prison and that she "would not last long" because she would be "fresh meat." Opinion Journal has a link to her pic. Make your own call. "We report, you decide."
YIPS from Steve: Ahem?
FURTHER YIPS from Steve: Wizbang begs to differ, but I'm going to have to go with Melissa's analysis on this one...
SOOPER SEKRIT MESSAGE to INDCent Bill: But would you join the Foreign Legion to prove your undying love for her? (see comments for background)
Even as I type, Cox is installing the new cable modem at home, so hopefully I'll be able to post right on through the long holiday weekend. In the event that I don't get the opportunity beforehand, though, I'd just like to wish all y'all a very safe and happy Thanksgiving.
Yip! Yip! Yip!
UPDATE: We are IN, baybee!
HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVE FROM THE LLAMABUTCHERS
The calm before the storm at Rancho non-Sequitor.
Later this afternoon, The Dear One's dad and his wife descend on LLama Manor. Friday night, my folks are coming through. It's going to be a bit of an ideological whipsaw, as my father in law's wife tends to count NPR "All Things Considered" as part of the right-wing media cabal, and my Mom, bless her heart, has drifted to the right of Attila the Hun. So I'm going to enforce vigorously the no politics, no religion rule while any adult beverages are open.
The Dear One is a lamb, and has been holding the cadres around here together quite well. Still, however, this cartoon is keeping mind and body whole:
Once family starts to arrive, I'm only going to be able to post intermittently (when I flee for some quiet down in the Fortress of Solitude). So I'll leave you with these two things to ponder: the Thanksgiving Proclamations of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln:
City of New York, October 3, 1789
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanks-giving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th. day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficient Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows best.
George Washington: A Collection compiled and edited by W.B. Allen (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, 1988) at 534-535.
Proclamation of Thanksgiving BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siefe and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobediance, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lourd one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eigth.
By the President:
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!
Why do I put up with the rantings of LB Buddy?
Wanted war criminal in the US Government's illegal campaign of zebrafish genocide, yes, but he also emails me stuff like this on a regular basis.
THE SOUND OF RAW NERVES BEING HIT-PART II
Benedict on ordaining the alternative lifestyle set.
Reason No. 4,354,355 why I love the Blogsphere: The PajamaMedia Death Pool.
I have a vague recollection that we were invited to join PJM way back in the day. Either that, or we were almost invited. Or something. Obviously, I didn't pay much attention and we never went anywhere with it.
Yips! to Ann Althouse.
UPDATE: Uh, oh. Apparently, Death won't stop it!
UPDATE DEUX: A long-time and valued reader writes into the Tasty-Bits Mail Sack to ask just why exactly the Right side of the Blogsphere seems to be so hacked at the whole PJM/OSM project. I tell you truly that I really don't know the answer. If I had to guess, I would say that bloggers in general tend to be free-wheeling individualists and this project smacks too much of regimentation for them. I'm sure somebody else out there has a more lucid explanation, though. As I say, we Llamas really haven't paid any attention to the whole thing and we really don't have a bone in this fight. I got a chuckle out of the posts I linked above not because of any kind of PJM shadenfreude, but simply because I enjoy that kind of creative, snarky humor.
YIPS from Steve: Here's my memory of the events: around in May, when there was talk about the whole thing, I emailed Roger Simon and he very politely sent me over the paperwork. I read through, was a little confused on the whole issue of editorial control (probably because I had had a few beers), and then promptly forgot to forward it over to the LLama Legal Division. Imminent rueage, I know.
As I responded privately to Cathy, hey, I as much as anyone want to figure out/see arise the profitable business model to shake some serious cash out of blogging. I have some solid ideas about blogging and the entertainment industry if any moguls/aspiring moguls would like to find out. I hope the pajama stuff works out for those guys. I think my reasoning on passing was reinforced talking over beers with Dr. Rusty Shackleford and Dr. Chaos---I don't want to feel like I have to blog, to have blogging be a job. Money would be great, but for right now it's the hobby and fun outlet, and I want to keep it that way.
Llama Stuff Watch
Sooper-Sekret Message to Steve-O: I just barely headed off the Missus from calling you last night about where
the hell the coffee mugs are. I dinna think I ken hold her much longer, Cap'n!
November 22, 2005
How Cool Is This?
Four battle flags from the Continental Army, captured by Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton in 1779 and 1780, are being returned to Sotheby's in New York by Tarleton's great, great, great, great, great nephew (who simply cannot afford the insurance anymore). The battle flags appear in a heap at the lower left of the painting of Tarleton above by Sir Joshua Reynolds.
One is the flag of the 2nd Regiment of Continental Light Dragoons, raised in Connecticut by Col. Elisha Sheldon and defeated by Col. Tarleton in Westchester County, New York, in July 1779. The other three flags were seized the following year in a still-controversial battle in the southern United States. Col. Tarleton crushed a Virginia regiment under Col. Abraham Buford at Waxsaws near the North and South Carolina line.
The controversy arising out of this battle concerned whether Tarleton slaughtered Continental troops who had surrendered. The Americans maintained he did. He claimed they violated a truce. As a result of this massacre, he became known as "Bloody Ban" amongst the Brits and "Bloody Tarleton" on this side of the pond.
In fact, Tarleton's reputation for savagery still lingers, even in these myopic times. People who like their history Hollywoodized will recognize him as the source for Jason Isaac's Col. Tavington in Mel Gibson's The Patriot. Gibson's own character, Benjamin Martin, is loosely based on Col. Francis Marion, whom Tarleton chased in the marshes of the Carolinas and to whom Tarleton gave the nickname "The Swamp Fox".)
Yips! to Hugh.
'Fins To Begin Training Camp Early
A lot of readers have emailed to say, "Tom, why don't you post about the Miami Dolphins anymore?"
Mostly it's because when you're lying in a hot bath trying to open a vein, your fingers keep slipping off the keyboard.
Well, no matter, because after this past weekend's humiliating shut out at the hands of the Browns (the Browns, fer cryin' out loud!), Coach Nick Saban has declared that we're not keeping score for the rest of the year:
''What I am focused on is turning the corner because we are building the team for the future, so where we are this season doesn't really matter,'' coach Nick Saban said Monday afternoon. ``It doesn't really matter. We want to see guys compete so we can know whether they need to be here, we want them to be here and if they are the kind of people we want. That is what we are trying to find out.
``The record doesn't really matter, the result doesn't matter and the score in the game doesn't really matter.''
Message to the rest of the NFL: Neener! Neener! Neener!
So what is going to keep me interested in football for the remainder of the year? Simple. I was seven years old when the 'Fins had their perfect '72 season. Griese, Csonka, Kiick, Warfield, Jake Scott - those guys were my heroes. And Garo Yepremian's, er, creative attempt to deal with a blocked kick in the Super Bowl gave rise to my very first bout of yelling at the tee vee. It's because of the impression that group made on my young mind that I've stuck with the 'Fins through all the thick and thin since then.
So what this all leads up to in terms of this year is simple: Bring me the head of Tony Dungy!
The Ted Turner is in the details
Everyone on the right is a making a big deal about CNN superimposing a large black "X" over the Vice President on live tee-vee yesterday. Big deal. The real outrage, as always with the Crescent Nooz Network, is in the crawl:
No such thing as media bias folks...no siree.....move along....
November 22, 1963
, Brian B posts an excellent memorial to one of the Great Men of the Twentieth Century West on the anniversary of that man's death.
UPDATE: Also, Gary the Ex-Donk has must-read thoughts on the direction of the Democratic Party in the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination, which also took place on this date in 1963.
Carnival of Music No. 22 - Special St. Cecilia's Day Edition
The latest Carnival of Music is up over at Sounds Like Now. Go on over and browse.
As it happens, today is St. Cecilia's Day. As she is the patron saint of music, it should be pretty obvious to you that she is one of my favorite of all saints. (Indeed, I have a Donatello relief of her on my piano.)
At least during the Baroque Era, a number of Odes were composed to mark the occassion and her patronage. I can recommend those of both Handel and Henry Purcell, although I'm sure many others exist as well.
And speaking of the Baroque, a year ago, I marked the day with some noodlings on playing Bach, which I repost now in honor of the day.
Somebody's Hearing Wedding Bells...
Our pal Lintenfiniel Jen has got a nifty new template up in anticipation of a Certain Happy Event. Very nicely done.
Hillary vs. The Moonbats
Hillary Rodham Clinton Rodham has come out in opposition to the cut-and-run wing of the Donks, double-tapping Rep. Murtha's immediate withdrawal demand. As I noted previously, I have been keeping an eye on her as an indicator of the shelf-life of the various anti-war memes coming down the pike, since I believe her strategy for 2008 hinges on her ability to appeal to moderate voters and there is no way in the world she's going to attach herself to something that could be used later to tag her as a wild-eyed Lefty unless it was so devastating to the GOP that they'd lose the center anyway.
The question is how much of this the MoveOn.org crowd will take before they get irreversibly fed up with her. The GOP's woes have dominated the news for the past couple weeks, but the fault line between the Deaniacs and the Centrists among the Donks is still very much there. Clinton believes she can bridge this gap, relying on the base not to go anywhere while she courts the center. But it's an awfully delicate calculation and she blows them off at her peril, I think.
UPDATE: Speaking of moonbats, heeeeeeeeres' Dean-O!
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Loss of Innocence Division
The seven year old came home from school yesterday in a highly agitated state because one of her classmates had been spreading subversive rumors designed to rock the world of the lower elementary at St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method.
"She said that it wasn't Santa who brought presents, but Mom and Dad. She also said that parents put money under your pillow instead of the Tooth Fairy!"
Well, I can usually dodge these issues. My favorite tactic for getting off the Santa Question is to turn the conversation towards what the true meaning of Christmas is supposed to be. As for the Tooth Fairy, the gel simply can't get herself to believe that I could slip my big 'ol arm under her pillow while she's asleep without her knowing about it. I just shrug and say, "Yet the money is there, isn't it?"
But yesterday, we reached uncharted waters. The next revelation was the bomb-shell.
"She said, she said.......Elvis died on the potty!"
At first, I was amazed that the gel had even heard the name before. When I asked if she knew who he was, she answered, "Yes, she said he was the king of rock and roll."
"Well, yes, that's right - he was a singer," I replied.
"DID he die on the potty?" she asked, wide-eyed. And it suddenly occurred to me that her concern didn't have anything to do with Elvis's life or the dignity (or lack thereof) with which he shuffled off this mortal coil. Rather, she was on the verge of thinking that the potty itself had been the cause of his death and, therefore, that She Could Be Next.
Now I recall that, in fact, the potty was at least a contributor to the King's demise. But the last thing I need is for a child to develope a Killer Potty Complex. When she gets older and starts reading Dave Barry, she can worry about spiders, snakes, alligators and other toilet-centric perils. But not here and not now. So I said, "Yes, but he didn't die from trying to go to the bathroom - he was very sick already and just happened to be there when the disease caught up with him."
This seemed to mollify her. Sure I lied. But sometimes rock n' roll ain't pretty.
November 21, 2005
(cue Star Trek "INTRUDER ALERT" noises)
Lately, we've been attracting attention from our pals in the HowdareyouchallengemypatriotismIjustwantevilAmerikkkanEmpiretodie types. Not LB Buddy---he's a pacifist, but he's extremely sincere and old school. Plus, he's a wanted war criminal for crimes against the zebra fish American community. If zebra fish ever get an ICC, he's screwed. So we cut him a lot of slack.
However, though, there are others who we'll be a wee bit less charitable with. Just as 5000 is the new 1000 (the daily traffic to be at the bottom of the "bigs"), you're not really a big league blogger until you start scoring the seriously ugly hate mail.
So I guess we've arrived.
Now, we've always gotten hate mail from folks who happened upon us and thought we were some site devoted to cruelty to LLamas or other fuzzy creatures. Now, sure, Apalcas are cute in that sort of Bambi sort of way, but once you've been spit at once by a LLama, the gloves are off. Anyhoo, we've always dealt with these folks the time honored manner---obsequious mockery.
Anyhow, tougher time demand stronger medicine. So we've had to resort to stiffer stuff:
Wow! I'm Truly Sorry I Missed This
Man, did I choose wrong. Just get a load of this cast:
[T]he casting was a flashback to the 1980s - Steve Guttenburg, Bryan Brown, Rutger Hauer (who is not aging well, imho), and C. Thomas Howell. Wow. The best casting was Adam Baldwin aka Jayne in Firefly/Serenity. Hmmm, I see that Peter Weller played the captain, whom I missed since by the time I clicked over he was long dead and gone. And with the terrorism element, there was a CIA element and so Alex Kingston was present as MI-6 in Bahrain or something like that.
I'm pretty sure that the appearance of Buckaroo Banzai and Officer Carey Mahoney in the same film constitutes some kind of apocalyptic sign or other. The game turned out to be awful, but not as ugly awful as this must have been. Sorry I missed it.
Anniversary Blogging Update
Well, what with one thing and another, it turns out I really haven't had much to say in honor of today's second anniversary of Llama Blogging. But our old pal Cranky's tribute made me laugh:
But remember this - Wanna know about Mozart? Llamabutchers! Is gardening your passion? Llamabutchers! Do you know what I am saying by “Bored of the Rings is top notch parody?” Llamabutchers! Do you find both Gertude Himmelfarb and Mellissa Theuriau sexy? Llamabutchers!
All the best Beyatches!
(Sooper-Sekret Message to the Crank-meister: I know the links don't work, but I don't know why.)
Meanwhile, the Colossus channels Yeats and thinks about some fitting presents:
And what to buy them for their birthday? Steve-O's easy. A carton of smokes.
Rob is a little more difficult. I'm thinking a biography of P.G. Wodehouse and a tube of airplane glue.
Heh. What's both gratifying and slightly alarming about blogging for any length of time is the realization of how well people who read your stuff begin to know you.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Jeff Goldstein
On Saturday, I was chatting with an Administration friend about Friday's slug-fest in the House of Representatives and the attempts by the Donks to turn the whole debate to the standard "How Dare You Question My Patriotism?" meme. (My friend was not at all pleased by the way the House handled the matter, BTW.)
Well, it looks like the White House itself is pushing back against that tactic, judging by Dick Cheney's speech today, as well as others given by him and Dubya in the past few days. Goldstein, quoting large chunks of the speech, perfectly sums up the emerging (I hope) Administration stance:
Clearly, the important administration arguments are beginning to coalesce: 1) Criticism of the war is not by itself unpatriotic 2) Similarly, answering anti-war critics is not challenging their patriotism 3) But opportunistic and cynical anti-war critics who are trying to walk back their own votes and level spurious charges at the Administration (they lied to take is into war) are themselves lying 4) These lies are hurting the country and the troops. 5) The burden of proof, in a post 911 world, was on Saddam Hussein to prove he’d disarmed; we could not wait for the threat to become imminent before acting 6) The cause the troops are fighting for is just and right 7) Iraq is moving toward freedom; and things on the ground are improving daily, regardless of what the MSM and prominent Dems would have us believe.
These points, taken together, form an easy, concise, and—most importantly—a factually correct counter-narrative to the Dem / MSM narrative that has preached confusion, failure, quagmire, American criminality (torture, WP), and the relentlessness of an insurgency whose battleground savvy and knowledge of the Arab world are thwarting the plans of our confused military leaders and civilian war commanders. Oh. But we LOVE THE TROOPS!
I think the narrative is a good one, but it needs to be repeated as loud and as often as the one the Dems have been peddling.
Amen, brutha. And what is equally important is that all of these points be repeated. I grow concerned sometimes that pro-war advocates get so defensive over the issue of pre-war intelligence that they fall into "Yeah, we screwed up but at least we screwed up honestly" mode, conceding the high ground about the fundamental question of whether we should have invaded to begin with. This is wrong. It is also infuriating. There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of - what we are doing in Iraq is right and good and something to be proud of. I, for one, refuse to fall back to a position of feeling compelled to apologize for the decision to go in. And I sincerely hope the White House feels the same way.
UPDATE: Oh, and I'd add one more point to the list - Withdrawal without victory now would be catastrophic under any set of criteria one can possibly think of.
"Another Robbo-in-drag holiday logo!!??"
Just you remember, me buck-o, that Robbo goes broadband in a couple days and one of the first installations on the new home Dell is going to be photoshop.
(YIPS from Steve: What, dear reader, set Rob off? Was it the presence of the plunging neckline?)
To violently change metaphoric gears and appropriate those famous words of wisdom:
Are you fameeliar weeth de Klingon proverb which tells that Revenge is a dish best served cold? Eet is verry cold in de Andesssss....
YIPS from Steve: To paraphrase Lord Worphin parsing Dubya, "Bring. It. On., Monkeyboy!"
While I'm on the subject of threats I'm not afraid of (see above), this brings me to things I've learned the hard way while blogging: never EVER piss of Cathy the Cakeeater (one of the best ways to do so is to spell her name with a "C"). Case in point: Kath rips Jimmah a new bunghole for violating the sacred turf of her Barnes & Noble, following on the heels of her ongoing kultur kampf against all things nouveau Pride & Prejudice.
Just like a Firth Lord she is, anger rules her judgment.
Lighten up, Kathy! It's one freakin' car chase! Austen's just too slow for the modern viewer. Plus, Helen Hunt is a wicked awesome Elizabeth!
So to summarize, things I'm afraid of:
The Joani luvs Cha-Chi X-Mas Special, brought to you by those evil folks at Halliburton
Things I'm not afraid of:
Disturbing Google search visitor of the day
That prize would have to go for the person who dialed us up looking for:
That must have been a chapter in Bulfinch that I missed: maybe Pan's tormented cousin Robbo......
I'm In Paradise....
Gary has his latest installment up: The Two Towers, Book 4, Chapter 1, "The Taming of Smeagol" and manages in this post to geek out on two of my favorite subjects at once: Tolkien and meteorology. Woo Hoo!
Another nice touch - as Gary notes, Tolkien puts Frodo and Sam on hold in Book Three of TTT, while telling the adventures of the rest of the Fellowship in Rohan. In Book 4, he backtracks a number of days in order to pick up where he left off with Frodo and Sam. As that story now moves forward, Gary is keeping track of the corresponding events on the other side of the Anduin. Frankly, while I've been aware of the interlocking chronology during this part of the story, I've never really thought it out to this extent. (Tolkien himself starts flipping back and forth between the two stories later on in The Return of the King.) I hope Gary keeps this practice up.
Cranky Conservative Goodness
This week George Will displays all the qualities that got me into bow ties and horn-rim glasses to begin with:
Many people have no notion of propriety when in the presence of other people, because they are not actually in the presence of other people, even when they are in public.
With everyone chatting on cell phones when not floating in iPod-land, "this is an age of social autism, in which people just can't see the value of imagining their impact on others.'' We are entertaining ourselves into inanition. (There are Web sites for people with Internet addiction. Think about that.) And multiplying technologies of portable entertainments will enable "limitless self-absorption,'' which will make people solipsistic, inconsiderate and anti-social. Hence manners are becoming unmannerly in this "age of lazy moral relativism combined with aggressive social insolence."
And a bit later:
Because manners are means of extending respect, especially to strangers, this question arises: Do manners and virtue go together? Truss thinks so, in spite of the possibility of "blood-stained dictators who had exquisite table manners and never used their mobile phones in a crowded train compartment to order mass executions."
Actually, manners are the practice of a virtue. The virtue is called civility, a word related -- as a foundation is related to a house -- to the word civilization.
Ahhhhh.......Go read the rest.
The column, by the way, is in response to the latest book by Lynne Truss, Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door. She's the author of that punctuation-crank barnstormer, Eats, Shoots and Leaves, a book I bought a while back but have not yet read. Sounds like I need to add her latest effort to my Gimme List as well.
Gratuitous Weekend Observations
Busy weekend about the Butcher's House.
I just want to say to whoever it was who invented the combo leaf-blower/leaf mulching vacuum: I love you guys.
Also, I could not say if it is simply an accident of random, chaotic evolutionary forces, or part of God's master-plan, but the fact of the matter is that sprizzing WD-40 onto squeeky door hinges touches the y-chromosome at the deepest and most profound level. If this isn't part of the theological debate on the fundamental nature of Man, it certainly ought to be.
UPDATE: Sooper-Sekret Answer to JWookie's question: M'heh. Not in your lifetime, my friend, nor in mine.
November 18, 2005
It’s rather like a washing machine that holds a tune.. but tiny, portable, and sleek!
Further signs that the End of Days is upon us.
Posting #6575....Season Three commences
I wanted to do the traditional Friday before Thanksgiving 2:46 PM entry to commemorate the unofficial start of Season Three, but got delayed by a steady pitter patter of random crapola. Last year I waxed more rhapsodic about the big picture. This year my reaction is more in the vein of "OOp! Ack! Thppffft!" Here was my prediction for Season Two, only one of which really came true(think Scottish Dwarf).
I also did the now-standard "advice for newbie bloggers," which I still stand by:
1. Never ever violate the "Sgt. Hulka Rule"
Sgt. Hulka of course was the gruff, cantankerous drill sergeant from "Stripes," from whom we take the first rule of blogging: when in doubt, "Lighten up, Francis." Want to be a "citizen journalist" and define new parameters for the Columbia Journalism Review? Fine. Just don't get all snippy when we mock you. Never forget that three quarters of what we do is just "log."
2. What will you do when your Mom reads your blog?*
You need to decide early on how public your blog persona is. By this, I don't just mean whether you blog under your real name and talk about parts of your life openly, but whether you let your friends and family in on your new hobby. We're split on this around here: Robbo's mom has been a regular reader since day one, where I've never told anyone in my family (other than my wife), and only a few other folks. I guess for me I just never wanted to explain the whole "llamabutcher" thing. That, and it might undercut my whole "I've been sooo busy lately...." mantra.
Of course, there's another reason you might want a quasi-private or anonymous persona, mainly addressing whether you are going to go on the offense about issues dealing with the Religion of Peace, some of whose supporters so firmly believe in the justice and peacefullness of their religion that they'll threaten to kill your kids if you say otherwise. Also, you might want to think about how thrilled your employer would be, so it's a good rule of thumb not to bring them in at all. Unless you have tenure....
*Yeah, I know, the Onion did that as a piece, but they lamely have it behind the subscription screen now. Bastards.
3. Learn some HTML
A little bit of HTML goes a long way to fixing little problems. It's like learning how to check the oil on your car. I recommend the HTML Goodies page---it's simple and easy, and they have a very large collection of color codes.
In that vein, study the blogs that you like, and ask yourself what is it about their style that makes you come back---not what they are writing about, but how the thing looks? For example, I love to razz the heck out of Jeff, but look at the way his blog is laid out---it's like a tabloid, which is a compliment. You can practically touch the glossy paper. Look at how he uses his graphics---not too much, but enough to add a lot of pizazz. Or, in the other direction, the Commissar's---how well the contrasting colors work there, when they often don't (think Axis Sully's page).
4. Write about what you know
I'm not sure it's common, but I started about six blogs before we launched the LLamabutchers. I just never found the right groove and feel to it until I started writing with Rob. The key, I think, was that I treated my posts as if I was writing to Rob (and for the first couple of months, it was basically that, and Rob's mom). It's kind of like when you are doing radio, the thing to do is just focus on having a conversation with the other people in the studio, albeit a weird conversation where you are making hand signals and gestures, and trying to get the other people to crack up when talking about something serious.
The point is that blogs which are fun to read are the result of the writer either having fun or being really good at faking it. The goal is to have people come to you regularly--better yet, daily. To do this, you need to find the right mix of things to talk about. No matter how good you are, how much expertise you have on a subject, if you only talk about one subject area, I'm not going to visit all that often. That goes double if the one subject area you talk about is either 1. Politics, or B. the War. The exception to this rule is if you have a unique, front-row perspective or if you are a true genius (like Wretchard at Belmont Club).
5. "OHMIGAWHD...I'VE BEEN INSTALANCHED!" Now what?
So you are plugging away and out of the blue you get zapped by Glenn or Vodka Pundit or someone else from the Olympian heights of the TLLB. Now what?
A big link is something to savor, and it's then you can feel the addictive nature of blogging. But what do you do next? What you need to realize is that first of all, it's fun while it lasts, but the tide will go out as quickly as it comes in. What you need to do is to keep doing what you were doing, and hope that you can pick up a small percentage of your new readers as regulars.
At the same time, you need to remember the most important corollary to the Sgt. Hulka rule: no one owes you anything. If you are going to link-whore, be polite about it. No one owes you a link, let alone even a response. Don't sweat it.
6. Dance with the ones that brought you
One of the neatest things about blogging to me has been getting to know the bloggers you come up with---there's a bond that's forged when you are down at the bottom of the TLLB that adds an unexpected element of fun to the whole hobby. When we started this, I wanted links and traffic---I had this vision of the big bloggers hanging out like the "5 Club" at SNL. To be perfectly honest, I keep at the blogging not just for the continuing conversation with Rob, but for the conversation and banter we've developed with folks like Rusty, Bill, Rae, Jen, Chan, Chai-rista, Ace, Gordon, Kathleen, Margi, Sheila, Lawren, Katie, Willow ( I reserve the right to add to this list in case I've left folks off!)
And if you do make it high up? You better damn well remember the ones who you used to know when. And keep an eye out for the newbies coming up----one of the coolest things is discovering and helping newbies who then make it on their own.
And how do you do that, if you are a newbie? Get yourself on the ecosystem, leave lots of comments (not personal spam, but things on topic), don't be afraid to email folks good stuff (it helps if you give an angle to it on the subject line), and don't be offended if they don't link or don't respond. But by all means don't give up (but then on the other hand don't be indiscriminate and send links to all your stuff). Get sitemeter, and most importantly get off of blogger as soon as you are able. Blogger is lousy at sending trackbacks (ie "pings"), and trust me on this: the pings the thing. It took us nine months to really realize this, and trust us: it really does matter by letting people find out about you and your blog. Our biggest mistake was not getting off of blogger in April when John and Ted wrangled us an invitation to join Moo Knew---we wised up over the summer, and the difference is profound.
Last, and most important
7. Quirks of the bigs, and lessons learned the hard way.
Frank J. is a self-important snippy buffoon who can dish it out but not take it.
Never EVER piss off Michele Catalano!
And the Commissar is a marketing genius.
Let me second that "blog" is three-quarters "log," and add the new mantra: 5000 is the new 1000 (in daily traffic.)
Major Thoughts? I started out trying to be a quasi-serious blogger, kind of in a hang-out at Jasperwood and drink Martinis with Glenn Reynolds sort of way. Trading bon-mots with Taranto, maybe the occasional link from the Corner.
Two years later? For a brief, shining day we were #1 on Google for
Melissa Theuriau naked
And Alexander wept when he saw there were no more worlds to conquer...
Seriously, the fine art of link-whoring was explored most effectively by the crack young staff at The Hatemongers Quarterly. And that's been the most gratifying element of it all, really: thanks to the Google Mapping feature on Sitemeter, a certain pattern has emerged in our traffic, namely the steady and consistent traffic from Riyadh and Tehran googling us up for various kinky and perverted little searches.
We're on to you, you mad mullahs!
UP NEXT: The sorrid, heinous truth behind the story that rocked Amerika and nigh on landed the LLamas on the blacklist of bloggers everywhere: the late, great LLama Traffic Steroids Scandal!
LLamabutcher Industries Update
Okay, I've got what should work for the logo:
I just need to print this puppy out at a higher resolution, and it's thong-city.
PS---If anyone has any suggestions (good, bad, and indifferent) about dealing with Cafe Press, drop me a note in the Tasty Bits Mail Sack. Thanks!
The Big Two Point Oh
Our home-based AOHell dial up service is long gone and the cable company doesn't come out to install our new broadband till next Wednesday, so it's about time for me to go dark for a bit. I don't want to leave off for the weekend on a political post, so I'll just take this opportunity to say again that Monday marks our Second Anniversary here at Llama Central. To celebrate this, Steve-O has been hard at work setting up the Llama Merchandizing Division and will have it ready to go. (Er, right Steve? Right? Remember, utter Llama Fangirl Geekdom may be riding on this, so don't leave me hanging.)
Over the weekend, I'll see if I can put into words the delusional insanity that has been the last two years of Llama blogging.
Yip! Yip! Yip!
The Colossus puts one over the fence.
Hammer Time Update: Let Freedom Ring has thoughts on the sudden House GOP decision to call the Donks on Murtha's resolution demanding an Iraqi pullout.
Yips! to Glenn.
Melissa Theuriau Claim-Jumping Update
Will No One Rid Me Of This Turbulent Dwarf?
I'll say it again - Damn you, Bill!
Gratuitous English Major Geekery
This Slate article about the rise and fall of literary theory made me laugh. An excerpt:
With New Criticism, literary history was still being customized to fit the professor's expedient needs. In were the Augustans and the Metaphysicals and T.S. Eliot, whose poems supposedly reward close reading; out were the slovenly Romantics, whose poems supposedly don't. But something had started to change. The English professor himself was slowly evolving. The key to that evolution was what is sometimes called "the linguistic turn." Language is of course the necessary medium for all advanced learning; but after Wittgenstein, the default position of the tenured philosophe has been that only within language can we order and experience human reality. If the English professor is the expert in charge of understanding how we use language—how metaphors shape history, how history shapes our metaphors, etc., etc.—he holds a position of enormous intellectual authority on a college campus. For a brief period, climaxing with the reign of terror of the Yale Deconstructionists, the English professor appeared to have arrogated, not only all of literary history, but all possible knowledge to his own powers of interpretation. The English professor had completed the transition. He was no longer a sucker. He was now a con man extraordinaire.
I actually got off fairly lightly in my time at the Glorious Workers' Soviet of Middletown in the mid-80's, although I did get ambushed by Derrida and various other manifestations of Critical Theory now and again.
As to the author's later observations about cherishing the non-utilitarian nature of literary study, all I can say as an old Brit Lit shark is "Duh!" Of course an English major is useless. That's what law school is for.
Yips! to Ann Althouse.
"Mrs. Darcy.....Mrs. Darcy..."???
(Kathy's gonna wig over this.)
Apparently, the awful new version of Pride and Prejudice has been tarted up with a sickly-sweet ending just for Amurica audiences:
An eight-minute segment has been added for US audiences who love ultra-happy endings. Happy ending: Elizabeth Bennet, played by Keira Knightley, kisses Mr Darcy (Matthew MacFadyen) "in a moonlit haze of post-nuptial bliss" as he repeatedly sighs her name.
The embrace upset the 450 members of the Jane Austen Society of North America, who ridiculed it at a preview screening.
Elsa Solender, a member and former president of the society, said: "It has nothing at all of Jane Austen in it, is inconsistent with the first two thirds of the film, insults the audience with its banality and ought to be cut before release."
However, USA Today quoted cinemagoers yesterday as being delighted with the new ending. Gail Hunt, from Washington, said: "It wouldn't have been a movie without it."
Francine Zawatsky of Potomac, Maryland, said that she "loved" the kiss: "I was waiting for it. It was such a touching moment."
Lor lumme, stone the crows. I expect the next version will feature the pair in bed together.
What Media Bias?
Via Drudge, I came across this Las Vegas Review-Journal article about the new RNC tee vee commercials aimed at Reid & Co. for flip-flopping on the war. Two lines in particular struck me:
Earlier this week, the Republican-controlled Senate passed legislation encouraging President Bush to change course in Iraq. Democrats had pushed for a timetable for withdrawal.
Well, no. As a matter of fact, as I noted at the time, the Senate urged Dubya to do pretty much what he is doing, only provide more status reports.
Then there's this:
The ad comes at a time when more hawks on Capitol Hill are changing their tune.
On Thursday, John Murtha, the ranking House Democrat on a subcommittee that oversees defense spending, called for the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
Well, no again. Murtha's been on this kick for at least a year and a half.
An attempt to get a panic meme going? Move along. Nothing to see here.
UPDATE: The panic spreads!
Cutting Through The Crap
Ladies and Gentlemen, the superb Victor Davis Hanson:
[W]hat then is really at the heart of the current strange congressional hysteria?
Simple — the tragic loss of nearly 2,100 Americans in Iraq.
The "my perfect war, your messy postbellum reconstruction" crowd is now huge and unapologetic. It encompasses not just leftists who once jumped on the war bandwagon in fears that Democrats would be tarred as weak on national security (a legitimate worry), but also many saber-rattling conservatives and Republicans — including those (the most shameful of all) who had in earlier times both sent letters to President Clinton and Bush demanding the removal of Saddam and now damn their commander-in-chief for taking them at their own word.
In the triumphalism after seeing Milosevic go down without a single American death, the Taliban implode at very little cost, and Saddam removed from power with little more than 100 fatalities, there was the assumption that the United States could simply nod and dictators would quail and democracy would follow. Had we lost 100 in birthing democracy and not 2,000, or seen purple fingers only and not IEDs on Dan Rather's nightly broadcasts, today's critics would be arguing over who first thought up the idea of removing Saddam and implementing democratic changes.
So without our 2,100 losses, nearly all the present critics would be either silent or grandstanding their support — in the manner that three quarters of the American population who polled that they were in favor of the war once they saw the statue of Saddam fall.
In short, there is no issue of WMD other than finding out why our intelligence people who had once missed it in the First Gulf War, then hyped it in the next-or what actually happened to all the unaccounted for vials and stockpiles that the U.N. inspectors swore were once inside Iraq.
So the real crux is a real legitimate debate over whether our ongoing costs-billions spent, thousands wounded, nearly 2,100 American soldiers lost-will be worth the results achieved. Post facto, no death seems "worth it". The premature end of life is tangible and horrendous in a way that the object of such soldiers' sacrifices-a reformed Middle East, a safer world, enhanced American safety, and freedom for 26 million-seems remote and abstract.
Nevertheless, that is what our soldiers died for: a world in which Middle East dictators no longer murder their own, ruin their won societies, and then cynically use terrorism to whip up the Arab street and deflect their own self-induced miseries onto the United States. This is the calculus that led to 9/11, and the reason why Saddam gave sanctuary to 1980s terrorists, the killer Yasin who failed in his first attempt to take down the twin towers, and the likes of Zarqawi.
Go and read the rest.
UPDATE: I will say this for Rep. John Murtha - he, at least, seems to be arguing for a pull out in Iraq on the basis of his belief that the war is "unwinnable", a judgement more in line with VDH's analysis than the "we wuz duped" garbage coming out of people like Reid and Rockefeller. In that respect, he is being comparatively honest.
As a matter of fact, I think all the kerfuffle over Murtha may do the Donks more harm than good. Arguing that we should bug out because we can't win tags them as the French Party, the "Surrender First" Party, the "Run Awaaaaay!!!" Party, something they've been trying to avoid since the beginning, as VDH notes. Plus, if Dr. Rusty, Gary and the Colossus are any kind of guide, his remarks are infuriating and galvanizing the pro-war side.
Is there no end to Karl Rove's list of sleeper agents?
Let me be clear: some Democrats — Joe Lieberman springs to mind — supported the war for the right reasons, and continue to do so. Others — Ted Kennedy, Russell Feingold — opposed it all along. But most of those now recanting made a straight political calculation in voting to authorise force in the first place.
These were the ambitious Democrats who thought they had learnt the lessons of 1991. Then you may recall, the vast majority of the party’s senators voted against the first Iraq war. The arguments then were not about right but might, or America’s perceived lack of it. There was talk of hundreds of thousands of body bags. Most of the Democrats, fearing the country was still in the grip of Vietnam syndrome, wanted nothing to do with it. They wanted to be able to say afterwards “ We told you so”, and to reap the political rewards.
In the eventfewer than 200 Americans died, and all those Democrats who had voted against the war were suddenly political carrion. So, confronted with a similar choice in October 2002, they did not want to be on the losing side again. If it was another cakewalk, and they had voted against it, the damage to their credibility as presidential candidates would be irreparable. Best to vote for it to burnish their national security credentials.
But it wasn’t a cakewalk. And now they’re trapped. So they resort to the defence of the coward throughout history: “He made me do it.” Most Americans have better memories.
Christ, I hope so.
Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)
This is interesting: A man is claiming his family owns bits of Beethoven's skull. Initial testing apparently shows some evidence to support the claim.
Reminds me of the fellah who so worshipped Beethoven and his music that, shortly after Beethoven's death, he decided to go and find the composer's grave in order to pay homage. Once there, the fellah was so moved that he decided to dig up the body to see it with his own eyes. After much labor, he heaved the casket out of the grave and pried open the lid. Looking inside, he found Beethoven sitting there with a lamp, furiously erasing line after line of sheet music.
Beethoven looked up, scowled at the fellah and said, "Go away! Can't you see I'm decomposing?"
I'll be here all week.
November 17, 2005
I've stayed far away from the whole Plame-Game/Merry Fitzmas kerfluffle primarily because I simply see it as Beltway knife-fighting, for which I have only a minimal amount of patience.
However, I see today that Joe Wilson is now marking Bob Woodward for the Inquisition and it occurs to me that he is coming dangerously close to that tipping point beyond which many of history's temporary power brokers suddenly find themselves on the way to the garrotte, the stake or the guillotine.
Wilson has had his fun. He's jerked Dee Cee around, pissed off a great many of his enemies and become a minor celebrity of sorts. If I were in his position, I'd think hard about just shutting up right about now. Too much more of this and even those people he thinks of as his allies are going to decide he's too much of a loose cannon and turn on him. And it won't be pretty.
How Cool Is This?
It's the 2005 Punkin Chunkin Championship, in which teams compete to build the best catapult, cannon, trebuchet or sling to hurl an 8 to 10 pound pumpkin the furthest distance across a field. Only rule? No explosives.
All in all, Punkin Chunkin is a symbol of what makes America great. Only in the richest country on earth could regular guys spend tens of thousands of dollars building a pumpkin gun. Only in a nation with such a fine tradition of inventiveness, not to mention martial prowess, would so many choose to. And only in a land of wide open spaces would they be able to practise their chunkin without killing their neighbours.
(The article goes on to mourn the loss of the the grounds used for the past 20 years in Millsboro, Delaware. However, according to the Punk-Chunk website linked above, next year's Chunk will take place there.)
Maybe it is because I'm both a guy and an Amurican, but dang that looks like a lot of fun!
Ain't It The Truth?
| You scored as Mom and Dad. You are Calvin's mom and dad. Though sometimes Calvin drives you wild, you manage to keep him under control, and sometimes you even get rewared from it. Sometimes...|
What Calvin & Hobbes character are you?
created with QuizFarm.com
In fact, the grumpy "Mmm" is a standard part of my domestic vocabulary, seeing I have a whole slew of Calvin-ettes to deal with.
Yips! to the Night Writer.
Lemuel at Deleted By Tomorrow notes that today is the anniversary of the beginning of the Velvet Revolution sixteen years ago. He celebrates the day in suitable pictoral mockery of the bastard Communists.
Click on over.
*Lemuel actually lives in Slovakia, but I'm sure he'll grant me some license here.
Crazy For You
Following up on a private conversation our pal Kathy and I have been having this morning, I found this little gem rather amusing:
Heh, heh, heh.
UPDATE: I couldn't remember where I'd seen the link earlier, so I googled it myself. But belated Yips! to the Impenetrable One.
What makes it work is the Tom Cruise/Jennifer Aniston merged pshop
Jeff at Beautiful Atrocities is back, and in rare form.
The detentions and interrogations have brought complaints from Congress and human-rights groups about how the detainees _ often Arab and male _ are treated.
Often Arab and male.....?
I can see the headline from the AP in 1946:
The United States continues to arrest and detain suspects on the merest hint of involvement in the "so-called" "holocaust" bringing complaints from Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Lindberg, and other human-rights groups about how the detainees---often Arayan and male, with SS blood group tatoos in the armpits--are being treated.
BREAKING NOOZ!! MUST CREDIT LLAMAS!! BOB WOODWARD'S SEKRIT PLAME SOURCE REVEALED!!!
Just One Minute is all over the latest Grinch that Stole Fitzmas news about Bob Woodward's "former administration official" who passed along Valerie Plame's name, completely harshing the mellow of Patrick Fitzgerald's merry prosecution team.
The question is, who is Woodward's trusted "former administration official"?
The LLamas can reveal it is.....
Gratuitous South Park Review
I stopped watching South Park on a regular basis a while back, but I did catch last night's new episode. Two quick thoughts:
1. I'll bet the Scientologist High Command is livid this morning. Heh, indeed.
2. Stan's first, "Mooo-om! Tom Cruise won't come out of the closet!" was hysterical, but the gag should have been dropped then and there. Matt and Trey have a tendency to hammer a joke to death sometimes and I thought this went on far too long, especially with the whole business of adding Travolta and R. Kelly to the mix. Finesse, gentlemen!
That is all.
UPDATE: Tainted Bill liked it too.
Gratuitous Literary Crankiness
I'm currently reading Xenophon's Anabasis, the story of how he and ten thousand Greek mercenaries, after backing the losing side in a civil war, fought their way out of the heart of Persia around 400 B.C.
I don't bring this up in order to comment on the story, but to gripe about the physical book itself. I've got a 1998 re-release of the Loeb Classical Library edition. This is a Harvard University press, not some pokey little back-water outfit, so one would expect a top quality product. And it mostly is - hardback, good quality paper, Greek text (which I can't read) on the left and translation on the facing page, intelligent footnotes, etc. Nonetheless, the book is liberally peppered with typos, most commonly the replacement of "h" with "b" so that, for example, "He addressed the men," becomes "Be addressed the men."
Are we so beholden to spellcheck now that nobody uses their farookin' eyeballs anymore?
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)
Here's a funny thing.
I don't recall if I mentioned it previously, but the eldest Llama-ette is actually in the Missus' class at St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method. It's a fairly large class - the Missus has a co-teacher and an assistant - so their interaction is not constant, but it was made very clear to the gel at the beginning of the year that in order for this to work out, the two of them would have to maintain a strictly professional relationship. No favoritism, and the Llama-ette was to address the Missus as "Mrs. LL" during school time.
Things have gone pretty smoothly so far, but I noticed again last evening a very curious thing. While the Llama-ette usually will refer to "Mom" when talking to me about the Missus, as soon as the subject gets to school matters, she'll often switch over to using "Mrs. LL", apparently without even being aware of it. She even did it one time in the same sentence: "Mom gave me apple sauce for lunch today, but when I got to Mrs. LL's class, I traded it."
I find this quite interesting. When I was in second grade, I couldn't imagine my teacher Mrs. Boxwell having any kind of existence outside of school because I never saw her anywhere else. To me, she was as much a part of the physical plant as the chairs, desks and blackboards. Obviously, this isn't the case with the Llama-ette, since she is with the Missus both at school and at home. But evidently, the gel is still able to compartmentalize and, if you will, to see the Missus as two different people, or at least as one person wearing two different hats.
(Oh, on a side note, it's odd that I would be hard pressed to name more than about half of my college professors, but can still remember the names of every one of my elementary school home room teachers and most of the others as well. Does this say something about youth imprinting? Or is it a testimony to my collegiate study habits?)
Random Commuter Observations
It looks like Autumn has finally decided to quit screwing around and get down to business here in Dee Cee.
Stopping by Starbucks this morning, I noticed they've switched over to their Christmas rig. The motto on their seasonal cups reads, "It only happens once a year."
When I consider the marketing campaign that is limbering up and about to go into full assault mode over the course of the next five weeks, my only reaction to the Starbucks line is, "Thank God".
I think we have a winner
Monday is the second anniversary around here, and to commemorate we're going to launch the LLamabutchers Merchandising Division---for all your LLamabutchers imprinted thong needs for the Kwanza stocking stuffers.
The question, though, has been what image?
Thanks to our old pal the Colossus, I think we have a winner:
Yip! Yip! Yip!
November 16, 2005
Operation "Bitch-Slap Janus" Update
K-Lo is posting chunks of a speech Dick Cheney plans to give this evening. Doesn't look as if the White House is letting up on its counter-offensive yet:
Thank you very much, and good evening to all of you. I heard about your gathering, and since I work down the street from here I thought I’d drop in and say hello.
Let me thank the good people of Frontiers of Freedom – George Landrith, Kerri Houston, Al Lee – for bringing us all together this evening. I see many good friends in the room, including current and former office holders. It’s a pleasure to see all of you. I’m sorry that we couldn’t be joined by Senators Harry Reid, John Kerry, or Jay Rockefeller. They were unable to attend due to a prior lack of commitment.
"As most of you know, I have spent a lot of years in public service, and first came to work in Washington, D.C. back in the late 1960s. I know what it's like to operate in a highly charged political environment, in which the players on all sides of an issue feel passionately and speak forcefully. In such an environment people sometimes lose their cool, and yet in Washington you can ordinarily rely on some basic measure of truthfulness and good faith in the conduct of political debate. But in the last several weeks we have seen a wild departure from that tradition. And the suggestion that's been made by some U.S. senators that the President of the United States or any member of this Administration purposely misled the American people on pre-war intelligence is one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city.
"Some of the most irresponsible comments have, of course, come from politicians who actually voted in favor of authorizing force against Saddam Hussein. These are elected officials who had access to the intelligence, and were free to draw their own conclusions. They arrived at the same judgment about Iraq's capabilities and intentions that was made by this Administration and by the previous Administration. There was broad-based, bipartisan agreement that Saddam Hussein was a threat … that he had violated U.N. Security Council Resolutions … and that, in a post-9/11 world, we couldn't afford to take the word of a dictator who had a history of WMD programs, who had excluded weapons inspectors, who had defied the demands of the international community, who had been designated an official state sponsor of terror, and who had committed mass murder. Those are facts. What we're hearing now is some politicians contradicting their own statements and making a play for political advantage in the middle of a war. The saddest part is that our people in uniform have been subjected to these cynical and pernicious falsehoods day in and day out. American soldiers and Marines are out there every day in dangerous conditions and desert temperatures – conducting raids, training Iraqi forces, countering attacks, seizing weapons, and capturing killers – and back home a few opportunists are suggesting they were sent into battle for a lie. The President and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone – but we're not going to sit by and let them rewrite history. We're going to continue throwing their own words back at them. And far more important, we're going to continue sending a consistent message to the men and women who are fighting the war on terror in Iraq, Afghanistan, and many other fronts. We can never say enough how much we appreciate them, and how proud they make us. They and their families can be certain: That this cause is right … and the performance of our military has been brave and honorable … and this nation will stand behind our fighting forces with pride and without wavering until the day of victory."
Pour it into 'em, boys!
Happy Birthday, Sir Oswald (You Dirtbag)
Image courtesy of the Beeb
Sir Oswald Ernald Mosley, born this day in 1896, became the leader of British Fascism in the 1930's.
He wouldn't mean a great deal to me today other than as an example of pond scum, except that he just so happened to be the source of one of Plum Wodehouse's great, albiet minor, comic villains, Sir Roderick Spode.
Wodehouse introduces Spode in The Code of The Woosters, easily my favorite Bertie and Jeeves novel:
"He caught the eye and arrested it. It was as if nature has intended to make a gorilla, and had changed its mind at the last moment"
Early in the novel, Gussy Fink-Nottle informs Bertie that Spode is the leader of the Black Shorts, thus confirming Bertie's initial suspicions:
“The moment I had set eyes on Spode, if you remember, I had said to myself ‘What ho! A Dictator!’ and a Dictator he had proved to be. I couldn’t have made a better shot, if I had been one of those detectives who see a chap walking along the street and deduce that he is a retired manufacturer of poppet valves named Robinson with rheumatism in one arm, living in Clapham.
‘Well, I’m dashed! I thought he was something of that sort. That chin … Those eyes… And, for the matter of that, that moustache. By the way, when you say “shorts”, you mean “shirts”, of course.’
‘No. By the time Spode formed his association, there were no shirts left. He and his adherents wear black shorts.’
‘Footer bags, you mean?’
‘How perfectly foul.’
In a climactic scene later on, Bertie, owing to plot twists too complicated to get into here, is able to overcome his terror of Spode's imposing bulk and let him have it:
"The trouble with you, Spode, is that just because you have succeeded in inducing a handful of half-wits to disfigure the London scene by going about in black shorts, you think you're someone. You hear them shouting 'Heil, Spode!' and you imagine it is the Voice of the People. That is where you make your bloomer. What the Voice of the People is saying is: 'Look at that frightful ass Spode swanking about in footer bags! Did you ever in your puff see such a perfect perisher?'"
This is one of the very few times Wodehouse ever gets political in his writing. It also is one of the very few times that he bases a character so obviously on a real person. At least in my mind, this severely damages the claims of his enemies after the War that Plum had been some kind of Fascist sympathizer himself (which I've never believed anyway).
So, although Mosley himself was a pretty unpleasant person, I still mark the day in honor of the sublime silliness that his unpleasantness inspired.
Build The Babe and They Will Come
Well, hell. I thought I was really being rather clever with my political humor this morning, but it doesn't seem to have got many takers.
Oh, well. Who can argue with the market? (Note to Communists: This is why you lost.)
As Beautifully Atrocious Jeff advises, when in doubt, go for the cheesecake:
Don't even ask where her hand is. Oo La Orgle!
UPDATE: Oh, this is just cruel.
Thankee muchly for the 2005 Weblog Awards nomination in the Culchah Blogs category! It's very humbling and gratifying to get such a nod. We were in the running in this category last year but got crushed by Catalano. She seems to be taking a powder at the moment, but it looks like there are some extremely deserving heavy-weights already in contention this year as well.
We haven't put together our nomination list, but don't worry - we're working on it.
Could I also make a suggestion to Kevin at Wizbang, who's running this whole thing, for a special category of "Best Nomination"? If so, we already have a winner. ROTFLMAO, as they say. (And Yips! to Owlish for the tip.)
***LLAMA EXCLUSIVE****MUST CREDIT LLAMAS***
Last evening, I actually watched a few minutes of "Nip/Tuck". I don't know how, exactly, but the exceeding awfulness of this show on every level suddenly gave me a Saul-on-the-road-to-Damascus epiphany that yes, indeed, Dubya lied about the intel in order to hoodwink the country into the Iraqi War.
Well, with the zeal typical of converts, I decided to do some research. And as it turns out, my efforts paid off. Therefore, I give you:
TOP TEN OTHER LIES OF GEORGE W. BUSH
10. That bogus Texas accent.
9. Regularly violates "10 items or fewer" rule in express checkout line at Georgetown Safeway by claiming that the half-dozen Colt .45 singles count as "one six-pack".
8. So-called "home address" on driver's license is actually address of Wrigley Field.
7. Uses stunt double for jogging/biking. Real "workout" consists of sacking out on Lay-Z-Boy with box of Krispy Kremes watching Oprah.
6. Is holding Cindy Sheehan's son at Gitmo - threatens summary execution unless she continues to make fool of herself in public.
5. Jenna and Barbra actually intergalactic princesses in hiding from their evil Sith Lord father.
4. Has been covering up economic collapse for months by carefully holding charts upside down at all press conferences.
3. Ordered Hurricane Katrina strike on New Orleans after learning One Ring had been lost in nearby bayou - wanted to clear out local population so FEMA could search unhindered.
2. Not only did he know about 9/11 attacks beforehand, also arranged deal whereby he would order Air Force to stand down in exchange for hijackers' frequent flier miles.
1. Technically, it should be "Madame President".
See, this is why Sparkle is such a better person than me
Somehow, I missed this when it came out
Vegging while grading tonight, I happened to turn on the tee-vee looking for NCIS (guilty pleasure), but while flipping past some insufferable award show, became completely engrossed in a thing on PBS about Isacc Newton's work with alchemy. Really cool stuff.
J.K. Rowling really blew it by not developing an angle here....
It's hard to believe it's written in the same language used by Dr. Johnson and the King James Bible
"We did freeze Rod's sperm in case there are going to be any problems. We were at home. We didn't do it at a hospital. We were at home privately, you know, intimately. And then I rushed down in the Ferrari with my handbag and the little vial next to it"
Somehow, I can imagine how the Bard could have used this as a plot twist in King Lear, only if the Ferrari were to crash into a magical tree.
November 15, 2005
Let Us Shut Our Eyes/ And Talk About The Weather
Our pal Chai-rista reports on the second half of Category Seven: End of the World. Her verdict? It couldn't even get "truly bad" right:
If you're going with a plot line as ass-stupid as, "Cool down the city and the hurricane that's already passing over will evaporate like Bourbon at a faculty party," then you need a monumentally stupid way to make that happen. Two people sitting at a computer watching a digital thermostat reading drop ain't cutting it. But that's what they did. The writers had the Power Plant shut down and instantly the air temps above Capital City began to drop like CGI tornadoes from animated clouds of recycled newsprint. But the only way to illustrate this tense plot point was to make the numbers go . . . uh, like . . . lower on the screen. Is there a way to get any duller?
Read the rest, as they like to say. I saw approximately 20 seconds of the show and then went on to more promising fare, flipping on AMC's airing of Memphis Belle instead, where it was quite amusing to watch Sam Gamgee fighting off 109's. Looks like I took the right flight.
UPDATE: In case you missed it, here is Chai-rista's take on the first part of Category Seven, which was much worse. I mean better. I mean better because it was worse.
The Duke, Remembered
Sheila is having herself a John Wayne Appreciation Day. Too many entries to plug individually - just head on over and scroll, pilgrim.
UPDATE: As it happens, I had just tossed The War Wagon and Big Jake into my Netflix rotation. I don't believe either of these movies, which I've never seen, are in the Howard Hawks/John Ford league, but that doesn't mean they won't be worth watching.
It's Time for the Bloggies
Your Screen-Splattering Link of the Day
Seriously - welcome back, Jeff!
"Can Anyone Fill Koppel's Shoes?" asks Useless Today, in an article about ABCNews' efforts to revamp Nightline to "stay relevant".
Yer' dayum straight somebody can:
What with so much info available on line, I haven't watched network news in years. Sign up Melissa and I'd personally take the New Media around back and shoot it in the head.
Yips! to the Commissar, who evidently needed a fix.
Happy Birthday, Georgia O'Keefe
Cebolla Chuch, 1945.
Georgia O'Keefe, the great modern American painter, was born this day in 1887. While I generally dislike pure abstractionism on the grounds that its lack of representational framework makes any attempt to convey meaning, well, meaningless, I've always been fond of what you might call O'Keefe's brand of abstract representationalism - she revels in the subjectivity of the artist's perception but applies it to images the viewer can understand, thus providing a reference point. Often exquisitely done and very satisfying.
Mmmm....hope the Missus packed wine and cheese for lunch......
"Operation Bitch-slap Janus" Update
As far as I can tell, one prominent Donk who has not partaken of the "Bush Lied" kool-aid is the Junior Senator from New York. To me, this says a great deal about the political longevity of this particular meme. I have plenty of objections to Hillary Rodham Clinton Rodham, but I don't consider her to be a fool. If she thinks there's blood in the water, she'll be in the midst of the feeding frenzy. But if she thinks this ploy is not going anywhere, she'll keep mum, even at the risk of alienating the Deaniac Wing.
So far, as I say, she seems to be keeping mum.
Blowing the interview
The ever scrumptious Chai-Rista has some funny tales of interviews gone wrong in academia.
Hey Liz: were you there for the job talk when we hired our honors fellow whose anthropological research was of American strippers? I've often wondered how that went---did she bring her own brass pole, or was there one already in the Honors Center?
And I'm not even going there about our adjunct whose speciality is S&M....
Republican Senate Keystone Kops?
Uh, m'kay. Here is what Senators Frist and Warner called for yesterday:
On the Iraq resolutions, the Democratic and Republican proposals say that "2006 should be a period of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty, with Iraqi security forces taking the lead for the security of a free and sovereign Iraq, thereby creating the conditions for the phased redeployment of United States forces from Iraq."
The plan also seeks to put pressure on the Iraqis to find ways to resolve their internal political turmoil, saying the "administration should tell the leaders of all groups and political parties in Iraq that they need to make the compromises necessary to achieve the broad-based and sustainable political settlement that is essential for defeating the insurgency."
The White House is also directed "to explain to Congress and the American people its strategy for the successful completion of the mission in Iraq."
And here is what Dubya said yesterday:
As we pursue the terrorists, we have a strategy to go forward. Our military is helping to train Iraqi security forces so they can defend their people and take the fight to the enemy. And we're making steady progress. With every passing month, more and more Iraqi forces are standing up, and the Iraqi military is gaining new capabilities and new confidence. At the time of our Fallujah operations just a year ago, there were only a few Iraqi army battalions in combat. Today, there are nearly 90 Iraqi army battalions fighting the terrorists alongside our forces. American and Iraqi troops are conducting major assaults to clear out enemy fighters in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq. Iraqi police and security forces are helping clear the terrorists from their strongholds, hold on to the areas we've cleared, and prevent the enemy from returning.
Our strategy can be summed up this way: As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down. And when our commanders on the ground tell me that the Iraqi forces can defend their freedom, our troops will come home with the honor they have earned.
And the second part of our strategy is a political strategy. Iraqis are making inspiring progress toward building a democracy. A month ago, millions of Iraqis turned out to vote for a constitution that guarantees fundamental freedoms and lays the foundation for a lasting democracy. In a few weeks, Iraqis will vote again, to choose a fully constitutional government to lead them for the next four years. This country is making amazing progress from the days of being under the thumb of a brutal tyrant. In two-and-a-half years, they've gone from tyranny, to an election for a transitional government, to the ratification of a constitution, to the election of a free government. It's amazing progress when you think about it.
The Iraqi people are proving their determination to build a future founded on democracy and peace. And the United States of America will help them succeed.
And the difference is........what, exactly?
Well, actually there is a difference. The President is saying more or less the same thing he's been saying all along - and which he needs to say much more often, frankly. The only other suggestion I would make is a heavier emphasis on the results that are being achieved.
The Senate Republicans, on the other hand, are trying to tack politically. I suppose the theory is that they will take the wind out of the Donk demand for hard withdrawal deadlines without drifting too far away from Dubya's course. The result, however, looks like panicky me-too-ism, which the Donks and the MSM will certainly try to spin to their advantage.
UPDATE DEUX: On the other hand, at least the Senate knocked down Carl Levin's withdrawal timetable proposal. And big Yips! to Holy Joe Lieberman, who gets it.
UPDATE TROIS: Rachel is relieved but not much impressed.
What do you expect from the Sadie O' Masochist?
Throw-away line of the day:
How the Irish Saved Civilization
Further irrefutable evidence, and something LB Buddy and I can agree on.
This is a situation where more is better
The White House's latest offensive (Operation Fatmouth Pushback? Operation Bitchslap Janus?) continues: hopefully, they'll take a cue from the military and set up rapid reaction responses to these Ignominious Equivocating Demagogues.
The only thing they need to add to this would be the underlying files/sources in click-through format:
Sen. Levin (D-MI) Tries To Separate Iraq From The War On Terror. SEN. LEVIN: "But before the war, the President was saying that you cannot distinguish between Saddam Hussein and Iraq. As a matter of fact, he said that so often that he tried to connect Saddam Hussein with the attackers on us, on 9/11, so often, so frequently and so successfully, even though it was wrong, that the American people overwhelmingly thought, because of the President's misstatements that as a matter of fact, Saddam Hussein had participated in the attack on us on 9/11. That was a deception. That was clearly misinformation. It had a huge effect on the American people." (CNN's "American Morning," 11/14/05)
But Sen. Levin And Other Democrats Previously Said That Iraq Was A Part Of The War On Terror.
* Sen. Levin: "The War Against Terrorism Will Not Be Finished As Long As [Saddam Hussein] Is In Power." (CNN's "Late Edition," 12/16/01)
* Sen. Levin: "We Begin With The Common Belief That Saddam Hussein Is A Tyrant And A Threat To The Peace And Stability Of The Region." (Committee On Armed Services, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 9/19/02)
* Sen. Clinton (D-NY): "[Saddam] Has Also Given Aid, Comfort, And Sanctuary To Terrorists, Including Al-Qaida Members, Though There Is Apparently No Evidence Of His Involvement In The Terrible Events Of September 11, 2001. ... This Much Is Undisputed." (Sen. Hillary Clinton, Congressional Record, 10/10/02, p. S10288)
* Sen. Kerry (D-MA) Says Saddam Hussein Is Part Of The "Global Menace" Of Terrorism. CNN'S LARRY KING: "What about enhancing this war, Senator Kerry. What are your thoughts on going further than Afghanistan, all terrorist places ..." KERRY: "Oh, I think we clearly have to keep the pressure on terrorism globally. This doesn't end with Afghanistan by any imagination. And I think the president has made that clear. I think we have made that clear. Terrorism is a global menace. It's a scourge. And it is absolutely vital that we continue, for instance, Saddam Hussein." (CNN's "Larry King Live," 12/14/01)
Sen. Levin Admits That Democrats Also Believed That Saddam Hussein Had Weapons Of Mass Destruction (WMD). SEN. LEVIN: "You know, the administration continues to talk about everybody believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. That is true, but that isn't the issue." (CNN's "American Morning," 11/14/05)
* Sen. Clinton: "In The Four Years Since The Inspectors, Intelligence Reports Show That Saddam Hussein Has Worked To Rebuild His Chemical And Biological Weapons Stock, His Missile Delivery Capability, And His Nuclear Program. ... It Is Clear, However, That If Left Unchecked, Saddam Hussein Will Continue To Increase His Capability To Wage Biological And Chemical Warfare And Will Keep Trying To Develop Nuclear Weapons." (Sen. Hillary Clinton, Congressional Record, 10/10/02, p. S10288)
* Sen. Rockefeller (D-WV): "There Is Unmistakable Evidence That Saddam Hussein Is Working Aggressively To Develop Nuclear Weapons. And Will Likely Have Nuclear Weapons Within The Next Five Years. And Then Could Have It Earlier If He's Able To Obtain Materials On The Outside Market Which Is Possible. Difficult But Possible." (Sen. John Rockefeller, Congressional Record, 10/10/02, Pg.S10306)
* Sen. Kerry: "According To The CIA's Report, All U.S. Intelligence Experts Agree That Iraq Is Seeking Nuclear Weapons. There Is Little Question That Saddam Hussein Wants To Develop Nuclear Weapons." (Sen. John Kerry, Congressional Record, 10/9/02, pp. S10172-10173)
* Rep. Pelosi (D-CA): "Saddam Hussein Certainly Has Chemical And Biological Weapons. There's No Question About That." (NBC's "Meet The Press," 11/17/02)
NOTE to LBBuddy: I'll agree with you on this: SADDAM lied, and a whole hell of a lot of people died.
And we wouldn't be in this mess if we hadn't supported the Soviets in WW2. And if Wilson hadn't done such a shitty job at Versailles.
OPERATION BITCHSLAP JANUS UPDATE: Ace has the goods.
Roger Groot, R.I.P.
I heard a rumor yesterday that my old criminal law professor had died of a heart attack while hunting over the weekend. It's been confirmed now.
Known throughout W&L as the Groot-Monster, Prof. Groot was easily the scariest professor I ever had. Ex-Marine Corp, large commanding presence and perpetual scowl, his classroom trademark was a pair of red suspenders and a large coffee mug shaped like a shotgun shell. His Socratic grillings were legendary. And God help the idiot who thought he could bluff or b.s. his way through a session with the man - there are scorch marks all over the chairs in his classroom that serve as testimony to what happened to such folk. Nontheless, behind the aggressive exterior, you also knew that he only had your best interest in mind. Of course, that didn't make the aggression any less genuine, and indeed, helped to inflame it if Groot thought a poor performance was the result of shear mental laziness or skimped prep work. The article sums things up pretty nicely:
Groot the professor could be as demanding of his students as he was of himself.
As he surveyed the classroom through round eyeglasses, "you felt like no matter how far back in the room you were, when he focused on you, you could have been two inches from his nose," said Victor Cardwell, a Roanoke attorney and a former student.
Students who neglected the required reading would skip class rather than face the professor's wrath. And even those who thought they knew the material would often leave the classroom in what Barnhill called a state of "intellectual vertigo."
It was known on campus as being "Grootinized," Cardwell said. But most students saw past the professor's gruff exterior.
I never worked so hard in school, either undergrad or law, as I did for his class. But then again, I never learned as much either. And while one the favorite pastimes of the LMC and me when we get together is to trade old war stories about Groot, we remember the pain fondly now.
It's still a shock that he died so suddenly. But I don't doubt that he aced the Heavenly Bar exam.
Random Commuter Observation
I swear I saw two people on opposite sides of the street talking to each other via cellphone this morning.
When will the madness end?
November 14, 2005
That's My Church!
Catherine Seipp has a column up about the Rev. George Rigas, Rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California, who seems to have got himself in trouble with the IRS for political sermonizing ahead of the 2004 election. Apparently, Rev. Rigas pictured Jesus Christ as the alpha and omega of Policy Wonks, sitting in on a debate between Bush and Kerry:
"Mr. President," Regas' Jesus continues, "the consequences of arrogance, accompanied by certitude that the world's most powerful military can cure all ills…." And blah-blah-blah-blabbity-blah. This Jesus is awfully wordy, not at all like the terse prophet you may remember from the Bible. Regas apparently thinks Jesus would sound rather like Cindy Sheehan blathering on to the Huffington Post, or maybe like one of John Kerry's speechwriters.
Seipp also notes the blindness that can be caused by excessive self-rightiousness:
[T]he retired rector insisted a few days ago, on The Times' Op-Ed page, that his sermon "did not cross the line" between religion and campaign politics because "peace and the alleviation of poverty are core values" of his congregation. But peace and the alleviation of poverty are core values of any congregation, and there are plenty that are liberal yet manage to address these issues without attacking particular political parties or candidates.
I will say for my own rector that, liberal as he is, he's pretty good about keeping blatant politics out of his sermons. However, I've often noticed that the more lefty members of my clergy and congregation seem to feel that they own the peace/poverty issues. It isn't that they disagree on the merits with suggestions that poverty might better be alleviated through, for example, strengthening of primary education via school vouchers and competition plus rigorous academic standards. Rather, it's that they assume that a conservative couldn't really be interested in such a goal at all and, therefore, that any suggestion he makes for achieving it is automatically invalid, not even worthy of debate or discussion.
I dunno what Jesus would do, but I'm pretty sure He wouldn't think too kindly of that brand of arrogance.
Yips! to K-Lo.
Our pal Rae is leaving the Moo Knew Collective and striking out on her dot.com own. Our loss, of course.
Update yer blogrolls accordingly.
Bush, the War, and Second Guessing
President Bush gave his speech last week on Iraq specifically to counter the latest offensive of the MoveOn left: while the speech was roundly cheered in many quarters, it leaves supporters of the president and the larger objectives of the GWOT wondering and hoping whether the president is going to keep on the offensive at home as well as abroad.
But what was the speech he should have made, or could be made in this situation? I would hope that he continues to channel Pericles:
I was not unprepared for the indignation of which I have been the object, as I know its causes; and I have called an assembly for the purpose of reminding you of certain points, and of protesting against your being unreasonably irritated with me, or cowed by your sufferings.
I am of the opinion that national greatness is more to the advantage of private citizens than any individual well-being coupled with public humiliation. A man may be personally ever so well off, and yet if his country be ruined he must be ruined with it; whereas a flourishing commonwealth always affords chances of salvation to unfortunate individuals. Since then a state can support the misfortune of private citizens, while they cannot support hers, if is surely the duty of everyone to be forward in her defense, and not like you to be so confounded with your domestic afflictions as to give up all thoughts of the common safety, and to blame me for having counseled war and yourselves for having voted it.
And yet if you are angry with me, it is with one who, as I believe, is second to no man either in knowledge of the proper policy, or in the ability to expound it, and who is moreover not only a patriot by an honest one. A man possessing that knowledge without that faculty of exposition might as well have no idea at all on the matter: if he had both these gifts, but no love for his country, he would be but a cold advocate for her interests; while were his patriotism not proof against bribery, everything would go for a price. So that if you thought that I was even moderately distinguished for these qualities when you took my advice and went to war, there is certainly no reason now why I should be charged with having done wrong.
...I am the same man and do not alter, it is you who change, since in fact you took my advice while unhurt, and waited for misfortune to repent of it; and the apparent error of my policy lies in the infirmity of your resolution, since the suffering that it entails is being felt by everyone among you, while its advantage is still remote and obscure to all, and a great and sudden reverse having befallen you, your mind is too much depressed to perservere in your resolves.
Tolkien Geek Update
I'll just say that I'd never thought of Wormtongue's throwing of the palantir from Orthanc to be any conscious decision on his part simply because it never seemed to me that Saruman would trust Wormtongue with the knowledge of what it was to begin with. Wormtongue's ambition in aiding Saruman has been to get his hands on Eowyn and a chunk of Theoden's treasure. Would Saruman even inform him that Orthanc was in league with the Dark Tower? I don't know. On the other hand, Gary makes a good point that Wormtongue could have picked up a fair bit simply due to the amount of time he spent at Isengard.
Aslan Is On The Move
Sigh. My primary concern about this movie is that it is going to be tarted up to bring in the Lord of the Ring crowd, thereby destroying the character of the original story. Unfortunately, however, its release is going to unleash an awful lot of this sort of nonsense as well.
(And if you are wondering how I can manage to get all the way over to this topic after that last post, suffice to say that I get a lot of headaches.)
YIPS from Steve: Meanwhile, in the "At the Cinema with Felix Unger" meme, here's a demonstration of Kathy's pride, as well as her prejudice against the new Jane Austen flick.
My sense: it would be better with some car chases. Kind of in a "To Kill a Mockingbird" with Kurt Russell as Atticus Finch sort of way.
SOMETHING LIKE THIS:
Gratuitous Inadvertent Netflix Review
I recently was notified by Netflix that it was sending me Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. However, when the package arrived, it turned out that for some inexplicable reason, they had sent Inside Deep Throat instead.
The flick purports to be a "documentary" about the making of D.T., coupled with an expanded discussion of the yearning of America to achieve its sexual freedom and the efforts of Dick Nixon and his Stormtroopers to saltpeter the lot of us.
Well, what the hell - I watched it. I've only a couple of observations to make:
1. I am continually amazed by the certainty of the Boomer Generation that they invented the wheel all by themselves.
2. Camille Paglia makes a very short appearance at the beginning (as a commentator, you fool!). I thought this might promise an interesting discussion of sex and art. No such luck - the film hangs its intellectual hat primarily on such giants as Norman Mailer, Erica Jong and Gore Vidal. 'Nuff said.
3. I never actually saw the original, but there are a fair number of clips here. Whatever the appeal may have been at the time (and it was enormous), the whole thing was so.....Seventies, that it simply gave me the creeps. How did we make it through that decade?
YIPS from Steve, 70s Department: I have pictures of Robbo in polyester that are going to go on sale.....
Robbo Enters The 21st Century
Thanks to everybody who offered up their two cents awhile back on the subject of preferable broadband connection options. I really did consider all your tips and opinions carefully.
After fiddling around with the numbers, we decided to go with Cox's cable modem. Not only that, we're switching from satellite back to cable tee vee and ditching Verizon in favor of Cox's telephone service as well. I'm not saying that I was biased in favor of Cox because, when they laid some new cable behind our house they went around my garden instead of through it, but I'm not saying I wasn't, either.
They're coming out to set us up next week. I'll let you know how it goes.
UPDATE: Oh, and next question: What recommendations can you guys give regarding a good digital camera? It needn't be anything top of the line, just something reasonably cheap and of good enough quality to let me post halfway decent photos here. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
UPDATE DEUX: And speaking of posting, I need all of you to clap your hands to get Steve-O on the stick about the long-discussed-but-not-yet-implemented Llama merchandizing strategy. Bottom line: he knows how to do these things and I don't. I know a whoooooole lot of you are counting on those Llama coffee mugs n' thongs for stocking stuffers and time is running out. So leave a comment and pass the word around. Thankee!
UPDATE TROIS: The Missus weighs in with her digital cam preference in the comments. Thus, as Jesse Jackson once said on Saturday Night Live, the question is moot.
UPDATE QUATRE: Ladies and Gentlemen, we have reached a new plateau. If "utter Llama fangirl geekdom" isn't sufficient motivation for us to get our collective act together, then damme if I know what is.
Carnival of Music #21
Is up over at Owlish's. I've been very remiss in not keeping up with these great weekly collections of seriously gratuitous musickal postings. Go on over and browse.
Robbo's Snap Judgements
I've been more or less isolated from the world the past few days - when I'm on R&R, I don't especially want to read the newspapers and I never pay any attention to television MSM anyway, so I'm playing catch-up this morning. Herewith are a few impressions on current events:
- Al Qaeda made a major tactical mistake in hitting those Jordanian hotels.
- The White House finally appears to be hitting back at the Bush Lied crowd and scored a win on the weekend noos cycle. I only hope that Sith Master Rove remembers that this cannot be a one-time deal.
What Have You Kids Been Doing?
I go away for a few days and just look at this place!
What's Melissa thinking?
Allah pundit comeback.....Ohhhhhh yeaaaaaahhhh....photoshop me......make me write baaaaaaaaad checks
NOTE TO THE CRITICS: Lure the Great One out of retirement? What, sniffing glue again?
November 13, 2005
Because we are LLamas of our word
That's right, we ARE serious: return to blogging, or the old man, umm, gets it.
Don't make us go there.
Because we will....
Yet another popularity contest
Sadie Mirth tipped us off to this: vote for the LLamas as the Jokers of the Deck!
Oh, and vote for Sadie.
November 11, 2005
Gratuitous Melissa Theuriau Posting
Delving into Steve-O's sooper seekrit Melissa Theuriau archive we find this beauty:
Not only did our furry pal Steve-O become a "man" that day, he also discovered the wonders of Amsterdam's Opium Dens and the power of Hallucinogens.
Update: Corrected spelling to make you picky folk happy, and to keep Steve-O from breaking out the whip with nails in the end.
YIPS from Steve:
LIGHT LMC POSTING
It is now up to Steve-O alone to see that The Butcher's Shop is not pilfered or disgraced in more than the usual ways until Robbo returns. I have another nine days of duty at Forward Operating Base Llama, starting tomorrow.
THE WRECK OF EDMUND FITZGERALD
Kathy the Cake-eater reminds us that yesterday was the thirtieth anniversary of the loss of a certain ship she refuses to name which could be none other than the Great Lakes ore carrier Edmund Fitzgerald, lost "when the gales of November came early." Play a little Gordon Lightfoot or perhaps this tear-jerker, well-familiar to all who live near the sea.
The hangover begins
Okay, so we got a little in to the whole story of the week about the NFL cheerleaders getting themselves into trouble, and I do feel absolutely dirty about the whole thing, except it doubled our traffic for the week so to insure special access to the linkwhore section of the underworld in the next life.
However, I've been enjoying watching where some of this traffic is coming from looking for nekkid pictures of various tawdry types, hoping for that magic ISP from Chapaqua New York. No luck there (yet), but this beauty showed up:
"BEFORE YOU GO"
Here, by Dr. Sam and the Managed Care Band. Written by Dr. Sam after an encounter with a WWII vet working as a parking lot attendant.
IN FLANDERS FIELDS
The classsic poem commemorating the fallen of World War I:
IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Not your average Veteran's Day Bleg
Trust me on this one.
November 10, 2005
Gee, Pierre, you think?
Meanwhile, in the Darwin Marketing Award Department, AQ in Iraq tries to explain why slaughtering Muslims in a Days Inn is what Allah wants:
"Let all know that we have struck only after becoming confident that they are centers for launching war on Islam and support the crusaders' presence in Iraq and the Arab peninsula and the presence of the Jews on the land of Palestine," the group said.
I guess they must have hosted a bar-mitzvah or something.
Given the family's ummm, record, I could see them saying, "secure place for the filthy Israeli and Western tourists to spread corruption and adultery at the expense and suffering of the Muslims in these countries" and going after a Hilton.
But a Days Inn? Not exactly ringing up the Richard the Lionhearted sort of imagery here.
More on the Blog Libel/Harassment/PhD Committee threatening story
Goldstein has the all the details. The only thing I have to say about this is the motivation of Wallace Hettle, the asshat who is at the center of this. I've never met Hettle (that I know of, but you never know who you have stood next to on the elevator at conventions), but I think I know his type very well (as it's pretty endemic among my colleagues).
Let's be charitable and say this: You can't spell U-N-I-M-P-O-R-T-A-N-T without UNI. Or, as their motto goes, "The University of Northern Iowa offers a world-class university education, providing personalized experiences and creating a lifetime of opportunities, from a group of embittered, cynical never-was PhDs who really, do we have to breathe the same air as these scummy, trailer-trash, Bush voting staff members? I mean, I'm all for Marxism and Derrida and the working class, as long as they don't park so damn close to my '89 Saab and keep my office spic and span."
LLama Alien Mutilation?
This is just SO wrong on SO many levels:
INDCent Bill, Cathy, Phin, Gordo, Liz and Pep, assorted multitudes of regular readers, assorted pervs, and hangers-on: our dear leader Rob-O is going away for a couple of days, so this means only one thing: The First Annual Open Season Return of the Scottish Dwarf Mock the LLamabutchers Contest. Folks who have a back door key to LLama Manor, have at it; otherwise, drop some Yips to the Tasty Bits Mail Sack (TM) and I'll post them anon.
Bonus points for photoshopping the above picture, and double zorro snaps for the person who can come up with the best depiction of the Scottish Dwarf himself.
(For those who need some background: The Scottish Dwarf first appeared in perhaps our greatest single posting of all time, "Tales of the LLamabutchers" and was composed by Kathy the Cakeeater and Ickle Bill (link definitely not safe for work, especially if you are employed at PETA).
The Return of the King
No, not more Tolkein Geekery (TM).
Which means Allah Pundit is next on the list to lure out of retirement....
And we will run that nearly naked picture of Melissa Theuriau with Yasser Arafat every day until Allah Pundit returns....
Each day, we'll move Yasser a little closer, until, well, he reconquers the West Bank. If you catch our drift.
Don't make us do it----think of the children, damn you!
Happy birthday to the United States Marine Corps. For 230 years these soldiers of the sea have fought America's wars in the nastiest places. Their exploits have secured their place in history as one of the greatest and most respected bands of warriors ever to take to the field of battle. Many happy returns. Here is the Commandant's birthday message.
UPDATE: From NRO by a Marine veteran of Vietnam. Read it.
Just Giving The People What They Want: "Scandale américain lesbien de combat de barre de cheerleader de NFL
Thank you, Al Gore, for inventing the internet. And photoshop.
November 09, 2005
MARY MAPES ON LARRY KING ALIVE
Mary Mapes, looking rough, still flogging the Bush Texas Air National Guard story. Still believes in the story, still maintaines she has no duty to authenticate documents, still argues false-but-accurate is acceptable, and still believes Dan Rather has a alot of good work left in him. Her next segment will be on a book establishing once and for all, the irrefutable proof of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Bill Clinton's middle-class tax cut, and that Bush used Jedi mind-control tricks to cause Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Jay Rockefeller, and Charles Shumer to all state Saddam had WMDs.
Owing to the ins and outs of Uncle's employment schedule, I have a four day weekend lined up.
Owing to the kindness of my Godparents, the Missus and I are going to ditch the Llama-ettes and go stay at their place out in the country for a few nights. Lots of food, plenty of adult beverages, peace, quiet and all the golden retrievers you can shake a stick at.
Thus, the odds that I'm actually going to post anything over the next few days are somewhere between slim and non-existent.
YIPS from STEVE: Cue the triumphal entry music of the Scottish Dwarf.
PANTHERGATE UPDATE: One of the cheerleaders is now denying there was any sex involved.
UPDATE DEUX: We've received a flood of traffic over this business but we've also been deluged with angry emails demanding that we stop being so juvenile and instead focus on something more important like the riots in France. Very good point and you're absolutely right. Here, now, with news from the Continent is French tee vee news anchor Melissa Theuriau.
Yips! to the Derb.
UPDATE TROIS (Get it? Get it?): I hope that putting a French news babe onto the cheerleaders will more than make up for my earier harshing of Phin's fantasy jones.
Yes, I realize that I'm going to hell.
YIPS from STEVE: GEEZ LOUISE DIVISION
Great, Robbo, just great! It's already bad enough that we get pervs sullying up the place looking for naked, nekkid, buff, tawdry, hott pics, pictures, images, of Fox Nooz babe Juliet Huddy, as well as Alexandra Steele of the Weather Channel (and whomever the person is who kept coming to us with the domain registry listing out of "American University President's Office" googling us up for "Katie Couric bondage pictures" I just have one thing to say: get a grip, mon! You need serious, serious, help.) Now we're going to be inundated by an international wave of people looking for naked pictures of Melissa Theuriau.
Damn you, Robbo, to hellllllllllllllllllllllll!
YET, NOW WE KNOW WHY YASSER ARAFAT WAS SMILING:
If the above image is not enough to lure Allahpundit out of retirement, then I don't know what is....
Below the fold: the larger version.
You may think I'm crazy, but mark my words
China is going to try to land a man on the moon during the Summer 2008 Olympics.
In A Tizzie Over Lizzie
Kathy, hepped up on tea and biscuits, lays into the latest version of Pride & Prejudice coming down the pike. It isn't pretty.
Bad news, Kathy - I saw the previews for this movie when I took the Llama-ettes to see Wallace & Grommit. It looks every inch as awful as you fear.
But cheer up! You've always got Llama Darcy:
My suit of llamahood fits quite well, thank you very much.
How Cool Is This?
The Mountains of Creation. I love both the image and the name.
The image, dubbed the Mountains of Creation by astronomers, reveals hotbeds of star formation similar to the iconic Pillars of Creation within the Eagle Nebula, photographed in 1995 by the Hubble Space Telescope.
In both cases, the finger-like features are cool clouds of gas and dust that have been sculpted by radiation and fast-moving winds of charged particles from hot, massive stars.
Spitzer records heat, or infrared light, which penetrates the dusty clouds and allows a view of the star birth inside. In the largest finger, hundreds of embryonic stars not seen before are revealed. Dozens of stars-to-be are visible in one of the other fingers.
On a related note, I was trying to give the seven year old some concept of interstellar distances the other evening, but I don't think she's old enough to really grasp them yet. This looks like a job for the Total Perspective Vortex.
Tolkien Geek Update
Gary brings us up to The Two Towers, Book 3, Chapter 9 - Flotsam and Jetsam. Among other things, he has some fascinating tidbits about how Tolkien began working out the eventual Saruman/Wormtongue climax.
This has always been one of my favorite chapters - after the extreme exertions of the Orc raid, the pursuit of the Three Hunters, the Ent Moot, the awakening of Theoden and the Battle of Helm's Deep in the previous chapters, it serves as a kind of respite - the calm after the storm, so to speak. It's true that the assault of the Ents on Orthanc is described, but the reader is not there in real time. Instead, we are hearing about it after the fact, as the remainder of the Fellowship have breakfast "on the edge of ruin" and then indulge themselves in a little relaxation amid the wreck of Isengard.
In particular, I've always loved Pippin's reaction when Aragorn stretches out, puts his feet up and starts smoking contemplatively. "Look!" he says, "Strider the Ranger has come back!"
"He has never been away," replies Aragorn, "I am Strider and Dunadan, too, and I belong to both Gondor and the North."
Not only does the reappearance of Aragorn's Strider guise give the moment a kind of homey feeling, it also bookends nicely with the first real sign of kingliness that Frodo sees in Aragorn when they are passing through the Argonath toward the end of FOTR. It further re-enforces the theme of reunification of Gondor and Arnor that Aragorn hopes to achieve.
I also can't help noting the additional illustration of the prickly relationship between Pippin and Gandalf. Pippin relates the story of his reaction when he first sees Gandalf, who he had last seen dissappearing into the abyss with the Balrog, riding up to the gates of Isengard on Shadowfax:
"I tried to call out, and couldn't. There was no need. He halted just by us and looked down at us. "Gandalf!" I said at last, but my voice was only a whisper. Did he say "Hullo, Pippin! This is a pleasant surprise!"? No, indeed! He said: "Get up you tom-fool of a Took! Where, in the name of wonder, in all this ruin is Treebeard? I want him. Quick!"'
This is Classic Gandalf. And the way Pippin tells this and the rest of his tale is Pure Took. I always find it difficult to tear myself away from this little reunion and plunge back into the current of events.
The Circle Is Now Complete
Last evening, I finished off the Firefly series. The program only got stronger and stronger as characters and plotlines developed - it was both gratifying and painful to watch, gratifying because it was so well done and painful because I knew there was no more to come. This is definitely a buy-worthy DVD set.
I even went so far as to watch the extra bits. It was only then that I realized that the occasional outbursts of the crew were not alien-speak gobbledy-gook, but Mandarin Chinese. Somehow, I had missed the premise that the Firefly future world was built on the remnants of a clash between China and the West. It was also then that I suddenly realized that everybody in the show was human, and, if I understand the bit at the beginning of "The Message", humans had never yet come in contact with any kind of alien species. I can't think of a single other sci-fi show off the top of my head where this is the case, that Man still remains alone in the Universe.
That's a pretty, well, Biblical way of looking at things. And speaking of that, I have also been impressed that Shepherd Book (who hasn't really changed his hair since his Detective Harris days), is neither an incompetent boob nor a fire-breathing zealot, but at the same time also isn't a whatever-turns-you-on kinda guy.
And speaking of that, I was also mulling the whole story of Inara. There's nothing new about legalized prostitution in sci-fi, but what I like here (well, aside from the switch-hitting) is not only the fact that Mal doesn't approve of it, but that Inara herself - for all her justification and pseudo-mysticism - plainly has periods of doubt about what she does.
So the whole thing has got me wondering - is this Joss Whedon guy some kind of stealth conservative?
UPDATE: Just to clarify, I don't mean "conservative" in the political sense. I mean that, despite its setting in the the space equivalent of the Wild West, there is a definite morality at play - Right and Wrong exist, religion is treated with respect, marriage (Wash and Zoe) is celebrated, this sort of thing. You can hold these values and still come down all over the place on the political spectrum.
Putting the Lie To THE LIE
Norm Podhoretz on the WMD lie meme. Just click already.
I'm shocked. But the burning question is: "will they pose together?"
Yips! from Robbo: Y'know, it was only this morning that it occurred to me that they of course would not have been wearing their cheerleader outfits at the bar. Forced me to reconfigure my entire, erm, mental picture.
As I said, "Hmmmmmm......."
But I don't know why I should start trusting the Beeb now.
LMC TAKE ON VIRGINIA ELECTIONS
I went out on a limb and predicted Kilgore in a squeaker for governor, and Bolling and McDonnell by comfortable margins. The result was Kaine by a comfortable margin and Bolling and McDonnell by squeakers. (Fortunately for my family, I do not make my living by making these kinds of predictions.) I agree with Steve-O that Kilgore ran a crappy campaign. The reports this morning indicate that voter turnout barely topped 43 percent which means a good chunk of the Republican base stayed home. Kilgore was unnecessarily squishy on taxes and his ad attacking Kaine on the death penalty was a self-inflicted wound when a good chunk of the base is pro-life and ambiguous on the death penalty at best. Today, the Virginia GOP needs to be gracious to the libs on Kaine's victory, remember what won elections for them in the past, and work on expanding the base and getting it to the polls in the future.
THIS is CNN?
Yeah, I can see now why they dumped that annoying earnest but whiny guy who sounded like he should be a relief pitcher for the Mariners for the sleeker sharper guy who sounds like he's named after an accounting firm: talking about premature ejaculation is certainly the way to bring in the younger, hipper demographics that advertisers crave.
Next up: Morely Safer talking about his experiences with nipple piercing.
Gratuitous Morning Jump-Start Posting
Why is the keyboard shaking?
Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM) - Sic Transit Division
Mozart and Wagner Action Figures, courtesy of the Met.
Don't ask me what you're supposed to do with them, but the sales copy seems to anticipate bar fights:
This Mozart action hero proudly stands 5 ¼” high, ready to deck any composer with his piano bench. Wagner is ready for action as well, standing 5 ¼” high and brandishing a baton.
Who says classical music isn't for Real Men?
No word on whether they talk. You know, "You score the overture - I'll write the aria." Although if they were going for realism, Mozart would use a lot of bad language and have a very annoying, high-pitched laugh and Wagner would never shut up.
Yips! to Dave at The Glittering Eye.
Operation Quel Dommage Update
Of course, we are waiting on tenterhooks with baited breath for the possibility of Allah Pundit returning, just for this one.
November 08, 2005
Virginia Governor's Race Update
It's Kaine, the Democrat, with a nice 50K vote cushion. Ross Potts, the Ross Perot of the race, will cost Kilgore @1.5%, but not enough to make the overall difference.
What does this mean?
1. This is big time news for Mark Warner's presidential ambitions. This is Warner's reelection, in a state where the governor cannot serve consecutive terms. Warner's popularity is up around 80% for a variety of reasons (including but not limited to getting Virginia Tech into the ACC).
Here's why Warner is bad nooz for Republicans in 2008: he's rich, so can self finance, but made his money the old fashioned way (telecom auctions), so can't be tagged with the silver spoon. He's telegenic in a very dorky sort of way, but after the last two presidential elections America just might be ready for a Dork as president.
Most of all, he can win--big time--in a very Red State, by appealing across party lines focusing on issues of governance: The Dork who can Govern isn't exactly "Tippacanoe and Tyler Too" but it just might be the magic necessary to win.
Last, and most important, he's not tagged by the stench of the Clinton's, and their ability to get Republicans absolutely apoplectic. He's not tied at all into the Deaniac over the cliff crowd, and most of all, he's not part of the Vietnam generation. There's a reason the Democrats have only cracked 50% of the total vote once since the 1968 Riot Convention in Chicago (and that once was the abberation of 1976, where Carter barely won.) And that reason is Vietnam.
The question is whether the Democratic Party is smart and shrewd enough to grasp that opportunity.
What does this mean for Republicans nationally and in the commonwealth? Not much. Kilgore ran a crappy, negative campaign where he never really defined himself with the voters. The Republicans are the majority party in the state, and they need to grow into that in terms of understanding how to govern.
Nationally, it just really doesn't mean that much: since 1989, the Virginians have elected a governor of the opposite party of the president elected the year before. 1988-Bush (R) 41, 1989-Wilder (D); 1992 Clinton (D), 1993-Allen (R); 1996 Clinton (D), 1997 Gilmore (R); 2000 Bush (R) 43, 2001 Warner (D); 2004 Bush (R), 2005 apparently Kaine (D).
Not much of a trend that fits with any of the MSM's "Bush is toast" mantra.
Yips! from Robbo: Ladies and Gentlemen, I have absolutely, positively nothing to add to this. But one thought occurs to me - what are the odds of an all-Virginia race in '08, Warner vs. Allen?
This One's For The LB Buddy
Be sure to check out the NASA Ballerina footage for proof of what a bunch of geeky pervs rocket scientists really are. As the Psychiatrist said of Basil Fawlty, "There's enough material there for an entire conference."
Yips! to Lynn S.
LLAMABUTCHER TEE-VEE, or, the sign of the demise of the American Broadcasting System
I'll be on tee-vee tonight doing election analysis, not as Steve the LLamabutcher but as the character I play at work (that's Professor LLamabutcher to you!)
So if you're in Lynchvegas, Virginia, or can get ABC 13 WSET-TV, boy are you in luck!
The contest will be how many times I can slip in the phrase "macaroni and cheese" live and on the air.....
Yips! from Robbo: And for those of you who won't be able to tune in, here's a little sample:
"Must Flea Tee Vee"
Getting Screwed By The Government
Who knew there were state laws governing on-line dating service prices?
Great Expectations, an Internet dating service, fell short of the expectations of two Manhattan women and must refund their membership fees, a Manhattan judge has ruled.
The women's transactions with Great Expectations, one of the nation's oldest and best-known dating services, are subject to New York state's Dating Services Law, Civil Court Judge Diane A. Lebedeff ruled.
Under this law, Great Expectations charged vastly beyond the legal limit for the services provided, Lebedeff concluded. The company's contract also "violated every mandate of the Dating Service Law" except one, the provision of a three-day "cooling-off" right to cancel.
"Where, as here, the dating service does not assure it will furnish a client with a specified number of social referrals per month, the service may charge no more than twenty-five dollars," Lebedeff wrote in Doe and Roe v. Great Expectations, 3034/05 and 3824/05.
Um, exactly what interest does the state have in setting dating service prices like this? We're not talking about utility-like monopolistic control of distribution infrastructure or a scarcity of resources issue, after all. Anybody with a hard-drive can set up a service. And if you don't like what you're getting, you can go right on down the Information Superhighway to the next place.
Where there are plenty of service providers and easy access, we rely on what to determine price? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller? Yes, the market.
Sigh. I suppose the rationale behind the Dating Services Law price caps must have been an attempt to overturn the age-old axiom that a fool and her money are soon parted. The plaintiffs here blew $1000 and $3700, respectively, to join up:
Great Expectations, founded in 1976, agreed to post their videos and profiles on a Web site, which other Great Expectations clients could review. Those clients could then contact Doe or Roe.
During the course of their memberships, one person contacted Doe and none contacted Roe.
The two women filed suit separately in Manhattan's small claims court, seeking the return of their membership fees.
I don't mean to sound heartless, but this is rayther like joining a golf club and then demanding your membership fee back because you didn't break par out on the course. So far as I can make out, Great Expectations did everything it had promised to do. In fact, the contract explicitly denied any assurances of a given number of referrals per month. Absent an issue of fraud, for example, I fail to see what business the state has in dictating the price. (I have no opinion about the other claims regarding contractual disclosure requirements and the like.)
Yips! to the ContractProf Blog.
UPDATE: Here's the relevant Noo Yawk Code Section. (It's Section 394-c. You have to scroll down a bit among the various other Byzantine regulations.) Did you know Noo Yawk has a Dating Service Consumer Bill of Rights? Yes, indeed-y:
Dating Service Consumer Bill of Rights
1. No social referral service contract shall require the payment by
you, the purchaser, of an amount greater than one thousand dollars. In
addition, no such contract may extend over a period of time greater than
2. No social referral service contract shall require you, the
purchaser, to purchase a good or service which is directly or indirectly
related to the social referral service. These extra services are known
as ancillary services and, while these ancillary service may be offered
to you, the law prohibits the seller from requiring that you purchase
this service as a condition of your social referral service contract.
3. If your social referral service contract costs more than
twenty-five dollars, the seller must furnish a minimum number of
referrals per month to you. If this minimum amount is not furnished to
you for two successive months, you have the option of cancelling the
contract and receiving a full refund of all the money you paid, less a
cancellation fee which cannot exceed either fifteen percent of the cash
price or a pro rata amount for the number of referrals furnished to you.
4. Your social referral service contract must specify the distance
which you, the purchaser, are willing to travel to meet any social
referral. No social referrals shall be furnished where you and the
referral live at a distance greater than the distance specified in the
5. The provider must have an established policy to address the
situation of your moving outside the area it services. This policy must
be explained in your contract.
6. If any provision of the social referral service contract is
violated, you have the right to bring a court action against the
provider which has violated the contract.
I'm sure all those boys who died at Valley Forge, Gettysburg, the Somme and Iwo are resting a little bit better knowing we're being cared for like this.
The Commonwealth Conservative has an open thread on voting in Virginia today. The early buzz seems to be low to moderate turn-out in NoVa, which would be a bad thing for Kaine. However, I absolutely refuse to get involved in any kind of guessing game here, as I simply do not know what is going to happen.
UPDATE: Checking back on the thread, I see a number of new reports of fairly light voting. But just to make sure, it looks as if Sith Master Rove has ordered up a batch of rain to roll into NoVa during the evening commute, thereby suppressing voter turnout in the Bluer precincts:
Projecte Quel Dommage Update
Dear French Persons:
We sincerely hope that your daffy k-niggets with their out-Rage-ous accents can feche la vache and cause those Islamicist gang thugs to run awaaaaaay. Who shall make castanets out of the castanet-makers' testicles?
Now go away or we will taunt you a second time-ah.
CASTLE AAAAARGH! UPDATE: Who, indeed.
TOUCHE UPDATE: Gary the Ex-Donk:
If only someone would step forward that the French government could actually surrender to.
I Don't Know Nothing 'Bout Blogging Birthdays!
Today is the birthday of Margaret Mitchell in 1900. Here is a short biography. Frankly, my dears, I have never read Gone With The Wind and find it hard to sit still all the way through the movie.
As it happens, the grandmother of one of the Missus' school friends from Atlanta was friends with Mitchell back in the day. We met her for brunch one time at Atlanta's Piedmont Driving Club. She (the grandmother) was the perfect example of the Southern Society Matron.
When we all sat down, she fixed the Missus and me with her steely blue eyes and a bright smile and said,"Wheh-yah are you fruhm?"
"We live just outside of Dee Cee in Virginia," we replied.
"No, no," she said gently, "Wheh-yah are yor people fruhm?"
We looked at each other with some alarm. "Erm....well, Connecticut and New York, actually."
Her smile remained as bright as ever, but I could see a film of ice forming over her eyes. She would not have dreamed of actually saying it, but every single molecule of her being radiated the thought, "Dayum Yahnkees!"
Once she satisfied herself that we were not going to pillage her handbag on the spot, however, she warmed up and related a number of stories about the hoopla surrounding the world-premier opening of GWTW in Atlanta in 1939. I don't recall much (this was 10 years ago), except that it seems the city pulled out every last stop to mark the occassion.
I Am Such A Sucker
NRO is posting lengthy excerpts from the superb Victor Davis Hanson's new book A War Like No Other: How The Athenians and Spartans Fought The Peloponnesian War.
So of course I had to read the column and of course I had to clicky-clicky over to the Devil's Website and of course I had to buy the book.
Yes, I am extremely easy.
Well, anyhoo, I'll be sure to review the book after I read it.
See? This Is Why I Took So Many Years of Latin
| You scored as Maximus. After his family was murdered by the evil emperor Commodus, the great Roman general Maximus went into hiding to avoid Commodus's assassins. He became a gladiator, hoping to dominate the colosseum in order to one day get the chance of killing Commodus. Maximus is valiant, courageous, and dedicated. He wants nothing more than the chance to avenge his family, but his temper often gets the better of him. |
Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with QuizFarm.com
Yips! to that Scurvy Dog, Owlish.
YIPS from Steve: Put this one in the "But you knew that already category"
| You scored as Indiana Jones. Indiana Jones is an archaeologist/adventurer with an unquenchable love for danger and excitement. He travels the globe in search of historical relics. He loves travel, excitement, and a good archaeological discovery. He hates Nazis and snakes, perhaps to the same degree. He always brings along his trusty whip and fedora. He's tough, cool, and dedicated. He relies on both brains and brawn to get him out of trouble and into it. |
Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with QuizFarm.com
November 07, 2005
The end of the world as we know it
Chai-Rista will the indispensable Truly Bad Films review of the latest weather porn schlockfest from CBS, which gives us the new category of pouty, slutty, drunken rocket scientist, played to a "T" by Shannon Doherty.
Lesbian cheerleader barfight update
The Christmas-Came-Early-to-Deviant-Bloggers story just will not die: Wizbang quotes the local gendarmes as opining: Alcohol, sex and cheerleaders are apparently the ingredients for a hot story.
Umm, you think?
Five years ago we had the most divisive election in our living memory, but here we are, half a decade later, healed as a nation in our ability to come together---Chomskyites and Hayekians---to savor the story of NFL cheerleaders having randy lesbian sex in a bar bathroom before busting out into a punch-throwing melee ending with the highly desirable pouty Thelma n' Louise yet hot mug shots.
Gosh, I love America. Yet, still Stevie is pissed: is the lesbian cheerleader barfight feature a part of Madden 2005 that I'm missing? I mean, with all their advances in animation in realistic game play, we could be talking about the greatest selling video game of all time, which features three of the things near and dear to Red State Amerikkka: hot lesbians, bar fights, and NFL football.
Where in the world is Matt Lauer?
Channeling my inner medium, I'm seeing that Matt Lauer is waking up from a three day bender in a Moroccan whore house, with an armful of tracks and some strange mystic tatoos, next to a dead hooker, neck broken. Lauer smiles, thinking of how cheap it was to get them to cut the girl to look like perky, pre-pouty Katie. Oddly enough, his cellphone is fully charged, his credit cards are intact, and the box of Chicklets hasn't been touched. Thank god for minor miracles.
SPEAKING OF WHICH it delights me to no small end that we are #7 on Google for "Where in the world is Matt Lauer."
Cathy the Cakeeater is in need of a Boy Scout
Not apparently for driving any tent pegs, either.
I think I remember this from Eagle Scout training but would be interested to see what type of comment thread this will generate.
So let's help the old lady cross the street, eh?
Weather Report for France
LLamabutcher Correspondent Keith S. sends this in with the weather report for France:
No idea of the original source. This however is ours:
SEKRIT MESSAGE TO LB BUDDY Yes, THAT Keith S.
UPDATE: ANNOUNCING OPERATION "QUEL DOMMAGE"
Oh, this is SO low, I can't believe we didn't think of it first.
BACK FROM THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE
Sorry for the light posting lately-- I spent the last week at Forward Operating Base Llama doing my Army Reserve thing. One of the few things I caught that was remotely related to pop culture was a sound bite from Denise Richards from a TV interview while standing in line at the AAFES shoppette: "What is the big deal?", referring to the pool scene with Neve Campbell in Wild Things. How little she understands the male of the species. . .
The Virginia Governor's Race
Here's the Tradesports contract chart for Tim Kaine winning the race.
Notice a distinct lack of any post-Katrina bounce, or otherwise tied into larger Republican national issues.
Why the upsurge? Beats me. More later.
Yips! from Robbo - I dunno, but I got the chance to shake hands with the soon-to-be-historical-footnote Third Party Candidate at the Metro the other day. If the race is extremely close as many people are saying, does anybody know how this guy might effect it one way or the other, if at all?
The idiot academic of the day
Goldstein has worked himself into a fine fettle over the case of the abuse of tenure by some blowhard trying to destroy a graduate student over comments left on another blog.
Yet another reason to blog and comment anonymously.
What Part Of "No" Are You Having Trouble Understanding?
We're top of the google list for "Llama Emoticon".
We've told you people before, the answer is no. Absolutely not. Giddoudaheyah. Get lost. Get bent. Get stuffed. Take a walk. Take a running jump. Take a flying leap. Negative. Negatory. Nien. Nyet. Uh-uh. Non. Nope. Mmm-mm. Fuggedaboudit. Not a prayer. Not a chance. Not a hope. Not on your life. Not in a jillion years. Not for all the tea in China. Not for a night with Angelina Jolie (Well....set that one up and get back to me. We'll talk.)
Tolkien Geekery Update
With apologies to Gary, I've been remiss the past couple weeks in keeping up with his Lord of the Ring posting. In fact, he is now nearly half way through The Two Towers, so rather than try to play chapter-by-chapter catch-up, I'll just suggest that you go on over and scroll. As always, lots of good stuff.
I'll try to pick up again with my own side-line commentary shortly. In the meantime, I'll just say that I'm glad I'm not the only one who was confused by the chronology of events leading up to and immediately after the Battle of Helm's Deep, and that the mysterious appearances of smokes and steams over Isengard around that time that don't quite seem to coincide with the actions of the Ents look like an editing oversight.
This One's For You, Kelly McGillis.
Some coo-el videos of fighter jets causing condensation clouds, pressure waves and sonic booms.
Yips! to Dean Esmay.
Gunpowder Plot Thickened
I missed posting anything this weekend on Guy Fawkes Day. But here is a cool account of the immediate fall-out of the discovery of Fawkes' plot to blow up Parliament and James I on the great Elizabethan/Stuart playwrite, Ben Jonson.
Yips! to the Derb.
Further signs of the end of the world
Since I know Pep has a thing for natural disaster films, I'm anxiously awaiting his review of the latest sweeps-week end of the world tee-vee event. Can it top the earthquake bagizmo flick starring one of the Bridges brothers as the president (the fat one, not the cool one). This one has Randy Quaid in it, so you know its quality right there: Randy Quaid is to the tee-vee movie what Kurt Russell is to the big screen---guaranteed suckage but in whole new ways.
Speaking of the brothers Quaid, our campus' Environmental Studies Group is hosting a film night featuring that Al Gore weather porn laugher "The Day After Tomorrow," replete with spiffy posters. After class, I'm going to put up a poster for the "Political Science Studies Group" advertising "The Planet of the Apes" replete with a breathy discussion of how we can best prepare politically and economically for the impending take over our Simian overlords.
The contact line will be for "Dr. Zaius" but I'm such a geezer that no one will get it.
UPDATE: Pep checks in in the comments section, but it was so priceless that I needed to quote it all. This, ladies and gents, is why a complete day on campus is not, well, umm, complete without a visit by the library.
Chairista was taking notes last night. That Doherty girl from 90210 is in it, and I kid you not, she plays a rocket scientist--a pouty, slutty, drunken rocket scientist! She hangs out with (and, no doubt, soon on) Randy Quaid.
It was great for laughs, but apparently the producers stole some video footage from some storm chasers, who are all up in arms and ready to core punch the suck zone with some massive lawsuit rueage.
"The mesosphere is falling!" That's just priceless. And yes, I saw the posters for the on-campus showing, by the Environmental Club, of "The Day After Tomorrow."
And now I go into the penalty box, and I feel shame.
So there's Pep in his glory. That, and I wanted to get "pouty, slutty, drunken rocket scientist" into our Google slime-bombing efforts.
Yips! from Robbo: It's the extreme, baby! I could bow down before Pip for his LOL Twister references - Oh, manly hand-shaking Zeus!
Birth Of A Symbol
Today is the anniversary of the publication of Thomas Nast's 1874 Harper's Weekly cartoon depicting the Republican Party as an elephant. The rest, as they say, is history. My very favorite example of this symbol was the cover of National Review just after the 1994 elections done by the late, great, Jeff McNally. (Unfortunately, I can't find it on-line.) It featured a herd of GOP elephants, with Newt Gingrich as a barbarian astride the lead beast, crashing through the gates of a Roman-style Dee Cee, while Bill Clinton fiddled in the White House and Hillary ran herself through with a caduseus.
I find this fascinating for several reasons, none of them really having to do with party affiliation. The first is that I myself drew political cartoons for student newspapers both as an undergrad and in law school, and appreciate the effectiveness of this kind of symbolism, especially where, as is often the case with editorial work, the cartoonist has only one or two panels to make his point.
The other main reason it interests me is because, at least according to Robert Graves, the modern political cartoon is the closest current example we have to ancient Greek pictography. Graves held the theory that the Greeks of the Homeric Era - say, from around 1500 B.C. to 1200 B.C., were considerably more sophisticated than their Classical Era (500-400 B.C.) descendents gave them credit for being. Many of the standard myths we have - the Minotaur, Centaurs, the flight of Icarus and so on, were Classical in origin and were based on their viewing of pictographs - bull-headed men and the like - left by their earlier ancestors. Greek culture went through a serious decline between these two periods, and the original meanings of these pictographs were lost. The Classical Greeks could not imagine that their ancestors were at all sophisticated, so took the pictographs literally, inventing stories that they didn't believe themselves, but reckoning that their forebearers did.
Graves was of the opinion that the pictographs were, in fact, symbolic, and developed a theory that they were actually totemic in nature, various half-man, half-beast pictures representing tribal fraternities and sororities, with the given animal as their guiding spirit. He centered a very entertaining version of the story of Jason and the Argonauts around this idea in the novel Hercules, My Shipmate.
I bring this up not so much to argue whether Graves was right or wrong, but simply to point out that as effective as this kind of symbolism is, once the key is lost, it becomes useless. We look at editorial cartoons of the GOP Elephant and the Democratic Donkey with an instant understanding of the shorthand involved. If we didn't know what these symbols meant, we couldn't possibly understand the point of the cartoon and might quite possibly, like the Classical Greeks, start inventing stories of our own to explain them.
Insert Dr. Rusty joke here
Further footnotes for the decline of American civilization.
I think, Dr. Rusty, this is definitely in the "good gay" category: good = NFL Cheerleaders; bad = Eleanor Clift and Maureen Dowd in same story.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)
It was an interesting weekend with the Llama-ettes. Here are a few highlights:
-- The three year old has figured out how to swing herself on the swing. Part of this, I think, is simply a matter of physics - finally being heavy enough to generate momentum - but part of it is also a matter of getting the coordinated motions down. She's proud as hell. I, for one, am also happy because it means I don't have to keep pushing her all the time.
-- The five and seven year olds were quizzing each other over spelling at the breakfast table Saturday. The five year old asked a word which the seven year old spelled correctly. I nodded my head and the five year old said, "You're right!" The seven year old immediately replied, "How would you know? You can't even spell it." The five year old's instant reply was, "No, but Daddy said you were right and Daddy knows everything!"
I'm going to cherish that sentiment as long as ever I can, knowing that it's only a matter of time before she's calling me an idiot.
-- The five year old is also turning out to be something of a lightning bolt on the soccer field, hurling herself about flat out until she has to be removed to the sidelines for a break. This is in contrast to the seven year old, who plays well but doesn't play quite as hard. I've been noodling over whether to touch the third rail of Sibling J. Rivalry in order to put a bit more fire into the elder gel. I'd never stoop to comparisons - i.e., "Your sister tries harder than you do." But I wonder whether some use could be made of remarks like, "Wow, you should have seen the way your sister ran around out there!"
It's a thought.
Damn You, Amazon!
I was just now buying this book at the Devil's Website for my seven year old, realizing after reading her the story of Apollo and Daphne last evening that Thomas Bullfinch, which is the only edition of the Greek myths I have at home, is still too far over her head.
I've been on a Florence King jag the past week or so, so I thought that as long as I was in the neighborhood, I'd toss the D'Aulaires into the shopping cart and nip on over to buy a copy of her STET, Damnit! However, seeing that the hardcover edition of this book is going for 40 bucks a pop and more, I decided to hold off.
Going back to hit the One-Click E-Z Check Out button, I discovered that Amazon seems to have attempted to sneak another copy of James Lileks' latest book, that I bought last week from them, into my shopping cart. As much as I like Lileks, I really have no use for two copies of his book at the moment.
Has anybody else ever had this sort of thing happen to them?
Gratuitous Weekend Observation
I've heard various formulae of timing, temperature and rainfall amounts that are supposed to bring out the best of fall foliage, many of which seem to contradict each other.
Whatever the proper combination, we evidently did not get it in the Dee Cee region this year - the foliage is looking rather drab and lackluster - weak colors and a tendency to go brown quickly.
Still, I was out doing my end-of-the-year mow and pulling in the porch furniture yesterday afternoon and, even when the colors of the falling leaves are less than spectacular, the sight of them filling a bright blue sky over a deep green lawn after a particularly strong gust of wind and the combined smells of freshly-mown grass and damp, decaying foliage reminded me again why I like this season so much.
November 06, 2005
The inside angle on the Virginia Governor's Race
Here's my prediction: if Kilgore (the Republican) wins, no big story. If Kaine (the Democrat) wins, it's indicative of the demise of Republican majority status in Congress and the deathknell of the Bush presidency.
Part of the reason it's close is that Kilgore has run an abysmal campaign---it's been comically negative until the last few days. Kaine is lackluster, and looks like a Law & Order villain---the mild mannered professor or head librarian who turns out to be a serial killer.
The other main reason it's close is the enormous popularity of incumbent Governor Mark Warner, who is going to run for president. Centrist technocrat Democrat wins in heavily Red State by getting support outside of the blue metro enclaves, blah blah blah. Believe it if you want, there's a core there to it. Yet, what doesn't translate nationally is that Warner's major accomplishment as governor that benefits the southern and southwestern parts of the state in particular (as well as blue NoVa) was his high stakes power play that got Virginia Tech into the ACC. And for this Red Virginia (or more properly Maroon and Orange) Virginia will love him forever.
Well now, this has been a crappy weekend for me, as I've been fighting off a low grade intestinal thing, but I'll say this: in the LLamabutcher household, there is now one day a year where we can root for the University of Miami, "Felony U" on the verdant plains of Coral Gables.
SO Stevie is happy: Miami 27, VT 7.
Paris is Burning: Week Two
One word: Steyn.
If Chirac isn't exactly Charles Martel, the rioters aren't doing a bad impression of the Muslim armies of 13 centuries ago: They're seizing their opportunities, testing their foe, probing his weak spots. If burning the 'burbs gets you more ''respect'' from Chirac, they'll burn 'em again, and again. In the current issue of City Journal, Theodore Dalrymple concludes a piece on British suicide bombers with this grim summation of the new Europe: ''The sweet dream of universal cultural compatibility has been replaced by the nightmare of permanent conflict.'' Which sounds an awful lot like a new Dark Ages.
November 04, 2005
Who would you do? Round Deux
That's right, ladies and gents, lock up the weak of heart and generally incontinent, it's time for Who would you do, LLAMA STYLE!
Building on the resounding success of "who would you do?" we present round deux:
AND NOW FOR YOUR NASTY-TIME BONUS ROUND:
Yips! from Robbo: Mother - O' - Gawd.
This is one of the first political moments that I remember clearly. My family had gone out to dinner to celebrate Mom's birthday. It was a pretty nice French restaurant in San Antonio called La Provence which, according to a quick google search, doesn't seem to be there anymore.
Anyhoo, we were in the middle of dinner when somebody came into the room and announced that Carter had conceded. And I distinctly remember a woman sitting at a nearby table saying, "Thank God."
I was fifteen at the time and really just beginning to get my own political legs. Vietnam and Watergate were more or less blurs, things that the Grown Ups had talked about when I was younger. But by the latter part of the 70's, I was well aware of the country's malaise and the world's threat. Reagan's election was like a blast of fresh, morning air, a call that we didn't have to let ourselves be smothered anymore, a genuine - if you'll pardon the expression - revolution.
Hats off to the Gipper. A great day in history, indeed.
UPDATE: Taranto puts it all in perspective:
The assassination of John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963, marked the end of an American political era: the age of confident liberalism. Lyndon B. Johnson carried forward JFK's legislative legacy, cutting taxes and pushing through landmark civil rights laws. But LBJ's overambitious wars in Vietnam and on poverty were damaging to America and shattering for liberalism. The late 1960s and the 1970s saw skyrocketing crime and illegitimacy, American humiliation in Vietnam, and the tragedy of Watergate.
Finally, with the presidency of Jimmy Carter, the country hit rock bottom: malaise, gas lines, the Soviets in Afghanistan, the invasion of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Blessedly, 25 years ago today, it came to an end with the election of Ronald Reagan and the dawn of the age of confident conservatism. The ensuing two decades saw unprecedented economic growth, victory in the Cold War, and a gradual diminution of the timidity about employing U.S. military force overseas that is known as the "Vietnam syndrome." By the mid-1990s, a Democratic president was even undoing the worst excesses of LBJ's Great Society.
We're inclined to view the presidency of George W. Bush, and especially his muscular foreign policy, as a continuation of the Reagan era. There is an argument to be made on the other side: that conservatism is now in its LBJ phase, having produced swollen government at home and overextended America's capabilities abroad. The left, meanwhile, is as weak, angry and paranoid as the right was in the heyday of the John Birch society--but perhaps one day it will reconnect with reality and resurge politically.
History will reveal itself in due course, but for today let us remember how, on Nov. 4, 1980, America began to reverse its decline by electing a man who shared the country's faith in itself.
YIPS from Steve:
Let me only add these:
Roger Clegg is worriting over in the Corner about colleges and universities that are starting to suggest the inclusion of "optional photographs" in their application materials. He frets that this might be a way for the schools to assure that their "diversity" students look "diverse enough".
Perhaps. But Clegg lists three or four schools that have started in on this sort of thing and I'm still staunching the flow of blood from my scalp where it scraped the desk when I fell over after spotting Hampton-Syndey on the list.
Roger, it's been a while since I was in school, but I'm willing to suggest your fears about the Squidneys may be a bit overblown.
Allow me to relay a little anecdote - The Missus grew up in Connecticut, where people don't tend to pay that much attention any more to the Civil War. Hampton-Sydney is located in rural Virginia, not all that far from Appomattox Court House. It is attended by boys who pay a great deal of attention to the Civil War. To say that the dorms are full of Southern flags, banners and whatnot is a little like saying a Beam bottle is full of bourbon.
Anyhoo, the Missus, who was in her first year of college in Virginia, was talked into road-tripping over to Squidney one evening. The story goes that she walked into a room full of good ol' boys, looked around at the Confederate decore and said in her point-blank Yankee way, "I don't get it - I mean, y'all lost."
Well, I don't know if she was actually banned from campus for this. But I do know that not long after, she came to her senses and started coming over to W&L instead. And the rest, I'm happy to say, is history.
YIPS from Steve: Which is why we all love the Butcher's Wife.
Seriously, though, I think the Hampster is doing it to weed out the fat and ugly guys, interfering with their "seriously, we're not gay but we sure look like A&F model guys" thing they've got going.
On a more somber note, I was on a search committee once for choosing a "minority honors fellow" where one of my more aggressively POMO clueless colleagues wanted to know if we could request pictures with the applications to, I guess, determine who looked more minority. I went absolutely batshit, and 4 years later that whole humanities department still won't talk to me. The nerve of some people pointing out when the law is being broken.
Sheesh, if I only knew a civil rights attorney.....
Something Is Not-So-Rotten In The State of Denmark
Good for the Danes! According to the UK Telegraph, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten has decided to engage in a little "necessary provocation" by publishing twelve cartoon figures of the Prophet Mohammed, in defiance of Islam's ban on images of the Big Mo. This has caused the local Muslim population to go ballistic, demanding retractions and apologies from the Danish government and the newspaper and hurling death threats at the paper and its cartoonists. So far, though, both the government and the paper are telling their critics to go piss up a rope:
"I will never accept that respect for a religious stance leads to the curtailment of criticism, humour and satire in the press," [Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Danish prime minister] said.
This is what you might call the "Lighten Up, Francis" school of religious plurality and in my humble opinion, there isn't enough of it in the world.
"But, Tom," you might say, "We know that things like the Piss Christ and Madonna covered in feces offend you, so what's the difference?" The difference, of course, is that while I may find these things offensive and don't believe government money needs to be spent on them in the name of "art", I also am not going to try and slice off the hands of the people who made them or firebomb their homes. In other words, I just deal with it.
And here's another little proof of my attitude: Regular readers will know that I'm an old-fashioned Rite I Episcopalian, with heavy Catholic leanings. I have a profound respect and reverance for my God, the Bible and the Church. Nonetheless, I can't help myself from laughing every time I see this:
Lighten up, indeed.
Yips! to Rachel.
UPDATE: Then again, the French just plain reek.
UPDATE DEUX: Annika's got more.
Google searches to write home about
Someone came by after googling up:
Speaking for myself (not to mention that pesky Alpaca population) I'd say Pabst Blue Ribbon, HBO expescial, and cheez whiz.
Robbo, what about you?
Yips! from Robbo: I always just ask myself: What Would Steve Dallas Do?
Red, White & Blue Llama
|You Passed the US Citizenship Test|
Yips! to Citizen Jen.
YIPS from Steve-O: Technically, one of their questions had two correct answers. The "America's enemies in WW2" question had one of the answers as "Germany, France, and Japan" which is technically correct given Operation Torch and the subsequent invasion of Oran and the sinking of the French Fleet (you know, when FDR responded to Japanese aggression by invading North Africa).
Happy Birthday to Two Great Ladies
As Gary the Ex-Donk notes, today is the birthday of Laura Bush. It also happens to be the birthday of my Mom.
THIS IS NOT A PICTURE OF MOM! Although she does get this look on her face when suffering fools. It is, instead, a picture of Dame Wendy Hiller as Lady Bracknell in an old production of The Importance of Being Earnest that we bootlegged when it ran on PBS back in the day. Mom has always wanted to play Lady B, and her imitations of Hiller saying, "Rise, Sir, from this semi-recumbant position!" and "Prism! Where is that bay-bah?" are priceless. Besides, she'd get extremely crabby if I posted an actual picture of her here.
Anyhoo, Happy Birthday to Mom and FLOTUS!
(And as if that isn't co-incidence enough, the Missus also happens to share the same birthday - July 6 - with Laura's husband. I dunno what to make of this, but I thought you'd like to know.)
Ich Ben Ein Saarbruckener
The frontiers of Llamadom advance a little bit further as we are linked by the Saarlamander. Unfortunately, I don't speak more than about ten words of German, so I can't tell you much of anything about the site, except to say that if the guy finds Osama and Evil Bert to be funny, he must be okay.
YIPS from Steve: Fortunately, my command of German is much more extensive, ranging from the Achtung, Herr Major Hofstadter! and KLIIIIIIINK! WHO EIZST THIS MONNNNNNN? not to mention the ever useful I KNOW NUUUUUUUUTHING! NUUUUTTTHHING! So here goes with my translation:
Each day messages over Osama and its Hallodris, but all proclamation organs are itself in disagreement like this staff now is written: Aluminium Quaida, El Kaida, aluminium Qaeda... There praise I me nevertheless the naming and way of writing of our German terror associations - short and knackig to notice handy and simply: RAF, RDM, CDU, compulsory health insurance scheme, GEZ, TUEV, GEMA, etc.pp. HP: Nice "Evil Bert" picture, found with the Llamabutchers - Ben Affleck is really ' ne plague.
Gratuitous Llama Book Review
For those of you who haven't seen it yet, this is the Bleat-meister's foray into the awefulness of child-rearing advice, practices and products during the 30's, 40's and 50's. James takes for his text mostly advertisements from the period, together with a few government "How To" pamphlets, and graces the pages around them with the kind of snarkiness regular Bleat readers have come to enjoy. Everything from mothers cleaning their nipples with boric acid to bottle sterilization good enough for the Manhattan Project to Teaching Dad to Cope to scary car-seats o' death is covered.
While I read his column all the time, I've never read one of Lileks' books before. And it may be impudent of one of his self-proclaimed blog-children to say so, but it strikes me that there are some weaknesses here.
First of all, I think each chapter would have benefited enormously from having an introduction and conclusion, something to give the flavor of the Age and a little context. For example, James spends a lot of time mocking the fetish of the 40's and 50's with regular bowel movements, but never really offers an explanation as to why people were so obsessed - a few humorous words on the subject before he opens fire would be quite useful and entertaining. Similarly, the chapters all simply come to an abrupt end. It strikes me that one way to conclude each one would be a comparison of the follies of previous ages regarding a given topic with the ones that have replaced them. For example, James posts a number of ads for scary-looking toys that just have "Emergency Room" stamped all over them. It would be humorous to offer an example of the modern swing of the pendulum to the other extreme genereted by our collective hyper-concern for little Johnny's egg-shell skull. Buh'lieve me - for every neurotic phobia James captures from the Golden Age of Parenting, there is a modern equivalent just as gob-smackingly silly.
James also has a habit of wandering back and forth between mockery of content and mockery of form. This gets a bit distracting. Also, I think it's perhaps a leetle unfair to tease about, for example, lines coming out of a cartoon character's head to indicate strong emotion here, as this is a product of the artistic age, not of the subject of child-rearing in particular. Still, it is funny. Again, perhaps the best thing to do would have been to split the artwork critiques out into their own chapter or section.
Finally, there are one or two outliers that seem to serve no particular purpose whatsoever. I'm thinking of an illustrated ad for children's clothing from the 20's that appears toward the end of the book - it doesn't really go with anything else and seems to have been stuck in at random.
Having said all that, let me hasten to ad this: I was laughing so much over this book last evening that the Missus, who was also trying to read, coldly instructed me to go away and take my book with me.
So there you have it.
UPDATE: The Insta-Wife has a review at TechCentralStation that takes up the theme of modern child-rearing foibles in more depth.
Speaking of modern parental train-wrecks:
"Do you have a kiss for Mommy?"
Instability and turmoil spreads in France
As violence spreads to the holy city of Dijon, the best argument I think there is for American non-intervention in dealing with the spreading violence and anarchy due to the racism and economic inequality at the root of la belle france is
NO WAR FOR MUSTARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'll be the jackass standing in front of the US Courthouse waving that sign next protest.
Yips! from Robbo: I haven't seen anyone else say it yet, so here goes:
Why are the boulevards of Paris lined with trees on both sides?
So Muslim immigrant gangs can riot in the shade!
If you ask me, I blame Chirac for not promoting midnight basketball leagues more aggressively.
November 03, 2005
Paris is burning, Day Eight
Schaudenfraude is an ugly, ugly emotion, and I admit it makes me feel sick that I am somehow deriving a smile from the contortions the French Government is putting itself through.
This is their Hurricane Katrina---the exposing of the urban poverty and repression and violence and hopelessness that the Euro Media rubbed our faces in eight weeks ago.
Payback's a bitch, aint it?
For those "divided government is a good thing" types who wonder what Amerikkka would be like with Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House
This is how your Congress would be spending its time.
Sure, it's not moving Hurricane relief to benefit storm devastated Alaska, but it's a start.
Followed by having the State Department trying to negotiate a truce for the East Coast/West Coast thing...
Senor Stevie, he es loco, he no understand
We've gotten a deluge of sorts today from people googling us up over
ONE OTHER THING: Any high-powered attorneys interested in kicking the living crap out of someone for intellectual turf infringement?
Because these lil' upstarts done need to be shown a thing or two about who are the toughest, meanest LLamas in the blogosphere...
AND REALLY, JUST A FINAL THOUGHT FOR THE NIGHT: It's been fun posting, but I'm going to take a little break and look forward to return to the blogging in oh about three or four months.
The Rogue Economist, indeed
I guess you need to sock away a little cash to make sure the trip to Stockholm to pick up your Nobel goes swell: I just had a very nice correspondence with the agent of Steven Levitt (of the University of Chicago and Freakonomics fame) about his speaker's fee: forty grand! Hell, we could get Matt Lauer for less than that, with money left over to supply him with a Whitman's Sampler of oompahloompah whores to satisfy his every metrosexual whim.
Oh well, it would have been fun.
Anyhoo, Freakonomics was still a great read, and I've gone on to read a half a dozen or so of the underlying articles and it's neat and whacky stuff.
Great Moments in the History of American Jurisprudence
This one is worth quoting in entirety:
Man Sues After Using Glue-Covered Toilet Seat
BOULDER, Colo. - Home Depot was sued by a shopper who claims he got stuck to a restroom toilet seat because a prankster had smeared it with glue.
Bob Dougherty, 57, accused employees of ignoring his cries for help for about 15 minutes because they thought he was kidding.
"They left me there, going through all that stress," Dougherty told The (Boulder) Daily Camera. "They just let me rot."
The lawsuit, filed Friday, said Dougherty was recovering from heart bypass surgery and thought he was having a heart attack when he got stuck at the Louisville store on the day before Halloween 2003. A store employee who heard him calling for help informed the head clerk by radio, but the head clerk "believed it to be a hoax," the lawsuit said.
Home Depot spokeswoman Kathryn Gallagher said she could not comment on pending litigation.
The lawsuit said store officials called for an ambulance after about 15 minutes. Paramedics unbolted the toilet seat, and as they wheeled the "frightened and humiliated" Dougherty out of the store, he passed out.
The lawsuit said the toilet seat separated from his skin, leaving abrasions.
"This is not Home Depot's fault," he said. "But I am blaming them for letting me hang in there and just ignoring me."
O tempora! O mores!
This is too rich to be true.
Today's time-wasting test
| INTP - the Architect |
Your Type is 0% Extroverted, 37% Observant, 81% Logical and 25% Structured
You are more introverted than extroverted. You are more intuitive than
observant, you are more thinking based than feeling based, and you
prefer to go with the flow rather than have a routine. The single word
to describe your type is the Architect, which belongs to the larger
group of rationals. You wish to sculpt the world around you. Others
often find you arrogant, yet you have no desire to direct others, only
to inform them. You must know the structure of things, and have a
voracious appetite for knowledge. You are very rational in everything
you do, and probably consider yourself smarter than most. |
As a romantic partner, you can be playful with great energy to get things started, but not quite as good on follow through. You may have a tendency to hurt the more emotional types unintentionally by not sharing your own reactions and feelings as you can get swept up in your own ideas and projects. You want to be appreciated for your ability to respond quickly and to fix problems creatively. You need plenty of time to yourself - therefore your parnter must respect your need for independence and originality.
Your group summary: Rationals (NT)
Your type summary: INTP
vincex's shorter version of this test.
My longer version of this same test. The real deal.
|My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:|
|Link: The Quick and Dirty Personality Test written by unpretentious2 on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test|
Of course, I had a girlfriend back in college who gave me one of these tests and told me my personality type was ASHOL. Which should have been a clue for most normal people...
Man oh man, I just KNEW it!
INDCent Bill's a Potterwhore.
Now, whether that makes him regular commentator "Minerva's Muffin" on Mugglenet remains to be proved in a court of law, rest assured I've got all the investigative resources of the LLama Corps on the case.
Who would you do? LLamabutcher Edition
Meanwhile, in the "Things that will put hair on your chest, particularly where you don't want it" department our old pal Chai-Rista continues into the bonus round of her "Who would ya do?" contest.
As the song goes: NAAAAAAAAAAAstty!
So anyhoo, Liz, here's the LLamabutcher round of Who would ya do:
Winner gets either:
An all penicillin paid for three way with Whitney Houston and Mikhail Gorbachev
The Krispy Kreme Monster Truck for the weekend.
Note to self
Don't cross paths with Cathy the Cakeeater today.
Alanis Morrisette, call on line six...
I guess you had to be there.
(H/T to Wizzy).
UPDATE: In an unrelated post, JT comes up with the quote of the week:
But sometimes, the baby seal comes up with a shotgun.
Paris is Burning, Day Seven
Gateway Pundit has the roundup, including the following pics:
(H/T to Insty)
UPDATE: The central public policy problem for Chirac is, who do they surrender to? And how is this linked to the JOOOOOOOOOOz and the Amerikkkans?
I'm on tenterhooks waiting for a response.
November 02, 2005
Are These Two Even Pretending To Still Be Mister and Missus?
I know it's at a funeral and all, but this ain't the body language of your normal married couple. Bubba looks like Jake Blues when he had to stand on the line and lean forward to the desk to sign for his stuff when they let him out of Joliet. I expect Hill told him that if her Secret Service guys didn't see daylight between them at all times, they had orders to take him down.
Gratuitous Literary Posting (TM)
In our efforts to cover the waterfront, bringing you the Tastee Bits (TM) like toasted rats on a stick, we sometimes dwell a leetle too long in one place. I like to avoid this where possible. So since we already have a Babe-o-liciousness post out there today, I'm not going to dwell on Dr. Rusty's latest Angelina Jolie/"Good" Lesbianism post, but instead point out that today is the anniversary of the death of George Bernard Shaw in 1950, easily one of the wittiest playwrites, essayists and critics of the English language. Shaw possessed in full measure whatever that indescribable combination of deadpan and divilment is that makes the Irish so damned funny and he used it mercilessly.
Among other things, Shaw served as a music critic in London and was a great champion of Mozart in general and Don Giovanni in particular, which Shaw thought the greatest opera ever written. Here is an interesting little essay on Shaw and Mozart that finishes by quoting a very Shavian letter to the Times regarding G.B.S.'s experience attending a performance of Don Giovanni by the famed Enrico Caruso at Covent Gardens one evening:
Sir, - The opera management at Covent garden regulates the dress of its male patrons. When is it going to do the same to the women? On Saturday night I went to the Opera. I wore the costume imposed on me by the regulations of the house [...] Not only was I in evening dress by compulsion, but I voluntarily added many graces of conduct as to which the management made no stipulation whatever. I was in my seat in time for the first chord of the overture. I did not chatter during the music not raise my voice when the opera was too loud for normal conversation. I did not get up and go out when the statue music began. My language was fairly moderate considering the number and nature of the improvements on Mozart volunteered by Signor Caruso, and the respectful ignorance of the dramatic parts of the score exhibited by the conductor and the stage manager - if there is such a functionary at Covent Garden. In short, my behaviour was exemplary. At 9 o'clock (the Opera began at 8) a lady came in and sat down very conspicuously in my line of sight. She remained there until the beginning of the last act. I do not complain of her coming late and going early; on the contrary, I wish she had come later and gone earlier. For this lady, who had very black hair, had stuck over her right ear the pitiable corpse of a large white bird, which looked exactly as if someone had killed it by stamping on its breast, and then nailed it to the lady's temple, which was presumably of sufficient solidity to bear the operation. I am not, I hope, a morbidly squeamish person, but the spectacle sickened me. I presume that if I had presented myself at the doors with a dead snake around my neck, a collection of blackbeetles pinned to my shirtfront, and a grouse in my hair, I should have been refused admission. Why then is a woman to be allowed to commit such a public outrage? [...] I suggest to the Covent Garden authorities that, if they feel bound to protect their subscribers against the danger of my shocking them with a blue tie, they are at least equally bound to protect me against the danger of a woman shocking me with a dead bird.
Okay, I'm done. You can go over to Rusty's now.
Moo Knew Ker-Choo?
I seem to be having off and on connectivity problems with the Moo Knew Hive. Is anyone out there having access trouble?
Kids Today - They're Young
John over at Spitbull has a terrific little poetic post on the benefits of turning 40.
Red Bull and Jagermeister? Are you kids freakin' nuts?
UPDATE: Speaking of drinking, the Maximum Leader stumbles across another Llamabutchers Industries (TM) subsidiary. May I recommend the Cuvee Reserve Chateau Louis San Orgle-Orgle? I think you'll appreciate it.
Burning Questions Only The Blogsphere Can Answer
In part because I can't get the Firefly theme out of my head, I thought I would open up a debate brewing in the comments to my recent Serenity post to further discussion on the floor.
Resolved: It is the sense of this community that Kaylee is a Babe.
UPDATE: I should point out that JohnL ran a SciFi Babe Poll on Firefly a while back. I'm not asking for a rehash of the results of that poll here (as in ranking the Firefly Women). Rather, I'm simply asking whether Kaylee crosses the Babe Frontier.
November 01, 2005
You know, now that I think of it, Brent Scowcroft was right
Maybe it's the inner realist in me that's screaming that we should have let well enough alone and never libertated that godforsaken country: they are obviously incapable of governing themselves.
Hopefully we will not have to send our troops back to further train their indigenous police force.
(H/T to Insty).
What Kind of What?
Whether you harbor some vestige of modernist
morality or simply fail to see the irony in
Reality TV, one thing is clear. You are just
What kind of postmodernist are you!?
brought to you by Quizilla
Looks about right. And in my answers I get to keep vodka martinis, Dante and Angelina Jolie. What's not to like about this lifestyle?
Yips! to Owlish, where I saw this first.
Here's one we could get into: Mother Sheehan as a possible Senate candidate against Hillary Rodham Clinton Rodham?
It's The Suck Zone
Mr. Crab gets a claws-on tutorial in the physics of radically variant pressure levels.
I'm thinking that if Jesus ever saw this video, he'd reconsider that parable about how hard it is to get a camel through a needle's eye. With the right conditions, looks like it'd be a piece of cake. If you didn't care about the camel, that is.
Yips! to Ace.
Happy Birthday from the LLamabutchers
Go on over and send the Yips to Jordana.
The mugshots are priceless.
Hey Liz, is it too late to get us a new graduation speaker?
Robbo's Fun With Microsoft Word
A little something for all you KOS-steins out there:
UPDATE: Speaking of over-the-top Donk smear-jobs, I'm going to break with usual precedent by praising INDCent Bill: The man can mix a meeeean simile when he wants to.
Wanna See Something Really Scary?
One more post-Halloween note: I discovered over the weekend that the Llama-ettes, all of them, somehow or other have learned the lyrics to "Who Let The Dogs Out?"
Now that is truly horrifying.
Chomsky will have a cow on this one
I'm sure it will be a free-range one, though.
STEVE-O TRIES OUT TO BE A DEMOCRATIC UNDERGROUND POSTER: McHITLER joins forces with Dracula today to set up US bases in Romania, giving US naval access to Black Sea. That's right, folks: the republic is dead as now all our militiary SS lackeys are going to be bitten by werewolves and vampires so as to further domination for market penetration of the OC on prisintine third wurld cultures.
Average American Meme
Apparently, a majority of Americans does or has the following things. Like JohnL, from whom I pinch this, I've struck the ones that do not apply and add some commentary:
Eats peanut butter at least once a week
STEVE-O: Do peanut butter cups count? Dang!
*Prefers smooth peanut butter over chunky
STEVE-O: Doesn't everybody?
*Can name all Three Stooges - Actually, I loathe the Stooges. But I thought there were four altogether. Didn't Shemp replace Curly?
STEVE-O: How many times do we have to deal with this canard of a question? I can't name "all" Three Stooges because there were six: Larry, Moe, Curly, Joe, Curly Joe, and Shemp. Sheesh.
Lives within a 20-minute drive of a Wal-Mart - When you live in Northern Virginia, you don't live within a 20 minute drive of anything.
STEVE-O: I think ours is about 23 minutes away, so neener to you, Walton-heirs.
Eats at McDonald’s at least once a year - Over the past ten years, it's probably avereraged out closer to once every two years. This does not count stealing the occassional french fry from a Llama-ette when they bring them home.
STEVE-O: McDonald's is gross.
Takes a shower for approximately 10.4 minutes a day - Longer. I like to spend time in the shower each morning mulling over what I need to get done during the day. The list seems to keep growing.
STEVE-O: Oddly, I consider Robbo's answer to fall well into the waaaaaaaayyyy too much information department.
Yips! back from Robbo: (assuming Jeromy Irons/Claus von Bulow voice): You haff no idea....
Never sings in the shower
STEVE-O: Does the collected works of Olivia Newton John count? Dang!
*Lives in a house, not an apartment or condominium
STEVE-O: We live in a home.
Yips! back from Robbo: Sometimes I think you ought to.....
Has a home valued between $100,000 and $300,000 -
STEVE-O: Thank you local real-estate boom.
*Has fired a gun
*Is between 5 feet and 6 feet tall - 5'11", if you're keeping score at home.
STEVE-O: Nope--6 2 1/2; of course if Robbo's 5'11" then I'm the center for the Houston Rockets.
*Weighs 135 to 205 pounds - 160. See above.
STEVE-O: Umm, no.
Yips! back from Robbo: Take back that heigh crack or I start converting pounds to kilos, fat boy.....
*Is between the ages of 18 and 53 - Yep.
STEVE-O: Physically? Yes. Emotionally? Not even close.
Believes gambling is an acceptable entertainment option - Well of course the issue is rather more complex than that, but as a general rule I believe gambling causes harm in a variety of ways and most people would be better off avoiding it.
STEVE-O: I don't gamble myself but am entertained by watching others. In the immortal words of Chauncey Gardner, I like to watch...
Grew up within 50 miles of current home - 1597 miles, according to Mapquest.
More fun with Microsoft Word
Looks like the folks who faked the Texas Air National Guard letters are having more fun with Microsoft Word.
STEVE-O TRIES OUT TO BE A KOSFILES POSTER:DAMN that Patrick Fitzgeraldmas for not indicting Rove! His EVIL is manifest in his ability to get the DNC to circulate these obviously fake talking points designed to discredit the Donks themselves! This is OBVIOUSLY a plant to distract the teeming masses from the CRIMES of the McHITLER/HALLIBURTON DEATH MACHINE! Does his EVIL know no boundaries?
Two interesting developments
I had two interesting conversations yesterday with different colleagues. The first was with a dude we have who is teaching International Relations for the year (Chai-Rista will probably be the only reader out there to get a hearty chuckle out of "dude" on this one), who is of a decidely liberal world view. Quitcher assumptions: he was an Army officer, Desert Storm and all that, so not your usual set of stereotypes (okay, we probably have the only former Army officer who went to UW Madison undergrad in the country). Anyhoo, he sidled by the office yesterday and noted how much it pained him---we're talking major angst, here---but that with all the positive things going on in the Middle East with Syria, Lebanon, Libya etc., he couldn't really explain it without giving some credit---a tiny modicum, perhaps---to the US presence in Iraq, and that after the sucessful referendum on the constitution, maybe, just maybe----but Halliburton! Chimpy Mc Hitler!---things are going to work out as the Sunnis begin to participate and while completely dropping the terrorism/violence card, seek to get what they can out of the political process.
He then proceeded to go on a long tear about Rumsfeld tearing apart the armed forces, which is in line with the fact that he never served. Fortunately, I was sitting at my desk and pulled up the DOD webpage showing Rummy's service as a naval aviator in the 1950s which kind of torpedoed that argument, and how the whole "they never served so they lack any legitimacy" argument kind of, like, took away from the Democrats their two best war-time presidents: FDR and Wilson, leaving them with LBJ and Truman.
The second conversation was with a colleague that I deeply respect over the issue of the Alito appointment, and basically his take was that the Democrats just don't have the votes to stop it. He wasn't pleased, but his rather funny take on it was that the Republicans need to get their heads out of butts and accept the fact that they won, and start acting like it.
After helping to shephard six small children around the neighborhood last evening and reading way too much Michael Shaara, I had a dream last night that I was General Lee conducting a trick-or-treat campaign in enemy territory. I remember a battle map with little jack o'lanterns on it and worrying about keeping all of my forces concentrated. And while I don't recall whether any witch cavalry was involved, I was concerned that I didn't know the ground I was moving over.
Either I'm taking too much cough syrup or not enough, I'm not sure which.
Incidently, if you're curious, the seven year old dressed up as Bugs Bunny this year, although the costume the Missus found on E-Bay made her look more like Neanderthal Bugs than his modern descendant. Meanwhile, the five year old went as Cinderella (post-bippity-boppity-boo, of course). She was so pleased with her costume that she was positively radiant and looked, well, like a princess. The three year old went as the Little Mermaid in another hand-made costume the Missus found on E-Bay. It included a long, red wig that got rather tempest-tossed as the evening wore on, giving her the appearance of an amphibious Medusa.