May 31, 2006
This week I've noticed not one but two of the furry little bastards loitering around the perimeter of the garden. And where there are two now, there's sure to be lots more in the very near future.
Well, forearmed is, er, forearmed. After years of thinking about it, I'm finally ordering the classic Daisy Red Rider. First sign of unauthorized entry and I start shooting.
Say your pwayers, you wascally wabbits!
Gratuitous Revolutionary War Posting - "Bloody Ban" Update
A while back, I posted on the return of four Continental Army battle flags to Sotheby's by the descendant of the notorious British Dragoon who captured them, Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton.
Well, Sotheby's has put one of them up for auction. The Irish Elk has a picture. Anybody interested in helping us Llamas make a bid should consider tossing some coin into the tip jar.
Oh, and just by way of clarification, I indulged in some anti-The Patriot ranting in my original post. There, I said that Mel Gibson's character was loosely based on that of Francis "The Swamp Fox" Marion. This is true to a point, but his character is also based in part on General Dan Morgan, who defeated Tarleton at the Battle of Cowpens. The movie makes such a mishmash of the actual history that setting the record straight gets a bit complicated. My apologies.
Voyages Round My Bookcase**
For some reason, I seem to have been bitten by the historickal travel bug because that is the sort of book I've been reading recently.
First, I just recently finished this:
Outposts: Journeys to the Surviving Relics of the British Empire by Simon Winchester.
I had read and liked Winchester's book Krakatoa, about the eruption of that volcano in 1883 and its global effects, so I was all set to be pleased with this tour of the dozen or so territories that comprise what is left of the British Empire.
Well, in general I was pleased. Winchester provides plenty of interesting facts about places one has barely even heard of before: Tristan da Cunha, St. Helena, Ascencion, the Turks & Cacaos, the Diego Garcia group, Pitcairn Island, etc. But at the same time, I found the book to fall a bit flat. For one thing, Winchester is in the odd position of appearing to be a Good Labourite who also happens to have a nostalgic regard for the Empire, which strikes me as somewhat paradoxical. Praise for the genuine benefits the Brits brought to the Peoples they subjected does not sit well with praise of the virtues of indiginous autonomy: Winchester reminds me at times of a one-man People's Judean Front from Monty Python's Life of Brian, argueing with himself over the merits of Roman occupation. ("Okay, other than roads, sanitation, safety, education and technology, what have the bloody Romans ever done for us?") Also, in good Labourite fashion, Winchester seems to see the various territories' economic plights clearly (most of them are in fairly poor shape), but his suggested response seems to be to throw more government money and "programs" at them.
Second, Winchester takes a number of gratuitous swipes at America and Americans, whom he plainly does not like. This book was written in the mid-80's and he is particularly indignant about the American military presence in Bermuda and Diego Garcia, taking that blinkered, myopic view I've seen in others that if the crazed American gun-slingers would just go away, somehow the Soviet threat would vanish as well. He also is both wistful and indignant about American economic opportunity: for example, he at once dislikes and envies the success of the U.S. Virgin Islands as he looks across the straits from the much shabbier and taudry British VI's. Finally, the paperback edition I have contains an introduction written in 2003, in which Winchester rails against the Forces of Globalization (American in origin), warning of the rise of a new empire that was likely to do such horrendous things as provide jobs and consumer goods while at the same time raising standards of living in otherwise hopeless backwaters. It struck me as somewhat fantastical that he should carry on in this way while totally ignoring another worldwide empire on the rise, one that instead of trying to sell you things, will slit your throat if you don't bow down to its tenants, however medieval.
One other thing: Winchester's description of a visit to Hong Kong doesn't come close to P.J. O'Rourke's in Eat the Rich, either in terms of entertainment value or in terms of understanding Hong Kong's history and politics. Sorry, but it's true.
Nonetheless, I'm glad I read this book and probably will do so again.
Next, I am currently reading this:
Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before by Tony Horwitz.
As the title implies, Horwitz decided to trace the voyages of Captain James Cook and revisit the places Cook had done two hundred odd years earlier.
I confess that I've only just started this book, but so far it is excellent. Horwitz's description of his stint as a hand on a reproduction of Cook's ship Endeavor is quite entertaining. His analysis of Cook's personality and talents (and of the relationship between Cook and Joseph Banks, the great naturalist who accompanied him) is both fair and appreciative, in large part because Horwitz remembers (and reminds his readers) that Cook lived in the 18th Century, not the 21st. And his descriptions of the modern-day versions of the places Cook saw (so far, I've only got as far as Tahiti) seem to be neither preachy nor romanticized. I very much look forward to, er, sailing through the rest of this book.
*** Bonus points for spotting the literary allusion.
What Gives Classical Civ Geeks A Funny Feeling In The Trousers?
The body of a 30 year old woman was discovered in the excavation of a necropolis under the Imperial Forum complex in central Rome.
The well-preserved body, which was found with an amber necklace and some pins, is estimated to date from the 10th Century, B.C. This is well before the founding of the City (traditionally said to have taken place in 753 B.C.) or any development of the concept of Romanism. Most likely, the woman was part of one of the various pre-Roman tribes that occupied the area - Latins, Sabines, Etruscans, etc.
Apparently, the necropolis in which she was found was of some importance and is theorized to have been reserved for people of high rank.
UPDATE: Poking about the 'net looking for more information, I came across this site, Capitolium.Org, which bills itself as the "official website of the Imperial Roman Forums". Lots of nifty history and pics. The site doesn't look like it's been updated too recently and I can't find any mention of the story above, but the article mentions that the find noted above was part of the ongoing excavation of the Forum of Caesar.
What gives tech geeks a funny feeling in the trousers?
Why, stuff like this of course.
"Like An Ex-Virgin/ Touched For The Umpteenth Time"
Sorry, I generally steer clear of what passes for "pop" culture, but I can't resist this:
Apparently, the old girl felt the need to hector somebody who she felt wasn't getting into the shhhwing of things:
“If you are only going to sit there, at least you can smile," reports The Scoop.
What makes me think this isn't the first time she's said that? Heh.
Know what would be the perfect song for Madonna? How about a cover of Lili von Shtupp's classic "I'm Tired"? Somehow, it just seems to, er, fit.
I mean, after all - Madonna cluelessly riffing Madeline Kahn parodying Marlene Dietrich would be really rather beautiful in a kind of Bizarro World Platonist way.
Hell, I'd buy it.
Algore is off his meds, again
Back to "Gore-bot"
May 30, 2006
Welcome back, Allahpundit
Back to top form in this one succinct post.
We're also the #2 Google UK result for "Narnia's in pajama cakes".
I don't know what pajama cakes are or why Narnia would be in them, but it's not like Aslan is a tame lion, after all.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)
The LMC likes to predict with relish that the four year old Llama-ette is going to be sky-diving with her biker boyfriend (after having got a celebratory new body-piercing) by the time she is fourteen or so.
Judging by the way she threw herself onto the rock climb at her school's recent fun fair, I grow increasingly desponent at the thought that he is probably right:
She went right to the top, of course.
Summertime and the Blogger is Hazy
We've been having our first real spell of genuine hot weather here in the Dee Cee area - it's supposed to be into the 90's today before cooling down later in the week.
I think I must have been having a Mad Dogs and Englishmen Moment over the weekend, furiously scrambling to get the lawn done Friday and the gardens weeded and pruned Saturday (and taking new pics of peonies, roses and foxglove, which I will share if they turn out), for by Sunday afternoon, I was completely adrift, mentally. (Of course, this could also be owing to the fact that the LMC and his family deployed to Orgle Manor and there was much feasting and revelry Saturday night. But that's a different story.) I drifted off early in the afternoon and, despite the fact that I was only actually asleep for twenty minutes or so, never fully regained consciousness for the rest of the day. Indeed, all that kept me awake at all was the need to periodically go out and move the hose I was using to water the hollies.
Yesterday was more of the same, with most of the day spent in the hammock watching our pair of resident bluebirds hunting insects across the lawn. I haven't seen bluebirds around the house for a year or two and am very happy they're back, as they are one of my very favorite kinds of bird. Unfortunately, we've also got cowbirds - nasty, worthless louts that clean out the feeders and plant their young on other species. If I do indeed buy a pellet gun to deal with the rabbits (one of which I also saw this weekend, btw), I may turn it on the cowbirds as well.
Anyhoo, I wound up cooking dinner last evening and fortunately had just been tipped off by Mom about the most ridiculously easy but tasty way of preparing potatoes imaginable, which I pass along for your consideration:
PO - TA - TOES FOR DUMMIES:
- Take some new potatoes. Halve or quarter as desired.
- Put the potatoes in a bowl. Add finely chopped rosemary to taste.
- Add a small amount of olive oil. Stir until the potatoes are all lightly coated with oil.
-Place the potatoes on a tinfoil-covered cookie tin. Shove in the oven for 45 minutes at 425 degrees. Forget about them and go do something else.
- With about five minutes to go in cooking time, sprinkle the potatoes with finely chopped garlic (don't do it earlier or the garlic will burn too much).
- When removing, drain away any remaining oil.
How simple is that? And delicious, too. Of course, as always I probably added too much garlic (if there is such a thing). But I can't help it. I love the stuff. I'd use garlic-flavored toothpaste if it was socially acceptable. Mmmmmmm......garlic......[Insert Homer Simpson drooling noise here]
Anyhoo, I still seem to be feeling the effects of the heat today (as does half the blogsphere, apparently, judging by the relative lightness of posting).
The rodeo of incompetence moseys along
Just got the phone call a little while from the complete and utter tool who has been our department chair for the past year. Regular readers who get amused by faculty politics might remember the long and tawdry affair that was his administration----he was truly the Emperor Commodus of department chairs. When I passed the reigns over 12 months ago, we were four full time tenure tracks with two full time adjuncts; I now stand as the only one left remaining (at least for the moment).
He's going to Shitburg State Junior College in Bunghole, Texas. I'm planning on giving his actual info to our pal Dr. Rusty Shackleford who can make his life a living hell, Texas being a small place academically.
This continues the exodus at our college---we have approximately 75 tenured/tenure track folks, and this year, not counting retirments, we now have lost 9 confirmed, with another three probable departures during the summer, of which six were assistants and three are associates or full (one of each, and the third I'm not sure of whether he had been promoted or not).
The official word from our President at the last faculty meeting: there was a problem with low faculty morale caused by.........faculty members with low morale.
Meanwhile, I'm back upstairs to the kitchen where I'm currently playing Risk with the two eldest who stayed home from school today. I'm playing the Columbus/Ward Churchill strategy----I've got the Americas, and have huge redoubts in Iceland, Alaska, and North Africa, with a tripwire of forces in Europe. Mr. Skinny (age 7) is playing the Khan Gambit, and currently has Asia dominated, although we'll see if he can hold it. He's already drawn his flag and his castle. Miss Somersault (age 9) is trying to play the Captain Cook hook by holding Australia and eastern Africa.
I'll let you know who wins.
It's A Wiggly, Wiggly Reality Show!
Gary the Ex-Donk has a great new poll up - Survivor: Wiggle Bay. So far, it appears as if Greg is going to be the first to get the push which, this being Australia, probably means he will fall into the ocean and be devoured by great white sharks.
We've more or less sailed out of the Wiggle zone at Orgle Manor so it's hard for me to judge, but it seems that perhaps Wigglemania has eased off a bit in the last year or two. Is that right? Gary's suggestion that Murray - cheerful, shy Murray - is secretly plotting to overthrow Greg's domination of the group kinda gives a sinister new spark to the whole business and could be just what is needed to propel the Wiggly Four back to the top.
Anyhoo, go on over and vote.
When In Rome
Just in case you were interested in the outcome of the eight year old's recent Circus Maximus construction project, here it is:
(Image courtesy of the In-laws)
As you can see, it's more of a stylized model than a technically faithful reproduction, but I think it gets the idea across reasonably well. We had to keep it pretty simple, as the only tools I had to work with were a couple of x-acto knives and saws. I did all the cutting, but the Llama-ette sanded and glued the vast majority of bits into place. The gel was especially pleased with the way we created the stands by stacking progressively narrower lengths of balsa on top of each other.
All in all, we had an awful lot of fun putting the thing together.
May 29, 2006
Timeless words to ponder on Memorial Day
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Lincoln at Gettysburg.
May 28, 2006
Just for the hell of it. . .
Younger, fresher. . .
Saw it this week as part of the Netflix lineup. Sorry folks, but I had a tough time getting into this movie. It seems to have all the right incredients for a brainless action movie: good-looking fighting chicks, exotic weapons, and great special effects--just the sort of thing that would appeal to the world's shallowest moviegoer, me. Unfortunately, Charlize Theron just could not hold it together.
Still fighting the 2004 campaign
Kerry can't get over the Swift Boats vets and their oppositon to his candidacy. Must be seared, seared, into his memory. Well, John, I have not gotten over your testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. You are either a war criminal or a perjurer so which is it?
FLASH IN THE PAN BABES OF THE NINETIES-ONE HIT WONDER DIVISION
It's Sunday evening and we take time to reflect upon the babes of yesteryear in another installment in this soon-to-be award winning series. Tonight's feature: Welsh singer Donna Lewis whose 1996 single: "I Love You Forever" from her debut CD rocketed to the top of the charts. Unfortunately, it proved to be the peak of her career and she quickly faded from the scene. Donna's her music seems to comes up most frequently on the satellite radio channels that get my attention on the long drives to drill. According to her website, she is still out there doing her thing, sort of like Eighties greats Pat Benatar and Cyndi Lauper (who had a lot more than one hit apiece). So far, no indication of rehab, multiple marriages, photo shoots in skins mags, or experimentation of the sort Dr. Rusty does not find objectionable.
UPDATE: Speaking of Eighties icon Cyndi, here is her website. She reminds you of the slightly screwy gal that you know is bad for you but is just irresistible. Boys, you know what I mean.
May 26, 2006
Well-Earned Lazy Friday Afternoon Posting
How sweet is this? I got the entire yard mown, raked and trimmed just in time for the first line of this afternoon's thunderstorms to roll through. This was a full monty mowing too, which means that in addition to the yard itself, I also dealt with the ditch out by the road and the clearing behind the back fence. All told, a really thorough job of it takes about four hours.
But, as I say, I'm done. And just in time for the rain. So I'm going to put my hooves up with a tall glass of iced coffee and a bowl of popcorn and read my new copy of Simon Winchester's Outposts, about his travels to the far-flung remains of the British Empire. (I'll probably write a review later.)
In the meantime, let me leave you with a question that came up at dinner recently: I made the observation that I thought Clint Black's cover of "Desperado" had some inherent Brokeback issues to it. For example, when the singer sings "you better let somebody love you," presumably this is not just disinterested advice, but more of an invitation. Our guest, an old friend, told me I was talking nonsense. What do you think?
For the love of the Lawhd Gawhd, NO!
For years, we history geeks have been wondering when a movie version of Undaunted Courage would be coming to the big screen.
Damn our ambition.
Ladies and gentlemen, Hollywood's idea of Lewis and Clark:
Unfortunatley, I'm not making this up:
Brad Pitt and Ed Norton may re-team for a mini-series playing famous American explorers Lewis and Clark.
The pair are producing the 10-hour saga, based on Stephen Ambrose's book Undaunted Courage. Norton explains, "We have friends who've been pointing out that there are some funny echoes, similarities between Lewis and Clark and us."
"I don't have any prejudice against it. At the moment, we're acting as good shepherds for the project. It's being written now."
Norton, who starred with Pitt in Fight Club, claims Undaunted Courage was one of the "most page-turning books I've ever read." The actor was so inspired by the novel that he decided to produce the project with Pitt for HBO.
HT to the scrumptious Lawren Mills.
Unfortunately, our sooper sekrit Hollywood correspondent "Phil" has sent us an advanced "treatment" of the plot outline:
Captain Merriwether Lewis, working for President Jefferson, discovers sekrit plot of American government to invade Libya to control whale oil exports to the Mediterranean. Cart chase through Georgetown, rogue agents from the CIA firing flintlock pistols as Lewis escapes. Arrives in St. Louis to find the one person he can trust---old childhood friend William Clark (flashback to the youths helping to organize slave rebellion with Nat Turner), who is now down and out as a gay hustler working the mean streets. Clark doesn't believe Lewis, until rogue CIA/NSA agents burn St. Louis down. Lewis and Clark flee west with only clue, copy of the Mona Lisa with "SACAGEWA?" written in Ben Franklin's blood. Find Sacagewa, shaman/wisewoman, who leads the boys to the Pacific Coast. Cut to Jefferson, being all indecisive, as whale oil conspiracy being run out of office of VP Aaron Burr, former chairman of the Board of Halliburton Whale Oil Co. Burr offers evidence to Jefferson that Lewis and Clark are actually plotting along with Army General James Wilkinson to work with rogue elements of the Spanish government to create a separate country our of north-eastern Mexico, to be named Tex-florida. Jefferson authorizes a Delta Team contingent to eliminate the threat to National Security. Cut to boys standing on cliff, looking out over at the Pacific Ocean, shaman/wise woman Sacagewa behind them, looking wise.
Watch out, James Lileks
The Lissa Empire is expanding to the Lilting House.
Her other blog Here in the Bonny Glenn is pound for pound the best blog on these here internets.
May 25, 2006
Because size matters
My dream Christmas present, courtesy of the fine folks at Israeli Military Industries.
From the Mos Eisley Cantina
Bush '41 wants to melt a South American glacier to get at the gold beneath it, thanks to one of the conspiracy nutcases at The Daily Kos. I am not making this up.
Darth Vader: Phone Home
Today is the anniversary of the premiere in 1977 of Star Wars.
My Brain Hurts!
Sorry for the lack of posting today. The six year old's school presentation went off just fine this morning, but of course it took up a major chunk of time. Add to that the fact that it's the afternoon before Memorial Day weekend and that I seem to have managed to catch a cold and you will understand that I am having some.......cranial issues.
Your lunchtime essay assignment
In what ways does the induction of Henry Winkler into the Tee Vee Hall of Fame of New Zealand represent the chaotic hegemony of American Imperialism in the 21st Century? Discuss in terms of theories of foreign policy of Hans Morganthau, Irving Kristol, and neo-liberalism.
What? That's not Fonzie?
Yips! from Robbo: I suggest we turn this into a caption contest. My pick?
"AlGore Gives Thumbs Up To Self-Administered Prostate Exams"
She's back (albeit temporarily), she's rested, and she's crankier than ever!
Ladies and gentlemen, Kathy the Cake Eater.
Gosh, I hope she's not mad that, in her absence, we generally trashed her place and turned it into the internet's #1 stop for all things related to Bette Midler's classic flick Beaches.
Because, you know, that would tick some people off...
Back in the spotlight for 2 minutes
...and back to his old tricks.
Les Trixie chiclettes ask what would Bruce Springsteen do?
Here are my guesses:
TOP TEN THINGS BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN WOULD DO IF HE FOUND HIMSELF AS A DIXIE CHICK:
10. Take some singing lessons, maybe even a guitar lesson or two;
9. Stop taking himself so damn seriously;
8. Get a big dude to play saxaphone;
7. Two words: Max Weinberg;
6. Tactfully refrain from writing a song about ex-governors hanging out in Turnpike Men's Rooms;
5. Loan his neighbor his garden weasel, because you know A.) he's got a well-stocked garage, and B.) he's one of those cool neighbors who'll actually loan you tools and stuff;
4. Invite Paul McCartney over for a tofu BBQ, have a few beers, maybe play some pool, get him over his woman troubles;
3. Record 5 or 6 completely iconic albums;
2. Sell out Giants Stadium for a months worth of 4 hour a night concerts;
And the number one thing Bruce Springsteen would do if he found himself a Dixie Chick:
1. Be gracious, have class, and not be a whining, snivelling punk.
Oh, and you can bet that he wouldn't be caught dead having his latest album bundled together with Crashing the Gates in the 59 cent remaindered bin at Books a Million.
But then again, Bruce Springsteen wouldn't have to.
Off to the six year old's end-of-year extravaganza at St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method this morning. In one of those "Good God, Where Does The Time Go?" moments, it just recently sank in on me that this is it for kindergarten for her and that next year she starts lower elementary.
Be back later.
May 24, 2006
I don't know what this means....
The sound you hear is of Robbo, curled up in the fetal position, dog-eared copy of Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by his side....
Inside joke alert---funnier than white shoes at a Columbus Day Garden Party
I know INDCent Bill thinks it's passe, but I think it's somehow entirely appropriate that we are #6 on Google for:
rules for Southern women
She who bears the rose must first google chum it.
Somewhere, the Butcher's Wife, Mrs. LMC, Chai-Rista and Jordana are having a good laugh at our expense.
Your late lunch essay assignment
Given the extreme paucity of new ideas in Hollywood, approximately how long will it be until this becomes a feature length film, directed by Michael Bay, starring the Wilson Brothers and Ben Stiller?
Use ordinary least squares regression analysis, and show all your work.
EXTRA CREDIT: In what ways does this 3:11 minute video differ at all from an entire season of 24? I mean, other than there's no Chloe, or Kim being threatened by a Cougar? Or Audrey, for that matter.
"The Seventh Python"
Exactly, which is a shame. He played Ron Nasty, the Lennon knock-off among the Prefab Four in this movie, but most of you would probably recognize him best as the chief of Sir Robin's minstrels in Monty Python and the Holy Grail:
But he's also been involved in a number of other Python-related ventures, including Eric the Viking, Life of Brian and a couple of shows of the last season of Flying Circus. (For which he also wrote some material. Innes and Douglas Adams are the only two non-Pythons evern credited for doing so.) He's never had prominant parts, but every time I see him, he seems so competent and good-natured about it that I can't help smiling. (I noticed that again as I was watching him as Ron Nasty.)
Innes is primarily a musical type and is really quite clever. One of the aforesaid Flying Circus episodes (entitled "The Light Entertainment Wars") closes with a black and white film of Innes as an RAF pilot standing in front of a Hurricane and wooing a girl who becomes increasingly bored and distracted.
Innes sings a song he wrote called "When Does a Dream Begin" and it's not at all a bad example of period mush:
The outlook for today is mainly tragic,
Cloudy, dull, occasional rain and scattered magic,
But unlike those who say
They prefer the good old days,
I hardly ever feel nostalgic.
And although the intellectually agile,
Can logically prove the heart is fragile,
Through all of its affairs,
Love is still the simple badge I'll proudly wear...
When does a dream begin?
Does it start with a goodnight kiss?
Is it begun when two hearts are one
When does a dream begin?
When does a dream begin?
Is it born in a moment of bliss?
Is it conceived or simply achieved
When does a dream begin?
The vision of you appears somehow
Impossible to resist
But I'm not imagining seeing you now
For who could have dreamed of this?
When does a dream begin?
When reality is dismissed?
Or does it commence when we lose all pretense?
When does a dream begin?
When does a dream begin?
(Lyrics and photo lifted from Innes' own website.)
I've always thought the grainy film, the tinny piano accompaniment and the whole dynamic of the piece to be a perfect cap to what is very close to a perfect Flying Circus episode.
Anyhoo, let me just say hats off! to Mr. Innes, one of the entertainment world's unsung heroes.
Will Riker considers taking a break from holodeck babes.
Yips! to Jonah.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)
I went to the four year old's end-of-year performance at school this morning. As the gel sat in her little circle of friends, leering at me like a maniac, one of the assistant teachers sidled up to me and said, "She's four going on fourteen, and at both ages she's going to make you pull your hair out. But in class, she's one of the most helpful and responsible of the children."
Indeed, I've noticed this dichotome before.
Self: Do you leave toys and books lying all over the place like this at school?
Self: Well then why do you think you can do so at home?
Gel: I dunnoooooo.......
Self: Do you talk back like that to Mrs. [Teacher] at school?
Self: Well what makes you think you can at home?
Sigh. I'm afraid the assistant is absolutely right in her assessment. As I may have mentioned before, my private nickname for this gel is Harpo: the instant you turn your back on her, she sets your hat on fire, cuts your tie in half and jams her foot into your pocket.
Jack Bauer is........DEAD?
Blogs4Bauer report on a quick screen shot from the season finale that seems to point to Jack being.......dead.
We've known that for awhile, ever since Fox sent us accidently the publicity pack for season 6:
Top Ten Signs that Jack Bauer is Dead
10. Cigarette is in the wrong hand
9. Long haired hippie walking in front of "Jack" is still alive; Jack no like long-haired hippie freaks
8. No fetching man purse
7. See, he's barefoot, and they're going to a funeral, and, like...
6. Heather Mills is nowhere in sight, counting out big stacks of life insurance premiums
5. It would seem to imply that Ringo is holding down a day job
4. Wasn't Six Feet Under cancelled?
3. No sign of the Chinese Subplot
2. Why is the LLama smoking a cigar?
And the number one sign Jack Bauer is in fact dead going into season 6, if you blow up and look closely at the license plate of the VW Beatle:
May 23, 2006
Uberhottie Liberal Chick of the Day
Phinneas starts a new feature, to counter our lawyer's claims that he was violating our copyright as Al Gore's internets one-stop shoppe for all things French Nooz Babe (and sometimes nekkid beach denizen) Melissa Theuriau.
CAVEAT: I wll say this about his, umm, target: we had her speak on campus about three years ago, and I had the task of introducing her. She was hilarious, self-deprecating, funny, not a prima donna, and good to the students. Her whole speech was about how she completely disagreed with Judge McConnell on religion issues, which is why he should be confirmed, because there was a good chance she was completely wrong. My kind of thinking often. Compare that to the Kennedy we had speak on campus this semester who was a high-strung flouncy overbearing inarticulately embarassing gas bag, who just about relieved himself in the rose bushes and made repeated passes at anything that wasn't nailed down.
UPDATE: I think that counts as my birthday present for Rightwing Sparkle!
|Which country should you REALLY be living in?|
The United Kingdom
You have pride in yourself and pride in your country. You believe that history and culture is an important factor to the future of your country, and that traditions and values should be upheld. You love your scones and tea, and reading soppy romance novels. The UK is where you should be...
|Click Here to Take This Quiz|
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.
Of course, this is all rot. The Anglophilia in which I indulge is based on a Britain which certainly doesn't exist anymore and only partially existed to begin with. And damme if I know the relevance of "soppy romance novels". Still, I'll take the chance to fly the Union when I get it.
Yips! to Rachel. She's a good Sheila, Bruce, and not at all stuck up.
YIPS from Steve: As IF this were some kind of surprise:
I'm Steve the LLamabutcher, and I'm a google-chumming traffic whore
But you knew that already.
The question is, though, how much of a google-chumming traffic whore am I?
Sometimes even I am afraid to find out:
WHY NOT JUST ASK? Ace New York Times reporter Patrick Healy delivers a big scoop on the Clinton family marriage. Take this shocking revelation:
Since the start of 2005, the Clintons have been together about 14 days a month on average, according to aides who reviewed the couple's schedules. Sometimes it is a full day of relaxing at home in Chappaqua; sometimes it is meeting up late at night. At their busiest, they saw each other on a single day, Valentine's Day, in February 2005 -- a month when each was traveling a great deal. Last August, they saw each other at some point on 24 out of 31 days. Out of the last 73 weekends, they spent 51 together. The aides declined to provide the Clintons' private schedule.
Atrios wants to hit the hypocrisy button and wonders where the articles are pondering the sex lives of prominent Republicans. Frankly, I'd like to know why Healy can't just drop the silly insinuations and faux investigative methods. Both Clintons have official spokespersons, just ask them how often Bill and Hillary have sex. When they don't say, you can run a nice juicy headline like "Clintons Stonewalling on Sex Frequency Issue," or, to repeat a classic Monica-era format, "Clintons Dogged By Sex Frequency Questions," as if these things just come out of nowhere. If you're not going to ask straight-up, or even write clearly what you're talking about, then what's the point of all this?
Bill Clinton, check. Monica, check. Hillary, check. Doggie, check. Sex frequency, check. Madeline Albright naked, naughty albino assassin, velveeta, Dodge Durango, three-way, peg-legged Pirate, avast ye mateys, Rocket Roger Returns to Sawx, Da Vinci Code sucks, check.
Serious, serious, personality disorders vented anonymously via my blog, CHECK.
Yips! from Robbo: Better keep off the meds for the next few days, pardner, cos Bobgirrl is calling us out.
YIPS from Steve-O: Ah, a new challenge, one fraught with potential diplomatic difficulties. Stevie likes.
Dot's Not VUNNY!
An interesting article in The Guardian about the common Brit assumption that Germans have no sense of humor. According to the author, Stewart Lee, the actual reason underlying this assumption lies in the vast differences between the English and German languages - English is far more flexible, and this flexibility is the basis of a good bit of English humor, a concept nearly non-existent among Germans.
This may very well be true, but for some mysterious reason, Lee seems to think that the wonders of English are a bad thing in this context, that such a supple form of communication produces nothing more than cheap laughs and leads to shear laziness among English humorists:
At a rough estimate, half of what we find amusing involves using little linguistic tricks to conceal the subject of our sentences until the last possible moment, so that it appears we are talking about something else. For example, it is possible to imagine any number of British stand-ups concluding a bit with something structurally similar to the following, "I was sitting there, minding my own business, naked, smeared with salad dressing and lowing like an ox ... and then I got off the bus." We laugh, hopefully, because the behaviour described would be inappropriate on a bus, but we had assumed it was taking place either in private or perhaps at some kind of sex club, because the word "bus" was withheld from us. Other suitable punchlines for this set-up would be, "And that was just the teachers", "I was 28-years-old" and "That's the last time I attempt to find work as a research chemist in Paraguay."YIPS from Steve-O: Sorry, I couldn't resist interjecting my favorite such example:There is even a technical term used by those who direct comedy on camera to describe this one-size-fits-all mechanism. Eddie Large is gasping for air as a hot dog falls into the end of his snorkel. The shot widens to reveal Sid Little, whose sausages are flying into the air out of his hot-dog buns because he is using too much ketchup. Pull back and reveal. But German will not always allow you to shunt the key word to the end of the sentence to achieve this failsafe laugh. After spending weeks struggling with the rigours of the German language's far less flexible sentence structures to achieve the endless succession of "pull back and reveals" that constitute much English language humour, the idea of our comedic superiority soon begins to fade. It is a mansion built on sand.I don't think you understand: Chunks is my dog!Sorry. I now return you to your regularly scheduled posting.
While I'm intrigued by Lee's linguistic theory, I think it's preposterous that he seems to feel the need to grovel for it.
Speaking of English and German humor, show of hands please for all you Monty Python fans who love the Funniest Joke In The World sketch. I especially love the part where the WFJ becomes militarized and sparks an arms race between the Brits and the Nazis:
Colonel (Graham Chapman): All through the winter of '43 we had translators working, in joke-proof conditions, to try and produce a German version of the joke. They worked on one word each for greater safety. One of them saw two words of the joke and spent several weeks in hospital. But apart from that things went pretty quickly, and we soon had the joke by January, in a form which our troops couldn't understand but which the Germans could. Cut to a trench in the Ardennes. Members of the joke brigade are crouched holding pieces of paper with the joke on them.
Voice Over: So, on July 8th, 1944, the joke was first told to the enemy in the Ardennes...
Commanding NCO (Terry Jones): Squad! Get the....joke. Tell the ... joke.
Joke Brigade (together): Wenn ist das Nunstruck git und Slotermeyer? Ja! ... Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!
Pan out of the British trench across war-torn landscape and come to rest where presumably the German trench is. There is a pause and then a group of Germans rear up in hysterics.
Voice Over: It was a fantastic success. Over sixty thousand times as powerful as Britain's great pre-war joke ...
Cut to a film of Chamberlain brandishing the 'Peace in our time' bit of paper.
Voice Over: ...and one which Hitler just couldn't match.
(Film of Hitler rally. Hitler speaks; subtitles are superimposed.
SUBTITLE 'MY DOG'S GOT NO NOSE'
A young soldier responds:
SUBTITLE: HOW DOES HE SMELL?
Voice Over: In action it was deadly.
Cut to a small squad with rifles making their way through forest. Suddenly one of them (a member of the joke squad) sees something and gives signal at which they all dive for cover. From the cover of a tree he reads out joke.
Joke Corporal: Wenn ist das Nunstruck git und Slotermeyer? Ja! .. Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!
Sniper falls laughing out of tree.
Joke Brigade: (charging) Wenn ist das Nunstruck git und Slotermeyer? Ja! ... Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput.
They chant the joke. Germans are put to flight laughing, some dropping to ground.
Voice Over: The German casualties were appalling.
Cut to a German hospital and a ward full of casualties still laughing
Cut to Nazi interrogation room. An officer from the joke brigade has a light shining in his face. A Gestapo officer is interrogating him; another (clearly labelled 'A Gestapo Officer') stands behind him.
Nazi (John Cleese): Vott is the big joke?
Officer (Michael Palin): I can only give you name, rank, and why did the chicken cross the road?
Nazi: That's not funny! (slaps him) I vant to know the joke.
Officer: All right. How do you make a Nazi cross?
Nazi: (momentarily fooled) I don't know ... how do you make a Nazi cross?
Officer: Tread on his corns. (does so; the Nazi hops in pain)
Nazi: Gott in Himmel! That's not funny! (mimes cuffing him while the other Nazi claps his hands to provide the sound effect) Now if you don't tell me the joke, I shall hit you properly.
Officer: I can stand physical pain, you know.
Nazi: Ah ... you're no fun. All right, Otto.
Otto (Graham Chapman) starts tickling the officer who starts laughing.
Officer: Oh no - anything but that please no, all right I'll tell you.
Nazi: Quick Otto. The typewriter.
Otto goes to the typewriter and they wait expectantly. The officer produces piece of paper out of his breast pocket and reads.
Officer: Wenn ist das Nunstruck git und Slotermeyer? Ja! ... Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput.
Otto at the typewriter explodes with laughter and dies.
Nazi: Ach! Zat iss not funny!
Bursts into laughter and dies. A guard (Terry Gilliam ) bursts in with machine gun, The British officer leaps on the table.
Officer: (lightning speed) Wenn ist das Nunstruck git und Slotermeyer? Ja! ... Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput.
The guard reels back and collapses laughing. British officer makes his escape.
Cut to stock film of German scientists working in laboratories.
Voice Over: But at Peenemunde in the Autumn of '44, the Germans were working on a joke of their own.
Cut to interior. A German general (Terry Jones) is seated at an imposing desk. Behind him stands Otto, labelled 'A Different Gestapo Officer'. Bespectacled German scientist/joke writer enters room. He clean his throat and reads from card.
German Joker (Eric Idle): Die ist ein Kinnerhunder und zwei Mackel über und der bitte schön ist den Wunderhaus sprechensie. 'Nein' sprecht der Herren 'Ist aufern borger mit zveitingen'.
He finishes and looks hopeful.
Otto: Ve let you know.
He shoots him.
More stock film of German scientists.
Voice Over: But by December their joke was ready, and Hitler gave the order for the German V-Joke to be broadcast in English.
Cut to 1940's wartime radio set with couple anxiously listening to it.
Radio (crackly German voice): Der ver zwei peanuts, valking down der strasse, and von vas... assaulted! peanut. Ho-ho-ho-ho.
Radio bursts into 'Deutschland Über Alles'. The couple look at each other and then in blank amazement at the radio.
Then there's the classic Fawlty Towers episode (my personal favorite, btw) where Basil gets a concussion from having a moose head fall on him just before a group of German tourists arrive. Preoccupied with not mentioning the War, Basil of course keeps mentioning it, increasingly upsetting one of the German women. Finally, Basil notices this:
Basil: Here. Why is she crying?
German: She ist upset because you keep talking about ze war!
Basil: Well, you started it.
German: Ve did not start it!
Basil: Yes, you did - you invaded Poland!
Sorry for rambling a bit. Tim Worstall, from whom I got the original link, puts it all much more succinctly.
Dot's STILL not vunny!
Here I was musing about the fact that one could still joke about the Germans in these days of PC fever when I came across this article about Cleese himself attempting to stamp the practice out:
The 66-year-old actor is endorsing an essay competition - called "But don't mention the war" - organised by the German embassy in London, which encourages British students to write 3,000 words about modern Germany.
Cleese puts the jackboot firmly into his most celebrated character. "I'm delighted to help with trying to break down the ridiculous anti-German prejudices of the tabloids and clowns like Basil Fawlty, who are pathetically stuck in a world view that's more than half a century out of date," he says.
You see, virulent German expansionism is sooooo 20th Century. It's time to move on. Schnell!
Lunchtime essay assignment
In what ways does the armadillo express the aspirations and cultural imperialism of Chimpy McHitler and the Neo-Khan agenda? Discuss in terms of the works of Ward Churchill, Noam Chomsky, and Franklin the Turtle.
Pecking The Hands That Feed Them
Ith puts the smackdown on the "Dixie Pollo-ettes". In. Deed.
In following up, it strikes me that if the D-Chicks are really serious about shedding the taint of their more undesirable fans then they should immediately refund all the money spent on their CDs to anybody who can also show that they also have Reba and Toby CD's.
I know that a check for $12.95 (or whatever it is) would be winging its way to Orgle Manor.......
The Colossus has a piece on a fraud who claimed to be an Army Ranger in Iraq committing various war crimes, now exposed as the lying piece of excrement he is. This brings to mind Kerry's "Winter Soldiers" extravaganza in the early Seventies where various types came forward, confessed to all manner of war crimes, and were subsequently exposed as frauds.
Ye Olde Historickal Celebration Yposting
I've been perusing the Jamestown 2007 website this morning. It seems the organizers are pulling out all the stops to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the founding of the colony.
I was prompted to check it out initially owing to a series of radio ads that have started to annoy me. They tout America's 400th anniversary, and go on at great lengths about all the ideas of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and all the other things that make the good ol' U.S. of A wunnerful and how they all started right there in ye olde Jamestown.
What nonsense. Sure, this was the first permanent English settlement in the New World, so technically everthing that followed - especially in Virginia - can be said to trace back to it, but I think it's something of a stretch to suggest that, politically or philosophically speaking, a band of Stuart-Era adventurers in 1607 had all that much in common with the Founding Fathers, who had 160-odd years of colonial experience and some seriously developed 18th Century Enlightenment thought under their collective belts. It all could have gone very, very differently, after all.
I rant primarily because I think colonial history is a seriously overlooked subject in this country. Most people these days have a kind of Underpants Gnomes mentality about it:
3. Fourth of July
Maybe the thinking is to lure folks in by making the appeal as broad as possible and then to edumacate them, but this seems dishonest to me.
The site has all kinds of info on the parties and events planned for the occasion - the sailing of the Godspeed, ties to the battle of Yorktown (profit!), a smattering of Indian commemorations in order to ensure that White Guilt is maintained at the proper level, etc. But here's something that puzzles me:
"Children's Performance: Ba-Baaah and the Windigo - an original children’s show telling the story of 1607 from the perspective of a young Indian girl and some of the indigenous animals present when the ships first arrived."
(Italics mine.) I draw your attention in particular to the character in the middle. Who knew that Maurice Sendak's Wild Things lived on the shores of the James? If that's the kind of thing that Pocahontas imagined she saw, no wonder John Smith didn't marry her.
UPDATE: BTW, I should mention that the Jamestown reconstruction itself is a very cool place to go - the 'rents used to live about fifteen minutes away and we took the Llama-ettes over numerous times.
UPDATE DEUX: When the subject turns to Jamestown, I can never resist also adding a few words about Fort St. George and the Popham Colony, founded the same year near the mouth of Maine's Kennebec River. (I have gone bluefish fishing in the tidal inlet overlooked by the colony's site a number of times. It's just around the corner from one of my favorite out of the way vacation locales, Popham Beach, and a stone's throw from Fort Popham, a massive Civil War emplacement guarding the mouth of the river.)
There's not much to say, really, in terms of historical impact. The leader of the colony, George Popham, died. The new leader, Raleigh Gilbert, learned from a supply ship that he had inhereted a lot of money and decided to go back to England. The remaining colonists had no wish to stick around leaderless, so they all went home as well. The entire enterprise lasted about a year.
Nonetheless, the colony's record is a good snapshot of the realities of 1607:
The colony started as an initiative of the highest importance. James I issued the charter forming both the Popham Colony and Jamestown on April, 10, 1606, to grasp for England the unsettled east coast of North America. France recently had planted a colony at the northeast extent of present-day Maine; Spain held Florida. The Virginia Company, thus created, parceled the unsettled east coast to two separate companies: the London Company to settle south of roughly the Hudson River and the Plymouth Company to settle roughly north of the Hudson into Maine. Jamestown’s ships landed three months before those of the Popham Colony. Unlike the Popham colonists, those at Jamestown struggled, but persevered.
The documents surviving on Popham Colony, although maddeningly incomplete, outline its story. Factions formed from the start. President George Popham was old, “timorously fearful to offende” and “of an unwildy body,” but he was also the nephew of Sir John Popham, Chief Justice of England, colony namesake and its chief backer. Second in charge, Raleigh Gilbert, was young, perhaps 24, “desirous of supremacy, and rule, a loose life...prompte to sensuality,” and of higher social standing than his superior. Some references suggest he may have - however wrongly - asserted he had a prior claim, by Elizabeth I’s 1578 patent to his father Sir Humfrey Gilbert, the lost explorer. Setbacks plagued the Popham Colony. The Maine winter was unusually severe. Fire broke out in the midst of it, damaging buildings and destroying provisions. The Indian trade yielded little return, and relations with the local people, the Abenaki, were strained.
Ultimately, three deaths determined the colony’s fate. Sir John Popham died in 1607 in England. President George Popham died at Popham Colony in February 1608. Raleigh Gilbert’s brother died leaving to him the extensive Gilbert estates in England, a surprise, no doubt, for the youngest of seven children seeking his fortune in the New World. Documents record that at Fort St. George the colonists built a trenched fortification, a large storehouse, a chapel building, and a house for Raleigh Gilbert. Shipwrights who accompanied the voyage constructed a small vessel called a pinnace, which the colonists named the “Virginia” and sailed to England on their return. A chance surviving document especially caught [archeologist Jeffrey] Brain’s attention. Among the items of espionage that Spain’s ambassador to London, Pedro de Zuniga, secreted to his Lord, King Philip III, in 1608, were accounts of Popham Colony, and a map of it, drawn by one John Hunt. The map (critical to further discoveries at Popham) has fortunately survived (fig.2).
Read the rest, including the history of the excavations. I promise there isn't even a suggestion of freakoid costumed figures hanging around this place.
Dave Barry's take on it. I am beginning to share Dave's disgust for Audrey who refuses to cash in her chips. It seems everytime she shows up, Jack has an emotional/tender/weak moment immediately followed by something bad. Bauer should know that when she appears, his guard should be up 'cause its thigh shootin' time. Instead, his mind clouded by the sight of Audrey wearing a black bra with a white shirt on that scrawny body, his concentration goes out the window, and then the bad guys get the drop on him. . .
Random Commuter Observation
There seems to be a particularly malignant form of pollen floating about the Dee Cee metro area at the moment. The past couple days, I've managed to get some of it under one or both of my contacts whilst commuting, with the resulting redness and tears making me look like a drug addict. Not just any drug addict either, but one who just got the bad news that his silver-haired mother back in the old country had died after expressing a final wish that she could have seen him just one more time before she passed.
Not many things more painful than getting stuff under your lenses.
May 22, 2006
No. Nyet. Noooooooo.
Die Hard IV coming soon.
Won't those pesky terrorists be surprised when the senior center they decide to attack has that one crusty loner resident, retired Capt. John McClane? Fortunately, all the rest of the cast of Cocoon will be available for guest parts.
Yips! from Robbo: May I offer a long-cherished title suggestion? Die Hard IV: So Die Already!
XXIV Liveblogging---LLama Style
Here's Dave Barry's intro:
This is it, 24 fans. Tonight is the night. Hard to believe, isn't it? Months ago, when we embarked on this staggering waste of time exciting group adventure, we were just a ragtag bunch of misfits. But today, after 22 hours of collectively watching Jack Bauer race all over the greater Los Angeles perimeter shooting, choking, stabbing and yelling at people in his relentless and desperate quest for a plot, we are something more: We are pathetic no-life losers a highly disciplined viewing unit. And I am darned proud to be part of it.
Tonight, the Neighborhood Ladies' Book Club is here, scourge of my existence that it is. So, I've got kid duty, and so I can pretty much guarantee you that no kids will be safely ensconsed in bed until, oh, 9:45. So here's my prediction of what my liveblogging of tonight's episode will be:
Here we go!
totally saw that coming
commercial--hate this one
allstate, again? didn't he get greased a day ago?
oops here we go again
wow, house repeat looks good
i've got great news! you know how to fix this noo-lear sub problem? no! but i just saved a lot of money switching to geico
i don't care what they say---that's a fetching manpurse Jack is carrying
man, that was totally predictable
this is totally lame
grim reaper time!
that's going to leave a mark
this show has totally jumped the shark
where did that come from?
i totally called that
didn't see that
this totally sucks
chloe and the homeland security matron getting it on---didn't see THAT coming
best season ever
More Llama Netflix Posting
On its way to me this week: The Rutles.
I am particularly looking forward to this. While I've never seen the movie before, I've had the album for a long, long time and have all the songs thoroughly memorized: "Walkie-talkie man says 'ello, 'ello, 'ello/ With his ballerina boots you can tell he's always on his toes."
And then there's the classic "With A Girl Like You".
Do I have to spell it out? C-h-e-e-s-e-a-n-d-o-n-i-o-n-s, oh yeah.....
I'll let you know.....
The LLamabutchers: St. Matilda's Home for Wayward Bloggers of Ill-Repute
We're a genuine public service venue around here.
We're welcoming today a new semi-regular special guest blogger around here (which is kind of like a sagging tee-vee evening soap inviting in Heather Locklear as a "Special Guest Star" for a three-hour cruise)---let's give a very special LLama Welcome for the fantabulous librarian Liz, who blogs under the nom de blog Chai-Rista, late of the late, great Truly Bad Films. Liz decided to close up TBF after a glorious three-year run due to a recent tragedy in her family, and I offered her a set of keys and the spare futon in the basement anytime she wanted to drop by and post. I owe a special debt to Chai-Rista as she's the one who actively got me off my butt and actually into the blogging bidness three years ago--I had started and then aborted a number of blogs by myself, before Liz roped me into the original incarnation of TBF. We started on Blogspot, before migrating over to an MT platform hosted on the "ghost" server at work, before I came up with the idea of doing a group blog in November 03 and naming it after our joke mascot from undergraduate days. If memory serves, I invited Liz to join the LLamas then, and she, wisely, turned me down. So this is a way to pay back an old debt.
Liz joins our other semi-regular poster "LMC"--aka the LLama Military Correspondent, a buddy of Rob's and mine from grad school. According to our MT editing window, that leaves ten other people with posting privileges---after accounting for Pixy Misa, Macktabulous Miss Sadie, Kathy the Cake Eater, and, of course, Jerry Mathers as "The Phin" I don't know who the heck the other five are.
I think one though is The Scottish Dwarf.
So, Yip! Yip! Yip!
SOOPER SEKRIT YIPS TO ROBBO: I ope-ay hat-they ezzoay o-tay ith-ay ooo-yay. Plus, the photoshop you wanted----with the subtle title of "inyourfaceindcentbillyoumambypambyweaselneeenerthpffft.jpg" is on its way.
It's not necessarily safe for work, though, unless you live in an Andean whore house that's near a barnyard.
Yips! from Robbo: Oh, what a great idea - Welcome aboard, Liz!
(For one panic-stricken minute there, I thought Steve-O was announcing he'd extended invites to one or more of the Missusees to start posting.)
YIPS back from Steve-O: I might post after a double latte of testors, but for the love of Gawd, man, do you think I'm high or something?
Gratuitous Britney Spears Posting (TM)
I'm going to go ahead and agree with both Miss Sadie and the Chez Diva that the recent wailing about how awful a mother Britney Spears is because of the car seat incident and the near dropping of baby incident has gotten out of hand.
I happen to think Britney is going to make a horrid mother.
But I don't think she's going to make a horrid mother because she's got the furshlugginer car seat in backwards or because she fumbled the kid. These incidents, so breathlessly reported, go in the category of Things That Just Happen To New Parents Sometimes.
No, I think she's going to be a horrid parent because she seems to be a horrid person, thoroughly enmeshed in the horrid cult of celebrity that passes for culture these days.
What li'l Baby Shawn really needs is a stable home life and a real father and maybe somebody to teach him that there's more to life than getting paid to act like an idiot in public. But of course, you won't see the Hollywood press corp clamouring over that because it would cut into their stock of K-Feddy Bad Boy antics.
Sing along, ever'body:
Someday I'm gonna be famous
Do I have talent? Well, no
These days you don’t really need it
Thanks to reality shows
Can't wait to date a supermodel
Can’t wait to sue my dad
Can't wait to wreck a Ferrari
On my way to Rehab
Cause when you’re a celebrity
It’s adios reality
You can act just like a fool
And people think you’re cool
Just cause your on T.V.
I can throw major fits
When my latte isn't just how I like it
They say I've gone insane
I'll blame it on the fame
And the pressures that go with....
Being a Celebrity
I'll get to cry to Barbara Walters
When things don't go my way
I'll get community service
No matter which law I break
I'll make the supermarket tabloids
They’ll write some awful stuff
But the more they run my name down
The more my price goes up!
Cause when you’re a celebrity
It’s adios reality
No matter what you do
People think you’re cool
Just cause your on T.V.
I can fall in and out of love
Have marriages that barely last a month
When they go down the drain
I'll blame it on the fame
And say it's just so tough...
Being a Celebrity
So let’s hitch up the wagons
And head out West
To the land of fun in the sun
We’ll be a real world bachelor
Jackass Millionaires hey hey Hollywood
Here we come!
Yeah when you're a Celebrity
It’s adios reality
No matter what you do
People think you’re cool
Just cause your on T.V.
Being a Celebrity...
Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)
The Llama-ettes have branched out into yet another kiddie klassics venue: Beethoven's Wig.
This is a series of famous classical bits with silly lyrics set to them, the better to engage young minds, I suppose. For example, "Beethoven's Wig" goes with the opening movement of his 5th Symphony:
As I think I've said before, I don't really have any problem with this sort of thing for young kids. (Emphasis on "young". If this is all that the gels know of classical music by the time they're into their teens, I will consider myself to have failed as a father.) And I will say that the gels have got a great many of the pieces down cold now - they've taken to trying to stump me, which they even managed to do with some Debussy the other day.
On the other hand, I felt it to be my parental obligation (both on moral and educational grounds) to point out to the eight year old yesterday while we were listening to the Fifth that, in fact, Beethoven didn't wear a wig. (Her response - "Well, did Mozart?")
In the course of working on our project this weekend, we listened to practically the complete Beethoven symphonic cycle. (Incidently, I ranked my order of preference of these pieces last year - rereading the post, I find that I still agree with myself.) The gel is still at an age where she thinks the whole thunderstorm sequence of the "Pastoral" Symphony No. 6 is pretty neat. She spent the first three movements of the symphony fretting about when the storm was going to arrive. Then, during its height, she informed me of how she wasn't really afraid of the thunder effects. But as the storm faded into the distance in the transition into the last movement, I could tell she was a bit apprehensive that it might come back. I know all this in part because I felt exactly the same way about it when I was her age.
Why the LLamas work in one easy link
Yet another reason INDCent Bill hates the LLamas--my fascination with traffic coming from bizarre/random google searches.
But one of these explains the deus ex machina of the LLamabutchers: we're #5 on Google for
Mozart song jackass
The LLamas: two parts Robbo's sophistication and erudite musings, one part Steve-O being Steve-O.
Yips! from Robbo:
"Insufferable dandiness?" Moi?
What will happen on this week's exciting conclusion to XXIV?
Click-clacking noise of sand dropping in an hourglass, as the shadow herky-jerks across a sundial
That crazy wench Livia will finally succeed in offing the Lord God Augustus; I'm betting that it will involve figs;
Sejanus will look absolutely disco in his curly Mike Brady wig---make it so, Number One, indeed!
The Kell-Kell-Kell-Celts are going to get their oak-tree worshiping butts kicked by new fan-fave Emperor Claudius.
Seriously, though, the big question on tonight's show will be confronting perhaps the last great taboo on newtork television: the assassination of a sitting U.S. President, with the President being the villain (or villainous) and the assassin being the hero (or at least the sorta-hero). Searching my pop culture memory banks I couldn't think of that scenario occuring before.
1. President Logan has turned out to be an absolutely compelling character. Greg Itzkin is a great actor who has certainly come up the hard way---for goodness sakes the first thing listed in his extensive acting-ography is "man #2" on Mork and Mindy, followed by "waiter" on Charlie's Angels. Since then, he's been a bit part in every tee-vee show you could name---he's kind of a character actor's version of Kevin Bacon, giving you that easy seguay between the A-Team and Party of Five, between all your Star Trek spinoffs (including a classic bit as a psycho admiral in the evil parallel universe) to Who's the Boss, via McGuyver. And anyone who can list 21 Jump Street, Hunter, Matlock, Picket Fences, Judging Amy and CSI knows a thing or too about protecting and defending the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. He's a great villain, almost in a Lear as weasel sort of way, but like all good villains, he's going to die in an appropriate manner. I'm betting via poisoned fig newtons.
It's been a bad season for tee-vee presidents (with President Bartlett shipped off to a cranky retirement in New Hampster to deal with the very public divorce of his crack whore son; President Santos lasting what, 25 minutes in office; President Thelma getting sent back to Connecticut even before sweeps started; and the weirdo president in the Prison Break show to be capped off suddenly, leaving us with the cranky psycho wife from 30 Something as president, which there should be a rule against, because that would leave that total loser Elliot as First Ex-Husband or something, which would be embarassing as he was already downstairs in the West Wing knocking boots with Saint C.J. Craig, plus then you'd get Hope and Michael over for a very special Christmas Episode(TM) of El Ala oeste de la Casablanca (as the Malkinites now call it) which would feature shots of them standing on the Truman Balcony and Lafayette Square, looking up at the snow falling interspersing with death and destruction being unleashed from the sky by the administration's relentless pursuit of
Needless to say, I'd watch the whole damn thing.
2. And what of Martha Logan, the First Lady who almost got greased by the shaky-handed Sekrit Service lad sent to drop Aaron in the trunk of the Presidential Limo?
Let's just say there will be an unexplained hit and run involving a hijacked cement mixer driven by a rather tired yet quite wired guy shouting into a PDA and carrying a fetching manpurse plowing over Rosie O'Donnell, leaving the widowed Mrs. Logan as the new fourth host on The View, replacing Meredith Vieria so she could take the place of French nooz babe and all around hottie Melissa Theuriau, who takes over the center chair at the CBS Evening Nooz. (Come on, it's my alternative universe, give me some leeway).
3. Whither Henderson?
Henderson will live until another day, because he's a great villain and an equal but opposite Jack, until we discover he's actually "future Jack" sent back in time by Jack's evil self in the year 2016 to wreak havoc and destruction when the AARP rejects his membership for questions of "taste"---you can never trust those marketing weasels over at AARP, that's for darn tootin' sure!
Dropped in one of Saddam's human people shredders. And there was much rejoicing.
At the end, "Mr. Big" "Graham" will turn to a viewing screen, where he will bow down before his ">alien overlords, who will say:
John Bigboote: We've had our chance! We're lost!
Lord John Whorfin: One more word out of you, Bigbooty...
John Bigboote: [screaming] BIG-BOO-TAY! TAY! TAY!
[Whorfin shoots him]
Lord John Whorfin: So you won. So what. Beeeeg deal......
Later, I might do the grand unification theory linking 24/The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai/Commander in Chief, showing that the real threat this entire season has been from Geena Davis....
5. END OF THE SHOW SHOCKER: Vice President Hal Gardner becomes President, but it turns out not only did he kill Laura Palmer he also killed David Palmer as well. Look for Jack to be foreced to team up with FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper next season, where they spend a frustrating day in pursuit of coffee in a strange small town.
And Ex(?) President Keeler is ALIVE!
Blogs 4 Bauer will of course be liveblogging, and we're hoping that Dave Barry will continue his tradition of livedrunkblogging it.
UPDATE: Dorkafork dials up with his Jack Bauer in Time series--the "I've tortured Jo Ann Whorley" bit was priceless.
Damn you, Martha Stewart: TO HELLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!
Home improvement update:
Got started on sanding the trim on the back door frame only to discover dry rot. I hate it when the To Do list mutates.
Note to self: 1 can of rustoleum is good for about 2 chairs and one side of a table top, which brings to mind the bit from Raising Arizona: "Eight hundred leaf-tables and no chairs? You can't sell leaf-tables and no chairs. Chairs, you got a dinette set. No chairs, you got dick!" Note to self 2: Buy more rustoleum.
Toe be or not toe be
I made my joke over the weekend for Scott (ie tin foil in the hat, steel shank in the boot, not other way around) but you've got to read the first hand account of the great toe caper of oh-six, not to mention the next time you think your dearly beloved is not having any sympathy for you in extremis take a gander at this.
Forget the Pony, Mom, I'll Take This for Christmas.
According to this article, Fort Montgomery, built in 1844 on an island in Lake Champlain in upstate New York, was indeed manned during the Civil War.
No doubt the Union felt compelled to post soldiers there in order to put the kybosh on any secret Hudson Valley Campaign plans the South may have been harboring.
Yips! to GroovyVic.
YIPS from Steve: I'm guessing it was primarily to interdict smuggling out of Canada, particularly involving Copperhead Democrats who, while not questionning their patriotism, were actively trying to subvert the Union war effort. Lamdan Milligan, if memory serves correctly, spent a good part of the War in southern Canada around those parts.
May 21, 2006
Rome May Not Have Been Built In A Day, But We're Making A Pretty Good Go At Trying To Finish It Up Over The Weekend
As I noted Friday, the eight year old and I are building a model of the Circus Maximus for school this weekend. And I have to say that so far, it is turning out very, very nicely.
Yesterday morning, we were the first ones into Michael's and bought out virtually their entire stock of balsa wood. Coming home, we settled into a nifty little arrangement whereby I cut and shaped pieces, while the gel sanded them and glued them in based on a rather clever little numbering scheme we developed.
So far, both of the long sides are done. I am in the process of putting together the rounded ends and a couple of towers and arches and then we need to finish up with the inner island and painting the whole thing. The arrangement we've worked out is that I am going to build all of these components and then the gel is going to attach them to the model itself.
The Llama-ette is intensely proud of what we've built so far. As it happens, my In-laws are coming over for dinner. They have a digital camera, so perhaps we'll take a pic or two if the thing looks like it's close to completion this evening.
YIPS from Steve: Meanwhile, Uncle Steve-O is hard at work at the little Ben Hur figurines, not to mention a little unscripted attack by Spartacus and his army of slave gladiators.... Fortunately, I've laid in a good stock of modeling glue to help.
Those little Dolphin thingees marking the laps are a pain to make, let me tell you.
UPDATE from Robbo: Well, we finished the project and it actually turned out rather better than I had expected. The Llama-ette, who did almost all of the glueing, is as proud as Lucifer of the results. My father-in-law took a couple of digital snaps - if they turned out, I'll post one.
Most importantly, perhaps, some seriously good father-daughter bonding time was had.
"You're So Unhip It's A Wonder Your Bum Doesn't Fall Off"***
Once again, Robbo is at sea in the world of pop culture.
Our great pal Sadie has been Pete Doherty blogging again lately and finally prompted me to ask: Who is Pete Doherty?
In response to my professed ignorance, Sadie passed on this useful info:
Pete Doherty is a MESS, and he's most famous for being the ex-boyfriend of Kate Moss. He was there when she got taped doing cocaine, blah, blah.
This, of course, provokes an immediate follow-up question:
Who is Kate Moss?
Anyhoo, all this is by way of getting to what I wanted to say, which is that personally, I think this Doherty clown looks rayther like Frodo Baggins' grifter cousin.
(***Bonus points for spotting the quote, of course)
May 20, 2006
Someone's going to burn for this one
The fabulous Chai-Rista sends the following preview for the movie "Ten Things I Hate About Commandments"
This is satire at its finest, a loving send-up to one of the finest truly bad films of all times. The "with Samuel L. Jackson as Principal Firebush" bit was classic.
Quiz: what software do you need to do something like this (or the now infamous Kos/Mentos recut commercial)? No reason....(insert whistling noise here)
Damn you, Martha Stewart: TO HELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!
The living room painting is finally done, with the line on the crown molding at a close enough for Euclid, if Euclid worked for the Post Office.
Next up: sanding the back porch door frame, followed by liberal applications of putty and spackel, primer, and two coats of white outdoor latex. My favorite memory of growing up was the summer of 1986, when my Dad discovered that the sophets on the house had been stained with an indoor stain the previous time. Most of the summer was spent, neck craned, scraper and none-too-environmentally friendly "wash" dribbling down my neck. Do I mention that I love home maintenance?
After the door is done, it's deck wash, followed by stain. We're staining the railings white, and the decking gray this time. That's to be followed by painting the girlie room upstairs, so we can set up bunk beds. That entails Miss Somersault (age 9) parting with her "collections" (ie junk). I swear, the pack rat gene skipped a generation from The Dear One's father to her. We sent her up with a box of trash bags and instructions not to emerge until at least two are full. Needless to say, as I stand here typing in the kitchen, the sounds of vaulting off of the bed onto the chair across the room are pounding through the ceiling. And I tried to warn The Dear One about bunk beds and Little Miss Somersault but I was outvoted. She's going to be joined in there by Little Miss Stubborn (3 1/2), who is actually not only not a pack rat but travels light and is quite neat. It's going to be fun to watch.
Little Miss Stubborn got her arm cast off this week, btw, and is back to normal shenannigans. The same cannot be said about deranged neighbor Scott, who apparently broke his toe kicking NSA spies off his roof or something. I keep telling you Scott: the tin foil goes in the hat, the steel shank in the boot. Some people....
May 19, 2006
No Time To Lose
In addition to being one of my more favorite Monty Python sketches, this will be the story of the weekend.
You already know all about the massive architectural project.
And did I mention that the In-Laws are in town?
And the soccer games?
And that we have to go to a @#$(*$)%* "Fun Fair" at the Llama-ette's school on Sunday?
Expect new posts when you see them.
Independance Day - The Return
If this radar image is correct, it appears the aliens are back and have adopted a new plan for world domination that involves starting with rather smaller targets like Spokane, Washington and then working their way up. Watch out, Helena - you're next.
Somebody better go alert Jeff Goldblum.
When wives attack . . .
this story via Drudge. And men thought Fatal Attraction set the bar for demented psycho-beyotches.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Bobivs the Bvilder Edition
This weekend is going to be crunch time for the construction of the Eight Year Old's model of the Circus Maximus for school. Which is to say that the damned thing is due next Friday and, other than mapping out the dimensions, we really haven't started building it yet. Michael's is going to make a bundle off of me very shortly.
There is a terrible, terrible temptation for parents of children this age to simply take over a project like this and do it for them, a temptation which I am struggling mightily to resist. When I was about the gel's age, my class was made to construct weather-vanes. Dad and I took on the project and by the time we got through, we had the best damn weather-vane in the entire class. In fact, it was so good that it got displayed in the school library. However, I wound up feeling guilty and sheepish about the whole business because I knew that in the end I hadn't contributed much more to the construction process than to stand around and hold things. Dad certainly meant well, but I don't want to repeat that process here.
On the other hand, it wouldn't be fair to leave the gel completely to her own devices either: she's never done anything like this before and wouldn't have the slightest clue even where to begin. As a result, she would only wind up feeling frustrated and foolish. Again, not really the goal of the exercise.
It's a tricky path to navigate, to be sure, but I like to think that a significant first step in doing so is to actually be aware of the dangers involved and to keep them in mind at all times. In order to avoid the Scylla and Charybdis of too much or too little parental participation, my plan is to maintain the roles of both master architect and construction foreman, but to try and explain as much as possible of these things to the gel as we go along. I will also leave to her most of the actual hands-on duties, apart from cutting and the like.
We'll see how it goes.
Get Me The Carnival - NOW!
Chuck NorrisJack Bauer was the fifth Teletubby. His name was "Kil Kil".
Go on over and revel in the mayhem.
From the Mos Eisley Cantina
we learn that Wesley Clark will be speaking at some moonbat gathering next week. Sounds like he is auditioning for the VP spot on the '08 ticket.
From the cheap seats . . .
More on the Episcopal church and its V. Gene Robinson problems. Robbo, Rome is always taking new applications.
Yips! from Robbo: Ot-nay in-ay ont-fray of-ay e-thay issus-May!
I'm a little disappointed that this post didn't make it into the article. *Sniff*
As a matter of fact, now that the Church has dodged one potential crisis with the election of a non-controversial new Bishop to the Diocese of California, the majority of the delegates at General Convention will probably be in full kissy-kissy mode and I don't expect to see much by way of fireworks. The real question will be what the rest of the Anglican Communion makes of it. Personally, I think the Episcopal Church will only be able to mouth conciliatory platitudes for just so long and sooner or later the Communion will get fed up with it. I see the Windsor Report - cited in my earlier post - as a warning shot in deadly earnest but I don't know yet just how seriously the Church is taking it.
The trouble with a Faith that has become over-intellectualized is not only that its members cease to really believe in anything so quaint as concepts of Right and Wrong, but that they also cease to understand how anybody else could. The Episcopal Church reasons that any differences in the Communion can be papered over with sufficient expressions of "concern" and calls for "unity" and "understanding". But many of the Anglican Churches in places like Africa and Asia - where their members are going toe to toe with Islam in genuine ideological battle - see things in a very different light.
May 18, 2006
So I got that going for me. . .
|Your Linguistic Profile::|
|50% General American English|
|0% Upper Midwestern|
H/T to Jen, formerly Jen Speaks
And Now, A Choice of Viewing.....
I'm so utterly wiped from having got in late last evening from my trip that I plan to flop down in front of the DVD player tonight and veg with some quality light entertainment.
Fortunately, in my absence Netflix served up three prime choices:
1. Stripes (Extended Version): I've never seen the additional footage. What could it be? More John Laroquette ogling the women's showers? Additional dance steps from Sgt. Hulka's squad on parade? Ox and the mud wrestlers? I'm always leery of newly-released extra scenes in an old favorite because they interrupt the flow without usually bringing anything of value.
2. Serenity: Okay, I realize I was a bit harsh on it the last time I saw this. But I was too eager to see it as an extended episode of Firefly, not as a movie in and of itself. I think I'm ready to go back in with a more open mind.
3. The Cocoanuts: As much of a Marx Brothers fan as I am, I really do not recall ever seeing this, their first. Unfortunately, because of the association of ideas, I suddenly can't get "Hooray for Captain Spaulding" out of my head.
I'm eager to watch all of these at some point. The question is which one would be best for this evening. Decisions, decisions......
UPDATE: Went with Stripes and an enormous meatball grinder. If this was the "extended" version, then it was the most minimalist extension I've ever seen, since I didn't notice anything that seemed new to me. Just for laughs, I also watched a few scenes dubbed in French. Alas, although I practiced at the time, I just can't remember any more how to say "lean, mean, fighting machine" in French. Also, I was disappointed that the dubbing didn't extend to the platoon's rendition of "Doo Wa Diddy". That would have been entertaining.
Gratuitous Llama Book Review - UPDATE
As I mentioned below, while on my travels this week I polished off this:
Let me first of all retract some of the concerns I recently raised after dipping into the first of the Flashman novels. Having read this, one of the middle books of the series, I see Fraser in his stride and am able to recognize some of the earlier heavy-handedness as simply a by-product of the author finding his footing.
The instant novel has our rogue hero, Harry Flashman, scrambling for his life in the midst of the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 in India. Fraser does what I think a very sound job at describing that episode in detail. He is neither knee-jerk nor apologetic, but gives a solid description of both the British and native concerns, motives and errors that led up to the rebellion, as well as a fair description of the conduct of both sides during its outbreak, height and aftermath.
Nonetheless, Fraser is no rubber-stamp relativist. There were numerous times when I had to turn my eyes away, literally gasping in horror at his descriptions of the massacres of the women and children of the British garrisons at Meerut, Jhansi and Cawnpore by the Sepoys and the local mobs. The atrocities were even enough to get up the blood of Flashy - who as a rule don't give a damn about anyone or anything but himself. And when Fraser (through Flashy) goes on to describe some of the extremely harsh British retaliation for these atrocities (retaliation that almost leads to the end of Flash Harry himself) and for the Mutiny as a whole, he takes pains to make sure the reader understands what the Brits themselves were thinking at the time and why they believed they were justified in such action.
Of course, tragic history lesson aside, the book never gives up on Flashy's love of the life roguish. As an example, imprisoned in an underground cell at Gwalior at the hands of the beautiful rebel Lakshmibai, waiting either for British rescue or for his throat to be cut, what does he do to keep himself from going mad but count up the number of women he's had to do with over his career?
That's our Flashy.
The Robbo Code
The Colossus gives yours truly the assignment of a lifetime. Do I choose to accept? Don't worry, I'm on her.
Er, I mean it.......
Than-kew US Airways for cancelling my Monday morning flight from Dee Cee to Charlotte at the last minute! ("Maintenance" indeed. Why don't you just come out and say "mechanical difficulties"?) Because of the extremely limited number of connector flights to my final destination, I wound up missing the one that would have put me there comfortably at mid-day and instead had to wait around for the Last Flight Out.
Actual air time between Dee Cee and my port of call? Two hours and change. Amount of time that passed between my check-in at Reagan National and my picking up the rental car at the destinational airport? About twelve hours.
I'd brought along both Flashman in the Great Game and Dave Barry Turns 50, thinking they'd last me through all of my travel time. Nope - finished 'em both before I'd left North Carolina.
Here are a few other thoughts that occured to me during travel time this week:
*** Sooper Sekret Message to the guy with the cell phone arguing with his bank about some charge or other in the boarding lounge: Dude, don't blurt out your bank account numbers in a terminal full of strangers. You never know who might be scribbling them down for nefarious purposes. And double shame on you if you are, as you looked, the sort who has gotten all bent out of shape at the prospect of Verizon turning over your call history information to the NSA. You've got a helluva lot more to fear from petty thieves than you do from Uncle.
*** Sooper Sekret Message to the woman flossing her teeth in the same lounge. Don't. Just....don't.
*** On their larger jets, US Airways uses a videotaped safety presentation at the beginning of the flight. As the plane is taxiing out, the vid screens flip down, stirring music swells forth, and a warm, friendly voice explains the seat belts, oxygen masks, life-preservers and so on. When it's done, a second voice repeats all this in Spanish. The Spanish version is much shorter than the English one. My Spanish isn't quite good enough to keep up, which leads me to wonder why this is. Is the Spanish version much more terse and authoritarian? "Hey! Siddown. Put on your seatbelt. Don't smoke. If the mask drops, use it. If we ditch, grab a seat-cushion and swim for it. Got it?"
***This was my fourth or fifth trip to the same place since the beginning of March. From Charlotte, one has to take one of those little Canadian regional jets (which, although a far cry better than the old turbo-prop, are still pretty small and cramped). Every single damned time, we've landed in a gusty cross-wind, taking about eight months off my life expectancy. This makes me think whoever laid out the runways wasn't paying all that close attention.
*** The other thing about these little jets is that one typically doesn't board via a jetway, but instead walks out on the tarmac and up a set of roller-stairs. This brings one in much more intimate contact with the workings of things, not always to the good. As we were deplaning in Charlotte last evening on my way back, I noticed the co-pilot standing in a circle of about half a dozen mechanics and gesturing earnestly at something on the plane. I pointed this out to my seatmate (another white-knuckle flyer, as it turned out) who shrugged and said, "So what? We're not getting back on."
***If you've never flown into Reagan National from the north, you may not know this but because of the various airspace restrictions around Dee Cee the glide slope does a sort of giant slalom down the Potomac River valley. This culminates in a rather sharp dog-leg right ten to fifteen seconds off the end of the runway at an alarmingly low altitude. As much as I hate it myself, I was grimly amused to see a look of alarm spreading across somebody else's face last evening as we made that last bank. Luftschaudenfreude, indeed.
***Is there any better feeling than that final touch-down? By the time I'm done with a trip, I'm usually an utterly exhausted and completely jangled bundle of nerves, alternately overstressed by too much caffeine and alchohol (I cheerfully admit that I drink on planes specifically to get buzzed.) But the feeling of release, of unclenching and knowing that I'm home and it's all over almost - almost, mind ye - makes the whole thing worth it.
"Normalizing" diplomatic relations with Libya
....all depends on how you define "Normal."
Although, given that lineup, they are only one cross-dressing post-structuralist with an emphasis in lunchboxes as "texts" away from a solid humanities department.
DaVinci Code Roundup
I laughed, I cried, I sent suicide bombers to blow up three busloads o' Nuns. That's your Bombhead Muhammad movie guarantee for the weekend!
Geez, when reviewers imply that the movie would have been better with Kurt Russell as the Harvard symbologist and OJ Simpson as the rogue monk assassin, things are not going to well. Ace deconstructs the Hanks/Howard/Goldsmith talent trinity and comes up with the Joker...Joker....JOKER! of Bonfire of the Vanities/EdTV/Batman Forever. Vatican, we have a problem.
Wuzzadem busts all over the last minute "tweaks" being made to the movie, including some subtle product placements:
I think that pretty much guarantees that Robbo, Phin, and all the other folks who are turning Cake Eater Chronicles into their blog-grafiti den while Kathy is on hiatus are going to have to see it. Mmmmmm, Cheetos....
UPDATE: Someone needs to stop that Bastard The Colossus---he's too close to the truth! Illuminati power---action! Form of a giant magnet!
FURTHER UPDATE: Geez, we Templars are going to be working overdrive these days smiting Gnostics like bocci balls at a Soprano's cast party. Some infidels have uncovered the truth about Tony Danza---and the world is just not ready for this "Truth."
My vote is for both
Ace asks the question: charlatan or lunatic?
Get that man some cowbell!
Go on over and give some Happy Birthday Yips to Gary the X-Donk.
May 17, 2006
Insurrection at Ace of Spades HQ
Seems to be some discontent amongst the staff, via The Sandcrawler.
When is a civil war not a civil war . . .
. . . when it concerns the "future Palestinian state." This evening, Fox News had a piece on Fatah and Hamas shooting it out in Gaza. Why isn't it called a civil war? After all, we have factions of what passes for a government arming their respective supporters who then duke it out on the streets with automatic weapons. (Keep in mind Iraq is said to be on the brink of a civil war, if not in one, every time we read or watch the MSM.) But the Palestinians cannot ever be said to be in a civil war because then the Left would have to concede that maybe Israel was right after all.
Mighty "O" R.I.P.
When at last her course is run,
Her work for God and country done.
Of all the souls in her that have sailed,
Let not one life in Thee have failed.
But hear in heaven our sailor's cry,
And grant eternal life on high!
The Navy Hymn
The retired carrier Oriskany went to the bottom today off the Gulf coast to be an artificial reef. May she rest in peace. Her former crew's association website is here.
The LLamas are, if anything, equal opportunity offenders
Well, at least one critic loved it:
There's a "the movie bombed" joke in there somewhere, but I'll leave it for others to explode.
Oh, and like this gag is somehow more offensive than the Reuters title "Critics Crucify DaVinci Code"
To each his own
Whereas some blogs, like your humble LLamas, try to take the high road and use Al Gore's internets to enliven public discourse on the dialectical eschatology inherent in post-phenomenological discourse surrounding pseudo Dan Brown intrepretations of post-Straussian Gnosticism, some other rapscallions try for a different track: for example, Sadie is trying to corner the Google traffic for
"good, old-fashioned Crazed Cokewhore Slapdown."
Well, now, we just can't have that now, can we?
Look for our new blogskin on the LLamaVinci Code soon.
The horror, the horror
This story from ABC which suggests the FBI sought phone records on some 3500 people, including reporters. Once again, the antique media must be reminded that generally speaking there is no right to privacy in the business records held by third parties. For some reason, the MSM seems to think it is immune from laws which apply to the rest of us. Judith Miller's stay at Club Fed proved that wrong.
May 16, 2006
Where's Robbo (Gratuitous Garden Posting)
I'm betting he's trying to foil Steve-O's evil plan.
Robbo’s girlish screaming to commence in 5...4...3...2...
This is not good
Drudge is carrying a headline that Chavez may sell his country's F-16s to Iran. No idea what shape the planes are in or if the Iranians have the pilots or mechanics to actually make use of them.
Great New to Me Blog
Suburban Blight. Fresh, sparkly, wicked.
Ragin' Rhino Roundup
Gary the Ex-Donk scours the waterfront and brings back all the rats, kebabed with a nice rosemary and fennel rubbing with just the sparsest hint of cilantro. So you don't have to.
Yes, the middle part of that sentence needs to be read with a Dr. Fraiser Crane accent.
May 15, 2006
I'm Steve the LLamabutcher, and I'm an idiot
But you knew that already.
Random grab-bag for a Monday night:
1. Immigration speech? Too tired right now. I'll watch the stream later, but to be perfectly honest I've had trouble getting motivated on this issue one way or another. That's just me, Senor Vegas.
2. Mother's Day at Rancho Non-sequitor was a big hit. With four kids under 9, and two under 3, breakfast in bed is just not a good idea (unless you use a drop cloth perhaps). I gave The Dear One the best gift I could give: absolute peace and quiet for about 4 hours, as I scattered the kids around the neighborhood like an angry and vengeful Zeus tossing knucklebones with the fates. And no, I have no idea what the heck that means, but it just popped into my head and sounded zesty. I did score major points, though, by getting her as the real present some books from the store that just happened to be on her amazon shopping cart list, but that I hadn't seen. Perfect strike. Sometimes you just get lucky, I guess.
3. Next Monday brings the neighborhood book club to our house, so naturally I had to spend the day repainting the living room. Grrrrrrrr. I've been dropping hints that the long range weather report has it raining/thundering next Monday so to get me out of having to restain the deck. The Dear One is in two book clubs---one is the olde time one that she started back in '94 after we got married (and for a number of years, blissfully, met on Monday nights, freeing me with unfettered Monday Night Football quality time), but this one is the dreaded neighborhood one. Why is it dreaded, you ask? Well, the olde time one is practical as all get out: they figured out as they started the key to longevity was to not meet in anyone's actual house, so as to supress the Martha Stewart Arms Race (aka the Mad Murtha Martha impulse) that is the bane of chick lit booke clubbe experience. Twelve years, 120 books, and @45 members later (Charlottesville, being a college town, is a transient place, and they've been very good about cycling new blood in), the olde booke clubbe rages on. The neighborhood book club, however, is the bane of my existence. The only thing I can say is that at least they've gotten past the Oprah phase, which, to be perfectly honest, was quite painful to watch. Now, mind you, there are level headed folks in the Neighborhood Book Club: besides The Dear One, Left of the Dial's "Top Management" is rumored to have joined (she is the Nora of their Nick and Nora Neighborhood blogging dynamic duo). But still, there are the other ones, who---somehow, I don't know exactly how---are always costing me money. I would rig a perimeter of claymores to keep the NuSkin/SouthernLivingathome/ Merry Chef/Happy Harpy out of my yard, except that's probably against one of the numerous onerous covenants. Having a politcal campaign sign in your yard=a serious affront to the "harmony" of the neighborhood. Having your mailbox and phonebox stuffed with glossy crap being peddled by neighborhood hausfraus=a serious part of being a good American. Now, mind you I don't have anything against kids coming by and selling stuff: I felt it my duty as a devotee of Uncle Milty Freidman to buy boxes of cookies from each and every Girl Scout that came to our door over a three month period, but my patience for such peddling ends when the kid is old enough to push a lawnmower or lift a snowshovel. Want an easy $20 from the proprietor of Stately LLama Manor? Edge my damn lawn. Want to make money as a grownup peddling cheesy crap on others? Get your ample arse on ebay like everyone else. Geez, what would you think if I went door to door with these people trying to peddle our official LLamabutcher Industries brand of LLamabutcher Thongs?
Now that you think of it, that might be the makings of our first podcast.
Anyhoo, I'm trying to wrassle up some righteous indignation tying the imperative to paint the living room to the impending arrival of the book club, but Occam's Razor would cut to the fact that 1. it's been on my to-do list now for about 6 months and B. the semester's finally over so I have a bit of time schedule flexibility for awhile. (The Dear One likes to point out that I have a fast-paced, pedal to the metal 24/7 job---that's 24 hours a week, seven months a year. I say, she's grossly exagerating. I mean, after clearing tenure three years ago, I've got the routine down to 19 hours a week, tops.)
But hey, to thine oneself be true and all, I've just found that there's nothing like a little righteous indignation to focus the mind on clearling the backlog on the to-do list.
4. Stevie cried doing the Carnival of the Bauer---and not because I screwed up and didn't include about six entries that came earlier in the week and hence lay unexamined in the Tasty Bits Mail Sack. No, while doing research one of my oldest and most important core beliefs, not to mention easy lay-up jokes, lay shattered like so many delicate Hummel figurines after someone told Hugo Chavez there was a Lil' Debbie Snack Cake hidden somewhere in the warehouse.
You see in college I was a bit of a geek: I was in this program where we did a Politics, Philosophy, and Economics thing, and were a wee bit hardcore about it. To blow off steam, we made fun of English majors. Now, some of my best friends were English Majors (Robbo, to name one, not to mention The Dear One---did I mention she's in two book groups?), but English Majors, particularly at the Glorious People's Soviet in Middletown were a bunch just asking for ridicule. And for some reason, "English Major" as a synonym for "effete wussy" not to mention "incompetent and incapable" just kind of stuck, with the phrase, "What English Major came up with this literary theory?" as my own personal version of FUBAR.
And then, I saw this. The ass-kickingest English Major in the Western canon.
D'OH UPDATE: I have a longer bit in the comments section on the actuarial prospects of different types of majors in 24, but I missed the identity of "TDP," so let me give a little background. You see, TDP was a history major undergrad, only because he got his forms in late (it might have had something to do with me, in the lower bunk and seriously hung over, breaking the alarm clock radio with a random shoe. Fortunately, those were the days before camera phones). So he wound up being a---wait for it---history dude, specializing in European Imperialism in the Third World. Fortunately, he listened to me and my dulcet tones of evil, and did his senior thesis as >"European Imperialism in the Third World II: Getting it Right this Time." It was a pure work of genius, as everyone thought he was kidding. Yet, now he is a major insurance/health care exec. I would say, "Heh, indeed" but then I'd owe Glenn Reynolds a quarter.
Anyhoo, Tomas, I'm glad you're hanging around, and you're on my list (along with long-time commentator and new dad Keith S.) to get set up blogging. The world demands your evil be vented, mon!
1. who will be tonight's Star Trek redshirts? Will we even get their names?
2. will Dave Barry be happy because Audrey finally buys the farm?
3. will Aaron be waxed for calling Logan a disgrace to his office?
4. will Jack wax RoboCop?
5. How did Dr. Romano get his arm back, not to mention his life?
We find out tonight. . .
1. that sailor looked old to be a lieutenant but no matter because he was the Star Trek redshirt;
2. Aaron calls Logan a traitor and promises to bring him to justice, making him a goner but Martha pulls Aaron's chestnuts out of the fire and caps the bad guy Secret Service agent;
3. Chloe is in the doghouse for allowing that weasal Miles to erase the recording--I bet she settles the score next week;
4. The Jack Bauer PDA of Death did not make even a cameo appearance-he must be saving it for something good.
Link courtesy of Annika's Journal: The Kosher Village People.
Don't do it
Gary the X-Donk has an interesting link to a USC professor that claims all men are rapists. Her website include skin shots of herself which I really should have skipped so take my advice: stay away from the prof's pics lest you be haunted by irrefutable proof of the laws of gravity.
Where's Steve-O (Gratuitous Garden Posting)
I dunno, but something tells me he's up to no good.
Sooper Seekrit Message to Steve-O: Cut back on the fertilizer.
May 14, 2006
On the road again, serving our great country. Or something. Realistically, I won't be back until Thursday. In the meantime, be good. I'll be listening.
This Is A Third Test
Okay, this is one of my roses, an heirloom variety called Winter Sunset. The pic really doesn't do justice to the coppery color.
This Is Another Test
Okay, here's the second garden pic (well, the first to you, probably). This is my row of peonies about ready to let fly. The big pink pom-pom looking one already in bloom is a Sarah Bernhart double, bought at Nicholl's Gardens.
This Is A Test......
Well, after some fiddling around, I finally got a few garden pics on disk and then, after more fiddling around, I got one of them in posting condition. These are the iris (slightly past their prime) along the back border of the garden. I'm throwing this pic up to see how they look on the blog.
May 13, 2006
Carnival of Bauer: LMC Contribution
Who would have guessed that the puppetmaster pulling President Logan's strings is none other than Dr. Romano from ER? And look, he got his arm back!
"Younger, fresher. . . ."
News flash: there is no right to privacy for almost all business records in the hands of third parties
although one would not know if from this editorial from the denizens at the The Downtown Font of Knowledge (as annointed by one of their own columnists) a/k/a The Virginian Pilot, the local paper. There are several instances Congress has, by statute, accorded varying levels of protection in education, employment record, and health care. No such protection has been extended to phone records.
UPDATE: Dr. Rusty thinks the leak may have been planned to force the Dems into the open.
UPDATE DEUX: Meanwhile, the hysteria continues over at Moonbat Central where the theme seems to be "don't let either the facts or the law get in the way of a good rant."
Jen, formerly Jen Speaks, gives the flick a favorable review. What more needs to be said? Go see it.
May 12, 2006
It's the Carnival of the Bauer---24 Hours Late, Of Course
This past week's episode took place between 3 and 4 a.m., to which I would say: who does President Logan's laundry? How do they get his collars to hold their line and color so well through the long dark night of the soul?
For those whose feelings run sentimental, Jeff at Peace Like a River starts off his weekly recap with a Jack-ku poem. Shiny! If you're like Robbo and have skipped the whole season, you can catch up with Jeff's episode summaries here (just scroll backward). Of course, nothing says drunk live blogging like Dave Barry's infamously hilarious 24 liveblogs. Personally, I prefer the weekly recaps at Rightwingnuthouse, which gives just the right blend of serious issues and downright silliness.
Think about it: Jack Bauer versus Snake Plisskin in the 24 Movie:
And who could play the arch-villain? I'm guessing one Orenthal James Simpson would be able to take a break from his relentless pursuit of the real killers of his wife to fill the role of "Mr. Big," in a kind of Yaphet Kotto channelling Idi Amin shilling for Jeff Bezos and the Trilateral Commission sort of way.
Imagine the dialogue:
JACK: PLISSKIN!?! I THOUGHT YOU WERE DEAD!
PLISSKIN: I WAS.
JACK: DADDY, HOLD ME....
Which gives infinite possibilities: Jack and Snake working together on Father's Day? Snake is really working for Mr. Big? And how exactly are they going to work Ted McGinley into the series, anyway? I mean, after sucessfully killing off the West Wing, all it will take is one little McGinley cameo to apply the flesh eating-bacteria necrotizing the creative soul of the series.
My suggestion: get McGinley to play the immortal Hughes de Payens, Grand Master of the Knights Templar, who are trying to manipulate the US government into relaunching a grand crusade to purge the world of infidels, or at least separate said infidels from their ooooooooooiiiiiiiiilllllllllll. Not to mention hiding the secret of the ages that Jesus married a nine year old girl. Oh wait, sorry......wrong conspiracy theory.
Balsom speculates how tee-vee history would have been different with Jack Bauer in the role of blind Master Po on Kung-Fu, imploring young David Carradine to data mine the protocols outside of parameters, grasshopper: words of wisdom from Jack Bauer. I was so moved I went out and used my exacto knife to carve them onto a nice piece of shellaced driftwood, so I can hang it in my bathroom next to my collection of "Footsteps with God on the Beach" objet d'art.
One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with JACK BAUER.
Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene he noticed two sets of
footprints in the sand: one belonging
to him, and the other to Jack Bauer.
When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand.
He noticed that many times along the path of
his life there was only one set of footprints.
He also noticed that it happened at the very
lowest and saddest times in his life.
This really bothered him and he
questioned Jack Bauer about it:
"Jack, you said that once I decided to follow
you, you'd walk with me all the way back to CTU.
But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life, when ginormous black helicopters
are swooping down and firing a gillion rounds at me
there is only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why when
I needed you most you would leave me."
Jack Bauer replied:
The only reason that you're conscious right now is because I don't want to carry you. If you don't tell me what I want to know, then it'll just be a question of how much you want it to hurt. When I'm finished with you, you're gonna wish that you felt this good again.
You have no idea how far I'm willing to go to acquire your cooperation.
Meanwhile, back at the Presidential Retreat, Ree-C Murphey asks the question that has been on the lips of all of America---when did Curtis turn into a Jedi Master? Was he Mace Windu's sooper sekrit padawan? And will Samuel L. Jackson be able to use his Jedi mind tricks, let alone some light saber action, when he finds himself caught with SNAKES.....ON......THE.....PLANE!??? These are the questions that keep me up at night.
Yes, you ask, but what does all this have to do with the true horror story of the age: the prospect of President Pelosi? Fiar opens up a can of whuppass on perceived moonbattery on the loose---I mean, if Mel Gibson can use the Mayan Empire's human sacrifice as an allegory for Chimpy McHitlerism, surely President Logan HAS to be Richard Milhous Walker Bush IV, right? Right? Umm, no. And let's face facts: if NBC had the cajones to "run" a character half as funny as Logan, the door of the West Wing wouldn't be slamming Martin Sheen in his ample arse on Sunday.
Who is the mole this time? GOP and the City speculates that it's Jack's long lost brother, Eddie, who is pulling the strings behind the nefarious plotting.
Forget finding the newly lost Cannisters of Doom----can Jack save the Republic from the plot of the $600 shoes? Only time will tell.
WHAT CAN WE LOOK FOR IN THE LAST THREE HOURS?: Here are my predictions:
1. Current "Mr. Big" "Graham" will turn out to be a Dell Service Center Manager named "Tim McDoogle" who, bored with, umm, actually trying to give something more than absolutely crappy service for their customers, decides, in a fit of geek boredom, to entrap the President of the United States into a war for ooooooillllllll involving Carjackistan;
3. Reptilian asssuck bureaucratic backstabber Miles turns out to be none other than the latest incarnation of John Bigboote from Buckaroo Banzai, which would be yet another connection back to Omicron and the eeeevil Henderson.
5. Secretary Heller will appear at a news conference, and explain that his sudden unexplained car accident was a result of an unfortunate admixture of prescription Ben Gay and Yoo-Hoo, and will subsequently check into rehab. The dead hooker in the trunk will turn out to be Nina Myers' twin sister, coincidentally left there by the previous driver.
6. Audrey will be played in the 24 Movie by Helen Hunt. Crowds will cheer as Audrey is dropped into a sack of ravenous weasels and dropped from the Goodyear Blimp disrupting the "Up with America" half-time show at the Gator Bowl.
Happy Birthday, Kate!
Today is the birthday of Katharine Hepburn. She'd have turned 99 today.
They just don't make 'em like that anymore. Nope. Nosiree.
By the way, I don't know if I've ever mentioned my own brush with greatness regarding her: Hepburn's paternal grandfather was an Episcopal priest in Virginia and was one of the founders of my own parish church (which started out as a Sunday school). Evidently, the family stayed in at least some contact with the church over the years, because there is a nice little plaque memorializing Kate and giving a brief history of her family's contribution to the church just inside the front door.
For more Heburn Birthday goodies, go on over to Sheila's place. (As if I even needed to tell you.)
Jack Bauer Watch
Our apologies to all of you looking for this week's Carnival of the Bauer, which we are supposed to be hosting. I say "we" but it's really Steve-O's pigeon, since I've never even seen the show. (And before you start damning me, it's not that I'm not interested, I simply just haven't.)
Anyhoo, we had a bunch of Moo Knew problems against last evening and that seems to have thrown a spanner into the works. I'm sure that Steve-O will have the thing up and running before you can say "Get me the schematics - NOW!"
Or will he?
As I say, I've never see the show. But I know two things about it:
1. Jack Bauer never ever takes five minutes to run down to the men's room or to get a soda.
2. There are moles everywhere.
Now this got me thinking. The second one, I mean. Steve-O's been all gung-ho about the Carnival business for some time.....Yet now that we're hosting, it's not up......Could it be that Steve is.....???
Your assignment: Find out what Steve-O has done with Jack Bauer. NOW!
NRO makes short shrift of claims the NSA's collection of phone records from telecoms violates either FISA or the Fourth Amendment.
A board meeting at school this morning then a massive effort to get the house and yard ready for the six year old's Daisy Troop end of the year party tomorrow (complete with backyard moonbounce), all this while prepping for a court appearance out of town next week -
HELP ME, JACK BAUER! HELP ME!
May 11, 2006
"Whanne that Aprille with his postings sote / The droghte of Blogspot hath perced to the rote"
I had seen this a while back but not linked to it before: Geoffrey Chaucer Hath A Blog.
GALFRIDUS CHAUCERES LYNES OF PICKE-VPPE:
-Do sheriffs administere thee to those who breke the kinges peace? Bycause thou lookst “fyne.”
-Yf thou were a latyn tretise ich wolde putte thee in the vernacular.
-Ich do deuote myn diligence to studye of the anatomie of engendrure. Ich haue happed vpon an abstruse passage in the werke of Constantyne the Affrikan De Coitu, the which I kan nat construe. For lernynges sake and the goode of wisdom, woldstow performe the acte of venus withe me so that ich may interpret thys clause in propre wise?
-Ich loved thy papere, but yt wolde looke much better yscattred across the floore of myn rentede dorme roome at dawne.
-Art thou a disastrous poll tax? Bycause I feele a risynge comynge on.
-Nyce bootes. Wanna swyve?
-Thou lookst so mvch lyk an aungel that the friares haue lefte the roome yn terror!
-Shulle we maken the cindreblokke to synge?
-Woldstow haue me shyfte thyne voweles?
-Were thou yn my seisin, ich wolde nevir escheat on thee.
-Thy beaute ys more intoxicatyng than the OVP openne bar.
-Yf thy beautee were an poeme, yt wolde make Dante looke lyk Marcabru.
-The preeste telleth me that we aren more than VII degrees of consanguinitee. Game on!
-Ich notyce that myn demense and thyn do abutte. Wolde yt plese thee to consolidate ovre powere-base in the midlands?
-Makstow a pilgrymage heere often?
-Let vs breake oure mornyng faste togedir tomorrowe. Shal ich sende a page wyth a message for thee, or shal ich wake thee wyth an aubade composid ex tempore?
-Ich coude drynke a yearlye tun of thee.
-Ys thy father a makere of walles? For how else dide he gyve thee svch a tall and fayre forheed?
-Ich haue the tale of Lancelot yn myn roome. Woldstow rede of yt wyth me?
--By my soule, thou art a verye mappe of helle. For thy face lyk the rivere Styx wil make me swere oothes neuer to be fforsworn, and thy embrace lyk the Lethe shal make me foryet al else, and lyk vnto the Flegeton thyn arse ys ON FYRE!
-Woldstow be myn Gaveston?
-Howe abovte a blancmange and the acte of Venus? Whatte, blancmange pleseth thee nat?
-If ich sayde that thou hadde a bele chose, woldstow holde it ayeinst me?
If only I'd known about these lines when I took Chaucer in college, I might have had a better shot with that transfer student from Holyoke. Ah, well.
Yippes! to Lynn S.
An Army of Dorks
Ace has the details.
Happy Birthday, Baron Münchausen!
Today is the birthday in 1720 of Hieronymus Karl Friedrich, Baron Münchausen. Here is a nifty site giving the background on how Baron Munchausen's stories of his exploits in war and on his travels gradually assumed the standing of Tall Tale, first at the hands of Rudolph Erich Raspe.
Here is an online collection of Münchausen stories, said to be a scan of an undated edition published in the 1920's. As it happens, I have a very old and undated copy of Munchausen stories at home, complete with a frontispiece of the above drawing of the Baron by Gustav Dore, on which the portrayal of the Baron by John Neville in Terry Gilliam's movie adaptation is obviously based:
The well-placed dagger, twisted with panache
It's bad enough when your childern compare you unfavorably to other living, breathing parents on the street; it's something else when they compare you unfavorably to a parent in a novel you have published.
Tarnation, that's a low blow.
CARNIVAL OF THE BAUER coming tonight!
That's right, the LLamas are hosting the Carnival of the Bauer---your one stop internet shop for all things related to Jack Bauer and the tee-vee show 24. What are we going with for a theme? Glad you asked: it's all things conspiracy tonight, as the show winds down to it's last three hours. Is the world-wide conspiracy manipulating weasely President Logan being run by the guys supervising a Dell call center in Bangalore? Is Gerald McRainey going to swoop in to save First Lady Nutzo Martha who is trying to pull a Marilyn Monroe (clothed, thank the Lawhd Gawhd) in the back bedroom? Did Professor Plum do it in the conservatory with the lead pipe? And how exactly are the Knights Templar involved in this, anyhow?
Bonus points go for links to Jack Bauer versus Voldemort; Jack Bauer, Sheriff of Mayberry; Jack Bauer accidently commandeers (for national security purposes, of course) Bertie Wooster's car, with Bertie firmly behind the wheel; and anything that has even a tangental reference to the Pete Best of 24, Lou Diamond Philips. Et tu, Kemosabe? Also, as a play off of the "little known facts about Jack Bauer" we are sponsoring a "Things we really didn't need to know about Jack Bauer" segment, including this for the people always bitching about "Jack never eats, he never goes to the bathroom" etc etc.
What can we say, our super sekrit agent is, if anything, efficient:
(Let me just say that the following pic below the fold might be outside of our mission protocols. While not necessarily unsafe for work, it certainly might cause you to want to skip lunch. Why post it? Because I, like my super hero dissident of the Chimpy McHitler Regime O' Death currently being tortured in Gitmo by having slightly undercooked tofu delivered with his copy of Variety Steve Colbert, I am a tireless speaker of truths to power. Or deliverer of pizzas to complacency. Or misquoter of Jefferson in defense of dissent, who, if he had had the option, would have dropped some serious nook-lear firepower on the Bey of Tripoli (or was it the Bashaw? I always get those durned Barbary titles mixed up):
And somehow Julia Roberts didn't want to marry this guy....
Don't say I didn't warn you. Courtesy of Blogs4Bauer.
Fiscal policy cowbell
Can someone explain to me again why exactly supply-side economics doesn't work?
I'm sure we'll here a resounding change of heart from Andrew Sullivan on this.
Mother of Gawd, It's Weed Blogging!
Well, frankly, I cannot. I thought it might be some kind of plaintain, but I really don't know. However, in doing a bit of quick research, I stumbled across this nifty Weed Identification Guide put out by Virginia Tech, a veritable Rogue's Gallery of leafy villains, including many that have made it into the yard and gardens surrounding Orgle Manor.
I hope this helps, Jaynee. In the meantime, if the little bugger pictured above looks familiar to anyone else out there, drop us a line.
UPDATE: Now that I think about it, I guess we're going to start getting all kinds of traffic from both potheads and DEA agents. Honest, officer, it's all just a terrible misunderstanding......
YIPS from Steve: Hey there, pardner, be mighty careful with the Google chumming. After all, you were the one who had a post the other day that had "bong" in it. Leave the tricky stuff to me-----ginning up all sorts of illicit traffic from assorted pervs looking for nekkid pictures of Weather Channel hotties, and Margaret Thatcher.
May 10, 2006
I tell you, man, he never should have put Harriet Meirs as his love interest in MI:3
Let alone "War of the Worlds"---what was up with that weird-ass movie?
In the survey of 1,013 adults conducted during the film's first weekend in theaters, 35 percent registered a favorable opinion of Cruise, while 51 percent had an unfavorable opinion.
That's a major turnaround from last year, when Cruise's previous film, "War of the Worlds," opened and his poll ratings were 58 percent favorable and 31 percent unfavorable.
USA Today reported that Cruise's popularity decline with women was especially sharp, slipping from a 56 percent favorable rating in 2005 to 35 percent now.
The poll prompted an immediate and concerted defense by Cruise's supporters, who insisted the actor's popularity and standing as one of Hollywood's most bankable stars was undiminished.
"Tom Cruise is one of the most important stars ever in the motion picture business," Universal Studios President Ron Meyer, a close friend and former agent, told Reuters. "I don't know anybody who has had the consistent success rate that Tom has. And nobody should be counting him out."
Lord knows how much I would pay for the data on the numbers they ran on the Baldwin brothers.
So let me get this straight: Bush's numbers, low 30s; Cruise numbers, low 30s. And that doesn't even get into President Bartlett's or President Mackenzie ThelmaorLouise's numbers.
Something tells me that 50 years from now, the US History text books will have a little sidebar in this here chapter: "In the mid double ohs, it was like the entire nation jumped on the couch." And it will make as much sense to them as flappers and court packing did when I was in High School.
(And yes, the entire point of this post was to google chum "Tom Cruise" and "weird ass" in the same posting.)
Yeah, That Shoe Fits Just Fine
The Llamas - Numero Uno google result for incipient case of verbal diarrhea.
Won't Mom be proud?
Gratuitous Llama Book Review
Per the recent suggestion of Basil Seal, I picked up this, the first installment of the chronicles of one Harry Flashman, Victorian Rogue Extraordinaire. It begins with his expulsion from Rugby for drunkeness (an episode first described in Thomas Hughes' Tom Brown's School Days, and follows young Flashy's subsequent commission in the cavalry, forced marriage, posting to India and involvment in the disasters of the First Afghan War. On the way, there are phenomenal amounts of wenching and drinking, together with duels, ambushes, torture and miraculous rescues.
Flashman is a first class swine - a lazy, cowardly, drunken, unprincipled opportunist, a fact he admits in the very first pages of this autobiographical story. At the same time, he is seen by the Public as a hero, the very pinnacle of Victorian bravery, spirituality and propriety. The great joke of the book is that the reasons for these perceptions are completely mistaken - as Flashy readily admits - and his exalted position (indeed, his very survival) is really based on a combination of dumb luck, other people's decency and his own lack of scruples.
Fraser turns Flashman's perfect caddishness inside out. By admitting his own worthlessness, Flashy gains a kind of amoral highground in order to poke holes in the hypocracies and fallability of the society around him. I must admit that I found this aspect of the novel, this virtuous anti-virtue if you will, reyther tarsome after a while.
Other than that, though, a thoroughly enjoyable story, with plenty of action, beautiful women and diabolical enemies, climaxing with a most harrowing account of the British retreat from Kabul and the massacre at Gamdamak. (I gather, by the way, that Fraser's depiction of the First Afghan War, including these episodes, is quite accurate.)
UPDATE: D. Carter's comment indicates that I did not express myself quite right about Flashy's character. In fact, his swinishness does serve to highlight the genuine virtues of others around him - as, for example, during his escape from captivity and flight to the besieged Jallalabad. And at other times, it's just plain fun. But once in a while Fraser uses Flashy to launch a broadside at society in general. Those are the bits that fall a bit flat with me. It ain't that I dislike Flashy's character so much, just some of the ways Fraser puts it to use. If you see what I mean.
I should have mentioned also that there are about a bazillion Flashman novels chronicling his long and illustrious career. I'm a bit late getting started, so I have a lot of catching up to do.
Pure Gold (Stein)
I'd been a bit puzzled why a link to Jeff Goldstein's old Jessica Cutler Breakfast Cereal post kept showing up in our sitemeter stats. Clicking through, I see it has resurfaced in the midst of his current fundraising campaign.
Goldstein is good people. Consider going on over and helping him out. Yip! Yip!
The Curse of Bobby Kennedy - Update
See? Back on the road and the Nats look half-way respectable. The RKF Curse doesn't travel very well.
"Nooooooooooo! Fraaaaaank, ah, Rahbinsaahn! I, ah, spit
pea soup at you! Sppppthtthth!!!!
You will, ah, have to come baaack! And, ah,
you shall be cursed, ah-gain!"
"Yeah? You let him take two games off the
Bucs in your yard."
"Wuss. In your place, I'd have sent the whole team
back to Montreal."
"Cahn't I do ANYTHING to, ah, please you?"
"Lick my boots. Then we'll talk."
The Nats are on the road for a while, then come back to play home stands against the O's, Astros and Dodgers. We'll see if Bobby decides to put in some overtime.
Gratuitous "Neener" Cowbell
I don't know why, but this made me smile:
NEW YORK (AP) - For the cast of NBC's exiting drama ``The West Wing,'' nostalgia came at a price the network was unwilling to pay.
When NBC announced in January that it was canceling the political drama after seven seasons, it said the final episode in May would be accompanied by a retrospective on the series' history.
Instead, NBC is airing a repeat of ``The West Wing'' pilot on Sunday prior to the final episode, where the Democrat portrayed by Jimmy Smits is inaugurated as the next president.
NBC had no official comment on the switch of plans. However, the network couldn't reach an agreement with the show's cast on what - or if - they would be paid to gather one last time and reminisce about their experience, said a person close to the show who would speak about the negotiations only on condition of anonymity.
Showing the very first episode of ``The West Wing'' costs NBC nothing because the production was long-since paid for.
It's a sad ending for the show, which won four consecutive Emmy Awards as television's best drama.
Somewhere, C.J. Craig is weeping.
To be perfectly honest, they missed a big chance this season to have Charlie Sheen play President Bartlett's illegitimate son "Pep." That would have been hilarious.
Random Commuter Observations
This morning's walk from the Metro was rather interesting in that I saw two different Segways, one of which very nearly blind-sided me. You can't hear the damn things coming and from the few times I've seen them, their riders appear to believe themselves above both pedestrian laws and common courtesy.
Needless to say, both the Segways I saw this morning were piloted by absolute and utter dorks.
Another source of agitation - which I encounter far more frequently - was the clueless Metro rider sitting next to me. I had the window seat and he had the aisle. Despite the fact that I made all sorts of getting-ready-to-get-up motions before my stop and as we were pulling in, he was still utterly amazed when I finally had to ask him to let me out, as if I'd suddenly asked him to explain the principle of Schrodinger's Cat. Surely it's a basic civic duty of aisle sitters to pay attention and to recognize that their seatmates may wish to get out at any given stop. Am I so wrong to expect this?
YIPS from Steve-O: Yes.
FURTHER YIPS from Steve-O: Tell me you did say, "I say, old chap... You have to had said that.
Yips! back from Robbo: Actually, it was Old Companion.....
The Hayden Nomination
NRO has an execellent piece on an exchange between Gen. Hayden and a reporter at The National Press Club over the domestic surveillance program a few months ago. Hayden drew a distinction between unreasonable search and seizure and the need for warrants in the Fourth Amendment. No doubt the Lefties will dredge it up in the hysteria leading up to his confirmation hearing. Just to expand on the point, there are several instances in the criminal context when warrants are not required such search incident to arrest, "protective sweep", and hot pursuit. In such instances, it would be either impractical or impossible to obtain a warrant before conducting a search. Overlooked in all of the hysteria, is the FISA Court of Review's ruling, In re Sealed Case, which upheld the President's authority to conduct warrantless surveillance of foreign agents, a ruling which the Supreme Court saw fit not to further review.
May 09, 2006
The Magic Number is 82
The Dow at a 6-year high.
Bongs? What Bongs?
Those wacky AP writers!
President Lunatic Brinksman Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sends Dubya a letter stating categorically, among other things, that Western democracy and liberalism have failed and how does the AP characterize the story? "Letter Shows Iran's President Seeking Bond."
Awwww....How warm and comforting. Although from what I can gather of Ahmadinejad's "What Would Jesus Do" rhetoric, the "bond" he envisions involves a theocratic seizure of the American government coupled with a slaughter of all dissidents including, say, AP headline writers.
Oh, and when Condi said that the letter didn't have anything to do with confronting Iran's blooming nuclear program? "Experts: U.S. Hasty in Brushoff of Iran."
Really and truly! We should be listening to this man! Dialoguing with him! Coming to a reasonable common ground! By the way, how does one say "Munich" in Farsi?
UPDATE: Of course, had the Administration responded positively to the letter, I'm sure the headline would read: "BUSH EMBRACES CALL FOR THEOCRACY."
They'll do it every time.
Gratuitous Civil War Posting
Union General John Sedgwick
Today is the anniversary of the death of General John Sedgwick in 1864 during the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House. Known as "Uncle John" among his troops because of his care for them, his demise was one of those sick little jokes that Death seems to enjoy playing on the battlefield sometimes.
Major-General Marton McMahon, Chief of Staff of Sedgwick's VI Corp, was an eyewitness:
He was an inveterate tease, and I at once suspected that he had some joke on the staff which he was leading up to. He was interrupted in his comments by observing that the troops, who during this time had been filing from the left into the rifle-pits, had come to a halt and were lying down, while the left of the line partly overlapped the position of the section of artillery. He stopped abruptly and said, " That is wrong. Those troops must be moved farther to the right ; I don't wish them to overlap that battery." I started out to execute the order, and he rose at the same moment, and we sauntered out slowly to the gun on the right. About an hour before, I had remarked to the general, pointing to the two pieces in a half-jesting manner, which he well understood, " General, do you see that section of artillery? Well, you are not to go near it today." He answered good-naturedly, "McMahon, I would like to know who commands this corps, you or I? " I said, playfully, "Sometimes I am in doubt myself"; but added, " Seriously, General, I beg of you not to go to that angle; every officer who has shown himself there has been hit, both yesterday and to-day." He answered quietly, " Well, I don't know that there is any reason for my going there." ' When afterward we walked out to the position indicated, this conversation had entirely escaped the memory of both.
I gave the necessary order to move the troops to the right, and as they rose to execute the movement the enemy opened a sprinkling fire, partly from sharp-shooters. As the bullets whistled by, some of the men dodged. The general said laughingly, " What! what! men, dodging this way for single bullets! What will you do when they open fire along the whole line? I am ashamed of you. They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance." A few seconds after, a man who had been separated from his regiment passed directly in front of the general, and at the same moment a sharp-shooter's bullet passed with a long shrill whistle very close, and the soldier, who was then just in front of the general, dodged to the ground. The general touched him gently with his foot, and said, " Why, my man, I am ashamed of you, dodging that way," and repeated the remark, " They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance." The man rose and saluted and said good-naturedly, " General, I dodged a shell once, and if I hadn't, it would have taken my head off. I believe in dodging." The general laughed and replied, "All right, my man; go to your place."
For a third time the same shrill whistle, closing with a dull, heavy stroke, interrupted our talk; when, as I was about to resume, the general's face turned slowly to me, the blood spurting from his left cheek under the eye in a steady stream. He fell in my direction ; I was so close to him that my effort to support him failed, and I fell with him.
Carlos Mencia: "F*ck, Yeah!"
I haven't seen very much of Mencia's comedy shtick at all, but Dr. Rusty's got the vid of a rip-roarin' Islamofacist butt-whuppin'.
UPDATE: Mencia's joke about not suffereing from the usual white guilt when standing up to the bad guys reminded me suddenly of Shelby Steele's article on this phenomenon on OpinionJournal last week. I didn't link it then, but it seems to fit in with Mencia's take.
MuNu Goes To War
Moo-Knew seemed to have been down again for a while this morning. Dr. Rusty suspects it has something to do with jihadi hackers.
Speaking In Signs
Go over to Wuzzadem right now. But put your coffee down first.
Today's Required Reading
Jonah unleashes a classic G-File on the pitfalls of populism:
And it is in this gray area where I think conservatives should maintain a healthy, rather than absolute, skepticism toward populism. It is the first duty of conservatives to say “that’s not a good idea” and “calm down.” It is the first duty of liberals to come up with some whacky idea about how every child should be born with an air hockey table and a lifetime supply of Ho-Hos. When life is unfair to some, we can expect the liberal to blame dark and unseen forces rigging the system against the little guy. It is the conservative’s obligation—when the truth is on his side—to say “lighten up Francis” and “life isn’t fair.” And when would-be voices of the people claim that 2+2 is whatever-the-hell-we-say-it-is or that “the man” should be cleaning up our pets’ messes, it’s the job of the conservative to calmly say—no matter how unpopular or “unenlightened” it may be—no, 2+2=4, now and forever, and pick up your own damn crap.
Read the rest. It's got Jacobins!
A little while back, I posted a rather rambling entry that started out with the Da Vinci Code copyright suit and wound up with thoughts on Erskine Childers' The Riddle of the Sands and the reform of the Royal Navy at the turn of the 20th century in the face of the rising threat from the Kaiser.
A day or two ago, I got a comment on the piece from somebody named Paul Revere:
Obiter dictum: "The Riddle of the Sands" plays in the North Sea off the East Frisian and Dutch coast, not in the Baltic.
So far, so good. As a matter of fact, Mr. Revere is right. I was in a hurry when I posted the entry, it's been a year or two since I read Riddle, I had also recently finished re-reading Patrick O'Brian's The Surgeon's Mate which does take place in the Baltic, and the result was that I transposed the two bodies of water.
Now, if it had stopped at this, that would have been the end of it. In all likelihood, I would have posted a correction much like the one I just typed here. I also would have thanked Mr. Revere for flagging my mistake. But alas, it didn't stop there. For whatever reason, Mr. Revere (and here I suspect a pseudonym, by the way) felt compelled to add another sentence:
You would know this if you had read the book.
Ding! Congratulations, Mr. Revere! With this little shot, you managed to cross the line from helpful commenter pointing out a slip of the keyboard for the benefit of both me and any other interested readers to simple jackass. Your prize? Well, instead of getting a helping of grateful Llama Yips! in this post, you are being subject to open mockery (as per our warning in the right-hand column). Have a nice day.
Honestly, Ladies and Gentlemen, is blogging courtesy such a difficult concept? It's one thing for a long time commenter, somebody we know and with whom we've developed a relationship, to make snarky remarks like this, but for a stranger to come sailing in with the same comment is just plain rude. And note that I am not harshing on Mr. Revere because he caught my geographical slip, but instead because he couldn't resist an unfounded jab at whether I'd actually read the book to which I was referring. Would you speak like that to a stranger at a cocktail party, Mr. Revere? Oh, you would? Well, I'm not inviting you to one of mine then.
May 08, 2006
The Lobstah Zappah
The latest thing in lobster executions:
A gadget designed by an English barrister will be on sale that stuns a lobster with electrodes and kills it within five seconds. The CrustaStun offers humane killing compared with the lobster’s usual fate — being drowned in freshwater, knifed in the head or boiled alive.
Kinda makes you see Maine's Lucky the Lobster in a whole new light, don't it. Throw the switch!
The inventor of this thing apparently has been living under a rock for some time:
Mr Buckhaven was spurred to act after watching lobsters being boiled alive when on he was on holiday in France. “I thought immediately that this was barbaric and it would be done differently in Britain. But we found the same method was commonly used,” he said.
"It would be done differently in Britain." How, exactly? Did Mr. Buckhaven believe that the cook merely left a loaded revolver with the lobster and expected it to do the right thing?
Actually, the most chilling 'graff of the article is this one:
Another sales boost would come if the more humane killing of crustaceans is made compulsory in the European Union; a scientific report has said that they are “sentient beings” and so can feel pain.
The Gods of the Copybook Headings return! And they're writing up regulations for the legal way to kill a lobster. Will these zappers be mandatory even in private homes? Will there be Lobster Detector Vans patrolling the streets, monitoring for electromagnetic energy bursts to ensure that cook doesn't just toss the thing into the pot?
By the way, the article also asserts that many people won't order lobster out because they don't like the way they're dispatched. I don't know if this is true or not. I won't order it out because it's one of those foods which I believe very keenly should not be eaten in public - too messy. Lobster should be enjoyed around the family dinner table liberally strewn with newspaper, bowls of lemon-butter and tall glasses of Geary's.
But here's another thought: If the Lobstah Zappah is more humane and leads to increased demand, it might make things a bit easier for the individual lobsters concerned but won't it also.....promote the killing of more lobsters? I have a vague historical recollection that the same thing held true with the guillotine........
Yips! to Rachel.
UPDATE DEUX: Now it looks as if you use one of these things on your lobster, it'll take you down as well. Oh, the humanity!
John Fund on Ken Mehlman's trip to Capital Hill to rattle the Congressional G.O.P.'s cage over the '06 elections. If, as the article says, Mehlman's warnings got some serious attention, I'm glad. Fund's thesis is that control of the House is for the Republicans to lose and that they'd better get their act together now in order not to let that happen. I happen to think he's right. This isn't shaping up to be another '94, as much as some people wish it would, but that doesn't mean the Republicans couldn't blow it.
On the other hand, Fund also says something I've been thinking about this weekend regarding the Donk's alternative offering:
So far Democrats are offering little should they take control of the House. Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader, told the Washington Post last week, that she planed to launch a series of investigations, starting with the five-year old meetings of the energy task force that was convened by Vice President Dick Cheney and that the Supreme Court has already ruled was within its rights to hold secret meetings. The Washington Post reported that "Pelosi denied Republican allegations that a Democratic House would move quickly to impeach President Bush. But, she said of the planned investigations, 'You never know where it leads to.' "
Frankly, I think this kind of talk is a big mistake for the Dems. Not only is it a sure way to fire up the G.O.P. base, I really don't sense that it will have much appeal outside the Moonbat community. There's a lot of general dissatisfation with the government, but it seems to me to be based on frustration over the perceived inability of Uncle to act efficiently in the face of the various foreign and domestic issues we face. Campaigning on the promise to throw Washington into virtual paralysis by unleashing endless investigative vendetti probably isn't the answer to that sentiment.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - "Salvete, Romani!" Division
(Image found here.)
The two things we'll need to figure out first are the scale of our model - which will make all the difference in the world in terms of complexity of construction, and what period we want to illustrate - the Circus was used as early as the 6th Century B.C., and was structurally modified a number of times, including as late as the reign of Constantine (beginning 312 A.D.).
My main contribution is going to be a tiny Charlton Heston action figure.
Making A Splash
I noted this CNN story about the decline of colleges requiring their students to pass swim tests prior to graduation mostly because of the holdout list:
In 2003, Ferrum College in Virginia dropped its swim test. Colgate threw in the towel last year. The holdouts now include Notre Dame, MIT, Cornell, Columbia, Hamilton, Dartmouth, Swarthmore, and Washington & Lee, plus the service academies.
Nice to see Dubyanell get a mention. Of course, I was only there for law school and the requirement didn't apply to our program.
One other thing about the article got my attention:
The requirement is fertile ground for campus legends, some true, most not. Before Notre Dame began admitting women in the early 1970s, students did indeed take the test in the buff. But there's apparently no solid evidence behind any of the oddly similar stories that circulate on many campuses about how the test started: A wealthy donor whose son drowns gives money for the pool on the condition that the college require a swim test.
In fact, I heard that very story about W&L's requirement in connection with the building of the Doremus Gymnasium on campus. Apparently, though, it isn't quite right:
But why does the school insist that each student can swim? W&L legend claims that a Doremus child drowned, and when the family donated the money for Doremus Gymnasium, they asked for the swimming requirement.
"Somebody, sometime didn't want anyone else to die," said Datz.
The swim test legend involves truth and elaboration. While the Doremus gift to W&L is a thrilling story, they had no child who drowned.
During Robert Doremus's visit to the campus, an anonymous W&L student impressed the New York broker with the speaking tradition and his hospitality, which led Doremus to honor his Southern mother by leaving his estate to the school. In 1913, Mrs. Doremus gave the school about $100,000 for the gym as a memorial to her husband. According to Taylor Sanders, the Washington and Lee University Historian, the Doremus family wanted to build the best gym in the South, which required a pool.
"Maybe Mrs. Doremus suggested the test with the interest of students at heart," said Sanders.
Sanders says Mrs. Doremus may have pushed for the swimming test because of several student drownings in the Maury River around the time of the donation, but his research has found no signs of drowned children in the Doremus cemetery or their baptism records.
Well, well. But I like this alternate version of the story, too.
Rowing crew as an undergrad at the People's Glorious Soviet of Middletown, I was required to participate in what was called a "flip drill". A shell was brought into the school's indoor pool. Four by four, we had to climb in. The shell would then be flipped and we had to scramble out from underneath it.
If you think there are a lot of stories about drowned undergrads behind school swimming requirements, you should have heard all the stories of drowned oarsmen that were said to be behind the flip drill requirement. One would have thought New England's lakes and rivers were clogged with the corpses.
Your assignment for the week
We're hosting the Carnival of the Bauer on Thursday night---all things The Jack, as the seriously crappy day winds down to a conclusion. Make sure to get your submissions in by Wednesday night (and if you need any inspiration, try Dave Barry's liveblogging tonight).
The theme I'm going for is "seriously derranged, LLama-style." Who is the real Mister Big? What's the ultimate conspiracy? Look for guest appearances by Bertie Wooster and the Knights Templar, not to mention the unmasking of Ben n' Jerry's sooper sekrit conspiracy to make AmeriKKKa pay for her sins against the pure indigenous peoples by making us extremely fat, one peace pop at a time.
Slow, cool rain
Big weekend in the garden here at Rancho non-Sequitor. The annual Mt. Mulch arrived, and, contrary to previous years where Mt. Mulch was known to develop a layer of perma-frost having overwintered in the driveway, it's almost all spread. The romaine lettuce will come to the table this week, and the roses and irises are out in force. Stevie is happy.
I'll be underwater with the grading the next two days or so, so more from me mid-week. But I leave you in the capable hooves of Robbo and the ever-peppy LMC. Yeah, and that crazy beyotch Sadie, who keeps popping in trying to besmirch the seriousness of this affair.
May 07, 2006
Antique media wishful thinking
No one honestly thinks Richard Armitage has any chance of being nominated to replace Porter Goss so the fact his name comes up at all is an indication of how badly the MSM wants someone like him--a critic of the Administration, a leaker, etc. My personal pick, former CIA Director George Herbert Walker Bush. Hey, if Rumsfeld can get a second chance at Defense, why not Bush 41 at CIA?
"Revolt of the generals"-the story that wasn't
Where are all the retired general officers and flag officers that were supposed to jump on the "revolt of the generals" story? The only one to do so was that tiresome nut, Wesley Clark. Draw your own inferences-the antique media won't.
Gratuitous Llama Virgin Netflix Movie Review
Did I miss something? As I recollect, this movie made something of a splash when it came out. I thought it was okay, but certainly not much out of the ordinary.
Indeed, I stopped paying close attention about two thirds of the way through and instead started furiously concentrating on the hobgoblinish question of where I had seen bad guy CIA man Chris Cooper before, finally realizing that he had been Col. Burwell in Mel Gibson's The Patriot.
So the next question: Is The Bourne Supremacy worth it?
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Outdoor Division
I've noticed an interesting phenomenon in the garden: I have a total of eight Joe Pye Weed plants at the back of my borders. Earlier this spring, I transplanted six of them. All six of the transplants have sprung up much more quickly than the two that remained unmoved. Make of that what you will, but if the JPW is trying to tell me that it likes having its root ball dug out every spring, all I can say is that it will be in for a vast disappointment next year.
Incidently, I've had first blooms on both peonies and roses. Woo Hoo! I even went so far as to take pictures of them. If they turn out at all half-way decent, I'll post a couple.
UPDATE: Another interesting phenomenon - we have a row of silver maples lining the street in front of our house. For whatever reason, the seed fall from these trees seems to be especially heavy this year. As I was mowing the lawn yesterday, the high winds we had occasionally made it seem as if I was standing in a seed blizzard. And the gels have been having endless fun tossing the seeds off the porch and watching them helicopter their way to the ground. I was talking with somebody today who also mentioned this, so I know I'm not just imagining things.
Eine Kleine Dad Musik
Lately, the younger Llama-ettes have been falling asleep to the sound of this CD:
Mozart's Magnificent Voyage, which tells some of the story of Mozart's life to the accompaniment of a pretty fair sampling of his music.
The gels have always been impressed that I could whistle just about the entire soundtrack of this story, but last evening the six year old asked me if I could play any of the music on the piano. "Oh, yes," I said. We went downstairs and in rapid progression I banged out some of the variations from the 1st Movement of the Piano Sonata in A, K. 331 and then the 3rd Movement of the Piano Sonata in F, K. 332, both of which feature prominantly in the CD. (Fortunately, I had had a glass of wine, so I was able to blow through the Allegro Assai of the F Major piece with a good deal of fearless aplomb.) We then finished up with the Alla Turca 3rd Movement of the A Major piece, also on this CD and an old Llama-ette favorite from Baby Mozart days.
The gel's reaction to Daddy's apparently limitless skill could be summed up in two words: A. Gog. She laughed to herself for pure joy the entire time and after I was done, she said, "Thanks, Dad" in a particularly melting way she has that she could probably use to get anything out of me - a pony, a sports car, a beach house - if she truly understood her powers.
By the way, if you're interested in introducing small children to classical music, I may say that I have heard a couple of this series and all of them seem to be very, very good. They involve some silly plots, but there is no denying that the Llama-ettes, at least, have taken in the music as well.
The Episcopal Church Stands Down
The Diocese of California declines to elect an openly homosexual bishop.
As I noted the other day, had one of the three gay candidates been elected, it most probably would have sparked a shooting war within the Anglican Communion, something most of us still very much do not want to occur.
Most people I've talked to agree that about 10% of the Episcopal Church on either side of the issue want to have it out here and now, while the other 80% continue to maintain a vague hope that the whole thing will just somehow go away in fluffy compromise. An internecine war would certainly be very nasty and I can well understand the natural desire to avoid it. On the other hand, I continue to believe that the decline of the Episcopal Church is directly linked to its modern tendency to reason itself into virtually any kind of accomodation. Sooner or later, the peace maintained by such exertions is no longer going to be worth it because the Church itself will be effectively meaningless.
May 06, 2006
This Is A Mutiny
Since Steve and Robbo sort of shushed my little joke about the remake of Revenge Of The Nerds, I thought I'd publicize it for them. After all, they should be getting a producer's cut of the profit, so trust me, they shall thank me eventually:
Yips! from Robbo: Well, okay, so long as it's also in the contract that Agent Bedhead plays the cheerleader.
Mrs. LMC had a few hours of Junior League stuff, leaving yours truly to mind the Future ROTC Scholarship Recipient and his seventeen month-old sister. The Virginia Beach boardwalk was the natural venue to while away a few hours with the weather being warm, sunny, and breezy. A few random observations:
1. The hard-body babes were out in force running, biking, roller-blading, and playing beach volleyball. God bless 'em. Fine examples of American womanhood.
2. UFOs (unidentified frying objects) were out as well. One must take the good with the bad.
3. Thong underwear is not the same as thong beachware, particularly for UFOs. Understand the difference-the rest of us will appreciate it. (See also #5)
4. "Body art" does not improve with age--if anything, quite the opposite, particularly for women as gravity and childbearing take their relentless toll.
5. Gals contemplating two-piece beachware need to ask themselves one simple question: "Do I have the body to pull this off?" If the answer is anything other than an unequivocal "yes", go with the one-piece-there is no dishonor in it. If you are not sure, do not put the man in your life on the spot by asking him-you may not like the answer and he sure won't like giving it.
6. Some pregnant women can look good in a two-piece, most cannot. (See #5)
7. Fathers in public with children and without their wives will get brownie points, a kind word or two, and even a smile from the hard-body babes and other citizens. Mothers in public under similar circumstances will not. Grumbling about it will not help.
8. An unspoken fellowship exists among parents in public with small children. When someone else's kid has a meltdown, you know with certainty that your time will come and you will not have to wait long.
Jean-Francois Revel, R.I.P.
Yesterday's Good Times carried an opinion piece on the recent death of the French philosopher and author. His 1976 book The Totalitarian Temptation dealt with the attraction of Communism to the Lefties in Western Europe. In many respects, Revel was a sort of neocon in that he started out as a Lefty but moved well to the right over the course of his long and productive life. I am glad to see my copy survived the many moves made in the last twenty years.
Gratuitous Llama Netflix Movie Reviews
Lost in La Mancha (2002)
A fascinating documentary about the attempt of ex-Python Terry Gilliam to film a movie about Don Quixote, an attempt that turned into a first class train wreck and ultimately failed.
I was a little leery going into this film. As much as I enjoy Gilliam's movies, at least the older ones, I've always been suspicious of the man's ego. Knowing the premise ahead of time, I was concerned that this might just turn out to be a 90 minute enfante terrible rant about how nobody understands him and everybody picks on him.
Well, luckily, there is not much of that kind of whining. And indeed, Gilliam was entitled to as much hair-pulling, swearing and kicking the cat as he might choose to do: the number of freak accidents, actor problems and production cock-ups Gilliam had to face on the project is rather staggering. The film gives a really good view of the incredible complexity of things that go on behind the camera even when things are going right. Given all this, it's a wonder any movie ever gets made.
My only real beef with the film is the constant comparison of the Quixote project with Gilliam's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. The latter is held up as the yardstick of bad Gilliam film experiences - budget problems, constant strife with the producers and so on. That may be so, but Munchausen also happens to be one of my very favorite movies and it's too bad to see it slanged so much here.
All in all, if you like Gilliam movies, I think you'd like this documentary.
Moo Gnu Boo Hoo
Dunno what happend to MuNu yesterday afternoon, but it seemed as if the entire collective was down. Sorry about that.
Well, not that I had anything to do with it, of course.
I simply meant "sorry" as in "that's too bad".
Well, okay - just forget it then.
May 05, 2006
Free Brett Kavanaugh and Terence Boyle!
Yesterday's Opinion Journal on Republicans pulling the trigger on the nuclear option.
A Little Friday Afternoon Humor
Apparently, bad boy golfer John Daly is coming out with an autobiography. A colleague just sent me an email of this clip from an A.P. story on the matter:
And there are times when Daly knows his priorities.
He wrote about winning the British Open at St. Andrews and facing a dilemma. Wilson and Reebok, his corporate sponsors, were on the phone with agent Bud Martin, desperate for Daly to get out to the Swilcan Bridge for a promotional picture. The sun was setting, so there was no time to spare.
But hold on -- the president was on the phone and wanted to talk to Daly.
"My first thought was ... the president of the United States wants to talk to me," Daly wrote. "But then Bud pointed out that Wilson and Reebok were putting $4 million a year in my pocket, and all Clinton was doing was taking 40 percent away."
He went to the bridge.
Gratuitous Civil War Posting
"Skirmish In The Wilderness" - Winslow Homer, 1864. Courtesy of Choate.
Today is the anniversary of the first day of the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864, the first battle pitting Ulysses S. Grant against Robert E. Lee. Grant had hoped to push out into open country south of the Rapidan River, but Lee, hoping to overcome Grant's vast numerical superiority, caught him in the extremely dense and tangled scrub and forest to the west of Fredericksburg, Virginia. The painting by Winslow Homer above gives some indication of the confusing and difficult fighting that was to occur over the three days of the battle.
The Federals were unable to break Lee and Grant was forced to retire and redeploy. Many of the officers and men of the Army of the Potomac naturally and glumly assumed that Grant would withdraw back across the river again, as had happened so many times before. However, when they realized that they were not moving back north, but rather south and east, they were electrified. Joshua Chamberlain, among others, later wrote about this and what an incredible boost in morale was caused by Grant's evident resolve.
The armies met again the day after the Wilderness at Spotsylvania Courthouse. Because that was such a long and ferocious battle, I'll blog it day by day.
The Curse of Bobby Kennedy - Update
The Nats go to one and nine at RFK. One. And. Nine. Worst home record in the league.
Verily, my dark fathah has written:
'Yea, and my spawn, and the spawn of my
spawn, shall cause the vessels of the
sky and of the land and of the sea to
break apaht and there shall be great
lamantation, but yet the people shall
go about theyah ways all unseeing and
my powahs shall not be, ah, abated.'
Isn't that right, Fathah?"
Say it with me, Nats fans: Vade Retro, Bobby!
May 04, 2006
Mary Jo Kopecne was not available for comment
YIPS from Steve: Because we traffic in human depravity, as befits our worship of David Hume, this is too good to pass up:
“The driver exited the vehicle and he was observed to be staggering,” Baird’s letter states. Officers approached the driver, who “declared to them he was a Congressman and was late to a vote. The House had adjourned nearly three hours before this incident. It was Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy from Rhode Island.”
Baird wrote that Capitol Police Patrol Division units, who are trained in driving under the influence cases, were not allowed to perform basic field sobriety tests on the Congressman. Instead, two sergeants, who also responded to the accident, proceeded to confer with the Capitol Police watch commander on duty and then “ordered all of the Patrol Division Units to leave the scene and that they were taking over.”
A source tells the DRUDGE REPORT: "It was apparent that the driver was intoxicated (stumbling) and claimed he was in a hurry to make a vote.
"When it became apparent who it was, instead of processing a normal DWI, the watch commander had the Patrol units clear the scene. The commander allowed other building officials drive Kennedy home."
This morning's incident comes just over two weeks after Kennedy was involved in a car accident in Rhode Island.
Two quick questions:
1. Was he wearing pants at the time, or did that tendency skip a generation?
2. Was it Billy Joel's car?
No wonder he wanted the video tapes supressed
Big news today as the Army releases the now infamous highlight reel of AQ beeeg maaaan al Zarqwai not knowing how to fire a gun properly, and looking swanky in some black dockers.
But the real shocker were the home videos of him hanging out with his new "buddy" Clay Aiken:
Z-man: Claaaaay, do these imperialist crusader BDUs make me look fat?
Clay: Pout for me, my nutty Sasquatch
Z-man: pout pout pout
Clay: Shiny! Now let's roll.
Not that there's anything wrong with that....
UPDATE: All my years of watching Murder She Wrote, Magnum, and CSI: Mayberry are coming into play as I think I've discovered a new clue....
The Llamas Imitate Firefly
Ya' know, sometimes when I read the combo of posts that Steve-O and I put up here at Llama Central, I just can't help thinking of Jayne reading Simon's journal.
"Dear Diary, today I was pompous and my co-blogger was crazy."
YIPS from Steve: Well, with that note, I'm taking the rest of the afternoon off. J. Elmer Puttgrass signing off and heading to the hot tub....
DEAR RED SAWX NATION: TOLD YOU SO, NEENER!
Back in March, when I was making my part-time entry into the realm of Red Sox Bloggers as the Exile from Sawx Nation, I went out on an airplane glue fume-induced rant about Theo putting Bronson Arroyo on the bus to the Reds.
Rueage, I predicted: MAJOR rueage. Baseball gods pissed, I said. Curse II: Grendel's Mom in Pinstripes rueage.
And you laughed at me. I was the crying clown of Red Sox Bloggers.
Here's what you said:
He was going to start the season in the bullpen anyway. Two words to remember this season, Steve-O: John Papelbon. He is the future. Posted by: The Colossus at March 21, 2006 02:30 PM
I'm in a rare moment of agreement with the Colossus. Papelbon is da man (I still have Kleenex fantasies of Rocket coming back for a year to take JP under his wing). While Bronson was surely a vast wellspring of unintentional comedy, I knew Bill Lee, and he is no Bill Lee. It is pretty lousy to sign the guy on a stay-at-home discount and then trade his ass. But if Arroyo’s agent had been worth his 10%, he would have put a poison pill into the contract…
Posted by: LB buddy at March 21, 2006 05:45 PM
The one thing the Colossus---he of the Golden Domers (South Bend, not Samarra) and "the company"---and LB Buddy---Genocidal Mengele to the zebrafish community who is downright worried that Noam Chomsky has gone all soft, corporate, and conservative---could agree on: yours truly was the proverbial wind up monkey with the fez and cymbals.
This is the one Bronson Arroyo wanted.
"This is the one team, that I'm sure I can feel comfortable against, feel like I can beat them," he said. "When I was with the Pirates, I was a different guy, but they always hit me hard. ... They always made games tight near the end of the game."
But not Monday, not against Arroyo.
He threw a complete-game, four-hit gem to beat the Cardinals 6-1 before a crowd of 20,900 at Great American Ball Park.
Arroyo is 5-0 with a 2.06 ERA. He's gone eight, eight and nine innings in his last three starts.
"To beat the Cardinals was the No. 1 thing," he said. "A complete game was just a bonus. Any time you can go against a quality team like that, you want to show them that we can play with them."
His previous start against the Cardinals was the only semi-blemish on Arroyo's record with the Reds. He got a no decision in an April 16 start, but the Reds lost 8-7.
By looking better the second time around against a club - he did the same thing against the Chicago Cubs - Arroyo's showing that he's doing more than cashing in against hitters in a new league who are unfamiliar with him.
"This guy is not a fluke," Reds manager Jerry Narron said. "He's got a great feel for pitching."
Arroyo says that comes from pitching with Boston, where the rivalry with the New York Yankees raises the pressure.
"Facing the Yankees 19 times a year - that lineup is so power-packed - it's tough to pitch to," he said. "It's mentally wearing as the game goes on.
"... I don't think there's any lineup in the National League that compares to that one. For me, it's easier to get over the hump."
The victory moves the Reds into sole possession of first place in the National League Central, a game ahead of the Cardinals.
Arroyo's been a huge part of that.
"We're feeding off him," said Felipe Lopez, the offensive hero with three RBI. "He's that personality. He's been in the playoffs. He gives us a lot of confidence."
I tell you, dealing Bronson---the Waterboy/Timmy Lupus from the Bad News Bears Mascot of the World Champion Boston Red Sox---is setting up Curse II: Turns out Babe Ruth's Mom is Pissier than Grendel's.
Rueage, I tell ya---major rueage.
UPDATE: Which will collapse first this summer---the Sawx bullpen, or any section of the Big Dig?
Let's go to the tape:
Attorney General Tom Reilly has said there's no evidence that the concrete is connected to hundreds of leaks which have sprung in Big Dig tunnels. He also has said there's no reason to believe the substandard concrete has affected the project's structural integrity because it was delivered at least six years ago.
Nancy Sterling, a spokeswoman for Aggregate, said the company had no immediate comment Thursday. R. Robert Popeo, an attorney for Aggregate, did not immediately return a call.
The Big Dig, formally called the Central Artery and Third Harbor Tunnel project, buried Interstate 93 in tunnels beneath downtown and connected the Massachusetts Turnpike to Logan Airport with a third tunnel beneath Boston Harbor.
The project was plagued by long delays and cost overruns that ballooned from $2.6 billion to $14.6 billion. Earlier this year, after more than a decade of traffic detours, the last major section of the project opened. The heavy construction had started in 1991.
Substandard concrete, structural integrity, big bodies of water, nah, nothing to worry about there.
Okay, maybe Theo's a genius: make the Yanks land at Logan, then trap them in the Ted Williams Tunnel, then let the Bay State Culture of Corruption do its thing...
If I Had A Hammer.....
(Image found at this Turkish tourism website.)
Now that the Science Fair is over, my next trick with the eldest Llama-ette will be to help her construct a model of classical architecture. For this assignment, she has chosen the Alter of Zeus at Pergamon, a 2nd Century B.C. marble shrine, the recreation of which pictured above sits in the Staatliche Museum, Berlin, along with a number of pieces of the original.
According to this site:
The Altar of Zeus was erected by Eumenes II, King of Pergamon, as a memorial to his father, Attalos I. (For further information refer to numbers 114 and 115.) The immense building was not only dedicated to Zeus but also to Athena, the goddess of victory, who became the patroness and protector of Pergamon.
Located upon a terrace near the top of the citadel, the altar was erected approximately 700 feet above the city's market place. The pedestal walls of the monument were decorated with a frieze of sculptural relief that was 7-1/2 feet wide and approximately 400 feet long. A majestic staircase led to the frieze.
It was generally acknowledged that the subject of the frieze is the battle of the Olympian gods and giants, the offspring of Ge (Earth). In myth, Ge sent her brood, a dread-inspiring, monstrous lot, to scale thew heavens and usurp the Olympians. However, the identification of all the sculptured figures represented on the frieze and the sources from which the visual imagery were derived is speculative.
In the Zeus group from the east frieze, the powerful and triumphant father battles with three giants. To the god's right, a fallen giant has been struck through his leg with a thunderbolt. One of the two giants to the left of Zeus is a serpent-footed figure sometimes identified as Porphrion. His attempt to release a serpent is thwarted by an eagle (?) of Zeus'.
In the Athena group, the goddess is represented in active turbulence and drags and pulls a winged giant, often referred to as Alkyoneus, by his hair.
The agonized Ge, visualized by the fruits of nature nearby and by her position half out of the Earth, beseeches mercy from the pitiless goddess who is crowned by Nike in token of her victory.
Although the altar frieze was worked upon by numerous sculptors, many of whose names have survived, it has been ascertained that the overall design was the work of one master. Discovered by Humann (?) in excavations undertaken in 1878-1886 A.D. by the German government, the sculpture from The Altar of Zeus embodies the characteristics inherent in Hellenistic art.
I guess sugar cubes will do to get the basic shape of the thing down, but those friezes are going to be a cast-iron bitch.
The punch line is that Zeus is the Llama-ette's least favorite Greek god, she having taken to the pro-Hades line of the Myth-O-Mania series of kids' books. She thinks it pretty amusing to pick Zeus's temple despite her dislike for him. I hope she's not contemplating suddenly stamping on the thing to show Zeus what she really thinks of him.
BTW, if anybody out there knows some better pictures or drafts of the alter from which we can work, let me know.
UPDATE: Never mind. I just got word that the building is supposed to be Roman, not Greek. And after I downloaded all kinds of architectural plans and details of the friezes.
The gel now says she wants to do the Colosseum. But everybody does the bloody Colosseum. So I'm going to try and talk her into something else - the Arch of Septimius Severus, the Temple of Vesta, Hadrian's Wall, perhaps a nice aquaduct. I'm sure we can come up with something......
Too Darn Hot
Chimpy McHilterBurton's failure to sign the Kyoto Treaty is now having interplanetary repercussions:
Close inspections of Red Spot Jr., in Hubble images released today, reveal that similar to the Great Red Spot, the more recently developed storm rises above the top of the main cloud deck on Jupiter.
Little is known about how storms form on the giant planet. They are often described as behaving similar to hurricanes on Earth. Some astronomers believe that the spots dredge up material deep below Jupiter's clouds and lift it to where the Sun's ultraviolet light chemically alters it to give it a red hue.
The latest images could provide evidence that Jupiter is in the midst of a global change that can modify temperatures by as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit on different parts of the globe.
Is it not enough that this man has to kill our own planet? Must he take out the rest of the solar system as well?
In Vino, Cano
I can't recall if I've seen this before or not, but I like it just the same: The Red Wine Haiku Review, with versified opinions of 167 (and counting) wines. Here are a couple about labels I have drunk myself:
41) Moulin-A-Vent, DeBeouf (Beaujolais, France) 2003
Blueberry hot sauce
Summer is a state of mind
Let us all relax
82) Spinelli Tratturo Montepulciano D'Abruzzo 2003 (Italy)
Tightly wrapped dried fruit
Lots of bright front mouth flavor
A tart small tit wine
140) Rosso di Montalcino, Caparzo, Vendemmia 2000 (Italy)
Sleepy antique store
Box full of faded postcards
Wine to browse life by
Of course, some of the reviews are much less flattering:
144) Stonehaven Shiraz 2004 (Australia)
Yea, right. Shiraz. Sure.
That there is raspberry juice!
I ain't no damn fool
Yips! to the Colossus, whose wine-blogging up a storm himself.
Greedo did not shoot first after all
The 1977 version of Star Wars is coming out in DVD. George Lucas annointed the "re-mastered" version as the definitive piece in '04 but now seems to be bowing to fan demand, the almighty dollar, or both (probably both).
Yips! from Robbo: Excellent news, and I see it goes for all three of the original trilogy. Poor old Sebastian Shaw will fly again!
Get A Rope
After chewing on it overnight, I think Peggy Noonan nails the Moussaoui verdict perfectly:
This is what the jury announced yesterday. They did not doubt Moussaoui was guilty of conspiracy. They did not doubt his own testimony as to his guilt. They did not think he was incapable of telling right from wrong. They did not find him insane. They did believe, however, that he had had an unstable childhood, that his father was abusive and then abandoning, and that as a child, in his native France, he'd suffered the trauma of being exposed to racial slurs.
As I listened to the court officer read the jury's conclusions yesterday I thought: This isn't a decision, it's a non sequitur.
Of course he had a bad childhood; of course he was abused. You don't become a killer because you started out with love and sweetness. Of course he came from unhappiness. So, chances are, did the nice man sitting on the train the other day who rose to give you his seat. Life is hard and sometimes terrible, and that is a tragedy. It explains much, but it is not a free pass.
I have the sense that many good people in our country, normal modest folk who used to be forced to endure being patronized and instructed by the elites of all spheres--the academy and law and the media--have sort of given up and cut to the chase. They don't wait to be instructed in the higher virtues by the professional class now. They immediately incorporate and reflect the correct wisdom before they're lectured.
I'm not sure this is progress. It feels not like the higher compassion but the lower evasion. It feels dainty in a way that speaks not of gentleness but fear.
Yup. And don't think the Bad Guys aren't paying attention. Go read the rest.
The Curse Of Bobby Kennedy Strikes Again
The Nats drop another one at RFK.
The only difference last night was that instead of blowing a lead in the late innings, they managed to claw their way back from an early three run deficit, tie it up and then lose it in late innings.
And it's the same damn thing as always - extremely erratic pitching and the inability to capitalize on hits. If I had a dollar for every man the Nats have managed to strand on base this season, I'd be rich as hell.
And to make it worse, the loss was to the Marlins, a team that seems to be made up largely of rooks and Crash Davis types - minor league career guys getting a quick trip to the Show. Criminy.
"Frank!........Fraaaaaank, ah, Rahbinsaahn!
You caaaahn't win in, ah, my yaaaahd! Get ouuuutah!
UPDATE: The Maximum Leader brings word of the sale of the Nats to the Lerner Group, who have plans for some long-term exorcism. Vade retro, Bobby!
Random Commuter Observations
I've got no business driving while wearing my glasses. I really haven't.
By the bye, Metro here in Dee Cee has started using a new door chime. It sounds like a T-Mobile rip-off and is already starting to annoy me. They've also got a new Voice of Metro and all I can say is that Angela Stevens was robbed.
May 03, 2006
Mr. Moussaoui? Meet Your New Cellmate Ben - Ben Dover.
Dr. Rusty's got the round-up on the breaking news that terrorist Zacharias Moussaoui has been given life in prison.
I'm not going to get into a debate with anybody here about the wrongs or rights of the jury's verdict. Instead, I'm simply going to throw out the question: As a practical matter, how long do you suppose this joker's going to last in the pen?
I'm guessing "life" in this context, as in "length of", is probably a very fluid concept.
The Berenstain Bears Shiv Mom And Dad In The Back
We seem to have most of the Berenstain Bears books in the Llama-ettes' library. As a general rule, I find them annoying but harmless and am even not much bothered by the fact that Momma is the wise one and Papa is something of a dope. Plus, the Llama-ettes go through periods of enjoying having them read at bedtime.
But there is one Berenstain Bear book that drives me absolutely up the wall:
Why is this book so evil? Well, I'll tell you. The basic plot is that, owing to too much parental indulgence, Brother and Sister Bear turn into spoiled little monsters, "gimmy-ing" everything in sight. The climax of this comes when they have full-scale meltdowns in the supermarket parking lot over some nasty little toys. Papa is so shocked and so furious over their behavior that he decides it's time to lower the proverbial boom.
So far, so good. And I always read both the narrative description of the Cubs' awful behavior and Papa's harsh reaction with particular emphasis for the benefit of the Llama-ettes.
But then the trouble begins. Just as Papa is about to institute draconian reform, along come Grizzly Gramps and Grandma. First, they completely undermine Papa's moral authority by reminding him (within the hearing of the cubs) that he was as bad as them in his day. Then they suggest a hair-brained plan: in order to keep the kids from gimmy-ing everything in sight when they go out, agree ahead of time that each of them gets to choose one treat per outing.
In other words, buy them off!
The book ends with the Gramps n' Gran Plan being implemented to the satisfaction of all parties involved.
As I say, I've no problem with most of the BB books, as they generally offer sensible solutions to life's little everday problems. But I think Stan & Jan went seriously off the reservation with this one. Giving the kiddies one free treat per outing in order to stave off tantrums is the equivalent of paying tribute to the barbarians so they won't sack your town. It doesn't correct the behavior, it simply puts a value on the threat of such behavior and transfers that value into the pockets of the original offenders. What kind of lesson is that?
I know, I know. You're asking, "But Tom, if you don't like the book, why do you read it to your children?"
Well, as I say, I like the first part. And the "galloping greedy gimmies" has become a useful part of the domestic lexicon.
So how do I get around the ending? Well, it's too late to invent an alternate, so I've fallen back on delivering a little homily on why Gramps and Gran are wrong and that really nice children don't automatically expect a prize for good behavior. I probably haven't convinced the Llama-ettes of the Bear Family's foolishness, but at least I've made it pretty clear that there is no way we are going to institute the Gramps n' Gran Plan in our house.
UPDATE: Because I keep getting asked, I should explain that calling myself "Tom" in our audience's voice is a variation on an old Dave Letterman joke. Back in the early days, he'd have the president of NBC (Grant Tinker, I believe) come out and make some pat little booster speech on occassion and Tinker would always call Dave "Tom". The idea is to play up a bit on my lowly status. (Well, I find it amusing.)
Random Imaginary Conversations Between INDC Bill and His Bathroom Mirror
INDC Bill: I think Russell Crowe is the dreamiest....
Bill: He's so studly!
Bill: I mean, it's like Hollywood could cast him for anything and he'd be superb!
Bill: Mr. Perfecto! Every time!
Bill: Think of all the really manly guys he could play....
Bill: Knute Rockne...Charlemagne.....Patton....
Bill: Sam Spade.... Ben Hur......Paul Bunyan......
Bill: The Lone Ranger......
Bill: If they're really gonna remake Clash of the Titans, I hope he'll get to be Zeus! What a perfect bod for hurling thunderbolts!
BM: Dude, shut up and finish shaving already.
Bill: Natty Bumpo.....Ghengis Khan.......Pappy Boyington......
Bill: Bull Halsey.....Larry Csonka.......
Bill: Mr. Incredible....
BM: Dude, you're making me all foggy.
R.I.P. Louis Rukeyser
Rukeyser died yesterday at age 73 of bone cancer.
PBS's Wall Street Week, was a staple of Friday nights around the home of Robbo's youth. I could not for the life of me now tell you anything specific about what was said. Instead, I'm left with the memory of the cushy sets, the horrible puns and the general sense of elegant, good humoured courtliness that Rukeyser radiated.
Oh, and the theme music. What WSW fan could forget that? In fact, I remember it even had a title that appeared in the credits - "[Something] in Twelve Bars" or the like. Even now, it's going through my head - indeed, I'll probably go on hearing it all day.
UPDATE: "TWX in Twelve Bars" was the name of the theme. And for you young'uns, I must emphasize that I'm talking about the original that was used in the 70's and early 80's. I gather it was revamped at some point, but never heard the updated version.
YIPS from Steve: Well, that sucks. WSW was a staple at our house too, and it was a regular Friday night thing after getting hitched, particularly since it came on just before the X-Files. (Talk about your jarring disconnect)
I learned so much from that show, mainly in terms of keeping things relatively simple and recognizing that there are a whole range of styles of investing, and the key is to find what you are comfortable with and keep at it over time. The monologue at the beginning was always hilarious, but the panel was usually the best part. What was always funny would be when they'd get some young turk on there and, with an absolute twinkle in his eye, Looie and the panel would quite graciously and with good cheer pick his pocket, clean his clock, and hand him his freshly pressed suit jacket. Flash was not the point.
My favorite would always be the pre-Christmas episode in October-ish where he would give the new toy preview, who was making what and how retail sales were looking.
The man could do deadpan better than anyone I've ever seen.
It's sad too because it represents the passing of an age in broadcasting. WSW with Louis Rukeyser was kind of like Mel Allen's This Week in Baseball, which also had a very catchy 70s theme song. They were products of a time where you'd get your sports/markets roundup and highlight reels once a week, rather than hourly, and therefore had the ability to digest them with some aplomb. Not that I have any problem with Chris Berman and Maria Bartiromo, but there is some virtue in a life lived more slowly.
One wonders if we had had Maria Bartiromo as a serving wench/financial analyst at Karl Marx's London coffe house, perhaps we could have been spared all that subsequent silliness. Maybe he would have titled his seminal work "Das Kapital!" instead.
(Childish, I know. But I couldn't resist.)
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)
Friends, I'm here to tell you: nothing sets you up for the day like having to deal with a plugged and overflowing kids' potty at six in the morning.
A girl, a cul de sac, and a bike named "Zap"
Just go and read.
Oh, and growing up, because we lived in,what's the name?, ah yes, AMERICA we called the rounded end of the suburban street "the turnaround."
American English---good enough for Lafayette, good enough for me.
May 02, 2006
Gratuitous Patrick O'Brian Posting
Could this have been the screen face of Jack Aubrey? The Irish Elk suggested recently that Robert Hardy, at about the time he played Siegfried Farnon in All Creatures Great and Small, might have fit the bill.
Thinking it over, I believe there is some merit to this. Hardy certainly had the energy, presence and sunny, albeit volatile temperment for the character. My only objection, as I mentioned in comments to the Elk's post, was that Hardy is not a big man. But as I also said, I'm sure a little camera magic could have overcome that obstacle.
UPDATE: I caught the end of Master & Commander on tee vee this evening. I'd forgotten about the bit where all the casualties are being sewn into their hammocks. And in particular, I'd forgotten that this bit is accompanied by the Fantasia on a Theme By Thomas Tallis composed by Ralph Vaughn Williams.
As much as I detest gooey music as a general rule, I have to confess that I've always loved this piece. When I was in law school, I played a role in a production of Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream at the Missus' college. The director did the piece in a sort of Maxfield Parrish fantasy mode, and this particular piece of Vaughn Williams was played during the intermission (along with some others). I used to sit on the edge of the set behind the curtain and just listen, indulging myself in the dreaminess of the theatre, the play and the music.
Fortunately, since I really don't think much of the movie as a whole, I have no problem avoiding the associatiation of this piece with Hollywood's depiction of a naval engagement's butcher's bill. And let me just remark that using mid-20th Century music to try and capture the sensibilities of the early 19th Century is completely cockeyed.
Here We Goooooo.......
Yes, it's almost time for the 2006 General Convention of the Episcopal Church, this year to be held in Columbus, Ohio.
As those of you who keep up on these things are aware, the Episcopal Church is under a kind of probation at the moment within the Anglican Communion because of the election of Bishop Robinson, a practising homosexual, to the Diocese of New Hampshire in 2003. The more conservative members of the Communion - mostly churches in Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia, were livid that the Episcopal Church should take such a step without at least consulting the Communion first.
The Windsor Report issued in 2004 is an attempt to try and bring the Communion back together, working out some kind of all-encompassing understanding about how to treat this sort of thing. In the meantime, the Episcopal Church has been shut out of certain deliberative functions within the Communion for a period of years and is, as I say, on a kind of probation. One of the requirements of the Windsor Report is that, before the Episcopal Church be allowed out of the penalty box, it must acknowledge that it went too far in accepting Robinson's election.
Naturally, all eyes are on what will be decided at General Convention. Here is the current proposed draft of the apology:
Resolved, the House of _____ concurring, That the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church join the House of Bishops’ March 2005 “Covenant Statement” in expressing “our own deep regret for the pain that others have experienced with respect to our actions at the General Convention of 2003 and we offer our sincerest apology and repentance for having breached the bonds of affection in the Anglican Communion by any failure to consult adequately with our Anglican partners before taking these actions.”
This text will be subject to debate and possible amendment. But the rest of the Communion is going to be watching very carefully for weasel words. What the conservative wing wants is not just a regret that anyone has "experienced pain" because of Robinson's election, but a flat-out admission that the Episcopal Church made a mistake in it. We'll see if that happens.
Meanwhile, a friend tells me that the Diocese of California is currently in the process of electing a new bishop and that at least three of the candidates are gay. More on this here. If one of these were to be elected and that election confirmed at this year's General Convention, I believe all hell would break loose, both within the Episcopal Church and also the greater Anglican Communion.
Going to be an interesting summer. LMC - is Rome still accepting applicants?
UPDATE: Sooper Sekret message to the Missus: Ah! Opus Dei! Boogie-boogie-boo!!
Lileks, Kirk, Khan, and.......the LLamabutchers?
It's an honor just to be in this distinguished, errr, company.
Gratuitous Civil War Posting
Today is the anniversary of Stonewall Jackson's famed 1863 flanking march during the Battle of Chancellorsville, in which Jackson took his division clear around the Union Army, made a surprise attack against its right flank and ended the day accidentally shot by his own men, dying eight days later from pneumonia.
Here is a map of Jackson's route:
(Image found at this site, which contains many more Civil War maps and photos.)
The Battle of Chancellorsville has been called one of Robert E. Lee's greatest victories. I happen to disagree with this conclusion, believing instead that while Lee made the best of the situation, he was more lucky than anything else.
Following the disastrous Federal attack on the Confederate positions at Fredericksburg in December, 1862, the Union puzzled mighty hard as to how to dislodge Lee from his stronghold. The answer was devised by "Fighting Joe" Hooker, the general who replaced Ambrose Burnsides after Fredericksburg. And indeed, it was a very good one: Hooker would cut off Lee's supply line with a massive cavalry raid (there was only a single rail line leading into Fredericksburg) and, at the same time, quietly decamp, move upstream, cross the Rappahanock and come down on Lee's flank. Hooker reasoned that once he was across, Lee would have no choice but to come out after him. Meanwhile, Hooker would send another force across the river at Fredericksburg to get behind Lee. Caught in this pincer, Lee would be crushed by the firepower of the Federals.
As far as moving his army, Hooker's plan worked brilliantly: he had left his position opposite Fredericksburg and got across the river upstream before Lee even realized he was moving. This was the result of superb administrative organization and a complex ruse de guerre that involved bogus signals, simulated camp life and other measures designed to make it look as if the Union Army was still snuggly in place. Federal military intelligence was handled by Allen Pinkerton. He is notorious to Civil War history buffs because of his wildly inaccurate estimates of enemy strength. But in this matter, he did very well indeed.
Once Lee got wind of the Federal movement, he did indeed come out to face Hooker. Here, I think, is where Lee got lucky: although Hooker's plan was extremely good, the man simply lost his nerve when it came to the actual fight. This started when the Federal raid against Lee's supply-line went awry, Stoneman (the cavalry commander) going off on a wild goosechase. Hooker became convinced that Lee would draw up reenforcements to confront him and, despite the near unanimous wish of his subordinate commanders to the contrary, proceeded to advance east from the river fords in a pokey, hesitant manner.
Jackson's flank march may or may not be seen as the final straw that broke Hooker's resolve. There had been some warning of it, but this was later dismissed and, indeed, Hooker thought Lee might even be retreating. When Stonewall's men crashed into O.O. Howard's 11th Corp late in the day of May 2, the Federals were caught absolutely flat-footed. Dusk and localized Federal resistance eventually absorbed the attack, but not until the Union forces had been pushed back a considerable distance. It was in the confusion that Jackson was shot - while coming back from reconoitering the Federal positions - by men of a North Carolina regiment.
From there on out, Hooker had already lost. He still vastly outnumbered Lee and even after Jackson's attack, could have crushed the Army of Northern Virginia. Indeed, Hooker had three fresh divisions in reserve - those of Meade, Reynolds and Hancock, whose commanders repeated urged him to turn them loose. But Hooker couldn't bring himself to do it. Instead, he consolidated his forces into a near circle protecting the river fords and slowly let himself be pounded to rubble under the Confederate guns.
So as I say, it is certainly true that Lee made the best of his forces in the face of overwhelming odds. But I believe that had he faced a Union commander with more resolve than Hooker, the results would have been considerably different. The Federals could very well have crushed him. Lee wouldn't be praised for his daring, but instead be castigated for splitting his forces and running desparate and needless risks. I suppose that's just the way things work out.
Incidentally, if you're interested in this battle, I would recommend this book:
It gives a very clear account and is particularly fascinating in its description of Pinkerton's intel ops that set up the battle.
More Random Commuter Observations
The entire south side of E Street from 10th to 9th was jammed solid with teenaged tourons this morning, so thick that I was reduced to a) walking in the street and b) making sarcastic comments to their herders.
In following up on my musings of yesterday on the subject, I've come up with a few more collective nouns:
A purgatory of tourons
A quicksand of tourons
A Sargasso Sea of tourons
A Dunciad of tourons
A Kansas of tourons
Many people have written in to ask why I don't simply walk on the other side of the street. Well, I can't - the sidewalk is closed because of construction. The other alternative is to swing all the way down to Pennsylvania Avenue, but I'll be damned if I'm going an extra block out of my way just for some stupid kids.
May 01, 2006
Mr. Woo and Plummy, Too
Basil Seal delivers up a couple of posts on humor in the hands of Evelyn Waugh and P.G. Wodehouse. I think the latter essay, which looks at Wodehouse's humor from a Christian perspective, may lay it on a wee bit thick. But I think the general notion of Plum depicting a World before the Fall, as it were, is legitimate. That's certainly the way Waugh viewed his writing.
Wodehouse himself once said:
"I believe there are two ways of writing novels. One is mine, making a sort of musical comedy without music and ignoring real life altogether; the other is going right deep down into life and not caring a damn ...."I don't recall ever seeing any commentary by Wodehouse on Waugh's work, but one could argue that Plum's second alternative for novel writing could be said to describe Waugh's style. In this sense, I'd like to think of the two of them looking across the void at each other, each appreciating the other's work from a distance. Then again, I may just be romanticising here - I am a great fan of Waugh not only for his own novels, but also for the fact that he took such a public stance in defense of Wodehouse after the whole Nazi internment kerfluffle.
I won't bother recommending that you click over. If you like this sort of thing, you'll do it anyway, I'm sure.
The following events take place in the middle of the freakin' night...
What? You haven't seen the trailer for Snakes on a Plane?
Forget Snakes on a Plane, tonight's episode of 24 features Jack Bauer as the stewardess. Expect a healthy dose of coffee, tea, or death. Let's just say there's not a healthy actuarial summary of Jack's involvement with airplanes. Maybe he got the crap beat out of him by a clown dressed as Wilbur Wright, I don't know.
Dave Barry will mercifully be liveblogging it the way on Dave Barry can (he seems to be the one person who can live blog while being faithful to the "do a shot whenever someone gets shot" rule).
And as always the kind folks over at Blogs4Bauer have the usual array of snarky 24 commentary and conspiracy theories. Their afternoon pre-game show contest:
1. What kind of trouble will Jack cause on the plane?
2. What will tonight's body county be?
I'm going to say:
1. Refuse to return tray and seat to upright position; uses forbidden electronic device during takeoff to get Chloe to download to his PDA the schematics---outside protocols! to figure out how to keep the damn snakes from getting out in the damn plane!; and lights up to smoke after killing a lot of bad guys
2. I'm going with the Grim Reaper continuing to take the late night off, and go with a total body count for the show of 12, with 5 of them on Jack's tab. (The total Season 5 Kill Counter is up to 161)
UPDATE: WHITHER WILLIAM DEVANE?
So is Secretary Heller sleeping with the fishes, or is he sleeping with the fishes? Stay tuned for our Meet The Press Panel featuring Ted Kennedy and Mary Jo Kopechne, with special commentary by Toonces the driving cat
A Golden Celebrity Opportunity For Steve-O and Robbo
Revenge of the Nerds to be remade.
The line for the Llama posse forms to the right.
Shooting Fish In A Barrel, Afghan Style
Dr. Rusty's got the video.
The NYT obituary nitpicking:
"In 1963, Mr. Galbraith added fiction to his repertory for the first time..".
What do you mean "added"?
As Lemuel hails from Slovakia, which was forced to endure many years of the brand of economics Mr. Galbraith advocated, I'd say he's perfectly entitled to nitpick as much as he likes.
Gratuitous Goddam Communists Posting
Catallarchy has a round-up of May Day rememberance posts.
I kid you not that I once had a very bitter argument with a classmate in college over Dr. Seuss's Butter Battle Book.
This classmate maintained that Seuss's story was a perfectly legitimate allegory about the Cold War, since the differences between the United States and the Soviet Union were, in fact, no greater than those between the Zooks and the Yooks (i.e., which side of the bread to butter).
For my part, I argued that my classmate was full of sh*t.
Head, meet wall.
By the bye, this reminds me of one of my favorite political pronouncements by Peej O'Rourke:
Communists worship the devil.
Socialists believe perdition is a good system run by bad people.
Liberals think we should all go to hell because it's warm there in the winter.
UPDATE: Kim Priestap over at Wizbang notes the link between today's illegal immigrant protesting and the Reds. I'm pretty sure most of the people at these rallies aren't humming the "Internationale" under their breath, but that evidently isn't stopping the Commies from using them for propoganda fodder.
Finally, a reality tee-vee show even Robbo would like
There's an Eliza Doolittle/Henry Higgins joke in here somewhere. Heck, I know where it is, I'm just not going for it.
The site seems to be having a hard time loading up today.
If you're reading this, I suppose congratulations are in order.
Great Moments in American Jurisprudence
The U.S. Supreme Court rules unanimously in favor of Anna Nicole Smith, on the hopes that her litigation will continue and that her attorneys will appeal the case back up to the Court, giving them the chance to more fully examine her, umm, writs of certiaori.
John Marshall. John Marshall Harlan I. John Marshall Harlan II. Thurgood Marshall. Vickie Lynn Marshall (aka Anna Nicole Smith).
American legal history will never be the same.
UPDATE: Some thoughts on reading the opinion:
1. Shockers----I would have bet any amount of money that Clarence Thomas would have written the opinion, given his expertise in the area. But nooooooo----it's by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
2. How's this for a summary---it sounds like a really bad Mexican soap opera:
Petitioner, Vickie Lynn Marshall (Vickie), also known as Anna Nicole Smith, is the surviving widow of J. Howard Marshall II (J. Howard). Vickie and J. Howard met in October 1991. After a courtship lasting more than two years, they [*16] were married on June 27, 1994. J. Howard died on August 4, 1995. Although he lavished gifts and significant sums of money on Vickie during their courtship and marriage, J. Howard did not include anything for Vickie in his will. According to Vickie, J. Howard intended to provide for her financial security through a gift in the form of a "catch-all" trust.
Respondent, E. Pierce Marshall (Pierce), one of J. Howard's sons, was the ultimate beneficiary of J. Howard's estate plan, which consisted of a living trust and a "pourover" will. Under the terms of the will, all of J. Howard's assets not already included in the trust were to be transferred to the trust upon his death.
Competing claims regarding J. Howard's fortune ignited proceedings in both state and federal courts. In January 1996, while J. Howard's estate was subject to ongoing proceedings in Probate Court in Harris County, Texas, Vickie filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, 11 U.S.C. § 1101 et seq., in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California. See 275 B. R. 5, 8 (CD Cal. 2002). In June 1996, Pierce filed a proof of claim in the [*17] federal bankruptcy proceeding, id., at 9; see 11 U.S.C. § 501, alleging that Vickie had defamed him when, shortly after J. Howard's death, lawyers representing Vickie told members of the press that Pierce had engaged in forgery, fraud, and overreaching to gain control of his father's assets. 275 B. R., at 9. Pierce sought a declaration that the debt he asserted in that claim was not dischargeable in bankruptcy. Ibid. n1 Vickie answered, asserting truth as a defense. She also filed counterclaims, among them a claim that Pierce had tortiously interfered with a gift she expected. Ibid.; see App. 23-25. Vickie alleged that Pierce prevented the transfer of his father's intended gift to her by, among other things: effectively imprisoning J. Howard against his wishes; surrounding him with hired guards for the purpose of preventing personal contact between him and Vickie; making misrepresentations to J. Howard; and transferring property against J. Howard's expressed wishes. Id., at 24.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - Footnotes - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
n1 Among debts not dischargeable in bankruptcy, see 11 U.S.C. § 523(a), are those arising from "willful and malicious injury by the debtor," § 523(a)(6).
- - - - - - - - - - - - End Footnotes- - - - - - - - - - - - - - [*18]
Vickie's tortious interference counterclaim turned her objection to Pierce's claim into an adversary proceeding. Id., at 39; see Fed. Rule Bkrtcy. Proc. 3007. In that proceeding, the Bankruptcy Court granted summary judgment in favor of Vickie on Pierce's claim and, after a trial on the merits, entered judgment for Vickie on her tortious interference counterclaim. See 253 B. R. 550, 558-559 (2000). The Bankruptcy Court also held that both Vickie's objection to Pierce's claim and Vickie's counterclaim qualified as "core proceedings" under 28 U.S.C. § 157, which meant that the court had authority to enter a final judgment disposing of those claims. See 257 B. R. 35, 39-40 (2000). The court awarded Vickie compensatory damages of more than $ 449 million -- less whatever she recovered in the ongoing probate action in Texas -- as well as $ 25 million in punitive damages. Id., at 40.
Pierce filed a post-trial motion to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, asserting that Vickie's tortious interference claim could be tried only in the Texas probate proceedings. Id., at 36. The Bankruptcy [*19] Court held that "the 'probate exception' argument was waived" because it was not timely raised. Id., at 39. Relying on this Court's decision in Markham, the court observed that a federal court has jurisdiction to "adjudicate rights in probate property, so long as its final judgment does not undertake to interfere with the state court's possession of the property." 257 B. R., at 38 (citing Markham, 326 U.S., at 494).
Meanwhile, in the Texas Probate Court, Pierce sought a declaration that the living trust and his father's will were valid. 392 F.3d at 1124-1125. Vickie, in turn, challenged the validity of the will and filed a tortious interference claim against Pierce, ibid., but voluntarily dismissed both claims once the Bankruptcy Court entered its judgment, id., at 1128. Following a jury trial, the Probate Court declared the living trust and J. Howard's will valid. Id., at 1129.
Back in the federal forum, Pierce sought district-court review of the Bankruptcy Court's judgment. While rejecting the Bankruptcy Court's determination that Pierce had forfeited any argument based on the [*20] probate exception, the District Court held that the exception did not reach Vickie's claim. 264 B. R. 609, 619-625 (CD Cal. 2001). The Bankruptcy Court "did not assert jurisdiction generally over the probate proceedings . . . or take control over [the] estate's assets," the District Court observed, id., at 621, "thus, the probate exception would bar federal jurisdiction over Vickie's counterclaim only if such jurisdiction would 'interfere' with the probate proceedings," ibid. (quoting Markham, 326 U.S., at 494). Federal jurisdiction would not "interfere" with the probate proceedings, the District Court concluded, because: (1) success on Vickie's counterclaim did not necessitate any declaration that J. Howard's will was invalid, 264 B. R., at 621; and (2) under Texas law, probate courts do not have exclusive jurisdiction to entertain claims of the kind asserted in Vickie's counterclaim, id., at 622-625.
I love that, "Meanwhile, back in the Texas Probate Court"...
There's something funny about the word "courtship" here:
I bet I know what Justice Stevens was thinking when he saw that!
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Outdoor Division
Somebody Googled in here on columbine plants are dying how do I save them, surely a familiar question to many flower gardeners.
I was just musing about things this weekend as I worked out in the garden, staking irises and yanking the first of the weeds. While there are as yet relatively few blooms, everything is fresh, young and vigorous. Nothing has yet been attacked by disease, by slugs, by Japanese beetles, by drought, by rabbits or by deer. Nothing has become stringy or overgrown. Nothing has seeded itself into a decline. Nothing has been swamped by morning glory or any other of a dozen pernicious varieties of weed. It is a pleasure just to stroll around and watch my little family of plants coming back into their own.
I always think of this as the Golden Age of the gardening year, the time in which all of the garden's potential for beauty and greatness remains intact. And each year, I vow to preserve this potential as long as I can, to perhaps even see it come to its fruition. However, at the back of my mind I know perfectly well that this is an empty promise, that at some point there will be a Fall (in the Biblical sense), that the forces of darkness currently held at bay will break in. I know perfectly well that however determined I am to keep up with pruning, feeding, weeding and so on, sooner or later some outside factor will intervene. It may be that I have to be away one or more weekends, it may be an unusual spate of bad weather. Whatever the reason, I know that eventually I will lose control of things and that by some point in the summer I will have to resign myself to the fact that I am no longer striving for victory, but rather am simply trying to keep defeat to a minimum. It is at that point that I also will start looking forward to the first hard frost with its promise of wiping the slate clean so that I can start fresh the following year.
But not yet. I'm still enjoying Paradise. Hope springs eternal even in the garden.
UPDATE: And speaking of hope springing eternal, I actually got the Llama-ettes to make themselves useful in the yard this weekend, weeding the patio for me and giving their play house a good spring cleaning. When I was about nine, we built a new house on a couple acres of scrub brush and poor, stony soil. Every weekend throughout my adolescence, Dad would have my brother and me out in the yard slaving away - moving enormous piles of rocks, weeding, clearing brush, stacking firewood, prepping garden beds and the like. I hated every minute of it. But even then I was looking forward to taking advantage of the ready supply of labor that my own children would some day provide. Of course, where we live now isn't anything remotely like the wilderness of my own youth, but there are still many, many things to do in the yard and the gels are just getting to the point where they are becoming more of a help than a hindrance.
Your Red Sox Nation Exiles Update
Tonight, the traitorious bastard Wookie returns to Fenway Park together with his new posse of steriod munching, pinstripe wearing, Bette Midler loving (not that there's anything wrong with that) baseball felons.
Here's the AP Report:
Damon Ready for Return to Boston
AP Photo NYFF112
By The Associated Press
Johnny Damon headed back to Fenway Park fresh off his second straight three-hit game.
``Hopefully, I can keep on belting out hits and, hopefully, the guys keep driving me in,'' Damon said Sunday after helping the New York Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-1.
Completing a 6-3 homestand, the Yankees (13-10) moved into first place in the AL East. The Red Sox (14-11) dropped percentage points back with a 5-4 loss at Tampa Bay.
New York's two-game series that starts Monday night is its first at Fenway since Damon left Boston after four seasons to sign with the Yankees. Two years ago, Damon helped the Red Sox win their first World Series since 1918.
``I expect them to cheer what our team accomplished back then. Winning the World Series was pretty awesome,'' Damon said. ``I expect them to boo the fact that I'm here. That I went over and that I'm playing with a team that truly needed me, truly wanted me.''
In other AL games, it was: Chicago 6, Los Angeles 5; Texas 8, Cleveland 4; Detroit 6, Minnesota 0; Seattle 4, Baltimore 3; and Oakland 13, Kansas City 6.
Jason Giambi hit a two-run homer at Yankee Stadium, where Mike Mussina (4-1) allowed one run and seven hits in six innings, striking out seven.
New York manager Joe Torre and Toronto skipper John Gibbons were ejected for arguing balls and strikes with plate umpire Adam Dowdy.
Mariano Rivera got four outs for his fourth save, and New York improved to 10-0 in day games. Gustavo Chacin (4-1) gave up two runs and six hits in six innings.
Devil Rays 5, Red Sox 4
Scott Kazmir (3-2) struck out 10 in seven innings, allowing two runs and five hits in his second win over Boston this year.
Seeking to join Babe Ruth (1917) and Pedro Martinez (2000) as the only Red Sox pitchers to win five games in April, Curt Schilling (4-1) allowed three runs and six hits in six innings and struck out nine. Boston lost for the seventh time in 10 games.
Toby Hall and Carl Crawford hit two-run homers for Tampa Bay. With runners on second and third, Shawn Camp retired Mark Loretta on a game-ending groundout for his third save.
Sox Magic Number is now 86.
The Latest Salvo in the Lawn Wars
or, why real men say NYET to Scotts.
Later in the day, I've got a longer piece on the Lawn Wars in my neighborhood that I want to put up. I've learned secondhand that my nickname on the part of some of my neighbors is "Tom Joad" because apparently they've determined my lawn is the dust bowl. Actually, it was related to me as "Tom Toad" since the person is a little light in the loafers when it comes to actual non-made for tee-vee knowledge of Americun literatchur. It's okay, since his boy is a bona fide lead paint chip dorito eating holy terror. Life's funny that way.
I will say this, though--what makes the Lawn Wars completely tolerable is that the best landscaping--lawn plus gardens---on the street by far, hands down, is done by some of our most favorite people in the whole world, Dennis and Sarah. Now, I'm not just saying that because Sarah is an occasional LLama Reader, but rather because the woman just has an absolute eye for it---the color combinations, texture, height, seasons, the works. Dennis has green feet--everywhere he walks, the grass follows lush and beautiful. It's a talent combined with a lot of hard work, kind of like one of our neighbors who makes really great furniture in his garage. But they are absolutely cool about it, and the whole effect screams out that they are doing it because they love it, not as a vicious one-upsmanship.
Anyhoo, for those who are petty about such things, I'm going to reply cordially with this article, for surely it would explain the source of their true, umm, envy.
(For more on our neighborhood Lawn Wars, check out Scott's take---that's Scott Peterson, not evil lawn fertilizer/Mr. Happy reducing Scott's Corporation of EVIIIIIIILLLLL). And tha's Scott Peterson of Batman fame---not of wife and baby slashing to hang out with dorky clueless sluts played in the tee-vee movie by that really annoying chick from the West Wing Donna or Darla or something Scott Peterson.
Because, as Left of the Dial readers now know, while Germans love David Hasselhoff, Indonesians love Scott Peterson.
Random Commuter Observations
Most of the gangs of tourons I have to plow through on the way to the office are made up of seedy-looking teenagers (a redundancy, I suppose). I often long to meet a group of adults. They would understand something about basic sidewalk courtesy. They would know to line up against the wall while waiting their turn at the Hard Rock Cafe brekkers.
Well, so much for that.
The group I smacked into this morning outside the Hoover F.B.I. HQ were all oldsters - a veritable sea of gray hair, wrap-around sunglasses and K-Mart windbreakers. And damme if they weren't just as oblivious to the needs of the passers-by as any snot-nosed adolescent. One guy was standing right in the middle of the fairway, blocking traffic and reading the bloody newspaper, for all love. Apparently, he'd also turned off his hearing aid.
The English language has all kinds of wonderful collective nouns. With birds, for example, we can speak of a "parliament of owls", a "murder of crows" and many others. It occurred to me that, if it hasn't already been done, somebody needs to come up with a suitable expression to describe a group of tourons. I thought of a few:
A kudzu of tourons
An entropy of tourons
A lemming-run of tourons
A stagflation of tourons
Or the very simple:
A pain of tourons.
What do you think? Any ideas?
UPDATE: I just thought of a retina-burn of tourons in honor of those groups who choose to wear violently brightly colored shirts in order to keep track of each other.
Let me just clarify that there is a distinction between touron (a confabulation of tourist and moron) and tourist. Tourists are fine. I've got nothing against people coming to visit Our Fair City provided they behave themselves with ordinary courtesy.
And I really like a fannypack of tourons. Heh.