August 31, 2006
I don't know what to call it
I hate this part of going to conferences: the late afternoon down time. No use calling home as they are on their way back from herding the clowns to swim practice. Desparately feeling homesick and missing The Dear One, I'm sitting here in my hotel room reading blogs off of her bookmark list.
Or at least until the Spencer for Hire labor day weekend marathon begins on the PI Channel in 20 minutes...
Meanwhile, back at the ranch...
The Caterpillar Ranch over at Kelly's Green is, erm, pupating along swimmingly.
Kelly's Green is run by a good friend, fellow knitter, and book club pal of The Dear One. Apparently, we caused something of a LLamalanche from the last link so this time, people, please keep the hooves on the sidewalks over there. She's good a Garden Week Tour coming through and let's not make things more difficult.
That is all.
Week 5 at Curmudgeonry Academy, and so far The Boy hasn't burnt the place to the ground. A good sign.
This is just wrong
Ann Coulter on assassinating Lincoln Chafee. She really is the Jane Hamsher of the right (or, more like Pat Buchanan's voodoo-ized Barbie doll).
LB Buddy, there you go. Never let it be said that I don't own up to when I'm wrong....
Someone is looking out for me
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia is known to lawyers throughout the country as the "rocket docket" for its unforgiving deadlines and quick trial dates. I have a case pending in the Alexandria division a few miles from D.C. Robbo and the Butcher's Wife were kind enough to put me up Tuesday night when I came in town for a pretrial conference yesterday morning. My opponent scheduled a hearing on his motion to stay this litigation for tomorrow and I was not looking forward to making the second drive this week from Fort LMC to northern Virginia with a tropical system on my heels. The judge's law clerk called just before lunch to tell us the court cancelled the hearing and would rule on the briefs. I hope he keeps this case on the fast track but no matter which way he goes, at least I do not have to drive 200 miles under flash-flood warnings the whole way.
Quod Erat Demonstrandum, Baybee!
Ha! Figured it out! On to pillage!
More 'Fins Blogging
The Miami Herald notes that even Sports Illustrated is starting to call the Dolphins "Super Bowl material" now.
Message to SI: Shut the hell up.
We'll play our games and we'll see what happens. The last thing we need right now is a pack of Johnny-come-latelies fadging up an erzatz "Aqua Nation".
Here are a couple of stats from the Herald article that I thought must have been typos at first until I did the math:
You remember Super Bowls, or perhaps could remind yourself by reviewing yellowed news clippings or mining the faint recollections of elders. History books tell us Miami last played in a Super Bowl 22 seasons ago. For perspective, Ronnie Brown was then toddling around Rome, Ga., at age 3.
Miami last won a Super Bowl 33 seasons years ago. For perspective, Don Shula and the boys flew to road games on giant pterodactyls.
Dayum, do I feel old.
I've been a Dolphins fan since the early 70's.
I remember the last Super Bowl loss to the 49-ers and those infuriating Pepsi commercials afterwards featuring Dan Marino and a smirking Joe Montana. Never dreamed, at the time, that Marino would never see another one. (Super Bowl, that is, not smirk.)
And I remember the most embarassing moment of kicker Garo Yepremian's entire life. (If the 'Skins had actually come back and won, I seriously believe Yepremian would have been lynched.)
I've patiently weathered the drought since those days. Am I excited? Sure. But I don't much like this kind of hype. Mile wide and an inch deep is about how I see it.
And before somebody else puts it in the comments: LACES OUT!
Something Completely Different
Rudyard Kipling was one of my favorite authors during my teen years.
Today there is an interesting article in The Independent about the loss of Kipling's 18 year old son, John, in the carnage on the Western Front at Loos. The boy's death devastated his father, but never diminished Kipling's remarkable patriotism.
It's All for Love!
I've been quiet for too long and, though Robbo spoke forth on feminine hygiene, it's been awhile since we've had a meaningful conversation on bowel movements. Allow me to correct this oversight.
Kindly direct your attention to eBay where for the next week, you - yes YOU - can bid on a bronzed plaster cast of Baby Suri Cruise's first solid Mr. Hanky. No - I am not kidding, tho I wish almightily I were.
Yahoo! News has the back story, as if one was needed! Isn't it enough to know that Father Cruise saw fit to donate his daughter's first hefty mooky stink to charity?! Hey, if some folks will pay ten bucks for a replica of petrified dinosaur poop, why not $5000 for a cast bronzed celebrity dump? If one baby "big jobby" can save a . . . um, well, they never really said what "charity" will get the cash, but if a single log of baby load will do some good in the world, why not, people?
Now there's family that cares about the well-being of others . . .
I'm holding out for her first lost baby tooth!
The Continuing Voyages Of The Starship
All 79 episodes are being digitally remastered with computer-generated effects not possible when Gene Roddenberry created the show 40 years ago.
The upgraded episodes — to be shown out of order and one per week — will kick off with "Balance of Terror," a big fan favorite "that gives us a chance to really show off the ‘new' Enterprise," says Okuda. "The exterior of the ship now has depth and detail, and it will fly more dynamically." Painted backdrops will also be brought to life: Once-empty star bases will have CGI people milling about, while static alien landscapes have been given slow-moving clouds and shimmering water. Okuda notes that a view of Earth in the 1966 episode "Miri" has been "replaced with a more accurate image, now that we've gone into deep space and looked back at ourselves."
Cranky is pleased with the idea of the new look. Not me. My friends, I tell you truly that CGI wizardry is capable of producing some wonderful things. But this temptation to use it in order to go back and muck about like this is pure evil.
Don't believe me? Just ask Han.
That's My Church! Really!
The Episcopal Church continues its break-up. It appears there is going to be a meeting in New York next month to discuss a framework for dealing with "alternative primatial oversight", by which is meant, I believe, the requests of several diocese and parishes to break their ties with the Episcopal Church and transfer their allegiance to others in the Anglican Communion hierarchy, most notably several Anglican diocese in Africa. (A simpler way of thinking of it might be to call it Bishop-shopping.) This, according to the Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold, Presiding Bishop of the ECUSA:
I have become aware of a great deal of speculation regarding a meeting that will take place in New York in mid - September. I would like, therefore, to offer a few clarifying words on what has been conceived as an opportunity for those of differing perspectives to come together in a spirit of mutual respect to exchange views. Shortly after the General Convention, Kenneth Kearon, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, shared with me some conversations he had had with the Archbishop of Canterbury regarding the whole notion of “alternative primatial oversight” and the difficulty in making a response. Though application for the same had been made to the Archbishop, it was clear in our conversation that the Archbishop, though symbolic head of the Anglican Communion, has no direct authority over the internal life of the Provinces that make up the Communion.
Regular readers will know that I have been wrestling with the Episcopal implosion for some time and have at least been toying with the idea of simply pulling up stakes and heading for Rome. Well, you will be interested to hear that I have now decided firmly against that. Indeed, it really came to me as I attended a Catholic wedding last weekend. This is my Church too, dammit. I'm a "Cradle Episcopalian" and nobody is going to make me give up forty one years' worth of my beliefs, practices and rituals. It's true that the Church itself is coming unglued, but there is bound to be a conservative rump in some form or another. If my own parish goes with it, so much the better. If not, I will find another Episcopal/Anglican church in the neighborhood that does.
Sorry to disappoint the LMC and my other Romish friends, but there it is. And you know what? I feel much better about the whole thing now.
Speaking of Bishop-Shopping, here's the website for the Anglican Church of Nigeria's Mission, which includes a presence in the United States. The big news seems to be that the rector of Truro Church in Fairfax, VA, has just been elected Missionary Bishop for the entire convocation of Anglicans in North America.
I've an idea this is the shape of things to come for the more conservative parts of the ECUSA.
UPDATE: Speaking of us heathen 'Palies hanging out at a Catholic wedding, the Anchoress has a nifty post on what non-Catholics should and should not do about an RC Communion, as demonstrated by Dubya and Bubba. Yips! to K-Lo.
Broken Hockey Stick
Dean has read the Wegman Report, a study which basically damns the entire field of anthropogenic global warming research. Alas, all the usual suspects are here: cliquishness, politics, lack of accountability, protection of turf, funding issues, etc., etc.
I long ago came to the conclusion that science was no longer driving the global warming debate, but instead was being driven itself by pure politics. Which is largely why I've tuned out the chorus of "GET REEEADY! THE WUUUURLD IS COMING TO AN EEEEND!"
According to this report, it's a lot worse than I imagined. Go read.
Happy Birthday, Dr. Montessori!
Yes, today is the anniversary of the birth, in 1870, of St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method, known in her own time as Dr. Maria Montessori.
I had this to say about Montessori last year:
I take the liberty of bestowing the honorary beatification in order to jerk the chain of the Missus, who is a hard-core Montessori purist and who, when enthusing about the virtues of Montessori education, can make the Ancient Mariner seem down right tight-lipped. (She goes back to teaching lower elementary full time this fall. And in all fairness, she has a gift and an enthusiasm for it that everybody should be so lucky to have in their job.)
I say "purist" because there are an awful lot of programs out there that call themselves Montessori, but in fact are not. It's from these knock-offs that Montessori gets a good deal of its reputation as a sort of hippy-dippy educational free-for-all. The main battle lines, apparently, are drawn up between the Faithful, also known as Association Montessori Internationale, started by Dr. Montessori herself, and the apostate American Montessori Society. The Missus got her Masters in an AMI program and looks on the AMS crowd rather the same way in which the Montagues viewed the Capulets. I'm not anywhere near qualified to tell you the specifics of the differences except to say that the AMI philosophy includes a great deal more structured learning than its competitors.
Needless to say, all of the Llama-ettes are Montessori kids. Indeed, my five year old's teacher has remarked that she is one of the best Montessori students the teacher's seen in thirty-odd years of teaching. As far as tangible results go, the eldest Llama-ette did just fine on her first standardized achievement tests this spring, placing well above her grade level in most subjects. So we must be doing something right. (Of course, I've long harbored the suspicion that any child who a) is naturally bright and b) is properly encouraged at home can probably do just fine in any reasonably competent educational system.)
On the other hand, we've spent a great deal of time and energy organizing the Llama-ettes' bedroom and playroom in approved Montessori fashion (on St. Marie's theory that children crave structure in their lives) and the gels regulalry leave them looking as if they had been hit by an F4 tornado. So who knows.
This year, both the Eight and Six Year Olds will be in the Missus' classroom, albiet formally assigned to the other teacher in the class. Last year, the eldest Llama-ette picked up the most delightful habit: when she was speaking of the Missus in the context of the classroom, she would refer to her as "Mrs. LL". Any other setting, it was plain "Mom". The gel actually switches back and forth between these two titles without being aware of it, sometimes even in the same sentence. It'll be interesting to see if her sister picks up the same habit.
As I said last year, I truly admire the Missus' energy for and devotion to her teaching and I only tease her this way because of that admiration. Furthermore, I really have no complaints whatever about the educational development of the Llama-ettes. Also, I know that a fair number of our readers have small children and are going through the Where Do I Send Them To School? phase. Of course, if there's anything you want to know about Montessori, feel free to drop a line in the Tasty Bits (TM) Mail Sack. I'm sure the Missus would be happy to answer your questions.
UPDATE: Well, can I stay at your place?
LLama Loose in Philly
So I'm up in Philly for the political science geek convention, but just got in this morning. I was supposed to come yesterday on AMTRAK, but the train was close to 5 hours late and would have gotten me in at 3 AM. So I cancelled (which was surprisingly easy, and I think a concession to how regularly late their trains run), got up at 4 AM, drove to DC, got on the Acela, and arrived here just awhile ago.
Anyhoo, I'm supposed to meet up with Gordo but need to get back in touch with him. Gordo, I'll email you, but are you still up for shenannigans? Let me know.
Kids Today - They're Young
Want to feel like you've walked straight into the Bizarro World? Consider the fact that the only thing my daughters know about Jon Bon Jovi is the fact that he has a hit song on country radio right now.
Homer In Drag?
Aside from the poems themselves, no concrete clues exist to identify their author, but Dalby builds a case that the person probably was a woman.
"In many oral traditions, the best and most reliable creators, the ones who are used by folklore collectors, happen to be women," he said.
Dalby explained that women throughout the ancient world were "often the last and most skillful exponents of an oral tradition."
For example, the world’s first named poet was a Sumerian woman named Enheduanna, who lived from around 2285-2250 B.C. Dalby said women also saved the ancient oral poetry of the northern Japanese, many Irish traditions, and numerous English folk ballads.
I've often heard the argument that The Iliad and The Odyssey probably were not composed by the same person. I've also heard before the argument that The Odyssey may very well have been written* by a woman, especially given its emphasis on domestic detail. Indeed, Robert Graves makes this the central tenant of a very entertaining novel called Homer's Daughter, which I highly recommend. (I believe Stephen makes a reference to this theory in one of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin novels as well.) Is it true? I dunno.
But The Iliad? Not a chance. At the risk of setting off political correctness alarums, that epic has more testosterone per word than any other that I can think of off the top of my head. Between the violence, bloodshed, male bonding and the rest of it, I simply cannot conceive that the original poet did not have a full set of what Jayne would call "man parts".
*Yes, yes. I know it's silly to talk about these epics being "written", given that they came out of oral tradition and were not actually written down until quite some time after they had been in circulation.
August 30, 2006
CBS goes photoshopping
on none other than Her Perkiness. Boys and girls, Katie is crowding fifty and there is only so much that can be done. Via Drudge.
Robbo's piece on The Product the Butcher's Wife asked him to pickup reminded me of things which occurred "back in the day" when I was single. I just broke up with the gal who I dated before dating the future Mrs. LMC (the second time around). I thought I was clear of said gal when one of my friends reminded me to look under the sinks in my apartment. Sure enough, there were boxes of The Product strategically pre-positioned. One of the women in the office said it was a form of marking territory.
"Baby Needs A New Flank March!"
The debate over whether to allow a casino within spitting distance of the Gettysburg battlefield hots up.
I believe our pal GroovyVic has been keeping up with this one.
I doubt if I really need to tell you how I feel about it.
GRATUITOUS CIVIL WAR POSTING UPDATE: Basil Seal notes that today is the anniversary of the last day of the Second Battle of Bull Run in 1862, in which Union Gen. Pope managed to get himself caught between the proverbial hammer and anvil of Longstreet and Jackson's Confederate divisions.
Folks, despite the fact that Moo Knew has been on the fritz today, we are now within 60-odd hits of reaching the 750K mark. Woo Hoo!
Thanks again to all of you who drop by this little parcel of silliness, even if you are only looking for nekked Juliet Huddy pics. We like to think we add a little touch of insanity to the lives of everybody who has a look in.
Thanks again and here's going for the big mil!
Yip! Yip! Yip!
Courtesy of Sobek, hanging out now at Innocent Bystanders, comes this moving piece of cul-chah: Act 2, scene 3 of Ivan Turgenev’s A Month in the Country, as performed by the Royal Scottish Llamas.
Other productions scheduled for this season include:
The Cherry Orchard, by Anton Chekhov and Mr. L.F. Gumby
The Master-Builder, by Henrik Ibsen [Feel free to add an Ibsen joke. Damme if I can think of one.]
Murder In The Cathedral, by T.S. Eliot ("Will no one rid me of this turbulent llama? They spit!")
and the ever-popular Pygmalion, by G.B. Shaw. Steve-O will take on the role of Eliza and has been practicing assiduously his "Ah-ah-ah-ow-ow-ow-oo!"
UPDATE: "Turgenev's pooter." If that isn't in the literary lexicon already, it ought to be.
Some sort of total systems failure at the Moo-Knew Homeworld this morning. Sorry about that. Hope it didn't have anything to do with my choice of humorous topics for the day!
The Horror! The Horror!
I've managed to avoid it in over thirteen years of marriage, but last evening I finally got tagged with the mission I've always dreaded: "Since you're going to the store anyway, dear, I need some........."
I've always been a strong believer in the saying that good fences make good neighbors. Furthermore, I believe this observation is equally valid in the realm of marriage. There are plenty of people who feel otherwise, I know, believing that couples should share "everything" with each other. Not me, thank you very much. I'm all for intimacy and trust and being comfortable with each other and all that, but there's also a whole litany of topics that I believe should remain firmly behind the eight foot privacy fence with the "Beware of Dogs and Land Mines" sign hanging on it. And right at the very top of that list is that fearsome and mysterious subject, Feminine Hygiene.
Nonetheless, I couldn't very well refuse. Orders are orders, after all.
So how to go about it? If you'll believe me, I actually spent the drive between the Metro and Safeway figuring out the best plan of campaign. In the end, here's what I came up with:
1.) Get the Product last. This will cut down the amount of time you spend wandering around the store with the box in your basket.
2.) Have your camo ready. I specifically bought an unnecessary bunch of parsley to toss on top of the Product once it was in my basket, lest people should see me walking around with the thing.
3.) Good intel wins. I'd been given specific instructions as to brand name, size and the like. But I was damned if I was going to stand around slack-jawed and right out in the open, looking for the thing. Instead, I quickly cruised up and down the aisle several times trying to look sideways in order to locate the Product, the better to grab it quickly and quietly when conditions were right.
And the most important part of the plan?
4.) Do not touch the Product if there is anybody else in the aisle.
Actually, this last part of the plan proved to be impossible. Safeway is fairly full of homing commuters at 7:00 PM on a Tuesday evening. After waiting a good ten minutes for an opening, I finally gave up on complete privacy and decided just to wait until there was nobody in the particular section of the aisle before I made my grab. Yes, it was risky. But I'd have been there until midnight otherwise.
When the moment finally came, I swiftly moved to the location where I thought I'd seen what the Missus wanted. On looking squarely at it, however, I panicked. Wait, did she say this or this? What was the size again? What about fragrance? Did she say anything about fragrance? I don't remember anything about fragrance!
Suddenly, I heard the sound I was dreading. Footsteps. Coming in my direction. And the feet were obviously those of a woman. "Buster! Buster!" a voice said in my brain, "Clear the area! Clear the area! Do NOT make eye contact!" Almost blindly, I grabbed impulsively at what seemed to be the correct box, spun on my heal and beat a retreat around the corner into the chips and soda aisle.
It took me a minute to catch my breath and to stop sweating.
The Product safely buried in the depths of my basket, I made for the exit. However, there was still one hurdle to be cleared: the Check-Out Lady. I had thought myself fortunate in finding a register with no line. Swiftly, I emptied my basket onto the belt, hoping to be done before anybody else got into line behind me. But did the cashier cooperate with my need for speed? No, of course not. Instead, she started fiddling with a plastic grocery bag with which, for some reason, she was having trouble. In my highly embarassed state, it seemed to take her a solid ten minutes to open the thing. Meanwhile, somebody got in line behind me. "Damn you!" I thought, fighting off a wild urge to hide the Product behind the dish washing detergent, "What are you doing? What ARE you doing? If you can't open that one, get another one! Hurry!"
Finally, she got the bag open and began to ring me up. But even then I wasn't out of the woods. As she put the Product in the bag, I'd swear she gave me a look from under her eyebrows, a look that combined archness with sympathy. I wanted to bean her. I also wanted to bean the person standing behind me who, although I never actually looked, of course, I'm sure was also watching, probably with a look of smug amusement on his or her face.
What an ordeal.
It turned out, by the way, that I had grabbed the correct box, so at least that was all right. But I certainly hope it's at least another thirteen years before I'm ever called on to do so again.
Random Commuter Observations
Ah, mid-70's and drizzly this morning. Forecast for this afternoon? Mid-70's and drizzly. Getting to and from the office without coming out in a complete muck sweat. What a concept!
You hear that, Heat Miser? The more you tighten your grip, the more systems will slip through your fingers!
August 29, 2006
A good sign for the good guys
Purge Rahm, guys, I hear he runs the blender when Joe and Cheney drink their smoothies made from the blood of Palestinian children.
Kelly at Kelly's Green has accidently started a caterpillar ranch.
Read it and realize why I need to light a fire under Robbo to up the quantity of garden blogging around here.
Yips! from Robbo: I came across these same critters in my own garden recently. I thought they were Monarchs as well and I'm glad this is now confirmed.
Since I've been handed a mandate, I'll note here that the watchword in my garden these days is dry. We haven't had any meaningful rainfall around Orgle Manor for several weeks now and since, as a matter of both practicality and principle, I point-blank refuse to stand about watering the damned thing, the plants are now pretty much reliant on whatever benefit they can derive from the morning dew (which can be quite heavy).
As a matter of fact, lest you think I've gone all Hobbesian, I would also note that I planted my garden with drought-tolerant specimens - coneflowers, butterfly weed, joe-pye, yarrow, etc. - specifically with these late summer droughts in mind. And while they don't look especially happy at the moment, they're certainly not at Death's door either. Fortunately, it looks as if we're finally going to get some rain as well.
August 28, 2006
What does it say about the LLamas?
(Consider this the biannual bash the LLamas open thread).
Clearly against the Geneva Convention
I mean, it would be like making Rudolph Hess watch an endless loop of The Producers in his Spandau cell, almost as some Gay-Nazi impersonation of Howard Hughes in the Desert Inn looping Ice Station Zebra.
Somebody alert Beautiful Atrocities Jeff
The demand for satire is running high. I'll turn it over to the fine folks at Six Meat Buffet.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting - Monday Edition
I'm at home with the Llama-ettes today, covering for the Missus. (Lest any of you think I'm goldbricking from work, I'll just mention that I was up at five ack emma yesterday to fly out of town for a deposition and did not get back til late last evening. So there.)
Have I mentioned before how proud the Six Year Old is of her ability to whistle? She's downstairs twittering away even as I type. As I was surfing about just now, I suddenly realized just what she was whistling: The Sanctus from Schubert's Deutch Messe, which we regularly use in Episcopal worship.
How nice is that?
From the National Association of Gals
(better know to Rush fans as the NAGs), the latest screed from Kim Gandy. Kim hits all the familiar themes--same sex marriage, prohibitions on taking underage minors across state lines for abortions, and eight formerly Catholic women who excommunicated themselves by getting "ordained" as priestesses, deacons, and God-know what else. (I am not making this up.) Via NRO.
August 27, 2006
A little Harry in the night...
Agent Bed Head with a nice lullaby...
How much of an idiot is Joe Biden?
You be the judge.
He forgot to mention his state had one of the cases (Gebhart v. Belton) grouped together with Brown v. Topeka Board of Education. You know, to boost his street cred and all...
UPDATE: Here's Joe's Fort Apache moment:
Good Shootin' Tex
IDF missile hits an Al-Rueters vehicle. Faked photos sure to follow. H/T: Dr. Rusty over at the Sandcrawler.
Babes of the Eighties
Once again, we take a stroll down amensia lane and rubberneck at the carnage that is often the babes of yesteryear. Today's feature, Brooke Shields. Reasonably attractive, in a tall slender brunette sort of way, she had a good career as a model but was so-so as an actress on both the large and small screen and whose performances could be equally enjoyed with or without sound although adult beverages enhanced the experience. Her initial taste in men was questionable (Michael Jackson and Andre Agassi come to mind) but she seems to have found found happiness with hubby number two and their children. She never went the route of so many starlets on the skids (photo-shoots in skin mags, movies on the estrogen channels, experimentation of the sort Dr. Rusty does not oppose). I think she was at her best smokin' that freak Tom Cruise over his idiotic comments about post-partum depression and can probably take some credit in knocking him down a peg or two.
Only Robbo knows why. . .
the "younger, fresher" Helen Thomas.
Yips! from Robbo: I think I can safely disclose that the LMC and I did, in fact, party with Helen Thomas this weekend. Drink you right under the table, man.
August 26, 2006
Like a dagger to the heart of the Uumah
The LLamas, diplomats or sooper sekrit weapon? You be the judge:
I'm only posting this because it made me giggle in an insular jingoistic sort of way:
Plus, the image's tag should be good for some google-chumming laughs.
JOE TO CT HOUSE DEMS: DROP DEAD
The Big Kahuna links to this story from the New Haven Independent on Lieberman giving the cold shoulder to Democrat challengers to Chris Shays, Nancy Johnson and Rob Simmons. Any plan the Donks have of getting Speaker Pelosi depend on picking up at least two of those three CT seats.
Right here, Hamsher, you obdurate wench. Who's on the gurney now?
So let me get this straight: put all the money and venom on unseating a centrist Democrat for not being pure enough (who, if you defeat, gets you no closer to gaining control of the Senate) and in doing so seriously jeapordize your chances of winning the House? Riiiiiiiiiiight. Damn that Karl Rove for dipping Ned Lamont in a Krispy Kreme glaze with a sprinkling of Baco-Bits to make him irresistable to the nutroots starved for victory. Meanwhile, the punters are putting their money on Lieberman winning the whole thing:
SENATE 2006 ROUNDUP:
By unlikely in that the other races are really pulling away, meaning that the Republicans will concentrate their resources on the ones they can really hold. Santorum, Chafee (assuming he wins the primary), Burns, and Dewine are all in trouble for one reason or another of their own doing.
But say they get Missouri, where do they get the one they need to hold the Senate (assuming Joe even caucuses with them if he does in fact win)? The only one that is close is Tennessee, and that contract is trading at $70 for a Republican victory (and Virginia, even after Macaca-gate, is still trading at $80 for a George Allen victory).
But that assumes the Democrats hold all their seats (setting Joe aside for a moment):
$60 is the very soft bottom of the comfort zone---if anything, it might be a good opportunity for Republicans to pour a lot of resources into a state that the Donks can't afford to lose but the Republicans don't need to win. Since they are going into this with a $100 million advantage over the Donks (way to go Howard Dean!) such strategic options are available.
That's it, everything else is trading above $80, although we'll keep our eye on both Virginia as well as Maria Cantwell's race in Washington state as both are on the $80 line. My hunch is that everything above $80 on Labor Day will be essentially over, leaving these few races as the core.
But it will certainly be rich indeed if it turns out that August 8th was the Donk high water mark, and what ultimately costs them the House and the Senate.
Katrina and the Bush Legacy
Like it or not, on first read at least, I think this a pretty fair assessment.
That's My Church!
That ripping sound you hear is the Episcopal Church USA beginning to break apart:
Dallas Bishop James M. Stanton is among the leaders of seven Episcopal dioceses who have rejected the authority of the denomination's incoming national leader, Nevada Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, as the debate over the Bible and gay relationships tears at the church.
The move, prompted partly by Jefferts Schori's support for gay relationships, falls just short of a complete break. But in October, Dallas-area Episcopalians will meet to more fully consider their future in the denomination.
The six other dissenting dioceses - Central Florida; Fort Worth, Texas; Fresno, Calif.; Pittsburgh; Springfield, Ill., and South Carolina - are having similar internal debates.
What's interesting about this story is that the dissent is at the diocesian level. I expect that if you look at the other diocese around the country (including my own), you will find battle lines drawn up on a parish-by-parish level and also within each congregation. If some kind of formal split does occur, it won't be neat and clean, but instead will be very ragged.
(I'd like to discuss this article with my own rector tomorrow. Unfortunately, I have to get on a @#)($*@# plane at @#$( seven in the morning to go out of town for a @#$)(#$ deposition and won't get back until @#$)@#*$(# late tomorrow night (yes, a @#$*&(@# Sunday deposition - don't ask), but that's a @#*$&@#( different @#$()*# story.)
Ragging on Aquaman
This is just wrong:
Okay, the Wonder Woman bit is spot on, but this persistent ragging on Aquaman just has to stop.
August 25, 2006
"I Have You Now"
I haven't yet figured out how to post YouTube thingies, so you'll just have to trust me on this - Go on over to Big Stupid Tommy's and check out this short but funny example of Vader playing head games.
The Tradesports contract on the Republicans retaining control of the House is riding a big spike up equal to that of the "Z-Man Bounce" at the beginning of June.
Veggie Tales never really caught on at Orgle Manor, so I don't know if this is good or bad. But it's Friday afternoon so here you go.
Yips! to Owlish Bob.
One of the Missus' good friends is getting married tomorrow and I have to go to the rehearsal dinner straight from work this evening. Apart from the bride herself, I really won't know anybody there. And as I'm sure she and the Missus will spend all evening gabbing about wedding things, in which I have somewhere between little and no real interest, my own role as Third Wheel at this shindig is virtually assured.
I wonder if anybody would mind if I brought a book along and discretely read it under the table.
(The wedding itself and the reception will be a different matter, fortunately, as the LMC and his clan will be in town for the festivities.)
The Colossus brings another classic 80's MTV video, featuring one of the ugliest men in rock n' roll ever to get lucky enough to hook up with a supermodel.
Pact with the Devil, Mr. C? Perhaps, but payback was a real beyotch: I swear I saw Ric doing a cover of "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" with an animated Disney character a couple years ago.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting - "Not On Our Watch" Division
Last evening, in the course of a call from the mother of one of the Llama-ettes' little friends, we were extended an invitation to a birthday party at a place called Club Libby Lu.
The Missus very politely but firmly said that she was sorry, but we don't allow the gels to go there. Period.
I could almost hear the sound of consternation at the other end of the line.
You may have heard of this place. It's a dress-up birthday shop in the mall that caters to the 5-12 year old little girl set. But rather than costuming them as, say, storybook characters, ballerinas or princesses, this place specializes in turning the little darlings into skanks:
Mostly it's birthday parties at Club Libby Lu. A girl turns 6 and she wants the Tween Idol makeover for herself and her friends, complete with makeup, punky hair and a pink headset like Britney Spears might wear onstage. All the girls get to borrow party costumes. Many choose low-slung pants and sequined spandex tops cropped just under where their breasts would be, if they had any. Sometimes, the girls are so small their pants legs drag under their sneakers.
After the makeovers, the club counselors, as they're known, lead the girls in a dance, teaching them to "shimmy down" and to "shake it, shake it." Sometimes they arrange a fashion catwalk. The girls walk down the aisle of the store till they reach the front, where mothers hold cameras. Here, the girls fling one arm theatrically toward the ceiling. The song on the store stereo says: "Wet your lips/And smile to the camera."
(What this WaPo article doesn't tell you is that men strolling around the mall sometimes loiter around the place to watch these "shows". If that doesn't creepify you, you've got some serious problems.)
The parents who do take their daughters there sound as if they need a healthy whuppin' with a cluebat:
The mothers are ambivalent. Some say their daughters would be trying on makeup at home if they weren't trying it on here. Some say this is okay, but only on special occasions. Some say this place troubles them, but so does the notion of banning something because that might cause their girls to want it more. ("I wish they were excited about a Lego party," says mom Rebecca deGuzman. "Do they have to show their bellies?")
Some of them, like Leigh Wilson, say, "Oh, Natalie! You look beautiful!"
Natalie Wilson is 4. She's here for the birthday of her older sister, who's turning 6. Earlier, she had her makeup done: blue eye shadow and lip gloss. For a while, she keeps rubbing her lips together, feeling the strange stickiness. She holds her hands out from her sides to keep her blue nail polish from getting on her clothes. She wears a tight black sequined top.
Her grandmothers are here, too, admiring the scene.
"I would've loved it as a mom," one of the grandmothers says. "Somebody else does all the work."
What on earth is wrong with these people? I tell you truly, there is very little that reduces me to snarling, spitting anger more than the way in which our culture attempts to sexualize girls at younger and younger ages. Unfortunately, Club Libby Lu is just a symptom of a much larger malignancy:
Club Libby Lu sells the particular fantasy of a culture that has given itself over to klieg lights and red carpets, to cheap celebrity and expensive childhoods, to girls who dress like women and women who act like girls.
Meanwhile, "Who Let the Dogs Out" plays on the store's stereo system, and a little girl holds her freshly painted nails out and sings feebly, "Who-who-who-who."
Who, indeed. I dunno, but they better stay the hell away from my children.
UPDATE: I see that I have fumed about this place before. Sorry, but I'm getting progressively crankier about this sort of thing, what with the need for ceaseless vigilence. (I've recently had to put the kybosh on the four year old saying, "Shake yo booty.")
(Just you wait, Mr. Wookie!)
Phin, Jen (formerly Jen Speaks), this is in your future
I used to wonder why potty training was such a big deal to parents of small children, after all, isn't it a lot like house-breaking pets? Now I know better. If this keeps up, the chances of the Future ROTC Scholarship Recipient getting the family car for a date with some skanky cheerleader in 13 or 14 years are looking remote.
Ray Nagin is a complete A-hole
August 24, 2006
Gratutious 'Fins Posting
Miami travels to Carolina tonight. This'll be my first chance to watch the 'Fins' preseason play and I'm looking forward to it.
While I refuse to jump on the "We won our last six last year so of course we're going to the Super Bowl" bandwagon just yet, what I've read of the 'Fins so far suggests it's not unreasonable to believe we might give the Pats a hard time this year.
Boy, how's that for guarded enthusiasm?
UPDATE: Mock all you want, Patsies. Aside from that one blown kick off return, I liked what I saw last evening.
UPDATE DEUX: Here's the Herald's glass-half-full take. True, the 'Fins A Team offense didn't score a couple TD's they should have, but they did move the ball.
"I'll Take 'Expressions That Sound Dirty But Really Aren't For 500,' Alex"
No ovine accessories required.
Our first Halloween in our current house, we went to a neighbor's trick or treating. The teenaged daughter and her dad were putting together a working catapault in their driveway for a high school physics project. The Llama-ettes will go to that school some day and I sincerely hope the project is still on the curriculum.
Yips! to mad-scientist LB Buddy for the linky.
UPDATE: Oh, and Bobgirrl is calling us Llamas out again on gawgle-searches. I think "welly-wanging" ought to put the smack down nicely:
Welly-wanging. Welly-wanging. Welly-wanging. Welly-wanging. Welly-wanging. Welly-wanging. Welly-wanging. Welly-wanging. Welly-wanging. Welly-wanging. Welly-wanging. Welly-wanging. Welly-wanging. Welly-wanging. Welly-wanging. Welly-wanging. Welly-wanging. Welly-wanging. Welly-wanging. Welly-wanging. Welly-wanging. Welly-wanging. Welly-wanging. Welly-wanging.
How you do like that action, girlfriend?
UPDATE DEUX: Or how 'bout Kelly Ripa and a jackhammer?
The imagination boggles.
As the editors declare in the preface, "In our choice of texts and in our introductions, we have paid close attention to…perceptions of race, class, and gender, among other topics, in shaping children's literature and childhood itself." Practically every text and every author (save for the "emergent") is subjected to a wicked scolding from the editors for its racism, sexism, and elitism. Forget about ogres, witches, monsters, and evil stepmoms; today's villains are gender stereotypes, white males, the middle class, and the traditional family. Retrograde literature must therefore be replaced by a new one, one that is, as it were, beyond good and evil: "In our postmodern age, in which absolute judgments of 'good' and 'evil' are no longer easily made, the distinction between heroes and villains is often blurred."
The editors herald this as a great advance, one they wish to promote by burying the stories under a ton of commentary. To read a children's story out of context, say the editors, is so passé (so childish?): "Discourses such as reader-response theory, poststructuralism, semiotics, feminist theory, and postcolonial theory have proven to be valuable in analyzing children's books." Thus the editors introduce Fun with Dick and Jane by noting that the "world of Dick and Jane was the idealized image of white, middle-class America." The introduction to the chapter on "Legends," which includes The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood and King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, warns that "history has generally been written by the victors and the elites, who tend to view those like themselves—white males, for the most part—as heroes."
In the chapter on "Classical Myths," the editors ponder whether myths are being "kept alive" "by unreflective adults." After all, myths are prone to "strong gender stereotyping—females are passive, males are active.... The protagonists are devoted to a ruthless elimination of the 'other' and to a savagery that is scarcely tolerated" in other children's literature. The genre of domestic fiction—which includes works like Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, and The Bobbsey Twins—"showcased white middle- or upper-class families." But the editors are happy to report that "the genre has come to reflect ethnic, racial and class diversity." Nor are they above offering advice to would-be authors: "still more change would be welcome here."
Go read the rest.
Somewhere out there, somebody is exposing a six year old child to this rubbish, ensuring that child will grow up a wretched, twisted mass of neuroses and paranoias. I feel anguish for that child. I really do.
Yips! to A.C. Douglas.
All your fakes are belong to us
I want....I want my...I want my....I want my Jawa Tee-Vee
Yips! from Robbo: Jaysus, just don't watch it while eating an apple! Medic!
Gratuitous Historickal Posting - Battle of Britain Division
Interesting. According to this UK Telegraph article, the magazine History Today, backed by several military historians at the Joint Service Command Staff College, argues that the Battle of Britain was actually won by the Royal Navy, not by the RAF:
Dr. Andrew Gordon, the head of maritime history at the staff college, said it was "hogwash" to suggest that Germany failed to invade in 1940 "because of what was done by the phenomenally brave and skilled young men of Fighter Command".
"The Germans stayed away because while the Royal Navy existed they had not a hope in hell of capturing these islands. The Navy had ships in sufficient numbers to have overwhelmed any invasion fleet - destroyers' speed alone would have swamped the barges by their wash."
Even if the RAF had been defeated the fleet would still have been able to defeat any invasion because fast ships at sea could easily manoeuvre and "were pretty safe from air attack".
This is not the first time I've heard of this theory. In fact, Derek Robinson incorporated it into his excellent novel about a fictional RAF Hurricane squadron in the first year of WWII, Piece of Cake, which I believe was first published back in the mid 80's. Of course, Robinson himself must have had a source, too.
I may be committing heresy here, but I think there is considerable merit to this argument. The Channel has always been Britain's first, best defense and even with modern warships, it's a hell of a problem getting an invasion fleet across it from the Continent, especially with the Royal Navy in the way. I believe it was Earl St. Vincent, First Lord of the Admiralty during the early Napoleonic Wars, who was supposed to have said, "I do not say [the French] cannot come; I only say they cannot come by sea."
Further, consider that this same Royal Navy had managed to pull Britain's entire BEF off the beaches of Dunkirk just a few months earlier virtually unimpeded by the German Navy and harassed, but not stopped, by the Luftwaffe. Clearly, the Royal Navy controlled the seas.
This, of course, takes absolutely nothing away from the heroism of the RAF pilots who threw themselves at the Luftwaffe. And the fact that they continued to do so in the face of massive German attacks against their own bases in the Southeast of England was of enormous psychological importance to the Brits, no doubt contributing significantly to the collective will not to knuckle under to the Nazis.
UPDATE: Yes, I did see the miniseries dramatization of Piece of Cake on Mawsterpiece The-ayter. I thought it was rubbish.
Pluto Sent To The Minors
No longer in the Show.
It's going to be very hard explaining the International Astronomical Union's decision to demote Pluto from planetary status to my Eight Year Old. You think I'm rigid and inflexible? She makes me look like a Dead-Head. Once she gets an idea in her nut, you practically need high explosives to lift it out again.
We had enough trouble with the on again/off again planetary classification of Sedna. But this? Far worse. Pluto is one of the Nine, a card-carrying member of the Solar System, part of the Recognized Firmament. To her, stripping it of this status will seem a Jacobin plot to rock the foundations of Civilization.
Thanks a lot, you bunch of astro-dorks.
YIPS from Steve-O: WHO YOU CALLING A SCRUFFY ASTRO-DORK? cateogry
Of course, Allah has a different take.
FURTHER YIPS from Steve-O: John Kerry's office issued a statement:
Six years ago, Bill Clinton left America with a budget surplus, safe borders, and respected not only in the world but in a solar system of nine planets. George Boosh will leave office with America in debt, asunder, and hated not just on planet earth, but on seven other planets as well. Yes, that's right, ladies and gentlemen, under George Boosh's leadership the solar system lost a planet.
That sure as heck wouldn't have happened had John Kerry been elected President!
Editor: Erm, Senator Kerry, didn't you vote for the Senate Authorization refunding the National Science Foundation's astronomy programs?
Senator Kerry: Yes, you see, I was for Pluto being a planet before I was against it.
NEW SLOGAN OF THE DAY:
Gratuitious Cranky First Thing In The Morning Posting
With all other coffee makers I've owned, the little light goes on to tell you that the machine is on.
For some inexplicable reason, Mr. Coffee chose to design the machine I have in my office so that the little light goes on when the machine is off.
I've had this thing for quite some time but it still manages to trip me up on occassion.
"Well," you say, "You should just pay more attention."
Yes, that's all very well. But in order to pay attention first thing in the morning, I need some coffee.
"Then have a cup," you say, "It'll help you focus."
Yes, that's what I was trying to do. But I couldn't because I forgot about the damned backwards on/off light again.
"Well, then you've got yourself one heck of a circular problem there, Jim," you say.
Humph. And just who the hell asked you, anyway?
August 23, 2006
Phin, this is for you
to feed your latent fascination with all things Britney.
Martha Quinn sighting
She has a weekend show on Sirius Channel 8 on Saturdays. I predict Steve-O will suddenly see the need for satellite radio at Stately LLama Manor. That sound you hear is Steve's panting at the thought of Martha in those little denim overalls.
YIPS from Steve-O: Speaking of early MTV and lil' denim overalls...
I would add to the annual Beloit College "Those Durn Kids" column that today's entering college freshman have never known an MTV that, erm, plays videos all day.
Here's the still that stilled a thousand hearts, back when the world wide web tubes were used for promulgation of scientific knowledge, and not distribution of high-quality Belgian porn:
Fortunately, this song peaked at around the same time as this one did, for, you know, the more subtle minded high school boy bent on the unsophisticated hallway taunt.
Of course, growing up in a predominantly Catholic town in S.E. New England, I knew an inordinate amount of Eileen's in High School (equalled only by the population of Sheilas). It's a legitimate question to ask from a research angle how many boats and resort homes head shrinkers, makers of anti-depressives, and bottlers of wine coolers were able to make off of the psychic damage done by this one song. Come on, Eileen a loo la ray......
Gratuitous Historickal Posting
This is interesting, if rayther gruesome:
Skeletons found at an unearthed site in Mexico show Aztecs captured, ritually sacrificed and partially ate several hundred people traveling with invading Spanish forces in 1520.
Skulls and bones from the Tecuaque archeological site near Mexico City show about 550 victims had their hearts ripped out by Aztec priests in ritual offerings, and were dismembered or had their bones boiled or scraped clean, experts say.
The findings support accounts of Aztecs capturing and killing a caravan of Spanish conquistadors and local men, women and children traveling with them in revenge for the murder of Cacamatzin, king of the Aztec empire's No. 2 city of Texcoco.
Of course, the Aztecs had a habit of ritually murdering not just invading Conquistadors, but also members of various subservient tribes within and around their empire. In fact, one of the chief reasons Cortez was able to succeed was a hearty local sickness of the Aztec hegimony.
But this part of the article, I do not understand:
Experts say the discovery proves some Aztecs did resist the conquistadors led by explorer Hernan Cortes, even though history books say most welcomed the white-skinned horsemen in the belief they were returning Aztec gods.
"This is the first place that has so much evidence there was resistance to the conquest," said archeologist Enrique Martinez, director of the dig at Calpulalpan in Tlaxcala state, near Texcoco.
"It shows it wasn't all submission. There was a fight."
This strikes me as misleading. Certainly Cortez got all the way to the Aztec capital the first time due to Montezuma's hesitancy, apparently caused at least in part by his belief that the invaders were gods. But relations quickly soured and then turned violent. Cortez had to cut his way out of the capital and scurry back to the coast, pursued most of the way by Aztec warriors. He then rearmed, beefed up his army with reenforcements and returned. And I promise you, there was no submission along the way.
The only thing I can think of is that this latest find demonstrates open opposition to Cortez's initial march. But even then, the histories I've read suggested there were plenty of senior Aztecs who thought Montezuma was out of his mind for letting the Spanish come on.
By the way, a very interesting first hand account of Cortez's campaign is The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico: 1517-1521 by Bernal Diaz del Castillo, one of Cortez's soldiers.
Well, As Long As We're Being All Bookish Today....
“The Llama is a woolly sort of fleecy hairy goat, with an indolent expression and an undulating throat; like an unsuccessful literary man.”
Seems about right.
From the LLamabutcher Archives: August 23, 2004
My recipe for Crabcakes a la LLama.
Gratuitous Mr. Woo Posting
I notice that rereading Evelyn Waugh's Scoop, which relates the adventures of decent, naive William Boot amongst his fellow foreign correspondents in the embattled Republic of Ishmaelia, is all the more bitterly funny in light of the MSM's treatment of the wars in Iraq and Lebenon.
Yes, it looks like it's about time for me to take another run through the Waugh cycle. I seem to do this on average about every eight months or so.
I've always been quite interested in the similarities among many of Waugh's heroes (or anti-heroes, if you prefer), starting with Paul Pennyfeather in Decline and Fall and working up through the aforementioned William Boot, Guy Crouchback in the Sword of Honor trilogy and, of course, poor old Tony Last in A Handful of Dust. As a body, they are decent, well-bred and rather passive, relics of an outdated age who get caught up in the whirlwind absurdities of modern life, violently pitched about and (usually, although certainly not always) placed back on their feet at the end, albiet not "happily" in the traditional sense. It would be both amusing and instructive to trace these common traits, explore the characters' differences and attempt to tie the whole thing back to Waugh's outlook.
I would imagine that there is at least a B.A. thesis in there somewhere, if not a Master's. Not that I would have been allowed to write one on it at the People's Glorious Soviet of Middletown. Aside from the insane requirements that had to be met just to write any English thesis there (given how many of us majors there were), I somehow don't think Waugh would have received much sympathy from most of my faculty, unless I was setting out to prove that he was a lesbian. Indeed, the only 20th Century author I can recall having read at all there is Toni Morrison, if that gives you any idea of the climate.
Which reminds me. If anybody does have some recommendations for scholarly studies on Waugh's writing, I'd be glad to hear about them.
Happy Birthday, Shelley Long!
Born this day in 1949.
I don't care that her career basically flamed out after Cheers and I'm throwing down the gauntlet right here and now by stating that yes, indeed, I had a serious crush on Diane Chambers.
Stop snickering. You thought she was kinda hot in a psycho BritLit major sort of way, too. Confess, I say. Confess!
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Subversive Parenting Division
So the Missus signed up the Llama-ettes to do a session of Vacation Bible School at the Baptist Church around the corner from our house this week. (largely, I suspect, in order to get them out of her hair while she sets up her classroom for the start of school).
Apparently, this Church's VBS is much more hard-core than the one held earlier in the summer at our own Palie House O' Worship. Last evening, the Six Year Old said to me, "Dad, did you know that in Africa a child dies every fifteen seconds because of bad water?"
It turns out that this Church is involved in something called Watering Malawi, a charity that seeks to build irrigation infrastructure in that country which, despite bordering one of the largest fresh-water lakes in the world, suffers chronic drought problems. It seems a legit cause. Apparently, the strategy of the VBS is to get the kiddies' collective attention by exposing them to the seriousness of the issue, something our own VBS program emphatically does not do.
Mind you, I'm not complaining. It's a big, bad, nasty world and sooner or later the children have to become aware of this. Nonetheless, I couldn't resist a little homily of my own, pointing out that helping people in Africa wasn't always so easy as collecting loose change to buy things. I touched on P.J. O'Rourke's emphasis on the need to promote rule of law, property rights and education. I noted the rampant problems associated with incompenent and corrupt governments. I also spoke briefly of those regimes that deliberately keep various parts of their own populations in poverty (or worse) for various political reasons.
I hope the gels don't repeat too much of this, lest they be burnt at the stake. Nonetheless, I believe it's better for them to begin to grasp that these are complicated issues now than it is for them to develop bumper-sticker mentalities about them and to have to unlearn such simplistic (and wrong-headed) thinking later on.
Ain't I a stinker?
Robbo, I'll think you'll go nuts over this thing--seriously!
Anyhoo, these were the mid-August reads. I'd highly recommend The Darwin Conspiracy for anyone who enjoyed A.S. Byatt's Possession as well as people completely annoyed by the whole ID/Darwinism debate. Personally, I've always wanted a little fish with legs on the back of my car that says "DARWIN" and having him raping than pilfering a smaller legged fish named "WALLACE." Although that might be a little too hard to represent with, um, back of the car fishes with legs.
And yes, I read knitting blogs, particularly Mason-Dixon. Anybody got a problem with that? No? I didn't think so.
UPDATE: We rarely endorse causes around here, after all, at lleast one of us is a Draino-swiling Republican Man-whore, but this is something we can get behind: Kids in need, books in deed.
YIPS! from Robbo: Speaking of summer reading, I recently made a shame-faced confession about my most recent book over at Kathy's place.
UPDATE: Correction inserted above for the novel Possession.
Holy booty, batman!
Still no baby over at Jordana's, but plenty of innapropriate commentary from the 2 year old.
The Crack Young Staff's guide to what's new and hip on Al Gore's wild tubes
They must have been keeping "Chip" like a Bolivian lab-rat on a 2 semester mescaline-laced maze bender to come up with this list of new and up and coming blogs. As my blog reading habits as of late have gotten rather stale, I'll dip liberally into each of them and add them to the new and improved blogroll, once I scrape some motivation from underneath one of the floormats in the back of the truck.
Although, on name alone, the best one of the lot appears to be Fiesty Republican Whore, particularly given that, with a little help from librarian to the gods and co-contributor around here Chai-Rista, I've finally been able to come up with a name to describe my rather differentiated ideological leanings:
Draino-swilling Republican Man-Whore
It was actually the name of a long-lost Fredrich Hayek piece, although my translation from the original German Draino-swilling Republikaner Mann-Dirne might be a little off.
August 22, 2006
August 22nd came and THE WORLD DID IN FACT END!
And what will they call the Dixie Chicks' biopic?
How about "Crickets Chirping."
Which is a lot more enigmatic than "Empty Theaters."
Yips! from Robbo:
I particularly like this statement from Barbara Kopple, one of the film's makers:
Kopple said plans for a grassroots promotional campaign are still being discussed, and Peck said the film is likely to be a hot topic in the approaching elections. "It deals with freedom of speech, censorship and other important issues," Kopple said. "It looks at the cost of standing up for what you believe in."
Ah! The First Amendment! The dreaded "C" word! Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!
Alas, dear, this is not about freedom of speech and censorship. To my knowledge, not a single government entity has had anything to do with the Chicks' woes since Maines shot off her yap. Instead, it's about the marketplace of ideas. You have every right to insist that the moon landings were faked or that Kennedy was really shot by Captain Kangaroo. I, in turn, have every right to call you a moron. And to refuse to buy whatever you're flogging. Including movie tickets.
More Yips! from Robbo: And talk about your casting decisions!
YIPS from Steve-O: Would that they decided to do a movie about stifling of scientific inquiry, censorship, and other important issues by the animal rights liberal whackjobs.
Because, remember, VACCINES=VIRAL GENOCIDE! THE HIV VIRUS HAS RIGHTS TOO!
The Long Tail hits big-network tee-vee
Last week I did the solid guy thing and picked up my buddy Scott from the airport in Richmond so he could surprise his daughter on her birthday. It's about a 90 minute trip, and we talked the whole way about things guys talk about when we're alone---feelings, relationships, and, of course, Jane Austen.
Seriously, we talked comic books, tee-vee, pop culture, and blogs. We talked a lot about the long tail phenomena, and one of the ideas that came to me was that the first indicator that the toe-hold had been established of the long tail in the tee-vee world would be if youtube or its equivalent began to cause problems for Saturday Night Live, much as Netflix destroyed Blockbuster's business model.
Anyhoo, trouble on the set of SNL, and these aren't your typical SNL doldrums. My prediction: within the year there will be a tee-vee show---probably not on network at first, but soon to be emulated there---which will morph SNL, youtube, and America's funniest home videos that will be edgy, creative, and drop-dead funnier than anything that's come out of the venerable institution in years.
Yeah, right. And if you believe that, you'll probably believe you'll receive 72 virgins in the afterlife if you blow up a Tel Aviv Sbarro's.
In the spirit of flippant dubiousnesss, allow me to present:
Iran's Top Ten List Of Alternative Nuclear Talks Adjectives
8. Chef Boy-R-Dee Okayed
5. Hot (mediated by Paris Hilton only)
3. (tie) Tastes Great/Less Filling
Finally! Something LBBuddy and I can agree on
That doesn't constitute a Guiness-soaked wake for the Sawx, that is.
Animal "Rights" "Activists" terrorizing researchers suck beans.
Seriously, I think the best way to punish these bozos is let them get tetnus or a tapeworm and deny them medical treatment that dates from, say, 1820.
(Of course, INDC Bill---whose never met a tapeworm he didnt' want to marry---is going to go all nutso on me....but I can take it!)
"I Am Not In The Giving Vein To-day"**
Your Maximum Leader marks the anniversary of the death of one of England's most notorious Kings, suggesting that he was more maligned than malignant.
Me, I prefer Shakespeare's villain. But if you're in the revisionist vein today, perhaps you can read, "A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!" instead as, "My parents never gave me a pony for Christmas!"
***Richard III, Act IV, Scene 2.
Did I miss something or has Gregg Easterbrook parted company with NFL.com? I can't seem to find any reference to his columns there at all. At all.
Geez, I hope not. What is football season without "Tuesday Morning Quarterback"?
UPDATE: On the other hand, Gene Weingarten pens an hy-larious review of Tony Kornheiser's color commentary during last night's Cowboys-Saints game. A sample:
Because this is a dispassionate, professional review I am going to avoid ad hominem commentary on strictly personal matters, such as Tony's ostentatiously bald head, which resembles not a cue ball so much as an enormous, bulbous knuckle made of some sort of pink processed meat, like bologna or olive loaf.
Read the rest. This could mean war.
Yips! to Dave Barry.
UPDATE DEUX: Thanks to commenter Bob, Gregg has been located. And yes, he's still got cheerleader photos.
Peace In Our Time
Richard Cohen, writing on the Middle East, sees echoes of 1938. But in an otherwise pretty good article, he can't seem to help letting fly with this howler:
When George Bush used the term "Islamic fascists,'' he had a point. But it's futile to use colorful language when, in reality, you're out of the conversation altogether. This is another baleful consequence of the Iraq War. The U.S. is not only preoccupied, it is loathed. The leadership it once was able to exert -- especially in the Middle East -- is a thing of the past. If it is going to have its credibility restored, another president will have to do so. In the meantime, as we always learn, Europe without American leadership is a mere tourist destination.
Message to Cohen: The United States has always been loathed in the Middle East. I seem to remember a good deal of street celebration across the region right after 9/11 and long before Dubya took any retaliatory action.
And to which particular historical leadership role are you referring? Jimmah bringing together Sadat and Begin? I think that had more to do with the Egyptians getting tired of having their asses kicked. Or perhaps you're thinking of his masterful handling of the Iranian Shah's, erm, "retirement". Reagan's Lebanese adventures? Look, I'm a great fan of the Gipper, but even I didn't see the point of landing Marines in Beruit with no apparent mission other than to get shot at. Bubba Clinton's endless and meaningless photo ops with the late, unlamented Yasser? Puh-lease.
Stopping One In Three
This is interesting. The British Library has bought a great wodge of papers from the family of the poet Coleridge:
Highlights include a previously unknown manuscript of two of Coleridge's poems, written in his own hand, and many reminiscences of the poet in the letters and diaries of other family members. There are also letters from eminent Victorians who were friends of the Coleridges, including the poet Matthew Arnold, Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone, the leading cleric Cardinal John Newman and architect Augustus Pugin.
"This is an archive of the whole Victorian era," said Frances Harris, the library's head of modern historical manuscripts.
"It is an incredibly rich record — almost any document you turn over produces something of interest." The bulging archive, she said, "provides a family perspective on the family's presiding genius. There is a powerful sense of affection and fascination" for the poet, who in his later years famously became "somewhat erratic" as his addiction to opium deepened and his health deteriorated.
This warms my English major heart and ought to be a huge treat for the lucky library staffer who gets to catalog it all. Frankly, poetry is among my least favorite forms of writing and only a handful of poets grab my attention. Among the early Romantics, however, Coleridge is one of two whom I genuinely enjoy (the other being, of course, Mr. John Keats).
By the way, I know I've mentioned it before, but I love the way Douglas Adams weaves Coleridge's poetry into his Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. And, of course, Monty Python's Victorian Poetry Reading sketch is one of their masterpieces.
LLamabutchers Post #8739
Between here and the old place. Whoa. For some reason that shut me up for now.
Anyhoo, head over to the Commissar and give him some blog love.
And by the way, someone's stolen your schtick.
August 21, 2006
Gratuitous Boomer Bashing
Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. James Lileks screeding on a new play about the eviiiiiils of Hollywood McCarthyism:
It made me think (I was weeding today, doing lawnwork, and that lends itself to crank-think) of the perpetual adolescent strain in post-WW2 culture. Before the 50s, when there were actual problems like an interminable Depression and Nazis, adolescents were mostly unseen in the culture. You had kids, and you had grown-ups. Adolescents were young grownups, expected to adhere to the same general rules of behavior. It was an adult culture, and adolescents were the interns. The culture would tolerate some things like Bobby Soxers, but with wry eye-rolling amusement. After the war, though, the adolescent was not only the focus of the culture’s attention, he was taken seriously. He was an inarticulate oracle, a mumbling sage, a jeering jester with a switchblade. One of the dumbest lines in cinema is one of the most famous: asked what he’s rebelling against, Marlin Brando’s character in the “The Wild Ones” says “Whaddya got?”
Indeed. Furthermore, I'd say that the adolescent impulses about which Lileks rants are not only still present in the culture, they are in fact the dominant strain, a curious admixture of self-indulgence and self-loathing. It takes but a minute to recognize the way in which these forces have tainted virtually every aspect of modern society, from arts and entertainment to religion to education to family.
Now, it would be one thing if we lived in a vacuum, a place in which we could indulge such cancerous thinking in benign acceptance and just get on with our own lives. But we do not live in such times. Instead, it is increasingly obvious that we are facing an enemy that seeks not detente, but the abolition of our entire way of life, based not on pragmatic calculations of the balance of power, but on fanatical adherence to crypto-religious, Islamofacist militant views of the Way Things Ought To Be.
I leave it to Steve-O to provide the truly scholarly view of all of this, but my simple layman's opinion is that a society that does not believe in itself (as represented by the modern progeny of Brando's rebel-without-a-clue) will not survive the onslaught of one that does. And, frankly, really doesn't deserve to do so.
Can't blame it on SUVs
Ooops, the Greenland glaciers have been retreating for a hundred years.
Gratuitous "Why Couldn't This Have Happened Yesterday?" Posting
My standard reply whenever the Llama-ettes ask me how I know something is to assume an impassive expression and say, "Because I'm Daddy and I know everything."
So far, it has worked pretty well, but I fear the days of bliss are coming to an end. Already both the Eight and Six Year Olds have been showing signs of increasing dubiousness, and last evening my credibility suffered what may prove to be a serious blow.
You see, they were quizing me at dinner, trying to trap me, when all of a sudden the Six Year Old asked, "What is the capital of Tasmania?"
Now, the truthful answer would have been, "How the hell should I know what the capital of Tasmania is?" But I wasn't willing to admit total defeat just yet. Not being able to think of a suitable diversion off the cuff, I blustered for a bit, suggesting that while I did not remember at the moment, a bit of memory-jogging would eventually produce the correct answer, because I was pretty sure it was in the old bean somewhere.
I don't think they bought it.
Anyhoo, the irksome part is that had they waited one more day to pose the question, I'd have been able to reply firmly, "Why everbody knows that the correct answer is Hobart! In fact, today is the anniversary of the founding of that city."
Just think of the credits I'd have earned had I been able to pull that one off.
Ah, well. "Look on my face - my name is Might Have Been."
Hammer Time, Part Deux
After my extensive and slightly dangerous sledge-fest with the laundry room floor Saturday, I spent about six hours yesterday afternoon going after the residual globs and patches of cement with a hammer and chisel.
If you've never tried this exercise in home improvement, I heartily recommend it. It is.......character-building.
Physically, my hands and forearms are still killing me, frozen into a couple of claws what with all that grasping of tools. I feel like that Seinfeld character who lost his hand-modelling gig because he was no longer master of his domain.
Mentally, I am now of the opinion that anybody who must spend his days banging away at rock with a hammer - archeologists, geologists, sculptors - must eventually go quite mad. As I say, I was only at it about six hours or so, but despite all my attempts to improve upon the tedium by creating interesting tapping rhythms and planning out my assault on each new formation to maximize my effectiveness, it wasn't long before I was ready to go spare.
To add insult to injury, in the middle of my work the Four Year Old suddenly appeared at the door and announced that I was making too much noise. This from a gel who herself is audible not only from one end of the house to the other, but also in several adjacent counties. If she'd been just a little bit closer, I'd probably have whacked her.
Anyhoo, after all the toil, I'm happy to say that the floor was finally cleared and is all nice and ready for our handyman to finish laying tile, which I hope he is doing even as I type.
Oh, one other thing - I meant to dispel any misimpressions readers might have got from my Saturday post concerning the Missus' role in ordering me to do this work. I was only kidding, of course. It needed to be done and I, of course, volunteered. In fact, the Missus is one of the sweetest and most considerate people in the world, who wouldn't dream of asking me to do something I didn't want to.
No really, I mean it. And I'm saying so because I love her, not because she read my earlier post and gave me the Evil Eye over it.
by whatever authorities were flying the fruitcake back to the U.S. in the Ramsey case. I have seen first-hand what fast food from the local Wendy's can do in terms of getting defendants to loosen up and spill their guts--and that was just with a cheaseburger, biggie fries, and iced tea. Lord only knows what wonders champagne can do.
Can You Hear Me Now?
Server's acting weird today - keeps shutting down on me.
Is it possible that the Suits are on to m-
and anyone else thinking about making the jump-from NRO.
Gratuitous First Day Back At The Office Thought
Standing in the elevator this morning: "Wait, what floor is my office on?"
Money quote by Bill Buchanan from last night's re-run: "Chloe, we don't have time for your personality disorder."
Maybe it's just me
But add to the list of allusions at the beginning of this story the scene in Triumph of the Will when the crowd waits rapturously for Hitler to descend from the clouds in an areoplane...
August 20, 2006
What Sully Hath Wrought
Huge pro-polygamy rally today in Utah featuring kids of polygamist families. Money shot: pre-teenage girl holding big sign "I heart all my mommies." No logical or legal difference between Heather has two mommies and Heather has eight mommies.
Anyone surprised by
Kerry's swipe at Joltin' Joe?
More inconvenient truths...
Remember that bit about 99% of all scientists everywhere who agree on man-centered global warming creating huge hurricanes? Never mind.
I want to do a longer post on this and juxtapose it with the debate raging now on whether Kuniper Belt objects are planets in our solar system, with the larger point being that such intellectual turmoil and disagreement is the history of science, not a nice clean linear growth of knowledge. My problem with the global warming "debate" such as it are the groups and individuals who are trying to score a "Rachel Carson" moment to shape public views in an ideological way. In this sense, they are not at all different in my mind from Herbert Spencer and the group that founded the Eugenics movement as a result of Darwin and Wallace's theorizing about evolution and differentiation, with the tragic public policy results of forced sterlization and apartheid segregation. I also think that there's an interesting overlay in the timing of the rise of the "global warming" movement and the collapse of Soviet Communism in the early 1990s, in that it provides a low-impact way to be opposed to capitalism while seizing the moral highground.
August 19, 2006
I want to be your sledgehammer
why don't you call my name
you'd better call the sledgehammer
put your mind at rest
I'm going to be-the sledgehammer
this can be my testimony
I'm your sledgehammer
let there be no doubt about it
We had been hoping that the re-tiling of the kitchen and laundry room would be all wrapped up by the time we got back from vacation.
In the words of Joan Cusack in Addams Family Values, "Aaaah-hahahahahaaa!!!"
You see, our handyman had no problem laying tile and, in fact, did get the kitchen part of the job done. But, as you may recall, he had severed a tendon on the back of his hand while sledgehammering the old tile off the concrete in the laundry room when he was only about halfway done. Since he's still wearing a cast, any additional whacking would be out of the question for another six weeks or so.
"Oh," said the Missus this morning with the air of one with her own spurs and someone else's horse, "If it's just a question of getting the rest of the old tile up, Robbo can do that for you. Can't you, dear?"
So now you know how I've spent my afternoon. And this after getting the lawn mown, trimmed and raked this morning.
For what it's worth, I'd never really understood how our handyman had managed to hurt himself to begin with. I now have a much healthier respect for the concept of shrapnel. When a sledge hammer hits ceramic tile glued to a cement floor, the tile transforms into a lot of very hard, very sharp and very fast bits. These proceed to fly about, karooming off of walls, doors and other objects, including the poor sap doing the hammering. Even with long pants, long shirt, gloves and boots on, I stopped several juicy ones.
Tomorrow, I have to go back with a hammer and chisel to get at the bits of tile glue still stuck to the concrete.
And, in the category of unintended consequences, the walls of the laundry room are now heavily dinged in several places, meaning yours truly will have to fill in the holes and paint them over.
Ah, the joys of home improvement.
This from the Bluto over at The Sandcrawler. Moving the Lebanese Army into the south is looking more and more like a bad idea. It can't disarm the Hezbos and now it looks like it will "stand with" them, whatever that means. The next time the Israelis go across the border, it will not be able to avoid going force-on-force with the Lebanese Army which means the next war will be with Lebanon, not just the Hizbos. In the meantime, I hope Israel gives the last six weeks a brutal after- action review, figures out what went right, what went wrong, fixes what went wrong, and gets ready because the next war is just around the corner.
Bubba at 60
Sniveling as usual. Of course, the current president is also 60. Despite the pressures of the office, not the slightest indication that W. had any regrets over hitting the big six-zero. To the contrary, W. is in better shape than most men a third his age. In contrast, Bubba has alot of wear and tear--so many bimbos, interns, harpie for a wife, mooching off friends, etc.
Blogad Etiquette Question
So what exactly is the protocol in terms of commenting on blog ads posted to one's own site by, well, whoever it is who posts them? I'm prompted to ask by the unexpected appearance of the Ben & Jerry's ad over to the left there. Not our usual stuff, I think you'll agree.
Am I allowed to say what I think of its "What if the Defense Department Had To Hold A Bake Sale To Raise Money For A New Bomber?" bumper-sticker mentality? Or by agreeing to host the ad am I cut off from commenting on it?
(I expect there's something in the blogads agreement about it, but obviously I'm too lazy to look it up.)
In honor of Robbo's return
And to follow up on my last post about Star Trek geek porn:
August 18, 2006
Gratuitous "Honey, I'm Hoooome!" Posting
Back safe and sound from our jaunt to Maine.
Fondest memory of the trip? Playing whiffle-ball with the Llama-ettes on the lawn looking out over the bay and teaching them the gentle art of infield chatter. Personally, I'm an aficionado of Cam's technique from Ferris Bueller: "Hey, batta-batta-batta-batta-Sah-wiiing, battah....." The gels, on the other hand, seem to prefer something closer to William Wallace's battle cry just before charging Edward Longshanks.
The neighborhood probably will not recover for years.
By the way, major apologies to The Colossus and Random Penseur, both of whom I had hoped to meet up with on the trip back. Sorry guys - a combo of thoroughly browned-off kids, misplaced slips of paper with phone numbers and unexpected In-law entanglements when we stopped off in Connecticut yesterday put the kybosh on things.
And now, as I was on the road at Five acc emma today, I am going to go and have one serious nap......
Looks like I'll need a beer
before reading the opinion finding the terrorist surveillance program unconstitutional. NRO's take on it is here. And people wonder why the appointment and confirmation of federal judges is so important.
MORE FROM NRO: Andrew McCarthy on the Michigan case. Read it. This case illustrates that the worst kind of an activist is one with a lifetime appointment, particularly one which has no concept of the limited role the federal judiciary is to play in our federal system.
Bottom news story of the day
Mossad had a plan to whack Hamas chief in Damascus. Via The Jerusalem Post. And this is surprising because . . .?
Special Agent Bedhead will be interested
August 17, 2006
Don't leave home without it
Two-day foray to Charlotte, doing my minor part in the Global War on Terror. The fine folks at the Thrifty car rental tossed in this for an extra nine dollars. Sweet!
and Happy Birthday to Belinda Carlisle, formerly of that '80s grrrl band, the Go-Gos. She is 47 today and probably the best lookin' of the group.
August 16, 2006
Hey, sue me---Robbo's still on vacation
I'm an A**hole
I love Denis Leary. Every Tuesday night I'm glued to my favorite soap opera, Rescue Me on FX in which he plays a troubled fireman with the most screwed up life imaginable. Last night, his character was given the hypothetical chance to "do" Mary Tyler Moore or Eartha Kitt. His answer was, "not even with a bottle of whiskey, a crow bar, 4 Viagra and a strap on would that ever happen." LOL!
Today, my pal Mr. Keysunset send me the Youtube video of Leary's classic song "A-S-S-H-O-L-E." If you've never heard this song, or seen the video, it is a cultural mandate. But be warned: you'll need earphones if you're at work!
August 16th--a good day to be alive
We'll know AQ is in trouble when they start relying on old plots from Murder She Wrote to reek their evil machinations....
August 15, 2006
Short but interesting article on The Fembot Mystique from this month's issue of Popular Science.
At the bottom of the article you can click to see comments readers left concerning their favorite Fembots. Pris is my all-time fav. Who is yours?
Be sure not to miss the Fembot photo gallery link at the top of the article.
We may need to re-think our approach to body armor
A woman's breast implants stopped shrapnel from a Hezbo rocket. The implants were silicone which is disfavored, if not banned, in the United States.
I take back all my criticisms of our resident mad scientist as he just emailed the link to this, which is beyond coolness.
You know, so beyond cool, that's it's supremely dorky.
Gratuitous Llama Vacation Observations (TM)
Spent a very pleasant afternoon at the beach yesterday with the Llama-ettes. Their favorite game to play involves building a series of sand castles starting near the line of the surf. As the tide comes in (and it's quite dramatic in these parts), each castle is inundated in turn and the gels pretend that the king and queen and a handful of survivors flee back to the next one in line. I'm already putting money aside for the future therapy sessions.
Regular readers here will know of my general aversion to the Nanny State, but Lawd Almighy, I truly believe that the wearing of bikinis should be permitted by license only, applicants being required to satisfy certain aesthetic standards before receiving such permits. Unlicensed bikini wearing would be punishable by either fine and/or jail time, depending on the heinousness of the display. I do believe that everybody would benefit from such regulation, including those who don't have sense enough themselves not to appear in public looking like that.
UPDATE: Yes, there certainly is something to be said for regulating the gents' swimwear as well, starting with the Godawful Speedo. FWIW, being no Charles Atlas myself, I have for many years now appeared at the beach with a pair of roomy blue trunks with lobsters all over them and an old collared shirt that I refuse to take off for fear of frightening the children.
More proof that Google is the tool of the antichrist
The LLamas kickin' butt on google for
sites and sounds of Makkah and Medina
That's the cue for the Big Heat to start frothing at the mouth with his Nixon Nuking Iran bit. Tom, I turn it over to you....
Jeff Goldblum and Laura Dern, call your agents
Just our luck that the one Jen-Yuuu-Wine Mad Scientist we know, instead of playing around with wooly mammoth sperm to bring storm-stompin' Ice Age beasts back to terrorize the earth, gets his jollies by playing L. Ron Hubbard to really small fish.
August 14, 2006
Virus Borg Make You Fat
Did you know that most of your body-weight is not human? Great story in yesterday's New York Times about gut microflora and how it may effect obesity.
-- Compliments of Chai-Rista on the poop-chute beat!
A blistering assessment of the Lebanon crisis from one of that country's newspapers via NRO. Read it.
PATCO strike at 25
A guest op-ed by a union type in today's edition of the local fishwrapper reminds us that Ronald Reagan broke the air traffic controllers strike twenty-five years ago this month. Reagan did it by noting that strikes by federal employees are against the law and gave the participants a deadline to be back at work or be permanently replaced. Most failed to show and were terminated. No negotiating, no mediation, no ceasefire, nothing. Reagan's decision had foreign policy implications because the Soviets, ever-keen observers of the American political scene, saw the new president make a threat and then carry it out without the slightest bit of hesitation despite the fallout. The Soviets decided this was a man to be taken seriously.
He's a goner, Part V
Amazingly life-like. AP is carrying a disclaimer about not being able to verify the date the photo was taken. If only Al-Reuters, that favorite anti-American "news" outlet, carried similar disclaimers on its coverage of the conflict in Lebanon . . .
August 13, 2006
Mummy, make the mean men stop!
Apparently this isn't quite cricket by the usual standards of the Round Hill Club in Greenwich.
Welcome to the general election, Ned.
Yet more inconvenient truths.
Even LB Buddy is going to have to join me in condemning Big Al for letting this happen.
NO! This is just wrong: Kicking butt on Google for
Erika Eleniak fat
We are #1 on Google for
end of world predicted
Surely that's a sign of End Times if I've ever seen one...
August 12, 2006
An inconvenient expose
Moonbatmobile, Qana-the Director's Cut
and other goodies over at Gary the Ex-Donk. Groovy Vic et al are having a big time over there.
He's a goner, Part IV
Al-Reuters, the preferred anti-American "news" outlet, has this puff piece on el jefe, said to be walking around and getting briefed. Bull----. Castro has either assumed room temp or is so incapacitated that he is not "camera friendly."
Inside pool joke
SOOPER SEKRIT MESSAGE TO FORMER CULT OF SCOGGINS MEMBERS: Is it just me, or does THIS bear the fingerprints of a certain Army doctor we all know?
No mention of the boot/waffle graph, although it certainly would fit in.
August 11, 2006
Now the bastards are using turtles!
The definition of a Slow news day.
Since Robbo's on vacation, I'm free to let it all hang out
For example, Robbo usually handles the high culture literary stuff, what with him having been an English major and me being a non-reconstructed juvenile delinquent.
But, I will take umbrage with this advice:
when you're in the middle of a Bernard Shaw scene, it's generally not a good idea to go into a Chris Farley impression.
Sir, I have only one thing to say to you: Saint Joan as a movie, starring Farley as the Pope, with Uma Thurman as Saint Joan, that annoying Garafalo woman as Joan's veternarian/radio host unrequited lesbian love-interest, and with David Spade as the Dauphin. And Brannagh as the King of England.
Maurice Clarett is a Buckeye Idiot
I love this picture: Hezzbollah-style AK--check; bottle of Moet---um, didn't have the cash, it was either that or some Bartles n' James, damn Yuppie Bo-Bo bitches!; John Woo gangsta' pistole--check; ....
lint-roll brush? Check!
Because that's the way Maurice Clarett rolls!
An interesting anniversary
Happy 25th birthday, IBM PC.
More inconvenient truths...
Yeah, yeah, I know---corporate media, corporations crushing the little guy, DOOM! I tell ya, Malthus is right, Darwin wasn't a bitter racist, sexist, mysanthrope, Harry Potter's a fascist, blah blah blah.
Dingy Harry Reid thinks the Dems will pick up at least five Senate seats this fall, including CT and VA, which will require knocking off Lieberman and George Allen. I just don't see it happening. Steve-O what do you think of Reid's prediction?
YIPS from Steve-O:
Here goes: it's quite realistic to project the Democrats picking up the following currently Republican seats in the Senate this fall--
LIKELY DONK PICK-UPS--
QUITE POSSIBLE DONK PICK-UPS--
Each of these four are in trouble for one reason or another. That leaves Missouri as the big ticket which would get the Senate to 50-50 (according to the Big Kahuna, who I have no reason to doubt, Tennessee is also possible). That would leave the Senate tied at 50ies, which would leave Cheney as the tie-breaker.
I'm not sure what the rules of voting are for Impeachment, though, because the Vice-President doesn't preside in an Impeachment Trial---it's the Chief Justice. I don't know how a tie is resolved, and would have to look that up.
As Robbo would say, Just Sayin'.
As to Virginia, Allen's seat is about as safe as a Senate seat goes for this year, but remember one thing: while this is his third statewide race, it's only his first defense of his Senate seat, which can be tricky. Jim Webb is an enigma---it says a lot about the state of the Democratic Party that they will defenestrate and then exile Joe Lieberman---who votes with the party 90% of the time---as being an apostate, but endorse someone like Webb who, except for his strong opposition to the Iraq War, is in effect a conservative Reagan Republican (except, perhaps, for that Eleventh Commandment bit, and the opportunistic stab in the back, but hey, who's perfect?) Does he have a chance of winning? This year, more so than most years, anything's possible, but I wouldn't bet the ant farm on it by any stretch of the imagination. I do also think it's a bit of a danger for the Donks to place so much emphasis on the Warner Magic(TM)---the ability of Mark Warner to win in Republican Virginia. After all, Republicans have been governors of Massachusetts now for the past 16-ish years, and that hasn't exactly translated into a national political plan.
What I think would be the hilarious outcome would be for the Donks to get their six seats, but with Liebs winning, and pulling a Jeffords and caucusing with the Republicans. The perfidy! Also, the Mikey Moore/Kos purge plan of this week is going to not play too well in the Senate--look for someone like Salazar to pull a Nighthorse-Campbell and switch parties if they press to hard on the Senate's prerogatives.
The worse thing, though, for Republicans to do going into the fall is fall victim to the cocoon effect, and only believe what they read on Red State. It's what the Donks did in 04, and why they were so hilariously deranged when the lost---all the news sources they were reading had them winning triumphantly. Don't drive angry, but do lock and load.
It's Friday, Robbo is safely away in Maine...
So of course that means it's time for your Paris Hilton wild sex with a monkey update.
(You know, about 6000 posts ago we aspired to be a highbrow sort of blog...)
August 10, 2006
Be careful about who you get to blog-sit while you are gone
after all, I am a shining example of what can happen when respectable people let the riff-raff in to mind things while they are away. Gary the Ex-Donk is taking a break until Labor Day.
They are NOT drinking the Kool-Aid at the Mos Eisley cantina known as
the Daily Kos because they are mainlining it. Common theme in the comments--Galactic Emperor Bush and the Dark Lord of the Sith Rove are manipulating the terror situation to influence the election. I read it so you won't have to do so.
He's a goner, Part IV
Hugo sez Fidel is in the "fight of his life." His condition is stable, because he's probably dead.
For no particular reason
The incomparable Rachel Weisz.
LMC YIPS: the link is down (no doubt to heavy traffic generated by this post) so try this one.
Gratuitous Random Vacation Observations
* Greetings from the Llama Undisclosed Vacation Location. Let me start by noting that I'm typing this on the 'rents' iMac. Somebody please tell me why so many people swear by these things. I think it bites. For one thing, I can't even read the site because Netscape is doing something horrid to the settings. When I finally tracked down the monitor controls to try and affect an adjustment, the damned machine informed me that this was system software and I wasn't allowed to open it, thank you very much.
* Bonus High Point of the trip so far: Meeting up with the Random Penseur for a couple hours of adult beverages and talk on the way up. RP turns out to be every bit as engaging and entertaining in person as he does in the blogsphere.
* Unforseen Low Point of the trip so far: Tuesday morning there was a bad tanker truck spill on I-95 south of New Haven, CT that totally closed the northbound lanes. We got completely, utterly enmeshed in the snarl. To make matters worse, the Connecticut State Police seemed to consider their job to be finished once they'd blockaded the highway and set up signs saying "Detour" pointed to the nearest exit ramp. No directing traffic, no monitoring of the alternative route whatever. Do you know what it's like trying to crawl up Route 1 through Orange, West Haven and New Haven with the rest of the I-95 spillover traffic? Suffice to say that our trip to Boston (our next stop), which should have taken about three hours, wound up taking nine.
* Related to that last item, let me just give some huge Llama Luv to the Friendly's of Meriden, Connecticut, which we hit once we'd got clear of the jam. It certainly saved my sanity and quite probably the lives of one or more of my children. At the end of our late lunch/early dinner, the Llama-ettes asked if they could have dessert.
"Yes," I said, "You may each have a Fribble for the car."
"What's a Fribble?" they asked.
"Well, it's a very special milkshake that you can only get at Friendly's."
"But....what if we want something else?"
"No, you don't understand. This is Friendly's. You've GOT to get a Fribble. It's simply the Word. As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever, amen."
They got the Fribbles.
And it was good.
* Anyhoo, we're all settled in now. I was just out with my three daughters, two nieces and nephew, climbing about on the rocks of the little cove below our cottage. Aside from the fear that one of them would get swept off and carried all the way to the Hebrides, this is the stuff the doctor ordered.
* I'll leave you with an observation resulting from a quick peek at the headlines this morning: You don't seriously think "they" would have announced the bust up of another massive airline bombing scheme if Lieberman had defeated Lamont, now, do you? Well?
Fortunately I looked up what "chuffed" means
I thought it meant something else entirely.
He's a goner, Part III
NRO demolishes the wishful thinking that Raul might not be as bad as Fidel.
This case is going to go federal, fast
Count on it.
This is going to goose the THREATCON
but, so far we are at BERT
. We may go to ELMO. Threat level link poached without a second thought from Jen, formerly Jen Speaks who got it somewhere else.
What with Tuesday being the most significant day in the history of AmeriKKKan democracy, I question the timing.
August 09, 2006
Babes of the Eighties
After a long hiatus, we return to that award-winning series. Tonight's feature, Kim Carnes. Best known Eighties hit: "Bette Davis Eyes." (Best know parady: Sillie Willie's s " Marty Feldman Eyes".)As far as I can tell, Kim is still out there, doing her thing, just like Cyndi Lauper and Pat Benatar.
LMC YIPS: The original post attributed the parody to Weird Al but faithful reader and zealous defender of all things Weird Al straightened me out. Thanks for the correction.
They are really drinking the Kool-Aid over there
at Daily Kos. Lieberman drummed out for insufficient ideological purity; Al From and the DLC are the next targets, etc. Get the popcorn, the show is only just beginning. This has been an LMC Public Service Announcement.
NYT suckered in photo-gate
INDC Bill has all the details, plus links to Michelle Malkin's take on it. Mmmm, Michelle . . .
The original LLama linkwhores
The answer, Mister Snotty Pants, was 1 day.
Mess with the LLamas and you get, erm, mustard from our sandwich on your collar?
Somehow that's not quite as intimidating as I was going for.
Random digitial media question
Old 35 mm slides: is the most efficient way of converting them to scan and then import into photoshop, adjust, and save?
After this joke, time to hang it up for good
Something about the Emperor Caligula and his horse comes to mind...
You just know they were sitting there last night, waiting to flick the switch on this campaign
Heh. I'm only surprised they didn't pshop a nice little foil beanie on Neddie's head.
UPDATE: Weird synchronicity---32 years later.
August 08, 2006
Ah, socialized medicine
Yeah, nothing like the mandatory waiting time and fining doctors for being efficient.
I can hardly wait.
52-48 Where have I heard that spread before.....?
Allahpundit is liveblogging it over at Hot Air, with a surprisingly low Karate Kid reference level.
As of 10:08, it's 52-48 with 80% of precincts in. I wonder which towns are still out.
UPDATE: If this parameter holds, the general election should prove to be interesting. 52-48--8K votes as of right now---means Joe can run against the nutroots and win with the independents and what passes for Republican in CT (sorry Gary). 56-44, that was Senior Distinguished Lecturer in American Politics at Eastern in Willimantic time.
UPDATE: Here's WTNH (the New Haven ABC tee-vee affiliate) webmaster with an interesting take on the hacking of Joltin' Joe's website.
UPDATE: Did Ned lose the big lead not because of the country club issue but because he went "More Mumia Than Thou"? Colin McEnroe's hilarious blog asks this and other great questions about the race.
(Time on the charts is for Greenwich Mean Time)(Note to LearJet Lamont supporters: the other Greenwich, where Zulu means something other than knee-jerk support for Philly cop-killing radicals).
Here's the chart for the Democrat Nominee to win:
Here's your poke, sir.
UPDATE: You can almost hear the ER "flat line beep" for this chart:
UPDATE: Lieberman concedes, 10K vote margin, 4%. Lieberman lives to fight another day; Nutroots come under the crosshairs of Richard Bluementhal and the CT AG's office for hacking; McKinney toast.
Sounds like a three-fer for me.
Sometimes the jokes just write themselves
Umm, what is "This one goes to eleven."
Sorry, it's a mandatory guy thing to deliver the full passage:
Nigel Tufnel: The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board, eleven, eleven, eleven and... Marty DiBergi: Oh, I see. And most amps go up to ten? Nigel Tufnel: Exactly. Marty DiBergi: Does that mean it's louder? Is it any louder? Nigel Tufnel: Well, it's one louder, isn't it? It's not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You're on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where? Marty DiBergi: I don't know. Nigel Tufnel: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do? Marty DiBergi: Put it up to eleven. Nigel Tufnel: Eleven. Exactly. One louder. Marty DiBergi: Why don't you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder? Nigel Tufnel: [pause] These go to eleven.
That about says it all
This just in from Reuters:
Who's laughing now, Markos? Wait till my homeboy Zell beats your androgynous ass to a molten pulp
Shamelessly stolen from Gary the X-Donk, who filched it from Wuzzadem, who kind of invented this genre.
First thoughts: I've been thinking that in many ways the CT Democratic primary is the Spanish Civil War to the big enchilada---the Democratic nomination for 08. The Republicans/Loyalists are trying to support the status quo, and who could be more status quo than Joe Leiberman? The Nationalists were a rag-tag bunch being funded and supported with hardware and logistics from out of state, and this foreign cabal has a keen interest in trying tactics and doctrine---ranging from hacking web sites to sophisticated use of propoganda. These Neuvo Nationalists, like their colleagues in the 1930s, also have a wee problem with personages of, erm, the Hebrew persuasion.
One can only imagine what the Jane Hamsherites will do with this pic...
Setting aside the historical allusion, the issue here is the effect this will have on Hillary!'s plans. The CT race has been a proxy war between the Gores and the Clintons over the 08 nomination and beyond. If Joe loses--which looks likely--the Democratic Party will now have run out of the party not just a recent VP and presidential candidate, but also the man chosen to nominate Bill Clinton in 2002---Zell Miller. The far left finally wins an election---by beating a fellow Democrat only by defining him as "no longer enough of a Democrat."
The far left wins over a centrist Democrat in one of the farthest left states in the country---that's a victory?
That's not the way to get to 270 in the Electoral College.
I'm at a loss for the appropriate snarky comment
But, somehow, I think that Dick Button could manage.
Who would've realized Kristy Swanson would be capable of such stunning vulgarity after her star-turning performance on Charlie Sheen in a BMW doing 90 mph in The Chase? She did the kidnapped aristrocratic snobby slut thing so well it practically ended the genre, which was sad, as it put Erika Eleniak out of business as Kristy Swanson-lite (I mean, who else watched The Chasers 200 times on cable thinking, "Durn, that Kristy Swanson is hot, but kind of low rent."?) Which is sad, because Kristy Swanson was kind of the low-rent, slutty version of Laura Dern to begin with (who is kind of a low-rent version of Patricia Arquette, who herself is the knock-off of the gold-standard, Laura Linney.)
Eventually, they'll do a tee-vee movie on Lifetime about Tonya Harding: The Later, Even Nastier Years, and there will be a competition between Kristy Swanson, Erika Eleniak, and Laura Dern, which is sad, because although Erika will better be able to channel the oevre that is Tonya Harding, Laura Dern will win the part because she can, like, read. Without pictures.
Ace of Spades: Twice as lucid, but only half as gay as we thought
Let's just say I've seen POWs able to blink their messages more coherently. But it's nice to know that the Ace of Spades Lifestyle(TM) is going to keep the nice folks at the Hair Cuttery in cheezwhiz for quite awhile...
I would never call my buddy Scott over at Left of the Dial "obtuse"
...because then I'd have to go, and, like, look it up or something. But then again I'm annoyingly insensitive and slow to understand that way.
Plus, he'd create a new villain for Aquaman called "The LLamabutcher" who'd, well, get his butt kicked royally by a guy in green scaly tights.
It's one thing to get kicked around by Superman or Batman or something; but there's nothing worse than being a minor villain defeated by a minor super hero. I mean, think about it: you've worked as hard as you could in high school, missed the prom to study for the SATs, only to get in to Villain Tech but finish towards the bottom of your class. How hard is that, each year, when you get your Mom's Christmas letter:
"Louis Jr. and Joe and their families enjoyed a sunny vacation getaway in Hawaii, affording the luxury as each is thriving in their jobs as a corporate executive and brain surgeon, respectively. Steve is experiencing new frontiers of success in Gotham City, although his latest plans to rob Metropolis Savings and Loan were thwarted by Marvin and Wendy and Wonderdog, we are proud to report his crimes were reported to the Justice League as a whole---Batman, Superman, even Aquaman would've come but there was a sale on tofu at the Whole Foods. He'll make it big as a villain one of these days.
Anyhoo, there's what passes for a flame war in your mild-mannered suburban blogs over the question of integrity, cheating, and Harry Potter. I feel guilty as I was the Mrs. O'Leary's cow of the whole thing, and have been overdue with my full response, which follows below:
UPDATE: Okay, this is just downright disturbing, albeit only a wee bit less than the Snape/Hermione shippers.
UPDATE DEUX: See, this is the difference between The Bonny Glen and Stately LLama Manor: Top Management rides to Scott's defense after an old college friend accuses him of being obtuse; The Dear One, when informed of this, notes, while slicing cheese for dinner, "Well, if someone accused you of being obtuse I would say, '.....And...?'"
Some guys have all the luck.
UPDATE TROIS: DON'T LIVE BLOG FROM THE KITCHEN (OR AT LEAST TELL YOUR WIFE YOU ARE LIVEBLOGGING YOUR CONVERSATION): The Dear One: "Just one person has called you obtuse? That's probably due to the limited vocabulary of your circle of low-life friends."
Just for the record, officer, I walked right into that frying pan...
Okay, so my long-promised post on Harry Potter's universe: Just like our world, minus the Renaisance, the Enlightenment, and the Capitalist Revolution or, The Muggles have been to the Moon: whose the beeyatch now, witches! hasn't fully gelled yet. But it will, I promise!
My pal, Mr. Keysunset sent me this series of photos. They show the slow creep of bag caterpillars as they metastasize to engulf bicycles and lamposts. It's fodder for a primo horrorshow I tell you.
The worst ones, IMO, are the SWAT caterpillars coming down on cords of web like an over-sized, hungry fungus. Ick! I'm grossing myself out.
Wacky Public Art
All over the world people have put up statues that make you go . . . WTF?
Big tea cup salute to my pal Mr. Keysunset!
Why the left hates Jeff Goldstein, Part MCMLXVII
Jeff, go easy on the catfish, man.
August 07, 2006
Robbo is safely ensconsed on vacation
....with visions of lobstah rolls dancing in his head on the long drive north to Maine.
Of course, this evening gave me that nice feeling that takes you back to high school, the sight of the red tail lights of the parental car whisking away on vacation, left index finger quivering on the autodial button to the local beer distributor, hoping only that when your little brother Joe's buddy Ken brings in the exotic dancers from Rhode Island that it isn't technically a violation of the Mann Act....
Okay, that's not true: our phone didn't have autodial, being one of those 50 lb. black ATT 1955 models.
Anyhoo, with Robbo safely on vacation, I can point out that we seem to be burning up the Google rankings for
And with an attitude like that, I'm sure to hear my Dad say, "Princeton needs boys like Steve-O."
Speaking of INDC Journal
We're kicking ass on google for
And speaking of cat-borne parasites, here's the latest on the brave frontier of fair and balanced reporting from the middle east. Is it just me, or do you expect that jihadi pshopper to be led out of the building, muttering loudly "Would've gotten away with weren't for all those pesky Joooo bloggers!!!"
(My favorite part of the whole interview is when the perky lil' CNN anchorette gets the name of his blog wrong. Oh those levels of editorial review....
Is it bad form to send a Snakes on a Plane phone message from Samuel L. Jackson to an internet antagonist at his place of employment?
That's not Frisching, is it?
Love Poem Generator
Just in case any LB readers need an emergency love poem, I've located the love poem generator. Here's the one it wrote for me:
Your skin glows like the pomme de terre,
blossoms sparkly as the dianthus
in the purest hope of spring.
My heart follows your kazoo voice
and leaps like a polar bear
at the whisper of your name.
The evening floats in on a great woodpecker wing.
I am comforted by your decorative eyeglass string
that I carry into the twilight of breadbeams
and hold next to my elbow.
I am filled with hope that I may dry your tears
of olive oil. As my nose falls from my
dashboard, it reminds me of your beagle.
In the quiet I listen for the last angry squirrel of the day.
My heated uvula leaps to my tee shirt. I wait in the moonlight
for your secret trumpet case
so that we may dive as one,
uvula to uvula, in search of the magnificent
purple helmet and mystical motocycle of love.
. . . Ahhhhh - meeeeen!
was on the Sci-Fi channel this weekend. I missed it in the theater but it saw it on cable while at Fort Bragg over the weekend. The movie did a decent job of following the book and Frances O'Connor and Anna Friel were easy on the eyes.
A trade indeed
A thing of LLamabutcher Gazpacho for the sekrit of Pep's sooper sekrit "Nixon should have nuked Hanoi" salsa.
An easy trade.
Anyone have any good salsa recipes? I'm working with a lot of tomatos, peppers (although this year we're not growing jalapenos, so I'll have to buy some of those), and we're knee deep in basil. The onions came up poorly, though.
He's a goner, Part III
This from the British press, Fidel said to be "out of bed"-whatever that means. Still no pictures which to me means Castro has either assumed room temp or is so incapacitated that his likeness is no longer "camera friendly."
On a related note, KMR wonders what Lazaro Gonzales must be thinking about el jefe.
Tomorrow is primary day in CT
And LLamabutchers Special Nutmeg Correspondent Gary the X-Donk has it covered.
Political Futures Markets Update
The "Z-Man Bounce" is officially over:
This is the chart for the futures contract on the GOP retaining control over the House. The big shoot up was the day of the Z-Man getting his eternal reward. What the chart means at the moment at least bettors are anticipating the Donks taking control of the House.
Here's the Senate with a different story:
Contracts trading above $80 have reflected in the past a very high likelihood of the event occuring---in this case the GOP retaining control of the Senate.
Here's an interesting new contract: the likelihood of Fidel reassuming power in Cuba:
One last one, for Giggles: here's the Al Gore wining the Democratic Nomination chart:
The Humidity is deafening in Mayfair, this year
Has anyone else noticed that Basil Seal is perhaps a wee bit more persnickity than usual?
Not that I have a problem with that---I just wondered if anyone else noticed.
Nothing quite like one Monday morning link to put you off blogging for the week
WARNING to LB Buddy, all die-hard Sawx fans (particularly who remember fondly the 1975-1978 seasons), and all ships at sea: you definitely don't want to see this picture of a fat, black-haired, preggie Britney Spears (holding what looks startingly like an unweildy tube of sexual lubricant, or tub caulk) wearing a Bernie Carbo-vintage Red Sox hat.
August 06, 2006
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Outdoor Division
Well, we got the garden weeded this morning, just finishing up before the heat got too obnoxious. I had the Llama-ettes out to do the path. It's easy for them a) because the gravel doesn't hold root balls very well and b) because there's no chance of them yanking something I don't want pulled up.
I have to admit that I love the absurdly unequal negotiating power I have when I get them to do these jobs for me. Makes me feel like Bill Gates:
Me: "Okay, girls, I need you to weed the garden path. I'll pay you a penny a weed."
They: "A penny?"
"How about a dime?"
"Or a quarter?"
"Or a dollar?"
Me: "How about you take the deal I offered? Because in a second, I'm going to make you do it for nothing."
As a matter of fact, they did a pretty good job, especially the six year old, who earned herself a tip by being extra thorough.
You know, when I was a kid, things were a lot different. When I was nine, my parents bought a couple acres on the outskirts of San Antonio and built a new house. The place was nothing but flinty soil and scrub-brush, all of which had to be cleared out in order to establish a lawn, flower beds and so on. The work was never-ending - moving loads of rocks, hauling logs and brush, digging garden beds and building container walls. It seemed that my brother and I spent virtually every weekend slaving away in the yard. (My sister was excused yardwork duty on the grounds of "being too small". She was supposed to help with the housework instead. It struck my brother and me that her idea of "helping" consisted largely of staying in her room all day listening to Adam Ant records. Not that we were bitter or anything.)
Despite the amount of time and effort we put in, my father never paid us. Not a single plugged nickel. Except once.
There came the fateful weekend when we had to clear out the soil in the front yard in preparation for sodding it over. Dad rented a big tractor with a large scoop on the front. My brother and I put in two solid twelve-hour days working with him, mostly shovelling and hauling loads of rock. I don't even remember that we stopped for lunch either day.
Anyhoo, came late Sunday afternoon and the last load was cleared away. Even Mom and my sister came out to watch. My brother and I were utterly exhausted. As we went into the house, Dad said something like, "You boys did some good work. So here's something for you." Being the true Scotsman that he is, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a dollar bill for each of us.
I didn't actually throw the buck back in his face, but boy did I want to.
It's funny that these experiences never did put me off gardening. I always assumed that some day I'd be doing the same sort of outdoor work at my own house instead of at my parents. What kept me going during the worst of it was not the thought that some day it would be all over. Instead, I derived a certain grim satisfaction from the thought that some day I would also have kids, and I'd be in the position to make them toil away for me.
I expect loony doctors have a term for this.
August 05, 2006
Gratuitous This, That and the Other Posting
* A pretty decent day here in the Northern Virginny suburbs after the most miserable week of the season, with temperatures back down into the upper 80's, much drier air and a fresh breeze from the northwest. It's still a good four or five weeks before we can seriously anticipate the first of the early fall cool fronts, but something in the air this afternoon definitely hinted, "It won't be long now....Just hold on a little while longer."
YIPS from Steve-O: Last night I found myself planning out the second wave of bean and lettuce plantings in anticipation of cooler weather, not to mention beginning the fall garden expansion plans...
* I got two weeks worth of lawn growth cut and trimmed today (it being too bloody hot to work outdoors last weekend). Actually, the lawn itself seems to largely have gone dormant. Most of the greenery coming up consists of weed of one kind or another.
YIPS from Steve-O: I've made my peace with crabgrass---it's one of God's green creatures and impressively adaptive in a Wallacian sort of way.
* Tomorrow, I tackle the garden, which needs to be weeded before we head out. I am happy to say that I did not lose control of it this year. It's true that the place is not looking its best - it still has some filling out to do, I still need to plant some more and most of what ought to be blooming right now got pretty badly cut up by the deer - but for the first time I don't have that feeling of defeat, of simply not being able to keep up with things anymore.
YIPS from Steve-O: We're knee deep in tomatos. This week we had gazpacho twice as well as a huge thing of salsa I made yesterday. Anyone have any good salsa recipes let me know.
* Speaking of filling out, is it my imagination or are the crepe myrtles doing especially well this year? I don't know if it was some particular combination of sun and rain in the area, but every one I see (including my own) is very heavily laden with flowers, more so than I recall previously.
YIPS from Steve-O: Yes, they are.
* And now for something completely different: On our trip up to Maine, we'll be stopping off in Connecticut to spend a night with the Missus' parents. While there, I am hoping to meet up with the Random Penseur for an adult beverage or two. The sizeable gap between thems what blog and thems what don't was amply illustrated when I broached my plan to the Missus, who was a bit puzzled that I'd be meeting up with a complete stranger based solely on our reading and commenting on each other's sites. However, she evidently was not concerned that RP might turn out to be a homicidal maniac, because her sole question was, "Are you sure this isn't some hot chick?"
YIPS from Steve-O: Must. Not. Comment....
* We seem to have topped the google search list for episcopal liberalism. Not on my watch, pilgrim. Actually, I've been thoroughly enjoying church this past month: during the summer, we cut back from three Sunday morning services to two, combining the 9 AM and 11 AM. During the regular year, the 9 AM service, which we attend as it is recognized as the "family" service, is almost invariable Rite II. The 11, which is attended by the older, more conservative crowd, is almost always Rite I. Well, for whatever reason of parish politics, the combined summer services are all Rite I, and I have been indulging myself in the archaic beauty of the language and, more importantly, in the emphasis on atonement and redemption. The Rite II Eucharist tends to suppress this because it gets in the way of the theme of Jesus as Mankind's Buddy and Let's Everybody Have A Big Ol' Group-Hug. Rite I will have none of this, instead emphasizing - gasp! - Mankind's fallen state and the role of Jesus as Savior and Advocate on our behalf.
* I've just finished reading Francis Parkman's The Conspiracy of Pontiac, about the 1763 Indian uprising against the British. Powerful, mesmerizing, horrifying stuff: the trecherous destruction of half a dozen British frontier forts and garrisons, the sieges of Detroit and Fort Pitt, the Battle of Bushy Run (fought this date, by the way), the Paxton Boys, the depredations of the Indians along the frontiers of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania and the inane self-rightious posturing of the Quaker-dominated Pennsylvania Assembly while settlers along the frontier were being tomahawked and scalped by the hundreds, the foolishness of Amherst and Braddock, the heroism of Col. Bouquet and Henry Gladwin, the wisdom of Sir William Johnson. The list goes on.
I've never really understood why American colonial history doesn't receive more attention in our educational system, particularly in that it is almost impossible to truly understand the motivations of the Crown and the Colonists in the 1770's if one doesn't understand their relationship during the critical 1750's and 60's. In light of what went on at that time, issues such as self-governance, military protection and taxation get a whoooooole lot more complicated and much less easy to fit into the traditional Tyrannical King George vs. Freedom-Loving Amuricans model of the Revolution, as taught in our schools.
Unless, of course, that's the idea. In which case, never mind.
YIPS from Steve-O: You've hit the nail on the head, unfortunately, that the Proclamation of 1763 was emminently reasonable and that the response to it was, what's the word I'm going for, ah yes, a wee bit immature and disproportional.
Robbo, I've got a great book for you on the seven years war if you are interested. Also, I sent a separate email flogging Mark Helperin's Freddy and Fredericka as a great summer read for you. Just saying.
* I watched the last hour or so of Titanic on HBO last evening. What a load of crap. Then I watched a bit of The Hunt For Red October. Know my favorite scene in this movie? When the crew of the October start singing as she tries out her silent propulsion drive and the voices steadily change from those of the crew to a real choir. There is something very moving about Russian and even Soviet music - a sense of sadness, an almost subconscious acknowledgement of how terrible things are, coupled with the resolve to see them through anyhow. Russian history is a long catalog of (mostly self-inflicted) awfulness. What's heroic about the Russians isn't the greatness that their civilization has achieved. Rather, it's the fact that they didn't collectively roll over and give up a long time ago.
YIPS from Steve: My favorite thing about that scene is the look on Courtney B. Vance's face as he's listening to that, and trying to explain how to explain to Scott Glenn that he thought he heard singing...... Courtney Vance's Jonesy and Scott Glenn's Commander Bart Mancuso are the secret gems of that movie, that overcome the craptacular casting of Alec Baldwin, a Lithuanian submariner legend who speaks with a burr, and Naval Academy fixture Mr. Rooney.
August 04, 2006
Google Chumming Champs, Dyslexic Division
Glad to see we're kicking IDF Special Forces LLama butt on google for:
Sometimes that Pee Haich Dee comes in handy
We were at Montpelier a couple of years ago and during the tour, the guide was going on about Dolley's heroism while rescuing the portraits of the Washingtons before the White House was burned, and my son, age 5, asked, "Where was James Madison?"
My point exactly.
Fresh yips from the Tasty Bits Mail Sack (TM)
Reader Matt emails in concerning our item about Matt Damon being selected to take the helm as James Tiberius Kirk in Star Trex XI:
Damon as Kirk is bad enough... Affleck as Spock would give me just cause to take hostages. The only thing "worse" than Affleck as Spock would be Jeffrey Combs as Spock as one of the IMdBers suggeseted... HORRIBLE idea...ideas, really... This whole franchise is in deep doo-doo...
And it really isn't that hard to figure out how to fix it...stop trying
to be "new" and "different"... Star Trek is what it is...
I think we need to embrace the reality that this is going to happen, and therefore organize to make the inevitable badness be really, really bad.
Well, yesterday I had suggested the natural casting of Ben Affleck as Spock, mainly because Affleck's emotional acting range basically is Vulcan anyways. But where else could this go?
I'm thinking along these lines:
STar TreK XI: Maybe Trekkies are so stupid they'll give us lots of money
Ensign Sulu.........B.D. Wong
Mr. Chekov.........Alan Rickman
Lt. Uhura............Jennifer Lopez
Mr. Scott............LL Cool J
Dr. McCoy..........Nick Nolte
Nurse Chapell....Gwyneth Paltrow
Lt. Worf.............O.J. Simpson
Yes, I realize Worf was in TNG, but come on, think of the dynamic juxtaposition! Plus, I'm sure some of you are thinking, "Yes, Steve-O, all well and good: but didn't O.J., like, sever his wife's head?" And I would say, "Well, yes, he did, but see he's a Klingon and it would've counted as an honor killing in his society, and if you've got a problem with that, it's because you're an Imperializing racist. And, it's not like he's an anti-Semite or something."
Anyhoo, a movie like this can't really find it's full level of suckage without good villains, and so here I'm thinking something like this:
Romulan Chancellor........Nathan Lane
Klingon Neocon Zionist Admiral...Kurt Russell
And the capper would be of course bringing back Khan:
The trick would be to place Khan on planet Halliburton...
FURTHER CASTING IDEAS:
You could get some Greek Chorus action from
as animated Tribbles "Rosenkrantz" and "Guildenstern."
In the immortal words of Joey Lawrence, "whoa"
In a fit of symaptico loyalty, I'd like to out myself as well: My real name is Stephen Douglas, and you can blame me for splitting the Democratic Party for their worst political defeat in history---and I did it without even any help from the nutroots, either!
Weekend at Fidel's
Now here's a movie I'd slap down $8.50 to go see (but I would smuggle in my own raisnettes, though).
BTW, I finallly went with neighbor Dennis to see Superman Returns the other night, and I have one word: underwhelmed.
Here's the review that I sent to DC Comics Scott below the fold (so to hide the spoilers):
reaction: kind of bloodless, kind of creepy, to be perfectly honest. bloodless: the world has changed too much since the original 1970s movie to do an homage to it like they did. they needed the "superman's been gone for 5 yrs" device so to create the whole "superman's kid" thing which i confess was a good plot twist, didn't really see that coming and like how they left it ambiguous until the very end. still, metropolis is always so clearly NY in a way that gotham is not, and 2006 minus 5 years.....leaves, where the fuck were you, superman? i'm not sure whether that was intentional or not, but that queered the deal with me, but also left me wondering how dc handled pearl harbor. i didn't like lois lane (too not terri hatcher, i guess which dates me). i also really didn't go far the really overt christalogical imagery, particularly of the christ off the cross image of superman falling back to earth, dead. i also thought the image of him, floating up in space, listening, was kind of creepy, in a post contact (jodie foster flick) sort of way. and don't even get me started on a big single guy with, well, i'm not going to comment on the super unit shorts, showing up in little boy's bedrooms while they're sleeping.....that was too weird for words. anyhoo, kind of creepy. i thought the relaunch of the batman last year was much better, mainly because the villains were done well. spacey was good, but doing too much of a hackman impersonation. i guess if you're going to have a post 9/11 superman flick you need a villain whose more of a villain, if that makes any sense.
World doesn't end as predicted; women, minorities, and believers in Malthus hardest hit
Yet another sign of global warming: if there are less hurricanes as predicted (not to mention tornadoes) it's a further sign of man's disastrous impact on world climate. The same as if there are more hurricanes! Because no matter what data comes in, it proves the theory!
That's what I look for in a scientific paradigm....
That wacky right wing press
More yuks from the Beeb.
And let the record show I've been resisting the mighty impulse to pshop bomb-head Mohammad into the Jane Hamster Minstrel Joementum cartoon...
UPDATE: Nevermind the restraint.
Googling Chief Justice Roberts and Uranus
I smell a parody featuring William Howard Taft.
No Child is Left Behind in the Bonny Glen, THAT'S for durn sure!
The birth of a new educational movement: homeschoogling.
That's some Friday sugar for you
Goldstein is back, and he's got Jane "The Minstrel Nedrenline Show" Hamster in his crosshairs.
UPDATE: Gary the X-Donk has got all your Nutmeg Nutroots action coverage.
More proof Hollywood's done run out of idears
Hot on the news of one of my favorite headlines of all time---"Trouble on the set of the Dallas Movie"---comes THIS abomination, with the plot involving terrorists led by Professor Snape have made the beeeeeeeeeeg mistake of trying to take over John McClain's Boynton Beach nursing home. Having to flee the bathroom with his teeth floating in a glass, he spends the rest of the afternoon blowing things up, killing terrorists, wisecracking, and trying to find a new set of dentures that fit. Signature line, "Yippiekaiyay, mutha....what was I talking about? Durned kids today..." before heading out with the remnants of the A-Team for the early bird special at the Sizzler.
August 03, 2006
How do you say "Hitherto shalt thou go and no further" in Klingon?
Although with Damon as Captain Kirk, you'd need Affleck as Spock, which would give a much more plausible spin to this old chestnut.
Well, I guess that would depend
Here's the latest twist on the spam-o-la:
Good day and Compliments, I got your contact from the internet, and picked interest to write you.I am a female student of University of Cotonou Republic Du Benin. I am 24 yrs old. I'd like any person who can be caring, loving and home oriented. I will love to have a long-term relationship with you and to know more about you. I would like to build up a solid foundation with you in time coming if you will be able to help me in this transaction.
Well, my father died earlier two months ago and left me and my
younger brother behind. He was a king, which our town citizens
titled him before he died. I was a princess to him and I am the
only person who can take care of his wealth now because my
younger brother is still a kid and my mother is not literate enough
to know my entire father's wealth.
He left $27,350,000 [Twenty Seven Million Three Hundred and Fifty
Thousand Dollars) with The Standard Chartered Bank London United
Kingdom(SCB) and I don't know how to start up with the whole thing
and what I will do to invest this money somewhere in abroad, so that
my father's kindred will not take over what belongs to my father and
his name, which they are planning to do without my consent because
I am a female as stated by our culture in the town. That is why I felt
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Princess Naomi Williams Ajana
I mean, she's a princess and all, but does she have the side-bagel twist hair-do?
(I'd love to see a variation on this that would be written from the perspective of Princess Leia.)
Here's your question for the day: Jack Bauer gets into a fight with Samuel L. Jackson, and the winner is...
From Scott who is now back with DC Comics, an update from the Snakes on a Plane panel at Comicon:
So at the Snakes on a Plane panel, it’s all very normal and natural. They show the trailer, they do a Q&A, standard stuff. Then the tenth questioner is this thirteen year old. He gets up the microphone and says, very politely, “Yes, my question is for Samuel L. Jackson. Mister Jackson, what’s it like to be such a bad motherfucker all the time?”
Sam says very nicely, “Well, son, I’m...I’m NOT...really...a bad motherfucker ALL the time.” He pauses. “Sometimes I’m asleep.”
I'm going to treat the entire thing as apocraphyl until I see the video of it on youtube.
Pretty obscure subject, I'll grant you. But pretty good company to keep as well.
It's A Wrap!
Documents out the door, arrangements made with co-counsel to handle the flow and a big ol' "Gone Fishin'" sign hung up on the email.
Yes indeedy, folks, I am now O-fficially on vacation.
We don't light out for Maine until Monday, as I've got a number of things to do around the house first, but that's okay. There were times this summer I didn't think this day would ever come.
As for blogging, of which you probably have noticed something of a dearth recently, I plan to chip away at it over the weekend and will probably do a bit more once ensconsed in Lobstahville.
Meanwhile, I say again: Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-laaaaaaaaaaaa!!!
He's a goner, Part III
No news from Fidel or Raul. My bet is Fidel has already assumed room tempeture and Raul is counting heads to see if he can keep power. Look for news of "sudden turn for the worse" for Fidel and Raul suddenly needing more time to spend with his family.
This confirms my assessment of Ann Curry
So much for global warming
Snow in South Africa, via Drudge.
The Go-Gos, the Bangles, Israel, and getting in shape
The Colossus covers it all. The Bangles proved to have more staying power than the Go-Gos but "Beauty and the Beat" will always have a place of honor in the LMC music lineup.
Gratuitous Heat Wave Kvetching
One more lousy day of this miserable weather and then it's supposed to break. Hope I can last that long - I got in about an hour ago and my lungs still hurt from breathing hot air soup.
It may just be my parboiled imagination, but I've been musing on the different effects of cold and hot weather on people, especially on my fellow commuters.
In the middle of winter, when it's well below freezing and there's a howling north wind, people just bundle up and turn in on themselves. As you make your way up and down the streets, you feel this sense of isolation, even when there are a lot of other people about.
Not now, though. The heat brings our worst qualities right up to the surface, where we almost can't help directing them at those around us. The rude get that much ruder. The angry get that much angrier. The clueless get that much cluelesser.
And let's not forget the smell of hot and sweaty humanity.
Yesterday afternoon, I dragged myself into the Metro only to discover that the air-conditioning in my (jampacked) car wasn't working properly. I had a window seat and my book and, for once, a 300 pound touron was not sitting next to and on top of me. Nevertheless, we hadn't gone two stops before I was having fantasies of running amok with a tomahawk.
As I say, one more lousy day of this and then the temperature is supposed to drop back down to the upper 80's. Aaaaaand, I just checked the forecast for when I arrive in Maine next week. High in the lower 70's.
That's something worth hanging on for.
August 02, 2006
"Is there such a thing as the female brain?"
Larry Summers getting himself in trouble again. I'm sure the good folks at the Today show will roast his chestnuts over an open fire for this.
Why I love the internet, Volume MCMLVIII
Here's someone visiting from some L.Ron Hubbard-forsaken remote part of China, and what do they dial us up looking for?
Better that then the pervs who inundated us today searching in vain for pics of Juliet Huddy's feet.
Again with the Juliet Huddy! But at least the foot fetishests didn't come here like some sad sack worrying about Donkey pregnancy test. I'm sure the IP address originating from John McCain's Senate Office is surely a sophisticated hack, and has nothing to do with the reports of his tequila-fest with Senatorix Clinton last month. Yet somehow, in Algore's wild, wild, internets, we still sit astride Google like Slim Pickens riding an SS-20 over all traffic for "Israeli special forces and their sexy, virile llamas."
Okay, I made up the "sexy" and "virile" parts in a desperate attempt to get Juliet Huddy's attention.
You know the day is a heat-slogged washout when....
You spend half an hour downloading Star Trek computer and communicator noises to Trek-pimp out your computer.
Yips! from Robbo:
Way ahead of you, compadre. I tricked, er, "Trekked" out my computer a couple years back. Although I'm a TOS partisan in most things, I went with TNG effects because they were cleaner. Not only that, I saved a master disk of them to have a clean set for every time I switched computers and/or jobs.
Another sign of the day: Instead of walking due west to my Metro stop, I'll be tacking back and forth in order to stay in the shade as much as possible on the way there.
Reach out and touch someone
Israel practicing a little gunboat diplomacy.
MTV at 25
as of yesterday, thanks to Gary the Ex-Donk. It hasn't been the same since Martha Quinn hung up the cleats.
BLOGGER KILLED THE VIDEO STAR: Whatever.
LMC YIPS: The Colossus weighs in and his bold insight deserves top billing amidst Steve-O's mindless rantings clouded by memories of Martha in her little overalls:
Only after a vault is discovered, centuries from now, after the apocalyptic nuclear war, with the collection of videos from early MTV. And on that day, Martha Quinn will be worshipped as a stern and terrible goddess . . .
He's a goner, part II
The Maximum Leader weighs in while rifling through the drawers of The Crack Young Staff with his predictions of quotes from celebs and others when Fidel cashes in his chips.
Ass-Kicking Special Ops Llamas
ASS-KICKING SPECIAL OPS LLAMAS!!
Watch out Hizbollocks - We're coming for you!
Yips! again to Chef Mojo.
UPDATE DEUX: More IDF Llama Luv from the Colossus.
August 01, 2006
We had a bit of a slump last month, what with me being locked out for three weeks and then the dog days of summer starting early. But we here at the LLamabutchers are back, baby we're back!
How can I sound so confident, you might ask?
Well, we're #5 on Google for
Princess Leia buns
Rather than making me want to retire, never being able again to reach such Olympian heights of grandeur, as would have been my reaction in the spring, such things now only drive me on to new levels of blogging poltroonery.
HEAT WAVE TRAFFIC UPDATE: You would think, what with the heat wave gripping the nation like a half-cooked sausage in the mealy paws of Jerry Reinsdorf, that our leading traffic intake would be from depressingly disturbed people looking (cruelly in vain, I might add) here for naked pictures of Weather Channel Nooz Babe Juliet Huddy, but no: the leading traffic spike is for folks desperate for info on the sooper sekrit Israeli Special Forces LLamas.
The thought of Golani LLamabutchers swooping in in the middle of the night and slicing his opthamological throat hopefully is keeping Boy Assad awake at night...
He's a goner
Castro, that is. Drudge is carry a few links on Castro's health where el jefe's minions are portraying him as having improving health, nothing to see, these aren't the droids you're looking for, move along, etc.
Score one for the good guys!
An old pal from grad school who now teaches at Claremont has a great piece today in the WSJ about the future of the Republican party. I've pasted it below the fold, as I don't want the seriousness of the ideas to tarnish the flow we've got going today.
Andy's been quite prolific, and I've been meaning to do a review of his book on Reagan and the Election of 1980. Short version: must read.
On the surface, the Republican Party appears to be better poised now than at any time since Calvin Coolidge. Republicans have controlled both houses of Congress for more than a decade (interrupted briefly by Senator James Jeffords's defection in mid-2001), occupied the White House for the last five years, and held a majority of governorships since the 1994 elections. In short, the GOP has come a long way since 1968 or 1980.
So why are Republicans feeling so sour in 2006? Having now held power in Congress for over a decade, there is a sense that the corruption-fighting revolutionaries of 1994 have now become what they once opposed--a problem starkly symbolized by Duke Cunningham's boat house and Ted Stevens's bridge to nowhere. The Republican coalition, considerably bigger than it was in 1975, is now much harder to hold together. More generally, Republican discontent is driven by a growing sense of philosophical malaise--a sense that the party has become unmoored from its most basic philosophical commitments, and that elected Republicans no longer seek power to advance their principles but for its own sake. For Republicans, this transformation is potentially devastating.
As president, George W. Bush has advanced some of the sources of the Republican Party's strength. Clearly, he and Karl Rove have bolstered the GOP's ability to raise funds and turn out voters. Mr. Bush has promoted the institutionalization of conservatism using strategic grants from the Department of Education and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He has nurtured the new media with strategies designed to increase its access and prestige. And in the wake of 9/11, Mr. Bush mobilized not only economic conservatives and social conservatives, but also the Republican coalition's crucial third leg, nationalistic foreign policy hawks.
Despite all of these gains, however, Mr. Bush has neglected the critical task--carried out by Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, and Newt Gingrich--of advancing a public argument that connects his otherwise disparate policy decisions to a broader philosophical framework. He has failed to articulate the philosophical argument for limited government that once defined the Republican Party. At the same time he has failed to win broad acceptance for his alternative, so-called compassionate conservatism. To a large extent, he has abandoned the systematic promotion of public philosophy altogether.
Republicans have more to lose than Democrats by failing to advance a public philosophy. Because the policies they offer usually promise concentrated benefits and dispersed costs, it is easier for Democrats to assemble a coalition on the basis of material interest without direct reliance on general principles. In addition, the institutions primarily responsible for interpreting the world and conveying ideas to the public--the educational system, the mass media, and popular culture--advance liberal ideology on the Democrats' behalf. Although Republicans now have some alternative institutions and media outlets to promote the conservative cause, much of the burden still rests on the party itself.
For four decades, the Republican electoral realignment kept rolling due in part to the party's substantial efforts to persuade the nation of conservative principles. Because Reagan made a persistent argument, today's 30-44 year-olds who came of age during his presidency are some of America's most Republican-leaning voters. There is no evidence that a similar "Bush cohort" will arise: in 2004, the youngest voters gave John Kerry his biggest margins. Reagan's oft-repeated vision of limited constitutional government played an important role in putting Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito on their path to the Supreme Court. It is far from clear that Mr. Bush will inspire the next generation of conservative jurists to take their place.
Republicans must start with national security--without question the first priority of the national government. In an age of terror, the consequences of failure on this front would be catastrophic. Furthermore, the defense of the nation is one of the few tasks of the modern federal establishment that is firmly grounded in a constitutional mandate. If Americans get this issue wrong, nothing else will matter. Politically, national security is the glue that holds Republicans together, and the best single explanation for Mr. Bush's re-election and increased Republican congressional majorities since 2000. Indeed, it is one of the few areas in recent years where the public has perceived Republicans to be the stronger party.
Consequently, for both policy and political reasons, Republicans cannot afford to falter in the national security arena or to allow themselves to be outflanked by Democrats. Mr. Bush must connect his policy of democratizing the Middle East to hard American national interest; otherwise, he may lose the support of the group National Review's Richard Lowry has called the "To-Hell-With-Them Hawks." In general, however, Republicans will continue to agree on both the primacy of national security and the core content of national security policy.
It is in the realm of domestic governance that Republicans will have to come to terms with what they want to stand for. Compassionate conservatism is at the center of that debate. Long viewed with skepticism by many conservatives--for good reason--compassionate conservatism has meant, in general, de-emphasizing the rhetoric of limited government, federalism, and other constitutional principles, pressing policies designed to appeal to targeted minorities, and all the while keeping the GOP's conservative base mostly intact.
More specifically, it has meant large tax cuts without any accompanying spending restraint, colossal new education and Medicare programs, and efforts to create an "ownership society" by introducing elements of accountability and choice into existing programs. Compassionate conservatism has also included adherence to social conservatism, though its advocates are reluctant to trumpet this relationship too loudly. Indeed, the Bush team has been unwilling to highlight issues, e.g., affirmative action, that threaten to put sharp edges back on the Republican image.
Its supporters have argued that compassionate conservatism has narrowed the gender gap, pulled up the GOP vote among blacks (by a bit) and Hispanics (by more), and softened the harsh reputation associated with the "Gingrich-Dole Republicans" of the 1990s. In their view, limited government, though perhaps a sufficient doctrine for a minority party, had little to offer Republicans when they became the majority. Compassionate conservatism, however, offered a forward strategy for Republicans who, realistically, could not expect to roll back big government very far, if at all. Finally, while limited government conservatism delivered some smashing successes for Republicans at the presidential level in the 1980s and in Congress in 1994, it never could have achieved unified Republican control of government (so the administration argues) in the way compassionate conservatism did in 2002 and 2004.
Whatever the flaws of this analysis--and there are many--Republicans cannot avoid the fact that compassionate conservatism was devised as a response to real strategic dilemmas. Republicans needed, and need still, a positive agenda as a governing party, a way to appeal to women and Hispanics, and an image that is less severe than the one that had emerged from the 1990s.
But even if Republicans cannot throw compassionate conservatism overboard, they should not retain it as the focus of future strategy. Among presidential programs, compassionate conservatism most closely resembles in its strategic aims Dwight Eisenhower's "Modern Republicanism" and Bill Clinton's "New Covenant"--other presidents' attempts to enhance their party's reputation by muting principles held by a majority of its members. These earlier examples do not bode well for Mr. Bush's experiment: although Eisenhower's and Mr. Clinton's projects met short-term political exigencies, neither demonstrated staying power.
It is notable that hardly anyone has promoted compassionate conservatism as the best available policy. Hardly any of its advocates have attempted to demonstrate that limited government, from the standpoint of good policy, is no longer a preferable option. Yet the starting point of policy should always be the question of what is best for the country. Indeed, Republicans have long maintained that good policy will ultimately be good politics, even if in the short term it is not always so. Translating that precept into the terms of the current controversy, if Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Barry Goldwater, and Reagan (not to mention the framers of the Constitution) have been invalidated--if the laws of economics and the laws of human nature have changed so that centralized state power no longer threatens prosperity, liberty, or civic virtue--then by all means, the argument for limited government should be allowed to slide into disuse. If not, Republicans must find a way to make the argument for limited government more compelling.
The Republicans' move away from the conservatism of limited government has led to a number of political difficulties. For one thing, compassionate conservatism has foreclosed the use of a number of hard-edged issues (like welfare reform reauthorization) that could have given Republicans considerable traction against recalcitrant Democrats. Furthermore, if, as seems probable, most Republicans have only bought into compassionate conservatism as a tactical device, then that opportunism will bring its own punishment. Indeed, it is already doing so. Because voters are not fools, and because a rough moral justice exists even in the world of politics, no party should ever adopt an approach that it does not believe in. Now Republicans find themselves responsible for a number of policies they consider unpalatable and perhaps even indefensible, but from which it is impossible to retreat gracefully.
Whatever the political difficulties, only when Republicans have pushed the limited government argument the hardest--under Reagan in the '80s and Mr. Gingrich in the mid-'90s--has the growth of domestic government significantly slowed. Supporters of compassionate conservatism have argued, correctly, that Republicans have never succeeded in substantially cutting back government. But when Republicans have tried hard, they have at least succeeded in slowing its growth; when they have not tried at all, it has run amok, whether under Democratic or Republican administrations. In any event, though it is difficult for Republicans to cut programs that Democrats have ballooned, it is harder and more embarrassing to have to cut programs that have ballooned under the GOP's own stewardship.
Compassionate conservatism has systematically pushed Mr. Bush toward deals in which he has gotten neither enough good policy nor enough political payoff to justify what he has had to surrender. In any game of negotiation, the starting point is quite important to the outcome. To take two important cases, Mr. Bush's starting point on education and prescription drugs was itself a major concession, so the further compromises necessary to secure passage pulled the legislation even deeper into liberal territory. The promised benefits of choice and accountability, offered as realistic departures that could make liberal programs more conservative, have proven much less popular than advocates had expected and have been whittled down to a mere shadow in bill after bill. What remains is a major expansion of government. In contrast, his 2003 tax cut was a real victory, despite being cut in half by Congress, because the starting point was strongly conservative and compromises left a bill that still significantly moved policy to the right.
Altogether, it seems unlikely that compassionate conservatism can carry the political weight assigned to it, or that limited government conservatism is the political loser that compassionate conservatives claim. The Republican Congress in 1994 owed its election to the public's rejection of the big government opening act of Bill Clinton's presidency. When the chips were down, even Mr. Bush returned--at critical junctures in the 2000 GOP primaries, the fall of 2000, and the fall of 2004--to anti-big government themes. He performed better at the ballot box among Hispanics than did Reagan, but worse among women. While the gender gap narrowed in 2004 in comparison to 1996 or 2000, Mr. Bush still lost the women's vote; and in any event, the national security issue rather than compassionate conservatism explains his wider appeal. In contrast, the more limited government-oriented Reagan actually won the women's vote in 1984, as did Mr. Bush's father running as a Reagan Republican in 1988.
Since the beginning of the Republican ascendancy, no Republican presidential candidate has won without successfully appealing to social conservatives alongside economic conservatives. By de-emphasizing the themes of limited government and economic freedom, compassionate conservatism arguably threatens the Republican coalition at its most basic level. Mr. Bush has upset the coalition's balance by allowing limited-government conservatism to atrophy relative to social conservatism. Well aware of his father's tale of woe, he has given great attention to cutting taxes, but he has underestimated the importance of spending control, deficit control, and limited government rhetoric to economic conservatives, as well as to self-described moderates.
In the end, Mr. Bush is no more socially conservative than Reagan, in policy or in rhetoric. Even Goldwater, later touted as something of a libertarian, ran a socially conservative campaign in 1964, during which he gave a half-hour, nationally televised address condemning the Supreme Court's decision banning prayer in public schools. Mr. Bush's social conservatism stands out more because his limited-government conservatism stands out less. Ironically, this is a version of the problem Mr. Bush's father had in 1992, when he had to appeal strongly to social conservatives because his 1990 tax increase had alienated so many economic conservatives. Both Mr. Bush's approach and its opposite--the view, widely held in the mainstream media, that the GOP would do well to cut loose the social conservatives--fail to account for an important fact: a very large number of Republican voters are both limited-government and social conservatives, perhaps more than are in either group alone.
Indeed, social conservatism can and should be defended as necessary to the maintenance of a free society. Reagan used to argue for conservative stands on family and religion by asserting the centrality of both to the moral infrastructure of limited government. This argument can be made on issues as controversial as abortion, same-sex marriage, and embryonic stem-cell research--but only if Republicans adopt a strategy of persuasion to complement their strategy of mobilization.
Despite significant differences between the older conservatism and compassionate conservatism, they have numerous policies in common. These include tax cuts, privatization and choice provisions in government programs, encouragement of voluntarism, and an alliance with social conservatism. Compassionate conservatism could be said to be limited-government conservatism minus fiscal restraint, a discourse on constitutionalism, and a disdain for politically correct shibboleths.
Thus it might be easier than many assume to attach some features of compassionate conservatism to a reinvigorated Republican message focusing on limited government. Such an approach would include:
• holding the fiscal line on both taxes and spending;
• re-energizing a public philosophy of constitutionalism and limited government;
• supporting a measured cultural traditionalism;
• incrementally introducing mechanisms for greater choice and accountability into existing public programs;
• concerted campaigning in the black and Hispanic communities on the basis of moral and religious standards, as well as entrepreneurship;
• continuing to promote the vitality of civil society.
Such a mix can serve as a program for Republicans in either the majority or minority, and would be true to the genuine convictions of most Republicans while attending to the concerns that engendered Mr. Bush's alternative. The principle of no (or few) new programs and restrained spending on old ones is essentially negative in character; application of the "ownership society" to existing big government is essentially positive.
Republicans have won a great many things in the last five years, but they have lost something precious, as well: their reputation as the constitutional party, the party that is realistic about what government can accomplish, the "adult" party. America needs an adult party. In 2008, Republicans will have to decide whether to give it one.
Paging Really Small Fish, Dr. Really Small Fish, Shyster attorney on line two
The latest from the legal world:
A woman who says she was severely burned at a Miami night club four years ago is suing Bacardi, claiming the company's rum is dangerous and defective.
The lawsuit says a bartender was pouring shots when a customer lit a menu on fire and placed it in the stream of alcohol. A bottle of Bacardi 151 that was being used to pour the shots turned into a flame thrower.
The woman says she suffered second- and third-degree burns and was permanently disabled and disfigured.
Miami-based Bacardi USA hasn't commented yet on the suit.
Gosh, do we know anyone stupid enough to set fire to themselves doing shots of Bacardi? Geez, you'd think you'd have to be a government-dole scientist to do something that dumb.
Gratuitous Pre-Vacation Posting
There is something very gratifying when, having finally summoned the energy to start cleaning up your desk before vacation, you suddenly realize that about three quarters of the papers strewn across it are outdated drafts and duplicates and can be chucked unceremoniously.
Of course, you want to be careful about the timing of such an exercise, because once you get done, your desk may be bare enough to give somebody the idea that you don't have enough work on your plate, not an idea you want to implant with one foot already metaphorically out the door.
Lindsay Lohan Bikini Boxing?
There are even some things the LLamas won't link to, even during Google-chumming Traffic Whoring week.
Because nobody croses Chuck Norris, NOBODY!
And while we are in the midst of defenestrating our action heros, I think now's a good a time as any to replay this classic from the LLamabutcher Archives: Jack Bauer insulting Christians everywhere by drunkenly humping a Christmas Tree
Yes, that would explain everything...
An intervention might be necessary
Hilariousness here galore, if by hilarious you mean a trip to a McDonald's with no water and power-wretching in the back of the minivan.
Speaking of bets
In the same vein as the Shannen Doherty/Tori Spelling First-To-Porno contest, here's something perhaps a wee bit more highbrow:
Who will last in office longer, Raul Castro, or Richard Cromwell? Cromwell's son lasted eight months, but I'd be willing for Raul to beat him if only we get a repeat post-mortem performance for Castro that Cromwell received.
(Just think of the YouTube bits---I think that Castro's severed head could easily outclass Ask A Ninja in the daily yukks department, particularly if they got Carl Reiner to do the Castro part...)
INSIDE POOL: And no, even though this is LLama Traffic Whoring Week, that was't just an excuse to blog about "Tumbledown Dick."
WORK IT, FIDEL!
Seriously, don't fear the Reaper.
AY CARUMBA, BLOG SYNCHRONICITY ALERT! I had the Blu Oyster Cult joke idea, uploaded it, then cruised by the Colossus who had done the thing, earlier. Yikes! Genius is tricky that way. The Colossus however comes complete with evil capitalist p-shops mocking Fidel too.
Gratuitious Lunchtime Trip To CVS Posting
Head five pounds heavier than normal and listing to starboard. Eyes out of focus. Brain gone into vapor-lock. Feet turned to stone. Shirt clinging to back. Urgh.
"WHO'S yo daddy?"
This isn't going to end nicely...
First item: Former 90120 starlette Tori Spelling gets cut out of the will of her mega-rich dad, former schlock tee-vee guru Aaron Spelling, by her eeeevil step-witch step-mother, and left with "only" a million dollars.
Second item: And I quote:
Tori Spelling admits she and her husband watch hardcore porn - but she doesn't want you to know which titles.
When the blond star told Giant magazine she and Dean McDermott use SugarDVD.com. to rent adult movies, the company's CEO, Jax Smith, called Page Six to say how proud he was of the celebrity endorsement and promised us a list of what she's watched. But when he called Tori's reps for the OK, "they weren't pleased - they told me not to." Still, Smith has no hard feelings: "We're going to give her free porn for life."
Bad nooz indeed for folks like myself who took the Tradesports contract on "First Former 90120 babe to appear in nasty porno" long on Shannen Doherty...
Be Careful What You Wish For
Dilbert on the Middle East
Dilbert daddy, Scott Adams, lost his AC recently. The heat-induced mania that decended on him triggered a revelation. Now he's solved the problems of the Middle East.
Gratuitous Royal Navy Geek Posting
"Victory is not a name strong enough for such a scene”
Today is the anniversary of first day of the Battle of the Nile, fought in 1798, in which Rear-Admiral Horatio Nelson and a fleet of 14 ships ran to ground the 15 ship French fleet under François-Paul Brueys d'Aigalliers, Comte de Brueys, in Aboukir Bay near the mouth of the Nile.
As evening descended, Brueys anchored his ships in line near the western shore of the bay, confident that Nelson would not dare attack until morning and even then, would only be able to do so from seaward. Nelson confounded Brueys' plans by coming on in spite of night having fallen and then, realising Brueys had anchored his fleet too far out, splitting his force so as to envelop the French from both sides:
Image lifted from Wikipedia.
Caught between the hammer and the anvil, the French were utterly crushed, with only two ships of the line and two frigates managing to escape.
The French fleet had been at Aboukir in support of Napoleon's invasion of Egypt (which was intended as a stepping off point for a march on India). With the loss of his sea link, Napoleon's army was left stranded while he himself suddenly remembered an urgent appointment back in Paris.
The battle had enormous repercussions. Aside from the actual physical destruction of an immense amount of French war material, it removed the threat to British India. In addition it bolstered the already rising reputation of Nelson and, more generally, fueled the increasing sense of British domination of the sea, as illustrated in this cartoon of the time by James Gillray of John Bull lunching on French warships, courtesy of His Majesty's Navy:
This sense of dominance was felt on both sides of the Channel and was to feed both British aggressiveness and French hesitancy at sea for many years to come.
Your Morning Dose of "Awwww!"
The Missus and I spent a few heated moments this morning trying to track down the (now expired) car registration renewal which had somehow wandered off.
When we'd found it, the six year old, who was eating breakfast nearby, suddenly said, "Were you guys having an argumation?"