September 30, 2006
God Bless You Please, Mr. Robinson
Well....God bless him for taking a dog job that nobody else wanted and trying to make something of it. Alas, Joltin' Joe has died and gone away.
On the other hand, if the Lerner Group is serious about building a new franchise stick by stick, this isn't really a surprising move.
Contented Saturday Posting
**Stood out in the rain this morning to watch the eight year old's soccer team extend their record to 3-0. (For whatever reason of luck and circumstances, the gel's wound up on an extremely talented team this year which has outscored its opponents 18-1 in its first three games.)
This is the first year the gel is playing "real" soccer, with assigned positions, goalies, scores kept, umpires, throw-ins, goal-kicks and the like, and it's fascinating to watch the girls wrap their brains around all this.
The Llama-ette still has a largely defensive mentality even when assigned to play forward and we've been working on getting her to shift gears. Today I could tell that she was at least conscious of the need to step up when playing offense, which I consider a huge moral victory. With the Llama-ette, getting her to admit the need to do something is always much harder than getting her to actually make the effort to do so.
***Because it was a dank, chilly morning and I got rayther sodden, I lit the year's first fire after lunch. And promptly dozed off in front of it for the first time this year, Churchill's description of the defense of Tobruk blurring away in mid-sentence. I love lazy afternoons like this of alternately reading and dozing, dozing and reading. The only trouble is that often times I don't really wake up completely until, say, about 2 AM.
****Nonetheless, today I roused myself later on to notice that the sun had come out and therefore that I could go deal with the lawn. We've reached that point in the year where it really only needs mowing every two weeks, which makes life that much easier. As I type, I can hear the neighbor cutting his yard. He's one of those uber-lawn guys who can't stand being beaten to the cut and nothing will bring him out at any time and in any weather faster than seeing that I've been at work on my own lawn. Heh.
***** The Llama-ettes are having a sleep-over party tonight with two of their friends (sisters) from school. That means yours truly will be out-numbered six to one instead of the usual four to one, which is why I plan a) to start in on the adult beverages as soon as five o'clock rolls around and b) to spend the evening watching John Wayne movies once the gels have been filled with pizza and Disney and banished upstairs.
Oops. I see my tea mug is empty. Now where'd I put that sherry bottle?
Reaffirming my faith in Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, Chevrolet, and sticking the moonbats in the eye with a rusty BBQ fork
Somehow, I don't think a counter-mobilization effort at the Whole Foods will have the same impact.
Well, THAT'S a relief
Groovyvic burns through the blogblahs (TM) long enough to report in that today is Johnny Bravo's birthday.
The Groovy One (aka Barry Blenkhorn) is 52, if you can believe that.
SOOPER SEKRIT INSIDE JOKE: I'm smelling marketing opportunity for the AARP.
The Democrat Party finally stands up for something important!
Unfortunately for LB Buddy, Scott, Aaron and my other moonbat friends, it's the wrong Democrat Party.
Shut up, Beavis!
I agree with Eric's take on the Esmay/Malkin War, but I agree even more with his butthead theory of blogging at the end.
Is there a mathematical formula to express the magnitude of someone becoming a butthead in correlation to traffic increases, linkage, and proximity to the divine truth?
Last night? Homemade pizza a la LLama, boardgames with the kids, and then the long snooz
Bobgirrl, out on the left coast, had a more lively evening (pics included).
Just in case you were wondering
Curmudgeonry Marriage Advice
I agree with it all, particularly the "stay low and zig-zag part."
Because we all know what happened to John Wayne when he didn't zig-zag in In Harm's Way (well, okay, it set into motion a chain of events that led him into Patricia Neal's arms, but...)
September 29, 2006
I say the Crack Young Staff, in the conservatory, with a quarter pounder and cheese
Well, it looks like the hunger-strike-for-an-Instalanche thingee over at the HateMongers Quarterly lasted about as long as the pyscho Peace Mum's.
The 2008 Presidential Race---The LLamabutcher Endorsement!
I realize it's a wee bit early on in the process to officially endorse a candidate, but what the hey, we spitting Andean camelids are nothing if not impetuous and impulsive:
Here's the can't miss slogan:
Safe and secure in the galaxy
Reruns of Splash on cable 24/7
Standing Resolute with 43
We will not be swayed by your nattering naysaying!
Because we remember when he made AmeriKKKa safe and respected around the world
Former President Carter is urging northern Nevadans to elect his son, Jack, to the Senate to help combat a Bush administration he says has brought "international disgrace" to the country.
Fish, barrel, large caliber handgun. Be my guest.
Donate, or Rusty's gonna cap GI Joe
And when he's done shooting the Joes, he's going after all your chickenhawk Malibu Ken dolls too!
Dye Your Donut
Bobgrrl bring us important news this week in the Coochie Color Control Section of her site.
It seems someone has FINALLY invented a Just For Pubes. Now your "down there dreads" need not reveal your true age. The carpet can match the drapes, again. Better living through chemistry!!!
I had heard of a mousse for that area a few years ago, but now . . . hair dye!? What next? Barretts and cornrows!
Um . . . no.
But thanks . . . I guess.
Gratuitous Royal Navy Geek Posting
Today is the anniversary of the birth of Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson in 1758. Here's my tribute from last year.
Gratuitous Llama Netflix Musickal Posting
I ran off Battle of Britain the other evening, which I hadn't seen in a while. (I had forgotten what a nifty movie it is.)
Anyhoo, I was reyther startled to notice Sir William Walton's name in the credits for the movie's music. I know that Walton wrote a number of movie scores (most famously Olivier's production of Henry V), but I hadn't thought that he wrote this.
Well, it turns out that he didn't. At least not exactly. Walton did write a score for Battle of Britain but it got rejected by the producers (why, I do not know). Almost all of the movie's music was instead written by Ron Goodwin, a composer with several other military movie scores under his belt. Why the DVD copy still carries Walton's name in the credits is beyond me.
Turns out you can get both the Goodwin and the Walton scores together. I'm no great fan of Walton's music, but I'm almost tempted to do so, just to see how he would have approached things.
By the way, I've had Goodwin's Ace High March running through my mind for two days now.
The Second Battle of Watling Street
Robbo In Action?
As I've been chronicling here recently, today is the day I'm giving a little talk on Roman Britain at St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method, to be followed by a pitched battle between Romans and Celts, lower elementary division.
Originally, I had envisioned simply refereeing the melee to ensure that bloodshed is kept to a reasonable level. As the project matured however, my role gradually transmogrified into that of Roman commander, with a friend on the school staff - we'll call him "Tom" - leading the barbarian hordes opposite.
Well, comes news this morning that I've been set up. You see, in the matter of costume for this little enterprise, the kiddies were left to cut loose. The eight year old Llama-ette, for instance, will be portraying Boudicea in blue face, a Barbie Princess hat and a vampire cape. I, on the other hand, had no intention of dressing up and said so repeatedly.
However, I had badly underestimated "Tom". He, apparently, got together a full Braveheart-like rig of kilt, tunic and cloak. Then he suggested to the Missus that since he was of Italian descent and I'm Scots, I would look like a much more authentic Celt than he would and therefore we should switch sides. The Missus, in turn, knowing a good thing when she sees one, immediately agreed. She called me just now to remind me to wear shorts so that everybody could see my legs as I was running about in my kilt.
Damn them. Damn them both. That's all I have to say.
Anyhoo, I'll update this post later on to let you know how it went. If you ask nicely, I may even see if somebody with a digital camera can take a pic or two.
UPDATE: Well, there was somebody there with a camera, but for those of you dialing in on the hope of seeing Robbo with ne trew, I'm very sorry to disappoint. "Tom" did not make it back from a field trip in time, so I smoothly revereted to my initial role of referee.
The talk went moderately well. I don't really have the gift for teaching and find six to eight year olds particularly hard to talk to, but I think I got my basic points across. On the other hand, there was one know-it-all kid who'd recently seen some Beeb production on the life of Boudicca and kept hectoring me on everything from the proper way to pronounce her name to the identities of the Roman legions that fought against her.
As for the fight itself? Well, trying to arrange twenty-odd kids into a tight, disciplined Roman cohort proved to be extremely challenging. On the other hand, trying to get another twenty-odd kids to charge pell-mell, screaming their heads off? Not so hard. The battle quickly dissolved into a free-for-all which, from the barbarian point of view at least, was probably pretty realistic.
However, at one point I yelled, "Romans! Capture the Celtic Queen!" and as if by magic a squad of about a dozen of them formed up, chasing the eight year old Llama-ette and a handful of her retainers into a corner of the grounds and thus satisfying my sense of historical realism. (However, she claimed later that she had escaped from the trap by beating off the sharp Roman swords with her bare hands.)
The other interesting thing about the melee was the fact that although we had forty plus kids armed with everything from yardsticks to mop handles to tin-foil battle-axes, we had not a single injury, not one outburst of tears. Pretty remarkable, given all the whacking that was going on. (Indeed, the only injury of the afternoon came later on when I was shooting hoops with the Llama-ettes and a couple of their friends and an errant air-ball caught me in the right eye as I was under the net.)
September 28, 2006
I'm with Rudy on this.
Yips! from Robbo: Seems to me like ol' Rudy is trying on his Statesman suit to see how it fits.
I said the other day that I wasn't all that interested in shoulda-woulda-couldas. At the same time, I'm not quite ready for a cumbayanic group hug.
Hey, "Chip"! Can We Have Your Cheetos?
The Crack Young Staff resort to desparate measures to get a little touch of Glenn in the sitemeter.
The Webb-Allen Matchup
Has o-fficially jumped the shark.
My guess is that the shriller the rhetoric gets, the more average voters are going to simply tune it out.
YIPS from Steve-O: Hey, if you try to Furmanize your opponent, you've got to make sure you've got no Furman in you, capiche? Now, I enjoy watching a good knife fight as much as the next guy, but I'm going to particularly enjoy the local fallout.
Anyhoo, here's why the NIE was partially leaked and why Bubba went on the offensive this week:
The Tradesports contract for the GOP retaining control of the House is trading today at $56, up from $40 right after the Katrina anniversary (and, if memory serves, Robbo called the bottom of the market). The GOP has had going on four solid weeks.
The Senate tells a different story, mainly that the quest for six seats to switch isn't going to well:
Here's your shot of Joementum--the contract for the "field" (ie neither the Democratic or Republican nominee) winning the CT race:
$72.2 is good and comfortable, but he needs to get above $80 to skate it on in.
Here's the week past in the Allen-Webb race, showing the contract for Allen winning:
Notice the early mid-week when the Furman card was played, and today when it rebounded back with the realization of Webb's "artistic license."
Sum total: The LLamabutchers Tradesports Senate Index (TM) is at a +3 pickup in the Senate for the Donks (PA, RI, OH, MT), Liebs (I) winning in CT, with VA, TN, NJ, and MD staying with the incumbents.
(And yes, that's +3 because Rape Gurney Joe aint a Democrat no more, right?)
Yer Thursday Lunch Timewaster
Very cool. I saw an earlier version of this idea a long time ago but this one has many more bells and whistles.
Yips! to Annika.
Gratuitous Historickal Posting
On this day in 1066, William of Normandy landed unopposed with an army at Pevensey in Sussex, England, thereby forever changing the course of English and, I suppose, world history.
One of the long-term effects of the Norman Conquest that has always delighted me is a linguistic one. Most words in the English language for ordinary barnyard animals - cow, pig, sheep and so on, come from Saxon roots. On the other hand, our words for the food products derived from these animals - beef, pork, poultry, veal, mutton and such, come from Norman French. This is a direct reflection of who was eating these animals back in the day when modern English was evolving, and who was out in the slop of the yard looking after them.
UPDATE: Basil Seal has more on William's claim to the English throne, the basis of which might be described as "thin".
Another repercussion of the Norman Conquest that always resonates in my mind is the scene in Henry V in which the Duke of Bourbon fumes at the lack of French opposition to Hal's invasion:
Normans, but bastard Normans, Norman bastards!
Mort de ma vie! if they march along
Unfought withal, but I will sell my dukedom,
To buy a slobbery and a dirty farm
In that nook-shotten isle of Albion.
- Henry V, Act 3, scene 5
Medieval France did not have a centralized monarchy but instead was made up of several strong Dukedoms (and other feudal territories) in nominal allegiance under the King. Normandy had its own peculiar history, in that its people were originally a mish-mash army of native Gauls, Norsemen, Angles, Danes and other invaders who were given the territory in exchange for lifting their attack on Paris and on the condition that they defend the place from other pirate raiders. From its founding, it had a long tradition of semi-independence from and occassional bad blood with its neighbors. It's neat that Shakespeare has Bourbon view Harry's invasion as another irruption of this.
UPDATE DEUX: Of course, for a more exhaustive discussion of farming within the Norman-Saxon socio-political framework, be sure to pick up a copy of The Ronettes Sing Medieval Agrarian History.
Thursday morning time waster
Why, it's Battlestar Galactica vs. the Enterprise, of course!
Please note that it's classic Battlestar (plus a cameo from the Pegasus!) and a whole lot of Klingons get blown up. Plus, those wacky disco-retro Klingons---I always forget how disco macktabulous those original Klingons are.
Yips! from Robbo: Can I just point out exactly how nerdy I am by noting that this clip illustrates neatly the difference between Star Trek's battleship model of interstellar warfare and BSG's aircraft carrier model, on which I have pondered many times in the past? What? No? Oh, well. Never mind.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - There And Probably Not Back Again Division
The six year old Llama-ette and I have been trying to read The Hobbit together, but it hasn't been working out very well. We've been at it for five or six evenings now and still have only got as far as the encounter with Tom, Bert and Bill. Frankly, I think it's all just a bit beyond her reach at the moment, as she either dozes off or constantly asks for footnotes and clarifications, and usually finishes looking rather puzzled and unenthusiastic.
In fact, I get the very distinct impression that the gel would like to simply give it up, but she's too polite and kind-hearted to say so. She knows how much I like the book and I sense that her primary motive in having endured it this long has been a desire not to disappoint. I must say that it's been a bit hard to watch her struggling with herself as I realized what she was thinking. At the same time, however, this latest manifestation of her natural sweetness is awfully endearing.
Nonetheless, I think that it may be time to back out tactfully, as the poor girl now is starting to invent excuses. Last evening, when I offered to pick up the story again, she said, "Oh, Daddy, I've really got to finish this homework instead. Maybe you can read it to me tomorrow night.....If you like."
I've been on the receiving end of too many female brush-offs not to recognize one when I see it. Before she's reduced to stories about the need to wash her hair, I think I'll do the honorable thing.
Yes, unfortunately the rumors, they are true
Long-time guest commentator and general moonbat gadfly "Grandpa Simpson" has indeed passed away.
Donations can be made to the Camelid Regional Asphyxiophilia Association of Peru.
Could Granny drink you under the table?
I had more respect for the Netroots back in the day when they were leading the Whiskey Rebellion. The current decaf mochachino free-range bean fair trade latte rebellion, not so much.
Yips! from Robbo: I always laugh at Peej O'Rourke's observation that the Whiskey Rebellion led to the introduction by President Washington of the Federal government's first agricultural policy, which was to shoot farmers.
The secrets of H1N1 (Spanish) Influenza revealed
I'm just waiting for the Mice Rights people to put a stop to barbarity like this. Not to mention the Influenza Virus Rights people, too.
Because, after all, vaccines = genocide.
September 27, 2006
Shatner encourages a broad range of applicants. Aspiring actors can submit a tape of themselves re-enacting a memorable sci-fi role or performing something new. Young directors and film makers can create a sci-fi short or a brief homage to Bill’s career that demonstrates why they should win. Budding film critics can showcase their insight in a taped movie review.
From PR Bop
Oh snap - It's my big break!!!
"The grand prize winner will receive a large cash award and will be named the Official Spokesperson for the William Shatner Science Fiction DVD Club.
I didn't even know there was a club!!! I've got to get out of the basement of the Science Library more often . . .
Entry filed under: white-n-nerdy
Embracing Your Inner Fawlty
Here's a short history of the Gleneagles Hotel, Torquay, Devon, the original inspiration for the insanely funny tee vee series Fawlty Towers, starring John Cleese and Prunella Scales. Cleese's Basil Fawlty supposedly was based on the owner of the hotel in 1972 when the Python troupe stayed there, a Mr. Donald Sinclair, whom Cleese described as "the most wonderfully rude person" he'd ever met.
The association between Gleneagles and Fawlty Towers has hung around for years and years and for a while was deeply resented. However, the current owners of the place, recognizing a good marketing idea when they saw one, recently decided to play up the Fawlty angle by inviting Prunella Scales down to do a little re-opening publicity, complete with a replica of the little red Austin 1100 with which Basil came to blows.
Ms Scales said that the enduring appeal of the Fawlty Towers series, created by John Cleese and Connie Booth - who played waitress Polly - was the "very good writing".
"It was all about men and women, power and pain," said Ms Scales, making her first visit to the hotel.
Ms Scales side-stepped a few hiccups that would have been worthy of Fawlty Towers.
First the red Austin 1100 she arrived in stopped shy of the red carpet, which had to be hastily re-arranged by hotel staff.
She was unfazed by a replica Basil.
Then she lost no composure when her speech was interrupted by the voice of US actress Joan Rivers on the public address system, giving her approval to the hotel's £1m revamp.
Brian Shone - who co-owns the hotel with Terry Taylor - said that 20 years ago Torquay wanted Fawlty Towers "wiped off the map".
"We have done Torquay a favour, we have put it on the map," he said.
The Torquay hotel owners are embracing its history. "You cannot get rid of the spirit of Basil, so you have got to embrace him."
I think this is a pretty neat idea. Wonder if there are any Siberian Hamsters left on the premises.
Gratuitous 80's Flashback Video
This one's for Sarah over at Life at Full Volume. Hope you like it!
The Crack Young Staff of the Hatemonger's Quarterly are swinging for the fences today.
SOOPER SEKRET QUESTION TO "CHIP": How do you feel about singing castrato?
Whistle, erm, blower fights public corruption
Coming soon to Law & Order.
Film Critic / Film Director Smack Down
Tired of the criticism of his films, controversial German film director Uwe Boll took on four of his critics in a Vancouver boxing ring, and ended each bout with a knockout.
Boll was defending BloodRayne, a film based on a video game, starring Ben Kingsley. Yes, THAT Ben Kingsley.
One of the critics turned the tables on the fiesty fisticuff-throwing director before he was KOed. He spat fake blood at Boll and temporarily freaked him out.
I love this trend in the film review community. Maybe one day Chai-Rista will have the chance to go toe-to-toe with Nora Ephron. I've got a swing with a weighted glove waiting for each screenplay she's ever writtten!
Thank'ee sir, Mr. Keysunset!
Mom Will Be Proud
Feel the geekiness!
Gratuitous Musickal Posting - Islamicist Sensibilities Division
I hadn't focused much on the brouhaha in Germany over the yanking of an opera production at the behest of offended Muslims, so I didn't realize until this morning that the opera in question was Mozart's Idomeneo and that the flap had to do with a rather childish staging stunt rayther than anything in the body of the work itself.
That got me wondering. If somebody is going to try and spike a Mozart opera on the grounds that it is offensive to Islam, why not go after his Die Entführung aus dem Serail instead? After all, in the character of Osmin, it contains probably the greatest comic-book Musselman of the entire operatic reportoire:
Kurt Moll as Osmin.
Here's his big Act I rant, "Solche hergelaufne Laffen":
These profligate puppies who do nothing but ogle women,
I'd rather have the devil; for all they ever do is watch us at our work;
but a face like that doesn't deceive me.
Your tricks, your wiles,
your schemes, your guiles,
All are known to me.
You'll have to get up early to get the better of me; for I know what's what.
Yes, by the beard of the Prophet! I'll not rest, day or night,
till I find a good way to do away with you, watch out how you may.
First beheaded, then hanged,
then impaled on red-hot spikes,
then burned, then bound
and drowned, finally flayed!
Among other things, Osmin is humiliated by his English "slave" Blondie, who refuses to let him order her about, is tricked into getting thoroughly drunk by Pedrillo, Blondie's lover and finally storms off in a huff because his master, the Pasha Selim, mercifully releases his European prisoners in the end. And in every production of this opera I've ever seen, Osmin's clown of rage has been played to the hilt.
I'd think that would be a far riper target for any agitators looking to do a little Islamicist mau-mauing in the opera world than would a little throw-away production gimmick.
But perhaps I shouldn't be giving anybody any ideas.
Benedictine Monks Brew the British Answer to Mad Dog
From BBC news:
A sleepy community of Benedictine monks in south Devon is the latest, and perhaps most unlikely, target in the battle against binge drinking.
The monks of Devon brew a caffeinated, red "tonic wine" called Buckfast, which has gained the unofficial slogan "Made by monks, Drunk by punks". (There are other, grittier yet amusing home-made slogans on the Wikipedia site.)
BBC News featured a slyly funny article on this "wreck-the-hoose juice" in today's edition.
That's My Church!
In a Pastoral Letter to the Primates and presideing bishops of the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury starts off with a reminder that I find quite comforting:
In our uncertainties and explorations in the Communion, my prayers are not only for those who, like ourselves, have the responsibility of leadership in our Provinces, but most especially for all those ordinary people of God, in the Episcopal Church and elsewhere, who are puzzled, wearied, or disoriented by our present controversies. So many say they simply do not want to take up an extreme or divisive position and want to be faithful to Scripture and the common life. They want to preserve an Anglican identity that they treasure and love passionately but face continuing uncertainty about its future.
I'm glad Dr. Williams said this. It is very refreshing compared to the "get over yourselves and deal with it" attitude which seems to permeate so much of the rhetoric I've heard coming down from the suits in the Episcopal Church itself.
Dr. Williams goes on to give a kind of half-time analysis of the situation as it stands. From his letter, it seems pretty clear a) that the general consensus is the Episcopal Church has not complied with all of its obligations under the Windsor Report and b) that something has to be done about this. He also mentions progress in setting up a group to devise an Anglican Covenant, a document of core beliefs, practices and values to which the various Churches of the Communion would be expected to sign on in order to retain full status within the Communion.
Recently, Dr. Williams had floated the idea of devising some kind of second-tier "associate" status for Churches that wish to remain affiliated with the Communion but that do not wish to pledge to the Covenant. I continue to believe that something like this eventually will occur. I also continue to believe that the Episcopal Church will split into two parts, one opting for full Covenant status, the other for "associate" status within the Communion. The split will no doubt occur on a parish by parish basis. That's when the real fun will begin.
September 26, 2006
Grumpy Llama Tee Vee Review
It isn't often that I venture into the realm of network tee vee, but I didn't really care at all about the football game last evening and instead sat down with the Missus to watch "The New Adventures of Old Christine." Mostly I was curious to see if Julia Louis-Dryfus looked likely to break the Seinfeld Curse.
Well. I didn't have any idea of the show's premise going in. Here's CBS's own description:
THE NEW ADVENTURES OF OLD CHRISTINE stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus ("Seinfeld") in a comedy about a divorced working mom who is successfully juggling the daily stresses of motherhood and her business, while maintaining her fantastic relationship with her ex-husband…until his young, new girlfriend enters the picture, instantly complicating her life. Christine Campbell has a busy life--after all, she's prone to taking NyQuil to get to sleep and leaving voicemail messages to herself in the middle of the night. But it's a good life: she owns a women's 30-minute workout gym, and her 8-year-old son, Ritchie (Trevor Gagnon), was just accepted into a posh private school where she encounters two snooty stay-at-home class moms, Marly (Tricia O'Kelley) and Lindsay (Alex Kapp Horner), who can't seem to grasp the concept that Christine actually works. Her 20-something slacker brother, Matthew (Hamish Linklater), lives with her and has an uncanny knack of getting Ritchie to do anything Christine can't. Also, she gets along with her charming ex-husband, Richard (Clark Gregg), even better than when they were married. But easy street is suddenly filled with a major pothole when Christine discovers that Richard has a new girlfriend: a young, nice, impossible-to-hate woman also named Christine…the "new" Christine (Emily Rutherfurd), and that doesn't sit very well with "Old Christine." Now, as Christine realizes that Richard is moving on with his life, it dawns on her that maybe it's time for her to take that same leap.
I suppose that massive familial dysfunction could be made hip and wacky, but really, this show just left a bad, bad taste in my mouth. (And that's not counting the appearance of Scott Bakula looking like he was wearing some kind of weirdo Rod Stewart wig.) Am I overreacting? Meb. And meb I'd have a different opinion if the writing were any better. After all, the characters on Seinfeld were all thoroughly unpleasant as well. One simply didn't care, however, because the comedy was done so deftly. But here? The characters are pathetic, the plot horrifying and the writing hag-ridden with every cheap social cliche known to Hollywood.
I couldn't tell from one viewing whether the Curse is still alive and well, but I certainly hope so.
You Young Whipper-Snappers!
Gary the Ex-Donk tags us with the meme "You Know You've Reached Middle Age When...." He then goes on to list himself practically everything that popped into my own head (yes, I got carded again at the Giant last evening).
As a matter of fact, at the ripe young age of 41, I don't consider myself middle-aged as the concept used to be understood, but I know what Gary's talking about. And in order to keep this going, I will add the following contribution:
- Suddenly the concept of an attack of piles isn't s'damn funny anymore.
Forget the White House
THE place to get invited this upcoming season is the Hot Air Christmas Party...
Gratuitous Literary Posting
My quote-of-the-day e-mail reminds me that today is the anniversary of the birth of Thomas Stearns Eliot in 1888 in St. Louis, Missouri.
I will come right out and admit that Eliot falls squarely in the file of writers-I-know-I-should-know-more-about-and-will-get-around-to-presently. This is mostly because, as I've said before, I simply don't read very much poetry. I have read Murder In The Cathedral (and still remember fondly the near-concussion I received from falling out of my chair laughing when SCTV aired its NASA production of the play), but most of the rest of what I have read has been about Eliot reyther than by Eliot. I suppose I will start with his later essays and then perhaps work backwards.
No, my main exposure directly to Eliot comes from his Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, from which Mom often read to us when we were children. Indeed, one of my cats is named from this book (and not, as some have darkly suggested, from any shmaltzy Broadway musical):
I have a Gumbie Cat in mind, her name is Jennyanydots;
Her coat is of the tabby kind, with tiger stripes and leopard spots.
All day she sits upon the stair or on the steps or on the mat:
She sits and sits and sits and sits - and that's what makes a Gumbie Cat!
But when the day's hustle and bustle is done,
Then the Gumbie Cat's work is but hardly begun.
And when all the family's in bed and asleep,
She slips down the stairs to the basement to creep.
She is deeply concerned with the ways of the mice -
Their behaviour's not good and their manners not nice;
So when she has got them lined up on the matting,
She teaches them music, crocheting and tatting.
I have a Gumbie Cat in mind, her name is Jennyanydots;
Her equal would be hard to find, she likes the warm and sunny spots.
All day she sits beside the hearth or in the sun or on my hat:
She sits and sits and sits and sits - and that's what makes a Gumbie Cat!
But when the day's hustle and bustle is done,
Then the Gumbie Cat's work is but hardly begun.
As she finds that the mice will not ever keep quiet,
She is sure it is due to irregular diet
And believing that nothing is done without trying,
She sets straight to work with her baking and frying.
She makes them a mouse-cake of bread and dried peas,
And a beautiful fry of lean bacon and cheese.
I have a Gumbie Cat in mind, her name is Jennyanydots;
The curtain-cord she likes to wind, and tie it into sailor-knots.
She sits upon the window-sill, or anything that's smooth and flat:
She sits and sits and sits and sits - and that's what makes a Gumbie Cat!
But when the day's hustle and bustle is done,
Then the Gumbie Cat's work is but hardly begun.
She thinks that the cockroaches just need employment,
So she's formed, from that lot of disorderly louts,
A troop of well-disciplined helpful boy-scouts,
With a purpose in life and a good deed to do -
And she's even created a Beetles' Tattoo.
So for Old Gumbie Cats let us now give three cheers -
On whom well-ordered households depend, it appears.
Whether she cossets the mice before dispatching them, I couldn't say, but this is otherwise a very apt description of our own cat, although she is so lavish with her affections that my sister long ago rechristened her "Jennyanybody".
The Lamont Bust
This should make LB Buddy's day: Lamont's record of union-busting and the securities fraud scheme of Mrs. Lamont.
No story here....
"The Story" is always a staple of adult conversation around Stately LLama Manor when meeting new couples or getting to know others better---"The Story" of course being shorthand for the "how you met" saga. I'm sure anthropologists could explain why "The Story" is so important socially, but I like them because, well, I like a good story, the more preposterous the better. This probably has something to do with the first date The Dear One and I had, which involved going to see "Die Hard II" on July 5, 1990. I love "The Story" of others mainly because the fact that I got a second date seems in and of itself nothing short of a miracle. (Apparently, I'm not the only one to share that view) I mean, it wasn't exactly, "You had me at 'Preheat the oven to 425....'", but, come on...)
Anyhoo, our old pal Jordana over at Curmudgeonry is sharing her Story, and it's much more romantic than, well, Bruce Willis thwarting terrorists at Dulles.
Consider this an open thread. I wasn't present for Robbo and the Missus's first date, but for their second one (which, if memory serves correctly, I went on an extended inebriated rant about how much I hated Oldsmobiles....) I mean, when it comes down to it, not only is it a miracle that I have any children let alone the love and devotion of The Dear One, it's a minor miracle I have any friends at all.
Digging around in the basement can sometimes be a tricky thing.
Your Tuesday Morning Snarf
Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. James Lileks:
The other night I caught one of the new old Star Treks: they redid the FX, updating the old matte paintings with CGI, replacing the shots of the ship in space with something that looks less like a model on a string. The music’s in stereo, and the pictures look better – they should, since they shot the original film for use in a HighDef version to be released later. They didn’t change anything; they just redid the original material. Now if someone could do the same for TNG, we’ll be set. Also edit out any scenes in which Troi says “I feel,” Wesley says anything, or Worf gets beat up by someone who materializes on the bridge and knocks him into the corner. Just once he should have killed someone with a single blow. Just once. Oh, he would have got the big lecture from Captain Cranium - Misteh Wohff, we have lawrs about how we deeeel with unfahmiliah speecees - but it would have been worth it, just to know he was looking at the Captain, and thinking: dink.
Now pardon me while I clean the coffee off my screen.
Gratuitous Royal Navy Geek Posting
Collingwood is usually overshadowed in popular history by his good friend Horatio Nelson, owing to Nelson's dash and drama. Nonetheless, Collingwood's own naval record was every bit as respectable and important as Nelson's and it is sometimes argued that his seamanship and powers of strategic thinking were even superior. (I believe there may be something to this. Nelson was a brilliant tactician but his strategic skills were never really put to the test. There is that about his temperment which suggests he might not have excelled in such a role.)
Collingwood first saw combat at the Battle of Bunker Hill, where he served in the British naval squadron. Later, he commanded ships in the great fleet actions of the Glorious First of June and the Battle of Cape St. Vincent.
Collingwood is probably best remembered now for his role as second in command under Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar. Collingwood led the leeward British column of attack in his flagship HMS Royal Sovereign which, because of the ship's speed, earned her the honor of being the first British ship to come under fire from the Franco-Spanish Fleet. Upon learning of Nelson's death Collingwood took overall command of the British fleet. He spent the remainder of his sea-going career as Commander in Chief of the Mediterranean fleet, where he turned in a solid performance. The job of C-in-C was merciless and thankless, however, and eventually drove Collingwood into a decline. He died in 1810 on his way back to Britain.
September 25, 2006
Funny, you would think it would be INDCent Bill
Cry Havoc! And Let Slip The Kiddies Of War!
Image found here.
The Second Battle of Watling Street that I wrote about last week is on for this Friday, to be fought out on the grounds of St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method. I am scheduled to give a little pre-skirmish talk on Roman Briton and then to go out and referee the melee.
The Missus reports a tremendous amount of excitement, particularly among the boys who chose to blue their faces in the Celtic cause. Apparently, this excitement was dampened somewhat when the boys realized that the Romans actually won this battle, but they were restored to cheerfulness by the assurance that they would be able to take down some of the Legions as well.
Of course, in my best Victor Davis Hanson manner, I plan to play up the superior organization and practice of the Roman military machine in the face of the Celtic mob that badly outnumbered it. I also intend to say a few words about the benefits Briton actually received once it came under Imperial control.
On to carnage!
Oh, and yes, in the tragic tradition of Sister against Sister, there will be a Llama-ette in each of the opposing armies. (And yes, I still say "Boadicea" instead of "Boudicca".)
UPDATE: Well, I had been considering how to slip in a "People's Front of Britannia" joke somewhere but it looks like you lot beat me to it.
Republican's holding the House contract is trading at its highest level since March:
The composite Senate outcome is still leaning +3 for the Democrats (pickups in RI, PA, OH, and MT offset by a loss in NJ, with the incumbent party holding on in TN, VA and MD).
You Are Here
This is cool, if a bit vertigo-inducing. Somebody has created an on-line Total Perspective Vortex.* Start 10 million light years out in space and gradually work your way right down to the subatomic particles on the leaf of a tree outside the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee.
Yips! to the Galley Slaves.
The Total Perspective Votex derives its picture of the whole Universe on the principle of extrapolated matter analyses.
To explain--since every piece of matter in the Universe is in some way affected by every other piece of matter in the Universe, it is in theory possible to extrapolate the whole of creation--every sun, every planet, their orbits, their composition, and their economic and social history from, say, one small piece of fairy cake.
The man who invented the Total Perspective Vortex did so basically in order to annoy his wife.
Trin Tragula--for that was his name--was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher or, as his wife would have it, an idiot.
And she would nag him incessantly about the utterly inordinate amount of time he spent staring out into space, or mulling over the mechanics of safety pins, or doing spectrographic analyses of pieces of fairy cake.
"Have some sense of proportion!" she would say, sometimes as often as thirty-eight times in a single day.
And so he built the Total Perspective Vortex--just to show her.
And into one end, he plugged the whole of reality as extrapolated from a piece of fairy cake, and into the other, he plugged his wife: so that when he turned it on she saw in one instant the whole infinity of creation and herself in relation to it.
To Trin Tragula's horror, the shock completely annihilated her brain, but to his satisfaction he realized that he had proved conclusively that if life is going to exist in a Universe of this size, then one thing it cannot afford to have is a sense of proportion.
Gratuitous Historickal Posting
Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Stamford Bridge, fought in 1066, in which the Saxon King Harold Godwinson, after a heroic forced march, caught and smashed an invading Viking army under under Harald Hardrada and Earl Tostig.
Ironically enough, the energy the Saxon army was forced to expend hurrying north, fighting off the Vikings and then hurrying right back south left them utterly exhausted just in time to face the invasion of William the Conqueror and his Normans a couple weeks later at the Battle of Hastings, during which Harold was killed and the Saxon army defeated.
Hmph. Bloody Vikings.
UPDATE: Speaking of Brit history, here's a coo-el article describing a new geological theory on how Britain became an island. Cataclysmic floods are involved.
On September 9th I saw the Violent Femmes play Get Downtown! Greensboro. It was a free concert for the college kids in the area and it was funFunFUN!!!
First, me & my peeps went to McCoul's, which is an Irish restaurant with a large patio and outdoor balcony situated a block off the downtown main drag. There Pep and I ordered the most heavenly crisp-but-juicy, fried haddock with chips which we washed down with generous glasses of Boddington's. The fried onion rings were excellent too as were the spicy hot wings. (Hey - I didn't eat breakfast, ok!?)
Five hours and a honkin' huge tip later, our group ambled over to the outdoor stage which was set up in front of a railroad overpass in a section of Greensboro that used to be the red light district when I was a kid. It's all re-claimed these days with hyper-expensive condos and national chain bars like Rum Runners, but a friend of mine who is a professional musician reminisced recently about playing that part of town 20 years ago. He said when his band started playing, the folks bashing each other over the head with pool cues stopped, and when the band took a break an hour later the fights started right up again without missing a beat.
Anyway, so the Femmes played in front of the train overpass. The first train that came through drowned them out completely for a few seconds, but someone must have called the railroad, because later trains came through so slowly they didn't have to blast warnings. The passing trains gave the boys in the band a chance to goof with the audience as they facetiously tied some of their songs into a spontanous train theme.
I had never seen VF play before. I was pleasantly surprised to find them something like a gritty, foul mouthed, punk acoustic version of the Bare Naked Ladies. (Yes - I know VF came first!) I love Gordon Gano's old-time gospel voice and Brian Ritchie tore up the bass and the marimbas. Today I checked out Brian's personal web site. He's into playing traditional Japanese instruments. He has a wonderful story there about the first time he played stones with natural holes in them, called iwabue, which he found on a California beach.
What pleased me even more than the original members of the band, was the section of their group they call the Horns of Dilemma. The Horns are a rotating group of musicians who sit in with them as they are available. One of The Horns is Greensboro native, avant garde electric rake player, Eugene Chadbourne.
The last time I saw Eugene Chadbourne play was back in the 80's in the basement of a macrobiotic restaurant on Tate Street called The Hong Kong House. The basement of the Hong Kong House was a tiny cement-lined fire-trap with a stage the size of a placemat. I saw Alseep at the Wheel there and that's where I saw Eugene play brilliant, original shockabilly compositions on a garden rake he'd electrified and hooked to an amplifier. I have one of Chadbourne's albums on vinyl, so I was psyched to see him sitting in with the VF that night, doing his electric rake thing.
I'll be the first to admit that I am no music critic. So what can I say about the show? The band was energetic yet relaxed and I loved every minute of it. They played all the staples folks want to hear and sing along with. It's 100% home-grown American music that appeals to cutting-edge hillbillies everywhere.
The crowd was exceptional because it was made up of beautiful children. By that I mean college students. Rarely have I seen so many high-dollar tattoos and remarkable piercings. Each of the more complex inkings I saw surely cost them a semester's worth of tuition. That more than anything else sets this generation apart from mine. Mine didn't have the green to splash all over their skins. Instead, we had to buy books. ok - enough old lady grumbling. I wouldn't have inked up my body even if I'd had Paris Hilton's money.
But the beautiful children and their expensive skins provided wonders to behold the whole night long. I say this because they wandered all night! A steady stream of children flowed by the place I stood. I know they were in constant motion because I saw the same ones go by at least four different times. This let up a bit after the band played "Blister in the Sun" and the lightweights left. I had almost decided I would begin petting them on the heads as they passed like the chain of little lambs their heads reminded me of. How I wished I had some oats to feed them, if for no other reason than to make them stand still!!! "Kids these days," ye ole hag said as she shook her fist.
The crowd greatly improved after the wanderers left and the rest of the night true fans stood in place and sang, sang, sang along with the band. It was a wonderful night of dancing under the street lights.
Back home, I checked out their entertaining web site, where they offer up pithy descriptions of amusing moments of life among the Femmes. For example:
* When Victor was on hiatus for nine years, Lou Reed asked Brian, "Whatever happened to your old drummer?" Brian said, "As a matter of fact, he is currently playing with Mo Tucker." (from Reed's old band, Velvet Underground) Reed deadpanned, "Any port in a storm."
* Brian Ritchie was sunbathing on a beach next to Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin for 3 hours. Ritchie didn't talk to Plant or introduce himself because he hates Led Zep. Later he read an interview where Plant said the Femmes were one of his favorite bands. Ritchie felt like an asshole.
* Victor and Brian bumped into Uriah Heep drummer Lee Kerslake in the hotel lobby. They introduced themselves and Kerslake said, "I have never heard of you." Then he asked, "What kind of crowd do you have, are there any girls?" DeLorenzo said, "About 50/50 boys and girls." Kerslake said, "You are lucky, we only have boys."
* Rolling Stone magazine said Gano's voice "can clear a room faster than a methane explosion."
The Violent Femmes - DON'T FEAR THEM!!! They can save you!!!
Gratuitous Llama Netflix Movie Review
The Coen brothers' supposed resetting of The Odyssey in Mississippi in the 30's. I say "supposed" because, frankly, I decided not to pay any attention to trying to track parallels and instead just concentrated on enjoying the movie for what it was worth, which was a good bit. I've always enjoyed George Clooney's acting, as well as the Coens' oddball humor. Combine those with the gorgeously flat-yellow visual tint of the picture and you've got a winner.
But the best part of the movie for me? The soundtrack. That is some serious old-fashioned git-down country. I spent most of the next day with the Soggy Bottom Boys running through my head. In fact, I liked it so much, I went out and bought it, which is something I almost never do with movie scores.
Sorry Robbo, but I think Weird Al wrote this song for you.
Hot cuppa with lemon to Mrs. Keysunset!
Yips! from Robbo: The question I have to ask is how Al managed to videotape so much of my life in the high school years without my noticing.
Napolean Dynamite Does the Utah State Fair
The Utah State Fair is using Napolean Dynamite in their tv commercials. The results are very entertaining.
A tea time toast to Mr. Keysunset!
Horns Across the Veldt
This week's Rhino Sightings are up over at Tinkerty-Tonk. Go on over and graze away.
September 24, 2006
Close to Home
Yup, we're the No. 1 Google hit for "what are llamas good for?"
Sing it with me, people!
Huh-yeah! Aaaabsolutely nuthin', say it again, y'all!
Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)
We got served Bach's "Sheep May Safely Graze" for Communion at Church today. I have never, ever heard it performed at such a speed, which might safely be described as a hand-gallop. If the sheep were planning to brunch this morning, I hope they didn't mind fast food, ha ha ha.
And speaking of Church, we also had an Offeratory piece by a composer I've only vaguely heard of, one A.A. Archangelsky. I don't know anything about him except that he was a Russian who died in the 1920's. What was remarkable about this piece was how, although pleasant, it had almost absolutely nothing to say.
Why was this remarkable? Well, I sometimes think we do ourselves - and particularly our children - a disservice by focusing in art education on Masterpieces all the time. If we expose (say) our kids to nothing but Shakespeare and Mozart and Rembrandt, they come to assume that these are the norms reyther than the pinnacles in their various fields, and fail to understand why these figures are so particularly special or should be especially revered. The truth of the matter is that there is an awful awful lot of bad Art out there. It strikes me that the better way to understand the exceptional achievement of the true geniuses is to also get some exposure to the second rate, the mediocre and the outright hack-work of most of the people around them. The Archangelsky piece reminded me of this again.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting - Hardware Division
If you ask me, some power tools are vastly over-rated. Case in point? The electric screwdriver. Sure, it's fast. But it'll strip the screw-head as easy as kiss-my-hand if you're not careful. For most jobs, give me the old-fashioned hand-powered kind.
Putting Chintz Curtains in the Fortress of Solitude
Spent the afternoon turning "my" study into "our" study. The sensation is curiously like moving in together for the first time.
The difference, of course, is that the Missus and I have known each other for sixteen years. As I confidently predicted yesterday, she's already made a remark about how much the room reminds her of my law school digs. "Hodge-podge" was the term she used.
She's also complaining about the "moldy" smell. Why do I sense pot-pourri is on the horizon?
UPDATE: I do have to say that it's not all bad. As we now have the second tee vee in here, we had the 'Skins game on this afternoon while we were putting things away. While I was admiring Brunell's en fuego performance, the Missus was asking questions like, "What is a first down?"
And even as I type, Jevon Walker of the Broncos just made a suuuwheet move on the Pats D and went for six. After the Dolphins' ugly win against a hapless Titans team this afternoon, I'm just going to go ahead and stick my neck out by prematurly gloating over a Pats loss this evening. HA-ha!
(BTW, I've o-fficially scrubbed the 'Fins. Sure, I'll keep cheering, as is proper with a fan, but I know perfectly well we'll be lucky to break .500 this year. Heigh-ho.)
UPDATE DEUX: HA-ha!
The Blame Game
As a matter of fact, I'm not much interested in shoulda-woulda-couldas. What's interesting about this clip to me is Clinton's ferocity, a character trait that was well known among those who pay attention to politics during his presidency but was never, ever let loose on the general public. I guess you can sorta see why here - the guy looks like a drunk in a bar just after you've insulted his ball team and just before he comes at you with the shillelagh he made out of his pool cue.
For a guy so obsessed with his own image, I'm not sure he's doing himself any favors here.
September 23, 2006
Ye Doom Is Ycomme True
Well, it finally happened.
I've spent a goodish chunk of the day hoicking computer stuff down the stairs, rearranging furniture and having complex technical discussions with the Cox Cable guy in connection with what I always dreaded would come to pass:
The Fortress of Solitude at Orgle Manor has been breached. Yes, I'm now posting from my basement study, but it is no longer solely mine.
You see, up until this week, the two younger Llama-ettes had doubled up in a single bedroom. Their elder sister occupies another and the Missus had been using the spare as her study/office. Well, owing to an escalating civil war between the gels on the subject of going to sleep and getting up in the rmorning, we decided that the time had come to part them. The four year old was moved down the hall and the spare tee vee and computer were removed from her new bedroom and transplanted to the basement.
On the whole, I don't mind at all having the computer back down here. It'll make evening posting all the more pleasant and easier, especially as I'll be able to listen to music at the same time. It's just that I feel I've lost my last bit of autonomy now that the Missus will be sharing. I can see it now. It'll start with comments about how much the room reminds her of my old law school digs. Then it will rapidly build to requests for flower prints on the wall and the "suggestion" that I repaint all the trim from dark blue to "maize" or some-such. Also, I somehow feel that the days of my enjoying a quiet cigar in here are now o-fficially gone.
Oh, well. As Basil Fawlty once said, she'll have to sew 'em back on, first.
AgentBedHead: Martha Stewart vs. Rachael Ray.
BONUS FEATURE: Complete with a jumbo-industrial strength definition of the word "irony."
(And then, trolling around I saw that Basil linked to this on Thursday. Zoot alors!)
Melissa faces up to the cold hard facts
I went cold-turkey on the Diet Dr. Pepper New Years Eve, 1995. The ensuing six weeks was a hell of bad headaches, eyestrain, and otherwise general malaise.
Damn his evil soul!
I bet you Dr. Pepper isn't even a real doctor: he's probably just a podiatrist, or a chiropracter, or, worse, a political scientist.
Although if all true, that would certainly qualify as a twofer.
YES, BUT: Rusty makes the argument for the hat trick. Or would that be the trifecta?
Although, if the foundation of the story is true, I'd love it for our counter-intel spooks to spread the word that instead of typhus, it was syphilis (preferably contracted from his pet goat).
But just remember if it is indeed true: Fightin' Bill Clinton wanted to kill Bin Laden back when Bill was in high school---it was his Eagle Scout project and everything, and it would've worked, if it wasn't for that whoreson RethugliKKKan Scout Master who wouldn't sign off on it.
The inhumanity of those bastages!
UPDATE: More here. Color me skeptical.
September 22, 2006
More coal for Fitzmas
Yes Virginia, there is no Fitzmas, No. LXXXVII.
Vent at Hot Air today features our old pal Right Wing Sparkle, where she updates us on the Kinky Friedman for Governor, erm, boom in Texas. Way to go Kathleen!
Charlie Rangel, Rove-plant, traitor, or a mere sellout?
The debate rages at the Democratic Underground. Money quote:
What is U.S. Congressman Charles Rangél doing? Is he betraying the Democratic Party? He's bashing Hugo Chavez and defending Bush. It is very disturbing and alarming to see a Democrat, especially a monority [sic], to critize an international Hispanic leader and ally by expressing sympathy for Bush and his racist Republicans. Has Mr. Rangél gone loco? Has he turned into a rogue Democrat? Is he a traitor? Hopefully Mr. Rangél has an ulterior motive. But as Democrats we must be careful not to create the slightest impression that our strong united coalition has a crack in it. I consider all minorities (African-Americans, Hispanics of course, Muslims, American Indians and all to be my brothers in the cause of solidarity). We must remain united. Solidarity is the key to victory. We do not need dissent.
Because remember: as Thomas Jefferson was fond of saying, dissent is the highest form of treason.
Read through the whole thing, by the way, it's hard to tell if it's an actual DU thread or an excellent spoof of one by Wuzzadem.
Domesticated Llama Watch
Now that the school year has started up again, we occasionally have Fridays like today on which I have the day off and the Missus has to go to work. For some reason, she seems to take this very personally, as if those long summer months during which I have to slog into the office day after day while she and the Llama-ettes disported themselves at their leisure somehow don't count.
Well, lest Certain People think I'm doing nothing but sitting about eating bon-bons and watching Oprah, let me just point out that so far today I have:
-cleared up everybody else's breakfast dishes and run the dishwasher
-emptied hampers and run a load of laundry
-cleaned out the kitty litter
-made the beds
-cleaned up the kitchen
Further, when I go out to meet the Missus for lunch in a bit, I'm also going to hit the dry-cleaners, the groc store and the hardware store.
So it seems to me that I'm keeping my end up 'round here pretty well. And the fact that after lunch I plan to sit down with a glass of sherry and watch Michael Palin and Maggie Smith in A Private Function? Well, that'll just be our little secret.
UPDATE: Of course, the movie also will be accompanied by laundry folding, so I got that going on. On the other hand, I got some absolutely arse-kicking industrial strength drain opener just now for dealing with the clog in the Llama-ettes' tub. Heh, what fun. Sulfuric acid-based, it smoked most satisfactorily as I was pouring it in. For all I know, it's already eaten its way down through the kitchen ceiling.
UPDATE DEUX: Done and done, at least so far as what I can do. I don't really know where all the gels' clothing goes, so I simply stop short at folding it all neatly and leaving it in the laundry basket.
As for A Private Function, well it's one of those films you watch more for the actors than the actual story. In particular, seeing Maggie Smith (who bears an uncanny resemblance to my sister-in-law) and Denholm Elliott (one of my favorite not-especially-well-known-to-Hollywood actors) together makes me want to dash off and netflix A Room With A View again. It may shock some regular readers that I would have anything good to say about any screen adaptation, but really, this movie is the best example I know of that sort of thing actually being done right.
Gratuitous Historickal Posting - Revolutionary War Division
On September 22, 1776, Nathan Hale was hanged as a spy by the British in New York City.
Hale is rightly remembered and revered for the nobility of his death. If he did not actually say, "I only regret that I have but one life to give for my Country," as some suggest, by all accounts he said something very much along those lines.
But I think that another aspect of Hale's heroism tends to get overlooked. Hale, a young army officer, was an utterly rank amateur in matters of espionage. (Indeed, as it turned out, he made a rotten spy, allowing himself to get caught by spouting pro-revolutionary sentiments in a tavern in the British-occupied city and being fool enough to carry damning papers about his person.) Nonetheless, he willingly took on the insanely dangerous and complicated task of trying to gain information about the British fortifications around New York by creeping behind the lines and recording his observations. He certainly would have been aware of how risky the prospect was, and yet he did it anyway. Perhaps I just didn't read the right school texts, but it strikes me that this aspect of the story doesn't get as much mention as Hale's actual execution. Yet surely the fact of his volunteering for the mission to begin with was as heroic as his resultant death.
Amateurism, improvisation and stop-gapping in the face of overwhelming risk and danger hallmarked not just Hale himself, but virtually the entire army under Washington at this point of the American Revolution. If you want an excellent treatment of this and you haven't already done so, I heartily recommend that you pick up a copy of David McCullough's 1776. Hale ultimately got caught and destroyed. What is chilling is how close Washington and the rest of the army came to suffering the same fate.
(Speaking of things one learned in school, there is one aspect of this story that has always irked me and that is the attempt to paint Lord Howe, the British commander, as some kind of comic book villain for having Hale hanged. Hale was a spy. And under even the most ancient rules of war, spies are never granted any kind of protection or mercy if caught. Everybody, including both Hale and Howe, would have understood that.)
Gratuitous Mailbox Observations
A good clue that the housing market in Northern Virginny is cooling off somewhat? The fact that we're suddenly getting bombarded by house-remodeling junk mail from the local architects and builders. When things were hot, they wouldn't even look at you if you didn't have at least a 100K project in mind.
Springing Into Fall
Mister John Keats, five feet high.
For all my literary pretense, I have to confess that I'm really not all that much of a fan of poetry. Nonetheless, there are a handful of poets and a handful of poems with which I thoroughly connect. And as I usually do, I welcome the advent of Autumn today with just such a poem by just such a poet:
SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twinèd flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barrèd clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
Autumn is easily my favorite season. And I love every part of it: that early sense of relief from the torpor of Summer; the mellow middle period (about which Mr. Keats seemed primarily concerned); the first, sharp blasts of cold air; the dank and dark fag-end. I'm sure there's some primitive hunter-gatherer hardwiring buried somewhere in my psyche that is responsible for it, but the sense of change, of approaching Winter's sleep always makes me feel that much more wide awake.
September 21, 2006
A Special Birthday Tribute...
Haaaaappy Buuuuurthday....Tooo Youuuu, ah!
Happy Buuuuuuurthday...Dear Crazy-Nut-Job-Who's-One-Of-The-Greatest-Comic-Genius-Actors-Ever-To-Appear-On-Fiiiiiilm,
(Oh, yeah. You know who I'm talkin' bout!)
(And I mean it!)
Bill Murray, ladies and gentlemen! Born this day in 1950.
Congressional Coverage Update: Tradesports Desk
The futures contract on the Republicans retaining control of the House is now trading at $55.2, whereas control of the Senate is trading at $82.6.
To quote Han Solo, "Don't get cocky."
Senate races in particular:
Joe winning in CT: $71
Donk seats in trouble:
MD $65 ($15 drop for the Donks as Oreogate mushrooms)
NJ $42 (Tom Kean Jr. is trading at $57, and I'm sure he can thank Jim McGreevey for his "I was a gay governor" book tour for reminding NJ voters)
Republican seats in trouble:
VA $73 (polls are close, such as they are)
PA $20 (apparently Unibrowgate not having a big impact)
The biggest change since earlier in the week is Maryland's Democratic seat coming into play, swinging 15 points today. Calling all races above $57 for the incumbents, that leaves the Democrats with a net pick-up of three in the Senate, half of what they need for control.
Later in the week, I'll start handicapping the @15 House races that are in play.
LLama Luncheon---A big dish of Beef Chow Mein from Li Ho Fuchs
Sing it now, "Ahhhhh--WOOOOOOO!"
Cue Professor Horseshack
My advice: you can take the T from Logan.
A Serious Llama Salute
Our own Llama Military Correspondent leaves for training and processing today, in preparation for heading over to the Sand Box in a few weeks to help the Iraqis beat the crap out of the bad guys.
I won't go into a long ramble about how proud we are of him, how much we appreciate the sacrifices that he and his family are having to make and how we'll keep him and them in our prayers a) because I'm lousy at speeches and b) because it would just come out sounding all gay and everything, but you know it's true nonetheless.
Anyhoo, Good Luck, God Bless and Go Get'Em!
Yip! Yip! Yip! Yip! Yip!
A tribute to Alice Cooper
Ann Althouse has taken a break from wall-to-wall Boobiegate coverage to post a tribute to the coolest rocker ever to bite a snake on stage, Alice Cooper.
Age of Rome - Montessori Division
"Get me Maaaaake-Uuuuup!!!!"
As I had hoped yesterday, the eldest Llama-ette has indeed been cast as a Celt and her younger sister as a Roman for the Second Battle of Watling Street to be staged by the Missus (with my assistance) at St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method.
The good news is that the battle has been put off for a week at the request of some of the kids in the class so that they can have more time to work on their costumes.
I feel that I should be allowed to use this extra time in order to whip the Legions into better shape as well, in order (of course) to ensure that Civilization triumphs over the barbarians and that I shall be able to report after the battle, "Veni, Vidi, Yippi."
Heh, heh. This ought to be gooood.
The psychic fund drive
Wuzzadem is running an unusual fund drive: in lieu of actually sending real money, he wants all his regular readers to even think of sending him five bucks, which would be a big help.
Excuse me for just a sec.
(cue flushing noise)
Well, John, consider yourself a wealthy and prosperous man!
I would never have pegged the Irish Elk for a Civil War Reenactor
You would think the antlers would be a dead give away, but apparently not.
There were two things I had to do before The Dear One would marry me: I had to take the Redskins test (ala the Colts test in Diner) to officially convert to the burgandy and gold, and I had to promise never to be a Civil War Reenactor. Which wasn't dificult, as I had never been one or anything, but one of The Dear One's dad's friends is a big one and I think she thought it would be best just to nip it in the bud, so to speak.
What was good, though, was that I swore I would never be a Civil War Reenactor: War of 1812, now, that's a whole separate kettle of fish....
UPDATE: Of course, Robbo and I could make a go at THIS, but I think our respective wives would both murder us in our sleep.
UPDATE DEUX: Open thread: What's geekier, Civil War Reenacting or Star Trek convention costume wearing? Or Star Trek characters time-travelling to the US Civil War?
YIPS! from Robbo: Mayhaps I haven't had enough coffee and helium yet this morning, but I don't remember ever reading anything about a Massachusetts Campaign. Is this another example of Yankee historickal revisionism?
X-Donk plays whack-a-mole with the latest Lamont ad designed to "appeal" to "independent" voters.
Costco must have had a deal on tin foil hats
Two great tastes....
Who else but Agent Bed Head?
Musikal Edumacation, Adams Academy-style
Back in the Day(TM), Robbo introduced me to the stylings of They Might Be Giants. I used to be able to do the whole "Instanbul/Constantinople" song, but not anymore.
September 20, 2006
Is it just me?
If I had photoshop capability on the new laptop I'd make it so his hat band read "Chomsky"
Gratuitous Plum Blogging
This sort of thing absolutely delights me.
Mrs. P has done her homework on why the best way to villify a silver cow creamer is to curl the lip into a sneer and call it Modern Dutch. Prior to reading this, I had no more notion as to why than did Bertie or Aunt Dahlia.
And if you haven't the foggiest what I'm talking about, go and buy this book right now. You'll thank me later.
Chock full o' tasty hate
Check out this post from the HateMongers Quarterly on bias at the National Academy of Science---it's filled with 38% more hate than usual!
Behold The Awesome Power Of The Dark Side!
So let me see....an international bogeyman makes a speech that is nearly farcical in its malevolence towards the United States in general and the President in particular. The far left wing promptly embraces the message like the Abominable Snow Man hugging and squeezing and petting and holding his new-found bunny rabbit "George". All this a mere six weeks or so before Congressional elections that increasingly turn on the issue of national security.
Face it. Chavez has got to be a Karl Rove mole.
UPDATE: Lorie Byrd over at Wizbang is feeling the hate, too.
UPDATE DOS: Dammit, now Taranto is stealing my stuff! From today's Best of the Web (first item):
As Churchill once said, "If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons." But the Angry Left won't be happy about having to take Bush's side. How long before they start claiming that Karl Rove wrote Chavez's America-hating diatribe?
Back off, James, or I'll kerfluffle you into next week!
A droll Catholic lightbulb joke:
During a Eucharistic Congress, a number of priests from different orders are gathered in a church for Vespers. While they are praying, a fuse blows and all the lights go out. The Benedictines continue praying from memory, without missing a beat. The Jesuits begin to discuss whether the blown fuse means they are dispensed from the obligation to pray Vespers. The Franciscans compose a song of praise for God's gift of darkness. The Dominicans revisit their ongoing debate on light as a signification of the transmission of divine knowledge. The Carmelites fall into silence and slow, steady breathing. The parish priest, who is hosting the others, goes to the basement and replaces the fuse.
Although my favorite religious joke of all time remains this one about Episcopalians:
Jesus said to them, "Who do you say that I am?"
They replied, "You are the eschatological manifestation of the ground of our being, the kerygma of which we find the ultimate meaning in our interpersonal relationships."
And Jesus said, "What?"
What's In A Name?
The UK Telegraph, apparently suffering a slow news day, runs an article about a spike in the population of "daddy long legs" in Britain caused be recent weather conditions. The article is accompanied by this photo:
Now I've always called this particular flying insect a "skeeter-hawk," a term I believe I picked up in Texas. To me, this is a daddy long-legs:
I realize this is possibly the single most useless post I've ever written (and there's been some mighty intense competition for that title), but I throw out these observations nonetheless. Make of them what you will.
Gratuitous Musickal Posting
A.C. Douglas quotes approvingly and at length from a recent NYTimes column by Anthony Tommasini on where Mozart's music might have gone had he lived longer. This part in particular caught my eye (ommissions by ACD):
The other compositional trend in Mozart’s late works is harder to grasp and difficult to describe. It involves his increasing preoccupation with motifs and the technique usually called motivic development.
Motivic development, which reached a zenith in Viennese Classicism, allows a composer to generate an entire score from a small pool of motifs, the little components that make up a theme or a phrase. These components can be a cell of pitches, a snippet of a melody, a short rhythmic figure.
Composing music this way did not come naturally to Mozart. He had an intuitive gift for melody, a keen ear for searching harmony and a hard-won but complete mastery of contrapuntal writing that allowed him to tuck intricate, multivoice passages into his operas, even in the midst of some bustling comic ensemble. Yet he was by nature a man of the theater. His piano concertos come across like operas for instruments, as do many of his piano sonatas. Generating a string quartet or a symphony through the technique of motivic development took a special sort of focus and effort.
[I]n the summer of 1788, Mozart worked simultaneously on his last three symphonies: No. 39 in E flat, No. 40 in G minor and No. 41 in C (“Jupiter”). [...] Why did he undertake them? ... [M]y guess is that he wanted finally to come to terms with this matter of motivic development.
His work paid off. Almost every bit of the G minor Symphony, for example, can be heard as emanating from the motifs that make up the first phrases of the first movement....
These matters are difficult to describe in words. The point is that for all its tumultuous shifts, this symphony sounds inexorable and of a piece from beginning to end. Mozart worked long and hard to make it so.
I think I can imagine where Mozart was heading as a theater composer. But with this business of motivic development and the symphony he was just getting started. What a loss. Forget reaching his sister’s age. If only he had made it to 50.
One clue about the possible direction of Mozart's motivic development and the symphony can be found, I think, in several passages of both the 40th and 41st in which he indulges in brief explorations of very wild, discordant treatments of the underlying motifs. (I will unveil my own Philistinism right here and now by stating that those passages have always put me off these symphonies just a bit.)
One possibility is that had Mozart continued with this kind of experimentation, his giant musical mind might have leaped to such incredibly abstract ideas that the actual music he produced might well have become almost unhearable to the average oaf like me. On the other hand, Gangerl might have decided that what he was turning out was, to put it simply, ugly and gone on to other ideas.
Who can say. But go read the article anyway.
Damn You, Jonah!
Writing on the Pope's Islamic history kerfluffle over the weekend, I coined the expression "Mau-Mauing the Vatican" to describe the resultant riots and violence. This was a riff on an essay of Tom Wolfe's called "Mau-Mauing the Flak-Catchers" about the politics of race intimidation in San Francisco in the early 70's. My thesis was that the Muslim street demonstrations didn't have anything to do with offended religious sensibilities per se but were instead staged for purposes of playing on Western self-doubt and guilt.
Well damme if Goldberg isn't swiping my idea today. Oh, sure, he changes the book reference, but I know what's going on:
No, this is about us. The best book for illuminating what's going on in the Muslim "street" isn't some weighty treatise on Islam; it's a short little tract called "White Guilt" by Shelby Steele. The book isn't even about Islam. Steele focuses on white liberals and the black radicals who've been gaming them ever since the 1960s. Whites, he argues, have internalized their own demonization. Deep down they fear that maybe they are imperialistic, racist bastards, and they are desperate to prove otherwise. In America, black radicals figured this out a while ago and have been dunning liberal whites ever since.
The West is caught in a similarly dysfunctional cycle of extortion and intimidation with Islam, but on a grander and far more violent scale. Whether it's the pope's comments or some Danish cartoons, self-appointed spokesmen for the Islamic street say, "You have offended a billion Muslims," which really means, "There are so many of us, you should watch out." And if you didn't get the message, just look around for the burning embassies and murdered infidels. They're not hard to find.
In response, the West apologizes and apologizes. Radical Muslims, who are not stupid, take note and become emboldened by these displays of weakness and capitulation. And the next time, they demand two pounds of flesh. Meanwhile, the entire global conversation starts from the assumption that the West is doing something wrong by tolerating freedom of speech, among other things.
Grrrr. I'm warning you, Goldberg! Cut it out or I unleash the Jacobin squirrels and the volcano-lancing missiles!
Happy Birthday, Sophia Loren!
Born this day in 1934.
By God, what a beautiful woman.
Is Our Childrens Learninj?
Me and my big mouth.
Because I possess such a Cliff Clavin-like hoard of useless historickal trivia, and because the Missus is sweet enough to still pretend to believe I know what the hell I'm talking about even after all these years, I've been drafted into restaging the Roman conquest of Britain as part of a class project at St. Marie's of the Blessed Educational Method.
You see, the Missus is doing a unit on medieval history with her lower elementary class this year. In order to set up the story, she plans to teach the kiddies about Celtic Britain, its subjugation and subsequent abandonment by the Romans and its eventual conquest by the Saxons. She came up with the idea of a pitched battle between Celts (complete with blue faces) and the Legions as a way of getting the kiddies enthusiastic about the project.
As regular readers know, the Eight Year Old happens to be in the Missus' class. I think she'd make a perfect Boadicea, as this suits her temperment to a tee. This year, the Six Year Old is also in the class. The trouble-making side in me is strongly tempted to draft her as Governor Suetonius and recreate the Battle of Watling Street in 61 A.D., where the Romans finally put down the Icenis' rebellion.
I can see it now, a small, calm, disciplined body of legionaires led by the younger Llama-ette taking on a howling hoard led by the elder. And defeating it. Call it channelling my inner Victor Davis Hanson.
I hate the New York Times
I think noted lefty mad-scientist LB Buddy would agree with me on this outrageous example of NYT media bias slandering the cause of our nation.
Just the breakfast laugh I needed
Boner of the day
Ted Turner: "Invading Iraq dumbest move of all time."
This from the guy who thought colorizing Casablanca was a good idea.
September 19, 2006
Gratuitous "Talk Like A Pi Rat" Posting
"And then she told me she'd only calculated it out to ten thousand decimal places. Well, I had no choice but to dump her STUUUUPID since she BOOORING obviously STEAK AND WHATJOB DAY? didn't have the NNNNRRGGH!! slightest grasp of VOLCANIC ERUPTION OF FRUSTRATION!! basic FORTY YEAR OLD VIRGIN IN DOG YEARS!!! mathematics."
More "Talk Like A Pirate Day" Fun - Scurvy Dogs of Summer Division
"Yarr! Another keel-haulin' of a season, me hearties!"
What would be the third holiday to combine together with Constitution Day and Talk Like a Pirate Day?
(Tip: it aint Mole Day)
YOUUUUCH! YIPS from Steve-O: Pirate Day, indeed: last Friday the government collected $85.8 billion dollars in taxes (Sept. 15th being a day in which quarterly estimated taxes are due).
I'd have to dig into the records for this, but I wonder how many years it took in our country's history for the government to spend $85.8 billion 2006 inflation-adjusted dollars, let alone how many years after the passage of the Sixteenth Amendment it took the government's tax pirates to bring in that amount.
Regular readers might remember my waxing rhapsodic about the gas prices at the WaWa in Gainesville, VA over the past month, and how they've been dropping like a bellweather brick over the time.
But folks who don't rely on their LLamas for their nooz?
Why, they'd have to wait a couple of weeks later to read about the Gainesville WaWa phenomena in USA Today.
Gratuitous Historickal Posting (TM) - Byzantine Collapse Division
Scribal Terror sends along some fascinating research she has done into the identity of the "Educated Persian" with whom the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos discussed comparative theology in 1391, thereby setting a mau-mauing trap for B16 to stumble into the other day, a mere 615-odd years later.
Click on over.
Oh All Right, Me Hearties!
Yes, I know it's Talk Like A Pirate Day. I've always enjoyed this in the past, yet somehow listening to the drive-time jocks carrying on about it on the radio this morning killed the buzz for me. Hey, call me a grouch.
(Image swiped here.)
Oh, better far to live and die
Under the brave black flag I fly,
Than play a sanctimonious part,
With a pirate head and a pirate heart.
Away to the cheating world go you,
Where pirates all are well-to-do;
But I’ll be true to the song I sing,
And live and die a Pirate King.
For I am a Pirate King!
And it is, it is a glorious thing
To be a Pirate King!
For I am a Pirate King!
Hurrah for our Pirate King!
And it is, it is a glorious thing
To be a Pirate King.
Hurrah for our Pirate King!
King & Chorus:
Hurrah for the/our Pirate King!
When I sally forth to seek my prey
I help myself in a royal way.
I sink a few more ships, it’s true,
Than a well-bred monarch ought to do;
But many a king on a first-class throne,
If he wants to call his crown his own,
Must manage somehow to get through
More dirty work than ever I do,
For I am a Pirate King!
And it is, it is a glorious thing
To be a Pirate King!
For I am a Pirate King!
Hurrah for the Pirate King!
And it is, it is a glorious thing
To be a Pirate King.
Hurrah for our Pirate King!
King & Chorus:
Hurrah for the/our Pirate King!
(I was going to say something about Captain Feathersword, but Vic beat me to it.)
Gratuitious Late Lunch Musing
Not too bad.
Not too bad at all.
Google-Prompted Busy Day Retread
We Llamas are No. 3 out of about 18 million when googled for "I hate flying". This is owing to a little essay I dashed off back in November of '04. Since then, I've logged quite a few more air miles. While I'm happy to report that I am calming down somewhat, most of what I thought back then still holds true:
I'm in the midst of a spate of business trips this fall, which means I'm spending a fair bit of time on airplanes. Thus, it seems to me that this is an appropriate time to do a little venting on a particular kink in my psychology:
I am scared to death of flying.
It is not a rational fear of terrorists, skimpy airline maintenance and safety procedures, violent weather or other genuine concerns. It is a completely irrational fear that if I let go of the arm rest, the wings will fall off. The bases of this phobia are my twin fears of heights and lack of control. Strap me into an aluminum cylinder at 37,000 feet with my fate utterly in the hands of a set of complete strangers and you can readily imagine why I feel compelled to grip my seat with such white-knuckled intensity.
By the time I get off a plane, my hands are cold, clammy and covered with moisture. At the same time, most of my arm, upper body and stomach muscles are considerably more toned than when I got on board, owing to the near constant clenching they've been subject to. And I always feel about five years older.
So why even get on a plane? Well, we do the things that need to be done. As I say, I hate flying, but there's no realistic way to avoid it. So I am constantly working on new ways to get through the ordeal.
My general approach is simply to dissassociate myself from what is happening. This means never looking out the window. (Except for the last few seconds on landing. For some reason, I have to see that.) I try to bury myself in a book or newspaper instead or, if I find I can't concentrate, simply shut my eyes. I used to try having a drink, but found that this actually makes me feel worse - sort of woozy and frazzled at the same time. For some reason, I find that water and coffee are, in fact, far more calming. This approach works pretty well for smooth, routine flying, although it becomes far more difficult to maintain whenever there is any sort of chop.
Take-off is the worst time for me. For this, I have a special solution. As soon as we start to roll, I play over in my mind the scene from Star Wars where the Millenium Falcon blasts out of Mos Eisley, starting from the point where the storm troopers enter the bay and ending up with the jump to hyperspace. Don't ask why, but I find this very comforting.
Sometimes people try to engage me in conversation on a flight, thereby intruding on my Travel-Size Fortress of Solitude (TM). This produces one of two results. Either I start babbling away at a mile per minute, or else I respond with short, tight-lipped and very sarcastic answers. I don't believe either treatment is very pleasant for the other person. In fact, it was for this reason that when the Missus and I were planning our honeymoon, I insisted that we go someplace to which we could drive. The last thing I wanted was for our marriage to start out on a bad footing owing to my phobias. (In case you're wondering, we went to The Cloister at Sea Island, Georgia. A very nice place and a very nice time. So it all worked out just fine.)
The other thing that drives me stark raving mad about this business is watching everyone else around me relaxing, chatting or working in apparent unconcern. Fools! I think to myself. Don't they understand? Don't they SEE? It's only sheer will-power that keeps us all alive!! How can they be so freakin' OBLIVIOUS to the knife's edge on which they're standing!!?? I was chatting with my real-life blogger pal Marjorie about this the other day and she put it down to ego on my part. In fact, it isn't really that. Rather, I think it's a kind of terrified envy, a deep but so far unobtainable desire to be like them and to shake the crazies that I have.
So, what to do about all this? Well, not much, really. It's not so bad as to keep me off of planes altogether, so it seems silly to invest any time or money into any kind of "treatment". (I strongly suspect there is not much to such therapies anyway.) Instead, I am resigned to just toughing things out and, hopefully, eventually getting over it naturally. What I worry about chiefly at the moment is not passing my phobia on to the Llama-ettes, which is what I'm afraid I might do were we to fly anywhere together. Nothing makes a child so frightened of something as seeing her own parent frightened of it, and I'm not altogether sure how well I could wear the mask at this point. (Yes, Dear, that is one of my major concerns about this trip to Disneyworld you keep pushing.)
In the meantime, I can also keep posting about it here and you lot can feel free to pelt me with rocks and garbage. Perhaps simple shame will snap me out of it.
The issue of how on earth to introduce the Llama-ettes to air travel without passing on my own neuroses in the process is one that continues to baffle me....
YIPS from Steve-O: And here I would've thought it was from our long held beliefs that the novels of Erica Jong are complete crap.
Is the crack epidemic over? (PLUS, WITH X-TRA CONSTITUTION DAY/TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY BONUS JOKEAGE!)
Please lord, make it be true.
And no, we haven't been making a big deal about "Talk Like a Pirate Day" because, having been visited by the ghosts last night, we have resolved to keep the spirit in our hearts and live everyday like it was Talk Like a Pirate Day.
(Although, for purely malicious reasons, I do enjoy how "Talk Like A Pirate Day" has gotten more traction than the fake-federal holiday of Constitution Day, foisted on the nation's schools by the Kleagle in Chief Democratic Senator Robert Byrd.)
So much so that the talk I have to give for Constitution Day that we're doing tomorrow is going to be on Jefferson, the Barbary Pirates, and presidential authority during time of undeclared war.
Tales From The "Duh" Side
The tasters at this year's International Wine Challenge, discovered that while cork taint is on the decline, the problems affecting wines sealed with screwcaps have probably been underestimated.
Of course, this discounts the fact that most wine coming out of a screw-capped bottle is so awful anyway that it's tough to even notice any additional problems.
YIPS from Steve-O: If that's not a surer sign that we are losing the War on Terror I know of no other.
The last time New York was civilized.....
I think Robbo will like this. The rest of America, not so much.
Is there a Technorati tag for "American Revolution Tory Porn"?
Holy Happy Birthdays, Batman!
Adam West was born this day in 1928 in Walla Walla, Washington.
IMHO, trying to replace West as Batman in all those movies was the equivalent of trying to fill the role of James Tiberius Kirk with somebody other than Bill Shatner.
Accept no substitutes.
UPDATE: 'Course, I have the same opinion about Dirk Benedict and Starbuck, so what the hell do I know.
YIPS from Steve-O: Cough.
September 18, 2006
Key Senate races Republican wins
NJ $56.2 (Republican pickup)
CT $70 (Leiberman win---Hey, you guys don't want him....)
VA $63 (Republican hold) (Big drop in past 24 hrs though)
TN $60 (Republican hold)
MO $51 (Toss-up)
RI $25 (Republican loss)
OH $25 (Republican loss)
PA $22 (Republican loss)
MT $20 (Republican loss)
NET CHANGE IN SENATE---Dem +3, assuming Leiberman wins and continues to caucus with the Democrats
Excuse me while I go cue up my personal copy of the ghost of John Kiley playing "The Impossible Dream" on the Fenway Park Organ.
Verily, I say unto thee: prithily didst I chooseth a bad week to giveth up huffing the glue.
Omigod! Now We're Using Piscine Shields!
Somebody has come up with a way to use tanks full of bluegills as the equivalent of mine-canaries to detect chemical attack on metropolitan water supplies:
Big cities employ a range of safeguards against chemical and biological agents, constantly monitoring, testing and treating the water. But electronic protection systems can trace only the toxins they are programmed to detect, Lawler said.
Bluegills — a hardy species about the size of a human hand — are considered more versatile. They are highly attuned to chemical disturbances in their environment, and when exposed to toxins, they experience the fish version of coughing, flexing their gills to expel unwanted particles.
The computerized system in use in San Francisco and elsewhere is designed to detect even slight changes in the bluegills' vital signs and send an e-mail alert when something is wrong.
San Francisco's bluegills went to work about a month ago, guarding the drinking water of more than 1 million people from substances such as cyanide, diesel fuel, mercury and pesticides. Eight bluegills swim in a tank deep in the basement of a water treatment plant south of the city.
"It gave us the best of both worlds, which is basically all the benefits that come from nature and the best of high-tech," said Susan Leal, general manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
Surely PETA is going to put the kybosh on this.
UPDATE: Through the magic of this here Innernet, I managed to find a pic of the Board of Directors of Intelligent Automation Corporation, the outfit that came up with the fishy GWOT weapon:
Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)
Terry Teachout on the operettas of Gilbert & Sullivan:
One of the reasons why G & S (as they're known to buffs) are so enduringly popular is because their works are technically simple enough to be performed by amateurs. Alas, such performances tend to be…well, amateurish. [.....] Contrary to the impression left by the 1980 Kevin Kline-Linda Ronstadt Broadway production of The Pirates of Penzance and the 1983 film based on it, the G & S operettas are not musical comedies avant la lettre. Yes, Arthur Sullivan had a sense of humor, but he was still a classical composer through and through, and much (if not all) of his music must be sung by classically trained vocalists in order to make its full expressive effect. It is also gorgeously orchestrated, and cries out to be played with the same elegance and euphony you’d expect to hear in a professional performance of a piece by Mendelssohn—or Mozart, for that matter.
I think this is exactly right. I also think that another aspect of the amateurism that TT speaks of which detracts from the full flavor of a G&S production is the urge felt by so many producers to camp it up as much as possible. (The local community theatre production of Pirates of Penzance I saw not long ago, for example, featured a great deal of mugging at the audience by cast members and silly visual gags such as pirates carrying rubber chickens and lightsabers.)
This is wrong, wrong, wrong. The actors have to play their parts as straight as the musicians have to perform the music. Gilbert's libretti are quite witty and clever enough without the cast nudge-nudging the audience that they think the whole thing silly, too. The impulse so many producers seem to have to invent more funny off their own bat in this way only serves as an infuriating distraction.
BTW, I finally saw the Kevin Kline Pirates movie and thought it a thoroughly rubbishy performance from soup to nuts. On the other hand, Eric Idle (of all people) can be seen in a surprisingly charming modern production of The Mikado.
(Photo of Gib found here.)
(Cue triumphal music.)
Spain has agreed to lift travel and communications restrictions on the Rock of Gibraltar imposed by still-dead General Francisco Franco nearly forty years ago. Although the Dons will still cling to their claim of sovereignty over the Rock, the lifting of these restrictions will be immensely beneficial to the locals on both sides of the border.
If you're interested in a first-hand account of the complexities of getting back and forth between Gib and the Spanish mainland these past four decades, as well as a description of life on the Rock itself, try Simon Winchester's Outposts of Empire.
Congratulations To "Chip" And The Entire Crack Young Staff!
Where have you been all my life, Hatemongers Quarterly? This is one of the most interesting and amusing right-of-center blogs I've ever read.
Well done, indeed!
Yip! Yip! Yip!
Random Literary Observations
**The Missus and the Eight Year Old just got finished reading the first of the Harry Potter books together, an experience both of them thoroughly enjoyed. In fact, the 8YO liked it so much, it was all she could talk about when we went out to breakfast Saturday morning. I gather that they plan to start the next one almost immediately.
Sigh. I've managed to hold myself aloof from this whole Harry Potter business until now, but I supposed I'm going to have to read the damned things now just to keep up. Oh well, at least I'll be able to answer for myself an intriguing question that I've seen flipped about the Blogsphere before: Would Harry Potter use the One Ring to defeat Voldemort?
**Speaking of the One Ring, I've started reading The Hobbit to the Six Year Old for the first time. I do wish that Tolkien hadn't taken so much time setting up the unexpected party - waiting for all those dwarves to arrive and get settled is tough going for a small child. Once the actual adventure bit picks up I think she'll enjoy it, but I fear that her attention is going to stall out before we can get that far.
** I accidentally left my copy of Eveyln Waugh's Vile Bodies in the hotel when I was on travel last week. Reckoning that I'd never see it again, I ordered a new copy from Amazon, together with a copy of Brideshead Revisited (which I needed anyway).
Amazon is carrying a series of reissues of Waugh's novels from Back Bay Books, a division of Little, Brown & Co. The cover designs are actually pretty snazzy. Unfortunately, though, emblazoned at the bottom of the cover of Vile Bodies is the legend: "The novel that inspired the acclaimed new movie BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS."
We hates this brand of middlebrow cross-marketing. At least the cover doesn't feature a pic from the movie, as is so often the case these days, but the thought that somebody believes the mere mention of a movie on the book's cover should be reason enough for me to buy the thing makes me grind my teeth. I'm considering taking a big black magic marker and simply crossing out the text just to show Back Bay Books a thing or two.
(BTW, it's been some years since I last read Vile Bodies. I'd forgotten just how funny it actually is.)
Mau-Mauing The Vatican
***Bumped Because Nobody Ever Reads My Weekend Posting***
"Call my religion violent? I kill you!"
Steve-O's caption: Episcopalians outraged by the latest antics of the General Convention promise a wave of fire and death on the apostate Bishop Robinson and death to all his supporters everywhere. Or at least poor table service at the club followed by a round of golf well, well over par.
I haven't much to say about the ongoing kerfluffle over the Pope's recent remarks on the history of Islam except that this whole business has become an exercise in the theatre of the absurd.
It strikes me that the outbursts of rage on the Muslim "street" don't have much to do with offended sensibilities per se. Rather, somebody recognized a perfect opportunity to play some more on the West's perpetual self-doubt by whipping up the mob.
So what ought B16 to do? Well, I doubt if grovelling and backtracking is the right answer, as the only real signal it sends is one of weakness. Instead, His Holiness might consider simply flipping the Papal bird.
I don't think the Pope's original comments have elicited nearly as much authentic rage as the images on TV would suggest. But I do think those driving these protests and whipping up anger know what they're doing. The West wants to be loved. It can't stand the idea that somebody — anybody — doesn't like us. This is doubly so in Europe and perhaps triply so at the Vatican. So much of European — and American liberal — foreign policy is based on the idea that being disliked is an enormous indictment, a sign of serious moral failings on our part, rather than resentment, envy or scapegoating on the part of those fomenting anti-Americans. What have we done wrong to make you hate us so!? And so we apologize again and again. Anyone remember Bill Clinton's global apology tour? The Jihadists must cackle at all of this, because it shows that the West can be rolled. I know the apologizers think they're fostering a climate of reconcilliation and dialogue. But it seems obvious to me that our opponents simply pocket these apologies and say, "See: Even the Pope agrees with us" or "Behold: we have made the Americans admit they are wrong."
UPDATE DEUX: Heh. Courtesy of John at Wuzzadem, it's the Islamic Extremists' Rage-Ometer:
UPDATE TROIS: It's also evident that the Puppy Blender himself is a sekret Llama reader. And a thief, too! Damn you, Gleeeeeennnnnn!!!
YIPS from Steve: Just downright depressingly ugh-leeee.
I will say this, though: I thought the MNF Madden/Al Michaels combo schtick lacked sufficient gravitas on Monday nights. Boy howdy, does it stink even more on Sundays. I'm sorry, you've got two of the greatest sportscasters of all time on one show (Costas and Michaels), but Football Night in America has got to be the biggest vacuum suckage I've ever seen on prime time tee-vee that was not actually a political convention featuring Pat Buchanan as a speaker.
MNF used to be pleasantly amusing: 9 times out of 10 the game stunk and you could tune out after the first half, or at least catch Patricia Arquette being the MILFette pyschic in peace all the while safe in the knowledge that the hard part of the week---getting up for work on Monday morning---was at least out of the way. Now, not so much.
I guess I picked a bad week to give up huffing glue.
September 17, 2006
Finally, a place for stately LLama Manor to really fit in
But the only question would be, do you have to get your feet surgically enlarged?
And what about dragons? I hear there's still dragons in these parts....
HT to Melissa at the Bonny Glen.
(Although to be a wee bit uncharitable, perhaps they should rename the local post office from "Bend" to "Bent.")
Caterpillar Ranch Update
More love of Monarchy than a Tory Party conference over at Kelly's Green. That, plus sock #2 comes into the world, while sock #1 gets shown off.
That, and streakers galore at Curmudgeonry.
September 15, 2006
I think these guys need to decide whether Hitler was a good guy they like, or a bad guy they don't. Because the mixed signals, frankly, they're confusing me.
(And by these guys, I sure as heck don't mean the Pope).
That's My Church!
The Episcopal Church crisis enters the phoney war stage:
A group of bishops met in New York on 11-13 September at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury and in consultation with the Presiding Bishop to review the current landscape of the church in view of conflicts within the Episcopal Church. The Archbishop of Canterbury had received a request from seven dioceses for alternative primatial pastoral care and asked that American bishops address the question. The co-conveners of the meeting were Bishops Peter James Lee of Virginia and John Lipscomb of Southwest Florida. Other participating bishops were Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold, Presiding Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori and Bishops Jack Iker of Fort Worth, Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, James Stanton of Dallas, Edward Salmon of South Carolina, Mark Sisk of New York, Dorsey Henderson of Upper South Carolina, and Robert O’Neill of Colorado. Also participating was Canon Kenneth Kearon, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.
We had honest and frank conversations that confronted the depth of the conflicts that we face. We recognized the need to provide sufficient space, but were unable to come to common agreement on the way forward. We could not come to consensus on a common plan to move forward to meet the needs of the dioceses that issued the appeal for Alternate Primatial Oversight. The level of openness and charity in this conference allow us to pledge to hold one another in prayer and to work together until we have reached the solution God holds out for us.
To which, the Archbish of Canterbury responds:
It's a positive sign that these difficult conversations have been taking place in a frank and honest way. There is clearly a process at work and although it hasn't yet come to fruition, the openness and charity in which views are being shared and options discussed are nevertheless signs of hope for the future. Our prayers continue.
Bishop Lee, who helped convene the meeting, is the Bishop of the Diocese of Virginia. He has been trying to walk the fence since the beginning. Although he personally seems to lean toward the liberal camp, Virginia is still what is now being called a "Windsor" Diocese. That is, it is formally adhering to the moratorium placed on the Episcopal Church by the Windsor Report. If Bishop Lee were to attempt to break away from this, he'd no doubt have a full-scale mutiny on his hands.
As to all the chat relayed above, my guess is that if something O-fficial doesn't come down the pipe soon, the rebel Diocese will simply take matters into their own hands. They already know what happens if they keep quiet and simply go along with the system.
By the way, did I mention how wonderfully calm I've felt since giving up the notion of abandoning the Church and deciding to stay and fight it out? I'm positive this was the right call.
So last Sunday was the big Homecoming Picnic at my own Church. As I'm on the Vestry and the Parish Life Committee, I was, naturally, in the thick of organizing and running the thing.
So at this very important gathering of my own Parish was I confronted with cosmic questions of theology, society and the future of the Anglican Communion? Well, no. The biggest issue I faced all day was figuring out a method to keep the sandwich platters from sliding off the especially slippery plastic tableclothes we used. Ah, well. We all do our little bit.
UPDATE: Oh, I forgot to mention that the Eight Year Old has signed up to join the youth choir this year. She starts this Sunday. For some mysterious reason, thinking about this has caused P.D.Q Bach's Missa Hilarious to cycle through my head most of this week, especially the conclusion of the Credo:
Solo: Ah, women!
Chorus: Ah, women!
Solo: Ah, wilderness!
Chorus: Ah, wilderness!
Solo: Ah, nuts!
Chorus: Ah, nuts!
I'll let you know how it goes.
More Randy Mac Attack - Friday Lowbrow Edition
In deciding to take Randolph Macon Woman's College co-ed, the Board of Trustees has presented itself with a simple but tough dilemma - How to get the guys to actually apply.
Well, of course, one way is to come up with a snappy new marketing slogan. I offered some suggestions about that yesterday. But then I got thinking - the BoT is taking an awful risk with this move, since it has infuriated so many current students and alumnae. If this stunt is going to work, the Board had better make damned sure to pack in as many applicants as it can.
So, in order to cover the bases, I've come up with some more marketing slogans that are aimed at what one might call the baser instincts of the new potential applicant pool. Thus, I now give you:
ROBBO'S TOP TEN GUY-CENTRIC MARKETING SLOGANS FOR THE NEW RANDY MAC
10. Now With Testosterone!
9. This Ain't Your Momma's Randy Mac!
8. For A Couple Extra Bucks, We'll Let You Flip Through The Facebook And Pick Out Your Female Hallmates.
7. Last Year's Homecoming Queen Personally Kisses Each New Male Student.
6. To Save Money, We've Decided To Make The Field-House Shower Unisex.
5. No Bra? No Problem!
4. You're Always Complaining How Hard It Is To Get On To The Girls' School Campuses - Here's Your Chance, Buddy.
3. Ten Girls For Every Guy - Do The Math, Dude!
2. Aren't You Curious What Really Happens Behind That Big Red Wall Out Front?
1. Oh, Boooooys!
As always, I present these humble suggestions to the Board gratis. Good luck!
Dayngah! Dayngah! Dayngah!*
(* pace Steve Irwin)
It's I Hate Crocs, the website dedicate to reviling that bastard love-child of wellies and espadrilles that's adorning the feet of so many these days.
Can I make a confession? As the parent of three small girls......I love 'em.
I mean, the things are virtually indestructable and practically clean themselves. Get 'em covered with mud, grass clippings, sand, whatever? No probs - just take 'em to the sink and rinse 'em off. They'll dry all by themselves, too.
And since the things just slip on, there's none of this, "Daddy....I need help with my shoeees..." nonsense which adds a good ten to fifteen minutes to our ETD whenever we try to go out.
No, I have to say that with the Crocs, practicality trumps fashion at Orgle Manor.
The only time I dislike them? Well, the Four Year Old has become fond of gallumping up and down the stairs in hers. The impact has a tendency to shake pictures off the walls and knock plaster from the ceiling.
But, hey. The price is worth it.
Yips! to Rachel.
Recherche du Tunes Perdu
Somebody Googled in here on oh where have you been Billy Boy?
It so happens this was one of my favorite childhood songs. Here's a nice midi version of it which, unfortunately, seems to leave out the last stanza in the accompanying lyrics. That stanza goes:
How old is she, Billy Boy,
How old is she, charming Billy?
Three times six and four times seven,
Twenty-eight and eleven,
But she's a young thing
And cannot leave her mother.
UPDATE: Here's another of my favorites (with Midi) the Stephen Foster song Glendy Burke.
UPDATE DEUX: And as long as we're on the subject, here's a sea-shanty I learned more recently, South Australia.
I have to finish filling out some useless paperwork, pull together my notes for class but also keep my head in the game for a eulogy I have to deliver this afternoon at a Memorial Service.
But it seems that the LLamas were well ahead of the curve on paying attention to the New Jersey Senate race and the chance for not only a Republican pickup but also a Jersey Switcheroo.
Friday Movie Question - Close To Home Division
I tried again the other night to watch The Big Lebowski.
Well, actually, I did watch it. What I mean is that I tried again to enjoy it.
And once again, I failed.
I would really like to like this film. It's clever, it's full of priceless dialogue, the actors are terrific, etc., etc. But there is one serious problem.
The Dude. I can't get over the Dude.
Y'see, the trouble is that I have a long-lost uncle who could be the real-life dead-spit ringer for the Dude. Considerably younger than my father, he hit college right at the height of the hippie movement. And in his impressionable teenaged state, he swallowed the Free Love plus Free Pot equals World Peace bit hook, line and sinker, completely oblivious to the fact that he was being used simply as cannon fodder by the more forward thinking leaders of the movement who now occupy positions of power in government, business and society.
After college and an abortive couple weeks of law school, he drifted in and out of a few small-time jobs and a few common-law marriages. The last I heard of him was about ten years ago when, so the report goes, he was working as a part-time bartender and sleeping on a friend's sofa.
So while in the film, the Dude's deadbeat lifestyle is portrayed as quirky, funny and sometimes surreal, all I can see is the real life pathos of my derelict uncle.
So how about it - have you ever had this kind of experience with a character out of stage, screen or literature?
UPDATE: Smart-asses. Bet if Sheila asked a question like that you wouldn't be ragging her, now, would you?
YIPS from Steve-O: On a more serious note, I have the same Uncle, in that my Dad's younger brother has the excuse of being actually quite mentally ill (a full blown paranoid-schizophrenic).
But on a much more serious note (from a, erm, traffic-building perspective that is), I think we need a full, umm, blown discussion on whether or not Phin's sister in law is in fact a porn star. He alleges in the comments section:
"I ran into a similar situation where my sister-in-law looked like a chick in an "adult movie". I wasn't so much disturbed as I was, um, turned on. Well at least until the missus killed the dream and said there was no way in hell her sister was that naughty, bendy or willing to have relations in front of a camera.
I think we need to do some old-school, Reutersgate blogswarming on this. Only the Army of Daves can determine, once and for all, the age old question: has Phinneas just found himself in a cheesy melodrama with Richard Chamberlain in the lead roll as a noble and selfless blogger tormented by the realization that his sister in law starred in "Becky Bops Boise."
I can almost see the IMDB listing now.....
PICAROONISH PIXELS OF DESIRE
Richard Chamberlain..............Phinneas Blogbody
Aunt Bea...............Clarice Tootlelanker aka "The Sister in Law"
Let me just add that I think "Naughty, Bendy, and Willing to Have Relations in Front of a Camera" should become the "Democracy, Whiskey, Sexy" of the 2006 Election Cycle.
I have nothing to offer you save Mud, Paint, Acorns, and Dough
I would pay good money to hear a Winston Churchill impersonator read this Melissa Wiley column on early childhood education.
It's that good!
UPDATE: Speaking of Churchill... That, and the Irish Elk also muses on this classic bit from TR:
I am very busy now, facing the usual endless worry and discouragement, and trying to keep steadily in mind that I must not only be as resolute as Abraham Lincoln in seeking to achieve decent ends, but as patient, as uncomplaining, and as even-tempered in dealing, not only with knaves, but with the well- meaning foolish people, educated and uneducated, who by their unwisdom give the knaves their chance.
And it has the additional advantage---unlike, say, "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism"---to have been actually written by the person ascribed to it.
Follow the link to the Bogus Quotes Ascribed to Jefferson page from the Monticello web site.
(Okay, they don't use the word "Bogus" but they should).
And Now For Something Completely Different
Just listening to the music I get dizzy thinking of Tuco running around in the cemetary.
I always thought Leone took a helluva long time with his exposition, but the last twenty or thirty minutes of this film, when everything locks into place, are among my very favorite in all of film.
UPDATE: I know what's missing - where are the chimes? There've got to be chimes at the end!
I also know I'm going to have to watch this movie again this weekend......
More Gratuitous Political Observations
I've been reading a few articles from conservative writers wondering if a Donk takeover of the House would be so bad for the GOP after all. The theory seems to be that such a shift would work as a welcomed cluebat to the base of the GOP skull as well as forcing the Donks to put their money where their collective mouth is, the result perhaps leading to actual GOP gains in '08.
Well......color me dubious. In ordinary times, I might have some sympathy for this point of view. But IMHO, the next couple years are going to be pretty important in terms of the GWOT and especially (as Krauth notes today) Iran. It strikes me that having Speaker Pelosi biting him in the behind 24/7 would be the last thing Dubya would need.
Jonah today paints a rosier picture:
But a Pelosi-run House could so horrify voters that it would probably prepare the soil for a Republican presidential candidate in 2008. Pelosi is, if anything, a moderate in the Democratic caucus, but she is indisputably far to the left of the American center, in part because she and her colleagues mistake passionately angry bloggers for the mainstream. Letting voters see this crowd try to have its way for two years would only help the GOP in the far more important 2008 election.
Moreover, it could very well boost President Bush’s popularity in his final two years — popularity he would need to conduct foreign policy, which tends to dominate the final years of all presidencies.
It’s one thing to carp and snipe at the president as the party out of power. It is quite another to use congressional power to hobble a wartime commander in chief. When the economy was strong and the world was deceptively peaceful, perceived Republican overreach kept Bill Clinton’s poll numbers up. It’s entirely possible that similar behavior — behavior the Democratic base will doubtlessly demand — would have a similar effect on Bush’s popularity, especially with troops fighting overseas. A Speaker Pelosi couldn’t get left-wing legislation through, and nothing too terrifying could survive in the GOP-run Senate or be spared Bush’s veto pen, which, sad to say, still has plenty of ink in it. One exception might be immigration, but that would hand conservative Republicans a dream issue for 2008.
As for Iraq, antiwar liberals also would discover that having a majority within a party is not the same thing as controlling it. Democrats would not be able to force a withdrawal from Iraq, but they’d look even more McGovernite in the process.
It isn't often that I think Jonah gets things wrong but this might be one of those times. Not only would a constant stream of investigations, hearings, impeachment attempts, etc., play havoc with public (and international) perception, the shear amount of energy the White House would be required to squander just fighting them off boggles the mind.
As I say, in normal times, this might not be such a bad thing. But now? I'm not sure the country needs this kind of distraction.
Gratuitous Political Observations
Can we now, officially, start the "Howard Dean purged by the DNC" contract?
Apropos of this, Peggy Noonan has thoughts on the fall elections this morning. I'm not sure I agree with all of her assessment of the country's mood, but a couple of points are well worth highlighting. First is the tragic effect Bush Derangement Syndrome is having on the Donks:
The Democrats' mistake--ironically, in a year all about Mr. Bush--is obsessing on Mr. Bush. They've been sucker-punched by their own animosity.
"The Democrats now are incapable of answering a question on policy without mentioning Bush six times," says pollster Kellyanne Conway. " 'What is your vision on Iraq?' 'Bush lied us into war.' 'Health care? 'Bush hasn't a clue.' They're so obsessed with Bush it impedes them from crafting and communicating a vision all their own." They heighten Bush by hating him.
One of the oldest clichés in politics is, "You can't beat something with nothing." It's a cliché because it's true. You have to have belief, and a program. You have to look away from the big foe and focus instead on the world and philosophy and programs you imagine.
Friends don't let friends drink the kool-aid.
As a matter of fact, Steve-O and I have both stated previously our mixed feelings about the implosion of the Donks. A republic needs at least two healthy political parties to maintain its strength. The demise of one leads to the kinds of problems associated with monopoly behavior in any market. And it would be bad enough in an era of relative peace and prosperity. But as Peggy points out, these are not such times. And things are going to get worse:
I like Democrats. I feel sympathy for the hungry and hapless, identify with aspirations, am deeply frustrated with Mr. Bush. More seriously, I believe we are at the start of a struggle for the survival of the West, and I know it is better for our country if both of its two major parties have equal responsibility in that struggle. Beyond that, let's be frank. Bad days are coming, and we're all going to have to get through them together, with two parties, arm in arm. It's a big country.
Emphasis added. The question, though, is how on earth one could conceivably give responsibility to a gang of loons who think the CIA staged 9/11 and that we're in Iraq all because of ooooooiiiiiiil? And whose only prominant member to speak maturely about the Middle East is currently being set upon by the moonbats?
Where are ye now, Sam Nunn? And what kind of a playing field do we need to build in order to get Scoop Jackson to emerge from the corn?
More trouble than a barrel of syphlitic monkeys during Fleet Week
Presented without comment, and with the full knowledge Robbo is going to wind up using it in his new role as a higher-edumakation consultant.
Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Bobgirl! The Dear One just happened to be walking by when I was looking at it and so for the rest of the day I'll have the sound of her sweet melodious laughter tinkling in my ears, unfortunately not drowning out the dull ringing aftershock made by the fine cephalon cookware applied upside the back of my head.
September 14, 2006
Shout out to my SECT Homie
I've noticed in the referral logs the past couple of days that we've gotten a steady stream of visitors from Waterford CT. I don't know if it's the same person or multiple people.
Anyhoo, I'd like to give a shout out to the Waterfordian(s), as I grew up in the town right next door: East Lyme CT. East Lyme and Waterford would always play each other on Thanksgiving morning in high school football, one of the more perverse rituals of my youth.
Anyhoo-hoo, welcome neighbors!
American Imperialism Knows No Boundaries
Thursday lunch chuckle
Spoken like a true Red Sox fan...
Here's the money quote:
Kerry says the only reason he didn’t compete in more states in 2004 was that he ran out of money. He says this was also the reason he did not adequately respond to a series of devastating TV ads by Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth, a group that questioned Kerry’s service in Vietnam and criticized his later opposition to the war.
“They had money behind the lies, and we did not have sufficient money behind the truth,” Kerry laments.
Asked if he dreads the prospect of being “Swift-Boated” all over again, Kerry counters that he would relish such a fight.
“I’m prepared to kick their ass from one end of America to the other,” he declares. “I am so confident of my abilities to address that and to demolish it and to even turn it into a positive.”
Here's the list from Open Secrets of the top donors to 527s by committee and by individual donors: notice the overwhelming tilt at the top to Kerry and the Donks. Here's the record for the SwiftVets $17m, and here's MoveOn.org at $21.5m.
So the notion that the SwiftVets were sitting on mountains of ill-gotten corporate booty and the Party of the People had no money to counter it is a complete farce.
Somebody need to let Kerry know that he's rapidly becoming the Wiley E. Coyote of American politics, just one more Acme Campaign Strategy from beating that Roadrunner...
Altogether everybody: MMMMMEEEEP! MMMMMMMEEEEP!
Randy Mac Attack - Helpful Llama Suggestions Division
In our continuing coverage of the coedification crisis at Randolph Macon Woman's College, I got thinking that, in addition to a new name (since there's already another Randolph Macon College), the school is also going to have to come up with some new marketing slogans, themes that will entice both new male and (presumably) more female applicants. With that in mind, I humbly present:
ROBBO'S TOP TEN MARKETING SLOGANS FOR THE NEW CO-ED RANDY MAC
10. Apply Early And You’ll Receive Your Choice Of Old RMWC Apparel: Sure To Be A Collector’s Item Soon!
9. Best-Kept Secret In The Piedmont: That Jerry Falwell Dude Grows Some Seriously Bad-Assed Dope Up The Road At Liberty U.!
8. Just Wait’ll We Get Sweet Briar And Hollins On The Football Field Now!
7. Lynchburg: Gateway to Danville
6. Because When You Think Of Quality Virginia Schools, You Think Of - Well, Whatever It Is We’re Calling Ourselves Now
5. Hey, Hampton-Sydneys! If You Went Here You’d Be Home By Now!
4. What Lavender Mafia?
3. C’Mon, Guys! Let’s Put The “Blue” Back In “Blue Ridge”!
2. Who Needs Dubyanell Hell Anyway?
1. What Happens In LynchVegas Stays In LynchVegas
Note to RMWC Board of Trustees: Feel free to use any of these. You can thank me later.
UPDATE: Welcome Randy Mac Rebels! Just to be clear, I'm on your side. As a Dubyanell alum, I hate to see all this happening.
GOP control of the House Contract:
Notice how the post-911 anniversary rise has erased the Katrina anniversary slide.
JOEMENTUM? YOU BE THE JUDGE
The Joe Lieberman winning the election contract is at $80, with Nedster at $20.
alt="Price for Connecticut Senate Race at TradeSports.com"
title="Price for Connecticut Senate Race at TradeSports.com" border="0">
Note also the post 911 bounce for Holy Joe, plus the effect of the Lamont ill-fated swipe at Joe's Lewinsky stand.
Plus the opportunity for an historic pick-up in Jersey, with Tom Kean Jr.'s contract for taking Menendez's Donk seat trading above water:
LLAMABUTCHER PREDICTION: As of the moment, it's a three-seat pickup in the Senate for the Donks. But things are trending to neutral, and only a two-seat loss for the Republicans is not out of the question.
Sooper sekrit Illuminati/Knights Templar/Free Masons Conspiracy theorizing about Bubba
Annuit coeptis, indeed!
(HT to Sobekistan).
The September Classic
The Crack Young Staff at the HateMongers Quarterly is watching the World Series of Poker so you don't have to.
And yes, we'd also like to see a beat-down given on some of the more obnoxious SportsCenter anchors...
Was it just me?
I settled into the big chair after kicking myself in the head with some robitussen to fight the Marriott Malaise head cold that has now firmly lodged in my throat and chest. As I was clicking through the channels, I came across Matt Laaawrerrr interviewing what at first I thought was Christina Appelgate, but turned out to be none other than our old traffic Santa herself, naughty teacher gone bad Debra LaFave, fresh out of prison it would seem for acting out a wide range of early Rob Lowe movie scripts.
Talk about your train-wreck tee-vee: the part I saw was when she was describing how, after sexing up her pupil's mind, she would take him to Smoothie King, and then to the Walmart to buy a Timex for her husband. Smoothie King? What, Dairy Queen and Toys R Us weren't open?
September 13, 2006
New Jersey Senate race heats up
Honest Bob Menendez, the New Jersey Democratic Senator, is in big trouble---so much so that the Donks are beginning to float talk of a "Toricelli Switch" and dump him from the ballot, like they did in 2002.
It was the nekkid partisanship of the Toricelli/Lautenberg switch ((together with the Chambliss/Cleland race in GA) that did so much to sour the bipartisan mellow after 911.
Funny, though, how you only hear about the Cleland race in that regards.
Anyhoo, if the Donks want to go down that road, fine, but it's a pretty good sign that they're panicking.
Oh, and before you go all "Rethuglikkkhans are the party of aristocracy" by mentioning Tom Kean Jr. as the Republican nominee, you might want to consider your answer in light of the Nevada Senate race.
Playing the Fawn Liebowitz Gambit
The Llamas are in, baybee!
Because we've been keeping up with the coedification crisis at Randolph Macon Woman's College, we're not only high up in most Google searches on the subject, we're starting to get linked by some of the Randy Mac bloggers themselves.
Honest, we're real cut up over all of this. In fact, we really don't think we should be alone.....
Now there's a funny orgalicious juxtaposition
Numero 2 on yahoo for "love exciting and new come aboard we're expecting you" aka the theme to The Love Boat.
Love, exciting and new
Come aboard, were expecting youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
Love, lifes sweetest reward
Let it flow, it floats back to youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
LLamabutchers soon will be making another run
The LLamabutchers promises something for everyone
Set a course for adventure
Your mind on a new romance
Love wont hurt anymore
Its an open smile on a friendly shore
LLamabutchers soon will be making another run
The LLamabutchers promises something for everyone
Set a course for adventure
Your mind on a new romance
Love wont hurt anymore
Its an open smile on a friendly shore
Its the LLamabutchers
Its the LLamabutchers
Hey, I'm allowed to so croon, seeing as we're #2 on Google for "eighties rocker."
I'll Stand Downstream While Random Wrestles The Lioness To The Ground
Our pal the Random Penseur tracks the Alpha Mom in her native habitat.
What Would Jim Fowler Do?
Gratuitous Historickal Posting - Colonial Division
"The Death of Wolfe" by Benjamin West
Today is the anniversary, in 1759, of the Battle of the Plain of Abraham, in which British forces under General James Wolfe launched a surprise attack up the cliffs in front of the City of Quebec and, before the city's walls, defeated the French forces under the command of the Marquis de Montcalm. Both commanders were ultimately killed in the battle, which left the British in possession of Quebec and hastened the end of French rule in Canada.
There are certain of you out there (and you know who you are) who seem to believe that I indulge in French and Indian War posting because of my Tory affections. Not so. Instead, I tell you truly that I am more and more convinved of the impossibility of understanding American Revolutionary history without first understanding American Colonial history. In other words, one can't possibly fathom the currents flowing in 1776 without also knowing the waters of 1766 and 1756. And this makes it all that much more sadder that Colonial history, as far as I can tell, receives virtually no mention in our educational system these days. (To those who mutter that this makes it much easier to tee up the Revolution as a simple fight between Noble, God-Fearing, Freedom-Loving Patriots and the Eviiiil Minions of a Swishy, Inbred Tyrant, I simply reply "Oh, hush.")
A few books I would recommend on the period, in case anybody is interested:
Fintan O'Toole: White Savage: William Johnson and the Invention of America.
Without digging through the archives, I know I've reviewed all of these books before. And all of them are endlessly fascinating.
UPDATE: Basil Seal has more on the battle.
UPDATE DEUX: Full disclosure - The description of poor old George III here is based on Dave Letterman's phrase "swishy, inbred monarch" from his Top Ten list of Reasons Why The British Lost the Colonies. My favorite: "Their diet: tea and crumpets. Our diet: raw squirrel meat and whiskey."
Just don't even ask why I remember these things.
YIPS from Steve-O: I loved in the comments section the British rejoinder:
The REAL 10 reasons we didn't win:
10. We had to stop and building a huge tea-strainer to dredge Boston Harbour (and by the way, you're supposed to put the milk in first).
9. We had no idea you'd stop trying to steal each other's land for more than five minutes, let alone eight years.
8. You distracted us by giving us Frenchmen to kill.
7. We couldn't stop laughing at all your chaps who tried to stick their heads up a dead squirrel's arse.
6. Daniel Morgan confused us by pretending to be a turkey.
5. You kept stealing all our clothes and…well, we just went into battle feeling shabby.
4. You only gave us Benedict Arnold after he stopped being good at fighting and stuff.
3. You never washed so we always had to stay up-wind.
2. You lied (a lot).
1. OK, yes – Mrs Loring.
That's why you don't have proper beer, free healthcare and the right to burgle your neighbour and not get shot. And before we start pointing fingers over inbred German monarchs, let's not forget who asked Fred the Great's baby brother to take over as king……..or his answer!
I have to confess the Mrs. Loring jokes were new to me.
But I heartily concur with Robbo's reading suggestions.
That Giant Bouncing Sound You Hear Is Soon-To-Be-Never Speaker Pelosi Banging Her Head On Her Desk
Over at Tradesports, the odds on the GOP holding on to the House are starting to trend back up, from a low in the 39/40 range to a current 46/47. My guess is that this number is going to keep moving up, a prediction reenforced by the fact that while I noted the ideal time to buy, I didn't actually do it. Call it Robbo's Theorum of Might Have Beens.
Our old pal JohnL of TexasBestGrok is back at his post after a little down time and finds that other bloggers are poaching on his Sci-Fi Babe Blogging turf. In response, JohnL is thinking about bringing back his very popular Sci-Fi Babe Poll, to which I have only this comment:
Bring. It. On.
UPDATE: Speaking of such things, CalTechGirl reminds us that Han Shoots First.
I've now run off Episodes IV and V of Star Wars for the Llama-ettes and at some point this fall probably will show them Episode VI. Unfortunately, we've got the mucked-about-with DVDs. I guarantee you that at the end of Episode VI when Hayden Christensen appears alongside Yoda and Obi-Wan, their collective reaction is going to be, "Who the hell's that?"
It's going to be one of those days
I think I'm just going to let this loop on my office computer as the theme song for the day.
BTW, is Jack Bauer just one mean-assed son-of-a-bitch, or is it just me?
Memory serves that Letterman did something like this once, where a stage hand or someone bet him ten bucks that he wouldn't say a particular word on the air, and he wound up saying it something like thirty times in that one show? I remember where they did the thing the next night where they ran the clip of each time saying it, complete with the Price is Right style cash-register bing-ka-ching noise in the background.
Let's hope it definitely DOES NOT come to this being the theme song for the day:
The "Kyle's Mom" song is DEFINITELY not safe for work.
Yips! from Robbo: Hats off to Steve-O for posting the SP:BL&U version of the Kyle's Mom song, the international section of which has again caused me to lodge apple bits in my nasal passages.
Cry God For Harry! England! And Saint Snoooooze!!
From the Tasty-Bits (TM) Mail Sack:
I saw your blog and thought you may be interested in a campaign we are organising to encourage people to take the day off work on St Georges Day next year.
We want the government to introduce a bank holiday on 23 April. They have refused in the past because they believe there is insufficient support. If a sizeable number of us take the day off work it will send a powerful message to those in charge.
If they won’t give us a bank holiday, we will organise our own.
I’m sure you appreciate that a bank holiday on St. George’s Day will be a great opportunity for all the English, regardless of colour or religion, to recognise the things that bind us together – rather than concentrating on our differences.
Everything from cricket to curry could be celebrated on our national day.
Please go to www.stgeorgesholiday.com and join thousands of others who have pledged to take the day off work on Monday 23 April 2007 .
P.S. We plan to contact a number of celebrities and ask them to support the campaign, I would be interested to hear your suggestions on who to contact. Many thanks.
Now being the old Tory that I am (there, Bill, I said it), I've always been quite the fan of St. George's Day. I usually celebrate in my own quiet way by running up the Union Jack at home (when I can slip it past the Missus) and by wearing a red tie to work. So I'm not at all unsympathetic to this idea. At least I wasn't until I had a look at the website and spotted what seems to be the real motivation. Money quote:
England lags far behind the rest of Europe in the number of bank holidays we get. A bank holiday on St George's Day would be a great opportunity for us to recognise what binds us together, instead of concentrating on what divides us.
Emphasis added. Translation? "Hey! How come all those wogs get to blow off work more than we do? That's not fair, is it mate?"
Yes, I'm feeling a bit cynical this morning.
UPDATE: By the bye, I note the site's earnest attempts to include Englishmen of all religions in the celebration of St. George. It strikes me that getting non-Christians interested in a Saint's Day would be a hard sell. Unless, of course, the Saint is secularized to the point where his or her religious affiliation is meaningless, something I don't think George would appreciate in particular.
Pundit babes Michelle Malkin and Kirstin Powers on Girls Gone Wild
Allahpundit's fantasy comes true. Even with Bill O'Reilly involved.
September 12, 2006
Always with the bizarre search engine scans for lesbians with these people
Our third visit of the day (that I noticed) from an asshat Islamic Republic in search of material about, erm, the denizens of beseiged island nation of lesbolia.
I tell ya, all it takes is one posting where you upload lipstick glam shots of Madeline Albright, Helen Thomas, and Golda Meir in some hot, three way action, and you regret it for the rest of your life...
Well, with power, fame, and mackfabulousness, for sure
Proudly #1 on google for "drunk llamas."
Check engine light on the van has resulted in a four day fiasco (more later on the funny parts). Issue: service guy who I don't trust is citing a $1250 tab which would include $680 for a "purge box" that's needed to go along with a new oxygen sensor on the right manifold. I'm calling bullshit on this as I can't find such a thing as a "purge box" on any autoparts websites. Any insight on this? Thanks in advance.
(The funny parts included the dumb as a sack of doorknobs hook driver who delivered the van to the wrong dealership on Sunday).
The race no one is paying attention to
Can the Donks win the Senate if they don't hold on to New Jersey?
The other big races:
Joe being reelected: $68
Republican seats in play:
The Donks would need to win six of those seven, plus holding on to New Jersey AND holding on to Joe voting with the caucus should he win in CT.
LLama Lunch Special
I went with this because A) there's a high chance it will annoy the Heck out of LB Buddy, and I think you can all agree with me that that's a VERY good thing, and II) I like how Annie Lennox is auditioning for a role as a villain in The Incredibles II.
The LLamabutchers: Always willing to help a friend in need
"Chip"---one of the Crack Young Staff at the HateMongers Quarterly---is a friend to this blog. We've enjoyed watching him develop as a bright pendatic onanistic essayist with something of a future here in AlGore's wild west o' intertubes. But, Chip is only human, and has fessed up to a little problem with a certain Heath Ledger movie (fortunately for us, not that one). So to cure him of his fascination for 10 Things I Hate About You, we proudly (re)post this tribute: 10 Things I Hate About Commandments.
Bobby Kennedy, when he hears about this, is going to get all juiced!
DIEBOLD! DEIBOLD! DEIBOLD!
(Sorry, I'm such a nutroots tease.)
If Johnnie Cochran were alive, I'm sure he'd say, "Chirac vote fraud? I must applaud!"
Two nineteen, baby!
Drudge had linked yesterday the story about OPEC ministers having a cow about falling oil prices, but it wasn't appropriate to raise and now the link is gone. But USA Today has their version up, suitably diluted for low-lights like myself.
Highlight: Although motorists worried that once the $3 barrier was pierced, prices never would fall much, the current drop-offs are logical, Gamson says: "The driving season is over. There's plenty of gasoline in inventory and crude oil prices have been dropping a lot. It's mainly market fundamentals."
Gosh, it's like there's some magical invisible hand adjusting prices. Demand drops relative to supply rises? Can't be.
All I know is that on Saturday, at the WaWa in Gainesville VA I paid $2.19 a gallon for unleaded. Filled the tank and even was getting ready to hose down a Buddhist monk in the aisle next to me, but he was packing, so I thought the better of it.
Excuse me while I carve my eyeballs out with a jagged piece of fiberglass and wash the sockets out with Chlorox
And I going to need someone to pour some acid in my ears. It's the only way to stop the voices after our old pal Phinneas decides to venture into vlogging.
The only thing nice you could say about the Islamic Caliphate of America would be that there would be none of THAT.
Mid-morning book meme
From our old pal the Irish Elk, what five fictional characters would you like to meet?
1. Pa Ingalls----Just so I could show him my cordless screw driver and watch him weep;
2-5. Jack Aubrey, Half-Cocked Jack Shaftoe, Han Solo, and Sir Harry Flashman---so we could go together and kick the living crap out of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, and then head to Vegas for a Memorial Day Weekend bender on Darcy's AmEx card.
And for a bonus #6: Lord Voldemort---Just to taunt his wizard arse with the fact that the Muggles went to the moon, invented high-speed downloadable internet porn AND the the mircowaveable burrito, and what's he got to show for all his magic: a cabana boy who can turn himself into a rat and a magic wand with an asbestos parrot's feather. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Big man! Soooooooooooo scary!
Darcy, dear, what are these charges on the AmEx bill for for "Tijuana Donkey Show"?
Gratuitous Historikal Posting, September 12th Edition
(Note: this is a ClassicRobbo[TM] posting from September 12th 2005. Fans of Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle volume 1 Quicksilver will remember that this was the even in which Half-Cocked Jack Shaftoe, King of the Vagabonds, and erstwhile soldier rescues the fair Eliza from the clutches of the harem. Jack Shaftoe is by far my most favorite fictional character in all media.)
Today is the anniversary (in 1683) of the Battle of Vienna, the highwater mark of the Ottoman Turkish invasion of Europe. The city itself had been besieged by the Turk since July of that year and was near to giving in. During that time a coaltion of European forces hastily assembled to rush to its aid. The battle was capped by a genuine heavy cavalry charge led by the Polish King Jan Sobieski that caught the Turks by suprise and caused them to retreat in panic.
This battle is seen as the turning point in the Turkish attempt to conquer Europe. Although there was more fighting to come, the tide from this date flowed east, not west, and the Turks were eventually pushed back across the Danube.
(Alas, the old story that the croissant was invented by Viennese bakers in honor of the victory appears to be a myth.)
September 12th: Are we winning?
I don't know, but in the past half hour we've gotten visitors to the LLamas from deep inside the Asshat Islamic Republics of Iran and Sudan, both to our post (okay, to one of our dozens of exploitation posts) on the barfighting lesbian NFL Cheerleaders. It just happened to be the post where we, erm, insinuated a French nooz babe Melissa Theuriau angle. (And one of the jpegs might have had some reference to nekkid hottie pics of Angela Lansbury in it).
Someone needs to alert Dylan Avery as I'm smelling conspiracy here...
What I got into the blogging business for
So that we could be #1 in Britain for the age-old question that Glaucon posed to Socrates in Bk 2 of The Republic:
Not if the terrorists have their way, missy!
This one's for Robbo
Robbo has a bee in his bonnet about Randolph Macon Woman's College going co-ed. Fine. But, a tricky question is raised: if Randy Mac (RMWC) is no longer a WC, and there already is a Randolph Macon College, then what should the new co-ed entity in Lynch Vegas Virginia be named?
Let me be the first to propose:
Randy Mac Daddy Polytech
Randy Mactabulous Universitus
Randy Mactastick Pimpalicious Collegium
Randy Mac Diddly Doo
Of course, putting "Randolph Macon" as the first name and "College" as the last name into the Pimp name generator produces the name for the new president of their school:
Professor Truth R. Fresh
And the head of their political science department? Why, Dr. Diamondtrim College Large, of course!
Not a smart idea
Are they high? How could that possibly be a good idea strategically for them?
Caterpillar Ranch Update
September 11, 2006
LMC Light Posting Alert
Yours truly is being mobilized in ten days for predeployment training and eventual deployment to Iraq so I will not be posting much, if at all, as I transition my Reserve duties at Fort Bragg to my executive officer, my law practice to my colleagues, and everything else on Mrs. LMC. Keep my family and my soldiers in your prayers. Robbo, don't change the locks--with any luck I will be able to blog every now and then from Forward Operating Base LMC.
Why it's a bad idea to brag about blog traffic
And other 9/10 thoughts. Scroll up for the post on school uniform politics right before 830 AM in the east.
Yips! from Robbo: I'll leave it to Steve-O to walk the delicate line between solemnity and flippancy for the rest of the day.
As it happens, I have to get on a plane in a little while for a bidness trip, returning tomorrow evening. The fact that I can do so with relative peace of mind says something about what this country has done right in the last five years in our war against the bad guys. Ralph Peters examines some other things we're getting right.
September 10, 2006
Randy Mac Attack - Alea Iacta Est Update
The Board of Trustees of Randolph Macon Woman's College voted this weekend to take the school coed by next year. Apparently, it was a pretty ugly meeting.
Saturday morning, an agitated crowd of some 400 students, alumnae and their supporters greeted the board's announcement by drowning out trustees president Jolley Christman as she tried to explain.
"Today we begin to heal. We begin to write the next chapter in our history,," Christman said, barely audible over the shouting.
Talk of "healing" is, of course, well known p.c.-speak for "siddown and shaddap".
So here is Randy Mac's dilemna. The student body and alumnae are furious both because of the decision itself and because of the perception that the Board made it on the sly. Expect donations to crash and transfers out to spike.
At the same time, because there is already another Randolph Macon College, the school is going to have to come up with a brand new name and begin marketing to both male and female prospective students from scratch. And this in a Commonwealth already stocked with a first-rate state school system and several very well known private schools.
Color me dubious about the chances for success.
YIPS from Steve-O: Here's the USA Today version. I think the main problem they are having is that they've been saying for quite awhile that things were going well financially. If you are going to make a core change like this, there has to be time for the reality of the financial statements to sink in for their to be sucessful buy-in, as at schools like Wells and Hood that have made this change (and subsequently seen their enrollment numbers go through the roof). There's also something to be said against bad timing: this decision has been known on the ground as de facto having been made since before the end of the spring semester. Letting it hang out there like this was a case study in bureaucratic bungling of timing. At the end of the day, colleges and universities are firms in a peculiar market, but a market nonetheless. If their financial numbers are underwater, the only way to prevent the firm from going down is increased subsidy. For a private college, that's the endowment. But there are limits to even that, even for a wealthy school. Only 3% of young women will consider even applying to a women's college, and that's an increasingly tight demographic to compete in.
The Tories must be enjoying this
Insert evil laughter here
Oh, the joy
Oh, I can hear the veins a poppin' among the Kossacks...
September 09, 2006
More Gratuitous Domestic Posting
Featuring a brief conversation between my body and me just after I finished my first treadmill run in God knows how many months:
Self: Well, that wasn't so bad, was it? Knees?
Self: Calves, how are you guys?
Self: Heart! My man! Que pasa?
Self: Lungs? Still with me?
Self: Um....hullo? Anybody? Everybody okay?
Left knee: Hey, pal, talk to the hands!
Gonna be an uphill struggle this time around.
I actually belong to a pretty good gym at the office but I haven't been down there in ages. Of course, since it's been so long since I've exercised at all, I've got to get in shape at home first before I dare show myself back at the gym.
Now here's a curious little piece of empirical observation: Every single guy I explain this home-first workout plan to knows instantly exactly what I'm talking about. On the other hand, every woman I tell thinks I'm completely out of my mind. Make of that what you will.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting - Outdoor Division
From the Tasty Bits (TM) Mail Sack:
Dear Robbo -
I can't help but notice that you have not posted lately about your garden. I trust this isn't a sign of trouble. No ravenous herds of Sauron's wraith rabbits razing your plants to the ground? No caribou nibbling at the croquet hoops? I'm sure I speak on behalf of many other readers when I say that I'd love to have news of your latest green-thumbing adventures.
Miss Ima Salk-Poppette
Well, thank you very much for your kind query, Miss S-P. To answer your first question, I am happy to report that, in fact, I've not had the slighted problem with rabbits this year. (Whether or not this has anything to do with the rayther large fox I've seen hanging about in the woods, I could not say.) As you may recall, the garden did suffer quite a bit of damage from the deer earlier in the summer, but the system of ropes and shiny blocks I put up seems to have deterred them from any more recent raids.
The fact of the matter is that there has not been much to report lately. Starting about mid-July, Northern Virginia suffered from something of a mini-drought which lasted right on up until the arrival of Ernesto two weeks ago. And while I specifically designed my garden to be drought-resistant and the lack of rain did not actually kill anything, it did have the effect of curtailing growth and extensive bloomage.
Now suddenly here we are in the middle of September. One of the things that separates my amateurish horticultural efforts from those of true gardeners is that most of my plants are spring or summer bloomers. It's true that the buddleia and the joe-pye will keep going strong until frost, but for the most part my garden has shot its bolt.
As a matter of fact, though, I enjoy this stage of the year as much as any other. There is something very soothing about strolling around the path, a sense of relaxation after the strenuous pace of the growing season. It's as if the garden has unbuttoned its waistcoat, put its feet up on the mantle and poured itself a quick one, having a bit of a breather before beginning the tasks of getting ready for the long sleep to come.
In a couple of weeks time, I'll have to begin the process of cutting back, digging up, separating and mulching, to say nothing of the advanced fretting about next year. But for now, it's nice just to rest.
By the bye, I noticed this morning about eight or ten of these little chaps hanging about on the butterfly weed:
Yes, Babs, they're Monarch caterpillars. In truth, I don't recall seeing this many (well, any really) in my garden before. As fond as I am of the Tiger Swallowtails that dominate this area, it'll be nice to have these Monarchs flittering about in another week or two as well.
September 08, 2006
Well, THAT'S a relief!
I can safely speak for all red-blooded American men age 39-41 who still have a thing for Ms. Lane because of A Little Romance, by saying "ROWWWWWR!"
When Worlds Collide
(Puts head in hands. Shakes slowly.)
This reminds me of a question I've got for
all both you fans of Episode III: When Obi-Wan slices Anakin's legs out from under him, why doesn't he finish him off then and there instead of just standing by and watching the guy get barbequed? If Obi-Wan meant to kill Anakin, surely it would be more merciful and Jedi-like to do it quickly and cleanly? If not, surely Obi-Wan should have stepped in and tried to help.
I Kinda Like That Style
It's the end of the day on Friday. What the hell.
I know there are those who disagree with me, but I rather like the Little Creatures album. Yes, it's different from their earlier stuff and yes, it is in many ways more mainstream. But it's got some good sounds and some interesting ideas for all that.
Gratuitous Historickal Posting
Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Lake George in 1755, in which a force of about 1500 British Colonial troops under the command of Sir William Johnson defeated a force of 3500 French and Indian allies commanded by Baron Ludwig August Dieskau. Here is a nice summary (with lots of site photos) of the day's fighting which rolled back and forth, eventually ending with the first significant British victory against the French in the struggle for dominion of North America. (Dieskau was seriously wounded in the fight and there is a story that William Johnson himself personally intervened to prevent him from being scalped.)
Johnson received a tremendous amount of fame and notariety in both Colonial and Crown circles as a result of his victory at this battle. Among other things, he was appointed Superintendant of Indian Affairs for the northern colonies in 1756. It was Johnson's intimate relations with the Iroqois, particularly the Mohawks, that largely persuaded them to take the British side against the French and later, during Pontiac's Rebellion, to keep them from turning on their Colonial allies (except the Senecas). Had the Iroqois taken either of these steps, the history of North American colonization by the Brits would have been vastly different and may well not have included the formation of the United States, at least not in a form recognizable today.
The great question of the day
The answer, of course, is:
Who's the black private dick
That's a sex machine to all the chicks?
Ya damn right!
Who is the bloggerman that would risk his neck
For his brother man?
Can you dig it?
Who's the cat that won't cop out
When there's Kossacks all about?
They say this cat Allahpundit is a bad mother
SHUT YOUR MOUTH!
I'm talkin' 'bout Allahpundit.
THEN WE CAN DIG IT!
He's a complicated man
But no one understands him but KP
Yes, I Suppose Metaphorically Speaking That's Pretty Much What We Do 'Round This Blog
Your Llamas, right at the top of the results of an Ask.com search for kids throwing up for attention.
UPDATE: Oh, and can I just say thank you to the folks at Ask.com for letting Jeeves go? I know you did it only because you decided the marketing wasn't working out very well, but I appreciate it nonetheless.
That's My Church!
Former Iranian president Mohammed Khatami spoke at the National Cathedral last evening on "the role of the three 'Abrahamic faiths' in shaping peace throughout the world."
As it happens, I caught just a bit of the exchange at the press conference before the speech:
Reporter: Can there be peace between us?
Khatami: Peeeace........Nooooo Peeeace......
Reporter: What is it that you want us to do?
At that point, the mic cut out.
G.K. Chesterton said something to the effect that one of the first results of a loss of faith was the loss of common sense. The Episcopal Church is often symbolized as a tripod built on three pillars: reason, scripture and tradition. I've long argued that the "reason" leg has grown so long that the whole thing threatens to topple right over. Inviting this man of all people to stand in this place and lecture us on peaceful co-existence is a sign, to me, both of the validity of Chesterton's remark and of the toppling our Church is experiencing.
YIPS from Steve-O: I can't wait for the spirit of comity and fairness to come into play so that Jimmy Carter is allowed to make a similar tour in Iran so he to can give learned and erudite speeches on the decadent nature of the West, the evils of America, and the stupidity of Christianity.
UPDATE: Oh, well. At least I'm not a Presbyterian!
UPDATE DEUX: I went back and looked it up. The Chesterton I'm actually thinking of is: "It's the first effect of not believing in God that you lose your common sense." This, btw, is the apparent root (or one of them) of the most quoted line of Chesterton's that he never actually wrote.
Gratuitous Morning-After Zombie Commentary
At one point I actually caught myself saying, "Well, they are playing the defending champs, after all. And on the Steelers' home field, too...."
But by the end of the game I was
slurring shouting saying, "Naw, Madden was right at the beginning. The pieces are slotting in but we're not there yet. Dammit."
UPDATE: The Sun'll Come Out - Tomorrow!!
My one and only Path to 911 posting
No, I'm not going to watch. Wasn't going to watch before, definitely won't watch now.
If they were going to do something like this, better to have gone all Herman Wouk on it and done a Winds of War type treatment. In other words, if you are going to add a fictional dimension to create narrative drive, make sure it's clear that's what you are doing. It does a grave disservice to the country if you are passing off something that's fictionalized as a reality-based dramatization.
Speaking only for myself, I don't want a right-wing version of Farenheit 911.
That said, the Left, you can stick a sock in it, right after you give Rovester a big fat apology for slandering him over Valerie Plame. And touting Farenheit 911 for an Oscar as a documentary, and for crying deep tears over the crushing of dissent by the right's "destruction" of the "career" of the Dixie Chicks. Threatening to take away ABC's broadcasting license because you don't like Path? Looks an awful lot like the crushing of dissent, baby. Freedom of the press. Etc. Etc. Etc.
Yips! from Robbo: Yeah, politics is all about whose ass is getting chomped at the moment. Suff on the lot of them, says I.
I'm sure Halliburton was involved somehow
Damn that Karl Rove!!!!! Does his inhumanity know no bounds?????
Add poor Chris Klein to the ever-growing list of casualties of the Bushco War Machine.
If Jackson Browne weren't a washed-up drunk he could write a funny song about this
The Jackson Browne title would have to be "Homeschooling juvie fiction writers and comic book editors in love."
Best breakfast read
Headline: "Pimp my tyrant"
Presented without comment (and without any editing by Sandy Berger, shoving the clippings in his pants)
September 07, 2006
A worthy cause
Hit the tin can. You know you want to.
Behold the power of these here wild, wacky, intertubes
Thanks to Robbo's crankolicious blogging about Randy Mac's decision to admit humans of the ovum-challenged persuasion, the LLamabutchers are now ranked more highly on google than Randy Mac's own official webpage.
Let this be a lesson to college official PR webherders everywhere.
Now what that lesson is, I have not a clue. But you probably knew that already.
Ain't It The Truth
Our pal Jordana on the household menace that is Legos:
[ ]I almost miss the dinosaur phase and the endless stream of facts. The toys were limited to a few plastic dinosaurs generally set up in a scene somewhere around the house.
Legos are not so containable. Although I try to insist that they stay upstairs, the sharp little toys seem to migrate, and they never seem to all get cleaned up at once. Sigh. At least the girl's don't seem too interested in Legos, so perhaps I'll get a respite from their mess eventually.
To bowlderize Thomas Dolby just a bit, "it's entropy in motion."
Alas, at Orgle Manor, the current favorite toy is a big, heaping bucket full o' Magnetix.
Aside from the fact that Child Protective Services could probably come 'round and scoop us in for letting the Llama-ettes play with such potential killers, my primary beef is that they leave the pieces scattered all over the fairway. In the middle of the night the cat likes to find them and bat them about. You'd be amazed how much noise a metal ball-bearing can make when it's knocked about on a wooden floor at two ack emma.
UPDATE: Ooh, I just thought of something! SOOPER-SEKRET MESSAGE TO THE MISSUS! CLICK THE LINK! IF THE GELS PLAY WITH MAGNETIX, THEY WILL DIE! THROW THEM ALL AWAY IMMEDIATELY!! (THE MAGNETIX, THAT IS, NOT THE GELS.)
How To Ensure That I Will Be An Absolute Zombie Tomorrow
Season opener at Pittsburgh tonight, baybee!
'We can take a big step,'' tight end Randy McMichael says, summing up the stakes. ``Everybody's going to be watching and this will be our chance to showcase all the hard work we've done this offseason.
``But it can blow up in our faces if we don't play good.''
Go read the rest of the Herald's Hero or Goat column here.
Peter King says the Steelers win by one. But what the hell does he know.....
Gratuitous Princess Bride Posting
Gratuitous Historickal Posting - WWII Division
September 7, 1940 was the opening day of the Luftwaffe's "Blitz" against London and other English cities. London would be hit for the next 57 consecutive days and the Blitz would not be over until May, 1941. In all, somewhere in the neighborhood of 30,000 Londoners were killed, with massive damage done to houses, factories and government buildings including both Parliament and Buckingham Palace.
Ironically, the Blitz represented a strategic mistake on the part of the Germans. The original air assault against Britain had been designed to secure air-superiority over the beaches on which the Germans hoped to land an invasion force. To this end, throughout the summer of 1940, the Luftwaffe attacked forward British air bases and facilities, doing extensive damage and disrupting Fighter Command's operations in the southeast of England much more severely that the Germans realized. Underestimating the damage it was doing, the Luftwaffe decided to switch targets and concentrate instead on Britain's industrial ability to reenforce the RAF. (Whether the deliberate bombing of the civilian population of London itself was an integral part of the Blitz from the beginning or no, it certainly was an element by the time the Blitz ended.) This had the unintended consequence of giving Fighter Command welcomed breathing space in order to get back on its feet, from which it was never again seriously threatened.
How To Lose Friends And Disinterest People
I've never really gotten riled up one way or the other over the whole immigration issue other than to believe that there is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to come to the United States but that some sort of order has to be applied to the process. In this way, I suppose I am right in the mushy middle on this subject.
Nonetheless, the quickest way to put me right off a given cause is to hold a goddam rally on the goddam National Mall right during goddam rush hour. I remember the last pro-immigration rally earlier this year. I had to walk several miles just to find a Metro station I could get into, then spend a long, slow, hot, sweaty ride in a car packed like a sardine tin. By the time I finally got to my stop, I would gladly have supported hiring a clone army to defend the border.
So if I start spouting Fortress America vitriol tomorrow, you'll understand why.
The sad, strange spectacle
that is UVa alum and former first-round NBA draft pick, Ralph Sampson. He will be pleading guilty to mail fraud in federal court in Richmond.
Yeah, that's going to go over real well
David Broder, increasingly the Grandpa Simpson of American journalism:
Conspiracy theories flourish in politics, and most of them have no more basis than spring training hopes for the Chicago Cubs.
Whenever things turn dicey for Republicans, they complain about the "liberal media" sabotaging them. And when Democrats get in a jam, they take up Hillary Clinton's warnings about a "vast right-wing conspiracy."
For much of the past five years, dark suspicions have been voiced about the Bush White House undermining its critics, and Karl Rove has been fingered as the chief culprit in this supposed plot to suppress the opposition.
Now at least one count in that indictment has been substantially weakened -- the charge that Rove masterminded a conspiracy to discredit Iraq intelligence critic Joseph Wilson by "outing" his CIA-operative wife, Valerie Plame.
I have written almost nothing about the Wilson-Plame case, because it seemed overblown to me from the start. Wilson's claim in a New York Times op-ed about his memo on the supposed Iraqi purchase of uranium yellowcake from Niger; the Robert D. Novak column naming Plame as the person who had recommended Wilson to check up on the reported sale; the call for a special prosecutor and the lengthy interrogation that led to the jailing of Judith Miller of the New York Times and the deposition of several other reporters; and, finally, the indictment of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff -- all of this struck me as being a tempest in a teapot.
No one behaved well in the whole mess -- not Wilson, not Libby, not special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and not the reporters involved.
The only time I commented on the case was to caution reporters who offered bold First Amendment defenses for keeping their sources' names secret that they had better examine the motivations of the people leaking the information to be sure they deserve protection.
But caution has been notably lacking in some of the press treatment of this subject -- especially when it comes to Karl Rove. And it behooves us in the media to examine that behavior, not just sweep it under the rug.
Sidney Blumenthal, a former aide to President Bill Clinton and now a columnist for several publications, has just published a book titled, "How Bush Rules: Chronicles of a Radical Regime." It is a collection of his columns for Salon, including one originally published on July 14, 2005, titled "Rove's War."
It was occasioned by the disclosure of a memo from Time magazine's Matt Cooper, saying that Rove had confirmed to him the identity of Valerie Plame. To Blumenthal, that was proof that this "was political payback against Wilson by a White House that wanted to shift the public focus from the Iraq War to Wilson's motives."
Then Blumenthal went off on a rant: "While the White House stonewalls, Rove has license to run his own damage control operation. His surrogates argue that if Rove did anything, it wasn't a crime. . . . Rove is fighting his war as though it will be settled in a court of Washington pundits. Brandishing his formidable political weapons, he seeks to demonstrate his prowess once again. His corps of agents raises a din in which their voices drown out individual dissidents. His frantic massing of forces dominates the capital by winning the communications battle. Indeed, Rove may succeed momentarily in quelling the storm. But the stillness may be illusory. Before the prosecutor, Rove's arsenal is useless."
In fact, the prosecutor concluded that there was no crime; hence, no indictment. And we now know that the original "leak," in casual conversations with reporters Novak and Bob Woodward, came not from the conspiracy theorists' target in the White House but from the deputy secretary of state at the time, Richard Armitage, an esteemed member of the Washington establishment and no pal of Rove or President Bush.
Blumenthal's example is far from unique. Newsweek, in a July 25, 2005, cover story on Rove, after dutifully noting that Rove's lawyer said the prosecutor had told him that Rove was not a target of the investigation, added: "But this isn't just about the Facts, it's about what Rove's foes regard as a higher Truth: That he is a one-man epicenter of a narrative of Evil."
And in the American Prospect's cover story for August 2005, Joe Conason wrote that Rove "is a powerful bully. Fear of retribution has stifled those who might have revealed his secrets. He has enjoyed the impunity of a malefactor who could always claim, however implausibly, deniability -- until now."
These and other publications owe Karl Rove an apology. And all of journalism needs to relearn the lesson: Can the conspiracy theories and stick to the facts.
I think the Free Masons have gotten to him! Damn those Illuminati bastards---TO HELL!!!!!!!
You know, I think I know who to blame for this one
Hmm, it's not like we know any mad scientists who like wreaking havoc on the genomes of really small fish.
McLEAN, Va. (AP) - Some species of male fish in the Potomac River and its tributaries are developing female sexual traits at a frequency higher than scientists have seen before, raising concerns about pollutants in a waterway that provides drinking water for millions of people.
The so-called "intersex fish," which produce immature eggs in their testes, were discovered in the Potomac rivershed in 2003 and have also been found in other parts of the country.
My advice to you, Robbo, is to drink white wine with the sea bass.
"Cayn't Get Theyah From Heyah"
Somebody Googled in here on a search for "Arrival at Mansfield Fark."
How do I grab a Flash animation using the Mac? With Windows, you could do the right click select thing, but what's the equivalent on Mac? I tried the apple button + clicking, but to no effect. I don't have a mouse, just the track pad on a macbook pro. Thanks!
"It's Da Plummer. I Come Ta Fix Da Sink!"
The Colossus has some good thoughts this morning on the idea that people believe the world is less safe than it was five years ago:
Is the world today more dangerous than it was five years ago? Personally, I think if it has become more dangerous, it is only because the people of the West have revealed themselves to be unwilling to face any of the problems that have been revealed to them. Objectively, the rot was setting in for many years, and we chose to ignore it for as long as we could.
But there is disquiet in the west, for when the truth manifests itself to us, we find it unpleasant and are unwilling to pay the bill to fix it. We look for someone to blame for waking us from our pleasant dreams, to find that the world is as dangerous a place as it ever was.
Go read the rest and you'll understand the plumber metaphor.
The Boys From Brazil II
I was wondering where I had seen this picture before, but the Sooper Sekrit Agent Bedhead nailed it.
Because it's the journey, not the destination.
Happy Birthday, Good Queen Bess!
Today is the anniversary of the birth of Elizabeth I, born this day in 1533.
A pal of mine recently added me to a quote of the day email list she's on. Here's today's entry honoring the occassion:
This royal infant, -- heaven still move about her! Though in her cradle, yet now promises Upon this land a thousand blessings, Which time shall bring in ripeness.
- William Shakespeare (1564-1616) (King Henry VIII, Act V, Sc. 5)
I am your annointed Queen. I will never be by violence constrained to do anything. I thank God that I am endued with such qualities that if I were turned out of the Realm in my petticoat, I were able to live in any place in Christome.
- Queen Elizabeth I (speech to members of Parliament, November 1566)
I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and a king of England too; and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm.
- Elizabeth (speech to her soldiers at Tilbury, on the approach of the Spanish Armada, July 1588)
Today is the 473rd anniversary of the birth of England's "Good Queen Bess,"
Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603), the daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne
Boleyn. Elizabeth acceded to the throne in 1558 after the death of Queen
Mary I ("Bloody Mary"), who had attempted to revive Catholicism in England
during her tempestuous five-year reign. Elizabeth restored Anglicanism, uni-
fied the country, oversaw the rise of England as a major European power
with a first-rate navy, and ushered in a golden age of music, literature, and
drama that still enriches our lives today. Moreover, her diplomacy secured
defensive alliances against the Spanish, culminating in the defeat of the
Spanish Armada in 1588. As the "Virgin Queen," Elizabeth never married
and left no heir. She was succeeded by James [VI] of Scotland, who then be-
came James [I] of England. Ironically, James was the son of Mary Queen of
Scots, whom Elizabeth had reluctantly executed in 1587 for plotting against
the crown. Good Queen Bess was not without humor. She remarked to
Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford*, after he had spent seven years in voluntary
exile from acute embarrassment over breaking wind in her presence, "My Lord, I had forgot the fart."
* N.B. This is the same Earl of Oxford (1550-1604) who is regularly
suggested as the "real" author of Shakespeare's plays.
(Show of hands, btw, of those who think this fellah should be blogging.)
It is fascinating how much of England's achievement during her reign can be directly ascribed to the power and force of Elizabeth herself. She was, to put it simply, truly inspirational to her people. As it happens, I concentrated primarily on Tudor and Stuart literature in college. The energy and exuberance evident in the plays and poems written during the heyday of Elizabeth's reign contrast remarkably with the general gloomy, often bloody and sometimes outright lurid works produced in her last years and during the subsequent reign of James. Elizabeth left a tremendous vacuum behind her when she died, one that poor James couldn't hope to fill.
Maybe it's just me, part deux
But this scene somehow produced strange and disturbing visions of Burt Reynolds with his bow and arrow in Deliverance:
It's nice, however, to see The Hasselhoff enamored of something that's not an amber liquid.
(Stolen from Ace)
And so it begins....
Allahpundit (who else?) has the link to the first truly-web based campaign ad with high production values up over at YouTube, the advertisement for the new Democratic newspaper "America Weakly."
Usual warnings about not watching while eating Cheerios, as those little mothers not only hurt when forced by laughter out your nose, but leave a rather uninviting mark when propelled onto the computer screen.
September 06, 2006
"Speak That I May See Thee"
People often write in and ask me, "Tom, what do you guys sound like?"
Well, courtesy of Llamapaedia, you can now listen in on a bit of Llama banter.
Yips! to whoever dialed into Google looking for "what do llamas sound like."
And speaking of Llamapaloosa, we're the No. 1 Google strike for "what does a dream about a llama mean."
I'd say it means lay off the everclear and seek immediate professional help.
Election Outcomes Futures Markets Update
The Tradesports Republican Control of the House contract has tanked over the last couple of days:
alt="Price for Republican Party 2006 Mid Term Election Control at TradeSports.com"
title="Price for Republican Party 2006 Mid Term Election Control at TradeSports.com" border="0">
Forty is a pretty important frontier to be breached. Meanwhile, the Republican Control of the Senate contract is bouncing around at $80.
Republican Senate Seat Victor contracts---
Okay, those are in play but at the outer boundaries. Here are the ones underwater:
But wait, don't order those new curtains for the majority leader's office quite yet: according to Tradesports, the New Jersey Democratic Incumbent seat is in trouble, trading at a Democratic retain contract at only $57.9, with the Republican winning trading at $44.5. As much as the Donks are going to want to pour money into Virginia and Tennessee, they need to shore up New Jersey.
Oh, and they also have to hope the Nedster wins in the Nutmeg state, which the punters are not exactly favoring at the moment, with Joe's relection contract trading at $66.5 and Ned only at $33.6.
Yips! from Robbo: I'd consider putting some coin on those House futures. The campaign season is just starting and it's only now that people are going to start considering the concept of "Speaker Pelosi" seriously. Call me a fool, but I continue to believe there's gonna be a bounce.
More Yips! from Robbo: And it appears that Dubya has opened up the weapons locker.
Randy Mac Attack - Update
A couple days ago, I posted about the brewing furor over plans by the Randolph Macon Woman's College Board of Trustees to take the place coed.
Well, somebody has been at work rallying the opposition to the barricades, because you can now get your very own anti-coed rally stuff:
Items include shirts, mugs, buttons aaaaaaand the ever-popular Cafe Press thong. Should be one hell of a protest rally!
By the way, I note the sales pitch:
The Board of Trustees at Randolph-Macon Woman's College is going to vote on a plan to go coed - destroying a century of tradition at one of the nation's finest single sex institutions. Tell them NO. We don't want boys at our Woman's College. Show your support for the cause by wearing these shirts when we march on the Board meeting! NO BOYS!
"No Boys?" Fine. But that means I have every right to continue to refer to the place as a girls' school.
BTW, just in case it's not clear, I'm siding with the traditionalists on this one. Knew you'd be surprised.
UPDATE: Looks like we're beginning to pull some Google traffic over this business. Well, what better way can we aid the RMWC cause than by link-dumping some other anti-coed blogs? Here ya go:
YIPS from Steve-O: Crickets chirping..... What did I do with that 10 ft pole? Got it around here somewhere.....
Over the next month, Immaculata University and Lesley and Wells Colleges will enroll their first male freshmen — and in the process they seem to be attracting a lot more women as well. Two other institutions that changed from women’s to coeducational institutions over the last two years — Chestnut Hill and Harcum Colleges — are also seeing enrollment increases of men and women.
Coeducation is a painful topic to consider at many women’s colleges. At Wells, for example, the decision followed years of faltering enrollment and was met with protests and legal threats by some students who wanted the institution to remain all-female.
But in a very real sense, prospective college students vote with their feet, and the numbers at Wells and data from these colleges back the arguments made by the college leaders who pushed to admit men — namely that going coed would attract many more applications.
Over the last five years that Wells was a women’s college, it averaged 396 applications a year. This fall’s freshman class was selected from 1,012 applications. Based on deposits, Wells expects to enroll 134 students as freshmen this fall, 22 of them men. Wells officials also now believe it is possible to raise total enrollment over the next few years from 425 to 600.
The excitement about male enrollment can even have an impact before there are any men around. Immaculata announced in the fall of 2003 that it would enroll men for the first time in the fall of 2005. That announcement is credited with an increase in the university’s freshman class from 82 to 148 from 2003 to 2004. This fall, with male students no longer just a theory, 311 freshmen have paid deposits, and the 111 men in that group outnumber the entire freshman class of two years earlier.
David W. Strauss, a principal of the Art and Science Group, says these increases reflect trends that have been growing for years. “There’s no question that most college-bound women these days prefer a coed institution,” says Strauss, whose firm advises colleges on marketing and enrollment strategies. (Strauss has advised a number of women’s colleges and former women’s colleges, but none of those in this article.)
The boom following an announcement about admitting men reflects the qualities of many women’s colleges as liberal arts institutions or as colleges known for training students for certain kinds of careers. Once the obstacle of single-sex status is removed, more students may consider these colleges. Indeed, Strauss says that many successful women’s colleges are successful because of those qualities. “There are prominent women’s colleges that attract very highly qualified students by virtues of the strength of the institution rather than the defining aspect of admission as being women’s colleges,” he says.
At the same time, Strauss cautions women’s colleges from reading too much into the success of their former peers that are admitting men.
“The mistake many institutions make going coed is that they assume that by admitting men, the floodgates will be opened,” he says. And even if the floodgates open for a few years, the larger question is “can you sustain it over time?”
One reason colleges that go coed (or make any dramatic change) see increases is that change attracts attention. “When you do something controversial, you get more attention. When you get more attention, you get more interest, and when you get more interest, you get more applications,” Strauss says.
Susan Lennon, executive director of the Women’s College Coalition, says she is pleased by the success of some of her former members. “I think you are seeing decisions that will enable these colleges to continue their founding missions: to educate women,” Lennon says.
Single-sex education “isn’t a numbers game,” she says, so she doesn’t worry about declines in the number of women’s colleges. The more important trend, she says, is that more educators and more female students are thinking about what conditions encourage the success of women. Lennon says that the Lawrence Summers controversy has led to much more discussion of these issues, which benefits women’s colleges.
As for those that admitted men, Lennon says many factors are involved. “It has to do with your endowment. It has to do with where you are located. There are so many variables.”
Three other women’s colleges that recently admitted men are:
Chestnut Hill College, which first enrolled men in 2003. Prior to coeducation, enrollment was 347 and this fall it will be 725, with the college expecting the number to rise eventually to at least 1,200 students.
Harcum College, a private two-year institution, has seen its enrollment grow from 600, when its board voted in December 2003 to become coeducational, to a projected 750 students this fall — a figure that the college didn’t expect to reach until next year. Harcum actually was admitting a few men prior to the 2003 vote, but those numbers have increased since coeducation became official. The college has also added majors in fields such as criminal justice and this year will introduce men’s basketball.
Lesley College, the original undergraduate college of Lesley University, has been the only part of the larger institution to be restricted to women. This fall, the college will admit its first coed class. Applications were up to 792, from 345. And the number of students who have deposits to enroll is 149, up from 104 a year ago.
The colleges that are admitting men are not those considered in the top tier of women’s higher education. And there does not appear to be any movement at the more prestigious women’s colleges to admit men. Kevin McCaffrey, a spokesman for Mount Holyoke College, said that the institution hasn’t had serious talks about coeducation since the mid-1990s — and that officials feel that the institution is thriving. The last decade has seen a 44 percent increase in applications and completion of a fund raising campaign that raised $257 million (from an initial goal of $200 million).
Many colleges that have gone coed have done so over the objections of students enrolled at the time the decision was made. At Mills College, the board voted in 1990 to admit men, but the board reversed itself following student protests.
After that, “we’ve never looked back,” says Julie E. Richardson, vice president for enrollment management. “There was a sentiment that women who want it deserve a choice for single-sex education.”
At Mills, that sentiment is strong. Applications were up 82 percent this year. It didn’t require a change of approach, Richardson says, but setting up a marketing department. “We’re the same school that we were, but more people know us.”
Last fall, 136 women enrolled as freshmen. This year, 205 women already have paid deposits.
There's a college administration at Rourke's Drift analogy there, but I best leave iit alone.
Yips! back from Robbo: Ah, Wells. "The magic of Aurora." Been there. Done, erm, that.
BTW, I had seen that article. Again, I speak in ignorance, but it strikes me that the collegiate market at anything below the national school level is extremely fractured, nichified and complicated. So I would be somewhat skeptical of reading too much of the success stories of some other very small, local schools elsewhere into the Virginia market.
Does That Seem Right To You?
Last evening I found myself reading The Deer In The Wood to the Four Year Old. For those of you unfamiliar with it, this is one of a series of preschool versions of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books. They typically have extremely simple and minimalized plots and are, I suspect, enjoyable to the kiddies primarily because of the art work.
Anyhoo, in this particular book, Pa announces that he's going to go out and shoot a deer for meat, the family having been on nothing but biscuit for some time. He climbs a tree with his rifle and waits. After a bit, a buck comes by but Pa decides the animal is too handsome to shoot. After a bit more, a doe and fawn come by. This time Pa decides that they are too lovely to shoot.
Finally, Pa goes home empty-handed, reasoning to himself that the deer should be allowed to live in peace because they're so nice and, after all, biscuit is good enough for his family.
Now. I admit that it's been something like thirty years since I read Little House In The Big Woods, but I can't conceive that the real Pa Ingalls would have done something quite so Disneyish as to forswear shooting deer altogether, especially because he realizes how cute n' cuddly they are. Pioneers who indulged in that kind of fantasy would quickly become what is clinically known as dead from starvation. There must be more to the original.
I don't especially object to the Little House series being mined for materials to serve up to the pre-kindergarten crowd, but at least it had ought to be plausible.
Mr. Woo Goes To The Movies
Has anybody out there ever seen the 1988 film version of Evelyn Waugh's A Handful of Dust? Is it Netflix-worthy?
The cast looks promising at any rate. Judy Dench would be perfect as Mrs. Beaver and I'm sure Alec Guiness would be suitably chilling as the deranged Mr. Todd. Rupert Graves as John Beaver? Yes, I suppose that would work.
I've never heard of James Wilby, so I don't know how he'd do as poor old Tony. As for Kristin Scott Thomas as Brenda, I've certainly heard of her but don't recall seeing her work. Brenda is the single most loathsome characters I can think of in all of Waugh's novels, so it would be interesting to see how Thomas deals with her.
Anyhoo, if you've ever seen this flick, I'd be glad of your opinions. (Keep in mind, of course, my general opinion on screen adaptations of novels.)
UPDATE: Well, I've ordered it up at Netflix anyway. Reading through the comments there, it seemed to me that most criticism of the movie (evidently written by people who had not read the book) centered around the horrible ending of the story. I imagine that it might well have been some similar contemporary criticism that prompted Waugh to write a short story entitled "By Special Request" which is actually an alternative ending to Handful of Dust which cuts out the dark fall of Tony Last and instead substitutes a rather bland, ambiguous conclusion. I have to say that I don't like it very much. Evidently, I'm not the only one.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Back To School Division
Well, today is the Six Year Old's first day of
first grade lower elementary at St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method.
I dunno what conditions are like at other Montessori schools, but our headmistress comes from a solid Catholic school background. Therefore, all the elementary kids wear uniforms.
The S-Y-O was so excited about suiting up for the first time that she was out of bed and dressed well before six ack emma. I suppose the novelty will wear off soon enough, but even when the child has to be lifted out of bed with high explosives, it'll be a helluva lot easier to get her dressed and breakfasted in fifteen minutes if you know exactly what it is she'll have to wear. This is one of the nifty things about school uniforms.
Here's another one. The S-Y-O has inherited her elder sister's hand-me-downs. The Eight Year Old, in turn, got many of her dresses from another family at the school, whose own girls had outgrown them. Once the S-Y-O gets too big, she will, in turn, hand them on to her younger sister. (That is, if the Four Year Old doesn't get bigger than her first, a distinct possibility.) And once the F-Y-O is too big for them, I'm sure we'll pass them on to somebody else.
You can insert your own cheap Scotsman joke here, but I derive an immense amount of satisfaction from this arrangement.
UPDATE: Lileks is ranting today about incompetent school bus drivers. I have to admit that one of the things I'll miss about summer is not getting stuck repeatedly behind these yellow behemoths on the way over to the Metro.
Sawx back from the dead?
The White Sox came to Boston as the American League Wild Card leader, still a viable AL Central contender, and, after all, the defending World Series champions. Surely, they would begin a September surge at any moment.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, had been devastated by a deluge of injury and illness, skidded to a 9-21 August, and had traded David Wells for a catching prospect, a sign that, if they were not surrendering, they were certainly shifting the focus to 2007 and beyond.
So what happens next? The Red Sox, their starting pitching theoretically battered, win the first two games of this series with stellar pitching, behind a reliever making his second start in four years, and a rookie who entered the game with no victories and an ERA of 6.35 in four appearances. The Red Sox, over these two nights, get all of their previously injured regulars back in the lineup.
They're doin' it for Zoe! (Special inside joke for new pappa LB Buddy)
September 05, 2006
Oh no, NOW he's done it!
Aggressively seek the bomb? Sure, why not--only evil AmeriKKKan fascists used it against peace-loving, pacifist, oragami making Japan.
Mock the Holocaust and aggressively promote anti-Semitism? Well sure, because, did the Holocaust really happen, and if it did, it must have been because of pesky folk like Joe Lieberman and with the support of Prescott Bush.
But question tenure and seek to fire university professors? Will NO ONE STOP THIS MADMAN?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
Bonus points for guessing how long it will take the usual leftists to go all "well Bush and the Rethuglikans hate liberal professors too!"
I haven't had much to say on the upcoming elections. As to the "poll" numbers that have been coming down, I simply haven't paid much attention to them largely because of my firm opinion that nobody really focuses on politics during the summer.
To our friends across the aisle who are beginning to rub their hands in anticipation, however, I would offer this advice: Don't start measuring for new drapes just yet. And why? Well, look in the mirror.
Rich Galen puts it succictly:
I may have told you this before, and I will probably remind you of it again, but here is what I believe will happen on November 7th: People will go to the polls being disappointed, disgusted, disenchanted, and/or disaffected with the way Republicans have run the House and Senate.
But when they actually vote, they will decide that they might not like the people who are running things on Capitol Hill now, but the world is too dangerous a place to hand it over to a bunch of rookies whom they don't know, don't trust and, so, won't elect.
National security is a political issue. And it is not a plus for the Democrats.
Jim Geraghty goes even further:
Today, there’s frustration in the land. Understandable. Bloggers fed up with pork want to track down Ted Stevens and Robert Byrd, get a good “secret hold” on their collars and shake ‘em vigorously. (Or worse.) Iraq is still a tough fight. Gas prices are falling, but were high for quite a while. But do Democrats get to win back Congress this year, based on the performance they’ve turned in lately? When their plan on Iraq is essentially, “pull out and hope it gets better,” and their most prominent spokesman wants a rapid-response force based in Okinawa?
When a potential committee chairman said he doesn’t want to take sides for or against Hezbollah?
When they object to the term “Islamist Fascism,” essentially arguing that the guys we’re fighting can’t be fascist because they don’t have spiffy uniforms and a distinctive march? What, are they worried that the label "fascist" will unfairly tarnish the reputations of al-Qaeda, Iraqi insurgents, Nasrallah and Hezbollah, and the Iranian mullahs?
(Judging by the reaction to Dick Durbin last year, Nazi comparisons are okay for U.S. troops guarding al-Qaeda prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, but not okay for the actual terrorists that these guys are guarding.)
When they knock out the one undisputed hawk in their caucus and replace him with a guy who pledges, “America is stronger when we work with our allies and negotiate with our enemies?”
When they’ve spent much of the year beating the drums over a crime that didn’t occur? When they had to abandon the “culture of corruption” argument because members of their caucus had cash in their freezer and took a swing at a Capitol Police officer?
When there’s no chance whatsoever that these folks would really crack down on illegal immigration, and they not-so-subtly suggest that wanting immigration laws enforced is de facto racism?
Look – I can see losing to Bill Clinton. The guy could sell ice to Eskimos, always had the perfect touch on television, and campaigned as the most noncontroversial welfare-reforming centrist ever to kiss a baby. (And, er, uh, other people.)
But these guys? The GOP is going to lose to Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean, John Murtha, Ned Lamont? The crowd that shares its stages with Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Cindy Sheehan?
Maybe my inclinations are blinding me. And there’s still a lot of campaign season to go. But I just don’t think it’s likely that this crowd is going to seal the deal with a majority of the American people.
Come November 8th, you can call me either a genius or a moron. Well, I know you're doing the latter anyway. But my point is that I agree with these guys that this is probably the way the vote is going to play out this fall.
For Those Of You Who Have Absolutely No Interest In Gratuitous Musickal Posting
It's the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders' Calendar.
Yips! to Gregg Easterbrook.
Gratuitous Musickal Posting
(Image lifted from al-Reuters.)
This is nifty: Pictured above are the newly-rediscovered earliest known manuscripts of a young Johan Sebastian Bach, dating from 1700 or so. The manuscripts are copies of the works of two of young Bach's model composers, Dietrich Buxtehude and Johann Adam Reinken. As the researchers put it, "[t]echnically highly demanding, these organ works document the extraordinary virtuoso skills of the young Bach as well as his efforts to master the most ambitious and complex pieces of the entire organ repertoire."
Yips! to Moderata.
Happy Birthday to Bob Newhart, born this day in 1929 in Oak Park, Illinois.
To my mind, Newhart is one of the funniest comics out there. His deadpan takes on absurd situations never stales.
Growing up, Newhart's Buttoned-Down Mind albums were one of my family's staples. All sorts of phrases and punchlines from Bob's skits (favorites: "The Driving Lesson" and "The Kruschev Landing") made their way into the family lexicon, including;
- "You're going too fast, Mrs. Webb!"
- "No, no, Abe. First a rail-splitter, then a lawyer."
- "He banged the kid with the door!"
- "Ya see, Walt, that's an American holiday."
We were also devoted to The Bob Newhart Show and, later, Newhart. I don't think the latter was quite as funny as the former, but I do think that the series finale was one of the funniest bits every put on network television.
I see, according to the Bob Newhart website, that Bob's autobiography is about to be released. Gonna go on over to Amazon and sign up for that one straight away.
Gratuitous Rainy Commuter Observations
I've often said that an umbrella is really more a form of protest than of protection. The lower slopes got quite moistened this morning.
Another thing that I often think about when it rains: A few years back, the Dee Cee Metro Authority suddenly got worried that blind people were going to pitch off the platform and on to the tracks in the path of an oncoming train because there was no curb or other indicator of the platform's edge. Not that this had actually happened to anyone, so far as I recall. Someone just got worried about it. So Metro went through an elaborate process of installing what amount to rumble strips at the edges of all its platforms, the better to guard the safety of its passengers.
That's all well and good, I suppose, but what I cannot understand is why the rest of the platform, indeed the rest of the station, is floored with a tile that gets so slippery when wet that the station is transformed into one giant skating rink. Slip 'n Fall 'n Sue City, if you ask me.
This morning was especially bad, as I am wearing a brand new pair of weejuns, the soles of which are not yet scuffed up. As I slipped along, I kept asking myself "What would Brian Boitano do?"
September 04, 2006
Curmudgeonry Jordana is soliciting names for the Anglophile at heart. Robbo, you're up. All I could come up with is "Grizzly."
Meanwhile, our House Leftist and all-around mad scientist LB Buddy over at Really Small Fish has just announced the birth of baby #3, a little girl cute as a button and resembling in no way either a Zebra fish or Bill Belichik, which is, I guess, a good thing. Congrats to the long-suffering saint of a wife of his!
Yips! from Robbo: May I suggest Norman St. John Polevaulter?
UPDATE: Link fixed. Our bad. You try typing with hooves.
Maybe it's just me...
But as soon as I saw this over at Hot Air this image just popped into my mind:
I'll be out pricing sunglasses and false beards.....
Has God Joined The Aqua Nation?
Pittsburgh's star QB Ben Roethlisberger will miss the season opener against the 'Fins Thursday night due to an emergency appendectomy.
Light Fuse. Stand Back.
Have you seen the latest Ford commercial for some SUV or other in which the family are all out having qualityhappybondingtime until the end when the Dad gets dropped off and you realize that it was just visitation day? The sales pitch is that this particular car gets better than 500 miles per tank and the tag line is that this means you can thus spend more time doing the important things - like buying ice cream at the beach for your kids.
See, the car makes the kids' lives more special! Innut that wonderful? Never mind that Mom and Dad split the dishes. Never mind that Dad would actually serve the kids much better not by sailing in every now and again for some happytime bonding, but actually by being around all the time and sharing in both the high points and the day-to-day drudgery of life (including stopping by the gas station to fill up the tank). Forget all that. Buy this Ford and you too can make your child's life that much more wunnerful regardless!
I find this commercial deeply offensive.
I find it offensive not because it brings up issues of divorce and divided custody. Of course, I've plenty of opinions on these matters, but that's for another day. No, what I find offensive is Ford's rose-colored glasses portrayal of a split family and its suggestion that the way to achieve this [false] ideal is to buy its damned car.
Randolph Macon Woman's College (known far and wide as "Randy-Mac"), is a small girls' school* located in
Lynchbag Lynchburg, Virginia.
I was amazed to learn recently that the school is considering going co-ed. This letter from yesterday's WaPo suggests that Randy-Mac is doing this in exactly the wrong way and for all the wrong reasons and is danger of committing what amounts to suicide:
Virginia's Benedict Arnold College? Sunday, September 3, 2006; Page B08
Randolph-Macon Woman's College, a small, 115-year-old institution in Lynchburg, is in a fight for its life. Despite a recent $100 million fundraising campaign, the trustees are worried about the college's fiscal health. So they're contemplating a move that would drastically alter the school's character: making it co-ed.
Randolph-Macon is no college for training happy homemakers, nor is it a finishing school for pampered belles. Founded to promote opportunities for women to excel in a man's world, it produced early on one of the nation's strongest experimental psychology departments and graduated Nobel Prize winner Pearl Buck. More recent graduates include Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.). One-third of the 750 students are minorities or from other nations. Randolph-Macon's ecumenical spirit has inspired fine programs and attracted adept faculty and distinguished visiting professors. It has a $140 million endowment, a world-class art collection and tuition that is lauded for its value.
So what's wrong? The trustees are paying out more from the endowment than it is earning to cover the school's bills. At the current rate, the college will spend down its endowment in about 20 years. But the trustees feel the need to fix the situation quickly. At their meeting this week they will consider making the college co-ed.
Men, once the problem, are now seen as the solution.
This proposal has predictably enraged students, alumnae and many faculty members. They regard the move as ill-advised and are baffled that the proposal was unveiled in August, leaving them little time to react (and mobilize).
The sense of betrayal among students is palpable. They came to the school believing its literature about the benefits of studying in a supportive, single-sex environment and enduring snide allusions to assumed homosexuality. As women's colleges beat the norm in producing PhDs, chief executives and other professionals, they had a case. Now, say the trustees, "never mind."
The college could consider adjusting its tuition -- either charging more for those who can afford it or less in an effort to draw more full-paying students. It could cut back on scholarships or add graduate programs. Trustees could continue the fundraising campaigns that regularly engage college boards around the country. Instead, though, they are ready to throw in the towel.
To "save" the college, the trustees propose to enroll men, start men's athletics and initiate a poorly defined global honors program. But few believe an NCAA Division III football team will save the school, and as a small liberal arts college it will be disadvantaged against well-established institutions. Will enough men be interested to produce a significant increase in tuition? Let's not forget that the school will have to pay to change not only its bathrooms but its very name -- Benedict Arnold College has been angrily suggested.
By moving to dispose of the college's century-old mission, the trustees have alienated the students, alumnae, parents and donors they are supposed to represent. (Indeed, many alums say they will not financially support the college if it enrolls men.) Rather than saving the college, the trustees could imperil it.
-- Richard Kurin
The writer's daughter attends Randolph-Macon Woman's College
Now, I don't pretend to understand all the arcana of the business of running a college, but nonetheless I think Mr. Kurin raises some excellent points. The competition among girls' schools is fierce enough. In order to survive in the market, each of them has to work to carve out a distinctive sub-niche, something to make itself stand apart. Among Virginia girls' schools, Randy-Mac has always been recognized as an egg-heady sort of place. The girls there - and I dated one in the days before the Missus - are generally seen as more academically intense and, well, nerdy than students at their sister schools. As the writer understands, this is Randy-Mac's selling point and really ought to be the focus of the trustees' plans. (By the way, whenever somebody associated with Randy-Mac starts making snide comments about "finishing schools" and "pampered belles", they're almost invariably referring to Hollins and Sweet Briar (the Missus' alma mater), about which Randy-Mac has a distinct social inferiority complex. All I can say is "heh".)
But if Randy-Mac chucks this and tries to compete in the wider market of co-ed schools? I think it's going to have a hell of a time. Apart from the issue of enraged alums, there simply are too many other, better established players. And, however silly it seems, Randy Mac wouldn't even have its name to trade on, as there already is another Randolph-Macon College in Virginia.
I gather from this letter by the President of Randy-Mac's Board of Trustees that the move is pretty much a done deal and that those opposed to it can go to blazes. I guess we'll see what happens.
(* Yes, I am of such background, age and temperment that I say "girls' school" instead of the more p.c. "womens' college". I was once nearly disembowelled by a Holyoke alum for it.)
September 03, 2006
Rocker Chicks of the Eighties
The incomparable Joan Jett. What more needs to be said? Like Pat Benatar and Cyndi Lauper, Joan had a string of hits in the eighties and gracefully eased into senior rocker babe status. She is still touring, still doing her thing, tats and all. Tonight, she happens to be playing on the oceanfront in Virginia Beach.
Nature vs. The Machine
Spent a large part of the afternoon dealing with the foot and a half-high grass in the little meadow behind the back gate.
In case you're interested, unsuspected tortoises do just fine against weed-whackers. On the other hand, grass snakes against lawnmowers? Not so good.
Party On, Anakin!
So which did I choose? Well, I was going to say that it was the one that contained the classic, over-wrought cheese line, "Nooooooooo!!!!!!" until I remembered that both films, in fact, do. So instead, I'll say that I picked the one with the wierd naked Indian in it.
As to why, let's just say that I couldn't think of a better way to demonstrate my contempt for what George Lucas did with that franchise.
Home Depot Dreamin'
My toy store at the height of the hurricane season.
The Plame Affair has jumped the shark
Two things come to mind. First, Richard Armitage, not Darth Rove or the Sith Master from Halliburton, is responsible for the Valerie Plame leak. Armitage told his then-boss, Secretary of State Colin Powell within a week. Armitage told Peter Fitzgerald shortly after his appointment as Special Counsel. Powell and Armitage sat back and watched Rove and Libby twist in the wind for three years and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. The whole spectacle is appalling. Second, Plame and Wilson better think real hard about pushing that suit they filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against Rove, Cheney, and Libby. As far as I can tell, none of the defendants have been served and the plaintiffs changed their lead counsel about a month after the case was filed--very unusual behavior since the usual plaintiff's tactic is to file suit, serve the defendants, and proceed with discovery as rapidly as possible. This lawsuit does not read like your average civil action, instead it reads like a press release from The Daily Kos. My bet is the defendants sent a letter to plaintiff's former counsel under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11. (Rule 11 deals with, among other things, sanctions for filing pleadings which lack a basis in fact or in law.) The defendants are well-represented and Libby's team has shown a penchant for playing offense. Sit back and enjoy the show.
Falling gas prices
Prices are dropping and may hit $2.10 per gallon by winter according to USA Today. Give it a few weeks and the Lefties will start accusing Big Oil, Darth Rove, Cheney, and Halliburton of manipulating the price to swing the fall elections, particularly if the Dems chancing of taking one or both houses of Congress deteriorate.
Babes of the Eighties
Once again, it is time to rubberneck at the babes of yesteryear and we find ourselves reviewing the sad, strange spectacle that is Sharon Stone. Best attributes: bus stoppin' body and attitude that reeks "I'll try anything twice." Downside--never realized that if you act like a skank and a bimbo, people will treat you like one. We watched Basic Instinct 2-Risk Addiction on Friday and it seemed like Sharon was going through the motions. Her body may be in good condition, but you can see the high mileage in her face. My favorite flick is the one where she showed the least skin: The Quick and the Dead.
September 02, 2006
Well, so much for that.
We got about three inches of rain altogether, not in a heavy deluge but in a nice, steady farmer's rain that allowed it to soak in nicely. I was out pulling weeds in the garden this afternoon and it was pure joy the way they zipped right out of the ground.
On a Cantori Scale of one to five, I'd give Ernesto about half a Jim. And it only got that because the power was out for a couple hours yesterday afternoon and this morning when I went to pick up the Llama-ettes from a sleepover, I had to take a detour because one of the streets was closed by a downed power line.
September 01, 2006
Snakes on a Plane 2006
Yes, peeps, I finally saw it. And it was all I expected . . . and more. There's your sex, your gratuitous nudity, and blood! I didn't expect the blood, but I got it anyway. Allow me, the Queen of the Truly Bad Film, to cherry pick from a better review writer than me. Here's a blurb from Dana Stevens at Slate:
What's surprising about Snakes on a Plane is the movie's commitment to its own schlockiness. It's not a slick studio vehicle with a few campy nods to old-fashioned B pictures. It actually feels like something that would be playing on network television on a long Sunday afternoon in 1980, interrupted by ads for Ronco kitchen products and starring Vincent Price, Shelley Winters, or Patrick Swayze, or any combination thereof.And how! I was thrilled to see the movie title appear in a 70's font over a Magnum P.I. stock panorama of the Hawiian coast as the film opened. The 70's-inspired uniforms of the flight crew and the quasi-70's decor of the plane's interior delighted me. Our cast even sported a lot of 70's hair - the lone male flight attendant particularly.
And the snake attacks are classic. Every single rural myth or joke you've ever heard about snake ways and snake bites come to life in this film, most notably in the famous "snake bite on the ass" predicament. "Oh Snap, you got a snake on your ass!" is my favorite line of the movie.
I have to give you another "real" reviewer's blurb here. This is Pete Vonder Haar at Film Threat:
I mentioned the “best/worst” dichotomy earlier, which demands the inclusion of some pros and cons. Pros: Snake-O-Vision, many varieties of serpents, and it’s a great movie to see with a (preferably drunken) crowd. Cons: shitty computer animation, the non-CG snakes are obviously non-venomous, and the whole film has the feel of a 1970s-era Irwin Allen flick. You half expect them to wheel George Kennedy out for a cameo.Yes, Snake-O-Vision, peeps. Blurry, green, blinkered Snake-O-Vision . . . with George Kennedy surely tucked away somewhere.
Snakes bite every single body part you don't want a snake to touch in this film, and they do it at bullet speeds. It's funny, scary, gruesome and shameless. If there was any question in your mind, now it should be at rest. Snakes on a Plane is the best Truly Bad Film of 2006.
Oh - and be sure to check out the sexy/catchy SOAP music video that runs during the closing credits of the film.
Strange Piece of Paradise by Terri Jentz
On a June night in the arid lands of eastern Oregon, a meticulous young cowboy drove over a pup tent where two teenage girls lay sleeping. The cowboy got out of his vehicle and attacked both women with a small axe, then drove off, leaving them to die.
But neither of the girls died that night in 1977. Though damaged for life, both women lived, and one of them went back to Oregon 15 years later to try to make sense of what happened to her. This book is the story of Terri Jentz's return to Oregon to interview and sleuth out the truth of the event she barely survived.
I was 16 when I heard of the axe attack in Oregon. That same summer, three Girl Scouts were strangled to death in their tents while camping in Oklahoma. The very next summer, in 1978, a female hitchhiker in California was raped and her arms were severed. The women's movement was at a feverish pitch those years, but teenage girls paid the price. For this reason I was especially interested to read Jentz's first hand account. Did she see herself, I wondered, as a sacrificial lamb?
The answer is: I don't think she's achieved enough perspective over her own story to even see it in that light. I like the book. I think she's done a great job with it. She's a winning writer. But I think the larger brush strokes of her story elude her.
For example, Terri is a lesbian, but this foundational aspect of her life is barely acknowledged in the credits and is furiously brushed under the carpet in the book. Maybe she didn't want her book to be a lesbian's story, but like it or not, her life is a lesbian's story. By refusing to acknowledge that fact, she misses out on pinpointing a potential motive for her attack. Even though her tent companion was not gay, the attacker may have assumed both women were lesbians. Terri never once admits that the attack on her might have been a gay bashing.
And she spends a lot of the book utterly bamboozled as to why her tent companion, "Shayna" was angry at her that night. Might it have been because Shayna had suddenly realized Terri was not a "pal" at all, but a suitor who was already deeply in love with her? Terri never admits that Shayna might have been upset because they were 3000 miles from home, alone together, and Shayna didn't know, before hand, that Terri was a lesbian.
So, there is a deep seam of dishonesty here that Terri tries to camouflage, but the reader sees it. It's like looking at the Grand Canyon. I think she says a lot of useful and interesting things about American culture in this book. She gets sidetracked a bit much by "the patriarchy is killing the world" rhetoric in places, but overall it's a good effort and a magnetic story. I just wish she'd been more honest about her life and far sighted in her analysis.
Because You Knew This Would Happen As Soon As I Figured Out YouTube
This one's for Steve-O, the LB Buddy, Keith and all the other members of Scoggs Nation.
"Mr. Wilson, Your Fifteen Minutes Are Up."
The WaPo on the end of L'Affair Plame:
Nevertheless, it now appears that the person most responsible for the end of Ms. Plame's CIA career is Mr. Wilson. Mr. Wilson chose to go public with an explosive charge, claiming -- falsely, as it turned out -- that he had debunked reports of Iraqi uranium-shopping in Niger and that his report had circulated to senior administration officials. He ought to have expected that both those officials and journalists such as Mr. Novak would ask why a retired ambassador would have been sent on such a mission and that the answer would point to his wife. He diverted responsibility from himself and his false charges by claiming that President Bush's closest aides had engaged in an illegal conspiracy. It's unfortunate that so many people took him seriously.
What I'm left wondering is whether Wilson suckered Plame with his story or whether she was in on the scam herself. That would have a significant impact on the amount of sympathy I'd have for her.
Ah, nuthin' to start a nice, long Labor Day weekend like a tropical storm bearing down on the house and self left alone with the Llama-ettes while the Missus snakes off to school to "get her classroom ready". (Which I believe is code for "sit around drinking coffee and gossiping with the other teachers".)
There is a theory, based on long time empirical observation, that drops in barometric pressure have an impact on animal behavior. This is thought to explain, for example, why cows lie down or insects bite more before a storm.
I'm firmly convinced that whatever the actual phenomenon, it applies to children as well.
Gonna be a loooooooong day.
UPDATE: How do I know what's really going on at school? Easy. Anyone who's read Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready For Kindergarten as many times as I have knows damned well that classroom set-up can be put off until the first morning of school itself! (Also that school buses are driven by goats in Hawaiian shirts.)