October 31, 2006
A PSA On The Dangers Of Getting Caught Out In The Wrong Costume This Evening
Let's be careful out there.
JOHN GOLDSTONE & "RALPH" The Wonder Llama
EARL J. LLAMA
MILT Q. LLAMA III
MERLE Z. LLAMA IX
40 SPECIALLY TRAINED
ECUADORIAN MOUNTAIN LLAMAS
6 VENEZUELAN RED LLAMAS
142 MEXICAN WHOOPING LLAMAS
14 NORTH CHILEAN GUANACOS
(CLOSELY RELATED TO THE LLAMA)
REG LLAMA OF BRIXTON
76000 BATTERY LLAMAS
FROM "LLAMA-FRESH" FARMS LTD. NEAR PARAGUAY
TERRY GILLIAM & TERRY JONES
Gratuitous Classical Musick YouTubing
And now for something completely different, via A.C. Douglas comes a terrific quartet of clips featuring a 1984 Japanese recital of music by Haydn and Debussy performed by Sviatoslav Richter.
I post the first segment here because not only is it a genuine piece by Haydn (despite Mr. Douglas' suspicion that it's actually Scarlatti), it also happens to be one of my favorite to play. Skip through the first couple minutes' worth of introductory hoo-hah and I think you'll enjoy it as well. And be sure to go over to Mr. Douglas' place for lots of other classical musick YouTube links as well.
John Effin' Kerry - Reporting For Duty (Again)
I'm sure our own Llama Military Correspondent, who even now is preparing to ship out to the sand box, will join many, many others in appreciating the respect in which he is held by this jackass:
"You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”
Actually, the truth of the matter is that this is a common enough sentiment among many of our friends across the aisle. Kerry's gaff was actually blurting it out in such a public forum.
Yips! to Mr. & Mrs. P.
UPDATE: The Jawas have J-Effin'-K's response to criticism of his remark. I honestly can't decide if this is a parody or not. Go read and decide for yourself.
UPDATE DEUX: It appears that Sen. Kerry, having already put his foot in his mouth, is now trying his damnedest to fit his knee and most of his thigh-bone in as well.
It has to be asked: Has Kerry become a secret Rove agent?
Academic job search hints, part deux
I'm running a search for a tenure track line in our department right now, and ranted last week with some suggestions for academic job seekers.
I'd like to add another one.
When you are emailing the search of the chair, spell check the durn email. Not to difficult, mmkay? Also, please note that standard spell checking programs for email don't search the subject line: so, if you spell "application" as "applicaiton" in "sorry my applicaiton is late" where do you think your applicaiton is going?
Also, do a wee bit of research on the department's website. So when the ad asks you to send the materials to "Chair, Yadda Yadda Search Committee, Gray Hall, Mulberry College" confirm that "Gray Hall" is not the name of head of the search but the name of the building the department is in.
Gratuitous Halloween Ranting
Flipping through the archives, I'm rayther surprised that I haven't cranked about Jack-O-Lanterns here before. Halloween gingerbread houses, yes. Pumpkin carving, no.
Well, while trephining my own Mr. O-Lantern last evening, I got fuming on the matter again. And what, may you ask, is the problem? Well, Wikipedia spells it out pretty nicely:
Traditionally the carved pumpkin would be a face, often with a simple crooked toothed grin. But toward the end of the 20th century, artists began expressing every kind of idea they could imagine on pumpkins. Today, it is common to see portraits of political candidates, celebrities and cartoon characters, just to name a few. Some artists do full three-dimensional sculptures and others work with the idea that the lighted pumpkin will project in what amounts to three shades. Cut out holes will appear white; unpeeled portions will appear black, and any area that is peeled or carved to different depths will appear as various shades of yellow/orange.
We hates designer pumpkin carving. To me, the traditional learing face, lit from within by a candle and sitting malevolently on the front steps, is about the only thing left that still links modern "Halloween" with its original All Hallows' Eve sense, evoking the occult, the macabre and the blurring of the line that separates us from the spirit world.
The more "creative" designs that have become so popular these days have none of this magic about them, instead smacking of swank, vanity and frivolity (which, after all, are the dominant themes in our culture, such as it is). Going out and getting the kit to carve one of these things is bad enough. But I also understand that people buy them pre-carved. This is akin to having somebody else decorate your Christmas tree and when I am Emperor of the World, will constitute a flogging offense.
UPDATE: Now this is the right idea.
YIPS from Steve-O: I have a feeling Robbo is going to take a liking to this Althouse piece.
Truly scary on many levels
And here's the scariest part:
October 30, 2006
Quoth the Raven: Eat My Shorts!
Yips! from Robbo: Ah, yes. A classic from the days when the Simpsons Halloween specials were actually, you know, good.
Gratuitous Halloween Literary Posting
In case you're looking for a good short story to while away tomorrow evening between assaults by sticky and begrimed children on your door bell, of course you can't go far wrong in pulling out some Poe.
However, if you're interested in going ever so slightly off the beaten path, might I suggest Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Feathertop," a story that moved me greatly when I first was introduced to it in college.
Gratuitous Sleepy Llama Posting
Sorry for the lack of witty insight and narrative today, but I'm just basically too tired to think straight. A long weekend out of town with the family, with the days spent in open-air running about and the evenings spent in revelry. Very satisfying, but it does take its toll as well.
UPDATE: And no, the Blue Crab Blanc has nothing to do with it.
If You Can Read This....
Jay Tea is playing with the license plate generator over at Wizbang today, producing vanity plates for various bloggers 'round about. Flattering to see that we Llamas made the list.
Gratuitous Fins Posting
Congrats to Miami for, er, not losing this weekend.
Any way we can just take a bye on the rest of the season?
October 29, 2006
The good, the bad, and the tediously sanctimonious
NBC appears poised to drop the ax on piously boring liberal love fest Studio 60.
October 28, 2006
Hoist the last banner
October 27, 2006
How 'Bout A Little Friday Afternoon Moderately Disturbed 80's Video?
An old favorite. I thought I read somewhere that Gabriel came to dislike this song (and no, I'm not thinking of Dolby and "Blinded By Science.")
I'd have to go back and check, but if he did sour on it, I've a hunch it was right about the time the "Decade of Greed" rolled over into the "Decade Of The Greatest Economic Expansion In U.S. History." (Secret ingredient? Just add Baby Boomers!)
Gratuitous Literary Posting (TM)
We are off this weekend to my God-parents house near Fredericksburg (known among some folks as "Fred-Vegas"), there to turn the Llama-ettes loose on pumpkins, hay-mazes, wagon rides and the like.
Also, Uncle is planning to take me to a meeting of some sort of Sam Clemens literary group Saturday evening. I know virtually nothing about the group or what kind of discussion I have to look forward to, but I received the rather alarming news last evening that I was to bring along "something that reminded my of my favorite work of Clemens."
Well, after swallowing my initial reaction and deciding to try and be a good sport about it, I started to ponder what I had ought to take. My eventual solution? A hatchet.
And why a hatchet, you might ask? Well, because one of my very favorite pieces of Clemens' writing is the hatchet job he does on James Fenimore Cooper in "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses," easily one of the cruelest, funniest and most deserved pieces of literary criticism ever to have been penned. A sample:
The conversations in the Cooper books have a curious sound in our modern ears. To believe that such talk really ever came out of people's mouths would be to believe that there was a time when time was of no value to a person who thought he had something to say; when it was the custom to spread a two-minute remark out to ten; when a man's mouth was a rolling-mill, and busied itself all day long in turning four-foot pigs of thought into thirty-foot bars of conversational railroad iron by attenuation; when subjects were seldom faithfully stuck to, but the talk wandered all around and arrived nowhere; when conversations consisted mainly of irrelevancies, with here and there a relevancy, a relevancy with an embarrassed look, as not being able to explain how it got there.
I don't know if this is exactly what the organizers of this little event had in mind, but I'm sticking with it.
UPDATE: Well, I couldn't find a hatchet so I went with a mallot instead. The metaphor of hammering isn't quite the same as hatcheting, of course, but it did well enough in a pinch and my little joke was kindly received.
And yes, we actually had a pretty interesting discussion about Twain. Given the season, our topic was the Victorian obsession with the Occult, and specifically with speaking to those "on the other side."
Busy day today. Perhaps I'll get to post a bit later.
I suppose you're wondering what I think of the relevations about Jim Webb's, er, literary stylings.
Well, I had three thoughts. Here they are in order:
Thought No. 1: Ew.
Thought No. 2: Don't bother packing up your office, Senator Allen.
Thought No. 3: Why in Heaven's name does anybody voluntarily go into politics?
Yip! at you in a while.
October 26, 2006
Oh. My. Goodness. "I was gobsmacked, it was vile. Did you not like the movie Twister?"
Lileks parodying Axis Sully, arguing over the weather with Hugh Hewitt.
This is one of the funniest things I've heard in a long time...it's the "Who's on first" of the blogosphere.
Have you now, or have you ever supported tornadoes?
Yips! from Robbo:
"Dude! It's the Suck Zone!"
I've Got A Baaaad Feeling About This....
Somebody brought a bottle of Ingleside Vineyards' Blue Crab Blanc to a party we had the other night. The bottle never got opened, and is sitting on the kitchen counter staring at me.
Do you dare me?
On the one hand, I don't even like whites. Further, this stuff strikes me as a prime example of the kind of output from Virginia wineries that I routinely blast and damn.
On the other hand, it is free. (Hoots! Toots! D'ye ken me thrift?) And I like to think that instead of indulging in blanket libel, I take the time to establish a foundation of truth before hurling my invectives.
So it seems that the only thing to do is to put together a pasta and shrimp dish and open the damn stuff. However, although I'm not normally a betting man, I'm already willing to lay odds on the kind of headache I'm going to have as a result.
If I do pull the cork, I'll be sure to let you know how it turns out.
An Open Question To Our Scientific Readers
I ask this in all seriousness: Is there any ingredient in Tabasco Sauce that has or may have addictive properties?
All I know from empirical observation is that when I have a bottle of the stuff in the house, I can't resist using it.
Not that I'm complaining, mind you. Just curious.
Sometimes Studying History Hurts
While nosing about on Netflix recently, I discovered that they carry the entire tee vee series of Baa Baa, Black Sheep, one of my favorite shows back in the day. (I was eleven at the time. No knowing what I'd think of it now.) Reading some of the viewer commentary, I was suddenly prompted by curiosity to order up Col. Gregory "Pappy" Boyington's original memoir on which the series was (loosely) based.
Reading this book is proving to be a bizarre experience. On the one hand, this is prime source material from a historical perspective. The man was right in the thick of the air war in China and over the South Pacific in WWII, shooting down 28 Japanese planes before being shot down and imprisoned himself, and later receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor for his exploits. I mean, he is the history.
On the other hand, his memoir is painfully awful to read, combining the styles of Harold Robbins and Lee Iacocca with the twisted flights of logic of Puddy from Seinfeld. I keep having to stop and back up, as I suddenly realize that I haven't the faintest idea what he's talking about. Surely his publishers could have ponied up a couple bucks for an editor.
I can already predict that although I am determined to finish this book up, it's extremely doubtful I'll read it again. As I note, though, it's odd to find myself keeping at it because of who the author is rather than because of what he has to say.
UPDATE: Whoa. I just received an email from a military friend who's close family friends with one of the men who flew in Boyington's 214 Squadron. Apparently, there was a general dissatisfaction among the vets over being portrayed as "misfits" in the tee vee series when it came out. Most of them were young replacement pilots thrown together under Boyington's command and it was his combat experience and "tough love" which they credited with getting them through the war.
I just wanted to clarify that I am in no way trying to disparage Boyington himself or his achievements with my comments about his book. My criticism is strictly centered on its literary merits.
UPDATE DEUX: INDCent Bill is trying to sap my resolve. What he doesn't know is how great the temptation is already: I've got Flashman At The Charge queued up to follow immediately after I finish BBBS. Gut-check time.
UPDATE TROIS: Lest you think I'm overly harsh on Boyington for his rough style, let me mention that I've also read Paul Fussell's Doing Battle: The Making of a Skeptic, which recounts his experiences and observations as an infantry line officer fighting the Germans. It's well-crafted, erudite, thoughtful - and in my mind a complete rip-off of Robert Graves' Goodbye To All That.
Boyington may be painful to read, but Fussell's work, IMHO, is the more contemptible.
Don't you just love the way she dialates her eyes when emphasizing a point?
Your (Worthless) Canadian Tax Dollars At Work
A Canadian city under pressure for alleged sexual harassment within its fire department has ordered firefighters to wear only boxer-style underwear.
Richmond, British Columbia will spend C$16,000 (7,600 pounds) to buy six pairs of underwear for each firefighter in a bid to make firehalls in the suburb of Vancouver more gender neutral, a newspaper reported on Tuesday.
"We supply firefighters with various pieces of gear such as gloves, now it's underwear," city official Ted Townsend told the Vancouver Sun, saying it was part of the "integration of the sexes in the workplace."
All together now:
Weeeeeee Shall Oooovercome........
October 25, 2006
Hugh Hewitt with the metaphor of the day
What? Me Obsessive?
The other day I linked to the Hamsterpault, a silly little game with a Wagnerian twist.
Well, since then, I've found myself playing it at odd moments, consumed with the desire to figure out how to improve my score. So now I think I've got down such things as the best launch angle, how to best use the updrafts (note - don't let them shoot you into outer space - funny, but fatal to your forward momentum), how to snag a green ball instead of a pink one, and even how to control a landing so that you can launch yourself again on the bounce.
New top score? 680 feet, baybee!
YIPS from Steve-O: To heck with the Hamsters---here's Gonzo meets Jackass. Shoot him out of the cannon into the bucket of water. And try to top 13425.
Chai-Rista aint gonna like this
Kurt Cobain tops the list of revenue producing celebrities: Agent BedHead celebrates by trashing the, umm, grieving widow.
Yes! Dr. Z has finally dropped the 'Fins to the very tail end of his Power Rankings!
No place to go from here but up!
UPDATE: As always, Pats Fans are invited to shut the hell up.
The World Wondered
A little more poetry appropriate to the day:
Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward, All in the valley of Death Rode the six hundred. "Forward, the Light Brigade! "Charge for the guns!" he said: Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.
"Forward, the Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Someone had blunder'd:
Their's not to make reply,
Their's not to reason why,
Their's but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.
Flash'd all their sabres bare,
Flash'd as they turn'd in air,
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wonder'd:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro' the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel'd from the sabre stroke
Shatter'd and sunder'd.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro' the jaws of Death
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.
When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honor the charge they made,
Honor the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred.
Yes, today is the anniversary of the famous charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava in 1854 during the Crimean War. Basil Seal has more.
I use that particular language from Tennyson's poem in the post's title because it closely resembles that of a telegram sent by Admiral Chester Nimitz to Admiral William "Bull" Halsey on October 25, 1944 during the Battle of Leyte Gulf:
TURKEY TROTS TO WATER GG FROM CINCPAC ACTION COM THIRD FLEET INFO COMINCH CTF SEVENTY-SEVEN X WHERE IS RPT WHERE IS TASK FORCE THIRTY FOUR RR THE WORLD WONDERS
In fact, the language was added to the message as any anti-interception security measure and the receiving radioman did not realize it, but nonetheless this was Admiral Nimitz's query as to why on earth Halsey's heavy ships were not helping to defend against the Japanese attack against the American naval forces off the island of Samar. (The answer, as I noted yesterday, was Halsey's goosechase to the north after the Japanese carrier fleet.)
Because of Halsey's foolishness, in this action off Samar the only thing standing between Admiral Kurita's battlewagons and the U.S. beachhead at Leyte was Task Group 77.4, divided into three groups of small escort carriers, destroyers and destroyer escorts known as Taffy 1, Taffy 2 and Taffy 3. This site picks up the action that day:
The little escort carriers were preparing for another day when, early in the morning of Oct. 25, lookouts on board ships of Taffy 3 spotted Admiral Takeo Kurita's heavy surface force attempting to enter Leyte Gulf and attack the transports and beachhead. What Taffy 3 faced were four battleships and six heavy cruisers. Outgunned and outmanned, the Jeeps and their accompanying destroyers and destroyer escorts did the only thing they could in the face of such overwhelming odds and firepower — they attacked.
Taffy 3, which would bear the brunt of the fighting, began launching aircraft and making smoke. Taffy 2 and Taffy 1, further away, began launching their aircraft to come to the aid of Taffy 3. No heavy American surface units or carriers were in the area; the Jeeps were on their own.
Aircraft from the Jeeps attacked and harassed the enemy, bombing and strafing. Pilots then made "dry" runs on the cruisers and battleships when they ran out of ammunition, in the hope of distracting the enemy gunners from shooting at the little carriers. The gutsy little destroyers, completely overmatched, bore in and carried out torpedo attacks, and fired at the massive battlewagons and cruisers with their relatively puny 5-inch battery guns. The escort carriers themselves were saved from utter destruction because of excellent maneuvering by their captains, and because, when hit, their thin armor permitted the Japanese shells to pass completely through without exploding.
Bold tactics on the part of the carriers, their planes and destroyers convinced Kurita that he had encountered a much larger force of heavy American surface ships and carriers. He had no idea that relatively little stood between his ships and the transports now unloading in Leyte Gulf.
With little knowledge of the situation, and with his ships widely dispersed after fending off the destroyer attacks, Kurita ordered his ships to break off the action and retire from the area. The fight, however, was still not over.
Following Kurita's withdrawal, ships of Taffy 2 and Taffy 3 came under attack from kamikazes, or Japanese suicide pilots. The kamikazes inflicted far greater damage on the little carriers than did Kurita's gunfire, which only managed to account for one carrier, USS Gambier Bay (CVE 73). Hits were scored on Santee, Suwanee, USS Kitkun Bay (CVE 71) and USS St. Lo (CVE 63). Of these four, St. Lo (left) was hit hardest, and she sank as a result.
To give you an idea of the guts with which the Americans fought, read this account of the destroyer U.S.S. Johnston (DD557), under the command of Cdr. Ernest Evans. The Johnston fought like a maniac until she was finally overwhelmed and pummeled into scrap. As she rolled over to head for the bottom, witnesses reported seeing the captain of a nearby Japanese destroyer salute her.
Interesting that two such awe-inspiring examples of gallantry necessitated by blunder should have occurred on the same day.
Gratuitous Country Musick Posting
I actually dislike this song. And this being my blog, I'll tell you why.
You see, the problem is with the chorus. Here it is the first time through:
If you're going through hell
Keep on going, Don't slow down
If you're scared, don't show it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you're there
This is, in and of itself, pretty good. But here's the second chorus that follows the intervening verse:
Yeah, If you're going through hell
Keep on moving, Face that fire
Walk right through it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you're there
In my humble opinion, changing the middle part but coming back to exactly the same closing line weakens it considerably. And it gets worse, because immediately after this second chorus, Atkins goes back to repeat the first:
If you're going through hell
Keep on going, Don't slow down
If you're scared, don't show it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you're there
All this says to me is that some song writer either thought "You might get out/ before the devil even knows you're there" was exceptionally clever and should be exploited to the maximum, or else that this writer wasn't talented enough to come up with an alternate quality closing for the second verse.
In either case, the resultant overkill detracts considerably from what would be an otherwise pretty good song. It would have been far stronger either to stick to a single, uniform chorus throughout or else to have employed a completely different second chorus.
(Yes, critiquing country music has become a drive-time hobby of mine. And I may say that I don't know how one goes about becoming a Nashville music editor, but I think I'd be pretty good at it.)
Yips! to the Puppy-Blender.
In The Clutches Of The Tooth Nazis
Went to the dentist this morning.
The good news is that the Streak continues: rolling into the 4th quarter of my forty-first year, I still have zero cavities. Zip. Nada. Nil. This may be due to a Khan-like genetic superiority. Then again, I may have the Communists and their destabilize-the-West-through-water-flouridation plan to thank. Or, it might be that I haven't really touched sugar since I was about seven. Perhaps it's some combination thereof, but the record still stands, baybee!
The bad news is that they're out to get me. My last visit was about six months ago. Prior to that, I hadn't been in since Christmas of 1989. And somehow or other, I've got along fine all this time. Now, though, they're saying I need to come in every three months. The Uber-hygenist was an outright font of Doom and Gloom. After railing against the toothpaste manufacturers for putting out all sorts of tartar-control, anti-gingivitis, whitening products that actually do harm to teeth, she rounded on me.
"You drink coffee, don't you."
"Yes, I suppose you could say that."
"Well. I can't possibly keep up with the staining on your teeth if you don't come in every three months. And if the staining gets out of control, it leads to plaque build up. And with plaque build up comes tartar build up. And with tartar buildup comes gum disease. And then you're in trouble."
I got the distinct impression that, if left to carry on in this vein, she eventually would have worked her way up to botulism and hydrophobia. To preserve a little peace, though, I promised I would start coming in more often. (I left off pointing out that my insurance doesn't cover her little cleaning sessions, so this is gonna cost me.)
But much worse, she started in about my wisdom teeth, of which I have two left. "Oooh, they're really hard for me to clean. And if they're hard for me, they're impossible for you." I gave a noncommittal shrug and thought I had headed her off, but I was wrong: she said the same damned thing to the dentist, so when she came in to see me, she started in immediately about an excellent oral surgeon she would recommend.
As Jerry Seinfeld might say, "I don't wanna have my wisdom teeth yanked."
Anyhoo, I told the dentist I'd think about it. I reckon this will push it off at least until my next visit. Whether I'll be able to get another extension after that, I really don't know. Perhaps it would be easier just to stop going altogether again.
HAPPY ST. CRISPIN'S DAY
Today is the 591st Anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt, in which British King Henry V and his ragtag bunch of archers, knights, thieves, and fools stomped the everloving crap out of the army of the King of France.
Agincourt serves as the center of one of Shakespeare's greatest plays, Henry V.
I'm sure Robbo will do the full monty Gratuitous Historikal Rounduppe(TM), but I'll get the ball rolling:
O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!
KING HENRY V
What's he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin:
If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires:
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England:
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more, methinks, would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made
And crowns for convoy put into his purse:
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian:'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names.
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
Unfortunately, no one has put the Laurence Olivier version up yet on You Tube.
This clip was great for two reasons: whoever captured it did so in widescreen, and they also made sure to include the speech of the Herald, and Henry's reaction.
One note on the Brannagh version: the role of "Boy" is played by Christian Bale, who later becomes American Psycho and, of course, Badass Batman.
And Brannagh was robbed for Best Actor and Director. I mean, seriously, who still watches My Left Foot? Daniel Day Lewis? Hello?
Yips! from Robbo: He tasks me. He tasks me! And I shall have him! Here is what I wrote about Brannagh's version a couple years back. I still stand by my opinion that, although beautifully acted, Ken's take suffers for his efforts to infuse an Everyman's War-Is-Hell message into it. And here are my favorable thoughts about the music of William Walton in Olivier's version, one of the very few times you will ever see me praising a 20th Century composer.
October 24, 2006
He's Back, and he's pissed.
And no, we're not talking about Jesus Christ or James Bond.
But Bauer. Jack Bauer.
Season 6 trailer emerged today, and Blogs 4 Bauer are leading the charge.
Apparently CAIR is going to have their collective shorts in a wad. And that is a good thing.
In an ideal universe, 24 will go head to head with Studio 60 and turn Matt and Josh into a quivering pile of goo. But it looks like it won't even be around by then...
Tears of a clown, part deux
Somewhere cold, Admiral Ackbar laughs his hard, icthysauran laugh...
"I Know This Book. Your Conclusions Were Wrong, Ryan. Halsey Acted Foolishly."
U.S.S. Princeton under attack October 24, 1944. Image found here.
October 23-26 marks the sixty-second anniversary of the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest naval battle ever fought, in which a three-pronged Japanese attack on the U.S. beach head in the Philippines was beaten off by a combination of luck, bravery and what I can only suppose to be the Grace of God.
I borrow my favorite Marco Ramius quote for the title of this post because what he says to Jack Ryan in The Hunt For Red October about Ryan's biography of Admiral William "Bull" Halsey is absolutely true. Halsey commanded the American Third Fleet - which contained not only the vast bulk of our heavy carriers, but also the six fastest battleships in the Fleet. He was supposed to protect the American invasion force in combination with Admiral Kinkaid's Seventh Fleet. However, Halsey was so obsessed with knocking out the Japanese carrier strength once and for all that when the Japanese deliberately stationed Admiral Ozawa to the north with four large aircraft carriers as bait, Halsey went for them with everything he had, leaving Kinkaid to fend off the main Japanese attacks from the west and south with a scratch group primarily composed of escort carriers, cruisers, destroyers and PT boats. (Kinkaid didn't even know Halsey had left station until Kinkaid's people intercepted a radio transmission about it.) By all rights, the Japanese ought to have strolled through and crushed Kinkaid. However, the combination of factors I mention above - maifesting themselves in the ferocity of the American defense, garbled communications and loss of nerve, pursuaded the Japanese to instead turn about and run for it.
Gratuitous Flying Buttress Posting
On this day in 1260, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres was dedicated.
I took a course on French Gothic Cathedral architecture my last semester in college, in which we studied Chartres pretty extensively. Endlessly fascinating bits about mathematically harmonious dimensions and the physics of weight-distributing columns, to say nothing of the outstanding glass, sculpture and reliefs. And all of it done as an expression of Faith. Truly amazing when you think about it.
Gary the Ex-Donk has a YouTube montage of fabeaux French Nooz Babe Melissa Theuriau in action.
Mom used to tell me I was no real gentleman because I never learned to speak French. Perhaps, but my complete ignorance of the language is actually a benefit here: I don't know what Melissa's saying. I don't care what she's saying. In the absence of such knowledge, how much easier it is just to pretend that she's speaking to me personally.
An interesting little nugget
Drudge links to a cool Newsweek story debuning its famous "New Ice Age" article from 1975. It back peddles the issue by trying make it sound like the article slipped in on a lark and wasn't widely believed, and even it it was it wasn't technically "wrong":
But is that the right lesson to draw? How did NEWSWEEK—or for that matter, Time magazine, which also ran a story on the subject in the mid-1970s—get things so wrong? In fact, the story wasn't "wrong" in the journalistic sense of "inaccurate." Some scientists indeed thought the Earth might be cooling in the 1970s, and some laymen—even one as sophisticated and well-educated as Isaac Asimov—saw potentially dire implications for climate and food production. After all, Ice Ages were common in Earth's history; if anything, the warm "interglacial" period in which human civilization evolved, and still exists, is the exception.
That's got to be one of the greatest weasel sentences I've read in awhile.
But the best portion comes at the end:
And for good reason: the tools scientists have at their disposal now—vastly more data, incomparably faster computers and infinitely more sophisticated mathematical models—render any forecasts from 1975 as inoperative as the predictions being made around the same time about the inevitable triumph of communism.
Anyone want to wager on the percentage of the people who made the first prediction also made the second? And want to double down on the percentage of those who are making the prediction today about global warming also pining for the latter outcome?
I was too tired to do anything but flop down in front of the Giants-Cowboys game last evening.
The Good: Well, there was a lot of it. For one thing, growing up in Texas during the height of the Tom Landry dynasty, I developed an irrational and contrarian loathing of the Cowboys which still lingers to the extent that I enjoy watching them get thrashed. Plus, anything that upsets "T.O." is a good thing in my book.
Also, the more I watch Eli Manning, the more I like him. I can't help thinking what it must have been like for him growing up in the shadow of Archie and Peyton (who I'll bet beat the crap out of Eli all the time). I don't think Eli has as colossal an ego as Peyton, but this is a good thing. Indeed, I'm beginning to think that Eli represents Faramir to Peyton's Boromir. Calmer and less self-centered. I hope he goes far.
The Bad: Sam Madison making picks while wearing a Giants uniform. Buddy, I at least sure do miss you.
The Ugly: Theismann and Kornheiser in the booth. Looking back, doesn't seem like Dennis Miller was all that bad now, does it?
A good morning laugh
Further signs Fidel est morte:
Random Commuter Observations
We finally hit the big Two-Oh-Oh at the gas station down the street from me. Woo Hoo!
October 23, 2006
Tears of a clown
President Hugo Chavez has suffered a string of international setbacks, seeing his campaign for a U.N. Security Council seat fall short and his favored leftist candidates losing elections in Peru and Mexico.
Calling President Bush "the devil" still rallies faithful Chavistas in Venezuela, where Chavez leads in the polls six weeks ahead of elections. But critics say his superheated rhetoric is turning away some potential supporters elsewhere.
"Taking these kinds of broadsides against the U.S. hasn't really worked for him politically abroad," said Daniel Erikson of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based think tank. "A lot of governments indicated they would vote for him in the U.N., and then when it came to the secret ballot, they didn't."
With Venezuela trailing the U.S.-supported Guatemala after 35 rounds of secret votes that left both shy of the two-thirds majority needed to win a Security Council seat, the contest could eventually end up going to a compromise candidate after voting resumes Wednesday.
Chavez portrays the U.N. voting as a diplomatic victory, saying Sunday that he achieved his objective of blocking Washington's candidate.
"We've taught the empire a lesson," Chavez told supporters. Even if "Venezuela isn't able to enter the Security Council, we've done damage to the empire. That was our objective."
But Ghana's U.N. ambassador, Nana Effah-Apenteng, said many diplomats feel Chavez went too far in his speech to the General Assembly last month, when he said the podium reeked of sulfur after Bush spoke.
"Even if you want to bash another head of state, this isn't proper decorum," Effah-Apenteng said. "That's the problem."
Who knew Admiral Ackbar was in league with Sith Master Rove?
Don't worry, Hugo, it's not a trap....snicker
My world, part 432
Mr. Skinny just lost a tooth!
Yips! from Robbo: By a curious coincidence, the Six Year Old Llama-ette (aka, Steve-O's God-daughter) also lost that same tooth on the same day. First one for her.
Robbo's going to like this
A week or so ago, the Pope gives the big, slow, goofy thumbs-up to the Latin Mass.
Somethings afoot, my friends. Robbo will read the tea leaves and see this as a sign the time is right to launch his Crypto-Catholic Neo-Jacobite Anti-Revolutionary Restoration.
Me? Just another sign that this is evil, bearded Spock's Universe, and we're just living in it.
Actually, Captain, that should be "To go boldly where no man has gone before."
Fun, In A Stupid Way
BTW, my combined high is 354 ft.
Yips! to Dave Barry.
This is entirely too delightful to resist filching lock, stock and barrel from the Irish Elk.
The Peking University men's eight sank under the Eliot Street Bridge at the Head of the Charles Regatta this weekend, this after P.U.'s last minute and well publicized scramble to find a new coxswain, their own having been delayed by visa issues. The Chinese team wound up picking an MIT grad student. Hy-larity ensued.
It appears the boat suffered a cracked bow when the cox accidently rammed another shell (although the cox denies it), and started taking on water, eventually settling into the drink at the single most notorious spot on the course for mishaps. Having been in shells for four years myself back in the day, I know all about crazy coxswain stearing and the interesting results it can generate, although in all fairness, the HOCR course is a first-class bitch.
On the other hand, after all the abuse I suffered at the hands of those little sawed-off martinets, I can't help indulging in a little schadenfreude reading about this.
My real-life pal Bev sends in a tip about this post at the DCist on the cuisine to be served up at TasteDC.com's "1st Annual Unique and Unusual Food and Wine Festival."
The TasteDC folks have lined up 13 area chefs to cook some interesting dishes, many of which are reminiscient of that Marlon Brando-Matthew Broderick movie, The Freshman. In the animals-you-don't-see-on-the-menu-everyday camp, Bryan Davis of Chef Bryan's Kitchen will prepare llama "sliders" and grilled crocodile tail, while James Phillips of the Fairmont Hotel's Juniper restaurant will try his hand at rattlesnake gumbo and wattleseed-crusted ostrich leg roast. So far, nothing you wouldn't see at Denver's Buckhorn Exchange -- or even at 2941, which often serves up game and other oddities.
"Llama what?" he asked, nervously thinking of various camelid bits of which he is extremely fond and would not like to see removed and kebobbed. Bev says this is an event we should all attend, but I'm not going unless I'm satisfied well in advance that I would be served a meal, not served as a meal. And Chef Bryan can just stay the hell away from me.
UPDATE: No sooner do I bring up the topic then I find we're the No. 1 google hit for grilled llama recipes.
Weekend At Robb@*#($&*zzzzzzzz........
Mayun, am I beat.
As I mentioned Friday, we babysat the LMC's Future ROTC Scholarship Winner and his little sister this weekend.
First, let me hasten to say that for their ages (they're three and one, respectively), the LMC's kids behaved beautifully from the time they rolled in Friday evening until the time they left this morning. No fussing about going to bed, no tantrums, no disasters, no accidents requiring changes of undies and/or diapers. And how much fun it was to have the Boy calling me "Unco Wob" the whole time.
Second, though, I have to say that the experience firmly cemented in my mind the conviction that I never, ever want to have another child of that age myself. After you've been out of the Toddler Zone for a bit, you begin to forget the weariness associated with having to keep a near constant eye on the little darlins. This weekend brought it all back in detail. There's a whole spate of new or impending younglings 'round this corner of the Blogsphere, and I admire folks like Phin, Jen, Random and most recently Jordana for taking them on, but after 48 hours or so, I felt like Sgt. Hulka sprawled on top of the armored RV as it fights its way out of Soviet-controlled Checkoslovakia..
'Course, I'm also tired because of the effect the LMC's kids' visit had on the Llama-ettes. Cats? Meet the jumbo economy sack of catnip. Fifty-five gallon drum of aviation fuel? Meet match. Gollum? Meet the Precious.
I need a nap.
October 22, 2006
In praise of Ringo Starr
Yips! from Robbo: And if you think I can't find an opening for some cranky originalist ranting here, let me just point out that as far as I'm concerned, Ringo is THE Stationmaster for Thomas the Tank Engine and his pals, and for that he should receive praise as well. Alec Baldwin and George Carlin can get stuffed.
What, with Halloween coming up and all, don't you think it's time for...
Which is why high-school physics teachers will always be nerdier yet cooler than their social studies counterparts...
That rascally George Felix Allen keeps stepping in it again!
After Macaca and the deerhunter, you would think George Allen would learn, right? I mean, in an interview to the Washington Post making references to "towel-heads" and rednecks. This should be the end for him---full scale media frenzy!
(Insert Emily Litella voice) Never mind.
Like Picasso, but bloggier
Sheila O'Malley, the blue period.
Well, Agent BedHead for one will certainly be relieved
McConaughey and Armstrong: definitely not gay, just like to go fishing together a lot and not catch anything.
But as for Professor Chaos and his recent discussion of east coast/west coast moisturizing strategies, the jury is still out...
What with Tuesday being UN Day and all, this is going to keep me up tonight
Compare and contrast, indeed.
The proper quantum of Hate present in the academic job interview
This was just the Sunday evening laugh I needed, as I just finished an hour on the phone with a colleague who is on sabbatical this year that I was updating on the search our department is running that I'm chairing.
I've been on probably a dozen search committees before this year, and right now I'm on three, including the one I'm heading up. Some things to think about if you are applying for academic jobs:
1. DON'T annoy the search chair with lots of emails. If you need to email the chair, it's best to put it together into one all-inclusive email. Lots of follow-up emails, whether insincere or inquisitive, get you remembered---but not in the good way. The first read through of the pile is to create the "Dead List" and the easiest way to get on the dead list (other than not having finished your PhD yet) is to come across as someone who is going to be difficult to work with.
2. Don't send your materials electronically unless the ad says specifically to do so--that's my laser printer's cartridge your burning because you felt the need to send in five dissertation chapters. Don't be that guy.
3. FINISH your dissertation. Be on enough academic search committees and you get more "I really will defend the thesis this coming spring, honestly!" promises of reformed life than a street corner preacher handing out dispensations together bleach and clean needles by a shooting gallery. FINISH your dissertation.
LLama on the run
Knitting pal of The Dear One Kelly links to this epic jailbreak story of a LLama on the loose here in Albemarle County. Apparently, it's being chased by a bear.
For the movie version, I want a middle-aged Pauly Shore to play me, being man I mean LLama hunted by Brian Dennehy.
There is no point in attempting to capture the speedy London Ray, Morel said. Instead, she’s asking anyone who spots London Ray to call her at (434) 977-8590 in the daytime, or to call (434) 831-2575 in the evening or on weekends. She’ll then bring another llama in a harness and attempt to walk them home together.
London Ray’s escape is the result of the latest appearance of a recidivist black bear. The bear first showed up three weeks ago, then returned a week later, only to return a third time Friday. It likes to climb into the pen and chase the llamas. “If he wants a playmate or would hurt them, we don’t know,” Morel said.
Each time the bear has shown up, llamas have gone sailing over the fence. This is the first time one couldn’t be found.
The problem has gotten so bad that Morel and her husband have gotten a permit to have the bear shot. “We’re really pretty much opposed to that, though it may come to that,” said Morel’s husband, Ken Klotz.
Dr. Zhivago, eat your heart out.
That one is going to leave a mark...
Someone throw a copy of Strunk and White at that man!
From a professor, there is perhaps no greater insult.
October 20, 2006
Lissa's got the making of a great novel just stringing together the cross-country driving posts.
Sorry, Old Man, 'Fraid We Don't Understand Your Banter!
The Tee Vee reporter vs. the Spitfire. Grab your egg-and-fours and let's get the bacon delivered!
Indiana Jones And The Lost AARP Discount
Harrison Ford on IJ4:
"We did three films that stay within the same block of time. We need to move on for artistic reasons and obvious physical reasons," Ford said at a news conference. "I feel fit to continue and bring the same physical action."
Indeed. Let's move it up to the end of the Cold War. I'm thinking in this one the Commies, desparate to stave off the collapse of Moscow's Empire, try to use the Mystical Depends of St. Petersburg to prevent Indy from getting the Early Bird Special at his local Sizzlers.
Random Sitemeter Question
That banner ad that Classmates.com runs featuring the two dorky high school photos and the information that the featured couple got married and had seven kids.....are these people we're supposed to recognize or are they just a random pair? If we are supposed to recognize them, well, who are they?
(BTW, I fully realize that "dorky high school photos" is redundant.)
Laying a marker down on the story
Alright, the Beeeg Kahuna links to this story about the French Government's plans to increase population the, errrm, natural way.
I have to go to class for a bit, but I'm laying the marker down right now on the Melissa Theuriau pshop barrage that begs out to accompany this. Blogstorm, Jerry, BLOGSTORM!
UPDATE: By this, I mean to start a whole new barrage of crudely pshopped Melissa Theuriau beauts. But until I get back, I'll tide you over with this one from the files:
Time To Play "Kick The Baby"!
A little Friday morning humor:
|Which South Park kid are you most like?|
You're pretty normal. Infact you're usually the sane voice of reason when everyone else is going crazy.
|Click Here to Take This Quiz|
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.
Lifted from our friend Kyle.
YIPS from Steve-O: I don't even need to take the test---here's Professor LLamabutcher:
Thanks to the Krauts who came up with the South Park character generator.
Morbid Cop Humor
This semester has been pretty fun so far, one of the reasons being that I'm teaching Politics of Legal Order, which is one of my favorite classes to do. It's basically a criminal justice class, with a fun admixture of criminal law, criminology, con law and a whole bunch of other stuff thrown in. Any class where you get to read David Simon's Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets and Truman Capote's In Cold Blood is okay by me.
But the main reason that the course has been fun is that there are two campus police officers who are taking the class: the administration pushed through a policy (designed, I am sure, to gin up enrollment) that makes it easier for staff and dependents to take classes, and the net result has been great as far as I'm concerned, in that you get a whole different set of voices and perspectives (which my hunch was both unintended and unanticipated nor entirely desired by those who brought about the change---about par for the course.) Anyhoo, these two are hilarious, and are kicking the butts of the regular students, which is good for all concerned if you ask me. But what's particularly funny is that I'm now getting emails from them, which are forwarded cop humor. This is par for the course:
When Nathan Radlich's house was burgled, thieves left his TV, his VCR, and even left his watch. What they did take was "generic white cardboard box filled with grayish-white powder." (That at least is the way the police described it.) A spokesman for the Fort Lauderdale police said, "that it looked similar to cocaine and they'd probably thought they'd hit the big time."
Then Nathan stood in front of the TV cameras and pleaded with the burglars: Please return the cremated remains of my sister, Gertrude. She died three years ago."
Well, the next morning, the bullet-riddled corpse of a drug dealer known as Hoochie Pevens was found on Nathan's doorstep. The cardboard box was here too; about half of Gertrude's ashes remained. And there was this note.
It said: "Hoochie sold us the blow, so we wasted Hoochie. Sorry we snorted your sister. No hard feelings. Have a nice day.
Real story? It's got urban legend written all over it. But....
Cost to department budget of new computer monitor, as old one is now fried due to being sprayed by Lipton's Rasberry Ice Tea out of my left nostril: $350
Starting a dreary and dreadful Friday morning falling out of my chair from laughing: Priceless.
UPDATE: O.J. confesses?
Weekend At Robbo's
Going to be one busy weekend at Orgle Manor.
On top of the double soccer games tomorrow and choir on Sunday morning, the LMC's Future ROTC Scholarship Winner and his sister will be staying with us for a couple nights. The Llama-ettes are drooling over the prospect, as they invariably swarm the boy whenever he comes to visit. I can't help noticing that he seems to enjoy these attentions more and more every time. Now he's a nice boy and all, and if arranged marriages were still in vogue I'm sure we'd have signed him up with the four year old already, but the ol' Dad Meter is beginning to twitch a bit. I figure that when he's older I probably won't put the shotgun down, although since he's near to family I might stretch a point and keep the safety on.
On top of that, we're hosting a Harvest Dinner for our Church Saturday evening. This is an amiable custom in our parish, in which parishioners volunteer to host one of four potlucks spread over two weekends in October and people choose which one they'd like to attend. It's a chance to mingle socially and perhaps to meet some new folks (we've got two new-to-me families coming for sure to ours).
Unfortunately, it's also coupled with the kick-off of our pledge drive season. You know, when I was elected to the Vestry, I thought it would be an excellent chance to oversee the workings of the Church, to liase between the clergy and the parishioners, to really be involved in substantive issues. Well, it isn't. In fact, about 80% of the job is related to hitting people up for money, something I detest. Talking about money is loathesome enough, but to me, asking people to cough it up - even for a worthy cause - is much worse. And tieing it in to these dinners, at least in my mind, sends the signal, "Of course we love having you in our community - em, you did bring your checkbook, didn't you?" I know it has to be done, but I don't have to like it.
Random Commuter Observation
I've suddenly become intensely irritated lately by people who use the elevators at my Metro stop. I'm not talking about the obviously handicapped, the elderly and others who actually need to do so. No, I'm talking about those people who are too damned lazy to haul their well-upholstered backsides up the stairs or escalators.
We aren't talking DuPont Circle cavernous depths, here. The station's above-ground. It's one, single, sodding floor from the platform up to the main level. And yet these slackers still take the elevator, sometimes crowding the damned thing.
You know who you are, and yes, I'm that bloke who's started giving you the evil eye lately.
October 19, 2006
Just Think Of The Cultural Artifacts We Have At Our Fingertips These Days!
It's the old Wendy's "Soviet Fashion Show" commercial from back in the early 80's. One of my favorites at the time, not least because I remember the protests of "insensitivity" it provoked from the fellow traveller types.
UPDATE: I was also hoping to run down that hysterical RC Cola commercial with the Soviet-style Coke and Pepsi zombies contrasted with the free-wheeling peasant RC lovers that ends with the KGB appearing on their doorstep. But it doesn't seem as if anyone's put that one up yet.
And just in case those of you having 80's nostalgia munchies attacks aren't satisfied yet, here ya go:
Gratuitous Historickal Geek Posting - Classical Civ Division
Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Zama (located in North Africa - modern Tunisia, I believe), fought in 202 B.C. between the Roman army of Scipio Africanus and the Carthaginian forces of Hannibal. The battle ended in the obliteration of Hannibal's army and Carthage's loss of the Second Punic War, and established Rome's unchallengable control of the Mediterranean Basin. (Rome would later destroy Carthage - literally stone by stone - after picking a fight to provoke the Third Punic War.)
Here's a pretty nifty little animated walk-through of the battle. Scipio went into it with three major factors in his favor. For one, he had the excellent Numidian cavalry on his side (Roman cavalry itself being something of a joke). Second, he had a plan for dealing with Hannibal's elephant force (luring them into lanes created in the Roman ranks and picking off their drivers - it worked beautifully). Third, he had a keen understanding of Hannibal's battle tactics and, knowing how Hannibal would behave, actually was able to pull a reverse of Hannibal's own encircling movement that had destroyed the Roman army at the Battle of Cannae in 216 B.C.
Happy Birthday, Lord Whorfin!
Born this day in 1945.
Laugh while you can, monkey-boys!
Okay, This Is Getting Out Of Hand
Somebody showed up here after doing a New York Post search for "Juliet Huddy feet posted."
We've been plagued by this whole Juliet Huddy thing for a long, long time now and I have to ask - who the hell is she, anyway?
And what's with the feet? Why Juliet Huddy's feet? Does somebody seriously believe there are pictures of Juliet Huddy's feet floating about on the 'Net? Or that there should be? And that we would have them? (Just as an aside, feet leave me cold.)
It seems to me that we've generated far too much search engine traffic on the whole Juliet Huddy theme. So let me say to you would-be stalkers out there right now that we have no, nada, zippo information on any of the following topics:
- Juliet Huddy pudding baths
-Juliet Huddy sorority pillow fights
- Juliet Huddy's David Hasselhoff tattoo
- Juliet Huddy and the Chamber of Fire
- Juliet Huddy's secret marriage to Melissa Theuriau (although boy howdy do I wish we did!)
- Juliet Huddy's Georgia Love Shack
- Juliet Huddy's Hot NASCAR Pics
Thank you. And God bless!
Steve-O notes that we Llamas are #3 in google hits for "Battlestar Galactica jokes."
Let's go for the gold, shall we?
Q: What did Baltar say to the Twelve Colonies when he left?
Oh, I slay me.
**Oh, and for those of you expecting a picture of a stringy-haired, cat-faced, Pommy twit up there and wondering who this guy is, I'll just clarify that he's the real Baltar.
UPDATE: BTW, I was prompted by all this to nip over to Netflix and toss the origina BSG movie into the ol' queue. Well, turns out there's a bit of a waiting list at the moment. Nice to see that a rag-tag fugitive fleet of Originalists still exists out there.
British Holiday Feature Bleg
I was watching this thing on PBS last night about murder at Jamestown where they had a sideways reference to Guy Fawkes, and to Guy Fawkes Day, which just happens to be the birthday of our youngest daughter---November 5th.
Our youngest daughter, born on Guy Fawkes Day.
Our youngest daughter, whose Godfather is ..........Robbo the LLamabutcher.
I think not.
Naturally, this got me to thinking---what's the proper way to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day? I realize there's a bonfire involved, and firecrackers, but what else? Believe it or not, The Dear One gave a big thumbs up to the idea this morning. Now, mind you, Little Miss Stubborn will have her birthday party in the afternoon, and she's going with a "Princess Tea Party" theme she came up with. I'm thinking of something we can do additionally for her in the early evening.
Ideas? I'm hoping the proprietor over at Kelly's Green can help out with this one, but I'm looking for general ideas. And yes, I realize this is a chance for Robbo to come out of the closet with his English Civil War Reenactor duds. But these are the risks I'm willing to take for a party.
Helpful Office Etiquette Hints
Look, people, when you go for a bathroom break, don't use the handicap automatic door opener unless you really have to. The door stays open for a considerable amount of time and the rest of us, well, we really don't care to hear what's going on in there.
Is this such a difficult concept?
Gratuitous Historickal Geek Posting - Civil War Division
Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Cedar Creek, the last major battle of the 1864 Shenendoah Valley campaign, in which Jubal Early launched an unexpected assault against the Union army. The Union forces, caught flatfooted, had begun to pull back in panic when they were rallied by Gen. Phillip Henry "Little Phil" Sheridan, who on hearing the battle break out had quickly ridden forward from his headquarters at Winchester. Sheridan rallied the Union troops and, toward the end of the day, launched a counter-attack against the Confederates that pretty much wiped out Early's army as an effective fighting force.
News of Sheridan's ride quickly inspired the following poem by Thomas Buchanan Read, entitled (not surprisingly) "Sheridan's Ride":
Up from the South, at break of day,
Bringing to Winchester fresh dismay,
The affrighted air with a shudder bore,
Like a herald in haste to the chieftain's door,
The terrible grumble, and rumble, and roar,
Telling the battle was on once more,
And Sheridan twenty miles away.
And wider still those billows of war
Thundered along the horizon's bar;
And louder yet into Winchester rolled
The roar of that red sea uncontrolled,
Making the blood of the listener cold,
As he thought of the stake in that fiery fray,
With Sheridan twenty miles away.
But there is a road from Winchester town,
A good, broad highway leading down:
And there, through the flush of the morning light,
A steed as black as the steeds of night
Was seen to pass, as with eagle flight;
As if he knew the terrible need,
He stretched away with his utmost speed.
Hills rose and fell, but his heart was gay,
With Sheridan fifteen miles away.
Still sprang from those swift hoofs, thundering south,
The dust like smoke from the cannon's mouth,
Or the trail of a comet, sweeping faster and faster,
Foreboding to traitors the doom of disaster.
The heart of the steed and the heart of the master
Were beating like prisoners assaulting their walls,
Impatient to be where the battle-field calls;
Every nerve of the charger was strained to full play,
With Sheridan only ten miles away.
Under his spurning feet, the road
Like an arrowy Alpine river flowed,
And the landscape sped away behind
Like an ocean flying before the wind;
And the steed, like a barque fed with furnace ire,
Swept on, with his wild eye full of fire;
But, lo! he is nearing his heart's desire;
He is snuffing the smoke of the roaring fray,
With Sheridan only five miles away.
The first that the general saw were the groups
Of stragglers, and then the retreating troops;
What was to be done? what to do?--a glance told him both.
Then striking his spurs with a terrible oath,
He dashed down the line, 'mid a storm of huzzas,
And the wave of retreat checked its course there, because
The sight of the master compelled it to pause.
With foam and with dust the black charger was gray;
By the flash of his eye, and his red nostril's play,
He seemed to the whole great army to say:
"I have brought you Sheridan all the way
From Winchester down to save the day."
Hurrah! hurrah for Sheridan!
Hurrah! hurrah for horse and man!
And when their statues are placed on high
Under the dome of the Union sky,
The American soldier's Temple of Fame,
There, with the glorious general's name,
Be it said, in letters both bold and bright:
"Here is the steed that saved the day
By carrying Sheridan into the fight,
From Winchester--twenty miles away!"
As poetry, I don't think much of it - anybody who rhymes "Sheridan" with "horse and man" ought to be shot himself - but I like the use of distances at the end of each stanza. And I think it really does capture the spirit of Sheridan's rally nicely.
Apparently, "Juche" is North Korean for "reportorial fellatio"
This article on North Korea from 1986 is hilarious for a number of reasons: one, for showing the tendancy of western reporters to suck up to ruthless dictators for access (and ironically for this article, the reporter wasn't even allowed into the country, forced to cite what one must assume is state-sanctioned "recent visitors"), and two, for showing the myth that "we" were "all" united in the defeat of communism and the belief that the Soviet Union would collapse under its own weight to be just that---a complete effing myth.
October 18, 2006
Somehow, I can't really envision this happening to Rudy G., eh?
I'll just quote it all:
Bloomberg's Car Stolen, Aide Beaten By Thieves (AP) NEW YORK A personal employee of Mayor Michael Bloomberg was beaten by thieves who then carjacked the billionaire's car Wednesday morning in New Jersey, authorities said.
The employee was driving the 2001 Lexus in Hackensack, N.J., on an errand for the mayor shortly before 9 a.m. when he was approached by a woman who came to the window to ask for money, police said. As he declined and began to roll up the window, a man got into the passenger seat and punched him in the face.
"They force him out and take off," said Hackensack police Capt. Frank Lomia.
The car was found about two hours later, abandoned on the side of the road in Fair Lawn, N.J. Police were looking for the two suspects.
Bloomberg's employee was not seriously injured and his name was not released. He is one of many staffers who take care of Bloomberg's personal business and his homes, including his townhouse in Manhattan and country house in upstate New York.
I like how "employee" is a nice euphamism for "butler."
Batman, where were you?
The Bar Napkin Theory of American Political Scandal
Larry Sabato, call your agent. A new star---and a new theory---has been born!
My office is currently infested with about 600-1000 ladybugs, that are creeping in somehow through the window frames. I estimate several hundred thousand on campus at the moment. My office has kind of become something out of the Amityville Horror, except with a perky, sunshiny sort of demon.
I'm going to take the advice of my laser printer, which is currently saying "GET OUUUUUUUUUTTTTTT" More later when I get home.
The Blogsphere is commenting pretty heavily today on this article about an elementary school in Attleboro, Mass that has decided to ban tag, touch football and other "chasing" games at recess. A lot of the commentary I've seen is the predictable "What are they thinking?" and "Another attempt to keep kids from being kids!" and "The nanny-state strikes again!" variety of acid observations about modern educational philosophy run amok.
It seems to me, though, that the people to blame are not Principal Gaylene Heppe (of the school in question), nor teachers, nor educational "specialists." Rayther, the people to blame are certain parents, including one Celeste D'Elia interviewed for this story:
Willett parent Celeste D'Elia, on the other hand, backed Heppe's decision. Her son, she said, feels safer and enjoys the alternatives to throwing a football around.
"I've witnessed enough near collisions" in the playground area, D'Elia said. "I support anything that makes the playground safer and helps teacher to keep track of them."
My friends, I happen to serve on the board of the Llama-ettes' school and I can tell you from all the way over here that, IMHO, this woman has the words "Potential Litigant" stamped across her forehead in large, red letters. In other words, it's all about the suits. You've no idea how much time and effort is spent by schools trying to figure out ways to shield themselves from parents incensed over anything that they perceive might interfere with little Geoffrey's or Sierra's sense of physical, emotional and/or intelllectual well-being. Can it produce overkill? Certainly, as this example demonstrates. However, schools consider it worth the cost. A single parent with an itchy litigation finger can cause paroxisms throughout an entire administration. Better to have a few normal parents grumble than to give the hot-heads an excuse to go for the draw.
As crazy as this measure sounds, I can't really say that I blame the school for taking it.
A great day in the Blogsphere, as our pals "Chip" and the Crack Young Staff over at the Hatemonger's Quarterly join the 200K hits club, while the Irish Elk has just risen to the even loftier 300K circle. We Llamas are assiduous readers of both these fine sites and you should be, too. Well done, indeed!
Meanwhile, on a less pixel-centric plane, congrats to our pal GroovyVic and her hubby, who celebrate nine years of wedded bliss. Whether they'll don Civil War period costume for the festivities this evening is as yet unknown.
Yip! Yip! Yip!
From the Colossus comes a joke I hadn't heard before:
"For the first twenty years of your life, you're worried about what other people think of you. For the second twenty years of your life, you don't give a damn what people think of you. And in the third twenty years of your life, you finally realize that they weren't thinking of you at all."
A tad over three months shy of my "Don't Panic" birthday, I've got to say this answers a whooooole lot of questions about life, the universe and everything.
Happy Birthday, Henri Bergson!
Friends, I'll level with you: I don't know jack about early 20th Century French philosophers. But I do know my Monty Python:
A simple 'Take Your Pick' style set with Michael Miles (John Cleese) grinning type monster standing at centre of it.
Michael Miles: And could we have the next contender, please? [A pepperpot (Terry Jones) walks out onto the set towards Michael Miles] Ha ha ha... Good evening, madam, and your name is?
Woman: Yes, yes...
Michael Miles: And what's your name?
Woman: I go to church regularly.
Michael Miles: Jolly good, I see, and which prize do you have particular eyes on this evening?
Woman: I'd like the blow on the head.
Michael Miles: The blow on the head.
Woman: Just there. [points to the back of her head]
Michael Miles: Jolly good. Well your first question for the blow on the head this evening is: What great opponent of Cartesian dualism resists the reduction of psychological phenomena to physical states?
Woman: I don't know that!
Michael Miles: Well, have a guess.
Woman: Uh...Henri Bergson.
Michael Miles: Is the correct answer!
Woman: Ooh, that was lucky. I never even heard of him.
Michael Miles: Jolly good.
Woman: I don't like darkies.
Michael Miles: [Taken aback for split second] Ha ha ha. Who does? And now your second question for the blow on the head is: What is the main food that penguins eat?
Woman: Pork luncheon meat.
Michael Miles: No.
Michael Miles: No, no, no. What do penguins eat? Penguins.
Michael Miles: Yes.
Woman: I hate penguins.
Michael Miles: No, no, no.
Woman: They eat themselves?
Michael Miles: No, no, what do penguins eat?
Woman: Horses! ... Armchairs!
Michael Miles: No, no, no. What do penguins eat?
Woman: Oh, penguins.
Michael Miles: Penguins.
Michael Miles: No.
Woman: Lasagna, moussaka, lobster thermidor, escalopes de veau ŕ l'estragon avec endives gratinéed with cheese.
Michael Miles: No, no, no, no. I'll give you a clue. [Mimes a fish swimming]
Woman: Ooooh! Brian Close.
Michael Miles: No. no.
Woman: Brian Inglis, Brian Johnson, Bryan Forbes.
Michael Miles: No, no!
Woman: Nanette Newman.
Michael Miles: No. What swims in the sea and gets caught in nets?
Woman: Henri Bergson.
Michael Miles: No!
Woman: Goats. Underwater goats with snorkels and flippers.
Michael Miles: No, no.
Woman: A buffalo with an aqualung.
Michael Miles: No, no.
Woman: Reginald Maudling.
Michael Miles: Yes, that's near enough. I'll give you that. Right! Now, Mrs Scum, you have won your prize, do you still want the blow on the head?
Woman: Yes, yes.
Michael Miles: I'll offer you a poke in the eye?
Woman: No! I want a blow on the head.
Michael Miles: A punch in the throat?
Michael Miles: All right then, a kick in the kneecap?
Michael Miles: Mrs Scum! I'm offering you a boot in the teeth and a dagger up the strap?
Voices: Blow on the head! Take the blow on the head!
Woman: No, no. I'll take the blow on the head.
Michael Miles: Very well then, Mrs Scum, you have won tonight's star prize, the blow on the head!
He strikes her on head with an enormous mallet and she falls unconscious. A sexily dressed hostess in the background (Graham Chapman) strikes a small gong. Three bishops rush in and jump on her.
And speaking of such things, Sooper-Sekret Message to Lynn S. : Welcome to Camelot! 'Tis a silly place, isn't it?
October 17, 2006
Gratuitous Very Cranky Two Hour Multiple Stops In The Rain Commute Home Venting
Events on which I'm not authorized to elaborate (owing to local political considerations, the Missus would have my head) prompted me again this evening to reflect on the following:
There's really no such thing as having too much money. The problem, in my observation, is that most of the rubes who do haven't the remotest idea how to spend it.
That is all.
INDCent Bill's sooper sekrit fantasy come true
No, not the one involving plushie Klingon-attired squirrels.
No, the other one---where I get the crap kicked out of me by a 400 pd. Samoan dude.
Almost, Bill, almost....
Line of the year
This "hidden messages to evangelicals" stuff is crap. I was flipping around channels last night and decided to give "Studio 60" a second chance. Five minutes of time spent wondering why---why oh why---could someone be a funny, talented actress and an actual (perish the thought!) Christian at the same time. Surely, there must be some sooper sekrit contradiction, right? Only unfunny rubes and hicks in Kmart clothes do that church shit, right?
Anyhoo, for anyone worried about the separation of church and state, take a gander at this, and wonder:
AT this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.
On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, urgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war—seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.
One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
Yips! from Robbo: Truth of the matter is that the Bible is probably the single greatest source for imagery, metaphors and similes in the entire English language canon. All these phrases and expressions entered the lexicon at a time when a good chunk of the population was Bible-literate. That literacy has tailed off, but the language remains. This is a conspiracy?
Give INDC Bill a call and tell him the deal is off.
Now if I can only get the costume shop to give me my deposit back on the plushie Klingon-dressed squirrel costume...
A bit of lunchtime crankiness Robbo can savor like a nice turkey sandwich with (ugg) French's mustard...
The cleanest bathroom in America has been discovered
Just in case you were wondering.
A Difficult Day To Be A Tory Sympathizer
October 17, 1777 - British General Burgoyne surrenders to American General Gates, ending the Battle of Saratoga.
October 17, 1781 - British General Cornwallis offers to surrender to American General Washington (the final papers were signed two days later), ending the Siege of Yorktown and, effectively, the war.
Random Commuter Observations
There's a new building going up along my walk from the Metro to the office. It's located at 9th and E here in Dee Cee on what must have been one of the very last undeveloped pieces of ground left in the downtown area.
The construction company is employing two of those giant cranes in its work. What struck me is that while one of the cranes is anchored on the street to the side of the building, the other one sits right in the midst of the construction, about fifteen feet in from one side - the building is literally rising up all around it, with a large square left open in each new floor as they're put in.
Now I have two questions about this: First, how are they going to get the bloody crane out when they're done? Second, what will the tenants do with the leftover shaft?
(Actually, since it's reported that the building is being put up by some ginormous internationl law firm or other, I've an idea they already have plans for the shaft.)
October 16, 2006
Well aint that nice for you
GroovyVic on holiday planning, FiddleDeeDee style. And apparently she's finished her Christmas shopping already too.
It's a boy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Welcome to the world o' 4, Jordana!
BTW, we are sorely disappointed that, presented with the opportunity, you didn't go with "John Quincy Adams" or, at the very minimum, "Grizzly," but good taste must prevail I guess.
Yarn, leaves, apple butter, and funnel cake
Is there more to life?
An auspicious sign of destiny
Lissa and the brood, 3/4 of the way across America in their cross-country sojourn to the new rancho, encounter a herd of friendly LLamas.
Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM) - Llama-ette Division
The theory, anyway. From the Ghent Altarpiece by Jan Van Eyck, 1432.
The Eight Year Old made her debut with the Junior Choristers at Church yesterday. For the Offeratory, they served up "Sing, Dance, Clap Your Hands," by one H. I. Ziegenhals. It ain't exactly "Schafe können sicher weiden," but I'm still pleased and proud as, well, hell. Baby steps.
As she stood amid her fellow choristers, I couldn't help thinking how angelic the gel looked in her red and white vestments. I also couldn't help thinking that true, there's a difference between looking angelic and being angelic, but in this case God would probably take what He can get.
Right Wing Sparkle is hanging it up.
I don't link to RWS often, because usually her stuff is working in a different flow than we're in around here (i.e. her flow = "quality" my flow = "self-evident crap larded with insipid commentary") But I've always enjoyed reading her blog.
There are more faux retirements around blogworld than Barbra Streisand farewell tours, but somehow I have a feeling she'll be true to her word. Or, that when the clouds clear, she'll be back. Either way, we wish you the best!
Your Dose of Lunchtime Koo-ell.
A fireworks factory goes up in flames. Watch the whole thing - you won't be sorry.
Yips! to Jonathan Last at Galley Slaves.
Robbo's not gonna like this
Yips! from Robbo: What? You make it sound as if this is a bad thing to be....
Incidently, I recently read Antonia Fraser's biog Marie Antoinette: The Journey and would recommend it to anybody who's interested in learning more about the poor woman (Antoinette, of course, not Fraser). I think Fraser does a pretty fair job of throwing the "Let them eat cake" caricature crap overboard without falling into the camp of the adulators of St. Marie.
There's got to be a good story behind this
MRN aka "The Husband" goes off on a spectacular rant about celebrities in the coffee shop, all the while nominating his local barista for the hall of fame.
Speaking of spectacular rants, Chip and the Crack Young Staff at the HateMongers Quarterly thoroughly abuse a hatemailer worse than a TSA screener named "Merle" snapping on the white latex glove the day before Thanksgiving at Dulles.
Finger lake wine touring
Now, I'm not linking this because I like Finger Lake wine---let's face it, the wines of upstate New York are ambitiously strident yet aggressively redolent, in that "hey, this has got a real wang to it" sort of way. Okay, they generally taste like bat piss, with a little bit of ground leaf and stray astroturf thrown in.
But the real reason I put up the link are the gratutious cheescake shots of Taughannock Falls, one of my favorite places on planet Earth.
If you are ever at Taughannock Falls State Park, and are driving south back towards Ithaca, you have got to stop at The Glenwood Pines, a little roadside restaraunt on the lake-side of the road. Best damn burger ever.
The Eight Year Old has announced that she wants to be the Headless Horseman for Halloween this year and I'm racking my brains for a way to rig up a costume that would put artificial shoulders above her head.
My basic thought is to build what amounts to a very over-sized set of shoulder pads for her, perhaps using a wire frame, perhaps using styrofoam, the whole to be covered by a long, black cape, of course. The main thing is to keep the whole contraption secure and also to give her a way to peak out so she can see where she's going. The pumpkin-head will, of course, be easy. As for the horse, I think we're going to go with stylized rayther than literal representation.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
UPDATE: In response to a flood of email inquiries, the Six Year Old is going as Super Girl and the Four Year Old as Princess Jasmine. Fortunately, no assembly necessary with their costumes.
Brush With Shiny
From something I noticed in the most recent alumni magazine, it turns out that Joss Whedon was a classmate of mine in college.
I'm sure that this will provoke the "yeah, right" response, but I thought there was something very vaguely familiar about the guy when I watched those making-of-Firefly bits on my DVD set. Thinking on it further, I have a recollection of seeing somebody very much like him - only with much longer and stringier hair - loafing about WestCo, my residential dorm.
Fellow alums of the People's Glorious Soviet of Middletown CT will have little, if any, trouble with the credibility of such a recollection.
Just thought you'd like to know.
Think if I asked nicely he'd swing me a meeting? (And before you suggest I should be aiming elsewhere, I say this: box to your weight.)
YIPS from Steve-O: Just for the record, we're not the only blog with a bit of a, errrrm, problem, when it comes to Firefly.
For the record part deux: I've never seen either the show or the movie. I'm more of a Brisco County sort of dude anyway.
October 15, 2006
Robbo's going to be torked that he missed this one
The Irish Elk---but of course---notes Saturday was the appropriate time to raise Happy Birthday toasts to James II, last Catholic Monarch of the British Isles and a dude so nice, they named the city in his honor twice.
No news yet
For those scoring at home, that will be bambino numero quatro for the Adams Clan.
Insert Homer Simpson drooling noise here
Lissa has her Mom's Famous Rocky Road Sheet Cake recipe up, not to mention disturbing signs of creeping fascism in Indiana.
In a separate development today, I confessed to the neighbors down the street that I have a wee problem with mainlining Betty Crocker's Double Fudge Brownie Mix. Snort it, smoke it, shoot it, mix with some eggs, oil, and water and eat it with a huge freekin' spoon, YES I'VE GOT A PROBLEM.
Glad to get that off my chest. Lord knows there's nothing worse than a secret suburban cake mix addict.
(And yes, that's an inside joke).
UPDATE: Apple Chicken! MMMMMMMMMmmmmmmm!
October 14, 2006
Sheila in LA on Steve McQueen. And do take the time and read her dispatches from LA---priceless stuff.
Bobbgirl, I told you once, I told you a thousand times: always go metric when selecting the weirdos.
With Warner safely out of the way, Team Hillary! opens the first shot of the 2008 campaign.
Making fun of POW torture---class.
Save the link for all those times your moonbat correspondents get all hot on the collar about Cleland/Kerry and "chickenhawks" degrading the service of a real hero.
October 13, 2006
Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)
I really haven't talked about it at all here, but this has been a more than unusually stressful year here at Orgle Manor, what with one thing and another.
It occured to me just recently that although I have managed to keep up my piano playing on a modestly regular basis, ever since this summer I have played almost nothing except the works of J.S. Bach. In particular, I've been concentrating on his keyboard partitas, and even more in particular on Partita No. 1 in B-Flat Major, BWV 825 and Partita No. 5 in G Major, BWV 829. Nothing else seems to do.
Here's a good little description of Bach's partitas from some concert notes about a performance of No. 5:
When Bach moved to Leipzig in 1723, his musical duties changed. For his music-loving prince in Cöthen, Bach had written the great part of his secular instrumental music, but now–as Cantor of the Thomaskirche–he was charged with producing music for religious functions, and the music flowed out of him at a pace that would have exhausted even a Mozart: from the late 1720s came several hundred church cantatas and the St. Matthew Passion. But Bach did not altogether lose interest in instrumental music: he had written the first book of the Well-Tempered Clavier in Cöthen, and now in Leipzig he continued to compose for keyboard.
Bach’s set of six partitas, originally written for harpsichord, was composed between 1726 and 1731 and published in the latter year as the first volume of his Clavier-Übung (“Keyboard Practice”); in a wonderful introductory note in the score, the composer described these works as having been “Composed for Music Lovers, to Refresh their Spirits, by Johann Sebastian Bach.” Bach understood the partita to be a suite of dance movements–its name implies a set of “parts”–based on the traditional sequence of allemande-courante-sarabande-gigue. He adopted this tradition but made it his own by supplementing it with three of what he called galanteries: extra movements, somewhat lighter in character and intended to make the work more attractive to listeners. These consisted of an introductory movement (in a different form in each of the six partitas) and two extra dance movements.
The Partita No. 5 in G Major dates from 1730, when Bach was forty-five. The wonderful Preambulum has been likened to a concerto. It features brilliant exchanges between the hands, and all this dashing energy is interrupted by dignified chords that provide moments of repose before the music dashes off again.
Each of the four traditional movements of the partita has a distinct national origin. The Allemande (that name suggests its German ancestry) is a slow dance of serious character, usually in 4/4 time and in binary form. The Courante (French for “running”) is a lively movement, usually in triple time but sometimes mixing different rhythms; this one remains firmly in 3/8. The Sarabande, of Latin American and Spanish heritage, is a stately dance in triple time; this sarabande, in 3/4 meter, makes frequent use of dotted rhythms and grace notes. The concluding Gigue (derived distantly from the Irish jig) dances energetically and features polyphonic entrances and off-the-beat accents.
The interpolated galanteries are first a Tempo di minuetto that belongs mostly to the right hand; its athletic and angular character makes this quick music seem far removed from the minuet of classical form. The second is a Passepied (“pass-foot” in French), a lively dance in triple time, said to be originally a sailors’ dance.
"To refresh their spirits." I think that's it exactly. And by this, the Old Boy didn't just mean making his music lovers feel good. I tell you truly, friends, that there is a transcendant quality to Bach's music that resonates with the very core of the Spirit, touching off faint yet satisfying echoes of that Spirit within the souls of those who play or listen to it. Very satisfying. And truly refreshing. I have never understood those who dismiss Bach's music as too dry and mathematical. To me, it is the closest we are ever likely to come to the Music of the Spheres, or the choiring of the cherubim and the seraphim, and you can't get much more soulful than that.
I particularly love to play the delightful Praeambulum of No. 5 noted above. Here are the opening bars of the dance:
(Image found at Pianopedia.)
Even the name, which to me has connotations of a pre-walk warm up, makes me smile. As you can see, the dance alternates between hand-crossing runs and definitive chords. As it develops, it keeps to this idea but elaborates on it, bursting out in long contrapuntal passages and dramatic pauses. It's playful and musically rigorous at the same time, encapsulating the kind of serious cheerfulness I always associate with Bach.
Here's a snippet, just to give you the flavor. Of course, as a pure sight-reading hack, I can't play it anywhere near as well as this, not even close. That is the price one pays for only being able to get at the keyboard at odd moments. (To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, the trouble with sight-reading is that when one plays well, nobody listens. And when one plays poorly, nobody talks.) Still, I can stumble through well enough to satisfy myself, if nobody else.
UPDATE: As long as I'm at it, here's the Courante from No. 5. I must say that I'm rayther proud of my own phrasing when I play this. Also, here are the Allemande and the Gigue from Partita No. 1. The Allemande is the pure essence of music to me. And I can play the Gigue (the first section, anyway) from memory, complete with hand-crossings.
I also fixed the original snippet link to substitute a clavichord for a piano performance. I play Bach on the piano because I have no choice in the matter. Those who do so even when they have access to harpsichords and the like ought to be the first against the wall when the revolution comes, so far as I'm concerned.
Gratuitous Mid-Day Drivers Griping
I suppose you could call my town a "bedroom community" since so many people here work in Downtown Dee Cee and other employment hubs in NoVa. Certainly the type of traffic one encounters on a weekday changes significantly between rush and non-rush hours.
As annoying as rush hour can be, I hate driving around during the non-rush.
Inevitably, I get stuck behind some old coot pottering along and totally oblivious to the world around him. It's especially infuriating when he's driving a "sports" car. Hey, Gramps! You may think that Corvette's scoring you some serious cool points, but you squander all of 'em and then some by futzing down the road at 20 mph! Peddle faster!
I've been reading about the early, heavy snowfall they're getting up in Buffalo and other spots around the Great Lakes.
Some military friends of ours, having finished a stint in Honolulu, just last month got posted to Fort Drum, New York, which is even farther upstate and - according to my parents, who lived in Rochester for many years (where I was born, btw) - makes Buffalo look like Tampa in comparison.
I sure pity them right about now.
Meanwhile, it's a beautiful, cool day here in Northern Virginee. We're supposed to drop to the mid 30's tonight. The six year old has an 8:00 AM soccer game tomorrow. When I'm standing about griping about the cold, I'll remind myself it could be a whoooole lot worse.
Short But Sweet
Fellow reactionaries know what I'm talking about.
UPDATE: Oh, what the heck -
Happy Birthday, Baroness Thatcher!
The Rt Hon. Baroness Thatcher, LG, OM, FRS, aka "the Iron Lady" was born this day in 1925. Along with Dutch Reagan and John Paul II, she will be forever honored for helping to win the Cold War and causing the collapse of the Soviet Empire.
Two things come to mind about Mrs. Thatcher.
The first is the Monty Python episode entitled "How to Recognize Different Parts of the Body." In a snide little political dig, the Team throws this one in:
Cut to Gilliam-type open-head picture, with arrow superimposed.
Voice Over: Number twenty-five. The brain.
Cut to picture of Magaret Thatcher. Arrow points to her knee.
Voice Over: Number twenty-six. Magaret Thatcher's brain.
Ha, ha. As much as I love Python, every time I see that bit, I can't help thinking "jackasses."
The second is that I got to see Mrs. Thatcher at the top of her game when I was knocking about Parliament as a research assistant. One memorable afternoon during Prime Minister's Question Time, Neil Kinnock, then the head of the Labour Party, got up and asked some snide, snarky question about some policy or other that was designed solely to embarass the PM and score some cheap debating points. Mrs. Thatcher took that shot and volleyed it right back down Kinnock's throat. Her reply was so masterful that it left the man literally speechless. He simply slumped back down shaking his head dazedly, as the Tory back benches erupted in cheers. It was the most amazing bit of political combat I've ever seen.
Iron Lady, indeed.
YIPS from Steve-O: No, the most amazing bit of political comedy I've ever seen was watching from the Senate gallery the following year Joe Biden deliver the same harrangue, only to have Bob Dole rise up and say, "Why is the gentleman from Delaware calling me 'Madame Prime Minister'? Bob Dole don't like anyone calling him a woman. Bob Dole's going to come over and stick this pencil in your throat."
Oh me oh my oh moe....
The VentView premiers, with short-hair Michelle, Mary Katherine Ham, KP and LaShawn Barber. What, no Bethany and Right Wing Sparkle? What gives?
Actually, having now become a devote of Michelle and KP going head to head on Hot Air, I wonder if they are taking their 'phant and donkey show on the college speaking tour. Because if youdo, boy howdy do I have an invitation waiting for your agents....
The Day The Music Died
CBGB's is closing up for good. I've never been to the place and only know of it by reputation but I do have a direct connection with the story in that the executive director of the Bowery Residents Committee, the landlords who tossed CBGB out of its building, was my boat's coxswain my senior year in college.
Nice going, Muzzy.
YIPS from Steve: What a putz. What a maroon.
Good for the Nobel Committee, for a change. This year's Peace Prize goes to Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh, and for once it is thoroughly merited.
Pee-Jay O'Rourke visited the Grameen Bank during his travels to Bangladesh and wrote about it in the chapter on overpopulation in his 1994 book All The Trouble In The World. His main point was that this kind of microeconomic organization was far more beneficial to the Bangladeshi in the street than such international boondoggles as the World Bank, although at the end he cautioned it was only a drop in the bucket:
I went to the Grameen Bank [ ]. The Grameen Bank was started by somebody who actually did make loans from his own personal funds, Muhammad Yunus, head of the economics department at Chittagong University. Professor Yunus was so appalled by the economic situation in Bangladesh in the 1970s that he decided to quit just professing economics and start getting involved in the economy. He loaned a total of $30 to forty-two impoverished village artisans so they could buy the materials for their crafts. Now the Grameen Bank has 910 branches with more than a million borrowers. The average loan size is $75, and the maximum loan is $180, unless you want to build a house, in which case you can get $300.
Grameen, though it loans money only to the poorest Bangladeshis, is a going concern. It charges 16 percent interest and has a default rate of only 8 percent. Grameen borrowers are formed into five member groups to mutually guarantee loans. Only two members of each group can have loans outstanding at the same time. Several groups form a "centre," and each centre is visited by a Grameen representative once a week. Ninety-two percent of the borrowers are women because the Grameen people believe an increase in women's income directly benefits households. Professor Yunus said, "A man has a different set of priorities, which do not give the family top position," by which I think he means cigarettes and floozies.
Grameen urges the women not only to be economically self-supporting but to follow a set of tenets called the "Sixteen Decisions." These include such resolutions as "We want to change our life," "We want to grow trees," and "We shall not take any dowry when we're getting our sons married and we shall not give any dowry when we are marrying off our daughters." The Grameen Bank also does such things as sell vegetable seedlings to its customers to improve their diets. Although vegetables are easy to grow in Bangladesh (as everything is), people aren't accustomed to eating them and vitamin-deficiency diseases are rife.
The Grameen Bank has run into opposition. Leftists claim it teaches capitalism to the Bangladeshi poor. The village mullahs hold that it is sacrilege for women to fool with money. And local traditionalists are shocked at brides without dowries and probably at vegetables. Grameen is a little piece of a society trying to reconstruct itself. In the office of Khandaker Mozammel, the bank's number two man, I noticed the bookshelf contained Rousseau's Social Contract, Milton and Rose Friedman's Free To Choose, Selected Works of Chairman Mao, and Beyond Love. No stone, however dense or mossy, is being left unturned in the process of this reconstruction.
The Grameen Bank is obviously a better sort of thing for Bangladesh than massive airdrops of soft money from the World Bank or having the Peace Corps send flocks of idealistic comparative lit majors to teach people who have been farming for three thousand years how to farm. But it is tempting to expect too much from a Grameen Bank. Grameen only has thirty-six million dollars in assets. And the product of Grameen-financed enterprise is, when all's been said, that million-stitch bedspread it took me two hours to buy. Better that than no product, but bedspreads are not what Germany and Japan based their postwar economic miracles upon.
Which is why they call it "microeconomics," of course. Baby steps. All the same, congrats to the Grameen Bank and congrats to the Nobel Committee for recognizing its worthiness.
October 12, 2006
Hey! Who Turned Out The Lights?
I suddenly can't read the ol' screen. If you can see this, please let me know. Thankee.
UPDATE: I can see! I can see! Puh-raise the Lawd!
O Tempora! O Mores!
Might as well toddle off to the hot bath with the ol' pocket knife and get it over with. From J-Pod:
This Christmas, there will be a live-action television remake of the 1970s puppet special "The Year Without a Santa Claus," starring John Goodman as Santa, Harvey Fierstein as the Heat Miser and Michael McKean as the Snow Miser. This is nothing short of a desecration.
Is nothing sacred?
(Incidently, back in school the Missus and I went to a Halloween party as Heat Miser (her) and Cold Miser (self). We looked preposterous.)
UPDATE: More! Delta Burke as Mrs. C? Carol Kane as Mother Nature? AAAIIIEEEEEEE!!!!
Epur si muove
Here's what we can expect from a Democratic Congress: Nurenberg-style Trials for the Thought Crime of Denying global warming.
Yeah, because there's a really good history of trying people because their science disagrees with the orthodoxy...
Interesting Tradesports Development
Tradesports has added a market on how many seats in the House the Donks will pick up in November. I've been waiting for a market like this to appear as it gets at the idea of what (if any) margin will appear. It's also useful as a market in that it gets laterally at the issue of control, as well as subtly gauging movement in opinion (it was very useful like this with the electoral college vote aggregate contracts in 2004). In other words, the control market tries to anticipate who will win, but this market by what margin. And the margin of seats is the key to governing.
Anyhoo, the key for a market like this is to find where the mid-point is, where exactly the market breaks to 50/50. Currently, that mid-point is right between "Pickup of 14.5" and "Pickup of 19.5"--in other words, the market is definitely leading to Democrat control of the House in the control market contract (presently trading at $40 for the Republicans to hold), but is only leaning toward a wafer-thin margin, countering the Post's article yesterday anticipating a 30-40 seat blowout for the Donks.
Yips! from Robbo: Let me just add two cents here. I correctly predicted the last bottom of the GOP hold market. Of course, Foley-Gate skewed things and killed off the Mo coming out of the White House, sending the value of these shares back down again. Based on what I've seen the past couple days, I'm predicting right here and now that the market has bottomed out again and will start to rise.
Vinnie's new video is a hoot, but don't expect it to stay on ULiberalTube for long.
Campaign 2008 UPDATE
Mark Warner is NOT running for president? Apparently, the run was vetoed by his wife and daughters (which, if memory serves, was the rationale for Colin Powell not running in 1996).
UPDATE: Confirmed by Larry Sabato, the Dean of Virginia politics himself.
UPDATE: Here's the WaPo piece:
But the biggest challenge, his advisers have said, would have been selling his moderate, bipartisan message to a Democratic primary audience, especially at a time when the party is hungry for partisan success.
The article confirms our earlier sources on family being cited as the reason not to run.
Earning that retirement pay
And here I had a fantasy of her moving back to Scottsdale and solving mysteries while doting on grandkids after a below par round of golf.
"Stitching and bitching"
Late Pregnancy Ramblings
Jordana is on a tear over at Curmudgeonry.
October 11, 2006
A La Recherche Du Bombs Perdu
Sorry, couldn't resist the title.
I'm always a bit leary about going back and revisiting a program or movie I used to love but haven't seen in a while for fear of destroying fond memories through the realization that what I enjoyed back then did not age well. So it was with some trepidation that I ordered Danger: UXB from Netflix.
Well, I watched the first two episodes last evening and I'm happy to report that they were every bit as enjoyable as I remember, right down to the punchy march music over the closing credits.
For those of you unfamiliar with this series, it was released back in 1979 and is the story of a Bomb Disposal Squad of the Royal Engineers during the Blitz. The program is well written, well acted and quite exciting, a typical product of the great John Hawkesworth at the height of his powers. (He also produced such series from the glory years of Mawsterpiece Thee-ay-ter as Upstairs, Downstairs, The Duchess of Duke Street, The Flame Trees of Thika and By The Sword Divided. Yes, in those days, Alistair Cooke ruled Sunday nights at my house.) I'm glad that none of the luster seems to have worn off.
The series stars the then up-and-coming Anthony Andrews as Lt. Brian Ash. Andrews' fame seemed to peak shortly thereafter with his role as Sebastian Flyte in Brideshead Revisited, and then started a steady decline. Perhaps it's a question for another post, but Mom routinely states that Andrews and Jeromy Irons never should have switched roles in Brideshead (Andrews was originally cast as Charles Ryder, who Irons ultimately played) on the grounds that Irons looked much more like Diana Quick, who played Sebastian's sister Julia. Somebody recently told me, by the way that Andrews comes from an old acting family, which I think is rather nice.
Anyhoo, if you haven't seen this series in a while or are interested in exploring some new-to-you WWII drama, I'd heartily recommend checking it out.
The great immigration debate
This put it into nice contrast for me:
Now THAT'S a survey
Patum Peperium wants to know why you keep coming back. I have no idea, as it was the first time I went, but I'll be coming back.
Really? The next thing you know Robbo will be sporting Armani shades or something.
Yips! from Robbo: You want Young Tory Cool? This is all you'll ever need:
A nice Wednesday afternoon gullywasher
The Colossus is channeling Bill Murray and Peejay O'Rourke.
'Fins Blogging - TMQ Reader Animadversion Department
This week, Gregg Easterbrook's Tuesday Morning Quarterback column begins with his thoughts on the rapidly-fading star of Brett Favre:
At the risk of quoting myself -- Oscar Wilde said, "I often quote myself, it adds spice to the conversation" -- let me reiterate what I wrote about Favre a year ago: "We'd like to think stellar athletes go out in glory, and occasionally this happens. Yet in many cases legendary athletes depart on a bummer note. In Dan Marino's final game, the Dolphins lost 62-7. In Larry Bird's final game, the Celtics were knocked out of the playoffs as Bird played poorly. On Jim Kelly's final snap, he fumbled in opposing territory late in the Bills' only playoff defeat in Ralph Wilson Stadium history. In Jerry Rice's final game, he had no receptions as his team lost in the playoffs. In Michael Jordan's final game, his team lost by 20 points.
Well, okay. But let me just say one thing in defense of Dan Marino - the 62-7 shellacking the 'Fins received at the hands of Jacksonville in his last game in the 1999 season was not his fault. In fact, the Dolphins had played their guts out to beat Seattle 20-17 in the Wild Card game the previous week, while the Jags had a bye. When the 'Fins got to Jacksonville, they were simply too exhausted to play against such a fresh team, something that was perfectly obvious within about the first five minutes of the game.
So to the extent Gregg suggests that Marino's fade contributed to this loss, I say - LACES OUT, DAN!
Give 'Em Watts, Mom and Dad!
All three Llama-ettes got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, something that is not very usual at Orgle Manor. As they sat at the breakfast table snarling at each other, I was suddenly reminded of what my mother used to do when my brother, sister and I started to fight among ourselves.
Riffing on the old Katzenjammer Kids comic strip, her habit was to take a certain famous quotation from Isaac Watts, come to attention, bug out her eyes, and deliver in a heavy comic-German accent the line:
Birdies in der little nests.....AGREE!
I'm not sure this really caused the animosity to die down amongst us, but it did at least unite us in the common belief that Mom was a bit crazy.
I'll have to give it a try with my own brood.
Living the Little House Experience to the Nth Degree
PETA has their shorts in wad about Six Flags Theme Park hosting a cockroach eating contest, with the winner getting a free season pass for four with Line Jumping Privileges. Best line from the Six Flags spokesman was that the complaints they had received all came from people who couldn't sign up for the contest because the time had expired.
My bet however would be that PETA's reaction would be a little different when the cockroaches, freed from the clutches of the Six Flags species-ists, tried to build a beach house on the coastal property they had bought that would entail removing some dune grass. Because you know that pesky human rights thing only goes so far.
Sic transit gloria mundi, dude
The LMC is going to like this: Benny is bringing back the Latin Mass.
Gratuitous Paddy O'Posting
From the Irish R.M. story "The White-Boys"
Sleepy Beth gives an enthusiastic review of Frank Delaney's Ireland, a book I've not read but which looks interesting.
This caught my eye in particular because I've just started in for the umpteenth time on The Irish R.M. Remember how I mentioned yesterday that I had a stable of authors whose books I read about once a year? Add E.E. Somerville and Martin Ross to the list. Their comic stories of life in the West of Ireland around the turn of the Century, as seen from the eyes of the Anglo-Irish gentry, are pure masterpieces. How about a little Major Yeats?
I look back to that first week of housekeeping at Shreelane as to a comedy excessively badly staged, and striped with lurid melodrama. Towards its close I was positively home-sick for Mrs. Raverty's [hotel], and I had not a single clean pair of boots. I am not one of those who hold the convention that in Ireland the rain never ceases, day or night, but I must say that my first November at Shreelane was composed of weather of which my friend Flurry Knox remarked that you wouldn't meet a Christian out of doors, unless it was a snipe or a dispensary doctor. To this lamentable category might be added a resident magistrate. Daily, shrouded in mackintosh, I set forth for the Petty Sessions Courts of my wide district; daily, in the inevitable atmosphere of wet frieze and perjury, I listened to indictments of old women who plucked geese alive, of publicans whose hospitality to their friends broke forth uncontrollably on Sunday afternoons, of "parties" who, in the language of the police sergeant, were subtly defined as "not to say dhrunk, but in good fighting thrim."
Somewhere or other, I once heard that these stories were among Queen Victoria's favorite reading on train journeys. They certainly make for wonderful entertainment on the Metro.
And before you ask, yes, I have seen the tee vee dramatization and no, I did not like it (although I wanted to, since I'm a fan of Peter Bowles). As I hope the above snippet demonstrates, the humor of these stories is not just in the actual events depicted therein, but also in the way they are retold, something that is almost always impossible to translate from the written word to the screen when dealing with first-person narration. (I've long argued that this is why, or at least one of the main reasons why, the Jeeves & Wooster series leaves me so flat.)
Somerville and Ross originally wrote these stories in three batches, the latter two tacked on due to reader demand. I've got a battered old paperback copy of the complete set that was released when Maastherpiece Thee-ya-ter ran the tee-vee series back in the 80's. It seems to be out of print now. You'll have to do a fair bit of hunting among the newer editions of the stories (all of which seem to be partial only) in order to collect them all. However, IMHO, it would be well worth the effort.
UPDATE: I meant to mention earlier how curious it was, being so familiar with Somerville & Ross's comic descriptions of early 20th Century Irish peasant life, to later come across the playwrite John Synge's grittier works about them. The short stories and the plays come at their subject from two widely variant angles and with considerably different purposes, and yet the affinity between them is quite interesting. If I could hop in the Way-Back Machine and go back to write a senior English major thesis, this would be an interesting idea to work up.
October 10, 2006
I gather that our great Emperor Pixy is messing about with the rubber-bands and hamster-wheels back at the Munuvian Home World at the moment.
If things seem a little wonky here today, try hitting the refresh button once or twice.
If things continue to be wonky after you've done so, well, that's just us. Mango fibberfoodle whuzzzaker firsh!
That is all.
UPDATE: Actually, it looks as if the problems I'm seeing are being caused by my own system, so never mind. A thousand apologies to our Emperor for thinking otherwise.
UPDATE DEUX: Message from Emperor Pixy - "Apology accepted, Admiral Robbo."
Gratuitous Llama Literary Meme
There was a time not all that long ago when I would jump with both feet on every meme that came down the pike. Of late, I simply haven't been tempted as much. Why? Who knows. Go figure. However, since both Basil and "Chip" are in on this one, and since I really don't have anything original to say at the moment, I'm going to play today:
1. One book that changed your life.
I think I must have been a freshman in high school when I first read Tom Wolfe's Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak-Catchers. This book has always stood out in my mind because it was my first real exposure to the uglier side of politics, the kind of thing you don't get in middle school social studies. It immediately appealed to my already-blossoming cynicism and was probably responsible, in part, for my having never gone through a period of starry-eyed belief in the inherent "goodness" of modern Liberalism.
2. One book you have read more than once.
Like some of the other chaps who've answered, I have a stable of authors whose works I cycle through repeatedly on a more or less yearly basis. Among them are Evelyn Waugh, P.G. Wodehouse, Patrick O'Brian, Robert Graves, J.R.R. Tolkien and P.J. O'Rourke. Many other books I've read two, three or four times, my philosophy being that if a book is worth reading once it's worth reading multiple times. (And before you say, "Well, duh," I would mention that I was once talking with a fairly senior partner in my firm about reading habits and he was astounded that I would read any book more than once. 'Course, I suspect his own reading was confined to books on the NYT bestsellers list, so perhaps there was some reason behind his disbelief.)
3. One book you would want on a desert island.
1001 Recipes for Sand.
4. One book that made you cry.
Moab Is My Washpot, Stephen Fry's amazing autobiography of his younger years. In case you weren't aware, Fry took some very bad turns as a kid and damn near ruined his life permanently. The narrowness of his escape, the effort to pull himself together and his description of the first fruits of that effort...well, let's just say that I kept getting some dust or something under my contacts, because my eyes kept filling up.
5. One book that made you laugh.
Oh, gorsh. Their name is Legion. I love humorous books. On reflection, I'd have to say that the book at which I laughed the hardest - and I'm talking eyes streaming, nose running, lung-busting helpless paroxisms - was the Harvard Lampoon's Bored of the Rings.
'Course, that was a few years back. The most recent guffaw I've had probably was in rereading the epic battle between Apthorpe and Ben Ritchie-Hook over the former's thunder-box in Waugh's Men at Arms. Biffed, indeed.
6. One book you wish had been written.
How I Was Able To Retire At 35, by Robbo T. Llamabutcher.
7. One book you wish had never been written.
Walden by Henry David Thoreau. Peej O'Rourke has described Thoreau as the proto-type of the Sanctimonious Beaknik and I think this is exactly right. Friends, I tell you truly that this book is a load of crap and I'm still bitter about the amount of time I was forced to waste reading it.
8. One book you are currently reading
I'm working my way through Churchill's memoirs of WWII. At the moment, I am in the thick of The Hinge of Fate. It's 1942, Tobruk has just fallen and Rommel is on his way to Cairo, Kraut U-boats are crawling all over the Atlantic, the Brits are reeling from the loss of Singapore, "Uncle Joe" Stalin and his fellow-travellers are screaming "Second Front Now!" and a few members of Parliament infected with Churchill Derangement Syndrome are calling for the Old Boy's head. Think Winnie'll knuckle under? Not bloody likely.
9. One book you have been meaning to read
Again, their name is Legion. However, as soon as I finish up the latest volume of Churchill, I've promised myself that I am going to insert into the evening read The Meaning of Jesus, a theological debate between N.T. Wright (sensible candidate) and Marcus Borg (very silly candidate). It isn't so much that I expect my outlook to be altered, but I want to get a deeper understanding of the theological and intellectual underpinnings of the debate. Apart from the inherent merits of edification, it seems to me this is pretty important given the unrest my Church is going through at the moment.
UPDATE: Answering No. 8 above reminds me that I wanted to ask our readers for any recommendations for a really good biography of Rommel. Thankee!
UPDATE DEUX: I'm going to add a new question to the meme here by asking:
10. One book new to you -
And here's my answer:
McElligot's Pool by Dr. Seuss. Evidently one of his earlier works, I'd never even heard of it until the Llama-ettes picked it up at the local library. Now the four year old and I are having a great time reading it. She especially likes the Eskimo fish and the checkerboard fish.
October 09, 2006
Spent a good chunk of the day today taking the storms off the windows on the back side of the house (at least the ones I could reach without a ladder) and attacking said storms and windows inside and out with Windex and newspaper.
I love newly-cleaned windows. The view through is so clear, so sharp, so rich - almost more real than if the glass weren't there at all, in a sort of Neo-Platonist way.
The back of Orgle Manor faces northeast and looks out on woodland - mostly oak and maple. In the fall when the leaves all turn and the sun shines on them from over the roof, they fill all the rooms on that side with a deep orange glow. It's well worth the effort to give the windows a good cleaning in order to maximize the effect.
First, take a bong hit and then look at the 2 photos on this link.
Duuuuuude! So like, our entire universe is just one cell in the brain of God . . . and he's a mouse? Isn't that in Hitchhiker's Guide, man?
Big bag of jalapeno kettle chips for my munchied pal Mr. Keysunset.
October 08, 2006
The Battle of Lepanto
Read Novak's account of the defeat of the Turkish fleet on October 7, 1571. The Spanish-Venetian-Genose fleet swept the Muslims from the sea, effectively ending the Muslim threat to Christian Europe. Pius V attributed the victory to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin. Seamanship and better gunnery helped as well.
Your Tax Money At Work
Drudge is running with another of those stories today about massive FEMA mismanagement of Katrina aid.
I don't especially care about the details of the story itself. However, it gives me the perfect excuse to repost the single most important couple of paragraphs on money I've ever read in my life, words o' wisdom that are applicable not just to Katrina relief, but to any issue regarding government expenditure (and, really, expenditure by everyone else as well). Read them. Learn them. Live them.
There is a problem with letting government buy us the things we want, such as a cleaner, more diverse, more environmental environment. The problem is worse than political, it's psychotic. The government has a deranged method of spending money. This was first pointed out by Milton and Rose Friedman in their 1980 classic text on economic liberty, Free to Choose.....The Friedmans describe the four ways money is spent:
1. You spend your money on yourself. You're motivated to get the thing you want most at the best price. This is the way middle-aged men haggle with Porsche dealers.
2. You spend your money on other people. You still want a bargain, but you're less interested in pleasing the recipient of your largesse. This is why children get underwear at Christmas.
3. You spend other people's money on yourself. You get what you want but price no longer matters. The second wives who ride around with the middle-aged men in the Porsches do this kind of spending at Neiman Marcus.
4. You spend other people's money on other people. And in this case, who gives a shite?
Most government spending falls into category four. Which is why the government keeps buying us Hoover Dams, B-1 bombers, raids on Waco cults and 1972 Federal Water Pollution Control Acts.
--P.J. O'Rourke, All The Trouble In The World.
To that list go ahead and add Katrina Disaster Relief Programs.
I'm a large-C Conservative in that I would like to see this sort of thing cut back. But I'm a small-c conservative cynic in my belief that the problem is systemic, not ideological, and that the likelihood of reform is, well, remote at best.
October 07, 2006
Burst message from Patrol Base LMC
I am alive, well, and working on words and phrases in a language which was not on the curriculum at any school I ever attended. KMR, if you thought French at Norfolk Catholic was bad, you haven't seen anything yet.
My First, Last and Only Foley-Gate Post
Bill Kristol gets it right. Jumping on the Foley scandal has a certain superficial short-term appeal for the Donks and it definitely has, for the moment at least, killed off the momentum that was starting to flow in the GOP's direction before last week. But I'm dubious about the story's legs, especially if the GOP gets back on message this week.
Personally, my only concern regarding the mid-term elections is this: the next two years, IMHO, are going to be a critical period in the global war on terror. Donk control of even one chamber of Congress will put our efforts in that war in terrible peril, from the possibility of cutting and running in Iraq to the redesignation of anti-terrorist activity to mere law-enforcement status. And this says nothing of the distraction and demoralization that would be caused by Speaker Pelosi's continuous efforts to get at Dubya with her scalping knife.
Soggy Saturday at Orgle Manor
Quote of the day so far:
"Good God! Did you just throw that cat?"
UPDATE: And of course, there's the ever popular, "I THOUGHT I TOLD YOU NOT TO YELL IN THE HOUSE!"
October 06, 2006
I'm sure there's some kind of Brown Coats/101 Airborne joke in all this, but damme if I can find it.
Preemptive Sooper-Sekret Message to Pats Fans
Shut the hell up!
UPDATE: Preemptive Somewhat Less Pessimistic Sooper-Sekret Message to Sooners fans:
Hook 'em, Horns!
Your Friday Afternoon "Heh"
Regular readers know that
we hates the nasssty wicked tricksy
I'm no great fan of what Peter Jackson did to The Lord of the Rings.
Nonetheless, it could have been worse:
Yips! to Ace.
Okay, Now I'm Hitting Middle Age
Well, now perhaps I need to reconsider. You see, over the past two evenings, I've been running off Season 3 of Arrested Development. Last night, I came across Justine Batemam playing Nellie Bluth opposite real life little brother Jason's Michael Bluth:
Justine is the bottom half of forty, almost exactly a year younger than me. Yet as I watched her, I caught myself thinking, "Not baaaad...."
BTW, I hadn't seen a fair part of Season 3 before. However much AD might have suffered from the sophomore slump, they got it back in the end. It still amazes me that such a screamingly funny show got the ax. (Then again, half the jokes in the last episodes were sly allusions to its impending doom, so the question is whether it would have been as funny without such a wealth of gallows humor.)
Non Semper In Vino Veritas
Here we go again.
CNN has a puff piece up today about the pleasures of exploring Virginia Wine Country.
Now I admit that I've not tried Barboursville Vineyard (featured in the article) and am intrigued to give its sangiovese a whirl. As a matter of fact, the last time I brought up this subject, a commenter specifically recommended it to me.
Nonetheless, and Lawd knows that in most respects I'm a booster of this great Commonwealth in which I live, but friends, I tell you truly: Virginia wine is high-priced cough-syrup.
So by all means, come and enjoy the Piedmont! It's one of the most beautiful parts of the country and is chocked full of all sorts of nifty historickal interest as well. But don't let yourself get suckered into believing that just because the glass of wine you're sampling was produced from grapes grown in the shadow of Monticello, that somehow makes it taste any better or makes it worth twenty bucks a bottle, because this simply isn't the case.
UPDATE: Now here's the way to do a proper wine tour - get a job with the Ministry of Silly Tipplers.
Arrr...Man Yer Garlic Presses, Me Hearties!
Brian B. has a new look and a new name for his blog. Me likey. Go check it out.
October 05, 2006
Dealing with a touch of Bechuana tummy today. I'm going back to bed.
Right up Robbo's alley
And I mean that in a completely non-Denny Hastert sort of way.
Today is the 424th Birthday of the Gregorian Calendar.
"Chip" over at the HateMongers Quarterly experiences pain and abject humiliation at the gym involving headbangers, professional wrestling, ellipticals, and the Lifetime Network. Oh, and tasteful lesbianism too.
Oh man, not the thing I want to see in the morning...
The Irish Elk's paen to the cider donut.
I went back to Liz's old blog in search of a Rosie O'Donnell bit I had done to adorn the previous post, but instead found this gem: Chai-Rista visits a friendly neighborhood psychic in Fredricksburg, VA.
Jailarity ensues, as they say.
Never leave the boat, man, NEVER LEAVE THE BOAT!
October 04, 2006
Caterpillar Ranch Update
Oh, how we are going to miss the Bonny Glen. The Old One decided to show Lissa and the crew how much they've meant to all us.
Of course, she's horning in on Kelly's turf with the Monarch Butterfly blogging. But hey, at least it's not cat blogging. But Kelly's having a moment, now that six is officially seven, and the Cedric Diggory Memorial Scarf(TM) has become a hat. But I digress...
I'm leaving tomorrow to Denver for a conference that runs until Monday morning. I'm not thrilled, particularly, because the agenda sucks but I'm locked into it, plus I don't really feel like leaving the family at the moment as I'm kind of in a nice homebody routine. Ah, life in the fast lane. But I am (kind of) looking forward to the Denver part, as it's always been fun the previous times I've been there. Any suggestions on the to/do? Thanks.
Overheard in Petsmart
Last Saturday I was treated to a conversation so stupid it nearly rent the universe in twain. Trapped in the checkout line at Petsmart, this is what I heard:
Couple with blonde dog: OMG! Is that a doodle?
Couple with black dog: YES! Is yours a doodle?
Couple with blonde dog: Yes! It's a Golden Doodle. Where did you get your doodle?
Couple with black dog: In West Virginia.
Couple with blonde dog: OMG! Us too! Did you go to Dee's Doodles?
Couple with black dog: No. We went to Doodleville.
Now, rent universe aside . . . this is not the stupidest conversation I have ever overheard. That title was claimed by a toothless father (I have to admit - I didn't look at him. He just sounded toothless!) lecturing his son in the booth behind me at the diner one day. Here are some selections from the Wisdom of Ray:
1] Now Zaire is one place I would like to go. That's where they've got you some headhunters down in Zaire.
2] Hiccups is your body trying to throw the food up off your lungs because there is not enough liquid to digest it properly. Now that is a fact. It is a fact! It throws it up there until you drink something. That's why it's a hiccup. I never did hear of a hiccdown.
3] I've visited whole countries without ever going there by reading. You don't have to go there if you read about them because it's just the same. Let me tell you if you are going to another country what you want to do is read all about the laws and how to get around and then when you get there, you won't have any use for getting lost.
ok - your turn. What is the stupidest conversation you've overheard lately?
Insert evil cackling laugh
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip---NBC's Aaron Sorking/Bradley Whitford/Matthew Perry piously sanctimonious paen to SNL and the evils of uppity Christians---is in a ratings nosedive, unlike, ironically, the show within a show on the show. I guess those Crazy Christians in Terre Haute are having the last laugh.
The Bucket Brigade
It seems to me that there is a certain "be careful what you wish for" air about all this (and I'm talking about Society in general, not Bobgirrl). Back in my yoot, I distinctly remember being told that the whole concept of "gentleman" was patriarchal and sexist and chauvenistic and eviiiil and just one step short of women as chattel and yadda, yadda, yadda - scolding, I'm happy to say, that I cheerfully ignored.
However, it seems from Bobgirrl's lament that a great many other fellows out there took it all in and then some. Now we see that when one removes the gentlemanly constraints from the male half of the population, one is left with a pack of.....louts.
In Dad Time, the advent of my own daughters' dating is no great way off. I grow more and more queasy at the prospect.
UPDATE DEUX: And let us not forget this gentleman:
"Mr Knightley entertains his nephews"
Whenever the subject turns to such matters around here, I can't help but mention Mr. Knightley, given how fond of him our dear pal Kathy is! (Neener! Neener!)
French's mustard boy aint going to like this one
It looks like it's not just the Miami Dolphins offense that's falling apart...
Yips! from Robbo: Money quote: "The woman was treated by paramedics, but continued to keep score of the game, Torres told the newspaper."
At least with the Marlins, there's some score to keep! If it had been a 'Fins game, I'm sure she would have left for the hospital.
Random Parental Musing
Do you think Social Services would mind overly much if we just went ahead and stapled the Llama-ettes' shoes to their feet?
I mean, yes, it would certainly sting for a bit. But on the other hand, we would wipe out the daily round of alarums and hysterics that occur when we're trying to get out the door.
Seems like a good trade off to me, but I'm just asking......
October 03, 2006
I've heard of breaking the Ramadan fast, but this one's a beaut
Here's a great visitor:
And what did they come from Mecca for? Why, our post from last year on the Madden 2005 bar-fighting hottie lesbian NFL cheerleader video game. Definitely our most popular post for searches from Saudia Arabia and Iran.
Winning the war on terror one click at a time...
Gratuitious Lunchtime Observation
In terms of brown bag lunches, is there anything that can make one feel so virtuous and ever-so-slightly smug as eating a turkey sammich?
YIPS from Steve-O: Oh, I don't know, maybe blogging about it?
And the correct answer by the way is chicken salad, on wheat, with honey mustard.
Yips! back from Robbo: I said "virtuous", smart guy, not "satisfied". If we're going that direction, I'll need some extremely underdone roast beef, a large block of XXX-tra sharp cheddar and a loaf of French bread. Also a Guinness. Better make it two. Plus about four hours for a nap after.
More Yips! from Robbo: And for those of you who think I ask "What Would Niles Crane Do?" about every matter of taste, let me just point out that for tasty sammiches, this is the only spread you'll ever need:
Still more Yips! from Robbo: All this talk of Dijon mustard, chicken salad and "artisan bread" (for Pete's sake!) has forced me to bring out the big guns. Know what makes an fantastic Red State Real Man sammich? Venison salami.
Just don't count on getting kissed for the rest of the day, that's all.
YIPS from Steve-O: This is dangerously close to becoming the Esmay/Malkin/Commissar blog war, but instead of on Islam and democracy it's cold cuts and condiments.
With that said, excuse me, but, French's......I mean, doesn't it say it all right there?
Here's the only thing that's going to touch MY 'Merikan chicken salad (other than, of course, the mayonaise, basil, cilantro, and just a hint of fennel):
That's right, FREEDOM MUSTARD, you effete anti-Islamist democtritarian Pelosi-fawning bastage!
Did Sam trust his Chicken Salad or Turkey with French's? I think freakin' not!
More of Michael Palin's diary of the Python years. Today's extract:
In the last shot of the day I had to stand beside a fairly busy road clad in the 'It's Man' beard and moustache and a bikini. Next to me was John Cleese, also in a bikini. (The It's Man was a cross I'd made for myself, by suggesting that at the start of each show a haggard, wild-eyed old man should stagger out of incredibly uncomfortable situations and with his last breath squeeze out the word 'It's â€¦'. I was unanimously chosen to play the part, one of the most consistently uncomfortable in Python.)
Go read the rest.
Lots of good stuff over at the Cranky Professor, including a question about libertarians and their preferences. My short answer is: yes.
Burger King and the CPI Effect
Interesting thoughts on technological change and how it manifests itself in the calculation of the consumer price index measurement of inflation inter-year and inter-decade, and a whopper of a prediction from Dan Drezner.
Random Commuter Observation
As you might imagine, there are a goodish number of cars in my neck of Northern Virginia sporting diplomatic plates - all those embassy people and so forth.
The plates are issued by the State Department and - sometimes famously - provide a certain amount of diplomatic immunity to their drivers.
What I want to know is whether these people are required to carry U.S. driver's licenses or to otherwise demonstrate their proficiency behind the wheel before being allowed out on the roads.
My guess, based on empirical observation, is that the answer is "probably not".
Best. Marital. Advice. OF ALL TIME
f you're married to a woman who has caught a parasitic infection (from a child drinking contaminated swimming pool water), and who has had quite dramatic intestinal problems and no real sleep or food for four days, all while trying to nurse a 4-month-old and take care of a 21-month-old and a 4-year-old. . .
don't point out that "on the bright side" she's lost most of the rest of that pesky pregnancy weight.
Gratuitous Llama Netflix Movie Review
A Handful of Dust (1988).
Based on the savage comic novel of Evelyn Waugh, this movie struck me as a perfect example of a film that's got the words, but hasn't got the tune. Pretty much faithful to Waugh's plot and dialogue (albeit cut down considerably), it comes across as disappointingly bland. Whereas every time I read the book I am filled with various degrees of anger, horror, frustration, sympathy and snarky pleasure, watching the movie left me for the most part indifferent.
A shame, too, because so many things were done right. The period detail is marvelous and the outdoor scenes beautifully shot. The actors, too, all look right in their parts - Kristin Scott Thomas as the horrid Brenda Last in particular reminded me of a young SiĂ˘n Phillips. But again, there was a curious lack of spirit among them. Even Alec Guiness, as the psychotic Mr. Todd, couldn't rescue the film from its cream-of-wheatness.
In short, it's a decent costume drama and perhaps a good primer for anybody thinking of picking up the book for the first time but maybe hoping for a few Cliff's notes on the time, place and manner before tackling it, but I definitely feel that having seen this film once was enough for me.
After 2 years on MT, I'm finally getting around to starting to use categories.
Maybe by 2008 I'll be doing RSS feeds. Who knows.
Anyhoo, to inaugurate the new category, we present, "Bite me, Mama!"
NOTE TO SELF: I guess that means I need to put the "Category" script back in the template....
Happy Birthday, George Bancroft
George Bancroft, the father of American history, born this day in 1800.
I'm a sucker for the 19th century American historians--Bancroft, Henry Adams, and Fredrick Jackson Turner in particular. Why I like reading them is to get a sense of how people at the time viewed their own history as an active enterprise that they were creating. Distortions and biases? Absolutely, but viewing theirs helps me see the distortions and biases in our own attempts to write history in the present.
Oh, and if anyone (I don't know, say a moonbat geneticist) ever gives you the whole "waa, history is only written by the victors" line, find the nice thick Landmark Edition of Thucydides' The Peloponnesian War edited and translated by Robert Strassler with an introduction by Victor Davis Hansen and shove it down their throat, politely pointing out the first great work of history was written by a defeated Athenian general.
Woo Hoo! It's Urban Archery Season in Fairfax County! And now with crossbows! Here's what you need to know:
**Only antlerless deer may be taken.
**Lists of properties available for hunting are not maintained by the Virginia Department of Game of Inland Fisheries or local governments. To find available properties, visit with or contact local landowners, hunters, or check stations. Hunters in Fairfax County may wish to contact Suburban Whitetail Management of Northern Virginia, Inc.
**You must obtain permission to hunt from the landowner. You must also obtain permission to pursue or retrieve deer from neighboring landowners.
**Due to the small size of parcels and proximity of residences, you or the landowner should notify adjacent property owners or tenants, as a courtesy, before hunting.
**License and tagging requirements for the urban archery season are the same as for the other archery seasons in Virginia. You must purchase an archery license to hunt during any special archery season. See "License Requirements".
**NEW: Crossbows are defined by law as a type of bow and are therefore legal during urban archery season. However, to use a crossbow during any special archery season, you must also purchase a crossbow license. See "License Requirements".
**The season bag limit for deer cannot be exceeded unless bonus deer permits are purchased. See "Bonus Deer Permits".
**Most localities participating in the urban archery season also allow archery hunting during other traditional deer seasons; i.e., early archery season, general firearms season, and late archery season (see below). Antlered deer may be taken during these traditional seasons, provided that the locality of interest allows archery hunting then. Remember that only antlerless deer may be taken during the urban archery season.
**Bucks that drop antlers prior to the conclusion of the urban archery season are considered "antlerless" and may be legally harvested and tagged with an antlerless-only deer tag.
**Deer must be checked by calling 1-866-GOT-GAME or at a big game check station.
Those are the archery regs for both Fairfax as well as other towns and cities within this here great Commonwealth of Virginny. Here are some more specific to Fairfax:
**In addition to the urban archery season, archery deer hunting is also allowed during the early archery season and the general firearms deer season (i.e., from the first Saturday in October through the first Saturday in January).
**Hunters must abide by all applicable sections of the Virginia State Code and Virginia Hunting Regulations (including bag limits and tagging/checking requirements).
**Hunters must gain written permission for posted property and verbal for un-posted property.
**It shall be unlawful to discharge an arrow in a manner that can be reasonably expected to result in the impact of the arrow upon the property of another without permission from the owner, fee holder, or tenant.
What I read all this to mean is that my back yard could be hunted if I liked. And indeed, I had a nice offer come into the Tasty Bits (TM) Mail Sack from a hunter willing to do just that. Thanks, but I'm going to pass: although the reaction I would get from the Missus by telling her I had arranged for complete strangers to show up in our yard with crossbows would be priceless, I doubt if I could afford the resultant long term medical care costs.
Getting ready for Season 4 of Orgle Manor
Thanksgiving Week will mark the start of Season Four here at the LLamas. We have some plans in store for you our regular reader (note to Rob: we need some plans, pronto!) I'd like us to put together a new set, a new template look. One thing we are definitely doing is streamlining the blogrolls somewhat. I've already started to go through and cut out blogs that have gone dark, and some of the ancillary blogrolls that we picked up and that, like the Spanish American War phone tax, just kind of hung around. But most of all I'd like to update the technicL format from where it's residing, which is currently somewhere in Dec. 2004.
And fear not, this doesn't mean the LLamas are going to start videoblogging. The. World. Is. Not. Ready.
Other ideas? I haven't a clue yet, really, so if you have anything just drop us a line in the TastyBits (TM) Mail Sack. Yip! Yip! Yip!
October 02, 2006
What I want for Christmas, First in a series
Riding in the Bucket
Bobgirrl on the Bucket Boys of dating:
think I may have met a new member of possibly bucket #1, quite likely bucket #2, and probably bucket #4. You remember the buckets, donâ€™t you? For those who are uninitiated and those just too lazy to follow the link, let me â€™splain. You see, dear reader, it seems that all of the men I meet fall into one of four buckets:
Bucket #1: Unhappily married (whether they know it or not)
Bucket #2: Mentally unstable
Bucket #3: Gay (whether they know it or not)
Bucket #4: Some or all of the above
This gave me a good chuckle, but not for the reason Bobgirrl was necessarily going for: we rowed in college, and in an 8 the standard way to configure the boat was a stagger of ports and starboard oars, counting back from 8 in back as the leader to 1 in the bow. For reasons unclear to mortal men, our Coach prefered a rig which went port/starboard/port/starboard/starboard/port/starboard/port--ie the guys in the 5 and 4 seats are both rowing the same side. For whatever reason, we dubbed this rig "The Bucket" and if you were in the 5 seat you were the top half of the Bucket, and if you were the 4 seat you were the bottom of the bucket.
Needless to say, I spent a lot of time in the 4 seat.
So, in this era of sensless and malicious outing of people's sordid pasts, I'll act preemptively: yes, in college, one of my nicknames was "Bucket Butt."
Talk about your aggressive, umm, profiling.
That is all.
UPDATE: At least I can hold my head up high and say unequivocally that I never lost a seat race to a peanut butter sandwich.
It was a fluffernutter, you damn jackals! Get your stories straight.
Yips! from Robbo, Collegiate Nostalgia Dept.: As I really was too small for crew but too pig-headed to admit it at the time, I spent the vast majority of my rowing career as the Bow Baby. (Fortunately, my nickname on the team was "Whammer" so I never was never dubbed for my seat. Why Whammer? Well, that's a story for another time.)
I've got just two words why I thank God I never spent any time in the bucket: "Jerr" and "Bear".
That is all.
Romance, thy name is FiddleDeeDee
And be sure to read the following post, a tribute to her Dad who passed away 10 years ago.
Smarter than the average suburbanite
Presented without editing from our neighborhood newsletter:
Our resident bear was sighted again this morning just about the time that the school bus was picking up kids. What was different this time was the fact that he was crossing Lake Tree Lane up by the tennis courts; he wasnâ€™t in the back yards by the woods. I have once again e-mailed Steve Ferguson our Game Warden, and asked that he and the State Wildlife Biologist come out and meet with the neighborhood regarding the bear sightings. I will let you all know when this gets scheduled.
I know that there are many folks in WR that would like to see this bear shot or relocated. I have had a long conversation about this with Steve, during which he told me a lot about bears. I really wanted him to be the one to pass on this information because he is the expert (Iâ€™m NOT, and donâ€™t claim to be), but because there was so much concern regarding this morningâ€™s sighting, I guess I need to. Iâ€™m simply passing on what I was told, and this explains why after so many people have complained to his office we havenâ€™t seen a battalion of Game Wardens out here tracking the bear.
With regard to the idea of trapping the bear, he said that they just wonâ€™t do it. He said that they have learned over the years that bears will return to the area where they were removed. He said that just a few years ago a bear from another state (I think it was Tennessee) was relocated here in Virginia. They put a tracking collar on the bear, and within 2 months it was back at the same spot in Tennessee. He said that they WILL shoot a bear, but only after it has either killed livestock or entered a home. The State has a huge book of regulations regarding what a Game Warden can and canâ€™t do, and the section on shooting bears is literally 5 pages long. They know an awful lot about bear behavior, and they spend a lot of time trying to combat misinformation that people pick up from the movies (as I had).
From the description of the size of the bear, he estimates that this one is about 2 years old. Heâ€™s just been forced away from his mother at this point, and is out learning about the world firsthand. Unfortunately he hasnâ€™t yet learned to stay away from houses. Steve said that when we see the bear near houses, make as much noise as possible. Help teach him that this is not someplace that he wants to be.
Two things that he said about bears really surprised me. The first one is that every square mile of Albemarle county is claimed by at least one bear as their own territory (by the way, we have more than one that claims WR as their territory). He said that there are two bears that live in Forest Lakes, and they have lived there in harmony with the residents for years. The second thing that he said that really surprised me was that we should think of this small (100 lbs.) bear as an overgrown raccoon. Curious, continually eating when food is present, and not really wanting human contact. Again, Iâ€™m just passing along what he told me, I am in no way a wildlife expert, and different situations can demand different actions. But this is apparently why they have not been really anxious to come out and eliminate the bear.
Yips! from Robbo: Mind you, the local police office is routinely flooded with reports of this kind of sighting whenever Steve-O goes for a walk:
So probably the no-shoot-on-sight rule is a good one.....
Monday afternoon this 'n that
Osama on martyrdom:
South Park meets World of Warcraft:
Two great tastes, yadda.
Gratuitous Civil War Musickal Posting
Drum Corps of the 93rd New York Infantry, August 1863. Image found here.
Inspired by GroovyVic's news of her impending return to that romantic hotspot known as the Gettysburg Battlefield, I got poking about a bit about the fife and drum tunes of the times. Here's a little midi of one such tune instantly recognizable to fans of the movie Gettysburg, "Frog in the Well".
Yes, I do this just because I can.
Hugo Chavez: Man of the people. George W. Bush---Fascist dictator
I guess we'll be able to tell by who leaves office when their legal term is up, now, won't we?
Chavez vowed to win the Dec. 3 vote and continue governing this South American nation until 2021. "Fourteen more years, that's what's coming," Chavez said.
Venezuela's Constitution allows a president to be re-elected only once in immediate succession. If Chavez wins a second six-year term in December, he wouldn't be able to run again in 2012 without a legal change.
Chavez has floated the possibility of changing Venezuela's constitution to allow indefinite re-election.
Note to self: Sleep-over parties are better held on Friday evenings than on Saturday. That way, if your brood is grumpy and fractious the next day, you'll still have an additional 24 hours to get back on line yourself after they've calmed down.
UPDATE: And no, Smartypants, this doesn't have anything to do with the number of adult beverages consumed in order to make the sleep-over endurable.
Ace (not) mourning the death of videoblogging.
Yes, Oliver Willis ate the future.
And Now For Something Completely Different
The Telegraph runs exerpts from Michael Palin's diary written during the filming of Life of Brian. Witness here the birth of a new star in the firmament of humor:
Wednesday, November 24
John and Graham have a good idea for a Brian storyline â€“ writing ''Go Home Romans" on the wall is going to be a classic. I wish I'd thought of such a neat idea.
Go read the rest.
YIPS from Steve-O:
This one's for Robbo's Mom:
Yeah, I'd say this is about right:
OK, now is not the time to get all hysterical and overreact and call this a bad Dolphins team. No, instead let's step back from what we saw Sunday afternoon and, in the spirit of fairness and rationality, call this a very bad, REALLY bad Dolphins team.
It is no longer a team simply off to a slow start. Nor is it a team beset by bad luck or injuries.
Right now, one quarter through the regular season, this team billed only a month or so ago as a Super Bowl contender has somehow turned into the NFL version of what a child might look like if Dreadful and Embarrassing gave birth.