November 30, 2006
That's My Church!
In response to the recent diktat to embrace theological re-education and like it from newly elevated High Priestess Katherine Jefferts-Schori, the Bishop of San Joaquin, the Rt. Rev. John-David M. Schofield, SSC, tells Her Graceness to go and boil her apostate head:
I am in receipt of your letter to me and wish to make clear from the outset that I have always remained faithful to my vows as an ordained bishop in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. At my consecration, I vowed to “guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church of God.” I was charged by my chief consecrator to “Feed the flock of Christ committed to [my] charge, guard and defend them in his truth, and be a faithful steward of his holy Word and Sacraments.” I carry out my vow by defending and propagating “the historic Faith and Order” which The Episcopal Church commits to upholding in the preamble of its own Constitution.
In 2003, the General Convention committed itself to a theological path that is irreconcilable with the Anglican faith this Church has received and has torn the fabric of the entire Communion. The Primates repeated calls for repentance have not been heeded. More than half of the Primates and Provinces of the Anglican Communion have declared themselves to be in impaired or broken communion with The Episcopal Church. Beyond our Anglican Communion, relations throughout Christendom have been profoundly strained. With obvious reference to innovations and novelties introduced by The Episcopal Church, last week Pope Benedict XVI publically stated to Archbishop Rowan Williams that recent developments, “especially concerning ordained ministry and certain moral teachings,” have affected not only the internal relations within the Anglican Communion but also relations between the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church.
The Episcopal Church, as an institution, is walking a path of apostasy and those faithful to God’s Word are forced to make painful choices.
At a diocesan level, the choice is between continuing membership in an unrepentant, apostate institution or following Holy Scripture and the Anglican faith. Whether or not the Diocese of San Joaquin will continue its institutional membership in The Episcopal Church is a choice that will be made by the people and the clergy and not by me. They will express their collective will as provided in the diocesan governing documents which were approved by the General Convention when the diocese was first admitted to membership.
Good for you, Bishop Schofield! I'm sure my own parish and diocesan commisars will dismiss you as a nekulturny relic of the ancien regime fit for standing up against the wall, but it's good to see someone in the Church putting up a fight. Keep the faith!
Yips! to the Colossus for shooting along the link.
Voice of the Trailers
I was talking with a friend one day when I said in passing, "You know like how the guy who voices-over movie trailers is always the same guy?"
She shook her head.
"You know, The Voice!" I said. "It's always the same guy narrating the movie trailers." I tried to imitate The Voice - "But THIS time there's money involved!" I growled.
It didn't help - she still had no idea what I was talking about (making me wonder if she'd ever ACTUALLY been to a movie theater). Since then GEICO has hired The Voice to do one of their commercials, lampooning his over-the-top vocal style.
The name belonging to The Voice is Don LaFontaine, and my pal Mr. Keysunset sent me this short, interesting interview with him at YouTube.
The Aussie Fab Four Minus One
No, Greg isn't dead. But he is leaving the Wiggles.
Apparently, Mr. Yellow Shirt had missed a whole raft of shows this year due to an circulatory illness called orthostatic intolerance. He's now announced that he's quiting performing altogether.
Of course, I hope all the best for Greg. And I think this is a huge shame - The Wiggles really were a great thing, especially in their earlier days. When you consider all the other alternatives onto which the kiddies might latch, you could do far worse than memorizing the lyrics to "Big Red Car", "Mashed Potatoes" and "Do The Monkey".
I understand that an understudy had been filling in for Greg on tour and that now the Wiggles are planning to elevate him to a permanent position. The jocks on the radio were musing about this move this morning, wondering if the Wiggles could survive, or if the kiddies would even notice the substitution.
I can answer the second question, at any rate: Above the age of, say, three, you bet they will.
As to the first? Difficult to say. Sure, the franchise has been built up to institutional proportions, but in the end it really seems to me to be dependent on these four guys and especially Greg. Will the fans remain loyal, now that the recognized leader of the group is gone?
It's a wiggly, wiggly conundrum!
Happy Birthday, Winston!
Born this day in 1874.
I'm now five sixths of the way through his memoir of the Second World War and about to start in on the final volume, Triumph and Tragedy. Reading of his (and Roosevelt's) moral seriousness in combating the forces of evil is at once uplifting and depressing - uplifting because of the fine example they set, depressing in comparison to the vapid and frivolous Praetorian toadies who now man the defenses in their stead.
An Early Christmas Card to the Llama Military Correspondent And His Buddies
Normally I'm not much into chain emails. However, I pass this one along:
A Different Christmas Poem
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light, I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest, My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white, Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe, Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep, Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem, So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near, But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know, Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear, And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night, A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old, Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled, Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
"What are you doing?" I asked without fear, "Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve, You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift, Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light.
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right, I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line, That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
"My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam', And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while, But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag, The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone, Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet, I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another, Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all, To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."
"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright, Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least, Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done, For being away from your wife and your son."
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret, "Just tell us you love us, and never forget To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone, To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead, To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust, That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."
Feel free to forward it to all those you know who serve or who have friends or family who serve. Or to anybody else you think needs some reminding.
Drawing A Line In The Pine Needles
The family of the eight year old's best friend owns a Christmas tree farm out in the Shenendoah Valley that we've been meaning to patronize for several years but had never been able to manage it. Well, this year, the gel and her friend went to enormous lengths of badgering to ensure that we would actually do it, the result being that we are going to head out there this weekend, the only one in which we'll have the time between now and Christmas.
All well and good, thoughts I. Go to country. Frolick. Pick out tree. Bring home. I hadn't really got any farther in my mullings beyond an assumption that we would plunk the thing in a bucket in the garage when we got home and forget about it for a week or two. Sunday is only December 3rd, fer chrissakes. Heck, we won't even light our first Advent candle until that evening. Without mentioning it, I assumed that everybody else would feel that way too.
Well, this morning I discovered that in my assumptions, I had failed to reckon with the Missus and the gels.
"Daddy! Guess what?" said the six year old. "We're going to get the Christmas tree this weekend! And we're going to decorate it!"
"Wellll," I replied, "We're certainly going to get it. But I think we'll wait a bit before decorating."
The gel's eyes began to get somewhat saucer-shaped.
"Why, of course we're going to decorate it Sunday," says the Missus.
"Why, of course nothing of the sort," says I, "It'll barely even be December! Are you crazy?"
"Fine. I'll decorate it," says she.
"That's not the point," says I. "It's not that I don't want to do it, it's that it's just too early."
Well, we haven't resolved the issue yet.
Now ordinarily, I'm the easy-going type. But you have to take a stand sometimes, and putting up Christmas decorations too early is one of those things against which such stands must be made if Western Civilisation is to have any chance of survival. (Heck, when I was a kid, decorating the tree was one of the hallmarks of Christmas Eve.) At the outside, I'll go along with two weeks early. But three? You'll have to pry the stand out of my cold, dead fingers first.
We'll see how things go.
November 29, 2006
Sorry for the
light non-existent posting the past couple days.
I'm presently caught between the Isengard of a nasty flu and the Barad Dur of an appellate brief deadline. The hacking, fever and general yuckiness of the former have unfortunately distracted me from the incoming storm of the latter, so now, like Gandalf, I am frantically riding for Minas Tirith before it is too late. (I only hope that Shadowfax doesn't mind me getting phlem all over his mane.)
Anyhoo, I may post sparingly until the weekend and on into the beginning of next week.
Yip! at you later.
UPDATE: What's with all this "You seem to be sick so often" stuff? Nuh-uh!
Mom says I get sick because of the stress. Such a good boy, she says, You worry too much!
Such a nice boy! And so handsome! And so successful! Who wouldn't love this boy? she says.
Really, people, I don't get sick any more often than the ordinary fellah with three kids bringing home every known bug in the 'verse. Stop making me sound like Ivor the Invalid!
November 27, 2006
Digital Camera Bleg
The Missus asked me to post a bleg for any recommendations you can give about digital cameras, what to look for, what minimal capabilities one should have and so on. Since neither of us is Ansel Adams, what we want most is something that will do good journeyman work but is on the less expensive side.
I know I've asked this before but I can't remember when or what the answers were. Thankee in advance for any tips you can give me now.
November 26, 2006
Rule #3 of Fight Club
Don't pine for a surfeit of posting to Agent Bedhead, for verily I say unto thee thou surely will be smited down like the dumbass you are.
I've certainly felt the uptick in the economy, from the worst economy since Herbert Hoover three weeks ago to record new highs in the Dow since the Donks took over, but Mary Katherine Ham nails it:
I guess it's been a hell of a three weeks. Three cheers for Democrats and their Black-Friday-Fixin', Reluctance-Banishing, Cure-All Economic Elixir!
Must be Harry Reid's Magic Real Estate Portfolio Improvin' Rooster Claw.
She follows with a nice 2005/2006 day-after-Thanksgiving shopping update stories. Funny how all the black clouds over the economy have lifted...
This should be interesting
I want to make it abundantly clear: if there’s anyone who believes that these youngsters want to fight, as the Pentagon and some generals have said, you can just forget about it. No young, bright individual wants to fight just because of a bonus and just because of educational benefits. And most all of them come from communities of very, very high unemployment. If a young fella has an option of having a decent career or joining the army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life that he would not be in Iraq.
Someone needs to send this to incoming Democratic Virginia Senator Jim "Born Fightin'" Webb for a reaction, RE his son currently in Iraq. Odds are the reaction would be, how you say, ah yes, Kramer-esque.
College Football Update
The virtual USC/ND game was a wee bit closer than the real thing. I hadn't been following college football closely enough this season---why didn't anyone alert me to the fact that SC's starting quarterback is a character from my favorite aliens invade the earth but are thwarted by 80s hipster dudes? I kept expecting John Lithgow to pop into the booth and scream at Brent Musberger "That's Big Booo-TAY! BEEG BOOO-TAY!" Seriously, dude: how can you NOT root for a team which features the big booty taking the snaps?
Going to be one of those days...
I just went to make scrambled eggs, but poured out from the carton of half and half instead of the Justlikeeggs.
November 25, 2006
Yikes! What Have I Unleashed?
I'm stuck inside writing a brief today but couldn't resist sharing some Tasty Bits Mail Sack (TM) correspondence from a long time reader:
Ever since you started posting your score on the Hamsterpault my husband has been crazy to beat it. It seems that he cannot break 650 and has asked me to write to you for some info and tips.
First, what is the highest score that you have had with any one hamster?
Second, how many hours do you think you have spent playing the game? He asked me to phrase this specifically as if I asked how many games you have played, you might not be able to answer accurately…
Third, do you have any tips that you would be willing to share as to how to make the hamsters fly longer distances?
I can only assume that this is a guy thing… But, I can tell you that the muttering at the end of the evening has reached a crescendo… especially when I told my husband that you had broken 1200. “You can tell that miserable llama Robert mumble, mumble, mumble, oorgle, oorgle oorgle” I’m going to bed now…
And so it goes, evening after evening.
I would greatly appreciate it if you could lend some tips. You would certainly be doing God’s work. Think of yourself as a marriage counselor! A happy hamster flinging husband is a contented husband… or something like that!
Well, the institution of marriage is in bad enough shape as it is. I wouldn't want to contribute to any further slide, so I will do my best to put a smile on hubby's face with what I've been able to glean:
1. I don't recall the exact figure, but I did send one hamster shooting about 400-odd feet once. At my best, I'd say my average flight is somewhere in the 150 foot range with the occasional 200 or 300+ tossed in. And while I have the occasional high score, I'd say my overall best average was probably in the 700-800 foot range.
2. Again, I don't know. I don't play nearly as much as I did a few weeks back. In general, I can't play the game more than fifteen minutes at a go because the eye-strain gives me a serious headache. I can say that however much time I've actually spent on it has probably been too much.
3. Ah, tips. Well, I think I've actually got a few that might be useful:
--- The biggest thing is getting early momentum. When you launch, be careful not to get too much height. Concentrate on going out rather than up and make it your first priority to try and hit a rocket or two.
--- Use your hamster glide power sparingly. I only tap the mouse enough to keep my nose up unless I need to gain enough height to go for a rocket.
--- Beware those air-jet thingies. If you get too close, they will push you so high that you go right out of the rockets and balls zone, especially if you're already going slow. On the other hand, if you're moving along at a pretty good clip, try passing either just below one or else a little high over it - it'll add to your forward momentum.
--- Don't be afraid of the ground. By going low, you can sometimes come across a lot of rockets. Also, you can see enough to try and aim for the springboards. And remember that if you hit the ground at a flat enough angle, you can sometimes get enough of a bounce to either get to a springboard or even to catch something up in the air and relaunch yourself.
--- Of course, you probably already know that the pink balls don't bounce as high or far as the greens. If you get a green ball, I consider it to be worthwhile to actively try and avoid the pink ones.
--- There are patterns to the way the various bits are set out in the sky. Sometimes the air-jet thingies will be set in a kind of stair formation so that once you get caught in the first, they'll sweep you on up higher and higher. Avoid those. Sometimes the jets are also placed to cover rockets or springboards. I haven't figured out what to do about that (if anything). On the other hand, be on the lookout for strings of rockets - sometimes you can hit three or four of them in rapid succession, and the faster you go the more control you have (to say nothing of the actual distance you gain).
--- Remember that there is a great deal of blind luck involved. Sometimes you simply run out of options and while you might have scored 270 on one flight, you'll find yourself with a 30 footer the next time.
There! I hope that helps - cue the Wagner!
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Outdoor Division
Dear Black & Decker:
While I find your Leaf Hog to be a very useful tool for dealing with the annual deluge of leaves on and about Orgle Manor, I can't help pointing out two defects of which I think you should be aware:
First, despite your advertisement of the "Anti clog Vortex vacuum system," the Hog does not appear to have been designed to deal with wet leaves when being used in the vacuum/mulch mode. I understand that it may be much preferable to collect leaves when they are dry, but it rains a great deal in Virginia in November and, given the limited amount of time I have at my disposal, I have to take conditions as I find them. And having to stop every thirty seconds in order to unclog the tube or the neck of the mulch bag strains what little time I have even further.
Second, while I understand the need to save costs, I really believe that your designers cut the corner too closely when they chose to attach the mulch bag to the blower by nothing more than a thin plastic tab. After just a few uses, this tab develops the propensity to slip, thereby causing the bag to pop open and shower the user with bits of mulched leaf. And while I don't doubt that the amount of leaf mulch that makes its way into my stomach by this method constitutes an excellent source of fiber, I can't help but believe that any health benefits gained thereby are negated by the detrimental inhalation of such bits into my lungs at the same time.
In the event that you decide to produce a Mark II version of this product, I hope you will keep these observations in mind.
Robbo T. Llama.
November 24, 2006
There Are No Mulligans In Space
In the stupid-publicity-stunt-gone-bad category, a Russian cosmonaut shanks a six iron shot off the International Space Station.
Hitting golf balls in space, however, was never going to be easy. First there was an hour's delay as his spacesuit overheated and a hatch on the International Space Station got stuck.
Then, with his goldplated six-iron in his hand, he spent more than a quarter of an hour positioning himself for the shot - not easy when half the time he was upside down.
Finally he struck the ball ... and, with almost poetic inevitability, mishit it. It was what golfers call a shank - that awful moment when you hit the ball with the heel of the club and it goes off in some unpredictable direction.
And as is also almost inevitable, the ball appears headed toward that giant water hazard known as Planet Earth:
The Russians, who are being paid an undisclosed sum by golf company Element 21, say the ball - weighing about 1/15th of a normal golf ball - could travel for more than three years, or 460 million miles.
Nasa, which has been forced to take a grin-and-bear-it attitude to the Russians' commercial ventures, was more modest. They said it would travel around Earth for three days before burning up - around 1.26 million miles.
Dumbass. Me, I'd have laid up to the Moon with a wedge or maybe a nine iron, then gone for the money shot.
Thanksgiving At Orgle Manor - Wrap Up
What better way to start your Thankgiving Day party than have your six year old become spectacularly sick with the stomach bug a few minutes before the guests are due to arrive?
Well, we had a pleasant evening nonetheless. In addition to an old friend of the Missus and her mother, we were also graced by the presence of Professor Chaos, who is intelligent, interesting and even more of a compulsive nut about his library than I am. I'm quite proud of the fact that the table talk did not, in fact, focus on blogging, nor was it even mentioned more than in passing. Just shows we can pretend to be normal when we have to.
Oh, and in case you were interested from yesterday's turkey-blogging, the bird came out just fine. (As is almost needless to say, it's leftover sammiches tonight. Also, I'm going to give Mrs. P's turkey soup recipe a try.)
A funny thing about turkey: I find that when I eat it, I always seem to start slurring my speech. Must be the tryptophan or sumpin'. In any event, by the end of the evening, I was definitely beginning to have articulation issues. I mention this causal connection because I wouldn't want anyone who was present at din-dins to go away with the impression that Robbo had too much drink taken.
UPDATE: Oh, and I might note that the Missus and I had all the china and silver cleaned, dried and put away by 8:15 this morning. Pretty durn good, if you ask me.
Somehow, I have a feeling Robbo's really REALLY going to like this one
I know I shouldn't encourage Robbo too much on this issue, but his recent screed on the new high priestess of the Episcopal Church would fit well with this posting: The Epistle of Saint Katherine to the San Joaquinians.
Yips! from Robbo: Gee, ya think?
The Morning After
Mrs P. just might have discovered the world's greatest recipe for Turkey Soup.
The Real Hawkeye Pierce
The Irish Elk has a great collection of stuff over the past week, but this little bit in particular about the author who wrote M*A*S*H made me snort hot tea through my nose:
After being informed that someone had beat up a few political-science professors at the local college, Hawkeye replies: "They're a bunch of lefties, aren't they? Fella oughta kick the bejesus out of a liberal now and then just to stay in shape."
Ah, the thought of a conservative, cantankerous, middle-aged Alan Alda reciting that line is priceless.
Life in the Land of 746
Which makes me feel guilty that I'm doing nothing today except hang out with the kids rather than being knee deep in the KF 8000s.
But Kelly has an excuse: she is, after all, married to a sooper sekrit agent/librarian.
November 23, 2006
Happy Thanksgiving From The LLamas!
***Stickied to the top through Midnight, November 23. Check below for the Annual Liveblogging of the Turkey Roast III: Roast Harder.***
Best wishes for this Thanksgiving Holiday to all of you, whether you're a regular reader or just passing through. And we hope that you, like us, will take a little time to reflect not only on the things in your lives for which you may be grateful, but also on all those people - both known and unknown - who make such things possible.
Yip! Yip! Yip!
YIPS from Steve-O: Here's my traditional Thanksgiving post on the real meaning of Thanksgiving:
City of New York, October 3, 1789
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanks-giving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th. day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficient Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows best.
George Washington: A Collection compiled and edited by W.B. Allen (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, 1988) at 534-535.
Proclamation of Thanksgiving BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siefe and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobediance, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lourd one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eigth.
By the President:
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Some people have their priorities in order
The Colossus has been spending the week preparing for his virtual version of the USC/Notre Dame game. Notre Dame somehow always finds a way to win on the ol' Colossus virtual ND Bowl.
Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)
Here's what Peter Tchaikovsky had to say about the music of Johannes Brahms:
"For the Russian heart there is something dry, cold, nebulous and repelling about the music of this German master. For us Russians, Brahms lacks every sense of melodic fantasy. The musical thought in Brahms is never completely pronounced. Barely has a melodic phrase been as much as hinted at, it is so overgrown with all kinds of harmonic modulations as if the composer had set himself the task of being incomprehensible and deep whatever the cost....His style is always so lofty..., but in everything the most important element of all is missing: beauty!"
Frankly, I think this is errant nonsense. And I'd choose the music of Brahms over Tchaikovsky any day. In the end, ol' Peter Ilyich's music may be "pretty", but Brahms' is the stuff with real meat on it, both structural and emotive.
I toss this out simply because I've been listening to what Basil Fawlty would call "Brahms' Fourth Racket" a lot lately. When things get a bit turbulent, I find this to be just the thing, striking very deep emotional chords without sliding off into the mawkish sentimentality or self-absorbed pretention that characterizes so much of the Romantic period.
Something To Do While You're Waiting For The Oven To Heat Up
The Firefly blooper real. Much longer than the one that comes with the DVD set. Enjoy!
The Bird Man of Llamaville
So Robbo brined his first turkey last evening.
As Robbo doesn't have a pot large enough to hold a 20 pound bird and several gallons of spiced sea-water and had to rely on one of those large, plastic bags instead, Robbo also managed to brine his shoes, his khakis, the surrounding floor and a fair bit of the kitchen counter as well.
Ah, well - the sacrifices one is prepared to make....
As a matter of fact, I thoroughly approve of the brining fad which seems to have appeared within the last couple of years. To tell the truth, I had always found domestic turkey to be rayther, well, boring and this process really peps it up.
If you ever get the chance, by the way, you should try wild turkey. As is the case with most other birds, the difference in flavor is remarkable. We had a nice wild bird for Christmas dinner when I was eight. I remember this distinctly because I was the one who shot the bird. This may have enhanced its flavor in my mind, but my recollection is that it was awefully tasty.
YIPS from Steve-O: With the in-laws and the outlaws here at the house, I agree with Robbo---Wild Turkey is definitely going to be the thing to get me through the day.
Anyhoo, I mentioned to the Dear One that Robbo was "brining" the bird and she snorted, and muttered something that sounded suspiciously like "faux-traditonalist" althought it could have just as easily have been "photo-deliciousness." Either way. I cleaned and dressed the bird, going with a mixture of dried herbs (heavy on the thyme) from the garden mixed with cajun salt and canola oil. I really wanted to put a bit of beer into the basin but got caught and busted. Oh well, no sooper sekrit ingredient this year.
Rounding out the menu at Orgle Manor South: sweet potatos, cranberry, green beens with this sort of pecan and pepper thing, stuffing, and The Dear One's secret recipe gravy. Which I'm sort of convinced does not include beer. Followed by pie---last night we made the pecan (with a new oatmeal pecan recipe), traditional pumpkin, and the store-bought (mon dieu!) ones The Dear One's dad brought.
The bird went in at 8:21, and it's 20 lbs. So I guess the race is on!
FURTHER YIPS from Steve-O: Was it just me, or did anyone else, reading Robbo's posting above, hear it being read with the voice of the guy who does the NFL Films narration
YIPS from Steve-O, Turkey Liveblogging Update: Hey, this isn't the butterball turkey cooking tips guide or hotline here, so I have no particular insight other than the one correct way to baste is left-handed, counterclockwise, with a minimum of adult beverage spilled on the bird.
And no, this isn't a desperate attempt to google chum into some of that "tips on making the perfect Thanksgiving turkey" traffic. No way would we do something like that. We'd have to surrender all our nekkid pics of Weather Channel Babe Alexandra Steele and Fox Nooz chic Juliette Huddy if we did something as desparate as that! Heck, they might even throw us in a women's prison with Martha Stewart!
Yessiree, no pics of hot, steamy, lovingly prepared juicy stuffing here at the LLamas this year. Sexy French Nooz Babe Melissa Theuriau would have it no other way...
Yips! back from Robbo: Bird in! at 10:30. Getting the damned thing out of the brining bag is even messier than getting it in. And huge apologies to the Dear One for going all Martha Stewart and offending her sensibilities on this.
So. Bird in oven. Fire laid. All the china and silver went out yesterday. We're really on the ball this year - nothing to do for the next six or seven hours except light into the Tio Pepe. Woo hoo!
YIPS from Steve-O---Life Imitates Mad About You update: I swear to Clapton, we just ran through the whole "What? You're buying ice? Burt, look, they buy ice" routine from Mad About You. I realize this might violate some cosmic "No Helen Hunt on Major Holidays" blogging rule but hey, shoot me. Back from the Great Valu (early morning beverage run) in a jiff.
Robbo, how about a little later I dress up as Priscilla Alden and use my Pilgrim whiles to get your sooper sekrit recipe for Giblets a la LLama out of you...
YIPS from Steve-O 1:30 PM Update: Turkey's out, stuffing is cooking, gravy right afterward. The great table setting derby has begun.
Yips! back from Robbo: 2:15 Update: Dude, that's like two different updates of mine you've wiped out through forgetting to close the post! Of course, you may be doing it deliberately in order to save me from getting in trouble for too much Helen Hunt drooling.
In any case, El Turkey is coming along just fine, thank you. Popper already popped, but I don't believe it - ain't no way a twenty pound bird cooks through in four hours. I'm gonna use the Force on this one and stick to my original Estimated Time of Doneness. In the meanwhile, it's baste-O-rama!
YIPS from Steve-O 8:20 edition: Insert Homer Simpson drooling noise here
BTW, this is just downright disgusting---cannibal!
November 22, 2006
That's My Church!
In response to my post of yesterday about the latest PC pogram in the Episcopal Church on the part of newly appointed High Priestess Katherine Schorri Jefferts, Fr. Christopher of Apostolicity sent me this recent pic of Her Grace:
Along those lines, I note that this coming Sunday is known in the Church as Christ the King Sunday. This got me wondering again: How much longer must we endure these outmoded titles, relics of an exploded feudal system built on the backs of the Oppressed? I mean, it's like soooooo hierarchical! Instead of Jesus being the "King of Kings" or the "Prince of Peace", shouldn't we develope some more relevant and inclusive titles?
How about "Supreme Hugging Machine"?
Or "Our Maximum Buddy"?
Or, simply, "Snuggles"?
I hope Her Presiding Bishopressness gets right on this.
Thanksgiving Coture For The Llama Mamma
Brought to our attention by our pal Sarah of Life at Full Volume, this lovely 50's vintage piece features llamas and turkeys.
For some odd reason, the designer seems to have chosen a color scheme with military camo in mind.
Me Don' Wan' Go Home!
As much as I enjoy Thanksgiving itself, I always dread the commute home the afternoon before.
In his benevolence, Uncle Sam lets us go early on this Wednesday. The trouble is that everybody else in Dee Cee seems to do exactly the same. The result is that the Metro is invariably clogged and often broken down to boot. The roads out in the suburbs tend to be equally saturated. My usual commute door to door is about an hour or so. I fully expect to double that today.
On top of this, the weather here on the afternoon before Thanksgiving is almost inevitably beastly. It's pouring rain out there right now. And with the wind up, an umbrella is more a form of protest than any kind of actual protection.
Of course, as usual I've left it late to pick up the adult beverages for tomorrow from Total Bev. The parking lot of the place, usually fairly quiet in the evening, is going to be a zoo.
As a bonus this year, I've got a brief to work on over the holiday which means I'm going to be hauling several pounds worth of paper home, probably dislocating my shoulder on the way to the metro.
Aaaaaand, I'm not saying anything official regarding the possibility that I picked up the four year old's stomach bug, but lunch sure isn't sitting well right now. Urg.
Do you think anybody'd mind if I just closed my office door and slept for the next couple days?
Gratuitous 'Fins Posting
I didn't get a chance to say so earlier, but congrats to the Dallas Cowboys for putting the kybosh on Indianapolis' perfect season this past weekend. It isn't often that I cheer on the Cowboys, but woo hoo!
And why am I so happy? Because the Colts' loss means that the Streak continues. Gregg Easterbrook explains:
In other NFL news, at 7:18 p.m. ET on Sunday, as the Colts left Stonehenge Field in Irving, Texas, mumbling "#@%*!" under their breaths, corks popped. In one of the sweetest traditions in sports lore, on opening day of every NFL season, each surviving member of the 1972 Miami Dolphins, the sole perfect team in modern pro football history, sets aside a bottle of champagne to cool. And it's genuine champagne from the French province of Champagne, not the boysenberry-infused sparkling-Gewurztraminer wine-like substance that passes for bubbly these days. At the moment the stadium clock hits all-naughts for the vanquishing of the season's last undefeated team, the 1972 Dolphins pull the corks, secure in the knowledge that they will reign as the sole perfect team for at least one more year. Gentlemen of 1972, enjoy your annual draught. TMQ feels confident you will continue to sip champagne each autumn until you are called to meet the football gods, and greeted by song and feasting.
As a boy, I actually fell in love with the Dolphins in 1971 and was enraged when the were embarassed in the Super Bowl by the Cowboys (the favorite team of my little brother). I suppose that made the '72 'Fins all that more sweet to me. And in the long, frustrating years between the mid 70's and now, the memory of those guys has sustained me in my team loyalty through both thick and thin.
So here's to Griese, Csonka, Morris, Warfield, Kiick, Little, Buoniconti, Foley, Scott, Little Garo and, of course, Coach Shula (not to mention the rest)! Gentlemen, may you keep popping those corks!
Random Sports Psychology Bleg
I was mildly surprised to find that the Wikipedia entry for endorphins treats as suspect the proposition that the well-known phenomenon of the "runner's high" is caused by the release of these peptides into the bloodstream as a result of prolonged physical exertion.
I happened to look up the entry because I got back into running about a month ago after an extended period of physical inactivity. As is usual when I slack off, I had been feeling torpid, listless and sluggish, both mentally and physically. Once I'd been on the treadmill a week or two, however, I found the old euphoria coming back, usually lasting a day or so after each workout, coupled with an overall sharpening of my mental and physical state. However, as is also usually the case, I find that if I miss a session or two, I start to get moody and snappish. I had thought there might be some useful information in Wiki on how to go about countering these mood swings.
Well, if it isn't the endorphins, then what actually causes a "runner's high"? From my own empirical observation stretching back to my college rowing days, I'm satisfied that the condition actually exists. But is it purely psychological? Or is it biochemical? Or is it some combination thereof? And whatever the basis, how does one go about tempering the peaks and valleys?
Inquiring Llamas want to know.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)
Well, the four year old seems to be recovering from her stomach bug - calling me "cuckoo-nut-nut-head" with all the usual enthusiastic ring in her voice and taunting look in her eye this morning - so perhaps it was just the 24 hour variety after all. (Nonetheless, in order to avoid a relapse, the Missus cancelled her plans to take all the Llama-ettes to Chuck E. Fargin' Cheese today. You can imagine how well that went over.)
I'm always conflicted when one of the gels comes down with a bug, especially the eldest and youngest. On the one hand, it of course pains me to see them under the weather, sometimes feverish, sometimes aching, always unhappy. On the other hand, there's a lot to be said for something that knocks the edge off a kid and I would be lying if I denied that as I took care of the Llama-ette yesterday afternoon, a certain part of me revelled in the meek, malleable, "Yes, Daddy," I got whenever I told her to do something, instead of the usual jibes, balks and bucks.
Yes, you may go ahead and call me cold and heartless. You won't be the first.
November 21, 2006
And So It Began....
Friday, November 21, 2003. Somewhere, an angel belched and the madness known as the Llamabutchers was born.
Here's Steve-O's very first post:
Well, Rob? Let er rip
This was quickly followed by the Llama Manifesto:
We are the LLama butchers
We come in peace
to defenestrate the indefensible
to decapitate the corrigible
to spread havoc and fear among the idiotarians
we are llama butchers
hear us yip
And my very first post? I confess that I was quite nervous at the idea of seeing my own words out there in the Blogsphere, so I simply stuck in the pixalated equivalent of my big toe:
Yeeeeee-Haaaaaw!!!! (Sound of swishing cleaver) Yip! Yip! Yip!
As you can gather, of course, I no longer suffer from such shyness. Indeed, it didn't last long at all. The very next day, I posted my first substantive piece, one a) that turned out to be an ominous harbinger of things to come, and b) the sentiments of which I still firmly hold:
Cranky Movie Guy - I
I have absolutely no proof that the following conversation took place. However, I am morally certain that it did:
"Yes, Mr. Jackson?"
"Simpkins! Mate, we've got to discuss this character treatment of yours."
"Er, yes, Mr. Jackson - what about it?"
"Right. Look, mate, I told you off to do Gimli, right?"
"Yes, Mr. Jackson."
"Okay, so who is this Gloin guy? You give me five freekin pages of dialogue between him and Frodo at Rivendell. I mean, it reads like My Dinner With Andre, right?"
"Well, Mr. Jackson, Gloin was Gimli's father. He was also one of the thirteen dwarves who went with Bilbo to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from Smaug in The Hobbit. You know, where Bilbo finds the Ring? His conversation with Frodo is important because it both ties the stories together and also gives the audience an overall vision of the strategic situation east of the Misty Mountains. You'll see, Sir, that Gloin is also the Dwarves' representative at Elrond's Council and reports that Black Riders are looking for Bilbo and the Ring."
"Wake me when it's over...."
"Look, mate. First, I've already got a bunch of dwarves fighting each other and the elves at the Council. It's a very significant moment in my vision."
"But Sir, Gloin was the only one there in the book. And nobody fought with anybody else."
"F**k the book. Right. And for the tie-in thing, I've already got that covered in the prologue, right? I mean, I'm not paying Cate Winslet all that money for nothing, am I?"
"Right, and this dinner thing at Rivendell. Screw it. Would take ten minutes. How the hell can I find room for that and keep Liv Tyler's "Xena" chase with the Black Riders?"
"Well, about that, Sir....."
"Right. Now look, mate. LOTR is a very wonderful and meaningful vision of mine, right? So I need you to be really respectful of that. Now, we have a problem with Gimli."
"See, we have these big hunky Men, right? Audience will love 'em. And we got that dude playing Legolas, you know, the one who looks kinda like di Caprio on steroids? They'll be all over him. But Gimli is, well, not really eye-candy. Know what I mean, mate?"
"Well, Sir, it's interesting because Tolkein really went out of his way to explore the dwarves in some detail - their origins and so on, and to show how and why they were so different from Elves and Men. There is a lot of source material in The Silmarillion and...."
"I don't give a pair of fetid dingo's kidneys for the Simil-whatever. Audiences don't care. How can I bring my wonderful and meaningful vision of LOTR to the screen in a meaningful and caring way if I can't connect with the audience?"
"Shut up. I'll tell you how. The dwarf isn't sexy, right? Can't do anything about that. I mean, dwarves are, well, YOU know..... Anyway. So what we want is something that's going to connect with the audience. Something that makes them think "Oh, that's a dwarf. I know about them. I like them!" So what you need to do is write something into the story that is going to cause that connection. And I've got just the thing for you. (Don't know why I pay these blokes when I have to do all the thinking myself.)"
"Two words: Dwarf tossing."
"Goddamit, mate, are you deaf? Put in something about dwarf tossing, right? Audiences will love that! Kind of a comic relief thing. Maybe when they're running around in that big cave thing. That'll really get them into it - and let them share my wonderful and meaning vision of what LOTR means in terms they can relate to. So you put it in. Got that? Dwarf tossing!"
(Sadly) "Yes, Sir."
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Three years later and I wouldn't change a scrap of this.
I think that at this point, I'm supposed to say something profound about what the Butchers has meant to me. Well, maybe Steve-O will do that, but I won't. Not enough time to concentrate and I'm really not sure I'd have anything in particular to say even if I did have the time. Suffice to say that I love this blogging gig - I feel comfortable enough in my more or less anonymous state to serve up whatever thoughts cross my mind without regard to whether anybody actually reads them or what they think as a result. Paradoxically, at the same time I enjoy the challenge of shaping those thoughts into posts clear and concise enough to ensure (hopefully) that if somebody does read them, he or she will know what I'm talking about. (Okay, okay, I'd be a liar if I denied that I also am gratified when I know that somebody has read something of mine and enjoyed it one way or another.)
Of course, there is the sociability of the Blogsphere, as well. We've made many acquaintances in our time here and some good friends as well, both among fellow bloggers and our non-blogging readers. And I am truly thankful for all of these relationships. The medium may be artificial, but I don't think that lessons the pleasure I've experienced in interacting with all y'all. (UPDATE: Well, almost all y'all. Had to go and kill the afterglow, didn't you Bill?)
Anyhoo, all I really meant to say - to Steve-O, the LMC, Chai-Rista and all of you who stop by here - is Thank You. I've had a blast. And here's to many more years of this silliness. I know I'm looking forward to it!
Yip! Yip! Yip! Yip!
That's My Church!
Newly-installed High Priestess Katherine Schori Jefferts begins her reign of Big Tent Episcopalianism by issuing diktats against bishops unwilling to toe the new Party Line.
I have to admit that I simply can't get riled up over the question of female clergy, the subject at issue between Her Presiding Bishopressness and the Bishop of San Joaquin. (After all, the Missus and I were married by a female college chaplain all those years ago.) However, as Mrs. P deftly notes, that HPB, given her own history, should be taking the position that nobody has the right to mess about with established Church Doctrine in order to promote their own views on theological issues, displays in her a breathtaking want of logical consistency. I'd add that it also shows crust of monumental proportions.
But heck, the Winter Palace has been stormed successfully and the Tsar's family is as good as shot, chopped up and thrown down the mine shaft. HPB can afford to change fronts now. And after all, isn't the first act of a successful revolutionary always to try and link himself back to the traditional source of authority, the better to establish his legitimacy as the new defender of that authority?
Oh, and I love Her Grace's concluding line:
I stand ready for conversation and reconciliation. May God bless your deliberation.
In the Orwellian world of Leftist politics, I've noticed that "conversation and reconciliation" usually means "fall in with our position now, Comrade, or there's a nice firing squad waiting for you."
Heh. As I've said previously, I actually welcome the elevation of Schori Jefferts because I believe her radical agenda will hasten the Church's ultimate schism from the Communion and force each parish to decide where it really stands. For many, including my own, I think this is the only thing that will shake us out of our current, unhealthy theological complaisance.
Like The Sound Of A Very Old Sheep Clearing Its Throat On A Distant Hillside
Which Wooster and Jeeves Character Are You?
Indeed. However, I would point out that the very title of this quiz indicates that whoever put it together was thinking of the tee vee series (which I simply cannot bring myself to like) instead of the books.
Pinched from the Young Gentleman.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Unexpected Mid-week Homefront Edition
So why is it that the four year old had to wait till she got to school to start hurling? If she'd snapped into it earlier, she'd have saved me having to slog all the way downtown and then slog all the way back out to fetch her home.
Kids today. No sense of responsibility.
Many thanks to all of you who took an interest in our much-ballyhooed 3rd Anniversary Llamapalooza Celebration this past weekend.
We wound up with a small but extremely agreeable table of participants. In addition to Self and Steve-O, the Missus was able to wangle a last-minute babysitter and tag along. We also had Lintenfiniel Jen and her Beau and Professor Chaos (who even now is wondering what he's gotten himself into).
I think I'm correct in saying that the astonishment of the evening was the appearance of none other than INDCent Bill. It was astonishing a) because he showed up in the first place despite all our taunting, and b) because Bill is an exact doppleganger of a rowing buddy of Steve-O's and mine from college, and for one wild moment, neither of us could figure out what the hell Danno was doing in Alexandria. In the end, though, we did just fine. Bill even wound up riding in our car, as we gave him a lift back to Dee Cee. (Beep-beep, mm, beep-beep, yeah!)
Anyhoo, a very pleasant time was had by all. Thanks all of you for coming. We hope to see lots more of you next year.
Oh, and I wanted to highlight something Bill says about things:
*** Robbo's wife is very pretty and charming. Not to mention patient, as she kindly put up with endless talk about blogs. I don't think Robbo would argue with the assessment that he's punching above his weight-class in the romance department. "Better half?" More like "better four-fifths."
Heh. No argument there.
Yip! Yip! Yip!
Where Was Robbo?
Sorry about the lack of posting yesterday, folks. I had to fly to Florida and back and boy were my arms tired!
(Thankeew! Be sure to tip the waitress.)
UPDATE: Alas, my travels had the unfortunate effect of allowing the Maximum Leader to get athwart my hawse regarding the anniversary of the Battle of Quiberon Bay.
I'll let him have the honors, however, because being the good Virginian, he also reminds you poor, deluded Plymouth Rock types that the real first Thanksgiving occured at Berkeley's Hundred in 1619. That this is not more widely recognized is due to a) the fact that the Berkeley's Hundred settlement was wiped out shortly thereafter by the Indians and b) post-Civil War Yankee propoganda.
November 17, 2006
Of course, an immediate invitation to Llamapalooza was rushed out. Hope she can make it!
Oh, and the movie? Waaaal, I read Chris Buckley's book a while back but don't remember enough of the details to judge the two together. Guess I'll have to re-read it.
Oh, My God! I Killed Allen!
Jonathan Martin fingers my own county as one of the two prime suspects in the loss of GOP control of the Senate:
When he ran and won against incumbent Sen. Chuck Robb (D.), a Fairfax resident, in 2000, Allen lost the county by a bit over 16,000 votes or about 4 percent. Six years later he lost it by some 65,000 votes and a margin of nearly 60-40 en route to a statewide loss of just over 7,000 votes. Why?
Certainly, Allen’s well-chronicled campaign bumbling had something to do with it. But macaca alone didn’t lose this race for Allen. Fairfax, long a GOP-leaning, upper-middle class hub, is politically and demographically becoming more like its more liberal neighbors, Arlington and Alexandria, as new voters move into the county Since Allen unseated Robb in 2000, GOP deficits in the county have gotten progressively worse. It was about a 26,000-vote difference in the 2001 gubernatorial race, followed by about 34,000 in 2004 between Kerry and President Bush. Then, in last year’s gubernatorial race, over 60,000 voters preferred now-Gov. Tim Kaine (D.) to his Republican opponent.
The Talk, the Walk
“They’re not liberals and they’re not all Democrats,” Virginia Rep. Tom Davis (R.) says of the transplanted voters moving into his Fairfax-based district. In some ways, Davis observes, Republicans had become victims of their own success. “Economic development works,” and these new jobs outside the city have brought a different kind of constituent with them.
They key, Davis says, is “to know how to talk to” what he called this “creative class.” To this end, it was Allen’s good-ole-boy persona that turned off many, Davis argues, not necessarily the senator’s party brand or conservative stands on issues. Davis, himself a moderate, pointed out that his wife, a Fairfax state senator, and neighboring Rep. Frank Wolf (R.), both pro-life, get elected thanks to thousands of moderate suburbanite votes.
I don't understand...I personally went up and down my street on November 7 slashing the tires of anybody who had a Webb sign in their yard!
My personal observation was that Allen's bumbling campaign had everything to do with the loss - what I saw, heard and read simply did not connect with the folks around me. And that connection with the mass of middle-of-the-road voters is what swings the county these days.
The Tasty Bits Mail Sack (TM) has been acting up all day, so if you RSVP'd we probably missed it. So this is just a reminder that Steve-O and I will be hanging at the Union Street Tavern, Old Towne Alexandria tomorrow night from 7-ish on. We didn't reserve any space, but we'll probably be upstairs in the quieter part of the place. If you care to drop by, just ask the host persons for "the llamas" and they'll steer you to us. We'd love to have you stop in and say "Yip! Yip!"
We especially want to see you, INDCent Bill, before you shlep off on your travels:
Oh, and to the commenter who was all excited, based on yesterday's post, that Rachael Weisz might be stopping by? Well, I'm afraid she called again to say she couldn't make it. Bad luck. Perhaps next time.
But don't despair, we always attract the
A-list B-list C-list D-list desparate for self-validation types:
See you there! Yip! Yip! Yip!
The Left Hand
Syracuse University professor Arthur C. Brooks is about to become the darling of the religious right in America -- and it's making him nervous.
The child of academics, raised in a liberal household and educated in the liberal arts, Brooks has written a book that concludes religious conservatives donate far more money than secular liberals to all sorts of charitable activities, irrespective of income.
In the book, he cites extensive data analysis to demonstrate that values advocated by conservatives -- from church attendance and two-parent families to the Protestant work ethic and a distaste for government-funded social services -- make conservatives more generous than liberals.
The book, titled "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism" (Basic Books, $26), is due for release Nov. 24.
When it comes to helping the needy, Brooks writes: "For too long, liberals have been claiming they are the most virtuous members of American society. Although they usually give less to charity, they have nevertheless lambasted conservatives for their callousness in the face of social injustice."
Yeah, you know how we routinely send the butler out with a scattergun to clear the front steps of begging children.
The book's basic findings are that conservatives who practice religion, live in traditional nuclear families and reject the notion that the government should engage in income redistribution are the most generous Americans, by any measure.
Conversely, secular liberals who believe fervently in government entitlement programs give far less to charity. They want everyone's tax dollars to support charitable causes and are reluctant to write checks to those causes, even when governments don't provide them with enough money.
Such an attitude, he writes, not only shortchanges the nonprofits but also diminishes the positive fallout of giving, including personal health, wealth and happiness for the donor and overall economic growth. All of this, he said, he backs up with statistical analysis.
Well, sure. Liberals see the guv'mint as the answer to all of society's ills. Conservatives, on the other hand, don't, instead often believing it causes or aggrivates many such ills. Libs, in lambasting conservatives as being calloused, simply can't or won't believe that such conservatives might be just as concerned, but might also think there's a better way to solve the problems at hand than turning them over to Uncle.
Go, Big "D"
Sure hope so!
I'll Take "Famous Twits" For $500, Alex
|You Are 81% Perfectionist|
You're a total perfectionist. So go ahead and congratulate yourself on a "perfect" score.
The truth is, everyone is sick of living up to your standards. And you're probably even sick of them yourself.
Yips! to the much more laid-back Jen.
UPDATE: After all, how else could my new high score on the Hamsterpault be 1272?
YIPS from Steve:
|You Are 15% Redneck|
You ain't no redneck - you're all Yankee!
And I scored that only because I went to the Monster Truck Rally my senior year in college with LB Buddy on Valentine's Day (which I'll always remember stopping at the 7-11 so that he could buy his sweetie a present. Remarkably, they're still married going on 20 years....)
YIPS! from Robbo: 10% for me, no doubt because of the hunting I did in my youth. Why no points for being able to line-dance the "Cotton-Eye Joe" and retaining a fondness for chicken-fried steak, I wonder?
That's My Church!
The vestries of Truro and the Falls Church, both of which are quite close to Orgle Manor, have voted to bolt the Episcopal Church USA to join the Anglican District of Virginia, a newly-formed splinter group which is in turn part of the Convocation for Anglicans in North America (CANA), an organization set up under the auspices of the Anglican Province of Nigeria. [Insert your own African missionaries joke here.]
It will be interesting to see how many worshippers these churchs proceed to pick off from the surrounding Palie parishes, including my own. I tried Truro many years ago but was put off by its evangelical feel. (I'm there to worship God, dammit, not to hug my neighbor.) I've been toying with giving the Falls Church a try and perhaps I will.
This is hugious news and a nasty knock to the Diocese. These two parishes are both quite big (especially Truro) and quite rich. Of course, there's also going to be an ugly fight because the Diocese is terrified of losing its property, much of which consists of seriously prime real estate. At least in Virginia, the Diocese legally holds title to the various churches and their grounds in trust for the members of the parish. It's a relationship that technically can't be broken without the consent of the Diocese. A couple years back, somebody tried to sneak legislation through the Virginia House of Delegates that would have modified this arrangement to allow any parish seeking to leave the Diocese to unilaterally vote to take its building with it, but the bill was noticed and squashed at the last minute by the Powers That Be.
Yips! to Mrs. P, who nicely ties this all in with Mr. Waugh.
UPDATE: Several readers ask, "Jim, what are the odds your parish might do this too?" Forget it. Not a chance. The rector is stone liberal. The vestry and congregation are politically mixed and theologically hazy. There's simply no revolutionary tinder.
No, we won't move unless and until the ECUSA gets itself thrown out of the Communion, which the new High Priestess seems bent on making happen. At that point, if forced to a choice between the ECUSA and the Communion, I think we would stay with the latter.
UPDATE DEUX: See what happens when I mouth off? Just got the Christmas usher schedule and I've been tagged to usher the children's pagent. Garn!
We Wants It!
Apparently the thing is a good deal quieter than the the Braun Junior Buzz-Saw I currently use. Sometimes when I'm up first, I have to take the thing out into the garage for grinding in order to keep from waking the entire household.
And speaking of coffee, there's a Frenchman in our town who owns a little cafe. He seems to have the mashers for the Missus, because he's started fresh-roasting bags of beans for her. The stuff she brings home makes Starbucks taste like Folgers. Indeed, it's so superior that I really don't mind this little menage au lait and have encouraged her to stay on his good side.
What the Heck, It's Friday....
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.
YIPS from Steve-O: I SO needed that right now. How fitting too as a means to kick off LLamapalooza: Season Four.
And let's not forget The LLama Song.
November 16, 2006
Intergalactic Batting Practice
"Juuuuuust a bit outside!"
Apparently, NASA is looking for a few good asteroid-sluggers.
As a matter of fact, I am whole-heartedly in favor of this sort of thing. The future of Earth is closely tied with what James T. Kirk called "the final frontier" and the more practice we have, the better off we are in the long run.
NOTE TO NASA: Next time you have an Affleck in zero atmo, however, you keep him there.
Gratuitous Historickal Posting
On November 16, 1857, 24 Victoria Crosses were earned by members of the British Army during the Relief of Lucknow during the Sepoy Mutiny, the highest number of such medals ever earned in a single day.
For once, that rogue Harry Flashman was not in the thick of things. Having survived the Siege of Cawnpore, he was occupied on HM service elsewhere by the time of Lucknow. Nonetheless, this episode is included in Flashy's memoirs of the Mutiny. See Flashman in the Great Game. (And lest you think Flashy's tales are nothing but drinkin' and wenchin', let me stress that George MacDonald Fraser here gives an excellent history of that rebellion, one that is both fascinating and horrifying at the same time. Fraser also has a talent for being extremely fair in his depiction without falling into the trap of holding that just because the Brits don't necessarily deserve saints' halos, the Indians automatically do.)
I Wanna Be A Cool Kid, Too!
It's the Desert Island Movies Meme. Pick one:
Western - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Yep, Clint just beats the Duke, I think.
Horror - Don't like horror. If I had to choose, I'd go with The Shining, tho. My brother and I used to yell at Scatman Crothers, "Are you nuts? Don't go in there! Jack's waiting for you!" My first encounter with a gratuitous corpsifying.
Sci-Fi - No-brainer: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
Musical - I only know a few. A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum.
Comedy - I know too many, so this may surprise you. Know what scene invariably reduces me to tears of laughter? The interview between Miss Balbricker and Principal Cavenaugh in Porky's, as the two basketball coaches try (unsuccessfully) to keep from losing it in the background. Also the one involving Kim Cattrall's "Awooooooo!!" Yes, they're both awfully juvenile. But there's nothing funnier in the world than watching other people try not to laugh.
War - Probably Gettysburg, just for the spectacle. "We must deprive th'enemy of th'high ground."
Action - Discount all the college dorm bull session philosophy and The Matrix is a pretty durn good flick. Feed the sequels to the fishes, however.
Foreign - Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Hey, it's foreign:
"What are you doing in England?"
"Mahnd yer own beezness!"
Classic (pre 1960) - Holiday, with Hepburn and Grant. Perfect little gem of a movie.
Documentary - Gorsh, I can't recall actually seeing any.
Bonus Pick (any genre) - Classic Comedy - The Ladykillers, because Alec Guiness has got to be in the pile somewhere.
Yips! to Beth.
Gratuitous Book Meme-age - A La Recherche Division
1. How old were you when you learned to read and who taught you? I remember my kindergarten class being divided into three reading groups: the red birds, the blue birds and the yellow birds, the reds being the most advanced and the yellows the least. (Can you believe it? Segregating classmates based on relative merit? Eek! Of course, this was about 1971 or so.) Anyhoo, I was a red bird. And I still remember reading Dick & Jane stories that year. (By contrast, both the older Llama-ettes are reading ahead of where I was at their ages. My first grader is blazing her way through Junie B. Jones, while my third grader is devouring Harry Potter.)
2. Did you own any books as a child? If so, what’s the first one that you remember owning? If not, do you recall any of the first titles that you borrowed from the library? Yes, lots. I would come home with those catalogs from Scholastic Books and my parents would essentially allow me to pick out anything I wanted. I recall that each order we placed usually was for between 15 and 20 books. God only knows what the first title was.
3. What’s the first book that you bought with your own money? I honestly don't remember. I really never got an allowance, so I wasn't flush with pocket money. On the other hand, continuing the pattern above, the 'rents never stinted on purchasing books that I requested. I suppose it wasn't until I got a job in high school that I could be said to have paid for my own. (Oddly enough, I can definitely remember the first musical recording I ever bought with my own coin: It was a cassette of the four Mozart Horn Concerti.)
4. Were you a re-reader as a child? If so, which book did you re-read most often? Ha! The boy is the father of the man. I've always re-read favorites. Three that come to mind from childhood are Rascal by Sterling North, the American Junior Heritage's Carrier War In The Pacific and Sid Fleischman's By The Great Horn Spoon. I had all of these more or less memorized.
5. What’s the first adult book that captured your interest and how old were you when you read it? Hmmmm.....tough one. In middle school, I remember a friend got hold of this wrestling magazine with pictures of these two women...what? Oh? Well, never mind. No, I really don't remember.
6. Are there children’s books that you passed by as a child that you have learned to love as an adult? Which ones? Quite a few. Mater has never been fond of what she calls "Little Green Men" fiction, so I never read either The Hobbit or the Chronicles of Narnia until much later in life.
"Tag" for them's as want to be.
Yips! to Terry Teachout.
You Love Us! You Really Love Us!
Looks like the Llamas have been nominated for the 2006 Weblog Awards. The bad news? We've been selected for the Best Blog Category, which automatically means we're heavily outclassed. Thankee very kindly, tho'.
Steve-O and I got an invite from Wizbang Kevin to sit on the Finalist Committee again this year. Dunno what the conflict of interest rules are here, but perhaps we can arrange things so that one or two of the favorites suffer a little "accident".
In the meantime, one of the things Steve-O and I are planning to do when we get together this weekend is to figure out our own list of nominations. So here's a hint to you Dee Cee area bloggers: Show up at our party!
Yip! Yip! Yip!
Who Says The Spirit Of Scientific Inquiry Is Dead?
Diet Coke and Menthos. Pretty cool.
Yips! to Jen.
It's The Storm Of The Century Of The Week!
urgent - immediate broadcast requested Tornado Watch number 868 NWS Storm Prediction Center Norman OK 1045 am EST Thu Nov 16 2006
The NWS Storm Prediction Center has issued a
Tornado Watch for portions of
District of Columbia
much of Maryland
eastern North Carolina
southern and central New Jersey
much of eastern Virginia
Effective this Thursday morning and evening from 1045 am until
600 PM EST.
Tornadoes... hail to 1.5 inches in diameter... thunderstorm wind
gusts to 80 mph... and dangerous lightning are possible in these
The Tornado Watch area is approximately along and 85 statute
miles east and west of a line from 45 miles northwest of
Wilmington Delaware to 40 miles southeast of Jacksonville North
Carolina. For a complete depiction of the watch see the
associated watch outline update (wous64 kwns wou8).
I blame Nancy Pelosi.
BONUS LLAMAPALOOZA UPDATE:
Word has it that Dr. Jo Harding is in the neighborhood chasing this stuff and plans to stop by Saturday night as well. Woo Hoo!
We've just received the exciting news that the lovely Rachel Weisz will be joining Steve-O and me at this weekend's 3rd Anniversary Llamapalooza Celebration. Yes! It's true! Do you think I make these things up?
"Mmm, Yips! indeed."
Our old pal Gordon tagged me for coming down on Enemy at the Gates because I overlooked the benefits brought to that movie by Ms. Weisz. Not at all. The trouble was simply a) that she was always covered head to toe with gun grease and pulverized Stalingrad factory brick-dust, and b) you were never quite sure she wouldn't burst into Dosvidanya Rodina! at some, er, inopportune moment.
No, as I told Gordo, when I feel the need for a Rachel fix, I just pick up The Mummy. Far more entertaining all around. Plus, she winds up on the ancient Egyptian sacrificial table thingy wearing a silk nighty. I'll take that over Uncle Joe's combat coteur any day.
Anyhoo, she'll be there. And we hope you will be, too.
A Grand Defender of the Human Spirit till the end
My economic world view was formed by Free to Choose, which I read probably when I was a sophomore in high school @1981. From there it was to Freedom and Capitalism, to The Constitution of Liberty, to the Road to Serfdom, to Republican Party Reptile.
Friedman to Hayek to O'Rourke---a potent triple play combo.
Saying No To The Moonbat Firewater
House Donks vote 149-86 for Steny Hoyer as Majority Leader. Murtha reportedly is "redeploying" to Okinawa as a result.
Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi is off to the ladies' room in order to wipe about a dozen eggs' worth of yoke off her face. Probably not for the last time.
Are you having fun yet, Nancy?
YIPS from Steve-O
Verily I say unto thee that this news is worthy of the ultimate Nelson Muntz of all time:
Anyone want to take any bets on whether Nancy lasts longer than President MacKenzie Allen?
Hot Air is trying to not overdue the schadenfreude. Screw that--wallow, baby!
FURTHER YIPS from Steve-O: Pax-Pelosi was fun while it lasted:
UPDATED YIPS! from Robbo:
Arianna Huffington looks for the silver lining for her gal Nancy:
And don't shed any tears for Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi. Even though her guy lost, this was still a big win for her. A victory for taking a stand -- and for her leadership. Because that's what real leaders do, they take stands. They listen to their hearts and follow their gut. If you only jump into the fights you're sure you can win -- notches in the W column that will look good on your political resume -- you're a hack, not someone who can move the party and the country forward. It's not about trying to have a spotless record; it's about knowing which battles are worth fighting, whatever the outcome.
It bodes well for Pelosi that was willing to spend her political capital right off the bat -- especially on the issue that will define her time at the helm. Far too many modern politicians save their political capital until it's lost all its value.
Wait for it....you see, Pelosi was speaking truth to power!
And speaking of "notches in the W column," isn't taking a stand, listening to your heart and following your gut exactly what the denizens of the Puffington Host routinely vilify Dubya for doing in Iraq?
Blimey...this "leadership" business is trickier than I thought! **
(**Bonus points for spotting the quote. Hint: "Dum, dum, dum.")
FURTHER UPDATED YIPS! from Robbo:
Hear! Hear! to Steve-O's call to wallow. Or, to quote Daryle Singletary:
Blue lights flashing in my rear-view mirror
The sheriff says, "Boy I should have known it was you
You've got fourteen people in the back of this truck
I've warned you twice and now I'm writing you up."
I said, "Officer, what have I done?"
He smiled and said, "Boy, you're having too much fun."
Too much fun? What's that mean?
It's like too much money, there's no such thing
It's like a girl too pretty, with too much class
Being too lucky, a car too fast
No matter what they say I've done
I ain't never had too much fun
There was a fight Friday night at the Stumble Inn
Me and ol' Harley just had to join in
Next thing you know we were both seeing stars
They threw us out and closed down the bar
I said, "The Long Branch is open. The night's still young
And we ain't never had too much fun."
No matter what they say I've done
I ain't never had too much fun
Give me the reins and let me run
'Cause I ain't never had too much fun
The Disneyfication of Mount Vernon
Call me extremely, extremely skeptical:
The new orientation center, and a second building housing a museum and education center, opened October 27 with attractions that portray Washington as the "nation's first action hero." A 20-minute adventure film called "We Fight to Be Free" highlights his career as commander of the Continental Army. Wax statues -- meticulously created with age-regression technology -- depict Washington as a young man. His false teeth are on display, but so are his pistol and sword.
Mount Vernon officials made the changes after concluding that the estate was perpetuating the image of Washington as a stodgy, impersonal icon. They sought to change that image, particularly among school children who make up a third of the 1 million annual visitors. They also wanted to push Mount Vernon to the vanguard of museums and historical sites telling stories in a multimedia age.
"It's definitely an improvement," Anuj Verma, a senior at Irvington High School in Fremont, California, who was making a return visit to Mount Vernon when he joined thousands of sightseers there on the new attractions' opening day. "Before, they didn't give you much information about George Washington himself. You kind of just saw the house."
Pardon me if I don't place much value in the opinion of a high school senior.
But the balance between education and entertainment can be a tricky one. Another new attraction is a 14-minute film that uses what Mount Vernon calls "immersive technology" -- the seats rumble when cannons are fired, and fake snow falls during the scene depicting the Delaware crossing.
These types of special effects are instantly recognizable to any kid who's seen a movie in a theme park where audiences routinely feel their seats shake and are subject to fake surf, rain or wind. But The Washington Post's architecture critic unfavorably compared the new Mount Vernon attractions to a Disney World experience and lamented that knowledgeable visitors might not learn much in the education center.
Mount Vernon director James Rees defends the approach, however, saying it's a way of entertaining viewers without giving scholarship short shrift.
Pardon my cynicism again, but it's been my general observation that there isn't much room in that tent for the both of them. And guess which one gets shown the flap first.
UPDATE: Speaking of o' George and entertainment, here's a perfect opportunity to bring back this (NSFW):
When you think about it, how much different is this from what the folks at Mt. Vernon are seeking to do?
Gratuitous Llama Book Review
America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It by Mark Steyn.
One word reaction: Jaysus!
I'm not normally one to buy into alarmist theories, but this book is scaring the willies out of me. Steyn's basic factual premise - that native European (and Canadiam) populations are in demographic freefall - is uncontestable. His projection about the economic implications of this trend - collapse through the inability of aging populations to maintain the cradle-to-grave welfare state upon which they have become utterly dependant - is sound. His observation that the rising tide of Muslim immigration replacing the native population is young, energized and increasingly captivated by the most virulant brand of radical Wahabbism - is frightening. And his belief that the inability of post-Christian, post-modern, post-history Europeans to do anything but be assimilated into the new Islamic Caliphate - is outright nightmarish.
The good news, according to Steyn, is that the United States and one or two other countries (such as Australia), still have the demographic and moral wherewithal to beat back jihad. The bad news is that we're pretty much going to have to do it by ourselves.
Steyn has long been dismissed by our friends across the aisle (as well as many of the "realists" in our own camp) as a lunatic. In this case I pray God they're right. But with the daily stream of news coming in - of riots and fatwas, assassinations and bullying of European governments over points of sharia law, all answered by ever-more meally-mouthed European efforts at appeasement - I've got a baaaad feeling that they are not.
UPDATE: Oh, two other things I wanted to mention. First, I note that whether Steyn is right or wrong, we'll find out soon enough. This isn't if-we-don't-ban-the-internal-combustion-engine-right-now-the-Earth's-temperature-may-rise-one-degree-in-one-hundred-years stuff. Europe's already gone over the cliff demographically and is on its way socio-economically. What actually happens when it hits the ground at the base of that cliff will be seen fairly soon.
And on a different note, I wanted to mention that I believe this is Steyn's first "book" book. He's an essayist by nature and it shows here - I don't think he's altogether comfortable with the longer format. This isn't the first time I've seen this phenomenon. Writers used to shorter formats such as O'Rourke and Noonan, for example, also seem to have suffered it. I toss this out merely as an interesting literary observation, nothing more.
On this front, I recently purchased a couple of Steyn's books of essays: The Face of the Tiger and Mark Steyn From Head To Toe: An Anatomical Anthology. On his native ground, I think of Steyn as being a sharper, subtler version of Peej. Should be fun.
November 15, 2006
This is hilarious at a number of levels
Issue #1: James Carville attacks Dean-O:
Democratic strategist James Carville says his party should dump Howard Dean as chairman of the Democratic Party because of incompetence.
Carville, during coffee and rolls with political reporters today, said Democrats could have picked up as many as 50 House seats, instead of the nearly 30 they have so far.
The reason they didn’t, he said, is the Democratic National Committee did not spend some $6 million it could have put into so-called “third tier” House races against vulnerable Republicans.
Carville said the other Democratic campaign committees had borrowed to the hilt.
He said he tried to meet with Dean to argue for additional spending for Democrats in the final days of the campaign, but Dean declined and gave no reason why.
Asked by a reporter whether Dean should be dumped, Carville replied, “In a word, do I think? Yes.”
He added, “I think he should be held accountable.” He added, “I would describe his leadership as Rumsfeldian in its competence.”
Carville likened the Democratic takeover of Congress to the civil war battle at Gettysburg, which the Union army won but failed to pursue the Confederate army when it retreated.
“We should have chased them down,” Carville said.
Beyond the Steinbrennerian dimension of this of firing Billy Martin because he only won the AL East by 3 games instead of 10, is the Gettysburg analogy: let's face it, the Peace Democrats and Copperheads now in power in Congress are all about "disengaging" in a gross parody of the end of Reconstruction following 1876.
But what's really going on here is a nice case of Nutmeg Nutroots payback by the DLC types against the lefties. If the attack on Joe was really a proxy attack on Hillary!'s ambitions, it came to a resounding failure for the far left. What this is is pushback, Clinton-style.
Issue #B: Jack who? Crickets chirping....
Item # III.---Spit take of the day.
Welcome to "Survivor: The Isle of Crappy Republican Leadership."
Gratuitous Llama Netflix Movie Review
I suppose the only reason I'm bothering to mention my first viewing of this film at all is so that I can use the line "Saving Private Ivan," which has always amused me.
Too bad the movie wasn't of comparable calibre. The battle scenes looked like, well, Hollywood-staged battle scenes, the "cat and mouse" game between Zaitsev and König never really grasped my attention, the love triangle among the Ruskies was vapid and why the hell wasn't Ed Harris allowed to use a fake German accent?
Bright spot? Bob Hoskins as Khrushchev. That was one meeeeean motorcycle.
Don't think I'll bother with it again, tho'.
Yips from Steve-O: You forgot to mention the dirty fingernails scene. Yikes.
Don't forget, Steve-O and I will be holding forth at the Union Street Tavern in Old Towne Alexandria this Saturday, celebrating the third anniversary of the yips, orgles and delusional rantings that are this here website.
A couple days ago, I mentioned that none other than Melissa Theuriau was planning to attend, she being a great fan of what she endearingly loves to call "Les Booochers". This prompted a suggestion that perhaps we Llamas are a tad too Francophillic in our celebrity infatuations.
What nonsense. Just because we have a thing for Melissa doesn't mean we want the whole damme bunch of 'em!
Anyhoo, to counter this slur, we've hopped in the Way-Back Machine to go and fetch a True, Blue 'Murican gal to also join us. Gents, I give you none other than Lynda Carter circa 1980:
"Bet you boys didn't know that lasso of truth has other magic properties as well..."
(Image stolen from Gary the Ex-Donk.)
Yes! Lynda will be there too! So if you're in the neighborhood, be sure to drop on by. (Oh, and if you could toss a note in the Tasty Bits Mail Sack (TM) so we could get an idea of the size of the turnout, we'd appreciate it.)
Vade Retro, Basil Seal!
For I have no resistance whatsoever to this kind of temptation.
(UPDATE: Yes, I did fall.)
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Failure To Communicate Division
One vocabulary, two languages.
What we say to the four year old: "Llama-ette, you must stop [insert behavioral infraction here]! Only babies act like that and you're a big girl now!"
What she hears: "Yes! We're paying lots of attention to you! Keep it up and we'll pay even more!"
The Missus reminds me that the elder girls went through this phase too, the one throwing temper tantrums and the other whining incessantly. They've both (for the most part) abandoned their ploys, so hopefully this too shall pass.
UPDATE: Yikes! Better get this all resolved quickly before we get a visit from the Parenting Nazis:
For the first time, parenting orders are likely to be directed against parents whose children have committed no criminal offence.
The threat of action against parents who fail to sing nursery rhymes was unveiled by [U.K Children's Minister Beverley] Hughes as she gave the first details of Mr Blair's 'national parenting academy', a body that will train teachers, psychologists and social workers to intervene in the lives of families and become the 'parenting workforce'.
Mrs Hughes said that it was necessary for children to develop 'emotional intelligence and flexibility, and to have good problem-solving and interpersonal skills too.'
She added: 'These attitudes start with good family experiences, in the home, with strong, loving, aspirational parents. So supporting parents and providing good early years education can pay dividends here.'
Mrs Hughes said: 'It is now clear that what parents actually do has a huge impact on children's well-being and capacity to succeed, both at the time and in future.
'Some parents already know that reading and singing nursery rhymes with their young children will get them off to a flying start - often because this is how they themselves were brought up.
'For other parents without this inheritance these simple techniques are a mystery and are likely to remain so - unless we act and draw them to their attention.'
Italics mine. I'm thinking here, "Over the River and Through the Woods to the Re-education Camp We Go!"
November 14, 2006
Waking John Kerry
Okay, it was almost worth losing the Senate just to get this priceless pic. Heh, indeed.
Yips! to K-Lo.
Who The Hell Is Manny Acta?
Well, apparently he's the Nats' new head coach.
Hmmmm..... Looks like the guy's got some minor league experience and has done some assistant coach work with the Expos and Mets, but this is his first top gig in the Show.
Hmmmm......Must resist urge to make cracks about the blind leading the blind. On the other hand, how much worse could the Nats do than they've already done? Not much.
Hmmmmmmmm.....Well, I confess I really don't know enough about it to judge. Let's just hope the Lerners know what they're doing.
UPDATE: Yes, yes, I meant "manager", of course. I had just been thinking of a certain other guy who came up from the minors promising big things and the possible parallel stuck in my brain a bit too closely.
Happy Birthday, Peej!
As much as I love O'Rourke myself (and he damned near ran me off the road in his convertable a couple years back, so I've forgiven a lot), I have to confess that I harbor suspicions that he's peaked. IMHO, All The Trouble In The World was probably his best, rising on the shoulders of such previous greats as Give War A Chance and Holidays in Hell. But after that? Well, Eat the Rich was still pretty good. But I didn't much care for The CEO of the Sofa and I found Peace Kills to be disappointingly flat.
Nonetheless, I see Peej has a new book coming out - On the Wealth of Nations (Books that Changed the World) :
As one of the first titles in Atlantic Monthly Press’ “Books That Changed the World” series, America’s most provocative satirist, P. J. O’Rourke, reads Adam Smith’s revolutionary The Wealth of Nations so you don’t have to. Recognized almost instantly on its publication in 1776 as the fundamental work of economics, The Wealth of Nations was also recognized as really long: the original edition totaled over nine hundred pages in two volumes—including the blockbuster sixty-seven-page “digression concerning the variations in the value of silver during the course of the last four centuries,” which, “to those uninterested in the historiography of currency supply, is like reading Modern Maturity in Urdu.” Although daunting, Smith’s tome is still essential to understanding such current hot-topics as outsourcing, trade imbalances, and Angelina Jolie. In this hilarious, approachable, and insightful examination of Smith and his groundbreaking work, P. J. puts his trademark wit to good use, and shows us why Smith is still relevant, why what seems obvious now was once revolutionary, and why the pursuit of self-interest is so important.
Have I pre-ordered my copy? Bet your Republican Party Reptile Backside.
Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)
Happy birthday, Aaron Copland, born this day in 1900.
Truth be told, I'm not particularly interested in his music, although I recognize its importance. The folk influence gets old fast and I've no stomach for Everyman sympathies. No, the reason I post in commemoration of his birthday is the fact that I actually met him when I was a boy - he came to do a concert in San Antonio and it was my parents' turn to host the Symphony Society reception. My dim recollection was that he was a grumpy old man.
Anyhoo, given the impossibility of meeting Bach or Mozart or Haydn - at least this side of the veil - that brief handshake-now-go-to-bed will probably be the closest Brush With Musickal Greatness I'll ever have.
BTW, if you want a good laugh, be sure to check out Peter Schickele's riff on Copland's "Lincoln Portrait" entitled "Bach Portrait," a very clever aping of Copland's style, liberally sprinkled with other musical quotes and coupled with a goofy yet historically accurate commentary on ol' J.S.
Shoe? Meet Foot!
|What Kind of Reader Are You? |
Your Result: Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
|Literate Good Citizen|
|What Kind of Reader Are You?|
Create Your Own Quiz
I believe this question was concocted specifically for me:
9. When the huge blockbuster film version of your favorite book comes to theatres, what do you do?
Heh, heh, heh. I leave it to you to figure out my response. It isn't that difficult. Unfortunately, "Boil the producer in oil" was not a given choice.
Yips! to Citizen Jen.
UPDATE: Speaking of compulsive, here's my latest purchase from the Devil's Website:
Which it's another Royal Navy Geekfest, ain't it?
Of course, I'll let you know what I think.
Yo my Pzimps!
Saturday I did a Girl Scout badge workshop here on campus. As a community service, I do a 4 hour workshop for Girl Scouts to earn their Explore the Net patch. I taught ten 8 - 12 year olds how to build themselves a blogger site. (Only one did not know how to use a mouse, so it wasn't as bad as it could have been.)
One of the lily-white little 12 year old rural county dwelling darlings put up her blogger page - and on that page she wrote (and I quote):
hey wat up my pzimps
im just chillin wit my mitymen
do u want 2 chill ?"
Gentle Readers, I SO wanted to smite her.
When I described her message to Pep, he said - "If she was my kid off she'd go to military school."
And right after I got home from teaching I watched an episode of Mr.
Show on DVD. One sketch was about the Whites Co-opting Black Culture Television Network. Three white guys dressed like "Pzimps" sat around discussing music
videos of "black" music made by whites dressed like Pzimps. It was a
perfect end to my day.
And yes, Steve-O, I accept credit for making LlamaButchers "Pzimp friendly" on Google.
Ho, Ho, Ho - By Your Command*
Holy felgercarb! It's a Cylon Snowman!
Yips! to Tainted Bill.
(* Do the Cylons even say this in the new BSG? Otherwise, I reckon at least half of you won't have the faintest idea what I'm talking about!))
November 13, 2006
This is just wrong at so many levels
No, not Martinez as RNC Chair.
Link goes to Grovy Vic instead of Agent BedHead, because I'm afraid of what "assless chaps" might do to our google worthiness.
I mean, other than the ex-husband?
Okay, boys and girls in the Dee Cee area, it looks like we Llamas are going to be holding our third anniversary bash this Saturday, November 18, around 7-ish, at the Union Street Tavern down in Alexandria.
If you'd like to come along and join in the revelries of a pair of mentally challenged camelids, please shoot us a line to the Tasty Bits Mail Sack (TM) so we have an idea how many folks to expect.
More thoughts on three years of covering the waterfront, bringing back the choicest toasted rats on sticks so you don't have to, as the week progresses.
Yip! Yip! Yip!
UPDATE: And don't forget that this party has been Theuriau-approved!
"Je les aime, Les Boochers! I shall spank zat leetle Scottish Dwarf for Robbo!"
That's My Church!
Jefferts Schori also believes that the fractured U.S. arm of the Anglican Communion can heal itself while eradicating poverty and halting the spread of AIDS.
"Doing the larger work," she says, will enable the 2.4 million-member church to transcend the differences that divide it--including the debates surrounding gay and lesbian clergy and same-sex blessings.
I've noticed a shift in message in the Church in recent months: When the storm originally broke back during the 2004 General Convention, there was a great deal of earnest mooing about the need for the Church to examine itself and take a fresh look at What It Means To Be An Episcopalian. Yet now that the revolutionaries appear to be firmly in power, we're getting much more of this "Get over yourselves - there are more important things to worry about in the world" kind of rhetoric.
Meanwhile, the splintering proceeds apace. All Saints Church, in Chevy Chase, MD., a very conservative parish in an otherwise very liberal diocese, recently arranged to come under episcopal oversight of Rt. Rev. Edward L. Salmon, bishop of South Carolina, a very conservative diocese. I recently had lunch with a friend whose parents attend there and he tells me that the arrangement was made calmly, amicably and with the full cooperation of the Bishop of Dee Cee, John Bryson Chane.
“This decision by Bishop Chane simply reflects the open recognition in both the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies at General Convention 2006 that ‘we are two [theological] minds within one body,' ” the Rev. Zadig, Jr. [rector of All Saints], said. “The events on the international and national stage are now playing out on the local level. Despite all that, this generous act by Bishops Chane and Salmon will help us continue a thriving, growing and loving orthodox ministry in Washington .”
Hear, hear. I like to think that this might provide a good model for other parishes working out for themselves exactly where they stand. And it's certainly a lot more healthy than trying to bury the issue.
How To Raise A Laugh Among The Suits
Go to lunch at a downtown power-politico eatery sporting "Dora the Explorer" and "Eeyore" bandaids on your fingers because they were the only ones you could find in the house this morning and it was either that or bleed all over your nice, white dress shirt.
The Top Game Shows of all time
What, no "Joker.... Joker................aaaaaaandddd......... Joker!"?????
Everybody now....Joementum, darling, Joementum now...
I kind of imagine that being sung to a very loose Wayne Newton-y version of "Danke Sheine."
Why? Try this on for size:
Asked on NBC's "Meet the Press" if he might follow the example of Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont, who left the Republicans in 2001 and became an independent, ending Republican control of the U.S. Senate, Lieberman refused to discount the possibility.
"I'm not ruling it out but I hope I don't get to that point," he said. "And I must say -- and with all respect to the Republicans who supported me in Connecticut -- nobody ever said, 'We're doing this because we want you to switch over. We want you to do what you think is right and good for our state and country,' and I appreciate that."
A spokeswoman for Lieberman would not elaborate when contacted by The Associated Press.
Begin moonbat conniption fit.......wait for it.......wait for it........NOW!
I agree with Allahpundit: he's not going to actually do it, but it's the threat that he could that could make all this very very interesting.
How Much Would You Pay?
INDCent Bill is headed for the Sandbox to do a little citizen journalism and is asking for a wodge of dosh to get kitted out for the expedition.
Go on over and help him out. And be sure to check out the hy-larious pic of our man in action.
Drinking The Moonbat Firewater
I see that soon-to-be-Madame Speaker Pelosi is throwing her support behind John "Line in the Okinawan Sand" Murtha in his bid to become the new Majority Leader. I've been thinking that the choice between Murtha and the more conservative Steny Hoyer would be a good early indicator of which direction the Donks plan to go in terms of governing philosophy.
BTW, gas prices in my neck of the woods spiked back up to two thirteen a gallon over the weekend. I blame Pelosi.
November 12, 2006
Gary the X-Donk, desperately wishing that he could become a pair of sunglasses
It's your Diane Lane stalker-fix of the week.
Hanging with Royalty down at the Bonny Glenn
Good thing there's no basement for hubby Scott to hide in anymore.
November 11, 2006
Now THAT'S low
Mocking K-Lo pretty hard over at The Corner. In response to her plaintive wail about the loss of Rick Santorum (which, to be perfectly honest, read more than a little like a fanboy's lament over the failure of InSync to reunite), one of the regulars retorted:
Hey, K-Lo, Don't Go Away Mad! [John Podhoretz] Now you know how Trekkies felt when they canceled the show after the third season
Beware The Claw
Following up on my post of a week or two back about the arrival of a bottle of the Chesapeake Wine Company's Blue Crab Blanc at Orgle Manor and the dare of several Gentle Readers, the Missus and I decided to give it a go this evening.
As regulars 'round here know, I pummel Virginia wines pretty much out of hand. Sometimes I feel a bit bad about this. I'll ask myself, "Self, is it really fair to damn and blast an entire region's worth of wines based only on the relatively small sample you've tasted?"
Well, my friends, I'm here to tell you that having tried the BCB, I'm not suffering any such qualms at the moment.
Alas, I really don't have the technical vocabulary to describe the taste of this dog. When first sipped, it has the curious property of feeling hard to locate in the mouth, a trait which I believe the cogniscenti refer to as "butteriness". It's also something I loathe in a wine. Once one does manage to track it down, the BCB is really quite sweet, not with the light sweetness of fruit but with the heavy, pounding sweetness of Halloween candy. I would also mention that the aftertaste brings to mind an industrial chemical plant, except that I get that sensation from most whites.
I suppose the best way to sum things up is to note that the Missus took one sip only. And I wound up pouring out about half the bottle, something extremely unusual, considering what a
lush lover of the grape I am.
Well, at least din-dins wasn't a complete wreck, as we decided to try the BCB with one of our favorite easy dishes. I dimly remember posting the recipe here a couple years back, but I reckon it's been long enough that I can do so again:
SHRIMP, SCALLOPS* and PROSCUITTO with PASTA
*We cut out the scallops, as the Missus is allergic and I don't like them much.
12 sea scallops
18 shrimp, peeled,
1/4 pound prosciutto cut into thin, 1" strips
5 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 whole shallots, finely minced
juice of 1 lemon and zest
dry sherry, about 5-6 tbs
12 oz. half and half or cream (use the cream)
pasta (angel hair, linguini fini)
How to Prepare:
Saute shrimp and scallops in olive oil on medium heat. When firm, add proscuitto, shallots, garlic and herbs and increase heat. Add sherry, lemon juice, zest and cream. Bring to boil, then reduce heat. Add 1 cup of grated parmagiano and stir into angel hair or thin pasta.
This is one of Dad's recipes. It's really quite simple (indeed, it is almost fool-proof), but boy is it good. Even the Llama-ettes like it, and if you knew how picky they are, you'd be impressed by this.
Anyhoo, there you have it. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go crack open the emergency stand-by valpolicella to get rid of this lingering taste of....rotten crab.
Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)
I know that it makes my poor old father cringe every time I say so, but the fact of the matter is that I thoroughly enjoy listening to Schubert's Symphony No. 9 in C Major, sometimes called "The Great."
And indeed, I agree with the Old Boy that this piece of music has some serious flaws. For one thing, it's far too long, clocking in at just under an hour. Schubert could have said everything he had to say in half the time. For another thing, it is terribly repetitive (which is why it's so long). Schubert was talented enough to come up with some very good symphonic ideas. Unfortunately, he wasn't talented enough to really know how to develop them. His fallback was simply to restate them, sometimes three, four or five times. (In this, I think Schubert was a victim of circumstances. Had he been writing during the height of a mature symphonic style, I think he would have turned out quite competent journeyman's work. As it was, he got caught in the vacuum left after the passage of Beethoven, when the classical style was dead and the romantic was still trying to figure out its voice. Schubert simply didn't have the capacity to take the lead.)
So why do I listen to it? Well, as I say, Schubert had some good ideas. He was also a solid orchestrator. These are not qualities to be despised.
Also, I've discovered how to put the music's flaws to good use, in that I often listen to this piece when hoofing on the treadmill. You see, timing my jog to match the length of the thing ensures that I get a nice, long workout. Aaaand, I don't have to worry if I miss something in the music due to my exertions because I'm confident in the knowledge that I'll have at least a couple more opportunities to pick up on it. Music theory and improved physical fitness. I love it when a plan comes together.
Incidentally, if you're ever interested in buying a CD of this piece, may I strongly recommend the Decca Legends recording featuring Sir Georg Solti and the Wiener Philharmonic. This isn't just one of the best recordings of Schubert's 9th I've heard, it's one of the best recordings of anything I've ever heard. Solti is at his crisp, nuanced best. And the orchestra positively hums in response.
POST-HOOFING UPDATE: I forgot that whenever I start ragging on ol' Franz, the Tasty Bits Mail Sack (TM) fills up with emails of outraged protest. Schubertians are a defensive lot, it seems. Most of their comments are along the lines of "Well, if you'd only heard his lieder...." or "How can you say such things in light of his Quartet No. Such-and-Such?"
In fact, I really don't know much about Schubert's chamber work except by reputation. So let me make clear that I am only speaking here about his symphonic output, of which I am quite confident in my opinion that it was not of the first rank.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Getting Flora Ready For Bed Division
Another terrific Indian Summer day here in NoVa, warm enough to make me perspire as I worked away in the garden. While the Missus took the six year old out for soccer and shopping, the remaining Llama-ettes helped me cut back and toss most of the remainders, including the peonies, coneflower, joe-pye, butterfly weed, gladiolas and especially the pair of uber-pervasive oregano plants that lurk on either side of the entrance gate. After giving the clover and other nasty weeds a good spraying (that'll learn 'em!), I then mulched about half of the bed. It's supposed to bucket rain here tomorrow, so I imagine it won't be until next weekend that I finish up the job.
Yes, dammit, I love the expression "Indian Summer". And I appreciate the irony that what we now think of as a lovely last reprieve before the cold weather gets down to serious business was once looked on as a time of heightened danger and anxiety. I believe there is some debate about whether the expression is colonial in origin or not, but it is a documented fact that Indian attacks on settlers did typically spike during this last burst of warm weather. As I've mentioned before, it's a crying shame that Colonial history is virtually ignored these days. The American character didn't simply pop into existence in 1776, but instead was forged in the horrors and hardships of these times.
One can argue, I suppose, about the moral issues raised by the European colonization of North America, although I find such arguments rayther silly and pointless. But what drives me absolutely crazy is the notion - held by an awful lot of people who ought to know better - that "Native" Americans lived in one big happy harmonious family before the Europeans got here. This is patent nonsense. We read of English colonists, for example, trespassing on "traditional" native hunting grounds. But what we fail to remember is that the way those traditions were established in the first place often involved long and bitter inter-tribal warfare. Those wonderful peace-loving Hopi, for example, who lived in the Desert Southwest? Well, they didn't scratch out an existence amid the rocks and sand because they felt the dry heat was good for their skin. They did so because they were bullied off more fertile grounds by more aggressive tribes.
Every now and again it becomes fashionable to note the influence of the Iroquois Confederacy on the shaping of our republic, the underlying implication being that stupid, blundering Europeans even had to learn about democracy and federalism from the wiser Natives. What the sort of people who say things like this at cocktail parties fail to note, however, is just how and why the Confederacy came about to begin with. Basically, the Iroquois Nations - after many generations of internal feuding - finally realized that it would be far more advantageous and profitable if, instead of whaling on each other, they banded together and beat the crap out of all the non-Irquois tribes around them. Which they did with skill, determination and every indication of keen enjoyment. Modern primitivists might think of the Iroquois Confederacy as a shining example of peace and harmony. What it was, in fact, was a powerful mini-empire, which held sway from the Great Lakes to the Carolinas, and scared the bejaysus out of other tribes as far away as the Great Plains.
Gratuitous Royal Navy Geekery Posting - Now With Bonus Pedantry!
Captain Sir Philip Bowes Vere Broke, Royal Navy (1776-1841).
Stipple engraving by Blood, published in the "Naval Chronicle", Volume 33, London, 1815.
I have resisted the urge to crack my new copy of Ian Toll's Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy, having promised myself to first tackle several other books already waiting in the queue. However, I happened to be flipping through the pictures set out after p. 304 this morning and came across the following caption:
Commodore Philip Broke, HMS Shannon, leads boarders onto the deck of USS Chesapeake, June 1, 1813.
Of course, this was a famous battle and naturally would be included in Toll's book. However, the caption is incorrect. Broke was not a Commodore at the time but a Post Captain. Indeed, there was no such rank of "Commodore" in the Royal Navy, the title being a temporary one reserved for the commanders of small, detached squadrons sailing independantly of any commanding Admiral. (This was important for, among other things, calculation of the distribution of prize money.)
Broke and the Shannon were attached to the North American Squadron based at Halifax. In 1813, that squadron was under the command of Admiral Sir John Warren. Therefore, the caption should read, "Captain Philip Broke...."
I sincerely hope that when the next edition of the book comes out, it will include a correction on this point.
UPDATE: By the bye, as I was nosing about for the name of the Admiral commanding the North American Squadron (whom I eventually tracked down in Teddy Roosevelt's history of the War of 1812), I stumbled across this: Frigates And Foremasts: The North American Squadron In Nova Scotia Waters, 1745–1815 by Julian Gwyn.
Of course I'm going to have to buy it now.
Just in time for Veterans Day
The description of their berets was priceless.
November 10, 2006
"Leaf Me Alone" Or "Falling For You"
A beautiful Indian Summer day here in Northern Virginia. (Am I allowed to use that term anymore, I wonder...)
We have four large trees lining the front of our yard, two oaks and two silver maples, each one a solid forty feet tall. Among them, they throw an awful lot of leaves. Over time, I've developed the habit of scooping them all up, mulching them down and spreading them about in the garden. I've spent the last couple hours mulching up the first batch. (Interestingly, these trees never drop their leaves all at once. The line of the street runs northwest to southeast and the trees always drop in overlapping succession from one end of the line to the other. This can sometimes take several weeks.)
Tomorrow I'm going to have to get the garden itself ready by cutting down what's left of the perennials, at least the ones that have packed it in for the year. The foxgloves are still nice and green and this year's columbine seedlings are going strong, but most of the place is just bare and dingy stalks now.
Here's a question I can't quite decide: the garden also needs weeding pretty badly. One side of my brain says I'd better do this before spreading the leaf-mulch. The other side says just to bag it - whatever the mulch doesn't smother I can just yank out or spray when it pops through. I'm inclined to go with the latter but somehow can's shake the conviction that it's a little too easy, a little too convenient and therefore somehow morally wrong. Sometimes coming from Scotch Presbyterian forebearers can be a pain in the neck.
Gratuitous Historickal Posting
Happy Birthday, William Hogarth! Born this day in 1697, Hogarth was one of a group of very talented painters, engravers and caricaturists who chronicled and satirized life in England in the 18th Century. His work encompassed a wide range of subjects from morality to politics, history to fashion and fad. The print above, one of my favorites, is entitled "The Enraged Musician" (1741) and is a humorous commentary on the hurly-burly of life in London, which produced a level of noise quite shocking to foreign visitors, including the violinist pictured here. (If memory serves, Papa Haydn was later to remark on the noisiness of the place when he came.)
Don't Let The Border Gate Hit You In The Ass On Your Way Out.
The opinion of the American people matters, and this week's election reflected fatigue with Iraq. We may be seeking a "way out," but if the Iraq Survey Group proposes a solution with the merest whiff of selling out Iraq's popularly elected Shiites, expect crudely realistic leaders in Russia, China, Nigeria, Venezuela, Bolivia, Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere to conclude they too can downgrade, or obliterate, their own U.S.-oriented democratic groups. Then we can roll back the real end to notions of democratic possibility to the end of World War II. And with Democratic Party assent.
George Bush's foreign policy is at a tipping point. The administration's thinking on Iran and North Korea looks stalemated. He has taken to talking about the need for "fresh eyes" on Iraq. Looking back over the roster of the Iraq Survey Group, I'd say the eyes focused on his foreign-policy legacy, all essentially retired from public life, are anything but fresh. In response to Tuesday's election, House Republicans are about to usher in a younger generation of political thinkers. If he really wants to refresh his presidency, Mr. Bush should start looking in the same direction.
Lest you think I'm a mindless Dubya cheerleader, I will have no hesitation whatsoever to forswear my support for him if he does a bunk in Iraq. And I can tell you here and now that foreign policy is going to be my Numero Uno consideration come the next election.
It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Time To Puncture My Eardrums!
Have I mentioned here before how much I truly hate what is called (in deference to proper inclusive sensibilities of course) the "Holiday Season"?
Here's one of the gajillion reasons why:
It's Santa's 3-Piece Reindeer Combo Band, featuring a 36 inch Claus who (at least in the warped imaginations of his creators) croons like Sinatra and boogies like Elvis.
One of these abominations was up and running last evening by the check-out line at the local Gourmet Giant (pronounced "Gerr-may Gee-aun" by the cogniscenti). The lady ahead of me asked the cashier how many times he'd had to hear the particular song playing at the moment. With a very, very short laugh, the cashier replied about ten times in the past two hours. The man's hands were trembling.
Traffic we can do without
Everyone who is a regular knows I'm a bit of a shameless, ummmm, Google chummer. Slinging together posts with word combinations set to make the search engines ring like a Reno convenience store slot machine in the hands of the Real Genius.
But, there's a limit to even my shameless algorithm hussy-ing, and I think we've found it:
"Pelosi Porn"---what type of sick buggerer would want that?
I think I can safely speak for most of America by saying, "Ewwwwwwwwwww"...
UPDATE: Wuzzadem gets about as close to the subject as we are willing to risk without us wanting to scrape out our eyeballs with jagged bits of fiberglass and rinse with a brisk yet somewhat frisky chateau Chlorox '39:
November 09, 2006
It looks like Britain has discovered its Ramsey Clark
And the award for biggest doofus of all time to hold a high government office goes to:
During his time as head of the Ministry of Defence UFO project, Nick Pope was persuaded into believing that other lifeforms may visit Earth and, more specifically, Britain.
His concern is that "highly credible" sightings are simply dismissed.
And he complains that the project he once ran is now "virtually closed" down, leaving the country "wide open" to aliens.
Mr Pope decided to speak out about his worries after resigning from his post at the Directorate of Defence Security at the MoD this week.
"The consequences of getting this one wrong could be huge," he said.
"If you reported a UFO sighting now, I am absolutely sure that you would just get back a standard letter telling you not to worry. ''Frankly we are wide open - if something does not behave like a conventional aircraft now, it will be ignored.
"The X-Files have been closed down." If these words had come from a sci-fi fanatic, they could be easily dismissed by cynics.
But Mr Pope's CV - he was head of the UFO project between 1991 and 1994 - cannot be ignored.
When he began his job, he too was sceptical about UFOs but access to classified files on the subject and investigation of a series of spectacular UFO sightings gradually changed his mind.
And while Mr Pope says that there is no evidence of hostile intent, he insists it cannot be ruled out.
"There has got to be the potential for that and one is left with the uneasy feeling that if it turned out to be so, there is very little we could do about it," he said.
Standard mockery is just too easy for folks like this.
LLAMAPALOOZA - Update
Okay, folks, it looks as if we are on for the Llama Butchers' 3rd Anniversary Llamapalooza Bash, to be held at an as yet undetermined location in the greater Dee Cee area probably on the (early) evening of Saturday, November 18th.
While I apologize for being so vague about the time and place at this point, I do have one concrete piece of good news: I just spoke with French Nooz Babe Melissa Theuriau and she has personally assured me that she will be available to jump out of the cake! Yes! Really! In fact, her exact words were, "Les Llama...Boochers? De quoi parlez-vous ? De quoi est-ce que vous parlez ?"
(So very Gallic. So very nuanced. So very full of possibilities.)
More details to come soon, so start clearing your calendars now!
Yip! Yip! Yip!
A Little Llama USO Post-Election Morale Booster
"Hello! Vud You Like A Roll In Zee Hay?"
And while I'm on the subject, let me throw down a couple debating points:
RESOLVED: That Young Frankenstein is far and away Mel Brooks' best movie ever.
RESOLVED: Teri Garr was fabulously babelicious in those days.
BTW, who out there remembers the crush Dave Letterman had on her back in the mid 80's which culminated in his getting her to take a shower in his office while he was doing a show one time?
I've Got A Baaaaad Feeling About This.
Sometimes seeing history repeat itself can be quite satisfying. Other times, not so much.
In the past 24 hours, watching the elevation of Madame Speaker "Iraq is not a war to be won but a situation to be solved" Pelosi, and the rise of the Bush 41 pragmatists like Baker and Gates has given me a very creepy feeling of impending deja vu about Iraq:
Merciful God, I hope I'm wrong. But I fear that I'm not.
UPDATE: It's worse.
YIPS from Steve-O: Just in time for the Bush goes to Vietnam story.
Gratuitous DVD Quick Hits
I'm pretty busy today and also not feeling that articulate, so I thought that instead of trying to churn out a full length post on anything in particular, I would instead offer up a few quick DVD-based observations that have been bubbling about in the ol' cranium for the past couple days:
*** Gratuitous Firefly Observation: I know it's very popular with some folk, but I have to say that "Jaynestown" is probably my least favorite of all the episodes. I'm still not entirely sure why this is, although part of it certainly is the ridiculous ballad in the tavern scene.
*** Gratuitous A Mighty Wind Observation: Spinal Tap meets the Folk Scene. Why was I not told of this movie before? A real delight! While it doesn't produce that many LOL moments, I found myself chuckling all the way through. A solid, solid performance by a cast that ought to be ashamed of themselves for evidently having so much fun. And a special Yip! Yip! for Catherine O'Hara, who I've always liked.
***Gratuitous Hornblower Observation: About "The Duchess and the Devil" - Okay, the Cockney Duchess who helps out Hornblower I remember from the book. But why on earth does the film add an extra layer to her by making her an actress (and a very well-spoken one at that) playing the cockney? If I remember correctly, 'twere the other way round in the book. The story line of the film really makes no sense.
Oh, and poor old Mr. Kennedy! In the books, Kennedy was Hornblower's solid, slow, eternally cheerful counterweight. The series transmogrifies him into an epilectic basket-case. Shame.
*** One of the things about Netflix I've found is that I sometimes feel compelled to toss a movie in the queue because I've seen it in edited, fragmented form on cable so many times that I need to watch it all the way through just to feel a sense of completeness. (I dislike chopped-up films as much as I dislike chopped-up music.) I ran off The Hunt for Red October recently for just this purpose and I've recently ordered up Gladiator for the same reason, even though I have a hard time getting past the film's historical silliness and just enjoying the action for action's sake.
*** And speaking of silly Roman films, the Missus and I recently watched one about the Emperor Augustus starring, of all people, Peter O'Toole (The fact that O'Toole is still alive continues to amaze me, but that's a different story.) It's set in flashback format, with the old Augustus musing on the collapse of the Roman Republic interspersed with scenes of his younger self's corresponding rise to power and, unfortunately, borders at times on the soap opera. I'm pretty sure that the real young Octavian didn't spend his time wandering about and brooding on the weight of the world being placed on his shoulders - one didn't rise to the top of the heap in late Republican politics, much less survive, with that kind of misty-eyed attitude. All in all, I think Brian Blessed's portrayal of Augustus was probably nearer the historical mark.
Oh, and in this film, Maecenas, Augustus' friend and great patron of the arts, is portrayed - if you'll pardon the expression - as a flaming queen. Whether there's any historickal evidence for this, I dunno, but it's the first time I've ever seen the suggestion made.
UPDATE: Oh, and as I may have mentioned before, when I become Emperor of the World, one of my first decrees will be that all DVDs will be required to contain gag reels.
This is going to be interesting
I actually woke up in a chipper mood this morning, and I don't really know why (other than actually getting a full night sleep last night for the first time in a week). But this screed from UberDonk Nutroots Obergruppenfuhrer Jane Hamster just made my day:
I know it is serving the purposes of Robert Novak, Rush Limbaugh and Rahm Emanuel to paint this as a victory for conservatives who don't exist, but I can only hope that as time goes on the wingnuts who place all their hopes in Rahm's illusory candidates have their little parades rained on.
It might take a while for journalists who like to have their stories pre-chewed by crack teams of DC establishment PR flacks to catch on, but this "triumph of the centrists" meme is a Rahm Emanuel spittle-soaked fantasy. The country ran from conservatives like a bad case of crotch lice and no amount of PR spin can re-write that.
How will the loss of Lamont reverberate through the far left? Will they be blinded so much by their power and drunk with hate that they wind up demonizing their own centrists and blowing 08?
Not like there's any recent history of that or anything.
The Political Pit Bull has a much more detailed take on Hamsher and the NutRoots transferring their hate from Joementum to Rahm. We can only hope that it takes.
Bonus points for the person who predicts correctly how long it will take them to do a blackface pshop of Rahm.
"Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Muffy"
The Irish Elk has a hilarious take on the outcome of the elections, particularly in New England, including this spit take quote from Howie Carr: "As Nicaragua goes, so goes Massachusetts."
November 08, 2006
What, Me Obsessive?
Not long after, our friend Sleepy Beth tasked me by putting up a shot of hubby Tim's four digit high score.
Are you familiar with the Klingon proverb that tells us revenge is a dish best served cold? Well it is very cold in Llamaland.
I can't do the screenshot thingum, so you're just going to have to take my word for it, but: 1187, Baybee!
Here's the breakdown of distances:
I'm particularly pleased with having managed to get a good fly on almost all of them.
On the other hand, it does give one the most spectacular eye-strain migraine....
Bye Bye Rummy
Speaker Pelosi, will your partisan jihadic bloodletting know no end?
Although, if she can claim credit for getting Brit to dump KFed, we might be looking at a bit of a political honeymoon here....
(Warning about the link: it's to a Phineas post at AgentBedHead, so it's filled with all sorts of innuendo-laden Brit Brit as America's #1 MILF garbage. Tout le monde knows that that title is held by Allison DuBois.)
Llama Milestone Madness
Incredible as it may seem, we Llamas are rapidly approaching the third anniversary of this little shop o' screed. In celebration of the event, we were toying with the idea of throwing a little blog-meet thingy here in the Dee Cee area - perhaps the weekend prior to Thanksgiving.
The question is: If we build it, will they come?
Whaddaya say? Yes? No? Maybe?
Even more incredible, we are now almost within sensor range of the big One Million Hits milestone. Somebody gave us an idea for commemorating this a while back and here it is: Whoever turns out to be our millionth visitor will receive, compliments of the house, a gen-u-ine Llama Thong, autographed in permanent marker by Steve-O and me.
(A quick back of the envelope calculation indicates that in order to hit this marker in time for Christmas, we'd have to generate about 3500 hits per day, which is quite a bit above our average at the moment. So forget about planning on giving this to that somebody special then. But have you considered Easter? I think we can manage that.)
I missed out on all the fun of being glued to the election results last evening.
As I mentioned yesterday, I had to nip down to Richmond for a meeting. The drive back I accomplished largely by the Braille method, the night being rainy, misty and foggy all at once and my headlights seemingly unable to cut more than a foot or two through the murk.
Stopping at the Appleby's in Ashland, VA for a comfort-food dinner of bacon cheeseburger and coffee, I was further bamboozled by lighting that was too dim to let me read my book in comfort and an odd waitress who seemed to be following some pre-crafted script in her dealings with me because a) she answered everything I said before I finished saying it and b) her responses were often only tangentally related to my remarks.
Also, my windshield wipers chose last evening to commit some kind of strange suicide, smearing a thin layer of black rubber across my field of vision. Never had that happen before. It took a razor to scrape the stuff off this morning.
Eventually, I settled on tailing 18-wheelers and praying their drivers could see better than I could, in the meantime singing "Just An Excitable Boy" at the top of my lungs. Seemed to be the night for it.
Anyhoo, by the time I got home, and after dealing with the crisis of the Flying Bug and the Frightened Eight Year Old, the last thing I wanted to do was watch a bunch of talking heads bloviate on What It All Means. Instead, I poured a glass of Chateau Giant Ordinaire and settled down to watch another episode of the Hornblower series.
On the whole, probably time better spent.
Meanwhile, I'm sorting through all the aftermath. As to my own predictions that the GOP would hang on, most recently reaffirmed over the weekend? Well, I reckon they were worth exactly what you paid for them.
The LLamabutchers Election Post-Mortem
Insty got in big trouble with his election pre-mortem (which turned out to be pretty solidly reasoned).
Here's the official LLamabutcher Post-mortem on life, the world, the campaign of George Allen, Tom Delay, and everything:
Audio-enhanced for extra nut-crunching sound.
And let's be good sports and acknowledge our Donk friends got like three feet of air last night...
A New Day Dawns.....
What's my opinion? First four seconds of this clip says it all....
LB Buddy, Scott "Hey, I'm not a frckin' axe murderer" Peterson, Aaron--congrats guys. Your dudes ran like the wind and ours--for the most part---sucked eggs. Savor it.
Because we are going to crush you like grape in 728 days! ;)
The 2:15 AM roundup---What do 1918, 1950, and 2006 have in common?
I'm too wired on the three pillars of late night driving---caffeine, sugar, and grease---to go to sleep easily, but too tired to do the math too closely. It looks like my gut hunch of two hours ago that Webb was going to win based on a strong showing from the Necro-American community in Richmond City was correct---Danno, you did exploit the opportunity to buy Webb at $28 when I told you to, right?
Otherwise, it's looking---+6 Donks in the Senate and +25 in the House---so this puts us right in line historically with the midterm election for Harry Truman in 1950, which saw +5 Senate and +28 in the House for the Republicans, together with 1918 for Woodrow Wilson, which saw +5 in the Senate and +22 in the House for the Republicans. (scroll down to earlier in the evening when we looked at the history of 6th year midterms in the 20th century).
What do 1918, 1950, and 2006 have in common? An unpopular president in the sixth year of his term (give or take a couple of months for Truman) and an unpopular war. And the first two were followed by a two-term president of the other party pledging peace and a return to "normalcy" in elections in which neither the incumbent president or vice president was on the national ticket.
So any bets on when we'll see the first Dick Morris column extolling the virtues for Democrats of Warren G. Harding and Dwight Eisenhower?
UPDATE 905 AM You know you are punch drunk tired when you mispell both "caffeine" AND "grease." D'oh!
Home safe and sound
So what did I miss, other than the 8 pt. buck in the middle of the road in Nelson County?
November 07, 2006
THE BIG SHOW POST
I'm doing the tee-vee tonight--the proverbial local yokel political scientist geek on the set of the studio trying not to knock over too many lighting fixtures. What's really cool about all this is that it's like being a fantasy football geek and getting to watch the Super Bowl from inside the studio, or, better, a college basketball geek getting to watch March Madness tournament compressed into one night with the complete raw CBS feeds. There's about 8 large screen HD tee-vees on the wall with all sorts of different channels running at once, a definite Sports Night atmosphere, plus the network feeds, lots of noise, and free pizza.
Throw in the foot massage and one screen devoted to Battlestar Galactica re-runs and I'm in heaven.
Anyhoo, on more serious business (like, you know, the fate of the republic and all) it's looking to be bad news for the Republicans in the Senate. Tradesports has Allen going down, hard, and there's nothing coming across the internals that seem to contradict that. Webb + McCaskill +Casey + Tester +Brown =trouble. Add in Chafee heading off to a distinguished professorship at West Warwick Tech, and you see where I'm going with this. Fah.
At least there's free pizza....
UPDATE: Here are the Virginia internals, which currently has Allen and Webb tied. The page is annoying as it doesn't automatically update.
I'm not sure if that's because he's feeling renewed perkiness about the Chimperor's chances, or if the fair KP has come to her senses and they're eloping to Atlantic City.
Sometimes the signals coming into the fillings the CIA planted in my molars are unclear.
7:51 PM----CLEVELAND HAS THE LEAD, BUT ELWAY HAS THE BALL: Allen's numbers are starting to rise up off the floor. Webb's tanked on Tradesports. Forget Sports Illustrated---it's the LLamabutcher Jinx!!!
I'm afraid to use my newfound powers for good....
7:54 PM---STEELEY EYED MISSLE MAN watch
The VA Marriage amendment numbers are looking very strong, the scrambling here is it's looking like that could possibly carry Allen in.
How many more weasel words can I cram into one sentence?
Allen is right at 52%--48%, which is what we predicted last night.
Yeah, like that's not going to fluctuate like the (fill in the blank) at Fleet Week...
8:15 PM Anomoly: just under 800K votes counted in Virginia, Allen up on Webb by 38 votes.
The big indicator is the Marriage Amendment, which currently is drawing the roughly five percent overlap with a vote for Webb. Webb and Allen are at 49s, but the marriage amendment is at 57. About 7% of people who are voting for Senate are not voting in the amendment so far.
8:28 PM VA-5 Update: Goode/Weed goes to ...Goode.
The Good Weed race---you would have thunk that this would have been the one for Josh Jennings to show up in.
In honor of Virgil Goode's victory:
Ah Josh, we'll miss your service to the Republic:
MARKET INEFFICIENCY ALERT--8:42 pm Both Allen and Webb are at $55 on Tradesports. Danno, you got the stones to use some Hedge Fund mojo?
Meanwhile, back at the Ranch, Allen's opened up a 20,000 vote lead with 61% in. Allen's up 50-48. Parsing the returns, the big NoVa districts are almost all counted, leaving the remaining returns to the south central and south west. Good news for Allen.
IN THE IMMORTAL WORDS OF JOEY LAWRENCE, "WHOA." 9:03 pm--
Allen up by 45K with 68% in. It's spread well over who still has left to report--no big burps that I could see in Richmond or NoVa that's being held back for the LBJ margin. UPDATE: Fairfax City has not reported at all, and Loudon is only at 12% in. Both should have a lot of Webb votes.
I see dead people voting.
But the big news of the evening---Mark Foley is winning?
SHOUT OUT TO MY HOMEYS IN CT.
Rob Simmons is up in CT-2.
THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY---9:23 PM Allen/Webb back at 49s, with Allen up by 12K votes.
No report in from Fairfax City and Lynchburg City. Lynchburg had some problems at one precinct which ran out of paper ballots and the punch screen stopped working.
9:30 PM---FAIRFAX CITY COMES IN
Big surge for Webb in percentage, but only adds 1000 vote differential. Allen still up by 9000 with only Lynchburg City as the last big chunk of completely unreported votes.
The eyes of the nation are on Lynchburg......
Be afraid...be very afraid.
9:37 LYNCHBURG IS IN....AND IT'S.... Allen by 800 votes, balancing off Fairfax City.
The real story of the night is Gail Parker's Greens and their 21K votes.
Four tenths of a percent with 17% of the vote totals to go.
9:43---NUTMEG UPDATE: Simmons back up on top in CT-2; this is the seat that Uber-Donk Sam Gejdenson fended off Eddie Munster in 1994 by 27ish votes.
9:49 UPDATE 5135 votes.
9:54 UPDATe 87%......2280 vote differential for Allen.
9:55 UPDATE Arlington is only 40% reported and it's going 3-1 for Webb.
That's going to put Webb up soon---but he's still down in the 30s on Tradesports.
Danno, got the stones to make that bet?
10:00 PM UPDATE---PSYCHE!
Danno, hope you didn't take that bet--Allen's back up by 25K with 90% in.
Not sure what jurisdiction that did it---probably the little known county of Dieboldistan.
10:13 PM 92% in, and Allen's up by 20K votes. But it's within a percent, so now I'm frantically researching Virginia's recount rules.
The basics: not automatic.
10:19 OKAY, ELWAY SCORED, BUT CLEVELAND HAS THE BALL BACK.
Big troves of unreported votes in Arlington, Richmond City, and Norfolk City, all going 3-1 to Webb. Loudon County--Security Mom and NASCAR Dad country--is really behind in reporting.
10:35 MARRIAGE AMENDMENT UPDATE:
Got to keep the sanctity of hetero marriage safe, right?
I'll take my victories where I finds them.
10:43--12K votes, 94% in. The remaining district troves are Richmond City (heavily Webb) and Loundon and Prince William (tilting Allen).
Are their enough votes in Hollywood Cemetary? Can Webb rally the Scots-Irish warriors buried on Monument Ave.?
10:50 NAIL BITER!!!! Franklin County--moonshine country--is in for Allen, leaving only the remaining votes to come from the urban eastern part of the state.
50% turnout of registered, .54% Allen lead.
11:31---97% in, 5K vote lead.
Still left to report? Richmond City with Webb pulling 3 votes for each Allen.
Not good, folks.
Yet Tradesports has Allen at $80. Market inefficiency? Danno? Mister Hedge Fund Dude? Your call.
And no linky-love from Hot Air.
11:39 PM Simmons in CT-2 holding on by 700 votes.
11:43 PM I'm going home--it's an hour drive, it's raining, and I've got to teach tomorrow morning.
My prediction: no winner tonight for Allen/Webb. 3100 votes, 2% of precincts remaining, almost all from Richmond. Tradesports has Allen at $77, but beginning to drop. Investment opportunity.
11:58 And there's your Tradesports swing to Webb. Advantage LLamabutchers!
12:10 AM Wednesday 1865 vote spread for Allen on the state's website.
Cue Twilight Zone music....
2:45 AM UPDATE: Cue Porky Pig: That's all folks!
Here's Doug Wilder's Richmond results: no absentee ballots counted yet.
Want to bet that there are enough to cover the spread elsewhere in the state?
It's too late for me to start digging through the reports on which counties and cities have reported their absentees yet. But I'm leaving it up to the second shift Hot Air readers, now that AP (blessed be his holy name!) has finally linked this freakin' post. Here's the official state results page. Click on "locality" right under the Senate race results, which gives you the counties, followed by the cities. Click on details to get the breakdow for each jurisdiction (this link takes you to Richmond City). THEN click on "precinct" (this takes you to the precinct breakdown in Richmond).
This is a multi-person job to blogswarm between now and lunch tomorrow. We need to get a sense of how many cities and counties have counted their absentees and reported them (they show up as a separate precinct). Let me know what you get---put it in the comments section below.
On the recount, we did a thing on the air about this around 1030. Basically, it's not automatic: the election is first certified in about 10 days-two weeks (too beat right now to look it up, but last year it was about two weeks after the gube election), then a challenger who loses by less than 1% can petition for a recount.
Obviously, as it stands right now, 3/10ths of 1 percent is the margin---don't take any crap from Donks about how Webb ran a clean campaign and won fair and square. If Allen's razor thin lead all night (until Richmond finally came in) had held at 3/10ths of 1 percent, they'd be baying for a recount, and would be perfectly in their rights to do so.
It aint over, folks, at least until we get a sense of what the disposition of the absentee ballots is---and we don't need to wait for our minders and betters in the MSM to tell us, we can damn well find out for ourselves.
Update and perspective
What's the perspective on Year Six elections?
CLINTON 98 Senate: Even House: Dems +8
Okay, 98 was the exception in the way that 02 was the exception for midterms in the first term. But how will tonight compare to the sixth year election of the previous 20th century re-elected presidents? I'm going to through 68 and 74 in the mix to get the big picture:
YR DUDE SENATE HOUSE
86 REAGAN +5 Dems +8 Dems
74 NIXON/FORD +3 Dems +49 Dems
66 JFK/LBJ +3 Reps +47 Reps
58 IKE +13 Dems +49 Dems
50 TRUMAN +5 Reps +28 Reps
38 FDR +6 Reps +81 Reps
26 HARD/COOL +6 Dems +11 Dems
18 WILSON +5 Reps +22 Reps
Leaving the average as a five seat pick-up in the Senate and a House pick-up of 33.
Oddly enough, it's looking that the election this might mirror most directly is 1950....
Pshopping Truman holding up "Dewey Defeats Truman" was on my list of things to do today, but the Jawas beat me to it.
Jack Bauer for Senate
Because let's face it, it's about time we got David Lee Roth to lighten things up at Turtle Bay
Panama wins the seat on the UN Security Council coveted by roly-poly Venzo thugocrat Hugo "Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man" Chavez.
Needless to say, this was the first thing that popped into my head:
Free-association blogging: always a bad thing to do after not eating breakfast.
Tragic election problems
I blame Katherine Harris.
The Remains Of The Day
Usually on Election Day of late, I've found myself glued to Al Gore's World Wide Web, frantically hopscotching back and forth among half a dozen sites for The Latest.
Well, fortunately for my sanity this year, I've got to nip down to Richmond this afternoon to see a man about a horse and therefore will miss all the eye-strain and carpal tunnel syndrome usually associated with this day.
And as it more than likely will be bucketing rain on my return drive this evening, I'm pretty confident that by the time I pull up to the gates of Orgle Manor, I'll be too tired to give much of a damn until tomorrow morning.
Until two years ago our sleepy ridge-top community in central Virginia still used the old levers-n-switches inside a curtained booth-type voting machine. I loved it. It reminded me of going to vote with my parents back in the 60's. Even the elementary school cafetorium where we voted took me back to those days with its tiny stage and mustard-colored velvet drapes.
Alas, progress eventually found us and now I shift from foot to foot in the elementary school gym, impatiently waiting while scenes like the following unfold along the line ahead of me again . . . and again:
Vote Assistant: You have to register your vote before you leave.
Blue-haired woman: What?
VA: Push the green box.
BHW: I did!
VA: Push the green box in the upper right corner.
BHW: I did! [pause] It ain't doing noting.
VA: [peeking at the screen] Right here.
Me: [in my head] ARRRRGGGHH!!!! Bring back the machines with levers!!!!
Today, November 7, 2006, is a day that will live in infamy.
Election day, when the Chimperor and the Dark Sith Lord of Halliburton get their comeuppance?
I think not.
Either way, expect light blogging from this guy, who's teensy little obsession with Billy n' Allison is a sad, sad thing.
UPDATE: I'm not the only one to see the connection. The incomparable Sheila O'Malley has a review.
"We are not going to die. We can't die. And do you know why? Because we are so very pretty. We are just too pretty for God to let us die. Huh? Look at that chiseled jaw! C'mon."
On this day in 1874 the great Thomas Nast's depiction of the GOP as an elephant made its debute. The rest, as they say, is history.
Even the flaccids are coming back to the base
I caught a fair amount of crappe yesterday for posting a clip of the Hanson Brothers from the movie Slapshot as a get-out-the-vote motivator. The biggest flaccid of them all---Monsieur Allahpundit---has been leading the sack cloth and ashes brigade for awhile now, spinning everything as pessimistically as possibly, up to and including giving the bravest and smartest and funniest Senator in American political history the benefit of the doubt.
So what does he do now that it's election day?
Why post a motivator clip from Rocky IV.
So I'm running it again. Sue me, but this is the greatest scene in a sports movie EVAH.
Days like today I need a good laugh.
UPDATE DEUX: To reflect the complex intellectual trek of Axis Sully, Wuzzadem has updated his Andrew Sullivan Emoticon Alert Level to include "Unbothered by Buchananite Antisemitism." Because, you know, the Joooooooos invented that whole circumcision thing and really now, has there been a greater crime committed against humanity than that?
Election prediction: Forget the Security Moms and NASCAR Dads, this year is the year of the Necro-Americans
This year's pivotal voters? Why, of course, it will be the Necro-American Community with a heavy turnout in St. Louis that will give Missouri to McCaskill.
Cole Sear: I see dead people.
Malcolm Crowe: In your dreams?
[Cole shakes his head no]
Malcolm Crowe: While you're awake?
Malcolm Crowe: Dead people like, in graves? In coffins?
Cole Sear: Walking around like regular people. They don't see each other. They only see what they want to see. They don't know they're dead.
Malcolm Crowe: How often do you see them?
Cole Sear: Every election day.
I'm Robbo the Llama And I Approve This Post
TWO MINUTE DRILL UPDATE: 11/5/06, 6:00 PM: Okay, folks, it's 48 hours and change until this is all over and I believe the GOP is in the Red Zone. Despite the fact that the polls are all over the place and the MSM is practically accusing the (R) Team of biting the heads off live babies, I believe it is still very, very close. And at least according to my most trustworthy source, the Big Mo is swinging our way.
Here are some things I don't believe: I don't believe in a Donk "wave". I don't believe the vast majority of polls are all that accurate any more. I don't believe that the GOP Base - whether it be evangelicals, fiscal hawks or Fortress America immigration types - is going to sit on its hands this time.
Instead, I believe the GOP is going to hold. A week or two ago, I predicted to Steve-O a loss of 7 to 9 in the House, 3 in the Senate. Well, I'm not backing off of that. Am I crazy? Perhaps, but we don't call these posts "delusional rantings" for nothing. Then again, I won my office pool in 2002 and we ran the boards on the Electoral College in '04. So who knows?
Anyhoo, as I say, we're inside the 20. Let's get out there and convert!
YIPS from Steve-O What he said! Plus a little bit of this as motivation for the type of GOTV we want over the next day and a half:
I'm leaving this stuck to the top until Election Day. The punditistas say it's now a matter of rallying the base, so I feel it's my obligation to do what I can.
Friends, it's simple - A Donk takeover in the House or Senate this year would be disastrous to the GWOT in all its theatres and manifestations because the Donks are more interested in getting Dubya's scalp than they are in actually, you know, fighting the bad guys who've vowed to kill us all. In my simple calculus of working in close proximety to the likely next target of said bad guys, that's a hightened risk I have no interest in taking, either for myself or for my family. Oh, and I don't particularly care to be taxed back to the Stone Age either.
So, message to GOP supporters, whether RINO, Fundamentalist, Big Money, Security Mom or Whoever the Hell Else - let's get out there and win this one!
UPDATE: SOOPER SEKRET MESSAGE TO FELLOW CONSERVATIVE BLOGGERS: Okay, guys, help me out on this!
UPDATE DEUX: SOOPER SEKRET MESSAGE TO WHOEVER PUT TOGETHER THIS POSTER: I can't find the original and forget where I found it, but it is a kick-ass classic. Shoot us a line and I'll update this update to give full credit.
OCT 13 YIPS from Steve-O: Okay, let's turn this into the all-purpose vote-whoring flogging the base posting.
For you RethuggliKKKHANS out there who have suddenly gone all "Oh Brother Bluto, I'm afraid, we no longer deserve the majority, Rumsfeld, whaaa, I'm going to add my measley vote in my blue state as a protest" I've got something for you:
This version has the virtue of not only being Paul McCartney free, it also has Clapton wailing away. In God We Trust, indeed.
I'm going to try my hand over the weekend with Flash Media to do a new video version of this featuring a dancing Charlie Rangel.
YIPS from Steve-O: The Colossus is getting in the spirit! (In the process, getting me exactly in the frame of mind needed to go lecture on Rousseau's Social Contract in 10 minutes.)
November 06, 2006
I had a very long post that apparently got dumped by the server, the basic gist of which gave the rundown of why I've been relatively blog silent the past week, (work, real work, and the four year old's birthday) and taking various drive-by swipes at former blogging friends who have gotten a wee bit nasty and personal over the fact that I don't share there new found joy in the belief that Pelosism is the cure-all our country needs.
It might have included a longer rant on how such a belief meant turning over the stewardship of our national interest to this guy.
I also had a detailed set of predictions which of course I didn't write down and now am too tired to recreate.
If memory serves, it was House--Donks with a three seat majority; Senate, good guys with a three seat majority. Allen & Chafee hold on, Corker wins, Steele upsets, Casey, Tester, McCaskill, Brown win for the Donks.
Although if one wants to take the strict Tradesports approach, as of right now (2 AM) the big T has the Donks holding MD, and winning RI, PA, OH, MT, and Missouri. Webb is within the strike range, although just barely, and given how he's dropped today, I'm betting it swings soon to Allen. With Corker winning in TN, that would put it at 50-50, if I'm doing the 2 AM math correctly.
That's My Church!
I've had a couple people ask me today, "Jim, what's your reaction to the investiture of Arch Moonbat Katharine Jefferts Schori as Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church this weekend?"
Truth be told, I've come to see this as a good thing. For years, we Palies have been slowly slouching toward our eventual break up, while at the same time trying to pretend that it wasn't going to happen. I think the election of such a hard-core radical is going to greatly accelerate the process, effectively forcing us all to Get It Over With. It isn't that her views are all that greatly different from some of her predecessors, but the tone is starting to be much less obfuscatory and conciliatory, much more, "This is how it's gonna be. Shaddap and siddown." About time, too. Rump Traditionalism, anybody?
Speaking of such things, did you know that I am a gen-u-ine Saint? It's true! During the sermon at this past Sunday's All Saints service, we were informed that there really isn't a difference between such venerated figgahs as Peter, Paul, Francis, Anthony and Augustine (and their more recent equivalents), and ordinary lowly pew-warmers such as Yours Truly.
Indeed, to reenforce the point, we even sang what I consider to be one of the sappiest hymns in the hymnal, "I Sing A Song of the Saints of God", the third verse of which in particular gives me the guts-ache:
They lived not only in ages past;Now, being a good Proddy, I'm perfectly comfortable with rejecting the need for hierarchical intervention in order to get me an audience with Him. On the other hand, this tack all the way to the other extreme (which seems to be getting more pronounced every year, at least in my church), reminds me irresistably of one of those children's party games where all the kids get some kind of prize, in order to avoid anybody feeling "excluded".
there are hundreds of thousands still.
The world is bright with the joyous saints
who love to do Jesus' will.
You can meet them in school, on the street, in the store,
in church, by the sea, in the house next door;
they are saints of God, whether rich or poor,
and I mean to be one too.
I dunno, perhaps it was because I had to be at church for the earlier service for the eldest Llama-ette's choir performance and then had to stay and usher the later one (which included five baptisms), but I was almost jaded enough by the end of things to ask the Rector whether being a saint also meant that I got to be patron of something. If so, I was going to call dibs on leggy supermodels.
Gratuitous Royal Navy Netflix Review
I am very patiently making my way through the Hornblower series.
The good part? I think Ioan Gruffudd is exactly right in the title part. Horatio's character is moody, broody, constantly thinking and prone to bouts of morose self-doubt (indeed, there are times when one wishes to smack him for it) and I think Gruffudd gets all of that in his expressions very nicely.
The bad part? Well, you knew this was coming, Bill, but there's too much mucking about with the story lines - transposing characters, inventing some new ones and tossing old ones, fiddling with the chronology, bending plots around, etc., etc.
Oh, and the mock Indefatigable they sail around is far too small. The "Indy" was a heavy frigate - indeed, she was originally a 64-gun two-decker that was cut down to a single deck of 44 guns. I could make out no more than eleven gun-ports per side on this one. Also, she carried a gaff-rigged spanker on her mizzen, something I'm pretty sure the larger frigates would not employ. Indeed, she looked much more about the size of Jack Aubrey's Surprise, a 6th-Rate.
I know the producers were faced with a simple lack of three-masted sailing ships for filming and had to work with what was available, but still........
UPDATE: Which reminds me - anybody out there ever read Forester's African Queen? I've always been curious as to how Hollywood's treatment of it matched up to the book.
UPDATE DEUX: Okay, at least with respect to the question of gaff-rigged spankers (shut the hell up!), I may have been caught out. My copy of Six Frigates, evilly wished upon me by Steve-O, turned up this evening and I noticed such a rig on a photo of U.S.S. Constitution, surely a heavy frigate if ever there was one.
So at least with respect to rigging, I'm man enough to admit when my bloviating is proved to be so much swank. I'm still right about the comparative size of the ships, tho'.
November 05, 2006
Gratuitous 'Fins Blogging
Okay, I've got the house to myself but the only game on locally is the 'Skins/Cowboys game, about which I am fairly indifferent. (Not that I don't have it on, of course.)
However, I just wanted to note that whatever happens for the rest of the afternoon, at 3:01 PM Eastern Time, the Dolphins are, in fact, up on Da Bears by eleven points.
I'm now in the curious position for a 'Fins fan of hoping that the Pats take out the Colts tonight, solely in order to preserve The Record.
UPDATE DEUX: Mmph. Nancy boys.
November 04, 2006
What Have I Done?
I patted myself on the back when I first got the Llama-ettes into listening to country music in the car. I reckoned that, if nothing else, it would help steer them off the likes of pop, hip-hop and other genres of what passes for music these days.
They're off with the Missus to see Flicka this afternoon. And they're terribly excited, not because the movie features a nice horsey but because Tim McGraw stars in it.
Random Fall Afternoon Yardwork Observation
Y'know, I'm something of a Luddite when it comes to a lot of modern hardware, but I've got to say - whoever invented the leaf blower was on to what Martha Stewart would call a "good thing."
Well. That's assuming Martha Stewart ever lifted a finger to take care of her leaves instead of having a truck full of Salvadorans to do it for her. Which seems rayther unlikely.
So maybe never mind.
Sure do like using my leaf blower, though.
Gratuitous Saturday Morning Philosophical Question
So as I look out at the yard and garden this morning and think to myself, "Oh, the hell with trying to deal with the clover - the frost'll kill it off just fine," am I being eco-friendly or just damned lazy? Or perhaps this is an example of convergent goods?
November 03, 2006
He Was Right.
One year away. One year away.
THANK YOU, GEORGE W. BUSH!!
(Oh, and thank you NYT for your botched hatchet job! We owe ya!)
UPDATE: My goodness me - that story sure vanished in a hurry! Pretty good indication that it didn't bounce the way the MSM wanted it to.
November 02, 2006
Ladies and Gentlemen, your UN tax dollars at work
Here's something to mull over:
Too much English on Net, warns expert From correspondents in Vouliagmeni, Greece November 02, 2006 EXPERTS at a UN forum on internet governance warned that the predominant use of English on the worldwide web needs to be checked before it crowds out other languages.
They fear forms of cultural knowledge accumulated over centuries of human progress could be lost for ever.
“Some 90 per cent of 6000 languages (at use today) are not represented on the internet,” said Yoshinori Imai of NHK, Japan's Broadcasting Corporation.
“These people could be left out in the desert of no information and no knowledge,” he said.
In countries such as Colombia and Senegal, oral tradition and cultural heritage that could be used for research and education purposes may never reach the broader world, sociologists and linguists told the four-day forum, held in the southern Athens suburb of Vouliagmeni until November 2.
“A large part of the population are voiceless because they cannot share the information,” said Adama Samassekou, president of the African Academy of Languages in Mali.
“Every time a language dies, a vision of the world disappears,” he said.
Insert your beeeg, baaaahd, Anglo-Saxons joke here.
Tim Berners-Lee: cultural imperialist.
But I think here at the LLamabutchers we can do an important public service for the UN: we need to translate the phrase "Jessica Alba's bodacious knockers" into all the languages---written and oral---of the world.
Help Les LLamabutchers end the evil Anglo-Saxo hegemony over Le Internette by translating the phrase "Jessica Alba's bodacious knockers" into all the languages of the world, or we'll boil these perky penguin puppies into crankcase oil and feed them to our Ford Escape.
Steve-O? Forget That Theme Party For Little Miss Stubborn
Looks like Guy Fawkes is getting the boot.
Guy Fawkes has been banned by council bosses in east London - and replaced with a Bengali folk tale. Tower Hamlets said it wanted to provide an "alternative" theme to celebrate November 5 and the attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament.
The council has commissioned a £75,000 fireworks display entitled the Emperor and the Tiger, which tells the story of the "Moghul Emperor, the Wise Man and the Guardian of the Jungle". As a mock Bengal tiger paces a giant catwalk, fire will light up a "forest" to the sound of Bangla drummers and dancers.
* * * * * * *
One third of Tower Hamlets' population of 196,000 is Bengali - about 65,000. But Bengalis dominate the council and its cabinet with 31 of the 51 councillors. Tower Hamlets council insisted they were neither being politically correct nor forgetting the Gunpowder Plot.
Officials said: We did Guy fawkes last year" and insisted it was their tradition to have a different theme each year. In a statement, a spokesman said: "And this differentiates our celebrations from other boroughs and our events are proving to be extremely popular.
"Our sole aim is to stage an exciting event - on the traditional Fireworks Night - that will attract the interest of as many people as possible. Since introducing the themed events four years ago, visitor numbers have increased from 3,000 to a massive 23,000 people at last year's event. Let's judge the event by how much people enjoy themselves on the night."
Words fail me on this one. I got nothing. Nada. Zip.
But if this sort of thing spreads, I would strongly suggest that Uncle Sam put in an application at Mickey Dee's before the next 4th of July.
(Woodcut above swiped from this neat-o site that has lots of info on the original Gunpowder Plot. Plus mugs and tee-shirts.)
Gratuitous Getting-It-Out-Of-The-Way-Ahead-Of-Time Fins Posting
Well of course Miami wasn't going to beat Da Bears in Chicago. But c'mon - what team realistically can this year?
(And if the Football Gods want to make a fool of me by arranging the Upset of the Season, well, go right ahead and be my guest.)
In other football notes, I am cheerfully allowing myself to get caught up in the excitement over this weekend's Colts/Pats game. That is going to be some serious football. Can't wait!
Like two ships passing in the night
Which serves as an easy set up for the LLama Book Club selection that is currently occupying my spare time: Ian Toll's Six Frigates, which chronicles the early history of the U.S. Navy and American foreign policy under Jefferson in particular. A great read, well written, which begins with a description of the Royal Navy at the time of Nelson that should send Robbo into the Fortress of Solitude armed with the 8-track of "Moving in Stereo."
UPDATE: Oh yeah, now THAT'S the good stuff!
Yips! from Robbo: Damn you, Steve-O! I went over to Amazon to look at the book and just accidentally clicked the InstaTemptation-Buy-It-Now button! Now I'm going to have to read it.
Random Lunchtime Observation
Ya' know, if I had to choose, I'd definitely pick the Cool Ranch Doritos over the Nacho Cheese kind.
But that's just me.
Seriously Gratuitous Historickal Geekery Posting
How seriously cool is this? In 1943, Churchill sucessfully negotiated permission from the Portugese to use the Azores for the basing of anti-U-boat forces as well as resupply depots for the trans-Atlantic convoys.
Well, that in itself is not all that terribly exciting. However, what was the basis of the British request? Would you believe the Anglo-Portugese Treaty of 1373, signed by King Edward III of England and Ferdinand & Eleanor of Portugal. This is the Edward III of the Hundred Years' War, the Edward III of the Battle of Crecy, the Edward III of the Black Plague years and the Edward III who established the Order of the Garter.
In other words, this is a 600 year old treaty on which Churchill got to rely. He also got the opportunity to spell the whole thing out in Parliament, discoursing on the original treaty and its subsequent emendations. Knowing what an enormous history buff he was (and being such a one myself), I'm sure this was one of the most pleasurable speeches Winnie ever gave in the Commons.
I'm also sure that to (for example) our pal The Colossus - who knows waaaaay more about Churchill than I do - this is old news. But I'm on my first tour through Closing the Ring and this little footnote is a delightful discovery to me.
Um...Thanks. We Think.
Gail over at Scribal Terror sent this interesting link about Whiskey the Turnspit Dog.
She says, "I don't know why this made me think of you."
Go on over and decide for yourself. Me? I think it's because the thing kinda looks like a weasel. Which would probably fit us to a tee if we didn't already have this whole llama persona thing down so pat.
A Little More J-Effin-K Humor
A quick glance 'round the World Wide Web this morning indicates that the buzz is still on about John Effin Kerry's insult-clarification-backtrack-non-apology troop remark the other day. This makes me happy in that I'd been mulling a response to it and I'm glad to see it's still timely.
Thus, I give you:
JOHN KERRY'S TOP TEN OTHER BOTCHED JOKE PUNCHLINES
10. To get to the other side and avoid the redneck farmer with the axe.
9. How I shot an elephant in my pajamas I won't explain, because you aren't nuanced enough to understand.
8. Three: One to hold the bulb, one to turn the ladder and the other to help the local GOP fraudulently rig the electronic voting machine.
7. She was sooooo dumb that she stayed home to raise her children instead of getting a job!
6. Let them eat quiche.
5. I'm John Kerry and I'm reporting for duty.
4. Did you hear about the army officer who was so stupid they used to put him in the Pentagon and tell him to stand in a corner? No, wait. That's not right......
3. Sure fly-over country is diversified: they've got a rube, a hick, two inbred brother-sister marriages and a nervous goat!
2. The guy was such a buffoon he couldn't understand why "Gospel Truth" was an oxymoron!
1. I always inhaled. Except when I didn't.
Hope you like 'em.
Where Was Robbo?
Sorry about the lack of posting yesterday. Bit of hoof and mouth disease - you know, the kind where you get alternating hot flashes and chills and your knees feel like they're about to fold backwards.
Dunno how long I'm going to be up today or how coherent I'll be, so if I suddenly worble mangle sither floosh, I'm sure you'll understand.
UPDATE: Curiously enough, it appears we Llamas are the No. 2 google hit for "office etiquette and colds". My experience is that it appears perfectly acceptable to say to an afflicted person, "What are you doing here? Go home!"
What's interesting is that this has very little do to with concern for the sufferer him or herself and instead has everything to do with the rest of the office fearing to catch the disease.