February 28, 2007

Gratuitous Buck Blogging

After having Buck save New Chicago from non-Islamic terrorists, the series downshifted a bit. The next episode is:

Ep. 1.8 “Return of the Fighting 69th” (aired 10/25/79):

Basically, a nasty pair of illegal gun runners attempt to wage a terrorist plot of their own on earth, with nerve gas. They’re motivation? Well, revenge of course. It seems this male and female duo was once came under attack by our own Col. Deering and they suffered disfiguring burns in a fire. So they’ve decided to take it out on the whole planet. Why waste perfectly good WMDs on one individual when you can destroy an entire population? Sounds almost like a Hannibal Lector sequel. Anyway, they’ve established a hidden base on Dantooine in an asteroid field and Dr. Huer calls on Buck and Wilma to hunt them down and bring them to justice.

One problem. The asteroid field is so treacherous that only pilots with experience in that particular asteroid field can successfully navigate their way to the hidden base. So they need to pull some old timers out of retirement to help. This would be the remaining members of the old 69th squadron. Wilma, under pressure from the Defense Directorate, had filed the report that kind of forced them into retirement several years earlier. It was a difficult task because she had trained under them and even thought of the commander, Noah Cooper, as a father figure.

After the obligatory laying on of the guilt trip, Cooper and his crew are convinced to sign on and we spend the next half hour flying through the asteroid belt. Zzzzzzzzzzzz.

The theme here is obviously a commentary about writing off the usefulness of the elderly just because they reach a certain age. OK, we get it.

It’s a draggy episode that features Peter Graves as Noah Cooper. As good as Graves is it was hard not to see him as Captain Oveur in “Airplane”.

"So tell me, Schultz. Do you like movies about gladiators?"

Episode rating: Pass (although there’s more Wilma than normal, there isn’t a whole lot to get worked up over).

Jamie Lee Curtis is an “Unchained Woman”

The first post in this series can be found here.

Posted by Gary at 09:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Potemkin Legoland

Teachers in Seattle cause a Lego town being built by their students to go Communist:

A ban was initiated at the Hilltop Children's Center in Seattle. According to an article in the winter 2006-07 issue of "Rethinking Schools" magazine, the teachers at the private school wanted their students to learn that private property ownership is evil.

According to the article, the students had been building an elaborate "Legotown," but it was accidentally demolished. The teachers decided its destruction was an opportunity to explore "the inequities of private ownership." According to the teachers, "Our intention was to promote a contrasting set of values: collectivity, collaboration, resource-sharing, and full democratic participation."

The children were allegedly incorporating into Legotown "their assumptions about ownership and the social power it conveys." These assumptions "mirrored those of a class-based, capitalist society -- a society that we teachers believe to be unjust and oppressive."

They claimed as their role shaping the children's "social and political understandings of ownership and economic equity ... from a perspective of social justice."

So they first explored with the children the issue of ownership. Not all of the students shared the teachers' anathema to private property ownership. "If I buy it, I own it," one child is quoted saying. The teachers then explored with the students concepts of fairness, equity, power, and other issues over a period of several months.

At the end of that time, Legos returned to the classroom after the children agreed to several guiding principles framed by the teachers, including that "All structures are public structures" and "All structures will be standard sizes." The teachers quote the children:

"A house is good because it is a community house."

"We should have equal houses. They should be standard sizes."

"It's important to have the same amount of power as other people over your building."

No word yet on construction of the Lego gulag to house any dissenters.

Yips! from Gary:
What's next? An anarcho-syndicalist commune?

Come and see the violence inherent in the system! Help! Help! I'm being repressed!

Posted by Robert at 03:40 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Spring Training Underway

Exhibition scrimmages kick off this afternoon.


Yes, I'm a Mets fan. Robert, a Nationals fan, may not have factored in this rivalry when he and Steve invited me aboard. So let me extend a laurel...and hearty handshake to Robbo right off the bat. May the better team of whiny, self-indulgent, over-paid man-children win.

Posted by Gary at 03:00 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

That's My Church?

The Anglican Catholic Church, represented locally by St. Andrew & St. Margaret, Alexandria.

I had heard some vague rumor of this church but didn't really understand what it was before, namely a haven for Rite I Palies (such as self) formed in the late 70's when the ECUSA started to drift.

It's my personal belief that schism within the Anglican Communion is pretty much guaranteed now, and that once the few remaining restraints are removed, the ECUSA is going to founder under the weight of left wing social politics sprinkled with a coating of empty deism. If there is a breach, I have absolutely no intention of going down with it.

Short of crossing the Tiber, which I don't think myself able to do, this ACC looks to be a possible lifeboat.

Yips! to the Old Dominion Tory for the link left at the Peperiums'.

Posted by Robert at 02:39 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Happy (Not) Birthday, Frederic!


Seeing as 2007 is not a leap year, I thought I'd get this in today:

For some ridiculous reason, to which, however, I've no desire to be disloyal,
Some person in authority, I don't know who, very likely the Astronomer Royal,
Has decided that, although for such a beastly month as February, twenty-eight
days as a rule are plenty,
One year in every four his days shall be reckoned as nine and twenty.
Through some singular coincidence-- I shouldn't be surprised if it were owing
to the agency of an ill-natured fairy--
You are the victim of this clumsy arrangement, having been born in leap-year,
on the twenty-ninth of February;
And so, by a simple arithmetical process, you'll easily discover,
That though you've lived twenty-one years, yet, if we go by birthdays, you're
only five and a little bit over!

Ruth: Ha! ha! ha! ha!
King: Ho! ho! ho! ho!

Dear me! Let's see! (counting on fingers)
Yes, yes; with yours my figgahs do agree!

Ha! ha! ha! ho! ho! ho! ho!

Frederic: (more amused than any)
How quaint the ways of Paradox!
At common sense she gaily mocks!
Though counting in the usual way,
Years twenty-one I've been alive,
Yet, reck'ning by my natal day,
Yet, reck'ning by my natal day,
I am a little boy of five!

He is a little boy of five!
Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!

A paradox, a paradox,
A most ingenious paradox!
Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! , etc.

(Ruth and King throw themselves back on seats, exhausted with laughter)

Upon my word, this is most curious-- most absurdly whimsical. Five-and-a-quarter! No one would think it to look at me!

You are glad now, I'll be bound, that you spared us. You would never have forgiven yourself when you discovered that you had killed two of your comrades.

My comrades?

King: (rises)
I'm afraid you don't appreciate the delicacy of your position, my boy: You were apprenticed to us--

Until I reached my twenty-first year.

No, until you reached your twenty-first birthday (producing document), and, going by birthdays, you are as yet only five-and-a-quarter.

You don't mean to say you are going to hold me to that?

No, we merely remind you of the fact, and leave the rest to your sense of duty.

Your sense of duty!

Frederic: (wildly)
Don't put it on that footing! As I was merciful to you just now, be merciful to me! I implore you not to insist on the letter of your bond just as the cup of happiness is at my lips!

We insist on nothing; we content ourselves with pointing out to you your duty.

Your duty!

Frederic: (after a pause)
Well, you have appealed to my sense of duty, and my duty is only too clear. I abhor your infamous calling; I shudder at the thought that I have ever been mixed up with it; but duty is before all -- at any price I will do my duty.

Bravely spoken! Come, you are one of us once more.

Lead on, I follow.

Although I've an excellent CD performance, I've been casting around for a good DVD of Pirates as well. (Before you say anything, I've tried the Kevin Kline/Linda Ronstadt one and don't like it.) I checked out this old 1982 BBC version from Netflix, but the disk came cracked. Next I'm going to give the 1985 Stratford Festival performance a chance.

The one thing I can't stick, but which I've often seen, is the compulsion performance groups seem to feel when performing Gilbert & Sullivan, especially this one, to camp it up. All wrong, of course. Pirates should be played absolutely straight. The humor will take care of itself, thank you very much.

This isn't to say there isn't plenty of room for stage business. (With three separate choruses of pirates, policement and sisters roaming about? Are you kidding me?) But the tomfoolery must be kept within the bounds of the story. Once the Pirate King ceases to be "the Pirate King" and starts being "a knowing actor playing the Pirate King," mugging for the audience to show how we're all savvy to how silly all this is, well, he's lost me.

From the comments I've seen at both Amazon and Netflix, I believe this makes me some kind of shhhnob. So be it.

Posted by Robert at 01:55 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Gratuitous WordPerfect Griping

There has got to be a better way of cutting and pasting paragraphs across multiple pages in a document. Am I the only one on the planet who spends ten minutes zooming back and forth across the page to which I want to transfer something before I finally get the @#$*(&#(* cursor to stop where I want it?

Posted by Robert at 12:31 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 27, 2007

Holy Crap!

Definitely five minutes you didn't want to be downstairs getting some coffee for.

Long-time LLamabutchers fans will know that we are placing all our blame on friend of the original LLamabutcher "Danno" who, while running his hedgefund, was probably giving the Aunt Jemima treatment to some Barnard intern whose boohonkus hit the wrong button, causing worldwide financial panic.

That's my theory and I'm sticking with it.

(And yes, I wrote the post to use a clip of Bill Murray from Stripes giving P.J. Soles "the Aunt Jemima treatment" but it wasn't there. Alas...)

Posted by Steve-O at 07:20 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Good Heavens, Miss Yakamoto! You're Beautiful!

So here's a science ethics question for you:

The seven year old and two of her classmates decided to do an experiment on bacterial growth for their science fair project this year. The first part of their test was comparing the relative cleanliness of not washing hands, washing hands and wiping them on disposable paper towel and washing them and wiping them on a communal hand towel. The second part of the test was to compare the cleanliness of various kitchen surfaces - the countertop, the fridge handle and so on.

For this, a couple weekends ago we duly got together a half-score of sterilized babyfood jars and filled them with a gelatin mixture to act as a nutrient base. Then the gel and her cohorts went about swabbing the various test surfaces and rubbing the swabs across the nutrients. Two of the jars were not swabbed, serving as "controls" for each of the tests.

So far, so good. A couple days after the gel and her friends did the tests, bacterial growths began to sprout in some of the jars. The appearance and level of growth in each jar was duly examined and recorded by the junior scientists when they came back to review them the following weekend. The science fair was to have taken place last Wednesday. The gels had their little presentation all prepared, and the jars were to be the central attraction.

Well, because of the lingering effects of the Valentine's Day ice storm, the science fair had to be postponed. (Parking at St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method for an event of this size requires the use of a large field, which at that point was still ice-covered.) It was to have been rescheduled for tomorrow night. However yesterday, following this past weekend's additional snowfall, it was decided that the fair should be postponed until a week from tomorrow.

In the meantime, all of the jars, including the two controls, have become saturated with thick growths of mold and bacteria of various disgusting sorts. There is something between little and no difference among them now.

Here's the question. As I say, the gel and her friends have already recorded their observations. Do we:

A. chuck both the jars and the data and start all over? (Probably not enough time for this);

B. keep the data, chuck the original jars and try to fadge up some kind of representative substitute; or

C. simply put out the originals and explain, perhaps with the use of a small placard, the disruptive effect of the delay on the visual demonstration. (The observations made two weeks ago would still be included in the presentation.)

Personally, I'm inclined toward C. It may not be the most effective demonstration of comparative cleanliness of surfaces and hygiene practices, but it is at least honest. Also, the jars are sufficiently disgusting now to captivate an elementary school audience. Never underestimate the "Ew, gross!" factor.

Fortunatelly, the eldest Llama-ette is doing a demonstration of electrical conductivity. My only concern with her is that she's going to wear out the battery we rigged up in a simple circuit to a flashlight bulb by playing with it so much.

Okay, you knew this was coming from the title of the post, so here goes:

Posted by Robert at 05:33 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

A Shadow of the Past


It may just be my imagination, but after a period of relative quiet, the cashiers at our local Giant (pronounced "Gee-AUNT") are suddenly getting downright testy again about my not using one of their "bonus" cards.

The typical exchange of late has gone something like this:

Cashier: Do you have a "bonus" card?
Self: No.
Cashier: Well, would you like to enter your phone number instead?
Self: No, thank you.
Cashier: But, look - you could save $1.32 today!
Self: Really, don't worry about it.
Cashier [with look of baffled fury]: This isn't the end of this, Boy!

Well, okay, maybe not the last line. (Which is actually a quote from Aladdin's Jaffar, but I couldn't think of anything apropos out of Tolkien to match the title of this post.) However, I am getting the sense of something not far short of hostility.

Now I'm hardly the type who goes about with tinfoil wrapped round his head to ward off the Trilateral Commission's GPS tracking system. On the other hand, I don't feel any inclination whatever to aid Giant in keeping tabs on how many bottles of olive oil or other sundries I buy per month. And I find it especially irksome that they believe they can sucker me into forking over this info with the lure of saving a couple bucks here and there, not really paying any attention to where it might be going or who might be getting it.

Indeed, I actually had one cashier say recently, "What's wrong - don't you want to save money?"

I fixed her with the blue marbles and said, "I don't feel like it today, thanks."

Posted by Robert at 02:01 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Artistic Criticism Criticism


The Royal Gallery's exhibition Citizens and Kings: Portraits in the Age of Revolution, 1760-1830, looks quite interesting. However, I was bugged a bit by something Richard Dorment says in an otherwise informative critique of Gibert Stuart's portrait of George Washington above. Dorment nicely contrasts this portrait with Sir Joshua Reynolds' portrait of King George III to demonstrate the gradual shift from the concept of Divine Rule to that of Rule of Law. However, he then says:

Stuart's iconic portrait looks forward to Jacques Louis David's famous 1812 image of another commoner-turned-ruler, Napoleon.

This statement bugs me because say what you like about Old George, he was no commoner and he would have been mortified to be taken as one. Washington considered himself a Virginia Gentleman, thank you very much, complete with large estate and bona fide coat of arms (on which the design of the Dee Cee flag is based, in case you didn't know).

The American Revolution had little or nothing to do with the kind of social upheaval that eventually produced the likes of Napoleon in France. (Interestingly, the split between Loyalist and Rebel sympathies cut right down the middle of the social pyramid.) Instead, it had everything to do with Northern entrepreneurs and Southern landed gentry banning together to throw off the Imperial yoke so that they could go about their business profitably.

The injection of populist commentary like Dorment's, however much just in passing, clouds that distinction. However, it's a distinction that needs to be preserved, as I feel it to be critical to understanding why the American Revolution ended with the birth of a new, vibrant nation while the French Revolution passed through a hidious period of carnage and bloodshed, leading on to tyranny.

Posted by Robert at 11:42 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Classical Posting


This is cool - the sceptre of the Roman Emperor Maxentius, who fell fighting Constantine at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge outside Rome in 312 A.D., the final battle of a long civil war between the two for control of the Western Empire. The sceptre apparently was found buried at the base of the Palentine Hill along with some standards and other sacred mementi, possibly preserved there by Maxentius' supporters in order to avoid its falling into enemy hands. It is the only extant example of a Roman Emperor's sceptre.

Posted by Robert at 11:10 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Literary Posting

Today is the anniversary of the birth of John Steinbeck, born this day in 1902 in Salinas, California.

Steinbeck shares the honor of being one of two authors (the other being Henry David Thoreau) to provoke open literary rebellion in a young Robbo the LB. I cannot remember now whether it was my sophomore or junior year of high school, but in any event we kiddies were subjected to what I can only call a deluge of Steinbeck. First it was The Red Pony, then The Pearl. Meh. Then it was Of Mice and Men, which I still think his best work. (And wasn't the Bugs Bunny/Abominable Snowman bit the cruelest of spoofs?) Next came The Grapes of Wrath, which I consider the literary equivalent of repeatedly getting whacked in the head with a dust-covered hammer. (Okay, John, okay! We get it, fer chrissakes!) Finally, with nary a break, it was announced that we would be reading Travels With Charley.

That's when I snapped. After class, I went up to the teacher's desk and quietly announced that a) I didn't like Steinbeck, b) I had already read enough of Steinbeck's "gritty" mooing about da plight of da proletariat to last a lifetime and c) I was not going to read any more Steinbeck. The teacher replied calmly that she was sorry I felt that way. She couldn't force me to read the book, but of course I'd still be responsible for taking the test that would follow on.

I failed the test. However, I preserved my sanity.

Fair trade, in the long run.

Posted by Robert at 10:55 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

This Man Needs A Plane Ticket To The Bahamas, STAT!

I think winter has finally got to Lileks because he's google-stalking kids who gave testimonials in early 60's comic book ads today.

Please, James, step away from the keyboard. We're gonna take you to a nice, sunny place. Really, just step away......

Posted by Robert at 09:15 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Suicide Bomber Tries To Take Out "Big Time"

...but fails miserably.

A suicide bomber attacked the entrance to the main U.S. military base in Afghanistan Tuesday during a visit by Vice President Dick Cheney, killing at least 14 people and wounding a dozen more. The Taliban claimed responsibility and said Cheney was the target.

Cheney's spokeswoman said he was fine, and the vice president later met with President Hamid Karzai in the capital, Kabul, before leaving the country.

The VP reassured Karzai that he was not intimidated by the attack.

"I eat pieces of sh*t like him for breakfast", Cheney said. To which Karzai replied, "You eat pieces of sh*t for breakfast?"

Sorry, Robbo, but since the "Spanglish" post, I have Adam Sandler movies on the brain.

Posted by Gary at 08:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 26, 2007

Hoist By His Own Kilowattage

From Drudge:

The Tennessee Center for Policy Research, an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan research organization committed to achieving a freer, more prosperous Tennessee through free market policy solutions, issued a press release late Monday:

Last night, Al Gore’s global-warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, collected an Oscar for best documentary feature, but the Tennessee Center for Policy Research has found that Gore deserves a gold statue for hypocrisy.

Gore’s mansion, located in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville, consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the Nashville Electric Service (NES).

In his documentary, the former Vice President calls on Americans to conserve energy by reducing electricity consumption at home.

The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh—more than 20 times the national average.

Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh—guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore’s average monthly electric bill topped $1,359.

Since the release of An Inconvenient Truth, Gore’s energy consumption has increased from an average of 16,200 kWh per month in 2005, to 18,400 kWh per month in 2006.

Gore’s extravagant energy use does not stop at his electric bill. Natural gas bills for Gore’s mansion and guest house averaged $1,080 per month last year.

Insert your own "Let them read by moonlight" joke here.

Yips! from Gary:
The Gore-bot responds:

Al Gore responded to charges that his house consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, with the new Oscar winner saying he has taken many steps to reduce the carbon footprint in his home.
"Many steps" which do not, however, include getting a smaller house.

But he was "super serial" about it.

And Capt. Ed isn't buying the spin from Lefty blogs outlining his "many steps":

First, the solar panels and the compact fluorescent light bulbs will certainly make a difference -- but the TCPR report looks at his electricity bill, which still indicates (a) a high level of usage, and (b) an increase since the movie's release. Solar panels generate electricity at the location, which should then decrease the amount of power he's buying from the utility. If it's still going up, there seems to be a serious management problem somewhere.

Second, as I mentioned above, purchasing offsets only means that Gore doesn't want to make the same kind of sacrifices that he's asking other families to make. He's using a modern form of indulgences in order to avoid doing the penance that global-warming activism demands of others. It means that the very rich can continue to suck up energy and raise the price and the demand for electricity and natural gas, while families struggle with their energy costs and face increasing government regulation and taxation. It's a regressive plan that Gore's supporters would decry if the same kind of scheme were applied to a national sales tax, for instance.

And basically, it doesn't address the issue of hypocrisy. If Gore and his family continue to increase their consumption of commercial energy with all of the resources they have at hand, then they have no business lecturing the rest of us on conservation and down-scaling our own use.

Posted by Robert at 05:33 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

That's My Church!


The latest Anglican Crisis Roundup is posted by the CaNN Webelf. I link it here primarily because I've noticed a number of my own parish have started to drop in on a regular basis, ever since I was outed last month. (Hi, guys!)

One of the items under discussion today is a set of remarks made by Her High Priestessness last Friday to the Episcopal Church Center regarding the ECUSA's response to the Primates' communique. This Center is the main HQ of the ECUSA, the home of the PB's office and its various ministries and support staff. Because it is located at 815 Second Avenue in New Yawk City, it has become known as "the 815."

I have read of the 815 making its mark here and there, providing, for instance, additional legal guns to help the Diocese of Virginia in its campaign to smoke out the local secessionists. But it's always struck me as a shadowy, rayther mysterious if not downright sinister force. Perhaps because of this, I've always imagined the members of the 815 as looking something like this:

Hands of Blue.jpg
"You spoke with Bishop Minns?"

I just hope that if they ever decide to squash me, they don't bring along that sonic disruptor torture thingy.

Two by two. Hands of blue. And the PB, too.

Posted by Robert at 05:16 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Sunday Night Non-Oscar Observation

Since I had absolutely no interest whatever in the Oscars last night and it turned out that Rome was a rerun, I clicked a couple channels over on the HBO continuum and watched Serenity.

I think that I've established my Firefly creds with our regular readers by now. Nonetheless, I'll probably still go to the hot place for saying this: I like Serenity just a little bit less each time I see it.

With the possible exception of Mr. Universe and his erector-set bride, who I just think were dumb characters, I understand that everything else in the film which grates on me - the excessive anger and cheerlessness, the Momentous Plot and so on - is a direct (and perhaps necessary) function of bringing the Firefly 'verse to the big screen. But I still don't like it very much. And as I say, those irritants become more bothersome to me over time rather than less so.

Confess - You know what I mean! Confess, I say!

Posted by Robert at 03:39 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Up A Creek Without A Lawyer

Today is the anniversary of the Buffalo Creek Flood of 1972, in which a dam owned by the Pittsston Coal Company in Logan County, West Virginia burst, sending a wall of water downstream that killed 125 people and wiped out a mining town.

I remember that as part of law school orientation we were compelled to read a book called The Buffalo Creek Disaster, written by the lawyer who represented the victims and their families in going after Pittston. I'm not sure whether this exercise was meant to instill in us newbie 1-L's a sense of rah-rah public spiritedness (plucky Little Guy vs. Snidely Whiplash) or else to expose us to the ins and outs of front-line legal practice (all the cases settled for a modest wodge of dosh). I'm afraid all it really instilled in me was a fear that it would turn up on some final exam somewhere.

I have to admit that although I'm a lawyer and I love to read, I hate reading lawyer books, whether they be memoirs by people like Dershowitz or David Bois, or fiction by people like Grisham or Turow. People keep giving them to me, but they all wind up on the "not gonna bother" shelf. The only exception to my bar on books-about-lawyers-or-the-law is, of course, the great John Mortimer. (And yes, I hate movies and tee vee shows about lawyers, too.)

Posted by Robert at 02:01 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack



Posted by Steve-O at 01:51 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Music To My Misanthropic Soul

French Taunter.jpg

The Llamas: Numero Une google hit out of over two mil for "Go and boil your bottoms."

And I can even do the accent!

Now go away or I will taunt you a second time-ah.

Posted by Robert at 11:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Musickal Birthday Posting (TM)


Happy Birthday, Emma Kirkby, OBE, born this day in 1949.

Who, you may ask? Kirkby is a professional singer who specializes in Renaissance and Baroque music. I don't generally go out of my way to mark particular performers, but I happen to think that Kirkby has the single most beautiful soprano voice on the planet.

Go and buy this CD of Kirkby and Evelyn Tubb singing solos and duets by Claudio Monteverdi, accompanied by Anthony Rooley and the Consort of Musicke. Half of the pieces are secular, half spiritual. When you hear their rendition of "O bone Jesu, O piissime Jesu," SV 313, you will begin to have some notion of how the seraphim and cherubim sing. They're that good.

Posted by Robert at 10:26 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Your Morning Cup O' Joe-Mentum

Lieberman writing in the WSJ today:

We are at a critical moment in Iraq--at the beginning of a key battle, in the midst of a war that is irretrievably bound up in an even bigger, global struggle against the totalitarian ideology of radical Islamism. However tired, however frustrated, however angry we may feel, we must remember that our forces in Iraq carry America's cause--the cause of freedom--which we abandon at our peril.

Read the rest.

Yips! from Gary:
Note this line toward the end: "I appeal to my colleagues in Congress to step back and think carefully about what to do next." Could this be written notice to the donks - screw with our military and I officially go GOP? Will they care? Will they call his bluff.

Get the popcorn.

Posted by Robert at 09:41 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Why watch the Oscars?

When you can get the money shot on the tube next morning?

Question: is it just me, or is Nicholson preparing for a very special episode of The Shield as Detective Vic Mackey's dad?

jack nicholson as vic mackey sr on the shield.jpg

Posted by Steve-O at 08:39 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Creative sentencing ideas

What if the jury convicts Scooter Libby? One of Tom Macguire's commentators has this to say:

If [Sandy] Berger doesn't do time for his acts, then certainly, if Libby is convicted, his punishment should maybe be getting to kick Berger in the ass for 100 hours, or something to that effect.

Let's call that "community service".

To me, the interesting thing about Tom Macguire's excellent Just One Minute blog is as an examplar of a form of blog that will become all important in years to come: the legal case-specific blog. Just like KC Johnson's outstanding Durham in Wonderland blog all over the Duke/Nifong prosecutorial lynching case, the speciality blog is able to follow the case in depth as it develops outside of the story frame of the MSM newsrooms. The net result is an attention to detail that borders on the obsessive that translates into a superior level of coverage the MSM cannot even visualize.

Yips! from Robbo: Of course, that doesn't mean you should stop reading shallow, frivolous and sometimes apocryphal rantings like, say, ours.....

Posted by Steve-O at 08:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 25, 2007

It's S'now Good

An unexpected three or four inches of fat, wet, heavy flakes today, just the kind of fall that makes certain young ladies think it would be hi-larious to try and bean ol' Dad with a snowball barrage as he tries to clear off the driveway.

Of course, grasshoppers, one must learn the folly of attacking at close range a man holding a large shovel full of snow.......

Posted by Robert at 07:01 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Happy Birthday, Téa Leoni!

Tea Leone23.jpg

Born this day in 1966.

Mmm, mmmm, mmmm. Téa is one of those actresses for whom I'm perfectly willing to sit through an awful movie just to see. (Well, except Spanglish, of course. One has to draw the line somewhere.)

UPDATE: No doubt you're asking, "Tom, what's wrong with Spanglish? Two words: Adam Sandler. Can't bear him. Not even for Téa.

Yips! from Gary:
Actually, I can think of a much better reason as to why "Spanglish" isn't the best film for appreciation of Téa:

paz vega.jpg

Next to Paz Vega, she's chopped liver. Especially in that crying scene where here nose gets all red and runny.

And yes, gentlemen, a Google image search with "safesearch" turned off will net you a whole lot more...

Yips! back from Robbo: You want to go with the safety protocols dropped, my friend?


With her hair done up, there's something like 6'5" of Tea, most of it leg. She'll vobiscum your Paz.

Posted by Robert at 01:13 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Post-tenure protocols

It should come as no surprise that NASA has a procedure to deal with astronauts who lose it in space. What's a bit surprising is the methodology employed:

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AP) -- What would happen if an astronaut became mentally unstable in space and, say, destroyed the ship's oxygen system or tried to open the hatch and kill everyone aboard?

That was the question after the apparent breakdown of Lisa Nowak, arrested this month on charges she tried to kidnap and kill a woman she regarded as her rival for another astronaut's affections.

It turns out NASA has detailed, written procedures for dealing with a suicidal or psychotic astronaut in space. The documents, obtained this week by The Associated Press, say the astronaut's crewmates should bind his wrists and ankles with duct tape, tie him down with a bungee cord and inject him with tranquilizers if necessary.

Oddly enough, this is the same protocol the department has adopted for dealing with unruly faculty since I became chair, with the addition of an extra bonus injection of 300 cc's of Tang. Surprisingly, we've only had to do the procedure twice.

Posted by Steve-O at 12:37 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 24, 2007

I could get into this "one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter" crap

Insurgents/terrorists nail a chopper in Iran.

Posted by Steve-O at 04:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

That's My Church!


The CaNN Webelf has the latest round-up of post-Tanzania reactions. Click n' scroll, because they can cover the bases ever so much better than I can.

Of particular interest in this batch, ECUSA House of Deputies president Bonnie Anderson issued a hissy-fit of a statement yesterday about the Primates' communique to the EC's House o' Bishops. If you want the full soup-to-nuts attitude of the Palie left wing in 10 short paragraphs, this is the place to go.

In response, Father Dan of Confessions of a Carioca gently but thoroughly fisks her. A sample:

[Anderson:] Our baptismal promise to seek and serve Christ in all people must be very carefully considered when we are being asked as Episcopalians to exclude some of our members from answering the Holy Spirit’s call to use their God-given gifts to lead faithful lives of ministry.

This statement makes all sorts of suppositions that are neither self-evident nor universally shared. They are, in fact, contested, and they are contested in good faith. The attempt to exploit our baptismal vows to shame Episcopalians who share theological and moral convictions with not only a majority of the world's Anglicans but the vast majority of the world's Christians is itself shameful. We (numbering myself with the majorities I just identified) would answer that we are not endorsing the exclusion of any who are called by God to the episcopate, but that we operate from a premise that God does not call to leadership positions in the church those who are involved in relationships that by their nature inherently fall short of God's own moral vision--a vision of which we have no proprietary knowledge, but which is revealed by God for all to see. Rather than subverting our promise to "seek and serve Christ in all people," then, we are being true to our promise to remain faithful to "the apostles' teaching and fellowship."

Our promise to strive for justice and peace and respect the dignity of all people binds us together.

I would respectfully disagree. It is our being "in Christ" (per St Paul) that binds us together.

The Episcopal Church has declared repeatedly that our understanding of the Baptismal Covenant requires that we treat all persons equally regardless of their race, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, disabilities, age, color, ethnic origin, or national origin.

This begs the question. To comply with the Primates' request would not cause the violation of any of the non-discrimination canons. The Primates are not asking the HOB to withhold consecration of episcopal candidates who are merely of a homosexual orient. They are speaking of anyone who is living in an intimate relationship outside of marriage as the Communion understands marriage (cf. Lambeth I.10).

Go read the rest. The PHOD seems to be pretty bent at the idea of the Communion daring to dictate the spiritual beliefs of one of its member provinces instead of "really listening" to that province. I don't seem to recollect a similar statement issued in response to the ECUSA and the Diocese of Virginia releasing their legal hounds against the local secessionist parishes. Funny how that works out.

Posted by Robert at 03:50 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Poolside Observation

As has been my wont the past few weeks, I spent this morning over at the local rec center watching the eldest Llama-ette at her swim lesson. I don't know if this is medically possible, but I think I'm developing an addiction to huffing chlorine fumes.

All of the gels have done quite well. Indeed, the youngest may have competitive swimming in her future, as she keeps getting bumped up to higher skill levels because of her uncommon size and strength. Nothing wrong with a UVA swimming scholarship, I should think. On the other hand, I have a vision that this level of participation would involve an awful lot of bleary-eyed ol' Dad having to stagger off to the pool at five ack emma.

I never really took to swimming as a sport myself. To me, a pool is just an oversized tub - something in which to lounge and loaf, drift and bob, not something in which to exert oneself.

Posted by Robert at 03:08 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Three Cheers for Ol' Virginny!


I dunno how it is for those of you elsewhere, but I have always had singularly good experiences dealing with the guv'mint of my great Commonwealth.

Take taxes, for instance. I couldn't have mailed our returns out more than about two weeks ago, yet the refund check showed up in the mail today. Spring landscaping project, here we come! (By comparison, it'll be a month at least before we can expect to hear from Uncle.)

Indeed, one year I got a nice note from Richmond pointing out that had I prepared the return differently (married filing jointly or married filing separately, I can't remember which), I'd have actually saved a bit more money. They'd gone ahead and done it for me and added the extra to the enclosed check.

It's the little things like that which can make all the difference.

And, of course, the fact that we're the only member of the Union with a corpse on our flag.

Posted by Robert at 02:57 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Lenten observations

Kelly at Kelly's Green is going to knit her way through Lent, while Professor Chaos is giving up the blogging.

Me? As per usual, I'm giving up the crack, preparing for class in a diligent manner, and beating the hookers to a pulp. And every time I order a drink, I'll say a little prayer for world peace.

Posted by Steve-O at 09:44 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


The Slow Bleed strategy shot down by conservative Democrats in the House.

It's as if the mojo of Charlie Stenholm has left his body, assumed corporeal form, and is kicking ass Chuck Norris style on the Left side of the aisle.

Posted by Steve-O at 09:37 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 23, 2007

"It's Like These Four Guys On Horses. They Say They're From The 'Alpaca Lips," or Something..."

Great Mullings today in which Rich Galen notes the ominously convergent stories of Britney Spears' meltdown, Anna Nicole Smith's demise and an asteroid forcast to take out an England-sized chunk of Planet Earth in 2036.

What do these events have in common? Why the U.N.'s utter inability to stop any of them, of course.

And speaking of such things, if you want to practice up on your own astroid-stopping skills, scoot on over to Michele's. You'll be glad you did. So will we all.

Posted by Robert at 05:23 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

This is cool

The beaver returns to Gotham:

NEW YORK (AP) - Beavers grace New York City's official seal. But the industrious rodents haven't been spotted here for as many as 200 years _ until this week.

Biologists videotaped a beaver swimming up the Bronx River on Wednesday. Its twig-and-mud lodge had been spotted earlier on the river bank, but the tape confirmed the presence of the animal.

"It had to happen because beaver populations are expanding, and their habitats are shrinking," said Dietland Muller-Schwarze, a beaver expert at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. "We're probably going to see more of them."

Beavers gnawed out a prominent place in the city's early days as a European settlement, attracting fur traders to a nascent Manhattan. The animal appears in the city seal to symbolize a Dutch trading company that factored in the city's colonial beginnings, according to the city's Web site.

But amid heavy trapping, beavers disappeared from the city in the early 1800s, according to the city Department of Parks & Recreation.

That's got to be one tough beaver.

Yips! from Robbo:

Posted by Steve-O at 03:07 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Cavemen On Ice

A sharp freeze could have dealt the killer blow that finished off our evolutionary cousins the Neanderthals, according to a new study.

The ancient humans are thought to have died out in most parts of Europe by about 35,000 years ago.

And now new data from their last known refuge in southern Iberia indicates the final population was probably beaten by a cold spell some 24,000 years ago.

The research is reported by experts from the Gibraltar Museum and Spain.

They say a climate downturn may have caused a drought, placing pressure on the last surviving Neanderthals by reducing their supplies of fresh water and killing off the animals they hunted.

Bet poor ol' Og and Grog would have thought 'global warming' a pretty good thing.

Yips! to Michael Blowhard.


"A Prius hybrid? Are you freakin' nuts?"

Posted by Robert at 01:31 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Oh my

The correct answer on the mud-wrestling question is "B. Susan Estrich."

Yips! from Robbo: Actually, the correct answer is Mary Katherine Ham. Mmmm....Ham......mmmmmmm......

Posted by Steve-O at 01:19 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

That's My Church!


The Arch-Bish of Canterbury on the State of the Communion and the ECUSA's place in it:

The requests to the American Church for further clarification and a moratorium on certain actions while the covenant process is going forward are essentially requests to show that their desire to stay with the Communion is strong enough to cope with a halt for the sake of continuing to move and work together. The suggestion of a structure in America to care for the minority tries to remove any need for external intervention.

Whether it can all come together remains to be seen. But the leaders of the Communion thought it worth trying - not because enforced unanimity matters more than anything, but because the relations and common work of the Communion, especially in the developing world, matter massively. And also because the idea that there might be a worldwide Christian Church that could balance unity and consent seems worth holding on to, for the sake of the whole Christian family and even for the sake of human society itself.

I think that those who gathered in Tanzania believed that their vocation was to look for a way of embodying this balance. Losing that possibility is not a small matter. Working for it (when I think back to the painful intensity of some of our discussions) is not looking for an easy option.

Emphasis added. A friend of mine from church emailed wondering why this alternative oversight proposal isn't getting more attention. This friend is of the opinion that we are definitely on our way toward a split, with the ECUSA going off on the liberal track and a rump conservative body, essentially an American Anglican Church forming as an alternative. As I believe I was saying as long ago as last summer, this will force every single parish (and every single parishioner) to decide which path to take, a choice the vast majority of us have been able to put off hitherto.

I'd also note something else Dr. Williams says:

To digress for just a moment: one of the hardest things in all this has been to keep insisting on the absolute moral imperative of combating bigotry and violence against gay people, and the need to secure appropriate civic and legal protection for couples who have chosen to share their lives. These are different matters from whether the Church has the freedom to bless same-sex unions. A negative or agnostic answer to this latter question is frequently heard as a negative attitude to the imperatives of care and respect - and sometimes that perception is sadly accurate, judging from the postbag that arrives here. Yet they are different, and quite a lot of Christians know it and try to act accordingly.

Hear, hear. I get very tired of the assumption that some of my more liberal friends make that just because I am opposed to same-sex marriages and the election of Bishop Robinson, I also think gays ought to be tied to fence-posts and beaten to death, which is of course complete rot. As a matter of fact, I don't even have any particular problem with the concept of civil unions. But as the Arch-Bish points out, these are very different matters from the debate going on within the Church.

FRIDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Oh, what the hell.....

Posted by Robert at 10:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Girls! Girls! Girls!

As the father of three daughters, my eye naturally strayed to Mona Charen's column today on the increasing sexualization of children and the apparent dichotome in liberal and conservative attitudes toward how to deal with it:

It’s interesting that this subject, the sexualization of children, is condemned by both the Left and Right. But not surprisingly, we blame different agents. Liberal parents who detest the tart culture tend to blame business. The Post quotes a writer who blames the deregulation of children’s television in the mid-1980s. Additionally, liberals point to clothes manufacturers, music purveyors, and teen-magazine publishers. The APA seems to think the answer is more feminism: “Girls and girls’ groups can also work toward change. Alternative media such as ‘zines’ . . . ‘blogs’ . . . and feminist magazines, books, and Web sites encourage girls to become activists who speak out and develop their own alternatives. Girl empowerment groups also support girls in a variety of ways and provide important counterexamples to sexualization.”

Well good luck with that, but perhaps a more traditional approach would work better. Fathers and mothers, protect your girls’ innocence. Take the TV out of their rooms. Monitor what they watch. Don’t purchase the racy clothes or music or movies. And try a dose of what Bill Bennett and Joe Lieberman attempted to do more than a decade ago — shame the purveyors of smut. Here we come to the conservative perspective. Popular culture, in all its crudeness, is the output of liberals. It is liberalism that for decades has rejected any protest as “censorship” or “McCarthyism.”

It's needless for me to tell you in which direction the child-rearing policies of Orgle Manor lie. (Can I let you in on a little secret? All the stuff about limiting tee vee time, regulating clothes and the rest? It's really not all that difficult.) But I think there's another technique that even Mona overlooks and that is teaching by example. Mom and Dad are the two most important role models the young'uns are going to have during their formative years. If you're a parent and you're still trying to act like a teenager (as so many Baby-Boomer and Gen-X types seem to do), you can bet your next Botox injection, gangsta rap CD or alimony check that your child is going to pick up on that and internalize it. If, on the other hand, you take the responsibility to be sober, mature and civilized, it is far easier to deal with the outside influences that they're bound to encounter with a curt, "That's all very well for so-and-so, but We (or alternatively, Nice People) don't do that sort of thing."

No "Girl Empowerment Groups" required.

Posted by Robert at 09:50 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Random Commuter Observations

Mix a howling wind, street grit and contact lenses and Robbo trudges in looking as if he just heard his dog had died. Yee-ouch!!

Posted by Robert at 09:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

That Must Have Been Some Kiss

Never mind French Kissing, check out what can happen with the Romanian technique:

A Romanian woman needed medical help after she swallowed her lover's false teeth during a moment of passion.

The 38-year-old woman, from Galati, went to hospital with stomach pains claiming she had swallowed a foreign object but without saying what it was.

Doctors were surprised when the x-ray showed false teeth in her stomach.

Eventually she admitted she gulped down the denture while experimenting a 'special type of passionate kiss' with her boyfriend.

After spending two days in hospital, the foreign object left the woman's body the natural way.

Ain't that a bite in the ass?

Posted by Gary at 08:53 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The end of the world as I know it

My wife---The Dear One--is now sending me YouTubes. Next, it's going to be my Mom.

A Mockumentary about the cultural divide between knitters and crocheters. She was on the floor laughing...

Best line: "I do podcasts on my blog for people who are crocheters who have been turned out of knitting families."

Posted by Steve-O at 07:46 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 22, 2007

Gratuitous Buck Blogging

This is a continuation of a series of posts about the old TV show “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century” that started here. Last time we visited the “Vegas In Space”, this time things take a more ominous turn in:

Ep. 1.6 & 1.7 “The Plot To Kill A City (Parts 1 & 2)” (aired 10/11/79 & 10/18/79):

This is one of my all-time favorites from the series. Unlike the pilot movie and “Planet of the Slave Girls”, this two-hour story was originally shown in two separate parts. It focuses on an assassination group known as the Legion of Death. The group is plotting the destruction of New Chicago, which is where Buck and company is based and it also happens to be Earth’s capital city. Interestingly enough, I only noticed two other cities mentioned in the series – New Phoenix and City on the Sea. The latter is the modern version of New Orleans. Obviously they couldn’t have a New New Orleans so they renamed it with reference to the Mississippi delta. Why New Phoenix though? I always thought that one to be a little obscure.

Anywho, Glen Larson reached back into the world of comic book TV and cast the late Frank Gorshin as Kellogg, the head of the Legion of Death. Remember the Riddler from the old Batman TV show? There you go.

"Riddle me this, Captain Rogers..."

Actually, I have a personal story about Frank Gorshin. Back in the days of my carefree youth – say around the late 80’s – I took my then girlfriend out to dinner in Westport, CT and that particular night I looked over at the next table. And who should be sitting there but Frank Gorshin! The girlfriend couldn’t understand why I thought seeing the guy who played the Riddler was such a big deal. Sigh.

Nancy DeCarl as Sherese

Rounding out the Legion of Death are Quince (played by beefy character actor John Quade) who has telekinetic powers and Sherese, a fetching blonde played by an actress named Nancy DeCarl. She’s tough as nails, though, and spends most of her time busting Buck’s balls at every turn. Buck needs to infiltrate this group and assumes the identity of a man named Rafael Argus who is interested in joining. He fools the gang at first but the Sherese is always suspicious.

Also in the guest cast is a very vivacious Markie Post (of Night Court fame) who plays Joella Cameron, a gal who recognizes that Buck is not the real Argus but plays along to protect his cover. The outfit she wears forms her breastesses into the shape of torpedos (maybe this is where Madonna got the inspiration).

Markie Post joella.jpg
"Oh yes, they're real. And they're spectacular."

Naturally, Buck is eventually discovered as an imposter but manages to thwart the plot with the help of Kellogg’s body guard, Varek. It seems Varek was the victim of radiation poisoning and he just doesn’t have the heart to see Kellogg succeed in creating an anti-matter explosion on Earth. What a guy.

One of the reasons I like this set of episodes is that the tone is darker than the previous plots. In fact, it may be one of the few where we get a real sense of danger from Buck whose cover is always at risk of being blown. The plot put forth by the Legion of Death is the kind of thing we might see Islamic terrorists plotting in our own century. The writing is a little tighter and we’re drawn in enough to be at the edge of our seat to see what happens next. More episodes like this would probably have helped the ratings.

Despite the fact that (as is the case in many of the early episodes) Wilma’s role is minimal, I’d recommend this one as: Must See.

Next up: It’s old-timer’s day in “Return of the Fighting 69th”.

Posted by Gary at 08:55 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Meredith Grey Must Die

Though I'm absolutely convinced it won't happen, the lead character on "Grey's Anatomy" is facing the prospect of dying in tonight's episode. As of now she is only (to quote Billy Crystal, "mostly dead").

(Full disclosure: I watch this show for the Mrs., not by personal preference)

How it is that the show's writers have taken a character who is the single narrative voice among an ensemble cast and made her so unlikable is beyond me. The fact is that Meredith has become the least interesting and most annoying character on the show. If, by some chance, she were not to survive from a bout with hypothermia (how exactly she can manage to spend forty-five minutes submerged in the freezing Pugeot Puget Sound and still be even remotely alive is beyond implausible) I won't shed a tear.

Meredith Grey.jpg

I don't have a problem with the actress, Ellen Pompeo, at all. In fact, I thought she was downright adorable in "Old School". But if I don't have to listen to her whining for the rest of the series that'll be just fine with me.

Yes, the show's title is "Grey's Anatomy", but at this point it might as well be "McBeal's Anatomy"


Posted by Gary at 03:39 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

"Be A Clown, Be A Clown..."

"...all the world, loves a clown!"

OK, maybe not all the world: "Two Clowns Shot Dead At Circus"

Posted by Gary at 11:52 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Reason #1,426 Why I Love The NY Post...

big chill ny post.jpg

...their irreverent sense of humor. Heh.

Posted by Gary at 11:28 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

"The Sun Shines Down From Meridian Height" ***

Within the past day or two, the sun has crept up enough in the southern sky to clear part of the building across the street from me in mid-morning and beam directly onto my chair.

I know that in a few months I'll be blasting and damning it and its heat, but for the moment, the sensation of winter getting ready to wind down and spring beginning to stir is really quite delightful.

LUNCHTIME UPDATE: Of course, now it's raining. And we're forcast to get winds gusting up to 50 mph later on today. Yup, that psychotic season known as spring is on its way.

*** Bonus points for ID-ing the quote. Answer below the fold and no fair peeking.

The first line of a bit of doggeral by Mr. John Keats that Mom likes to quote:

The sun shines down from meridian height,
And illumins the depths of the sea.
Cry out the fishes, begining to sweat,
"Oh, dammit, how hot we shall be!"

Posted by Robert at 10:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The U.N. To The Rescue!

"UN Secretary General Urges Iran To Stop Enriching Uranium"

What do you have to say for yourself now, Mahmoud?

Posted by Gary at 10:26 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Lead, Follow Or Get The Hell Out Of The Way

George Will on the Congressional Donks boxing themselves in on Iraq:

They can spend this year fecklessly and cynically enacting restrictions that do not restrict. Or they can legislate decisive failure of the Iraq operation -- withdrawal -- thereby acquiring conspicuous complicity in a defeat that might be inevitable anyway. A Hobson's choice? No, Nancy Pelosi's and Harry Reid's.

Meanwhile, I love this report. Dick Cheney recently had this to say about the Donk strategy:

"I think if we were to do what Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Murtha are suggesting [i.e., place restrictions on how additional funding of troops can be spent], all we will do is validate the al-Qaida strategy," the vice president told ABC News. "The al-Qaida strategy is to break the will of the American people ... try to persuade us to throw in the towel and come home, and then they win because we quit."

Now personally, I'd file this one under "Legitimate Criticism - Blindingly Obvious Division." So what was Madam Speaker Pelooooosi's response? In a word, "Whaaaaaaa!!!!":

"And you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to call the president and tell him I disapprove of what the vice president said," Pelosi said. "It has no place in our debate." Bush had previously urged her to call him when a member of his administration stepped over the line by questioning Democrats' patriotism, she said.

Insert your own "Daddy, make the bad man stop!" joke here.

Yips! from Gary:
Uh, oh. Big-Time's in trouble now!: Pelosi Calls Bush to Complain of Cheney's Comments on Democrats' Iraq Strategy

Posted by Robert at 09:11 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Random "I Picked A Helluva Day To Quit Drinking" Post

Words fail me....

Words? Hello? Nope, still not there.....

Yips! to Jonah.

Posted by Robert at 08:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 21, 2007

The "A World Without America" video--what would Harvey Manfredjansen say?

Porn for the Left of the Dial set:

Question: shouldn't the ad be in German?

Ask Harvey Manfredjansen (best part of the clip is at 2:30):

Posted by Steve-O at 05:52 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

That's My Church - Lenten Sobriety Edition


Some more post-reaction reaction is beginning to filter in regarding the Anglican Communion's call to the ECUSA to shape up or ship out. CaNN's Webelf Report has a large assortment of linky goodness, but sums things up quite well: "Follow-through is everything."

Meanwhile, however, Dr. Mabuse at the Kraalspace isn't buying it:

So the big accomplishment is that now Mrs. Schori has to carry a message to the HoB. There's no discussion of whether this can effect anything but annoying the bishops; expect to see a complete replay of the ever-green "only General Convention can deal with this" excuse. They seem to think that emitting words and demanding more words in response is a genuine plan of action. A new deadline has been issued: September 30. Everyone's very excited about this, as they were about Tanzania, which was supposed to be the make-or-break event. I expect TEC will come up with some half-assed response that everyone will know is bunk, but it will take a further six months for the Primates to study it, and by that time, they'll be tired again, and willing to give TEC a passing grade just to get rid of them for a few more months.

Well, we shall see. As I ruminate on it, I'm coming more and more to the sense that the Primates have really called themselves out: if this plays the way Dr. Mabuse gloomily foresees, it'll expose the Communion as not much better than the U.N. with mitres.

Posted by Robert at 05:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Would-Be Rescuer Whips Out His Sword

This is great.

Apparently, a guy hears a woman "screaming" in the apartment above him so, thinking a rape was in progress, he grabs a cavalry sword and bursts into the apartment. Problem is, the screams were coming from a porno his neighbor was watching with the volume turned way up.

“Now I feel stupid,” said James Van Iveren, who has been charged in the case. “This really is nothing, nothing but a mistake.”

According to a criminal complaint, the neighbor told police that Van Iveren pounded on the door and kicked it open without warning Feb. 12, damaging the frame and lock.

“Where is she?” Van Iveren demanded, thrusting the sword at the neighbor, the complaint said. “Where is she?”

Fortunately, Van Iveren didn't cause any injury to the neighbor who at the time was likely unarmed.
“I intended to hold it behind my back and knock. But I froze and instead, what happened happened,” he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Contesting his neighbor’s account, Van Iveren said he didn’t look anywhere in the apartment except the front room, and that he never threatened the neighbor with the sword.

“I had the sword extended. But that was all,” he said.

There's no mention in the article as to whether or not the neighbor's sword was extended.

Oh, and it gets better.

Van Iveren, 39, of Oconomowoc, was charged with criminal trespass, criminal damage and disorderly conduct, all while using a dangerous weapon, and is due in court March 5...

...Van Iveren, who lives with his mother in the downstairs apartment, said he did not call police when he heard the noises because he does not have a telephone. He said he barely knew the upstairs tenant.

Police seized Van Iveren’s sword, which he said was a family heirloom.

OK, 39-year-old guy. Lives with his mother. Doesn't own a telephone but he does own a cavalry sword. So he...wait for it...comes to the rescue of a damsel in distress while brandishing said sword.

Do you think maybe he was playing Dungeons & Dragons at the time?

Posted by Gary at 03:51 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Travel-Arrangements Griping

Expedia.com? Get 'em on the phone and it's more like Exglacia.

UPDATE: Twenty minutes later and they're still fumbling around. I coulda walked.

UPDATE DEUX: Oh, and the rock-n-roll hold music coming in one ear and the Bach on the radio (which I can't quite reach) coming in the other ear is making me nausious.

UPDATE TROIS: Forty minutes later, I seem to have crashed their system. Their help desk people are going to have to call me back. Jeez.

UPDATE QUART: Two hours from the time I originally called and I still don't know if I'm on the furshlugginer plane yet.

UPDATE CINQ: Well, as long as we're waiting around for Expedia Exglacia to get back to us, how about taking a quick dekko at what must be one of the worst landings in modern commercial aviation:

Posted by Robert at 01:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Royal Navy Geek Posting (TM)

(Okay, this is a repost from last year, but nobody commented that time. This'll learn ya'.)


Today is the anniversary of the birth of Edward Hawke, first Baron Hawke, in 1705.

Hawke was the admiral in command of the British fleet that won the Battle of Quiberon Bay, November 20, 1759, during the Seven Years' War.

The Battle of Quiberon Bay by Nicholas Pocock, 1812. Image swiped from the National Maritime Museum.

The battle, which the great A. T. Mahan called the Trafalgar of the Seven Years' War, effectively put an end to French naval power, with two important consequences. First, it quashed any threat of a French invasion of Britain, thereby freeing for foreign service British troops who had been stationed at home to guard against such threat. Second, it meant that the French could no longer send critical supplies and reenforcements to their army in North America or its Indian allies, thus pretty much sealing the doom of French Canada.

For you Patrick O'Brian fans out there, Hawkes' victory at Quiberon Bay also was the inspiration for the Royal Navy song "Hearts of Oak":

Come cheer up, my lads, 'tis to glory we steer,
To add something more to this wonderful year,
To honour we call you, not press you like slaves,
For who are so free as the sons of the waves?

Heart of oak are our ships,
Hearts of oak are our men,
We always are ready,
Steady, boys, steady,
We'll fight and we'll conquer again and again.

We ne'er see our foes but we will them to stay,
They never see us but they will use away,
If they run, why we follow, and run them ashore,
And if they won't fight us, we cannot do more.

Heart of oak are our ships,
Hearts of oak are our men,
We always are ready,
Steady, boys, steady,
We'll fight and we'll conquer again and again.

They swear they'll invade us, these terrible foes,
They frighten our women, our children and beaus,
But should their flat bottoms in darkness get o'er,
Still Britons they'll find to receive them on shore.

Heart of oak are our ships,
Hearts of oak are our men,
We always are ready,
Steady, boys, steady,
We'll fight and we'll conquer again and again.

Here is a midi file of the tune, written by William Boyce. The words are by David Garrick, the great 18th Century English actor and theatre impresario, who also coined the theatrical term, "Break a leg!"

Posted by Robert at 12:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Cognitive Dissonance update

From the Christian Science Monitor:

Despite the ongoing costs of US military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, the outlook for the federal budget has grown substantially brighter.

Tax revenues are rising much faster than spending, according to Treasury Department numbers released last week. The recent trend is strong enough that, were it to continue, the budget could move into surplus in barely a year, one economist calculates.

Already, the federal deficit is shrinking toward about half the size that it has averaged since 1970, when analyzed as a percentage of gross domestic product.

The shift reflects a strong economy, with higher incomes and corporate profits generating a bigger flow of tax revenue. In turn, the Treasury's progress could help the economy by buoying investor confidence in the nation's fiscal position.

Anybody know where we can get a good price on a used.......Lockbox? I think we'll be in the market for one real soon.

Posted by Steve-O at 11:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

TV Hits New Low Point

At first I really thought this was a joke.

Heather Mills, estranged 2nd wife of Paul McCartney has been booked for "Dancing With The Stars".

Dancing? She had her left leg amputated after a motorcycle accident in 1993. You'd think this would make participating in a dance competition somewhat tricky? Of course, I'm sure this is why the show's creators got the "brilliant" idea in the first place.

I'd be willing to bet the people who tune in to see something inspirational will be vastly outnumbered by the ones eager to see a train wreck. Sad.

UPDATE (3/12/07):
I said I was willing to bet that people would tune in to see disaster. Actually other people are willing to bet on whether or not her leg flies off during her performance.

I'm not making this up: "Will Heather Mills' leg go flying on 'Stars'?"

A week before Mills’ March 19 debut, Antigua-based gaming site bodog.com opened bets on whether her prosthetic leg would fly off during a dance routine — and made “no” a heavy favorite.

The site added that Mill’s leg “must fall off, not be purposely taken off, during a dance routine for all Yes wagers to be graded a win.”

Pretty sick.

And I'll bet the show's producers are loving every minute of it.

Posted by Gary at 11:06 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Conflict of Interest

Here I got up for early Ash Wednesday services and was trying to be all somber and penitant and self-denying n' stuff when the Maximum Leader has to go and throw this in front of me.

Vade retro, Imperator Maximus!

UPDATE: Speaking of such things, I've decided that for my Lenten reading I'm going to retackle the C.S. Lewis cycle. Lewis has that quality about him that makes me feel like a moronic heathen - I never have to work so hard as when I read his writing, but then again I'm never more rewarded either.

If I have any particularly illuminating insights over the next 40 days, I'll post 'em here.

Posted by Robert at 09:34 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 20, 2007

"I Am Cornholio! I Need T.P. For My Bung Hole!"

There's a toilet paper thief at large in Britain.


She's up to a 10-roll per day habit.

Posted by Gary at 04:58 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

I'm A'Keepin' My SUV!

Are the Greens up in arms about this a'tall?

Airbus has received its first preliminary order from an unidentified customer for a VIP-configured A380 ultra-large airliner.

Details of the arrangement are vague, but Airbus chief operating officer for customers John Leahy told Flight's online news service Air Transport Intelligence that he has a letter of intent to supply a VIP version of the jet. "The problem is that when a VIP customer wants one, he wants it tomorrow," he says. "He doesn't want to have to wait."

Leahy will not say whether, or when, the agreement is likely to be confirmed and has provided no information about the nature or location of the potential customer. Airbus recently referred to the corporate version of the A380 as the "Flying Palace".

Or is it okay for VIP's to purchase one of these monstrosities because European jet emissions are more subtle and nuanced than American ones?

Posted by Robert at 03:55 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Well, Somebody's Got To Do It!

Your Llama Butchers are the No. 1 google hit for neo-Chekovian.


"Had I stayed with Khan, I could have been Admiral by now. Spasibo for nothing, nekulturney Keptin Kirk!"

Posted by Robert at 03:21 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Yer One-Stop Shrove Tuesday Shopping Centre

The Irish Elk has got you covered, with both traditional and extra spicy flavahs.

Just as a piece of trivia, I am informed by highly partisan local sources that Mobile, Alabama was the location of the original Mardi Gras celebration as we think of it in these here United States, and that those bastards in New Orleans stole the idea from them. (My source's words, not mine.) Certainly Mobile still carries on its own party. I happened to be in town on Ash Wednesday last year after what I believe was a record attendance. The place was a mess and the stench quite overpowering.

Me? As I plan to give up all adult beverages for Lent (and no sneaky "Sundays don't count" this year!), I'm trying to decide whether to pull one last cork this evening or not.

UPDATE: Here is a bit on Mobile's claim to have held the first Mardi Gras in 1703. As a Virginny loyalist who knows that the First Thanksgiving actually was held at Berkeley's Hundred in 1619, two whole years before those miserable Puritans at Plymouth got around to overdone turkey, too many adult beverages and dozing off during the 3rd Quarter of the Cowboys/'Skins game, I know exactly how the good citizens of Mobile feel about pinched glory.

Posted by Robert at 03:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

From the Fabulous Chai-Rista

Got to watch out for that Librarian humor...

Posted by Steve-O at 12:00 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

This Man Needs Coffee and Crullers, STAT!

On nights when I can't get my brain to shut down, I tend to have the same dream. In it, I'm usually trying to prevent something terrible from happening to the Llama-ettes. Typically, I reach a point where I think I have awakened from it. However, that's just part of the dream - In reality, I'm still asleep. The second part of the dream consists of discovering the hard way that my bedroom has been booby-trapped, generally with knives but sometimes arrows or large weights as well.

I don't wake up from such nights feeling particularly rested.


Posted by Robert at 10:42 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

That's My Church! - Hammertime Edition


The Primates of the Anglican Communion call out the ECUSA:

The US Episcopal Church has been given seven months to change its ways or face being kicked out of the Anglican Communion. In an unexpectedly hard-hitting set of recommendations, Primates of the Anglican Communion demanded an "unequivocal common covenant" under which dioceses in The Episcopal Church agree not to authorise same-sex blessings. They also demanded that no more gay men or women in active relationships with a person of the same sex be consecrated bishop. The recommendations are so severe in demanding proper repentance and a turning back from The Episcopal Church that even arch-conservative Peter Akinola of Nigeria was prepared to sign up. Bishop Jefferts Schori also signed it, but there will be many in The Episcopal Church who will be angry at what they see as a sell-out of their liberal ideals.

Surfing through what information was available Sunday afternoon, I didn't see anything that would indicate the ECUSA wasn't going to be given a pass by the Primates meeting in Tanzania. Apparently, the hammer stroke fell Sunday night. Here's the communique. In addition to demanding that the ECUSA actually take the Windsor Report seriously, it also has language about the establishment of a Communion-wide Anglican Covenant, the provision of alternative pastoral oversight for Episcopal diocese and parishes unhappy with the current leadership, and a demand that the ECUSA call its legal dogs off seccessionist bodies. The ECUSA has until September 30 to respond appropriately.

Nasty, Brutish & Short has got a good synopsis, together with reaction from both sides.

So will the ECUSA swing back into line? I honestly don't know. The Communion itself doesn't seem to be betting the farm on such an outcome, as it is preparing for multiple possibilities - reform, schism or (what I think likely) some combination thereof.

YIPS from Steve-O: Did someone say.........Hammertime?

I didn't think so.

Yips! back from Robbo: Well, we're probably both going to hell now, but I'd just point out that the Vatican has its own Hammertime tradition as well....

Posted by Robert at 09:54 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Will Reagan get the last laugh?

Two good ones this morning:

The Christian Science Monitor investigates a huge new source of global warming eveeeeeeeeeeeeeel.

Looks like we need to blame God because, after all, only He can make a tree, right?

Second verse, same as the first. Check out this article on cows and global warming (for more than just the obvious fart jokes). Notice that the core of the article is about increasing meat consumption in the third world (linked to rising wealth and general healthiness worldwide), and therefore the adverse impact of increased cattle production, particularly in the production costs associated with ranching. Now go to the beginning of the article about, again, increased meat consumption in the third world: what's the sub-headline? "American meat eaters are responsible for 1.5 more tons of carbon dioxide per person than vegetarians every year."

That's right, it's those damn AmeriKKKan rethugliKhans again.

Because remember: just like the electricity to charge the batteries of all Priuses magically shows up in their sainted owner's garages brought by happy little faeries from the land of green electricty production, the large scale production of soybeans to produce tofu is facilitated by the magical prancing ponies to insure that no excess carbon is created at any point in the process, as the soybeans are raised free range in the land of carbon neutrality and brought on pixie's wings directly to the produce refrigerator at the Whole Foods.

And note that all pixies, magical prancing ponies, and faeries are members of the Service Workers Union (Moral Superiority Division).

Posted by Steve-O at 08:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 19, 2007

Gratuitous Franco-Philia

MelissaTheuriau Hot Topless Photo.jpg

I know what you're thinking.

Is this the place to find luscious semi-nude photos of Melissa Theuriau? Is this where you'll find the Melissa Theuriau shrine of nudity? Or perhaps the Llama Butchers is the headquarters for drool-inducing shots of the hottest news anchor on television today?

Well, we aim to please. But unfortunately, there isn't a lot out there that allows us to post the type of nekkid pictures you're looking for.

This is, however, a site dedicated to the proposition that images of the lovely Melissa Theuriau can be a source of "bonne volonté" between our two nations.

The Marquis de Lafayette may never have actually said "Un jour, le futur de notre alliance peut dépendre de l'appréciation mutuelle d'une femme célibataire." But if he had seen this babe, I'm sure he'd "comprenez".

So, if you got here by searching for pictures showing Melissa Theuriau spread-eagle on a beach or bent over with her rump facing the camera or images of her perfect breasts then I'd say you are one randy bugger. Those photos, as far as I can tell, don't exist however. Sorry.

But every now and again, the Llama Butchers will seek to promote the outstanding beauty of everyone's favorite French news babe by posting photos of her right here. Be sure to check back to see her latest pics.

Posted by Gary at 09:49 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

That's My Church!

I may not have to worry about going back to Rome because it looks like Rome is coming after me:

Radical proposals to reunite Anglicans with the Roman Catholic Church under the leadership of the Pope are to be published this year, The Times has learnt.

The proposals have been agreed by senior bishops of both churches.

In a 42-page statement prepared by an international commission of both churches, Anglicans and Roman Catholics are urged to explore how they might reunite under the Pope.

Heck, sign me up!

Posted by Robert at 03:01 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Home-Improvement Edition

Done, done and done.


All is painted, cleaned, put back, rehung, etc., etc.

Now I can settle down, relax and enjoy this long weekend.

Hey.....wait a minute......

Posted by Robert at 02:58 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Prezdents Day Posting

There are plenty holidays that I think are silly, but this is the one I genuinely dislike. A celebration of Washington's birthday was perfectly fitting and really rayther nice. But "Presidents Day" dilutes the pool to the point of outright absurdity. I mean, it covers not only the giants like Old George and Lincoln, but also unfortunates like Jimmah and Bubba (and Nixon, to satisfy our moonbat readers) as well. Hell, Martin Luther King gets his own birthday. Why not Washington anymore?

I think we need to rename this holiday to narrow the range. Something like "Presidents, But Only The Heavyweights, Day." Or "Presidents, But Not Most of the 19th Century Ones Because Of The Relative Weakness of the Executive Back Then, But Not Most of the Post-FDR Ones Because They Had More Power Than They Could Handle, Day."

Or sumpin'.

UPDATE: Basil is way out ahead of me on this. And Groovy Vic is with me on the barricades.

Posted by Robert at 08:24 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Well, THAT was an interesting career change

I see that Britney Spears's new look is to promote her foray into Russian folk music. The LLamabutchers have the exclusive on her new album:


Not to mention this somewhat odd public service announcement for the American Anthropogical Association:


Of course, one's career as a pop starlet is probably officially over when nerds with photoshop and a bad attitude can without much difficulty Vulcanize you:

bald-britney-hot-vulcan chick.gif

Make it so, Number One!

Posted by Steve-O at 12:04 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

February 18, 2007

Gary the X-Donk, I give you your LLamabutchers Marching Orders

Old blog pal Gary the Ex-Donkey decided to wind down his old blog at the end of the last year, and we naturally seized upon the opportunity to offer Gary regular guest hosting privileges here at the LLamas. So far, it seems to be working out well: Gary's been posting mainly on weekends, which is great as that's when Robbo and I tend to post less frequently. And from the comments so far in the Tasty Bits Mail Sack(TM), the inmates at Danbury Federal Correctional Center who compulsively read the LLamas and email us how much we suck seem to enjoy Gary's wry bon mots a lot better than my regular drivel.

So Gary, now that you're feeling settled in, I'd like to give you a challenge. Son, we are only #4 on google in Australia for all searches dealing with hot French news babe "Melissa Theuriau." Frankly, this is unacceptable, and I expect you to do something about it, preferably yesterday. It is nothing short of an affair of honor to me.

I know you will not let us down.

UPDATE: This, not so much.

Yips! From Gary:
Be sure to check out the latest series entitled "Gratuituous Buck Blogging" to learn about some neat behind the scene info of the TV series "Buck Rogers in the 24th Century" and get the occasional visual treat of Erin Gray in her infamous satin cat suit.

Mega-Yips! from Gary:
We're Number ONE!!

Posted by Steve-O at 11:12 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

"I'll take lesser known Disney movies starring Angela Lansbury for $500, Alex"

"What is 'Bedbugs and Ductape'?"

And why was someone punching us up looking for that?

Posted by Steve-O at 11:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I might have noticed this milesstone, except I was drunk and pissing in the sink

We're number six on google (out of one million, thirty thousand) for:

stereotypes of irish

But hey, at least I moved the dishes first.

Posted by Steve-O at 10:57 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Traffic whoring: the root of all evil?

Believe it or not, we get a fair amount of traffic from the heart of Dar al Islam, mainly looking for nekkid pictures of Yassir Arafat with Melissa Theuriau, and the lowdown info on barfighting lesbian NFL cheerleaders. Why do they come here from the Arabic google website? Is it to understand truly the depths of depravity that we in the West have sunk to? And how exactly, depraved and lax as we are, we are kicking their civilization in the teeth like some Jeetered out punk sent up against Jon Cena? Or is it that, deep down, they want to be like us?

As an aid to these fine LLamabutcher readers, I would like to suggest that here at the LLamas you will find no discussions about Paris Hilton's new faux breasticles. Nothing about the legal troubles of the nekkid cadaver of Anna Nicole Lulu Mae Daisy Smith, or the custody issues surrounding her faux chesticles. Nor anything about the new, bald, Britney Spears, nor certainly anything for those confused followers of Lord Osama Voldemort about pictures of Harry Potter's hoo-haa. For all that, and more, you really need to go to AgentBedHead.

Posted by Steve-O at 07:04 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Alexis de Tocqueville Award of the Week

The Arizona state legislature narrowly shoots down a ban on nekkid lady mudflaps.

I think we all know that this deserves only one response:

Posted by Steve-O at 05:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Holy crap!

Time to start taking this global warming thing seriously:

Nation's gin tree in need of a tonic

Juniper, the aromatic bush whose berries gave the world gin, is in trouble. It is dying out so relentlessly on British hillsides that a new study says if action is not taken it could disappear altogether. And the root of the problem is, well, sex.

Junipers were once widespread, and provided berries, wood for fires (it burns with a cedar-like fragrance) and prickly branches that gave farmers a natural "barbed wire". But with diminishing demand (most berries for gin now comes from Tuscany and Eastern Europe) and changing land-management patterns junipers have found it harder to regenerate. In England, the numbers of junipers have nearly halved since the early 1970s and, according to a report by Plantlife, a wild plant conservation charity, the decline continues to a dangerous level. One of the authors, Deborah Long, said: "In England there are very few junipers and those that we have are very old."

That would be bad for any species, but juniper has separate male and female plants. And falling populations of ageing plants do not make for a very fruitful love life. At 85 per cent of juniper sites Plantlife found not a single juniper seedling. Which would not matter were juniper a fast-growing plant, but it is not - unlike its well-known relative, the leylandii.

Plantlife hopes its report will spur peopleto regenerate junipers. Juniper is not just attractive, but harbours about 40 species of insects, and is one of only three native conifers. To lose one of them would be distinctly careless of us.

I guess that means the degenerate alchie neighbor whose favorite line was "Gin doesn't grow on trees now laddie, does it?" was full of it in more ways than one.

Posted by Steve-O at 05:52 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)

Ran off my videotape of Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro last evening. I've finally decided that the reason Don Giovanni just beats it out as the better opera is that the action especially in the last act of Le Nozze gets rayther muddled.

This particular performance is not a'tall bad. My only staging quibble is that it couldn't resist the urge to stick revolutionary overtones into the story (particularly with the peasant choir scenes, but also with Figaro's "Se Voi Ballare" aria). This is wrong. I can't speak for the original play by Beaumarchais, but Mozart, while a liberal, was no radical. The crisis of the piece is caused by Count Almaviva trying to undo the reforms he's established in order to bed Susanna, but from the beginning it's plain that the resolution called for is for him to return to his wife, not to lose his head.

Anyhoo, I throw out two musickal observations here just for the heck of it:

First, Barbarina's opening aria in Act IV is, musically, very close to the second movement of the Piano Concerto No. 18, except that it is in triple time instead of 2/4 (or whatever the piano piece is). I don't know why, but I find this rather delightful.

Second, the ballet danced by the Count and Contessa in Act III is a riff on music from Gluck's ballet Don Juan. I don't know what, if any, significance this has - Gluck was famous for his ballets, so perhaps it was a tribute - but in any event, the reference is unmistakable.

So there you have it. I may run off Cosi fan Tutte tonight.

Posted by Robert at 05:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Buck Blogging

This is a continuing series of posts reviewing the old TV show "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" which began here.

When we last left our hero, he had just once again saved the Earth from a pending attack in “Planet of the Slave Girls (Parts One & Two)”. Now the off-world adventures begin, starting with:

Ep. 1.5 “Vegas In Space” (aired 10/4/79):

It seems our 20th Century protagonist had originally decided to spend his time in a perpetual state of “r & r”. But, just when he thought he was out…they pull him back in. Actually Buck shows an interest in helping out however he can. But in order to be privy to high-level intelligence he would have to officially join the Earth Defense Directorate. So after thinking over the prospect for a few minutes (all the while realizing that it would be an awesome chance to spend a little more quality time with Wilma), he decides “aw, what the heck” and declares that he’s in.

The Directorate is commanded by Dr. Elias Huer (played by Tim O’Connor). It’s never really explained just how much authority Huer has. Since the Computer Council represents the government, I always assumed that the good doctor was pretty much the highest ranking person in charge of the Earth’s defense, its military and whatever intelligence services there are. In other words, Huer is pretty much your 25th Century Donald Rumsfeld.

Except that Huer isn’t necessarily the kind of hard-nosed dude you’d want in charge of protecting the planet. In fact, he’s can at times act like a bit of an old lady in the way he reacts to Buck’s manner and style. Anyway, he never tries to pull rank on Buck when the maverick astronaut decides to make like Jack Bauer and break protocol. So we cut him some slack.

The 25th Century's Most Prominant Metro-Sexual

The beauty of Buck’s situation is that no one knows him. In a world that probably has a data file on everybody, Buck Rogers – a man from the 20th Century – is the perfect undercover guy. So for his first mission, they send him to the gambling city of Sinaloa.

Did you get that name? SIN-aloa. Sin City. It's a lot like Vegas. In fact, you can pretty much say that whatever happens in Sinaloa stays in Sinaloa. Buck is sent to investigate the kidnapping of a girl who works for a major crime boss. She of course is kidnapped by a rival crime boss. What’s a Vegas in space without organized crime?

This episode has such notable guest stars as the original Joker himself, Cesar Romero, and Joseph Wiseman – the guy who played Dr. No in the first James Bond film of the same name. As mentioned in the previous post, Juanin Clay, the back-up actress to play Wilma, got a nice part as Major Marla Landers. She’s a decent lookin’ babe, I must admit. She also displayed a nice amount of feistiness. Had Erin Gray not signed on to the series, Clay would have made an OK match for Buck. But let’s face it, there’s only one Wilma.

Juanin Clay as Deering.jpg
Juanin Clay as Major Marla "I coulda been Wilma" Landers

Buck also meets up with woman named Tangie who’s kind of informally enslaved to the crime boss as an escort for hire. Naturally, Tangie would like Buck to help her get away from Sinaloa, which he does. Interestingly enough, Tangie’s name in mentioned again later in the series as someone Buck is planning on hooking up with while on vacation. So it looks like she’s the first name scribbled in Buck’s little black book of potential interstellar “booty-calls”.

vegas in space.jpg
"Another stack of chips, please. And a drink here for the lady in the disco ball dress."

Anyway, the episode is at best an average one and it’s probably only worth watching to see Juanin Clay’s performance. There’s very little Erin Gray in this one.

Episode Rating: Decent

The next episode is another double-shot – “The Plot To Kill A City (Parts 1 & 2)".

Posted by Gary at 01:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Topmast Posting

I may have mentioned before how deathly afraid of heights I am. So it was with considerable trepidation that I faced painting the stairway today:


Believe it or not, I actually had to spend a couple minutes nerving myself to climb the ladder at first. What finally helped me screw my courage to the sticking-place? The thought of being able to post a pic of the view from up there to illustrate this post:



In case you're wondering, I managed to stand it long enough to get at the corners with a brush. I'll be able to finish up the rest with a roller on a pole.

Posted by Robert at 12:57 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

That's My Church!


Since the cat has been more or less let out of the bag about my Episco-blogging at my Church, I've had a number of people come up and give me the equivalent of a pat on the back and a "Good job!"

Nice to know that I'm not just a singleton loose cannon.

UPDATE: Speaking of things, it's been a tradition at my church to designate the Sunday before Lent as "Jazz Sunday." We blow a sizable chunk of our music budget to bring in a trumpet, trombone, bass and drums, and the majority of the music for the services is, well, jazz/spiritual in nature. Eh. It's really not my thing, but I just tell myself that I'm starting my Lenten penance a wee bit early by sitting through it silently. (And for once this is something our Catholic friends can't throw stones about. I've been to Mass with the LMC and I know what Rome can serve up by way of liturgical tunes!)

Anyhoo, it turned out that the Offeratory hymn was a Salve, Regina lifted, according to the program, out of the movie Sister Act and belted with great gusto by the assistant rector, backed up by the choir. I happened to be head usher today, aided and abetted by the eldest Llama-ette. After we had collected the offerings, we stood patiently at the back until the singing was over. When the choir hit the high note and came to an end, the congregation burst into applause.

Suddenly, I heard an angry whisper coming from my side. "Daddy! I thought people weren't supposed to clap at Church!"

Heh. That's my girl!

Posted by Robert at 12:56 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 17, 2007

This Is News?

Antony Cleopatra.bmp

Gasp! Somebody has figured out that Antony and Cleopatra were no Burton and Taylor!

"The relationship between Mark Antony and Cleopatra has long been romanticized by writers, artists and film-makers.

"Shakespeare wrote his tragedy Antony and Cleopatra in 1608, while the Orientalist artists of the 19th century and the modern Hollywood depictions, such as that of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in the 1963 film, have added to the idea that Cleopatra was a great beauty.

"Recent research would seem to disagree with this portrayal, however."

The university's director of archaeological museums, Lindsay Allason-Jones, said: "The image on the coin is far from being that of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

"Roman writers tell us that Cleopatra was intelligent and charismatic, and that she had a seductive voice but, tellingly, they do not mention her beauty.

"The image of Cleopatra as a beautiful seductress is a more recent image."

Recent research? It's been pretty generally understood that Cleopatra manipulated her way round the Ancient World by means of her charisma and intelligence, instead of her looks, ever since, oh, her own time. This is nothing new.

Cool coins, tho'.

Speaking of such things, you should have seen the look on the eldest Llama-ette's face when I explained to her recently that Cleopatra wasn't even a native Egyptian but was, instead, a Macedonian Greek. We got into a long discussion about Alexander's empire, its division, the Ptolemeys and Roman imperial interests. Despite my best efforts to assure her that I was telling the truth, I'm not at all sure she believed me.

Posted by Robert at 08:34 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 16, 2007

That's My Church!

No, never mind. That was just being provocative.

Posted by Robert at 11:12 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Red? Shouldn't Hugo Chavez's color be maroon?

This brought a tear of joy to my eye:

Venezuela President Hugo Chavez's plan to curb inflation by lopping three zeros from the currency may backfire because the move fails to address production bottlenecks that are pushing prices higher, economists said.

The government will cut three zeros from the bolivar's exchange rate by February 2008, Chavez said last night in a televised speech, citing rising consumer prices. He also will cut the value-added tax rate and clamp down on ``speculators'' to halt last month's 4 percent increase in the cost of food.

The steps aimed at slowing inflation and boosting local output miss the root causes exacerbating imbalances in South America's third-biggest economy, according to economists at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bear Stearns & Co. Flush with oil money and government spending, which jumped about 50 percent last year, economic growth and inflation are both surging.

``He has a funny understanding of the problem,'' Alberto Bernal, a Latin America economist with Bear Stearns & Co., said in an interview. ``Cutting a number of zeros from the bolivar is irrelevant in the end.''

Chavez, who won a third term in December, was granted decree powers last month by Congress in his drive to seize key industries and put the country on the path of socialism. The president said he plans in ``coming hours'' to decree a law that allows the government to expropriate any business that sells food products higher than government-set prices.

The annual inflation rate rose to 18.4 percent last month, the highest in Latin America, from 10.4 percent in May.

Whip inflation by cutting numbers off of the currency, and threaten to nationalize any private enterprise that dares to, umm, act according to the dictates of the market?


Someone alert the Nobel Committee.

And I love the part about "decree" powers. What that means, in left-wing media speak, is "dictatorial" authority---kind of what the left is always accusing Chimpy McHitler of aspiring to, but what's actually being done in Caracas, not Washington.

As Bugs would say, "What an idiot! What a marooon!"

Posted by Steve-O at 10:26 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Buck Blogging

This is a continuation of a series of posts about the old TV show “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century” that began here with the pilot movie. The first regular episode to the first season was:

Ep. 1.3 & 1.4 “Planet of The Slave Girls (Parts 1 & 2)” (aired 9/27/79):

Before the show was green-lit as a series, there was some doubt as to whether or not Erin Gray would reprise her role as Wilma Deering. So to hedge their bets, the producers auditioned several females to take up the role. One of these actresses was Juanin Clay, who was tentatively cast to play Wilma, but it eventually worked out that Gray would come back for the series.

Juanin Clay.jpg
Wilma Deering in an alternate universe

Not too shabby. Kinda has a little Daphne Zuniga thing going on. Clay would appear in the next episode as Major Marla Landers because at the time the producers still weren’t quite sure how Buck’s relationship with Wilma would develop. They were kicking around the idea of introducing a new potential love interest every week. Note: there is a tribute site for Juanin Clay out there, touting her as “the woman who would have been Wilma”, that’s worth a look.

The one thing the producers were sure of was that Wilma had to be a blonde. No ifs, ands or buts. Ever wonder why Wilma went from blonde to brunette over the course of the first season? Now you know. Erin Gray had to get constant dye jobs to give here those lighter locks. No doubt, had Clay been cast she would have had to endure the same transformation. Eventually, however, Gray was allowed to go back to here natural dark brown hair color. Personally, I think she looks equally ravishing with either color.

How about you?

Erin Gray Blonde Brunette.jpg

Now, the episode at hand. I sense a pattern that the producers felt strongly about getting somewhat well-known guest stars each week (another page from the Aaron Spelling school of television magic). And for this episode they pick a good one: the late, great Jack Palance. He plays a kind of evangelical survivalist messiah named Kaleel who has the power to kill you with his glowing-hand Vulcan death grip. Kaleel plots an invasion of Earth. Why? Because he’s tired of dancing for the Man, that’s why. The people he leads are the slaves who make the “food discs” that sustain the Terrans. I guess these folks are simply doing the jobs that 25th Century Earth people don’t want to do.

Jack Palance Rocks.JPG
Don't talk smack, to Jack!

BTW, I always found it interesting that many sci-fi shows allow Earth to name other planets and star systems but they get to choose their own name. Usually it’s Terra and we’re known as Terrans, from the latin word that means “earth” in the literal sense (i.e. terra firma). But then “Earthlings” does sound pretty lame. Who wants to be known as any kind of “ling”, anyway?

But I digress.

Anyway, Kaleel orders the food discs poisoned so that the fighter pilots of the Earth’s defense directorate are incapacitated and the planet is vulnerable to his attack. Anyone who defies him gets to see his hands glow – right before he kills them. But, really. Kaleel doesn’t need the power of his magic hands to seize the hearts and minds of the slaves. He’s Jack Palance fercrissakes! He could lead them by sheer force of will. And he lets you know it every moment he’s on screen. “Believe it…or not.”

This is the one episode I know of that actually presents Buck with a legitimate rival for Wilma’s attention. David Groh guest stars as Major Duke Danton, Wilma’s ex-boyfriend. Presumably, Duke couldn’t deal with the idea of Wilma out-ranking him and it didn’t work out. No doubt the lovely Col. Deering was more intimidating on top, so to speak.

But despite a rocky start to their working relationship, Duke and Buck manage to find a way to work together in order to rescue Wilma, who was taken prisoner on the Planet of the Slave Girls, to which the title of the episode refers. And this is interesting because there are just as many men on the planet who are slaves as women. But “Planet of the Sausage Convention” wouldn’t attract the kind of audience that the producers were going for.

Anyway, THE sexy scene of note involves Buck, Wilma and one of the slave girls trapped in a kind of natural boiler room that provides heat to the manufacturing complex. Wilma is dressed in a slave girl outfit and she is literally drenched with sweat.

The outfit, already fairly form-fitting, is clinging to her wet body and while Buck is trying to devise a plan to get out of the chamber, every teenage boy is wishing he could find a way in. This may very well be Erin Gray’s sexiest scene in Season One.

Wilma in the "catsuit"

There are some other notable guest stars, such as Roddy McDowell as the clueless Governor of the facility (and essentially head slavemaster). Buster Crabbe, who played Buck Rogers back in the thirties, makes an appearance as a formerly retired fighter pilot who apparently avoided the poisoned food discs in favor of the Chinese buffet at the senior center. The enemy fighters (flown by former slaves who’ve never been in a ship their whole lives until now) which attack Earth are all essentially tied to a master ship flown by one of Kaleel’s henchmen. Buck of course figures out that – like sacking the quarterback in football – they only need to take out the master ship to leave the rest of the ships flying blind and vulnerable.

The strategy works. The attacking fighters are all destroyed, Kaleel is imprisoned and the final scene is of Buck, Duke and Wilma strolling arm in arm as the best of buddies (though Buck and Duke look like they’re thinking more along the lines of a ménage a trios).

Episode Rating: "Must See" (if for no other reason than to see the hot, sweaty, luscious Wilma in the skimpy outfit)

Next episode: “Vegas In Space”

Posted by Gary at 08:38 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

And Now A Choice Of Viewing On Llama Tee Vee

Interesting mix in the Netflix hopper this evening, neither of which I've seen.

On the one hand is The Mission, the Jeromy Irons/Robert de Niro film about 18th Century Jesuit missionaries in the Amazon. Over the years I've read good and bad things about this flick. I'll leave it up to some of our friends here to inform me of its accuracy. One thing I do know is that the Jesuits fought like hell to keep their Indian converts from being enslaved by the local conquistadore types (successfully, too, I believe).

The other one is Amelie, which I picked just because I've read lots of good things about it. It strikes me as another one of those French films that is short on plot but long on feeling. Could be a good one to get the Missus to watch, too.

If neither of those strikes my fancy, I may just go back to wallowing in my Arrested Development collection. I've discovered a great way to figure out if I've seen enough at any one time: In the theme music covering the closing credits, the bass starts a kind of syncopated riff toward the end. If I'm paying attention, I can keep the beat and hit the end note. If not, I know it's a sign that it's about time for Robbo to go to bed.

If I have something intelligent to say about either of the flix, I'll post a review.

Posted by Robert at 05:36 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Gratuitous One Word Political Commentary

House passes resolution rebuking the president on Iraq.


Posted by Robert at 05:04 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Home Improvement Division - ***Now With Rolling Updates!*** EXTRA---DEATHRACE 3000 FEATURE ADDED! ***FRIDAY AFTERNOON BUMP, AS WELL!!***

The ineffable logic of the Goddess of the Hearth states that because this is Presidents' Day weekend, I must repaint the front hall. It's a pain in the neck: although the hall is not that big, it has six separate doorways, all of them surrounded by molding. Ditto the ceiling. And did I mention that repainting the hall also entails repainting the stairwell rising up from it?

It's a great ego enhancer for a young man just starting out on the long matrimonial hike to be able to demonstrate to his bride his handiness about the house, but experience and reflection reveal that this is, in reality, a trap. Once you get a reputation for being able to deal with most light domestic improvement jobs yourself, you're doomed, doomed! I tell ye'.

I should have paid more attention to my father-in-law early on. He could easily spend an hour looking for the on/off switch on a screwdriver. Nobody expects him to paint. In my moodier moments, I sometimes wonder whether this isn't a deliberate con job on his part.

UPDATE: Make that seven doorways - I forgot about the coat closet.

I gave up going through all the business of masking the molding a long time ago, as I found that a) it's an enormous waste of time b) it often doesn't do any good and c) it can frequently create more of a mess than it was designed to prevent. Instead, I just free-hand it using a brush with a sharp edge. If the results are not perfect, razor sharp lines then so be it - there are so many dings and glitches in the construction that such a result would be nearly impossible anyway.

COFFEE BREAK UPDATE: Well, only two and a half hours to go round all the edges with the first coat. (As I said, there's a helluva lot of trim.) One more time around (or so I hope) and then it's off to the roller. I'm using a Laura Ashley brand paint this time. I've had a horror of designer label brands ever since a miserable experience with some Ralph Lauren paint a few years back, but this seems to be going on tolerable smooth.

As I've gone round, I've realized that conscience isn't going to let me get away without seriously touching up the trim, if not outright redoing it. Too much wear and tear, dings and dangs, most of it child-related, although one of our cats continues to insist that door molding makes a wonderful scratching post as well. (This is the same cat who seems to feel that as long as I'm lying on the floor painting along the baseboards, I really ought to be petting her.)

When the Missus went off to school this morning, she had a very familiar look of satisfaction on her face to see me going to it. Our Llama Military Correspondent likes to refer to her as The Contessa, and there's much to be said for this - she loves having men doing work for her (she's also of Mediterranean stock, so the language fits). We still talk about one glorious day a few years back when she had me on one job, our handyman and his helper doing another and an electrician down in the basement rewiring the lights. However, in her defense, I'll also say a) that the odd jobs I do around the house are nothing compared to the amount of work she puts in running the place and b) that she is genuinely appreciative of my efforts.

Well, back to the trenches......

YIPS from Steve-O: Meanwhile, about 150 miles south at Stately LLama Manor, Steve-O is sitting at the kitchen table, eat a bowl of chili and drinking a mug of hot berry zinger tea with honey for lunch, all while grading the first stack of essays for the semester. Who will finish first: Robbo and his hall painting, or Steve-O and his grading? It looks like America's Great Race Weekend is kicking off in high fashion.

Frankly, Ladies and Gentlemen, it doesn't get much better than this!

FURTHER YIPS from Steve-O: The stage is set for DeathRace 3007--AmeriKKKa's Great Camelid Lil Satan's Household Chore-off.

Gentlemen, start your red pens.

Mr. Hat Bring-It-On! Update From Robbo:


This is my o-fficial home improvement hat, one that I've had for nigh on twenty years from my glory days as a bag-boy. I used to wear it for all domestic chores, inside and out. However, when the Nats came to town two years back, I quickly adopted a Nats Road-Trip cap as my gardening/lawn-mowing chapeau. This one still rules for all other jobs.

Tradition and ritual are important.

Why do I post this? Because I just got done with the second trip round the trim, I'm about to start using the roller on the main surface, I've got nothing in my stomach but a pot of coffee and I've been huffing paint fumes for five hours, that's why. (I can hear the Contessa now: "What? You haven't got time to eat but you've got time to blog?" Priorities, Woman!)

Gratuitous Cranky Musickal Update: Listening to the radio as I paint, I'm reminded again how tedious I find Rachmoninoff. It's one thing for a composer's ego to come out in his music. It's another thing to believe, as Rachmoninoff did, that music should be a reflection of one's ego. Humph.

Oh, and when the movie Shine came out, I got mighty sick mighty fast of people referring to the "Rach 3." I never saw the film but I understand it was something of an exploitative snow job. I do know this - I heard David Helfgott performing live on the radio once and "embarrassing" is the only word I can come up with to describe the performance.

UPDATE NEXT: Done! Well, not "done" done - I still have the stairway to do (including the spooky standing on tall ladder bit) and then I have to go back and do considerable touch-up on the trim, but you know what I mean. And damme if the first thing the Llama-ettes don't do when they get home will be to get their grimy mitts all over the walls!

Posted by Robert at 02:43 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Signs that maybe you need to get a new agent

When you see a line like this in a mainstream media discussion of your upcoming movie:

After a cold streak with films such as "The Weather Man" and "The Wicker Man" Nicolas Cage is poised to take pole position with the Marvel Comics adaptation "Ghost Rider."

The long-gestating film is set for a huge start along the lines of writer-director Mark Steven Johnson's previous Marvel outing "Daredevil," which opened to $45 million during the 2003 Presidents Day weekend.

Yeah, cuz we all now what wonders "Daredevil" did for Ben Affleck's career.

Posted by Steve-O at 02:10 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Egads! Author Takes Twain To The Dark Side.

In a kind of Huckleberry Finn meets Hannibal Lecter fushion, author Jon Clinch has expanded on one of the minor characters of Mark Twain's classic - Finn's drunken father, Pap.

"Finn," by first-time novelist Jon Clinch, seems like your usual standing-on-the-shoulders-of-giants contraption. Its main character is Huckleberry Finn's alcoholic father, who cuts such a scary figure in Mark Twain's novel. Clinch restages some of Twain's scenes, and, as he says in an author's note, fits his story "meticulously into and around Pap Finn's appearances ... in 'Adventures of Huckleberry Finn'." In fact, Clinch's found his "road map" for much of "Finn" in a single scene in Twain: Huck's discovery of his father's corpse among some creepy artifacts: a woman's clothing, cloth masks, an artificial leg and, in charcoal on the walls, "the ignorantest kind of words and pictures."

You can find out for yourself just what Clinch has assembled from this Flannery O'Connor bric-a-brac. But his first six pages have a woman's corpse floating down the Mississippi and a blind man eating some sort of mysterious meat given to him by Pap, so it's fair to reveal that there's unpleasantness ahead. And Clinch's sense of the horrific includes more than simple violence. Here's Pap, after shattering a glass on his plank floor: " ... Before the whiskey can soak in he has flung himself prone and lapped up such of it as his desperate tongue can locate. He pays no mind to the slivers of wood ... although now and then a shard of glass does serve to impede his progress. He reckons that the more he presses forward the less he will have reason to mind, and in this he is after a fashion correct." Pap's brutality is ultimately self-directed, and the charcoal words and images on his walls are his means of "documenting his dissolution."

Robbo? You're the English major. Care to opine?

Yips! from Robbo: As a great fan of the Harry Flashman series, I can hardly start slinging stones at authors for pulling this kind of stunt per se. However, just from the quoted snippet, my keenly-trained literary mind tells me this one is gonna be a dog. I think I'll keep Pap confined to the shadowy background.

YIPS from Steve-O: Does he wind up nailing Ahab's wife? With Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern as his posse? Jes' askin'.

Posted by Gary at 12:18 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 15, 2007

Happy Birthday, Cyrus McCormick!


Born this day in 1809 in Rockbridge County, Virginia. Inventer of the mechanical reaper in 1831.

There's a hotel (a Ramada Inn, or some such) along I-81 in the northern part of the county. It boasts (or did when I was in school, at any rate) a lounge known as the "Reaper Room." I always found this vaguely chilling in a Stephen King-ish way as I drove past. Indeed, over time I started to sketch out a story about it featuring Death as the bartender.

"Last call," indeed.

Posted by Robert at 05:28 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

LB Buddy sighted in Phoenix

I'm putting this in the "Geez Louise" category, although I'm not letting Left of the Dial Scott off the hook quite yet (no report of Aquaman in the vicinity, but you know how it is with these guys).

Good thing it wasn't someone in a Jack Bauer costume, because then someone would have had to establish a perimeter...

Posted by Steve-O at 03:00 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

When is a strategy not a strategy?

This is despicable. Oppose the war---that's your constitutional right, as much as you might fantasize about Chimpy McHalliburton this isn't Castro's Cuba or Chavez's Venezuala, for that matter---but this is pure chickenshit.

Posted by Steve-O at 02:56 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Your Tax Dollars At Work

There's a new Dollar coin about to be released. "What, again?" you ask.

Yep. It seems the U.S. Mint feels that the third time's the charm. First they made a Dollar coin with Susan B. Anthony on it. Then they tried Sacajawea. Both efforts failed because in many cases people found them too much like the quarter.

So now they've got a fool-proof plan to help avoid this confusion. They're going to "rotate" the face from time to time. Guess who will be the very first person appearing on the new Dollar coin?

new dollar coin.jpg

George Washington!

I'm telling you. You just can't make this stuff up.

Posted by Gary at 02:34 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Grumpy Pre-Lenten Griping

What with the other goings on in the good ol' ECUSA at the moment, I really haven't paid much attention to its big MDG campaign. However, as my church will be using this campaign as the center of its Lenten programming, I've focused on it much more over the past week or so. And as seems increasingly the case whenever I tackle a church-related issue, I'm coming up with more questions than answers.

What's the MDG campaign, you ask? Well, MDG stands for the Millenium Development Goals. Basically, we're setting out to rid the world of nastiness by 2015:

- Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
- Achieve universal primary education
- Promote gender equality and empower women
- Reduce child Mortality
- Improve maternal health
- Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
- Ensure environmental sustainability
- Develop a global partnership for development

Very good, you say. How are you going to go about it? Well, the best I can tell is that everybody is being asked to pony up some dosh:

ONE is a large and growing movement of more than 2.3 million Americans, supported by a coalition of more than 70 leading advocacy and humanitarian organizations. It seeks to convince the U.S. government to spend an additional ONE percent of its budget each year on MDG-related programs. The ONE Episcopalian initiative unites this work with the Church’s ongoing MDG work. Parishes and dioceses are asked to become “ONE Congregations” and “ONE Dioceses” and make a series of commitments to MDG advocacy. Individuals, likewise, are asked to sign the ONE Declaration, wear a white wristband (the international symbol of the anti-poverty movement), and commit to regular MDG advocacy.

And where will this money be spent exactly, you ask? Well, I've been up and down the website and it seems to go rayther vague on this point. I've an idea this is because many of the problems identified are not of a nature that they can be solved simply by throwing money at them.

Take hunger, for example. The fact of the matter is that much of the worst of Third World hunger is to be found in countries whose own governments use it as a weapon against their populations (or undesireable portions thereof). As often as not, foreign aid rolling in winds up in the hands of the kleptocracies themselves, the better to maintain their own lavish lifestyles and feed their armies. One of the planned activities at our church is going to be having each family "sponsor" a goat or a chicken or a pig or the like, to be delivered to some deserving souls in Africa. That's swell, but what steps will be taken to ensure that the local bully boys won't simply swoop in and steal them as soon as our collective backs are turned?

Or take "empowering women." Sounds great, too. But how is money going to get round the tenants of radical Islam or local tribal custom? Are we going to start bribing mullahs and witch doctors to change their tune?

"Ensure environmental stability" is a favorite of mine and I'd like to be around when this is explained to some poor shmuck in, say, Chad. "Sorry you missed out on the Industrial Revolution, old fellow. We'd like to help you build a manufacturing infrastructure, but we're afraid it would be too pollutant. But never mind - here's a nice chicken for you."

Then there's the very circular "Develop a global partnership for development," a goal that sounds to me like something invented by the Underpants Gnomes.

Look, I don't mean to be overly caustic and snarky about all this. I think the Church is very well placed to deal with things like disaster relief - hurricanes and tsunami and the like - and I always chip in when calls are made for this kind of aid. The Church can probably also do great good in terms of some of the MDG's listed - getting health care and education to where they're needed, for example. So half a cheer there, anyway. However, the main problems identified here are systemic, and require not more Western handouts but fundamental changes in the very structure of government and society in large chunks of the Third World. What I find disappointing about this ONE project is that it doesn't even appear to attempt to address the issues on this level. Thus, I fear the whole thing is little more than an exercise in limousine liberalism.

So, Mr. Smartypants, you're probably saying, how would you tackle these issues? Well, I honestly don't know. But I think the first step is to frame the question honestly: Third World poverty isn't a function of Western greed (although erecting trade barriers to squash the import of African textiles or resisting the outsourcing of tech support jobs to India and the like doesn't help), it's a function of the lack of three paramount ingredients of economic success: private property, the rule of law and education. Without these, all the handouts in the world won't do any good. So how do we turn Africa into a continent of shopkeepers? Should we? Can we, even? Has anybody translated Adam Smith into Swahili? Those seem to me to be the real questions we should be asking. And as I say, it doesn't appear that anybody involved with this ONE business is doing so.

Well, you say, won't giving some money help a bit, even if it doesn't solve the larger problems? Possibly. As I say, I think the Church is a natural for dealing with some things, especially short term efforts like disaster relief. But the money would have to be watched very, very carefully. And for the reasons I cite, I'm afraid a good many of the programs that worm their way under the MDG umbrella are nothing more that futile boondoggles. (Speaking of which, the U.N. is involved in all of this somehow as well.)

Oh, and then there's the white wristbands. I hate causes that involve wristbands, ribbons, tee-shirts and the like. [CLARIFYING UPDATE: I don't hate the causes themselves. Rayther, I hate the ribbons, wristbands, etc., that go with them.] And here, at least, I'm on solid Biblical ground because even if nobody else does, I pay attention to the traditional Ash Wednesday gospel reading:

Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

Therefore when thou doest [thine] alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

-Matthew 6:1-4

Anyhoo, these are the things that are banging around inside my head. We're having a bunch of guest speakers come in to talk about the MDG/ONE program during Lent. I suppose that I could ask them about some of these issues, but regular readers know I'm already in a certain amount of hot water for my views and one can stir up only so many controversies at a given time.

Posted by Robert at 12:34 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Because The "VH1 Behind The Music" Special Left So Many Unanswered Questions

There's a Milli Vanilli biopic in the works.


Rumor has it the actors won't really be singing, either.

Posted by Gary at 09:26 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Good Lord, do you realize what this means

This disturbing news hit me this morning:

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Feb. 14 -- If he could have gotten NASCAR's approval, James Hylton says he would have outfitted his No. 58 Chevrolet with blinkers and flashed them nonstop during Thursday's qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway. What's the harm of having a sense of humor, Hylton figured, even though he's serious about the task at hand?

At 72, the silver-haired Hylton will strap into a racecar Thursday afternoon and battle at more than 180 mph for the right to compete in Sunday's Daytona 500.

Daytona Spotlight
Senior Moment Veteran stock-car racer James Hylton, 72, is trying to qualify for Sunday's Daytona 500 after a 14-year hiatus from part-time competition in NASCAR's top ranks. Here's a look at Hylton's résumé:
Hometown: Inman, S.C.
Car: No. 58 Retirement Living TV Chevrolet.
NASCAR debut: 1964.
NASCAR career starts: 601.
NASCAR career wins: 2 (Richmond, 1970; Talladega, 1972).
Speed in Sunday's qualifying: 179.637 mph (60th among 61 drivers).
Quote: "This is not a PR stunt. This is something I've always lived for: To have a first-rate car and be able to challenge some people with equal equipment."

Common sense suggests it's not prudent racing at such speeds against men 50 years younger. But NASCAR allows it, with no age limit for competing in stock-car racing's top ranks (though 18 is the minimum age).

Hylton managed to find a car owner and sponsor, Retirement Living TV, to bankroll his effort. A championship team, Richard Childress Racing, sold him one of its old cars and even fine-tuned the handling so all Hylton has to do is flip the ignition and mash the gas. In short, he has been handed the best Daytona car he has ever had. And he says he simply couldn't live with himself if he didn't seize it.

You can almost hear the conversation up in Kennebunkport. "Now Barb, I'm drawin' a line on the sand, here, need ya 100% behind me on this one...Barb, put the rolling pin down. Not gonna go wobbly on this one..."

Posted by Steve-O at 08:38 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


You scored as Atherton Wing. You are a player in high society. Everything is a game and you always win. You are used to getting what, or who, you want. When you pay for something it is yours, and everything is for sale.

Atherton Wing


Federal Marshall






Alliance Agent


Adelai Niska






Rance Burgess


Jubal Early


Alliance Officer


Hands of Blue






Which Firefly Villain are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

Top hole! So where's Inara?

Posted by Robert at 07:42 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 14, 2007

Well, DUH!

Jane Eyre

Jane, orphaned at a young age, is turned out by her aunt. After a gloomy childhood at boarding school, she leaves to find mystery and romance with the dark, strange, Mr. Rochester...

Which Classic Heroine are You?

Quiz tag from Curmudgeonry.

Yips! from Robbo: Lizzy Bennet here. Take that, Kathy!

Posted by Steve-O at 11:17 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Ice, Ice, Baybee!

Just spent about four hours chipping, shoveling and salting the driveway and sidewalk. Most of what we got overnight turned into ice, so I had to use my metal shovel, which has a width only half that of my other plastic one.

Hard work. On the other hand, I have absolutely no compunction whatsoever about blowing off the treadmill and the weights today.

Nope, instead it's going to be a hot shower, banking up the fire, pouring myself a liberal dram (for medicinal purposes, d'ye see?) and settling down to continue perusing Elizabeth Longford's bio of the Iron Dook.

Yip! at you later - I've been mulling some cranky Lenten thoughts that I'd like to throw out. (Yes, they have to do with the ECUSA, but you probably could have guessed that.)

Posted by Robert at 02:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Happy Valentine's Day!

To Melissa Theuriau...

MelissaTheuriau leather.jpg

...from her Sooper Sekret Admirers!

Posted by Gary at 09:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 13, 2007

More tacky than words can describe

Don't forget to reset the LLama template tomorrow to "LLamatine's Day" for the most heinously, erm, heinous Valentine's Day color scheme and frolicing cherubic LLama icon done by the macktabulously deranged pyschopaths at Apothegm Designs. Thanks Sadie and Phin!

Just go over to the right hand column and click on the "Get some skin" menu.

Posted by Steve-O at 10:28 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


Apparently, they are going to re-make 80s classic truly bad film "Weird Science."

I guess this definitely puts us smack dab in the middle of "where Angels fear to tread" territory: acknowledging that Hollywood has offically run out of ideas, we are now facing the inevitability of the Diff'rent Strokes movie.

Which therefore gives us the excuse to re-run this classic pic from the California governor's recall race from a couple of years ago because, after all, we are all about the cutting edge political commentary here at the LLamas:

gary coleman differnt strokes movie porn star mary carey.jpg

Posted by Steve-O at 10:16 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Jen speaks some bold naked truths about the current season of 24....stinking.

I would agree in principle, but not for the reasons she gives. For me, it's that part of the secret of the success of 24 was in combining in a unique way two important genres. The first is readily apparent: the frontier narrative of the Hawkeye/Deerslayer hero who, through extreme savage violence, becomes like the enemy of civilization so as to be able to defeat him. The tragic cost of this heroism is that by becoming savage himself, he is unfit to return to the society he has given all to defend and protect. That's a classic American mythic figure as old as King Philip's War 330 years ago, and Jack Bauer plays that mythic archetype to the hilt.

But the other genre 24 sucessfully played with was an evil, inverse variation on the standard romantic comedy of the mismatched, star-crossed lovers: Jim and Pam, Sam and Diane, Ross and Marcel, Fleischman and Maggie, the list could go on and on. In 24, this is the role of the villain/terrorist: his inability to consumate his love of extreme, murderous Death. We all know what happens in shows where the star-crossed lovers finally do it: one night's very special bonanza ratings, followed by a long, slow, slide into mediocrity. Inevitably, they have to be torn apart, but it's never the same, and the chemistry is gone.

With 24, this is what happened when one of the weanies got to ejaculate his "Allahu Akbar!" and pull the trigger on the nuke at the end of the 4th hour. The evil, twisted love affair had been consumated, and the rest, as they say, is just the clean-up. The fact that it was just a suit case nuke as compared with the Big Bopper, and the fact that it was just suburban Valencia instead of downtown LA is kind of like Ross rolling on the juice-box and squirting a finally-ready but slightly dumb Rachel: the fact that the big moment is prefaced by a premature ejaculation joke just makes the inevitable that much worse. As much as the writers can trot out President Gary Payton and his stern lectures to Doctor Bashir about "how if ONE MORE nuke is detonated, this will be war," and Fayed pulling out yet another magic Sampsonite, the romance of the show, if you will, Jack and Chloe and the team's ability to violate protocols and place an impermeable perimeter between the Terrorist scumbag and his love of Death, is over.

Now does that mean I still watch it? Sure. You've got to love the product placement for Black & Decker last night, and how it must have pegged the heart-ache factor for Saint Sully to see waterboarding followed by the use of a power drill through someone's clavicle to get them to cooperate. Talk about your heart-ache--you mean the terrorists don't follow the Geneva Convention? Plus, the moral tale of the two individuals who delivered to the chief terrorist the technology capable of detonating a nuke: one, a mild-mannered suburban leftie dad who reasons that "if we just give them what they want, they'll let us go, right?", the second a soul-less sex in the city wannabe with visions of shopping for Versace fur in Vegas to survive the nuclear winter. Both dead, one albeit a little less roasted for her entry to hell. Interesting stuff, particularly when you throw in the possibility of Jack as Ahab, with his all-consuming white whale in the form of the black heart of his father. We've wondered what drove Jack to be what he is, and we're begining to get a sense of it in the penumbras of Father Bauer's soul.

But what worked about the show is over. Face it: we're into the 24 equivalent of the Ross marrying the English chick phase, let alone the fat, cold bar manager wench era on Cheers. The Romance is Gone.

UPDATE: Rick at Rightwingnuthouse has his weekly summary/analysis up and, as usual, it's more interesting than the actual show.

Posted by Steve-O at 09:12 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Just in time for you Valentine's Romantics out there

What says "Amore" quite like whipping up your sweety some homemade Bacon Ice Cream?

Mmmmmm, bacon.

Posted by Steve-O at 08:49 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Zoot alors!

This is something The Dear One needs to know RIGHT NOW! Fortunately, it's times like this that I work so hard to make the LLamabutchers the source of eclectic knowledge that it is. Unfortunately, at times like this, The Dear One doesn't exactly read the LLamas. Or, as she put it the other day, "Why exactly would I want to read what you, the otherwise sensible Robert, and your imaginary friends natter on about?"

But then she would miss IMPORTANT ACTION ALERTS like this: the Maud Lovelace Betsy/Tacy/Tibb books are in danger of going out of print! Betsy/Tacy/Tibb are a defining element of the literature of daily life around Stately LLama Manor, and, while I believe we have all the books, the very principle of them going out of print is going to generate some very stern letters of reprimand indeed, buster.

That is, if she finds out. By reading the LLamas.

That, plus the dumbering down of the Little House Books, over at Melissa Wiley's blog.

Posted by Steve-O at 08:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Maybe I'm just a link-whore

But how can I not link to mice being led to their doom by seriously sharp cheddar on a stick? The name of the cheese? Why, Varmit Cheddar, of course. That, plus new socks, at Kelly's Green.

Yips! from Gary:
While we're at it, why not a little a little presentation of the musical mice?

Posted by Steve-O at 08:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


The score, for those keeping track at home, is:

Godbag Christofascist Hatemongering Patriarchy 2
Nutroots Mouth Breathing Pomo Harpies 0

Let the recriminations begin!

Posted by Steve-O at 08:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Interesting 2008 development

Ted Olson---former Solicitor General, and attorney of record for Bush v. Gore---endorses Rudy Guiliani, reciting the mantra, "Scalia, Thomas, and Alito, and pray for, umm, rain, or something."

Posted by Steve-O at 07:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Harmonic Convergence

AQ #2 man al-Zawhri on the failure of the new Democratic majorities in Congress to change US policy in Iraq:

On the tape, al-Zawahri said recent congressional elections in the United States that elected a majority of Democrats would change nothing.

"The people chose you due to your opposition to Bush's policy in Iraq, but it appears that you are marching with him to the same abyss," al-Zawahri told the Democrats according to the transcript.

Just two days ago, on Politburo Diktat:

Why are the Netroots NOT constantly hammering the Dem majorities in Congress to de-fund the war?

Just to establish my bona fides here, I voted Dem in 06, because of the Iraq issue. And, I voted that way because I wanted them to DO something about the war.

Obviously defunding the war (or at least the surge) could be politically costly. But what is more important? Stopping the war or holding onto political power?

That is a question which is a tough one for the Dem politicians. To some extent, I understand their reluctance to take such a move, which might have political consequences.

But, and here is a critical point … what is the Left Blogosphere’s excuse? Hammer it, guys!

I mean, I'm aware AQ monitors the Web, but gee, Steve, I never realized you'd get influence like this!

Posted by Steve-O at 04:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

GOP Congressman Dies

Rep. Charles Norwood of GA has passed away after a battle with cancer.

Not being from Georgia I don't know anything about the man except one bit of useless trivia associated with his name.

Remember that Bush-Gore debate in 2000 when Bush was rebutting an answer that Gore gave and Gore - the "alpha male" - walked right up to Bush and got into his personal space?

Bush just kind of gave the Gorebot a quizzical look over his shoulder and went back to his answer. There was nervous laughter from the audience (probably because they were wondering if Gore was going to push him or something) and Gore, erroneously thinking they were laughing with him, just gave this dopey smile and pressed Bush: "what about the Dingle-Norwood bill?".

I believe that this gentleman is that Norwood.


Posted by Gary at 02:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

But PROFESSOR, If It's On The Internet, It MUST Be True!

Middlebury College's history department bans cites to Wikipedia:

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. (AP) - Middlebury College history students are no longer allowed to use Wikipedia in preparing class papers. The school's history department recently adopted a policy that says it's OK to consult the popular online encyclopedia, but that it can't be cited as an authoritative source by students.

The policy says, in part, "Wikipedia is not an acceptable citation, even though it may lead one to a citable source."

History professor Neil Waters says Wikipedia is an ideal place to start research but an unacceptable way to end it.

I think this is right, but I'm a bit alarmed that stoodents apparently had been allowed to use such citations previously. Is this a widespread practice these days?

Posted by Robert at 01:49 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


The FOX network is premiering a right-leaning version of "The Daily Show" called "The Half-Hour News Hour" next Sunday night.

The show will be hosted by a guy named Kurt Long and a gal named Susan Yeagley.

And heeeeeeeerrrreee's Susan...

Susan Yeagley hot.jpg

Yeow! Can't wait.

Yips! to pundit babe, Mary Katherine Ham.

Posted by Gary at 12:19 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Who says Obama's not ready for prime-time?

If a tree falls on the New Messiah(TM), does it make a noise?

Posted by Steve-O at 12:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fort Apache, Fallujah

More of INDCent Bill's ace on the spot reporting.

Posted by Steve-O at 12:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Holy crap!

The federal budget deficit is down 57% over last year.

Something about much higher than expected tax revenues generated by an ever-expanding economy.

I guess those massive tax increases really worked! Oh, right....

Posted by Steve-O at 10:06 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

C'mon, Jonah, Have Another Cup of Coffee!

Goldberg on the AP and McCain's worrying about a "Tet"-style offensive in Iraq:

John McCain plausibly worries we might have another Tet on our hands. Amazingly, the AP plays its part by characterizing Tet — albeit subtly — as a military victory for the enemy, which is surely not McCain's point. From the AP:

Tet, a massive invasion in 1968 of South Vietnam by Communist North Vietnamese, inflicted enormous losses on U.S. and South Vietnamese troops and is regarded as a point where public sentiment turned sharply against the war.

This version even made it into the scrawl (or is that scroll?) at the bottom of the screen on Brit Hume's Special Report last night. Of course, in a sense, Tet was a military victory for the North Vietnamese because it achieved — or helped achieve — the aim of forcing America out of the war. But it was a psychological victory, a propaganda victory. On the battlefield alone the Tet Offensive was a bust for the North. If you read what McCain says it's this sort of operation he's worried about, some showy morale crushing spectacle that "proves" there's no hope. He's not worried about a major military victory for the enemy. It's amazing the AP can't capture the nuance there.

Emphasis added. "Can't"? How about "won't"? And why this should be so amazing is a mystery to me.

Posted by Robert at 09:23 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Musickal Observation

I can't emphasize how happy I am that WETA-FM has gone back to the classical music format.

On the way into the metro this morning, I was listening to a performance of Bach's Brandenburg Concerto #3 performed by Musica Antiqua of Cologne under the direction of Reinhard Goebel. I've a number of their CD's of Telemann's music and would heartily endorse any of them. Although he and Bach were near exact contemporaries and knew one another, Telemann's style of composition was considerably different from ol' JS's - more theatrical and free-flowing, less consciously self-disciplined. MAoC has always served Telemann up in a very lively manner, so I was interested to hear how they would go about presenting Bach.

Well jaysus, is all I can say. The third movement Allegro is supposed to be speedy, but this rendition reminded me of the time when I was a boy when I was seriously run away with by a horse. You spend so much energy just trying to hang on that you don't have time to appreciate anything else. On the whole, I prefer my Bach fast (as opposed to the funerial slowness indulged in by some orchestras), but I really feel that this was a bit much.

Posted by Robert at 09:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Marine Mammals Reloaded

Well, it's not exactly sharks with fricken' laser beams attached to their fricken' heads, but still very cool.


Anti-terrorist Dolphins and Sea Lions:

Dozens of dolphins and sea lions trained to detect and apprehend waterborne attackers could be sent to patrol a military base in Washington state, the Navy said Monday. In a notice published in this week's Federal Register, the Navy said it needs to bolster security at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, on the Puget Sound close to Seattle.

The base is home to submarines, ships and laboratories and is potentially vulnerable to attack by terrorist swimmers and scuba divers, the notice states.

Several options are under consideration, but the preferred plan would be to send as many as 30 California sea lions and Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins from the Navy's Marine Mammal Program, based in San Diego.

"These animals have the capabilities for what needs to be done for this particular mission," said Tom LaPuzza, a spokesman for the Marine Mammal Program.

LaPuzza said that because of their astonishing sonar abilities, dolphins are excellent at patrolling for swimmers and divers. When a Navy dolphin detects a person in the water, it drops a beacon. This tells a human interception team where to find the suspicious swimmer.

Dolphins also are trained to detect underwater mines; they were sent to do this in the Iraqi harbor of Umm Qasr in 2003. The last time the animals were used operationally in San Diego was in 1996, when they patrolled the bay during the Republican National Convention.

Sea lions can carry in their mouths special cuffs attached to long ropes. If the animal finds a rogue swimmer, it can clamp the cuff around the person's leg. The individual can then be reeled in for questioning.

Details at the official Navy website. Sweet.

Yips! from Robbo: Whew! When I saw the post title, I thought this was going to be some kind of Ricky Williams snark.

Posted by Gary at 08:54 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Storm of the Century Update

Ginormous snow storm out of the gulf.....jigs to the north by a hundred miles, unleashing its fury north of the Potomac. Temperatures at 730 AM in the high 30s.

So Albemarle County schools are:

A. Closed
B. What the? What are those farkin' morons thinking?
C. Run by pansy-arsed panty-waists who own stock in the local Chuck E. Cheese

Expect a run on the local ABC liquor stores and Blockbusters by noon.

Yips! from Robbo: So far mostly soggy in the Dee Cee area this morning and the Missus fuming because St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method did not cancel. But Lawd help us, it's gonna be one ugly commute this evening and what looks like a gen-U-ine ice storm tonight.

Posted by Steve-O at 08:14 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Nobody Expects The Episcopal Inquisition!

"Have you got all the stuffing up one end?"

I post this just because Steve-o's great art work should not go unappreciated, not because I warrent canonization for any Robbo martyrdom.

Yes, I got called out in this evening's vestry meeting. No, my limbs are still the same length as before and no major kinks have been introduced into my spinal column. In fact, to violently shift allusions, there was no biting and very little barking. (Bonus points if you I.D. the reference.) Nonetheless, it was fairly embarrassing, especially for somebody like yours truly who tends to shun attention in real life out of self-consciousness.

Still, though, it was probably a good thing overall: air cleared, everybody fully informed and perhaps even a bit of a boost in traffic here (although there was enough of a sense of, "Wait, what's a blog?" in the air that I'm not overly confident of this last point). I suspect there are some folk at my church who will never willingly speak to me again, but hey - omelettes and eggs. Or sumpin'.

As for the future? Well, I think I said that I was sorry my previous post had caused so much trouble and misunderstanding, but that I was going to continue bloviating about what I thought of things. And I think that everybody appreciated that. If I start hearing agitated whispers of "par-devant" as I come round corners, I'll know this to be the case.

Posted by Robert at 12:00 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

February 12, 2007

24 Update

jack  bauer super pda.jpg

Tonight is a two hour special double feature, billed by Fox as "1-3 PM, AKA Naptime---Jack Bauer, fresh from eighteen months in tortuous (ie non-"
let's play InSync for 30 hours straight and Sully will call it torture" torture) Chinese prison, and an 18 hour flight back to the US where he landed at 6 AM, after having bitten some guy's Adam's Apple off (sounds dirty, but it was just gross) after not flossing for that extended stay in Club Mao, after having shot his best friend, blown up, nuked, and had a small helicopter almost fall on him, after torturing his brother to death by a painful injection of concentrated essence of Bloomin' Onion straight to the aorta, is ready for a little nappy.

Here's Dave Barry's summary so far:

Jack's brother, Baldy, is gone, having been lovingly whacked last week by Jack's father, Farmer Hoggett, but not before being lovingly tortured by Jack. (There is a lot of love in the Bauer family.) Jack's dad is definitely a bad guy, but Jack does not know this, being apparently unaware of the fact that his dad has been a bad guy in pretty much every movie he was ever in except Babe.

Jack now has to find Morris, who was captured by McCarthy last week for delivery to Evil Terrorist Mastermind For Now Fayed, who will coerce Morris -- possibly by threatening to bring Audrey back into the plot -- into programming the triggers for the remaining suitcase nuclear bombs, which apparently run Windows Vista because nobody knows how to program them. We know from last week's previews that Jack will wind up trying to deactivate one of the suitcase nukes tonight, but we don't know whether he will succeed, or be blown into tiny nuclear smithereens, which will then reassemble themselves and call Chloe, because there is no way you are taking out Jack Bauer with a mere nuclear blast.

Meanwhile President Gary Payton of Your World Champion Miami Heat and his aides and generals and random cabinet extras continue to engage in important yet meaningful wooden dialogue concerning the constitutional ramificationzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Whoops, sorry. We have also learned that the vice president, who is in cahoots with the Ally McBeal Weenie, is Deadwood Mayor Powers Boothe, which should be interesting because on Deadwood he cannot sneeze without dropping -- speaking of suitcase nukes -- the F-bomb.

The Walid-and-Sandra subplot continues to stagger lifelessly forward. Speaking of lifeless: Edgar and Kumar are still dead.

Someone with TIVo or DVR needs to send me the clip of Jack's Dad killing his son, if only so we can add the tag line "That will do, Pig."

Bonus points for Powers Boothe making his entrance as the VP, because we all know that creates an easy connection to Red Dawn, with only an easy skip then to Escape from New York. And our suggestion for the Jack/Jack's Dad plotline from last spring:

Posted by Steve-O at 08:04 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Science update

If only one percent of the dumbasses who continue to worship at the altar of Thomas Malthus would come to realize the reliability of markets and human behavior, public policy would be a much better thing. To wit:

Across the country, states are putting their own treasuries under pressure with anti-smoking policies and higher cigarette taxes. The better these measures work, the fewer smokers are left to pay; in 2005, states levied taxes on 2.8 billion fewer packs than just five years earlier.

Smoker taxes have been a small but critical source of cash in recent years, as all but a handful of states jacked up their tobacco taxes. Minnesota, for example, slapped an extra 75-cent charge on a pack of cigarettes to solve a budget problem two years ago; the state expects to collect about $451 million from smokers this year.

Bob Kurtter, a state budget watcher at Moody's Investors Service, said it's an easy call for budget-challenged states to turn to sin taxes: "They're the most socially acceptable form of taxes you can raise." Two years ago, tobacco taxes contributed $13 billion to state budgets.

But those collections are slipping as consumption drops. Just over a fifth of U.S. adults smoked in 2005, down from about one-fourth a decade ago.

Higher taxes driving lower consumption which results in lower tax collections. Hmmm.

Posted by Steve-O at 12:48 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

The definition of irony---just in time for Darwin's Birthday!


Posted by Steve-O at 12:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


I just accidently deleted a long-ish post about the Duke abuse of prosecutorial discretion/pomo faculty lynch mob case, based on an article in The Chronicle today which fawned all over the true victims of the case---the beseiged 88 professors who heroically published an ad last March standing up for truth, justice, and the immediate castration and execution of all privileged white male athletes everywhere. Irony abounded, and I had a great line--"Deconstruction pour moi, but not for thou." But I've got to get back to work.

But I'll leave you with this bit of insipid slice of collegiate life:

Monday, February 12 is Charles Darwin's 198th Birthday. Come to the Grissom lobby between 12:30 and 2:30 to celebrate! Discuss your favorite adaptation! Eat cake and hypothesize about its evolutionary relationships! Watch videos about evolutionary theory! Enter for a chance to win books by Darwin and about evolution! Play Darwin bingo! Fun will be had by all.

It was the Darwin Bingo bit that got me. What would that look like, exactly?

Posted by Steve-O at 12:33 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Czech Bounces Gore

President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Klaus when asked if he believes if we're "ruining the planet":

"Perhaps only Mr Al Gore may be saying something along these lines: a sane person can't."
Three cheers for New Europe! Heh.

Posted by Gary at 11:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Getting ready for Valentine's Day

Agent Bed Head style.

Posted by Steve-O at 09:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Not Completely Dead

The Tyson's Metro Tunnel, which recently looked comatose, has announced its intention to go for a walk on the news that Virginia has well over a year to finalize and deliver its plans to the Federal Transit Authority before it has to start worrying about losing funding for the project. The Commonwealth has been shush-shushing tunnel supporters on the grounds that their proposal is too late and would jeopardize Uncle's promise to pony up.

The WaPo sums up the insanity of this whole business rayther nicely today:

Every few weeks, it seems, bring another argument in favor of building a 23-mile Metrorail extension from the East Falls Church station to Dulles International Airport underground through Tysons Corner instead of on an elevated track.

And yet the $4 billion project marches toward the construction of a raised structure that would slice across Tysons on a track as high as 70 feet, complicating Fairfax County's efforts to create a walkable downtown.

After coming close to choosing the underground route last summer only to be warned against it by federal transit officials and Northern Virginia congressmen, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) is standing by his decision against the tunnel, even as the protests grow louder.

This has left people in Northern Virginia puzzling over a single question: How is it that an option that almost everyone agrees is preferable probably won't get built?

How, indeed. Meanwhile, Governor "Aw, Do Us A Favor" Kaine is still looking for somebody to whack the Tunnel on the back of the head and toss it on the dead cart:

But Kaine is showing no sign of changing his mind. There is still too great a chance that altering plans would delay the project by two years or more, driving up the cost and imperiling the needed federal funding, Kaine and his staff say. It's better, they say, to proceed with the project, imperfect as it may be, and get it done on schedule -- with construction starting next year and reaching Tysons by 2012 and Dulles by 2015.

This has left tunnel supporters directing their ire at Kaine, even though it was his willingness to reconsider a tunnel last summer that helped spark the opposition to the elevated track and raise expectations for a change in design.

His insistence on forging ahead as been particularly hard to accept for the many Northern Virginians who consider themselves Kaine supporters but who dread an elevated track in Tysons.

They say they believe Kaine when he says he really would prefer to have a tunnel but are flummoxed by his and others' inability to follow through.

"I am a very loyal Tim Kaine supporter, and I understand the issues that he faces . . . but I can't explain it," said Bill Felmlee, a Vienna resident and member of the Fairfax Democratic Committee. "I can't explain what's going on."

Don't blame me - I voted for Kilgore.

Posted by Robert at 09:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Grammys Dig Chicks

Five of them. And of course it's being spun as some kind of national rebuke against those who dared to stop listening to their CDs.

Of course, it not likely to dawn on these twits that receiving these awards from the members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (as opposed to say, uh I dunno, the music fans) is the equivalent of Al-Jazeera bestowing Muqtada al-Sadr with the title of "Sexiest Man Alive".

Dirty Harry at Libertas weighs in on the silliness:

They went from selling tens of million of records to less than 2 million. They went from #1 hits to not being able to crack the Top 20. They went from filling arenas to cancelling tour dates and having to play in Canada. They went from winning awards for their work to winning consolation prizes for their politics.

If they only understood it wasn’t their politics that cost them their audience — that it was their unbridled arrogance — they wouldn’t be taking those Grammys to Canada on their next tour. Of course, they might not have won those Grammys otherwise, because it appears they won big last night, not for their music, but instead for, “Best Performance By Rich White Beautiful Females Who Have Everything At Playing Whiney Liberal Victims.”

"Taking those Grammys to Canada on their next tour". Snort.

Posted by Gary at 09:16 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Storm of the Century of the Week Update

Looks like Mother Nature has decided to go with the hanging curve instead of bringing the heater:

At the time of precipitation onset... light rain and snow will dominate over northern and central Virginia... the eastern Panhandle of West Virginia... the Potomac Highlands and lower southern Maryland. Precipitation will begin later this afternoon and evening in The Highlands and spread eastward. The precipitation type is expected to change over to snow and sleet tonight. On Tuesday... snow and sleet will change to freezing rain over most areas by the afternoon. Over lower southern Maryland... freezing rain may change over to all rain late Tuesday night.

Snow and sleet potential overnight Monday into Tuesday could
total one to two inches by Tuesday morning in the Potomac
Highlands with around an inch expected elsewhere. Tuesday and
Tuesday night... significant accumulations of freezing rain are likely
across most of region. Temperatures are forecast to remain below
freezing from Monday night through Wednesday morning... with the
exception of lower southern Maryland.

This means that we get all the nastiness of a winter storm without any of the benefits, i.e., snow in which to play. I suppose it's my fault, as I had told the Llama-ettes over the weekend that we might get a big snow fall.

Posted by Robert at 08:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I've been officially silenced

My first reaction, upon reading Robbo's heartfelt notice that he's being called before the Episcopalian Inquisition, was, of course, to go pull down a picture of Joan of Arc being roasted at the stake for being a heretic, and then tastefully pshop Robbo's LLama head on top. But as I was doing so, The Dear One came by and put the serious kibosh on THAT. Inflamatory, she says.

So I'll have to leave you with this:

SOOPER SEKRIT MESSAGE TO ROBBO: I didn't say I didn't finish it; check the Tasty Bits Mail Sack.

Posted by Steve-O at 08:11 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Meanwhile, back at the Church of England...

I guess this is one way to get the kids in your class into creative writing.

Posted by Steve-O at 07:56 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 11, 2007

That's My Church!


"All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Church Fuzz nicked them all!"

No, Leicester isn't dead on the landing, but my bloviations here have been found out by the diocese and my parish. (The details are still a bit hazy, but apparently I got quoted by the Secessionists in a letter to the Bishop. Sooper sekret message: thanks for nothing, guys!) According to the wardens who visited me this evening, I will be a topic of discussion at tomorrow night's vestry meeting. Robbo hits the Big Time at last. Wish me luck.

The issue isn't so much content, but the fact that I've been doing pretty much what I'm doing right now without disclosing it to anybody. Fair enough, I suppose, and I intend to come clean.

Man: "It's a fair cop, but Society is to blame."
Detective Parson: "Agreed. We'll be charging them, too."

However, I also said that I intend to keep at it. If I get poked with the soft cushions, so be it. (Yes, I know I'm switching allusions, probably in violation of section tiddly-pom of the Monty Python Riffs Act. But I've finally achieved Bad Boy status. And it feels gooooood!) HOWEVER, just to make perfectly clear that this blog in no way represents the O-fficial opinion of my vestry, my parish, the local clergy, the diocese, anybody else in the ECUSA or my long-lost Uncle Dave who believed in a Constitutional right to free love and government-issued marijuana, I also said that I would tack a disclaimer onto each of my future posts regarding the current trials and tribulations of the Church. I can't think of a better model than the disclaimer that we, er, already have posted over to the right, so I will simply borrow from it:

All opinions expressed on this weblog are those of the authors (and their auditory hallucinations). The authors' opinions do not represent those of their employers, their churches, their dental hygenists or people who think classical opera ought to be staged in modern dress in order to be "relevant" to their audiences. All original material is copyrighted and property of the authors. Don't like our opinions? Get your own damn blog!

Heck, I reckon if no other good comes of getting stood up in the hollow square and forced to confess, at least it might boost traffic a bit.

UPDATE: Just in case you were wondering, full disclosure here dictates that I reveal that my vicar is the Irreverant Arthur Belling and my Church is St. Looney-Up-The-Cream-Bun-And-Jam.

UPDATE DEUX: Still having trouble understanding what I'm up against? Consider this:

UPDATE TROIS: Thankee everybody for your support. As a matter of fact, I don't really expect to get my head plunged in the baptismal font and Communion waifers shoved under my fingernails. And nobody has suggested that I should stop yapping about things here. Instead, it's more a matter of transparancy - if I'm going to be the Parish Crank, then everybody ought to know about it before discussing things around me. As I say, fair enough.

YIPS from Steve: I'll be leading the chant of potbanging protestors outside, chanting

Hey! Hey! Robert Goulet! Don't Send Robbo to the auto de fe
Posted by Robert at 08:53 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Nothing to see here

Nothing, nobody, mind yer own business....

Posted by Steve-O at 08:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Well, THAT'S a relief

Seriously, now, Bill's back from Iraq, and has the latest in his series of first hand reports, a night-time patrol in Fallujah.

Glad to have you back, Bill.

Posted by Steve-O at 07:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sadly, yes

The Commissar:

Or, perhaps I am naive. Perhaps the Dem politicians and the Netroots activists really only care about political power. Perhaps they care nothing about making real changes. Perhaps, as long as they can set themselves up to hold onto power and take the White House in 2008, they are quite content to let American soldiers and marines keep dying needlessly in Iraq. Ya think?

Umm, yes. And.........something about dogs and fleas comes to mind.

And to think, I popped over to his place expecting some big to-do over the impending birthday of Charles Darwin.

Posted by Steve-O at 07:51 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


You know the Hatemonger's Quarterly is going upscale when Chip and the Rest of the Crack Young Staff are going on retreat for the week, and get the Maximum Leader to fill in. Of course, the timing was impecable, as "Chip's" "post" about the pomo froot loops at the Duke Arts & Sciences faculty gets flagged by Durham in Wonderland, the leading chronicler of the insanity that is the Duke/Nifong/Gang of 88 travesty.

Posted by Steve-O at 07:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

An effort we can soitainly endorse

Vodkapundit links to an effort to help raise funds for the construction of a statue to Ronald Reagan in Katowice, Poland, which is to replace the former occupant, a statue "commemorating" the Red Army. Former Solidarity members floated the idea, and the mayor likes it: but he doesn't think government funds should be used.

Sounds like the Reaganesque answer.

Posted by Steve-O at 07:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


So I'm curious as to how Hillary Rodham Clinton Rodham is going to go about thrashing Obama enough to ensure he loses the primary while at the same time preserving enough of his image to make him an effective Veep candidate on her ticket.

As the Wicked Witch of the West said, "These things must be handled delicately..."

Posted by Robert at 01:24 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

It's The Storm of the Century of the Week!

I'm beginning to get a bit jazzed:

... Winter Storm Watch remains in effect from Tuesday morning through Wednesday morning...

A low pressure system moving out of the plains states and
developing off the southeast coast of the United States will
affect the mid Atlantic early next week.

Accumulating wintry precipitation is expected to begin over
northern and central Virginia... central and western Maryland...
eastern West Virginia... and the District of Columbia Monday
afternoon and evening. Over the Shenandoah Valley... central
Virginia foothills and lower southern Maryland... precipitation
may begin as a wintry mix of snow... sleet and freezing rain and
continue through early Tuesday.

The heavier snowfall is still expected to occur Tuesday and
Tuesday night as a coastal low pressure system intensifies off
the mid Atlantic coast. While there is still some uncertainty
with the timing and exact track of the system... a high impact
weather event is likely.

The weather folks are still being coy about predicting possible accumulations, but this is setting up as a classic nor'easter. Round these parts, this can generate anything from a couple inches to a couple feet.

Frankly, we're about due for a heavy fall, the last one having been about three years ago. Plus, I like the sound of "The Valentine's Blizzard of '07."

And in the spirit of optimism, I hauled in an extra large load of firewood this afternoon and stocked up on birdseed and salt. Bring. It. On.

Posted by Robert at 01:21 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The name is Romance. Mister Romance.

The Missus and I went out on a hot date last night, or what passes for a hot date around here: dinner at the local Mexican place followed by a trip to the Barnes and Noble. We backed into that date plan about a year ago, as we had to pick up a birthday present for someone, and the logical dynamic of it just struck. With four kids running around the house, the only thing of value at more of a premium than privacy is good conversation.

I've a backlog of stuff that I want to write about---I'm currently caught up in my gardening planning and will put in the first wave of the seed order later today. I've got a little photo essay cooking, but first I'll have to caulk the tub in the master bath, plus a dozen other chores that piled up during my bout with the Klingon Death Flu. This is the first weekend since November it seems like that we're not travelling, we don't have house guests, and everyone's healthy.

Not to mention later tonight, we're going to dip into what I got The Dear One for her birthday at the beginning of the month:

colin firth darcy buck naked with anna nicole smith corpse and britney spears beaver shot.jpg

Yes, yes, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, let the waves of gleeful derision and cackling commence from certain Cake Eaterly quarters in the great north woods. Sue me, sue me, shoot bullets through me..... The Dear One and I watched it when it was on A&E lo those many years ago: it was the winter before we had any kids, it was on the week of the big Charlottesville blizzard, and basically everything was shut down for a week---it was certainly the week of Jane Austen for us. We had a little party every night for her book club, we had a pot luck dinner followed by Colin Firth in our little grad school apartment. I even kept my "Tom Selleck could kick Colin Firth's brooding butt" jokes to a minimum. The whole thing occupies a special place in the memory vault, and yours truly, believe it or not, is good for the occasional good gesture in the marriage department.

Posted by Steve-O at 10:07 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 10, 2007

Gratuitous Buck Blogging

Buck Rogers show.jpg

Over the past month or so, I’ve had NetFlix sending me “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: The Complete Epic Series”. Buck Rogers, as many of you remember, was a show that somewhat successfully tried to jump onto the Sci-Fi bandwagon which was started by the first “Star Wars” movie in 1977.

TV producers saw the success of Star Wars and tried to catch lightning in a bottle. First there was the original “Battlestar Galactica”. While “Battlestar” produced a loyal viewership, it lacked the broader appeal that was necessary for a network TV show to prosper. This was compounded by the fact that it cost an average of $1 million per episode – a hearty sum even by today's production standards.

The show’s producer – Glen A. Larson – then tried something different. Borrowing a little from the Aaron Spelling school of television magic, “Buck Rogers” was designed to pull in male audiences ranging in age from pre-puberty to thirty plus with the enticement of beautiful women in tight-fitting costumes and lots of action. The result was a show that many guys in my general age bracket watched religiously, willfully overlooking physics-defying implausibility, cheesy special effects and absurd plot lines to get their weekly dose of big hair and bare midriffs.

Now most of our memories of the show are fond ones, but before you invest the time and money in re-watching any of this on DVD, let me review this series – episode by episode - so you can make a more objective decision. I’m not trying to discourage anyone but I’d say it’s important to be fully prepared. In fact, I’ll be giving my overall ratings so you can decide which ones are – IMO – the most compelling to watch. I’ll rate them a) Must See, b) Decent and c) Pass. Today we’ll start off with the premiere episode.

It was September 20, 1979. It was a Thursday (I looked it up). It was 8pm on NBC. I was twelve years old and I remember watching it in my parent’s bedroom where the extra TV was. It all began with...

Ep. 1.1 & 1.2 “The Awakening (Parts 1 & 2)” (aired 9/20/79) – Ah, the pilot movie of “Buck Rogers” or what’s the show all about. Well, to watch the opening credits you’d think this should have been called “Outer Space Lap Dance”. The theme song, which was always featured at the end of each episode instrumentally, actually has lyrics written by none other than Glen A. Larson himself and sung by some guy named Kipp Lennon (no relation to John).

UPDATE: (I found a clip of the original credits - below)

note: the Wilma "hair flip" comes in around 2:10

The premise is of course that in 1987 Captain William “Buck” Rogers encounters some technical problems with his space craft and is sent on an orbital trajectory that brings him back around to the proximity of Earth in the year 2491. His life-support systems cryogenically freezes Rogers as 504 Earth years go by (all of this is explained to you by the authoritative voice of “Jake and the Fatman” actor, William Conrad). So in the opening credits, Buck is of course sleeping. The camera alternates between a sleeping Buck and several luscious women – including Erin Gray and Pamela Hensley.

The song goes:

“What am I, Who am I, What will I be?
Where am I going and What will I see?
Searching my mind for some truth to reveal,
What thoughts are fantasy and what memories real?”

Um, OK. So I guess we’re supposed to get the idea that while Buck is sleeping for 500 years, he’s dreaming about the babe-itute that awaits him in the future. Or maybe the whole 25th-Centruy thing is really a dream? Whatever. Of note, during the course of the credits there is a Rita-Hayworth style hair-flip by Erin Gray followed by a smoldering look into the camera. Sweet.

BTW, if these opening credits don’t sound familiar, there is a reason. I’ll get to that later.

Here’s the plot in a nutshell as most of us remember it: Buck is found and unfrozen by the Draconians, led by Princess Ardala, on their way to negotiate a peace treaty with Earth. Believing Buck to be a spy, they briefly interrogate him and then fill him full of happy pills to help erase his memory of the incident, sending his ship headed back to on course to Earth. The leaders of Earth allow him to land and though they are amazed to find out he may in fact be from their past, they suspect him of possibly being a Draconian spy. The Draconians are actually plotting an invasion of Earth and Buck figures out a way to single-handedly stop them. This wins him the gratitude and friendship of Earth’s leaders. After coming to grips with the idea that he can’t ever go back, Buck must now figure out how to adapt to life in the 25th-Century with the help of a little robot, Twiki, who acts as his sidekick. Twiki is played by vertically-challenged actor Felix Silla and voiced by the man of a thousand voices himself, Mel Blanc.

Buck and Twiki

Now obviously this is before the folks who re-booted the Star Trek franchise decided that the best way to differentiate an alien species from humans was to simply add a prosthetic cranial ridge to their foreheads and…voila! The Draconians look exactly like humans. And they have this ultra Star Destroyer-sized ship that can probably wipe out most of Earth by itself. And what does the Earth’s Defense Directorate have? Fighter ships.

Yes, that’s about it.

So if Draconia is interested in blasting Earth into submission why not just send a half dozen or so of these mega ships and release the hounds? Nah. That would be too easy. And of course, why would Draconia’s Supreme Leader (named Draco, of course) send his daughter to lead the fighting force?

Dr. Huer observing a couple of Draconia's natural resources

Simple: She’s smokin’ hot. Apparently, the original plan must have envisioned incapacitating all of Earth’s males by having the blood rush away from their brains straight to their johnsons.

Enter Col. Wilma Deering to counter-balance this advantage with some smokin’ hotness of her own. Unfortunately, the writers decided to have Erin Gray play Col. Deering as somewhat cold and guarded. Fans would have to wait for the next episode to be treated to the pastel satin flight suits. She does show a moment of vulnerability when at one point she decides to come on to Buck at a particularly inopportune time for him. But we won’t be getting any more serious contact between the two until the end of the season. The writers must have understood the impact of having them do the nasty: a complete destruction of their chemistry which would make the show “jump the shark”. This was a fate that would doom many TV shows in the future. But as the season unfolds, Wilma begins to lighten up and turn on the estrogen to become the object of desire for many a teenage fan.

Wilma: Armed and Dangerous

This pilot movie was originally shown in theaters, however it differed a bit from the version that was shown on TV. Specifically, the opening credits that I described earlier were clipped in favor of the standard opening “The year is 1987…” with the instrumental theme. There were also about five minutes of scenes that were also yanked out because they were considered a little racy, such as Twiki saying he was “freezing his ball bearings off”. New scenes were added to the TV version to replace the edited ones, such as Buck inspecting his new apartment. The scene where he requests that the phrase “I’d like to go to bed” as his voice-activated command to prepare his sleeping quarters be changed comes to mind. The DVD features the original theatrical release.

One thing that’s always bothered me about the depiction of post-apocalyptic Earth was the idea used in the early episodes of a “Computer Council”. Like the Dr. Theopolis character that Twiki carries around his neck, the robots on this Council seemed to have final say over the Earth’s political policies. I know that the recovered civilization felt it owed its success to technology but you’re telling me they abdicated control of their society to these little blinking metal smiley faces? Please.

"Twiki, get me some more damned "D" cell batteries. Now!"

I will give credit to the writers for coming up the “stargate” concept. Basically, this was a plot device that allowed Earth’s fighters to travel long distances across the galaxy almost instantaneously. Star Trek later expanded on this concept with its series “Deep Space Nine” and the idea of a wormhole was, up to that point, not a familiar one in science-fiction.

Episode Rating: Must-See (c'mon, it's the pilot fer crissakes)

Here’s some other trivia on the series as whole. The fighter ships used by Buck and Wilma were actually based on a design that was to be the Colonial Viper ship for “Battlestar Galactica”. It had been scrapped in favor of the now iconic triple-winged ship design that survived into the modern version of “Galactica”. Also, many of the costumes for “Buck Rogers” were filched from the BSG wardrobe department.

Next episode: “Planet of the Slave Girls”. Jack Palance rocks!

Posted by Gary at 02:26 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Snow Miser Watch

Mayan, I cannot remember such a protracted stretch of sub-freezing weather here in the Dee Cee area. If this doesn't finally kill the gladiolas that I didn't really want in the garden anyway, nothing will. Meanwhile, you can almost sense the excitement about the possibility of our first major snowstorm of the season coming in Monday night and Tuesday. Me? As Carol Burnett's bag-lady character used to say, "I been hurt a lot." I won't get too excited until it actually happens.

Meanwhile, those poor, poor folks in Upstate New York! Among their numbers are my semi-cousin, her husband and their infant son. He's Army Medical Corp and got posted this year to Fort Drum. The punchline is that his last posting was in....Hawaii.

Poor, poor folks......

Posted by Robert at 10:20 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Weekend Domesticity Observation

Experience has taught me that there are few tasks with greater potential for peril than reaching into a child's dirty clothes hamper.

Indeed, I'd sooner stick my hand into a bowl full of piranhas than face what the five year old is capable of.

Posted by Robert at 10:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

But don't you DARE question their patriotism

I'm pasting the entire thing because I have a feeling this is going to go down the memory hole. Save it and savor it, a profile of the heart of darkness of the American left:

Why I hate America by coolobserver

Thu Feb 08, 2007 at 02:22:24 PM PST

When pressed, I sometimes reply: "I don't hate America. In fact, think it's one of the best countries anyone ever stole."

coolobserver's diary :: ::
"Why do you hate America?" This is a remarkably easy question to provoke. One might, for instance, expose elements of this nation's brutal foreign policy. Ask a single probing question about, say, U.S. complicity in the overthrow of governments in Guatemala, Iran, or Chile and thin-skinned patriots (sic) will come out of the woodwork to defend their country's honor by accusing you of being "anti-American." Of course, this allegation might lead me to ponder how totalitarian a culture this must be to even entertain such a concept, but I'd rather employ the vaunted Arundhati defense. The incomparable Ms. Roy says: "What does the term 'anti-American' mean? Does it mean you are anti-jazz or that you're opposed to freedom of speech? That you don't delight in Toni Morrison or John Updike? That you have a quarrel with giant sequoias?" (I'm a tree hugger remember? I don't argue with sequoias.)

When pressed, I sometimes reply: "I don't hate America. In fact, think it's one of the best countries anyone ever stole." But, after the laughter dies down, I have a confession to make: If by "America" they mean the elected/appointed officials and the corporations that own them, well, I guess I do hate that America-with justification.

Among many reasons, I hate America for the near-extermination and subsequent oppression of its indigenous population. I hate it for its role in the African slave trade and for dropping atomic bombs on civilians. I hate its control of institutions like the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and World Trade Organization. I hate it for propping up brutal dictators like Suharto, Pinochet, Duvalier, Hussein, Marcos, and the Shah of Iran. I hate America for its unconditional support for Israel. I hate its bogus two-party system, its one-size-fits-all culture, and its income gap. I could go on for pages but I'll sum up with this: I hate America for being a hypocritical white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.

After a paragraph like that, you know what comes next: If you hate America so much, why don't you leave? Leave America? That would potentially put me on the other end of U.S. foreign policy. No thanks.

I like how Paul Robeson answered that question before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1956: "My father was a slave and my people died to build this country, and I'm going to stay right here and have a part of it, just like you. And no fascist-minded people like you will drive me from it. Is that clear?"

Since none of my people died to build anything, I rely instead on William Blum, who declares, "I'm committed to fighting U.S. foreign policy, the greatest threat to peace and happiness in the world, and being in the United States is the best place for carrying out the battle. This is the belly of the beast, and I try to be an ulcer inside of it."

Needless to say, none of the above does a damn thing to placate the yellow ribbon crowd. It seems what offends flag-wavers most is when someone like me makes use of the freedom they claim to adore. According to their twisted logic, I am ungrateful for my liberty if I have the audacity to exercise it. If I make the choice to not salute the flag during the seventh inning stretch at Yankee Stadium, somehow I'm not worthy of having the freedom to make the choice to not salute the flag during the seventh inning stretch at Yankee Stadium. These so-called patriots not only claim to celebrate freedom while refusing my right to exploit it, they also ignore the social movements that fought for and won such freedoms.

There's plenty of tolerated public outcry against the Bush administration and the occupation of Iraq, but it's neither fashionable nor acceptable to go as far as saying, no, I do not support the troops and yes, I hate what America does. Fear of recrimination allows the status quo to control the terms of debate. Until we voice what is in our hearts and have the nerve to admit what we hate...we will never create something that can be loved.

Mickey Z. can be found on the Web at http://www.mickeyz.net.

Tip of the towel to Allahpundit.

Posted by Steve-O at 09:13 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Random Six Degrees of Separation Quiz


Can you link Herman Munster and Obi-Wan Kenobi in one move? Answer below the fold and no sneeky looking it up at IMDB.

Yvonne Decarlo.jpg

The answer is Yvonne DeCarlo. In addition to playing Lily Munster, she was also in a nice little 1953 romantic comedy with Alec Guiness called The Captain's Paradise, which I happened to have watched last evening.

Posted by Robert at 09:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Llama Babe O' The Week

Ya know, Gary's been on board for two whole weeks now and not once has he dipped into his hoard of pics....No Melissa, no Diane, no nothing. (Sooper-Sekret Message to Gary - We had a deal!)

Well, until such time as the Ex-Donk assimilates fully into the Llama culchah, I guess it's up to ol' Robbo to keep things going. Therefore, I give you one of the most staggeringly beautiful women in the world (except when she butches her hair), Isabella Fiorella Elettra Giovanna Rossellini:


Ciao, Bella!

Yips! from Gary:
I guess Judi Giuliani isn't going to cut it, huh?

Relax, I'm pacing myself.

Posted by Robert at 09:00 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Plum Blogging

Stephen Fry on the literary genius (yes, genius) of Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse:

Wodehouse's genius in the Jeeves and Wooster canon lies in his complete realisation of Bertie as first-person narrator. Almost all the other stories depend upon standard, impersonal narration. The particular joy of a Jeeves story comes from the delicious feeling one derives from being completely in Bertie's hands. His apparently confused way of expressing him- self both reveals character and manages, somehow, to develop narrative with extraordinary economy and life. Since the Jeeves stories often lead one from the other, he will often need to repeat himself, which he manages to do with great ingenuity. He is called upon more than once, for example, to remind the reader about the dread daughter of Sir Roderick Glossop. The first example shows Bertie's way with Victorian poetry:

"I once got engaged to his daughter Honoria, a ghastly dynamic exhibit who read Nietzsche and had a laugh like waves breaking on a stern and rockbound coast. "

Another description of precisely the same characteristics in Honoria give us a very Woosteresque mixture of simile:

"Honoria... is one of those robust, dynamic girls with the muscles of a welter-weight and a laugh like a squadron of cavalry charging on a tin bridge."

Sometimes Bertie's speech moves towards a form of comic imagery so perfect that one could honestly call it poetic:

"As a rule, you see, I'm not lugged into Family Rows. On the occasions when Aunt is calling to Aunt like mastodons bellowing across primeval swamps... the clan has a tendency to ignore me."

The masterly episode where Gussie Fink-Nottle presents the prizes at Market Snodsbury grammar school is frequently included in collections of great comic literature and has often been described as the single funniest piece of sustained writing in the language. I would urge you, however, to head straight for a library or bookshop and get hold of the complete novel Right Ho, Jeeves, where you will encounter it fully in context and find that it leaps even more magnificently to life.

Hear, hear. Indeed, I plugged in the link to the novel precisely in the hope that, if you don't already have it, you'll nip over and purchase a copy right now.

I must say that I've never liked the Bertie & Jeeves tee vee series that Fry and Hugh Laurie did together precisely because Bertie Wooster's narration cannot be reproduced on the screen. (Well, there are some other things about it that I dislike also.) However, my criticism is somewhat tempered by the fact that both Fry and Laurie acknowledge this weakness and appreciate love Plum's writing for what it is.

Yips! to Sir Basil.

Posted by Robert at 08:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Because Any Drink Tastes Better When It's Poured From A Fish's Mouth

The Irish Elk notes the new life that has been given to the Shreve, Crump & Lowe cod pitcher.

Me, I'm more of a freshwater kind of guy:


Posted by Robert at 08:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Musickal Posting

I heard something interesting on the radio yesterday, a reconstructed overture written by Beethoven for an operatic version of Macbeth that was never completed.

The manuscripts of this and some other lost pieces were rediscovered a few years ago and have been cleaned up and in some places completed since. Now they're being performed and a CD (from which WETA played this cut) is to come out shortly.

Here's the website dedicated to these works. (Warning: turn down your speakers or the incessant repetition of the opening bars of the Fifth Symphony will drive you batty.) And here's what it has to say about the "Macbeth" Overture:

The overture starts with a slow Largo introduction, derived from the op. 70 nr. 1 trio, and is followed by a concentrated Allegro assai, which has original features like a sonata form starting with a fugato, and a close interweaving of the Largo and Allegro assai tempi in the development section. The second subject, based on a horn fifth, has been heard as a musical representation of Macbeth by some, and it certainly seems appropriate for that. The piece ends with an impressive, long descending chromatic scale.

Gloomy, dramatic and violent, the music deals in a profound way with Shakespeare’s tragedy, as has been noted by several critics and musicians; Scott Burnham, Beethoven scholar and author of “Beethoven Hero”, called the piece “a miracle”. What has not generally been appreciated, however, is that the overture refutes the dominant view in 20th century musical thinking, namely that it is not possible to create new significant music using only conventional harmonies and techniques. As such, the Macbeth overture raises fundamental questions: what does truly matter about the musical experience, what do we mean by “high art”, are the 20th century dogmas still relevant in the 21st? If the musicians have the courage to face these questions, then the piece holds the promise of becoming the overture to a new chapter in the history of Western Music.

Frankly, this sort of hooey is what gives "high art" a bad name. Damn those dogmas that keep knocking over trashcans and biting the kids! And on which planet, exactly, has 20th Century musical thinking been confined by the restraints of "conventional harmonies and techniques"?

Perhaps what the fellah meant was that our appreciation of Beethoven's music here ought not to be constrained by such thoughts, which translates into "If you don't enjoy this piece, you're a knuckle-dragging boob."

I confess that I only heard the piece imperfectly, but it struck me more as a curiosity than a "miracle." It seemed clunky and uneven and the only "musical experience" I had as a result of the wanderings into abstract techniques and harmonies was a longing to hear the "Egmont" or the "Coriolanus" instead.

Guess I don't have the courage to face those "questions." Maybe if I had a bit more brie and Beaujolais.

Posted by Robert at 07:39 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

St. Anna Nichole of the Blessed Hooters

Not to speak ill of the dead, but I'll be awfully glad when the press drops its "plucky, humble Texas gal who made good in a turbulent world!" shtick. (I even saw one story comparing her to Marilyn Monroe yesterday.) The woman was a trainwreck on just about any level you could name.

Which, come to think of it, reyther does make her a bit like Monroe.

I still wish they'd stop it, though.

Posted by Robert at 07:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 09, 2007

How many Irish stereotypes can you cram in one sequence?

I mean, there doesn't appear to be a drunk priest, a crooked cop, or a Kennedy, but other than that they seem to have it covered. Apparently this is the show NBC is replacing Studio 60 with.

What's the perfect thing to wash this tee-vee show down with? Why, how about BobGirrl's famous "Bacon Ice-Cream." Personally, I'd be interested in hearing Professor Chaos's take, particularly now that he is a passport-carrying citizen of the old sod.

I'd also like to hear from Mrs. P., who is floating a conspiracy sure to make dear Robbo spit scotch out his left nostril. To be honest, I remember hearing that theory about two years ago, floated alongside Charles never ascending to the throne because he's secretly gone moooj.

Posted by Steve-O at 06:33 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Miss Me?

I left this morning at my usual time and actually got home an hour and a half early. Yet because I did about a 400 mile round trip in the interim, I found myself saying things like, "Boy, it feels different," as I was pulling in.


Incidentally, thankee for the suggestions about lunch in Williamsburg. As it happened, the schedule got snafued and I wound up eating Wendy's on the road. Which, with a stick shift, proved a bit of an adventure.

Posted by Robert at 05:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

This Ain't No Place For Chill-ren

Nonetheless, it's the #7 Google result for "disney world strollers for infants".

Of course, the post it links to is one of a classic series by Robert. Must reads, I say.

Posted by Gary at 12:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Caledonian Cultural Blogging

While there isn’t complete certitude in my family as to the exact path that my paternal genealogy takes, it’s generally accepted that my ancestors can be traced back to the land of Robert the Bruce, via Nova Scotia.

In the spirit of the sentiment “if it’s not Scottish, it’s crap”, I present a clip that some guy culled from the film “So I Married An Axe-Murderer”. It’s comprised exclusively of all the scenes in which Mike Meyers plays his own father – a fiercely (roll that “ier” sound when you pronounce it) proud Scotsman. Enjoy it before some fargin bastage at Paramount sues YouTube.com to get it removed.

It's Friday. "Let's get pissed!"

Posted by Gary at 09:46 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 08, 2007

Some Inudstrial Strength Friday Humor

I probably won't get around to posting tomorrow, so I leave you with a bit that is central to my entire world view. A tad long, but well worth it:


Posted by Robert at 11:14 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Who knew Spalding Smails was a Democratic Congressman?

Times like this make me proud to be a political scientist.

Posted by Steve-O at 08:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Anyway, Andrew Sullivan walks up to this ethnomusicologist and says, “Do you know Bush is using sleep deprivation at Gitmo?” And the ethnomusicologist says, “No, but if you hum a few bars I’ll play it on my bone flute.”

Mark Steyn IS teh funny!

Go here and here if you need a little help on the backstory.

Posted by Robert at 05:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Civil War Posting


Happy birthday to Gen. William Tecumseh ("Cump") Sherman, born this day in 1820 in Lancaster, Ohio. Here's a brief biography of the man who became famous for his belief in the use of total war:

It should be "pure and simple" as applied to the belligerents. I would keep it so, till all traces of the war are effaced; till those who appealed to it are sick and tired of it, and come to the emblem of our nation, and sue for peace. I would not coax them, or even meet them half-way, but make them so sick of war that generations would pass away before they would again appeal to it.

- Letter to Major General H.W. Halleck, September 17, 1863

I've heard of Gen. Petreus being refered to as a "modern day Sherman" recently. I hope this is correct.

Two bits of trivia about Sherman's Civil War exploits. First, my great-great grandfather served under him as an artillery officer during the drive on Atlanta. Second, Henry Clay Work, who wrote "Marching Through Georgia" in celebration of Sherman's March to the Sea, was born in Middletown, CT where I went to college. There's a bust of him on the town green that I used to run past on my way to the boathouse and back. I sing the song every now and again just to annoy those around me:

Bring the good old bugle, boys, we'll sing another song
Sing it with a spirit that will start the world along
Sing it as we used to sing it, 50,000 strong
While we were marching through Georgia.

Hurrah! Hurrah! we bring the jubilee!
Hurrah! Hurrah! the flag that makes you free!
So we sang the chorus from Atlanta to the sea
While we were marching through Georgia.

How the darkies shouted when they heard the joyful sound
How the turkeys gobbled which our commisary found
How the sweet potatoes even started from the ground
While we were marching through Georgia.


Yes and there were Union men who wept with joyful tears,
When they saw the honored flag they had not seen for years;
Hardly could they be restrained from breaking forth in cheers,
While we were marching through Georgia.


"Sherman's dashing Yankee boys will never make the coast!"
So the saucy rebels said and 'twas a handsome boast
Had they not forgot, alas! to reckon with the Host
While we were marching through Georgia.


So we made a thoroughfare for freedom and her train,
Sixty miles of latitude, three hundred to the main;
Treason fled before us, for resistance was in vain
While we were marching through Georgia.


Posted by Robert at 04:12 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

That's My Church!


David Virtue rips into Her High Priestessness, Katharine Jefferts-Schori:

The new Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, has revealed herself to be the mistress of a post-modern deconstructed gospel that pushes earthly salvation, while placing atonement and eternal salvation right outside the orb of Christian conviction.

The 52-year old former oceanographer gave an interview to USA TODAY in which she expounded on what she believes the Christian Faith is all about.

She says she sees two strands of faith: One is "most concerned with atonement that Jesus died for our sins and our most important task is to repent." But the other is "the more gracious strand," she said.

It "is to talk about life, to claim the joy and the blessings for good that it offers, to look forward. God became human in order that we may become divine. That's our task."

Mrs. Schori wants us to reach out to a lost world, not with the timeless message of the Good News of God's salvation through faith in the risen Christ, but with social action.

"It's no longer the social norm to be a Christian," Mrs. Schori says. Her answer isn't to ramp up on orthodoxy but to reach out to all ages and cultures with Christ like social action, she told USA TODAY.

Mrs. Schori equivocates on such essential doctrines such as the necessity for atonement and the exclusivity of salvation through Christ; instead she believes and teaches that the more urgent task is focused on this world rather than worrying about the next world.

Read the rest. The reason KJS and her ilk do not consider focusing on the next world to be of any particular importance is because they don't really believe it exists. And if you think I'm exaggerating about this, read the writings of Bishop Spong or Marcus Borg (who spelled out his views in a fascinating dialogue with Bishop N.T. Wright that I recently read). To them, the only real relevence of Christ is the power of a belief in Him to make us do good things for each other. This is "divinity" as recognized by the Left in the Church, and the reason behind statements such as "God became human in order that we may become divine."

See, God isn't God - God is really Us!

Yips! to the Colossus.

BTW, speaking of N.T. Wright, who happens to be Bishop of Durham and an orthodox hard-liner, go read this fascinating interview in which he muses on the future of the Communion and the ECUSA within it. The crack up is a'comin' fast.

Yips! to NBS.

Posted by Robert at 03:15 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Manipulative Feline Posting

Via Lynn S I found The Daily Kitten - "A new kitten every day....at 3:07 p.m"

The "Awww" factor is what you might image.

As regular readers may know, there are two cats at Orgle Manor. I don't much care for cats. Each of them knows this.

The elder, Jenny, has now firmly reached middle age and is, as typical, much more demanding of attention than she used to be. In fact, every morning when I get up for work, she insists - with loud yowling - on at least five minutes' worth of non-stop petting. This can prove very difficult when one is trying to do up one's tie at the same time.

The younger, Bella, has taken to throwing herself in my lap every time I sit down, where she thoroughly enjoys having her throat and jaw stroked. The other day, the Missus remarked on how sweet this was, how evident it was of Bella's total trust in me.

"Yes," I replied, "but you do realize that if the situation were reversed, she'd rip my throat out, gut me on the spot and save my bones to be crunched for the marrow later?"

The Missus is fond of cats.

When I make remarks like this, she's not so fond of me.

Posted by Robert at 02:04 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Kids, Don't Smoke And Ski...M'kay?

An Albany man named William Barrett was charged with toking up and engaging in the five-knuckle shuffle in a glass-enclosed ski lift in Vermont, according to a witness.

The witness, according to a police affidavit, could see a naked man standing up in the enclosed ski lift car. The witness said the man was masturbating.

The witness noted the number on the side of the gondola and made a report to the ski patrol when he got to the bottom of the hill.

Police and Stratton security greeted a fully dressed Barret at the bottom of the hill, and the witness identified him as the naked lift rider.

Barret told police he had taken off his jacket and shirt "because it was a nice day," authorities said. But the officer at the scene, Gregory Gould, noted he was shivering despite his long-sleeve uniform shirt and several layers.

When Gould saw a black cloth pouch protruding from Barret's pocket, he asked what it was. Barret allegedly replied, "More trouble."

Inside the pouch, Gould said he found a lighter, a glass pipe and a film canister that contained a little over a gram of marijuana.

Barret was issued a citation.

In court Tuesday, he pleaded innocent to the charges. A status conference on the case is scheduled for April 23.

There are so many aspects of this story that raise the question "What was he thinking?", I just wouldn't know where to start.

Can you imagine being the police officer who had to question him?

"Sir, this man claims he saw you buck-nekkid and beating the bishop in there. No? And I suppose that's just frost on the window?"

Posted by Gary at 11:29 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Musickal Posting


Claudio Monteverdi's opera L'Orfeo, which is marking its 400th anniversary this month, is one of my very favorites. So it is with a considerable amount of trepidation that I read about a new London production being directed by Christopher Alden:

Rumour has it (Alden keeps his cards close to his chest in the interview) that the setting will be a sort of clapped-out Studio 54 disco, and if that is the case, some opera-goers are surely going to hate it.

But Alden believes that "however fascinating the era in which an opera was composed may be, I have a primary responsibility to the world we live in now."

He aims to create an environment where "things are being stirred up" – an analogy to the Mantuan court of Monteverdi's day and its interest in artistic experiment.

"The fascination of Orfeo is that it looks both forward and back," he adds. "Some of it has its roots in masque and Renaissance entertainment, some of it is incredibly modern in the way it makes music serve the text.

Sigh. What he says about the opera is perfectly true - it sits right on the cusp of the late Renaissance and the early Baroque. And Mantua was a thriving, energetic hotbed of artistic creativity at the time.

But where setting the story of Orpheus and Eurydice in a gorram disco is going to get us, I fail to see. Indeed, it doesn't even make any sense - the first part of the story is pastoral, full of shepherds and maidens and worshiping the local nature gods and hey, let's go lie in the shade of that grove of trees over there. As for Orpheus' journey into the Underworld, well, most of the music at that point is quite solemn and stately and would clash bizarrely with a lighted floor and spinning, sequined ball.

But here's the sentiment that really irks me: "I have a primary responsibility to the world we live in now." That translates into a statement either that modern audiences are too stupid to understand works older than, say, Miss Saigon, or else that they are somehow above doing so, both of which I find repulsive. One of the reasons we read or listen to a Classic (he typed patiently) is the very sense of connectedness to the past that it gives us, reminding us that the matters we think about, dream about, fear, love, etc., etc., are timeless, and that the art created by past generations in approaching them is every bit as valid as what we create ourselves. Putting cheap "modern" trappings around such art simply reenforces the terribly narcissistic modern tendency to believe nothing that happened before 1960 is the remotest bit relevant to our worldview. Perhaps the real responsibility to "the world we live in now" is to remind it of this now and again.

And, of course, there is the Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty angle: Even if you don't know a single thing about Mantua in 1607 or about ancient Greek myth, you can still enjoy the wonders of Monteverdi's music and the ins and outs of Orpheus' tragic and heroic story. Slapping a Saturday Night Fever vibe on it is both ugly and distracting.

(And here's a note to Mr. Alden: An audience that doesn't "get" the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, or "get" Monteverdi's interpretation presented in a relatively straightforward style isn't going to "get" the use of a Studio 54 setting as a metaphor for the changing artistic climate of Mantua in the early 17th Century either.)


For my own celebration, I'm going to pull out my DVD of the 2002 performance at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona by Jordi Savall and Le Concert des Nations and La Capella Reial de Catalunya. It's a beautiful, beautiful period performace, wonderfully sung. And you know what? I don't need a single piece of silly modernist "innovation" to understand it! (BTW, this performance is available at Netflix if you'd like to give it a try.)

UPDATE: Speaking of Netflix-available operatic performances, I recently tried out a recording of Gluck's Iphigenie en Tauride. I was particularly interested in it because Rodney Gilfrey, one of my favorite specialists in late 18th Century bass-baritone work, was singing the part of Oreste. (I have him singing the part in this excellent CD.)

What I wasn't expecting was the Attack of the Bubble-Headed Dopplegangers:


Yes, the main characters of the piece were shadowed by doubles decked out in giant paper-mache head pieces. As the principals sang, these doubles mimed their "inner thoughts." Here's an enthusiastic review of the same production done by a different cast (from which this pic is lifted). It's filled with the same relevant-to-modern-audiences bohunkus:

Without dressing the cast and chorus in Greek gowns and chitons—or decking them out in 18th century baroque versions of classic costumes—set & costume-designer Christian Schmidt has been able to update the opera's "period" visually without being untrue to the spirit of the work.

A classic Greek setting and costumes—not to mention baroque—now has the quality of a Brechtian Alienation Effect. Such remote periods of style must necessarily have a distancing effect for contemporary audiences: It all happened long ago, in a place not like this one, to heroic figures who are not at all like us.

Director Claus Guth and his designer have chosen a chastely restrained 19th century look, to bring the characters and their passions closer to modern spectators. Without suggesting that Iphigenia is making human ritual sacrifices either at Wal-Mart or the First Methodist Church.

"It all happened long ago, in a place not like this one, to heroic figures who are not at all like us." Is this really what we've been reduced to? Are we really so self-centered, culturally immature and short-sighted that we can't recognize scenes of intense human emotions written about 2500 years ago and set to music 225 years ago? Or is the collective wisdom that has preserved these works for so long actually wrong about their worth? You be the judge.

And as for the Bubble-Heads?

Guth and Schmidt have borrowed both the techniques of the Bread & Puppet Theatre and the now extinct Parisian Théâtre du Grand Guignol. The Guignol used to show the most ghastly murders and tortures on stage, in full view of the audience, who came only to see such horrors, not to enjoy a good play.

Four cursed members of the House of Atreus appear in this production as mute puppets—giant heads on actors' bodies. This seems a direct borrowing from Peter Schumann's Bread & Puppet Theatre, which is now having an extended run at Expo 2000 in Hannover.

Only two of these puppet-characters are actually in Gluck's opera.

Iphigenia makes her entrance—moving like a zombie toward the white metal bed, stage-center—wearing one of the giant heads. On the bed, she breaks open the head to reveal her own troubled face.

Advancing toward the bed from the opposite side of the stage is the puppet-head figure of her father, King Agamemnon. On the bed, he stabs her in the heart.

Her large entourage of white-clad priestesses—with impassive upper-face masks—in this moment also receive stab-wounds over their hearts. All the women, as Iphigenia, are clad in long white Victorian dresses—high necks, long sleeves, severely styled enough for Shaker women.

Instead of the ballets so loved by Gluck's Paris audiences, Helga Letonja has devised stylized movements for the women's and men's choruses which actually heighten the power of the emotions generated by the principals.

Both Iphigenia and Orestes have their puppet-doubles. Clearly, Guth intends these as alter-egos, for they pantomime emotions and intended actions which are only thought about—not carried out—by the siblings.

It would be more exact to call these strange, sometimes menacing figures Ids, rather than alter-egos, for they seem to call up deep elemental passions beyond reason or imagination.

Emphasis added. Of course, this is absolutely necessary because it's not like the principals and chorus are actually singing about any of these matters or anything (he typed sarcastically). In fact, there is plenty of exposition about what's going on inside our players' heads. To the extent that the pantomimes of the Bubble-heads are not in Gluck's original, the director has no business inserting them now. To paraphrase our own blogging motto, "Don't like the composer's intent? Get your own damn opera!"

Finally, it should be noted that even in its own terms the conceit of this performance fails a) because half the time it is unclear exactly what the Bubble-heads are supposed to be doing and b) because they are a terrible, terrible distraction from the real story. It strikes me that if one is going to pull this kind of stunt, one should at least draw the line at having it interfere with the underlying work (unless, of course, one is more interested in stroking one's own ego than in producing a performance respectful of the original).

Again, I say Feh!

Posted by Robert at 10:07 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Sammich Blegging

Have to head down to Williamsburg (VA) tomorrow. Can anybody recommend a good place to grab lunch and maybe hang for a bit? Otherwise, it's gonna be Shoney's.

Posted by Robert at 09:19 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Random Commuter Observations - Death or Chi-Chi Division**

Get squashed into a metro packed like cattle cars on their way to Kansas City or freeze my backside off on the platform for another five plus minutes in the hope the next one won't be so crowded......

Decisions, decisions.

(Actually, not so much so. I can't stand being an ingredient in a commuter sammich. Better to risk the frostbite - at least nobody will be touching me.)

**Bonus points for spotting the allusion. No hints. You're on your own.

UPDATE: I believe we have a winner, but since the source wasn't identified, I'll give you a bit more context:

A: Chief say, you have choice - death or chi-chi!

B: Gimme death, Chief.

A: Oh, you choose death! Wiiiise! But first, a little chi-chi!

UPDATE DEUX: Okay, here's the source of which I was thinking specifically.

Posted by Robert at 09:16 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 07, 2007

The Start of a Llama Judipalooza?

Climbing the charts to #7 on Google searches for Judi Giuliani!

judi giuliani.jpg

But I ask you - is this the same woman who appeared on the cover of the NYPost we put up yesterday?


Judi giuliani 2.jpg

You be the judge. Is the camera just fickle or does Rudy! have some s'plainin' to do?

Posted by Robert at 02:52 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

It's Not Wise To Upset A Wookiee

Even if he's just some dorky street-performer in a costume.

Police in LA arrested a man dressed as Chewbacca from Star Wars for allegedly head-butting a tour guide.

The guide had complained about Frederick Young's treatment of two visitors from Japan, reports the LA Times.

Guide Brian Sapir said: "You could see in his eyes he was exploding beneath the mask. He yelled at me, 'Nobody tells this wookiee what to do!' "

The incident happened outside the landmark Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard where generations of stars have placed their footprints in concrete.

Street performers dress as movie and cartoon characters to collect tips from tourists who pose for pictures in front of the cinema.

Tourists have complained that some costumed characters turn abusive when they refuse to pay them to pose for pictures.

not wise to upset a wookie.jpg
"Hey! Buddy! How 'bout a little somethin'...you know...for the effort?"

Posted by Gary at 11:05 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Edwards Camp Red-Faced Over "Blue" BlogMistress

Back in August, when Ned "Empty Suit" Lamont had to distance himself from his awkward alliance with Lefty blogs, I chalked it up to inexperience and naiveté.

But now even the veteran candidate John Edwards provides a cautionary tale for other Democrat Presidential wannabes who try to give their campaigns a "hipness" infusion via the nutroots.

Pandagon proprietor Amanda Marcotte was hired recently by the Edwards team to run their website. Why Marcotte? Well, she says it's because she and her partners "pride ourselves on being an issues-oriented blog". Well, she may be "issues-oriented" but Marcotte doesn't seem to be able to write anything without using the kind of colorful language that would make Robert DeNiro blush. Some of her recent gems (including Catholic-bashing rants) are highlighted by Michelle Malkin and Patterico.

Hey, look. I ain't no prude. And if the third commandment carries as much weight as the other nine, then I'm guessing I'll be going straight to hell. But the overuse of profanity and vulgarity can reveal quite a bit about the source. In Marcotte's case, whatever deficiencies she has as a writer can be disguised by her style which is clearly meant to shock and exude "coolness" - much like the way an adolescent tries too hard to show just how grown-up she is. Unfortunately, it only works if that's the kind of style a reader seeks out. Everyone else is left wondering what exactly is wrong with this person.

As far as I'm concerned, the Edwards campaign should keep Marcotte on because she only reflects poorly on them. And I consider that a good thing.

But Captain Ed explains why bloggers like Marcotte are not helpful to this new medium:

Unfortunately, we can expect this incident to make it harder for bloggers to make the transition into traditional political roles on campaigns. We already have a Wild West reputation for shooting off our mouths and thinking later, which I believe is mostly undeserved; the media will use this to reinforce that impression of the blogosphere. The truth is that the Edwards campaign didn't work very hard to keep a couple of Catholic-haters out of their payroll, and while the media will also report that, that will get missed for the more sensational story of those bloggers and the liability they represent.

The blogosphere features many talented and rational writers on both Right and Left, and even in between. It's incumbent on the campaigns that hire bloggers (and media outlets, too) to distinguish those from the frothing lunatics at all points on the political spectrum.

It should be obvious to any serious candidate for the Presidency how utterly foolish it is to be trawling for campaign resources in the Lefty fever swamp.

Uncomfirmed report by Slate says Marcotte and fellow new hire Melissa McEwan (aka Shakespeare's Sister) have been canned. (ANOTHER UPDATE: Or not, Edwards isn't saying for sure one way or the other. Yeah, exactly the kind of decisive leadership that would make him such a great Commander-In-Chief. END UPDATE) The nutroots is absolutely freaking, circling the wagons and calling for all out war against Conservative bloggers like Michelle Malkin (not to mention the Catholic Church). Just go to any major Lefty blog, find a relevant thread and read through the comments. They're pretty HIGH-larious.

Warning...Warning...***Self-importance Alert!***!

The nutroots looks bad in this situation, but they'll never understand why. Bryan at HotAir.com puts it this way:

Writing is a revelatory thing. Use of ALL CAPS is a shout; use of profanity to me reflects unseriousness and lack of a vocabulary (or at least a thesaurus) and a lack of manners. Using every single issue to smear and denigrate rather than persuade, enlighten, or heck, just entertain for a second, makes the writer look like a loon. Making every post somehow All About Me and My Proclivities That You Can’t Stop exhibits paranoia. It just does. And that’s why the two bloggers have become a liability.
Stand by for the coming "ACTION ALERTS". This is going to be interesting.

IowaHawk has a gut-busing parody called "The Pandagon Papers" - memos sent to John Edwards by Amanda Marcotte. Strong language advisory (as if you needed the warning).

The general feeling is that Marcotte and McEwan are not fired, but perhaps on double-secret probation. This is the outcome I prefer (as I stated earlier).

The net effect will be that:
1) Both these Blogmistresses in particular and the nutroots in general will be emboldened. And despite their plaintive responses will fail to learn from this experience. Expect them to keep an initially low profile but sooner or later they'll write something inflammatory enough to return Edwards to a similarly uncomfortable situation. The baggage will continue to collect.

2) Edwards standing among the nutroots will increase (as will his popularity in the straw polls) and Hillary will have an even finer line to walk in courting the primary voters.

All of which makes the 2008 Donk race that much more amusing.

Posted by Gary at 10:10 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Jumping the Shark - Disney Division

Cinderella III.jpg

I came home last evening to discover the Llama-ettes engrossed in Cinderella III - A Twist in Time, the second direct-to-video Cinderella release (yes, we have the first one as well).

Apparently in this one, the evil stepmother somehow gets hold of the fairy godmother's wand and goes back in time to the night of the fatefull ball. There, she does something or other in order to enable one of her own daughters to put on the glass slipper and win the prince's hand. This act alters history, strips Cinderella of her rightful destiny and....oh, I don't know what else because I didn't pay any attention.

A quick check reveals that Disney has done a number of direct-to-video sequels of other famous movies, including Aladdin and The Little Mermaid. Apparently, they've got another one based on Sleeping Beauty teed up for this fall as well. So far, however, Cinderella seems to be leading the field in terms of follow-ons. There's no good reason to suppose that Disney won't keep doing this as long as it sells. Bibbity-bobbity-ka-ching!

Perhaps in Cinderella IV it will be revealed that the evil stepmother is Cinderella's real mother and that the fairy godmother has been lying to her all this time in order to protect her. Then in Cinderella V, the mice will be tasked with taking the glass slipper to the fiery mountain near Prince Charming's castle, there to destroy it and rid the land of darkness forever.

Posted by Robert at 09:49 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Jumping the Shark - Global Warming Division

Drudge's headliners this ack emma:

POLL: Only 13% Of Congressional Republicans Believe Global Warming Caused By Man...
Gore says Bush admin paying scientists to dispute...
Governor Plans To Fire Oregon Climatologist for Skeptical View of Warming...
Delaware scientist's contrarian stand criticized...
China blames the west for climate..
Car Wars In Europe: PORSCHE CEO Rails at Emissions Caps...
Cambodians Ponder An Unfamiliar Concept: Cold...

What this tells me is that the "debate" at this point has almost nothing to do with actual science and almost everything to do with politics. I've pretty much done with paying any attention to the "evidence" proffered by any of the interests involved and instead am focusing on who is trying to grab what political power, which is, IMHO, the engine that is really powering things.

Posted by Robert at 09:19 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Quote of the Day

"Getting an inch of snow is like winning ten cents in the lottery."


Calvin & Hobbes

Posted by Robert at 08:52 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 06, 2007

Mitt's in

Things are starting to heat up.

First one to make a good "Sugar Mitts" joke gets an autographed LLamabutchers Thong.

Posted by Steve-O at 07:57 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Legal Griping


I hate days of intensive online Westlaw research. It does bad things to my eyes.

That's me - Abbe Normal, Esq.

UPDATE: Well, it has its moments as well. Witness the clarion call of the pro se plaintiff:

Plaintiff Dontigney, who also calls himself “Stepstrong Shadow,” is incarcerated at Enfield Correctional Institution. He characterizes himself as a “Native Indigenous American Mohegan Indian Red Skin of Connecticut ···” Pl. Mem. in Opp. to Def. Mot. to Dismiss [Doc. # 21] at 7. He alleges that defendants have harmed him by releasing “A Man Called Horse,” which was “false” and “non-authentic,” Complaint Count 1, ¶ 3, and wrongly portrayed Native Americans as “savages.” Id. ¶ 4. He alleges that defendants were trying “to convince the public through there [sic] actions-words-advertisements that [plaintiff] and indigenous native people are in fact savages as described in their words or there [sic] production package.” Id. The complaint further alleges that “as a result of the def[endants'] actions pl[aintiff] was severely prejudiced and bias [sic] against and made fools and clowns of. In other words the def[endants] made perfect ass holes out of indigenous native life and me the pro se Shadow pl[aintiff] on production and film. No man likes to be called names.” Id. ¶ 20. Plaintiff appears to claim damages of $165 million. See “Required Relief Equal Rights,” attached to Complaint.

The guy filed his claim in 2004. Seeing as A Man Called Horse is a 1970 film, there were juuuust a few statute of limitations problems with the suit.

But I suppose when you're locked up and have nothing else to do, why the hell not give it a whirl?

Posted by Robert at 02:03 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Rudy's In

Not that anyone had any doubt. But on an odd note, the NY Post refers to his wife - whom I've always known as Judith Nathan - as "Judi Giuliani". It's one of those names that will take some getting used to.

Kind of like Julia Guglia (pronounced Joolia Goolia) in "The Wedding Singer". Katherine Jean Lopez at "the Corner" feels the same way.

For the record, I'm hanging way back on any support for a 2008 candidate. But Rudy's definitely in the running for me.

Yips! from Robbo: We're already getting some "Judi Giuliani" Google hits. Way to go, Gary!

For some reason, the name calls to my mind Crispin Crispianus - but I also can't help thinking of Bob Loblaw.

Had no idea the interest this would generate, but as long as we're Google-chumming, let's go all out:

Rudi Judi Giuliani sweet kiss or sucking face.jpg
Looks like Rudy's prostate is back in business!!

YIPS from Steve-O: You call that going all out?

How about them apples: Rudy, in drag, getting felt up by a floor-walking Donald Trump.

Let alone this beaut: Guiliani goose-stepping in drag! Damn Fascist RethugliKKKhans with their darn fishnet stockings!
guiliani goose stepping in drag.jpeg

Posted by Gary at 10:30 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Happy Birthday, Mr. President!


On this, the anniversary of your birth, we ask that you reach down from Heaven and give the G.O.P. one serious collective dope-slap.

Yips! from Gary:
Dang, Robbo. You beat me to the punch.

In honor of the Gipper, let us enjoy a quote from his famous "A Time For Choosing" speech from 1964:

"Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant, but that they know so much that isn't so."

Posted by Robert at 09:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Well, Shoot

I noticed this headline over at Drudge today: Police Drone Plan Draws Fire In Florida.

Mistakenly adding a final "e" to "plan," I thought it might be a story about Floridians taking shots at police recon drones, but it turns out that the story is really about a squabble between the local cops and the FAA over whether or not the things can be deployed.

Pity, because it reminded me of a story about my dad. When he was in college at Ohio U., he used to fly fire patrols for the Forest Service in a little Piper Cub. Nipping about the hills of southeast Ohio, he would sometimes fly over illegal still sites. [Ed. - as opposed to the licensed ones?] On more than one occasion, he was shot at by the proprietors, and would sometimes return to the airport with buckshot lodged in wing or fusilage.

'Course, this was back in the 50's. I expect the Mountainy Men are much better armed these days.

UPDATE: So how is it that we turn up as the top hit on an MSN search for llama civil air patrol article?

Posted by Robert at 09:39 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Beat Me, Hurt Me, Make Me Wear Made-Up Ties

This week the Maximum Leader came in for a tongue-lashing from Mrs. Peperium over a remark he had let fall about the shipment of oysters.

This (and perhaps a wee overdose of Clovis Sangrail) got me to wondering if I could goad the fabulous Mrs. P into subjecting me to a similar scolding. (Yes, this is the stuff of proper early middle-aged fantasy. Deal with it.) Therefore, I've come up with a few sentiments to test Mrs. P's blood pressure and self-control. Hopefully, one of them will prove to be the mot outré.

I've put the list below the fold. Bonus points if you can figure out which ones represent my real beliefs.

Are you ready?

Excellent! Let's have at it then:

Robbo Llama's Top Ten Chain-Pulling Nekulturny Pronouncements:

10. Hunt seat is uncomfortable, inconvenient and dangerous. A western saddle is much preferable.

9. Jane Austen was a closet lesbian.

8. Motor boats are better than sail. Canvas jockeys only call them "stink pots" out of jealousy.

7. P.G. Wodehouse was a closet lesbian.

6. Why waste your money on Champers when there's plenty of good quality American "sparkling wine" available?

5. Evelyn Waugh's constant attempts to prove himself more Catholic than the Pope get rayther tarsome after a while.

4. You want a G&T in February, have a G&T in February!

3. Roger Kimball's Future Daughter-in-Law may wind up marrying a mechanic from Reno.

2. Sure the Episcopal Church no longer has a moral compass, but we do it all for love! And in the end, isn't that all that counts?

1. Oysters are vile. Period.

Okay, Mrs. P, I'm ready!

UPDATE: Uh, oh...looks like I'm in for a beeting.

Posted by Robert at 08:57 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack


In a season where old regulars are dropping their blogs like the first wives of cosmetic surgeons done with their residency, the opposite trend---dare we call it blog metastsis?---of people developing and maintaining multiple blogs continues to slowly grow. Latest victim: our old pal Jordana, who, besides maintaining Curmudgeonry, is now also running The Big Purple House to document their move to the, umm, big purple house.

The Queen of the blog metastasiszers remains Melissa Wiley, who is now up to four. (Links in a bit)

Posted by Steve-O at 08:37 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Random Commuter Observation

As usual, James Lileks says it best:

Without the wind it’s not that bad; wind makes the cold cruel and malevolent, a ravenous thing that sticks its fingers down your collar and up your cuffs. Without the wind, the air feels vast and vacant; the world is a great empty room, waiting to be furnished by the sun.

'Course, it's five below up where he is and ten above where I am. Many of you will probably dismiss this as so much mid-Atlantic nancy-boy whining, but I'm cold.

(Of course, I'll look back on these frozen commuter walks with fond feeling and not a little regret when I'm being parboiled in late July and early August.)

UPDATE: The Irish Elk has a dose of what'll warm up yer toes a bit.

Posted by Robert at 08:33 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 05, 2007

Gratuitous Historickal Posting

This is interesting:

VIRGINIA BEACH -- Army scientists looking at an archaeological study from 1955 and Colonial records have identified a site off the Lynnhaven River as the long-lost Henry Towne, one of the earliest English settlements in America.

In a 1613 letter, Lt. Gov. Samuel Argall described the outpost near Cape Henry as "Henries Towne," said Randy Amici, who led the team that conducted the work as part of an archaeological study of Fort Story in Virginia Beach.

Other accounts from the time suggest that Henry Towne existed as early as 1610.

"For the first time, we know that there was an early 17th-century English settlement in the city of Virginia Beach that was contemporaneous with Jamestown," Mr. Amici said.

Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement America, was founded in 1607.

The article notes that some other historians dispute this claim, pointing to evidence that suggests Henry Towne dated more toward the middle of the century, but still...

Apparently, a matter of a couple decades isn't preventing the locak historickal recreation crowd from running with this:

Whatever the settlement's date, its connection to early Colonial Virginia has sparked a recreated English town site, an Indian village and a historical drama scheduled to debut in April at nearby Cape Henry.

Financed by the nonprofit First Landing Foundation, the $700,000 project will include more than a dozen structures, an outdoor stage and seating for about 500 people.

"This is just the first phase of what we hope to do here," project coordinator Jeanne Evans said.

Speaking of Colonial Virginny, I see where the Episcopal Church is taking advantage of the approaching 400th anniversary of the Jamestown Settlement to indulge in a little multi-culti self-flagellation:

In many Native traditions, winter is the time for gathering to share stories. Out of those ancient ways came Winter Talk, an annual retreat for American Indian, Alaskan Native and Native Hawai'ian Episcopalians, lay and ordained.

For most of its 19-year existence, Winter Talk was held in Oklahoma. But the 2007 retreat, held January 12-16, gathered more than 70 participants at Chanco on the James, a retreat center owned by the Diocese of Southern Virginia. The center is across the James River from the site of one of the first encounters between the native peoples of North America and immigrants from Europe: Jamestown, founded in 1607 as the first permanent English settlement in what became the colony and later the state of Virginia. It is from Jamestown that the Episcopal Church traces its origins in the Americas.

According to Native American national missioner Janine Tinsley-Roe, holding Winter Talk there was a way of kicking off a year of reflection on the impact of the Jamestown settlement, reaffirming the Episcopal Church's 1997 Jamestown Covenant, and inaugurating a second Decade of Remembrance, Recognition and Reconciliation with indigenous peoples in the Episcopal Church.

Winter Talk is a place and time for native Episcopalians and Anglicans to laugh and cry and pray -- and laugh some more. For despite 400 years of struggle against displacement, poverty, and attempted cultural genocide, no gathering of native peoples is without abundant laughter.

"One of the ways first peoples overcome oppression is through humor," explained the Ven. Dr. Hone T. Kaa, from the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, representing the Mâori people of the "Land of the Long White Cloud."

"We tell jokes about each other as a way of easing the pain, a way of masking exactly how we feel about things," he said. "We are struggling to find our identity in the midst of a majority culture, but it doesn't have to be gruesome. It is what you make of it."

Not that there is no anger -- it is there, and very real. What may be dry narratives in a history book for non-Natives are deeply personal and living family memories that still affect the daily lives of Native people.

At Winter Talk XIX, participants were asked to respond to the story of the Jamestown settlement. What emerged after several days were stories and artwork reflecting the pain that reverberates from the impact of the European invasion as it swept from the East and Gulf Coasts to Alaska and Hawai'i.

Now I've really got no trouble with an honest assessment of the impact of European exploration and colonization of other parts of the world. Sure, it was pretty uniformly brutal owing to the superiority of European technology and social organization (hat tip: Victor Davis Hanson). But what drives me batty is the implication in this sort of kumbaya gathering that before the evil palefaces appeared, all was sweetness, light and harmony.

This is nothing but romantic primitivist sentimentality, indulged in by Europeans out of a sense of guilt and recognized by the nativist crowd as a useful political weapon. The truth is that tribes and peoples have been beastly to each other ever since Og realized that he could pick up a stick and, by whacking Nog, dominate him. And this was no different in America prior to European colonization. Cortez was able to conquer Montezuma because the local tribes were sick and tired of the brutal Aztec hegemony and recognized him as just the guy to get rid of it. Lewis & Clark's journals are full of accounts of the Sioux bullying everybody else on the Missouri and across the Plains, as well as similar local power struggles all the way to the mouth of the Columbia. And the Iroquois' own oral history states that in a time long past, the various branches of their Nation realized that, instead of beating the crap out of each other all the time, it was much more profitable to band together and proceed to beat the crap out of everybody else, which they did expertly and with every indication of keen enjoyment. (Not that some of them, such as the Senecas, didn't keep on beating the crap out of other Iroquois as well.)

Posted by Robert at 05:49 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

We Get Letters!

This was actually a comment but it came in to a post from a few days back and I thought I'd reprint it for your amusement:

You are very rude to be SLAUGHTERING llamas!, you hear me? that is just RUDE and I am VERY disiapointed in you. This is UNBELEIVEABLE that you would kill those ADORBLE little cute llamas!, Yu should be ashaimed in yourself. I have NOTHING else to say to you except for... I'M GOING TO DROP A HOUSE ON YOU!


The line between commenters who are just goofing around and those who really think that we spend our free time elbow-deep in camelid gore can be quite thin sometimes. I'm going with the former on this one just because of the threat.

For the latter crowd, before you swallow your collective tongues in outrage at our moniker, consider asking yourselves the question: Are "Llama Butchers" butchers who specialize in llamas, or are they llamas engaged in the profession of butchering? And what kind of "butchering" are we talking about here? Physical? Metaphorical? Colloquial? (Put that into your tinfoil pipe and smoke it!)

That's us Llama Butchers: A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside wool.

Posted by Robert at 04:06 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Hoth Commuting Observation

Hoth Commute.bmp

I didn't have much to say about the cold this morning as I was lucky enough to hop a train as soon as I got to the metro and had the wind at my back walking up to the office.

But this evening? Going to have that same wind right in my teeth the whole way. At this rate, I'm not sure I'll even make it past the first marker.

AlGore can kiss my frozen llama backside.

Posted by Robert at 03:34 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Global Warming: The Cold, Hard Smack-Down

There are three steps to the scientific method:
1) Observation
2) Hypothesis
3) Experimentation

The last step is intended to prove or disprove what is derived from step two.

Global warming alarmists, of course, don't need to be bothered with that pesky third step in asserting the validity of their half-baked hypothesis. Consensus is good enough for them. A leading climatologist who has not been assimiliated elaborates:

Since I obtained my doctorate in climatology from the University of London, Queen Mary College, England my career has spanned two climate cycles. Temperatures declined from 1940 to 1980 and in the early 1970's global cooling became the consensus. This proves that consensus is not a scientific fact. By the 1990's temperatures appeared to have reversed and Global Warming became the consensus. It appears I'll witness another cycle before retiring, as the major mechanisms and the global temperature trends now indicate a cooling.
Read the whole article, "Global Warming: The Cold, Hard Facts", here.

Now, the truncated version of the scientific method should not be confused with the three-stage business plan of the Underpants Gnomes, but the lack of inherent logic in both is strikingly similar.

Posted by Gary at 03:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack



Whilst eating my sammich just now, I was noodling about Algore's WorldWideWeb in order to dig up some useful information on Archimedes, as the seven year old has hit upon his theory of displacement as a suitable topic for her Science Fair project this year. In so noodling, I came across this site, which I had seen before but forgotten, documenting MIT's attempt to recreate Archimedes' Death Ray.

Very cool. Perhaps we need to rethink which of the man's achievements to demonstrate. I don't know if we could burn through the side of a mocked-up Greek trireme, but perhaps we could aim it at the squirrels out back.

And while we're on the subject, how about another science classic:

Posted by Robert at 01:57 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Happy Birthday to Me

grandpa simpson lost his marbles.gif

41 years cranky and cantankerous today.

Pardon me while I shuffle off to watch me some Matlock.

Posted by Steve-O at 01:40 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Medical Bleg

Anybody out there know the physiological reason why, when you whang your kneecap against the corner of your desk, you feel nauseous?

Just curious. (Urrp.)

Posted by Robert at 10:32 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Sooper Bowl Wrap

Well, congrats to Indy, I guess. I really didn't have a dog in the fight but had sort of been hoping that Chicago would win. At least it wasn't a blow-out and although I was predicting a Colts win at half time, Da Bears could have pulled it out.

I watched the game with the eldest Llama-ette. (What better way to get a kid involved than having the opening kick run back for a touchdown, btw?) We had a great evening together, especially after half time when the other two (who had got up their own ad hoc cheerleader squad) went to bed. Money quote: "Dad, those announcers say everything right after you do! How cool!" She took quite a keen interest in the art of getting one's feet down in bounds on a side-line catch owing to that challenge by Dungy in the first half. And by the time Grossman got picked the last time, she knew very well what is meant by "throwing a duck."

As for the peripherals, we both agreed that Billy Joel sounded awful and Prince was ridiculous. She also didn't like all the "drama" surrounding the little recap montages at each of the commercial breaks. And speaking of commercials, she laughed heartily at the beer ones (especially the rock, paper, scissors bit) and the Fed Ex moonbase one, but was fairly indifferent to the others. I felt more or less the same way.

[Hit "Rant On" button.] It might have only been in the Dee Cee market, but late in the 3rd quarter there was an anti-war ad from some Surrender Dubya! moonbat outfit. It featured a handful of vets (one without a hand) voicing their opposition to the surge and argued that because they did, all soldiers do and therefore, that if one really supports the troops, one must be against the surge. Frankly, I found the whole thing quite disgusting. Further, not only did it look as if it had been filmed in somebody's garage, it was staffed by people who looked like, well, the kind of people who would make crude anti-war commercials for the Super Bowl. Frankly, they came across as a gang of whiners, something which I don't suspect would sit too well with the kind of audience still likely to be watching the game deep into the 3rd quarter. So with any luck, maybe their message backfired. And if they blew their entire budget to get it on the air, so much the better. Bastards. [Hit Rant "Off" button.]

Anyhoo, all in all a pretty good game, the best part being watching with the gel, who stayed snuggled against my side the entire time, asked intelligent questions, appreciated all the thrills and spills and thoroughly enjoyed herself. It got me thinking ahead to lazy summer evenings - only 55 days to go!

UPDATE: Oh, yeah - we got a kick out of the Robert Goulet/Emerald Nuts ad, too.

UPDATE DEUX: John J. Miller has a link to the anti-war ad over at The Corner. He thinks it only ran locally, too.

Yips! from Gary:
No "wardrobe malfunction" in the half-time show (thankfully) but I'm surprised that there's been no mention around the net about this:

prince half-time silhouette penis.jpg


Posted by Robert at 09:09 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

February 04, 2007

Rolling With It

Pigeon Hawk.gif

The eldest Llama-ette and I were sitting in our library a while ago working on her reading comprehension homework. All of a sudden, there was a tremendous bang against the window. I looked up just in time to see a mourning dove flutter away. Coming up fast behind it was a pigeon hawk. The hawk circled the yard a couple times, alighting in various trees and looking extremely crabby, before it flew off.

Needless to say, the reading exercise quickly transmogrified into an ornithology lesson.

Posted by Robert at 03:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Yes He Can!


Staying home this morning with the post-sleepover-five-year-old-we-dare-not-unleash-on-Church, I finally got around to fixing a couple blinds the Llama-ettes had damaged. Through excessive yanking, they had pulled one end of the cords used to open and close the blinds right up into the thingy at the top. I took the blinds down, rethreaded the cords and properly evened out the ends.

A small job, I grant you, but immensely satisfying, as not being able to open them had been driving me batty for some time.

Posted by Robert at 11:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Post-Sleepover Observation

One house, five little girls.

What is this "patter of little feet" of which the sentimentalists speak? "Thunder" is more like.

Posted by Robert at 08:18 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 03, 2007

Dodd Chooses Campaign Song

Sen. Chris Dodd (A-hole-CT) a/k/a Sen. Hyphen (and the Bloated Blowhard From Bozrah) was among several Democrat Presidential hopefuls who appeared at the DNC's annual winter meeting to make a pitch for his candidacy (such as it is).

Each candidate got to pick the music that would introduce his speech. What did Dodd choose? Get Ready (Cause Here I Come) by the Temptations. Hmmm. Let's take a look at those lyrics, shall we?

If you wanna play hide and seek with love, let me remind you (It's alright)
But the lovin' you're gonna miss and the time it take to find you (It's outta sight)

So, fiddley-dee, fiddley-dum
Look out baby, 'cause here I come.

And I'm bringing you a love that's true.
So get ready, so get ready.
I'm gonna try to make you love me too.
So get ready, so get ready 'cause here I come.

(Get ready 'cause here I come) I'm on my way.
(Get ready 'cause here I come)
(Get ready)

If all my friends should want you too, I'll understand it. (Be alright)
I hope I get to you before they do, the way I planned it. (Be outta sight)

So tiddley-dee, tiddley-dum
Look out baby, 'cause here I come.

And I'm bringing you a love that's true.
So get ready, so get ready.
I'm gonna try to make you love me too.
So get ready, so get ready 'cause here I come.

Pretty racy, eh? He wants to make the nutroots and other constituencies love him too. Dodd, of course tried finding his fellow CT delegate Sen. Joe Lieberman early on (before anyone else did) and we all know how that went.

Lieberman took a pass.

I suspect most everyone else (who is anybody) in the Democrat party will as well. No wonder Dodd wouldn't want to play "hide and seek". No one would bother looking for him.

Posted by Gary at 05:25 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

False Advertising


I just received my copy of The Lexicon of Musical Invective: Critical Assaults on Composers Since Beethoven’s Time by Nicolas Slonimsky.

You'll see on the cover a depiction of G.B. Shaw splashing ink at Beethoven. However, a quick check in the index reveals a grand total of three measly quotes from Shaw, all of them about Brahms.

This is disappointing. Shaw wrote reams of musical criticism, much of it deliciously snotty. Whether he ever took a dig at ol' Ludwig Van I very much doubt, but he certainly had plenty of bile to spread about.

I suppose the selection of cover art has more to do with sales-generating face recognition than anything else.


Posted by Robert at 04:43 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Credit Where Credit Is Due

A recent conversation:

The Missus: So who's playing in the Super Bowl?

Self: Chicago and Indianapolis.

The Missus: Let's see. That's the Bears and........the Colts?

I was really quite pleased. The malicious part of my mind considered offering her a foot massage if she could name me the starting quarterbacks, but I thought better of it. She is going to let me watch the game, after all.

UPDATE: The menu for Sunday dinner? Fully loaded nachos. In front of the tee vee. I'm not worthy!

Posted by Robert at 04:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 02, 2007

Happy Groundhog Day

Looks like the little rodent didn't see his shadow this year and it doesn't take a genius to figure out that in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic states we're not exactly having a normal winter. So Yip! Yip! to that.

But today reminds me of one of my favorite Bill Murray movies - you know it, you love it - "Groundhog Day".


Jonah Goldberg has a must-read column in his archives that pays tribute to this classic and its philosophical brilliance (yes, I said brilliance). Check it out here.

And Robbo, since you're home today, you can watch it at 1pm on Comedy Central. Put down that "honey-do" list and enjoy the day!

Yips! from Robbo: I am ashamed to confess that although I've seen this movie maybe four or five times, I have never managed to stay awake all the way through. It's never been the movie itself, just the circs in which I've seen it. Must remedy that, but I'm not sure I want to arouse the Spousal Wrath by doing so this afternoon.

Posted by Gary at 09:56 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Utterly Gratuitous Historical Biographer Observation

D'you know, it was only last evening that I realized Elizabeth Longford was the mother of Antonia Fraser.

Learn something new every day.

(Yes, you see I'm finally, finally reading Longford's Wellington: The Years of the Sword. Saki for the metro, Longford for the evening.)

UPDATE: Speaking of Saki, as I make my way through his collected works for the first time, the same thought continually comes to mind - "You will, Oscar. You will."

Posted by Robert at 09:47 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Marriage 5.0

Today is my parents' 50th Anniversary.

As most of you know, Dad is just about ready to clock out. Frankly, there has been a considerable amount of surprise within the family and among the various hospice and nursing staff that he's hung on as long as he has. However, last August he had told me that one of his two remaining goals in life was to see his 50th Anniversary and there is some speculation that this is what has kept him going. (The other goal was to go fishing with me again, but as he was paralyzed, nobody thought this at all realistic.) Funny what control the mind can have on the body.

Of course, it's from the 'rents that I developed my own view of marriage, one which I'm sad to say appears to be largely out of fashion these days. I won't rant about that here, but instead will simply say this: Thanks, Mom and Dad.

Posted by Robert at 09:43 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

This One's For the LB Buddy

It's the wince-making candirú:

The candirú is a tiny catfish which dwells in the depths of the Amazon River. These fish do not hunt in packs like the piranha, nor are they exceptionally large like the anaconda. In fact, the candirú is among the tiniest vertebrates on the planet, and it is sometimes referred to as the "toothpick fish" due to its small size and slender shape. Only a handful of people have had the misfortune of crossing paths with the candirú, but their experiences serve as cautionary tales to any who venture into the mighty river.

Read on, but be prepared to do a lot of squirming. Peej O'Rourke mentions something about these encounters in his All The Trouble In The World as well. All things considered, I think I'd prefer to chance it with the piranhas.

Yips! to Jonah.

Posted by Robert at 09:22 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Non-Commuter Observation

Well, the Storm of the Century of the Week whiffed here in Dee Cee, with just a smattering of ice here and there.

I had mentioned the possibility of a snow day to the Missus yesterday. By the way her eyes lit up, I realized then and there that I had probably said too much.

In fact, Fairfax County schools are on a two hour delay this morning, but St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method only follows the public school schedule when it feels like it. No cancellation today, no delay.

Now as it happens, I'm off today anyhow - a perk of guv'mint employment deeply (though unacknowledgedly) resented by the Missus. As she trudged off this morning she gave me that look of Wifely Logic which said that somehow the fact that it didn't snow last night was All My Fault.

Posted by Robert at 09:10 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Let's Get This Party Started!

'Cause it's Friday! Whoo-Hoo!

And the snow I was expecting on the ground this morning was not to be found!


Yips! from Robbo: Welcome Aboard and, well, Yip! Yip! Yip!

For those who want to participate, I've included this brief instructional video, "How To Play The Cowbell":

Posted by Gary at 08:50 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 01, 2007

That's My Church!


It's Show Me The Offeratory! time: Episcopal diocese sues breakaways for property.

The suits were filed in the circuit courts of the churches' respective counties, which include Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Northumberland and Prince William, diocesan Secretary Patrick Getlein said.

At stake is millions of dollars in real estate, including an estimated $27 million to $37 million at Truro and the Falls Church, two of Virginia's largest and most historic churches.

Through litigation, the diocese also seeks:

• A declaration that the congregations have made improper claims regarding Episcopal Church property.

• A court order upholding "the trust, proprietary and contract rights" of the diocese.

• A court order requiring a full accounting of "the use of all real and personal property" by the congregations.

Spirits appear to remain high at the besieged garrisons:

Mr. Pierobon, who attends the Falls Church, reaffirmed Truro and Falls Church's confidence in their legal position.

Both Truro and Falls Church own the deeds to their respective properties, he said.

I talked to one of the wardens over at Falls Church not too long after the secession vote was taken and he said pretty much the same thing. What was especially clear from my talk with him was that this process wasn't dreamed up over night - these congregations have been planning out their strategies and considering all the ramifications (including the legal ones) for a loooong time.

This is going to be a very interesting legal case. On the one hand, as the article notes, Truro and Falls Church (which are the big fish the Diocese is really after) own the deeds to their property, both churches predating the formation of the Diocese. I have no earthly idea whether the Church's trust interest in these properties was ever commited to writing, or whether it was simply implied. If the latter, then I think the secessionists are in a better position, because (so I'm told) Virginia is not overly fond of implied trusts. On the other hand, this is an internal Church matter and the courts are loathe to get involved in such disputes (so I'm also told).

Alas, county courts 'round here do not provide electronic access to filings, so unless I bestir myself to go down to the respective courthouses (fat chance), I will only be able to read up on the progress of the various cases second hand.

UPDATE: Oh, and speaking of the importance of Law & Order to the Diocese, riddle me this. Here is the text of the "local option" resolution passed at the recent Diocesan Council:

Whereas, the 210th Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia recommended that the congregations and regions of the Diocese of Virginia be urged to use the Report of the Diocese of Virginia's Commission on Reconciliation as a vehicle to further theological conversation; and

Whereas, the 211th Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia affirmed that the Lambeth Conference and Windsor Report have called us to acknowledge and respond with compassion and understanding to the pain and suffering of those who, because of their sexual orientation, endure marginalization and rejection in the church and in the world; thereofre be it

Resolved, that the 212th Annual Council recommends the Bishop appoint a commission to discern a possible "emerging consensus" regarding the permitting of "local option" for the blessing of same sex unions, with the Commission reporting to the 213th Annual Council.

What? This was called for by the Windsor Report? Let's go to the text:

We believe that to proceed unilaterally with the authorisation of public Rites of Blessing for same sex unions at this time goes against the formally expressed opinions of the Instrument of Unity and therefore constitutes action in breach of the legitimate application of the Christian faith as the churches of the Anglican Communion have received it, and of bonds of affection in the life of the Communion, especially the principle of interdependence. For the sake of our common life, we call upon all bishops of the Anglican Communion to honour the Primates' Pastoral Letter of May, 2003, by not proceeding to authorise public Rites of Blessing for same sex unions. The primates stated then:

"The question of public rites for the blessing of same sex unions is still a cause of potentially divisive controversy. The Archbishop of Canterbury spoke for us all when he said that it is through liturgy that we express what we believe, and that there is no theological consensus about same sex unions. Therefore, we as a body cannot support the authorization of such rites.

This is distinct from the duty of pastoral care that is laid upon all Christians to respond with love and understanding to people of all sexual orientations. As recognized in the book True Union, it is necessary to maintain a breadth of private response to situations of individual pastoral care."

While we recognize that the Episcopal Church (USA) has by action of Convention made provision for the development of public Rites of Blessing of same sex unions, the decision to authorise rests with diocesan bishops. Because of the serious repercussions in the Communion, we call for a moratorium on all such public Rites, and recommend that bishops who have authorized such rites in the United States and Canada be invited to express regret that the proper constraints on the bonds of affection were breached by such authorisation. Pending such expression of regret, we recommend that such bishops be invited to consider in all conscience whether they should withdraw themselves from representative functions in the Anglican Communion. We recommend that provinces take responsibility for endeavouring to ensure commitment on the part of their bishops to the common life of the Communion on this matter.

(Paras. 143-144, emphasis added.)

Well, Bishop Lee has stated that the Virginia was a Windsor-compliant diocese, but it looks as if the Council delegates (which include a great many clergy) are urging him to jump, or at least dance mighty close to the edge. And they have the effrontery to suggest that such action is called for by the Windsor Report itself, even though that report makes a specific distinction between pastoral compasion and messing about with the liturgy. Will he do it? Well, he seems to have been completely overcome by the palantir gaze of Her High Priestessness the Presiding Bishop and it doesn't take much thought to figure out her position. I wouldn't be the slightest bit surprised if he went along and appointed the commission asked for.

BTW, my spies tell me that this resolution was proposed originally by delegates to the Council from St. Anne's, Reston. I know this church: it's one of the more hard-core loony left congregations in the area. Of course, anybody can propose a resolution about anything they want at Council (and believe me, they do). What I still can't fathom is that this one was approved. Evidently, the PB's arm has grown long, indeed.

There is a growing sense that the more liberal members of the ECUSA have decided they want it to be chucked out of the Communion. This is exactly the way to go about making that happen.

Posted by Robert at 02:09 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

We Waaaants It!

The Silver Fox and I must be descended from the same fathers of the fathers of the Stoors, because I often find myself thinking the very same way as him around books:

During a post-breakfast stroll about Cambridge this past Sunday I found my feet taking me down the steps to the basement stacks where the used books are shelved at the Harvard Book Store. I emerged into the sunlight an hour so later, clutching a bag with my four new purchases. “They’re used bookses precious,” I tell myself, “used bookses. Four is two when they’re used bookses precious.”

Nor do I possess any self restraint when new books are involved. A couple of weeks I ago I headed to Borders, to use up the $4.50 remaining on a gift card I’d received for Christmas. That balance paid for most one book and then somehow I felt compelled to purchase another. I told the cashier: “One is no good precious. One book is a sad book, a lonely book. We need two bookeses today precious, two bookses.”

I won’t even mention the frenzy sparked by the library’s book sale with $0.50 paperbacks and $1.00 trades. And no one should be surprised that at last count my ‘to read’ pile cache had reached 184 volumes - closing in on about three year’s worth of reading.

The power of the Precious is terrible, indeed. Nice Precioussssss........

Posted by Robert at 10:48 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Snow Miser's Entre

Yes, a snow/ice/slush/yuck storm is on its way into Dee Cee today and judging by the forecast, I'd say that every damn school system in the region will be shut down tomorrow. (You should have seen the Missus' eyes light up at the thought of a snow day when I mentioned it this morning.)

But what really got me is what's coming after:

Saturday - Mostly sunny. Highs in the upper 30s. Northwest winds 5 to 10 mph.
Saturday Night- Mostly clear. Lows around 20.

Sunday - Mostly sunny. Highs in the lower 30s.

Sunday Night - Mostly clear. Cold with lows around 10 above.

Monday - Mostly cloudy. Highs in the upper 20s.

Monday Night - Partly cloudy. Cold with lows 10 to 15.

Tuesday - Mostly sunny. Highs in the lower 20s.

Tuesday Night - Mostly clear. Cold with lows 5 to 10 above.

Wednesday - Sunny. Highs in the mid 20s.

Go ahead and ask me if I'm looking forward to the 3/4 mile walk back and forth between the metro and my office next week. And AlGore can kiss my frozen Llama backside.

On the other hand, this might be just the cold snap necessary to kill off the gladiolas I didn't bother to dig up this fall but don't really like very much.

UPDATE: Because I can -

Posted by Robert at 09:56 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Sci-Fi Posting

I am:
E.E. "Doc" Smith
The inventor of space opera. His purple space war tales remain well-read generations later.

Which science fiction writer are you?

I have no idea who this guy is but I'm assuming we're not talking Le Nozze di Anakin here.

The truth of the matter is that aside from, say, Tolkien and Douglas Adams, I simply don't read science fiction. Never had much of an interest in alternative universes. Whether this is due to my mother's contemptuous dismissal of all such fiction as "little green men" stories when I was forming my early literary tastes, I couldn't say, but it's pretty well ingrained now.

Yips! to Rachel Heinlein.

Speaking of such things, JohnL has posted a sci-fi literature meme thingy over at TexasBestGrok. Scoot on over and play if you like. I note that C.S. Lewis didn't make the cut. One sci-fi book I have read is his Perelandra, the second book of his space trilogy. Actually, the book isn't so much science fiction as a long discourse on Christianity set to a story that involves the inter-relationship of Earth, Mars and Venus.

Two things stood out about this book in my mind. First, as with most of Lewis' works, the theology made me feel like an utter idiot. I could follow the beautiful logic of his arguments as I read along, but couldn't re-articulate them myself if you paid me. Second, as a piece of story-telling, it was punctured with moments of utter preposterousness, with scenes of extreme physical exertion, the protagonist and antagonist literally at each other's throats, overlaid with dialogue one would normally expect in the senior faculty room. Most jarring.

(BTW, sorry if you saw the quiz thingy posted thrice. Comes of sneezing while typing at the wrong time.)

Posted by Robert at 09:36 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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