March 31, 2007

"Whistle, You Dumb Bastard!" Watch**

** My new title for posts about possibly swimming the Tiber. Explanation here.

I noticed whilst wikipedi-ing that yesterday marked the anniversary of the Albambra Decree. Issued by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492, it invited the Jewish residents of the newly-united Kingdom of Spain to get Catholic or get lost.

This is pertinent to me because it so happens that the Missus' family were among those who took the latter option. Thus, she came into our relationship carrying an extended Jewish family history, a Spanish maiden name and some distinctly Mediterranean physical characteristics. FWIW, I think this is all immensely koo-el.

Nonetheless, the Missus is not a-tall happy that I'm even thinking of converting, and I strongly suspect this is at least part of the reason. She's also at a very comfortable place within the ECUSA our parish family, has no desire to leave and is not at all interested in the debate on matters of higher theology currently raging.

The irony is that, by pushing farther along my own religious path, I hope also to become a better husband to her and father to the gels.

It's a delicate proposition, but I've finally faced up to the fact that if I am called to Rome, familial difficulties simply are not a good enough reason not to listen. In the end, I've confidence that it will all work out just fine, and that she, as well as I, will be far better off.

Could be some mighty bumpy going on the way, though.

UPDATE: Thanks for all your comments. I didn't mean to suggest that the Missus' background was the primary source of friction, just that it is kind of a backdrop to things. Her main problems with the Church are based on what she reads in the papers and her main problem with me has to do with the potential for breaking up our family worship practices. However- and this is the important bit - we are starting to talk about it all now.

Posted by Robert at 05:27 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

I Get A Kick Out Of You

The nine and seven year olds both had their first soccer games of the spring season this morning. The younger gel is still at a level where they don't keep score, but the elder gel's team, the Creepy Green Leprechauns, battled to a 2-2 tie against the Grey Dolphins.

The Llama-ette has had some difficulty grasping the difference between offensive and defensive strategy. While she does pretty well with the latter, she's often hung back and seemed a bit puzzled with the former. So this morning, before the game, Old Dad had a talk with her about being conscious of what she was about when playing the various positions (Coach rotates everybody around during the games.) I also threw in some standard wisdom about team spirit and not giving up.

I'm proud to say that the gel played better offense than I've seen before - she really hustled, stayed ahead of the ball and actually got a couple of solid shots on goal. Nice to see that I have her ear, at least in part.

The Leprechauns went 6-0-2 last fall, capping the season by winning a hard-fought mini-tournament against two other undefeated teams. Let's hope they do as well this spring. I don't pretend the Llama-ette is anywhere near the best player on the team, because she isn't. But I'm hoping the quality of some of the other girls' play will rub off on her, perhaps with some gentle nudgings from self as well.

Posted by Robert at 04:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Nature Is Red In Yadda, Yadda, Yadda

So the seven year old volunteered to take care of her class fish during spring break. His name is Dennis, a natch if you're a-tall familiar with the Stanley cartoon. (I've had the "Great Big Book of Everything" song running through my head for 24 hours now.)

Anyhoo, Dennis is now in his bowl in the Llama-ette's room. With two enterprising cats in the house, I'd give his chances of making the week at about evens.

Should we do a Dennis Death Pool here? Or what that cost me too much in therapy for the gels down the road?

UPDATE: Day Three and the Fish lives. The seven year old has been most diligent about keeping her door closed.

Posted by Robert at 04:44 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Holy smokes!

This one is just crying out for the Carl Spackler treatment:

Veterans condemn El-Alamein golf resort plan

The desert battlefield of El-Alamein, where Field Marshal Montgomery's Desert Rats famously defeated Rommel's Afrika Korps in the Second World War, is being developed into a golf resort by Egyptian businessmen.

Developers say the project will rid the region of millions of mines which have remained since 1942
British war veterans reacted angrily yesterday after hearing of the plans to turn the historic site into a complex including luxury villas.

Speculators on Egypt's north coast believe the region will provide some of the best golf courses in the world.

Not only will massive bomb and mine craters provide extremely challenging fairways but, say developers, the project will be the perfect excuse to get rid of millions of mines which have blighted the region since 1942.

"The worst ones are the Riegel mines placed by Field Marshal Erwin Rommel as he was fleeing to Libya," said local mayor Mustafa Abada.

"They are a daily curse, and make life very difficult for the bulldozers as they clear spaces for the golf and villa development."

Rommel laid thousands of the steel-cased, anti-tank bar mines after Allied forces broke the German and Italian lines in November 1942.

But John Connolly, standard bearer for the City of Manchester Eighth Army Veterans' Association, said yesterday that he and his comrades were furious about the development. "It's absolutely scandalous," said Mr Connolly. "The battlefield should be preserved for posterity as a tribute to all the brave soldiers who died.

"A number of us visited El-Alamein in 2002 for the 60th anniversary of the battle and were hugely moved by what we saw.

"We paid tribute to all the fallen - including the Germans and Italians. There is no place for golf courses on a battlefield of this sort."

While there are no accurate figures for the ordnance left behind, Egypt says there are at least 20 million landmines buried in the area of more than 1,158 square miles around El-Alamein.

There are very few signposts to warn against the munitions and accidents are still frequent.

With the Afrika Korps on the run following the Second Battle of El-Alamein, Winston Churchill declared: "This is not the end, nor is it even the beginning of the end, but, it is perhaps, the end of the beginning."

The battle led to the defeat of the Germans in North Africa and effectively ended Nazi hopes of capturing the Suez Canal and Middle Eastern oil fields, marking a pivotal moment in the war.

But now, rather than maintaining the vast field of battle as a lasting monument to the almost 40,000 soldiers who lost their lives, the Egyptians believe it is time to move on.

"We are going to create a space for peace on this war zone," said state engineer George Zaki.


This is almost the clip I want:

What I really want, is the scene following this, when the golf course explodes:

WELL, IT IS 2007....

So of course you can get all your Bushwood Country Club shirts and stuff over at Carl

bushwood country club.jpg

Posted by Steve-O at 10:42 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Scandal at the Coast Guard Academy

The full report is here.

There's a lot more about this, with the larger context being the Deepwater cutter design scandal which has implicated a number of very senior retired officers in their role as defense contractor consultants. A very sad day indeed for the service.

Posted by Steve-O at 07:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 30, 2007

Gratuitous Tolkien Geekery

The latest at Tolkien Geek is up: "The Quest For Erebor".

All you hobbit fans, head on over.

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

Oh YEAH!!!

Hippies? I hate me some hippies!

Posted by Steve-O at 02:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Now I can retire from blogging secure in the knowledge that victory has been mine

We're number two on Google---behind only the official website of The Man Himself---for

su su sudio

Just bathe in the big hair badness of it all.

Although, for my money, I still think you can't top this one for all time bad Phil Collins cheez:

I mean, that's one mighty fine teal golf vest Phil is sporting there.

MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE RANCH: We're number two on Google for:

lesbien cheerleaders

Yes, those cheerleaders were very good. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Posted by Steve-O at 01:43 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

"The More You Tighten Your Grip, The More Systems Will Slip Through Your Fingers"


Somebody suggested a BYO-Bishop conversion party in comments to my last post about going to Rome. Well, here ya go: The Rt. Rev. Daniel Herzog, just-retired Palie Bishop of Albany, and his wife have swum the Tiber. (Yips! to Michael F. for tossing that one in the Tasty Bits (TM) Mail Sack.)

Between that and this week's secession of Grace and St. Stephens, the largest Episcopal parish in Colorado, I'm sensing a definite uptick in the tempo of splintering of the ECUSA.

YIPS from Steve-O:

katherine jefferts schorri nekkid hottie pics.jpg
Robbo, I AM your eschatological primate! Fear the Lord Schorri!

UPDATE from Robbo: Whoops! that someone I mentioned above was, in fact, the Colossus, who also provided a link to the story. Mea culpa for not following through on his link.

Posted by Robert at 12:11 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Springtime And The Living Is Smelly



Posted by Robert at 11:58 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Rosie Needs To Take Her Meds

Honestly, does "The View" have any shred of credibility left? has the vid where the unhinged hostess blames the current Iran situation on a U.S.-U.K. conspiracy and then launches into her "9/11 truther" tirade. This woman who is free to say absolutely anything she wants on national television, no matter how bizarre, is ranting about her "oppressive" government.

Is this what happens when you hang upside down for a half hour a day? Me thinks it's time that Rosie checked herself into a mental institution.

onah gives the best one-liner in reaction to Tokyo Rosie's assertion that 9/11 was "the first time in history that fire melted steel":

"This, of course, came as news to steelworkers, blacksmiths, firefighters, manufacturers of samurai swords, and other fools who hadn’t realized that steel is forged in magic furnaces using dragon breath and pixie dust."

Posted by Gary at 11:17 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

March 29, 2007

Looks like we need to stop ragging on Groovy Vic

In The Know: Our Troops In Iraq

Posted by Steve-O at 08:05 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

And Mrs. P cackled long into the night....

Your LLamas, numero uno on Google worldwide for

episcopal church dwindling in size

Somehow, that's oddly appropriate.

Posted by Steve-O at 07:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Something to tide you Battlestar Nerds over until Oh-Eight

All along the watchtower, indeed.

I disagree with this sentiment entirely:

Recalcitrant Yips! from Robbo:

I'd just point out that the real BSG crew had this Cylons-among-us meme down years ago:

Yips! from (Battlestar Nerd) Gary:
Lighten up, guys! Talk about die hard "old school". Hey, how about a ten minute gag reel from season 3?

Posted by Steve-O at 03:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Mr. Fred Tando, Money Laundering King Pin

In the Tasty Bits (TM) Mail Sack:

From: Mr. FRED TANDO Accra, Ghana.

Good Day,

I am writing this letter in confidence believing that if it is the wish of
God for you to help me and my wife, God almighty will bless and reward
you abundantly. I need a honest and a trust worthy person to entrust this
hugetransfer project with. My name is Mr.FRED TANDO, manager of a
financial institution. I got your contact through a reliabale source called
database through Ghana chambers of commerce.

I am a Ghanaian married with four kids.I am writing to soliciting your
assistance in the transfer of $4,550.000 U.S Dollars
.This fund is the
excess of what my branch in which I am the manager made as profit during the 2004 financial year. I have already submitted annual report for that year to
my head office here in Accra as I have watched with keen interest as they
will never know of this excess.

I have since, placed this amount of $4,550.000 U.S Dollars on an Escrow
Coded account without a beneficiary (anonymous) to avoid trace.As an
officer of the bank, I cannot be directly connected to this money thus I am
impelled to request for your assistance to receive this money into your bank
account on my behalf.

I intend to part 30% of this fund to you while 70% shall be for me. I
do need to stress that there are practically no risk involved in this.It's
going to be a bank-to-bank transfer. All I need from you is to stand as
the original depositor of this fund so that the fund can be transferred to
your account.If you accept this offer, I will appreciate your timely
response to my private email,


Lessee, 30% of $4550 is.......$1365!!!

Hot dog! Take this job and shove it! Rio, here I come!

Posted by Robert at 03:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Oh, Why Not

It's Wolfgang Bartadeus Mozart.

Bit of geek trivia - At the beginning, Otto calls out for "piano sonata in A, K. 331 - third movement!" It's actually the piece Bart "plays". I love throwaways like that.

Posted by Robert at 02:47 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Oh yeah!

The good stuff.

Posted by Steve-O at 11:59 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Religious Observation

I've always loved the cartoons of George Booth. Here is one that has always been a particular favorite in my family:

Booth Bastard.jpg

Last evening I was musing on the comments of some of y'all around here to the effect that I really am a Catholic in Episcopal clothing and suddenly (for some odd reason) thought of this cartoon again.

I 'bout fell out of my chair laughing.

UPDATE: Cue Twilight Zone music. Today I received in the mail a nice note from one of my R.C. well-wishers (in fact the Peregrinator over at Canterbury Tales), together with a nice Cardinal Newman card:


Not that I especially believe in signs or anything, but Just Because I nipped over to Amazon and bought a copy of his Apologia. It seems fitting.

(BTW, I defy anybody to find another blogpost linking a Booth cartoon and an Anglican-to-R.C. convert.)

Posted by Robert at 10:21 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

The McCain Mutiny?

The Hill is running with a story (that originally popped up in Tom Daschle's bio) that back in 2001, Sen. John McCain not only considered pulling a Jim Jeffords but had actually approached the Dems through a surrogate.

The sources are all Dems and McCain essentially denies it. It isn't all that much of a shocker and is potentially merely a smear. But Dean Barnett (writing at Hugh Hewitt's blog) explains why this could be potentially devastating for McCain:

Even if this story is a complete fabrication, John McCain’s willingness to shiv his party between the shoulder blades is a well established fact. It’s hard to believe that there are Republicans out there who are unaware of this basic, undeniable fact.

Nevertheless, this incident illustrates a perfect storm of McCain’s shortcomings in a way that none of his other bi-partisan adventures do. The vanity, the immature pique of anger, the utter indifference and disloyalty to the people who voted for him and the party that supported him – they’re all on naked display. And it ain’t pretty.

It will be some time before we find out whether this means the "Straight Talk Express" has gotten a flat tire or has run out of gas. We'll know from the fundraising reports.

Posted by Gary at 10:19 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Headlines You Never Expect To Read

Arab lesbians hold rare public meeting in Israel.

No further comment necessary.

Posted by Gary at 09:55 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Your Morning Cup of Joe-Mentum

You go, Joe!

Amazingly, [ ]just at the moment things are at last beginning to look up in Iraq, a narrow majority in Congress has decided that it's time to force our military to retreat. Rather than supporting Gen. Petraeus, they are threatening to strip him of the troops he says he needs and sabotage his strategy.

This is outrageous.

The deadline for retreat that Congress wants to impose is both arbitrary and inflexible. American troops would be forced to begin withdrawing regardless of conditions in Iraq, regardless of the recommendations of our military commanders, and regardless of what impact a hasty retreat would have on America's security and credibility — in short, regardless of reality.

All of us want to bring our troops home as quickly as possible. But decisions in war should be made by our military commanders based on facts on the battlefield, not by politicians in Washington watching the polls.

There is, of course, no guarantee that Gen. Petraeus and his new strategy will succeed, but a deadline for withdrawal is a guarantee of defeat.

There is a better way. Gen. Petraeus says we should have a clear sense whether progress is occurring by the end of the summer. So let us declare a truce in the Washington political war over Iraq until then. Rather than imposing a deadline that ensures our failure, Congress should reserve judgment for now and give Gen. Petraeus and his troops a chance to succeed.

Posted by Robert at 08:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

That Dee Cee State O' Mind

George Will reflects my thoughts on Dee Cee statehood exactly:

If majorities in both houses of today's Congress want the fewer than 600,000 residents of D.C. to be fully represented, they can accomplish that with legislation shrinking D.C. to the core containing the major federal buildings and monuments, and giving the rest back to Maryland. Democrats are uninterested in that because it would not serve their primary objective of increasing their Senate seats.

Of course, the major trouble with this is that the new Mur'land residents would also become new Mur'land drivers. And everybody with the least experience of traffic 'round here knows that all Mur'land drivers are, by definition, bat-shite crazy. Not in the uber-aggressive Mel Gibson Road Warrior sense, but more in the completely unpredictable ex- poetry major girlfriend sense. (I've long held the theory that there is some kind of chemical in the plastic covering MDOT-issued drivers' licenses responsible for this behavior.)

Posted by Robert at 08:39 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Scots Wha Hey!

"I'd better be gettin' royalties, d'ye ken?"

"A Scottish company has been slammed for inviting customers to 'send a poo' to an Englishman on St. George's Day."

I can't seem to cut n' paste the text, but it's a short article so go on over and read it. Pay particular attention to the response of the wanker from the "English Democratic Party." Although I'm of Scots extraction myself, I've always been both an Anglophile and a firm Unionist. Nonetheless, reading this guy's whining makes me inclined to shell out a couple o' quid for one of these deliveries myself. Hoots! Toots!

Yips! to the Derb.

Posted by Robert at 08:14 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 28, 2007


Now this is weird.

Not quite as spooky as this, but still pretty darn weird.

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

What the...?

The Colossus's site won't let me comment on a post, so we'll have to do it Jeopardy! style. The answer is:


And it's a midget albino lesbian hooker wearing a Klan hood and lingerie made from the still bloody hides of freshly beaten baby seals, and she's shot clean through her copy of Fields of Fire and Born Fighting.

And the press wouldn't give a damn.

And the question is "which Republican candidate strikes you as most likely to go down in flames due to a dead hooker in a bungalow scenario? I mean, besides Rudy."

Posted by Steve-O at 10:00 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Time to bone up

Robbo, you're going to have to explain this one to me.

Yips! from Robbo: The key - "What makes the joke funny is that everyone in the Latin mass community gets it, and probably no one else does." Translation - Colossus is a geek.

Speaking of which, it occurs to me that having had a Classical Latin background, I'm gonna have a hard time adjusting to those weirdo Romish pronunciations.

Posted by Steve-O at 09:53 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Comic book gold


From Scott "Seriously, dude, it's not funny---I'm not a serial killer!" Peterson over at Left of the Dial comes this in the Tasty Bits Mail Sack: Top Fifteen worse comic book double entendres of all time.

The one from Archie is priceless.

Posted by Steve-O at 09:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Damn, that's crisp

Stolen from Ace.

Posted by Steve-O at 09:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A day in the life

Jordana and Co. have a brush with literary fame.

Meanwhile, Sarah and the team over at Herding Turtles celebrated National Potato Chip Day in style. And I do mean in style...

Inside angle on that post: Sarah lives down the street from Stately LLama Manor, and has apparently been a regular reader of the LLamas for the past year or so. She was on my list of people to get blogging (I'm talking to you, TDP and Keith S.!), and it turns it she started Herding Turtles 101 back in December, but didn't want to mention it, if you can believe such a thing. (To be perfectly honest, I think the credit for getting her started falls over with Melissa at The Bonny Glen). It's basically a homeschool journal mixed with solid day in the life observations. Sarah has a good sense of humor and is a very keen observer, so Herding Turtles will be a regular read for me. Plus, I've got to check in regularly to make sure she isn't making too much fun of how pathetic the lawn is at my end of the street.

Although, I will confess when she told me about the blog yesterday out in the street I thought she said "Hurting Turtles," and was thinking to myself for about 15 minutes that you just never really know your neighbors...

Posted by Steve-O at 09:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The LLamabutchers: Hard-edged yet sophisticated media criticism, since November 2003

Your LLamas, numero-uno on Google for:

Alexandra Steele airhead

My only response to this is: Suck it, INDC Journal!

alexandra steele hot weather chick.jpg
Alas, but she's no Melissa Theuriau...

Posted by Steve-O at 09:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Democratic Idea of how to fund a war

Next time they blather on about sacrifice etc.:

$24 million for funding for sugar beets.
$3 million for funding for sugar cane (goes to one Hawaiian co-op).
$20 million for insect infestation damage reimbursements in Nevada, Idaho, and Utah.
$2.1 billion for crop production losses.
$1.5 billion for livestock production losses.
$100 million for Dairy Production Losses.
$13 million for Ewe Lamb Replacement and Retention Program.
$32 million for Livestock Indemnity Program.
$40 million for the Tree Assistance Program.
$100 million for Small Agricultural Dependent Businesses.
$6 million for North Dakota flooded crop land.
$35 million for emergency conservation program.
$50 million for the emergency watershed program.
$115 million for the conservation security program.
$18 million for drought assistance in upper Great Plains/South West.
Provision that extends the availability by a year $3.5 million in funding for guided tours of the Capitol. Also a provision allows transfer of funds from holiday ornament sales in the Senate gift shop.
$165.9 million for fisheries disaster relief, funded through NOAA (including $60.4 million for salmon fisheries in the Klamath Basin region).
$12 million for forest service money (requested by the president in the non-emergency FY2008 budget).
$425 million for education grants for rural areas (Secure Rural Schools program).
$640 million for LIHEAP.
$25 million for asbestos abatement at the Capitol Power Plant.
$388.9 million for funding for backlog of old Department of Transportation projects.
$22.8 million for geothermal research and development.
$500 million for wildland fire management.
$13 million for mine safety technology research
$31 million for one month extension of Milk Income Loss Contract program (MILC)
$50 million for fisheries disaster mitigation fund.
$100 million for security at the Presidential Candidate Nominating Conventions
$2 million for the University of Vermont

With all due respect to Robert Goodloe Harper, the rallying cry of the Pelosi/Reid party was made manifestly clear:

Billions for pork, not one cent for victory.

Posted by Steve-O at 10:59 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Reaffirming my faith in humanity

The Immaculate Hack, explained.

Posted by Steve-O at 09:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Semper Fidelis, unless, like, that Fidelis part causes you political or legal troubles

I don't like Jim Webb particularly for a number of reasons (stemming from his Born Fighting book), and was quite amused in the fall when my nutroots buddies were getting excited in their tinfoil underroos for his fighty fightingness. But I respected him, at least in the sense that the man seemed to have integrity.

But leaving a comrade to twist in the wind for him---that's pretty low.

Posted by Steve-O at 09:10 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Words fail me

Via Pajiba.

Posted by Steve-O at 08:10 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Random Commuter Observation

MESSAGE TO TOURONS: It's a sidewalk. Side-walk! NOT side-block! Get the hell out of the way.

That is all.

Posted by Robert at 08:08 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

March 27, 2007

Half Of Eligible Voters Just Say "No" To Nurse Ratched

The Hill is reporting the a new Harris Poll shows that 50% of respondents said they wouldn't vote for Hillary Clinton in 2008.

Half of voting-age Americans say they would not vote for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) if she became the Democratic nominee for president in 2008, according to a Harris Interactive poll released Tuesday.

More than one in five Democrats that participated in the survey said they would not vote for Clinton. Overall, 36 percent say they would vote for the former first lady and 11 percent are unsure of their top choice.

Forty-eight percent of Independent voters also said that they would choose another candidate over Clinton, the poll, which surveyed 2,223 potential voters, states.

Fifty-six percent of men said that they would not vote for Clinton, while 45 percent of women said that she would not be their pick. In addition, 69 percent of those 62 and older said that they would not vote for Clinton.

Nearly half of the respondents said that they dislike Clinton’s political opinions and Clinton as a person. Fifty-two percent of people also said that “she does not appear to connect with people on a personal level.”

OK, now first keep in mind that - as I say with any poll - it's important to look at the sample. It's not necessarily likely voters or even registered voters that we're talking about. Then again, when you're dealing with a sample size of over 2,000 that's nothing to sneeze at.

Obviously it all depends on who she's running against. But the results really go to the heart of Hillary's problem: lack of likability. And she's been in the public eye from the 1992 campaign to being First Lady and then Senator from New York for a total of fifteen years (and it'll be almost seventeen by the time election day 2008 comes up on the calendar). I'd be very skeptical if there are all that many people who's minds could possibly change between then and now.


Does this mean she can't win under any circumstances? Never underestimate a Sith Lord. But she has a really, really tough road ahead of her. Is another nineteen months going to endear her to the electorate? Not likely.

But she'll get that nomination. No matter what. Because notwithstanding the nutroots' pull on the Democrat party, it's Hillary who owns it.

Posted by Gary at 03:15 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Denial Ain't Just A River In Egypt


'Fins GM Randy Mueller on the fact that the team just basically sux and is going to do so for at least the next year:

Randy Mueller admits the Dolphins ''have a lot of needs to get better as a team,'' but don't mention to the Miami general manager that his team is in a rebuilding mode and has little hope of escaping the AFC East cellar next season.

''I don't see it that way,'' Mueller said during a nearly 20-minute interview with South Florida reporters Monday. ``Every year this business is changing and evolving into a reshuffling of your roster. I think you see change as part of the landscape in the NFL. So we're no different.

``Obviously we decided to make some changes. But we're definitely not considering that to be rebuilding changes. We're reshuffling. And we need change. We were 6-10. We can't sit pat on that hand. So we plan to make the right decisions to make us better and give us the best chance to win come September.''

Cripes! I know you've got to put a brave face on things, but I sure hope these guys understand in private that they've got a whooooole lotta baby steps to get through before they're competitive again. Frankly, I think the fans would appreciate that kind of honesty more than happy-talk.

And speaking of rebuilding teams:


Six days to go, Baybee!

Will the Nats fight off the Curse of Bobby Kennedy this year? It's Bobby's last hurrah, so you know he's going to be bringing everything he's got.

Posted by Robert at 01:25 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Historickal Llama Poopy Posting

Llama dung mites track Inca fall.

Scientists believe they have found a new way to track the rise and fall of some ancient civilisations - by studying fossilised mites that thrive in the dung of their livestock.

A team from America, France and Britain have been studying mites from the soil in the Andes in Peru and say the tiny creatures can provide clues to changing patterns of trade and of disease epidemics through history.

The researchers made the discovery, announced in the Journal of Archaeological Science, while studying mud cores from a lake near the town of Cuzco, the heart of the former Inca Empire.

I'm thinking that if Spielberg really is making a new Indiana Jones movie, this is pure gold: In this one, set in the days after WWII, Indy has to travel high into the Andes to find the Sacred Llama Pellets before a bunch of Argentine Nazis can get their hands on them and bring about the Fifth Reich by using them to activate the dreaded Cuzco Pooper Skooper of Doom.

Posted by Robert at 12:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Your Lunchtime Reading Assignment

INDCent Bill wraps up his Iraqi embed posting with some stories, impressions and thoughts. Go. Read. Now.

Posted by Robert at 11:45 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

"Chip" Needs A Hug

The Crack Young Staff of the Hatemonger's Quarterly is feeling the effect of one of those occassional dips in life on the Internet's Wheel of Fortune. Hard cheese, seeing as THQ's third blogoversary is coming up fast.

Go on over and give their sitemeter stats a bit of a boost.

Yip! Yip!

Posted by Robert at 11:37 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

This One's For Steve-O

Snake Plisskin isn't happy:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Over the past couple of months, Variety has reported that Hollywood is remaking The Thing and now Escape From New York. What's your take on that?

KURT RUSSELL: [Laughs] They're remaking everything I've ever done.

Some people are really attached to those movies.

Yeah, I think that's what happens to people as they get older, they get territorial and proprietary about these things. However, I will say that when I was told who was going to play Snake Plissken, my initial reaction was ''Oh, man!'' [Russell winces]. I do think that character was quintessentially one thing. And that is, American.

What other films of yours have been remade?

They remade a couple of Disney films that I made — Kirk Cameron did The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes. They made Backdraft into two television series, Rescue Me and Third Watch, both of which I never saw. They did Stargate.

But messing with Snake Plissken is a whole different level of heresy...

People come up to me and say, ''You played Snake Plissken.'' I didn't play Snake Plissken, I created him! Goldie [Hawn] and I were talking the other day about this, and I said, ''Man, this is weird, isn't it?'' And she said, ''When they were going to do a remake of Private Benjamin, I thought, 'I didn't play Private Benjamin, I created that role!''' I did Wyatt Earp — there's only been 50 of those. But I'll tell you what, I'll put my Wyatt Earp up against anybody's. I'll put my MacCready [his character in The Thing] up against anybody's.

What if they asked you to do a cameo in the new Escape from New York, or play the Ernest Borgnine role?

F--- that! I am Snake Plissken! It's like Sean Connery always watching someone else do their version of Bond. I think one of the things, for instance, about Escape From New York that appealed to me was that it wasn't a special effects extravaganza. It's a quiet, dark world and it revolved around watching the behavior of this one guy. He's a fascinating character. In fact, he's the most complex character I've ever played.

[Ed. - The quality of the interview tape drops off considerably at this point, but a number of howls and screams can be heard before it ends abruptly.]

Yips! to that guy whose name I can't spell over at The Jawa Report.

Posted by Robert at 10:47 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack


The Washington Post says Ol' Fred is more than flirting with the idea of running. The GOP Bloggers straw poll has him running away with the lead. Go vote here. Rasmussen poll showing him edging Hillary, though trailing the "Messiah" is here.

And yet another draft Fred website. And if it's any indication of Ol' Fred's popularity with the yoots of America, the webmaster/mistress is a sophomore at the Univ. of TN (and easy on the eyes, if I do say so myself).

And is it me, or do his recent radio addresses seem oddly reminiscent of the ones that Ronald Reagan used to give in the years leading up to his election?

Posted by Gary at 10:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

For The Birds


A study of chickadees and nuthatches has revealed the first example of one species of bird being able to interpret details of the warning signals used by another.

Many animals sound the alarm when they spot predators. While these alarms are specifically directed to nearby kin, numerous studies have shown that unrelated species frequently recognise and respond too. But in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Christopher Templeton and Erick Greene at the University of Washington, Seattle, demonstrated that sometimes these eavesdroppers can be quite discriminatory.

"No one has ever seen this behaviour before. There are a fair number of animals that respond to other animal's alarm calls. But this is the first example of subtle information from a call being interpreted by another species," said Templeton. "Nuthatches can tell if a raptor poses a high or low danger from the chickadee's alarm call."

We've got loads of nuthatches and chickadees on the grounds of Orgle Manor. Far from sophisticated predatory warning intel, I think if you translated the calls they make around our feeder, you'd get something more like this:

- Hey, quit shoving!
- Well I was here first!
- Were not!
-Was too!

- Which one of you stole my sunflower seed?
- Don't look at me!
- Yeah, it must have been that bastard sparrow over there......

- C'mon, C'mon! Give somebody else a turn, wouldja?
- Don't rush me! If you're in a hurry, go bug the goldfinches at the thistle feeder!

- Hey, didja see the squirrel try to climb on the Yankee Flipper? HA-ha!

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

Tasty Bits (TM) Mail Sack Note

For some reason, I'm still having all kinds of problems with emails dropped here. Sometimes I can't get them open at all. And lately, my ability to answer them has been extremely spotty.

Go figure.

Anyhoo, my apologies to those of you who have sent emails to which I haven't yet responded. As Joliet Jake once said, "It wasn't my faaaaaault!!!!!"

UPDATE: Thankee to the Irish Elk for sending along the list o' literary links. That'll keep me busy for a while!

Posted by Robert at 08:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Speak That I May See Thee

The eldest Llama-ette and I have finally tackled The Silver Chair (one of Steve-O's great favorites) in our bed-time reading cycle.

Last evening I introduced the gel to Puddleglum. I generally try to "play" the characters, giving them distinctive voices. While I freely admit that this is a largely hit-or-miss proposition with the Narnia books, I can say with confidence that I've got Puddleglum nailed cold. The secret? Give him a low, slow, unflappable voice and a heavy Down East accent, and pepper his lines with lots of ad-libbed "Ayuts" and "weeeelllls......" Does wonders, I tell ya. Ayut.

"But Tom," some of you may say, "Where do I get one of those Maine accents?"

Weeeeelll, if you really want a good'n, ya might check out Bert and I. Ayut.

Posted by Robert at 08:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 26, 2007

Question time

Robbo's going to like this one: Meet the Bishop of Arabia.

And by the way: are the British sailors and Marines being held hostage in Iran being gloved-hand delivered new King James Bibles?

Didn't think so.

Posted by Steve-O at 10:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)

I'm listening to a recording on the radio right now of of Mozart's Piano Sonata in A Minor, K. 310, played by Alfred Brendel. I like to play this piece myself, albeit only as a sight-reader. (This recording is making me think I try to take the first movement a bit too fast.)

I mention that because it reminds me of a smouldering political situation at home. You see, we have a Kawai upright that is better than thirty-five years old. It's the same piano I've been playing since I was a kid and has travelled around with me ever since I left college. Unfortunately, it's really beginning to show its age - the strings are almost shot, many of the keys are starting to stick or get sloppy, the legs skew and the music stand has fallen off.

Both the seven and nine year old Llama-ettes are taking piano lessons now. Their teacher comes to our house each week. Since the day she first walked in, she's been lobbying hard for us to give up on the ol' Kawai and bring in a baby grand. Indeed, she's even given me some brochures for a wholesale refurbishing place she knows and has offered to go over with me at any time to pick one out.

So far, I've thanked her for the information but have resisted taking any positive steps. This isn't out of any particular sentimental attachment to our current piano. Rayther, it's a matter of $everal thou$and other con$iderations that must be taken into account.

She hasn't said anything more, but I'm beginning to believe that she's taking a different tack. Recently, I came home to discover that the nine year old was hammering out her practice piece as loudly as she could.

"Whoa," I said, "Don't bang like that."

"But, Daaaaad! Ms. X told me to do it that way."


A day or two later, I distinctly heard Ms. X herself hammering away.

Hmmmmmmmm: the refrain.

What are the odds she's engaged in a campaign to force my hand?

Posted by Robert at 02:51 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Ol' Fred Watch

Ol' Fred to Congress: Put Your Other White Meat Away, Son

Thompson on the pork-to-go cut n' run bill passed by Congress last week:

I’m puzzled there’s $283 million for dairy farmers in an emergency war-funding bill. But there’s also $74 million for peanut farmers so, I figured our soldiers are eating a lot of peanut butter sandwiches; they need more milk to wash them down with.

Hey, I’m trying to keep an open mind, here, okay?

But I also wondered why the bill gives $25 million to spinach producers. Our troops should certainly eat their vegetables, but unless it turns out that there’s a scientific basis for that Popeye spinach thing, I don’t get it.

I’m also trying to figure out what $400 million for rural schools has to do with the war — unless that money produces students smart enough to explain why this bill includes over three hundred thousand dollars for the widows of two ex-House members, and $80 million for low-income rent subsidies.

There’s a lot in the bill I don’t understand, but this sort of makes sense. There’s $50 million for repairs to the plant that supplies electrical power to the Capitol — where Congress works. To fund and win the war, Congress does need electricity at least to do its job.

Ah, I get it. This bill isn’t just about funding the war for democracy and freedom in Iraq. It’s a political statement. And it’s about buying enough votes with pork in order to make that statement. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing, if Congress did have its power cut off every once in a while.

Show of hands for those of you who remember the old Eddie Chiles mad-as-hell radio spots during the Carter Administration. Ol' Fred's sounding more like him all the time.

Posted by Robert at 02:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Tolkien Geek Posting

Christopher Tolkien is set to publish a newly-finished book of his father's, The Children of Hurin:

An unfinished book by JRR Tolkien will be published in April after being completed by the late author's son. Christopher Tolkien has spent 30 years working on The Children of Hurin, which The Lord of the Rings author started in 1918 and later abandoned.

Extracts from the novel, which is set before the events of the Rings trilogy, have been published before.

It has been illustrated by Alan Lee, who won an Oscar for his artwork on The Return Of The King film in 2004.

It is not the first time Christopher Tolkien has completed one of his father's projects.

He compiled various drafts to produce The Silmarillion in 1977, four years after JRR Tolkien died, aged 81.

The book was followed by Unfinished Tales in 1980 and the 12-volume History Of Middle Earth, which was published between 1983 and 1996.

Fresh meat for Gary. As I recollect from the other books of the Elder Days, this saga covers the particularly gloomy, tragic and nasty fates of Turin Turambar and his sister Nienor. I had thought the tale was pretty much told, so it will be interesting to see how it is expanded here.

Yips! to Vinnie, who sent a nooz link to the Tasty Bits Mail Sack which I couldn't get open but used as the basis for a google search.

Yips! from Gary:
Between "The Silmarillion", "Unfinished Tales" and "History of Middle-Earth" which each covers this tale to death, I don't know how much more blood can be squeezed from this stone. I think C. Tolkien might be beating a dead warg here.

The official FAQ at basically says that a lot of the previously published material is included in this "stand-alone" volume with some additional stuff. The difference that would interest me is if there is more dialogue and less narration. But there's no indication that this is the case.

It would be nice to see Alan Lee's illustrations, but the type of fan who'd rush out and buy this is probably the same kind who speaks fluent Quenya to their cats.

More Yips! from Robbo: Speaking of Quenya-spouting felines, did you ever do a post about the cats of Queen Beruthiel?

Posted by Robert at 01:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gratuitous BSG Observation

I confess that I haven't seen an episode of BSG since its first season. Nonetheless, I feel the need to point something out in light of all the recent who-the-hell-is-a-Cylon fuming 'round here:

"Hey - there wasn't any metro-Cylonality felgercarb on MY watch!"

That is all.

YIPS from Steve-O: I for one would like to express my preference for the moisturizer-free Battlestar.

But speaking of dubious sexual orientation issues in popular culture, I think it's fair to say the question of "How gay is 300?" is now safe to ask, courtesy of Scott "Wait, wait! The other dude is the one who is an axe-murderer!" Peterson.

I haven't checked up on Left of the Dial lately, only to discover that Scott has discovered that Thomas Wolfe was indeed right.

FURTHER YIPS from Steve-O: Pajiba has an interesting review for you BSGGeeks.

Yips! from Gary:
Ron Moore confirms a lot of speculation, keeping mum on enough to torture fans for the next nine months.

Posted by Robert at 12:27 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

That's My Church!


The latest Carnival of the Anglican Implosion is up over at the Web Elf Report, continuing to monitor the fallout from the ECUSA's now more or less open breach with the Communion.

Frankly, for me it isn't really a question anymore of whether I'll leave but when. I reckon I'll do what I can for my parish for the rest of my term on the vestry, but I can't really see beyond that. And if there is a bloodbath at the end of September (a very real possibility, as it appears that nobody is bluffing here), my departure could come even sooner.

As before, the issue continues to be Whither Robbo? Do I scout around for other Conservative Anglican refugees with whom to band together, or do I just get it over with and swim the Tiber? (There really are no other options for me.) I've talked about this question here for several years now, but at last I've finally starting looking into it in more earnest.

To this end, I spent the afternoon Friday reading a book called Rome Sweet Home, by Scott and Kimberly Hahn. It's their personal account of their looooooong, long swing from hard-core Calvinist to, well, hard-core R.C.

The book made very interesting reading, in that it outlined a lot of issues I would need to work through. At the same time, given the background of the authors, it highlighted just how close we Palies really are to the Mother Church in terms of things like the centrality of the liturgy and the sacraments. I already take for granted many things that the authors had to face. (I suppose this simply means that there is not one path across the Tiber, but many, many different ones.)

On the other hand, it was a bit off-putting for two reasons: First, the Hahns are theology-junkies to begin with. I lost count of the number of seminary programs, degrees obtained and other academic points in their combined resumes. I'm not a theology-junky, but instead a poorly-informed amateur. Put in musical terms, these people are concert pianists well versed in advanced theory and performance, while I'm still stumbling over two-fingered chopsticks, so there is some definite distance there. (I suppose this is not so much "off-putting" as it is daunting.) Second, the Hahns have a definite evangelical air about them. Enthusiasm of any sort tends to give me the willies, and it's a well-known phenomenon that converts tend to be the most zealous advocates. This is, of course, just a matter of personalities, but if anybody is going to lure me across the Tiber, I don't see them as being the boatmen.

Given this, I'd be interested in any recommendations for other writers on the subject. For instance, I've only read Chesterton in bits and pieces. Perhaps it's time to delve more deeply there. I'm also bulking up again on C.S. Lewis - unlike many others, he seems to have had the gift for describing spiritual joy without all the heavy breathing.

Posted by Robert at 11:51 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

I can see it now: the evil Canadians are going to be shipping off Santa's elves to a concentration camp for sure!

I for one am looking forward to the impending war between Canada and Denmark for the conquest of Santa's Village. You know it's getting serious when the Hosers are pulling out the big guns:

Some Canadians even called for a boycott of Danish pastries. ... Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has pledged to put military icebreakers in the frigid waters "to assert our sovereignty and take action to protect our territorial integrity."

Whoa there, Nellie!

Right now they are skirmishing over the Island of Forgotten Toys.

Besides waging war over Santa's Village, did you know there are Vampires running lose in Edmonton?

I think it's high time we dust off War Plan Red.

Posted by Steve-O at 11:37 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Uggh. Screw the brave new world, matey

The author means this as a joke, but unfortunately a real world version of this I'm sure will be developed. Tossers.

Posted by Steve-O at 11:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mr. Who

Somebody better check the water in the ITV writer's lounge stat:

ITV is to turn Pride and Prejudice into a time-travel saga. The broadcaster wants to emulate the success of the BBC One series Life on Mars, in which a detective is catapulted back in time, and build on the triumph of a run of Jane Austen adaptations, featuring stars such as Billie Piper.

In Lost in Austen, Amanda, a chardonnay-swigging West London girl, discovers a bonnet-wearing woman in her bathroom who introduces herself as Elizabeth Bennet. Through a series of accidents, Amanda is transported to Regency England, where she melts before Mr Darcy’s brooding glare. Miss Bennet, meanwhile, breathes life into the modern girl’s useless boyfriend.

Posted by Robert at 10:11 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 25, 2007

OK, Battlestar Galactica...WTF?


It seems that Messers Moore and Eick have gone and done it. They've successfully thrown a bigger curve ball to the fans than last season's wrap. I'm not worried about spoilers at this point because, frankly, if you're not already watching it (avert you eyes) than you probably won't be. So we're gonna let 'er rip.

Gaius Baltar...not guilty, with the Admiral being the swing vote in favor of acquittal. I must admit that Jr. Adama's testimony made me think...carefully. But he made some salient points.

Five little Cylons jumping on the bed, one fell off and bumped his head...sorry, I have three young kids and I couldn't resist.

Tigh, Torie, Sam and the Chief. Cylons? Because they couldn't get a variation of "All Along The Watchtower" out of their heads? Perhaps. Number Five one would assume is Kara.

We'll have to wait until January 2008 for answers but, bravo to the producers of the show. Just when Fonzie was barreling down toward the ramp that would "jump the shark", Moore and co. manage to keep us riveted. A whole new season queued up for 2008. You bet I'll stay tuned.

UPDATE: Ronald D. Moore speaks!

Posted by Gary at 10:41 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Oh my God!

Now the bastards are using crocodiles!

Of course, it provides the Joseph Campbell context to the classic line, "Hey, are those three crocodiles taped together in your pants, or are you just excited to see me?"

Posted by Steve-O at 08:05 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Sunday Stupid

The first up is for Gary: I completely agree with the casting of Gimli as B.A. Baracus.

Second up is for Mrs. Robbo---as Ricky was wont to say, "Ehh Luucy, there's some 'splaining to do."

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

Where's Robbo?

Just checking in to let you all know that we're getting along fine. It was good to just lay low this weekend.

Many thanks again for the outpouring of kindness in response to my last post. Indeed, I believe I set a personal comment record. Kind of a hard way to have to go about doing it, but I greatly appreciate all of your thoughts.

There seems to be some question as to whether Uncle recently has messed about with his IT systems in a way that now blocks access to the Butchers' Shop. If I'm not back at the old posting stand tomorrow morning, it'll be because of this, not because of any lingering issues related to Dad.

Yip! at you later.

Posted by Robert at 06:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Another Pulitzer momet for the paper of record


You know things are getting a wee bit strained over at the Ol' Gray Lady when the correction starts off, "Jenny? Things got a little out of hand. It's just this war and that, that lyin' son-of-a-bitch Boooosh. I would never hurt you. You know that."

Posted by Steve-O at 03:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Time for your cheery Sunday morning wake up call!

Human/Sheep hybrid developed; trots out of pen, buys copy of latest Michael Moore DVD, decries state of the rainforest and lack of parking up close at the WholeFoods:

Scientists have created the world's first human-sheep chimera - which has the body of a sheep and half-human organs.

The sheep have 15 per cent human cells and 85 per cent animal cells - and their evolution brings the prospect of animal organs being transplanted into humans one step closer.

Professor Esmail Zanjani, of the University of Nevada, has spent seven years and £5million perfecting the technique, which involves injecting adult human cells into a sheep's foetus.

He has already created a sheep liver which has a large proportion of human cells and eventually hopes to precisely match a sheep to a transplant patient, using their own stem cells to create their own flock of sheep.

The process would involve extracting stem cells from the donor's bone marrow and injecting them into the peritoneum of a sheep's foetus. When the lamb is born, two months later, it would have a liver, heart, lungs and brain that are partly human and available for transplant.

"We would take a couple of ounces of bone marrow cells from the patient,' said Prof Zanjani, whose work is highlighted in a Channel 4 programme tomorrow.

"We would isolate the stem cells from them, inject them into the peritoneum of these animals and then these cells would get distributed throughout the metabolic system into the circulatory system of all the organs in the body. The two ounces of stem cell or bone marrow cell we get would provide enough stem cells to do about ten foetuses. So you don't just have one organ for transplant purposes, you have many available in case the first one fails."

At present 7,168 patients are waiting for an organ transplant in Britain alone, and two thirds of them are expected to die before an organ becomes available.

Scientists at King's College, London, and the North East Stem Cell Institute in Newcastle have now applied to the HFEA, the Government's fertility watchdog, for permission to start work on the chimeras.

But the development is likely to revive criticisms about scientists playing God, with the possibility of silent viruses, which are harmless in animals, being introduced into the human race.

Dr Patrick Dixon, an international lecturer on biological trends, warned: "Many silent viruses could create a biological nightmare in humans. Mutant animal viruses are a real threat, as we have seen with HIV."

Animal rights activists fear that if the cells get mixed together, they could end up with cellular fusion, creating a hybrid which would have the features and characteristics of both man and sheep. But Prof Zanjani said: "Transplanting the cells into foetal sheep at this early stage does not result in fusion at all."

And of the quest for a sheep with 60% human DNA? No comment from the scientists over at DredScott Labs.

Posted by Steve-O at 08:29 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 24, 2007

The big news here is not UFOs

it is "who knew France had a space agency?"

Posted by Steve-O at 02:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 23, 2007

Gratuitous Buck Blogging

Certainly the series needed to pull itself out of the lameness it had descended into with “Planet of the Amazon Women”, especially since they were smack in the middle of November sweeps. NBC decided to tap into one of its prime-time resources to bring you:

Ep. 1.11 “Cosmic Whiz Kid” (11/15/79)

What are the chances of a man from the 20th century ending up in the 25th century? Pretty long odds, eh? No, wait. How about this: TWO people from the 20th century – from the same era, no less – showing up five hundred years later? Impossible? Don’t you bet on it.

Talk about a coincidence. Eleven-year old Hieronymus Fox, boy genius, creates a cryogenic freeze chamber just in time for the Apocalypse. He’s revived a couple of years before Buck Rogers appears floating around the solar system. Except that he ends up in the hands of the people of the planet Genesia. How? Honestly, I forgot. But he’s so cute and so smart they make him their President. Not a bad gig, if you can get it.

So who do they get to play this brilliant child?

Why Gary Coleman of course. OK, he’s probably not the first name that comes to mind when you think of boy genius but he certainly was precocious enough to be entertaining in the role. Maybe if the show came around about a decade later we would have seen Doogie Howser as Hieronymous Fox?

Hieronymus Fox.jpg
Todd Bridges wanted to be on the show too? Is he smoking crack or something?

The problem is that this is a kid who’s obviously very streetwise and people-savvy. Not exactly what you’d expect for an eleven year old with a PhD and the ability to build his own cryogenic freezing chamber. Anyway, we’ll cut him some slack because he does that cute little “double-take” look when something takes him by surprise.

So what’s the problem? Well, Fox’s intelligence is so astounding that the little guy is apparently worth quite a bit on the open market. Enter Roderick Zale, who kidnaps him for ransom. Buck and Wilma naturally are asked to help find him and return him to the Genesians. Why Buck and Wilma? Honestly, I forget that too. The price for ransom is 6,000 kilograms of pure quadrillium. What’s quadrillium? How the hell should I know? Stop trying to trip me up with silly plot points that don’t matter. Although I find it interesting that even though the United States was able to ignore the metric system it was somehow able to catch on throughout the galaxy. Damn Europeans!

Zale is played by Ray Walston a/k/a Mr. Hand from “Fast Times At Ridgemont High”. Walston does a great job being the bad guy but I kept expecting him to hand Fox a pop quiz on the Platt Amendment and ask him if he was on dope. And Fox does his best to bust his captor's apple bag at every turn. Usually he's demanding something to eat, like cheeseburgers.

Food will be eaten on YOUR time, Mr. Fox. Why must you shamelessly waste my time like this?

Fortunately, there is more Wilma in this one. In fact she is the first one to find the diminutive President as he pulls a little "hide in the service droid" routine and ends up escaping down a garbage chute.

Actually, this was a good opportunity for Erin Gray to prepare herself for working with precocious child stars which she would have to do for her later role in “Silver Spoons”.

The lovely Col. Deering comes to the rescue!

One other character of interest is a hired “terminator” named Toman that Zale sends to take care of Buck. He’s this little old guy who looks like an accountant. But watch out. The heavy gravity on his home planet gives him extraordinary strength when he’s on other worlds. Obviously bitter about getting sand kicked in his face his whole life, he becomes a hired thug on planets where he’s a regular Charles Atlas. Buck, however, manages to escape his run-in with Toman and thankfully Wilma wasn’t present to see him get his mud hole stomped by a dude in his fifties who’s all of five feet nothing and 105 pounds soaking wet.

One piece of trivia featured in this episode is that Buck programs his apartment stereo system to play his favorite song – “Shambala” by Three Dog Night.

Episode rating: Must See (You’ll keep expecting Coleman to stick out his lower lip and say “whatchutalkin’ about” but you’ll be relieved when he doesn’t. Plus there’s much more Wilma than we've had so far!)

Next up: The return of Princess Ardala and Buck's "Escape From Wedded Bliss"

The first post in this series can be found here.

Posted by Gary at 09:15 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


Pajiba really liked the new Mark Wahlberg flick Shooter.

Posted by Steve-O at 06:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Another day flying the friendly skies

I think in a situation like this, the airline should issue complimentary tire irons to the passengers, and give the asshat in question (AIQ) a thirty second head start.

Posted by Steve-O at 06:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"Democrats Have Sent Their Message..."

" it's time to send their money". Bush blasts "Pork and Run" Donks and their shameful bill. The video is here.

The American people need to think long and hard about this action today and understand that the Democrat party will not be satisfied until they create a scene in Iraq similar to this one:

saigon falls.jpg

And it's a scene our enemies hope for with relish.

Rep. Sam Johnson's floor speech on this travesty is a must-watch:

Posted by Gary at 03:47 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Better Living Through Activism

In case you came away from this week's discussions on carbon offsets a little confused, Mary Katherine Ham is here to help.

Posted by Gary at 02:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Is Your Baby Flame-Retardant?

The Goracle brought up an interesting analogy for Global Warming on Wednesday.

jack jack on fire.jpg

And Jon Stewart has quite a bit of fun at the ex-VP's expense: Click, it's the first video that comes up.

I'm still giggling to myself over this one...

Yips! to NRO's Planet Gore

OK, a reader wanted the "Jack-Jack Attack".

Well, here ya go:


Posted by Gary at 12:13 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Giving hope to Star Trek nerds everywhere

There is a future for you.

That means you, Dave R.

Posted by Steve-O at 11:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Naughty Girls Need Monuments Too

Serbia is planning to construct a life-size marble statue of '80s pop babe Samantha Fox:

Locals in Cacak raised the money to show the 1980s model turned pop star how delighted they were she is to visit.

Fan Obrad Banovic said: "We love her. She is an authentic sex symbol of 1980s so why shouldn't we have a monument to her. Other towns have their heroes in parks so why can't we?

"We are also aware that her most famous attributes may require special treatment so we are planning on using the best quality marble only."

I love that last bit about using quality marble for her...ahem...attributes.

sam fox marble statue.jpg

Yeah, I had a life-sized poster of her on the closet door of my dorm room in college. But a statue? That would have looked nice next to my fridge.

Posted by Gary at 09:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Iranians Seize British Soldiers

Brits were from the HMS Cornwell, doing their jobs.

The Government is demanding the release of 15 British sailors and Marines who are being held by Iranian forces.

They were taking part in a routine operation boarding merchant ships in Iraqi territorial waters when they were seized by Iranian naval vessels.

The sailors and Marines had completed a successful inspection of one ship, reportedly a dhow, when the group and their two boats were surrounded.

They were then escorted by Iranian vessels into its territorial waters.

Two U.S. carriers are stationed in the Persian Gulf.

I say we give them 24 hours to return them to UK custody unharmed or we open up a can of whoop-ass.

Posted by Gary at 08:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 22, 2007


For those of you who have taken an interest, I pass on the news that my Dad died late this afternoon. A few of you may remember him as the occasional (and very cantankerous) commenter "O.F." (Which stood for "Old Fart" btw.)

After nearly ten years battling prostate cancer, it finally caught up with him last June, after which he went into a steady decline from which we all knew there was no realistic chance of recovery. Things started spiralling downward over the past couple months, and he'd been in something close to a coma since last weekend. FWIW, the report is that he went without pain and, extremely important to me, without fear. (This is what we'd all been praying for and I like to think that He heard us.)

I dunno yet whether I'll say anything more about it all here or not. At the moment, as you might imagine, we're all in a sort of daze. Past that, it's tough to say. In his own crazed way, we knew he loved all of us dearly. On the other hand, he was so crazed that everybody near him instinctively built up a kind of defensive indifference in order not to become crazy ourselves. (Those of you who are Fawlty Towers fans may remember the line in which the psychiatrist said of Basil Fawlty, "There's enough material there for an entire conference." Well, everybody in my family laughed uproariously at that line. But not all for the same reason.) After 42 years, it's rayther hard to drop all that.

Anyhoo, I may continue posting as normal. Or not. Or my posts may suddenly get all cryptic. Or just generally strange. Or not.

In any event, you'll understand why, I'm sure.

UPDATE: Many, many thanks to all of you for your very kind wishes. I am probably going to spend the next day or two just laying low - spending time with the family (I have to break the news to the gels after school today), doing a bit of light gardening, reading subversive religious literature (nudge, nudge, Fr. M) - so don't expect much posting from me.

In the meantime, though, don't let me stop the hijinks around here. I expect Steve-O and Gary to carry on with the party.

Yip! Yip!

Posted by Robert at 09:56 PM | Comments (38) | TrackBack

You know, I get the sneaking suspicion he's not going to like the final product

The TV Whore over at Pajiba on some crapfest new tee-vee show:

0:00: It’s the summer of 1997 and we open on a shot of Kurt Cobain. Is this a hint to the viewers that they’re ultimately going to want to kill themselves rather than watch this show?

0:01: “Goodbye sex, huh? It’s always the best kind.” What? No it’s not! Here’s my list of the top five types of sex — feel free to debate this in the comments: 1) post-break-up sex; 2) make-up sex; 3) sex with the TV Whore; 4) angry sex; and 5) welcome home sex. Goodbye sex doesn’t make the cut at all, ‘cause it’s just too sad and weepy.

0:03: Hugs and kisses goodbye as the kid is getting ready to leave on a six-week road trip and so, obviously, cue the tambourines of Boston’s “Don’t Look Back.” This is doubly clever, by the by — the song itself applies to the situation and it’s by Boston, and he’s in a Boston suburb. But the best part of this is totally that his friends are playing air band to the song, though I’m not sure how they’re actually hearing the soundtrack. Amazing.

0:04: Ten years later, and he’s living in NYC and, son of a bitch, a second shot of Kurt Cobain. OK, seriously ABC, we get it. “October Road” is to viewers as shotgun is to Cobain.

Here’s the deal: This dude hasn’t been home in 10 years, but there’s a one-day intensive writing seminar in his hometown, which is obviously how we’re going to get him back. He’s getting this invite rather last-minute because John Irving dropped out. So let me get this straight. This kid wrote one book over the course of 10 years, he’s suffering total writer’s block on his second book, and he’s second only to John Irving? I wish they’d post this magnificent piece of literature on ABC’s website.

How can the remaining two hours top those four minutes? Click on over to find out.

Posted by Steve-O at 06:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Q: Why Are The Boulevards Of Paris Lined With Trees? A: So The Klingons Can March In The Shade

The French Guv'mint open up their Sooper Sekret UFO Investigation Files. Its position on extra-terrestrials?

Patenet's answer to questions about evidence of life beyond Earth was sure to inflame the suspicions of those convinced the government is holding back: "We do not have the least proof that extra-terrestrials are behind the unexplained phenomena."

But then he added: "Nor do we have the least proof that they aren't."

So very ambiguous. So very nuanced. So very French.

Obviously, there have been alien landings in France. Which means, in turn, that the aliens already know the weak-point in the defenses of Planet Earth.

As Dr. Smith used to say, "We're doomed! Doooooomed!"

UPDATE: Behold the almighty power of YouTube! You want French Klingons? We got French Klingons!

Posted by Robert at 03:44 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

And Hilarity Will Ensue...

CodePink plans takeover of Pelosi office.

Anti-war group CODEPINK is planning to take over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office at 4:00 pm, the group said.

Protesters plan to play “Pin the war on the Donkey” to show their frustration with the Democratic leadership’s inaction of ending the war in Iraq.

CODEPINK is expecting arrests.

I'm expecting comedy.

Posted by Gary at 03:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

A picture is worth a thousand words

Follow the link to a Yahoo news story, look at the guy's face. The things college guys will do to get laid are astounding.

And yes, I'm talking about you, Tom P.

Yips! from Robbo: [Insert howls of derisive insider-knowledge laughter here.]

Posted by Steve-O at 02:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Durham Bull

Allah's got the roundup on the latest from Durham. The question: who gets casted for the inevitable made for tee-vee movie?

K.C. Johnson--who has owned this story from early on--hasn't weighed in yet, but when he does it will be a thing of analytical beauty.

UPDATE: NOW WITH 58% MORE FRED THOMPSON GOODNESS Oh yeah, that's the right stuff.

Posted by Steve-O at 02:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Of Course You Know This Means War

Steve-O? Gary? Remember those stockpiled GroovyVic as Lt. Savek photos? Get 'em out!

UPDATE: Uh, oh - collateral damage!

Posted by Robert at 11:08 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Happy Birthday, Captain Kirk!

Kirk Shatner.jpg

William Tiberius Shatner, born this day in 1931 in Montreal. Here's his Oh-fficial website.

You can say what you like about Shatner (and Mom routinely refers to him as "Captain Gut"), but the fact remains that the man is a positive genius, boldly charting the frontier between self-absorption and self-parody better than anybody else in the bizz. Indeed, he's reached the point where he's not so much an explorer as a creator, probably why when you google "William Shatner, God" you get 600K hit results.

Yips! from Gary:
Speaking of Shatner and God, I recently read a review of "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier" that (rightly so) rips the film but lauds the last five minutes where Captain Kirk mouths off to a being claiming to be God. Only Shatner. Which is why we love him so much. Definitely worth a read.

Yips! back from Robbo: It's a sad truth that I watched that film on my very first (blind) date with the Missus. Not only that, it was a rental. And not only that, one of the very first things I said when she appeared was that I hoped she didn't mind that I really wanted to watch the movie, i.e., that I hoped she wasn't going to talk a lot. (I hadn't seen it before and didn't know how awful it was.)

The fact that the Missus and I are still together some seventeen years later is, I think, conclusive proof that (contra Clint Eastwood) God doesn't always hate idiots.

Posted by Robert at 10:32 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Beware The Law Of Unintended Consequences

An Oxford Prof is suggesting "vibrating seatbelts" might help prevent car accidents by giving drivers more warning of impending danger:

Multiple warning signals - including vibrating seatbelts and directed alarms - could prevent one in seven road crashes, research has found.

A study using simulators discovered these fittings could help drivers brake faster and reduce rear-end collisions by 60 per cent.

Prof Charles Spence, of Oxford University's Department of Experimental Psychology, will present the findings at the annual conference of the British Psychological Society in York today.

He said: "Multi-sensory warning signals appear to capture driver attention far more effectively than more traditional warning signals that stimulate only one sense, such as the driver's eyes or ears."

Citroen and Jaguar already sell cars that can vibrate the seat to rouse sleepy drivers.

What I want to know is whether the research has taken into account the drivers who would deliberately get into such situations just to get the magic seatbelt treatment. After all, I've known guys who let the restaurant page them two or three times with the vibrating pocket-buddy before they saunter up to the desk.

Posted by Robert at 10:06 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

I've only got one thing to say about this

Mmmmmmmmmmm, calamari.

Posted by Steve-O at 09:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

R.I.P. Larry "Bud" Melman

Sad news - Calvert DeForest has passed away at age 85.

If you're a fan of the old (y'know, actually funny) Dave Letterman, no explanation of Bud Melman is needed. If you're not, no explanation is really possible.

Here's a clip of Melman in action, filched wholesale from the Irish Elk:

I hope St. Peter had some hot towels ready at the Gates.

UPDATE: As long as I'm thinking of Classic Dave Nostalgia, how about a dose of Chris Elliot's Guy Under The Seats:

Posted by Robert at 09:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Would Fred Be A Hit With Female Voters? You Betcha!

Lisa Fabrizio (a fellow nutmegger) offers her thoughts in the American Spectator about the Draft Fred Thompson buzz:

Which is more likely, that the extremely polarizing Hillary can appeal to red state NASCAR dads, or that TV and movie star Thompson -- with his deep voice and folksy, reassuring, Reagan-like manner -- can woo the ever-anxious, blue state soccer moms? Let's face it; the man is a six feet, five inches tall tower of walking gravitas whose rugged, rural demeanor will have the ladies swooning from coast to coast.

draft fred thompson logo.jpg
Ol' Fred for President: The Barry White of GOP politics.

Posted by Gary at 09:15 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

How environmentally correct were these "antiwar" protestors anyway?

portland flag burners.jpg

portland anarchist bungholes.jpg
Images from Little Green Footballs.

The question of the day is:

Did they buy carbon offsets for their American flag burning exercise?

And, what is the carbon offset value for burning an American soldier effigy anyway measured in GHTUs (Gore Hypocrisy Thermal Units)?

Posted by Steve-O at 09:09 AM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

That's My Church!


The WebElf Report has a new Carnival of the Anglican Implosion covering reaction to the bombshell dropped this week by the ECUSA bishops. Go on over and graze.

Chewing over this business last evening, I had the strange sensation of feeling I had read or seen something absolutely fitting, but from an extremely unlikely source. It wasn't until this morning that I realized that the source was that arch-atheist Douglas Adams, that the ECUSA has become the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation and that I am Arthur Dent:

A short while before this, Arthur Dent had set out from his cabin in search of a cup of tea. It was not a quest he embarked upon with a great deal of optimism, because he knew that the only source of hot drinks on the entire ship was a benighted piece of equipment produced by the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation. It was called a Nutri-Matic Drinks Synthesizer, and he had encountered it before.

It claimed to produce the widest possible range of drinks personally matched to the tastes and metabolism of whoever cared to use it. When put to the test, however, it invariably produced a plastic cup filled with a liquid that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

He attempted to reason with the thing.

"Tea," he said.

"Share and Enjoy," the machine replied and provided him with yet another cup of the sickly liquid.

He threw it away.

"Share and enjoy," the machine repeated and provided him with another one.

"Share and Enjoy" is the company motto of the hugely successful Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Complaints Division, which now covers the major land masses of three medium sized planets and is the only part of the Corporation to have shown a consistent profit in recent years.

The motto stands — or rather stood — in three mile high illuminated letters near the Complaints Department spaceport on Eadrax. Unfortunately its weight was such that shortly after it was erected, the ground beneath the letters caved in and they dropped for nearly half their length through the offices of many talented young complaints executives — now deceased.

The protruding upper halves of the letters now appear, in the local language, to read "Go stick your head in a pig," and are no longer illuminated, except at times of special celebration.

I've still got a lot of soul-searching to do, but something tells me it may be time to start looking around for my towel.....

Posted by Robert at 08:46 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Random Commuter Musickal Observation

WETA-FM, now firmly back in the classical musick fold, is flogging a contest for tickets to a ballet version of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana:

The Washington Ballet and WETA would like to hear about your passions in life - whether they be epic, sweeping, and powerful like Carmina Burana or those quiet, abiding, modest passions that get us through a normal day, we want to know what you're passionate about - in 100 words or less!

Well, one of my passions in life is correct grammar. Try "in 100 words or fewer." And I'll buy you some periods to clean that nasty run-on.

But I digress.

I mention this instead because of a phenomenon that has long interested me. Personally, I find the Carmina Burana rayther tedious (apart from the opening section). Yet I have never met a singer, whether professional or amateur, who doesn't positively adore performing it.

I've listened carefully (well, moderately carefully). The piece does not strike me as especially demanding or complicated. Instead, it seems to give the singers a chance simply to let fly. Is this the appeal? Or have I missed something?

Posted by Robert at 08:21 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The face of the anti-war left

fuck the troops picture face of democratic party.jpg

But don't you dare question their patriotism.

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

March 21, 2007

That's My Church! **BUMPED AND UPDATED**


A fascinating interview with the Rev. Mark Lawrence, the conservative Bishop-elect of South Carolina whose confirmation to the post recently was railroaded by the Lefties. (So much for inclusiveness, by the bye.) He absolutely nails the current dynamic of the ECUSA:

Greg Griffith: Soon after your election, talk started circulating about the possibility of your not getting consent. A few influential conservative leaders speculated that should that happen, it might hasten a communion-wide split, because it would so clearly and finally signal to the rest of the communion that there’s no longer any place for traditional Anglicans in the Episcopal Church, that orthodox primates would throw up their hands and say there’s no hope of rescuing it.

Mark Lawrence: I think the jury is still out on that one. What has been going on in the Episcopal Church, let’s say for the past 25 years - we can go back further if you want, but for the last 25 years - in my opinion, a radical group in the Episcopal Church has been pushing an agenda, it is essentially a political agenda, a social justice agenda. And the sad thing is that because they’ve always framed it as social justice, it has hindered the debate that needs to take place over the teachings of Scripture, the nature of a human being, and all sorts of other things.

For the most part, those of us in the orthodox camp have been pastoring our churches, preaching the Gospel, trying to grow our congregations, and ignoring the political issue at hand until, in recent years, in successive General Conventions, even before ‘03 and ‘06 certainly, but ‘03 and ‘06 galvanized the orthodox in a way that they weren’t before. Anyway, in the orthodox camp - what I’d call mainstream Anglicanism in the Episcopal Church in the United States - we began to see that we had better enter into the political debate. That, then, began a polarization within the Episcopal Church between what some call the left and others call the right, whether one wants to call it - progressive or reappraising, reassertive, all sorts of those terms, it doesn’t matter, we all know who the players are - that has grown so polarized that the broad middle has become very uncomfortable, many of them have chosen to put their heads deep in the sand. Others have chosen to say, “You know, I wish these people wouldn’t fight so much.”

Until the primates communique, it was mostly those in the orthodox camp who talked about leaving, or who did leave. The dynamics have been like a dysfunctional family - where two members are quibbling with each other and the others don’t want to get involved in the quibbling - when Mom says, “I can’t take Dad’s abuse anymore,” and the children turn on Mom and say, “Mom, why are you ruining our family?” Now, the problem is, anyone who stands up to those in the radical camp, those who are pushing this political agenda, are immediately called homophobic, bigots, reactionary, and whatnot. Nobody in their right mind wants to be called homophobic, bigoted, or reactionary. I understand that. And so the broad middle have not gotten involved very much, and when they have, they’ve blamed those of us on the orthodox side who say, “We can’t take it anymore. We’re leaving."

I see this all the time in my own parish, which is pretty evenly split politically, with a vast, mushy middle that heretofor has taken the Uncle Owen approach (i.e., "It's all such a long way from here.") However, I frankly think the ECUSA has reached (or will shortly reach) the point where these folks can no longer hide and hope everything will just go away.

Given this, I and a few friends have been noodling ways to educate and inform, as they like to say. (What's the point of being on an Adult Education Committee if you're not going to do some educating?) We're thinking of small, lay-led discussion groups, environments in which people can sit down and air their opinions in a non-threatening environment. (What's the point of having been trained as a Disciples of Christ in Community facilitator if you're not going to do some facilitating?) This would be coupled with extensive reading materials covering all sides of the debates swirling within the church.

As I say, the goal here is education, not advocacy. My main concern is that people don't have any idea what's going on, or that what they do know is simply the party line being fed to them from the top. If, in the end, they wish to go along with Her Presiding Bishopressness and the left wing, well, that's their decision. But they at least ought to know exactly what it is they're buying.

Yips! to the latest Carnival of the Anglican Implosion over at the WebElf Report.

UPDATE: Yikes! This is what happens when I don't check all my sources. As Pnut Queen notes in the comments, events seem to be overtaking opinion here as the Palie Bishops tell Canterbury to go pound sand. Well, so much for long term educational plans....

UPDATE DEUX: When the story makes the AP,you know it's big.

Posted by Robert at 06:00 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Falling Behind

Durn! We Llamas are now back at the number nine slot for Episcopalian Joke Google hits.

I blame the pronouncements coming down from the Presiding Bishop's office. I mean, how can you compete with that?

In the meantime, though, I serve up (again) one of my favorites:

Jesus said to them, "Who do you say that I am?"

They replied, "You are the eschatological manifestation of the ground of our being, the kerygma of which we find the ultimate meaning in our interpersonal relationships."

And Jesus said, "What?"

This, BTW, is far more a propos than the usual Palie jokes centering on drinks, snobbery and tradition, most of which are both old and quite obsolete these days.

Posted by Robert at 04:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Watermelon Alert

Good on Vaclav Kaus for pointing out the Red interior of many in the Green movement:

Czech President Vaclav Klaus said on Wednesday that fighting global warming has turned into a a "religion" that replaced the ideology of communism and threatens to clip basic freedoms.

The right-wing president, a free-market champion, wrote to the U.S. Congress that adopting tough environmental policies to fight climate change would have destructive impact on national economies.

"Communism has been replaced by the threat of an ambitious environmentalism," Klaus wrote in response to questions from the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Energy and Commerce.

That's not to say Granny is a stinkin' Commie because she separates her glass and plastics. But don't forget the old line about the ultimate totalitarian pipedream being to outlaw bad weather.

Klaus said poor nations would also be hurt by efforts to impose limits and standards on emissions of gases believed to cause global warming.

"They will not be able to absorb new technological standards required by the anti-greenhouse religion, their products will have difficulty accessing the developed markets, and as a result the gap between them and the developed world will widen," he wrote.

"This ideology preaches earth and nature and under the slogans of their protection -- similarly to the old Marxists -- wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central, now global, planning of the whole world," he added.

It says much that both Fidel Castro and Gorby have become big time Greens. Centralized global planning - just think of how many millions of souls have been carried off as a result of such ideas over the years.

But as long as they make the flowers bloom on time, right?

Yips! to Rachel.

Posted by Robert at 03:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The British pullout begins

After 15 years, the Brits are starting to pull out of the former Yugoslavia.

Posted by Steve-O at 03:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Tolkien Geekery Blegging

Latest post on Tolkien Geek is up: "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields" (the rest of the story).

BTW, if you recognize the term "Gladden Fields", congratulations. You definitely qualify as a Tolkien geek, too.

Posted by Gary at 02:43 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

That One's Gonna Leave A Mark!

Your Llamabutchers: The number four Google hit result for "uglier than NESCAC girl."


Posted by Robert at 01:59 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Il Pranzo Romano

Thanks go to occasional commenter Fr. M and to the Peregrinator over at Canterbury Tales for a very nice lunch today. As has frequently been the case when I have met bloggers and blog-readers outside Algore's WorldWideWeb, they proved to be intelligent, witty and very good company.

As we discussed matters theological at great length and as I was waaaaaaay out of my league, I also appreciate their patience.

Oh, and Fr. M? The brown paper package in which you thoughtfully enclosed the subversive literature gave me no end of amusement on the way back, especially after having seen that Russian Embassy goon.

Yip! Yip!

Posted by Robert at 01:39 PM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

When worlds collide

The Mustache disengaged itself from John later in the Green Room and beat Colbert to a bliddy pulp.

Because Bolton's mustache of course talks with an Afrikaner accent.

Posted by Steve-O at 01:14 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Ah, socialized medicine

We can only dream the dream that this too can be our future, if our leaders are only brave enough to force a Canadian style system on us:

Alberta health authorities have closed a Vegreville hospital to new admissions and most visitors after the spread of a bacterial-resistant superbug and the discovery that some patients may have been exposed to HIV and hepatitis during surgeries performed with dirty tools. The equipment sterilization room at St. Joseph's General Hospital was shut down Friday — though it was first directed to do so more than one month ago -- after a recent audit found bits of flesh and blood left on tools and inside scopes used to examine patients and take tissue samples. Those tools weren't properly scrubbed and brushed inside and out before being sterilized, and were then used on other patients, inspectors discovered.
Posted by Steve-O at 01:11 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Email Griping

Damn you, Yahoo!

Is it only me or do other folks have chronic trouble with Yahoo email? Getting the Tasty Bits (TM) Mail Sack open lately has been a constant headache and, at times, an impossibility.


Posted by Robert at 10:51 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)


Happy birthday, Johann Sebastian Bach, born this day in 1685 in Eisenach, Germany. Frankly, I can't come up with sufficient superlatives to describe his music. Instead, I will simply restate my belief that he was the single greatest composer ever to live, the one whose ear was most attuned to the Music of the Spheres and the choirings of the cherubim and seraphim.

Or, as I put it rayther more eclectically last year,

I consider him to be the absolute mack-tastick grandaddy champeen of serious musickal thought, bar none. Bach inhabits a plane of musicality so high, so nearly infathomable and so closely attuned to the fundamental workings of the cosmos, that Douglas Adams felt the need to use a time machine, a dead alien ghost and a millenia-old space-borne supercomputer to explain his existence in our world, one of the greatest back-handed literary compliments I've ever come across.

On a more serious note, here's a post I did on the comfort of hearing and playing Bach's music back in October when Dad started seriously going downhill. Rereading it now, I'd say it's even more true than ever.

Posted by Robert at 10:02 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Mike and Marcus Vick are amateur pussies

Remember the hoo-haa over the Minnesota Vikings players, strippers, drugs, and a riverboat? Amateurs. Leave it to the Aussies to show how football players should misbehave.

Obviously, a remake of the North Dallas 40 needs to be done within the context of the Australian rugby league, if only so they can find a cinematic use to the last quote in the article.

Note too the gratuitous reference to Jay Tea at Wizbang.

Posted by Steve-O at 10:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Goracle Goes Under The Hot Lights

Former VP and current Evangelical Global Warming Alarmist Al Gore will give testimony today before the new House Select Committee on Climate Change.

Up until now, Gore has been the beneficiary of fawning audiences who worship at his chubby feet whenever he waxes poetic about the theory of anthropogenic Global Warming. While there are several Democrat sycophants on the Committee, there are others who will actually put his claims to the challenge.

And one of them is a fixture in the Democrat party - Rep. John Dingell from MI. While most Democrats are all too eager to kowtow to the Enviro-lobbyists, Dingell has an overriding special interest that clashes with Gore's assertions: the auto industry. So Dingell will be on the attack.

Gore's responses to his questions should be amusing. I'm hoping to see some indignation come to the surface, or maybe some condescension. After all, he's super serial about this.

From Gore's testimony: "The Earth has a fever..."

Oh yeah. And the only perscription is...


Do as I say, not as I do...

What a load.

Yips! to NRO's Planet Gore

Posted by Gary at 09:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Random Commuter Observations

**The Missus and two thirds of the Llama-ettes are down with the flu, meaning I had to run the five year old in to school this morning. We amused ourselves by inventing new Wiggles characters. For instance, if you crossed Murray (Red Shirt) with Greg (Yellow Shirt), you'd get Meg (Orange Shirt). Murray and Anthony (Blue Shirt) would make Manthony (Green Shirt). We quickly discovered that Jeff (Purple Shirt), not being a primary color, causes complications to this scheme. (I've long had my suspicions about Jeff anyway, but that's a different story.)

**Guys who elbow you out of the way to grab the last empty metro seat are losers. The big guy that did it to me this morning wouldn't make eye contact, but sat there with his head trained forward. However, I could tell he was peeking out of the corners of his eyes. I gave him the blue marbles for a moment before moving on and was gratified to see that he was squirming.

** Guys who go to Starbucks with a fist-full of fru-fru drink orders from their office mates are also losers, although here I think the fault really is with the office mates for putting them up to it. The guy in front of me in line had half a dozen of them, each more complicated than the last. He turned and gave me a rather goofy laugh. I gave him the blue marbles, too.

** March 21. First day of spring in Dee Cee and I positively saw a couple snow flakes on my way up E Street. It so happens that AlGore is testifying before Congress today, so I suppose this is the ol' Gore Effect at work again.

Posted by Robert at 09:02 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Calling...Dr. Tatoff?

GroovyVic has the details of the latest zany venture involving an original Brady
Bunch cast member
that doesn't involve a trailer full of Meth in the central valley.

Posted by Steve-O at 08:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Well, THAT'S a relief

A triumph for science:

he crocodile was on the brink of disappearing from South Florida, its only U.S. habitat, when it was originally listed as a federally endangered species in 1975. By 1976, the population was estimated at just about 300. Scientists now estimate there are up to 2,000 American crocodiles in Florida.

"Crocodiles were a part of Florida's history for hundreds of years until human activities such as urban development, agricultural conversion, and Preppy Girls wearing ridiculous polo shirts decimated their populations," said Sam D. Hamilton, the service's southeast regional director.

"In the past 30 years, we have made great strides in protecting this species and conserving its habitat," Hamilton said. "Today, we can celebrate their comeback."

I can rest easier tonight knowing that, when shark attacks are not in season, at least we'll have a steady stream of daily stories about crocs attacking Boca Raton golfers.

UPDATE: And trailer parks. Because what suburban Chicago trailerpark is complete without it's own gator pit?

Posted by Steve-O at 08:31 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

A Market for Organs

There's a fascinating article in the Chronicle of Higher Education today about increasing calls for a market in donor organs to be established:

Last year more than 6,000 Living Americans gave parts of their bodies to people in need. Most donated a kidney, which released the recipient from hours of dialysis, renewed his or her health, and probably extended the person's life.

And it was truly a gift. Federal law prohibits donors from receiving money for an organ, a policy that also holds in many other parts of the world.

Yet everyone involved in the transaction benefits except the donor. Surgeons and other medical-staff members are paid for their work, the hospital brings in cash, and the insurance company saves the cost of dialysis. Both private insurance and public assistance will pay for a donor's surgery and immediate medical care, but not for any health problems that may arise later. What's more, donors seldom get reimbursed for travel to the transplant center and for the wages they lose when they take off work, even though such payments are allowed by law.

In sum, only the donors pay for their altruistic act. It is a lot to ask.

Despite the thousands who donate, demand for kidneys and other transplantable organs far outstrips the supply. Right now, more than 70,000 people in the United States are hoping for a new kidney. Each year thousands die while waiting.

An increasingly vocal group of economists and other social scientists has called for a market solution: Increase the supply of donated organs by offering new incentives — including cash.

More recently a few transplant surgeons have taken up the cry. Once unmentionable, the idea of paying donors is now openly debated at medical meetings and in the pages of medical journals. Scholars from other disciplines have chimed in as well: More than 10 books devoted to the subject have been published in the past two years.

In this report, The Chronicle looks at the global market for body parts and the ways some scholars and physicians have proposed to meet the growing demand fairly.

"My argument is for a regulated market," says Arthur J. Matas, a surgeon who directs the University of Minnesota's renal-transplant program. He and others envision a system in which a national organization would pay a set price and provide long-term follow-up care.

Dr. Matas thinks that with proper oversight, which may be possible only in developed countries like the United States, such a system would both increase the supply of organs and preserve the dignity of the seller.

Many other scholars and physicians, however, insist that our laws and ethical traditions are correct to forbid the commodification of the human body. Some of these market skeptics draw on Immanuel Kant's argument that the sale of organs is intrinsically a violation of human dignity. "It is impossible to be a person and a thing, the proprietor and the property," Kant wrote in his Lectures on Ethics. "Accordingly, a man is not at his own disposal. He is not entitled to sell a limb, not even one of his own teeth."

Other skeptics argue from a more practical standpoint: A just market in human organs is imaginable in theory, they say, but in our actual world of steep inequalities, organ sales would inevitably lead to coercion and exploitation. According to many reports, that has already happened.

The problem of growing demand and lagging supply is worldwide, and generally it is the rich who are demanding and the poor who are supplying.

Wherever oversight is scarce, a thriving black market in organs has emerged. Some global estimates suggest as many as 10 percent of transplanted organs may be sold. That dismal reality has fueled calls for regulating the market rather than driving it underground.

"Let's reduce the harm that comes from it," says Abdallah S. Daar, a surgeon and bioethicist at the University of Toronto, who has observed organ markets in places like Iran, which has set up a system for paying donors. "Our sitting back and moralizing is not helping at all."

The full article is behind their subscriber wall so I can't link directly to it, complete with pictures of guys from Pakistan showing off their scars from kidneys donated to "transplant tourists."

Now there's the premise for a jihadi zombie movie that I would pay to see...

Posted by Steve-O at 08:12 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Washington Post discovers the Hillary! 1984 ad.

Gosh, that only took a couple of weeks for the legacy dinosaur media to notice.

Advantage: LLamabutchers!

Posted by Steve-O at 08:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Batman mashup

This comes from our old pal Scott "No, the other guy is the wife killing axe-murderer, I'm just the one who draws comic books about wife killing axe-murderers" Peterson---the original Batman movie reconceived as the Dark Knight:

Plus, Allahpundit has a link up to the Beatles/Zombie mashup. I agree that it doesn't quite work, and the reason is the use of the Beatle music---they needed to keep the zombie movie style music to really pull it off.

Posted by Steve-O at 07:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 20, 2007

CSI: Neolithic Austria

The Scribal Terror links to an interesting forensic archeology article on new research into the death, in 3300 BCE, of Otzi the Iceman.

My guess? It was the Geico Neanderthals. In the tricked-out Prius. With a granite frappe.

Posted by Robert at 02:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Spring Is Here. Time For The Grass To Start Growing

The grassroots, that is.

Bloggers all around are fueling Ol' Fred's bandwagon: Draft Fred Thompson 2008. Including a "Draft Thompson '08" blogroll.

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Ol' Fred for President: Real "Straight Talk", only without the sycophancy to the MSM or the disdain for the First Amendment!.

Posted by Gary at 02:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Springtime for Dee Cee Watch

Just took a walk down 7th Street across the National Mall and back.

This is the kind of weather that makes Your Nation's Capital worth it all. An enormous blue sky, temperatures in the low 60's and a brisk northwest wind to keep it fresh.

Indeed, it's so pleasant out that even the sight of goofy tourons taking pictures of each other pretending to hold up the Washington Monument (in the distance behind them) provoked nothing but a tolerant smile from me.

Of course, it's all fleeting - come July, such displays invariably awake in me the urge to put such people to the sword. But it's awfully nice while it lasts.

Posted by Robert at 12:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Demise of the Mix-Tape

Pajiba memorializes the demise of the Mix Tape with this hliarious and spot-on post-modern variation.

Posted by Steve-O at 12:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


The terrorists have won: Hollywood is remaking Escape from New York.

Posted by Steve-O at 11:41 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

24 Recap

Two of the best consistently are over at RightWingNuthouse (serious) and Magic Steve (goofy and snarky).

Big news of the night: Audrey is dead.

If only we can be so lucky....

Posted by Steve-O at 11:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Holy Crap!


Get well, Kathy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Steve-O at 11:06 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Netflix Observation

This may sound silly, but I really really like the Warner Home Video tag - you know, the one with the cascading keyboard music and the sky full of rolling white clouds.

It can't last more than about three or four seconds, but I always find it immensely refreshing.

(Cripes - I'll be breaking out my old Enya CD's before I know it.)

Posted by Robert at 10:33 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Birthday Griping

As I mentioned below, Sunday was the eldest Llama-ette's ninth birthday.

As is our custom, we saved the present-opening until after dinner. One sign of the growing bond among my children: at Target on Saturday morning, the seven year old picked out some kind of pebble-bouncing board game I'd never heard of but that she insisted would be well received. ("Mancala," I think it's called.) Her big sister loved it.

Anyhoo, as the gel was feverishly ripping the paper off the loot she'd brought home from her party, I couldn't help noticing that a great many of the presents had receipts taped to the wrapping.

I may be out of the loop on gifting etiquette, but I'm sorry - in my opinion this is extremely tacky. A gift is supposed to be a gesture of good will, given with sincerity and received graciously. Tacking the receipt on the box makes the whole thing nothing more than a payoff. "Yeah, here. Whatever. Don't like it? Get something else."


Oh, and while I'm on the subject of presents, I am here to tell you friends that the instructions for assembling a Schwinn bike are among the most incomprehensible documents I have ever seen. Schwinn seems to have decided to save money by publishing one book that is supposed to cover multiple makes and models. The result is basically useless as an aid to putting together any of them. (Fortunately, I have a gift for that sort of thing, so I was able to toss the instructions aside with contempt and get on with the project myself.)

Posted by Robert at 10:19 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Where's Robbo?

I can't remember the last time I went 72 hours without posting. Sorry about that, but at the same time it's nice to know I still can.

This was a big weekend around Orgle Manor - Mrs. LMC arrived on Saturday, together with the Future ROTC Scholarship Candidate and his lovely little sister. Five kids in the house rayther puts the kybosh on anything like, you know, coherent thought. Then Sunday was the eldest Llama-ette's ninth birthday. A big gymnastics party followed by an elaborate proscuitto and shrimp pasta dinner which the gel and I cooked together. I had much to say about how the gel is growing up (which I may still say later), but then I got into a long phone conversation with my sister about Dad (more very bad news and the end is coming up fast, something else about which I may write more later). By the time everything had calmed down Sunday night I was again too wonked to write.

Yesterday should have been a normal day. But when I got into town, I learned that there had been an electrical fire in my building and it was closed for the rest of the day. Oh, darn. So I went home. I started Kingsley Amis' Lucky Jim. I took a nap. The Missus sent the gels home on the bus while she stayed at school to tutor, so I played with them. Then I took a long whirl on the treadmill. And last evening I got so hooked on Glenda Jackson and the old Elizabeth R series, recently shipped by Netflix, that it was midnight before I knew where I was.

In the meantime, it seems as if the instant I turn my back on AlGore's WorldWideWeb thingy, all hell starts breaking loose, so it'll take me a while to sort it all out.

Posted by Robert at 08:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 19, 2007

Did Bobby whack Marilyn Monroe?

No--Oswald did it, of course.

Posted by Steve-O at 04:19 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

On days like today, I'm proud to be a scholar of the US Supreme Court

bong hits for jesus.jpg

The "Bong Hits For Jesus" case which--if there's any justice in America--will be known by future generations of scholars and con law students as the "Stephen Baldwin doctrine," went before the Supremes today.

Here's the Tasty Bits from the WaPo:

Justice Stephen Breyer, addressing Mertz, said he is struggling with the case because a ruling in Frederick's favor could encourage students to go to absurd lengths to test those limits. ...

Frederick acknowledged he was trying to provoke a reaction from school administrators with whom he had feuded, but he denied that he was speaking out in favor of drugs or anything other than free speech.

Gee, ya think? Have the movies of John Hughes taught us nothing else?

No word on whether uber appellate lawyer Ken Starr waived his usual fee for payment in Doritos.


When Constitutional doctrines collide: Morse v. Frederick meets Hurley v. Irish American GLB--the First Amendment parade case.

Posted by Steve-O at 01:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

This week on 24

While scouring the 'tube for tonight's preview, I came across this parody:

Posted by Steve-O at 12:58 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Weekend at Bernie's, Friendly Skies Department

This has all the makings of a good John Cleese movie, if only the Stewardess had the presence of mind to deny that the woman that they moved into First Class and plopped next to the Michael Palin guy was, in fact, dead.

Posted by Steve-O at 12:52 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Fred Thompson On "300"

The Steve-O and Gary streams cross...

Ol' Fred to whiny crybaby Iranians bitching about the portrayal of Persians in "300": Suck it, Losers!!

draft fred thompson logo.jpg

Who are these guys who are getting all flushed over our cultural insensitivity?

People who want to blow Jews off the face of the earth. The regime that stormed our embassy in 1971 and kept Americans captive for 444 days. Iran’s Hezbollah puppets have killed more Americans, than any other terrorist group except al Qaeda. Explosive devices from Iran are being used right now against our soldiers in Iraq. They’re clearly more skittish about cultural warfare than the sort that actually kills people — like the one against Israel that Iran financed just a few months ago.

Fred Thompson for President. Because Xerxes was an oversized, diaper-wearing Boy George wannabe! And he was the best the Persians had to offer. You gotta problem with that, Mack-mood?

YIPS from Steve-O

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Ol' Fred for President: Because his policy on dealing with Persians is to feed 'em some Tender Vittles but make 'em sleep in the garage with the other critters.

Posted by Gary at 12:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Things I blame on Al Gore, Monday afternoon edition

The intertubes will never be the same.

(Shamelessly ripped from this guy).

Posted by Steve-O at 12:36 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

"300" - The IMAX Experience

Finally had the opportunity to see "300" last night. And I figured I might as well do it right, so I headed over to the IMAX theater in Manchester, CT.

300 IMAX.jpg

Wow. If you have the opportunity, you must take it.

And if you don't want to believe me, then listen to the esteemed Dr. Rusty Shackleford.

Posted by Gary at 09:02 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

The long range view

A little historical perspective from Jay Tea.

Oddly enough, though, he left the Mexican War off the list.

Posted by Steve-O at 07:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Well, THAT'S pretty durn elaborate

Or, she could just shanghai Robbo the LLamabutcher.

Posted by Steve-O at 07:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Case for Fred Thompson

In the Washington Post, no less.

draft fred thompson logo.jpg
Ol' Fred for President: Because "Woodward" and "Bernstein" are the names of the boys in his nutsack. And the reanimated corpse of Katherine Graham is his zombie serving wench.

Yips! from Gary:
John Fund at takes a look:

So many voters remain unsold on any of the current GOP contenders that Mr. Thompson just might trade his TV sound stage for a campaign microphone. As this is the first truly open Republican nomination fight in decades, the party might as well revel in the competition it claims to cherish in other parts of life.

Posted by Steve-O at 07:22 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 18, 2007

UT investigates paving the moon?

I blame Glenn Reynolds, somehow.

Posted by Steve-O at 06:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sometimes they just write themselves

The latest from Iran:

In an article in Subhi Sadek, the Revolutionary Guard’s weekly paper, Reza Faker, a writer believed to have close links to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, warned that Iran would strike back.

“We’ve got the ability to capture a nice bunch of blue-eyed blond-haired officers and feed them to our fighting cocks”

I wonder what Andrew Sullivan will make of that?

There's a mini-Ditka joke in there if anyone feels compelled to reach for it.

Posted by Steve-O at 06:04 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 17, 2007

Do as I say, not as I do, Peasants!

Big Al---Academy annointed and secularly sainted prophet of the environment---is at it again:

Al Gore Jr. received more than $500,000 in royalties from the owners of zinc mines who held mineral leases on his farm near Carthage, Tenn. Now the mines have a new owner and are scheduled to reopen later this year. Before the mines closed in 2003, they emitted thousands of pounds of toxic substances and several times, the water discharged from the mines into nearby rivers had levels of toxins above what was legal. State environmental officials say the mine has had a good environmental record and there is no evidence of unusual health problems in the area. But the mine's reopening again raises concerns about threats to the environment.

Al Gore had no comment, as his pie hole was filled with 110 Redwood tooth picks, each one individually whittled from a single Redwood, using a knife made from the claws of a California Condor.

Posted by Steve-O at 03:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What bait do you put in the Leprechaun Trap?

Me? I always go with a big McStinkin' heap o' Irish Spring.

Watching this ad, (just the first one that popped up when I punched "Irish Spring" into the 'tube) it struck me that a rich lode for fake campaign commercial mash-ups will be recycling old commercials. Take this one, for example---I can think of about five ways to recut to mock the heck out of John Edwards. But not as easily or as effectively as it will be to recut some old Breck Girl ones.

UPDATE: The Colossus is keeping it real with some appropriate Lenten reflections on the life of St. Patrick and paganism.

Posted by Steve-O at 03:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Technophobia Posting

In response to my ranting yesterday about being unable to find the local Target, TM Lutas (who, I believe, was our very first commenter - other than our moms - years ago) has this to say:

I hate to burst your bubble but they're quite likely to say "just get a GPS". I did, and have been having a great deal of fun with it. You can even ask where are the nearest pharmacies or restaurant in a strange town and they will all pop up in a list. Next year, no doubt, there will be a zagat ranking option.

My response to this is: Are you freakin' nuts? Have you never heard of Daleks? Or Terminators? Or Cylons? Or Syndrome's Sooper-Smart Super-Hunting Robot? Oh, sure. The technology is wonderful now - helpful, compliant, subserviant. But just you wait. The more you rely on it, the faster it's going to realize it has you in its clutches and turn on you.

I have a cousin who has a GPS thingum mounted in his car. He calls "her" Bimini. He talks to her. He goes exactly where she tells him to, even when experience and common sense say that it's a bad choice. He is, in short, completely mesmerized. I have every confidence that she's just biding her time and that sooner or later she's going to lead him straight into an ambush.

You've been warned!

Posted by Robert at 01:27 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Today My Name Is Rube O'Goldberg

The Llama-ettes are busily engaged in designing a leprechaun trap.

Although I said they could use one of the cat-carriers to cage their prey, I drew the line at running the garden hose with sprayer inside so they could blast him into it.

Posted by Robert at 01:14 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 16, 2007

How the mighty have fallen

Patrick Kennedy fesses up to being strung out on hillbilly heroin when he plowed his car into the US Capitol gates.

I'm sensing the Sandy Berger Felony Exception clause kicking in in three, two, one....

Posted by Steve-O at 09:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I'm sorry, I can't help myself

cold miser.jpeg
I'm Cold-Miser, bee-yatches!"

Sometimes the jokes just write themselves:

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. --As the world's warmest winter on record drew to an end with a weekend snow storm, a group of religious leaders started walking across the state Friday to bring attention to global warming.

"People have been asking me what happens if it snows," said the Rev. Fred Small of the First Church Unitarian in Littleton. "I tell them: 'we walk.'"
The nine-day haul from downtown Northampton to Copley Square in Boston was planned far before forecasts called for a weekend of snow and sleet just a few days before the start of spring.
"It was windy and cold. I was walking on the front of the line and I felt like I was bow of a ship with the wind just coming into my face," said the Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Johns of the Grace Episcopal Church in Amherst, where the group warmed up on bowls of lentil and minestrone soup after walking eight miles in deep snow from Northampton to Amherst.
Bullitt-Johns said the walkers kept their spirits strong by singing "Keep on walking forward, never turning back," a hymn they had chanted in prayer services before the march to Boston.
The Rev. Andrea Ayvazian of the Haydenville Congregational Church said the snow was so deep, it felt like she was breaking trail.
In all 24 clergymen will walk the entire distance from Northampton to Boston, while some 800 people will join for smaller portions. The group hopes to have more than 1,000 gather in Boston for a final rally."

We'll keep you posted on whether they wind up going all Donner Party on each other by the time they get to Worcester.

Or maybe they'll be attacked by a herd of feral tofu on the outskirts of Northampton...

Posted by Steve-O at 09:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Domestic Griping

As I mentioned earlier, I had a full slate of business to take care of this morning.

First stop was Home Despot (motto: Don't like the way we do things? Then screw you!"). The only reason I went was because it's the only place I know of that sells bricks in bulk (and delivers) and I need some to line some flower beds. But while I was there, I thought I'd stock up on seeding supplies. Geesh! Why even bother looking? Never have I beheld a store so big yet so full of utterly useless crap and so devoid of things one really needs. As for the service? See the motto. All complaints in writing to the management.

Second stop was Target. Well, almost. The closest Target to us is in Reston, VA. For those of you who don't know, Reston was originally founded as a kind of hippy planned community. The legacy of this is a draconian code about eco-friendly architecture, minimal advertising and the like. And the practical upshot is that if you don't know exactly where you're going, you're hosed. I'd never been to Target, but I knew which street it was on and approximately where. Yet I drove back and forth half a dozen times and still couldn't find the damned place! Hunger and the need to keep to schedule eventually compelled me to abandon my search, so I'll have to try again tomorrow.
The tree-hugger crowd eager to pat themselves on their collective backs for being so sensitive to Nature in their community planning should consider how much extra gas I burned driving around in circles before they get too smug.

Finally, it was a quick jaunt over to Total Bev to pick up adult beverages for this weekend. (Mrs. LMC, together with the Future ROTC Scholarship Candidate and his lovely little sister are coming to Orgle Manor for the eldest Llama-ette's birthday celebration. Five kids in the house calls for ensuring that the reservoir is full.) Well, what do you know but I got carded - this being the first time in my forty-second year.

I suppose overall that if I had to pick one totally successful stop, the last was the one I would have gone for.

UPDATE: Credit where it is due. I went back and checked the map and discovered that Target was much farther down than I had thought. My mistake was in relying on the gonzo directions of the Missus who is, and always has been, geographically challenged. (It is still terribly hard to find things in Reston, tho.)

Posted by Robert at 12:14 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Middle East business opportunities

The tycoon that launched the cell phone juggernaut, Iraqna, has cornered the telecom market here in the cradle of civilization. Nevertheless, business opportunities abound in garbage removal, concrete, plumbing, automotive repair, and scrap metal not to mention the more exciting areas of private security and explosive ordinance disposal.

Posted by LMC at 11:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cultural awareness factoid re: multiple wives

The first in an occasional series on cultural awareness for Americans in the Middle East. Yes, it's true--many, if not most, Islamic countries permit a man to have more than one wife. There are several catches. First, you can't get younger, buffer Wife 2.0 simply because you are bored with Wife 1.0. In Iraq, there must be something wrong with Wife 1.0--she can't have children, she's sick, frigid, etc. Simply being bored with Wife 1.0 doesn't do it. Second, you must secure the consent of Wife 1.0 in order to acquire Wife 2.0. Wife 1.0 can refuse or she can negotiate and the price can be exorbitant. Finally, all of this has to be proven to a government functionary of some type who has some sort of non-appealable discretion. I explained this to Mrs. LMC who promptly responded that I had better not be shopping for another wife. When I assured her that I was not, she let up and said her consent could be purchased for the small price of a chateau in the south of France.

Yips! from Robbo: Personally, I'd have to ask the question who in Heaven's name would want more than one wife? Just thinking of all the mental, emotional and physical effort that would have to go into such a juggling act exhausts me. If it ever came to the kind of arrangement suggested by Mrs. LMC, I think I'd take the chateau and let the ladies sort out the rest of it between them.

Posted by LMC at 11:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ah Pity Da Fool Who Messes With Khazad-Dum!

A little Friday afternoon silliness.

I used to love A-Team, especially the earlier ones where Murdock got to jury-rig Rube Goldberg flying machines. Why they took him out of the cockpit in later episodes, I never could figure out.

On the other hand, I never did cotton on to LOTR. The first one I found irritating, the second aggravating and the third infuriating.

Posted by Robert at 11:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Three easy steps to that elusive permanent restraining order

Oh my.

Thanks to the AgentBedHead for that how to guide.

Posted by Steve-O at 11:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pointless Lunchtime Star Wars Geeky Nerdhole

Ahmadinejad in drag.jpg

Why yes, Obi-Wan, as a matter of fact these ARE the droids we seek.

Posted by Steve-O at 11:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

College tries to cover up dorm murder

Instead of trying to do Anna Nicole, this is the sort of thing Law & Order used to do with a flair. The fact that college administrators tried to hush this up does not surprise me one iota. From today's Chronicle of Higher Education:

When Laura Dickinson was found dead in her dormitory room in December, officials at Eastern Michigan University announced they did not suspect foul play. Staff members told students there was no reason to worry.
But last month, the police arrested an Eastern Michigan student, and he was charged with rape and murder in the case. And newly released court documents that detail how campus police discovered Ms. Dickinson's body suggest they had reason to suspect from the beginning that she was the victim of a violent crime.

This month the U.S. Department of Education began questioning Eastern Michigan officials following a complaint from Security on Campus Inc., a watchdog group. The organization is urging the Education Department to formally investigate and possibly fine Eastern Michigan for violating the Clery Act, the federal law that requires colleges and universities to disclose information about crimes on their campuses and to warn students of threats to their safety.

In public forums at Eastern Michigan and in interviews with The Chronicle, many students said they felt betrayed by administrators and unsafe on the campus. This month the president of the university placed the vice president for student affairs, who oversees the university's housing and campus police departments, on administrative leave.

But the president, John A. Fallon III, says university officials did not initially suspect a crime, and the university's general counsel says it was not clear that a warning was required under the Clery Act.

Ms. Dickinson, 22, who was in her first semester at Eastern Michigan, lived in a single room in Hill Hall. She was studying human nutrition and hoped to join the Peace Corps before pursuing a career as a hospital dietitian. This past fall a friend recruited her to the women's rowing team. The last time Ms. Dickinson's friends remember seeing her was at the team's Christmas party, on December 12.

After her father failed to reach her on her cellphone for two days, he called the university housing department. By that time, some students had noticed a strong odor in Hill and mentioned it to members of the housing staff. On December 15, a resident adviser opened Ms. Dickinson's door, saw her body, and called the campus police.

Jeffrey Nesmith, a lieutenant in Eastern Michigan's Department of Public Safety, testified in state court last month that police officers had found Ms. Dickinson's body on the floor of her dormitory room. Mr. Nesmith said the student was naked from the waist down, with her legs spread and a pillow over her face.

The following day, university officials announced Ms. Dickinson's death in a written statement. "At this point, there is no reason to suspect foul play," it said. "We are fully confident in the safety and security of our campus environment."

Timely Warning

The officials' statement was irresponsible and possibly illegal, says S. Daniel Carter, senior vice president of Security on Campus. "It's abundantly clear that EMU authorities, specifically law enforcement, had reason to believe it was a sexual assault and homicide."

The Clery Act requires administrators to issue a "timely warning" when a crime presents a threat to students and staff members. Mr. Carter wonders how Eastern Michigan officials could not have seen Ms. Dickinson's death as a threat. "They should have warned their campus community," he says.

The university did not disclose any information about the circumstances of Ms. Dickinson's death until February 23, when the Washtenaw County prosecutor charged Orange Amir Taylor III, also a student at Eastern Michigan, with her murder. Mr. Taylor, 20, who faces additional charges, including rape, burglary, and larceny, is being held without bail. His next court hearing is scheduled for March 22.

According to Mr. Nesmith's testimony, a surveillance camera recorded Mr. Taylor's entering Hill at 4:30 a.m. on December 13, and leaving an hour and a half later. The student, who was living off campus, admitted to a habit of roaming through dorms to steal computers. He said he had entered a student's room that was unlocked, but he denied seeing Ms. Dickinson. A sample of his DNA, however, matched DNA found on her body.

The campus police had questioned Mr. Taylor at least twice before, according to The Ann Arbor News. In 2005 he was caught climbing through the window of a university building. He told the police he was looking for "girls and activity on campus," according to the local newspaper.

President Fallon says his first indication of a crime in Ms. Dickinson's death was the arrest of Mr. Taylor.

"It was reported early on that foul play was not suspected," Mr. Fallon says. As the investigation developed, however, there were "serious, strong, and abiding concerns about the raising of information that would prejudice the case," he says. "It affected the nature and focus and specificity of the information" released. The president announced this month that he would hire a private lawyer to examine the university's handling of the case.

Kenneth A. McKanders, Eastern Michigan's general counsel, says he is not sure the case called for a timely warning under the Clery Act. "That is a question we're retaining independent counsel to take a close look at, to determine what our obligations were," he says. "I guess it would be balancing the warning requirement with any need for confidentiality with regard to the investigation."

Mr. Carter says that protecting the integrity of a criminal investigation is not an excuse for failing to warn students of a possible threat to their safety. "The timely-warning requirement has always allowed institutions wide latitude in what they disclosed," he says.

As long as officials issue some form of warning, he says, "they are free to withhold information that would possibly jeopardize an ongoing investigation."

Bonnie S. Fisher, a professor of criminal justice at the University of Cincinnati, says that after a crime has occurred on a campus, protecting students should be administrators' primary concern. Ms. Fisher, who studies sexual-assault reporting and the Clery Act, is part of Cincinnati's Sexual Offense Response Team, a group of staff members who meet within 24 hours of reported rapes to decide whether to issue warnings. They almost always do, though she says they often withhold details of time and place to protect the victim, as well as any criminal investigation.

"You don't want to instill panic by any means, but you want people to be informed and alert so they can adjust their behavior accordingly," she says. "It's interesting that this university wouldn't think of that, because it's like, wait a minute, we're talking about the safety and security of the campus community."

Parents Unaware

Ms. Dickinson's parents say they did not know their daughter's death was being investigated as a murder until Mr. Taylor was arrested. After the resident adviser discovered the student's body, in December, a university official called her father, Robert Dickinson, in Hastings, Mich., and told him his daughter was dead. He and his wife, Debra, their two sons, and Ms. Dickinson's boyfriend drove two hours to the Eastern Michigan campus, in Ypsilanti.

Mr. Dickinson says his daughter suffered from cardiac arrhythmia and had been short of breath the last time she spoke with her boyfriend, on December 12. The family assumed she had died of a heart attack.

It seemed strange, Mr. Dickinson says, that the university would not let his family take his daughter's belongings home for two weeks. No one told him, he says, how her body was found, or that her room was a crime scene.

"There are things that we could have known a little bit ahead of time," he says.

Mr. Dickinson did not see the medical examiner's report until this week, he says. It said Ms. Dickinson was suffocated and strangled and probably died of asphyxiation.

Mr. Dickinson does not fault Eastern Michigan officials for their handling of his daughter's case. "Our belief is that they didn't want the suspect to take off or flee because he knew they were looking for somebody," he says. "If what they did was to that end, then it needed to happen."

But Ms. Dickinson's parents are considering suing Eastern Michigan for not keeping their dorms secure. "It would not be for financial gain. It would be for policy change," Mr. Dickinson says. "What Deb and I are trying to weigh right now is, as much as it hurts, how can we make this situation an example for other colleges to strengthen their securities?"

In an interview with The Chronicle, James F. Vick, the vice president for student affairs who was put on leave, suggested that campus police officers may have suspected Ms. Dickinson was the victim of a crime. "I don't think the police never didn't expect foul play," he said. "That would be a very simplistic view of it. It was always a possibility. It was always one of the things that could have been." He declined to comment further.

President Fallon describes Mr. Vick's leave as standard procedure in an investigation of an incident "of sufficient importance or perhaps even controversy."

Student Response

Many students have criticized the university's handling of the case. "I felt like they were really lying to us by saying that there was no foul play even suspected," says Jessica Richardson. Ms. Richardson, a sophomore at Eastern Michigan, was alarmed by Mr. Taylor's arrest. Her resident adviser had told her Ms. Dickinson had committed suicide.

Michael C. Garrison, a junior, says most students have become distrustful of the university administration. "The more and more information that is put out, it gives me a harder time of believing that EMU acted in good faith," he says. "Either someone seriously messed up, or they were trying to make it not look bad in the press's eyes."

Several students say Mr. Fallon deflected their questions at the public forums, where some students also protested the suspension of Mr. Vick, whom they see as a scapegoat.

Mark D. Higbee, a professor of history, has publicly denounced Mr. Fallon's handling of the murder case and called for his resignation. "Rather than being a president who knows where the buck stops, it seems like he's trying to dodge it," Mr. Higbee said in an interview with The Chronicle. "I don't see how Eastern can recover while he's in charge."

Mr. Fallon was already under fire before Ms. Dickinson's death. Three members of Eastern Michigan's Board of Regents resigned in early December to protest what they said was ineffective university leadership. In the fall, a faculty strike delayed the start of classes, after negotiations between professors and administrators collapsed.

Regents to Discuss Case

The board was scheduled to hold a meeting next week with its new members. Mr. McKanders, the general counsel, says the board, and not Mr. Fallon, will select a lawyer to investigate the university's handling of Ms. Dickinson's death.

One of the regents, Gary D. Hawks, said he expected next week's meeting to include a report on the case from Mr. Fallon. Mr. Hawks supports Eastern Michigan officials' apparent decision to withhold information about Ms. Dickinson's death. "If there's an investigation taking place, you don't want to do anything that is showing your hand to the perpetrator," he said. "At least they caught the culprit. It sounds like that's the biggest plus."

While Ms. Dickinson's alleged killer awaits trial, the university faces sharp scrutiny. A possible investigation by the Education Department could take up to two years, says Mr. Carter, of Security on Campus. Since 1990, when the Clery Act was passed, three institutions -- Mount St. Clare College (now called Ashford University), in Iowa; Salem International University, in West Virginia; and Miami University, in Ohio -- have been fined under the law, which carries a $27,500 penalty for each violation.

Mr. Carter says the emerging suspected details of Ms. Dickinson's death are similar to those of the murder of Jeanne A. Clery, for whom the crime-reporting law was named. Ms. Clery was a student at Lehigh University in 1986, when she was raped and strangled in her dormitory room by another Lehigh student, whom she did not know.

If Eastern Michigan officials knew Ms. Dickinson was killed, and they did not inform their students, Mr. Carter says, "that is as serious as it gets."

Here's the link to Security on Campus, which is the watchdog group for this stuff.

Here are the two relevant portions of the law:

(3) Each institution participating in any program under this subchapter and part C of subchapter I of chapter 34 of title 42 shall make timely reports to the campus community on crimes considered to be a threat to other students and employees described in paragraph (1)(F) that are reported to campus security or local law police agencies. Such reports shall be provided to students and employees in a manner that is timely and that will aid in the prevention of similar occurrences.


(13) Upon a determination pursuant to section 1094 (c)(3)(B) of this title that an institution of higher education has substantially misrepresented the number, location, or nature of the crimes required to be reported under this subsection, the Secretary shall impose a civil penalty upon the institution in the same amount and pursuant to the same procedures as a civil penalty is imposed under section 1094 (c)(3)(B) of this title. (14) (A) Nothing in this subsection may be construed to— (i) create a cause of action against any institution of higher education or any employee of such an institution for any civil liability; or (ii) establish any standard of care. (B) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, evidence regarding compliance or noncompliance with this subsection shall not be admissible as evidence in any proceeding of any court, agency, board, or other entity, except with respect to an action to enforce this subsection.
Posted by Steve-O at 09:31 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Tom Hulce is apparently starring in an off-off-off Broadway production of "The True Adventures of Kevin Claus: Santa Claus's loser younger brother."

This sad, sad moment in American celebrity has been brought to you by Groovy Vic.

And in honor of Tom Hulce's greatest role, we give you the official Friday LLama Rock out:

UPDATE: The Colossus continues with his distinctive brand of Albigensian heresy, by completely dissing S.M. Stirling's Emberverse series in his vacation book review.

Posted by Steve-O at 09:03 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Storm of the Century Watch (Northeast Division) - UPDATE

Dang!! I woke this morning to an extremely light - almost diaphanous - blanket of the white stuff on the driveway and thought maybe, just maybe, I had dodged a bullet.

Not so. The latest weather report:

Shoveling? Bah!

I'm going to end up having to pay the plow guy! ARRRGGHHH!

Posted by Gary at 08:55 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Scandal in the Coast Guard

I confess I haven't been following the Deepwater scandal in the Coast Guard as closely as some family members have been urging met to. Basically, the CG tried to streamline its bidding process in the production of their next generation of cutters and basically got eaten alive in the process, replete with the $3000 below hull line screen doors and the like. The sad thing is that a number of retired officers were involved in the process and are sure to be tarred with a wide brush now that the issue is going political. Congress has an oversight function it desperately needs to play here; but the Coast Guard is currently in the cross-hairs of the Congressional Black Caucus for its role in the post-Katrina response, mainly because the Coast Guard made Mayor Nagin and Gov. Teary McFoldunderpressure look extremely bad. That, and they had a role in exposing the fraud and financial chicanery of Rep. William Jefferson, who diverted CG assets from search and rescue of human beings to search and rescue of Jefferson's ill-gotten booty.

Anyhoo, Waffles has gotten into the fray, so things might be looking up for the life saving service if his track record is any indication:

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Coast Guard has canceled a roughly $600 million deal that's part of a multibillion-dollar modernization contract awarded to a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp. and Northrop Grumman Corp. But that's not enough for one lawmaker, who introduced a bill on Thursday calling for termination of the existing contracts and for any incomplete projects to be rebid.

A proposal from Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., comes one day after the Coast Guard ended a contract for 12 "fast-response cutters" under its $24 billion program, dubbed Deepwater. The cutter pact was awarded in June 2002 to Integrated Coast Guard Systems, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, and has been lambasted in recent Inspector General reports and on Capitol Hill for spiraling costs, design flaws and lax oversight of the contractors.

The cancellation comes about a year after work on the cutters was suspended, due to technical concerns about the original design. A new bid proposal is expected in May with plans to award a new contract by March 2008, Mary Elder, a Coast Guard spokeswoman said Thursday.

Kerry's bill calls for the Coast Guard to rebid remaining portions of the Deepwater contract when it expires in June and calls for more stringent agency oversight. The legislation would allow the Coast Guard to continue working with the current companies on any incomplete systems if the Secretary of Homeland Security determines that rebidding it would compromise national security or would cost more with a different contractor.

Coast Guard officials declined comment on the bill and ICGS did not immediately return calls for comment. On Wednesday, the contractors had said the agency's decision to end the cutter deal "has always been an option under the original (contract) terms."

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen said the cancellation was made to control costs and get the patrol boats, due for delivery in 2010, in the water as soon as possible. The cancellation does not affect ongoing negotiations with the contractors for other Deepwater work, which includes a deal for 46 related cutters valued at about $2.4 billion.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., who chairs the House subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, said he supported Allen's decision but doesn't agree with Kerry's call to rebid the whole deal, which the senator originally called for last month. At that time, Allen said he would prefer to continue working with existing contractors.

The 12 ships included in the current contract are the smallest of the three major classes of cutters in the Deepwater plan and would be used for missions at ports and waterways, for coastal security, fishery patrols, drug and illegal migrant law enforcement, search and rescue, and national defense.

The current contracting team is eligible to bid after the new request for bids comes out in May, but ICGS spokeswoman Margaret Mitchell-Jones said Thursday the companies will wait for bid details before deciding whether to compete.

Shares of Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin dipped 9 cents to close at $98.05, while Los Angeles-based Northrop Grumman gained 28 cents to $73.07, both on the New York Stock Exchange.

Posted by Steve-O at 08:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Presitge that, frankly, we can do without

But, you LLamas are Reichwing Wingnut RethuggliKKKhan shameless link whores, right? What google infamy would you turn down?

Well, buppy, you are correct, but there are limits to even our quest for google chummage. For example, being number eight on google for

Star Trek hunky men

We can do without that. It's bad enough that we've got things covered on the gay Klingon front (thanks to a post we did on the boys over at Six Meat Buffet). But, it could be worse: we could be the Jawas and lapping up all the google traffic for those sick, twisted, leftoes desperately googling up for the infamous Ann Coulter Beaver Shot. No way in the world do we want a piece of THAT.

UPDATE: My lunch with "William Fucking Shatner."

My heart began to beat rapidly as he turned toward us. Captain Kirk looked right at me. I froze. He gave his book to someone, and began to walk in our direction. I involuntarily straightened my back, and sucked in my stomach. My muscle suit felt tight and awkward around my arms and chest.

Within seconds he was standing next to us. He was about my height, and looked heavier than he did on television.

Captain James T. Kirk of the starship Enterprise said, "What can I do for you?"

"Well, Bill, this is Wil Wheaton. He's part of the cast of The Next Generation, and he'd like to meet you."

Captain Kirk looked at me for a long time.

"So . . . you're the kid on that show?" He seemed annoyed.

My throat and mouth were dry, and my palms were sweating. My heart pounded in my ears, as I answered. "Uh, yes, sir. My name's Wil."

He continued to look at me. I carefully wiped my hand on the hip of my spacesuit, and extended it. "Nice to meet you," I said.

He didn't take my hand.

"What is that, your spacesuit?" He said, and made a sound that was somewhere between a laugh and a cough.

"Oh? This? Yeah. It's not as cool as yours, but it's what they tell me to wear." I put my hand down. I really wanted to leave. I felt a little light headed. Why wouldn't Captain Kirk shake my hand? And why didn't he like my spacesuit? Could he see the fake muscles? Maybe he didn't like the color. I became hyper-aware of the spandex, clinging to my body, and longed for the comfort of my fleece jacket.

"Well?" He asked.

Oh no. He'd asked me a question, and I'd missed it.

"Excuse me?" I replied.

"I said, what do you do over there?" he asked. There was a challenge in his voice.

"Oh, uh, well, I'm an acting ensign, and I sometimes pilot the ship." Maybe he'd be impressed that I'd already logged several hours at the helm of the Enterprise D, all before the age of 16.

"Well, I'd never let a kid come onto my bridge." He said, and walked away.

Captain James Tiberius Kirk, of the Starship Enterprise 1701, and Enterprise 1701-A, the only person in Starfleet to ever defeat the Kobiyashi Maru, the man behind the Corbomite Maneuver, the man who took the Enterprise to the Genesis planet to return Spock's katra, the man who I had admired since I was eight years old, was immediately transformed into WILLIAM FUCKING SHATNER.

I bit my lip, and turned to say good-bye to the still photographer who had made the introduction, but he had vanished as well.

I walked back to my own stage with my head down, avoiding eye contact the entire way. When I got to the entrance, I found Mandy, and asked her to unzip my costume, so I could put my fleece back on.

As she unzipped the back, she said, "did you get to meet William Shatner?"

"Uh-huh." I didn't want to let on that I was upset.

"What's wrong?" she asked, as she handed me my fleece jacket. There was concern in her eyes.

"Well . . ." I hesitated. Saying it out loud would make it real. "He was kind of a dick to me."

Her eyes widened, and she gasped. "What?! Why? What happened?!"

I fought back tears, and recounted our introduction.

"What an asshole!" She said, "Oh, Wil, I am so sorry!"

I nodded my head, and she gave me a hug. I drew a deep breath, shrugged my shoulders, and walked back to my trailer, where I sat down and cried. I had spent weeks getting up the courage to meet this man, and in less than five minutes he had insulted and humiliated me. With just a few words, he had reduced me from peer to peon. I had worn my stupid costume, because I thought that it would impress him, and he'd made fun of it.

15 minutes later, an assistant director knocked on my door, and told me that they were ready for me on the set. I stood up, wiped my face off, and told him that I'd need to make a quick stop at the makeup trailer on my way. He radioed this information to the 1st AD, and told me to hurry.

I walked to the makeup trailer, taking great pains to look at the ground, the walls, the sky . . . anything that would keep my head turned away from the Star Trek V stage.

I sat in the chair, and my makeup artist, Jana, began to touch me up.

"I heard about what Shatner did to you." she said. "Fuck him. He's a jerk, and has been for years. He's probably just jealous that you're younger, better looking, and more famous than he is."

I sighed. I didn't want him to be a jerk, and I didn't think that he was jealous of anything. I was certain that I'd done something wrong.

"I guess so." I said, as noncommittally as I could.

She put down her makeup sponge, and turned the chair away from the mirror, so I was facing her. She looked me in the eye, and said, "Don't let him upset you, Wil. He's not worth it."

"Okay," I lied. I knew I was going to be upset about this for a long time, and may even write a two part story about it some day.

"Okay," she said, and dusted my nose with translucent powder.

About the only thing I can say about this is at least Wil Wheaton is not out robbing Quick-E-Marts with Corey Feldman and Danny Bondaduce.

Althought this bit from part deux is priceless:

"To hell with him, W," Jonathan said. I love it when he calls me "W."

"To hell with who?" Michael asked.

"Shatner took a shit all over the Teen Idol," Jonathan told him.

Beneath his latex Klingon forehead, Michael rolled his eyes. "You want me to kick his ass, Wil?"

"No, that's okay. Thanks, though." I said.

"I've got your back, man," Michael said.

Posted by Steve-O at 08:34 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Quote Of The Day

Ed Morrissey on the Donks' repeated failed attempts to follow the nutroots' marching orders on Iraq:

"The Democrats don't know the meaning of the word surrender, unless it's on the battlefield."
And the word of the day?

"Mitchslapped" - When GOP Senate Minority Leader McConnell puts the smackdown on idiotic "non-binding" Senate resolutions on Iraq.

Posted by Gary at 08:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)

Have to confess - when I say adios to Uncle and plunge back into the private sector, I'm gonna miss this compressed work schedule gig.

Of course, Nature abhors a vacuum and I've got a full slate of chores and tasks to plow through. I'll tell you all about it later, if I get the chance.

Yip! Yip!

Posted by Robert at 07:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 15, 2007


The Evil Bearded Spock Bracket rolls on, with VCU dumping Duke.

Posted by Steve-O at 09:24 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)

I had been cringing at the news of a new production of Monteverdi's opera L'Orfeo (one of my great favorites) to mark the 400th anniversary of its debute because I'd been reading of all the gimmicks, stunts and outright mockeries that were going to be used in its performance.

Well, I'm happy to report that I've nothing to fear. The thing has been soundly trashed. Here's the Guardian's take:

Christopher Alden's travesty of opera's first masterpiece this week reaches Newcastle. It was booed in Leeds, and again in Nottingham, not the ideal celebration of its 400th birthday. Christopher Moulds's conducting might have saved the day, but that, too, turned out to be leaden-footed. The sooner this dire, so pleased-with-itself production is consigned to the graveyard of failed attempts to enliven elderly masterworks, the better.

Notorious for his radical updates, Alden dragged Tosca towards our own times for Opera North in some style. Why he chose to set Monteverdi's spellbinder in a drug-ridden 1980s nightclub peopled by mincing grotesques never becomes apparent. Sticky tape is the star of the show, used to bind Orpheus and Eurydice into marriage, and to crucify the latter to the wall of Hades.

Only that fine actor-singer Paul Nilon emerges from this fiasco with his reputation intact. Those contemplating the purchase of tickets should pause to reflect on the inscription defied by Nilon's Orpheus as he braves Cerberus to enter the underworld: 'Abandon hope all ye who enter here.'

And here's the UK Times:

I doubt, however, whether it will be clobbered by a production weirder than this obscure and joyless Christopher Alden farrago for Opera North.

He turns the classical legend into what seems to be a particularly nasty game of charades at a druggy fancy-dress party for dissolute rich kids (Etonians, perhaps?) in about 1980. Mind you, Paul Steinberg’s set — a vast, oppressive, doorless chamber into which people scramble through high windows — evokes something menacing in the mental-institution line; while a bizarre ritual in which the cast slap red petals on their foreheads and do a strange routine with their fingers suggests that we have intruded into a brainwashed cult. Either way, you will gather that not much of the original plot remains.

Euridice (the clear-voiced Anna Stephany, looking suitably bewildered) doesn’t die; she is forcibly pinned to a wall with insulation tape.

The same tape trusses her to an equally terrified Orfeo at their “wedding”.

Orfeo himself (Paul Nilon, singing and acting with heroic commitment, considering the circumstances) is taunted, blindfolded, encaged by piled-up furniture and portrayed as a performing freak who long ago crossed the threshold into madness. A haunting final image, in which the anguished Nilon continues to drum rhythms on his armchair after the opera has ended, suggests that the whole spectacle may be a figment of a mind unhinged from reality.

That is an intriguing idea. Another is to have his magnificently florid solos — ultimate showcases for the art of singing, circa 1607 — recorded on stage with a handheld microphone by a creepy fan who turns out to be his dad, Apollo (touchingly played by Ashley Catling). At the end Apollo comforts his agitated son by pointing to the tapes as a guarantee of Orfeo’s “immortality”.

But two neat directorial wheezes don’t redeem an evening that turns what should be one of the most vibrant of Renaissance spectacles into yet another trite depiction of modern-day ennui. It’s as if Alden and Opera North had no faith in Monteverdi’s lyric genius and their own singers to convey a timeless myth without crassly forcing it into a context that doesn’t fit.

And the Telegraph really puts in the boot:

In his new production for Opera North, Christopher Alden sets the Prologue in a cross between a weirdos' fancy-dress party and a lunatic asylum (ah, yes, he has "universalised" the story). Music - Amy Freston, in clarion voice - cuts a Kylie-esque figure in purple plumage, mocking the words she sings, while the Chorus sneers at any hint of noble sentiment, and the union of Orpheus and Euridice is sealed with parcel tape (so all is not well in Arcadia...).

All this is standard-issue self-indulgence, with a sprinkling of old-fashioned épater les bourgeois. But not content with spitting in the soup, Alden has to vomit over the main course. When the Messenger's news and Orpheus's stricken response to it pass without a flicker of emotion, it is clear that he is clueless about the work entrusted to his care. Even Orpheus, whose suffering Alden finds it harder to mess with, is made to sing "Possente spirto" to a music-stand, as a send-up of operatic floridity.

As the radio announcer says in the Dead Bishop on the Landing Sketch, "Well, we seem to have a consensus there."

Nice to see that the naughty of this world sometimes do get punished.

Posted by Robert at 04:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Buck Blogging

After getting us all revved up over Jamie Lee Curtis in "Unchained Woman", the producers pull the old bait 'n switch. The bait?

Ep. 1.10 “Planet of the Amazon Women” (11/8/79)

Here we have another in a series of episode titles designed to pique the interest of the male portion of what at this point has become a fairly loyal audience.

But the “Amazon Women” (so-called) fail to live up to the images we have in our visual database. Really, the idea of “amazon” is used more in the context of a matriarchal society rather than a race of tall, athletic dominatrices.

amazon women.jpg
"You haven't been with a man in HOW long?"

Buck stumbles upon this society while flying in the proximity of the planet Zantia. Here he answers a distress call from a ship drifting in the planet’s orbit. Two "helpless" females request that the big strong man from Earth help them because they just can’t get their silly spaceship to work. Buck helps them out and is invited to come down to Zantia for a little…ahem…appreciation. Hey, what guy wouldn’t accept?

But it turns out to be a trap. Buck is taken prisoner and we find out that he is to be auctioned off as a slave via their intra-planet eBay. Remember that old cheesy sci-fi flick “Mars Needs Women”? Well, apparently Zantia needs men. So much so that they'll pay dearly for them. It seems that their sworn enemies, the Ruthians, have captured their male population and are holding them as prisoners of war. Zantia’s female Prime Minister sizes up Buck and decides to secretly bid on him for her daughter Ariela.

Now here's the switch: In what is probably the episode's most memorable buck slave auction.jpegscene, Buck is taken to a room full of women (and video monitors for those playing at home) for the auction. The handlers gratuitously rip off Buck’s shirt to reveal his manly chest and the female audience is all a twitter.

So, despite the implied cheesecake-fest that the title teases us with we instead get beefcake. Dang!

Prime Minister Dyne secretly makes the winning bid for Buck, paying an exorbitant price of 20,000 credits. Isn't it odd that in sci-fi land, the term “credits” is always the monetary unit of choice? I wonder what the value of this amount would have been vis-à-vis the 20,000 Republic credits that Qui-Gon Jinn offered Watto the junk dealer to fix Queen Amidala's ship on Tatooine.

But I digress.

Anyway, to make a long story short (too late), Buck once again pulls a Jack Bauer and risks an interstellar incident by using the threat of force to orchestrate the release of Zantia’s men from the Ruthians. Zantian women are satisfied happy again.

Guest star run-down:

The Zantian character tasked with conducting the auction, Cassius Thorne, looked kind of familiar to me. I looked him up and found he was played by character actor, Jay Robinson. If you recall the old Saturday morning Sid & Marty Krofft TV shows (that is if you dare admit you’re old enough to remember) you’d recognize Robinson as “Dr. Shrinker” – the “madman with an evil mind”. Ah I can still see him giving that withering glare at this midget assistant (played by Billy Barty) and threatening “Don’t tempt me, Hugo!”.

"Dr. Shrinker, when you asked me if I was interested in getting a little head, this was NOT what I had in mind!"

Ariela, the reluctant recipient of Buck’s slave services, was played by actress Ann Dusenberry who’s only other famous role is as one of the teenagers served up as shark bait in “Jaws II”.

Episode Rating: Pass (Unless your idea of eye candy is Gil Gerard’s hairy torso glistening with man sweat.)

In fact, the sheer lameness of this episode demands a gratuitous photo of Wilma, who once again is used way too sparingly.

wilma purple cat suit.jpg
"Hey guys. Ya miss me?"

Next Up: Gary Coleman asks “Whatchyou talkin’ ‘bout Wilma?” in “Cosmic Whiz Kid”.

The first post in this series can be found here.

Posted by Gary at 04:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What would Alexis de Tocqueville do?

There's a big debate among sociologists, political scientists, and historians going on about the state of "social capital" in American democracy today, and whether we are in serious trouble for the future. Such luminaries as Robert Putnam, Theda Skocpol, Morris Fiorina and others have written competing books and articles on the subject which has got civic educators twisted up into knots.

One of the biggest elements of the problem that many point to is lower rates of civic participation: whether through joining clubs and groups (Putnam's famous "Bowling Alone" argument) to the real kicker---low rates of voter turnout.

But the eyes of the nation turn---as they always seem to do in crises like this---to Florida, where some genius wins our first "What would Alexis de Tocqueville Do?" Award for fostering the rebirth of American democracy:

TAMPA - Joe Redner has a deal for Tampa's registered voters: Cast a ballot in the upcoming runoff election and gain free admission to his Mons Venus strip club.

That's a free afternoon or evening of nude dancers. Hand over your "I voted" sticker at the door, and the $20 cover charge will be waived.

Yes, he's serious. And yes, it's legal.

Redner said he was disgusted by the dismal voter turnout during the March 6 city election, when less than 16 percent of registered voters went to the polls.

Now in a runoff for the citywide District 1 seat against Tampa City Council Chairwoman Gwen Miller, Redner wants people to vote - even if that vote is cast for his opponent.

"I hope it helps turnout," Redner said Wednesday. "And the publicity is good for me, too."

Sterling Ivey, a state Division of Elections spokesman, likened Redner's deal to a fast-food restaurant offering free soft drinks to voters.

"There's nothing in Florida statutes that prevents a business owner from offering a discount to voters for voting," Ivey said. "It doesn't make a difference if the candidate owns the business."

Redner said he will uphold his offer during early voting, which runs Monday through March 24. The offer also will be valid on election day, March 27, and perhaps for a few days afterward.

Posted by Steve-O at 02:34 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Oh YEAH!!!

Ol' Fred rolls this out just in time for Andy Jackson's birthday.

draft fred thompson logo.jpg
Ol' Fred to Ghandi: Suck it, loser!

Hat tip to Allahpundit; follow it for a delightful clip of the Speakertrix starting to go into Nixon in San Clemente mode.

Yips! from Gary:
"Ghandi probably wouldn't approve, but I can live with that."

I heard this on the radio this morning, he was filling in for Paul Harvey on 770AM WABC.

I think you're on to something here, Steve. Contrast Fred's plain-spoken common sense style with Shrillary's faux-Southern drawl. You lose, lady.

Posted by Steve-O at 01:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack



Meryl Yourish reminds us that today is the 5th Annual International Eat An Animal For PETA Day. I just finished lunch, but looking about for a nice pic has made me all hungry again. Share and enjoy!

Also in honor of the day, here's one of my favorite Simpsons quotes:

Homer: Waitamin Waitamin Wait a minute... Lisa honey, are you saying you are never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon?
Lisa: No!
Homer: Ham?
Lisa: No!
Homer: Pork Chops!?
Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal!
Homer: Yeah right Lisa, a wonderful "magical" animal. Hehe.

Posted by Robert at 01:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Dem Dean admits to major felony

Well, this should be interesting:

Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean has been meeting with world leaders to repair "the extraordinary damage" that the Bush administration has done to America's image and to prepare the way for a new Democratic president.

"I am trying to build relationships with other governments in preparation for a Democratic takeover," Dean told me. "I want to make clear that there is an opposition in America and that we are ready to take power and that when we do, we are going to have much better relationships with them."

Federal law:

Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both. This section shall not abridge the right of a citizen to apply, himself or his agent, to any foreign government or the agents thereof for redress of any injury which he may have sustained from such government or any of its agents or subjects.

Mister Gonzales? Take it away. He's admitted to committing a very serious felony. Or does Howard fit under the "don't prosecute high-level Donks like Sandy Berger" clause to your mission statement?

Also, you got to wonder how much of a fascist imperialist Dubya is if he's letting the dissidents escape from the gulag like this...

UPDATE: Michelle in the comments section has the definitive angle which I missed in the first go round:

The part that caught my eye: "intercourse with any foreign government", for it seems to me that's what Dean is doing is very close to that. Don't you think?

I disagree, in that the way how Dean, um, performed doesn't qualify as intercourse under the official Democratic Party playbook circa 1998, if you catch my drift.

Posted by Steve-O at 11:21 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Clearly, the Fark "Hero" label is called for

I'm going to look forward to the Law & Order version of this.

Posted by Steve-O at 11:02 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

There they go again!

All's not sanitary in the next Olympic city:

With the 2008 Beijing Olympics just 500 days away, officials said Wednesday they are prepared to take harsh measures against people who spit in public if appeals do not work.

"Very soon you will see action to stop spitting," Jin Dapeng, director general of Beijing's municipal health department, said. He refused to give specifics, but hinted that running over civilians with tanks might be involved.

Okay, I made up the part about tanks: the original story mentinoned something far too graphic about howler monkeys dressed as geisha.

But on the bright side, at least, is the chance to enter the new Summer Olympic counterpart to the luge: the loogie slalom.

Posted by Steve-O at 11:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Great. Just great.

Damn that smirky chimperor of ours! First, Bill and the Goreacle leave the presidency to Dubya with nine planets in the solar system, and that incompetent war-mongering bastage LOSES one! Now, the Grand Tetons are shrinking. And all heck is about to break loose.

Now that Patrick Fitzgerald has some spare time on his hands I think it's time for an investigation...

Posted by Steve-O at 10:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

No. 24, The Naughty Bits

What would we do without scientists? Nasty, Brutish and Short links to a story about the difference between where men's and women's eyes wander when they're looking at online pics.

I'm not even going to bother telling you what da boys are looking at.

(What was that old Bill Cosby routine about Adam and Eve? "Adam is the male. The male remains constant. The male is always, "Ooh, lalalalalalagimmegimmeegimmeeIwantitIwantit.")

BTW, if you don't want to look at George Brett's naughty bits, as featured in the linked story, might I suggest instead going to look at this.

YIPS from Steve: There's a pine tar joke in there that I'm just not going to reach around for. Liz?

Posted by Robert at 10:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How To Undermine Your Opponent's Credibility 101

Barack "the Chosen One" Obama calls the Silky Pony "kind of cute".


Posted by Gary at 10:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Of What Real Value Is Bin Laden, Anyway?

Seriously, other than providing funds from his personal fortune and sending out taped messages to his followers (when was the last time we saw one of those?) what real value is Osama Bin Laden to the operations of Al Qaeda?

Look at Khalid Sheik Mohammed’s laundry list of responsibilities. Looks to me like we already got the real mastermind. And no further attacks on U.S. soil since 9/11. Hmmm.

Yet this morning the moonbats are still shrieking their standard "Where's Bin Laden?" meme. If we do catch him (or barbecue his sorry butt), I have a feeling it won't make all that much of a difference.

Other than maybe taking away one of the Left's favorite catch-phrases.

Posted by Gary at 10:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hail Festival Day!

Today is my favorite non-federal holiday non-family birthday day of the year: the first day of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. On many years, one of the conferences I go to is usually held this weekend, and I just got into the groove of the fun of sitting in the hotel coffee shop or diner down the street the morning of the tournament, going slowly through the USA Today Sports section, and the continuity provided by a steady stream of multiple basketball games on the tee-vee. It's definitely gotten better over the years, in inverse relationship to the noxious suckholization of college football courtesy of the evil Bowl Championship System.

Anyhoo, The Dear One has always let me put in a bracket or two into her office pools (which, cheater-cheater-egg beater that she is, she has a nasty habit of winning). Tradition has it that I submit one based on my primary ordering of determining outcomes by:

1. Quality of the college or university's political science program, particularly in American politics
B. Coolness of their mascot or name
III. Inverse suckholiness of the school.

Needless to say, this usually puts me near the bottom, but never at the bottom itself.

So last night I tried to remedy this by coming up with my "Bearded Evil Spock Parallel Universe" bracket, which, of course, has all four #1's going out in the first round. Now, eventually one of the top seeds will go out in the first round (if anything, so we can stop reading the same farking article every year about how Alonzo Mourning stole the ball from Princeton and made the inbound pass to a cutting Larry Bird who laid it up over Issiah Thomas. No wait, Mourning threw it the length of the court hitting that rat bastard Laettner at the top of the key who caught it, pivoted, and caught nothing but net with no time on the clock. No, that's not it either) Now, the fact that I'm submitting a bracket that has all the #1's dropping is beside the fact: call it the DayTrader Lunch Room Braggart strategy.

evil bearded spock and melissa theuriau.jpg
EVIL BEARDED SPOCK: Captain, sensors indicate a major upset by Central Connecticut State. Also, we have Dick Vitale in the torture chamber. Orders?

CAPTAIN KIRK: Set phasers on "For the love of Gawhd will you shut him up!"

Anyhoo, the Evil Bearded Spock Parallel Universe bracket has UVA beating Villanova in the championship game by a score of 68-66.

THE "WHERE ARE MY MANNERS?" UPDATE: Pajiba is running their pool. Top prize: fifty bucks and a Pajiba t-shirt. I guess that means when the NCAA polo tournament comes around we'll need to offer a million dollars (confederate) and a LLamabutchers thong as the grand prize.

THE OFFICIAL "AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT" UPDATE: Kelly at Kelly's Green is holding a "name that song" contest, intermixed with an essay about gardening in the Great North Woods and the most expensive out-of-print book in America (and oddly enough, it doesn't feature time-traveling Klingons beating Davidson in the Final Four or anything cool like that).

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

Gratuitous Legal Geekery Posting

You'd think that this would be a reasonable way to cite a blog post in a legal document:

Christine Hurt, Bluebook Pet Peeves, Conglomerate, (March 13, 2007).

However, according to Rule 18.2.4 of the Blue Book 18th Ed., this is how it's supposed to go:

Conglomerate, (March 13, 2007 22:00 CST)

(I made up the time, btw.)

It's pretty evident that whoever made up this rule doesn't have a clue about how blogs work or what information is relevant in citation. It's probably a generational thing - I've had some very confusing discovery issues with more than one older opposing counsel who had trouble wrapping his brain around what you might call Web-speak.

Yips! to Ann Althouse, Instapundit, (March 15, 2007). (The Bluebook be damned!)

Posted by Robert at 08:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Storm of the Century Watch (Northeast Division)

Winter is not going quietly in Connecticut.

Here's what we Nutmeggers have to look forward to over the next 36-48 hours:


And here I went and gave up shoveling for Lent. Time for the three Padawans to earn their keep.

Yips! from Robbo: Thunderstorms today and tomorrow in Your Nation's Capital, followed by a bit of snow Friday night before it all moves off. I was going to go out and deer-proof the garden this weekend. Now? Think I'll stay indoors and start seedlings.

Posted by Gary at 08:37 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Civil War Geekery Posting

The Maximum Leader has a long post today about the futility of the Confederate cause, thoroughly stamping his booted feet on the "What If?" school of thought. This is a continuation of an earlier debate.

All of the posts are well worth reading. Plus, linking the latest here gives me another opportunity to continue my own campaign to make us Llamas the number one Google search result for "Civil War Reenactor Weirdos."


(SOOPER SEKRET MESSAGE TO VIC: One squawk and we photoshop a Star Trek badge onto your dress! Ack! Sphhttthhhh!!!!!!)

SOOPER SEKRIT MESSAGE TO ROBBO: Shouldn't that be and we post the already pshopped already uploaded pic?

Yips! back from Robbo: Shhhhhh.......

SNEAKY QUIET YIPS from Steve-O: Do you want the regular Star Trek one, or the X-tra sharp "Through the Mirror Darkly" parallel universe one? Your call, buddy.

Posted by Robert at 08:35 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

That's My Church!


Aaaw! Why do I go to all the bother of trying to make the case that the ECUSA is engaged in sneaky Gnostic eschaton immanentization when the PB Her Own Self just comes out and says so:

Our tradition has a rich heritage of prophets. Jesus speaks of himself as Wisdom's prophet in the gospels, and his deeds and words can perhaps be most creatively understood in a prophetic framework. His choice of companions, his parables, his cursing of fig trees and overturning of tables, are all ways of speaking for God about the dismal state of the world and the yet unmet possibilities of God's dream for creation. Even the scandals that we call the incarnation and the resurrection make more sense in a prophetic framework. They are God's response to those who "cry in the wilderness." That pattern of divine attention to crying in the wilderness underlies all of what we call salvation history – and it's important to recognize that it's not over and done with at the last page of Revelation. God hears and God responds by continuing to lure us into a world that looks more like eternity, more like a heavenly banquet, more like God is Lord and not we ourselves.

God's vision for this created world has a great deal to do with the aims of the Millennium Development Goals – with hunger, education, illness and lack of health care, with the full and equal dignity of all human beings, and with ongoing care and stewardship for all of creation. We are here talking about the MDGs because we affirm that we are involved with the lives of others, whether they live next door or across the world, whether they are Christian or Anglican or not, and even whether they are currently living or not. When we say we believe in the communion of the saints, it certainly includes those who have come before us, but it also at some level it must include those yet to breathe this air of earth. We are caretakers and caregivers of all of God's creation, both present and yet to come, and that is an important Christian recognition of the eschatological implications of the MDGs.

Those MDGs begin with a recognizably prophetic naming of the ways in which God's children suffer – the hundreds of millions of people who go to bed hungry each night, the reality of human suffering when children die needlessly and disease takes life without cause, of women who die in childbirth and the children who are born lacking the care that would ensure a healthy beginning and real possibility of abundant life. The MDGs hint at the kind of vision that prophets have always held out – a world where all have not only enough to eat, but abundance enough for feasting, where all children can expect to live out the full years of their lives in health, where no one is oppressed because of gender or disease or disability, where all can enjoy the abundance of orchard and vineyard. But the MDGs only begin to address that kind of eschatological vision. The first goal seeks only to cut in half the kind of desperate poverty that keeps people starving. It does not reach beyond to that vision of a heavenly banquet. The goals are a great start, but it will take the vision of faith, a vision rooted in God's intent for all creation, to keep us moving toward that kind of radically abundant life for the whole world.

Kinda like shooting a sitting bird.

By the way, do I correctly understand the PB to equate the United Nations with the Prophets? God help us all.

UPDATE: Mrs. P has more on the "Gnosty Church." And the latest Carnival of the Anglican Implosion is up over at the Cann WebElf Report. Note in particular the stories about the apparent sinking of the effort to confirm the election of the Very Rev. Mark Lawrence to be Bishop of South Carolina. His crime? Too conservative. Keep that in mind the next time you hear a Palie Lib going on about "inclusiveness."

Posted by Robert at 08:14 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Historickal Posting (TM)


My quote-of-the-day email guy reminds me this morning that today is the anniversary of the birth of Andrew "Old Hickory" Jackson:

The brave man inattentive to his duty, is worth little more to his country than the coward who deserts her in the hour of danger.

- Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) (to troops who had abandoned their lines during
the Battle of New Orleans, 8 January 1815)

There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses.
If it would confine itself to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, showers its favors alike on the high and low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified blessing.

- Jackson (Veto of the Bank Bill, 10 July 1832)

He was the most American of Americans - an embodied Declaration of Inde
pendence - the Fourth of July incarnate.

- James Parton (Life of Andrew Jackson, 1859)

Andrew Jackson is ignorant, passionate, hypocritical, corrupt, and easily
swayed by the basest men who surround him.

- Henry Clay (letter, August 1833)

(Today is the 240th anniversary of the birth of "Old Hickory," Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), the 7th President of these United States, in the Waxhaw Settlement on the border between North and South Carolina. Jackson helped to draft the Tennessee constitution and was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1796. In the War of 1812, he first overcame the Creek Indians, and as a major-general decisively defeated the British at the Battle of New Orleans, which established his reputation. Jackson soon became a prominent champion of frontier populism, and the idea of "Jacksonian democracy" brought him two terms as president (1829-1837) after an earlier defeat in 1824.* His presidential record remains controversial: it saw the establishment of the spoils system and the dissolution of the Bank of the United States, whose assets were distributed among chosen state, or "pet," banks. Moreover, his "Specie Circular," which decreed that all public lands must be paid for in coin money, led directly to the financial Panic of 1837. However, in a toast at a Jefferson Day celebration in April 1830, Jackson proposed famously, "Our Federal Union - it must be preserved!")

* N.B. When no candidate received a majority of the electoral votes, the presidential election of 1824 was decided in the House of Repre sentatives, which chose John Quincy Adams.

By a neat little coincidence, I happen to be reading H.W Brands' Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times. I must say that I admire Jackson's personal courage and his strong unionist beliefs - he's to be commended in the highest for putting down the rat-bastard nullificationists who threatened to cause South Carolina to secede in 1832. At the same time, I'm a Hamiltonian Federalist, so I find Jackson's brand of democratic populism to be, well, distasteful. And I'm no fan of his efforts to blow off Chief Justice Marshall, either.

The first part of Jackson's life - his service in the Revolutionary War, his life on the frontier, and his campaigns against the British, the Red Stick Creeks and the Seminoles - is fascinating. However, while plodding my way through Jackson's later political battle with Nicholas Biddle over the fate of the Bank of the United States, I suddenly realized I must be a wonk indeed, for I can think of no other reason for reading about it.

UPDATE: Is it Ides of March posting you be wanting? Rachel's got ye covered.

Posted by Robert at 08:02 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 14, 2007

I think we're going to need a new regular guest blogger

Well, the LMC has sent a burst transmission that he's hunky-dory ensconsed in the tender-loving care of Mother Army deep in the sandbox, and it's prime early BBQ season, so we won't be getting anything out of the Fabulous Chai-Rista for awhile. This leaves our new up and coming regular guest Gary the X-Donk, who (Mets posting aside) has been doing a great job.

Until. Now.

It seems we are going to lose the talents of Gary as he traispses down this nerdhole of infamy that Pajiba alerts us to:

Staying on the cable side of things for a minute, SciFi has put an interesting little online package together with the Battlestar Galactica Videomaker Toolkit. It basically includes various visual and audio effects that folks can use to create their own fan flicks. Those videos can then be submitted to the website to be seen by all, and one lucky filmmaker will actually get to see their short aired during an episode of the show later this season. Fan films are, of course, rarely worth their salt and usually blow hard. But I still love the idea of this, of the show and the network getting behind its fanbase and doing something to help keep an intimate atmosphere between the fans and the show.

Alas, poor Gary, we knew him well.

Posted by Steve-O at 07:59 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Take that, Jawas!

Your LLamas: number one on Google for

padme porn

Fortunately, we haven't been getting any sickos dialing us up for the unfortunate pshop we did awhile back featuring Nancy Pelosi in the Princess Leia slavegirl getup. That would be, as they say, unfortunate.

UPDATE: Oddly enough, we are beating INDC Journal out on the google rankings for people searching for:

lesbians going metric


We've often found, "Hey look, my copy of The New Criterion just arrived. Sweet!" works just fine.

Posted by Steve-O at 07:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Crossing the Streams

A silly-Eeenglish-K-niggit-taunting Dalek:

Oh, yas. It's ah verrah nice. Ex-ter-mi-nate! Ex-ter-mi-nate!

UPDATE: BTW, the Doctor looks like a soccer hooligan. Bring back the days of Pertwee or Davis, says I.

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

Hey, Hey! Ho, Ho! H20 Has Got To Go!

Penn & Teller present a little demonstration of the gullibility of "joiners." This one is enviro-centric, but I think the lesson is applicable across most areas of life.

Yips! to Moxie.

Posted by Robert at 01:13 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Sometimes they just write themselves

The Who ends concert during first song.

I guess they realized Matlock was on.

I hate everybody except Matlock.

CODING QUESTION: How do I get that quicktime file to be on the main page?

Posted by Steve-O at 10:58 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)

Today is the anniversary of the birth, in 1681, of the great Baroque composer Georg Phillip Telemann in Magdeburg.

Telemann was in many ways the opposite of his great contemporary J.S. Bach (born four years later). He came of a non-musical family, whereas J.S. was what Peter Shickele called the "umpteenth musician of the Bach family." He travelled widely (including to places such as Paris and Berlin) whereas Bach stayed in the provinces. Musically, he was ever ready to hear new styles and ideas and incorporate them into his own work, producing a resulting eccentricity totally opposite to Bach's more traditional and formalistic output. Finally, Telemann was immensely popular (and well to do) in his time, while Bach labored in relative obscurity. (For all this, Bach and Telemann were still friends. Bach took several jobs previously held by Telemann and Telemann was Godfather to C.P.E. Bach.)

Of all the composers in the standard repertoire, I've always felt that Telemann benefited more than anybody else from the advent of the so-called period instrument movement. I remember as a boy listening to old recordings of Telemann's music and thinking them dull and plodding, quirky but without much life. However, performance groups such as Musica Antiqua Köln have since then attacked his music with a touch that brings out all the zest and spirit that Telemann must have had in mind when he originally wrote them.

Speaking of performances, here's a tip to all of you keyboard players out there. If you're at all interested in Telemann, I would strongly recommend that you pick up this:

Telemann Fantasies.jpg

The Thirty-Six Fantasias for Keyboard.

These pieces are very easy to play, even sight-readable. They are, nonetheless, very satisfying and sound well even on a piano.

Posted by Robert at 10:22 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


It looks like Bubba is going to rent a whole village of Shakers.

Posted by Steve-O at 10:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Why yes, he is.

The LLamas: number one on Canuck Google for

Faulkner overrated.

The lovely and hilarious Chai-Rista will appreciate the inner humor to that.

Posted by Steve-O at 10:05 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Weirdness, part deux: Approaching the IronBlogger Milestone

I just noticed that we are approaching a cool milestone here at the LLamas: after 2499 posts at the old blogspot place and 7K plus here, we're only 357 posts away from our 10,000th entry. Pretty good in less than 3 1/2 years for two stiffs and some regular guests. To me, that's more important in many ways than the impending millionth visitor traffic milestone, as it's a sign, to paraphrase Dorothy Parker, we're certainly sharpening our pencils pretty deeply into our elbows with this blogging thing.

What will we do? Robbo and I will cook something up for sure. Stay tuned.

Posted by Steve-O at 09:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

There's no way I'm voting for McCain if it's true he french-kissed Angela Lansbury

I mean, she was kind of hot in Bedknobs and Broomsticks in a kind of 1950s Disney MILF sort of way, but still. Weirdness:

Meanwhile, the McCain campaign had no comment on the new 527, known as “Vietnam Veterans Against John McCain.” It is founded by the same veterans who ran an Internet information campaign against Kerry in 2004, “Vietnam Veterans Against John Kerry.”

Vietnam veterans Jerry Kiley and Ted Sampley filed with the IRS late last month and recently launched a website with the “express purpose of defeating John McCain.” In contrast to the 2004 election, the group plans to run ads on television and radio in addition to its Web-based approach.

In 2004, the group made a splash by publicizing pictures of Kerry at anti-war protests in the 1970s, including one showing him several rows behind Jane Fonda. It claims credit for originating many of the attacks used by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth later in the campaign.

Sampley has compared McCain to the brainwashed “Manchurian Candidate” and is highly critical of McCain’s actions after his return home from Vietnam. Sampley calls himself “the one McCain hates most” and has a long history of battling McCain, including a conviction in the early 1990s for assaulting McCain aide Mark Salter.

“He has a false, media-created image of himself, and we want to correct that,” said Sampley, who publishes the U.S. Veteran Dispatch newspaper. The paper is not associated with the 527 and has endorsed Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.).

In a 2004 New York Times article, McCain called Sampley “one of the most despicable people I have ever had the misfortune to encounter.”

“I consider him a fraud who preys on the hopes of family members of missing servicemen for his own profit,” McCain said. “He is dishonorable, an enemy of the truth, and despite his claims, he does not speak for or represent the views of all but a few veterans.”

I fully expect Ol' Fred Thompson to raise his left eyebrow, and all persons everywhere named Ted Sampley---in this world as well as in any Heisenburgian alternative universes---to immediately disapear, their clothes collapsing in heaps on the floor with only a little pile of dust containing their formerly offending essence.

Seriously, though, expect the full dress Chuck Hagel "these are the true Republican heroes" treatment from Saint Andrew and the NYT.

draft fred thompson logo.jpg
OL' FRED FOR PRESIDENT: No way in hell he's gonna bump uglies with Angela Lansbury

Posted by Steve-O at 09:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack



Found over at the WebElf Report.

Posted by Robert at 09:02 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

"The Great Global Warming Swindle"

Premiered on British TV. The Calgary Sun says it's pretty damning (obviously another tool in the great Right-Wing Conspiracy).

The film features an impressive group of experts in the fields of climatology, oceanography, biogeography, meteorology, and paleoclimatology from reputable institutions such as NASA, MIT, The International Arctic Research Centre, the Pasteur Institut in Paris, the Danish National Space Center and the Universities of Winnipeg, Ottawa, London, Jerusalem, Alabama and Virginia.

That should help top the claims there is a consensus of scientists who believe in man-made global warming.

Expert after expert in this film blasts craters into the theory that CO2 -- which only makes up 0.054% of the earth's atmosphere -- has ever driven climate. Ice core records, in fact, prove the opposite, that CO2 lags warming by as much as 800 years.

The main cause of warming is, not surprisingly, the sun.

"The analogy I use," says Dr. Tim Ball, a former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg, "is my car's not running very well, so I'm going to ignore the engine, which is the sun, and I'm going to ignore the transmission, which is the water vapour and I'm going to look at one nut on the right rear wheel which is the human produced CO2. The science is that bad."

The film starts off covering indisputable facts. There was a Medieval Warm Period that was warmer than today -- that led to incredible wealth in Europe when the bulk of the continent's great cathedrals were built and when Britain had thriving vineyards. Then came the Little Ice Age that started in the 17th century and was so cold London's Thames River would freeze so solidly festivals were held on it.

About 10,000 years ago, during a time known as the Holocene Maximum, it was much warmer even than the Medieval times.

Dr. Ian Clark, Prof. of Isotope Hydrogeology and Paleoclimatology at the U of Ottawa, notes polar bears (which have become the poster-animal of the global warming industry) survived that sustained warm cycle and that volcanoes produce more CO2 every year than all human activity.

What's more, prior to 1940 temperatures on Earth were rising long before industrialization took place.

If this ever comes to the U.S., I'm taping it. But in the interim, there are embedded videos of the documentary at:

Little Green Footballs

If you happen to be a man-made global warming true believer you can go watch it with the same open mind you probably had watching Al Gore's Oscar-winning Powerpoint presentation. Unless of course you think balance is a bad thing.

James Taranto of the WSJ's "Best of the Web" alerts us of this little gem, an interview with the Goracle. When asked whether he's scaring people about Global Warming, the former VP gave this answer:

I think the answer to that depends on where your audience's head is. In the United States of America, unfortunately we still live in a bubble of unreality. And the Category 5 denial is an enormous obstacle to any discussion of solutions. Nobody is interested in solutions if they don't think there's a problem. Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis.
Taranto muses the irony: "'An over-representation of factual presentations of how dangerous it is.' Isn't that what people accused President Bush of offering vis-à-vis the erstwhile Iraqi regime? Didn't this lead a certain former vice president to thunder, 'He betrayed this country! He played on our fears!'?"



Posted by Gary at 08:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sawx Nation Update--Schilling Strikes Back

Curt Schilling's taking the blogging seriously, and is answering reader questions.

If Schilling keeps this up, he might be really on to something here---a chance for our more articulate and witty professional athletes at least to be able to bypass the sports media, Kornhoser & Wilbon and that horrid Frank Deford, and the talk radio screamers, and communicate straight with the fans in a non-canned manner.

For example:

Q-What do I think of the hypocrisy of writers who blast Manny for not talking to the media and call me a loud mouth for talking too much?

A-It’s humorous really. I saw it in Arizona as well. Matt Williams was labled the same way. Matt wanted to show, play, and go home. Guys wrote horrible stuff because he didn’t talk to them. Those same guys would come to my locker, ask me questions, sit there and nod approvingly, ya, uh huh, I see, then write about me talking to much. It’s there, you deal with it. You learn that a lot of them do what they do to hear themselves talk. They are as interested in being the story as they are in writing it. The problem is that fans actually believe some of these guys are ‘experts’?

Here’s one. I am in the training room today and there was some ESPN sports talk show on, Jay Marriotti is waxing poetic about his NFL expertise. He says “The Patriots spent almost 120 million on these contracts, given that the Colts haven’t done anything I think the Patriots have to be considered a favorite in the AFC next year”. Holy crap! You actually get paid for that Zen like wisdom? A guy who gets the meat of his stories from sitting on the couch at home, watching TV, like 2 billion other sports fans is an ‘expert’ on sports? Please. Once you realize guys like him exist it becomes easy to laugh at the stuff they do. Woody Paige is another one, the next time Woody Paige says something insightful and smart about sports will be the first.

Q-Shaugnessy and Conlin think you are self serving, how does that make you feel?

A-Dan Shaugnessey once wrote a colum about Roger Clemens. In that column Dan writes about how Roger pitched a game, left the ballpark after he came out, before the game was over, and what a gamer that made him. He wanted to win so bad he couldn’t stand to be around ‘losers’. That same guy writes a column in 2004 about Pedro Martinez, who pitched a game, left the ballpark after he came out, before the game was over, and what a jerk he is, what a bad guy.

Bill Conlin wrote a LENGTHY article in which he made his argument for NOT voting for Nolan Ryan for the Hall of Fame. Bill stated that he didn’t vote for Nolan because Don Sutton didn’t get in on the first ballot, so Nolan shouldn’t. Soon after that, in Tampa Bay, I called him out in the clubhouse on it, how he should be embarrassed by the fact that he used the hall of fame voting ballot as a personal soap box. At the end of the argument, and there are witnesses, he admitted it wasn’t the right thing to do. Not to mention that in a few appearances after that in which Bill and I were on the same show, he asked that I not bring that up.

Those two columns right there are as self serving as you can get, so no, I don’t get worked up when self serving people call me self serving. I talk to the media because part of what I do, win or lose, is stand at my locker and answer questions about the game. I was taught that was part of the job when you are in the big leagues. I can’t stand around and answer questions after I pitch well, and not stand around when I don’t. In between starts I will talk to reporters that are doing stories they want to ask me questions about if I have time, but I turn down more than I say yes to, believe it or not. The one and only time I plead guilty to taking the initiative is sports talk radio and I can’t say exactly why that is. I just hate when ‘experts’ say things that are stupid and fans buy into it. The Butch Stearns Pedro thing was a perfect example. Someone I had never met, didn’t even know, was on the air ‘explaining’ what he knew about our relationship, and could not have been more wrong. When all was said and done and Pedro aired out his issues with the media and the team it had to do with them, and not me. Pedro and I got along fine and no one rooted harder for him to deal everytime out than I did.

Q-Why associate with the Republican Party? Blah blah blah.

A-The question that could open Pandora’s box. Bottom line is I don’t associate myself with either party. I don’t vote on party lines and never will. I vote for the candidate I feel is the best person for the job. Was President Bush flawless? Nope. Has anyone ever been? Nope. Having said that I won’t add to the crap that’s out there, and disparage the ultimate sacrifice made by thousands of men and woman over the last 4 years, too many other second guessers doing that already. The amazing thing to me is the fact that only about 50-60% of this country that can vote, does. It seems we have been locked into voting for the candidate we least dislike in local elections rather than the person that we know is going to do a great job.

Q-Favorite all time pitcher?

A-Roger Clemens. I think, given the era he pitched in, he’s going to go down as the best ever.

What's great about this is that Dan Shaugnessey has got to be the greatest maroon in the entire Boston metropolitan area (this includes the entire Kennedy clan, except for Patrick, I guess). The fact that a Sox star--and particularly one who is both unassailable as the wearer of The Bloody Sock itself, and is obviously sharp and a good writer--can now take on Shaugnessey in his own medium is going to be utterly priceless to watch unfold this season. Don't think the Boston sportswriting community isn't looking forward to watching either.

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

Now she's done it

You know the type: bitch and moan all day about their family or a particular family member. But when you happen to agree with them, or add examples that they've forgotten, hoo-boy, they smack you upside the head reeeeeeeal quick.

Well, our old pal dyed-in-the-wool Jay-Tea at Wizbang is well known as New Hampster's greatest critic. But Shrillary has just attacked New Hampshire. As they say, hillarity ensues.

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

Le Heartache

I blame George Dubya. Or Cheney.

I think we need to sick the Killer Lesbian Vampire Robots from Planet Jiffy Pop on those durn Frenchies.

Yips! from Gary:
From the article: "No other gay couple has married in France since Charpin and Charpentier's 2004 union."

In 2004, Melissa Theuriau become a full-time anchor at LCI Morning, appearing on French national television for male ocular consumption every day.


Coincidence? Hey, just sayin'.

Posted by Steve-O at 07:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Random Commuter Observation

I used to believe that tourons came to Dee Cee in great bus-loads from places like Iowa (state motto: "Gateway to Nebraska"). However, their sudden appearance the instant we have anything like warm weather has persuaded me to abandon that thinking. Nobody can coordinate that timely a co-arrival of spring and sightseers.

Therefore, based on close observation, I've come up with a new theory (which is mine). And goes like this:

When tourons come to Dee Cee, they leave behind large collections of eggs. These are secreted in various nooks and crannies around town, where they lie dormant during the cold winter months. Then, on the first warm day of spring, they burst forth rather like a hatch of mayflies, thus starting the cycle all over again.

Isn't Nature wonderful?

Posted by Robert at 07:37 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 13, 2007

John Edwards: The Profile in Courage

Not exactly coming out looking like Jack in Thirteen Days on this one:

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards was skeptical about voting for the Iraq war resolution and was pushed into it by advisers looking out for his political future, according to an upcoming book by one of his former consultants.

Democratic strategist Bob Shrum writes in his memoir to be published in June that he regrets advising Edwards to give President Bush the authority to go to war in Iraq. He said if Edwards had followed his instincts instead of the advice of political professionals, he would have been a stronger presidential candidate in 2004.

Edwards said he had "no idea" what meeting Shrum was talking about. He said he hasn't read the book, so he could not address specific details.

"It was not a political calculation," Edwards told reporters after an appearance at Bennett College in Greensboro, N.C. "It was a mistake."

After standing by his vote throughout the 2004 campaign, Edwards has recently acknowledged being conflicted about his decision in October 2002 and says he made the wrong decision.

Shrum's book, "No Excuses: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner," provides an account of Edwards' private discussions leading up to the decision. The Associated Press obtained excerpts from uncorrected galley proofs of the book to be published June 5 by Simon & Schuster.

Shrum writes that Edwards, then a North Carolina senator, called his foreign policy and political advisers together in his Washington living room in the fall of 2002 to get their advice. Edwards was "skeptical, even exercised" about the idea of voting yes and his wife Elizabeth was forcefully against it, according to Shrum, who later signed on to John Kerry's presidential campaign.

But Shrum said the consensus among the advisers was that Edwards, just four years in office, did not have the credibility to vote against the resolution and had to support it to be taken seriously on national security. Shrum said Edwards' facial expressions showed he did not like where he was being pushed to go.

Edwards spokesman Jonathan Prince said the only people who influenced Edwards' vote were his wife and foreign policy experts who worked under President Clinton and argued that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. That turned out not to be true.

The image that comes to mind picturing John Edwards determing his vote on war with Iraq in 2003: I can see him brooding, hunched over, contemplating the empty bottle of Breck conditioner in his hand, and turning to his companion, saying, "Alas, poor Clairol, I knew her well..."

One can only hope Bob Shrum will continue to have a long and profitable career advising unsuccessful Donk presidential candidates. Please.

Posted by Steve-O at 06:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Two good examples of why I don't watch Law & Order anymore

Time was I watched Law & Order every week. The writing was compelling, the legal issues well handled, the characters consistently interesting. Things started to slip when they started to spin out the franchise, and went over the cliff after Jerry Orbach died. I accidently caught about fifteen minutes of an episode last fall: the storyline was predictable and boring, the writing flaccid, the characters interchangeable, the politics oblique. Heck, watching Studio 60 was more interesting.

Here's the best explanation of what happened to Law & Order:

Having watched as the cable news networks stole the Anna Nicole Smith story right out from under the nose of "Access Hollywood" and "E! True Hollywood Story," Dick Wolf has lost no time planting NBC's flag in the long-form telling of the former Guess jeans model's untimely death before it gets grabbed by Discovery Channel, or ABC News.

Wolf will do the definitive piece on the subject when his "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" gives it the old ripped-from-the-headlines treatment just in time for the May ratings race.

Yes, some license is sure to be taken in the telling, for the sake of art (Fox News Channel's online gossip column says Larry Birkhead will vanish -- hooray -- and Anna Nicole's sister and mom are being merged into one glorious character) but no more than in, say, Discovery's documentary "The Lost Tomb of Jesus."

Kristy Swanson -- you remember, the former "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" star who more recently had a baby with her skating partner on Fox's "Skating With Celebrities" -- well, she's in talks to play Anna Nicole. The heiress died mysteriously in Florida last month at age 39, about five months after giving birth to a daughter, Dannielynn, in the Bahamas, which in turn was about three days before the methadone-fueled death of her 20-year-old son at the Bahamian hospital where he'd come to meet his new sister.

And, in what would be this year's most brilliant bit of casting by far, Jon Lovitz is rumored to be in talks to play Howard K. Stern, the lawyer, alleged lover and one of, I think we're up to at least four, men who claim to be the father of motherless potential billionaire Dannielynn.

Meanwhile, details are far sketchier on the plans of NBC's "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" to do a ripped-from-the-headlines version of the Lisa Nowak diapered-astronaut/would-be-kidnapper story.

Posted by Steve-O at 02:22 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Why I Don't Go Out To Lunch More Often

Gordon Biersch garlic fries.



Posted by Robert at 01:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Royal Navy Geekery Posting


There is a move afoot to urge the pardon of Admiral John Byng, court-marshalled, condemned and shot on his own quarterdeck in 1757.

The admiral, a shy man who never married, was sent to Menorca in March 1756, with 10 ships of the line under orders to prevent the French from capturing the British fort of St Philip's Castle (Port Mahon). But he complained that he had been sent out too late, with too little and historians have suggested the Admiralty woefully underestimated the strength of the French, who had already landed.

Faced with the might of enemy ships and the prospect of a British rout, Byng eventually turned the fleet back to Gibraltar without relieving the fort. On his return to Britain, he was court-martialled for breaching the Articles of War. He was found guilty of the charge that "he did withdraw or keep back, and did not do his utmost to take, seize, and destroy the ships of the French king". His death prompted Voltaire's famous remark that the British occasionally shot an admiral "pour encourager les autres".

A campaign for his posthumous pardon has been fought ever since, citing his death as an example of how politicians misuse the Navy.

Lord Torrington, of Mere, Wilts, said yesterday: "I have asked the Defence Secretary to consider the matter because Adml Byng has been judged not guilty by the fullness of time. At the most, he made an error of judgment, but he was in no way a coward. There are not a lot of Byngs left, and it would be nice for the family to say he had been formally pardoned."

Most of the nautical authors I've read (including Patrick O'Brian) suggest that Byng was, indeed, scapegoated. However, moving HM Government to admit that might be a difficult task.

Posted by Robert at 10:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Domestic Posting - Girls of Summer Division


The eldest Llama-ette has been bitten recently by an urge to learn to play softball. (One of the tell-tale signs is that she's wearing her Nats hat a lot these days.) To this end, she's asked me if I'd teach her to throw, catch and hit. And she wants to watch ballgames with me when the season starts (19 days!).

It so happens that Sunday is the gel's ninth birthday. Present from Dad? Why a new glove, ball and bat, of course. I've been daydreaming recently of lazy summer evenings playing catch in the backyard, with occassional trips through the woods to the large field in our neighborhood for batting practice, the younger gels being dragooned to shag hits for me.

How cool is that?

Posted by Robert at 10:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

That's My Church!


The latest Carnival of the Anglican Implosion is up over at the CaNN WebElf Report. Click n' scroll for updates on all the fires.

Some people at my own church have asked me, "Tom, where do I start learning about the issues?" Well, this is exactly the sort of place to do so. Look around - both conservative and liberal viewpoints are represented. Click through to other sites as well. Explore. You may not agree with everything said, but that's okay. The important point is that resources like this - are you ready for it? - help expand one's thinking on the many issues confronting the Church. Of course, you should be reading both the Communion and the ECUSA's own sites as well, but remember that you're only going to get the Party Line from them.

One of the links in this edition that I found particularly apropos given the ECUSA's Lenten emphasis on the U.N.'s Millenium Development Goals is an old G-File from 2002 in which Goldberg riffs on immanentizing the eschaton.

SIDEBAR: Who else out there would love to thwack Jonah over the head with a flying monkey every time he starts his "I've moved beyond the couch-quoting-French-bashing-Star-Trek-worshipping-humor stage of my life?" Bring back the old G-File! Dance, clown! Dance, I say!

Anyhoo, Jonah has this to say about attempts to bring heaven to earth:

In modern parlance, the phrase was coined by the late, great Eric Voegelin in The New Science of Politics in 1952. Voegelin doesn't make for easy reading, and if you can get through The New Science of Politics you probably think I'm an idiot and aren't reading this column anyway. One small example: Voegelin writes, "The problem of an eidos in history, hence, arises only when a Christian transcendental fulfillment becomes immanentized. Such an immanentist hypostasis of the eschaton, however, is a theoretical fallacy." Now, if you can understand that the first time through, you probably need a tan.

Anyway, Voegelin believed that Western civilization took a wrong turn under those damnable Gnostics. Gnostics are small furry creatures with opposable thumbs and who tend to get into your garbage cans. Oh, wait. Sorry. Those are raccoons (whom Cosmo considers to be Gnostics — very long story there).

Gnostics were pre-Christian, early Christian, and various Jewish sects who believed that if you stood on one foot while saying the alphabet backwards, or some other silliness, you could release your soul from material constraints while you were still alive.

Actually, that may not be exactly right either. The problem is that Gnosticism took many forms, in many places, over many distinct periods (sort of like bell-bottom pants). The central thing to keep in mind is that Gnostics believed that personal enlightenment — or revelation to a specific truth or viewpoint — liberated you from the need to find salvation in the afterlife or through any conventional, institutional means. Instead of going to salvation, they brought salvation to them (a Muslim Gnostic, I assume, could have his 72 virgins delivered to his home — which, if true, would make Islamic Gnosticism the fastest-growing religion in the world, for men). It's not surprising, then, that the Catholic Church was constantly putting out Gnostic fires through most of its history.

Because the Gnostics believed they — and they alone — had figured out God's plan in the here and now, they tended to be very, very smug and more than a little annoying (except when they were on the rack, which tended to make them a lot less smirky). It also inclined Gnostics to argue that heaven could be established here on earth, that through material or political means they could perfect the inherently imperfectible.

If that sounds shockingly like Hillary Clinton to you, you deserve a door prize ("But I don't need a door!" my couch just heckled). Voegelin believed that Gnosticism flourished in the liberal, leftist, Nazi, and Communist minds. These folks were hell-bent (heh, heh) on creating heaven on earth. According to Voegelin's perspective, Ralph Nader is a direct descendant of — I am not making this up — such 9th-century crypto-Gnostic thinkers as Scotus Eriugena (if you are tempted to write me saying, "Eriugena was a pantheist, not a Gnostic," I bet you need a tan too).

So: Immanentize means to make part of the here and now. Eschaton, like eschatology, relates to the branch of theology which deals with humanity's destiny. You know, the end times, when all of that wacky, end-timey, Seventh-Seal stuff happens (oceans boil, the righteous ascend to heaven, Carrot Top is funny, etc). Hence "immanentizing the eschaton" means, in effect, trying to make what is reserved for the next life part of the here and now. You can see why all sorts of cults, heretical sects, Scientologists, and various flavors of Mother Jones readers — including the Fighting Illuminati — would be accused of doing precisely that.

In the words of Ted "Theodore" Logan, "That's us, dude!"

Lent is supposed to be a season of penitence. But this penitence is supposed to be directed to God, a recognition of and apology for our personal sins and the weaknesses in our relationship with Him, a cleansing of our individual souls, a spiritual exercise. The MDG project is a worldly endeavor. At least if you believe the literature, it's an exercise in creating heaven on earth, a giant, politically co-ordinated wealth transfer designed to abolish the nasty, brutish and short nature of most people's existence and at the same time bring us closer to our own salvation via our checkbooks. Of course, this makes sense from the Jesus as Social Worker angle of theology, one whose influence has been waxing in the Church for some time now. Indeed, I am firmly of the opinion that large chunks of the Left - including the PB herself - don't really believe in Man's fallen state, sin and redemption, Christ as our sole mediator and advocate, or even in God, Heaven or the afterlife (at least not as we traditionally think of them). To them, these concepts are mere tools to be used to get us to work for Good (as defined by the Church) in the here and now.

Given this, I have taken it upon myself to spend time rereading C.S. Lewis and N.T. Wright (as well as the Bible) this season. And I find this exercise to be far more spiritually - what? - purging than the O-fficial course charted by the Church.

And before you accuse me of being a heartless thug, let me also say that of course, the Church ought to be doing all it can to aid the poor, the sick, the hungry, etc. After all, charity is supposed to flow from spirituality. However, it is not supposed to be a substitute for or the source of such spirituality. By pounding the MDG theme, I'm concerned that this is exactly what the Church is allowing to pressing to happen.

I'll gladly toss in what I can in aid of relief. But to the extent that such is supposed to serve as a Lenten observance or an exercise in a wider theology of putting works before faith, I ask the Church to keep its immanentization off my eschaton.

Posted by Robert at 09:44 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Now, THAT'S a dry martini

From an article in the NYT about the demolition of the Las Vegas icon Stardust Hotel & Casino:

LAS VEGAS, March 13 — With a deafening rumble and a cloud of debris that has become all but customary in this city of short-lived icons, the venerable Stardust Hotel-Casino was demolished early this morning.

The spectacular demolition ended a yearlong farewell to a classic 48-year-old resort that was, in its heyday, considered the ultimate in luxury and style.

“It’s always a little sad to see these places go, but that place was so old and gross — and old and gross don’t belong in Vegas,” said Jeff Remini, 49, of Los Angeles. Mr. Remini added two days to his vacation here after hearing that the demolition was planned for this morning.

That one's going to leave a mark, Mr. Remini.

Posted by Steve-O at 09:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


What she said.

I think that last line alone (about the nanny state) will be enough to set Robbo off on what we would call in the old neighborhood a wicked ben-dah of a rant.

Posted by Steve-O at 09:08 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Deep down, I know it's wrong

cold miser bitches.jpg

I'm Cold Miser, bee-yatches!

But I'm sorry, this made me laugh so hard I practically wet myself.

Posted by Steve-O at 09:02 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Oh lord.

Jordana needs to be shot for linking to this.

Posted by Steve-O at 08:35 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Brushes with Royalty

The Dear One never reads the LLamas, which, of course, is her loss, particularly at times like this---her recently transplanted to the icy Great Green North Woods pal Kelly has got a new post at her blog. Big deal? Why yes. See, The Dear One "reintroduced" Kelly to the fine art of knitting (and I use "reintroduced" in the delicate sense of "Nancy reintroduced Sid to the joys of shooting smack.") And it's bad enough, given that Kelly is good friends from college with one of the two goddesses of the knitting movement (I always forget which one--I think it's the one with the hat, or perhaps Dixon). Well, to heap insult on injury Kelly tracked down and interviewed one of the other giants of the kniting world, whose book is supposedly going to be made into a Julia Roberts movie (yeah, I know, a crusading legal clerk/hooker with a heart of gold knitting between turning tricks on Richard Gere after secretly photocopying property deeds in the California desert is my type of a movie. So I suggested to The Dear One that the title of the movie should be "Hookers" and she looked at me all cold and ice and said, "Steven---I'm a knitter---you won't see me doing any low-class rug hooking around here!" Some people.)

Then she showed me this to explain:

Is it any wonder I sleep in the garage?

Posted by Steve-O at 08:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 12, 2007

Between Iraq and a hard place

Obey and Pelosi, a little light on the details:

What was that date again? What-evah. (And yes, what they are going for here is in effect a legislative veto that is unconstitutional).

I tell ya, Pelosi is making me pine for the fearless and compellingly convincing leadership of President Mackenzie Allen.

And in honor of that sterling display of exactitude, together with our King Leonidas could kick Jack Bauer's ass as well as that of the Persians theme of the night, I leave you with this:

As an historical side note, I just realized that the title of this video really should be "Attack of the Wicked Robot Lesbians from the Planet Jiffy Pop."

Yips! from Gary:
Even the WaPo calls bulls**t on the Dems' plan:

Ms. Pelosi's strategy leads not toward a responsible withdrawal from Iraq but to a constitutional power struggle with Mr. Bush, who has already said he will veto the legislation. Such a struggle would serve the interests of neither the Democrats nor the country.
It must be starting to sink in for Pelosi and company: "Democrats retreating from call to retreat."

run away.jpg

Run Away!! Run Away!!

Posted by Steve-O at 09:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Une Royal avec fromage

Sorry, couldn't resist:

Ségolène Royal’s faltering presidential campaign was dealt a further blow on Monday as François Hollande, the leader of her Socialist party and father of her children, admitted he was worried she would be knocked out in the first round of France’s election next month.

The comments underlined how worried Ms Royal’s campaign team is about the surprise surge in opinion polls by François Bayrou, candidate of the centrist UDF party, who has caught up with her in opinion polls and been dubbed the third man of the campaign.

Mr Hollande evoked the memory of the socialists’ disastrous performance in the last presidential elections, when far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen came second, eliminating Lionel Jospin, the former prime minister.

He said: “I’ve considered for a long time the prospect of another April 21st” – the date of the last election.

Mr Bayrou, who analysts say is collecting support from voters dissatisfied with the two mainstream party candidates, came level with Ms Royal in a poll published at the weekend.

Analysts interpreted Mr Hollande’s admission as an attempt to rally wavering Socialist voters by reminding them of the risks of her losing if they did not back her in the first round.

Nicolas Sarkozy, candidate of the ruling centre-right UMP party, has also seen Mr Bayrou erode his polling figures. On Monday he won the official backing of Dominique de Villepin, the prime minister and protégé of Jacques Chirac, the outgoing president.

Of course, I only posted that so I would have an excuse to post this:

Posted by Steve-O at 08:26 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


The New York Times takes on the emerging controversy among scientists of a certain documentary made by the fat guy who, while not actually being a scientist, plays one in the movies.

Remember, there's nothing to see here, and when Al Gore notes that, "He said that after 30 years of trying to communicate the dangers of global warming, “I think that I’m finally getting a little better at it" you better pretend to believe every last word.

Because Al Gore was down with global warming a decade and a half before global warming was, umm, cool.

Posted by Steve-O at 08:19 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

This week on 24

Tonight's episode:

Dave Barry brings us up to date:

Last week, Jack, on the trail of the suitnukes, singlehandedly invaded the Russian consulate and used a cigar cutter to lop off the tip of the pinky of the Russian consul, Markov. This turned out to be a violation of both international law and U.S. Product Safety Commission guidelines, so the Russians have taken Jack into custody. Jack may have no choice but to kill them all, because there is little time to waste: Gredenko is in the desert with Fayed putting the nukes on the drones, and once those babies are launched, it will be a matter of only a couple of months before they reach their targets.

With President Gary Payton of Your World Champion Miami Heat still suffering from a bad case of bomb-itis, Vice President Powers Boothe has taken command of the government and, as a precautionary counterterrorism measure, set fire to the U.S. Constitution. Meanwhile, disgraced ex-president Complete Handbag has reappeared in the plot, which is exciting because tonight we apparently are going to see the return of his lovely and talented former first lady. Also appearing tonight in the role of helping Jack kill Russian extras will be former child Ricky Schroeder.

So the question I posted to Dave's message board:

Jack Bauer versus Leonidas and 299 Spartans versus King Xerxes and one million Persians.

Does Jack have the greek salad or the taco platter for dinner afterwards?

Ian has the open thread going on over at Hot Air.

UPDATE: Last week, Jack Bauer invades the Russian Consulate in L.A. with the corrupt former President of the United States, where Bauer takes a cigar clipper and makes it difficult for the Russian Consul to count past nine with his shoes on.

This week, Russia decides to back off on building nukes for the Iranians:

Russia warned Iran Monday to expect delays in launching the country's first atomic power station, adding to mounting pressure on Tehran to compromise with the international community over its controversial nuclear programme. Amid signs of frustration in Moscow over Iran's combative stance, state contractor Atomstroiexport announced that Iranian financial problems mean a probable set-back in completing the power station at Bushehr in southern Iran.

"Insufficient financing of the project means that there is a real delay in the timetable. The delay will probably be two months, according to experts," Atomstroiexport spokeswoman Irina Yesipova told AFP.

Russian engineers are close to finishing Bushehr, jewel in the crown of Iran's nuclear programme, but have repeatedly postponed delivery of atomic fuel and the start-up of the reactor.

Under the latest timetable, fuel had been expected this month, with the reactor launch in September. Russian negotiators arrived in Tehran Monday to discuss resolving the financial squabble at the heart of the postponements.

A fresh delay would be a blow for Iran, coming on top of pressure from Western capitals that accuse Tehran of secret plans for an atomic weapon, as well as the possiblity of new UN sanctions.

There were even signs Monday that Russia, which has lucrative energy and weapons trade in Iran, is losing patience with its partner.

The three main Russian news agencies quoted an unnamed source close to the authorities accusing Iran of "abusing our constructive relations."

"We absolutely do not need Iran getting a nuclear bomb or the potential to make one," the "informed source" was quoted as saying. "We will not play any kind of anti-American games with them."

Concidence? Jack Bauer thinks not.

Meanwhile, back at the Ranch, new bad-ass around the block King Leonidas of Sparta has got Mach-mood's Victoria's Sekrit silky knickers in a twist:

An Iranian official on Sunday lashed out at the Hollywood movie "300" for insulting the Persian civilization, local Fars News Agency reported.

Javad Shamqadri, an art advisor to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, accused the new movie of being "part of a comprehensive U.S. psychological war aimed at Iranian culture", said the report.

Shamqadri was quoted as saying "following the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Hollywood and cultural authorities in the U.S. initiated studies to figure out how to attack Iranian culture," adding "certainly, the recent movie is a product of such studies."

The movie's effort wound be fruitless, because "values in Iranian culture and the Islamic Revolution are too strongly seated to be damaged by such plans", said the Iranin official.

king leonidas pretty pissed.jpg

Posted by Steve-O at 07:58 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

I'm getting the feeling he didn't like the movie

Pajiba on some lame-ass remake of Brewster's Millions:

The Ultimate Gift is a Hallmark card adapted by Mitch Albom into a song that’s belted out by Celine Dion right after she watches a puppy get flattened by an ice cream truck.
Posted by Steve-O at 04:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

And yet it still was the Best Picture at the Academy Awards

The Departed, in under two minutes.

CONTENT WARNING: Definitely don't play it at work, as people will want to know why you are laughing so hard.

Also, does George Carlin get a royalty off of this?

Posted by Steve-O at 04:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What the....?

From the Huffington Post's hate-filled rants and diatribes hoping for the death of former President George H. W. Bush, this one has to be the most bizarre of them all:

Any comments here that do not advocate the deepest sincere wishes for the better health of George Bush Sr should and will be taken as a direct threat and will serve only as grist for the mill of Freedom.

In fact, anyone posting any comments in this section that can be taken as sarcastic or less than sincere should also be thought of as an 'evil-doer' at the very least and a terrorist at worst.

In a post 9/11 world, every issue and every sentiment is absolute. Only those who sincerely care about the health of George Bush Sr can call themselves true patriots whereas those who would dare to scoff or criticize must be labeled in the harshest manner possible. Obedience is patriotism; dissent is terrorism.

Pray for the good health of George Bush Sr. as well as all his hot female 'friends' like Terri Hatcher or face the wrath of the true patriots of this country.

I can understand the frustration: after all, my crazy elderly uncle growing up was still bitter when people shushed him when he was telling FDR the Gimp jokes---I mean, what's the fun of being a True AmeriKhan Patriot like this fearless truthy teller of truth if you get criticized for rooting for the death of an old man. But Terri Hatcher.......?

Posted by Steve-O at 04:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Because the Russians don't take a dump without a plan

draft fred thompson logo.jpg

And if "Vote for Ol' Fred: Because the Russians don't take a dump without a plan" doesn't beat "Tippacanoe and Tyler Too" then nothing does.

Fun facts about Fred Thompson, courtesy of Frank J.:

* Fred Thompson is the only person to have ever bested Miyamato Mushashi in a duel. The reason Musashi is so vague about the book of the void is because the fifth ring of combat is really Fred Thompson.

* Every night before going to sleep, Osama bin Laden checks under his bed for Fred Thompson.

* Fred Thompson took over what was Al Gore's Senate seat, thereby dramatically reducing the Senate's carbon footprint. Fred Thompson then created carbon offset offsets by wastefully burning hippies.

* The Fremen consider "Fred Thompson" a killing word.

* Fred Thompson can know both the exact position and momentum of a particle. Furthermore, he knows Schroedinger's cat is dead because he personally strangled it.

Read the rest.

Basically, the gist is this: Jack Bauer's worst nightmare? A pissed off Fred Thompson.

Posted by Steve-O at 03:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Enough Is Enough! I Have Had It With These Mother-effing Snakes In This Mother-effing State!"

Just posting this is giving me the creeps:

SWEETWATER, Texas (Reuters) - When Chris Soles says he works in a snake pit, he's not kidding.

The lanky Texan stands among hundreds of slithering rattlesnakes and prods them with special tongs that allow him to snatch the reptiles at arm's length.

"I'm sorting out the dead snakes," said Soles, wearing protective pants as he occasionally picks up a lifeless rattler from the bundle and throws it into a bucket outside the pit.

The snakes are caught during the annual rattlesnake roundup in Sweetwater, Texas, which this town 200 miles west of Dallas bills as the biggest in the world.

The three-day event, which ends on Sunday, includes a rattlesnake-eating contest.

[Insert shudder here.]

Of course, it wouldn't be a story without somebody getting their eco-undies in a wad:

"There's no glory in rattlesnake hunting," said Lee Fitzgerald, an associate professor and curator of amphibians and reptiles at Texas A&M University.

Hunters scour the arid landscape for snake dens, into which they pump gas fumes to drive them out. Then they snatch them with the tongs.

Hunters say the fumes have minimal ecological impact but many scientists disagree.

"It's an unethical way to hunt and it harms other animals such as scorpions and rodents," said Fitzgerald.

Yeah. Boy. Gotta watch out not to hurt them scorpions. Stupid Aggie.

Rattlesnakes are bad, m'kay? Just kill them already.

Stupid, stupid Aggie.

Posted by Robert at 02:46 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Tolkien Geekery Blegging

A while back, I maintained a site called "Tolkien Geek" where I blogged every single chapter of "The Lord of the Rings", appendices and all.

Just wanted to take the opportunity for shameless self promotion and announce that I recently took up the task of blogging selections from "Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-Earth". The first entry in that series is here, focusing on "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn". Links to all other posts are in the site's sidebar.

So for those interested and so inclined, I invite you to pop on over and enjoy...

Posted by Gary at 01:43 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

How To Read Jane Austen

Well, there's the right way (Yips! to Rachel):

What can be the relevance of Jane Austen to the young women of today? Why is the BBC about to screen new adaptations of Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion? Why does the spectre of Pride and Prejudice stalk the land, whether as Bridget Jones's Diary or Keira Knightley's other daytime job during the proliferating insanities of The Pirates of the Caribbean? Austen herself was, like most women of any age, no dazzling beauty. Her heroines too are middle class, ordinary, with no special advantages of looks or education or wealth, and yet they are heroines. The battles they fight are the battles of every day. They struggle for self-control in agonising circumstances. They turn aside so that other people can't see the hot tears that start into their eyes.

For hot tears do start into their eyes: Austen's heroines are all passionate, all proud, all sensitive. They must deal with the common trials of every young woman's life, bullying, disappointment, misunderstanding, and, most unbearable, helplessness to influence the course of events. Though 190 years have passed since Austen's death, women's emotional lives still present the same challenges.

What gives the Austen heroine her power is her self-discipline. In all Austen's novels, the heroines, no matter how scatty, deploy immense reserves of self-control. It is as if they all knew that it is fatally easy to be mad, to "give way" to excessive feeling, to sink into melancholia, or hysteria, or self-starvation. Fanny Price, who at Mansfield Park has to endure the daily humiliations that were the lot of any poor relative, develops her spiritual muscle by exercising almost superhuman patience. She never points out to her thoughtless relatives that she might be tired, that she could do with a fire in her room, that she would like to ride out occasionally, because refraining from doing so makes her stronger.

And then there's the somewhat-hysterical-chip-on-shoulder-way:

Along with the obligatory pig, most of Jane Austen’s world never made it through the drawing room door. You’d never know it from the novels, but she lived in interesting times. As the film notes, her sister-in-law lost her first husband to the guillotine during the French Revolution. While her oeuvre was gestating, Napoleon’s army ravaged Europe and froze to death in the retreat from Moscow. On the other side of the world Zheng Yi Sao, the pirate queen known as the Dragon Lady of the South China Sea, commanded a fleet of 1,800 junks and 70,000 men.

Had Jane ever looked out of the window, she would have seen her starving country neighbours herding into slums. Had she read of the molecular theory that preoccupied scientists, or joined the philosophical fight to the death between reason and romanticism? Reformers debated A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, the feminist polemic by Mary Wollstonecraft, a weaver’s daughter who was politicised by all the horrors of unwed poverty that Austen’s heroines are so frantic to avoid.

A few years after Pride and Prejudice was published in 1813 came a novel by Wollstonecraft’s daughter. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a book that engages far more actively with its world and continues to express our anxieties about the advancement of science. Frankenstein became the keystone of the fantasy genre; it has been filmed almost as often as Pride and Prejudice but Shelley herself, intellectual scion and poet’s muse, has never achieved the same leverage on mass imagination as Jane Austen.

Posted by Robert at 01:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

"Gated community . . .

in an up-and coming corner of the Middle East, inquire now! Limited availability." Alive and well in the cradle of civilization with a ring-side seat to current events.

Long Distance Yips! from Robbo: The LMC also emailed me a pic of himself from the front:


(SUPER-SEKRET MESSAGE TO LMC: Dude, I heard your Missus' birthday bash turned into one major league chickfest. Unfortunately, the Contessa didn't bring back any videotape.)

Posted by LMC at 11:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Llama Theatre Review


As I mentioned earlier, Saturday evening the Missus and I went to see the Washington Savoyards' production of Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate at the WS's new digs in the Atlas Theatre.

As far as the show itself went, this reviewer nails it:

{T]hick ’n’ cheesy but pretty satisfying. After all, you don’t go to Kiss Me, Kate to see theater that will change your life, you go to revel in all its show biz kitsch and the promise of juicy backstage battles amid the corsets and couplets. Mostly, of course, you go for Porter’s perfectly crafted, almost virally hummable tunes. And here they are, delivered with purity and polish by the show’s leads. Michael Nansel puts his rich voice to powerful use as a bluff and barrel-chested Fred. Sandy Bainum, as Lilli, has the vocal chops to make “So in Love” as haunting as it deserves to be. (It’s a love song, sure, but all those minor chords are in there for a reason, and Bainum makes sure you feel each one in your chest.) They’re backed by a 21-piece orchestra that sounds great in the new space. Some unevenness among the show’s ensemble actors—who are quite young and look it—is noticeable, which keeps the production numbers from coming together as nimbly as they should. “Too Darn Hot,” for example, isn’t, particularly. Without that energy, the second act starts to drag. In a program note, director Hal Simons declares, “If it ain’t broke….!” and, of course, he’s right, up to a point. It ain’t broke, but it does creak a bit, especially when so many of the yucks come courtesy of two gangsters delivering dialogue straight from the “dem, dese, and dose” school. And although Bainum sounds great on “So in Love,” she isn’t given much to do while singing it besides staring moonily at a floral bouquet. Still, it’s Kiss Me, Kate, for Christ’s sake. Is there anything—besides the degree of technical skill on display at the Atlas Center—that separates this production from the Kates that have packed high school auditoriums and dinner theaters for decades? Nope. There’s no uncanny, lightning-in-a-bottle theatrical synergy at work here, but when these melodies are presented this well, you probably won’t miss it.

Yep. It was basically a superior community theatre performance, but well worth it.

Two observations arise. Or rather, an observation and a question.

The observation has to do not with the show but with the theatre (which in itself is small and cozy and has good acoustics). I had been wondering, given that the place is way the hell over in NE behind Union Station, whether it wouldn't be better to hire a car to take us in and out. Boy, did I ever make the right call with that one. The Atlas is in a really, really nasty neighborhood and even though it's only a few blocks from Union Station, no power on earth would get me to walk there. (Yes, I'm a suburban coward, but aside from the church right across the street, the rest of the neighborhood is composed of pawn shops, tattoo parlors and liquor stores.) As for parking, well, it's all on street. Don't bring wheels you care about. My advice instead, if you go to a show here and don't want to have to rely on the vagaries of digging up a taxi at midnight, is to play the nabob for once and hire yourself a car. You'll be glad you did.

The question has to do with characters in the show. In the original, which came out in 1948, Lilli is engaged to Harrison Howell, an army general with all-consuming political ambitions. However, in the movie version, which came out in 1953, Howell's character is replaced by Tex Callaway, a big time cattle rancher. I'm curious as to why this happened. Howell is something of a tool and Lilli eventually jilts him when she goes back to Fred. Was he unpleasant enough that the movie producers felt compelled to switch him out? Was there a fear of offending Ike? The World wonders.

Posted by Robert at 10:40 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The Greeks had a word for this

And I think it's "feta."

Van Halen star David Lee Roth has announced he won't be attending the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony - because he can't perform. The reformed rockers will be added to the Cleveland, Ohio music museum on Monday but guitarist Eddie Van Halen's upcoming rehab stint, announced yesterday, has forced them to pull out of a planned performance.

Instead Velvet Revolver will perform Van Halen hits as part of a tribute at a star-studded banquet in New York. And bitter Lee Roth reveals he won't even be there to claim the induction honor because he can't perform with his bandmates.

He says, "It rips my heart out (not to be there)... but I don't make speeches for a living. It's just not an option for me to go and watch some other band, who are only performing because they have some new record coming out, do our music... That was my three minutes and 22 seconds up there."

But Lee Roth is still optimistic about plans for a Van Halen reunion tour once Eddie Van Halen completes rehab treatment for a reported alcohol problem: "If Ed ever dries up, this is going to be a stadium act."

Groovy Vic is in mourning, as am I, not as much that Van Halen won't be touring this summer, but at the news of a masculine sex icon of my youth can't perform. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

Posted by Steve-O at 09:51 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

We reserve the right to make that judgement

Groovy Vic responds to Robbo. But the answer still remains "Yes."

Don't make me come back there and photoshop a Star Trek com badge into that picture....

Posted by Steve-O at 09:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The over/under bet on campaign finance reform

Will Hillary's campaign raise more money than the total box-office for the 300?

The game is on. My money is on the 300.

Posted by Steve-O at 09:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pshop this picture, win a free prize*

thai king.jpg

*By free prize we mean serious hard time in a swanky (I'm sure) Thailand prison.

But photoshop this guy with Robbo's llama head
robbo llama british uniform.jpg

And you win free tickets to the LLamabutchers "Millionth Visitor" Fancy Dress Ball!


Commentator Bill Berfort writes in:

Don't you dare. "This guy" is Bernard Fergusson, who commanded columns in BOTH Chindit expeditions. He saw so much action they had to parachute monocles in to keep him supplied (NOT a figure of speech.) He may look like the ultimate toff in his NZ Governor General's uniform, but in his prime he could pee enough testosterone down a slit trench to keep you or me supplied for a lifetime. Find somebody else to Photoshop. While you're at it, read "Beyond the Chindwin."

Bill is absolutely right, but yet then long-time reader and regular pal Sarah G. at Life at Full Volume emails this doozy:


Well, what's a llama going to do?

Posted by Steve-O at 09:38 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Is Donna Brazille about to become a Burkeian? Or, why I'm a conservative in one easy anecdote

From an article about the blowback to the primary system caused by the Democratic party:

The developments have stirred despair among some Democratic National Committee officials, who pushed through a new calendar this year that sought to dilute the influence of Iowa and New Hampshire by letting Nevada and South Carolina hold nominating contests before Feb. 5. Nevada’s Democratic caucus will be five days after the Jan. 14 Iowa caucus, and South Carolina’s primary will be at least a week after the Jan. 22 New Hampshire primary.

Donna Brazile, one of the Democratic Party leaders involved in pushing through those changes, said she believed that Iowa and New Hampshire were now more powerful than ever because of the move toward Feb. 5. “I am very alarmed,” Ms. Brazile said. “This is the opposite of what we are trying to do.”

Shocked, SHOCKED I am to find gambling at Rick's. Unintended consequences develop because of poorly developed but entirely well-intentioned reform? I guess she must have missed that day in social studies class when they talked about enlightened reform and the French Revolution.

Posted by Steve-O at 09:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Oh, puh-lease:

March 11, 2007 -- NASHUA, N.H. - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton invoked the campaign of the nation's lone Catholic president, John Kennedy, last night as she talked about her challenge in becoming the first female commander-in-chief.

"He was smart, he was dynamic, he was inspiring and he was Catholic. A lot of people back then [1960] said, 'America will never elect a Catholic as president,' " the White House hopeful told the New Hampshire Democrats' 100 Club fund-raiser here.

"But those who gathered here almost a half century ago knew better," she said. "They believed America was bigger than that and Americans would give Sen. John F. Kennedy a fair shake, and the rest, as they say, is history."

Noting women are "the majority" of voters and are in the workforce in "record numbers," she added, "So when people tell me 'a woman can never be president,' I say, we'll never know unless we try."

How very 1968.

Does the Hill really think this sort of thing is going to sell?

I think what "people" are telling her is not "a woman can never be president," but rayther, "you can never be president." Which, of course, is not the same thing a-tall.

(I also restate my per-diction here that the first woman president will, in fact, be a Republican.)

* Not bloody likely.


Actually, in all seriousness, when I think of Hillary! I think of Benazir Bhutto.

Posted by Robert at 08:52 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Robbo's going to go noo-CLEAR

Exposing the heart of darkness of the modern princess party.

Yips! from Robbo: Indeed. Club Libby Lu - mentioned in the story - is one of the places we absolutely forbid the gels from going to, even when invited for birthday parties.

We've certainly got our share of princess paraphernalia lying about Orgle Manor, but it's never become all-consuming or even part-consuming. And as far as princess behavior goes, the Llama-ettes resemble Yorks and Lancasters far more than Cinderella or Snow White.

Posted by Steve-O at 08:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Random Commuter Observations

Don't think I've quite got the hang of DST yet. Must be because it came so early this year - I've a finely tuned temporal sense that doesn't like being mucked about.

Yeah, that's it.

Posted by Robert at 08:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

"Who Are Those Guys?

One of my favorite westerns is George Roy Hill's "Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid". And the centerpiece of the film is the pursuit of the renegade bank robbers across country by lawmen led by a Native American tracker called Lord Baltimore. Every time Butch and Sundance think they've eluded them, they look back and see traces of the hunters still on their tails.

Which prompts them to keep asking each other in disbelief, "Who are those guys?"

Well, the U.S. military are employing a similar strategy in finding America's #1 enemy: "Native Americans Trackers To Hunt Bin Laden".

The unit, the Shadow Wolves, was recruited from several tribes, including the Navajo, Sioux, Lakota and Apache. It is being sent to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to pass on ancestral sign-reading skills to local border units.
In recent years, members of the Shadow Wolves have mainly tracked smugglers along the US border with Mexico.

But the Taliban's resurgence in Afghanistan and the US military's failure to hunt down Osama bin Laden - still at large on his 50th birthday on Saturday - has prompted the Pentagon to requisition them.

US Defence Secretary Robert M.Gates said last month: "If I were Osama bin Laden, I'd keep looking over my shoulder."

I wonder how you say "Who are those guys?" in Pashto.

Posted by Gary at 08:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Better Fred than Dead

More on Steve the LLamabutcher's favorite candidate for president.(TM)

Posted by Steve-O at 07:23 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 11, 2007

Remember, you heard her here first

Mrs. P has been discovered.

Posted by Steve-O at 11:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Point A:

The "Desert Louvre," as the French press has dubbed the deal, is part of a revolutionary initiative by France to expand its global influence through its vast cultural heritage and holdings -- the one realm where it remains a dominant world power -- in the face of its shrinking diplomatic and economic clout.

The French government is offering up some of its greatest cultural names and assets to Middle Eastern governments awash in cash, as well as to newly wealthy developing nations eager to globalize their cultural offerings. In January, the Pompidou Center in Paris, one of the world's largest museums of contemporary and modern art, announced plans to open a branch in Shanghai. The Rodin Museum is considering adding a site in Brazil. Chirac says he wants museum partnerships in Russia, India, Africa and South America.

The global outreach effort includes other cultural icons. The Sorbonne university in Paris opened a satellite campus in Abu Dhabi in October, the first expansion in its 750-year history. And the elite military academy established by Napoleon Bonaparte, the Ecole Speciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr, is considering a training academy for military officers in the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar.

I, for one, am all in favor of the French Army opening a training academy in the Middle East, particularly given the ready supply of white sheets in the area.

Point Deux:

Oil services giant Halliburton Co. will soon shift its corporate headquarters from Houston to the Mideast financial powerhouse of Dubai, chief executive Dave Lesar announced Sunday.

"Halliburton is opening its corporate headquarters in Dubai while maintaining a corporate office in Houston," spokeswoman Cathy Mann said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "The chairman, president and CEO will office from and be based in Dubai to run the company from the UAE."

Lesar, speaking at an energy conference in nearby Bahrain, said he will relocate to Dubai from Texas to oversee Halliburton's intensified focus on business in the Mideast and energy-hungry Asia, home to some of the world's most important oil and gas markets.

"As the CEO, I'm responsible for the global business of Halliburton in both hemispheres and I will continue to spend quite a bit of time in an airplane as I remain attentive to our customers, shareholders and employees around the world," Lesar said. "Yes, I will spend the majority of my time in Dubai."

Lesar's announcement appears to signal one of the highest-profile moves by a U.S. corporate leader to Dubai, an Arab boomtown where free-market capitalism has been paired with some of the world's most liberal tax, investment and residency laws.

Well, I guess it creates the one-stop shopping potential for lefty jet-setters: the unique tourism potential of protesting in front of Halliburton's corporate headquarters and then visiting the Louvre the same afternoon.

Posted by Steve-O at 09:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Dumbass leftist comment of the day

In an article about the rising cost of textbooks:

Danny Katz, a campus organizer with the California Public Research Interest Group, said publishers are overdoing it.

"Certainly there are some subjects with a legitimate need for a new textbook every couple of years because the content changes so rapidly," Katz said. But "calculus hasn't changed in 300 years, so there's no need for a new edition of a textbook every couple of years."

The obvious answer is to let people like Mr. Katz decide what textbook publishers can and can't publish. You know, to protect the kids.

Expect a textbook on economics to then follow that would put little quotey-marks around the "theory" of supply and demand.

Because the first to receive justice when the Bolivarian Revolution hits el norte: those bloodsucking running dog bastard publishers of calculus textbooks.

Posted by Steve-O at 06:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Well, I for one have my candidate

Ol' Fred for President.

Better Fred than Dead.

UPDATE: Buh-bye. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

Posted by Steve-O at 06:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Springing Into Action

Today was one of those early spring days when one feels obligated to get out in the yard and do something - anything - just because one finally can.

Me, I got to work with the saw and shears, pruning back some trees and bushes in order to let more light into the side yard, where we're putting down new sod and generally sprucing up the landscaping this year.

When the Missus got home from the store, she found me about fifteen feet up a tree, industriously sawing off low-hanging branches. We've reached the point in our marriage where she isn't really surprized by anything I do anymore. She just shakes her head gently and wanders off, muttering.

The other nice thing today, aside from just being able to get out, was the successful pressing of the Llama-ettes into service. No bribes, no threats, just, "Girls, I need you to help me pick up these sticks." And they did it. I plan to make a great deal more use of them this year than in the past. Today was a good sign that it may actually prove not to be more trouble than it's worth.

Posted by Robert at 04:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 10, 2007

Z Mého Zivota

"Why did you stuff two ponytail holders and a bar of soap down the bathtub drain?"


Posted by Robert at 04:28 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM) - BUMPED AND UPDATED

Seraglio DVD.jpg

I recently bought, unheard, a new DVD recording of Mozart's 1782 opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail ("The Abduction from the Seraglio"), a piece I have always loved. I chose this recording largely because a) the notes say it is a straight-up, non-trendy performance and b) because I know Zubin Mehta can conduct Mozart's music the way it ought to be conducted.

Apparently, I'm in for a treat:

There are nice wobbly sets at the start of this Florentine production, making it obvious we are in for proper theatre, and all the better for it. The scenery at the start consists of large hangings covered in oriental decorations as befits this exotic story set in the mysterious East - Turkey actually. There is some stage fun in the form of Osmin feeding his crocodile and during the production this beasty returns to terrorise various characters. Nicely done and good stage business. The scenery changes appropriately for the plot and I was relieved to see not one great coat or machine gun, clearly no ex-Eastern Bloc directors were involved in this production. It is played for all it is worth; and Die Entführung is worth a great deal.

Belmonte’s first aria, sung by tenor Rainer Trost, is really excellent. It confirms what the overture had already suggested, that this was going to be good listening as well as good viewing. Mehta’s orchestra plays crisply with some plainly "authentic" touches like a comparative freedom from vibrato. This does not pretend to be an authentic production à la Drottningholm but it is played throughout with a liveliness that puts a smile on one’s face. Constanza (Eva Mei) seems a touch mature at first but soon had me convinced that she was the passionate and wronged woman of virtue that Bretzner’s libretto suggests. Blonde (the striking Patrizia Ciofi) makes a great contrast, as she should, and enjoys a fine scene with Osmin ( Kurt Rydl) at the start of Act 2. Kurt Rydl throws his whole considerable weight into the role of the wicked Osmin and hams it wonderfully, especially at the end of the opera where his chance of revenge is taken away by the noble Pasha Selim. By the time we reach Constanza’s lovely aria bemoaning the loss of her love Belmonte, indeed love in general, this listener was absolutely hooked.

Here's the Mozart Project's entry on the history and plot of this opera. Why the Islamofascists haven't blown a gasket over it yet, I do not know. The action takes place in the palace of the Pasha Selim. While the Pasha himself is shown to be both tyrannical and civilized, his overseer, Osmin, is a great, hulking caricature of a Mussleman, written and played for laughs.

Anyhoo, can't wait to settle down and give it a listen. If you're very good, I might post a review. If you're not good, I definitely will.

UPDATE: Gift und dolch! Rayther a disappointment, I'm afraid. The orchestra was all one could wish, the staging was good and the acting reasonable enough, but the singing (which is the heart of the matter, after all) was a let down all round. Does nobody appreciate the bel canto style anymore? The women in particular were prone to heavy vibrato and shrieking their upper registers, but Osmin had a warble on him that would send your fillings vibrating. Too damn bad.

Posted by Robert at 12:20 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 09, 2007

Gentlemen, we are falling behind.

In the immortal words of Ricky Bobby, "If you aint first, you're last."

Robbo, Gary, Chai-Rista: we are only #7 on google for "epsicopalian jokes."

This. Will. Not. Stand.

You know what you need to do.

Posted by Steve-O at 05:45 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Pitting Blogger Against Blogger

Question: Should the American Civil War be of any interest to anyone other than arm-chair tacticians and weirdos who like to dress up in silly costumes on weekends?

The Maximum Leader says "Nay." Buckethead responds with a rousing "Yea."

Go read 'em both.

Oh, in case you're interested, I'm siding with Buckethead on this one. As B notes, not only was the war High Victorian Drama at its most poignant, in the first year or two things could have gone very differently than they did.

UPDATE: Present company excepted, of course!

Posted by Robert at 05:20 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Holy crap!

This up at Hot Air (with the full transcript at Malkin's) is painful, truly painful to watch.

My favorite part is when the earnest nutrootian tries to lecture Rep. Obey on how they should just filibuster it in the House.

I have a magic feeling the nutroots have just hoist themselves on their own Sidarthian petard.

UPDATE: Robbo, you're our resident Mister Language Person. How is the plural of the earnest citizen of the nutroots pronounced: nut-RHOOO-SHE-an, or nut-RU-TEE-an?

I prefer the former (nut-RHOOO-SHE-an) has a nice John Houseman-esque roll to it, but then I'm generally I'm known as a philistinic poltroon on matters of language and culture.

Yips! from Robbo: The correct pronunciation is nut-RHO-shen (with the final "e" getting shwa-ed like billy-o). And remember to keep your teeth firmly clamped together when saying it.

Posted by Steve-O at 01:12 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Friday Afternoon Movie Meme: Best Of, Worst Of, Most Of.

Heck, why not?

1. Name a movie that you have seen more than 10 times. Being of a compulsive temperment, if I like a movie, I tend to watch it over and over. Which ones have cracked double digit viewing? Well... Holiday, for certain. The Good, The Bad and the Ugly....Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure......The Wrath of Khan......Bull Durham is probably somewhere up there to. The list goes on....

2. Name a movie that you’ve seen multiple times in the theater. Airplane! was probably the first. These days, with instant DVD and cable access, there's really no need.

3. Name an actor that would make you more inclined to see a movie. Mostly the Old Guard here: Alec Guinness, Peter O'Toole.

4. Name an actor that would make you less likely to see a movie. Probably Robin Williams or Adam Sandler. Can't stick either of 'em.

5. Name a movie that you can and do quote from. Lots of 'em. Star Wars, the Bond flicks, The Ladykillers, Monty Python (Grail, Brian and Life). I'm too dull to come up with my own copy.

6. Name a movie musical that you know all of the lyrics to all of the songs A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum.

7. Name a movie that you have been known to sing along with. See above. Also The Wizard of Oz ("F'y were the king of the forreeeeeest!") and the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

8. Name a movie that you would recommend everyone see. So many tastes, so hard to peg one film to cover them all. Check out all the ones I mention here.

9. Name a movie that you own. I own a goodly number. Terry Gilliam's Brazil will serve as good an example as any. How could that nice Michael Palin turn out so eeeeeevil?

10. Name an actor that launched his/her entertainment career in another medium but who has surprised you with his/her acting chops. Andre the Giant. C'mon, is this a trick question?

11. Have you ever seen a movie in a drive-in? If so, what? You bet. Saw Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan at one for the first time. Well, sort of.

12. Ever made out in a movie? See 11 above. Also, the first time I saw The Adventures of Baron Munchausen in a theatre was on a date. I was captivated by the movie, she was much more interested in me. Conflict ensued.

13. Name a movie that you keep meaning to see but just haven’t yet gotten around to it. That list has shrunk by quite a bit since I signed up for Netflix. For Your Consideration is one that comes to mind, but I've got it in the queue somewhere.

14. Ever walked out of a movie? Total Recall. Neither the Missus or I could take watching Ahnold's face balloon up when his space helmet got smashed. (I've seen it the whole way through since.)

15. Name a movie that made you cry in the theater. Who didn't cry when Old Yeller got shot?

16. Popcorn? Not so much anymore.

17. How often do you go to the movies (as opposed to renting them or watching them at home)? Virtually never. I average a flick about every six months or so, most of them kid-related.

18. What’s the last movie you saw in the theater? The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. See? Kid-related. Last adult film was the repulsive Love, Actually.

19. What’s your favorite/preferred genre of movie? Romantic comedies and westerns.

20. What’s the first movie you remember seeing in the theater? I want to say it was Snow White - my grandmother took us kids.

21. What movie do you wish you had never seen? Any of the prequel Star Wars episodes (except the Natalie Portman abs bit in the second one, of course).

22. What is the weirdest movie you enjoyed? You mean that I can mention on a family blog?

23. What is the scariest movie you’ve seen? I hate scary movies. And the grand poobah worst of them has to be The Exorcist. I got thrown out of a halloween party in law school where it was being shown because the only way I could make myself watch was to get drunk enough to start heckling. Still can't face it.

24. What is the funniest movie you’ve seen? I may have admitted this before, but as childishly ridiculous and trashy as it is, I believe Porky's is one damn hi-larious movie. At least, there are scenes which regularly cause my eyes and nose to start running with teh funny.

There! Now it's your turn.

Yips! to the Silver Fox.

Posted by Robert at 12:42 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Buck Blogging

After the snooze-fest that was "Return of the Fighting 69th", we get a visual treat in the next episode:

Ep. 1.9 “Unchained Woman” (aired 11/1/79):

OK, here’s the basic plot:

The Directorate desperately wants to get their hands on a woman who can help them find and a wanted interstellar criminal named Malary Pantera. The problem? Like any loyal girlfriend would, she took the rap for one of Pantera’s crimes and is stuck in an underground prison on the third moon of Zeta, a galactic penal colony from which no prisoner has ever escaped. Of course, the prison’s designs never factored in the eclectic skills of our hero, Buck Rogers.

Captain Rogers, your assignment is bring back busty babe Jen Burton

Now there are two reasons to watch this episode. The first is Jamie Lee Curtis, playing prisoner Jen Burton. The very first shot of her is wearing a skin-tight tank top, showcasing her heaving bosom. Buck, posing as a prisoner himself, is checked into the prison and within minutes orchestrates an explosion that allows him and Jen to escape to the planet’s surface to rendezvous with Col. Deering who will be flying by to pick them up. Apparently, Buck and Jack Bauer have the same disregard for sovereign territory.

Jamie Lee Halloween.jpg
"Heeeeeeere's Michael!"

Jamie Lee Curtis as you all know made her theatrical debut in the horror classic “Halloween”, which had been released the year before. She was a hot property in more ways than one. In addition to her characteristic courage and resourcefulness in evading mindless killing machines, she had an excellent physique.

Now in 1979, Jamie Lee’s body wasn’t quite as sculpted as it appeared in later films like “Perfect” and “True Lies” but she was certainly memorable.

Jamie_Lee_Curtis.jpgjamie lee curtis in true lies.jpg

Speaking of mindless killing machines, the show features Hugo, one of the android prison guards (having blown a few circuits in the explosion), doggedly pursuing Buck and Jen across the wasteland of Zeta’s moon. This dude takes a29.gif licking and keeps on ticking, not unlike Michael Myers. Which brings me to the second reason to watch this, the sheer comedic value of watching Hugo lumbering behind Buck and Jen the whole time with a maniacal sneer on his face. He even survives an attack by a sand squid! (Yips! to Robbo - Here's a tiny headshot of Hugo for ya!)

Did I mention that Jamie Lee Curtis is in this one?

"I don't know if this thing is loaded but the top of that dress sure is."

Episode Rating: Must See (Jamie Lee’s presence more than makes up for very little Wilma)

Next Up: “Planet of the Amazon Women” (not to be confused with “Planet of the Slave Girls” - I’m sensing a pattern here)

The first post in this series can be found here.

Posted by Gary at 11:30 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Battle of Springfield(s)


Fox is asking each of sixteen Springfields across the country to dook it out over which will host the premier of The Simpsons Movie.

Springfield, the Oregon one, is on a list of like-named towns competing for the big-screen debut of Homer, Bart and the rest of the TV Simpson family this summer. City officials accepted an invitation from 20th Century Fox to compete for the honor of hosting the premiere screening of "The Simpsons Movie" in July.

Fox publicist Gwyne Ortiz said Fox has asked 16 Springfields from Oregon to Massachusetts to participate.

Fox will pick the winner after reviewing short film entries showcasing the community's positive aspects and links to the Simpsons, who live in their own fictional Springfield.

Y'know, I've caught a couple of the trailers for this flick and, truth be told, my primary reaction has been "Meh."

Of course, I hope I'm wrong. But it's been my experience that tee vee shows don't parlay well into full length movies. Plus, The Simpsons has been on a general downhill slide for, oh, a good five-six years now. We shall see.

Posted by Robert at 11:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Suck it, Yankees!

Curt Schilling's blogging now.

Thanks to LB Buddy.

Posted by Steve-O at 10:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

It wasn't on the list

But with a reception like this, I think the 300 must be worth seeing. Come on: "its visual style is an unhappy mix of Leni Riefenstahl and Iron Maiden, a ridiculous combination better imagined than seen…"? The only way this thing could have been made better would be to get Kurt Russell a cameo as Pericles.

Well crap!

Why didn't anyone tell me? Of course I'm seeing this.

The trick of course will be smuggling in the dog-eared copy of Victor Davis Hansen.

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

Henry Kissinger hot for Angelina Jolie

Yet another post that as I type I realize I'm a complete and utter bankrupt fraud.

Rusty asks the important question: now that Angelina Jolie has been elected to the Council on Foreign Relations, is there any way to stop the Illuminati bringing on the Apocalypse?

Posted by Steve-O at 10:15 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Inside pool--Scottish Dwarf Division

Robbo---I think we need to diversify the lineup of clothing in the LLamabutcher Industries spring wardrobe. To wit:

CSC: You’re very expressive in your rowing wardrobe, what is your favorite rowing outfit? Do you feel it makes your row better?

Il Padrino de la LLamabutcher: You’re very tactful in how you phrase things. I think my rowing wardrobe is “expressive” the same way that the bubonic plague was “inconvenient.” I have no illusions about what I wear helping my rowing. Rather, my belief is that if the aging process means that I have to suffer the indignation of being a dumpy middle aged guy then I’m gonna make everyone around me suffer, too!

CSC: What is your strategy to win the Head of the Hosmer race every year?

Um, strategy?

CSC: How do you feel your profession as a psychologist helps your rowing?

Actually, I find that the lessons of rowing seem to help me in my work as a psychologist. I find rowing to be quite humbling in that it quickly teaches one’s limits. Then it asks us to find ways to go past those limits. The process requires work, perseverance, and simple faith. It seems that this understanding is implicit between people who row, and I believe it is integral to practicing psychology. A coach worth her or his salt will not only have a thorough knowledge of training and technique, but also will understand and respect the strengths of her or his charges and will work closely with them to find a way of doing a bit more or taking another step. Psychology just doesn’t require as good a VO2 max. But it does require the fearless ability to play with people's minds, and be able to get them to set their heads on fire, if need be.

Okay, so I made up the last line.

But I think something on the order of leopard skin trou, with lightning bolts on the side and a strategically placed LLamabutchers logo.


Sweet Baby Jaysus Yips! from Robbo: For a minute there, I thought you were going to start in on my rowing attire, in which case I would have given you a Fatlack-like, "Shut the f*ck up, man!" After I realized it was, in fact, El Jeffe himself, I had to take some time to shake the coffee out of my inner-ear canals. (SOOPER SEKRET NOTE TO EVERYONE ELSE: Steve-O made up that last line, but only in the sense of applying his own grammer and syntax.)

As for that vid., I still remember Danno advising me, just before I set out on an evening drive from the middle of Connecticut back to Lexington, VA, that the only way to listen to that song was to crank it up as high as possible. In the seven or eight hours it took me to get home, I must have listened to it a dozen times. Took me weeks to stop twitching.

YIPS from Steve-O: Sure, particularly if you stuff your face with about 3 boxes of Lil' Debbie Easter Peeps snack cakes. As true connoiseurs know, Lil' Debbie Easter Peeps are the one true ingredient that's indispensable to cooking up a batch of high quality Sonoma-style methamphetimene. Forget the cold medicine---just a case of Lil' Debbies, reduced to a fine roux in any one of your many style WalMart microwaves (preferably in the store), will do the trick.

Posted by Steve-O at 09:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Civil War Geek Posting (TM)


Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Hampton Roads, fought in 1862 between the U.S.S. Monitor and the C.S.S. Virginia , nee U.S.S. Merrimac. (The Virginia was built from the scuttled hull of the Merrimac.) It was the first match of ironclad versus ironclad.

The battle itself ended in a draw, with neither ship able to overcome the other, although the Monitor's ability to withstand the Virginia (which had sunk two wooden U.S. Navy ships the previous day and damaged a third), prevented the Confederates from breaking the Yankee blockade of Norfolk.

The Virginia never fought again, being scuttled a couple of months later in anticipation of the Union's Peninsular Campaign. The Monitor sank in a storm off Cape Hatteras in December of that year.

I've got nothing in particular to say about the fight today other than to mark the anniversary. I find it amusing, though, that the I-664 bridge-tunnel connecting Hampton and Chesapeake should be named the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel instead of the Monitor-Virginia Memorial Bridge-Tunnel.

Yankee sensibilities strike again.

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

Dare to dream, baby, DARE TO DREAM

Number seven worldwide on Google for:

calvin and hobbes stickers piss on texas A&M

More disturbing than the fact that I'm blogging bizzaro-world google searches again?

That there were six sites google found to be more appropriate.

Posted by Steve-O at 09:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Here's One To Bookmark!


Keeping account of all the terrorist scum killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Total since January 2006: 3,062 and counting. And for those keeping score, that's 220,464 virgins.

Posted by Gary at 09:03 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 08, 2007

Talk About Practicing Before the Bar!

Too good not to swipe:


What makes it priceless is that the judge apparently granted the durn thing. Me, I think the emoticon probably tipped the scales. Before you get all excited at the prospect of being able to use inebriation as excuseable neglect, however, our Chianti Counsel seems to have withdrawn and refiled the pleading later, presumably with a more, ah, sober showing of good cause. Go on over to Above the Law for more, including a screedy response in the comments from the lawyer involved.

Yips! to Nasty, Brutish & Short.

Posted by Robert at 04:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Dee Cee Kulchah Blegging


Saturday evening, the Missus and I are off to see the Washington Savoyards' rendition of Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate, one of our great favorites.

The performance is at the Savoyards' new digs at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. We've seen them a number of times in their old haunt at the Duke Ellington School, but never before here.

The theatre is way the hell off in N.E. somewhere past Union Station. While it claims that on-street parking is available, I've heard rumors that this can be a problem. Have any of our readers tried it yet?

If it's too much of a hassle, I'm feeling more and more inclined just to hire a car for the evening. On the other hand, if the trouble has been exaggerated, I don't mind the drive (plus, the savings).

Any info would be greatly appreciated.

Posted by Robert at 01:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Durham update

Nifong is so screwed. KC Johnson has the latest details.

Posted by Steve-O at 01:07 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

How sharper than a serpent's tooth is an ungrateful llama?

The answer is "extremely."

Posted by Steve-O at 11:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Great Balls Of Fire

Life imitates Jackass. Lighter fluid, matches and the old twig 'n berries. Not a good combo.

Had to link it, for the comedic value of the post title alone...

Yips! to Ed Morrissey.

Posted by Gary at 09:15 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

I'll never disrespect another scientist as long as I live

LB Buddy, if that whole being a mad scientist working with tiny fish thing doesn't work out, you can always use your particular, umm, scientific skills on the other end of the animal kingdom.

The black eye part was priceless---I've been a crappy mood since I woke up, but now I feel great. Something about that uncontrollable laughter for about 15 minutes really does the trick.

CONTENT WARNING: Since my Mom started reading the LLamas late last year, I've only had to do this a couple of time: Mom, don't follow the link.

UPDATE: I think the above story merits the honor of a link to Robbo's favorite video of all time:


Posted by Steve-O at 08:37 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Coming soon to a leafy, McMansion-lined suburban cul-de-sac near you


Posted by Steve-O at 08:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 07, 2007

Well, sure! (Part Deux)

Juliet Huddy loves the python? I would never have guessed.

I guess Matt Lauer was unavailable for comment.

Posted by Steve-O at 10:01 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Well, sure!

Your LLamas, number one on google for

dripping fat blowhards

A fella's got to dream, right?

Posted by Steve-O at 09:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Gardening Corner

Kelly over at Kelly's Green has a review of gardening books up at Book Page which is extra spiffy, although the word that the gardening and knitting set is going Hollywood isn't going to be received well by The Dear One here at Stately LLama Manor.

Posted by Steve-O at 08:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

That's REALLY going to leave a mark

Wikipedia "expert" commentator turns out to be an utter fraud:

Fake Wikipedia prof altered 20,000 entries

By Catherine Elsworth in Los Angeles

Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia, has been plunged into controversy after one of its most prolific contributors and editors, a professor of religion with advanced degrees in theology and canon law, was exposed as a 24-year-old community college drop-out.

The editor, who called himself Essjay, was recruited by staff at Wikipedia to work on the site’s arbitration committee, a team of expert administrators charged with vetting content on the online "free encyclopaedia that anyone can edit".

But no-one apparently vetted the credentials of Essjay, who claimed to be a tenured professor of religion at a private university and contributed to an estimated 20,000 Wikipedia entries.

In fact Essjay was actually Ryan Jordan, a 24-year-old from Kentucky with no advanced degrees who used texts such as Catholicism for Dummies to help him correct articles on the penitential rite or transubstantiation.

He was unmasked after the New Yorker magazine ran a long feature on Wikipedia last summer that referred to Essjay’s contributions to the site and how he would spend up to 14 hours a day editing, "correcting errors and removing obscenities".

The piece described him as a "professor of religion with a PhD in theology and a degree in canon law" and noted he was serving his "second term as chair of the mediation committee" which rules on disputes over information posted on the site.

But last week Essjay was forced to resign after a noted critic of the online encyclopaedia contacted the New Yorker and told the magazine his biographical information was fake.

"He holds no advanced degrees," the New Yorker stated in an editor’s note. "He has never taught."

The magazine added: "At the time of publication, neither we nor Wikipedia knew Essjay’s real name."

Essjay had told them he hid his identity because "he feared personal retribution from those he had ruled against online", the New Yorker said.

In a statement posted on the site on March 3, Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia co-founder, said he had asked EssJay to "resign his positions of trust within the community" immediately after learning he had "used his false credentials in content disputes".

"From the moment this whole thing became known, Essjay has been contrite and apologetic," he said. "People who characterise him as being 'proud' of it or 'bragging' are badly mistaken."

But Mr Wales added: "Despite my personal forgiveness, I hope that he will accept my resignation request, because forgiveness or not, these positions are not appropriate for him now - Wikipedia is built on (among other things) twin pillars of trust and tolerance.

"The integrity of the project depends on the core community being passionate about quality and integrity, so that we can trust each other. The harmony of our work depends on human understanding and forgiveness of errors."

The Louisville Courier Journal in Kentucky found Mr Jordan has attended but never graduated from a community college in the city.

Asked about the incident’s impact on Wikipedia’s credibility, Mr Wales told the paper: "It is not good, obviously, but the interesting thing is that Mr Jordan was an excellent editor, credentials or no. His work was extremely positive for Wikipedia."

Wikipedia said it had received no complaints about the accuracy any of Essjay’s contributions. On Essjay’s user talk page on Wikipedia, the word "retired" is spelt out in a big black box.

"My comments here will be short and to the point: I’m no longer taking part here," Mr Jordan said in his final posting. "I’ve enjoyed my time here, and done much good work; my time, however, is over, and leaving is the best thing for me and for Wikipedia.

"I walk away happy to be free to go about other things. I hope others will refocus the energy they have spent the past few days in defending and denouncing me to make something here at Wikipedia better. With love to all who have been my friends here."

Critics of the site said the deception was indicative of Wikipedia culture that often results in incorrect information as it allows anyone to create or alter entries.

When first alerted to Mr Jordan's fake persona, Mr Wales said he had no problem with the invention.

The New Yorker quoted him in its correction as saying: “I regard it as a pseudonym and I don't really have a problem with it.”

But over the weekend he changed his mind after an outcry from Wikipedia users.

The Wikipedia entry on the “Essjay scandal” says reaction “from within the Wikipedia community was sharp, but mixed with some fellow editors offering complete support while others accused Jordan of 'plain and simple fraud'”.

Wikipedia, founded in 2001, is run by a foundation in St. Petersburg, Florida. A non-profit organisation, it carries no advertising. It attracts around 160 million unique visitors a month and has six million articles in 250 languages, including 1.6 million in the English edition.

In 2004 Mr Wales launched a commercial company, Wikia, in an attempt to create profitable websites based on the Wikipedia model., a website that reports on corrections in the media, said The New Yorker should have heeded a cartoon that appeared in its July 5 1993 issue that showed a dog typing at a computer with the caption, “On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog.”

What's funny about this, though, is not that the prolific author of wikipedia pieces is a drop-out loser: that comes as absolutely no surprise at all. What's hilarious is that the New Yorker bought it hook, line, and sinker.

The future for young Mister Essjay? Why, an internship at the New York Times, of course!

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

The legend of Jefferson Davis being captured in a women's dress lives

jefferson davis caught in a dress.jpg
From AP:

NATO, meanwhile, announced the capture of a senior Taliban fighter who had eluded authorities by wearing a woman's burqa. Mullah Mahmood, who is accused of helping Taliban fighters rig suicide bomb attacks, was seized by Afghan soldiers at a checkpoint near Kandahar, the alliance said.
Posted by Steve-O at 08:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cool! Cold!

Here's a little something for this afternoon's light dusting here in Dee Cee:

UPDATE: Here's the current web-cam shot from the observatory looking east-northeast, with a balmy temperature of -15 and a wind spanking along at 52 mph. (On a clear day, btw, you can see Mt. Washington from my parents' place on the Maine coast, about 90 miles away.)

Posted by Robert at 03:28 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)


Happy birthday to Henry Purcell, born (maybe) this day in 1659. Arguably the greatest native English composer ever to live, he served the Court under Charles II, James II and William III.

Purcell produced a surpisingly wide range of works - everything from sublime anthems and canons to extremely lewd tavern rounds - as befit the go-go ways of the Restoration. One of the hallmarks of his style was an intense use of chromaticism. In his vocal works, he also was well known for his supreme skill in making his music meld with the text. (He collaborated with the great poet John Dryden to produce stage works such as the semi-opera King Arthur.)

Purcell died in 1695 at the age of only 36.

Posted by Robert at 03:06 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Scientists Pour Cold Water On Time Travel Dreams

When I was in high school, I had a physics teacher who would explain quite plainly how every science fiction movie ever made other than "2001: A Space Odyssey" (and its sequel "2010") broke every law of physics in the book.

Yes, it was fascinating. But dammit, it was really a bummer viewing all these films through the cold hard prism of reality. The best you could do was rationalize that they didn't conform to every known law of physics. There are still mysteries in the universe. And there is always the future.

Now here's an article that presents a bunch of astrophysicists' views on the impossibility of time travel, a plot device used (and in some cases overused) in a lot of popular movies and TV shows. The collective wisdom: fuggedaboutit.

Nice. Squash our collective sense of wonder why don't you.

doc brown.jpg
"String Theory? Meh. I invented the Flux Capacitor before you were in diapers!"

Posted by Gary at 02:48 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Fangs For Nothing!

Slobodan Milosevic Still Dead: Vampire Hunters Mean To Keep Him That Way.

Serbian vampire hunters rammed a wooden stake through the heart of former dictator Slobodan Milosevic to stop him 'returning from the dead'.

Miroslav Milosevic, no relation to the former president, gave himself up to police who have launched an investigation.

He claimed he and his fellow vampire hunters acted to stop the former dictator returning from the dead to haunt the country.

Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia, which led the country to civil war and oversaw the break up of the former Yugoslavia, condemned the desecration of the grave in the eastern town of Pozarevac.

The vampire hunters told police the three-foot-long wooden steak had been driven into the ground and through the late president's heart.

Italics mine. So am I to understand that they didn't, em, actually check the body to make sure the stake went where it was supposed to? What are the odds that these guys didn't destroy the threat but only cheesed it off?

This has all the makings of a classic horror movie - John Carpenter's SLOBO II - The Stake-Out.

Yips! to Scribal Terror.

Posted by Robert at 01:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

This Is Cool


The Beagle Project.

As described by the Times,

[T]he HMS Beagle Project Wales, a non-profit company, charitable status pending, has been founded by David Lort-Phillips, a Pembrokeshire farmer and social entrepreneur, and Peter McGrath, author and yachtmaster.

It aims to celebrate the bicentenary of Darwin’s birth in 2009 by building a full-scale replica of the Beagle at Milford Haven and sailing with a crew of some 30 young scientists and mariners in the wake of Beagle’s 1831-36 voyage. The project will be relying for the £3.3 million cost of the replica on donations from corporate sponsors and individuals.

After a shakedown cruise in British waters, the replica will begin her circumnavigation of the globe. Thereafter, she will take on a new lease of life as a sailing classroom and laboratory. She will have dedicated space for sampling and research — focusing on climate change and its impact on biodiversity and human society. She will provide a platform for experiments and fieldwork, which can be flashed from her cameras via a website to labs and classrooms the world over.

How great would it be to land a berth on this trip?

The article also talks about the irony of the fact that the Captain of the Beagle on Darwin's voyage, Robert Fitzroy, was a staunch creationist, unswayed by Darwin's evolutionary theories.

Perhaps it's the Palie in me, but I've never really felt that there is an inherent incompatibility between evolutionary theory and a belief in God as the ultimate architect of the Universe. In fact, it's always struck me as something of an apples and oranges comparison. Within the broader subject of Creation I see science as concerning itself with the mechanics of things, while through religion we meditate on the great Why? hovering behind it all. It's only when one side or the other claims a complete monopoly that problems arise.

Having said that, I now expect to be stoned by both sides......

Posted by Robert at 12:47 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Shirt Sleeves to Shirt Sleeves Watch

The Queen.jpg

I think Steve-O sends me these articles just to spike my blood-pressure:

LONDON — Princely pranksters William and Harry have been accused of recording a bogus message on Queen Elizabeth II's answering machine.

The pair were asked for help by their regal gran when she was baffled by the technology.

But she was reported to be mortified when she heard the end result.

"Hey wassup!" their message said. "This is Liz. Sorry I'm away from the throne."

"For a hotline to Philip, press one. For Charles, press two," the recording continued. "And for the corgis, press three."

According to The Daily Star, the Queen saw the funny side later when she thought about which VIPs might have heard the message.

But her private secretary was not so amused.

The paper says he almost fell off his chair the first time one of his calls was put through to the voicemail.

The Queen, who is 80, has been taught by Prince William and Prince Harry how to send text messages on her mobile phone.

Poor woman. She deserves a good deal better than this. But I'm afraid she's the last one of her family to appreciate any difference between royalty and mere celebrity. There are, what, half a dozen or so thrones remaining in Europe. How is it that the House of Windsor has to be the one continually leading the charge for the bottom?

Posted by Robert at 10:42 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Big Trouble in Little Vatican


All is not well for our secular sainted man-god redeemer, Pope Bono I.

Posted by Steve-O at 09:40 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Musickal Posting

A nice quote over at Terry Teachout's this morning:

"Bach no more composed for us than he lived for us. His music comes from far away; it speaks a language that we understand yet in which we hear echoes of another language, outside our expressive range."

Martin Geck, Johann Sebastian Bach: Life and Work (trans. John Hargraves)

I don't know if this is what Geck had in mind, but to me that other language of which I hear echoes in Bach's music is that of Heaven. The Musick of the Spheres or the choirings of the cherubim and the seraphim (which I take to be the same thing).

I was thinking about this while reading C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce t'other day. In one section, Heaven is explained to a recently arrived painter. The painter is reluctant to enter because he's worried about whether he will be able to continue his painting. The angel with whom he is speaking says yes, but that it will no longer be necessary - the painter's gift while living was to be able to see echoes of God's art in the world around him and convey those echoes to others by way of his work. In Heaven, though, everybody would be able to see God's art, the Real Thing as it were, for themselves. While the painter's gift for noticing things would still be valuable for teaching those around him, he would no longer be the gatekeeper, so to speak. After a bit, it becomes clear that the painter is more concerned with his own status than he is with any appreciation of God's art. He declines the offer of Heaven and scurries off to hell.

That passage prompted me to imagine, even eagerly anticipate, what it must be like to hear the music of Heaven in its pure form, unfiltered by earthly limitations or transmission through somebody else's hand and ear.

Of course, I'll have (I hope) the whole of eternity to eventually enjoy it, so I'm in no particular hurry. In the meantime, I am quite content to listen to the music of J.S. Bach as the nearest earthly echo available.

Posted by Robert at 09:31 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Putting the GRRRR In Green, Baby!

How to get eco-friendly in the bedroom.

Most environmentalists will agree the mainstream success of the Al Gore vehicle An Inconvenient Truth has helped give climate change the pop-culture sheen it's currently enjoying. Indeed, global warming is a cause to which everyone from Diesel apparel to Vanity Fair magazine and Starbucks are pinning their marketing efforts.

And if shopping to save the planet is trendy, having sex to clear your conscience is at the cutting edge.

"It feels like people are just waking up to the fact the planet is suffering under our uses of it," says Rebecca Denk, business manager for the adult toy store Babeland. The U.S. company, which sells to Canadians via, just introduced an "Eco-Sexy Kit" featuring a phthalate-free vibrator, soy massage candle, a natural lubricant with no animal-testing or derivatives, and condoms.

"We have to look at every piece of our lives, including our sexuality, and ask: How is this healthy for me, and how is this healthy for the planet?" says Denk. "Hopefully, we're all becoming better global citizens."

Other ways of "greenwashing" the bedroom, as outlined by TreeHugger and Greenpeace, include turning out the lights, not buying PVC or vinyl accoutrements, ensuring S&M paddles are made from sustainably harvested timber, using organic massage oils, showering together, using bamboo bed sheets (they come from a rapidly renewable resource and are said to be "super sexy"), and wearing lingerie made with renewable fibres such as hemp (Enamore), bamboo (Butta) and other organic goodness (GreenKnickers, Buenostyle, Peau Ethique).

Gordon notes there's even an eco-friendly adult website dedicated to naked vegetarians, appropriately called Veg Porn.

Camille Labchuk, speaking on behalf of the Green Party of Canada, gives the movement two green thumbs-up.

"The general concern for trying to live lightly on our planet has transferred into all areas of people's lives," says Labchuk, the Green party's press secretary. "So, even though what goes on in our bedrooms as a nation is somewhat hidden, we know that's somewhere people want to green-up."

Pretty elaborate, huh? When did whoopee get eco-unfriendly?

python how about a kiss.jpg
"What's wrong with a kiss, boy? Hmm? Why not start her off with a nice kiss? You don't have to go leaping straight for the phthalate-free vibrator like a bull at a gate."

Posted by Gary at 09:28 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

That's going to leave a mark

Pajiba on the prospect of the Valerie Plame/Joe Wilson movie:

In fact, the only bit of intrigue to the entire project is whether or not they make the obvious choice and cast Brian Cox as Novak and a huge, self-righteous inflatable penis to play Joseph Wilson.

I would disagree only in favor of the idea of getting Brian Dennehy to play Novak.

Yips! from Gary:
"a huge, self-righteous inflatable penis to play Joseph Wilson"

In that light, I nominate Otto from "Airplane". He might have to reign in the charisma, though.

otto from airplane.bmp

Posted by Steve-O at 09:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Merry Fitzmas

The WaPo on the Libby case:

The fall of this skilled and long-respected public servant is particularly sobering because it arose from a Washington scandal remarkable for its lack of substance. It was propelled not by actual wrongdoing but by inflated and frequently false claims, and by the aggressive and occasionally reckless response of senior Bush administration officials -- culminating in Mr. Libby's perjury. Mr. Wilson was embraced by many because he was early in publicly charging that the Bush administration had "twisted," if not invented, facts in making the case for war against Iraq. In conversations with journalists or in a July 6, 2003, op-ed, he claimed to have debunked evidence that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger; suggested that he had been dispatched by Mr. Cheney to look into the matter; and alleged that his report had circulated at the highest levels of the administration.

A bipartisan investigation by the Senate intelligence committee subsequently established that all of these claims were false -- and that Mr. Wilson was recommended for the Niger trip by Ms. Plame, his wife. When this fact, along with Ms. Plame's name, was disclosed in a column by Robert D. Novak, Mr. Wilson advanced yet another sensational charge: that his wife was a covert CIA operative and that senior White House officials had orchestrated the leak of her name to destroy her career and thus punish Mr. Wilson.

The partisan furor over this allegation led to the appointment of special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald. Yet after two years of investigation, Mr. Fitzgerald charged no one with a crime for leaking Ms. Plame's name. In fact, he learned early on that Mr. Novak's primary source was former deputy secretary of state Richard L. Armitage, an unlikely tool of the White House. The trial has provided convincing evidence that there was no conspiracy to punish Mr. Wilson by leaking Ms. Plame's identity -- and no evidence that she was, in fact, covert.

It would have been sensible for Mr. Fitzgerald to end his investigation after learning about Mr. Armitage. Instead, like many Washington special prosecutors before him, he pressed on, pursuing every tangent in the case. In so doing he unnecessarily subjected numerous journalists to the ordeal of having to disclose confidential sources or face imprisonment. One, Judith Miller of the New York Times, lost several court appeals and spent 85 days in jail before agreeing to testify. The damage done to journalists' ability to obtain information from confidential government sources has yet to be measured.

Mr. Wilson's case has besmirched nearly everyone it touched. The former ambassador will be remembered as a blowhard. Mr. Cheney and Mr. Libby were overbearing in their zeal to rebut Mr. Wilson and careless in their handling of classified information. Mr. Libby's subsequent false statements were reprehensible. And Mr. Fitzgerald has shown again why handing a Washington political case to a federal special prosecutor is a prescription for excess.

Yep. Pure political circus, which is why I've pretty much ignored the whole thing. Nice to see that Joltin' Joe Wilson is being recognized as the sleazebag he really is, however.

So what will be the fallout? Well, I'm guessing that all those folks who thought they'd be getting some big-ticket item as a Fitzmas present will discover that instead they've been given a nice pair of socks.

Posted by Robert at 09:04 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Sounding The Alarum Over Threat Of The Death Moo

PETA calls AlGore on the mat, demands that he go veggie:

Norfolk, Va. — This morning, PETA sent a letter to former vice president Al Gore explaining to him that the best way to fight global warming is to go vegetarian and offering to cook him faux “fried chicken” as an introduction to meat-free meals. In its letter, PETA points out that Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth—which starkly outlines the potentially catastrophic effects of global warming and just won the Academy Award for “Best Documentary”—has failed to address the fact that the meat industry is the largest contributor to greenhouse-gas emissions.

In the letter, PETA points out the following:

· The effect that our meat addiction is having on the climate is truly staggering. In fact, in its recent report “Livestock’s Long Shadow—Environmental Issues and Options,” the United Nations determined that raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gases than all the cars and trucks in the world combined.

· Researchers at the University of Chicago have determined that switching to a vegan diet is more effective in countering global warming than switching from a standard American car to a Toyota Prius.

PETA also reminds Gore that his critics love to question whether he practices what he preaches and suggests that by going vegetarian, he could cut down on his contribution to global warming and silence his critics at the same time.

“The single best thing that any of us can do to for our health, for animals, and for the environment is to go vegetarian,” says PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. “The best and easiest way for Mr. Gore to show his critics that he’s truly committed to fighting global warming is to kick his meat habit immediately.”

My prediction? Ain't. Gonna. Happen. Gore will simply agree to plant some fields with cabbage or whatnot. Call it "Angus offsets."

Meanwhile, as Drudge and others gleefully point out, the Gore Effect strikes Dee Cee again!

Even our friends on the other side of the aisle have got to admit that this whole Gore Effect thing is pretty durn amusing.

Posted by Robert at 08:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 06, 2007

Geeks With Dosh

Dr Who.jpg

Who spends this kind of money?

A Doctor Who costume worn by Tom Baker has sold for 12 times its estimated value at one of the biggest auctions of movie and television outfits in film history.

The costume, which incorporates a burgundy frock coat, brown tweed trousers and the Timelord’s trademark striped scarf, sold for £24,600, having originally been expected to fetch £1,500-£2,000.

I'm guessing whoever bought the rig had the readies because he never went out on dates.

And speaking of the auction, check out the Odyssey-like journey of Ben Kenobi's cloak:

One of the gems yet to be sold, with an estimate of £50,000 - £60,000, is the cloak worn by Sir Alec Guinness to play Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars – an item all the more significant because of its apparent disappearance for 28 years, during which it was worn by an extra in The Mummy and hired out as a fancy dress costume.

The robe was eventually rediscovered during a clearout, after which it was restored to prominence at an exhibition of film costumes at Harrods.

Posted by Robert at 04:38 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Storm of the Century of the Week Watch

Here it comes again:

Snow Advisory in effect from 7 am to 7 PM EST Wednesday...

The National Weather Service in Sterling Virginia has issued a
Snow Advisory... which is in effect from 7 am to 7 PM EST

A strong clipper system will over the Great Lakes will cross the
region Wednesday. Snow will begin near the morning drive. A band
of snow will fall north of the track of the low. Around 2 to 4
inches of snow can be expected in this band... with one to two
inches on the southern fringe of the precipitation. Snowfall will
end by dark.

A Snow Advisory means that periods of snow will cause primarily
travel difficulties. Be prepared for snow covered roads and
limited visibilities... and use caution while driving.

My prophetic soul tells me that the science fair scheduled for tomorrow night at St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method, already postponed twice owing to bad weather, is going to get nixed yet again. (Whether it gets bumped another week or kyboshed altogether remains to be seen.)

Yips! from Gary:
Light snow in the forecast for CT, but my concern is the cold.

I have a decision to make. The pet rabbit (who I affectionately call "the long-eared rat") is stationed for the winter out on the enclosed back porch, protected by storm windows. When the tempurature drops toward zero overnight I usually have a policy of bringing the cage into the house. The downside is that the Mrs. and the third son are allergic and her smell is a little offensive to my nose (the rabbit, not the Mrs.)

So what do I do? Do I bring her in and just deal with it or do I run the risk of being greeted tomorrow morning with sobs from the kids over their pet bunny-sicle?

Aw, never mind. I know what I gotta do.

Yips! back at you from Robbo:

I put it in the comments at first because my YouTube access is dependant on Yahoo email which has gone screwy lately, but here it is. You know what to do:

Unless, of course, it's That Rabbit:

Posted by Robert at 03:49 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Obscure Historickal Weaponry Blogging

The word of the day is...Arquebus.

Huh? Yeah, that's right. Arquebus. It was a firearm used in the 15th to 17th centuries. Similar to the musket, which came later, it was a smoothbore firearm although somewhat smaller than its predecessors, which made it easier to carry. It was a forerunner of the rifle and other longarm firearms.

Wheel lock Arquebus, Pistols, Flask, and Spanner
ca. 1589

Significance? None. Just a little something to add to your lexicon.

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

Gratuitous Civil War Geek Historickal Posting (TM)


Happy Birthday, Little Phil!

Gen. Philip Henry Sheridan was born this day in 1831 in New York.

I've paid tribute to Sheridan before on the anniversary of the Battle of Cedar Creek in 1864. Jump on over to read again "Sheridan's Ride."

Aside from the fact that he was too tall, wouldn't Lee Van Cleef had made an excellent Sheridan in the movies?

Angel Eyes.jpg
"I'll bet they don't call you General Angel Eyes!"

Posted by Robert at 02:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Il Chirpo Di Tutti Chirpi

Don, er, Avione. Pic lifted here.

Cowbird mob tactics:

The cowbirds are among a range of species, notably cuckoos, that are so-called brood parasites that lay their eggs among unsuspecting hosts. But questions remain as to why the host birds raise chicks that are obviously not their own.

The new study finds that cowbirds are likely to ransack and destroy the nests of warblers that reject mob rule by refusing to raise cowbird eggs. However, by accepting mafia offspring, host birds lose fewer of their own chicks than those that reject the parasites and lay themselves open to retaliatory behaviour.

Today, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Jeff Hoover and Scott Robinson of the Illinois Natural History Survey document how they mounted a surveillance operation in which they interfered with cowbird access to warbler nests in the Cache River watershed of southern Illinois.

The researchers monitored 182 predator-proofed nests over four breeding seasons and found that warbler nests were ransacked 56 per cent of the time when researchers removed the parasitic eggs and cowbirds were allowed into the nests, versus only six per cent when the cowbird eggs were accepted and cowbirds had nest access.

No nests were ransacked when researchers removed cowbird eggs and cowbirds were denied nest access.

Never go against the flock, indeed.

This article grabbed my attention because I was watching a cowbird at our feeder this weekend. It sat there for quite a long time, gobbling food and bullying other birds. Back in the day, Dad used to shoot them (along with grackles) as a matter of policy. From this article, it seems taking up such a practice would actually be an avian public service.

Posted by Robert at 01:30 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Saving Jane Austen

Douglas Fairbanks Sr.jpg

I've been called a fair number of names over my career, but Douglas Fairbanks Sr. is a new one. Of course, as I have been tagged as such by none other than the divine Mrs. P, I must say that I am quite honored.

Take that, you scurvy revisionists! And that, and that! Sa-ha!

Posted by Robert at 10:06 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Go To Bed, Dammit!

As a card-carrying member of the Bedtime Nazi League, I was appalled by this article about neurotic, over-indulgent parents who seem incapable of keeping little Geoffrey and Aspen in their own rooms at night:

THIS is what 3 a.m. looks like at the Costello house, a diminutive red brick three-story in the West Village: On the second floor, Harrison, age 5, is splayed, sideways and snoring, across his parents’ king-size, Anglo-Indian four-poster, having muscled his mother out completely and pushed his father, Paul, a 35-year-old photographer, to the extreme edge of the bed. Sara Ruffin Costello, the style director of Domino magazine, is upstairs in her 3-year-old daughter Carolina’s bed, which is a hammered-metal four-poster queen dressed in pink paisley sheets with a ruffle. “It is the bed I would have if I were single,” Ms. Costello, 38, said. “It is my dream bed, which is a good thing because I spend a lot of time in it.” Harrison’s bed, his fourth, a trundle model from Ikea, is empty and pristine, the least-used space in the house.

“I used to get hysterical and wonder, what is this new life of stumbling around in the middle of the night?” Ms. Costello said. “Now it’s just so oddly part of the routine. Paul and I wonder, will we ever sleep together again?”

The Costellos are not alone in not being alone in their bed. But they are also not the happy hosts of the so-called family bed that’s been inching its way into the mainstream. “It is everybody’s Achilles’ heel, I think — this rotating, and not sleeping,” Ms. Costello said. “Yet it is so gross to think you’ve ended up with a family bed.” Like a lot of parents right now, Ms. Costello is a reluctant co-sleeper, too tired to disrupt a practice that may irritate one or both adults, but, in the end, seems to promise the “most amount of sleep for the most people in the house,” as Miriam K. Schneider, the mother of 11-year-old twin daughters, said.

Ms. Schneider, a former banker who lives on the Upper East Side and is president of the Manhattan Twins Club, reported that her daughters still migrate in and out of their parents’ room, sleeping many nights on a futon next to their mother’s side of the bed. “The cat sleeps on the top bunk of their very expensive bunk beds,” Ms. Schneider said, “which I used to describe as the most expensive toy storage ever conceived.”

What in Heaven's name is wrong with these people? We're not talking about the occassional appearance of one of the kiddies owing to a thunderstorm or an upset stomach, we're talking about the norm in these families.

We found very early on (here's a free tip for ya, Jen) that the sooner we instilled in the Llama-ettes the idea of what might be called the Definitive Good-Night, the happier everybody was. Our rule was simple: 8 o'clock - go to bed. Whether you sleep or not is your own business, but we don't want to see or hear you until the morning. As a practical matter, this has slipped to about 8:30 or so (as bedtime stories get longer), but the principle still holds good.

The people in this article simply seem incapable of taking any kind of stand with their kids, apparently terrified that any assertion of parental privilege or authority will turn the little darlin's against them. There is a good bit of suggestion that this is a product of Boomer-angst: still rebelling against what they perceive as their own parents' over-restrictiveness, they've gone off the deep end in the opposite direction, with the resulting domestic train-wrecks. Tossers.

The other interesting thing about the article is the parents' knee-jerk reaction: Therapy! I sometimes think I'm in the wrong racket - if I really wanted to rake in the dubloons, I'd hire myself out as a "Consultant Therapist." I wouldn't necessarily have to specialize in anything, just work as a kind of jack-of-all-trades-in-the-bleeding-obvious. Lawdy knows the market is there.

Yips! to Joanne Jacobs.

Posted by Robert at 09:47 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Random Commuter Observation

It's a little disconcerting to be thinking of a piece of music, arrive at your office, flip on the radio and discover that very same piece of music is being performed.

I can only assume that the low temps and howling north wind that froze my skull on my walk up from the metro enhanced the NSAs' brainwave monitoring capabilities this morning so that they were able to pass the tip on to my radio station. Thanks, guys!

(Oh, in case you're wondering, it was Dvořák's Carnival Overture. Dunno why.)

Posted by Robert at 09:02 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

John Edwards Channeling Jesus Now

Having honed his skills at speaking for his dead plaintiffs in jury trials, Democrat John Edwards is now musing over "What Would Jesus Think?".

"I think that Jesus would be disappointed in our ignoring the plight of those around us who are suffering and our focus on our own selfish short-term needs," Edwards told the site. "I think he would be appalled, actually."
I think he'd be more appalled at Edwards' 28,000 square foot mansion, actually.

Posted by Gary at 08:59 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 05, 2007

More Right-wing attacks on the Paragons of First Amendment Virtue

When will the madness end? Someone alert the Dixie Chicks and Rosie---yet another FEARLESS truth luvin' reporter has been crushed by Chimpy McHitler:

Journalist Fired for Cemetery Urination

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- A television photographer who was fired for urinating in a cemetery while covering the funeral of an Iowa soldier was denied unemployment benefits. Gerry Edwards, of Center Point, was dismissed in December by KGAN-TV in Cedar Rapids.

In November, Edwards urinated near a monument at a cemetery while he was there covering the funeral procession for 23-year-old Sgt. James Musack, of Riverside, who was killed in Iraq, court records said.

Another journalist photographed the incident, and it was e-mailed to Edwards' managers. Records said officials escorted Edwards out of the building within hours and gave him a choice of resigning or being fired.

The administrative law judge who heard Edwards' appeal for unemployment benefits said the act of urinating at the cemetery was disrespectful, unprofessional and offensive.

Edwards testified at a recent hearing that he was unable to leave the cemetery to urinate for fear of missing the funeral procession.

"I was leaned on to get that shot," Edwards testified.

I don't want to live in an America were reporters aren't free to urinate on soldier's graves.

Posted by Steve-O at 09:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Tonight on 24

Let's see....Powers Boothe is acting president, ex-President Weasel is in full Napoleon returns from Elba mode, and Jack is blowing up diplomatic consulates again. Alllllllrighty then.

I always like it when the show starts heading into the evening, as that's when it starts getting downright funky.

Posted by Steve-O at 08:45 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

And so it begins: the first anti-Hillary! ad up on You Tube.

I didn't realize Obama was part of the vast Right-Wing Conspiracy RethugliKKKhan Noise Machine.

Here's the ad it is referencing, the original 1984 Super Bowl ad for the Macintosh:

Notice how hammer-throwing chick in the Hillary! attack ad is wearing an iPod.

And for all His advanced technology, you think Big Brother would have gotten around to inventing the sports bra....

Posted by Steve-O at 08:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Nothing says blogolicious

quite like x-treme close-ups of talentlessly famous doomed junkie earwax.

But maybe that's just me, Mr. Vegas.

Posted by Steve-O at 08:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Legal Geek Humor

If you've got Westlaw or Lexis handy and want a good laugh, may I suggest that you look up the case of Washington v. Alaimo, 934 F.Supp. 1395 (S.D. Ga. 1996)?

And why? Because this decision discusses a prison inmate plaintiff's filing of a "Motion to Kiss My Ass." Needless to say, the judge was not amused.

Don't think I haven't felt like doing the same thing sometimes.....

Posted by Robert at 06:02 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

New Yawk? Fuggedaboudit!

You Are 24% NYC

Okay, so maybe you've been to NYC. But you probably really live in Connecticut.
How NYC Are You?

Heh. Well I did live in Connecticut for a bit. And I loathe the City.

Posted by Robert at 03:25 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

"America's Sweetheart" Adopts A Drawl

Jim Geraghty has the money quote on this matter: "It sounds like an out-take from My Cousin Vinny."

Yips! from Robbo:

The Hill.jpg
"Ah sweayah! As Gawd is mah witness, Ah shall nevah go without socialized health cayah agayun!"

Yips! Back at ya:
Amazing how you can swap in this photo and few would notice:

Hillary is Nurse Ratched.jpg
"Ah sweayah! As Gawd is mah witness Mistah MacMurphee, Ah shall nevah go without socialized health cayah agayun!"

I just wish we could hold our powder until after she gets the nomination.

Posted by Gary at 02:25 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Historickal Posting

Today is the anniversary of the "Boston Massacre" in 1770.

This episode represented one of the first inklings to me of the power of propoganda in shaping both then-current opinion and historickal myth.

As with most school kids, I had accepted the sadistic-Lobsterbacks-firing-on-a-helpless-crowd story as depicted in Paul Revere's engraving of the incident:

Boston Massacre Revere.jpg

This was the version of events that swept through the Colonies at the time and still more or less colors the average 'Murican's view, I would suspect. In fact, the soldiers essentially panicked in the face of a violent and threatening mob.


Even though only two of the soldiers were convicted of what amounted to involuntary manslaughter and all the rest were acquited, the propoganda damage was done. I don't recollect exactly when I heard of this, but I do remember being quite surprised by the revelation.

WHAT SHE SAID UPDATE: Sheila, as usual, gets it in one.

Posted by Robert at 01:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Playing High and Low

This made me smile: Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie being silly about language:

What's that? Too dry? Too erudite? No worries. Here's a drunk Orson Welles trying to tape a Paul Masson commercial:

Ah, YouTube. Yips! to the Blowhards.

Posted by Robert at 09:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

MuNu Ka-choo

When I was young, whenever I made a mistake drawing I was told to turn it into a cloud.

When MuNu starts double posting things owing to server timeouts and the like, I find it much easier simply to edit one of the posts rather than go through all the bother of trying to delete it and then rebuilding the whole site.

Just so you know.

Posted by Robert at 09:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Watch This Space

Some time early yesterday evening the ol' sitemeter rolled through 950K. At our current rate of flow, this means we should be cracking the Big Mil some time in the next week or two.

This means it's time to put the bubbly on ice and start blowing up balloons. And in anticipation of this event, it also means it's time to remind all you loyal camelidophiles out there that whoever turns out to be Visitor No. 1,000,000 will receive a free Llama Butchers thong or cami, custom autographed by your humble hosts. What better way to say thank you?

Keep those hits coming! Yip! Yip!

Posted by Robert at 09:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

French Scientist Has Second Thoughts On Global Warming

One of the original Global Warming alarmists - French scientist Claude Allegre, one of France's leading Socialists - is now saying, "Eh, maybe not".

In the 1980s and early 1990s, when concern about global warming was in its infancy, little was known about the mechanics of how it could occur, or the consequences that could befall us. Since then, governments throughout the western world and bodies such as the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have commissioned billions of dollars worth of research by thousands of scientists. With a wealth of data now in, Dr. Allegre has recanted his views. To his surprise, the many climate models and studies failed dismally in establishing a man-made cause of catastrophic global warming. Meanwhile, increasing evidence indicates that most of the warming comes of natural phenomena. Dr. Allegre now sees global warming as over-hyped and an environmental concern of second rank.

His break with what he now sees as environmental cant on climate change came in September, in an article entitled "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" in l' Express, the French weekly. His article cited evidence that Antarctica is gaining ice and that Kilimanjaro's retreating snow caps, among other global-warming concerns, come from natural causes. "The cause of this climate change is unknown," he states matter of factly. There is no basis for saying, as most do, that the "science is settled."

Dr. Allegre's skepticism is noteworthy in several respects. For one, he is an exalted member of France's political establishment, a friend of former Socialist president Lionel Jospin, and, from 1997 to 2000, his minister of education, research and technology, charged with improving the quality of government research through closer co-operation with France's educational institutions. For another, Dr. Allegre has the highest environmental credentials. The author of early environmental books, he fought successful battles to protect the ozone layer from CFCs and public health from lead pollution. His break with scientific dogma over global warming came at a personal cost: Colleagues in both the governmental and environmental spheres were aghast that he could publicly question the science behind climate change.

But Dr. Allegre had allegiances to more than his socialist and environmental colleagues. He is, above all, a scientist of the first order, the architect of isotope geodynamics, which showed that the atmosphere was primarily formed early in the history of the Earth, and the geochemical modeller of the early solar system. Because of his path-breaking cosmochemical research, NASA asked Dr. Allegre to participate in the Apollo lunar program, where he helped determine the age of the Moon. Matching his scientific accomplishments in the cosmos are his accomplishments at home: Dr. Allegre is perhaps best known for his research on the structural and geochemical evolution of the Earth's crust and the creation of its mountains, explaining both the title of his article in l' Express and his revulsion at the nihilistic nature of the climate research debate.

Calling the arguments of those who see catastrophe in climate change "simplistic and obscuring the true dangers," Dr. Allegre especially despairs at "the greenhouse-gas fanatics whose proclamations consist in denouncing man's role on the climate without doing anything about it except organizing conferences and preparing protocols that become dead letters." The world would be better off, Dr. Allegre believes, if these "denouncers" became less political and more practical, by proposing practical solutions to head off the dangers they see, such as developing technologies to sequester C02. His dream, he says, is to see "ecology become the engine of economic development and not an artificial obstacle that creates fear."

I guess "consensus" isn't what it's cracked-up to be.

When you start losing French Socialists, you know you have problems.

Coming to British TV March 8th: Globaloney!!

A United Nations report earlier this year said humans are very likely to be to blame for global warming and there is "virtually no doubt" it is linked to man's use of fossil fuels.

But other climate experts say there is little scientific evidence to support the theory.

In fact global warming could be caused by increased solar activity such as a massive eruption.

Their argument will be outlined on Channel 4 this Thursday in a programme called The Great Global Warming Swindle raising major questions about some of the evidence used for global warming.

Ice core samples from Antarctica have been used as proof of how warming over the centuries has been accompanied by raised CO2 levels.

But Professor Ian Clark, an expert in palaeoclimatology from the University of Ottawa, claims that warmer periods of the Earth's history came around 800 years before rises in carbon dioxide levels.

The programme also highlights how, after the Second World War, there was a huge surge in carbon dioxide emissions, yet global temperatures fell for four decades after 1940.

The UN report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was published in February. At the time it was promoted as being backed by more than 2,000 of the world's leading scientists.

But Professor Paul Reiter, of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, said it was a "sham" given that this list included the names of scientists who disagreed with its findings.

Professor Reiter, an expert in malaria, said his name was removed from an assessment only when he threatened legal action against the panel.

"That is how they make it seem that all the top scientists are agreed," he said. "It's not true."


Include the names of those who disagree and lie and say they do. That's quite a "consensus".

BTW, for those late to the game it's a given that my commitment to the debunking of the "Global Warming as caused by Human Folly" meme is in direct proportion to commenter LB Buddy's need to defend it.

The difference is that I enjoy it whereas he gets annoyed.

Posted by Gary at 08:54 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

March 04, 2007

Beginnings and Ends

The chipmunks are back this weekend. I think they must hibernate over the winter, as I hadn't seen them for several months, but there they were under the feeder this morning. In addition, I noticed that the sparrows are starting to pick out nesting sites, aaaaaaaand (drum roll, please), I saw the first robin of the season this afternoon. Woo Hoo!

Yup, spring is just around the corner here in Your Nation's Capital.

On the other hand, it seems that my trip up to see Dad that got scrubbed by a blizzard on Friday might have been a waste of time anyway. Within the past seventy two hours he's withdrawn into himself, refusing to speak to anyone in the family. According to the hospice literature I've read, this is fairly common - once the patient feels that they've "wrapped up" their connection with somebody, they don't want anything more to do with that person. I tried to call Dad today and he insisted that his phone was broken, he couldn't hear a word I was saying and that he'd call me back when he got it fixed. Of course, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the phone.

Something like this happened about six weeks ago as well, but somehow he rallied. Dunno if he will again.

Posted by Robert at 04:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 03, 2007

Gratuitous Unexpected Bachelor Posting (TM)

The Missus was seized with the idea to take the Llama-ettes off to Fort LMC in order to surprise Mrs. LMC on the occassion of her birthday today. They won't be back until tomorrow afternoon.

These little one-nighters actually work out quite well. I've found that I enjoy having one day to myself - any longer than that and I start getting the crazies.

So having duly started pruning back the bushes out front, read some chapters from C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity and hoofed on the ol' treadmill for an hour, I'm all set to make an evening of it. The veal scallopini is waiting to be breaded, the potatoes with oregano and olive oil are in the oven, their chopped garlic standing by, the asparagus is fresh and I've got a nice Régnié opened and ready to go.

After din-dins, if I can keep my eyes open that long, I think I'll run off my Cosi Fan Tutte DVD. Now Mozart could bring out the dramatic possibilities of an opera, both the sublime and the ridiculous (in this case often at the same time). And I am firmly of the opinion that this particular work contains some of the most divine ensemble singing in all of classical music.

The bonus of having the Missus out of the way is that I can sing along with Don Alfonso unaudited and uninterrupted.

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

Changes in Attitudes, Changes in Lattitudes

Kelly's Green has a new look for spring, even if "spring" is an optomistic concept in her new digs in northern New Hampshire.

Posted by Steve-O at 03:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)


I recently checked out Handel's 1724 opera Tamerlano from Netflix.

I'm really not much of a fan of opera seria and in its Baroque manifestation it can be a hard trudge. Here, for instance, one has to wait until half way through Act Three before there is any ensemble singing whatever. The bulk of the music is made up of long, long arais connected by recitative. It is a form not naturally sympathetic to either drama or action and one that I confess to find rayther tarsome after a while.

But nonetheless, I found this a very entertaining performance. For one thing, the conductor was Trevor Pinnock, meaning that the orchestral performace was absolutely superb. Pinnock and Handel together forgives an awful lot of minor flaws. For another, the costumes were absolutely wonderful and the sets- nothing more than a couple of brushed gold backdrops - showed what can really be done by way of simple elegance.

I know little about any of the cast involved. The mezzo Monica Bacelli in the title role hardly projected a look of Tartar savagery, instead bearing an eerie resemblence to Katherine Jefforts-Schorri. Also, her voice didn't seem to project well. On the other hand, both tenor Tom Randle as Bajadet, the captured Ottoman sultan and counter-tenor Graham Pushee as Andronico were quite solid. Anna Bonitatibus as Irene had a trick of pursing her lips in a funny way while inhaling nasally that got on my nerves after a while. And I deeply suspect that Elizabeth Norberg-Schulz as Asteria, daughter of Bajadet, doesn't make a regular habit of the Baroque, as her voice was way too warbly IMHO. Baroque vocal music is crystal clear at some times, heavily ornamented at others, and when one can't tell the difference between the singer's vibrato and her grace notes, there's a problem.

Nonetheless, as I say, I enjoyed this DVD and would recommend it if you're at all interested in this sort of thing.

Posted by Robert at 01:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Surge Watch

Ace links to some positive developments coming out of Iraq. Read the news here because it's not the sort of thing you'll generally see in the MSM.

You know, I've been watching the political dynamics pretty closely and I've really just got this to say:

We may wind up defeated in the end. If so, I hope we can at least retreat with the knowledge that we did the best job we could. That will be of some comfort, at least, as we prepare to fight it out in our next line of defenses.

However, I still believe we can and will win. Given my belief, I've got a message for those (mostly on the Left) who don't really give a damn about the war (but support the troops!) and only care about how to use it to get at Dubya. I've got the same message for those (mostly in the Center and on the Right) who have played summer soldier and sunshine patriot, demanding that we cut and run as soon as things look tough. And the message is this: I don't know which lot of you I find more contemptible. I also hope you don't think I'm going to forget the horrid things you've been saying or the damage you've caused to this country. You're going to rue the day, my friends. I'm talking imminent rueage.

That is all.

Posted by Robert at 12:02 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Next Up: Charles Dickens' Secret Life As A Jilted Bridegroom


I don't know if you've been paying any attention to the ballyhoo surrounding the upcoming release of the new movie about Jane Austen, Becoming Jane?

The theory behind the film is that Our Miss Austen, cooped up in her oppressive, smothering, provincial little corner of Hampshire, never knew what it meant to Love until she met the dashing, roguish Tom Lefroy, who in the space of a short but memorable time, lit her fuse or launched her balloon or unmoored her ship or whatever metaphor you care to use. After her brief but passionate encounter with M. Lefroy, Jane (it's "Jane" now) was able to let down her hair and start cranking out her novels on the subject of the Divine Pash because at last she Really Knew What It Was Like.

Only one trouble with the idea - it's complete and utter rot.

It's quite true that Austen had a brief flirtation with Lefroy, enough of one that his family packed him off to Ireland as a result. (Indeed, poor Jane was quite embarassed about this.) But the whole She-Couldn't-Write-Of-Love-Til-She'd-Experienced-Love-And-Tom-Was-Her-Tutor thing is utterly unsupported by any available evidence.

Personally, I believe this is another manifestation of a certain resentment against Austen that smolders among some people. They recognize that she was intelligent, observant and witty. They see that she was a woman living in an age still dominated by patriarchal prejudices. They see that she led a largely provincial existence, her immediate family living a shabby-genteel life on the lower edge of the gentry. And given these circs, they naturally assume that Austen should have been rebelling like billy-o. The trouble is that she didn't. Austen was no Romantic like the rising contemperary poets. She was no cauldron of seething anger and repressed desires. Rayther, she was really quite conservative and, horibile dictu, was happy with her lot in life!

I think this utterly baffles many modern readers and scholars and, as I say, breeds resentment. So they start looking for secret codes, suppressed evidence, hints of the Imprisoned Artiste, indicators of Cries for Help, something, anything, to explain how a stodgy, contented, conservative could possibly write with such insight about human interactions. From what I've read, this movie is simply another example of such fantasizing.

Oh, well. I suppose it's better than the canard that not only were Austen and her sister Cassandra lesbians, they were incestuous lesbians. (Don't laugh - there are people who believe this.)

Needless to say, I'm not going to bother with the flick.

Posted by Robert at 09:44 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Lenten Observations - "Good For What Ails Ye" Division


Sat down yesterday to reread C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce, his Dante-like musing on the nature of Heaven, hell and human weakness in all its manifestations.

I can state emphatically that the couple hours it took me to get through the book produced more soul shaking, stirring and examining than all the buy-a-chicken-to-save-Africa programs the U.N. could ever dream of concocting.

I'm sure a number of you are shaking your heads and muttering, "Well, duh.." And I'd probably do the same if somebody else were posting this. I simply mention it because it's been a while since I read Lewis and I'd forgotten the intensity of the experience. His genius is to make you stare directly into the Light and honestly examine yourself in its reflection - no hiding, no prevaricating, no "yeah, buts.." no shoulda-woulda-couldas.

My spirit aches the same way as my muscles do when I've exercised again after a long hiatus. It's painful, but at the same time quite satisfying.

Posted by Robert at 08:28 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 02, 2007

Death Star Attack "Truthers" Strike Back!

This is hilarious.

How could a single missile destroy a battle station the size of a moon? No records, anywhere, show that any battle station or capital ship has ever been destroyed by a single missile. Furthermore, analysis of the tape of the last moments of the Death Star show numerous small explosions along its surface, prior to it exploding completely! Why does all evidence indicate that strategically placed explosives, not a single missile, is what destroyed the Death Star?
It was in inside job!!

Yips! to AllahPundit (

Update:Dang! Link is now dead. Should have reproced it in full.

Posted by Gary at 04:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Small "R" Republicans, Big "C" Catholics

I'd side with Mrs. P. against most of the world.

Posted by Steve-O at 03:18 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Friday ridiculous

Nasty, Brutish, and Short has a hilarious piece up about the latest fad-diagnosis du jour, post-renovation depression.

Pssst: nobody mention the link to Jordana.

Posted by Steve-O at 03:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Dems Vexed Over Iraq

It's not that they aren't all committed to our defeat. It's the manner if which they'll try to orchestrate how we will lose that's the source of all the in-fighting.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked if she felt defeat was within their grasp.

Pelosi witch.jpg
"That's not what's worrying me -- it's how to do it. These things must be done deeeeelicately...."

YIPS from Steve-O: The Commissar is vexed, VEXED I say. Maybe he needs to change the theme song over at Politburo Diktat to "Won't Get Fooled Again, Again, This Time I Really Mean It." Which he then follows with a post about Obama which could be titled "Perhaps the third time will be the charm." I mean seriously, Stephen: FDR, JFK, Reagan, and.....Obama?

Posted by Gary at 02:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It's French Friday

March has come in like a Llama here at Orgle Manor. Spring is approaching. And what better way to celebrate than to express a little Llama Luv for our collective object of desire:

MelissaTheuriau Llama love.jpg

Soon the weather will become more hospitable, increasing the chances that the image of the lovely French news anchor can be photographed emerging from the ocean wearing nothing but a bikini bottom, her wet skin glistening in the sunshine...

Um, did I mention that spring is almost here? When do the beaches in France open, anyway?

Posted by Gary at 02:03 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

WW3 Breaks Out in Europe?!?! I blame Chimpy McHitler

Switzerland "accidently" invades Liechenstein:

ZURICH, Switzerland -- What began as a routine training exercise almost ended in an embarrassing diplomatic incident after a company of Swiss soldiers got lost at night and marched into neighboring Liechtenstein.

According to Swiss daily Blick, the 170 infantry soldiers wandered just over a mile across an unmarked border into the tiny principality early Thursday before realizing their mistake and turning back.

A spokesman for the Swiss army confirmed the story but said that there were unlikely to be any serious repercussions for the mistaken invasion.

"We've spoken to the authorities in Liechtenstein and it's not a problem," Daniel Reist told The Associated Press.

Officials in Liechtenstein also played down the incident.

Interior ministry spokesman Markus Amman said nobody in Liechtenstein had even noticed the soldiers, who were carrying assault rifles but no ammunition. "It's not like they stormed over here with attack helicopters or something," he said.

Liechtenstein, which has about 34,000 inhabitants and is slightly smaller than Washington DC, doesn't have an army.

Dark Lord Cheney was unavailable for comment.

Seriously, though, how does a small group of soldiers wind up "accidently" invading another country?

The headline in GUTS magazine I'm sure will be "Zisky rates the Liechenstinians: They're Pussies!"

Posted by Steve-O at 01:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I will never make fun of scientists again

At least the ones who dedicate their careers to study ocean flatulence.

The hydrates pose dangers if they start to decompose on the sea floor, causing bubbles known as ocean flatulence. One theory holds that giant methane bubbles have caused ships to sink suddenly in the Bermuda Triangle. Otago University seismologist Andrew R Gorman said the hydrate deposits might actually strengthen the sea floor in the sloping, earthquake-prone areas off the east coast. But if the methane was suddenly released, the layer it was in could be more prone to a landslide, Dr Gorman said. Dr Greinert said the gas would be released as a result of seas getting warmer – as they are now – or if the hydrates are disturbed by human intervention.

Who would have ever thought you could link global warming, tsunamis, and the Bermuda Triangle?

H/T to Dave Barry.

Posted by Steve-O at 01:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The funniest film review--ever!

Pajiba reviews Black Snake Moan (a review not for the faint of heart).

Posted by Steve-O at 01:03 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Cartoon Musickal Posting (TM)


Happy birthday, Bedřich Smetana! Born this day in 1824 in Litomyšl, Bohemia. I'm generally not much of a 19th Centuryist, but I've always enjoyed Smetana's music.

So have you, if you're a fan of the classic Roadrunner cartoons. The theme music of the early ones was based on the "Dance of the Comedians" from Smetana's opera The Bartered Bride.

Here's an example, in which I'm sure you'll recognize the themes:

Ah, this takes me back! When I was a kid, the Roadrunner was my absolute, all time favorite cartoon. And looking back over them now, I'm still impressed with the artistry - not just the nifty animation and use of appropriate music, but the shear genius of Chuck Jones' comic timing.

The earliest Roadrunner cartoons are the best. The first one (this one) came out in 1949. Jones kept making them until 1963, but gradually the animation got more two-dimensional and wooden and the music less subtle. Bob McKimson directed about a dozen more in the mid 60's, but they were rotten. And of course, none of the Warner Bros. cartoons involving Bugs, Daffy, the Roadrunner or any of the old gang made since then can come close to matching those made during the Golden Age.

UPDATE: Ah, YouTube! Here's Victor Borge taking on the original. Enjoy!

Posted by Robert at 10:37 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Never bet against the LLamas

For those of you who had bet on Kim Jong Il in the LLamabutcher's Office Pool "Who will crap out first? Kim Jong Il from the latest Nuclear Agreement or David Lee Roth from the Van Halen Reunion Tour?" all I can say is SUCKERS!

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


Curmudgeonry turns five, which is practically paleolithic in the blog world.

Jordana goes all Inside the Actor's Studio on us with this look back:

He'd been reading Andrew Sullivan and Instapundit and figured he could blog too. So he signed up on Blogger and started his own little blog. We started out all high brow and foreign policy and current events related, but when Justin left the government job and doing work requiring billable hours, I took the whole thing over. Unfortunately, because of some trouble with an unreliable host we lost some of the middle blog years, but still five years ago today, Justin posted the first post Curmudgeonry post ever. I didn't write my first post until March 6, when I made fun of Alec Baldwin after having been subjected to one too many viewings of Thomas and the Magic Railroad. And here we are now...

Ah yes, the rapid descent from highbrow yet trenchant fiskings of Foreign Affairs articles to making fun of how fat and pathetic Alec Baldwin has become. We know nothing about that around here.........

Anyhoo, congrats to Jordana and Justin, and having read now some of the Curmudgeonry early posts, we look forward to the day when Justin becomes a guest poster over here at the LLamas. After all, we're always on the look-out for a new writer who knows the ropes and is all in favor of annexing Canada (well, maybe not the Frenchie-French parts).

UPDATE: And while we're on the subject, happy 2nd blog year to our favorite former real-life neighbors over at The Bonny Glen.

Posted by Steve-O at 09:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...

...the Beer Launcher!

beer launching fridge.jpg

This just goes to show that for men there is no investment of time and effort too great in the pursuit of finding a way to avoid the time and effort required to get our lazy keisters off that couch.

The fridge is activated by a remote control which sets off a lift mechanism in the fridge.

The lift delivers the can to an electronic catapult, which rotates until it is lined up with its thirsty target.

It then hurls the beer up to 10ft to the drinker. It can hold a full 24-can crate - 10 beers in its magazine and 14 more in reserve.

John, 22, who has just graduated from university in North Carolina, said: "The idea was conceived when I was sitting on the sofa having a few beers.

"I thought, 'What if instead of me going to get the beer, the beer came to me?'

"About three months later I have a fully automated, remote-controlled, catapulting, beer-launching mini-fridge.

"There is a slight danger of being hit in the head with a flying can but this danger decreases the more you use it."

You would think the risk of getting hit in the head would increase the more you use it. No?

YIPS from Steve-O: What, no video?

You asked for it, you got it! See the video. This thing is amazing. Yips! to Sarah G. for the link!!!

YIPS from Steve-O: Yes, I asked for it, but you only gave me the link! For the lazy out there (who are the natural constituency for the beer launching fridge):

Robotic Beer Launching Refrigerator - Click here for funny video clips

Posted by Gary at 09:20 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack



I call dibs on Inara!

Yips! to Jay Tea over at WizBang for shooting us the pic. Nice to know some of the big dogs are watching out for us Llamas.

Posted by Robert at 08:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 01, 2007

Gratuitous Lenten Observations - "Give Peas A Chance" Division


Owing to Metro breakdowns and wretched traffic, I only got over to church in time to catch the tail end of last evening's Millenium Development Goals program, the first of our Wednesday Lenten series.

It's probably just as well. Owing to my two-plus hour commute, my reserve of agape was pretty much tapped out. I have both philosophical and real world issues with the whole ECUSA/MDG thing and had I arrived earlier I might have started grumbling under my breath.

Aaaaanyhoo, one of the things we're asked to do in order to show our opposition to poverty 'n hunger 'n stuff (and, I suppose, to distinguish ourselves from those who support these things) is to wear one of these white rubber bracelets. These were duly distributed to the rayther large number of kiddies in attendance. I dunno how swept up in the MDG campaign any of them were, but I was grimly amused at how quickly they realized what excellent missiles the bracelets made and started shooting it out among themselves. This is, I believe, what is knows as the Church Militant.

Posted by Robert at 04:48 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Brit Lit Meme

The Telegraph releases a World Book Day poll on the 100 most popular books in G.B. I've not much to say about it except that I notice a suspicious number of movie titles. On the one hand, this is positive, as it suggests movies promote reading. On the other hand, this is negative, as it suggests that movies promote the reading only of books made into movies.

Anyhoo, on to the meme. Standard rules: Bold the ones you've read, italicize the ones you especially like, strike through the ones you hate and feel free to add comments.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible - Well, parts of it. And it seems a bit above my likes and dislikes.
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8= Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
8= His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy - I prefer Far From the Madding Crowd and The Mayor of Casterbridge.
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare - Well, okay, I've not read Titus Andronicus.
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot - The favorite of a high school girlfriend.
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy - One of these days.
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck - What I was saying yesterday.
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll - Ask yourself. If someone was writing as screwy a story for your kid, wouldn't you be a bit worried?
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens "Generally speakin', I don't like boys. How d'ye do, boy?"
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen - Why not, I don't know, especially as it has a naval flavor to it. Did you know that two of Jane's brothers rose to become Admirals in the Royal Navy?
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy See above.
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck - As I said, his best work IMHO.
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray - I really should.
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker Had to for school. Ack.
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Alborn
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - Favorite one? "The Musgrave Ritual."
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad - Prefer Lord Jim.
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas The early 70's movie versions of this were written by George MacDonald Fraser, author of the Flashman Papers. And he did quite a good job.
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare Why this gets singled out from Shakespeare's other works above, I dunno.
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Posted by Robert at 02:29 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

More Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)

I was supposed to fly up to Maine tomorrow morning to see the Old Gentleman. We don't know when he's going to finally clock out, but this was understood to be the Goodbye Visit.

Well, Mother Nature has now kyboshed that plan. A blizzard is forecast to land just about when I was to have done. As the 'rents live a considerable way out of the Big City, driving around this weekend will be pretty much impossible.

I suppose I was more worked up about this visit than I've let myself acknowledge, because I've now got that curious feeling of putting a foot down in empty space where one thinks there's another step.

Whether we'll reschedule remains to be seen. My going is really for the sake of comforting the Old Boy, not for me. (We've never been close. Dad is of an unfortunate personality that causes him to lash out at the first sign of vulnerability, so I learned at a very early age not to let my guard down around him.) However, the latest report is that in the past few days he's started getting hazy and detached again. If he turns around and wants me to come up after all, I'll try, but otherwise probably not.

Posted by Robert at 11:25 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Historickal Posting

Last evening I popped in a DVD of Captain Blood, the old Errol Flynn swashbuckler. Sometimes you just need a bit of silly escapism. And if it includes the extremely lovely Olivia de Havilland, so much the better. (This will set the Scarlett-centric GroovyVic into paroxisms of rage, but if I had to choose between Olivia and Vivian Leigh, I'd go with Olivia every time - all of the beauty and none of the bat-shite crazy.)

If you're not familiar with the film, it tells the story of how peaceable Dr. Peter Blood, minding his own business in the time of James II, gets wrongly taken up for a rebel and transported as a slave to the Caribbean. There, having proved his noble spirit and bushwhacked a bunch of Spaniards, he takes up as a pirate, having a successful career (and incidentally running Basil Rathbone through for the first of many times) until turning hero again by saving Port Royal from a French attack. It's okay, though, because in the meantime James has been chased out of England, William & Mary have taken over, and Blood has been appointed governor of the colony. And of course, he gets the girl (not that it would have mattered that much to him - HEY-O!).

I mention all this because at the beginning of the story Blood faces trial before the insidious and blood-thirsty George Jeffreys, 1st Baron Jeffreys, aka Judge Jeffreys, the "Hanging Judge". Now owing to some quirk in my yoot, I grew up associating the name Judge Jeffries not with late-Stuart England, but with the Old West. And even to this day, I have to consciously untangle him from this association.

It somehow fits, though, don't you think?

Jeffries: What you got, Hoss?

Sheriff: Judge, this here's Rattlesnake Jack. He's charged with con-spirin' an takin' part in the Monmouth Rebellion. We done caught him near Sedgemoor tryin' to run guns to the Earl of Argyll. Also, he done robbed the Laredo Stage.

Jeffries: Git a rope. Next case.

If Monty Python didn't do a skit along these lines, they should have.


de Havilland.jpg

Yes, indeedy. Mmm...mmm...mmm.

Posted by Robert at 10:06 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)

The Missus and I were awakened at about two ack emma this morning by the sound of high-pitched yapping. At first, I took it for a dog or possibly a fox, but then I realized it was the Seven Year Old barking in her sleep.

When quizzed about it later, the Llama-ette had no recollection of a dream or anything that would explain her vocalizations. As it happens, she is a spearhead of what might be called the Pro-Dog Movement at Orgle Manor, so I can only imagine that she was perhaps engaged in some subconscious lobbying.

News of this sparked a tremendous amount of hi-larity this morning, as you can imagine. If the gel's sisters should start barking and baying tonight, I will not be at all surprised. Also, I'll already have the diagnosis down: a slight case of Envia Sororis Mimiciae. Don't worry - it rarely causes any long-term harm, (unless Daddy is overly provoked, of course).

As for the Dog Question itself, as I say, the 7.Y.O. has taken the lead recently in trying to bring one into the household. However, the Missus and I have made clear that we believe there are plenty of animal spirits about Orgle Manor at the moment, thank you. Or as I less delicately put it to the gels not long ago, "We'll start thinking about getting a dog when you lot stop acting like baboons."

Posted by Robert at 09:40 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Balance As Bias?

The Gorebot is a little miffed that not enough people are listening to him (and he's super serial!) about global warming. You see, it's the media bias that is preventing more worldwide acceptance of this non-phenomenon.

"I believe that is one of the principal reasons why political leaders around the world have not yet taken action," Gore said. "There are many reasons, but one of the principal reasons in my view is more than half of the mainstream media have rejected the scientific consensus implicitly — and I say 'rejected,' perhaps it's the wrong word. They have failed to report that it is the consensus and instead have chosen … balance as bias.
Hookay. Now let that last bit sink in a bit.

So, to Gore, the kind of bias that's slanted in favor of one side of an argument and ignores the other side is just fine. But when both sides are being heard - a "balance" of coverage - a portion of the media is being irresponsible? WTF?

In referring to the "bad" half of the mainstream media the former VP of course means the evil Right-Wing consortium of FoxNews, Drudge & Limbaugh who aren't buying into the media meme that equates the subjective term "scientific consensus" with scientific fact (not to mention many high-profile Conservative bloggers).

The American Heritage Dictionary defines "consensus" as follows:
con-sen-sus n. 1. Collective opinion 2. General agreement or accord.

Scientific facts don't need consensus because they've been proven. And if one group of scientists has one opinion, by definition another group of scientists will have an opposing opinion. And those scientists skeptical of man-made global warming are out there. You just don't hear about them from the "good" half of the mainstream media. Because their bias in favor of it to the exclusion of any dissent is "good" bias.

So for global warming alarmists, consensus is good enough for them. Kind of ironic when you consider that, for most of them, any other kind of consensus that they disagree with (like a belief in the existence of God, for example) is considered naive and downright nutty.

Oops! I guess I really goofed on this one. Apparently, the surface tempuratures on Mars are rising too. Therefore any fool can see that it must be caused by human activity.

Wait a minute. There isn't any life on Mars. Scratch that.

Maybe it's that Mars Rover thingy. Yeah, that's the ticket...

Posted by Gary at 09:27 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack
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