April 30, 2007
Global Warming Update
Apparently, a major element of The Glacier has melted right in front of our eyes.
There'll always be an England, right?
Princess Beatrice, or Grendel's Mom?
The little dab of puke on the chin just oozes stiff upper lip.
Come on, George: all the voices in your head are telling you to do it!
I can almost imagine the scene last night at Yankees Stadium, George Steinbrenner walking alone atop the ramparts, being visited by the ghost of Billy Martin.
Come on, George, you know you want to fire Joe Torre.....
Here's my poem in honor the situation:
Fire Joe Torre
Fire Joe Torre
Perchance to dream that Buck Showalter is available?
Fire Joe Torre.
Because we all know how Robbo hates him some squirrels.
Apollo is pissed by all this Kyoto business ignoring His solar virility, vows some old skool revenge
There's got to be a "blame George Bush" angle to this, right?
Climate change hits Mars Mars is being hit by rapid climate change and it is happening so fast that the red planet could lose its southern ice cap, writes Jonathan Leake.
Scientists from Nasa say that Mars has warmed by about 0.5C since the 1970s. This is similar to the warming experienced on Earth over approximately the same period.
Since there is no known life on Mars it suggests rapid changes in planetary climates could be natural phenomena.
The mechanism at work on Mars appears, however, to be different from that on Earth. One of the researchers, Lori Fenton, believes variations in radiation and temperature across the surface of the Red Planet are generating strong winds.
In a paper published in the journal Nature, she suggests that such winds can stir up giant dust storms, trapping heat and raising the planet’s temperature.
Fenton’s team unearthed heat maps of the Martian surface from Nasa’s Viking mission in the 1970s and compared them with maps gathered more than two decades later by Mars Global Surveyor. They found there had been widespread changes, with some areas becoming darker.
When a surface darkens it absorbs more heat, eventually radiating that heat back to warm the thin Martian atmosphere: lighter surfaces have the opposite effect. The temperature differences between the two are thought to be stirring up more winds, and dust, creating a cycle that is warming the planet.
Marvin the Martian needs to cut back on his SUV usage.
April 29, 2007
Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)
We're off in a bit for the Seven Year Old's premier piano recital. She'll be doing a two-fingered rendition of the 2nd movement of Haydn's "Surprise" Symphony.
I found out yesterday that there are going to be fifty, count 'em 5-0, kiddies performing at this shinding today. Now, let me whip out my checklist of items to bring:
Sharp scissors for piercing eardrums? Check
Elephant-sized tranquilizer dosage for subduing the Five Year Old? Check
Police baton for doing same re the Nine Year Old? Check
Artificial Smile for wearing in the zijillion pics the Missus will insist on taking? Whoops....looks like the battery's almost run down on that one. Oh, well.
Yeah, I think I'm good to go.......
Where No Man's Ashes Have Gone Before
James "Scotty" Doohan has joined the Choir Invisible - in a rather unconventional way.
Yes, we all know now that there was quite a bit of animosity between Doohan and William Shatner.
But - just for now - let us fondly remember the "Golden Age" of Trek.
I mean, can't we all just get along?
April 28, 2007
Linguistic Black-Face Watch
Hillary Rodham Clinton Rodham says her accent malfunctions are word up genuine:
GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) - Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday she sees her sometimes Southern accent as a virtue. "I think America is ready for a multilingual president," Clinton said during a campaign stop at a charter school in Greenville, S.C.
The New York senator—who said she's been thinking about critics who've suggested that she tried to put on a fake Southern accent in Selma, Ala.—noted that she's split her life between Arkansas, Illinois and the East Coast.
Clinton added a Southern lilt to her voice last week when addressing a civil rights group in New York City headed by the Rev. Al Sharpton. On Monday, dealing with a microphone glitch at a fundraiser for young donors, she quoted former slave and underground railroad leader Harriet Tubman.
The two episodes prompted some ribbing in the media and hatched more than a few humorous YouTube video clips.
Clinton is a linguistic polyglot—a Chicago native turned New York resident who works in Washington and spent two decades living in Arkansas when her husband, Bill Clinton, was governor.
But observers have long noted her tendency to speak Southern primarily in front of black audiences, as she did with Sharpton last week and at a civil rights commemoration in Selma in March.
All the Democrats are vying for the support of black voters—a crucial constituency especially in the early voting state of South Carolina. In 2004, black voters comprised nearly 50 percent of the state's Democratic primary turnout.
Having had a similar background myself (a Yankee family, a childhood in Texas, school in Connecticut and Virginia and settling outside Dee Cee), I of course call b.s. on the Incredible Shifting Accent - it just doesn't work that way.
At a certain level, however, you've got to admire the woman's brazenness. And what's also interesting is the sort of political Kabuki that goes on amongst the pols, press and elites around her. It reminds me of that line from The Lion In Winter:
Geoffrey: "I know. You know I know. I know you know I know. We know Henry knows, and Henry knows we know it. [smiles] We're a knowledgeable family."
I suppose the only real question in the end is whether it'll play with its intended audience. One hopes that she's being quietly scorned behind her back.
April 27, 2007
Fowl deeds, indeed
Yet again, the cute little duckies are using Kathy's yard as, and I quote, a "duckie brothel." Kath's not amused. Note to water fowl: don't piss off a highly medicated cake eater. That is all.
(And yes, "Duckie Brothel" would make a great name for a bitchin' band.)
Village Idiots of Red Sawx Nation Update
April is the new September, indeed.
Who? Who Would Not Like It With A Llama?
Okay, if Reid "does not like it with a Llama," the implication is that MK herself would. Right? Right?
I mean, I just want to make sure I understand this......
Yips! to regular reader Babs for dropping that one in the Tasty Bits (TM) Mail Sack.
UPDATE: "It" being good news, as the clip makes clear, of course. Don't know where you were going with that one......
Yips! from Gary:
Um, Robbo. Did you check out the frame at 2:47?
Mary Katharine Ham flashed the LOGO!!!!!
SOME "PARDON ME WHILE I GO TOWEL OFF" YIPS from Steve-O:
Melissa who? [Well, after all, MK is an honest to Gawd real 'murican girl - Gary]
Yips! back from Robbo: Aah....Mary Katharine be thy name!!
FARMER TED YIPS from Steve-O:
Kathy the Cake Eater has decided to weigh on l'affaire du LLama non Obama:
Oh, God, here we go again.
I think Kathy's worried our reaction to this was something on the order of Anthony Michael Hall's character from Sixteen Candles:
The scene starts at 3:15, [Steve-O, I think you mean at 6:15 - 3.15 into the clip - kudos to those who pick out a very young John Cusack to the right of the stall door - Gary] after the jump: you be the judge.
Although, when you look at the picture closely, it pretty much describes the LLamabutchers and our readers in one succinct morsel.
Gratuitous Buck Blogging
The series hit a high note with “Space Vampire” and immediately took a nose dive into two awful episodes, the first of which was:
Ep. 1.15 “Happy Birthday, Buck” (1/10/80)
Ok, here’s the deal. Buck is approaching a mid-millennium crisis. He’s about to turn 534. Actually, he’s really only hitting the big 3-0 but when you factor in all that time frozen in space…
Buck is feeling a bit lonely for the past he left behind and starts acting all mopey. Sorry, but I don’t think self-pity is very becoming for an action hero. So to cheer him up, his friends decide to through him a surprise party. To get him out his apartment so they can set everything up they send him on a mission to protect a courier named Raylyn Derren.
No, not Morgan Fairchild. The other Morgan.
Wrong. While the luscious Brittany is a welcome guest star the plot is gob-smackingly awful. First, the whole courier premise. Apparently, in the 25th century the best way to send information is to implant it in a person’s brain and retrieve it with a special machine. This is what Raylyn does for a living. I guess the geniuses of the future haven’t figured out how to digitally encrypt an email and hit “send”. Unless this is a high-paying gig, I find it hard to believe that a woman who looks like Morgan Brittany can’t find something a little less dangerous to do than to have her brain monkeyed-around with on a regular basis.
Raylyn is carrying vital information about Dr. Huer’s schedule and a psychopath named Cornell Traeger tries to capture Raylyn to get it. After spending fifteen years imprisoned for espionage, he’s escaped from his captors (disguised as
a wookie a transport pilot) and he’s looking for a little revenge on Huer. Why? He sees the Defense Director as being responsible for his capture. How? Because it was Huer who sent him on the mission. Hookay. Whatever.
Traeger picked up a little trick during his time away. The properties of the planet gave him the power to change matter with a touch of his hands. So he plans on turning Dr. Huer into a ceramic statue or something stupid like that.
Traeger does a "half-assed" job killing this dude.
Honestly, the rest of the story just gets stupider and it’s not even worth detailing.
Instead, here’s a gratuitous clip of Wilma in her spandex cat suit blowing up balloons. Sweet! Go ahead and watch. I’ll wait.
Episode rating: Pass (maybe one of the worst episodes from season one. Buck should have spent his birthday at an intergalactic strip club instead).
The episode that followed, though, really cheeses me off:
Ep. 1.16 “A Blast For Buck” (1/17/80)
Ok, plain and simple this is clip show. You know, one of those shows that have almost zero production value because all they do is show you scenes from past episodes. This shows never have any value. I recall “Friends” doing this “remember the time when we…” crap at least once per season. They probably should have called it "A Break For Buck" because I'm sure he spent all of one day filming the few new scenes for the episode which all took place on the "Dr. Huer's office" set. Gil Gerard was probably out shooting a few rounds of golf the rest of the week.
The premise is that a mysterious object is beamed (yes, beamed just like in Star Trek) into Dr. Huer’s office and a riddle is downloaded to his view screen. The object could be a WMD for all they know. To try and find out the meaning of the riddle and identify its sender, Buck is subjected to…get this…a mind probe. Yeah, you heard right. This is a convenient plot device that allows the show to get away with reliving “memories” by using scenes from prior episodes.
Now, I’ll give the writers a C+ for effort in creating this idea (which will be used two more times before the end of the series). But here’s my biggest problem – when you consider that all of Buck’s “memories” are seen from the third party point of view of the camera – the idea falls apart. How many memories do you have in which you see yourself from an outside source?
Exactly. An even bigger goof is when they hook Wilma up to the mind probe and she recalls scenes in which she wasn’t even present. Dumb.
Yeah, I know I need to lighten up.
Here’s the punch line, though. In the end, the sender of the message reveals himself to be the Gary Coleman character from “Cosmic Whiz Kid”. It was all just a little New Year’s Eve prank, you see. He appears via a video transmission, which he probably filmed while on the set of “Diff’rent Strokes”. So this little bastard breaches Terran security and makes what is essentially a terror threat against the Defense Director and it’s all a big yuck. Ha! Nice.
Episode rating: Pass (If "Happy Birthday Buck" was one of the worst episodes of the season, this one is definitely in the running for the worst. did I mention I hate “clip shows”?)
Next up: “Ardala Returns”. She’s baaaaack!
The first post in this series can be found here.
What Really Happened To The Mythical Creatures Of Old?
This must be YouTube Friday.
I Find Your Lack Of Cell Phone Etiquette Disturbing
What the hell, it's Friday.
It's PETA's KFC Sign Generator. Steve-O, Gary, you know what to do.
Yips! to Michelle Malkin.
YIPS from Steve-O:
Make your own KFC sign at KentuckyFriedCruelty.com
This one was spotted in Akron:
Make your own KFC sign at KentuckyFriedCruelty.com
Make your own KFC sign at KentuckyFriedCruelty.com
Make your own KFC sign at KentuckyFriedCruelty.com
Make your own KFC sign at KentuckyFriedCruelty.com
Make your own KFC sign at KentuckyFriedCruelty.com
Yips! Back From Robbo: "It's the Extreme, Baby! It's the Extreme! Oh, manly hand-shaking Zeus!"
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is why Steve-O owns Teh House.
Oh, and I got another one:
Rainy Friday Rockout III
It just so happens that today is Kate Pierson's birthday. So here ya go:
(Yeah, those guys are gonna kill me.....)
Utterly Random Friday Musings
I've got nuthin' today. But since my fingers begin to itch if I don't post something, I present a completely arbitrary and utterly useless selection of thoughts. Take 'em or leave 'em:
**Got my hair cut last evening. I confess one of my very few personal indulgences is that I go to a salon that charges $45 per cut. It isn't a question of being fru-fru or metrosexual or whatever, it's just that my long time (I shudder to say it) stylist does a great job and I need all the help I can get.
I always feel better after a haircut - fresher, neater, perhaps even stronger. It's almost a reverse-Samson thing.
**It's surprising how well the movie Ghostbusters holds up after all this time.
** Turned on the tee vee just in time to see Wily Mo crush it into the Chesapeake. Woo Hoo! Going to be an interesting series this weekend in the Bronx, hopefully giving Steve-O lots of fresh Red Sawx Nation Village Idiot Update material. In the meantime, Gary and Michelle ought to be trembling in their boots at the thought of the Mets having to face the Nats. [Whoops, accidentally toggled the sarcasm switch there.]
** The Seven Year Old has her very first piano recital Sunday afternoon, in which she will serve up a short rendition of the theme from the second movement of Haydn's "Surprise" Symphony. I don't know how she'll do under the pressure in terms of her performance, but I do know that her curtsy afterwards will wow 'em.
**If the fields dry out in time, the Nine Year Old will have her first start as golie tomorrow. I've been boring her with a lot of Last Line of Defense talk, largely (I think) because I like that expression so much.
** I had my standard anxiety dream last night, which is odd because things are going along just fine at the moment. For years and years I had nightmares about tornadoes. Once I got out of that stage, it changed to being chased by a T-Rex. For the past five years or so, it's been believing I've awakened in a house completely covered in booby-traps and that I had to defuse them all before somebody else got hurt. Sometimes, like last night, I'm half awake and half asleep, dreaming but knowing that I'm dreaming. It can be quite discombobulating. Probably just as well that I never got into 24 or else I'd be mumbling about securing the perimeter and getting a schematic of the bedroom now!
**Lots of yard stuff to do this weekend - getting out the peony stands, putting up anti-deer netting, etc., etc. And finally there are beginning to be some things worth photographing. Regular reader Babs has been after me for a long time to put up some pics of my Dicentra. It's blooming now, and if I can wrestle the camera away from the Missus, I promise to put one up.
**Speaking of the Missus, I was idly looking at a photo taken when she took her class on its annual trip to the Capital and suddenly realized that in it Pete Domenici had his arm around her. Bastard.
Hoo-kay, that's probably enough to be going on.
Rainy Friday Morning Rockout II
I have a love/hate relationship with this song. At one point it got so overplayed I usually turned off the radio when it came on.
But now, I so rarely hear it the when I do I can't help but yell out "HEY!" at the appropriate cues.
Rainy Friday Morning Rockout
For no other reason.
Village Idiots of Red Sawx Nation Update
Curt Schilling responds to the story doubting The Holy Relic:
Someone gave me a great idea to end this once and for all. No one will ever need to bring it up again. I’ll wager 1 million dollars to the charity of anyones choice, versus the same amount to ALS. If the blood on the sock is fake, I’ll donate a million dollars to that persons charity, if not they donate that amount to ALS.
Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
April 26, 2007
Making Mom Proud
Compared to what?
The next time someone starts yammering on about red state/blue state divides, etc, point them to this:
TALLINN, Estonia - Police clashed with protesters Thursday at a Soviet war memorial in Estonia's capital as authorities prepared to remove the bodies despite Russia's angry objections.
After largely peaceful rallies throughout the day, a group of protesters tried to break through a line of police officers guarding the grave and the Bronze Soldier statue next to it.
Some protesters said police fired tear gas, but police spokeswoman Tuuli Harson said they used a type of foam for crowd control. "People tried to break through line and attacked police officers," she said.
Dozens of police had formed lines to keep some 600 protesters away from the monument after workers erected a tent over the memorial to shield the excavations from public view.
Estonia's government intends to relocate the Soviet grave, believed to contain the remains of 14 soldiers, and the statue next to it.
The Baltic state's ethnic Russians — about a third of the population — see the memorial as a tribute to Red Army soldiers who died fighting Nazi Germany and have vowed to protect it. Many ethnic Estonians, however, say the memorial is a bitter reminder of five decades of Soviet occupation.
Eleven people were detained, Harson said. Some protesters shouted, "Estonia is a disgrace," and one was detained after trying to jump the police barrier. Three others were detained after locking themselves in a car and refusing to obey police orders. Officers smashed the windows of the car.
There were no immediate reports of injuries.
The dispute over the monument has aggravated tensions between Estonia and Russia, which has repeatedly called on its small neighbor to halt the plans to move the grave.
My solution is inherently American: keep the memorial and the graveyard, surround it with cheezy strip malls featuring cut rate muffler shops, tattoo parlors, head shops and a none-to-sanitary "Subway" to give it that full Petersburg effect.
The students really love Professor Chaos.
Me? Not so much.
It might have something to do with my teaching style being summarized thusly:
Someone get the pitch, pokers, and firewood: looks like we're going to have fun torching up a true apostate!
Denial of miracles is a sin, sonny.
Senate Passes "Pork 'n Run"
DOA once it hits POTUS' desk.
The guy at the Las Vegas GOP offices might want to call in sick tomorrow.
Headline of the day
How much abuse can Katie Couric take?
Depends what we're talking about here. Having to watch the entire run of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip without the assistance of Vicodin and a bottle of Maker's Mark? Probably not much.
Alexis de Tocqueville Award Winner
When the neighborhood dry cleaner misplaced Roy Pearson's pants, he took action. He complained. He demanded compensation. And then he sued. Man, did he sue.
Two years, thousands of pages of legal documents and many hundreds of hours of investigative work later, Pearson is seeking to make Custom Cleaners pay -- would you believe more than the payroll of the entire Washington Nationals roster?
He says he deserves millions for the damages he suffered by not getting his pants back, for his litigation costs, for "mental suffering, inconvenience and discomfort," for the value of the time he has spent on the lawsuit, for leasing a car every weekend for 10 years and for a replacement suit, according to court papers.
Pearson is demanding $65,462,500. The original alteration work on the pants cost $10.50.
By the way, Pearson is a lawyer. Okay, you probably figured that. But get this: He's a judge, too -- an administrative law judge for the District of Columbia.
I'm telling you, they need to start selling tickets down at the courthouse.
Oh, where to start: How about the car? Why should Ki, Jin and Soo Chung -- the family that owns Custom Cleaners on Bladensburg Road NE in the District's Fort Lincoln section -- pay Pearson $15,000 so he can rent a car every weekend for 10 years?
The plaintiff, who says he has devoted more than 1,000 hours to represent himself in this battle, says that as a result of poor service at Custom, he must find another cleaner. And because Pearson does not own a car, he says he will have to rent one to get his clothes taken care of.
Back to the beginning. In 2002, Custom lost a pair of pants that Pearson had put in for cleaning. One week after the error was discovered, Custom gave Pearson a check for $150 for new pants. A few days later, the Chungs, Korean immigrants who live in Virginia and own three D.C. cleaners, told Pearson that he was no longer welcome at their store. That dispute was eventually put aside, and Pearson continued to use the company.
Move ahead to 2005, when Pearson got a new job as a judge. He needed to wear a suit to work every day. He dug out his five Hickey Freeman suits and found them to be "uncomfortably tight." He asked Custom to let the waists out two or three inches. Worried that he might be up against his Visa card limit, he took the suits in for alterations one or two at a time.
According to a statement filed by both parties in the lawsuit, Pearson dropped off one pair of pants May 3 so he could wear them to his new job May 6. But on May 5, the pants weren't ready. Soo Chung promised them for early the next morning, but when Pearson arrived, the pants weren't there.
At this point, I should let you in on the subject of hundreds of pages of legal wrangling. Custom Cleaners at that time had two big signs on its walls. One said "Satisfaction Guaranteed," and the other said, "Same Day Service."
Pearson relied on these signs. Deeply.
He was not satisfied. And he did not get his pants back on the same day or, for that matter, on any day.
This, he says, amounts to fraud, negligence and a scam.
A week after that routine mishap -- pants go astray all the time at cleaners -- Soo Chung came up with gray trousers that she said were Pearson's. But when the judge said that he had dropped off pants with red and blue pinstripes, there was no joy in Fort Lincoln.
Pearson's first letter to the Chungs sought $1,150 so he could buy a new suit. Two lawyers and many legal bills later, the Chungs offered Pearson $3,000, then $4,600 and, finally, says their attorney, Chris Manning, $12,000 to settle the case.
But Pearson pushes on. How does he get to $65 million? The District's consumer protection law provides for damages of $1,500 per violation per day. Pearson started multiplying: 12 violations over 1,200 days, times three defendants. A pant leg here, a pant leg there, and soon, you're talking $65 million.
The case, set for trial in June, is on its second judge. The Chungs have removed the signs upon which Pearson's case rests.
"This case shocks me on a daily basis," Manning says. "Pearson has a lot of time on his hands, and the Chungs have been abused in a ghastly way. It's going to cost them tens of thousands to defend this case."
A judge in the case has admonished Pearson about his take-no-prisoners tactics. When Pearson sought to broaden the case to try to prove violations of consumer protection laws on behalf of all District residents, D.C. Superior Court Judge Neal Kravitz said that "the court has significant concerns that the plaintiff is acting in bad faith" because of "the breathtaking magnitude of the expansion he seeks."
Pearson has put the Chungs and their attorneys to work answering long lists of questions, such as this: "Please identify by name, full address and telephone number, all cleaners known to you on May 1, 2005 in the District of Columbia, the United States and the world that advertise 'SATISFACTION GUARANTEED.' "
In the world.
The answer: "None."
In a closet of a lawyer's office in downtown Washington, there is a pair of gray wool pants, waiting to be picked up by Roy Pearson.
"We believe the pants are his," Manning says. "The tag matches his receipt."
The Random Penseur directs our attention to this coo-el website: The Maven's Word of the Day Index, courtesy of Random House. Go on over and browse the backgrounds of all sorts of words n' phrases. Personally, I could spend the next couple months there.
(One phrase not included (I suppose due to its extreme regionality) is "Jeezum Crow!" an interjection popular in the extreme north and one that has entered the Llama Lexicon since we started hanging about in Maine.)
Joe-Mentum - The Last Voice Of Reason In The Democrat Party
Lieberman spells it out for his party, who can't - or won't - understand that they are doing the enemy's bidding:
What is needed in Iraq policy is not overheated rhetoric but a sober assessment of the progress we have made and the challenges we still face.He's talking about you, Harry. But I don't necessarily share Joe's assessment of your intent.
In the two months since Petraeus took command, the United States and its Iraqi allies have made encouraging progress on two problems that once seemed intractable: tamping down the Shiite-led sectarian violence that paralyzed Baghdad until recently and consolidating support from Iraqi Sunnis -- particularly in Anbar, a province dismissed just a few months ago as hopelessly mired in insurgency.
This progress is real, but it is still preliminary.
The suicide bombings we see now in Iraq are an attempt to reverse these gains: a deliberate, calculated counteroffensive led foremost by al-Qaeda, the same network of Islamist extremists that perpetrated catastrophic attacks in Kenya, Indonesia, Turkey and, yes, New York and Washington.
Indeed, to the extent that last week's bloodshed clarified anything, it is that the battle of Baghdad is increasingly a battle against al-Qaeda. Whether we like it or not, al-Qaeda views the Iraqi capital as a central front of its war against us.
Al-Qaeda's strategy for victory in Iraq is clear. It is trying to kill as many innocent people as possible in the hope of reigniting Shiite sectarian violence and terrorizing the Sunnis into submission.
In other words, just as Petraeus and his troops are working to empower and unite Iraqi moderates by establishing basic security, al-Qaeda is trying to divide and conquer with spectacular acts of butchery.
That is why the suggestion that we can fight al-Qaeda but stay out of Iraq's "civil war" is specious, since the very crux of al-Qaeda's strategy in Iraq has been to try to provoke civil war.
The current wave of suicide bombings in Iraq is also aimed at us here in the United States -- to obscure the recent gains we have made and to convince the American public that our efforts in Iraq are futile and that we should retreat.
When politicians here declare that Iraq is "lost" in reaction to al-Qaeda's terrorist attacks and demand timetables for withdrawal, they are doing exactly what al-Qaeda hopes they will do, although I know that is not their intent.
Yips! from Robbo: Even NPR gave Joe a little air time in its noon newspot today.
Now THIS is a weird way to begin a dark and dreary Thursday
Weirdness, my friends, weirdness:
Actor Kurt Russell has confirmed the last two words movie mogul Walt Disney wrote before he died were the Death Proof star's name.
It has long been rumored that Disney penned 'Kurt' and 'Russell' just before he passed away in 1966. Russell was a child actor signed to the studio at the time.
During a recent appearance on US TV show Jimmy Kimmel Live, the 56-year-old Russell confirmed the urban legend as fact.
He said, "It's true. I don't know what to make of that. I was taken into his office one time after he died and I was shown that."
Gratuitous Historickal Posting (TM)
Mark Tooley has a nice article in the Weekly Standard today reminding us of a period of history the ignorance of which I often lament here, namely the French and Indian War:
There would be no United States without the French and Indian War, which ousted the French from North America and ensured Anglo-American dominance. The conflict also transformed a young Virginia woodsman named George Washington into an international figure. It gave a previously unknown unity to the English colonies in America. And it created the financial burden for the British Empire that led directly to the unwanted taxes on the colonies that would fuel a revolution. That revolution would succeed, in part, because the French would support it, in retaliation for their defeat by the British 20 years earlier.
Reading about the war, one is overwhelmed by both its remoteness and its savagery:
On April 18, 1756, several dozen members of the Virginia Regiment left Fort Edwards on the Cacapon River [in present day West Virginia] in pursuit of the enemy. One year before, English General Edward Braddock had led what was the largest army ever in North America into a trap outside what is now Pittsburgh. Over 900 men of his command, including the general himself, would fall to the ambushing French and Indians. The young George Washington would help organize the retreat.
Colonial America's frontier was left wide open to Indian attacks on farms and settlements that were often led by French officers. An observer in Cumberland, Maryland would observe that the entire panorama to the west was filled with flumes of smoke rising from burning farms. Virginia organized a regiment under Colonel Washington to organize defenses, like Fort Edwards, against attacks.
The Virginia soldiers who left Fort Edwards in April of 1756 may have been lured out by the Indians' murder of a local miller. But their response was ill-planned. They were barely two miles out before being ambushed by a force of at least 100 Indians, led by a French officer. Seventeen Virginians were killed in what would be called "Mercer's Massacre," or the Battle of the Great Cacapon. The disaster prompted the Virginia legislature to appropriate more money for the colony's defenses, and Colonel Washington, who often visited Fort Edwards, would construct the more formidable Fort Loudoun in Winchester, 20 miles to the east.
Fortunately, there are still people working to preserve this piece of history:
SOME PEOPLE have not forgotten those battles. When a townhouse development threatened to overtake the Fort Edwards site in the 1990s, Capon Bridge area residents bought the 24 acres of land and built a visitors center. For over a decade, these descendants have hosted an annual Colonial Feast to commemorate the Battle of the Great Cacapon and their warrior ancestors.
Go read the rest. And be sure to check out the link to the Fort Edwards Visitor Center.
Scenes From My Old Stomping Grounds
Regular readers will know that I practiced FCC law for a long time. Thus, I found this story to be professionally interesting:
WASHINGTON, April 25 — Concerned about an increase in violence on television, the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday urged lawmakers to consider regulations that would restrict violent programs to late evening, when most children would not be watching.
The commission, in a long-awaited report, concluded that the program ratings system and technology intended to help parents block offensive programs — like the V-chip — had failed to protect children from being regularly exposed to violence.
As a result, the commission recommended that Congress move to limit violence on entertainment programs by giving the agency the authority to define such content and restrict it to late evening television.
It also suggested that Congress adopt legislation that would give consumers the option to buy cable channels “à la carte” — individually or in smaller bundles — so that they would be able to reject channels they did not want.
“Clearly, steps should be taken to protect children from excessively violent programming,” said Kevin J. Martin, the agency’s chairman and a longtime proponent of à la carte programming. “Some might say such action is long overdue. Parents need more tools to protect children from excessively violent programming.”
Mr. Martin, the only tool parents really need already comes attached to their tee vees. It's called an off-switch.
You know it's a chilly day in hell indeed when I side with the ACLU on something. But my position isn't really a First Amendment one, it's more an effectiveness one. All the bells and whistles in the world (and the "V-chip" is a perfect example) don't make a single damn bit of difference unless the parents are engaged. And parodoxically, if they are engaged then they don't need all those bells and whistles.
UPDATE: I'm not saying there isn't a F.A. argument here, btw, just emphasing the non-juridical side of the matter. That presupposes that the guv'mint either can't or shouldn't be taking matters into its hands.
Now THAT'S a pleasant domestic scene
Scenes from a marriage breakfast table at over at Cake Eater Chronicles.
April 25, 2007
That's My Church! - "Check, Please." Edition
April 10, 2007
The Wardens, Vestry, and Parish of St. Barnabas
110 East Lincoln Street
Tullahoma, Tennessee 37388
Subject: Letter of Transfer
I hope this letter finds you well and I pray that the Peace of Christ dwells within you and your families.
Since I left the Vestry of St. Barnabas at the end of my term as Senior Warden last November, I have had time to reflect, pray and discern my position relative to the parish, the Diocese, and The Episcopal Church (TEC). I arrive at this point not in haste, anger or judgment. Rather I arrive gently and with a great sense of relief and peace.
When I decided to leave Rome and become an Anglican, I did so after a significant amount of study, research and prayer over a two year period culminating in my joining the Episcopal Church. Not because of it’s reputation or social presence but because I believed that it represented traditional Anglicanism in the US. Anglicanism as envisioned from the Synod of Whitby forward. The events since General Convention 2003 have proved it to be otherwise.
The consecration of Bp. Robinson in 2003 set the stage for what is now costing TEC an average of 105 communicants a day. In fact the total is 115,000 since 2003. This is not my estimate but that of TEC’s own statistical analysis. In doing this, TEC acted in a manner that tore the very fabric of communion with the larger Anglican Church. They did so citing our supposed “autonomy” and self governance.
After GC 2003, the Executive Council of TEC, independent of either House or the Convention, decided not only to support the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC), but to fund it. The RCRC advocates a supposed “freedom of choice” regarding abortion. By doing this they (TEC) demonstrated their willingness to act without the consensus of General Convention. Interestingly enough, this use of polity is in diametric opposition to the fact pattern used by the House of Bishops to declare themselves powerless to answer the most recent requests of the primates meeting in Dar es Salaam. They now say that they cannot act without consensus. In addition, the action regarding the RCRC leaves the National Church in a position where it advocates abortion-on-demand while steadfastly opposing capital punishment. These glaring dichromatic interpretations of both polity and theology have been present since about 2003 and continue today.
GC 2006 brought an onslaught of counter-orthodox decisions. The election of Bp. Jefferts-Schori as the Presiding Bishop was a slap in the face of the larger Communion. Her demonstrated pattern of theological understanding continues to amaze. She has denied Creation, afterlife, and most shockingly, the uniqueness of Christ. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church defines heresy as the "formal denial or doubt of any defined doctrine of the catholic faith" and further separates heresy into two categories based on the old Greek phrase denoting "thing chosen". The first category, "formal heresy", consists in the "willful and persistent adherence to errors in matters of faith on the part of a baptized person; as such it is a grave sin involving ipso facto excommunication". I firmly believe Bishop Schori to be such a heretic. I cannot in conscience, directly or indirectly be associated with any Church led by any heretic, regardless of gender.
Reading from Irenaeus Adversus Haereses (Against Heresies) brings TEC’s position under clear focus. “Those persons prove themselves senseless who exaggerate the mercy of Christ, but are silent as to the judgment, and look only at the more abundant grace of the New Testament; but, forgetful of the greater degree of perfection which it demands from us, they endeavour to show that there is another God beyond Him who created the world.” I suggest reading of this particular work to anyone interested in either Church history or current events within the TEC.
The straw that broke the camels back for me was the most recent decision of the HOB to deny alternative oversight for the orthodox in TEC. The effect of this decision will most likely be what TEC was trying to avoid, the orthodox will simply leave. Most remaining with TEC will say a polite good riddance. In fact, entire parishes and individual communicants are doing just that in aligning with CANA, AMiA and other Anglican jurisdictions.
I suppose one could say that the events of late “don’t affect St. Barnabas” and that the National Church’s perspectives on same-sex unions, et cetera can’t or won’t come to Tullahoma. I disagree. I am not a Congregationalist and therefore understand the Presiding and Diocesan Bishops to have ecclesiastical and theological authority. I, as well as many others, read the Nicene Creed as our statement of faith (We believe in one holy catholic and Apostolic Church.). I am also far more Anglo-Catholic than Evangelical or Charismatic, so I am drawn more to CANA than the other options. I believe all these efforts will eventually unify under a recognized Province in full communion with Lambeth.
Having said all of that let me put this in personal perspective. I have decided to join St. Patrick’s Anglican Church under Bishop Minns and Fr. Ray Kasch. I believe CANA to be a true reflection of traditional Anglicanism here in North America. During these times of shaking and reshaping Anglicanism, I hope every one of you finds him or herself at center and peace with where you are regardless of where that might be. I am simply an orthodox Christian and as such I cannot remain in TEC. To do so, at least for me, would be granting at least tacit approval to, and agreement with, the larger situation. I cannot in clear conscience do that. The world embraced the Enlightenment once and it proved a folly. Yet TEC embraces both (albeit more slickly repackaged than the original) secular humanism and post modernism as integral to the operation of a Church. My personal position is that social justice issues are important, but the Gospel is the center of the Church, not the Millennium Development Goals.
I have to agree with Fr. Matt Kennedy, writing for Stand Firm in Faith, as he eloquently wrote; It is depressingly illustrative to read elected deputies to the premier legislative body of the Episcopal Church, heap praise on the ancient heretic Pelagius, denigrate St. Augustine, and openly mock the doctrine of Original sin; a more perfect picture of itching ears is difficult to imagine. Then again, but for the ancient heretics, what else is left to them?
With all of this in mind, I request that I be removed from the membership rolls at St. Barnabas and that a Letter of Transfer be provided to St. Patrick’s at the address below. Please forward a copy of the letter to me at my home address.
St. Patrick’s Anglican Church
Attn: Fr. Ray Kasch
P.O. Box 941
Smyrna, TN 37167
In Christ’s Peace,
Robert W. Filer
cc: The Rt. Rev’d. John Bauerschmidt, Bishop of Tennessee
The Rev’d. Canon Jill Zook Jones, Canon to the Ordinary
Oddly enough, the Missus has made me promise to finish out my term on the vestry of my own Church before making any formal move. That gives me about another year, during which time I have every confidence TEC will provide ample justification (if any more be necessary) for my hitting the silk. And whither Robbo? As of yet, regular readers know I'm still pondering the options. But at some point, I'm going to start dropping in here to do some serious recon work.
Don't think Bush Derangement Syndrome is a real concern for non-Moonbats? Check this out: Man Arrested In Threat On GOP Official
A man accused of threatening a Nevada Republican Party official with a rifle was arrested Tuesday in a vehicle in which police found swords, knives, a shotgun, shells and a flare gun, authorities said.These people are not well.
Matthew Hunter Kramer, 31, did not resist officers who arrested him on a warrant issued after the April 3 confrontation at state Republican Party offices in Las Vegas. It wasn't clear why he was not arrested earlier.
Zachary Moyle, executive director of the state GOP, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Kramer invited him to look at something in the trunk of his Mercedes before pulling out a rifle, pointing it at his face and warning that he would be back if President Bush vetoed an emergency war spending bill being considered by Congress.
Now here's a nifty story - Latin is being reintroduced to some London public primary schools:
Five primary schools in Hackney will be offering Latin from September, while Lorna [Robinson] is already teaching in Kilburn, in north-west London.
Boris Johnson, the shadow higher education minister who has presented television programmes on the ancient world, is an enthusiastic supporter of the project.
'New and interesting'
Performances in English tests over the next few years will show whether the project is having a concrete effect, but Benthal's young head teacher Tim Hunter-Whitehouse is already full of praise for the effect Latin has had.
He said: "It's given the children something new and interesting. It gives them a historical basis of language.
"It could be seen as a slightly dead subject but it has many uses, especially using terms in subjects like maths and science.
"It's a taster for the children. The curriculum is busy but you have got to be as creative as you can and create as broad a range of experiences as possible."
Dr Robinson is also editing a Latin and Greek magazine called Iris, which is being distributed free to state schools by Cambridge University.
This being grade school level work, it appears that some inventive educational forms are being used:
The aim is to introduce the ethnically mixed pupils, who speak up to 30 different languages at home, to Latin, which underpins much English vocabulary.
Lorna, who started the classes last September, said: "We want to see if the Latin improves their literacy results. It's a very specific aim.
"We also want to promote interest and opportunities to learn Latin in state schools.
"It will help the children think about language and how it is constructed at an early age. They all ask questions and are making good progress.
"Often, because they are so young, they are able to remember more words than I can."
The children have taken part in activities as modern as bingo and making up road signs.
This sounds a lot like what the Missus has done with her class at St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method. I've got a birthday invitation up on my wall that was written by the eldest Llama-ette last year. It reads:
III Idas Septembres, veni ad diem natalem meum. Vale, soror, anima mea.
I expect she's forgotten every word of it by now, but the seed has been planted.
Yips! to Rachel.
Dow Smashes Record Books
Cue "Octopussy" theme: "We're an all time high..."
And so the template is drawn for the greatest computer game of all time
I agree with Allahpundit on this: the simple awesomeness of this cannot be understated. Let me never again mock government consultants.
Plus, it gives a framework for uniting the two greatest tee-vee franchises of the last fifteen years: The X-Files and 24. I want to believe in Jack Bauer!
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)
How 'bout a little Shakespeare?
Full many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the mountain-tops with sovereign eye,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy;
Anon permit the basest clouds to ride
With ugly rack on his celestial face,
And from the forlorn world his visage hide,
Stealing unseen to west with this disgrace:
Even so my sun one early morn did shine
With all triumphant splendor on my brow;
But out, alack! he was but one hour mine;
The region cloud hath mask'd him from me now.
Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth;
Suns of the world may stain when heaven's sun staineth.
This comes to mind as I keep tabs on the local radar. We had a beautiful morning, but there's a system on its way in and the chance of rain has been pegged up to 70% for later this afternoon.
For this, my Nine Year Old plenty whit disdaineth. You see, she really wants to try playing goalie for her soccer team. However, Coach won't put her in unless and until she's had some time practicing the position. The team practices on Wednesdays. She had to miss goalie-drill last week because of a school concert and was keen to try it out this week, so she'll be plenty disappointed if today's practice gets rained out.
Incidentally, last weekend her team, the Creepy Green Leprechauns, scored its first victory of the season in a hard-fought game. I'm immensely proud to say that the gel is developing a genuine talent for defense, to the point where Coach subbed her in on an unscheduled rotation late in the game in order to protect the lead. She also is coming along on offense, the skills of which she has had a harder time grasping, and picked up an assist on one of the goals with a very nifty pass in from her Right Forward position. The final score was 3-2 and the team record is now 1-1-1.
UPDATE: As of 3:00 PM, looks like the mass of rain is hanging to the north for now, so perhaps practice will go off as scheduled. The other good news is that it looks pretty certain the Nats will get rained out at Philly tonight. After watching them choke in the late innings last evening, I don't consider this to be too bad a thing.
UPDATE DEUX: Well, practice ran as scheduled. I may not have mentioned it before, but practice these days consists of scrimmages between the CGL's and another team, both of them just about perfectly balanced in terms of talent. I'm happy to say that the gel did pretty well as goalie. She still has some fine points to work out in terms of technique, but she didn't flinch in going after the ball in the face of the opponents' onslaught and I'm quite proud of her.
On the other hand, the Nats game wasn't rained out. You needn't guess at the result.
Twelve years in Catholic schools pays off
And the nuns wondered if I was really paying attention. . .
YIPS from Steve-O: And he rode into town on a pale donkey...
Too Good Not To Swipe
Says it all, I think.
Yips! to Cassandra subbing for Ith over at Absinthe & Cookies, who picked it up from Lex. Be sure to read Cassandra's "Profile in Courage" on Reid as well. For what it's worth, aside from the appalling fact that he is motivated by pure partisanship to try and end the war and pin the blame for its end (and fallout) on Dubya, I believe that in the end this strategy is going to come back and bite the Donks hard.
UPDATE: Okay, at least one good thing has come out of this - Michelle Malkin in a cheerleader rig.
Hey - lemons, lemonade. Y'know?
NPR is reporting in its top-o-the-hour news briefs today that Bubba Clinton is over in Russia paying his respects to the late Boris Yeltsin. In its never-miss-a-chance-to-inflict-a-paper-cut way, it's also noting how "strong" ties were between the United States and Russia back in the day when these two were in office.
It just so happens that Mark Steyn is running a reprint of an article he wrote about the Incredible Indestructible Yeltsin in 1999. He, too, looked at the dual presidencies of Bill n' Boris:
So yesterday the Duma's hardline communists tried, if unsuccessfully, that most unRussian of remedies, impeachment. This is not to be confused with that of his fellow President on the other side of the world: Bill Clinton was accused of lying under oath, obstruction of justice, and having sessions with his lover in the executive office; Boris Yeltsin stood accused of lying under the table, obstruction of arteries, and having sessions with his liver in the executive office. After one particularly robust sexual episode, President Clinton is alleged to have told his victim: "You might want to put some ice on that." By contrast, President Yeltsin prefers to say: "You might want to put some ice in that."
Go read the rest. It's well worth a chuckle.
Slouching Toward McCain?
I have to say that I've
never really much liked always disliked John McCain personally and politically. However, if he keeps saying this sort of thing, I'm much more likely to give him more sympathetic consideration:
I believe the transcendent issue of the primary, and the general [election], will be who is best equipped to fight this new challenge from radical Islamic extremism. I don't need any on-the-job training. I don't need time to develop. I'll hit the ground running. I may not be the president for all times, but I'm the president for these times.
I've never been a single issue voter, but I think 2008 may prove the exception to that rule. McCain is more than right about what the issue is, and I can't help but feel he may be right about being the guy to take it on as well.
Yips! to John Hood over in the Corner.
No, I Didn't Take The Quiz With A List Of The Kings Of Judah Stuffed In My Pocket
Like Bertie Wooster, it appears I'm a scripture knowledge shark:
Yips! to the even more knowledgable Maximum Leader. (I completely agree with him that the multiple choice format probably inflates one's score.)
Yips! from Gary:
Better 'n I thought I'd do.
All that Sunday school...
Happy Birthday, Guglielmo Marconi!
My quote of teh day email guy reminds us that the great radio pioneer was born this day in 1874 in Bologna, Italy. In honor of the day, I thought I'd put up a song I've always liked. Enjoy!
My God, I'm Hitting Middle Age!
I suddenly realized this while admiring the new gutters we had put up at Orgle Manor yesterday. It especially hit me when I found myself getting excited by the fact that, owing to the larger gage of the new ones, we were able to eliminate half the downspouts.
Cripes, it's going to be AARP discounts and new fiber supplements before I know it.
Yips! from Gary:
I hear ya pal. 23 more days left on my "thirty-something death watch" clock. Sigh.
"Tokyo" Rosie Leaving "The View"
That's the rumor. Possible announcement today.
Hat Tip to Allahpundit who bemoans losing so much material for HotAir.
Parting thought. Drudge is losing his touch. No flashing siren as of yet.
Now if it were "Hurricane" Rosie...
Cue the Elmer Fudd voice
If the Shue fits...
Pajiba's noticed something truly disturbing.
April 24, 2007
In the garden with Steve the LLamabutcher
Did I mention what a good gardener our neighbor Sarah is? No? Well I should.
The Iceman, Let Goeth
Note to Iceman: don't drown your sorrows in a Fribble. You are obviously an amateur. Leave it to the professionals.
That is all.
Gratuitous Llama Literary Observation
Just by way of applying the damper rods before this blog goes all China-Syndrome in its insanity this afternoon (I'm still gurgling and shuddering over "Maya Anjelou awesome goth chick swimwear"), I thought I'd mention two interrelated things:
First, I had never read Thackery's Vanity Fair before, even though I was an English major in college and have been an avid reader forever. All I can say is that Victorian novelists were not in favor at The People's Glorious Soviet of Middletown and VF simply never made it on to my list afterwards.
Second, I am now in the middle of reading Vanity Fair and am thoroughly enjoying it. Thackery's got a flippant yet not overly cruel narrative style that is a positive delight and quite a bit different from any other Victorian I've come across in my puff. And the story he's building up is getting more wicked and witty all the time. I find myself regretting that I hadn't come across this gem earlier.
Okay, that's about it. And now back to the madness.
Yeah, I'm a Potterdork, got a problem with that?
The latest trailer is out:
Geez louise, someone's term paper is going to suuuuuuuuuuuck!
I've just discovered from our traffic stats we are number one on google for:
Telling why the caged bird sings is an instance of decribing pain and suffering and their cause
Just like that, we go from avoiding the restaurant "Hooters" in New Orleans, to Goth Chick swimwear, to juvenile Freudian jokes about Chicago architecture, to the stunning awesomeness of the poetry of Maya Angelou.
(And yes, I wrote that line so we could own Google for "Maya Angelou awesome Goth chick swimwear")
Thoughts on the Chicago Spire
Maybe they can call it the Engorged Ridged Gourd?
But that's just me, Mr. Vegas.
UPDATE: I was struck in Chicago when I was there two weeks ago by the enormous amount of construction going on in the area of the loop. From the looks of the pictures, the buildings seem fantastic, and wonderful contributions to the skyline. This one, I'm less thrilled about, as it has a certain quality to it that's hard to put into words: Daniel Burnham's marital aid comes about as close as I'm going to say.
Google chumming is not just for good spellers: we're crushing on traffic of people punching:
into Google images.
Dyslexics of the world: untie!
Methinks the lovely Chai-Rista has been holding back on us
Sometimes guest poster Chai-Rista has sort of restarted her old blog at a new place: Chai's Truly Bad Films. That's great, and I'm really happy for Liz (as the old place had some sort of tragic internet accident involving Brownie hackers), even though now that she's a full professor she has no time for mere measly mortal scum like the humble LLamas. Allrighty then.
But now she's gone and done it: posted her scathingly hilarious review of the latest fashions in Goth Swimwear. The first pic alone is worth the price of admission: think Mary Kate Olsen after a weekend heroin and tostitos bender at Pete Doherty's place. There's even a Goth Chick Swimsuit calendar.
Chlorine and ammonia eyewash not included.
UPDATE: I wasn't paying attention, so I missed the mark as it was happening: this post is entry Number 10,000 for the LLamas, putting us in official Iron Blogger territory. Two big milestones in one week--now it's time to party!
Village Idiots of Red Sox Nation Update
Suck it, Yankees!
Because after all April is the new September.
Yips! from Gary:
NY Yankees: Cellar Dwellers.
Ouch. That's gonna leave a mark. Five "L"s in a row.
This is wicked awesome: the story of how the CIA used a fake cheesy sci flick to rescue a couple of Americans from Iran in 1980. It would make a great movie in and of itself, except for the part about how the CIA was acting competent, and how Hollywood people helped out, and the media kept their mouth shut. So maybe the 2007 movie version would feature the takeover of the American Embassy in Tehran being orchestrated by the CIA to get the last best hope for the worldTM Jimmy Carter out of office, in favor of dictator to be Ronnie Reagan. Or something like that.
Either way, it'd make a great Kurt Russell flick.
Big Easy Llama
It seems likely that my travels will be taking me down to N'awlins in a couple of weeks. I've never been, so here's the standard bleg about things to see, places to eat, etc.
Random Commuter Observations
Today was my first iced latte of the season. I tell you truly there is no better combination than strong coffee, heavy milk and lots of ice. We're talking nectar of the gods here.
April 23, 2007
What's in your queue?
The Pajibas are starting a new pickup-line game. But being the dork that I am, I am Q-less. So I leave it to you Netflix cretins to carry the flag.
And no, I'm not interested in signing up. Again with the red envelopes!
Yips! from Robbo: Red envelopes rule! As you can see, my queue is all over the map at the moment -
3. Jerry Seinfeld: I'm Telling You For The Last Time…
4. The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming
5. Victor Borge's Funniest Moments
6. Dennis Miller: All In
7. The Matrix
8. The Mummy Returns
10. Rio Bravo
11. The Comancheros
15. Casino Royale
Nos. 6, 9, 14 & 15 are new to me. The rest I've seen, most of them many times.
Yips! from Gary: I'm kind of on a Star Trek:TNG and Monty Python original series binge right now, but after that mine goes like this -
1. Stranger Than Fiction
3. Kevin Smith 2: Evening Harder (disc one)
4. Kevin Smith 2: Evening Harder (disc two)
5. Ed Wood
6. Murder By Death
7. Capricorn One
9. The Hollywood Knights
10. Wholly Moses
12. Silent Movie
13. The Big Red One: Special Edition
14. Over The Edge
15. The Odessa File
16. The Secret of Roan Inish
17. The Best of Triumph The Insult Comic Dog
18. The Last Detail
20. You Can't Take It With You
1, 3-4, 5, 11, 15, 17 & 18 fall under the "never seen" category. #13 has a lot of footage added back (like "Apocalypse Now: Redux") so technically I haven't seen the whole thing. I've seen parts of #17 (most notably the Bon Jovi Tour and the Star Wars Geeks in Line bits).
Overall pretty obscure stuff. Especially if you're under 35 or didn't have cable until the mid-80's.
Gratuitous Pet Peeve No. 1436
I hate it when people repeatedly inject the name of the person to whom they're speaking or writing into their speech or correspondence.
I have no problem with a note that says, for example -
"I've left the file on your desk. Please get started on this matter right away. I'm counting on being able to forward the final product by COB today."
But give me the same note with the "personal touch" added -
"Robbo, I've left the file on your desk. Please get started on this matter right away. Robbo, I'm counting on being able to forward the final product by COB today."
- and it makes me want to start throwing things.
Not that this is happening at the moment. But I can hear a guy down the hall talking on the phone and every other sentence begins with the other party's name. Grrrrr......
YIPS from Steve-O:
Off to the great state-managed potato-based vodka distillery in the sky
Boris Yeltsin, RIP.
That's My Church!
An interesting weekend in my parish.
First, Sunday morning we sat behind a young lady of, um, ample bottomage, who was wearing a too-short sweater and elastic-waist pants that, even when she stood up, just barely hung on. When she knelt down to pray...well, let's just say that that Frodo Baggins needn't have walked all the way to Mordor to find the Crack of Doom. Furiously averting my gaze, I wondered whether the Missus had noticed as well. A side-long glance revealed that she had her BCP well up over her face. I knew the pages were too close to her eyes for her to make them out, but if she got some of the liturgy wrong, I'm sure God understood. By the time the post-Communion prayer came along, she looked nearly frantic. My biggest fear was that the nine year old, who was sitting with us, suddenly would notice and blurt it out, tact not being her strong suit. Fortunately, she didn't see the bad moon rising. When will people learn?
Second, on a more serious note, during the Prayers for the People the rector read out the names of the victims of the Va. Tech massacre. Among them, he included the shooter himself. This got me noodling on the nature and duty of forgiveness. Is there anybody out there for whom a Christian cannot or may not or should not pray? Or is it our responsibility to embrace everyone, including Cho (and also including, at random, say Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot)? I confess that I can't do it myself. And perhaps that's wrong of me, but there it is. I spoke to the assistant rector about it later on. She noted that the lay reader who read the list at the 11:15 service specifically excluded Cho's name. She also confessed that she was torn on this matter, too.
Third, at our adult forum we got a State of the Church update. Oddly, considering I'm on both the vestry and the adult education committee, I didn't know this talk was coming. So I really wasn't prepared to do much more than take notes. As you might imagine, it was pure Party Line. My sense is that the Powers are beginning to prep us for schism by softening the importance of the Communion: it's just a voluntary association; it hasn't been around all that long anyway; most of the other member Churches fail to appreciate the bottom-up governance of TEC; meddling by one Church into the affairs of another is far worse behavior than anything TEC has done; the Global South Churches aren't nearly as united as is thought; the proposed Anglican Covenant is pretty much DOA. Oh, and Rowan Williams, once a champion of progressive thought, has become a dupe of the hard-liners since his elevation to Archbishop, enslaved by a blind desire for "unity" above all else. Furthermore, TEC has been the champion of calm rationality all this time, under the sooper-dreamy leadership of Her Presiding Priestessness. We are Windsor-compliant. We've answered every question and demand handed down by the Communion in good faith and done everything asked of us. And how dare all those African churches we're bankrolling think they have the right to tell us how to behave anyway? After all, they still believe in the juju! (Okay, I made up that one, but I bet I'm not far off.) As for the Secessionists? Well, at least there isn't any pretense about what the Diocese wants. It wants the property. The people themselves can go to hell.
A Casual Eye Toward French Politics
The French Presidency will be decided in two weeks after the initial balloting produced no clear winner. The run-off will be a showdown between the top two candidates: Nicolas Sarkozy and Segolene Royal. Royal is the Socialist candidate and Sarkozy represents the center-right party called the "Union for a Popular Movement" - UMP.
Apparently, this particular election has real potential significance for the future direction of France. How so? The BBC (not exactly part the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy) reports on the coming showdown. But this quote pretty much says it all:
Mr Sarkozy is hated by the left as a reformer who many fear would change the French way of life by making the nation work harder and longer and by cutting back on its generous welfare state.Mon Dieu!
Note To Self
That is all.
Yips! from Gary:
Laura Ingraham had the best response to this story:
"You know how liberals are always telling us to stay out of their bedrooms? Well, we should start telling them, 'Stay out of our bathrooms!' Talk about a Nanny State..."Amen.
Happy St. George's Day!
How 'bout a little Dryden?
Saint George the patron of our Isle!
A soldier and a saint!
On this auspicious order smile,
Which love and arms will plant.
Our Sov'reign high in awful state
His honours shall bestow;
And see his sceptred subjects wait
On his commands below.
Our natives not alone appear
To court the martial prize;
But foreign kings adopted here
Their crowns at home despise.
Important Action Alert!!
Polling closes today on the current round of "Miss Blogs4Bauer.com".
Kim Bauer is still in a tight race with terrorist hottie Mandy - 50% to 50%! It's a nailbiter watching these two girls go at each other.
You can make a difference as we approach the climax!
You can ensure that Kim advances. Don't let the "cougar bait" haters win!
You can ensure that more sexy Elisha Cuthbert photos get posted here over the next six weeks!
Vote Kim, now! (and vote often).
That is all.
April 22, 2007
AFN was running music video clips in the gym yesterday and these gals look like they could be enjoyed equally with the sound off or on.
Village Idiots of Red Sawx Nation Update
Common theory amongst many baseball people is that you win 50, you lose 50 and what you do in those other 62 is what determines the season. The last two nights we won games that should have been in the ‘lose 50’ column. That’s big no matter what day on the calendar it is, or who they happen against.
April 20, 2007
Sweet Baby Jaysus! And this was just the first of 18 meetings this season.
Is this what baseball is all about or what?
And by the way - how sweet was it to watch Mariano Rivera getting so thoroughly slapped around in the 8th. Not-So-Sekret-Message to Yankees fans: HA-ha!
Oh, and hats off to Hideki Okajima for standing up to A-Rod in the 9th. Nice work, rook. Welcome to the Show.
These here world wide webs have been full of scorn today following the release of the voicemail recordings of Alec Baldwin savaging his 11 year old daughter, apparently because she had missed a scheduled phone call with him.
I trust and hope that the criticism he is receiving (and rightfully so, in my opinion), is due to the severity of his outburst, not the fact of it. If blowing your stack with the children were a crime in and of itself, many of us (self included) would be doing time.
But I got thinking that this actually is not the worst part of the business. The tapes became public, apparently, owing to the machinations of Baldwin's ex and the girl's mother, Kim Bassinger. (I didn't even know they had split, which shows how much I pay attention to this sort of thing.) That she would willingly subject her own daughter to public humiliation, apparently to score points against Baldwin in an on-going custody dispute, is, I believe, even worse than his chewing out the poor girl to begin with.
Contemptible people, the pair of them. Somebody tell me again why we should pay the slightest attention to either one when they start preaching at us about social, political or moral issues?
Friday Funnies With Will Ferrell
Hippyland Vermont Senate Calls For Impeachment
Okay. I guess I'll ask the question.
You know, this actually gets more amusing the more you do it.
The secret of the arrow-head mouse pointer!
Note: Keep those votes coming for Kim Bauer!!
She's got a slight lead. I mean, look at her. She really does deserve to advance to the Final Four. Imagine the future match-ups! Nina? Nadia? Maybe even her mom! It could happen.
Your Afternoon Dose of Joe-Mentum
WASHINGTON – Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) today made the following statement in response to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s comment that the Iraq War is “lost:”
“This week witnessed horrific terrorist attacks by Islamist extremists in Iraq, killing hundreds of innocent civilians and leading Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to declare that the war is ‘lost.’
With all due respect, I strongly disagree. Senator Reid's statement is not based on military facts on the ground in Iraq and does not advance our cause there.
Al Qaeda’s strategy for victory in Iraq is clear. They are trying to murder as many innocent civilians as possible in an effort to reignite sectarian fighting and drive us to retreat from Iraq.
The question now before us is whether we respond to these terrorist attacks by running away as Al Qaeda hopes – abandoning the future of Iraq, the Middle East, and ultimately our own security to the very same people responsible for this week’s atrocities – or whether we stand united to fight them.
This is exactly the wrong time to conclude that we have lost the war in Iraq, or that our new strategy has failed. Instead, we should provide General Petraeus and his troops with the time and the resources to succeed. We should not surrender in the face of barbarism.”
UPDATE: Taranto nails it -
"I believe . . . that this war is lost, and this surge is not accomplishing anything, as is shown by the extreme violence in Iraq this week."--Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, April 19, 2007
"Resolved, that this convention does explicitly declare, as the sense of the American people, that after four years of failure to restore the Union by the experiment of war, during which, under the pretence of military necessity, or war power higher than the Constitution, the Constitution itself has been disregarded in every part, and public liberty and private right alike trodden down, and the material prosperity of the country essentially impaired, justice, humanity, liberty, and the public welfare demand that immediate efforts be made for a cessation of hostilities, with a view to an ultimate convention of the States or other peaceable means, to the end that at the earliest practicable moment peace may be restored on the basis of the federal Union of the States."--1864 Democratic platform
The Crack Young Staff of the Hatemonger's Quarterly announce their 4th Annual Horrible College Student Poetry Contest today. To prime the pump on the true, the blushful Hippocrene, as it were, "Chip" and the gang have already contributed a little pensee of their own:
All the World Is Rape by the Crack Young Staff
Afghanistan, Iraq, Iraq, Afghanistan
All the world is rape.
Lacrosse, Limbaugh, Limbaugh, lacrosse
All the world is rape.
There are no spaces, no places, no safe spaces
For the faces of Womyn.
There is no fairness, no careness, no real fairness
For the objects of oppression.
Sure, you can work your job for the Hitler business mob
You can watch children starve thanks to globalization’s hardships
But you can’t deny that
All the world is rape.
Economics, biology, biology, economics
All the world is rape.
If that doesn't resonate with your inner Muse, she must indeed be oppressed by the Dead White European Male Hegemony under which we are all suffering untold horrors on a daily basis. Either that or she's stoned out of her mind.
G'wan over for details. Entries are due by 5:00 EST on May 5, so get, er, cracking.
There Will Always Be An England
The House of Windsor is a laughingstock, the Royal Navy has been publicly emasculated by a tin-pot dictator and the British Constitution is about to be tossed in favor of sharia law, yet stories like this keep alive my faith in the Mother Country:
LONDON (Reuters) - A flock of robotic falcons has been dispatched to tackle an influx of obese pigeons who are increasing in number and size thanks to an unnatural diet of fastfood. The mechanical birds -- called 'Robops' -- have been placed on rooftop locations around the British city of Liverpool, and will flap their wings and squawk loudly to scare the problem pigeons away.
The initiative was launched to deal with the birds who are now considered a nuisance in the city, flying at people and leaving droppings everywhere, Liverpool council said.
The pigeon problem has been exacerbated by residents in the city feeding the birds -- whose natural diet is seeds and insects -- with take-away leftovers. "We need to get the message across that anyone who feeds the birds intentionally, or occasionally with leftovers such as sausage rolls or burgers, is responsible for our streets being so crowded with these birds," Berni Turner, Liverpool city council's executive member for the environment said.
The falcons, created by a Scottish company, resemble a Peregrine Falcon - which is a natural predator of pigeons.
As a result of the scaring techniques and people not feeding the birds, it is hoped that the pigeon population will move out of the city center and into Liverpool's parks and green spaces.
And of course, an anti-aluminum-avians lobby has formed:
However, experts have condemned the scheme, saying that the council needs to tackle the source of the problem, rather than the symptoms.
Emma Haskell, Director of PiCAS UK, the leading independent advisory body on the issue of bird control in Britain said her organization had done studies with mechanical deterrents and had found them to be completely ineffective.
"We believe that this is a complete waste of time...and a waste of money," she said. "Pigeons are a highly intelligent bird and they soon realize that these mechanical things are not a threat."
Liverpool has been named European Capital of Culture in 2008, but the city council currently uses the equivalent of 88 man-hours a day cleaning droppings from streets and buildings, at a cost of 160,000 a year.
"The robotic hawks are almost laughable as a method of control and the cost associated with buying and installing the product... simply cannot be justified," PiCAS said.
Never, never, never, never, never, never, never give up!
In Vino Veritas
Lileks on the grape today:
You know, there’s nothing wrong with Merlot. That damned “Sideways” movie just made it difficult to drink without fear that someone will kick down the door, slap it out of your hand and make you drink something earthier, with notes of berry, fir, paper, turnip, and the digestive lubricant of the common weevil. I like earthy wines, but when someone gives you a merlot, you ought to drink it. Eventually.
I am going through my wine cellar, starting from oldest to newest (see? I’m not a total novice), just to clear out the stuff before it converts to vinegar. I know, I know: it improves with age. Except when it doesn’t, and gets ruined by temperature variations. I should note that the “cellar” is the downstairs storage closet – an excellent room for storing wine, but probably a little too cool. Or hot. I don’t know. I do know that I pulled out a white a while ago, and the stuff in the bottle would cut through the deck of the Nostromo. Then again, I bought it for the usual sensible, informed reasons:
It was on sale
I liked the label
I’ve said this before, but I’m convinced that label design is the single greatest factor in impulse wine sales. There’s a wine called “Barefoot,” and I’ll never buy it, simply because the picture on the bottle makes you think of someone’s foot squishing the grapes. I know it’s a fine honored old-country tradition, but if there is one item I do not want as the intermediary between the grape and my mouth, it is someone else’s foot. Usually I drink Australian wine – Penfold’s, to be specific, because the label had a classic old font and a severe, dignified layout. It looked like something they’d pull out in an English club in 1947.
Yup. I've noticed that even the Italians are getting into this. Most of my everday plonk comes from Bolla and Citra, both of which vinyards have been fiddling around with their look recently. (Don't mock me about the Citra. It is quite a few steps up from rat poison, it's under eight bucks for 1.5 ml and I'm on a guv'mint salary.)
As it happens, we're hosting our church's monthly-young-families-potluck "Circle" party this weekend. Although I loathe parties in general, I always enjoy these because it's such a nice and interesting group of people. Plus the fact that we're entertaining at Orgle Manor means that I will have complete carte blanc to do as much uninterrupted yardwork as I care to on Saturday.
One label I'm sure to see, unfortunately, is this one, IMHO the single worst cotton-candy-cum-cough-syrup available on the market today that doesn't actually come with straw to poke through the top of the package:
Ai! how I hate this stuff. And yet I can't remember the last party I attended at which it wasn't there, lurking on the drinks table, knowing full well that when everything else ran out, I'd come crawling to it despite its double-coyote ugliness.
Of course, there's always the odd chance that somebody will show up with this:
I've never tried it. I reckon it couldn't be any worse that the Yellow Tail, but then again, it could be just as bad.
We have a suggestion board in our library. I took a picture of it last week when a student had offered a thought in green marker. Pep answered the brain-burp in red.
By-the-by, I've re-started blogging a bit on my own site. But I've moved. Here's the new URL, if you'd like to stop by to see the new house:
I'm not abandoning the LlamaBoys however. They've been wonderful hosts for the past year, and I'm going to post all of my future book reviews with the Llama Butchers instead of on Chai's Truly Bad Films. Now don't get all excited and expect scholarly insights. I'm still just a tea-swilling carside info-wench on wheels, wearing a Sears llama-pelt poncho.
I Don't Mean It To Sting
SOOPER-SEKRET MESSAGE TO RACHEL!
I don't know if anybody else is having this problem, but the instant I try to scroll down at Tinkerty-Tonk, the site goes to pieces and begins to resemble the data-stream thingies from The Matrix.
I'm broadcasting this in the clear because comments also seem to be out and I can't find your email address.
Hope this message gets to you!
Gratuitous Historickal Posting (TM)
(Image courtesy of the Jimmah Carter Library.)
On this day in 1979, President Jimmah Carter was savagely attacked by a rabbit while fishing in Plains, Georgia, spawning one of the most apropos political metaphors of recent history.
Just thought you'd appreciate the reminder.
Big Baseball Weekend In The Northeast
If you live in CT (as I do) you're either a Yankees fan, a Mets fan or you belong to Red Sox Nation. Whatever your affiliation, this weekend features at least one of two series that you will care about.
In the National League it's the NY Mets hosting the Hotlanta Bravos. The Mets hold a .5 game lead in the standings and it's April. The result won't exactly decide the division but each team desperately wants to make a statement.
Notwithstanding the assertion by Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins that the Phillies were the team to beat in the NL East (How's the view from the basement Jimmy?) the real match-up all season will be the Mets and the Braves.
Now let me get this off my chest: I hate the Braves with the white-hot intensity of a thousand burning suns. As a Mets fan, how can I not? But I do respect this team. I respect the talent they have and I respect what they've been able to accomplish since slotting into the NL East in 1994 - 11 straight division titles. But most of all I respect their manager, Bobby Cox.
Bobby Cox with Mets Mgr Willie Randolph
Cox has been the driving force behind Atlanta's winning ways. The Mets managers of the past have been lacking the kind of leadership skills that Cox has. And then came Willie Randolph. Sure, the Mets have better players now. And they managed to end that division championship streak for Atlanta last year pretty handily. But Willie has brought to the Mets a winning attitude and a focus that this team hasn't had in a long time. Cox may just have met his match.
But the Braves aren't going quietly. They will fight back for this division as hard as they can and with everything they've got. Which is going to make this season a nail-biter for the fans of both teams.
The American League match-up is as old as MLB - Yankees at Boston. Whoo-boy-howdy, this will be something. The Sawx were in the driver's seat at the end of last season and their hated rivals went up to their house and squashed them, pole-vaulting themselves into the lead and eventually to the division title. Damn, that's gotta hurt. And it pushed Boston's 2004 ALCS comeback beating of the Yanks farther back into this history books.
Boston's pitching is running on all cylinders right now. But so is the Yankees' line-up. New York is not playing overall as well as expected and their pitching corps is seriously hurting. But the Yankees are like a wounded animal. And an animal is never more dangerous that when it's wounded.
Now I don't have a dog in this hunt. I don't particularly care for the Yankees but I have no special love for the Sawx, either. For me, this is like watching a street fight and caring more about the fight itself than who ultimately wins. But if I have to pick a team to root for it would be the home team. I don't have a problem with the Yankees so much as I have a problem with their fans, who have this annoying sense of entitlement and an arrogant belief that baseball was invented in the Bronx.
I'm much more interested in seeing the Yankee fans at work with long faces come Monday.
Either way, though. This weekend is a CT baseball fan's dream.
Yips! from Robbo: Gary, one of the things we never really sorted out when you came aboard, and indeed the only flaw I can see in an otherwise beeuootiful relationship, is this Mets fandome of yours. I simply loathe New York baseball in all of its manifestations. Of course the Nats aren't likely to become contenders for another couple years, so we won't have to face that crisis anytime soon, but eventually it's going to come down to it. Still, Steve-O and I have managed to get along despite our Pats/Fins split, so I'm sure we can work it out. It won't be easy, but we'll manage.
As for the festivities at Fenway this weekend: Go, Sawx! I don't call myself a fan out of respect for the Real Deals like Steve-O, but instead a strong sympathizer. Unfortunately, the Missus - who was born on Lawn Guyland - is and always has been a Yankees fan. She's also managed to poison the gels behind my back. I'm hoping that by Monday morning I can taunt her mercilessly.
April 19, 2007
That's all, folks
The next couple of days are going to be pretty well jammed, so see you on the flip side.
My friend Father M, hard at work trying to save me from myself, took the time after his weekend jaunt with a certain midwestern flyboy to send along two books of conversion stories. The first (a recommendation from Mrs. P herself I understand) is Surprised By Truth, edited by Patrick Madrid. The second is The Path to Rome: Modern Journeys to the Catholic Church, edited by Dwight Longenecker, who it seems used to be an Anglican himself.
First off, thank you very much, Padre! I appreciate very much the fact that you're thinking of me and will get cracking. And of course, knowing good blogging material when I see it, I shall from time to time toss out my thoughts and observations.
Second, I hope that, having enjoyed her company, you're now going to give me a detailed description of what Mrs. P looks like. I recall you described me to her as looking like "a recent college grad." I hope you can provide an equally expressive word picture of her or perhaps a suitable star of stage or screen by way of comparison.
Kim Bauer Blegging
OK, raise your hand if you're a Kim Bauer fan. Good, keep your hands raised.
Mmmkay, now raise your hand if you're an Elisha Cuthbert fan but could care less about her "24" character Kim Bauer. Okay, good. Hold 'em high. Higher.
Alright, now those of you who are left and have never heard of Kim Bauer or Elisha Cuthbert, what do ya think of this babe?
Now go do your Uncle Gary a quick favor and head on over to the "Miss Blogs4Bauer" Tourney vote and do what needs to be done! The vote is currently at an even split.
Kim is up against hottie terrorist "Mandy". C'mon, she doesn't even have a last name, fercrissakes!
So go vote once, twice, three times for this lady! You'll be glad you did.
Just imagine "Miss Blogs4Bauer.com 2007" on that tank top. Sweet.
More Heinleinist Imperialism
Of course, being good PC folk who don't succumb to planetism, we support the indigenous population and their flag:
Tout le Mars knows Glenn is the leader of the Heinleinist imperialists, imposing his terra-centric views on what makes a planet "inhabitable," which makes him a planetist in my book. Everyone knows "habitability" is merely a cultural construct, and there's nothing worse than a blue planet professor telling good honest hardworking red planet non-carbon based mircobial life forms how to live.
Numero Uno google search result out of 1.35 mil for "Go and boil your bottoms."
Incidentally, I ran off Life of Brian again recently. FWIW, I still think Holy Grail is a superior film. LoB has some great ideas, but I think the overall execution of HG is better.
Now go away or I will taunt you a second time-ah.
Gratuitous Historickal Posting (TM) - "Shot Heard 'Round The World" Division
(Image swiped from Britannica)
Today is the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington & Concord in 1775.
It has become something of a hobby-horse of mine here to point out a) that it is impossible to truly understand what a bunch of local militiamen were doing facing off against British Regulars that morning unless one knows something about the preceding forty or so years of relations between Crown and Colonies, and b) so far as I can tell, next to nobody pays any attention to Colonial history nowadays, except to bemoan how unfair it was for the eeeevil Europeans to destroy this earthly Paradise, in which all had been Peace and Harmony until they stumbled across it with their guns, germs and steel.
It is also a tradition for me to plug two of my favorite books on the subject. The first is Montcolm and Wolfe by Francis Parkman, easily one of THE greatest American historians ever. It is one of a series of Parkman's works on the struggle between France and Britain over possession of North America, and I would not hesitate to recommend grabbing any other of his works across which you may stumble.
The second is Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766 by Fred Anderson. The last time I mentioned this, one of you (I forget who) noted that you had taken classes with Prof. Anderson, which I thought was pretty coo-el. In thinking about this post, and in honor of both my point and the man, I am today buying another of his books, A People's Army: Massachusetts Soldiers and Society in the Seven Years' War. I'll let you know what I think of it.
Steve-O has spent many years gently mocking me for my Tory sympathies, but I stick to 'em. True, the Crown allowed things to get out of hand through a combination of arrogance and inexperience, but a great deal of what it expected of the Colonies (for example, expecting them to help pay the cost of protecting their own damn' hides) was not at all unreasonable. A more tactful and comprehensive solution (with, say, Colonial representation in Parliament, for example), might well have diffused the situation before it blew up. On the other hand, there were hotheads within the Colonies who hadn't the slightest wish to compromise from Day One. British mismanagement allowed them to take control of the rebellion and fan the flames for a total break.
Of course, if the Brits had managed to hang on to the Colonies, we'd all be Canadians now, so I'm not too upset about the way it all worked out. You've got to look at these things from all angles.
Ann Althouse asks the question "Why NBC?"
Let's see: hatred of Christians, check. Stoking class resentments, check. Nurturing delusional paranoid fantasies, check.
So I've got a two word answer for Ann: Keith Olbermann.
UPDATE: Absolutely disgusting. NBC has released Psy-Cho's pictures of the bullets he used.
I am going to permanently boycott NBC.
Yips! from Robbo: And here we have the next step in the Dance - Psy-Cho was picked on as a kid!
Long before he snapped, Virginia Tech gunman Cho Seung-Hui was picked on, pushed around and laughed at over his shyness and the strange way he talked when he was a schoolboy in the Washington suburbs, former classmates say.
Chris Davids, a Virginia Tech senior who graduated from Westfield High School in Chantilly, Va., with Cho in 2003, recalled that the South Korean immigrant almost never opened his mouth and would ignore attempts to strike up a conversation.
Once, in English class, the teacher had the students read aloud, and when it was Cho's turn, he just looked down in silence, Davids recalled. Finally, after the teacher threatened him with an F for participation, Cho started to read in a strange, deep voice that sounded "like he had something in his mouth," Davids said.
"As soon as he started reading, the whole class started laughing and pointing and saying, `Go back to China,'" Davids said.
The high school classmates' accounts add to the psychological portrait that is beginning to take shape, and could shed light on Cho's state of mind in the video rant he mailed to NBC in the middle of his rampage Monday at Virginia Tech.
Ya see? All of us are victims.
What Would We Do Without Research?
Powerpoint presentations, beloved of the business executive, are so ubiquitous that there are even PowerPoint presentations on how to do a PowerPoint presentation. Now research claims to have proved what millions of bored workers have suspected all along - they have little power and even less point.
According to the report, the brain cannot cope with having too much information thrown at it at once.
Having someone speak and point to a screen full of facts and figures at the same time causes it to switch off.
A speech would be far less of a waste of time, the research claims.
The study, at the University of New South Wales, branded PowerPoint presentations a disaster and called for them to be scrapped.
In all my years, I cannot remember a single PowerPoint presentation that I thought the least bit effective. Half the time they are actually disruptive, as some technical glitch or other causes the presenter to become distracted and panicked as he frantically tries to find the right doohicky on his laptop to punch. The other half, the presenter simply repeats whatever it is that's up on the screen. [Insert Homer Simpson-like "BOOO-ring!!" here.]
In fact, just thinking about PowerPoint is making me suddenly come over all sleeep385 85 85yqu hkjfdg j nmn, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz..........................
YIPS from Steve-O: Amen, brother!
Here's my all-time favorite, the Gettysburg Address done as a powerpoint.
One word: pure genius.
April 18, 2007
The Village Idiots of Red Sox Nation
Hat tip to Tom P., who needs to get his own damn blog.
Now THAT'S Citizen Journalism at its finest
INDC Bill has his latest effort up:
Which is odd, as I always took him for more of a Romulan type.
Steyn on the culture of passivity:
We do our children a disservice to raise them to entrust all to officialdom’s security blanket. Geraldo-like “protection” is a delusion: when something goes awry — whether on a September morning flight out of Logan or on a peaceful college campus — the state won’t be there to protect you. You’ll be the fellow on the scene who has to make the decision.
I don't say anything about this statement in relation to the Virginia Tech massacre per se (the nucleus of Steyn's column) because we really don't know what happened yet. But as a general proposition, as I raise up three girls who will one day have to make their own ways out into a world full of awfulness, I feel it's of fundamental importance that I teach them not to be sheep, but to recognize when they need to step up and take things into their own hands.
UPDATE: Ace has a different take, focusing on Steyn's remarks as they do pertain to the kids at Tech, and opining that they are unfair and overstated. However, as Ace himself admits and as I say above, we don't really know what happened.
Ace's point about what people can/might/will do in crisis situations is fair enough. But I continue to believe that Steyn has a valid larger argument about unrealistic reliance on the state security blanket to protect us all, particularly "the Children" at all times. "A pack, not a herd" was popular rhetoric after 9/11 but seems to have dropped off somewhat. Steyn's message about the dangers of passivity is, I believe, simply a variant on that same theme.
"To save one life is to save the world"
KMR is a Virginia Tech grad, Class of 1985 and this is an excerpt from an e-mail he sent today on the professor who laid down his life for his students:
One of the heroes of the event was a Rumanian Jew who had survived the Holocaust and the Communist occupation, later emigrated to Israel, and the came to Tech to teach engineering. That Professor was 77 years old, and his last lesson was to teach us all the meaning of sacrifice. The Professor held the classroom door against the gunman, and was killed when the gunman fired two shots through the door. His family is flying him back to Israel for burial. May he rest in bosom of Abraham.
Gratuitous Llama Netflix Movie Review
Okay, I'd never seen it before. Dayum, what an excellent movie, though - action, adventure and the whole thing shot through with an excellent sense of humor. And, of course, you've got Connery and Caine paired off as the heroes, so I really don't see why I should have been all that surprised.
On the literary front, watching this flick I was suddenly seized with the desire to do a little Kipling (ha ha). While I've got his Just So Stories and a collection of his early verse, I've never read most of his other works, including the short story on which this film was based. In this, I believe I've neglected a great pleasure and resource, as from what I have read, I have a great deal of sympathy for Kipling's outlook on the world. To nip over to the devil's website and order a copy of The Portable Kipling as a starter was, for me, the work of an instant.
Light Fuse, Stand Back
Now this is news: The Supremes have upheld the fed'ral ban on partial-birth abortions:
The Supreme Court upheld the nationwide ban on a controversial abortion procedure Wednesday, handing abortion opponents the long-awaited victory they expected from a more conservative bench.
The 5-4 ruling said the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act that Congress passed and President Bush signed into law in 2003 does not violate a woman's constitutional right to an abortion.
The opponents of the act "have not demonstrated that the Act would be unconstitutional in a large fraction of relevant cases," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion.
The decision pitted the court's conservatives against its liberals, with President Bush's two appointees, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, siding with the majority.
Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia also were in the majority.
It was the first time the court banned a specific procedure in a case over how _ not whether _ to perform an abortion.
This is excellent news, IMHO. I oppose abortion anyway, but this is a particularly gruesome and, from what I've read, medically unjustifiable form of it.
I'll be interested to read the decision.
UPDATE DEUX: Skimming Kennedy's opinion, it looks like the Act in question is pretty narrow in scope and does not cover a great many second-trimester procedures. (I will spare you the distinction between what, er, makes the cut and what does not, but the legal definition includes "anatomical landmarks," a phrase new to me.)
UPDATE TROIS: I see now that while this opinion swats down the facial challenge to the ban, it specifically leaves open the ability of somebody to challenge it as applied. That'll be the next step, buh-leave me.
UPDATE QUART: Oooh. Get a couple pages into Ruth's dissent and you quickly recognize why the Supremes had no business getting mixed up with this entire wretched issue to begin with. She's also bewailing the lack of consideration of the woman's health in the Act, which is confusing considering its own plain language carves out an exception to the ban for cases in which the woman's life is in danger.
UPDATE CINQ: Yup. IMHO, this is more a political matter than anything else, as the practical effect of the ban would appear to be largely symbolic. And politics should be the provision of which branch of government? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?
Thar she blows!
Cue the Price is Right Showcase Showdown Music and the Drudge hot nekkid siren!
Pardon me while I dance around like a little girl enthralled with the perfection that is Sanjaya.
The winner of the Autographed LLamabutchers Thong is:
UPDATE: This being 2007, and this being what the LLamabutchers have fallen to, of course you can find the Price is Right Theme Song all pre-made to dance like a girl to:
UPDATE: Robbo wants cowbell. Cowbell he shall get.
I've got a fever! And the prescription is more cowbell!
Yips! from Gary:
This blog goes to eleven!
Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)
Today is the anniversary of the birth of Leopold Stokowski, born this day in 1882. Stokowski was an immensely popular conductor and celebrity in his day. Among other things, he founded the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and had an affair with Greta Garbo.
Bugs Bunny once aped Stokowski, disguising himself as the formidable conductor "Leopold" at the end of the cartoon "Long-Haired Hare." Here ya go:
Dog Days---Now in paperback!
(Although, I have to warn you about that second link, as it contains gratuitous references to Ana Marie Cox's famous lesbian smooching shots with Jessica Cutler and INDC Bill).
UPDATE: OMG---this is perfect!
One need only wonder what type of latex wrapper that combo would come wrapped in.
Cherry flavored, but of course.
FULL DISCLOSURE: Yes, we do have a history.
I had been under the hazy impression that part of the fallout of AlGore's Glooooooobal Waaaaarming was going to be a swarm of Category Gagillion monster killer horror hurricanes that, in a series of strikes, were going to cause the Eastern seaboard to retreat to the Alleghenies?
Well, strike that. Reverse it.
MIAMI (Reuters) - Global warming could increase a climate phenomenon known as wind shear that inhibits Atlantic hurricanes, a potentially positive result of climate change, according to new research released on Tuesday.
The study, to be published on Wednesday in Geophysical Research Letters, found that climate model simulations show a "robust increase" in wind shear in the tropical Atlantic during the 21st century from global warming.
Wind shear, a difference in wind speed or direction at different altitudes, tends to tear apart tropical cyclones, preventing nascent ones from growing and already-formed hurricanes from becoming the monster storms that cause the most damage.
The effect of global warming on wind shear is similar to the impact of El Nino, the periodic eastern Pacific warm-water phenomenon that tends to put a damper on Atlantic storms. The sudden development of El Nino was credited for an unexpectedly mild Atlantic season last year, when only 10 storms formed.
Soooooo, global warming causes killer hurricanes. Except when it prevents them.
You figure it out.
YIPS from Steve: Well, I guess someone needs to get the photoshop out...
Ummmm, maybe not.
UPDATE: Fred Barnes reviews A Convenient Fiction, Stephen Hayward's short film rebuttal of AlGore's scaremongering.
Great Moments in American jurisprudence
The blue wall gets stretched even further:
Prosecutors have decided not to pursue charges against Victor Willis, the original policeman in '70s disco band The Village People, who was arrested last month after his girlfriend accused him of choking and threatening her. The woman claimed the 55-year-old singer had threatened her with a knife and had been abusive, police said.
"There was simply a minor disagreement between Victor and his fiancee who are residing together in a penthouse apartment in San Diego's La Jolla area," said Alice Wolf, Willis' publicist, in a statement. "Victor loves her very much and she loves Victor."
Rick Moran on the gaping, wheezing, suckage that is 24 at this point.
Listen my children and you shall hear
Rightwingnuthouse has an interesting essay up about Paul Revere.
Looks like Indy is going to be assisted by Agent Scully....
Funny how that was missing from the James Cameron movie of the same name
The Irish Elk with a story from the Titanic I'd never heard before (scroll down a small bit).
And there's this bit that I was saving but then forgot to use:
Titanic made of steel: ice is something used to make the delicious summertime drink of sweet ice tea. Are you telling me the government wants us to believe the greatest ship of all time was brought low by a large glass of ice tea? Sheeple.
The Week O'Loathing
Consumed as we were by the greatest assault on American democracy evah last week, we completely missed that it was the Week of Loathing over at the Hatemongers Quarterly. In particular, did I mention The Crack Young Staff loathes hippie college punks?
Sub-title of the week:
Kathy's got a whole series of posts up, and seems to be divining into chemo-liveblogging with the sense of humor, flair, and style that we know and love (and have so darned missed over the past cake-eater free year!) Sample: why her cardiologist hates her oncologist. And this post probably deserves the award for the greatest post to humorously jab a pointy stick at Alanis Morissette. Of. All. Time.
Groovy Vic "accidently" comes across hot nekkid pickies of the latest Bond dude, completely by accident, accident-wise.
I guess it could have been worse: she could have been trolling the intertubes for hot nekkid pics of a cross-dressing Jefferson Davis.
That's why we're the ones that get to call you "grasshopper"
LLamas are impervious to shame, padawan.
He just couldn't resist going to the well one more time.
Could be worse---I guess he could have tried to blame outsourcing.
UPDATE DEUX: Perspective from the Jawas.
I'm trying to fix the loading problem by taking out the blogads script and rebuilding.
UPDATE: Well, that seemed to do the trick.
UPDATE DEUX: Wuzzadem was having the same problem, with the same fix.
To be perfectly honest, I don't mind being out of Blogads for a bit. Actually, I'd look forward to a new "sponsor," as I'm not really interested in funding partially the newfound Greenwaldian over at Politburo Diktat.
April 17, 2007
Today's Alexis de Tocqueville Award winner
Who says civic activism is dead?
Great moments in American jurisprudence
Hold the presses on that new edition of Oliver Wendell Holmes' The Common Law:
Charlie Sheen has settled a lawsuit against him filed by a woman who claimed that one of the characters on his hit TV show Two and a Half Men was based on her.
Ursula Auburn sued Sheen in April 2006, claiming the "wacky neighbor and female stalker Rose" on the show was based on her. The way Rose talks, dresses and looks all resemble Auburn, the lawsuit claimed. Sheen never sought Auburn's permission, according to the suit.
The suit was settled March 14, according to Superior Court documents, which do not disclose more details.
The lawsuit claimed there were numerous situations on the show involving Rose and Sheen's character, Charlie Harper, that resembled experiences Auburn had with the actor.
That included an episode where Rose creates a Web site detailing Harper's womanizing ways, according to the lawsuit. In real life, Auburn created a Web site detailing her relationship with Sheen.
Genuine threats to the republic, or, lines I wish I had written?
What's next, the Dodgers having the Italian foodie and prostitution purveyor film a PSA on the dangers of carb-loading before making a withdrawl at the lesbian porn spank bank?
I'm getting a feeling he didn't like the movie
David Lynch would complain that this movie is too willfully obscure.
Go on over and send Jordana the young'un some big birthday Yips!
Ah yes, Cheney must have done it!
Notice how scum rises to the surface?
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
There is MORE to this story
Sorry, but I don’t believe a word of this report. Secondly. He shot 45 people, with two handguns. A 22 yr. old Korean student, a “loner” with a gun with the serial numbers filed off. If you can hit 45 moving, running, screaming, hiding targets with two handguns, then you’ve had some gun training. There is something supuspicious abuot this shooting. And I hate to say it, but I am embarrassed how this country goes into “Oprah-mode overdrive”. Yes, it is a tragedy that young people have been senselessly killed, but I don’t necesarily need to hear accounts from EVERY witness, or some distant cousin of someone who attends Virginia Tech. I don’t need to see people hugging, or people telling me to pray. It’s the same routine EVERY time this happens, but yet, NO ONE asks some really serious questions about how and why this happened or if there was anything else behind it. “Oh he was a crazy loner, problem solved”. Same with 9/11, “Oh there just crazy, religious nut-jobs who hate our freedom”. It’s like America wants a quick answer, to have a big group cry and then, “let the healing begin, so a nation can move on”. This will happen over and over. And apparently it only happens in schools with inept campus security and a city with a Keystone Cop force. It’s a tragedy, but peel away all of this emotional Katie Couric victim/hero teary eyed veil and THINK ABOUT THIS AND ASK YOURSELF IF THIS SOUNDS PLAUSIBLE.
Is the unthinkable, thinkable? Could there have been multiple shhoters and then when the heat came on, they shot some Asian kid and put a couple of guns in his hands and said “He did it”. One person, two handguns, with magazines that, if they’re pre-ban, would hold a maximun of 15 rounds each. Load – stand – aim – shoot – recoil – aim – shoot, pop out empty clip, take new clip out of pocket or belt – reload – pull back breech and chamber first round – aim – shoot – recoil.
Now, as he is going through this, he is developing “tunnel vision” people are running around him, screaming, hiding. Rmemeber, this is supposedly a student casually gunning down other students and we’re to believe he was some kind of war machine and shot 45 people?
I don’t think so.
Such bold, brave trutherism. What's killing a couple of kids in Virginia to the Neocons if it gives a temporary goose to the chimperor's poll numbers?
Give it a week before it's emanating from Rosie's piehole.
UPDATE: Ah, the motives are becoming clear. Now I know why Cheney needed a patsy--the question was (other than simple racism, of course), why single out an otherwise talented, jovial Korean-American to be the fall guy?
(If the acidic sarcasm dripping from this isn't clear...)
Have things gotten this bad?
via Special Agent Bedhead and Celebrity Smackdown (or something like that). Faithful readers will recall the three indicators of a starlet whose career is starting to slide: pics in skin magazines, movies on the Lifetime and Oxygen! channels, and suggestions of experimentation of the sort Dr. Rusy does not oppose.
Is Today The Day?
We're now fewer than 800 hits away from cracking seven figures. If traffic is normal, we ought to do it some time this afternoon.
First, let me just thank each and every one of you in advance for helping us hit this mark. Of course, we do this not because of the traffic but because we just enjoy blogging, yadda, yadda, yadda, but it's still a nice feeling to know that somebody is paying attention to our little corner of inanity. I still remember the day several years ago when Steve-O and I were talking about the blog and he rolled out his growth projections, which included eventually hitting the mil. My immediate (though silent) reaction was "Yeah, right." Glad to see I was unduly pessimistic.
Second, let me remind all you llamaphiles out there that whoever actually does cause the ol' sitemeter to roll over (or at least the real person who comes closest to doing so - get outta here, spammers!) will receive a gen-u-ine Llama Thong, autographed by your humble hosts. (Truth be told, I'm secretly hoping it'll be one of my church friends who have been dropping by here since December to keep tabs on my growing heresy. You know who you are.)
Yip! Yip! Yip!
UPDATE: Of course, there's always the possibility that the threat of our prize will cause the sitemeter to freeze at 999,999 as nobody dares to cross the frontier. Hadn't thought about that.
UPDATE DEUX: Of course, if you're having as much trouble getting here as I am, then we may very well not make it today. Hey, where's the tech staff? Fingers out, ladies and gentlemen!
UPDATE TROIS: Well, we're not uncorking the Champers just yet, as traffic is at a trickle, and little wonder. It's taking about five minutes or so for the page to load for me. If you're reading this, you've a lot more patience than I have.
Yips! from Gary:
Thought I'd add a little Google-fuel to the fire to help get this puppy over the top!
C'mon, you fuzzee Llamas! You cahn do eet!!
And to think, hit number one million is within striking distance and we've never even posted any nude images of Melissa Theuriau despite being huge fans of the lovely French news anchor. I wonder if we sent her a Llama thong, would she be willing to send us a photo of herself modeling that special underwear? Or would she prefer wearing a leather thong, like the leather jacket she's wearing above?
April 16, 2007
Uggh---this is scary: 21 dead in massacre at Virginia Tech.
UPDATE: Wizbang is sorting through the story's early reports.
UPDATE DEUX: Hot Air has the best round up.
That's going to leave a mark.
Seriously, though, they should a remake of Harper Lee's classic, but update it for current America with Nancy Grace in the role of Atticus Finch.
They could call it To Mock a Killing Bird.
UPDATE: For some reason, Jay-Tea neglects the easy Nancy Grace angle in this post.
The big move is done over at Curmudgeonry. Congrats Jordana!
Unsafe at any speed
Japan's leading toilet maker Toto Ltd. is offering free repairs for 180,000 bidet toilets after wiring problems caused several to catch fire, the company said Monday.
The electric bidet accessory of Toto's Z series caught fire in three separate incidents between March 2006 and March 2007, according to company spokeswoman Emi Tanaka. The bidet sent up smoke in 26 other incidents, the company said.
"Fortunately, nobody was using the toilets when the fire broke out and there were no injuries," Tanaka said. "The fire would have been just under your buttocks."
The company will repair 180,000 toilet units manufactured between May 1996 and December 2001 for free, she said. A manufacturing defect is thought to have led to the faulty wiring.
Toto has been a pioneer in high-tech toilets fitted with pressurized water sprayers — a standard fixture in Japanese homes.
The popular Z series features a pulsating massage spray, a power dryer, built-in-the-bowl deodorizing filter, the "Tornado Wash" flush and a lid that opens and closes automatically. Prices range from $1,680 to $2,600.
Busy day for me today so don't expect too much posting. However, I'd point out that I posted a goodish bit over the weekend, and I flatter myself that I managed to delve into some topics even more arcane and ridiculous than usual.
You know you haven't read them and so do I. So scroll on down.
Remember, this material will be on the exam.
YIPS from Steve-O: Rumors to the contrary that this has something to do with Robbo's last courtroom appearance are just lies, baby, LIES!
Template test--expunged the old blogads script to see if that's what was messing with our template.
UPDATE: Apparently not. If you are noticing problems with the page (I mean, other than the crap I post about) please drop us a note in the Tasty Bits Mail Sack. Thanks.
Monday morning stupid
WORLD OF SCIENCE - BOB BROCKIE
They say that given a hundred typewriters and enough time, a hundred monkeys will write Shakespeare's complete works. To test this idea, a team at the University of Plymouth, England, got a (PndStlg)2000 grant from the British Arts Council, shut six Sulawesi crested macaque monkeys with a computer keyboard in an enclosure at a Devon zoo for a month, and filmed what happened. The alpha male bashed hell out of the computer with a stone and the other monkeys did little else but urinate and defecate on the keyboard. Nevertheless, the monkeys did produce the equivalent of five pages of type with a predilection for the letter S. One researcher said that proved the monkeys were not hitting the keyboard at random, so were part of the way towards literacy. Defending the expenditure, a lecturer said the filmed experiment made very stimulating and fascinating viewing and was cheaper to produce than reality TV, but there was no sign of Shakespeare. These typing monkeys were the brainchild of French mathematician Emile Borel back in 1909. He introduced us to dactylographic monkeys in his book Statistical Mechanics and Irreversibility. Borel thought the monkeys would help readers envisage the unfeasible improbability of certain physical events, such as the random movement of all the air molecules to one end of a room. You can safely bet that the monkeys are unlikely to write Hamlet. You can similarly bet that air molecules will remain evenly spread through a room and not all move to one end by chance. In 2003 a more realistic experiment was started called The Monkey Shakespeare Simulator. The programme simulates a vast number of monkeys typing at random to see how long it will take them to produce a Shakespeare play. To date, the cyber monkeys have not done very well. It has taken them the equivalent of 2,737,850 million billion billion billion years to produce a phrase from Henry IV, Part 2: RUMOUR. Open your ears . . . One mathematician calculates that if the universe contains 17 billion galaxies, each containing 17 billion stars, each containing 17 billion inhabitable planets, and each planet supported 17 billion monkeys all typing a random line of type per second for a billion years, their chances of producing To be or not to be, that is the question is almost but not completely zilch. You stand a much better chance of winning the lottery a hundred times in a row. Despite this, probabilists figure that, given enough time, it is not only probable but inevitable that the monkeys will write Shakespeare. They also argue that if the monkeys had started their project far enough back in time, they would have written the plays before Shakespeare himself. In The Simpsons, one of a thousand chimps shut up in Montgomery Burns' house has nearly written the first sentence of Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities - It was the best of times. It was the blurst of times. "You stupid monkey!" says Mr Burns. Romeo and Juliet by William Monkey? Don't hold your breath.
The LLamabutchers: your daily supply of blogolicous crap churned up by a room full of outsourced howler monkeys lacking sufficient talent to participate in the Monkeys Writing Shakespeare contest.
April 15, 2007
Moral of the story: don't screw with Jack Bauer. EVER.
It seems that the folks behind the show 24 were so honored by the 24 spoof South Park did recently that they sent a faux suitcase nuke to the South Park offices. You can see pictures here. I haven't seen a lot of suitcase nukes in my day, but I'd say that's a pretty good fake snuke.
If you missed the episode, titled "The Snuke," it satirized the intensity, drama and technology at the center of 24 perfectly with Cartman taking on the "Jack Bauer" role and trying to gather information on a new Muslim student he suspects of being a terrorist. As the plot unfolds, we realize it goes much deeper than that.
Yeah, you know I really can't forsee a situation in which sending a fake suitcase nuke via UPS or FedEx in LA could really go wrong these days.
What the world needs now...
There's a Blossom joke in there that I'm too tired and cranky on a Sunday night to reach around for.
I picked the wrong week to give up huffing glue
Movin' on the floor babe, you're like a bird of paradise...
Plot summary on IMDB:
The year is 40,000. Peacefully floating around in zero-gravity Barbarella (Jane Fonda) is suddenly interrupted by a call from the President of Earth. A young scientist, Durand Durand, is threatening the ancient universal peace and Barbarella is the chosen one to find him and save the world. During her mission, Barbarella never finds herself in a situation where it isn't possible to lose at least part of her already minimal dressing
So who are they thinking using to be Barbarella? Some French model, as Angelina Jolie aint cheap enough.
OKAY, SO THIS WAS ALL A PRETEXT TO POST THIS CLIP:
Sue me, sue me, shoot bullets through me, I loves ya.
Happy birthday D!
My neighbor Dennis: master of the sod, demon on the bass. Happy b-day, buddy!
Why I blog
Moments like this, my friend, moments like this.
UPDATE: MAKE IT A TWO-FER
After a nearly 200-year hiatus, George Washington's still is bubbling again, churning out the same sort of rye whiskey that made the Founding Father the nation's most successful whiskey producer in the years after his presidency.
Washington's Mount Vernon estate on March 30 officially opened a $2.1 million reconstruction of Washington's original distillery on the exact site where it was located in 1799, a few miles down the road from his famous mansion overlooking the Potomac River.
Mount Vernon officials hope the distillery will illustrate Washington's prowess as an entrepreneur. The estate also won special legislation this year from the Virginia General Assembly to sell limited quantities of the whiskey — up to 5,000 gallons a year — to give estate visitors a taste of alcohol history.
The distillery is considered a gateway to the American Whiskey Trail, which includes historic sites along with working distilleries that are open to the public, like Jim Beam and Wild Turkey in Kentucky and Jack Daniel's in Tennessee.
The Mount Vernon distillery "will become the equivalent of a national distillery museum," said Frank Coleman, spokesman for Distilled Spirits Council, which paid for the reconstruction.
"Whiskey tourism is growing around the world, just like tourists go to Bordeaux or the Napa Valley to visit wineries. This sort of helps us level the playing field with winemakers," Coleman said. "There could be no better representative for America's distilling heritage than George Washington."
Washington's farm manager, Scotsman James Anderson, began distilling whiskey in February 1797, in the final months of Washington's presidency. Anderson convinced a reluctant Washington to build a large-scale distillery a few months later, and the distillery was completed in March 1798.
By 1799, Washington was producing 11,000 gallons of whiskey a year — sold at 50 cents a gallon for the common variety and $1 a gallon for the more refined product, which was run through the still four times.
Washington died that year, and soon thereafter the business fell off. Within a decade, the building fell into disrepair and in 1814, it burned to the ground.
Mount Vernon officials first considered reviving the distillery in the mid 1990s, in conjunction with plans to reconstruct an adjacent gristmill.
Archaeological work began on the distillery in 1997, and workers found the remnants of the five copper pot stills, along with other artifacts that provided clues to the still's operation.
Mount Vernon director of preservation Dennis Pogue said he is confident that the reconstructed distillery closely mimics Washington's actual operation.
"I think he'd recognize it. The main distilling room in particular is most authentic," he said.
Some accommodations were necessary for 21st-century building codes, including an elevator discreetly tucked into the back of the building. The attic of the distillery serves as a small museum.
Mount Vernon says the distillery is the only one in the nation, and possibly the world, that authentically demonstrates 18th-century distilling techniques.
The stills will distill liquid on a daily basis to demonstrate the process to visitors; whiskey will be made only on special occasions.
The whiskey will be available for purchase at the estate and at the gristmill site, but it may be an unfamiliar taste to modern palettes. Washington did not age his whiskey as distillers do today.
The product is colorless and less refined. It would have been considered high-quality whiskey in its day, but Mount Vernon director James Rees once compared it to "white lightning," slang for homemade whiskey or moonshine.
Okay, so I really wasn't AWOL in Chicago
Agent Bed Head posts the sooper sekrit pics from my apparently not-lost-any-longer weekend riding the junkie highway with Pete Doherty.
Now if Sadie can only figure out a way to hack my wife's Shutterfly account and "preempt" the family Christmas card picture...
UPDATE: Oh great---apparently after spending my illicit weekend shooting smack with Pete Doherty, I jetted back across the pond for some booze cruise naughtiness with The Glacier herself.
Gratuitous Plum Blogging (TM) - Hobgoblins and Small Minds Division
I've been reading Jeeves: A Gentleman's Personal Gentleman by C. Northcote Parkinson this weekend. In it, Parkinson fleshes out the pre- and post-Wooster career of Jeeves, as well as providing additional biographical information about Bertie Wooster and other denizens of the Wodehouse World. So far, it is harmless fun.
However, as I was reading, I came across a rayther puzzling passage in which Parkinson purports to reconstruct Jeeves' employment with Lord Brancaster, noted parrot-fancier and addict of school prize-giving ceremonies. Here is Parkinson's rendition of Jeeves' encounter with "Lars Porsena," Lord Brancaster's chief parrot:
Next morning, Jeeves went to fetch Lars Porsena and was relieved to find that the bird perched on his shoulder without reluctance. His walk back to the house was without incident until he reached the back door, at which point his feathered passenger suddenly squawked, "Damn you, sir" and "Bloody Hell." Mounting the stairs with patience and care he was abruptly told to "Watch it, you **** ****!" All went well, however, until he reached Lord Brancaster's bedroom door, at which point the parrot, unprovoked, bit his left ear. As he entered the room, he was trying to staunch the blood with a hankerchief.
Later, Jeeves devises a solution for preempting a second strike:
That evening Lord Brancaster asked Jeeves to fetch Lars Porsena again, this time for what he described as a regular after dinner chat. Jeeves might have repeated his trick with the dustbin lid [which he had used to shield himself from Lars while taking him back to his cage that morning] but he could not bring himself to bring such an article into the dining-room. He decided, therefore, on a more scientific approach. He soaked a biscuit in a non-vintage port and gave it to the parrot in its cage. It accepted the gift without suspicion but held it with difficulty when the journey began. Once it had reached Lord Brancaster's presence, it seemed for a while that Lars Porsena intended to sing. He gave up that idea, however, and was placed in a cage at his lordship's elbow, where he swore quietly to himself for a while then suddenly capsized, lying on the floor of the cage, with his feet in the air. He had passed out, losing all further interest in the proceedings.
All well and good. Except that this is not the way Jeeves tells the story himself. In the classic Right Ho, Jeeves! Jeeves and Bertie Wooster are discussing the advisability of spiking the orange juice of Gussie Fink-Nottle, a confirmed wet fish and teetotaller, in order to give him the vim to propose to that Gawd-help-us, Madeline Bassett. Bertie is all eagerness to add the oz, but Jeeves is cautionary:
I was thinking of an incident in my earlier life, Sir, before I entered your employment. I was in the service of the late Lord Brancaster at the time, a gentleman who owned a parrot to which he was greatly devoted, and one day the bird chanced to be lethargic, and his lordship, with the kindly intention of restoring it to its customary animation, offered it a portion of seed cake steeped in the '84 port. The bird accepted the morsel gratefully and consumed it with every indication of satisfaction. Almost immediately afterwards, however, its manner became markedly feverish. Having bitten his lordship on the thumb and sung part of a sea-chanty, it fell to the bottom of the cage and remained there for a considerable period of time with its legs in the air, unable to move."
Later in the story, Jeeves also passes to Gussie some stories that Lord Brancaster habitually used in his prize-giving speeches so that Gussie could use them for his own forthcoming ordeal at Market Snodsbury Grammar School. And yet Parkinson has Jeeves leave Brancaster's service after a single day, during which time no such speeches were made.
As I say, I find this discrepancy puzzling. Plainly according to Parkinson's timeline, there was only a single incident involving a drunken parrot. Is Parkinson implying that Jeeves lied about the business to Bertie? If so, what possible motive would Jeeves have? On the other hand, is Parkinson emphasizing the fact, stated at the beginning of his "biography", that Jeeves categorically declined to cooperate and that Parkinson had to rely mostly on third party testimony, hearsay or otherwise? If so, why would we believe anything Parkinson purports to tell us about Jeeves' life? On the third hand, is this just sloppy research on Parkinson's part? Or did he simply decide that Wodehouse's own implied history did not suit his story arc? If so, did Parkinson seriously believe that legions of crazed Plumophiles wouldn't instantly spot the error?
Mr. Parkinson, as the man wishing to buy a fish license said to Mr. Last of the Post Office, "It's people like you what causes unrest."
UPDATE: Oh, what the heck. It's a rainy Sunday. Here's the clip (one of my favorites):
Gotta go - I think the loony-detector van has spotted me.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - "They'll Do it Every Time," Division
So we took down the gutters on the front of Orgle Manor last week in anticipation of the new ones to be installed by the Gutter-Helmet people. Of course this hasn't been done yet and of course it's bucketing rain today. The result is that Robbo's basement workshop looks better suited to Aquaman.
I'm starting some seeds under the lights down there this afternoon, but perhaps some sea-monkies would be more appropriate.
Michelle Malkin on Al Sharpton. Ahhhh, Michelle . . .
April 14, 2007
Gratuitous Tolkien Geekery
The latest installment is up at "Tolkien Geek"!
Go check out the Nazgul's Magical Mystery Land-Of-The-Halflings Tour in "The Hunt For The Ring".
Ask The Llamas
Somebody wandered in here on a google search for What are the curses mooses put on Egypt?
Well frankly, being camelids and not cervidae, this is a little out of our area of expertice. However, the last time I skimmed through the relevant text, I recollect reading something about the plagues both of antler dry-rot and of SUV's on fog-bound roads.
Hope that helps.
Yip! Yip! (Or should I say Bloop! Bloop!?)
What we REALLY do to unlawful combatants captured on the battlefield
I tried to explain to the Future ROTC Scholarship Recipient why I would be gone for a very long time in the Middle East, expressing it in terms he could understand: "I'm going to help the good guys fight the bad guys." My four-year old quickly shortened this to: "Daddy chases bad guys" which he has told to friends, relatives, and strangers alike. This week he was asked: "What does your dad do to the bad guys when he catches them?" My son promptly fired back: "He makes them take a bath!" If it were only that easy. . .
Gratuitous Musickal Posting, "Aw, Jeez" Division
Alert Reader "Sailor Mike" dropped this article by Michael Linton in the Tasty Bits (TM) Mail Sack about the way the Gray Lady chose to celebrate Easter Sunday, namely, by including an article claiming that the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's Messiah is really a triumphal screed against the JOOOOOOOOOS!!!
Wow. We didn’t know. The “Hallelujah Chorus” is a paean celebrating Titus’ sack of Jerusalem and the Christian’s God’s bloody vengeance upon the Jews. That was the New York Times’ Easter Sunday gift to its readers, courtesy of Swarthmore professor Michael Marissen.
Yup, it's all there, plain as a pikestaff:
Undoubtedly Marissen will expand his argument about the “Hallelujah Chorus” in his new book, but in the newspaper version it goes something like this: Charles Jennens, who cobbled together the oratorio’s libretto, intended the work as an anti-deist and anti-Jewish polemic. In the oratorio’s second section, Jennens substituted “nations” for “heathens” in Psalm 2:1, so as to include the Jews among those who “imagine a vain thing” by taking counsel “against the Lord and his anointed.” Thus the arrival of the “Hallelujah Chorus” that closes the section is, in fact, an “over the top” celebration of God’s judgment on the Jews—Handel’s addition of martial trumpets and drums underscoring the militaristic vision of divine pillage.
Marissen argues that here Jennens follows a tradition going back to Richard Kidder (d. 1703), the bishop of Bath and Wells, and continued by sermons John Newton published on “the Celebrated Oratorio of Handel” in 1786. The relation between these texts and the destruction of Jerusalem was so traditional in Handel’s time that it was “surely how listeners would have understood the combination of these texts in eighteenth-century Britain.”
Of course, as Linton patiently points out, this is utter horse-hockey:
Surely not. What did come to mind, and what Handel wanted to come to mind, was the immensely popular music he wrote for the coronation of George II in 1727 (repeated at the coronation at every British monarch since). “Zadok the Priest,” in its D major key, diatonic construction, choral outbursts, and orchestration is the model for the “Hallelujah Chorus,” written fifteen years later. What Handel’s listeners heard in the Messiah chorus wasn’t a conquest anthem but music celebrating the coronation of Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, music directly reminiscent of the music they already knew celebrating the coronation of George, “by the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, France, Ireland, Defender of the Faith, etc.”
Ah, that “Defender of the Faith” business. The Protestant Faith, of course. It’s hardly news that the English saw themselves as Israel’s heirs. They were a new chosen people whose election had been confirmed by the “holy wind” that sank the Spanish Armada and the much more recent defeat of the Catholic-backed Scots at the 1746 Battle of Culloden (an event which Handel celebrated with his oratorio Judas Maccabaeus). English Protestants were the new Israelites (look at all those “Salems” they founded in North America).
They were Christians who believed that the Old Testament could only be understood properly when read through the saving work of Christ—and Christians who believed that those who didn’t read the Old Testament that way were endangering their immortal souls with hellfire. (It’s not particularly insightful to notice that this caused tension among the church, the synagogue, and the chattering philosophers.)
It should be noted that musically, this is Freshman Intro Survey Clapping For Credit "Well, duuuh!!" material. If you listen to the two works by Handel, which I have, their relationship is blindingly obvious, as is the parallel between the coronations of George II and Christ. Linton asks:
Marissen’s is a very odd article. The most important aspect of the “Hallelujah Chorus” that one might think a scholar would want modern listeners to know about to help them understand the piece is ignored while a controversial interpretation of pretty-well-known truisms is headlined. What gives?
Actually, what gives is the reason I quickly gave up any notion whatever of pursuing an academic career. Especially in the Humanities, as time goes by there is simply less and less original and enlightening to say about a given writer, composer or painter. But it's a savage and over-crowded field. And unless one wants to spend the rest of one's life as a special visiting teaching assistant at Back of Beyond Junior Community College, Arse End of Nowhere Satellite Campus, teaching the local knuckle-draggers to rhyme "moon" with "June," one starts inventing things to say that are original and outrageous. As a matter of fact, I doubt whether Prof. Marissen really even believes his own theory. But it sells books and gets him noticed, which is what counts.
I simply shake my head in sadness at this kind of academic gamesmanship which, truth be told, goes on all the time in the Ivory Tower. But what I find outrageous is the fact that the NYTimes chose to run with this rabid attack on the holiest day of the Christian calendar. Show of hands, please, of all those who expect to see a Holocaust-denial article on Yom Kippur? No, I didn't think so.
That's My Church!
Interesting. A New York Supreme Court judge has told Her High Priestessness and the legal goon squad at 815, the ECUSAHQ, to step back from the local secession fight between the Diocese of Central New York and St. Andrews, Syracuse:
The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Episcopal Church (abbreviated DFMS) was told by a New York supreme court judge that it could participate as little more than an observer in the property dispute lawsuit by the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York against St. Andrews Church in Syracuse. Supreme Court Justice James P. Murphy in a written decision earlier this week ruled that “DFMS only asserts that St. Andrew’s property is held in trust for the benefit of the Episcopal Church as promulgated by certain Episcopal canons, and as such, the Court finds its legal interest to be insufficient.” The judge allowed DFMS to intervene in the ongoing lawsuit, but “that the permissive intervention of the DFMS should be limited.”
The court ruled that the attorneys for the Diocese must serve as lead trial counsel for both the Diocese and Episcopal Church. The Diocesan lawyers will also have to “submit, coordinate, conduct, and control all discovery, including depositions, on behalf of both” DFMS and the Diocese, and will “supervise and control all motion practice on behalf of both entities.” … “DFMS may also attend any and all discovery proceedings, but DFMS may not individually conduct any discovery without the express permission of the Court, following a showing that the interest of DFMS is somehow different or unique to the Diocese’s interest.”
It's a win for the locals, albeit a largely symbolic one, I think. While 815 can't actually appear in court or run independant discovery, you can bet that they'll still be hard at work behind the scenes, pursuing the hunt with absolute ruthlessness.
Two by Two,
Hands of Blue
And the PeeBee for YOU!
"You TOUCHED the Offeratory Plates?"
Yips! to The Colossus.
MSM: Don't feel sorry for the Duke Lacrosse Players
via Drudge. ABC's Terry Moran says don't feel that sorry for the now-exonerated Duke lacrosse players, because they attend a prestigious private school, come from "privileged" backgrounds, could afford to fight, etc. This is appalling. Anyone unjustly accused of crimes and facing long prison terms deserves our support and the miscreants responsible our outrage, regardless of background.
April 13, 2007
Gratuitous Buck Blogging
Buck returns from his trip aboard the “Cruise Ship To The Stars” to face a supernatural enemy in:
Ep. 1.14 “Space Vampire (1/3/80)
Of all the episodes of the entire series, this one is (to quote John Francois Kerry) “seared in my memory”. The first reason is because at the age of twelve it scared the living bejeezus out of me and the second is that this is a real breakout story for the character of Wilma Deering. More episodes like these would have helped the ratings, I’m sure.
While our heroes are on board space station Theta, a derelict ship crashes into its outer hull and essentially fuses with the station. Buck and Wilma go to investigate the crash with Royko, the station Commander and find that all the passengers and crew are dead. The station’s medical officer, Dr. Ecbar, examines them and at first believes them to be victims of a virus called EL-7. But soon he discovers that they’re not exactly dead but rather in a state of “cellular suspension”. This is the 25th Century explanation for being “undead”, a term we know from countless vampire movies.
In actuality, they were all victims of a vampire-like creature called a Vorvon.
How do you describe this guy to people who’ve never seen him? Well, take a Ferengi from Star Trek, make him taller, color him green, and give him a massive uni-brow, bulging veins in his head and pointy fangs. And, here ya go:
Egads, what a gruesome-looking bastard!
Okay, okay, I know. By today’s standards the make-up is pretty cheesy but in the context of 1980 (with the scary music and sound effects thrown in) this guy gave me the creeps.
So, the Vorvon boards the space station, the bodies from the crashed ship come to life and attack the doctor and all hell breaks loose. Instead of turning into a bat, he is able to morph into this little red ball of light and squeeze his way under any doorway. The Vorvon chooses Wilma as his next victim. Hey, can you blame the guy? He stalks her throughout the station, appearing only to her. One of the things that makes him so scary is the terror that Wilma expresses as well as her utter frustration when no one else believes her…not even Buck. Everybody assumes she has been infected by the EL-7 virus, which induces hallucinations, and they do their best to humor her. In the meantime, we in the audience are sharing her sense of helplessness.
Here’s the clip where she finally succumbs to the power of the Vorvon:
One thing I notice now with the benefit of twenty-five plus years of hindsight: if the guy sucks out your life force through is fingertips, why the need for the fangs? Eh, whatever. It looks cool.
In the meantime, Buck is investigating the crash and finds a recording of one of the passengers who it turns out was hunting the Vorvon. The man, named Helson (probably a play on Van Helsing), was seeking revenge for the deaths of his family members, which he blamed on the creature. There is a confrontation in Helson’s quarters, only it seems that he’s talking to thin air. At first Buck thinks Helson is just hallucinating. But an energy beam fires at him and he is thrown like a rag doll across the room.
Buck realizes that something else is going on and through his investigations finds information about a legendary vampire-like creature that drains the life force of its victims and enslaves them. He returns once again to the ship and finds an amulet that he would later learn can be used to ward off the Vorvon (like a cross defends against a vampire). As he goes to leave the ship, he’s attacked by the walking undead, but manages to escape. Buck realizes that Wilma was right all along! But now everyone thinks he has the virus.
The best scene shows Wilma under the Vorvon influence and for the first time we get to see her express seductive desire and rage. Have a look here:
Go ahead and watch that one again. You know you want to. Gotta love the tight pink spandex outfit with the bare midriff. And they synthesize her voice so it's all deep and throaty, like Kathleen Turner.
After this scene the Vorvon and Wilma try to escape but the Theta station is able to take remote control of their ship and (on Buck's suggestion) they send it into the path of a star. The energy it emits causes a power surge in the Vorvon and manages to vaporize him (though Wilma hardly breaks a sweat). Wilma heads back to the station and everything ends on a high note. Even the creature's victims return to normal.
Again, this is Erin Gray’s best episode as she gets to portray a wide range of emotions – from terrified and vulnerable to aggressive and lusty.
Episode Rating: Must See (if you belong to Netflix, look up the series and throw Disc 4 in your queue).
Next up: Buck turns 534 years old in “Happy Birthday, Buck”.
The first post in this series can be found here.
YIPS! from Robbo: Can I just point out here that it was this episode, and especially the last clip Gary posted, that convinced me that, toe to toe, Col. Deering knocks Princess Ardala into a cocked hat? (And yes, I'm talking to you, JohnL!) Sure she's cold and alooof most of the time. But look at what's underneath! Run that ol' clip again!
Imus Ouster Will Benefit Hillary
With the firing of Don Imus by CBS, Hillary Clinton has overcome another obstacle in her fight for the Democrat nomination in 2008.
Imus, a limousine Liberal from the upper-West side of Manhattan, has been a significant national outlet for many Democrat politicians in the past. The LA Times has a story this morning lamenting how Imus' departure from the airwaves is a blow to Democrats.
"Over the years, Democrats such as [Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr.] came to count on Imus for the kind of sympathetic treatment that Republicans got from Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity.CT Senator Christopher Dodd may as well cancel the lease on his Presidential Campaign headquarters. Dodd declared his candidacy on Imus' show because...well...nobody else cared.
Equally important, Imus gave Democrats a pipeline to a crucial voting bloc that was perennially hard for them to reach: politically independent white men.
With Imus' show canceled indefinitely because of his remarks about the Rutgers University women's basketball team, some Democratic strategists are worried about how to fill the void. For a national radio audience of white men, Democrats see few if any alternatives.
"This is a real bind for Democrats," said Dan Gerstein, an advisor to one of Imus' favorite regulars, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.). "Talk radio has become primarily the province of the right, and the blogosphere is largely the province of the left. If Imus loses his microphone, there aren't many other venues like it around."
But Imus and his radio crew have been vicious towards New York's Junior Senator, taking shots at her every chance they could. And now he's gone, which works to her favor. Clinton was quoted as saying, "I've never wanted to go on his show and I certainly don't ever intend to go on his show, and I felt that way before his latest outrageous, hateful, hurtful comments". Of course, Hillary never and wouldn't ever appear on "Imus in the Morning", because he wouldn't give her the kind of pass that the rest of the adoring MSM does.
Not only can Imus no longer have any fun lampooning her or calling her out for her phoney pandering (like her recent attempt to adopt a Southern drawl), but any opponent she has for her party's nomination won't be able to use the show as their own personal megaphone. It's a win-win for Nurse Ratched.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)
I believe I've mentioned here before that the nine year old inherited what is known in the family as the "McDill Taint" after a crazed ancestor. It manifests itself in several different forms but in her case, like her grandfather's (of whom she is a frighteningly exact clone), the primary symptoms are an aggressive temperment and a brutal lack of consideration for the feelings of those around her.
If left unchecked, it's a soul-twisting affliction, leaving both the carrier and everyone around them thoroughly miserable. Which is why I swore when I realized that she had it that I was going to do everything in my power to help her defeat it or, at the very least, hold it at bay.
Well, the good news is that the treatment is generally working. Indeed, Mom was so impressed with the way the gel is coming along when she came down for Easter that she is even talking of inviting the child to stay up in Maine with her next summer for a bit. And when you consider that Mom really doesn't like children very much, this is a huge compliment.
Of course, we have our bad days when the demons take over. But even there, we're starting to see some good signs. For instance, yesterday evening before I got home, the gel apparently threw a major tantrum. (What it was about, I don't know.) Nonetheless, by the time I got home, she was all sweetness and light. We chatted as she got ready for bed and then read a chapter of The Silver Chair. (The gel continues to find my rendering of Puddleglum in a Down East accent hi-larious. And she spotted the Green Lady's advice for the children to make for the Giants' city for a trap the moment the words came out.) All in all, a very nice time. I could tell that the gel was really trying to be pleasant and told her as much when I kissed her goodnight.
It wasn't until later, when I was discussing the day with the Missus, that I heard about the earlier fit. I also heard that the one thing the gel asked above all others, once she calmed herself down, was that Mommy not tell Daddy about it.
I take this as the stirring of shame. It wasn't that she thought I was going to do something to her if I found out (we're long past that stage). Instead, she simply didn't want me to know that she had been acting in what she knew to be an awful way. And that pleases me immensely, as shame can be an extremely powerful tool for self-control, prodding us to do the things we ought to do and stopping us from doing the things we ought not to do. At the moment, as is pefectly natural with a child, she is using my opinion of her behavior as her motivation to control it. But I see incidents like this as the first symptoms of her effort to internalize things. In other words, she is starting to grow up.
I didn't mention the incident this morning, as she came downstairs in a sunny and helpful mood. It did not strike me that disturbing the seeds would be a good idea in light of the gel's evident effort to do better.
Of course in this psychotheraputic age, shame has become anathema. It's seen as damaging to self-esteem and a damper on our ability to express ourselves fully, a hateful governor on the gearbox of our egos. Or whatever. As you may sense, I don't think much of this way of thinking at all, at all. You need only look round you at the way people act these days to understand why. (Don Imus is only the most famous example at the moment. The practitioners of more everday self-centered awfulness are Legion.)
Now before you start flooding the Tasty Bits (TM) Mail Sack with outraged messages about the eviiils of excessive or misplaced shame, let me make clear that I am talking about it in a very specific context, namely that of behavior. None of us should be ashamed of things over which we have no control, i.e. the way we look, or the circumstances into which we are born, for instance. However, I posit that it is healthy to feel ashamed of bad behavior: not only does such feeling recognize that the behavior is bad, it is also an admission of responsibility for the behavior. And that's a double dose of moral correction that, IMHO, is just what the doctor ordered.
(Incidentally, I use the word "anathema" in its vernacular sense above, but shame has also become anathema in the original ecclesiastic sense, at least within the Episcopal Church. You need no better proof of this than a comparison of the General Confession (and other parts of the liturgy) in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer with that in earlier editions. There is, of course, a direct connection, but that's a rant for another day.)
So You Think You Had A Bad Day At Work?
Check out what happened to this poor guy:
A zoo worker had his forearm reattached Thursday after his colleagues recovered the severed limb from the mouth of a 440-pound Nile crocodile, an official said.
The crocodile severed Chang Po-yu's forearm on Wednesday at the Shaoshan Zoo in the southern city of Kaohsiung when the veterinarian tried to retrieve a tranquilizer dart from the reptile's hide, zoo officials said.
The Liberty Times newspaper said Chang failed to notice the crocodile was not fully anesthetized when he stuck his arm through an iron rail to medicate it.
Well, at least his arm was successfully reattached. But I'll bet the next time they need a volunteer to pull that dart out, he won't be...uh...raising his hand.
April 12, 2007
LMC Top Five Blogs
Robbo's post yesterday invited yours truly to reveal my favorite blogs. My lack of reliable Internet service has kept me off the Web lately but here they are:
1. The LLama Butchers, of course. Where else can a poor shlump like me with no technical skills get the chance to mooch off someone else's efforts?
2. The Cake-eater Chronicles. Kathy was kind enough to pass along a few life-saving tips that kept the blog from going up in flames after Robbo left the keys with me to mind the store while the Robbo, his bride, and the LLama-ettes were off visiting Der Mouse.
3. The Colossus, with the recurring feature that lets us know where the carriers are.
4. The Jawa Report, featuring the ever-insightful Dr. Rusty.
5. Special Agent Bedhead: for guilt-free looks at celebrity crackups and features in the coming series: Babes of the Early 21st Century.
Honorable mentions: Jen, formerly Jen Speaks, the Crack Young Staff at The Hatemongers Quarterly.
Gratuitous Llama Royal Navy Geekery Book Review
Friends, I have to be honest and tell you that I've finally come across a naval history book I honestly do not like and which I'm only finishing out of a sense of obligation.
It isn't that I don't enjoy the topic. As regular readers know, this sort of thing is right up my alley and even so arcane a subsection of the history of the Royal Navy in the waters off the arse end of Maine and Canada is of interest.
No, instead it's the fact that this book is utterly lifeless, a bare recitation of facts and figures that makes even Teddy Roosevelt's history of the Naval War of 1812 look good by comparison. Long, long sections detail the movements of frigates, sloops and gunboats up and down the coasts of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia in bland "The squadron sailed for the Bay of Fundy. Then it sailed back." fashion. Also, lots of attention is given to where individual ships were hauled up for careening, wintered, watered and so on. Yet interesting detail points - battles won and lost, prizes captured or given up, ships lost in storms with all hands - get barely a mention. We also get, at best, very cursory character sketches of the men involved. I believe the author's intent was to stay clear of such matters, instead using the historical record in a sort of pointillist fashion to paint an evolving picture of the overall strategic situation, but I'm afraid his style makes for very dull reading.
And confusing reading, as well. I know a thing or two about this period and this area. I know about the Siege of Louisburg, the ongoing privateer wars, the Battle of the Virginia Capes between De Grasse's French fleet and the Brits that led to the surrender at Yorktown, the incident between the Leopard and the Chesapeake and the latter's subsequent capture by the Shannon. But I barely recognize them as described here.
Having never written a history myself, I recognize I'm armchair authoring, but it strikes me that if one is going for a Big Picture treatment, it's a mistake to try and present it in this manner. On the other hand, if one's focus is to be on the details, one needs to flesh them out much more than the author has here.
Gratuitous Historickal Posting
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Ancient Mexicans brought human sacrifice victims from hundreds of miles (km) away over centuries to sanctify a pyramid in the oldest city in North America, an archeologist said on Wednesday.
DNA tests on the skeletons of more than 50 victims discovered in 2004 in the Pyramid of the Moon at the Teotihuacan ruins revealed they were from far away Mayan, Pacific or Atlantic coastal cultures.
The bodies, many of which were decapitated, dated from between 50 AD and 500 AD and were killed at different times to dedicate new stages of construction of the pyramid just north of Mexico City.
The victims were likely either captured in war or obtained through some kind of diplomacy, said archeologist Ruben Cabrera, who led the excavation at the pyramid, the smaller of two main pyramids are Teotihuacan, which housed some 200,000 inhabitants at its height of power around 500 AD.
I flag these articles not to trash "native" American culture as such, but simply to highlight how they undercut the Noble Savage bunkum that has infected people in the West since we first stumbled across this hemisphere and still holds a huge place in our collective conscience.
Somebody regularly shows up here trolling Google for Larissa Wiggles.
Well, we Llamas are nothing if not accommodating of our audience's tastes, so here ya go:
Larissa is one of the Red Coat Dancers seen in The Wiggles videos. In addition to being a dancer, she also plays Henry the Octopus at times.
Growing up in Sydney, Australia, Larissa began dancing when she was just 3 years old with the Halloran School of Dance. Learning Irish, ballet, tap and jazz dancing, Larissa was quite accomplished at a rather young age, earning second place in an Irish Dance Competition when she was 16.
Larissa actually began her career with The Wiggles at an early age, when she became a child dancer for one of their early videos.
In addition to her work with The Wiggles, Larissa has also done a few other dancing projects. One, as a dancer in Haste to the Wedding, which was a theatrical show that was produced by Anthony and Paul Field, the Blue Wiggle and The Wiggles General Manager. She has also done a K-mart commercial, has danced in Australia for Australia Fashion Week, and has had some parts in short films and movies.
While Larissa Wright will no longer be touring with The Wiggles, she will continue to do shows and videos, so will not be leaving them (or us) completely.
Videos Larissa Wright appears in
Cold Spaghetti Western
Top of the Tots
Whoo Hoo! Wiggly Gremlins
Wiggly Wiggly Christmas (Feliz Navidad Dancer)
Yule Be Wiggling (as a reindeer)
Toot Toot! (as a dancer)
(Info filched directly from the Wiggles Dancers homepage. Highlighted videos are the ones I know we own off the top of my head - and there are more - so please, Wiggly lawyers, don't make a stink about us lifting your copy. We've donated plenty to your empire. Fair dinkum.)
I can only assume Larissa didn't do the voice of Henry the Octopus, along with Wags the Dog one of the few truly annoying bits about the show.
While we went through an all-things-Wiggly stage at Orgle Manor, we've long sailed out of those waters. (Other than the five year old's occassional requests that I do the voices - do you know how hard it is for an average 'Murican to make a convincing vocal distinction between Anthony and Murray?) On the one hand, this is something of a pity - I always enjoyed their music and I thought all the other stuff pretty harmless. On the other hand, I'm rayther glad we didn't have to get into this whole New Yellow Wiggle thing.
Gratuitous Jane Austen Bashing
The crew over at "Bad Movie Knights" give their enthusiastic politically-incorrect and misogynistic thumbs down to "Sense and Sensibility".
LOL funny but not for the easily-offended.
Gore Effect Watch
Here's yer forecast for the Dee Cee area this weekend:
Saturday Night Rain likely. Lows in the upper 30s. Chance of rain 70 percent.
Rain and snow likely. Highs in the upper 40s. Chance of precipitation 70 percent.
Cloudy with a chance of rain and snow showers. Lows in the mid 30s. Chance of precipitation 40 percent.
Snow in mid-farookin-April. And didn't Puxatawny Phil see his shadow this year? Or not see it? Or whichever one it is that means winter's just about gone and better break out the SP50 instanter? Feh.
The sad part is that I had copped some tix to take the Llama-ettes to go see the Orioles play at Camden Yards on Sunday. So much for that.
Oh, well. At least I can say that I don't feel the slightest bit guilty for not having started this year's seeds yet, or for not yet pulling out the ol' hammock, or for not putting the new sod down in the side yard.
Gratuitous Llama Netflix Movie Review
I ran off the 1991 film Impromptu last evening, in part because the Missus has had a hard couple days and I knew she would enjoy an eye-full of a young Hugh Grant. If you haven't seen this film before, it's the story of the beginning of the love affair between Frederic Chopin and George Sand, aka Amandine-Aurore-Lucile Dupin, Baroness Dudevant (and ironically ends with them driving away together for Mallorca, at which Mediterranean resort their affair began to end).
Being a Mozart fanatic, I can take a film like Amadeus and tear it into little pieces, dancing on the fragments. Here, I am somewhat handicapped. While I certainly don't mind Chopin's music, I'm not particularly interested in the period. The result is that I know far less about his life than Mozart's and I know next to nothing about Sand, other than that she was an eccentric proto-feminist novelist.
Nonetheless, I do enjoy this film, in part because I think it gets a fair number of things right. For instance, Chopin is presented as a proper, almost old-fashioned young man, considerably out of sync with the decadent artistic circle of Paris in the 1830's. In contrast, the composer Franz Liszt, whose music I loathe as nothing more than an exercise in egomania, is portrayed as the lout that he was. I don't know whether Chopin actually got up and scolded Liszt, Delacroix and the other bohemians at the D'Antan's estate for being ugly and condescending to their hosts, but it would be nice to believe so.
I also enjoy the film because it treats its main characters as people, not as demi-legends. All the while I was watching, I couldn't help wishing that somebody would go back and tackle the lives of Mozart and, say, Beethoven on this same plane. (I think it was Ford Prefect in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy who said something to the effect that wasn't it enough to admire the beauty of a garden without also having to believe there were faeries at the bottom of it.)
Incidentally, I've got Amadeus somewhere in the queue again. It's been, oh, at least fifteen years since I saw it last. As you may have gathered, I hate the heavily romanticized, apocryphal version of Mozart's life and this movie, unfortunately, swallows it hook, line and sinker. Not sure why I want to see it again except to indulge in some crankiness. (Oh, and to see the scene where Mozart takes the awful little tune Salieri slaved over and, in the twinkling of an eye, turns it into "Non piu andrai" from Le Nozze di Figaro. Utter balls, of course, but fun to watch.)
Random Commuter Observation
Note to an increasing number of drivers in my area:
The right turn lane is meant for turning right. It is not meant for trying to merge into the thru lane, especially in the middle of an intersection. Please do not pull out of the gas station until both lanes are clear. You morons.
That is all.
April 11, 2007
As I noted in her comments, we used to follow the Dead pretty much full-time.
My Blog Hurts!
Well, well! Our pal Sleepy Beth has tagged us Llamas with a Thinking Blog Award Meme Thingy (or "Thinkie" for short, I suppose). Says Beth of us:
They range from hillarious to insightful to random to strange. And they've become one of the major highlights of my day. (Not sure if that says more about what my days are like or them, but if you don't read them, you should.)
Too, too kind! And thank you very muchly.
Here's the meme post thingy that started this whole sha-bang off. Apparently, if you get tagged, you're then supposed to nominate five other blogs that make you think. I'm handicapped here, both because I would have chosen Beth myself and also because she pinched our pal Lintenfiniel Freakin' Jen as one of other other nominees.
Nonetheless, here are five blogs I read that I can safely say make me "think" on a regular basis. And by "think," I mean that they are all written by such intelligent, insightful people that I feel I have to be at the very top of my intellectual game just to keep up with them and not look like the drooling moron I really am:
Patum Peperium - You cross the divine Mrs. P at your own peril. And did I mention she's divine?
Man About Mayfair - Wing Commander Sir Basil Seal, KCB, etc., the 21st Century answer to Evelyn Waugh.
The Colossus - I've been learning an awful lot about Faith reading him of late.
Naked Villainy - How could any list like this be complete without the Maximum Leader?
The Cake Eater Chronicles - I've admired Kathy's writing since I first came across it. I admire her even more now for her shear guts.
Anyhoo, there you have my nominees. I invite Steve-O, Gary and (if he has a moment) the LMC to contribute their own as well.
In the meantime, as a special treat and lest you think our heads are going to start swelling round here, I bring you this videoclip showing what really goes on inside LlamaButcher HQ:
Gratuitous Llama Literary Crankiness
Fred Barnes contributes a column on McCain's ongoing and increasingly vocal support of the war effort, one of several "Hey, GOP, you may hate him for a lot of other things, but this ought to trump that" articles I've seen in the past few days.
Well, perhaps. I do think McCain is a weasel on a lot of issues. But I also think his support for victory in the war is gen-u-ine. Plus, anything that sets the MSM swallowing their collective tongues in outrage wins some points with me.
However, that's not why I post about Barnes' article here. The reason I do is its title: Hell Hath No Fury.
This is one of those misquotes that drives me absolutely batty. The real quote is a line from a play by William Congreve (The Mourning Bride, to be exact) and runs:
"Heav'n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn'd,
Nor Hell a Fury, like a Woman scorn'd."
I wish to goodness people would get this right. Not only is the modern mangling misinformed, it grates on my tender Llama ears as well. "Hell hath," indeed.
Curse Of Bobby Kennedy Watch - UPDATE
Steve-O muses dreamily below on the '67 Sawx, but I can top that one as the Nats, having been spanked by Atlanta last evening, now stand with the worst record in the league at 1-7 and at the bottom of the heap in just about any statistical category you care to name, and are starting to be compared already with the '62 Mets:
"We were pretty weak today," Acta said. "We got four hits, three of them were bloopers, so it doesn't matter what our guys do on the mound. We still have to get something going with the offense and put some runs on the board. We are still waiting for that lead. We haven't gotten a lead yet. That's a record pace."
In some ways, Acta is just like Casey Stengel, who managed those '62 Mets. He puts on a positive spin, even if the team is losing. Acta will tell you that his players are still pulling for one another and that it's too early to panic.
However, Church can't hide the fact that his team is pressing to score runs and win ballgames.
"The biggest thing is to not get down on ourselves. We might be pressing a little too much," Church said. "We just have to go out and play our game, and we'll be fine. We have to rely on [one another]. If I can't do it, the next guy will. If we just take it that way, we'll be all right. It's just a matter of time."
Yeah, well given that the Braves are en fuego at the moment, I'm guessing they'll sweep the next two games as well. Then the Nats go on to a tre at Shea Stadium and come back home to face the Braves again. I'm not saying they're certain to end that run at 1-14, but I wouldn't lay too much money against it either.
"Aaaaaaaah, hahahaha!!!!! Maaaaaanny!! Maaaanny, ah, Aaaaaatttaaa!!!
Even though, ah, this is yaw lawst year at, ah, RFK, did I, ah, not say that I, ah, would make it, ah, a veritable eternahty of, ah, pain?
Believe it, ah, beyotch!"
The Material Girl And Limousine Liberalism
Oddly enough, I was mulling these very issues while getting dressed this morning:
The stars of a major Live 8-style concert to raise awareness of climate change have been condemned as hypocrites for failing to lead environmentally friendly lives themselves.
The likes of Madonna and Red Hot Chili Peppers will perform at Live Earth at Wembley Stadium on July 7, yet campaigners say they are among the least "green" individuals on the planet.
More than 100 rock and pop stars will perform during the 24-hour live concert.
But green campaigners called the stars' involvement hypocritical last night saying their lifestyles which demand they jet themselves and their huge entourages on world tours give them enormously large carbon footprints.
Last year, for example, they report how Madonna flew as many as 100 technicians, dancers, backing singers, managers and family members on a 56-date world tour in private jets and commercial airliners.
Madonna herself also has a collection of fuel-guzzling cars, including a Mercedes Maybach, two Range Rovers, Audi A8s and a Mini Cooper S. Yet she will headline the London concert to "combat the climate crisis".
"Madonna's Confessions tour produced 440 tonnes of CO2 in four months of last year. And that was just the flights between the countries, not taking into account the truckloads of equipment needed, the power to stage such a show and the transport of all the thousands of fans getting to the gigs.
"The Red Hot Chili Peppers produced 220 tonnes of CO2 with their private jet alone over six months on their last world tour which was 42 dates.
"The average a British person produces is 10 tonnes a year," said John Buckley, managing director-of CarbonFootprint.com.
He added: "It's great for the celebrities to come out and support the cause, but they then have to follow it up in their own lifestyles.
"We should now keep a close eye on whether Madonna and the others makes any changes to their own lifestyle.
"Perhaps her next world tour will be performed in one venue, but broadcast to billions over the internet."
Why stop there? If we're calculating carbon footprints here, why not also include all the resources and energy that go into the recording, production, distribution and playing of the jagillions of CDs, DVD's and whatnot that these people put out every year? To say nothing of all the ancillary tie-ins? I would posit that if Gloooooobal Waaaaaaarming!!! is as dire a man-made threat as AlGore &c routinely tell us, then the entire entertainment industry is a fearful waste that we, as a planet, can no longer afford.
When Madonna sells her worldly goods, moves into a hut and begins to spend her days minding free-range chickens and working rice paddies by hand, then she can come tell me what an awful threat to the environment my quiet little life is.
Until then, she can shut the hell up.
Sawx Nation Update: Impossible Dream 1967 team reunion
BOSTON -- The Back Bay Fens were a baseball backwater when Gary Bell and Lee Stange visited Boston in 1965 as teammates on the Cleveland Indians. At the time, Boston was just another tour stop for American League pennant contenders. Bell and Stange remember coming into a near-empty Fenway Park during September's dog days and seeing the usual group of gamblers isolated in their customary right-field bleacher seats, wagering on foul balls and strike calls.
"There couldn't have been 5,000 people here," Stange said.
Two years later, Stange and Bell played before legions of Boston faithful on the same grounds, this time as a pair of Red Sox. Each was moved by the Indians in separate trades -- Stange in '66, Bell in '67 -- and each, as critical components of the 1967 Boston pitching rotation, helped the Red Sox realize their Impossible Dream.
The Red Sox honored their 1967 predecessors, who went from ninth to first place in the American League until they lost to Bob Gibson's Cardinals in the World Series, in a stirring ceremony at Fenway Park before Tuesday's home opener.
One by one, beginning with Triple Crown winner Carl Yastrzemski, 23 men from the Impossible Dream team emerged in period uniforms from behind a gigantic American flag, which unfurled from the top of the Green Monster.
Former stars Reggie Smith, Rico Petrocelli and Mike Andrews took their fielding positions as Lawrence, Mass., native Robert Goulet crooned the lyrics to the song, "The Impossible Dream." Billy Conigliaro, who played for the Red Sox from 1969-71, represented his late older brother, Tony, whose promising career was derailed by a beaning in August 1967.
After a brief organ interlude, manager Dick Williams emerged from the Green Monster and the crowd roared, a moment of spirited vindication for the skipper and his team. Although widely celebrated by fans for "bringing baseball back" to Boston, as Yastrzemski said in a media session after the celebration, the Impossible Dream Sox had not assembled as many members together at Fenway since the year they won the pennant.
Forty years later, Red Sox Nation stretches from coast to coast -- and well beyond.
"Before '67, there wasn't a Red Sox Nation, I can tell you that," Yastrzemski said.
Case in point: the Sox completed their 20th straight year in 1966 without an American League pennant. After the retirement of Ted Williams in 1960, yearly attendance had hovered around 800,000, well below the league average and a fraction of last year's turnout of 2,930,588.
In 1967, a meager 8,234 fans showed up for the Sox home opener. And "that was a big crowd," Yastrzemski said with a laugh.
On Tuesday, after yet another phase of renovation -- this year, engineers found a way to fit bleacher seats high above the right-field corner, naming the section "Conigliaro's Corner" -- fans packed storied Fenway, which now holds 38,805.
As a kid, we had the LP homage to that season that we wore out numerous record needles listening to.
Remind me to never make fun of American Civil War reenactors as being creepy.
THIS is creepy.
Hitting the road
I'm heading out later this morning to Chicago to attend a conference: so if you're in O'Hare today, and see a rather large assemblage of middle-aged dudes wearing dockers and never worn outside sneakers with bad combovers, you know the annual migration of political scientists has returned.
In the meantime, I'm soliciting Chicago dining suggestions. I'm staying at the Palmer House Hilton, so I'm looking for the downtown loop area, but I'm more than willing to get on the El.
I do like visiting Bacinos over on Wacker for great pizza, and there's a chinese place on Ontario in a basement that I'm particularly fond of. But variety is a blessed thing, so if anyone has any suggestions drop them into the Tasty Bits Mail Sack.
We're rapidly approaching our big milestone of the Millionth Visitor to the LLamabutchers sometime later this week. The winner will received an autographed LLamabutchers Thong, of course. More important than the traffic, we are also rapidly approaching our ten thousandth post between here and the old place. I want to do a longer retrospective for that milestone.
Yip! Yip! Yip!
April 10, 2007
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Scientific Inquiry Division
Robbo Llama - not just a father, a statistic!
A study published in this week's online edition of Environmental Health Perspectives reports that during the past thirty years, the number of male births has decreased each year in the U.S. and Japan. In a review of all births in both countries, the University of Pittsburgh-led study found significantly fewer boys being born relative to girls in the U.S. and Japan, and that an increasing proportion of fetuses that die are male. They note that the decline in births is equivalent to 135,000 fewer white males in the U.S. and 127,000 fewer males in Japan over the past three decades and suggest that environmental factors are one explanation for these trends.
"The pattern of decline in the ratio of male to female births remains largely unexplained," said Devra Lee Davis, Ph.D., M.P.H., lead investigator of the study, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute's Center for Environmental Oncology and professor of epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. "We know that men who work with some solvents, metals and pesticides father fewer baby boys. We also know that nutritional factors, physical health and chemical exposures of pregnant women affect their ability to have children and the health of their offspring. We suspect that some combination of these factors, along with older age of parents, may account for decreasing male births."
Uh, oh - it looks like all those model airplane cement fumes I inhaled as a loner teenager have come back to haunt me.
It is an oddity though - including my sister, the ratio of males to females in the four or five generations of my line up to my own has been something like 10 to 1. However, my brother and I between us have produced five daughters and just one son. (My sister has a daughter too, although that wouldn't count here.)
When the eldest Llama-ette was born, we were positively gob-smacked, having just assumed she would be a boy. By the time the third Llama-ette came along, I was over any such surprise, realizing by then that God was simply granting the wish I had cherished during all those loner teenaged years that I could someday be one of those guys surrounded by fabulous babes.
Lesson: Be very careful what you wish for.
Yips! to Dean.
Best Science Nerd Comment--of all time!
Over at Hot Air:
Click your heels three times and say, there’s no place like HD209458b. There’s no place like HD209458b. There’s no place like HD209458b.
Be careful what you wish for
Last night, in passing I made the joking reference that with her current obssession with the movie Grindhouse, Sadie Lou at AgentBedHead was becoming woefully deficient in her postings about British slackrock junkie ne'er do well Pete Doherty.
Well, I think my comments pinched her like a needle to the vein, and now it's wall to wall semi-nekkid junkies over there.
Good thing I didn't remark at all about her sad neglect of all things Hasselhoff, particularly in the manscaping context. Sheesh, could you imagine what would have happened then?
My Gawd In Heaven!
It's the Wordsworth Rap:
A meditation on the enduring beauty of daffodils, it is not an obvious subject for the macho, posturing world of rap music.
Cumbria Tourism, which has released the new version of "I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud" to mark the 200th anniversary of the original, hopes the rap and accompanying video will appeal to the "YouTube generation".
What the foremost Lake Poet will make of the new version remains unclear.
The team responsible claims it stays true to the sentiment of the original, but Wordsworth purists may be shocked by the reference to daffodils "tossing up their heads like a pogo dance", and the hip-hop greeting "check it" thrown in near the start.
"Retina" is rhymed with "etcetera", not a word Wordsworth used frequently in his verse.
And the line "A poet could not but be gay" is dropped in favour of feeling "bright like sunbeam", perhaps in acknowledgement of the word's modern meaning, and the homophobia of hip-hop culture.
Even more bizarrely, the new version is accompanied by a pop video in which a giant squirrel - MC Nuts - mouths the words on the banks of Lake Ullswater.
It was while he was passing Ullswater on a stormy day that Wordsworth saw a "host of golden daffodils" which inspired the work.
A Cumbria Tourism spokesman said: "Wordsworth's Daffodils poem has remained unchanged for 200 years and to keep it alive for another two centuries we wanted to engage the YouTube generation who want modern music and amusing video footage on the web.
"Hopefully this will give them a reason to connect with a poem published in 1807 as well as with the works of Wordsworth and the stunning landscape of the Lake District."
You can follow the link to read the new "relevant" version and to see a video of it being "performed" by "MC Nut," the supposed "mascot" of the Lake District. (BTW, who knew there was a Lake District mascot? And some yobbo dressed up in a giant red squirrel costume, no less! This is what's left of Arthur's Kingdom?)
In the meantime, I'll be curled up over in the corner, feebly twitching and muttering, "O, tempora! O, mores! O, yo-yo-yo!"
Coldest April In U.S. In 113 Years
According to Weather Trends International.
Gee, I hope the tempurature goes back up in time for the Global Warming "Jive Aid" Concerts.
Gratuitous Hee Haw Birthday Salute
I notice from Wikipedia that today is the anniversary of the birth of Junior Samples in 1926 in Cumming, Georgia.
It is an indication of my extremely warped background that for all the Frasier Crane-like pontificating I do on subjects of culchah here and elsewhere, I still find myself sometimes saying, "The numbah t' cawl is BR Fahv Foah Nahn."
It's a complicated life.
Robbo the Father
Have to admit, there's much to this.
UPDATE: Speaking of such things (and also from the same source), here's the latest on the legal battle between the Diocese of Virginia and the Secessionist Parishes:
First, on February 22, and again on March 8, our lawyers wrote to the lawyers for The Episcopal Church and for the Diocese, asking that everyone agree to suspend all pending actions in law and other legal proceedings until after September 30, just as the primates of the Anglican Communion directed in their February 19 Tanzania Communique. Both TEC and the Diocese rejected this request and indicated that they intend to proceed with their lawsuits. Copies of this correspondence have been posted on our web site at www.TheFallsChurch.org.
Second, on March 23, a three-judge panel appointed by the Virginia Supreme Court conducted a telephone conference with lawyers for our church, for our sister ADV churches, for the Diocese, and for TEC. The panel indicated that it would grant the applications filed by our lawyers and those filed by the Diocese and TEC to consolidate all of the legal proceedings pending in various Virginia county courts into a single case in the Fairfax County courts. We expect that an order regarding consolidation will be issued by the panel sometime in the next several weeks, and that a single judge from Fairfax County will then be designated to hear consolidated cases.
Third, on March 12, lawyers for our church and for our sister churches filed with the Virginia courts our responses to the lawsuits filed by the Diocese. These responses asked that the courts dismiss the lawsuits for a variety of legal reasons and also that, even if the lawsuits were to go forward, that the vestry members and others named as individual defendants be dismissed because there is no valid legal reason for suing them. No schedule for arguing these matters in the courts has yet been set, but we expect this will occur after these cases are all consolidated in Fairfax County. Copies of these court filings have also been posted on our web site.
Finally, lawyers for The Episcopal Church have indicated that they intend to proceed with their lawsuit in Fairfax County against our church, our ADV sister churches, and more than 200 individuals, named and unnamed (primarily vestry members and trustees of these churches). They and our counsel have agreed that our responses to these lawsuits will be due in mid-April.
Hmph. As Lawrence of Arabia said of the Turkish column his Beduins caught out on the flats, "No prisoners."
Easter, being both the Highest Holiday and the first one my family has celebrated since Dad passed on, was quite interesting from a spiritual standpoint this year. On Good Friday, I floated to the gathered company the fact that I was toying with swimming the Tiber and the roof just about came down on me. (I've always known Mom was a Proddy, but I had no notion of just how passionate she was about it.) Then on Sunday, as we met after the Recessional, another extremely conservative member of my Church noted that after such a sublime service (which it was), it was awfully hard not to forgive a lot of other things. Couple these with the fact that several other members of my Church have approached me with the plea to stay and fight and, if nothing else, I recognize that the calculus of What To Do is extremely complicated.
Oh, well. Just as physical exercise is good for the body and intellectual exercise good for the mind, I like to think that all the effort I've started putting into sorting out spiritual matters is also strengthening the old soul. Sooner or later, I reckon I'll figure it all out.
April 09, 2007
Agent Bed Head goes on the offensive
Let me state that it is I, Esteban the LLamabutcher, who has been crank-emailing Sadie at Agent Bed Head to stop posting about teh movie Grindhouse. Because since she went into fangirl mode a week ago, there's been a disturbing 72% drop in posting about Pete Doherty. And that's just making Baby Jeebus cry.
24 Liveblog: CRISIS Indeed faces the nation
And let me personally express my extreme jealousy at Mr. Barry for owning the top spot on Google for
Audrey is a noxious ho 24
at least for now.
Laugh while you can, monkey boy!
UPDATE: PERIMETER!!! AIIIIIIGGHHHH!
Audrey RETURNS! FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON!!!!!!
From IMDB---kind of like the trick thing with the Starbuck chick on Battlestar not listing her in the credits to hide the fact that she's really a man!!! or that she was actually alive or something.
UPDATE: MAYBE THIS WON'T BE SUCH A BAD THING
I've been assured by industry insiders that now that they are to the always funky midnight hour, they are finally going to explore that little Sapphic side involving Chloe, Audrey, and the CTU bomb-sniffing robot.
Because nothing says 21st century loving quite like a bomb-sniffing robot named Ron Jeremy.
Connecticut legislature moves towards adopting official state punk song
Alexis de Tocqueville Award winner for the week:
State of the Song Will Connecticut Be The First State To Adopt An Offical Punk Song? March 29, 2007 By Adam Bulger Connecticut’s official songs and dances are pretty bland. The state’s official anthem is “Yankee Doodle,” a song originally sung by British soldiers to mock Americans during the French and Indian War. Our official folk dance is the square dance, the L7-ness of which is embedded in the name.
Currently, two bills are being considered by the state government that would shore up our state’s musical heritage. Proposed Bill No. 5328 is also known as “An Act Concerning the State Polka.” Ansonia native Peter J. Danielczuk, a radio DJ who hosts polka shows on Bridgeport’s WDJZ 1530 AM and WNHU 88.7 FM, has been lobbying members of the legislature to make “Ballroom Polka” the state’s official polka song.
An instrumental written by the late polka songwriter and Windsor native Ray Henry in the mid ’60s, “Ballroom Polka” has evidently become a standard for polka musicians.
“It was written by one of the all-time greats that just happens to be from Connecticut. It’s a standard in the polka field. It’s a great song, with a very lively beat. It’s very appropriate,” Danielczuk said.
If the bill passes, Connecticut would be the second state in America to adopt an official polka. Massachusetts adopted “Say Hello to Someone from Massachusetts” as its official polka in 1998. With 8.3 percent of the state claiming Polish heritage in the 2000 federal census, Connecticut has the third highest percentage of Polish American residents after Wisconson and Michigan, neither of which have an official polka song.
The polka song proposal led to another music-related bill. When State Planning and Development Committee Clerk Eric Stroker heard the bill, he decided Connecticut needed to be the first state to adopt an official punk-rock song.
“I’m dedicated to the idea of expanding the scope of how government looks at youth and culture,” Stroker said.
The song he’s proposing, “Connecticut Fun” — recorded in 1983 by an informal, ad-hoc group of Connecticut punk musicians recording under the name Punkestra — is pretty much the least offensive song recorded under a punk banner except for maybe the Chipmunk Punk album. It’s unabashedly pro-Connecticut, with lyrics imploring listeners to come out and enjoy punk music in the state.
Stroker is cautiously optimistic about the chances for his idea.
“I think people see the merit in it … but I don’t know if they are going to support it,” Stroker said
As a graduate of Longy Institute of Music in Cambridge, Mass., State Representative Diana Urban (D-Stonington, North Stonington) is uniquely qualified to judge the merits of “Connecticut Fun.” Her verdict: “It’s hilarious.”
“We can move something like this through the legislative process, and it gives us a chance to step back and giggle a little. I’d love this to be the state punk-rock song. If you can’t step back and have a little fun, then you’re taking yourself too seriously,” Urban said.
She said she will give a bill to adopt the song her qualified support in light of the more pressing matters the legislature needs to handle. “Would I seriously fight to get this punk-rock song as the official song of the state of Connecticut? Of course I wouldn’t,” Urban said.
According to Incas Records owner Joe Snow, who recorded the song in 1983, the song captures a seminal moment in Connecticut punk.
“The recording of that song was probably the single most unifying moment in Connecticut music history,” Joe Snow said.
Via Dave Barry, of course.
The question is, if you were to write a Punk Song about the great State of Connecticut, what would the lyrics be? Tom P. (South Windsor and West Hartford)? Gary (I'm going to go out on a limb and guess Enfield)? Keith S. (Ridgefield)? Resident Connecticut hater and general all-around mad-scientist and former punk Shawn (Concord, NH)? Scott "Really, I aint no serial killer" Peterson (Simsbury)? Uncle Lou (East Lyme), Uncle Joe (Stonigton & Niantic), Gramps (Groton)? The original LLamabutcher himself (Essex)? Take it away!
Personally---and this is just me talking here (East Lyme & Middletown)---when I mash the thoughts of "Connecticut" and "official state punk song" together, what pops out is "Beige Sunshine" by the Dead Milkmen:
Cheese is the one thing that's indestructable
How much of your Blue Cross is deductable?
Open your eyes to a wicked surprise
You'll lose your mind if you just step inside
They say even Bambi was corruptible
The flu's coming, yes are you susceptible?
If only traces of lead were detectable
Open your brain to a new kind of pain
Just step inside and we'll all go insane
Please put your thoughts inside a receptacle
You are not one of us your pipes are leaking
You are an ocelot what are you seeking?
Baboons they say say are quite interesting
Ships without rudders aren't wort commanding
Open your skull to a world that is dull
You'll find it all when you shop at the mall
People like you are not worth reprimanding
I think you need some help
I think you're way off course
Maybe you need a little breather
You should get down off your horse
Look up into the sky
Try to catch your racing thoughts
Before they burn up in the sun
Take a walk
Sit in your walking chair and breathe...
Welcome to your head
Tripping on Wonder Bread
Peer into the edge of time
See the endless light
Realize there is no time
There is only light
Feel the heat of the moment
Feel the heat of the now
Feel the heat of the beige sunshine
In the back of your mind, and breathe...
Because, let's face it: any punk song that begins with deductability questions involving Blue Cross/Blue Shield just screams Connecticut.
This is for you, Shawn: never let it be said I can't toss a Moonbat some love.
Chariot of Ire
The good people of Monteleone di Spoleto are trying to get the Met to fork over a 2600 year old Etruscan chariot it has spent the last ten years and Lawd knows how much money restoring.
"I am sorry for the Met, which has done a great job, but the chariot is ours and is part of our identity," said Nando Durastanti, the mayor, who will lead a march in Rome to urge the Italian government to take action on behalf of the village.
Monteleone's villagers also plan to protest outside the US embassy in Rome, under a banner reading: "We want our chariot back!"
To use an Italian expression of Signore Durastanti, "E pazzo." The chariot dates from the mid-500's B.C. Etruscan culture was totally subsumed by the rise of Rome within the next couple hundred years. And the Etruscans themselves (together with the other tribes of the Italian Peninsula) have been overrun by race migrations of Celts, Goths and other groups any number of times since then. These people really are no more Etruscans than I am.
As to whether the chariot was improperly filched from the Italian guv'mint under more modern, nationalistic-based legal claims, apparently the protesters don't have much of a leg to stand on.
Barry Zito Watch Update
Seven year contract...$126 million
Option for an eighth year...$18 million
Seeing this overpaid chump earn an 8.18 ERA after only two starts at home?
Samantha Fox Statue Idea Scrapped
A little over two weeks ago, it was reported that the country of Serbia had plans to...ahem...erect a statue in honor of the 80's pop bombshell.
Plans for a statue of former page three girl Samantha Fox in Serbia have been scrapped.
The tribute was ditched after she snubbed fans and then failed to turn up for a ministerial dinner staged in her honour after a concert in Serbia.
The former pin-up said: "The crowd made rude comments about my breasts."
The British singer had stormed off after the gig in the central Serbian town of Cacak after the crowd started singing a chant about wanting to see her breasts.
Local media said the hall she had played in had been only half full and the audience had made it clear they were not there to hear her sing.
Fans had last month said they were planning the statue in Cacak because they thought she was an idol who deserved a proper monument to her talents.
Now the plans have reportedly been scrapped after the backers pulled out following the concert.
Now if you read the original story, it seems pretty clear exactly what "talents" they were most interested in honoring.
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."
Famous attributes, indeed!
Another Easter Come And Gone
And now I've officially switched off the "Happy Llama Easter" skin.
My eyes just couldn't take it anymore. Feel free to follow suit.
Dayum, am I tired.
In addition to the waves of family and friends who rolled through Orgle Manor over the Easter weekend, being sucessively wined, dined, bedded down and cleaned up after, I was up at 4:30 Ack Emma today to put Mom on a plane back to Maine and to take the Missus and the Llama-ettes to the White House Easter Egg Roll. (Where, I can tell you, I froze my hooves off. However, everybody said it was much better than last year, during which it poured). I'll post some pics later if they turned out half-way decent.
Meanwhile, I could use one serious nap.
3-3 and heading home
Remind me why I will ever have to read a sports columnist again from the Boston Globe?
The Cinderalla Story
Stuff like this makes it easy to forget the pre-packaged and planned travesty that was the NCAA Tournament this year. Boswell on the Zach Johnson victory at Augusta:
For symmetry, both Woods and Johnson are 31. Woods's wife expects their first child in July while Johnson's wife gave birth to a son in January. There, the similarities end. Woods played golf on national TV at age 2 and won the Masters in '97 at age 21. At that time, Johnson was the second-best golfer at Drake University. After graduating in '98, he had to pass the hat among local backers just to play the Hooters Tour.
"I didn't have very much . . . no money. Looking back, it's amazing where I came from," said Johnson, who began the day in a three-way tie for fourth place, then shot 69 to pass Woods, who began tied for second. "I thought playing the Hooters Tour would be the greatest days of my life, chicken wings and everything."
In 2001, the year Woods completed his Tiger Slam, Johnson came to the Masters -- as a spectator. His best friend, Vaughn Taylor, a pro from Augusta, "scrounged up some tickets," Johnson said. "I told myself I'd never come here unless I was playing," Johnson said. "But I came out on a Monday. I just walked the golf course. My mouth was agape. I was in awe. . . . You don't see this on the mini-tours."
Slowly, the compact 160-pound Johnson, who has the short-haired, square-jawed Matt Damon look, improved his golf game. "I kept going because every year I got better," he says. Then, finally, he was truly excellent. On the 2003 Nationwide Tour, he actually won $494,882 in the bush leagues with his straight drives, crisp irons and precise putting. In the past three seasons on the PGA Tour, he won $6.7 million and made the 2006 U.S. Ryder Cup team, going 1-2-1 for the team that was trounced in Ireland.
Finally, on Sunday, after never finishing higher than 17th in a major championship, Johnson found himself in "an almost surreal place." He was not only playing in the third-to-last group in the Masters, but he was paired with -- Vaughn Taylor, that old friend who also had worked his way up to the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
April 07, 2007
End of Round Three at Augusta, Tiger's one stroke back.
Here's the third round liveblog.
Glaciers in April Update
Quick---somebody break out the Drudge Siren!!!! Sarah over at Herding Turtles is having a Peony Crisis!
Fortunately, there is apparently a Peony Crisis Hotline.
One word, and one word only: Relief.
Meanwhile, in the Great North Woods, recently transplanted Kelly at Kelly's Green is blogoliciously waxing stoically about the Easter Blizzard, complete with wonderful pics and knitting goodness. D's Pirate Hat is done, and a pensively grateful nation finally exhales.
Liveblogging the Masters
And here's the Leader board. Tiger's coming on strong.
Of course, that requires this:
Oh what the heck: Gunga, gunga dalunga.
IT'S THE END OF THE FRACKIN' WORLD!!! THE GLACIERS ARE COMING!!! THE GLACIERS ARE COMING!!!
From the Tasty Bits Mail Sack:
...SNOW ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 10 AM EDT SATURDAY...
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A SNOW ADVISORY...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 10 AM EDT SATURDAY.
A LATE SEASON SNOW IS EXPECTED TO DEVELOP LATE THIS EVENING AS LOW PRESSURE DEEPENS OFF THE DELMARVA COAST...WITH THE HEAVIEST SNOW EXPECTED TO OCCUR BETWEEN 2 AND 6 AM. BY THE TIME THE SNOW ENDS SATURDAY MORNING...ONE TO TWO INCHES CAN BE EXPECTED NEAR WASHINGTON DC...WITH THREE TO PERHAPS FIVE INCHES POSSIBLE ALONG THE CHESAPEAKE BAY COASTLINE OF ST MARYS AND CALVERT COUNTIES.
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.
No comment from the Gorebot.
Great movie idea: The Pasturized
If it weren't happening to him and his neighbors, Joe Amons would think it was "funny as all get-out."
But there's nothing amusing about dressing for work and then stepping in a cow pie on the way to the car. Or finding your ornamental grass and pretty bougainvilleas munched down to the nubs. Or waking up to the jarring sound of, "Moooo!"
This is the nightmare that some Tampa Palms homeowners have been dealing with for four months: Cows. Lots of them. Trampling all over their nice lawns and destroying plants in their gated townhouse community called Palma Vista
First they come for your landscaping, then they come for you:
Woman speaks of cow attack horror The cows surrounded the woman in a 'scrum' A woman has told how she was attacked by cows as she walked along a footpath in a Derbyshire field. Judy Merryfield from Ashford-in-the Water was trampled by the herd as she walked her dog near Little Longstone.
She suffered a punctured lung, broken ribs and severe bruising to her face when she was knocked down, kicked and stamped on by the cows.
Farmers warn that new right to roam rules will increase the risk of animals and people being injured.
I was clutching my stomach and gasping - it felt as though it was going to split open
Judy Merryfield, cow attack victim
Ms Merryfield said the cows set upon her and her dog Rosie, who was on a lead, during the attack earlier this year.
"Before I knew it one of the cows actually started charging towards me," she said.
"The next thing I knew I was flat on my back, there was a great amount of bellowing and the many other cows joined in.
"I found myself in what felt like a scrum being butted and kicked.
"The first cow charged at me again, bellowing in my face and jumped on my stomach at which point I screamed as I was in a lot of pain."
The scream frightened off the herd and Ms Merryfield managed to escape.
"I was clutching my stomach and gasping - it felt as though it was going to split open."
Attacks of this nature are extremely rare, according to experts in the field.
Jim Turvey, farm manager at Brackenhurst Agricultural College in Nottinghamshire said: "In general cows are placid, gentle creatures, in 24 years I've never been hurt by one or felt threatened by one.
"But, I have seen them go for dogs and it's a problem that is going to get worse with the right to roam, farmers and walkers are going to have to bear it in mind.
"You can't stop people walking their dogs along footpaths."
Ms Merryfield was rushed to hospital in Chesterfield where she was treated for her injuries.
She is now warning other walkers to be more careful, advising that cows with calves are "particularly aggressive".
Eat mor chikin, indeed.
Then there's this: the Great American Spy Cow
What is the American Spy Cow and the MFAOP? The American spy cow is the newest addition to a series of radio controlled robotic farm animals which were developed by Armorobotech Weapons, Inc. for the US Army's Military Farm Animal Operations Program or MFAOP to innocently walk into enemy territory where they would be mistaken for real harmless farm animals. The program was first used during the gulf war when explosive chickens were used to attack people and buildings in enemy cities. After the war MFAOP was used by the FBI to track down and chase dangerous criminals.
Definitely not for the kiddies: what the Easter Bunny does the other 364 days of the year. Think "The Departed."
A thing of beauty, except they needed to set it to the sound of "Sabotage" by the Beastie Boys.
April 06, 2007
Gratuitous Exiles from Sawx Nation Blogging
After just one start, John Buck believes Daisuke Matsuzaka is ace-quality. Mixing several pitches for consistent strikes, Matsuzaka delivered a terrific performance in his Major League debut against the Royals on Thursday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium. The Japanese phenom struck out 10 hitters over seven innings and allowed just one run in a 4-1 Red Sox victory.
Matsuzaka threw fastballs, sliders, changeups, cutters and several pitches that the Royals couldn't identify during his outing.
"Usually all of the No. 1's are guys who can do that," Buck said of Matsuzaka's arsenal and pinpoint control. "They have the ability to have three or four pitches, so even if they make a mistake they can get swings and misses.
That's kind of the stuff that he has."
Other than leadoff man David DeJesus, no other Royal had more than one hit. DeJesus singled to left to start the bottom of the first and homered just inside the right-field foul pole in the sixth.
What was the pitch he hit out?
"I think it was a gyroball," DeJesus said with a laugh. "I know a gyro is a Greek sandwich. No, it was a fastball inside and I hit out. I hit a line drive and I didn't think it was going to go."
I love that bit about the gyroball.
38 UPDATE: Hoss dissects his loss at KC. Fascinating stuff---Dan Shaughnessy and his ilk should be quaking in their boots at this. I was wondering how Schilling would handle blogging about a loss, particularly on opening day. The answer? About what you would expect from Schilling: funny, honest, insightful, and right on the money. It's a long season, and it's going to be a fun one..
Gratuitous Buck Blogging
After a heavy dose of Ardala in “Escape From Wedded Bliss”, Buck is assigned to protect a beauty queen in:
Ep. 1.13 “Cruise Ship To The Stars (12/27/79)
Poor Buck, he always gets the unpleasant duties. On the space cruise ship “Lyran Queen”, he’s charged with being essentially a bodyguard for Miss Cosmos, a woman who is believed to be the most genetically perfect, while on her way to Earth. Why protection? Well, her perfect DNA makes her a candidate for kidnapping.
Playmate of the Year - 1980
Miss Cosmos (there is no mention of a real name that I can recall) is played by former Playboy Playmate of the Year Dorothy Stratton. Stratton would soon go on to star in the sci-fi movie, Galaxina. Tragically, she was murdered by her psycho ex-husband shortly thereafter. Stratton’s life-story was made into a number of films, most notably “Star 80” with Mariel Hemingway and “Death of a Centerfold” which starred Jamie Lee Curtis (another Buck Rogers guest star).
Dorothy Stratton as "Galaxina"
So Buck, Wilma and Twiki (carrying Dr. Theopolis around his neck) board the Lyran Queen for their mission. Miss Cosmos – a genetically perfect woman - is highly interested in Buck, a 500- year old man. “Think of the permutations,” she muses. As Buck looks her over, he’s more likely thinking of the positions. But there’s no time for that right now.
Enter the kidnappers. Troubled passenger Alison Michaels is aboard the Lyran Queen for some much needed rest. She suffers from a split-personality disorder and often wakes up not knowing what has happened to her. Her boyfriend, Jay, tries to consol her but in reality he’s the force behind a kidnapping plot against Miss Cosmos. It seems Alison is unknowingly a “transmute”. That is, she doesn’t just change mentally into another person, but physically as well. In a kind of Jekyll/Hyde variation she turns into the evil Sabrina who has some impressive energy superpowers. Why Alison doesn’t have these powers is never explained. And how the Sabrina personality came about is also conveniently overlooked. It’s alluded to that Jay has done something to her that allows Sabrina to take over at will.
Jay is using them both. Alison is his alibi and Sabrina is his means of getting Miss Cosmos. But he uses his suave personality and cheesy mustache to convince Alison that he’s a supportive boyfriend and Sabrina that he’s a faithful partner in crime.
Sabrina is a blast!
There are several aspects of this episode that make it particularly amusing. First is the idea that when they kidnap Miss Cosmos, Jay and Sabrina will use a laser to cut her up so they can sell her parts on the black market. OK, now we have the benefit of knowing that if you want to sell her DNA all you’d have to do is take a blood sample (or even a saliva swab) and let science to the rest. Remember this is 1979. But then what good are decomposing body parts? The writers considered cryogenic freezing but not forensics? Whatever.
Wilma is a prominent part of he episode but frankly she’s not all that sexy here. She’s in disguise and her thick flowing locks are hidden under a permed wig. Her outfits also look like maternity dresses. Ugh. She poses as a rich passenger to try and draw out the kidnappers. We get to see 25th century dancing which involves wrapping yourself in bungee cords. Twiki even gets into the act by hooking up with a “female” ambuquad. And what is her name? Something weird like Twiki? Nah, her name is Tina. Twiki really impresses her with the moves that Buck has taught him and she responds to his “biddi-biddi-biddi” with “booty-booty”. Funny stuff.
Another observation I would make is that you would never get away with presenting a tall, thin, blonde, blue-eyed woman as “genetically perfect” these days. In fact, I can’t even imagine this kind of story line being written for 21st century television.
The actress who plays Alison, Kimberly Beck, has been a staple guest star throughout the eighties with appearances on shows like Fantasy Island, T.J. Hooker and Dynasty. She was also the lead in one of the Friday the 13th movies (the one with Corey Feldman). Sabrina is played by Trisha Noble, also a familiar face as a TV guest star. Here’s a bit of trivia I did not know. She appeared in a non-speaking role in Revenge of the Sith, as Padme’s mother Jobal Naberrie (the role on “Buck Rogers” is even listed in her bio at Starwars.com).
One last bit of miscellaneous trivia, the model used for the Lyran Queen would be recycled for Season Two as the exploration ship "The Searcher".
Episode Rating: Decent (It has such a seventies feel to it and it’s good for a few laughs). Note: this was the last episode broadcast in 1979.
Next up: My personal favorite and Erin Gray's best episode: “Space Vampire”.
The first post in this series can be found here.
13-Year Old Arrested For Writing On Her Desk
In this day and age where young students are frequently charged for serious school offenses such as possessing weapons, dealing drugs, or assaulting other students on school property, one Brooklyn teen's arrest may come as a surprise. A 13-year-old girl was handcuffed and placed under arrest in front of her classmates in Dyker Heights after she wrote "Okay" on her desk.I shudder to think of what would have happened if she written "frak".
The "suspect," Chelsea Fraser, says she's sorry for scribbling the word on her desk, but both she and her mother are shocked at the punishment.
"I'm appalled, because here we have rapists, murderers, and you're taking a 13-year-old kid? Wasting valuable manpower to arrest a child who wrote on a desk?" Fraser's mother Diana Silva told CBS 2.
Police confirm that that's exactly what's written on her arrest record and for the crime, she's been charged with criminal mischief and the making of graffiti. Fraser says the day she marked her desk, she was wrongly grouped together with troublemakers who had plastered stickers all over the classroom.
Fraser was arrested at the Dyker Heights Intermediate School on March 30 along with three other male students. She says she was made to empty her pockets and take off her belt. Then she was handcuffed and led out of the school in front of her classmates and placed in the back of a police car.
April 05, 2007
Al Gore is on to something powerful: not only has the temperature on Earth been rising the past three decades, it's been rising on Mars as well.
MOFFETT FIELD, Calif., April 5 (UPI) -- NASA scientists have found variations in the radiation reflected from the surface of Mars are contributing to climate change on that planet. Lori Fenton of the Carl Sagan Center, located at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., said the radiation variations produce increased dust transport and wind circulation, possibly causing that planet to be warming by approximately 0.65 degrees Celsius each year. That, theorize the scientists, might have in part caused the recent retreat of Mars' southern polar ice cap.
Fenton and her colleagues used predictions from a Mars global circulation model that show large swaths of the surface have darkened during the past three decades as they were swept free of dust, leading to elevated air temperatures and increased wind stresses. The authors said that that, along with other climate-influencing processes on Mars, should be considered as an important component in future atmospheric and climate studies of the planet.
It's bad enough that the Chimperor thwarted the will of humanity by deep-sixing the Kyoto Treaty from the diplomatic purgatory the Clinton White House put it in, thereby making things worse on Planet Earth, but it's also made things worse on MARS!
I mean, that's got to be the root answer, right? What else could be causing global warming?
I mean, other than that.
UPDATE: Yeah, that's the stuff!
DAMN YOU, YANKEE IMPERIALIST GRINGO CHIMPEROR, AND YOUR ECO-TERRORIST ANTI-ENVIRONMENTALIST PLANETIST PRO-MARTIAN ICE-CAP MELTING HEINLEINIST WAYS! TO HELL!!!!!!
Does "Frak" Have A Future?
In my last post, I used the word "frak" as a less offensive alternative to the grand-daddy of all curse words.
For those of you who may still be unfamiliar with this word (which is not technically a word - yet), it originated on the original Battlestar Galactica in 1979 as kind of a silly way for the characters to vent frustration and give a wink and a nod to the audience that it was intended to be a replacement for the more ominous Anglo-Saxon word, f*ck.
In the reimagined BSG, series creator Ronald D. Moore inserts it into the script every chance he can get, often to great effect. As the show has become more popular, I've noticed the word frak come up in many a blog post and email (I'm not a big IM person, but I imagine that it has shown up in that medium as well). And I got to thinking.
If the term "jump the shark" can embed itself into the lexicon of popular culture, could frak develop into a more popular alternative to f*ck than the current choices?
Stay with me here.
Usually people will replace the more taboo word with "freaking", "frigging" or even "flipping" depending on the audience that's on the receiving end of the communication. But each of these forms uses the "ing" form only. (Now I'm talking about American culture here as opposed to, say, Britain, where it's much more commonplace in everyday conversation.) There are limits to the usefulness of these words, however. You rarely hear "freak", "frig" or "flip" (either as a noun or a verb). But frak has much more versatility.
You can use the "ing" form ("are you out of your fraking mind?" or "I don't fraking care"). But you also have at your disposal the one-syllable "frak" to use either as a noun ("I don't give a frak") or a verb ("go frak yourself").
Consider the other possibilities where you can make a one-for-one swap with f*ck:
- What the frak?
- Oh, frak it!
- Holy frak!
- Frak me!
- Frak this.
- You dumb frak.
- If I hear you say that one more fraking time...
- Sorry, I fraked up.
Now, of course "frak" currently sounds strange to the ear. But, over time, familiarity would make it sound more natural.
But it also raises questions. Let's assume for the sake of argument, that "frak" really takes off, especially among the impressionable yoots.
Stay with me here. Keep an open mind.
What you would have is a word clearly meant to represent the word "f*ck" without the social stigma of it being innappropriate for polite company. But how do you interpret it? How do you react?
What do you do with a middle-school student who says it in class? How to respond to someone who you barely know who uses it? How do obscenity laws apply? Can you say it on television outside of BSG?
I mean really, what the frak?
These are the things I think about when my mind wanders.
English majors and linguists, discuss.
What Are The Writers Of "24" Thinking?
I don't mean "where are they going with this". I mean what the frak are they thinking?
The first act, episodes 1-8, got off to a good start right up until the last four snukes got armed. The second act's episodes, 9-16, have (to put it delicately) completely sucked. They've been chock full of recycled plot points, lame character interactions (Chloe/Morris, Milo/Nadia), disappearing characters (the Logans, Papa Bauer) and unimpressive story developments that push the limits of implausibility. Usually we'll accept something totally implausible as long as it's really cool.
Anybody watching the show for the first time must be scratching their head wondering "why is this show so popular"?
Here's my hope: that the writers fleshed out an awesome story but when it came time to write it out realized they only had material for about 16 episodes and came to the conclusion that they had to stretch out the story arc. So they wrote all this filler crap in the second act.
If this season doesn't take an amazing plot turn that resolves all the frustrations that have been building so far I'm going to be really disappointed.
I watched seasons 1-5 on DVD at a much faster pace than they are normally broadcast so maybe I'm glossing over story weaknesses of the past. But, honestly, this is the first time I've felt like I can DVR an episode and not care if I watch it days later.
Die Hard IV: So Die, Already
The trailor, lifted from Ace:
As a matter of fact, my favorite of the series has always been DH3, which I try to catch whenever it pops up on cable, primarily because I like the way Willis and Samuel L. Jackson work together. (Well, okay, it's really because I like the way Samuel L. Jackson works.) I also enjoy poor old Jeremy Irons, now forever trapped as a type-cast psycho villain in Hollywood, with his "keep zee bottle" renegade kraut shtick.
Where's Robbo? Update
Still dealing with the sinus thingy, plus getting ready for brother &c to land this afternoon, so light to moderate posting from me today (and now that I think about it, pretty much all the way through Easter weekend).
Dontcha just love the "co-worker" etiquette that has sprung up around sickness these days? No longer does one say, "I'm so sorry you're not well - do try to get better soon. Is there anything I can do for you?" No, instead it's, "Eww - what are you doing here? Do you want to get everyone else sick, too?"
I feel we're not far from bags over the head, hand-bells and signs reading "Unclean".
April 04, 2007
The X-Files movie is back on, with Gillian Anderson in the cast (complete with links to bona fide Agent Scully nekkid pics).
But in the spirit of Ocean's 13, shouldn't this movie be the Y-Files?
Oh, for the love of all that's holy
First it's the Canucks with their plans to militarize Santa's Village and the Island of Misfit Toys, now it's the Aussies and their plans to seize Antarctica:
AUSTRALIA claims almost half of Antarctica but has negligible capacity to fend off an interloper intent on seizing territory or pirating resources.
A paper released today by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) said Antarctica was effectively demilitarised, peaceful and with a ban on mineral resource exploration until 2048.
But attitudes could change quickly, especially as the world runs short of oil.
The report's authors, ASPI research director Dr Anthony Bergin and Antarctic cooperative research centre program leader Dr Marcus Howard, said the 1961 Antarctic Treaty effectively froze out new territorial claims, leaving only Australia and six other countries with Antarctic territory.
Australia has the largest slice - claiming 42 per cent of the Antarctic landmass covering 5.9 million square kilometres.
Dr Bergin and Dr Howard said the Antarctic treaty wasn't universally recognised, but no one actually disputed Australian sovereignty and there were no counter-claims against Australia's, unlike some others.
However, this favourable situation might not endure indefinitely and Australia could not afford to be complacent.
Antarctica possesses vast mineral wealth and substantial offshore oil reserves and there is nothing to stop any nation establishing a presence, then starting prospecting.
For example, it has been suggested Antarctic oil could become viable if dwindling world oil reserves send the price to US$200 a barrel and spark an oil rush among desperate nations.
Illegal fishing is on the rise in Antarctic waters and could eventually become uncontrollable.
In addition, Japan could quit the International Whaling Commission and embark on full-scale commercial whaling.
Dr Bergin and Dr Howard said the status quo was in Australian interests.
“There is enormous value in protecting it, but we can't be complacent that this is easy to sustain,” they said.
“Our territorial claims in Antarctica can't be defended effectively in military terms.
"We don't possess an Antarctic war-fighting capability.”
Dr Bergin and Dr Howard suggested a good first step would be to draft a white paper spelling out Australia's strategic interests and what resources should be devoted to it.
Current spending on Antarctic activities runs to a very modest $100 million a year.
There could also be a senior diplomat designated as ambassador to Antarctica and an office of Antarctic and Southern Ocean affairs within the Department of Foreign Affairs.
To be in the best position to respond to any prospecting proposal from other nations, Australia should at least have an idea what is down there.
A survey of mineral resources could be conducted by Geoscience Australia.
In one resource area, Australia could be onto a winner.
The Antarctic contains 30 per cent of the world's fresh water reserves, which Australia could market to a drought-plagued world through an iceberg harvesting industry.
Again with the seizing of the icebergs.
But to be perfectly honest, I found the article to be disturbingly lacking in blame on the Chimperor or Halliburton.
Cake baking blogging
Kelly's Green, making the style appear effortless as usual.
Sorry about the lack of posts - Mr. Sinus is in open rebellion against the body politic. The Missus found me some sooper-di-dooper drugs which make my nose, face and ears feel better, but unfortunately make it almost impossible for me to stay awake more than about ten minutes at a time.
Hopefully, I'll be better tomorrow. With my brother and his family rolling in for Easter (three very noisy kids), I cringe at what things will be like if I don't recover in a hurry.
Afternoon Double Jeopardy!
A portrait of the artist
Captain, your inter-year departmental assessment forms are out of date and need to be updated through all five columns for SACS, today, otherwise the Assessment and General Education committees are going to ask for a report filed in duplicate as to why the five column models are not complete.
DAMN YOU, SPOCK! CAN'T A MAN THINK AROUND HERE?!?!
Just another one of those bucolic days in the Ivory Tower of Doom.
Jesus v. Satan
No, this isn't a "South Park" episode. It's a story that takes place in my home State of CT.
Jesus and Satan are facing off in a horn-honking version of Armageddon, the Waterbury Republican-American reports.Could be one of the signs of the Apocalypse.
It began late last month when small-business owner Claudette Soden put up a hand-painted sign soliciting honks for Christ in front of a parking lot she shares with a tattoo parlor on Rubber Avenue in Naugatuck.
Her white "Easter: Beep for Christ" sign prompted Phil Young of No Regrets tattoos to put up a sign of his own. His black placard asked drivers to "Honk twice for ..." followed by a cartoon of a red devil, the paper said.
"His sign is not bothering me, but I know it's bothering Jesus," Soden, who runs Photos Onto DVD, told the Republican-American. "And children are going to pass by that sign and say, 'What is that? It looks like a devil.' And what are parents going to say to that?"
Young sees his addition as a complement to Christ.
"More people have been killed in the name of God than over anything else, and so I don't think people should fight about religion," he said. "Satan is part of the same religion as Christ, so it's a contrast, not a competing religion."
Honks and beeps have filled the air since God and Satan took their stands on Rubber Avenue. And it looks like it isn't going to end anytime soon.
World Series "Champs" Can't Buy A Win
For the second game in a row, the Mets ruined the ceremonial pomp and circumstance of the anemic red birds at Busch Stadium.
First, the World Series banner gets raised: Mets 6, Cards 1
Then, they hand out the World Series Rings: Mets 4, Cards 1
As ESPN points out:
The Cardinals are the first defending World Series winners in 64 years to start a season by losing their first two games and scoring a total of two or fewer runs in those games.Congrats, LaRussa! Hey, can you gin up another celebration for tonight? How about having Fred Bird the Red Bird lead the hometown sell-out crowd in a rendition of the Chicken Dance?
Good luck tonight, Looper!
Barry Zito watch:
Seven year contract...$126 million
Option for an eighth year...$18 million
Going only five innings and giving up three runs while getting only two strikeouts in your home opener...
Suck it, Zito!
Game Three: Cards LOSE 10-0!!!!! Sweep, baby!!!!!!
It's official. Tony LaRussa is Willie Randolph's bitch. After a couple of Long Island Iced Teas, of course.
April 03, 2007
Our very special absolutely heinous Easter blog skin cooked up by the nutty folks over at Apothegm Designs. Click it and cringe!
A wily coyote with a nose for toasted subs wandered into a Quizno's restaurant in the heart of the Loop Tuesday afternoon.
As CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports, the coyote is now in the care of Animal Control, much to the relief of employees at the sandwich shop.
The incident occurred at about 2 p.m. Monday. Employees say the shop's door was propped open due to the warm weather, and the coyote just wandered in and settled into the cooler.
"I jumped on top of the counter. I was a little scared. I didn't know what it was, though until I came from over the counter and it was a coyote,” said employee Ronneshia Mukes.
While mukes stayed on the counter, other employees watched the coyote try to get through an employee door as Raymundo Zavala held him off.
"It’s not in my job description, though, but yeah it was pretty odd,” Zavala said.
The animal then settled into a drink cooler, where it just sat.
"It didn't do anything, it wasn't growling or anything like that. I think it was just hurt and trying to find shelter,” said employee Bina Patel.
In the end, it took Animal Control worker Forest Drake just a few minutes to get the coyote out.
”They said it was in the Quiznos and of course I didn't believe it, and then of course you see all of this," Drake said.
When asked what he said to dispatch when they told him about the incident, he said only: "10-4."
Just another day on the job for Forest Drake.
The coyote is now being cared for at the city's shelter.
"He's approximately a year, year and a half old, and he's scared,” said Chicago veterinarian technician Jose Tapia.
"I think he wandered away from his mother and was looking for food and or refuge,” said Anne Kent, executive director of Animal Care and Control.
To be sure, a coyote in the city is unusual. But at Animal Care and Control, there are all kinds of animals.
All are looked over by a vet. In this coyote's case, he will be heading to a wildlife refuge soon.
"He will be taken to northern Illinois and released,” Kent said.
No one - including the coyote - was hurt Tuesday afternoon.
My guess is, in the future, employees will leave the front door closed.
Coyotes are no longer strangers to urban environments. They are crafty survivors, always on the hunt for food, and sometimes that means stalking pets.
Last April a coyote mauled a dog in a parking lot in Lincolnwood. That same month a coyote led Chicago animal control officers on a wild chase in Portage Park. Coyotes have even gotten in the way of planes at O’Hare Airport
And if that weren't enough, giant squid are attacking California!
They are deadly, huge and fast moving. Their tentacles can suck the life out of a human being and they've arrived in Northern California.
They are giant squid. Nobody knows why, but for three years now fishing boats out of Bodega Bay have been catching the ink spewing fish by the droves.
"They feed like a pack of wolves, and what they'll do is they will force their prey to the surface," said sport fisherman Rick Powers. "And they just get themselves into an absolute feeding frenzy. These things are literally eating machines."
And they are huge. In a photo taken by Powers, his 9-year-old daughter stands next to a squid longer than she is tall.
"They get up to about 100 pounds, (and) eight feet long! Eight feet of fighting fury," Powers said.
Giant squid make for good eating. They can be broiled, baked, fried or barbecued. And are considered a delicacy. Just know they are also cannibalistic.
And just why are the squid off Bay Area waters when they usually live off the coast of Mexico and Peru?
"We think its due to warm water," said Karl Menard, Aquatic Resources Manager for UC Davis' Bodega Marine Laboratory.
CBS asked Menard if the giant squid attacks people. "They've been known to attack people, in Mexico and down in Central America," he said. "But we have had no attacks here."
CBS then asked Menard what makes the giant squid particularly nasty. "They're just an aggressive squid," he explained.
But, apparently they make for great sport fishing.
"They are the most exciting thing to catch in the ocean," Powers said.
Thousands were spotted along the coast up until about two weeks ago. But all of a sudden the jumbo squid were gone. Nobody knows where they went, north or south. But chances are, the way the weather has been changing the last few years, they will be back.
Although I think we'll have to file the latter story under our special "Mmmmmmmm, calamari" tag.
Melissa Theuriau, up close and personal. And not amused:
She says she is amazed over her impact and the cult-like following that she has earned. "I can't explain it. Just like I can't explain why they don't leave my private life alone," she told the French TV Magazine last month. "I am absolutely not seeking this publicity." Lawyers are now trying to purge the internet of her semi-naked beach pictures, which featured in a French magazine last year.
"I welcome complements, on condition that people also talk about my professional ability," she said.
Melissa Theuriau, demonstrating some true professional ability. Go here for the animated gif.
Gary, Phin, I think she's talking about you two clowns. Because She knows my devotion is pure, baby!
Immenizing the Eschatology By Making A Buck
As regular readers will know, I've been extremely dubious about the ECUSA's getting behind the U.N.'s Millenium Development Goals project as
a way to the Way Jesus Would eradicate poverty and other nastiness around the world. To me, the problem with buying a chicken for some poor family in Ghana is that, although it might make us feel like we're Doing Something, it doesn't tackle the real root problems, which I believe to be systemic and to center around corrupt, insane and/or kleptomaniacal governments holding much of the world in thrall, utterly ignoring if not actively supressing such cornerstones of prosperity as basic property rights and the rule of law.
Over at Carpe Diem, Mark Perry quotes some statistics from "Doing Business in 2004: Understanding Regulation" by the World Bank's International Finance Corporation. See if you can spot the pattern:
Number of days to start a new business: Australia: 2 days
Venezuela: 141 days
Haiti: 203 days
Suriname: 694 days
Time to enforce a simple commercial contract:
Netherlands: 39 days
New Zealand: 109 days
Singapore: 120 days
India: 1420 days
Guatemala: 1459 days
Cost of enforcement for a simple commercial contract:
Austria, Canada and UK: Less than 1% of the disputed amount
Sweden: 5.9% of the disputed amount
U.S.: 7.7% of the disputed amount
Indonesia: 126.5% of the disputed amount
Congo: 157% of the disputed amount
Time to close a business and go through bankruptcy:
Ireland: 4 months
Japan: 5 months
Brazil: 4 years
India: 10 years
Translation: In places like Guatemala, Indonesia Suriname and the Congo, why the hell even bother trying?
Perry says this is a function of over-regulation, which is correct. However, what these numbers don't adequately indicate is the subjective and arbitrary way in which these processes are often carried out and the graft, corruption and cronyism endemic to them. (I have worked with foreign clients doing business with American regulatory bodies who were gob-smacked at how smooth and impartial the process was compared to their own experiences. In some cases, it was all I could do to only partially convince them that they didn't actually need to bribe anybody.)
It strikes me that those who really want to make an impact on world poverty would dedicate their energies to promoting impartial, transparent and minimal regulation that actually benefits private business (you know, the thing that actually, uh, generates wealth?).
Yips! to Tim Worstall.
I must have missed this when it came out. Pretty durn funny, if you ask me:
Gratuitous Buck Blogging
The show took off for the Thanksgiving break after "Cosmic Whiz Kid" and, approaching mid-season, the producers served up a second helping of a heavenly body from the pilot in:
Ep. 1.12 “Escape From Wedded Bliss” (11/29/79)
Princess Ardala is back. And she’s hornier than ever!
A lot of fans look back on the series and remember Pamela Hensley as a staple in Season One. But in reality, she only made four total appearances – the two-hour pilot movie, the two-hour season finale and two stand alone episodes, including this one.
"I've got me an itch that needs serious scratching."
I always felt a little badly for Princess Ardala. Here she is surrounded by an entire ship full of men – including her man-bitch, Kane and her eunuch bodyguard, Tiger-man. But she’s not allowed to indulge her overabundant sexuality because none of these potential baloney ponies is deemed fit to service a Draconian Princess. No wonder she’s so ornery. She’s got a fevah! And the only prescription…is Buck Rogers, who she's identified as the one specimen of man-meat closest to human perfection.
So the Princess has Kane devise a doomsday super-weapon to orbit the Earth with the threat of blowing New Chicago to smithereens unless the Defense Directorate turns over Capt. Rogers to her. She wants to make Buck her consort (for lack of a better term). Dr. Huer takes a diplomatic approach, hosting the Princess to a reception that features the gratuitous appearance of electronic-disco performers on roller skates. The roller boogie routine fails to impress Ardala, however, and she gives the Earth her ultimatum: Buck or “boom-boom”.
Now of course Dr. Huer and the Computer Council (remember those blinking smiley-faces?) don’t want to submit to this extortion but the idea of being reduced to a smoldering rubble kind of makes the decision a no-brainer. Buck decides to play along, biding his time until he inevitably figures a way out of this situation. And, hey, what’s the worse than can happen? He’ll have to have sex with a beautiful nymphomaniac? No sweat, right?
Oh, if it were only that simple. It seems that being married to Princess Ardala comes with a catch. He will have to wear a tight, though decorative, collar to identify him as her mate. That’s humiliating enough, but this is no mere gimp accessory we’re talking about. If Buck sufficiently pisses off the Princess she can activate the termination mode of the collar, which will shrink itself to one-half its size and choke Buck to death. If that doesn’t cause you performance anxiety I don’t know what will.
But before they even get to that part, Buck will have to prove his manliness in a fight to the death with Tiger-man. Now I don’t know where this dude got this name from but to be honest I think “Pussy-man” might have been more appropriate because Buck has very little trouble righteously beating his ass. Tiger-man seems to be particularly vulnerable to kicks to the chest, something the average fighter would no doubt use as an opportunity to grab the attacker’s leg and slam him into the wall. This technique, however, is lost on the bald, burly bodyguard. Anyway, Buck has the opportunity to snuff out Tiger-man but he spares his life. Ardala bends the rules that require the fight be to the death and the wedding is on.
Gil Gerard's stunt double clearly has a thicker head of hair than he does.
Before the collar can be put into place, Buck pulls this smoke bomb from a concealed "area" of his person and escapes. Being so proficient in Draconian technology, he finds the control room for the weapon and destroys it. Tiger-man feels he owes his life to Buck and helps him escape – though admittedly Ardala does very little to stop him, which is a bit of a stretch. Granted the threat from the weapon is gone but I suppose the idea of holding Buck against his will just seems to the Princess to be no fun anymore. But don't worry. This won't be last we’ll see of her.
I didn’t really mention the character of Kane back in “Awakening” mostly because he was played by actor Henry Silva, who never appeared in the role again. Michael Ansara took over the part of Kane for the remainder of the series. One of his other famous sci-fi roles was in the original Star Trek, as Klingon commander Kang. And for a really obscure pop cultural reference, remember that episode of "I Dream of Jeannie" when they went to Hawaii and Jeannie conjured up the incarnation of King Kamehameha? Yep, that was Michael Ansara.
"Oh yeah, I taught Shatner everything he knows."
Ansara brought a bit more depth to Kane and often made you wonder how much authority he really had and whether or not he just let Ardala just think she was in control. I always got the impression that ultimately he took orders from her father and acted as more of a failsafe in case she ever went off the deep end. If this was the case, though, he certainly gave her plenty of slack.
Episode rating: Decent (unless your whole reason for watching the show is to see as much of Pamela Hensley as you can, in which case consider this one a “Must See”).
Next up: Buck Rogers meets a Playmate of the Year in “Cruise Ship To The Stars”.
The first post in this series can be found here.
Cherubim and Seraphim Watch
Ha! Contrary to what some of you snark-meisters might think, I'm not the only one 'round here interested in early Baroque music.
Gail over at Scribal Terror dropped a note in the Tasty Bits (TM) Mail Sack with a link to the webpage of Gravitación, the faculty medieval and renaissance vocal ensemble of Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. Gail tells me these people are virtually unknown outside of central Illinois. The page includes some sample tracks from their first CD and from what I've heard, they deserve a much wider recognition.
Go on over and have a listen. If you likey, consider buying a copy. I know I will.
Isn't it amazing that such high quality performers can be found in such out of the way locations? This isn't the only example I've come across - drop in on local church recitals, small town concerts or even Renaissance Festivals and you'd be quite surprised by how good some of the singers and/or players can be. (I'm thinking in terms of early music here, but the phenomenon is hardly confined to it.)
I have absolutely no proof for it whatever, but my sense is that we live in an era of musickal scholarship and performance practice unsurpassed in Western history. My further sense is that this is an ironic yet beneficial byproduct of the fact that we also live in an era, at least as far as serious music goes, of relative creative aimlessness and incoherence. Many people of talent who might have become composers themselves look on the musickal scene and decide instead to concentrate on studying and perfecting what has already been written. Again, I have no proof, but this is what I think.
UPDATE: Tyler Cohen has tips for starting your own Monteverdi collection. I'd agree, especially with his choice of most enjoyable single disk, which I've plugged here a number of times.
Yips! to the Blowhards.
Gratuitous Civil War Geekery Posting
I've visited great military and maritime exhibits from Paris, France, to Parris Island, but the USS Monitor Center is the most remarkable, informative and downright exciting history-museum experience I've ever had, with just the right combination of art, artifacts and technology. Curator Anna Gibson Holloway, her museum colleagues and the other consultants and collaborators are to be congratulated, including John B. Hightower, the museum's recently retired president and CEO, who oversaw much of the project. And the exhibition's Web site, www.monitorcenter.org, is a model resource.
SOOPER-SEKRET MESSAGE TO THE MISSUS: Honey, I think it's time the gels starting getting some hands-on learning about naval history. Hint, hint.
UPDATE: Bryan at Sanctuary reminds me about the H.L. Hunley replica at the Charleston Museum. I gather that as the original Hunley is gradually cleaned and reconstructed, more exhibits about this fascinating Confederate submarine will be opened.
Gratuitous Admin Note
Woke up this morning with a hydraulic pump working my sinuses and a pair of wildcats fighting in my throat. "They" say that this is turning out to be an unusually bad pollen season here in Dee Cee, although I haven't heard why. Personally, I blame global warming. (Just as an aside, if I understand yesterday's ruling by the Supremes outlawing CO2 correctly, ought we not to start an immediate campaign of massive deforestation? But I digress.)
Anyhoo, given this, I couldn't face the prospect of putting in the ol' contacts this morning, so I am instead relying on my fall-back pair of glasses, the prescription for which is several years out of date. Aside from the dangers I pose today to traffic (which won't concern you directly), I probably also will fill my posts with an unusual number of typos (which will). I apologize in advance.
So, whaddaya say we get this day going with a little allergy-sufferer's music:
Allrighty then---I need to get some editing software
H/T to Insty.
And of course, Hillary!'s new nickname is "Commodore Decker's Planet Killer."
April 02, 2007
Researchers using nanotechnology have taken a step toward creating an "optical cloaking" device that could render objects invisible by guiding light around anything placed inside this "cloak." The Purdue University engineers, following mathematical guidelines devised in 2006 by physicists in the United Kingdom, have created a theoretical design that uses an array of tiny needles radiating outward from a central spoke. The design, which resembles a round hairbrush, would bend light around the object being cloaked. Background objects would be visible but not the object surrounded by the cylindrical array of nano-needles, said Vladimir Shalaev, Purdue's Robert and Anne Burnett Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The design does, however, have a major limitation: It works only for any single wavelength, and not for the entire frequency range of the visible spectrum, Shalaev said. "But this is a first design step toward creating an optical cloaking device that might work for all wavelengths of visible light," he said. Research findings are detailed in a paper appearing this month in the journal Nature Photonics. The paper, which is appearing online this week, was co-authored by doctoral students Wenshan Cai and Uday K. Chettiar, research scientist Alexander V. Kildishev and Shalaev, all in Purdue's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Calculations indicate the device would make an object invisible in a wavelength of 632.8 nanometers, which corresponds to the color red. The same design, however, could be used to create a cloak for any other single wavelength in the visible spectrum, Shalaev said.
Gratuitous Netflicks Musickal Review
The Tasty Bits (TM) Mail Sack is full to overflowing with inquiries along the lines of, "Tom, can you recommend any new early Baroque musickal DVD's?"
Well, it just so happens that I can, for over the weekend I watched this one:
It's an hour-long production by the Consort of Musick of some of Monteverdi's madrigals, presented as they might have been at the court of the Duke of Mantua, Vincenzo I Gonzaga (for whom Monteverdi worked) round about the year 1600 or so. (The per-duction is actually filmed in one of the musickal banqueting rooms of the ducal palace with lots of semi-erotic classical frescoes on the walls.)
I'd thought that it would be a straightforward concert, but it is actually something closer to an educational documentary, with commentary from Anthony Rooly, the Consort's musical director, interspersed throughout. His main point is to hammer home the sensuality of the art of the period, a sensuality that even bubbles over into religious musick, as well. (One of the trios, set for female voices, is about a woman bewailing the departure of her lover. As a side-step, almost exactly the same music is presented in a setting for male voices worshipping Christ.)
There are a few production quibbles. For one thing, there are no subtitles so if you don't have at least a nominal understanding of Italian, you're pretty much out of luck. Also, the singers obviously are lip-synching to their own pre-recordings of each piece, probably the better to execute their dance moves unhindered. Finally, the two main sopranos are the divine Emma Kirkby and Evelyn Tubb. While their voices are superb, the appearance of two such middle aged ladies in semi-transparent, back-lit gowns was a little, well, aesthetically damping. It was pointed out that in Monteverdi's day, court mistresses or professional courtesans often took the female parts, but I'm pretty sure this isn't what ol' Vincenzo had in mind.
Nonetheless, if you're a'tall interested in 400 year old Italian music (and who isn't?), this DVD is well worth an hour of your time.
Alfred Thayer Mahan, you magnificent bastard!
Truth be told, I was basically ignoring Argentine squawking over regaining the Faulkland Islands until I saw this buried towards the bottom of one story:
As much as 60 billion barrels of crude lie in ocean-bed structures around the archipelago, which has been British since 1833.
Those blood-thirsty imperialistic Canucks
OTTAWA (AFP) - Canada's commercial seal hunt kicked off Monday with the aim of harvesting 270,000 harp seals, but only a few boats left port in search of prey, officials said.
The hunt "opened today" in traditional seal breeding grounds in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, fisheries department spokesman Phil Jenkins told AFP.
"To our knowledge, there are a couple of vessels out there. But we have not yet heard of any sealing activity," he said, noting that "seals are scarce" there this season because of poor ice conditions.
Up to 20 percent of the Atlantic herd usually nests on thick ice floes in the southern Gulf, but this year authorities and animal rights groups found only slush and ice fragments too small to support a newborn pup.
Ice floes in the northern Gulf and around Newfoundland province, where hunting can begin in April 4, remain in good condition.
In the past three years, one million harp seals have been killed in the commercial hunt in eastern Canada.
Demonstrators in Europe and Canada have denounced the "cruelty" of seal hunting.
But Ottawa maintains the hunt poses no threat to the seal population, which has ballooned over the past three decades to almost 5.5 million.
There must be a way to blame George Dubya for this somehow.
Doug Cannon Returns
It looks like the Douglas Cannon will be returning soon to Wesleyan.
Regular comments section troll TDP might have some inside knowledge about that, as the cannon in its crate served as the coffee table in his grad school apartment for about 2 years.
When it does return, and they remount it, they might think about ways to make it so that you can't steal it with two hydraulic jacks, a bolt cutter and a crow bar.
One word: no frickin' way.
Okay, that's three, but you get my point.
Opening Day And The Curse Of Bobby Kennedy ***Now With Near-Inevitable Update!"
Have to say that I like Manny Atta's stiff upper lip:
Manny Acta has a simple message for all those who have predicted doom and gloom for his 2007 Washington Nationals.
"Don't tell me we can't turn this around," the rookie manager said. "Don't tell me we can't win."
That's the kind of optimistic outlook Acta has been imparting on his players and on anyone who has encountered him for the last seven weeks while he prepared this club for Opening Day. Few outside observers are taking him seriously. Every major national media outlet has predicted Washington will finish last in the National League East, and many have gone beyond that to say the Nationals will lose 100, 110, even 120 games.
Every player inside the RFK Stadium clubhouse has heard it. They have been inundated with talk about being historically bad and being far and away the worst team in the major leagues this season.
And they don't care. Like their young manager, they choose to believe otherwise.
"We look around and we see all these people predicting 48 and 100-something losses, and it's just like: Come on, we're not going to be that bad," left fielder Ryan Church said. "I don't know how people can judge us off paper. If you look around this room, I wish people could see that we do have some good ingredients here to have a good team."
That's right. Get hungry! But will it be enough to overcome the Curse of Bobby Kennedy? After all, this is the Nats' last season at RFK and Bobby's last chance.
Maaaaaanny! Maaaaanny, ah, Aaaaaattaaaa...... Prepa-ah to, ah, entah thy House of, ah, Pain!! Verily I say-ah, thy winning recoawd, ah, will be reduced to, ah, single digits in my, ah, yawd! Isn't that right, ah, my Dawk Fawthah?
"Word, beyotch. Bettah not fail me!"
"Aawwwww, Fawthah! Must you, ah, chide me in front of, ah, everyone ALL the time?"
"Only when you need it. Which seems to be, ah, constantly."
"Can't we, ah, talk about this some other, ah, time, Fawthah?"
"Who's talking? Do your job. How hard could it be? I mean, even your sistah Rosemary could figure THIS one out! No pressure, just don't screw up!"
"Yes, my Fawthah........"
Apparently, there are still a goodish number of seats available. Game starts at 1:00 pm and it's a gergous day. I really ought to cut my losses and slide on over there.
UPDATE: NATIONALS ONLY ONE GAME OUT OF FIRST PLACE, dropping the opener to the Marlins 9-2.
"Aaaah, hahahahaaaa!!!!! Manny! Maaaaaaannyyyyy!!! Truly, ah, this IS thy House of, ah, Pain! Right, my Fawthah?
"Verily. But why did you allow him to get two runs and seven hits? Joe would have, ah, seen to a shutout. Wanker.
Well, it certainly makes the Hillary 1984 ad look classy
So which is she: cult leader with mind control powers, or the feckless cuckolded one? Isn't that a bit contradictory?
UPDATE: SPEAKING OF CULT LEADERS WITH MIND CONTROL POWERS, This was good for an afternoon chortle, if only for the very last sequence, which appears to have Lil' Kim dressed up like Han Solo on the ice planet in the Empire Strikes Back.
I'm smelling reality show here
Except the twist would be that, unbeknownst to the contestants, they would really be sent to Mars. Rob and Amber would put on the space suit thinking they've won the million bucks only to find themselves several million miles from home.
And then Jeff Probst would be blown up by Marvin the Martian.
Scots Wha Hey!
Ith is calling in the Clans for the 4th Annual Tartan Day Gathering of the Blogs on (Good) Friday, April 6.
I probably won't be near a computer that day, but in the spirit of things, I'll see what I can do about posting items Caledonian for the rest of the week. Here's a first tidbit, A Scotsman on a Horse:
Happy Anniversary To The Crack Young Staff!
The Hatemonger's Quarterly turns the big three point oh today. Go on over and help "Chip" and his cohorts spike the punchbowl and xerox each others' bottoms.
Yip! Yip! Yip!
Mal Shoots Last
Space thriller Serenity has beaten Star Wars to the title of best sci-fi movie in an SFX magazine poll of 3,000 fans. The futuristic release from 2005 was based on the short-lived TV series Firefly. Both were the work of Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon.
Star Wars - which Whedon has conceded had "an enormous influence" on Serenity - came second in the survey.
Blade Runner was third, followed by Planet of the Apes, The Matrix, Alien and Forbidden Planet.
I've Got A Baaaaad Feeling About This
So Saturday afternoon, I took the five year old over to Home Despot with me.
When we got in the car for the return trip, she suddenly pointed at me and said, "I'm Queen Elizabeth. You're my servant. Now, DRIVE!"
That's no moon, it's a space station!
The Gore Effect Strikes Again
The weather forecast for the next two days in Dee Cee? Sunny with highs in the upper 70's.
The weather forecast for this Easter Weekend when my mother, my brother, my sister-in-law, their three children, my God-parents, their son, his wife and two children are all coming in for what I thought would be a large grilled-kebob and let-the-kids-play-in-the-yard sort of thing? Highs in the 40's and lows in the 20's.
Cuuuuuuurse yooooouuuuuu, AaaaaaaaalGoooooooore!!!
HRC Knows How To Raise Campaign Cash
Pulling in $26 million in the first quarter of 2007, plus a $10 million boost carrying over from her 2006 Senatorial campaign.
Word has it she's perfected a new fund-raising techique:
Inhaling the cash directly from each donor.
Which gives new meaning to the phrase "Hillary sucks".
Yips! from Robbo: Who else is immediately reminded of the salt-sucking monster from Star Trek?
(I know, I know. I need to get out more....)
Evidently I've been hanging around the gates of the Vatican for waaaay too long, because not only do I get this post by the Colossus, I think it's extremely funny, too.
One of the many things that amuses me about the outrage over the latest stupidity to drool out of the pie hole of Rosie O'Donnell on The View is the assertion---always made with baited breath---of why is Barbara Walters jeopardizing her journalistic integrity and reputation to be associated with such crap?
And then I think of this, and I laugh:
Gratuitous Spring Break Posting
The Missus and the Llama-ettes left at the veritable Crack of Dawn this morning, heading up to Philly to catch the King Tut Exhibit at the Franklin Institute. They'll be spending the night and coming back tomorrow.
Of course, "left at the crack of dawn" implies getting up well before the crack of dawn. In this, we were aided and abetted by the good folks of Virginia Power, who chose to cut off the electricity in the middle of the night, a fact we discovered with some panic at two ack emma when we noticed a) that the alarm clock was off and b) that the street was full of large utility trucks with flashing lights and a bunch of men shouting at each other. Needless to say, we lay more or less awake until the power came back on (about an hour later). Also needless to say, our sleep patterns were by then hopelessly shot. I confidently predict I'll spend most of today face down in a puddle of drool. (Fortunately, the Missus is not driving herself but is going with a friend.)
Aaaaaanyhoo, I think this little expedition is pretty neat. One of the major drawbacks of growing up in San Antonio was that it is so damn far from everything. One doesn't just hop in the car for an overnighter unless one is going to Austin. (And thirty years ago, it was hardly worth the effort.) So I didn't get to do many things like this when I was a kid. I hope the Llama-ettes enjoy themselves.
Here I could, of course, insert the YouTube of Steve Martin's old "King Tut" song, but I'm not going to. I never thought it was that funny to begin with, and what little charm it did have came from its freshness. (Martin's humor doesn't age all that well.) No, instead I expect to see the gels doing this when they get back:
(BTW, speaking of things I never got to do as a kid, through what Meyer Wolfsheim would have called "gunnegshuns" we've cadged some tix to the White House Easter Egg Roll next Monday. Full details and perhaps a pic or two will follow.)
April 01, 2007
I didn't realize that AC/DC guitarist Angus Young was still alive to celebrate birthdays...
I wonder if Hallmark has a special "You still alive, Mate?" line for aging rockers?
To put things in perspective: The LLamabutchers present the Theory of Campaign Finance Relativity
Drudge practically has the siren out announcing Hillary!'s record first quarter fund-raising, raising $26 million dollars since January, together with rolling over $10 million from her Senate campaign fund.
Ninety days, $36 million.
And that's without Ferrell getting to roll in any of the gross from his last effort, as Hillary was allowed to do.
Does this mean America loves Hillary! just slightly more than a spandex clad Will Ferrell farting on the ice while having to sniff Napoleon Dynamite's package to the music of Def Leppard?
The world may never know.