October 31, 2007
Gratuitous Legal Research Observation
You know, if Westlaw were to add a spell-check function to its search engine thingy, it might save all of us a lot of time and aggrevation.
UPDATE: No, I'm not going to tell you which word I misspelled. Too embarrassing.
Gratuitous Colts Boosterism
It's always a pleasure to see a new face appear in the Sitemeter files and discover that somebody heretofore unknown was reading and linking us Llamas.
Today its the Gripping Hand, an apparently brand-knew blog. Gripping appears to be a pretty big fan of Llama Nation. He's also a Colts fan, however, and was not happy with a recent gratuitous dig I took at Peyton Manning.
Well, Gripping, I apologize if I came off a bit harsh. And if it makes you feel any better, I ask whole-heartedly for the Colts to thrash the bejaysus out of the Pats this weekend. I does asks, as Sam Gamgee would say, and if that isn't enough, I begs.
Gratuitous Halloween Observation
My favorite part of Halloween? It's actually my time-honored use of the expression, "Okay, Jack, time for your lobotomy!" as I proceed to open up the punkin for scooping-out-of-goop purposes. (That's a quote, btw, and bonus points will be awarded for spotting the source.) Actually, I beat the Missus and the Llama-ettes home yesterday and, in a fit of unwonted efficiency, not only got Jack ready for his face carving, but also went about and found all of our flashlights plus fresh batteries. We impose an iron eight o'clock curfew on the gels, so time is of the essence when we have a dinnertime project with which to deal. It was pleasant not to be hurried this year as we chipped out the ol' triangular eyes and nose and sawed up the mouthfull of sharp teeth. (This is as far as one should go, IMHO. I ranted on the subject of designer punkin carving last year.)
I'd Like To Buy A Vowel, Pat
Pat Sajak asks the question "Is it time for the rest of us to start hating the Red Sox?"
It might seem strange to hate a team that spent so many decades enduring heartbreak, but those days are obviously over. If the Yankees do, indeed, fade back into the pack, there is little else in the Eastern Division to stand in the free-spending way of Boston for years to come. We might have to endure a long period of post-season appearances by the Red Sox and their Nation.
Besides, who else would there be to hate? The Angels? Cleveland? Detroit? Of the last twelve World Series, the Yankees and Red Sox have won six between them, while only the Florida Marlins have won more than one. Can you really work up any hate for the Marlins?
Sorry, Red Sox Nation, but success has its downside. Your team is no longer the sentimental favorite. They are the champions once again, and their future looks brighter than that of their arch-rival's. So revel in it, and rub the visiting teams' noses in it (even the home teams' when you can buy out their tickets), but somebody has to be the bad guy. Congratulations...it's you.
That vowel being "A" for "arsholes", of course. And same thing for the Pats, I think.
We Llamas are the number two google hit for what does llama taste like?
Chicken, of course.
The query came in from somebody at Cornell, btw. Remind me not to visit there any time soon.
Probably a bit too true:
|You Are an Alien|
Your greatest power: Your superhuman brain
Your greatest weakness: Your lack of empathy - you just don't get humans
You play well with: Zombies
Yips! to the Vampirical Maximum Leader.
UPDATE: Speaking of monsters, here's a cranky little article debunking them, at least as they are popularly portrayed:
We have examined the science behind three of the most popular pseudoscientific beliefs encountered in Hollywood movies. We have shown two of them—the idea of ghosts and vampires—to be inconsistent and contradictory to simple facts. For the third—the idea of zombies—we have made no attempt to deny that it relies on real cases. However, we have reviewed evidence showing that the concept is a misrepresentation of simple criminal acts.
Popular belief in these myths is an indication of a lack of critical-thinking skills in our society. With simple arguments, one can easily discredit the validity of such claims. We thus finish with the following quote by Carl Sagan (Sagan 1979):
Both Barnum and H.L. Mencken are said to have made the depressing observation that no one ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the American public. The remark has worldwide application. But the lack is not intelligence, which is in plentiful supply; rather, the scarce commodity is systematic training in critical thinking.
Scoff if you like. Let's hope you don't come to rue the day.
Yips! to Arts & Letters Daily.
The Robbo Service
As I made my way to the metro yesterday evening, I was accosted by a somewhat scraggly young man carrying a clipboard who said to me, "Sir! Surely you care about the environment, don't you?"
"Nope," I smiled encouragingly as I passed by, "Not in the least. Have a nice day."
The Missus laughed heartily when I told her about it, but then said she bet I did it just so I could blog about it. Not so, I replied. Instead, I did it so the young man would have a story of eviiiiil Rethuglican indifference with which to regale his friends. In fact, if he plays it right, he might even be able to score some sympathy tail.
A little touch of Robbo in the afternoon, spreading sweetness and light. That's what I like to think I'm all about.
Had a dream last night that involved trying to crack an Illuminati-like conspiracy involving the Stations of teh Cross while, at the same time, fighting off Stonewall Jackson's flank attack at Chancellorsville.
Really. It was a bizzaro combination of continually-shifting images. The only ones I remember were measuring the distance between the three points at which Jesus fell and demanding to know where the hell General Devens had got to.
October 30, 2007
Most Awesome Red Sox Quote of the Year
Well, enough baseball for now, at least until Spring Training. Not here at LLamabutcher Manor, where Mr. Skinny (age 8) is getting Stratomatic for Christmas (with old time team cards in his and my stockings---and by old time teams I mean the 86 Sox and Mets, 75 Sox and Reds, the 46 Sox and the 32 Yankees).
But I'll leave you with this one quote from the Sox rally today in Boston. I'm doing this as a favor to LB Buddy, and to absolutely make our Yankees-nemesis in Toledo have his head explode like the Death Star in SW:IV. From a Sox fan who was describing the reaction of his seven year old son:
"He doesn't understand," Spurr said. "He thinks they win it every couple of years now. I mean, the Yankees have never won in his lifetime."
Halloween Costumes I Hope To God I Don't See On My Front Doorstep
(originally posted at Ex-Donkey Blog 10/28/05)
I got these via email, so I don't know the original source. Brings new meaning to the word "scary".
Some of these might be considered NSFW, so click "Read More" to see 'em as they're below the fold.
Your a "wonder", Wonder Woman!
Nice camel-toe there, Bubba!
Breasts and thighs look a little tough, I'll stick with the wings.
Umm...love the shirt, guy.
and last, but not least...
At least we can see where he keeps his web fluid! Yech!
I'll Get You, My Pretty!
The five year old dressed up in her witch outfit for the Boo at the Zoo on Saturday. What with school parties and the like, I'm not sure that she's actually taken it off since then. Nor will she, I think, until perhaps Christmas.
Darth Vader In Love
Got to hand it to Lucas if he approved the licensing rights for this.
It has three more parts, featured at HotAir.com. This first part gives you the jist of the bit, however if you have a few minutes you might want to head on over and watch the whole thing.
And while we're on the subject of our favorite Dark Lord of the Sith, if you've never seen comedian Eddie Izzard's "Death Star Canteen" bit, it's a scream (keep the speakers down at work, though, because of the language).
Random Commuter Observations - Lightly Frosted Llama Division
***We've had a trace of frost in my neck of NoVA the past two mornings. I suppose this means that I'm going to have to put up the side panels on the ol' jeep pretty soon. It's always a bit of a transition after having a free airflow all summer to suddenly being boxed in. (I used to leave the back panel off until the first snow, but now that I'm carting Llama-ettes around on such a regular basis I've had to stop doing that.)
***I'm continually amazed at the number of people who do not seem to realize that they can be seen while sitting in their cars. I watched a woman through my rear-view mirror devouring a muffin in the manner of a wood-chipper this morning and then vigorously dusting crumbs off her person. Not quite as bad as a nose-picker, but still pretty unseemly.
***I'm not overly fond of vanity license plates, but there's a big ol' red Yukon that parks near me at the metro every day that has plates which read CLFFRD. That always makes me smile.
***Perhaps I've just been too wrapped up in myself in the past but there seems to be an awful lot of electoral glad-handing around the metro this year. Elections, you ask? Yep, and in this off year the real down-ticket items. This morning it was a couple guys running for county supervisor and the clerk of the court. I know that I should take more interest in local level politics but, well, I don't.
October 29, 2007
Can anyone give me a rough translation for this logo:
Image fixed---I uploaded the tiff instead of jpeg
Long story, I just don't want to be one of those dudes who gets the cool chinese tats only to discover that it reads, "I like to be humped by Mullet wearing Mets fans in prison."
It comes from this page.
Trust me, there's going to be a hilarious story to tell this time tomorrow night.
Memo to Gordon Brown: It's time for the British to evacuate Boston:
Trouble soon erupted at Boylston and Ispwich, where the sounds of “Dirty Water” echoed from nearby buildings. A Teletubby dressed in Red Sox gear and a man naked but for a giant red, plastic beer cup costume were part of a procession that included a large number of kids in BU and Northeastern gear.
One man climbed a streetlight to photograph the crowd, inspiring more than a dozen other youths to scale poles. They started jumping into the crowd while others tore down street signs.
One person climbed high onto a streetlight and was dangling at least 25 feet over Boylston until he dropped into the crowd. It was unclear as he disappeared into in the throng whether anyone was hurt.
Cops wielding batons struggled to control the crowd until a mounted unit galloped up and sent the crowd stampeding in the other direction. The cops then began moving the crowd more slowly to prevent anyone from being trampled.
Emergency radio chatter indicated at least one vehicle on fire. In some areas police began using pepper spray on rowdy revelers. Meanwhile, a crowd was seen flipping a car on Boylston Street.
The wild incidents raised fears of a repeat of riots that marred the Red Sox 2004 pennant win, when Emerson College student Victoria Snelgrove was killed by a police pepper pellet near Fenway Park. But after the crowds broke up around 2:30 a.m., police spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll said later there were no immediate reports of serious injury.
Fans chanting “Let’s go Red Sox” were rushing into Kenmore Square even before the win, only to meet phalanxes of Boston riot cops.
Firefighters had placed cops on the roofs of a bar and a souvenir shop around Fenway using a ladder truck to keep fans from climbing up. The bars around the park were packed and the streets came alive with restless fans.
The lines outside the bars - from the Cask ’n Flagon to Boston Beer Works - were long early in the night, but didn’t last as fans were pushed out of the area by cops, unwilling to let any crowd amass around the park. Boston police started brooming fans from the area around Fenway Park at the start of the sixth inning.
Last week, 17 revelers were arrested after the Sox won the American League pennant, and several were ordered by a Roxbury judge to write essays on why they shamed the city.
Gee, I don't know, the giant naked guy and the Sawx teletubby embarrassing the city? No. Cheating in the Super Bowl and then being a dick about it, maybe.
But gosh, can you imagine how hilarious those essays are going to be?
Not that there's anything wrong with that....
No siree, nothing gay about the Sawx:
Champs let loose with wild, emotional party
By Michael Silverman
DENVER - Champagne and beer droplets hung from the white and silver ceiling of the visitors clubhouse at Coors Field after the Red Sox [team stats] won the World Series last night.
It looked like an ice palace, but the steam and heat from an emotional championship team melted the scene as the celebration commenced.
After Jonathan Papelbon [stats] whipped off his hat and threw his glove over his head upon striking out Seth Smith to end the game, the Red Sox whooped it up.
After a massive group hug near the mound started by catcher Jason Varitek [stats] jumping into Papelbon’s arms, the party moved to the clubhouse.
Massage therapist Russell Nua donned his blue goggles and joined the fray. David Ortiz [stats], delayed by some interview or another, finally broke free with a “Hey, (expletives), wait for me!”
Massage therapist Russell Nua donned his blue goggles and joined the fray...okay. No word on what types of gloves he was wearing.
Ortiz bounced and danced and jiggled in place as he was sprayed from 20 directions with bubbly. At one point he pointed to his World Series champions T-shirt and yelled, “When you wear ‘Red Sox’ on your shirt, you’re good at something, (expletives).”
Okay, this is taking the Neil Diamond thing a little too far.
Josh Beckett [stats] looked at the trophy and yelled, “This is what all the hard work is for,” and then got utterly doused by a well-aimed bottle of Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut. “I’m going to hand this off so I don’t get sprayed anymore.”
Papelbon had his turn: “This goes to the baddest team in the (expletive) big leagues.”
Royce Clayton, who had a total of six at-bats for the Sox in the regular season and was left off the playoff roster, was called up to the table. In the majors since 1991 without a World Series appearance, Clayton cried into the shoulder of Ortiz, then spoke.
“I love you guys, I love all of you,” the 37-year-old said before catching his breath. “I waited all these years and all I can say is, ‘Woo-woo, woo-woo!’ .”
The party was back on.
Assistant trainer Masai Takahashi shook up cans of beer, opened them and poured them down the back of revelers’ T-shirts.
Daisuke Matsuzaka looked in awe at the World Series trophy and held court with the Japanese media with a smile on his face. He and his interpreter, Masa Hoshino, shared a heartfelt hug in the middle of the clubhouse.
Bryan Corey walked around the room silently videotaping the proceedings.
Kevin Youkilis [stats] roared to head trainer Paul Lessard, “You bald SOB!” before their bear hug.
Advance scout Todd Claus complained, without really complaining and to nobody in particular, “I just got a beer poured in my ear.”
The longest-tenured member of the team, Tim Wakefield [stats] (who was left off the World Series roster because of a bad shoulder), could not stop grinning.
“I’m happy and very blessed to say I’m a two-time champion,” he said. “We’re ready for the parade.”
John Henry, principal owner of the team, kept using reporters as human shields to ward off liquid attacks.
Yeah, got to ward off liquid attacks. And Albus Dumbledore had the best wandwork according to Griselda Marchbanks.
Because, after all, sometimes festive release is just, umm, festive release.
Jonathan Pabelbon is freaking insane.
Gratuitous Llama Mini Netflix Movie Reviews
Just a couple thoughts:
Finally got myself to see 300. It's not my sort of thing, but I can understand why people who like this kind of movie really really like this movie, as the overall - what - style of the film, basically a comic book come to life, was quite interesting. The fellah who plays King Leonidas kept reminding me of Sean Connery, probably because of the Scots accent. And I could, if pushed to, develop some warm feelings for Lena Headey (although looking her up on Google image reveals that she seems to have tattoo issues). As for the fighting, well it's Spartans, man! What more do you want?
Robbo's Recommendation: All in all, not bad. I'd see it again, I suppose, although I doubt I'd go out of my way to do so. Let's say three yips! out of five.
Next, I ran off 1995's The Quick and the Dead. I hope that Clint Eastwood personally hunted down Sharon Stone and slapped her silly for trying to rip off his Avenging Angel genre of western. Stone may be blonde, but she's no Blondie. The basic idea itself is not bad at all. (Woman made to shoot her own father in her youth by bad guy appears in bad guy's town for revenge and becomes involved in deadly gunslinger game. You know from the very start that the climax is going to be her facing off against the bad guy.) But the plot that developes around it (including Stone's relationship with bad-guy-turned-good-guy Russell Crowe) is just insipid, the cast of gunslingers cardboard and silly and not even Gene Hackman as the villain of the piece can save this dog from itself.
Robbo's Recommendation: You want teh Clint, go for teh Clint. Unforgiven is a far, far better revenge flick, and Hackman's psychopathic Little Bill there is downright chilling. I'll give TQATD one yip! out of five just as a nod to Stone's shmokin' looks of the time.
Sarkozy Is Really Growing On Me
I'm inclined to appreciate the new French President in light of his willingness to be more of a partner to the U.S. rather than a huge pain in the applebag.
But his reaction to an insipid "60 Minutes" interview which aired last night made me smile.
France's president abruptly ended a "60 Minutes" interview aimed at introducing him to U.S. audiences, dubbing it "stupid" and a "big mistake" and refusing to answer questions about his wife.Bien fait, monsieur.
Before the CBS news show interview in Paris even began, Sarkozy called his press secretary "an imbecile" for arranging the session on a busy day.
"I don't have the time. I have a big job to do, I have a schedule," Sarkozy said through a translator before the interview began. In English, he added: "Very busy. Very busy."
In the interview conducted earlier this month and aired Sunday night, he candidly discussed what he likes about the U.S. But he grew frustrated when asked about his wife, Cecilia, who helped negotiate the release of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor charged with infecting Libyan children with HIV and then failed to show up at a ceremony in which Sarkozy was given a medal by Bulgaria.
"If I had to say something about Cecilia, I would certainly not do so here," Sarkozy replied.
He declared the interview over and said: "Bon courage." Two weeks later, the Sarkozys' divorce was announced.
Papa and Gangerl
An interesting little article over at Slate discusses the musickal differences between Haydn and Mozart:
The two great composers were certainly aware of each other for many years before they met. In addition to his younger brother's firsthand reports, Haydn would have read published accounts of Mozart's exploits as a child prodigy. And by the time Mozart came to maturity, Haydn was already the most celebrated composer in Europe; knowledge of his influential scores was de rigueur for any serious contemporary musician.
Later, they were members of the same Masonic lodge in Vienna, and became personal friends as well as mutual admirers. This last is noteworthy, especially with respect to Mozart, who was often scathing about colleagues. When he spoke of Haydn, however, it was with reverence. His six great string quartets were dedicated as a set to the older composer, partly as acknowledgment of how much he had learned from Haydn's own essays in the form. Haydn's later quartets are said to have been influenced in turn by the quartets Mozart wrote under his influence. After Mozart's death, the older composer even seems to have experienced something akin to survivor's guilt; he declined a request to write string quintets and refused permission for his early operas to be performed, on the grounds that Mozart's work in these genres was supreme.
Read the rest. The piece discusses (and illustrates with linkies) audible differences in the two men's works based on their relative social backgrounds, their comparative approaches to wit and the depth and complexity of their emotional expression.
Overall, I don't see anything in the article with which I would in general terms disagree, although I think there are a few "yes, buts" along the way. For instance, the "Surprise" of Haydn's Symphony No. 94 is discussed as an example of Papa's more straightforward slapstick humor. It's certainly true, but wouldn't one also have to consider the fact that he wrote the piece for a London audience at a time when the Brits were not quite as musickally sophisticated as some of their Continental contemporaries? He had also produced a set of six symphonies for the Paris aristocracy, at the time notorious for its demand for musickal sophistication and elegance. They knocked the Parisians' socks off. (One of them, No. 85, is still known as La Reine because it was said to be a favorite of poor Antoinette.)
Sorry. I get a tad defensive on behalf of Haydn because I feel his musick is dismissed too readily by some these days as pleasant to listen to but lacking much bottom, not because of the musick itself but because Haydn does not fit into the standard stereotype of the "artiste". He came from humble beginnings, worked hard in a job he didn't much like for a number of years, struck out on his own and hit the big time, writing music that people could both understand and enjoy. As the article notes, he was the most celebrated composer in Europe in his own days, which were long, prosperous and happy. Hardly the prototypical Romantic. However, all you need to know about the real quality and worth of Haydn's musick is the fact that both Mozart and Beethoven positively worshipped the man.
Yips! to Arts & Letters Daily.
Pediatricians Urge Early Testing For Autism
The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a report calling on parents to be extra observant for babies under a year to look for possible signs of autism.
“Red Flags” that are absolute indications for immediate evaluation include: no babbling or pointing or other gesture by 12 months; no single words by 16 months; no two-word spontaneous phrases by 24 months; and loss of language or social skills at any age. Early intervention can make a huge difference in the child’s prognosis. “Autism doesn’t go away, but therapy can help the child cope in regular environments,” said Chris Plauche Johnson, MD, MEd, FAAP, and co-author of the reports. “It helps children want to learn and communicate.”I share this as a parent of a child with autism.
Educational strategies and associated therapies, which are the cornerstones of treatment for ASDs, are reviewed in the second AAP clinical report, “Management of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders.” Early intervention is crucial for effective treatment. The report strongly advises intervention as soon as an ASD diagnosis is seriously considered rather than deferring until a definitive diagnosis is made. The child should be actively engaged in intensive intervention at least 25 hours per week, 12 months per year with a low student-to-teacher ratio allowing for sufficient one-on-one time. Parents should also be included.
Let me say upfront that I have no idea what causes autism. I have no evidence that other treatments work (and have reason to be skeptical of several). All I can say is that from my personal experience early detection and treatment may in fact be making a crucial difference in my son's development.
Autism is not a disease that can be "cured". It's a neurological condition that, with certain interventions, may become less severe. To make it more complicated, autistic disorders fall along a wide spectrum of conditions. So even if a child doesn't exhibit "classic" symptoms, he or she may still fall somewhere along that spectrum. I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who wonder if the current level of attention that this is getting is "overblown".
It is not. I urge any and all parents of newborns to learn as much as they can about autism and watch your little ones closely. Better to safe than to lose precious time. My four year old was completely without speech (outside of babbling) up until about six months ago. Now he repeats anything you say and is actually beginning to use some speech in a functional manner. We are very encouraged and guardedly optimistic. His eye contact and interaction have greatly improved. He is engaged much of the time.
And he has been receiving treatment since before he turned two.
Some will argue that the kind of treatment recommended by the link in the blockquote doesn't necessarily work, rather that for certain kids autism just kind of "gets better" over time with or without it. I work closely with Kevin's therapists and my wife and I engage in many of the techniques at home. I personally believe it is making a difference. We are also very lucky to live in a school district that has been very supportive (though we always have to advocate for the services he has receives) and have access to excellent therapists outside of school. It also helps that we had an evaluation from the University of Connecticut which is doing a study on autism among siblings.
Bottom line: if you suspect at all that your child may be on the autistic spectrum the sooner you act on it the better. I'm not trying to scare people, but I can't stress this enough. You don't get this critical time back once it's gone.
Is it just me?
Or is anybody else out there hoping that the Colts lay down a righteous beatdown on cheatin' Bill Belichick and his pack of thugs?
I saw the highlight real of the Redskins game---is it really necessary to coach like you're Steve Spurrier at Florida running up the score on Vanderbilt to impress the BCS computers? Umm, no. That's just being a dick.
Juicing shrinks the testicles. I wonder if Belichick's style of cheating has the same effect, because it sure would explain a lot.
Crikey! Ya Think?
Steve Irwin knew he would die young!
More than a year after the Khaki-clad naturalist died from a stingray’s barb that pierced his heart, American-born Terri Irwin told Australian TV she had always tried to deflect her 44-year old husband’s darker moments.
She said: “He wasn’t morbid about it, or awful about it, he was open and earnest about it. We’ve got to accomplish everything we can.
“Steve had a real sixth sense about so many things. He had an odd connection with wildlife.
"He was extraordinarily intuitive with people. I found it all very, I don’t know if ’eerie’ is the word, but remarkable, certainly.”
Look, I certainly feel bad for the guy and his family, but I'm not sure anybody actually needs a "sixth sense", much less an "eerie" or "remarkable" one to piece together the notion that spending your life pulling high-profile stunts with extremely dangerous wild animals is a good way to cut that life short prematurely. I think the words I'd be looking for here are something closer to "basic logic."
Stop Dressing Your Six Year Old Like A Skank
...is the title of a new book, featured in this ABC "LiveLeak" video segment:
Raising daughters in the 21st century must be a nachtmare. I have three boys myself, so I have no idea. Is the pressure to "skank-out" your daughter really that powerful? Or are some parents just that stoopid?
Heartfelt Yips! from Robbo: Well I dunno about some places, but in my neck of the woods it's definitely the latter. Stoopid, lazy or so absorbed with their baby-boomer quest to relive their own hedonistic yoot that they see no problem in hustling the girls along for the ride.
We've never yet had any trouble in preventing the Llama-ettes from turning into mini-skanks. Nor, so far as I can tell, have they become social pariahs because of it. (And before you start filling the Tasty Bits (TM) Mail Sack with snarky "Just you wait till their teens" comments, remember that we're talking about the under-10 crowd here.)
Gratuitous International Politickal Observation
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner wins election as Argentina's new president. Congratulations!
I'm willing to bet that about 99% of the guys out there (self included) haven't the remotest idea what Cristina's platform is. Nor do they especially care.
Pondering on my initial reaction, it occured to me that if Hillary Rodham Clinton Rodham had even a scintilla of babeness in her, she'd probably win our election in a walkover.
Confess, you know it's true.
October 28, 2007
My "coverage" for the LLamas has been sparse, as I've been battling back from the wicked version of the bronchitis going around. Not enough energy to blog and watch. But oh my goodness, I can't believe they did it.
And tonight's winning shot? The MAN who won it all for the Sawx with a clutch homer in the eighth?
The only thing to do is to paint it red:
Question for the ages: which ballet move IS Manny doing here? Looks like a grand jete to me:
Other things we learned:
1. Pabelbon is freakin' nuts:
2. Curt Schilling is one tough hombre:
I'm Robbo The Llama And I'm An Utter Moron
Not long ago I was fool enough to idly speculate within earshot of the Missus that some Pergo on the floor of the little study in our basement, formerly known as Robbo's Fortress of Solitude, might look nice. (The current flooring consists of some hideous vinyl tiling which is supposed to resemble brick. It doesn't come close.)
I've just now learned that my Thanksgiving vacation is going to be quite a bit different than I had imagined it would be.......
We took the Llama-ettes to Boo at the Zoo downtown last evening. Apparently, this is a big deal among the denizens of Your Nation's Capital, although I myself had never heard of it before.
Initially, I was quite crabby at the prospect of having to drive there late on a Saturday afternoon. Apart from the traffic, driving in Dee Cee is always a nuisance because, despite the best efforts of Monsieur L'Enfant, the fact of the matter is that one simply cannot go in a straight line from Point A to Point B, especially when Point A lies on the far side of the Potomac. Instead, one usually has to tack, like a ship beating into the wind, until one eventually arrives at one's destination. Fortunately, however, I know a few back roads that cut several successive loops off the trip, and we arrived at the zoo with a minimum amount of fuss.
The Boo proved to be a series of booths set up about the zoo grounds, most of them handing out treats of one sort or another, while a few gamely tried to engage the kiddies' interest in some animal-related demonstration or other. A few (although not many) of the animals were still viewable, at least until it got dark. We were fortunate enough, for instance, to get a good look at the pandas. They're usually hidden in the high grass of their outdoor habitat, but this time they were inside the glass-fronted panda house. One was zonked out, but we watched for a while as the other gobbled up his bamboo din-dins. We also saw the hippo stolidly shovelling in hay, plus a beautiful snowy leopard stalking about its pen with that crabby look inherent to all felines.
The thing that surprised me most was the number of adults dressed up in costume - at least half of them by my estimate. (My own costume, had anybody asked, was that of a slightly bored and harassed father, but I think it was probably too subtle for most people.) This is one of those things about which I have an iron rule, which is that once you're out of school, you've no business dressing up for Halloween. And the more effort put into the costume, the lamer it is. I saw a couple of Mr. & Mrs. Incredibles (none of them were), some D&D types who looked like they had wandered over from the Maryland Renaissance Festival, and perhaps the cutesiest (and I don't mean that kindly), a couple dressed up as Thing 1 and Thing 2 pushing a stroller with a brand new infant who could not possibly have known where he was or what was going on. As for the kids, there were many, many Harry Potter characters and a lot ot Star Wars figures as well. Also a liberal helping of what I consider to be correct costumes - witches, vampires and other denizens of the macabre. (One kid had the heads of Dubya and Cheney perched on his shoulders. I'm not exactly sure what was the point of the exercise.) The folks manning the various boothes were costumed as well. My favorite was a long-legged young lady who seemed to be dressed as Pippi Longstockings' extremely slutty sister. Not sure if the sponsors of that particular booth necessarily would have approved.
Although we started off fairly able to move about, the place became absolutely mobbed after dark. I fail to see why anybody would consider it "fun" to meander about at glacial speed, devoting all of one's time and energy to not losing track of one's family in the squash. We dutifully plodded around as the Llama-ettes hoovered their way down the booths, but after the five year old managed to get lost in the small mammals house and only reappeared several minutes later in tears, we decided we'd had enough.
I was actually in pretty good spirits on the way home, so I was rayther surprised that the Missus graded my performance on the trip as a "C". She claimed I had been sulking, a charge that I denied vigorously. It was true that I had not looked forward to going (indeed, I had been holding the threat of cancelling over the heads of the Llama-ettes all day like a Sword of Damocles), but once we made it there without any trouble, I perked up considerably. I also pointed out that she was just as tired of it all by the end as I was. This morning, after thinking it over, she bumped me up to a "B", with which I am quite content. (The fact that I'm posting about it now probably means that she'll fail me altoghether, however.)
October 26, 2007
Gratuitous Llama Musickal Review
I'm really not on a religious kick today, but it just so happens that my new CD of Claudio Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine (1610) showed up in the mail and I at once had to give it a try.
I've known Monteverdi's Vespers, at least musickally speaking, since my college days, my first edition being a cassette by somebody or other I cannot now even remember. The current CD in my collection is a performance put on by Sir John Eliot
Full of Himself Gardiner, the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists. It was recorded live at the Basilica di San Marco, Venice and is a massive affair featuring a pair of full choirs, lots of horns and much doubling up on the instrumentation. It's certainly not a bad performance, but frankly I find it a bit overdone. One sometimes can't hear the music for the singing, as it were, and the echo gets to be annoying.
Anyhoo, I sought out this new CD specifically to get away from those distractions and I'm happy to report that I am not in the least disappointed. This performance, by The Taverner Consort, Choir and Players under the direction of Andrew Parrott, is much smaller in scope. I won't say it's more intimate, for that implies familiarity, which would be improper IMHO for this sort of musick. Rayther, it is on a scale that lets the heart of the musick really shine through with superb clarity. Indeed, I heard things today that I've never noticed before, despite having been listening to the piece for better than 20 years now. And anybody at all familiar with modern period performances of Renaissance and early Baroque music will understand when I say that my old favorites Emma Kirkby and Evelyn Tubb are among the sopranos, I'm saying that the singing is just heavenly.
The production also differs from my Gardiner performance in that it contains a number of passages of Gregorian Chant (Versiculi, Responsorii, Antiphons, Oratorii and a Conclusio) pertinent to the religious service that folks listening for purely musickal pleasure may find distracting. The performance also features a pair of Sonatas composed by Giovanni Paolo Cima, a contemporary of Monteverdi's. (The program notes do not explain these insertions and I'm too lazy to investigate further at the moment. Monteverdi composed the Vespers for Venice and Cima worked primarily in Milan, so I don't know the immediate connection.) Finally, the CD also contains a collection of Psalm settings (specifically, Psalms 109 through 112 and 116 - the Psalms set in the Vespers are 109, 112, 121, 126 and 147) from Monteverdi's Selva morale e spirituale published in 1641. I haven't listened to these yet. However, Monteverdi's style developed considerably in the thirty or so years between these works, and I'm eager to compare the settings - especially those duplicated by the two pieces.
Overall, an excellent CD that I would highly recommend to anybody in the least interested in 400 year old church music (and ask yourself honestly - who wouldn't be?)
It's the typoGenerator thingy. If you want to know how it works, go over and play with it yourselves. It just struck me that this image - which has an air of mental grafitti about it - is pretty durn a propos for us Llamas.
Yips! to Rachel.
Gratuitous Crossing the Tiber Posting
Earlier this week I happened to be rereading C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce when a thought wandered into my mind: Lewis never actually became a Roman Catholic himself, yet he is beloved by every Catholic I know (including members of the clergy) and his writings include a great deal which even the strongest advocates of the Church would find unimpeachable. Given this, what would the Church's stance be on the issue of his salvation? Surely it wouldn't automatically say that he was doomed to hell because he could never quite bring himself to swim the Tiber?
I brought this question up at our RCIA meeting this Wednesday. The priest who had the class that night - and who, IMHO, should not have been allowed anywhere near a group like ours, as he had a terrible and unsympathetic manner (but that is a different story)- was set on his own agenda and would not be drawn into the topic. He simply suggested reading the Catechism and noted that Rome had issued some new material relevant to the subject recently.
I also emailed the Colossus with my question, knowing that he is far, far deeper into the intricacies of the Church than I'll ever get and also that his heart is in the right place. He readily obliged me with an answer that I repost here by his permission because I thought it might be of interest to our wider religious-minded audience:
The Church distinguished between the visible church and the invisible church. We see the visible Church, which is, for us, Rome and the churches in communion with her. Christ sees the invisible church, which is everyone whom he sees as being a member of his church – which we don’t, beyond a certain point, presume to judge. To me, I always look at the passage about the exorcist in Mark 9:37-40:
“37 John answered him, saying: Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, who followeth not us, and we forbade him. 38 But Jesus said: Do not forbid him. For there is no man that doth a miracle in my name, and can soon speak ill of me. 39 For he that is not against you, is for you. 40 For whosoever shall give you to drink a cup of water in my name, because you belong to Christ: amen I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”
Not only followers of the apostles, but also those who are kind to them. I assume this even includes all manner of righteous pagans, Muslims, Jews, etc.
Rome assumes the churches in communion with her to be effective vehicles of providing the sacraments; it does not claim to know whom Christ has actually saved, except in the cases of the saints, in which Rome invokes its ability to loose and bind. Protestant churches are not assumed to be doing no good; in fact, the recent document which the pope was criticized for states the Catholic view pretty well (Link here: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20070629_responsa-quaestiones_en.html)
What is the meaning of the affirmation that the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church?
Christ “established here on earth” only one Church and instituted it as a “visible and spiritual community”, that from its beginning and throughout the centuries has always existed and will always exist, and in which alone are found all the elements that Christ himself instituted. “This one Church of Christ, which we confess in the Creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic […]. This Church, constituted and organised in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him”.
In number 8 of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium ‘subsistence’ means this perduring, historical continuity and the permanence of all the elements instituted by Christ in the Catholic Church, in which the Church of Christ is concretely found on this earth.
It is possible, according to Catholic doctrine, to affirm correctly that the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches and ecclesial Communities not yet fully in communion with the Catholic Church, on account of the elements of sanctification and truth that are present in them. Nevertheless, the word “subsists” can only be attributed to the Catholic Church alone precisely because it refers to the mark of unity that we profess in the symbols of the faith (I believe... in the “one” Church); and this “one” Church subsists in the Catholic Church.
Why was the expression “subsists in” adopted instead of the simple word “is”?
The use of this expression, which indicates the full identity of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church, does not change the doctrine on the Church. Rather, it comes from and brings out more clearly the fact that there are “numerous elements of sanctification and of truth” which are found outside her structure, but which “as gifts properly belonging to the Church of Christ, impel towards Catholic Unity”.
“It follows that these separated churches and Communities, though we believe they suffer from defects, are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation. In fact the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as instruments of salvation, whose value derives from that fullness of grace and of truth which has been entrusted to the Catholic Church”.
In other words, Rome views the Protestant churches as doing good work and saving souls, even though it does not believe all of the sacraments are entirely valid.
Of course, it cuts both ways. As Matthew 7:21 tells us – “Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven . . .”
In addition, the Church recognizes baptism as being the key sacrament for salvation – and it recognizes baptisms of all Christian churches that use a Trinitarian formula. It assumes a Protestant baptism to be valid, as it is a sacrament that does not, strictly speaking, have to be administered by a priest. In fact, the church does not even require the person doing the baptizing to be a Christian, provided his intent is to baptize. I’d be surprised if they baptize you again, because it is generally done only once – if they “rebaptize” you, it is done conditionally, because it assumes your Episcopal baptism was valid. [Robbo here - No, they don't plan to rebaptize me provided I can show proof of my Palie baptism. Mom is sending the certificate.]
It also assumes baptism can be done by water, by blood, or by desire. Only Christ himself knows whom those baptized by desire are.
Of course, there is the doctrine of Ex ecclesia nulla salas – “outside the church, there is no salvation”. This is normally held to mean those outside the invisible church. Those who say it means only the visible church are generally held to be promoting heresy (Feeneyites, as they are known most recently, after a Father Feeney, whom the Vatican excommunicated for promoting that view rather vigorously.)
Critics of Catholicism look at that and say “see, Catholics believe everyone who is not a Catholic is going to hell.” In a sense, it does mean that – but in reality, what it really means is that we do not presume to know all of our members.
I assume many, many Protestants are actually Catholics. They just don’t realize it.
I happen to think this is a beautiful sentiment, although when I asked Coloss if I could post it, he suggested many other Protestants might not feel that way.
I also think this answers my question about Lewis to a great extent. And the truth of the matter is that it gives me quite a bit of comfort when I ponder my own family: Mom, my brother and sister and their families are all stolid, old-fashioned 'Palies, who keep the Commandments, and recite the Lord's Prayer and the Nicene Creed with as much conviction as anybody. So far as he ever gave any hint to anybody about his spiritualism, Dad was certainly headed in that direction in his later years. And of course, I myself have steared the Missus and the Llama-ettes there. While I clearly hear the call to Rome myself, the concept that the Church would, in effect, damn the lot of them because they could not or would not yet hear (or perhaps a better word would be "understand") the same call was beginning to make me feel quite queesy.
I'm curious about what others of you have to say on this issue. BUT let me warn you here and now: I understand that feelings can run very high among some of our readers, both for and against Rome. The purpose of this post is not to inflame those feelings, to debate the merits of the Reformation, or to refight the gorram 30 Years' War. Instead, it is to help me air out my thoughts and enrich my understanding of what is for me a complicated question. Good faith responses - from whatever perspective - will be greatly appreciated. Snarling abuse - from whatever perspective - will be given the boot summarily.
I went over to St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method for elementary open house this morning. The kiddies, in ones and twos, had stations set up around the rooms at which they demonstrated various lessons in math, science, language and so on. The idea was for parents to circulate about, sampling the collective knowledge of the classes (over one of which the Missus presides).
Of course I went to see the elder Llama-ettes do their stuff. (The nine year old and her partner did a presentation on prime numbers, while the seven year old and hers did a long division problem using a system of racks and tubes nearly indeciferable to me.) I also stopped by one or two other tables, but then slid out as quickly as I could. The truth of the matter is that my attitude toward children is much like Miss Murdstone's from David Copperfield. ("Generally speaking," said Miss Murdstone, "I don't like boys. How d'ye do, boy?") How the Missus and other teachers put up with great mobs of them day after day after day, and even enjoy it, is a sweet mystery to me.
Happy Birthday To My Favorite Angel
Jaclyn Smith turns 62 today.
In true Pavlovian fashion, this shot from the opening credits of "Charlie's Angels" always got my heart racing. Add this to with the Rita Hayworthesque "hair flip" after taking off the motorcycle helmet and it was almost too much for an eleven year old boy to handle.
For more picks, see her entry from the "80's Crush of the Week" tournament at the old site.
A Merry Meeting
Big Yips! to Tee Bee of the Guide To Midwestern Culture, a long time friend of the Llamas whom I got to meet over a cup of coffee yesterday afternoon during her visit to Your Nation's Capital. It's always gratifying to be able to put a real live face to a blog, especially one you've read over a long period of time.
We chatted about this and that, but not too much about blogging. One story I did mention was Dr. Rusty's posting on the Reuters photo floating around the internets this week featuring the remarkably pristine baby doll lying amidst the charred ruins of Southern California. Either the doll miraculously escaped the burning, fiery furnace like those three johnnies in the Old Testament, or else Reuters is, well, at it again.
Dr. Rusty, whose opinion of the matter you may readily imagine, seized on the opportunity to repost what is probably the greatest video ever to come out of the bowels of the Sandcrawler. Tee Bee and I had a good laugh over the recollection. Because of that and because it's Friday, I repost the vid here as well. Enjoy.
Elvis Is In The Building
Somebody introduced the Llama-ettes to the King this week and, as is their wont, they pounced upon this new find with what the starter at the golf club where I worked one summer would have called "great viggah".
The nine year old has spent the last couple days doing what is actually a pretty durn good riff on "Blue Suede Shoes". Meanwhile, the seven year old, in her innocent way, asked me, "Daddy, where were you when Elvis died on the potty?" The five year old, being the most visual of the three, has confined herself primarily to shaking her hips at me.
Uh, thangkyuh. Thangkyuh verrah mush.
UPDATE: Our pal GroovyVic goes on an Elvis YouTube bender.
October 25, 2007
BC takes on Virginia Tech
One word of advice to BC: keep the band off the field.
UPDATE: 57 strong minutes for VTech. Unfortunately for the Hokies and their ever so classy fan base, the football game was sixty minutes. BC scores 14 in the last 2:11 to win.
Freaky-deakyness: it's October 25th, and the two teams leading the ACC are....Boston College and UVA.
What does it mean?
Other than the fact that the ACC kind of sucks this year...
on Saint Crispian's Day:
ENTER THE KING. . .
WORLD SERIES GAME ONE RECAP
BTW, here's my dirty rotten stinkah of a brother who was able to score primo box seats with some buddies:
UPDATE: I don't know about you, but I don't got my taco either:
Naked Sleepwalking In Hotels On The Rise!
And now the bad news.
File this under "Just My Luck".
"24" Season Seven Twist
It's a spoiler so it's below the fold (Season Seven trailer included)
It's mirror-universe Tony! Soul patch comes back from the dead and goes bad.
This could either be a great season or a pathetic "Die Hard" ripoff.
Random Seasonal Observation
Well, it seems that Autumn has finally quit screwing around and gotten down to brass tacks here in Your Nation's Capital - cool (50's), grey and rainy weather has moved in and promises to hold for the next couple of days.
Some people find this depressing. Me, I always feel invigorated. In fact, the ideal weather to me is a misty, drizzly, foggy day with the temperature hovering around 40 or so.
I suppose it's my Scots ancestry coming through. Hoots! Toots!
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - "Make My Day" Division
If you ever want a microcosmic example of the effectiveness of a credible threat of force, you need only visit Orgle Manor on a school morning. I've developed a new rule with the Llama-ettes: Two warnings to get their lazy selves out of bed. The third time, I come in with a cup of water and boosh them where they lie.
They know that not only would I do so if given the chance, I'd love to do it. So far, I haven't had the opportunity.
October 24, 2007
WORLD SERIES UPDATE: MAYBE GOD DOES INDEED HATE THE SAWX
Rain predicted for Game One tonight:
BOSTON -- The 103rd World Series between the Rockies and Red Sox is scheduled to start with a first pitch at 8:23 ET tonight, and from all accounts, rain is likely to interfere to some degree and now poses a significant threat to Game 1. "We always try to play games when scheduled if possible," Major League Baseball president Bob DuPuy said of the ominous forecast. "Obviously, player safety and not burning starting pitchers if the game does not start or is shortened are concerns, as is the comfort of the fans in attendance. Ultimately the decision will be made by the Commissioner taking all these factors into account."
"Bring the GoreTex" was the morning advice to Red Sox fans on the local NPR news radio station in Boston, WBUR. Indeed, the best-case scenario seems to be drizzle during the game and steady-to-heavy rain holding off until 11 or 12. It could be one of those nights when you root for the game to become official in the fifth.
"I'm looking at the radar and there's one area of light showers moving through now, then a bit of a break, then an area of much heavier rain down off the Atlantic Coast, which we're most concerned about," Terry Eliasen, executive weather producer and meteorologist at CBS Ch. 4 told MLB.com at 12:30 p.m. ET. "Between now and game time, it will be just spotty to light showers. But later in the evening, perhaps 9 or 10 o'clock, that area off the Mid-Atlantic Coast could bring steady or heavier showers to the Boston area.
"I would expect the game will start off OK, probably with no delay. But I wouldn't be surprised by the middle of the game to see some steady rain coming down. I know they want to play it. It's going to be a damp night there any way you slice it. Just hope it's light rain and not steady to heavy moderate rain.
"Once it starts, it's going to be fairly steady through the evening into early tomorrow morning. It's not like we'll have to wait for a heavy shower to go by and then we'll be in the clear. It's inevitable we'll face some rain during the game. It's just a matter of when that steady to heavy weather comes in."
That, on top of the nooz that my older brother---the rat bastard!!!---has scored primo tickets for the game tonight.
The only thing I can say to you, Lou, is that..........Mom always loved Joe more.
One word: it's a pissah. A wicked pissah.
Okay, that's six words, but you get my drift.
That was for you, Keith.
Zombie Necrophilia on CBS?
I am *nearly* speechless after viewing clips from an almost-ran pilot for a CBS un-dead crime drama that was pitched as "exploring the emotional and societal ramification of loved ones coming back from the dead." I smell the thesis statement from a senior paper, don't you Steve-O?
Story & clip labeled "Post-coital zombie brags about the erectile enhancing benefits of being dead" here:
Sending a shout out to Brother Snackpack for this one!
Gail at Scribal Terror posts a story about German police being summoned to round up a party of crayfish that managed to break out of a Stuttgart food shop. It immediately reminded me of this classic gem:
One can only assume the lobster banditos were more successful.
Ask and Ye Shall Receive UPDATE:
And while we're on the subject of beer and lobsters, here's the one that didn't get away:
Light Fuse, Stand Back
I can't stand articles like this one:
News that Paul McCartney is expecting to settle his divorce from Heather Mills for £60m after just five years of marriage may send a shudder down the spine of other couples who are not getting on as well as they used to. But husbands and wives who find themselves in this position could avoid much of the cost and unpleasantness of breaking up with financial planning.
One way to cut the cost, say lawyers, is to consider using a prenuptial agreement – something the McCartneys did not do. While prenuptial agreements are not legally binding in Britain, they are increasingly being taken into account by divorce courts and are not just the domain of the super rich. Several high-profile cases have spurred wealthy people to consider a prenuptial agreement.
Here's something better to consider: If you're thinking along these lines before you've even tied the knot, you've no business getting married in the first place.
It Don't Mean A Thing If...
Don over at Scuffulans hirsutus is blegging for opinions about whether the swing soundtrack from the anime Oh! Edo Rocket doesn't make just a bit too free and easy with its source material.
Don provides some tracks for your listening enjoyment and musicological sleuthing. From a casual sampling, I definitely picked up some heavy influences (specifically "Sing, Sing, Sing" and "In The Mood"). The question is whether these influences are simply a matter of riffing or whether they (and possible others) rise to the level of outright theft.
G'wan over and have a listen.
Sic Semper Vino Virginianis
CNN, as it seems to have done for the past couple years, is running a puff piece on the Virginia wine industry. The piece features the Barboursville Vineyards which, as near as I can make out, is the closest thing to a legit European vineyard within the great Commonwealth. I have heard good things about its Sangiovese and Barbera Reserves, although I have not yet had the opportunity to sample them, as the local Total Bev seems to carry neither and I haven't yet been motivated to hoik my lazy Llama backside down Route 29 to visit the place itself.
Anyhoo, at this point I'm willing to give Barboursville the benefit of the doubt. HOWEVER, I read these paragraphs in full cringe mode:
Since Barboursville's founding in 1976, Virginia vineyards have grown from a handful to nearly 120 statewide, placing Virginia fifth in the nation in the number of wineries. It's also among the fastest-growing wine-producing states, according to tax figures from the U.S. Department of Treasury.
"We as a state over the past three years have put a much greater emphasis on wine," said Tamra Talmadge-Anderson, a Virginia tourism spokeswoman. Visitors who include a Virginia winery on their trips spend twice as much per person than the average traveler, $299 versus $129, according to a state tourism department study.
I'm usually a champion of teh Old Dominion, but friends, I tell you truly (as I have done so here and here and here and here and here) that there simply is no such thing as good Virginia wine. It all tastes like cough syrup. And (as the above graph demonstrates) high-priced cough syrup at that. So certainly come for the scenery and history, but stock up your picnic hampers with imported plonk.
American Political Development done right
(Blatantly stolen from AP)
Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)
Happy birthday, Malcolm Bilson! Born this day in 1935.
Who he, you ask?
Well, he's a longtime member of the Cornell Musick Department, a trailblazer period performance guy and more or less the dean of the fortepiano.
I consider Bilson's recording of the complete cycle of Mozart's piano concerti with John Eliot
Full of Himself Gardiner and the English Baroque Soloists to be the best available, and would heartily recommend them to anybody.
Gratuitous Middle of the Night Domestic Observation
Earlier this summer we had all the gutters replaced at Orgle Manor, chucking the old 70's piping that was falling down anyway (and taking the baseboard out with it) in favor of some new double-wide.
However, because it has rained so little this year, it wasn't until about three o'clock this morning -when we had our first heavyish rain in God knows how long - that I finally noticed the difference. Instead of the old drip, drip, drip that I used to hear outside the bedroom window, we now get a flowing sound, like a little creek elevated up to the level of the roof.
"No greater love . . ."
Read the President's remarks during the presentation of the Medal of Honor to the parents of LT Michael Patrick Murphy, USN. Via NRO.
"They that go down to the sea in ships,
to do business in great waters,
see the works of the Lord,
and His wonders in the deep."
October 23, 2007
I admit that I haven't paid much attention to the issue, but I recognize that it's got a powerful lot o' folks riled up. If Ol' Fred taps into that rile with a hawkish stance, it might be the fire he needs to vault out of the "well, he's doing okay but not as well as I'd hoped" position which seems to have characterized reaction to his campaign so far.
Oh. My. Gawd.
I had thought my poor Miami Dolphins could not possibly be humiliated any more this week. But I was wrong. Which is the worst possible aspect of this article?
A) That somebody came up with the idea to build a 26 foot statue of Jason Taylor that looks like a cross between G.I. Joe and the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man?
B) That somebody decided to set it up in Trafalgar Square in order to promote the 'Fins-Giants game at Wembley next Sunday? (Because for my money, nothing is going to attract the Brits to American-style football like this thing. Right!)
C) That the statue is pictured here getting felt up by Christian Slater?
I think I'm going to go home, drink an entire bottle of single malt, and cry the rest of the season away.
(Sobbing Yips! to Dave Barry.)
Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)
The local radio station is currently running a recording of Leopold Mozart's "Hunting" Symphony in G Major (his "Jagdsinfonie"), performed by Donald Armstrong and the New Zealand Chamber Orchestra. (The piece is really more of a concerto for four hunting horns than a symphony.)
I used to have a recording of this piece by Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields that superimposed the sounds of shotguns and dogs in the first movement, as called for in Leopold's score. Armstrong and the boys are doing the same thing here, only it sounds more like cannon-fire.
Speaking of dogs, this is one dog of a piece of musick, and why anybody plays it is a sweet mystery to me. Every time I hear it, I become more firmly convinced that young Wolfgang was taking a dig at the Old Man as much as anybody else with his Ein Musikalischer Spaß ("A Musical Joke").
UPDATE: Now they're playing Georg Philipp Telemann's Concerto in A Major "The Frogs", performed by Philip Pickett and the New London Consort. The violins produce a wonderful effect, like the croaking that fills the woods behind our house after it rains.
I must say again that of all the composers I listen to, Telemann has probably benefited most from the period performance movement. I never liked Telemann as a kid, based on the records Dad had dating from the 50's and 60's. His music seemed slow, sloppy and lugubrious. But under the hands of groups like this one, as well as others like Musica Antiqua Cologne, it really comes alive, singing and dancing.
Because I Just Have To
Post this pic.
It's too easy. Caption, anyone?
h/t: Derb at NRO
The Dangers Of Harry Potter Fandom
A three year old got a traffic cone stuck on his head while playing wizard.
A Georgia toddler emulating Harry Potter was unable to execute a vanishing spell after getting a traffic cone stuck on his head and instead needed to wait for firefighters to work their magic to free him, MyFoxAtlanta.com reports.Since we're on the subject, I remind readers that it was seven weeks ago today that Robbo begrudgingly succumb to the lure of the Hogwarts assimilation movement and resolved to finally read the books.
Six rescue members worked for 30 minutes on Friday to free the boy, 3-year-old Charlie Thomas, after the boy donned the cone like a wizard’s hat during a game of pretend.
A Somerset Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said it was a rare rescue for the firefighters: "We've had kids stuck in various things and had saucepans stuck on them but never a traffic cone."
Inspired by this move, I too assembled my oldest son's collection of paperback copies of the series and ventured into the tale of wizards and witches for the very first time. I just put down "Chamber of Secrets" and, like "Sorcerer's Stone" it was almost exactly like the movies. This probably helped me get through them so quickly (I just started a few weeks ago).
Having seen the other movies to date I know the darker and more complicated turn the story is going to take, which I look forward to.
So, Robbo. How goes it with you in this venture?
Yips! from Robbo: Well, truth be told, I haven't touched 'em yet. What with one thing and another, my attention has been diverted elsewhere of late. Also, the Llama-ettes are off on other tacks at the moment, so the heat is off somewhat to be able to keep up with Potter-lore, which was really the only reason I said I'd do it to begin with.
And do I even want to know how much time and effort you took to track down that post? I was sort of hoping the memory would just fade away....
Yips! back from Gary:
It's that "search the tasty bits" thingy Steve put in the left sidebar. Doesn't always work, mind you. But I lucked out today.
Eh, wait 'til I'm finished and I'll let you know whether or not to bother. Of course, I have this whole new perspective on Dumbledore going on now...
This One's For Steve-O
Wow. Big Daddy Drew over at Kissing Suzy Kolber has a positively flame-throwing "Guide To Being An Insufferable A--Hole S--thead F--kface Fan Of Boston-Area Sports Teams".
Follow these rules and I promise you that everyone from the nation’s remaining 44 states will want to rape you with a hammer. But hey, you’re a Boston sports fan now. You’ll be completely ignorant to your own jackassery. That’s the beauty of it. You are now just as f[**]ing annoying as a Notre Dame football fan, or a Duke basketball fan. That's right, Pats fan. That's the level you're at right now. Enjoy your world titles, you f[***]ing c[**]kh[*]g.
Go read. (That'll learn ya to make gratuitous cracks about the 'Fins, Steve-O!) NSFW, as you might gather from my edits, and the no hot beverages rule will be enforced.
Yips! to Jonathan V. Last at Galley Slaves.
YOU TALKIN' TO ME? YIPS from Steve-O: As The Dear One noted last night, "Moosie, you realize all America is rooting for the Rockies except for that little 'Red Sox Nation' thing your Dad keeps talking about, right?"
My message to Robbo on this is best stated in Lord of the Rings Logic: Dear Gandalf---No need to send the Eagles, I tried the ring on and IT.IS. AWESOME. Love, Frodo PS-- Send my best to you and your buddy Dumbledore, you old c*&^s&$#%er.
See, arrogant, disrespectful, overflowing with imminent rueage and LOVING IT. The state of Red Sawx Nation, October 2007.
FURTHER IMMINENT RUEAGE YIPS from Steve-O: More signs Francona's got the Ring: Rudy supports the Sawx.
BOSTON - Sounds like a baseball flip-flop. Rudy Giuliani, a lifelong New York Yankees fan, said Tuesday he's pulling for their most hated rivals, the Boston Red Sox, to win the World Series over the Colorado Rockies.
"I'm rooting for the Red Sox," the Republican presidential contender said in response to a question, sparking applause at the Boston restaurant where he was picking up a local endorsement.
"I'm an American League fan, and I go with the American League team, maybe with the exception of the Mets," he said. "Maybe that would be the one time I wouldn't because I'm loyal to New York."
Giuliani's Yankees lost in the first round of the playoffs, then lost their manager when Giuliani's friend, Joe Torre, refused to accept a pay cut and walked away. Giuliani said the Yankees had "a great season."
The former New York mayor said his declaration of temporary Red Sox loyalty was "not just because I'm here in Massachusetts."
"In Colorado, in the next week or two, you will see, I will have the courage to tell the people of Colorado the same thing, that I am rooting for the Red Sox in the World Series," he said.
Note to Rudy: dude, you've already sewn up my Mom's vote, what gives? Folks, I'm officially worried now that Rudy is moving in on my Moms.
Next thing you know the Fonz will come out for the Sawx and then we are officially doomed.
Yips! back from Robbo: I was cringing over what Gregg Easterbrook was going to make of the Pats humiliation of the 'Fins this weekend, but was pleasantly surprised when he used it as part of his brief in support of the argument that the Pats are Hell's Football Team and that Belichick is Satan:
Argument for the New England Patriots as scoundrels in the service of that which is baleful: Dishonesty, cheating, arrogance, hubris, endless complaining even in success. The Patriots have three Super Bowl rings, but that jewelry is tarnished by their cheating scandal. They run up the score to humiliate opponents -- more on that below -- thus mocking sportsmanship. Their coach snaps and snarls in public, seeming to feel contempt for the American public that has brought him wealth and celebrity. Victory seems to give Bill Belichick no joy, and defeat throws him into fury. Belichick and the rest of the top of the Patriots' organization continue to refuse to answer questions about what was in the cheating tapes -- and generally, you refuse to answer questions if you have something to hide. The team has three Super Bowl triumphs, yet its players regularly whine about not being revered enough. The team's star, Tom Brady, is a smirking sybarite who dates actresses and supermodels but whose public charity appearances are infrequent. That constant smirk on Brady's face reminds one of Dick Cheney; people who smirk are fairly broadcasting the message, "I'm hiding something." The Patriots seem especially creepy at this point because we still don't know whether they have told the full truth about the cheating scandal -- or even whether they really have stopped cheating. They say they have, but their word is not exactly gold at this juncture. Ladies and gentlemen, representing Evil, the New England Patriots.
For The Birds
Steve-O emailed me this vaguely apocalyptic article about wild turkeys invading the Bahston suburbs and (apparently) panicking the good citizens:
BROOKLINE - On a recent afternoon, Kettly Jean-Felix parked her car on Beacon Street in Brookline, fed the parking meter, wheeled around to go to the optician and came face to face with a wild turkey.
The turkey eyed Jean-Felix. Jean-Felix eyed the turkey. It gobbled. She gasped. Then the turkey proceeded to follow the Dorchester woman over the Green Line train tracks, across the street, through traffic, and all the way down the block, pecking at her backside as she went.
"This is so scary," Jean-Felix said, finally taking refuge inside Cambridge Eye Doctors in Brookline's bustling Washington Square. "I cannot explain it."
Uh, folks? It's just over a month until Thanksgiving. What the hell is the matter with you that you can't do the math on this one? That's dinner strutting its stuff out there!
I know of what I speak, by the way.
[WARNING: SQUEEM ALERT. PETA MEMBERS SHOULD READ NO FURTHER.]
My very first game was a big wild tom that I shot in the Texas Hill Country when I was eight. I was using a little Remington .222 and the shot was, if memory serves, something in the range of 50 or 60 yards (we were in a deer blind working a feeder). Much of my childhood memory has faded over the years, but I still distinctly recollect how proud of myself I was when I came home to show Mom the blood Dad had smeared on my cheeks in honor of the occasion.
It was too late in the year to have my bird for Thanksgiving, so we had it for Christmas dinner instead. Wild turkey, as is usually the case with game, is considerably stronger than the domestic variety, however much you brine it. My other memory of the event was our sitting at the table in the dining room, all decked out in our Christmas finery, and Dad, who had started to carve the bird, exclaiming, "Oh, here's where the bullet struck!" Of course, all of us - my brother, sister and I - wanted to have a look.
Somehow, I don't think such things would go over very well at Orgle Manor, but then we lived in a different time and place. And while I grew up hunting deer, turkey, dove, quail and duck, I must say I've never had any particular urge either to keep it up or to pass it on to the Llama-ettes.
Panda Bears May Be Cute
But they're still bears. Unfortunately, we tend to forget this. With dire results.
A male panda at the Beijing Zoo once bitten by a drunk tourist attacked a teenager, ripping chunks out of the boy's legs, officials and a newspaper said Tuesday.So remember, kids. If you feel the need to hug a bear, stick with your local "Build-A-Bear Workshop".
The 15-year-old had jumped over a 4-foot, 7-inch barrier surrounding an outdoor exercise area for pandas on Monday afternoon while 8-year-old Gu Gu and another bear were being fed, said a man surnamed Zhang, the director of the zoo management office.
The teen startled 240-pound Gu Gu, who bit the unwanted visitor on both legs, said Zhang, who would not give his full name.
The Beijing News identified the teen as Li Xitao, citing emergency medical officials who said he was so viciously attacked that his bones were showing. Chunks of flesh were left behind in the ambulance, they said.
Gu Gu was in the news last year when he was bitten by a drunk tourist. The man jumped into the bear's pen and tried to hug him, but was bitten instead. The tourist retaliated by biting the bear in the back.
And for those who still don't have the whole black bear/brown bear distinction straight:
October 22, 2007
The new World Series Logo
Here's what I've got so far:
It needs a little work: frankly, Robbo's LLama is a little bit mangy, probably due to excessive Fins rooting in the offseason.
We also need a slogan. Suggestions?
Yips! from Robbo: Well if your team was imploding like that, you'd be yanking handfuls of wool out, too.
Now pitching for the Red Sawx, Spicy McHaggis. Pitcher, McHaggis
In honor of Jonathan Papelbon's performance last night during the American League Trophy Ceremony:
Your new Red Sox theme song is this:
then again, it probably should be this:
If you want to turn a profit, try making movies people want to see instead of sanctimonious, Left-wing, anti-American tripe.
Dirty Harry of Libertas makes an observation:
Total revenue (foreign and domestic) from anti-war films:Hint: We want to be entertained, not lectured to.
A Mighty Heart - $15.4 million
In The Valley Of Elah - 6.9 million
Rendition - 4.3 million
TOTAL = 26.6 million
Total for film about whupping terrorist butt:
The Kindgom - $59.7 million
…I’m just saying, that’s all. Just pointing it out.
And consider for a moment that maybe it's the terrorists who have a more dire need to do some soul-searching.
Yips! from Robbo: Or, if you insist on making sanctimonious, left wing, anti-American tripe, at least try to get, say, Jennifer Love Hewitt to star in it.
Drooling Idiot Yips! back from Gary:
Stooopid Bumper Sticker Watch
Whilst navigating the side streets around American University on Saturday (damn Dee Cee for tearing up Foxhall Road!), I came up behind a student car with a bumper sticker which read:
Republicans should never be allowed to vote again.
Now I haven't been over to KosWorld much lately, but I was always under the impression that it was libs who accused conservatives of censorship, of using guv'mint authority for the suppression of differing viewpoints, which is, in fact, exactly the kind of behavior this bumper sticker advocates.
I assume that the kid wasn't being ironic. I can only wonder if it ever occured to him that he was being a moron.
What Would Jo Harding Do?
This article about attempts to steer hurricanes (you know, so they miss the district of the congresscritter who controls NOAA funding and instead slash into the district of the guy who voted against HillaryCare) reminded me again of something somebody once said to the effect that the ultimate totalitarian pipe dream was to be able to outlaw bad weather.
It also reminded me again of this bit of throw-away utopianism from the Star Trek: TNG episode entitled "True Q":
DATA: I have some information regarding Amanda Rogers' parents. Records indicate that they died in Topeka, Kansas. Their home was destroyed during a tornado.
PICARD: A tornado? Why wasn't it dissipated by the Weather Modification Net?
DATA: Unknown, sir. The bodies were found in the rubble after the storm had passed.
PICARD: (a beat as he ponders) See if you can find out any details. I'd like to know more about that storm.
DATA: Yes, Captain.
As a general matter, I have no sympathy with this kind of trying to play God.
Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)
Over the weekend I happened to be listening to Schubert's Ninth Symphony in C Major (called "The Great"). It isn't my favorite piece of musick, but the recording I have - by Sir Georg Solti and the Vienna Philharmonic - is one of my very favorite performances of anything, and it's a delight to hear Sir Georg and the boys get the absolute last drop out of the piece.
As for the musick itself, I love my mother's comment. Putting on a heavy Irish brogue, she says, "'T'Ghreat', is it now? Weeeell, I dunno about that. But it saartinly is 'T'Lharge'."
Gratuitous Congratulatory Haiku
Sawx come back again,
Dice-K good enough to hold.
Pedroia rox on.
At least I'll be able to get a couple nights' sleep before the Series starts.
BTW, you know who Pedroia reminds me of? Giovanni Ribisi, the guy who played the medic in Saving Private Ryan. Whenever he comes up to the plate, I keep expecting him to say, "Oh, God! It's my liver!" (Like I said, I need some sleep.)
Gratuitous Crossing the Tiber Posting (TM)
Well, as promised I attended my very first Mass (apart from weddings and baptisms) this Sunday. Yes, it was the full monty High Mass, all in Latin, all sung or chanted, and with all the smells, bells and sprinklings you could wish. No, I didn't come out of it feeling it was the greatest religious experience of my life. Truth be told, I felt rayther like Arthur Box-Bender at Gervase Crouchback's funeral, lost and a bit uncomfortable and, in keeping with the Anglican 11th Commandment ("Thou shalt not make a fool of thyself in public"), mostly silent.
But that's okay, as I wasn't expecting any more. I could certainly sense the power in the air and feel the Spirit at something of a remove. But even after being received into the Church, I imagine it will be a bit before I can tap directly into that current myself. Baby steps.
BTW, those of you fearing (or hoping) that I would run smack into the guitars and dancing nuns crowd needn't worry. The Father's homily was on the importance of Tradition, in defense of which he roundly blasted and damned (well, not literally) all the mucking about with the liturgy that came in the wake of Vatican II. I get the distinct sense that even when saying low Mass, he is not interested in "innovation".
UPDATE: Speaking of which, there's an old joke that Anglican services can be categorized as low (lazy), middle (hazy) and high (crazy). I wouldn't have dared be so flippant as to think of it during the Mass itself, but afterward it made me smile again. Is there a patron saint of smart-asses? Cos' I fear I'm going to need his or her protection.
October 19, 2007
Something Up With Our Banter, Chaps?
Seems kind of sluggish 'round here today. So I'm going to go ahead and repost an amusing favorite of mine, the tee-vee reporter vs. the Spitfire (NRSFW at the end):
Grab your egg-and-fours and let's get the bacon delivered!
Vade Retro, Amazonas!
I just got an odd email from the devil's website:
We've noticed that customers who have purchased or rated books by Fred Anderson have also purchased The French and Indian War: Deciding the Fate of North America by Walter R. Borneman. For this reason, you might like to know that The French and Indian War: Deciding the Fate of North America will be released on October 30, 2007. You can pre-order yours at a savings of $5.10 by following the link below.
[Insert wallet into hoover here.]
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Borneman offers an excellent general-audience version of Fred Anderson's Crucible of War (2000), the definitive academic history of the mid–18th-century French and Indian War and its long-term consequences for America and the world.
Well, if I already own Anderson's book (which I do, along with a couple others - and I love them), why would I want to turn around and buy the, well, dumbed down treatment by Borneman?
I guess Amazon reckons that in reading the email, I'll give most of it the Charlie Brown teacher-speak treatment ("Wha, wha, wha, wha, Book on French & Indian War, wha, wha, wha....") and buy the thing on impulse.
CONVERGENT STREAMS UPDATE: I notice that today happens to be the feast day of Saints Jean de Brébeuf and Isaac Joques, two early missionaries to the Hurons around the Great Lakes who were both brutally martyred by the Iroquois in the 1640's.
Just went outside to grab lunch. You'll never believe it, but there's actually water falling out of the sky!
Just how weird is that?
New "Trek" Prequel Casting Set
Mixed bag, IMO.
Kirk: Chris Pine - have no idea who this guy is. Probably a good thing. But to me he looks like your standard garden-variety metrosexual hollywood girlie man. Tough shoes to fill. Especially considering they're not Prada.
McCoy: Karl Urban - He was great in "Lord of the Rings", even if the part didn't call for much range. Have no idea if he has the droll comic chops to pull the "Dammit, Jim. I'm a doctor, not a bricklayer" lines (if they're even being used by J.J. Abrams). Not too bad.
Scotty: Simon Pegg - Loved Pegg in "Shaun of the Dead". "Hot Fuzz" is in my Netflix queue. British, but can pass as a credible Scotsman. As far as I'm concerned, the best in the cast. Will probably be under utilized, though.
Uhura: Zoe Saldana - Never seen her before. Will Abrams upgrade the role beyond a glorified telephone operator? OK, I guess.
Chekov: Anton Yelchin - an honest to goodness Russkie. Bit of a baby face, though. Eh.
Overall - considering I think the project itself is ill-conceived anyway, I think they did OK. The most weight is obviously on the shoulders of Pine. How do you live up to the legend that is Bill Shatner?
Highly Dubious Yip! from Robbo: I'm hardly a "Trekkie", but to the extent I am, I'm very Old School (although I saw one of those remastered episodes of TOS the other evening, and it was not nearly as obnoxious as I feared. I might even like it.) Anyhoo, I smell disaster here. And Chris Pine? He looks like Rob Lowe before the eyebrow plucks. If this is the history of Kirk, then God help the Federation.
Gratuitous Crossing the Tiber Posting
Well, this is going to be an interesting weekend.
Tomorrow afternoon, the latest grandchild of my Godparents is to be baptised at the National Cathedral. This will be about the eighth such baptism I've been to there (I also attended all three of their children's weddings there as well), and I never get tired of it.
Then Sunday, after attending 'Palie services with the family, I have to quickly slide over to my new Catholic stomping grounds, as the RCIA class has been drafted to sell donuts this weekend. But once our donut shift is over, one of my classmates and I are going to go take in the Tridentine Mass - it'll be the first one I've ever attended and I'm quite excited about it. A full report (well, a lame attempt at a full report) will follow here.
Talking of "excited", I've perused an awful lot of conversion stories over the past six months or so, most recently over at the Catholic Converts blog and among my RCIA compadres (by no means all of whom necessarily plan to be received into the Church at Easter). Many of the stories concern people's accounts of their struggles and hardships, their active fight against being pulled over the Tiber, their doubts and second-guessing.
Me? So far I've experienced none of that. I've not been placing a very heavy burden of proof on Rome to persuade me, because I want to be persuaded. Apart from the awkward issue of my family not going with me, I've not encountered any problems with what's been asked. (Which, my coming out of a purely Anglican background, is almost entirely related to the meaning and workings of the Church itself. You've no idea what an eye-opener it's been to compare what the Church says about itself with what Protestants claim the Church says about itself. Two different languages.) Instead, I have been, as I say, excited. I go about humming Jubilates to myself. I've started praying much more seriously. I've consciously tried to infuse the Spirit into my dealings with those around me. I even have, as I reported this week, dreams about things. And I bore you lot with, well, posts like this.
So a thought crept into my mind last evening: What, if anything, am I missing? Is this True Love, or is it just some kind of crush? Am I, perhaps, just rebounding from TEC? (That, btw, is what the majority of my old parish allies seem to suspect.) Am I just being a shallow romantic? Or am I turning into a Pharisee? (A favorite barb among liberal 'Palies, btw, for anybody who doesn't agree with their vision.) And, more importantly, how do I tell?
Of course, it is just a thought, not an alarm bell. Perhaps it's just a natural check, a slight damping of the foam on top giving the substance a chance to sink in deeper. Maybe the fact that I'm trying to parse it out here is a healthy exercise. Or perhaps I'm just being paranoid. Certainly there must be others who have sailed over without much trouble, and most of my closest friends would argue that I've never been very far removed tempermentally anyway.
Beating Steve-O To The Punch UPDATE:
"Cardinal Smithers! Reduce the mental manipulation level by one factor on the cortical implant for this Robbo Llama! We don't want him to become suspicious."
Gratuitous Civil War Geek Posting (TM)
(Reposted from last year. Deal with it. I've added a bit more to the end.)
Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Cedar Creek, the last major battle of the 1864 Shenendoah Valley campaign, in which Jubal Early launched an unexpected assault against the Union army. The Union forces, caught flatfooted, had begun to pull back in panic when they were rallied by Gen. Phillip Henry "Little Phil" Sheridan, who on hearing the battle break out had quickly ridden forward from his headquarters at Winchester. Sheridan rallied the Union troops and, toward the end of the day, launched a counter-attack against the Confederates that pretty much wiped out Early's army as an effective fighting force.
News of Sheridan's ride quickly inspired the following poem by Thomas Buchanan Read, entitled (not surprisingly) "Sheridan's Ride":
Up from the South, at break of day,
Bringing to Winchester fresh dismay,
The affrighted air with a shudder bore,
Like a herald in haste to the chieftain's door,
The terrible grumble, and rumble, and roar,
Telling the battle was on once more,
And Sheridan twenty miles away.
And wider still those billows of war
Thundered along the horizon's bar;
And louder yet into Winchester rolled
The roar of that red sea uncontrolled,
Making the blood of the listener cold,
As he thought of the stake in that fiery fray,
With Sheridan twenty miles away.
But there is a road from Winchester town,
A good, broad highway leading down:
And there, through the flush of the morning light,
A steed as black as the steeds of night
Was seen to pass, as with eagle flight;
As if he knew the terrible need,
He stretched away with his utmost speed.
Hills rose and fell, but his heart was gay,
With Sheridan fifteen miles away.
Still sprang from those swift hoofs, thundering south,
The dust like smoke from the cannon's mouth,
Or the trail of a comet, sweeping faster and faster,
Foreboding to traitors the doom of disaster.
The heart of the steed and the heart of the master
Were beating like prisoners assaulting their walls,
Impatient to be where the battle-field calls;
Every nerve of the charger was strained to full play,
With Sheridan only ten miles away.
Under his spurning feet, the road
Like an arrowy Alpine river flowed,
And the landscape sped away behind
Like an ocean flying before the wind;
And the steed, like a barque fed with furnace ire,
Swept on, with his wild eye full of fire;
But, lo! he is nearing his heart's desire;
He is snuffing the smoke of the roaring fray,
With Sheridan only five miles away.
The first that the general saw were the groups
Of stragglers, and then the retreating troops;
What was to be done? what to do?--a glance told him both.
Then striking his spurs with a terrible oath,
He dashed down the line, 'mid a storm of huzzas,
And the wave of retreat checked its course there, because
The sight of the master compelled it to pause.
With foam and with dust the black charger was gray;
By the flash of his eye, and his red nostril's play,
He seemed to the whole great army to say:
"I have brought you Sheridan all the way
From Winchester down to save the day."
Hurrah! hurrah for Sheridan!
Hurrah! hurrah for horse and man!
And when their statues are placed on high
Under the dome of the Union sky,
The American soldier's Temple of Fame,
There, with the glorious general's name,
Be it said, in letters both bold and bright:
"Here is the steed that saved the day
By carrying Sheridan into the fight,
From Winchester--twenty miles away!"
As poetry, I don't think much of it - anybody who rhymes "Sheridan" with "horse and man" ought to be shot himself - but I like the use of distances at the end of each stanza. And I think it really does capture the spirit of Sheridan's rally nicely.
2007 UPDATE: Speaking of that statue in the last stanza, here it is:
(Image found here.)
It's located in Sheridan Circle at Mass Ave and 23rd, N.W. No mention of letters bold and bright about the horse (at least that I'm aware of), but here's a little piece of trivia: the statue was completed in 1908 by Gutzon Borglum, the fellah who carved Mt. Rushmore.
Friday Stooopid, Part Deux
Krauth puts the boot into Nancy Pelooooosi this morning:
There are three relevant questions concerning the Armenian genocide.
(a) Did it happen?
(b) Should the U.S. House of Representatives be expressing itself on this now?
(c) Was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s determination to bring this to a vote, knowing that it risked provoking Turkey into withdrawing crucial assistance to American soldiers in Iraq, a conscious (columnist Thomas Sowell) or unconscious (blogger Mickey Kaus) attempt to sabotage the U.S. war effort?
The answers are:
(a) Yes, unequivocally.
(b) No, unequivocally.
(c) God only knows.
He goes on to explain, patiently, exactly why the answer to (b) is unequivocal:
The atrocities happened 90 years ago. Not a single living Turk under the age of 102 is in any way culpable. Even Mesrob Mutafyan, patriarch of the Armenian community in Turkey, has stated that his community is opposed to the resolution, correctly calling it the result of domestic American politics.
Turkey is already massing troops near the Iraq border, threatening a campaign against Kurdish rebels that could destabilize the one stable front in Iraq. The same House of Representatives that has been complaining loudly about the lack of armored vehicles for our troops is blithely jeopardizing relations with the country through which 95 percent of the new heavily armored vehicles are now transiting on the way to saving American lives in Iraq.
And for what? To feel morally clean?
How does this work? Pelosi says: “Genocide still exists, and we saw it in Rwanda; we see it now in Darfur.” Precisely. And what exactly is she doing about Darfur? Nothing. Pronouncing yourself on a genocide committed 90 years ago by an empire that no longer exists is Pelosi’s demonstration of seriousness about existing, ongoing genocide?
Indeed, the Democratic party she’s leading in the House has been trying for months to force a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq that could very well lead to genocidal civil war. This prospect has apparently not deterred her in the least.
'Zactly. So much for cheap feel-good stunts. The stooopidity of this one would be laughable in an awful way if the possible real world results were not so dangerous.
Go read the rest. To be fair, Krauth also trashes Rep. Chris Smith (R) of New Jersey for his equally fatuous support of the resolution.
Cockatoo rocks out to the Backstreet Boys:
He's even got some of their moves down!
Game Five Wrap-up
October 18, 2007
HA! Torre Tells Steinbrenner To Suck It!
After letting him twist in the wind for a week or so, the Boss offered Joe Torre another year, at a pay cut.
And it seems Joe figured he's had enough aggravation.
I love this because Torre made it clear that old George's money can't buy everything. In my mind, the former skipper unloaded on the old man the way George Bailey told off Mr. Potter in "It's A Wonderful Life":
"You spin your little web and you think the whole world revolves around you and your money! Well, it doesn't Mr. Steinbrenner. In the whole vast configuration of things I'd say you were nothing but a scurvy little spider."
And then he turns to Cashman, "And that goes for you, too!"
After acting like a puppet-master contolling Joe Torre's destiny, Steinbrenner looks pretty stupid right about now.
With Torre not returning, it'll be interesting to see how many free agents - ARod, Rivera, Posada - decide to pack it up for greener pastures. His departure could be the linch pin the sets the dominos falling. BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!
Cheddar Ben at Yankees2000: Promote The Curse declares "The Yankees are f*****!"
MSNBC's Mike Celizic points out that this speaks volumes about who's really in charge of this organization now:
There is no surer sign that Steinbrenner is no longer calling the shots. If he were, Torre would have been packing his bags by Tuesday afternoon; Wednesday morning at the latest. Instead, after three days of meetings, team president Randy Levine — not Steinbrenner, not his sons Hank and Hal who are taking over his role and not general manager Bryan Cashman — announced that Torre had turned down the deal and it was the time for the Yankees to move forward.One can see effect that these non-baseball savvy businessmen will have on the franchise's future. It tickles me to think of the next asinine moves they'll be making. Heh.
The challenge for whoever succeeds him will be dealing with a team that’s now being run by Machiavellian committee that needed three days to decide that the best way to get rid of the manager was to let him fire himself by offering him a pay cut and then building in a $1 million dollar bonus if he made the playoffs and an additional million-dollar for each round of the playoffs he advanced to.
There’s no reason to expect that personnel decisions will be made differently. And the problem there is that you can’t have committees deciding on which free agents to sign and which players to offer in trades.
That’s how Congress operates, and you can see how well that works.
Gratuitous Musickal Blegging
This past weekend was the seven year old's youth choir debut at church. For the anthem they sang a charming little Jubilate by Praetorius, a sort of two-part round. The gel was quite plainly audible among the second set of voices. Very, very nice.
This got me stoked up again on mid-17th Century polyphony. To that end, last evening I listened to a recording of Monteverdi's eighth book of madrigals, published in Venice in the late 1630's. Also, I finally decided that although I enjoy John Eliot Gardiner's big performance of Monteverdi's 1610 Vespro Della Beata Vergine recorded at the Basilica of San Marco in Venice, I also wanted a recording without so much echo and boom in it. To this end, today I ordered the somewhat more intimate version by Andrew Parrott and the Taverner Consort. While at the devil's website, I also picked up a recording of Monteverdi's "Un Concert Spirituel," a CD rerelease of a cassette set I had years ago. It's a collection of mostly two and three part motets, many lifted from other works including the Vespers. Just for the heck of it, and because the devil tempted me, I also tossed in a recording of a Te Deum by Michel-Richard Delalande (a French composer of the Sun King's era) performed by William Christie and Les Arts Florrisants.
I will, of course, post reviews of these recordings. (Oh, yes. I will.) I know the Vespers pretty well, some of the other Monteverdi motets not so well. Of Delalande's musick, I frankly know extremely little, but I know a thing or two about his contemporary Charpentier and the general period, and I know that LAF is a crack group for this reportoire.
So, this leads me to two different blegs:
1. I'd like to build up my Praetorius library. He's really outside the scope of my musickal knowledge and the only time I hear him in general is via an Empire Brass recording served up on the radio. If anybody has any suggestions about works and recordings I ought to get, I'd appreciate it.
2. On the general topic of early musick performances, a long while back somebody dropped a comment to a post I did about Emma Kirkby and the Consort of Musicke (my favorite professional combo for this sort of thing), about a wonderful group hailing from a music department in some small school in downstate Illinois or Indiana (I think). I can't find the post anymore. If you left that recommendation or know anything about the people to whom I'm refering, I'd appreciate a comment.
Oh, and while we're on music, the seven year old's class also went to a stripped down kiddie version of Humperdinck's opera Hansel and Gretel this week, from which she came home positively bursting. The gel really seems to have both a talent and a fondness for vocal music. To this end, I'm thinking of introducing her to my DVD of Monteverdi's L'Orfeo performed by Jordi Savall, Le Concert des Nations and La Capella Reial de Catalunya at Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu. The story is compact enough that I think she could follow it, and I love this performance more and more every time I hear it.
Gratuitous 'Fins Posting
Yes, indeedy. A huge and
some, ah, most, ah, putt-near-everybody would say, hopeless matchup this weekend. But you never quite know.
Further, I've said in the past that if Miami manages to take at least one game off New England, then the season cannot be considered a total loss no matter what else happens. This year, I think that is especially true.
Therefore, without further ado, and in order to entice the Football Gods to pull the trigger, I give you
TOP TEN THINGS THAT I, ROBBO THE LLAMA BUTCHER, WILL DO IF THE 'FINS UPSET THE PATS THIS WEEKEND:
10. Eat a big ol' bowl of broccoli and califlower.
9. Moonwalk to the office on Monday morning with a "Fins Win" sign on my back.
8. Watch entire extended version of Lord of teh Rings trilogy; Say something positive about Peter Jackson.
7. Send case of champagne to '72 Dolphins. Send case of Zima to Tom Brady.
6. Kitty litter needs cleaning out? No problemo!
5. Give every Pats fan I see a hug, a kiss and teh finger.
4. Answer dinner time telemarketing calls in pig-latin. (Actually, this sounds kinda fun. I may do it anyway.)
3. Suggest a trip to Disneyworld to the Missus and teh Llama-ettes.
2. Call the in-laws just to say I love 'em.
1. Dress up for Halloween as Bill Belichick carrying his own severed head.
Color Me A Weeeee Bit Skeptical
But the head pollster for the NY Senator who must not be named claims one in four Republican women will vote for her...just because she's a woman.
And I suppose Mr. Penn would agree that a female Republican candidate for President would draw about as many Democrat women under that same rationale? Either scenario would be highly unlikely.
Look, if you're still registered with a political party in this day and age I seriously doubt you'd be the kind of person who would ignore the fact that the other party's candidate stands for just about everything you oppose and pull that lever in the name of gender solidarity.
You want to make the argument that she can attract some unaffiliated women then you're being a little more reasonable. Naive, but reasonable.
This is priceless:
Even "little" women of non-voting age have her figured out.
h/t: The Corner
Gratuitous Sawx Posting - Flashback Division
Hell, if Manny doesn't give a damn about the game tonight, why should I?
But I couldn't help remembering that we Llamas were posting back in October of '04, too. And not to pat myself on the back too much, but during that famous ALCS, I pulled off a pretty durn neat series. For those of you who weren't reading us back then, and for those of you too durn lazy to go poking through the archives, I link 'em here:
Of course, it's a complely different dynamic this year. And the truth of the matter is that I don't think I've yet recovered from the '04 playoffs.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Boing, Boing Division
Just an update on yesterday's post concerning the possibility of installing a trampoline at Orgle Manor: After review on the field and also reading your comments, the Missus decided she didn't really want one after all.
I promised not to gloat.
Well, okay, maybe just a leeetle gloating.....
Happy Birthday, Mindy!
Pam Dawber turns 56 today.
Any actress who can play the "straight guy" to Robin Williams' hyperkinetic antics and not be lost among the scenery deserves real credit.
And you guys over thirty-five have to admit it. You were smitten.
Somewhere, John Williams' head is throbbing with pain.
I don't know what's worse, the actual trumpet playing or the groovy choreography (hang in there for the "cantina dance" riff).
October 17, 2007
Gratuitous Llama Tee Vee Observation
I haven't seen any of the new fall tee vee shows, including Life. However, I have seen the commercials whilst watching sporting events and I can't help remarking again what I said about star Damian Lewis in connection with Band of Brothers: The man looks like a constipated cat.
Happy Birthday, Ladies!
Today is the anniversary of the birth of a couple of stars from Hollywood's Golden Age:
The sultry Rita Hayworth was born this day in 1918 in Brooklyn.
The perky Jean Arthur was born this day in 1900 in Plattsburgh, NY.
The two starred together with Cary Grant in the 1939 Howard Hawks film Only Angels Have Wings, in which Grant delivered the famous (but now often mangled) line to Hayworth, "You're no good, Judy. And you never were."
Frankly, if I had to choose one, Miss Hayworth certainly had looks, but I think I'd go with Miss Arthur. She had an irresistable liveliness on screen and could be hysterically funny when she wanted to be. (She starred with Grant in another terrific movie, The Talk of the Town, which you really ought to see if you haven't.) I seem to remember reading somewhere that she suffered horrible stage-fright throughout her career, but you certainly wouldn't know it looking at her performances.
Trivia Yips! from Gary:
Before David O. Selznick met Vivien Leigh, Jean Arthur was one of the three finalists to play Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone With The Wind" (along with Joan Bennett and Paulette Goddard).
Gratuitous Domestic Self-Defense Blegging
The Missus recently unmasked her batteries by announcing that she wants to get the Llama-ettes a trampoline for Christmas.
I don't want to get the Llama-ettes a trampoline for Christmas. But since my wishes count for very little on their own, I need some back-up reasons to bolster my opposition.
So far I've got the wear & tear argument about how quickly the thing would go to pieces if left out in the rain/snow/ice/heat. I've also got the liability argument. We wouldn't put it in our yard, but rayther in the little clearing just behind the back fence. Nobody ever goes there, but at least in theory some kid could come along, bounce on the thing and break his damned neck. Then, of course, his family would clean up out.
These are strong, especially the latter, but I'm not sure they're enough. If any of you has some additional reasons why a trampoline would be a Bad Idea, I'd appreciate it if you could lend them to me.
Dude, you are SO screwed! Yips from Steve-O: Ah yes, I've heard of the name of the trampoline company she's using, it's, "I've got yer crossing the Tiber RIGHT HERE BUDDY!"
UPDATE: While I'm at it, I'm also in the market for reasons to kybosh the Llama-ettes' fascination with Webkinz. So far as I'm concerned, it's probably either some kind of NSA surveillance op or else one ginormous identity-theft racket, but I've yet to amass enough evidence to make my case.
Safety Hazard Yips! from Gary:
Don't do it, man. Just another trigger for an ulcer. Just listen to the Canadians:
Data from the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program (CHIRPP) showed that trampoline-related injuries almost quadrupled between 1990 and 1998. Almost 80 per cent of trampolining injuries were to children in the 5 to 14 age range. Most incidents were in the home environment, either the child’s own home or another home. An alarming 80 per cent of cases were unsupervised by a parent.
The Montreal Children's Hospital has reported that, between January and July 2004, its emergency room treated 40 trampoline-related injuries. The Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario says it sees more than 50 patients a year for trampoline-related injuries.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has observed a similar trend. Trampoline injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms tripled during the 1990s, and there were 11 trampoline-related deaths.
The main causes of injuries are:
- colliding with another jumper;
- landing improperly while jumping or doing stunts;
- falling or jumping off of the trampoline; and
- falling onto the trampoline springs or frame and while attempting somersaults or other stunts.
We have an eight-foot one in the yard (a gift from the in-laws) and every time any of the kids used it I hovered around the perimeter like a border collie until they got off. Terrible stress inducer. Now it sits there getting worn down by the elements.
Use the Webkinz thing as a bargaining chip to put the kabosh on the trampoline. In my experience, it's a harmless phenomena and the kids get tired of them fairly quickly. Then it's on to the next fad.
UPDATE: During our usual lunchtime phone call, I sprung the liability trap on the Missus, following up with the issue of homeowner insurance premiums. She seemed taken aback a bit, and asked me to look into the insurance issue, which I promised to do. I did not promise when, however. Think I'll just put that one in File 13 for a while........
Gratuitous Historickal Posting (TM) - Bad Day To Be A Tory Division
October 17, 1777 - British General Burgoyne surrenders to American General Gates, ending the Battle of Saratoga.
October 17, 1781 - British General Cornwallis offers to surrender to American General Washington (the final papers were signed two days later), ending the Siege of Yorktown and, effectively, the Revolutionary War.
Well, what can one do other than sing an extra chorus of "God Save the Queen" just to keep morale up?
YOUR WISH IS MY COMMAND GENIE YIPS from Steve-O:
You asked for it:
What, there's another version of God Save the Queen?
UPDATE: In the comments, RP mentions the trivia fact that the Brit fifes and drums played "The World Turned Upside Down" at the Yorktown surrender. I rattled off the lyrics that I remembered from an old National Geographic record of Revolutionary War musick, and then went and found this link giving the full version, some history and a midi arrangement of the tune.
Gratuitous Crossing the Tiber Posting
I hesitate even to tell this story since a fair number of you probably already think I'm either losing it or have lost it entirely, but here goes:
I had a dream about Faith last night. So far as I can recollect, I have never done so before.
But it was Faith in a physical form - a vast, vast structure, both extremely simple and infinitely complex, with an air of immeasurable strength and permanence. It was also luminous and shiny, like cream-colored steel.
And in the dream, I would examine a very small bit of it. Just as I began to understand what I was looking at, another connection would flash across my mind, completely changing my perspective and putting me back at square one in terms of comprehension. The pattern kept repeating itself over and over again, and as it repeated itself I was increasingly aware that there was no way I would ever, ever be able to understand it. Nonetheless, I kept trying because I was so taken with it.
Then the dream shifted. There was no longer any recognizable structure, but more a group of physical thoughts. Two groups, rather, because one group was somehow generated by the Faith, while the other was generated by a kind of nebulous black maelstrom hovering around the horizon, which I recognized as Evil. Evil would send a "thought" into the center of what I was seeing, and Faith would check it with another. Again the pattern was repeated a number of times, giving me the sense that it was an ongoing struggle. I also had the sense that for the first time I was seeing the "business" side of Faith, seeing it not just as a feel-good pablum, but as a deadly-serious sentinal against the chaos on the outside. Frankly, it frightened me.
I woke up thinking that I had got myself into something waaaaay over my head.
It is, of course, impossible to relate a dream with complete accuracy, but I swear this was the impression left in my mind when I tried to recall it.
Note to self: No more reading the Catechism late at night after eating onions with dinner.....
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Line In The Sand Division
"No. Absolutely not. I said no sea-monkeys and I meant no sea-monkeys."
October 16, 2007
Now it's possible for the Fins to Suck on two continents
But unfortunately, given the current state of dentiture under the National Hillarycare Service, I don't think there will be any interest in setting up a Shula's Steak House anytime soon, unless they provide crazy glue for loose crowns in nice little dishes with the salt and steak sauce.
Defiant Yips! from Robbo: The one hope that is keeping me going at least for the next five days, is that the Pats are pissing themselves so hard with laughter at the thought of playing Miami that the Fins will pull an upset.
2L stoodent mouths off at the Bench, gets himself ripped a whoooole galaxy of new ones:
Okay, it's not a real court. But that is real blood.....
Yips! to Nasty, Brutish and Short.
Lefty Bloggers Punk'd By False Air America Story
Early reports that Air America "personality" Randi Rhodes was brutally attacked and mugged near her Manhattan apartment.
So what are we to make of this?But then we come to expect nothing less than this from BDS-sticken Lefty loons.
1. Air America lies, even when stories involve their own personnel. No one thought to give Randi a call to see how she was doing before Elliot decided to air his report? And no one thought to do so afterwards? The police ended up calling to see why no one reported the incident to them. That's just marvelous journalistic ethics.
2. Anyone who thinks that bigotry has no place in the liberal mindset has -- once again -- just received a material lesson to the contrary. Even without knowing anything about the attacker, several bloggers just decided that it had to be a politically motivated assault by a conservative. That's not leaping to conclusions, that's flying at jet speed to Paranoialand.
3. How long do you think it will take for these same bloggers to offer an apology -- one not accompanied by a litany of rationalizations about how mean conservatives are, and how it was impossible not to convict an entire class of people for an imaginary crime? Longer than the next time they trot out an argument for innocent-until-proven-guilty for the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, I'd bet.
ALTERNATIVE HEADLINE YIPS from Steve-O:
Come on, someone had to say it:
Air America Personality Pwnd By Coworker's Dog Defends Journalistic Credibility: The Bitch Set Me Up!
Happy Birthday, Plum!
I was indisposed yesterday, so didn't get the chance to note that October 15 is the anniversary of the birth of Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, born that day in 1881 in Guildford, Surrey.
Instead of doing a post about the man's true literary genius, defending him over the whole Nazi P.O.W. wartime radio broadcasts, or crankily blasting and damning those who've attempted the impossible in trying to bring his Bertie and Jeeves stories to the screen, I thought I'd do a much simpler trick and simply meme my way through his bibliography. (I've screened out omnibuses, re-releases and compilations, so you may not see a title you're expecting.)
I've bolded the books I own, italicized the ones I've read but don't own, and added some comment where I thought suitable.
Are you ready? Right ho!
School Stories - Written when Plum wasn't long out of school himself.
The Pothunters (1902)
A Prefect's Uncle (1903)
Tales of St. Austin's (1903)
The Gold Bat: And Other Stories (1904)
The Head of Kay's (1905)
The White Feather (1907)
Mike at Wrykn (1953)
Ukridge Oddly, I've never read any of the Ukridge stories. Dunno why.
Love Among the Chickens (1906)
Ukridge (aka He Rather Enjoyed It) (1924)
Psmith - Plum's first really memorable character. He was based on one Rupert Doyle-Carte, son of the Doyle-Carte associated with Gilbert & Sullivan. There are not a few among you who still consider Psmith their favorite.
Psmith in the City (1910)
Psmith Journalist (1915)
Leave it to Psmith (1923) - Best of the bunch and also gets points as a Blandings Castle novel (see below).
Mike and Psmith (aka Enter Psmith) (1935)
Blandings - Ah, Blandings Castle! Home of Lord Emsworth, that affable, fuzzy-headed peer who wants nothing more than to be left alone to fiddle with his roses and tend to his prize pig. Of course he's not going to be allowed to do so.
Something Fresh (1915) - A bit clunky on re-reading, but still well worth it.
Summer Lightning (aka Fish Preferred)(1929) - One of my very favorite Wodehouse novels.
Heavy Weather (1933)
Blandings Castle and Elsewhere (1935)
Lord Emsworth and Others (aka The Crime Wave at Blandings)(1937)
Full Moon (1947)- In one of Plum's run-ons, this novel also features that hell-raiser Frederick Altamont Cornwallis Twistelton, Fifth Earl of Ickenham, known to all and sundry as Uncle Fred. See below.
Pigs Have Wings (1952)
Galahad at Blandings (aka The Brinkmanship of Galahad Threepwood)(1964) - By these last couple, the steam had run out of the Blandings story.
A Pelican at Blandings (1969) See above.
Sunset at Blandings (1977) - Plum was working on this the day he died. The draft makes interesting reading, but more as a curiosity than anything else.
Bertie and Jeeves - The focus of most casual Wodehouse readers these days.
My Man Jeeves (1919)
The Inimitable Jeeves (aka Jeeves) (1923)
Carry on, Jeeves (1925)
Very Good, Jeeves (1930)
Right Ho, Jeeves (aka Brinkley Manor) (1934) - This is actually the first full-length Bertie and Jeeves novel (the previous works being short story collections). And it is easily one of the funniest.
Thank You, Jeeves (1934) - Unlike the trombone featured in the Fry/Laurie tee vee series, it was actually a ukelele with which Bertie drove Jeeves to flee. Humph.
The Code of the Woosters (1938) - My personal favorite. If Scotties come, can Stiffys be far behind?
Joy in the Morning (1946)
The Mating Season (1949)
Ring for Jeeves (aka The Return of Jeeves) (1953) - This one doesn't actually feature Bertie at all, but a pal of his instead. Further, it's written from a third-person point of view instead of the usual narrative by Bertie. Many people don't much like it, but I think it has some merits.
Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit (1954) - Probably the last in the series really worth reading. As with the Blandings novels, you can tell the last few Bertie and Jeeves stories run out of steam.
Jeeves in the Offing (aka How Right You Are, Jeeves) (1960)
Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves (1963)
Much Obliged, Jeeves (1971)
Aunts Aren't Gentlemen (1974)
Oldest Member - Plums collections of golf stories.
The Clicking of Cuthbert (aka Golf Without Tears) (1922)
The Heart of a Goof (1926) - A perfect little nine-hole course.
Mr. Mulliner - I've never really warmed up to the Mulliner stories. Plum himself was involved in a tee vee series in the late 60's called Wodehouse Playhouse that was based on some of the Mulliners, and is quite good.
Meet Mr. Mulliner (1927)
Mr. Mulliner Speaking (1929)
Mulliner Nights (1933)
Monty Bodkin - Plum never seemed to have gone anywhere in particular with Monty as a main character, although he turns up in a number of other books, usually as the friend-of-the-hero.
The Luck of the Bodkins (1935)
Pearls, Girls and Monty Bodkin (1972)
Bachelors Anonymous (1973)
Uncle Fred - Ah, good old Uncle Fred. Now what did happen at the dog track that time?
Uncle Fred in the Springtime (1939)
Uncle Dynamite (1948)
Cocktail Time (1958)
Service with a Smile (1962)
Novels I bought a whole stack of these when I lived in London back in the late 80's that never made it back across the pond. Hence, a rayther large proportion of books that I've read but don't own. The novels tend to be hit or miss, in part because in many of the early ones Plum hadn't quite got the farce down yet and was still going for some degree of realism. However, some of my favorite stories are buried within this list.
Willam Tell Told Again (1904)
Not George Washington (1907)
The Swoop!: Or How Clarence Saved England (1909)
A Gentleman of Leisure (aka The Intrusion of Jimmy) (1910)
The Prince and Betty (1912)
The Little Nugget (1913)
Uneasy Money (1917) - The best of Plum's earlier novels, imho. It contains the priceless line, "She heaved a sigh, like a sentimental seige-gun."
Piccadilly Jim (1918)
A Damsel in Distress (1919)
The Coming of Bill (aka Their Mutual Child) (1920)
Jill the Reckless (1921)
Indiscretions of Archie (1921) - I like this one quite a bit.
The Adventures of Sally (1922)
The Girl on the Boat (1922)
Bill the Conqueror (1924)
Sam the Sudden (aka Sam in the Suberbs) (1925)
The Small Bachelor (1927)
Money for Nothing (1928)
Big Money (1931)
If I Were You (1931)
Doctor Sally (1932)
Hot Water (1932) - One of my very favorites.
Laughing Gas (1936)
Summer Moonshine (1937)
Quick Service (1940)
Money in the Bank (1946) - Another of my very favorites.
Spring Fever (1948)
The Old Reliable (1951)
Barmy in Wonderland (1952)
French Leave (1956) - Eh. The only novel I think Plum set amongst the French.
Something Fishy (1957)
Ice in the Bedroom (1961)
Frozen Assets (1964)
aka Biffen's Millions
Company for Henry (1967)
Do Butlers Burgle Banks? (1968)
The Girl in Blue (1970)
In a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers show that eating garlic appears to boost our natural supply of hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide is actually poisonous at high concentrations — it’s the same noxious byproduct of oil refining that smells like rotten eggs. But the body makes its own supply of the stuff, which acts as an antioxidant and transmits cellular signals that relax blood vessels and increase blood flow.
In the latest study, performed at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, researchers extracted juice from supermarket garlic and added small amounts to human red blood cells. The cells immediately began emitting hydrogen sulfide, the scientists found.
The power to boost hydrogen sulfide production may help explain why a garlic-rich diet appears to protect against various cancers, including breast, prostate and colon cancer, say the study authors. Higher hydrogen sulfide might also protect the heart, according to other experts. Although garlic has not consistently been shown to lower cholesterol levels, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine earlier this year found that injecting hydrogen sulfide into mice almost completely prevented the damage to heart muscle caused by a heart attack.
And here's a useful cooking tip:
Many home chefs mistakenly cook garlic immediately after crushing or chopping it, added Dr. Kraus. To maximize the health benefits, you should crush the garlic at room temperature and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes. That triggers an enzyme reaction that boosts the healthy compounds in garlic.
Of course, this being the Grey Lady, the article has to go and say something stooopid:
Now, the downside. The concentration of garlic extract used in the latest study was equivalent to an adult eating about two medium-sized cloves per day. In such countries as Italy, Korea and China, where a garlic-rich diet seems to be protective against disease, per capita consumption is as high as eight to 12 cloves per day.
While that may sound like a lot of garlic, Dr. Kraus noted that increasing your consumption to five or more cloves a day isn’t hard if you use it every time you cook. Dr. Kraus also makes a habit of snacking on garlicky dishes like hummus with vegetables.
This is a downside? Are you kidding me? There's nothing you can't do with this wonder-herb. Try some in an omlette. Dice it up and toss it in yer salad. Anything cooked in olive oil on the stove-top can also be cooked with garlic. And pasta? Geddouda here! And the NYT thinks this is difficult? Jeesh!
Then there's the smell. Always with the smell:
Garlic can cause indigestion, but for many, the bigger concern is that it can make your breath and sweat smell like…garlic. While individual reactions to garlic vary, eating fennel seeds like those served at Indian restaurants helps to neutralize the smell.
Suff on your "concern". As I've said before, I'd use garlic-based toothpaste if it were available.
It's the right-brain/left-brain test. Apparently, whether you see the girl spinning clockwise or counter-clockwise tells which half of your brain you use more.
After staring at it for a few minutes, I discovered that I could make myself see her spin either way. Indeed, I got to the point where she didn't appear to be spinning at all, just swinging her foot back and forth, one way and the other. (Hint: Watch the foot. And project which direction you think it is turning.)
I might have given my brain a nice workout, but the sudden change in perspective has made me sea-sick.
Yips! to The Silver Fox.
But Does It Taste Just Like Chicken?
Squirrel canapes, anyone?
Gratuitous Llama Netflix Movie Non-Review
After hemming and hawing for a few days, I've had to come clean to Netflix that I managed to lose two of its DVD's within the space of about 48 hours. Bang goes 40 bucks, because that's the you-lost-it-you-buy-it fee.
The trouble is that when I get a new DVD, I open the envelope, check the disk and then leave it in the pile of mail on the kitchen counter. Evidently, the last couple times somebody came through to jihad the pile of junk mail, catalogues and teh like, those little white sleeves got caught up and pitched into the trash. I guess I'm going to have to be more disciplined about keeping track of these things.
Incidently, the two movies in question were Hidalgo and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, neither of which I have still yet seen.
I also just got 300. Tell me, folks, is it really worth it?
Economical Yips! from Gary:
Robbo, you should have bought the DVDs at Walmart or Target for $9.99 and then stuffed all three discs into the return envelope that came with "300". You would have at least saved yourself $20.
Plan B would be deepdiscountdvd.com (free shipping) - Hidalgo $11.21 KKBB $17.36. It's still a $11.50 savings and you can't put a price on denying the Netflix bastages the satisfaction.
Plan C (if you wanted to role the dice): buy Hidalgo, sent it back. Say you mailed KKBB and they never got it. They probably would have given you a mulligan on that one (based on my experience).
Damn, I'm a cheap mofo ain't I?
Gratuitous Weekend Round-Up
As I say, I was incommunicado yesterday, which is too bad because plenty went on this weekend. A short summary:
**Friday afternoon St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method held its annual fall social at one of the local parks. Among other activities, there were moonbounces. (Of course there were moonbounces. In these opening years of the 21st Century, is there left a single kids' party that doesn't involve moonbounces?)
Anyhoo, I drew the short straw to monitor one of the bounces for a while. To me, monitoring means making sure that the kids at least take their shoes off before they go in, and that body-checking is kept to a reasonable minimum in order to limit the number of broken noses and split lips. Other than that, I pretty much just give the kiddies a free rein. Evidently, however, my laissez-faire attitude is not generally shared amongst the local parental units. As the childs laughed and sang and bounced about, I had several parents fussing at me. What's the maximum allowable number of children at any one time? I shrugged and said, "I suppose when it collapses, that means there's too many." Should those big kids be in there with all the smaller ones? The "big kids" to whom they were referring were a pair of sweet-tempered nine year old twins whom I happen to know as being quite consciencious. Any other older kids I probably would have barred. How long are you letting them bounce each time? "Oh, I'm not timing them. Your child wants in, let him get in. He wants out, let him get out."
Hopefully, I won't be called on to monitor the moonbounce again any time soon. I believe this is a hope now fervently shared by several other parents.
***Friday night we attended a reception for patrons of an art fair held in our little neck of teh NoVa woods, the Missus being prezdent of some ladies' group or other active in the fair. I believe that the idea was to give a boost to starving artists. If the works on display at the gallery where the reception was held were any indication, there's a damned good reason why these artists are starving. They consisted of a series of ginormous landscapes done in bright, vibrant acrylics. Plastered across these pristine vistas were black and white clip-art style renditions of Man and all his Works (the air, for instance, was full of jets, the waters full of powerboats and supertankers), the whole display calculated to posivitely scream "'Where every prospect pleases/and only Man is vile.' Get it? GET IT!!!!?" I couldn't imagine anybody actually paying for one of these shrills, much less displaying it.
***Saturday was an important soccer day because it was the eldest Llama-ette's debut as goalie for the Creepy Green Lepreuchauns this season. I'd been fretting about this in a casual way ever since she announced that she wanted to give it a try. The gels at her age are really beginning to play the game seriously (it is a real joy to watch them learning how to work together) and there is much more to being goalie than just standing around looking coo-el in the gloves and jersey, and I wasn't sure she understood exactly what she was letting herself in for. So I'd spent the week giving her a lot of boring Dad Advice about teamwork, commitment, mental toughness and best effort. We'd also done some practicing in the back yard. (I had the seven year old take some shots on her. Ah, sibling-j-rivalry! The eldest was positively indignant that her little sister could make such wicked corner shots. Her sister, in turn, was grinning like a maniac.) And the coach, a great guy who I believe agreed to let her try just to humor her, spent some extra drill time with her as well.
Anyhoo, came the start of the second half of the game (our goalies play by halves)....and everything went just fine. We were already up by a couple goals and the coach put in our best defensive players by way of helping the gel out. The other team threatened a few times, but most of the game was played at their end of the field. What shots they did make, the gel handled calmly and workman-like enough. All in all, I think it was a good, confidence-boosting introduction. We won 4-0, btw. We're 3-1 for the season so far.
(The Missus handled the other two gels' games, so I didn't see them play this week. The five year old, however, apparently is turning into a holy terror on the field, which isn't the least surprising.)
***Saturday evening we attended a "harvest dinner" for church. This is an annual event. Six or seven different families agree to host a dinner, typically for between about 15 and 20 people. It's all about building community, but it's also about hitting up the parishioners for donations, for which purpose somebody from the clergy or the vestry or the stewardship committee shows up and makes a PBS-like pledge pitch. (Fortunately, the pitch typically comes long after the flow of adult beverages has commenced, so it's not as bad as all that.)
I got a few comments and queries about my decision to resign from the vestry and head for Rome. Because I didn't make a big stink about it - firing a nasty letter off to the bishop or nailing my vestry pin to the sanctuary door, for example - everyone has been quite polite. A few people have even been heartfelt enough in their show of support that I half believe them. On the other hand, the general consensus still seems to be that I have gone quite mad. And indeed, I got an anonymous message from one of the members of a group of older ladies at church Sunday morning that they hope I will "come to my senses" soon.
***Sunday afternoon the Missus had to go work the art fair I mentioned above. As she took the younger LLama-ettes with her, I got the idea that the eldest and I would cook a big dinner together for them. We settled on a favorite shrimp and prosciutto pasta dish, known in the household as PSP or "Pops' Super Pasta" because the recipe comes out of a cookbook Dad put together a few years ago. Nothing makes a dish tastier than preparing it yourself, and I let the gel really get her hands dirty - tailing the shrimp, cuisine-arting the garlic, basil and shallots, zesting the lemon-rind, testing the angel's-hair. I also introduced her to the concept of the "cook's tax", that is, the cook's perquisite of being able to sample any of the ingredients at any time (well, almost any - she's a bit young to be getting a glass of sherry). We had to stop ourselves from gobbling up all the prosciutto before the sauce was even cooked.
All in all, a very good weekend.
Donde Esta El Llama Roberto?
Sorry for the lack of posting yesterday. Mr. Cranky Sinus came to pay a call, jamming my ears, crossing my eyes and making my head feel about ten pounds heavier than it is. You wouldn't have cared to read any of the thoughts I'd have written anyway.
All better now, or at least close enough.
October 15, 2007
I'm no expert in Catholic Theology and whatnot
But wouldn't this be kinda a bad sign for JP2's sainthood candidacy?
(That's meant as an insult).
The first couple of minutes are funny on this.
That's like saying the Sawx are the New Yankees...
Apres moi le deluge
Monday Night Football
Are you ready for some football...
A graduate student with time to kill could do a hilarious regression analysis on this phenomena: what is exactly the R^2 on interest in Britney's crotch shot pics?
(Blame AgentBedHead for this one).
The 51st State: Greenland
At times like this, you have to ask: what would William Seward have done?
But there is an ironic medieval optimum joke in here somewhere...
Brainless LMC time-waster
The complete first season of Dark Angel on DVD, courtesy of Mrs. LMC. Can be enjoyed with the sound off or on.
October 14, 2007
Best editorial of the weekend
Is everyone excited about beating UCLA Saturday night and celebrating a victory for the first time this season? You should be. For the seniors, juniors and sophomores, it was a welcome reminder of what victories in South Bend are like on Saturdays. And it's the first time you freshmen have tasted an Irish win since coming to campus in August.
But, please, as an alumnus and diehard fan of Notre Dame - the team, school and program - don't let the excitement spill over to embarrassment this weekend if the Irish knock off Boston College. Don't storm the field.
Sure, beating BC would be a huge moment. It's the No. 4 team in the country. It's undefeated and energized. The Eagles have a Heisman Trophy candidate and likely NFL first-round pick in Matt Ryan. They will come into our stadium with a swagger, a sense of confidence that will piss off diehard Irish fans.
And a win Saturday would be a huge moment in our season. Upsetting a top-5 team would be another step in building the confidence of our younger guys, and it would give our upperclassmen another great memory about playing for the Irish.
But there's a reason we refer to Boston College as Fredo, and bull-rushing the field against our weaker, inferior little brother would be embarrassing. We would be showing them a sense of respect that they don't deserve. Storming the court against BC in basketball was bad enough when we ended their 20-game winning streak in the 2005-06 season. Let's not surrender to the same temptation and make the same mistake in football.
In 1993, Boston College came into Notre Dame Stadium and abruptly ended our National Championship aspirations. Let's do the same thing to them this season. Let's make a statement during the game and scream louder than we have since the 2005 game against Southern Cal, giving our team the second-half energy they will need to earn a win.
But after we win, let's keep our excitement in the stands. Storming the field is about being an underdog, and Notre Dame is never an underdog against Boston College - regardless of our record. We should never expect to lose to Boston College. And when we beat them this weekend, let's act like we've done it before.
Because we have.
No worries, mate.
October 13, 2007
Game Two tonight
The Baconator takes the mound for the Sawx.
Post-Game Yawns! From Robbo: Stayed up waaaay too late to see that happen....
October 12, 2007
Ted Kennedy Recovering
From surgery for blocked carotid artery. Doctors say he is fine and "eating ice cream".
Which is their euphemism for saying he's sipping Chivas in preparation for the Red Sox-Cleveland playoff game.
How is it that all his brothers get struck down in their prime yet the runt of the litter always manages to take a licking and keep on ticking?
Hopefully, this will make up for all my Nelson Muntz-ing about the Mets' Historic Collapse:
Desperately Seeking Ronnie
Two excellent articles in National Review Online today look at the attempts of Republican voters to find (and the GOP Candidates attempts to be) the next Ronald Reagan.
Jonah Goldberg's "Gipper's Glass Slipper" reminds us that Reagan was a man who was right for his time. But he left office twenty years ago and times have changed.
Rich Lowry looks at the current field of candidates and reminds us "Yes, This Is It."
I have a great appreciation for the achievements of Reagan (a far greater appreciation than I had when he was President). But I have to agree with Messrs Goldberg and Lowry - it's time to get over it. He was great. He should be remembered. But now he's gone.
To hold aspirants to the Oval Office to that standard every four years is getting tedious. And bitching that there isn't an "ideal" candidate nowadays is childish.
It is what it is. Determine what's most important to you (for me it's more dead terrorists and low taxes), vote for the candidate that you think is the best person to lead the country (not just the party) in 2009 and vote. If he doesn't win the nomination, support the one who does. He may not be "ideal" but guaranty he'll be a lot better than the alternative.
Democrats have spent the last forty years looking backwards - for the next JFK. That's gotten them nowhere.
It's time to look forward - towards America's future. Because, frankly, that's what the Gipper would have done.
Yer Friday Timewaster
It's the paper airplane game. Just grab and toss. My best score is 88.725 m. (No, I'm not at the office today.)
Two things about this game, tho. First, it is sponsored in part by Microsoft's latest Flight Simulator game. Incredibly, there's no link through the sponsorship thingy at the bottom of the page. Had there been, I'd probably have bought the simulator game on the spot. Bill Gates' crew is getting lazy.
Second, once you've let go of the plane, there's nothing more you can do except watch it fly. Too bad it's not more like our old friend the Hamsterpault (personal record still at 1445 ft.), which lets you manipulate the flight. (Oh, yeah - snuck that second link in, didn't I?)
Yips! to Dave Barry.
Start out low to the floor.
"HE TASKS ME. HE TASKS ME! AND I SHALL HAVE HIM!" UPDATE: 106.313 m, big boy. Dunno how to do the screen grab thingy, so you'll have to take my word for it.
Too Good Not To Use This Morning
That is all.
UPDATE: Some heh-inducing reactions:
The Colossus - "I'm beginning to think that Alfred Nobel's greatest contribution to humanity may have been dynamite, after all."
Rachel at Tinkerty-Tonk - "There is a silver lining, though: Bill Clinton must be absolutely steaming."
UPDATE DEUX: And all I can say is God bless Vaclav Klaus for noticing that Emperor ManBearPig is buck nekked:
"The relationship between his activities and world peace is unclear and indistinct," [Klaus] said. "It rather seems that Gore's doubting of basic cornerstones of the current civilization does not contribute to peace."
HRCR = ER?
While skimming through the WaPo's trashing of Elizabeth:The Golden Years this morning, the Missus, who generally does not make political observations, said, "You know, the only reason another Elizabeth movie is coming out now is to get the country used to the idea of having Hillary as president by reminding us of another strong first woman ruler."
I wouldn't be the least surprised.
Not that I plan to see the film anyway. I simply don't trust Hollywood to get anything historickal right. Furthermore, I find Cate Blanchett to be thoroughly loathsome. And as far as screen Elizabeths go, I do not believe any power in the 'verse could come up with an equal to the superb Glenda Jackson, whose Elizabeth R (available from Netflix) is the absolute Gold Standard in Tudor drama, IMHO.
Here's an intriguing thought: How would Jackson have done in the role of Galadriel?
"And now at last it comes. You will give me the Ring freely! In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!"
Mayun, I could see it.
October 11, 2007
Asshattery of epic proportions
This is getting funnier by the day. Notice the salivating tone of The Guardian (not to mention the numerous factual errors):
Anger over Iraq and Bush prompts calls for secession from the US for Vermont By Leonard Doyle Published: 05 October 2007 Along the Appalachian Trail, the 2000-mile ribbon of wilderness stretching from Vermont to Tennessee, the leaves are putting on their annual display of dazzling yellows, gold and vermilion.
And like the autumn leaves politics turns quicker in Vermont than elsewhere in the US.
The self-styled Green Mountain state has always had a doggedly independent streak. It opposed slavery long before other states. Vermont people are fiercely proud of the way they run their affairs through "town hall meetings" at which everything from school budgets to planning applications are thrashed out in public.
In 2004, Vermont elected its first socialist congressman Bernie Sanders, it almost sent the maverick Democrat Howard Dean to the White House, and was the first state to approve same-sex civil unions. Montpelier is the only state capital in the US to have no McDonald's restaurant and Vermont has kept Wal-Mart superstores out of its cities far longer than any other state. Vermont has some of the toughest environmental laws in the country. In a landmark case, it recently won the right to set tougher pollution standards on car makers than federal law demands.
And in the stores of its cities, T-shirts bearing the slogan "US out of Vt!" are big sellers. Because Vermont is now home to a growing movement agitating for outright secession from the United States. In Vermont's rural air, there has always been a whiff of rebellion. One of Vermont's founding fathers, Ethan Allen, was an early American revolutionary and guerrilla leader who fought with his Green Mountain Boys for Vermont's independence in the American Revolutionary War and for the establishment of the Vermont Republic which lasted from 1777 to 1791.
The modern independence movement campaigns with a mixture of whimsy and brass-neck maintaining that the United States has lost its moral authority. They argue that the "US empire" is unsustainable and have tapped into a growing well of anger over the war in Iraq, fears for the global environment and anger at the administration of George Bush.
In 2005, activists held their first convention in the golden-domed statehouse in the state capitol Montpelier where passionate arguments were made for Vermont to quit the union. The gathering, sponsored by a group called the Second Vermont Republic, was the first statewide convention on secession in the US since 1861, when North Carolina voted to leave.
Founder Thomas Naylor set out the case for independence in a Green Mountain Manifesto published in 2003 and subtitled Why and How Tiny Vermont Might Help Save America From Itself by Seceding from the Union. Naylor, 70, a retired professor, was a management consultant to Russia during the breakup of the Soviet Union from where he derived some of his inspiration on the future break up of the United States. Much of the rest of America sees Vermonters as closet Canadians. Naylor sees Vermont as a state of small towns, small farms, local government, grassroots democracy and green activism – not unlike a Switzerland of North America.
Naylor and his followers proudly claim the support of 8 per cent of the population of Vermont for the separatist path. They want fellow citizens to vote on the matter at a Town Meeting Day next March, a ballot which they say could eventually persuade the state Legislature to declare independence.
This week, however, the eccentric left-wing scholars and retired busy-bodies behind the campaign took a more controversial step which is puzzling some of its die-hard supporters. They travelled the 2,000 miles to the other end of the Appalachian Trail to sit down with an equally academically-minded group from the south also pushing for secession from the United States. Unlike the delegates of the Second Vermont Republic, the League of the South wraps itself in the flag of the Confederacy and has been widely denounced as a racist hate group.
Organised by a the left-wing Middlebury Institute of New York, the secessionists from opposite ends of the political spectrum have been meeting for two days in a Chattanooga hotel discussing how they might break away from the United States of America by peaceful means. The League of the South proudly displays a Confederate Battle Flag on its banner and campaigns for a breakaway 'anglo-celtic' state.
It has, however, been branded a hate group by the authoritative Southern Poverty Law Centre which monitors such groups. Mark Potok, said the League of the South "has been on the centre's list close to a decade".
"What is remarkable and really astounding about this situation is we see people and institutions who are supposedly on the progressive left rubbing shoulders with bona fide white supremacists," said Mr Potok.
Many Americans may not realise it but there are, in fact, several secessionist movements afoot across the country. There are groups in Alaska and Hawaii still bitter over their annexation half a century ago, as well as secessionist groups in Texas, California and even New York City.
Separatist groups with diverse causes share the view that the US government has grown too big and too powerful. They want to restore America's lost liberty by strict obedience to the Constitution, and maintain that the federal government long ago overstepped its constitutional powers, leaving secession as a valid and legal recourse.
Since the Civil War, most Americans have taken their lead from Abraham Lincoln who viewed secession as a tyrannical threat to the principle of democracy and an unlawful act of rebellion by the slave-holding Confederate States.
The Vermont secessionists argue that secession is a continuing theme from America's formative years and that far from saving the Union, Lincoln was a racist warmonger intent on strengthening federal authority. This is what makes this week's marriage of convenience between them and the League of the South so puzzling for outsiders.
Unfortunately for the secessionists, they face a hurdle in a Supreme Court decision which as far back as 1868 barred the road to disunion. The case of Texas vs White, issued a judicial coup de grâce to secession. Despite Texas having been an independent republic before joining the union in 1845, the Supreme Court ruled that it had no right to secede. "The Constitution in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union, composed of indestructible States."
Salmon P. Chase, you magnificent bastard.
Groovy Vic, you and your compadres know the one true way to handle this in the YouTube era....
What I want for Christmas
Much MUCH cooler than a Red Ryder BB Gun:
The Knights Templar, the medieval Christian military order accused of heresy and sexual misconduct, will soon be partly rehabilitated when the Vatican publishes trial documents it had closely guarded for 700 years.
A reproduction of the minutes of trials against the Templars, "'Processus Contra Templarios -- Papal Inquiry into the Trial of the Templars'" is a massive work and much more than a book -- with a 5,900 euros ($8,333) price tag.
"This is a milestone because it is the first time that these documents are being released by the Vatican, which gives a stamp of authority to the entire project," said Professor Barbara Frale, a medievalist at the Vatican's Secret Archives.
"Nothing before this offered scholars original documents of the trials of the Templars," she told Reuters in a telephone interview ahead of the official presentation of the work on October 25.
The epic comes in a soft leather case that includes a large-format book including scholarly commentary, reproductions of original parchments in Latin, and -- to tantalize Templar buffs -- replicas of the wax seals used by 14th-century inquisitors.
Reuters was given an advance preview of the work, of which only 799 numbered copies have been made.
One parchment measuring about half a meter wide by some two meters long is so detailed that it includes reproductions of stains and imperfections seen on the originals.
Of course, I'd shoot my eye out.
Big Papi Speaks Truth To Steinbrenner
“This is the way I see it,” Ortiz said. “Every organization is like the human body. You have a head that, if you mess around with it, everything just goes down at the same time. I think Joe Torre is the head of that organization right there.”
Ortiz recalled how the Yankees started the season with a 21-29 record and said Torre provided “the magic of keeping those guys together” and guiding them into the postseason.
The Yankees trailed the first-place Red Sox by 14 ½ games on May 29, cut the deficit to 1 ½ in the final week and finished second in the American League East.
Ortiz said that Torre, who has helped lead the Yankees into the playoffs for 12 straight years, might have done his best job this season because he prevented the Yankees from “falling apart.”
“There’s no doubt about it, he’s one of the best managers in baseball,” Ortiz said. “It’s because the way they played the first two months and going through injuries and going through everybody apart and end up being in the playoffs, you got to give him a lot of credit. You need to have a good head to keep the body together that way. And I think he did.”
The Yankees are not expected to make a decision on Torre until they hold organizational meetings in Tampa, Fla. Ortiz said that the Yankees “need to give the man respect” in how they deal with Torre’s future.
With or without Torre, the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry will continue. But, if Torre goes, Ortiz said that would favor Boston.
“I tell you what, if he doesn’t come back to the Yankees, they’re going to feel that next year somewhere,” Ortiz said. “I’m telling you that right now. The guy, he knows what he’s doing. To tell you the truth, he plays to win.”
A classy thing to say. And I agree. And however irrational it might be, I took hearth in the fact that Torre wasn't handed his own head before he got out of Yankee Stadium the other night. Perhaps, perhaps, this means that Herr Steinbrenner is actually, you know, thinking things over before doing something rash.
"Rise of the Machines" Watch
Dead Man Relaxin'
With steely arms sprouting cables and wires, the WAO-1 robot looks nothing like a relaxation device.
But researchers at Tokyo's Waseda University hope the contraption will soon be deployed to hospitals and spas across Japan to give therapeutic facial massages.
The WAO-1 robot, which stands for Waseda Asahi Oral Rehabilitation Robot 1, is being developed initially for patients with jaw-related medical problems who require facial massages as part of their treatment, according to project leader Atsuo Takanishi.
The robot's arms are fitted with ceramic spheres the size of golf balls, and the spheres roll over the skin. The arms' movements are controlled by a complex set of algorithms designed to emulate massages, while six sensors at the base of the arms measure and adjust the pressure applied by the spheres, Takanishi said.
The technology has to be more refined than those in electric massage chairs because the facial bone structure is much more fragile than back or spine bones, he said.
Another research team member, Ken Nishimura, said the robot could be adjusted to give beauty and relaxation massages.
"This technology can be applied very widely," Nishimura said. "I'm looking forward to a time when this robot will give beauty facials at spas."
Yeah? Well I'm not looking forward to the day the signal is given and the sooper-sekret pneumatic ram function in these gadgets is activated, causing those golf-ball sized ceramic spheres to create a couple golf-ball sized holes in the skulls of all those spa customers.
When the machines finally strike, we're not even going to know what hit us.....
Flashback Update: Here's what I had to say a while back about the Cylon campaign to seduce us with GPS technology. I tell you truly, friends, there's a pattern here.
Happy Birthday To The Missus!
42 years young today (which makes her a cradle-robbing 18 months older than me). And she doesn't look a day over 41. (cue rim shot)
Actually, she doesn't look her age at all and people are always shocked when they find out I'm the younger one.
So, not to get all mushy, but, let me send a big ol' kiss out to the girl (and a smack on the bum to go along with it).
Beside the 'afore mentioned Mr. Young, she shares her birthday with (in order of birth year):
Luke Perry (also turning 42)
Interesting group, no?
Back in the 'box
Yours truly is back at Forward Operating Base LMC from my R&R leave. Suffice it to say, my leave was great-the outpouring of support from my family, friends, and co-workers meant more to me than I will ever be able to adequately express.
A few random notes:
1. The support from average Americans is staggering. A middle-aged fellow came up to me at the airport, pressed a $20 bill in my hand and said: "Please, have a beer on me." He walked away with my protests falling on deaf ears. Bless his heart, but we cannot consume alcohol while travelling on Big Army's dime, and even if we could, we are covered by federal rules prohibiting all but the minor of gifts. It is the thought that counts and I hope he understands when I say his twenty ended its travels in the collection jar in the Atlanta airport USO. They will put it to good use.
2. Speaking of the Atlanta USO, it was manned last Sunday by a crew of volunteers who seemed to be largely from one of the local synagogues. These volunteers were having a merry time pushing sandwiches, soft drinks, and conversation on weary travellers. One was a retired federal judge.
3. Books read on the flight back and while cooling my heels in Kuwait and BIAP: Longitude (a biography of the man who invented the first clocks accurate enough to be used for navigation); Jefferson's War (Barbary pirates--1801-1805); My Grandfather's Son (Clarence Thomas' autobiography), and about 60 pages of The Federalist Papers. I recommend all of them.
4. Mrs. LMC, post Chief of Staff and Final Authority on All Matters Concerning Popular Culture, received the additional titles of Civil Administrator and Director of Martial Law in recognition of the tremendous load she has carried alone for a year since my mobilization and subsequent deployment. She is better than I ever deserve.
5. Many thanks to KMR, Robbo and The Butcher's Wife, and everyone else who made the trek to Fort LMC to share a cold adult beverage.
6. Why does anyone listen to Chris Matthews? He had Ron Paul on Tuesday night talking about why there should be a congressional declaration of war before any attack on Iran's nuclear facilities should be attempted. Matthews agreed with him--I guess neither of them read: Jefferson's War.
Happy Birthday, Dmitri Young!
The Nats' first baseman was born this day in 1973 in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
Young has (so far) had an interesting career in the Bigs. Starting with St. Louis and then moving on to Cincinnati and then Detroit, he always had very solid numbers. However, he hit a bad patch in his personal life in 2006 - a divorce, drug and alchohol problems, charges of assault, emergent diabetes - which caused the Tigers to suddenly chuck him off the team just before they went to the playoffs (and eventually won the Series). From there he came to Dee Cee where, touching wood, he has emerged as an anchor for our young team. In tribute, a week or two ago he was awarded the National League's 2007 Comeback Player of the Year, whatever that is.
He's also emerged as the eldest Llama-ette's first baseball crush - she calls him a big ol' teddy-bear. She knows, well, as much as is suitable for a nine year old about Young's past problems, but also knows that he seems to have got them behind him. (When I'm doing the Boring Old Dad Life Lesson Homily, I sometimes try to use this as a little example of the possibility of getting hold of one's life even after it spins out of control.) She also knows his value at the plate, and in the Fourth of July game we went to see this year, was already loudly questioning the Cubs' decision to walk Ryan Zimmerman and load the bases for Young before he smacked the ball over the left field wall.
The Nats recently signed Young to a two year extension on his contract, rather than trading him. I think this was a wise move, given what he's become for the team, and sincerely hope they continue to grow together.
Gratuitous Bookshelf Posting
I generally read three or four books at a time and have come up with a little system for doing so.
The first book is my Metro reading, the one into which I bury my nose to escape the squash of the half-hour train rides back and forth each day between the closest station to my little corner of the NoVA suburbs and downtown Dee Cee. Because conditions are not exactly conducive to deep thought, I generally pick only either light entertainment (e.g., Wodehouse, Somerville & Ross, Thurber, O'Rourke, Chris Buckley) or old favorites (Wodehouse again, Waugh, Graves, O'Brian, Tolkien) for this.
The second book is my after-dinner-and-odd-chunks-of-free-time reading. This is typically more serious, and can cover both nonfiction (usually history or music, but also odd subjects such as gardening) and what people like to call "serious liddashur". I say "book", although it is not unusual for me to have two or even three books in rotation in this second slot at the same time.
The third book (or books) often is another entry from one of the first two classes, although recently this category has been filled up with studies for Catholic class - Scripture, the Catechism, the Vatican's cliffnotes to the Catechism (really!) and the odd essay or passage from one of the Church Fathers. I generally do this reading later in the evening, although I also try to get in a fair bit on my days off and once in a while at lunchtime.
What keeps me from reaching the 27th Level of Master Dorkdom about this system is that my adherence to it is utterly arbitrary and inconsistent.
For the metro, I recently started reading John Mortimer's Rumpole and the Reign of Terror, but found that I had to give it up. This is a novel-length post-9/11 Rumpole of the Bailey story in which Horace takes on the defense of a Pakistani doctor scooped up by HM Government on charges of terrorist activities. It wasn't many pages before I realized that the book had two problems, one substantive and the other stylistic. As for substance, I've long been aware of Mortimer's politics and generally not minded. Here, however, he is simply too shrill, using Rumpole as a mouthpiece to shriek and scold and blast the Brit government (and, by extension, Dubya). I could probably stomach this over teh course of one of his usual short stories (in fact, I have done so in Rumpole Rests His Case), but I don't see why I should have to plow through a couple hundred pages of it. As for the stylistic problem, Mortimer sets up the book so that while Rumpole narrates in the first person in the old usual way, alternate chapters are contributed by his wife, Hilda (known as She Who Must Be Obeyed). My experience of first-person narratives is that when the author starts introducing alternative points of view, they do nothing but disrupt the natural rhythm and flow of the story and distract the reader. Whatever such stunts may contribute to the story, I've never found them worth the annoyance. (Wodehouse experimented once with writing a Bertie and Jeeves short story from Jeeves' point of view. It was a dog and Plum never tried it again.) Finally, the truth of the matter is that John Mortimer is an old man (indeed, I was surprised to learn recently that he's still alive). He's been writing Rumpole stories for thirty-odd years now and, frankly, they're getting tired - hackneyed, predictable and, when not being used for ranting purposes, by the numbers. I'd much rayther go back and read the older stuff than bother with the new.
So having taken the unusual step of throwing Rumpole overboard, I am now working instead on Dudley Pope's Ramage and the Drumbeat, one of about a zillion stories Pope wrote about the adventures of Lord Ramage, a young Royal Navy officer fighting the good fight against the Frogs and the Dons. (Pope was also a naval historian. I have several of his books on the period and find them well-written and informative.) I tried another of these novels some time ago and found it okay but uninspiring. The reason for this is that I've been so horribly spoiled by Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin novels that the adventures of all other fictional heroes of the time (including both Horatio Hornblower and Richard Sharpe) seem pale, flimsy and cardboard by comparison. I promised myself to keep this bias in mind and check it this time, although I don't know if I'll be able to do so.
As for my evening book, I'm back in Civil War mode again. Having just polished off John J. Hennessy's excellent Return to Bull Run: The Campaign and Battle of Second Manassas, I've gone straight on to Stephen Sears' Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam. I have read Sears' very good account of Chancellorsville, in which he points out that "Fighting Joe" Hooker's main fault was not tactical (his manouver across the Rappahanock to the west of Lee's defenses at Fredericksburg was, in fact, brilliantly pulled off), but a loss of nerve at the critical moment, so am truly looking forward to this account. So far, Sears is covering the same ground as Hennessy (which is hardly surprising, given that Second Bull Run was the immediate strategic predecessor to Antietam), namely the incompetance of poor John Pope in letting Lee and Jackson utterly out-manouver him, the swinish and calculating incompetance of George McClellan's dithering around in the Peninsular Campaign, and the baffled frustration and fury of Lincoln and members of his Administration in having no choice but to deal with "Little Mac" after the pig's-breakfast Pope left them in front of the Washington defenses. I've yet to read a modern history or biography of McClellan that didn't paint him as a tactical boob and a political bastard, and I already get the distinct impression that this book will be no different. Nor should it be.
Terrorist Scum Give Rudy Thumbs Down
"If I had the occasion to meet him (Giuliani), I would hurt him," said Ramadan Adassi, chief of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorist group in the West Bank's Anskar refugee camp. "For the sake of the American people, Giuliani shouldn't be elected. He is a disgusting guy and I think Americans must think very hard about their future and their soldiers who will be killed when they come to elect their leaders."I had forgotten about that little incident. Makes him a better potential President as far as I'm concerned.
Adassi was one of several terrorist leaders quoted threatening Giuliani in the new book, "Schmoozing with Terrorists: From Hollywood to the Holy Land Jihadists Reveal their Global Plans – to a Jew!," by author and WND Jerusalem bureau chief Aaron Klein.
Klein asked dozens of senior terrorists from several groups to sound off on U.S. politics and whom they prefer to see in the White House.
Multiple leaders of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades had harsh words for Giuliani, who in 1995 famously booted Arafat from an invitation-only concert at New York's Lincoln Center celebrating the 50th anniversary of the United Nations.
Arafat attempted to crash the event, and when Giuliani saw the PLO leader and his entourage making their way to a private box seat near the stage, the mayor immediately ordered Arafat off the premises, calling him a murderer and a terrorist.
The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the declared "military wing" of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah organization, was founded by Arafat. The Brigades, together with the Islamic Jihad terror group, took responsibility for every suicide bombing in Israel the past three years and for hundreds of shootings and rocket attacks.
Ala Senakreh, chief of the Brigades in the West Bank, is quoted in "Schmoozing" stating Giuliani "doesn't deserve to live or even to be mentioned."
Random Commuter Observation
Ah, crisp fall weather returns to Dee Cee. Now that's what I'm talking about.
Now if only we could get a bit of...um....er...what is it called? Oh, you know, when water comes out of the clouds? Shoot - it's on the tip of my tongue, but it's been so long that I've forgotten the word.
October 10, 2007
Please, Please, Please...Oh, Please!!!
136,000 have already signed an online petition. Realistically, though. I don't see this happening. Not if the DNC and SWMNBN have anything to say about it.
Yips! from Robbo: There was a flurry of punditry recently that suggested if the Gorebot bags the Nobel Peas Prize, that might give him sufficient energy of activation to jump in.
Ooooh, I hope so - Al and Hill: Two candidates enter, one candidate leaves.
The MSM is getting all tingly!!!!!!
Gratuitous Historickal Posting (TM)
October 10, 732 A.D. was the final day of the Battle of Tours (or Poitiers) in southwestern France, in which Charles Martel (the "Hammer") and a Frankish army defeated an invading Muslem army led by Abd-er Rahman, governor of Spain. Here is an excerpt from an excellent little account:
From Charles' perspective, the Muslims were not only threatening to damage or destroy the Frankish kingdom's most sacred shrine (and also one of the greatest in all Latin Christendom), but Abd ar-Rahman was challenging the integrity of the regnum Francorum. As major domus of the Merovingian kingdom, and the strongest and most charismatic of its princes in an age when the Merovingian "Long–haired Kings" were said to have become "Do-nothing Kings," it was natural that Charles would be the man to lead the Frankish army in the field against the Muslims.
The resulting battle between Charles and 'Abd ar-Rahman is described in a large number of Latin and Arabic sources. Ibn 'Abd al-Hakam refers to the northward extension of 'Abd ar-Rahman's operation into the Frankish kingdom as a separate campaign: 'He then led another military expedition against the Franks." Ibn Abd al-Hakam says: "He went out as a ghazi, and he [and his companions] were martyred for the faith." The greatest medieval Arabic historian, 'Izz ad-Din Ibn al-Athir (1160-1233), writes of the battle in his annalistic history of the world, al-Kamil fi t' Ta'rikh. Like Ibn Abd al-Hakam, Ibn al-Athir writes that 'Abd ar-Rahman went out ghaziyan ("going out as a ghazi") into the land of the Franks.
When one is described as a ghazi in Islamic literature, one can either be engaged in a border war for Islam waged against "infidels," or engaged in simple piratical raids, a continuation of the ancient Bedouin practice of brigandage into the Islamic era. One can imagine that both aspects of the ghazi ethic were present in 'Abd-ar Rahman's army and both Ibn 'Abd al-Hakam and Ibn al-Athir describe 'Abd ar-Rahman as a sincere, just Muslim. Again following Ibn 'Abd al-Hakam, Ibn al-Athir writes that 'Abd ar-Rahman and his companions died in the battle as shuhada'i, "martyrs for the faith."
This idea is reiterated by the thirteenth-century Moroccan author Ibn Idhari al-Marrakushi, who mentioned the battle in his history of the Maghrib, al-Bayan al-Mughrib fi Akhbaral-Maghrib. According to Ibn Idhari, 'Abd ar-Rahman and many of his men found martyrdom on the balat ash-Shuhada'i ("the path of the martyrs). This balat, or "path" was identified by Levi-Provencal and others with the Roman road connecting Poitiers and Tours.
The Franks intercepted the Muslims on this road a short distance from Poitiers, at a site known as Moussais-la-bataille. The details of this encounter, herein called the Battle of Tours/Poitiers, are contained exclusively in Latin sources, as the Arabic sources are silent on the specific events of the battle. The Annals of Aniane and the Chronicle of Moissac contain the same account: Charles and his large army met the Muslims in suburbio Pictavensi ("in the vicinity of Poitiers") and defeated them in a great slaughter, driving the survivors back to al-Andalus. The Chronicle of Fredegar contains a more substantial account of the battle: the Franks killed 'Abd ar-Rahman in the operation and overran the tents of the Muslim camp, presumably to recapture the treasure that had been taken from the Aquitanian churches.
The Mozarabic Chronicle of 754 describes the battle in greater detail than any other Latin or Arabic source: the Franks drew themselves into a large infantry square, so that they were "like an immovable wall" and a "glacier." The Muslims threw themselves at the Frankish square in fruitless attempts to break the formation, and many Muslims were cut down by Frankish swordsmen. The Muslim assault, however, ceased when night fell. The discipline and resolve of the Franks was apparently too much for the Muslims, as Frankish scouts discovered on the following morning that the Muslim camp had been abandoned in haste during the night, with a great deal of plunder having been left behind in the tents.
Read the rest.
Historians seem to disagree about the relative sizes of the two armies and the specific effect of this battle on the Muslim invasion, but it's pretty safe to say that this event represented the high-water mark of Moorish expansionism in southwestern Europe. However, it would be another 750 years or so before the Moors were expelled altogether from Spain. And the Muslim invasion of Europe from the southeast, courtesy of the Ottoman Turks, would not peak until 1685, before the Gates of Vienna.
Dancing With The One Who Brought You
"Ya long-haired hippy kids! Git outta my yard!"
Nancy Peloooooosi on those
goddam piece of crap hippy moonbat freaks patriotic Americans who question the war but not the troops (at least not when anybody is looking):
"Look," she said [at a lunch with reporters]. "I had, for five months, people sitting outside my home, going into my garden in San Francisco, angering neighbors, hanging their clothes from trees, building all kinds of things -- Buddhas? I don't know what they were -- couches, sofas, chairs, permanent living facilities on my front sidewalk."
Unsmilingly, she continued: "If they were poor and they were sleeping on my sidewalk, they would be arrested for loitering, but because they have 'Impeach Bush' across their chest, it's the First Amendment."
Her message to the Surrender Now! crowd? Grow up. Or at least go pester the GOP instead:
"We have to make responsible decisions in the Congress that are not driven by the dissatisfaction of anybody who wants the war to end tomorrow," Pelosi told the gathering at the Sofitel, arranged by the Christian Science Monitor. Though crediting activists for their "passion," Pelosi called it "a waste of time" for them to target Democrats. "They are advocates," she said. "We are leaders."
I think the Donks play a dangerous game here. It may be true that the nutroots are not nearly as powerful as they claim to be and that the Donks have realized the importance of cutting them down to size. On the other hand, this kind of talk is hardly going to transform the BDS crowd into meek party yes-men. I can see an enraged fringe causing all kinds of problems in a close general election. (Didn't Nader already say he was running again?)
Quote of the day
San Franciscans come up with their own variation on James Q. Wilson's "broken window" theory:
"Maybe there has been an epiphany," says David Latterman, president of Fall Line Analytics, a local market research firm. "People have realized they can hate George Bush but still not want people crapping in their doorway."
October 09, 2007
The 40 greatest science-fiction alien monsters
Check out who is number one on the Times list of the great science-fiction aliens.
The sounds of heads exploding in apoplectic paroxysms of glee begins in three, two, one....
(And it's the rare writer who can piss off Muslims, fundamentalist Christians, Orthodox Jews, and Battlestar Galactica fans at the same time. The Cylons being ranked behind the motherfucking Ewoks? Fatwa time, baby.)
UPDATE: I will say this, though, on further reflection: Yaweh would certainly have been able to kick Warrant Officer Ripley's butt. Well, maybe not the buff, bald Ripley from Aliens the sequel.
Here's your exit question, then: Aliens Ripley versus T2's Sara Connor---who wins in a fight to the death?
Gratuitous Old Dominion Political Observation
I don't watch much tee vee so am generally not exposed to this sort of thing, but I couldn't help noticing while watching the Indians/Yankees game last night that the local ad spots were pretty well stocked with campaign ads damning and blasting Virginia's draconian new abusive driver fees and every politician on which they could be hung.
It strikes me that this could well be the numbero uno campaign issue here in the Commonwealth, as the fees - which took effect this summer - are almost universally despised, while urban legends about a friend of a friend of a friend getting popped for a thousand bucks for rolling through a stop sign are already beginning to sprout.
I would hate to be a House of Delegates member up for re-election with my name in any way attached to that particular piece of legislation.
We Waaaaaants It!
Regular reader Mike alerted me to the introduction of a new model of H.M.S. Surprise.
KIT FEATURES : * Traditional double planking on frame wooden hull . * Factory precut keel and all main frame parts * Highest quality planking mahogany, walnut anfd fine lime woods * All fittings are presented in useful clear hard plastic boxes with separate departments with a detachable self-gripping top . * High quality fittings in white metal burnished or in real die cast brass. * Sails set full sewn. You just have to rig them at the masts. * De luxe 100 pages full colour booklet with dozens and dozens of images step by step of the assembly stages. Just like if you had a teacher beside you !!! * Plans set with special edition in full colour print with the top and side views of the model in scale 1:1
(I assume that Russell Crowe doesn't come included, but that's just as well.)
My goal after cutting my teeth on a merchie was to move on up to a warship. What better one than this? Of course, it is a bit on the pricey side. I'd rayther not have to sell one of the children, so if any of you Intertubes-connected persons out there could urge some of your contacts to take out some more blogads here, I'd greatly appreciate it.
The Real Miss Moneypenny
Fleming based Moneypenny on Vera Atkins, secretary to Maurice Buckmaster, head of the French section at Britain's wartime Special Operations Executive. Miss Atkins lived into her nineties, died in the year 2000, and, although a spinster to the end, didn't recognize herself in Fleming's fictionalization. She was one of those fiendishly smart gals whose talents it took a global conflagration to liberate. It was Vera Atkins who recruited and supervised the over 400 British agents who parachuted into Nazi-occupied France, standing on the runway night after night to watch her boys take off and disappear into the clouds. Like Moneypenny, she was indulgent of the Secret Service's penchant for secret servicing, as long as it stayed brisk and businesslike. Romance was another matter. "Oh, the bloody English!" she sighed, after one of her boys, George Millar, revealed he was in love again. "We never have bother of this sort with the French. They just copulate, and that is that." Where Moneypenny was devoted to just one agent, Miss Atkins was devoted to all of them: 118 vanished in the course of their duties, and after the war she demanded to be allowed to investigate their cases. She discovered the fate of 117, all dead, and brought many of their killers to justice.
NH Voters Being Slowly Assimilated By The Candidacy Of SWMNBN
Dem primary voters sell out their principles hoping for a victory in November.
Don Schwartz, who describes himself as "a super-Deaniac progressive type," decided to back Hillary Clinton - whose centrist views, he concedes, do not necessarily match his own - for a simple reason. He wanted, finally, to be with a winner.Yep, Don. Keep telling yourself that. The rest of the electorate is just going to love her, right?
When Schwartz, the vice chairman of the Londonderry Democratic committee, started to contact his neighbors, with a goal of reaching 100 people per week, he thought he would have to appeal to their respect for her rather than their affection.
"I was actually surprised how many people said they were for Hillary," Schwartz said. "Now, they're getting to know her, and they're starting to like her. She is a nice person!"
I wonder if this self-described "super Deaniac progressive type" used this same rationalization about John Effin' Kerry (who by the way served in Vietnam) back in '04?
But here's the best pull quote from that Boston Globe piece:
"She seems more human," Anna Chen, a 20-year-old Harvard junior from San Diego, said after a debate last week in Hanover. "Her laugh has gotten a lot better. Did you notice that tonight?"She seems "more human"? Wow, that's like saying she's not completely unlovable. Sounds like a winner to me.
SUCK IT, Yankees!
Oh the recrimations, the lamentations, the bitter gnashing of teeth around the office today as angry Yankees fans piss and moan, point fingers, assign blame and debate the future of Joe Torre.
Brings a little extra spring to my step. I can only hope that "the Boss" is tasting the salt of his own tears this morning.
Yips! from Robbo: That "thunk" which you may hear today would be Torre's head tumbling into the basket, methinks.
Curiously, we're now at a point where I don't give much of a hoot one way or the other about either NL team, while I like both the Sawx and the Tribe. Gonna be a tough ALS, but I'll be able to cheer whole-heartedly for whichever one gets into the Series.
October 08, 2007
Gratuitous Llama Netflix Movie Review
The Last Valley (1970)
I tossed this flick into the queue just on an impulse, and I must say that I'm very glad I did. Omar Sharif plays a teacher running for his life during the Thirty Years' War. Dodging brigands, starvation and plague, he stumbles into a remote valley so far untouched by the war. However, shortly after he gets there, he is set upon by a band of mercenaries under the captainship of Michael Caine. Sharif manages to talk himself out of immediate butchery and the tiny village in the valley from being put to the sword and flame. The balance of the film is about the multi-cornered political tug of war among the peasants, the soldiers, the local Priest and the local rich man.
The film was made in 1970, so is pretty heavy-handed in its anti-war sentiments. And because the Thirty Years War (in which Europe beat the bejaysus out of itself) was also a religious war, it gets to toss in a lot of gratuitous anti-God talk as well. Sharif, as the Sensible Man at the center of the socio-political maestrom, gets to spend a lot of time muttering things like, "Vat madness ees dis?" Nonetheless, the plot is intriguing, the dialogue intelligent and the action well worth watching.
But the two things that make the film really worthy are the scenery and Michael Caine. The film was shot on location somewhere in Germany in a perfectly gorgeous little valley, and the cinematography makes full use of the setting.
As for Caine, every time I see him in something new, I feel I haven't sufficiently appreciated his talent heretofore. Here, he is cool, calculating and commanding, even when speaking with a high, somewhat hit-or-miss German accent. Aaaaand he has the satisfaction of shtunking Brian Blessed - of I, Claudius fame and here decked out in a near Road Warrior-style outfit - right in the guts mit der shpike of his helmet.
All in all, if you like historickal drama (and who doesn't?) well acted, I would say that you should give this film a try.
Robbo's Recommendation: Four Yips! out of five.
Gratuitous Dockyard Posting
I'm Robbo the Llama and I'm an ijjit.
Those of you tracking the construction of my Baltimore Clipper will know that I recently got back into working on it. The good news, as foreshadowed in my last post, is that I've finished the first layer of hull planking.
The bad news is that I just realized I've been using the wrong wood.
You see, the limewood that I had thought was meant for the deck is, in fact, meant for the hull. Conversely, the mukali I now have plastered all over the hull was supposed to be decking material.
Hence my ijjicy.
The other good news, however, is that I think I can get away with this swicheroo without any real damage. The hull will get a second planking of walnut veneer anyway so I fail to see where it really matters that much what's underneath. And frankly, the limewood will make nice, rich deck planking.
However, in the event you ever consider having a boat built for actual sea use, I heartily recommend that you don't hire me as master shipwright.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting - Holiday Division
Having to accomodate the construction schedule of its new wing, St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method is having to eat a number of holidays this year, including Columbus Day.
It's a curious thing, but the Missus never seems to be in a particularly good mood on days I have off that she doesn't.....
Meanwhile, it appears that the Llama-ettes have learned the pee cee version of the old Columbus Day song at school:
In Fourteen Hundred and Ninety-Two,
Columbus sailed the ocean blue,
It was a courageous thing to do,
But someone was already there....
The next verse goes on to list some of the more famous Indian tribes, none of which had any contact with Columbus whatsoever, of course, but what the heck: they're Indians and he's a European and that's close enough to get across the message that Everything Was Wonderful Until We Came Along.
October 07, 2007
Suck It, Cheese Heads!
Nice to see Brett I'm-gonna-help-myself-to-all-of-Marino's-records-and-ain't-I-cool Favre get spiked by da Bears tonight.
Left on my to-do list:
- The humiliation of Peyton Manning, ideally at the hands of his brother Eli
- The arrest, conviction and execution of Bill Belichick.
How To Kiss That College Sports Scholarship Goodbye
Enthusiastically endorse the suggestion that the daughter take some extra goalie practice in the backyard and then Marsha Brady her with a ball into which you put a bit more zip than you'd intended.
And to add insult to injury? "That's okay! You got your body in front of it! Good job! Do that in the game!"
(Don't worry - she's fine. No blood, no deviation, in fact nothing worse than a bit of a scare. And the prom isn't for about another seven years or so.)
'Fins drop a close one to the Texans and go 0-5.
SUCK IT, Phillies!
A three and out sweep by the wildcard.
October 06, 2007
Gratuitous Crossing the Tiber Posting
So this Sunday will be the first time I'll have set foot back in my old Palie church since the o-fficial word got out that I've resigned from the vestry and am headed for Rome. Reaction may be interesting:
"Accept the Catholic magisterium? Why you little......"
We shall see.
UPDATE: Some kind words and a few sidelong glances. So far, nobody has come out and told me that they think I've gone quite mad, but I believe this to be the general consensus.
October 05, 2007
Obama And The Flag Pin
I wasn't going to bother addressing this non-story. Recently, Barrack Obama made a big deal about removing a flag pin from his lapel saying he'll show his "patriotism" through his ideas.
I don't particularly care whether he wears one or not. I don't particularly care if anyone wears one or not. But what Obama did was such political BS. And when I read what Dirty Harry at Libertas wrote about it I thought is was worth sharing:
We all know that what’s really happening is that Obama’s getting shellacked by Hillary and this is his final cynical effort to pander to the extremists which makes his empty lapel a symbol of pandering desperation.A certain Senator from New York must be having a good cackle over this. And while this may bring a little sense of smug satisfaction to the nutroots, I seriously doubt they're naive enough to fall for it either.
The symbol of our country shouldn’t be politicized either when present or absent. But when it’s conspicuously removed by an increasingly insufferable and sanctimonious candidate in desperate need of fringe votes or just as conspicuosly pinned to bad guys by hack filmmakers, it may not be worth getting in a froth over, but it’s certainly worth taking notice of and filing away. But no matter how you shake it, we’re not the ones politicizing it. They are.
Melissa Be Thy Name
Because it's shaping up to be a sloooooow Friday, and because apparently nobody's reading this anyway:
I don't speak a word of French. Mom has always said this disqualifies me from ever being a true gentleman. Perhaps, but it also means that it's much easier to watch these clips and imagine that Melissa is speaking personally to me.
Rachel at Tinkerty-Tonk sums up getting burned out by blogsphere political debate: "It's like a Eugene O'Neil play without the booze."
Go read the rest.
In response to a positive avalanche of reader requests in teh Tasty Bits (TM) Mail Sack, herewith are my opinions of each of the teams in the playoffs, ranked in order of preference:
1. Boston Red Sox: I seriously hope they win it all, although I cannot call myself a "fan". The true members of Sawx Nation are guys like Steve-O, who's been wearing the same beat up old cap for near forty years. Gotta respect that.
2. Cleveland Indians: I have always had a soft spot for the Tribe, in part because Mom is from Cleveland and in part because I just have a natural affection for Old School. And it's nice to see them doing well recently after so many years of being the League laughingstocks.
California, uh, Anaheim, uh, Los Angeles Angels: I was actually on the legal team that assisted Moreno in buying the team a few years back. And while I admittedly held a very modest place on the food chain, I still did a great deal of mind-numbing but nonetheless important due diligence work. And did I see one deal goodie as a result? One autographed ball? One cap? One lousy foam hand? Nope. Screw 'em.
4. New York Yankees: You either love them or hate them. There is no try. And Reader, I hate 'em.
1. Chicago Cubs: I had a roomate in college from Chicago. His two claims to fame were the fact that he lived around the block from the house where they filmed Risky Business and his Harry Carey impersonation. The memory of his, "Cubs win! Cubs win! Cubs win!"- shouted about five times a day - still makes me twitch. Nonetheless, I've always liked the team.
2. Colorado Rockies: I rank them second by default simply because I forget they even exist half the time. And I'm not alone. I heard a radio announcer refer to them repeatedly as the "Denver" Rockies the other day. Okay, it was NPR, but still......
3. Arizona Diamondbacks: Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes? I hate snakes.
4. Philadelphia Phillies: Philly is a nasty, dirty, corrupt and terrifying city, combining all the worst characteristics of the other major metropoli up and down the Eastern Seaboard. Perhaps irrationally, I transfer my loathing of the place itself onto its sports teams.
So there you have it. As for predictions? D-backs against either the Sawx or the Tribe in the Series. I'll be pulling for the American League in either case.
A Little Touch Of Mickey In The Night
So about five ack emma this morning, Bella the Cat caught herself a mouse. Being a generous soul, she decided to bring it into our bedroom so that we had, as it were, ringside seats as she settled down to torment it. The conversation went something like this:
Missus: Has Bella got a mouse?
Missus: Oooh, do you think it's in pain?
Missus: Ooooooh, the poor thing! You're going to deal with the mess!
And so on, until Bella, tiring of batting the thing 'round our room, removed it to the hall and (apparently) launched it down the stairs.
As a matter of fact, I did try to deal with things when I got up, but I couldn't find the (presumed) corpse. I seriously doubt if the little blighter wound up escaping, and can only imagine that Bella dumped what's left of its mangled body somewhere about the place.
While the Missus is a bit of a holdover from an early 50's sitcom on the subject of mice, the Llama-ettes are made of sterner stuff. I had only to say, "Oh, the cat got a mouse last night, gels. Be on the lookout for it." Their response? Cool!
19% of registered Democrats polled say the U.S. would be better off if it lost the war in Iraq.
Not better off if it withdrew from Iraq (though that result would be the same), LOST in Iraq. You know, kind of the way the U.S. LOST in Vietnam.
In other words one in five Democrats polled say they are affirmatively in favor of losing. Nice. And yes, I know it's an eeeevil FoxNews poll and it's "only" 19%.
But this is the activist 19% - the MoveOn.org crowd who claims ownership of the party - bought and paid for. And incidentally, another 20% of registered Democrats said they "don't know" if the U.S. would be better off losing. These are the numbskulls in the party most influenced by the first 19%.
I wonder if the question was phrased as "would the Democratic party be better off if the U.S. lost in Iraq". Would a good chunk of the 20% that answered "don't know" spill over into the "yes" bucket?
I have little doubt. What a said statement on the condition of this once serious political party.
October 04, 2007
I don't normally post this sort of thing, but we Llamas got picked up in a bizarro discussion thread over at Whedonesque that starts out as some kind of gripe over artwork for the Serenity DVD and gradually evolves into a discussion of where Llamas ought to fit into any potential sequel. Best comment so far:
"Lasers and Llamas and Zombies..Oh My!" And naked Kaylee and the rest of the naked crew will be in the story.
Yeah, I could live with that. And seeing as Joss Whedon was a classmate of mine in college, if he opens up auditions for the llama part, I hope he remembers his old school connections.
UPDATE: This article on the possibility of a straight-to-DVD Serenity 2 has been flipping around the 'net.
Surely it would have to be a prequel of some sort, right? Otherwise, Whedon would have to figure out how to bring Wash and Shepherd Book back from the dead and crazy up River all over again. Perhaps this is possible, but I'm thinking it would take more than one llama to do so.
Gratuitous Llama Literary Observation
I just finished up reading Chris Buckley's Boomsday, his wicked story of a modern modest proposal for dealing with the social, financial and political crises brought on by the massive retirement of the baby boomer generation.
I titled this post an "observation" instead of a "book review" because I don't really want to examine this story in particular, but instead want to air my thoughts on what I see as a recurring trait in Buckley's books, of which I've read about half a dozen now: In tackling the absurdities of the modern world, his style is the cheerful flipside to Tom Wolfe's doom and gloom. His premises are always clever and well-established. His plots move forward in multiple story lines with a kind of zany logic that you're happy to buy into. And his climaxes.....
Well, that's the thing. Each time, I expect some kind of madcap finale, some kind of spectacular burst of mayhem, some kind of reductio ad absurdem of the motivations that have been powering his characters, leading to hy-larious results. And each time, well, it all seems to fizzle. Typically, I'm a page or two into the denouement before I even realize that the action is over. It's the literary equivalent of putting one's foot down in expectation of that last - and nonexistent - step at the top of the stairs.
I don't really mean this as criticism. I like Buckley's books, although another curious thing about them is that I almost immediately forget them. (On the bright side, this makes rereading them all that fresher a pleasure.) But I can't help wishing that he would end them with a little more bang (or in this case, I suppose, boom).
So let me get this straight: Robbo converts to Catholicism and then...
***BUMPED AND UPDATED****
two weeks later, THIS SCANDALOUS TRAVESTY rocks the Vatican?
Pope Benedict XVI’s childhood has been revealed in an authorised biography narrated by his favourite cat, Chico.
The nine-year-old ginger tabby lives next door to the Pope’s holiday home in the small Bavarian village of Panting, and used to spend time with the Pope as he read or played the piano.
The Pope’s love for cats is well known, and he used to feed hordes of strays that congregated outside his apartment when he was a Cardinal.
The biography, Joseph and Chico, is aimed at children and is introduced by Father Georg Gänswein, Benedict’s private secretary, who wrote that “everything in the book is true and interesting”.
Cats with a flair for the narrative, eh? All you need is the talking salamander and you're all set.
And you know whose crooked hand I see in this, right?
****Yes, Charlie Weiss.
UPDATE: Now, if you think about it, what cat would be the purrfect feline to narrate the story of Benny's, umm, later childhood? That's right.
UPDATE DEUX: Free autographed LLamabutchers Holiday Thong for the best "Chico and the Man" photoshop.
Yips! from Robbo: Whoa! Cats. Why did it have to be cats? This may require some serious rethinking......
Too-Good-To-Leave-Languishing-In-The-Comments Updated Yips! from Robbo:
Our pal Sarah G of Life at Full Volume rises to the challenge:
Steve-O, what hast thou wrought?
We seem to be have been having some technical problems around here today, which probably means:
a.) That Islamic Rage Boy and his pals have been trying to hack Dr. Rusty again,
b.) That Emperor Pixy has been skimming the utility funds to sustain his topless club habit, or
c.) That Gary's last post provoked somebody upstairs to put us in the penalty box for a while.
Gratuitous Google-Chumming Post Of The Week
Vaginoplasty anyone? How about Labioplasty?
Cosmetic operations that promise to make genitals look better or to improve sexual gratification have developed in the wake of the increased availability of pornography. That some young women today remove their pubic hair has also exposed once-hidden parts to greater scrutiny.I dunno. Sounds like too much downside. And at least a boob job is there for all the world to see.
Last month, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists warned against cosmetic operations for the vagina.
“These procedures are not medically indicated, and the safety and effectiveness of these procedures have not been documented,” the group said in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology. Potential problems include infection, scarring and sexual pain, they said.
Ol' Fred: "I'm Not Going To Dance To Anyone's Tune"
There's been a lot of hoo-hah this past week or so about the rumblings of certain Evangelical leaders and their disdain for a number of the GOP candidates. The rumored "Rudy revolt" where organizations like Focus On The Family would seek a third party candidate if Giuliani gets the nomination made headlines as well as FOTF's head, James Dobson's criticism of Fred Thompson.
Ol' Fred's response? Don't read too much into it. On Hannity & Colmes last night:
A gentleman who has never met me, who has never talked to me, I've never talked to him on the phone. I did have one of his aides call me up and kind of apologize, the first time he attacked me and said I wasn't a Christian…When asked if he'd like to talk to Dobson, Thompson was clear that it didn't matter to him: "I have no idea. I don't particularly care to have a conversation with him. If he wants to call up and apologize again, that's ok with me. But I'm not going to dance to anybody's tune." [emphasis mine].
I don't know the gentleman. I do know that I have a lot of people who are of strong faith and are involved in the same organizations that he is in, that I've met with, Jeri and I both have met with, and I like to think that we have some strong friendships and support there…
Now this is one of two GOP candidates putting themselves out there as the conservative choice for Republicans. I wonder if his campaign's internal polling (as well as Giuliani's) is giving them a picture of the Christian Conservative voting bloc that is more pragmatic and less judgemental than Dobson and other self-proclaimed leaders of that community. All Presidential candidates have to weigh what they say and adjust their strategy based on the reality of their polling. If Dobson's position was reflected by a majority of that demographic, I would think that Thompson would be a bit more conciliatory in reaching out to him.
But his comments above almost represent a dismissal of Dobson's influence.
Patrick Hynes (a McCain man) of Ankle-Biting Pundits sees one of three scenarios with Giuliani:
First, Rudy Giuliani will not win the Republican nomination and the point will be moot.It begs the question as to whether or not Christian Conservative leaders are still looking at elections with a pre-9/11 perspective. They were instrumental in getting George W. Bush elected in 2000. But the world of 2000 is very different than the world of 2007.
Second, Rudy Giuliani will win the Republican nomination, but lose in the General Election because evangelical Christians, the most powerful voting bloc in American politics, will adhere to the principles of its leaders and support a third-party candidate.
Or third, Rudy Giuliani will win the Republican nomination and the General Election because evangelical Christians ignore the advice of its leaders and support Giuliani despite his pro-choice position.
Each of these has significant consequences for the future of the Republican Party, which we could debate about until the cows come home.
And scenarios one and two are certainly possible. But between the dangers we face from terrorism and the prospect of "she who must not be named" sitting in the White House, I seriously wonder if the voters don't have a more realistic perspective when they head to the voting booths.
And thus far, I don't see any of the top tier GOP candidates "dancing" to Dobson's tune. And if the third scenario were to prevail, he might just find that after next November there's no place at the table for him.
More Gratuitous Tiber Posting
Today is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, patron of animals, birds and nature.
I've never really been able to warm up to St. Francis, largely because of the way in which his image has been hijacked in the name of mawkishly sentimentalizing nature and anthropomorphizing animals, both of which I dislike intensely.
The "blessing of the animals" that many churches hold is bad enough, but you watch: somebody (probably within the TEC) is going to start administering communion to them as well. See if they don't.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Baseball Division
The eldest llama-ette and I are rooting for the Sawx in the playoffs, but if it's any consolation to Gary and the rest of you Mets fans, the gel's other serious hope is to see the Phillies go down in flames.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)
So the seven year old's incisor fell out yesterday. She now has a single upper incisor, with gum stretching out for miles on either side. When she smiles, God help me but I can't help hearing banjo music.
Anyhoo, it fell on me to be Tooth Fairy pro tem last evening. However, as I crept up to her bed, I noticed that she had jammed her diary under her pillow. It seemed to me that if I started trying to fish over and around it for the tooth, I was sure to wake her. So I had an idea: slipping the dosh under the pillow, I came up with the story that when the gel demanded to know why the tooth was still there in the morning, the Missus and I would tell her that I had personally asked the Tooth Fairy to leave it, because I hadn't yet had a chance to take a look at it.
Pretty resourceful, eh?
Well. While I was showering this morning, the gel wandered into our room with the tooth, which she foolishly put down on the Missus' night table when she climbed into bed to snuggle. As they lay dozing, the younger cat (as is her wont) jumped up onto the edge of the bed. This particular cat has a passion for batting things about. Spotting the tooth, she immediately went for it, swiping it off the table with a Big Papi-like swing. The result? A missing tooth and tears after all.
You can't win.
Gratuitous Crossing the Tiber Posting
So we were talking about St. Augustine at RCIA last evening, specifically about his ideas concerning prayer. Very briefly and paraphrasing badly, Augustine talked of the difference between prayer from the heart and spoken prayer. He argued that the former was the pure voice, the one that God hears directly. He also argued that the latter, the spoken prayer, was important in its own right and for its own reasons, but that without being directly informed (as they say) by the former, it was just so much gabbling.
I perked up and said that this sounded to me like a kind of Neo-Platonist way of looking at prayer. (Full disclosure: Neo-Platonism is a philosophy that I've always found very attractive). I was quite surprised when the instructor said no, it wasn't, and in a manner to suggest that I had said something rayther rude. He seemed to believe that such an interpretation would render spoken prayer useless or somehow less worthy, which was neither what I meant or (I believe) what Augustine meant. (FWIW, another member of the class agreed with me.)
So help me out here, all you Church Fathers sharks. Was I way off base? Or was it a legitimate observation?
Random Commuter Observation
Things that make me smile: On the back of a Honda Element I was following this morning, a license plate reading "UGLYBX".
Of course, the Element is not quite as coyote-fuggly as the Toyota Scion xB, but it's close enough.
October 03, 2007
Gratuitous Buck Blogging
Well, it's been a while since I left off on this series of posts. Considering how bad "Space Rockers" and "Bucks' Duel To The Death" were, I had almost abandoned it. But really, with one more two-hour season finale to go to finish Season One I had to see it through.
We conclude with:
Ep. 1.23 & 1.24 “Flight Of The War Witch (Parts One & Two)” (3/27/80)
In the past, this series featured recycled "Batman" villians The Riddler and The Joker. This time around, our favorite Catwoman, Julie Newmar, is featured. Now back in the Sixties, seeing Ms. Newmar strutting around in that tight catsuit was something to behold.
And even better, was the view of Julie Newmar from behind (that should be good for a few Google hits):
This is why we call it "gratuitous".
But this was 1980 and the former Catwoman was beginning to show a little age. Nonetheless, she was chosen to play Zarina the "War Witch" in the episode title. The plot (such as it is) goes like this:
Buck and company travel through a space warp, which is like a wormhole but similar to the star gates. I guess. With me so far? They end up in a different universe. But you can't have a season finale without Princess Ardala. So the good ship "Draconia" follows them with thoughts of conquest.
That's right, Pamela Hensley returns for her final appearance as the Draconian Princess.
They end up coming to the aid of the planet Pendar which is being attacked by the forces of the War Witch. Now Zarina isn't really a "witch". She's more of a ruthless leader of a neighboring empire. Buck and the Princess agree to a temporary truce to save Pendar and figure out a way back to their own universe. Why? Well, because Buck asks Ardala really nicely. Actually, at first Ardala's cooperation is a ruse but her attempts to ally with Zarina fail.
There's only room enough for one drama queen in this universe.
Newmar is very cool and distant as Zarina but honestly if you told me she spent the whole time on the set doped up with Valium I wouldn't be all that surprised. She was more of a zombie than a Catwoman. But she gets a pass for having the kind of beauty that was reminiscent of the golden age of Hollywood, so much so that she became the object of adoration by three drag queens in the 1995 film "To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar". You have to see the movie to understand the title. It's definitely interesting, right up to the memorable "I am Spartacus" moment at the end.
Anyway, needless to say Zarina is defeated, Pendar is liberated and every one goes home happy. But not before Ardala makes one last attempt to woo Buck. Of course, Buck declines and while the Season ends with the idea that may see Ardala again, we never will.
Interestingly enough, by this time Erin Gray had convinced the show's producers to let her go back to her natural hair color - dark brown. In the second season, she'll look like this.
Something to look forward to. Unfortunately for the fans, this was about all there was to look forward to. Season Two was delayed by an actor's strike that fall and while the writers were sitting around doing nothing much else they decided to take the show in a different direction. There were thirteen episodes filmed and broadcast from January through April of 1981 - most of them were worse than any of the ones I designated as "pass" in season one.
Episode Rating: Decent (Especially if you need closure on the season)
Next up: I could write a whole post on what went wrong with Season Two. In fact that's what I plan on doing rather than focus on giving overviews of specific episodes. Keep an eye out for it.
The first post in this series can be found here.
Season One Summary:
For those looking to pick and choose episodes from Netflix - here is my review guide:
"Awakening (Parts One & Two)" - Must See
"Planet Of The Slave Girls (Parts One & Two)" - Must See
"Vegas In Space" - Decent
"The Plot To Kill A City (Parts One & Two)" - Must See
"Return Of The Fighting 69th" - Pass
"Unchained Woman" - Must See
"Planet of the Amazon Women" - Pass
"Cosmic Whiz Kid" - Must See
"Escape From Wedded Bliss" - Decent
"Cruise Ship To The Stars" - Decent
"Space Vampire" - Must See
"Happy Birthday, Buck" - Pass
"A Blast For Buck" - Pass
"Ardala Returns" - Decent
"Twiki Is Missing" - Pass
"Olympiad" - Pass
"A Dream Of Jennifer" - Must See
"Space Rockers" - Pass
"Buck's Duel To The Death" - Pass
"Flight Of The War Witch (Parts One & Two)" - Decent
Words fail me
It's from Pravada, so it's gotta be true, right? Expect this in the latest version of Loose Change:
The researchers state that flying objects of extraterrestrial origin were persistently spying on American Apollos. They said the expeditions to the Moon looked very much like a race and presented a film demonstrating a luminous object closely following an American spaceship. Records of communication between astronauts and the Mission Control Center were also included into the film but they were absolutely inaudible as they had been purposefully jammed by Americans. They expected that the expeditions would find something astonishing on the Moon and with the view of keeping their communication with the surface secret they encoded their messages to the MCC. When the records of communication were later deciphered it turned out that the US missions came across lunar bases, remains of space vehicles and deserted towns on the Moon.
The film stated that lunar creatures would not tolerate the presence of Earth dwellers for long. When Americans brought a dummy car to furrow Moon craters, the creatures living on the satellite began to demonstrate their furious protest against the US presence on the Moon. Filmmakers said that green dwellers of the Moon told Americans to go home as they wanted to keep secret the sublunar bases that they used to observe the life on the Earth. It was alleged that NASA was afraid of conflicting with a highly developed civilization and immediately stopped the program. Does the film sound believable?
In a couple of days, Americans demonstrated their documentary about the Apollo expeditions, In the Shadow of the Moon, with records of the flights to the Moon that were specially processed after the video archives of the Moon program had disappeared. Is it true that the archives were lost? It seems that the CIA wanted to wipe out tracks of a contact between US astronauts and extraterrestrials.
Just reading that paragraph makes me feel like I drank a beaker of old-style Nyquill.
Anybody got some spare rope?
Oh, for the love of all that is holy, how much would I pay to watch a group of Civil War reenactors in blue walk into this meeting and bust some Vermont hippie skulls...
There aint no can of whuppass large enough to spare on putting the beat down on neo-seccesionists of any stripe, anywhere.
This Is Cool
The Speed of the Arrow
The simplest assumption we can make is that all of the potential energy eFx/2 is converted to kinetic energy of the arrow. Writing m for the mass of the arrow and v for its initial speed, we would then have
½mv2 = ½ eFx
v = (eFx/m)-2
In fact, this is always an overestimate of the initial speed of the arrow. The main reason for this is that, at the instant when the arrow leaves the bowstring, parts of the bow itself are moving. These parts will thus have some kinetic energy which, like the kinetic energy of the arrow, has been supplied by the potential energy stored in the bow. Exact calculations of this effect are extremely difficult, and can only really be done by computer modelling. However, we can get a rough idea when we realise that the speed of a particular part of the bow must be proportional to the speed of the arrow. We can thus write the kinetic energy of the bow as:
k ½ Mv2
where M is the mass of the bow, and k is a factor which represents the sum of the kinetic energies of all the parts of the bow. Experiments and computer models show that, for a medieval longbow, k is typically between 0.03 and 0.07, depending on the precise design of the bow. Thus, we should really write
½ mv2 + k ½ Mv2 = ½ eFx
which we can rearrange to give a formula for v:
v = ( eFx / (m + kM))-2
Clickie the link if you want to get the mathematical parameters of energy storage in the bow, range and effectiveness of the arrow and the like, as well as a discussion of the ideal materials for manufacturing both bow and arrow. Put it all together and what was the practical outcome at Agincourt?
Henry had approximately 5,000 archers at Agincourt, and a stock of about 400,000 arrows. Each archer could shoot about ten arrows a minute, so the army only had enough ammunition for about eight minutes of shooting at maximum fire power. However, this fire power would have been devastating. Fifty thousand arrows a minute - over 800 a second - would have hissed down on the French cavalry, killing hundreds of men a minute and wounding many more. The function of a company of medieval archers seems to have been equivalent to that of a machine-gunner, so in modern terms we can imagine Agincourt as a battle between old-fashioned cavalry, supported by a few snipers (crossbow-men) on the French side, against a much smaller army equipped with machine guns. Perhaps from this point of view the most remarkable fact about the battle is that the French ignored the very great military advantages of the longbow.
Actually, not so remarkable. Military history is replete with examples of armies either failing to comprehend or else ignoring (for a variety of reasons) what I suppose the war college crowd would call weapons asymmetries.
Yips! to Gail at Scribal Terror.
Race To The Top
A new challenge to the theory that George Mallory did not make it to the summit of Mt. Everest in 1924 before he died, and therefor that Sir Edmund Hillary was the first to the top in 1953:
After eight expeditions to Everest and decades of research, Mr Hoyland believes he knows what happened and is ready to expose the accepted theory - that Sir Edmund Hillary was the first to conquer Everest, in 1953 - as untrue. He will present his findings to the Royal Geographical Society in a lecture today.
Mr Hoyland, who has climbed Everest, said most experts and historians presume that Mallory died after attempting to climb a 28,280ft vertical cliff on the mountain's north ridge, known as the Second Step. They believe it was there that the mountaineer Noel Odell, widely accepted as the last person to see Mallory and Irvine alive, saw them climbing towards the summit.
But he said no one else had previously tried that route, and so it was unlikely Mallory had.
"Mallory had Irvine with him, who isn't really a climber, and he looks up and sees this enormous prow of a Second Step. I don't think he would have contemplated it when he got up close."
Mr Hoyland's theory is that they took a lower route to the top called the Third Step and that is where Odell saw them, not on the Second Step as he maintained in his account. Mr Hoyland said they could not have climbed the steep cliff as quickly as Odell described, adding: "No one can surmount the Second Step in five minutes."
If Mallory and Irvine were on the Third Step, a much smaller challenge closer to the summit, then most historians agree that they would have made it to the summit.
"If they were there, there is no question in my mind that one or both of them would have reached the summit," Mr Hoyland said.
Over the summer, I read this:
The Mystery of Mallory and Irvine by Tom Holzel and Audrey Salkend, a forensic exploration of Mallory and Irvine's ill-fated attempt. The book was last updated some time around 2000, I believe, and came to the seemingly rueful conclusion that no, they probably did not make it to the summit. On the other hand, as I recall, the book assumed the Second Step route, which is what is being challenged here.
I also point out again that Robert Graves, the great English poet and author of historickal fiction, was a pupil and friend of Mallory's, as well as a fellow climbing enthusiast. He states, in Goodbye To All That, his belief that Mallory did indeed make it to the top, but that his overly enthusiastic celebration of the feat left him with insufficient energy to get back down safely.
In my readings, I suppose I've become one of those romantics who hopes both that this was the case and that somehow it can eventually be proven.
An Image Guaranteed To Ruin Your Lunch Hour
Whoopi...Nancy Pelosi...Mr. Pelosi.
Reaming Chris Matthews
The fake laugh and smile is priceless.
And the line at 2:20 is unbelievable--"I've read this book, and it's called The Prince."
I was ready for Matthews to hit him with a chair at the end..
Yips! from Robbo: I find Jon Stewart quite annoying from time to time but hats off to him for making Matthews squirm over this horrid and soul-less piece of drivel.
The Missile Defense Shield for the Pacific region is now up and running.
After a successful test last week, the tracking radars and interceptor rockets of a new American missile defense system can be turned on at any time to respond to an emerging crisis in Asia, senior military officers said Tuesday.Obviously in its current stage, the systems effectiveness would be limited against a full scale attack by China or Russia. But as far as that little buck-toothed bastard in North Korea is concerned, I'd say we're covered.
General Victor Renuart Jr., the senior commander for defense of United States territory, said that the antimissile system could guard against the risk of ballistic missile attack from North Korea even while development continues on a series of radars in California and the Pacific Ocean and on interceptor missiles in Alaska and California.
"I'm so ronery."
Any of his neighbors who want in on this, however, better speak up.
I remember when Democrats went apopleptic over Bush's withdrawal from the ABM treaty (which was invalid anyway considering one of the parties involved - the Soviet Union - didn't even exist anymore). Funny how they're so eager to sink billions of dollars into a "War on Poverty" that never worked and promoted government dependency but they were adamant about not spending a single dime to protect our citizens from nuclear attack.
If SWMNBN manages to get into the White House, expect this important program to be cut immediately.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)
Recently, the seven year old lost one of her upper front teeth (or maxillary central incisors to you dental nerds). Now she's about to lose the maxillary lateral incisor not next to it, but across from it. The result is going to be a single front tooth with nothing but gum stretching out on either side of it.
The gel has set her sights on being a faerie princess for Halloween, but with a smile like that, I'm beginning to think she might be better off as an old crone (say, perhaps, Mother Rigby from Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Feathertop".)
Yips! from Gary:
How about an "undead" fairy princess, with this set of choppers?
Just a suggestion.
UPDATE from Robbo: The tooth is out. Cue the banjo music.
Random Commuter Observation - Part Two
A question that has frequently occured to me as I hoofed along the streets of Dee Cee: Just what the hell is a "half-smoke"?
Specifically, why half-smoke? Are we talking left versus right end? Or is it a ventral versus dorsal thing? Or perhaps the "half" is a temporal reference - if so, then what is done to the thing for the remaining "half" of the cooking time? Boiling? Microwave? Placement in the vendor's pants?
The world wonders.
"Oh, All Right, I'll Do It Myself" Update: From the deafening sound of comment silence, it appears nobody has any idea what I'm talking about. This is understandable, because at least according to Wikipedia, the half-smoke is a localized Dee Cee phenomenon:
A half-smoke is a type of sausage found in Washington, D.C., United States and the surrounding region. A half-smoke is slightly larger than than a regular hot dog, spicier and with more coarsely ground meat; it is usually grilled but can be found steamed. It is commonly made of beef, pork or a combination of the two, and is served on a hot dog bun. In 2000, The Washington Post Magazine named the half-smoke as the regional food in the Washington Dish Contest. Due to their size, they are often mistaken for the Polish sausage kielbasa.
The article goes on to note that nobody seems to know where the name came from:
The etymology of "half-smoke" is unclear as the sausage is not smoked. One possible explanation is that many places cut the sausage in half when grilling, or that many half-smokes are 50:50 beef and pork (though 100% beef half-smokes are common). In the January 26, 2007 edition of the Washington City Paper, reporter Dave Jamieson examined the origins of the half-smoke.
The "original" half smoke is considered to be the sausage distributed by D.C.'s Briggs and Co. meatpackers, originating in around 1950, though Raymond Briggs started selling his half-smokes circa 1930. Eventually Briggs was sold to another meat distributor, where the quality of the meat allegedly was eroded. Today, the general consensus of the finest half-smoke is the Weenie Beenie in the Shirlington neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia, or Ben's Chili Bowl in Washington.
Random Commuter Observation - Part One
I started in on a new Rumpole novel on the metro this morning and for the first time found myself feeling vaguely guilty that, with all the more important reading I've got on my plate at the moment (both books that I am reading and books that I want to read), I should be frittering my time away with such fluff.
Then I reasoned to myself that one can't really concentrate in such an environment anyway and therefore that light fiction is perfectly appropriate.
October 02, 2007
Political Question Of The Day
I know I'm just a bitter and disgruntled Mets fan and not a professional "pundit" but all this chatter about the fundraising prowess of "she who must not be named" (SWMNBN) has me scratching my head.
Yes, it seems more than ever that she is inevitable for the Dem nomination. But what is the real advantage for the general?
Isn't SWMNBN the most well-known politician in the U.S. outside of President Bush? Certainly a significant chunk of the money is for GOTV on Election Day. But the rest is for media buys and appearances to get the candidate's face in the voters as close to 24/7 as possible.
What is the return on investment for these activities if the candidate is already a household name and probably about 95% of the electorate already has an opinion of her (with a negativity rating in the high 40s)? In fact, wouldn't there be a law of diminishing returns - or even a backlash - if she is too "in your face" leading up to November?
I know the big political machine is formidable but how easy is it to sell a product that isn't exactly...fresh.
Personally, I think the best political advertising the GOP candidate could do is to put together a five minute montage of her creepy canned hysterical laughing on YouTube.
Anyone else have any thoughts on this?
Am I just trying to avoid thinking about baseball?
Yips! from Robbo: Ask and ye shall receive, old chum.
Yips! back from Gary:
Thanks, Robbo. It is here by decreed that henceforth I will be referring to that spin-chilling noise from SWMNBN as "the cackle".
Jon Stewart has fun with it:
"She'll be our first President that you can't spill water on!"
There's Something About Mary
This past week we have been studying the Blessed Virgin a bit in RCIA, and specifically her perpetual virginity (something I was mildly surprised to learn was even accepted by Luther and Calvin).
I mentioned to our honorary Llama padre Fr. M not long ago that I still felt awkward directly entreating the Blessed Virgin, because I felt like we had not been properly introduced. This isn't really the result of any doctrinal gulf, since as far as I can tell there really isn't much difference in beliefs about Mary between Rome and traditional Anglicanism. (Progressive Anglicanism is another matter. Then again, it's also why I'm leaving.) Instead, it's more of a low church/high church thing: In the TEC parish I've haunted, which is so low church it could produce a gold-medal Olympic limbo team, prayer to or with the Virgin simply wasn't done. Probably for fear of tumbling down the slippery slope into Mariolatry. (Say one Ave, Maria! and before you know it you'll have a front yard shrine made of an upended bathtub painted flourescent blue and a circle of coke bottles and you'll be looking for the Virgin's outline in your morning pancake syrup. Boogie! Boogie! Boo!!)
I must have said something about this to the Missus, because as we were pulling out of a rest stop onto the interstate over the weekend and I muttered, "Our lady of blessed acceleration, don't fail me now!" I caught sight of her out of the corner of my eye giving me a very suspicious look. I tried to assure her that my reference was cinematic, not religious, but I'm not altogether sure she believed me.
UPDATE: Whoa. Good comment thread.
I just want to mention here that when I do these Tiber-crossing posts, I love and encourage comments that provide additional thoughts or information, even where it is contrary to what I'm saying. I'd only ask everybody to honor the spirit of the thing: keep it reasonably clean and civil and on a relatively academic level. I know that religious discussions can stir the very deepest of emotions, but I don't want these threads to turn into personal slanging matches.
And Now For Something Completely Different...
Any other Mets fans out there desperately need a laugh?
Superdickery.com featuring all your favorite comic book covers and panels of a by-gone era that you just know were intentionally ribald.
Also, home to the "Superman Is A Dick" phenomena.
h/t: The Corner
Bill Buckner died for your sins
I'm sorry, I could only hold it in for two days, out of respect and fondness for Gary, my neighbor Gus, and my buddy Dave, but a guy can only take so much. This article in Time Magazine about how can Mets fans evah cope with the greatest catastrophic collapse in sporting history, I've got only one piece of advice---suck it, Mets fans.
Bill Buckner died for your sins, you obnoxious, coke-whorin', members only jacket wearing, Dwight Gooden-luvin, Daryl Strawberry lickin', Mookie Wilson oglin', Ray Knight ball bouncing cretins.
Catatonic Yips! from Gary:
Bring Me The Head Of Bill Belichick!
This is going to be a new regular feature here at Llama Central, even though I know it will antagonize not only a certain section of the staff, but also a considerable number of our regular readers.
Since the 'Fins are, ah, "rebuilding" this year, I've decided to direct what little football ju-ju I have at my command towards trying to stop the Pats from having a perfect season. But I tell you truly, friends, I've got a baaaaad feeling about this......
October 01, 2007
Sorry about the lack of sparkle today but I'm just utterly beat. Too much revelry at Fort LMC over the weekend.
Getting old, I suppose.....
UPDATE: Yes, "Look out, there are llamas!" about summed it up:
(Image found n'yah.)
Lois Maxwell, longtime might-have-been of Agent 007, died over the weekend at age 80:
Although she played the part for 23 years, she was on screen for less for an hour and spoke fewer than 200 words in all 14 films, her lines running an emotional gamut from "James, you're late" to "When are we going to have that dinner?" Her last Moneypenny appearance was opposite Roger Moore as Bond in A View To A Kill (1985).
Never paid more than £100 a day, her first appearance in Dr No took only two days to shoot, and those in her 13 subsequent Bond films were just as modest in scale. For her first five films, Lois Maxwell wore her own clothes.
"Always the same role, the smallest," she remarked ruefully in an interview for the Telegraph Magazine in 1997. The camera would find her sitting at a desk in the corner of a nondescript office, on the telephone or riffling papers. But when Bond enters, she greets him with a grin of pure joy.
"It is not a beautiful face," observed Byron Rogers, who interviewed her for the Telegraph 10 years ago, "it is a wonderful face, long and funny and older than all the others… The other women in Bond films are two-dimensional, who only ever want to go to bed with him or stab him, but there is one who loves him, though she knows nothing will ever come of this.
"That is the way Lois Maxwell played Moneypenny, making her the one grown-up among sexpots and psychopaths."
Gratuitous Llama Netflix Movie Bleg
Last Friday I received in the mail a copy of Kevin Costner's Wyatt Earp, which I've never seen before. Glancing at the sleave, I noticed the thing clocks in at well over three hours.
I'm a pretty busy llama. Three plus hours is a helluva long time to blow on a single movie, especially a single Kevin Costner movie, and I'm hesitant to do so without better intel. My question to you: is it worth it?
(I posed this question to Mrs. LMC over the weekend and she thought not, especially as we're both already fans of Kurt Russell's Tombstone.)