March 31, 2008

Dreams

Best.Blue.Angels.Video.Evaaaahhhh....

Go fullscreen and crank the speakers.

Breathtaking...

Posted by Gary at 09:38 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The AARP just got SO incredibly cooler

Christopher Walken, born this day in 1943.

You know what that calls for: more cowbell.

Yips! from Gary:
Let's have that cowbell...

Cowbell2.gif

Posted by Steve-O at 08:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Inching Closer...

...to the bare minimum level of enthusiasm for the candidacy of John McCain.

Two words: Sela Ward. Mmmmmm.

Posted by Gary at 07:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Mets Posting

Opening Day, Bay-bee!

metsround.jpg

Congrats to Robbo for the Nationals' big win yesterday to kick off the season in their brand new digs.

The competition overall in the NL East promises to be tougher this go around. It's time for the Metsies to shake off the humiliation of last season when they hit September and went down faster than Monica Lewinsky in a blue dress.

Being as the weather in NY is kind of crappy today, I don't mind having the season start in Miami later this afternoon. So, to paraphrase Princess Leia in "Return of the Jedi", now where going to find out if Johan Santana is worth the price they paid. Go Mets!

UPDATE:
Oh yeah. Worth every penny.

Posted by Gary at 10:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 30, 2008

Where's Robbo?

Off at the crack of dawn to the hinterlands on bidness, returning Wednesday night. Talk among yourselves until then.

In the meantime, I've no business staying up to see whether the Nats can pull off a win in their first game at the new park, but by golly, I'm a-gonna do it.

Yip! Yip!

UPDATE: Yeah, Baybee! Nats take over first place in the National League East on a 9th Inning shot over the left center wall by Ryan Zimmerman! Woo Hoo!!

Posted by Robert at 09:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

You have got to see

this news clip. A would-be mugger showed a five-inch blade to a geriatric former paratrooper and demanded his cash. The fellow knew something about close combat from World War II and Korea and went on to show this teenager he had picked the wrong seasoned citizen. Via Dr. Rusty and Hot Air.

Posted by LMC at 10:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I had a bad feeling

when the Future ROTC Scholarship Recipient and his little sister went up to the altar with all the other children at the start of Mass this morning. Moments later, the monsignor asked the assembled kiddies: "What was your favorite part about Easter?" My son promptly responded in a loud voice: "Buzz Lightyear!" and struck the Buzz pose from Toy Story. The priest responded dryly that he would be sure to ask the Gospel writers to include Buzz Lightyear. Mrs. LMC took it well enough but I was ready to crawl under the pew.

Posted by LMC at 10:20 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 29, 2008

"Stop-Loss" joins other anti-war flicks.

In other words, it tanked. Via Drudge.

Yips! from Gary:
And Hollywood is still in denial. When asked about the dismal box-office performance, this is the insightful analysis of the studios:

"No one wants to see Iraq war movies. No matter what we put out there in terms of great cast or trailers, people were completely turned off. It's a function of the marketplace not being ready to address this conflict in a dramatic way because the war itself is something that's unresolved yet. It's a shame because it's a good movie that's just ahead of its time."
Ahead of its time? God help us if we ever reach a point when gratuitous America-bashing becomes popular with movie audiences.

Posted by LMC at 04:37 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

"For I Haven't Any Sympathy For Ill-Bred Taunts"**

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?
Created by OnePlusYou - Free Online Dating

Swiped from similarly non-cussy Groovy Vic.

I can't seem to find any definition of what is considered "cussing" on the link. If we're talking about the George Carlin Seven Dirty Words sort of thing, I can say that I just about never use such language - in real life or on the blog - because I think it low. Taking the Lord's name in vain? Well, that's a somewhat different matter and rayther a bad habit of mine.

** Spot the quote. And if you can't? Why damme, it's too bad!

Posted by Robert at 03:08 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

So I Married A Looney

The Missus, seized by the daemonic energy that seems to routinely use her for an outlet, decided to take the gels off to the Smithsonian's Kite Festival this afternoon. This is one of the kick-off events for Dee Cee's National Cherry Blossom Festival, which also starts this weekend and is perfectly timed this year because I understand the cherries are in peak bloom at the moment.

I've got a lot of work to do today so did not object all that strenuously beyond pointing out that a) kite-flying might be problematic, since there's not much wind today, and b) everybody and his brother is going to be down on the Mall. You can call me a misanthrope if you like, but that kind of crowding gives me the creeps: I wouldn't go within ten miles of the place at a time like this, especially whilst shepherding our three maniacs. Just thinking about it makes me tired.

In the meantime, I just can't help posting this classic sketch, which has been floating about in my mind ever since they left (sorry about the sound quality):

Yes, yes, I kid. But I kid because I love.

Posted by Robert at 02:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

"What Kind Of Crummy Network Would Let This Happen?"

Quincy gets mad:

LOS ANGELES - Former "Quincy, M.E." star Jack Klugman sued NBC Universal Friday, claiming the studio is lying about the show's profits and owes him money. Klugman, 85, played the crime-busting Dr. R. Quincy on the show from 1976 to 1983. His 1976 contract with NBC entitles him and his company, Sweater Productions, to 25 percent of the show's "net profits," according to the suit filed in Superior Court. Klugman claims his copy of the contract was lost when his agent died, and NBC has refused to provide a copy.

The lawsuit aims to force NBC to divulge the contract and award Klugman attorneys' fees. It also asks the court to clarify the terms of the agreement.

"I recently heard that they made $250 million and it's still on TV in Germany. I don't want their money. I want my money," Klugman told The Associated Press. "I worked my tail off. I got up at four in the morning and stayed at the studio. I did rewrite, I edited."

Calls to NBC Universal Friday seeking comment Friday were not immediately returned.

NBC provided Klugman with an accounting statement showing the series had lost $66 million through 2006, according to the suit. However, Klugman said he believes NBC is lying, and that it made money.

First off, show of hands of those who are mildly surprised that the Klugger isn't dead already. Yes, me too.

My college roommate and I were devoted to Quincy re-runs and particularly delighted in Quincy's rantings against the "crummy" doctors who had allowed whatever the medical catastrophe du jour was to have happened. (It was almost as regular an occurance as "Hi, Bob" on Newhart's old show, Charro guest-starring on Love Boat or a Red Shirt getting whacked on Star Trek.) Hence the title of this post.

Go get 'em, Quincy!

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

March 28, 2008

"I'll Stand Downstream While Jim Wrestles The Llama To The Ground."

Perkins.jpg

Today is the anniversary of the birth in 1905 of Marlin Perkins in Carthage, Missourah.

Stumbling across this bit of trivia, I was suddenly reminded of those early Saturday evenings of my yoot, when "Wild Kingdom" was on the tee vee and Mom and Dad always seemed to be making a bee-line for the door. (In retrospect, I can hardly blame them.) I can almost taste the Spam, Spaghetti-o's and Handy-Andy soda water again.

Posted by Robert at 10:19 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Robbo's faith in Peggy Noonan is not misplaced . . .

Take a look at today's piece in "The Daily Diary of the American Dream." Scroll down to the last full paragraph, you will not be sorry.

Posted by LMC at 06:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 27, 2008

Gratuitous Nats Posting

NatHat.jpg

The home opener against the Braves is Sunday night. New season, new ballpark. I've got a goooood feeling about this year.

I've got to go out of town on bidness again next week and had thought I'd need to leave Sunday afternoon. A change in plans today means that I can now leave Monday morning instead. Think I'm not going to hunker down and watch the game with the Llama-ettes Sunday evening? Think again.

Go Nats!

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

Gratuitous Musickal Observation

The local classical station is currently running Antonín Dvořák's Symphony No. 9 "From the New World."

This reminds me that the Easter Vigil last Saturday featured, among other works, Dvořák's Mass in D Major. I blinked when I first read the program simply because I hadn't known that Dvořák ever wrote such a piece before, although on reflection it should not have come as any particular surprise.

As for the musick itself? Well, I rayther like ol' Dvořák's symphonic works, but I must say that I wasn't exactly bowled over by his Mass. Not that it was bad, mind you, just not all that inspiring. And it didn't hold a candle to the Palestrina, Tallis and other earlier works that were served up.

Posted by Robert at 12:20 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Where's Robbo?

Sorry for the lack of posting. As you might imagine, I am utterly wiped after all the emotional and spiritual upheaval of the past week. Plus, I'm swamped at work. And speaking of upheaval, if you - like me - are not very good at dealing with descriptions of blood 'n guts, and are already feeling run down, then for Heaven's sake, do not read Maria Valtorta's description of the Crucifixion (quoted extensively in Bill Buckley's Nearer, My God). Save it for when you're feeling a bit stronger. Almost lost it on the metro this morning.

Nonetheless, life goes on. Yesterday, the middle Llama-ette, while horsing around with the P.E. coach at St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method, managed to come down on her wrist the wrong way and crock it. The E.R. johnnies think she might have a crack or a fracture, so off we need to go to the orthopedist to find out. In the meantime, the gel came home last evening with her arm duly plastered, bandaged and slung, and a look of delight on her face. This morning she said that her sisters could sign her cast PROVIDED that they wrote as small as possible, as she expected a LOT of people at school were going to want to sign today.

UPDATE: Oh, speaking of Buckley's book (which is pure WFB), he also quotes - but only in teasing snippets - from Msgr. Ronald Knox, who, in addition to being a convert himself, was also I gather a great friend of Chesterton's. The quotes are tempting enough that I should like to read some more of Father Knox. Anybody out there have a tip as to the best place to start?

UPDATE DEUX: I got tagged by Mink Monica's Mom for using the term "shock value" in my follow-on comment about why WFB put the Valtorta passage in his book. Lest anybody else get the wrong idea, I certainly did not mean to suggest anything either gratuitous or shallow on Buckley's part by my use of that expression, but in fact just the opposite: he did it as an expression of the depth of his faith. My apologies for not being clearer.

Posted by Robert at 08:46 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

This is rich . . .

Saddam financed a pre-invasion trip to Bagdad for anti-war Dems. Via Drudge.

Posted by LMC at 07:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 26, 2008

Stuff White People Like

I came across this gem about a week ago on some "news" site, which only covered it because of the irony of the concept: "Stuff White People Like" (Irony, BTW is topic #50).

As a white person myself, I thought I'd take a read and found myself chuckling at a lot of posts. I have no idea what the race/gender/ethnicity of the author is but I thought that a lot of the topics made me think of some people I know.

After a while, I realized that the blog should more accurately be titled "Stuff Liberal White People Like". Maybe even "Stuff Upper-Middle-Income Liberal White People Like" or "Stuff People Who Are Typically Lampooned On 'South Park' Like". Check out some of the examples:

#3 Film Festivals
#6 Organic Food
#22 Having Two Last Names
#28 Not Having A TV
#44 Public Radio
#60 Toyota Prius
#62 Knowing What's Best For Poor People
#74 Oscar Parties
#91 San Francisco

Geez, if the typical "white person" stereotype skews Left, I'm might actually be a little offended.

Posted by Gary at 05:44 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Medical Information Visualized

Lord knows, I love me some anatomical illustration. My mom was a nurse, who kept her medical textbooks on a shelf by the dining room table. From the time I was old enough to sit at the breakfast table I occasionally pulled her nursing books down and marveled over full-color drawings of exotic childhood skin and mouth diseases, development of the fetus in utero and the wonders of the female pelvis while munching Captain Crunch.

Therefore, I'm very happy to have discovered this blog called Street Anatomy. It covers the fascinating worlds of medicine, art and design. Slide over there and take a look at the cute teddy bear skulls crafted from felt, or peruse the way anatomy is used in advertising. I was particularly struck by the anti-domestic violence posters featuring x-rays.

Tomorrow I'm attending Edward Tufte's course on the visualization of information. I love the science and art of visualizing information. Scientific illustration is based on this amazing intersection of data, art and classification. Clearly, I could geek-out on this subject for far longer than anyone would wish - so I'll hush now and let you go look at the site.

Posted by Chai-Rista at 11:08 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Deep Space Travel Depends on Sewer Gas

Researchers have found a gas that naturally collects in sewers can induce a state of suspended animation in mammals. Suspended animation is expected to be needed for deep space travel and would be a boon during faculty meetings.

Posted by Chai-Rista at 09:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Robotic Pack Animal for the Military

You all have got to see this. Boston Dynamics has developed a robotic pack animal that can carry over 300 pounds on ice without falling over.

It's louder than a leaf blower but I can't get my jaw off the keyboard!

Comments at Coilhouse were divided between:

1. It's cute!

2. It's creepy!

Count me in the creepy pile.

Posted by Chai-Rista at 07:52 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 25, 2008

That's My Church! - Easter Edition

Vatican Seal.png

Yes, indeedy. On Saturday, March 22, 2008, during the Easter Vigil, I was received into the Roman Catholic Church, the most recent and surely one of the least of her members. After twenty-odd years of dithering, Robbo the Llama Butcher is now an O-fficial Catholic.

The ceremony itself was magnificent, with all the smells and bells, chant, Latin and 17th Century musick you could wish. (Plus, I nearly set one of the priests on fire with my candle while kneeling at the altar!) For my poor wife and mother, who bravely attended and patiently sat through the whole thing seated behind me, I expect that the proceedings dragged for what seemed like an eternity, but for me, the nearly three hours seemed to go by in a flash.

So the million dollar question is...now what? At the moment, of course, I'm still getting used to the idea of being an RC and will probably take some time just to get into the swing of things. But I already sense that I didn't finally chuck myself into the Tiber just to go to Mass once a week, get a couple coo-el Saints' names and not eat meat on Fridays - there's some higher purpose to all this (I hope) and once I've had a bit of a rest, I'll need to sit down and start figuring it out.

In the meantime, enormous thank you Yips! go out to all of you who have followed along on this little adventure. The outpouring of good faith, even from those of you critical of my move, has been extremely gratifying. And the notes and gifts I've received from some of you have been quite overwhelming. (Individual thank you letters will be going out this week, of course.) As I may have mentioned before, although the Anglican implosion and Dad's death last year certainly propelled me to making this move now, six months' worth of pondering has made me realize that they were not the reasons for my switch, and furthermore that I would have done so at some point anyway. This is something that has been a looooooong time coming. The upshot is that I go into it with none of the bitterness, axe-grinding, and how-do-you-like-me-now rebounding characteristic of some converts, because in the end I'm not fleeing anything, but instead - as so many people have put it over the past few days - simply coming home. And I can't tell you just how happy that makes me. And I'm also glad that so many of you - even those who have absolutely no desire to follow - are happy on my behalf. As I say, thank you.


Posted by Robert at 09:46 AM | Comments (22) | TrackBack

March 23, 2008

Some Site Maintenance Overdue?

Hey, Steve. Robbo. I notice the Ol' Fred fer Prez section of the sidebar a little bare.

Seems about time to stick the McCain widget in there, no?

That would be this:

JohnMcCain.com

or this:
JohnMcCain.com

Spent Easter with the fam today. Mom won't vote for ANY Republican. Though her "I'll vote for whomever is the Dem nominee" routine seemed a bit unenthusiastic. Dad? Not so happy with HilBama. Might actually pull the lever for the GOP for the first time since 1984.

Won't make the difference in CT, probably. But if Pops won't vote HilBama (union man) than maybe a lot of folks in swing states won't either.

Posted by Gary at 10:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

LMC states the obvious

Richardson endorses Obama, doing what he can be make the short list to be Obama's running mate.

Posted by LMC at 02:46 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 21, 2008

Looks like Robbo got off easy on the bill for the first LLama-ette wedding

Mrs. LMC took our children up to The Butcher's Shop last weekend. I learned The Future ROTC Scholarship Recipient was renamed Mr. Incredible and the youngest LLama-ette became Elasti Girl and they were "married" in Robbo's backyard. No news on the honeymoon.

Posted by LMC at 07:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thanks for the suggestions on El Paso eateries

but I have had enough of Third World cuisine. I stuck with Olive Garden and Applebee's when venturing off-post.

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

An appeal to white guilt while flattering lib intellectual affectations

Charles Krauthammer on Obama's speech on NRO.

Posted by LMC at 07:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 20, 2008

Where's Gary?

Long time readers know that a little over a year ago I had announced the retirement of the Ex-Donkey Blog after which Steve and Robert graciously asked me aboard The Llama Butchers to post at will. Over time, I tried to do less political posting and more cultural observations but with the advent of the Presidential politics this year it's been hard not to blather on about what I like to blather on about most.

Yet with all the to-do about the GOP ascent of John McCain and the Hil-Bama mess I've been noticeably absent from the day to day commentary.

Truth is, a while back (on the day of the NH primary, actually), my employer of about eighteen years saw fit to give me a layoff notice. So for the last couple of months I've been in "job search" mode. The upside is that, because of my tenure, I received a pretty stout severance package which could carry me through most of the coming year.

Of course, those of you who've been through this scenario (and I'm sure that there are many) know that any time not dedicated to finding a new employer is wracked with guilt and uncertainty. So I'll be posting a lot less these days. Unless of course something so irresistible comes along. In the meantime, thanks for your patience.

UPDATE:
tdp - what do I do/want to do is an interesting question. I fear the ensuing conversation would go something like this:

Seriously though, I'd love to make a living doing just this but I don't see that happening. To your point, Terrapod, I hadn't thought of listing my details but that's not a bad idea. I'll add stuff about myself to this post when I get a chance.

Posted by Gary at 09:24 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

March 19, 2008

This Is Starting To Really Get Ugly

Good. Goooood!!!

darth sidious.jpg

Use your aggressive feelings. Let the hate floooow through you...

Posted by Gary at 06:21 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

What you've always feared: proof that the Wiggles are in fact in league with Satan's Army on Earth

Just in time, too, for Robbo's big day.

Posted by Steve-O at 09:01 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Where's Robbo? - Easter Division

I'm going to go ahead and hang it up for the rest of the week. I can't think of a suitable Easter blessing at the moment that doesn't sound both contrived and inadequate, so I will simply offer thanks and prayers to all of you who have served up comment, inspiration, yes, and good-faith criticism as I've splashed about in the Tiber for the past six months or so.

And I'll see you on the other side.

Posted by Robert at 08:49 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 18, 2008

Pericles' Funeral Oration

I came across an excerpt of his commemoration of Athens' war dead while working through Donald Kagan's The Peloponnesian War. Here it is in full.

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

Robbo the Bad Boy

The Bovina Bloviator, who is also on track to arrive on the Roman shore of the Tiber this week, notes the bright side of getting ready for one's First Confession.

Mine is tomorrow afternoon and I have been, of course, dutifully working my way up and down the Commandments, putting together a cribsheet of my 43 years' worth of unconfessed sinfulness. What I'm discovering, however, is that while I've certainly made some first-class howlers in my life, and I have some general traits and practices that need to be dealt with, overall the list really isn't all that......long. I had previously reckoned that it was going to take an hour at least to get through everything, but the truth is that I could probably cover it all in about five minutes (much to the relief of Father, I am sure).

Of course, Mom just laughed when I mentioned this to her last evening. "Why should you be so surprised?" she said. "What have I always said? Such a nice boy! Such a good boy! Bubi!"

And because my brain works the way it does, I just couldn't help thinking of this:

Posted by Robert at 09:28 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Big 1-0

Today is the eldest Llama-ette's tenth birthday. Hard to believe.

Those people who believe that who we are is a function of nurture rather than nature can go spit up a rope, because this gel is a stone ringer for her late grandfather, who also happened to share her birthday. Family lore says that my great-grandfather married a completely insane Scotswoman, and that her craziness - known as the "McDill Taint" - has manifested itself in various ways in the generation since. Fortunately, I got my personality from my mother's side. Dad got the Taint in spades. So, I'm afraid, did the gel.

Where the nurture comes in to the equation is in the strenuous efforts of all of us around her to rein in all the more obnoxious characteristics she inherited from the old gentleman. Whether we'll manage remains, of course, to be seen. Mom remarked last evening that if anybody could do it, it would be me. Bit of a slim reed, I would say. Nonetheless, the fact of the matter is that the gel is devoted to me, so perhaps the constant series of lectures I feel I've been forced to give lately about effort, honest self-examination and sympathy for others is somehow slowly permeating into the concrete. We can but try, after all.

Posted by Robert at 08:35 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

March 17, 2008

Happy Birthday, Snake Plissken!

Snake.jpg

Yes, Steve-O's perennial presidential write-in nominee Kurt Russell was born this day in 1951 in Springfield, MA.

I've already caused plenty of rancor around here recently so I won't go into it in depth, but I can't resist mentioning again the fact that I've long held a theory that Kurt Russell and Patrick Swayze are, in fact, the same person. (Before you scoff, name a single picture they've starred in together. Well? Well?)

So what's your favorite Kurt flick? Personally, I've always liked Tombstone because of its rocking ensemble cast. [Ed - yeah, the fact that Dana Delany is shmokin' has absolutely nothing to do with it.] Shut up. However, I must confess that Executive Decision ranks up there as well. I'm sure the LMC will note with approval the performance of Halle Berry. However, my favorite part is the bit where Steven Seagal get sucked out of a plane at 40,000 feet with no visible means of support (ha!). Also, let's hear it for David "Hercule Poirot" Suchet, who provides a convincing role-model for tubby, middle-aged terrorists everywhere.

Posted by Robert at 03:35 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Today Me Name Is Robbo O'Llama

shamrock.gif

I must admit that I pay just about zero attention to St. Patrick's Day anymore, not that I ever thought much of it to begin with, being the Scot that I am. However, for the second year in a row now, the middle Llama-ette was disappointed this morning to find that her leprechaun trap - set last evening - came up empty.

The Missus and the gels are away tonight on a little spring-break excursion and it suddenly dawned on me that a note left by a "leprechaun" in the gel's bed (and indeed, in all the gels' beds), might be just the ticket.

How does one say "neener, neener" in Erse?

Posted by Robert at 02:19 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Random Commuter Observation

A sure sign of the approach of spring to Dee Cee: I saw my first herd of grundgy, slack-jawed touron teenagers milling around in front of the Hard Rock Cafe on E Street this morning.

Posted by Robert at 08:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 16, 2008

Gratuitous Swimming the Tiber Posting

It suddenly dawned on me this morning that today was the last time I'd ever participate in an Episcopal Communion. Whoa.

I've been doubling up on Sunday services for some time now, going with the family for the nine o'clock at my old church, and meanwhile attending Mass on my own either before or after. I must say that it works out quite well, and I really haven't felt this arrangement to be at all burdensome.

For the most part, I've been hitting the 7:30 Mass. Advantages: there are no kids, so one can actually concentrate. Disadvantages: no musick, and I'm usually the youngest one in the congregation by about sixty years. But when the middle Llama-ette's youth choir is performing at her service, I have to get her there a bit early, which means I have to wait until later to get to Mass. In that case, I've been going to the 10:30. Advantages: musick and hymns, and one doesn't have the sense of being hustled through. Disadvantages: a sea of small and very loud children. I had a pair in front of me this morning who got progressively noisier and more squirmy to the point where I found myself meditating strangling one or both with my palm frond.

I haven't really decided what to do about this, if anything. I may just continue to flip back and forth as the mood and circumstances dictate. Another possibility is skipping both the 7:30 and the 10:30, sticking around at my old church for social hour and then catching the noon Latin Mass. The option of attending the early Saturday evening service has no appeal to me whatever.

I noted that the 10:30 Mass has musick, but I should also reiterate my opinion that it is largely thrown away on my new flock. I've heard plenty of horror stories about what kind of hymns get served up in a lot of RC parishes these days (indeed, Mrs. LMC, who came to visit this weekend, mentioned that theirs employs bongos), but week after week this lot is treated to the choicest of Old School hymnody, yet sit there practically in silence when invited to sing along. To give but one example, this morning being Palm Sunday, we got "All Glory, Laud and Honor". This is an old favorite of mine and - momentarily forgetting where I was - I duly snapped into my standard church voice, only to discover after about a line and a half that I was easily the loudest singer within ten or twelve people in any given direction. And although I couldn't prove it, I got the distinct impression that everyone in my immediate area was looking at me in surprise, tainted perhaps with indignation and even hostility.

The Eleventh Commandment for me has always been "Thou Shalt Not Make A Fool Of Thyself In Public", so it was pretty tough to keep going. I hope that I won't be beaten down by the forces of social pressure so that I am eventually assimilated into the Mumblers' Collective. On the other hand, who knows? Perhaps once I've settled in I'll take it upon myself to teach these people a thing or two about hymn-singing. New blood and all that. In any event, as I plan to continue going to the other service with the Missus and the Llama-ettes, I will at least have one outlet in which I can sing to my heart's content.

Posted by Robert at 02:50 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

March 15, 2008

I'm Baaaaaack!!!

Flew in last night after a week of legal stuff out in the field and boy are my arms tired! (Thankyew!)

Actually, what's really tired is my throat, and not because I had to spend all day yawping with attorneys, witnesses and judges and the like. No, it's because [----redacted---------] that every evening when I got back to my room I had to do about thirty minutes imitating Sam Kinison at his grumpiest.

And for those of you kids who don't know who the heck I'm talking about, here's a little yootoob refresher:

Anyhoo, I've been right out of the web 'verse for so long that I really don't know what's what at the moment. And with Holy Week about to start and ol' Robbo getting set for the big night when he no longer has to wear a "trainee" badge and a paper bag over his head to Mass, I probably won't have much opportunity for goofing about over the next few days. I'll probably be posting, but I don't really know where it will be going.

Posted by Robert at 02:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 14, 2008

The McCain central narrative

Posted by Steve-O at 03:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Calling All Pennsylvania Republicans

It's time to change your affiliation to Democrat.

Yes, you heard right. The benefits of voting in the PA primary for SWMNBN are priceless. BullDogPundit explains why. And here's a nice long-term one I hadn't even thought of:

Say what you will about Obama but he just doesn’t have supporters - he has followers that think he is the second coming. He’s leading a movement. He’s also got a lot of new people, especially young ones, involved in politics, and perhaps for the first time the youth vote might actually show up to help him.

If these followers, especially the young ones, see that party bosses are the ones that give the nomination to Hillary they are going to be furious. Actually, “furious” might be too mild of a word. But whatever it is, many of them will be so steamed they will not vote for Hillary. They won’t vote for McCain either, but they weren’t going to anyway. They’ll just stay home.

Also, don’t discount the fact that the first political memory many of these people will have is that the Democrat party screwed them, and unlike Elliot Spitzer, didn’t even pay them for the privilege. That’s a wound that won’t heal soon, if at all. Of course, like many young people do, they will grow up, see what the real world is like, realize the folly of their ways, and become Republicans. But they will always have a visceral reaction to the Democrats. That’s good for the GOP in the long run.

Go read the other reasons here. Well thought-out stuff.

Posted by Gary at 09:35 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 13, 2008

I have the telomeres of a 37 year old!

New research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine reports that people who regularly exercise have younger looking cells with full, perky telomeres, when viewed under a microscope. It turns out, you've got to have some swing in your telomeres to live longer. Feeling the burn by 100 minutes or more a week will give you some reach in that all important telomere region - making them hefty, pouty and and ready for action.

What? You think I make this stuff up! Read it yourself.

Posted by Chai-Rista at 11:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Last Lecture

In case you haven't yet heard of him, Randy Pausch is a virtual reality / computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He is an extraordinarily inspirational teacher who learned late last year that, due to pancreatic cancer, he had only about 6 months to live.

It sounds dreadfully depressing, right? But it isn't. This incredible man took the hard knock life landed on him and created from that a talk called The Last Lecture which he delivered to students and fellow faculty at his school. The Last Lecture communicates Randy's lifetime of learning about how to live a life worth remembering. He is awe-inspiring in all the best senses of the word.

He condensed The Last Lecture for a half-hour appearance on Oprah. Watching him on Oprah will bless you and make you feel better for the rest of the week. But, in order to get back every moment you've ever had to waste sitting in a waiting room, watch the whole lecture. It takes an hour and 44 minutes, but it will be some of the best two hours you've ever lived. (Transcript of the full-lecture.)

Randy's book entitled The Last Lecture will be published next month. He may not live to see it come to bookstores. But his legacy is going to change a lot of lives for the better.

Posted by Chai-Rista at 08:51 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 11, 2008

I just changed my facebook pic in 0.1 seconds, flat

The latest fallout from Skeevy McJackass-gate in New York is sartorial. Behold the two greatest governors of the greater Gotham metropolitan area at their moments of public downfall:

mcgreevey spitzer.jpg

I emailed my Dad, and he came back with the precision details:

Brooks Brothers stock "thin stripe no. 1, red with black/white thin stipe" is not, as you know, regimental. It is, again as you know, picture no 1. in the "dress for success book."

Not anymore.

Oh well, but I did love wearing that tie.

(And yes, it's entirely appropriate that McSkeevey's tie is going in the, um, other direction...)

Posted by Steve-O at 01:22 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Why I love America

Sweetness:

CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Diageo's Guinness brand has raised eyebrows -- and, it hopes, sales -- with a petition-driven push to make St. Patrick's Day an official holiday. Now Diageo's effort is getting support from an unexpected partner: Anheuser-Busch.

Ads in print and on radio will soon complement an online petition to make St. Patrick's Day an official holiday.


A-B -- which last year acquired U.S. import rights for Bass Ale, Guiness' traditional partner in "black and tan" mixtures -- is planning a print and radio push to support Guinness' drive, according to a memo to A-B distributors first reported by Beer Business Daily.

Drinking buddies
"As the foundation of every authentic Black & Tan, Bass Pale Ale has quite literally supported Guinness for decades," the memo reads. "This year we've identified an exciting new way to 'support' our competition."

A-B, according to the memo, will support Guinness' push for 1 million signatures in favor of an official U.S. St. Patrick's Day holiday, with full-page print ads in alternative weeklies in 14 markets, as well as "nontraditional" radio sponsorships on stations popular with men aged 25-49 in those markets. The ads will begin running this week.

Despite the frequent mixing of the two brands by bartenders, the relationship between them has seldom been acknowledged by marketers.

Diageo has tended to push its Harp brand as the "tan," instead of Bass, while A-B, in its brief time owning Bass, has emphasized its obscure Bare Knuckle Stout in lieu of Guinness.

'Everybody's Irish'
"On St. Patrick's Day everybody is Irish, and everyone at Guinness is genuinely complimented by all the attention and good will being focused on our quest to make St. Patrick's Day a national holiday," said a Diageo spokesperson.

Just remember, it's a sin not to do it.

You know, I'm going to get in trouble on a number of levels for this, but my Mom always made a wicked corned beef and boiled cabbage. You would need to add a whole jar of mustard to get the cabbage down, but it worked for me. The Hugenot part of soul was I'm sure muttering anti-papist blasphemies the whole time that would've made an exorcist blush (think an Altar Boy Eric Cartman, but with tourettes), but the Irish part of me was happy (at least, as happy as could be without a tall Guinness in hand).

Posted by Steve-O at 11:46 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Apropos of nothing, lunchtime video edition

These two just came up randomly in sucession on the computer while I'm fixing lunch:

NOBODY'S GOING TO DISAGREE WITH THIS: next in the q:

YEAH, THAT'S THE GOOD STUFF: Next:


I think Joe needs a shower and a nap, perhaps.

DON'T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT NO TRUMPET PLAYING BAND YIPS: Next up:

Thank you, I'll be here all week. Be sure to tip your waitresses.

Posted by Steve-O at 11:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Apropos of nothing, REM edition

U2 and REM together. This rocks:

I've been on an REM jag as of late: I think I've played "Green" about four times straight through on the computer while I'm working. There's not a good version of "Turn you inside out" on youtube, for some reason. I don't know why it's in heavy rotation: I hadn't listened to Murmur front to back in ages, but popped that in yesterday.

Theories?

I've posted this before, but this is sort of the touchstone I think of culturally cool, circa 1983:

One thing I'm working on (Chai-Rista is going to get a hearty laugh out of this) is the outline for a course I'm teaching next fall, GOVT 3XX American Politics and Popular Culture. I had to promise a colleague of mine in the department that I wouldn't show any West Wing, as that's her particular province I guess (not that I was going to, sheesh.) Of course, I've already been referring to it as the "Batman/Red Dawn/Planet of the Apes" course. It's going to be cool: we're going to start with different responses to King Philip's War in the 17th century, and go forward. The first half is going to focus on the themes of nationalism, conquest and frontier, the third quarter on corruption and reform, and the last 3 weeks on issues of security and anxiety. Suggestions will be appreciated. (One of the key books is going to be Richard Slotkin's Gunfighter Nation, which is an awesome book on pop culture mythology in American history.)

UPDATE: Geez, you people are pervs: the XX designation is because the Registrar hasn't given it a number yet. Sheesh.

Posted by Steve-O at 09:45 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Spitzerpalooza, Day Two

Operation Sanctimonious Butthead's best line so far:

Right off the top, though, you've got to wonder, for example, about a business where the posted price for the service runs up to $5,500 an hour. Who's monitoring this industry? Are there no competition laws, no regulators pushing for a "say on pay" rule against prostitutes, no attorneys general making sure prices are fair and equitable? No justice anti-trust probe? Is disclosure adequate?

But that gets us too far ahead of the story. As a high-level subject for economic study, it would be interesting to know how $5,500 an hour compares with, say, the going rate for a top takeover specialist at a Wall Street law firm. Or, on a comparative value basis, why is such a service worth less than the $6,000 one of Mr. Spitzer's corporate trophies, Tyco CEO Dennis Koslowski, paid for a shower curtain? Maybe it depended on who he was showering with.

Driver 8, Client 9, Michael Stipe with long hair:

Apropos of nothing, youtube edition: REM playing Gardening at Night, same show from spring of 1984:


Posted by Steve-O at 09:20 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Oh great, like I needed THAT today

Paging Sarah Connor....

Lockheed Martin is building on its Milstar, DSCS and commercial satellite expertise to develop comprehensive and innovative solutions for next-generation systems including the U.S. military's Advanced EHF constellation and others. A Lockheed Martin Space Systems-led team has completed a 20-month contract awarded by the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence to study the privately financed development of the next-generation space-based military communications system named Skynet 5. Lockheed Martin teamed with BAE SYSTEMS and British Telecommunications PLC in this Project Definition Design Study. The study, in combination with a proposal submitted in early 2001,will allow the MoD to evaluate all aspects of the Skynet 5 system to meet the required date-of-service provision later in this decade.
Posted by Steve-O at 09:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 10, 2008

Tainted Love

Eliot Spitzer busted for looking for love in the wrong place, via Fox. Thanks to KMR who came up with the title.

Michelle pounds Spitzer.

UPDATE: The New York Assembly GOP Leader was on Hannity and Colmes. He will give Spitzer 24 to 48 hours to resign before calling upon the Speaker to begin impeachment proceedings. He might be trying a Bubba and brass it out but it won't work.

MORE: The Daily Diary of the American Dream weighs in with The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer.

THANKS A FREAKIN' LOT, BUDDY FOR GETTING THAT DERN SONG IN MY HEAD YIPS from Steve-O:


Uggh.

Posted by LMC at 07:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

U2 - 3D

Friday night I went to see U2 - 3D.

AWE-some is almost all I have to say. It was like watching the band up close through a window. From time to time animations were projected on the window but they also ran behind band members too.

Here's a review from Christianity Today.

Go. See. It.

Posted by Chai-Rista at 02:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Herman Melville, call your agent

Cool pics indeed of a white whale off the Alaskan coast.

Of course, since I'm evil, I saw that and thought of a nice aioli sauce.

Posted by Steve-O at 12:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Green, the color of Lent, coming soon to a RC Church near you!

About five weeks ago, Robbo did a post noting some silly program in the Episcopal Church encouraging people to think about things like their "carbon footprint" and whatnot for Lent, which served as a marvelous jumping off point for some of our more shall we say less nuanced commentators to go into full overdrive spittle flecking "Episcopals are Apostates" mode.

Here was the keygraph:

(I wonder does anybody go to Confession with a laundry list of the number of times they've forgotten to turn off a lamp, used plastic bags or failed to separate their paper and glass recycling?)

The answer? You will have to now!



Recycle or go to Hell, warns Vatican
By Malcolm Moore in Rome
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 10/03/2008

Failing to recycle plastic bags could find you spending eternity in Hell, the Vatican said after drawing up a list of seven deadly sins for our times.

The seven, which include polluting the environment, were announced by Monsignor Gianfranco Girotti, a close ally of the Pope and the head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, one of the Roman Curia's main court.

Polluting the environment by failing to recycle is one of the new seven deadly sins

The "sins of yesteryear" - sloth, envy, gluttony, greed, lust, wrath and pride - have a "rather individualistic dimension", he told the Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper.

The new seven deadly, or mortal, sins are designed to make worshippers realise that their vices have an effect on others as well.

"The sins of today have a social resonance as well as an individual one," said Mgr Girotti. "In effect, it is more important than ever to pay attention to your sins."

According to Roman Catholic doctrine, mortal sins are a "grave violation of God's law" and bring about "eternal death" if unrepented by the act of confession.

They are far more serious than venial sins, which impede a soul's progress in the exercise of virtue and moral good.

Mgr Girotti said genetic modification, carrying out experiments on humans, polluting the environment, causing social injustice, causing poverty, becoming obscenely wealthy and taking drugs were all mortal sins.

Sounds like it's a mortal sin now to be American, at least by Euro-weenie standards.

The fun part? For us, the MDG's are entirely optional, and you may feel free to ignore. For you guys? Not so much.

Cue it up, Abbot and Mrs. P: The horror!

Wait, there's more:

The comments of the original "Green Lent" post veered into attacking the Episcopal Church for promoting birth control by--horrors!-- promoting use of condoms. Not to go all humane vitae on you guys, but this is one of the funniest things I've read in awhile:

A Vatican-sanctioned sex guide is encouraging churchgoers to make love more often in an effort to offset "impotence and frigidity" and address papal concerns over declining birth-rates among Italian Roman Catholics.

The controversial book, It's A Sin Not To Do It, written by two theologians, promises the reader answers to "everything you wanted to know about sex but the Church (almost) never dared to tell you".

In their attempt to galvanise the faithful, Roberto Beretta and Elisabetta Broli, who write regularly for the Italian Bishops' magazine, Avvenire, have written one of the raciest works ever to deal with the Church and sex.

Bullet points on the jacket cover underline the central message: "Sex? God invented it. Original sin? Sex has nothing to do with it. Without sex there is no real marriage."

"When people think of the Church and sex, they think of prohibitions and taboos," said Beretta. "But there is a very different and positive side to Church doctrine which needs to be emphasised."

In both style and content, the guide - published earlier this month - marks a radical break with traditional Church pronouncements on physical intimacy. Forty years ago, the Vatican published a notorious set of guidelines for courting Catholics that outlawed even French kissing before marriage.

The pages of It's A Sin Not To Do It, however, feature a frank interview with Cardinal Ersilio Tonini in which he emphasises that "the Church is not an enemy of the flesh". He argues that Vatican doctrine has always defended the "nobility of sexuality", which is regarded by the Church as a "treasure" of humanity.

Another chapter likely to raise eyebrows unearths theological justification for post-coital masturbation for women who fail to achieve orgasm during intercourse.

Beretta told The Telegraph: "The Church is not against sex. Something needed to be done about the cliches and stereotypes. The Church is not only about forbidding the use of contraception and warning against the sins of the flesh.

"In view of the trivialisation of sex and the rise of impotence and frigidity in consequence, as well as the increasing number of only children, it is better for the Church to promote sex in the right circumstances, instead of just focusing on prohibitions and perversions."

The authors have included passages taken from previous papal statements on sexuality, and pronouncements from cardinals who advocate a "healthy Catholic materialism" about marital sex.

The Vatican has regularly expressed its concerns over Italy's low birth rate, which stands at fewer than nine births per thousand inhabitants. Two years ago, in an address to the Italian parliament, Pope John Paul described the declining rate as "a serious threat that weighs on the future of the country".

According to Beretta, the book is a comprehensive summary of Church doctrine on sexuality, couched in deliberately populist language.

He said: "We deliberately set out to discuss the Church's attitude towards sex in frank, secular language. But everything in this book is taken from conventional doctrine. Because of the widespread assumption that the Church loathes sexuality, most people are not aware of the positive things it has to say about physical intimacy."

He is now awaiting reader reaction. "The Vatican has not raised any concerns about the tone and style of the book," he said. "Some people might find it a little direct. But at least after reading this book, they will have a balanced picture of what the Church actually thinks about sex."

No word on whether there's a picture of a pouty-mouthed buck-toothed Ethel Kennedy in a leather bustierre and whip on the cover...

Posted by Steve-O at 09:45 AM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

I never would have guessed . . .


Find out how totally 80's are you at LiquidGeneration!
. Via Special Agent Bedhead.

Posted by LMC at 08:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 09, 2008

Counter to the narrative

Damn that pesky science: sea-levels set to fall dramatically over next millenia.

Sea levels are set to fall over millions of years, making the current rise blamed on climate change a brief interruption of an ancient geological trend, scientists said on Thursday.

They said oceans were getting deeper and sea levels had fallen by about 170 meters (560 ft) since the Cretaceous period 80 million years ago when dinosaurs lived. Previously, the little-understood fall had been estimated at 40 to 250 meters.

"The ocean floor has got on average older and gone down and so the sea level has also fallen," said Bernhard Steinberger at the Geological Survey of Norway, one of five authors of a report in the journal Science.

"The trend will continue," he told Reuters.

A computer model based on improved understanding of shifts of continent-sized tectonic plates in the earth's crust projects more deepening of the ocean floor and a further sea level decline of 120 meters in 80 million years' time.

If sea levels were to fall that much now, Russia would be connected to Alaska by land over what is now the Bering Strait, Britain would be part of mainland Europe and Australia and Papua island would be the same landmass.

The study aids understanding of sea levels by showing that geology has played a big role alongside ice ages, which can suck vast amounts of water from the oceans onto land.

Bushco is surely to blame.

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

The 3 a.m. phone call ad,

SNL version. Via The Jawa Report and Michelle Malkin.

Posted by LMC at 04:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 08, 2008

Any suggestions for places to eat in El Paso?

Business takes me there next weekend.

Posted by LMC at 10:46 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

"I am Buzz Lightyear

I come in peace." The Future ROTC Scholarship Recipient is back on a Toy Story kick. The name he was given at birth is not good enough and he has taken to telling everyone he will henceforth be known as Buzz Lightyear. We have had at least two father-son talks about that there is a time for playing, a time for pretending, and a time to be serious. Preschool, speech therapist, Mass, directives from Mrs. LMC, and father-son talks are all serious, all the time. This is getting through his stubborn little head some of the time. Hhmmm-must get that from my bride's side of the family.

Posted by LMC at 10:43 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Where's Robbo?

I know relatively few people wander into the ol' Butcher's Shop over the weekends, but if you're showing up here bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on Monday morning looking for fresh Yips!, I have to report that I won't be here.

Indeed, I will be away on my travels all week and won't get back to Orgle Manor until Friday evening. And lest you get any funny idea in your collective imagination that this constitutes some kind of Spring Break for Robbo, let me just tell you here and now that it's going to be nothing of the sort - this trip is work related, and not only that, it's a-gonna be hellish.

Anyhoo, I'm calling out the rest of our herd to step it up in my absence. (Indeed, it may even be time for an appearance of the Scottish Dwarf, who hasn't been round here in a while.) And I'll see you lot hopefully when I get back.

Yip! Yip! Yip!

Posted by Robert at 06:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 07, 2008

Not So Home Alone - Now With Morning After UPDATE

HomeAlone.jpgHomeAlone.jpgHomeAlone.jpgHomeAlone.jpgHomeAlone.jpgHomeAlone.jpgHomeAlone.jpgHomeAlone.jpgHomeAlone.jpg

The eldest Llama-ette is celebrating her tenth birthday today (even though it is not actually for another couple weeks). She is doing so with a large early evening party, after which something like six of her friends are going to stay for a sleepover.

Thank Heaven we at least have a basement.

UPDATE: In the "Last Thing I Expected To Be Doing After An Awful Day At The Office And A Soaking Commute Home" catagory, I found myself spending much of last evening playing successive games of Trivial Pursuits Jr. with various batches of young ladies who wandered up from the basement from time to time. (I've noticed more and more lately that the Llama-ettes' friends are beginining to glom on to me whenever given the opportunity. Go figure.)

What was hi-larious about it was the fact that this edition of the game (which the Missus picked up for a buck at some thrift shop) came out some time in the mid-80's. While all the gels did very well with topics such as science, sports and books, most of the cultural references were utterly out of date and they looked at me in completely blank incomprehension when I asked questions such as what was the name of She-Ra's castle, who was the arch-enemy of the Masters of the Universe and what fast-food chain's food is "finger-lickin' good". Indeed, one question even involved the use of a rotary telephone - one of the guests got it right, so she informed me, because she's "seen a lot of old movies".

UPDATE DEUX: I forgot to mention that for party favors, the Missus got a whole crate-load of Webkinz frogs. I begin to understand how Pharoah felt.

Posted by Robert at 09:25 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

I'm Robbo the Llama And Today I'm A Cornhusker

Absent-mindedly walked off from the llamamobile this morning without my umbrella and there's a near certainty of rain in Dee Cee this afternoon. The only back-up I have is a little pop-up University of Nebraska brollie that I picked up on my travels a few years ago.

Just in case you see me and, you know, get confused.

Posted by Robert at 09:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Happy Birthday to LMC fav

Rachel Weisz who is 37 today. Stalker photo gallery here. Birthday news via the intellectual section of the local fish wrapper.

Posted by LMC at 07:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 06, 2008

Random Commuter Observations

Dee Cee's metro system continually broadcasts various courtesy and safety messages over its intercom system. This morning, something odd about them occurred to me.

One of the messages is a gentle reminder not to block the left side of the escalators so that people may walk up and down if they wish. It starts, "Hi! You may have noticed we have a lot of escalators in our system. Most people prefer to stand to the right." (It doesn't include the interjection "Golly!" at the beginning, but you can sense that from its general tone.)

Another message is the result of 9/11 and heightened security. It starts, "'Is that your bag?' These little words can mean so much...." It's so fubsy that one half-expects an outburst of baby-talk or the rhyming of "June" and "moon".

But the third message that has started airing lately is about food. "Would you pay a hundred dollars for a burger? I wouldn't. But that's just what will happen to you if you get caught eating in the metro system." Also, almost all the free-standing signs at the stations are of the same ilk: Eating and drinking is prohibited in the metro. "It's the law." This is as close to Achtung! as you're going to get there.

Now as a matter of fact, I fully understand the anti-consumption policy. Metro is relatively free of rats and other vermin and the authorities want to keep it that way. All well and good. But I would also think the serious, almost hostile tone of its messages would be equally applicable to the detection of suitcase bombs or other IED's. And I would especially take such a tone when it comes to the matter of clueless tourons clogging up the escalators.*** If it were up to me, I'd have a continual loop of Holly Hunter yelling, "Stayund to thu' raaaight!!" playing on all of them.

Just sayin'.

(***A sure sign of spring in Your Nation's Capital: Robbo starts his annual bitching about the tourons.)

Posted by Robert at 09:32 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Nature's Welfare Cheats

First it's deer and rabbits in the garden. Then it's squirrels in the bird-feeder. Then the house is over-run with mice scuttling 'neath the floorboards. Now, for the past three nights, it's a raccoon breaking into the bird-feeder.

Grrrr.

Posted by Robert at 09:17 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 05, 2008

John McCain And The "Respectful" Campaign

In his victory speech last night, Sen. John McCain gave his best wishes to Gov. Mike Huckabee who had, minutes earlier, ended his campaign. He then told a room full of supporters that he looked forward to making “a respectful, determined and convincing case to the American people that our campaign and my election as President, given the alternatives presented by our friends in the other party, are in the best interests of the country we love”.

More below the fold...

Just last week, McCain distanced himself from Cincinnati radio talk show host Bill Cunningham’s not-too-gentle mocking of Barrack Obama’s middle name – Hussein. Cunningham had been recruited by McCain’s campaign as a conservative voice who could rev up a crowd at a rally for the presumptive GOP nominee. Cunningham, understandably, fumed at this.

At that point, McCain emphasized that he wouldn’t embrace any campaign tactics that didn’t accord his opponent (whomever it will eventually be) with the appropriate level of respect. Many pundits scratched their heads, pointing to a perceived politically-correct RNC who had cautioned its membership against saying anything that could be construed as racist or sexist.

So what’s with this tone of restraint? Shouldn’t McCain’s campaign hammer away at Hillary and remind voters why they don’t like her? Shouldn’t he define “the Messiah” before the media can?

Well, first of all, it would be wise to follow the maxim of not interfering when your opponent (in this case opponents) are doing damage to themselves (in this case each other). Certainly, this would seem to be a shrewd tactical move. But for John McCain it’s more than that. He truly has a distaste for the attack ad, the innuendo and the smear which for most politicians are staples of their communications arsenal. Anyone who’s read McCain’s books can understand the value he places on honor. In fact, I daresay it’s one of the qualities that help him garner so many votes in the primary process.

McCain is a decent man. To many in his party (yours truly included), he’s a royal pain in the arse. But even his opponents get that he is a man who lives (or at least aspires to live) to a standard of decency that usually results in getting oneself politically eaten alive. It didn’t help in the face of the Bush machine in 2000, though I would argue that that race was Bush's to lose anyway. But just as he professes that he’d rather lose a campaign than a war, John McCain would rather lose a campaign honorably than win it dishonorably. Don’t underestimate how appealing this is to the block of voters who will decide this election in November. He weathered a hotly contested open primary process after his campaign was all but declared dead in the water. McCain is a survivor. He won’t draw first blood. He’ll extend his hand in fairness. But when attacked, he’ll respond. And as Mitt Romney discovered, he’ll strike to kill. Not a bad quality in a Commander-In-Chief.

The last two elections have been filled with such partisan rancor that we’ve become, as most pundits like to say, a 50/50 nation – polarized into red and blue states. Campaigns seemed to be run more on personality than policy. In 2004, we had the smirking Chimperor v. the haughty French looking flip-flopper. Ronald Reagan won elections based on ideas more than partisanship. It’s what got him the votes of independents and the “Reagan Democrats”. In this way, McCain is following in the Gipper’s footsteps.

Voters really are sick of how toxic and unseemly politics has gotten. Yes, politics has often been unseemly, but in this day and age you get to experience it 24/7. And it’s a little exhausting. Heck, I’m a pretty partisan guy and even I’m sick of it.

Imagine how the non-partisan voters must feel. Imagine their disgust.

It doesn’t make sense to hammer Hillary. She pouts and cries and plays the victim. And that gets you nowhere. It could even end up biting you in the butt. It doesn’t make sense attack Obama personally. People like him personally. You make it personal and voters will rally to him. Let Hillary and Obama get personal. Let them get nasty. It will only make them seem pettier and less serious. And if that’s all they’ve got, they’re in trouble eight months from now. Because McCain won’t just stand there and take it. He’ll give it right back, but no one will fault him for it. And he’ll come away from it looking like the good guy.

Fans of the movie "Road House" know that Dalton the ass-kicking bouncer's default mode was to "be nice". It garnered him respect. Of course, when nice no longer worked...

No, I think McCain’s instincts are right on here. Bill Cunningham’s support of McCain wasn’t genuine. He went to that rally despite his disdain for the candidate. His opposition to the two Democrat nominees was genuine. And that’s what drove his emphasis of Obama’s middle name. It wasn’t out of bounds. Hussein is the man's middle name, after all. But it wasn’t necessary either. McCain responded out of conviction, not fear.

John McCain has a long way to go to convince movement conservatives to not just vote for him, but to back him enthusiastically. He gets this. But there are some places McCain is just not willing to go. He made that clear.

If Republicans make this election about ideas – as Reagan did – then they can persuade plenty of voters to their side. Maybe they can pick up a few Senate and House seats too.

Posted by Gary at 09:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Swimming the Tiber Observation

Tonight's topic at RCIA class, as we get closer and closer to the Big Day, is going to be preparation for First Confession.

Duh, Duh, Duh, Daaaaaaah!!

I've been fretting about this in a casual way for a few weeks now. Not that I'm not looking forward to it, mind you. The General Confession that is part of the Anglican Eucharistic Rite has always struck me as unsatisfactory, given that it is in the form of a generic liturgy spoken by the entire congregation and specifics are never gone into. Perhaps there are some people who can make a detailed examination of their conscience and full acknowledgment of sin in such a setting, but I'm not one of them. And troof be told, I look forward to the cleansing sensation of having to face my faults on a much more personal level and in front of a pro.

No, what I fret about is simply not being able to remember everything. Mom thinks I'm crazy, and I certainly wouldn't call myself an especially villainous person, but, well, I am 43 after all and life happens. Should I bring an outline? Scribble notes on my shirtcuff? No doubt I will get some answers this evening.

As a matter of fact, I've an idea that I'm going to get tagged for sins of omission much more heavily than sins of commission. Bad news, though, Steve-O. I'm gonna have to fess up about that incident with the bullfrogs, the duct-tape, the gallon of Valvoline and the effigy of Susan Sarandon. (It's not like He doesn't know already, but I'll still need to say something.)

HUGENOT AND PROUD YIPS from Steve-O: Two observations. First, rent a copy of Heaven Help Us. The confession scene with Kevin Dillon says it all. My best advice to you: lie, and add a lie to your list of sins. Because, to paraphrase Dillon's immortal Rooney, the Nuns are going to come and cut yours off if you tell the truth about your last week in College.

Second, don't forget to include stealing a bucket of balls, going to the top of Foss Hill, and driving three woods in the direction of the library. Because that's like a sin on a number of levels. I don't think you were part of the raiding party that stole that statue of the Virgin Mary out of that guy's front lawn on Waverly Ave., so I think you're in the clear on that.

Also, memory seems to recall that you got a kick out of humming "Wang Chung" in the boat on mornings when I was particularly hung-over, so annoying an actual-then member of the Roman Catholic faith? That's gonna cost you.

And, as an editorial comment, The Rite of the Reconciliation of a Penitent begins on page 446 of The Book of Common Prayer, and runs to page 452, occuring right before Ministration to the Sick and after Thanksgiving for a Child.

"Bless Me Father For I Have Over-Gripped And @#($*&#(!!! Shanked It AGAIN!" Yips! Back From Robbo: Ah, that Foss Hill episode. I think the closest I came to damnation was when I almost beaned that guy jogging on the track. Also, I may have swiped the balls, but somebody else stole the shopping cart. And in general, at least I never stood on the roof of a certain frat house trying to lay mashie shots on the roof of a certain radical fembot collective down the hill.

BLESS ME FATHER FOR I HAVE SINNED, BECAUSE I WON'T OFFER SLAVISH SUBSERVIENCE TO MONKISH IGNORANCE AND SUPERSTITION YIPS from Steve-O: Mashie? The building in question was a 9 iron at most away, downhill.

No, the closest you came to tarnation was something involving an old easy chair, a pitcher of grain coladas, and a David Bowie mixtape. Oh, and the big jar of fluffernutter you stole from my fridge the same night. I'd always assumed that was for a post-luvin' snack, but if that got used during, well, they're going to make room for you amongst the Albigensians in hell. (That's a spiffy Dante joke if I've got my heresies correct).

TDP? Same week, dude, different set of linens.

And if it was a sin to order 20 Dominoes Pizzas to be delivered to those commies who took over the president's office to hold a hunger strike, then I don't wanna go to heaven.

Posted by Robert at 03:47 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Happy Birthday, Kent Tekulve!

tekulve.jpg

Born this day in 1947. Here are some stats from Wikipedia:

[A] former right-handed relief pitcher in Major League Baseball who played from 1974 to 1989 for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds. He was known as a workhorse relief pitcher who led the major leagues in games pitched four times, appearing in 90 or more games three times. He holds the National League record for career innings pitched in relief (1,436⅔), and formerly held the major league record for career relief appearances; his 1,050 career games, all in relief, ranked second in major league history to Hoyt Wilhelm's 1,070 when he retired.

Tekulve and Mike Marshall are the only pitchers in baseball history to appear in 90 or more games more than once......[Tekulve's] best season came in 1979 when he appeared in 94 games, posting a 10-8 won-loss record and 31 saves. He also saved three games in the World Series that year as the Pirates defeated the Baltimore Orioles. He later led the NL in games pitched with 90 in 1987 while pitching for the Phillies at the age of 40. Tekulve owns the career record for most appearances without making a single start. In 1986 he broke Roy Face's NL record of 846 career games pitched; he held the record until John Franco passed him in 2004.

I was a Pirates fan as a kid and watched Tekulve pitch a lot. What I chiefly remember him for, of course, was his crazy submarine pitch, which indeed set up one of my earlier moral dilemmas: how to reconcile the fact that I enjoyed the success of his pitching style while, at the same time, knowing fully well that it Just Wasn't Right.

Posted by Robert at 09:13 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

MooKnew Kerchoo?

A couple days ago, the Llama blogrolls - left and right - disappeared from my page view on the computer housed in Robbo's Former Fortress of Solitude at Orlge Manor.

This morning, the same thing seems to be happening to the machine in my work cubicle.

Anybody else having this happen to them?

(Oh, yes, I forgot. The spam-filter has been set on "kill" recently, severely hampering commenting around here. Well, do your best anyway.)

Posted by Robert at 09:00 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 04, 2008

It's Official - John McCain 2008

The AZ Senator is as officially the GOP nominee as you can get, having passed the delegate count needed to clinch. Huckabee has just conceded.

OK, my friends. The time has come. You're either in or you're out. You either have a seat at the table or you're going out to eat your dinner on the front porch. Stomp your feet, bang your fists and hold your breath 'til you're blue in the face.

Sit it out in November, if you feel you must.

But the time has come for the rest of us to close ranks. The prospect may be a little distasteful for some, but the alternative would serve to undo all the modest gains of the last twenty-eight years. You have almost eight months to think it over. To let it sink in.

In the meantime, let the Donks rip themselves to shreds.

IT'S ON!

Posted by Gary at 09:18 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

I must confess that the prospect gives me a glimmer of joy

Hey Commissar: so I guess Joe Wilson was a partisan in-the-tank hack after all?

Posted by Steve-O at 06:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Obscure UK Political Humour Post

Paisley to step down as Northern Ireland first minister.

Heck, I thought he was dead.

There's a wonderful little throw-away gag in the Michael Ellis episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus. As the hero (Eric Idle) is passing through a Harrod's knock-off, he passes what is labeled the "Paisley Counter". Of course, one would normally expect ties and other items made out of the fabric. Instead, however, it features a line-up of Ian Paisley look-alikes, each one carrying on about how evil Papist practices must be "stamped out by the iron boot of Protestantism" in thick Irish accents.

Call me whatever, but that bit has always made me smile.

Posted by Robert at 06:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Civil War Geekery Posting

Buford.jpg

Happy birthday, Brigadier Gen. John Buford, born this day in 1826 in Kentucky.

I read a biography of Buford a few years back and was a bit surprised at how....dull much of his military career was. Even though he served on the frontier for a number of years, he kept getting assigned to quartermastering jobs because he was much more intelligent and harder working than many of the other officers.

Most Civil War buffs (at least those of Unionist leanings) will agree, however, that he just happened to be the right man at the right place at the right time and, most importantly, knew it on that hot July morning in 1863. Here is an excerpt from his report on the battle:

By daylight on July 1, I had gained positive information of the enemy's position and movements, and my arrangements were made for entertaining him until General Reynolds could reach the scene.

On July 1, between 8 and 9 a.m., reports came in from the First Brigade (Colonel Gamble's) that the enemy was coming down from toward Cashtown in force. Colonel Gamble made an admirable line of battle, and moved off proudly to meet him. The two lines soon became hotly engaged, we having the advantage of position, he of numbers. The First Brigade held its own for more than two hours, and had to be literally dragged back a few hundred yards to a position more secure and better sheltered. Tidball s battery, commanded by Lieutenant Calef, Second U.S. Artillery, fought on this occasion as is seldom witnessed. At one time the enemy had a concentric fire upon this battery from twelve guns, all at short range. Calef held his own gloriously, worked his guns deliberately with great judgment and skill, and with wonderful effect upon the enemy. The First Brigade maintained this unequal contest until the leading division of General Reynolds' corps came up to its assistance, and then most reluctantly did it give up the front. A portion of the Third Indiana found horse-holders, borrowed muskets, and fought with the Wisconsin regiment that came to relieve them. While this left of my line was engaged, Devin's brigade, on the right, had its hands full The enemy advanced upon Devin by four roads, and on each was checked and held until the leading division of the Eleventh Corps came to his relief.

After the fall of General Reynolds, whose advance troops partially drove back the enemy and made heavy captures of prisoners, the enemy brought up fresh troops, and engaged General Doubleday's command, which fought bravely, but was greatly outnumbered and forced to fall back. Seeing our troops retiring, and their need of assistance, I immediately rushed Gamble's brigade to Doubleday's left, and dismounted it in time to render great assistance to our infantry, and to check and break the enemy's line. My troops at this place had partial shelter behind a low stone fence, and were in short carbine range. Their fire was perfectly terrific, causing the enemy to break and rally on their second line, which made no farther advance toward my position.

Shortly after this, I placed my command on our extreme left, to watch and fight the enemy should he make another attack, and went to Cemetery Hill for observation. While there, General Hancock arrived, and in a few moments he made superb disposition to resist any attack that might be made.

Posted by Robert at 01:11 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

March 03, 2008

School Daze

The Missus had an amusing chat with a friend at church yesterday. The friend's son is off at The People's Glorious Soviet of Middletown, my old alma mater. And while these people are fairly typical Northern Virginia Lexus Liberals and the kid considered himself to be a cosciencious young Progressive coming up through prep school, he was astounded to find himself considered to be a conservative once he got to campus.

Among other things, the kid reports that West College (or "WestCo"), my old residential stomping ground and the veritable epicenter of campus radical politics, has voted to designate itself a "clothing optional" environment. I don't know when this happened, as it's the sort of thing that tends not to make it into the alumni magazine, but I may say that it doesn't surprise me in the least. (I also wouldn't be surprised if they picked up the idea from Brown, whom we were always aping in my time.) And if the stooodents who live there now are anything like the ones in residence back in my day (self included), my first reaction is "Ewwwww." Of course, one couldn't say such a thing out loud there, as one immediately would be branded a "lookist" or some other politically incorrect pariah. I just hope that the kids at least put out some towels before they sit down. (FWIW, the friend's son also reports that the Administration has got sick and tired of WestCo and its antics. What they plan to do, I can't imagine. They were pretty gutless in my time.)

Ha, ha, ha. I feel your pain, kid. And I say so as one of the very few genuine conservatives to have put in four years at the dear old col. I wound up there at first simply because I got in, because the place still had an outstanding academic reputation and because I (admittedly) didn't really research the social atmosphere. That I stayed was as much a function of my own eccentricity as anything else: the school ballyhoos itself as "Diversity University", so by golly, I was going to call 'em on it. It was hard sometimes, but it was also fun.

The Missus asked me what I would do if I were still there and whether I would stay put in WestCo. After thinking about if for a minute, I said yes, I probably would. Furthermore, I'd probably start wearing a tie every day just to show them what I thought of them.

All the same, I'm certainly not planning on blowing close to 50 Grand a year to send any of the Llama-ettes there.

Posted by Robert at 10:30 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Wishful Thinking

Layers of editors, professionalism, J-School, Pulitzer prizes etc. etc. etc.:

wishful thinking.jpg

Dan Rather, Mary Mapes, and the ghost of Edward R. Murrow were unavailable for comment.

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

March 02, 2008

More biting cultural satire . . .

this time on cultural habits of pretentious liberal people. I've been visiting this site for the last week or so, long enough to forget who tipped me off in the first place but the likely suspects are Kathy-the Cake-eater, Dr. Rusty, and Special Agent Bedhead.

Posted by LMC at 12:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

If you like biting satire in film . . .

Take a tip from the post chief of staff who teed up Thank You for Smoking , courtesy of the fine folks at Netflix. What is your favorite scene? (Mine is the weekly meetings of the booze, guns, and tobacco lobbies a/k/a The M.O. D. Squad.) Discuss.

Posted by LMC at 12:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 01, 2008

Mememememe

Just because, here's another of those mooovie memes, this one swiped from our pal Kathy the Cake-Eater.

The rules this time:

Bold movies you have watched and liked.
Turn red movies you have watched and loved. I dunno how to color font, so I'll just bold and underline these.
Italicize movies you saw and didn’t like.
Leave as is movies you haven’t seen.

It's a looooooooong list, so I'll put it below the fold:

The Godfather (1972)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994) - Nope, never saw it.
The Godfather: Part II (1974)
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) - "When you have to shoot, shoot! Don't talk!"
Pulp Fiction (1994) - Call me a dork, but the fascination so many people have with this movie completely escapes me.
Schindler’s List (1993) - I confess I've never summoned the nerve.
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) I'll agree with those who say this is the best of the lot.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
Casablanca (1942)
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) - Any screenplay that could screw up the drama of the freakin' ride of the Rohirrim deserves all the tomatoes money can buy.
Star Wars (1977) - I score this one higher than Empire Strikes Back just because I can still remember the effect it had on me when I first saw it back in '77.
12 Angry Men (1957)
Rear Window (1954) - Admit it - the first time Raymond Burr looks up and spots Jimmah spying on him, you just about fell out of your seat in fear.
No Country for Old Men (2007)
Goodfellas (1990)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) Dwarf-tossing, indeed. I happen to be reading Tolkien's collected letters at the moment. I'm sure the poor man has been rolling in his grave for seven years now.
City of God (2002)
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) - Eastwood was supposed to star in this originally, but Bronson does just fine. And Henry Fonda as a stone-cold killer? That'll give you nightmares.
The Usual Suspects (1995)
Psycho (1960)
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) - Well, it certainly has its moments, but as is often the case with this sort of thing, the politics is overdone.
Citizen Kane (1941) - Okay, I admit. I don't get it. I really just don't get it.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
North by Northwest (1959) - Probably my favorite Hitchcock. Certainly one of my favorite musical scores.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002). Feh.
Fight Club (1999)
Memento (2000)
Sunset Blvd. (1950) - I need to pull this out again. Unfortunately, I don't think I could watch it without thinking of the parody that Carol Burnett and Harvey Korman used to do.
Lawrence of Arabia (1962) "No...prisoners." There's a new biography of Lawrence just out that I'd lilke to get which apparently is very good about getting behind his own self-inflated image.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) (Ducks.)
The Matrix (1999) - Discounting teh dorm bull-session philosophy, of course.
Taxi Driver (1976)
Se7en (1995)
Apocalypse Now (1979) - I saw it years ago and frankly don't remember anything.
American Beauty (1999) - Ah, what a cruel, caged, stilted, meaningless life we suburbanites lead! Puh-lease.
Vertigo (1958) - Saw it last in college.
Amélie (2001)
The Departed (2006)
Paths of Glory (1957)
American History X (1998)
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Chinatown (1974)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
The Third Man (1949)
A Clockwork Orange (1971) - Yeah, I must be getting older.
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
Alien (1979) - Nope, never saw it.
The Pianist (2002)
The Shining (1980) - One of the very few horror movies I can take, and that's only because Jack is so freakin awesome in his psycho shtick.
Double Indemnity (1944) It's Fred MacMurray as you've never seen him!
L.A. Confidential (1997) - Saw it once, can't remember much.
Leben der Anderen, Das [The Lives of Others] (2006)
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Boot, Das (1981)
The Maltese Falcon (1941) - Saw it once, fell asleep half way through.
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Forrest Gump (1994) - Let me just say that I detest the whole idiot-savant genre.
Metropolis (1927)
Aliens (1986)
Raging Bull (1980) - Here's a piece of trivia for you: The Missus' cousin is married to Jake Lamotta's niece. We went to the wedding. Yikes.
Rashômon (1950)
Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Rebecca (1940) - I have a vague notion of Rebecca herself being something of a rabbit and it soon got tedious.
Hotel Rwanda (2004)
Sin City (2005)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) The sort of thing I don't mind watching on cable when it pops up, but I didn't think the T2 was anywhere near as scary as Ahnold's original. Linda Hamilton looks pretty sweet, though.
All About Eve (1950)
Modern Times (1936)
Some Like It Hot (1959) - The whole Marilyn Monroe thing is another concept that continues to elude me.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - Saw it once. Fell asleep. Perhaps I should try again.
The Seventh Seal (1957)
The Great Escape (1963)
Amadeus (1984) - I go back and forth on this because it makes such a mush of the history in favor of the romantic tragedy.
On the Waterfront (1954)
Touch of Evil (1958)
The Elephant Man (1980)
The Prestige (2006)
Vita è bella, La [Life Is Beautiful] (1997)
Jaws (1975) (Nope. I've never seen it, either. As Kathy says, sue me.)
The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
The Sting (1973)
Strangers on a Train (1951) - Thoroughly creepy.
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
The Apartment (1960)
City Lights (1931)
Braveheart (1995) - Another of those that I'll watch if it's on AMC.
Cinema Paradiso (1988) - I'm sure I saw it once. Don't remember anything, though.
Batman Begins (2005) - Which one was that?
The Big Sleep (1946)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) - Okay, it's Jimmah and all, but there's a certain kind of gosh-darn earnestness that gives me the willies. Plus, I've never had much truck with that man-of-the-people thing.
Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
Blade Runner (1982) - Nope, never saw it.
The Great Dictator (1940)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Notorious (1946)
Salaire de la peur, Le [The Wages of Fear](1953)
High Noon (1952)
Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) Considering the next three that came down the pike, we should be grateful for this one.
Fargo (1996) - Guess I was expecting something different.
The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
Unforgiven (1992)
Back to the Future (1985) Helloooo! McFlyyyy!!! One of the classic mid-80's comedies.
Ran (1985) - Was that the King Lear one? I tried hard to watch, but it was so looong!
Oldboy (2003)
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Cool Hand Luke (1967) - I must say I liked this an awful lot more than I thought I would.
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) - Sigh. Once again, I just really don't get it.
Donnie Darko (2001)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) Sean Connery and Denholm Elliot carry this movie between them, IMHO.
The Green Mile (1999)
Annie Hall (1977) - I used to love this. Now, not so much. I'm beginning to suspect Woody's films don't age all that well.
Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) - Yes, it's Alec. But that's not enough to save it.
Gladiator (2000) - Only because the battle scenes are coo-el. I don't like Russell Crowe and I don't like the historickal mangling, either.
The Sixth Sense (1999)
Diaboliques, Les [The Devils] (1955)
Ben-Hur (1959) - Oh, how can you not. "Rammming speeeeeed!!!"
It Happened One Night (1934)
The Deer Hunter (1978)
Life of Brian (1979) - Not as good as Holy Grail, IMHO, but still some very entertaining parts.
Die Hard (1988)
The General (1927)
American Gangster (2007)
Platoon (1986)
V for Vendetta (2005)
Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
The Graduate (1967) - Okay, I fail to see the admirable qualities of a spoiled, whiney, shiftless bum who treats everyone around him like dirt, especially the girl who is deluded enough to stick with him. Am I missing something? I always thought what that boy really needed was a dose of boot camp.
The Princess Bride (1987)
Crash (2004/I)
The Wild Bunch (1969)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) - It's been too long since I saw it for me to recall my opinion.
Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
Heat (1995)
Gandhi (1982)
Harvey (1950) - Not funny. Really.
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
The African Queen (1951) - An excellent film. Read the book (by C.S. Forster) for a significantly different twist on the ending, though.
Stand by Me (1986)
Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)
Witness for the Prosecution (1957) - Saw this in college and retain a very favorable impression. I think somebody tried to do a remake that tanked.
The Big Lebowski (1998) - As I've said before, the Dude bears a frightening resemblance to my long-lost Uncle Dave.
The Conversation (1974)
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Wo hu cang long [Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon ] (2000)
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Gone with the Wind (1939) (Ducks.)
3:10 to Yuma (2007)
Cabinet des Dr. Caligari., Das [The Cabinet of Dr Caligari] (1920)
The Thing (1982)
Groundhog Day (1993) - I appreciate what everyone says about this film, but the truth is I've tried to watch it half a dozen times and dozed off each and every time. Never made it all the way through.
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
Sleuth (1972)
Patton (1970)
Toy Story (1995) - I thought the sequel better.
Glory (1989)
Out of the Past (1947)
Twelve Monkeys (1995)
Ed Wood (1994)
Spartacus (1960) Only because I love watching Olivier and Ustinov hamming it up. Most of the rest is bunkum. (Tony Curtis: "I also teach da classics.") But the legions manuevering into position for the big battle scene is pretty cool (and accurate), too.
The Terminator (1984) - Who knew that Skynet was actually going to employ Webkinz to take over the world?
In the Heat of the Night (1967)
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
The Exorcist (1973) - This film scares the absolute Jeebus out of me, to the extent that I simply cannot watch it ever again.
Frankenstein (1931)
Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
The Hustler (1961)
Toy Story 2 (1999) - See above.
The Lion King (1994) - Nope, never saw it. Walt can push me only so far.
Big Fish (2003)
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Young Frankenstein (1974) - The best Mel Brooks film evah.
Magnolia (1999)
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
In Cold Blood (1967)
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Dial M for Murder (1954)
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
Roman Holiday (1953)
A Christmas Story (1983)
Casino (1995)
Manhattan (1979)
Ying xiong [Hero] (2002)
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) - I get them all confused. Here again are films for which I simply cannot stay awake.
Rope (1948)
Cinderella Man (2005)
The Searchers (1956)
Finding Neverland (2004)
Inherit the Wind (1960)
His Girl Friday (1940)
A Man for All Seasons (1966) - I haven't seen this in years and years. It's in my Netflix queue now.
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) - Well, it has its moments certainly. But there are long stretches of tarsomeness, too.
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) You wouldn't necessarily think the Dook and Jimmah could work well together. The fact of the matter, though, is that they do extremely well opposite one another.

Posted by Robert at 04:47 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism" #1 on NYT Bestseller List

It's true.

Goldberg Liberal Fascism.jpg

The NYT list. Irony.

Do you hear that? It's the sound of Liberal heads exploding like the in "Scanners".

Sorry, Robbo, but I've only just got a copy of my own (from the library 'blush') and have gotten knee-deep into Chapter 3. I'll post my thoughts when I'm done.

But I have to say, to those who need convincing the evidence is overwhelming. But to those (like myself) who don't, the sheer volume of evidence is overwhelming - to read, that is.

Posted by Gary at 03:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Snowball's Chance

Last evening the middle Llama-ette and I attended a "Snowball Dance," the annual father/daughter bash put on by the local Brownie troupes. With all due modesty, I like to think that I have at least a few talents. Dancing, however, is not one of them. I don't really like it and I'm not much good at it, whether one is talking of the more traditional waltzes, foxtrots and two-steps, or else the modern mutual shaking of booties in which the young people like to indulge. Nonetheless, at least one night a year I can wear the mask, especially since (as SWMNBN would say) it's for the children.

This was our third year together, and while there were a number of soothingly familiar occurances - the traditional traffic snarl as the Committee tried to form up the gels for the limbo contest, the conga-lines that transmogrified into games of crack-the-whip, and the notorious "chicken dance", for example - there was a markedly new ingredient this year in that about 75% of teh playlist consisted of either Hannah Montana, "High School Musical 1&2" and the Jonas Brothers. I noticed many of the fathers (self included) looking at each other in a wild surmise as their progeny belted out the words and, as if they'd been choreographing it for months, simultaneously aped the moves performed by the original stars on the tee vee. I wouldn't have minded so much except that one of the songs that got bumped this year was "Shout", just about the only song I can put up any pretense of being able to dance, and that only because I've seen Animal House so many times.

Ah, well. In the end, it didn't really matter. I conscientiously swayed and stepped, twirling the gel when called to do so, dipping her at unexpected moments and even - at her positive insistance - once or twice trying that trick where the girl slides forward under one, to be hoisted back to her feet a second later. For her part, the Llama-ette was in paradise. Her mouth was set in a permanent grin, her eyes twinkled, and I do not believe that she let go my hand for more than two seconds in the course of the entire evening. And although there was plenty that my more curmudgeonly side could have found at which to grumble - the crappy music, the heat, the crowding - looking at her, I just couldn't do it. I was keenly aware that just now I am her Hero, and that it was moments like these that I had better savor, because it's only going to be a blink of an eye before she reaches the "Daa-aaaad, I can't be seen with you in public!" stage. Let it go, I said to myself. Enjoy what's in front of you. Carpe diem.

And I did.

Posted by Robert at 01:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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