April 30, 2008
Because Robbo is away and I feel like rifling through the fridge
and so, even more River Tam:
The Man for this Season
April 29, 2008
Biizzzzy, that's where.
I'm headed out on the road tomorrow morning (6 ack emma flight!) and won't be back in until Friday night, so pretty much no posties from me for the rest of the week.
April 28, 2008
Just because I felt like it
You guessed it, River is at it again. . .
WTF were her parents thinking?
Miley Cyrus embarassed by Vanity Fair photo shoot. Via Fox.
Like Robbo, I signed up for a CrackBerry. This thing had better not be a Cylon.
Getting In Touch With Your Inner Moron
Chip and the rest of the Crack Young Staff of the Hatemonger's Quarterly break their recent collective blog-silence in order to announce the return this year for the fifth time of their always entertaining Horrible College-Student Poetry Competition. Nip on over for details about rules, deadlines and the like. Bottom line? "Meter, coherence, assonance, and displays of real talent are to be avoided."
I know that several regular Llama readers have been positively itching to make a run for this much-coveted prize. (Indeed, ol' Robbo may even give it a shot himself this year.) So get your mindless undergrad freak on and get going!
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - "Book at Bedtime" Division
Last week the eldest Llama-ette and I finished reading The Hobbit. The gel enjoyed it so much that she insisted we immediately plunge on into The Lord of the Rings.
I was a bit apprehensive about this, thinking that the gel might be just a bit too young for it (she's ten for those of you not scoring at home). And I warned her several times that LOTR was not a children's book like The Hobbit, being a good deal more complicated and more scary. Nonetheless, she finally persuaded me to at least give it a try.
Well, so far, so good. We got through the first chapter of Fellowship of the Ring this weekend. The gel thoroughly enjoyed the account of Bilbo's birthday party. But more importantly, as I dramatically hardened my voice at the point where Bilbo is struggling with Gandalf over giving up the Ring, she suddenly burst out with, "Hey! Maybe that's why Gollum was so rotten - because he had the Ring for so long!"
Smart kid. I begin to think she may be able to handle it after all.
April 27, 2008
More River Tam
Part of the Serenity ad campaign:
The River Tam Sessions
"Somebody broke it"
All-purpose toddler explanation of how something that worked is now inoperative. Simple soundbite, sounds impressive, nonjudgmental, and a complete dodge.
Happy Birthday Zoe!
Gina Torres, 39 two days ago!
Obama on Fox News Sunday
Unimpressive, particularly in his shaky grasp of basic economics. He justified his plan to raise the capital gains rate as saying it would not affect those with retirement plans because the gains in the accounts are tax-deferred. The problem is, of course that raising the capital gains rate from the current 15 percent to 28 percent will hit every American right in his 401(k)/403(b)/IRA/pension plan by raising the cost of capital, depressing the market, and degrading the performance of everyone's portfolio.
Want to raise more revenue from capital gains? Cut the rate--works every time. Want to have "the rich" pay even more taxes? Cut the rate which will encourage more economic activities of the sort covered by capital gains, thus more taxable events. Ooops, can't do that--why that would be a tax cut for "the rich!" BTW, "the rich" seem to be everyone making more than $75,000 per year.
April 26, 2008
Gratuitous Nats Posting
So last night Will Nieves gets his first major league homer - a walk-off ninth inning shot that wins the game against the Cubbies.
The eldest Llama-ette thought that was great.
A few minutes later Nieves is being interviewed by the MASN sports-babe. Before he can get two words out of his mouth, one of his team-mates sneaks up and smacks him in the face with a cream pie.
The eldest Llama-ette thought that was hi-larious.
Draft Day Is Here
Well, there's no suspense regarding the number one pick this year. The 'Fins have already locked up OT Jake Long and all that's left is the obligatory photo of him holding up the teal jersey with a big 'ol smile on his face.
A lot of teams are going to come up with some gold today as this appears to be a fairly deep draft class.
As a Giants fan, I am in unfamiliar territory. When was the last time New York went into a draft without any glaring needs? The best you could argue is that they would do well to find a strong DE in case Strahan decides to retire or to shore up their Secondary. All things being equal, GM Jerry Reese has the luxury of truly being able to go after the best player available.
There's still uncertainty as to whether or not Reese can pull off a nice picks trade for TE Jeremy Shockey, who's been injury prone and just doesn't seem to want to be in NY anymore. They should hold out for a premium pick or two or forget it. And if they do pull the trigger on a trade, than TE becomes a priority.
But, for the first time that I can remember, I can just sit back and watch Big Blue scoop up some decent talent for the future.
The clock is ticking...
April 25, 2008
Even More Random Seasonal Observations
Out mowing the little clearing beyond the back gate and trimming the various fence lines at Orgle Manor (neither of which tasks is included among those shoved off on my new summer helper) this afternoon. If the intensity of the bug activity is anything to go by, we're in for some par'full storming round here in the next 48 hours.
It is said that cows lie down before a storm. This I believe to be quite true based on my own empirical observation. Back in the day when the Missus was an undergrad at Sweet Briar, the school had its own working dairy and a herd of what must have amounted to several hundred head of cows. [Complete digression: Sweet Briar's colors are pink and green, the same pink and green trumpeted by Lisa Birnbach in The Official Preppy Handbook. While Sweet Briar had several references in TOPH, as did
Hampster-Squidney Hampton-Sydney College, my school Washington & Lee, another Old Dominion preppy stalwart, did not. The story I heard was that Birnbach had an extremely messy break-up with somebody in the W&L administration and deliberately snubbed the school as a result.]
Where was I? Oh, yes: The dairy cows at SBC were absolutely infallible about approaching weather. If you saw them hunkered down, it simply was going to rain. No question about it.
'Course, now the girls there get drenched on a regular basis because the school had to get rid of the dairy shortly after the Missus left owing to the prohibitive expense of keeping up with the state's environmental regs. Too bad. Too bad.
More Random Seasonal Observations
Regular reader Babs has been jerking my chain recently because I haven't posted about gardening at all yet this year. Well I certainly intend to return to it shortly (with pics if I can ever swipe the camera back from the Missus long enough). In the meantime, I will leave you with some tid-bits:
1. Did I mention that we actually found a neighborhood kid willing to mow the lawn for us? Woo Hoo!! I hope he's paying attention to teh weather forecast, tho, because it's supposed to storm tomorrow afternoon and the grass is already pretty high.
2. I have a ginormous Buddleia in the garden that I have nicknamed Kong. Last year, Kong got busy, with the result that lots of little Konglings sprouted up all around. I've dug up some of these and put them in half whiskey barrels on the patio and by the front walk this year. We'll see how they do - hopefully they won't become so mammoth in size as their progenitor.
3. I also got the idea to try pots of morning-glory on the back deck this year, letting them wind their way around the railing. The Missus' first reaction was, "Well how are you going to restain the deck?" Of course the answer is that I'm not. Silly Missus!
4. Last weekend I dug up some young raspberries for the headmistress at St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method. I must say that I absolutely love the custom of people giving each other samples out of their gardens.
Random Seasonal Observation
Pollen has returned to the Dee Cee area with its annual whoop and hollah, getting under my contact lenses and making me look like a drug addict. For some reason, as I was squinting and snuffing this morning while waiting around for my car to get inspected, a recurring thought popped into my head: Why the hell does the Nasonex Bee have a Spanish accent?
"Eet ees jess the thing for seasonal allerchies!"
I understand that in fact Antonio Banderras does the voice, although I wouldn't have thought he needed the money. But that still doesn't explain. What is the connection? Why would a bee talk that way? What gives? Is there a point?
I don't mind it that much - I really just don't get it.
Now when it comes to drug ads I do mind, certainly Viagra's aging boomers in matching bath-tubs is pretty annoying, but for downright creepiness I don't think anything matches Lunesta's Radioactive Butterfly of Death:
I'd be terrified to shut my eyes if I knew that thing was on the loose.
Gratuitous Revolutionary War Geekery Posting
I am currently reading Henry Knox: Visionary General of the American Revolution by Mark Puls. A jacket blurb by Joseph Ellis calls it "unquestionably the authoritative biography", but something tells me it is, in fact, probably the only biography.
The book is entertaining and informative so far, except that Puls makes assertions from time to time that, absent cites or more detailed explanation, one must take on a certain amount of faith. For example, Puls states that Knox's fondness for street-brawling in his yoot in Boston was a vent for his frustration over the abandonment of his family by his father and his own need to quit school and go to work to support his mother and younger brother. Well, maybe, but I generally like to see the proofs of such psycho-analysis.
Anyhoo, there are many other more concrete facts about Washington's great artillery chief that I simply did not know until now. Here are three of them:
1. Knox was an eye-witness to the Boston Massacre, apparently going so far as to (unsuccessfully) try and break things up before they got out of hand. He testified at the subsequent military inquiries and was praised by all parties for his behavior at the scene.
2. Knox married a woman named Lucy Flucker. I certainly hope her family name was pronounced "Flooker", because otherwise it would have been quite unfortunate.
3. Knox managed to shoot two fingers off his own left hand in a hunting accident in the early 1770's. He never appeared in public afterwards without a scarf or some other covering carefully wrapped around it.
April 24, 2008
Gratuitous Baseball Trivia Observation
The next time somebody in a bar bets you that you can't name the first batter to hit a grand-slam homer in Nationals Park (and note to everyone, it's Nationals Park, NOT Nationals Stadium, dammit), you'll be able to say proudly, "Why, Jim, everyone knows it was Felipe Lopez of the Nats on April 24, 2008 against the Mets!" (Suck it, Gary!)
That oughta be worth a ten-spot at least.
Sorry - I seem to have baseball fevah.
Resistence Is Futile
Well, it finally had to happen. After having succesfully dodged and weaved for years and years, I have finally been assimilated into the Blackberry Collective.
Just call me LLocutus.
Gratuitous Random Musickal Observation
Patrick O'Brian afficionados will recall a passage in one of the books in which Stephen Maturin plays a Mozart tune (or perhaps Jack plays and Stephen listens to) that he is sure must have been running through the head of the fellah who wrote the La Marseillaies.
In fact, it is from the first movement of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major, K. 503.
Things That Would Make Michelle Malkin Go "Grrrrrrr..."
Why is it that my local soopermarket feels it necessary to have two separate sections, one devoted to "Hispanic food" and the other to "Tex-Mex", while it lumps pretty much every other foreign item into one big hodge-podge.
This strikes me as a bit odd.
UPDATE: Post title fixed. Bloody perfectionists.
April 23, 2008
Aslan Could Not Be Reached For Comment
Here's the latest trailer for The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian:
Looks to me as if the producers have thoroughly imbibed the LOTR Kool-aid.
This morning the eldest Llama-ette mentioned that she might go see TCONPC with her class from St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method. She said she intended to take along a couple of notecards.
"Why is that?" I asked.
"So I can write down all the mistakes they make in the movie, of course!" was her reply.
Ah, that's me girl!
UPDATE: From an undisclosed location, Steve-O (yes, he's still alive, folks!) shoots me the link to Planet Narnia, a site set up by a Dr. Michael Ward to promote his new book by the same name which argues that Lewis secretly based the Chronicles of Narnia on medieval cosmology.
Of course, being almost completely defenseless against this kind of temptation, I immediately jumped over to the devil's website and ordered up a copy of the book myself. I'll let you know what I think.
Happy St. George's Day!
Today is the feast day of St. George, patron of England. Here is a summary of his life, death and patronage. Frankly, very little is known about his origins.
By coincidence, I happened to have come across the passage in Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire this week in which Gibbon states his belief that the original George was not a soldier around the time of Constantine, but instead one George of Cappadoccia, a villanous character and Arian heritic who warred with the great St. Athanasius over control of the Alexandrian Church. A sample of Gibbon's description:
George, from his parents and education, surnamed the Cappadocian, was born at Epiphania in Cilicia, in a fuller's shop. From this obscure and servile origin he raised himself by the talents of a parasite; and the patrons whom he assiduously flattered procured for their worthless dependent a lucrative commission, or contract, to supply the army with bacon. His employment was mean; he rendered it infamous. He accumulated wealth by the basest arts of fraud and corruption; but his malversations were so notorious, that George was compelled to escape from the pursuits of justice. After this disgrace, in which he appears to have saved his fortune at the expense of his honour, he embraced, with real or affected zeal, the profession of Arianism. From the love, or ostentation, of learning, he collected a valuable library of history, rhetoric, philosophy and theology; and the choice of the prevailing faction promoted George of Cappadocia to the throne of Athanasius. The entrance of the new archbishop was that of a barbarian conqueror; and each moment of his reign was polluted by cruelty and avarice.
Gibbon goes on for some considerable time in this vein, concluding:
The meritorious death of the archbishop obliterated the memory of his life. The rival of Athanasius was dear and sacred to the Arians, and the seeming conversion of those sectaries introduced his worship into the bosom of the catholic church. The odious stranger, disguising every circumstance of time and place, assumed the mask of a martyr, a saint, and a Christian hero; and the infamous George of Cappadocia has been transformed into the renowned St. George of England, the patron of arms, of chivalry, and of the garter.
Gibbon's assertion may be based on a mistake in his source. According to the Wiki entry on St. George,
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the earliest text preserving fragments of George's narrative is in an Acta Sanctorum identified by Hippolyte Delehaye of the scholarly Bollandists to be a palimpsest of the fifth century. The compiler of this Acta, according to Delehaye "confused the martyr with his namesake, the celebrated George of Cappadocia, the Arian intruder into the see of Alexandria and enemy of St. Athanasius".
But I think he was also motivated by malice. Gibbon detested the "worship" of saints, martyrs, icons and relics, believing them to be importations into the Church from paganism, fueled by the outright ban on paganism instituted by the Emperor Theodosius in the late 4th Century.
I throw it out simply for your viewing interest.
And The Fight Continues!!
Oh boy, this is really getting good. Most analysts predicted that SWMNBN would need about an 8 point spread to credibly remain in the race and anything over double digits kept her mathematically viable. So she goes and wins by a spread of just under 10.
In other words, she won by enough to stay in without looking pathetic, but not enough to convince enough voters that she has a real shot (without seating Florida and Michigan, that is. And oh, what a legal brawl that will be).
But the bottom line is, she's in it until August. In two weeks, she takes the fight to Indiana, West Virginia and North Carolina. And her supporters aren't going away either. The Politico quotes a member of her campaign staff saying that between the moment that PA was called and 11:30pm EST, they pulled in $2.5 million, 80% from new donors. Wow.
Rich Galen's take on the results:
"She's never getting out. Hillary will not leave the race tonight. She will not leave the race before the convention in August. She may not leave the race ever...MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
...The Pennsylvania exit poll numbers I found most interesting last night tracked a Gallup poll from several weeks ago - that is the relatively huge numbers of Obama and Clinton supporters who told the pollsters they would not vote for the other candidate in November; they will stay home or vote for McCain. From the AP:
'The animosity between the two camps led more than one in seven Obama supporters to say they would vote for Republican John McCain if Clinton were the nominee. Even more Clinton supporters, one in four, said they would defect.'"
Let the blood-letting begin!!
April 22, 2008
Last Train To Bittersville
No, I don't plan to watch the results of the Pennsylvania primaries tonight to see whether Obamarama can score close enough to SWMNBN to effectively drive a wooden stake into her campaign, or whether she lives to fight another day. I leave that to our Political-Junkie-In-Residence, Gary.
Nope, if I turn on the toob tonight, it will either be to watch either my struggling Nats pay a visit to Turner Field and try to turn it around with a win against the Braves, or else to pop in The Thin Man. Mmmmmm.....Myrna Loy.....mmmmm....
UPDATE: Well, Ms. Loy will have to wait. Nice to see the Nats bust one open. Did the Caps win? I dunno - I have no interest in hockey. But I did see an awful lot of folks dressed in red this evening as I made my way home, so without understanding anything about it......Go Caps.
Gratuitous Moovie News Observations
I heard a couple of movie rumors over the weekend. The first was that Fox is planning on doing a movie version of Arrested Development.
Now I have repeated many times my firm belief that A.D. is simply the funniest damned comedy ever put on tee vee, but nonetheless I heard this news with apprehension. Good tee vee almost never translates well to the big screen. Issues such as timing, story arc and target audiences diminish the magic of the original. And I would think this would hold especially true with a format like A.D.'s, which is improvisational, full of long-running inside jokes and of a tangental, layered, herky-jerky storyline. A half hour week after week? Gold. A full-length movie? Not so much, IMHO. Thus, after mulling it over, I (reluctantly) think this is a bad idea.
The second piece of news I heard was that Pixar is planning to re-release all of its movies in 3-D. I sighed in resignation at the thought of how much money would be hoovered out of the Orgle Manor coffers as the Llama-ettes demanded the upgrade to their library. On the other hand, I couldn't help but wonder whether this wouldn't cause the longstanding debate of Elastigirl vs. Mirage to take a new and interesting turn:
Considering what a surfboard Mirage is (and there's a gratuitous A.D. reference for you!), I'd expect the advantage would be all Elastigirl.
UPDATE: Digging into the archives over at JohnL's, I see that last time around Mirage beat out Elastigirl by a whisker.
I just thought that our lloyal llama readers would like to know that, in honor of Earth Day, so far today I have a) not cut down the mightiest tree in the forest (with or without a herring); b) kept my slaughter of whales to an even dozen instead of my more usual baker's dozen; and c) refrained from jetting all over the world to scold people about jetting all over the world. Also, despite massive opposition from the family, I insisted that we turn off all the taps and spigots at Orgle Manor, which we usually leave running in order to create a pleasant "waterfall effect" all around the house. It's tough, but hey - sometimes you just have to take one for your Mother.
Furthermore, I intend to stick with these limitations all day.
I had thought of calling in this morning and saying that in order to reduce my carbon footprint, I wouldn't be coming to work. But I reckoned that the response would be that in order to save paper, I wouldn't be getting a paycheck.
UPDATE: Uh, oh! It isn't going to matter anyway. An apparent glitch in the normal rate of sunspot activity is about to throw another spanner into Earth's climate workings. But Dee Cee isn't going to sink into the Chesapeake as a result. No sir, it's going to be buried under one hundred feet of ice! We're dooooomed!
April 21, 2008
Useful idiot watch . . .
brings you Jimmy Carter. Hamas offers a ten year truce if Israel withdraws to its 1967 borders but will never recognize the Jewish state. This is a non-starter if there ever was one but watch for the fools who will call on Israel to respond with some concession or another to show "good faith."
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - "Homer Sighs" Division
Muse, speak to me now of that resourceful man
who wandered far and wide after ravaging
the sacred citadel of Troy. He came to see
many people's cities, where he learned their customs,
while on the sea his spirit suffered many torments,
as he fought to save his life and lead his comrades home.
But though he wanted to, he could not rescue them—
they all died from their own stupidity, the fools.
They feasted on the cattle of Hyperion,
god of the sun—that's why he snatched away their chance
of getting home someday. So now, daughter of Zeus,
tell us his story, starting anywhere you wish.
No, of course I'm no Odysseus. However, I am embarking on what might prove to be a very long and arduous journey, indeed. You see, the storm drainage ditch that runs along the road out in front of Orgle Manor is basically....non-existent. The result is that every time we have heavy rains (like we did yesterday and today), sheets of water and mud come down the driveway, overwhelming my field drain, ponding on the drive, sweeping through my front garden, flooding the garage and leaking into the basement. And the problem gets worse as time goes on.
I had a landscaper out on Friday to discuss a different matter. While he was there, I asked if he could do anything about the ditch. He refused point-blank because it is county property and he's been burned before for undertaking such projects without proper clearance.
Preliminary investigation indicates that I am probably going to spend a lot of time sailing between the Scylla of Fairfax County and the Charybdis of the Virginia Dept. of Transportation. I figure that even if I can finally track down somebody and get them to do something, I'm going to feel pretty much like history's most famous shifty Ithican before I'm done.
Random Culinary Observation
At a party last evening, in the spirit of broad-mindedness I tried some raspberry flavored salsa.
I'm sorry, but some things just ain't right.
Ye Doom Is Ycomme True***
"Dad? Can I go bungee-jumping?"
"Well, can I just tie a rope around my leg and pretend to bungee-jump?"
"Well, can I climb on the roof and just jump off without a rope?"
Good Lord, no!
And no, LMC, it was not the six year old swashbuckler who asked, but the eight year old, the one who is all sweetness and light and collects stuffed animals. I suppose I ought to be grateful that she actually asked before proceeding to try and break her neck.
*** Spot the quote.
UPDATE: Seeing as nobody has tried to nail the quote yet, I'll give you a hint: The rest of the line reads "Oh, go tell the Lacedaemonians to damn the torpedoes!"
Happy Birthday, Your Majesty!
H.M. Queen Elizabeth II was born this day in 1926.
I belieeeve that Elizabeth is now the oldest reigning monarch in the history of the U.K. and its various bits and pieces, Queen Victoria having died at the age of 81. Victoria has still reigned longest (63 years), followed by George III (59 years), but it's not unreasonable to imagine that Elizabeth might very well beat that record as well.
As I ponder on her birthday every year, I always have the same thought: Poor woman - she deserves an awful lot better than what she has, from a dysfunctional family poisoned by the virus of celebrity to a society quickly hurtling toward the abyss. That she troupes on in spite of it all is a mark of her character.
April 20, 2008
Editorial Note on "Premature Detonation"
Faithful readers, I took down the "Premature detonation" clip after reading the comments and watching the tape again, especially the last few lines of audio. Babs, it was not Coalition soldiers who got zapped. Sous, it is confusing, but it looks more like the casualties were more likely Iraqi volunteers who have come out of the woodwork in recent months to help the ISF and Coalition forces hunt the bad guys. If I am correct, the clip better illustrates what not to do when dealing with unexploded ordinance than anything else. It is bad enough when the bad guys take the good guys out, it is worse when the good guys inadvertently take themselves off the board. Thanks for asking the questions--they help keep this blog one of the best out there.
Surf over to the Cake-eater Pad
and offer a few words of encouragement. Kathy is feeling a little under the weather.
Hysteria on Al-Sadr
There has been a lot of blather in the MSM about Al-Sadr's latest threat to declare "open war" on Coalition forces and end for good the truce declared last August. At the risk of pointing out the obvious, here are two observations: (1) The "truce" was unilateral and we never agreed to stop operations against anyone with hostile intent against us, including the criminal elements of Jaish Al Mahdi and JAM Special Groups. (2) Al-Sadr went on the defensive last summer for the usual reasons: to consolidate and reorganize, and, if necessary, set the conditions for future offensive operations. The Sadrist movement fractured into several competing elements which are fighting each other as much as rival Shia militias, Coalition forces, and the Sunnis.
For all the Ashley Judd fans,
all the pics you can handle in honor of her 40th birthday which was yesterday.
I bet she gets lots of dates . . .
you figure out why. Via Special Agent Bedhead.
April 18, 2008
A Dime's Worth Of Difference?
There are a lot of registered Republicans who didn't vote for John McCain as their nominee. Of course, a majority of them did. And McCain is the Republican nominee for President. It's no longer a matter of preference. It's a done deal.
And some of those who profess angst about his nomination like to say that there's little difference between the AZ Senator and the two Democrats beating each other to a pulp to win their party's nomination.
I say it's time to put aside personal grudges and consider the following. This passage is from pages 254-255 of John McCain's "Faith of my Fathers". As part of his account of his time as a prisoner of war at the Hanoi Hilton, McCain describes the process of truly understanding the lessons of his father and grandfather about service to country.
During the long pause between bombing campaigns in the North, while the months and years dragged on, it was hard to take our interrogators’ ridicule of our conviction that our loyalty to America was returned, measure for measure, by our distant compatriots. But we clung to our belief, each one encouraging the other, not with overexuberant hopes that our day of liberation was close at hand, but with a steady resolve that our honor was the extension of a great nation’s honor, and that both prisoner and country would do what honor asked of us.Compare this to a candidate whose wife just recently became "proud" of her country or to a candidate whose candidacy is more about the acquisition of personal power than anything else (power so seducing that a simple concept like truth could never stand in the way of its pursuit).
In prison, I fell in love with my country. I had loved her before then, but like most young people, my affection was little more than a simple appreciation for the comforts and privileges most Americans enjoyed and took for granted. It wasn’t until I had lost America for a time that I realized how much I loved her.
I loved what I missed most from my life at home: my family and friends; the sights and sounds of my country; the hustle and purposefulness of Americans; their fervid independence; sports; music; information – all the attractive qualities of American life. But though I longed for the things at home I cherished the most, I still shared the ideals of America. And since those ideals were all that I possessed of my country, they became all the more important to me.
It was what freedom conferred on America that I loved the most – the distinction of being the last, best hope of humanity; the advocate for all who believed in the Rights of Man. Freedom is America’s honor, and all honor comes with obligations. We have the obligation to use our freedom wisely, to select well from all the choices freedom offers. We can accept or reject the obligation, but if we are to preserve our freedom, our honor, we must choose well.
I was no longer the boy to whom liberty meant simply that I could do as I pleased, and who, in my vanity, used my freedom to polish my image as an I-don’t-give-a-damn nonconformist. That’s not to say that I had shed myself entirely of that attribute. I had not, and have not yet. But I no longer located my self-respect in that distinction. In prison, where my cherished independence was mocked and assaulted, I found my self-respect in a shared fidelity to my country. All honor comes with obligations. I and the men with whom I served had accepted ours, and we were grateful for the privilege.
No difference? Perhaps Sen. McCain is more like a Democrat on some specific issues, but in the recognition of what this country represents and for a true understanding of why it is so great there is no contest.
Where's Robbo? Friday This N' That Edition
A much-needed day away from the office today. All the windows at Orgle Manor are wide open and I plan to spend the afternoon weedin' n' feedin' out in the shrubbery.
****Went off to the vet this morning to get the ol' Llama physical. I'm happy to say (touching wood) that I am an extremely boring patient. And I certainly hope to keep it that way. (I'm also happy to say that I never made a wiser decision than settling on a woman internist with thin fingers, if ya knowwhutImean and I think ya do.)
****Tomorrow morning we will be faced with the interesting logistical problems of three soccer games at exactly the same time. Fortunately, two of them are in the same general complex, but I am still either going to have to choose one game to watch or else spend most of my time hoofing back and forth between fields a couple hundred yards apart.
****While it's wonderful to see my beloved Washington Nationals involved in so many sweeps, it's a real pity that they always seem to be at the wrong end of the broomstick. Last night's third straight loss to the Mets was particularly vexacious, given that the two Mets mostly responsible for the win - Brian Schneider and Ryan Church - played for the Nats last year. Gary must be grinning ear to ear.
****After having tried unsuccessfully several times over the past ten years, I have finally gotten well in to Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. I used to get bogged down in the first book, but this time I've gotten on past the Battle of Hadrionople and the death of the Western Emperor Gratian already and am confident that I can finally make it all the way through the entire work.
****Many people have asked how the post-Tiber crossing' ecumenical thing is working out in the Llama Household. Well, so far, so good. Indeed, because the Missus has to go out of town Sunday night, I will be taking the Llama-ettes off to a pot-luck supper for my old Palie church alone. And as I was telling Father M the other night, I still enjoy going to services with the family since it allows me to sing the hymns full-bore without feeling like a moron. Funnily enough, my activity in this area has persuaded my R.C. sponsor, whose own wife also attends my old church, to become more active himself, with the result that he is going to come out with his family to the Diocesan retreat at Shrine Mont this year. I told him we can stand around on the porch together Friday night complaining about the absence of fish from the menu.
****The eldest Llama-ette told me this morning that her musick teacher at St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method had told the class that she was going to teach them a rap song, upon which the gel reportedly replied, "I'm sorry, but my Dad won't allow me to learn rap." That's me gel!
****And yes, I chose the word "shrubbery" deliberately just to set up the closer. Here ya go:
April 17, 2008
Fun with Pshop
Johnny Virgil at 15 Minute Lunch gets a lot of humor mileage out of his sp*m folder using Pshop.
Created by OnePlusYou
Moderate? Not really. More like jaded. The trouble is that after all these years of coffee drinking, I have the same tolerance of caffeine as does Wesley of Iocaine. In order for me to reach the higher levels of fidgitiness, I'd need a trough and a snorkel.
(And there are two quotes in the preceeding paragraph. Have at them!)
Yips! to Jittery Jen.
April 16, 2008
Leave Barry Obama Alone!
OK, this is pretty good (as far as parody goes):
And for those of you who haven't seen the original viral "Leave Britney Alone", go here first.
Hat Tip to Cassy Fiano.
According to the The Journal of Neuroscience, injecting neurotoxins into your face = bad idea!
The horrible thing? I can feel myself weakening this time around. (I only admit that because the Missus swears she never reads the blog anymore.) And it doesn't have anything to do with the merits of the case. No, instead it's because the she's using her wiles on me instead of hectoring me. (I hate it when they do that!)
So, please: Write in again about all the terrible things associated with trampolines! Be scary! Be gloomy! Send anecdotes about how some kid's teeth all got knocked out or the neighbors sued or the grass all died or a burglar used the thing to launch himself to an unlocked second-story window!
Help me, Obi-wan Kenobi! You're my only hope!
I'm Robbo the Llama And I May Be Going To Hell
The WaPo Blog had a brief article yesterday on how Dee Cee's Nationals Park is being readied for Benedict's celebration of Mass there tomorrow:
As explained by Archbishop of Washington Donald W. Wuerl yesterday afternoon, the pontiff will enter the park via right field, and, at 9:30 a.m., do a lap of the field in the popemobile.
Then he'll exit, change into vestments for the Mass and re-emerge.
This afternoon, workers were covering the field and starting to erect the stage, which is in the centerfield area. (In other words, if you ended up with tickets behind home plate, you're kind of far away from the action, unlike a Nats' game.)
Wuerl vows that everything will be ready.
Advertising (even the big stuff flanking the jumbotron) will be covered up and, no, of course they won't be selling beer on Thursday.
Those with the closest seats are the two sections flanking the stage. Stage right will be the choirs and stage left will be high school and college students. There are also about 5,000 seats on the field. (Warning: if you know you have a seat on the field, eat a huge breakfast. You won't have access to the snack bars and the little snack they're going to give you when you arrive won't go very far).
"When the Mass starts, I think we're going to recognize that we have been successful at taking this venue and making it a holy space--a sacred space," said a beaming Wuerl. He spent yesterday afternoon touring the site. "I think you are going to see that Nationals Park became a church--if only for one day."
But before that are lots of logistics. Wuerl pledges that they can get 46,000 people through Communion in less than 20 minutes. Three-hundred deacons will be stationed around the park, so Catholics won't have to leave their section to receive the body and blood of Christ.
Emphasis added. In fact, I've been idly wondering over the past few days just how the heck the Host could be distributed to 46,000 people, especially people stacked up in stadium seating, in anything under about five hours. And for some reason, I keep having visions of squads of deacons armed with those tee-shirt cannons they use during games:
"Cardinal Smithers! Some more shots down the left field line!"
I kid. I KID! St. Vitus, ora pro nobis!
No, btw, I won't be going. However, I know some people who are, and whom I am sure will tell you all about it.
This afternoon the eight year old gets the cast removed from her (now presumably healed) wrist fracture.
The last couple weeks she's been playing soccer with her cast wrapped up in bubble-wrap. This, I am told, is mandated by law here in the Commonwealth of Ol' Virginny. At first I assumed that this requirement had to do with protecting the injury of the cast-bound player, but having been on the receiving end of the thing a couple times myself, I suddenly realized that it was, in fact, for the benefit of the others on the field. (Ouch!) So while I naturally recoil at the officious busy-bodiness of Richmond in making such a measure a legal requirement, I also see the underlying good sense in taking such a precaution.
After last Saturday's game, the gel ripped the bubble-wrap off and invited her team-mates to help her pop it all. It was the best example of team work I saw all day.
April 15, 2008
Yes, It Was Elitist
Well, I have to say Barack Obama may well have damaged himself beyond repair. He may still win the Democrat nomination but come November he's going to be a hard sell. The comments themselves are bad enough. Uttering them at what he thought was a "closed" affair in San Francisco (the most liberal town in the U.S. of A.) added insult to injury. But his ultimate reaction betrays the fact that he meant what he said.
And why not? He merely expressed what many liberals today accept as purely obvious. A couple of years ago, author Thomas Frank wrote a book called "What's the matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives won the heart of America". The basic premise of this work is that the vast majority of working class Americans (between the coasts) should be a natural constituency for the Democrat party but, because Republicans have used "wedge" issues like guns, God and gays to their advantage, these poor dumb folks have been "distracted" from what's most important - economic issues. The absolute snobbery of this premise is mind-boggling and completely fails to grasp the values of the people they would expect to vote for them.
This book was devoured by eager liberals who can't seem to figure out why middle America just won't accept that they know what's best for them.
It's a staple on the bookshelves of every dogmatic Lefty and revered as a work of genius in the field of political analysis.
That's why they don't understand what the big deal is. And, further, it's why their hatred for Hillary is now seething with the white hot intensity of a thousand burning suns. Sen. Clinton has jumped all over this and held herself up as a model of populism. Though she's not fooling anyone, the backlash against Obama next Tuesday could prove a major problem for his campaign.
It's actually inaccurate to say that Liberals don't love their country. They do love it, however, they love it conditionally. They don't love it as it is. They love it as they want it to be. And they have the plan to make it that way, if only these unwashed, home-schooled, snake-handling, gun-toting rubes would just realize that it's all for their own good.
When Robert Kennedy was assassinated, his bloated embarrassment of a brother, Teddy, eulogized him in this way - referring to Bobby by paraphrasing George Bernard Shaw, he said "Some men see things as they are and say 'Why?' I dream things that never were and say, 'Why not?'" This is a perfectly valid, if not inspiring, sentiment. The problem is that modern Liberalism has twisted it to read like this: "Some men see things they way they are and say 'WTF?', I see the way things should be and send my monthly donation to MoveOn.org to help make sure it gets fixed, popular sentiment be damned. Because those knuckle-dragging dopes aren't smart enough to see things as I do."
Prof. Thomas Sowell has a dead-on quote in a column he wrote today which points out that Obama is "part of a long tradition on the left of being for the working class in the abstract, or as people potentially useful for the purposes of the left, but having disdain or contempt for them as human beings."
Can you say "Reagan Democrats"? Can Obama say "goodbye"?
April 13, 2008
Gratuitous Musickal Observation
Heard some new-to-me Pachelbel this morning, a Kyrie and Gloria.
I must say that it was pretty C-3 stuff- I could readily believe it was written by the same fellah who penned that unfortunate Canon which has lodged itself in the popular culchah and over which people swoon so mysteriously.
At the same time, I must also say that Baroque musick must be very, very bad before I won't derive at least some pleasure from listening to it, and this certainly wasn't as bad as all that. I would much prefer to listen to mediocre Baroque than all but the best of just about any other period.
April 12, 2008
Random Saturday Morning This N' That
***The Nats dropped their eighth straight last evening. I'm not sure which was worse for the eldest Llama-ette (who watched the game with me) - seeing her team lose yet another infuriatingly close one or having to listen to the Old Man gas on about never, never, never giving up.
***Signs of Spring I: Put the top down on the ol' Jeep yesterday for the first time this season. When I picked up the middle Llama-ette from soccer practice, she was delighted, especially as I had her favorite Mary Chapin Carpenter CD ready to go as well.
***Signs of Spring II: Somehow or other, I am already monstrously behind in my gardening tasks. The good news this year is that we actually found a neighborhood kid who is willing to mow the yard for me, a rayther unusual phenomenon in my pampered little NoVA enclave. I'm hoping that with the extra time, I may be able to keep up a little better this year.
***I've noticed that I seem to hold some special attraction for cats and crazy people. I wonder if there's a connection?
***I haven't really posted much about politics lately, but I will say this here and now: the election this fall will be McCain's to lose. And I certainly hope he doesn't do that.
***I had a dream within a dream last night. Isn't that a funny sensation? The interior dream (as it were) was that I was attending Mass in a rural, Bavarian-looking church (heavy timbers and white-washed walls). A wild assortment of rustics sat in the back with musical instruments. The whole thing had a comical air about it until they started playing. The musick they produced was so heavenly that it changed the entire tone of the proceedings, making them solemn, special and, well, holy. It was a wonderful sensation. The exterior dream (if you will) was that I woke up to discover myself sitting in front of another church with the Missus. I told her about my interior dream and then we got ready to go into the second church together. Make what you will of that.
***Since Easter I have been indulging in P.G. Wodehouse again. Two of my non-Jeeves-story favorites are Hot Water and Money In The Bank, both written in the late 30's/early 40's when the old boy was at the height of his powers. (Indeed, I believe Plum wrote Money while interned by the Nazis.) If you haven't read 'em, I would heartily recommend getting your hands on a copy.
April 11, 2008
Gratuitous "We Knew This Would Be A Bad Idea" ODAC Sniggering
This one will cause my wife and sister, as well as Mrs. LMC - Sweet Briar alums all- to roll on the floor laughing their backsides off:
What can you get for $35K per year from the school formerly known as Randolph-Macon Women's College? How about a field-trip to the Chicken Ranch!
"Hey, Mom! Dad! I got an "A" in American Brothel Studies this semester. Can I have a car now?"
I've got to assume that this idea never would have flown before they started letting boys in.
Yips! to Dr.
Random Commuter Observation - Signs of Spring Division
First iced latte of the season this morning. Yes, indeedy, I do like teh iced latte.
April 10, 2008
Bless Me, Father, For I Have Been Like Totally Uptight
Heh. In an article bashing the recent trendy "revision" of the Seven Deadlies floated by the Vatican's Bishop Girotti, Peej comes up with his own list:
I pretend to no expertise, let alone authority, in religious matters. However, I can't resist the temptation of having a go, myself, at The Seven Deadly, Part II. (I once would have felt it was prideful to do so, but that was before building my self-esteem.)
1. Celebrity. This is far and away the besetting sin of the 21st century. Note that the root of the word is "celebrate." What evil, pentagram-enclosed, goat-heinie-kissing ceremony are we celebrating with Kevin Federline?
2. Communication. In former days just Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, and only one time at that. Now everybody's a know-it-all 24/7 thanks to Google, Wikipedia, Facebook, YouTube, email, cell phones, text messages, and so on. A cherubim with a flaming sword is expelling us from the office cubicle of Eden, or would be if he could tear us away from the Internet. (And you, young man in the reading audience, take those ear buds out when your elders are addressing you!)
3. Youth. Talk about worshiping false gods; why would anyone pray--or pay!--for youthfulness? The young are spotty, sweaty, chowder-headed, and woefully lacking in wisdom, experience, or control over anything, especially themselves. Yet we bear witness to the eternally babyish baby boom. Men in their sixties are on Harleys and snowboards and basketball courts, from which they will proceed to damnation by way of the emergency room. The women go to and fro in the earth, mutton dressed as lamb, with liposuction well-applied to tummy, butt, and brain. And they all come to Mass, when at all, in shorts, T-shirts, and shower flip-flops.
4. Authenticity. Please do your best to be someone better than who you truly are. Deep down inside we're ravening beasts. This is the meaning of original sin. Everyone's authentic self is horrid. God's message to man has always been, "You can't really be good, but you can fake it. Really."
5. Caring. This takes so much time and effort that it necessarily results in the opposite of doing something. And notice that when someone says, "I care about the war in Iraq," he almost always means, "I want to lose it." Also there's a bullying logic among those who care. I care more about diddledydum than you do. Therefore I'm a better person than you are. Because I'm a better person than you are, I have the right to order you around. And vote for Hillary on November 4th.
6. Opinion. It's the reverse of fact. Listen to NPR or AM Talk Radio if you don't believe me, or, better yet, read the opinion page of the New York Times. (I'm talking about you, Paul Krugman.) Some people have facts, these can be proven. Some people have theories, these can be disproven. But people with opinions are mindless and have their minds made up about it. The 11th Commandment is, "Thou shalt not blog."
7. To Spend More Time With the Family. Alas, I couldn't get this into a single descriptive term, but it might as well be all one word. And when people say it we know that they've been doing something at least as bad as the former governor of New Jersey, his wife, their chauffeur, and Eliot Spitzer in a hot tub together. "We need to move on," is a similar phrase but with the implication of, "And I won't quit doing it until I'm actually behind bars."
This reminds me somewhat of the way O'Rourke used to write back in his heyday - not only funny, but dead on. Be sure to read the rest of the article where Peej mercilessly skewers Girotti's p.c. logic.
Yips! to Arts & Letters Daily.
Another Snip In The Emasculation Of American Culchah
I heard about this on the drive home last evening:
Laser Show To Replace Fourth Of July Fireworks In Vienna VIENNA, Va. -- A laser light show will replace the traditional Fourth of July fireworks in Vienna this year.
The Vienna Town Council voted 5 to 2 Monday to approve a contract with Image Engineering of Baltimore to produce a laser light show.
Town officials said they opted to make the switch after several people were injured by a malfunctioning firework at last year's event.
The laser show will cost more than twice a much as the $10,000 fireworks show.
How lame. How unbelievably lame.
I suppose that the Vienna officials were worried about liability. And given the trigger-happy litigiousness of our society, I suppose one really ought to blame society as a whole instead of these particular people. (I'd have said there's an assumption of risk for anybody attending an event involving explosives, but that's just me, Mr. Vegas.)
But still.....there's something so Fred Rodgers-ish about the concept of a 4th of July laser show that it just makes me cringe.
Not that I've ever been to Vienna for the 4th. When we're at home, we go over to our own community show at the local high school. Whoever has been in charge of it the past couple years is particularly fond of those thunderclap kinds, the ones that concuss right through your eardrums and the soles of your shoes. (We used to call them "Gus-getters" when I was a kid, owing to a dog we had who was quite terrified of fireworks.)
To me, the Fourth is all about hot, humid air shaking with the bang and the flash of the fireworks going off and the smell of gunpowder drifting across the field.
Gratuitous Netflix Moovie Observation
Last evening I popped in The Far Country, one of the line of great Ja-Ja-Ja-Jimmy Stewart/Anthony Mann westerns, and was impressed again by the absolutely gahrgious mountainy setting of the film.
The story, a cross-border affair, is supposed to take place in far southeastern Alaska and the Yukon Territory, yet I couldn't help noticing in the credits that it was filmed on location in some park in Alberta.
For some reason, this surprised me. I'd always thought of Alberta as the northern extension of the Great Plains. Isn't it where Canada grows all that wheat?
Random Commuter Observation
I simply do not understand the nose-stud (or in the case of the gal who cuts the Llama llocks, the cheek-stud).
Dress it up anyway you like, it still looks like a booger that got away.
April 09, 2008
Gratuitous Nats Posting
After starting out with an impressive 3-0, our beloved Nats have now lost the last 6 straight. Well, now. What are you going to do?
I castigated Our Maximum Leader the other day about misplaced pessimism using a few choice phrases from an author who, although I've personally always found loathesome, sometimes managed to hit the nail on the head. I quote here the reference at length:
THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but "to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER" and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.
It's a bit difficult for a Tory like me to quote all this, but never mind. Where that dog Paine yaps of Britain, substitute here the Marlins.
Bottom line? GO NATS!
Putting the "Ire" In IRS
Being good little citizens, the Missus and I filed our tax returns back in early February. A couple days ago we got a notice from Uncle requesting and requiring us to fill out the Alternative Minimum Tax form and send it in. No refund for us if we don't!
Well, after all the nuisance and bother, I did fill out the AMT form, and it turns out that we paid more than our calculated AMT.
I knew this was going to be the case anyway, but it strikes me that if the IRS makes us go through this extra song and dance, it's only right that if the calculated AMT is lower than what we actually paid, we ought to only get charged the AMT and should get back the extra we put in.
I mean this is perfectly reasonable, right? Plus, it would act as an incentive for the IRS not to be such a nuisance.
Gratuitous Civil War Geek Posting
(That is Col. Walter Taylor, Lee's Aide, standing behind him. On the Union side, the line behind Grant is anchored on the left by "Little Phil" Sheridan and on the right by George Armstrong Custer.)
On this day in 1865, Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant and the Armies of the Potomac and the James at the McLean Farm in Appomattox, Virginia, after a cat-and-mouse pursuit from the fortifications around Richmond in which Lee had hoped to pick up some badly-needed supplies and escape either to the south or over the Blue Ridge to the Valley of Virginia. Grant's cavalry was able to hold Lee at Appomattox long enough for the Union infantry to come up, thus finally deciding Lee that to continue fighting was hopeless.
Here is Grant's note to Lee proposing the terms of surrender:
From U.S. Grant To R.E. Lee Appomattox Court-House, Virginia April 9, 1865.
General: In accordance with the substance of my letter to you of the 8th instant, I propose to receive the surrender of the army of Northern Virginia on the following terms, to wit: Rolls of all the officers and men to be made in duplicate, one copy to be given to an officer to be designated by me, the other to be retained by such officer or officers as you may designate. The officers to give their individual paroles not to take up arms against the government of the United States until properly exchanged; and each company or regimental commander to sign a like parole for the men of their commands. The arms, artillery, and public property to be parked and stacked, and turned over to the officers appointed by me to receive them. This will not embrace the side-arms of the officers nor their private horses or baggage. This done, each officer and man will be allowed to return to his home, not to be disturbed by United States authority so long as they observe their paroles and the laws in force where they may reside.
- U.S. Grant, Lieutenant-General. General R. E. Lee.
And here is Lee's response:
From R.E. Lee To U.S. Grant: Head-Quarters, Army of Northern Virginia April 9, 1865.
General: I received your letter of this date containing the terms of the surrender of the army of Northern Virginia, as proposed by you. As they are substantially the same as those expressed in your letter of the 8th instant, they are accepted. I will proceed to designate the proper officers to carry the stipulations into effect.
R. E. Lee, General. Lieutenant-General U.S. Grant
Grant's terms were later amended to allow the ordinary soldiers to keep their horses and baggage as well. Many historians have commented on the generousity of Grant - essentially turning loose all of Lee's men even though other Confederate armies remained active in the field - as well as on Lee's refusal to abuse such generosity or to allow anyone under his command to do so.
April 08, 2008
"Throwing Yourself At The Ground And Missing" Dept.
Dang! I was deliberately going for the big goose-egg on this one:
The 70s were bad. m'kay? Bad, Bad, Bad. I can only suppose that, given how I lived ages 5 through 15 during them, there was just no helping being at least a leetle bit infected. I feel so......dirty.
Yips! to "Groovy" Vic, who ought to be ashamed of herself.
Yips! from Gary:
Egads. And I wasn't even a teenager in that era.
85% on theQuiz by SheGoddess: Lose Weight Fast
Guess this makes me a "throwback".
Birth Week Song
The lads over at Leper Pop have a fun game going.
Click the link above and then go to Cash Box 100 to find the top 100 tunes from the week of your birth. Select one that best represents you and then come back here and let us know in the comments.
My song? Poetry in Motion by Johnny Tillotson. Yeah - that is so totally the Chai-rista. I'm like a swan, I tell ya! If only you could see me, you'd agree.
Listen to my song, which is all about me, here.
Gratuitous Travel Observation
As I was getting off the plane at Reagan-National last evening, I mentioned to my colleague that I was planning to go home, open a bottle of cheap Italian red and watch the Nats game.
A slightly boozy guy in front of me turned around and said, "Hey, what about the NCAA championship game?"
I replied that no, I really never have had any interest in basketball.
The man stared at me as if I had just spit on the flag, tossed a couple kittens into a blender and kicked my mother down the cellar stairs.
Now I suppose that some would say that pro basketball is one thing but that college hoops is a different matter. Not me - I find it all thoroughly boring.
Evidently, this opinion borders on the treasonous to some people.
April 06, 2008
Chuck Heston (1924-2008)
Another great one passes on. It's wall-to-wall coverage at Libertas.
Some things you may not have known about him.
Reaction round-up from the 'net.
Lefties always try to marginalize Heston as an aging gun nut (the Alzheimer's jokes are especially irritating). But, honestly, what do you expect from people who think that George Clooney is "movie star"?
Where's Robbo? "Light Fuse, Stand Back" Division
I've got to head out of town on bidness yet again this afternoon and won't be back until tomorrow night.
In the meantime, to keep things interesting I offer you this. A couple days ago, our pal Kathy the Cake-Eater served up the following random question: Bluto or Carl Spackler?
This got me musing again on an opinion that I have held dear for some years: While Bill Murray is hi-larious, the rest of Caddyshack (including Chevy Chase's bit) is really pretty lame.
"So I don't got that going for me...."
April 04, 2008
Uh, Oh. This Could Explain A Lot
Italian authorities are investigating incidents of adulterated wine, prompting the government on Friday to play down fears of another health scare like the one that hit mozzarella cheese last week. A news magazine revealed that police were investigating the cheap end of the market for adding harmful chemicals into wine.
In a separate investigation at the luxury end, 600,000 bottles of vintage Brunello di Montalcino have been seized by investigators who suspect winemakers used grapes other than Sangiovese, the only ingredient allowed in the Tuscan wine, a favourite of U.S. connoisseurs, L'Espresso magazine reported.
Police in the far north and south of Italy found evidence that cheap wine was being cut with sugar and sulphuric and hydrochloric acid, L'Espresso said.
It quoted investigators as saying 70 million litres of the adulterated wine may have been put on the market, with price tags of between 70 cents and 1 euro ($1-3) a bottle. In some cases only one fifth of the ingredients in the tainted 'wine' would have been grapes, L'Espresso said.
The everyday plonk at Orgle Manor is, in fact, usually a cheap Italian red of some sort, and while it's often under the Bolla or Citra monikers (although since I got my last raise, not the Citra so much), I also like to range up and down the Italian aisle at Total Bev and sample a variety of other labels from Tuscany, Piedmont and, when I'm feeling especially adventerous, Apulia. One of my favorites is a Taurino Salice Salentino, which I would heartily recommend to go with any really hearty Italian cooking.
It tells you what kind of week it's been when I can't get around to describing last weekend until Friday. Yes - the blood-dimmed tide is loosed in academe this time of year and it's a hell of a thing keeping the corpses off the beach. But I digress.
Last weekend I went out with my brothers to see Unknown Hinson play in Greensboro, North Carolina. Unknown is from North Carolina - if you grew up there you'd recognize his exaggerated Piedmont accent at once. His weird country / vampire stage-gimmick was described by a friend of mine as "Eddie Munster plays the axe." He calls himself "the king of country-western troubadours," and sings the most hilarious, bizarre and bent country lyrics ever.
The Unknown Hinson character is played by studio musician and voice actor Danny Baker - according to Wikipedia - and he does it with absolute genius. If you like underground / cult / country music you've got to check out his MySpace page where you can hear him interviewed by clicking "Love on Command."
It's communism if you don't obey
I want your love on command
It's unAmerican for you to act this way."
His web site describes him as "wowing audiences with his outrageous and campy, white-trash persona and freewheeling, sleazy tone."
But - awesome as this is - this is far from the best thing about him. Hinson absolutely blisters a guitar. He serenaded with his own country/western tunes and then segued brilliantly into scorching versions of Jimi Hendrix and the Beatles. My brothers and I had a blast at the Unknown Hinson show.
Click here to take a look at the four smokin' video clips Brother Snackpack made while we were there. (Scroll down a bit to see the other three.)
Why Can't Wii Be Friends?
Recently, and over my strident objections (ex post facto objections because I only found out about it after the durn thing had been purchased), a Wii was introduced into Orgle Manor.
My greatest fear was of an endless series of battles among the Llama-ettes over the thing akin to a gang of seagulls fighting over a dead crab on a beach. Fortunately, as I am the only person in the house who knows how to correctly hook the plugs into the back of the teevee (where the Wii has to take turns with the DVD player), I have made it clear that the instant I hear any squabbling, I will put the kybosh on anyone playing the thing. So far, this seems to have worked.
The only game that we allow the Llama-ettes to play is the sports package - tennis, golf, baseball and bowling. And of course, because it's there and because I'm a guy, I've tried it out for myself.
And you know what I realized last evening? I really don't like it. Sure, the novelty of the technology is gripping at first, but the truth is that the thing seems to fall flat awfully fast. I find the graphics to be off-putting, the music to be irritating and the games themselves to be in the end rayther dull. I suppose there are many other games out there with considerable more bang and flash, but of course I don't want the gels playing them and I am certainly not going to buy them only for myself.
That's Not My Church - "The More You Tighten Your Grip, The More Systems Will Slip Through Your Fingers" Division
Wow. Looks like the Rebel Alliance has scored an early victory against the Episcopal Diocese of Virginny:
A Fairfax circuit judge has awarded a favorable judgment to a group of 11 Anglican churches that were taken to court last fall after breaking away from the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia in late 2006.
In an 83-page opinion released late last night, Judge Randy Bellows ruled that Virginia's Civil War-era “division statute” granting property to departing congregations applies to the Northern Virginia congregations, which are now part of the Nigerian-administered Convocation of Anglicans in North America.
“The court finds that a division has occurred in the diocese,” the judge wrote. “Over 7 percent of the churches in the diocese, 11 percent of its baptized membership and 18 percent of the diocesan average attendance of 32,000 [per Sunday] have left in the past two years.”
The lawsuit, which is the largest property case to date in the history of the Episcopal Church, involves millions of dollars of real estate and assets. With the finding that a division has occurred, the congregations get to keep the property under Virginia law.
Because the diocese and the national Episcopal Church are expected to challenge the constitutionality of Virginia's division statute, the judge has already scheduled arguments for that trial for May 28.
I hesitated about whether to post this at all, given a) that I'm no longer involved and b) that tempers tend to flare 'round here when I post about TEC. In the end I decided to run with it because this is nooz and, if you're interested in this sort of thing, pretty weighty nooz at that.
Curiously, I really don't feel much - what? - passion about the matter anymore. Fifteen months ago, when I was still serving on my church's vestry, I got hauled up and castigated in executive session for daring to speak my thoughts on the Diocese's handling of the breakaway parishes. That was probably the low point of my entire relationship with TEC. But since then, as has been documented ad nausium here, other factors both longstanding and immediate intervened, the result being that I find myself watching this business from an almost academic point of view now. (I use the Star Wars metaphors above simply out of habit.)
Of course, objectively speaking, I still think the Diocese's handling of this matter has been appalling. However, from what I understand, poor old Bishop Lee is receiving his marching orders directly from 815 Central Command in Manhattan and doesn't have much real choice. I sincerely hope that at some point the Episcopalians and Anglicans within Virginia can patch up their grievances with each other and work together for the Greater Good.
Yips! to BabyBlue, who has lots more.
AHEM YIPS from Steve-O:
Frankly, I'm tired of this, and instead of responding by pointing out TARCC's (what, offensive sounding acronyms are only for other people's churches?) record in its, ahem, litigation over the past decade, I'm just going to kiss you both and walk away.
April 03, 2008
Georgia's High Tech Corridor
Velociman took some snaps on his way down Georgia's High Tech Corridor recently. Judging from the pictures, there are many more High Tech Corridors throughout the south than I ever expected.
We Hates It
Regular readers know that ol' Robbo is no fan of air travel. After all, had God intended Llamas to fly, He'd have given them wings.
Nonetheless, life is life and we do the things that need to be done. And in all the travel I've been on in recent months, I've gotten considerably better at calming my fears.
Nonetheless, there's still one aircraft that I particularly cannot stand, and that is the Canadair CRJ 100/200 series. For whatever reason of aerodynamics, it appears that the approved glide-slope for landing one of these beasts requires a high and hard approach, capped off with a most alarming nose-down attitude until just off the tarmac.
It also seems that every time I land in one, it is in the teeth of a gusty cross-wind, something the CRJ does not appear to like very much. Of course, the bobbing, weaving and juking might also be due to the fact that the pilots who fly these crates are way down the totem pole and are either young rooks just starting out or else embittered older losers who have nothing to look forward to and therefore no real reason to care.
And by the way, in terms of scheduling, service and general who-really-gives-a-flying-rat's-patooieness, United Express out of Dulles takes the proverbial cake. Sheesh.
UPDATE: Oh, and just so you don't think I'm ranting against small jets in general (although I don't much like them), I do not have nearly the same gripe with the Embraer ERJ jets that I sometimes have to take: much more passenger-friendly flight characteristics imho.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)
This week is the start of soccer season for the Llama-ettes.
The eldest has been playing for the past two years on a very good team, the Creepy Green Leprechauns. They've won their division and captured 1st or 2nd place in the end-of-season mini-tournament three times in a row now (we have separate fall and spring seasons). It has been very gratifying to see the girls growing and coalescing from just a group of kids kicking a ball around to a real team working together for a common goal. All those elements of competitiveness which are carefully excluded from the younger levels of the league really have begun to become an important part of the play now.
Of course, I could go on all day about how gifted and talented the Llama-ette is and be (mostly) truthful about it. However, we have been concerned more and more lately with the fact that she is also prone to laziness. Last fall, I couldn't help noticing that she really was not pulling her weight on the team with any consistency - the times when she really did settle down and concentrate only proving what she could do when she wanted. (And it isn't just the sport - this is a trait we've noticed in the other things she does as well.)
Given the level of play expected out of the girls now and given this concern about the gel learning to make an effort, we've made it clear both to her and to her coach that if, in his opinion, she is not contributing to the team the way she ought to, we will not object to his benching or even cutting her. I'm not sure whether he would actually do this or not, but I reckon that if she thinks he might, the gel might just get off her duff and start trying harder. (The team had its first practice of the season yesterday and I'm told that indeed, she really put her back into it. We'll see if that continues.)
I've told a number of different people about this. Interestingly, about half of them agree whole-heartedly with the approach, while the other half seem horrified. What do you guys think?
That's My Church! Young Whippersnappers Division
In honor of my crossing the Tiber, my sponsor gave me a small silver crucifix on a chain, together with tags of Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, which I've been wearing rayther discretely ever since.
Up till now, I don't think anyone else at Orgle Manor even noticed. This morning, however, the eagle-eyed ten year old spotted the chain round my neck as I was getting dressed for work. Her first question? "Who are you - Bling-bling Boy?"
Why, I oughta.......
Gratuitous Nats Posting
What better way to unclench after a brutal three day bizness trip than to watch the Nats go to 3-0 in a brilliant defensive battle against the Phillies more characteristic of September pennant races than early seaon shaking out? (Boo-rah to Tim Redding for his pitching!) The Nats go for the sweep of Philly this afternoon.
And the new hero of Dee Cee? Ryan Zimmerman. He's been a team leader, but this year looks to be something special - two 1-0 victories, both off Z-man home runs, and last night he was stopping 'em at third like human fly-paper. The kicker? The guy's only 23.
Sure, it may come crashing down at any time, but at the moment, we own the National League East.
ME AND MY BIG MOUTH UPDATE: Nats lose to the Phillies in 10 on a ($#%&*!!bases-loaded walk by Colome. Never mind - we're still on top of the division for the moment.
April 02, 2008
We are all screwed
according to The Ted because global warming will turn us into cannibals. Via Drudge.
The angry sisterhood takes a swipe at Firefly
Unbelievable. Via NRO.