June 29, 2008
Llama On The Wing
I'm out of here again in a bit on yet another trip, returning late Wednesday night. Probably no posties until Thursday. Be good and I'll see you then.
Gratuitous Catholic Observation
Went to High Mass today for Sts. Peter & Paul. Bach and Palestrina and all the fixins'.
Now some of you will probably pelt me with rocks and garbage for saying so, but whenever I go to HM, I can't help thinking of a passage from the Fellowship of the Ring:
As soon as [Frodo] set foot upon the far bank of the Silverlode, a strange feeling had come upon him, and it deepened as he walked on into the Naith: it seemed to him that he had stepped over a bridge of time into a corner of the Elder Days, and was now walking in a world that was no more. In Rivendell there was memory of ancient things; in Lorien the ancient things still lived on in the waking world. Evil had been seen and heard there, sorrow had been known; the Elves feared and distrusted the world outside: wolves were howling on the wood's borders: but on the land of Lorien no shadow lay.
I've also noticed that, as with Tolkien's Lorien, time seems to change at HM. Today's service was a solid two hours, and yet seemed to last only about ten minutes.
Now I haven't the time to really elaborate on the idea here, and I am sure that there are all kinds of problems with this literary parallell if one susses it out far enough. I'm also pretty sure it is not something Tolkien had specifically in mind. But I know that it nicely captures the feeling I get, and I also know that every time I attend High Mass I come out wondering why on earth anyone would prefer a watered down, simplified or "updated" version of it.
Gratuitous Musickal Observation
Today is the birthday of violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, born this day in 1963 in Rheinfelden, Germany.
A-SM gets a fair bit of air time on our local classickal station and I must say - frankly - that I've never really thought her to be any great shakes. Is it possible that she has achieved rock-star status at least in part due to the fact that she's a fabulous babe?
As Bugs Bunny used to say, "Mmmmmm.....Could be!"
Moo Gnu New Kerchew?
What's all this I'm hearing about some new alternative home thingy for the Moo-Gnu Collective? Steve-O, are we supposed to be doing something about this? Am I going to stroll in here one morning and find that the utilities have been cut and a large lock placed on the doors?
UPDATE: For those of you like GroovyVic scratching your collective heads, I was prompted to post this question by this post over at Ace O' Spades HQ, where the gang appears to be in a doo-dah. We're neither dooing nor dahing, which is why I ask whether we should be.
June 28, 2008
Nah, Never Mind
That is all.
UPDATE: As Chef Mojo surmises, I had originally posted something about the tremendous new doings happening within the Anglican Communion, what with the formation of this GAFCON movement and all. But I changed my mind because I didn't see any point in stirring things up here.
For all of you interested in what is happening (including Mom, who is praying daily that African missionaries come to her little corner of the ECUSA and save it), nip on over to Kendall Harmon's place and start scrolling.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Outdoor Division
Just came in from picking some blueberries and raspberries for afters this evening. Yum.
We've had so much rain this year in the Dee Cee area that my bushes and canes are going like gangbusters. Indeed, the raspberries are so tall and thick that I'm not even going to be able to reach half of the fruit.
Perhaps I'll open a roadside stand......
Gratuitous Llama Diaspora Observation
I got back to Orgle Manor from my travels late Thursday night. I have to head out again Sunday evening. Yaaawwn. That I was even contemplating flying down to Texas for my high school reunion in between now seems utterly insane.
UPDATE: BTW, my flight back to Dee Cee Thursday evening was delayed several hours by the weather, so it was past eleven by the time I got home. It had been years and years since I last watched Letterman, so I decided to flop down in front of the tee vee while eating a late dinner. And I have to ask: Just when did Dave cease to be funny?
June 27, 2008
No Mas Jonas
I feel GroovyVic's pain.
Last week when I drove the elder Llama-ettes out to camp, I said that they could each bring along their choice of CD's for the car. One of them brought her Jonas Brothers album.
Now the drive between Orgle Manor and the gels' camp is both topographically and historickally interesting. And being always willing to spread Cliff Clavin-like enlightenment, I tried to point out as many of these interests as I could along the way:
"Look, Girls! There's Catoctin Mountain, the easternmost range of the Blue Ridge!.....Look, Girls! That's the road that leads to the Cumberland Gap! Veeeery important spot for both Indians and colonists."
"Say, Girls! We're on South Mountain! Let me tell you about its role in the Antietam and Gettysburg Campaigns! .............. Oh, look, Girls! Antietam Creek! Did you know Gen. McClellan could have ended the war there and then had he not been such an utter ass?................... Hey, Girls! There's the Chambersburg Pike- that's where Harry Heth's Division came down on Gettysburg from the west! Looking for shoes, you know.................. Boy, we must be somewhere pretty durn close to Fort Necessity! Did I tell you girls about George Washington and the French & Indian War? And how poor Marie Antoinette essentially lost her head because of the fight for control of what later became Pittsburgh?"
Daaaad-yyyyyy!!! We're trying to listen to the Jonas Brothers!
"Jonas Brothers, foresooth!" I said. "They sing through their noses. And what the heck do a bunch of teenagers know about love anyway? Punks."
As for the music itself? Feh. We have a rule in the car that a CD can only be listened to once before being changed. It wasn't until we were half way through the second hearing that I realized we were repeating songs. The gels thought that was hi-larious.
Gratuitous Civil War Geekery Posting
Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, fought this day in 1864 near Marietta, Georgia during Sherman's Atlanta Campaign.
I mark this occasion each year simply because my great-great-grandfather was in the battle, serving as an officer in the 10th Ohio Independent Light Artillery Battery. Here's the unit's history:
Organized at Xenia, Ohio, January 9, 1862. Moved to Camp Dennison, Ohio, and mustered in March 3, 1862. Ordered to St. Louis, Mo., thence moved to Pittsburg Landing, Tenn., April 4-9. Attached to 6th Division, Army of the Tennessee, to July, 1862. Artillery, 6th Division, District of Corinth, Miss., to November, 1862. Artillery. 6th Division, Left Wing 13th Army Corps (Old), Dept. of the Tennessee, to December, 1862. 3rd Brigade, 6th Division, 16th Army Corps, to January, 1863. 3rd Brigade, 6th Division, 17th Army Corps, to September, 1863. Artillery, 1st Division, 17th Army Corps, to April. 1864. Artillery, 4th Division, 17th Army Corps, April, 1864. Artillery, 3rd Division, 17th Army Corps, to November, 1864. Artillery Reserve, Nashville, Tenn.. Dept. of the Cumberland, to February, 1865. 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, District of East Tennessee, Dept. of the Cumberland, to July, 1865.
SERVICE.--Advance on and siege of Corinth, Miss., April 29-May 30, 1862. Duty at Corinth, Miss., until September 15. Moved to Iuka, Miss., and duty there until October 1. Battle of Iuka September 19 and 27. Moved to Corinth October 1-2. Battle of Corinth October 3-4. Pursuit to Ripley October 5-12. Grant's Central Mississippi Campaign November, 1862, to January, 1863. Moved to Memphis, Tenn., January 10, 1863, thence to Lake Providence, La., January 21, and duty there until April. Movement on Bruinsburg and turning Grand Gulf April 25-30. Duty at Grand Gulf until June. Siege of Vicksburg June 13-July 4. Messenger's Ferry, Big Black River, June 29-30 and July 3. Advance on Jackson, Miss., July 4-10. Bolton's Ferry, Big Black River, July 4-6. Siege of Jackson, Miss., July 10-17. Duty at Vicksburg until April, 1864. Moved to Clifton, Tenn., thence march via Huntsville and Decatur, Ala., to Ackworth, Ga., April to June 9. Atlanta Campaign June 9 to September 8. Operations about Marietta and against Kenesaw Mountain June 10-July 2. Assault on Kenesaw June 27. Nickajack Creek July 2-5. Chattahoochie River July 5-12. Turner's Ferry July 5. Moved to Marietta, Ga.. July 12, and duty there until November. Moved to Nashville, Tenn., November 2, and duty there until April, 1865. Battles of Nashville December 15-16, 1864 (Reserve). Moved to Sweetwater, Tenn., April 1, 1865, thence to Loudon, Tenn., and duty there until July. Mustered out July 17, 1865.
Battery lost during service 18 Enlisted men by disease.
Great-Great-Grandad volunteered in 1863. After serving in the ranks, he became a sergeant and later a lieutenant. I've got copies of his enlistment and other military documents retrieved from the National Archives somewhere about the place. The man was hardly a professional soldier, but instead a farmer's son. Nonetheless, I feel a certain amount of family pride about him.
Here's the website of a group that's recreated the 10th.
The State Of The Race
Peggy sums it up pretty well, I think:
Everyone in New York is saying, "What will happen?" "How do you see it?" "Who will win?" In this year of all years, who knows? My sense of it:
The campaign will grind along until a series of sharp moments. Maybe they will come in the debates. Things will move along, Mr. Obama in the lead. And then, just a few weeks out from the election, something will happen: America will look up and see the inevitability of Mr. Obama, that Mr. Obama has already been "elected," in a way, and America will say, Hey, wait a second, are we sure we want that? And it will tighten indeed.
The race has a subtext, a historic encounter between the Old America and the New, and suddenly the Old America—those who are literally old, who married a guy who fought at the Chosin Reservoir, and those not so old who yet remember, and cherish, the special glories of the Old—will rise, and join in, and make themselves heard. They will not leave without a fight.
And on that day John McCain will suddenly make it a race, as if moved by them and wanting to come through for them one last time. And then on down to the wire. And then . . .
And then. What a year, what an election. It continues to confound and to bedazzle.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict that the race will tighten up even earlier than Peggy predicts, as I continue to believe that the country's infatuation with the Obamessiah is just a summer thing. Frankly, I'm not even planning to pay any attention to the "polls" until, say, September.
June 26, 2008
The Heller decision
Download it here via the SCOTUS blog.
Today is her day according to the local rag so here is an oldie but goodie of Patty, back in the day:
June 25, 2008
For no particular reason
June 24, 2008
Conservative Anglicans gather in Jerusalem
Six Months Ago Today . . .
We landed in Kuwait on Christmas Eve where we stayed for a few days before continuing home. The march of time adds perspective and a little thoughtful reflection every now and then is important. Before we deployed, the two-star gave us a pep talk. He covered a lot of ground but the main point that stands out in my mind is that when we looked back on the deployment ten years later we would be able to say we were there when everything changed. He was right.
June 23, 2008
Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda***
Well, it is done.
Yesterday I loaded up the ten and eight year old Llama-ettes and drove them out to Where-The-Hell-Am-I?, Pennsylvania, there to deposit them at summer camp for two weeks. (If not longer. I got lost twice finding my way in and out.)
I never went to camp when I was a kid, but this place struck me as exactly what "camp" ought to be: lakeside cabins with screens but no glass in the windows, six bunkbeds to a cabin, swing ropes and ziplines and climbing walls and whatnot all over the place. Oh, and this is a church-based operation, so there is some pretty intensive Bible-study involved. I reckon the churchin' will be good for the gels' character. And so long as they don't come home muttering about HMC being the Whore of Babylon, I've got no ecumenical problems.
As soon as we got there, we were swarmed by mobs of enthusiastic counselors who made it very clear that they had things well in hand and that Mom & Dad could skeedaddle, thank you very much. See you on the 4th. Hot-house kids and helicopter parents need not apply to this place, I think.
We had arranged for the younger Llama-ette to share a cabin with a friend of hers from home who is also going for the first time. They seemed to settle right in. The elder Llama-ette, however, was considerably more apprehensive. She is not fond of change and new situations (wonder where she got that trait, he said), and spent a good bit of time standing on one foot and looking worried. It turned out that the girl who has the bunk above her was also there for the first time and that girl's mother, overhearing me talking to the Llama-ette, diplomatically suggested that maybe they should be buddies and help each other get adjusted, a suggestion with which I heartily agreed. When I found the gel a bit later to say goodbye, she and her new friend were busy cross-examining one of the counselors about all the things they were going to do.
I didn't loiter very long once I helped the gels unpack. As I say, the counselors seemed eager to get rid of us. Plus, I had to get back to Orgle Manor to pack for a trip of my own. Of course, I expect there was a good bit of home-sickness and upset last night, especially as I'm pretty sure a thunderstorm rolled in not long after I left. But you know, there comes a time where a parent simply has to close his eyes and push. From all the accounts I've heard, once they get over the shock, the gels ought to thoroughly enjoy themselves.
We shall see.
UPDATE: Of course, it was all something of a shock to me as well. And as I drove off, I couldn't help feeling a bit of a lump in my throat on behalf of both myself and the gels. That is, until I got back to the highway and spent the next four hours stewing over the horrid traffic. Goddam Pennsylvania Turnpike. Goddam I-70. Goddam 270-Spur. But at least it kept my mind off things.
***I reckon from the apparent demographic of our readers that most of you will get this one.
June 22, 2008
For those of you not familiar with him, I've been reading his stuff for a couple of years now and his knowledge of classic film and the ins and outs of the industry give him great insight into what's worth seeing on the big screen these days. He posts a few reviews a week and reports on current trends within the Hollywood business culture. He's a valuable resource, especially when you're looking to avoid getting smacked in the face with Leftist anti-American cheap shots when you plan on plunking down 10 bones (or more) to be entertained.
Definitely worth a bookmark and a daily visit. Good luck, Harry!
June 21, 2008
Llama Diaspora Update
Because the Tasty Bits (TM) Mail Sack has been overflowing with inquiries from curious Llama Lloyalists about the travels of Robbo, a quick update:
- It turns out that the elder Llama-ettes' camp starts out on Sunday (tomorrow) rayther than Saturday (today). Since the Missus and the youngest Llama-ette absolutely have to hit the road for Connecticut tomorrow, this means that Yours Truly will be taking the other two up to the wilds of Pennsylvania himself. (More on that when I return.) And what with all their gear, plus the extensive highway driving involved, we realized that the ol' Jeep simply wouldn't do. So what are we doing this morning? Renting a car, of course! (My first suggestion that we simply lash the gels to the bumpers of the Jeep didn't go over so well.)
- It also turns out that I will, indeed, be spending most of next week on the road myself, leaving Monday and not returning until Thursday evening. While part of me is disappointed that this couldn't be just a one-night trip, another part of me doesn't feel so bad because now I get to try out my brand-new super-king-kamaya-maya rolling thunder luggage:
Now that's what I'm talkin' about.
Thank-yew Fed'ral Guv'mint "economic stimulus" check! The thing measures 27½"H x 21"W x 13"D. Orvis calls it "family-size". Me? Having always been a heavy packer, I call it "finally enough damn room".
- Speaking of travel, a word of warning to you: If you ever fly Continental and you get a French pilot named Max, then cross yourself and put your affairs in order, because you're dooooomed. He made a crazy-assed one wheel landing coming into Dee Cee about a month ago about which I am still stewing, especially as since then I have had such a variety of better pilots who have done perfectly well landing even in thunderstorms and cross-winds. Bastard.
June 20, 2008
What Have I Created?
So I got home this evening from my latest trip just in time to have a tete-a-tete dinner with the eldest Llama-ette, who wanted to know just what the devil I was doing on all these jaunts.
I gave her a brief overview of the framework of civil litigation, explaining in particular the discovery process and the role of depositions in particular in terms of building a body of evidence. I also gave her a brief substantive summary of exactly what I've been working on.
The result? The gel wants to go out with me and sit in on depositions. She believes she could pass notes to the lawyers to help them get the most out of their witnesses. I must say that from the way she grasped the legal concepts I explained to her, she just might be of some use.
LMC Light Posting Note
Light posting for the weekend with an early exit from work, road trip to Ohio, attend Mrs. LMC's 20th high school reunion, fly back for work on Monday, then fly back to Ohio next weekend to bring the LMC entourage back to the post headquarters.
Obama opts out of public financing
The Online Journal take: "Obama opts out, blames McCain." NR had been predicting this for months.
June 18, 2008
Waterloo Day - The Duke of Wellington Fights On
Closing the Gates of Hougoumont
This is appropriate for marking the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815: The Duke of Wellington is again fighting to hold the Hougoumont Farmhouse:
The 8th Duke of Wellington has joined leading military historians in a bid to save the farm that was pivotal to British victory at the Battle of Waterloo. They are trying to raise €3 million (£2.4m) to save the dilapidated Belgian farmhouse where the 1st Duke of Wellington's men staged a brave defence that swung the famous 1815 battle in favour of the Allied forces.
They want to turn the Hougoumont farmhouse near Waterloo into an education centre that will permanently commemorate the battle which helped end Napoleon Bonaparte's imperial ambitions.
The group launched "Project Hougoumont" on the 193rd anniversary of the battle.
They hope to have raised the funds and restored the farmhouse by June 2015, in time for the 200th anniversary.
The project has the support of the Belgian authorities, which own the farmhouse.
Military historian Prof Richard Holmes, chairman of the project, said the objective was to save "a fundamental piece of world history" from falling into total disrepair.
He said: "In my long experience of historical battlefields, few spots have the haunting appeal of the farm complex of Hougoumont on the field of Waterloo.
"In seeking to preserve this iconic spot we do not simply remember the British troops who held it.
"We also applaud the courage of the German infantry who fought for the wood in front of it, of the brave Frenchmen who came so close to taking it and turning the fortune of the day, and of the cavalry whose charges swirled up and down the slopes within sight of its ancient walls, now in such acute peril.
"This is not a question of national pride or regimental commemoration. It is about saving a fundamental piece of world history, and we simply must not fail."
The current Duke of Wellington, who is 94, has given his blessing to the project, as has his son the Marquis of Douro.
The Hougoumont Chateau was a farm complex on the right front of Wellington's line. British Battles gives a summary of the critical action there:
The small chateau of Hougoumont stood before the extreme right of the Allied position. The Duke of Wellington formed the view that the chateau was the key to his flank and garrisoned it with the light companies of the Coldstream and 3rd Foot Guards under Lieutenant Colonel James MacDonnell of the Coldstream Guards. Nassauers and guardsmen held the woods to the front of the building.
The British troops took over the range of buildings on 17th June and spent the night fortifying them, building fire steps and loop holing the walls. All the gates were blocked other than the main gate on the northern side to provide access.
At 11am on 18th June Prince Jerome’s division began the battle with his attack on Hougoumont, the French driving the Nassauers out of the woods and attacking the chateau.
The French surged around the buildings and rushed the main gate in the face of a rush of British guardsmen headed by Colonel MacDonnell to keep them out. The gate was damaged and there ensued a struggle by the British to shut the gate and by the French to force it open. MacDonnell and his party of officers and sergeants forced the gate shut and Sergeant Graham of the Coldstream put the bar in place. The few French who had penetrated the farm were hunted through the farm buildings.
During the rest of the day Hougoumont was subjected to a sustained attack by Jerome’s troops with assistance from a further division. The garrison was reinforced with more companies from the two Foot Guards battalions of Byng’s Guards Brigade, 2nd/2nd and 2nd/3rd Guards.
When, during the afternoon the supply of ammunition in the chateau became critically low, Sergeant Fraser of the 3rd Guards returned to the main line and returned with a wagon of cartridges, thereby enabling the defence to continue.
By the end of the battle the chateau had been set ablaze by howitzer fire and the buildings were heaped with British casualties. The French were unable to capture Hougoumont and their casualties filled the woods and fields.
The two battalions that defended Hougoumont suffered 500 dead and wounded out of strengths of 2,000.
Some years later an English clergyman bequeathed £500 to be given to the bravest Briton from the battle. The selection was referred to the Duke of Wellington who nominated Lieutenant Colonel McDonnell of the Coldstream Guards for his defence of Hougoumont. Colonel McDonnell gave half the sum to Sergeant Graham.
Gratuitous Musickal Geekery Posting
Today is the anniversary of the birth, in 1757, of Ignaz Joseph Pleyel. Although virtually unknown now, Pleyel was an extremely popular composer in his own day. Indeed, I believe that Mozart himself refered to Pleyel in one of his letters as his generation's Haydn, which from Mozart was just about the highest musickal compliment imaginable. (Pleyel was, in fact, a student of Haydn's as well.)
Remember how I said the other day that Orgle Manor had a crazy schedule coming up shortly? Well, it's heeeeeeeere.
I have to go jump on a plane in a little while and wing my way out to the Nation's heartland. Won't be back until Friday evening.
Saturday morning, the Missus and I drive the elder two Llama-ettes into the wilds of southwestern Pennsylvania to deposit them at camp for two weeks at a place that seems to specialize in round-the-clock sports and Bible-thumpin' (snake-handling is extra).
Sunday morning, the Missus and the youngest Llama-ette clear off to visit her parents in Connecticut for two weeks.
Monday, I'm outta here again on yet another business trip, coming back either Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, depending on the ever-shifting sands of our schedule. This is the first of three Mondays in a row that I'll be on travel, and I'll be awfully glad when all that flying is over and done with because mayun are my arms getting tired! (Ba-DUM-bah.)
How we're going to get everyone back home is a logistical problem we have not completely sorted out yet.
The way I see it, the good news is that once all this craziness is finally passed, we'll be within reasonable anticipatory pleasure range of vacation:
In the meantime, posting is going to be extremely sporatic
June 17, 2008
I Have A VERY Bad Feeling About This
Presented without commentary:
Sir Walter Scott: Souvenir Vulture
As it happens, the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo is tomorrow. But Steve-O just sent me this article which is worth putting up in advance:
Flags from the battlefield at Waterloo have been found in a cupboard at the home of Sir Walter Scott.
The four banners, which date from 1815, were discovered by trustees sorting through Abbotsford, Scott's home near Melrose in Roxburghshire.
The novelist brought them from the scene of the battle, which he visited after hearing of Napoleon's defeat.
The Abbotsford Trust, which runs the house, hopes the standards can be restored and put on public display.
Jacquie Wright, executive manager of the trust, said: "We were very excited to find the banners. They are very rare.
"As you can imagine, they have been lying in a cupboard since 1815 rolled up in bits of paper so the material is very fragile.
"He collected other things, which were on show because he put them on show but these things were actually put away in the cupboard.
"We would absolutely love to have them on display one day."
She added: "It may be that one of the family knew that the banners were there but we had no idea of their existence until just recently when we unravelled them."
Scott, author of classics such as Waverley and Ivanhoe, was interested in military history and collected many relics.
Rob Roy's gun and Montrose's sword are among the items on display at Abbotsford.
Scott was allowed on to the battlefield at Waterloo and took three French and one English banner, some of which have bullet holes through them.
Inspired by the battle, he wrote a poem "The Field Of Waterloo".
In case you're curious, here's a sample of "TFOW":
Far other harvest-home and feast,
Than claims the boor from scythe released,
On these scorched fields were known!
Death hovered o'er the maddening rout,
And, in the thrilling battle-shout,
Sent for the bloody banquet out
A summons of his own.
Through rolling smoke the Demon's eye
Could well each destined guest espy,
Well could his ear in ecstasy
Distinguish every tone
That filled the chorus of the fray -
From cannon-roar and trumpet-bray,
From charging squadrons' wild hurra,
From the wild clang that marked their way, -
Down to the dying groan,
And the last sob of life's decay,
When breath was all but flown.
You can go here to read the rest if you want, but frankly I'm not much of a fan of Scott's style.
In fact, I much prefer the summation of the battle given by the Iron Dook himself: "It has been a damned serious business - Blücher and I have lost 30,000 men. It has been a damned nice thing - the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life...By God! I don't think it would have done if I had not been there."
More tomorrow, hopefully.
Defender of the Realm
From the Daily Mail coverage of Prince William's induction into the Order of the Garter comes this wonderful photo.
Honi soit qui mal y pence, indeed.
Yips! to His Grace, Archbishop Cranmer.
A Cuppa, Cuppa, Cuppa, Cuppa, Cup ***
Ha! Bow down and grovel before the great God Java, all you anti-caffeine fussy-pants out there:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Long-term coffee drinking does not appear to increase a person's risk of early death and may cut a person's chances of dying from heart disease, according to a study published on Monday.
Previous studies have given a mixed picture of health effects from coffee, finding a variety of benefits and some drawbacks from the popular drink. The new study looked at people who drank caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee.
Researchers led by Esther Lopez-Garcia of Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in Spain followed 84,214 U.S. women from 1980 to 2004 and 41,736 U.S. men from 1986 to 2004.
They found that regular coffee drinking -- up to six cups a day -- was not associated with increased deaths among the study's middle-aged participants. In fact, the coffee drinkers, particularly the women, experienced a small decline in death rates from heart disease.
The study found no association between coffee consumption and cancer deaths.
"Our study indicates that coffee consumption does not have a detrimental effect," Lopez-Garcia, whose research appears in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, said in a telephone interview. "It seems like long-term coffee consumption may have some beneficial effects."
I'll dope-slap the lot of you as soon as my hands stop shaking and I can see straight.
I believe I started drinking coffee just about the same time I started drinking wine with dinner, which is to say when I was about 14 or so. And the coffee at our house was famous for its tar-like properties of strength and thickness. The Mothe always resisted my pleas to start in on the coffee earlier on the grounds that it would stunt my growth.
Recently, the elder Llama-ettes have begun to take an interest in coffee-drinking themselves. I've told them pretty much the same thing Mom told me. Little did I realize way back when that the real reason Mom didn't want me having an after dinner cuppa was that she wanted to make sure I went to bed and stayed there. (Once I was a teenager, of course, I could sleep through anything.) Now, of course, I see things much more from her perspective.
*** I tried to find a youtube of the old Lena Horne Sanka commercial (Mmmm....Lena Horne....mmmmmmm), but it seems to have been yanked. If anybody has a link, please shoot it along.
Bringing Together The Best Of Druidical Worship And Pork Products
Bobgirll can thank me later.
Yips! to Jonah.
Gratuitous Revolutionary War Geekery Posting
Death of General Warren by John Trumbull
Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill (actually fought on Breed's Hill) in 1775. Although the Brits eventually won, they paid for it dearly through a combination of arrogance (it was believed that a straightforward infantry advance would buffalo the rebels out of their emplacements), military cock-up (there was no artillery barrage because the wrong caliber ammunition was brought for the cannon), and what I have always thought to be strategic blindness (Bunker Hill sits on a peninsula with a very thin neck. When the rebel army formed up, the Brits need only have landed forces behind them astride their escape route in order to bag the lot.)
Of the battle, in which the King's forces suffered almost 1100 killed and wounded compared to the rebel 440-odd, British General Henry Clinton later remarked: "A few more such victories would have shortly put an end to British dominion in America."
Probably not "M"-class planets
June 16, 2008
Dems throw in the towel on war funding bill
Things That Make You Go "Hmmmmm..."
Does the fact that Jason Alexander, aka George Costanza, is starring in an upcoming production of Bernstein's Candide at Wolf Trap count as another example of the workings of the Seinfeld Curse?
I think so. I think so.
Gratuitous Jo Harding Posting
Another wodge of big thunderstorms is on its way into the Dee Cee area this afternoon, prompting the NOAA folks to issue my favorite scary weather warning again:
Remember that lightning is a thunderstorms most underrated killer. Postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are imminent. This is the best way to avoid being caught in a dangerous situation. Automobiles offer good protection from lightning... although moving indoors is best. Even inside... lighting can kill by coming through the phone lines... plumbing and electric lines. Therefore do not use computers... telephones or other hand held appliances during a storm.
Yeek! This reminder prompts me think that a pretty good action-adventure could be made out the whole killer-lightning scenario. Call it Flash, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Helen Hunt:
Jackson: Whoa! There are too many mutha-effin volts in that bolt!
Hunt: Yes, but at least there are no cows this time.
Happy Birthday, Phil Mickelson!
Born this day in 1970. Here's his O-fficial website.
Mom is always on about us Llamas posting bits o' cheesecake here, so I figured I'd even things up a bit by tossing her a little beefcake, as she has always found Phil to be, ah, "yummy". Too bad he had such an eh Open this year.
Gratuitous Llama Movie Review
Because our 15th anniversary is this week but because we also have a crazy insane schedule for the foreseeable future, the Missus and I ditched the kids and snuck off to the local Ritz Saturday night. We had a very nice swim followed by drinks and dinner and then decided to settle down and check out a movie together.
The movie we settled on was Dan in Real Life. I thought it looked promising a) because I had read a pretty good review somewhere recently and b) because I like Steve "We Gonna Need More Wax" Carell's humor.
Imagine my surprise and horror, then, when half an hour into the film I suddenly discovered......it's a chick-flik.
It wasn't funny, it was sappy. I could go into it, but I won't waste the pixels. One and a half yips! out of five and that's only because I like John Mahoney, who had a bit part as Carell's old dad.
Random Musickal Observation
Driving in to the metro today, I made an interesting discovery: the Nazi parade musick from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade sounds remarkably like the main theme of the overture from a comic opera called The Crown Diamonds by a fellah named Daniel-Francois-Esprit Auber (1782-1871).
Perhaps this is simply co-incidence. Perhaps it is some kind of inside joke. Perhaps it is outright plagiarism. But I reckon it's good for a solid five minutes on the derivative nature of the works of John Williams at your next brie & Beaujolais party.
June 15, 2008
Keep in your prayers all the fathers who lost a son or daughter in the service of our country and her allies for the cause of freedom. May they find comfort and peace.
Happy Father's Day!
I pretty much lump Father's Day in teh same category as Mother's Day, i.e., as nothing more than an erzatz holiday dreamed up by the eeeevil marketers of the Hallmark/FTD/Zales cabal and their minions. Nonetheless, I have learned to be sensitive to the genuine good will of the Llama-ettes when they attempt to come up with what they think I would like in order to mark the occasion.
Yesterday afternoon as we were driving home from time trials at the pool (yes, this summer Robbo enters that vast Undiscovered Country known as "Swim Team"), the eight year old said to me, "So, Daddy, what would you like for Father's Day?"
Suddenly I had a down-right inspiration.
"Sweetie," I said, "I can't imagine a greater present than just getting to be the father of you three girls. That's all I could ever want."
There was a small gasp from the passenger seat.
"Oh, Daddy," the gel said, "That's so beautiful."
Yup, Robbo can hit a nifty every now and again.
UPDATE: A nice FD. I spent the afternoon pottering around in the garden, ably assisted by teh Llama-ettes in pulling weeds from the path. Later, after I'd grilled up some steaks for dinner, the gels serenaded me with a couple of High-School-Musical-like songs they had written. After that, I introduced the elder pair to the Dook for the first time as we watched The Sons of Katie Elder together.
It seems that my Dicentra (aka "Bleeding Heart") has packed it in for the summer. The blooms are long-gone and the leaves are turning yellow and wilty in the heat.
What do you think? Cut 'em back now and over-plant with something? I usually wait until the fall but I can't imagine that anything I do to these garden bullies even this early is going to damage them.
"The Question Is Moot" UPDATE: The Missus got at them with her shears last evening and razed them. Guess I'd better find something to fill in.
Gratuitous Trans-Tiber Posting
I've generally kept off the Catholic blogging 'round here out of the rancor that it seems to cause among certain commentors (*ahem*)*** and certain fellow bloggers (*ahem*)***. However, here's a bit of news that I thought interesting enough to post.
The long-time and beloved Pastor of my parish, Fr. McA, suffered a stroke a few weeks back and was sidelined. Today, however, he popped up in order to deliver the announcements. Among them, he said that it was going to take him something between six months and a year to fully recover and that in the interim he was handing over the administrative duties of the parish to a deputy.
Now the main reason I joined my particular church, even though I am technically slightly out of its parish boundaries, is because Fr. McA runs a mighty tight ship. Mass is Mass: a joyful yet solemn worship of God and reception of Jesus through participation in the Eucharistic mystery, not a forum for navel-gazing, swishy feel-good pablum or liturgical stunts. I couldn't imagine that in stepping aside for a much-needed rest, Fr. McA would let somebody else start messing about with the church's course. Nonetheless, for a second, a sudden chill swept through me. What might we get? Liturgical dance? Cumbaya and folk guitars? The dreaded Clown Eucharist?
No fear. It turns out that the helm is being turned over to none other than Fr. Paul Scalia, son of Mr. Justice Antonin ("You lookin' at me?) Scalia. A sample of Fr. S's writings:
Imagine the following scene: You arrive at Mass on Sunday, eager to thank God for His goodness to you. You slide into the pew early, kneel in prayer, and direct your praise and worship to your Lord and God. You stand as the song leader introduces the opening hymn: "Table of Plenty". Suddenly your praise comes to a screeching halt, not because of your own prayers, but because of what you are singing. In fact you are no longer praising God at all, but singing to the others:Come to the feast of heaven and earth! Come to the table of plenty! God will provide for all that we need, here at the table of plenty.
Now it gets worse: you begin to sing His lines:O, come and sit at my table where saints and sinners are friends. I wait to welcome the lost and lonely to share the cup of my love.
And so at the very beginning of Mass, your conversation with God is derailed and transformed into a participation in the congregation's introspection.
To appreciate the damage done by such hymns, we must first call to mind two essential aspects of the Mass: presence and dialogue. First of all, what distinguishes the Mass from all other forms of worship is the re-presentation of Christ's sacrifice. The Mass does not merely recall or reenact Christ's redemptive act but in fact makes present the mystery of faith, the passion, death and resurrection of Christ (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1366).
Second, the presence of Christ in the Eucharist and indeed throughout the Mass makes possible a real dialogue between God and man; it creates an active conversation. The remembrance of someone does not lead to dialogue with that person; only to reminiscing. The presence of Christ in the Mass, however, inspires us to speak to Him as only the beloved can speak to the Lover. Thus the Mass is a dialogue between Christ and the Church, between God and man, in which God speaks His lines and we speak ours. He speaks to us through the readings and (we hope) the homily, while we respond to Him through the prayers of the priest, our personal prayers, and the hymns.
Accordingly, active participation at Mass requires the faithful to acknowledge the presence of Christ and enter the dialogue, taking the words of the Bride as their own. They embody the Bride, and their Mass parts -- the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei express her desire for union with the Bridegroom. Other texts used at Mass should reflect and deepen this sentiment. The dialogue reaches its culmination at the Consecration, when the Bridegroom speaks His definitive words of love and thus becomes really present to His Bride in the Eucharist.
Given the lyrics of much contemporary liturgical music, however, we must ask what has become of this dialogue and our ability to enter it. Many hymns have us sing only about ourselves and to ourselves, even going so far as to usurp God's part. Such words fail to convey the true meaning of the Mass as a dialogue between Christ and the Church. The offending lyrics come in two varieties: in the first, we sing to one another and about one another, but do not include God in the conversation; and in the second, we sing God's parts.
Ah, that's teh stuff. As a matter of fact, Fr. McA was clear that there was going to be no change in the way things were done anyway, but it strikes me that, given our temporary Captain, there's no need to worry about it.
***Don't make me come up there, kids. Play nice.
Happy Birthday to the force which has done more to free the oppressed than any other in the last two centuries.
I write of course, of the United States Army whose birthday was yesterday.
Your Army's song:
As long as we are on the subject of freeing the oppressed:
LMC fav Michelle Malkin sends her greetings.
June 14, 2008
BSG, yet again-spoiler alert
I had the feeling Earth was not going to be the Utopia they wanted. The last few minutes with Adama throwing away a handful of dirt as a Geiger counter clicked away suggests some global thermonuclear war. At least we did not die of global warming! But, of course, there are are a few lingering questions:
1. If humanity on this planet checked out in big flashes of light, who did it? Did we do it to ourselves or did the Cylons beat them here and give the Earth the mushroom makeover they visited upon the Colonies? (Remember, the Final Five have been to Earth.)
2. Who is our remaining mystery Cylon? Starbuck is looking more and more likely having returned to the Fleet in the showroom-new Viper containing the navigation data needed to get to Earth . . .
3. Will Gabrielle be re-united with Xena? Just wondering.
June 13, 2008
Tim Russert, R.I.P.
The host of "Meet the Press" passed away suddenly today.
Yips! from Robbo: Yeah, I wasn't going to post on it. Sad when anybody dies young and unexpectedly like that, but the truth is I don't think I ever actually saw the man on tee vee.
Heartfelt yips from Gary: Oh man, I just got the word. This is just awful. Tim Russert was the gold standard of television journalism in my book. No matter what his personal politics he approached every interview with integrity and tenacity. How ironic that just yesterday I posted about a stooge like Keith Olberman - a polar opposite to Russert in every way.
And on top of all that, he was a really, really nice guy. Very, very sad.
Friday The 13th
You may have seen the story on Drudge today about the big blackout in downtown Dee Cee this morning.
Regular reader ChrisN puts in words what was no doubt in thousands of other people's minds:
Was just wondering if Robbo was caught up in (or sent home from) the Friday the 13th blackout this morning. Thought I might see a post on that today.
My agency was just outside the blackout zone. We may not have gotten sent home, but at least we never lost air conditioning. I must say that getting out of the Farragut West station in near total darkness was an interesting experience, though.
To tell the truth, as I came through Farragut West on the metro, it did seem a bit on the dark side, but I thought that was just me being especially needful of my morning coffee.
My building wasn't directly affected. However, our servers housed in another building were right in the midst of teh blackout zone. Without email or access to our various document drives (both of which just came up again a while ago), it's been a pretty slow day.
"Get Reaaaady! The Woooooorld Is Coming To An Eeeeend!" ***
Gregg Easterbrook notes a maddening paradox that has been much on my mind lately as I scan the intertoobs:
Democratic attacks on Mr. McCain and Republican attacks on Mr. Obama both seek to punish impermissibly positive thoughts. At a time when there exists a sense of crisis over the economy, fuel prices and many other issues, this reinforces the odd, two realities of life in the United States today: The way we are, and the way we think we are. The way we are could use some work, but overall, is pretty good. The way we think we are is terrible, horrible, awful. Possibly worse.
Actually, I believe the first I read of this phenomenon was in Peej O'Rourke's All The Trouble In The World from back in the mid-90's. But it certainly seems to be spiking pretty hard at the moment. Easterbrook lays a good bit of the blame at the feet of the pervasiveness of the media culture:
Increasing pessimism from the news media is surely a factor – and the media grow ever-better at giving negative impressions. Now we don't just hear about threats or natural disasters, we see immediate live footage, creating the impression that threats and disasters are everywhere.
Whatever goes wrong in the country or around the world is telecast 24/7, making us think the world is falling to pieces – even when most things are getting better for most people, even in developing nations. If a factory closes, that's news. If a factory opens, that's not a story. You've heard about the factories Ford and General Motors have closed in this decade. Have you heard about the factories Toyota, Honda and other automakers opened in the U.S. in the same period? The jobs there have solid, long-term prospects.
The relentlessly negative impressions of American life presented by the media, including the entertainment media, explain something otherwise puzzling that shows up in psychological data. When asked about the country's economy, schools, health care or community spirit, Americans tell pollsters the situation is dreadful. But when asked about their own jobs, schools, doctors and communities, people tell pollsters the situation is good. Our impressions of ourselves and our neighbors come from personal experience. Our impressions of the nation as a whole come from the media and from political blather, which both exaggerate the negative.
Which is why I tend either to ignore the media, or else to take its pronouncements cum an extremely large grano of salis.
Nonetheless, or perhaps because I treat the media Cassandras with such skepticism, I snarfed a fair bit of coffee when I clapped eyes on this poster filched from the Galley Slaves:
*** Spot the quote.
Important Questions For A Friday Afternoon
Sarah Connor: Soft and sweet (T-1) or buff and psychotic (T-2)?
Your choice. Discuss.
Summertime, And The "Good Night" Is Easy
Is there anything more delightful to parental ears than having a dinner-table full of children who have been splashing about in the pool all afternoon positively begging to be allowed just to go to bed?
I think not.
June 12, 2008
The Gitmo Decision
The decision for the Court and the dissents of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Scalia are here. The dissents are scathing in their analysis and in their predictions.
We tend to see the world through the prism of our professions and lawyers are no different than anyone else and I say this as an attorney. The Court's opinion reflects the dangerous desire to turn every argument of policy into a legal one which must therefore be decided by life-tenured lawyers sitting on the benches of the various federal courts.
The decision to wage war is ultimately a political one and by that I mean it is made by the political leadership of the country which chooses to go to war. The desired end-state and the methods and means by which that war is waged is committed to the political branches, the President and the Congress, who have the staff, the resources, and the time to debate and weigh far better than the judiciary ever will. The fate of those captured on the battlefield belong to the captors and it is appropriate we debate and decide how such detainees should be treated and their status reviewed, weighing the exigencies of war and the overriding need to ensure the security of the American people. Those decisions must be made by those who can be held to account by the electorate. Presidents, Senators, and Congressmen can be voted out of office. Life-tenured judges cannot. They are accountable only to other judges. This is why elections matter.
As the dissents point out, today the court made a procedural mechanism, habeas corpus, available to unlawful combatants, without stopping to explain what rights such a mechanism would enforce. Today, the court overruled 59 years of precedent to hold that aliens not held in the United States have recourse to the Great Writ. Today, the Court made it likely our military will be faced with a cruel choice: release dangerous men or release classified information the disclosure of which will make it more dangerous for troops on the battlefield.
What exactly is it about Keith Olberman that makes him think 1) anybody outside of your typical Bush-hating, frothing-at-the-mouth, bitter Lefty isn't snickering at how seriously he takes himself and 2) that brevity is for losers.
Dude, make your point and get on with it. You make a "special commentary" and you state a position, back it up with two or three examples and summarize. You don't ramble making the same point six or seven different ways.
"You see that vein throbbing on my forehead? That means I'm serious, dammit! Take me seriously!!"
No wonder his ratings are abysmal. What a sad, strange little man.
Lobsters Are People, Too!
Either the good folks at PETA are just looking for cheap headlines, or else somebody has been drinking sea water out of Casco Bay. What else would explain the proposed Lobster Empathy Center?
SKOWHEGAN, Maine - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has sent a proposal to the Somerset County commissioners to lease their jail for the world’s first Lobster Empathy Center.
The central Maine county is constructing a new jail and has put the century-old jail in downtown Skowhegan up for sale. The Realtor handling the sale called the offer "likely a publicity stunt."
"A prison is the perfect setting to demonstrate how lobsters suffer when they are caught in traps or confined to cramped, filthy supermarket tanks," PETA wrote in a June 2 letter to the commissioners. "The center will teach visitors to have compassion for these interesting, sensitive animals while also commemorating the millions of lobsters who are ripped from their homes in the ocean off the coast of Maine each year before being boiled alive."
* * * * * *
PETA said the center would include educational displays and "testimonials from top independent scientists confirming that lobsters feel pain just like other animals."
PETA said the center would feature interactive exhibits such as a human-size lobster trap where visitors can have their fingers wrapped in large rubber bands that will remain on for their entire visit.
"At that point, visitors can be moved to a small, filth-strewn glass tank where they will be crammed together and confined for up to an hour," the proposal states.
The center also would include a concession stand that would include faux lobster treats, and children would receive free stuffed toy lobsters labeled "Lobster Are Friends, Not Food."
"Mainers have been dragging lobsters from their ocean homes for generations," said PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. "It’s time for them to learn that these fascinating animals deserve more than being treated as mere commodities."
Yips! to Chris Johnson at Midwestern Conservative Journal who dubs the proposed center "Dachau-On-The-Kennebec".
Me? I dunno. After reading the article I'm suddenly all hungry......
Oh, and as for being confined to a small, filth-strewn glass tank and crammed together for an hour? Heck, I do that every day. It's called riding the metro.
I'd Buy One
1. Dye Squirell Dye
Special ammo for the paintball gun that marks squirrels with an eco-safe but permanent dye. Hours of fun tagging the squirrels that loot your birdfeeder! Get to know these little furry-tailed rats by their hue.
Heck, add some skin-eating acid and I'd even pay for the premium load.
Skootch on over and check out the rest of his mint-making ideas.
UPDATE: Speaking of such things, you lot remember the Yankee Flipper, don't you?
Fun, right? Well if you ever decide to get one, for Heaven's sake make sure to anchor it securely to whatever pole or wire you decide to hang it from: Mine lasted about three months before the bastard squirrels bounced it off its hook, causing it to fall to the patio and crack its battery case. It lasted a couple more months before the squirrels and a raccoon managed to smash the perch assembly altogether.
My YF still hangs outside the basement door. (These things are close to a hundred bucks apiece and dammit, I'm a-gettin' my money's worth!) Most of the smaller birds have adapted to perching right on the edge of the feeding holes, while the larger ones hoover the ground underneath. But the squirrels have also figured out how to hang from the bottom by their hind feet, curling up to help themselves to snacks. The raccoon? He still just knocks it down.
Things That Never Cease To Amuse Me
(Image lifted from the Minnesota Lawyer Blog.)
Just thinking about the name makes me chuckle.
Gratuitous Literary Observation
Having recently finished off David Fraser's excellent Knight's Cross: A Life of Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, I had a sudden hankering to reread Derek Robinson's fictional account of SAS and RAF warfare in the sands of North Africa in 1942, A Good, Clean Fight. I'd read it a few years ago and had a dim memory of liking some things about it, but disliking intensely some other things about it.
Having galloped through about half of AGCF now and thoroughly enjoying the good things (such as Robinson's amazing depictions of the desert in all its manifestations), I recall one of the bad things: One of the characters in the novel is an RAF Air Vice Marshall named "Baggy" Bletchley. The trouble with the appearance here of AVM Bletchley is that he also appeared on Robinson's excellent novelization of the Battle of Britain, Piece of Cake, where alas, he was killed while trapped in a mobile bog when the Luftwaffe strafed Bodkin Hazel airfield in August, 1940. No explanation whatever is given for his resurrection two years later in Egypt.
Now I know that this is Mr. Robinson's universe and he can do with it what he wishes, but I don't see why he should need to employ the apparently undead in the senior ranks of Fighter Command.
"Mmmmm......brains, old boy!"
Random Commuter Observations - "Summertime, And The Living Is Sticky" Division
Regular readers will already know of my long time belief that the Founders should have endowed the newly-created United States with both a Winter and a Summer Capital. The northern end of the Virginny Tidewater is pleasant enough eight or nine months out of the year, but only a maniac likes being here between Memorial and Labor Days.
At first I thought that Seattle might make a nice alternative to beat the heat, but on further consideration decided that it just wouldn't do. Too remote. Plus, it's full of hippies.
Then I thought that perhaps Maine would serve nicely, especially as I head up there for vacation in August anyway. However, I skotched that idea after the Mothe, speaking on behalf of the entire population of the Pine Tree State, stated in no uncertain terms that Uncle and all his minions should just stay the hell away.
I'm still working on the Northeastern coast concept. This year, however, my vision has expanded somewhat and the proposal that I have sent up the chain of command now involves the annexation of one or more Canadian maritime provinces.
Given that it's already mid-June and we've been through our first heat wave in Dee Cee, I hope the authorities get cracking right away.
Aging very gracefully
Today is Frances O'Connor's day according to the local rag.
LMC full disclosure: I am partial to brunettes.
June 11, 2008
Gratuitous Literary Observation
We Llamas have been getting an awful lot of Google traffic the last couple days from people looking for Harry Potter's nonmagical offspring of wizard parents and similar expressions.
I should note that despite some talk of collapsing like the Maginot Line last fall, I still never have got round to reading any of the durn books, and am now happily ensconced back in the screw 'em camp.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Gardening Division
Our old pal Babs drops this report in the Tasty-Bits (TM) Mail Sack:
This year I started about 120 heirloom tomatoes from seed. Unfortunately, I have only 4 takers which account for about 20 tomatoes. Can you imagine that I am going to throw at least 80 tomato plants onto the compost pile, after raising them up as babies? Sniff… Math doesn’t work for you? I will be planting the overflow in every nook and cranny of my garden, including pots on my deck!
I am fascinated with heirloom tomatoes. Not only because they are the absolute best eating fruit on the planet, but also because I have done a bit of research, through growing trials and reading, about where the best tomato varieties come from. It seems that Russia and Pennsylvania produce the best tomatoes! Weird, huh? I wonder if there is a connection.
When we were in Romania and Bulgaria a few years back, I ate the best tomatoes I have ever eaten! And, everyone seemed to have at least a couple of bushes; growing outside apartment buildings, these squat bushes with not that appealing fruit on them. But boy, they were good eating! In fact, this month long tour we were on… the Americans started diving for the tomatoes every time they saw them!
I stand by Caspian Pink, from Russia , with Brandywine a close second, from Penn. And, BTW, Brandywine has now been hybridized with “Brandywine OPV.” I will be doing a side by side taste test this year…
I remind myself of a Jay Leno skit when he was trying to disparage John McCain. “You remind me of a guy that wants to tell me about his tomato plants!” Well, yeah, I do.
I must admit that I happen to dislike tomatoes myself and always have (although I don't mind them as an ingredient in some dishes). The guy you really want to talk to about tomatoes 'round here is Steve-O. Indeed, I believe it is high time that he came out with his annual report on the various salsas, gazpachos and other Lycopersicon-based dishes that he concocts from his own harvest.
Steve? That's your cue......
Quote of the Day
My email quote-of-the-day source passes on one today that caught my fancy:
"It takes in reality only one to make a quarrel. It is useless for the sheep to pass resolutions in favor of vegetarianism while the wolf remains of a different opinion."
- W.R. Inge (1860-1954, Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral, London, 1911-1934)
A La Recherche Du Temps Dorky
I got a call out of the blue last evening from a gal I knew in high school, but with whom I have not spoken in 21 years. Our 25th reunion is later this month and she was checking up to see if I might be interested in attending.
"Zoom! What was that? That was your life, mate. Oh, that was quick. Do I get another? Sorry, mate." ***
Actually, I loathed high school. I was, as they say, a late bloomer (indeed, there are those who are of the opinion that I am still a work in progress), and never really fit into any of the social cliques at school (the band geeks, the jocks, etc.). Instead, I was one of those odds & sods who orbited about the fringes and as a result, generally had a pretty lonely time of it. And when I did get close to somebody, I usually managed to make a hash of it. (Indeed, when I say that I knew this gal, I am over-simplifying our relationship greatly.)
Ah, well. Water under the bridge and all that. I eventually grew up and turned out more or less normal after all. (Mom: See? What did I always say? Such a nice boy! Who wouldn't love this boy?)
So anyhoo, we chatted for a while. I haven't kept up with a single other soul from those days and she filled me in on what some of them were up to. I had had absolutely no intention whatsoever of going to the reunion (apart from anything else, starting next week I am going to be out of town on bidness more or less until the Fourth of July), but after our chat I have to admit that I was beginning to be mildly intrigued.
Perhaps I'll make it to the 30th.
*** Spot the quote.
UPDATE: Quote fixed, so don't send any cranky emails.
June 10, 2008
Gratuitous Nats Posting
I've been on travel and sooper-busy the past few days, so last evening was the first time I got the opportunity to catch a Nats game in a while. Imagine my surprise to see all the players decked out in green hats:
I had no idea what this was all about. Indeed, the only plausible explanation I could come up with was that the Nats had thrown their support behind the Celtics in the NBA Championship, but that didn't seem very likely.
A quick check on the intertubes today reveals the explanation. As with most stupid ideas, the root cause is political:
WASHINGTON -- Major League Baseball's most eco-friendly park will get a little more so on Wednesday when the Washington Nationals host "Get Your Green On," a one-night program encouraging their fans to be more environmentally conscious.
The first 5,000 fans who exit the Navy Yard Half Street MetroRail Station will receive a loaded farecard that will pay their way back home, and fans who enter the Half Street entrance in center field will walk up a green carpet to the gate.
In addition, Nationals players and ushers will wear green hats for the game, and the Nat Pack & Racing Presidents will wear green shirts in the spirit of the event.
Planet Green, a new TV network dedicated to ecoconscious living, will launch its first broadcast from the park as well. Discovery Corporation president & CEO David Zaslav will throw out the first pitch and Eileen O'Neill, Planet Green president and general manager, will bring the lineup card out before the game.
Adding star power to the festivities, famed chef Emeril Lagosse will begin the game in in the nightly tradition by saying, "Washington ... Let's play ball!"
Sigh. Guys? Lose the freakin' green hats. Combined with your red and white home uniforms, you look like Santa's Elves. And considering you've won 2 of your past 11 games and are 14 games out of first, that would be Santa's AA club as well.
Random Commuter Observation - Tourons Behaving Badly Division
That certain emptiness regular readers may find themselves feeling these days can no doubt be explained in part by the fact that so far this year I have not indulged in my annual ranting and raving about the tourons that flock to Your Nation's Capital.
Well, folks, help is on the way.
I was walking up E Street this morning behind a party of very fat, very loudly dressed out-of-towners. For some perverse reason, one fellah in the party seemed to be taking a real pleasure in snapping pics of the three or four bums and derelicts strewn on benches and in doorways along the way, and then showing the pics to the rest of his companions.
Friends, unless you're collecting data for some sociological study, don't do this. Gawking is bad enough, but snapping pics is even worse. Whatever their condition, these are still people, not side-show attractions. Simple respect would dictate that you leave them alone.
Random Commuter Observation - Grammatical Petulance Division
The walls of the Metro Center station are covered these days with posters put out by the West Virginia Tourist Board (or whatever the entity calls itself). The posters are a series of photographs of mountains, streams, woods, etc., etc., with one-word captions written across them - words like "Breathe" and "Clarify" and "Peaceful".
"Okay, Tom," you're saying warily to your collective selves, "What's the problem?"
Well, I'll tell you. You see, the copy employed by the WVTB is grammatically inconsistent. Some of the words are verbs, some adjectives. And there's absolutely no rhyme or reason to it. I find that quite jarring to the senses. Indeed, the more I see it, the grumpier it makes me. Hence this post.
Isn't this kind of sloppiness violative of some basic rule of advertising?
June 09, 2008
whose abs were the only thing that saved The Attack of the Clones.
Today is her day according to the local fishwrapper.
June 08, 2008
Lintefiniel Jen, your time is coming . . .
like mine did today when Our Little Debutante cracked the code on the words, if uttered, will get her removed from the church with lightning speed: "I have to go potty!" It turned out to be a false alarm but few parents are going to call the bluff. Jen, formerly Jen Speaks, little Jesse will figure it out soon enough.
June 07, 2008
Mr. Llama Regrets
Roman Catholic Boys for Art
May I start by offering my most sincere thanks for your recent decision to nominate me for membership in your august society. I am deeply appreciative of the honor that you do me in extending such an invitation.
Unfortunately, I cannot help but notice that literally within minutes of my receipt of your invitation and the accompanying probationary instructions with respect to the posting of a certain picture of Arabian splendour to my own homepage, a line of extremely violent thunderstorms burst upon Orgle Manor, the result of which meteorological violence being that the old homestead was without all power for nearly 60 hours and without telephone, cable or internet access for approximately 72 hours.
I am far from expert on interpreting signs and portents and would gladly defer to the wisdom of, say, Fr. M for example, in such matters; however I cannot help but take the coincidence of your directive and this sudden outburst of nature's fury as a sign from the Almighty that my compliance with said directive just wouldn't do. Therefore, I must humbly beg to decline this undertaking.
I understand the Committee may feel it has no choice but to strike my name from further consideration for election and would, of course, respect that decision. Even in the event that I am not elected to the RCBfA, however, I will continue to be ready and willing to hold your collective hats and cheer heartily from the sidelines. In no way should my actions be taken as either influenced by or supportive of the Society of Bluenose Catholic Crankypants or similar wet-blanket organizations. Rayther, I simply feel that in circumstances such as those that have presented themselves, who wants to roll the dice?
Once again, thank you for the honor of your consideration.
Your most humble, obedient &c.,
Robbo T. Llama Butcher
My wife thinks I am a barbarian
for any one of a number of reasons, including:
We have two bug zappers-both of which are used indoors (kitchen and garage), rather than outside. The Future ROTC Scholarship Recipient, Our Little Debutante, and their assorted friends (most recently, the LLama-ettes) are constantly in and out of the house, hence the use of the zappers inside. (I love the sound of frying bugs in the first five minutes the lights are out.)
I utterly lack any understanding of music, which was Mrs. LMC's minor in college. While Robbo and Mrs. LMC can not only play the piano but have informed discussions about 18th century composers, I am doomed to wonder if the selection being played had its origins two hundred years ago or was used recently in an ad jungle (e.g., "Meat! It is what is for breakfast.").
(Which reminds of an Aaron Copland piece, so here it is:)
Finally, I drive without the A/C going in the present heat wave unless I am in a suit. Unlike my recent sojourn in Baghdad, the tempeture is under 100, I don't have to wear body armor, and I can drive with the windows down, so why not?
Happy Birthday to Anna Kournikova
Today is her day, according to the fishwrapper (faithfully delivered every morning to the front door of the post headquarters located amidst the vast real estate holdings which comprise Fort LMC).
June 06, 2008
President Franklin Roosevelt's speech to the Nation:
My Fellow Americans:
Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our Allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.
And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:
Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.
Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.
They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.
They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest -- until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men's souls will be shaken with the violences of war.
For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.
Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.
And for us at home -- fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them -- help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.
Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.
Give us strength, too -- strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.
And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.
And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the keeness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment -- let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.
With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace -- a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.
Thy will be done, Almighty God.
New SitCom This Fall - "Friends"
Um, no not those friends. These friends:
Classic. Have a great weekend everyone!
June 05, 2008
Good Housekeeping Via Mother Nature
We're coming up fast on 24 hours without power at Orgle Manor. Looks like the fridge and the freezer are going to get the cleaning out they both rayther need.
Must Try Harder
Steve-O? LMC? Gary? Chai-rista? More cough syrup!
Take a break from the election craziness and enjoy the newest Wired interview with Brian Eno.
Random Early Morning Observation
As I note below, the power has been out since yesterday afternoon at Orgle Manor due to the storms that blew through.
It's funny how your body keeps on working to routine even when temporarily deprived of external reminders. Of course, my clock-radio isn't working, but I woke up this morning at exactly the same time I do every day, and furthermore, knew to within about five minutes what time it was simply by the angle of the light, the level of birdsong and the flow of street traffic.
June 04, 2008
One seriously large line of thunderstorms has just rolled into Your Nation's Capital. Looks like at least two more wodges may come through later on this afternoon and evening.
If you don't know about it yet, may I strongly recommend WeatherUnderground as your go-too on-line source of meteorological whistles and bells? Yes, I object to the name, too, but the site has teh goods, especially if you pay the five dollar yearly fee.
MORNING AFTER UPDATE: Well, the first waive of storms rolled through, knocking down limbs and occassional whole trees, disrupting service on my metro line and knocking out the power. Then a second cloudburst formed up just as I was arriving at West Falls Church metro. Pan-farookin'-dae-mo-nium.
However, the wine store was still open and after arming myself with a bottle or two of the L'Autrefois Pinot Noir (which for the price cannot be beat), I slowly made my way home around numerous detours, just beating the next line of storms in. Having disposed of the Llama-ettes for the night, I rousted out some apples, cheese and crackers, plus enough candles to read by and settled down for the evening. So it wasn't so bad after all.
Lots of branches are down in the neighborhood of Orgle Manor, plus a few big trees. Plus, as of this morning the power is still out. (As are many traffic signals. Northern Virginia drivers do not typically play well without such adult supervision.) The Missus and the Llama-ettes are off to the vast and secure real estate holdings surrounding Fort LMC for the night, so if the power has not yet been restored, I may have to repeat last evening's entertainment. (And if the A/C hasn't kicked in, I may have to sleep in the basement, too.)
An Excellent Idea
It's the Lobster Grab. Wonder if it only costs 50 cents, too?
Yips! to Gail at Scribal Terror.
Gratuitous Musickal Posting
Regular readers will recall that the other day I was singing the praises of Michael Ward's Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis. There, I asked this musickal question:
On the musickal front, I'm also going to have to buy a performance of Gustav Holst's The Planets. Most of its movements are quite tedious to me. However, I think that Holst captures very well that air of Jovian jollity discussed above, and I've had that particular dance running through my head for the last couple days now. (I also like his treatment of Mars and his driving remorselessness. I'll be interested to see if and how that matches up with Ward's discussion of Mars, Lewis and Prince Caspian.)
Well as it turns out, Lewis was very well acquainted with Holst's work and admired his treatment of Jupiter. He was less impressed with Holst's take on Mars because he didn't think Holst got across the point that the Martial spirit is not in itself good or bad, but is instead put to good or bad uses by those infused with it.
As I said I would in my prior post, I have gone out and bought a copy of The Planets and cannot wait to pop it in and listen to these dances.
As for Planet Narnia, I am now well into Ward's discussion of the ways in which Mercury permeates The Horse and His Boy. Go back and read my earlier post again in full. And go buy the book. Seriously. I have been so swept up with Ward's discussion of Lewis's Christianity, medieval and Renaissance scholarship and classical predilictions that I have felt positively elevated. I am an absolute moron when it comes to the eternal Truths embodied there. But I know those Truths exist. And the reflected light I receive from them through Lewis is - in a word - blissful. Indeed, after mulling over his writings on the metro yesterday afternoon and then listening to Bach as I drove home to Orgle Manor, I was so seized with the Spirit that I almost put the ol' jeep into a tree.
June 03, 2008
The General Election Begins?
Sure, according to McCain. Of course a certain female candidate's campaign didn't get the memo just yet.
And Bill Bennett really nails this one:
"[T]he Democratic party is about to nominate a far left candidate in the tradition of George McGovern, albeit without McGovern’s military and political record. The Democratic party is about to nominate a far-left candidate in the tradition of Michael Dukakis, albeit without Dukakis’s executive experience as governor. The Democratic party is about to nominate a far left candidate in the tradition of John Kerry, albeit without Kerry’s record of years of service in the Senate. The Democratic party is about to nominate an unvetted candidate in the tradition of Jimmy Carter, albeit without Jimmy Carter’s religious integrity as he spoke about it in 1976. Questions about all these attributes (from foreign policy expertise to executive experience to senatorial experience to judgment about foreign leaders to the instructors he has had in his cultural values) surround Barack Obama. And the Democratic party has chosen him."All this, and She Who Must Not Be Named has conceded the delegates but not the nomination fight.
Ooooooh. This is good. Very good.
Gratuitous Art Posting
"Ulysses and the Sirens" - Herbert James Draper (1909)
In support of my proposed nomination to join a certain exclusive club, I would just point out that I have always been immensely fond of this painting. The epic subject, the composition, the flow of the action, don't you know. Plus, I was an oarsman in college, after all.
Gratuitous Tolkien Geekery Posting
Last evening the eldest Llama-ette and I, along with Frodo, first met Strider at the Prancing Pony in Bree.
Whenever I read to the gels, I try to put as much, well, character into the characters as I can. I usually do this by imagining an actor or some other public figure and modelling my speech and inflection on them. Hunting around for a good model for Strider, I wasn't for an instant going to go anywhere near whats-his-name from the LOTR movies, because - apart from what you might think of Peter Jackson's "treatment" of the story - I thought him so horribly miscast for what Tolkien really had in mind. Instead, I went for someone more along the lines of Ciarán Hinds:
Also, I tried to throw in a touch of John Hurt. Why? Because he voiced Aragorn in that animated version of LOTR that Ralph Bakshi did back in the 70's. And as many problems as that movie had, I recall that he did a pretty good job.
(BTW, the Llama-ette thought my rendition of Butterbur was quite amusing, too.)
UPDATE: Per a suggestion in teh comments I'm still chuckling about -
"Tatersh? Wots tatersh, precioush?"
Remember this whenever you hear
someone extoll the virtues of socialized medicine: cancer patient has her government-paid treatment withdrawn after paying out of pocket for additional private care.
Via Kathy the Cake Eater who adds her own take.
June 02, 2008
Woo. Bloody. Hoo.
Got an interesting notice from the IRS in the mail today.
You see, the original tax rebate stimulus calculation bestowed upon the inhabitants of Orgle Manor the not inconsiderable sum of $2100.00. (That's married-filing-jointly plus three qualifying chill'uns.)
Aaaaaaah, but not so fast......
You see, apparently owing to the Court at Versailles way in which we live, Uncle further calculated that $1883.50 of that sum should, er, not be sent to us.
The result? The Fed'ral Guv'mint apparently is of the belief that it can jump-start the economy by depositing in the Orgle Manor coffers the sum of $216.50.
As I say, woo. bloody. hoo.
Guess there's nothing to do but toss a couple extra bundles of hundreds on the fire, kick the footmen especially hard, and horse-whip some of the villians working our extensive desmense.
Of course, the Missus, always sensible, points out that it's surprising we're getting anything at all.
The next Charles Coughlin?
The more I read about Father Michael Pfleger, I more I am reminded of Fr. Charles Coughlin, a Depression-ear Catholic priest who went off the rails. I am wondering when the Chicago Archdiocese is going to step in and put the brakes on this guy.
BTW, I think I passed Pfleger outside the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago two years ago. I was arriving to meet a client before he testified and ran into a nut on the street in a Roman collar matching Pfleger's general description ranting on and on about the Iraq war. I was sorely tempted to engage him but he seemed well past the point of reason and continued on my way.
UPDATE Yips! from Robbo: Fr. Pfleger asked to take a powder by his Cardinal.
LMC Election Prediction
McCain in a landslide reminiscent of the Nixon-McGovern blowout. The longer SWMNBN and the Messiah duke it out, the more he is revealed as a thin-skinned, shallow rookie with shady Chicago connections. Boys and gels, this is McCain's to lose. McCain's challenge--solidify the Republican base and don't blow it.
Non-Hatch Act Yips! from Robbo: I was just saying to the Mothe this weekend that my radar is beginning to pick up a new Pauline Kael Moment in the making. McCain can certainly blow it, but if he boxes carefully, He Who Thinks He Can Walk On Water will take himself down.
Now is a good time
for the combat drop in Aliens set to the "JAG" theme
"Whatever You Do, Don't Mention The War!" ***
Over the weekend, the Mothe was lamenting the paucity of positive nooz coverage of the war in Iraq. Well this should make her happy: Even Pravda on the Potomac is now admitting we might just win the durn thing:
The Iraqi Upturn
Don't look now, but the U.S.-backed government and army may be winning the war.
THERE'S BEEN a relative lull in news coverage and debate about Iraq in recent weeks -- which is odd, because May could turn out to have been one of the most important months of the war. While Washington's attention has been fixed elsewhere, military analysts have watched with astonishment as the Iraqi government and army have gained control for the first time of the port city of Basra and the sprawling Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City, routing the Shiite militias that have ruled them for years and sending key militants scurrying to Iran. At the same time, Iraqi and U.S. forces have pushed forward with a long-promised offensive in Mosul, the last urban refuge of al-Qaeda. So many of its leaders have now been captured or killed that U.S. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, renowned for his cautious assessments, said that the terrorists have "never been closer to defeat than they are now."
Iraq passed a turning point last fall when the U.S. counterinsurgency campaign launched in early 2007 produced a dramatic drop in violence and quelled the incipient sectarian war between Sunnis and Shiites. Now, another tipping point may be near, one that sees the Iraqi government and army restoring order in almost all of the country, dispersing both rival militias and the Iranian-trained "special groups" that have used them as cover to wage war against Americans. It is -- of course -- too early to celebrate; though now in disarray, the Mahdi Army of Moqtada al-Sadr could still regroup, and Iran will almost certainly seek to stir up new violence before the U.S. and Iraqi elections this fall. Still, the rapidly improving conditions should allow U.S. commanders to make some welcome adjustments -- and it ought to mandate an already-overdue rethinking by the "this-war-is-lost" caucus in Washington, including Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).
Gen. David H. Petraeus signaled one adjustment in recent testimony to Congress, saying that he would probably recommend troop reductions in the fall going beyond the ongoing pullback of the five "surge" brigades deployed last year. Gen. Petraeus pointed out that attacks in Iraq hit a four-year low in mid-May and that Iraqi forces were finally taking the lead in combat and on multiple fronts at once -- something that was inconceivable a year ago. As a result the Iraqi government of Nouri al-Maliki now has "unparalleled" public support, as Gen. Petraeus put it, and U.S. casualties are dropping sharply. Eighteen American soldiers died in May, the lowest total of the war and an 86 percent drop from the 126 who died in May 2007.
If the positive trends continue, proponents of withdrawing most U.S. troops, such as Mr. Obama, might be able to responsibly carry out further pullouts next year. Still, the likely Democratic nominee needs a plan for Iraq based on sustaining an improving situation, rather than abandoning a failed enterprise. That will mean tying withdrawals to the evolution of the Iraqi army and government, rather than an arbitrary timetable; Iraq's 2009 elections will be crucial. It also should mean providing enough troops and air power to continue backing up Iraqi army operations such as those in Basra and Sadr City. When Mr. Obama floated his strategy for Iraq last year, the United States appeared doomed to defeat. Now he needs a plan for success.
Yips! to Ace.
*** Spot the quote.
UPDATE: Oh, I can't resist. (It was a bit of a gimme anyway...)
Gratuitous Earwig Posting
Driving out to Shrine Mont and back this weekend, we listened mostly to a CD of Schoolhouse Rock tunes. The result is that I've had several of them running through my head ever since. Because I'm such a generous guy, I'll pass along one of them to you:
Show of hands, please, for all of you who actually used these ditties to remember your grammar rules. (I certainly did.)
UPDATE: Oh, and for those of you wondering, we had a very nice time at Shrine Mont as we always do, and yes, Steve-O, I refrained from abusing Peter Lee's hospitality. And for the Catholic lurkers out there, I would note that Fr. Richardson at Our Lady of the Shenandoah just up the road served up one meeeaaan homily on "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven," a passage from the Gospel that has always given me the absolute willies.
Well, we had a little drama around Orgle Manor on Friday afternoon: The eldest Llama-ette, slipping and falling on the sports court at St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method, managed to fracture her wrist and had to be whisked off to the emergency room.
"But, Tom," regular readers are no doubt saying to yourselves, "Didn't she do that already a few months ago?"
No, that was her next youngest sister. Who of course became the latest expert on such medical matters when the eldest came home encasted. I've broken up many squabbles among the Llama-ettes, but this is the first time I've ever had to stop a spat over comparative wrist injuries.
The eldest is off to the orthopedist today to have a closer look taken at her wrist. Apparently, the fracture is quite small, but the E.R. folks thought it wise to put a cast on it to keep it from getting aggrivated by another shock.
I had expected the gel to play the martyr. However, after it was explained to her that her cast would certainly prevent her from going to diving practice for a couple weeks and would probably keep her out of the pool altogether for a while, she suddenly displayed the fortitude of that Roman who held his own hand in the fire in front of Lars Porsena just to show him a thing or two. In fact, she was downright indignant in her insistence this morning that nothing is wrong and that she doesn't need a cast anymore.
UPDATE: Good news. The doc was able to fit out the gel with a waterproof cast. Not only that, but she made it to diving practice this afternoon and was able to tough it out.
June 01, 2008
LMC blog quality control note
For some reason, the comment sections of several recent posts have been loaded with gibberish which includes links and all sorts of references to strange, unnatural, and often anatomically impossible things--forcing yours truly to clear out comments with a blowtorch. Just my luck, I am minding the store and rifling through the LLama fridge while Robbo is away, Gary is doing something productive, Steve-O is observing light blogging rules, and some nuts decide they are going to boost our traffic with porn references.