February 25, 2010

Random Commuter Observation

I've seen a car once or twice over the past week with personalized tags reading "FEMAILD".

I have yet to figure out what this is supposed to mean. The only explanations that come to mind are:

A. A lady mail-carrier (although surely that would be "FEMAILR").

B. A transsexual who can't spell.

C. A mail-order bride.

None of these seems especially plausible, but I'm stumped otherwise.

The world wonders.

Posted by Robert at 09:18 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

February 24, 2010

Storm of the Century of the Week Watch - "JUUUUST A Bit Outside!" Division

Here we go again:

The same storm that brought a gentle snowfall across Texas on Tuesday will reach the Northeast in the form of an atmospheric monster with damaging winds, blinding snow, torrential rain, huge waves and flooding.

In the hardest-hit areas, it will seem more like a "snowacane," as a mere blizzard may not adequately describe conditions of this soon-to-be powerful Nor'easter.


Wind gusts can reach 70 mph in some areas, just shy of hurricane force. Many locations in the mid-Atlantic and New England will endure gusts topping 50 mph at some point Thursday to Friday.

Winds of this strength will down trees and power lines. Expect flying debris ranging from trash cans to shingles. Significant property damage can occur.

Good luck with that, New England! Fortunately, they're only calling for 1-3 inches and a few gusts down Dee Cee way this time.

I, for one, am heartily glad, as I'm pretty sick and tired of all the snow.

As it happens, I'll be traveling out to the Desert Southwest on biznay next week. Think I'm going to enjoy a few days of sunny, 70 degree weather? Oh, you betcha!

Posted by Robert at 10:38 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 23, 2010

Happy Birthday To Good 'Ol Joe

Lieberman, that is.


My - that's right, my - U.S. Senator.

Driving the nutroots crazy since 2005. Soon to be the senior Senator from CT. And, if the GOP picks up 9 more seats in the Senate this Nov, Mitch McConnell's new best bud.

Posted by Gary at 08:12 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Big Dawgs

How has the human race survived the, ah, Frank-enstein menace so long without the ceaseless vigilance of the American Academy of Pediatrics?

They can build it. They have the technology. They have ... too much time on their hands?

The American Academy of Pediatrics says they're interested in designing a choke-proof hot-dog that won't be a hazard to children.

"If you were to design the perfect plug for a child's airway, you couldn't do much better than a hot dog," said Gary Smith, the policy's lead author and director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital, to news-medical.net.

In a policy statement, “Prevention of Choking Among Children,” the AAP recommends that food manufacturers “should design new food and redesign existing foods to avoid shapes, sizes, textures and other characteristics that increase choking risk to children."

The AAP also suggests more work be done to place warning labels on high risk foods in regard to choking.

Maybe I can save everybody a lot of trouble here. My own experience with the Llama-ettes is that any foodstuffs - from hot dogs to pizza to Cheerios to maccy-cheese to peanut butter to plain water - can pose a choking hazard when shoved by a young person into his or her gaping maw in sufficient volume and with sufficient force.

So perhaps it would make sense just to cut the corner and say flat out: Food is hazardous to your health.

UPDATE: James Taranto picked up on this item today in his Best of the Web. His comment on the headline "Pediatricians call for a choke-proof hot dog"?

"Too late for Peyton Manning."

Oh, ha ha ha ha ha!!!!

Posted by Robert at 09:58 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 22, 2010


Jeri Ryan, of course:

Flixster - Share Movies
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Random Commuter Observation - Bus-Stop Poster Division

I am sick and tired of Tim Burton.

I am sick and tired of Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter and the bloody Alice in Wonderland moovie hasn't even opened yet.

I am prepared to dislike this film very, very much.

That is all.

(No, actually, that is not all. I happened to see a trailer for the film the other day featuring a clip of Alice fighting the Jabberwock. It's been a long while since I read the book, yet I don't recall anything like this taking place, but that's beside the point. What irked me was that Alice looks like Eowyn. I am also very sick and tired of movies that pinch from LOTR.)

Posted by Robert at 12:53 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 20, 2010

Major Kong Rides Again?

Obamacare gets the reconsiliation code clearance.

Let's go to the videotape:

Posted by Robert at 10:02 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 19, 2010

Gratuitous Nats Posting (TM) - Spring Fevah Edition

Nats Hat.jpg

Pitchers and catchers report today. Woo-Hoo!

I've been following the off-season nooz about the Nats in a desultory way, well cognizant of the fact that I know absolutely nothing of the ins and outs of the drafts and trades. However, the general buzz in the trade press seems to be that the Nats did well and that fans should be cautiously optimistic. To wit:

Mark it down: The Nationals will not lose 100 games this year.

Here is why: The Nationals actually spent a lot of money in the offseason to improve pitching, hitting and defense. What more can you ask for? You add the new guys to a lineup of Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn and Nyjer Morgan, and 70 wins this season seems probable. Dunn will hit close to 40 home runs again, Zimmerman will improve on his career numbers from a year ago and Morgan should continue the major impact he had on offense and defense before he got hurt. Morgan could lead the majors in stolen bases, and fans can expect to see lots of diving grabs in center field.

The Nats signed a veteran ace to lead the staff in Jason Marquis. The former Colorado Rockies pitcher delivered double digit wins the past six seasons. Last year he went 15-13 with a 4.04 earned run average and threw 200 plus innings. Marquis is a solid starter who can take the pressure off John Lannan.

Second baseman Adam Kennedy gives the Nats a consistent hitter down in the lineup who can play great defense. The 34-year-old lefty hit .289 with 11 home runs, 63 RBIs and 20 stolen bases last year for the Athletics. Kennedy will likely hit sixth or seventh in the lineup.

Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez is the perfect catcher to help a young pitching staff. Pudge had a down year last season, hitting just .249, but you can't say he's done. He has a lifetime batting average of .299, one of the best ever for a catcher. Rodriguez is expected to play about 90 games Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told MASN's Ben Goessling. Rodriguez will platoon with Wil Nieves until Jesus Flores is fully healthy.

The Nats bullpen was the worst in Major League Baseball last year. This year, the team made several signings to turn things around. The team has several options for the closer role. Matt Capps is the front runner. He saved a career-high 27 games for Pittsburgh last year. If he can't do it, next in line is Brian Bruney, who came over from the Yankees. He had a combined 8-0 record and a 2.95 ERA in the last two seasons.

And don't forget Stephen Strasburg. He most likely won't start the season in the big leagues, but come June, expect to see the most talked about rookie in years. Strasburg has a 100 mph fastball. The $15 million player the Nats selected first overall in the amateur draft can hopefully live up to all the hype.

Nice summary, but still: All that to go from 59 wins last season to......70 this year? C'mon! I certainly think hope we can salvage more than 11 games with all these prospects.

We shall see. Opening day is April 5 at home against the Phils. Philadelphia Delenda Est!


Posted by Robert at 02:11 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Random Commuter Observation

I couldn't help noticing this past week the rayther unusual appearance of shoals of tourons in the streets of Your Nation's Capital. I call this unusual because the clogging of streets and subways by loud families and large groups of seedy-looking teenagers doesn't usually start for another month or six weeks. And it's especially unusual because the weather has been pretty raw and we still have large piles of snow all over the place.

Why are they here now, I asked myself.

Well, my self still doesn't know the answer, but I certainly hope that these people haven't all come in order to see the new exhibition of Ted Bundy's car at the Crime Museum.


Posted by Robert at 09:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 17, 2010

First Causes

I have not paid much attention to the Toyota accelerator kerfluffle, but I've been half expecting to see something like this come along:

(CNN) -- A preliminary report from a consulting firm hired to analyze Toyota and Lexus vehicles linked to unintended acceleration failed to find any problem with the carmaker's electronic throttle controls, Toyota announced Saturday.

Toyota said it had retained Exponent, an independent engineering and scientific consulting firm, to conduct the analysis of its vehicles that use the suspect Electronic Throttle Control System with intelligence.

"The interim report, dated February 4, 2010, notes that Exponent was unable to induce unintended acceleration in any of the ETCS-i equipped Toyota and Lexus vehicles it tested," the company said in a posting on its Web site. "In all cases, the vehicle either behaved normally or entered a fail-safe mode where engine power was significantly reduced or shut off."

Readers may remember the sudden acceleration problem that seemed to plague some Audi models back in the 80's. As Peej O'Rourke detailed in his Parliament of Whores, after a whoooooole lot of money was spent on recalls and lawsuits and guv'mint studies, in the end it seemed pretty plain that the actual cause of the problem was moron drivers.

I'm not saying there couldn't be something mechanically wrong with Toyota's cars now. I'm just saying that if I were a betting man, I'd plunk money on driver error as the more likely explanation of the incidents suddenly making the nooz.

Posted by Robert at 08:58 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

February 16, 2010

Happy Mardi Gras!


Yes, indeedy! What better way to go out with a whoop and a holler than knocking back some Big Fat Llama Merlot! Says the reviewer at this particular site:

This wine is absolutely terrible, horrible, awful. It was so disgusting that I couldn't finish the first glass... and I really, really tried.

Heh. That's what makes BFLL so perfect for this particular day - stagger into Ash Wednesday services first thing tomorrow morning suffering the after-effects and you'll feel ten times your regular level of penitential guilt.

Posted by Robert at 05:01 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 15, 2010

Stoopid Crap I Like

Super Villian Car Pool from Robot Chicken:

Super Villain Carpool
by MYM

Ha! Enjoy.

Posted by Gary at 10:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 14, 2010


My 25th reunion is coming at the end of April. A glance at the alma mater's website revealed this gem (the italics are mine):

Women's and Gender Studies Program

The Women's and Gender Studies program at Washington and Lee University offers students both the opportunity to complete a multi-disciplinary minor in feminist and gender studies and a stimulating co-curricular environment in which to develop as intellectual and community leaders. Founded in 2001, the WGS is a vibrant academic program that links the classroom with the world and offers the theoretical basis for activism and social change.

A demanding introductory course and disciplinary distribution requirements give all students a sound theoretical orientation to defining and articulating concepts and practices in Women's and Gender Studies, while diverse course offerings from professors in disciplines that range from psychology to English, from Romance languages to political science, philosophy to sociology and anthropology, make it easy for students to draw connections between their major fields of studies and the evolving work of gender scholars. Our faculty encourages students to see their studies as relevant to their everyday lives and important for understanding and responding to social justice issues. Students do just that--in a math student's investigation into why so few women study math in college, in a fraternity member's paper analyzing how his fraternity brothers' drinking habits shape male privilege, or in a missionary daughter's attempt to better understand how a feminist might read the Bible.

The flexible Women's and Gender Studies capstone requirement allows students to pursue their particular interests with the kind of intensity that turns classroom competence into an abiding passion.

Do you want to make audiences laugh with women's humor? Or challenge the ways in which media images invade our consciousness and control our bodies? Study women artists or find out how women changed history? Want to learn how we might get more diverse elected officials, and figure out why homophobia is still part of public policy? Or write a poem that moves its readers to action against sexist oppression? Join us. That's what we do

BTW: cost per year for undergraduates: $45,000.

SUPER-SECRET MESSAGE TO MONICA MINK: I distinctly recall the 1983 Founder's Day Convocation and its keynote speaker, the formitable head of the Department of English: Sidney M.B. Coulling (known to the faint of heart of my era as: "Sid Vicious"). His address was entitled simply: "Why Colleges Must Save Liberal Arts" and it was an unapologetic defense of a liberal arts education. He will be one of the featured speakers at the reunion and I would love to ask him what he must think of the latest trends. After being fueled by a sufficient amount of liquid courage, I might just do it.

Posted by LMC at 05:07 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack


This comes via the good folks at Hot Air and is an excellent dissection of an article written by what must be one of the most shallow women in America.

Posted by LMC at 04:26 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 13, 2010

Kennedy Era (1947 – 2011): RIP

With the sudden announcement (“Run away! Run away!") of Rep. Patrick Kennedy’s imminent retirement from the Congress in January, there will no longer be a Kennedy serving in a Federally elected office for the first time in 64 year.

The saga of the Kennedy family’s canonization as a staple in public service is now over. Old Joe Kennedy’s dream of the thousand year kingdom with his own brood installed as the de facto royal family of United States has run its course.

As this MSM-fueled fantasy wheezes out its last breaths, we can all take comfort in the fact that America, as a nation, has turned a corner. U.S. history is filled with surnames held by notable figures across many generations – Adams, Roosevelt, Taft, Lee, Harrison and Bush to name a few – but never has a family aura been so manufactured and maintained by its sympathizers in the media as the one that surrounded the Kennedys. It was an aura that played down so many character flaws and deficiencies and glossed over so many wrong-doings and even criminal acts.

In this age of available information and technology, it’s doubtful that a similar phenomenon could withstand even the mildest scrutiny. But back in the day when an individual’s (and a family’s) image could be crafted and controlled by a powerful few, America was sold a bill of goods on this clan. Camelot? Phooey!

Whether many of them asked for it or not, they all enjoyed the benefits – membership definitely had its privileges. And to some degree, it still does.

At least at this point, they’ll no longer be foisted upon us or our government.


Posted by Gary at 12:22 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Unclear On The Concept

more cowbell.png

Yesterday I found myself behind a car that had an Obama '08 bumper sticker port side aft, and a "More Cowbell" decal to starboard.

This puzzled me.

Perhaps the driver was a former supporter who had become disillusioned and was now indulging in some mockery. In that case, why not remove the Obama sticker?

Or perhaps the driver doesn't get the joke and believes that we really do need more Obama cowbell.

Now that's a scary thought.

Investigative Yips! from Gary:
Robbo, I seem to recall a recent meme bouncing around NRO's The Corner (probably started by Jonah Goldberg) the equated "more Cowbell" in the Obama Administration with continued speeches, statements and public appearances by Captain Fantastic. It's as if, in the face of dwindling support, Rahm Emmanuel is saying "Guess what? I got a fevah! And the only prescription is more Obama!"

In other words, just like the Bruce Dickinson, the White House sees more Obama (i.e. more Cowbell) as the solution to everything and everyone else just doesn't get it.

I checked the website associated with the graphic and it looks like it specializes in lampooning the socialistic mentality of our new overlords.

Unfortunately, those of us not in on the joke are left scratching our heads.

Yips! Back From Robbo: Oh, I agree with the G-Man (although I think Ace might have beat him to the punch) that there are those like Rahm who think that way. But what puzzles me is why those people would embrace the actual "more cowbell" phrase. After all, it's mockery. (See here for the reference, Mom.) Which leads me back to my original posits that the driver I spotted was either disgruntled or clueless. (I suppose there is a third possibility - that The One's supporters might be trying to co-opt the phrase in a gesture of hip irony, but that seems a bit of a stretch to me, even for these people.)

Posted by Robert at 09:17 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 11, 2010

Ships Leaving The Sinking Rats

This is Valentine's Day weekend?

Tomorrow morning, Mrs. Robbo and Mrs. LMC are off for a long weekend down South in the sun, leaving self and the LMC (in his case, literally), holding the baby, there to celebrate Mrs. LMC's 40th next 29th birthday.

At the moment, Mrs. R is busily putting together a schedule of places various Llama-ettes need to be and the times they need to be there over the next four days that makes Overlord look like an impromptu jaunt.

Now in truth I am not really a-tall resentful at being left this way, especially as we've been promised hot tub photos. At the same time, I think I may apply Occam's Razor to Mrs. R's arrangements by ripping up the schedule and announcing to the Llama-ettes that, other than when I drag the lot of them off to Mass with me, they may watch teevee and play Wii until their eyes bubble, and if they get hungry there's bags of chips and boxes of twinkies out in the kitchen and they can help themselves.

Posted by Robert at 07:54 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 10, 2010


the Cake-eater, of course. She shut down her blog at the end of November and I have been meaning to write something. She was an invaluable help for me in my early days of mooching off Robbo's blog when he left the keys to the place while he took the LLama-ettes to see Der Mouse.

Good luck and safe travels.

Posted by LMC at 09:05 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


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Charlie Wilson, RIP

Via Fox. The former Texas congressman whose efforts on behalf of Afghan freedom fighters was dramatized in the film: Charlie Wilson's War.

Posted by LMC at 08:55 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 08, 2010

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It - Wait A Minute, Can We Stop For A While?

Here we go again:

... Winter Storm Watch now in effect from Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday evening...

The Winter Storm Watch is now in effect from Tuesday afternoon
through Wednesday evening.

* Precipitation type... snow.

* Accumulations... potential for 8 or more inches of snow. There is
a good likelihood of snow in excess of 10 inches.

* Timing... mid to late afternoon Tuesday through Wednesday.

This is on top of the nearly two feet on the ground already.

I confess that I'm getting quite sick of it all.

Remind me of this, please, when I'm griping about the heat and humidity come summah.

UPDATE: Sweet baybee Jaysus!

... Winter Storm Warning in effect from noon Tuesday to 7 PM EST Wednesday...

The National Weather Service in Sterling Virginia has issued a
Winter Storm Warning for... which is in effect from noon Tuesday
to 7 PM EST Wednesday. The Winter Storm Watch is no longer in

* Precipitation type... snow.

* Accumulations... 10 to 20 inches.

* Timing... mid-afternoon Tuesday through Wednesday.

* Temperatures... temperatures near freezing at the onset Tuesday
afternoon. Temperatures will drop into the upper 20s Tuesday
night and Wednesday.

* Winds... light southeasterly winds Tuesday becoming
northwesterly 15 to 25 mph Wednesday.

I positively guarantee that this means the power will go out again. Although I am all for the great Commonwealth of Virginny in most things, the fact of the matter is that Virginia Power's grid does not seem to have been upgraded since Reconstruction.

Mrs. Robbo is already making noise about checking into a hotel.

Posted by Robert at 02:22 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Random Supper Bowl Thoughts

Well, the Llama-ettes and I sat down with our traditional big ol' bowls o' nachos and watched the game last evening.

First off, congratulations to 'Awlins. At the end of the 1st quarter when they had stalled out, I said to the gels that the game was pretty much over, figuring Manning & Co. would simply wear the Saints down. This is why I'll never retire on NFL picks. The Saints' rally and gradual domination of the game was a truly first rate effort and they more than deserve their triumph.

I don't know which was more painful to hear, Queen Latifa murdering "America" or Carrie Underwood butchering the National Anthem (including her spectacularly false final note).

Coo-el lighting for The Who's half-time show. However, the gels simply couldn't understand why we were listening to a band that's been around for almost 50 years now.

As to the commercials, I thought that Audi "Green Police" one pretty damn funny. I also simply couldn't understand all the fuss over the Tenbow pro-life one. I probably wouldn't even have noticed it had it not been for the undies-wringing in the press the last few days. Actually, I thought the Doritos one with the little boy telling the date to keep his hands off the boy's mama was far more touching in a sneaky way - how horrid (but true) it is that the kid has no dad around and that he's savvy enough to know why the date is eyeing his mom that way. Also, although I've never actually seen the show, I'm assuming that the people in that Bud spoof of "Lost" were the actual actors from the program. Finally, I thought the Simpsons/Coke ad was immensely stupid. Somebody take that horse round back and shoot it, please.

Posted by Robert at 02:19 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 07, 2010

Because I Have A Thing For Brunettes

Clips of Sarah at the Tea Party convention mixed with Batman. Via Hot Air.

Posted by LMC at 05:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Storm of the Century of the Century: The Llamas Are Alright Update


It's a very white world in the Mid-Atlantic today, where the historic blizzard of 2010 has buried residents under a record-breaking two to three feet of snow. The storm, which President Obama referred to as "Snowmageddon" in a speech before the Democratic National Committee winter meeting, set the all-time record for heaviest snowfall in Delaware history, thanks to the 26.5" that fell in Wilmington (old state record: 25" in the President's Day storm of 2003). "Snowmageddon" dumped the second heaviest at Philadelphia 28.5"), second heaviest at Atlantic City (18.2"), third heaviest at Baltimore (24.8"), and the 4th heaviest at Washington D.C. (17.8"). Several locations in Maryland have seen over three feet of snow, with the northern Washington D.C. suburb of Colesville receiving 40", and the southern Baltimore suburb of Elkridge receiving 38.3". While the blizzard was not an exceptionally strong storm--the central pressure was a rather unimpressive 986 mb at the height of the blizzard, at 9am EST Saturday--it was an exceptionally wet storm. The melted equivalent precipitation for the blizzard exceeded three inches along its core snow belt. That's an phenomenal amount of moisture for a winter storm. The blizzard formed a very unstable region aloft where thunderstorms were able to build, and there were many reports of thundersnow during the height of the storm. These embedded thunderstorms were able to generate very heavy snow bursts of 2 - 3 inches per hour.

Well that was fun! Power went out around midnight Friday night and did not come back on until last evening. Saturday was a very. long. day. However, no furniture was destroyed and no felines were consumed in our efforts to tough it out.

I measured 22 inches at the near end of the Orgle Manor driveway this morning. After bashing at it for a bit, I realized that I would be all day clearing it and would probably put myself in traction as well. As a result, I finally relented and agreed to Mrs. Robbo's suggestion that we hire somebody to come in and plow us out.

Guess what's in the forecast for Tuesday night and Wednesday? (Hint: It's not a record-breaking heat spell.)

Posted by Robert at 10:50 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 06, 2010

BSG meets The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

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CAPRICA's depictation of human society is depressing because there are few sympathetic characters: Adama's father is a mob lawyer who bribes judges, his gay uncle is a mob enforcer with the requisite same-sex spouse; Caprican society includes "group marriage" where there is little sense of fidelity, even to those in the group, Zoe gets blown up in a terrorist attack but reappears thanks to her AI avatar which is loaded into a robot with a scrolling red eye, Zoe's father is an evil defense contractor who uses Father Adama's mob connections to steal secrets from a competitor, and the monotheists are viewed as likely security threats. I give it a few more episodes before the plug is pulled.

Posted by LMC at 12:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Flash traffic from Robbo's bride to mine here at the post headquarters (located, of course, amidst the vast real estate holdings which comprise Fort LMC): Orgle Manor is out of power thanks to the storm of epic proportions which is pounding Our Nation's Capitol. Accordingly, I am reluctantly forced to undertake certain temporary, emergency measures until this event has passed--please remain calm and in your homes. Official bulletins will update you as we receive pertinent information. We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

UPDATE: The Butcher's Wife checked in and reports power has been restored--the sideboard is safe from being burned in the fireplace and the cats do not need to worry about an encounter with the grill.

Posted by LMC at 12:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 05, 2010

Storm Of The Century Of The Day Update

Oh, Lordy Mama.....We are gonna diiiiieeeeee!!!!!!!!

Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until 10 PM EST Saturday...

A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until 10 PM EST

* Precipitation type... heavy snow.

* Accumulations... storm total accumulations of 20 to 28 inches.

* Timing... snow will begin mid-morning... and will continue through
Saturday evening. Conditions will deteriorate rapidly this
afternoon... with heaviest snowfall occurring from sunset through
Saturday morning. The most hazardous conditions will occur

* Visibilities... the combination of heavy snow and strong winds
will reduce visibilities to below one-quarter mile... producing
near-blizzard conditions tonight through Saturday morning.

* Temperatures... highs in the lower 30s today. Temperatures will
be in the mid to upper 20s tonight and Saturday.

* Winds... becoming northeast 10 to 20 mph today with gusts to 30
mph tonight and Saturday.

To date, nearly all the snow we've had (including last December's blizzard) has been pretty dry and powdery. Word is that this batch is going to be wet and heavy.

Assuming an almost inevitable loss of power, we already have plans in place for burning the sideboard and eating the cats, if necessary.

Posted by Robert at 10:08 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Clash Of The Titans

Here's a question to make the ganglia twitch on this snow-blown Friday: Who would win a fight between ManBearPig and Demon Sheep?

I know I'd buy tickets to see it either way.

Posted by Robert at 08:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 04, 2010


The debate is rightly one which must play out in the political arena in light of existing law and the President's desire to change it. The fundamental question to be answered is not whether the present policy is morally right; it is at best an imperfect solution to a sticky problem but such is the nature of any compromise to a politically divisive issue. The real question is what impact that changing the present policy will have on good order and discipline and the military's primary mission: to fight and win the Nation's wars. Somewhere deep in the pages of the opinions of the Supreme Court is the observation that an Army by its nature cannot embody all of the attributes of the free society it protects. One is dedicated to equality and liberty, the other to victory. From my standpoint as an infantry officer who has served on active duty and in the Army Reserve, in peace and in combat, these are the considerations which must be weighed:
1. Soldiers are not bigots or homophobes but what impact, if any, will there be in how the troops interact with one another? The average age of most units is around 19, the age when the hormones of young men and women are running hot. Commanders and senior NCOs in units with men and women have to contend with the normal social interaction between the sexes, including infatuation, heartache, and jealously between unit members--none of which are conducive to good order and discipline. Adding gays to the mix does not improve the situation and only complicates it. Infantry, armor, and cavalry units are largely free of these concerns, except to the extent these combat arms soldiers are attracted to women in adjacent gender-integrated units. Adding gays to their ranks will only add another dynamic for combat arms commanders to juggle.
2. As necessary, units provide separate billeting for men and women, NCOs, and officers where possible, providing some small measure of privacy. (Unlike "Starship Troopers," there are no co-ed showers.) Adding gays to mix will only complicate matters. For example, will first sergeants now have to take into account separating the straights from the gays? While the gays may not object to having a straight roommate or roommates, what about the straights? Is it unreasonable for straights to object to sharing quarters with someone who is predisposed to be attracted to members of their own sex?

3. Will servicemen who object to accommodating gays for their own moral or religious reasons in billeting be subject to pressure, overt or otherwise, for not being sufficiently committed to equal opportunity? (EO is a graded area on evaluation reports of officers and NCOs alike. An adverse comment in that area or a "founded" EO complaint can be the kiss of death to one's career.) Will the present debate permit officers and NCOs to present arguments as to why the present policy should be maintained without threat to their careers?
4. Homosexual men are one of the two groups most susceptible to HIV/AIDS, a disease which is fatal if left untreated (the other is intravenous drug users). In fact, the American Red Cross prohibits blood donation by any man who has had sex with another man since 1977 ("even once" as the Red Cross literature puts it). Why is it permissible for that matter, for the Red Cross to "profile" gay men in this way and the military cannot, especially when considering what is at stake? Granted, advances in treatment have permitted many infected patients to live many years virtually symptom-free but it is at best, a chronic, incurable disease which is expensive to treat. Moreover, HIV/AIDS is spread by contact with infected bodily fluids and war can be, if nothing else, a bloody business. Will the military medical system bear the cost of an inevitable increase in its HIV/AIDS patient load? What about the added risk, however small, infecting soldiers with HIV/AIDS through contact with infected bodily fluids? Is changing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, worth the additional risk of infection, however small, to non-infected soldiers, straight or gay?
5. What will be the cost of dropping the policy as measured in personnel turnover, costs incurred for separate billeting accommodations, the burden of treating HIV/AIDS patients, and the like? Will it be balanced by savings associated with gays staying in the service that would have otherwise left? If there is a net cost, what will be the equivalent amount of equipment and material that the military will have to forego in order to institute the policy (ships, aircraft, tanks, trucks, ammunition)? Let's say it will cost $1.5 billion to implement--is ending "don't ask, don't tell" worth an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer or the equivalent in Army Brigade Combat Teams?
6. If gays are allowed to serve openly, what about their "partners"? Won't their arguments be that they should be allowed dependant's benefits because they are "functionally" the equivalent of spouses? What about the federal Defense of Marriage Act? Will it have to be changed as well? If the unmarried "partners" of gay servicemen are treated as dependants, what about the shack-ups of servicemen, stratight or gay, can't they claim the same treatment based on "equity"?
7. The enemy gets a vote. What impact, if any, will ending "don't ask, don't tell" have on our enemies' commitment to fight? We are at war with the products of militant Islamic cultures. Will the enemy fight harder and be less willing to surrender, if they know they might be fighting gays?

Posted by LMC at 09:51 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Puppy Cam!

If your heart doesn't melt over these fluffy little buggers, then you don't have one.

Video streaming by Ustream

Tip from Ace.

Posted by Gary at 09:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Storm Of The Century Of The Week Day Watch

We've had two snow storms this week already here in Your Nation's Capital, one on Saturday and one Tuesday night. The forecast folks low-balled the amounts we would get from each of them. While they initially predicted around an inch or so, we wound up getting 4 or 5 inches out of each one.

Well, lo and behold, we've got yet another one coming in tomorrow. This time the O-fficial weather critters seem to be letting their hair down a bit more:

Winter Storm Watch remains in effect from Friday morning
through Saturday evening.

* Precipitation type... snow.

* Accumulations... this storm is likely to produce 12 or more
inches of snow in the watch area... with a good chance for
localized amounts over 20 inches.

* Timing... snow is expected to begin late morning Friday...
continuing through Saturday evening.

The folks on the radio are also predicting this one will be bigger than the blizzard that hit us back in mid-December.

Further, Jim Cantore was practically swallowing his tongue on TWC last evening while making ominous predictions about another four or five systems lining up way out west that may hit us over the next couple of weeks.

Yup, this is the snowiest winter I can remember here for a long time. Personally, I blame AlGore.

UPDATE: Alright! Now we're really getting into the swing of things:

* Precipitation type... heavy snow.

* Accumulations... storm total accumulations of 16 to 24 inches.

* Timing... snow will begin mid-morning Friday... and will continue
through Saturday evening. Conditions will deteriorate rapidly
Friday afternoon... with heaviest snowfall occurring between
sunset Friday to sunrise Saturday. The most hazardous winter
weather conditions will occur Friday night... when the
combination of heavy snow and strong winds will reduce
visibilities to below one-quarter mile... producing near-blizzard

Run for your lives!

UPDATE DEUX: Too late!

* Precipitation type... heavy snow.

* Accumulations... storm total accumulations of 18 to 24 inches.

* Timing... snow will begin mid-morning Friday... and will continue
through Saturday evening. Conditions will deteriorate rapidly
Friday afternoon... with heaviest snowfall occurring between
sunset Friday to sunrise Saturday. The most hazardous winter
weather conditions will occur Friday night.

* Visibilities... the combination of heavy snow and strong winds
will reduce visibilities to below one-quarter mile... producing
near-blizzard conditions at times Friday night and early
Saturday morning.

* Temperatures... highs in the lower 30s Friday. Temperatures will
be in the mid to upper 20s Friday night and Saturday.

* Winds... becoming northeast 10 to 20 mph Friday with gusts to
30 mph Friday night and Saturday.

Precautionary/preparedness actions...

Conditions in this storm are expected to be comparable to those
in the storm of 19 December. Plan for substantial disruptions to
travel Friday afternoon through the weekend.



Aaaaaaaah!!!! Why, Snow-Miser? WHHHHHYYYYYYYYYY????????

(Frozen Yips! to Oahu Mike.)

Posted by Robert at 04:44 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Playing Catch-Up

The great Commonwealth of Virginny takes one step closer to recognizing reality.

The Virginia House and Senate moved Tuesday to raise the maximum interstate speed limit from 65 to 70 miles per hour, passing a measure backed by Gov. Bob McDonnell to speed traffic on wide-open stretches of highway.

The identical bills passed by wide margins in both chambers. Proponents argued the change would result in shorter travel times for motorists, with many roads already designed to safely handle greater speeds. Officials expect the higher limit — part of McDonnell's transportation plan — to apply to rural sections of interstates and not in the traffic-choked corridors of Northern Virginia. Each proposed increase would require a Virginia Department of Transportation engineering study before being put in place.

Critics said the change would hurt gas mileage, make roads more dangerous and do nothing to address Virginia's transportation funding crisis. Others took a wait-and-see approach. AAA Mid-Atlantic is "of two minds" on the legislation, said spokesman Lon Anderson. "We know people want to speed, speeding is popular, nobody wants to do 60, 65 if they can do 70," Anderson said. "That said, we have so many people on the road, and we have so many distractions on the road, the question becomes, Will higher speed limits translate into more fatalities and make the roads more dangerous?"

The governor called the legislation an "important proposal to speed up traffic in rural and less populated sections of Virginia."

State Sen. Creigh Deeds — McDonnell's opponent in the 2009 election — for the second straight day delivered a fiery floor speech criticizing GOP legislation.

"This is one more bill that does nothing to fix the problems we have," Deeds said. The higher speed limit could result in more reckless-driving arrests, which can still be triggered by driving more than 80 mph. That leaves speeders with a smaller window between a simple traffic ticket and a far more serious charge.

The truth of the matter is that traveling the highways of the Old Dominion at 65 mph is an invitation to get rear-ended. The average speed on I-95 is already somewhere between 75 and 80 mph. (Ditto for I-81, with the added possibility of getting a logging truck up your tailpipe if you dawdle.)

Indeed, one of the famous South of the Border billboards that has always tickled me says, "No, Virginia, 95 Is Not The Speed Limit!"

Posted by Robert at 10:01 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 03, 2010

Super Bowl Ads

Bad Cheetah:

Posted by LMC at 09:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 01, 2010

Gratuitous Supper Bowl Observation

(Yes, "Supper" Bowl. For the past few years now, the Llama-ettes have taken the Super Bowl Sunday cooking in hand, preparing big dishes of over-stuffed nachos, which we all eat while watching the game.)

I'm having a hard time trying to decide about this year's match-up. On the one hand, while I sorta, kinda like the Colts, I think Peyton Manning is an arrogant jerk. On the other, while I know a lot of the country will be rooting for New Awlins - first appearance in the S.B., post-Katrina comeback, etc., etc. - well, I just really can't get very excited about them.

UPDATE: I see my remarks about Peyton Manning have caused a bit of comment. Actually, it's nothing more than a gut feeling. I don't get that much exposure to Manning, so perhaps I'm mistaken in my assessment. And as a long time fan of Dan "Laces Out!" Marino, perhaps I should be more careful about judging other sooperstar QB's. (Except Tom Brady, who we all know is the devil's spawn.)

Posted by Robert at 04:48 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Grammy Observation

I see from the "entertainment" nooz this morning that Beyonce and Taylor Swift racked up a considerable number of awards between them last evening at the Grammies.

I do not believe I have ever heard a single song of Beyonce's. (BTW, is it "Be-YONS" or "Be-yon-SAY"?) Pop music is a world with which I have almost literally no contact whatsoever.

And as for Taylor Swift, she'd better not ever show up at Orgle Manor, as the Llama-ettes positively loathe her for crossing over from country to pop. (One of my few achievements as a father has been to teach the gels the difference between real country (e.g., Alan Jackson, George Strait, Randy Travis), and bogus pop-country (e.g. Rascal Flatts).)

Posted by Robert at 09:42 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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