May 30, 2010


To ponder on this Memorial Day weekend . . .

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met here on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But in a larger sense we can not dedicate - we can not consecrate - we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled, here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but can never forget what they did here.

It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have, thus far, so nobly carried on. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Posted by LMC at 10:52 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 28, 2010

"Storm of the Century of the Summah" Watch

A couple posts below I noted that Virginia is currently in the midst of its hurricane preparedness sales tax holiday and that the LMC ought to get himself down to Wal-Mart post haste.

Well, I thought I should repeat that advice, because according to NOAA, we're all a-gonna die this year!

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Atlantic storm season could produce as many as 14 hurricanes this year, the U.S. government's top climate agency predicted on Thursday, setting the scene for potentially the most intense season since 2005.

In its first forecast for the storm season that begins next Tuesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecast 14 to 23 named storms, with 8 to 14 developing into hurricanes, making it one of the most active ever.

Three to 7 of those could be major Category 3 or above hurricanes, with winds of more than 110 miles per hour (177 km per hour), the agency said, echoing earlier predictions from meteorologists for a particularly severe season.

I recommend that everyone within a hundred miles of the Gulf or Atlantic coasts go get a life-jacket and put it on right now. Do NOT take it off until Thanksgiving!

Posted by Robert at 02:37 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Random Commuter Observations

Two things overheard on the metro today.

First, I heard someone referring to Baltimore as "B-more." Is this a common usage? I've heard "Bal'mer" many times, but this was a first for me.

Second, I overheard two young ladies, evidently strangers, strike up a conversation. It started out with one complimenting the other's purse. Within thirty seconds, the one with the purse was giving detailed information about her hair-dye and a weight-loss operation.

Does no one understand the concept of discretion anymore?

Posted by Robert at 08:16 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 26, 2010

Something is Rotten in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Check this out from Hot Air and the American Spectator. Rep. Sestak was allegedly offered the positon of Secretary of the Navy to drop out of the Dem Senate primary. Such an offer would be a felony.

Posted by LMC at 09:15 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Duty, Honor, Country

Douglas MacArthur's Farewell Address at West Point:

General Westmoreland, General Groves, distinguished guests, and gentlemen of the Corps. As I was leaving the hotel this morning, a doorman asked me, "Where are you bound for, General?" and when I replied, "West Point," he remarked, "Beautiful place, have you ever been there before?"

No human being could fail to be deeply moved by such a tribute as this, coming from a profession I have served so long and a people I have loved so well. It fills me with an emotion I cannot express. But this award is not intended primarily for a personality, but to symbolize a great moral code - the code of conduct and chivalry of those who guard this beloved land of culture and ancient descent. That is the meaning of this medallion. For all eyes and for all time, it is an expression of the ethics of the American soldier. That I should be integrated in this way with so noble an ideal arouses a sense of pride and yet of humility which will be with me always.

Duty, Honor, Country: Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying points: to build courage when courage seems to fail; to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith; to create hope when hope becomes forlorn. Unhappily, I possess neither that eloquence of diction, that poetry of imagination, nor that brilliance of metaphor to tell you all that they mean.

The unbelievers will say they are but words, but a slogan, but a flamboyant phrase. Every pedant, every demagogue, every cynic, every hypocrite, every troublemaker, and, I am sorry to say, some others of an entirely different character, will try to downgrade them even to the extent of mockery and ridicule.

But these are some of the things they do. They build your basic character. They mold you for your future roles as the custodians of the nation's defense. They make you strong enough to know when you are weak, and brave enough to face yourself when you are afraid.

They teach you to be proud and unbending in honest failure, but humble and gentle in success; not to substitute words for action; not to seek the path of comfort, but to face the stress and spur of difficulty and challenge; to learn to stand up in the storm, but to have compassion on those who fall; to master yourself before you seek to master others; to have a heart that is clean, a goal that is high; to learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; to reach into the future, yet never neglect the past; to be serious, yet never take yourself too seriously; to be modest so that you will remember the simplicity of true greatness; the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.

They give you a temperate will, a quality of imagination, a vigor of the emotions, a freshness of the deep springs of life, a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, an appetite for adventure over love of ease. They create in your heart the sense of wonder, the unfailing hope of what next, and the joy and inspiration of life. They teach you in this way to be an officer and a gentleman.

And what sort of soldiers are those you are to lead? Are they reliable? Are they brave? Are they capable of victory?

Their story is known to all of you. It is the story of the American man at arms. My estimate of him was formed on the battlefields many, many years ago, and has never changed. I regarded him then, as I regard him now, as one of the world's noblest figures; not only as one of the finest military characters, but also as one of the most stainless.

His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give. He needs no eulogy from me, or from any other man. He has written his own history and written it in red on his enemy's breast.

But when I think of his patience under adversity, of his courage under fire, and of his modesty in victory, I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words. He belongs to history as furnishing one of the greatest examples of successful patriotism. He belongs to posterity as the instructor of future generations in the principles of liberty and freedom. He belongs to the present, to us, by his virtues and by his achievements.

In twenty campaigns, on a hundred battlefields, around a thousand campfires, I have witnessed that enduring fortitude, that patriotic self-abnegation, and that invincible determination which have carved his statue in the hearts of his people.

From one end of the world to the other, he has drained deep the chalice of courage. As I listened to those songs of the glee club, in memory's eye I could see those staggering columns of the First World War, bending under soggy packs on many a weary march, from dripping dusk to drizzling dawn, slogging ankle deep through mire of shell-pocked roads; to form grimly for the attack, blue-lipped, covered with sludge and mud, chilled by the wind and rain, driving home to their objective, and for many, to the judgment seat of God.

I do not know the dignity of their birth, but I do know the glory of their death. They died unquestioning, uncomplaining, with faith in their hearts, and on their lips the hope that we would go on to victory. Always for them: Duty, Honor, Country. Always their blood, and sweat, and tears, as they saw the way and the light.

And twenty years after, on the other side of the globe, against the filth of dirty foxholes, the stench of ghostly trenches, the slime of dripping dugouts, those boiling suns of the relentless heat, those torrential rains of devastating storms, the loneliness and utter desolation of jungle trails, the bitterness of long separation of those they loved and cherished, the deadly pestilence of tropic disease, the horror of stricken areas of war.

Their resolute and determined defense, their swift and sure attack, their indomitable purpose, their complete and decisive victory - always victory, always through the bloody haze of their last reverberating shot, the vision of gaunt, ghastly men, reverently following your password of Duty, Honor, Country.

The code which those words perpetuate embraces the highest moral laws and will stand the test of any ethics or philosophies ever promulgated for the uplift of mankind. Its requirements are for the things that are right, and its restraints are from the things that are wrong. The soldier, above all other men, is required to practice the greatest act of religious training - sacrifice. In battle and in the face of danger and death, he discloses those divine attributes which his Maker gave when he created man in his own image. No physical courage and no brute instinct can take the place of the Divine help which alone can sustain him. However horrible the incidents of war may be, the soldier who is called upon to offer and to give his life for his country, is the noblest development of mankind.

You now face a new world, a world of change. The thrust into outer space of the satellite, spheres and missiles marked the beginning of another epoch in the long story of mankind - the chapter of the space age. In the five or more billions of years the scientists tell us it has taken to form the earth, in the three or more billion years of development of the human race, there has never been a greater, a more abrupt or staggering evolution. We deal now not with things of this world alone, but with the illimitable distances and as yet unfathomed mysteries of the universe. We are reaching out for a new and boundless frontier. We speak in strange terms: of harnessing the cosmic energy; of making winds and tides work for us; of creating unheard synthetic materials to supplement or even replace our old standard basics; of purifying sea water for our drink; of mining ocean floors for new fields of wealth and food; of disease preventatives to expand life into the hundred of years; of controlling the weather for a more equitable distribution of heat and cold, of rain and shine; of space ships to the moon; of the primary target in war, no longer limited to the armed forces of an enemy, but instead to include his civil populations; of ultimate conflict between a united human race and the sinister forces of some other planetary galaxy; of such dreams and fantasies as to make life the most exciting of all time.

And through all this welter of change and development your mission remains fixed, determined, inviolable. It is to win our wars. Everything else in your professional career is but corollary to this vital dedication. All other public purpose, all other public projects, all other public needs, great or small, will find others for their accomplishments; but you are the ones who are trained to fight.

Yours is the profession of arms, the will to win, the sure knowledge that in war there is no substitute for victory, that if you lose, the Nation will be destroyed, that the very obsession of your public service must be Duty, Honor, Country.

Others will debate the controversial issues, national and international, which divide men's minds. But serene, calm, aloof, you stand as the Nation's war guardians, as its lifeguards from the raging tides of international conflict, as its gladiators in the arena of battle. For a century and a half you have defended, guarded and protected its hallowed traditions of liberty and freedom, of right and justice.

Let civilian voices argue the merits or demerits of our processes of government. Whether our strength is being sapped by deficit financing indulged in too long, by federal paternalism grown too mighty, by power groups grown too arrogant, by politics grown too corrupt, by crime grown too rampant, by morals grown too low, by taxes grown too high, by extremists grown too violent; whether our personal liberties are as firm and complete as they should be.

These great national problems are not for your professional participation or military solution. Your guidepost stands out like a tenfold beacon in the night: Duty, Honor, Country.

You are the leaven which binds together the entire fabric of our national system of defense. From your ranks come the great captains who hold the Nation's destiny in their hands the moment the war tocsin sounds.

The long gray line has never failed us. Were you to do so, a million ghosts in olive drab, in brown khaki, in blue and gray, would rise from their white crosses, thundering those magic words: Duty, Honor, Country.

This does not mean that you are warmongers. On the contrary, the soldier above all other people prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. But always in our ears ring the ominous words of Plato, that wisest of all philosophers: "Only the dead have seen the end of war."

The shadows are lengthening for me. The twilight is here. My days of old have vanished - tone and tints. They have gone glimmering through the dreams of things that were. Their memory is one of wondrous beauty, watered by tears and coaxed and caressed by the smiles of yesterday. I listen then, but with thirsty ear, for the witching melody of faint bugles blowing reveille, of far drums beating the long roll.

In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield. But in the evening of my memory I come back to West Point. Always there echoes and re-echoes: Duty, Honor, Country.

Today marks my final roll call with you. But I want you to know that when I cross the river, my last conscious thoughts will be of the Corps, and the Corps, and the Corps.

I bid you farewell.

Posted by LMC at 07:50 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Nice Work, If You Can Get It

Tony Blair to earn millions as climate change adviser:

Tony Blair is set to earn millions of pounds advising an American businessman on how to make money from tackling climate change.

Step One - Get yourself a cushy job "advising" businessmen on how to make money from tackling climate change.

Step Two - Profit!

Dayum, I wish I'd got in on that racket earlier! Bubble's too big now, and I reckon it's gonna burst soon enough.

Posted by Robert at 02:58 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Those Darn Cats!

The Tasty Bits (TM) Mail Sack is full to overflowing with letters like the one that reads, "Dear Tom - What did you think of the finale of Lost?"

Well, the truth of the matter is that I have no opinion, simply because I didn't see it. Or the episode before. Or the one before that. And so on, right back to the very beginning.

Howsomever, the fact that I know nothing about it isn't going to stop me from posting this:

I expect those of you who did watch the series will appreciate it.

Posted by Robert at 01:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Semper Preparatus

I don't for a minute believe that the LMC doesn't already have the base defenses at the vast yet secure real estate holding known as Fort LMC in tip-top condition, ready for any kind of disaster, be it natural, civil or military. However, if he's still short a couple flashlight batteries and some generator diesel and duct tape, or even if he isn't, now's the time to cowboy up:

From May 25 to 31, the state of Virginia is offering residents a break on sales tax. By law, you can purchase anything from battery-powered flashlights to a $1,000 portable generator and receive a tax break at the counter.

Among the items on the list: auto, boat, cell phone or house batteries; tarps; bungee cords or rope; tie-down kits or ground anchor systems; duct tape; smoke detectors and fire extinguishers; bottled water; manual can openers; battery-powered radios; cell phone chargers; first aid kits and more.

The small item list includes a price cap of $60. The large ticket item list includes a price cap of $1,000. Consumers can use manufacturer's coupons to reach the price cap.

Here's the link to the Great Commonwealth's Department of Taxation Hurricane Holiday page, where you can view the complete list in .pdf format. It almost makes one think that God created hurricane season just to give guys an excuse to hit Wal-Mart at the end of May. The only things I don't see that would make the list absolutely complete are rum and charcoal.

Posted by Robert at 11:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Drawing The Battle Lines

Arthur Brooks in today's Pravda on the Potomac:

America faces a new culture war.

This is not the culture war of the 1990s. It is not a fight over guns, gays or abortion. Those old battles have been eclipsed by a new struggle between two competing visions of the country's future. In one, America will continue to be an exceptional nation organized around the principles of free enterprise -- limited government, a reliance on entrepreneurship and rewards determined by market forces. In the other, America will move toward European-style statism grounded in expanding bureaucracies, a managed economy and large-scale income redistribution. These visions are not reconcilable. We must choose.

Read the whole thing. Brooks makes some good points about the moral grounding of the free enterprise system - quoting Jefferson and Franklin (but not Adam Smith, for some reason) - that I agree ought to be spoken of more often. This is not a fight between greed and virtue, nor should it be allowed to be caricatured as one.

Posted by Robert at 07:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 25, 2010

Sarah Palin's Media Stalker

Joe Maginess is stalking Sarah Palin, according to Hot Air.

Posted by LMC at 08:20 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Feed Me

Kitchen Nannies: "Whaddaya mean, you still want the Hungry Hoss Special?"

(Reuters) - Laws requiring U.S. restaurant chains to list calorie counts have not stopped them from offering unhealthy meals that pack in calories, fat and salt, a group that encourages healthy food said on Tuesday.

A pancake breakfast providing 1,380 calories, a single-serve pizza that packs two days' worth of sodium and a pasta dish swimming in four day's worth of fat top a list published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

The group, which "outs" the calorie, fat and sodium counts of America's favorite foods every year, said it looked for evidence that restaurants are trimming back their offerings in the face of new laws and political pressure.

They found little.

"One might think that chains like Outback Steakhouse and The Cheesecake Factory might want to lighten up their meals now that calories will be required on their menus, courtesy of the health care reform law signed in March," Michael Jacobson, executive director of the non-profit CSPI said.

"But these chains don't promote moderation. They practice caloric extremism, and they're helping make modern-day Americans become the most obese people ever to walk the Earth," he said in a statement.

One might think that busybodies such as Michael Jacobson should go spit up a rope, too. I've got no problem with full caloric disclosure on restaurant menus any more than I do with such disclosure on cereal boxes. But this should just be a matter of information, not manipulation. And once that information is out there, the market can take care of itself. If enough people decide Outback's menu is too heavy for them, it'll change it. Ditto the Cheesecake Factory. In fact, although I haven't visited either chain in some years now, I'm reasonably certain that even before the new legislation went into effect, they didn't pin one down as one walked through the door, force a giant hose into one's mouth and start pumping gravy and whipped cream down one's gullet.

Of course, Mr. Jacobson and his ilk start from the premise that the general public are a lot of unwashed, knuckle-dragging morons who need constant supervision in order to be saved from themselves.

Posted by Robert at 03:09 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Oy! Nice Practice Ya Got There. Be A Real Shame If Sumfin Happened To It.

I got the following email from the Dee Cee Bar this morning:

Dear Robbo Llama:

Your 2010/2011 dues invoice was mailed today and is due for immediate renewal. Pay now.

I don't remember ever receiving a dues notice with such a tone before. Has the Bar turned over collections to the Gambino family?

Posted by Robert at 07:59 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Gnats Posting


That's "gnats" as in the insect, not "Nats" as in the ball club.

And that's "go" as in "get the hell out of here," not as an encouragement to win.

(At the eldest Llama-ette's softball game last evening, which was held on the field nearest the creek at our park, I got eaten alive. My ankles look like chopped liver this morning, what with all the skritching.)

Posted by Robert at 07:52 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 23, 2010


Check this out, via Fox and Hot Air. (Strikes home for me because I am an in-house lawyer for a bank and head its troubled loan department which means we have hundreds of foreclosures in the mill.) Apparently, the union owes Bank of America ninety million dollars and this is the Chicago way of negotiating.

I would have called 911, told the dispatcher that a mob was on my porch, advised that I feared for my life, and would shoot the first one to break in.

Posted by LMC at 07:14 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


Troops coming home to loved ones:

It was at the little boy at the .56 second mark that I really lost it.

Thanks to Ace.

Posted by Gary at 07:52 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 22, 2010


Last night I did four hours of volunteer work at the local Catholic elementary school by helping the Men's Club run Friday night bingo in the gym (smoking section) and the cafeteria (nonsmoking). Several observations:
1. The smoking section had plenty of smokers, lighters, and assorted ignition sources. If anyone showed up with an oxygen tank (a likely event given the number of geriatrics in there), the place woud have gone up like the Deepwater Horizon (without the attending evironmental issues).
2. The nonsmoking section was serious, as in Mass-quiet serious. The level of concentration was amazing--I watched blue-hairs cover 18 bingo cards at a time as the numbers were called off in five-second intervals. I could not have done that if my children's educations depended upon it.
3. Food, largely of the deep-fried variety, was available from a kitchen run by a crusty group of retired submariners. I gagged when a parent volunteer asked for a tuna salad, and then had the nerve to follow up on what kind of tuna (cooked or raw) was in the tuna salad.
4. True bingo players have more gear than a sport fisherman: daubers in a rainbow of colors, bingo bags to carry the daunbers, bingo seat cushions, tape to put multiple cards together for faster scanning during play, cups, munchies, talismans of various kinds for luck.
5. The pros are quick to spot any faux pas by folks running games. The caller last night muffed something and senior citizens looked like they where about to riot.

Posted by LMC at 07:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 21, 2010

It's A Hard Concept To Grasp

But it was 30 years ago today - May 21st, 1980 - that we lined up to see "The Empire Strikes Back".

And oh, how we all were blown away by this scene:

It set that standard for sequels to come and changed our expectations of movies forever.

Posted by Gary at 07:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Flixster - Share Movies

Why not?

Posted by LMC at 06:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Maureen Dowd's latest post is on singleton Elena Kagan and the injustice of being "unmarried". She laments that men can be single at any age but any woman over 50 and single is unmarried, probably unhappy, maybe gay, blah, blah, blah. Seems like this is more about MoDo than Kagan. Tiresome.

Posted by LMC at 06:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 20, 2010

May 19, 2010

Olympic Tripping


Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Wenlock and Mandeville, the "official" mascots of the 2012 London Games.

The one-eyed figures named Wenlock and Mandeville were unveiled at an east London school on Wednesday, with London 2012 organisers hoping they will inspire a generation of children while persuading their parents to contribute a share of £15 million the mascots are intended to raise in merchandising revenue.

Good luck with that. Every Olympic mascot I've seen has made me think they couldn't get any worse. And every time, I've subsequently been proven wrong.

These two look like the result of Kang and Kodos getting busy with a couple of Teletubbies.

Posted by Robert at 01:44 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Nats Posting (TM) - Even-Stephens Edition

Nats Hat.jpg

Our Maximum Leader bewails the Nats' drop back to the .500 mark with last night's 5th straight loss, but consoles his villainous self with the philosophick thought that hey, these things happen. He looks forward to tonight's return to Natstown where, hopefully, we'll be able to put the hurt on the Mets again.

I agree. It's been a grueling road trip, and finishing up with the Rockies and teh Cards is no picnic for any team. Somebody or other was pointing out recently that aside from our still-to-come bouts with The Team That Must Not Be Named, we've been in the toughest part of our schedule for the year. Hopefully, we'll have some kinder stretches coming up, and a chance to catch our breath.

Maxy mentions wild-card contention. I must say that for all my enthusiasm, I have never given this year's post-season any serious consideration. My cherished desire is that the team finishes better than .500 and somewhere in the middle of the pack, say third. (Although with the way everyone else in the NL East has been blowing hot and cold, it's not unreasonable yet to rule out a second place finish.) To me, this would be terrific, far exceeding the timid predictions made by the pundits before the season started, and setting us up to be a contendah next year.

In the meantime, we shall see.


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


I had meant to comment on the recent flap over Facebook's privacy problems. Specifically, I wanted to send a message to all the cool kids who have abandoned us pure bloggers in favor of "friending" each other over there.


You got that?

Ha! HA!

Posted by Robert at 11:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Voyager 2 may have been hijacked!

Hartwig Hausdorf, a German academic, believes that the reason Voyager 2, an unmanned probe that has been in space since 1977, is sending strange messages that are confusing scientists, is because it has been taken over by extraterrestrial life.

Since its launch, Voyager 2 has been sending streams of data back to Earth for study by scientists, but on April 22, 2010, that stream of information suddenly changed.

Nasa claimed that a software problem with the flight data system was the cause but Mr Hausdorf believes it could be the work of aliens.

This is because all other parts of the spacecraft appear to be functioning fine.

He told the German newspaper Bild: "It seems almost as if someone has reprogrammed or hijacked the probe – thus perhaps we do not yet know the whole truth.”

Voyager 2 carries a disk with greetings in 55 languages on it in case the craft encounters other life forms.

Dr Edward Stone, a scientist on the project, said the desk, called the Golden Record, is "a kind of time capsule, intended to communicate a story of our world to extraterrestrials.

"The Voyager message is carried by a phonograph record-a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth."

May I quote General Order Twelve? "On the approach of any vessel, when communications have not been established......"

Oh, never mind. That warning got ignored last time. Probably will this time, too.

Posted by Robert at 09:22 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 18, 2010

Gratuitous NL East Posting - "She Tasks Us!" Division

Mink Monica tosses a little trash talk into the Tasty Bits (TM) Mail Sack:

Remember a little while ago when the Mets were in first place for like a day and their fans thought it meant something? That was so cute!

Well, in the immortal words of Bugs Bunny, "HAR-har, hardy-HAR-har!"

It's true the Nats and Mets are both slumping a bit (the Nats are on a 4-loss skid at the moment). But it's also true that neither team ever has to go home to...... Philadelphia. So we got that going for us.

Plus, neither Nats nor Mets fans are likely to be confronted any time soon by cheesesteak pretzels:

PHILADELPHIA — In a hybrid as American as Oreo Pizza, more than 100 Philly Pretzel Factory stores debuted the Cheesesteak Pretzel, a supposed combination of two of Philadelphia's cherished foods, a report on said.

Many stores were offering free samples of the concoction, literally pretzel dough stuffed with American cheese and beef, according to the report. The item features 340 calories, 46 grams of carbohydrates and 8 grams of fat, half of it saturated, the report said. Starting next Monday, every outlet will sample the Cheeseteak Pretzel for free between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. The chain was also considering releasing a fried-onion version.

So put that in your Schkuylkill and smoke it!


Posted by Robert at 01:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

They're BAAAAA-aaaack!!!

A great article in the Telegraph about 10 actual or rumored remakes of 80's flicks. Here's the entry on the upcoming reboot of Tron:

UK release date: 26 December 2010

Baffling bike-racing-in-cyberspace nonsense which hinges on a computer programmer being "digitised" with a big laser or something is rebooted (appropriately enough) as baffling bike-racing-in-cyberspace nonsense with better graphics.

Ridiculousness potential: Huge. In 1982, the word "cyberspace" was freighted with possibility, thrill and danger, and it was possible to believe that being a web hacker would involve driving around a 3D virtual world on a magic light-cycle fighting artificially intelligent security software. In 2010, the word "cyberspace" is as dangerous and thrilling as the word "Willesden", and we know that most of it involves supermarket home delivery services and pornography. We also now know that hackers are not digital daredevils but overweight, bearded men in Red Dwarf T-shirts who, in between battles on World of Warcraft, find time to trick your Hotmail account into firing out spam. None of this lends itself to an exciting cinema experience.

Go read the rest. Among other projects, apparently there are plans to redo Ghostbusters, Police Academy and......Top Gun?

Posted by Robert at 11:17 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack



Have you seen this? It's some kind of kiddie dance competition. The little darlin's pictured above are 8 or 9 years old and for their performance did some kind of Beyonce routine rigged out in, well as you can see, not much.

Can I just ask a question here? WHAT IN HEAVEN'S NAME ARE YOU PEOPLE THINKING?

Let's go to the producers:

Larry Peters, executive vice president of The Hozman Group and rep for the dance competition, says the controversy was blown out of proportion. "There has been a great deal of controversy regarding this performance, and it has been taken out of context. It is a little sensitive now, to say the least"

"All the dance troupes do so many different dances, it is a very personal choreography and expression for every troupe and individual. These girls were amazing that day," Peters says, adding, "They were two minutes of an eight hour performance event."

Taken out of context? What does that mean? It's a bunch of little girls dressed like pole-dancers. What "context" makes this a good thing?

How about the parents?

Melissa Presch, the mom of one little dancer and Cory Miller, the father of another child in the group spoke to Inside Edition about the controversy. "I'm shocked, quite frankly, that people would suggest such things and say such things about 8 and 9 year old girls," said Melissa Presch claiming the girls got their moves from the 'Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel' movie -- not Beyonce's music video.

Oh, well that makes it better, then. Perhaps they should have dressed like Alvin and his brothers, too. That way, they'd look like chipmunks, not chippies.

Miller added, "As a father, when you're watching your kid, no. You're looking at it as a proud kid who has really high energy, who doesn't really know what she's doing."

Hey, Einstein, as a father, you're supposed to keep an eye on what she's doing and stop her if it crosses the line.

I simply do not, do not, understand how we have managed to reach a point in the culchah where we infantize our children regarding just about everything else (diet, safety, etc.) and yet we sexualize them - especially little girls - without seeming to bat an eye.

That is one seriously screwed up mentality, that is.

Posted by Robert at 10:18 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 17, 2010

For The LMC

Making the rounds.....

It's actually pretty funny, so I suppose it is some consolation to those (*ahem* not I) who have gone over to the minivan dark side.

Posted by Robert at 12:48 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


I'm reasonably sure that when the Puppy-Blender picks his posse of guest-bloggers, he overlooks us Llamas with malicious intent.

That hurts, Glenn. It really does. See if we ever ask you to step in here.

Just so you know.

Posted by Robert at 10:48 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Random Commuter Observation

Having left my fine, full-sized, wooden-handled umbrella at the office last Friday, I was forced this morning to battle the showers we're having with one of those nasty little collapsible pocket jobs, dug out of the recesses of the Orgle Manor mud room.

We hates nasty little collapsible pocket jobs! Not only do they look ridiculous, but as for their utility against the wet, they're more of a protest than a protection.

I suppose that a Freudian would make a lot out of this, but the simple truth is that I don't much like to get wet on my commute.

Posted by Robert at 07:47 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 14, 2010

Gratuitous Fan Mail Observation

I've noticed recently a number of items in the Tasty Bits (TM) Mail Sack purporting to be from Yahoo! and carrying titles like "Important account verification!" - sometimes with gobbledigook "account numbers" attached.

I'm assuming this is some kind of spam thing and haven't bothered opening any of 'em. On the other hand, Mr. Yahoo! Persons, if you're legit and we've done something wrong, it's all Steve-O's fault. Make him do the perp walk!

Posted by Robert at 01:00 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Robbo Is Currently Listening To....

I was unaware that prostitution is legal in G.B. but running a brothel is not. Apparently, it's true.

Posted by Robert at 10:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Your Friday Reading Assignment

VDH on the crack-up of the Euro-weenies:

Few wanted to listen when it was pointed out — well before the Greek meltdown — that on key questions of demography and immigration, the future of the European Union was bleak. The very idea that, in historical terms, socialism, agnosticism, pacifism, and hedonism were not only interrelated and synergistic, but also suicidal for civilization, was considered crackpot.

Furthermore, even in the days of loud socialism, Old Europe’s notion of class made it hard to assimilate Islamic immigrants. Unlike other newcomers, North Africans and Turks channeled their resentments through religious fundamentalism. Something about their European hosts — the pacifism, the liberal perspective on matters of sex, the agnostic and atheistic proclamations — infuriated Muslims in a way not even the Great Satan did. The result was that the more a liberal Europe tried to appease radical Islam abroad and its own estranged Muslim underclass at home, the more it was despised as weak, decadent, and — worst of all — increasingly irrelevant.

Few wanted to listen when it was pointed out that Europe was, in terms of traditional military power, nearly defenseless, unable to protect itself from Russian bullying, a bellicose radical Islam, or a soon-to-be-nuclear Iran. Its reluctant participation in the war against the Taliban, warmly welcomed by Washington, only made all of that more clear. Apparently, the technocrats in Brussels figured that the Neanderthal age of war itself was over. Learned diplomats in The Hague and at the UN would soon adjudicate “differences,” which largely grew out of either misunderstanding or preventable material inequality, rather than Thucydidean honor, fear, and perceived self-interest, which were innate to the human condition, and checked by fossilized concepts like military preparedness and deterrence. That all such pretension was predicated on the safety net of NATO and the U.S. defense budget was considered simplistic, or at least problematic. (Or perhaps Europeans felt that if cowboyish Americans like to strut on the world stage — why, let them strut and waste their money occasionally on Europe’s behalf.)

Chickens? Welcome home to your roosts!

Posted by Robert at 10:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Who's Da Fool?

I may well get drummed out of the Curmudgeon Club, or indeed hauled up before the Inquisition for heresy, but I've got to confess that this looks like it might be kinda fun after all:

It seems to me from the trailer that the movie doesn't take itself too seriously, which is key. On the other hand, I'm a bit troubled by some of the whiz-bang gadgets. Where's the duct-tape? Where's the aluminum tubing? Where's the converted lawn-mower engine? That's teh stuff of A-Team ingenuity.

Also, it must be said again that Liam Neeson is no George Peppard. Peppard could make Neeson cry like a schoolgirl. Peppard could give Neeson an atomic wedgie and then make Neeson beg for another one. Peppard could....well, you get the idea.

Posted by Robert at 07:45 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

May 13, 2010

Bucks For Bubba

The Big He raffles himself off to raise the readies to pay off SWMNBN's bills.

There are many ways to pay off campaign debts — cajoling phone calls, begging letters — but Bill Clinton believes that he has come up with a better method to wipe out the financial obligations outstanding from his wife’s failed presidential bid.

He is raffling himself. In an e-mail sent to millions of people who supported Hillary Clinton’s White House campaign, the former President asks: “How would you like the chance to come up to New York and spend the day with me?” For those who would like the One-Day-With-Bill prize, an online donation of as little as $5 (£3) will buy them the chance.

You may insert your own "booby prize" joke here.

Posted by Robert at 09:35 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Random Commuter Observation

Gas in my neck of Northern Virginny is edging closer and closer to 3 bucks a gallon.

Last time we were in this territory, Carl Castle and his friends at NPR made a habit of mentioning both the price of a gallon of gas and the price of a barrel of oil just about every day. I've not heard word one on the subject this time around.

Now why do you suppose that is?

Posted by Robert at 07:40 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 12, 2010


if I had a book like the one Danica McKellar is hawking. Via Fox News.

Posted by LMC at 06:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More Gratuitous Nats Posting (TM) - Rubber On The Road Edition

Nats Hat.jpg

First, let me say that whoever invented MLB Gameday is a genius.

Second, let me congratulate the Nats for winning yet another series, putting the Mets away at Citi Field this afternoon 6-4.

We move to 19-15 (that's .559!) and sole possession of 2nd place in the NL East. The Phils appear to have a double-header out in Colorado today, so who knows where things will be by the time the sun rises tomorrow morning.

Yeah, life in Natstown is pretty darn good today.


Posted by Robert at 03:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Nats Posting (TM) - "KHAAAAAAN!!!!" Division

Nats Hat.jpg

Okay, I laid off Gary yesterday about the Nats' victory Monday night, but he is perfectly free to beat me with the ugly stick over last evening's meeting.

Turned the game on in the 5th to find the Nats up 6-1, only to watch their bullpen melt faster than one of Algore's glaciers. Final result? Mets win 8-6.

Ol' Robbo was so frustrated that I had to put in a steady half hour of kicking the cat before I became even partially mollified.

Well, the rubber game of the set is this afternoon and we'll see how it goes. (Which reminds me that the MASN broadcasters are suddenly using that term an awful lot this year, while I don't recall them doing so before. Why is it that certain bits of baseball slang seem to drift in and out of fashion?)

At any event,


Posted by Robert at 07:30 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 11, 2010

Gratuitous Nats Posting (TM) - "TIMMAAHH!!" Division

Nats Hat.jpg

Nats take the first game off the Mets, 3-2.

Actually, neither team had anything to be ashamed of, so I'm not going to whale on Gary here. It was a tight game with good pitching and solid defense on both sides. The Nats got lucky with a pair of solo homers from Kennedy and Zimm, but the game could easily have gone the other way.

Well, we'll try it again tonight if the rain holds off.

BTW, the Orgle Manor teevee sits in the basement. The Llama-ettes spend their hours of repose two floors above, with their doors closed. Nonetheless, I have been being greeted in the morning lately with more and more commentary about my, er, outbursts while watching games in the evening. I suppose this means I'm becoming a true fan.


UPDATE: The Tasty Bits (TM) Mail Sack has been filling steadily with questions along the line of, "Tom, what do you mean by 'good pitching and solid defense' with all those runners left stranded on base by both sides?" Or, more succinctly, "Tom, are you a moron?"

Well, I should have said "exciting" instead of "good" and "solid," I suppose, because that's what I really meant. We both dug ourselves into some holes, but both managed to scramble out of them, too.

Next time, I'll drink my coffee first.

Posted by Robert at 08:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Random Commuter Observation

Lately, the Metro in Dee Cee, in addition to covering the station walls and the sides of some of its cars with advertising posters, has taken to putting them on the station floors.

I have two objections to this.

In the first place, I feel it is an unwarranted intrusion. There ought to be at least one place that people can look without having to see advertising, and hitherto the floor has always been something of a sanctuary.

In the second, some of the ads feature pictures of a pair of smiling young ladies. And you may call me silly, but I have scruples about, well, stepping on them. It just doesn't seem right.

Also, I can't help pointing out that after a couple days' worth of foot traffic, the floor ads start looking pretty grungy despite being cleaned.

Anyhoo, I hope Metro doesn't keep this up.

Posted by Robert at 08:18 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 10, 2010


The Great Commonwealth of Virginny may soon be back in the biznay of interstate toll collections:

Interstate 95, already tolled extensively from Baltimore through Maine, soon may include a charge for entrance to Virginia.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell wants to toll I-95 near the North Carolina border to help fund the commonwealth's long-debated transportation needs. McDonnell's administration filed an application for the toll to the Federal Highway Administration.

"After a careful review of the commonwealth's transportation needs, I believe the ability to toll Interstate 95 at the border will quickly enable the commonwealth to begin addressing some of our greatest areas of concern," McDonnell said.

A toll of $1 to $2 per axle would generate an estimated $30 million to $60 million per year to be used exclusively for projects in the I-95 corridor, with safety coming first.

Virginia has approval to toll Interstate 81 and is requesting to switch that approval to I-95, according to the governor's office.

Virginia lawmakers have for years fought over how to pay for infrastructure and safety improvements. One of Gov. Tim Kaine's administration's ideas was closing 19 rest areas in the state, but McDonnell has reopened those with plans to reduce the cost of operating all of the state's rest areas.

Not that I especially like the idea of ponying up, but I'm going to take a very deep breath and suggest that this is probably a good idea. The highway system definitely needs a big wodge of dosh, and what better way of raising it than slapping on a user fee?

Anyway, it sure as hell beats shutting down all the rest stops.

Posted by Robert at 01:25 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 09, 2010

Gratuitous Mets Posting (AKA Welcome Nats Edition): UPDATED!

Well, you couldn't really expect the Metropolitans to win today when San Francisco's pitcher is a two-time Cy Young Award winner and their pitcher is, well, Oliver Perez. But it's been a heady ride the last couple of weeks and if you told me a month ago that the Mets would be on the heels of the Phillies in 2nd place I'd have laughed in your face.


It's one thing to be in second place. It's another to hold on to it when you can't take a single game for granted.

So, Robbo, your boys are headed to CitiField tomorrow for a good old fashioned NL East throw down.

Let's go!

YIPS! FROM ROBBO: Yeah, who'd a thunk that in the second week of May the Nats and the Mets would be fighting it out for second place and only 1.5 behind the Phils?

Although with that same "never know what's going to happen with these guys" sense, I can't help getting a certain Timmy vs. Jimmy vibe in thinking about it. This is either going to be a great series, or else it's going to be pretty ugly.




Posted by Gary at 06:59 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 08, 2010


1. Took the Winchester 12-ga. pump to the range and worked my way through a box of birdshot and fifty rounds of 9mm for the 92FS. My shoulder is feeling the effects.
2. The oldest of my nieces graduates from college this month and I am thinking a Mossberg 12 ga. with an 18.5 inch barrel is exactly what a single gal should have now that she will be living on her own. A burglar alarm is nice--that oh-so-distinctive sound a pump shotgun makes when a shell is racked is better. The baying of an alarm says help is coming; a shotgun chambering a shell says justice has arrived.
3. A weapon as a graduation gift will drive her mother (my older sister) nuts. This alone could make it worth it.

Posted by LMC at 01:00 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

May 06, 2010

Not Recycling Enough?

The People's Republic of Alexandria is watching....

Alexandria residents soon will have to pay for larger home recycling bins featuring built-in monitoring devices.

The City Council added a mandatory $9 charge to its residents' annual waste collection fee.

That cash -- roughly $180,000 collected from 19,000 residents-- will pay for new larger recycling carts equipped with computer microchips, which will allow the city to keep tabs on its bins and track resident participation in the city's recycling program.

"If you know who's participating in the programs, you can focus your education and outreach to those who are not participating," said Stacy Herring, Alexandria's recycling coordinator.

How's that for a chilling line?

"Comrade, your plastics are not sorted properly. Get your coat -- We are going for a ride."

Posted by Robert at 01:00 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

May 04, 2010

Gratuitous Nats Posting (TM) - Approaching Thunder Division

Nats Hat.jpg

Steven Strasburg moves up to AAA Syracuse.

When and if he eventually arrives at teh Show, which Nats team will he find? The new one that's actually been playing in style or the undead zombie one that dropped a pair of embarrassing games to teh Fish over the weekend?

The world wonders.

Posted by Robert at 02:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More, Please

I hope Dee Cee's finest were taking careful notes for the next time the Phils and their fans invade Nationals Park.

Posted by Robert at 02:01 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


Read Jonah Goldberg over at The Corner. Hizzoner Michael Bloomberg, by the Grace of God Mayor of NYC and the Bloomberg Channel, described the suspect in the video of the Times Square SUV as a white male. NBC is reporting the arrest of an American citizen as he attempted to board a plane to Dubai. The suspect is of Pakistani origin. It was seems Hizzoner, like the DHS secretary, seems to think the most likely terrorists are anyone but the most likely suspects: those of an extremist Muslim persuasion.

Posted by LMC at 05:32 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 02, 2010


A few notes now that the 25th college reunion is in the rear-view mirror:
1. Monica Mink was right--it was a blast.
2. Babies are still chick-magnets. (Granted, the gals Little Ellie attracts at such functions are in their forties and up.)
3. The college put the names of two alumni who died on 9/11 on the War Memorial. Disappointing was the lack any reference to rank (one was a Navy commander) or the ongoing war against radical Islam--they were simply listed as those "who died in the tragic events of September 11, 2001." The Chi Psi fraternity pulled no such punches and erected a thirty-foot flagpole in front of "The Lodge" with a plaque in honor of their fallen brother. A spotlight ensures the flag is always illuminated.
4. The alma mater suprisingly did not put the touch on us to pony up for the Big Class Gift--a fraternity brother who was in charge of the effort tactfully put it: "I knew you had small children."
5. Time mellows the sharp edges of some personalities. It does not have the same effect on others. Fortunately, there are far more of the former than the latter.
6. W&L pulls out the stops for alumni returning for the 25th and the 50th. I surmise it wants the first group to send their kids to the college and the second to keep the school in mind for estate planning.
7. One classmate is self-employed and serves as a lieutenant colonel in the Maryland National Guard. He deployed to Iraq and struggled to rebuild his practice when he returned. Nevertheless, he still continues to serve knowing he might get called up again and knowing the likely crushing financial expense. He is a patriot in the mold of one of the Founding Fathers--willing to shoulder the load at oppressive cost.
8. There was the usual swapping of "great plays and memorable moments." One fraternity brother volunteered he recently found a picture taken of yours truly--and my college girlfriend--we were passed out--still leaning on the toilet. I must add him to my Christmas card list and generously remember his birthday lest he send the pic to my wife, or worse, Robbo's wife.

Posted by LMC at 04:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 01, 2010

The Muster of the Vultures

Lawyers flock to Gulf Coast for oil spill lawsuits:

MIAMI – Teams of lawyers from around the nation are mobilizing for a gargantuan legal battle over the massive Gulf Coast oil spill, filing multiple lawsuits in recent days that together could dwarf the half-billion dollars awarded in the Exxon Valdez disaster two decades ago.

If the oil slick fouls popular beaches, ruins fisheries and disrupts traffic on the Mississippi River, attorneys say there could be hundreds of thousands of plaintiffs from Texas to Florida seeking monetary damages from oil producer BP PLC and other companies that ran the Transocean Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.

Golden Goose? Meet Ginsu Knife!

Ya know, I'm sorry for all the folks whose livelihoods have been and are being disrupted by the big oil spill, but I gotta tell ya that not many of the kind of ambulance-chasers converging on the scene really give a flying rat's patootie about Joe Shrimper.

How's that contingency fee working out for you, boys and girls?

Posted by Robert at 09:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Straw-Man Observation

The One at Michigan's commencement today:

"But what troubles me is when I hear people say that all of government is inherently bad," said Obama, who received an honorary doctor of laws degree. "When our government is spoken of as some menacing, threatening foreign entity, it ignores the fact that in our democracy, government is us."

Me, too, Sir. But, um, exactly whom did you have in mind? The sort of people who put "Question Authority" and "Patriotism Is The Last Refuge of a Scoundrel" bumper stickers on their cars? Or the sort who say, "Whoa, I voted for a moderate and all I got was this lousy radicalism"?

Sorry to be confused, but I didn't get the memo on that.

Posted by Robert at 09:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Gratuitous Nats Posting (TM) - "Que Pasa?" Division


What a lovely way to finish a long and hard work week: The Nats dominate the Marlins and the Mets whale on the Phils, leaving the Nats, at 13-10, in sole possession of 2nd place in the NL East. Even if it's just temporary, it's oh-so-sweet!

Anybody out there starting to think we're due a wee bit more respect, now? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?

The Fish, I noticed, were sporting jersies that read "Los Marlins". I turned the game on a bit late, so didn't hear if any explanation was given for this. I hope to High Heaven it wasn't some sort of goddam political stunt in protest of the Arizona immigration reform, because that would be utterly abominable.

At any event, we tee it up again this evening.


UPDATE: It wandered into what I laughingly call my brain after I posted that the Nats were sporting Nationales shirts at a game last year, so perhaps this was just some kind of Hispanic Pride Day thingy down in Miami. But with all the hubub this week and some threats I've seen about yanking spring training games out of Arizona, you can see why I wondered if there was something more to it than that.

Posted by Robert at 06:34 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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