June 30, 2005

Gratuitous Art Posting

Homer - Boys.jpg

Outstanding! I hadn't seen this before, but the National Gallery is opening a Winslow Homer exhibition this weekend, running through February 20. Homer is one of my favorite painters and the National is, what, three blocks from my office.

Think I'm going to miss this? Not bloody likely!

Posted by Robert at 05:38 PM | Comments (2)

Lite Holiday Posting Notice

We don't have any plans in particular for the holiday other than hanging about the house and getting various projects done. Nonetheless, since I will only have access to AOHell dial-up, I probably won't post much. One or two thoughts currently are floating through my mind, however:

I'm sure that since I'll be jetting all over the thunderstorm-blanketed Southeast tomorrow, it will reenforce every fear I have of flying. That ought to give me something to kvetch about.

Also, I understand that the Missus and the Llama-ettes stumbled across a snake while cleaning up all the mulch that got blown out of the flower beds and into the yard by last evening's gully-washer. Panic ensued. Details later.

On the brighter side, it looks like we are within a few hundred hits of cracking the 300K barrier here at Llama Central and likely will do so sometime tonight or tomorrow. Let me just say in advance how hugely gratified we are by all of you who stop by. And let me just throw out a little teaser - we're currently working on some new look stuff in the back of the shop. I think you're going to like it. Stay tuned.

If I don't post before then, happy Indendepence Day to all of you!

Yip! Yip! Yip!

UPDATE: Strike "much", insert "at all". The phone line at home seems to be on the fritz and Verizon is being all coy about when they might come fix it. We'll see.

Posted by Robert at 05:14 PM | Comments (0)

Crazy Joe Divola Posting

I know you're out there. Don't think I won't meme you. For I have memed before. And I will... meme again.

UPDATE: Kybosh Time -

It's the Scientology Questionaire Meme!

(Note - these are some actual questions the "Church" of Scientology uses to screen newbies. If they weren't, I wouldn't be able to supply answers in italics.....(thanks, Dave)

1. Have you driven anyone insane? Well, they were headed that way anyhow. I just gave a little nudge.
2. Have you ever killed the wrong person? Have I? I'll tell you - No matter how many times I've trapped James Bond, I always seem to wipe out my own henchmen instead.
3. Is anybody looking for you? That Martin Handford clown is becoming a reeeeal pain in the ass.
4. Have you ever set a poor example? I like to think I set a very GOOD poor example, thank you.
5. Did you come to Earth for evil purposes? [Stares at the ceiling. Whistles.]
6. Are you in hiding? Naw, I wear a llama suit because chicks dig lice.
7. Have you systematically set up mysteries? Give me a sec - I'm still answering the questions.
8. Have you ever made a practice of confusing people? Actually, I'm mostly into confusing cats.
9. Have you ever philosophized when you should have acted instead? No, but if by "philosophized" you mean "subsided into alchoholic stupor" and by "acted" you mean "got tangled up with the wrong girl", I can safely say that it was the RIGHT call more than once.
10. Have you ever gone crazy? I'm a native.
11. Have you ever sought to persuade someone of your insanity? Res ipsa dixit.
12. Have you ever deserted, or betrayed, a great leader? No! Was frame job by Moose and Squirrel!
13. Have you ever smothered a baby? The thought HAS occured to me once or twice...
14. Do you deserve to have any friends? The question is what did THEY do to deserve ME.
15. Have you ever castrated anyone? Hay-fever and Ginsu. A bad combination. 'Nuff said.
16. Do you deserve to be enslaved? Yes, but not when I have to get up for work in the morning. [Stares at ceiling. Whistles.]
17. Is there any question on this list I had better not ask you again? This one, at least.
18. Have you ever tried to make the physical universe less real? Huh? The what? I don't see anything.
19. Have you ever zapped anyone? Jeez, don't you read the papers? I've been zapping Tom Cruise with my Diabolical Mind Control (TM) for weeks! Bastard won't pay the money he owes me.
20. Have you ever had a body with a venereal disease? If so, did you spread it? Oh I ain't...got...no...VD body, and, ah, no VD body's got me!

Neptunian Yips! to fellow Hubbardarians Kathy, the Impenetrable One and Don.

Posted by Robert at 12:30 PM | Comments (1)

Llama Road Trip Blegging

I'm going to be on travel all day tomorrow. The ol' itinerary puts me in Tampa with a couple of hours to kill in the afternoon. If anybody has any suggestions on something worth seeing or doing there, let me know. Otherwise, I'll just be loitering around the airport.

Yip! Yip!

UPDATE: Speaking o' road trips, here's an article about a survey of the top ten July 4th bottlenecks. I-64 between Richmond and Virginia Beach doesn't surprise me in the least. What does surprise me is that Oregon's Willamette Valley got tagged as the worst. What say you, Brian B.? I'm also surprised the Long Island Expressway out to the Hamptons didn't make the top ten.

Posted by Robert at 08:12 AM | Comments (10)

June 29, 2005

Civil War Verse

It's Poetry Wednesday again over at Annika's and this week, in honor of the upcoming anniversaries of Gettysburg and the fall of Vicksburg, she posts a poem by Walt Whitman, "The Artilleryman's Vision".

This is very cool. As I've mentioned before, my own great, great-grandfather was a Union artillery officer, a lieutenant to be exact. I know his unit saw action (in the Atlanta Campaign), but I can only speculate whether these verses applied to his experiences.

(I may mention, by the way, that if the whole reparations movement ever comes to fruition, I am going to use this fact to demand a credit against whatever amount Uncle tries to gouge out of me for it. See if I don't.)

Posted by Robert at 05:19 PM | Comments (3)

Gratuitous Beethoven Bashing

Beethoven was a narcissistic hooligan, so says one Dylan Evans in the Guardian.

Well, up to a point, Lord Copper.

The trouble with the article is that there is a germ of truth in much of what Evans says - about the introduction and eventual championship of the personal element, for instance - the replacement of the artisan by the artiste - that characterized the rise of the Romantic movement. But he makes his points with all the subtly of carpet-bombing:

Hazlewood claims, in his BBC2 series, that music "grew up" with Beethoven; but it would be more accurate to say that it regressed back into a state of sullen adolescence. Even when he uses older forms, such as the fugue, Beethoven twists them into cruel and angry parodies. The result is often fiercely dissonant, with abrupt changes in style occurring from one movement to another, or even in the same movement. Hazlewood is right to describe Beethoven as a "hooligan", but this is hardly a virtue.

With rhetoric like this, any legitimate criticism Evans offers simply gets lost in the blast.

Beethoven certainly changed the way that people thought about music, but this change was a change for the worse. From the speculations of Pythagoras about the "music of the spheres" in ancient Greece onwards, most western musicians had agreed that musical beauty was based on a mysterious connection between sound and mathematics, and that this provided music with an objective goal, something that transcended the individual composer's idiosyncrasies and aspired to the universal. Beethoven managed to put an end to this noble tradition by inaugurating a barbaric U-turn away from an other-directed music to an inward-directed, narcissistic focus on the composer himself and his own tortured soul.

This was a ghastly inversion that led slowly but inevitably to the awful atonal music of Schoenberg and Webern. In other words, almost everything that went wrong with music in the 19th and 20th centuries is ultimately Beethoven's fault. Poor old Schoenberg was simply taking Beethoven's original mistake to its ultimate, monstrous logical conclusion.

I don't think Beethoven can be tagged as directly responsible for atonalism and other 20th Century barbarities. Certainly he was a revolutionary, but that was a function of the times. I doubt very seriously whether one composer, even Beethoven, could successfully have stemmed the tide of Romanticism and kept serious music firmly anchored to the 18th Century tradition. If Beethoven hadn't been the transitional trailblazer, it would have been somebody else. (Indeed, as long as we're playing "what if?" there are even some tantalizing hints in some of Mozart's later works that he might have been the one, had he lived long enough.) Besides, in tagging Beethoven this way, surely Evans is indulging in some good old-fashioned post hoc ergo propter hoc illogic.

I don't ordinarily find myself defending Romanticism, but I think this article goes way too far in condemning it.

Yips! to Lynn S.

Posted by Robert at 03:32 PM | Comments (3)

Long-Haired Hippy Crap Watch

Jesus. Mary. Joseph. It's Operation Respect: Don't Laugh At Me (or "DLAM") and it's your New York City tax money at work:

Over the course of the next year, the Department of Education will introduce into all of its elementary and middle schools “Operation Respect: Don’t Laugh at Me,” an intensive curriculum in character development. The program, which is the brainchild and heart’s desire of Peter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul & Mary, aims to combat bullying by emphasizing the moral lessons of folk music.

(This is the same Peter Yarrow, as noted by Kimberly of No. 2 Pencil, who was convicted in 1970 of taking "immoral and improper liberties" with a 14 year old girl, but never mind.)

The whole project is based on a country song called "Don't Laugh At Me" sung a few years back by Mark Wills. I hated it at the time:

I'm a little boy with glasses
The one they call the geek
A little girl who never smiles
'Cause I've got braces on my teeth
And I know how it feels
To cry myself to sleep

I'm that kid on every playground
Who's always chosen last
A single teenage mother
Tryin' to overcome my past
You don't have to be my friend
But is it too much to ask

Don't laugh at me
Don't call me names
Don't get your pleasure from my pain
In God's eyes we're all the same
Someday we'll all have perfect wings
Don't laugh at me

Yarrow apparently heard the song at a folk festival, incorporated it into the PP&M reportoire, and went from there. Go read the article for the rest of the story about how these three stanzas of utter shlock are being translated into lessons at twelve thousand schools and camps around the country.

Lest you think the gooshiness is confined to the kids only, check out the teacher training curriculum:

A couple of Tuesdays ago, at a fusty Department of Education building in Brooklyn, Lynne Hurdle-Price and Mark Weiss, conflict-resolution experts, led a dlam training session for about two dozen middle-school teachers, whom they divided into five groups. “I want you all to share a time in your career as an educator where someone did or said something that made you feel like you were not cared for or respected,” Hurdle-Price said. Each teacher spent three minutes sharing. “Now do the opposite.” Hurdle-Price distributed paper and Magic Markers. She asked each group to draw an outline of a human figure, inscribing negative behaviors (“put-downs”) on the outside and positive behaviors (“put-ups”) on the inside, close to the heart. Each group then presented its finished product, a Caring Being, which, according to the DLAM teacher’s guide, would help the participants to “explore creating agreements around behaviors.”

Just about every single word in that paragraph makes me want to hurl a brick at something. Look, as Ace points out, it's wrong to take the knee-jerk position that bullying is a good thing and kids ought to just tough it out. But I promise you that the solution is not, repeat not, to wallow in the drippy pablum of a washed-up hippy, or as the New Yorker article so fawningly describes him, "a veteran of the civil-rights, gender-equality, nuclear-disarmament, peace, and Amtrak-subsidization movements".

Why is that? Joanne Jacobs, nails it:

My daughter encountered "Don't Laugh" when she interned with the California Education Department's violence prevention unit. She thought the song gives tips on who to pick on for callow bullies who don't realize that a classmate wearing glasses or braces is victim-worthy.

Want to stop bullying? Stop the bullies, don't turn their victims into uber-victims.

Bart: Hey, man. Can't we just explore creating agreements around our behaviors?

Nelson: I'll take it under advisement. (Punch!)

Meanwhile, Michelle Malkin is all over this story as well. She thinks it's a sinister plot by Lefty Peaceniks to condition our Young People to stand down when the godless hoards come flooding across the frontier. But before you start snickering, go check out the links she has to the DLAM website. She's not just making this stuff up.

UPDATE: Eloise the Spitbull spotted this as well. Heh, she said "grossocity".

Posted by Robert at 02:41 PM | Comments (4)

Noonan on putting the "Me" in Merit

Peggy Nation takes her hatchet to Dee Cee's Vanity Saloon today.

I'm too lazy to check it myself, but something tells me the brand of egomania she's damning isn't a particularly new phenomenon. What got her revved up is just a rapid series of unusually silly ("Honest Abe Obama") and/or egregious (the Supremes and Eminent Domain) examples.

Also, I don't think the problem can be wholly blamed on Washington itself. Politicos are human beings just like everyone else and they bend and sway to the popular culture. We hardly live in a day and age of reticence and humility, and the vanity she's complaining about certainly doesn't stop at the Beltway's edge. The difference is that when Tom Cruise makes an ass of himself we can all just point and snicker, but when politicians and the judiciary get in on the act, we're much more likely to suffer the consequences.

I don't mean to suggest that she doesn't have a valid gripe, just that the problem is deeper and more systemic than her rant suggests.

Posted by Robert at 12:01 PM | Comments (6)

Rescue Me

Y'know, I simply cannot get myself to like this show.

Lawd knows I'm trying. I like Dennis Leary. I like the show's concept. I like what he's trying to do for firemen.

But every time I sit down to watch, I can only take about twenty minutes of Gavin's sledge-hammer before I'm in complete "Oh, for Pete's sake" mode. After that, bludgeoned into submission, I suppose, I usually doze off.

I dunno, maybe it's a dilution thing. This show reminds me of what Hill Street Blues would have been like had it been all-Belker all the time. You can only spend so much time inside one person's head, especially if it's a screwed up one, before you need to take a breather.

Posted by Robert at 10:28 AM | Comments (1)

Good Heavens, Miss Yakamoto! You're Beautiful!

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

If you've got a blog and you haven't already been blinded, you should go do it.

Posted by Robert at 09:30 AM | Comments (1)

Hmph. Bloody Vikings.


Not-so-Sekrit Message to Terrell22, Emily48 and the rest of your vile ilk: I DON'T LIKE SPAM!!!

Posted by Robert at 08:07 AM | Comments (1)

June 28, 2005


Live blogging during the president's addess at Fort Bragg. Bush lays out the really big picture, articulately with examples that this is truly a global war on (Islamic) terrorism. "Defeat them abroad before they attack us at home." Translation: get them before they get us. Bush reminds us of the price paid thus far and that it is worth it.

Iraq as the magnet for the wacko bad guys--they understand that the success of a democratic Iraq means a mortal blow to their ideology. Good use of the Bin Laden comment. Outlines the failures of the enemy.

Defines the mission: "defeat the enemy and help a friend". Hand over power to a sovereign government, hold elections, rebuild the economy, help the Iraqis take over their own security. "Progress has been uneven, but progress has been made."

Why bother mentioning the U.N.? The Iraqis see it as complicit in the crimes of the former regime. Same thing about Schroeder.

Sets out the road ahead: "as the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down." Partnering coalition units with Coalition personnel. Embedding Coalition teams with the Iraqi combat units. Working with the Iraqi ministeries of defense and interior to plan and coordinate their anti-terrorist ops.

Slam on Kerry, the Gasbag in Winter, et al on setting a date for a withdrawal. "We will stay in Iraq as long as we are needed and not a day longer." It will leave a mark.

Slam on calls for more troops. That will leave a mark too.

Political development of Iraq as a democracy. Majority rule, minority rights.
Ties military and political reform.

Back to the big picture--Libya, elections in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, stirrings in Egypt. Ties it to progress.

More sacrifice ahead because the enemy is a collection of real whack jobs.
"Our future will not be determined by car bombers or assasins." "We will stay in the fight until the fight is won." Damn straight.

"Fly the flag on the 4th of July, help out a military family down the street." Thanks the troops for their service and their families for the sacrifice. Thank you, Mr. President, for yours.

Strong finish.

Posted by LMC at 08:02 PM | Comments (3)

"The Felicity Of Unbridled Domesticity"

Curmudgeonly Jordana shows us how it's done: with crowbars and power tools.

[Insert Homer Simpson-like drooling sound here.]

Posted by Robert at 05:54 PM | Comments (0)

Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Outdoor division

butterfly weed.jpg
Asclepias tuberosa - Butterfly Weed.
Image most certainly not my own.

High summer has hit, and with it has come the rollover in my garden. The peonies and iris are, of course, already long gone. The salvia and columbine still have a few buds on them (I'm letting the columbine go to seed), but look tired and shabby. The foxglove, too, are pretty much washed up. The yarrow continues sturdy, but the blooms are definitely fading a bit.

But now comes the summer stock: I have three different varieties of butterfly weed in white, orange and a sort of burgundy, all of which have opened up. Indeed, I've suddenly noticed lots of seedlings coming up as well, which I will gladly leave in place. In addition, my Alcea ficifolia (hollyhock), although severely chewed by bugs, are in full bloom, as are my shasta daisies. (Two of the plants, alas, have come down with rust of some sort.) And my Echinacea purpurea (white and purple coneflower) are opening this week, as are my Rudbeckia Goldstrum. (The purple coneflower also reseeded itself and has babies coming up.)

The capper of the summer will be the Eupatorium purpureum (Joe Pye weed) and the Buddleia (Butterfly bush) that dominate the back. The Joe Pye is already six feet tall and the Butterfly bush is about eight feet. When it blooms, the scent is so heady that you can smell it all the way up the hill on the back porch when the wind is right.

I had exactly the kind of hot, sultry, but rainless weather we're experiencing in mind when putting this garden together - all of these plants are heat and drought resistant, which means I don't have to go out and water every evening. Sometimes the fact that they produce such beautiful flowers and foliage is almost a secondary benefit compared to this.

Speaking of such things, our pal Chan the Bookish Gardener has a nice post about garden colors. (Message to Chan: the Japanese beetles are back - can I borrow some kerosene?)

Posted by Robert at 05:38 PM | Comments (2)

G'day, Bruce!

Our pal Lintenfiniel Jen has an amusing set of questions and answers about Australia. Fair dinkum!

Speaking of which, looks like I'll be going to another Wiggles concert soon. I'm only taking the five and three year olds, as the seven year old announced that she was too old for that sort of thing. We'll see if she sings the same tune come concert day.

Posted by Robert at 03:40 PM | Comments (0)

A Little Something For The Missus


Since we're always going on about various Hollywood Babes, Flash-in-the-Pan or otherwise, around here, I thought it only equitable to note that today is the birthday of John Cusack, one of the Missus' drool-worthy favorites. There is never any dispute about who gets the clicker when, for example, Con Air comes on the tee vee.

I frankly don't mind too much - the Missus is good enough to say that Cusack reminds her of me. But then again, she says the same thing about both James Spader and Andrew McCarthy, too. I don't know if this is a pattern or just a flimsy excuse to indulge in some gratuitous goggling. If she ever tries that line with Val Kilmer, I'll know for certain it's a crock.

UPDATE: Holy nifty-gifty link excuses, Batman! The Demystifying Divas and the Men's Club are squaring off this week on the whole topic of Chick Flicks vs. Guy Movies. Go check out Sadie, Christina, Silk, Kathy, Margi and Red, as well as Phin, Stiggy and the Naked Villains' Minister of Propoganda.

Posted by Robert at 01:57 PM | Comments (4)

The Kelo Gambit

Via Drudge comes this report of one Logan Darrow Clements' attempting to get Justice David Souter's home in Weare, NH, taken from him in order for Clements to build a hotel on the site. All for the common good, of course.

I know, I know - It's pretty childish. But it's funny nonetheless.

Posted by Robert at 01:42 PM | Comments (8)

Gratuitous Musickal Posting

Here's a nice little article about the history of the German and Austrian National Anthems and their origin at the hand of the great Franz Joseph Haydn. Although many people these days automatically think of Deutchland Uber Alles when they hear it, the fact remains that this is a beautiful little piece of music.

One of the bennies of being an Episcopalian is that Haydn's tune has been incorporated into the hymnal as #522, Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken, which we get to sing from time to time.

Yips! to Lynn S.

Posted by Robert at 10:14 AM | Comments (13)

Death Stalks The Hundred Acre Wood


I see where Paul Winchell, the voice of Tigger, and John Fiedler, the voice of Piglet, both died over the weekend. This follows the death of Howard Morris, who played Gopher, last month.

This inspired my more eviiiil side to think a Pooh Dead Pool might be in order, but further research reveals that not many of the original denizens are left.

Curiously, the Grim Reaper seems to pass through the Hundred Acre Wood on a regular basis, taking out several locals on each pass (and getting more efficient each time). Sebastian Cabot, the original narr-A-tor, Junius Matthews, who played Rabbit and Barbara Luddy, who played Mrs. Kanga, all died in the late 70's. Sterling Holloway, who played Pooh himself, and Hal Smith, who played Owl, both died in the early 90's. And now, of course, Fiedler, Morris and Winchell.

This leaves Jon Walmsley (Christopher Robin) and Clint Howard (Roo). God only knows what happened to Ralph Wright, who played Eeyore.

I'm indulging my Dark Side a bit because I have come to heartily loathe All Things Pooh. The movies put out by Disney in the late 60's were very well done and managed to keep a certain amount of the sly humor of the original stories, but since then the whole franchise has degenerated into the worst sort of treacly pablum. The Llama-ettes went through a stage of enthusiasm for the newer cartoons (thankfully now long over) and one could see the collective hand of legions of Child Specialists, all bent on ripping out all that made the originals worth watching (and reading) and replacing it with a combination of the cutesy, the preachy and the saccharine. Bleh.

UPDATE: Of course, the other reason why I dislike Pooh is because of the falling out between A.A. Milne and P.G. Wodehouse. Milne, to put it gently, was something of a tick, one who Plum, as patient a man as he was, eventually felt compelled to drop. Here is a short summary of the fight, including a description of Plum's gentle mockery of his former friend.

Posted by Robert at 09:27 AM | Comments (12)

Random Commuter Thought

Know what this country needs? Summer and winter capitals. I'll bet if the Founding Fathers had any concept of how big the guv'mint was going to become, they wouldn't have dreamed of planting it in a place like this, at least not year 'round. And surely we're past the have-to-split-the-baby-to-keep-everybody-in stage by now.

My vote for a new summer capital? Down East somewhere.

LUNCHTIME UPDATE: Bleh. The other possibility that comes to mind is the Ross Ice Shelf.

Posted by Robert at 08:19 AM | Comments (12)

June 27, 2005


My two-year old son, future ROTC scholarship recipient and heir to the vast real estate holdings that comprise Fort LMC, has no idea just how good he has it. Not only does he have a stay-at-home mom, the Llama-ettes hang all over him whenever Robbo and the Butcher's Wife are in town, he has his own room, two hour naps every day, and a sixteen year-old babysitter who is okay if you like the tall volleyball player type. To boot, his pediatrician is a dead ringer for a younger Anne Archer and always wants him to get naked. He demonstrates said lack of gratitude by pitching regular meltdowns which try the patience of Mrs. LMC who is one of the most patient people I know. I am going to enjoy reminding him of just how good he had it when he is a sullen teenager.

Posted by LMC at 09:46 PM | Comments (2)


Tonight, we have a double feature. First, Linda Fiorentio, the medical examiner babe from Men in Black. Best scene in the movie: the way her face lit up she understood the true meaning of the phrase: "the heart of the galaxy is in Orion's belt." Best attributes--a smile that could melt ice, long brown hair. She was not in the sequel although Halle Barry did a respectable job. Second, Whomping Willow, blogress who has not been seen nor heard from in far too long. Here at Fort LMC we live in the sure and certain hope that one day we will hear more from "a little bit of leaf, a whole lotta wood."

UPDATE: A faithful reader gently corrected me; Rosario Dawson, not Halle Barry, was the babe in the sequel. However, it does give me an idea for a future post . . . Unlike Dan Rather, we welcome constructive insights on the great issues of the day.

Posted by LMC at 09:32 PM | Comments (12)

Can't Gitmo Satisfaction

Oh. My. Gawd.
It's the GITMO TERRO-GATOR. If this is what we're using on those poor shmucks, then I say open the gates right now!

Yips! to John at WuzzaDem.

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

SCOTUS Blogging

If I understand the Supremes' rulings concerning the placement of the Ten Commandments in a courthouse, it's okay to do so if a framed copy of the lyrics to Everybody Wang Chung Tonight is placed next to them.

I think that's what it says.....

UPDATE: Michelle has the round up. And congrats to our pal The Colossus for his Malkin-lanche.

Posted by Robert at 04:07 PM | Comments (1)

First Thing We Do, Let's Blog The Lawyers

Phin, Sadie and Kathy have got a pretty interesting discussion going about why lawyers are disliked so much. Kathy, in particular, ranks on a particular brand of "bad" lawyer that ruins the reputation of the profession and sours public opinion:

Have I mentioned that this particular type of lawyer is also the kind who will send you a bill for their services and will then bill you for the postage which enabled your bill to work its way through the postal system? I just flat-out love that. It's just so brazen! So brash! So fucking arrogant! If the rest of us tried this sort of thing, we'd be beaten within an inch of our lives. So we don't do it. But that doesn't stop them. They're entitled.

Not only have I worked for this particular breed of lawyer (I was the low woman on the totem pole in the office: I was the one who had to add the cost of a stamp to every client's bill), the husband has also been represented by their ilk. And I despise them. They are so desperate to increase their bottom line, they will violate any and all trust that they've established with you to get what they want, which is maximum money for minimum effort.

Kathy rants about how these lawyers treat their clients. If it's any comfort to those of you who feel you've been screwed by a lawyer at some point, the truth of the matter (Sadie, you may want to close your eyes) is that this is how this type of lawyer treats other lawyers as well, including and often especially those within his or her own firm. The amount of back-stabbing, claim-jumping, secession and outright exploitation that goes on in large chunks of the private bar is truly staggering. From what I've seen personally, as well as from the chats I've had with head-hunters and colleagues, it seems to be getting much worse, at least in the Dee Cee market. And all of it goes to the issue of bottom line personal profitability.

Posted by Robert at 03:52 PM | Comments (3)


I meant to mention a curious sight. As I walked into Home Despot Friday afternoon (motto: Can't find what you need? That's your problem, pal."), I saw a woman with a large tattoo around her biceps. As I looked at it more closely, I realized what it was: a copy of the fiery inscription on the One Ring from The Lord of the Rings:


Is this some kind of fashion statement that I just haven't noticed before? Did this woman not realize that the inscription is supposed to be a bad thing? Or did she know it and was she trying to make herself look "bad" too? (I couldn't tell from the rest of her appearance - it easily could have been one or the other.)

Memo to anybody else considering doing this: Don't.

UPDATE: Evidently, I'm behind the curve (again).

Posted by Robert at 01:39 PM | Comments (8)

Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM) - Part II

Yesterday, we had a special treat at church, namely the incorporation of Mozart's Missa Brevis in C, K. 259, into the service. In terms of doctrine and liturgy, there really isn't all that much difference between an Episcopal Eucharist and a Catholic Mass, so the various sections of the Mozart piece fit very well into the service. Indeed, I was left wishing we could do something like this much more often.

It was a pretty good performance, considering. The Sunrise Quartet joined our choir and organist. Apart from the fact that the violist was, at times, practically inaudible, they did a fine job. Our choir itself is not terribly distinguished - the male voices are rather weak and the women are dominated by a lead soprano who has a voice like Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, but they soldiered on gamely.

Our Rector did a very nice job of introducing Mozart's music by quoting Karl Barth, the major 20th Century theologian, on the subject:

One will never perceive equilibrium, and for that reason uncertainty or doubt, in Mozart's music. This is true of his operas as well as of his instrumental music, and especially of his church music. Is not each Kyrie or Miserere, even if it begins at the lowest depth, carried by the trust that the prayer for grace has in fact been answered? Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini! In Mozart's version he has apparently already arrived. Dona nobis pacem! This prayer, too, has already been answered in Mozart's music, in spite of everything. For this very reason his church music has to be called truly spiritual music, in spite of all well-known objections. Mozart never lamented, never quarreled. He would have been entitled to do so. Instead, he always executed that comforting turn which is priceless for everyone who hears it. That seems to me, as far as it can be explained at all, to be the secret of his freedom and thereby the nucleus of his singular quality.....

I think there's a great deal in this. Mozart wrote this particular Mass when he was nineteen. It doesn't have the power of his more mature work. But it does carry that trust mentioned by Barth, the trust that the prayer for grace has, in fact, been answered.

A week or two ago, Lileks said something to the effect that Beethoven wrote the Music of the Spheres. This, if I may be blunt, is nonsense. Beethoven was first and last a creator of Music of the Ego. I don't mean this in a snide way, but rather just that his focus was the earthly Self. If you want the Music of the Spheres, the closest echo of Divine Thought itself, you must look to Johann Sebastian Bach, instead. Mozart, I think, falls somewhere in between - his is the music not of God himself, but of the reflection of God, the Divine Spark if you will, in Man.

Barth is responsible for the speculation that the angels might only play Bach when worshipping God but play Mozart when amongst themselves. I think this sometimes gets bent around to trivialize Mozart, to suggest that somehow he is less weighty and more frivolous, the producer merely of "happy sounds". But Barth himself didn't mean it that way:

[D]arkness, chaos, death and hell render themselves conspicuous but are not allowed to prevail even for a moment. Mozart makes music, knowing everything from a mysterious center, and thus he knows and keeps the boundaries on the right and on the left, upward and downward. He observes moderation. Again he wrote, in 1781, that "the emotions, strong or not, never should be expressed ad nauseam and that music, even in the most horrible situation, never must offend the ears but must please them nevertheless. In other words, music must always remain music." He was (and I quote Grillparzer's beautiful words) the musician "who never did too little, and never did too much, and who always arrived at but never went beyond his goal."

There is no light which does not know the darkness too, no happiness which does not include sorrow; but also inversely, no alarm, no ire, no wailing to the aid of which peace would not come, from near or far. There is no laughter, therefore, without weeping, but no weeping without laughter either. There never was a Mozart of such utter gracefulness that the nineteenth century, after praising him, could grow justly tired of him. But neither did there exist this "demoniac Mozart" whom our century wanted to substitute. The very absence of all demons, the very stopping before the extreme, and precisely the wise confrontation and mixture of the elements (let us say it again) amounts to the freedom in which the true vox humana speaks in Mozart's music.

I'm pretty sure it's that vox humana that Barth had in mind for his off-duty angels. But he also remarked that "then also God the Lord is especially delighted to listen to them."

Well, I don't want to ramble too much about the metaphysics of spiritual music. As a practical matter, I can tell you that where Mozart's music soared and swooped, the more ordinary hymns we also sang - "Christ is Made The Sure Foundation", "Where Cross The Crowded Ways of Life" and "The Church's One Foundation", although solid, comfortable, and pious, trudged along earthbound. Even the Old Hundredth seemed flat in comparison. And the Ralph Vaughn Williams Antiphon that we got as the Offeratory Anthem sounded downright silly. I'm pretty sure the angels don't bother much with him.

Posted by Robert at 12:17 PM | Comments (6)

Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)

Carnival of Music #4 is up, this week hosted by Owlish. Go on over and browse - it's a great mix of a little o' this and a little o' that - high, low and in between.

I'm quite pleased to see this beginning to take legs, due mostly to the efforts of our old pal JohnL. We Llamas will be hosting ourselves in the upcoming weeks. I'm already stockpiling plenty of Brie & Beaujolais for Bill, in case he stops by.

Posted by Robert at 10:26 AM | Comments (0)

Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)


We took the seven and five year old Llama-ettes to the Nats game against Toronto Saturday night. They had an absolute blast. The five year old in particular was enchanted by the idea that she could cheer and shout as much as she wanted - every now and again she would burst out with "Go, Nash'nals! Go, Nash'nals!" all on her own, much to the amusement of the people sitting around us. At one point, an older couple passing by stopped to say they had been admiring her all evening and how proud we must be. Yup.

Meanwhile, the elder girl was really getting into the action. This was her very first ball game, and I was doing all the Traditional Dad Commentary, trying to break down what little I know of the complexities of the sport into child-size chunks. We were sitting towards the front of the upper deck down the right field line, but the child has the vision of a hawk. Watching the dawning revelation in her eyes of the purpose served by the outfielders was priceless, especially when the Nats' left fielder Byrd snagged a couple of tough ones. (Being the sort of girl she is, she started getting concerned that since the outfielders had to stand so far back, they might miss their turn at bat. However, I was able to mollify her with the assurance that the team waited for them.)

We managed to last seven innings, which was more than I thought we would. I think the kicker was telling the girls about the seventh inning stretch - "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" is one of their favorite songs, and the promise that they could sing it as loud as they liked gave them just that extra boost of energy necessary to stick it out.

One other thing I noticed concerned hats (which we, of course, bought). This being the Nats' inaugural year, there is no such thing as a battered old Nats' hat, nothing that speaks of years and years of fandom and tradition. (By comparison, Steve-O still has a Sawx hat that already looked ancient as hell the first time I saw it twenty years ago.) But as I looked around the stands, I noticed that some of them are just starting to look broken in - a little crumpling here and there, a slight fade of the bright red or blue. I equate this with the team itself settling in, just beginning to sprout new roots in the Dee Cee soil. (I think it helps tremendously that they're doing so well.)

As we strolled back to the Metro, I was looking at the bright red hat plunked on the seven year old's head and day-dreaming a bit about what it might be like twenty years from now - if she might still have that hat, if she might say, "Yes, I saw the Nats their first season and have been a fan ever since." A silly thought, perhaps, but last evening after dinner while I was lolling in the hammock, the Llama-ettes got up their own impromptu baseball game. And the eldest was playing center field. Maybe it's not such a silly thought after all.

Posted by Robert at 09:41 AM | Comments (4)

Oh, the Humanity!

Look quick, me droogies! We Llamas have suddenly morphed into Mortal Humans in the TTLB Ecosystem.

Never mind the why and wherefore - I'm just going to savor the fact that we're kicking Josh Micah Marshall's ass for the moment.

The Llama Butchers: The most-linked blog nobody's ever heard of!

YIPS from Steve: This is so wrong at so many levels.

SEKRIT MESSAGE TO ROBBO: Lunch tomorrow? Email me.

Posted by Robert at 09:03 AM | Comments (7)

June 26, 2005


Yesterday's Jawa Report had this post on Jessica Culter a/k/a Washingtonienne. Old Jessica was truly a flash in the pan if there ever was one. Her claim to fame was that she just had to supplement her meager Capitol Hill salary with bucks from men willing to pay for anal sex, or so she said. While she is not the first woman to have engaged in such activity, she seems to be unique in her eagerness to brag about it. Her passing from the blog scene was unlamented. As an aside, she seems to have a hard, commercial look on her face that reminds me of the mama-sans who ran the bars with an iron hand on US-41A outside of Fort Campbell twenty years ago.

Posted by LMC at 07:03 PM | Comments (7)


This is a disturbing article in this morning's edition of "The Good Times" on China's interest in making a play for Taiwan within the next two years. The Chinese plan long term and they play for keeps. It brings back fond memories of the false peace of the nineties during which a PLA general threatened to nuke Los Angeles, the Chinese managed to get their hands on the plans for the W-88, suspicious characters with ties to the Chinese government were making campaign contributions to Clinton's campaigns, Loral was nice enough to provide the Chinese with the expertise to make their missiles more accurate, and a Chinese company won the contract for running the Panama Canal. I hope Rumsfeld has got this on his radar screen.

Posted by LMC at 06:18 PM | Comments (2)


The favorite pinup among America's bluehairs, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, made the Sunday morning talk show rounds, appearing on Fox News Sunday and This Week with (Boy) George Stephanopoulis. As usual, he was relaxed, sharp, and on the offensive. Predictably, the Gasbag in Winter showed his puffy mug on CNN. When questioned, Ted Kennedy had no policy alternatives to the present approach in Iraq but had the nerve to suggest the Administration had "lied" and "not been straight" and "needed to come clean" or some such nonsense. Mary Jo Kopechne was not available for comment.

UPDATE: Faithful reader Rachel announced that Rumstud is not just for the bluehair set. Okay gals, who would crawl over broken glass for an evening out with our Secretary of Defense? Dinner at a classy restaurant with a former carrier pilot, self-made millionaire, and liberator of around fifty million people--get it off your chest--you'll feel better.

UPDATE TWO: Anyone have a link to the National Review cover that had Rumsfeld in the Betty Grable pose?

Posted by LMC at 05:19 PM | Comments (4)

The simple answer to Kelo

Get Palm Beach County to exercise emminent domain over Justice John Paul Stevens' estate home, and turn it over to a private developer who will build a museum to judicial arrogance, senility, and stupidity.

Posted by Steve at 08:30 AM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2005


Kathy the Cake-Eater enviserates the Tom Cruise/Matt Lauer interview as it relates to TC's exotic views on the efficacy of modern psychiatry and medication. TC knows better because, he is, as one of the Fox & Friends crowd described him, a Scientology "Level Four", a cult which believes, among other things, that our souls are infested with space aliens from 75 million years ago. Kathy, I am with you on modern medication's ability to manage psychiatric problems.

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


Katie Holmes, Future Flash in the Pan Babe. It is just me, or does she bear more than a passing resemblance to Kristin Davis?

Posted by LMC at 02:43 PM | Comments (1)

June 24, 2005

Take Two

(Posted early and bumped for 9:00 AM Friday in order to avoid AOHell dial-up induced self-injury, which I understand is not covered by my insurance.)

In the hope of invoking Christina, the Feistiest of the Muses, I offer for your consideration my humble contribution to this week's Take Two storytime. (Be sure to check out the stories of my fellow contributors Liv of Not A Shrinking Violet, Sheila of Sheila's World, Lippy of Wired JAFA and Michele of Meanderings as well.)

Our assignment was to do a short essay developing this premise:

An individual is walking down a street, he/she glances over to an open-air restaurant and sees people enjoying their evening meals. Adjacent to the restaurant is an alleyway. As the individual passes he/she hears a slight wimpering in the darkness. At first, it almost sounds human...

Earlier this week, I noted that I'd decided to chuck an idea I had come up with on the grounds that it was too dark and weird. Well, in the interim, I've changed my mind again and gone back to it. No, I'm just fine, thanks, Mom. It's just that the structure proved too irresistable to abandon. And the weirdness was inherent in the original. You may judge for yourselves whether my decision was worth it. Are you ready? Then here we go:

The Alley of Dreams

“Dear Penthouse Forum. You’re never going to believe this, but I just had to write and tell you why from now on I’m giving Romano’s Bistro three stars. And I do mean “three”. You see, as I was walking past it the other evening, I suddenly heard a soft whimpering coming from the alleyway next door. Curious, I took a few steps in. As my eyes changed in the dimness, I noticed two of the most incredibly hot women I’ve ever seen in my life up against the wall. It wasn’t hard to figure out where that sound was coming from now! As I stood there, they turned to me and with nothing more than the looks in their eyes, invited me over. I didn’t need to be asked twice..........”


He looked around, for an instant slightly dazed. Quickly pulling himself together, he knew that he had only one chance to save the city from annihilation. NSA High Command had confirmed the warhead was somewhere in this alley beside Romano’s - he could hear the clatter of blissfully ignorant diners around the corner - and his mission was to find and disarm it. “Heh,” he thought, “Why do I get all the easy jobs?”

As he stood poised in the shadows, his well-trained senses sought for the telltale signs of the bomb’s proximity. There! His quick ears caught the faint, curiously whimper-like sound of the tiny Chinese-made detonator. Swiftly he moved to the packing crate from which the noise came. Ripping aside the tough wood with practiced skill, he saw the cold, gleaming outer skin of the city’s Messenger of Death. On one side, a digital display counted down the precious seconds left before doom would be upon them all. With cool calm, he quickly unscrewed the plate over the firing mechanism. Knowing that not just his own fate, but that of millions of others as well, was literally in his hands, he gently lowered the tip of the laser scalpel into the guts of the Reaper and prepared to cut the red wire......


“Hmmm? I’m sorry, Dear, I wasn’t paying attention,” he said.

“No, you never do, do you?” hectored his wife, “I said that we’re going to have to find a new regular restaurant soon - Romano’s is getting too popular. I can’t believe the line stretches all the way out to the street! And another thing....”

As his wife settled into another one of her customary snits, he stopped listening again, for his ears had picked up a faint, odd sound coming from the alley. Filtered out of the stream of complaints, it began to sound to him almost like whimpering. Without a word, he slipped away around the corner, knowing full well that his wife, once she got going on one of her rants, would hardly even notice if he were still there or not.

Once in the alley, it took him only a minute to locate the source of the sound. It came from a strange little being tucked away behind a heap of trashbags. If it was human, then it was the most bizarre human he’d ever set eyes on - wizened, hairless and with enormous eyes. But somehow he knew that this wasn’t the case. Cautiously, he moved forward.

Sensing his approach, the little figure looked up. With labored breath and in between short yelps of pain, it slowly gasped, “I...am...Sconos. I am...of a planet...of the star...you call...Betelgeuse. Ship...crashed here ...after...escape...from...Xandar...the Evil. I possess.. ..the... Stone.. of... All Eternity. But... I have... little time.... left. You... must take... the Stone. YOU...are... the Chosen One! Guard it... with your... life... The fate.... of... ALL the Galaxy.... rests... with... you...”

So saying, the little figure held out his closed hand, from within which a beautiful light, of a brilliance never before even imagined on Earth, radiated out....


“Yeah, Officer, I tell ya - it was the damndest thing. I just come from around back where I was deliverin’ produce for Romano’s, ya know? I come up the alley and suddenly - he was jus’ there. One second - nothin’. The next - he’s jus’ THERE, like he’d been waiting for me on purpose an’ jumped out right when I got to da street. It all happen so fast, I couldn’t even stop!”

“Uh, huh,” replied the patrolman as he watched the EMS technicians gently zipping the body into a bag. It was plain that the truck driver was telling the truth. There were no skid marks, no signs of excessive speed or recklessness. Several witnesses had also confirmed seeing the man loitering around the area as if waiting for someone or something, and one had actually seen him suddenly spring in front of the on-coming truck.

“An’ the weirdest part,” the driver continued, “was that just before I hit him, I saw his face. I swear the guy looked happy ....dreamy like, as if he was somewheres else and King of the World. Crazy s.o.b., if you ask me.”

“Uh, huh,” the cop replied again. Perhaps the detectives would come up with an explanation for what had happened, perhaps not. More than likely, the driver had as good an answer as they’d ever get.

The cop shook his head. There wasn’t much more for him to do here. “Oh, by the way,” he said to the driver, “your engine’s making some kind of whimpering sound. Belt might be loose. You probably ought to get that checked.”


Posted by Robert at 09:00 AM | Comments (12)

June 23, 2005

Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)

The Missus took the Llama-ettes out to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum Annex today. The huge hit of the trip was the simulator room, the eldest flying one of the jets solo and the five year old taking a shuttle ride up to the ISS with her Mom. (I've already been warned that the gel intends to announce she flew in space today when I get home.)

If you haven't had a go in one of these rides, you really should the next time you find yourself at Air & Space. The effect of three-D all-around graphics and a hydrolic system that lets the pod climb, dive, bank and invert, is quite impressive.

A couple of Christmases ago now, I took the eldest on one of the simulators at the Air & Space museum down on the Mall. It was a simulation of a carrier-based fighter. I figured I'd impress the child with a little hot dogging, so as soon as we were ready, I firewalled the throttle and yanked back on the stick.

Big mistake.

Not because of the gel, you understand - she loved every minute of it. But rather, because the sensation was so realistic that my own horrendous flying phobia came right to the surface, with its attendant sweaty palms, white knuckles and dry mouth. I won't say that I panicked, necessarily. But I sure wasn't my usual calm, cool, collected self either.

After a minute or two, I calmed down sufficiently that I could fly the plane on a gentle, leasurely course. In this way, we went after a series of fixed ground targets, self at the controls and the Llama-ette manning the guns. If it had come to aerial combat, with its necessary violent manuevering, I've no doubt we would have been blown out of the sky almost before we knew we were under attack.

I don't how the Llama-ette did in her solo today, but if I know anything about her personality, I'll bet she was stunting that kite for all it was worth.

Posted by Robert at 04:53 PM | Comments (3)

Just Because I'm A RINO Doesn't Mean I Can't Get Cranky

Flag burning amendment? Save your breath. Over the top anti-Hillary screeds? Meh. But SCOTUS gutting the Fifth Amendment Takings Clause? Bad! Bad! Bad!

I'm jumping right in on this one with Michelle and Prof. Bainbridge. This is the equivalent of giving a teenager the keys to the biz-tax revenue liquor cabinet based on the promise that he'll only use them if he thinks a drink would be a good idea.

And via Tim Worstall, I love EU Rota's response to a liberal commenter:

Received an email from an extreme leftist regarding this story. A one-liner,

Individualism = Selfishness

I agree, now piss off.


UPDATE DEUX: James Joyner and Steve Verdon weigh in from OTB. Will Collier also has an excellent post. And I am going to tug on Superman's cape by suggesting that Eugene Volohk's attempt to liken the ruling to the privatization of the provision of governmental services doesn't work for me, although I understand his bemusement at the seeming political flip on this issue.

NOW UPDATE TROIS: Longtime Llama commenter RBJ hints at the shape of things to come:

MR. BROWN: [cough] Don't worry, dear! I'll get it! [cough]

[ding dong ding dong]

[ding dong ding dong]


MAN: Hello. Uhh, can we have your liver?

MR. BROWN: My what?

MAN: Your liver. It's a large, ehh, glandular organ in your abdomen.

ERIC: [sniff]

MAN: You know, it's, uh,-- it's reddish-brown. It's sort of, uhh,--

MR. BROWN: Yeah,-- y-- y-- yeah, I know what it is, but... I'm using it, eh.

ERIC: Come on, sir.

MR. BROWN: Hey! Hey! Stop!

ERIC: Don't muck us about.

MR. BROWN: Stop! Hey! Hey! Stop it. Hey!

MAN: Hallo.

MR. BROWN: Ge-- get off.

MAN: What's this, then? Mmh.

MR. BROWN: A liver donor's card.

MAN: Need we say more?


MR. BROWN: Listen! I can't give it to you now. It says, 'in the event of death'. Uh. Oh! Ah. Ah. Eh.

MAN: No one who has ever had their liver taken out by us has survived.


ERIC: Just lie there, sir. It won't take a minute.

MR. BROWN: [screaming]

MAN: Zip it up.

MR. BROWN: [screaming]

MRS. BROWN: 'Ere. What's going on?

MAN: Uh, he's donating his liver, madam.

MR. BROWN: [screaming]

MRS. BROWN: Is this because he took out one of those silly cards?

MAN: That's right, madam.

MR. BROWN: [screaming]

MRS. BROWN: Typical of him!

MR. BROWN: [screaming]

MRS. BROWN: He goes down to the public library, he sees a few signs up, comes home all full of good intentions.

MR. BROWN: [screaming]

MRS. BROWN: He gives blood. He does cold research. All that sort of thing.

MAN: Oh.

MR. BROWN: [screaming]

ERIC: Ehh.

MRS. BROWN: What do you, uh,-- what do you do with them all, anyway?

ERIC: They all go to saving lives, madam.

MRS. BROWN: Mmm. That's what he used to say. 'It's all for the good of the country' he used to say.

MR. BROWN: [screaming]

MRS. BROWN: Do you think it's all for the good of the country?

MR. BROWN: [screaming]

MAN: Hm?

MRS. BROWN: Do you think it's all for the good of the country?

MAN: Well, I wouldn't know about that, madam. We're just, uh, doing our jobs, you know.

MR. BROWN: [screaming]

MRS. BROWN: You're not... doctors, then?

MR. BROWN: [screaming]

MAN: Oh. Blimey no.

MR. BROWN: [screaming]

MAN and ERIC: [laughing]

YOUNG MAN: Mum. Dad. I'm off out now. I'll see you about seven.

MAN and ERIC: [laughing]

MRS. BROWN: Right-o, son. Look after yourself.

MR. BROWN: [screaming]

MAN: Oh. Now.

ERIC: M-hmm.

MR. BROWN: [screaming]

MRS. BROWN: Do you, um,...

ERIC: [mumble]

MAN: Carry on.

MRS. BROWN: ...fancy a cup of tea?

MR. BROWN: [screaming]

MAN: Oh, well, that would be very nice.


MAN: Thank you.

MR. BROWN: [screaming]

MAN: Thank you very much, madam.

MR. BROWN: [screaming]

MAN: Thank you.

MR. BROWN: [screaming]

MAN: Oh, eh,-- I thought she'd never ask.

ERIC: You know it.

MR. BROWN: [screaming]

MAN: Uhh, you do realise, uh, he has to be, uh,... well, dead,... by the terms of the card, uh, before he donates his liver.

MRS. BROWN: Well, I told him that, but he never listens to me. Silly man!

MR. BROWN: [screaming]

MAN: Only I was wondering, ehh,... well, you know, what you was thinking of doing after that. I mean, [sniff] will you stay on your own,... or is there, uh,... well, someone else, sort of, uh,... on the horizon?

MRS. BROWN: I'm too old for that sort of thing. I'm past my prime.

MAN: Not at all. You're a very attractive woman.

MRS. BROWN: Well, I'm certainly not thinking of getting hitched up again.

MAN: Sure?



MAN: Can we have your liver, then?

Posted by Robert at 01:14 PM | Comments (11)

The Lidless Eye in Space


Has Sauron gone interstellar? You'd think so from this coo-el Hubble photo of what is actually an out-of-whack ring of dust particles in orbit around Fomalhaut, a star 25 light years away. The theory seems to be that the gravitational pull of one or more planets is responsible for dragging the ring askew.

That's what astronomers say, anyhow. Who knows if they haven't already fallen under the Shadow themselves and aren't cleverly arranging for all of Earth's defenses to stand down when the Dark Lord's Nazgul-Drive(TM) Starships suddenly drop out of warp in our solar system.

Yips! to Will Collier.

Posted by Robert at 09:59 AM | Comments (2)

Civil War Battlefields

Looking for some good summertime expedition ideas? Marvin Olasky lists his top 5 Civil War battlefields to visit.

To this list, I'd append one more: First Bull Run, just outside Manassas, VA. I've always thought this was an excellent field, particularly for people new to the experience (e.g. kids), because it is relatively small and the battle is easily visualized today. The vast majority of the fighting occurred on a flat-top hill and all of the positions can be seen easily from almost any point on it. Also, unlike, say, Fredericksburg, the area has not been built up.

By the time the battles mentioned by Olasky were fought, the shear scope of conflict had got so much larger that it is virtually impossible to stand in any one spot at one of these sites and take in the entire field of action. (The Second Battle of Bull Run, fought a year later in the same area as the first, is another example of this - one must drive several miles to visit all of the key points of the conflict.)

Which isn't to say I'm not looking forward to dragging the Llama-ettes to all of the battlefields on Olasky's list, because I am. Heh.

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

June 22, 2005


The former Republican senator from Missouri penned this column for The New York Times which can be counted upon to highlight anything in which one Republican bashes another or suggests the current leadership is too "extreme". The theme of the article seems to be The Love Commandment means cork your beliefs, lest anyone else become uncomfortable. Sorry, Senator/Reverend. The democratic process is, by its nature, often loud and racuous and inevitably people are going to have their feelings hurt. But it is through this process "the People, through their elected representatives, deal with matters which concern them" as Rehnquist once so succinctly put it. The people, through their representatives, wrestle with the great issues of the day, not the least of which include when life begins and the circumstances under which it is allowed to end (or in Terri Schiavo's case, made to end). When the courts usurp the deliberative function of the political branches, the result is not settled law, but endless litigation. The annual fights over abortion, 32 years after Roe v. Wade, are but one example.

Posted by LMC at 08:36 PM | Comments (1)


At the suggestion of The Colossus, tonight's feature is Janine Turner. Janine got her big break in Northern Exposure and has since made a string of forgettable flicks. She has the hot, older babe thing going on even as she does commercials for dry-eye products. No photo shoots in skin mags, movies on the estrogen channels, lesbian experimentation, or anything with Tom Cruise in the foreseeable future. Perhaps a movie with Kelly McGillis? Just wondering . . . here at Fort LMC, we hold out hope.

Posted by LMC at 08:07 PM | Comments (4)

My O-FFicial RINO Post For The Day

This is a complete waste of time, energy and resources. I don't say flag burning is a good thing, but fiddling around with the Constitution is not the appropriate response.

On the other hand Taranto's idea of fixing the Senate nomination process trainwreck by such means bears some merit.

Posted by Robert at 05:57 PM | Comments (3)

I'll Probably Get Lynched For This

Annika, in celebrating Poetry Wednesday, wanted to do a T.S. Eliot riff on the whole Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes thing a la Eliot's "The Jellicles", but in the end settled on a straight posting of the poem, citing technical problems in the conversion.

Thinking a) that she had a great original idea and b) that perhaps it might work better with a different poem, I give you my own humble effort:

Scientology: The Mystery Sect

Scientology's a Mystery Sect: it’s called the Hidden Jaw—
For it's the master seducer of those swept in its maw.
It’s the bafflement of Hollywood, the Glitteratti’s despair:
For when they reach for spir'tul sense—Scientology’s not there!

Scientology, Scientology, there’s nothing like Scientology,
It’s broken every hubris law, it breaks the law of Divinity.
Its powers of levitation did make Travolta stare,
And when you reach for spir'tual sense —Scientology’s not there!
You may seek it in the basement, you may look up in the air—
But I tell you once and once again, Scientology's not there!

Scientology’s a snaky sect, it’s taken Cruise all in;
You would know him if you saw him, for his eyes and hideous grin.
His pockets deeply lined with dough, his head is highly swelled;
His last wife dusty from neglect, his latest babe compelled.
He jumps on sofas side to side, with movements like a loon;
And while you think he’s all in love, he really is a goon.

Scientology, Scientology, there’s nothing like Scientology,
For it’s a fiend in doctrine shape, a monster of controllery.
You may meet it in a by-street, you may see it in the square—
But when you reach for spir'tual sense, then Scientology’s not there!

It’s outwardly respectable. (They say it takes credit cards.)
And its fingerprints are not found in any file of Scotland Yard’s.
And when the paycheck’s looted, or the jewel-case is rifled,
Or when the cash is missing, or another starlet's stifled,
Or the Hollywood image is broken, and the reputation past repair—
Ay, there’s the wonder of the thing! Scientology’s not there!

And when the Studio finds a Screenplay’s gone astray,
Or the Star loses ticket sales and status by the way,
There may be an inside story in the hall or on the stair—
But it’s useless of investigate—Scientology’s not there!
And when the loss has been disclosed, the Tabloids always say:
“It must have been Scientology!”—but it’s a mile away.
You’ll be sure to find it resting, or a-thinking on its creed,
Or engaged in doing complicated missionary screeds.

Scientology, Scientology, there’s nothing like Scientology,
There never was a Sect of such deceitfulness and suavity.
It always has an alibi, or one or two to spare:
And whatever time the deed took place—SCIENTOLOGY WASN’T THERE!
And they say that all the Sects whose wicked deeds are widely known
(I might mention Heaven's Gate, I might mention Jim Jones)
Are nothing more than agents for the Sect who all along
Just controls their operations: the L. Ron Hubbard Throng!

Posted by Robert at 05:42 PM | Comments (4)

Luke! It IS Your Destiny!

Following up on one we did the other day, another religious worldview quiz drags me closer to Rome:

Rank Item Percent
1: Roman Catholic (100%)
2: Eastern Orthodox (85%)
3: Lutheran (84%)
4: Anglican/Episcopal/Church of England (80%)
5: Presbyterian/Reformed (67%)
6: Congregational/United Church of Christ (50%)
7: Baptist (Reformed/Particular/Calvinistic) (36%)
8: Church of Christ/Campbellite (24%)
9: Methodist/Wesleyan/Nazarene (15%)
10: Seventh-Day Adventist (13%)
11: Baptist (non-Calvinistic)/Plymouth Brethren/Fundamentalist (7%)
12: Anabaptist (Mennonite/Quaker etc.) (3%)
13: Pentecostal/Charismatic/Assemblies of God (3%)

Some interesting questions. I think what gave the edge to the R.C.'s over my own Episcopal Church was my response on the matter of Communion (I am increasingly of the belief in transubstantiation in the Platonic sense, a change in essense without a change in physical properties) and the matter of purgatory (I believe in it without even knowing what official 'Palie doctrine is. If it is accepted in the Episcopal Church, it certainly doesn't get talked about much. )

But if I am going to the Mother Church, I have one iron condition: No goddam hippy music. Otherwise, I walk.

Yips! to the Pentacostal Brian B.

UPDATE: Third times's a charm. Behold my top 5 Belief-O-Matic results:

1. Eastern Orthodox (100%)
2. Roman Catholic (100%)
3. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (95%)
4. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (86%)
5. Orthodox Judaism (83%)

Yips! to Unitarian JohnL at TexasBestGrok for sending that one along (and getting me in even further trouble with the Missus, btw).

Posted by Robert at 04:33 PM | Comments (6)

Cranky's playing with the Flash media again

It's not quite the Kitty Canon, but Cranky has set up a little game where you can play with media whore Jennifer Wilbanks.

Posted by Steve at 01:43 PM | Comments (1)

Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkey Day

Och! I warrned 'em about the Ardennes. But they did'na listen ta Willie!

On this day in 1940, the French and German High Commands signed an armistice in the Forest of Compiègne in the same railcar as was used for the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. Here is the text. It is an exercise in abject humiliation.

Right up until the end, Churchill tried like billy-o to keep the French in the fight. He and his allies in the French government envisioned a number of strategic options after the defeat of the main French armies: a massive guerilla campaign, the movement of the French Government and what organized military was left to North Africa or some other part of the French Empire, the movement of the French Fleet to British ports or the Western Hemisphere. But the collective will of the French Government snapped long before the Germans got to Paris. Here is a succinct rundown of the Battle of France, May 10 - June 22, 1940.

My current reading: Churchill's Their Finest Hour. He wasn't talking about the French.

UPDATE: Oh, what the hell. We got yer French Jokes right here.

Posted by Robert at 01:38 PM | Comments (1)

Hitch on the Downing Street Memos

To be perfectly honest, I haven't had much to say about the whole Downing Street Memo business. I tried preparing a long-ish analysis digging into the formation of our "Europe First" policy in World War II (I mean, why did we invade North Africa, Italy, France and Europe when they had nothing to do with Pearl Harbor?), but rather than put up something crappy, I passed to let it stew some more.

In the meantime, Christopher Hitchens has something to say on the whole matter which jibes with my perspective and is laced with useful warnings for the right as well as the left as to what all this means:

I am now forced to wonder: Who is there who does not know that the Bush administration decided after September 2001 to change the balance of power in the region and to enforce the Iraq Liberation Act, passed unanimously by the Senate in 1998, which made it overt American policy to change the government of Iraq? This was a fairly open conspiracy, and an open secret. Given that everyone from Hans Blix to Jacques Chirac believed that Saddam was hiding weapons from inspectors, it made legal sense to advance this case under the banner of international law and to treat Saddam "as if" (and how else?) his strategy of concealment and deception were prima facie proof. The British attorney general—who has no jurisdiction in these 50 states—was worried that "regime change" alone would not be a sufficient legal basis. One appreciates his concern. But the existence of the Saddam regime was itself a defiance of all known international laws, and we had before us the consequences of previous failures to act, in Bosnia and Rwanda, where action would have been another word for "regime change."

Many in the British Foreign Office, like many in the American State Department and the CIA, felt more comfortable with the status quo as they knew it (which might explain the hapless references elsewhere in the memos to Iraq's "Sunni majority"). But theirs is only one opinion among many. How odd that the American left, when it is not busy swallowing the unpunctuated words of the CIA, follows this with another helping of wisdom from the most reactionary institution of the British state.

If such a "left" is not careful, it will end up consoling itself in futile bitterness and resentment in the way that the Old Right used to do: by brooding on the hellish manner in which FDR told the Japanese to "bring it on" at Pearl Harbor. (The anti-war right of today, led by Pat Buchanan, was raised and nurtured on this very fantasy, as were Gore Vidal and the other Charles Lindbergh fans.) I am in favor of taking such theories at face value, as a thought experiment, to see how they pan out. It is clear that Roosevelt hoped that the Japanese empire would make a mistake and furnish a pretext for war: The plain evidence of this hope is what keeps the conspiracy theory alive. I myself rather doubt that he would have wanted to start such a war with the loss of the Pacific Fleet, but still, he did think a confrontation was inevitable, as indeed it was.

Plus, any essay that can link Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code o' crap to this topic ranks high in my book.

LBBuddy, take it away....

Posted by Steve at 01:24 PM | Comments (2)

There Will Always Be An England

Eloise the Spitbull links to a UK Times OnLine article about a, er, spudding issue.

Posted by Robert at 01:19 PM | Comments (0)

Hitting A Low Note

A Capella News posts here and here about Bedford TX teenager Michael Rawls, a boy who was shut out of competing in a state-wide choral audition by the Texas Music Educators Association because Rawls is a counter-tenor (male soprano) and the TMEA rules only allow boys to sing male parts (tenor, bass) and girls to sing female parts (soprano, alto).

The TMEA claims that this limitation was instituted for the safety of students. My immediate reaction, this being Texas after all, was that this meant it did not want some boy getting the crap beat out of him for singing like a girl, but apparently the motivation is to prevent voice-strain.

This business is both silly and a shame. According to the posts, there is little or no safety concern in this case. Furthermore, there is a large reportoire of Baroque counter-tenor music from champions like Handel. I fail to see the value of discouraging talented young singers from exploring and taking advantage of that avenue of music through decisions like this.

Yips! to Lynn S.

Posted by Robert at 12:46 PM | Comments (2)

That's Heh.

I've never really found the idiot savant character to be believable, but every now and again something comes down the pike that demonstrates there might be something in it after all. Witness this post by Lawren K. about Paris Hilton's dog biting an NBC producer when Kathy Hilton, Paris' mom, decided to bring it along to a Today Show interview:

Mama Hilton decided to bring tiny Chihuahua Tinkerbell to the "Today" Show's Rockefeller studio because "Paris didn't come - she's in Los Angeles," our source explained. "Kathy knows everyone just wants to hear about or be with Paris, so since Paris couldn't be there, she thought Tink was almost as good."

(Emphasis added.) Mrs. H, I believe you're on to something. Although I think you underestimate the smaller dog - it, at least, is guaranteed not to make a fool of itself and you can simply toss it into a shoebox when not in use.

UPDATE: Oh, why not.....


10. No drooling.
9. Tink's inside dirt on that Taco Bell dog a sure-fire ratings booster.
8. Less fear of paralyzing guest through use of multi-syllabic words.
7. Tink not as likely to try and hump Matt Lauer on air.
6. No need for producers to receive painful series of rabies shots.
5. Paris always confusing lipstick with "Snausages".
4. If Tink bites Roker's ass, it's cute: If Paris does, it's a big FCC fine.
3. Tink usually not drunk before 3:00 PM.
2. Likely to get far more insightful answer to question on the morality of embryonic stem-cell research than, "That's hot."
1. Licking self confined to commercial breaks.

Posted by Robert at 09:59 AM | Comments (2)

Creative Writing Alert

I hope all of you have been keeping up with the terrific Take Two meme that our pal Feisty Christina has put together? For those of you who have not, here's how it works: Ms. C tosses out the germ of a story and five other bloggers write 1000 word takes on it. Each week features a different story. Round I of this little exercise is here. Round II is here.

Why do I bring this up now? Because I am going to be participating this Friday in Round III, along with Liv of Not A Shrinking Violet, Sheila of Sheila's World, Lippy of Wired JAFA and Michele of Meanderings.

Here is the dock from which we will be sailing our ships of fancy:

An individual is walking down a street, he/she glances over to an open-air restaurant and sees people enjoying their evening meals. Adjacent to the restaurant is an alleyway. As the individual passes he/she hears a slight wimpering in the darkness. At first, it almost sounds human...

At first I came up with a story line that involved a combination of Walter Mitty, Groundhog Day and An Incident at Owl Creek Bridge, but decided to scrap it on account of the fact that it was too dark and would only worry Mom. I am in the process of fleshing out another take. What will it be? Tune in Friday and find out!

Posted by Robert at 08:39 AM | Comments (3)

June 21, 2005

Jeff's discovered the missing link!

Quick---someone alert the Commissar: foolproof proof of evolution in action!

Posted by Steve at 09:33 PM | Comments (0)

Google Reveals My Inner Schizophrenia

No. 1 result for the search, "It's the plumber. I've come to fix the sink."

No. 2 result for the search, "Roscoe P. Coltrane".

No. 2 result for the search, "places to stop on I-95".

No. 3 result for the search, "feche la vache!"

No. 11 result for the search, "Jeeves and Wooster theme midi".

I get a lot of headaches.

YIPS from Steve: We are also doing well among the RINOs----that's Republicans wIth eNormous gOnads, of course.

Posted by Robert at 05:12 PM | Comments (0)

Go To The Head Of The Class

Via Joanne Jacobs, who picks it up from Ed Wonk, we get some good academic news for a change in this article about the dramatic turnaround at Granger Junior High School in San Diego. The key? Expecting the students to do more and expecting them to expect themselves to do more. Or as new principal Susan Mitchell puts it, ""No more pobrecitos." No more poor little things.

Gee, who'da thunk of that?

Mitchell, in the year and a half she's been there, has instituted tougher standards of accountability and performance for both students and teachers, with very encouraging results. What is perhaps sad is that this should seem so much like an exercise in starting back at Square One. But if that's what it takes, then God bless Mitchell and all those like her. (BTW, be sure to read the comment left by the Granger teacher at Ed Wonk's blog.)

Posted by Robert at 04:18 PM | Comments (0)

Ew...Make Him Stop!

You know that scene in Addams Family Values where Christina Ricci's Wednesday Addams slowly and painfully cracks a happy smile that comes out so grotesque that it winds up frightening all the other little campers around her? Well that's the reaction I always have when INDCent Bill starts pulling stuff like this.

Ew, indeed.

(Yes, this is how I usually picture Bill. It helps.)

Posted by Robert at 02:40 PM | Comments (3)

Carpe Diem, Daisy Buchanan

I was beginning to get worried y'all had forgotten about me.....

I didn't intend to go blog AWOL for a week---it just kind of happened. Last Wednesday through Friday I was up in Leesburg, VA evaluating fellowship applications for a foundation. The resort we were at was swanky as all get out, but for some odd reason, I brought the laptop but not the powercord, so the prospect of doing a little down time blogging wasn't in the cards. Father's Day Weekend ensued, which is of course a three-day festival including fireworks, a parade, and endless buffets. Right. It wasn't the madcap wackiness of Robbo's birthday part-tay palooza, but it was downright close. And yesterday I was working on the real writing all day. So goes the summer.

I have four favorite days of the year, and while two are predictable---Christmas and Thanksgiving---two are rather odd: the first friday in June, and June 20th. The first friday in June since college to me has always been a great day---it has that feeling you get when you've gone up the first ramp on the rollercoaster, with that click click click click sense of impending doom, and you get to the top and you seemingly stop for a second---that seems to float indefinitely, like you are inhabiting X-Men-esque time suspension---before gravity wakes up and sucks you into the rapid whirlygig of summer.

June 20th is, well June 20th. For some reason it stuck in my head my junior year in college, when I was working on the Sabino, a steamboat at Mystic Seaport. It was a pretty cool job, except for the loading of the 1 ton of coal in the morning via wheelbarrow down an often wet gangplank, and of course the time spent shoveling coal into the furnace. But in the evening, we would take a long trip down the Mystic River to the Sound, and you could steal the time to climb up on the roof of the boat, and sit behind the lifeboat and read. So I was ensconsed up there, on the roof of the boat chugging down the river, reading The Great Gatsby, in the scene where they are having the dinner party at Daisy & Tom's, with Jordan Baker the golfer chick, and Daisy goes on about remembering when the longest day of the year is.

"Why candles?" objected Daisy frowning. She snapped them out with her fingers. "In two weeks it'll be the longest day in the year." She looked at us all radiantly. "Do you always watch for the longest day of the year and then miss it? I always watch for the longest day in the year and then miss it."

And it dawned on me, sitting there on the roof of the boat, looking out at Long Island Sound, that tomorrow was the longest day of the year. And for some reason that memory has stuck in my mind clearly and absolutely. I can smell the salt (as well as the coal smoke), hear the halyards banging against the aluminum masts of the sailboats riding at their moorings, see the tourists eating their lobster roll sandwiches sitting at picnic tables at the riverside restaurants. June 20th.

So that makes today the Day After June 20th: today is the longest day of the year. Carpe diem, Daisy Buchanan.

Which brings me to the Daisy at the other end of our cultural chain: Daisy Duke. I finally saw the trailer to the new Dukes of Hazard movie last night: For. The. Love. Of. Darwin.

The movie seems, from its short trailer, to embody in one celluoid reel everything Alan Bloom warned us about in The Closing of the American Mind, all the while seemingly striving for the single most coveted distinction as being the most un-PC movie. Ever. Made.

Needless to say, I'll be there on opening night.

: My review of Batman Begins. One word review: freakin' awesome! Okay, that's two words, but you get my drift.

UPDATE & UNPAID ADVERTISEMENT: While pulling the links together for this post I unfortunately triggered a serious jonesing for the Abbot's Lobster Roll. If you've ever had one, you know what type of culinary craving their memory can induce. Who would've thought the greatest culinary treat known to man would involve lobster meat, mayo, butter, a cold beer, and a fresh hot dog roll?

Seriously: only eat a Lobster roll when you can actually smell the salt water.

Posted by Steve at 02:03 PM | Comments (1)

Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)

Some lively and amusing comments about hippy music and interpretive dance in some R.C. parishes came in response to my religious wordlview quiz results the other day. Following up on that, I just can't help posting my own church's musical offering for this coming Sunday:

The Sunrise Quartet will be featured in Mozart’s Missa Brevis in C on Sunday, June 26, at services at 9:00 and 11:15 a.m.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Missa Brevis in C (K.259), subtitled Orgelsolo-Messe (Organ Solo Mass) is a well-known example of the Mass settings that were common throughout the Austrian Empire in the late 18th century. Mozart’s Missa Brevis in C conforms to the strictures of length and the limitation of solo passages imposed by the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg, Mozart’s employer for a brief period. Mozart was nineteen years old when he composed this Mass. It is bristling with youthful energy that is not always perfectly placed, as in the lively and aggressive setting of the Kyrie, and in the musically imaginative but liturgically unusual treatment of the threefold reiteration of the word Sanctus. In the customary manner of the period, the Benedictus is given an extended and soloistic treatment. Mozart sets this movement as a quartet with concertante organ accompaniment, and it is this involvement of the organ that gives the work its name Organ Solo Mass.

I resist the impulse to say, "Neener, Neener!" and instead will post a review next week.

UPDATE: In response to JohnL's comments:

Our church's organ.

There is some considerable information on the church's website about the makeup of this organ. Unfortunately, I couldn't reproduce it here because of some formatting issues. But if you're interested in that sort of thing (and I know John is), I'll send the link along to you.

Posted by Robert at 09:44 AM | Comments (3)


John J. Miller has an interesting piece on the wordlview of H.G. Wells in today's WSJ. "Crackpot Utopianism" features pretty heavily in it.

"Human history is in essence a history of ideas," [Wells] once wrote. That may be, but Wells flirted with the worst ideas of his time. After interviewing Lenin, Wells called him "creative" and described communism as the best hope for reforming Russia. The man simply never met a collectivist movement that didn't intrigue him. "There is good in these Fascists," he said of Italians in 1927. "There is something brave and well-meaning about them." He despised Catholicism and mocked Jewish traditions as "nonsense." It was for views such as these that George Orwell delivered a blunt verdict in 1941: "Much of what Wells has imagined and worked for is physically there in Nazi Germany."

Whereas the author of "Animal Farm" and "1984" possessed a keen sense of how and why totalizing states go badly wrong, Wells was constantly drawing up plans for ideal societies driven by rationalist principles and governed by high-minded elites.

A good rule of thumb: whenever someone starts talking about ideal societies driven by rationalist principles and goverend by high-minded elites, run, do not walk, to the nearest exit.

Posted by Robert at 09:20 AM | Comments (2)

Carnival of Music #3

Is up over at TexasBestGrok. JohnL goes out of his way to bring together the high, the low and everything in between. This week he's managed to compile a collection of links that includes everything from Bartok to stripper music. What more could you want?

Go on over and browse.

Posted by Robert at 08:20 AM | Comments (1)


Today's special: Kiera Knightley. She first caught the LMC eye last night in Pirates of the Carribean and seems to be in some respects an improvement on Natalie Portman--just as good looking with more animation. She will be one to watch so long as she stays away from photo shoots in skin mags, movies on the estrogen channels, lesbian experimentation, and (Colossus, this is for you) Tom Cruise.

Posted by LMC at 07:27 AM | Comments (4)

June 20, 2005

Gratuitous Random Tee Vee Observation

Am I the only person around who thinks those DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket package ads that feature the riff on the song "I've Got A Golden Ticket" from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory are....disturbing? And that Peyton Manning, at least, deserves to be treated with a little more respect and dignity than that?

Just asking.

Posted by Robert at 04:24 PM | Comments (3)

Art Blogging

Here's an interesting article about the darker side of Paul Gauguin:

HE romanticised himself as “a savage”, explaining and excusing his own nature. He deserted a wife, children and material security because of the conviction, shared by few, that inside him there existed a great painter. He was abusive, debauched, arrogant, derisive, intolerant, and possibly the loneliest man who ever lived. He also made most of the art of the 20th century possible.

(It strikes me that the last sentence in this excerpt is probably a wee bit overblown.)

I remember seeing a cartoon in, I think, The New Yorker a number of years ago. Two middle aged MMA-type women are looking at one of Gauguin's South Seas pieces full of nubile girls and one of the women is saying to the other, "That son of a bitch!" That thought has always made me smile.

Yips! to Ann Althouse.

Posted by Robert at 04:08 PM | Comments (2)

Who Wants To Be A Skank?

By now you've probably heard that Paris Hilton's mother Kathy is hosting her own Apprentice-like reality show "I Want To Be A Hilton".

According to the ad copy:

Everyone's heard of the Hiltons, especially daughter's Paris and Nicky, but what would it take to actually live like them?

Kathy Hilton (mom to Paris and Nicky) hosts this engaging and humorous series that follows 14 eccentric young contestants as they vie for the opportunity to live the glamorous lifestyle of high society. Kathy Hilton guides the contestants through a variety of weekly challenges set in glamorous Manhattan and ranging from art and culture to beauty and fashion. Each week Kathy eliminates those who "didn't make the list." The finalist will win an extravagant prize package including a $200,000 trust fund!

Ya know, if I were the parent of one of the tawdriest, most hidiously embarrasing bits o' crumpet to lower the collective IQ and define celebrity deviancy downward, I'd be more inclined to go and hide out in the Andes somewhere, not to try and capitalize on her infamy in order to nab a couple of minutes in the spotlight myself.

Then again, it strikes me that the fact that Kathy would rather take the latter path probably says something about how Paris got to be what she is in the first place. Trees and apples, y'know.

Posted by Robert at 03:26 PM | Comments (6)

Flash In The Pan 90's Babes


Did we ever do an entry on Téa Leoni? If not, we ought to. I bring this up because when I saw her on the cover of the latest issue of Town & Country to show up at our house, I didn't even recognize her.

I've never even heard of most of the flicks she's done since Deep Impact, which isn't many. And I admit not having seen Spanglish because Adam Sandler gives me hives. She seems to be coming out in a new Jim Carrey film, Fun With Dick and Jane, but I'm not getting overly excited for a comeback because a) I haven't noticed that Carrey's coattails are particularly long and b) remakes are a dodgy business at best.

Posted by Robert at 01:54 PM | Comments (8)

Llama Baseball Blegging

The Missus and I are planning to take the two older Llama-ettes out to see the Nats play Toronto this coming Saturday. The Missus thinks we should drive over to the stadium, while I think we'd be better off taking the Metro.

I've never actually been to RFK before. Anybody have any useful information about which mode of transportation is preferable? Time, price, general hassle-factor? (On Metro, it would be a straight shot across town on the Orange Line for us.)


Posted by Robert at 01:26 PM | Comments (4)

Weekend Round-Up: Father's Day Edition

Mayun, what a busy weekend. Some random observations:

**We've developed a habit of taking the Llama-ettes out for one-on-one breakfasts on Saturday morning. Since there are two of us and three of them, it's a six week cycle. This week was my turn with the three year old. I've noticed that I sometimes get rather odd looks from people as I sit there with the gels, as if they're trying to figure out if I'm Mr. Divorcee and this is my visitation weekend. I'm sometimes tempted to jump up and yell, "No, no! It's just breakfast! The Missus is at home with the other two! Honest!"

**Saturday afternoon, the eldest Llama-ette went to one birthday party while the other two went to another. Immediately those parties were over, the two older girls went on to another birthday party, this one a sleepover at a neighbor's house. Such is the social whirlwind in which we operate.

I went along with the eldest to her first party, which was held at a putt-putt golf course. She was one of only two girls there, but enjoyed herself nonetheless. Somehow or other I got drafted as Official Cameraman of the tourney, so found myself scurrying back and forth among three foursomes of small kids, trying to snap at least one shot of each one at the tee.

Later on, the kids had the ritual pizza and cake under a tent. It was a Star Wars theme banquet and featured one of the more bizarre cakes I've seen, one designed to look like the lava field in ROTS, complete with flames done in icing. In the middle of it sat Darth Vader's head and upper chest, as if he was partially submerged in molten rock. It had a slightly unsettling, although I'm sure unintentional, effect, although apparently I was the only one who thought so. As I sat there, I got musing about what other big movie scenes could be depicted on birthday cakes - Omaha Beach from Saving Private Ryan? The Titanic going down? Manhattan frozed solid in The Day After Tomorrow? (My musings may have been slightly lurid because I had spent an industrious hour or so before the party giving the whiteflies what for and, in the process, inhaling rayther a lot of malathion fumes. Mmmmmm....toxic spray....mmmmm.)

** Speaking of movies, the Missus and I saw Mr. and Mrs. Smith Saturday night. It was okay - sort of a cross between James Bond and the Thin Man - and some of the bickering-couple jokes were quite amusing, but as a whole it wasn't as entertaining as it could have been and the ending left a lot hanging. I will say that Angelina Jolie was looking pretty fine. I'm not sure if I'd put her on my Freebie List, but she would at least get serious consideration. Some brilliant couple brought an eight or nine year old boy to the show. He sat right behind us and kept asking questions. In one scene, Jolie dresses up as a dominatrix in order to get at an illegal arms merchant who she, as a professional assassin, is supposed to kill. She indulges him with a riding crop for a few seconds before breaking his neck. Good luck explaining that to a nine year old.

** Of course, we paid dearly yesterday for all the Saturday birthday party celebration - the two older gels came home exhausted. The three year old, meanwhile, had conned the babysitter into letting her stay up late while we were out for dinner and the movie. It's interesting how that level of tiredness affects different personalities, laying bare the Enemy Within. The eldest gets extremely tempermental, the five year old starts whining and the three year old, well, she becomes something of a berserker, taunting and teasing even more than usual. And I won't even begin to describe her own personal form of bio-terror, except to say that we wind up going through a whoooole lot of undies.

**All of this hurly-burly made this article in this weekend's WaPo magazine especially, well, teeth-grinding. In an effort to get just the right tone for Father's Day, I suppose, the article tells the tale of a woman in Massachusetts who decided to track down the anonymous sperm doner who fathered her seven and three year old children, then fly out to California with the kids in order to meet him and, for lack of a better word, bond.

Now I'm rather agnostic over the whole business of sperm banks, with the attendant issues surrounding doner identification and how and when one goes about explaining all this to the kid. I suppose there are all sorts of circumstances involved, each case requiring its own determination of what is appropriate. What got me about this particular story was the woman's hell-bent effort to create what amounts to Insta-Dad. Here we have a man she's never even laid eyes on before, much less anything else. She goes all the way across country with her two small children and stays with them in this guy's apartment. Not only that, she immediately turns over a significant amount of parental authority to the guy and starts working hard to get the kids to call him "Dad".

[Activate Rant Function.] I'm sorry, but this is insane, and not just because the woman in the article seems to have some serious judgement problems with respect to blind trust. This man may be the kids' father, but he is not, repeat not, their Dad. The former is a simple matter of biological fact. The latter is an intensely complex jumble of physical, intellectual and emotional bonds, built up over years and years of day-to-day close contact. It is something that cannot come about instantly, no matter how hard somebody may want it. And furthermore, it doesn't come about because the guy takes the kids to the aquarium and Disney Land and wears matching "Best Buddies" t-shirts with them. I'm sick to death of the notion that fatherhood is all about "sharing special moments" with children. That's a bunch of crap. Being a Dad means getting to have good times with your kids, of course, but it also - and much more importantly - means being their teacher, their counselor, their coach, their judge, their jury and, on occassion, their firing squad. This is a full time job and frankly, as someone who has devoted more energy to it than I ever knew I even had, I am deeply offended, no mortified, that this woman believes all the fatherly needs that she dimly perceives her children have can somehow be instantly gratified by a sudden visit to Mr. Doner. I'm not saying that Mr. Doner couldn't become Dad some day, but he isn't yet . (Judging by the article, I'd say he is at best ambivalent about seriously taking on the responsibility, btw.) This wretched woman is deluding herself if she really thinks he is. [Deactivate Rant Function.]

Posted by Robert at 10:28 AM | Comments (10)

June 19, 2005


Your humble LMC gives you Keri Russell whose big break was the short-lived WB series "Felicity". She had a small but good part in We Were Soldiers and I read something this week that she will be in Mission Impossible 3 with that middle-aged cad, Tom Cruise. Keep an eye on her, I think she has real potential so long as she stays away from photo shoots in skin mags, movies on the estrogen channels, etc.

Posted by LMC at 11:21 AM | Comments (9)


Blogging with Fox News Sunday rolling. First up, former National Security Babe and now Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. (Methinks I could listen her talk all day long. One of these days, I will write the definitive post on all things Condi, probably when Steve-O writes the definitive post on all things Helen Hunt). She is, and will continue to be, a more effective Secretary of State than her predecessor. Unlike Powell, Rice is a believer in Bush's worldview and his foreign policy.

Round table follows--Juan Williams body-slammed by Brit Hume over Dick Durban's "Nazi comment" and Durbin's non-apology (of the usual "I'm sorry if anyone was offended" genre). Juan body slammed again by Brit over the Terri Schiavo autopsy results. Mara Liasson plays the peacemaker with mixed results.

Finishes up with head of "Hoop Dreams", non-profit in D.C. that raises money for college scholarships for inner-city D.C. high school students among its worthwhile endeavors. Proof yet again that private action is more effective than government programs at keeping kids in school and lifting them out of poverty. Anyone remember midnight basketball circa 1994?

Posted by LMC at 11:06 AM | Comments (0)

June 17, 2005

Luke! It Is Your Destiny!

You scored as Roman Catholic. You are Roman Catholic. Church tradition and ecclesial authority are hugely important, and the most important part of worship for you is mass. As the Mother of God, Mary is important in your theology, and as the communion of saints includes the living and the dead, you can also ask the saints to intercede for you.

Roman Catholic


Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


Neo orthodox


Reformed Evangelical






Classical Liberal


Modern Liberal




What's your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com

And if the Internet says it, it must be true. Right?

Yips! to the Maximum Classical Liberal Leader, the Equally Classical JohnL, the Impenetrably Classical One, the Evangelical Wesleyanish Brian B. and the Emergently Postermodern Owlish.

Posted by Robert at 05:37 PM | Comments (10)

Tom Is Gettin' Upset!

I've refrained from saying anything about the whole Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes thing a) because to the extent I care, I think the whole business is just creepy and b) I don't care that much.

But I love Jonathan Last's take: According to him, Cruise is pulling a George Constanza. And we're all Susan's parents.

Taking it up a notch, indeed.

Posted by Robert at 04:53 PM | Comments (1)

"The Decisive Day is Come."

British Grenadiers attack the fortifications on Breed's Hill. This is a highly stylized rendition of the charge, but I like it anyway. Image courtesy of BritishBattles.

Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. The Massachusetts Historical Society has a nifty little web exhibit of contemporary documents, eyewitness accounts, maps and other information. Go on over and browse.

Posted by Robert at 01:11 PM | Comments (0)

Play Time

Sheila is posting on the difficulty of playing Anton Checkov. I'm afraid (he said, turning red in the face) that I am completely ignorant of the matter myself, having never read nor seen a Checkov play, but I know Mom won't want to miss this.

Actually, I take that back. I did hear a production of The Cherry Orchard. As I recall, it began something like this:

Announcer: Gumby Theatre comes live tonight from the Evon Gumby Theatre near Guildford. L. D. Gumby, M. J. Gumby and R.S. Gumby star in The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekov. The action takes place near Moscow in the 1870's.

Gumbies: (Bird song, knock knock)

Announcer: Meanwhile in St. Petersburg Ylia Natajevska and Mariana Plajenkov await news of their stepbrother Trofimov.

Gumbies: HELLO
(Closing music)

Announcer: That was The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekov, adapted for radio by putting it onto a piece of wood and banging a few nails through it. Mr. L. N. Gumby is now appearing in the Thames near Woking Steps. And Mr. D. P. Gumby is appearing as a central tunnel support on the new Victoria Line.

I know, I know. I can be awfully juvenile sometimes. But it's a glorious Friday here in Dee Cee, the Missus and the Llama-ettes were lounging about the house this morning in full school's-out relaxation mode and I'm just plain feeling silly.

Meanwhile, Terry Teachout has a teaser review of a new production of Somerset Maugham's The Constant Wife that includes this summation that I find particularly amusing for some reason:

Imagine Henrik Ibsen rewritten by Oscar Wilde and you'll get some idea of what “The Constant Wife” sounds like….

Heh. I do know something about Ibsen. One of my favorite courses in college was a semester of Ibsen and Shaw. Just when ol' Henrik had you about convinced that the only thing left to do was to toddle out to the barn and hang yourself, G.B.S. came sailing in to leave you in absolute stitches. In her post, Sheila talks about the challenge for actors of getting Checkov right. George Bernard is a completely different kettle of fish. Now there's a man whose plays are damn near actor-proof: get the words out somehow and they'll do the rest all by themselves, thank you very much.

Right. Well I seem to have wandered a bit. But since this post has already got some Shaw, Wilde and Python in it, why don't we close it up with another classic:

London 1895... The residence of Mr Oscar Wilde

(In WILDE's drawing room. A crowd of suitably dressed folk are engaged in typically brilliant conversation, laughing affectedly and drinking champagne)

PRINCE OF WALES: My congratulations, Wilde. You latest play is a great success. The whole of London's talking about you.
OSCAR: There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that it not being talked about.
(There follows fifteen seconds of restrained and sycophantic laughter)
PRINCE: Very very witty... very very witty.
WHISTLER: There's only one thing in the world worse than being witty and that is not being witty.
(Fifteen seconds more of the same)
OSCAR: I wish I had said that.
Whistler: You will, Oscar, you will.
(More laughter)
OSCAR: Your majesty, have you met James McNeill Whistler?
PRINCE: Yes, we've played squash together.
OSCAR: There is only one thing worse than playing squash together, and that is playing it by yourself.
I wish I hadn't said that.
WHISTLER: You did, Oscar, you did.
(A little laughter)
PRINCE: I've got to get back up the palace.
OSCAR: Your Majesty is like a big jam doughnut with cream on the top.
PRINCE: I beg your pardon?
OSCAR: Um... it was one of Whistler's.
WHISTLER: I never said that.
OSCAR: You did, James, you did.
(The PRINCE OF WALES stares expectantly at WHISTLER)
WHISTLER: ... Well, You Highness, what I meant was that, like a doughnut, um, your arrival gives us pleasure... and your departure only makes us hungry for more.
Your Highness, you are also like a stream of bat's piss.
PRINCE: What?!?
WHISTLER: It was one of Wilde's. One of Wilde's.
OSCAR: It sodding was not! It was Shaw!
SHAW: I... I merely meant, Your Majesty, that you shine out like a shaft of gold when all around is dark.
PRINCE (accepting the compliment): Oh.
(To PRINCE)Your majesty is like a dose of clap. Before you arrive is pleasure, and after is a pain in the dong.
PRINCE (Loudly): WHAT?
WHISTLER and OSCAR: One of Shaw's, one of Shaw's.
SHAW: You bastards. Um... what I meant, Your Majesty, what I meant...
OSCAR: We've got him, Jim.
WHISTLER and OSCAR: Come on, Shaw-y.
SHAW: I merely meant...
OSCAR: Come on, Shaw-y.
WHISTLER: Let's have a bit of wit, then, man.
SHAW: (Blows raspberry)
(The PRINCE shakes SHAW's hand. Laughter all around)

Posted by Robert at 09:46 AM | Comments (5)

States of Mind

The seven year old was quizing me this morning on where I was likely to go on my next business trip:

"Well, I don't really know yet."

"But not Kansas?"

"No, I'm pretty sure it won't be Kansas."

"Good. Kansas is an angry state."

"Um..why is Kansas an angry state?"

"Because of all the tornadoes. Also, it's right in the middle of the country so it gets squished by all the other states. That makes it angry."

"Ah, I see."

If we have any readers from Kansas out there, I hope that anger thing works out for you.

Posted by Robert at 08:37 AM | Comments (2)

June 16, 2005


James Taranto in his Best of the Web feature today notes U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and awaits confirmation by the full Senate to sit on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Boyle was nominated by Bush 41 but the libs ran out the clock and his nomination was never brought to a committee vote. In response, Jesse Helms blue-slipped every North Carolinian nominated by Clinton to the Fourth Circuit, including fellow Yalie J. Rich Leonard. John Edwards in turn blue-slipped Boyle when re-nominated by Bush 43. Judge Boyle was not one of the favored five covered by the Gang of 14 sellout but I doubt the libs will attempt a filibuster. NRO reports Lindsay Graham and Mike DeWine have gotten religion and will support the president's judicial nominees. Their support along with Cheney's tie-breaker puts the nuclear option back under Frist's finger. One can imagine the cloakroom discussion as Frist dares Reid to try a fillibuster: "Do it! What's the matter? Chicken? C'mon, do it--you know you want to . . ."

Posted by LMC at 10:42 PM | Comments (1)


SGT Leigh Ann Hester, an MP with the Kentucky Army National Guard, is the first woman to receive the Silver Star since WWII for her actions during an ambush in Iraq this spring. Her unit did its pre-deployment training at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin where it impressed the ARTCC cadre and was used as a case study for the Pre-Command Course on benefits of strong leadership and tough, realistic training. Unfortunately, the MSM being what it is--I doubt she will get the interviews, book deal, and made-for-television movie that Jessica Lynch got.

Posted by LMC at 10:22 PM | Comments (0)

Mom The Terminator

Mommy Dearest

Good. God. Almighty.

I invite you, if you will, to read this article about one Isabel Kallman, who seeks to be the Queen of the Alpha Moms. Honestly, I'm not altogether sure this piece isn't some kind of parody, a lampoon of Alpha-Mom stereotyping. Otherwise, it's truly horrifying.

Not to put too fine a point on it, this woman is a raving nutcase. Her son is on the path to doom. And her husband, who seems like a more level-headed, although pistol-whipped type, at some point is either going to leave her or drink himself to death.

Yips! to Joanne Jacobs, who has the highlights of the article nicely condensed.

UPDATE: Susan Konig on Beta Moms and Gamma Dads. Now this is the way it's supposed to go. Or at least the way it goes at our house......

Posted by Robert at 04:16 PM | Comments (6)

Gratuitous Llama Movie Blegging

The Missus and I are celebrating our twelfth anniversary this weekend in a low-key style by a simple dinner and movie date. (With any luck, I will avoid coming down with heat-stroke the way I did last year.) Anyhoo, we thought that Mr. & Mrs. Smith looked like it might be entertaining.

Anybody who's seen it have any thoughts?

Posted by Robert at 02:14 PM | Comments (10)


You are the eighth Doctor! Friendly and warm, you
are the most human of all the Doctors. Your
sense of style is a bit old-fashioned. You have
a bit of trouble figuring out exactly who you
are at first, but no worries. Eventually you'll
find your way.

Which Doctor (from Doctor Who) Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

I didn't know there was an eighth Doctor. I could only count five of them myself.

Yips! to the Impenetrable Sixth.

UPDATE: It's Dalekpalooza!

Posted by Robert at 01:13 PM | Comments (4)

Hard Times For Mr. Woo

Poor ol' Evelyn Waugh. First kicked, now robbed.

Think he'd be happy? Up to a point, Lord Copper.

Posted by Robert at 01:07 PM | Comments (1)

Help! Help! I'm Being Oppressed!

I've been wondering what, if anything, to make of this article by Chris Bowers about the rise in traffic on liberal blogs in relation to conservative ones over the past couple years. Bowers contends that this is a function of a stagnant, top-down conservative/libertarian blog hierarchy that stifles rising voices, as opposed to the more "community"-oriented liberal sites like KoS, Atrios and so on.

I've two gut reactions to Bowers' thesis. The first is a natural recoil from the scolding, "If you haven't brought enough bandwidth for everyone, then you shouldn't be blogging" tone of his piece, coupled with a smile at the thought that someone else has noticed how eeeeeevil the Puppy Blender really is, holding all of us small-fry in veritable serfdom.

The second is to note the relative influence of the right and left sides of the Blogsphere over this time frame. The conservative/libertarian side has brought about NYTimes-Gate, Memo-Gate, the Swifties and other stories which have had, so far as I can tell, a serious impact on the course of the national debate, arguably winning Dubya's reelection. All of these stories, as I recollect, were cracked first by second, third and fourth tier blogs, thus demonstrating not the smothering of conservative/libertarian voices, but rather the depth of the Right's bench. On the other hand, the most important impact the Liberal side has had so far is to bring about the rise of Howard Dean. That's a trade I'd take any day, even if it means I have to wear shackles.

Yips! to Jonathan Last over at Galley Slaves, who's been chewing on this comparison as well. He's right that the article is a more in-depth analysis than the usual Hive vs. Herd comparison, but in the end I'm not that sure it doesn't boil down to just that after all.

UPDATE: More thoughts from James Joyner, the PoliPundit, Mark in Mexico and Obsidian Wings.

UPDATE DEUX: Joe at Cadillac Tight muses on the inherent activist nature of the Left as a possible explanation of the success of "community" blogging there. This is similar to Jonathan Last's thoughts appended to the post I originally linked. I suppose it's also a perfectly valid question whether the numbers would change were the Dems in power instead of the GOP and, if so, by how much.

UPDATE TROIS: Arguing With Signposts has some excellent comments on the whole business.

UPDATE, Uh, Le FOUR: Kevin at Wizbang takes a look at Bowers' methodology and finds some flaws.

Posted by Robert at 09:16 AM | Comments (5)

June 15, 2005


The Senator must be feeling the heat. Limbaugh played up that his son, Pat, once the front runner for an Ohio congressional seat, came in fourth in yesterday's primary. Safe to say the conservative base is pissed off (Pat's marital problems did not help his situation). That deal on judges now does not seem to have been such a good idea with both DeWine the Elder and Lindsay Graham backing off and both have more or less indicated they will support the president's judicial nominees. With Cheney's tie breaker, the Republicans have enough votes for a showdown. Steve-O, I know you think the Republicans should not pick a fight over the nuclear option with a Supreme Court vacancy in the offing, energy bill, private accounts for Social Security, etc, but Bolton's nomination proves the libs will allow nothing to get through of any significance. Playing it safe will only ensure W.'s second term agenda will never get anywhere. Let's roll. . .

Posted by LMC at 09:36 PM | Comments (3)


Surprise, surprise, the libs won't deal on allowing Bolton's nomination to go forward. W. should give him a recess appointment as soon as Congress goes out for its 4th of July recess. Do the same when the nominee for Bolton's old job gets stalled. Clinton used to do the same thing. Bill Lann Lee, anyone? How about Roger Gregory? Time to play hardball.

Posted by LMC at 09:23 PM | Comments (0)

Love Thy Neighbor, the Bastard

I've got to head over to a meeting at church this evening. As a vestryman, I've been assigned to head up the parish life committee, whose primary responsibility is to encourage fellowship among the parishoners. This evening's meeting is a brainstorming session to come up with new ways to make the church more of a center of community.

Unfortunately, as is usually the case with these 7:30 events, I won't have time to eat before the meeting, which means I'll show up very hungry, tired and consequently, curmudgeonly. It strikes me that there is a certain amount of irony in going to a meeting devoted to trying to find ways to bring people together when I'm in the frame of mind of pretty much wishing all of humanity to the devil.

Ah well, if the metro doesn't fail me, I can hit a Starbucks on the way over. A vente iced latte can go very far toward soothing the savage breast.

UPDATE: Mmmm....iced latte. The drink of the Gods. I love you guys.

Posted by Robert at 06:09 PM | Comments (7)

A Different Sort of Links Post

A long and interesting article by Steve Sailer on golf course architecture as an art form. If you're at all interested in the game, go read.

Yips! to Michael Blowhard.

Posted by Robert at 05:51 PM | Comments (1)

All Hail The Benevolent God Of Chilly Succor!


Bow down before "Mr. Ten Below" as he provides relief from the oppression of his evil half-brother!

Today's high in Dee Cee - 93
Tomorrow's high - 81
Friday's high - 73

How sweet is that?

Posted by Robert at 02:08 PM | Comments (0)

Gratuitous Dead-Horse Beating


Today is Helen Hunt's birthday. I may watch Twister tonight by way of celebration.


Posted by Robert at 01:52 PM | Comments (7)

Classic LLamabutcher (ie Summer re-runs)

Here they are Bill:

moonbat out of hell.jpg

bushitler blues.jpg.jpg

I for one hope, on behalf of a patient nation, that Bill is shedding this "respectability" crap and is getting in touch with his inner moonbat anthropologist.

Posted by Steve at 01:14 PM | Comments (1)

Take This Job And Smack It.

Michele at Letters From NYC passes along a great HR outsourcing idea to which I would gladly subscribe.

I'm impressed with the dedication and hard work of many of the folks who toil away on behalf of Uncle. On the other hand, every joke or horror story you've ever heard about Civil Service deadwood is absolutely bang on. Alas, my current "secretary" falls into this latter category.

While this service might not get him to actually, you know, do any work, at least it would give me some gratuitous pleasure to watch them in action.

Posted by Robert at 10:28 AM | Comments (2)

Note to Fellow Bloggers:

Whatever you do---for the love of Darwin, Man!----do NOT link to or trackback THIS post.

She'll kill you. And THEN she'll go to work on you!*

She's a crazy one, she is! Yessir, I could tell you stories...

*Identify the quote, win the Rice a Roni!

Posted by Steve at 09:39 AM | Comments (2)

And what of the Sawx, you ask?

The Irish Elk has the full round-up of the interleague romp the Sox just had playing the Cubs and their old nemesis the Cincinnati Reds. Carlton Fisk links follow.

Posted by Steve at 09:34 AM | Comments (1)

Happy Wednesday

Rusty's getting Wednesday kick started with his confession of having brunched with kings, drank tea with the first lady, and slept with pornstar Mary Carey.

Or something like that.

All I can say about this is "I'M OUTRAGED!"

Posted by Steve at 09:23 AM | Comments (0)

This Is Cool

Our pal Tee Bee brings word of the discovery of a "Super-Earth," a rocky planet orbiting a star about 15 light years away. Apparently, this is the first such planet spotted outside our own solar system.

Speaking of which, I happened to catch Forbidden Planet on the tee vee last night. Aside from the fact that one simply cannot take Leslie Nielson seriously after watching his Airplane! and Naked Gun performances, the film turned out to be not half as silly as I thought it might. And you could see the heavy influence the film had on future outer space shows and movies: Nielson's Commander Adams, who out-thinks the computer, fights off the monster and bags the space babe, is practically the prototype of James T. Kirk. Robbie the Robot could have been the father of the Robot from Lost in Space. Other references in Star Wars, Star Trek and other flicks no doubt abound, but I'm sure there are plenty of geeks fans out there that know a lot more about it than I do.

Posted by Robert at 09:19 AM | Comments (2)

Tinfoil Hat Watch

Kevin at Wizbang relays a new claim by a former Bush Administration member that the WTC towers were brought down by controlled demolition and not by those planes that, apparently, nobody really saw fly into them. The claimant, Morgan Reynolds, served as the chief economist at the Department of Labor and is now at Texas A&M University.

Best comment over at Kevin's place: "He's an Aggie. What would you expect?"


UPDATE: Just in keeping with the spirit of things, here are some Aggie jokes, a cherished staple of my youth in Texas.

Posted by Robert at 09:05 AM | Comments (1)


JohnL's got a new Sci-Fi (sort of) Babe Poll up over at TexasBestGrok. This week, it's the ladies of The Incredibles - Mrs. Incredible (nee Elastigirl) vs. Mirage.

I have to confess that this is a tough one, but I think I have to go with Mrs. I. I also have to say that I am slightly disturbed that I've even thought about this. But hey, I'm a guy. Sue me.

As always, vote early and often. And make sure to check out The Gallery of Previous Winners.

Posted by Robert at 08:55 AM | Comments (2)

Random Commuter Thoughts, Part II

Want to get yourself stared at on the Metro? Try reading James Thurber's "There's An Owl In My Room," a wicked ribbing of Getrude Stein's poetry about pigeons in the grass, alas. A sample:

People who do not understand pigeons - and pigeons can be understood only when you understand that there is nothing to understand about them - should not go around describing pigeons or the effect of pigeons. Pigeons come closer to a zero of impingement than any other birds. Hens embarrass me the way my old Aunt Hattie used to when I was twelve and she still insisted I wasn't big enought to bathe myself; owls disturb me; if I am with an eagle I always pretend that I am not with an eagle; and so on down to swallows at twilight who scare the hell out of me. But pigeons have absolutely no effect on me. They have absolutely no effect on anybody. They couldn't even startle a child. That is why they are selected from among all birds to be let loose, with colored ribbons attached to them, at band concerts, library dedications, and christenings of new dirigibles. If anybody let loose a lot of owls on such an occassion there would be rioting and catcalls and whistling and fainting spells and throwing of chairs and the Lord only knows what else.

* * * * * *

You could dress up a pigeon in a tiny suit of evening clothes and put a tiny silk hat on his head and a tiny gold-headed cane under his wing and send him walking into my room at night. It would make no impression on me. I would not shout, "Good God almighty, the birds are in charge!" But you could send an owl into my room, dressed only in the feathers it was born with, and no monkey business, and I would pull the covers over my head and scream.

I'm reading The Thurber Carnival right the way through. The man was completely insane in a quiet, midwestern way.

Posted by Robert at 08:29 AM | Comments (0)

Random Commuter Thoughts

Every time this song comes on the radio as I drive into the Metro, I have the same thought: I shudder to think how many people are, even now, planning to have it played at their weddings.

Just sayin'.

Posted by Robert at 07:57 AM | Comments (4)

June 14, 2005

The Art of the Link

The Crack Young Staff at the Hatemongers Quarterly explains the ins and outs of sucessful blogging. Full frontal nudity is included.

Posted by Steve at 10:57 PM | Comments (0)

Life Imitates Early 80's Cheesecake Horror Films


Via Ann Althouse comes this Times Online article about a study on people infected by a cat-borne parasite that suggests this infection may cause them to become more cat-like themselves.

The startling figures emerge from studies into toxoplasma gondii, a parasite carried by almost all the country’s feline population. They show that half of Britain’s human population carry the parasite in their brains, and that infected people may undergo slow but crucial changes in their behaviour.

Infected men, suggests one new study, tend to become more aggressive, scruffy, antisocial and are less attractive. Women, on the other hand, appear to exhibit the “sex kitten” effect, becoming less trustworthy, more desirable, fun- loving and possibly more promiscuous.

Hmmmm...if the Butcher's cat ever infected us, I think the tell-tale physiological signs would be more along the lines of aggressive hair loss, incessant yowling in the middle of the night, napping in the laundry hamper and a propensity to try and eat the dining room table flower arrangements.


Posted by Robert at 05:00 PM | Comments (1)

Hottie McHot Hot, the Grape Smuggler?

Kathy's in rare form, indeed.

Posted by Steve at 03:31 PM | Comments (0)

How to beat Robert Byrd, Part One

I made the prediction yesterday that West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd can and will lose in 06. It's not foreordained by any stretch of the imagination, but it's definitely possible. I'm going to do this as a multi-parter.

First of all, here's your slogan:

Shelley Moore Capito: Building West Virginia's Legacy for the Future

Here's the thing: if you want to beat Robert Byrd, you can't attack him. The guy's a legend, for good reason: I mean, the man got a Coast Guard Station for a landlocked mountain state!
coast guard west virginia.gif
West Virginia's Coast Guard Station: Your Homeland Security Dollars at Work

You need to put him up on a pedestal, but then politely put it amidst some bronze age statuary. What the Republicans would need to do is emphasize the future. Acknowledge Byrd's legacy for the state, but use that against him: it's the ultimate form of "what have you done for me lately" turned as "what will you be able to do for us in ten years and into the forseeable future?" Talk about the future, and talk about it in the sense of making it happen, rather than what you want it to be for your grandchildren. Byrd's not going to live forever, much as he'll try.

Posted by Steve at 03:21 PM | Comments (1)

Gratuitous Llama-ette Star Wars Review

As a sort of end-of-first-grade celebration, I sat down and watched the original Star Wars with the seven year old this weekend. It was her first time and was the end product of several months of pestering brought on by all the ROTS hype. I'm not really sure what I expected her reaction to be, but here are some of the highlights:

What a difference a franchise can make! - I saw Star Wars when it first came out in 1977. It was new. It was fresh. It was unique. It was a story in and of itself. You didn't pay attention to anything else other than what was on the screen in front of you.

Not so for the Llama-ette, twenty eight years and five additional movies later. Although she hasn't seen any of the other films, she knows something about them from a combination of media saturation and her little friends. The result was that she spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how this episode fit into the cycle as a whole: Which movie does Darth Vader die in? Is he ever a good guy? Is Yoda in this one? Why not? What about "that brown, bald guy" - he he good or bad? Is he in this one? How many other people get to have lightsabers? Several times I found myself saying, "Never mind all that, Sweetie, just watch the movie."

"WHO'S Scruffy Looking?" Dept. - Of all the main characters, the gel seemed to have disliked Han the most. She immediately tagged him as being selfish and mean (for example, she hated the way he dealt with Luke and Obi-Wan over their hiring his ship and she also didn't like the way he ordered Chewie around). This seemed to awake some strain of moral righteousness in her soul, for she kept grumbling about him the whole time. In fact, when Han reappeared to save the day, she remarked that she bet he had just come back to get more money. When I gently suggested that maybe he had changed a bit, she suspended judgement, but never really warmed up to him.

Your Special-Effects Budget At Work - I've always thought that the opening sequence, where the two ships come hurtling across the starfield from the top of the screen, guns blazing, was one of the most dramatic and beautiful scifi shots ever done. It still gives me the chills. And I hoped that maybe, just maybe, the gel might experience a touch of the same awe and wonder that I had always felt.

Nope. As the rebel ship took the crippling shot, she looked at me and said, "Heh, I'll bet those guys are saying, 'Hey! We've been butt-shot!'"

Some Things Never Change - This is more an observation of mine than hers, but you sometimes forget that the first half of Star Wars drags in much the same way that most of the other movies in the cycle do. Too much exposition. But this fact is hammered home when you're watching with an extremely impatient seven year old who knows there's going to be a big space battle at some point. It's the cinematic equivalent of, "Are we there yet?"

Your Special Effects Budget At Work, Part II - I've got the collector's edition DVD of this movie. In my copy, despite all of Lucas' clean-up work, the matting is particularly noticable around the TIE-fighters attacking the Millenium Falcon after its escape from the Death Star. So noticable that the Llama-ette spotted them and assumed they were force fields. I did not disabuse her of this belief.

Childhood Fears - The gel laughed at most of the aliens and monsters. She didn't blink at the severed arm in the cantina. She thought Darth Vader's heavy breathing and choking trick were kind of cool. But the hypodermic needle on the torture probe thing? "I caaaaan't looooook!!!!!"

Your Special Effects Budget At Work, Part III - The gel got into the big dogfight above the Death Star. She also understood exactly what was going on in the race to see whether the DS was going to get off its shot at the Yavin moon before Luke could fire his torpedoes. As the Death Star powered up its primary weapon, I could see her cringing and writhing out of the corner of my eye. And when the DS blew apart, she cheered - as much out of relief as anything else, I think.

Summation - After the medals were handed out and the credits started rolling, the Llama-ette turned to me and said two things. The first was, "That's it?" The second was, "When can we watch the next one?"

Posted by Robert at 01:51 PM | Comments (5)

Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)

JohnL's got his Carnival of Music Number 2 posted up over at TexasBestGrok. I think this is a great idea. Go on over and show your support and encouragement.

Yip! Yip!

Posted by Robert at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)

Our LLamabutchers Patriotic Flag Day Tribute

llama waving flag.gif




linda lovelace.jpg

Because, what could be more patriotic than the Marines on Iwo, Fox Nooz babe Juliet Huddy, the ever bold and dynamic Josh Lyman, and all-American girl next door Linda Lovelace?

Talk about your Four Freedoms!

Posted by Steve at 09:50 AM | Comments (3)

Torch that sucker up

Basil's going all Savanorola on the worst of the web in this week's Bonfire of the Vanities.

Posted by Steve at 09:41 AM | Comments (1)

Who Are These People?

Cake-Eating Kathy has a roundup of Jacko fan reaction to yesterday's child-molestation charge acquittal.

I don't get it.

Furthermore, I would never ever want to reach the condition where I did get it.

Some things are just flat-out wrong.

Oh, and that's all I'm going to say about the whole sordid business.

UPDATE: Oh, what the hell. Not just Jacko, but Paris, Britney and all the "reality shows" ever spawned keep putting me in mind of this Brad Paisley song:

Someday I'm gonna be famous
Do I have talent well no
These days you don't really need it
Thanks to reality shows.

Can't wait to date a supermodel
Can't wait to sue my dad
Can't wait to wreck a Ferrari
On my way to Rehab

Cause when you're a celebrity
It's adios reality
You can act just like a fool
And people think you're cool
Just cause your on T.V.
I can throw major fits
When my latte isn't just how I like it
They say I've gone insane
I'll blame it on the fame
And the pressures that go with....
Being a Celebrity

I'll get to cry to Barbara Walters
When things don't go my way
I'll get community service
No matter which law I break
I'll make the supermarket tabloids
They'll write some awful stuff
But the more they run my name down
The more my price goes up!

Cause when you're a celebrity
It's adios reality
No matter what you do
People think you're cool
Just cause your on T.V.
I can fall in and out of love
Have marriages that barely last a month
When they go down the drain
I'll blame it on the fame
And say it's just so tough...
Being a Celebrity

So let's hitch up the wagons
And head out West
To the land of fun in the sun
We'll be a real world bachelor
Jackass Millionaires - hey! hey! Hollywood
Here we come!

Yeah when you're a Celebrity
It's adios reality
No matter what you do
People think you're cool
Just cause your on T.V.
Being a Celebrity...
Yeah Celebrity!

Posted by Robert at 08:35 AM | Comments (9)

June 13, 2005

The Democratic Party Alert System

I have a feeling this should be posted in airports and public buildings around the country.

Posted by Steve at 11:25 PM | Comments (0)

The Batman Week logo

Much muckety-muck was bandied about concerning our Star Wars week logo, such that it made the Batman Week logo practically required. Here's the larger version in all its stunning glory:

batman week logo large.jpg

Which I'm sure you'll all agree with me is a heck of a lot less disturbing than THIS one:

disturbing batman and llama.jpg

Begin your deconstruction.....now!

Posted by Steve at 11:20 PM | Comments (8)

This is very bad news

Age of Empires III is due to hit the stores soon.

This is not good, as Age of Empires: The Conquerors is perhaps the biggest time suck invented by man.

I'm still awaiting satisfaction for the gauntlet thrown down to Robbo a year ago to play AofE head to head: all I can say is his Britons are going down.

Yips! from Robbo: Ha! Cry havoc! And let slip the dogs of war! My friend, my longbows will take down your Teutonic kniggits any day you like.

Posted by Steve at 05:39 PM | Comments (6)

Oh-Six and Oh-eight Updates

Some very interesting developments are occuring in the 06/08 electoral cycles.

First prediction: 06 is going to be a bad year for incumbents in Congress. Public opinion numbers on both parties stink, and the ongoing partisan food-fightery---while a necessary and proper part of the political cycle---I think is going to splat back on both parties ("splat" being a technical political science term for what you laypersons would call "kablooie"). Here's why: whatever discontents the public is going to have about the state of the union, both international and domestic, are going to sit square and fat on the desk of the Republicans. By this point, it's six years since Bubba left town, and twelve years of control of the House. Whatever are the problems we are facing, they are for better or worse ones that the Republicans now own. Year six is also when the wheels generally come off the bus for two term presidents over the past sixty years (Impeachment, Iran/Contra, Watergate, heart attack malaise, and the fallout of the court-packing debacle to name the highlights for Bubba, Reagan, Nixon, Ike, and FDR, and you can throw in Vietnam for LBJ if you want to think of it as the second term of the JFK administration). Discipline begins to break down as the A-Team has gone off to quieter and more lucrative pastures, the JV has been promoted to varsity, and the bench is running pretty thin. Don Regan, anyone? Will Dubya fall into this trap? I'm not sure, as he's defied most of these conventional patterns in the past (think of the 02 midterm victories). The greatest uncertainty will be whether the public grows weary of the long slog of the War. This is the great question mark that we'll try to follow closely in the months to come.

So does this spell great opportunities for the Democrats? Yes, if they were actually serious about winning. But they aren't, or why else would they have selected Howard Dean to be party chairman? The key thing is no matter how unpopular the president may or may not be in seventeen months, it won't really translate into victories in the midterm elections if the Democrats aren't able to recruit, train, and fund good candidates right now. In fact, right now is bordering really on the too late. To win back the Senate, they Democrats have to take six seats from the Republicans while holding all their seats.

Here's a list of the "Class I Senators" (ie the senatorial seats up for election in 06). Eighteen Democrats seats are up, while only fifteen Republican seats have to be defended.

At this point, I would say that there isn't a single senator who is up for reelection in this cycle who has not gone beyond the usual political paranoia and looked to what happened to Tom Daschele and said, "that could be me." Republicans, Democrats both. Why? This is the class of senators elected in 2000----they are the only federal elected officials who haven't had to account to the voters of everything that has happened over the past five years. The House has already faced the voters twice since 9/11, and the president and the rest of the Senate as well. These thirty-three haven't, and that's going to be an important retrospective issue in each of these races.

Let's break them down by party:


SAFE SEATS: Allen, Burns, Ensign, Frist, Hatch, Hutchinson, Kyl, Lott, Lugar, Snowe, Talent, Thomas

FEELING THE HEAT: Santorum, Chafee, DeWine


The Republican seat in Rhode Island is really nothing but a creative anachronism anyway. Santorum is a good campaigner who has produced for Pennsylvania, and he's sitting on $1.9M, although he spent over $9M in 2000. (He's holding 14% of the total he needed in 2000, which is pretty good seventeen months out). Still, the Republicans are going to have to put a lot of money into this race to hold Pennsylvania. Chafee is sitting on only $600K, which, on a percentage basis of the total spending in the last race, isn't bad at all (27% of what the 2000 race cost): Rhode Island races have to buy time on the Providence as well as Boston television stations. Yet, I'd be willing to bet this is the seat the Republicans can afford to lose, and the Democrats---if they are acting rationally---will put all their efforts into picking up.

Even if the Democrats were able to pick up all three of the marginal Republican seats---two (Pennsylvania and Rhode Island) that trend blue at the presidential level, and Ohio, were state Democrats are still sore as hell over last fall's loss---that means picking up at least three (to cover the seat they will lose) from the group of veteran Republican senators listed above.

Not. Gonna. Happen.

SAFE: This is where you would start the traditional listing of the safest of all Democratic seats, West Virginia. But as the polls last week out of Morgantown showed, Big Byrd is in trouble. So who are the safe Democrats? I'd say:
Akaka, Bingaman, Carper, Clinton, Conrad, Feinstein, Kohl, Lieberman, Stabenow.

FEELING THE HEAT: Byrd, Cantwell, Nelson (FLA), Nelson (NEB)
OPEN SEATS: Corzine, Dayton, Jeffords, Sarbanes

SEATS THEY WILL LOSE: Byrd, Cantwell, Dayton

Maria Cantwell is toast. She's sitting on only 3.75% of the cash she spent in 2000, when she spent over eleven million---a large part being of her own now non-existent personal future. She barely won the race over Slade Gorton by a few thousand contested votes, and the shennanigans in Washington's governor's race guarantees a how do you say, ah yes "highly motivated" state Republican party. Dayton's seat in Minnesota is going to go Republican given the political trends in that state. What we can hope for is the prospect of Al Franken running for the seat as a Democrat: as they say on Fark, hillarity ensues. (Almost as much fun as if Ah-nuld we're to run for Feinstein's seat). Corzine's seat will become open if he becomes governor, but the Democrats will hold it. Byrd is going to lose, for reasons we'll develop.

So the Senate is going to be pretty tough, if not impossible, for the Democrats to take. Their best case scenario (that doesn't involve tin foil accoutrements) calls for a wash---they win three and lose three. The House? The problem with the House is the sheer number of seats that are redistricted to be absolutely safe. This in my opinion is the greatest problem in American politics and the source of almost all of our internal political tensions. Still, this is where the recruitment factor can help Democrats---it takes less time to recruit and run good candidates in House elections than Senate ones. So the clock hasn't run out for the 06 bench.

SECOND PREDICTION: To measure how serious the Democrats are about 08, follow the fortunes of Virginia Governor Mark Warner. Warner is their most serious threat to win the White House. This article from the LA Times is priceless for the quote: "That's why America hates Democrats." If the Democrats (continue to) puruse the mantra "why the rest of the world hates America, and why they are right" they are going to continue to be pummelled in federal elections. Not in landslides, but enough of the beatings like last fall that will place them firmly in minority party status. But if they get serious about discovering why they are unpopular in large parts of the country, think and reflect, and act accordingly, 06 and 08 are going to become much closer elections. If the answer is "well because the rest of the country is stupid" they are going to lose. Again. And again.....But, if they think hard about how they lost the center, it's going to be close. And to be perfectly honest, I think that's in the long-term interests of both the country and the Republican party. Close elections keep the parties honest.

THIRD PREDICTION: The "Mother of Presidents" will be busy for the next three years, as Virginia Senator George Allen is beginning to gear up for a serious run at the White House. Big George won a large stack of chips at the big table running the Republican National Senatorial Committee in the 04 cycle. Why else would he be sponsoring along with Mary Landrieu a resolution apologizing for the Senate's consistent record in blocking anti-lynching laws? Why else would GeorgeAllen08.org already be under construction? I mean, other than from ambitious cyber-squatters, of course.

Still, Tradesports' political futures markets has Warner running second to Hillary, and Allen in the lead in the markets for their parties' nominations.

UPDATE: Let me clarify a bit---Allen aint my favorite, by a long stretch. It's just an interesting phenomena.

Posted by Steve at 01:09 PM | Comments (11)

Light Posting Notice

I had an immenesly busy weekend dealing with the triple witching hour of the end of school, the end of Brownies and the end of soccer season and all the attendant parties, chores and obligations that go with them. I am going to have an even busier next couple of days putting the finishing touches on an investigation for Father Justice.

Plus, I think the continued excessive heat is sauteing my brain, evaporating whatever creative juices I possess and making writing a chore rather than a pleasure.

All of this is to say that posting is probably going to be rayther sparse on my part. Not nonexistent, just sparse.

Yip! at you later.

Posted by Robert at 09:02 AM | Comments (2)

This. Means. War.

Oh, NOW you have done it.

I have only one word for you miscreants:

inigo llama.jpg

Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya-LLama. You killed my father: prepare to die.

Okay, that's thirteen words, but you've been warned.

YIPS! from Robbo (in best Miracle Max voice): What? What? I leave the place for a while to do end of the school year things and this happens? Oi!

Posted by Steve at 12:19 AM | Comments (5)

June 12, 2005

And now, in sports.....

twinkie knocks out tyson.jpg

Saturday night the sports world was turned upside down when former world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson was knocked out in the sixth round by snack cake mascot Twinkie the Kid.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Mike Tyson's career apparently ended in yet another shocker Saturday night when he quit on the stool after taking a beating in a foul-filled sixth round against snack cake mascot Twinkie the Kid.

Tyson lost for the third time in his last four fights, and once again he faded badly as the rounds went on before deliberately head butting Twinkie the Kid in a desperate attempt to end the fight in the sixth round.

"I don't have the stomach for this anymore," Tyson said. "I most likely won't fight anymore. I'm not going to disrespect the sport by losing to this caliber of fighters. I mean, sure, I've had the crap beaten out of me by a tomato can, but a damn snack cake?"

Tyson was out of gas when he was pushed to the canvas as the sixth round ended, his head stuck between the first and second ropes. He stayed there for several seconds before finally untangling himself from the ropes and wobbling back to his corner.

When referee Joe Cortez came by to look at him, his corner told Cortez the fighter could not continue. Cortez then went over and raised Twinkie's hand in victory while he still sat on his stool.

Tyson, meanwhile, just sat on his stool blankly watching Twinkie's celebration, a white towel draped over his shoulder. When he got up to congratulate his opponent, Twinkie kissed him on the left cheek. Then, he went to center ring, and, surrounded by reporters and with eyes closed from the beating he had taken, he yelled, "Yo, Little Debbie!"

"I could have gone on but I thought I was getting beat," Tyson said. "I don't think I have it anymore."

Tyson was winning, ahead 57-55 on two scorecards and behind by the same score on a third. But the fight had clearly changed and Twinkie had taken over and it only figured to get uglier as it went on.

The Associated Press had the fight even, 56-56.

The 38-year-old Tyson was a huge favorite over Twinkie the Kid and won the early rounds. But as the fight went on, it was Twinkie landing the bigger punches as Tyson desperately tried to score a knockout.

Tyson was weary by the fifth round and, in the sixth round, he was penalized two points for deliberately head butting Twinkie and opening a cut over his left eye. The head butt came after Tyson appeared to try to break Twinkie's arm in a clinch like he once did against Chief Big Wheel and after he hit him with several low blows.

Cortez warned Tyson after he grabbed Twinkie's arm, telling him "I don't want any more fighting with the arms, understand?"

When the action resumed, Tyson then head-butted Twinkie, forcing Cortez to stop the fight briefly to allow McBride to recover and to penalize Tyson, and to clean up the white fluffy filling that was pouring out of the snack cake's head.

"He tried to break my arm and he butted me," Twinky said. "That's the rough stuff in boxing."

In a career filled with tremendous highs and terrible lows, Tyson may have reached a new low in the loss to Twinkie, an over the hill Snack Cake who came into the fight with no credentials.

Tyson (50-6) was a shell of the fighter he once was, throwing wild punches and trying to knock out Twinkie with each shot. But Twinkie (334 calories) took the punches and came back with some of his own and Tyson gradually began wearing down.

The sixth round was bizarre even by the standards of a fighter once banned from boxing for biting Evander Holyfield's ears.

Tyson was clearly exhausted and opened the round by throwing wild shots. He then appeared to try to break Twinkie's arm, drawing a protest from the baked and frosted fighter. Tyson wasn't through. He banged his bald head against Twinky, prompting Cortez to take two points from him for the foul.

Tyson was tentative early, showing little of the aggressiveness that once made him a feared fighter. Twinky stood right in front of him, but Tyson was content to land only one punch at a time, perhaps remembering how he ran out of gas in his previous fights.

"There's no rush," trainer Jeff Fenech said after the first round.

But it turned out there was a rush as Tyson faded just as he did against the Hamburgler last July. That loss was blamed on torn cartilage in Tyson's leg, but it was clear even to the pro-Tyson crowd of 15,472 at the MCI Center on this night that Tyson was a shot fighter.

The 6-foot-5 snack cake towered over Tyson and weighed 271 pounds to 233 for the former champion. But he had been knocked out four times by lesser fighters and wasn't expected to give Tyson much of a fight.

"This win was for the pride of Hostess Foods," Twinkie said. "I proved everyone in the effing Atkins Cult wrong tonight."

Tyson got some prefight guidance from Muhammad Ali, who visited him in the dressing room. Of course, Ali thought he was in the Men's Room at the old Atlanta Omni, talking to Elvis Presley. But even The Greatest couldn't do anything for the conditioning and reflexes of a fighter who really hasn't beaten a top heavyweight since he defeated Razor Ruddock 14 years ago.

Tyson badly needed the win after being stopped by Williams, and vowed in the week before the fight that he would regain the heavyweight title. He told Twinky he would "gut you like a Filet O' Fish" and claimed he was once again in top condition.

Everyone without an dab of white creme filling on their shirt was at the arena hoping to see Tyson show them flashes of the fighter he once was when he ruled the heavyweight division. But Tyson was tentative, threw punches one at a time and grew increasingly frustrated as Twinky took everything he had.

Tyson was paid $5 million for the fight, which was on the low end of purses he has made in his career. After his creditors got $2 million, the IRS got its cut and his ex-wife got $750,000, so there wasn't much left for the fighter. The bitch set him up, indeed.

Tyson still owes nearly $40 million and there were plans for him to fight up to seven times to pay off the debt. But those plans didn't include Tyson taking the kind of beating that Twinky the Kid was beginning to administer to him in the fifth and sixth rounds.

Twinky was paid $150,000, the same amount he turned down last year to fight Tyson. Twinky has an intimidating nickname in "the Kid", but has been knocked out four times and has never beaten a boxer of any note.

One of those knockout losses came in 1998 in England to a fighter named Michael Murray, who won only one time in his last 17 fights - against Twinky.

No word yet from Mayor McCheese, who was scheduled to have his fighter Grimace fight Tyson outside of the Hard Rock Cafe in Cleveland in September.

Coming soon: The Ballad of Twinkie the Kid

Posted by Steve at 11:58 PM | Comments (1)

Doing our part to lower the discourse considerably

Drudge is in near siren mode about the new book coming out about Hillary Clinton that alleges, among other things, her ritual sacrifice of Christian infants to use their blood for Wiccan rituals in the White House, not to mention her efforts to end Off Track Betting as we know it.

hillary smaller.jpg

Well now.

Anyhoo, the cover looks pretty spiffy, but our Gnome serfs working the late shift in the Photosweatshop at LLamabutchers thought of a way to improve it:

sith hillary.jpg

Posted by Steve at 11:34 PM | Comments (0)

A disturbing development

The Commissar has gotten his dirty commie paws on top-sekrit information about the probable closure of the Groton Submarine Base in Connecticut. As a local punk who spent many a day at the base commissary, I've got a vested interest in this fight, and have only one prediction:

BRAC will recommend its closure, the Defense Department will turn it over to Interior, Interior will turn it over to the Mashentucket Pequots, who will turn it into a nuclear submarine-themed casino and theme park.

Talk about your river boat gambling!

Then, in a mild mannered fashion, the Pequots will wait about six months before announcing that they've obtained nuclear weapons and want their own seat in the UN Security Council.

Far-fetched? Stranger things have been known to happen in good-old rotten to the core southeastern Connecticut.

Just remember, you heard it here first.

Posted by Steve at 10:50 PM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2005

Knock Knock...

Heh. Apparently, the LLamas forgot that my mischievious self has keys to their kingdom. 'Tis for a good cause, I do assure you. Two other contributions to yesterday's The Tri-State Simultaneous Attack may be found at Cake Eater Chronicles and Cranky Neocon. Both are entertaining, tongue-in-cheek adventures, and you are cordially invited to revel in their debauchery.

Sadie signing off.... Yip Yip!


Posted by Sadie at 05:52 PM | Comments (4)

It's saturday

so that means it's Diane Lane pic of the Week over at X-Donk's.

Mmmmmmmmm.....Diane Lane. She's no Laura Linney, but hey, nobody's perfect.

Posted by Steve at 12:46 PM | Comments (1)

June 10, 2005

Flash in the Pan Guys: 90s Division

Here's a good bar bet question:

He's the only actor to kill JFK and Jimmy Hoffa, while finding time to fix Einstein's car.

Whatever happened to Frank Whaley?

I'm hoping Red has an update---she always does on questions like this. He's an interesting actor---he inhabits the shady border between "guy next door" and "serial killer" quite well. Granted, he's no Fisher Stevens, but who really is?

Posted by Steve at 07:38 PM | Comments (6)

The LLamas Present: Marital Bliss in three e-z lessons

Lesson 1: Read. Learn. Repeat. Duck when necessary.

Posted by Steve at 01:06 PM | Comments (1)

Oh. My. Darwin. Just say "no" to the Teenage Mutant LLama Hearthrobs

Those memories from Blogistan High Class o' 84 keep rolling in. Sadie seems to have uncovered the student underground noozpaper with, shall we say, some rather disturbing images of the youthful indiscretions of the LLamas, including Robbo in his musclar Larry Bird style basketball shirt, me in both my Don Johnson AND "Thriller" phases, and the sultry pics of when the AFS hosted that exchange student from Wonketteburg.

When did my life suddenly become the makings of a particularly cheezy ABC After School Special? In today's episode, Timmy the LLama hangs out with the model airplane club, starts snorting glue, and becomes Timmy the LLamabutcher, teenage hosebag Republikan....Rosie O'Donnell guest stars as Mrs. L, the sensible shoes wearing guidance counselor.

Posted by Steve at 12:26 PM | Comments (4)

And he wonders why I skipped "Jawapalooza"? or chumming the google waters reaaaaaaaal gooooood

Dr. Rusty explains "good gay" featuring NNSFWIYWATHHIM* pictures of Angelina Jolie. Somehow, I have a feeling that "Angelina Jolie's Hot Lesbian Sex Advice" is going to become a regular feature at the Jawa Report.

Uhhh hehehehe...he said..

Shut up, Beavis!

Meanwhile, it took the dKossacks to start complaining about the MaryAnn & Ginger lesbian pie fight ads to awaken the inner Menshevik and return the Politburo Diktat from being your one-stop-shop-for-all-things-Darwin back to, well, the funny.

Maybe it's just me, but somehow I have a feeling that Angelina Jolie lesbian pie fighting might just be enough to lure Allahpundit out of retirement.

Because I think I can get a lot of agreement out there that lately The Politburo Diktat has been way too much of this lately:

darwin commissar.jpg
Tell me about the differentiation of species in competitive environments, Charles you ravishing alpha male specimen

And not enough of, well, this:

lenin and stalin clowns.jpg

Not that we want Politburo Diktat to become this:

angelina commie.jpg

But you never know.

*(not necessarily safe for work if you work at the Hilton in Mecca)

Posted by Steve at 09:50 AM | Comments (5)

June 09, 2005

Too Darn Hot

Sheila has a great post up about the brutal arrival of summer on the Eastern Seaboard. I whole-heartedly concur with her opinion about hot weather - the march between my office near the National Archives and Metro Center the past couple days has been brutal and, since I don't have A/C in my car, by the time I actually get home, I'm completely wiped. Gah, indeed.

However, there are at least two small slivers of silver lining. First, according to the radar, we'll probably get a ducking later this afternoon or evening. Second, the timing of Sheila's post makes the title of this one even more apropos because today just so happens to be Cole Porter's birthday.

Posted by Robert at 05:29 PM | Comments (4)

Gratuitous Patrick O'Brian Posting (TM)

After much cajolery on my part, Mom finally started in on the Aubrey/Maturin novels recently. Below, a partial review:

Yes, curse you, I am now suffering from a new addiction--reading those d*mned sea novels, two in just the last week--Master & Commander and Post Captain. Indeed, ripping good yarns, and I do greatly like the sea battles and in fact even just the routine of life on a man o'war.

Most of the male characterizations are also first rate, especially Jack Aubrey, with his terrier-like keeness, his violin, his dull wit and thick skin - a delightful and original sort of hero. Alas, I do find Stephen Maturin rather tiresome [and] the whole bit about the introspective journal rings hollow - no man I ever heard of and very few women would take such an analytical interest in someone else's love affair, especially in one involving one's own unrequited devotion. Bah, humbug.

And I don't believe in any of the women, although I do like poor, stupid Sophie. Diana Villiers is the sort of great lady/vixen/whore/ice queen all you
fellahs secretly long for but who is never found in nature any more than Mr. Rochester.

So it follows that I don't like any of the love scenes and long for them all to get back to sea and fight somebody, which they do splendidly. Many times I actually found my heart pounding a bit when it looked certain as if our hero was going to catch it, even knowing that of course he wouldn't because of there being so many more books in the series.

Mr. O'B has certainly been reading his Jane Austen,--there's probably a
master's thesis in the Significance of the two JA's-- and cribbing from her like anything--the vices and rears joke, e.g., and a superficial similarity between Diana and Mary Crawford, the femme fatale of Mansfield Park. Also, the Jack-Sophie situation was quite snitched from the beginning of Persuasion. But then he has the good sense to steal from the best. And he certainly does love Mozart. These are mighty points in his favor.

I should say, overall, a b-plus. And, of course I'm going to read the rest of
them, even the ones that you say aren't so good.

Heh. My work is done here.

And on another note, how about a show of hands from those of you out there who think Mom ought to start blogging herself?

YIPS from Steve: Absolutely!

Posted by Robert at 03:42 PM | Comments (14)

Surrender To The Bleat Side You Will

Lileks on ROTS:

Didn’t see all the political overtones, perhaps because I wasn’t in a mood to look for them. Expecting pithy pointy political insight from Lucas is like reading transcripts of Spongebob episodes to learn about perils and stresses on the marine ecosystem. But before the fight on the Molten Lava Planet – where any metal object exposed 24/7 can nevertheless be firmly grasped without incident – Darth says to Obi:

“You’re either with me or you’re my enemy.”

Obi sighs. The sun is behind him, so we know he’s in the right here. “Only Siths deal in absolutes,” he says.

Well, Obster, you’re not with him, right? And you’ve come to kill him, right? So Darth has a point. One might say that the Jedi failure to deal in absolutes, such as make absolutely sure Vader is absolutely dead instead of leaving him to bake like a tater tot left overnight in the broiler machine, might have served everyone well.

Overall, James liked it. Go read the rest.

UPDATE: Oh, I meant to mention that since the eldest Llama-ette has now finished what in the non-Montessori Universe is called First Grade, I think I'll finally give in this weekend and let her watch the original Star Wars. I'll let you know how it goes.

Posted by Robert at 02:45 PM | Comments (3)

I like Pie

"Why no, honey, I've been reviewing those lesbo-pie-fight blog ads in order to study the underlying socio-normative patriarchal defense techniques implicit in their hegemonic assumptions. Or something."

Never thought I'd see myself say this, but I feel Kos' pain.

Posted by Robert at 02:04 PM | Comments (0)

Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)

This is interesting (well, it is to me) - a previously unknown work by Johann Sebastian Bach has been discovered in Weimar, Germany. The short aria for soprano and accompaniment was written by Bach for the celebration of the birthday of Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Saxony-Weimar, whom Bach served as court organist. It was found last month in a box of birthday cards and other minor documents removed from Weimar's Duchess Anna Amalia library, apparently just before the place burned down.

According to the article, this work, although short, has some historical significance:

The soprano was to sing a 12-stanza poem beginning with the duke's motto, "Everything with God and nothing without him," written by the theologian Johann Anton Mylius.

Bach had composed arias but this work was his only known strophic aria, in which several stanzas are set to the same music. The [Bach Archiv] foundation said its precise date made it valuable to researchers studying the development of the German composer's style.

Plans are already underway for the piece to be recorded by John Eliot Gardiner who, before his ego swelled to the size of the Goodyear Blimp, did some great Baroque work.

By the bye, the article quotes Christoph Wolff, the director of the Bach Archiv foundation and a God among, er, Bachologists. If you want a definitive biography of ol' Johann Sebash, I heartily recommend Wolff's Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician.

Very cool.

Yips! to Lawren K.

UPDATE: Well, I had been looking for an excuse anyway and this story will do. I just ordered:

bach reader.gif

The New Bach Reader: A Life of J.S. Bach In Letters and Documents.

Mmmmm.....primary sources....mmmmmmm.... I'm particularly looking forward to reading some of the letters in which ol' J.S. bitched about money, letters hi-lariously set to music by Peter Schickele in his "Bach Portrait" from the P.D.Q. Bach album 1712 Overture & Other Musical Assaults.

UPDATE DEUX: I rather get the impression that Brian B is excited about the upcoming Oregon Bach Festival. And Chan tipped me off in response to the other day's Beethoven Experience post that the Beeb is going to be running a similar Bach Experience program the week before Christmas.

UPDATE TROIS: Scoop Credit Where Due, Dept. Our pal Rae is happy, as well. I was out of touch yesterday afternoon and missed her post.

Posted by Robert at 12:21 PM | Comments (7)

Llama Culture: High, Low and Throat - Google Division

I'm still mildy cheesed that Terry Teachout cut us Llamas from his blogroll after a brief appearance there.

Well, Terry ol-buddy-ol-pal, you should have stuck with us because we're No. 2 for "David Letterman" "Renee Fleming" Handel, right behind Fleming's own blog.

You want Cul-chah? We got Cul-chah!

Posted by Robert at 11:14 AM | Comments (1)

the academic of the month

A new feature from the crack young staff at the Hatemongers Quarterly.

Of course, they are relying on the use of the "month," which relies on a insidious form of patriarchical religiosphalic heliocentric view of "time" ie "the month," which of course is both a slam against the natural cycle of wimmin AND a chance to extol the bourgeois heros of Roman Imperial ontology and Nordic myth. And don't even get me started on the "days" of the "week"---"Thor's Day"? Someone overcompensating a wee bit for their wee bit? Shouldn't it be "OppressthesufferingpeopleofthethirdworldsothatyoucanspendbillionsonViagrayou petulantdicklessWhiteManDay" instead?

How about the academic of "The Unit"?

Posted by Steve at 10:50 AM | Comments (2)

"perfection in a punchy pale pink"*

(*NOT my own words, so just back off, Bill.)

Our pal Bookish Gardener Chan is rose-blogging today. I agree with her that there is a particular image associated with rose gardening that is unparalleled by any other flower that immediately comes to mind. On the other hand, I'm not sure I'd want to be tagged with that image - I get enough grief 'round here for my ordinary perennials as it is.

As a matter of fact, I've only got one rose at the moment - an Improved Blaze, a climbing rose with lots of large, dark red flowers. I originally planted it in front of the garden fence, but it didn't seem to like it there. Last fall, I dug it up and moved it to a trellis by the front door. It seems quite happy now, standing a little under six feet at the moment and flowering pretty vigorously. Fortunately, the deer haven't been at it yet, although they hit the low hydrangea nearby. My only concern is that later on in the summer when the front of the house gets a bit more light, it might prove a bit too hot for the rose. We'll see.

Meanwhile, Dad is storing a number of extra roses of various sorts in gallon pots for me at the moment that I'll pick up when we go to visit in August. (I may have to leave a Llama-ette or two with the 'rents in order to fit the plants in the car. The 'rents think I'm joking about this.) I plan to bring them back and intersperse them among my peonies. But under no circumstances whatsoever will I start speaking French to them.

Posted by Robert at 10:46 AM | Comments (1)

A proud moment in the life of the blog

Our old pal Rocket Jones is mulling the improbable victory that his site is still number 1 on google for "stripper music."

Meanwhile, your humble LLamas have fallen to number 8 for "Padme Porn."

Sic transit gloria mundi, indeed.

Posted by Steve at 09:51 AM | Comments (0)

You Just Can't Get Good Help These Days

Big Llama Yips! go out to our pal Gordon the Cranky Neo-Con on his new job offer. That's great in and of itself, but I also just couldn't resist sharing with you this comment left at Gordo's by the never-dissappointing INDCent Bill:

You weren't hired to stroll around Robbo's garden wearing nothing but a tray of single malt scotch tumblers and matching gold lamé bowtie and french-cut speedos, were you?

Because trust me, it's not worth it, no matter what payment he promises you in return.

If ever a remark deserved a p-shopping, it's this one. The imagination boggles.

Oh, and the position is still open, just in case anybody is interested.

Posted by Robert at 09:48 AM | Comments (2)

Yeah, That makes sense

I'm beginning to use Howard Dean's statements as puzzles for the kids training for the LSAT.

It's not helping them, it's just amusing the hell out of me.

Ogre has the latest example of Dean taking a once great political party straight down the crapper.

Posted by Steve at 09:48 AM | Comments (2)

Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)

Well, the seven year old's spring performance went off just fine, thank you. As I mentioned yesterday, she was in the lower elementary per-duction of East of the Sun, West of the Moon. I see from the program notes that this project originally was the brainchild of a couple of Dominican nuns and goes a bit deeper than just having the kiddies get up and sing, instead immersing them in all aspects of the production, something St. Marie of the Blessed Montessori Method would, I'm sure, heartily approve.

In order to ensure that everybody got to perform, many of the parts had multiple players. I knew that the Llama-ette was going to be the West Wind, but I hadn't realized that she was really going to be part of Team West Wind. There were four of them, all decked out in cowboy hats and jeans. (West wind. Get it? The South Wind Crew were all dressed like surfers and kept calling people "dude".) And as the heroine stood by waiting to ask if they could carry her to the Troll Castle (don't ask), they broke into their song and dance routine. The gel is of average height for her age, but she has long arms and legs. This becomes particularly apparent when she's dancing and it gives her a real grace. I never quite figured out if she was genuinely worried before hand, but she certainly didn't look it on stage.

In fact, all of the kids looked like they were thoroughly enjoying themselves. No flubs, no deer-in-the-headlights staring, no breakdowns. Indeed, the only person I noticed who came close to losing it was the woman playing the piano. She hit the most god-awful clunker right at the beginning of one of the numbers and then spent a considerable amount of energy trying to hold in her laughter - I began to think she would start shaking so hard that she wouldn't be able to finish the piece. And for a long time afterward she kept bursting out in giggles.

It turned out that this (short) piece was just the first offering of the afternoon. After the troll princess turned over Prince Antonio to Miranda in exchange for gold and everybody got to live happily ever after, the class were put through various other paces - recitations and songs in French and Spanish, some recorder tunes and so forth. Then came a really interesting bit - the upper elementary class did a short adaptation of The Tempest. I understand that they had got some coaching from somebody at the Folger Shakespeare Library and had, in fact, done a performance there. And for fourth, fifth and sixth graders, they really did a pretty good job. The kid who played Caliban in particular threw himself into the part. (I got the impression he was riffing on Gollum somewhat, which makes sense when you think about it.) And Prospero seemed to still be smoldering with resentment at being set adrift all those years ago.

After this came awards and graduation stuff. Since none of my brood were involved, I frankly didn't pay that much attention. And by then I had other things to deal with. The three year old Llama-ette stayed at school with her class, but the five year old had hitched a ride over to the community center where the performance was being held and was sitting with me. (The Missus was there too, but was busy running the show since she's one of the upper elementary teachers.) This gel had a grand old time, waiving at her friends on stage, clapping enthusiastically and, when the performers did an arrangement of "Row, Row, Row" for recorder and xylophones, breaking out in song. She's a remarkably sunny and sociable creature, seeming to like just about everybody. I think this enthusiasm is a major reason why everybody seems to like her right back. However, by the time certificates were being handed out and speeches made, she got bored. At first, she tried to work it off on me - insisting on looking at my watch every two minutes, complaining that her sandals hurt, squirming and so on. Then she started inventing reasons why she needed to leave the theatre. "I have to go potty." "I need water." "I want to see the sun." "I'm starving." Reasoning that if I had to sit through all of it, then so did she and furthermore that it would be good for her character, I put the ky-bosh on this. Finally, the gel found distraction in playing some inane finger-grabbing game with the girls sitting in front of us and all was peace.

All in all, it was a pleasant afternoon.

Posted by Robert at 09:13 AM | Comments (0)

June 08, 2005

BLOGISTAN HIGH 1984 Yearbook

blogistan yearbook.jpg

Ah, memory lane.....nothing quite like dusting off the old high school yearbook to remember the days of yore! And what wacky times we had at old Blogistan High, rooting the "Mighty Anklebiters" to victory over the tofu eating hosebags at Moonbat Central. But I digress.

So let's see what we can find:


Quote: Pa Ingalls could kick Donald Trump's pampered ass!
(JR. Divas of America 2, 3, 4; Jane Austen Fan Club 1, 2, 3, 4; Baton Team 1; Foucalt Four H, 4)


Quote: Screw Clapton: Gary Gygax is God!
Most Likely to: Have his wizard roll a "32" to invoke the cloak of studliness
(Pre-Straussian Society 3,4; AV Club [president] 1, 2, 3, 4)


Quote: So many books, so many men, so many papercuts
True Life Fact: Was the inspiration for "Don't Stand So Close to Me"
(Brooding Hipster Poet Society 3, 4; Bongo Appreciation Club 4)

Quote: That Garfield, what trouble has he gotten into today?
Most Likely To: be found stalking Jim Davis
Greatest Ambition: To lead chorus #23 of "Kumbaya" at Hands Across America
(Fuzzy Puppy and Crying Clown Art Society 2,3; Kumbaya Klub 4 [president])


Quote: Sing me a song I'm the payaya man.....Gawd, I luv Billy Joel!
Favorite Moment: Discovering the sekrit sauce for the "McRib" in Chemistry Lab
(BBQ Club 3,4; Kurt Russell Society 1, 2, 3, 4; Future Librarians of America 1)


Quote: I pity your bourgoisie pretensions, fool!
Favorite Moment: Trying to explain the dialectic to Mr. T, visiting as part of the "Up With People" show
(Mensheviks 1; Bolsheviks 2, 3, 4 [Vanguard]; yearbook 2, 3)

Favorite Moment: Was "Boy in the crowd #3" for Diane Lane "Pert Shampoo" commerical
Quote: Umm, you see Miss Lane, "D & D" stands for "Dangerous & Dashing"


Quote: Dude, where's my Matador?
Greatest Ambition: To be fry cook #2 at Chez Bearded Clam
(Chess Club 1; AV Club 1)

Quote: Forget "Bitchin' Camaro"...I'm going to get me a Bitchin Sandcrawler
Greatest Ambition: To be George Lucas' prison cellmate
(Model Airplane Club 1,2,3,4; Future Propane Salesman of Arlen 4)

Quote: I'm so getting out of this crappy town: DC, here I come!
Legendary Tomfoolery: Learning the ins and outs of 1970s typewriters to fake notes and memos to get out of Gym requirements
(LLama Polo Team [waterboy] 1,2,3,4; Student Government [secretary] 4)


Greatest ambition: Yeah, I know it sounds crazy, but I keep having this weird dream that I'm racing around the world with a LLama on tee-vee, having to eat big piles of bugs and detesting some weird monster named "Robandamber."
(Choir 1,2,3,4; Junior Justice League of America 3,4)

Quote: Damn that Ronald Reagan! We just GOT to get Fritz Mondale elected if we have ANY hope of making a long term peace with the Soviets. Think of the children!
Greatest Ambition: To be a manager in the WWF---Classy Freddy Blassie Jr!
(Kumbaya Klub 2,3,4)


Quote: "Hester Pryne was framed!"
Greatest Tomfoolery: Wrote in fertilizer "Mr. H. has a teenie weenie" on the football field---still there two years later.
(Vassar Poetry Award 2,3,4; Bongo Appreciation Club 3,4 [president])

Weirdest Moment: Bumped into John Aniston's daughter in NY, decided to do a "Prince and the Pauper" thing
Quote: You are SO going to pay for that, LLama boy!
(Poetry Club 1,2,3,4; Bongo Appreciation club 1,2)


Greatest life ambition: to build a cyborg talking paperclip and have him destroy the minds of the world's elite by interupting their thoughts and dreams with really lame advice.....like, hey, John, it looks like you are writing a synoptic gospel based on a hallucination: would you like to use standard format? Sigh, it's only a dream...
High School Highlight: Seeing Mo Udall in the elevator during the Presidential Classroom visit to DC Junior year.
(AV Club 1,2,3,4; "Mighty Anklebiter Times" layout 1,2,3,4; Model Airplane Club 1,2.3.4)


Quote: Mark my words, Catalano: Bill Buckner is one of the greatest first basemen of all times, and now the Sawx have him! Twenty years from now, his name is going to be on the lips of every New York baseball fan----neener!
(Sawx Fanz 1,2,3,4; Model Airplane Club 3)


Quote: Sulu, you lucky bastard!
(Model Rocket Club 1,2,3,4; AV Club 1,2; Dewey Cheatum & Howe Intern 4)

Quote: Stephen!
Nickname: Felix
Greatest Desire: To shovel dirt on the graves of Derrida, Foucalt, and Chomsky
(Future Fussy Neatniks of America 1,2,3,4 [president])

Quote: Ummmmmm.....
Nickname: Oscar
Greatest Desire: To date Brooke Shields and have Van Halen play my 18th birthday party
(Model Airplane Club 1,2,3,4; "Mighty Anklebiters" News Editor 3,4; Yearbook 4; AV Club 1,2,3,4 [el presidente]


Nickname: Da Goddess
Quote: Don't Make Me Come Back There!
Tomfoolery: She's a maniac, MANIAC, out on the floor!
(Cool Lunch Table 1,2,3,4)


(Yearbook 1,2,3; Flag Football 2)

I've got to go and take the 8 year old to swim team, so I've got to run, but Robbo and I will be strolling down memory lane digging through the yearbook and adding more of our favorites. If you've got one, or something we missed, leave a link and we'll add it to the post.

Yes, all honor and glory goes to the Commissar for inventing this brand of link-whoring schtick. Long live the Vanguard of the Proletariat!

Posted by Steve at 03:21 PM | Comments (14)

Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Outdoor Division

snow queen.jpg
Oak-Leaf Hydrangea "Snow Queen" - Image courtesy of the Missouri Botanical Gardens

Three years ago, now, I started a hedge of oak-leaf hydrangea behind the garden fence. This year, they're all blooming for the first time. Once they fill in, I hope to get an effect like the one in the photo above, a kind of heavy green and white backdrop to the perennial beds. Right now, they're all between 4 1/2 and 6 feet tall, but they're still relatively skinny and have not spread out that much yet. Given another year or two, they should mesh just fine.

Hopefully by then I'll have a digital camera so that I can actually show you what mine look like instead of hijacking other images.

Posted by Robert at 11:46 AM | Comments (2)

Lite Posting Notice

Lite posting today - I'm crunching on some things this morning so I can head off to the seven year old Llama-ette's end of year school production around lunchtime.

This year, the gel's class is doing a kiddie-musical version of East of the Sun, West of the Moon. The gel herself has been cast as the West Wind and also has a part among a chorus of trolls. Being the sort of girl she is, she's memorized not only her own songs, but pretty much everyone else's as well and has been singing them around the house for several weeks.

I can't seem to find the lyrics, but the West Wind's song is all about how relaxed, lazy and easy-going this wind is. This strikes me as an amusing piece of miscasting, because my eldest is nothing of the sort, being instead energetic, imperious and short-tempered. I also think she's nervous about the show - when she gets scared, she also gets very crabby and fractious and she's been a bit of a handful the past couple of days. (Indeed, I strongly suspect this nervousness is what's behind her recent fretting about migrating volcanoes.) In the end, though, I think she'll do just fine.

Of course I'll let you know how it goes.

Posted by Robert at 09:37 AM | Comments (1)

June 07, 2005


Tonight's double feature: Michelle Pfeiffer and Rene Russo. Both have the hot older woman thing going on; both aging gracefully, and both seemed to avoided the pitfalls of stardom. Ahhh, the beach scene in The Thomas Crown Affair . . .

Posted by LMC at 10:19 PM | Comments (2)


Anne Bancroft of The Graduate fame is dead of ovarian cancer at 73. Best scene in best movie: takes a drag on a cigarette, Dustin Hoffman kisses her, she turns her head ever so slightly and blows out the smoke.

Posted by LMC at 10:11 PM | Comments (0)

What the Hell?

Victorino Matus over at Galley Slaves relates an eye-witness account of a low-flying commercial jet coming down Mass Avenue in Northwest Dee Cee late last night.

The theory seems to be that the jet was lost, mistaking Rock Creek Valley for the Potomac River Basin (which flights coming into Reagan National slalom down from the northwest), but given the relative size of each, I don't really know how plausible this is.

I haven't seen word one about this incident anywhere else. Anybody out there know anything?

Posted by Robert at 06:12 PM | Comments (2)

Snake Pliskin To Swim With The Fishes

I'm just waiting for Steve-O's take on this one: Kurt Russell to star in remake of The Poseidon Adventure.

This could be bad. I mean good. I mean gad. I mean bood.

Posted by Robert at 04:06 PM | Comments (3)

"Mrs. Huffington, are you trying to seduce me?"



Posted by Steve at 03:51 PM | Comments (2)

Coming soon to al-Jazeera 8

Methinks Cranky has a wee bit too much time on his hands.

The laugh track is priceless. Now if you can only get "Tijuana Taxi" playing in the background, I think you are looking at some Macktabulous money....

Posted by Steve at 03:47 PM | Comments (1)

Blogosphere quote of the year


Mr. President, you've pissed of a man who has been fellated in public by Marylin Manson.

You must be doing something right.

Posted by Steve at 03:45 PM | Comments (2)


A picture perhaps more bizarre than the totality of the LLamabutcher oeuvre.

Posted by Steve at 03:41 PM | Comments (4)

What are the etiquette rules to having sex with a "goombah"?

These and other questions answered by Kathy at Cake Eater Chronicles.

Sadie has more on when it's okay for your friends to date your ex-es.

Posted by Steve at 03:34 PM | Comments (4)

Gratuitous Musickal Posting - I Like To Listen.

Our old pal Chan the Bookish Gardener notes the Beeb's Beethoven Experience now in progress. Chan, ever mindful of not overdoing it, is picking some choice bits for her listening pleasure. I'd have liked to have heard Brendel's discussion of the last piano sonatas myself. Not so sure about Klemperer's performance of Symphony No. 7, tho - one of my first records was an old hand-me-down from Dad of a performance by Toscanini and the NBC Orchestra, so I grew up prefering my 7th shhhhmokin'.

Speaking of which, just because I feel like it, below the fold is my personal ranking of the nine Beethoven symphonies, from least favorite to most favorite. (I don't dislike any of them.) There is probably no musical merit to this whatsoever. It's simply a matter of taste. Are you ready? Then here we go:

9. Symphony No. 4 in B-flat Major, Op. 60 - It strikes me that the B-man never gets this one completely under control. It's got some fine ideas, but to me they don't really mesh into a coherent body.

8. Symphony No. 9 in d Minor, Op. 125 (the "Choral") - I know it's blasphemy, but I've never liked the last movement. I just think it's overblown. Eh. On the other hand, I love the second movement in particular.

7. Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 (the "Pastoral") - Perhaps I'm getting cranky as I get older, but I find the programmatic stuff - the cuckoo, the dancing rustics, the storm, the rainbow - more and more tedious all the time. "Oh, cut it out," I want to say.

6. Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 55 (the "Eroica") - I know this is Beethoven's big breakout orchestral piece, so perhaps I'm committing more blasphemy, but this piece just never clicked with me. For one thing, I don't much care for three quarter time opening movements (which is probably why Mozart's 39th is not one of my favorites, either). Also, I always felt the B-man took too long getting the finale going.

5. Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Op. 21 - I still enjoy this piece, although the longer I listen to it, the "younger" it seems to me. I have a pretty decent transposition of the second movement for piano that is very satisfying to play.

4. Symphony No. 8 in F Major, Op. 93 - Beethoven being humorous is, well, a strange thing. Nonetheless, I love this piece, in large part because I think it is very well put together in terms of structure.

3. Symphony No. 5 in c Minor, Op. 67 - Despite the fact that it is the horsiest of all the musical warhorses, I think this symphony deserves every acclamation it has ever received. I am told that the opening bars are a nightmare for conductors.

2. & 1. (tie) - I simply cannot make up my mind which I like more:

Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92 - I think this piece represents Beethoven's complete, mature mastery of the form. The reason I prefer it over the 5th is because of its tone - bright and energetic instead of moody and then triumphal. But that's just me.

Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 36 - To me, this is Beethoven's most Mozartian symphony, and I don't mean that just because he appears to have consciously borrowed some of the elements of Mozart's own late D Major symphony, (No. 38, the "Prague"). Rather, I mean that this is the closest Beethoven ever got to, well, having fun with making symphonic music. And by having fun, I don't mean being silly or flippant. Instead, I mean actually enjoying what he was doing, naturally and without bombast or chip-on-shoulder. The piece is energetic without being forced. The third movement scherzo actually is funny. And I frequently find myself whistling the second movement while gardening.

So there you have it.

UPDATE: D'OH! I completely forgot to link it earlier, but JohnL is running an inaugural Carnival of Music over at TexasBestGrok. Go check it out.

Posted by Robert at 03:32 PM | Comments (5)

Maybe it's just me

Lawren is worried that Tom Cruise is trying to suck David Beckham into the Scientology bizzaro-world: maybe it's just me, but maybe there's another reason why Tom is trying to spend so much time bending it with Beckham?

TOP SEKRIT MESSAGE TO TOM CRUISE: Joel, get off of the babysitter.

Posted by Steve at 03:28 PM | Comments (1)

More signs of the end of dayzzz

Maybe it's just me, but somehow "Thirty-Eight Candles" just doesn't have the same ring to it, now, does it?

Critical scene: Molly is standing in the produce aisle at the Safeway, and says on the cell phone to her bestest friend Donna. "Thirty-eight is the one I've been dreaming about forever....it's the birthday where I don't have to have sex with my husband until his hairplugs come in and the van doesn't have any infant puke on any of the seats...."


We agree with the Colossus that THIS is definitely scary-----a double-bagger if I've ever seen one.

Posted by Steve at 03:26 PM | Comments (0)

Car Talk

According to this CNN article, these are the safest cities in the country for driving:

1. Cedar Rapids, Iowa
2. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
3. Chattanooga, Tennessee
4. Huntsville, Alabama
5. Knoxville, Tennessee
6. Des Moines, Iowa
7. Topeka, Kansas
8. Lakewood, Colorado
9. Fort Collins, Colorado
10. Birmingham, Alabama

How about my own neck of the woods?

Washington, D.C., ranked 25th in the nation for population, is the least safe city for motorists with a chance of a fender bender once every 5.2 years.

Ain't it the truth. Whenever I roadtrip, I find it generally takes me a couple of days to get out of my Dee Cee Driver frame of mind.

Posted by Robert at 02:16 PM | Comments (1)

Band of Brothers Revealed!


M'heh. Indeed.



My own college yearbook photo. I had some, er, wool issues at the time. They're all cleared up now.

UPDATE DEUX: Welcome, Michelle Malkinistas! Yip! Yip!

UPDATE TROIS: Be sure to check out the other suggestions in both the comments and the trackbacks. I especially like Tac Jammer's idea and was sorely tempted to pinch it.


Here's the REAL picture of Robbo from our college yearbook:

eton llama.jpg

Posted by Robert at 11:18 AM | Comments (14)

One Of Our Submarines

Matt Hurley over at Weapons of Mass Discussion relays a (UK) Times article about the discovery of the remains of an early submarine, the Explorer, built for the Union Army in 1864, that may have been the inspiration for Captain Nemo's Nautilus. The sub never fought in battle and eventually wound up being used off the coast of Panama in the pearl fishery. One of the clues that Jules Verne may have had it in mind when penning his story has to do with a particular kind of air-lock:

Colonel Blashford-Snell, 67, [who discovered the wreck] added: “What made it ideal for the pearl trade was its lock-out system, which meant people could get out of it, gather up pearls then return to the submarine. I realised it was identical to the system used in Nautilus. In the book it mentions that Nautilus was first spotted in 1866, just two years after the Explorer was built.

Go read the article. Very cool stuff, indeed.

And in the spirit of even-handedness, here's the latest on the restoration of the H.L. Hunley, the Confederate submarine that actually did serve in the war and scored the very first submarine victory, sinking the U.S.S. Housatanic on February 17th, 1864.

Posted by Robert at 11:05 AM | Comments (3)

Yes. Exactly. Thank You.

I've seen various Blogsphere reactions to this article by Christina Hoff Summers bashing the public education system's obsession with "self-esteem" and the bizarro ways in which it is turning our little darlins into hot-house flowers through its efforts to promote round-the-clock happy thoughts.

Now Stefan Beck weighs in over at The New Criterion. I flag his post in particular because he underlines what I think is a critical point:

Self-esteem isn't an inherently bad thing. We do something good, and we feel good about ourselves: where's the harm in that? Of course, self-esteem today means something very different. It means feeling good about oneself for no reason at all--just for breathing, as it were. It has become an article of faith that it is reasonable and perhaps necessary, from a mental health standpoint, to feel this way.

Emphasis mine. The old-fashioned kind of "self-esteem" that Beck talks about is really another concept: self-respect. And, as he points out, there is an enormous difference between self-respect and self-esteem. The former requires a great deal of mental and emotional hard work: self-discipline, the ability to accept consequences for one's own actions and the maturity to face cold, hard reality for what it is. The latter, so far as I understand it, also requires some work, but work of a different sort - specifically, the ability to wilfully blind oneself to the world, to blot out the concepts of personal responsibility, to ignore the lesson that Life Isn't Fair and to withdraw into a little happy-face coccoon murmuring "So long as I love me, that's all that matters."

As you might gather, I loathe the concept of "self-esteem" as it is understood in the Theraputic Age. And as the father of three little girls, I am especially sensitive to any attempts to brainwash them into adopting this notion as the summum bonum of their lives. (I am also keenly aware of the relationship between this concept and the more virulant forms of identity politics and I refuse to allow my daughters to ruin their lives by joining the legions of what P.J. O'Rourke terms the "perennially indignant".)

Furthermore, If the Llama-ettes don't learn how to compete, how to get up off their knees when Life knocks them down, how to face Reality in the comparative shelter of school, how on earth are they going to deal with these things when they grow up? The answer for many people, these days, seems to be "sue somebody" but again, I refuse to let them take that path.

UPDATE: I should clarify, perhaps, that I am not advocating sliding all the way over to the other end of the spectrum and turning kids into self-loathing little results-freaks, either. I've seen too much of that sort of behavior in my time. No, as Rachel Ann notes, there does indeed need to be a sense of self-worth as well. I still believe that is a concept different from the kind of hyper self-esteem that I'm talking about, although I haven't formulated that distinction in words yet. It's something deeper and more complex and incorporates elements of honest self-assessment and acceptance coupled with a wholesome desire to improve. Indeed, as I think out loud (as it were) I begin to see some religious parallels. But as I say, I haven't meditated that one all the way out yet.

UPDATE DEUX: Joanne Jacobs brings us more tales of Self-Esteem Syndrome.

Posted by Robert at 09:23 AM | Comments (8)

Random Commuter Observation

With the hot weather comes the return of white pants and skirts which, in turn, prompts me to wonder once again:

Those dark colored undies that show right through - fashion statement? Or simply someone not paying attention?

Just wondering.

Posted by Robert at 07:33 AM | Comments (5)

June 06, 2005

Pulp Llama

What Pulp Fiction Character Are You?

Your name alone strikes fear into others; but maybe, just maybe, there's a little vulnerability and weakness beneath that stoic, fierce exterior of yours.

Take the What Pulp Fiction Character Are You? quiz.

Then again, maybe not. Heh.

Yo! to Fabienne, Butch and The Wolf.

Posted by Robert at 05:26 PM | Comments (5)

Well This Is A Shame

One-L Michele reports on the sudden change of format of radio station WCBS in Noo Yawk from oldies to, well, something else.

This is too bad. The Missus grew up with WCBS living in southern Connecticut. In later years, whenever we drove up, it was always a real pleasure for her when we first picked up the station in northern Jersey, the first sign that she was getting back to her childhood home.

Of course, after about ten minutes of it, she would always get impatient with all the commercials and start channel-surfing, but it was important for her to get her fix first. Knowing it was there and getting in that brief listen was what really mattered.

I'd bet the Missus (and many others from that part of the world) would/do share a great deal of Michele's sentiment about this news.

Posted by Robert at 03:11 PM | Comments (3)

Happy Birthday, John Trumbull

bunker hill.jpg
The Battle of Bunker Hill. Image courtesy of British Battles.

If you believe Wikipedia, which experience has taught me is a dodgy proposition, today is the birthday of Revolutionary War painter John Trumbull in 1756. Well, I'm willing to go with this factoid, as it gives me an excuse for posting one of Trumbull's more famous paintings depicting the Death of Gen. Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

One thing I've never been able to figure out about this painting - how did Boy George get into the battle? (Check the lower right.)

Just asking.

Posted by Robert at 02:28 PM | Comments (1)

Volcanic Passions

Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, Katmai National Park, Alaska

I know today is the anniversary of another important event, but I see that it is also the anniversary of the beginning of the eruption in 1912 of Novarupta, one of the complex of vents making up Mt. Katmai, located on the Aleutian Peninsula of Southwest Alaska.

This was the largest volcanic eruption on the North American continent of the 20th Century, thirty times larger than the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. More than 7 cubic miles of ash was erupted in only 60 hours, covering 46,000 square miles in greater than 0.40 inch of ash. According to Robert Griggs, who explored the area several years later for the National Geographic Society:

"The magnitude of the eruption can perhaps be best realized if one could imagine a similar outburst centered in New York City. All of Greater New York would be buried under from ten to fifteen feet of ash; Philadelphia would be covered by a foot of gray ash and would be in total darkness for sixty hours; Washington and Buffalo would receive a quarter of an inch of ash, with a shorter period of darkness. The sound of the explosion would be heard in Atlanta and St. Louis, and the fumes noticed as far awa y as Denver, San Antonio, and Jamaica." (Robert F. Griggs, National Geographic Magazine, 1917, v. 81 no. 1, p. 50)

The pyroclastic flow filled the neighboring valley, thereby creating what is now the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. The picture above was taken from the ranger station overlooking the valley. From there, you can hike down to the floor on a short trail. I've been there several times - it is an absolute moonscape, made all the more remarkable by the knowledge that the ash is, in places, hundreds of feet deep. Fascinating stuff.

Of course, I daren't mention this to my seven year old. One of her classmates recently brought in the DVD of the Discovery Channel's Pompeii: The Last Day. After watching it, she spent several days demanding loudly to know how I was so sure there are no volcanoes in Virginia. I went to fairly great lenghts on the topics of plate techtonics, the Pacific Ring of Fire and so on. I also assured her that if there were a volcano in Virginia, somebody would have found it by now. Finally, in response to her further demand, I had to give her my absolute promise that volcanoes are non-migratory and would therefore not come here from the West Coast. Eventually, I mollified her, but not by much. I'm afraid a fresh visit to the subject so soon after our last talk would only, as it were, cause her to erupt again.

Posted by Robert at 01:28 PM | Comments (6)

G'uh! G'uh! G'uh! I love it, I love it!

Roscoe P. Coltrane
You are Roscoe P. Coltrane. You do have morals,
they're just easily forgotten. If your boss
tells you to do something, you jump to it. You
are kind to animals, especially basset hounds.

What Dukes of Hazzard Character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Actually, I always did like Ol' Roscoe, as portrayed by James Best, an actor who has proven conclusively that there is no incompatibility between westerns and B-grade horror movies on an actor's resume. And while we're at it, check out the Official James Best Website.

Yips! to the Country Pundit.

Posted by Robert at 11:39 AM | Comments (0)

Llama Club Med

Stephen, posting over at The Commissar's Place has taken it upon himself to map out the Coalition of the Chillin', those blogstates sandwiched between the Moonbat Ocean and the Wing-nut Hordes.

Your Llamas seem to have been allotted our own Cypriot Paradise. What can we say? Welcome to Fantasy Island! (Orgle, Orgle Orgle)

YIPS from Steve: I like how our merry little island is the only place on the map with a travel advisory warning!

Posted by Robert at 10:42 AM | Comments (0)

Gratuitous Cranky Commuter Posting (TM)

One of my all-time favorite series of short stories are those about the adventures of Major Sinclair Yates (aka the Irish R.M.) by E.E. Somerville and Martin Ross. I've got a copy of the complete collected stories (they were published originally in three sets) that was put out about the time Masterpiece Theatre ran the Peter Bowles dramatization (which I didn't like, but that's another story), but I've read it so many times that it is literally coming apart in my hands.

Recently, I noticed that the stories (or at least some of them) had been republished a few years ago, so I thought I would buy Some Experiences of an Irish R.M. in order to supplement my tattered old veteran. And having finished up Evelyn Waugh's Sword of Honor trilogy yet again, I thought I would take a canter through my new book for my Metro reading.

Ha! I don't know much about the publishers J.S. Sanders & Co. of Nashville, TN, but I do know this - they apparently seem to think that automated spell-check is a good enough substitute for a human being actually reading a text. Well, it isn't. I found no fewer than three different examples of printing errors in the first two stories - "house" substituted for "horse" and so on - that could have been picked up by a high school newspaper editor.

This sort of thing drives me crazy. It is extremely sloppy and unprofessional. And the worst part of it is the distraction - now I am aware of the problem, I keep looking for it, waiting for the next clunker. It's like having a nice summer evening out on the porch ruined because you're too busy listening for the next mosquito on its way in to bite you.

Thank you so bloody much.

Posted by Robert at 08:15 AM | Comments (1)

June 05, 2005

ike with troops.jpeg

The D-Day History page at the Eisenhower Library
is a sober collection of documents, maps, pictures, and audio files, including Eisenhower delivering the "Order of the Day" for June 6, 1944.

Posted by Steve at 09:08 PM | Comments (0)

June 03, 2005

A Happy Meeting of Memes

Somebody Googled in here looking for Madeline Kahn songs. Since the Babel Fish meme is still fairly fresh, it occurred to me that one of her more famous ditties would be particularly appropriate for being put through the English-German-French-English wringer. So here goes:

here, I, the goddess of the balanced men
of the desire am on fires
have to me this energy
midday of morning and night am surrounded to him drink and slightly fast Romancing dancing
and then a stage of shower
always carries johnnies me,
it me a request always continue,
its practices luesternen realizes can,
me a rabbit am not,

me remainder requires me sick and am tired
tired love me my abundance of the love
by below being had and on tired,
tired by admired love not inspired
left tired
you us it to always confront who me

I am tired
am with 1000' S of the men be,
still, and with right girls early to always promise?
I is not to play of the play am tired,
tired it a dishonour crying which I am thus tired god dammit,
me am exhausted tired,
to play of the play am not tired
it a crying dishonour which I am if tired

[ soldiers: _ ] they tired (they tired),
patient and tired the love (to give they cut tired),
which them them abundance the love (they not a queue)
gebruell and on (not to be able they they to see sick)
tired (they bushed)
to tire to admire (to only leave they them)
to tire the step to inspire love (to go they telephones it far)
they, (not to know they they to pump)

I with 1000' S the man, always still,
it they to resemble it melody to sing
they with byron and shelly to start and
on their belly to jump and tired,
to play of the play it is not freakin ' a dishonour am...

thus makes us you it confront
tired very under the size kapput is!

[ Soldiers: ] tired!

Posted by Robert at 06:06 PM | Comments (3)

Note To Dr. Rusty - You Got Served

Yeah, so you think you're a playa now. But did you notice Beautifully Atrocious Jeff? Reynolds and Lileks.

Who's the man?

Posted by Robert at 04:56 PM | Comments (3)

The Boy Is The Father Of The Man


Ya know, these recent pictures of Bob Geldof from all this Live 8 stuff have been driving me nuts because they reminded me of someone I'd seen before.

Suddenly, it occurred to me just where:


Rock me, Amadeus!

If anyone ever decides to do a movie on what Mozart would have been like in middle age, I think Sir Bob is their man.

UPDATE: And we also know what he'll look like when he's been dead for 1000 years:


Posted by Robert at 03:15 PM | Comments (7)


Ah, Friday afternoon meme-age! Courtesy of Ith, it's the How Male or Female is Your Brain Test.

I scored 42 on the "Empathy Quotient" Test which, according to the results table means I'm bang on in the sensitivity department:

33-52= You have an average ability for understanding how other people feel and responding appropriately. You know how to treat people with care and sensitivity. Most women score about 47 and most men about 42.

Fair enough. I never wanted to be Alan Alda anyway.

As to the "Systemizing Quotient" Test, I scored 60, which apparently means there's something wrong with me:

51-80= You have a very high ability for analyzing and exploring a system. On average, women score about 24 and men about 30. Three times as many men with Asperger Syndrome score in this range, compared to typical men, and almost no women score this high.

Just what the hell is Asperger Syndrome?

Individuals with AS can exhibit a variety of characteristics and the disorder can range from mild to severe. Persons with AS show marked deficiencies in social skills, have difficulties with transitions or changes and prefer sameness. They often have obsessive routines and may be preoccupied with a particular subject of interest. They have a great deal of difficulty reading nonverbal cues (body language) and very often the individual with AS has difficulty determining proper body space. Often overly sensitive to sounds, tastes, smells, and sights, the person with AS may prefer soft clothing, certain foods, and be bothered by sounds or lights no one else seems to hear or see. It's important to remember that the person with AS perceives the world very differently.

Hmmmm.....I hate change and love routine.....I don't mingle very well.... As for the body language thing, I have a running debate with the Missus about whether other women check me out or not (she says yes, I say no)..... You lot may judge my perceptions of the world for yourselves....I am increasingly intolerant of sensory overload....And those damned Wraith-Rabbits have started taunting me.....

Perhaps I'd better go see somebody.

Posted by Robert at 02:18 PM | Comments (12)

"I'll Make It Fit..."*

(* A quote from an old tee vee commercial. Ten points if you can identify it.)

We've had a few complaints about the format here at the ol' Butcher Shop in the last couple days. Apparently, some readers have been seeing the sidebar moved all the way down to the bottom of the page. I never saw this on my screen, fwiw.

Anyhoo, I think I fixed the problem. It turns out that a certain blogger whose name rhymes with "TiVo" has been posting pics that are too wide for the margins. My simple, crude, but effective fix is simply to squish them sideways.

Let me know if you're still getting a screwy screen-view.

Yip! Yip!

UPDATE: Hmmmm....Some mixed reviews, still. This is strange. And how long has it been going on? Was anyone else going to tell me? Well?

Posted by Robert at 12:31 PM | Comments (6)

My Dinner With Bill

(With apologies to Jeff. BTW, this won't make any sense unless you read the comments to the post below. Well, it might not even if you do.)

RTLB: Ah, Bill! Come in, old fellow, come in! What can I get for you?


RTLB: Splendid, splendid. I say, Hudson - be so good as to get Mr. Bill some sherry.

Hudson: Very good, Sir.

RTLB: I think you'll find this an especially "nutty" variety. Very piquant, if you know what I mean.


RTLB: Well, I think we've got a spot of time before Mrs. Bridges is ready for us, so do come into the Library, there's a good chap.


RTLB: Right. Now which would you prefer - a spot of orgiastic music appreciation, or perhaps some leaf-pressing? Or both? We'll save the Cognac-swirling for later, of course.


RTLB (sitting): Ah, that's better, don't you think? Pull your chair right up to the fire, old man. Get a good old toasting.


RTLB: I say, mind if I smoke? Jolly good. Help yourself, of course - pipes are up on the mantle.


RTLB (lighting up): Now. Where were we? Ah, yes - global warming. Sorry, old boy, just don't get it. It's quite parky out today, after all. Not much warming here, eh? Eh? What? Ha, ha.


RTLB: Of course, I s'pose one ought to look at it rather like this interminably dense piece of classical music I've got on my oaken shelf. Hmm....where is the 'damn thing....Ah, yes, here we are: Beethoven's 9th. Chap I know once said about this piece that it "trends and builds towards an end, but with many swirls and eddies that feint towards an opposite conclusion in random and challenging bursts." Jolly clever that, what?


RTLB: Course, that's just the trouble, isn't it? Measuring the swirls and eddies. I mean, how d'ye know which bit is the opposite conclusion and which bit is the building towards an end? So far as I've seen, nobody really knows the answer yet. Lots of guess work and theory and all that rot, of course, but wouldn't want to start applauding right after the Molto vivace, eh? Bit premature, what? Bit of a floater, no? Not quite ban-the-internal-combustion-engine-time yet, wouldn't you say?


RTLB: Oh, kiss me, you mad fool!

Posted by Robert at 11:45 AM | Comments (11)

Random Commuter Crankiness

If this is June in Virginia, perhaps it's time to go back to the old fearmonger scare about the impending new Ice Age?

Speaking of which, I saw a bumper-sticker yesterday that read, "I'd Rather Be Fighting Global Warming". God give me strength. I think it's safe to say that some folks have regained their 9/10 worldview just fine, thank you very much.

Posted by Robert at 09:12 AM | Comments (4)

June 02, 2005


Bob Woodward is rushing to print his dealings with W. Mark Felt a/k/a Deep Throat, no doubt disappointed that it could not wait for DT to die so all sorts of conversations could be attributed to him without the inconvenience of having Felt around to dispute them. However, he does have some sort of dementia which for Bob is the next best thing.

The MSM is going through the predictable orgasm of lionizing Felt as "heroic" for bringing corruption and abuse of power to light, at the risk of his job, etc. IMHO, Felt did little that was heroic. Instead, he leaked sensitive information about ongoing criminal investigations and grand jury proceedings, precisely the things the libs accused Ken Starr of doing, insisting that Starr resign, be investigated, etc. It may just be me, but I expect high government officials such as a Deputy Director of the FBI to have the testicular fortitude to tell their boss, or their boss' boss, to pound sand if their agency was called upon to do something illegal or immoral, even at the cost of their job. If they do not have the guts to make that kind of a call, they do not deserve their high office. Felt should have confronted Nixon, daring him to fire him, resigned, or take an abrupt early retirement and devoted his free time to making the rounds of members of the House Judiciary Committee. Instead, he slunk in the shadows.

In the Watergate affair, one need look no further than Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelhaus for examples of moral courage. When Nixon demanded that Richardson fire the special prosecutor, Archibald Cox, Richardson said "no" and was fired on the spot. The same demand was made to Ruckelshaus who just saw his boss get waxed and he gave the same response. It takes guts to make a stand like that, fully knowing that a price is to be paid. What Felt did was not heroic because he had nothing at risk.

Posted by LMC at 08:11 PM | Comments (2)

The School of Man

Newly-engaged Lintenfiniel Jen posted a humorous course catalogue listing for a two year degree in becoming a Real Man "for those of you who are married, were married, or are contemplating marriage".

Well, it's just over two weeks until my twelfth anniversary, so I feel I can offer the guys a pointer or two on the subject. Most important course you'll ever take?

MEN 233 Just Say “Yes, Dear”

Remember that one and you're gold. But go read the others anyway.

(Yips! to Jen's future mother-in-law for sending the piece along.)

Posted by Robert at 05:22 PM | Comments (5)

Wright This Way

Mark at Witnit has posted (I think) every joke that Steven Wright ever told.

I remember being on a flight from Chicago to Hartford back in the mid-80's. One of the audio selections available was a Wright concert. I could tell that practically the entire plane was listening to it because of the laughter that erupted in all parts of the cabin at exactly the same moments.

Is Wright still performing? It seems to me I haven't heard anything about him in quite some time.

Posted by Robert at 02:40 PM | Comments (3)

Howard the Scream

Michelle Malkin has the latest rantin's and ravin's of the inmate the Donks have put in charge of the asylum, including this link to Ankle-Biting Pundits that I think Ith would like to see. (Sorry Ith, I can't get into your comments section - Father Justice doesn't like it for some reason.)

Meanwhile, in the "It's Never Too Early To Start" Category, Patrick Ruffini has set up the 2008 Presidential Wire.

In that spirit, I'm going to make one per-diction here. Well, maybe two: Unless she gets caught in a menage-a-trois with a pair of Zarqwani suicide bombers, Hillary is going to get the Dem nod. And one of the things she is going to do between now and then is find a way to get rid of Dean. How she does it, I don't know, but she will. And if nothing else, it will be entertaining to watch.

Posted by Robert at 02:26 PM | Comments (8)


Over at the Corner, John Podhoretz is stepping on your turf.

One of you needs to get over there and educate him pronto!

UPDATE: Now Jonah's in on it. He seems to have the right idea, as Red Dawn is indeed a Truly Bad Film.

Posted by Robert at 12:29 PM | Comments (3)



You guys have all dropped by Chocolate and Peanut Butter, haven't you? It's a joint blog run by two lovely ladies of my real-life acquaintance, Marjorie and Anne.

Today, Marjorie makes a pretty safe bet about your humble Llama's upcoming movie viewing. I've been watching the development of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe with some interest. As any regular reader of this site knows, I am extremely open-minded when it comes to screenplay adaptations of favorite books, so I am eager to see what becomes of this one. [Ed. - We're monitoring you, y'know.] Wha-? Oh, right. Well, the truth of the matter is that I am growing rather apprehensive that the producers are going to go overboard with a LOTR treatment of the thing and ruin it. On the other hand, they swear they aren't cutting out the religious allegory (which is really the whole point of the book, after all), so perhaps the movie will be worthwhile after all. We'll see.


Posted by Robert at 11:35 AM | Comments (17)

Gratuitous Musickal Posting (TM)

Lynn S. at Reflections in D Minor got an interesting Google search that prompted her to some reflections on the difficulty of describing "what is going on" in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20 in D Minor, K. 466.

As it happens, this is one of my favorite pieces of music, but I too would be hard pressed to put in words what I hear going on in it. Yes, it would be possible to give an academic description of the mechanics of the piece - the structure, the themes, the key modulations and so forth, but that's not the same thing at all.

I got thinking about this sort of thing the other day as I was painting the basement because I happened to be running through the Beethoven symphony cycle and had just got to the "thunderstorm" movement of Symphony No. 6 (the "Pastoral"), when the eldest Llama-ette wandered in. She recognized the piece and insisted that I play the movement a couple of times. As I did, she was very keen to identify exactly what was going on - which bits represented rain, lightning, thunder, wind and so forth.

This is all well and good for beginners up to a point. There is nothing wrong with listening for Death's violin in Saint-Saens Dance Macabre, or all the various character themes in Peter and the Wolf, for example. But I think, if too much emphasis is placed on this kind of programatic treatment, there is a danger of missing the real point. Classical music, for the most part, is not a representational art form. Rather, it is abstract. The purpose of listening to it is not to paint pictures in your mind of some thing or place, but to simply listen to the music for its own sake.

So where does one start? I think Lynn is on to the correct answer: But if [a searcher] listens and listens again and again, giving it his full attention, he will someday understand, with his heart and soul, what is going on.

In other words, take a piece of music and listen to it repeatedly until you know what the notes are. Once you know the piece in that sense, you will be able to begin to understand what is going on behind the notes. And once you master one piece of music, you'll have a point of reference, a marker from which you can start charting other pieces and gradually building up an greater appreciation of the art as a whole. Like Lynn and me, you may never get to the point where you can articulate this understanding in any coherent way, but you will know, and enjoy, what it means.

UPDATE: Okay, I confess this didn't come out very clearly. If you chip a couple o' bucks into the Llama tip jar, perhaps I might expand on the idea in a future post. If you chip in a couple more bucks, perhaps I won't.

Posted by Robert at 09:42 AM | Comments (8)

Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) - Peony-Blogging Division

Here's a little something to start off your Thursday - the flagship peony in my garden:

The Henry Brockstoce (Bockstoce 55)

As you can see, the flowers are quite large. They sit on long stems which, fortunately, are very strong, so that the flowers remain upright even at full bloom.

I have one specimen. It sits right in the middle of the row and, as I say, seems to stand out as the leader amidst all the whites and pinks around it.

Yips! for the picture to Nicholls Gardens where I buy my stock. I recently rediscovered that they had a peony photo page, so in addition to this one you can see genuine pictures of the Angelus and Gold Standard that I have.

Posted by Robert at 08:45 AM | Comments (3)

June 01, 2005


Someone googled us up looking for "Llama birthday supplies."

Which led me to this, Robbo's secret web-life posting under the name of the "Sinewy LLama."

Posted by Steve at 07:00 PM | Comments (0)

"The More You Tighten Your Grip, The More Systems Will Slip Through Your Fingers."

The Dutch join the Rebel Alliance against the Imperial European Constitution.

An exit poll projection broadcast by state-financed NOS television said the referendum failed by a vote of 63 percent to 37 percent. The turnout was 62 percent, exceeding all expectations, the broadcaster said.

Looks like I picked the right week not to invest in Euros.

UPDATE: Tim, I'd unload those bumperstickers fast if I were you....

Posted by Robert at 04:19 PM | Comments (0)

Well, that makes sense

Jeff has a roundup about how everyone in the future will be Hitler for fifteen minutes.

Personally, I believe the one about Hillary Duff.

And the pshop of Rosie O'Donnell summarizes in a nutshell the twisted genius that is Beautiful Atrocities.

(By the way, I had a 62% compatibility. Excuse me while I now go and hose myself off).

Yips! from Robbo: 85% for me. This is bad. I don't understand.

Posted by Steve at 03:04 PM | Comments (3)


I guess all those posts about Orville Redenbacher being the spawn of the devil, and pshopping the old guy into nasty porno pics with Margaret Thatcher, Tea Leone, and Malcolm X have finally come and bit me in my ample arse.

I'll tell you what's next: colleges using blogs as admissions recruiting devices.

Yips! from Robbo: Evidently, I haven't done enough Dukes of Hazzard posting yet!

Posted by Steve at 03:01 PM | Comments (1)

The Return of the King*

(if by "King" you mean a load of the sack of unadulterated crap that is Emilio Estevez)

If THIS isn't a sign of the End of Dayz, I don't know what is.

UPDATE: Okay, maybe this.

Posted by Steve at 02:50 PM | Comments (6)

Glorious First

june first.jpg
HMS Defence at the Battle of the First of June 1794 by Nicholas Pocock

Today is the anniversary of the Glorious First of June, the sea-battle between the Royal Navy and the navy of Revolutionary France off the coast of Ushant in which Admiral Lord Howe (known as "Black Dick") took on a French fleet escorting a grain convoy from America. Here is a description of the events leading up to the battle and of the fighting itself.

Tactically, the battle was a draw - the Royal Navy captured or sank seven French ships with no permanent loss of its own, but the grain convoy made it to France, the British fleet being too heavily pounded to mount an effective pursuit. Strategically, it was a huge psychological victory for the Brits, as simmering fears of a Revolutionary invasion of Britain were quashed. Furthermore, the French never tried to run another grain convoy through the blockade, relying instead on singleton blockade-runners and thus cutting the rate of food import significantly.

UPDATE: Of course, given the way the Brits plan to celebrate the anniversary of Trafalgar, I'm sure that in this year's reenactment of the Glorious First, the two fleets get together, share out the grain, make some popcorn over the galley fires and all sing "Cumbaya", with a midshipman told off to repeat the words in sign language at the break of each ship's quarterdeck.

Posted by Robert at 01:54 PM | Comments (2)

"Welcome To The Show, Meat"

Mr. Sun has some advice for new graduates in this end-of-school season. Here's a sample:

*Make a list of the things you want to do before you die. Be as open to your heart as you possibly can. Now, throw that ridiculous piece of trash away and get your ass to work. The ball is over, Cinderella.

*Contrary to what you may have heard about business, you should not think outside the box. You should get your green-as-grass self back in the box and don't come out unless it's to bring me some hot coffee and do my work so I can take credit for it. Welcome to the working world, Rookie.

Now go read the rest. "Heh," as they say, "indeed."

Yips! to Joanne Jacobs.

UPDATE: I should just clarify that the fact that I find this list funny has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that one of our new summer interns called me "Sir" today. Nope. Nothing. Zilch. Why, I'm forty years young!

Posted by Robert at 12:30 PM | Comments (2)

"Captain's Log - Supplemental"

Evidently, Captain Kirk has finally gone through every last female humanoid in the known galaxy, because, according to Lawren K., he's now started in on the other 49% of the population.

Fascinating, Jim.

Posted by Robert at 11:57 AM | Comments (2)

Coming soon: Pictures from the Blog High Prom


Let's just say the evening was macktabulous.

(Tip of the Pimp Hat to Phin, who should be beaten for burning our retinas with THIS abomination.)

Posted by Steve at 10:46 AM | Comments (0)

Kind of like Fark for the PJ O'Rourke Set

John Hawkins has set up the Conservative Grapevine.

Posted by Steve at 10:13 AM | Comments (1)

Clearing Deep Throat

Although the MSM is attempting to whip up interest in it, I notice a certain flatness of reaction around the Blogsphere over the revelation of the identity of Deep Throat. So he turns out to be a senior FBI guy with an axe to grind because Nixon didn't give him Hoover's job. Big deal. This is what we've waited thirty-odd years to find out? I tell you truly that in this life, real pleasure almost always lies in anticipation. The actual pay-off usually is an anti-climax. It isn't really anybody's fault. That's just the way things are.

But sometimes you just have to fight back. And in this case, I, for one, am not going to stand for being robbed of my simple pleasures. In that spirit, I o-fficially state here and now that I don't believe Felt is the real deal. It's perfectly obvious that he's just some old guy who's using some extremely compromising photographs of Woodward and Bernstein at a Cub Scout Jamboree back in '79 to grab 15 minutes of fame (and some bucks for his kids) before he kicks off.

No, I'm going to continue to Believe what I have Believed for many, many years, and what no amount of "evidence" to the contrary can shake. By dissassociating my belief from pettyfogging reality, I can continue to enjoy the simple pleasure of perpetual anticipation, while the rest of you Sad Sacks sit there, surrounded by Christmas ribbons and wrapping paper, but once again without a pony.

And what is my Belief? That the True Identity of Deep Throat is.......


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

Llama Book Report

I just finished Winston Churchill's The Gathering Storm, the first volume of his history of WWII that picks up with the aftermath of Versailles and ends with the collapse of the British campaign in Norway in 1940.

One thing I find fascinating about Churchill is that he never hits a man (or a country) who's already down. There are any number of opportunities in the days leading up to the fall of France: the general complaisance of the British and French governments in the face of German rearmament, their specific failure to do anything in the face of Hitler's moves into the Ruhr Valley, the Sudetanland, Austria and Checkoslovakia; Neville Chamberlain's blind belief that he could talk Hitler down at Munich; the failure of the French to recognize the limitations of their Maginot-Line defense; foolish Low Country neutrality policies; various staff ditherings over how to deal with the Scandinavian situation. And so on.

Yes, Churchill is quick to point out what went wrong and usually notes that he had seen it coming. But after that, he lets it be, frequently going to great lengths to explain the reasoning behind his opponents' decisions in a fair and frank manner. And in the case of Chamberlain, in particular, I was quite surprised at the extent to which Churchill rallied to his defense, noting what a change came over Chamberlain once he realized that Hitler had bushwhacked him.

Considering the pummelling Churchill took from his own political enemies and considering that he was writing these memoirs at a time when damn near everything he had always said had been vindicated, his level of restraint is quite remarkable.

Now, on to Their Finest Hour.

Posted by Robert at 08:59 AM | Comments (5)
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