"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."


Glenn Reynolds:

Barack Obama:
"Impossible to transcend."

Albert A. Gore, Jr.:
"An incontinent brute."

Rev. Jeremiah Wright:
"God damn the Gentleman Farmer."

Friends of GF's Sons:
"Is that really your dad?"

Kickball Girl:
"Keeping 'em alive until 7:45."

Hired Hand:
"I think . . . we forgot the pheasant."

I'm an
Alcoholic Yeti
in the
TTLB Ecosystem

Thursday, June 30, 2005

"Running Blog"

Is that a fact?

The Times of London today has an article based on an interview with the President. It's HERE. Some notable excerpts:
In person Mr Bush is so far removed from the caricature of the dim, war-mongering Texas cowboy of global popular repute that it shakes one’s faith in the reliability of the modern media.

As expansive as he is, Mr Bush can’t help betraying a faint irritation at the intrusiveness of the modern media, with a reference to a famous brief medical emergency from a couple of years ago.

He points out the door in the well of the presidential desk, placed there by President Roosevelt to hide the fact that he spent his presidency in a wheelchair. “FDR was in a wheelchair and nobody knows. I choke on a pretzel and the whole world gets to hear about it.”

Do tell.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


CNN reports:
"New York officials released the latest design for the signature building at the World Trade Center site Wednesday after revising it to make the tower more secure."
More HERE.

"Like Poodle Burgers at a dog show"

This report from Reuters explains:

An animal rights group has called on one of the largest aquariums in the United States to stop serving fish to its visitors, likening the practice to grilling up "poodle burgers at a dog show."

"It's easy to think of fish as swimming vegetables but of all the places in the country where fish should get a fair shake it's an aquarium," said Karin Robertson, manager of the Fish Empathy Project for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

I absolutely refuse to make any jokes based on the notion of "fish empathy."

It's hard to be a fish. You have to endure the hackneyed stereotype respecting your utter ignorance of water. There are all those hateful cartoons of you swimming through a sea of butter, trailing bread crumbs.

And I haven't had a decent poodle burger in a dog's age.

This afternoon . . . .

. . . I passed this fellow in the hall. No, really: there were witnesses. I was wearing my usual DOJ attire (sneakers, blue jeans, rumpled blue blazer), as was he. Wearing his usual DOJ attire, that is. I'm pretty sure he wasn't wearing jeans.

And speaking of Iraq

Andrew McCarthy reminds us not only that "It's All About 9/11," but that there's a boatload of evidence connecting Saddam to bin Laden and the Islamo-fascists. Vastly more than enough such that Harry Reid and the NYT ought to study a bit more before again (and again, and again, and again) running down the same old tired talking points.

I was myself struck by the fact that number one or two on the faxed talking-points list from DNC headquarters (if you didn't get it, just check in with Senator Durbin, the NYT, CNN, or David Gergen) seems to be "The President didn't say anything new." I offer only a question: If the President had said anything particularly new, would the usual suspects not then respond, "The President has admitted that he lied to America and that he had no plan to win this war, and only at this late date has he made even a half-hearted (and wholly wrong-headed and ineffective) attempt to make amends for those grievous errors."

You know they would. If Mr. Bush announced that vanilla was his favorite ice cream, the Kos Kids would soon suffer from chocolate poisoning.

Because you won't know it . . .

. . . . when you see it. The Ontario Human Rights Commission has issued new policy guidelines with respect to racism, including abolition of the term "minority group," apparently on the grounds that is insufficiently inclusive. Or exclusive. Or something.

Henceforth the term to be used is "racialized persons," which is intended to go beyond skin color and ethnic background.
"Racialization extends to people in general but also to specific traits and attributes, which are connected in some way to racialized people and are deemed to be 'abnormal' and of less worth,'" it says. "Individuals may have prejudices related to various racialized characteristics."
According to this story from the CBC,
Those characteristics may include name, accent or manner of speech, clothing and grooming, diet, beliefs and practices, leisure preferences, places of origin and citizenship, it says.
My, my, my. I'm not sure, but I think this means that if I'm in Canada I qualify for Government protection if I eat jerk chicken, wear a doo rag, like to hang out on my front porch, and come from the most urbanized state in the Union (New Jersey). Since I am or do all of these things, I may just head on up to Ontario and order me up some cast iron skillet fried chicken, and see if anybody gives me any lip. Yessir.

[NO, waitaminit! Is this another one of those things that's some kind of code for a bunch of stuff that "we all know?" I mean, like, this is just gonna apply to dark-skinned folk? Damn. I HATE IT when that happens. It seems like I NEVER KNOW any of that stuff that everyone knows.]

Yeah, But Can It Clean Up?

Bastion of terrorist sympathy Salon.com has a relatively new column called "Object Lust," where exciting and new products are salivated over to ensure we keep consumer spending propped up for at least another six months. At the outset, reviewers usually looked at fairly fru-fru items, such as age-defying-but-secretly-carcinogenic face cream.

This week, those lefty nutjobs reach out to Red State Americans, who like their steak anything but tartare. As your faithful correspondent can attest to, slow-cooked ("smoked") meat is just about the best thing ever invented by humanity. And the proper technique hasn't really changed since. Sure, we no longer have to chase it over an open field, but we really haven't gotten much better in tens of thousands of years of trying.

Until now.

The Maverick Remote-Check Wireless Thermometer Set, retailing for around $80, will now allow true Pit Bosses like Gentleman Farmer and his crew to doze in the hammock while someone else keeps an (electronic) eye on things. It'll even send you a piercing alarm if the smoker's temperature strays outside the proper (and delicate) range.

Enough about W's speech. THIS is why I'M proud to be an American.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

George W. Bush

I listened, and was proud that this is the President of the United States, and that I am an American. Reaction HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Checkpoint Charlie

According to the German blog "David's Medienkritik," the Berlin city government plans to bulldoze down the Checkpoint Charlie monument.

On July 4, no less.

Is there any possibility that this is true? Are German politicians so cynical and self-absorbed, are Americans so ignorant and careless, that this could actually happen?

What am I missing? To the extent that the Cold War had a Ground Zero, Checkpoint Charlie was it. The Third Reich stood for little more than a decade. The scientific system which was destined to "bury" the West lasted for less than a century. Surely Checkpoint Charlie must be preserved for a thousand years.

The Hired Hand

As some of you have noted, the daily dose of new content has declined of the last week or ten days. This has two causes. First, my employer (the Government of the United States) has recently required more work than usual.

[I pause now to provide an opportunity for the usual comments. You're welcome.]

In addition, I have been required to labor ever more hours at the actual Farm which supports my status as a Gentleman.

Therefore: I have done what small farmers have done since a time to which the memory of man runneth not: I have hired an eccentric vagrant, and will seek to have him help me out. I asked for a picture to post, and what you see here is the best he could come up with.

So, as time goes by, when you see the occasional post by the "Hired Hand" keep this picture in mind, and you'll understand.

Free Money!

GENTLEMAN Farmer and Matthew Lesko used to hold the same title, currently being glorified on the Bravo network. Later, due in part to clinical insanity, Matthew Lesko went on to become a minor celebrity, while Gentleman Farmer settled into relative anonymity.

Lesko, of course, is the ubiquitous face of the
FREE MONEY! infomercials, designed to key "regular folks" into the world of federal grants, previously reserved for that snotty violinist at your kid's school and other Front Row People. He wants to tell you the government is just GIVING IT AWAY! Lesko - you're right, dude.

In his previous apprenticeship, Hired Hand learned a considerable amount about public finance from (the equally insane) Michael Boskin, who was G.H.W. Bush's chief economic advisor. Professor Boskin spoke of the perils of crowding out private investment by excessive deficit spending - it raises the sovereign's risk premium, increases interest rates, and generally makes it harder to borrow more.

Apparently Boskie was wrong. The Kids are have racked up some monster deficits, and Greenspan's going all night on a stationary bicycle in the basement of the Fed but STILL can't get interest rates up. What gives? Either the government really DOES have free money, and nobody told us, or something big and bad is gonna happen to the economy, and nobody knows what it is.

Lesko and Boskin need to get together and work this out. 'Cause if I could get my hands on some of that free money, that'd be terrific. I believe I'd buy myself some real estate. Real estate's good, right?

Since this is my first post, I'll give a H/T to Gentleman Farmer, who blogged even on his birthday. I'm told he celebrated by drinking a jar of sweet tea on the porch.

UPDATE: Daniel Gross is an idiot.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Pixie Stix

June 27

Born today: Louis XII ("The Just"), Charles Stewart Parnell, Helen Keller, Willie Mosconi, Bob Keeshan.

On Flag Burning

The irreplaceable Mark Steyn has delivered his opinion with respect to flag burning. As usual, his angle on the problem is a little different:
Banning flag desecration flatters the desecrators and suggests that the flag of this great republic is a wee delicate bloom that has to be protected. It's not. It gets burned because it's strong. I'm a Canadian and one day, during the Kosovo war, I switched on the TV and there were some fellows jumping up and down in Belgrade burning the Stars and Stripes and the Union Jack. Big deal, seen it a million times. But then to my astonishment, some of those excitable Serbs produced a Maple Leaf from somewhere and started torching that. Don't ask me why -- we had a small contribution to the Kosovo bombing campaign but evidently it was enough to arouse the ire of Slobo's boys. I've never been so proud to be Canadian in years. I turned the sound up to see if they were yelling ''Death to the Little Satan!'' But you can't have everything.

That's the point: A flag has to be worth torching. When a flag gets burned, that's not a sign of its weakness but of its strength. If you can't stand the heat of your burning flag, get out of the superpower business. It's the left that believes the state can regulate everyone into thought-compliance. The right should understand that the battle of ideas is won out in the open.
More here: Don't Worry, Old Glory Can Take the Heat.

Quote of the Day

"Because half a dozen grasshoppers under a fern make the field ring with their importunate chink, whilst thousands of great cattle, reposed beneath the shadow of the British oak, chew the cud and are silent, pray do not imagine that those who make the noise are the only inhabitants of the field; that, of course, they are many in number; or that, after all, they are other than the little, shrivelled, meagre, hopping, though loud and troublesome insects of the hour.”

Edmund Burke, "Reflections on the Revolution in France"

Saturday, June 25, 2005


Interesting roundup of sources of information on blogs in terms of popularity, traffic, connections, influence and the like (as well as discussion of the limitations of the statistics) by Ed Batista.

Is it more useful to measure traffic (i.e., unique visitors), or connections and referrals from and to a particular site. Is there a difference? Are some blogs so different from others that they're not even comparable?

Daily Kos, for example, the most popular blog on the planet by most measures, supports "diaries" (sort of mini-blogs by readers), and thus is a constellation of blogs all swarming around a center). Clearly that generates a whole lot of traffic, but just as clearly it's a far different thing from a blog written by three fellow, which is in turn different from a blog written by one lonely pajama-clad scrivener.

Instapundit, on the other hand, remains run by Professor Reynolds alone. But he, rather than blathering on and on about this or that, generally posts a link along with a short description (or, sometimes, no more than a "HEH.")

On the other hand, just after telling you that there's not even any agreed upon definition of a blog, most folks would tell you that the Drudge Report sure as heck isn't one, since it seldom actually says anything, unless it's "reporting" something, while the site is usually limited to links to news items.

But that's not much different from what Glenn Reynolds does, and Matt Drudge has more than 10 times more traffic.


"I KNOW I left a girl around here SOMEPLACE!"

Friday, June 24, 2005

Silly, silly, silly . . . .

A silly young woman has written a silly little piece which would be of little moment but that the silly editors at the New York Times have published it: "Veiled Praise," by Fatina Abdrabboh:

I consider my appearance quite unremarkable. I'm 5 feet 8 inches, 150 pounds, fresh-faced and comfortably trendy - hardly, in my view, a look that should draw stares. Still, the Muslim headscarf, or hijab, that I wear makes me feel as if I am under a microscope.

I try to go to the gym just about every morning. Because I work out with my scarf on, people stare - just as they do on the streets of Cambridge.

The other day, though, I felt more self-conscious than usual. Every television in the gym highlighted some aspect of America's conflict with the Muslim world: the war in Iraq, allegations that American soldiers had desecrated the Koran, prisoner abuse at Guantanamo Bay, President Bush urging support of the Patriot Act. The stares just intensified my alienation as an Arab Muslim in what is supposed to be my country. I was not sure if the blood rushing to my head was caused by the elliptical trainer or by the news coverage.
Others have already observed that Cambridge, Massachusetts, these days resembles nothing so much as the famous bar scene from Star Wars. As the fellows over at The New Editor put it:
For those of you unfamiliar with Cambridge, it is quite possibly the most liberal place in America, and not just in Harvard Yard. John Kerry got 35,241 votes to George Bush's 5,275 -- a 7-to-1 margin. If you go to the very popular Cambridgeside Galleria mall, the first thing you're struck by is the diversity of people -- just about every ethnic group imaginable is represented. Arabs, Indians, Asians, Africans, Europeans -- all waiting in line at The Gap and Starbucks. There is a popular Afghan restaurant right across the street if Cheescake Factory isn't to your liking. In fact, not only are women in hijab numerous there at any given time, but it's not unusual to see women in full burkas, despite the fact that Cambridge leans socialist rather than Taliban.
We learn later that Ms. Abdrabboh is a student at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. And may I suggest that she's not working out in her local YWMA gym, but in a place sufficiently upscale and trendy that, later in her tale, she encounters Al Gore (whether literally algore or merely allegorically is an issue), who
represented all that I yearned for - acceptance and acknowledgment. There in front of me, he stood for a part of America that has not made itself well known to 10 million Arab and Muslim-Americans, many of whom are becoming increasingly withdrawn and reclusive because of the everyday hostility they feel.
So here we've got a student at the Kennedy School, working out in a trendy gym, whining about "acceptance." And surely this Fatina Abdrabboh is not the very same person as this Fatina Abdrabboh, who the Detroit News described in 2002 as a law student at the University of Michigan. That would make her a lawyer with a taxpayer-subsidized law degree, presently at Harvard, working out in an upscale gym.

Complaining about "acceptance."

In wearing her hijab, Ms. Abdrabboh intends to make a religious or a political statement. Fortunately for her, her parents or grandparents decided to come to a country where her attempt to draw attention to herself draws no more than the sort of attention she seeks, rather than the other kind.

She has our attention. It is a shame she has nothing to tell us.


[UPDATE] Of course, it's hard to beat Kathy Shaidle's reaction: "Dumb broad, dumb paper."

Vive la France!

Petain & Hitler


The truly base and despicable levels of zeal with which the French police carried out the deportations of Jews to die in the Holocaust are now available, as their documents have been released to Paris's Holocaust memorial museum. Theirs was collectively one of the greatest crimes against humanity in history; the only useful outcome of this is that survivors can try to trace the calamity that befell their relatives and honor them by remembering.

Thanks a lot for nothing, France. Generations after the crime, you finally let us glimpse the skeletons in your cellar.

Read, as they say, the whole thing: link [HERE].

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Julie R. Neidlinger & Governor John Hoeven

OK, stick with me here.

Julie rightly thinks the Governor should know her name.

This is Julie:

And this is The Honorable John Hoeven, Governor of North Dakota:

Now, just between you and me, I'd opt for Julie knowing my name and be rather indifferent to Governor Whoever (all other things being equal).

But if you go HERE, you'll see that all other things (as is their wont) are hardly equal.

There was a considerable storm the other day in Ms. N's corner of the prairie, and the Governor came around (as governors will do).

She had me from "about an hour of work of picking up branches and cutting with the chainsaw."

Book World

So we've got a new book about Hillary ("The Truth About Hillary"); David Brock, professional liar, is telling us about it; Wonkette is reporting what Brock had to say (which somehow suggests something about the President and bald men).

Pretty standard day in America, I'd say.

[UPDATE] Via TKS on National Review Online, an excerpt from a review of the book by John Podhoretz :
This is one of the most sordid volumes I've ever waded through. Thirty pages into it, I wanted to take a shower. Sixty pages into it, I wanted to be decontaminated. And 200 pages into it, I wanted someone to drive stakes through my eyes so I wouldn't have to suffer through another word.

Real People

I have a confession to make. I enjoy reading obituaries. I don't recall exactly when I started to turn to them, but I think it was shortly after I reached the half century mark. Just saying.

I prefer the obituaries of ordinary folks, which I get in the weekly papers from Fauquier County, Virginia, where my eponymous property is located. The titles (hardly headlines, are they?) generally identify the deceased in one or two words, and you know immediately you're not reading the New York Times, but instead a real newspaper for regular people. To make the NYT you have to be Secretary General, the President of France, or some other important international criminal.

But in Fauquier County the obits are for folks like "Rosa Lee Diggs, homemaker," who died at the hospital (which I energetically fear), though at age 86; or "Charles Calvin Harris Jr., worked in greenhouse," who died at home at age 73 (my man Charles! Rest in peace!) Many, particularly if they are quite elderly, and have moved out of the county into nursing homes, are identified merely as "Fauquier native." It's as if to say "You're one of us, wherever you were forced to flee, and some of us remember."

The Fauquier Times Democrat doesn't normally list the cause of death, which is a common enough convention I could do without. It's not a problem in the case of "Mary Louise S. Smith, homemaker," who was 85: She died because she was old, of one thing or another, as is our fate, and we can pray that before she was called home her stay in the hospital was mercifully short. And I don't need to know in the case of Brittany Nicole Graves, who was 17. For her, we may hope that Professor Lewis was correct, and she was snatched away from the Enemy.

But for the ones in the middle -- neither young nor old -- I really want to know. It's a contest, after all, and how will I otherwise know how I'm doing?

Monday, June 20, 2005

Cookbook Blogging

I don't do cookbooks.

But hey: Baked Tandouri Chicken Breast, Mustard-Dill Baked Fish, Lyonnaise Rice, Fish Amandine. Sounds great.

In this new cookbook, soon to be published, you might have to do a little adjustment of the measurements, as it includes only official Navy recipes used at Guantanamo, so each as listed feeds about 100.

Tired of hearing the wingnuts complain that turning up the thermostat on the air conditioning is pretty much the same as your average beheading? Then this is for you.

I kid you not: The Gitmo Cookbook.

Personally, I can think of a dozen folks for whom this, as a Christmas gift, would have very significant medical side effects.

Savage Chickens

Really funny stuff, HERE.

Hat tip to The Vestryman.

Who Cares?

I'll bet there's really nobody named "Kent L. Svendsen," and I'll bet he's not entitled to call himself "Reverend," and I'll bet he's not really an ordained elder of the United Methodist Church. And he obviously was never in the military, let alone a chaplain in the Army Reserve, serving at Guantanamo Bay for more than a year. He's yet another invention of Karl Rove and BushHitler. They just lie and lie and lie and keep on lying.

But you might want to check him out for yourself,

Sunday, June 19, 2005

The New York Times

The evidence is mounting that the editors at the NYT have given up even the pretense of being anything but the church bulletin for the wingnut left of the Democratic party. When Dana Milbank from the WaPo (no friend to Republicans) thinks the Democrats are getting wacky, and the NYT ignores the story, you know someone's deeply in denial. Ponder this.

Bobby Byrd & The Klan

"In the early 1940s, a politically ambitious butcher from West Virginia named Bob Byrd recruited 150 of his friends and associates to form a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. After Byrd had collected the $10 joining fee and $3 charge for a robe and hood from every applicant, the "Grand Dragon" for the mid-Atlantic states came down to tiny Crab Orchard, W.Va., to officially organize the chapter.

"As Byrd recalls now, the Klan official, Joel L. Baskin of Arlington, Va., was so impressed with the young Byrd's organizational skills that he urged him to go into politics. "The country needs young men like you in the leadership of the nation," Baskin said. "

Just so. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Read the whole thing, which starts on the front page of today's Washington Post, and is titled "A Senator's Shame." Yet another example of why the WaPo IS NOT the New York Times, and actually seems not only to know it, but to like it that way.

(Byrd is the only member of the United States Senate to have the distinction of voting against confirmation of BOTH black Justices of the United States Supreme Court.)

Sign of the Times

  1. Designer clothing is constructed to be worn by women with little, teeny, tiny breasts;
  2. Women who can afford to BUY designer clothing can afford breast augmentation surgery, and many have taken advantage of this opportunity;
  3. This creates a conflict of such importance that the New York Times must write about it.

Would I kid you? I would not. Click HERE.

[UPDATE] I KNOW the link takes you to the Orlando Sentinel. The story originally appeared in the NYT. If I sent you directly to the NYT, you wouldn't be permitted to view the story without registering. And who in their right mind would do THAT?

I understand the mosquitoes

I spent the weekend at the property that permits me to call myself the Gentleman Farmer without complete reality dis-linkage. Mowing and weed hacking (of course) and some vegetable gardening, as well as some work on the apple trees. This will be the first year we'll have any apples, but one tree simply refuses to grow properly. My patience worn out, I've put the darned thing into traction, which will either kill it or make it strong.

But back to those mosquitoes. I understand them: They eat blood. It's what they do. I've got blood, so they land on me and try to drink some. It makes perfect sense. I don't have to like it, but I understand them.

Hornets, yellowjackets and the like are the same. I'm somewhere that upsets them, they get mad, they do their hornet thing. Perfectly sensible. Their action will ultimately lead to a massive and devastating chemical counter-strike, but I understand them.

It's the flies that bug me. What the heck is it that they want from me? Why on God's Earth do they keep buzzing around, landing on my (largely hairless) head, and refusing to go away? Do they want to eat me? Do they drink my sweat? What the heck do they WANT?!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

You're Welcome

Glad to do it. Don't mention it, mate.

True Story

A while back, while tooling around beautiful Bethesda, Maryland on a weekend afternoon, I came upon a particular vehicle type. You've seen it: A large, underpowered van (the kind with suspension made from medium-sized rubber bands), badly in need of a wash, with the back plastered with a dozen bumper stickers.

Various sentiments were expressed, this one more than once:

A fine notion.

But then I noticed, down on the bumper itself, this sticker:

Such vehicles, of course, are irony-free zones, so the opinion was clearly heartfelt.

I kid you not.


To begin at the beginning:

[L]ate in the evening on Bank Holiday Monday, Sam Brown, an Oxford University undergraduate, inquired of a mounted policeman on Cornmarket Street: "Do you know your horse is gay?" Also, "I hope you're comfortable riding a gay horse."

Within minutes, young Mr Brown was surrounded by six officers and a fleet of patrol cars, handcuffed and tossed in the slammer overnight, after which he was fined £80. A spokesperson for Thames Valley Police told the student newspaper Cherwell that the "homophobic comments" were "not only offensive to the policeman and his horse, but any members of the general public in the area."

"Offensive to his horse"? Well, you never know. If any constabulary is keeping a full-time equine psychologist on staff, it's bound to be Thames Valley. Even now, the horse may be on one month's stress leave at home on full pay, with his feet up listening to Judy Garland on his iPod. Whoops, sorry. We don't know whether the horse in question is, in fact, gay. It may be just the way he trots. Whoops, there goes another 80 quid. What I'm getting at is that, even under a generous interpretation of "homophobia", it's hard to see why simply identifying the horse as gay should be a criminal offence.

Mr Brown didn't say: "Tell your gay horse to stop coming on to me" or "I couldn't get near Royal Ascot last year because those gay horses were queening around and backing up traffic." Few of us would appreciate inappropriate speculation about the sexuality of our mounts, yet even in Thames Valley the offence of hippophobia is surely a stretch.

From Mark Steyn, of course.

A BAD Idea

Picture your average beauty school student. Hold that thought.

Now picture an entire class of them. Say, oh, about 30.

And I mean a REAL beauty school. We're not talking about San Francisco here. We're talking Little Rock, where they take their pink curlers serious.

Now consider whether you think it would be a good idea to attempt to rob them, while they are gathered together to ponder the magic a hot curling iron might work.

See what I mean? OBVIOUSLY a WAY BAD idea:
Paramedics transported 24-year-old Jared Gipson of Shreveport to a hospital where doctors listed him in good condition.
More HERE.

A Worthy Cause

While the United Nations and world relief and humanitarian groups concentrate on genocide, starvation, and hiding their loot from oil-for-food, there are other causes to which more attention might be paid.

With your help, we can FREE KATIE!

Today's Exercise

Your assignment for today is to review the excerpts set out below, and identify their author. This column appeared today in the Washington Post. On the OpEd page. Under the byline of a recognized columnist. It is titled "Aptitude Adjustment" and includes the following:

[A New York Times article] said that scientists at the University of Utah had linked certain genetic diseases found only among European Jews with "natural selection for enhanced intellectual ability." In other words, Jews are smarter because over about a thousand years they adapted to discriminatory practices that limited their livelihood to a restricted range of commercial occupations. Those who succeeded tended to have more children and so, over time, European Jews in general improved their intelligence.

And this:

I cannot be certain that Lawrence Summers, the president of Harvard, has read the article. But if he did, I bet he wondered why it is possible to suggest that certain Jews are smarter than other people but not remotely possible to suggest that women might not be as brilliant in science and engineering as men. When Summers did precisely that back in January -- when he wondered out loud about such matters as "intrinsic aptitude" -- he got his head handed to him. He was not, mind you, stating this as a fact -- just throwing it out along with other factors that might account for why men outnumber women on the science, engineering and math faculties of first-rate universities. What he did not do -- and this was his mistake -- was limit the possibilities to the only politically correct one: sexual discrimination of one sort or another.
And even this:

I understand full well that beliefs in racial or ethnic superiority or inferiority have accounted for tragedies beyond comprehension -- everything from the Holocaust in Europe to slavery in America. But at root, these were ideologies in which facts either did not matter or were concocted to serve a predetermined end. This is what happened with Summers. He was shouted down not because he was wrong, but because he ought to be wrong; not because he might not be right, but because he should not be right.

The mystery columnist is, of course, completely correct. It's just that Richard Cohen is seldom even partially correct.

No, really, it WAS Richard Cohen.

You could look it up HERE.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

All you really need to know . . .

. . . . about TORTURE.

From James Lileks.

No Comment

Martin Luther King is born . . .

Nelson Mandela is freed . . .

The Berlin Wall falls . . .

And . . . THIS!
(Watch the introduction, Flash player required, but worth the trip.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

A Modest Proposal

Lethal Injection Chamber, San Quentin Prison

I have a modest proposal for mitigating the burden on society of its most violent criminals, and for in fact making them beneficial to the public.

Since the Supreme Court’s reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976, nearly 1,000 executions have taken place, including 59 in 2004 and 28 so far in 2005, the last on June 8 in Texas. In 37 states it is carried out by lethal injection, and in ten states by electrocution. Five states preserve the gas chamber as an alternative to lethal injection, while two offer hanging, and two more permit firing squads as alternative methods. Despite being limited to the most extreme criminal acts (mere murder is seldom sufficient), use of these methods of carrying out the sentence is cruel and barbaric. More information HERE.

It is also extremely wasteful.

Each execution represents the discarding of the criminal’s heart, kidneys (2), pancreas, lungs (2), liver, intestines (about 23 feet (small), and 5 feet (large)), corneas (2), skin (more than 21 square feet), bone marrow, and heart valves (4). These materials, properly harvested, could help dozens of individuals, and save six or more lives for every executed criminal.
More information HERE.

This being the case, it seems criminal not to require that executions be performed in a way that would permit such harvesting, and that all executed criminals be required to have their organs and other useful body parts used to save other citizens.

What could be more reasonable than that a criminal – who has already forfeited his life by his crimes – should be required to benefit the society whose members he has murdered, raped and tortured? Viewed properly, there can be no objection: The criminal is to be executed in any event, and medical use of his organs represents many lives saved or materially extended. There is no detrimental effect, and there is very great public benefit.

Think also of the effect of this program on how the death penalty itself is viewed. Presently there is much controversy arising from the understandable fear that innocent persons may be sentenced to death. When the judge, the jury, the family of the accused and the public all know that by imposition of the death penalty there will be traded (at worst) one probably-guilty life for many saved lives, how great will their relief be? And even if the question of whether the death penalty has a deterrent effect is never satisfactorily resolved, it is completely beyond question that one person’s death is multiplied into literal life for many.

I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least personal interest in endeavoring to promote this necessary work, having no other motive than the public good of my country.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

I'm Off

The wife and I are off on a weekend excursion that may grossly interfere with blogging. Yeah, yeah, but it's way too late to train a new one. I should return by Monday evening, but you may want to check back from time to time to see if I've unaccountably found a hotspot.

World Cup Soccer

I know. You don't really care. But that's all right, because this is not really about World Cup Soccer.

As one of the cities that will host games, Dortmund is intent on putting on its best face for the hordes of soccer fans that will descend next year. So they're cleaning up and fixing up. But what to do about the estimated 40,000 prostitutes that are expected to stop by? The city fathers have it covered: "they are rushing to install a series of drive-in wooden sex garages." An official explained:
"In Dortmund we have an official red light district on the outskirts, but there is a problem. There is not enough space for everyone to park."

Dortmund plans to arrange the Dutch-designed huts, which have been introduced in the city of Cologne, another World Cup venue, in an area with condom machines and snack bar.

"Men have to get used to them of course, but a high percentage accept them because they can protect their anonymity," the official said.

"That said there will always be those who want to go behind a bush, under a bridge or into the woods."

Indeed. Can't have those tourists going off into the woods. And the snack bar is a nice touch. Story HERE.

Use Your Imagination

Imagine that this and this were said by the Chairman of the REPUBLICAN National Committee, with a few words changed to reverse the stereotype.

Then imagine the New York Times editorial the next day.

Scary, eh?

Monday, June 06, 2005

God and . . . . .

I was unaware (as is the case with ever so much) that this was a problem. But apparently it is. But not any more. Much, MUCH more HERE.

I provide no further comment.

Get this man a SHIRT!

Could this POSSIBLY be true?

It is reported that Al-Jazeera has refused an ad from PETA, apparently because it depicted the mutilation of sheep. Story HERE.

[UPDATE: Unbelievable, but true: HERE.]

Say what?

I will send $50 to anyone who can tell me what this young woman is doing:

[UPDATE: Google "cosplay" and let me know how it turns out. Warning: Not everything you will find is office-safe.]

Adam? David? Nicholas?

Any of those names would work.

Every parent has had to face the daunting task of name selection. If you don't understand that it's a daunting task, then you're not paying attention.

Whatever you name him, that's what his name is.

Penn Jillette (of "Penn & Teller" fame) has announced that his daughter, born last friday, will bear the name "Moxie CrimeFighter Jillette"

Story HERE.

It could, of course, simply be a joke.

Not a joke are the unfortunate names of the daughter of Texas Governor James Stephen Hogg ("Ima Hogg"), or Shanda Lear.

This should constitute child abuse.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Frank Lloyd Wright vs. Zombies

Would I kid you? I would not kid you.

Click HERE.

How many goodly creatures are there here!

How beauteous mankind is
O brave new world,
That has such people in't

A not insignificant part of our everyday brave new world is Google. If, for example, you're not sure where my quotation comes from, all you have to do is Google it and you'll learn that it's The Tempest, of course.

Unless you misspell something.

Google is, after all, a program running on a machine. It isn't thinking. And that program now checks the spelling of your search terms, and asks

"Did you mean: gastroenterologist"

if you demonstrate that you don't know how to spell a doctor of the gut.

But Google also does something else: It immediately returns all of the web pages where your misspelling is found.

So: I suppose it had to happen.
This company will (for a fee) establish "up to several hundred custom pages" for you, on which they have entered misspelled words or phrases. That you've bought. Five words or phrases costs $349 plus $49 per month. (They promise not to sell the same words to more than five customers.)

They establish the pages and, presumably, when you click on them, you are redirected right on through to their customer's page.

This is a variation of the "Brad Pitt's naked butt" problem. If you talk about an article or other website, and say something like "I suppose it wouldn't have been so bad, but I didn't really want to look at naked pictures of Paris Hilton," you'll suddenly discover that you're getting a whole pile of traffic looking for, well, you get the idea.

But I guess what I don't really understand is why I want a bunch of traffic from people who don't know how to spell "optinizatiom," or "optimizatino," or "optimizatoin," or "optimizaiton," or whatever the heck it is.

Better than toast, better than water spots . . . .

. . . . THIS is entirely scientific, it's in the newspaper (well, sort of) AND it's on the internet, so it's GOT to be true, eh?
THE face of JESUS has appeared in an ultrasound scan of a baby in the womb. Stunned mum-to-be Erica Brazier saw the image seven months into her troubled pregnancy with her daughter. It was taken after her high-blood pressure threatened the tot, who ended up born a month early. Erica said of little Aaliyah: “The scans are a sign she’s special.” Officials at the Toledo Hospital, Ohio, US, insist the snaps were not tampered with.
There are pictures, of course.

Just as bizarre, it seems to me, is the little note at the end of this story in The Sun:
HAVE your ultrasound baby scans revealed anything startling? Let us know what you’ve spotted. Email The Sun at exclusive@the-sun.co.uk or call our news desk on 020 7782 4101.
We may thus expect futher ultrasound revelations: Images of Uncle Sid, Mount Rushmore, various animals, and foodstuffs. A picture of a piece of toast would be a nice touch.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


Am I missing something, or is there EXACTLY NO POINT to Kittenwar?

Provided by #1 Son, although not clearly to his credit.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Great Retarded Giant to our North

O Canada! Their home and native land! True patriot love in all thy sons command.

According to the CBC, school officials at Ecole Marie Poburan in St. Albert, about eight kilometers (that's about five miles in real distance) northwest of Edmonton, have taken up the question of the cafeteria menu at the Catholic elementary school. This, you may say, is perfectly natural, given the invasion of school lunches by sugary soda, fatty pizza or burgers, and salty fries and other snacks. Indeed. But you would be wrong.

It appears that two students at the school (which has an enrollment of 400) are allergic to milk. Their reaction is "potentially fatal." [A quick Google of the subject suggests that fatal reactions are monumentally rare. Is it possible that we deal here with over-active parental units?] Accordingly, under consideration is a proposal to ban the sale of milk in the cafeteria until these children are no longer enrolled. Graciously, the school allows, normal children "would still be allowed to bring milk to school ." A nice touch.

Reaction from parents native to Earth was predictable:

Angie Dea said there could be a number of ramifications if the school takes away its milk program.

"We've had peanuts already, then you've got to look at shellfish, strawberries, any other type of allergen, celiac children with wheat ... all those different things," said Dea.

Dea says she understands the need to protect the children who are allergic to milk, but she hopes it can be done another way.

But it appears she is dealing with administrators native, perhaps, to Iapetus:
"The other issue that we have to be clear about is could we rationalize, under any circumstance, sponsoring a known allergen in the school?" [Jerry Zimmer, the school superintendent] said. "So, if you want to use an analogy, if we knew that we have students that have peanut allergies in the school, would it make sense for the school to sponsor, on a daily basis, peanut butter sandwiches for students?"
Well, no, Mr. Z, since that would be pretty boring for everyone. But as such sandwiches are cheap, nutritious, and a hit with a large swath of kid-dom, I'd provide them now and again, and let those with medical difficulties cope. Moreover, Mr. Z, "known allergens" covers a lot of ground, and includes dust, mold, animal dander [I love that word], cockroaches and pollen. And the hits just keep on coming, as the NIH explains HERE. I believe it fair to say that there exist few foods to which someone is not allergic.

Ahh, the Nanny State in full cry. Just when you think it can't possibly become more ridiculous, it does.

The UNDERWEAR wasn't really the problem . . .

Police in Gillette, Wyoming, are looking for the guy in the underwear who was cruising the town's tanning parlors. According to the Gillette News-Record, Police started their investigation just before 4 p.m. Saturday when a 17-year-old girl working at Avenue Tans reported the man's odd behavior.

[Police Lieutenant Noland] Peacock said the suspect bought a tanning session and went into the booth. A short time later, he allegedly stepped out and asked for assistance, but he was wearing only a T-shirt and underwear, Peacock said. An attendant helped him, but the man emerged soon after, this time wearing only his underwear, Peacock said. That time, he asked to use the bathroom.

After he left, workers discovered that he had urinated in the medicine cabinet and on other bathroom fixtures, Peacock said.

The fellow apparently repeated this odd behavior at four other tanning parlors in town, as well as passing up a chance to do the same at the Campbell County Recreation Center, when he learning that he'd have to wait for a tanning session there.

It is always possible that our protagonist is entirely psychotic, living in a world created inside his own skull, with no correspondence at all between it and objective reality. In that case, the story is merely sad -- a medical problem.

But I suggest that the repetition at several tanning parlors, along with his diversion from one upon learning there would be a wait, points to some other backstory. I suggest that, to him, this was behavior which -- if grotesque -- remained entirely explicable. It was sensible in a way that you or I would understand if it were explained to us.

I will award the brass figlagee, with bronze oak-leaf cluster, to the reader able to provide the most plausible beginning, middle and end to this odd straw-in-the-wind.

We get letters . . . . .

. . . . there ought really to be music here, but I don't quite know how to do that yet.

A reader writes and asks "Who is Flick?" Referring, of course, to the title at the top of this very page which, under "Glib & Superficial" states "Flick Lives."

Googling "Flick Lives" will lead one to a long, long list of websites concerned with Jean Shepherd. There is here neither time nor space to explain who Jean Shepherd is. Let me put it this way: If one were to cross Mark Twain and George Ade, on the one hand, with Charlie Mingus and Stan Kenton, on the other, one would produce Shepherd.

A sign, Shep would say, of my misspent youth, lurking in the darkness.

One may listen to a short montage HERE.

Zhong Jiaxiang, R.I.P.

According to the online English version of the China Daily, 86-year-old grandmother Zhong Jiaxiang was found dead on the morning of May 23. Given her age, the family apparently thought it foolish -- and perhaps expensive -- to summon a doctor. In any event they did not, but proceeded to plan "a grand funeral" for this noble ancestor:
She was dressed up and laid in a coffin, and more than 200 relatives and friends attended her funeral in Xingshan County of Hubei Province.
But the next morning, as mourners touched her hand in farewell, "she suddenly woke up." There the story ends, except to note that doctors said "she might have suffered temporary shock," a conclusion we must assume has lost something in translation.