"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

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

No Apology Necessary - Just Don't Ever Say Anything Again

Can't they wait, you know, like, a couple of days? On top of the borderline-racist coverage of Hurricane Katrina's aftermath, we can now add THIS:
"Although the loss of lives is deeply saddening, this act of God destroyed a wicked city," stated Repent America director Michael Marcavage. "From ‘Girls Gone Wild’ to ‘Southern Decadence’, New Orleans was a city that had its doors wide open to the public celebration of sin. May it never be the same," he continued.
Absolutely inexcusable. Press release from "Repent America" HERE.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Moderate Judges

"Now the Senate is looking for moderate judges, mainstream judges. What in the world is a moderate interpretation of a constitutional text? Halfway between what it says and what we'd like it to say?"

More from Justice Scalia HERE.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Only in America

I'm proud to be an American. Herein a story to warm your heart.

It's Sunday morning in New Orleans. The biggest storm in the history of the world since the Creation is bearing down on you. In a few hours it will hit with a 20-foot storm surge, and 175 mph winds. Gusts to 200, they say. You're in a city the best part of which is actually below sea level. That's right: You have to look UP toward the Mississippi River. If the levees break, you're immediately under 10 feet of water from the river.

Enter live network reporting by Fox News, generating the following exchange:

SHEPARD SMITH: You're live on FOX News Channel, what are you doing?

MAN: Walking my dogs.

SMITH: Why are you still here? I'm just curious.

MAN: None of your fucking business.

SMITH: Oh that was a good answer, wasn't it? That was live on international television. Thanks so much for that. You know we apologize.


SMITH: "I'm watching two dogs drink out of a glass of ice water, and it's none of my business why they are still here."

Well, actually, it IS none of your business, Shep!

Hat tip to Crooks and Liars, where you'll find links to the video clip.

Is it only me?

Starting from the premise that I'm an idiot, you be the judge.

Here's the brand new, just announced, 2007 Jaguar:

And here's a 2004 Ford Taurus:

I'm really missing something, right? Right? PLEASE tell me I'm missing something. Something really, REALLY important?

LIVE! From Crawford, Texas! It's . . . .

. . . . first-person reporting from "blog documentarian" Andrew Marcus. (The picture on the left belongs to him. [No, not the guy in the picture, the picture itself.]) This is an interesting example of some of the things the blogosphere can do. There's no particular reason that the MSM can't do the same thing, but preoccupied as they are with being "professionals," and impressed with their own performance, "real" reporters often ignore their primary goal of telling us what the heck is going on by simply asking the same questions we'd ask if we were there. Add to this the requirement that they construct a "story" that will fit into the 45 seconds they've been allocated on the nightly news, and you've got very little in the way of basic fact being communicated. The entire current structure of news reporting is threatened by technology, including the internet, cheap digital cameras, easy-to-use audio and video editing software, and blogging software that even an idiot can use (you'll just have to trust me on this last).

Add this to the fact that I watched hurricane Katrina through a webcam on Bourbon Street this morning (until the storm killed it), and you have to wonder what the future holds.

Via Instapundit.

You heard it here first.

That the blogosphere is often ahead of the mainstream media is becoming, if not routine, then at least a recognized aspect of literary life. Most famously there were the scores of tireless gnats buzzing around the attempt by Dan Rather and CBS to smear the President with self-evidently forged documents. Latterly, the MSM is beginning to catch up with respect to the funding scandal at Air America (stealing from poor kids to pay Al Franken $1,000,000 to repeat the same nonsense day after day), and is showing signs of realization that Cindy Sheehan is (or is becoming) something other than that which loyal Democrat editors might have hoped.

It is no surprise, then, to find a piece in yesterday's Washington Post titled "Trafficking in Politics: It's Bumper-to-Bumper." The story, by Rachel Manteuffel, observes:

Nearly 10 months after it supposedly ended, the bellicose 2004 election campaign rages on, in the streets. Bumper and window stickers on cars beseech you, even now, to vote for George W. Bush or John Kerry.

People on both sides aren't scratching off their stickers or covering them with new issues or slogans. And laziness doesn't seem to explain it; our bumpers are simply stuck in a moot debate.

It was duly noted that the Kerry side of the debate was somewhat negative:

To Ricki Kanter, 49, vice president of a D.C. nonprofit, "John Kerry" means a lot of things. "It's anti-president, antiwar, anti-Republican," she says. "It's a declaration against our existing president, for getting us into this war and not getting us out."
The article concludes:

Ricki Kanter sold her car that had a Kerry sticker on it. When driving her new car, she says, "I miss the fact that it's making a statement. I may yet put a John Kerry sticker up."
Interesting observations all, but some of this looked at least a tad familiar. "Familiar" in the sense that we were there first. "Familiar" in the sense of fantasizing that some Post assignment editor might have passed through Glib & Superficial three months ago, when we posted "Bumper Stickers."

From our vantage point in Upper Northwest Washington, D.C., far behind enemy lines, we noted the generally leftish, overwhelmingly Democrat nature of the Center of the Empire, and wrote:

In the days prior to the last general election, there were thus observed on our streets very few bumper stickers expressing support for the President, while there were a great number urging the election of the fellow running against him. Indeed, we make two additional observations. It is our sense that a greater than usual number of automobiles sported Democrat bumper stickers, and it is also our opinion that an enormous proportion of these failed to name their candidate, instead saying something like "Re-Defeat Bush," or the like.

Following an election, one would think normal practice called for prompt removal of bumper stickers, particularly those touting the defeated candidate. For how long would one wish to be reminded of defeat, and to publicly underline one's loser status? How depressing to whirr down the street in one's Prius defaced by obsolete failure. But not so.

It has been suggested that, as a matter of fact, there has been no reduction whatever in the number of Democrat bumper stickers in and around Washington. Further, it is boldly suggested that the number has actually increased since election day. It is posited that the final validating event for many Washingtonians was utter rejection of their political views by a majority of Americans.

We were skeptical. Aside from the mental health objections to such a mind-set, there are logistical difficulties. Where would such an unbalanced individual acquire a bumper sticker after the election? A few leftovers, perhaps, in the bottom drawer of a now-surplus steel desk in the corner of some now-repossessed campaign office. But we were again in error.

We closed with a link to a website offering Kerry stickers for sale -- well after the election.

Now if only we could get the Post to read our more serious political pieces . . . . .

Thanks to Short-timer.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

If Republicans have to apologize for Pat Robertson

. . . then does Cindy Sheehan have to apologize for THIS:
I'm sure that all of you are by now familiar with Cindy Sheehan, the mother of Casey, her son who was killed in Iraq last year, and her vigil outside the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas. Her story has moved the hearts of millions just as it has angered the neocon spinmeisters who pushed for this war. Though she has hesitated and backpedaled more than once, she has brought out into public view the one flaming truth that the Jewish-controlled left and Jewish-controlled right are desperate to conceal: that her son, and all the other Americans being brought back home in body bags, died for Israel, not America.
She certainly has made certain aspects of her "movement" clear. She's explained:
What they're saying, too, is like, it's OK for Israel to have nuclear weapons. But Iran or Syria better not get nuclear weapons. ... It's OK for Israel to occupy Palestine, ... for the United States to occupy Iraq, but it's not OK for Syria to be in Lebanon. They're a bunch of (expletive) hypocrites.
So perhaps we won't hear any emphatic denunciation from"Camp Casey." More HERE.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Glib & Superficial Reads

Hired Hand's favorite magazine, The Economist, is far more adept at providing keen analysis laced with wry humor than your humble G&S writers ever will be. Those cynical Brits were up to it again last week, with a special report [free online] probing the similarities between late-19th century anarchists (who knocked off 7 heads of state, including McKinley) and modern jihadists.

"Throughout history," opines the leader [subscription required],
men seized with a sence of injustice, or purpose, or hatred, or inadequacy, have resorted to bloodshed. The anarchists were not the first. They were merely particularly potent believers in violence in the furtherance of an idealistic, millenarian vision. Jihadists are too. Most anarchists, like most Islamists, were not violent. But, like the jihadists, they had their firebrands, and like the jihadists, they had an ideology that could be twisted to appeal to a certain kind of wounded utopian lacking all capacity for empathy.
Quite right, chaps.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Hearing the Transmission Amidst the Static

Mossback Culture has some interesting commentary on the current status of Iraq's constitutional debates:
My thought experiement goes something like this: suppose you had to write a new constitutiuon [sic] for the US today, which of course had to be acceptable to Red-state America (AKA “Jesusland”), Blue-state America (AKA “Air America Land”), and to the masses of moderates who live purple and free. Would it be much different from the document the Iraqis are developing?

My guess is that it wouldn’t be.

Worth some thought, at least. Anyone? Bueller?

[P.S.: The title of this post is inspired by the final episodes of Six Feet Under, which were in a class by themself as far as television over the past 20 years goes. Questioning the meaningfulness of existence goes a little beyond questioning Who Shot J.R. I'm just sayin'.]

Beyond the Pale

I don't care what you think about George Bush. I don't care what you think about the war in Iraq. I don't care what you think of Cindy Sheehan.

But if what CNSNews.com is reporting today turns out actually to be other than a complete fabrication, then some of our fellow citizens have crossed a line. And, to tell the truth, they've gone over a line that, before they did so, it would not have occurred to me even existed. It would never have crossed my mind that it would ever occur to anyone -- whatever their politics -- to do such a thing.

The conservative CNSNews service has posted THIS story:

The Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., the current home of hundreds of wounded veterans from the war in Iraq, has been the target of weekly anti-war demonstrations since March. The protesters hold signs that read "Maimed for Lies" and "Enlist here and die for Halliburton."

The anti-war demonstrators, who obtain their protest permits from the Washington, D.C., police department, position themselves directly in front of the main entrance to the Army Medical Center, which is located in northwest D.C., about five miles from the White House.

Among the props used by the protesters are mock caskets, lined up on the sidewalk to represent the death toll in Iraq.

Code Pink Women for Peace, one of the groups backing anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan's vigil outside President Bush's ranch in Crawford Texas, organizes the protests at Walter Reed as well.

It would appear that the article is referring to THIS weekly "vigil." The "Code Pink" flyer certainly doesn't seem quite to propose what the article describes, but there may well be a disconnection between the advertised activity, and the events on the ground. Nonetheless, the notion of picketing, demonstrating in front of, or holding a "vigil" where wounded soldiers have come to be treated is despicable. These people should be ashamed of themselves.

I am speechless.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Religious Leader Sparks Controversy

LONDON (Reuters) - Rabbi Shlomo Eizel, the popular host of the cable talk show "Kosher Nosh," caused a firestorm of international protest yesterday with his call for the kidnaping of British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Rabbi Eizel made the controversial statement in the course of a discussion of conflicts between religion and politics, saying:

The British Labour Party is a big offender. They're all about political correctness, with no respect for tradition. And now they've outlawed fox hunting! I think we should kidnap Blair and not let him go until he agrees to repeal that stupid law. He's a danger to the youth of Britain.
Asked by Macher Chochem, a frequent guest on the show, what he would suggest if Blair still refused to repeal the ban, the Rabbi snorted: "I don't know. Maybe they should tickle the gonif with goose feathers until he agrees."

A spokesman for the Prime Minister reacted angrily:

What is the U.S. government going to do regarding this criminal statement? The ball is in the U.S. court. It is a huge hypocrisy to maintain this discourse against terrorism and at the same time, in the heart of that country, there are entirely terrorist statements like those.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack called Eizel's remarks "inappropriate," but stopped short of condemning them. "This is not the policy of the United States government," McCormack said. "We do not share his views."

Eizel is no stranger to controversy. Last month he was widely criticized for his apparent call upon his followers to pray that "activist" Supreme Court Justices become ill. "Everything they do is farshtunken" he is quoted as saying, "I say to these guys 'Se zol dir grihmen in boych!'"

The European Union was quick to issue a warning to the United States. Speaking from Brussels, the European Commissioner for Trade, Peter Mandelson, said:
The importation into the EU of goose feathers, whether for military or commercial purposes, would be a clear violation of 12 different regulations, and of three specific provisions of the draft European Constitution. We have taken a firm position to promote and encourage the French feather industry.
Asked by a reporter whether he stood by his remarks, Rabbi Eizel explained:
You bet I do! When I was a young man, my friends and I would often go down to the community center cruising for foxes. And I tell you, we always found some krassavitsehs. If our young men can no longer go fox hunting, how will they obey the Commandment to "be fruitful and multiply?" Now Blair says no fox hunting! He can kiss my toches!

Hat tip to Pat Robertson.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Fantasy Drafts

We're not talking about a military draft, of the sort that snagged The King, nor are we talking about drafts of players for professional sports, nor even are we talking about that odd pass-time of the middle-aged wannabe, the fantasy football/rotisserie baseball sort of draft.

We're talking instead about turn-based selection of candy bars, states, wars or Beatles songs performed by a truly bizarre (not to say grotesque) claque of eight young people who, much like the rich, are different from you and me. In this case they're way smarter and they're way more clever. Individually and in small groups they are merely intimidating and overwhelming. When they are running in full pack mode it is best for the more-or-less innocent bystander to respectfully inquire how he may be of service, to promptly satisfy the need, and to thereupon repair to an undisclosed safe location (the Fortress of Solitude would do nicely).

These boys and girls have set up FANTASY DRAFTS. While the round-by-round posting of specific selections is interesting enough, the post-draft commentary is truly priceless. Analyzing one set of picks in the Beatles draft went like this:
Chris betrayed his normal affinity for counterculture by selecting the most #1 hits of any participant: a whopping EIGHT of his fourteen choices hit the top of the charts in Britain or America. It wasn’t necessarily a bad idea: the team kicks it off strong with “I Saw Her Standing There,” and follows it with two very good (although similar) songs in “She Loves You” and “Can’t Buy Me Love.” Chris’s draft then sends us on a rollercoaster ride that manages to be depressing, uplifting, nostalgic, amorous, and psychedelic all at once: from “Revolution” through “Magical Mystery Tour,” it’s hard to find fault with the heart of the order. His selection of three straight #1’s to close the draft gave him bang for his buck, but neglected some of the Beatles’ best work. Indeed, the White Album, Sgt. Pepper’s, and Abbey Road are entirely overlooked – and NO George Harrison songs make an appearance. Overall grade: B. George is dead now, Chris, and there’s no way you can make it up to him.
And there's much more in this vein.

Go take a look, be careful what you say (lest you become the object of their attentions) and, if you're very, very nice, and very, very lucky (and if you can get their attention), they just might take your suggestion, and do a draft of geologic features or brands of bourbon.

But they'll probably just make fun of you.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Back to Work

Both the Gentleman Farmer and his Hired Hand will be back to work on Monday. There have been events here and there that require comment, and there is even a new blog to which your attention might be given. Just as soon as we're done with the plowing, we'll be back for a talk.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

DC Moves Into The Future

Apparently Dulles Corridor's reputation as the "Silicon Valley of the East" is rubbing off on local government. Not, mind you, in the form of online payment of parking tickets, or real-time maps of Metro train locations, or even better timing on stoplights. Oh, no.

Anthony Williams has a blog.

Check out the 27 comments left on the first day. I'd most definitely stay tuned for this one, folks.

(Washington does has the makings of a Minority Report-esque "Precrime Division" in the form of racial profiling, though.)

Moron of the Week Award

The Gentleman Farmer is an avid fan of the lottery. (Incidentally, the Hired Hand is a fan of "The Lottery," but that's a little different.) G.F., with some regularity, forks over a few bucks in the hopes of receiving his heaven-sent fortune. I don't think he's ever considered the possibility of not being able to keep it, however.

From deep in the heart of Texas:
A convicted drug dealer rolled snake eyes Wednesday when an appeals court ruled he can't keep his lottery winnings because he bought the lucky ticket with drug proceeds.
Oops. Full story HERE.

Monday, August 15, 2005


Our correspondent the Short-Timer is inspired to muse regarding the naming of peoples native to unusual places. Those from America are Americans, those from Great Britain are British, but those are the easy ones.

He opines that persons native to the Panama Canal Zone are (or at least used to be) properly referred to as "Zonians." A picture being worth a thousand words, we note that one may even purchase these license plates from the gift shop of the Panama Canal Museum.

But this realization leads Short-Timer to ask what one calls natives of the Gaza Strip. "Palestinians" seems inadequate, as it fails to differentiate them from their brothers and sisters elsewhere in the Middle East. And he seems confident that "Gaza Strippers," even as an accident of translation, would be found objectionable.

Ah well. Some questions are beyond our ability to answer.

VJ Day - August 15, 1945

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Can't we all just get along?

We live in an age of conflict. Red States vs. Blue States; Republicans vs. Democrats; Conservative vs. Liberal; Pro-Abortion vs. Pro-Life. The young probably believe this to be a time of unprecedented division.

But that is not so. Those of us of a certain age recall the deeply-held personal beliefs that tore a generation apart, pitting brother against brother, friend against friend. The 1960s were far worse, my children -- I was there. I remember.

I'm not talking about the war in Viet Nam, or the abiding question of whether Nixon was Satan incarnate (or merely a senior demon), but something far more important. Far more revealing of who you were. A conflict involving the entire male population of America, and a considerable chunk of the rest of the world. Because the world was divided into two kinds of men. More correctly two kinds of boys (no age restrictions need apply).

There were those who, given the opportunity, would opt to be stranded on a desert island with Ginger. And then there were those of us with the good sense to know that Mary Ann was the obvious choice: Which would likely run off with the next smooth-talking Amway distributor? Which would instead pitch in and help chop the firewood? I knew you'd understand.

It's hard to believe that Gilligan's Island was only on for three or four years, so great a cultural impact did it make. But then James Dean died young, did he not?

I tremble for my country when I perceive that we are on the verge of a similar nation-tearing conflict. Again, nothing so trivial as a Supreme Court nomination, or the War on Terror. I'm talking, of course, about Daisy Duke. Which is the real Daisy?

There are we originalists, who will insist with our dying breath that the only real Daisy is Catherine Bach. And then there are the revisionists, the modernists, those who will demand that Daisy is a living, evolving icon, and throw in their lot with Jessica Simpson. But consider which you would trust to drive the General Lee. I thought so.

I'm calling now for a reasoned, polite and respectful debate of this important issue. With tolerance and understanding, we can perhaps make our way to the promised land of a multi-Daisy society, where all opinions are treated with the dignity that they deserve.

And if we can do that, then maybe, just maybe, we will be better able to consider and resolve the other important questions dividing us. Such as THIS ONE.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


Judge Roberts -- confronting senators fearful that, if confirmed, Justice Roberts might vote to overturn Roe v. Wade -- would do well to align himself with liberal icon William O. Douglas:
A judge looking at a constitutional decision may have compulsions to revere past history and accept what was once written. But he remembers above all else that it is the Constitution which he swore to support and defend, not the gloss which his predecessors may have put on it.
Douglas, Stare Decisis, 49 Colum.L.Rev. 735, 736 (1949)

Revenge of the Color-Blind

Last week the NCAA, having successfully dealt with drugs, pay-to-play, free Hummers, athlete course-work done by ghost writers, and appalling graduation (or, more correctly, “non-graduation”) rates, moved on to truly important matters: nicknames and mascots. The national sanctioning body for most intercollegiate sports thundered that it would no longer stand for any such that it deemed “hostile” or “abusive.” And it immediately declared that all references to people or groups of people who managed take up residence in North America before Europeans happened by to be, ipso facto, hostile and abusive.

Braves, Chippewas, Indians, Utes, Redmen, Illini, Choctaws, Fighting Sioux, Savages and, of course, the Florida State Seminoles, were all given notice that they resided in the outer darkness of intolerable insensitivity. Or insensitive intolerance. Or something like that.

One would have thought that sports teams had chosen to describe themselves in ways which sought to evoke the noble and admirable qualities of their nicknames. Surely we think that Cal wishes to associate itself with the imposing and stately aspects of the Golden Bear, rather than recalling that the beast harbors innumerable fleas, smells awful, and hibernates its way through most of football season.

Even Florida State’s long-standing formal relationship with the Seminole Tribe was brushed aside, since there might yet be some offended individual who could prove, via genetic testing, that he was at least one part in sixteen descended therefrom.

But, as they say, in for a penny, in for a pound, as pointed out this morning by a letter-to-the-editor in the Washington Post [you remember that: it’s like having a blog, except it’s way slower, and the folks doing your webhosting have extreme attitude], there are many additional groups who might take offense at other insensitive names. She writes:
  • Should People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals bring suit against the use of Coyotes, Panthers, Mighty Ducks, Grizzlies, Hornets, Ravens, Eagles, Rams, Colts, Broncos, Bruins, Huskies, Marlins, Bull-dogs, Orioles and Red Wings?
  • Are Cardinals, Padres and Angels an affront to Catholics?
  • Should adherents of Wicca claim religious prejudice and persecution by the Wizards?
  • Are police entitled to arrest the Rangers for impersonating law enforcement officers?
  • Should short people demand respect when the Titans and Giants kick off?
But even the Post’s correspondent omits the offensive slight to those Libertarian, free-trade, Social Darwinists by the Buccaneers, Pirates and Raiders.

There is a solution, pioneered by the most clever of the clever: Harvard and Stanford are the Crimson and the Cardinal. Colors! Now who could be offended by COLORS?

But then, two of my sons are red/green color blind.

I think I smell a class action suit.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


I do so love the Internet. I really do. Just as powerful word processors and printers permit you to commit new and improved errors -- and at 10 times the speed -- so the Internet permits the creation and dissemination of grotesque political fantasies at the speed of light.

Confederate Yankee ("Because liberalism is a persistent vegetative state") seems to have this one covered.

Valley of the Kings (Pennsylvania Branch)

In what may rank with Howard Carter's opening in 1922 of the tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings, an amateur archaeologist in Avoca, Pennsylvania has unearthed what may be the remains of an ancient lost city. At least two, and possibly three, related sites are being explored. Much more information, and several astounding pictures, are located HERE.

Look quickly, before eBay takes it down.

Terror Bombing

"While World War II was a just war against enemies whose crimes, from Nanking to Auschwitz, will live in infamy, the means we used must trouble any Christian conscience.

"That good came out of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is undeniable. In a week, Japan surrendered, World War II ended and, across the Japanese empire, soldiers laid down their arms. Thousands of U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Japanese who would have perished in an invasion of Japan survived, as did Allied POWs who might have been executed on the orders of Japanese commanders when we landed.

"But were the means used -- the destruction in seconds of two cities, inflicting instant death on 120,000 men, women and children, and an agonizing death from burns and radiation on scores of thousands more -- moral?

"Truman's defenders argue that by using the bomb, he saved more lives than were lost in those cities. Only the atom bombs, they contend, could have shocked Japan's warlords into surrender.

"But if terrorism is the massacre of innocents to break the will of rulers, were not Hiroshima and Nagasaki terrorism on a colossal scale?

"Churchill did not deny what the Allied air war was about. Before departing for Yalta, he ordered Operation Thunderclap, a campaign to "de-house" civilians to clog roads so German soldiers could not move to stop the offensive of the Red Army. British Air Marshal "Bomber" Harris put Dresden, a jewel of a city and haven for hundreds of thousands of terrified refugees, on the target list.

"On the first night, 770 Lancasters arrived around 10:00. In two waves, 650,000 incendiary bombs rained down, along with 1,474 tons of high explosives. The next morning, 500 B-17s arrived in two waves, with 300 fighter escorts to strafe fleeing survivors.

"Estimates of the dead in the Dresden firestorm range from 35,000 to 250,000. Wrote The Associated Press, "Allied war chiefs have made the long-awaited decision to adopt deliberate terror bombing of German populated centers as a ruthless expedient to hasten Hitler's doom."

"Yet, whatever the mindset of Japan's warlords in August 1945, the moral question remains. In a just war against an evil enemy, is the deliberate slaughter of his women and children in the thousands justified to break his will to fight? Traditionally, the Christian's answer has been no."

Read the rest of Pat Buchanan's column HERE.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Piano Man

It has has all the earmarks of an elaborate hoax.

Or "Piano Man" may be exactly what he appears to be.

Which is who, exactly?

The Times Online (whence the picture) has reported HERE.

Piano Man was found April 7 wandering on a beach on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, in the south of England. Tall and thin, apparently in his late twenties or early thirties, he was wearing a "dripping wet evening suit" with the labels cut off. First taken to the Medway Maritime Hospital, he now resides in a psychiatric hospital in Dartford. The Independent reports:
When Piano Man was found wandering in the dark beside the beach, he had not only cut the labels from the dark suit he was wearing but also rubbed any identifying marks from his shoes. The sheer lack of any identifying signs along with Piano Man's inability to communicate has produced a succession of theories as to how he arrived on the Kent coast, from being a Norwegian sailor to a member of a visiting orchestra.
Since his appearance, he has said not a word, and has failed to respond to written messages given to him by hospital staff. Except for one thing. As reported by the Mail & Guardian:
When given a pencil and paper by hospital staff, he drew a grand piano -- and then, when shown a piano at the hospital chapel, he impressed his carers with a remarkable virtuoso performance.
The Independent:

Camera crews from Germany to Japan descended on bemused citizens of the Isle of Sheppey, where Piano Man was found, as news of the talented musician in a wet suit spread around the globe. But despite a number of promising leads, ranging from suggestions that Piano Man was a French street musician to a Czech concert pianist, nothing has come to light which has given the patient a nationality, let alone a name.

A source at the West Kent trust said: "We have discounted a lot of the names and continue to look at those which remain. But there is no obvious lead - we haven't had someone bashing down the door saying, 'This is my son' or 'This is my brother'.

"Given the enormous amount of publicity about Piano Man we think it surprising that someone who knows him has not come forward.

"It is possible that his family lead an isolated existence and have not seen the stories but we have to prepare ourselves for the fact that we may never know who he is and that he may be with us for a long time."

Neither Scotland Yard nor the National Missing Persons Helpline have produced any useful leads.

The Independent adds:

Psychiatrists do not know why the man, who continues to shrink from any stranger, has not spoken a word for four months. Diagnoses of his condition initially focused on post-traumatic stress disorder but it is now thought he may be an autistic savant. Sufferers of the condition can display extraordinary but highly specific talents, such as drawing or mathematics, while at the same time remaining withdrawn or uncommunicative to the point of remaining silent.

The removal of labels from clothing can also be associated with autism.

It seems impossible that someone in the condition described could have wandered far on his own. And its seems unlikely that the universe of apparently autistic young piano virtuosos is very large.

There are parallels to the life of Australian pianist David Helfgott, dramatized in the 1996 movie Shine. Recall also an autistic Holly Hunter in 1993's The Piano. And one is somehow reminded of the bizarre work of Edward Gorey.

My friend, Mr. Sherlock Holmes, famously opined: "How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"

An improbable hoax, then, since all other explanations are impossible. We will learn -- eventually -- that this young fellow is a performance artist of some sort, who has contrived to pursue his trade while living off the British taxpayer.

Or is he?

Monday, August 08, 2005

Maybe it's just me . . . . . .

I may be missing something (I usually am) but THIS seems to me simultaneously scary and stupid. Imagine clicking on it in the depths of some 3:00 a.m. sleep-deprived random surf. Think about it. And on a commercial site, I'm not sure that I'd want to go the "artificial cyber-girl pitchwoman" route, regardless of what the guys over in Sales claim. It is my view that much of this crap gets done not in response to any need or benefit, but simply because some character figures out that he can do it. That works out fine for climbing mountains, and landing on the moon. But this is just plain dumb.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

The Lesson of August 6, 1945

It is most unwise to START something you are unable to FINISH.

December 7, 1941:

The Bataan Death March:

August 6, 1945:

I Don't Care for Bob Novak

And I have no interest in defending him, discussing him, or commenting on him. Nothing political or personal, mind you, I just don't care for him. But the picture at the left got my attention.

It's a not a particularly good photoshop job, of course, and to that I have no objection. Add Photoshop to an Internet ocean of pictures, and much hilarity ensues.

But I wish to draw your attention (if that's actually necessary) to the particular picture of Novak that was chosen in this instance.

It appears HERE on a typically tedious secondary hive of the silly, angry Democrat left, called "Crooks and Liars." [Get it? Because everyone knows that the grownups running the country are all "crooks and liars?" You know: BushHitler, The Chimp, Halliburton, blood-for-oil. That stuff. The stuff that everyone knows. "Crooks and Liars." Droll, very droll.]

There are two possibilities. First, that the particular drones involved haven't the slightest notion of the significance of the ashes on Novak's forehead; Second, that they know very well what they mean, and for that precise reason selected this photograph.

I opt for the second explanation, if only because the first is simply too scary to contemplate.

But this prompts a question: Exactly what is the intended message?

It is not permitted to criticize Muslims, Hindus, animists, Confucians, or silly middle-aged women claiming to be witches, or to suggest that any of them are possibly in error.

But mocking Christianity is not only permitted, it's good for a cheap, sure-fire laugh from the sophisticates.

And there's a very good reason: They're afraid that we're right. It scares them. So they bluster and laugh, and choke down their fear, and they whistle loudly past the graveyard.

And they should be afraid.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Morons Earn Less

Life was simpler in Victorian London, where all business offices were headed by Mr. Scrooge, for whom toiled one or more Bob Cratchits, hunched over a high desk, scratching away with quill pens recording long columns of figures. So long as Bob worked his half-day on Christmas, all would be well. Alas, times change.

The Tulane University business school has released the results of survey of female MBAs, aged 25 through 60. Pay close attention: We are not talking about some long-ago secretarial pool, but modern women with business degrees. Tulane asked their 164 respondents to answer "yes" or "no" to the following statements:

  • I wear a skirt or something more revealing than usual around clients or supervisors to get attention.
  • I flirt with people at work.
  • I draw attention to my legs by crossing them provocatively when in meetings or sitting with a group of men at work.
  • I hint or imply that I am attracted to a man (men) at work even if I am not.
  • I purposely let men sneak a look down my shirt when I lean over a table.
  • I massage a man's shoulders or back while at work.
  • I sent flirty or risqué e-mails to male co-workers.
  • I tell male co-workers or clients they look sexy or "hot."
  • I allow men to linger at certain places of my body while hugging them.
  • I emphasize my sexuality while at work by the way I dress, speak, and act.

Could we make this stuff up? We could not. (We particularly like the questions about hugging, "lingering," and massaging. Where are these offices?)

Amazingly, half of the women surveyed said that they had done at least one of these things in order to advance their careers.

Tulane then asked that the respondents provide information on their pay level and promotion history, and found that, in addition to receiving more promotions:

Those who said they never used sexuality were, on average, in the $75,000-$100,000 income range; the others fell, on average, in the next-lowest range, $50,000 to $75,000.

The perpetrators of the study conclude that this means that such provocative behavior is ineffective in getting ahead.

It seems to us that there is a far simpler explanation. First, the study has divided these professional women into two groups: One group not only thinks this sort of thing is necessary or appropriate, but is willing to admit it to someone taking a survey. Let's call this group "idiots."

The second group behaves like intelligent grownups. We'll call this group "not idiots."

We think the study suggests that -- on average -- people who are not idiots get paid more than people who are idiots. And we're willing to go out on a limb and extend this hypothesis to men, as well.

    Reported in USA Today.

    [UPDATE - 8/8] Welcome relapsed Catholics (well, you know what I mean). You might be interested in THIS post while you're stopping by.

    Thursday, August 04, 2005

    Hat tip to Canadian Anglican Net News.

    Wednesday, August 03, 2005

    "And how are you spelling that name, sir?"

    When I was of High School age, several of my friends worked at McDonalds. It had not yet acquired its current status as synonym for "not a real job," and my friends were misled by the fact that it was the only place that would hire them part time, and it paid them in real money. They thought that was pretty cool.

    At first. It was great that you were actually employed. And having your buddies show up to order burgers and shakes was important. But after a while the novelty began to wear off, and they began to realize that what they were actually being paid to do was mind-numbingly, disablingly boring.

    Night after night, shift after shift, hour after hour, they addressed themselves to gigantic trays of burgers on buns, to which they were to apply one squeeze of ketchup and one squeeze of mustard from the giant dispensers hanging from the ceiling. Three pickle slices. Teaspoon onions. Bun top. Move on to wrapping. Please, please, make it stop.

    To stave off brain death, they would vary their burger ministrations from the Ray Kroc prescribed regulations. They might, for example, apply TWO squeezes of ketchup. Or put on 6 pickles. And sometimes, of course, they would go too far, and produce random burgers so pregnant with mustard that the purchasing patron would surely suffer.

    It would appear that the National Westminster Bank has suffered from a similar mental malady on the part of at least one of its serfs. Chris Lancaster, 18, of Tiptree, Essex, England, routinely applied for a debit card. An absolute necessity in the twenty-first century.

    Now: one can only imagine the pulverizing routine involved in looking at hundreds of such applications each day, and keying the information into NatWest's computer. And one can accordingly understand the impulse to divert oneself -- to defend continuing sanity, to prevent slipping off into an alternate universe -- by applying three squirts of ketchup to the occasional application.

    This some anonymous NatWest backroomer did. Mr. Lancaster's card was delivered to him by post in due course, and he shortly thereafter set out to make use thereof. But upon examination, he discovered that there upon the face of his brand-new debit card, big as life, was his name, rendered thus:

    "Mr C Lancaster Dick Head"

    Sky News reports:
    "I couldn't believe it," he said.

    "When I got the card out I saw the name embossed on it. I was so embarrassed I put it back in my wallet.

    "I know I've been overdrawn a few times but I've done nothing to deserve this.

    "The bank said it must have been a worker with a grudge."

    A NatWest spokesman said: "We have apologised unreservedly to Mr Lancaster.

    "This is completely unacceptable and we have launched an investigation."
    And well they should. Why would someone do such a thing?

    Where is MacGyver . . .

    . . . when we need him?

    Today's the day. Associated Press reports that
    Armed with forceps and a makeshift hacksaw, a Discovery astronaut rode a robotic arm toward the shuttle's belly Wednesday for the unprecedented task of eliminating a potential source of dangerous overheating during the shuttle's re-entry.
    The mission is to remove or trim a piece of "filler material" that is sticking out between the ceramic tiles that make up the shuttle's heat shield. First, an attempt will be make to pull it out, then to trim it. NASA explains:
    If a gentle tug doesn't work, Robinson will pull a little harder with forceps. And if he remains unsuccessful, he'll resort to a hacksaw put together in orbit with a deliberately bent blade, plastic ties, Velcro and the handyman's favorite all-purpose fix-it: duct tape.
    Could I make this stuff up? I could not. Good luck!

    Point Taken

    And one would NOT wish to miss THIS. Certainly not. (Office safe, but turn down the volume. Or not.)

    Hat tip to Uptown Girl for providing the video link.

    Tuesday, August 02, 2005

    Kinder, gentler, dumber

    New Hampshire. The Granite State. Low taxes. The standard by which Massachusetts is properly condemned. And home of the by-gum best motto in the whole durned U S of A:

    Live Free or Die

    No longer. Fulfilling a (no-doubt) expensive commission, an advertising agency has come up with a new tourist-friendly slogan: “You’re Going to Love It.” I’m not making this up.

    Think about it. Gee, it's way nice here. Not too hot in the summer. Lakes and trees and stuff. Fish. You know, way cool stuff. You're going to love it. Just kill me right now.

    Is this possibly some sort of infection that’s spread across the border from Canada?

    Perhaps more thought should be given to cleaning up other state mottos, just as the thought police pressure sports teams to divest themselves of "offensive" mascots.

    [A concept I've never understood. Are we to believe that a team adopts a mascot or nickname (Indians, Redskins, or the like) in order to associate the team with some sort of negative, derogatory view of (in these cases) the folks who arrived in North America any time prior to 1492? Is it even a little bit more likely that these references are in fact complimentary? Indeed, heroic? But I digress.]

    For example, Alabama's "Audemus jura nostra defendere," ("We dare defend our rights"), would become "We agree to binding arbitration."

    Maryland's "Fatti maschi, parole femmine" ("Manly deeds, womanly words," or something like "Speak softly and carry a big stick") is entirely unacceptable. Not only is it sexist, suggesting a difference between men and women, but it implicitly endorses aggressive behavior. Possible substitute: "Form a Committee and Write a Report."

    And, of course, Virginia's "Sic Semper Tyrannis," ("Thus always to Tyrants!"), suggesting their death at the hands of the people, might become "Do You Suppose the Penalties Could be Abated, Commissioner?"

    Just a thought.

    Monday, August 01, 2005

    Say It Ain't So

    Rafael Palmeiro tested positive for steroids and has been suspended for 10 days. He was gonna be a first-ballot Hall of Famer (as an Oriole, too).

    Yet another childhood hero felled.