"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

Saturday, December 31, 2005

What happens . . . .

. . . . when the prey refuses to cooperate?

Matt Lauer in Baghdad: "Talk to me...about morale here. We’ve heard so much about the insurgent attacks, so much about the uncertainty as to when you folks are going to get to go home. How would you describe morale?"

Chief Warrant Officer Randy Kirgiss: "In my unit morale is pretty good. Every day we go out and do our missions and people are ready to execute their missions. They’re excited to be here."

Lauer: "How much does that uncertainty of [not] knowing how long you’re going to be here impact morale?"

Specialist Steven Chitterer: "Morale is always high. Soldiers know they have a mission. They like taking on new objectives and taking on the new challenges...."

Lauer: "Don’t get me wrong here, I think you are probably telling me the truth, but a lot of people at home are wondering how that could be possible with the conditions you’re facing and with the attacks you’re facing. What would you say to those people who are doubtful that morale can be that high?"

Captain Sherman Powell: "Sir, if I got my news from the newspapers also, I’d be pretty depressed as well."

From the Media Research Center's 18th Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Panda Cam

It's entirely unclear to us what all the fuss is about, but we cannot help but notice that the National Zoo's "Panda Cam" gets a lot of traffic. So much so that loading can be slow, and resolution poor.

Accordingly, as a service to our readers, we have stored some particularly adorable screen-captures of that little black & white rat, Tai Shan:

HERE, and

No need to thank us.

One-Quarter of Americans Suicidal

Rasmussen Reports asked the following question:
Should the National Security Agency be allowed to intercept telephone conversations between terrorism suspects in other countries and people living in the United States?
Inexplicably, 23% said NO.

Ah, to be in Fremont in the Winter

It's all there: pack; angry; attack; police officer; injuries; bites; five; escaped; rushed the officer.

But in Northern California things are different:

A pack of angry Chihuahuas attacked a police officer who was escorting a teenager home following a traffic stop, authorities said.

The officer suffered minor injuries including bites to his ankle on Thursday when the five Chihuahuas escaped the 17-year-old boy's home and rushed the officer in the doorway, said Fremont detective Bill Veteran.

And, while you're there: Don't miss the rest of the story, which recounts the exploits of a burglar who broke into a sleeping woman's home, fired up her personal computer, and "left behind an altered screen saver that featured images of 'erotic Indian art.'"

Can we make this stuff up? We cannot. LINK.

Appoint a Special Prosecutor

Racial profiling, invasion of privacy, covert data gathering, clandestine stake-outs. These are the topics of the day. And your ever-vigilant team of researchers at G&S have uncovered a heretofore undisclosed electronic eavesdropping program, obviously motivated by nothing more than blatant racist profiling. See for yourself, HERE.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Fear not!

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Eve


CNN, with it's usual inability to grasp what it's actually reporting, breathlessly confides this morning:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The FBI has been covertly monitoring mosques and Muslim homes and businesses in U.S. cities for abnormal radiation levels since 2002, several government officials confirmed Friday.

One government official said the authorities don't obtain warrants because the testing is conducted from outside the buildings on what they consider public property.
My goodness, they're only into the second paragraph and they're already in trouble. The street is now "what they consider public property." (Only in paragraph 5 is it revealed that we're talking about parking lots!) And, of course, note that the energy-laden "covertly" has been dropped into the first paragraph. Presumably, in CNN's world, large signs ought to have been put up:


Why isn't this the story:
Since 2002 the FBI has had a program for detection of abnormal radiation levels in U.S. cities. Because funding constraints prevent 100% coverage, the Government has concentrated its efforts on monitoring mosques and other places Muslims congregate, such as homes and businesses.

The Government explained that because the detection devices are placed on public property, no warrants are necessary. "It's the same thing as if a bad guy is carrying a gun in plain sight," one FBI official said.
But wait. It gets worse.

In this world, one might expect the reporter to then go on to remind readers of the ease of construction of radiological (rather than atomic) weapons, the fact that al Queda has sought such weapons, and the fact that no material number of Christians, Jews, Sikhs, Buddhists, Shintoists, animists or Wiccans have attacked the United States. Implicit approval of FBI resource allocation might result.

But in CNN's world, guess where they went? Yes indeed, they did:
A Muslim advocacy group has said that the program is "misguided" and targets "the wrong people."

"It is a waste of time, it is a waste of resources and it is causing us to be concerned about our citizenship, our constitutional rights," Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told CNN.
And, of course, there is no explanation of the fact that CAIR is the center of al Queda and bin Laden apologetics in the United States.

So the CNN story has the news we'd like to hear (the FBI is on the job), but they certainly go out of their way to make it hard to sift through the propaganda.

No one thinks that the writers or editors at CNN are consciously and purposefully anti-American. But as information gatekeepers, we cannot help but wonder what collateral effects there might be from the same disability that results in their own failure to recognize the bizarre nature of stories reported like this one.

Story LINK. At least as originally posted, the CNN story was accompanied not by a picture of FBI agents, or of the monitoring equipment itself, but instead a head-shot of the al Queda fellow traveler from CAIR.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Adult Content

Apparently inspired by the Christmas Lights video featured earlier today, our friend PantherGirl has provided us with an extremely disturbing video. It is arguable that this is simply a straightforward commercial promotion of a perfectly legal product.

But other conclusions could be reached.

You'll have to decide for yourself: CHOCOLATE.


WASHINGTON, Dec. 22 - As members of Congress seek more information about the eavesdropping program authorized by President Bush, their requests are being complicated by the fact that Congressional leaders in both parties acquiesced in the operation.

Do tell. Article HERE.

Christmas Lights

As we slouch toward Christmas, we inevitably encounter snide stories about excess and bad taste. Thus, today's first post over at NRO suggests that amusement may be had by a trip to uglychristmaslights.com. And there is a certain amount of interest, as one waits for the page to load while every yahoo (defined as those who are always fully clothed while web surfing) on earth tries to do the same.

But come on, guys! You think this demonstrates digital hip? Even the WaPo was there before, with "Christmas Lights, Overdone Just Right," which includes a reference to the same ugly lights web site. Uncool when the dead tree folk get there first.

Sigh. This is all so 20th Century. Static pix of bad Christmas lights? Heck, I can walk around my own neighborhood and see that. And I'd get exercise and not use up valuable bandwidth.

But here at G&S, we try to do more than just take up cyberspace in the 21st Century. We are optimistic and curious.

And, accordingly, we bring you Christmas Lights.

[UPDATE: You'll also not want to miss "Simon Sez Santa." Yes, Santa will do darned near anything you tell him to.]

You're welcome.

Bike-Path Democrats

Revisiting DNC Chairman Howard Dean's astonishing campaign revelation that he left the Episcopal church not over a crisis of conscience regarding some matter of doctrine, but because of a dispute about a bike path, Mark Steyn muses:
Perhaps all cultures have their Howard Deans. Perhaps there are Governors of Peshawar who storm out of the Sword of the Infidel Slayer mosque over its refusal to declare a jihad on Jew bike trails. But, for all their talk about thinking globally and acting locally, today's Democrats have a huge problem focusing on the first half of that bumper sticker. In our current existential struggle, the debates on the way forward are between factions of the right: the Bush Doctrine vs "realpolitik", with "assertive nationalism" coming somewhere in between. Proponents of all three worldviews are Republicans. The Democrats appear not to have a dog in this fight. The dog is on the Burlington bike path, where Democrats are busy drafting revisions to the new poop'n'scoop legislation.

Governor Dean's bike-tunnel vision is not an isolated phenomenon. Everywhere you turn Democrats are linking arms and singing their new all-star fundraising anthem "We Aren't The World". John Kerry on the campaign trail: "We shouldn't be opening firehouses in Baghdad and shutting them in the United States of America." Al Sharpton at Rosa Parks' funeral: "Where you have a nation respond looking for weapons in Iraq that are not there but can't see a hurricane in Louisiana that is there."

I don't even understand that last one: We should wait till the WMD are in Louisiana where we can see 'em -- or at least the crater they left? You can still glimpse the remnants of the internationalist left on their fading T-shirts -- Fidel, Che, Mao, Allende, the Sandinistas. And admittedly today's global celebrities are a tougher sell -- Saddam, Mullah Omar, Kim Jong-Il, miscellaneous clitorectomy enthusiasts in West Africa, etc. But even so the left's retreat to hicksville is impressive: the western progressive has ideologically downsized and relocated to a remodeled farmhouse outside Montpelier.

Got to love her!

"In previous wars, the country has done far worse than monitor telephone calls placed to jihad headquarters. FDR rounded up Japanese -- many of them loyal American citizens -- and threw them in internment camps. Most appallingly, at the same time, he let New York Times editors wander free."

What's the tag? Oh yes: Read the whole thing.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Please Stand By

To write a weblog [yes, yes, I know: "or 'blog'"] is inherently self-referential. You're writing, day after day, what you're thinking about or pointing to what you think is interesting or ridiculous. And there's a lot of that going around.

But if you talk about the fact of talking about what you're thinking, then you've descended one extra step toward standing in the middle of the circle of mirrors that does no more than reflect you. And even we find that boring. (Well, after a while.)

Accordingly, we have refrained here at G&S from posting about blogging per se, or about our own blogging experiences, or about this or that blogging milestone. I mean, really: Just shut the Hell up, yes? Yes.

But a matter has come to our attention that fills us with such childish, hopping-up-and-down, spontaneous hand-clapping glee that we will simply burst if we do not share.

Enter "glib and superficial" as your search term.
DO NOT include the quotation marks (that would be cheating).
Hit the button marked "I'm Feeling Lucky."

See? SEE?!
Is that way cool, or what??!??

Thank you for your attention. You've been a great audience. I'll be here all week. Don't forget to tip your waitress.

Eid al-Adha Gift Ideas

Not a joke. Article HERE.

It's all about symmetry . . . .

According to a really-truly scientific study reported HERE, people are attracted to "hot dancers" because their bodies are more symmetrical than average. (Presumably the bodies of the dancers, rather than the observers.)

This indispensable font of information also reveals:
Pea hens and barn swallows prefer males with more symmetrical tails. One study found that women experience more orgasms during sex with male partners whose features are more symmetrical, regardless of the level of romantic attachment or the sexual experience of the guy.
Our joy at the resolution of these matters is unbounded.

[Ed.- The Standards & Practices Review Committee of G&S vetoed accompanying photographs of perfectly symmetrical sumo wrestlers, a 400-pound woman wearing a yellow bikini, and a beautiful young woman (nude, of course) with one brown and one blue eye. Thank you for your attention.]

Happy Kwanzaa

Every year about this time, when my sons were younger, they were subjected to public (and other) school political indoctrination regarding "Kwanzaa." It was always accompanied by sufficient discussion of Chanukah and Christmas to leave the impression that the Creator of the Universe had caused a miracle of light, had caused Himself to be incarnated in a stable in Bethlehem, and for reasons known only to Himself, had caused Dr. Maulana Karenga.

All more or less equivalently valid. Or important. Or something or other.

Kwanzaa and Dr. Karenga (aka "Ron Karenga," aka "Ron Everett") having the distinct advantage that the competition is plainly religious, thus leaving a stench in the nostrils of public school bureaucrats and sophisticated folks everywhere, a taint from which Kwanzaa is militantly free.

Karenga, as you surely must know, was a 60's era Maoist revolutionary, and a criminal, having been convicted of kidnaping, torture, and the like. And his made-up holiday would be laughable in its celebration of collectivism, its hodge-podge of swiped symbols and erroneous assumptions (Swahili, for example, was the language of few of the ancestors of American blacks. Corn is not native to Africa. No matter.) and its general incoherence if it had not gained such widespread acceptance by the ignorant, the gullible, and, well, "others."

Always concerned for our readers' education, we've come up with a few links. Nothing comprehensive, nothing fair or balanced. I'd be pleased to receive email documenting any factual errors in any of these discussions: HERE, HERE, and HERE. Of course, La Shawn Barber's "Kwanzaa Is for Pagans." And don't miss Dr. Ron's very own statement on the occasion of official federal recognition by the Postal Service.

A few years ago a friend provided me with a copy of a Kwanzaa parody of The Night Before Christmas. It is most disrespectful, completely improper, and will no doubt have a negative impact on your political hygiene. It was penned, I now discover, by Kathy Shaidle, proprietress of relapsed catholic. It is available here, and here:
'Twas the night before Kwanzaa
And all through the 'hood,
Maulana Karenga was up to no good.

He'd tortured a woman and spent time in jail.
He needed a new scam that just wouldn't fail.
("So what if I stuck some chick's toe in a vice?
Nobody said revolution was nice!")

The Sixties were over. Now what would he do?
Why, he went back to school -- so that's "Dr." to you!
He once ordered shootouts at UCLA
Now he teaches Black Studies just miles away.

Then to top it all off, the good Doctor's new plan
Was to get rid of Christmas and piss off The Man.

Karenga invented a fake holiday.
He called the thing Kwanza. "Hey, what's that you say?

"You don't get what's 'black' about Maoist baloney?
You say that my festival's totally phony?

"Who cares if corn isn't an African crop?
Who cares if our harvest's a month or two off?
Who cares if Swahili's not our mother tongue?
A lie for The Cause never hurt anyone!

"Umoja! Ujima! Kujichagulia, too!
Collectivist crap never sounded so cool!
Those guilty white liberals -- easy to fool.
Your kids will now celebrate Kwanzaa in school!"

And we heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight:
"Happy Kwanzaa to all, except if you're white!"

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Marching Into the Future!

Down in Atlanta the Actor’s Express Theater is shouldering the burden of producing a new musical. As explained by Variety:
Not only can untested musicals be notoriously hard to launch, especially when the writer is an unknown, but pedophilia (not to mention incest to boot) has proven anathema to ticket buyers.
You think?

They’ve apparently also run into complex questions involving promotion of the play as when, for example, "initial poster concepts featuring a man putting candy in a child's hand were jettisoned as being too frank."

Sounds right to me.

I have long contended that my children will live to see a society in which pedophilia is touted as a "life style," and normal revulsion condemned as psychopathic hate. We're quite nearly there now with respect to homosexuality (more quickly than I'd have imagined 20 years ago).

From Variety, via relapsed catholic.


In the mid-1960s, Joseph Owades, a biochemist working for Rheingold Breweries in Brooklyn, observed that non-beer-drinkers explained that they either didn’t like the taste, or that they thought beer would make them fat. He concluded,“I couldn't do anything about the taste of beer, but I could do something about the calories."

He developed a process that removed the starch from beer, thus lowering the number of calories. Today, nearly half of all beer consumed in the United States is one form of “light” beer or another. (Of course, it is also true that nearly 90% of all beer consumed in the United States is one form of “undrinkable” or another, but that’s another story.) Dr. Owades, it would seem, had a winner on his hands.

But not so. The corporate marketing geniuses at Rheingold sought to sell the new concoction as “Gablinger’s Diet Beer,” and promoted it with a television commercial featuring an enormous fat man scarfing pasta and drinking Gablinger’s. Some image. “Fat guys drink this.” Good thinking. Neither the name they'd chosen, nor the can art, did much to help. Similar crafty decisions contribute to the fact that no one under age 50 has ever heard of Rheingold.

Miller Brewing acquired Dr. Owades' process in the early 1970s, and came up with “Tastes Great. Less Filling.” A marketing phenomenon was born.

Joseph Owades died December 16 at his home in Sonoma, California. He was 86.

Credit: Washington Post.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Just so . . . .

More here.

Just saying . . . .

"The Department of Justice believes, and the case law supports, that the president has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes, and that the President may, as has been done, delegate this authority to the Attorney General. It is important to understand that the rules and methodology for criminal searches are inconsistent with the collection of foreign intelligence and would unduly frustrate the president in carrying out his foreign intelligence responsibilities."

Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick, testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee on July 14, 1994.

More here: "Clinton Claimed Authority to Order No-Warrant Searches."

Monday, December 19, 2005

She Who Must Not Be Named

I'm sorry. I know I'm a bad person. But I can't help myself.

This is the pic from Time Magazine's "People Who Mattered 2005." Done in artistic black and white, with Joey in the foreground doing his best to look as serious as he wishes anyone took him.

But wait. Look! It's the secret agent whose life has been ruined by the EvilChimpRoveBushHitlerNoisemachine.

Posing in her jammies for Time Magazine. A real wallflower. Is she incognito? Is she pretending to be a sleepwear model? What's her legend here?

WAIT! I've got it!

She's undercover as a BLOGGER!

"The presence of Keanu Reeves . . .

. . . remains inexplicable; he has the expression of someone who’s been given an epidural but still suspects there is a large rodent gnawing on his genitals."

From Lileks.

Mr. Pibb and Red Vines Equals Crazy Delicious.

Lest you thought Saturday Night Live was entirely devoid of opportunities for amusement, enjoy this short from this week's episode, wherein regular Chris Parnell (the only good one left) and newbie Adam Samberg (who apparently hails from the Bay Area) figure out what to do on a Lazy Sunday.

Hint: you can call 'em Aaron Burr the way they're droppin' Hamiltons.

Hat tip: Miss Ridiculous.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Bush v. New York Times, et al.

In a brilliant speech from the White House, President Bush today responded to the "story" in the New York Times which disclosed that the United States had conducted clandestine intelligence operations against suspected terrorists by intercepting their telephone conversations. The Times' revelation of the program is shameful, and the leaking of the information by Government employees is clearly criminal.

You can see the speech by going HERE and clicking on "View Webcast".

Here's part of what the President said:

In the weeks following the terrorist attacks on our nation, I authorized the National security Agency, consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution, to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations. Before we intercept these communications, the government must have information that establishes a clear link to these terrorist networks.

This is a highly classified program that is crucial to our national security. Its purpose is to detect and prevent terrorist attacks against the United States, our friends and allies. Yesterday the existence of this secret program was revealed in media reports, after being improperly provided to news organizations. As a result, our enemies have learned information they should not have, and the unauthorized disclosure of this effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk. Revealing classified information is illegal, alerts our enemies, and endangers our country.

As the 9/11 Commission pointed out, it was clear that terrorists inside the United States were communicating with terrorists abroad before the September the 11th attacks, and the commission criticized our nation's inability to uncover links between terrorists here at home and terrorists abroad. Two of the terrorist hijackers who flew a jet into the Pentagon, Nawaf al Hamzi and Khalid al Mihdhar, communicated while they were in the United States to other members of al Qaeda who were overseas. But we didn't know they were here, until it was too late.

The authorization I gave the National Security Agency after September the 11th helped address that problem in a way that is fully consistent with my constitutional responsibilities and authorities. The activities I have authorized make it more likely that killers like these 9/11 hijackers will be identified and located in time. And the activities conducted under this authorization have helped detect and prevent possible terrorist attacks in the United States and abroad.

The activities I authorized are reviewed approximately every 45 days. Each review is based on a fresh intelligence assessment of terrorist threats to the continuity of our government and the threat of catastrophic damage to our homeland. During each assessment, previous activities under the authorization are reviewed. The review includes approval by our nation's top legal officials, including the Attorney General and the Counsel to the President. I have reauthorized this program more than 30 times since the September the 11th attacks, and I intend to do so for as long as our nation faces a continuing threat from al Qaeda and related groups.

The NSA's activities under this authorization are thoroughly reviewed by the Justice Department and NSA's top legal officials, including NSA's general counsel and inspector general. Leaders in Congress have been briefed more than a dozen times on this authorization and the activities conducted under it. Intelligence officials involved in this activity also receive extensive training to ensure they perform their duties consistent with the letter and intent of the authorization.

This authorization is a vital tool in our war against the terrorists. It is critical to saving American lives. The American people expect me to do everything in my power under our laws and Constitution to protect them and their civil liberties. And that is exactly what I will continue to do, so long as I'm the President of the United States.

After the speech, the Times continued to pretend that there is something illegal, immoral or otherwise improper about this [link] :

WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 - President Bush acknowledged on Saturday that he had ordered the National Security Agency to conduct an electronic eavesdropping program in the United States without first obtaining warrants, and said he would continue the highly classified program because it was "a vital tool in our war against the terrorists."

Observe that spying on suspected terrorists is rendered "eavesdropping . . . in the United States," and the description "without first obtaining warrants" is dropped in despite the fact that the Times editors certainly must know that no warrants are necessary under these circumstances. The implication, of course, is that warrants are needed, and that their absence is horrifying to all right-thinking people. I might similarly express my outrage that some fellow parked in the street in front of my house, without first obtaining my permission! Imagine that.

And, of course, the Times still refuses to acknowledge that after it sat on this story for more than a year, the only reason it decided to publish now is that its reporter's book will be coming out in January, as laid out in the Washington Post today:
The paper offered no explanation to its readers about what had changed in the past year to warrant publication. It also did not disclose that the information is included in a forthcoming book, "State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush administration," written by James Risen, the lead reporter on yesterday's story. The book will be published in mid-January, according to its publisher, Simon & Schuster.

The decision to withhold the article caused some friction within the Times' Washington bureau, according to people close to the paper. Some reporters and editors in New York and in the bureau, including Risen and co-writer Eric Lichtblau, had pushed for earlier publication, according to these people. One described the story's path to publication as difficult, with much discussion about whether it could have been published earlier.

In a statement yesterday, Times Executive Editor Bill Keller did not mention the book. He wrote that when the Times became aware that the NSA was conducting domestic wiretaps without warrants, "the Administration argued strongly that writing about this eavesdropping program would give terrorists clues about the vulnerability of their communications and would deprive the government of an effective tool for the protection of the country's security."
So the Times rears back, patrician nostrils flaring with indignation, outrage and moral superiority, and flacks the book of its employee while aiding terrorists who, if they could, would blow up that ugly building at 229 West 43rd, and would laugh and laugh at the fools they were murdering.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Teri Hatcher wins "sex libel" case

"LONDON, England (Reuters) -- U.S. actress Teri Hatcher has won substantial libel damages from a British newspaper that alleged she used a camper van outside her home to have sex with a series of men."

SO: Does that mean she doesn't own a camper? Or instead that she didn't park it outside her home? Or that it was something other than "a series" of men? (Is that like a herd of buffalo, a school of fish, a pod of whales, or a mob of wallabies?) Or that other women were involved?

I'm so confused, and this report doesn't help much.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


More HERE.

Iraq Votes

Not only that, but (apparently not wishing to appear so, well, medieval) none other than Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi himself is blogging over at Iowahawk! Is the internet a wonderous thing, or what?

Disturbing, to say the least

Charlize Theron stars in the recently-released Aeon Flux. Back in 2000, Adam Sandler starred in Little Nicky.

My point? Well, ummmm, check out the hair:

H/T to Caption This!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Very Likely

A 12 meter tall Christmas tree, made entirely from 8,000 (empty) Heineken beer bottles has been erected outside the luxury Saigon-Quy Nhon Hotel in Quy Nhon, capital of the central Binh Dinh Province of Vietnam. That country's Thanh Nien News reports that the artifact is "described as the biggest of its kind in Vietnam."

You think?

Beer Belly: A Photo Essay

Available online HERE.

"Consider the true cost of living with Puppet Fear"

"If you are living with puppet fear, what is the real cost to your health, your career or school, and to your family life? Avoiding the issue indefinitely would mean resigning yourself to living in fear, missing out on priceless life experiences big and small, living a life that is just a shadow of what it will be when the problem is gone."

"For anyone earning a living, the financial toll of this phobia is incalculable. Living with fear means you can never concentrate fully and give your best. Lost opportunities. Poor performance or grades. Promotions that pass you by. puppet fear will likely cost you tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of your lifetime, let alone the cost to your health and quality of life. Now Puppet Fear can be gone for less than the price of a round-trip airline ticket."
Truer words was never spoke, as my mother was wont to say.

This, and oh so much more, at The Phobia Clinic, brought to you by "CTRN", otherwise known as "Change That's Right Now."

And don't miss their special program for those afflicted with emetophobia.

All right now: We know that we're not making this stuff up, but the question is whether those guys are making this stuff up. We think that they're not. And, if it is a hoax, it's a darned good one.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Just so

James Lileks laments:
The days when you could walk into a restaurant at 2 AM and find 150 people all drunk, smoking, drinking coffee and inhaling pie are long past around here.

Intestinal Fortitude

We see that the students at Chamberlain High School in Hillsborough County, Florida (that’s Tampa to you out-of-towners), have resurrected the time-honored bogus bomb-threat as a way of informally modifying the school’s calendar, particularly near exam time. One might have thought that some portion of the inherent hilarity would have been lost following September 11, but the kids most likely to resort to this tactic are no doubt least likely to read the newspaper, so perhaps they missed it.

It seems that in its latest incarnation, some wag scrawled the threat on the wall of a bathroom last week, and the school was duly evacuated.

County school officials responded with a clever tactic of their own: They closed all but two of the 12 bathrooms normally available for the school’s 2,183 students. Hillsborough County schools spokesperson Linda Cobbe explained:
The policy was enacted to eliminate one of the ways students can make threats, which can disrupt classes for hours. Threats such as the one found at Chamberlain last week are more common during exams, which start Wednesday at Chamberlain, Cobbe said.

"This is just a way to discourage students from getting into mischief in unsupervised bathrooms," she said.

Although school officials view the limited bathroom availability as a way to stop major disruptions, students and parents say it just creates problems during an already stressful time.
Do tell.

One imagines that students (and others) might also make bomb threats written on paper, or called in to the school or police. That would seem to nix paper, pens, pencils and the telephone system, all of which will need to be confiscated or shut down. Not to mention the computer system and email.

But, in the end, this is just another story about The Man: Anyone like to bet on whether or not the restrooms used by the principal and the teachers were shut down? I thought not.

Proof that we don’t make this stuff up: The Tampa Tribune.

"Mice Created With Human Brain Cells"

Associated Press reports: "Scientists announced Monday that they had created mice with small amounts of human brain cells . . . ."

Punchline sold separately. Some assembly required.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Christmas Gift Ideas. . .

. . .for the Hired Hand on your list:


...happy shopping, people.

An Open Letter to Orso'Grande

Dear Big Scary Bear,

You are big and scary. Your photo proves it. Intimidation is part of your game plan. I know. It's like shooting hoops in the prison rec yard. Or, you know, at UNLV.

But seriously. What was up with your picks last week? I mean, sure, you picked the Hoosiers at Rupp Arena and the Spartans in the "duh" game of the young season (recall that MSU team was #4 preseason). You think it might be time, though, to start calling that Boston College squad a little overrated themselves? (Maybe even by you?)

Two of your picks last week - Alabama over ND and Texas over Duke - didn't pan out. In fact, two of your four winners - BC and 'Bama - lost BOTH of their games last week. (BC put on an embarassing performance in College Park for their ACC debut last night, and it was only Maryland's buffoonery that let BC stay in the game for so long.) Do we even need to get into the Dukies SPANKING the Longhorns? Sure, Brad Buckman went down, but Texas was doing a pretty poor job feeding the low block all game. Redick ran right over the Texas D.

So, I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I promise to follow your picks closely, and from now on, post a comment with my weekly picks in your featured games. (You, of course, get to pick which games to feature each week.) Then we'll see who's really Grande, and who's just picolino.

Hired Hand, out.

ps. I'll be watching. . .

Christmas Gift Ideas . . .

. . . for that Gentleman Farmer on your list:

Choice on Earth

We think there may still be time to lay in a supply of these "Holiday Cards" available through the Planned Parenthood online store. One can only wonder just exactly what Planned Parenthood believes to be "holy" about this (or any other) particular season. When Monty Python invoked the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, they were joking.

We thought it was particularly interesting that at the bottom of the page PP has placed this important information:
Birth control is not available for purchase through our online store. Please contact your local Planned Parenthood health center for information on purchasing birth control.
We have no doubt that the tireless and dedicated technicians at Planned Parenthood are working night and day to overcome the technical difficulties, and that the not-too-distant future will see the dawning of the age of the online abortion.

H/T to girlfriday.

Spirit of the Age

From Newsday, via Lost Budgie, by way of relapsed catholic, comes this story:
When the Rev. Nick Zientarski invoked the name of Jesus Christ during his traditional blessing of the official Christmas tree lighting in Manhasset last week, he had no idea he had signed on as a soldier in the culture wars over Christmas.

Even as he spoke, the Roman Catholic priest said he could hear North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman angrily objecting behind him, "this is inappropriate." Then, Kaiman got up and told the crowd, "I just want to make it clear that this is in no way a religious ceremony."

A collective gasp came from the 200 adults and children gathered around the gazebo across from Town Hall. Nothing has been the same since in this well-heeled community that counts at least a dozen houses of worship in about 2 square miles.


"The reaction is beyond anything I could have imagined," Zientarski said yesterday. "Between yesterday and today, I've gotten 150 to 200 e-mails personally to me, all of it expressing support. And it's not just Catholics. I've heard from Jews, Greeks, people from other Christian denominations."

The reaction also has stunned and humbled Kaiman. "I overreacted and handled the situation poorly," he acknowledged in an interview yesterday. Kaiman said he had arrived at the park expecting a more nonsectarian holiday event because it is sponsored by the Manhasset Park District, the town and the local Chamber of Commerce.

"I'm getting an education on this myself as I speak to a number of people in the community, and realize there really is a concern that the holiday is being diminished because people such as myself who gloss over the specific purpose of the holiday," he said.

Kaiman, who is Jewish, said that his reaction to the blessing had nothing to do with his own faith, but related to his concern the town might be perceived as sponsoring a sectarian religious event. He said he has apologized to the priest as well as to St. Mary's pastor.
Supervisor Kaiman, of course, is no zealot or Christian-basher, and he comes across as being as regular a guy as a politician is likely to be. What struck us was his instinctive and almost violent reaction: "OMIGOD he used the J-word! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!" One almost has the image of his leaping across the platform and tackling Father Zientarski (something he obviously didn't actually do) before more harm could be done.

While the article itself is oddly unclear as to precisely the nature of the blessing, one can infer that is was likely no more than the traditional "in Jesus name." This provoked the Supervisor's energetic reaction, described by the reporter as "angry." What about this made the Supervisor "angry?"

Fear, it seems to us. Fear that he and the municipality would be criticized for sponsoring "a sectarian religious event." Fear that his constituents would themselves react angrily at a simple prayer. Fear that he and the town would be set upon by the ACLU, the New York Times, and other Bishops of the Fundamentalist Church of Secular Orthodoxy, intent on preserving public virginity, free of the stain of religion in general, but Christianity in particular.

Supervisor Kaiman is now busily backpedaling and apologizing in the time-honored tradition of the ordinary, modern belief-free politician. Since he himself doesn't believe anything in particular, there's no harm in apologizing, backing and filling when called to task. Clearly it never entered his head that, if set upon by the ACLU, et al., he could respond simply:

Every year at this time our town dedicates a Christmas tree to mark the Christian holiday of Christmas, celebrating the birth of Jesus. The tree is blessed each year by a Christian religious leader, one year a Catholic, next year a Baptist, and so on. The blessing said this year was standard, ordinary and traditional. We have similar events to mark Hanukkah, Kwanza, and other holidays celebrated by the people of Manhasset.

If the ACLU doesn't like it, they can sue us, and we'll probably have to discontinue the practice or be subject to endless and expensive litigation. But that would be a shame.

But it never occurred to him. Instead, he reacted as if the speaker had uttered some rude and insulting epithet. How tolerant, inclusive and multi-culturally correct of him. Bravo!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Man

There are very few instances in which it is more clear who is The Man, and who is not, than in the course of a Little League baseball game.

Your humble and obedient servant was a Little League baseball coach at the Center of the Empire -- in Washington, D.C. -- for a significant number of years. He had the honor of coaching girls and boys, ages 5 through 18, at various times and places.

From McSweeney's "Lists," a series of things that that author has been called in the course of his duties as a LL umpire:

Mister Umpire
Mister Umpire, Sir

It was the conceit of the cognoscenti in Washington, D.C., that the umpire was "Mr. Blue." It was the burden of the Gentleman Farmer to be a fan of the cinematic work of Quentin Tarentino, Harvey Keitel, and Steve Buscemi.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Just Sayin' - Part II

Real vs. Fake

Fake ones may look better, but tough guys prefer the real thing. Story HERE.

Die, Santa, DIE!

Many more pics of kids screaming on Santa's lap HERE. Careful review of the 40+ pics collected at the link reveals several that are disturbing for a variety of reasons. Look carefully. Have fun.

Just Sayin' . . .

Hat Tip to TaxProf Blog.

Christmas Gift Ideas . . .

. . . for that Gentleman Farmer on your list:

Summer Soldiers

In the December 23, 1776 issue of The Crisis, Thomas Paine famously wrote:
THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.
In the January issue of Commentary, Norman Podhoretz observes:
But Paine did not limit his anguished derision to former supporters of the American War of Independence whose courage was failing because things had not been going as well on the battlefield as they had expected or hoped. In a less famous passage, he also let loose on another group:
’Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country. . . . Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses . . . . [T]heir peculiar advantage is, that they are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light, which might otherwise have lain for ever undiscovered.
Thus, he explained, “Many a disguised Tory has lately shown his head,” emboldened by the circumstances of the moment to reveal an opposition to the break with Britain that it had previously seemed prudent to conceal.

The similarities to our situation today are uncanny. We, too, are in the midst of a rapidly spreading panic. We, too, have our sunshine patriots and summer soldiers, in the form of people who initially supported the invasion of Iraq—and the Bush Doctrine from which it followed—but who are now abandoning what they have decided is a sinking ship. And we, too, are seeing formerly disguised opponents of the war coming more and more out into the open, and in ever greater numbers.

Yet in spite of these similarities, there is also a very curious difference between the American panic of 1776-7 and the American panic of 2005-6. To put it in the simplest and starkest terms: in that early stage of the Revolutionary War, there was sound reason to fear that the British would succeed in routing Washington’s forces. In Iraq today, however, and in the Middle East as a whole, a successful outcome is staring us in the face. Clearly, then, the panic over Iraq—which expresses itself in increasingly frenzied calls for the withdrawal of our forces—cannot have been caused by the prospect of defeat. On the contrary, my twofold guess is that the real fear behind it is not that we are losing but that we are winning, and that what has catalyzed this fear into a genuine panic is the realization that the chances of pulling off the proverbial feat of snatching an American defeat from the jaws of victory are rapidly running out.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

December 8, 1980

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Serious Babs

"So, taking Streisand seriously, we must ask: Is she on crack?"

More from Jonah Goldberg HERE.

"In parts of the city, the ratio of abortions to births is one to one."

In this week's New York Magazine, an article entitled "The Abortion Capital of America." You may wish to read the whole thing, you may wish to pull the covers over your head and refuse to come out, or you may wish to make a substantial year-end contribution to the many organizations that provide alternatives. Opening paragraphs:
In 1970, New York passed the most permissive abortion law in America, one that defined the state as the country’s abortion refuge. Overnight, a new industry materialized in New York City, promoting itself to women across the country. The pitches were often blunt. A newspaper ad from the time inquired, “Want to be un-pregnant?”

Thirty-five years later, New York has the highest abortion rate in America. In 2000, the last year for which good data are available, 39 out of every 1,000 women in the state ended a pregnancy, for a total of 164,000 abortions that year. In America, one of every ten abortions occurs in New York, and in New York, seven of every ten abortions are performed in New York City. In absolute terms, there are more abortions performed on minors, more repeat abortions, and more late abortions (over 21 weeks) in New York City than anywhere else in the country. In parts of the city, the ratio of abortions to births is one to one.

Over the past twenty years, while legislatures have circumscribed access to abortion in state after state, especially for the poor and the young, New York has remained an island of unrestricted abortion rights. Medicaid pays for abortions for low-income women. Teenagers don’t need a parent’s permission to have an abortion. There are no 24-hour waiting periods. Thirty-four major clinics in New York City each perform more than 400 abortions per year.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

College Hoops This Week

I am Orso'Grande.

Be quick and catch one of this week's predicted upsets: Michigan State (starting just about now) over Boston College. BC, though a very talented team, is facing a battle-hardened State squad. No one has played a tougher schedule so far in this young season. Maurice Ager and Shannon Brown should get a great win over Craig Smith and the Eagles.

Tomorrow night (Wednesday), Alabama plays Notre Dame at 7:00 on ESPN. The Golden Domers aren't up to it, Tide Rolls, wins big.

On Saturday (12/10), two games to watch:

Indiana over Kentucky at 3:30 on CBS. We learned two things as we watched both of these two teams lose last week: Indiana is for real, but simply can't close (can anyone say "DUKE?"), but Kentucky is way overrated. Hoosiers in a close one.

But the game you don't want to miss is Texas playing Duke, at 1:30 on CBS. My buddy The Orangeman concludes that Duke has been tested early and often, and shown us that they're for real. The Longhorns simply aren't ready for this game, they'll struggle, and Duke will prevail.

But The Great Bear knows otherwise: This game isn't at Cameron, but up in Scarlet Knight country, at East Rutherford. Duke has gotten off the hook too many times already, and they'll be upset by PJ Tucker and Daniel Gibson. Hook 'em Horns!

[ed: Time of Texas/Duke corrected.]

Monday, December 05, 2005

"I am not afraid of execution!"

What a very fortunate confluence of subjective and objective reality.

Authorities Arrest Suspected Balloon Thief

"KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Authorities have arrested a man they say stole a hot-air balloon from a Knox County home and then broke into another residence where he forced the family there to feed him."

Presented for your consideration, from AP.

Christmas gift ideas . . .

. . . for that Gentleman Farmer on your list:

. . . the hungry eye

I don’t shop. Being male, I hunt. A trip to a retail establishment is mounted when a decision has been taken that some particular acquisition is appropriate. Need pants? Fine. Let’s go hunt for some pants, run them to ground, pounce on the bastards, sling them over our shoulders, and trudge on home.

Need Christmas gifts? Great. Google. Click. Scan. Click. Enter quantity. Click. Enter credit card number. Click. Click. Print receipt. Go watch game.

Girls, of course, shop. This leads them into absurd situations, like being present in Wal-Mart at 5:00 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving. Even, er, ummm, “introverted” girls find themselves doing this sort of thing, although it may turn out to be an educational experience:
Still, I ended up in front and saw a lot of ruckus over at the jewelry counter. No, I can't describe the ruckus. But I thought maybe that's where the stuff I was looking for was being kept, so sidled up to the counter and was handed the second to last $350 laptop computer.

I didn't want the computer. If I get a laptop, I plan on spending a little more than $350. You get what you pay for. In fact, if I saw anyone I knew getting one of those laptops, I'd refuse to take any tech-help phone calls from them. I don't care if your monitor is shooting laser beams at your eyes when you open up Microsoft Word. I'm not helping subsidize your $350 mistake.

I wandered around the store with the laptop, not wanting it. Guys were giving me the hungry eye, the kind of look I imagine hot women get. Here's a tip ladies. Carry around desired computer equipment. It rubs off.
More in this vein (what?) from Ms. Neidlinger.

Ghosts of Christmas Past

A series that will continue throughout this festive and joyous season, in which we cast our thoughts back to interesting, instructive, and heart-warming stories and events relating to Christmas in years gone by.

Our first installment: Who can forget the parking-lot girl-on-girl catfight over the last frozen turkey at the Morrisons supermarket in Wales back in 2001? Nostalgically brought to you via the BBC.

Friday, December 02, 2005

We ARE NOT Making This Up

"WOODSIDE, Calif. - Two animal handlers who say they were fired for refusing to expose their breasts to a 300-pound gorilla have settled their lawsuit against the Gorilla Foundation on undisclosed terms."

AP Story HERE.

Just So

Thursday, December 01, 2005

G&S Reads - GASP! - The Times Editorial Page

Today is World AIDS Day - and, believe it or not, the New York Times has a very good editorial entitled "The State of AIDS." It is a sobering, if not somewhat glossy, look at the worst year AIDS has had yet:
AIDS is outrunning us. The annual report of the United Nations' AIDS agency, released last week to mark World AIDS Day today, informs us that this year there will be 5 million new infections, a record, and more than 3.1 million deaths, another record.
Think about doing something. You could consider donating to one the many worthy institutions fighting the epidemic. But at least give the editorial a look. We promise we won't tell anyone you read the Times.