"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, May 31, 2006

G&S Reads: Smart People

In today's Post, Fareed Zakaria writes:
Initially the Sunnis thought they could use military power -- through the insurgency -- to get their way. Now many Shiites think they can use military power -- through the government's security services and militias -- to get their way. For our part, despite the denials, we believed that what we needed was more troops, Iraqi troops. Except that 260,000 Iraqi soldiers and police are "standing up" and it hasn't led to any significant withdrawal of Americans. The reality is that only an effective political bargain will bring about order.


Co-opting the majority of the Sunnis is the simplest way [new PM Nouri al-] Maliki can cripple the insurgency.


Maliki will have to stake out national positions on the proposed amendments to the constitution, the sharing of oil revenue and other such matters. But even sooner he will have to address the core Sunni demand: an end to the de-Baathification process, which has thrown tens of thousands of Sunnis out of jobs and barred them from new ones. Iraq's deputy prime minister, Barham Salih, a Kurd, told me that "the time has come for us to be courageous enough to admit that there were massive mistakes in de-Baathification."


The greatest challenge here comes from the large and growing Mahdi Army of Moqtada al-Sadr. This renegade cleric is mounting a frontal challenge to the United States and to the authority of the new Iraqi government (even while he takes charge of some of its ministries).

If Maliki cannot handle him, Moqtada al-Sadr will become the most powerful man in Iraq. And Nouri al-Maliki will not be the first elected prime minister of a new Iraq, but the last prime minister of an experiment that failed.
Indeed. Read the whole thing.

"Da Vinci Code" Controversy Ends

There is such a thing as authority. And there is consequently such a thing as the authoritative settling of some contentious matter.

If, for example, some people think that owning other people is really not such a good idea, while others believe chattel slavery to be simply one more life-style choice, then you've got the seeds of a pretty good controversy. You can argue back and forth forever without a satisfactory, let alone conclusive, end to the debate. And so it helps to have the Union Army on hand. That is, while a great many details may have been left behind to work out, the Union Army pretty much settled – authoritatively – the question of slavery in the United States.

In matters of the arts (literary, cinematic, performing), The New Yorker magazine is the closest thing we have to the Union Army. And so it is with great pleasure that we observed that any controversy surrounding "The Da Vinci Code" (book and movie) has been authoritatively settled.

From “Heaven Can Wait,” which appears in the May 29 issue (and is available online):
The story of “The Da Vinci Code” goes like this. A dead Frenchman is found laid out on the floor of the Louvre. His final act was to carve a number of bloody markings into his own flesh, indicating, to the expert eye, that he was preparing to roll in fresh herbs and sear himself in olive oil for three minutes on each side. This, however, is not the conclusion reached by Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks), a professor of symbology at Harvard, who happens to be in Paris. Questioned by Bezu Fache (Jean Reno), the investigating policeman at the scene, Langdon starts rabbiting about pentacles and pagans and God knows what. But what does God know, exactly? And can He keep His mouth shut?


There has been much debate over Dan Brown’s novel ever since it was published, in 2003, but no question has been more contentious than this: if a person of sound mind begins reading the book at ten o’clock in the morning, at what time will he or she come to the realization that it is unmitigated junk? The answer, in my case, was 10:00.03, shortly after I read the opening sentence . . . .


The film is directed by Ron Howard and written by Akiva Goldsman, the master wordsmith who brought us “Batman & Robin.” I assumed that such an achievement would result in Goldsman’s being legally banned from any of the verbal professions, but, no, here he is yet again. As far as I am qualified to judge, the film remains unswervingly loyal to the book, displaying an obedience that Silas could not hope to match. I welcome this fidelity, because it allows us to propose a syllogism. The movie is baloney; the movie is an accurate representation of the book; therefore, the book is also baloney, although it takes even longer to consume.


Behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people, except at Columbia Pictures, where the power lunches won’t even be half-started. The Catholic Church has nothing to fear from this film. It is not just tripe. It is self-evident, spirit-lowering tripe that could not conceivably cause a single member of the flock to turn aside from the faith.
And there’s much, MUCH more. Read every word.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


"There will come a moment when you have the chance to do the right thing."

"I love those moments. I like to wave at them as they pass by."

As it happens, my birthday is exactly one week before Independence Day, which means it's also just about one week after Fathers Day. So, every Summer, there's that two-week period that's especially pleasant.

This year that special time will run just a bit longer:

An Inconvenient Truth

The Detroit News reports:
Two city schools closed this morning due to today's high heat.

The Detroit School of Arts and the International Academy of Detroit closed about 10 a.m. today because heat that hovered in the 90s made it too hot inside for students, Detroit Public Schools spokeswoman Mattie Majors told The News.

The $121 million Detroit School of Arts earlier this year won an award from the U.S. Green Building Council for the school's energy and environmental design. It was the first building in the city to win the award.

The council lauded the school for using energy-saving designs and equipment. Examples include trees to provide shade, energy-efficient windows and a highly reflective roof surface. Energy costs dropped 20 percent as a result of the design. But today's heat and humidity proved too much for the school and the academy.

"There is too much heat," Majors said. "They can't bring it down fast enough."
Via NRO.

Accio! Technology!

The AP, via Wired News, reports:
WASHINGTON -- Imagine an invisibility cloak that works just like the one Harry Potter inherited from his father.

Researchers in England and the United States think they know how to do that. They are laying out the blueprint and calling for help in developing the exotic materials needed to build a cloak.

The keys are special manmade materials, unlike any in nature or the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. These materials are intended to steer light and other forms of electromagnetic radiation around an object, rendering it as invisible as something tucked into a hole in space.

"Is it science fiction? Well, it's theory and that already is not science fiction. It's theoretically possible to do all these Harry Potter things, but what's standing in the way is our engineering capabilities," said John Pendry, a physicist at the Imperial College London.
Your trusty correspondent spent a summer as a research associate at Imperial College London. Let me tell you - being part of the cloak trials was awesome.

Full story HERE.

H/T Geekologie.

I Told You So

In discussing same-sex “marriage,” homosexuality in general, and related topics, I have frequently predicted that, within the lifetime of my sons (the youngest of whom is now 18), pedophilia (if not bestiality) would have become the “political liberation” issue of the day.

That is, where normal people were once upbraided for looking askance at “single parenthood” (thinking, perhaps, that all parenthood requires initial cooperation, carrying with it responsibility), and now are criticized for being hopelessly backward and “homophobic” for not understanding that there’s no difference between homo-sex and the real thing, we would one day be behind the curve for not understanding that sex with children or animals was just another life-style choice.

I have assumed that this progress would take something like 20 years. Wrong. Reuters reports:
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch pedophiles are launching a political party to push for a cut in the legal age for sexual relations to 12 from 16 and the legalization of child pornography and sex with animals.

The Charity, Freedom and Diversity (NVD) party said on its Web site it would be officially registered Wednesday, proclaiming: "We are going to shake The Hague awake!"

The party said it wanted to cut the legal age for sexual relations to 12 and eventually scrap the limit altogether.


The party said private possession of child pornography should be allowed although it favors banning the trade of such materials. The broadcast of pornography should be allowed on daytime television, with only violent pornography limited to the late evening, according to the party.

Toddlers should be given sex education and youths aged 16 and up should be allowed to appear in pornographic films and prostitute themselves. Sex with animals should be allowed although abuse of animals should remain illegal, the NVD said.
One cannot help but wonder how they will know what constitutes "abuse of animals."

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Feel Free to Es-splor . . .

Fabio's Kitchen. I kid you not.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Can You Help Me?

The Harare Herald (Zimbabwe) reports:
A BUSINESSMAN lost $1,2 billion cash in a fire that gutted a room he had booked at Ngundu Rocky Motel, 100km south of Masvingo along the Masvingo-Beitbridge Highway at the weekend.
But we've figured out a way to recover the money from his insurance company. The company, headquartered in Nigeria, will wire the money to the United States. So here's what we need you to do: Open a bank account with $50,000 of your money, and send the account number to us here at Glib & Superficial. We'll have the insurance money wired to that account, then transferred out, and leave your original deposit, plus $500,000 for you, just for being so kind and helping out Mr. Willias Shumba.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Still Full of Crap

Many of Gore's conclusions are based on the "Hockey Stick" that shows near constant global temperatures for 1,000 years with a sharp increase in temperature from 1900 onward. The record Gore chooses in the film completely wipes out the Medieval Warm Period of 1,000 years ago and Little Ice Age that started 500 years ago and ended just over 100 years ago. There is evidence from throughout the world that these climate episodes existed, but on Gore's Hockey Stick, they become nothing more than insignificant fluctuations (Gore even jokes at one point about the Medieval Warm period).

More HERE.

Make Targeting Easy!

Be the first on your block to sport one of these:

Available HERE. And, with Fathers Day coming up, I couldn't help but notice that they're in stock in my size. Just sayin'.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

We Have A Question

If this is Faye Dunaway (and it is):

then tell us exactly who this is, arriving at the Cannes Film Festival earlier today:

Avery Johnson's Basketball Substitution How-To

I quit playing basketball pretty early in my youth sports career.

They didn't make us wear cups.

Maybe they should have.

No No No, The Term Is Ambulance Chaser, Silly

STANFORD -- A Stanford law school student who took an ambulance on a drunken joyride has pleaded no contest to two misdemeanors and apologized for the incident.

Julia Powell, 27, a Yale graduate from Cambridge, Mass., will likely serve 36 days in a county jail, possibly in a weekend work program. She will be sentenced Aug. 24.

"I will punish myself more than this court will ever do," Powell said in Santa Clara Superior Court on Monday.

Powell's attorney, Dan Barton, said his client's erratic behavior was caused by a mixture of painkillers she was taking for shin splints and a few alcoholic drinks.

Prosecutor Jay Boyarsky didn't pursue more serious felony charges of stealing a working emergency vehicle, saying the incident "was essentially a joyride."

"But it was a reckless and stupid joyride which could have had tragic consequences," Boyarsky said.

No one was in the ambulance when Powell took it last October.
Story from KTVU. Say it with me now: L-E-L-A-N-D. . .

Or do we blame Yale?

Good Breeding Will Tell, or
You Can Take the Girl Out of the Trailer Park . . .

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Partisan

When they poured across the border
I was cautioned to surrender,
this I could not do;
I took my gun and vanished.

I have changed my name so often,
I've lost my wife and children
but I have many friends,
and some of them are with me.

An old woman gave us shelter,
kept us hidden in the garret,
then the soldiers came;
she died without a whisper.

There were three of us this morning
I'm the only one this evening
but I must go on;
the frontiers are my prison.

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing,
through the graves the wind is blowing,
freedom soon will come;
then we'll come from the shadows.

Les Allemands étaient chez moi,
ils m'ont dit "Résigne toi"
mais je n'ai pas pu;
j'ai repris mon arme.

J'ai changé cent fois de nom,
j'ai perdu femme et enfants
mais j'ai tant d'amis;
j'ai la France entière.

Un vieil homme dans un grenier
pour la nuit nous a caché,
les Allemands l'ont pris;
il est mort sans surprise.

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing,
through the graves the wind is blowing,
freedom soon will come;
then we'll come from the shadows.
The history of this Leonard Cohen song HERE.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Good News

We assume that THIS Washington Post headline means they've given up on the military coup option, eh?

H/T to the Farmer's Wife.

More Republican Corruption

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Federal agents searched the Capitol Hill office of a Louisiana congressman under investigation on bribery charges Sunday, while newly released court papers said agents found $90,000 in cash last year in his Washington home.

In a 95-page affidavit used to obtain a warrant for the office search, investigators stated that an August 2005 search of Democratic Rep. William Jefferson's home turned up the cash sum in a freezer.

The money was divided among various frozen food containers, according to the heavily redacted affidavit.

Agents told a judge the money was part of a $100,000 payment that had been delivered by an informant in the bribery probe, which already has led to guilty pleas by a Kentucky businessman and a former Jefferson aide.
Wait a minute. You mean this guy's a Democrat? How can that be? He must be a closet Republican, right? Or maybe Karl Rove set him up? Yeah. That must be it.

Story HERE.

Prison Break

The American Civil Liberties Union, continuing its long history of freeing from prison the wrongfully incarcerated, is trying to bust God out of the big house.

In what does not appear to be a parody, the Washington Post reports this morning:
The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia says the use of public funds to pay such organizations as Good News, an evangelical Christian group headquartered in Richmond, threatens the constitutional separation of church and state. The ACLU has called for three jails in the state to end similar contracts with another Christian jail ministry, the Southeastern Correctional Ministry, and last month it wrote to 25 jail administrators asking for information about their contracts with Southeastern, Good News and other organizations that provide religious services.
Do we make this stuff up? We do not. Fortunately, the eagle-eyed G&S staffer assigned to sift through the Post was not drinking milk when she came upon this story, else unpleasantness might have ensued.

Culture Shock

They've got Wagner, Mozart, Brahms, Bach, Beethoven, and so on and so forth.

We've got, what? Roy Orbison?

According to Wikipedia (and what better source could there be?):
Running since 1956, the Eurovision Song Contest is an annual televised song contest with participants from numerous countries whose national television broadcasters are members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). The Contest is broadcast on television and radio throughout Europe, in selected countries around the world, and on the Internet.
Since European art is well-known to be subtle and wise, superior to the shallow, profit-driven Mc-Culture of the United States, we thought we'd bring you this year's Eurovision song contest winner, the best of the best:

Hat tip to Jonah Goldberg, of all people.

Getting Mad

Sometimes I get mad at my wife. No! Really! It's quite true. I'm not proud of it, but it happens.

Sometimes I get mad at one or another of my sons, always with good reason (of course), and I'm sure that they're the better for it.

And sometimes I get mad at God. As time goes by, I find it more and more difficult to stay mad at Him for very long, given what we know about how He operates. See, for example, Hebrews 12:5-7.

My wife, my sons, and God have (at the very least) one thing in common: They all exist. Consequently, my being mad at one or another of them doesn't suggest a diagnosable mental condition. If, on the other hand, I became enraged at Sherlock Holmes, it might indicate that I wasn't thinking quite properly.

I suppose you've read that the actor Ian McKellen, who has a part in The Da Vinci Code, weighed in the other day with respect to those critics of the movie who have called for it to begin with a warning that it's almost entirely fictional. He said, "Well, I've often thought the Bible should have a disclaimer in the front saying this is fiction."

What I didn't know is that McKellen apparently has been known to rip from hotel Bibles the page that includes Leviticus 18:22. At least, that's what Salon reported back in December of 2001.

Why do you suppose he does that, if he thinks the Bible is fiction? Is it possible that he also gets mad at God, despite thinking He's not there?

Hat tip to Miss Julie.


Imagine that you're the principal of the "Liberty" elementary school and, for reasons that seemed good at the time, the new nickel has been chosen to adorn the cover of your school's yearbook. It even says your school name!

But you look with horror upon the result, fearful that someone will be offended.

We know: You think that the principal objected to depiction of the nation's most dishonest, hypocritical president, the one who stole the election of 1800, don't you? Well, you're wrong.

Story HERE.

[We LOVE the sticker idea!]

Friday, May 19, 2006

I'm OK

H/T Red Baroness. Happy weekend, everyone.

"Japan Beats Taboo"

Quite as alarming as the story itself is the headline applied by the progressive, sophisticated editors of The Guardian:


You see, there are all these "taboos." The word even sounds like "tribe," and that's primitive, unsophisticated, ignorant. Unless the tribe practices, say, genital mutilation, and then we must prepare to celebrate a rainbow of cultural diversity.

There are "taboos" about incest, men beating the Hell out of women, setting dogs on fire, and so on and so forth. We swim in a sea of taboos. There's just so much fun stuff that someone, somewhere, insists is "wrong," (whatever that means). And Western society today is nothing if not Hell-bent on "beating" one taboo after another.

Now you might think that the subject news story is about some boy who wanted to do something "girly." Maybe dance ballet or something. (Of course, those of us who have ever had an up-close-and-personal experience with a ballerina know that there's very little "girly" (if one means weak or pain-free by that word) about ballet, but that's another story.)

But you'd be wrong. Here's what's up:
A seven-year-old Japanese boy with a gender identity disorder has been given permission to attend school as a girl in another sign that the country is relaxing its traditionally rigid attitude towards sexual identity. Local media reported yesterday that the boy, who has not been named, was diagnosed with the disorder before he started primary school in April.

He is said to have complained that he felt uncomfortable being a boy and asked his parents if he could have a sex-change operation. Japan's first such procedure took place in 1998, but patients must be aged 20 or over.

The school, in Kobe, western Japan, agreed to enroll him as a girl after consulting his parents and doctors in what is thought to be the first decision of its kind in Japan. According to reports, he will be allowed to use the girls' bathrooms and changing facilities, and to wear girls PE kit. Only his teachers have been informed of his condition.
Pretty impressive, no? Who knew that, in addition to advances in cardiology and oncology, doctors were now able to surgically correct being "uncomfortable."

The rest of the story is available HERE.

And, if you're interested in other Guardian insights into evolving Japanese culture, you can also peruse "Japanese firm to target children with sales of whale meat." But, alas, the story has nothing whatever to do with pelting little ones with blubber.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Dead Man Cheating

We love baseball.

Football, soccer, basketball, rugby, lacrosse, water polo, all are modifications of "capture the flag." I move the ball this way, you move the ball that way.

Only baseball has no clock. Only in baseball does the offense not have the ball. Only in baseball can you fail 60% of the time, and be the best hitter who ever lived.

We love baseball.

We hate Barry Bonds.

We hate what he's done to baseball. We hate that a cheater is not only paid millions of dollars to continue cheating, but is permitted to play at all. Shoeless Joe Jackson -- who did not cheat -- remains banned. Pete Rose -- who did not cheat -- remains banned.

But Barry Bonds -- who has cheated and, for all anyone can tell, continues to cheat -- continues to play. And his "records" remain in the books as if they were real.

So we welcome THIS, from Neil Hayes, of the Contra Costa Times:
The question becomes more valid every time a fly ball bounces in front of him, he fails to run out a ground ball, clogs up the bases or fails to hit a home run.

Is Barry Bonds hurting the San Francisco Giants?

The preoccupation with Bonds chasing Babe Ruth’s career milestone of 714 home runs can’t mask the fact that Bonds more resembles the old, bloated, broken down Ruth in a Boston Braves uniform than Ruth in New York Yankee pinstripes.
Bonds is by no means the only cheater in baseball; and he is hardly the only player whose records should be erased; but he is presently the most prominent symbol of baseball's great shame.

The Giants -- having built their team around a now-ineffective cheater -- have got what they paid for.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

More Animal Tales

Perhaps your experience is different from that of our crack research staff, but none of them could recall having previously heard a Harvard professor say:
"My problem is imagining what it would be like to have a bipedal hominid and a chimpanzee viewing each other as appropriate mates, not to put it too crudely."
(He might want to check out the C stairwell at Wigglesworth, but that's just us.)

Story, titled "Human-chimp Split Was Messy," available HERE.

Alligator Innumerancy

I love statistics. Were I in charge, no person would be permitted to vote without having taken and passed a college-level course in statistics. Otherwise, the bastards can trick you too easily.

"Trends" are always a favorite. The number of murders in a particular city increases by 10% each year until one of two things happen: It stops increasing, or everyone is dead.

Another example: Between 1952 and 1982 (a period of 30 years) The Farmer's Wife gave birth to exactly one son, a rate of about .033 children per year. But between 1983 and 1988 (a mere 5 years) her rate of production increased to .40 children per year, as she gave birth to two sons during the period. Her rate of production increased more than tenfold. By rights, she ought to have given birth to something like 20 children between 1988 and 2003.

The latter is seldom the outcome, but you'll see its equivalent with alarming frequency. (Don't believe me? Does "Social Security" ring a bell?)

Thus our attention was drawn to the CNN headline: "Alligators blamed for 2 more deaths." And, indeed, someone has done the math, and concluded:
From 1948 to 2005, 17 people have been killed by alligators in Florida -- about 0.30 deaths per year. In 2006, so far three alligator-related fatalities have occurred -- a tenfold increase over the trend. If this keeps up, 30 people will die next year, 300 in 2008, and so forth until in the year 2013 the United States experiences a shocking 300 million deaths by alligator.
Talk about being ass-deep in alligators. From The American Prospect.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Science in the Public Interest

It has long been known that the combination of Mentos and Diet Coke will cause a great deal of fizzy goodness. See, for example, the video evidence presented HERE.

The intrepid G&S research staff, however, has discovered that teens, not content simply to drop Mentos into a jug of Diet Coke, have taken the fad one step further, and begun mixing the two together in their own stomachs, with sometimes disastrous results:

It goes without saying that this sort of research is best left to professionals, and NO ONE should try it at home.

In Which I Fail Brilliantly, Part 4 in an Apparently Very Occasional Series

I took my second "diagnostic" LSAT practice exam yesterday morning, coinciding with my complete and utter failure to remember I was supposed to wake up and buy Radiohead tickets for their Berkeley show (I ended up getting them on eBay for a ridiculously inflated price). Anyway, GREAT NEWS! I bumped up my score by 7 points. That's huge. Had I failed to make some really stupid mistakes, I would have gotten my coveted 170.

After the first diagnostic, your trusty correspondent became despondent (hey, that rhymed!) about his chances at ever being able to do logic games. On logic games the first time around, I correctly answered 10 out of 24 questions - yes, that WOULD be 2 right answers for every 3 wrong ones.

This time, I got a FAR more serviceable 15 out of 22 correct, improving my right-to-wrong ratio to 2:1. Outstanding. Uplifting. Glorious.

On Logical Reasoning (the section that asks questions like, "The above argument would be most weakened by which of the following, if true?"), I improved from 82% to 88% correct, and on Reading Comprehension, my score fell from 96% to 93%. I am apparently less able to read than I was on April 17th. Fair enough.

Now how about a little challenge for the kiddies (FYI, the incorrect answer I gave to this question was used by 45% of all test-takers. Only 23% chose the correct answer):
The answer will be revealed in due time.

Hire the Cabbie

The last time I was a student in a classroom taking an exam it was 1976. Nevertheless, at least twice a year I am awakened -- in a cold sweat, gasping for breath -- from a nightmare in which I find I am sitting down to take an exam that I've never prepared for, never studied, never attended class. Yet it's clear I MUST take the exam. Sometimes I'm naked, as well.

Here's a link to a cabbie who found himself (in "real" life) in an analogous situation. And the circumstances are hilarious from several perspectives.

From The Dawn Patrol.

Virtuous Polygamists

If you think that same-sex "marriage" can be explained and justified without inevitably explaining and justifying polygamy, then you're an idiot.

Just saying.

Just in time for this debate, the ever-vigilant worthies at the Claremont Institute remind us that Mark Twain, as a young man, traveled through Utah, and had this observation respecting the Latter Day Saint's peculiar institution in 1861:
Our stay in Salt Lake City amounted to only two days, and therefore we had no time to make the customary inquisition into the workings of polygamy and get up the usual statistics and deductions preparatory to calling the attention of the nation at large once more to the matter. I had the will to do it. With the gushing self-sufficiency of youth I was feverish to plunge in headlong and achieve a great reform here—until I saw the Mormon women. Then I was touched. My heart was wiser than my head. It warmed toward these poor, ungainly and pathetically "homely" creatures, and as I turned to hide the generous moisture in my eyes, I said, "No—the man that marries one of them has done an act of Christian charity which entitles him to the kindly applause of mankind, not their harsh censure—and the man that marries sixty of them has done a deed of open-handed generosity so sublime that the nations should stand uncovered in his presence and worship in silence."

What Would America Do?

Of course. Available HERE. No word yet on rioting. The New York Times editorial board has not yet called for an apology, nor has it had occasion to cluck "needlessly provocative," or "deplorably insensitive."

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mothers Day

Mark Twain:
My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.
George Washington:
My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw.
George Eliot:
A mother's yearning feels the presence of the cherished child even in the degraded man.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Britney Spears Pregnant AGAIN?!

"Dr. Zang said that if Ms. Spears and Mr. Federline continue to reproduce at their current rate, by the year 2030 one out of three children in the world will be the offspring of the famous couple, putting a strain on global resources."

More from The Borowitz Report.

Hat tip to The Farmer's Wife.

What more is there to say?

This screen-capture from Google News appears over at NRO:

That's a pretty good summary. While we are sympathetic to the objection of individual bits of hay that each dislikes being handled, we must observe that the haystack cannot simultaneously complain that no needles are being found and brought to justice.

Pay Attention

If you would be politically wise, then you should include in your regular diet the work of Peggy Noonan and James Lileks.

On Tuesday, for example, Lileks provided his own translation of the letter sent to President Bush by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It starts like this:
Dear Infidel Crusader Zionist sock-puppet Saudi-lackey despoiler of Mesopotamia woman-touching pigdog fiendish (293 words excised) Shah-licking son of a toad’s offal: I trust this finds you well. I have much on my mind, and have taken the pen to unburden my breast. I have enclosed a self-addressed stamped envelope should you wish to reply.

(429 words concerning Jewish penetration of the Postal System excised)
And continues:
Our people glow with pride over our nuclear efforts, sometimes literally. I repeat that the enrichment is for peaceful purposes only, and we seek only peace, and peace is our goal, and there is nothing more we love than peace. Except death. Sorry; forgot. Death is definitely number one. In third place of things we love, well, there were those nice ice-cream desserts they had at this little place in Tehran. When I was Mayor I had them brought in on Fridays. Good times, good times. But once I found a hair.

(2356 words excised concerning Jewish penetration of the Iranian Dessert-Industrial complex)

The President of Iran is absurd, and his government is ridiculous. They should be laughed at. I do not mean that we ought to ignore the fact that he would very much like to incinerate Israel, and will soon have the means to do so. I do not mean that he should be "laughed off" or treated other than seriously. He is dangerous.

But the President of Iran is absurd, and his government is ridiculous. They should be laughed at.

Meanwhile, Peggy Noonan today observes:
Of all the bad poll numbers for the Republicans, I think the worst is the right track/wrong track numbers, which continue to trend downward. A majority of the American people think we're on the wrong track.


It has long been the American way to believe political problems can be solved or eased through political action. Were tax rates in certain areas of the economy too high from 1940 to 1980, and were they injurious to our economy and to individuals? Yes. So Americans pushed back, pamphleteered and backed leaders who promised to lower them. In time the taxes came down.

Name the political problem, we could answer it, or work toward answering it, with political solutions.

But faith in political action has been damaged the past few years, not by outside forces but by the two major political parties themselves.

If you are a normal person with the normal amount of political awareness, you might see it this way:

The Republicans talk about cutting spending, but they increase it--a lot. They stand for making government smaller, but they keep making it bigger. They say they're concerned about our borders, but they're not securing them. And they seem to think we're slobs for worrying. Republicans used to be sober and tough about foreign policy, but now they're sort of romantic and full of emotionalism. They talk about cutting taxes, and they have, but the cuts are provisional, temporary. Beyond that, there's something creepy about increasing spending so much and not paying the price right away but instead rolling it over and on to our kids, and their kids.

So, the normal voter might think, maybe the Democrats. But Democrats are big spenders, Democrats are big government, Democrats will roll the cost onto our kids, and on foreign affairs they're--what? Cynical? Confused? In a constant daily cringe about how their own base will portray them? All of the above.

Where does such a voter go, and what does such a voter do? It is odd to live in the age of options, when everyone's exhausted by choice, and feel your options for securing political progress are so limited. One party has beliefs it doesn't act on. The other doesn't seem to have beliefs, only impulses.

What's a voter to do? Maybe stay home, have the neighbors over for some barbecue, and then answer the phone when a pollster calls asking for a few minutes to answer some questions. When they get to the part about whether America is on the right track or the wrong track, boy, the voter knows the answer.


One gets the impression party leaders, deep in their hearts, believe the base is . . . base. Unsophisticated. Primitive. Obsessed with its little issues. They're trying to educate the base. But if history is a guide, the base is about to teach them a lesson instead.
More HERE.

She's right, and I'm one of the people she's talking about.

Is it Live?


I have been in a serious relationship for 13 months. The woman I am with has a daughter who is 15 months old. I am the only father figure that has ever been in her life. Her biological father, "Ethan," saw her only twice. I have been supporting my lady and her child for a while.

Last January, Ethan died, and my lady took it hard. Last Saturday, she got his name tattooed on her back without consulting me. She didn't tell me until after it was done, and it upset me. We are supposed to be married soon.

Every time we make love, that tattoo reminds me of Ethan. I feel she should have asked me what I thought about the idea first. She expects me to consult her about things that I do before I do them. Am I wrong for expecting the same respect from her as I give her? Should I tell her how I feel, or should I avoid having a confrontation with her and try to forget about it?


Before you click on THIS LINK, decide for yourself whether we're making this up. No cheating, because we'll know if you do. For extra credit, compose a response.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

First, they came for the University lecturers . . . .

"The largest university and college lecturers union in Britain is likely to decide shortly to recommend that its 67,000 members boycott Israeli lecturers and academic institutions that do not publicly declare their opposition to Israeli policy in the territories."
I wonder what the organization's position is with respect to suicide bombings or riots in response to cartoons? Just asking.

From Haaretz.com, via Instapundit.

Provide Your Own Punchline

"The Korean Institute for Industrial Technology (KITECH) said the android, which has the face and body of a woman in her 20s, is 160 cm tall and weighs 50 kg. Ever-1 can move its upper body and “express” happiness, anger, sadness and pleasure. But the robot is still incapable of moving its lower half. Ever-1's skin is made from a silicon jelly that feels similar to human skin. The face is a composite of two stars, and its torso on a singer."

Story HERE.

Voters in California's 8th Congressional District may want to take particular note of the opportunities provided.

Vetus Mulier Botoxus

"The Democratic position that all crosses be banned from public display is purely a
church and state issue and has nothing to do with my being Queen of the Damned."

Stolen from Caption This!

It's Because of the:
A. Heat;
B. Water;
C. Public Schools

Television station WKMG is channel six in Orlando, Florida. The station maintains a website called "Local6.com."

I've noticed for some time that Central Florida seems to generate more than its share of, well, shall we say "unusual" events. Currently, you may peruse any of the following stories:

"Major Cockfighting Operation Busted In Polk County"

"Owners Awarded $1,300 In Death Of Pet Dog Killed By Python"

"Police Arrest Central Fla. Cigarette Suspect" ("A 38-year-old man suspected of creeping into convenience stores across Brevard County and stealing cartons of cigarettes . . . .")

and, my personal favorite:

"Teacher With Porn Past Hopes For Bible-Belt Forgiveness"

itself a welcome follow-up to yesterday's:

"Teacher Fired For Making Porn Movie 11 Years Ago"

European Sophistication

Today is apparently "Europe Day." Who knew? What does it all mean?

Mark Steyn believes that the political, cultural, and economic situation in Europe is not optimal. He opines:
To those on the American left who find Europe more “sophisticated”, you’re right: it’s sophisticated in the sense that a belle époque Parisian boulevardier is sophisticated – outwardly dapper and worldly, inwardly eaten away by syphilis and gonorrhea. It’s only a question of how many others the clapped-out bon vivant infects before his final collapse.
He explains:
The Europeans are not cockroaches. The cockroach is the one creature you can rely on to come crawling out of the rubble of the nuclear holocaust. Whereas the one thing that can be said with absolute confidence is that the Europeans will not emerge from under their own rubble.
He observes:
Europe is dying, demographically and economically. Take the onetime economic powerhouse of the Continent – Germany – and pick any of the usual indicators of a healthy advanced industrial democracy: Unemployment? The highest since the 1930s. House prices? Down. New car registration? Nearly 15 per cent lower in 2005 than in 1999. General nuttiness? A third of Germans under 30 think the United States government was responsible for the terrorist attacks of September 11th.
He becomes positively angry when he speculates:
It may be the defects of America’s Founders that help explain why for the US has lagged so far behind France in technological innovation, economic growth, military performance, standard of living, etc. Certainly, many Europeans agree that the US system of government is fundamentally flawed. Questioning George W Bush’s legitimacy because Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000, the then Prime Minister of France, Lionel Jospin, said he hoped Americans would “draw the lessons in time for the next election”.

What lessons would those be, M Jospin? Scrap the Electoral College? Move to a system of direct presidential election? Tear up the Constitution and rewrite it every generation, as the French do? Where are you up to now? Fifth Republic? Sixth Republic? Geez, get me an Al Gore lawyer: I need a manual recount of French constitutions.
Read his entire collection of thoughts HERE, and enjoy a happy and healthy Europe Day.

Monday, May 08, 2006

But You Wouldn't Want to Marry One

Inside Higher Ed ("the online source for news, opinion and career advice and services for all of higher education") reports today on the results from a study of "Ratemyprofessor.com." If you don't know what that is, here's how they describe themselves:
Students have turned the tables on their professors at RateMyProfessors.com (http://www.ratemyprofessors.com), the Internet's largest listing of college professor ratings. The free website offers a public review (and sometimes a public flogging) of university professors from across the United States, Canada and Ireland. Online since 1999, RateMyProfessors now contains over 4,200,000 ratings for professors from 5242 schools, with thousands of new ratings added each day.

"Every semester, millions of students use the site to help plan their class schedules, and improve the quality of their educations," says the site's president and founder, John Swapceinski. "When word of the website gets out at a university, the ratings grow like wildfire and students really begin to benefit from the information."

RateMyProfessors allows students to anonymously rate their professors in each of three categories: Helpfulness, Clarity, and Easiness. Now, students can see who the hottest professors are at their school, as well as read the top 15 funniest ratings, like rating number 5: "He will destroy you like an academic ninja."
Making lots of statistical information available simply begs for analysis of the data. Inside Higher Ed reports, in an article titled "'Hotness' and Quality":
James Felton, a professor of finance and law at Central Michigan University, and colleagues looked at ratings for nearly 7,000 faculty members from 370 institutions in the United States and Canada, and his verdict is: the hotter and easier professors are, the more likely they’ll get rated as a good teacher.

As far as students — or whoever is rating professors on the open Rate My Professor site — are concerned, nothing predicts a quality instructor like hotness.
In fact, while one might have thought that being an easy grader would be determinative (that is what they mean by "easy," isn't it? Please tell me it is.), it seems that "hotness" is more important.

And you thought your son was sleeping through his classes.

Via TaxProfBlog.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Tacky in 3 Hours

I can understand an interstate crime spree involving bank robbery, auto theft, or any number of confidence games. But there appears to be one in progress involving toilets.

The Associated Press reported on Wednesday:
SALISBURY, Md. -- A 20-year-old was found by a Wal-Mart employee in the bathroom Sunday night after he sat down and was glued to the toilet seat.

The man, whose name was not released by police, was taken to the hospital late Sunday night, said Lt. Cheryl Rantz of the Salisbury Police Department.

"The man had gone into the bathroom and sat down," she said. "He was banging on the wall when the employee came in."

Rantz said the man was treated and released.
But this appears to be the second case of a Maryland drive-by gluing in the last several months. In reporting the same story (with additional local color) the Delmarva Daily Times added:
In the last hour of April Fool's Day, an employee at Denny's restaurant near Route 50 found a customer in a similar predicament. The man was also treated and released from the hospital with injuries related to glue.

The investigation into that incident remains open, police said Monday.
And these are not isolated incidents.

Back in 2003, a fellow named Bob Dougherty became glued to the seat of a Boulder, Colorado Home Depot toilet (presumably one in the rest room, rather than on the showroom floor). Not impressed with Home Depot's response to his pleas for help, he sued the company in November, 2005, as reported HERE.

Aside from wondering whether "interstate transportation of butt-gluing paraphernalia" is a federal offense, I'm having trouble understanding the events leading up to the point where the victim becomes one with the seat.

If something like Super Glue was used, the stuff dries so fast that the application of the victim would have had to take place within seconds of the application of the glue. That seems pretty unlikely involving, as it does, the mental image of a poor fellow turning his back for a moment to drop trou, and not noticing the long arm that snakes in from the next stall, wielding a Super Glue impregnated swab. Not likely.

But if some sort of ordinary glue was used, then one must imagine that the victim remained firmly seated for some sufficiently long period of time for the glue to cure. Aside from wondering just how long that might take, and why anyone's visit ought to take quite that long, one must also assume that the victim never noticed -- for that entire considerable span of time -- that anything was amiss down under. Not likely, neither time-wise, nor sensation-wise.

We reject out of hand the use of one of THESE.

But, finally, we must ask what proportion of the adult population goes into a public restroom -- under whatever imperative -- and doesn't look before settling in. Not likely. It may be that I frequent the poorer class of public restrooms, but scoping out the immediate neighborhood prior to use has saved me from several unpleasant adventures.

What then are we to conclude? Hard to know.

But in the meantime: Keep watching the skies, my friends. Keep watching the skies.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The fruit never falls . . .

. . . . far from the tree:

Kennedy. Drunk. Auto accident. Lying. Coverup by cops.

More HERE.

[UPDATE] Before all you Drudge scoffers pile up, CNN is now reporting the same story, after Kennedy "issued a statement."

It must truly be pleasant to live in a make-believe world where it doesn't matter what you do, because all the cops are your friends. And there's an army of smart lawyers to talk your way out of worse trouble.

Maybe tonight I'll drive on up to Capitol Hill, get a snoot full, crash my car into a barricade, and see if the Capitol Police get somebody to drive me home.

It's times like these when folks realize that I'm one of those populist, farmer, libertarian Republicans, rather than one of those rich, Eastern banker Republicans.

[UPDATE -2 // Friday] This story just gets better and better. Someone on his staff read where taking ambien can make you sleep-walk. So THAT'S what must have happened. See HERE. But, of course, since his lips are moving, we know he's lying. See HERE.

Those Zany French

The Associated Press reports:
The French government is offering Zacarias Moussaoui the consular protection he deserves as a French national, but so far the al-Qaida conspirator has not asked for it, the French Embassy said Wednesday.

In a press communique, the embassy said it had dispatched the consul general from Washington and an embassy official to every session of the trial in US District Court at Alexandria, Virginia, south of Washington.

After seven days' deliberations, the jury brought in its verdict Wednesday that Moussaoui, a Frenchman of Moroccan extraction, should be jailed for life without parole for his part in the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
What a bunch of fun-loving jokers, eh?

The Polk Solution

Following the examples set by President James K. Polk, and his predecessor in office, John Tyler, with respect to the incorporation of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California into the Union, we propose a resolution of the festering problem of illegal immigration. Our solution would also immediately resolve the status of the nearly 11 million persons already illegally resident in the United States.

We propose that the Congress of the United States pass a resolution annexing Mexico, and dividing it up into an appropriate number of states and congressional districts.

Inasmuch as the overwhelming majority of "undocumented" aliens currently resident in the present United States will have come from one or another part of the annexed territory, they would immediately have the status of American citizens. Further, as the Constitution itself prohibits the placing of burdens on migration from one state of the Union to another, moving from, say, the new Commonwealth of Sonora into the State of New Mexico would no longer be a crime.

Problem solved.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Time to Plant Tomatoes

From The Tomato in America: Early History, Culture, and Cookery, by Andrew F. Smith:
On Sunday, January 30, 1949, CBS broadcast live over national radio a reenactment of Robert Gibbon Johnson eating the first tomato in America. This episode of the You Are There series depicted an event purportedly held in September 1820 in Salem, New Jersey. According to the CBS broadcast, prior to this date Americans considered the tomato poisonous. Johnson, one of Salem's most prominent citizens, had imported tomato seeds from South America and planted them in his garden. When they produced fruit-bearing vines, he announced that he intended to eat a tomato on the courthouse steps. From hundreds of miles around, spectators traveled to view the sensation.

On the appointed day, as the CBS version had it, hundreds of onlookers gathered to see the spectacle of Johnson eating a tomato, expecting him to fall frothing to the ground, then die a painful death.

Viking Kittens?

Yes. Of course. How foolish of us. Viking Kittens.

And a Little Chicken Shall Lead Them

From Savage Chickens, fingered by The Vestryman.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Virginia Postrel is Cool

Aside from the obvious, we like Ms. Postrel because she thinks of things we hadn't thought of, and then gives them away for free.

Today's example, a posting on her blog titled "Why (Legal or Illegal) Immigrants Are Better for Texas than California."

And the answer is:
Texas has no income tax, which means public services are funded by sales and property taxes. Everyone, regardless of income or legal status, pays sales and property taxes, either directly or indirectly through rent. California, by contrast, relies heavily on a very progressive income tax that doesn't fall on people who are paid off the books or who don't earn much money in the first place. Liberals who support immigration should rethink their love of progressive income taxes.
Her website is HERE.

Times Fires Reporter

The New York Times has announced that it has fired a reporter for having "undisclosed contact with the public." The paper explained that the unnamed person had "admitted to having disclosed Times Select protected information to non-paying readers."

Sources close to G&S (speaking on condition of anonymity) are reporting that the now former employee may be reporter Dana Priest, but this could not be confirmed. Liberal talking head Juan Williams called the disclosures, "Acts of unspeakable perfidy. She should be prosecuted for such malicious disregard of America's copyright laws."

The Times announced that the fired employee had failed "several" polygraph tests, and had, at one point, become agitated and disoriented when asked to recite from the Editor's Creed, the paper's statement of basic belief. As a condition of employment, all professional staff are required to sign an agreement that they will not permit themselves any thoughts contrary to the Creed.

Insiders speculated that she had stumbled over those passages setting out Paul Krugman's economic theories, which they characterized as "Really difficult. In one part, you're supposed to count to ten, but to substitute a random number for each digit. Hardly anyone but Paul gets that right every time."

Attorneys for the fired reporter announced that they were considering legal action against the Times.
Our client was defending the public's right to know. She firmly believes that readers should not be deprived of the thoughts of Paul Krugman or Maureen Dowd based solely on their economic status. Wisdom belongs to everyone. And the Times certainly knows that poor people are disproportionately members of racial, ethnic, sexual, temporal or differently-abled minorities. And if that's not racism, I don't know what is.
Pinch Sulzberger, Chairman and Publisher of The Times, said in a prepared statement, "The worst thing to come out of this scandal is that our readers never disclosed it to us." Sulzberger, who has become a newspaper legend after working his way up to his current position having started out life as the oldest son of the wealthy family that owns the newspaper, could not be reached for further comment.

Automatic Bob Herbert

"As the situation in Iraq moves from bad to worse, the president, based on his public comments, seems to be edging further and further from reality. The president continues to behave as if he's in denial about the war.

"Condoleezza Rice went on television to say with a straight face, "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

"Back in March 2004 President Bush had a great time displaying what he felt was a hilarious set of photos showing him searching the Oval Office for the weapons of mass destruction that hadn't been found in Iraq. It was a spoof he performed at the annual dinner of the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association."

Classic, eh? More of the work of hack columnist Bob Herbert, who skulks behind the pay-to-read wall of Times Select.

But not so.

While Herbert's columns (like Krugman's, and Dowd's, and so on, and so forth) have long since cooked themselves down into a malicious stew of misinformation, selective reporting, and frequent manifestations of Bush Derangement Syndrome, this particular passage was created by the Automatic Bob Herbert Column Generator.

Try it yourself. Amaze your friends. Become depressed at the realization that Herbert gets paid way more than you do, and yet you really can't tell the difference!

More Secret Religious Messages

In this iconic work, we see a masterly representation of the Last Supper, with Christ (on the left) sitting conveying His wisdom to His followers. We see Judas to His right, with the bag of silver coins at his pawside. In the background, we see Mary Magdalene entering carrying the tray with the sacramental drinks, to cleanse the feet of Jesus and quench the spiritual thirst of the Apostles. Notice the shocked and unbelieving look on the faces of the Apostles—all save for Judas who already knows the fate of his master. Bad Judas—bad! Bad!

Much more HERE. Warning: If you're drinking milk, it's likely to come out through your nose. Just saying.

Hat tip to relapsed catholic.

Monday, May 01, 2006

My Kind of Podcasting

"Podcasting," is the distribution, via the internet, of audio or video files.

Like blogging, the subject matter is as varied as the authors. There's Rocketboom (although Amanda thinks of what she does as more video blogging); there's James Lileks (he's mostly pretending to be doing an old radio show); or it can be actual news, interviews and the like, which Professor Reynolds has lately been doing.

But THIS is my kind of podcast. More HERE and HERE.

Más alrededor Nuestro Himno

Mark in Mexico provides a translation of the Mexican national anthem, and opines:
You know, one would think that a national anthem for a country whose armed forces have never won a war, much less a fair fight, would spend just a bit less rhetoric on war, blood and battle and a bit more on, oh, I dunno, the dove of peace, or lower water levels in the Rio Grand so as to facilitate wading across, or something.

"They Know I'll be Famous, but Still Act Like I Need Good Grades"

That's the last item on the list titled "Why My Parents are Hypocrites."

In addition to "pull up clover in garden," and "do taxes," the list "To Do - March, 2001" includes the notation, "Call Cat Psychic."

The list of what would constitute a "Dream Date" has "Not Too Tall," before wisely adding "Not Too Muscular (in case we get in a fight)."

All these, and more, from To-Do List.

Have it Our Way, at Burqua King

Don't miss Mark Steyn, reviewing Oriana Fallaci's latest book:
This resurgent Islam -- promoted by a malign alliance between Europe and the Saudis -- is a much better example of globalization than McDonald's. In Bangladesh and Bosnia, it's put indigenous localized Islams out of business and imposed a one-size-fits-all Wahhab-Mart version cooked up by some guy at head office in Riyadh. One way to reverse its gains would be with a kind of antitrust approach designed to restore all the less threatening mom 'n' pop Islams run out of town by the Saudis' Burqa King version of globalization.
He explains multiculturalism in practice thusly:
In other words, if you threaten to kill people often enough, it will be seen as part of your vibrant cultural tradition -- and, by definition, we're all cool with that. Celebrate diversity, etc. Our tolerant multicultural society is so tolerant and multicultural we'll tolerate your intolerant uniculturalism. Your antipathy to diversity is just another form of diversity for us to celebrate.
And, meantime, buy Ms. Fallaci's books, The Rage and The Pride and The Force of Reason. Anyone who's been hounded out of Europe by the Thought Police is worth reading.

Star Spangled Banner

We've all had the experience of sort-of listening to a conversation, and then later being alarmed because we can't put together the half-remembered segments into any coherent, sensible whole. A bit like that "telephone" game where one whispers a message to the next person in line; by the end, "What hath God wrought?" has become "Bug teeth got bought."

We feel very much like that with respect to what we are told is a controversy of some sort over some new version of the national anthem. Our confusion was not reduced when we learned that someone named "Wyclef Jean" was involved. Is that the fellow's actual name? Is there some asserted connection to John Wyclif? Has he ever heard of John Wyclif? (Apparently, some other guy, named "Pitbull," is also involved. We won't go there.)

We looked around the web and came up with the lyrics here. Of course, translation of the Spanish version back into English might not do it justice. (And why is the Spanish version twice as long as the English? Does it include advertisements not in the original?)

But, for serious students of this story, we came across an unbiased machine translation (via Babelfish) of the original English into Spanish, and then back into English. It goes like this:

The opinion of Or, you can consider, by the early light of the dawn, What we hailed so proud in flashing last of the twilight?

Of whom ample rays and shining stars, with the dangerous fight, On the embankments that we watched, so galantemente they flowed?

And the red fulgor of the rockets, the pumps that explode in air, It gave the test with the night that our flag still was there.

The opinion of Or, does that flag stars-star-spangled wave yet On the Earth of free and the home of the brave one?

We like it. But it's hard to dance to.

In truth, we like this translated national anthem much better:
Let us go children of the Fatherland, the day of glory arrived!

Against us of tyranny, the bloody standard is picked up, hear you in the Mugir campaigns these wild soldiers?

They come until in your arms to cut the throats of your sons, your partners!

Refrain: With the weapons, citizens, Form your battalions, let us go, go! How one impure blood Waters our furrows!