"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

Friday, March 30, 2007

The New Politics

When I was in High School, kids ran for student body president on a platform that usually included a pledge to put soda machines in the library, and to get permission for a smoking lounge for seniors. They campaigned in the hall between classes, passed out mimeographed flyers, and yammered away at that compulsory assembly where you also had to listen to the girl with funny glasses who was running for Secretary.

We never did get the soda machines, although we did get the smoking lounge, which gives you a clue as to how long ago this was.

The digital age, the personal computer, and the internet have -- they say -- changed the face of politics. Now, you can go over the principal's head directly to the student body, like Obama's folks did with this really clever anti-Hillary ad.

Hoquiam, Washington is a little town near the coast, about half-way between Portland, Oregon and Canada, the Great Retarded Giant to our North.

Matt Barrie is running for student body president. And he has a plan:

Via NRO.

p.s. He won.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

What does the alter have to do with it?

Mark Steyn correctly observes that this story has something for everyone. From The Australian:
HIV man 'tricked sex slave'

A MAN charged with deliberately spreading HIV allegedly tricked his lover - who had registered himself with the local council as a dog - into having unsafe sex on the basis he could not transmit the disease.

Melbourne Magistrates Court heard yesterday that Michael Neal, 48, accepted a dog tag from his lover as a "sign of commitment" in their master-slave relationship.

Mr Neal, who is said to have set up a webcam to broadcast his sexual activities live on the internet, allegedly "deliberately contracted" HIV by having sex on the altar of a Catholic Church with two men he knew were HIV-positive.

The divorced father of three is charged with setting out to spread the virus.

Mr Neal faces 121 charges, including intentionally spreading HIV, attempting to cause serious injury, rape and possessing child pornography.

A man who claims he contracted HIV from Mr Neal gave evidence yesterday at Mr Neal's committal hearing and told the court he registered himself as a dog with Port Phillip Council in Melbourne.

"I registered myself as a dog ... as a sign of commitment to my master, Michael," the man said in a witness statement tendered to the court.

The witness - who said he was usually such a stickler that he was known as "Mister Safe Sex" - said that he came under pressure to have unprotected sex with Mr Neal.

The court heard that Mr Neal had said his viral load levels - an indication of how active the virus is in the body - were so low that he could not transmit HIV. Mr Neal's view echoed that of his Victorian Aids Council doctor, Nicholas Medland, who was in correspondence with the Victorian Department of Human Services and telling officials that if Mr Neal's viral load levels could be kept low he would be "uninfectious".

The witness yesterday told the court he was in love with Mr Neal.

"I was pretty much besotted by him and under his spell, which made me very gullible and stupid," the man's statement said.

"If he had told me black was white I would have believed him."

The man said that after he contracted HIV, Mr Neal immediately "dumped" him, but attempted to retain emotional control over him.

"Michael basically said to me that he would always be my master and that if he wanted me he could have me any time," the court heard.

"He also said part of him would be in me forever.

"I think he was referring to the HIV he had given me."

The court heard the man, whose identity is protected by suppression orders, was one of about six men that Mr Neal dominated.

Mr Neal would call the men his 'bois" or his "dogs in the kennel", the court heard.

The witness said Mr Neal kept photographs of his sexual activity on his computer and set up a webcam to broadcast his conquests live online.

"It was like Michael was recording a history of his sexual conquests," the witness said.

The committal hearing continues today.
It just doesn't get better than that.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

By The Four Arms of Vishnu!

Fox and the Southland Corporation are apparently negotiating a deal that would temporarily convert some 7-Elevens into Kwik-E-Marts. The deal would be part of the promotion for The Simpsons Movie, due to be released July 27. It is reported that some of Kwik-E-Mart's signature items will be available.

Personally, we're holding out for a live appearance by the Squishee Lady.

More HERE, whence we shamelessly pilfered the pic.

Even more from Convenience Store News. ("Keeping the Industry Ahead of What's Next.")

[Editor's Note: Isn't everyone always "ahead" of whatever turns out to be "next?" I mean, you may not have an inkling as to what that might be, but no matter what it is, you were damn sure ahead of it. Right?]

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Some of us have been watching the excellent HBO series, Rome.

The current (second) season is considerably better than the first. Then, their problem was an inability to decide how they were going to portray Caesar. This season they've made clear choices regarding their presentation of both Antony and Octavian and, while the latter is certainly more controversial, both are wholly defensible, interesting, and consistent. Fans of I, Claudius (in either medium) will be surprised by Octavian, and astounded by Livia.

In any event, it seems that viewers have come to some interesting conclusions, which we endorse:

From Lileks.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

I Can't Be Sure

But I think that The Canadian, "Canada's New Socially Progressive and Cross-Cultural National Newspaper," is serious. No, really.

I could list their current front-page articles, but it will be more fun for you to just drop by and take a look for yourself. I'm still willing to be persuaded that it's actually a parody, but I don't think so.


Unclean! Unclean!

Dr. Weevil muses:
Powerline and other sites have been covering the story about Muslim employees at Minnesota Target stores refusing to ring up pork products. I’m wondering if it would be possible to get the message of tolerance across to the Muslim community with a tit-for-tat demonstration. Surely Target has a few Hindu employees. Could they be permitted or even encouraged to refuse to ring up beef for Muslim customers, just for a week or two, to make a point? I’m guessing that a town like Minneapolis has a fair percentage of vegetarians, too, including some of the stricter Hindus, and that some of them work at Target. Could they refuse to sell beef, chicken, and lamb to Muslim customers, again just for a week or two?
This is an idea whose time has come. Imagine:

environmentalist auto mechanics refusing to work on SUVs;
Zero Population Growth activists refusing to serve pregnant women;
Mailmen who support animal neutering refusing deliveries to homes harboring toms with scrotum intactum;
Barbers for Gay Rights refusing haircuts for married men;
Feminists refusing to do any damn thing for anyone at all.

There are real possibilities here.


Friday, March 23, 2007

The Enemy

Here in the hand-wringing, self-loathing U S of A, we get our panties in a bunch if an undergraduate, his studies disturbed by midnight revelers, shouts out his window:
Shut up, you water buffalo! If you want to party, there's a zoo a mile from here.
Since the studious speaker was a Jew, and the midnight party-animals were African-American-Persons, there was not the slightest doubt in the minds of the thought police that hate and bigotry were at the bottom of this. Not so, of course.

But there is such a thing as hate speech, and racial bigotry. And you can watch it daily on Palestinian television:

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Cheese-filled, bacon-wrapped, batter-dipped, deep-fried Hot Dogs

Just as you fear, and the whole darned recipe is HERE.

I desperately want some of these babies:

But that's only the beginning of the nasty goodness available at SUPERSIZEDMEALS.COM.

Neither children nor spouse should catch you surfing over there, and we'll just keep it between ourselves.

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Live a Cat-Neutral Life!

Hardly a day goes by without yet another story about some nutball whose trailer is overrun by 427 cats. So this may be an idea whose time has come: Cat Ownership Offsets!

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How Did We Miss This?

From Savage Chickens.


So Much Better Than the One With Lorne Green . . .


What's Really Disturbing . . . .

. . . is that I got most of these HTML jokes without looking them up.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Disturbing On So Many Levels

Via Lileks.


Mark Your Calendar


It's 75 Degrees in Sunny San Diego

If you want to know how warm it is outside, you look at the thermometer. That's a fact that has meaning. Forty-four degrees means something. Ninety-five degrees means something else.

But in the great Global Warming [movealongnothingtoseehere] Debate, I've always been troubled by trying to understand how one could possibly overcome the fact that, for example, National Airport (the official weather measuring point for Washington, D.C.), was in the middle of nowhere 50 years ago, but is today surrounded by development. Surely that has a great effect on the temperatures recorded there. And how the heck do we know (and within a few degrees) what the temperature was at this particular bend of the Patawomeke River (as John Smith's map had it) in 1650?

Even worse: What does "global temperature" mean? Apparently, it doesn't mean hardly anything useful.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Blessed are the Merciful

"In its relation to wrongdoing, mercy is retrospective; it looks upon sins already committed and is ever disposed to forgive. But progressives (always falsely, sometimes mischievously) orient mercy toward the future, turning it into a grant of permission to sin tomorrow. For a man to forgive an unpaid debt is an exercise of the virtue of mercy. For a confessor to tell his penitent, "your sins are forgiven; go and sin no more," is an act of sacramental mercy. But the progressive priest who says, "our compassionate God won't mind if you intend to commit such-and-such a sin," performs an act not of mercy but of subversion."

More here: Jesus Can Handle It.


Spring, 2007


First, There Was The Wheel . . . .

Then, there was the can opener, disposable diapers, butane lighters, oreo cookies, the automobile self-starter.

And now there's this:

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Monday, March 19, 2007

She's Resting

The Associated Press reports:
LONDON (AP) - A first-class passenger on a flight from Delhi to London awoke [to] find the corpse of a woman who had died in the economy cabin being placed in a seat next to him, British Airways said Monday.

The economy section of the flight was full, and the cabin crew needed to move the woman and her grieving family out of that compartment to give them some privacy, the airline said.

The first-class passenger, Paul Trinder, told the Sunday Times newspaper that he was sleeping during a February flight from India and woke up when the crew placed the dead woman in an empty seat near him.
Only a really bad person would be reminded of this:


Attack of the Metrosexuals, or
Why Don't Cappuccino Machines Steam Al Gore?

From the National Ledger:

The latest point of emphasis in the global warming movement is that cattle farming endangers the planet by producing too much methane. So now, steaks and hamburgers are classified as instruments of destruction, along with large vehicles, lawn mowers, and charcoal grills. It can't be much longer before cowboy movies, cigars and hockey are held to be enemies of the earth as well.


Many environmentalists believe that the earth is a living organism, personified by the Greek goddess Gaia. Conveniently, it turns out that Gaia is a shrew, who demands that her men be reduced to henpecked, metrosexual noodles. Manliness makes Gaia angry, and we wouldn't like her when she's angry, because she'll turn into a green monster and start smashing everything to bits. Hell hath no fury like an earth goddess exposed to excessive cattle-produced methane emissions.

Wouldn't it be more plausible if a few items like styling gel, latte makers and tofu were said to destroy the planet as well? Perhaps, but that would not serve the purpose of expanding the base of the global warming movement. Since no liberal cause can produce much support on its own, any one of them must ally itself with all other liberal causes, so that they can pool their resources.

That's why it's almost impossible to distinguish the original purpose of a left-wing political rally. What starts out being an 'anti-war' demonstration will invariably become an convention of environmentalists, gun control advocates, pro-abortionists, animal rights activists, racial Balkanists, and outright Communists, because that's the only way to prevent the size of the crowd from being laughably small. Therefore, environmental alarmists must incorporate other causes within their own, in order to keep their core of support relatively large and energized. Clearly, they've determined their alliance with the feminists to be vital to these ends.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

If I'm Not Back Before Sundown . . . .

Do you suppose the New York Times issues GPS devices to its editorial writers, to assist them in finding their way back should they become lost in this endless hall of mirrors? They certainly should:
In partisan Republican circles, the pursuit of voter fraud is code for suppressing the votes of minorities and poor people. By resisting pressure to crack down on “fraud,” the fired United States attorneys actually appear to have been standing up for the integrity of the election system.
Because it's not like partisan Democrats would ever steal votes or anything.

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Old Mohammed Had a Farm . . . .

If I tried to explain this video clip from Al Aqsa TV (the Hamas television station) broadcast on March 8, 2007, you wouldn't believe me.

You might first want to review this fawning piece on the station done last year by the useful idiots at NPR. (Money quote: "But to many Israelis, Hamas TV is just another attempt by an unreconstructed terrorist group to whitewash its image." You think? Those damned Jews just can't get along with anyone.)

But if you're willing to obtain information other than from the Ministry of Truth, you might want to see it for yourself.

Have a nice day.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Ever Onward and Upward

Six of one . . . .

Half a dozen of the other . . . .

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Polar Bear Paid to Look Dead!

Bear: It was a beautiful sunny day. Really warm--just the way we polar bears like it. I was lying on an ice floe, catching some rays, thinking of maybe nipping out to get a baby seal for lunch, when this camera crew approached me in a boat.

ET: What did they say to you?

Bear: They asked me if I wanted to be in a movie. I said, what kind of movie? You know, cause I don't do nature programming. No money in that. They said it was some big deal Hollywood feature film, and offered me several dozen pounds of fresh salmon. I said sure, what the hell. I've always wanted to act. Especially since my cousin made it big in New York. Three shows a day at the zoo, and all the fish he can eat. Not bad. His place is nice too. A little small, maybe, but that's Manhattan for you.

ET: So what did they want you to do?

Bear: Well it began as a major part. Growling and everything. To be honest, I'm a bit disappointed that it was cut from the final movie. They opted for some bear animation instead. My agent had a lot to say about that I can tell you. And it had taken, like, days to shoot. They had me doing everything: jumping off the floe to rescue my "cub"--a real brat of an actor--and fighting other bears, you know, for survival and whatnot. But mostly what they wanted was a lot of shots of me sleeping on the floe, playing dead.

ET: You weren't really dead.

Bear: No. It's called acting.

ET: But what about that heart-wrenching photo for the movie's publicity--of a bear howling next to its mate...

Bear: That was me. Actually I was howling, "Dinner time!"

Read the whole sad story HERE.

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Yes . . . , well . . .

From Curbed, via NRO: "This is why we'll never win against the Islamofascists."


Donatello Does Machines . . . .

To a certain group of boys of a certain age (now young men, as a matter of fact), it doesn't hardly get better than this. IMDB link HERE. Warner Brothers "official movie" site HERE.

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March 15

Plutarch writes: "A certain seer warned Caesar to be on his guard against a great peril on the day of the month of March which the Romans call the Ides; and when the day had come and Caesar was on his way to the senate-house, he greeted the seer with a jest and said: 'Well, the Ides of March are come," and the seer said to him softly: "Ay, they are come, but they are not gone.'"


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Are They Playing Basketball?

I am Orso'Grande. Draw close, children, and listen with care. I will tell you what you need to know about this year's NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament to sound smart.

This year the selection committee did a poor job with the mid majors, inviting two fewer than last year. To add insult to injury, they then scheduled Butler and Old Dominion – both teams that could be this year’s George Mason – to play each other in the first round. Good going, morons.

And if the plebs have been treated most foully, the royalty has its own problems. This year’s No. 1 seeds have their work cut out for them.

Florida, for example, will be rooting for Purdue to win their first-round game against Arizona; else the Gators get the Wildcats in the second round. And that would mean facing a Hall of Fame coach, and an oddly underachieving, over-talented, Arizona squad. Where Purdue is a solid #9 seed, Arizona has the talent of a #2 or #3, and if Lute can get them to play, Florida is in trouble.

Kansas, on the other hand, has a different problem. No matter which set of Wildcats is their second-round opponent (the Kentucky variety or the Villanova species), the Jayhawks may have trouble, but particularly so if those from east of the Appalachians show up. In contrast to Arizona, Villanova is an overachieving team on the rise, with a freshman point guard (Scottie Reynolds) entirely capable of dropping 40 points on you, no matter how distinguished your hoops lineage. And he’s supported by the inside/outside play of 5th year senior Curtis Sumpter. Should ‘Nova advance, then look for Kansas to be in a dog fight (a cat fight?). Should Kansas make it to the round of eight, their slated to meet UCLA a team that, for the second year in a row, won’t have to leave California to make it to the Final Four.

North Carolina doesn’t much care whether their second-round date is Marquette or Michigan State, since either dance partner pairs them with a team that has great guard play and good outside shooters, both qualities that make that game an upset waiting to happen. But if the Tar Heels escape, they’re likely to find Texas, led by runaway Player-of-the-Year Kevin Durant, leading a tough Texas team. (And, no, much as the Gentleman Farmer might like to see it otherwise, Texas won’t be upset by New Mexico State, unless Reggie Theus suits up for the Aggies.)

Ohio State also has a difficult time with potential games against Tennessee, a team that also shoots the lights out from long range, and perhaps a later matchup against Texas A & M, effectively at home in San Antonio.

One other thing to remember is that a team’s seeding – like a woman’s age – is just a number. And that’s particularly true in this year’s tournament, where Southern Illinois, Maryland and Virginia are all #4 seeds. Does anyone believe any of those teams play on the same level as Durant & Co. down at Texas? Let’s instead compare UVa to #7-seeded UNLV.

The Cavaliers played only the 11th hardest schedule in the (unbalanced scheduled) ACC, and still went 2 and 3 in their last five games, with losses to NC State, Wake Forest, and Miami. Only State is still playing, and they’re in the NIT. While we’ve seen flashes of brilliance from their guards, Singletary and Reynolds, their inside play is extremely weak. And, looking closer, you’ll find that their best player (Reynolds) shoots less than 40% from the field. This is a team with losses to Appalachian State, to Stanford (at University Hall) and by no less than 24 to Utah. The only impressive road win the Cavs have was in College Park over the Terrapins.

UNLV, on the other hand, finished in the top 15 in the R.P.I, won at Texas Tech, won at Nevada and beat BYU twice. And those three teams are now doing what? They’re all still playing, seeded 10, 7, and 8, respectively.

All that being said, we should be in for a great tournament, filled with upsets because of teams that have been seeded too high, while others have been seeded too low. The team to take against the field, of course, is Florida, looking to repeat as national champions. And the two players who clearly have the most on their shoulders are Alando Tucker from Wisconsin, who has been struggling lately, and Kevin Durant, who must carry his team every game in order for the Longhorns to make a run.

Looking to sweeten your brackets and amaze your friends by picking the upsets you need to get ahead in your office pool? You’ve come to the right place.

This year’s biggest first round upset will be Albany over UVA.

Other plausible major (more than a 10 vs. 7) upsets:

#13 Davidson over #4 Maryland
#11 Winthrop over #6 Notre Dame
#12 Illinois over #5 Va Tech
#11 VCU over #6 Duke
#12 Arkansas over #5 USC
#11 Stanford over #6 Louisville

Want to know who'll still be around and playing a week from tomorrow, in the round of 16? Stay tuned -- I might just tell you.


Political Prosecutors

In the form of a lambasting of this morning's breathless story in the Los Angeles Times, Patterico has a pretty good roundup of what we know about the reasons the administration fired eight United States Attorneys. It looks like there's not much to work with, even for those afflicted with Bush Derangement Syndrome. That is, there appears no evidence whatever that anyone was fired because they either pursued for failed to pursue cases with direct political implications, such as official corruption.

As a rule of thumb, if someone must selectively quote the evidence to make their point, then they don't have much of a case. And that's just what the LA Times does with the internal emails recently turned over to Congress.

The Albuquerque Tribune has some better background on what is billed as the "worst" case, that of New Mexico's U.S. Attorney, David Iglesias. Today's Washington Post has a reasonable account of what is known, which sticks pretty much to the facts. They've even provided links to copies of the emails themselves. You know, the sort of thing newspapers do. Go figure.

But while it thus appears that there's not much to this controversy, it may be profitable to consider the principles generating it. What is of concern is the notion that prosecutors ought not to choose their cases and their targets for investigation for political reasons, or from political motives. A noble sentiment. But then again, half the political establishment thought it was a fabulous idea to appoint Patrick Fitzgerald and point him at the White House, and the other half was enthusiastically in favor of the same thing when Ken Starr was launched at the Clintons. So political prosecutors, and politically motivated prosecutions, are good ideas sometimes, but bad ideas other times?

Or what?

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Ideal Story

From Kentucky (why are we not surprised?): Waffle House, cat fight, high-speed chase. THIS STORY has everything.

And it's inspirational, as well. I have now set as one of my goals the running-up of a $100 Waffle House tab.

[Ed. Note: The Editorial Staff has insisted that we explain that those are chili cheese hash browns, a Waffle House specialty. GF was of the opinion that anyone not familiar with that particular delicacy did not merit correction.]

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Everyone at the New York Times is an Idiot

Somewhere there's an assistant professor of sociology or journalism (excuse me, "Human Communications"), and somewhere else there's an institute, a foundation, or a group with grant money, and the two need to come together so that there can be a formal academic study of this pressing question: Is it possible for the New York Times to write about anything without being gratuitously obnoxious?

We think not.

But until that day, we direct your attention to a discussion which includes the Times, Texas barbecue (not to be confused with real barbecue), beer, coffee, John Wayne, and guys with pony tails:
It's pathetic enough when guys brag about how much beer they've been drinking. These guys are bragging about drinking coffee, like it's 1700 and it's the very latest from Istanbul.

Do they realize that they sound like children bragging about how late they stayed up the night they had a babysitter?
From RLC, where it should be read in its entirety.

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Fight! Fight!

Here's the original which, if I am not mistaken, first ran during the Super Bowl:

Famously, IBM urged its employees to "THINK!"


That's Not Nice

As she does so often, Peggy Noonan hits the nail on the head:
We tie ourselves in knots trying to explain why it is, or why it isn't, always or occasionally, helpful or destructive to use various epithets, or give full voice to our resentments. But the simple wisdom of Grandma-- "That's not nice"--is a good guide. (I should say that when I was a kid, grandmas were older people who had common sense. They had observed something of people, had experienced life directly, not only through books or TV. Almost all of them had religious faith, and had absorbed the teachings of the Bible. Almost all of them sat quietly at the kitchen table, and even when I was a kid they were considered old fashioned. They were often ethnic and had accents. As a matter of fact, all of them were.)


I think the atmosphere of political correctness is now experienced by normal people--not people who speak on TV, but normal people--as so oppressive, so demanding of constant self-policing, that when someone says something in public that is truly not nice, not nice at all, they can't help but feel that they are witnessing a prison break.
As long as political correctness reigns, the more antic among us will try to break out with great streams of Tourette's-like forbidden words and ideas.

We should forbid less and demand more. We should exert less pressure from without and encourage more discipline from within. We should ask people to be dignified, hope they'll be generous, expect them to be fair. When they're not, we should correct them. But we shouldn't beat them to a pulp. Because that's not nice.
Read the whole thing, HERE.

And Jerry Mathers, as The Beaver . . . . .

More on Leave it to Beaver.

All-American kids in an All-American family. The Beav always got into trouble, but dad always had some good advice, and a clear lesson, from every adventure. No drugs, no teen pregnancy, nothing that couldn't be fixed with a little common sense.

Eddie Haskell is to this day the prime example of a particularly phoney, smarmy suck-up. In the show, however, it was always clear that his act didn't fool any of the real grown-ups.

Jerry Mathers (no relation to Eminem) is just about the same age as your humble and obedient servant.

There were a raft of these shows in the 1950's and early 1960's, with The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet as the prototype. (Oddly, Jerry Mathers appears in one episode during that show's first season.)

My favorite as a kid was The Donna Reed Show and, as intended by the producers, I had a crush on Shelley Fabares. In this All-American family, dad was no less authoritative, but was not the sole source of wisdom (and at least we knew what the heck he did for a living).

I've often wondered if it wasn't the prevalence of these shows -- rather than real life -- that has led morons to think the era dull or predictable. Wondering whether the Soviets might drop the Big One during recess was not a settling thought. We had air raid drills to remind us not to be complacent. In retrospect, we know nothing bad happened, and I guess we think it probably had something to do with boring, reliable, wise, amusing Ozzie Nelson (Rutgers, '27). In real life, Ozzie was a sharp business man, who made himself a fortune.

It wasn't until many years later that I realized Donna Reed was a stone fox.


Friday, March 09, 2007

How Green Were the Nazis?

Today the finalists for this year's The Bookseller/Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year were announced by The Bookseller magazine. You can weigh in with your own opinion by participating in their online poll (lower right corner). The winner will be announced on Friday the 13th (of April), just before the opening of the London Book Fair.

Last year's winner was People Who Don’t Know They’re Dead: How They Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to Do About It, by Gary Leon Hill (Red Wheel). Joel Rickett, deputy editor of The Bookseller, said:
While rival literary awards like the Costas and the Orange Broadband Prize have sold out, The Bookseller/Diagram Prize has refused all offers of corporate sponsorship for 29 years. It continues to celebrate the bizarre, the strange, and the simply odd. This year’s shortlist shows that despite publishers cutting back their lists, literary diversity continues to flourish.
This year's six finalists are:

How Green Were the Nazis? ,
edited by Franz-Josef Bruggemeier, Mark Cioc and Thomas Zeller (Ohio University Press);

D. Di Mascio’s Delicious Ice Cream: D. Di Mascio of Coventry: An Ice Cream Company of Repute, with an Interesting and Varied Fleet of Ice Cream Vans,
by Roger De Boer, Harvey Francis Pitcher, and Alan Wilkinson (Past Masters);

The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification,
by Julian Montague (Harry N Abrams);

Tattooed Mountain Women and Spoon Boxes of Daghestan,
by Robert Chenciner, Gabib Ismailov, Magomedkhan Magomedkhanov and Alex Binnie (Bennett & Bloom);

Proceedings of the Eighteenth International Seaweed Symposium,
edited by Robert J Anderson, Juliet A Brodie, Edvar Onsoyen and Alan T Critchley (Kluwer);

Better Never To Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence,
by David Benatar (Clarendon Press).


These Guys Make a Persuasive Case

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How Do They Really Feel?

"Though religious references have appeared in past [editions of the high school Year Book], Principal Tim Halloran said it's the schools' practice to prohibit any references to alcohol, gangs, drugs and religion."

More HERE. Principal Tim is a brave man to so boldly speak truth to power, and risk the ravening wrath of the Christianist Theocrats.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

News From San Franselma

From the Contra Costa Times comes this inspiring story regarding diversity and cultural sensitivity in California's beautiful Bay area:
With schools under increasing pressure to improve test scores, Mount Diablo High School has resorted to a new way to motivate students: by race.

The Concord campus on Friday held separate assemblies for students of different ethnicities to talk about last year's test results and the upcoming slew of state exams this spring.

Jazz music and pictures of Martin Luther King greeted African-American students, whereas Filipino, Asian and Pacific Islander students saw flags of their foreign homelands on the walls. Latinos and white students each attended their own events, too, complete with statistics showing results for all ethnicities and grade level.

"They started off by saying jokingly, 'What up, white people,'" said freshman Megan Wiley, 14. Teachers flashed last year's test scores and told the white crowd of students to do better for the sake of their people.


Principal Bev Hansen said she held the student assemblies by ethnicity this year and last year to avoid one group harassing another based on their test scores. The 1,600-student campus, one of the most ethnically diverse high schools in the Mt. Diablo school district, is roughly half Latino, 30 percent white and 15 percent black, with Asian nationalities rounding out the mix.


Ultimately, however, Hansen said she did not know why parents seemed so concerned. The state has reported scores based on race for years. The school assemblies simply reflected those same categories in reporting the numbers to students, she said.

"In this country, race is a very uncomfortable topic, and it's time we got over it," Hansen said.
A sentiment we can all get behind, methinks. Perhaps further progressive multi-cultural thinking will lead to the conclusion that entirely separate schools for Asians, for Latinos, for Blacks and for Aryans is an even more advanced and sensitive way to go. It’s surprising that hasn’t been tried.

Oh, wait . . . .

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The Verdict on the Valerie Plame Investigation: Guilty

Proving once again that, rather than being a mouthpiece for reactionary "progressives" and psychotically deluded "reality-based" lefties, the Washington Post weighs in with its verdict, following that of the jury in Scooter Libby's perjury case:
THE CONVICTION of I. Lewis Libby on charges of perjury, making false statements and obstruction of justice was grounded in strong evidence and what appeared to be careful deliberation by a jury. The former chief of staff to Vice President Cheney told the FBI and a grand jury that he had not leaked the identity of CIA employee Valerie Plame to journalists but rather had learned it from them. But abundant testimony at his trial showed that he had found out about Ms. Plame from official sources and was dedicated to discrediting her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV. Particularly for a senior government official, lying under oath is a serious offense. Mr. Libby's conviction should send a message to this and future administrations about the dangers of attempting to block official investigations.

The fall of this skilled and long-respected public servant is particularly sobering because it arose from a Washington scandal remarkable for its lack of substance. It was propelled not by actual wrongdoing but by inflated and frequently false claims, and by the aggressive and occasionally reckless response of senior Bush administration officials -- culminating in Mr. Libby's perjury.

Mr. Wilson was embraced by many because he was early in publicly charging that the Bush administration had "twisted," if not invented, facts in making the case for war against Iraq. In conversations with journalists or in a July 6, 2003, op-ed, he claimed to have debunked evidence that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger; suggested that he had been dispatched by Mr. Cheney to look into the matter; and alleged that his report had circulated at the highest levels of the administration.

A bipartisan investigation by the Senate intelligence committee subsequently established that all of these claims were false -- and that Mr. Wilson was recommended for the Niger trip by Ms. Plame, his wife. When this fact, along with Ms. Plame's name, was disclosed in a column by Robert D. Novak, Mr. Wilson advanced yet another sensational charge: that his wife was a covert CIA operative and that senior White House officials had orchestrated the leak of her name to destroy her career and thus punish Mr. Wilson.

The partisan furor over this allegation led to the appointment of special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald. Yet after two years of investigation, Mr. Fitzgerald charged no one with a crime for leaking Ms. Plame's name. In fact, he learned early on that Mr. Novak's primary source was former deputy secretary of state Richard L. Armitage, an unlikely tool of the White House. The trial has provided convincing evidence that there was no conspiracy to punish Mr. Wilson by leaking Ms. Plame's identity -- and no evidence that she was, in fact, covert.

It would have been sensible for Mr. Fitzgerald to end his investigation after learning about Mr. Armitage. Instead, like many Washington special prosecutors before him, he pressed on, pursuing every tangent in the case. In so doing he unnecessarily subjected numerous journalists to the ordeal of having to disclose confidential sources or face imprisonment. One, Judith Miller of the New York Times, lost several court appeals and spent 85 days in jail before agreeing to testify. The damage done to journalists' ability to obtain information from confidential government sources has yet to be measured.

Mr. Wilson's case has besmirched nearly everyone it touched. The former ambassador will be remembered as a blowhard. Mr. Cheney and Mr. Libby were overbearing in their zeal to rebut Mr. Wilson and careless in their handling of classified information. Mr. Libby's subsequent false statements were reprehensible. And Mr. Fitzgerald has shown again why handing a Washington political case to a federal special prosecutor is a prescription for excess.

Mr. Fitzgerald was, at least, right about one thing: The Wilson-Plame case, and Mr. Libby's conviction, tell us nothing about the war in Iraq.
Today's editorial in the New York Times, on the other hand, includes not a single paragraph without at least one lie: Not a difference of opinion or of interpretation, mind you, but statements well documented to constitute falsehoods. Quite remarkable.


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Radical Christianists

Radical fundamentalist Christianists are at it again, seeking to mix their particular form of religious bigotry with politics, as part of their attempt to impose a fascist theocracy on the rest of us. You'd think these terrorists would have the good sense to lay low since their Muslim fellow-travelers were accused of that September 11 thing.

Read the whole terrifying truth, HERE.

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Why Can't We All Just Quietly Kill Ourselves?

By way of selling his latest book, America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It, Mark Steyn suggested to his publisher that he appear not only in predictably sympathetic forums, but also in those guaranteed to be hard-core anti-American, like NPR and PBS. His publicist supposedly demurred and, when Steyn objected that he was tough enough to take the heat, was corrected:
"I didn’t mean that,” she said. “I meant going on those shows doesn’t sell a lot of books.” As she sees it, your nutso right-wing author does ten minutes on WZZZ Hate-Talk AM at three in the morning and the local Borders sells out the next day. Whereas he’s interviewed for an hour by Terry Gross on NPR, and it sends precisely two listeners out to their bookstore, and only to buy that Andrew Sullivan doorstopper on everything that’s gone wrong with conservatism.
Nonetheless, Steyn persisted and bearded the lion in his den. He doesn't mind the conspiracy fellows, who've proved in their own back yard, to their own satisfaction, that the World Trade Center was brought down by Mossad, using sophisticated vinegar/baking soda bombs. Nor do the blood-for-oil ladies trouble him. He is, instead, "befuddled" by the "pacifists":
. . . the callers who aren’t foaming and partisan but speak in almost eerily calm voices, like patient kindergarten teachers, and say things like “I find it very offensive that your guest can use language that’s so hierarchical” - i.e., repressive Muslim dictatorships are worse than pluralist western democracies - and “We are confronting violence with violence, when what we need is non-violent conflict resolution that’s binding on all sides” – i.e. …well, i.e. whatever.

Half the time these assertions are such enervated soft-focus blurs of passivity, there’s nothing solid enough to latch on to and respond to. But, when, as they often do, they cite Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi, I point out that we’re not always as fortunate to find ourselves up against such relatively benign enemies as British imperial administrators or even American racist rednecks. King and Gandhi’s strategies would not have been effective against fellows who gun down classrooms of Russian schoolchildren, or self-detonate at Muslim weddings in Amman, or behead you live on camera and then release it as a snuff video, or assassinate politicians and as they’re dying fall to the ground and drink their blood off the marble. Come to that, King and Gandhi’s strategies would not have been effective against the prominent British Muslim who in a recent debate at Trinity College, Dublin announced that the Prophet Mohammed’s message to infidels was “I am here to slaughter you all.” Good luck with the binding non-violent conflict resolution there.


On the whole I prefer those Americans who tune out the foreign-policy bores for wall-to-wall Anna Nicole Smith coverage: at least they’ve got an interest – ask them about the latest scoop on the identity of the father of her child and they’ll bring you up to speed. By contrast, a large number of elite Americans are just as parochial and indifferent to the currents of the age; the only difference is that they choose to trumpet it as a moral virtue. And you can’t avoid the suspicion that, far from having “a lot of work to do”, a lot of us are heavily invested in a belief in “pacifism” because it involves doing no work at all – apart from bending down once every couple of years and slapping the “CO-EXIST” bumper sticker on your new car.
Read the whole thing. H/T to relapsed catholic.

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The Great McGonigle

Every entertainer you've ever seen who performs any kind of comedy has studied everything done by W. C. Fields frame-by-frame. Here is the famous juggling scene from the film, The Old Fashioned Way (it's 1934, and there's no digital editing, no special effects, and splicing two pieces of film together well nigh impossible without it showing):

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Monday, March 05, 2007

No Comment

Some jokes write themselves, and some phonies just can't help themselves.

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Kara Lost?

The hottest, stone-cold Viper driver in the Fleet killed? We don't think so. Don't believe everything you see.

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Sheep Are Revolting

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Sure: Blame the Donkey

Thomas Aloysius McCarney with an address in south Galway was charged with cruelty to animals, lewd and obscene behaviour, and with being a danger to himself when he appeared before the court on Friday. He was also charged with damage to a mini-bar in the room, but this charge was later dropped when the defendant said that it was the donkey who caused that damage.

Want to know more? Are you SURE?


Saturday, March 03, 2007

I Don't Think This Franchise Will Catch On

Learn more HERE.


Great Moments in History

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Friday, March 02, 2007

We're All Gay Now

At the 2006 Golden Globe awards we learned that it was just fine for a man to fondle a strange woman's breasts, so long as he was gay. (And not just any old breasts, but Scarlett Johansson's.)

We now learn that if you're gay and work for the New York Times, it's way ok to write snarky articles making jokes that rely upon the comparison of women to pieces of meat.

Both, don't you know, because it's all so . . . . what?

So: Given that no less an authority than the Bulletin of the Unreformed Church of Secular Orthodoxy has now granted its nihil obstat to boob honking and pretty girl objectification, we've decided that we're gay. And not just a little gay, but really, really gay. So get ready, girls.

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We All Feel Better Now

Mike Nifong, the Durham (NC) district attorney responsible for falsely indicting four Duke lacrosse players for rape, and making sure they were convicted in the press, has now responded to an inquiry from the North Carolina bar association, which is considering whether he should be disciplined. It's all so clear now:
The lacrosse case arose "during the last few weeks of a hotly-contested Democratic Party primary in which I was seeking to retain my office," he said. "I was not always able to give the case my full attention."
Lawyers have long fallen back on alcoholism to explain everything from missed court dates, to stolen trust funds, to sexual relations with their clients. Ditto movie stars. A public confession to being a booze hound, a month in posh rehab, and it's back to business.

But this excuse should henceforth be referred to simply as a "Nifong." When the electrician fixes that plug, and now your lights go out when you use the garbage disposal, or the school bus driver runs off the road, or your surgeon operates on the wrong kidney, they can just explain, "Sorry! I was not able to give my work my full attention."

From the Raleigh News & Observer.


Everybody Panic!

Retreating polar ice caps are a sure sign of human-induced global warming. Everyone knows this. Those who disagree are the same sort of flat-Earthers as those who deny the Holocaust. The only real question is how this trend can be reversed, and how quickly the population of the United States, and other developed countries, can be trained in pre-Industrial Revolution technology.

But it now seems that the problem is far worse than even the most pessimistic environmentalists thought, at least according to National Geographic. It really is time to give up your SUV.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

This is How the World Ends

Lileks is in trouble: "It’s another day without the internets. Man, it feels like 1993 all over again. Sure, I have a computer, but it doesn’t know anything I hadn’t told it."

More Violence From Fundamentalists

"Widespread civil unrest erupted today in cities throughout California as masked Christian anarchists smashed store windows and hurled rocks and bottles at police and national guard troops trying to restore order. The protesters were expressing unhappiness with director and atheist James Cameron’s assertion in his new documentary, "The Lost Tomb of Christ," that an ossuary discovered in Israel contained the actual bones of Jesus Christ, thus contradicting the biblical account his resurrection and ascension. Cameron also claims the ossuary may have contained the bones of Jesus' "wife and child."

"Outraged Christian demonstrators insisted such claims were "blasphemous" and vowed vengeance on all those who made them."Death to the great Satan Cameron," repeatedly shouted Sister Mary Elizabeth Seton, a Roman Catholic nun in full habit, as she hurled Molotov cocktails into a Blockbuster Video Outlet in Los Angeles. "We will seek out the infidel Cameron, his entire family and send them straight to hell! Ave Maria!" Another protester, Brother Juniper, a Franciscan monk, called for the "beheading" of all those seen entering theaters where Cameron's film was showing. He and other monks were later seen overturning and torching a police car."

Read the whole story HERE.

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Logic Offsets

We've been silent on the alGore electric bill dustup, mostly because we think it would be unfair to pile on.

No, really.

We've actually been more interested in the response from Planet Gore that it's much ado about nothing, inasmuch as the ex-Veep buys "carbon offsets" and "green power."

We speculated that we knew what "carbon offsets" might be (we were wrong), and we were pretty sure that we knew what "green power" probably was (we were right). But we were equally sure that buying green power couldn't possibly actually accomplish anything. Please recall that our undergraduate education is in economics, and we have an advanced degree in bullshit-detection. As to green power, someone else has boiled it down rather well:
Buying "green power" is just rearranging the deck chairs, buying power that would have been in the energy mix anyway. It's like buying the green M&M's when no one else cares what the color of their M&M's are.
But we assumed that "carbon offsets" were some sort of market or trading system which would permit al Gore to produce more methane, by paying someone else to use less methane than that other fellow would have produced. How this might be accomplished was pretty murky. Would Al buy a year's supply of Beano for some poor Mexican family? Or maybe pay some kid who'd then agree to ride his bike to school for a month rather than drive his Range Rover. But we were wrong.

We learned what this scam actually involves from NPR, although they (surprise!) didn't seem to recognize what they were actually saying. While it's far more complicated, it's all about giving money to a firm that's doing something thought to be environmentally friendly. That is, al Gore uses as much coal-fired juice as he wants, so long as he passes over enough long green to somebody who's promoting compact florescent bulbs, or who promises to plant a tree.

Why Al oughtn't to contribute to such efforts -- and then endure the conservation hardships himself that he so quickly demands be imposed on the rest of us -- isn't readily apparent. But there's a disturbing similarity here to so much other Rich Liberal blather, as Ed Morrissey recognized:
. . . purchasing offsets only means that Gore doesn't want to make the same kind of sacrifices that he's asking other families to make. He's using a modern form of indulgences in order to avoid doing the penance that global-warming activism demands of others. It means that the very rich can continue to suck up energy and raise the price and the demand for electricity and natural gas, while families struggle with their energy costs and face increasing government regulation and taxation. It's a regressive plan that Gore's supporters would decry if the same kind of scheme were applied to a national sales tax, for instance.
This is the same old same old: Teddy Kennedy doesn't care how high your income taxes are, because he's already rich, having inherited money made back when rates were low, and there was a tremendous markup on smuggled Canadian Club.

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