"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, December 31, 2010

Chris Christie Hits the Bigtime

A "liberal" group has set up a website called "Where's Chris Christie?" and, lest there be any confusion that it's purpose is to help you get a look at the New Jersey Governor, follows with the subtitle, "Everywhere but solving problems in New Jersey..." You know you've hit the big time when folks with ties to the infamous Moveon.org begin gratuitous attacks. As reported in the Newark Star-Ledger:
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee also pushed Health Care Can't Wait and was critical of President Barack Obama when he walked away from the public option in the health care reform bill.
That is to say, this is a group critical of the Pope for insufficient Catholicity.

To date, their main complaint is the Governor's absence from the state during the recent major snowfall. But there's a big difference between being Mayor Bloomberg and being Governor of New Jersey: part of the mayor's job is to clean up the snow; no part of the Governor's job involves plowing roads.

Democrats are rightly terrified of the plain-spoken Governor.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

O! Brave New World!

The Sydney Daily Telegraph reports:
An autistic schoolboy has been granted court approval to begin treatment to become a woman - on the proviso the teenager has his sperm frozen in case he wants to have children in the future.

Ruling on an emergency application by his parents in the Family Court, Justice Linda Dessau backed the wishes of the 16-year-old - who was given the pseudonym "O" - to begin drug treatment before puberty fully takes hold.

Justice Dessau said that the boy, who suffers from mild Asperger's syndrome, was mature enough to know what he wanted.

She added that her decision was backed by his parents, six specialists and the boy's independent lawyer.

The judge said the boy would have his sperm collected and stored because of concerns the female hormones would affect his ability to have children.

The judge's decision is not unprecedented. Six years ago the court sparked outrage when it allowed 13-year-old girl "Alex", from a troubled family, to begin hormone treatment to become a man.

Last year Alex, then 17, was given permission to have a double mastectomy. And in another case, a 12-year-old girl was also allowed to take hormones to live life as a man.

In the case of O, the court heard he comes from a loving family who "adore and respect him". His 14-year-old sister, whose clothes he secretly dressed in, was also supportive.

The judge has held the case in unprecedented secrecy to protect the boy's identity.

She has not only suppressed his name, which is mandatory, but also those of his lawyers, his doctors, the hospital where he will have his treatment, the city in which the court sat and the file number of the case.

Justice Dessau said the boy had so desperately wanted to be a girl that he had become suicidal and once ingested lead solder at school.

"There is no doubt on the evidence that he is struggling and suffering enough with the momentous issues he has had to face," she said.

The boy's father had enjoyed dressing up as a girl when he was a teenager but he said he "grew out of it".

The parents thought the same thing would happen to O but, at the age of 14, he told them he was revolted by his male body and wanted to become a female.

"The consensus among all the professionals was that he is capable of making, and has made, an informed decision," the judge said.
We hope this careful legal analysis doesn't catch on in the United States. Obamacare is going to be mighty expensive if it pays for sex reassignment surgery for every teenager who's "revolted" by their body.

Labels: ,

Christine O'Donnell Under Investigation

Dare we say . . . witch hunt?


Why is This Complicated?

This morning the New York Post reports:
Selfish Sanitation Department bosses from the snow-slammed outer boroughs ordered their drivers to snarl the blizzard cleanup to protest budget cuts -- a disastrous move that turned streets into a minefield for emergency-services vehicles, The Post has learned.

Miles of roads stretching from as north as Whitestone, Queens, to the south shore of Staten Island still remained treacherously unplowed last night because of the shameless job action, several sources and a city lawmaker said, which was over a raft of demotions, attrition and budget cuts.

"They sent a message to the rest of the city that these particular labor issues are more important," said City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Queens), who was visited yesterday by a group of guilt-ridden sanitation workers who confessed the shameless plot.

Halloran said he met with three plow workers from the Sanitation Department -- and two Department of Transportation supervisors who were on loan -- at his office after he was flooded with irate calls from constituents.

The snitches "didn't want to be identified because they were afraid of retaliation," Halloran said. "They were told [by supervisors] to take off routes [and] not do the plowing of some of the major arteries in a timely manner. They were told to make the mayor pay for the layoffs, the reductions in rank for the supervisors, shrinking the rolls of the rank-and-file."

New York's Strongest used a variety of tactics to drag out the plowing process -- and pad overtime checks -- which included keeping plows slightly higher than the roadways and skipping over streets along their routes, the sources said.

The snow-removal snitches said they were told to keep their plows off most streets and to wait for orders before attacking the accumulating piles of snow.
This is an easy one: fire everyone even suspected of this nonsense. Let the civil service grievance system sort out the bodies. Last we looked, there were lots of folks in the unemployment lines in The Big Apple who'd be happy to take these high-paying jobs.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Read it and Weep

If you can, that is.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Snowfalls Are Now Just a Thing of the Past

We're guessing that The Independent won't be reprinting this column from March 20, 2000:
Britain's winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives.

Sledges, snowmen, snowballs and the excitement of waking to find that the stuff has settled outside are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain's culture, as warmer winters - which scientists are attributing to global climate
change - produce not only fewer white Christmases, but fewer white Januaries and Februaries.

The first two months of 2000 were virtually free of significant snowfall in much of lowland Britain, and December brought only moderate snowfall in the South-east. It is the continuation of a trend that has been increasingly visible in the past 15 years: in the south of England, for instance, from 1970 to 1995 snow and sleet fell for an average of 3.7 days, while from 1988 to 1995 the average was 0.7 days. London's last substantial snowfall was in February 1991.

Global warming, the heating of the atmosphere by increased amounts of industrial gases, is now accepted as a reality by the international community. Average temperatures in Britain were nearly 0.6°C higher in the Nineties than in 1960-90, and it is estimated that they will increase by 0.2°C every decade over the coming century. Eight of the 10 hottest years on record occurred in the Nineties.

However, the warming is so far manifesting itself more in winters which are less cold than in much hotter summers. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event".

"Children just aren't going to know what snow is," he said.

The effects of snow-free winter in Britain are already becoming apparent. This year, for the first time ever, Hamleys, Britain's biggest toyshop, had no sledges on display in its Regent Street store. "It was a bit of a first," a spokesperson said.

Fen skating, once a popular sport on the fields of East Anglia, now takes place on indoor artificial rinks. Malcolm Robinson, of the Fenland Indoor Speed Skating Club in Peterborough, says they have not skated outside since 1997. "As a boy, I can remember being on ice most winters. Now it's few and far between," he said.

Michael Jeacock, a Cambridgeshire local historian, added that a generation was growing up "without experiencing one of the greatest joys and privileges of living in this part of the world - open-air skating".

Warmer winters have significant environmental and economic implications, and a wide range of research indicates that pests and plant diseases, usually killed back by sharp frosts, are likely to flourish. But very little research has been done on the cultural implications of climate change - into the possibility, for example, that our notion of Christmas might have to shift.

Professor Jarich Oosten, an anthropologist at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, says that even if we no longer see snow, it will remain culturally important.

"We don't really have wolves in Europe any more, but they are still an important part of our culture and everyone knows what they look like," he said.

David Parker, at the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in Berkshire, says ultimately, British children could have only virtual experience of snow. Via the internet, they might wonder at polar scenes - or eventually "feel" virtual cold.

Heavy snow will return occasionally, says Dr Viner, but when it does we will be unprepared. "We're really going to get caught out. Snow will probably cause chaos in 20 years time," he said.

The chances are certainly now stacked against the sort of heavy snowfall in cities that inspired Impressionist painters, such as Sisley, and the 19th century poet laureate Robert Bridges, who wrote in "London Snow" of it, "stealthily and perpetually settling and loosely lying".

Not any more, it seems.
But never fear. This year's record-breaking low temperatures and abundant snowfall in Britain, Europe, and North America are also consequences of Global Warming, at least according to the New York Times, which published an op-ed on Christmas Day titled, "Bundle Up, It's Global Warming," by someone named Judah Cohen, who "is the director of seasonal forecasting at an atmospheric and environmental research firm." He explains:
The not-so-obvious short answer is that the overall warming of the atmosphere is actually creating cold-weather extremes. Last winter, too, was exceptionally snowy and cold across the Eastern United States and Eurasia, as were seven of the previous nine winters.
We think the Climate Cultists ought to have stuck with the explanation that climate is not weather -- that a particularly hot or cold summer or winter tells you nothing about global warming. But they've not done that, instead opting to change their "predictions" to fit whatever actually happens.

We're familiar with this phenomenon, and know how it plays out. When the world fails to end on October 22, 1844, it's bound to lead to great disappointment, but many of the faithful will stick with you.


Stressed by the Holidays? There's an App For That.


We're Offended

It is a mark of cosmopolitan sensitivity to refrain from uttering the potentially offensive greeting "Merry Christmas." Not everyone, after all, celebrates the Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord, and there are some who go so far as to eschew the Winter Celebration of the Stimulation of Retail Sales. A casual "Merry Christmas" delivered in a public place might find its way to the ears of a Scientologist, a Mohammedan, or even a devout atheist, causing them to feel different, left out, and sad. No right-thinking person would mention rib roast in mixed company, where a vegetarian might be within ear-shot.

Fortunately, that's all behind us for another year. But it occurs to us that very little thought has been given to the widespread, casual greeting "Happy New Year." That greeting is at least as Eurocentric and culturally insensitive as "Merry Christmas." While January 1 may be the beginning of the New Year for the Internal Revenue Service, it is not a new year for most of the world. The first day of the Islamic year 1432 AH was December 7; the Chinese Year of the Rat -- the year 4708 -- does not begin until February 3; Rosh Hashanah was September 8, marking the Jewish new year of 5771. And we leave it to our readers to figure out where January 1, 2011, falls in the last few pages of the Mayan calendar.

We thus conclude that it is just plain wrong to thoughtlessly toss around "Happy New Year" in public places where Mohammedans, Chinese, Jews or Mayans may hear you. What you do in the privacy of your own home is your own affair, but even there you ought to be circumspect: think of the children.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Timely Advice

We're a little late with this one, but just as today's the day to stock up on Christmas wrapping paper, it's never too early to begin preparation for next year.


Friday, December 24, 2010

Mere Christianity

The Holy Father was invited to deliver the "Thought for the Day" via the BBC this morning. What is striking is the complete absence of Catholic distinctives. Benedict does nothing thoughtlessly or by happenstance.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Experts: Christmas Tree Can Be Ablaze in 3 Seconds

WASHINGTON, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- A dry Scotch pine Christmas tree can be completely ablaze within 3 seconds of ignition, officials of the U.S. Fire Administration say.

The perfect gift for that hard-to-shop-for uncle with a touch of pyromania.

So the multi-colored propane lights are out this year, right?


Parody; News; Oppression; Who the Hell Can Tell the Difference?

We're calling bullshit on this one, but the fact that it's impossible to tell for sure is pretty sad:
. . . the teacher was lecturing normally on the different climates of the planet and used the Granada town of Trevélez as an example of a cold, dry climate. As an anecdote, the teacher recounted that just such a climate was conducive to the curing of hams. Then the student asked the teacher not to speak of hams since the subject offended him as a Muslim.
Sillier things have happened. Many of our readers of tender years missed the opportunity to witness -- first hand -- the bastardization of English during the Reign of Feminist Terror. The current terms "fire-fighter," "letter carrier," and "police officer" are all actually literary gems. Back in the day, reflexive correction was more mindlessly accomplished by simply substituting "-person" for "-man." Hence, fireperson, mailperson, and policeperson. The children think I'm making this up, but I'm not.

True story: Thirty-five years ago, in my capacity as a Law Review editor, a young woman submitted to me an article in which she had carefully corrected "priest" to "priestperson" and all pronouns referencing said priest as "he or she." I explained to her that it didn't seem to me immediately obvious that the term "priest" was inherently sexist and that, in any event, the particular person in question was in fact a he. Grasping a teaching moment, I also opined that since the person in question was a Roman Catholic priest, he was necessarily neither a girl nor a woman. I look back now with utter confidence that this last tidbit was thought to be so patently ridiculous that I was not believed. I'd like to think that the young woman grew up to be an Episcopal Priestess, but I don't know that.

So you see it's sometimes very difficult to know if someone's joking or not. These days, the stakes can be high, since the consequences may be more serious than mere social anathema.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc

It could, after all, just be the good weather. Census: Fast growth in states with no income tax.


Books For Christmas?


Tuesday, December 21, 2010


"The paedophiles in American schools: Alarming new study shows sex offenders are working with children - and teachers are hushing it up."

This wouldn't be a problem if women were allowed to be teachers, and if teachers were allowed to marry.


Joseph, We NEED to Talk


Monday, December 20, 2010

Because Red Shirts Kill

By Bill Amend.


Water Causes Cancer, Except When it Doesn't

We are much in the mood to rock by the fire these days, and just say nuthin'. If you say things, you'll only get yourself into trouble; people will conclude that you're a crank; no one will take you seriously. Socrates was condemned for corrupting the youth of Athens by asking embarrassing questions. Today, it's not necessary that one ask hard questions, it's only necessary that you pay attention -- and not very close attention.

Yesterday, the Washington Post reported this alarming story:
An environmental group that analyzed the drinking water in 35 cities across the United States, including Bethesda and Washington, found that most contained hexavalent chromium, a probable carcinogen that was made famous by the film "Erin Brockovich."

The study, which will be released Monday by the Environmental Working Group, is the first nationwide analysis of hexavalent chromium in drinking water to be made public.


"This chemical has been so widely used by so many industries across the U.S. that this doesn't surprise me," said Erin Brockovich, whose fight on behalf of the residents of Hinkley, Calif., against Pacific Gas & Electric became the subject of a 2000 film. In that case, PG&E was accused of leaking hexavalent chromium into the town's groundwater for more than 30 years. The company paid $333 million in damages to more than 600 townspeople and pledged to clean up the contamination.

"Our municipal water supplies are in danger all over the U.S.," Brockovich said. "This is a chemical that should be regulated."
But exactly one week ago, the Post reported:
HINKLEY, Calif. -- A California state study has not revealed elevated cancer levels in the town of Hinkley, a small desert community that inspired the award-winning Hollywood movie "Erin Brockovich" through its struggles with contaminated groundwater.

The California Cancer Registry has completed three studies on Hinkley, where a toxic plume of cancer-causing chromium 6 is once again growing. The studies found that cancer rates remained unremarkable from 1988 to 2008.
So the most-studied groundwater in the history of the world doesn't seem actually to have caused any noticeable increase in cancer. But it's still important to listen to Erin Bockovich, because . . . I don't know, because she really doesn't look at all like Julia Roberts?

Here in Fauquier County, our water comes from a well at the base of our mountain, and it's filtered by a complex system of dirt and sand thoughtfully provided by God. The only dangerous pollutant is Bourbon.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Time Magazine Names Zuckerberg "Person of the Year"

We suspect that their nod to the Facebook founder has something to do with their plans to soon bring out a new version of the magazine, this one aimed at adults.



Your ageing Uncle Bill sits by the fire, rocking gently, sipping Bourbon, reading obscure history, and not saying much.  You suspect that his mind is failing -- not catastrophically, but subtly -- because he doesn't show his former energy and loud indignation about the thieves in Washington and the idiots on Wall Street.

But you're wrong, you know.  It's just that indignation and astonishment have given way to resignation to the tedium of lying, cheating, stealing, and blazing hypocrisy from the entitled classes of America.

Nevertheless, spurred by some odd notion of duty, we today report that the New York Times has published an entirely predictable editorial calling for an end to Republican use of evil tactics (once righteous when used by Democrats, of course) to delay confirmation of the President's judicial nominees.  Same old arguments, adding nothing to a nonexistent non-debate.  Vote; don't vote; who cares.

One such stalled nominee is Susan L. Carney, who received an equivocal rating from the ABA, and who appears otherwise to be a standard Ivy League lefty.    She's also the wife of Lincoln Caplan, a member of the Editorial Board of the New York Times who "writes about the U.S. Supreme Court and other subjects related to legal affairs."

Predictably, the Times doesn't mention this fact.  For all we know, daddy wrote the thing to help out his little pooky-poo.

Please feel free to construct your own amusing bed-time dialogue at the Caplan/Carney home, involving a promise of his favorite blueberry muffins and that thing she does with her toes that he likes so much.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Panda of Death

Apparently Panda Cheese is a popular product in the Middle East.  Not surprisingly, their advertisements feature a guy in a panda suit.  So far, so good.  But, as nearly as we can tell, said panda does not show up to extol the virtues of his cheese, nor to offer prospective customers tasty tidbits.  Instead, should you choose to decline ingestion of the product, a panda materializes, trashes your hospital room, disconnects your IV, and then fixes you with a furry glare. And what's with the English-language song?

Are we alone in immediately flashing on Donnie Darko?

More HERE.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

1962 Redux: Foreign Missiles in the Americas

Hudson New York, part of the Hudson Institute, a conservative think-tank, provides this alarming news, based on a November 25 article in Die Welt. I cannot immediately locate a translation of the original.
Iran is planning to place medium-range missiles on Venezuelan soil, based on western information sources, according to an article in the German daily, Die Welt, of November 25, 2010. According to the article, an agreement between the two countries was signed during the last visit o Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to Tehran on October 19, 2010. The previously undisclosed contract provides for the establishment of a jointly operated military base in Venezuela, and the joint development of ground-to-ground missiles.
Link HERE, original article in Die Welt HERE.

There was a similar report published in a Venezuelan newspaper back in 2006, which appears to have been an impenetrably complex exercise in disinformation.  Or not.

In a rational world, assignment editors at The New York Times and the Washington Post would have tasked reporters with finding out what this is all about, if anything.  If true, it's front page news; if untrue, it's still an interesting story centered on who and why.


Monday, December 13, 2010

It's No Plan 9 From Outer Space, But Still . . . .

Lots of familiar futuristical sound effects. I know I'm supposed to have a flying car by now, as well as a robotic assistant who looks like Julie Newmar, but I'm content that I don't hear those strange sourceless sounds; most of the time, anyway.


Should I Know What "Justin Bieber" Is?


Reality: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means . . . .

This will certainly make video dating more interesting. Here's a short webcam video of the Gentleman Farmer just this morning.


Look at the Person on Your Left; Look at the Person on Your Right; Two of You Don't Have Broadband

Two-thirds of "broadband" connections aren't.


Harry Truman Played the Piano, Bill Clinton Played the Saxaphone

So why shouldn't Vladamir Putin sing at a celebrity fund-raiser for Russian cancer centers?

Consider, oh my children, that President Obama sent Joe Biden to the Hill to talk to the Republicans about taxes, and sent Bill Clinton to talk to the press about the economy, and it provoked all sorts of tittering about who's really in charge. Putin, on the other hand, is now merely Prime Minister of Russia -- while some other guy is president -- because he was constitutionally disabled from succeeding himself as president. Yet no one doubts who's in charge. Even when he sings badly.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

NEVER Goes to Voice Mail

Via Miss Julie.


Obama Reassures Country, Appoints Bill Clinton President

I guess Barry is now free to carry shopping bags for Michelle, and shoot hoops without being interrupted by pesky staff.

Bill Clinton showed up at the White House yesterday for a 90-minute private talk with the former president, and then did the Presidential Press Conference thing while Obama decamped for the White House Christmas Holiday Winter party. Perhaps Obama and the Democrats have hit upon a new division of labor in which Clinton will take care of the policy and political aspects of the presidency, while Obama will handle the photo op and telepromptered events.

This is all very amusing, but it shows that Obama is still not ready for prime time, and that Bill Clinton remains the greatest pure politician of his generation. Clinton talks policy and politics, while Obama exits, stage left. Moreover, it continues Obama's strange assault on his own base. Clinton may have driven Republicans and conservatives nuts by repeatedly outmaneuvering them, but he provokes spittle-flecked rage from True Believers on the left.

It will be interesting to see how Obama handles the passage of his tax and spending compromise with the Republicans. We predict ineffective incoherence. Mr. Clinton, on the other hand, would announce, "The bill I today signed into law provides nearly $1 trillion in additional stimulus to our faltering economy . . . ."

Labels: ,

Friday, December 10, 2010


Finally, someone spots a genuinely embarrassing diplomatic cable disclosed by Wikileaks.


Thursday, December 09, 2010

Gratuitous Babe Post: Nataly Dawn Edition

Labels: ,

Monday, December 06, 2010

What the Heck do You THINK it is?


Don Draper's College Orientation


Saturday, December 04, 2010

Food Court Flash Mob

We make no secret of the fact that we loathe "christmas." The Spirit of the Age flips a switch and we are commanded to be "joyous" and "of good cheer" and to trample our fellow man lest he, rather than we, acquire some plastic junk at Wal-Mart.

But we do love this.


Can't We All Just Get Along?


Friday, December 03, 2010

The Soft Bigotry of Satanophobia


Words Fail Me

William James, The Principles of Psychology, 1890:
If we take a cube and label one side top, another bottom, a third front, and a fourth back, there remains no form of words by which we can describe to another person which of the remaining sides is right and which left. We can only point and say here is right and there is left, just as we should say this is red and that blue.


Thursday, December 02, 2010

Bad Girl?

Your momma made you do it.


Self-Treatment of Writer's Block

Dennis Upper was a graduate of Yale University, a clinical psychologist at the Veterans Administration hospital in Brockton, Massachusetts, and the author of several learned texts in his field. He was also a poet.  In 2007, he published "Long Story Short: A Memoir."

In the early 1970's, finding himself psychologically unable to write, he determined to treat himself. He was, after all, himself a psychologist. It didn't work. As a scholar, he shared his experience with his peers by publishing "The Unsuccessful Self-Treatment of a Case of Writer's Block," in the Fall, 1974, volume of the "Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis."

Here is that paper.  Click to embiggen.


Wednesday, December 01, 2010

You Too, Buddy

While the editors of the Spokane Spokesman-Review seem to pass this off as an amusing optical illusion, we're not so sure. After all, who says that the only way it might announce its hegemony is for Skynet to rain down nuclear missiles? You hadn't thought of that, had you?

Courtesy of the Old Timer.


Gratuitous Babe Post: Helen Mirren Edition

We suppose it's not entirely gratuitous, but we strive here for honesty. Apple has paid Dame Helen $800,000 for two days of work shooting commercials for Wii Fit Plus in Australia. We have the video for you, and we choose to think that she herself provided the priceless explanation: "I find exercise is a bit like meeting an old lover; you know, you're really pleased to see him, but you get tired of him really quickly; you remember why you didn't like him in the first place."


Lady & The Cat

Labels: ,

Problems You Never Thought Of

Hey!  I know what you're thinking.  Heck, we know people who've retired rather than comply with a Toilet Code.