"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

Monday, May 30, 2011

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The More You Look, the Funnier it Gets

Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn Meets Barack and Michelle Obama
at a dinner during the G-20 conference in September 2009.

From New York Magazine, along with other now-awkward photos of DSK.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Because Actually Signing a Bill is for the Little People

An arguably Constitutional bill becomes law via an arguably Constitutional signature.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thank Heaven For Little Girls

As American as baseball, apple pie, and . . . Planned Parenthood?  Two young women discover that their beloved Girl Scouts are in bed with the mother of all abortion mills.  Wait 'til they find out Margaret Sanger was a big promoter of racist eugenics.

Their web site is "Speak Now: girl scouts". With any luck the girls will receive a lawyer's "take down" letter, threatening them with copyright infringement litigation for use of the words "girl scouts."


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

May 25, 1961

Just over eight years later, on September 16, 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped off onto the surface of the moon. When this speech was given, less than sixteen years had passed since the Japanese had unconditionally surrendered to General MacArthur on the deck of the battleship Missouri, at anchor in Tokyo Bay. Kennedy's generation -- my father's generation -- had defeated the greatest military powers on earth and, in the process, conquered and occupied huge swaths of the surface of the planet. And then gave it back. Thereafter, they resolved to go to the moon, and they did that too.

One wonders how much of the energy of the generational rebellion of the 1960s and '70s was a reaction to the knowledge that those coming of age at that time could never hope to achieve such things. Our fathers had endured the Great Depression, defeated Germany and Japan, gone to the moon, and then went out to cut the grass.

There were truly giants in the earth in those days.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Resume Tips & Tricks

Googling "resume help" returns over 2 1/4 million hits. Consider the typeface, paper color, proper headings; be creative (but not too creative) when trying to fill in those 18 months when you slept a lot on your mom's couch. Hard times.

But there's another way to go. Click pic to embiggen.

Via Buzzfeed.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Said to be an Actual Billboard


A Crisis of Faith

Matt Archbold confesses his very first crisis of faith, "I Was the Worst Alter Boy Ever":
And then it happened. The priest taught us to ring the bells as he raised the Eucharist. Now, this was a catastrophic moment because up until that very moment I’d assumed that God Himself made the bell ringing noise to signify the miracle of transubstantiation. I mean, every miracle deserves a little soundtrack, right? It was a terribly disappointing Wizard-behind-the-curtain moment for me. I was stunned. Heartbroken.

I remember glancing over at my brothers in alarm but they seemed to have no reaction at all. I figured that they hadn’t heard that the priest essentially just said, “THERE IS NO GOD. WE RING THE BELLS!!!!!!!!!” It’s a sham. A con! I silently thanked God that my poor stupid and naive brothers hadn’t heard. I could still thank God for that as I was and remain almost uniquely equipped to hold two mutually exclusive ideas in my head at the same time without any issue whatsoever.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Joe Cocker is 67

Talk about defying the odds, eh?  Once upon a time, we were both in our 20s.

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Bless Me Father, For I Have Been a Wiseass

Catholic Ecumenism: Singing a Charles Wesley hymn before or after Mass.

Episcopal Ecumenism: Using a muezzin to call Episcopalians and Muslims to Sunday services, where verses from the Koran will be interspersed with Scripture readings, including during Communion.

"Baristanet," which describes itself as a "hyperlocal" blog in Montclair, New Jersey, brings us this chirpy little tidbit:
This Sunday morning, May 22, at 10 a.m., the sounds of the adhan — the Muslim call to prayer — will ring out in St. John’s Episcopal Church Montclair.

While there’s no minaret at the church, the words of “Allahu akbar,” (God is greater) will none-the-less invite both Christians and Muslims to worship side by side. During the interfaith service, verses from the Holy Qur’an will complement readings from the Holy Bible, including during Communion, embracing the traditions of both religions.

Reverend Andrew Butler, Rector of St. John’s parish since September 1, 2010, decided to have this service in order to demonstrate that both Islam and Christianity stem from Abrahamic roots, as well as to dispell negative stereotypes about the Muslim faith.

“I’ve grown concerned about the demonization of Muslims. I want Montclair to develop an understanding of the religion.” Reverend Butler stated.

In addition to Butler, speakers will include Anisa Mehdi, a scholar and journalist who will describe what it means to be a Muslim in America and Abdul-Alim Mubarak-Rowe, an assistant Imam at Masjid Waarith ud Deen in Irvington, a media consultant to the American Muslim Alliance and a journalist.

The Reverend went on to say, “We are trying to find ways to blend our community through religion. It’s hard, but we can accomplish it through this organic event and working together through outreach and other ministries of compassion.”

This interfaith service isn’t only trying to blend religions, is also a way to invite the public to visit St. John’s Episcopal Church. After the service, at 11am, conversation about Islam and Islam in America will continue.
Those irreverent wags at Jihad Watch note: "Why Sunday? Why not Friday? How Islamophobic!"

If only this same Episcopal Church showed such warm and fuzzy feelings toward those of its own local congregations who have sought to break with the American branch of Anglicanism, and affiliate themselves with a more orthodox branch.

This would be sad and sadly amusing if it weren't indicative of the effects of the great acid-bath of Western Modernism which, self-consciously afraid to be ridiculed for believing anything, ends up tepidly believing everything and nothing.  Central to Islamic doctrine is the rejection of the divinity of Jesus Christ.  Central to Christian doctrine is the fact of the divinity of Jesus Christ.  One of these propositions is true, and one is false.  We don't know much, but we do know that "blending" truth with untruth doesn't produce more truth.


Kitten vs. Really Scary Tennis Ball


Friday, May 20, 2011

Felid Friday


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hold on a Sec, We Have Something in Our Eye


Doomsday: Not Just For Crazy People Anymore

We don't know much about the Mayan calendar, or Nostradamus, or the coming Zombie Apocalypse. But we do know that for some time now we've been cautiously confident that the Western world is increasingly likely to experience hyper-inflation, the collapse and possible worthlessness of the paper dollar, with inevitable social and infrastructure disruptions. In short, your lights will be out, your money wouldn't buy anything if you could find anything to buy, and the police wouldn't show up even if your cell phone was working.

In planning to meet this situation we have the disadvantage of being of modest means, but the advantage of not caring who thinks we're crazy. We have thus accumulated a modest horde of gold, silver, food and ammunition, and have a secure source of drinking water. Depending upon the exact nature, severity and duration of the collapse, we might be able to hold out for six months or a year.

But we've also speculated about what we would do if we won the lottery, and were suddenly worth $100,000,000. And the answer is clear: we'd buy a large, self-sustaining farm that supported cows, pigs and horses, and produced food for them and vegetables for us. It would come with enough tenants (not to say serfs), to continue working it indefinitely. Everyone above the age of 10 would practice on the rifle range twice a week.

Which brings us to a report in Tuesday's New York Observer, headlined "Hedge Farm! The Doomsday Food Price Scenario Turning Hedgies into Survivalists."
On the rare occasion that New Yorkers talk about farming, it's usually something along the lines of what sort of organic kale to plant in the vanity garden at the second house in the Adirondacks. But on a recent afternoon, The Observer had a conversation of a different sort about agricultural pursuits with a hedge fund manager he'd met at one of the many dark-paneled private clubs in midtown a few weeks prior. "A friend of mine is actually the largest owner of agricultural land in Uruguay," said the hedge fund manager. "He's a year older than I am. We're somewhere [around] the 15th-largest farmers in America right now."

"We," as in, his hedge fund.

It may seem a little odd that in 2011 anyone's thinking of putting money into assets that would have seemed attractive in 1911, but there's something in the air-namely, fear. The hedge fund manager and others like him envision a doomsday scenario catalyzed by a weak dollar, higher-than-you-think inflation and an uncertain political climate here and abroad.
It may turn out that this is no more than an excellent hedge against inflation, but it's worth noting also that the world's economy is presently one major natural disaster -- volcano, earthquake, tsunami (or maybe just an extended patch of bad weather) -- away from a cataclysmic disruption of food production and supply. But then . . . The article goes on:
There is, of course, a slightly more sinister reason to develop a sudden interest in agriculture. Last year, Marc Faber recommended to anyone: "Stock up on a farm in northern Norway and learn to drive a tractor." He sees a "dirty war" on the horizon, playing on fears of a biological attack poisoning food supplies. Those sort of fears drive capital into everything from gold (recently at an all-time high and a long-time safe haven for investors with currency concerns) to survivalist accoutrements. In this particular case, one might buy the farm in order to avoid buying the farm.

That may seem extreme, but even the lesser scenarios are frightening to some. When asked if this is an end-of-the-world situation, the hedge fund manager replied: "It really is. I tell my fiancée this from time to time, and I've stopped telling her this, because it's not the most pleasant thought." He pauses for a moment. "We just can't keep living the way we're living. It'll end within our lifetime. We're just going to run out of certain things. We'll just have to learn how to adjust."


Monday, May 09, 2011

Because Plumbers Are Expensive


Medical News You Can Use

New study lists risk factors for stroke resulting from ruptured brain aneurysm:
Researchers from University Medical Center in Utrecht, the Netherlands, analyzed 250 patients who survived such a stroke and identified eight risk factors tied to the event. They included drinking a cup of coffee, which carried the highest risk, having sex, physical exercise, nose blowing, straining to defecate, drinking cola and being startled or angry.
The report doesn't say how many of the 250 patients might have simultaneously exposed themselves to two or more of the risk factors. We can think of ways to combine four, but that may be a failure of imagination.


Sunday, May 08, 2011

New York Times Corrections: I'm Glad We've Got That Straight

(click image to embiggen)


Baseball & The Code of Canon Law: They Really Have Thought of Everything

I KNOW that you've had the experience of going to the dictionary to look up a word and then spending a half-hour "reading the dictionary."

I do that all the time. But I also do it with the Bible itself, the Catechism, and even (sigh) the Code of Canon Law.

I was reading something somewhere on the subject of female alter servers, someone said something or other about the Code of Canon Law on the subject, and I was off to take a look at Canon 230. And a semi-random walk through the Code ensued. Lay ministries led quickly enough to priestly functions which led in turn to the sacraments. I made a short stop at the provisions that make it practically impossible (unless there's a war or natural disaster) to provide "general confessions" and absolution to a group of people (instead of the norm, particular and individual confession and absolution), a practice that is apparently nevertheless alarmingly common.

But somehow, I arrived at Canon 977.

The Rules of Baseball take up many, many pages. Because baseball has been being played for perhaps 140 years, many of the rules were obviously added after something happened in a game and pretty much everyone agreed, "well, it ain't against the Rules, but it should be!" And so a rule was added. Somewhere, sometime, there was a runner on first base who ran toward second and then on toward third when a batter hit a fly ball. The ball was caught, and the runner had to scramble back to first base before a fielder with the ball tagged first, putting the runner out. So the guy (now between second and third) ran straight across the diamond and back to first base. There was no rule against it, but it just didn't seem right. Thus, the rule that in returning to first, a runner must touch each base in reverse order.

The Code of Canon Law is like that. If you decided to invent your own Church, you might very well decide also that a list of rules governing it would be a good idea. You would try your best to make the rules comprehensive, but there's simply no way you'd be able to think of everything. As time passed, things would happen not explicitly covered by the existing rules, and the rules would be amended: "it ain't against the Rules, but it should be!"

Which brings us to Canon 977: "Absolutio complicis in peccato contra sextum Decalogi praeceptum invalida est, praeterquam in periculo mortis." ("The absolution of an accomplice in a sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue is invalid except in danger of death.") Canon 1378 provides that "A priest who acts against the prescript of Can. 977 incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See." That is, automatic excommunication, reversible only by Rome itself.

They really have thought of everything.


Saturday, May 07, 2011

Special Ops Cats

Cats are prized for their ability to see at night without the need for special equipment. In this exclusive image from the Abbottabad raid, a special ops cat sneaks up on Bin Laden's bodyguard.

From Slate's special "Cats of War" photo-essay.


I Feel the Need for Speed

Techspot reports:
At the Optical Fiber Communications Conference in Los Angeles last month, two separate research groups have set a world record by sending information at rate of more than 100 terabits of per second (Tbps) through a single optical fiber.

That's equivalent to streaming three solid months of HD video, or the contents of 250 double-sided Blu-ray discs, in one second.
Unbelievable. Some of us are old enough to remember when a 2400 baud modem was pretty nifty. These advances mean that, before long, you can sit at your computer at home and won't have to wait 3 seconds to load THIS.


Thursday, May 05, 2011

Now That's A LOT of Discretion

The Daily Telegraph, reporting an interview given to PBS by CIA chief Leon Panetta: "Mr Panetta also told the network that the US Navy Seals made the final decision to kill bin Laden rather than the president."


Tuesday, May 03, 2011


Iowahawk opines:
Recent events have happily made clear that the antiwar movement of 2001-8 was overwhelmingly dominated by a vast silent hypocritical majority of craven political opportunists awaiting a Democratic administration to gleefully celebrate the covert execution of a man whom, until 28 months ago, they would have described as a "tragic civilian casualty."

Who is to credit for this rebirth in American national unity? First and foremost, we must cite the leadership of President Obama. Like many Americans - and the Nobel Peace Prize committee - I naively feared he was actually serious when he initially proposed shutting down Guantanamo, trying detainees in American civilian courts, and prior consultation with the international community. Little did I know that this untested young Commander-in-Chief would muster the courage to read his weekly Gallup numbers and, in one daring unilateral extra-judicial targeted hit job, toss aside every single idiotic foreign policy principle of his election campaign. Perhaps most satisfyingly, it was a mission made possible thanks to information extracted by methods he previously banned as "illegal torture."

But this triumphant new era in situationally-unified American bloodlust does not belong to the President alone; we must also cite Congress's born-again waterboarders like Nancy Pelosi and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, and their newfound enthusiasm for what (at least until 9pm Sunday) they would have once considered illegal military murder squads. Neither can we forget the watchdogs of America's press, who have shown unprecedented ethical flexibility in shedding their long-held Ghandi moralism and embracing their inner Rambo.


Of course, I'm not naive enough to think our current wave of national unity will last forever. At some point, possibly after the next election, American troops will once again assume their traditional role of psychotic baby-killing objects of fear and pity. And, doubtlessly, those of us who still admire them must once again assume our traditional role as America's flag-humping racist chickenhawks. But when that day comes, we can look back at the week of May 1, 2011 and realize that it isn't personal. Hey, that's just the way the chad crumbles.


Happy Birthday, Jersey Boy

On this day in 1937, Frankie Valli was born Francis Stephen Castelluccio in Newark.

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Monday, May 02, 2011

"You can't keep telling Rome to get stuffed"

That's the reaction of an Australian priest upon the dismissal of William Morris, Bishop of Toowoomba. Would that it were always so.

It is interesting, if predictable, that most reports of this story are headlined with a description of Bishop Morris as being "outspoken," as in "Outspoken bishop fired." The problem was not that Bishop Morris "spoke out," but that instead of being outspoken in guiding his flock to orthodoxy and obedience, he led them astray.

The Australian reports it this way:
THE Catholic Bishop of Toowoomba, William Morris, has been effectively sacked by Pope Benedict XVI over doctrinal disobedience for his support for ordaining women priests and other liberal reform.

In a highly unusual move, Bishop Morris complained in a letter to his followers that he was leaving unwillingly and claimed he had been denied natural justice.
We're a bit unclear what "natural justice" might be. We do know what "ordaining women priests" is: impossible. And we know what "liberal reform" is: a grab bag of tired complaints rooted in the notion that the Church should conform itself to whatever is currently popular at dinner parties given by over-credentialed elites on the east and west coasts of the United States.

Not until deep into the article do we get a hint of what's actually going on:
In his letter, Bishop Morris said the Vatican's decision was sparked by complaints to Rome about an Advent letter he wrote in 2006. In that letter, he argued that with an ageing clergy the church should be open to all eventualities, including ordaining women, ordaining married men, welcoming back former priests and recognising the validity of Anglican, Lutheran and Uniting Church orders.

In contrast to some other provincial dioceses, the priest shortage has been exacerbated by Toowoomba's appalling record over recent years in attracting virtually no new vocations.

Long before the pastoral letter, however, concerns had been raised about the material included in sex education programs in diocesan schools and the former practice of general absolution in the diocese.
Boring. Predictable. Standard. Tedious.


On the Feast Day of Saint Athanasius, Bishop, Confessor, Doctor of the Church

"In the midst of the Church he opened his mouth: and the Lord filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding: He clothed him with a robe of glory."


"I felt a great disturbance in the Force . . ."

Reuters reports:
DUBAI/ABBOTTABAD (Reuters) - In the early hours of Monday, Sohaib Athar reported on Twitter that a loud bang had rattled his windows in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad, adding that he hoped it wasn't "the start of something nasty.

A few hours later Athar posted another tweet: "Uh oh, now I'm the guy who liveblogged the Osama raid without knowing it."

In the age of Twitter, perhaps it's no surprise that the first signs of the U.S. operation that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden were noticed by an IT consultant awake late at night.

Athar, a resident of Abbottabad where bin Laden was holed up in a fortified mansion, first noticed the sound of a helicopter and thought it unusual enough to post via his Twitter account.

"I was awake, working on my computer when I heard a sound of helicopter. It was rare here. It hovered for about six minutes and then there was a big blast and power gone," Athar, 34, said in an interview with Reuters.

"I tweeted it because it was something unusual in the city," said Athar, adding that he moved from Lahore to the city a year and a half ago to avoid "bomb blasts and terrorist attacks."

After liveblogging and speculating for several hours over what happened, it dawned on Athar and those following him that they were witnessing the end of a worldwide manhunt for the man held responsible for orchestrating the September 11, 2001 attacks.

"I think the helicopter crash in Abbottabad, Pakistan and the President Obama breaking news address are connected," said one of Athar's followers.

Seven hours after Athar's first tweet, President Barack Obama announced bin Laden's death in an operation by U.S. forces where one helicopter was lost.


Athar's tweets, initially peppered with jokes ("Uh oh, there goes the neighborhood") eventually turned to exasperation as his email inbox, Skype and Twitter accounts were flooded by those trying to reach him ("Ok, I give up. I can't read all the @ mentions so I'll stop trying").

The number of people following Athar, whose Twitter handle is "ReallyVirtual," ballooned to nearly 33,000 later on Monday, from several hundred before.

Athar also runs a coffee shop in the center of Abbottabad, across from the Army Burn Hall College school in the same neighborhood as bin Laden's mansion. He fears that his new hometown, a relatively affluent enclave about 35 miles north of Islamabad, could now come under attack.

"They can attack military installation and this city has more targets than anywhere else," Athar said.