Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A post from the edge...

the other edge, of the country, I mean. California is living up to its sunny reputation today. I am using someone else's computer just to mention one horrific fact I have discovered.

IE doesn't display my sidebars! (I normally use Mozilla Firefox.) The other kids' sidebars appear on their websites, but mine are invisible. Another reason, if it is needed, to hate Bill Gates.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

See you in a week

Every time I go away somewhere, my already pitiful numbers shrink even further; then they come up again, s-l-o-w-l-y.

So, I have to tell you, I will be in sunny California for a week, starting tomorrow. Those few of you who stop by here, come back in a week, maybe ten days.

By the way, are you guys all the strong, silent type. How about some comments? Nothing bad, mind you. Just stop by and say hello.

A thoughtful article

This is a very, very long post, but every word is important:

I am thinking of a word that keeps popping up whenever the Mohammed cartoons are mentioned.

That word is BUT. A sneaky word. It is used to deny or qualify what one has just said.

How many times lately have we not heard people of power, the Opinion Makers and others say that of course we have freedom of speech, BUT.

They have said it, all of them, from Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General, to our own Bendt Bendtsen [a Danish Politician]. Once we had to be sensitive to the easily hurt feelings of the Nazis, then came the Communists, now it is the Islamists. The reason I say ‘Islamists’ is that I do not for a moment believe all the world’s Muslims are pissing on us. I think we are dealing with thugs, fools and misled people. Those are the ones we have to deal with, and then the chickenshit politicians.That is why I say: Freedom of Speech is Freedom of Speech is Freedom of Speech. There is no but....

Initially I was doubtful of the timeliness of publishing the cartoons. Later events have convinced me that it was both just and useful to do so. That they are consistent with Danish law and Danish custom seem to me less important than this: that we now know that remote, primitive countries deem themselves justified in telling us what to do. Unfortunately we must also note that governments close to us are agreeing with them in the name of expedience.


Hooray for the cartoons! Hooray for Denmark! Shame on our lily-livered politicians!

Barf-making titles

From First Post:

The Quay brothers have called their new film The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes. Big mistake. It may well be a masterpiece but I'm sorry, that title is pretentious and whimsical and goes straight into my sin bin, next to The Legend of the Pianist on the Ocean and The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants.

The history of cinema is replete with off-putting titles. Painful experience has taught me that the words "hotel" or "circus" should be approached with caution since they're invariably metaphor alerts.


While we're talking about straining for metaphors, how about rock groups? The Beatles was a fine name, so is the Rolling Stones. But the rest of them should be called the Royal Pain in the Ass. It would be no stupider than what they call themselves.

Ht to Dustbury.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Happy ashura, you maniacs

From Dave Nalle:

To Shiite Muslims, this is the holy week of Muharram, when they honor the death of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Mohammed in a battle fought at Karbala in the 7th century. The height of this festival is the day of Ashura, which was Thursday

You may wonder how one celebrates an important holiday like this. Do you have cake and ice cream? Do you exchange presents? Do you solemnly light a candle in memory of these brave soldiers of the faith? Do you go down to the mosque and say a prayer? Or do you, perhaps, parade through the streets beating yourself bloody with a flail made of steel chain, while intermittently whacking your young sons on the head with a sword until their faces run red with blood?

In a sane and civilized culture one of the other modes of celebration would prevail, but among Shia throughout the Muslim world, the bloody parade of penitential violence and ritualistic child abuse is preferred. The practice is particularly important in Iraq where huge parades took place in the major cities and the streets ran with blood. The largest celebrations were in Karbala where 2 million pilgrims crowded the streets.

Under Saddam Hussein the Ashura rituals were banned throughout Iraq, and Iran, effectively ruled by a Shiite theocracy, also bans the festival. In both cases Ashura was banned because of the religious violence and fanatic excesses associated with the holiday. However, under the new government in Iraq, Ashura was openly celebrated last year for the first time in decades and was celebrated again this year. Government troops turned out to protect the marchers, dressed all in black rather than in their official uniforms....

n the West we think we live in a rational world.... But reason and the more extreme forms of Islam have nothing at all in common. We think that we can negotiate anything, that everyone has a price or at least a sensible motivation for what they do. But the more we are exposed to the nature of Islam by direct contact and through worldwide media the more it becomes clear that our rational paradigms just do not apply.

You cannot negotiate with fanatics. You cannot use logic to understand the actions of madmen. You cannot reason with people who are inherently irrational. As a society a large portion of the Islamic world is dangerously, violently psychopathic, and as contact with them continues they will either contaminate the rest of the world or drag us all into bloody conflict. You don't reason with a rabid dog. You either shoot it or it bites you and you get rabies too.

The triumph of hope over experience

Mr Charm and I went to Staples yesterday. He wanted to buy an office chair, a real bargain, but it was too big to fit in the car assembled. I suggested he purchase it unassembled. He said it cost only $5 to purchase it already assembled. I said it wouldn't fit into the car. He said it was a real bargain. I said...well, you see where this is going?

I went to the courtesy counter to buy stamps, and when I went outside to the car, there was Mr Charm and an assembled chair. Which would not fit into the car. Mr C kept trying to shoehorn it into the car but despite his best efforts the chair refused to shrink and the car refused to expand.

He then tried to take the chair apart. But it was really well assembled. Efforts to take the car apart also failed.

After about 30 minutes of heavy breathing, muttered curses and turning dangerously red in the face, the score stood at: Ford Motor Co 1; Mr Charm 0.

We returned the assembled chair. And bought an unassembled chair. Which fit into the trunk with the greatest of ease.

But Mr C remained huffily silent all the way home.

I am tracked down

Well, I suppose it had to happen--the local Jewish federation have found me, after less than six months in Delaware. Or else they put their hand in a hat and drew out my name.

I got a coy letter from them today, suggesting that it would be so much easier for me if they could just have my e-mail address so I could receive their passionate pleas for money without walking to the mailbox.

I will probably do it, if only to save a tree or two.

Why doesn't the CIA contract out the search for Osama bin Laden to the Jewish federation? They can find anyone.

Another blogger quits on me

Trouserquand is quitting? I think? It's difficult to be sure:

Tonight, as the weasels ululate to the setting sun, and the few remaining feral hairstylists in the woods below return to their nests to roost, Matilda and I will don our bondage gear and oil the badger for the final time, before making our way up to the very rooftop of Quandary Towers.

Once there we will, in a ceremony that dates back to just after tea-time yesterday, lower the Standard of the Noble Order Of The Trouser Quandaries* for the very last time.

Yes, my little stapling machine, it is true that all good things must come to an end, and the same applies to those things that on rare occasion reach the heights of mediocrity such as this… er… whatever it is.


I hope he's just pulling my leg.

From Retecool:

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A great story

How to call the police for help

George Phillips of Meridian, Mississippi was going up to bed, when his wife told him that he'd left the light on in the garden shed, which she could see from the bedroom window. George opened the back door to go turn off the light, but saw that there were people in the shed stealing things.

He phoned the police, who asked "Is someone in your house?" and he said "no". Then they said that all patrols were busy, and that he should simply lock his door and an officer would be along when available. George said, "Okay," hung up, counted to 30, and phoned the police again.

"Hello, I just called you a few seconds ago because there were people in my shed. Well, you don't have to worry about them now cause I've just shot them all." Then he hung up.

C
Within five minutes three police cars, an Armed Response unit, and an ambulance showed up at the Phillips residence and caught the burglars red-handed. One of the Policemen said to George: "I thought you said that you'd shot them!" George said, "I thought you said there was nobody available!"
(True Story)

Courtesy of Donald Sensing.

Dismay at Irving's trial and sentencing

[T]he author and academic Deborah Lipstadt, who Irving unsuccessfully sued for libel in the UK in 2000 over claims that he was a Holocaust denier, said she was dismayed.

"I am not happy when censorship wins, and I don't believe in winning battles via censorship... The way of fighting Holocaust deniers is with history and with truth," she told the BBC News website.


I have to agree with Lipstadt, as much fun as it is to see Irving get his comeuppance--censorship is not the way to go.

Thanks to Rachel.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Lower emission standards mean more dead people

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

California, known for setting the cultural zeitgeist, deserves equal notoriety for exporting another dubious product: bad policy. A current example is a proposal to replicate California's vehicle emissions rules in Pennsylvania, which includes a provision aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Regardless of any merit in addressing the earth's climate - even Golden State regulators concede it will be scarcely marginal - the biggest effect by far will be an increase in activity for Pennsylvania's trauma doctors, grief counselors and grave diggers.

Here's why: The only way to reduce vehicular greenhouse gas emissions is to reduce fuel consumption. Reducing fuel consumption requires either building vehicles with much more expensive technologies or reducing their size. Contrary to wishful thinking and urban legend, miracle technology to dramatically improve fuel economy without major trade-offs neither exists nor is on the horizon. Larger vehicles - including full-size autos, trucks and SUVs - will be forced to go the way of the dodo bird. Physics and history both inform us that making vehicles smaller will result in significantly more deaths and injuries.

The wonderful-sounding chimera of trade-off-free vehicles that go farther on a gallon of $2.50 gasoline disappears into ugly reality when one understands that such a transaction is quite literally a trade of blood for oil.

That's because the laws of physics are enforced with brutal clarity when vehicles collide. Bigger is safer when all other factors, such as air bags and stability control systems, are held equal. What's more, nearly four in 10 small-vehicle fatalities are single-vehicle events, not collisions with other vehicles. What size vehicle would you rather be driving if you had the misfortune of smashing into a utility pole?

The unhappy reality that small cars are the most dangerous passenger vehicles on the road was just confirmed in a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The study showed that the compact-car fatality rate is almost 50 percent higher than that for full-size SUVs.

No better summation of the inherent dichotomy of fuel economy and safety exists than was offered in August by the NHTSA's administrator at the time, Jeffrey Runge, himself a trauma doctor: "Every tenth of mile a gallon that we raise [vehicle fuel economy standards] beyond what is technologically feasible, we kill people."

Indeed, we now have decades of real-world experience analyzed by numerous academic, government and insurance studies. Consider:

In 2002, the National Academy of Sciences affirmed that earlier fuel-economy-driven vehicle downsizing resulted in 1,300 to 2,600 additional deaths annually, confirming a previous NHTSA report's conclusions.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and the Brookings Institution estimate the initial wave of vehicle downsizing in the 1970s and early 1980s increased occupant deaths by 14 to 27 percent.

A report using government and insurance data found that, by 1999, downsizing had caused the deaths of more than 46,000 Americans. Factoring in ensuing years, deaths now likely eclipse 57,000 - nearly the equivalent a sold-out Eagles game.


I can attest to the fact that smaller cars are unsafe in collisions. A couple of years ago, I was driving a Geo Prizm, a snappy little car which got great gas mileage. I laughed when I drove past gas stations. But I stopped laughing fast when the car was struck on the left side, just in front of the driver's seat, in the middle of an intersection. My car took a 180 degree turn, and pieces started to fly off of it: bolts, nuts, screws, portions of the hood and the radiator. The car was virtually cut in two. I tried to steer it to the side of the road, but it was imoperable. I got out of the car intact, without a scratch.

I was so gobsmacked that I couldn't even regret the loss of the car. Miraculously, I was totally unhurt. A few inches difference would have found me blogging from a far better place.

After the obsequies, the police, the tow truck, etc., my husband picked me up and we went shopping for an armored vehicle.

Telling off the cowards in the media

From the American Enterprise, an analysis of the religion of peace:

I

t turns out not a single TV network and only two newspapers...have dared publish the dozen Danish cartoons that have set off riots around the world. Even the New York Press, which once ran a whole column in which a writer described removing a boil from his scrotum, has chickened out. Four staff members quit in protest last week after the top brass backed down.

Whence this newfound humility? Well, everybody�s mumbling something about �respect for religion� and �not wanting to offend anybody,� but the real reason is transparent. They�re scared to death. Publishing portraits of rock stars posing as Jesus or putting naked movie stars on the cover of Vanity Fair�that�s all in a day's work. Only a bunch of hillbillies down in Arkansas will be offended. But publishing a cartoon of Mohammed with a bomb in his turban�now that�s serious. Somebody might start throwing rocks or set off a bomb in the office. Best to duck our heads on this one. Trading brickbats with government officials is one thing; doing something risky is quite another.

My question is, what�s the difference? Nothing we say or do will make Muslims like us any better. Islam has been beating down the door of Western Civilization since the time of Charlemagne. They conquered Spain, took Constantinople in 1453, besieged Vienna in 1529 and again in 1683. The Turks blew up the Parthenon in 1687 and fighting between Greeks and Turks continued into this century. The Balkans became the �powder keg of Europe� once the Turks invaded.

And it isn�t just us. Islam is at war with every civilization on its borders. They�re fighting with India, with China, with African tribes in Sudan. Nor do Muslims ever stop fighting among themselves. The whole history of Islam is a story of a group of dissidents going out into the desert, deciding the religion practiced by the elites was not the �true Islam,� and crashing back upon the cities to seize power. The word �assassins� comes from a Persian cult whose members drugged themselves with hashish before carrying out suicide attacks. The Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda are just the latest of a long, long line.

Islam is a culture that has never learned to curb male violence. All it can do is export it.
So what can we poor Americans to do except hold another �Multicultural Appreciation Day?�


Read the whole thing. Atlanta rofters provided the link.

Musical sneakers

From Tan, the next new thing.

water words

show how busy you are:

* I'm swamped
* I'm drowning
* I'm barely able to keep my head above water
* I'm barely able to tread water
* I'm flooded
* I'm in over my head
* I'm sinking

A gratuitous remark

From the New York Times Book Review, in a review of two books about Lincoln>

Yet by the end, while still a religious skeptic, Lincoln, too, seemed to equate the preservation of the Union and the freeing of the slaves with some higher, mystical purpose.

This is the spooky Lincoln, the politician who can send a small chill up the spine. Considering the repulsiveness of the cause he opposed (no, it wasn't "states' rights") and the universal hope offered by American democracy in the 19th and 20th centuries, it is easy to understand such feelings. But one feels a good deal queasier contemplating a president less thoughtful and tempered than Lincoln, who enjoys a special relationship with our armed forces, is willing to play fast and loose with the Constitution and justifies his policies as part of God's great plan.


Question: who is this less thoughtful president? And what the hell does he have to do with Lincoln, or a book about Lincoln?

Bush is the King Charles' head of liberals.*

*A character in David Copperfield could not stop thinking about King Charles' head when he got confused.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Ever wonder what happened to Harper Lee?

She is alive and well and living in Alabama.

After To Kill A Mockingbird came out in 1960, winning the Pulitzer Prize a year later, she went back to Monroeville, the little town in Alabama where she and Capote were brought up. She never left, and the woman who once said she wanted to be the Jane Austen of south Alabama has never written another book....
The only clue to her seclusion came in her last personal interview, in 1964. She said of her book: "I was hoping for a quick and merciful death at the hands of reviewers, but at the same time I sort of hoped that maybe someone would like it enough to give me encouragement - public encouragement. I hoped for a little, but I got rather a whole lot, and in some ways this was just about as frightening as the quick, merciful death I'd expected."

So her escape from death was an escape back to her childhood: she still shares a house in Monroeville with her 94-year-old sister, Alice, who, like their father, the role model for Atticus Finch in the book, is a lawyer.

The people of Monroeville regularly hold re-enactments of the To Kill A Mockingbird trial in the old town courtroom, where Harper Lee's father and sister appeared - and, in the case of the latter, appear: Alice is still a practising lawyer. Harper never attends the re-enactments.

Cows for dummies

From silent running, which got it from ramblestrip,, an explanation of the international cow situation.

Read it yourself.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Naked blogging for Mohammed

I just wanted to see if you were paying attention.

Human skeleton takes a stand against obesity

The Golden State's first lady Maria Shriver will be the honorary chairperson of a glittering gathering of the Hollywood power elite.

The purpose of the get together? To chew the fat about obesity and figure out a way to help solve the weighty American problem.


Have some chicken soup and a chocolate milkshake, Maria, and get over it.

Please sign this petition

From an Iranian woman activist:

To: All human rights supporters

Please help end the mass killing of political prisoners in Iran

Independent news sources have confirmed the recent execution of Hojat Zamani, a political prisoner in Gohardasht, Iran. Another political prisoner, Morteza Bozorgian, was denied basic living conditions whilst in prison and died due to extreme cold. Recently a young journalist, Elham Afrootan, reprinted an originally anonymous article critical of the government in a local newspaper and was imprisoned. Fear of government reprisals drove her to attempt suice, and she is now in a critical condition.

Relatives of other prisoners report of death threats made by officials to the political prisoners stating that “they will be executed one by one if Iran’s nuclear activity is referred to the UN Security Council”. 150 executions have been reported since the election of Ahmadinejad to power in June 2005. The Islamic regime has regressed to the years of terror in the ‘80s, during which time mass executions of political prisoners took place, with their bodies unceremonially dumped in mass graves that were only discovered by accident.

We call upon all human rights supporters, activists and organisations to notify their governments of these atrocities. We urge international human rights organisations to send representatives to Iran to investigate these violations of human rights. We ask them to pressure the government of Iran to free all political prisoners, including all workers, students and bloggers, and to help prevent further widespread mass execution of the prisoners. We ask all freedom supporters to unite in condemning these atrocities by forwarding this petition to friends, family and international media. Unless we speak out in unison, we face the very real possibility of an imminent mass killing of political prisoners in Iran jails by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Bad drivers

Citizen of the month had an old post about how awful older drivers are. I want to tell you, you don't have to be old to be a rotten driver. My mother and both her brothers were born that way.

My aunt and one of my cousins were shopping when they were almost run over by a driverless car. It was my mother. My mother was really short and she had to crane her neck to see over the steering wheel.

When she was younger, she used to drive really fast, because she was always in a hurry. My uncle used to call her car "Goldie's airplane." She got in a couple of fender benders and realized she had to change her ways: so she drove really, really, excruciatingly slow. At least no-one got killed that way. My mother never parked her car--she abandoned it, more or less at the curb. If the car was on the right side of the street, that was enough. Why be a perfectionist?

My Uncle Abe had a devil-may-care approach. If he wanted to change lanes, he put on his turn signal and did it. Looking to see if anyone was in said lane was for sissies. He didn't like to drive, and usually had a friend or hanger-on to take him where he wanted to go. My aunt finally took over and ended his driving career. He, also, never killed anybody, but that was sheer good luck.

My Uncle Max, on the other hand, was slow and cautious. He was a trend-setter--the first person in the US to go 25 mph in the left hand lane. He also wore a hat, which is mandatory for slow-left-laners.

My brother, who had occasion to ride with all of the above, is a nervous wreck. He also drives s-l-o-w-l-y and has been known to stop dead in the middle of traffic to holler at his three manic kids. For a while, he wore a crash helmet while driving, but we shamed him out of it. He is also a terrible passenger, shouting, "Oh, my God" at the least, or no provocation. Once I was driving on the New Jersey Turnpike, taking him to the airport, and his cries of alarm were so loud that I suggested that he get out of the car and hitchhike.

Fortunately, I take after my father's side of the family. My father, at the age of 93, used to drive up to Connecticut every other week to visit his girlfriend. He's 94 now, and remarried. But my Uncle Ed, his brother, just gave up his car a year ago, at 97, when he went into assisted living.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Demonstrators

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Tinkerty tonk admires the Arab "street" ..

for its tenacity:

It's hard to stay outraged for months at a time. I know it takes me some time to work myself up to a frenzy and, once I've torched a building or two, I'm spent. I couldn't possibly work myself up to that degree every day for months on end.


That must be what gives the Arab world its glorious civilization. Oh, wait--they haven't done anything since 1492? Except kill people? Wait till the caliphate returns!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A pioneer of aviation

In honor of Black History Month, I am re-posting my appreciation of Albert Forsythe:

Albert E. Forsythe, black aviation pioneer, 1897-1986
Dr. Albert Forsythe and his comrade in arms, C. Alfred Anderson, did much to advance opportunities for African Americans in the new field of aviation during the nineteen thirties.
Forsythe, a doctor by profession, persuaded Anderson, one of the first African Americans to receive a pilot's license, to join him in a series of daring and historic flights, known as "good will " flights, to show the world that black pilots could do anything white pilots could do. At the time it was the received wisdom that African Americans were inferior to whites and incapable of being pilots.

Their first flight was from Atlantic City, NJ, where Forsythe was practicing medicine, to Los Angeles. According to Forsythe, "The trip was purposely made to be hazardous and rough, because if it had been an ordinary flight, we wouldn't have attracted attention."

So they took off, equipped only with a compass and an altimeter--with no radio, lights, or parachutes. To guide them, they had a Rand-McNally road map, which flew out of Forsythe's hands on the return flight. Despite stormly weather, they successfully completed the flight.

Their second flight, from Atlantic City to Montreal, was also successful and made them the first black pilots to fly over an international border.

By this time, the pair had achieved a good deal of publicity, so they launched their next flight, a trip to the Caribbean and South America, with a ceremony at Tuskegee Institute, with hundreds of students and faculty, and with Booker T Washington's granddaughter in attendance.

They departed in November, 1934. This was to be their most difficult flight. In many of their destinations there were no runways or landing fields, and they were forced to land on a playing field or a city street.

In Nassau, Bahamas, Forsythe's hometown, his friends cut down brush and moved telephone poles to create a makeshift landing strip. It was a historic trip--nothing but seaplanes had ever landed there before. They were greeted ceremoniously by the governor, before a tumultous crowd.

They had equally enthusiastic receptions in Kingston, Havana and Santiago, Cuba, Kingston, Jamaica, and Trinidad. But as they left Trinidad, a strong tailwind forced them off course and they crashed, seriously damaging the plane. The rest of the trip was aborted.

Nevertheless, they were honored and feted when they returned home with a big parade in Newark, NJ, in September 1935.

Having proved his point, Forsythe returned to the practice of medicine. "My main business was medicine....I was not interested in becoming involved much in aviation. We just made a series of flights for the sole purpose of opening the road for blacks who wanted to fly."

After many years of medical practice, Forsythe died in 1986. At his funeral, a tribute from the Mayor of Atlantic City was read, mourning his death as a loss to Atlantic City, to New Jersey, and to "the people in the forefront of making history for black people throughout the world."

Monday, February 13, 2006

Cheney in distress, laments shooting

Cheney now “deeply regrets” decision to hunt with his favored reproduction Winchester Parker 28ga, which meant that “he just didn’t have the firepower to blow through Harry and still bag the quail.” The bird flew to safety, forcing the Vice President to concede that he should have been hunting with his 12ga autoloader, which would have covered every contingency during the hunt.

The Vice President is going to take “a few days off” to recover from the error in judgement.




From pointfive.

Nine things I hate about Jimmy Carter

9. He was sworn into office as Jimmy, not James.

8. He took foreign policy advice from his teenage daughter, Amy.

7. He followed Amy's advice.

6. He bragged about following Amy's advice in speeches.

5. He loved dictators.

4. He talked about "strange malaise." We were malaisy because he was President. When Reagan became president, we were fine.

3. His teeth.

2. He knuckled under to the hostage takers instead of sending them to collect their supply of virgins.

1. He wore a sweater like Mr Rogers.

Goodbye!

and good luck! One of my blogfriends is giving it up in April. Dang! I can't afford to lose too many who visit this site: you few, you happy few, you band of brothers! (and sisters).

Apologies to Wm Shakespeare.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Oy vey!

I have been reliably informed that there are people in this country who don't know what oy vey means.

True story: when I was in the hospital right after knee surgery, the woman in the next bed kept up a constant moaning of oy vey, or sometimes just oy the lite version. When I mentioned this to my father, who came to visit me, he protested, "But she's black."

Nevertheless, I heard her say oy vey for about 18 hours. The other six of the 24 were given over to exhortations to Jesus.

My Swedish-Scotch-Irish-possibly German son-in-law says it in a midwestern accent.

Oy vey is the international language of woe. In fact, I believe it can be translated roughly as "Woe is me." It expresses misery, pain, dismay, the whole tragic view of life. Saying oy vey over and over is called "kvetching." But lets not get into that.

Yemen: share the hate

From armies of liberation:

The Yemeni regime has a new label to target its reformers, opposition and civil leaders: “pro-Dutch.” (The regime employs a variety of stereotypes to label its opponents in an effort to turn public opinion against them: Zionist, Separatist, Houthi, Terrorist, Mason, American-leaning and Treasonous, to name a few.
)

I believe the Hamas founding document states that the Jews are behind the Masons, so the Masonic Order is a two-fer.

Glenn Reynolds lets them have it

My beliefs are offended when gangs of ignorant thugs burn embassies, and where is the respect for my beliefs? Do I need to burn embassies to get respect for my beliefs? Because that's the message CNN sends. The message they send is, We will reward violence. And you're going to get more of what you reward, that's how it works.On CNN, Reynolds
fights back.

Embroider that on a pillow and send a copy to George W (religion of peace) Bush to display in the White House.

Dennis Ross doesn't know...

it takes two to tango, or to negotiate. Soccer dad says it succinctly:

The bottom line is that American participation is irrelevant. Unless there's a change in the Palestinian view of Israel there will never be peace. To pretend otherwise is intellectually dishonest. After eight years of active involvement in peace processing it's a shame that Ross hadn't learned that at all.


Ross and the Arabs remind me of Charlie Brown, Lucy, and the football.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The New York Times--ever sensitive

Potfrey offers a satirical take on the Times:

The New York Times, in a clear effort to take the lead in mollifying the world’s Islamic community over the Danish Mohammed cartoons, reprinted an image of a dung-covered Madonna this week to steer global dialogue back to the evils of Christianity....

According to a Times’ spokeswoman, the decision to run the image again this week reflects the consensus of the editorial staff that the newspaper had a responsibility to reduce Islamic outrage around the globe by irritating the hell out of the majority of Americans....

We felt the Dung-Covered Madonna could get us back to talking about the myth of virgin birth and the dangers of the Christian right.”

The Times felt that Islamic fanatics would find the image soothing, and is air-dropping extra copies into many areas around the globe where unrest has been most violent. The image will also be available for download on the Times' website.

“We have a responsibility to reduce hate,” said Delaney. “And the Islamic community is rightfully offended by the utter insensitivity of the Danish cartoons. And free speech is fine until it freaks out a group capable of reducing your New York headquarters to rubble. Then it’s just a ‘nice-to-have.’”

Delaney was unmoved when asked if the paper feared a backlash from American Christians.

“Oh please,” she said. “Are you serious? What are they going to do, send us prayer booklets? They rant a bit, and then go back to….whatever people in red states do. I mean, how can you get angry about a little dung on your so-called Virgin Mary when there’s a monster truck pull that night?”

Elderly teenagers

Ann Coulter
acts like a jerk; so does Maureen Dowd.

These women went from adolescence to senility without once achieving adulthood. Nice trick if you can get away with it.

Learning

I'm taking an art class at the Delaware Museum, and I have a really good teacher. He comes around, looks at your work, and makes suggestions or points out problems. When he has made his comments, I am wiser than I was before. He also accompanies the class to the Museum and discusses the paintings and sculptures in a way that enhances your vision and deepens your understanding of the work.

I've taken art classes all my life, but this is the first one where I've actually learned something. In all the other art classes I have taken since becoming an adult, the teacher exhorted the students to let themselves go, do what feels good, be creative. Translation: you're a bunch of losers so you might as well enjoy yourselves painting your miserable little daubs.

Would anyone attempting to teach piano tell the student to just sit down and hit the keys and have fun? There are basics to be learned and techniques to be mastered in any endeavor. And with mastery comes a sense of satisfaction.

There's nothing to do on Saturday nights in Fiji

So Mel Gibson is importing himself a bowling alley.

Lawsuits we love

Only in California.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Don't send her back!

We have enough loonies here already.

Waiting for the Pinch award

Gawker publicizes a great new contest.

Know someone who works for The New York York Times Company who’s done a particularly stellar job this year? Has this employee has exemplified “a commitment to [the] Company’s Core Purpose, Core Values and Rules of the Road”? Did he or she did so while “contend[ing] with numerous journalistic challenges....

Yes?

Well, then clearly your friend should be nominated for a 2006 Punch Award, named in honor of Times Company chairman emeritus Arthur Sulzberger Jr., who, according to the announcement, lives by all those above-mentioned principles....

On the other hand, if your Times Company friend instead spent 2005 making awkward jokes at inopportune moments, obstinately clinging to lost causes without really considering whether the cause deserved so much support, and contributing strongly to a stagnant stock price, the just sit tight. We’re sure the Pinch Awards will be coming along soon enough.

I swear, the first time I read this, I thought it said "Gore values." I guess that will wait for the Pinch Award.

Marine bumper stickers

My favorite:

U.S. Marines: Travel agents to Allah.

Black history

Why we have Black History Month.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Hard times at the dollar store

Everyone who knows me knows that I love to shop at dollar stores. I can cheerfully throw away $20 on twenty items I don't need that probably don't work anyway, as long as each item only costs a dollar. Think of the money I save!

I have a favorite dollar store. At this store, the owner is pleasant, the store is clean, there's lots of stock, and all the salespeople smile and seem happy at life. No week passes that I don't stop there and buy a few things.

On my last visit, I saw a sign on the door, telling us customers that owing to the cost of things generally and energy specifically some prices would be raised to $1.25 and others to $2.

It shouldn't matter--what's an extra quarter, or even two bucks? But somehow, the name dollar and a quarter store doesn't have the same ring to it.

Let's offend them, by all means

A refreshing thought, amidst all this cant and hypocrisy, from Russell Wardlow:

Muslims need to be offended, and for that reason the cartoons should continue to be published both in Europe and in the United States, and everywhere else possible.

The mistake that Karol makes is in treating Muslims the same as any other religious group. But that's quite impossible at this point as a result of Muslims' own behavior. Precisely because they can be counted on, for whatever reason, to riot psychotically with every minute percieved slight, we need to offend them. Not doing so would be a capitulation to the dangerous double standard that liberal-minded folks in the West see as magnanimous sensitivity and tolerance, but which is percieved (perfectly rationally, I might add) by Muslims as simply weakness and a complete lack of any faith in our own society.

Once Muslims show themselves capable of not killing people and burning down buildings because of an editorial cartoon, then you'll find me on the side of those who want to be conscientious and polite and not offend. And I will then happily be just as mindful of Muslim sensibilities as I am to those of Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, et al.

But until then, I say it's open season.


A tip of the chapeau to bad example.

Funeral ettiquette

Basil's blog discusses proper funeral behavior:

The folks that speak do their speaking about the dearly departed. Those that sing songs sing songs that they think the dearly departed loved, whether or not they had ever even heard the song. And everyone maintains a somber tone. After all, it's a funeral.

But, every now and then, some folks decide to act like they ain't had no proper raising and turn the funeral into something else.

Not at any funeral I've ever been to. But on the soap operas. And when some Democrats speak.

Recently, you might have heard about the funeral of Coretta Scott King. Four presidents showed up for that one....

Then they let Rev. Joseph Lowery and Jimmy Carter speak.

Both George Bushes and Bill Clinton were up there acting like it was a funeral. Joseph Lowery and Jimmy Carter acted like asses.

Now, I don't know much about what funerals Joseph Lowery has been going to, but Jimmy Carter is a Baptist and is from southwest Georgia. I'm a Baptist from southeast Georgia. There can't be that much difference between how one's supposed to act at a funeral.


I guess to some Democrats, the body of the deceased is just a stage prop, like the flowers.

Some advances in scientific research

from 15 Minute Lunch: Too much of a good and bad thing.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Namby-pamby Bush

The President has been saying tactful things about not offending the Religion of Peace- niks, currently rioting at a theatre near you.

We have to be tactful. We don't want to hurt their feelings.

I want to hurt their feelings. And any other part of their anatomy.

Here's what I want the President to say to them:

Your feelings are hurt? It's a tough world. Suck it up. If you don't like it, you can go f*** yourselves. There's a principle involved here. Free speech is more important than your feelings, which are a crock anyway.


I hate it when he starts talking in that sanctimonious manner, like a psalm-singing Presbyterian Wall street lawyer (as someone said of John Foster Dulles).

I guess that's why I'm not president.

I hope my relatives don't say such mean things about me

Bush adopts Clinton; the feeling is not mutual.

Unless Bush has some awfully nasty relatives.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Happy Presidents' Day!

 
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Enforced vacation from blogging

First I installed Mozilla Firefox 1.5, which totally destroyed my computer's ability to access the Internet. If you're considering using this, DON'T! When I accessed their web site, I discovered that it would cost me $39.95 to get tech support. So much for free software.

Then I tried to restore my computer to an earlier date. This didn't work.

Now the DSL doesn't work. And the phones don't work either.

I have had Verizon (cursed be their name) out here three (3) times. I am awaiting a fourth visit without much hope.

Thank God I have a cell phone, or I would be unable to even order a pizza.

Friday, February 03, 2006

God wants to retire

God is getting tired.

'I keep getting all these calls from folk begging me to intercede on their behalf, smite their enemies, improve their sex life, make them rich, all sorts of things. Frankly, I just don't want to get involved. It's none of my business how people want to lead their lives.'

Beautiful old buildings

 
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This church was built for the ages. Unfortunately, the ages have passed it by. Like the grand central libraries that were once a source of civic pride, it is little used. I don't know what can be done--I'm not even Catholic--but it makes me sad.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Another English eccentric dies

This time it is a monk.

Best part:

Following a breakdown.... he underwent long-term psychoanalysis. The combination of anguish, insights received through analysis, and an acute theological mind produced a deeply personal interpretation of the Christian message which many found illuminating and helpful, though others regarded him as a menace.

His views often caused controversy. "Religious establishments invariably give me the creeps," he once confided to his readers, before informing them that: "Religion is to a large extent what people do with their lunacy, their phobias, their will to power and their sexual frustrations."

On another occasion he declared that he had received the Word of God from a Judy Garland film,

Rear view

 
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Baby and spoon

 
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Solving the Palestinian problem

I've just figured out how to solve the Palestinian problem. This will work whether Hamas, Fatah, or for tht matter Al Queda is in charge.

Cut off their allowance!

If we, the EU, Israel (yes, Israel gives them money)and the NGOs would just stop supporting them, they wouldn't be able to buy paper clips, let alone form a government.

Look at it from this standpoint: the Palestinian "state" is the international equivalent of a welfare mother. Handouts is Them. No money=no government, no guns, no terror, no garbage pickup, no schools.

In the unlikely event this does not work, we could send them to their room without supper.

The line for nominating me for the Nobel Peace prize starts at the right.