Monday, November 24, 2008

We win an award

Another meme, courtesy of Father Brown: I have to pick 15 blogs:

This award acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his/her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary and personal values every day.

The rules to follow are:

1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person that has granted the award and his or her blog link.

2) Pass the award to other 15 blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment.

Okay, here goes:


decision '08 (time for a new name, though);
Jules Crittenden;
Mark Steyn;
15 minute lunch;
Iowahawk;
scrappleface;
gates of Vienna;
passing parade;
Jack;
powerline;
Wyatt Earp;
Michael Yon
citizen of the month;
Lileks;
Tim Blair.

There are many more excellent blogs I follow, so I set myself some criteria: I generally am prejudiced toward blogs written by one individual. I decided not to include any Delaware blogs--there are too many good ones. I also tried to exclude blogs whose owners only blog once in a while and those who have terminated their blogs.

Anyway, there you have it. Whew! It was exhausting, posting all those llinks.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Oy vey! The best and brightest are back!

Lock up the silverware and hide the car keys! David Brooks lauds the high school heroes who went on to make the Ivy League the sinkhole of political correctness and fraudulent scholarship it is today.

Jan. 20, 2009, will be a historic day. Barack Obama (Columbia, Harvard Law) will take the oath of office as his wife, Michelle (Princeton, Harvard Law), looks on proudly. Nearby, his foreign policy advisers will stand beaming, including perhaps Hillary Clinton (Wellesley, Yale Law), Jim Steinberg (Harvard, Yale Law) and Susan Rice (Stanford, Oxford D. Phil.).
[]



The domestic policy team will be there, too, including Jason Furman (Harvard, Harvard Ph.D.), Austan Goolsbee (Yale, M.I.T. Ph.D.), Blair Levin (Yale, Yale Law), Peter Orszag (Princeton, London School of Economics Ph.D.) and, of course, the White House Counsel Greg Craig (Harvard, Yale Law).

This truly will be an administration that looks like America, or at least that slice of America that got double 800s on their SATs.


There's worse:
Any think tanker can come up with broad doctrines, but it is rare to find people who can give the president a list of concrete steps he can do day by day to advance American interests. Dennis Ross, who advised Obama during the campaign, is the best I’ve ever seen at this....

Dennis Ross--where have I heard that name before? Isn't he the guy who is always seen knowledgably opining on the Sunday talk shows, demonstrating with vast erudition that he always grabs the wrong end of the stick and beats up the facts with it?

Could this be the Dennis Ross who crafted the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process which has successfully settled the mid-East's problems, leading to peace and prosperity on both sides? Oh, wait--not quite at peace yet! Unfortunately Yassir Arafat sold Dennis Ross a bridge which he has not been able to locate yet.

In my opinion, getting through Harvard requires the skills needed to get into Harvard, and nothing else.

William F Buckley once said that he would sooner live in a society governed by the first 2,000 names in the Boston phone book than in one governed by the 2,000 men of the Harvard faculty.

Me too.

Delaware people are so polite

Delaware people are so much politer than people in NY and NJ. I hardly ever approach a door that someone doesn't hold it open for me--even teenagers. They're friendly and pleasant, too.

Even the panhandlers are polite. I had occasion to be in downtown Wilmington a few times lately, and encountered three panhandlers in one day. They were polite, almost deferential: "Pardon me, ma'am..." Such a nice change from the panhandlers in San Francisco, for instance, who will threaten you and follow you around.

One young man had a novel approach. I was selecting stuff at a salad bar, when he came up to me and told me he wanted to buy something or other--a soda, maybe? He asked me if I could give him a dime. I was so struck by the modesty of his request, I gave him a quarter.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What should my bumper sticker be?




Your Bumper Sticker Should Be



Anything worth taking seriously - is worth making fun of

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

We love our customers...

I mean the ones we don't have yet.

I'm referring to Comcast and Verizon, who are constantly sending me offers for Internet, phone service, tv, etc. at bargain basement rates. Once they get their claws on you, however, it's no more Mr Nice Guy. My mother told me that if I was too easy, boys would not respect me, and she's right. Verizon doesn't even take my calls.

Did it ever occur to these businesses that if they were nicer to their current customers, people would be content to continue paying their salaries?

Babies

 

 
Posted by Picasa

Are Americans getting smarter?

The number of cars with "My son is an honor student at XXX school" bumper stickers seems to be multiplying exponentially. Also--and I admit this is anecdotal evidence--I never seem to hear a young person discussed without assertions that he or she gets nothing but As and Bs.

Are our children getting smarter? Has our educational system improved to the point where everyone is fulfilling his or her potential to the max? Can we rest confident that America's future is in the hands of these budding geniuses?

Or is there a new definition of honor student--someone who attends school most of the time, gives the teachers no lip and doesn't burn the building down?

In Alice in Wonderland there is a dodo race. Everyone runs around aimlessly wherever he wants to, and at the conclusion, everyone wins and gets a prize. Is this the model for the American education system?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

God makes them...


and they find each other:



This unappealing pair met over the Internet, and they broke up after she caught him virtually cheating on her. I can't find a picture of their avatars, but you can bet your boots they look better than the actual couple, him ripped and studly, her svelte and slinky.

Amy Taylor, 28, split up with her husband, David Pollard, 40, after catching him digitally cheating on her in the popular online game "Second Life."

The British couple had a passion for "Second Life," in which people lead alternative existences over the Web, with personas - or avatars - that are typically far more svelte and suave than their real selves.

Pollard and Taylor spent countless hours living in the game as their attractive alter egos, Dave Barmy and Laura Skye, after getting married both in real life and in the game in 2005.

In real life, Taylor and Pollard are both overweight, and he is balding.

But in February 2007, Taylor caught Pollard having sex with a pixel prostitute ....

"I looked at the computer screen, and I could see his character having sex with a female character. It's cheating, as far as I'm concerned," she said....

"We made it up, and he promised her he would never do anything to hurt me again, and would never cheat on me again," Taylor told The Daily Mail of London.

But two months later,... She caught Barmy in a compromising position with another woman.

It wasn't long before Taylor confronted him while he was in the act.

[]
"He said our marriage was over and he didn't love me anymore," Taylor said.

She filed for divorce on the grounds of "unreasonable behavior." A divorce lawyer told her the next day that this was the second case involving "Second Life" she had dealt with in one week.

Taylor has since given up "Second Life" for "World of Warcraft," another online game.


I blame Al Gore. If he hadn't invented the Internet, this would never have happened,

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Elections in this country are getting slipshod

Let's stop it. Voters are voting by mail (what an opportunity for fraud!), by absentee ballot, provisionally, with or without previous registration. Ballots are being conveniently found in the back seat of cars and other inauspicious places. Let's stop it now.

Elections should be clean and should be seen to be clean. If people want to vote, let them show up at the proper venue at the proper time and register. Then let them all vote simultaneously, on the same day. This system has worked for 200 years and there is nothing wrong with it. The idea that people have to be coaxed to vote is a rotten one. If you don't care enough to show up at the polls, that's fine. There should be no coercion, and no "volunteers" signing up "voters" in streets and homeless shelters.

At some pre-determined time, all the votes should be counted and the ballots sequestered. Ballots found after that period, no matter where, should be discarded. Precincts which report after that period should not have their votes added to the total. Polls should be closed at the previously announced time, and no latecomers should be admitted.

This Al Franken thing now going on is a disgrace to the republic. So is Franken, but that's an issue for another day.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Jesse weeping--the mean-spirited community weighs in

Several conservative commenters--I believe Krauthammer was one--were touched by the sight of Jesse Jackson weeping at Barack O's election. I can't believe the old fraud and shakedown artist was weeping tears of gratitude.

More likely, someone probably stepped on his toe.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Another time-waster




You Are 90% Yankee, 10% Dixie



You're so Yankee, it's possible you've never even been to the South!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

A poem for our day

The Second Coming

by William Butler Yeats

TURNING and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Obama's worker bees

Bill Bradley was on Hannity and Colmes tonight. He suggested that all the people who were campaigning for BO over the weekend ought to be enlisted into--what? I know not, but I don't like the idea of having the Soviet Youth dropping around the house to see whether I'VE RECYCLED or something. I want all these willing volunteers who are so eager to help Obama achieve his vision to leave me strictly alone. I prefer that they sink into apathy, or go off and get drunk or do drugs. I don't want to be part of Obama's corps of concerned citizens.

What I want to do is turn my thermostat to whatever makes me comfortable, to get gasoline that is reasonable and readily available, to eat whatever unhealthy food I feel like scarfing down. I don't mind paying for what I use. I don't want Big Brother looking over my shoulder.

At art class, one of the women said it was time we had a president who would save the planet. Could we first have a dispassionate look at what, if anything, is wrong with the planet? Ditto health care? Could we investigate dispassionately what's wrong with American health care, and how good--or bad--other systems are?

We take so many things on faith, without any proof. I'm not convinced global warming exists or that there is anything the United States could do to remedy it without crippling our economy. Obama talks blithely about bankrupting coal producers. If he delivers on any of his promises, he will be a piss-poor president.

I blame Bush for the Democratic victory, at least partly. He didn't bother to get the country behind him on the Iraq war. Or on anything. He just went on doing whatever he was doing without explaining himself or justifying himself. The presidency is a bully pulpit, but he ignored its propaganda function, and that's how he lost the battle for public opinion.

McCain was pretty pathetic, too. Why didn't he publicize the Rev Jeremiah Wright's relationship with Obama--a relationship that stinks to high heaven? Why didn't he articulate his plans for solving our financial crisis? Why did he tie himself to using public financing, the equivalent of tying one of his legs behind him?

Basically, I believe that Obama won for two reasons: one, the economy. The financial meltdown worked in his favor. Two: the man is just plain lucky. He only won his Senate seat because his opponent dropped out, among other things. I just hope his luck extends to the country.

Guy Fawkes Day--how could I forget?

I've always loved the idea of Guy Fawkes Day since I first read about it in Mary Poppins as a little girl:

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
To blow up King and Parliament.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England's overthrow;
By God's providence he was catch'd
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!

Instead of setting fire to cars--the French way--the Brits enjoy setting off fireworks to commemorate the foiling of a plot against the government. Fireworks must light up the dreary November skies nicely.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

A quiet day in New Jersey

I went to New Jersey Thursday to visit a relative who is recovering from surgery. I was surprised at how uneventful the trip was. The generic, nondescript trees lining the turnpike didn't look as generic and nondescript as usual, due to the fall foliage. And the traffic--well, I came home at rush hour, and there were a minimum number of trucks on the road. Even at the place in the road where truck traffic and car traffic come together, which is generally pretty fraught, everything proceeded smoothly. Usually there is a snarl of traffic which causes tempers and radiators to boil over, but on that day everything proceeded quietly.

This must be the result of the economic meltdown. Business must be very slow. It was uncanny, as if a disaster had occurred somewhere nearby. I felt...uneasy.

However, I did get my car pumped full of New Jersey gas by somebody else.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Librarian fined for promoting daughter's book

Was this unethical?

For 39 years as an educator, Robert Grandt has been promoting other people’s books. So this year, when his daughter helped create a graphic novel of “Macbeth,” Mr. Grandt could not resist bragging a little in the newsletter he distributes as a librarian at Brooklyn Technical High School.


Mr. Grandt’sdaughter, Eve Grandt, co-illustrated a version of “Macbeth.” He said he was taken aback by conflict-of-interest charges. "I was just so proud of my daughter for writing it," he said.

“Best New Book: Grandt, Eve, ‘Shakespeare’s Macbeth — The Manga Edition,’ ” he wrote under the heading “Grandt’s Picks.”

He also placed a few copies of the book at a library display table, and posted a sign: “Best Book Ever Written.” If someone were interested, they got a book free.

But one person’s parental pride is another panel’s ethical transgression.

On Monday, the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board announced it had settled a case it had brought against Mr. Grandt for promoting his daughter’s work. He agreed to pay a $500 fine and admit in a three-page stipulation that he had violated the city ethics code.