Delaware Top Blogs

Sunday, April 30, 2006


A New York Times writer is a moral idiot:

... I can imagine a film other than "Munich" or "United 93," a greater film, a film about different kinds of courage. In this film, the courage of the passengers would be shown and honored, but there would be an equal effort to show the courage of the terrorists (without calling them simply "evil" or "insane"). You can feel already, I know, that that film is less likely. It has a kind of moral ambivalence not settled by giving 5 percent of the proceeds to families of the lost.

The courage of the terrorists! What courage? Attacking and murdering an unsuspecting, unarmed flight attendant does not display courage. Trading on the belief of passengers they would not be hurt if they cooperated?

And then there's this:

[O]n 9/11, we faced the first need to ask ourselves how other people — evil, alien, insane — could be so brave. The history of terrorism — and it includes the independence of this country — is that in the end you have to understand the grievance of the aggrieved, whether you agree with it or not. That film has still to come.

We know their grievance: They want us all dead. Alternatively, we could all become Muslims and don burkas. Wouldn't that be fun?

The moral obtuseness of some people defies belief.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Kvetcher nation

Whatever happened to the old pioneer spirit? Or for that matter, Yankee ingenuity?

I'll tell you what, they've been replaced by kvetching. Kvetching combines the most obnoxious features of whining and complaining: you whine vociferously and never shut up. Example:

W-a-a-ah, I want $1 gas! I'm entitled to it! I deserve it! This is the worst thing that has ever happened to me! My life has become unbearable, now that it costs $60 to fill my SUV. Who's to blame? Someone must be! Evil oil companies. I can't take it any more! Life in this country is no longer possible. Blame Bush! Blame anybody! Boohoohoo!

The whole country is kvetching about oil prices--the news media, Congress, even the President.

When not obsessed with gas prices, we kvetch continually about the war in Iraq:

People are getting killed over there! Over 2,000! No-one should ever be killed! War is bad! Iraq is not becoming a democracy fast enough to suit me! Boohoohoo! I want these Iraqis to settle down immediately or I'll cry! Blame Bush! Bush lied!

The back-up kvetch, when things are (otherwise) going well:

Global warming, oy! Life as we know it is going to stop next Tuesday! I demand an end to global warming, everyone but me should stop using oil! Boohoohoo!

Another group whine

We know who you are, gougers!

Iran's president quakes in his boots

UN threatens dire consequences:

Confronted by the UN’s might, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is holding his nerve somehow:

Iran has ignored a UN Security Council call to suspend all nuclear fuel enrichment, a report by the head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog has concluded.

Mohamed ElBaradei’s report said that Tehran had done little to answer questions over its nuclear intentions.

The UN wants the research halted amid Western fears - denied by Iran - that Tehran might develop nuclear weapons.

US Ambassador John Bolton said he would now push for Iran to face mandatory UN demands to stop its nuclear work.

There exists the faint possibility that Iran may not comply with any UN demands. What then, UN? Will a scowling be launched? Going to back up your demands with some smashmouth finger-waving? Could it be time for Kofi’s expression of deep concern, outlawed under the Geneva Convention because of the paralysing giggling fits it induces?

Friday, April 28, 2006

John Kerry looks like Ichabod Crane

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Only not as good-looking.

Men can't find anything, even if it is where they put it

Johnny V can't find his keys.

Despite his excuses, that's because: 1)they're not where he put them; 2) they're not where they belong.

I have at least 1,000,000 things in this house, and I can find 999,999 of them, and I don't need the other one anyway, and anyway it will turn up, maybe.

The scenario in the Charm household is a little different. It goes like this:

Mr C: What did you do with my keys?
Me: (pretend I didn't hear him).

Mr C: You must have put them somewhere.
Me: Where were you when you had them last?
Mr C: (accusingly) right here!
I find keys, exactly where he put them, cleverly hidden by today's paper, which he put on top of them.

Alternative scenario:
Me: Maybe they're in the bedroom?
Mr C: I wasn't in the bedroom!
I find keys in bedroom, on top of his bureau.
Mr C: Oh.

PS: I never clean his office. You should see it.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

My mother, the lawyer


My family don't want me to use any of their (current) pictures on my blog, so I am scanning in old family pictures. This one is my mother. If she were alive she would probably tear itup--she never liked pictures of herself. Posted by Picasa

human rights for prisoners, not for soldiers

I was listening to NPR yesterday, and came upon this gem.

[A] report by several human-rights groups says that, so far, only low-ranking soldiers have borne the brunt of the scandal, and that abuse in Iraq, as well as Afghanistan, is still widespread.

If you listen to the podcast, the "human rights groups" are angry that more soldiers, particularly high-ranking ones, have not been punished and are not rotting in jail. It never seems to occur to these dummies that military personnel have the right to due process. They even have the right to be acquitted or have a light sentence imposed. The HRG will not be satisfied until these soldiers are punished.

Too bad for these soldiers that they are not criminals who murdered people while holding up a convenience store, like Tookie Williams. The human rights groups would be agitating for their release.

I'm not condoning abuse of prisoners, but making someone wear a woman's underwear on his head is not the moral equivalent of cold-blooded murder. It's just that these ghetto types are oh so much more authentic than a guy in uniform.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Note to Bush: possible new energy source?

We have estuaries-- the Hudson River up to about Poughkeepsie. How about it?

Lions and tigers and bears (and Democrats)--oh my!

More culture of corruption.

This is what the library wage slaves are doing all day

Definitely NSFW.

A guide to building and staffing secret prisons

It can be done, according to bamapachyderm.

I always thought the secret prison thing was on a par with the Tawana Brawley non-incident--something that strains credulity to the breaking point. But, as President Bush ought to know, you can't prove a negative. No-one can conclusively say that Iraq didn't have WMDs. Maybe we're just not looking in the right places?

No-one can prove that these secret prisons don't exist, either. The EU denies it? Well of course they would. That just proves it must be true! I think the secret prison thing is going to enter folklore. Oliver Stone will make a movie about it.

Wow! this disproves the maxim that two can keep a secret if one of them is dead.

Philadelphians talk funny

I listen to NPR in my car. I know it raises my blood pressure and makes every hair on my head stand up in rage. However.

We in northern Delaware are too small and primitive to have our own public radio station. The whole state only has one Congressman, for God's sake. Of course, Senator Biden talks enough for an entire delegation from a medium-sized state, so that kind of makes up for it. Sort of. You could say.

Now you ask: what does this have to do with Philadelphians, who reside in a whole nother state for God's sake? Why dump on them?

Okay. As I say, we don't have our own NPR, so we make do with Philadelphia's. We don't even get our own weather, we have to borrow it from Philadelphia. We're just a miserable hinterland, unworthy of having our own rush hour traffic reports. We have to make do with those across the state lines. The traffic report even mentions New Jersey, from time to time, but never a word about Delaware.

Actually, I find this quite soothing, tooling around Delaware at 4 o'clock and hearing about tractor trailers overturning on I-95 south while I whiz through back roads. There's just one thing that puzzles me about the Philly traffic reports.

What in God's name is the Skoogle? Could this possibly be how you pronounce Schuylkill? And if so, Why?

As I say, Philadelphians talk funny.

Now don't get me wrong. You guys have the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Betsy's Ross' house, etc. You're world class. But Skoogle? It sounds like some kind of Jewish food, a kugel with chocolate chips in it maybe.

Can air travel be made any more uncomfortable?

The answer is a tentative yes.

Cattle class could take on an entirely new meaning in air travel if Airbus goes through with its latest wheeze.

According to a report in the International Herald Tribune, the European plane maker is floating the idea of standing-room only at the back. Passengers in the standing section would be propped against a padded backboard and held in place with a harness.

I can recall a day when air travel had a certain aura of glamour--you wore lipstick on the plane-- but that era is long gone. Even before all the sham "security" came along, the airlines had managed to create the ambiance of a Greyhound bus station.

Now they are trying for a new level: they want to replicate the New York City subway during rush hour. Before the trains were all air-conditioned.

I'm going to quit flying if they hire panhandlers to circulate among the passengers, selling free "newspapers."

Thanks to Tinkerty tonk.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Getting priorities straight

according to palmetto pundit:

I suppose one is entitled to worry about penguins suddenly being forced to wear sunscreen on their long march across the desert that just yesterday was Antarctica, but I have better things to do with my time and much more urgent problems to worry about. My gut tells me that a mad man with a nuke or a terrorist with a death wish and a dirty bomb is a much more urgent threat than a melting iceberg. I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

Monday, April 24, 2006

I discover the formula for world peace

and scaling down my wardrobe.

I got rid of the dress-up-for-work-and-boring-meetings garb before I left New Jersey, sensing correctly that I was not going to be going to work or to boring meetings any more. But I still have too much stuff. I have two closets full.

So here's what I do. Every day I put on a different outfit. If I really love it, I put it back in my closet. If I don't, it goes into the box for Good Will. I've gotten rid of a surprising amount of stuff this way.

You mention world peace? Well, I haven't got time to deal with that today. Later.

New Jersey--biohazards R us

from New Jersey guy.

Jewish life=bashing Republicans

Henry Waxman speaks about "vibrant Jewish life," and he's not talking about potato kugel.

My date with a headhunter

Say uncle takes on headhunters:

[R]ecruiters and headhunters are almost completely useless human beings. Of the several interviews I’ve been on, only one was arranged by a headhunter. And these recruiting firms make shit up. They post jobs they don’t have in an effort to get you to send them your résumé. I’ve even confirmed this with a headhunter friend of mine. I have basically written off one local firm because they have nothing but made up jobs. Seriously. I contact a local firm and tell them I saw a particular ad they had in the paper and express my interest. Should be no problem setting me up since they have my info. But they don’t have a job. I ask about the ad and they tell me it’s already been filled. Really? You filled it in 20 fucking minutes? I should have figured that out since they probably wouldn’t run ads if they already have candidates who were qualified.

My experience with headhunters confirms this. I was contacted by a consultant who specializes in libraries (bad sign)about a plum director's job. I knew the job existed, and I knew why the job was vacant--because the Board of Trustees contained certifiable lunatics. When a library board hires a consultant, they are looking for the Magic Candidate, who doesn't exist. Still, I was flattered.

At the consultant's request I sent in a resume. I started to get phone calls from the consultant, calls that went from pertinent to impertinent. Then I was imperiously summoned for an interview--by the consultant. After the interview, more questions, long fishing expeditions. She practically asked me if I had an innie or an outie. It became quite clear that the consultant did not know what she was doing and was trying to earn her fee by grilling me, and possibly other candidates as well.
I told her that it was time to meet with the Board. They knew all about me, but I didn't know what the board was seeking to accomplish. Now it was time for some information from them. That was the last I heard from her.

They spent a lot of money on this consultant, but never hired anyone. They ended up asking the previous director to come back from retirement, which she did. Now I believe the job is vacant once again.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Saturday, April 22, 2006

How to destroy the earth

Caution: it won't be easy.

My favorite Chinese restaurant

Mr C and I have a favorite Chinese restaurant. It's a great place for lunch, especially if lunch is your biggest meal of the day.

The staff is always friendly and smiling. They know our names. They bring over our favorite drinks before we can order them. We trade chitchat. They comp us dessert once in a while. And some of the food is excellent.

Notice I said some? I like to try new things, and sometimes I don't like them much. The ginger chicken, for instance, was too bland. But at this point, I feel as I would at a friend's house, so I have to clean my plate even if I don't like it, so they won't get their feelings hurt.

Good grief, what a wimp!

Me at 13

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Friday, April 21, 2006

A dangerous life

John Bridges, who has died aged 87, survived a suicidal march through two minefields in Tunisia to pursue a long post-war career as a BBC radio producer.

As a sergeant with the 6th Battalion, Grenadier Guards, he took over the intelligence role during the advance on a horseshoe feature in the Mareth Line during the night of March 16-17 1943.

To their surprise the Grenadiers found themselves not only under enemy fire but entering two minefields which were so heavily sown that they had to switch from single file to proceeding separately, in order to avoid being blown up together.

Bridges trod on one mine, which exploded at head height, and regained consciousness moments later to find his boot smouldering and his head aching. After wondering whether to retire from the action, he continued onwards, deciding that if he headed away from the gunfire he would risk stepping on more mines....


As a child he escaped unhurt when run over by a coal lorry....

He became a drummer, which led to his appearing on stage at the Old Vic to beat the drum for Ophelia's funeral cortege in the 1935 production of Hamlet; he once inadvertently brought the show to a brief halt when a cross he was holding wobbled over Laurence Olivier's head....

After fighting in the rearguard of the retreat on Dunkirk, he narrowly escaped with his life when a rowing boat he had commandeered was sucked into the propellers of a ship.

He managed to scramble free and, wearing little more than a tin hat, climbed aboard another ship which was subsequently hit by a mine....

Later in the war the Bridges boot attracted attention when he trod on Winston Churchill's foot at a briefing; the prime minister remarked that he "thought it was a bloody horse".

After being concussed by the explosion at Mareth, Bridges was sent to hospital at Tripoli, where doctors were unable to explain why he had gone blind. But he eventually recovered his sight, and joined the Psychological Warfare Branch, producing propaganda to be dropped on German troops in Italy.

After that, he was sent to the Peloponnese with the task of identifying the factions likely to emerge among the Greeks when the Germans left.

He completed the war as a WO1 in Palestine, where his front teeth were knocked out when he intervened in a fight.

After 87 years of that kind of thing, he died of natural causes.

I bought a scanner

Posted by Picasa

to scan in my old negatives and slides.

I can't get it to scan negatives very well, but this is an old picture of my grandson.

Are the Iranians kidding?

Silent running has an analogy which might aid the strategic thinkers in the US:

A bull goes mad and starts rampaging about and is clearly going to kill people, you don’t shoot it because…. well fuck I don’t know but thats the argument.

Now if I just put some sticks and leaves over this massive bear trap “someone” might just walk right into it.

Talk about your subtle traps.

This would be a joke except that our most esteemed thinkers seem to think: 1) The Iranian president is just kidding; 2) maybe he's lying; 3) saner heads (!!!) might prevail; 4) he doesn't really have the power; 5) the tooth fairy will intervene.

Of these options, #5 seems the most realistic.


I couldn't resist.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Straight talk

If only Bush could talk like this:

THE reaction of the UN to the nuclear crisis in Iran will be a test for the international body, Prime Minister John Howard says.
Mr Howard said those critical of the US, UK and Australian governments for invading Iraq would see for themselves how effective the UN was when it decided what action to take against Iran.

Howard calls them as he sees them, like Rudy Giuliani.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a president who wasn't mealymouthed?
Ht to tim Blair.

Carnival of Comedy is up

Rich white Harvard boys in trouble

Harvard's athletes are not to be outdone by these pathetic crackers at Duke.


owing not to be outdone by a “small Southern town prosecutor”, the DA’s office in Boston, Massachusetts has accused the Harvard 8 Man Crew Team of taunting, torturing and impaling a bus load of Mexican, illegal alien, lesbian, prostitutes who were in town to assist in an anti-war, anti-fur, vegan, Earth First, gay pride, ACLU, anti-Bush, peaceful demonstration to point out the horrors of global warming.

The all-white crew team is reported to consist solely of children who’s father’s are either; tobacco lobbyists, “Big Oil/Coal” executives, Halliburton board members, Fox News anchors or grossly overpaid CEOs. All of their mothers have been described as botox-filled, spa queens.

At a press conference today, assistant DA, Dan Conley was quoted as saying, “Our privileged white boys are far more privileged, far more white and committed far worse hate crimes than those pseudo-uppercrust, prepster wanna-be, rednecks in the Carolinas.”

Take that, Duke!

Harry Reid serves pork dinner

For a country that cannot maintain reliable and profitable passenger rail service between New York and Washington D.C. (or Boston and New York or New York and Chicago or . . . ), spending at least $12 billion on a 269-mile high-speed train from Anaheim, California to Las Vegas, Nevada seems downright ridiculous. But that's exactly what Senator Harry Reid of Nevada has already spent $54 million on. Such insane and wasteful spending must be stopped if this country has any hopes of attaining fiscal discipline.

Senator Reid is not the only railroad porker in the Senate.

This is pork at its worst. A true waste of money, and a lot of it.

How humiliating!

Isn't anyone going to ask me any questions?
After great hesitation, I volunteered to be interviewed by Basil's blog. I figured no-one would have any curiosity about me, and I was right.
You guys are supposed to ask questions. You don't. I fell like a girl whose prom date has stood her up.
Come on--questions!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Another crime perpetrated by the killer Bush

He's responsible for everything.

MSM favorite stories

Bigtool gives his take on the media:

By far the biggest concentration of group think is the mass media. Basically they decide what the public should be discussing. U.S. Troops build a bridge, save a woman in Iraq from rape, repair a school, foil a plot to blow up a mosque - these are things you will never hear about. The media has no interest in you knowing these things. 12 children in Cleveland have been burned to death by arson in Cleveland since Natalie Holloway got wasted, decided to not stay with her friends and got killed. There have been more Natalie Holloway storys than Abu Grahab - but no national coverage to find the KILLER of 12 children in Cleveland.

The media tells us what to think and what to fear.
Mad Cow -.... Beef is deadly - take that you fat American bastards! They were falling all over themselves to report this....
West Nile - Death could be swooping out of the sky to kill your elderly parents - your infant children!! I think maybe 5 people have died from this ever. More people die every year tipping Coke machines over on themselves trying to get their Mr. Pibb out.
Lyme Disease - see above.
Bird Flu - God dammit they want it SOOOOOO bad. [media] - "Please God let there be a pandemic. Please please please! I want to 'risk my life' to cover the story. We can cover the 'Bush is directing the vaccine away from minorities angle.' Oh, please please please - I swear God we will report every chicken that is infected - we will have our intern lick an infected seagulls ass if we can get this to jump en masse to humans. Please this will be a great story!"

Fixing sex dolls

A very special specialist.

Warning: NSFW!

Courtesy of utterly boring.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Another poem

The Tyger
Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies,
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water'd heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger Tyger burning bright
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
William Blake

One of the 72 virgins waiting to welcome you to paradise


Maybe those suicide bombers should rethink their actions. Posted by Picasa

Finally, a use for Hillarycare

She blocks drafts.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Hell gains a resident

William Sloane Coffin is dead.

I once attended a Christmas carol concert at Riverside Church. Coffin spoke eloquently about the cause of the poor, displaced Palestinians.

He reeked of sanctimonious arrogance disguised as humility. Like Jimmy Carter,he was a disgrace to the Christian faith.

If there is a hell, I strongly hope he is there, as it is his true spiritual home.

People don't dress up for church any more

The idea of dressing up for church seems lost. Not entirely – some of the moms wore their pre-Easter best, and one a few rows in front was not only 25 or so and attired in comely pastels, but had her hair done in a Marlo Thomas flip. I hadn’t seen that in a while. Behind her was a young mom whose shirt had no intention of getting within six inches of her belt. All around, young men slouching in slouchwear, slouchily, with sneakers and T-shirts. It’s Casual Good Friday! The entire Itchy Church Pants Imperative seems gone. Let him who is without decent shoes cast the first stone-washed jeans, or whatever. If I live long enough I’ll probably see the Supreme Court pose for a group photo wearing Hawaiian shirts and Speedos.

And there were women without hosiery! Okay, I’ll shut up now.

No, really: if you can’t be bothered to wear a collar to church or jury duty, then you have a different conception of “Grown Up” than I do. You might possibly resent the term in the first place. Tonight at the park I saw a little boy, couldn’t have been more than two, toddling around wearing a clip-on tie. Looked right for an Easter evening. He'll probably refuse to wear it in 10, 12 years, regard it as some phoney yoke imposed by the Council for Arbitrary Gender Signifiers of 1066 AD.

I can't believe how far we've strayed from dressing up, for church, for jury duty, or for work. I was looking through old photos of Passover Seders past, and pleasantly surprised to see how elegant everyone looked with nice clothes, makeup and jewelry, and my grandson quite natty in a suit! And that was a ceremony held at home.

Holier than thou politician convicted

No wonder he was lenient on crime.

When Gov. George Ryan commuted all the death sentences for those on Illinois's Death Row, some wondered if it was desperate bid of a corrupt politician to grab a little glory. Based on this New York Times story, they were right to wonder.

Audiobooks and other miscellany

The library girl speaks up in favor of audiobooks:

Audiobooks are the best kept secret in the reading world. Once thought to be an invention for the visually impaired or long-distance driver, they are any and every reader’s best friend. I’ve worked in libraries for years, and I always disregarded them until last summer. Now, I’m a junkie. Trust me, once you listen to one, you’re guaranteed to be hooked and your reading habits will change forever.


The main reason I love them is that people can squeeze more books into their lives during times that they would not otherwise be able to read. In my case, because I need to have several going on at once, I tend to take whatever I find even remotely interesting on the shelf. That has led me to many titles I might have missed under normal circumstances.

There is also the health benefit, which stems in large part from the reduction in stress, particularly if you spend time in traffic. Every formerly aggravated driver I know now looks forward to getting in their car because they have a good audiobook waiting.

My husband used to listen to audiobooks when he had a long commute to work. As with librarygirl, he would listen to books he wouldn't necessarily read in book form, and enjoy them. As I worked in the library, he had an endless source of supply. He maintained that they kept him from going crazy. The jury is still out on that one.

Speaking of Mr Charm, I have been going through old photos, looking for pictures of him and finding very few. Many of my pictures of him show only a foot, or a hand holding a cup, or his back. When I do find a picture of him, he doesn't like it. Perhaps he is in the witness protection program?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Saints and sinners

You need a scorecard to identify the good and bad in this world.

So I am providing a list of people and insitutions it is okay to dump on, because they are reprehensible and obviously guilty of anything you can come up with:
George W Bush;
Donald Rumsfield;
Big Pharma;
insurance companies;
Oral Roberts University;
Pat Robertson;

Here is a companion list of those who de facto saints, whatever their actions:
Che Guevara;
all other Latin American corrupt but leftist political leaders;
Walter Cronkite;
Jimmy Carter;
Barbra Streisand;
Al Gore.

These lists are not comprehensive, but they will give you a good start in understanding the news of the day.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Do illegals have more rights than other people?

I have some sympathy for the illegal immigrants (AKA undocumented) but I don't care to watch them demonstrate in Spanish with Mexican flags yet. Even less do I like the idea of giving them back part of the country. Fellows, we fought a Civil War to prevent that very thing from happening!
All this clamoring for rights they don't have makes me think of a burglar who not only breaks into your house, but makes you serve him milk and cookies.
Demediacrat is getting tired of illegal immigants' "rights:"

For some reason, the U.S. is not allowed to cover it's own *ss in the world. If we do, or suggest that we want to we get a whole bunch of guff from everyone. What gives. There are not many, I would think, that are against immigration or immigrants; the media and proponents of legalizing the illegal paint it that way, but that doesn't make it so.

What is wrong with our wanting to respect the laws of our nation? What is wrong with the U.S. observing its right to sovereignty? Many of us look in awe (I don't mean admirable awe either) at europe and its nanny state policies; and seems that since the U.S. can afford it (as of right now maybe), the world expects us to follow suit (and we sure do our fair share of trying)....When we have the borders under some semblance of control, we can discuss it and should discuss it, but until then - KEEP OUT!

Revolting generals

Former spook believes the dissenting generals have hidden agendas:

Do a little digging, and you'll find most have some sort of personal beef with both Secretary Rumsfeld and/or the Bush Administration. In the regard, criticism of the war effort (and its leadership) provides an opportunity to settle old scores, with the assistance of a willing press.

So they undermine the war effort and give aid and comfort to our enemies--so what? What does the welfare of the country matter when it's so much fun to work off a grudge?

Link courtesy of gates of vienna.

Friday, April 14, 2006

New crisis in Africa

Sudan has more bloodshed than they can consume locally, so decides to export same to Chad. Timeline:

Dec 19, 2005 - Chad's army says its forces killed about 300 rebels after they launched a failed offensive the day before on the border town of Adre.

-- Dec 27 - President Deby lobbies the African Union to condemn neighbour Sudan for what he says is Khartoum's support for rebels seeking to overthrow him.

-- Dec 30 - Chad rebel groups opposed to Deby say they have formed a military alliance, the United Front for Democratic Change (FUC), to try to overthrow him.

Jan 8, 2006 - Chad demands Sudan disarm Chadian rebels in Darfur as a condition for peace talks to end a growing dispute with Khartoum over rebel and militia raids in the border area.

-- Feb 8 - Leaders of Chad and Sudan agree to put an end to a crisis between the two, which have accused each other of backing insurgents to topple them. The Tripoli Agreement between Deby and Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan is reached at the end of mini-summit hosted in Tripoli by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

-- March 15 - Chad says it has foiled a coup attempt by a group of soldiers who planned to shoot down Deby's plane.

-- March 21 - Government troops in Chad launch a military offensive against rebels in the east as Deby seeks to reassert his control over the country.

-- April 13 - Government forces fight off rebels in the capital N'Djamena and the situation in the city is under control. The fighting killed about 100 people and wounded 200.

-- April 14 - Deby breaks diplomatic relations with Sudan which he accuses of backing armed groups which have carried out attacks across Chad, including the raid on the capital.

Thank you, God, for not letting me get born in Africa.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Outstanding social work

The Trouser Quandary award.

Should we all be driving smaller cars?

Fileitunder thinks we should:

Because Americans love large SUVs, trucks and cars with high horsepower. And all of those things aren't fuel efficient. So rather than look at ourselves, realize that we're the problem and start burning less fuel on our end, we applaud our representative bloviators for really stickin' it to those evil oil CEOs.

So in summary, tired of high gas prices? You can drive a smaller, more efficient car and/or invest in oil and gas companies to recoup some of the expenses of driving.

I used to drive a small car. I laughed when I passed a gas station (well, it was more like a quiet chuckle). Then my small car, going about 5 mph, was hit by a mid-size Lexus. Score: Lexus 1, Miriam 0.

They practically had to vacuum my car off the road, it was in so many pieces.

I escaped without a scratch, but with a new attitude towards small cars.

Ask me questions

Basil has me on the list of interviewees, so ask me anything, except my weight.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Trying to post a new comment

I was trying to post a witty and informative comment on someone's website, and this was what I got in response:

I copied same and clicked log-on and publish and got: qetygn, which I believe is an insult in Vietnamese.

One more time. Result: mmnhyt

My comment is lost to history.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I "heart" quotation "marks"

but they can be overdone.

Mr. Peterson has been teaching at Albany High School since 1974; his blog deserves a look, not because he has any brilliant insight about what's going on in the troubled schools, but because you MUST see his unbridled use of unnecessary and inappropriate quotation marks....
Whenever Peterson wants to "emphasize" a word or make a "point" he "hauls out" the quotation marks. His writing makes me "wonder" how he ever "got out" of college, much less been "allowed" to teach ---and "Mr. Pete" complains that "kids" can't "write?" What he "needs" is an "editor." Maybe someone from the "English department" needs to run down there and smack his hand every time it "strays" near the quote key. I'm not "Joe Grammar," but I know something that's "messed up" when I see it.

I feel some "sympathy" for "Albany eye." Mr Peterson does "appear" to use quotes "rather often" if not "promiscuously." This is indeed a bad "habit." In order to put a "stop" to this, Peterson has to learn "self-control." That will be "hard."

What independent voters want

Dave Nalle analyzes independent voters:

Independent voters want to protect their interests and protect their rights. They know that the activist extremes of the two major parties have agendas which involve whittling away their rights in all sorts of areas, in service of religious, moral and political ideologies. They also understand that the parties have to cater to these extremes in order to turn out reliable, core votes. But above all, they have a simple agenda of their own. They want to be left alone and to protect their families, their property and their wallets. In picking how they will vote independents have to decide which party's extreme agitators are more threatening to them.

This is where the Republicans tend to win out. While the radicals of both parties want to limit liberty and impose intrusive restrictions on people to further their marginal causes, the general threat level of the Republican extremists is more acceptable, however reprehensible their specific issue positions may be. Most of the ways that extreme Republican factions want to persecute people and take away their rights apply primarily to small groups who are relatively politically unpopular and to rights which many people see as being of secondary importance. In contrast, the radical elements of the Democratic party tend to promote policies which impact very fundamental rights and which would affect much larger portions of the population. In grade-school terms, the Republicans are like playground bullies who are going to take lunch money away from the whiney unpopular child who picks his nose in class, while the Democrats are the crusading parent who wants to ban recess for everyone because someone could get hurt on the playground.

The main bugaboo of the Republican party is the religious right. They're mostly out to get homosexuals and to ban abortion. Both of these issues target relatively small and unpopular segments of the population. Homosexuals are everywhere, but they're less than 10% of the population and they're out of the mainstream by definition. They are seen as alien, threatening and objects of derision by a lot of people, even though they may know better. Everyone knows that unplanned pregnancies are a problem, but underlying the surface sympathy is a resentment of the mother and a condemnation of the presumed promiscuousness which created the situation. Again, women seeking abortions are a small and powerless group and one which doesn't evoke a lot of genuine sympathy. In both of these examples most independent voters can easily say "what do I care, I'm not gay and I'm not going to get knocked up with an unwanted baby."

The same holds true with the issues of the extreme 'law and order' Republicans. Most people don't plan to commit a murder so they don't mind the death penalty. Most look down on drug users so they put up with the War on Drugs. Most can even look at infringements of privacy rights under the 4th Amendment and not worry because they aren't criminals or terrorists and therefore have nothing to hide. Restrictions on social service programs are an acceptable evil because those people should work harder and provide for thesmelves. This attitude even extends to some degree to situations like the War in Iraq. It mostly afflicts people in a foreign country, and a very small number of US soldiers who volunteered to be there in the first place. In all these cases the independent, self-centered voter can frown and say "What does it matter to me? I'm not really directly hurt by any of this."

The independent voter may not like any of these programs. They may be nominally pro-gay and pro-choice and anti-war and pro-drugs, etc. But when it comes down to making a choice most of them ultimately decide that if it doesn't hurt them directly it's an acceptable compromise.

In contrast, the more radical elements of the democratic party promote policies which independent voters find much more generally threatening. These are generally political objectives which go against the three most basic rights of life, liberty and property and which apply to the majority of people in the society.

Monday, April 10, 2006

O brave new world!

the hottest news I've heard in a long time:

A laser which melts fat is being developed by scientists.
Experts from the Massachusetts General Hospital in the US said it could be used to treat heart disease, cellulite, and acne.The laser is able for the first time to heat up fat in the body without harming the overlying skin....
his also makes me think soon we'll all be walking around with mini hand-lasers that we handle ourselves, contantly "shaping up" our body. For a hot date, instead of just getting a nice new outfit, you'll also carve the abs up a little, dissolve the double-chin, and slice some definition into the arms and ... VOILA!

Honk if you hate bumper stickers

I'm not a fan of prefabricated sentiments or canned cleverness. If you're going to be clever, make up your own snappy sayings.

I started to hate bumperstickers when anti-war protestors sported this one: War is bad for children and other living things. This statement manages to be both sanctimonious and smarmy. For "war" you could sustitute pollution, smoking, transfats, or any other damn thing.

I was driving behind some idiot whose bumper sticker read: Somewhere in Texas a village is missing an idiot.
Well, someone in Delaware is not missing a very stupid driver.
Then there's the ever popular

Bush lied, people died.

By the way, I don't care for Nuke the whales,My other car is a Mercedes, or--I could go on, but what's the point?

The case of the missing index cards

Mr Charm has been walking around the house, searching in every nook and cranny and becoming progressively louder, until I can no longer ignore him.

Mr C: "I swear to God, nothing of mine is in the right place. I can never find anything. All my stuff is lost!"

Me: "What are you looking for?"

"I want my index cards! I have always written things down on index cards. Where are my index cards? I can't find any of my stuff! This house is a mess."

Me: "How about using post-it notes?"

Mr C: "I don't want those! I want my index cards!"

Me: "How about a legal pad?"

Mr C: "Tht's too big! I want to write something down and put it in my pocket. Where are my index cards?"

I decided years ago that I had to either ignore him or kill him.

The last word on corsets--maybe

A comprehensive view of the history of the corset:

The corset is a beautiful object, with harmonious lines and volumes and it celebrates the beauty of women’s bodies. In the 'minute culture' of our societies, dominated by the ephemeral (Lipovetsky, Gilles, L'empire de l'éphémère, Poche, 1991), the corset remains a timeless element of seduction and will continue to inspire future generations of designers.

Next week: the corset and the Jewish problem.

So many insanities--so little time

Carnival of the Insanities is up.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Religious police prevent 10-year-old from enticing

sex-maddened Iranian men to rape her.

Islamic Republic religious police stopped a 10 year old girl from boarding on an internal flight to Kerman in South Iran, because her overcoat - known as Manto in Iran - was too short! Presumably the Islamic officials found a short overcoat on a 10 year old girl too sexually provocative for their taste.

When the father protested at the officials, he was beaten up in front of his 10 year old daughter who was crying all the time.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Rotten employees: the sequel

I can't imagine I left good old Ethel off my list of really rotten employees--she was a doozy. She wanted me to give her the job of children's librarian even though 1) she wasn't a librarian, and 2)she didn't like children. Except for these minor cavils, she was superbly qualified.

Ethel once ran out of the building to apprehend a kid who had not paid a 10 cent fine--and that was her finest hour. Did I mention that she couldn't do anything? The simplest task was beyond her powers. Not only that--she did something egregiously wrong every day--like being nasty to patrons. I was continually having to do damage control.

Fortunately, she quit in a snit one day. She got her revenge by telling everyone in the community that I was getting rid of all the Christian books and replacing them with Jewish books.

Then there was Doris, who couldn't do much either, but was more pleasant, really a poor soul. Clueless. I had to tell her that it was inappropriate to bring a flask to work and take a little nip now and then, even if she was working in the back room where no-one could see her. Doris' hobby was picking up guys at the Port Authority bus terminal in New York. She was hired as part of a federal jobs program and placed in the library because no-one else in the town government wanted her. She also wanted to be the children's librarian and had the same qualifications as Ethel.

I had to inform Doris that the funds for her pay had been used up and we could no longer afford her services. She pitched such a fit in my office that I could have used a nip from that flask.

Mankind (humankind?) is the problem

and the solution is the ebola virus:

There is always something special about science meetings. The 109th meeting of the Texas Academy of Science at Lamar University in Beaumont on 3-5 March 2006 was especially exciting for me....

But there was a gravely disturbing side to that otherwise scientifically significant meeting, for I watched in amazement as a few hundred members of the Texas Academy of Science rose to their feet and gave a standing ovation to a speech that ....enthusiastically advocated the elimination of 90 percent of Earth's population by airborne Ebola. The speech was given by Dr. Eric R. Pianka ... the University of Texas evolutionary ecologist and lizard expert who the Academy named the 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist....
Professor Pianka began his speech by explaining that the general public is not yet ready to hear what he was about to tell us....
One of Pianka's earliest points was a condemnation of anthropocentrism, or the idea that humankind occupies a privileged position in the Universe. He told a story about how a neighbor asked him what good the lizards are that he studies. He answered, “What good are you?”

Pianka hammered his point home by exclaiming, “We're no better than bacteria!”

Pianka then began laying out his concerns about how human overpopulation is ruining the Earth....

Professor Pianka said the Earth as we know it will not survive without drastic measures. Then, and without presenting any data to justify this number, he asserted that the only feasible solution to saving the Earth is to reduce the population to 10 percent of the present number....

War and famine would not do, he explained. Instead, disease offered the most efficient and fastest way to kill the billions that must soon die if the population crisis is to be solved....

AIDS is not an efficient killer, he explained, because it is too slow. His favorite candidate for eliminating 90 percent of the world's population is airborne Ebola ( Ebola Reston ), because it is both highly lethal and it kills in days, instead of years. However, Professor Pianka did not mention that Ebola victims die a slow and torturous death as the virus initiates a cascade of biological calamities inside the victim that eventually liquefy the internal organs.

After praising the Ebola virus for its efficiency at killing, Pianka paused, leaned over the lectern, looked at us and carefully said, “We've got airborne 90 percent mortality in humans. Killing humans. Think about that.”

With his slide of human skulls towering on the screen behind him, Professor Pianka was deadly serious. The audience that had been applauding some of his statements now sat silent.

After a dramatic pause, Pianka returned to politics and environmentalism. But he revisited his call for mass death when he reflected on the oil situation.

“And the fossil fuels are running out,” he said, “so I think we may have to cut back to two billion, which would be about one-third as many people.” So the oil crisis alone may require eliminating two-third's of the world's population.

How soon must the mass dying begin if Earth is to be saved? Apparently fairly soon, for Pianka suggested he might be around when the killer disease goes to work. He was born in 1939, and his lengthy obituary appears on his web site.

When Pianka finished his remarks, the audience applauded. It wasn't merely a smattering of polite clapping that audiences diplomatically reserve for poor or boring speakers. It was a loud, vigorous and enthusiastic applause.

Then came the question and answer session, in which Professor Pianka stated that other diseases are also efficient killers.

The audience laughed when he said, “You know, the bird flu's good, too.” They laughed again when he proposed, with a discernable note of glee in his voice that, “We need to sterilize everybody on the Earth.”

After noting that the audience did not represent the general population, a questioner asked, "What kind of reception have you received as you have presented these ideas to other audiences that are not representative of us?"...

Pianka replied, "I speak to the converted!"

He spoke glowingly of the police state in China that enforces their one-child policy. He said, "Smarter people have fewer kids." He said those who don't have a conscience about the Earth will inherit the Earth, "...because those who care make fewer babies and those that didn't care made more babies." He said we will evolve as uncaring people, and "I think IQs are falling for the same reason, too."

With this, the questioning was over. Immediately almost every scientist, professor and college student present stood to their feet and vigorously applauded the man who had enthusiastically endorsed the elimination of 90 percent of the human population. Some even cheered....

Yet five hours later, the distinguished leaders of the Texas Academy of Science presented Pianka with a plaque in recognition of his being named 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist. When the banquet hall filled with more than 400 people responded with enthusiastic applause, I walked out in protest....

The 45-minute lecture before the Texas Academy of Science converted a university biology senior into a Pianka disciple, who then published a blog that seriously supports Pianka's mass death wish....

Must now we worry that a Pianka-worshipping former student might someday become a professional biologist or physician with access to the most deadly strains of viruses and bacteria? I believe that airborne Ebola is unlikely to threaten the world outside of Central Africa. But scientists have regenerated the 1918 Spanish flu virus that killed 50 million people. There is concern that small pox might someday return. And what other terrible plagues are waiting out there in the natural world to cross the species barrier and to which scientists will one day have access?

Meanwhile, I still can't get out of my mind the pleasant spring day in Texas when a few hundred scientists of the Texas Academy of Science gave a standing ovation for a speaker who they heard advocate for the slow and torturous death of over five billion human beings.

Reference to this article can be found at World Net Daily. a tip of le chapeau to rightjokester.

Winners get to write history


A lot has been made out of how our ancesters took this land. Manipulating American guilt has gotten a lot of people a lot of advantages.

My answer to that is simple. Every civilization has been formed from warfare. The Native Americans fought among themselves (Canada, Mexico and USA areas). European, African, South American and Asian states were formed the same way. Whoever wins gets the prize and gets to write the history. That’s the way of the world and always has been.

Except where the Israelis are concerned. They are expected to be reviled as bloodthirsty aggressors for defending their own country. The territory they won must be given back.

As for the American Indians: the fiction that the land they occupy is some kind of sovereign territory and that they have the right to blight some of the prettiest areas with casinos and all the crime, disorder, and undesirable visitors that accompany them is disgusting. All the agencies which are designed to help or hinder the Indians should be abolished. They are U S citizens and nothing more, a status envied by people all over the world. Let them take care of transmitting their own culture as Greek-Americans, Irish-Americans, and countless others do, and lay off the guilt. And the gambling. And the cigarette sales.

I refuse to feel guilty about the massacre of Indians, slavery, Japanese internment, or anything else I personally did not do. I've got enough sins of my own to be responsible about. Collective guilt is bullshit.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Men don't understand the shoe thing

according to Jack.

I come from a long line of shoe fanatics. My mother didn't seem to care what she wore from the knees up, but she was inordinately vain about her slim ankles and small feet. One night when my parents had company I took out her 22 pairs of shoes and lined them up in the upstairs hall and played shoe store. I particularly loved tht she had purple shoes! Oh the beauty of it! So you see I was doomed from the start.

As a young woman I wore high heels when walking to and from the subway in New York in the snow. At the end of each day I staggered into my apartment and left the shoes by the door.

One thing about buying shoes: if you have gained a few pounds and can't fit into any of the clothes on the racks, you can always find a pair of shoes that fit. I have two closets filled with shoes. By now I no longer wear them, I just collect them, as some people collect paperweights. If people can collect barbed wire and insulators, I can collect shoes with a clear conscience. Sometimes I even wear them, which you can't do with paperweights, barbed wire or insulators.

President Bush: really stupid or just too nice?

Powerline has a long, detailed post about how the State Department is trying to subvert the President's mission in Iraq. This leads me to ask a stupid question: who is President, Bush or some stupid G27 hack who thinks he's an expert on diplomacy? Or, why doesn't Bush kick some a**?

His father was a gentleman and way too nice to govern. He took people at their word--always a mistake in Washington--and received many stabs in his back as a result. Maybe Bush II can't do anything with these subordinates. You can't fire civil servants but you can make their lives hell on earth.

I can't imagine Roosevelt putting up with such disloyalty--either Roosevelt.

history of dire predictions

that never come true:

Science magazine (Dec. 10, 1976) warned of "extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation.''
Science Digest (February 1973) reported that "the world's climatologists are agreed'' that we must "prepare for the next ice age.''
The Christian Science Monitor ("Warning: Earth's Climate is Changing Faster than Even Experts Expect,'' Aug. 27, 1974) reported that glaciers "have begun to advance,'' "growing seasons in England and Scandinavia are getting shorter'' and "the North Atlantic is cooling down about as fast as an ocean can cool.''
Newsweek agreed ("The Cooling World,'' April 28, 1975) that meteorologists "are almost unanimous'' that catastrophic famines might result from the global cooling that The New York Times (Sept. 14, 1975) said "may mark the return to another ice age.''
The Times (May 21, 1975) also said "a major cooling of the climate is widely considered inevitable'' now that it is "well established'' that the Northern Hemisphere's climate "has been getting cooler since about 1950.''
Are these the same asshats that told me we were going to be out of oil by 1980 or '85, and I'd die of sickness because of no medicines (made from oil), or I'd die of starvation because of no fertalizers (made with oil).
Of course, I was going to starve anyway because the crops were going to die from the new ice-age, so I wouldn't need to worry about running out of petroleum because I'd already be dead!!
Or how about the world-wide collapse in the '80's from the "population explosion"?

So what is it, global warming or nuclear winter?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

You must suffer to be beautiful

but it's worth it.

A monument to African Americans in the military in Wilmington, DE

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I was touched when I saw this. It's a pretty spot, surrounded by flowering trees--a fitting memorial and a nice place for a moment's quiet reflection.

A granny challenge

There’s only one thing that scares Scottish men. |

Their grannies!

I had one. 4′11 of utter will. She could cure constipation with a glance and make Einstein feel like a brain damaged idiot with a raised eyebrow....

Just be thankful we never unleashed our grannies on you… well not yet anyway.

Scottish grannies? Hah! A Jewish granny can beat up a Scottish granny any day of the week with one hand tied behind her back.

The Wilmington Institute Library

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This is the library which has my heart. They have all the books you remember from libraries past. Pearl Buck? They've got her. Sir Walter Scott? Yep. And the book I look for, the signifier, Lorna Doone; they've got old Lorna, all right. Some day I'll have to read that book, but for now, seeing it on the shelf is like seeing an old friend.

The picture is lousy, but there's no way to take a really good picture of it. There are too many bus shelters, light poles, traffic signs and so on in the way. But it is expressive of the grandeur that was Library. I sometimes flirt with the Brandywine Hundred Library, but I always return to my main squeeze.

US recommends this entertaining, educational film to Iran

From good old Potfrey.

IRA does it again

There have been better times for the British and Irish premiers to discuss the Northern Ireland peace process. Today, their talks are marred by the latest demonstration of the republicans' commitment to "peace": the grisly mutilation and assassination of the double agent Denis Donaldson....

The murder has... proved the IRA's consistency. Whether in 1922, 1969 or 1998, as soon as one part lays down its arms, another picks them up.

Also, as always, the barefaced lie is wheeled out to reduce republican embarrassment when one of their hoods goes too far. Happily, a public disgusted by these gangsters and by their terrorism knows that as soon as representatives of the IRA disclaim responsibility for an act of violence, the opposite will almost certainly turn out to be true.

Mr Blair's strategy towards Ulster has in recent months become increasingly preposterous. The IRA has been defeated. After the attacks on America in 2001 the republicans' main paymasters pulled the plug on the organisation: terrorism no longer had that romantic tinge on the other side of the Atlantic. That is why the IRA needs to rob banks and run drugs, which has overtaken the political struggle as its main business and raison d'être.

However, this is a gang of failed criminals and murderers whom Mr Blair remains only too keen to propitiate....

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Passover is no longer a challenge

According to the New York Times , a lot of foods that used to be forbidden on Passover are now permitted.

The biblical prohibition against leavened bread at Passover — which begins on Wednesday night — has kept observant Jews from using any leavening at all. Cakes and cookies of matzo meal (ground matzo), matzo cake meal (which is more finely ground) and nuts can be tasty, but dense.

So it will surprise many Jews — it certainly surprised me — that among the profusion of products that most Orthodox certification agencies have approved for Passover are not just baking soda, but also baking powder.

Some rabbis are lifting other dietary prohibitions that they say were based on misunderstandings or overly cautious interpretations of biblical sanctions, and because they want to simplify the observance.

"The holiday has become overly complicated, and people are turning away from the rigorous practice of it," said Rabbi Jeffrey A. Wohlberg, the senior rabbi at conservative Adas Israel Congregation in Washington.

Wow! This will be a shock to the OCD-orthodox in my family--the ones who have two dishwashers, one for dairy and one for meat. They are famous for carrying Passover to the next level of possibility: cleaning their ovens with a blowtorch, seeking out not just Kosher butter but Kosher for Passover butter. Their matzoh of choice is shmura matzoh, which is even more tasteless than the regular stuff. And they would never eat egg matzoh--it is made for heretics and goyim.

Half the fun of Passover is being more observant than the next guy.

So--baking powder?

One of my daughters wants to know our family history

not in the sense that we carry some genetic defect. She just wants to know where we are coming from. So I thought I would share some of my recollections with you guys and kill two birds with one stone.

My father's father was a yeshiva bocher in Hungary. This is a young guy who studies Torah and has no money, so he stays with a different family every night. A kind of share-the-poverty scheme. Ideally, he will marry a girl with money so he can continue his studies, and so it was with my grandfather.

My grandmother's father had a lumberyard, I believe. Anyway, they married and found themselves in Youngstown, Ohio.

The old man was a sweetheart, always a kind word for everyone, so it stands to reason he would marry a harpy. Grandma was very fussy, particularly about the respect due to her. For instance, if she was in the room one could not refer to her as "she," as in "she wants the peanut butter." You had to refer to her as "mother" or "grandma."

She had four children and then took to her bed. From this outpost she ran the family with an iron hand. The eldest child was a girl, and she was grandma's CEO, while grandma was Chairman of the Board. She stayed in bed for, oh, forty years or so, and one day emerged to find she had a passel of grandchildren. This bucked her up no end and she spent many happy hours traveling from one of her children's households to the next, letting her daughters-in-law know what was what and how to do everything properly.

This grew old so grandma retired to the bed again. Her life was tragically cut short at the age of 82. The family always wondered if she would have lived longer if she had gotten some exercise.

Who's the office weirdo?

Maybe it's you.

Uranus does what?

Planet humor from libraryosis.

Family intrigue

It so happens that everyone in the paternal branch of my family is speaking to everyone else; this cannot last. It never does.

Resentments either fester underground or flourish as full-blown feuds.

We would rather not blame our own blood relatives, so we cordially hate those outsiders who had the unmitigated gall to marry into our family! They are troublemakers. But our own relatives must shoulder some of the blame: they forgot a birthday; did not send a thank-you note for a very thoughtful gift; did not invite so-and-so to a bat mitzvah; neglected to send a baby gift until the child was two years old; were in New York but did not even call. And so it goes.

This makes for a lot of resentful and/or stimulating e-mails among family members. I myself have managed to keep out of the fray and so can manage a detached attitude. Both sides of these quarrels send me copies of the insulting e-mails they send each other and appeal to my sense of justice--surely they were insulted! Neglected! Maligned!

Those of us who are not directly involved enjoy reading these vituperative missives. We find them a source of innocent merriment and e-mail each other about how unreasonable the participants are. It gives us something to talk about other than our troubles (we have plenty) our health (not good) and politics (we disagree violently). Thus family ties are strengthened.

Geoffrey Chaucer on April

WHAN that Aprille with his shoures soote
The droghte 2 of Marche hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt 4 and heeth
The tendre croppes, 5 and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne,
And smale fowles maken melodye,
That slepen al the night with open ye,

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

National poetry month

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1. my love is like a red red rose
That’s newly sprung in June
O my love is like a melodie
Thats sweetly play’d in tune
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in love am I
And I will love thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.
2. Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear
Till a' the seas gang dry,
And I will love thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry,
3. Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear
And a’ the rocks melt wi' the sun,
And I will love thee still, my dear
While the sands o’ life shall run
And fare thee weel, my only love
And fare thee weel awhile !.
And I will come again, my love
Tho’ twere ten thousand mile
4. Tho' ‘twere ten thousand mile, my love
Tho' twere ten thousand mile,
And I will come again my love,
Tho' twere ten thousand mile

Sunday, April 02, 2006

I don't get it

Is bluetooth blue, and what does it have to do with a tooth, or teeth?

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Bill of non-rights

Democrats: are you listening?

From Hugh Hewitt's radio show, an interview with Michael Ware:

[O]ne has to be careful that as the Islamic army of Iraq reminded just last week on Al Jazeera, the insurgent groups study very closely everything that we hear, say and write. And given that we're within their grasp, one always must be diplomatic. Suffice to say, it's very hard to relate to the goals or tactics that the hard-line Islamists employ.

So why are members of the United States Senate saying things which encourage our enemies to keep fighting?

Just asking.

Forbidden shoe love

Grendel's Mom (great blog name, by the way, from Beowulf) covets shoes.

Loving your dentist

Almost fiction doesn't:

The dentist is the only doctor you visit feeling well and leaving in a state of pain. ItÂ’s like if you went in for your yearly physical and the physician punched you in the face and smashed your groin with a metal bat.

I used to love my dentist. I went every three months and enjoyed being told I had good oral hygiene and keep up the good work, including visiting him every three months. He gave me unlimited toothpaste, dental threaders, and dental floss. I figured I was saving money not having to buy these necessities.

On my last visit, there was a sea change. I had a toothache. Suddenly my mouth was in crisis, as the dentist and his partners looked into my mouth, took a sudden sharp breath, and shook their collective heads. In the six weeks since my last cleaning, my mouth had become a disaster zone, the oral equivalentt of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. An emergency session of Congress would need to be called to deal with the catastrophe--or--I could have some really expensive work done.

Needless to say, I had dropped my dental insurance, due to the previously wonderful condition of my mouth, plus the fact that he had fixed every tooth I possessed two or three times. I figured, what else could happen? As it turned out, plenty. Now my gums and even my bones were involved. For all I know, the rot could have spread to my feet.

Mr Charm, by contrast, never went to the dentist, because his teeth didn't bother him. After ten dentist-free years, I forced him to get his teeth cleaned and evaluated. The verdict: his teeth were in splendid condition.

So now I know the secret of oral health: skip the dentist entirely. Buy your dental floss at the drugstore.

Also, keep your dental insurance.