Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Could the eagles have flown Frodo into Mordor?

This burning question is addressed here.

And if you don't have any idea what this is about, it serves you right.

First sighted at Charles Murtaugh's.

Oh, that kind of crash

Few things are quite as annoying as having a bug in your car. But it's even worse when it's under the hood.

Stolen from Terablogger.

And people wonder how kids get attitude problems.

They tell you there's no Santa Claus. They tell you there's no Easter Bunny. And then along comes this guy selling you Sea-Monkeys and X-Ray specs. The only thing that could make it worse would be if, like Woody Allen, you were breast fed from falsies. (Follow that link - there's lots of great stuff there. Trust me...).

Sea-Monkeys link stolen from Combustible Boy at Max Power.

Monday, December 29, 2003

Not safe for work, or for play either

That Elizabeth post below reminded me of another woman associated with physical contests.

Being on the road so much, I have often found myself talking to hotel front desk people in the dead of the night. About anything is likely to come up. One time a few years ago I was in Evansville, IN when a young lady told me about her aunt or cousin or whatever. When she said the woman's name was "Bunny Glamazon", I thought she was pulling my leg, but I busted butt to Google her.

She was for real. Ah, it looks like she's upgraded her website since then. She bills herself as 6'3", 220 lbs, and if you'd like a "session" of, say, "semi-competitive wrestling" she's available for $400/hour. Or if you are small perhaps you can costar in productions like "Bunny Conquers Japan" (from her site:It's here. Bunny is back from Japan and in this video shot in Japan, she TOTALLY Dominates a tiny 5' 2" 87 pound male and 4' 10" 85 pound female couple.)

No, I've never met the lady, and I swear that that's really how I heard about her. Maybe some local blogger like Dave Worley will investigate further.

Candle on the windbag

Do you remember her?
Standing only 5-foot-4, the dainty figure seemed out of place among the absurdly muscled men who made up pro wrestling's usual cast of characters. That it belonged to a beautiful woman made it all the more surprising. The manager's name was Elizabeth Hulette, a 24-year-old Kentuckian and former competitor for the title of county-fair queen. But few wrestling fans would ever know any of that; they would know Hulette simply as a character called ''Miss Elizabeth.''
Yes, for a few years there that bull session/soap opera/freak show known as professional wrestling was a guilty pleasure of mine, and Elizabeth was a common and welcome sight. It wasn't like today for sure - women were scarce, and there certainly weren't any women wrestlers like today. There were some, like the Fabulous Moolah, but they didn't get TV coverage. And trust me - Moolah definitely wasn't Playboy material like Joanie Laurer (Chyna) and Rena Mero (Sable).

Why bring this up? Well, partly because I followed the "Making the dumbest sh** interesting" link from Glenn Reynolds to Oxblog, where I found the link that led me to Miss Elizabeth.

Her obituary, that is. She died in April. Wow, I feel old now...

Oh nothing, I just liked the line

Power Line: "Female genital mutilation was not much of a problem in Minnesota before Somalis settled here in the 1980's and 1990's."


"I decided to invite an arch-liberal and an arch-conservative to meet in this column and constructively discuss their differences, with me as moderator. I wanted the liberal to be Al Franken, the author of the best-selling Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, and the conservative to be Ann Coulter, author of the best-selling Traitor: Liberal Treachery From the Cold War to the War on Terrorism. Ann agreed right away. But Al begged off, saying he was too 'busy,' even for a worthy cause like helping combat the plague of name-calling. What a milksoppy, pantywaist, jellyfish, weasel-out wuss he turned out to be."

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Pass the beef

Usually I get a salad in the company cafeteria, but today they had prime rib. That was a no brainer.

So I got back to my desk to chow down and surf (surf and turf?), and I stumble upon the mad cow story.

So how did the cow get the condition? It might not have "caught" it at all - there's a mutation that happens every so often that causes the condition to occur independently of outside influences. In humans a corresponding condition is called Creutzfeld/Jacob disease, or CJD.

Bottom line: the cow might well be the only one affected.

A popularization of this topic, perhaps dated now, is Deadly Feasts by Richard Rhodes.

Couldn't he just build a meth lab like everyone else?

Don't try this at home:
Golf Manor, a subdivision in Commerce Township, Mich., some 25 miles outside of Detroit, is the kind of place where nothing unusual is supposed to happen, where the only thing lurking around the corner is an ice-cream truck. But June 26, 1995, was not a typical day.

Ask Dottie Pease. Cruising down Pinto Drive, Pease saw half a dozen men crossing her neighbor's lawn. Three, in respirators and white moon suits, were dismantling her next-door neighbor's shed with electric saws, stuffing the pieces into large steel drums emblazoned with radioactive warning signs.

Huddled with a group of neighbors, Pease was nervous. "I was pretty disturbed," she recalls. Publicly, the employees of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that day said there was nothing to fear. The truth is far more bizarre: the shed was dangerously irradiated and, according to the EPA, up to 40,000 residents of the area could be at risk.

The cleanup was provoked by the boy next door, David Hahn. He had attempted to build a nuclear reactor in his mother's shed following a Boy Scout merit-badge project.
Much more here.

Stolen from Clayton Cramer.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Setting the record straight

Nothing that contains marshmallow cream can rightfully be called "fudge".

Merry Christmas, baby face

A jury Tuesday spared Lee Boyd Malvo a death sentence, deciding instead to send him to prison for the rest of his life for the murder of Linda Franklin at a Home Depot store in Seven Corners.

The convicted Washington-area sniper, who was 17 when the shootings occurred, was given a life sentence for each of the two counts of capital murder.

The jury, which deliberated about 8 and 1/2 hours on the penalty phase of the trial, found the aggravating factors necessary for the death penalty were present as circumstances in the murder, but nonetheless opted to give Malvo a sentence of life instead of death.

His formal sentence will be set by Judge Jane Marum Roush in March, but she cannot impose a death penalty without a jury recommending it.

Fairfax Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. said shortly after the penalty was announced that Malvo's immature appearance and the timing of the case may have helped him.

Malvo was "very lucky that he looks a lot younger than he is . . . ," Horan told reporters when commenting on the jury's decision.

"We used to have a theory when I was a very young prosecutor that whatever you do, don't try one on Christmas week."
That must be the reason why this creep didn't get the same thing his buddy did - it's not as if he's not a cold-blooded killer.

When this "impressionable teenager" gets paroled, let's get him a bus ticket to Brookline, MA to pay back for Willie Horton.

Just imagine how it would be if we didn't discriminate

"For the first time since tracking began 20 years ago, U.S. women outnumber men in higher paying, white collar managerial and professional occupations."Sheesh, no wonder Viagra is so popular - in a few more years the only jobs for us guys will be as sex slaves.

The 100th Scourge of Richard Cohen!

Right here.

And our hero also writes of fun he had at a DUI checkpoint in northern VA not too far from here. It serves him right for not telling me he was in town.

Diplomacy with balls

More from the Corner: one of Jonah's flying monkeys suggests a reason for Muammar Khadafy's sudden policy change.

The great reckoning

Go ahead, capitalists, read this awful book and enjoy its laughable message that you are somehow virtuous. Enjoy this fantasy as long as you can because justice will soon be served to you. Howard Dean will become president and you will then pay for your rape of the environment, exploitation of workers and selfish pursuits. No more slaps on the wrists. Jail time will be the norm, as it should be! There's no place you'll be able to hide, and no one will be able to save you. Your reign of darkness will come to an end. Mark my word!

What book are they talking about? You'll just have to check out The Corner

Never let it be said that Eric Raymond is politically correct

Here he discusses racism and group differences.

If topics like that interest you, check out Gene Expression.

Stand up for our prisoners

How could the Danish prison system be so cruel?

Monday, December 22, 2003

Plan B

If the Kurds story mentioned below doesn't work, then the lefties will have another explanation for the capture of Saddam Hussein and the recent tractability of Muammar Khadafy. Just as the Iranians decided to release the hostages before Ronald Reagan got to the White House, the other two want to be clean before Howard Dean became President. After all, he was gonna get the UN to come down on them.

Nah, I don't think even the lefties could keep their faces straight for that one.

No way, Kurds

Jonah Goldberg isn't buying the story that the Kurds actually caught Saddam Hussein. Right here on the Corner.

Beware of geeks bearing gifts

Would you like ties with color photomicrograph pattern of an infectious agents? How about a James Watson bobble-head doll? (I hope he doesn't get a Crick in his neck). Anyway, Derek Lowe is the guy to see, right here.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Gays in the military

Yes, I'm robbing the Corner again, for this from Ramesh Ponnuru.

Barking up the wrong tree?

I've always wondered why advertisers were so crazy about 18-34 year olds, especially now that I haven't been one for a while. This tells why this started and why it's a lousy idea.

Aw, who cares if it's true?

Did you hear what the troops were calling the Sikorsky Blackhawk which Hillary used to tour Iraq? "Broomstick One" From The Corner.

Halliburton price gouging?

What really happened, from Byron York on NRO.

Next Tuesday on Bravo

Yep, I even stole the title from the Veep.

And how much for a break on that adultery thing?

Chris Johnson tells us about how the African Episcopals told off the Episcopal Church of the US. Indulgences are not for sale here.

It's one of those picky little doctrine things - the one group believes the Bible means what it says, and the other one just thinks it's cool and retro to dress up to visit a big fancy building once a week or so and hear some organ music.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Convoy protection

This is fairly old, but I missed it the first time.

Link stolen from The Corner.

Would-be assassin allowed unsupervised visits

Howard Kurtz' column from the WaPo is here. He notes that John Hinckley now is permitted unsupervised visits.

Hey Johnny, why don't you go drop in on Sarah Brady? She shouldn't have any hard feelings - it was the gun that did it, right?

Or maybe you should see Jody Foster? She should be happy to see you, right? Anybody who would go to so much trouble to impress her, well...surely she's been waiting for you all of these years.

And if it's OK to loosen up on Hinckley, why not cut Sirhan Sirhan a little slack? He could probably use some air - he's been locked up a lot longer and he didn't even shoot a President. I guess the only justification for the disparate treatment must be racial prejudice, right?

Iraqis Shocked, Shamed by Hussein's Sullied Image (

Right here:
"We feel he either should have fought, or if he was surrounded and there was no other way, committed suicide. That's what we were expecting," he said. "When he didn't, it wasn't a surprise for us. It was a shock."

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Santa is having PeTA problems

...according to this. The link doesn't work right - page down and you'll know when you come across it.

Zero tolerance = zero intelligence

Get caught taking Motrin, get suspended from school.

It might help if the local school board would lead by example. It would appear that they don't - they must have been on drugs when they came up with that policy.

An interview with Gimli

Or rather the actor who played him in LOTR, John Rhys-Davies.

It's interesting on its own, but I was struck by Rhys-Davies' telling of some predictions his father made back in 1955.

Refuse to be boxed in

The Problem:
Affirmative action is a poorly executed attempt at achieving diversity. Unfortunately, it's hurting everyone, members of all races. It's racism. It's wrong. It needs to be stopped.

The Idea:
"What would happen to affirmative-action programs if a significant portion of college applicants intentionally misreported their races? Even if most applications were marked correctly...a little civil disobedience could introduce just enough margin of error to really bring out the pure intellectual chaos and moral repugnance of affirmative action."

What you can do:

Click here

Conceived to die

CLog points us to this abomination from NJ.

So you thought they'd just kill embryos?:
If the bill is signed by the governor, as is expected, it will be legal in New Jersey to implant cloned human embryos into wombs, allow the baby to grow for nine months, and then destroy the unborn child for research.

The bill prohibits the use of human cloning for reproductive purposes, but allows cloning to create unborn children only to be killed -- either early after their creation for their stem cells or at any time before their birth.
But it's about compassion:
Advocates of cloning and embryonic stem cell research said their bill was about compassion towards others by helping to find cures to diseases.
But here's the corker:
"Do this for your children and your grandchildren."
No, you're doing it to your children and grandchildren.

It all reminds me of a political cartoon I saw once. A stereotypical liberal was looking upward and lecturing the heavens - "Why haven't you sent us cures for cancer, AIDS,..." etc. And a voice came back saying "I did, but you aborted them".

Note: minor editing above.

Jumping his own ship?

Another WaPo article: Hussein Document Exposes Network (

I thought I'd heard that part of the reason for Iraq's performance in the war was that their command and control couldn't do jack without blessing from Saddam Hussein. But the article above says that SH was playing essentially no role in day to day operations.

That couldn't have been too comfortable for Saddam, whose generals were the single biggest threat to his skin once his sons were killed. IMO the day he figured he was safer with the Americans than he was with his generals, he sought to make sure that the Americans found him before the wrong Iraqis did.

The real reason for the bombings in Iraq...

Explosives-Laden Truck Hits Minibus, 10 Killed (

I really do have a life, so I don't go hunting for moonbats on DU or the like. Besides, they seem to be somewhat predictable. For instance, I'm sure that one of them will claim that the US is behind incidents like the above, to justify sticking around in Iraq.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Triticale finally got a blog

Right here.

"Some of my fellow Democrats are unpatriotic"

By Orson Scott Card in OpinionJournal:
Am I saying that critics of the war aren't patriotic?
Not at all--I'm a critic of some aspects of the war. What I'm saying is that those who try to paint the bleakest, most anti-American, and most anti-Bush picture of the war, whose purpose is not criticism but deception in order to gain temporary political advantage, those people are indeed not patriotic. They have placed their own or their party's political gain ahead of the national struggle to destroy the power base of the terrorists who attacked Americans abroad and on American soil.

Patriots place their loyalty to their country in time of war ahead of their personal and party ambitions. And they can wrap themselves in the flag and say they "support our troops" all they like--but it doesn't change the fact that their program is to promote our defeat at the hands of our enemies for their temporary political advantage.
And then there's this:
We have enemies that have earned our hatred, and whom we should fear. They are fanatical terrorists who seek opportunities to kill American civilians here and Israeli civilians in Israel. But right now, our national media and the Democratic Party are trying to get us to believe that the people we should hate and fear are George W. Bush and the Republicans.
I can't improve on that. Read the whole thing.

Monday, December 15, 2003

The last word on LTC Allen B. West

From Baldilocks.

Too good to be true?

Back in the 70's I heard this joke with good news and bad news. The bad news was that the Martians had landed. The good news was that they excreted gasoline and ate < insert ethnic/racial group here >.

As much as that might appeal to some, we have something better:
WASHINGTON, DC – Department of Energy-funded researchers have decoded and analyzed the genome of a bacterium with the potential to bioremediate radioactive metals and generate electricity. In an article published in the December 12th issue of Science, researchers at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, report that Geobacter sulfurreducens possesses extraordinary capabilities to transport electrons and "reduce" metal ions as part of its energy-generating metabolism.

"The genome of this tiny microorganism may help us to address some of our most difficult cleanup problems and to generate power through biologically-based energy sources," Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham said. "Geobacter is an important part of Nature's toolbox for meeting environmental and energy challenges. This genome sequence and the additional research that it makes possible may lead to new strategies and biotechnologies for cleaning up groundwater at DOE and at industry sites."
On the flip side, maybe one of these days someone will come up with a bug that eats petroleum and turns it into CO2 and other byproducts without letting us burn or process it first.

A balanced diet for spiders?

It's not just good for them, it's good for us:
Money spiders – or Linyphiidae - are a vital controller of pest numbers on farms because their prey includes aphids. However, aphids have poor nutritional value and are sometimes toxic, so the spiders need to balance their diet with other prey.

In a field experiment, the Cardiff team's analysis showed that the money spiders were eating large numbers of small insects called springtails or Collembola. Stomach contents showed that they were eating several different species of Collembola, but with strong preferences – DNA from a species, which was uncommon at the site where they were collected, proved to be present most frequently in the stomachs of the spiders.

"The DNA analysis enables us to identify precisely what the spiders have eaten," said Dr Symondson. "If we compare that with the prey populations in the field, we can see which prey the spiders prefer to eat when they have a choice."

"If we can encourage this prey insect in greater numbers, it should boost the population of spiders and therefore provide better control of aphids," said Dr Symondson.
In short, you might need more bugs before you can have fewer bugs. Or something like that.

Interior Secretary Gale Norton appoints ombudsman for renewables

Read about it here.

This was my favorite part:
"If the agencies don't work together the process can be endless," said Karl Gawell, executive director of the Geothermal Energy Association. "The idea of having someone at that level that can make something happen is exciting."

But environmentalists issued caution. Katherine Morrison, an attorney for U.S. PIRG, an advocate group, said renewable energy may not be appropriate on all public lands.

"It's still development, and any development should be sited carefully and go through the environmental review process," Morrison said.
Really. There has to be a way to stop development in case it obstructs someone's view off Nantucket.

Inside a nuclear power plant

This article is about personnel safety at nuclear power plants. It might be interesting because it shows some of the internals of the plant, including the installation of a new steam generator. If nothing else it can give you an idea of the size, cleanliness and general layout of a reasonably representative pressurized water reactor site.

"Merry Christmas to y'all, and to all a good night"

Look here for the story of Bubba Claus.

Time for impeachment

Members of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council visited Saddam on Sunday and said they found him "tired and haggard, unrepentant, even defiant." Four members of the council called the former ruler "a just but firm ruler."


Greenpeace doesn't like it much when the Justice Department enforces the law.
"If they are successful, then we could be classed as a criminal organization, lose our tax-exempt status and have to report our movements to the Justice Department," said John Passacantando, executive director of Greenpeace USA. "It's the first time in U.S. history that the Justice Department has brought charges against an organization for nonviolent direct action."
Who are "they" and what did "they" do? Matt has the goods.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Lefty logic

NZ Bear wrote an interesting question here. It's the kind that exposes the flaming idiocy of so much of the self-identified left, so of course those whom the shoe fits are crying foul.

As I write this the last comment on NZB's post is from "Mithras", another lefty who chooses to disassociate his identity from his opinions. He recites his catechism:
What people who were against this war said, repeatedly, was (a) it was not in our interests, because it would not make us safer and conceivably could make us much less safe, (b) it was a distraction from the hunt for bin Laden and the people who really are a threat to our security, and (c) it would be a lot easier to take Iraq than to keep it.
The war would not make us safe? I'd say killing off a few thousand murderous idiots 8 time zones away from the US makes us safer. Catching the guy who compensated Palestinian suicide bombers makes it even better, and the corker is millions of erstwhile admirers seeing him caught alive and fleabitten without a fight.

It was a distraction? I love that argument. Henceforth we can use it against federal initiatives - program A should not be done because it will distract from program B. But really now, it took years to find Eric Rudolph right here in the US - why would we expect it to be any quicker to find a diseased old lunatic thousands of miles away in hostile territory when he's probably dead under a pile of rocks at Tora Bora? (And he never gets around to telling us who the others are who are a more of a threat to our security. He can't mean al-Qaeda unless he doesn't know that they've sent people to fight in Iraq. Maybe he's taking the 5th...)

It would be easier to take Iraq than to keep it? True enough, but irrelevant - we don't intend to keep it. We just want
Iraq to have a govt worthy of the name so we won't have to clean house again. And although I have no problems with having Iraqis in the US, I hope they restore the place so well that our expatriate Iraqis start going back.

Then of course he has to start a totally irrelevant attack, explaining how the non-libs "don't give a damn". Of course, that's an article of faith on the left. Too bad their secular God rewards faith and not works, or else maybe they'd actually solve a problem they identify once in a while.

Enough. The lefties are never wrong, and they won't ever shut up, and they simply aren't worth the bandwidth.

Bush's real environmental record

Bird Dog tells it here.

"Talkative and cooperative"

Of course. That's what his captors would say regardless. They want to scare the people he can betray and make him look weak.

Then again it makes sense. The only reason for keeping this dirtbag alive is the information they can get out of him, and Saddam will know that.

He'll also know that being cooperative is a way to remain in the custody of the US instead of the Iraqis. So he'll dribble info out over time to keep his skin.

"Ladies and Gentlemen - we got him!"

It's terrific news of course. And it's fun to check out some of the lefty blogs, or what Glenn Reynolds calls the Coalition of the Pissy.

But 1) you already heard all this, and 2) everyone else is doing it today. So if you haven't had enough of it yet, or prefer to let it sit for a while (say, until after the DNA tests are back), go see Command Post, Reynolds and the innumerable things they link to.

Still more gay marriage

Whether you like them or not, the Weblog Awards provide a lot of links. I thought I'd check out Swirlspice and I found a link to what follows.

John Kusch gets around in the blogosphere. I first ran into him in Dean Esmay's comments, and he has written some interesting stuff. He's gay, proud of it, and isn't shy about sharing his opinions. I don't know if his opinions are representative of the majority of gays, but he's handy, so I'll work with him. All quotes are from this.

He starts with this:
I listen to a lot of arguments against gay marriage.
And shortly thereafter there is this:
If I have the opportunity to hear a straight person out regarding their anti-gay marriage arguments, I usually make it a point to mention, "I'm really impressed by what a concerted effort straight people make to learn about us homosexuals, since they seem to know so much about us, and are so eager to share that knowledge with us. I suppose, really, that I've learned everything I know about being gay from straight people, at least if you measure it by volume."
Do you suppose he gave them a fair hearing? I suppose it would get tiresome to hear the same old stuff all the time, but that must be because he keeps bringing up the same questions.
Some straight people are actually in favor of gay marriage. Oddly, they tend to be the quietest of the bunch -- again, if you measure by volume.
Yeah, the quieter it gets the more of them there are, right?
1. If same-sex couples were allowed to marry, marriage would no longer be a sure-fire way for people to prove they aren't gay.
People say that? You must hang around with some really dumb straights. If my sex life is an issue with someone, that's their problem. I just happen to be straight.
I was called a faggot by another boy for the first time at the age of five.
You should have told him to get off your back...
The children around us on the playground only had to hear the word and the air became electrified with fear, hate, excitement and the pheromonal mish-mash that is analogous to blood in the water.
That's why some of us don't want 5 year olds exposed to stuff like this. I'm having a hard time believing that your abuser, at 5, had any clue what the word meant. Or that you did either, for that matter.
Being a faggot was the worst thing in the world; and unfortunately I didn't have the wherewithal or presence of mind to do the one thing that might have refuted the accusation: beat my accuser senseless. Having missed that opportunity, I was permanently labeled in my peer group, not only as a "faggot", but as something even worse: a girl. Goodbye baseball, hello jumprope. I don't think that homosexuals are manufactured, but sissies most certainly are.
That kids are cruel isn't exactly news. What's worse is how intelligent kids react to this. They assimilate information rapidly without being sophisticated enough to recognize BS, and can reach some really lousy conclusions based on that.

For my part, I was in kindergarten when I found a ring. Girls like rings, right?, so I gave it to one and happened to mention it to my parents. They thought it was the "cutest story" and I must have heard about it 1000 times. I concluded that I wasn't going to talk about anything related to girls with my family again. And that decision made as a 5 year old stuck around for years - when I really could have used advice I couldn't seek it from the people who could have given the best.
"...I saw the boys who were faggots and I saw how they acted and how they got treated, and I decided no way was I gonna get treated like that. So I acted like the boys who picked on the faggots instead. I guess I was kind of a jerk."
I was somewhat the same, only with the artier or brainier kids. Or the boys who cried too easily - they learned how to control it or they got abused.

Any aptitude test I ever took I pegged high, and in the summer after first grade I read everything I could get my hands on. This resulted in me collecting a mass of oddball facts without any wisdom tying it together, but it was enough for me to become an exhibit. I didn't like that either, so it seemed smarter to deemphasize this. I was still at the top of the class, but I didn't have to look or sound that way.

Incidentally, I didn't hear the word "faggot" for the first time until junior high. Even then it was just a word - I didn't know anything about it or have any idea why anybody would be one willingly.

Oh yeah, artier stuff. I learned early on that about anything musical besides drums or electric guitar wasn't cool. Graphic arts could be redeemed only through rudeness or smuttiness. Singing - not us. Dancing? Forget it, at least until jr. high or later. Absent significant offsetting "cool points", such kids were provoked regularly, especially if they combined art with intelligence.

Yes, being a kid, I overreacted and bought into all this, and the effects stuck around for years. So I picked up my first serious guitar at around 19, didn't start anything like serious dancing until after I had turned 40, cameras are on the agenda, and don't be surprised if some art or music starts showing up here. I'm slow, but I'm getting there.

Considering how I was so malleable, I'm guessing I'm lucky I was never told I was a "faggot". And assuming that my Middle American small town grade school wasn't exceptional, it makes me wonder if this has anything to do with the overrepresentation of gays in arts and entertainment.
If gay marriage is allowed, heterosexuals will have one less manner in which to distinguish themselves from "them" (or "us", depending).
This matters?

Mr. Kusch twists the language treating gays and straights as peers when in fact there are around 30+ straights for every gay. Whatever else might be said about homosexuality, the fact is that it's a tiny minority that is like no other, and the majority reserves the right to define the language. We don't need asininities like "andro- or gynosexual", or notions like "the only thing that defines heterosexuals is having heterosexual sex". It's the other way around - the default is heterosexuality, and it is homosexual sex that makes you gay or bi. IOW you're the exception, not the rule.
Homosexuals who care more about tradition and acceptance than their own emotional lives (or who just like a little ass "on the down-low", as those "in the life" term it) will have one less form of camouflage.
Good grief. Unless you make a show of it, why would anyone know if you are gay or straight or not without knowing you fairly well? Absent unusual behavior, most of us assume that people are straight, and thus don't "oppress".
2. If the civil marriage of same-sex couples is allowed, it will be demonstrated once again (for those Americans who have skipped a Civics class or two) that Church and State are, indeed, separate. No church will ever be forced to recognize a same-sex marriage, but no religion will ever be able to prevent same-sex couples from being married by a justice of the peace, either.
Some religious leaders are outspoken against homosexuality of course. But take a look at the most Godless regimes that there have ever been and see how well they treated gays.

IMO most non-gay gay marriage advocates are doing it just to spite traditional religions.
3. Same-sex marriage will send a message to straight society that same-sex couples...can be whole, complete, happy people without them.
What makes you think we care? No appreciable amount of the population wishes ill upon gays - my money says that gays outnumber them. But I for one am sick and tired of a tiny minority expecting to dictate to the rest of the world how marriage should be defined so a tiny subminority of them can simplify their legal paperwork. How can anybody be so down on straights and at the same time embrace the institution that they seem to think defines them?
You'll probably never get anyone to admit it, but there are people out there who oppose same-sex marriage because they instinctively sense that to legalize it would be to surrender the last bit of power they hold over us. Whether or not same-sex couples will misbehave isn't the issue so much as whether skeptical heterosexuals will be allowed to chaperone us.
Wait a minute - you want to get married so you can escape the control of others?

Oh, we'd like some control over you alright, but no more than we ask of straights. Strange dress and behavior and overt displays of sexuality are frowned upon with straights too, so there isn't even disparate treatment in that respect. The ones who want control here are the gays, and they want it despite being in the minority.
4. Same-sex marriage will force everyone, gay and straight, to confront and address the shortcomings, inequities, hypocricies and outright failings of marriage.
That's a total non-sequitur. And of course it's insulting to straights, suggesting that they can't fix marriage without gay input. You know, the guys who have no history of being married.

If marriage is so fouled up, then why would gays want in? It would make more sense to develop your own institution with its own body of law. Then maybe the straights would learn the error of their ways and change their marriage laws to match the new enlightened ones.
Picture we [sic] homosexuals, working through years of painful self-revelation due to straight bigotry, then rising above our oppression to help those same straight people who oppressed us through their own painful marital and sociological self-revelations, liberating our oppressors in a selfless and transformative gesture. Poignant, no?
Good grief, such moral masturbation makes me want to barf.

Why is disparate treatment of homosexuals so universal to human societies? Oh sure, some made sure they had some boys around to screw, but the boys quit catching once they became men. Don't claim credit for those unless you want to claim the Boston priests too.
Honestly, it doesn't strike me as a touching or dramatic or even interesting scenario -- not nearly as touching or dramatic or interesting as getting on Matt's health insurance so I can pursue a full-time writing career without completely giving up physical and financial security. Sorry, but I don't want to prick the boil of national catharsis or orchestrate a gargantuan After-School Special. I just want a legal framework for what we're betting could very well be a lifelong partnership. I want half.
Yep, we finally get to the real inspiration. The entire US must radically change the law of its most fundamental social institution so John Kusch won't have to buy his own health insurance.
No matter how progressive or open-minded they claim to be, most people do not want their children to be gay. Legal same-sex marriages would serve as an undeniable example to gay youth that homosexuality does not necessarily deprive a person of a happy and fulfilling life, meaningful familial bonds, or the fullness of romantic love and long-term partnership. By being happy, well-adjusted, productive and healthy human beings -- with joint checking accounts and videotapes of our commitment ceremonies -- we'll just be encouraging them.
Yeah, right - how many married people do you know? Is this what they all told you about marriage?

Why can't gay youth get their examples from unmarried gay couples? It would seem to be an even better example of love and mutual respect if neither has the other by the cojones with elaborate legal constraints.

Long ago Ann Landers famously remarked that "marriage is not a reform school". It won't make you "happy, well-adjusted, productive and healthy " - you have to be that way when you start.

OK Mr. Kusch, suppose some simple standardized legal arrangement suits you. Terrific - you can have what you're talking about through civil unions, with a separate body of law dedicated to your unique circumstances and that addresses the shortcomings you identify in existing marriage law, and under your control. Create a code and get it adopted nationwide so we can have uniform laws once and for all, and there's no reason why a church of any stripe needs to have any influence in the process at all. Then maybe the straights will adopt it too and you'll have those nasty old churches out of the marriage business.
Nobody wants their child to be gay because being gay is difficult
Nonsense. If I switched teams tomorrow there's be no reason why anybody besides my partner and a few close associates would ever need to know, so how could it be difficult? I don't care what the rest think, and I have no idea why they should care anyway.

Faced with the alternative of developing a new, superior body of law for civil unions, and the much lesser opposition to implementing this, why do some insist on having "gay marriage"? It's about legitimacy (see, we marry too!), opposition to traditional religion, greed, and the sheer narcissism it takes to demand such a radical change to a fundamental social institution just to please a tiny fraction of a tiny fraction of our society.

UPDATE: The above isn't particularly well written - I threw it together in a hurry before the topic scrolled off. But it has attracted some response in another post on Mr. Kusch's blog here. I've commented there myself.

She popped

And it's a boy. Congratulations to Dawn and Eric!

Thursday, December 11, 2003


Chris Mooney whines about "Abuses of Skepticism" here.

I suppose it's possible to be too skeptical, but IMO he just wants to be able to claim scientific support without using scientific standards of proof. Sorry pal, but "scientific consensus" - the feeling among scientists that something *will* be demonstrated - is not the same.

The mother of reality shows?

Well, that's probably too much credit. But Jennifer K. Ringley's JenniCam was one of the early if not earliest 24 hour webcams documenting someone's life.

It wasn't too awfully inhibited. Jenni brought the webcam into the bathroom and bedroom with her, and although you wouldn't have confused it with VoyeurDorm it wasn't G rated either. She appeared nude regularly, at least in the pictures she posted in her galleries (which have been available to anyone who cared to look, or were the last time I dropped by a few years ago). But she was known to note that not all of her boyfriends wanted to star in live love scenes on the Web - imagine that.

Anyway, it appears she's shutting down at the end of the year. Terry Teachout has comments on this blow to our culture.

Before you forget...

Kevin Aylward has been busting his butt putting together the Weblog awards. This must be eating bandwidth like no tomorrow, and he's out of work as of last Friday. And it's Christmastime. So it's only right that you should slip him a couple of bucks via PayPal. Look for the button that says "Make a Donation" on the left sidebar about 3 screens down.

There's something in it for everyone, you know. You conservatives can see to it that justice prevails and initiative and hard work are rewarded. You libertarians can show you're not just a bunch of big-talking free-riders. And you liberals can send more of your money to Washington, where KA lives.

I myself ask for no such compensation. But if you should happen to vote for NWA as the best Large Mammal blog, you just might be able to keep me out of last place. Sheesh, CG Hill and Kevin McGehee are down there too - there's no justice...

Death to spammers!

Virginia has an antispam law, and they're using it:
STERLING, Va. - Two North Carolina men face up to 20 years in prison for allegedly operating one of the most prolific spamming operations in the world.
It's a start.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

When is your sex life my business?

Never? Bzzzt, wrong answer. And surprise! - it's got nothing to do with religion.

When sleeping around is very indiscriminate, with many acts and partners, it doesn't just spread disease. The diseases themselves get a chance to evolve rapidly. Diseases that had been mild because they had to permit their victim to live long enough to infect someone else can survive in more virulent form when they have more opportunities to be transmitted. Next thing you know we have ever more dangerous and more prevalent diseases, venereal or otherwise.

Now let's suppose that previously exotic practices become commonplace. Suddenly herpes viruses can find a couple more warm moist places to proliferate, on the genitals and anus. The microorganisms of the colon are not compatible with those of the vagina, so associated health conditions start to affect more women. All of a sudden blood from partners can mix on a previously unknown scale, leading to the emergence, prevalence, and virulence of AIDS. All the extra antibiotic usage helps to develop more strains of resistant bacteria, both for the intended diseases themselves and any others that might have been exposed.

So in fact it turns out that someone else's sexual practices can have impact on your health even if they don't sleep with you, and if you're indiscriminate you're part of the problem. Especially to the millions who must use needles for their health or profession, which has resulted in large numbers of straights getting AIDS despite avoiding risky behaviors.

(So what do we send them to combat it? Condoms. Go figure. People who would sneer at fatties or drunks think that it's unreasonable to miss a chance to get laid.)

So remember - when you hop in the sack with a new partner, you're not just sleeping with everyone else they've ever slept with. You're sleeping with me too....

It's about execution

I've got a great idea. Before you go to a calculus class, spend an hour or so going over multiplication tables. Will that help you learn?

This is all about the new winningest coach in college football history and his theories on practice.

I'm with him 100%. In my high school wrestling days we were tormented with all sorts of conditioning drills before we started practice. One memorable day we ran 7.5 miles up and down hills in Central FL heat before we even started. I don't want to know how many times I ran up and down stairs in bleachers or a stadium. Innumerable calisthenics, shuttle runs, it just never stopped. Then maybe while we rested the coach would show us a move while we were still sucking wind.

Hey, there's no question that conditioning is vital in wrestling. In high school at the time it was 6 minutes, but in a tough match it's about as concentrated a 6 minutes of activity you'll ever experience with one person. At that skill level often the victor was merely the better conditioned one.

But conditioning can happen any time. And conditioning that happens during the activity is the most relevant conditioning. So IMO we ought to have been slaving away drilling more on moves - it could have been just as grueling if not downright masochistic, but we would have been learning and polishing moves the whole time. If someone found out they were losing late because they were out of gas, then they could take care of that on their own time.

I'll never claim I would have been a better coach than the one I had - he'd forgotten more than I'll ever suspect about wrestling. But there's no substitute for victory - I was one of the few winners he ever had, and after my senior year he was gone.

Wireless broadband at 40 km?

They're working on it in Australia.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Former Senator Paul Simon dead at 75

Via CNN.

The Santa Detector

That dirt on Santa might not be soot - more here.

I think this link will work - check out patent 5523741 for info on The Santa Detector.

Better health through tobacco

Researchers Find Plant Immune System's 'Take Two Aspirin' Gene, Offering Hope For Disease Control Without Agricultural Pesticides

Hey, we'd all get rid of pesticides if we could, right? Even if you aren't an ecobabbler, they do cost money and they require careful handling. So research like this provides some hope that it might be possible to eliminate the need for them.

And it turns out that one of the best plants to use for such research is tobacco.

Maybe over time the tobacco companies will evolve into biotech and pharma companies...

The Gore-Dean knot

A reader sent this to Jonah at the Corner:
If he ran today, could Al Gore even win his old Senate seat? Considering he didn't even win his home state in 2000 it seems pretty unlikely. It seems like the people who know him best are not his biggest supporters. I don't know what it means but I think it would be interesting to apply this test to people such as George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney, Dan Quayle, Bob Dole, Jack Kemp... and so on.
Yeah, that's the kind of friend that I want. But that's OK with Dean.

For now, anyway. According to another item on the Corner, Dean has been pretty flexible about what's OK and what's not OK.
The fact is that Dean governed, in Vermont terms, as a budget-balancing moderate. He could easily have run for the nomination as a Joe Lieberman centrist. Instead, the running room was to the left, especially with all the credible candidates on the record in support of the Iraq war resolution.

So Dean ran left. Very little in his campaign would have seemed a natural fit two or three years ago. He spent his career fighting the angry, shaggy Left in Vermont, exactly the constituency he is attracting nationally. He was a free-trader, but now tells the labor unions, 'When I am president, we won't be talking about free trade in the Americas.' He was pro-business, but now rails against corporations. He drove Vermont environmentalists batty with his flexible approach to regulation, but now seeks a comprehensive 're-regulation' of American business. To top it off, he was a computer illiterate who knew nothing about the Internet that has become an indispensable organizing tool for his campaign."
I might as well rip off their link, too - see this by David Brooks in the NYT.

Monday, December 08, 2003

What the media won't tell you about stem cell research

Right here.

Don't get me wrong - it's not as if embryonic stem cell research is no good to *anyone*. It pays the bills for some scientists, and gives hope to abortion pushers that it will lower respect for embryonic human life.

Imagine there's no dumb songs...

John Lennon was murdered 23 years ago today. Now Joel Engle imagines a world like that in Lennon's song "Imagine"

Analysis of the US anthrax cases

Analysis of the US anthrax cases, by the Fake Detective.

Link stolen from our indeterminately-aged Drosophilaphile at Ripe Bananas.

Some of us have it, some of us don't...

Tiffany doesn't realize it, but she just has animal magnetism.

Yes, I've been around male dogs that were indiscreet in their displays of affection. But the best case had to have been D., a guy I worked with.

He went to a party with a bunch of people from work. The hosts had a young German Shepherd, and first thing he did was go to D. and start humping his leg. He suffered much grief for this.

But then a few weeks later the sheriff brought a drug dog through work. And I saw the drug dog hump him too, right at his desk. I thought I'd bust a gut.

Stigmatized kids

There's an obnoxious variation of tag which I'm not sure has a name - I'll call it "shots". In this you give "germs" to another kid, then declare "shots" to prevent them from coming back. Then that kid in turn is to give the germs to someone else. At least that's the way it was played in my grade school.

There was a family I'll call the "Gores" whose kids went to my grade school. I didn't know this at the time, but Mrs. Gore was a single mom and had a very hard time making a living in a small central IL town with no skills. She had been married but apparently her husband was a bum. She had three kids: a big boy in my grade, and girls older and younger than he.

She couldn't afford much for them, but we kids didn't know that - we just knew that they generally didn't dress well, and the girls in particular looked like ragamuffins. It was bad enough for me to notice at the time, anyway, and I wasn't exactly affluent.

What do you know? - suddenly they weren't just "germs" anymore. They were "Gore's germs". As if contact with these people would sicken you.

This predated me and I never knew how it started, but I could figure out that it was mean. And although I didn't oppose it, I didn't participate either. I didn't know the Gores well, but the boy seemed easy enough to get along with - the girls were in different grades so I didn't know much about them except for vivid descriptions about how one of them picked her nose and disposed of the bounty.

So what was wrong with the kids? Their family. Not to blame Mrs. Gore - I'm not sure she could have done any better. But something traditionally was provided by families was missing, and the kids suffered for it at the hands of the other kids, and maybe from the teachers too.

Later I moved to another small town far away and lost track of the Gores.

In the new town there was a kid who reputedly was gay (but believe me, that's not the word that was used). I never met him that I knew, but I had heard stories. True or not, he was stigmatized, and I hear that it wasn't unusual for him to get abused or beaten by other kids.

I've heard kids nowadays describe things as "gay", intending it as a pejorative with no particular meaning other than "I don't like it". I understand that this is widespread too. And it's not news to say that kids are a strange mix of cluelessness, meanness and hypersensitivity who don't adapt to PC easily.

So now let's throw a scenario at you. You hear a 7 year old kid telling another kid that his mom is gay. The other kid doesn't know what that means, and the 7 year old explains this in 7 year old terms. As a teacher, what do you do?

I don't know what they teach teachers about stuff like this. But certainly one concern would be if the kid were doing something that was likely to get him stigmatized, and then I'd try to get him to stop in a way that wouldn't aggravate things.

Now with that background, look here, here and here.

The majority opinion is that the teacher did a Very Bad Thing, or at least mishandled the situation. That's entirely possible.

But it seems to be a given that there were no grounds for intervention by the teacher. As if in doing so somehow she was disrespecting all gays in the abstract, so to hell with the very real boy in front of her.

And if this is a potentially scarring situation, you wouldn't want the boy to dwell on it, would you? Should the mother draw attention to the event, perhaps by calling in the ACLU? Or should she tell her son in an age-appropriate way that he would do well not to draw attention to their circumstances when he might get stigmatized or worse?

This isn't exactly unprecedented. I wonder how many parents have been busted growing pot because their kids popped off unwittingly. Might a parent back in the 1800's have said "Son, don't ever tell anybody about those black folks that pass through here going north"? Would keeping the secret necessarily make the kid think less of his parents?

Wouldn't it be ironic if suddenly this woman were hassled for being a lesbian now that she's insisted on publicizing it? It sure won't do her boy any good. But based on what we've seen, despite Mom's posing, does anyone really believe that his welfare was ever the real issue?

Fire this woman now

From the print edition of today's WSJ:
It's never fun to rattle a cup around, so there was a sense of relief when France's defense minister raised her hand at a meeting in response to NATO Secretary-General George Robertson's plea for more helicopters in Afghanistan. That is, until Michele Alliot-Marie let drop this diplomatic pleasantry: "I have a helicopter for you, Lord Robertson. I will send you a plastic model of one for Christmas."

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Send Dawn some labor vibes

I'm not sure how to do that, but that's what she asked for. Anyway, she's due to pop any minute. Details (and I mean details) here.

Stryker, the service and snakes (oh my)

Upon encountering a snake in the Area of Operations (AO):

Gosh, what would the French Army do?

Driver's licenses for illegal immigrants voted down in CA it should have been in the first place. Sebastian Holsclaw notes:
The vote was 64-9 in the Assembly and 33-0 in the Senate.

The strange thing is that this immigrant license bill passed both houses easily only three months ago. By my estimation, that is at least 19 changed votes in the Assembly, and all of the State Senators who voted for it three months ago now voted against it.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Opportunity for college kids?

When I was in college I did about anything for money. I did stop short of prostitution, posing for porn and donating plasma for money. But two years running I had 5 different W2 forms, and there was other stuff besides like volunteering for medical experiments (I got $50!), digging ditches or doing about anything that called for physical brutality.

Now here's something called eMove from U-Haul. If you're over 18, you can volunteer to help people move at rates you set. You can pack/unpack, load/unload, drive, or whatever you can work out, and at rates you set. Or you can contact U-Haul to use these people.

It might be worth a look.

Unseemly self promotion

Here's where to go. You know what to do.

And set your alarm clock, because you can vote every 12 hours....

Yep, I'm shameless. But I did nominate someone else to that category too - Rand Simberg. He didn't show up on the ballot though. Maybe our host has him in a different category.

UPDATE: Oh stop it - Allah is in the House is beating Scrappleface for best Humor blog? Death to the infidels!

I'm ugly and I'm proud...

Zombyboy nails it here.

And who wants to work for Abercrombie and Fitch anyway?

Get this mofo now!

A prosecutor in a local drug case has turned up dead and abused in PA.

Cop killers are bad enough. But when goons start killing prosecutors it's time to get medieval. Let this nonsense continue and the road is clear to deterioration into something like Afghanistan.

Good grief, even US mobsters have been known to show some discretion - that's why Dutch Schultz was killed. Schultz was under pressure from DA and later Presidential candidate Thomas P. Dewey, so he decided that killing Dewey was the thing to do. His fellow mobsters disagreed, thinking that this could lead to an all-out legal assault on the mob. So they had Schultz killed.

I'm guessing that neither local law enforcement or the feds need any encouragement to follow up on this. IMO it's especially interesting because it appears that even our criminals are less discreet than before.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Allen West Defense Fund

Jed Babbin writes of Lt. Col. Allen B. West here.

Alan West Defense Fund, c/o Angela West, 6823 Coleman Drive, Ft. Hood, Tex 76544.

Stolen from The Corner.

(p.s. yes, I know his name has been spelled two different ways. They're both as found. I'll put my money on Jed Babbin.)

Stamp on Paul Robeson

Anna writes of the new Paul Robeson stamp and much more here.

The stamps might be discontinued though - people won't know what side to spit on.

Can you spell "tax evasion"?

It's time to teach the NEA a lesson or two. Sic 'em, IRS!


You may think that "limbo" is a place or a dance, but no, it's a state of being. Mike Adams explains.

Criminal stupidity

Our favorite criminal justice scholar/blogger writes of the latest kerfuffle in Cincinnati here. In particular, she notes that the death was classed as a homicide by default - it wasn't suicide, natural or accident. IMO they need another box on that form - something like "Darwin Award candidate".

So let me get this straight. One guy, irrespective of size, decided to take on two. He called them names. He had to know that they were armed well and trained. He had to know that they had more or less unlimited and even better armed backups just for the asking. And if he believed the local mythology, he knew that the cops would beat him or kill him just for practice just because he was black.

And this is about race?

Calling Larry Flynt...

Come on guy, you came up with pictures of Jessica Lynch. How about some of Valerie Plame? She wouldn't have to show her face...

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

"Stem cell rules do not hamper research"

...says the Director of the National Institutes of Health. Take it away, Dodd.

The party of the rich

Bill Hobbs has the scoop on some rich guys who are trying to buy the next Presidential election. For the Democrats.

Single celled snitches

They found the dead child in a creek, but something wasn't right. Later they determined that the child had actually drowned elsewhere. How? Read this.

District of Condoms

What inspired (?) that "bathroom marketing" post? (oh admit it, you're dying to know). Here in DC they're going to start distributing condoms in certain govt bathroom for free. And they're just in time for party season - why pay for balloons when the govt will give them away for nothing?

Oh yeah, the local license plates say "Taxation without representation". Ha! - look at what their local govt does. Are we to expect them to do a better job picking Senators or Representatives?

Bathroom marketing

I remember traveling as a kid with my parents. Of course I'd have to hit the john for every stop, and I'd learn about all sorts of products which were hard to find elsewhere at the time. I also learned not to ask questions about them too.

Then for a while it seemed that those machines disappeared, and their presence was surefire confirmation that you were in a dive. It probably had something to do with motels and truck stops being corporatized - local owners would take money from whatever might provide it, but the suits at headquarters had their standards, dammit. Nope, no condom machines, no "novelties" - spoilsports!

But it's yesterday once more, in Ohio anyway. Having to make an emergency pitstop there was like being a kid again. Condom machines, up to 75 cents from a quarter and no longer "for prevention of disease only". A scale with lottery numbers. A cologne dispenser with knockoffs of reputable brands. How long before there are interactive monitors hooked up to Home Shopping Network? Or even those cool Japanese toilets?

It's been a long time since I've seen a pay toilet, but I wonder if there aren't other ways to make money from those captive audiences. Like, say, a TV display in the stall, powered by quarters. I thought I'd read of a casino somewhere that allowed gambling from the bathroom. But all of these might have to wait for a throne that doesn't make your legs fall asleep after a long session.

Bathroom marketing might be humble, but as a plumber's wife once told me, "your shit is our bread and butter".

Dude, you're stuck with your spyware

If you have a Dell and you think their tech support will help you if you have spyware problems, think again:
If you or a family member receive a Dell PC as a gift this Christmas, you may be in for a surprise, if it becomes infected with spyware.

Dell has instituted what has to be the most misguided tech support policy I have ever seen. Not only will Dell refuse to tell you how to remove the spyware, they won't even refer you to web sites that can help.

Why does Dell do this? Dell cites the possibility that removing spyware might violate user agreements between the user and some other company. The following is an email sent to Dell tech support persons announcing the new policy:

Subject: Spyware: What we can say to the customer

Dell does not support or endorse the use of spyware removal programs.

NOTICE: Use of spyware removal software may conflict with user license agreements of other applications installed on your system. Please consult your user license agreements for further information. Dell does not endorse the use of spyware removal software and cannot provide support on these products.

This means we do not take callers to or, nor do we recommend spyware removal programs, nor do we advise callers on the use of spyware removal programs. This includes using phrases "We don't support the removal of spyware, but I use..."

Please reply to this e-mail to indicate that you have read and understand this information.


This is bull. Doesn't Dell realize that the majority of spyware and other parasites now are classified as viruses? Does Dell really care more about the writers of spyware and viruses than they do about their own paying customers?

It is perfectly understandable that Dell does not want to provide manual spyware removal instructions over the telephone. It's hard enough doing it on message boards where you have access to log files and specialized removal tools. However, to withhold the addresses of web sites that can help is callous and irresponsible. All they have to do is refer them to,, or to my site and let the experts handle it.

Several of us in the antispyware/antivirus community have signed an open letter to Dell Inc. asking them to retract this foolish and misguided policy. That letter is located at Consider that a press release and feel free to post the entire letter anywhere you please. People need to hear about this rubbish.

More from Slashdot here - follow the comments for some major Dell-bashing.

Via SpywareInfo.

Computer protection racket

Patterico and numerous others have been struck with this obnoxious program called Spy Wiper. It does sweet things like popping up porn sites, making your CD-Rom drive open, threaten you with your Notepad, etc, trying to badger you into buying something. More here.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

"Gay marriage" again.

Aaron points to this William Safire column in which Safire notes that gay marriage is about approval, not civil rights. Where could he have come up with such an idea?

Can anyone point me to a civilization in which the children were raised to believe that they could get married to either sex with equal approval? What happened to it?

IMO this is significant because gays are made, not born. It's what you do, not who you are. Claiming it's innate is a cop-out - any natural leanings can be overcome, just as we expect people to refrain from sleeping with their close blood relatives. Surely no one is saying that gays are uniquely weak in this regard.

So if the above is true it is likely that the resultant gay parity from gay marriage will result in a society with a higher proportion of gays. What would be the impact?

I'm agnostic on this - I have no idea if the resulting society would be "better" or "worse" than today's. I'm just looking for answers with some science behind them, not just the typical nasty "homophobia!" taunts just for asking the question.

From IVF to cloning?

Remember Louise Brown? She was the first "test-tube baby", born of in-vitro fertilization.

IVF was very controversial at the time, but is commonplace now. I hear an ad for an IVF clinic on the radio during my commute most mornings. And this article describes a book about IVF written by a woman who apparently believes that the same acceptance that later came to IVF will come to cloning.


Hey Hillary - how does it feel to have your morality questioned by Dick Morris?

Trees - ecological menace?

We already know of the pollutants that trees emit, which account for such things as the "smoke" in the Great Smoky Mountains. But it's worse than that - trees may be responsible for mass extinctions.

Before the tree huggers wet themselves let me note that I'm not down on trees. But the fact is that environments change, and it's a totally natural phenomenon, just like human beings are. Which makes environmentalists, in their efforts to freeze our environment as it is, are perhaps the most unnatural things on earth.

Brute force and ignorance

Remember Rory Gallagher? Probably not, unless you're a guitar freak - he was a front man, but he wasn't a Top 40 kind of guy. But from what I've heard he was a performer, and I know his live albums are better than a lot of live acts.

Anyway, he had a song which seemed to summarize a certain college football game from this past weekend. And I salute the proletarians of the University of Georgia for their victory over their future bosses from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

UPDATE: Alright, here's the real Rory link. What can I say? - I miss Lonesome Dave Peverett too.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Nieman Marxists?

Michael Moynihan is looking for a name for those lefty celebrities like Barbra Streisand who have so thoroughly disgraced themselves lately.

Ripped off from Glenn Reynolds.

A modest proposal for campaign contributor control

The WSJ tells us about the mess that Gray Davis has left for Arnold to deal with. Hmm - what might be the most equitable way to distribute the pain of recovery from Davis's debacle?

I propose the debt be allocated to Gray Davis's campaign contributors in proportion to their contributions. So if, say, 5% of his money came from prison guards, the prison guards could be hit for 5% of California's budget deficit.

No, this isn't a serious proposal. But I like the idea of making supporters accountable for the errors of their puppets.

Beyond parody

Stolen from Friday's WSJ "Best of the Web Today":
My selection for this year's Charlie Tuna Award goes to the Animal Protection Institute (API) of Sacramento. This is no easy feat considering some of the stunts pulled off by former Fish and Game Director Robert Hight.

The API pushed SB 1645 as law, which requires that anybody taking furbearing mammals or non-game animals must purchase a trapping license, available only by paying a fee ($78.50) and passing a fairly complex test. Now get this: Fish and Game Code 4005 defines non-game animals as including mice, rats, gophers and moles.

So now you need a trapping license to set out mousetraps?

Terry Knight of the Lake County Fish and Wildlife Committee asked Scott Paulsen, DFG chief of law enforcement, that question at a committee meeting Thursday night.

"We're not enforcing this for personal use," said Paulson, who then added that, because of the force of law, the statute must be enforced for commercial use.

That means if you hire a neighbor to set mousetraps at your house, or perhaps hire your gardener or a pest control service, that they must have a trapping permit -- or face being arrested.

The DFG did not support the bill, but the Animal Protection Institute pushed it through anyway, according to Knight.

"I can see the headlines now, 'Mice trappers face jail term,' " Knight said. "But if you get the permit, the real problem you're facing is that it takes too many mice to make a fur coat."

Sunday, November 30, 2003

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Just so you know

President Bush's visit to Iraq did not cure cancer, stop teenage pregnancy, reduce obesity, stop global warming, etc.

But if it had, the lefties would still say something snarky about it.

The line starts here

Drudge tells us a doctor invented a device which causes female orgasms at the touch of a button. No, not that one.

What surprised him was he can't find women to help him conduct trials with it. Sheesh, I'd think this would be the easiest sale in the world, what with the obvious benefit and the collateral ones such as reduced danger of repetitive stress injuries and perhaps sales of universal remotes.

But we're talking about women here, so it can't be that simple:
Glyn Hudson Allez, a psychosexual counsellor from Bristol, said that while there was likely to be a demand for such a "quick fix", the result might still be unsatisfactory for women.
Yes, dear...

President Bush travels to Iraq

CNN just announced that President George Bush made a trip to Iraq to have dinner with some US troops there. Developing...

You say Nevada, I say Nevada

Yep, the pres did the unforgivable again. He mispronounced "Nevada". Say goodbye to the swing voters.

Actually his way isn't an uncommon error. And he wasn't that far off - once Jesse Jackson mispronounced New York City as "Hymietown".

Other states get mispronounced regularly too, like Louisiana or Oregon. But my native Illinois seems to be the champion because of that final S that some just can't keep from pronouncing. It's "ellenOY", heathens.

Often locals get to listen to outsiders telling them they're pronouncing or spelling the name of their place wrong. Sorry pal, but if they spell it "ghoti" and insist on pronouncing it "fish", or "ghoughpteighbteau" as "potato" they're right and you're wrong, and you and your carpetbag can just keep on moving. It is a handy way to detect outsiders, especially the insufferable ones.

So remember that if you ever go to Vienna IL or GA (it's VYE-enna), Cairo, IL (KAY-ro), New Berlin, IL (new BERlin), get the idea.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003


Hey, so what if you put on a couple of pounds? You'll reach an equilibrium eventually. Either you won't be able to reach the dinner table, or you won't be able to waddle to the fridge, or you won't be able to get to work, or something like that. There will be feedback at some point, however brutal it might be.

Well, maybe not. A 772 lb woman sued, and now her public housing unit is getting $15,000 of renovations to accomodate her size.

Now this woman has enablers - the original story is gone, but according to comments "This woman hasn't left her bed in three years, other than having to go to the hospital recently, when it took 22 firemen two hours to get her out. Her claim is that a standard public housing unit endangers her health because you can't fit her through the door."

At some point I would hope that the people who feed this woman would say "Sorry honey, but it's grapefruit and eggs today. Sure you'll kick my butt for that, but first you'll have to be able to get off your own. Now if you'll excuse me I'll be in the other room, past this door you can't get through, with the TV turned up."

Just poison her already and get it over with. You don't need a whip or a rack to be a torturer.

Great circles!

Ok, what's a great circle? It's a concept from spherical trigonometry, and...hey, wait, where are you going?

It's not that big a deal, really. All you need are a sphere and a plane. Now make sure that plane goes through the center of the sphere. The circle described by the intersection of the sphere and the plane is a great circle.

Depending on how you orient the plane and sphere, there are an infinite number of great circles. Pick any two points on the surface that aren't at opposite poles and there's exactly one great circle that contains them both. Parallels of latitude are not great circles. Meridians of longitude are all great circles, and but for political perversities time zone boundaries would be too.

So who cares? Navigators, for one. It turns out that the shortest difference between two points on the surface of a sphere along the surface of the sphere follows a great circle - the one that contains your start and endpoints. What do you know? - that happens to describe driving, or flying at a constant altitude, or sailing.

Soon I'll be making a round trip between DC and central IL by car. Looking at the atlas, it looks like the shortest way to go is by way of I-70 to Indy, then into the wilderness.

Then I decided to see what Yahoo said. It pointed me along I-80, up near Cleveland, Toledo, South Bend, the south side of Chicago. It sure looks farther. What the heck, let's see what AAA says. Yep, same thing.

Alright, I'll trick it. I'll route a trip from DC to Indy, and from Indy to the sticks to force it onto I-70. It worked, but the total mileage was higher. Sheesh, just look at the map - how can that be?

The problem is that I have a flat map of a spherical object, which causes distortions and in particular does not show great circles. One result is that east-west distances appear greater than they are. And it gets worse the farther north you go, until you reach the North Pole and every direction is south. Over a distance of several hundred miles the effect is significant. So the I-80 route only looks like a longer path because it is further north and thus is more distorted by the map.

If my map had shown great circles, they would lie above and to the outside of straight lines drawn between the endpoints, coinciding only when you're going straight north or south. If you were traveling exclusively on latitude and longitude lines and you wanted the shortest path between two points, you would want to go east or west before you went south, or after you went north. Of course if you're in the southern hemisphere the rules are different, and I'll leave that as an exercise.

Now if I really wanted to open a can of worms I could get into why roads are routed the way they are. But as much as I wish this were dictated by engineering considerations, the reality is that there is all manner of political skulduggery behind it. One example, from Illinois, might wind up in a future post.

Lileks was 100% right

You know what I'm talking about. If that prima donna horse's ass who calls himself "Salam Pax" is really worried about how quickly Iraq is disinfected he can do far better than to smirk and pose for left wing rags in the UK.

Monday, November 24, 2003

He must not know how to blog

Oh yeah, that "More than Human" show I mentioned below. It showed a guy balancing 8 bowling balls atop one another. It even tries to explain why he does it.

When did human beings start wearing clothes?

That's not so simple to answer because clothes generally don't fossilize. But evolutionary biologists wouldn't let something like that deter them - to estimate an answer they turned to lice.

I'm glad to say that I don't have much firsthand experience with lice, whether they be head lice, body lice or crab lice ("the crabs"). They all live on human beings, with preferences for the head, body, or genitalia respectively. (There are other kinds, but they live on other critters).

One major differentiator between head and body lice is that head lice lay eggs in your hair. Body lice attack hairless parts and lay eggs in clothing. So if you assume that at some point head lice and body lice were the same critter, it makes sense that they would have started differentiating about the same time humans started wearing clothes.

Voila - clothing must be about 40,000 to 72,000 years old.

Evolution of a climber

Tori Allen is the 15 year old daughter of some missionaries who happens to be one of the best female rock climbers in the world.

So where's she from? There's probably a mountain in her back yard, right? No, actually she lives in Indianapolis, where anything tall is manmade. So how'd she get to be so good at such a young age?

She was featured on a Discovery Channel "More than Human" show this past weekend where they revealed some of her secrets. Not surprisingly, she is very flexible and agile. At 5' 3" and about 120 lbs if I recall, she's no stick, but she has only about 16% body fat. And her grip is very strong - she can chin up using just one finger from each hand and can fall deliberately from one grip to another for a couple of feet and still catch herself using only her hands.

So was she just born gifted? No doubt that was part of it. But then when she was a toddler she lived with her parents in Benin, and they had a pet monkey. And she'd follow the monkey around in trees regularly and, apparently, fearlessly. This of course encouraged some unusual development in terms of strength and might account for her long fingers, long arms (her armspan is a couple of inches greater than her height), very strong tendons and many other characteristics that make her an exceptional climber.

I'm sure we ought to give the monkey some of the credit. (I don't know what kind of monkey her friend was, but it definitely wasn't a bonobo.)

The principle-agent problem

Liberals hate to see the little guy crushed under the jackboots of capitalists. They prefer this function to be performed by labor unions instead, because labor unions give them more money. Megan McArdle explains here on TCS.

And don't miss her blog, Asymmetrical Information.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Web Fire Escape!

Remember those old-time PC games with a TBIC (The Boss Is Coming) key? I'm thinking it came out with "Leather Goddesses of Phobos" or soon thereafter. Anyway, just punch that key and suddenly the screen would show a display that looked like something you were being paid to do.

Of course that's not necessary with Windows if you know what you're doing - a productive screen is just an alt-tab away, or you can kill the whole app with an alt-F4.

But now we have the Web Fire Escape! Punch the icon and get switched instantly to Google or whatever you configured it to point to. Obviously everyone needs this - get it here.

Friday, November 21, 2003

"It's a form of money laundering, plain and simple"

Here's a chance for the Democrats to 1) fight the deficit by raking in more tax dollars, 2) fight white-collar crime, 3) fight a multinational corporation with a history of crimes around the world. All they have to do is bust Greenpeace.

Joel Mowbray highlights how Greenpeace collects money under a tax-free entity, then transfers the funds to a taxable entity.

Hmmm. The Clinton administration had so many organizations audited by the IRS and somehow missed this?

Go away Mikey

Drudge points us to this article with former Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis.
The former governor was not shy about sharing why he thinks he lost the election. He said he had not developed a strategy to deal with attacks from the Bush campaign.

I ran into a bit of a buzz saw," Dukakis said.
No Mike, you were already that short.

Oh, he thinks the campaign was dirty. Yeah right, that's the one in which the Dems were scared to death of Dan Quayle, who was young, conservative, and polled well with women. So they smeared him every chance they got, accusing him of being stupid, and then responded one election cycle with a liberal just like him - Al Gore. As for Bush himself, there were claims that he had strafed lifeboats in the South Pacific.
He said he dropped eight points in one week after Bush allegedly had President Reagan refer to Dukakis as an "invalid."
Yep, Reagan made a joke in which he made reference to Mr. Dukakis's mental health. This was during the Cold War after all. I suppose Dukakis would have preferred that the voters remain ignorant of that.
"This is the worst national administration I’ve ever lived under, bar none. I want this guy out of there."
Sure Mike - have you had your meds today? That takes some cojones after witnessing what you did to Mass. The expatriates I talked to in that period were unanimous in their disgust with you and your policies. So it made sense that you would go looking for a job in which you'd get to hell out of town under Secret Service protection.

But Dukakis believes all this crap. Well, as he said in his election bid, a fish rots from the head first.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Fun with the Law of Unintended Consequences

No less an authority than Andrew Sullivan favorite John Derbyshire has some questions on The Corner:
1. If "gay marriage" is legalized, will prisoners be able to marry their cell mates? If not, why not?

2. In many jurisdictions, a marriage can be annulled if it has not been consummated. What, exactly, constitutes "consummation" of a gay marriage?
The latter is important in light of the decision in NH (Opposed by gay groups in the name of "gay parity") that a married woman who had had a lesbian affair had not committed adultery.

Meanwhile another reader sent Derb this:
"Your comment about cell-mates marrying got me thinking. Under the traditional restrictions, a man cannot marry his daughter, or, a fortiori, his son, and so if he leaves them a very large inheritance, it is taxed, although what he leaves his wife is not taxed. But under a general license to 'marry' another man, a man could marry his son, and thus pass his property to the son tax-free.

"This is a loophole that would have to be closed, if estate taxes are going to continue, and the obvious way to close it would be to eliminate the special consideration given to inheritance by a spouse. This would be an unwelcome surprise to some propents of 'gay marriage.'

"On another front, what if two men who are partners in crime take the precaution of marrying, so that they can each be sure that the other one won't turn state's evidence at trial, should they be caught?

"Marriage, with the special privileges that have grown up around it, is a potential source of advantages to the unscrupulous. The remedy is going to be, I suppose, to reduce or eliminate the privileges. Having achieved marriage, the homosexuals may find that it isn't worth having any more..."


From Rod Dreher in The Corner:
Anyway, the "Cat in the Hat" commercial showed the Cat, played by Mike Myers, looking at a photograph of a woman, and suddenly acquiring a tumescent tail. Then one of the children says the woman in the photo is "Mom," which causes the excitable kitty to lose his erection. Is this a great culture, or what?

Green onions and hepatitis-A - would irradiation help?

Health authorities believe that the hepatitis-A cases recently traced to Chi-Chi's restaurants are due to Mexican green onions. Reuters reports that they are being held up at the border.

I wonder if food irradiation has been tried with green onions. It can kill off pathogens deep beneath the surface of foods without adding a lot of processing time. It doesn't work well with everything though - as I understand it each individual product to be irradiated must be studied to find the appropriate doses and particulars about feed rates, orientation, packaging, etc. In some cases taste and texture can be affected.

Somebody had better do something quickly though. This is the kind of thing that could impact green onion sales for years.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Michigan madness

What is in the water up that way lately?

Last I knew Dr. Mark Byron was living up there or at least had business there. Anyway, he wrote a scenario in which Democrat Senators in states with Republican Governors were killed by Christian commandos. He did so in the form of a news item, and of course a news item would list the specific Senators by name.

That turned out to be a mistake to say the least. In Dr. Byron's words:
With 58 hours of 20-20 hindsight, the scenario below was too detailed and shouldn't have included names of particular senators....My regulars here generally understood the message I was trying to convey here, that the rhetoric of peaceful civil disobedience can lead to people resorting to violent civil disobedience. However, readers that just read this piece and don't know me as well could wonder whether I'm the next Paul Hill or Tim McVeigh. You would especially wonder that if you read the first half of the piece alone, as many sites did when excerpting it, leaving out the rejection of that straw man.
I agree that nobody who has read Dr. Byron's blog very regularly could have reached the conclusion that he was advocating anything of the kind. But lefties have to have their right-wing bogeymen, and this was the best they could do. Dr. Byron goofed, but IMO the reaction was all out of proportion.

And now we have Dean Esmay objecting to certain Christian fundamentalists and their God.

Fine, that's his prerogative - I can do without some of them too, and if they're right I don't like it one bit.

But then he went too far with gratuitous offensiveness. I won't cite it here, but you can figure it out if you look through the comments to this post far enough. You don't have to be Christian to call that out of line.

Someone suggested, perhaps to give him an out, that he wrote such a thing simply to rattle cages toward the end of increasing traffic. Dean's integrity was affronted - said commenter was asked to leave the blog without letting the door hit them in the ass on the way out. He meant it all right.

The frustrating thing about religious discussion is the faith - you can't prove anything without it. But Dean refuses to acknowledge that for all he knows the fundamentalists are right about God, and he himself might be the one with the flawed morality. (Maybe he'll see it differently in a few weeks - currently he and Rosemary are both quitting smoking, so in the meantime Hell probably doesn't intimidate him).

After all this, it would serve Michigan right if they lost to Ohio State.

Gay marriage

Gay marriage has to be the BS issue of all time. Does anybody really believe that significant numbers of gays want to get married? Or do they really believe that this will somehow strengthen marriage?

It's nonsense. This isn't about gay marriage, or even gay rights. It's about gay parity.

What do I mean? It means that being gay would be considered to have equal moral status with being straight. That's what GLBTs really want, and gay marriage is a huge step in that direction.

It's like the ERA all over again. Did most or even a significant percentage of women really want to do all of the things they would have forced their way into? And did they anticipate all of the side effects of such "simple" legislation? No to both counts, of course not, and insightful women like Phyllis Schlafly fought ERA for that reason.

But gays have been preparing the ground for this battle for some time. By now you can't even oppose them without being called names - you must be "homophobic". IMO claiming homophobia is an admission of ignorance and inability to contribute usefully to further discussion.

For my part, I just like to know that before we change our society that we have a good idea of what the consequences will be. Here are a few questions I have:
1) Will gay parity result in a greater or lesser number of gays?
2) Does the number or proportion of gays in a society impact it in a way that is not compatible with our polity?
3) What happens to children brought up in a world in which being gay or straight are simply "choices" of equal moral standing?

I'm sure I could come up with more if I thought about it some more. My point is that this is an experiment with our society which is unprecedented, and thus we cannot predict all of the outcomes. I'm not claiming to know the answers, and for all I know there could be vast improvements. And kindly note that my questions are not based on any religion or tradition, and I did not disparage gays.

But I happen to believe that in the absence of well-researched scientific answers to the questions I have posed, to proceed any farther with gay parity is foolhardy. Thus I oppose gay marriage on those grounds.

Traditionally the burden of proof would lie on those who are proposing the changes to our society. Lines like "what can it hurt?" are simply an attempt to shift that burden of proof. Can those who push gay marriage show that there will be no intolerable ill effects?