Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Be first on your block... own your own guillotine.

Via Gizmodo

Lennie Briscoe has nothing to say

E! Online News - "Law & Order" Star Orbach Dead

Be my guinea pig

I haven't tried any of the following vendors, but I'll write about them anyway.

First there's Hometown Favorites. The concept sounds interesting - the proprietor distributes hard-to-find or regional candies, groceries and other nonperishable products.

Or how about SimplyBovine? ("Everything Cows!") I found them while looking for a distributor for "Cow Pies". They also sell, among other things, cow g-strings.

Which reminds me, Valentine's Day is coming! So be sure to place your order with for their "BitterSweets" today. Now available in two types - "Dejected" (which includes a reference to blogging!) and "Dysfunctional". (or if you should somehow have a positive attitude, EHarmony offers gift certificates).

Enough for now. Now go stimulate the economy!

No thanks, I won't be having any

Ever since I was a kid I've been hearing references to "eggs in your beer" as if it were the ultimate in unreasonable demands. Where it came from I have no clue. I'm guessing it's a Kraut thing, although the first people I recall hearing it from were Irish. Or maybe it's Midwestern.

Go ahead - look it up: Google Search: "eggs in your beer". Or if you're into regionalisms, check out this.

Of course self-respecting bars have to have some pickled eggs or maybe pig's feet. Occasionally there were free salty snacks to encourage beer consumption (although freeloading in bars can be hazardous to your health), but some people I knew didn't leave this to chance - they put salt directly in their beer lest they should be sated before they ran out of money.

I don't know how common this is, but I knew a guy down south who'd get a bottle of Coke (that's a "coke-cola", Yankee!), dump a small bag of salted peanuts into it, and then drink the mess. Maybe it was about freeing up a hand, or gustatory considerations, and I know it's all going to the same place anyway, but it just wasn't my thing.

I shouldn't talk - I've always been a mad scientist in the kitchen. When I was a kid I had to mix whatever condiments happened to be around and try to eat the results. Or else there were Pixy Stix or Lik-em-Aid to be mixed with Kool-Aid or the occasional soft drink. (And I learned from it too. Later on in chemistry classes when they started discussing solubility I suddenly knew why I never could get the chocolate or Peanut Butter Cups to dissolve in the drink concoctions I made.). This means I'm creative with oddball ingredients, but please, don't ever make shrimp stroganoff (I was down to frozen noodles, frozen shrimp, golden mushroom soup and sour cream. Thaw shrimp. Cook noodles. Mix ingredients. Season to taste. Retch. Throw out and resolve never to repeat).

Now is your chance to share recipes for favorite oddball concoctions.

Monday, December 27, 2004

For better or for worse but not forebearance

It's not too newsworthy to say that professional athletes are a horny lot. Here's a bit of a history.

But not every player's wife takes this infidelity lying down. Consider Anna Benson, a model/ex-stripper voted "baseball's hottest wife". Her husband, Kris Benson of the Mets, is under notice - on Howard Stern's show she said that if she caught him cheating she would do everybody on his whole team, including coaches, groundskeepers, and bat boys.

This immediately set Eric Raymond's keen analytical mind to work:
Somehere, a coalition of the most unattractive no-hopers in the Mets organization — probably organized by some dude with a beer gut, bad breath, and a bread-dough complexion who harbors a long-simmering lust for the wench — is now organizing a pool with which to engage the foxiest hookers in the Big Apple to waylay her husband. What a pitch! Throw $50 in the kitty and “Baseball’s Hottest Wife” will bang you too!
In other news, Mets merchandise sales tripled...

Admittedly Ms. Benson is sending somewhat of a mixed message about fidelity, but consider this:
When Kris had Tommy John surgery, he couldn’t move his arms for a week. Every time he went to the bathroom, I had to help him. Plus, he couldn’t hold down his pain medication. We were flying home from the hospital and we had to squeeze into the plane’s bathroom together so I could stick suppositories up his ass to keep him from throwing up.
Sounds like true love to me.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Birth of a slander?

Via the dynamic Newmark duo (mom and daughter), Powerline notes how the WaPo reported an increase in the number of students eligibility for Pell Grants as a cut.

Happy birthday to...

Arthur H. Ehrat of Virden, Ill, who invented the breakaway basketball rim. He's 80 years old.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas!

Chiefs 31, Raiders 30.

That's what the obituaries are for

It seems that "insurgents want their stories told". Yeah, and they also want to kill people for attempting to have elections. Does the Associated Press support that too?

Via Belmont Club.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

To a 12 year old girl about her future

She's a hormone-addled adolescent just like her mother was not so long ago. I don't see much of her because I'm on the road so much, and it's not clear that it would make much difference if I were around. But what I want her to do is take life seriously long enough to make some plans for her life.

Say what? - she's 12, for crying out loud! Yep, and in 5 years she'll be getting out of high school, and in 10 she might well be out of college. And anywhere along the line she could even have kids of her own. And it wouldn't surprise me to find that none of this had ever crossed her mind.

Well, que sera, sera my eye. She can start influencing her future deliberately right now. It's not too early, and in some extreme cases it's actually too late.

So how do I get her started? Beats me. For lack of anything better I'm thinking of starting with a letter or speech like what follows:

Merry Christmas, kiddo. This may look like the lamest gift you've ever received, but give it a chance. Pay attention and maybe it can help you get something a lot better for yourself - a well-lived life.

Yes, you're only 12. And in 5 years you'll be 17 and ready to get out of HS. In 10 you might be graduating from college. In 15 you'll be older than your mother was when she had you. This may seem like an eternity to you now, but ask any adult and they can tell you that it seems that the older you get the faster the time seems to go.

You've had a chance to observe your mother's life up close. It hasn't always been easy. You might have decided that you want to live your life differently. And you can.

How? The first step is to have some goals. When in doubt, aim high.

Let's start with some examples to come up in the next 5 years. Would you like to be valedictorian? Date the school hunk? Start on the basketball team? Be head cheerleader? Be homecoming queen? Get admitted to your favorite college with scholarships? Get a car? Get a good after-school/summer job? Learn to play guitar? More ideas of your own? All of the above? Fine - for most of those, if you can dream it you can do it. If you get started.

Now let's look 10 years down the road. By then you could be starting on a good career, going to graduate school to be a doctor/lawyer/professor/whatever, raising a family with a good guy you met in college.... Or you could be stranded in a small town with two kids to raise and a husband who makes a lousy living, drinks and abuses you. All of that builds on what happens in the next 5 years.

Now say you have some goals. But they seem big - where do you start? The same way you eat an elephant - one bite at a time. Break them down. Here's an example.

I hear you were cut from the basketball team. OK, so was Michael Jordan in his freshman year in HS. Do you want to go out again next year and show them they were wrong? What can you do to make sure you make it then?

Well, I don't know how to help you get taller. But you can get stronger and get more stamina by exercising and eating right, and that will help you with a lot more than basketball. You can build skills by playing a lot, shooting hoops, practicing dribbling, going to camps, etc. It's up to you.

One goal you might have picked is "to be the most popular girl". Please think again. If it happens that's fine, but ask me or any of your older relatives how much time they've spent with their HS or college friends in the last few years. And ask anyone who's been to a HS reunion what has happened to the "standings". Peer pressure can seem overwhelming, but there's nothing cool about being busted for underage possession or drugs, or sleeping around, or staying out all night when you have responsibilities, etc.

Alright, enough for now. The idea is that the future is coming whether you're ready or not. So why not be ready?


Are they sure it's a mistake?

Duty, honor, yeah, yeah. Far be it from me to be a faithless elector if I had the opportunity.

But really, having to vote for John F. Kerry? Who even archpartisans like Kos are dumping on nowadays?

I'd think of something.

When is a Contract Not a Contract?

Ask XRLQ, who holds forth here about contract law and US Cellular's attempt to screw Spoons.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Would you like a dose of french fries with that?

French fries! Heavens, between the carbs and the grease they'll kill you! Pass the fish and those good ol' omega-3s.

Not so fast. I haven't heard much about it lately, but back in the late 60's/early 70's we heard incessantly about mercury pollution in our fish. Whether related or not, a trip down Lake Shore Drive in Chicago might well suggest that something was wrong - dead fish were always washing up on the beaches by the millions. Yecch.

It so happens that the mercury is still out there in high enough concentrations to get you under the right circumstances. People porking out on certain fish, usually in the name of health, are coming down with symptoms of mercury poisoning, and there are govt advisories on consumption of certain types of fish.

Here Glenn Reynolds notes Ukrainian candidate Yushchenko's dioxin poisoning and links to this, which suggests that use of "fake fat" (olestra), can help him clean the dioxins from his body and thus recover. Incidentally, the same thing might work for other bugbears such as DDT and PCBs.

Biochemical processes are very complicated, but in essence the above works because the substances are fat-soluble. They accumulate in your fat, and in turn they can be absorbed in other fats like olestra. Olestra does not remain in the body, any fat-soluble substances like the above it absorbs in its passage will leave the body with it.

And it so happens that the form of mercury that you get from the fish is fat-soluble. So maybe olestra could help clean out excess mercury too.

Now if only it made good french fries...

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The Answer?

Is something missing from your life. Perhaps what you need may be found in the Matriarchal Church.

It's not too well publicized IMO - I found it while looking for current information about the woman who turns out to be its founder, the one and only Kellie Everts.

That name might be vaguely familiar to late thirtysomethings. In her words, "I strip for God". Obviously we are dealing with a woman with a unique perspective.

Her website claims accomplishments many and significant. For those of you who'd prefer not to find yourself on a website entitled, she also claims to be the "foundress of female bodybuilding" and to have taken part in ending the Cold War.

What could be wrong with an organization with such a charismatic leader? Do you feel the call?

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Nearly 8 years in prison without a trial

Should I be hearing about stuff like this from a conservative like Phyllis Schlafly? Where are the lefties?

Or do you have to shoot and kill policemen before you get their blessing?

Monday, December 13, 2004

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Who was Mary Alice Meza?

Unless you're a crime buff, you're not likely to know. She was just a 17 year old girl who was raped back in 1948. Shortly thereafter she was institutionalized and remained so to the end of her days.

Who raped her? An innocent man of course - Caryl Chessman. That name might not be well remembered nowadays, but in his time he was an international cause celebre in part because at the time no one had spent more time on Death Row than he. Here's the short version of his story, here's the long version.

In all that time in prison Chessman had time to write and smuggle out three different books. One became a bestseller which is still listed on He used the proceeds in part to pay for legal and investigative help for his innumerable motions and appeals. The accounts linked above do not mention any restitution to his victims.

Not that he could have made it up to Mary Alice Meza.

Slow news day

What's wrong with this post?

Now let's have a talk about that natalism thing...

I'm only about 6 weeks late to congratulate Sasha and Hanah Metchis Volokh.


I rip off Betsy's Page all the time, but I link back. Others don't.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

What's to fear?

Censorship is bad, unless it's your side doing it:
Some people are very upset that a bookstore in Arizona is selling a book called Grand Canyon: A Different View.

The bookstore is operated by the National Park Service, you see, and the different view presented in the book is that the mighty gorge came about as the result of the flood. You know, The Flood. The one starring Noah.
Many people would dismiss that as unmitigated BS, or a legend at best.

Fine, suppose you're right. If we let people's opinions about this determine what we could sell where, the bookstores wouldn't have much to sell. Leave it alone and let the market sort it out.

From Jay Bryant: Your right to say it

A Skeptical View of the Perricone Prescription

It's shakedown fundraising time for PBS, and one perennial star is Dr. Nicholas Perricone. He offers all sorts of prescriptions to help your skin and general health.

His MO is to give a talk to a small room full of people. His air is as one who would bring medical science down to earth for a sophisticated audience. And of course the audience, thinking itself sophisticated, takes the bait.

I'm not qualified to address his claims, but before you pledge your money you might want to read this from Quackwatch.

Friday, December 10, 2004

How to make a suicide bomber

I can't remember where I found the link to Reasons Terrorists Haven't Hit Us Again. But the part I found most interesting was this:
But if exposure to American life won’t prevent suicide bombings, exposure to Americans might. “The more a person develops normal relations, the more comfortable he is in an environment, the less likely he is to commit an act of violence,” Johnson says. “The social literature on this goes back more than a hundred years, whether it be crime, gang violence, or political violence.” The September 11 hijackers, in a way, were the exceptions that prove the rule: Because they were able to move freely about the country without attracting suspicion, they could isolate themselves.

So if a sleeper cell had been planted here for years, it would have had to integrate into American life and would probably be less inclined to extreme acts of violence. For terrorists who’ve managed to slip in since 9/11, it will be hard for them to remain a self-insulating unit without attracting suspicion. And if a potential bomber arrives on his own, he’ll have daily social contacts that will lower the chance of his carrying out a suicide mission.

Complete isolation and a radically short time lapse between the moment a bomber is tapped and when he carries out the attack are essential to successful suicide attacks. “Studies of Hamas suicide bombers indicate there’s only a 24-hour window between finding the candidate and carrying out the mission,” says Swetnam. “It sounds incredible, but Hamas does the entire process within one day.” Hamas recruiters don’t select suicide bombers from within their own cadres; instead, they pull in a dogmatic and disillusioned young male outside their operation. It takes a deep pool of disaffected males to find the one willing to carry out a suicide mission.

Throughout the night, they’ll keep the candidate in a closed room and bombard him with dogma about his mission as a soldier of Allah and “rev him up about being a hero,” as Swetnam puts it. “They tell him, ‘Allah only asks once, and he’s asking you now.’ ” Only in extremely rare cases has a suicide bomber been known to back out of a mission, Swetnam says; one of the few that is known about occurred when his isolation buffer broke down. “He is said to have run into his brother on the way to his assignment, and that was enough to cause second thoughts.”
IMO that passage was both comforting and scary. Comforting in that it reinforces what I already believed, that there's nothing uniquely evil about Islam or Arabs that turns them into killers - it's just that that's who they have to work with.

The scary side? Never mind.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

What's in a name?

Re this post:

If you like it, call it "federalism" and use it to argue against the Federal Marriage Amendment.

If you don't like it, call it "state's rights", which is decried because Southern states tried to use it to avoid outside intervention wrt slavery.

Let's cut the crap. IMO the institution of marriage is orders of magnitude more important than abstractions like "federalism", so if I'm forced to choose between them, the sanctity of marriage as our society has known it for centuries wins every time. I'm still waiting for someone to explain how the door you open to permit gay marriage can be closed again to keep out all manner of other associations.

We have contracts for stuff like this, and we can even standardize them into "civil unions".

But marriage? No way.

If you support gay marriage, say so and argue the merits. Don't hide behind federalism/state's rights with the slaveholders.

What's the matter with Thomas Frank?

Ripping off Betsy's Page again, I find a response to a silly book called What's the Matter with Kansas?

The only thing "wrong" with Kansas is that the author's world view can't explain it. So, being the liberal that he is, he finds that it is reality that is wrong, not his theory.

Quoting one of Betsy's quotes:
Things are especially bad in his old hometown of Shawnee, where, during his visits, he no longer sees anyone in the streets. Instead, "heaps of rusting junk and snarling rottweilers" blight the landscape.
Nice try pal, but some of us have been to Shawnee. Yeah, there are parts the Chamaber of Commerce probably won't show you. Those would be the parts near Wyandotte County/Kansas City, KS, a Democrat stronghold forever which they've turned into the crime and poverty hellhole of the metro area. Or to the west, where it transitions into rural Kansas.

Finally Betsy derives a syllogism from the author's logic. I think I have a better alternative, which annoys certain yellow-dog Democrats I know:

1) Every party seeks to enlarge its constituency.
2) The Republicans are the party of the rich and the Democrats are the party of the poor.
3) Therefore the Republicans want to make everyone rich, and the Democrats want everyone poor.

And I cuss the Beltway traffic

Care to go for a spin in Iraq?

Although I must say, they may be on to something with the cell phones.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Allow me to introduce myself

Actually this guy who claims to be a bass player was the one who pointed to the blind date thing below. The ones I credited pointed to him in turn.

Anyway, if he follows the link back he'll find this post, sort of as my way of introducing myself. And as his reward I offer these raunchy bass player jokes (some might be way off base).

Oh, give it a chance!

A blind date? That might be just the thing for me. Alas, here in DC all we have are the deaf ones.

Finding out your blind date was Kim Basinger might sound good, but it didn't work out so well for Bruce Willis.

It's hard to top that one. But we're told this one really happened - look here,
here, and here. Ewww.

Stolen from Scrawlville

Friday, December 03, 2004

Attention music wizards

Who can identify the background music from:

1) Zales' jewelers commercials
2) Taco Bell commercials

I suppose there is a way to look this up, but I don't know how yet.

"Life ending without request"

There's nothing quite like having your morality questioned by those who would kill the innocent and protect the guilty. Consider this, from The Diplomad (one of the better blogs to show up lately).

And while I'm dumping on them furriners, how about this from Charles Krauthammer:
[the Europeans] pretend, however, that this opposition to America's odd belief in spreading democracy universally is based not on indifference but on superior wisdom -- the world-weary sagacity of a more ancient and experienced civilization that knows that one cannot bring liberty to barbarians. Meaning, Arabs. And Muslims. And Iraqis.
Yeah. But I'm betting that if someone from the American South thought that way they'd call it "racism".

Krauthammer link stolen from Betsy Newmark - that's 2 today.

Social Security done right

How it's done in Chile.

Sorry FDR, but "no damn politician" ought to be able to concoct something "no damn politician" can take away.

Stolen from the Dodd, who's a candidate for a Weblog award here - what are you waiting for?

Psst - here's the real scoop on Glenn Reynolds...

Are you ready for this?

Yes, it's, "Where the Students do the Grading". Heh heh, how I would have liked to have this back in college. (Although it would have had to run in plain text at 110 baud on a teletype.)

Some entrepreneurs had put together what they called the "Course Critique". It wasn't all-inclusive but it was handy in telling the "Santa Clauses" (mostly in humanities) from the "screws" (mostly in my core engineering classes).

It even included some grade distributions, which helped I found that I had had one instructor who had half his students drop and flunked half of the survivors (but not me, ya !#$!@$), and another who gave out 60% D's or F's. Info like that could be helpful at a fairly high-strung school like ours - one student blew his head off just outside the student center after his calculator died on a big test and his prof told him "tough luck".

(As it happened, I had the same prof the next quarter, and he was a jackass. We had a multiple guess final with 10 choices per question, and you still had to show the work. The SOB took 15 out of 15 points off me on questions where I had checked the right answer - he didn't like the work. The corker was when he presented a problem with falling particulates and we were to determine the terminal velocity. You'd guess at a velocity, calculate the drag coefficient from it, see what velocity resulted based on calculated drag coefficient, compare it to the guessed velocity, plug in the new velocity value if they were off more than an arbitrary amount and start over, ad nauseam until the velocities before and after were within a nonspecified but "close" band. It so happened that I got one of his 10 answer choices with x iterations and another with x+1 iterations, so I picked the latter. Wrong - the earlier one was "close enough", and I got no credit. GRRR!)

Anyway, I used RmP to check out my alma mater. After a couple of decades the turnover was high of course, but sure enough there were some of the same faculty I remembered.

And it seemed as if the ratings were the same ones they would have been when I was there. That was good for two of them, but you'd think the others would have learned something.

Link stolen from Betsy Newmark, who gives me hope that there are still some good teachers left.

Justice against spammers

You know that scene in "When Harry Met Sally"? The "I'll have what she's having" scene? Well, that's what I thought of when I read this:

Thanks Bitter - you made my day.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Walk a mile in his moccasins. Then shoot him.

This is the kind of story that ticks me off. Reading it, you'd almost forget that the boy killed was trying to kill American and other soldiers liberating Iraq in Fallujah, and that his father had learned nothing from it.

We hear that the boy, Ahmed, insisted on serving on the front line in a black tracksuit an "insurgent" leader had just given him.

The boy's mother was angry, but too bad. Apparently she doesn't even know he's dead yet. Allah will help the father against the Americans, but apparently he cowers before his wife. (Wait until you get your martyrdom, pal, and you have 72 of them to answer to...)

Well, you know how kids are. They get these ideas and... Yeah, right. The father, Abu Muhammed, the guy our correspondent would have us pity, tells us he's not just an "insurgent", but a sniper. That's not enough - he says "When I shoot a target with a rocket-propelled grenade, it's like celebrating a feast".

So we know where the 13 year old kid got his ideas. Either father or son would have killed your or your kids in a flash and would have enjoyed every minute of it. But we're supposed to feel for them?

IMO this quote was interesting:
While atrocities unleashed by the insurgents -- beheadings and bombings that have killed scores of civilians -- have at least anecdotally seemed to unleash popular revulsion, there remains a constituency in Iraq that celebrates the guerrilla war. Myths have grown up around it, all infused with religious imagery and notions of divine intervention. Residents trade stories: that the knights of the prophet Muhammad were seen riding through Fallujah's streets on horseback with their swords drawn; that birds guided by God cast stones at Apache helicopters; that a scented breeze descends on the fighters as they battle U.S. troops.

Abu Mohammed had his tale.

At a checkpoint this summer, he was stopped by U.S. and Iraqi troops with a rocket-propelled grenade and three hand grenades in his trunk. He said he beseeched God: "I am fighting for you." The troops opened the trunk, he said, and found nothing.
Yeah, and other sources have told us about the big supplies of drugs the "insurgents" have.(There's no word yet on whether they've started ghost dancing).

It's just not fair!
The Americans, Abu Mohammed said, are "strong in their technology, but I've never seen cowards like them."

A hint of anger flashed across his usually calm demeanor. "Fifteen thousand Americans against 2,000 mujaheddin, with their technology and their firepower? They say they were victorious, but what kind of victory was that?"
Well hey, you have Allah on your side, not to mention the knights of Mohammed, the birds, the scented breezes...

And Allah isn't through with them yet:
"Until the day of judgment, there will be jihad," Abu Mohammed said, his words slow. "If something happened in Lebanon, I would find a bridge to cross and go there to fight." In a calm voice, he described his obligation as a matter of fact, a self-evident truth, and he quoted the Koran to illustrate his point: "And slay them wherever you catch them."

He clutched a pillow in his lap as he sat cross-legged. A tattered white curtain hung over the window, its pane broken.

"Jihad is not only against the Americans, it's also waged against the people who support them," he said. "They say the government is Iraqi, but it's really American. It's an Iraqi on the throne, but the throne itself is American."
For people who believe that, only one end is possible. I say we expedite it.

IMO the most irritating thing about this article is that what is most damning of our "insurgent" is toward the end. If you don't finish the article, all you see is some poor SOB who lost his son to the Americans.

I guess that's what you can expect from a blue state paper like the Washington Post. They work so hard to understand those who would kill them, and even present them sympathetically. Isn't it a shame that they don't put more effort into understanding red staters?

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

For Alexander buffs

Check out Livius, which is self-described as "a non-commercial website on ancient history".

In your face, infidels!

Mail and Guardian Online: Iran boasts nuclear victory over US: "Iran boasted on Tuesday that it had humiliated the United States at a board meeting of the UN atomic watchdog by agreeing to what it reiterated was only a temporary freeze of its suspect nuclear programme."

Monday, November 29, 2004

And we fought for this?

I've written several times before about that hellhole that is North Korea. But now I'm starting to question the South too.

In the late 80's an engineer I knew took an assignment in Korea. When he went he was, um, corpulent. When he got back he was svelte. Had he been working out? No, he just couldn't handle the food or the sanitation. The latter consisted mostly of dumping buckets of water on the floor and letting it run into the big holes which served as toilets.

Around the same period the Olympics were held in Seoul and I was working with a 20-something Korean engineer. She was outraged because it seemed to her the no one ever mentioned South Korea in the Olympic coverage without noting the canine cuisine. She didn't deny it, she just thought they could drop it once in a while.

Now today I read this, in which the author and his commenters decry what one of them called the utter lack of common courtesy in South Korea.

I won't be booking a flight over there any time soon.

Over the top rhetoric awards

Right here, according to columnist John Leo.

I might have divided them into classes like "Self-Awareness Award". It would have gone to Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks for "I realize that I’m just supposed to sing and look cute so our fans won’t have anything to upset them while they’re cheating on their wives or driving around in their pickup trucks shooting small animals.”

Friday, November 26, 2004

Read the whole thing

Thomas Sowell channels Ambrose Bierce:

Most unlikely remake?

CNN just assured me that Dolly Parton has just recorded a version of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven".

Yeah, I know Tom Jones did "Kiss" by Prince, Judas Priest remade Joan Baez's "Diamonds and Rust", and there's no telling what you'll hear on Muzak or the like.

Anyway, I'm looking for nominations for the most unlikely remakes. Can you top my examples?

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Poor Mo

I wish liberals could make up their minds. One minute John Ashcroft is the guy who covers up breasts on statues, and the next he's having his Transportation security folks checking out Maureen Dowd's rack.

The fact is that MoDo is going to bitch as long as there is a Republican in the White House. And if there is another successful terror attack she'll blame it on the Republican administration's policies no matter what.

In particular, she may choose to ridicule "breast bombs", but in fact drug smugglers have used implants for drug smuggling.

Maybe our enemies ought to work on becoming journalists. Then they can try to ridicule us out of our security measures until we let down our guard.

Brand Democrats

Oliver Willis once was a reasonably respectable blogger. But he sold out to become a Democrat shill. Now he has created "Brand Democrat".

(Why is he working so hard at this? Could he be trying to live something down? For instance, could he have been named after Oliver North?)

(Then there's Oliver Hardy.)

Hubris applies the artwork appropriately here

Nice work, but IMO the original is still the best. Big image here, buy the shirt here.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Are these drugs safe?

Derek Lowe discusses drug safety here.

I guess you could say he's conservative:
I don't think that I'm alone in the drug industry as someone who never takes even OTC medication unless I feel that the benefits outweigh the risks, and the risks are never zero. I know too much biochemistry to mess around with mine lightly.


For ballroom dance professionals the Ohio Star Ball serves several purposes. Of course they can compete, with professional or amateur partners. But it's also a big convention where pros, amateurs and vendors can network and do business.

Of course it helps to be noticed, and one young professional I know had just the idea. She's very attractive to begin with, and then she showed up in some strapless bustier thing that was just enough for precarious containment of what I assume are 34B's. If she sat still everything was OK, but then someone asked her to dance a cha-cha.

It was fun to watch. A good cha-cha is fairly fast, and the women spend a lot of time turning with their hands over their heads. That doesn't work well if you're trying to stay decent in what she was wearing. Our heroine was all too aware of the problem, reaching down to stuff everything back in every chance she got. She would have lost the battle but for some adhesive pastie-like cups she had worn underneath.

Well, there's always next year.

The Betty Van Patter award goes to...

...whoever it was who killed Margaret Hassan.

(What words do we have for these people? Insurgents? Minutemen? No, let's call them "jihadis". Then maybe some day we can get people to associate jihad not with holy war, but with the wanton feral slaughter of defenseless, harmless older women.)

No, I never met Margaret Hassan, and if I had we probably would have disagreed passionately about many things. In particular, she opposed UN sanctions in the misbegotten belief that they, rather than Saddam Hussein's spending priorities, were causing problems for Iraqis. No doubt Christopher Hitchens could come up with much more, like he did with the late Mother Teresa.

But I can't help but respect someone doing what Margarat Hassan has done for Iraqis for the last years. She didn't bug out with the expats - she considered herself Iraqi. Unlike the many other expats (and who knows how many Iraqis) who have been murdered by "jihadis", she had been there all along and in no way could have been considered some sort of profiteer or even a collaborator.

So she stayed around in Baghdad to be kidnapped and to die degraded on videotape.

Not there too

Several of us from the same studio were eating dinner at the Ohio Star Ball when someone mentioned something I had already noticed - a number of the better male dancers were wearing fairly large labels on their jackets. I hadn't been close enough to read them, but it turned out that the labels were deliberate advertising by sponsors.

About that time the devil whispered in my ear. So I proposed that the ads go the whole NASCAR route, and invited them all to picture the dancers with big Skoal or Red Man ads on their backs.

You never heard a conversation stop so fast in your life. The looks of horror were priceless.

The fact is that competing at dancesport is expensive, and the prizes aren't exactly huge even for the top pros. The competitions aren't exactly money machines either from what I can tell, so any added money from sponsors or patrons is a huge help. A couple of common sponsors are Capezio and Chrisanne.

But really, there's something about an ad which clashes with formal wear. It makes the dancers look like they're part of the hotel staff. Surely we can do better than this.


I just got back from spending the past week at the 2004 Ohio Star Ball. It's like nothing else.

One of the odder things I saw was on the last day of competition and many of us were leaving. I was riding in an elevator at the Hyatt Regency Columbus when some others got on. One volunteered something about going home to a "blue state", in a tone suggesting he'd been playing Jane Goodall for the past week in red Ohio. Someone else seconded the concept as the elevator opened to the lobby.

I couldn't let that pass, but wasn't particularly inspired - I just said something like "I'm a red stater, I'm proud of it, and I'd vote for Bush again" as the others left. I didn't chase them down to argue with them, but I'm sure I left them shaking their heads.

I know I shook mine. What is it about these people that makes it so important to let people know where they stand? Apparently they think they're superior and demand recognition of this, but why?

Thinking about it later, I wanted to say something like "we red staters are the ones who feed, clothe, shelter, power, and defend the rest of you. We are the sources of physical and moral capital that make this country what it is and can be. Kill off the blue staters and that would be a setback. But without the red staters the blues would starve in weeks". (apologies to William Jennings Bryan).

Anyway, I'm guessing that the blue stater expected solidarity because of the nature of the event - surely there wouldn't be any NASCAR-loving red-staters there!

If so, he sure wasn't paying attention. The winners of the professional American Smooth were Ben and Shalene Archer Ermis from red Tennessee, and they'd won the year before too. The event has been held in red Ohio from its beginning almost 30 years ago because that's the home of organizer and former Blackpool competitor Sam Sodano. And on Saturday night during a break in the finals they announced the retirement of one of the best American Rhythm couples ever, Dan Rutherford and Nicole Carroll from red Indiana.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Saturday, November 13, 2004


To revive an old line, there are two kinds of people - those who divide people into two types, and those who do not.

Well, you can't argue with it for sure, but it's not too useful either. But some dichotomies are useful - it just wouldn't be right if there weren't two kinds.

Glenn Reynolds links to this, which divides the world into the kind of people who might have written or swallowed this crap from Jane Smiley and the rest of us. She has concluded that there are people who think like her, and the "unteachably ignorant" who voted for George W. Bush.

C. P. Snow had his own theory 45 years ago with his "The Two Cultures". See it reviewed by the incomparable Orrin Judd here.

For my money the best entry is "A Conflict of Visions:Ideological Origins of Political Struggles" by Thomas Sowell. His "constrained" vs. "unconstrained" visions correspond fairly well with our conservative/liberal divide today.

Alas, some of us have more time to blog today, and I don't. See ya!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The deep end

By now you've probably heard about how hard some Dems have taken Kerry's loss. Like this one, who decided to take his life with a shotgun at the WTC site.

I've decided to take up a collection for his family. Please send more shotgun shells to....

No, that's way beyond the pale. In defense I'll merely note that I have read too many lefty blogs lately, and the rhetorical style just kinda crept in. Consider me self-flagellated.

But really now people, this was a Presidential election. Any suicides should have been confined to the likes of Bin Laden, Zarkawi et al for knowing that the best they can hope for for the next four years is living in holes on the run.

Would I have been happy if Bush lost? Certainly not. I know that a lot of my countrymen are under- or misinformed by the MSM, but to find that a majority were so would have been disheartening at best.

Am I thrilled with Bush? Compared to "JFK", yes. But I'd like better. And that has nothing to do with his extemporaneous language skills or alleged resemblance to lower primates.

Maybe we'll get better this time, with some of the riffraff like Daschle out of the Senate. If these hardcore lefties really believe "worse is better", then let's see them go along with the Republican agenda, let some judges be seated, et al.

Given some bigger margins in both houses, maybe we'll see a more fiscally responsible Bush come forward. I sure hope so.

But if he doesn't, well...we survived Jimmy Carter.

UPDATE: It appears that something else inspired the suicide reported by CNN and cited above. What made CNN conclude that the suicide was related to the election?

Nasty hit

Sunday is Football Day, doggone it. And this past Sunday I saw one of the nastiest hits ever, and I never saw the victim twitch a muscle afterward. Yeah, you expect that from football, but at the time I was watching figure skating.

The girl was up in the air for some sort of lift and her partner had both of her hands. So when she fell from about shoulder height she hit more or less head first.

As it turns out she's recovering and is planning to come back very soon.

There was another potentially nasty fall too, but the girl managed to flip over in the air and land on her skates in a position only a chiropractor could love. But they kept going.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Huge dancesport event in Columbus next week

If you want to see ballroom dancing as done by the best pros anywhere, you need to go to the 2004 Ohio Star Ball Championships in Columbus, Ohio.

You'll see all ages and skill levels and about any reasonably common dance you can think of climaxing on Friday and Saturday nights. If you're not a dance junkie you'll miss a lot, and if you use constructions like "the dance" I suppose you'll sniff a lot, but I enjoyed watching it even before I knew what was going on.

And things go wrong once in a while. You have to wonder how a woman could catch her heel on a skirt that barely covers her bum, but I've seen it happen - she almost tore it off getting loose, and for the rest of the event she dropped her hand down to pull it back up whenever she could while staying in synch with a professional routine.

Anyway, it's something different, it's big, and it's right out there in God's own RED STATES...


I keep asking Kerry voters what they thought he would have done in Iraq. It seems that none of them have a clue.

Fair enough - I didn't either. But then I didn't vote for him.


It's been slow around here lately and that'll probably continue for a while. This week is a frenzy while I prepare for a long road trip, and I'll be out of town all next week. Sheesh, I barely even got in any gloating about the election.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Must be seen to be believed...

This unsigned screed was actually published in the Mirror.

Stolen from The Corner.

Protesters in Portland

I suppose that these protesters fancy themselves as heroes. Yeah, they're supporting democracy!

One of them proclaimed that the "religious right" won the election. It's true that they were more likely to support Bush, not that there's anything wrong with that.... Sorry pal, but a minute ago you said you were supporting democracy, and these people get to vote too.

I've lived in parts of the country within a few miles of where they handle snakes as part of the services. You can't go much farther off the deep end than that. But I've never had a lick of trouble with "the religious right", and typically I didn't hear a peep unless they were provoked. And it wasn't because they were a minority. IMO the most obvious difference between them and the protesters, besides dress and hygiene, is that the evangelicals would rather keep to themselves and not do something so worldly as to pose for a camera, or even vote.

And, if anything, what do you suppose provoked them this time? Might it have had something to do with an arbitrary decision by some to overturn a few thousand years of social experience to mock marriage?

Oh yeah, the protesters are against the war too. I have a proposal for them - I'll bet Fallujah could use some human shields about now...

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Giving his due

After months of dog-cussing John Kerry, the least I can do is acknowledge that he outclassed Al Gore in conceding defeat in the election.

Now let's see if the rest of his supporters do.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Common sense breaks out

Look here and scroll upward for deadly retorts to the latest press attacks on Bush from US and foreign sources. The linked article discusses the big deal the press would make of al-Qaqaa, and the next two up discuss the Lancet article about supposedly outrageously high Iraqi fatalities in the war.

And then just keep reading in both directions, because Chicago Boyz is a terrific blog.

Meanwhile Chicago Girl Megan McArdle overcomes her NY influences to embrace the right man for President here.

If you still don't get the al-Qaqaa thing, John Cole has pictures for you here.

Faulty decision process?

Daniel Drezner has a child and wants tenure. To get it, he probably has to rattle off left wing catechism for the grantors of tenure. That's the only way I can explain this.

Mr. Drezner is distressed by the number of "Mongolian clusterf**ks" found in the Bush administration's planning. Well what do you know - not everyone in his administration had the same ideas about how to do things! Some people have expressed differences of opinion, and that can only mean that the decisions actually implemented were incorrect, right?

I for one would be far more disturbed if everyone in the administration had exactly the same ideas - apparently President Bush has assembled a diverse group to provide counsel, and that's to be respected. But once the decision has been made, it's time to put your head down, shut up and start implementing instead of hogging cameras. And has anyone ever considered that maybe planning could be better if the Bush Administration didn't have to watch its back against a hostile media echoing opposition spin all the time?

I'm a blogger too, so I too reserve the right to question decisions made by the govt, media, other bloggers or anyone else after the fact. The thought that Mr. Drezner would question the Bush administration's conduct of the war certainly wasn't offensive in itself.

But the jaw-dropper was when he wrote "I prefer a leader who has a good decision-making process, even if his foreign policy instincts are skewed in a direction I don't like, over a leader who has a bad decision-making process, even if his foreign policy instincts are skewed in a direction I do like."

And this led him to support John Kerry? Can Kerry be said to even *have* a decision-making process? Or is it just so prolific that it generates all alternatives? Pick Kerry if you must (he's going to win IL anyway despite my absentee vote), but please come up with something better than this.

Mr. Drezner goes on to say "But in the end, I can't vote for a president who doesn't believe that what he believes might, just might, be wrong." Here he must be mindreading. Making a decision does not indicate that there never was any doubt, it just means that somebody had to have the cojones to act under conditions of uncertainty - you'll never know all the relevant facts and much of what you do know has a short shelf-life.

(And making a decision is the opposite of letting your allies dictate your policy. Kerry's "global test" nonsense is simply a way for Kerry to avoid responsibility. That's OK with me, but I'd prefer that he avoid responsibility by losing the election by a truly embarrassing margin)

So how does Mr. Drezner conclude that President Bush has no doubts about his decisions? It appears that he is making some truly stupendous assumptions that just could be wrong. Is he willing to reexamine that?

Or maybe Mr. Drezner swallowing the Dem story concocted to counteract Kerry's flipflopping, namely, that in fact George W. Bush is bullheaded.

Well, President Bush in fact has some identifiable consistent principles, which certainly narrows the scope of the decisions he's likely to reach. And I, the stock market and most of sane society prefer that predictability to a loose cannon who scores once in a while but is likely to shift with any political zephyr.

And if bull-headedness is to be feared, what can you say about a man who still won't come clean about Vietnam, or apologize for the monstrous and unsupported accusations he made about his "band of brothers"? Had he done so, we might never have hears about the Swift boat vets. Even Jane Fonda has apologized - why can't Kerry? His positions on Viet Nam might well be the only ones he's ever stuck with.

Anyway, I hope Mr. Drezner gets his tenure. But only if he can come up with a better decision making process than what we've seen.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

UN seals?

Everybody seems to be so impressed by these UN seals on ammo dumps in Iraq. I'm not.

It so happens that I was raised around truckers who went to some really iffy places. Seals? Ha? Thieves could just take the entire back doors off the trailers, rob them blind, then reinstall the doors without breaking seals. If you wanted to secure your load, you'd back your trailer up against a wall or another trailer so close that no one could get into the gap.

I dare to suggest that one so highly motivated as Saddam could defeat any seal the UN could place on a site, especially after disabling all the other surveillance equipment placed on the sites.

Monday, October 25, 2004

What if we caught Osama bin Laden?

I've heard that a cockroach can live for two weeks without its head. But what about real low life forms, like al Qaeda? What would happen if we caught Osama bin Laden tomorrow?

It all depends on how well he set up his organization. To a certain extent it's a cult of personality in that he himself is a potent symbol. But IMO there's no sign that his organization couldn't go on without him.

If that's true, then catching OBL might be meaningless at best. After all, we've been locking up gangsters for the better part of century, from Al Capone to John Gotti, and I don't hear anyone claiming that organized crime is gone. Al Qaeda would just have to come up with another leader just as the mob always has.

Do we know that bin Laden is a particularly effective leader? Someone had to set up his worldwide organization for sure. And although they've certainly had their successes, I have to wonder what another leader might have been able to do with the years of preparation and millions of dollars he's had available. How do we know that there's not a much more able successor waiting for the legend to pass so he can get his chance?

If there is, it would be positively counterproductive to catch bin Laden openly. Al Qaeda would still have him as a symbol even as they strengthened their management. Is it likely that anyone would make a move to take over while OBL is alive and at large?

Well, wouldn't he make a good scalp for GWB just before the election? I don't know why. People might get the idea that that meant that there was nothing more to be done in the Middle East, leading to a breakup of the "coalition of the bribed" and possibly even the election of that failure-in-waiting called John Kerry.

Catching and keeping him covertly, however, sounds good. I'm not sure that anyone needs to know besides the US govt and his followers. His followers IMO would not want anyone to know that he had been caught for PR reasons, and would have to wonder what information bin Laden had given to authorities.

Imagine this scenario - we already have OBL in custody, the Dems find out, and they release that info before the election as an October Surprise. Then what?

Sunday, October 24, 2004

World Series prediction

Now that the Red Sox have made it to the World Series, by winning 4 straight after being 3 down, there's only one way for this to turn out.

The Red Sox will win the first three, and then they'll lose 4 straight.

Game 2 just ended, and the Red Sox are 2-0. So far so good...

October surprise?

Against Bush 41 there was that stunt by Iran-Contra special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh. And in 2000 the Dems had dug up a DUI charge against Bush 43. So what do the Dems plan to spring on the electorate just before the election *this* time?

How about this? Yes, Laura Welch Bush was involved in a fatal car accident back in 1963. What on earth this would have anything to do with today is byeyond me, but then I never figured out why anyone would care about George W. Bush's ancient DUI charge either.

I'm guessing that the Dems won't do it, but not because they aren't mean enough. I just think it would backfire on any party with Ted Kennedy as a member.

"Great big gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts...."

That's the first line as I always heard it, but much of the rest is in dispute. I doubt that there's a canonical version, but if there were this guy would probably know. I don't know if there's a Latin version or not, but I know where I'd look.

Although the meter could be made to fit, I must confess I've never heard a version that included "disembodied rat neurons". That's because we have better things to do with them.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Three Dog Night

A comment to another post made me wonder if Three Dog Night was still around. Silly me - there's more money to be made, isn't there?

Near as I can tell there are only two original members out there - Danny Hutton and Cory Wells. Chuck Negron is still around and touring too. I think those were the three main singers with the band. Oh yeah, the webside says the original keyboardist is there too.

I haven't seen them, so for all I know they're as good as they ever were. Even so, once it would have been hard to imagine them releasing a title like "Three Dog Night: Live With The Tennessee Symphony Orchestra".

Friday, October 15, 2004

Susanna's loins

Now that's something I haven't blogged about before. Anyway, lately she's been girding them and stepping into the arena attempting to spread enlightment among the unwashed via the Detroit News. Check it out.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

It's not just for amoebas anymore

So says a Tshirt disseminated by the Asexual Visibility and Education Network.

You see, 1 in 100 of us are asexual.

We may never know why people kill others or themselves, or why they overeat or otherwise behave destructively. But if it has to do with sex, you can bet we'll research it to death.

Well, maybe not in this case. Celibacy has been called the most unnatural of all perversions, and they have to draw the line somewhere.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Give me demagoguery and give me death!

I still think Kerry is worse than Edwards, but maybe no longer if I keep hearing nonsense like this:
"If we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve will get up out of that wheelchair and walk again," Edwards said.

I suppose that after a career making millions second-guessing doctors for a living one would be tempted to believe that he knew more about medicine than they did. Medical professionals don't seem as positive about the possibilities of embryonic stem cell research as Edwards is.

But Edwards must spread the belief that all we need for scientific progress is more money.

Hmm, maybe I like that idea after all. Gimme the money, Uncle Sugar, and I'll get right to work on that perpetual motion machine.

OK, no one will question that some money is necessary. But money is available from sources other than the govt. Really. And George W. Bush, the first president to release *any* federal money for stem cell research, did not bar funding of stem cell research - he merely stated that such funding would not be coming from the govt.

If Kerry and Edwards are so concerned for Michael J. Fox, the late Christopher Reeve or other big names, why would he make them wait on an act of Congress before seeing their research funded? The govt doesn't have to do a thing - donate the money and we can get started right away! Get famous musicians to hold benefits. Make movies. Recruit billionaires to set up big organizations to influence public opinion worldwide to raise money.

No, that's not the Edwards' way. We can see that where he has a choice between getting the research done sooner to save the lives he claims to care about, and having an issue to misrepresent against the Republicans, he'd rather be demagoguing. In the name of accelerating research, he misses a golden opportunity to advance it. The man is a disgrace.

And while we're at it, what about Michael J. Fox? Why isn't he leading efforts to raise money for embryonic stem cell research himself? Is it possible that he's not aware of the truth - that there's nothing about federal money that affects the outcome of research? Or is it just alien to his Canadian mind that individuals can spend their own money directly on health care?

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Who knew Democrats had scruples?

1974 was quite a year. What I remember most was CB radios, Richard Nixon's resignation, and streaking.

Ah streaking, another pop culture highlight that the twentysomethings might not have heard of. I don't know what inspired it originally, but for about a year or so it was everywhere. Ray Stevens even immortalized it with a song, "The Streak".

Yep, almost everybody was doing it that year, including one Pete Sessions. And his Democrat opponent for Congress has pictures to prove it .

IMO the worst Sessions is guilty of is of being 18 at a strange time - I lived in a small town in the South at the time and *I* knew people who had done it, so believe me when I say it was pervasive. To say as his opponent's campaign does that he "exposed himself to children and strangers", especially from the party that defended Bill Clinton to the bitter end, is a little much to take.

I wonder - if they've had pictures of Pete Sessions like this for all this time, and they knew who it was, why didn't they prosecute? Lack of evidence? Insanity?

I'm guessing that this one will backfire.

Crime vs. war

These guys can't tell the difference either:
"'Disappearances' were a trademark abuse of Latin American military dictatorships in their 'dirty war' on alleged subversion," said Human Rights Watch special counsel Reed Brody.

"Now they have become a United States tactic in its conflict with Al-Qaeda," Brody said.
And I could say with equal accuracy that babbling is associated with idiots and now we're getting it from Human Rights Watch.

Imagine these jackasses fighting a war. "Excuse me, all of you gentlemen in the fatigues will have to line up over here for processing. No weapons are permitted in the office. All of those trucks will be needing license plates, tax stamps and pollution and safety inspections, and the drivers will need chauffeur's licenses and current log books. You'll need a permit for a parade for us to let those tanks and howitzers in...."

They're not through:
"Those guilty of serious crimes must be brought to justice before fair trials," said Brody. "If the United States embraces the torture and 'disappearance' of its opponents, it abandons its ideals and international obligations and becomes a lesser nation."
Yes, if we did, (and the article offers no proof ofc ourse)

Now tell me - what do we become if we let these bastards come and go as they please?


Monday, October 11, 2004

Victimless terrorism, or mass murder as nuisance

John Kerry said something you'll be hearing again and again this weekend:
''We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance,'' the article states as the Massachusetts senator's reply.

''As a former law enforcement person, I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life.''
As the Volokhs note, he either picked one lousy analogy or he has a strange view of terrorism.

Why is it that gambling and prostitution are low legal priorities? The Volokhs address that here. IMO the essence is that they're victimless. The govt doesn't like for any economic activity to occur without being taxed, and prostitution in particular can become a significant public health threat if not kept within bounds, but for the most part they're simply personal problems. If we were having our kin killed by gamblers and hookers on a regular, random basis you can bet your sweet patootie the hookers and gamblers would be swinging from lampposts until the problem went away.

But that's altogether too dispassionate. Your murder is Kerry's nuisance?

Well, that's not what he meant, right? He's speaking in the legal sense, not the popular sense. He meant that the demonstrated existence and virulence of a cabal of lunatics, dedicated to killing Americans and others by any means necessary so we can live under sharia, is in principle no more serious than your neighbor playing his stereo a little too loud?

No, not that either! He just wants people to accept it, like the weather. (And maybe we ought to get rid of that nasty name "terrorists" too - how about "insurgents"?)

Yes, it's true that we can't eliminate *all* terrorism any more than we can eliminate mental illness. But these creeps aren't mentally ill - they know damned well what they are doing and they're loving it. They love death? Hey, I have a win-win proposition for them....

Sorry, but there's no talking around this one. Doesn't this man have handlers? Or is he just too arrogant to listen to them? Sheesh, I would have expected better from his wife

But it could have been worse - Kerry could have mentioned the real reason why he wants people to forget about terrorism. Democrats don't run well on foreign affairs issues. They can't see spending all that money on activities that won't buy them more votes back home. What's more important - your physical well-being, or their careers?

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Horse balls

They may be bigger than you think. Yes, this is safe for work.


It seems like only yesterday...a couple was filmed to make what they were told would be an innocent commercial. It turned out to be a commercial about herpes. The couple, failing to see the advantage in being immortalized in association with a social disease, sued the producer.

(you want a link? Tough. I'm sure I read it in some paragon of respectability like National Lampoon's True Facts section.)

Now we have the "it's a brand new day" Valtrex commercials. There's the babe talking to the camera about her herpes, and she and her squeeze are frolicking about - just think, if you had herpes your life could be like that too!

It's hard to believe what a big deal herpes was in its short vogue before AIDS showed up. Unlike true love, herpes lasts forever - even now there is no cure. Supposedly the outbreaks become less severe and less common over time, but I still won't be having any, thank you.

Vaughn Bodé, RIP

Good grief, Vaughn Bodé has been dead for almost 30 years. So if you're a twentysomething and didn't have a degenerate older relative like me with a stack of old National Lampoons you might not have heard of the man, or "Cheech Wizard".

Well, it's not like you've missed *that* much. But he's a taste of the late 60's and early 70's, like Peter Max, R. Crumb, and the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers.

Nobel peace laureate claims HIV deliberately created

Good grief, where do they find these people?

Debate notes

I saw a bit of the debate on Friday. I've been avoiding it deliberately - as I expected, I spent about half the time gnashing my teeth thinking "you let that pass, you should have said this....", etc. I'll just have to trust that the all-knowing Karl Rove tested the answers and knows best. If Rove is half as good as the Dems say, everything is well under control.

Kerry claimed to have voted to "balance the budget" back in 1985. I couldn't recall the particulars, but I was about 95% sure that that was code for "raise taxes". And of course that was 20 years ago in any case.

Bush got an environmental question and I'm surprised that Kerry didn't bring up the old BS about arsenic and other rules that Bill Clinton had sat upon until about the time he pardoned Marc Rich.

Oh yeah, the Kyoto protocol. Kerry kept a straight face while suggesting that people in other countries would dislike Americans because we didn't ratify it. That Botox stuff must be strong. Anyway, Bush failed to note that Clinton blew it off too and that the Senate voted it down something like 97-zip.

I thought Bush handled the mistakes question thing well. He started off ignoring the question entirely, then came back to it saying that the mistakes were personnel appointments and he didn't want to embarrass the relevant people on TV. Slick.

Now Kerry wants to portray Bush's answer as "pigheaded" and "stubborn". Of course to Mr. Flip-Flop himself, holding a position for more than 20 minutes is "stubborn".

Who won? I didn't see it all. Bush didn't impress me, but I don't see why the best debater would make the best President, either.

The Snake

A guy wearing a John Kerry button walks into a bar just as the late news is showing a man standing on the edge of a building. The Kerry guy bets that bartender $50 that the man on TV won't jump. A moment later the guy does jump, so the bet is settled. But the bartender says "Aw, I can't take your money - I saw that clip on the early news". The Kerry guy says "yeah, so did I - I sure didn't think he'd jump again".

Was that a gratuitous Kerry reference? Of course. But then his noncynical followers (assuming he has any) are being asked to believe that he supports the troops when he didn't even support the guys he nominally fought alongside. They're asked to believe that he's not going to raise their taxes despite the long Senate record he's unusually quiet about. They seem willing to believe that Kerry can simultaneously insult our allies while attracting more of them to the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time. And they think that by electing a Veep that has a history of raising medical costs and driving obstetricians out of business they can offer better and cheaper medical care.

They're sure going to be surprised if they get what they vote for and Kerry turns out to be the same SOB he's been for the last 35 years.

And you thought your life was dull

“I really do not know that anything has ever been more exciting than diagramming sentences. I like the feeling the everlasting feeling of sentences as they diagram themselves.”

Training costs

Some years back a man I know says he was leading a crew of bricklayers and laborers building a brick wall several storeys high. They were up a few decks high on the scaffolding when suddenly they felt it give way. Somehow no one was hurt, but you can bet that this was investigated.

Looking through the mess it was discovered that the lowest levels of the scaffolding had had its braces removed. So the laborer who had been responsible for this was questioned, and he told them that the braces were in his way and they weren't working on those levels anymore anyway, so he took them out. Whoops.

So our hero fired that laborer, right? No. As he put it, "Now he knows he needs to keep the braces on all of the levels. I can't afford to teach another one."

And so it is with Presidents. Those suckers are expensive to train. Whatever you might thing GWB and his team have fouled up, he does have that expensive experience. John Kerry and John Edwards certainly do not (and judging by their attendance records they don't have so much Senate experience either).

Friday, October 08, 2004

"Shadow War"

John Kerry annoys me in more ways than I care to count, but his convenient use of intelligence sources is close to the top. Don't prate ever onward about our failure to find WMDs in a short period of time in a big country when you know damned well that Saddam had had them and had used them. Or did Kerry miss too many Senate Intelligence Committee meetings to know anything like that?

And then after that we hear about President Bush supposed ignoring intelligence sources telling us how fouled up things are in Iraq? It's amazing how much smarter those intel guys got in the last few years, eh?

Unlike the infinitely arrogant Kerry, I won't imply that I or anyone I could find would do any better than the current intelligence people do. And after reading this article, I'm surprised that they can do as well as they do.

The article is fairly long, but you know you want to know if there ever was a Tom Clancy-like plot to fly a small plane into the White House and kill the President on the first anniversary of 9/11. It's an excerpt from Richard Miniter's new book "Shadow War: The Untold Story of How Bush Is Winning the War on Terror".

Thursday, October 07, 2004

The question no one has been asking....

You were expecting something political? Not this time. Admit it, you've been dying to know where I've been for the last week instead of indulging my blogging obsession, even as two debates have happened.

The main problem is my new obsession with video. I finally broke down and got a camcorder, video editing software and other expensive toys for grownups, and now I'm trying to figure out how to do something worth doing with it all. I'll get there, but that'll be many trials and errors from now.

And of course there's dancing still. Yep, this one would make me a world champion on what's my line, as I don't exactly look the part (think Hoss Cartwright). It gets me out of motel rooms and moving instead of retreating to cranky hermithood cursing the TV, and I'm actually getting better at it.

Work has picked up a bit too. That's a good thing. Believe me, Parkinson's Law is 100% correct.

So in short I've been busier than a one-armed paperhanger with the seven-year itch. That's even busier than a peg-legged man in an ass-kicking contest. And I'll bet you don't know anything busier - answer the challenge in the comments.

Divine retribution

I hope voodoo dolls are a lot of hooey. If they worked, some people I've known would be interested in little else.

I'd be satisfied if there were such a thing as a voodoo commode. That is, one that would cause Al Gore to gag every time you have to take a plunger to it.

Taxman and Tortboy!

Via Hawspipe. And there's more besides.

He links to Tex the Pontificator as the source for the cartoon and other stuff. It's worth checking out.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Nice try...

Glenn Reynolds linked to this so maybe you've already seen it. Tough - I want to emphasize this passage:
''The Najaf shrine — HUNDREDS of dead women and children were brought out after Sadr left,'' Rose wrote. ''They (Sadr's supporters) rounded them up during the battle and brought them in to be executed. Why? Because they anticipated the Americans would eventually enter the shrine and walk into a media ambush. We never went in. The people of Najaf love us right now because of that. They hate Sadr and want him dead.
Leave aside the utter fiendishness of it all for a moment - where was Sadr's media ambush?

Here's another passage:
...journalism in America is broken. It has no foundation of values by which many Americans can relate and depend. The moral of this column is not about one side prevailing in news coverage on the war on terror. It's simply about fairness — about Americans getting both sides with the same prominence.

They're not. And media emphasis on Iraq being in chaos has coincided with John Kerry making the same pitch to voters. It makes you wonder, just as we did on the authenticity of Dan Rather's reporting. And now America knows about Rather's ruse.
Interesting to see this possibility raised. Before the assumption would have been that Kerry was reacting to events and not that the press was reacting to Kerry's needs. But the bias has been too flagrant for too long for us to continue to be so charitable about the MSM's motives.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Colorful politicians

Americans like a politician with a colorful past, and they usually don't have to look far. Bill Clinton certainly qualified, and if you just wanted to sit around and have a bull session you'd probably want him around, as long as you're not in the White House.

Jail needn't stop you. Here in DC Marion Barry is back in the local govt again. There are many other examples, my favorite being Boston's former mayor James Michael Curley.

I can't trace this Curley story as I write this, and I don't have time to authenticate it to Big Media standards (you know, typing it up in Word, copying the copies for a few generations, getting rid of the original, and claiming that I got it from some mystery woman...). But hey, this is a blog - I have no credibility anyway!

Anyway, Curley is in the hospital in bad shape, being fed rectally through a tube. But one day he perked up and noticed that he was being serviced by a pretty nurse. So he proposed that the next day she should bring two tubes so they could have lunch together. Now that's the spirit...Strom Thurmond probably went the same way, and I'm expecting similar from Bill Clinton.

Color is great, but it can be overdone. Consider the politician from Montana who took too much silver for its supposed medical benefits. Now his skin has turned blue, and I'm told the condition is permanent.

Now John Kerry has changed color, to orange. His aides claim it happened over the weekend playing football. Good grief. Having been around competitive dancers, I know that color - it's a fake tan from a bottle.

It won't help. They can paint John Kerry orange, but they can't give him appeal.

Get it? A peel? Like an orange? Oh, never mind...

Trojans via image files

I've seen some skanky looking people in my time, and it's nice to know that I can't catch anything just by looking at them. But now it appears that thanks to a flaw in some versions of Windows, viewing the wrong pictures could catch you a Trojan:This may or may not apply to you, and other safeguards might prevent problems in any case. Follow the link for more details.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Paypal policy

I don't know why PayPal has done what they've done about who they'll do business with. But IMO we're way too quick to jump to conclusions about their motives. And heaven forbid that anything would make it less convenient to pay for porn.

It's well known that some customers turn out to be more trouble than they're worth. For instance, I'm guessing we'll be reading a lot about insurance companies refusing to write more homeowners' policies in FL after all of the hurricanes. Is it because of all the Hispanics down there? Or maybe the Haitians, or blacks, or AIDS cases? Or maybe it's discrimination against old people?

No, it's because they can only afford to have so much risk exposure in one place. If they go broke settling FL claims they can't possibly meet their responsibilities to the rest of their policyholders. So although there are ways to abuse the situation, in fact there is nothing inherently questionable about their conduct and in fact there are reasons to recommend it.

Likewise, when I worked in telecom I found that some companies simply refused to serve certain area codes. They were too expensive to serve because of incredibly high levels of fraud and abuse.

In other cases margins are very narrow, so companies take steps to build in a minimum amount of revenue. For instance, telecom companies like to have a minimum charge for service, and Sam's and Costco want a membership fee before they'll let you buy anything.

Maybe the customers require too much service relative to their revenue. For instance, telecom companies also have been known to avoid business that Jerry Falwell might not approve of simply because of the number of disputes. "Honest Mom - I didn't call Dial-a-Slut!". For good or ill, these take a lot of attention and generate a lot of ill will, so who needs it?

Or maybe it's too dangerous. Try getting a taxi or a delivery pizza in the wrong part of town.

Or maybe we can thank lawyers. Has PayPal been sued for facilitating certain types of illegal business?

In short, there might well be any number of perfectly good reasons for choosing not to do certain business. Surely no one is claiming that PayPal has a duty to serve anyone who wants to use them.

So PayPal might have developed a perfectly defensible policy.

Of course it takes time and training to implement a policy. There will be screwups from time to time, and I suspect that that could be the case here. If this is a recent policy change, the staff has both a learning curve and a huge backlog to deal with. Resolving problems is a PITA for sure, but is not ipso facto evidence of ill will or incompetence.

Incidentally, I have used PayPal only for donations, IANAL and I don't stand to make a nickel on this any way it turns out. And I'll note that PayPal takes a smaller cut of donations than Amazon does.

But I have had enough of people who want to scream "Censorship!" at the first sign that others have standards that differ from their own. Unless there is some more evidence I haven't heard yet (and I'm agnostic on this), the scolds who are all over PayPal for their policy statement and possibly unintentionally flawed implementation are no more tolerant than their bogeymen on the Religious Right.

Stop the presses - Men and Women are Different!

Why is it that the scientists seem to be the last to know? Lots more here. If you need pictures, just talk to Dean and I'm sure he'll post something for you.

Well, yeah, there has been some recognition that men and women have different bodies and thus have different problems. But historically this has been what some have called "bikini medicine", as if all of the differences were localized.

But the linked article mentions a number of other things that differ, including interactions with hormone levels - apparently women's problems with inflamed bowels vary with their menstrual cycles, for instance.

Others I have to wonder about. For instance, it says that women are less likely than men to get oral cancer. Yeah, but they're also less likely to smoke or chew tobacco (thank God). You don't need hormones to explain that one. (And my inner Beavis has an alternate explanation for this one and also that periodic bowel thing. I won't hold my breath waiting for the research into such theories, although this research gives me hope.).

What surprised me the most was that heart attacks in women frequently do not involve chest pains and may involve more vague, flu-like symptoms. It'll be interesting to see how evolutionists and others explain this little asymmetry. I suspect it's because women are more likely to go to the doctor - they don't wait for the traditional crushing chest pain.

But hey, read it yourself (same link).

Friday, September 24, 2004

Chernobyl now

Don't miss this from NRO. Actually the real issue with the article is how much we overrate the impact of radiation exposure on our health.

Heaven forbid our forebears had been the same. "You can't build a fire! It will lead to horrible burns and scalding, forest fires, property damage, respiratory problems, cigarette smoking, cancer from barbecuing.... Food will taste better, so people will become obese. Light will be available at night, so people will stay up all night in bars swilling booze they've distilled using a fire. Then they'll go home and breed children out of wedlock..."

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Morphine-free poppies

Right here.

It seems that these poppies produce other substances which turn out to be useful precursors for creation of a new generation of powerful analgesics. The article doesn't say if the new substances are addictive.

Don't forget to write...

John Ellis has been predicting that Mary Mapes would take the fall for RatherGate. Surely a guy like Dan Rather couldn't be expected to know intricacies about what typewriter output looked like back in the 1970's, could he? (yeah, right - did he turn in his copy in longhand back then?)

She certainly had earned walking papers for that. But since then more things have come up, and Susanna has the goods on an earlier brush with the law by Mapes. We're not talking DUI here - she was compromising security at federal prisons.

Don't let the door hit you on your way out, sweetie. But don't forget that Dan Rather stays behind smirking at you. Isn't there anything you'd like to tell us?

Labor saver

I may have to switch to Movable Type. Now they have a plugin automatically superscripts the "th" in Rathergate and puts sneer quotes around "news" in CBS "News".

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Charles cautions citizens considering Kerry


Time for a good old-fashioned horsewhipping

It's not quite up there with the bombs shaped like toys that have been used in some wars. But it's so easy to copy I almost hate to publicize it - we know that sick bastards exist, so why give them ideas like this.

Let the punishment fit the crime. Drag the creeps behind a pickup truck face down over the area a few dozen times to be sure to find them all.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The definitive timeline for RatherGate


From the standard lefty playbook

Hey, so what if Dan Rather got a little overzealous? We all know that George W. Bush must have received special consideration before getting assigned to the Texas Air National Guard. If the purported "proof" happens to be faulty, it's nothing worse than "lying for justice". (the cite is a comment which appears to have been intended for the next post, so read it for context).

Here's another example of this phenomenon. But no more - I don't have all day.

As the old lefty saying goes "truth is whatever serves the revolution." For the full flavor, read Whittaker Chambers' book "Witness".

Monday, September 20, 2004

The anti-food?

Yesterday 60 Minutes had a segment on morbidly obese people (600+ lbs) trying to lose weight in the clinics of Durham, NC. Some were successful in losing, with one guy down around 400 lb. But for the most part they gained it back despite their efforts.

There's plenty to be read about "emotional eating" or other cases where food is a substitute for something else. I don't have the answer, but I know that I miss my old buff wrestling weight.

Certainly we're captives of our physiology to an extent. And my improvements never happen without lots of regular exercise, which can be hard to do on the road. So losing significant amounts of weight is not trivial.

And certainly everyone has heard of the health dangers of obesity. What starts with extra sweating, susceptibility to injury and loss of flexibility and endurance can continue into heart disease, diabetes... It sure isn't a social plus.

So if it is within their power to do anything about it, why is anyone fat?

If I knew I'd be a millionaire of course, but I suspect that we'll find someday that we're dealing with something more like an addiction. Hmm..

Back in the 60's attempts were made to turn heroin junkies into methadone junkies. They were still addicts, only less destructive ones.

Could there be an answer there? Maybe some

UPDATE: that wasn't supposed to end that way. I would have sworn I told Blogger to post this in draft so it wouldn't show up yet. But then I decided I liked the drama of ending in mid-sentence, as if some dastardly food conspiracy's enforcement division had rubbed me out just as I was about to Expose Them. I had made most of my point anyway, and what can you expect from a guy in his pajamas?

Sunday, September 19, 2004

"A War Hero or a Phony?"

Many have done a good job of reminding us of the truth about John Kerry's military record. I could have linked to many items many times, but for now let's see what MVB candidate Beldar has to say about Nicholas Kristof's NYT op-ed "A War Hero or a Phony?"

Link via Mr. Blog himself, Glenn Reynolds.

Against the spirit...

Sometimes I wonder why we bother to write laws. No matter how brilliant our legislators might be (and certainly never are), they're hopelessly outnumbered and usually far less motivated than those who would defeat their intent - it's only a matter of time. Lynne Kiesling (doesn't that sound like a wine?) offers an example here.

Send that reporter some pajamas...

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch published a poll that shows Illinoisans prefer John Kerry. (if past experience is any example, this link will probably rot fast)

What motivates the voters?
"I just really hate Bush," said Angela Smothermon, 35, a nurse from Dowell, in Southern Illinois. "My husband is a union member. He used to work a lot, but he hasn't worked since Bush has been in office. I think Kerry can do better."
Cry me a river lady. If I depended on finding work in my chosen career in my home town in IL I'd be in the same boat, but I'd rather work than bitch. And my personal diaspora started under Bill Clinton - should I have blamed him?

Or there's this:
"We've seen (Bush) in action," said Mary Lou Delaney, a homemaker from Carlinville, Ill. "I'll never forget the way he was on 9/11. Kerry scares me - he can't make up his mind about anything."
Said William Fleischman, a salesman from Galesburg, Ill.: "(Bush) has had experience in the (Middle East) region, whereas Mr. Kerry has no experience in running anything except a family fortune."
Hot dog! - some evidence that people actually used some reasoning. And they're both for Bush. Although Mr. Fleischman gives Kerry too much credit - Kerry himself has always lived off someone else's family fortune, and I'm guessing that Teresa runs the financial show in the current Kerry household.

But ignorance could not be denied:
"He (Bush) got us into a war for basically no reason," said Dennis Cassidy of Mount Vernon, Ill., an unemployed child social service worker and Kerry supporter.
Sigh. And people like this can vote.

What the reporter never got around to recognizing is that IL is not a "battleground" state. Only the St. Louis vicinity is a battleground media market, and it contains noted hellholes like East St. Louis and other Dem strongholds nearby. With Alan Keyes running as the Republican candidate for Senate, Bush isn't likely to be spending much time or money in IL either. Heaven forbid that Kerry wouldn't be winning in IL when he's essentially unopposed.

Pajamas? Well, I guess you could have missed this.