Sunday, February 29, 2004

Academy Awards Round-Up

Well, what with one thing and another, I completely forgot they were tonight. Doesn't matter that much, because I haven't seen any of the movies involved.

I want to see Lost In Translation because I understand it's an excellent flick and I've always liked Bill Murray.

I don't want to see Return of the King because it's lying filthy Communist propoganda. Um, I mean....because Peter Jackson is the George Lucas of Middle Earth....Er, I mean because we hates it! Nasty! Wicked! Tricksy! False!

Death to screen adaptations!

Purists - To MEEE! Forth Eorlingas!!!!!

(Ed. - Jees. Get him out of here.)

Okay, okay. Just saying.

BTW, I did watch Braveheart again tonight. All I can say is a) I happen to be a Scot so I'm nay biased, laddie. b) I think Edward Longshanks got a raw deal. Contrary to the screenplay, the historical Edward was not a Sith Lord, and c) a manky Scot and a French princess babe? AH-HA-HA-HA-HA-HAAA!!!!

Extra Llama Butcher Yips!

Had a nice note from Dean of Dean's World this weekend. We are now mutually blogrolled. Go on over and check out the World of Dean. He's a bit to the left of us, but very thoughtful nonetheless. We take a stroll in D World every day. You should too.

Alas, it's been a rough week for the Dean's World folks, so our prayers go out to them. Hope yours do as well.

Yip! Yip! Yip!

You Say "Ego" And I Say "Eye-Go"

Pretty nice early spring weekend here on the west bank of the Potomac. The tulips along our front walk are starting up and the robins are back.

I was out this afternoon tossing slow-pitch wiffle balls to my four year old.

"Remember," I said, "Keep your eye on the ball."

"Yes," she said, "I'll keep my me on the ball!"

Needless to say, the next pitch was juuuuusta bit outside.

Thought you'd like to know.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Gratuitous Maginot Candidate Snark

Kerry gave a big speach at UCLA the other night that dealt with foreign policy issues. At least according to the WaPo account of it that I read this morning, Kerry's answer to the Middle East's troubles seems to be to propose midnight basketball leagues for the youth there.

Apparently, Kerry also related a story about how U.S. soldiers' families were having to chip in to buy them state of the art body armor because the army wasn't providing it. Even the WaPo couldn't resist pointing out that Kerry had voted against the $87 billion in supplemental funding for the Iraq mission.


This is going to be interesting.

Saturday Morning Blogging

I have with me a special guest blogger this morning - say hello to my two year old - Godzilla.

'Zilla, say hi to the folks:


Ain't she great?

As I walked in from work the other evening, I found this fiend standing on a chair in the kitchen. She had got into the cupboard where we keep a box full of little packets of dishwashing gel. She had also got at the butcher block full of cooking knives. She was industriously slicing samples of the former with one of the latter.

Never a dull moment around here. (Got a good deal livelier for her when I spotted this, I can tell you. So can she. Right? ioughu)

Luddite Moment

Okay, okay. I've seen this floating around the 'net for a week or two now. Frankly, I don't even know what the hell an MP3 is. I gather it has something to do with digital music storage. (NB - I don't have TiVo either. Does this get me drummed out of the Bloggers' Club?)

Anyway, since I'm behind the curve tech-wise, I propose the following alternative: I'm going to take all my CD's and throw them down the basement stairs. I will then rank them based on how far they fall, and will report back to you with the answers.

And no - I don't have any Janet Jackson.

Putting Things In Perspective

If you don't think that Mankind has one foot firmly planted in the mud and the other in Heaven, I ask you to spend all day reading the passionate screeds of those who believe Howard Stern should have free reign to make jokes about watermelons and sex, that Janet Jackson should be able to expose whatever wherever, or that Rosie should be allowed to "marry" whoever or whatever she wants, then go home and listen to Bach's Mass in B Minor. Same species, different worlds.

In thinking about this dichotomy, I am reminded of one of my favorite quotations from Chairman Bill (Buckley, that is). Writing of Johann Sebastian Bach in 1969, he laid out what, to me, is the correct perspective regarding most of what seems to be gripping the popular heart and mind these days. (I remove some of the more inflammatory - and needless- language, but the point is very much applicable):

I thought I had seen everything - I hoped I had - in the student world of unreason. But the all-time champion effrontery was as yet uncommitted. It was left to a 17-year-old boy called Ricky Ivie whose Student Union has touched off disorders in a Los Angeles high school in a demonstration against "racist training." An example of that training is the inclusion in the curriculum of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. He is described by Master Ivie as "that old, dead punk." "In the world of music," he explains, "the schools keep imposing middle class values in teaching us about Bach."....To call the greatest genius who ever lived an "old, dead punk," the least of whose cantatas will do more to elevate the human spirit than all the student unions born and unborn, is not so much contemptible as pitiable: conducive of that kind of separation one feels from animals, rather than from other human beings.

'Zackly. Bach's music inspires in one the same kind of awe and joy as does viewing a cathedral. It isn't just about the craftsmanship or the architecture, but also the thrill one gets from sensing that one is in the presence of a link between God and Man. Contrast that with the self-indulgent hedonism that runs amok in the modern world. I include in that category most brands of atheism, as well as the more vehement kinds of libertarianism and rational humanism (to the extent I'm not being redundant), as well as the baser levels of pop culture.

It's one thing to confess human weakness in the face of a higher presence and to try and deal with it as best one can, knowing that one cannot succeed without aid from God. It is something else completely to simply deny the existence of God and instead wallow in a continual stream of self-indulgence and self-justification for one's actions on a completely earthly level.

I know, I know. You're saying, "Tom, where did all this come from?" Well, perhaps some of it is all the ill-informed yapping surrounding The Passion of Christ, (which I haven't seen yet). Certainly some of it is the after-effect of listening to Bach. And some of it is plain disgust at the level of public debate, discourse and values to which we have been reduced. Despite my generally flippant manner, I take these things very seriously.

incidentally, speaking of flippancy and whatnot, I am frequently reminded when listening to Bach of the writings of Douglas Adams. (I promise this goes somewhere.) Adams was a brilliant writer who nonetheless frustrated me because of his dogged atheism. What was especially aggravating about it was that the man had a genius for picking out God's thumbprints in nature, yet refused to recognize them for what they are.

This brings me back to Bach. (See?) In Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, Adams talks a great deal about the inter-relatedness of all things, and the mathematical harmonies of Creation. He (correctly) identifies the music of Bach as capturing the essence of these harmonies, even if at a level several times removed from their original source. Unfortunately, Adams can't quite come to terms with the notion of a human being having a direct connection and affinity with these forces, or that one single man could turn out so much music memorializing these connections in a single lifetime, so he has to contrive a space ship, a time machine, a vengeful ghost and an absent-minded professor to explain Bach's existence. (You have to read it to understand what I mean.) I've always considered this a kind of back-handed complement to Bach and an admission that Adams was not quite so secure in his un-belief as he liked to maintain.

Just a theory.

Read Adams.

Listen to Bach.

Stay away from Stern, Jackson and O'Donell.

Thank me later.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Today's After 3:00 PM Half-Price Specials

The end to yet another week - one that seems to have gone by in something of a blur for me. That's not such a bad thing, sometimes. And with the temps heading up into the 60's this weekend for a change, it will make the change of gears all that more pleasurable.

So, let's go have some fun!


Ha! Catherine Seipp serves up her latest monthly installment of MoDo Watch, dedicated to tracking the inanities of Maureen Dowd. I fear Cathy is beginning to crack under the strain of constantly observing this gibbering idiot and only hope she knows when to pull back. After all, remember what happened to Diane Fosse when she spent too much time hanging around such specimens!


Make it go away, Dave!


Derb gives advice on picking up chicks (among other things), and Flo King tells everybody to eff off. Ah, you crazy kids.....


Tiger Raggin' & Rantin's got a whole slew of 'em up. Just click over and head south - you'll see them. At the risk of starting trouble again, I firmly believe my friend John at TexasBestGrok is going to like this one.


Allah shoots and scores! AND, he picks up the foul as well.

Allahu Akbar, indeed.


The Bitch Girls fisk Joyce Brothers. Right. Between. The Eyes.


Pejman Yousefzadeh (and welcome to hell, btw), poses an interesting question. Thought nudity was only a matter of prurient interest? Hell no - it's international politics, baybay!


You may have seen this already, but I wanted to highlight Frank J's subtle approach to diplomacy in dealing with a moonbat Limey Brit. Heh. I only hope it's not our favorite Limey he's tangling with.


Bill Whittle at Eject! Eject! Eject! has surfaced from a long blogless silent run. Check his site often for lots of good things.


Elegance Against Ignorance has this post about the allegations that the Brit government spied on the UN. I post it mostly because what I hadn't realized is that it is Clare Short making the allegations. I should have known. See, I spent a year in London working for an MP who worked with Short a fair bit. Think Rosie O'Donnell with a Brit accent, and you've about got her. Heh. (BTW, I agree with Alan. I wouldn't trust those people with a burnt out match.)


Well, what the hell. It IS Friday. Eric at Classical Values has some more, all but one of which haven't been posted here yet. Time for the Chai-Rista to get clicking!


James has been assimilated. We are the Blorg.

Bloggie Note

The After 3's are going to be a bit late today. Friday afternoon scramble.

Patience, my little droogies.....

Your Tax Money At Work

Just now in the restroom at my office. There were a couple of engineers and a building maintenance guy surveying the place, apparently to bring it up to compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. The conversation seemed to focus specifically on making room for handicapped people at the urinals. It seems they are two inches too close to each other and have to be spread out. This will entail the removal of one of them altogether, leaving only two. The workers also seemed to be contemplating raising the height of the sink counter to provide for sufficient knee-space underneath for wheel-chair users. Again, it is a matter of an inch or two.

Now. I've been with this firm 5 years and have seen a reasonable cross section of the traffic flowing through the men's room. I have never, ever, seen a wheel-chair bound guy in there. Doesn't mean it doesn't occasionally occur. But is pretty good proof it is a very, very rare occurrence.

I'd like to see a study that calculates the actual number of handicapped urinal users and then use that figure to divide the cost of all these modifications to come up with a dollars-per-wizz formula. Even that wouldn't encapsulate the cost of lost time and kidney strain to the other 99.9% of patrons, who will now have to crowd down from three to two stations.

I have never looked at the ADA or its regs in any great detail - Is there any cost-benefit analysis language? Any safety net? Doesn't seem like it, but I'd be curious to know.

Today's Choice Cuts

Another Friday has come upon us and you know what that means - Heavy Hitter Day here at the Butcher's Shop! Truly, the Choicest of Cuts. Makes me feel pozeteevely French to be able to awfer zees items por vous. Et vous pret? Parte! (Ed. - Cut it out! Alright, alright.)


The superlative VDH hits another homer. As usual, Hanson holds up momentary, fashionable platitudes to the long, cold light of history - and exposes them for their intellectual emptiness. Today's theme is preemption, unilateralism and multilateralism.

Tell me again why the study of history gets such short shrift these days?


Krauthammer weighs in on the gay marriage debate with some strong language about Libs trying to cast this as a Republican "wedge" issue. Sigh. I'm afraid the whole thing is starting to remind me of the Battle of Lexington Green as portrayed in the movie Johnny Tremaine. As I recall, at the end of the skirmish, one of the Brit officers asks his commander, "Who fired that first shot?" The Colonel replies,"One of them. One of us. Someone in one of those buildings. What does it matter now?"


How 'bout a little Mark Steyn, courtesy of Tim Blair? Mark notes that we are going through a kind of alternate-universe Bizarro World opposite of the 1938 Phony War. This time, it's going on, yet people refuse to believe it! I also like Tim's way of cutting to the chase. (BTW, you can get to the full Steyn article, but you have to register. I ought to be able to get the whole thing later.)


Jonathan Last has a dispatch from the far reaches of Planet Hard Left. Need I tell you that the names Ralph Nader and John Conyer feature prominently?


Megan Cox Gurdon takes on the "Reverse-Talibanism" of Naomi Wolf feminists. I must say, if any of my girls ever starts spouting this brand of self-indulgent, self-loathing twaddle, I will personally kick them up and down the street until they snap out of it.


Glenn has a very good follow-up post about the whole Janet Jackson/Howard Stern/My God, The Gov'mint Is Controlling Our Minds! flap. I don't think we're gonna see 24/7 Donna Reed any time soon. (Not that there's anything wrong with that. Mmmm....Donna...)


Jonah uses the Left's latest bloviations about Republican economics to delve into the history of poor Marie Antoinette and a very famous, er, non-quote. I say "poor Marie Antoinette" because she really has been treated badly by history. This on top of being despised at Court because she was a furr'i'ner. AND being murdered by the mob. What a life.


Mrs. Gurdon gets the twofer today, with another installment of the Fever Swamp. Alas, having read it, I'm going to have that goddam "Ain't It Great To Be Crazy" Barney song running through my head all day. NB to the Butcher's Wife: Do NOT try this with our maniacs!


James bleats about schools, architecture, the atheistic dogs of the press, good news and the "scorpion tale" of winter in March. Enjoy.

Good day, y'all.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Lance Ito goes to the Hague

The omniscient professor points us to the stunning admission of the prosecutor in Slobodan Milosevic's genocide case that they may not have made the burden of proof for convicting him of genocide.

They said they were missing the "smoking gun."

THE HAGUE -- The prosecution in Slobodan Milosevic's war crimes trial moved yesterday to rest its case two days early as the chief prosecutor conceded her team had not produced "the smoking gun" to convict the former Yugoslav president of genocide, the most serious charge against him.

"I know that I don't have the smoking gun on the count of genocide, and we will see what the trial chamber decides," chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte said in an interview only minutes after she signed a motion to end the prosecution's two-year case.

"The facts are not in dispute by us. We can prove the facts, but genocide needs a specific intent, a subjective element, and it is very difficult to prove," del Ponte added.

But she insisted prosecutors were confident they had established Milosevic's guilt on the litany of other charges of crimes against humanity and breaches of the Geneva Conventions for his role in the savage campaign of ethnic cleansing in the Balkans throughout the 1990s.

Conviction on those charges, specialists in international law and trial observers say, would almost certainly ensure that Milosevic would spend the rest of his life in jail.


I bet he walks.

And then OJ can join him for the search for the real killers.

[ed--What in God's name happenned? What--did the defense allege that Mark Fuhrman planted the mass graves?]

Today's After 3:00 PM Half Price Specials - Carnival of the Blorg Edition

I have been slogging back and forth over the same small patch of legal cases all day - single state, single issue - and wanted to shake myself out of this rut with something fresh and new. SO. Today's After 3's are going to consist (almost entirely) of links to sites I have never linked before (and in some cases, never heard of). Think of it as large-scale assimilation:

Robert at Priorities & Frivolities has some thoughts on the NY Times' decision to hunker down behind the Maginot Line, er, Candidate.

Kate at Small Dead Animals comes up with a Rosie comparison to rival my earlier one below. She also has been keeping tabs on "The Most Hateful Words Spoken By A President."

The Blue Goldfish provides some pretty good evidence that it's time to take Andy Rooney out behind the barn and, um, deal with him. (Scroll down a bit to see the story.)

The Feces Flinging Monkey has some good advice on blogging and Internet identity theft. I'd meant to save this post just for Steve-O, but the urge to type "Feces Flinging Monkey" was just too great.

Meanwhile, speaking of damn dirty apes, The Dizzy Girl tears Michael Moore a brand new one. FRRRREEEEEOOOOOOOWWWWW!!!!POP!POP!POP!

A little language? Lawren at Martinis, Persistence and a Smile has some cool new words. Learn them. Use them.

Another one of the Good Guys: Go check out The New England Republican.

Paul, this one's for you. I give you Argghhh!!!!

There! That was entertaining. Special HT to James Joyner for letting me (heh) use his blogroll as a dartboard.

Oh, and lest you thought I'd forgot, Taranto has been assimilated. We are the Blorg.

Is It Just Me?

Or is Rosie looking more and more like Jabba the Hut all the time?

Jess askin'.

Lifting The Curse

This is one of the reasons why I love the game of baseball in general and teams like the Cubs and their fans in particular. And I sure hope it works. Money quote: "It's like the ring from The Lord of the Rings and we're kind of like Frodo, trying to get it over with."

Does that make Steve Bartman Gollum?


Is Our Childs Learning?

Bad news for Shakespeare, Hemingway and Gertrude Stein - they're all off to community college, according to The Atlantic. On the other hand, the Unibomber has his pick of the creme de la creme.

This is a riff on the old blue-penciled Gettysburg Address joke. 'Course, the folks at the Princeton Review have every reason to laugh about it, since they stand to make a considerable pile of dosh training high school kiddies in art of mastering the new SAT requirements.

Meanwhile, will the kids gain anything from it? Well, they'll certainly learn how to write treakly, long-winded, plodding, politically correct tripe. Come to think of it, this might really be an advantage in most Liberal Arts programs these days.

The Constitution As Political Football

James Joyner has a very good piece formal and informal amendment of the Constitution. One thing I would add - President Bush is not a fool. You can bet he knows as much about the amendment process as does anyone else, and is well aware of how few such amendments actually get passed. In other words, he can call for a given Constitutional amendment simply to take a policy stand, confident that the amendment probably won't come to anything.

Is this a bad idea? Or an exercise in bad faith? I don't really think so. The President has absolutely nothing to do with this particular process. His office in this matter is pure Bully Pulpit. It is a far cry from signing a bill into law and hoping the courts will shoot it down. (McCain-Feingold, anybody?) Aaand, standing in the Rose Garden and asking Congress and the states to ratify a new amendment is a whole lot more politically equitable (and honest) than sneaking in Constitutional changes via the court system.

Today's Choice Cuts

Well, we're going lean today at the Butcher's Shop. Here's what's grabbing our attention this morning:

Peggy Noonan (mmmm.....Peggy), sizes up the races today and argues that Edwards is down to his last chance and that this is making the White House happy. Now if I had a nasty, suspicious, cynical mind, I would begin to wonder more about the timing of Bush's Marriage Amendment announcement. Hmmmm...week before Super Tuesday and where are all the headlines about Edwards taking on Kerry? Booted in favor of Bush's attention-grabber.

On the other hand, Sheri Annis says there really isn't all that much to write about Edwards.

Meanwhile, former Romanian spy chief Ion Mihai Pacepa says that much of the anti-war rhetoric thrown around by John Kerry back in the early 70's came straight from the KGB.

Jonah weighs in on strong walls, bad neighbors and idiots.

Jay's Impromptus are all about words today: Red John's, the Ketchup Queen's, Dubya's (a good parsing of his new winning Stump Speech) and even James Watt's (remember him?).

Aaand, for a nice morning treat, Lileks cuts loose with one of his signature rants, this time about Howard Stern, Mel Gibson and Jasper Dog. Glenn gets it, too. (We got yer outrage right here, Jeff Jarvis.)

(Sorry if this is all a little NRO-heavy, just worked out that way today. Later!)

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Suicidal Snark

BTW, I just wanted to point out that even as I blog, the Butcher's Wife is glued to the finale of "The Bachelorette."

My gentle suggestion that this kind of "reality" show bears the same resemblance to real life as does the WWF to real wrestling does not seem to have gone over well.

UPDATE: THE BW went downstairs to watch the end of the show and promptly fell asleep. Ten points if you guess whose fault that was. As Aladdin said, "I'm in trouble!"

No, It's Pronounced "Eye-Gore"

Ran off my tape of Young Frankenstein this evening. Nothing to do with religion (well, given the day), more of a release from an alignment of lots of pressure circles. I have always thought this was one of Mel Brooks' best film - a consistent, yet loving parody. Absolutely bang on. And what a cast! Cloris Leachman and Madeline Kahn ought to be ashamed of themselves. And it was this movie that made me fall in love with Terri Garr. (Yow! - I can see why Letterman was so infatuated with her back in the day.)

AAAAnyway, what occured to me tonight, now that I am one of the minor "ohs and eyes of light"* of the Blogsphere, is the number of truly excellent blog names that can be culled from this movie. Here, I give you a partial list. I'm sure some of these are already taken. I'm also sure I've missed many. Nevertheless, even going from imperfect memory alone, I maintain that Young Frankenstein is, indeed, a target-rich environment for web identities:

"That's Frahnken-shteen!"
"My Grandfather's Work Was Doo-Doo!"
"Taffeta, Darling!"
"Walk This Way" - (I know about the Python riff. Don't tell me.)
"A Roll In Ze Hay"
"There Wolf. There Castle."
"What Knockers!"
"Destiny! That's For Me!"
"Put Zee Candle Beck!"
"Damn Your Eyes!"
"Could Be Worse. Could Be Raining!"
"Not The Third Switch!"
"He Vas My Boyfriend!!"
"A Riot Ist Und Ugly Zing"
"His Vadder's Vootshtepps"
"Seven or Eight Quick Ones"
"Elevate Me!"
"I Suggest You Put On A Tie!"
"Vat Time Ist It?"
"Der Fealing Ist Mootual"

Feel free to use these. Course, this is only a partial list. I'm sure many more can be mined from the film. Have fun!

*English Major Geek Contest: Spot the Quote! Winner gets a full day's supply of Rice-O-Roni, The San Francisco Treat!

Lies, Lies and Damn Lies....

Tiger: Raggin' & Rantin' has some thoughts about what makes Texas great. Now I agree with a lot of what he says and I don't want to start popping bubbles or anything, but this passage causes me to seethe:

If variety is the spice of life, then Texas is the spiciest place there is anywhere in the world. Our weather changes from day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute.

FABRICATOR! Up in the North Central plains, maybe, but where I grew up, the following forecast applied day after day after miserable bloody day for nine freakin' months out of the year:

"Partly cloudy, hot and humid. Highs in the upper 90's, lows in the upper 70's. Winds out of the southeast 10 to 15 MPH. A 20% chance of widely scattered afternoon and evening thunderstorms."

I have fond memories of a lot of things about Texas, but the weather is most definitely one of the reasons I'm glad I left. Just thinking about it makes me start to twitch like Chief Inspector Dreyfus.

(This rant made possible by a link to The Accidental Jedi.)

Well That's A Relief!

I am 15% Geek

I wanna be a geek. But I'm not. Why would I even want to be one. Do I think it's fun? I should try writting an online test application at 1 am in my underwear

Take the Geek Test at fuali.com

HT to Flying Space Monkeys. Does Ed know about these guys?

High-Class Readers Update

I note that someone now has come to us by googling "Las Vegas" + "animal-marriage."

Why go to space?

Texas Best Grok redeems himself from his earlier "Rate the Babes of Star Trek" with a solid defense of exploring the final frontier.

YIPS from Robb-O. Since it is Ash Wednesday, I have to confess that I lead John down that path with my drooling over Wilma Deering. Mea culpa! See why? Mea maxima culpa!

Today's After 3:00 PM Half Price Specials

Yes, although I'm probably headed for hell for it (which circle holds tasteless profainers of Holy Days and what is their punishment?), here's a quick round up of, er, remainders priced to sell.


Frank J beats up on the Canadians.


The Germans have set up a, er, Scheisse Market. Really. Money quote: "We are now waiting for our first customers." Don't sell the bike shop, Fritz.

HT to See The Donkey, who has inside info on the conversation at Crap Central.


Speaking of crappy ideas, check out this piece of work found by Josh Claybourne. No way. No how.


HA! See what happens to Girly-Man Vegetarians? Don't bother starting a children's college fund, my friend. Thanks to Kevin at Wizbang.

One question tho - if the guy is such a health nut that he does this veggie stuff, what the hell is he doing with a big ol' stogie in his mouth? Just askin'.


Allah. Is. In. The. House!


Carnival of the Vanities is being hosted this week by Da Goddess. The theme? Ladies' foundation garments. I know, I know. Just look away.


You can look back now. James has been assimilated. We are the Blorg.


There's a new review essay in Foreign Affairs which tackles the issue of whether America has become an empire. Very interesting conclusions.

What to make of the hunt for Osama?

The IHT has an interesting article on the status of the bin Laden search. Key point:

Time is running out for Osama bin Laden, the U.S. military said on Wednesday, as American and Pakistani forces ratchet up operations against Qaida and Taliban militants along the Afghan-Pakistan frontier.
In the latest statement of growing confidence that Al Qaeda's mastermind and other senior militant figures will be captured or killed soon, the U.S. military in Afghanistan spoke of "renewed urgency" in hunting down key militant figures.
"If we knew where Osama bin Laden was we'd already have him," said Lieutenant Colonel Matt Beevers, referring to recent reports that the world's most wanted man had been located on Pakistan's side of the border.
But he added that the "sands in this guy's hourglass" were running out. Beevers said the same applied to two other figures: the supreme leader of the ousted Taliban, Mullah Muhammad Omar, and the renegade warlord and former prime minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

Careful guys--the Beev is on the trail! Don't make us send over Wally, Lumpy, or heaven forbid Eddie Haskell.

Seriously, what to make of this surge of stories? I take the view that this is a combination of two things. First is the anticipated Spring Offensive which results from the overlap of troop rotations, which gives us a temporary window where there is a dramatically increased strike capability. The other, however, I think is a fair measure of disinformation aimed at flushing out the remnants of AQ and its sympathizers. I think the same thing is behind much of the flight cancellations--introducing an element of randomness to disrupt plans that we don't know about, but also to force or compromise the timetables of others.

A third possibility might be the continuing dividends being reaped from pulling Saddam from his spider hole. The big benefit [outside of demoralizing and disrupting the Baathist holdouts] was Mommar's "seeing the light," and ratting out the weapons proliferators of the Axis of Naughty. Who was in the middle of that? Pakistan. Notice a lot of high profile cooperation suddenly emanating from Islamabad? Me too.

Hullo? - Ullo? - Ullo?

Boy, pretty light traffic around here today.

On the other hand, went to noon services at the Church of the Epiphany up on G Street and was rather surprised at the size of the congregation - a couple of hundred people anyway. I've no idea whether this is normal there. It is, after all, an urban church right in the middle of the business district. But it seemed like a large turnout. Quite a bit different from my own parish, which is in a suburban bedroom community.

On the other hand, the light traffic may be due to the fact that Blogger seems to be intermittently on the fritz today.

On the third hand, didn't I tell all you people to take aspirin before you went to bed last night? Well, didn't I?

Eat or Be Eaten

Mark Steyn follows up on the story of Britain's Laziest Woman (which we flagged yesterday) with some brutal ruminations on Welfare State conditioning and the survival of the West.

As Ford Prefect remarked of the Krikketers in Life, The Universe and Everything, "They care. We don't. They win."

YOU know - typical subtle Mark.

HT to Tim Blair.

Kerry's voting record on defense issues

Citizen Smash has the goods.

What liberal media?

From Sunday's Washington Post. Yes, the Washington Post.

Gay marriage is at the plate, but immigration is on deck

Daniel Drezner puts us on notice about the impending storm due to the publication of Samuel Huntington's follow up to The Clash of Civilizations. This one has the possibility to make the debate about The Bell Curve look like a tea party.

Finally, a party for the rest of us

Sheila O'Malley points the way to my ultimate political home, the synthesis of Beavis & Butthead and Cartman with Alexander Hamilton and David Hume: the South Park Federalists.

Great---effen freakin' great!

Cabana boy to the VodkaPundit Will Collier has a good reason for me to feel ooooooooooold this morning.

What's next, Footloose on Turner Classic Movies?

What we need to defend marriage from

Lisa de Moraes' TV Column for the Washington Post is always a good source of that vitamin snark you need to get a mid morning lift. She had this gem today, listing the week's biggest winners and losers on the tube:

"My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance." When you realize that Fox was averaging only 6.5 million on Mondays at 9 p.m. at this point last season, you understand why network suits were thrilled when last week's penultimate episode of this reality train wreck nailed 16.1 million viewers. It was the night's No. 1 program on any network among 18-to-34-year-old women (which says so much scary stuff about 18-to-34-year-old chicks and their fixation on weddings). Thrills turned to ecstasy when a whopping 21 million caught the final show to see whether, to win $1 million, Randi would actually say "I do" to a big fat obnoxious -- and did we mention, already married? -- fiance. She did, the night before President Bush called for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages to "defend the sacrament of marriage" between a man and a woman. Those Fox guys -- such kidders.

The Jobs debate in the presidential campaign

Robert Samuelson adds his usual doses of level headed common sense and economic insight. Key quote:

We don't know. But what we can know is that policies from a President Gore or Kerry or Edwards wouldn't have improved matters much. Of course, Democrats might have discarded some Bush policies: say, tax cuts for the rich. Still, the main forces shaping the job market would have remained well beyond presidential reach: the boom-bust cycle (President Bill Clinton didn't create the boom, and the bust was unfolding even before Bush's election); weak growth in Europe, Japan and Latin America, which account for almost 40 percent of U.S. exports; and business cautiousness. Protectionism is no panacea. It barely touches job creation; America's trade problem is weak exports as much as strong imports. Even if every offshored service job had somehow been saved, the job picture wouldn't have changed much.

No matter. During elections, politics overwhelms reason. Perhaps continuing economic growth and a weaker dollar will soon produce more jobs. On average, the economists surveyed by Moore expect 166,000 new jobs a month in 2004 -- or about 2 million for the year. Whatever occurs, someone will be blamed or credited. In war, truth is often said to be the first casualty. It's the same in campaign.

The claims by presidents to have "created xxx jobs" during their tenure always irks me [of course, rereading the first part of the sentence I realize there is another way it could be construed to justify such claims by the last president]. Presidents can and do have a significant impact on the performance of the economy, in terms of how their fiscal and monetary policies as well as foreign and regulatory politics have a direct impact on markets. But they aren't actually creating the jobs.

UPDATE: Daniel Drezner follows the debate generated by Virginia Postrel's piece in the NYT Sunday Magazine. Her thesis: the new jobs are there, they are just in places and patterns that the Labor Department's survey underrepresents.

Who is more deluded, the Red Sox or Cubs fan?

THIS just aint going to work.

But this might.

Now Hear This

Much to do today. Also coming off Night from Hell with the two year old. So minimal bloggies until later on from me. Steve-O? You have the com.

In the meantime, I had been mulling saying something more about the flap over Bush's backing of the FMA. I probably still will. In the interim, tho, Charles Austin covers a pretty big chunk of the ground I was going to occupy.


One last drink

Dick Morris with the crazy man kung fu dojo advice for Dubya that he's become so well know for.

Insert Mary Tyler Moore joke here

Somedays, it's just too easy to pick on the Arab News. But that shouldn't stop you.

Sober up and take off the beads, kiddos

Blackfive reminds us of the stakes we are in for.


Sometime tonight our 2000th visitor will drop by and win the one day supply of Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco Treat. It's been a good two months.

Venomous Kate has often referred to the blogosphere as basically one big high school, which I think is quite an apt analogy.

Unfortunately, we're still the guy on the left betting our buddies a box of floppy disks we can get in Wonkette's blogroll.

But someday....

Tuesday, February 24, 2004


Pep, guest blogger over at our old friend Chai-rista's Hot Chai Journal, has the blood-curdling tale of the mother in law from hell. Read it and weep.

This Is Really Getting Out Of Hand...

Check out this piece of silliness. Oooh! gives new meaning to the Norman Conquest, don't it?

HT to the Chai-Rista.

This Is Getting Out Of Hand....

I suppose it's some testiment to my training that I find this mildly amusing. AAND, it's a change from Sci-Fi Cheesecake....


You are Rule 8, the most laid back of all the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. While your
forefather in the Federal Rules may have been a
stickler for details and particularity, you
have clearly rebelled by being pleasant and
easy-going. Rule 8 only requires that a
plaintiff provide a short and plain statement
of a claim on which a court can grant relief.
While there is much to be lauded in your
approach, your good nature sometimes gets you
in trouble, and you often have to rely on your
good friend, Rule 56, to bail you out.

Which Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

HT to Reedhead.

Today's After 3:00 PM Half-Price Specials

In honor of Mardi Gras, it's Open Bar day here at the Butcher Shop. Who's up for some shots?


I admit that my marriage proposal to the Butcher's Wife wasn't much to write home about, but at least I didn't try a stunt like this! "Paging Mr. Zer, Mr. Lou Zer....Is there a Lou Zer here?" HT to Josh Claybourne.


Hot diggity! Check out the Village Voice (fer cryin' out loud) laying into The Maginot Candidate for his apparent cover up of evidence of Americans left alive in Vietnam. HT to Allah, who, for a diety, is pretty impressed.


Check out Britain's Welfare Queen. This has got to be the single most pathetic person I've ever heard of. HT to Dave Barry's Girl Friday.


What promotes lettuce consumption better than an ad featuring a couple of Stick Insects? HT to the Bitch Girls.


Michelle at A Small Victory documents the latest symptom of George Lucas' hydrophobia. BTW, check out Michelle's new site design.


Horsefeathers gives a moving tribute to Rummy, with a little help from Kipling.


The Swanky Conservative goes to the Roller Derby - Pictures and everything! Is this a great country, or what?


Stephen Green seems a little, er, fixated.


Bonfire of the Vanities is up over at The Argus. Go see how many you can pound in 60 seconds.


Meanwhile, check out Frank J's latest serving of bite-sized wisdom.


Lena Horne bitch-slaps Janet Jackson. You go, girl! (Via Drudge.)


James has been assimilated. Resistence is futile. We are the Blorg.

Remember Boys and Girls, three asprin and three cups of water before you go to bed. Enjoy!


I have deliberately held off posting about the rumors we've got Osama boxed in because I am sceptical of such pronouncements. However, if you'd like to know what is being said, the Christian Science Monitor has a nice little digest of press stories.

HT to VodkaPundit.

UPDATE: Cato the Youngest asks a rather interesting question about the timing of an Osama capture. 'Course, if you believe some of the crowd over at Democratic Underground, we actually been holding the guy for months and won't announce a capture until, oh, say October....

Dispatches From The Culture Wars

Here is the text of Bush's remarks today throwing his support behind a Constitutional Amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

You can bet lots of pixels are going to be spilt over this one. Glenn has a quick round up. I think Glenn is right that the San Francisco business pushed Bush into the fray.

I also think this is bad news for Kerry and Edwards. How are they credibly going to continue to claim they oppose gay marriage without infuriating gay liberal voters? On the other hand, how are they going to appease these folks without infuriating moderate voters, many of whom are opposed to gay marriage? Up till now, the issue has been sufficiently diffuse that pols in this position could dance and weave their way around it. I think Boston, San Francisco, New Mexico and the FMA have focused it to the point where this kind of weaving is no longer possible, or at least is very, very difficult.

Should be interesting to watch.

UPDATE: See what I mean about Kerry?

Retro Tom Clancy Drool-Fest

(With apologies to Stephen Green.)

Here is a cool article about the history of catapults, just in case you were interested.

I think the author overdoes it a bit in attempting to destroy the notion that the ancients were not much interested in the practical applications of technology. The fact of the matter is that slave-based, labor-intensive economies did not encourage the development of labor-saving devices, despite the existence of quite a bit of scientific inquiry and theoretical knowledge about them.

The catapult was a different matter because it was a military weapon. Developments in weapons technology allowed armies to fight more efficiently and effectively, but, unlike commercial applications of, say, steam or hydro technology, did not raise prickly questions about what the hell to do with all those slaves no one would need any more.

HT to John J. Miller in The Corner.

Opening Salvo

President Bush's remarks to the Republican Governor's Association look to me like the first genuine round of fire for the fall election. Lots of choice bits in it, including this little gem in re The Maginot Candidate:

The other party's nomination battle is still playing out. The candidates are an interesting group, with diverse opinions: For tax cuts, and against them. For NAFTA, and against NAFTA.

For the Patriot Act, and against the Patriot Act. In favor of liberating Iraq, and opposed to it. And that's just one senator from Massachusetts.

I hope our friend at Punch The Bag reads the whole thing. It ought to make him feel a bit better.

UPDATE: Eric the Viking Pundit thinks so too.

Today's Choice Cuts (TM) - Jambalaya Special!

Here's the plan for Fat Tuesday: We're gonna have us some jambalaya now, and head on out for some serious drinkin' later on. I do this in honor of a memorable Mardi Gras my first year of law school here. We had a classmate from New Orleans who made the best damn Cajun dishes I've ever had. He cooked up a big ol' pot of jambalaya and some other goodies and we all stuffed ourselves. Later on, a bunch of us sauntered down to the then-only bar in beautiful Metro-Lex, The Palms. There, we got the bartender to invent a new celebratory drink called, if memory serves, the "Generals' Crewe." Beats the hell out of me what was in it, but it was three liquors - yellow, green and purple - and they were poured in such a way as to remain stratified in the glass. Tasted like Soviet cough syrup mixed with liquid bubble gum.

And so how was my Ash Wednesday the next day? Worst. Hangover. Ever. AAAAND, got called on in criminal procedure by the most terror-inspiring professor in the entire school. Could do nothing but gape. Fortunately, he let me go with a single look of contempt and concentrated his fire on some other victim. To this day, I swear he had someone spying on us first years that night and taking names so that he could make sure and roast us the next morning. (Buh-lieve me, he was fully capable of such things.)

So here we go:


I give you Hugh, Mickey, The Wonkette and the folks at Wince and Nod.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I've been saying this for weeks. The Kerry Campaign consists of a single line of fixed gun emplacements connected by reinforced tunnels. Its equipment is old and obsolete. Its guns are trained out where the enemy ain't. And it is manned by, well, Frenchmen. I am beginning to sense that a few Dems are suddenly starting to realize this. The question is, is it too late for them to do anything about it?


In the meantime, what is the alternative? John Edwards? Cold Fury has the inside scoop on this guy. I remember when Edwards' name first came up - he was the Darling of the Dems, Bill Clinton II. But then people started taking a closer look and, well, he turned out to be not much more than an empty suit. With maggots in the pockets. His recent resurgence is due to nothing more than an increased panic amongst the Dems to find someone, anyone, who looks halfway decent. Dean? Lunatic. Kerry? Maybe coming apart. Anyone else? Are you freakin' kidding me? If Edwards does somehow capture the nomination, I hereby christen him "Default Boy."

Meanwhile, is Johnny ready for the Show? See the Edwards campaign's attempt to deal with some of the ungodly breaking stuff here.


Here's why I love the 'net so much. Few days back, Greenpeace served up a news release claiming that the Pentagon knows the world is going to end! Concluded it themselves through their own secret study! Run for your lives!!!

Few years back, this is all you would have heard. Some of the papers probably would have picked up the story, reprinting the body of the Greenpeace bit verbatim, and it would enter the political discussion as received gospel. And indeed, on this one, it looks as if London's Observer practically swallowed its own tongue hollering about Doomsday.

But the web is becoming increasingly adept at catching and killing this sort of thing. Admittedly, lefty sites like Hit and Run bit hard on the story. But it's amazing what a little truth will do for a debate. For that, I give you Tim Blair, who not only provides a copy of the report itself, but tracks and destroys all of the lies and distortions surrounding its production, distribution and actual conclusions. He also provides a comprehensive list of other sites doing the same thing.

Heh, indeed.


Writing about her reaction to the news that Ralph Nader is jumping in to the presidential race, Jane Galt reflects on her own disillusionment with lefty public interest types after working with the PIRG collective.

They say a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality. I've dealt with a number of Washington public interest lobbying types myself and know exactly what she is talking about. The difference is I never believed in them to begin with.

Rule No. 1 of Issue Activism: If the problem is fixed, you're out of a job. Don't fix it.

Rule No. 2 of Issue Activism: If the problem becomes worse, you become more important. Make the problem seem as bad as possible no matter what.

Rule No. 3 of Issue Activism: Never forget Rules No. 1 and 2.


Donald Sensing lays in to Andrew over the meme that Christians who support, or at least tolerate, divorce and/or adultery have no business condemning homosexual marriage. I think the Fighting Padre nails it on this one. Go read.


Roger L. Simon lays into Noam for knee-jerk America-bashing. Sigh. The problem, as Roger notes, is that this sort of thing sells. In a marketplace of ideas, what do you do about it? Censor? Limit debate? No, you read articles like Roger's.


Completing the trifecta of swot, Lileks lays into Woody Allen and the Religion of Art. Pretentious? Moi?

There ya go. Remember - the Marti Gras Shot-Fest begins later on this afternoon. Don't miss the fun!

Enter Ralph

Any accident that Nader jumped in right after Dean exited stage left? Sure.

I watched a bit of his press conference on CSpan last night, and two things struck home:

First, the biggest of the many mistakes Terry Mac has made in his tenure as Chairman of the DNC is not doing everything in his power to mollify, coopt, and generally lick the boots and kiss the ass of Ralph Nader. Sure, the man's a deranged monk, a progressive Savoranola bent on burning the country down so as to purify it. You watch him and you look at his eyes, and you realize, hey, in the right place at the right time at history, he'd have no problem with using hot irons to purge your soul of the evils of selfishness, capitalism, and bourgeoisie boorishness. Hell, I'd rather be stuck on a trans-continental flight next to Michael Moore [assuming they made him buy two seats of course] than next to Nader, who would spend the whole time talking about crashes, and how Wilbur and Orville Wright were evil men in the pay of Rockefeller, DuPont, and the grandfathers of Halliburton executives.

That said, it was also hilarious to watch a legitimate political figure stand up there and answer questions by saying what he actually believed. DC statehood? Bring it on! Slavery reparations? Make Whitey pay! Make Walmart need permission to open stores from the government! Get Bernie Sanders---the only Communist currently in Congress--to chair Ways & Means!

Nader really wants the Democrats to lose. He really does. What in effect he's doing is what Strom Thurmond tried but failed to do in 1948. Strom was pissed off [to put it mildly] over Truman's desegregation of the armed forces, and the nascent support for civil rights from the progressive wing of the party, led by Hubert Humpherey. Strom took the segregationists and walked, hoping to cost Truman the election in 1948 and thereby teaching the Democratic a lesson that they couldn't win the White House without the "Solid [ie segregated] South." Strom lost that bet. But Ralph won: he bet that he could cost the Democrats the election in 2000 by leading the progressives out, and the Democrats lost two key states--New Hampshire and Florida--by the margin that could have in theory gone to Gore if Nader had stayed home. What's supposed to happen in situations like this is the party moves to bring back the constituency it lost--witness the movements by the Republicans to bring the Perot voters back in. For some reason, the Democrats in general and Terry Mac in particular didn't do this with Nader. This in many ways is becoming a race of unmended fences. Which will hurt the candidates worse: the unmended fence between the Democratic leadership and Ralph Nader, or the one between Dubya and John McCain?

The second thing was the way in which Nader was explicitly and openly trying to bait Ross Perot into emerge from his spider hole in Texas. It was about as sharp a stick one can see being used openly to prod/bait someone into acting. Hopefully the transmitter the CIA implanted in Perot's molars is broadcasting warm fuzzy kitty thoughts directly into his cerebral cortex. Because if Ross Perot emerges from the political dead, this is going to be one hell of an eight months.

Karl Rove, call your TIVO

Just set up the camera and let it roll: John Kerry is saving the trouble for Karl Rove & Co. by going ahead and filming their negative ads for them. These two gems from one appearance in Atlanta:

"I have worked on a budget with the same people who gave us the Clinton administration budget," the Democratic front-runner said. "If you liked eight years of Bill Clinton, you're going to like the first four years of John Kerry."

I'm not sure, Johnny, but that might not be the way to go....

And then there's this doozy: you can see the background image, the aerial shots from a helicopter of his Nantucket estate, maybe him getting out of a limo in a tux, something like that:

"Sounding ever more the populist, Kerry promised to deliver an economy based on "people and products, not perks and privilege."

Maybe it's just me, but I don't think that's going to resonate well. It's odd that the Democrats hate the Bushes sooo much---preppy, aristocratic, Yalies from old money families--that they put their chips on a preppy, aristocratic Yalie whose middle name is Forbes and is married to an heiress.

Campaign strategy notes

From the beginning of January to the third week of February, John Kerry's folks ran an error free campaign. Kerry kept on message, he didn't do anything to undermine the campaign's plausibility, and most importantly he resisted the greatest temptation in politics by standing back and letting Howard Dean and Wesley Clark immolate themselves in a conflagration of ego, naivete, and political idiocy. It was a nice run while it lasted.

In the past week Kerry has made two mistakes, big ones at that.

First was cutting into John Edwards' speech after his unexpectedly good showing in Wisconsin, knowing that the networks would cut away to his speech. That lacked class--and an ironclad rule of political media coverage is that the media will be as boorish and mean as it wants to be, but will not tolerate boorishness and meanness from candidates. Fair? No, but it's reality. What it led to predictably was the question why is John Kerry afraid of John Edwards? The professional politics media has an interest in drawing the primary season story out longer, if only for the ratings that the uncertainty can generate. You don't want to do anything to feed this, anything to detract from the sense of inevitability that has been the motive force of the Kerry victories so far. Any whiff of fear on Kerry's part about Edwards will produce vapor lock instantly for his prospects: think Wiley Coyote as the clouds start to dissipate. Because what Kerry would see, if he looked in the rear view mirror, is not this but this.

The second mistake was his "How dare you talk about Vietnam" letter of yesterday. I think this is why reports that his campaign was less than pleased with Terry MacAuliffe's playing of the Bush National Guard card so early make sense: the story raged for a week, but then burned out for lack of, well, substance. However, stories like that never just die--they tend to then rebound and lash back at the other side. In this case, it's not Kerry's service in country that's the problem, but rather what he did when he got home with the "Junkie Vets," as many referred to the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Kerry needed to get his image and perceptions set with the public before the story inevitably turned to the early 1970s, which he then could distance himself from. Instead, he now has to address this issue as most of the general public is getting their first full look at him. So which is he--the saluting guy with the medals in his ads, or the long haired guy throwing his medals over a fence? The problem is for Kerry that he's both: and this whole point of Kerry's having it both ways is the opening move that the Republicans are going to make on him. Worse, he's got himself in a classic two-front bind--by opening up on Bush and Vietnam, his party's leaders in effect kicked off the general election campaign before Kerry had sewed up the nomination. Terry Mac "misunderestimated" Dubya once again: they thought if they opened up on Bush and the Guard, that he wouldn't respond, at least until later. It's insane in politics to make such an assumption--they should only have raised the Guard issue if they had the proof of their charges. Instead, they've accidentally started the general election, but in a way that's going to hurt Kerry. John Edwards doesn't have to go negative on Kerry: Dubya's folks are going to do that for him. The last element to this is that letter's such as Kerry sent have the opposite effect: instead of focusing the issue back on Bush, they in effect call in the fire on Kerry himself. Kerry--if he becomes the nominee--might have to run not only against Dubya and Ralph Nader, but also against the haggard long haired John Kerry of 1971. And that's not the way to win 270 electoral votes.

Separated At Birth?

I absolutely, positively swear I've never seen the Tasty Manatees before. Nonetheless, here they be, complete with spooky parallels to our Choice Cuts (TM) and After 3:00 PM Half-Price Specials (TM).

If I had the time, I'd ruminate a bit on this example of convergent evolution in the Blogsphere. Barring that, go on over and say howdy to Ryan.

HT to Stephen Green, who even gives us the same comment.

Random Commuter Observation

Before I plunge into proofing a stack of presentation memos, just wanted to pass on one thing.

In general, I have no trouble with the concept of vanity license plates. In fact, I have them myself- much to the dismay of the Butcher's Wife. I have always felt there is a right way and a wrong way to go about them. Initials, class years, some nicknames - these are all tasteful choices. 'Course, there are legions of stupid, trashy, doofus loser plates as well. That's a rant for another time, however.

But what gets overlooked sometimes is the concept of plausibility. Which brings me to this morning's observation: If the Goddess Nemesis ever actually came back to Earth, I'm reasonably sure she would not drive a Passat.

Just sayin'.

Happy Mardis Gras!

We're working on a big ol' pot of Llama Jambalaya for lunch time today, so be sure to check back later on - all the Choice Cuts are simmering away. Oooh, dat spicy!

'Course, I Took The Test Quick As Boiled Asparagus...

Not sure I completely agree with these results....


You were the adopted
son of Julius Caesar. Destined to become first Emperor of Rome, you are
responsible for laying down the foundations of the most powerful civilization
in history. However, as good as you are in leadership, you aren't so good
at paying attention to your family. You don't pay attention to any mischief
they might get into. When you do find out about the evils of your family,
you're shocked and horrified. You just don't get why they turned out the
way they did.

You were portrayed
by Brian Blessed.

Which I, Claudius Character are You? created by
Shiny Objects

HT to John at TexasBestGrok.

Monday, February 23, 2004

After 5:00 PM Free Samples Platter

Just a couple quickies that I'm sneaking in off the slight energy boost I picked up a while ago (see below).


Monday Morning Quarterback features Peter King's take on the latest additions to the team that wears Danny "Sauron's Little Brother" Snyder's cursed Rings of Power. I swear if the 'Skins sneak Adewale Ogunleye away from the 'Fins Roster, I will personally hunt down Danny Boy, pull him inside out and make him swallow himself.


Rich Galen has a new Mullings post up about a little well-earned R and R.


James has been assimilated. Resistance is futile. We are the Blorg.

Extended Thank You

I see one of the reasons for our newly gill-endowed state - Moxie has very kindly added us to her blogroll.

For those of you not familiar with her, Moxie is a very smart, very thoughtful, conservative, er, babe living in Los Angeleeze. She writes about the world around her. And takes good pictures. Go on over and check her out.



I was just taking one last look at the site for the day when I noticed that we have evolved yet again! That' s right - we are now a Flippery Fish in the TLLB Ecosystem!

This really just makes my day - Thank you so very much for your interest. As we say repeatedly, Steve-O and I just sit around bloviating. What these figures tell us is that you actually find some of this to be, well, worth reading. That is truly gratifying. And Steve-O - Not too shabby for just a couple of months of existence. Again, thanks very, very much.


Today's After 3:00 PM Half-Price Specials - An Apology

Just could not get it together today. This weekend, culminating in a rather bad night last night, left me wiped. (Ed. - Hey! Is this turning into a session of Gratuitous Domestic Blogging (TM)? You bet.)

You see, the two year old always sleeps with a binky (or "aboo" as she calls it). Won't go all night without it. However, sometimes if she is not that sleepy after lockdown, she will get out of bed and range about in her room, getting into things. One of her tricks is to slide her hand under her door, sometimes going so far as to shove her binky under it as well.

I am reasonably sure that happened last night. I am also pretty sure that this time the cats started playing with the binky outside the door. I heard them in the middle of the night batting something around in the hall, eventually knocking it down the stairs.

Normally, we are secured against the lost binky scenario by keeping a reserve stockpiled handily on the child's chest of drawers. However, last night, there was no reserve.

So. What I believe is known as a cascading systems failure occurred: The girl woke up at least three times during the night, calling "Mummy?... Gagee?" We were able to ignore her the first couple times, but by about 4:45 AM, she decided she'd had about enough of binky-less sleep and there was gonna be hell to pay. So she started howling and banging on things.

That got me up. Picture, if you will, a bleary-eyed Daddy staggering around the house in the dark frantically searching for a spare binky, and dreading that the noise would wake the other two slumbering fiends. (Fortunately, it did not.)

Eventually, we found one of the damn things and jammed it into the kid's mouth. 'Course by then, it was virtually useless to try and get back to sleep, as we all had to be up early. On top of that, the Butcher's Wife had to go in for some medical tests at the crack of dawn, leaving yours truly to feed and dress the Llama-ettes and get the older two in some reasonably presentable state for school. (Sidebar - one of the problems with my not ever having been a hippy is that I don't know nuthin' about ponytails.)

Well. I'm getting too old for this. We are long past the period where we were almost used to being awakened three or four times a night by a baby. I am also not used to having to deal with the kids early in the morning. And on top of everything else this weekend, I didn't have much of a reserve to handle it.

Result - too tired to keep up today.

Not whining. (Really!) Just sayin'.

I'll probably take the evening off as well. See you back in the morning with fresh bloggy goodies.

Mail call

Oxblog has Saddam's letter to his family.

Billy Yank or Johnnie Reb? Speak That I May See Thee

In the After 3's last Friday, we linked to a cool survey of regional dialects put out by the Harvard Computer Society. Evidently someone didn't have much to do with himself this weekend, because he has come up with an online test based on the survey that allows you to figure where your speech patterns are most common.

For what it's worth, I scored 58% Dixie, which makes sense, given that I am from a Northern family but grew up in Texas. One thing I did note: Question 7 asks how you address a group of people. One of the possibilities is "y'all." I don't know about the rest of the South, but in Texas "y'all" is often used to address a single person. The plural, used for a group, is "all y'all." (FWIW, The Butcher's Wife is from Connecticut but has lived in Virginia long enough to pick up some Southern habits. However, she can't quite make the jump from "you all" to "y'all" and frequently gets hung up somewhere in between.)

One other anecdotal language point - One of the constant problems of life in South Texas is dealing with a nasty and wide-spread little weed that produces bunches of small, round seed pods with spikes all over them. My father is from upstate New York and always called these pods "sand-burrs." I remember the first time I used this term in front of a group of native kids - Howls of derisive laughter, indeed. From that day forward, it was "stickers" and nothing but "stickers."

Oh, HT to Little Miss Attila.

YIPS from Steve: No surprise here: 37%, which translates as definitively Yankee.

Lightning Hit-And-Run Geek Posting

Just time for a quicky, but I wanted to get this in.

John at TexasBestGrok has upped the ante in our ongoing Sci-Fi Cheesecake discussion. He disagrees with my assessment of Princess Ardala and suggests that Wilma Deering is too cold and aloof. Non disputandum est, indeed. I'd make two points in response: First, John uses the term "golden age of disco," one of the grand-daddy oxymorons of all time, in his positive assessment of Ardala. As a lawyer, I'd argue that this goes straight to the question of his credibility as a witness. Second, as to Wilma, I rather liked that cold exterior - it made those times when she threw it off all the more alluring. Remember that episode where they were trapped by that space vampire thing and she got possessed? That's what I'm talkin' 'bout.

On the "Galactica Babes" front, John goes for Lt. Sheba, as did several other commenters. I was vaguely surprised by this, as I always thought Athena was more of a "pow" girl. Still, this was a hair-splitting issue - I'd have taken any of them, even Cassie. (BTB, we did have one vote for that bridge officer who was always saying, "Enemy ships, forty microns and closing." Also, I completely forgot about Serena, of course.)

Now John poses a new challenge - Yeoman Rand, Lt. Uhura or Nurse Chapel. Gotta go with the Medical Babe on this one - always loved her voice and her strong features.

Okay, I'm gonn toss in one more just to get Steve-O to jump into the fray: Janeway, Torres, or Seven?

I would just point out to all those people sniggering out there that all of us are perfectly well adjusted members of society. We have productive jobs and a wide variety of interests. We have children. We are not geeks. Right? Right?

What, are you kidding?

Janeway, hands down.

Torres was, well, a bit too high strung--there was always a high chance of post-copulation decapitation or evisceration, depending on her quasi-Klingon mood swings. And for Seven, well, I'm not into the type of kink where you go to bed with a beautiful alien and wake up a washing machine in the Cube about to attack the Romulan Home World. You know my motto: lie down with a borg, wake up a blender.

But Janeway...MMMMMMMM! She had that whole young Kate Hepburn thing going. If she would come across the Enterprise-D, it would be to kick Riker in the stones, before telling Picard to "negotiate THIS!" Who else as the perfect StarFleet consort for the one true Captain, James Tiberius Kirk?

UPDATE: A long time reader (who is most definitely not a geek) provides this insight:

Depends on the context. If you’re talking “stunt dating”, then it has to be Torres. For men drawn to a good-looking women with “issues” (lots of issues) then Seven is the logical choice (who can forget her response to the bridge geek who was trying to ask her out- “Oh, you want to have sex. Very well then-take off your clothes.” When he looked at her bug-eyed, she continued: “Do not be afraid. I will not hurt you.”) Otherwise, if you are in it for the long haul and want good-looking, intelligent children with a women who is not afraid to shoot first and ask questions later, pick Capt. Janeway.

I'm going to file this under "Anything In A Skirt."

Department of EU Moral Superiority, Oh you simplistic Americans Desk

This article in the Guardian makes me want to wretch.

The pleasures of sitemeter

One of the things that I enjoy about running the shop here is seeing how people find us: on Saturday, we had two people come to us via Google at approximately the same time, one who came from the search "Bush doctrine working" and the other from "goat butchers Massachusetts pictures." Hey, what can we say--we're a full service blog! Let's see if Glenn can top that.

Bloggy Notes

Covering for the Butcher's Wife this morning, so probably won't get a chance to serve up Today's Choice Cuts. Back later.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Gratuitous Geek Blogging

(Ed. - We'll get back to you on this one. Thanks.)

Gratuitous Domestic Blogging (TM) - Gardening Division

(See how considerate I am to subdivide these things so you can skip right over posts that would otherwise subject you to MEGO moments?)

Finally got the seeds ordered for my flower garden. I think, I think, these will do well in the rather hot and sunny area in which I intend to grow them (if, that is, I can keep the goddam rabbits and deer off). The list of new specimens includes:

Black-eyed Susans
Various Hybrid Sunflowers
Butterfly Weed
Shasta Daisies
Joe-Pye Weed
Foxgloves (for the shadier parts of the garden)

And for the meadow behind the fence - various cosmos and bluebonnet.

I also plan to add some moonbeam - coriopsus, but will have to wait to buy plants instead of seeds. And, of course, I will cordon off a section of the garden for various herbs - parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, to be exact.

I'll keep you posted.

Gratuitous Domestic Blogging (TM) - Kids Division

Jesus, what a weekend! One of those Perfect Storm alignments of multiple convergent obligations that resulted in my spending many hours in the car with various combinations of the girls winging my way across the Northern Virginia 'burbs. What was eerie about it was the sense of running in slightly-imperfectly aligned concentric circles with other families in our inner and outer spheres - as I dropped off and picked up at and attended various parties, school functions and so on, I ran into various other parents of our acquaintance - some more often, some less so. I'll bet if you sat down and mapped it out, you would come up with some pretty elaborate Platonic cartography - sort of Circle of the Spheres arrangements, except the resulting series of chordes was far from harmonic. Instead of the choir of angels, I think it would be something closer to the mosh pit of the damned.


Allow me to relate a beautiful little gem that almost made up for the alarums and confusion of the rest of the weekend. (Operative word - almost.): The Sunday before Lent at our church has, much to the dismay of our musical director, become known as "Jazz Sunday." On this day, the organ is abandoned in favor of a New Orleans combo of trumpet, trombone, bass, piano and drums (played by the Rector). Various spirituals and other Mardi Gras-flavored hymns take the place of our usually more stolid fare. I must say that although I would have nothing against an all-Bach program for the rest of the year, I have almost come to enjoy Jazz Sunday. (I still won't sing, but I find myself tapping my feet and fingers.)

Aaaaanyway, today we had both my nearly-six and my four year old in "grown-up" Church. (The two year old remained banished to the toddler room.) I happened to have custody of the four year old. She is a remarkably self-possessed little thing and shows absolutely no signs of "Middle Child Syndrome." So. As the, er, band finished up one of their pieces (I forget which), there was a moment of silence. I had the four year old in my lap and whispered to her, "What did you think of that?" In her best calling-the-cows-home-across-the-sands-of-the-Dee voice, she replied, "I liked that song!" Entire congregation dissolved in laughter and applause.

Just thought you'd like to know.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

I hate HR types

Blackfive has some tips on how to handle those dreaded "icebreakers" that HR types always come up with.

Blackfive has the goods [as usual]

Tired of hearing of America's "unilateralism" and lack of international support in Iraq? Blackfive [the paratrooper of love] links to a little photo essay that will make your day--particularly the picture of the female Korean soldier at the checkpoint.

Perhaps the greatest movie review ever compiled

It's going to give our old friend TMLutas the dry heaves, but Sargeant Stryker has compiled the criteria of how to construct the ultimate Jeebus movie.

With all the hoopla surrounding The Passion of the Christ, I thought it might be fun to to take a look at past Jesus flicks. You'd think the Jesus Genre would be a goldmine of cinematic quality --after all, the story basically writes itself. But you would be wrong. Some pictures are mind-numbingly boring (The Greatest Story Ever Told), while others are just plain stupid (Godspell). The Jesus Genre is a hodge-podge of mediocrity with only the occasional gem worthy of a DVD purchase, yet if you were to edit them all together, you'd probably have the Greatest Jesus Movie Ever Made. Unfortunately, Cecil B. DeMille is dead, so we have to have multiple flicks of varying quality to showcase different angles of the Jesus story, instead of just one mega-film, as was the case for Moses. Hey, just like the Bible!

Back, but not for long

Yesterday was take your daughter to work day [at least for me: I always get accused at work for "breaking all the rules" and "doing end runs around convention." Well, if I keep calling the same damn play, and you refuse to block, whose fault is it now?] Last night was more work on the taxes. She of the beauty and brains is an accountant by training, so she takes the primary lead--my job is to sit there, bring the tea, and sign stuff. I enjoy tax time for the ideological shift it brings in the household: for that two week period every year, she moves away from compassionate liberalism to the cranky conservatism where I'm usually at. The problem is, for those two weeks I'm also over in the "eff the gummit--where's my damn refund!" camp. So no overlap, even than. My loss.

This morning was Girl Scout Cookie delivery, which was hilarious to watch as our seven year old daughter was transformed into a little Steve Ballmer [the evil business genius at Microsoft], sorting the boxes and making little yellow stickie invoices for each bag or box. It was a real Virginia Postrel moment.

I'm going to try to do some power posting between now and dinner, but after that I have to get cracking on the paper I'm working on about the Cherokee Removal crisis at the Supreme Court.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Breakthroughs In Programming Diversity

Ladies and Gentlemen, We Give You The LobsterCam.

Today's After 3:00 PM Half-Price Specials

It's quickly become something of a tradition 'round here at the Butcher's Shop that on Friday afternoons we really work hard to clear the display cases so's not to leave anything stinking up the place all weekend. So don't hang back - fill up your baskets! Everything must go! Enjoy!


Check out what was found in the Thames! Only question is whether it was Doug or Dinsdale.


Flo King gives of her best regarding constant New Age whining over "health concerns." Her attitude? These sagas of pain and wrecked lives and germ-free plastic bubbles are supposed to be moving, but they move me to expropriate George V's words on hearing that one of his courtiers liked little boys: "I always thought people like that shot themselves." Heh.

Meanwhile, in the Bearded-Spock Universe, The Derb gets mushy! Yuck.


I love this little gem from the good folks at OxBlog, even though it brings Patrick Belton perilously close to the Nerd Realm of Professor Frink.

And speaking of language, check out this fantastic dialect survey! I just skimmed, so I may have missed it, but I'm surprised there is no "you", "you'n", "youse", "y'all" category. But it's still way cool. HT to Viking Pundit.

Finally, The Wonkette has valuable advice if you ever find yourself talking to Tina Brown.


We've been chatting the past couple days about Mel Gibson's The Passion and comparing and contrasting its marketing and distribution with that of Scorcese's Last Temptation. Well, my desire to defend Mel dropped a few points when I saw this. Thanks to Allah, who does these things deliberately.


Hey, Buddy! Get a Winnebago! (HT to Dave Barry.)


The American Highway User's Alliance just published a study of the Top Twenty worst bottlenecks in the U.S. highway system. No surprise, Your Nation's Capitol bagged two of them. What astounds me is that the Springfield "Mixing Bowl" is off the list. Are they sure they weren't holding the maps upside down or something?


Michelle at A Small Victory has gone and made the Llama Butchers regret having recently added her to our blogroll. Hey, George! We got yer A-Rod right here, pal!


Eric at Classical Values has disturbing thoughts on site-blocking at libraries. This looks to me like the electronic equivalent of banning Huck Finn. I'm pretty sure that we LB's would be on the list if Glenn actually blogrolled us.


Taranto has been assimilated. We are the Blorg.

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