At least to me: Reboot Congress, with a lot of coverage of local tea party happenings.
The culprit has been identified.
DOWNDATE: Repaired and restored. But I'll never know whether I had tweleve or thirteen visitors from Google looking for "sine qua non" yesterday.
When it comes to captioning blog posts.
Blogging will be light to non-existent for the next eight days. Unless, of course, American Airlines should cancel my flight . Hopefully, they won't wait until the last moment to do so.
He's still at it, and so, therefore, am I.
Andrea gets some love.
Speaking of punishment... more from me later.
Not really, at least not that I know of. Just checking to see if anyone is actually reading this.
Too much whine, too much wine... goodnight.
A side note and hat tip to my webmistress Andrea. I was in Orlando recently and had a chance to have dinner with her and then got sick. Highest fever since my appendix burst 35 years years ago, but that's a whole 'nother story. Given the three abdominal surgeries that generated, I think I can almost hang with Mr. Blair.
When I've finished a bottle of wine before 9:00 PM on a Friday night, odds are good you get a dose of blogging.
DOWNDATE: I just noticed it is a month and a day since my last post. Bu then again, it is a leap year, so don't read too much into it.
I'm posting again. The effect of a bottle of Zinfandel in the middle of the week can be truly amazing.
I'm thinking of temporarily turning this blog into a review of the NFL and my fantasy teams and leagues, including a wholly imaginary betting pool on the NFL. My fantasy credentials are decent and my opinions marginally unorthodox, but I've won at least one championship for each of the last six years, and three last year. Any thoughts?
To whet your appetite, in my longest running legaue (14 years and counting) one of the owners celebrated the Appalachian State win over Michigan by naming his team the Michigan Sucks. Being from Cleveland I think he has some long running Michigan issues, but I digress. I suggested his new team motto be "Go Blow!" and he liked it.
Less than 24 hous until football begin again. It's good to be an American in the 21st century.
Remember the old Google contest where you had to select two words for a Google search that would only return one hit? Well, I saw this story today about Google buying ImageAmerica (from Clayton, MO, no less) and for no good reason at all I was inspired to try and come up an example using a word from that story that I know well from a previous life, but almost never see used today.
I suppose the real surprise is that it registered even a single hit.
I found this looking for some information on Kirkwood Sergeant William McEntee who was slain while on duty on July 5, 2007.
Slow news day. I've been busy. Ack. Look elsewhere today for your flippant snark grotequely swollen with free association and reeking of osbcure, antiquated pop culture references.
One question though, if we succeed in stopping climate change,would that mean that natural evolution as we understand it is over?
For some time now I've been absent, only leaving comments and caption contest entries at a few of my favorite places. I've been busy - working, thinking, reading, contemplating, perambulating, dealing with a teenage daughter, and losing weight (25 pounds so far this year).
Quick summary to get caught up on the world's turns since November... business is good. Perhaps too good, since my vocation distracts me from my avocation. But it has become clear that Nietzsche was right, while staring into the abyss, it had been staring back into me. A dark, dark view of the blogosphere and its inhabitants was having entirely the wrong affect on me. I lacked the ability to keep a firm perspective like Professor Glenn Reynolds, James Lileks, Dr. James Joyner, Jeff Goldstein, Scott Chaffin, and Tim Blair. I don't think I have such a perspective yet, but at least I recognize that I have a problem. On the other hand, I have won a fair number of caption contests, and I bought three of Mr. Lilek's books.
In other news, Vickie is doing better, I think Steve is doing better, old friends have returned, as have some web friends, though I'm not sure where, I've lost touch with some 'cause I didn't maintain my links, and I'm waiting for football to start again...
And in still other news, George Bush continues to disappoint, though he looks golden compared to the incompetent political hackery of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. The next general election sure looks like it needs a "None of the Above" on the ballot for president. By any historical measure the liberation of Iraq is going very well, though even many people in favor it don't seem to understand this remarkably simple fact. Can't wait for 300 to come out on DVD or Blu-Ray. The BBC's DVDs on WWII are worth the expense. Tony Soprano wasn't whacked and David Chase is brilliant. David Milch and John From Cincinnati sucks. Pollution is on the decline in the US but on the rise in China. At long last, Al Gore is beginning to be ridiculed by more than just the fringe right. As is Michael Moore.
And in yet still other news, the Cubs still suck, the Bears are going to be good again, the Fighting Illini are improving on the gridiron, Bruce Weber is doing great even if he is struggling with recruiting, the NCAA sucks big ****** *****, while the Chief will live on in our hearts, grilled flesh still tastes great and is more filling, rap is dying, short the Euro now (trust me), and as the Chink always said in Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, "the world situation is desperate, as usual."
Does this mean I'm back?
P.S. A laugh...
Have a post/reader ratio > 1.
In fact, my post/reader ratio will always be greater than Instapundit. So, I got that going for me.
I usually defend Microsoft from most of the attacks they find themselves under, but noW I've got a burr in my saddle about them. Without thinking, I downloaded IE 7.0 yesterday. Now, every time I try and insert a hyperlink I first have to go through three clicks to allow a scripted window to run. From reading the help file, the only solution to this is to allow Active X controls to run on all websites, which am loathe to do with the other less computer literate members of my household surfing the web.
Anyone have any ideas? And, no, buy a Mac isn't what I consider a legitimate suggestion.
Ok, this makes fifteen posts today. Weird, how my hits decrease once I start blogging again.
The world keeps getting ever more strange.
This isn't me.
Neither is this.
Nor this. Though if I ever did need to reach a, ahem, psychic, why would I need his phone number or e-mail address?
Hmm..., maybe Bill Gates minions respond rather quickly to any negative post about him.
I am guest posting here at the moment.
Two paragraphs of snark, and that's all this blog has become, are no substitute for thoughtful, informed, reasoned discourse. I've forgotten why I started blogging but I'm sure it wasn't to end up where I am now. Call it a mid-blog crisis if you will, but it is time to step back, assess where I am and where I want to be, and retool.
Now, if you'll excuse me...
Do you think Jeff would get mad if I renamed my blog Protean Wisdom?
Back from vacation where I got cheated out of a massage, but I did manage to get in seven rounds of golf, including shooting an 89 on Pinehurst #2. I literally missed an 85 by that much. I'm pleased as punch about that.
In other news:
I tried to go see Flight 93 tonight, but it was sold out. Some friends think it is too soon. Not me, I want to keep it seared, seared in my memory.
I did see Ice Age 2 with daughter #2 yesterday. Ugh. Clearly there is a great unsatisfied need for family-oriented movies with folks lining up to see dreck like this.
I got to go see the Nationals play the Cardinals in the new Busch stadium last Friday. It's nice, but I still do not understand why the owners reduced the seating from the old Busch stadium. They eliminated the top balcony from along the left field line for no apparent reason I can discern. I hope Albert Pujols can stay healthy. He has a chance to become one of the all time greats.
I guess I missed the memo where beggars became choosers, or, should I say, demanders. I don't mean to imply that immigrants who are here illegally are necessarily beggars, but it does seem that asking for something from the country you have no right to be in would be more polite and potentially more palatable to those legally here than demanding something when you have no legal standing, the marginally insane left-wing reconquista notwithstanding.
I don't give a damn if someone sings the National Anthem in Spanish. Or Hungarian, for that matter. But let's keep it real for a minute, this tip top hip hop faux pop has nothing to do with any inclusive mindset and everything to do with an in your face attempt to divide and conquer. I swear, some of these folks better be careful what they wish for. If George Wallace was alive and well, I think he'd be a viable third party candidate right about now. That giant sucking sound you hear is the vacuum created by the abandonment of principle by Democrats and Republicans.
Don't these freakin' people know there's a war on?
I'm reading Killing Pablo by Mark Bowden. The comparisons to what's going on in Iraq right now are eerie, though the book itself was written before any of this came to pass. I knew a little bit about what was happening in Columbia back in the 80's and 90's, but damn! More another time...
Sean Wilentz and his carefully self-selected group of friends think George W. Bush is the worst president ever. For historians, these guys are pretty stupid, or is it petty and stupid. Ever heard of Buchanan? Or Carter?
Woo Hoo! I won again.
I didn't log on to the Internet for six days and didn't miss it a bit. Sure I'm a binge blogger, but I can stop any time I want. And I've never lost time or passed out at the machine. I'm a social blogger, though, admittedly, I do frequently blog alone. And I've only missed work for blogging a few times. Oh, who am I kidding? My name is Charles and I'm a blogoholic.
Too much use of the word I. Hmm..., you might think I was running for office or something.
In your next software release, can you rewrite your code so that all comments post the name of the comment author at the top of the thread rather than the bottom? It would save a lot of time for thoughtful readers if we could quickly and easily skip right over the moonbats and trolls who have elevated non sequiturial feces flinging to an art form.
FWIW, this request was not inspired by anything apearing on this site.
Apparently, I am the one person in the world who thinks the IPod might actually suck. I only think this because I bought one yesterday and still can't get it to work. Now, before you think I'm a total dweeb when it comes to these things, my daughter whose had a NanoPod for months now can't make it work either.
I'm so lucky.
DOWNDATE: Details of the singularity in the comments. Meanwhile, Professor Reynolds thinks this is cool. Yeah, I bought an iPod so I can listen to commercials. Freaking brilliant. I'm chill to that tip Mack Daddy.
DOUBLE DOWNDATE: Thanks to Scott and Kerry, my iPod problems seem to be behind me. As for Lawrence's suggestion regarding Neil Young's latest, I'll pass. I'll stick with Decade, Harvest, Tonight's the Night, Stars 'N' Bars, Everybody's Rockin', and Zuma. And while I'm loading these onto my iPod, I'll keep these lyrics from Zuma's Pardon My Heart in mind:
You brought it all on
Oh, but it feels so wrong
You brought it all on
No, no, no, I don't believe this song
Be there or be square.
Or show up and watch me do both.
DOWNDATE: A good time was had by all.
Matt and Vicky Drachenberg are coming to town this weekend to celebrate Matt's 40th Birthday. We're going to start at 6:30 PM on April 8th at The Elephant Bar (next to the West County Mall). I expect we will be sitting in the bar for a while waiting for a table, though I don't think that should be a problem. The usual suspects from many of the previous Midwest Blog Bashes will be there. Will you?
Leave me a note in the comments if you are coming so I can get a rough number of attendees.
The Elephant Bar
1085 West County Center Dr.
Des Peres, MO 63131
When's tha last time you saw an AMC car on the road? Not just a Pacer, but a Javelin, an Eagle, a Gremlin, a Gladiator, a Matador, a Concord, a Spirit, a Hornet, or even a Rambler? The bastard step-products of the ill-fated AMC-Renault fiasco don't count.
You know, I can't, or won't, state a definition of sine qua non in the header, because I'm afraid I'd lose more than two-thirds of my mealy share of hits if the search engines that girdle the earth stopped sending people touring machine generated images this way.
DOWNDATE: It's a damn good thing I amuse the hell out of myself with this stuff, since apparently no one else knows what I'm talking about.
Charles needs to be comfortable with his Olympic roster.
Charles needs hernia operation after stretching awkwardly.
Charles needs expert help.
Charles needs an eartuck.
Charles needs lots of money.
Charles needs an army to put down Irish rebellion.
Charles needs assessment.
Charles needs a change of pants.
Charles needs a new home.
Go ahead and give it a Googlewhack.
Especially when they are for free spech, except, of course, when they aren't. Or when they are for free markets, except, of course, when they aren't. Or when they want to fight the GWOT, except, of course, when they don't.
In commenting upon Hamas' shenanigans, Glenn Reynolds writes:
It really is like dealing with teenagers. Except, you know, for the murder part.
But, um, doesn't Dr. Helen specialize in teenage murderers?
Only eleven more hits to 100,00. Will you be my valentine?
DOWNDATE: I passed 100,000 just before midnight. Unfortunately, I cannot tell who the great soul was that put me over the mark, but thanks to everyone who drops by to read, laugh, bitch, compliment, agree, contradict, supplement, correct, or just gaze in shock and awe.
I don't spend as much time reading blogs as I used to, but I still marvel at the restraint that has kept anyone from using the phrase "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark" in any blog post I have read on the reaction of those whose worldview is threatened by twelve cartoons. Is it coincidence that the number of cartoons is twelve? Are Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his merry band of Twelver's facilitating this choas in an attempt to usher in the twelfth Mahdi? Hey, I'm just asking. After all, no less an authority than Condi Rice has indicated that Iran and Syria are violently exploiting the situation.
Monday marks four years of blogging and I'm 401 hits shy of 100,000. Will I make it? If I do, would this mean I am 1/2,165th the blogger Glenn Reynolds is? Shouldn't I be happy about that?
In response to a Brad Delong post calling Jonah Goldberg the stupidest man alive for saying something silly about buffalos (buffaloes, Mr. Quayle?) and Indians, I posted a comment there that went something like this:
So saying something that may be silly makes you the stupidest man in the world? Jeez, imagine how much damage you've just done to Howard Dean's self-esteem.
I cannot be certain of the exact wording because the comment disappeared. I thought, hey, maybe I screwed up and only previewed it, so I went back and posted a reasonable facsimile again, making sure I previewed and saved it this time. But once again, my post is no longer there.
Weird? Or is it?
Someone got here today looking for:
sound bite of ted kennedy singing
Don't worry, you'll not find that here.
Is from Tom Waits:
Will you sell me one of those if I shave my head?
"Get me out of town," is what Fireball said.
Never trust a man in a blue trench coat,
Never drive a car when you're dead.
I'm not sure what to think of this:
BISBEE - Two immigrants are now the owners of a Douglas-area ranch seized from an anti-immigrant activist. Documents granting the 70-acre ranch once owned by Casey Nethercott to Fatima del Socorro Leiva Medina and Edwin Alfredo Mancia Gonzales were signed Monday by a Cochise County judge.
Nethercott is serving a five-year prison term in Texas stemming from a 2003 incident on a Texas ranch where he confronted Leiva and Mancia and was accused of pistol-whipping them. He was acquitted of assault, but convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
The Southern Poverty Law Center brought suit against Nethercott on behalf of the two immigrants. Nethercott did not respond and a Texas judge ordered him to pay $500,000. Leiva and Mancia were illegal immigrants from El Salvador. They received temporary legal status in the United States as crime victims and are seeking visas to stay longer.
But how often do you see a story reported from Lynn Bracken's hometown?
Kevin Murphy made me do it, though I've slightly modified it.
Four Movies You Could Watch Over And Over (and Over and Over):
1. The Godfather, Part II. Best. Sequel. Ever. Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro at their best.
2. The Exorcist. Scariest. Movie. Ever. Put yourself in the role of any of the characters of this film and try and imagine what you would do.
3. South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut. Funniest. Movie. Ever. So funny and so few opportunities to use the best lines in public.
4. The Name of the Rose. Average. Movie. But the memories it stirs of a tour de force book keep my mind swirling for hours.
(Note to Kevin -- Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman each deserved the Best Actor Oscar that year for Midnight Cowboy over John Wayne who apparently got it because the Academy wasn't yet giving lifetime achievement awards. Also, by definition, you have to watch Groundhog Day over and over and over...)
Four TV Shows You Love To Watch:
1. Blackadder. Best. Sitcom. Ever.
2. ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown. Best. Studio. Sports. Show. Ever.
3. Have I Got News For You. They actually featured a tub of lard as a contestant once.
4. Live sports.
Four Places You’ve Been on Vacation:
1. Munich. For Oktoberfest.
2. The Lake District. My, ahem, friends took me out for a little walk one weekend. Nice pub at the end of the day though.
3. Alaska. Cruising the Inner Passage, does anyone know what that theme music is?
4. Yellowstone National Park. Still underappreciated.
Four Places You’d Rather Be:
1. Glacier National Park. Thar be bears there -- I know from experience.
2. The Prince of Wales -- My home pub when I lived in England.
3. Pinehurst #2. Preferably accepting a U.S. Open trophy.
4. Augusta National. Being fitted for a green jacket.
Four People To Tag With This Meme (Alas, I do not know how to reach any of them):
1. Ryne Sandberg.
2. John Prine.
3. George Carlin.
Alright, fine. I couldn't pass up this opportunity to run my first caption contest.
Have at it. Winner announced on Monday.
Been on the road.
My laptop died on the plane ride out.
Laptop not yet fixed.
Anybody want to buy some Girl Scout cookies?
DOWNDATE: If you should ever seriously corrupt your Windows XP laptop by correctly and properly deleting a Cingular broadband application and you are then eventually able to get it it restored after several days effort using the Windows XP Sytem Restore function, do not then immediately test your theory that it was the entirely correct and proper removal of the Cingular broadband application that corrupted your Windows XP laptop under the assumption that you can just use the Windows XP System Restore function to fix it right back again.
Trust me on this.
I won again. I even got my own category this time.
And just post on the weekends.
I haven't been blogging much lately, primarily because time is scarce. But I have been entering some caption contests. Here are my timely, topical, obscure, and laden with pop culture leitmotif entries from Rodney Dill's latest contest over at James Joyner's Outside the Beltway using this image from Reuters/Jim Young:
Speak evil, see evil, hear evil.
Must be a hidden camera, Chuck Schumer’s not in the frame.
Even Senator Leahy is thinking to himself, “My God, is there a question in here somewhere?”
Biden’s caption: “Winkin’, drinkin’ and God.”
Joe Biden: “Judge Alito, I’m confused by your inability to convince me that you’ve never been caught in bed with a live boy or a dead girl.”
Senator Leahy (thinking): WTF?
Senator Kennedy (thinking): Careful Teddy-boy, remember not to show any reaction whenever anyone mentions a dead girl.
Charter members of CASF (Concerned Alumni of San Francisco).
Honestly, who ever thought our biggest problem would be old white men not wanting to send kids off to war?
While Joe Biden serenades himself, Ted Kennedy calculates how many more years he would have had before he was eligible for parole if justice were truly blind, and Patrick Leahy contemplates President Bush’s appointment of two more associate justices to the U.S. Supreme Court to replace Justice Stevens and Justice Ginsberg.
Joe Biden: “I know some of you think we’re pretty bad, but just remember that for all intents and purposes, Barbara Boxer represents one out of every ten Americans. Things can always be worse, and don’t you forget it.”
While Senator Biden asks Judge Alito what kind of tree he would be if he were a tree, Senator Kennedy corrects all his notes by striking all the extra “o”s from Alioto, and Senator Leahy tries to find a happy place where Republicans are found only in reeducation camps and history books.
While Joey Walnuts laments his loss of stature in the DNC family, Crazy Uncle Junior Kennedy takes notes on who hasn’t been showing the proper level of respect and Patty frets that America is watching and knows that, as Tony always says, there has to be consequences.
But here's my favorite, especially for those of us who spent our formative years participating in high school and other amateur productions of Broadway musicals:
Fugue for Dems Scorned (with apologies to Damon Runyan)
It’s in my notes right here,
A scholar I revere,
Says Tribe’s a guy who knows when a penumbra’s near.
Can’t do, can’t do,
Larry says Alito’s through.
If he says Alito’s through,
Can’t do, can’t do.
(SENATOR KENNEDY starts singing his part at this time, while SENATOR BIDEN continues:)
Can’t do, can’t do,
Larry says Alito’s through.
If he says Alito’s through,
Can’t do, can’t do.
(SENATOR LEAHY starts singing his part at this time, while SENATOR BIDEN and SENATOR KENNEDY continue:)
With Larry Tribe I’ll fight
Sammy with all my might.
Of course, if Dujack’s here it’s sweet prince good night.
Likes mud, likes mud,
Senate Democrats like mud.
Senate Democrats fling mud,
Sling mud, like mud.
Now Chucky Schumer here,
Can be a horse’s rear,
He does a great impression that’s real sincere.
Lie one, lie two,
A lie told enough ‘comes true.
Larry says Alito’s through,
Can’t do, can’t do.
Horse’s rear. I got the mud right here.
I’m pickin’ Ballantine,
On ice, this morning’s fine.
It’s got to be at least five ‘til nine.
No chance, no chance,
This extremist has no chance.
If I say he’s got no chance,
No chance. No chance.
Thanks for the Ballantine,
It’s really quite sublime,
Start pouring if you see it fall below this line.
Needs ice, needs ice,
My aide says my drink needs ice.
If he says my drink needs ice,
Needs ice. Needs ice.
Bring me more Ballantine,
My buzz is in decline.
I don’t give a damn if it’s not yet nine.
No chance, no chance,
Alioto’s got no chance.
Ballantine! I got my drink right here.
This is our epitaph,
As people point and laugh,
While we try and pin our failure on devoted staff.
“Flop sweat” – “Flop sweat”
Rusher called our bluff – “Flop sweat”
Enough is enough – “Flop sweat”,
Flop sweat, flop sweat.
And just a minute, boys.
Let’s pull out all our toys,
And make the nominee’s wife cry and lose her poise.
No class. No class.
Smears, lies, and nonsense, no class.
We don’t need no stinkin’ class.
No class. No class.
So write our epitaph, since we failed to gaff
Sam Alito with our posturing silly chaff.
Epitaph! I got the smear right here!
Add your own captions of at OTB. Personally, I think too clever by half rewrites of old show tunes that maintain as much of the original as possible remain woefully underappreciated. But that's just me.
Alright, this makes fifteen posts tonight. That ought to keep y'all busy for a while.
But do not pass up Mark Steyn's, It's the Demography, Stupid. It is probably the best thing I've read on the Internet for several years.
Thanks to all the kind comments to the last post. Here's a few random thoughts, and while full time blogging has not resumed quite yet, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...
The Good Samaritans: It's a shame to see Bono come between Bill and Melinda Gates. But like Jesus said, "Heaven keeps a special place for those who contribute huge sums of money while maintaining just enough for themselves to feed and clothe your average third-world country." Gosh, I love serious journalism.
Sheehan Leads War Protest in Spain: The running of the bullshit.
Let freedom ring: President Bush asserted Sunday night the United States is winning the war in Iraq but acknowledged setbacks and the doubts of some "that the war is lost and not worth another dime or another day." He pleaded with Americans to ignore "defeatists who refuse to see that anything is right." In related news, Senator Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) demanded that Bush stop questioning his patriotism with his anti-defeatist talk.
Meanwhile, Sufis and Sunnis continue to lose sleep: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday termed Iran as the global front-runner of 'real Islam', the news agency ISNA reported. 'Islam is the only mean for salvation of mankind with the Iranian nation as global front-runner and flag-holder of the real Islam,' Ahmadinjead said in his first-ever meeting as president with students in Teheran.
What the Hell is wrong with people? Donovan McNabb is criticized by the Philadelphia head of the NAACP for "trying to be white": "In essence Donny, you are mediocre at best," Mondesire wrote. "And trying to disguise that fact behind some concocted reasoning that African American quarterbacks who can scramble and who can run the ball are somehow lesser field generals ... is more insulting off the field than on." Amazing. Alas, then Donovan lets us know that perhaps such cultural relativism is as out of line as we might have thought: Obviously, if it's someone else who is not African American, it's racism," McNabb told reporters attending his annual holiday party last Saturday. "But when someone of the same race talks about you because you're selling out because you're not running the ball, it goes back to, 'What are we really talking about here?' "If you talk about my play, that's one thing. When you talk about my race, now we've got problems. If you're trying to make a name off my name, again, I hope your closet is clean because something is going to come out about you ... I always thought the NAACP supported African Americans and didn't talk bad about them. Now you learn a little bit more." No doubt, Rush Limbaugh might agree.
In sad NFL news, Former NFL defensive tackle Darrell Russell and an unidentified person were killed Thursday morning after their speeding car crashed, hospital authorities said. Russell was 29. Speeding you say? According to a report on KCBS, the accident occurred on southbound La Cienega Boulevard just after 6 a.m. local time. Russell was a passenger in the car and pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, a hospital spokesperson told SportsTicker. The report said the driver of the Pontiac Grand Prix involved in the accident was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at UCLA Medical Center. According to the report, the car hit a curb, ran over a fire hydrant and knocked over several news racks before striking a bus, which was out of service with its flashers on. Thankfully, no one outside the vehicle was hurt.
Another year and another undefeated Fighting Illini basketball team has trouble getting any respect, apparently because they don't play on the East Coast. As soon as the buzzer sounded to end Illinois' victory at North Carolina last month the first thing Dick Vitale said was, "What a great game these kids from North Carolina played." Sigh.
In other sporting news, with the apparent return of Rex Grossman tonight the Bears are starting to look like NFC favorites to me, especially outdoors with home field advantage. Tonight is the first time I've got to see the Bears all season, and boy do they look good on 60" of HDTV. I realize that I may be a bit biased but I think the officials got the call with 12:09 of the fourth quarter correct. The Falcon WR only had one foot down before he was leveled, and he did not maintain control when he hit the ground. It would have been an incomplete pass had Nathan Vasher not then caught it.
Robert Novak continues to dazzle with his brilliance: Senior Defense Department officials say Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has told them nobody should stay for just another year, but that he wants them for the rest of President Bush's second term. That is read as a signal that Rumsfeld intends to serve out the next three years. Rumsfeld finishing his term would contradict wide speculation that he will quit soon after this week's Iraqi parliamentary elections. For "wide speculation," read "silly Democratic
Christmas non-religious holiday wish."
Just remember, everything you know (if acquired from Big Media) is wrong: The bodies of New Orleans residents killed by Hurricane Katrina were almost as likely to be recovered from middle-class neighborhoods as from the city's poorer districts, such as the Lower 9th Ward, according to a Times analysis of data released by the state of Louisiana. The analysis contradicts what swiftly became conventional wisdom in the days after the storm hit — that it was the city's poorest African American residents who bore the brunt of the hurricane. Slightly more than half of the bodies were found in the city's poorer neighborhoods, with the remainder scattered throughout middle-class and even some richer districts.
Ahem: Media Bias Is Real, Finds UCLA Political Scientist. Jeez, it must really be a slow news day for this to make the papers.
And to close with one scary thought, I figure Iran's got about five more weeks before Israel does the world's dirty work one more time.
At long last my labours have borne fruit.
Today my partner Dave and I bought the company I've been working for since last year. I've never been so much in debt. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Blogging shall resume shortly.
I haven't setled completely on what to do yet, but I'm thinking about folding this blog up and starting a new one called "My Life Among the Savages", because that is what reading papers and blogs feels like these days. The savages are the people who believe in magic to fix problems, evil spirits who bedevil their existence, tribalism, authority without commensurate responsibility for themselves, responsibility without commensurate authority for those with whom they disagree, and rewriting history whenever it becomes inconvenient -- amongst other egregious sins against humanity.
The battle against the darkness is becoming fierce.
DOWNDATE: Yep, savages. Starting with Tim Russert this morning. What a disgraceful performance, and make no mistake, it was a performance. Just notice how hostile and animated "non-partisan" Tim is when he asking a question about the "failures" of the federal government, and how softlly he lobs the questions about the "failures" of the state and local officials. And I would have thought that someone who worked at such a high level for the former governor of New York would have understood why the federal government doesn't sweep in and take over cities days before a disaster occurs. And as for Timmy's virtual demand that, "heads have to roll", well, I guess I hadn't realized until now that the Left really did long for the days of the French Revolution. Vive la terror!
Hindsight is such a wonderful thing, almost as good as a magic wand.
Since so few people are interested in reading what I have to say, here's your chance to leave your mark, even if it hurts. Of course, this blog may only be around for two more days, so make it good.
I finished the last of the extant Harry Potter books over the weekend while we had periods of no power and the lightning prevented me from working outside. I have thoroughly enjoyed all six books and have a few thoughts, commments, questions, and projections below the fold.
Note: Serious spoilers ahead!
After five years of Snape wanting the Defense of the Dark Arts job, he finally got it. And what happens? Nothing, so far as I can tell. Either something will be revealed in the next and final installment or I missed it while reading early into the morning.
The "Half-Blood Prince" almost seemed like a throwaway line. Was it as irrelevant to the rest of the story as it seemed to be?
I'm very impressed with how everything continues to hold together so well. Ms. Rowling seems to have understood the outline of how the story would unfold long before she finished the first book. Incidentally, this is one of the reasons Star Wars 1, 2, and 3 seemed to suck so much -- George Lucas really hadn't given it much thought until his hands were tied by what had already been shown to transpire. Books 4, 5, and 6 are much more complex than books 1, 2, and 3. I hope the liberties taken in the movies for 1, 2, and 3 don't hamstring them too much later.
I'm somewhat surprised Harry isn't going to end up with the greatest witch of his age -- Hermione. It has been clear since book 3 that Hermione was going to end up with Ron, but it wasn't obvious to me that Harry was destined to start snogging with Ginny until book 5. Too many Cho Chang hints, I guess.
Hogwarts will open next year and Harry will be back. Why?
1. The title will be Harry Potter and the Something Something Something: Year 7 at Hogwarts.
2. Harry will still be able to talk with Dumbledore, but only through his portrait in the Headmistress' office at Hogwarts.
3. All the coupling still has to be resolved, and since everyone else will be at Hogwarts...
4. Harry's attempt to do a Peter Parker with Ginny isn't going to stand up. Love has been put forward as an ancient powerful magic that Voldemort cannot seem to grasp. Somehow, I don't think Ms. Rowling has finished with this theme.
5. Neville Longbottom still has a significant role to play, IMHO, and where else besides there and St. Mungo's will Harry run into him? Haven't you ever wondered why Neville ended up in Gryffindor rather than Hufflepuff? Oh, and I hope Neville's happy with Luna.
6. Hagrid and Gwarp still have a role to play, and they'll both be at, or at least near, Hogwarts.
7. In a recurring lietmotif, there has to be a new Defense of the Dark Arts Professor, one for each year. Hmm..., will the new professor's initials be R.A.B.?
8. How is Harry going to become an Auror without his N.E.W.T.s?
I have no idea what J.K. Rowlings' politics are, and I know she remains attached to Amnesty International, but her values seem to be somewhat conservative. Evil exists and must be fought constantly -- frequently at great cost, bad things happen to good people, you have to take care of yourself, and don't trust the government. The last one really surprises me. While the people leading the Ministry of Magic want to do the right thing, they just cannot put aside the political battles long enough to do so. Gee, any parallels with real life here you can think of?
We never did find out what happened to Dumbledore's hand, though he promised Harry to tell him later when there was time to do the tale justice, so that's got to be in book 7.
I thought the centaurs should have taken Firenze back as a gift to Dumbledore when they came to show their respects. Perhaps they have and Ms. Rowling forgot to mention it, or they still may.
I sure hope Aragog's children don't make another appearance.
I also hope that Kingsley Shacklebolt isn't played by Samuel L. Jackson. And why is it that the wizarding community struggles to understand muggles so much, and yet K.S. can be the Prime Minister's secretary and outperform everyone else who has had the job?
Harry Potter has been a virtual who's who of British actors and actresses. There are only a few left to pick from: Dame Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, Hugh Grant, Ian McKellen, Ewan McGregor, Emily Watson, Pierce Brosnan (yes, I know he's Irish), Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Billy Connally, Patrick Stewart, John Rhys-Davies, Jason Stratham, and Vinny Jones.
The other schools seem to have fallen off the face of the earth once again, although we did get to see Fleur take a more visible role. Will we see Viktor Krum again in book 7, if for no other reason than to tweak Ron with Hermione and Viktor once again? While Harry and Voldemort are both tied to Hogwarts, the Death Eaters are not, as we saw with Karkaroff.
I expect that Percy Weasley is going to get a chance to redeem himself but he'll probably die doing so.
Obviously, Malfoy will be back in a key role as well, though it is difficult to divine what it might be.
There's still one Weasley we don't know much about yet -- Charlie. Any bets he makes a notable appearance in the next book?
Professor Trelawny, despite being a fraud when it comes to teaching divination, does appear to actually be a seer, although she cannot control it and in fact seems to be completely unaware of the fact that she really is a seer.
The big questions is where does Professor Snape actually stand -- and is it proper to still call him professor? Has Snape always been Voldemort's man, is he still Dumbledore's man, or has he been truly vacillating back and forth. This one's tough. If Snape has remianed Dumbledore's man then he deserves almost as much credit as Harry for what he has had to go through thus far. I have some other thoughts here that push me towards believing that Snape is still Dumbledore's man, but they are tied up in a private discussion whose details I shan't reveal here. But here's a hint... why did Dumbledore call ask for Professor Snape as soon as he returned instead of Madame Pomfrey or Professor Slughorn?
My last and potentially most important conjectiure is that the last Horcrux is going to be a person. Ah, but who? Since that person has to die before Voldemart can be killed, opening the doors of paradox here, what if it Harry himself? Yes, of course Voldemort wants to kill Harry, but if he fails, he knows he cannot fully die while Harry remains alive. And if it is Harry, will there be some way that Harry can break the horcrux without dying, though he will be forever adversely affected by it?
Then again, if it isn't Harry, what if the last Horcrux is somehow bound up with the fate of Hogwarts itself? What if the last Horcrux is something of Gryffindor and Ravenclaw instead of Gryffindor or Ravenclaw? Maybe it's just the sorting hat. Either way, can Harry bring himself to destroy it? And one last, desperate grasp -- what if the final Horcrux is Cho Chang? Again, will Harry be able to destroy it?
DOWNDATE: A friend sent me a link to a site which argues that Dumbledore isn't dead. I'm not going to go into a point by point refutation, but after rereading the end of book 6, I am quite certain Dumbledore is dead. I am just as certain now that Snape is still Dumbledore's man. If anyone cares I can expound farther.
DOUBLE DOWNDATE: Was Lily Evans in Ravenclaw? If she was, then Harry is something of Gryffindor (James) and Ravenclaw (Lily). I can't seem to remember a definitive reference that places Lily in Gryffindor. Jeez, I hope someone proves me wrong on this one.
Did I say surprised? I meant appalled. Skipping gleefully by the false dichotomies and the apples to oranges comparisons of her linked article -- pre-historic savannah vice 20th century totalitarianism, please -- I gather that Megan McArdle is one of those folks who would willingly trade her freedom for security, or at least give it some serious consideration. She concludes with:
That's the magic of the market, actually; we don't have to choose.
Uh, well, actually we have to choose all the time, unless she means that we don't have to choose between the false dichotomies presented. Or did I miss the unanimity of agreement regarding the GWOT, presenting us with what might be characterized as a rather stark choice between living the free life of, ahem, Bush-men, or accepting the 21st century totalitarianism of Islamofascism.
I wonder if Europe's greatest fear now is that Israel will act or that they won't.
I have been accused of having a lead foot and a big heart. The folks from the Muscular Dystrophy Association are coming to arrest me on August 31 and lock me up. My bail has been set at $2005, which will fund 30 minutes of MDA research.
Please help bail me out by making a donation here. You can also donate via the MDA-PayPal button on the far left. All funds donated will be presented to MDA in conjunction with the 2005 Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon.
I've never asked anyone for a dime on this blog before. I only ask now on behalf of others who need your help. And to help motivate you further, help me get to $2005 by August 31 or I will kill this blog.
Thanks. Oh, and you do know what that is a picture of, don't you? I mean, don't hate me because I'm beautiful.
DOWNDATE: Hey cool, I've got a graphic now to let you know how we're doing.
DOUBLE DOWNDATE: Alright, blogospherians. I'm posting up a storm and yet the donations seem to have shrivelled up faster than a slug carrying a 30 pound salt lick trying to cross Bonneville Flats at high noon. Will you donate more if I stop posting?
Back tomorrow. Let's see if absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
Laurence Simon raised $2,875 for cats in one day last week. Congratulations!
Any chance we can raise something approaching that in one month for people?
Or rather, we would have if it was readable in IE. Can someone please notify Mr. Lileks about the problems with his new and, ahem, improved format?
So, K-Lo, have John Podheretz, Rammesh Ponnuru and Robert P. George come to a conclusion as to how many angels can dance on the head of a pin yet?
Dude, fix the formatting on today's Bleat. Please.
Speaking only for myself, my eyes glaze over whenever I see a post where Ramesh Ponnuru and John Podheretz are "debating" each other. If it really seems that interesting to you, may I suggest you get out a bit more often.
Hey, how about leaving a few dollars for Jerry's kids while you're here?
This meme is a little worse for wear, but here are ten things I've done that you probably haven't:
1. Encountered a bear up close and personal in Glacier National Park. Did I mention we were a two-day hike from the nearest gravel road?
3. Broke my big toe playing ping pong.
4. Hiked through the base of Little River Canyon in July (aka Bruce Martin's Death March).
5. Climbed Diamond Head on Oahu.
6. Attended Bear Bryant's last football game, the 1982 Liberty Bowl.
7. Hit a golf ball 360 yards, legitimately.
8. Won the College Bowl at my University.
9. Shook hands with Jack Nicklaus.
10. Listened to a customer admit that the biggest mistake he ever made was not accepting my proposal for a solution we offered him for $250,000 that I estimate instead cost perhaps $50,000,000 over the next 10 years. And that's all I have to say about that.
I was going to title this post: It's Easier to Take the Boeing When You Are Already In Seattle, but Boeing up and moved to Chicago in 2001. Stefan can now be found here.
My hits have doubled today, though most of them are hits from various search engines looking for one variant or another of "sine qua non". Has some great man or woman used "sine qua non" in a piece of purple prose today? Or is there been something published about the vote in France on the EU Constitution that has prompted this? Why all the unique search engine hits all of a sudden?
Hmmm..., I wonder if actionable intelligence could be gathered via an heuristic technique for monitoring hit on URLS built around relatively obscure words and phrases, e.g., "sine qua non."
Or, in other words, random thoughts, pet peeves, obscure trivia, and thesis worthy conclusions offered without background or justification:
George Lucas' biggest mistake was making 1, 2, and 3, instead of 7, 8 and 9. Or, in other words, instead of The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith, he should have made Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation. Say, those titles seem strangely familiar.
Yalta was a deal with the devil. We know that now, though I think they knew it then too. Perhaps it was just the triumph of hope over experience. Regardless, the blanket amnesia or outright ignoraqnce by so many pundits of the zeitgeist and contemporary logistics of a war that, as Patton said, "we could still lose," is astounding. Yalta was a bad deal but it is far from obvious that all the better deals were skipped over or ignored for one reason or another. If putsch had came to shove, I don't think Stalin would have had a problem sacrificing another 10,000,000 men, but it is highly doubtful that anybody but the US would have been in a position to fight back, and, frankly, I don't think the US would have done so. Had we taken the Soviets on at that time, maybe the Soviet Union's Iron Curtain wouldn't have been "from Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic," but from The Hague on the North Sea to Gibraltar on the Mediterranean. Gee, would it have been better if the Cold War were still raging? From the other side of the spectrum, FDR may have been a little feckless at Yalta without necessarily having to be in Uncle Joe's pocket. I can't detemine if the sheer lunacy of much of the commentary about Bush's comments on Yalta from the left and the right is due to a poor knowledge of WWII history or a wilingness to deceive themselves and others about WWII history to conform to ideologically motivated positioning. The latter is truly scary.
Which is weirder, the mythology of the ancient Greeks or the mythology of the (Post) Modern Left?
I no longer believe the Democrat Party is acting in good faith or with goodwill on much of anything at the national level. Please note that this is not necessarily true at the various state and local levels. Here's hoping that President George W. Bush, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Speaker of the House Denny Hastert have the balls to grind the current leaders of the Democrat Party into mincemeat in the hope that it will force the Democrat Party membership to select new leaders who don't believe they are playing a sub-zero sum game when it comes to politics.
Can anybody explain to me briefly what is suposed to be scientific about Marxism?
Dismissing the self-promoting and the hopelessly delusional for a moment, given the lack of an "heir apparent" from the incumbent Republican Party and the complete disarray of damaged goods available from the Democrat Party, when is the last time it was so completely unclear who the candidates in the next US presidential election would be?
How can anyone even imagine trying to reform this bastard? Kill him. As soon as possible after a fair trial. Justice delayed is justice denied for these two little girls.
If there was an NFL God, he'd arrange for Andy Reid trade Terrell Owens to Baltimore, or better yet, San Francisco.
Rumor has it the NBA playoffs have started. I wouldn't know.
Enjoy your weekend.
Alright people, this makes nineteen posts for the day. My penance for stepping away for a week is complete. I look forward to reading your voluminous praise and the acknowledgment of a few good puns and some clever wordsmithing here and there tomorrow. At least I hope your comments outnumber the Chinese spam.
At least she's still got Bill Maher.
The weather's nice, it being spring and all, the grass is growing, weeds are sprouting, herbs and annuals are waiting to be planted, daughter #1 has to learn to drive, numerous household repairs await, there are rumors circulating that I may get to go golfing and shooting again sometime soon, and if I run out of other useful or necessary things to do there's always plenty to do on the paying job. Reading and writing blog posts has slipped way down the priority list.
Time permitting, I have a letter to the editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to write though.
DOWNDATE: Obviously time did not permit, but the stench of the rank partisanship of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board was becoming overwhelming when it came to Governor Blunt's signing of Medicare reform. I'm sorry, but I really don't have the time to respond properly to these amateur Marxists who feel that incitement against the persons and property of those they disagree with is just peachy.
Oh, and some guy with a small penis who just can't seem to stop masturbating long enough to learn some of the basic rules of human decency has been polluting my comments with Chinese spam. Sorry Jake, you are the weakest link, and your posts are gone.
And in a similar vein, Trackbacks are gone due to serial abuse by men unable to consummate a relationship with anything less than four legs.
I got my imported CD of Swagger by Gun today. I think I'll be driving to work tomorrow very fast.
In case any of you missed it, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the world ended in Missouri today because Governor Matt Blount (gratuitious guilt by association link - the son of US Congressman Roy Blount (R-MO), who is deputy majority leader under Tom DeLay) signed into law a bill to reduce Missouri's Medicare expenditures to the lower limit of the federally mandated law. Maybe the editorial page editors will put the phrase "Missouri's Shame" to rest for a couple of weeks now.
Or maybe not, as Missouri executed Donald Jones last night in their shiny, new, never before used execution chamber at Bonne Terre for his 1993 conviction for murdering his grandmother because she refused to give him money for drugs.
In other news, Randi Rhodes was dragged from her studio today, beaten, stripped and stabbed to death in the street by George Bush's jack-booted thugs after running a wildly hilarious audio clip of someone shooting the president. Gosh, this stuff is just so funny.
Gore blasts GOP bid to... oh, who cares?
And in two weeks, when the Senate resumes deliberations on John Bolton's nomination to be UN Ambassador, several people whom Mr. Bolton defeated in a staring contest will be brought forward to testify to his unfitness to represent the interests of the United States before that august body.
Meanwhile in Turtle Bay, Zimbabwe was re-elected to the U.N. Human Rights Commission! Good thing that Mugabe fellow is nothing like mean old Mr. Bolton.
Bill Moyer wannabe David Brancaccio claims he has found the Iraqi made famous for doing his Danial-san impossible to defend against crane move; albeit with a soapbox, a hood and a couple of wires attached for effect. Meanwhile, the Frontline episode celebrating the liberation of Iraq cannot even be found on the drawing board.
When the theocratic takeover of America happens, oh, sometime next month, how much fighting do you think there will be over which Puritan gets to go through Andrew Sullivan's closet?
I read somewhere once that the fights in academia are so vicious because there is so little at stake.
Quick hits while I wile away four hours at Raleigh Durham Airport's not so fabulous C concourse. At least they have WIFI, for a small fee, of course. At least in this concourse.
The most obvious irony that has been missed, as far as I can tell, about John Kerry's charming solicitation of weepy war stories to inflict political harm on the administration (and, necessarily, America) is that he has to go looking for them. Gee, you'd think there was one on every street corner given the press coverage, wouldn't you?
This week's rental car had Sirius Radio. Last month's had XM Radio. Thus far, I much prefer XM to Sirius. Today's highlights: Long May You Run - Neil Young, Pigs - Pink Floyd, Magic - Pilot, West End Girls - Pet Shop Boys, Deacon Blues - Steely Dan, Aja - Steely Dan, and the Theme from Shaft - Isaac Hayes.
Austin Bay notes that Al Qaeda's Iraqi Tet is failing. He attributes the failure mostly to the differeing nature of the War on Terror compared to the defensive war in Vietnam. While this is undoubtedly true, another very important factor is that the determination of what is news is no longer controlled by a handful of men in New York. There is no longer a credible Uncle Walter capable of declaring the war lost, although there are many wannabes who continue to try.
It is too soon to have to spend so much time so close to the University of North Carolina.
Geopolitical Pessimism Haiku:
It's true, as Tears for
Fears sang, "Everybody
Wants to rule the world"
I just got my VHS tapes of Lord Clarke's Civilisation back from a relative after a rather prolonged absence. Expect many casual allusions shamelessly plagiarized from his brilliance to show up in this space in the coming months. And it's finally available on DVD, even if the Philistines at PBS don't know how to spell his name properly. Hey cool, Jacob Bronowski's Ascent of Man is also available on DVD. When I get home and order them, they can assume a place of prominence on my DVD shelf next to Ken Burns' The Civil War, Sister Wendy's The Complete Collection, and Simon Schama's The History of Britain. Alas, the same shelf also contains Carl Sagan's rather unworthy Cosmos -- it couldn't even withstand the passing of twenty years without looking rather silly. And, FWIW, you'll not find any other Ken Burn's DVDs on my shelf either.
As some of you may have noticed I finally succumbed to blogtation, or bowed to blog etiquette and added a blogroll.
As Timothy B. Schmit once sang, I can't tell you why.
One of the sharper minds in the blogosphere has returned with a seemingly contrarian view on Summersgate.
Is probably sufficient to get you a Sine Qua Non link:
Rulers who promote such harsh restrictions remind me of the twisted monk Jorge in Umberto Eco's book The Name of the Rose. Jorge banned a book by Aristotle on the value of laughter, on the rationale that laughter undermines respect for authority: "Laughter, for a few moments, distracts the villain from fear. But law is imposed by fear, whose true name is fear of God. ...if laughter is the delight of the plebians, the license of the plebians must be restrained and humiliated, and intimidated by sternness."
So, are those NCAA Final Four tickets forthcoming or not?
Ok, I've heard a lot about how powerful the blogosphere is. Here's a simple test to see if there is any real power out there in the greater blogosphere or if it is just all hot air.
I need two tickets to the NCAA Final Four in St. Louis. I am more than willing to pay for them, but I only want to pay face value rather than the ridiculous prices offered by the on-line ticket brokers. Like Patton demanding to be allowed to fulfill his destiny in WW II, I cannot believe the Almighty will deny me the opportunity to watch Illinois play in the Final Four here in the town in which I now live.
What's it going to be?
Just for the record, if you are looking for a prom dress or wedding attire, I'm certain there are better places to look for links than in my comments.
And some people are opposed to the death penalty. I can't understand it.
Name five famous Franks:
3. Lloyd Wright
It's still business.
I'd compliment and highlight this article by John Hinderaker in the Weekly Standard, but then it might be taken as a bit of unseemly self-promotion since I reached the same conclusion about the Supreme Court reinstituting the rule of men for the rule of law six days earlier.
1. What’s your favorite kind of cookie?
Very soft, warm chocolate chip cookies. All other cookies are poor imitations of this little slice of heaven.
2. Who is America’s most overrated actor?
Bill Clinton. No freakin' contest.
3. Name a guilty pleasure.
Driving very assertively. If you see a blue RX-8 passing you doing 75 in the outside lane of a two-lane off ramp, it's probably me. Especially, if you just passed me on the main road while I stayed within 9 mph of the posted speed limit.
4. “Scrubs” or “Everybody Loves Raymond”?
I haven't watched any conventional big three network programming other than sports for at least 15 years. I decline to accept the fundamental premise of this false dichotomy.
5. Name two things you can’t live without.
The obvious, and only appropriate, answer to this question must be Thing 1 and Thing 2. But instead I'll say food and water. Though I think this was meant somewhat more metaphorically, in which case I'll say books and music, hope and dreams, Country and Western, rythym and blues, rock and roll, retro and neo, theory and practice, integrals and derivatives, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, punch and pie, freedom and liberty, cowboys and Indians, arts and sciences, adverbs and adjectives, yin and yang, Harry Nilsson and you, us and them, irresistible forces and immovable objects, sugar and saccharine, those twins (Hmm..., is that one thing or two things? And in a similar vein, would Eric the bee be one thing or two things since he traditionally comes in halves? And would sweet and sour pork be one thing or two things? The mind boggles at the implications.), or friends and family.
6. Your first pet’s name + your mother’s maiden name = your porn star name.
Buddy Burress. Gee, is that how Paul Thomas Anderson came up with Dirk Diggler?
7. What song are you listening to right now?
Hell -- Squirrel Nut Zippers.
8. Name your celebrity crush.
Valerie Bertinelli. This one could get me into so much trouble, if you only knew...
9. Favorite punchline from a joke.
Oh, its a scythe. The best line by the best character from the best episode of the best sitcom ever.
10. Who do you want to pass this meme off to?
Kevin Bacon. Six degrees and all that.
I worked in an office once where we had two conferences rooms, labeled 2A and 2B respectively, or as I liked to refer to them, conference rooms 2B and not 2B.
How's that for a segue for the announcement of two new Sine Qua Non subheadings (alert the media!):
Green Eggs and Hamlet
Nemesis of Year 0 Utopians
The former will be a book translating Shakespeare's Hamlet into mono- and disyllabic rhymes suitable for youngsters. I am looking for an illustrator. The latter is nothing more than an acknolwedgment of my keeping up the good fight against the perfect -- "What is good, Phaedrus?" and all that.
Will the, ahem, gentlemen who keeps visiting this site from search results that invariably include the word "nipple" please stop it. Here's what you are looking for.
A small sampling of the more obvious allusions and indirect pop culture references all but maybe 35 people have missed here just in the last 2 days:
A Flock of Seagulls
In case you, like, didn't know.
DOWNDATE: Since I judge my success by the number of comments I get, I've decided to take my happiness in my own hands (heh!) and start commenting on my own posts. Who am I to deny myself the feelings of superiority that come with popularity?
DOUBLE DOWNDATE: Say Andrea, how come the comments require me to enter my ATM pin?
Matt Drudge also says:
OPEC TO PUMP MAX...
And here I though it was always Max who did the pumping.
I can't stand the Emmy's, the Grammy's or the Oscars (or the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awards if you prefer). While there is virtue in recognizing and rewarding excellence, especially through the development and definition of standards for excellence, I cannot stomach what each of these attempts to reward excellence in the entertainment industry have become with the incessant preening, rapidly multiplying bogus categories, the special brand of entertainment industry politics, and, worst of all, making the cult of celebrity ever more accessible to a large number of morally challenged intellectual lightweights.
Anyway, the point I'm trying to get to is that I have no interest whatsoever in any blogging awards. I do not participate in the polls and I have no interest whatsoever in trying to win any of them. Of course, I never will win any blogging awards anyway, but that's besides the point. Reading the commentary surounding some of the blogging awards out there leads me to believe that there is little difference between where the entertainment industry is today and where the blogosphere is heading, at least with respect to any awards.
That is all.
DOWNDATE: (Ed. -- I guess that wasn't all after all.) Did I mention how much I despise the Grammys?
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton won the second Grammy Award of his career on Sunday, when he was honored in the spoken word category for his best-selling memoir "My Life."
Clinton, who was not present to accept his award at the Los Angeles Convention Center, also won a Grammy last year in the spoken word for children category. His wife, U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, won a spoken word Grammy in 1997 for her memoir "It Takes A Village."
Happy Birthday Poopyhead! Like, Martha Stewart would share her private prison diary with you, you racist/facist/homophobe/sexist/misogynist stinky poopyhead! Not! As if Judd Nelson would hang with someone whose vocabulary is exceeded only by the neoconservative cretin sycophants who lap it up in your comments. Maybe you should keep scrounging for red pills from the sofa cushions instead of attempting to humiliate your neighbor with middlebrow humor, stream of consciousness ramblings and pop culture word association football. And Richard Brautigan sucks trout roe. Poopyhead!
Happy New Year!
I got sick. I got better for about two days, which happily coincided with a business trip to Denver where I met up with Jeff and family, Andy, Sean, Scott, Steve Green, Matt and Robin two weeks ago. Fine folks, one and all. Thanks for the great time!
Then the blog went down due to the evil machinations of spambots. Blog got better, but I got sick again. Slowly improving now, but I will be glad to see this month in the proverbial rear-view mirror. Soon, I can get back to the rhetorical horse-whipping of the likes of noted military commentator Sid Blumenthal, the perennially self-loathing John Kerry, and our favorite whipping boy -- Richard Cohen.
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more; it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
-- William Shakespeare
I've been down with a sinus infection this week so posting has been light. I am a wimp when I get sick, crawling into bed and drinking lots of fluids until I get better. I've also got an important conference coming up in ten days that will consume me in the days leading up to it, so posting will probably be light for the next two weeks.
Matt Drudge breathlessly gives us this:
VANISH: Marine Charged With Desertion Goes Missing... Developing...
But Matt, what's with the use of lower case?
And here are my best wishes for my little corner of the blogosphere:
Matt “Blackfive” - The Paratrooper of Love: A steak and Johnny Walker Black followed by a fine cigar.
Tim Blair: All the readers Margo Kingston has but doesn’t deserve.
Jim Bowen: Approval from the NRC for the construction of a bunch of nuclear reactors.
Mark Byron: A correct hyperlink at Instapundit.
Michele Catalano: Larger victories.
Scott Chaffin: A seat at the final table with four of a kind when someone else is holding a full boat on the flop.
Richard Cohen: A freaking clue.
John Cole: More readers.
Will Collier: Something better than the BCS.
Conrad: Another Girl Friday, or a working hyperlink.
Susanna Cornett: The opportunities to use her education in a professionally and financially rewarding manner.
Steven Den Beste: Life, health and happiness.
Martin Devon: More opportunities to enjoy the sunset from his patio.
Maureen Dowd: A return to inventive invective in place of her rapidly deteriorating prose which has declined to the level of a 7th grade playground.
Dean Esmay: The strength to persevere through difficult challenges and prosper.
fad (name hidden to protect the innocent): Resolution to his issues with the state bureaucracy.
Frank Fleming: Enough wall space to hang his monkey pelts.
Rich Galen: Frank Rich’s spot on the NY Times’ Op-Ed page.
Jeff Goldstein: The hardest nipples in the universe, or the correct medication to control his intermittent multiple personality disorder -- not the pills behind the sofa cushions.
Stephen Green: A working DSL connection.
Jim Hake: More donations.
Andrea Harris: A better job, better apartment, and all the filthy lucre my webmistress deserves.
Dodd Harris: A complete Republican takeover of the Bluegrass state.
Heather Havrilesky: Cialis.
John Hawkins: A lasting GOP hegemony.
Lawrence Haws: A return of the NHL.
Greg Hlatky: Best in Show.
Bill Hobbs: Mad props from the pajama-haters.
Joanne Jacobs: “School Work: How Two Grumpy Optimists Built a Successful Charter School” becomes #1 on Amazon.com.
Jeff Jarvis: More electronic toys.
John (Barcelona): The energy to keep up the good fight in Espana.
Charles Johnson: A letter from CAIR saying he’s been right all along.
Christopher Johnson: An Episcopal Church return to first principles.
James Joyner: Escape velocity from the Beltway.
Chris Kanis: A healthy back.
Kathy Kinsley: More notice for the Bellicose Women’s Brigade.
Scott Koenig: The media attention his efforts merit.
Ken Layne: Peaceful, respectful coexistence with the denizens of Jesusland, and commercial success for him and the Corvids.
James Lileks: More caffeine for his muse.
Kieran Lyons: More time to blog.
Dr. Manhattan: A return to the World Series by the Yankees (where they lose to the Cubs).
Jay Manifold: A repaired Hubble Space Telescope.
Eric McErlain: A return of the NHL and D.C. baseball.
Kevin McGehee: Many more readers.
H.D. Miller: Comfortable shoes.
Emperor Misha: Less strife on all fronts.
Chris Muir: Syndication and more syndication.
Robert Musil: A much wider readership.
Chuck Myguts: A worldwide appreciation of redneck culture.
Juliette Ochieng: A truly great job.
Terry Oglesby: Fear the possum.
Suman Palit: Happy hunting.
Damian Penny: A growing, successful practice and great weather.
Lynxx Pherrett: Happy hunting.
Frank Portman: Have MTX show up on a lot more playlists.
Bill Quick: The comfortable and comforting realization that he has a lot more friends and colleagues in the blogosphere than he knows.
Glenn Reynolds: Time, he seems to already have everything else.
Rich: More readers.
Fritz Schrank: Fear the blue hen.
Donald Sensing: A safe return of his son when his mission is complete.
Stefan Sharkansky: A fair election for Governor.
Laurence Simon: A self-cleaning litterbox.
Roger L. Simon: An Oscar.
Rob Smith: Revenge.
Elizabeth Spiers: Formal certification as a professional dilettante.
Mark Steyn: An extra dimension to share more of his writing with us.
Andrew Sullivan: Health and consistency.
Mac Thomason: Patience with those of us less enlightened.
Kim du Toit: A warm gun.
Tanya (I know she doesn't want me to use her last name): Grass and fewer encounters with hoosiers.
Michael Totten: Have his old friends come around to his way of thinking.
Jim Treacher: To be funnier than Margaret Cho -- no wait, he's already got that.
Marc Velazquez: More taters.
Dr. Weevil (I know his name, but I'm not sure I have permission to use it): Tenure.
Matt Welch: A great gig.
Bill Whittle: "Silent America" reeaches #1 on the NY Times Nonfiction Bestseller list.
I'll add to this intermittently as I discover that I've inadvertently left someone out.
And what have you done? Leave your anonymous -- I repeat, anonymous -- good deeds in the comments below!
Leave your comments below, Mr. or Ms. scholarship winner.
Ten, no, eleven posts in two and one-half hours three days before Christmas. And all without the benefit of Will Collier filling in.
And I don't think going away made my blog better.
Somebody alert Dodd!
The December 2004 issue of ACM's Communications is a special issue on "The Blogosphere", including articles by Andrew Rosenbloom, Ravi Kumar, Jasmine Novak, Prabhakar Raghavan, Andrew Tomkins, Bonnie A. Nardi, Diane J. Schiano, Michelle Gumbrecht, Luke Swartz, Steve Cayzer, Rebecca Blood, and Cass R. Sunstein.
Cass Sunstein's article, Democracy and filtering, worries once again about the dangers to democracy of people cocooning themselves with only like-minded thinkers. Funny how that doesn't seem to be an issue when it comes to the political makeup of academia.
ACM acknowledging the blogosphere as a legitimate field of study is a better indication that it has arrived than anything the NY Times or CBS might say about it.
Dodd did a bad thing. He's letting anybody post anything over at Ipse Dixit.
But if you want to read some really clever, funny stuff, check out the Caption Contest archives.
I had the day off, so after voting I went to the Y and then went shooting. It seems strange that making things go "BOOM!" is so very relaxing.
So, has the election been stolen yet?
Either that or great minds truly do think alike:
VP Cheney Predicts on NBCNEWS TODAY SHOW Monday: Election Results Will 52% Bush, 47% Kerry...
I've been predicting Bush will get 52% of the popular vote for a long, long time.
Sine Qua Non Pundit Bush!
And they call me a geek.
All problems resolved, so until Monday, look for me over at Jeff's place.
I want Wolpertingers!
Let's see Senator Edwards handle these babies.
(Note: This has been cross-posted at Protein Wisdom if I can ever figure out how to get in.)
I’m getting paid by the word while Jeff’s gone to Baltimore, Maryland; or Balmer, Merlin, if you’re from there or nearby Glen Burnie; or Bodymore, Murderland, if you watch HBO’s The Wire.
(Note: This has been cross-posted at Protein Wisdom if I can ever figure out how to get in.)
It's time for another MidWest Blog Bash. Numbering is somewhat arbitrary, i.e., fake, but undoubtedly authoritative, i.e., accurate.
He Who I'm Not Sure If I Have Permission To Use His Real Name over at Diogenes Corner has made the arrangements for us all to meet on Saturday, October 2, at 6:00 at the usual place, TNG's in Kirkwood. Be there or be square.
Say, shouldn't that be Diogenes' Corner?
DOWNDATE: Event cancelled. To be rescheduled at a later date.
I find it ironic that in the commenting and reporting throughout the blogosphere on Dan Rather's fundamental comprehension problems concerning superscripts that most of the popular blog software products do not handle superscripts in html correctly, at least with respect to line spacing. Oh, they make the "th" as a superscript alright, but in doing so they shift the whole line down so as not to have the superscript write over the characters in the line above. Unfortunately, the net effect is to screw up the spacing between the line with the superscript and the line below it.
Here are some examples: Movable Type at Michelle Malkin and Instapundit, and Typepad at Professor Bainbridge.com and BeldarBlog. Strangely enough, this blog uses Movable Type and while the problem shows up clearly while editing the post, it seems to come out alright when viewing the final post in IE. Immediately following the text is a screenshot of my Movable Type editing page.
abcdefghijklmmnopqrstuvwxyz abcdefghijklmmnopqrstuvwxyz abcdefghijklmmnopqrstuvwxyz
And here is a line with Rathergate in Movable Type to illustrate the problem.
abcdefghijklmmnopqrstuvwxyz abcdefghijklmmnopqrstuvwxyz abcdefghijklmmnopqrstuvwxyz
Just got back from my quintennial colonoscopy. As I have no desire to compete with Katie Couric I'll spare you the pictures, but it's another clean bill of health. I have to do this every five years since my father had colon cancer and my younger sister has a history of polyps in her large intestine. I assume none of you need to be reminded that colorectal cancer is perhaps the most preventable and survivable form of cancer around if it is caught early, and that about one in twenty people will have it at some point in their lives. More info here, here, and here.
It is amazing how much has changed in five years in the process. The day before prep, while still not exactly a stroll in the park, was much easier than I remember from the last time. The polyethelene glycol is vastly superior to whatever thick saltwater sludge prescribed last time. The anesthetics they now use get you back on your feet much faster and reduce the recovery time substantially. Of course, you still can't drive or sign any legal documents until the next day as a precaution. Finally, the imaging and printing technology is more advanced than it was five years ago, but that's kind of a given for anybody reading this. No superscipts on the printouts, for what it's worth.
I've got most of a day that I can't do anything substantial with, so blogging may be heavy. Typos may be a little more frequent than usual, so bear with me.
Yesterday, I wrote:
Or with respect to his presidential campaign, felo-de-se?
Today, James Taranto writes:
Every Felo-de-Se Has His Day
Coincidence? Or has this Latin phrase for suicide become de rigueur?
I found this interesting and timely:
For me, now, the year ends on September 11th and begins the next day. That is the date from which I count my years these days. Running up to it comes all the tension, memory and reflection of the year and years past, then comes the release of hope for living, victory and a some day end to the threat.
And I hate this. I hate that the willful murder of nearly 3,000, with every death intended, with desire for 10s of thousands more to have been killed, marks the years. The world did not change that day, but it was revealed in its rawness. That date stripped away the artifice that diplomats, politicians and bureaucrats want to believe in and want us to believe. Everything became new, then, because the vacation from history ended.
I know someday this part, at least, will fade. Some other date will take over, God willing not from another attack. But for now I remain angry. For now it defines my time. And I know I will never forget.
The London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported that the extremist Islamic movement Al-Muhajiroun had announced a convention in London, titled "The Choice is in Your Hands: Either You're with the Muslims or with the Infidels," to mark the third anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
Or, "My name is Charles, and I'm a blogaholic."
Ok, I'm back.
I do so with some trepidation since, as Kevin Murphy noted, I've quit twice already, and my obsessive compulsive tendencies will almost certainly return with posting. Thanks to all who left kind, encouraging comments below and in e-mail. It means a lot to me and is the primary reason for returning so soon.
While I was away...
The Republicans held their quadrennial party in New York with a number of rousing speeches, successfully painting a stark contrast between their guy and the other guy. My jaw, as with so many others, dropped during Zell's speech. You rarely see such passion backed with reason these days. Oh, passion is everywhere in politics these days, but it does tend to be rather hollow upon close examination. Wouldn't you like to be a fly on the wall when Senator Miller and Senator Kerry happen to encounter each other in the Capitol? Of course, Senator Kerry would have to actually show up to work for that to happen.
Steven Den Beste retired, and if anybody in the blogosphere has earned a break he certainly has. Andrew Sullivan returned from vacation. Alas, Andrew's focus like a laser beam on one issue continues to give him myopia on so many other big picture issues. It's sad, really, but not nearly as sad as the total breakdown of civility on the part of the Angry Left. Whether it Susan Estrich advocating dirty tricks or Matthew Yglesias' foul-mouthed ad hominem attacks on Glenn Reynolds, or Matt Welch and Ken Layne losing control over at Reason's convention blog, the immense investment they have in defeating Bush coupled with their own self-righteousness has left them psychologically poorly prepared to deal with this hard, rude encounter with reality. Alas, it is probably only going to get worse for a while.
And what is this endless fascination politicians have with "fighting" to get something accomplished. In these days of zero tolerance for violence in our schools, wouldn't they set a better example by working for a solution, engineering a new approach, or even negotiating a compromise for a win-win outcome? Is this a byproduct of a view that politics is necessarily a zero-sum game which can only be won by making someone else lose? Come on guys, clean up your act and your language. Do it for The Children™.
President Bill Clinton apparently had a heart attack. Get well soon, sir. Why do so many on the right generally qualify this by saying something like, "we may not agree on much, but..." Politics is ugly enough these days without introducing it into a good-hearted wish for health and recovery. "Best wishes" shouldn't be burdened with a qualifier of any type. But I will note that Senator Hillary Clinton took the opportunity to lobby for universal health care, thereby turning the intensely personal into the political.
Some bastards that need (needed?) killing took over a school and murdered over 300 people, most of them children, in Russia. Will Arundhati Roy now loudly start asking, "Russian shoolchildren, why are you so hated?" The responses to this heinous act around the world have been quite telling, and not always in a good way. I expect things to get very bloody and brutal there soon as President Putin makes a point. And then another point. And another. And still another.
Speaking of bastards that need killing:
An extremist Islamic cleric based in Britain said yesterday that he would support hostage-taking at British schools if carried out by terrorists with a just cause. Omar Bakri Mohammed, the spiritual leader of the extremist sect al-Muhajiroun, said that holding women and children hostage would be a reasonable course of action for a Muslim who has suffered under British rule.
No further comment necessary on that one, is there?
President Bush has jumped out to a significant lead in the polls. It won't last though, will it?
There, that wasn't so hard. I almost feel normal. At least I can stop e-mailing my fellow bloggers with ideas I had while I wasn't blogging. Now, back to work.
The question is no longer if John Kerry will lose (he will, and badly), but how many people are willing to sacrifice their integrity for him as he does so.
And with that reiteration of the bleeding obvious, I bid you adieu. After more than two years of dwindling traffic numbers, either I have little worth saying or I still haven't learned how to say it very well, or perhaps both. In the grand scheme of things, the meager rewards cannot justify the requisite expenditure of time and energy. Time to just, dare I say it, move on.
A special thanks to Andrea Harris for all her help and support.
ELO's on the intercom now. Let's see Jeff Goldstein talk back to that.
.... blogging has picked up here today. I'm sitting in Richmond, Virginia, with a couple hours to burn while I wait for a flight to Chicago where I will catch a flight to St. Louis later this evening, where I will catch a cab back to the office to pick up my care so I can finally go home. Business travel -- it's not a job, it's an adventure!
Don Henley's singing "Not Enough Love In the World" over the intercom, with frequent PSA (TSA?) interruptions, reminding everyone not to accept any packages from strangers, especially 80 year-old grandmothers since we all know how dangerous they are. There are plenty of power outlets but none of them seem to have any actual electricity flowing through them, so I sure hope I'm not stranded here tonight while the remnants of Bonnie keep dumping buckets of rain until Charley can get up here, or blogging will cease. But maybe that's a good thing.
I feel like Kevin Brooks (James Naughton) in The Paper Chase now when it comes to captions.
Hey cool! Now we all get to read what each other wrote.
I haven't watched a minute of the DNC Convention. First time I can remember not watching it gavel to gavel since I was in college. Funny, I don't think I've missed a thing. Alas, I will probably break down and watch John Kerry tonight -- out of respect, yea that's it, respect.
Why doesn't Anybody But Bush (ABB) include Ralph Nader?
Remember 9/12/2001 when everyone, and I mean everyone, was saying, "Thank God, the adults are in charge"? Anyone change their minds after watching Al Gore lately? And if ABB was a such a bad idea then, why is it a good idea now?
If Michael Moore was listening to John Edwards speech last night that was transformed from Two Americas to One America, do you think, "Dude, Where's My Country?" crossed his mind?
It is sad to me that Joe Lieberman is on the outside looking in this week. Almost as sad as Al Sharpton being considered acceptable in polite society.
Imagine the coup the RNC would have in getting Harold Ford or Barak Obama to break ranks and switch sides.
It's been said before, but if John F. Kennedy were alive today, he'd be a Republican.
I have a solution for the national debt. Tax clichés. A $1 excise tax should be incurred every time some pundit says any of the following tonight after John Kerry's nomination acceptance speech:
1. He hit a home run.
2. He hit a grand slam.
3. He won the World Series.
4. He scored a touchdown.
5. He won the Super Bowl.
6. It was a slam dunk.
And to be fair, the same tax applies later in New York for George W. Bush's nomination acceptance speech. That will get us back to a surplus to make room for more tax breaks!
Hmm, maybe there's a drinking game in there.
As James Lileks noted, the elephant in Democrat's living room (pun intended) is Al Qaeda, but no one in Boston is all that anxious to talk about it, unless they are apparently blindfolded and describing just what they call feel up close and personal.
I heard John Edwards on the radio today say this November was the most important election in our lifetime. Self-serving nonsense. The most important election in my lifetime was 1980. Can you imagine Jimmy Carter saying, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."? Heaven help us if there's another election in my lifetime that is more important. And yes, that means we will survive if Kerry does somehow win.
Anyone else notice that Teresa Heinz Kerry's impressive language skills are limited to European languages?
Maybe the 2008 Democratic Convention will be more fun. Perhaps they'll dispense with the happy face, have a nice day approach after Kerry gets pasted this fall. That and the likelihood that Hillary won't quite be the lock that some are projecting ought to make it fun.
IMHO, John Kerry's Vietnam service is pretty much off-limits. He served in a dangerous time and at a dangerous place doing a dangerous job. I can only hope that I would have done as well in a similar situation. On the other hand, Mr. Kerry's actions after he returned and his shameless exploitation of his service since then is fair game. Millions of men served honorably in Vietnam and I've personally met hundreds of them. I think I've heard John Kerry talk more about Vietnam than all the rest of them put together. Is there anything less becoming of a real war hero than to walk around telling everyone that's what you are?
Similarly, George W. Bush's National Guard service is pretty much off-limits. He did his job and I'm certain he would have gone to battle if he had been called up. Not everyone in the military rotated through Vietnam.
Doesn't this still from John Kerry's film tonight look like a still from the Bigfoot films?
Has anyone else noticed that all former Democratic presidents and losing aspirants have to be "rehabilitated" in a future convention? With the exception of Nixon, I don't think this has been true of Republican presidents and losing contenders in my lifetime.
Is the New York Times a liberal paper? No, wait, that's already been answered.
Will John Kerry follow his own advice and start showing up for his day job if Congress takes his advice and stays in session for the next eighteen months to address the 9/11 Commission's recommendations?
On November 3, perhaps the rank and file will finally accept that Dukakis getting thrashed was not a fluke.
I put the odds at about even that both parties will have a black candidate on their respective tickets in 2008.
Anyone else find it strange that no Americans are being kidnapped in Iraq?
I can't wait for LOTR IV this Christmas.
What flavor Kool-Aid are the Democrats serving?
Woo hoo! I made it on to James Taranto's Best of the Web today. There was originally another sentence in my e-mail to Mr. Taranto related to Sandy Berger's trouser troubles, but I thought it was in pretty bad taste so I deleted it before sending.
In other news, the MSNBC hyperlink and the Instapundit hyperlink combined got me an extra 35 or so readers this week. An instalanche ain't what it used to be.
John Hawkins has solicited entries for his latest list, this one being "Bloggers Select History's Biggest Impact Players." The release of his list has been delayed for a couple of days, but since the entry date has passed I don't think I'll be unduly influencing anyone else's choices. Therefore, I don't feel as though I am violating Mr. Hawkins' request by publishing my list now.
As I mentioned in my e-mail to Mr. Hawkins, I think there are some problems with this kind of list having to do with adequate shared criteria and a lack of sufficient historical knowledge on the part of just about everyone (myself included) to do such a list justice. My criteria for selection on this list focused on who had the longest lasting, most important influence on the world as we now find it. These are mostly observations, not value judgments -- except for the really bad guys. Here's my list with some commentary:
Moses (Mr. Old Testament, assuming, of course, that he existed)
Plato (Western Civilization 101)
Aristotle (Western Civilization 102)
Alexander the Great (Practical application of Western Civilization 101/102)
Jesus Christ (Here primarily as an inspiration to others)
Muhammad (Here primarily as an inspiration to others)
Henry II, King of England (We owe the Common Law to him)
Timojen -- Genghis Khan (A real overachiever, mostly bad though)
Martin Luther (Mr. Protestant Reformation)
William Shakespeare (The most read author in history)
Immanuel Kant (Deep thinker, for good and ill)
Abraham Lincoln (FDR and Reagan pale in comparison, Bush and Kerry? Puhleeze)
Karl Marx (Bastard, though I'm not sure he really deserves all the blame)
Henry Ford (Harnessed the industrial revolution)
Albert Einstein (Ushered in the atomic age)
Mahatma Ghandi (Delivered the death knell of colonialism)
Winston Churchill (Mr. 20th Century)
Adolf Hitler (The apex of evil)
Werner Von Braun (Made it possible for us to slip the surly bonds of earth)
W. Edwards Deming (Mr. Statistical Process, this is the way the world now works)
Michael Moore (21st century master of propaganda -- sadly, his wickedness has just begun)
Yes, I know the list is pretty heavy with DWEMs, but that's how it happened and it is silly to pretend otherwise. Less than half of my list was alive during the 20th century. I was surprised how few bad guys made the list overall, though as you can tell from my last entry, I think Michael Moore's has just started to scratch the surface of the wickedness he will unleash. With so many in what used to be thought of as polite society encouraging him and enough money to proceeed unfettered, the amount of mischeif and grief he is going to cause in the future will be immense.
I welcome your thoughts in the comment section.
DOWNDATE: Perhaps Stalin should have been on the list, and maybe Mao, but I already had more than enough on the bastard side of the ledger.
Stepping away for a while to work on something a little more involved, though perhaps of interest to even fewer people than stop by here for the snarky commentary. It's not a hiatus, but a refocusing of, well, my focus. I'm not pleased with my recent efforts and how blogging has affected my already limited style, I don't bother to read Richard Cohen any longer, and I have come to dread the mental delousing that is necessary after reading a few pages of popular political commentary of late. I'm not changing anyone's mind and I'm fairly certain no one is changing mine. FWIW, I am largely a single issue voter and that issue is freedom. There is no question in my mind that George W. Bush is more likely to leave me freer four years hence than John Kerry. You may disagree, but then, of course, you are, thankfully, free to do so.
In the meantime, I will keep reading and commenting, but expect posting to be sparse and somewhat erratic for an as yet indeterminate period of time. Not sure how long my labor of love will take, so just in case, remember that November 2 is my birthday. I've already made my wish.
P.S. I reserve the right to revise and extend my remarks.
Burt Rutan and associates have done what has up to now only been done by villains in James Bond films -- a private enterprise putting a man into space. Way to go!
I'm in Denver tonight and tomorrow and Chicago the rest of the week. Unfortunately bizness precludes social blog gatherings. For my friends in both places, I apologize and I'll try and do better next time.
Is football season here yet?
Since Andrew is all riled up, I suppose he's going to take his balls and go home.
Like I've been saying for a while now, Andrew Sullivan's militant activism on gay marriage, which seems to be driving his decision to hate Bush, is making it difficult to distinguish his thoughts and opinions from those of Bob Shrum, James Carville, Paul Begala, Michael Moore and, in some cases, even the denizens of DU. Make no mistake, Andrew Sullivan doesn't just oppose President George W. Bush now, he has become a Bush hater.
IMHO, Andrew is wrong on many fronts here, but the most egregious for someone of his intellect is the idea that he can just sit this one out because he may not be able to support either candidate. Come on Andrew, not making a choice is in and of itself making a choice, albeit allowing it to be made for you. Please spare me the utopian self-righteousness that allows you to imagine yourself above the fray of the lesser of two evils.
I'm not saying or implying that anyone has to support Bush to be fair and resonable -- far from it. But seeing his descent into rhetoric and a worldview that is only distinguishable from that of the foul-mouthed, know-nothing Bush=Hitler crowd by its literacy, correct spelling, and good grammer has been very distressing. Mr. Sullivan is displaying an odd combination of manic-depressive and obsessive-compulsive behaviour the last six months or so. He has either been very high or very low on Bush, with almost no middle ground, while applying his considerable writing skills to rationalizing his feelings at whichever extreme he finds himself. I honestly wonder if there may not be something more tragic going on in Andrew's life which has so poisoned his perspective on politics. I sincerely hope not and patiently look forward to him returning to the land of the reasonable, whether he returns to supporting, or even tolerating, President George W. Bush or not.
Andrew Sullivan is far too clever and talented to be dismissed quickly and casually because I find myself in profound disagreement with him of late. I'm not presumptious enough to imagine that he would ever read or respond to this, but I would hope that the brighter lights of the blogosphere may be able to get through to him. While Jonah Goldberg and Glenn Reynolds are a little late to the party, I wish them luck with their intervention, if that's what it is.
Unsurprisingly, unnamed "Democratic leader" doesn't know what McCarthyism is:
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco rejected Republican demands Thursday that she apologize for her strong condemnation of President Bush, as raw nerves over Iraq collided with raw politics on Capitol Hill.
Republican leaders accused Pelosi of taunting the troops, inspiring the enemy and putting American lives at risk by telling The Chronicle on Wednesday that Bush is an "incompetent leader'' who lacks the judgment, experience or knowledge to make good decisions.
Pelosi stood her ground, telling reporters that "the emperor has no clothes." With the violence in Iraq threatening to overshadow all other issues in the coming election season, each party claimed to possess the moral high ground in setting the rules for debate.
"She apparently is so caught up in the partisan hatred for President Bush that her words are putting American lives at risk,'' said House Majority leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas. "This nation cannot afford the luxury of her dangerous rhetoric.''
Countered one Democratic leader: "Frankly, that's McCarthyism.''
Methinks "McCarthyism" has jumped the shark, not that anyone will notice or care. Of course, Alger Hiss was guilty.
James Lileks says The Sopranos jumps the shark. Tony Soprano leaps with the fishes.
What's the point of being here all week if no one reads through to the punchline, or, worse, I have to explain it? And when's the last time anybody referenced Robyn Hitchcock in a post? Twice?
First we had Bush in the Hall:
Then right on cue, as The Man Without Qualities says, "Pathetic ... and Bound To Lose":
Yesterday morning at 0704 CDT I posted the following comment over at PatioPundit in response to Martin's comments about The Sopranos dream sequence:
I think the dream sequence was more like 30 minutes, if not perhaps the whole episode. Using extended "dream sequences" would generally seem to indicate that the creative well has dried up and that The Sopranos has perhaps jumped the shark. Frankly, I'm not interested in trying to disect all the connections and Freudian allusions. I want to be entertained after dinner on Sunday night. Don't make me work too hard.
I noticed in the credits at the beginning that this episode was co-written by David Chase and immediately started wondering what was coming since he hasn't written for the show for quite a while (or at least he hasn't taken credit for it). Maybe now we know why.
Then today, James Lileks posts this:
I never thought the Sopranos would jump the shark. Whack the shark, yes, but not jump it. Last night I was watching the latest episode, and I realized with horror that this was all a dream sequence. That’s one of the signs a show is dead, the other being an episode that gives everyone an opportunity to sing and dance.
Don't take me wrong, there are no complaints or accusations intended. I mean, let's face it, I'll beat Mr. Lileks to the rhetorical punch about once every thirty-eight moons, give or take a couple of phases. I don't flatter myself that Mr. Lileks reads my paltry little posts, nor spends time searching for my musings on other blogs, though he did once leave a comment here! But I do want to note the event for posterity as Mr. Lileks receives credit in the future for being the first to accurately assess the exact moment when Tony Soprano leaps with the fishes.
I am remiss for not mentioning what the fine folks over at the Command Post are doing for the Tom family sooner. Come on all you snuff-film seekers, pop on over and do something good for penance.
Why else would he appear on Hannity and Colmes?
... is my own Castle Argghhh! Cluebat™!
If you are so inclined, you can join the blogosphere contest:
It's for a great cause. Pat Tillman's Arizona Cardinal number was 40 if you find it necessary to divine some metaphysical numerological meaning or coincidence behind it all to decide what to contribute.
Clearly a lot of my blogging friends are far too young to pass any quiz on the music of the 70's. From the bottom up:
Steely Dan performed Rikki Don't Lose that Number, but it was off of Pretzel Logic, not Can't Buy a Thrill. (0.5 points to Kevin.) I guess Wazmo was just a Chicago thing.
Rock the Boat was by the Hues Corporation.
More, More, More Part 1 was by Andrea True. (1.0 points for Chris.) Perhaps Billy Idol shouted "more, more, more" but it certainly wasn't Part 1.
I'd Really Love To See You Tonight by England Dan and John Ford Coley. No contest on this one. Ewwwww.
Grand Funk Railroad sang Closer To Home. (I screwed this one up, crucially confusing it with Ride, Captain Ride by Blues Image, hence all the reference to blue, so Andrea gets 2.0 points.)
Paul Revere and Mark Lindsay (not Paul Revere and the Raiders) sang Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian). Just so you know, most of the search engine hits have both the title and the artist wrong on this one, so cheating would have been painfully obvious. (0.5 points for Roxanne for at least trying).
Al Wilson sang Show and Tell.
Eric Freakin' Carmen sang All By Myself. I think the music is Chopin. (2.0 points for RC for adding "freakin'".) Oh, and Tanya, Stephen Foster's music would have been most popular in the 1870's, though The Ghost of Stephen Foster is rumored to have been seen by the Squirrel Nut Zippers somewhat more recently.
Brewer and Shipley sang One Toke Over The Line. (1.0 points for RC.)
Melanie sang Brand New Key. What a strange song. (1.0 points for RC.)
The Amazing Rythym Aces sang Third Rate Romance. (0.5 points for RC.)
Talking Heads sang The Girls Want to Be With the Girls which was produced by Brian Eno. The Big Suit is in reference to David Byrne's clothing for the tour and movie Stop Making Sense. (1.0 points to Kevin, even though it's food rather than fruit.)
The Roches sang We and were produced by Robert Fripp, who was often seen with Brian Eno in those days. Great eponymous album, by the way, and the Roches also have a fantastic Christmas CD.
The Pretenders sang Mystery Achievement. Nobody even attempted a guess. So unreal.
Lene Lovich sang Lucky Number. Jeez, didn't anybody listen to FM back then? (0.5 points to RC.) I think Thomas Dolby was playing keyboards for her then.
Graham Parker and the Rumour sang Passion Is No Ordinary Word, You Can't Take Love For Granted, Temporary Beauty, Wake Up Next To You. (1.0 points for RC.)
Pink Floyd sang Have a Cigar from Wish You Were Here and St. Tropez from Meddle which also featured One of These Days. (1.0 points to Chris.)
Dave Mason sang We Just Disagree. (1.0 points to RC.)
Jackson Browne sang Redneck Friend. (1.0 points to RC and Roxanne.)
Gordon Lightfoot sang The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. (1.0 points to Chris.) Tanya, you misunderstood, I'm trying to point out that there was in fact good music in the 70's.
Reunion sang Life Is a Rock, But the Radio Rolled Me. Nobody even tried.
Well, that was fun. Nobody came close to getting them all right, but RC came closest. Now, he'll have to let me know how to get a PayPal hit to an e-mail address. Thanks to all who played. Unfortunately, I've had these and about 40 more 70's songs floating around in my head all day.
Now I can get back to politics, warblogging, mourning Pat Tillman and all the other men and women who have sacrificed so much for us (Juliette says it best), and maybe even, grrrrrrrr, Richard Cohen.
You may have to hit the April Archive for the full effect.
DOWNDATE: Ten PayPal dollars to the first person to correctly identify all the stream of consciousness allusions below. Yea, I'm desperate, but if there's a winner, I won't be the worst. No cheating. Judge's decisions are final. You must be 18 to enter, though being over 40 is probably an chronological necessity. Void were prohibited by law.
I said I was Cherokee, damnitalltohell.
Either that or bloggin'.
There ain't no good guy, there ain't no bad guy, there's only you and me and...
As I reach for a peach, ... one of my favorite memories of jolly olde England was hearing Pink Floyd do "One of These Days" with the huge inflatable pigs with headlamp eyes and enormous flashpots at Earl's Court in 1994.
You can't take blogs for granted, underneath another skin.
Alternate: And you need temporary beauty, and hope to God that it doesn't rain.
Second alternate: I've been dreamin for too long. I guess something's always wrong unless I wake up next to you.
Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!
...are Maggie and Terre and Suzzy... Look, you can't have Eno without Fripp.
The Big Suit had not yet been sewn.
Well yes I have, but only a time or two...
You got a brand new key...
Yeah, it's about Jesus. Uh huh, uh huh.
Well Mr. Wilson, it is a Missouri blog.
Who's cruise? Blues cruise.
Alternate: Why you wanna give me a run around? Oh sorry, that's Blues Traveler.
England Dan and John Ford Coley.
You may clean your monitor and keyboard now.
The 70's encompassed most of my collegiate career. The music of those days gave me the barely adequate psychic defenses I have today. Especially "Maneater" by Hall and Oates.
My blogmistress lists some icky 70's songs. I've responded appropriately in her comments.
But I'm curious, anybody else remember Wazmo Nariz? Or was that just a Chicago thing?
Shot an 85 at Talamore Sunday and I'm damn pleased about it. Yea, it's a llama.
I'm off to Pinehurst for my annual golf vacation with the finest group of guys you'll probably never meet. One of our group just became a judge, so I get to use that Brian Doyle-Murray line from Caddyshack, "Your honor, your Honor."
John Hawkins is runnning a "Right-Of-Center Bloggers Select Their Favorite Contemporary Dinner Guests." Here's my off the cuff entry in alphabetical order:
General John Abizaid
William F. Buckley
General Norman Schwarzkopf (ret.)
Regular readers, skip by this quick summary of recent seach engine hits.
Ok, you sad, pathetic bastards, is this what you were looking for?
Hole in one
Deep blue sea
His hair was perfect
Spanky and Our Gang
Sliding into third base
To the showers
Put the biscuit in the basket
Hummers, Jeeps, and Mack Trucks
Passion is no ordinary word
Matriculating with thespians
Julia Roberts is overrated
Shock the monkey
Moral isn't the same as legal
Free bird, yeah
This blog has become like a broken pencil.
Frankly, reading some of the posts across the blogosphere in the past 24 hours concerning the President's endorsement of the FMA, I think a significant number of bloggers may have forfeited the right to use the prefix anti-.
I may have to insert a blogroll just to make it clear whom I think has jumped off the deep end with their silly rhetoric, starting, of course, with Andrew Sullivan. Please cite an instance where President George W. Bush said or did anything in the past that should have led anyone to believe that he wouldn't favor the FMA? Andrew's self-righteous indignation notwithstanding, where has all this rage and fear come from all of a sudden? I'll give Andrew this though, he's a clever wordsmith. He manages to leave the innuendo in the air that President Bush is no better than the terrorists, in that both want to destroy the constitution, without quite saying so explicitly. On the other hand, Andrew's conflation of the constitution with his rather expansive ideas on civil rights leaves much to be desired.
Welcome to a pluralistic society. Sucks, doesn't it?
I'm going to wait another 6 years before I start mine so I can live to 100.
A good time was had by all Saturday night here in greater Kirkwood. Thanks to Sean, Sara, Rodya, Jim, Chris, Tanya, Kevin and Dodd for another enjoyable evening where "meat was back on the menu." Congrats to Sara and Sean on their pending marriage. And a special thanks to Dodd for driving all the way from Kentucky. Since we've lost track of the number of MWBB's we've had, we'll number them as n+1, n+2, etc. from this point forward.
Now, does anybody know how I can get the infamous "YEEAARRRGGGHHH!!!" for the ringer on my cell phone?
I have some pressing matters that require much more attention than usual. Therefore, blogging shall be light to non-existent for a few weeks. If you are local, don't forget the MWBB coming up on February 7 at 6:00 PM at TNG's in Kirkwood.
Perhaps, if we are all lucky, when I return the phrase "back in the day" will have fallen out of favor.
DOWNDATE: Post corrected. The MWBB is on February 7, not on Heaven forbid, Groundhog Day.
And yes, it's true that while I have seen 206 of these 250 movies, I have never seen E.T. Remember as you go through this list that the cinema has been around for just over 100 years. That means that on average, 2.5 films a years should make it on to this list. Keep that in mind as you slog through the tripe that is less than 5 years old in this list. Not a single film from the Germans after Fritz Lang either. Bummer.
1 Godfather, The (1972) -- First rate.
2 Shawshank Redemption, The (1994) -- The inclusion of this film in the list, much less at #2, tends to invalidate the entire list, but I'll go on anyway.
3 Godfather: Part II, The (1974) -- First rate. So how is it that Godfather III was so bad?
4 Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The (2003) -- Oh yes, it will be mine (next November).
5 Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The (2002) -- Part of the best trilogy of films ever. yes, better than Star Wars Vol. 4-6.
6 Casablanca (1942) -- Marvelous.
7 Schindler's List (1993) -- A movie with a message, and the message is never again. Thank goodness Steven Spielberg isn't as looney as Oliver Stone, though.
8 Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The (2001) -- See 5.
9 Shichinin no samurai (1954) -- Kurosawa makes lots of appearances in this list.
10 Star Wars (1977) -- Came out when I was a senior in high school. That was a significant factor in my appreciation of it, until LOTRs dusted it.
11 Citizen Kane (1941) -- A rosebud by any other name would smell as sweet.
12 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) -- Great movie, great cast.
13 Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) -- Stanley Kubrick made a number of incredible movies.
14 Rear Window (1954) -- So did Alfred Hitchcock.
15 Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) -- Luke, I am the voice of CNN.
16 Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) -- Remember when movies where fun?
17 Memento (2000)
18 Usual Suspects, The (1995) -- I like this movie a lot, though I thought it was a farce for Kevin Spacey to get the Best Actor Oscar for acting as though he was acting.
19 Pulp Fiction (1994) -- Quinten Tarentino's peak. It's all downhill now.
20 North by Northwest (1959) -- More Hitchock. Cary Grant's turn in the barrel (second time).
21 12 Angry Men (1957) -- Twenty years later we get Al Pacino screaming, "You're out of order, you're out of order...".
22 Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain, Le (2001) -- Cute.
23 Psycho (1960) -- Still more Hitchcock. Tony Perkins vastly improves on his idea of crazy from Fear Strikes Out.
24 Lawrence of Arabia (1962) -- Come watch Zorba the Greek as a Bedouin sheik, and Alec Guinness as a young man, just in case Ewan McGregor had thrown you off in The Phantom Menace.
25 Buono, il brutto, il cattivo, Il (1966) -- So many quotable lines, "When it is time to shoot, shoot. Don't talk."
26 Silence of the Lambs, The (1991) -- Personally, I don't like fava beans, or liver for that matter.
27 It's a Wonderful Life (1946) -- Jimmy Stewart was one of the all-time great guys in Hollywood. I knew people that knew him, and he's was as genuine as they come.
28 Goodfellas (1990) -- Like Hobbes said, life is nasty, brutish and short.
29 American Beauty (1999) -- Good movie that spawned some of the most preening, pretentious movie reviews ever.
30 Vertigo (1958) -- Still more Hitchcock. And Jimmy Stewart.
31 Sunset Blvd. (1950)
32 Matrix, The (1999) -- The answer to whatisthematrix.com turned out to be nothing more than a really good movie that was followed by increasingly insipid sequels.
33 Pianist, The (2002) -- Good movie by Roman Polanski, who in case you have forgotten, drugged a 14-year old girl to have sex with her. This film will never rate this high again in any subsequent surveys.
34 Apocalypse Now (1979) -- Strange film that has acquired cult status. Frankly, I can take it or leave it. Comments heard from Coppola's accountants during filming, "The horror, the horror."
35 To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) -- Anyone who asks, "America, why are you so hated," should be forced to watch this before they say anything further. Then they can write a report on how their views can be squared with Americans holding up Atticus Finch as an ideal man.
36 Some Like It Hot (1959) -- Much better than the Power Station song of the same name.
37 Taxi Driver (1976) -- Take a walk on the wild side. This film can kick off some amazing commentary, but not here.
38 C'era una volta il West (1968) -- Sergio strikes again.
39 Third Man, The (1949) -- The ability to use the zither for the score and still be taken seriously is no small achievement.
40 Paths of Glory (1957) -- An early Stanley Kubrick effort. He got much better later.
41 Fight Club (1999) -- Brad Pitt is a much better fighter in Snatch (210). Snatch was a much better movie too.
42 Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (2001)
43 Boot, Das (1981) -- War is all hell.
44 L.A. Confidential (1997) -- This movie is top ten material.
45 Double Indemnity (1944) -- Still more Hitchcock. Good to see that Fred MacMurray settled down later and raised three nice boys.
46 Chinatown (1974) -- You gotta admit, Hollywood has made some really good flicks about Hollywood before it became Hollywood.
47 Singin' in the Rain (1952) -- If you took a film class in college, you h=would have had to rate this a lot higher.
48 Maltese Falcon, The (1941) -- One of several seemingly interchangeable movies with Humphrey Bogart, Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre. Don't get me wrong, I like all of them.
49 Requiem for a Dream (2000)
50 M (1931) -- I wonder if its a coincidence that Peter Lorre's two most famous movies are so close in this list?
51 Bridge on the River Kwai, The (1957) -- Smart Alec is a little slow on the uptake.
52 All About Eve (1950) -- No, really, she does have Bette Davis' eyes.
53 Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) -- Sui generis.
54 Se7en (1995) -- Wouldn't it be nice if bad police work didn't generate the most of the plot twists?
55 Saving Private Ryan (1998) -- It's gotta be tough on the anti-war crowd to have to admit that there are good reasons to fight wars. Even when people die. How'd they ever find enough actors in Hollywood to film it?
56 Raging Bull (1980) -- Man, there were a lot of good films created when I was in college.
57 Cidade de Deus (2002)
58 Wizard of Oz, The (1939) -- Because, because, because, because, because.
59 Rashomon (1950) -- To borrow a phrase from Anheuser Busch, "True."
60 Sting, The (1973) -- One of my adolsecent favorites. And to think that Marvin Hamlisch started a ragtime revival with it.
61 Alien (1979) -- Like I said, my college years were a great time for movies.
62 American History X (1998)
63 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) -- Just in case anyone thought that today's politicians are any sleazier than they used to be.
64 Léon (1994) -- I like Jean Reno, but come on.
65 Vita è bella, La (1997)
66 Touch of Evil (1958)
67 Manchurian Candidate, The (1962) -- A real touch of evil.
68 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) -- As Jack Skelington said, "Interesting, but what does it mean?" Someone told me once that no one knows, since Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick each put their own pet freakiness into it without a lot of of coordination. To borrow a phrase from The Matrix, perhaps there is no spoon.
69 Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The (1948) -- How does this make the list but not Key Largo?
70 Wo hu cang long (2000)
71 Great Escape, The (1963) -- Can you hear me whistling?
72 Reservoir Dogs (1992) -- Nice little indie, but wildly overrated.
73 Clockwork Orange, A (1971) -- For better, or probably worse, one of the most influential films I have ever seen. My wife despises it, which is why I don't own it.
74 Amadeus (1984) -- What ever happened to Tom Hulce?
75 Modern Times (1936) -- Did you know that the first actor to get $1,000,000 dollars for a film was Charlie Chaplin?
76 Annie Hall (1977) -- Let's be honest, when it comes to Woody Allen's aberrant behavior, the signs were all there long before it became public.
77 Jaws (1975) -- Starring the underappreciated Roy Scheider. And where in the hell is Marathon Man in this list?
78 Ran (1985) -- Time just flies by every time I watch this movie.
79 On the Waterfront (1954) -- You should see this movie, if for no other reason than to fully realize what a bunch of self-righteous pricks there were at the Academy Awards that snubbed Elia Kazan were a few years ago.
80 Braveheart (1995) -- Entertaining movie, but I just can't get over the author (Randall Wallace -- no axe to grind here) stating that he saw nothing wrong with embellishing history to get an emotial point across but then selling it as authentic.
81 High Noon (1952) -- Another mandatory movie for the America haters.
82 Apartment, The (1960)
83 Fargo (1996) -- You cannot go wrong with the Coen brothers or Steve Buscemi.
84 Sixth Sense, The (1999) -- Say good Night M.
85 Aliens (1986) -- It was good, but not this good.
86 Shining, The (1980) -- I never liked this one that much. Stanley Kubrick at his most obtuse, but let's not forget that he made Barry Lyndon as well.
87 Strangers on a Train (1951)
88 Blade Runner (1982) -- Multi-culty favorite.
89 Metropolis (1927) -- Thank God it's not the updated version with Queen music.
90 Duck Soup (1933) -- Wouldn't you like to attend a dinner party with Groucho Marx, Dennis Miller and Orson welles?
91 Finding Nemo (2003) -- Good family fair, but not as good a story as a lot of other Disney flicks. The animation is superb, but that won't be nearly as impressive 10 years from now, whereas Toy Story still will be.
92 Donnie Darko (2001)
93 General, The (1927)
94 Toy Story 2 (1999) -- No, this was not as good as Toy Story, sorry.
95 Princess Bride, The (1987)
96 City Lights (1931) -- Chaplin has held up well, hasn't he.
97 Great Dictator, The (1940) -- Like I said...
98 Lola rennt (1998)
99 Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
100 Notorious (1946) -- Still more Hitchcock. Cary Grant's first time in the barrell.
101 Sjunde inseglet, Det (1957) -- The ultimate foreign film laden with deep meaning.
102 Full Metal Jacket (1987) -- Lot's of style from Stanley Kubrick, almost no substance. Oooo, war is bad.
103 Nuovo cinema Paradiso (1989)
104 Rebecca (1940) -- Jumpin Jeebus, maybe we should just call this the Hitchcock list. Laurence Olivier's turn in the barrell.
105 Mononoke-hime (1997)
106 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) -- Sundance? Sundance? Where have I heard that before?
107 Big Sleep, The (1946) -- Noirest of the noir.
108 Graduate, The (1967) -- One word.
109 Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) -- Entertaining flick, but not as good as the original.
110 It Happened One Night (1934)
111 Manhattan (1979) -- Yawn.
112 Patton (1970) -- Anachronisms, the movie and the man. Just remember that General Omar Bradley was a consultant for this film as you watch it.
113 Deer Hunter, The (1978) -- Gosh, it seemed so deep and meaningful at the time, but it hasn't held up real well. What the hell ever happened to Michael Cimino?
114 Best Years of Our Lives, The (1946)
115 Searchers, The (1956)
116 Glory (1989) -- Sorry, no can do. people seem afraid to criticize this movie because of what it's about. Some good performances, but some real silly ones as well -- starting with the casting of Ferris Bueller.
117 Yojimbo (1961) -- Kurosawa everywhere, but no Truffaut. Clearly most of the people compiling this list never took cinema classes in college.
118 African Queen, The (1951) -- The made some pretty good movies back in the day.
119 Ladri di biciclette (1948)
120 Philadelphia Story, The (1940)
121 Forrest Gump (1994) -- Don't know much about history...
122 Bringing Up Baby (1938)
123 Cool Hand Luke (1967) -- Prisons have certainly changed a lot between Cool Hand Luke and Oz.
124 Ben-Hur (1959) -- Jeez, if Charlton Heston isn't making movies about the end of the world, he's making movies about a man whose return will herald the end of the world. Great flick.
125 Green Mile, The (1999) -- Really folks, Steven King novels just don't make for good movies.
126 Shrek (2001) -- See, there's a huge unmet market for family fare, otherwsie very average movies like this wouldn't rate so high.
127 Once Upon a Time in America (1984) -- Oh yeah, Robert DeNiro is a Jewish gangster, not an Italian gangster.
128 Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) -- The worst of the second best trilogy ever, which means it's still pretty good.
129 Hable con ella (2002)
130 Unforgiven (1992) -- I like Clint Eastwood a lot, but not this much.
131 Stalag 17 (1953) -- If war is all hell, imagine how much worse it must be for the prisoners of war.
132 Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
133 Grapes of Wrath, The (1940) -- Screw the sort of happy ending, read the book.
134 Gone with the Wind (1939) -- Should be much, much higher.
135 Night of the Hunter, The (1955)
136 Wild Bunch, The (1969) -- Finally, Sam Peckinpah makes a bloody appearance.
137 Straight Story, The (1999)
138 Elephant Man, The (1980) -- Anthony Hopkins plays a good doctor.
139 Christmas Story, A (1983) -- But you won't be able to see it if you put your eye out.
140 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) -- I love Indy, but it's not this good.
141 All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
142 Platoon (1986) -- Spare me.
143 Hustler, The (1961) -- Do the hustle.
144 Back to the Future (1985) -- I think this should be higher.
145 Young Frankenstein (1974) -- Easily Mel Brooks best film. Yes, better than Blazing Saddles.
146 Monsters, Inc. (2001) -- Oh yeah, about overrated family fare...
147 His Girl Friday (1940)
148 Die Hard (1988) -- Good lord, I heard there planning on another sequel.
149 Lost in Translation (2003)
150 Amores perros (2000)
151 Adventures of Robin Hood, The (1938) -- Put some swash in your buckle.
152 Grande illusion, La (1937) -- Has anyone outside of cinema buffs even seen this film?
153 Almost Famous (2000) -- Come on.
154 Spartacus (1960) -- Stanley Kubrick strikes again. Gosh, do you think Dalton Trumbo wore his beliefs on his sleeves?
155 Gold Rush, The (1925) -- Well, I dreamed I saw the knights in armor coming, saying something about a queen. Sorry, wrong media.
156 Charade (1963)
157 Life of Brian (1979) -- In retrospect its amazing that these guys generated so much quality work.
158 Conversation, The (1974) -- Coppola's made a number of good movies.
159 Gladiator (2000) -- What hype. Ben Hur is vastly better.
160 Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The (1962) -- Didn't like the song much.
161 Festen (1998)
162 Magnolia (1999)
163 Being John Malkovich (1999) -- Very clever. Definitely the most imaginative of the movie-making Spikes.
164 Sling Blade (1996)
165 Toy Story (1995) -- Should be much, much higher.
166 Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
167 Insider, The (1999)
168 Smultronstället (1957)
169 Roman Holiday (1953) -- From a long time ago.
170 Bronenosets Potyomkin (1925) -- Hey, there are a few film school voters in the mix after all.
171 Brazil (1985) -- Strange movie, gets better each time I watch it.
172 Night at the Opera, A (1935) -- If only Hollywood had paid more attention to the correct Marx.
173 Day the Earth Stood Still, The (1951) -- Mayeb the can get Al Gore to play Klaatu in the remake.
174 All the President's Men (1976) -- Good movie that has so much damage Cops are frequently accused of watching TV and then trying to act like TV Cops. The same goes for Big media, in spades.
175 Streetcar Named Desire, A (1951) -- There just don't make manly leading men like they used to.
176 Mulholland Dr. (2001) -- Lesbianism always raises the ratings. Strange, isn't it.
177 Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) -- Like, totally awesome.
178 Mystic River (2003)
179 Exorcist, The (1973) -- Should be much, much higher. William Friedkin's Sorcerer should also be on any list like this.
180 Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
181 Killing, The (1956) -- Everybody just loves Stanley Kubrick. I like him too, but I'm beginning to wonder about ballot stuffing.
182 To Be or Not to Be (1942)
183 Quatre cents coups, Les (1959) -- Finally, Francois Truffaut makes the list.
184 Ed Wood (1994) -- I enjoyed it, and I'm a big fan of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, but this movie doesn't belong here. I'd much rather see the Nightmare Before Christmas on this list.
185 Terminator, The (1984) -- Arnold finally makes an apperance.
186 Stand by Me (1986) -- Yawn.
187 Twelve Monkeys (1995) -- I like this movie a lot.
188 Trois couleurs: Rouge (1994) -- A member of perhaps the most boring trilogy in the history of film.
189 Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922) -- Bloody marvelous.
190 Dog Day Afternoon (1975) -- Cool.
191 Adaptation (2002)
192 This Is Spinal Tap (1984) -- Seminal.
193 Harvey (1950) -- Hey, a Dowd I can appreciate.
194 Gandhi (1982) -- Probably should be higher.
195 Right Stuff, The (1983) -- Should be a little higher.
196 Trainspotting (1996) -- A little overrated. Nothing guarantees success in a list like this than a well done freak show.
197 Network (1976) -- Should be much, much higher. No one under 30 appreciates this.
198 Ying xiong (2002)
199 Miller's Crossing (1990) -- Those damn Coen brother are just too good.
200 Midnight Cowboy (1969) -- Come on people, get your head's out of your butts. This is easily top 20 material.
201 Lion in Winter, The (1968) -- The history's a little warped, and it probably works better as a play, but still pretty good.
202 Bonnie and Clyde (1967) -- Good flick. Perhaps started Hollywood's real love affair with and glamorization of violent criminals.
203 Groundhog Day (1993) -- I like it, but it's not this good. Maybe I'm wrong though. Check back tomorrow.
204 Rain Man (1988) -- Should be much higher.
205 Minority Report (2002) -- "I'm going to enjoy watching you die, Mr. Anderton." Sorry wrong movie.
206 Others, The (2001)
207 King Kong (1933) -- Well, only as a historical footnote.
208 8½ (1963) -- Holy crap. I was beginning to wonder if we'd ever get a Fellini entry. Now I'll hold my breath waiting for an entry by Vittorio De Sica.
209 Laura (1944)
210 Snatch. (2000) -- I like this film a lot more than it probably deserves.
211 Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) -- This one too. Hmm, both movies by Guy Ritchie come in right next to each other. These two are enough to make me forgive him for Swept Away.
212 Stagecoach (1939) -- Hollywood westerns at their very best.
213 39 Steps, The (1935) -- Gosh, it's been a while since Hitchcock made an appearance.
214 Traffic (2000) -- Steven Soderburgh makes good movies, but not great ones. His choice of topics is so politically correct as to make his films more popular than they deserve.
215 Hotaru no haka (1988)
216 Untouchables, The (1987) -- Brian De Palma at his best.
217 Whale Rider (2002) 7.7/10 (4203 votes)
218 Strada, La (1954) -- Should be much, much higher.
219 Beauty and the Beast (1991) -- The first time a Disney animated film shows up on the list. Silly list.
220 Big Lebowski, The (1998) -- Those damnable Coen's again.
221 Henry V (1989) -- I like it!
222 Rio Bravo (1959) -- Another classic Hollywood Western.
223 In the Heat of the Night (1967) -- What in the hell ever happened to Sidney Poitier?
224 Thin Man, The (1934) -- A light snack.
225 Todo sobre mi madre (1999)
226 Passion de Jeanne d'Arc, La (1928) -- Oh yeah. You need to see this one.
227 Planet of the Apes (1968) -- What is it with Charlton Heston and end of the world scenarios?
228 Fantasia (1940) -- College. Enough said.
229 Good Will Hunting (1997)
230 Die xue shuang xiong (1989) 7.7/10 (6692 votes)
231 Being There (1979) -- Like an REM song, only better.
232 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) -- Ten years from now, I guarantee this won't be making any lists.
233 Beautiful Mind, A (2001) -- More math, less crazy would have interested me more. But then again, the people that make movies understand crazy a lot more than they will ever understand math.
234 Clerks. (1994)
235 Red River (1948) -- With the proliferation of cable, there are a lot of movies we saw as kids that our kids may never see, like this one.
236 Bride of Frankenstein (1935) -- Anybody else growing up in Chicago remember Svenghouly (sp) and Creature Features, live from Berwyn?
237 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
238 X2 (2003) -- Entertaining flick by the usual suspects.
239 MASH (1970) -- Should be much higher. There is also no better example of why TV sucks.
240 Road to Perdition (2002) -- Please.
241 Man Who Would Be King, The (1975) -- Should be higher. After all, how many times do you get to see anything by Rudyard Kipling?
242 Sleuth (1972) -- Better play than movie.
243 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) -- People have such short memories. Should be much higher.
244 Quiet Man, The (1952)
245 Heat (1995) -- Sometimes I wonder if the movies that show up like this just made it because they've been on Showtime or HBO in the past month.
246 JFK (1991) -- The fine art of winning friends and influencing people. Not.
247 Birds, The (1963) -- Predating The Byrds by a few years. Much better too. And so Alfred Hitchcock completely dominates this list.
248 O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) -- I like this movie far much more than it probably deserves.
249 Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) -- It was a Spielberg/Lucas summer. Remember?
250 Sweet Hereafter, The (1997)
Have you ever wondered why someone saying, "Oh, it's a scythe," can get someone like me laughing until it hurts? Right. (Quite right.) If you don't feel like your getting everything here, but you can feel there is something in these posts that is too clever by half, something deep and funny struggling to get out but you can't quit put your finger on it, the answer is to go out and buy, rent, borrow, check out, or steal the complete collections of the following DVDs, or VHS tapes where DVDs may not be available -- though they may be PAL instead of NTSC. Tough noogies, get a multiscan VCR and TV like I have. Twice. But I digress.
Blackadder (Best. Comedy. Series. Ever.)
Fawlty Towers (If only there were more...)
Good Neighbors (Must see to appreciate the Felicity Kendall underwear line in The Young Ones.)
Monty Python's Flying Circus (The Ur-British comedy.)
A History of Britain with Simon Schama (God I wish I could write or talk like that.)
The Young Ones (Proof that there were drugs available in the UK in the early '80s -- much, much cleverer than generally thought though.)
Civilisation with Lord Clarke (Remember the thrill of learning new things?)
Sister Wendy's Story of Painting (Sui generis, and yes, I know she's South African.)
Sister Wendy's Grand Tour (Still sui generis.)
To the Manor Born (Just like Roger Daltrey, I can't explain.)
Have I Got News For You (Difficult to find, and now poor Angus is out on his backside. Definitely a step up for him from the Jumping Jews of Jerusalem, however.)
The Francis Urquhart trilogy (Good old F.U.)
The Inspector Tennyson series (Helen Mirren is da bomb.)
Rab C. Nesbitt (THE drunken Glaswegian.)
Please note that Mr. Bean, Are You Being Served, and Keeping Up Appearances are definitely not included. And I'm not going into Shakespeare or Roman epics where everyone speaks with a British accent, though they have their place as well in the catacombs of my quite possibly BSE infected brain.
Anyway, watch them all at least twice, get the books to memorize key parts and then reread the entire blog since its inception (including the old Blogspot site). Why? Well, if you have to explain the jokes, then they're just not funny. And it's clear from my lack of readership that not many people are getting the point. Either that, or I'm not nearly as smart and clever as I think. (Cue self pity.) Nah.
If anyone's interested, I can also go into the primary American sources for my irregular pseudo-Freudian free word association quasi-political observations leavened with crypto-pop culture references.
Now, if you'll excuse me I've got a full case of beer and half a mind to drink it while I re-immerse myself in one of my pleaseures in life for a while.
I just composed a long post about GoneOff.org, but it has mysteriously disappeared. I think I'll call John Ashcroft about this suppression of my assent.
Late last year, the Sine Qua Non wife started working part time with the National Association for Pseudoxanthoma Elasticum. Just thought you might want to know.
Oh Lord, I go for penguins.
And for you fans of red hair from the masculine side, there's a picture here that looks far too much like me for comfort.
But what this is really all about:
One Bash to rule them all
One Bash to find them
One Bash to bring them all
And in the blog'sphere bind them
In the land of Kirkwood where the bloggers lie
In the land of Kirkwood where the bloggers lie
Yes, that's right, it's time for another Greater Kirkwood gathering, otherwise known as the MidWest BlogBash. I've lost track of how many that is now. Tentatively, I select February 7 at a site to be determined.
Make your reservations now. I'll alert the usual suspects by e-mail soon.
It warms the cockles of my heart to know how much time others have wasted reading my blog when all they really wanted to know was what "sine qua non" means in English.
I came in third in Wizbang's caption contest. So far, that's got me one hit according to the referrer logs!
Click click. Bling bling.
The Twisted Spinster has returned.
Predictions for 2004:
Saddam Hussein gets an agent and a book deal. Alas, he never gets very far on the first draft of his manuscript as he is killed by an Iraqi.
The quality and the quantity of the blogosphere improve, even as its Borg-like nature becomes apparent.
The US economy continues to do very well with a cheap dollar.
Zimbabwe raises the ante on North Korea for the worst place on earth -- and the UN does nothing.
The Democratic National Convention makes for great TV as no one has been selected after eight ballots. Buoyed by internal polling results, Hillary Clinton assents to receiving the nomination.
The Republican National convention does not make for great TV.
We will begin to get reports from Big Media on the brutal Syrian summer and the brutal North Korean winters.
Suicide bombers strike the US in the month before the election.
President George W. Bush is relected with almost 400 electoral votes and 54% of the popular vote, but his coattails are surprisingly short.
There is a coup in North Korea and Kim Jong Il is deposed and disposed of.
The usual suspects will continue to do all those things which have earned them the moniker, "The Usual Suspects."
Happy New Year everybody!
This speech by Michael Crichton is probably the best, and perhaps the most important, item I have read all year. Please read it.
Coutesy of Donald Sensing.
Instead of reading this blog, you should be celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah with your family and friends.
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all my friends in the blogosphere! May I offer an ethereal toast to your success and good fortune in the coming year. Y'all rock!!! Now I gotta roll...
I leave not one, but two (IMHO) allusions to Marathon Man over at Tim Blair's site and absolutely no one seems to notice. What's the point of being too clever by half with pop culture references and free word association if absolutely no one is going to notice? While bloggins's been light of late, I have been lounging about the blogosphere and leaving a lot more comments than usual in the ether for good measure. But you'll just have to find them.
Just be sure to catch Dodd's Caption Contest later this week. I've outdone myself. And that's saying something. Just ask Dodd. In fact, if everyone who reads this will enter just one caption entry then perhaps I won't have half the total entries for this week's contest. Yet again.
Oh, and I have to go back to Japan on Thursday. This is one more brutal holiday season business trip. But as I told my wife, I'll be home for Christmas, you can count on me. And you too can have yourself a merry little Christmas if you'll (yule?) just meet me in St. Louis.
Last night I picked up a book and read it for about 45 minutes before going to bed. My wife noticed and said, "that's the first time I've seen you reading anything in bed for a long time." By a long time, I think she means about eighteen months ago. She's right. I used to read for 30-90 minutes every night before going to sleep, but I've fallen out of the habit.
Hmm, I started blogging about 18 months ago. Coincidence?
If you like to gamble, I tell you I'm your man
You win some, lose some, it's all the same to me
The pleasure is to play, makes no difference what you say
I don't share your greed, the only card I need is
The Ace Of Spades
The Ace Of Spades
Playing for the high one, dancing with the devil,
Going with the flow, it's all a game to me,
Seven or Eleven, snake eyes watching you,
Double up or quit, double stake or split,
The Ace Of Spades
The Ace Of Spades
You know I'm born to lose, and gambling's for fools,
But that's the way I like it baby,
I don't wanna live for ever,
And don't forget the joker!
Pushing up the ante, I know you've got to see me,
Read 'em and weep, the dead man's hand again,
I see it in your eyes, take one look and die,
The only thing you see, you know it's gonna be,
The Ace Of Spades
Hot times in East Tenneesee/Northern Georgia:
General Sessions Court Judge Bob Moon said the recreational area at Chickamauga Dam has become "one big sex party."
Judge Moon? You're kidding, right?
From overseas, watching the media whine about not being in the loop was truly pathetic. Correct headline: Bush Trip To Iraq Stuns Media. Here's another one: Bush Lied. Turkeys Died.
I can only remember two other sitting United States Presidents visiting a war zone, or an occupation zone if you prefer, and taking such a risk. They would be Abraham Lincoln visiting Richmond, VA, and Franklin Roosevelt visiting Yalta. And I thank I'm being generous with the latter since it gets into how we choose to define our terms.
Did I mention I'm tired?
After seeing it briefly, I cannot believe that there is an audience for Seinfeld dubbed in Japanese.
I've never been to Las Vegas, but somehow, I think it might pale in comparison to Tokyo's Ginza District.
So many topics, so few neurons firing.
Ok, I couldn't stay away. Richard Cohen has been a bit more of an ass lately than usual and I was wondering if some of you weren't suffering from a lack of Scourge as much as I was. But that one Scourge will have to tide you over until I get back from Japan. Hmmm..., I wonder if I can get Cajun deep fried turkey sushi somewhere in Tokyo's Ginza district next Thursday.
DOWNDATE: A few random thoughts...
Big Media vs. the Blogosphere: Compare and contrast the level of obsession Big Media has with Michael Jackson with that of the blogosphere. Who's more serious? Which is closer to capital-J journalism? Speaking of Michael Jackson, is he updating the moon walk to a perp walk dance step? Or should that be a frog march? Michael's brother Jermaine calls this "nothing but a modern day lynching". Has the phrase "modern day lynching" jumped the shark? Finally, I hope Michael is on a suicide watch. Say, I hope there aren't any Blazers anywhere near Neverland Ranch.
Ya know, it's getting harder and harder to compete with the unintentionally funny. Yahoo! says today that "Michael Jackson Surrenders to Face Abuse Charges." Plastic surgeons throughout California must be leaping off buildings.
Today is Dodd's 3rd blogiversarry. Congrats!
And Tim Blair is back, presumably holding up the fort Down Under.
Honestly, the Massachusetts SJC ruling doesn't bother me nearly as much as the way politicians seem increasingly willing to abandon their responsibility and allow judges to make law rather to interpret it. This is an increasingly bad sign.
Now the Democrats are attacking the AARP for backing the Republican Medicare bill. Apparently one step off the reservation gets you blacklisted now. Such intolerance! I've noted before how silly it is to predict the end of a major party based upon the latest piece of information, as though that trend will go on forever. But the current DNC leadership does look to be increasingly suicidal in nature.
I'm going to step away from the blog for the rest of this month. Between work, kids, holidays, a golf outing at Pinehurst next week, a business trip to Japan at the end of the month, and the paucity of any real change in the world situation of late, I think it best to take an extended break. I reserve the right to change my mind, especially if I am taken with some cunning quip that is so sharp you could shave with it, but I'm going to try and do this cold turkey.
I feel like I'm in a rut and some time away will help clear my head and allow me to generate some prose that more than about twenty of my closest blog friends might be interested in. I am profoundly grateful for the quality of the readership I have, but I will admit to wishing for some quantity as well. Hopefully, I'll come back with a fresh approach, some new ideas, a few good stories and a couple of surprises. Until then, feel free to look over my last week's work. There's a little bit of everything in there from agrisexuals, chicken catcher Torre, a prescient bit on Iraq being more closely analogous to Tet than to Vietnam, life imitating art in the guise of Monty Python, Jack Skelington rip-off Scourges, incestuous linking, bad puns, pop culture references, free word association, homonymic delusion, self-deprecation, and ruminations on the theatre of the absurd that is politics today.
In the meantime, if you have any suggestions on how I can stay under 100 at Pinehurst #2 -- what with only playing about two rounds since this spring, what to do (or to avoid) in the Ginza district of Tokyo, or if you just want to flatter me and tell me how essential this blog is to maintaining your proper perspective on life, the universe and all that, well, feel free. I'm not proud. I'll do anything to avoid being thrown onto the ashheap of the blogosphere. Well, almost anything.
See you in December.
DOWNDATE: Damn his hide, Richard Cohen is making it awfully hard to stay away. M...u...s...t n...o...t e...n...g...a...g...e ... ... ...
I wanted to write a long poem for my birthday inspired by that catching song by Marc Campbell and the Nails. But I've run out of time and inspiration, so instead I'm going to kick back, relax, drink a few beers, hug the kids, adore the wife, and offer thanks for what I have and the time I have left.
I'm not sure, but I am beginning to think the great DoS attack of Halloween 2003 has begun.
Terry Oglesby is running the SECOND ANNUAL ALL-FIRED AXIS OF WEEVIL SCARY STORY BLOGBURST. Here's my entry:
Once upon a time, I lived in Alabama. While residing there a boll weevil ate my brain. Mmmm, brains...
It grew back.
Now that's scary.
And now you know why I don't write fiction, because my attempts are truly frightening.
When one of my nieces or nephews graduates from high school (none from college, yet), in addition to the check they really want, I like to give them several books that I think might interest or help them. So I was interested when John Hawkins offered the opportunity to contribute to what the right side of the blogosphere considers to be influential books.
Mind you, this wasn't necessarily what I consider the most important, or the best books, but merely the ones that were most influential to me. Mr. Hawkins didn't specify, but to be considered by me to have been influential to me, I had to have read them before I graduated from college or shortly thereafter. Here was my off-the-top-of-my-head submission with some explanation (needed in some cases), in no particular order:
Atlas Shrugged -- Ayn Rand: Every teenager has to start somewhere when it comes to figuring out how the world works, and this is usually the place for those fortunate enough not to fall into the hands of Karl Marx first. I still find it useful, and dismiss most of the criticism as missing the point entirely. Anyway, this tome, and a strange hermit at the University of Illinois, got me reading all of her non-fiction as well, but that's another story.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance -- Robert Pirsig: A book whose impact is as hard for me to overestimate as it is to quantify.
Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid -- Douglas R. Hofstadter: It probably helped that I was studying real analysis and mathematical logic in grad school from someone who had actually worked with Kurt Gödel. We spent six weeks getting to 1+1=2. Most math majors ran away from this stuff, but I loved it.
Hamlet -- William Shakespeare: It gets better with every reading. Remembering how we read it in high school with the parts handed out to the students is really kind of funny now.
Macbeth -- William Shakespeare: How anyone can not understand that William Shakespeare is the greatest writer to have ever lived is beyond me.
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues -- Tom Robbins: Not an important book, but an influential one for me. At the tender, young, sheltered age of seventeen, this book made me aware that there was another world out there I knew nothing about. And it has one of the best catchphrases ever -- the Chink saying in response to anything and everything, "The world situation is desperate, as usual."
The Name of The Rose -- Umberto Eco: Multi-lingual, clever, intelligent, learned, historical and Catholic. What's not to like?
Foucault's Pendulum -- Umberto Eco: Multi-lingual, wickedly clever, intelligent, historical in a paranoid masters of the universe kind of way, and lots of fun. If anyone should ever bother, you'll find lots of casual references to it throughout this blog -- though they've got to be hard to find. I haven't read The Da Vinci Code, but from the reviews, it seems to me like a large portion of it might have been cribbed from here. Oh, and this led to a lot of wasted time screwing around with the Knights Templar.
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy -- J. R. R. Tolkein: I re-read these every few years. As to Peter Jackson's version, all I can say is, "We're not worthy!"
The Foundation Trilogy -- Isaac Asimov: Everyone knows that this is structured around Edward Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, right?
The Federalist Papers -- Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay: Civics 101, 201, 301, and 401
History of the Peloponessian War -- Thucydides: Everything old is new again.
The Guns of August -- Barbara Tuchman: At the age of seventeen or eighteen, this seemed like a great book. I'm not sure I still think of it that way, but it certainly helped spur me towards a love of history.
Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century -- Barbara Tuchman: Again, it helped cement my love of history. Oh, and if I remember correctly it had the Knights Templar in it as well.
Plato (Everything): The original Bruce.
Aristotle (Everything): So that's where my tendancy to pedantry comes from! Let's face it, Aristotle is a damn hard slog.
The Canterbury Tales -- Geoffrey Chaucer: I feel really fortunate that in an otherwise dismal blue collar high school experience, I had a few teachers that gave a damn.
The Divine Comedy -- Dante Alighieri: When first exposed to this, I think I liked it for a lot of wrong reasons. Now, it is merely sublime.
Civilisation -- Lord Kenneth Clarke: Yea, I'm an anglophile, but I still love this book and the tapes. What a remarkable man.
Civil War (8 volumes) -- Allan Nevins: I have about a hundred books on the American Civil War and I had to pick something. Did I mention that I think Abraham Lincoln is probably the most worthy human being that has ever lived?
After seeing the final compiled list, if I took more time, I'd probably change about a third of this list. I'll also note that I've still got a lot of reading to do to round out my basic education.
Has anyone else noticed a massive increase in Vicodin spam since Rush went into rehab?
No, I didn't win (heck, I didn't even enter!), but I did get to be guest judge one more time.
I am hovering right at 100 hits a day, which I consider to be the Mendoza line for bloggers who have been at this a while. For the uninitated, that means that I am dangerously close to the replacement level. I can appreciate the loss of hits due to DoS attacks and my own sporadic posting from time to time, but this is a very bad sign. Of course, I am still hitting my weight -- in kilograms.
One week in New Orleans can feel like several. I noticed an inverse correlation between sleep and alcohol consumption while there last week. But, while I was away, I won again! Woo hoo!
If you're in New Orleans this coming week, stop by and see me at the Northrop Grumman IT TASC exhibit at the GeoIntel 2003 conference.
Posting will be light to non-existent this week, but if you're a blogger and you stop by, I'll buy you a beer.
Every once and a while, I need to remember to thank Andrea Harris out loud for setting me up and hosting me. Feel free to thank Andrea yourself as well.
I was a chaperone for daughter #1's 7th/8th grade dance tonight.
Things have changed since I was in 8th grade.
Hey, that's my friend Jon making the big time over at Mark Steyn's place!
But he didn't win anything like Stefan Sharkansky did!
I've been sick for about two weeks -- physically and emotionally.
The haze is finally lifting for my physical ailments. Memo to self: don't get on a plane again with a sinus infection. But the more serious affliction is the utter contempt I feel for so much of humanity right now.
On a lighter note, I am disgusted by the level of play in the MLB playoffs. No doubt, the atheletes are better than ever, but the level of play is atrocious by High School standards when I was playing. I'm glad the Cubs beat the Braves, but considering how poorly they hit with men on base, I'm not exactly optimistic about their future chances. And how Tim McCarver managed to play so long and be such a respected broadcaster still evades me since he still doesn't know the rules.
On a heavier note, I am disgusted by the last minute revelations concerning Arnold Schwarzenegger. If he wasn't about to win, absolutely none of this would have come out. Anyway, unless California is now going to recall their legislature, nothing much is going to change. A pox on all their houses.
I am disgusted by the Plame blame game, beginning with Robert Novak and extending to Joe Wilson and all those in the media who are using it as there latest proxy to try and pull a gotcha on the administration. I'm still not sure anyone in the administration did anything wrong, but if they did, they should have their citizenship revoked after they get out of jail. A pox is too good for what these folks deserve.
I am disgusted by the reaction to Rush Limbaugh's comments (dumb and wrong, but not racist -- there aren't six teams that wouldn't trade their starting QB for McNabb today), but even more appalled at the patina of political correctness that now covers all discussion of the topic in polite society. The on-air talent at ESPN really take themselves far, far too seriously, while the usual suspects can always be counted on to pile on. Do you think they'll ever figure out that Rush was talking about the media and it's prejudices, not Donovan McNabb? Nah.
I am disgusted by the inability of the learned, and the unlearned, to have any perspective on what is going on in the War on Terrorism. This topic is so broad as to defy any comprehensive listing, but you know what I mean. Bastards. Everywhere.
But most of all, I am disgusted with my inability to live up to the standards I try and espouse to others.
I'll be back if I can sort it all out.
Bill Hobbs is running a poll that asks:
Why Won't You Participate in Online Polls?
Bill offers the following choices:
I don't want to.
You aren't paying me to.
I don't want you to know what I think.
I'm not sure what I think.
I'm afraid. Very afraid.
I don't vote in polls about why I won't vote in polls. (The Sundseth Conundrum)
Now far be it from me to complain about anything on Bill's superb site, but pedant that I am, from a purely logical perspective one can only infer that this poll must, by definition, have no respondents. Alas, Google had no useful links to help explain what the Sundseth Conundrum might be, but to select this choice still requires participation in an online poll -- to wit, this one.
DOWNDATE: I have discovered the source of the Sundseth Conundrum (comment 1). Alas, it does not address the paradox I have raised.
Saturday night, I took Daughter #1 and one of her friends out into the country to meet up with four other gentlemen who had set their telescopes up for some moon, star, and planet gazing. The telescopes were all 8" to 10" Schmidt-Cassegrains and the weather was about as perfect as it could get, except for a very heavy dew and an extremely bright moon. As they were setting up, they predicted that the girls would provide the "Oh, Wow!" moment each first-time stargazer makes once they got a chance to see the moon and Mars -- and they were absolutely right. One of the gentlemen had a binocular lenspiece that made viewing Mars much, much easier. Their must be substantial global warming on Mars (it must be difficult -- though not impossible -- to blame this on President Bush) because the polar ice cap was awfully small. We also got to see a number of star clusters, a few unique star patterns and a ring nebula. I look forward to going back out on another clear night with a new moon or no moon, and prefereably much farther away from St. Louis.
I missed the President's speech on Sunday night since the family (and three of Daughter #1's friends) went to see The Lion King at the Fabulous Fox Theatre here in St. Louis. It was a wonderful show, with excellent music (not entrirely the same as the movie), fascinating costumes, marvelously creative set designs and superb performances. The young Simba and Nala were outstanding. I can heartily recommend it if you have the chance to see it. And if you have the chance to see anything at the Fabulous Fox Theatre, take the chance to do so. It is an amazing palace built in 1929 and renovated a few years ago in a style that has been called Siamese Byzantine. You just have to see it to believe it.
And then there is football, and fantasy football. It looks like I'll be 2-6 in week 1, due primarily to the bad luck of playing the top score or nearly the top score in the league in each of my losses, though the non-performance of my "stars" (Tomlinson, Manning, Harrison, Favre, and Brady) certainly contributed. Oh, and note to Mike Martz: Kurt Warner may be a better QB than Marc Bulger, but not if he's trying to play with a concussion. Nice to know that Mike cares about his players' health so much.
Here it is Friday, and I haven't even thought of Richard Cohen this week until just now. Don't worry, I will get back to Scourging. But it is good to know that he was completely out of my system, if only for a week.
Dear readers, my old site is still getting about 100 hits a day despite my moving off it a couple of weeks ago. There are two fundamental causes for this sorry state of events -- one that only one person can fix and another for which I need everyone's help. Inadvertant clicks to the old site will never fully go away until the biggest blogger in the land updates his links. Strangely, he actually blogged the move.
But do not despair, because you can still help improve the efficiency of the blogosphere. I need your help in stopping the search engines from returning the old site instead of the new one everytime someone queries "sine qua non" or Scourge of Richard Cohen" or "multispectral eggplants." To fix this egregious error and colossal waste of time I solicit your support in planting a Googlebomb.
The phrase of the day is "candomble cracker jacks".
Your support is appreciated.