Friday, November 30, 2007

Martin Scorsese does Hitchcock.

Lots of cool references to other 'Hitch' films.

Good God.

In case your dog is into LARP (that's Live Action Role Playing to all you non-dorks out there).

My instant boob job from 36A to 36DD - and the effect it had on men (and women)

But what had inspired this frankly odd behaviour from complete strangers? Quite simply, it was my pair of perfectly perky 36DD breasts.

What they didn't know of course was that they were in fact made of silicone and had been 'added' to my chest the previous day.
I probably should have given this one to Theo but I just couldn't resist.

Fashion ads from Ebony Magazine, 1970 - '76

John Shaft has nothing on these guys.

Project Echo

No mention of alien probes or cattle mutilations in the files.

Must be a cover up.

Should fireplace fires be banned?

I've been pointing out how polluting these things are to my eco-warrior friends for years now. Don't get me wrong, I love a roaring fire, it's just that if somebody is agonizing over whether Mother Earth can tolerate another gas powered lawn mower might want to stop shoving a cord of wood up his chimney every month an a half.

Something to think about the next time you order shrimp.

Amazing fossil discovered. Jean Paul Sartre and Duane Schneider provided for scale.

Democrats: The Party of the Rich?

Mr. Franc’s study also showed that contrary to the Democrats’ tendency to define Republicans as the party of the rich, “the vast majority of unabashed conservative House members hail from profoundly middle-income districts.”
“I just found the pattern across the board to be very interesting. That pattern shows the likelihood of electing a Democrat to the House is very closely correlated with how many wealthy households are in that district,” Mr. Franc said in an interview with The Washington Times.

Interestingly, charity also tracks strongly with party affiliation.

Mankind 'shortening the universe's life'

But there is an odd feature of the theory that philosophers and scientists still argue about. In a nutshell, the theory suggests that quantum systems can exist in many different physical configurations at the same time. By observing the system, however, we may pick out one single 'quantum state', and therefore force the system to change its configuration.They often illustrate their concerns about what the theory means in this respect with mind-boggling experiments, notably Schrodinger's cat in which, thanks to a fancy experimental set up, the moggy is both alive and dead until someone decides to look, when it either carries on living, or dies. That is, by one interpretation (by another, the universe splits into two, one with a live cat and one with a dead one.)

I guess it depends on what your definition of "green" is.

Birds crash into "environmentally friendly" buildings.

New York murder rate plunges

Great news.

From the article:

New York City is on track to have fewer than 500 homicides this year, by far the lowest number in a 12-month period since reliable Police Department statistics became available in 1963.
But within the city’s official crime statistics is a figure that may be even more striking: so far, with roughly half the killings analyzed, only 35 were found to be committed by strangers, a microscopic statistic in a city of more than 8.2 million.

Adverse Possession rears it's ugly head.

Fascinating story. A former judge and mayor of Boulder Colorado takes a shine to his neighbors property so he sets out to (more or less) steal it.

There are good public policy reasons for allowing adverse possession. This is not one of them.

What If 20 Million Illegal Aliens Left America?

Some thoughts on the economics of illegal immigration.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The war against the war is over.

John Murtha says "the surge is working".

Jefferson’s Commandments

As true today as it was then.

Everything is Caused by Global Warming (600+ links)

Dr. John Brignell, a British engineering professor, runs a website called numberwatch. He has compiled what has to be the most complete collection of links to media stories ascribing the cause of everything under the sun to global warming. He has already posted more than six-hundred links.

The Left's Collective Aneurysm

[L]eft wing bloggers are doing everything in their power to deny or disparage the gains that our soldiers are making--with increasingly little concern for intellectual honesty of their arguments.

Bushwood Golf Club

Good lord, it's real!

The 9 Most Racist Disney Characters

Uncle Remus is just the tip of the iceberg.

Lost In Space laser pistol for sale.

Holy Cow is that cool looking. Too bad it's $600.00. Somehow I don't think the wife would understand.

Nazis and Christianity

Raised and educated in southern California, it took me until my middle adult years to learn with clarity that the Nazis were not "right wing," in the sense of working towards smaller, less powerful government, as I understand political conservatism today. Political conservatism is the urge to radically restrain government, while the Nazis alongside all their leftist counterparts were about radically growing the powers of government. One way to accomplish such growth is to tear away other forms of authority, and religions are sources of authority which challenge central governments.

Yet another setback for the "global warming will kill us all" crowd.

NASA scientists now attribute Arctic warming to decadal trends having to do with ocean circulation and salinity, rather than anthropogenic global warming.

Drew Carey on eminent domain abuse.

Eminent domain is the constitutionally sanctioned practice of taking land for legitimate public uses. Traditionally, that's meant things like roads and schools. Over the past several decades, however, governments have gone hog wild with eminent domain, routinely condemning property and turning it over to well-connected private developers as a way of subsidizing economic development and increasing tax revenues (never mind that it doesn't always work out that way).

The I Claudius Project

I Claudius has long been my favorite work of historical fiction. This site helps differentiate the the history from the the fiction.

The real problem with Social Security

The demographic transition we are currently undergoing to an older society means that we need policies to increase the workforce and productivity as much as possible. What we have, in Social Security, is a program which actively works against these aims.

More Here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Political correctness gone mad

Grandmother who has brushed doorstep for 62 years told by council she could face court.

Is Ted Turner playing cowboy or hogging land?

Conspiracy theorists are suggesting he's planning on taking over the midwest. Normally I'm skeptical about this sort of thing but it is worth taking note that Turner is Howard Hughes crazy.

Apologies All Around

Today's tendency to make amendsfor the crimes of history raisesthe question: where do we stop?

From Peace Activist to FARC Guerrilla

Joining up with the bad guys can be hazardous to your health.

via Maggie's Farm

The Sten Gun

For my mother of all people. All her life she's run across the Sten in crosswords and never known what it was.

Notes from the Silent Surrender

The dogma of multiculturalism holds that all cultures are equal, except Western culture, which (unlike every other society on the planet) has a history of oppression and war is therefore worse. All religions are equal, except Christianity, which informed the beliefs of the capitalist bloodsuckers who founded America and is therefore worse. All races are equal, except Caucasians, who long ago went into business with black slave traders in Africa, and therefore they are worse. The genders, too, are equal, except for those paternalistic males, who with their testosterone and aggression have made this planet a polluted living hell, and therefore they are worse.

The Rise of Family-Friendly Cities

It's lifestyle, not lattés, that our most productive workers want.

Trouble in the Leftosphere

The Leftosphere is very upset at Joe Klein for a column he wrote inaccurately describing the FISA bill.

The best line:

The poor dears are upset that the media brazenly misrepresents plain facts, feigns ignorance and engages in very un-journalistic cover-ups. Welcome to our world.

Hollywood's Phony (Anti)War - The Sequel

More from Roger Simon on the astonishing failure of the anti-war films.

US reduces greenhouse-gas emissions in 2006

Somehow this will be spun as a bad thing and George Bush will be blamed. Any suggestions?

My nominee:

Greenhouse Gasses decline hits poor and minorities hardest.

Yet another outrage from the religion of peace

A British teacher has been charged with insulting religion and inciting hatred after allowing her class to name a teddy bear Mohammed.

via Drudge

A liberal's lament: The NRA might be right after all

This warms the cockles of my heart. Jonathan Turley admits what so many of us have known all along.

Principle is a terrible thing, because it demands not what is convenient but what is right. It is hard to read the Second Amendment and not honestly conclude that the Framers intended gun ownership to be an individual right.

He continues:

More important, the mere reference to a purpose of the Second Amendment does not alter the fact that an individual right is created. The right of the people to keep and bear arms is stated in the same way as the right to free speech or free press. The statement of a purpose was intended to reaffirm the power of the states and the people against the central government. At the time, many feared the federal government and its national army. Gun ownership was viewed as a deterrent against abuse by the government, which would be less likely to mess with a well-armed populace.
Considering the Framers and their own traditions of hunting and self-defense, it is clear that they would have viewed such ownership as an individual right — consistent with the plain meaning of the amendment.

Goings on

The Wife had minor surgery yesterday. It went well and she's doing fine. In light of her brush with the medical community, I've linked to a list of dubious medical procedures.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Yet another brush with fame

The wife and I were at Target today and who should we see but Cheryl Hines star of HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm. This our fourth celebrity sighting since moving to California a year and a half ago. So far we've run into Peter Gallagher, Patrick Swayze, and Jason Bateman. The wife also thinks we've seen Michael Imperioli but I'm pretty sure it was just a guy with a big nose.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

What American accent do you have?

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The Inland North
The West
The Northeast
North Central
The South
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Not sure who to vote for? Here's the rundown.


Former Sen. John Edwards (D-SC)
Pros: Is not, so far as I know, the mind-controlled love slave of Kim Jong-Il.
Cons: Is actually John Edwards.

via Ace of Spades

A blast from the past.

A fellow blogger finds a 1977 J C Penny catalog. Hilarity ensues.
Hat tip: The Wife.

Who to root for

My buddy Matt James found this on an Illini fan discussion board. who knows, if we get the right breaks Illinois might even sneak into the Rose Bowl.

I figure there is about a 1/10 of 1% chance of us notmaking a BCS bowl but just to be on the safe sidethese would be the ideal results for the upcominggames this week:

#1 LSU hosts #33 Arkansas - Go Razorbacks (+12). Iwant to play in the Rose Bowl and we need an LSU lossto make it happen.

#2 Kansas vs. #4 Missouri - Go Tigers (+2). Helps ourSOS and eff Kansas.

#3 West Virginia hosts #20 Connecticut - GoMountaineers (-17). A West Virginia wins locks up the Big East title and assuresthat the Big East will only get 1 BCS bid.

#5 Ohio State - Idle

#6 Arizona State hosts #11 USC - Go Sun Devils (+31/2). A USC loss should allow us to move up a spot inthe BCS.

#7 Georgia @ #48 Georgia Tech - Go Bulldogs (-3 1/2).It would be better to have Georgia play LSU in the SECchampionship game at the Georgia Dome. Also just incase Hawaii wins out we need the teams just ahead ofthem in the human polls to stand their ground.

#8 Virgina Tech @ #16 Virgina - Go Hokies (-3). Itwill be easier to pass Virginia if they lose, plus theHawaii factor from above comes into play.

#9 Oregon @ #52 UCLA - Depends on who wins the USC/ASUgame on Thursday. If USC wins we probably want Oregon(-2) to win. If ASU wins we probably want Oregon tolose to pretty much guarantee that the PAC 10 onlygets 1 bid.

#10 Oklahoma hosts #38 Oklahoma St. - Go Sooners(-12). Hawaii factor and I like the Sooners chances ofwinning the Big 12 championship game and getting usinto the Rose Bowl.

#12 Florida hosts #32 Florida State - Go Gators (-14).Hawaii factor and we want 3 SEC teams in the top 14.

#13 Texas @ #51 Texas A&M - Go Longhorns (-5). Hawaiifactor and we want 4 Big 12 teams in the top 14.

#14 Boston College hosts #67 Miami - Go Eagles (-141/2). If BC were to lose this game and then win theACC Championship game that could give Hawaii/ BoiseSt. an automatic bid.

#15 Hawaii hosts #19 Boise St - Go Broncos (+4). AHawaii loss is huge and I'm not worried about Boise Stgetting into the top 12.

#17 Illinois - BEAT BOWL OPPONENT!!!!

#18 Tennessee @ #28 Kentucky - Go Wildcats (-2 1/2).We don't want Tennessee to jump us and a loss getsGeorgia to the SEC Championship game.

#21 Wisconsin - Idle #22 Clemson @ #47 South Carolina - Go Tigers (-2 1/2).I'm a little worried that they might somehow squeakback into the top 14 but a loss would help Hawaii inthe computers so go Clemson.

#23 South Florida @ #76 Pittsburgh - Go Bulls (-11).See above

#24 Cincinnati @ #92 Syracuse - Go Bearcats (-19). SOSbe damned, see above.

#26 Auburn hosts #50 Alabama - Go Tigers (-6). seeabove.

There it is. Print it out, laminate it and take it tograndmas for Thanksgiving. Feel free to debate themerits of each game and try to sway me the other way.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Hillary Clinton Terrible Truths

This seems familiar.

New Orleans brewery fighting to bring Dixie Beer back

Dixie Beer was hands down my favorite American microbrew (it's far better than the more famous Anchor Steam or Sam Adams). Hopefully, they can get things rolling again soon.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Big Chunk Of The Universe Is Missing -- Again

Understandable- I loose things all the time.

Prison Offers Inmates Pole-Vaulting Lessons

Kinda speaks for itself.

Queen Hillary's disruptive court

Hillary's stonewalling evasions and mercurial, soulless self-positionings have been going on since her first run for the U.S. Senate from New York, a state she had never lived in and knew virtually nothing about. The liberal Northeastern media were criminally complicit in enabling her queenlike, content-free "listening tour," where she took no hard questions and where her staff and security people (including her government-supplied Secret Service detail) staged events stocked with vetted sympathizers, and where they ensured that no protesters would ever come within camera range.

Anti-Semitism and the Left that Doesn’t Learn

No, anti-Zionism is not in principle anti-Semitism but it is time for thoughtful minds—especially on the left—to be disturbed by how much anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism share, how much the dominant species of anti-Zionism encourages anti-Semitism.

One of my favorites.

The immortal Frank Sinatra.

I've often thought we needed to take this threat more serriously.

American Treasure

Continentals who grew up on Hollywood movies where the guy tells the waitress “Gimme a cuppa joe” and slides over a nickel return to New York a year or two later and find the coffee now costs $5.75, takes 25 minutes and requires an agonizing choice between the cinnamon-gingerbread-persimmon latte with coxcomb sprinkles and the decaf venti pepperoni-Eurasian-milfoil macchiato. Who would have foreseen that the nation that inflicted fast food and drive-thru restaurants on the planet would then take the fastest menu item of all and turn it into a kabuki-paced performance art? What mad genius!

Archaelogists Found: Evidence of Zombie Attack in Ancient Egypt!

Further evidence that my irrational fear of Zombies may be correct.

You must be a legal resident to get a driver’s license— in Mexico

Perhaps our laws should simply mirror those of Mexico?

Hollywood's Red Decade

No better example of the intellectual and artistic bankruptcy of the left exists than these films. They should have been allowed to make as many as they wanted. No blacklist, no Congressional hearings, no interference whatsoever. A couple dozen more like these and Hollywood communism would have been relegated to comic relief. Left alone, they'd have knocked themselves out.

Instead we got the legend of martyrdom, and hundreds of hours of foul ideological exercises, unto the present day.

The Gilded age

Extreme doghouses.

Historic whiskey could go down the drain

If ever there was a case for executive clemency this is it.

What is Your Blog’s Reading Level?

I guess I use too many 25 cent words.

I should have thought of this.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Ron Paul Campaign and its Neo-Nazi Supporters

Paul supporters complain endlessly that the "mainstream media" is censoring or ignoring their candidate. They should be careful what they ask for. If Paul wants to be taken seriously, he must stop cowering behind the internet and face these questions. Until then it is only reasonable to presume that Paul is happy to wallow in well-financed obscurity accepting the support of some of the worst enemies of freedom and liberty within American society.

The New Iraqi Debate

...the US military has eliminated a large number of terrorists, insurgents and general terrorists since 2003. Given the noxious fumes of Vietnam-era “body-counts” we don’t mention this. But many of the sheiks suffered horrendous losses among their tribes to the US in the past four years that led to some demoralization and the simple absence of their more skilled and veteran fighters. So, when they weighed the odds—increasing oil-generated wealth on the one hand versus being mowed down by the US on the other—the choice was to join us.

The immortal Bob Hope

Sad because it's true.

via Ace of Spades

Illinois 41, Northwestern 22

Well done guys. Our best season on years.

Cash runs out in land where the bus fare is 1.6 m dollars

Other countries stricken by hyperinflation have coped by printing vast quantities of banknotes with rapidly increasing numbers of zeroes.
In Zimbabwe, however, the phenomenon of “Mugabenomics” has delivered a three-headed monster — exponentially rising prices, a critical cash shortage, because the Government regards adding new rows of zeroes on the banknotes as an admission of defeat, and virtually nothing to buy in the shops because price controls have destroyed the retail trade.

Via Theo

Friday, November 16, 2007

Cambridge Cracks Down on Pro-War Boy Scouts

The election commission in Cambridge, Massachusetts, ordered the removal of Boy Scout donation boxes collecting amenities for troops serving overseas, and the Boston Herald editors note that anti-war flyers were allowed to remain.


American P-38 fighter plane has emerged from the surf and sand where it lay buried — a World War II relic long forgotten by the U.S. government and unknown to the British public.
During those decades, beach strollers, sunbathers and swimmers were often within a few yards of the aircraft, utterly unaware of its existence just under the sand. Only this past summer did it suddenly reappear due to unusual conditions that caused the sands to shift and erode.

Academia's Pervasive PC Rot

Academia's "diversity" obsession is founded on hostility to diversity of opinion.

A man of the left considers the case against universal health care.

In a universal coverage system, the government would seek to limit spending by forcing down payments to doctors and pharmaceutical companies, while scrutinizing treatments for cost-effectiveness. This, in turn, would lead to both less innovation and less access to the innovation that already exists. And the public would end up losing out, because, as Tyler Cowen wrote last year in The New York Times, "the American health care system, high expenditures and all, is driving innovation for the entire world."

Ye who are weary, come home

Services at St John’s Church in Baghdad. Another sign of progress.

Howard Dean: No Bars to Heaven's a little creepy that it appears the Democrats have an official position in the party platform on who gets into Heaven. I thought God was the final arbiter of that...

Happy Heaven Gone Missing

"Fifty Million Frenchmen" happens to be one of the rare, old shows that has been recorded from start to finish with its original orchestral arrangements. Being a geek, I noticed that the medley overture included a catchy tune that is never sung on the recording.
Since recordings of shows like these are typically highly archival affairs, with their producers dredging up every scrap with the obsessiveness of the Simpsons' Comic Book Guy, it is peculiar that there is not a word in the liner notes about what this mysterious melody even is. I knew what the issue must be.
That melody must run up against some taboo, and in our America that would have to be race. All I had to do was consult Robert Kimball's anthology of Porter lyrics, and wouldn't you know, one from this show was "The Happy Heaven of Harlem." Apparently Harlem is a place where "You're never blue, 'cause all you do is eat, sleep and make love."

Two Cheers for Mr. Thompson

It seems The Washington Post likes his plan for Social Security.

Reviled and Isolated Abroad?

The rise of external threats to our allies has concentrated their minds on the need for the American connection. The revival of American fortunes in Iraq -- and the diminished prospect of an American rout -- have significantly increased the value of such a connection. This is particularly true among our moderate Arab allies who see us as their ultimate protection against an Iran-Syria-Hezbollah-Hamas axis that openly threatens them all.

Saudi punishes gang rape victim with 200 lashes

Our friends the Saudis.

It seems them bad press over this is putting a damper on the OPEC Conference.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I really ought to post something...

Sorry the blogging has been light the last couple of days. Kirstee Weldon over at For Serenity's Sake talked me into joining Facebook and's a little addictive.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Hillary, friend of the working man.

It seems the junior senator from New York stiffed a waitress. This is the sort of unforced error that I'd expect from Obama.

New technique creates cheap, abundant hydrogen

If this pans out it'll be fantastic. Hydrogen is the dream alternative fuel. It has about the same amount of energy per gallon as ethanol and when burned it's exhaust is ordinary water. It's also something that we can never run out of (it's the single most common element in the universe). The problem has always been "how do we get it". After all, you don't see a lot hydrogen just lying around. It normally locked up in a molecule like water (two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen) and the energy needed to separate the atoms has always been greater than the yield once they're split. This might change that equation.

This has the promise of shutting up Al Gore and sending the Saudis to the poorhouse. I think all men of good faith can agree that both are commendable goals.

What part of "make no law" don't they understand?

Pennsylvania tramples the establishment and free exercise clauses of the 1st amendment.

Are marriages valid if performed by people who were "ordained" by online churches in a matter of minutes and have no congregation? Answer: No.

In a York County case, a Common Pleas Court judge invalidated a 10-month marriage, finding that a friend of the bride's who officiated at the wedding didn't have the power to do so under Pennsylvania law even though he had been ordained online by the Universal Life Church. The judge ruled the friend didn't qualify as a minister under state law because he had no regular congregation or place of worship.

Now for what it's worth, I think the Universal Life Church is a bad joke. It's always been my understanding however that the state has no role in determining the qualifications of clergy. I foresee a reversal on appeal.

By the way, the ACLU who normally get a hard time from me are on the the right side of this one. Credit where it's due.

In his hundred years, Jacques Barzun has learned a thing or two.

I've always loved his writing, it just never occurred to me that he was still alive. My first edition of Darwin, Marx, Wagner has a copyright date of 1941. Many happy returns Jacques.

What Makes a Terrorist

Among Palestinians, almost 60 percent of the suicide bombers had more than a high school education, compared with less than 15 percent of the general population.

Stereotypes and diversity

Modern dogma holds that diversity is one of the greatest qualities a society can enjoy, that it bestows many advantages. But what does this imply? Well, by definition "diversity" refers to differences among groups. Now, not only is it illogical to assume that every one of these differences will be flattering, the supposition that diversity is beneficial implies otherwise. After all, if diversity is beneficial, it is only because certain groups bring qualities or strengths to the table that others do not. And, if a given group possesses a certain unique strength, then other groups are wanting in that area relative to it.

Any which way you care to slice it, this is a corollary of diversity dogma.

So, ironically, despite the fact that the diversity dogmatists would eschew stereotyping, a version of it imbues their ideology. So it's not that they don't have biases relating to generalizations, only that their understanding of group differences is clumsy and primitive, sort of like Archie Bunker but with advanced degrees, the illusion of intellectualism and the inability to be honest with themselves and others.

So let's be honest now. Stereotypes often arise because they have a basis in reality.

Illinois 28, Ohio State 21

Gadzooks! I nearly forgot to crow about my Alma Matter's upset victory over the number one ranked Buckeyes.

Three cheers for the King of Spain

Now if only we could get stupid American actors to stop paying court to Chavez.

U.S. Intelligence: Iran Possesses Trillions Of Potentially Dangerous Atoms

God help us.

Muir Beach man cited for cleaning beach

No good deed goes unpunished.

via Drudge

Are Cats liquid or solid?

I had long suspected as much.

A sane anti-war post

I've been for the Iraq war since the beginning. I supported it when things were going badly and I certainly continue to back it now that victory seems to be in sight. It is I think, the defining issue of our time and it serves to separate those will stand for civilization from those who will not like wheat from chaff.

That said, it has also created a poisonous atmosphere in our politics, where it has become commonplace to call those who disagree stupid, evil or both. This is wrong and I think, un-American. People like Ann Coulter, Michael Moore and the commenter's at Daily Kos are making things worse not better. The vast majority of those who oppose the war are good honorable decent people. I also believe they are deeply mistaken about the nature of the world and our enemies.

The link is provided in spirit of civil discourse- something we should all encourage.

Hicks Nix Peacenik Pix

Roger Simon on why ALL the new anti-war movies have flopped.

via instapundit

The Money Pit

No, it's not about my house in Lincoln Nebraska (which may finally have a buyer).

Currency Mayhem, still here...

But have the mercantilists' really won over the West? Should we all learn Mandarin and worship only to the East? Some may think so but now the rising economies are faced with massive losses on their dollar assets as it falls in value, a drop in demand from their expert markets as their growth rapidly slows and not enough domestic demand to keep themselves going if exports start to fall. On top of this the currency pegs they are trying to hold are costing them huge amounts of cash; transferred in the main to western currency speculators. Finally, with all the money having nowhere to go there are huge bubbles of their own, see the Shanghai stock market as the leading example, which are going to lose billions of dollars for unsavvy investors in the not-so-distant future.

An interesting take on the falling Dollar.

Lieberman Blasts Democrats Over Foreign Policy

"In this regard, the Democratic foreign policy worldview has become defined by the same reflexive, blind opposition to the President that defined Republicans in the 1990s — even when it means repudiating the very principles and policies that Democrats as a party have stood for, at our best and strongest,"

Good for him.

Italian musician uncovers hidden music in Da Vinci's 'Last Supper'

I'm dubious. This is the equivalent of seeing faces in the clouds. Just because they are there doesn't mean that they mean anything.

Hollywood strike underlines bleak outlook for movie business

That is the conclusion of a surprisingly bleak new assessment of financial dynamics in the movie industry titled "Do Movies Make Money?" The researchers' answer: not any more.

Monuments to Wimpdom

Absence, indeed. What these modern war memorials have in common with each other is nothing. They portray nothingness. They have no people in them, never mind men carrying guns or swords, statues of Winged Victory, or even doves of peace. Just death and names -- grief without glory.

Theo weighs in on immigration

I have to say I agree.

Torts and the Freedom of Speech

Professor Volokh echoes some of the things I said earlier on this case.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lest we forget

An interesting interview here with historian Joseph Persico about why the Great War ended when it did.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The most hideous airliner ever conceived?"

Quite possibly.

The high cost of irrational fear

GM crops should now be growing in areas where no crops can grow: drought-resistant crops in arid soil and salt-resistant crops in soil of high salinity. Plant-based oral vaccines should now be saving millions of deaths from diarrhoea and hepatitis B; they can be ingested in orange juice, bananas or tomatoes, avoiding the need for injection and for trained staff to administer them and refrigeration to store them.

None of these crops is yet on the market. What has gone wrong? Were the promises unrealistic, or is GM technology, as its opponents claim, flawed— because of possible harm to human safety or the environment or because it is ill-suited to the needs of poor farmers in the developing world?

24: The Unaired 1994 Pilot

Well, not really but very funny.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Guoliang Tunnel

Apparently it was carved by hand. Amazing.

Horror Movie Safety Tips

1. When it appears that you have killed the monster, never check to see if it's really dead.

2. Never read a book of demon-summoning aloud, even as a joke.

3. Do not search the basement, especially if the power has gone out.

4. If your children speak to you in Latin--or any other language that they should not know--burn them immediately. It will save you a lot of grief in the long run. This also applies to children who speak with somebody else's voice.

5. As a general rule, don't solve puzzles that open portals to Hell.

6. Never stand in, on, or above a grave, tomb, or crypt. This would apply to any other house of the dead as well.

7. If appliances start operating by themselves, do not check for short circuits; just get out.

8. Do not take anything from the dead.

9. If you find a town which looks deserted, there's probably a good reason for it. Don't stop and look around.

10. Don't fool with recombinant DNA technology unless you're sure you know what you're doing.

11. If your companions suddenly begin to exhibit uncharacteristic behavior such as hissing, fascination for blood, glowing eyes, increasing hairiness, and so on, burn them immediately.

12. Stay away from certain geographical locations, some of which are listed here: Amityville, Elm Street, Transylvania, Nilbog (you're in trouble if you recognize this one), anywhere in Texas where chainsaws are sold, the Bermuda Triangle, or any small town in Maine.

13. If your car runs out of gas at night on a lonely road, do not go to the nearby deserted house to phone for help. If you think that it is strange you ran out of gas because you thought you had most of a tank, shoot yourself instead. You are going to die anyway, and most likely be eaten.

14. Beware of strangers bearing tools. For example: chainsaws, staple guns, hedge trimmers, electric carving knives, combines, lawnmowers, butane torches, soldering irons, band saws, or any devices made from deceased companions.

15. If you find that your house is built upon a cemetery, now is the time to take advantage of the real-estate bubble and move in with the in-laws. This also applies to houses that had previous inhabitants who went mad or committed suicide or died in some horrible, unusual fashion, or who performed bizarre rituals.

16. Dress appropriately. When investigating a noise downstairs in an old house, women should not wear a flimsy negligee. Additionally, carry a flashlight, not a candle.

17. On a related note, DO NOT under any circumstance have sex. Virtuous girls have a chance. Guys, I'm sorry, but you're probably dead-meat regardless - particularly if you are a side-kick.

18. Do not go looking for witches in the Maryland countryside.

19. If you're searching for something that caused a loud noise and find out that it's just the cat, GET OUT!

via The Speculist

Hobo Nickels

Money may be the root of all evil, but what is the root of money? It exists in a strange gray zone between reality and illusion; the definitive token of worth, it is intrinsicall y worthless. Unraveling the dizzyingly complex mechanics of money is not easy; indeed, like a car or a computer, as long as it continues to work properly, most people feel no need to even try. I certainly never had—until recently, that is, when a friend introduced me to an obscure little piece of Americana called the Hobo Nickel. What started as a glancing interest in a modest, oddball collectible ended up provoking profoundly tangled questions about what money is and how it functions. Now I fear I will never be able to look at my pocket change in the same way again.

First minted between 1913 and 1938, the "Buffalo" or "Indian Head" nickel was designed by James E. Fraser, a former assistant to Augustus Saint-Gaudens. The coin's obverse, or "heads," side featured a Native American profile that was said to be a composite of three individuals from three different tribes—an Ogalala named Iron Trail, a Northern Cheyenne known as Two Moons, and Big Tree, a Seneca that had a brief career in 1920s silent movies. The reverse side of the coin was an image of a bison named Black Diamond, who then lived in New York's Central Park Zoo.

The coin was relatively plentiful—over 1.2 billion were minted during the 25 years of its run. However, a small number of them were adapted by the nation's then-significant population of itinerant workers, both as a mode of craft and a kind of parallel currency. (During the Depression as many as one out of every five able-bodied individuals was idle; thousands took to riding the rails in search of temporary work as a way of life.) Often using little more than a pen-knife, many of these drifters pain-stakingly altered the extremely hard copper-nickel alloy, transforming the Indian's head into profile portraits of friends and loved ones (both male and female), of other hobos, or of themselves. Rare examples also feature alterations of the "buffalo," typically into donkeys or elephants. These "Hobo Nickels" were a way for the vagabonds to increase the value of the coin so that it brought a more advantageous exchange when used to barter for food and drink, or for lodging or transportation.

About that global warming consensus

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.
-Marcus Aurelius

Who killed Antioch College?

Antioch regularly turned out graduates who went on to become stellar public figures, writers, and scholars: Coretta Scott King, wife of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, anthropologist Clifford Geertz, Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling, the District of Columbia's Democratic congressional delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, and, most recently in the news, Mario R. Capecchi, co-winner of the Nobel Prize in medicine and physiology for his work on embryonic stem cells in mice. (This was Antioch College's second Nobel; José Ramos-Horta, president of East Timor, who had received a master's degree in 1984 in a peace-studies program now incorporated into Antioch University, won the Peace Prize in 1996.)

Not to mention The Wife, class of '97.

The Illegal Elephant In The Room

Democrats fear the issue because it could leave them with a set of no-win political choices……..

Which is exactly why the Republicans need to press them on this.

Saudi Arabia is hub of world terror

“The problem is that the Saudis have been part of American policy for so long that it’s not easy to work out a solution.”

Experiences of an English Soldier

Some of you may know about this blog already. It is made up of transcripts of Harry Lamin's letters from the first World War. The letters are posted exactly 90 years after they were written. An amazing story.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Useless Idiots, A Century Later

The Western weakness for other people's revolutionary violence, the belief in the glamour and benevolence of foreign dictators, and the insistence on seeing both through the prism of Western political debates, are still very much with us.

A Left-Handed Salute

Gitlin's criticism is relentless, and will win him few new friends on the Left, though it will likely energize the many enemies he already has there. He sees a story rich with irony, in which it has been precisely the Left's most triumphant expressions in contemporary American life that led it into the spiritual wasteland in which it now finds itself. And for this lost condition, he believes, the Left has only itself to blame. It embraced the smug disassociation from existing society epitomized in the sweeping call by émigré philosopher and '60s hero Herbert Marcuse for a "Great Refusal" of the confining ideals and crass manipulations of the modern capitalist political economy. But the embrace of Marcuse's influential but ill-defined slogan has amounted in practice to a "great withdrawal," a narcissistic retreat into self-proclaimed "marginality," an obsession with ever more minute forms of identity politics and the infinite "problematizing" of "truth," a reflexive opposition to America and the West, and an immurement in "theories" whose radicalism is so pure that they never quite touch down to earth—follies all underwritten and protected by the perquisites and comforts of academia.

Batman Quotes

Robin: "Holy molars! Am I ever glad I take good care of my teeth!"

Batman: "True. You owe your life to dental hygiene."

Robin: "To the batcave?"

Batman: "And up the batpoles."

Robin: "The batpoles?"

Batman: "Even crimefighters need their sleep, Robin."

Know your candidate

Actually the quiz has few design flaws. Still, a fun way to waste 5 minutes.

Macho Man

Because I am one...that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

The Little Sparrow

Legend has it that Edith Piaf was born on a Parisian street corner, with two policemen attending. In reality, Edith Giovanna Gassion was born on December 19, 1915 in the Hospital Tenon in the rue de Chine. It is easy to see why the myth persists, however; Edith's later life was so chaotic that a "normal" birth just wouldn't seem fitting. Edith had no patience for the ordinary and propagated the street-birth scenario her entire life. Indeed, she may have convinced herself that it really was true.

Shows (Thankfully) Canceled After One Episode

With the writer's strike, perhaps they should bring them back.

Warning: Language

The Deranged Left, Part CCLIXII

The fact that Democrats and the left would "panic" over winning the war tells you all you need to know about the shockingly cockeyed priorities the left holds regarding America. They would rather see us lose in Iraq than shown to be wrong.

Taking Paul Seriously?

I can't figure out why anybody does.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Shoe Bomber Alert: Catch and Release

The sad truth is DHS and FBI intelligence analysts want airport screeners and their law enforcement counterparts to be on the lookout for shoe bombs. But when suspect shoes are found, DHS and FBI officials are not so interested in the people wearing the shoes. What this means is that we continue to look for bombs, not bombers. The policy is clear: catch and release.

The absurd refusal of the Department of Homeland Security to enforce our borders is one thing but this is ridiculous. Michael Chertoff needs to be fired.

Legally Speaking: Truth is stranger than fiction

When it comes to bizarre legal proceedings, shows like Boston Legal can't hold a candle to real-life weirdness.

via Fark

Passengers revolt after being told to fly on jet with its wing tip missing

I wonder why? Click photo to enlarge.
via Drudge

Can the government ban depictions of animal cruelty?

This is really not a question of what constitutes animal cruelty. Assume it is animal cruelty.

Slowly slicing off someone's head is human cruelty. So what about the beheading videos? Don't videos depicting cruelty to (or between) humans possess of the same constitutional status as videos depicting cruelty to (or between) animals?

At the risk of sounding Orwellian, are some animals more equal than others?

An interesting 1st Amendment issue I've never considered before. I'm undecided but Eugene Volokh says it's unconstitutional-odds are he's right.

From the H-Bomb to the Human Bomb

Modern terrorism seeks to combine the annihilating power of Hiroshima with the nihilistic gospel of Auschwitz.

The Petraeus Curve

Success in Iraq is not being recognised.

How to Get the World to Like Us

Ron Silver weighs in.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Anti-war rally photos

...but don't question their patriotism.

Democrats say good-bye to ‘08?

Perhaps I am not giving my fellow Americans enough credit, however, it seems to me that the Democratic presidential field last night just committed suicide en masse, with Hillary Clinton the last to swallow the poison by holding out until this afternoon to endorse New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s proposal to give illegal immigrants some form of driver’s licenses.

Pilot of plane that dropped A-bomb dies

I met Paul Tibbets when I was a kid. He was giving a talk on his wartime experences and my parents took me to meet the man who dropped the bomb. I have to say he may be the most impressive human being I've ever met.

Eternal Lord, who makest the winds and clouds obey Thy will and protectest the eagle in his flight and the dove seeking safety, uphold me as I soar into the sky and fly above land and sea. Pilot my ship safely through the air and give me nerves which are steady and relaxed, a mind, calm and composed, as I sail on to my destination. Give me a successful takeoff and at journeys’ end a safe landing, that no harm come to me and those entrusted to my care.
Hold Thy protecting hand over me as I pass through storm and clouds – and let me not lose my way as I fly by instrument through fog and darkness.
Above all, keep me in Thy grace and favor for Jesus’ sake, and let my last landing bring me safely into Thy presence, redeemed and saved to praise Thee eternally and forever. Amen

Sixth grade teacher and her 13 year old lover on the run in Nebraska.

I'm seriously beginning to wonder about America's teachers.

British Telecom -- like sticking your head in a blender, but less fun

My condolences to our British cousins.

What the New Atheists Don’t See

The British parliament’s first avowedly atheist member, Charles Bradlaugh, would stride into public meetings in the 1880s, take out his pocket watch, and challenge God to strike him dead in 60 seconds. God bided his time, but got Bradlaugh in the end.

Bush to Dems: 'We are at War'

When it comes to funding our troops, some in Washington should spend more time responding to the warnings of terrorists like Osama bin Laden and the requests of our commanders on the ground," Bush said, "and less time responding to the demands of bloggers and Code Pink protesters.

"France is back!"

Whether President Sarkozy can indeed bring France back from the decayed state of her self-imposed, socialist delusion is yet to be seen. But from this side of the big pond, it looks as though the French may have finally come to their senses, and recognized once again the true bond of like-thinking liberty lovers in their Country and ours. Lest our youth have forgotten, it was French money and mercenaries that helped us American patriots win our own independence. And their generous gift of Lady Liberty has graced our own New York harbor for more than a century.

Even Harvard Finds The Media Biased

The debate is over. A consensus has been reached. On global warming? No, on how Democrats are favored on television, radio and in the newspapers.