Monday, December 10, 2007

Good grief


Linus Van Pelt: “It’s not a bad little tree. All it needs is a little love.”

Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day

Must remember to do this next year.

From the article:

Remember, dystopian future travelers are very startled that they've gone back in time. Some starters:
- If you go the "prisoner who's escaped the future" try shaving your head and putting a barcode on the back of your neck. Then stagger around and stare at the sky, as if you've never seen it before.
- Walk up to random people and say "WHAT YEAR IS THIS?" and when they tell you, get quiet and then say "Then there's still time!" and run off.
- Stand in front of a statue (any statue, really), fall to your knees, and yell "NOOOOOOOOO"
- Stare at newspaper headlines and look astonished.
- Take some trinket with you (it can be anything really), hand it to some stranger, along with a phone number and say "In thirty years dial this number. You'll know what to do after that." Then slip away.

The Mortgage Mess

From Herb Greenberg at MarketWatch:

Even before this mortgage mess started, one person who kept emailing me over and over saying that this is going to get real bad. He kept saying this was beyond sub-prime, beyond low FICO scores, beyond Alt-A and beyond the imagination of most pundits, politicians and the press. When I asked him why somebody from inside the industry would be so emphatically sounding the siren, he said, “Someobody’s got to warn people.”

Read on here.

Hat tip to LA Land.

Universities face some hard questions

Ultimately, universities will have to clean their own houses. Professors need to re-embrace a culture of reasoned inquiry and debate. And since debate requires disagreement, higher education needs to encourage intellectual diversity in its hiring and promotion decisions with something like the fervor it shows for ethnic and racial diversity. It's the only way universities will earn back society's respect and reclaim their role at the center of public life.

Live from Preservation Hall

When the Saints Go Marching in.

What I have done

This has been floating around the internet for a while. The idea is to make a copy of this list and highlight via boldface or underlining all the things you have done.

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree I was drunk and trying to keep from falling down but I think it still counts.
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and didn’t care who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Gotten flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Passed out cold
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office (Student Body President counts right?)
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life

The worst senior pictures ever

In fairness, I should say he looks nearly as good as me with my shirt off.

The Logical Extension of Libel Tourism

[T]he wave of "libel tourism" — by which prominent Saudis, upset at reports linking the Kingdom to terror funding, have made a practice of finding friendly forums (like Great Britain) in which to file libel suits that, though they would be frivolous under American law, are frighteningly valid under the laws of other countries which (a) lack both a First Amendment and free-expression values, and (b) are slaves to political correctness. The suits intimidate not only journalists and scholars but the publishers and benefactors who would otherwise promote their work — and the public is ill-served because the we don't get the free flow of information on which good public policy depends.

Still a Dangerous World

Democrats imply the U.S. can talk its way out of global threats.

Crime, Drugs, Welfare—and Other Good News

Just when it seemed as if the storm clouds were about to burst, they began to part. As if at once, things began to turn around. And now, a decade-and-a-half after these well-founded and unrelievedly dire warnings, improvements are visible in the vast majority of social indicators; in some areas, like crime and welfare, the progress has the dimensions of a sea-change. That this has happened should be a source of great encouragement; why it happened, and what we can learn from it, is a subject of no less importance.

Radical communitarianism in the name of the unknown

One of the reasons I abhor communitarianism (and tend to see my political philosophy as the opposite of that) is because it vests communitarian thinkers with the self appointed power to tell me (and others) what to do. Provided, of course, that they come up with a claim to do so in the name of what they call "the common good." "For the good of all." It's utilitarianism on stilts.

The Flaws In the Iran Report

John Bolton's take

A Field Guide to Evel Knievel's Injuries


To my everlasting shame, I failed to note the passing of a true American hero-Evel Knievel. There was probably nobody in the world I wanted to be more in 1974 than Evel (Richard Nixon was a close second). He was brave, fearless, and actually fit into his jumpsuit, unlike a certain singer from Memphis I could name. Most importantly, he did stupidly dangerous things just for the fun of it. It was a different age. They didn't strap kids into car seats until they were 23 back then. They just threw them in the back of the station wagon and told them not to make faces at the cops. Godspeed.

Still seeking inspiration for your Christmas list?


Click to enlarge.
More here.

Huckabee's Willy Horton moment.

A little over 10 years ago, the paths of these three men merged in Little Rock, the state capital, where Huckabee was the new governor. With Cole's urging, and with DuMond insisting he was "born again," Huckabee played a key role in setting free a rapist who was supposed to serve many more years, say three of the seven members of the state board that paroled DuMond.

After being released, DuMond moved to Missouri, where less than a year later he suffocated the mother of three in a Kansas City suburb. Police suspect that he killed another woman there as well.

Could the GOP face a brokered convention?

It would be interesting political theatre at least.

Can you spot the library?


It is Kansas City and well...everything is up to date there.

ACORN’s Nutty Regime for Cities

It is no surprise that ACORN preaches a New Left–inspired gospel, since it grew out of one of the New Left’s silliest and most destructive groups, the National Welfare Rights Organization. In the mid-sixties, founder George Wiley forged an army of tens of thousands of single minority mothers, whom he sent out to disrupt welfare offices through sit-ins and demonstrations demanding an end to the “oppressive” eligibility restrictions that kept down the welfare rolls. His aim: to flood the welfare system with so many clients that it would burst, creating a crisis that, he believed, would force a radical restructuring of America’s unjust capitalist economy.

Exploring the Ghost Ship SS Independence

Very cool.

Video: Max Boot on Saudi Arabia, NIE

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The Myth of the Fact-Checker

...mainstream media doesn’t do much. Essays I did for The New York Times Book Review were not fact-checked at all (though they did copy edit, luckily for me). Over at the Los Angeles Times, an amusing example is an article I did on a Siberian film festival at which I was a juror. After I submitted it, the LAT fact-checker called and asked, “Did this all happen?” “Yes,” I said. “Thank you,” she said and hung up. So much for mainstream media fact-checking.

Diversity - There's Never Enough

Sanchez called attention to two offensive graffiti discovered a month ago on campus. Everyone knows that most campus graffiti, even the hoaxes and pranks, provoke calls for more diversity. You are not allowed to simply erase the scrawls and dismiss their authors as morons. No, you must behave as Yale did. The deans of the college and the graduate school sent emails to all, stressing how appalled they were. "We Shall Overcome" was sung at a Rally Against hate.

High interest is a matter of perspective

There is nothing more likely to send The Wife into a flaming rage than proposals to bail out overextended home owners with adjustable rate mortgages. She believes that people who bought houses they cannot afford shouldn't be rewarded while those who were thrifty and didn't over extend themselves often got priced out of the local housing market. The tale of the ant and the grasshopper in reverse if you will. Mostly, I agree with her.

Interestingly, I'm against amnesty proposals for illegal immigrants for much the same reason: they provide a disincentive for people to obey the rules. I'm not sure where The Wife stands on that one. I guess we have something talk about over dinner.

New York store red faced over 'Hanukkah hams'

I've wanted to market kosher bacon for years. These guys are living the dream.

This weeks sign the Apocalypse is upon us.


What fresh hell is this.

Just in time for the holiday season.


Many a time as a lad, I remember gathering around the Festivus Pole for the Airing of Grievances. This was followed by the Feats of Strength and possibly eggnog. Happy times.


This is pretty good too.

The myth of the Latino voting bloc

Minutes after taking the Pledge of Allegiance, new American citizens are urged to register as voters by Democratic activists who see them as natural party supporters who could hold the key to the 2008 election.
“For a long time, immigration was OK,” said Sara Wright, 49, a seamstress from Mexico who arrived in the US legally in 1986.
“But now, no more. A lot of really bad people come from Mexico and commit crimes.
“People are coming in and having two, three, four babies and going on welfare. Some are making money here and spending it back in Mexico.
"That’s not right. They should go back to Mexico and get a permit.”


Hysterical.