Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
The News of This Day as Seen from 1995



"[A] new cultural climate is developing and taking hold, which gives crimes against life a new and—if possible—even more sinister character, giving rise to further grave concern: broad sectors of public opinion justify certain crimes against life in the name of the rights of individual freedom, and on this basis they claim not only exemption from punishment but even authorization by the State, so that these things can be done with total freedom and indeed with the free assistance of health-care systems.

"All this is causing a profound change in the way in which life and relationships between people are considered. The fact that legislation in many countries, perhaps even departing from basic principles of their Constitutions, has determined not to punish these practices against life, and even to make them altogether legal, is both a disturbing symptom and a significant cause of grave moral decline.

"Choices once unanimously considered criminal and rejected by the common moral sense are gradually becoming socially acceptable.

"Even certain sectors of the medical profession, which by its calling is directed to the defence and care of human life, are increasingly willing to carry out these acts against the person.

"In this way the very nature of the medical profession is distorted and contradicted, and the dignity of those who practise it is degraded.

"In such a cultural and legislative situation, the serious demographic, social and family problems which weigh upon many of the world's peoples and which require responsible and effective attention from national and international bodies, are left open to false and deceptive solutions, opposed to the truth and the good of persons and nations.

"The end result of this is tragic: not only is the fact of the destruction of so many human lives still to be born or in their final stage extremely grave and disturbing, but no less grave and disturbing is the fact that conscience itself, darkened as it were by such widespread conditioning, is finding it increasingly difficult to distinguish between good and evil in what concerns the basic value of human life.

From March 7, 2005: The Passion of the Pope @ AMERICAN DIGEST

Posted by Vanderleun Mar 31, 2004 11:39 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Infrequently Asked Question

Why is it that John Kerry looks like
Abraham Lincoln after four years of
civil war and he hasn't even been
nominated yet?

Posted by Vanderleun Mar 31, 2004 7:05 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
And Death Shall Have No Dominion

LISTEN AS DYLAN THOMAS READS his immortal poem, "And Death Shall Have No Dominion." [Wav file, 1.9 megabytes -- Patience please as it loads, it is worth it.]

May Terri Schindler-Schiavo rest in peace and God have mercy on us all.

And Death Shall Have No Dominion

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan't crack;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.

-Dylan Thomas


Posted by Vanderleun Mar 31, 2004 6:42 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Gloves Are Coming Off

IN THE COMMENTS SECTION OF: SPORTS: Juiced - Jose Canseco vs. Mark McGwire Jason Stark Turns into Sergeant Shultz @ AMERICAN DIGEST.

I'm stepping back and have no juiced-up dog in this fight.

Posted by Vanderleun Mar 31, 2004 5:57 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Peter On Knees. Status of Paul and Mary Unknown.

PETER YARROW CARRIES ON THE CLINTONIAN TRADITION: "Now, I'm here with that history and came to Vietnam ready to get down on my knees as one American and say, 'Please forgive us. We who are a good country - and a great country in many ways - also have made some terrible mistakes,'" he said. -- 60's peace activist apologizes to Vietnam

Posted by Vanderleun Mar 31, 2004 4:01 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
America in 1900

A very interesting list illuminating American Life in 1900 courtesy of on economist Timothy Taylor:

  • Total U.S. population in 1900 was 76 million people, less than a third the population we have now.

  • The U.S. was the wealthiest economy in the world. Per capita income was on a level with Britain and Australia, was twice that of France and Germany, and was quadruple the standard of living in Japan and Mexico.

  • Still, most Americans in 1900 were living in what we today would consider poverty. In present-day dollars, per capita American income in 1900 averaged around $5000, less than a fifth the current level. In other words, the typical American in 1900 had about the same income that a typical Mexican has today.

  • Only three percent of American homes were lit by electricity.

  • Only about a third of American homes had running water; only 15% had flush toilets; and half of farm households didnt even have an outhouse.

  • Most people lived within a mile of where they worked, and depended on their feet to get them around. Only one urban household in five owned a horse.

  • Half of all people lived in spaces where they averaged more than one person per room. Taking in lodgers was common.

  • Half the population drank alcohol; half didnt. The half that did averaged two hard drinks and two beers a day; wine consumption was minimal. In Europe, by contrast, people drank twice as much beer, and averaged more than four glasses of wine a day.

  • Life expectancy at birth was 47 years, and infant mortality rates were high. Of every 1000 babies born, 140 died in their first year. These days, fewer than 10 do.

  • Flu, pneumonia, typhoid, gastritis, and whooping cough were common causes of death.

  • 10% of the American population was completely illiterate, and the average adult had an 8th grade education. Only 7% of students would ever complete high school.

  • A mans typical on-the-job work week consisted of 60 hours of work spread over six days. Pensions were rare; men generally worked until they were too feeble to go on doing so. 2/3rds of men over 65 had fulltime jobs.

  • Women were 18% of the paid work force. They mainly worked in fields like textiles, apparel, shoes, canning - fields where you were paid according to how much you produced.

  • At home, women spent around 40 hours a week on meal preparation and meal cleanup, seven hours on laundry, and another seven hours on housecleaning. The average housewife baked a half a ton of bread -- about 1400 loaves -- a year.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 31, 2004 2:49 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
  • The Hubble: Saving a National Spiritual Strategic Asset


    They said, "You have a blue guitar,
    You do not play things as they are."

    The man replied, "Things as they are
    Are changed upon the blue guitar."

    -- Wallace Stevens, The Man with the Blue Guitar

    Most of our satellites look down, gazing fixedly at the Earth unfolding beneath them, like shepherds or sentinels, like guards atop a high tower, some of them possibly armed.

    A handful of our satellites are not fixed upon us but upon all that is beyond ourselves. First among these is the Hubble. And what it shows us both inspires and humbles us. Beyond the Earth, yet of the Earth, the Hubble is perhaps our greatest achievement. The Hubble is our picture window on the universe, yet there are those among us who would let this window shatter into flaming shards long before the end of its useful life.

    It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, If so, the Hubble speaks volumes daily ... indeed, it speaks whole libraries. It is our eye turned to gaze, with all the power at our command, as far out into the deep and as far back towards the origins of the universe as we can look. It is not too much to say that the Hubble reads the face of God, and in small bits and bytes, shows it to us.

    Should we allow this eye to be put out, to be blinded? Should we allow it to simply and slowly fall back to earth until it becomes nothing more than a few minutes of fire and a collection of singed junk at the bottom of the ocean or litter on some stretch of land? Should we sacrifice the single government program that can rightly be considered a National Spiritual Strategic Asset on the altars of too much money and too much risk?

    This is the current plan of a rag-tag collection of bought-out bureaucrats and sold-out scientists caressing their cold careers on the public dole at NASA. They have a dozen arguments for junking the Hubble that orbit, predictably, around cost and safety, but their goal is take the greatest scientific instrument ever created and junk it.

    Whenever a government lackey with a shrunken soul and expanded power decides to destroy some program that does untold and unquestioned good for multitudes of people, the first argument is always money. In this case, it is well to remember that the current chief administrator for NASA rose to his position out of the OMB where money is seen as, if not everything, a suitable replacement.

    The money argument is thought persuasive since, it is assumed, that all of us want to see government save money, become more efficient and live within its budget. This is the argument of fools. What we would like is to see our money, at least in a few cases, spent wisely services we need.

    As a nation we need security. We need the roads repaired. We have many needs from the government -- and they have many programs with which to fulfill these needs. For the most part, these programs address our material needs.

    But every so often, there is a program which, almost without intending it, comes to address and fill our spiritual needs. This, beyond any denial, is what the Hubble does. It shows us what is out there. It gives us a grand context in which to place our brief lives. In a very real sense, since it bears witness to the existence of the universe, it gives purpose to ours.

    For the Hubble does not deal in security, health care, or road repair. The Hubble deals in revelation. More than anything else in the history of the world, the Hubble reveals to us not only the unfathomable breadth and depth of the Universe, but the breadth and depth of its impossible beauty. It makes the invisible visible. It makes the mystery manifest.

    But they say we can no longer afford beauty and mystery, so let it burn. I would say, that in these times more than in any other, the world needs to be shown the beauty and mystery and purpose of creation daily.

    For those that remain unconvinced by this argument, who cite the cost of an aircraft carrier, those that would destroy the Hubble turn to their trump card: safety.

    After all, they ask, who among us these days would not choose safety over risk?

    A mission to repair, extend, and boost the Hubble into a higher orbit, would pose an unacceptable risk to the crew of whatever shuttle had the assignment. We wouldnt want to lose one more life or one more shuttle in the exploration of space, would we?

    Here their cynicism depends on Americans compassion for the families of the Columbia. Indeed, one reduced soul at NASA has even taken out the bloody shirt and crying towel noting, My boss is in a different situation, the administrator. He is the only human on Earth that has to look in the families of the astronauts' faces -- their kids, their spouses-- the night before launch and say we have done everything to make this mission safe that your father or mother is flying on .... And what's really scary is that if something goes wrong, he's also the only person on Earth who has to explain that to those same families and kids.

    Even if the emotional upset of the administrator is dross compared to the pain of the families, that certainly appeals to the heart. Who among us would want to be among those who have lost loved ones in the conquest of space? But the fact remains that some of us will be. Thats the way of the world and the way of exploring space. Mistakes are made. Deaths occur. No new thing can be done without sacrifice. Without risk, nothing is ever gained. Without risk nothing good can be maintained.

    Do people think a fitting memorial to those who have died in the space program is to simply let the Hubble die as well? Or do people think that assuming such a craven posture is the way of cowards, and a means of rendering the sacrifice of lives already lost in space exploration just that much more meaningless?

    If they could speak to us, would the crews of those craft lost to space exploration tell us that what they did and where they went and what they saw was not worth their lives? Would they, if they had a say in the matter, tell us to abandon the Hubble? Would those crews yet to go into space tell us that what they wanted most out of their time as astronauts was a safe and easy ride to and from work more than the work itself? Has NASA asked them? Has anyone asked them?

    The Hubble speaks volumes daily. It tells us many things and shows us many more. For every answer, it poses a myriad of new questions. So many answers and questions come from the Hubble it is easy to forget its prime lesson: Some 12 to 13 billion years ago there was nothing. Then there was everything. Now, after all those vast oceans of time have rolled by, there is orbiting instrument ( made by some smart primates on an insignificant ball of mud swirling around a third rate star in the backwaters of a modest galaxy) that has the power to show its makers what it looked like just an inch of time after creation.

    If we can remember that lesson, do we really want to destroy this National Spiritual Strategic Asset, or do we want to see more?

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 31, 2004 1:23 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Reynolds on Right Talk -- Notes Taken Live Without Any Regard for Accuracy

    When: Today, 3 PM EST
    Where: Rightalk Radio
    Guests: Glenn Reynolds
    Hosts: Bill Ardolino, Jeff Goldstein
    Topics: The left / right divide; social cons v. libertarians and the future of the Republican ruling coalition. Nanotech. Gay outings. Pesto.


    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 31, 2004 12:02 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Such a Deal! Three Movies in One!

    "Okay, I give up. I have no idea which movie I'm in."

    by JEREMIAH LEWIS, American Digest Film Editor from Fringe

    HOSTAGE OPENS with the kind of credit sequence that makes you think that maybe, just maybe it could be something different from the average "Bruce Willis Action" genre movie. And for a pristine forty minutes or so, it is. Helmed by video game director Florent Emilio Siri (yes, video games have directors too), Hostage is violent in much the same way as the remake of Assault on Precinct 13 --brutal, swift, and gory, but without the strong backing of a story that makes much sense in the long run.

    Paying for a ticket to Hostage is a fantastic deal because you're actually getting three movies in one.


    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 31, 2004 11:30 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    A Record to Run On

    A Second Term: The argument for.. brief and to the point.

    -- via Instapundit

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 30, 2004 8:10 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes Of All Time


    CLICK HERE for my favorite

    #6: Nixon for President
    In 1992 National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation program announced that Richard Nixon, in a surprise move, was running for President again. His new campaign slogan was, "I didn't do anything wrong, and I won't do it again." Accompanying this announcement were audio clips of Nixon delivering his candidacy speech. Listeners responded viscerally to the announcement, flooding the show with calls expressing shock and outrage.
    and the other 99.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 30, 2004 7:44 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink

    More evidence that a clash of civilizations requires two civilizations:

    The Gulf Arab monarchies are trying to bring order to the national sport of camel racing in the face of protests over the trafficking of children as jockeys.

    The US State Department and human rights groups have raised the alarm over the exploitation of small children by traffickers who pay impoverished parents a paltry sum or simply resort to kidnapping their victims.

    The children, mostly from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka or Pakistan, are then smuggled into the Gulf states.

    They are often starved by employers to keep them light and maximise their racing potential. Mounting camels three times their height, the children -- some as young as six -- face the risk of being thrown off or trampled.
    -- Qatar trials robot substitute for controversial child camel jockeys

    The Energizer Body
    As our lives are increasingly mediated by technological interventions, the After-life project raises the issue of our increasing faith in technology and our decreasing interest in organized religion. With this in mind the afterlife project offers a technologically mediated service that provides a tangible expression of afterlife for those who have become spiritually disconnected, or require hard evidence in some form of life after death.

    The grieving process from an atheists perspective can be problematic with the concept of afterlife or other place, by definition being discounted. Fundamental to most religions is a concept of some other state or heaven, offering comfort to the faithful.

    What then is there for the aggrieved atheist with regard to reassurance or comfort after the death of a loved one?

    There is enough Hydrochloric (Hcl) acid in our bodies to burn a hole in a carpet. If this acid were extracted and refined it may be converted into electricity when combined with zinc and copper acting as anode and cathode.

    This bringing together of elements effectively creates a wet cell battery that may be used directly as a source of electricity, or to charge a more useable dry cell battery which may then be placed in a range of electronic products.

    This may be interpreted as a form of regeneration especially in the context of batteries, which are often described in terms of life, extra life and now afterlife.

    Accepting this electronic state as life after death we are provided with a tangible proof of life after biological expiry.
    -- After Life

    Gore Issue Gored. Internet Tax? Nyet as in Not Yet.
    I want to talk about one other thing we've got to do to make sure this is a good place for people to realize their dreams and start a business and get well educated, is we've got to make sure this country is on the leading end of broadband technology. You see, new ideas and new businesses and new ways to educate people in Farmington, New Mexico are going to occur when we're able to get information flowing across cables and telephone lines in a fast way. That's what broadband technology is. It means we'll open the highways of knowledge -- new highways of knowledge.

    This country needs a national goal for broadband technology, for the spread of broadband technology. We ought to have a universal, affordable access for broadband technology by the year 2007, and then we ought to make sure as soon as possible thereafter, consumers have got plenty of choices when it comes to purchasing the broadband carrier. See, the more choices

    there are, the more the price will go down. And the more the price goes down, the more users there will be. And the more users there will be, the more likely it is America will stay on the competitive edge of world trade.

    The more users there are, the more likely it is people will be able to have interesting new ways to receive doctors' advices in the home. The more affordable broadband technology is, the more innovative we can be with education. It's important that we stay on the cutting edge of technological change, and one way to do so is to have a bold plan for broadband.

    Let me say one thing about broadband -- we don't need to tax access to broadband. The Congress must not tax access to broadband technology if we want to spread it around.
    --President Bush Meets with First-Time Homebuyers in NM and AZ

    The 1960s No-Judgment Epidemic Continues
    Of course, political complexion is not measured only by party affiliation. Indeed, the fact that faculties on most American campuses are predominantly Democratic is perhaps less significant than their adherence to what one writer called "Left Eclecticism," that intellectual goulash composed of varying bits of Marxism, feminism, racialism, deconstruction, post-colonialism, and other specimens of academic "theory."

    The triumph of Left Eclecticism means that campus "diversity" involves not only political but also intellectual conformity. For although Left Eclecticism comes in many modes and levels of toxicity, it revolves around a common core of attitudes. One unalterable tenet is that "everything is political": that the traditional academic ideals of objectivity and disinterestedness are pernicious fictions and therefore that all academic pursuits can be, indeed must be, evaluated in political terms. This is why, for example, you so seldom see the word "truth" without scare quotes in academic writing these days. Truth is what the bourgeois hegemonists preach; any left-wing academic worth his salt rejects "truth" in favor of "'truth,'" its epistemologically challenged but politically adaptable cousin.

    As for the practical implications of this approach to pedagogy, they were, we thought, vividly summed up by Keith Moxey, the Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Art History at Barnard College and Columbia University. "The abandonment of an epistemological foundation for art history," Professor Moxey has written, means that "historical arguments will be evaluated according to how well they coincide with our political convictions and cultural attitudes." In other words, for Professor Moxey, as for so many of his academic brethren, things like truth, probability, and explanatory value take a distant back seat to politics. We hope that his students keep that in mind when they sit down to write their papers for him.

    As we say, all of this is simply business as usual in contemporary academic life. It is a natural coefficient of the reign of political correctness among college faculties today. Still, one might ask, Why? Why are faculties overwhelming left-leaning? Why have so many abandoned the traditional scholarly ideals of objectivity and disinterested inquiry? Why have they embraced the rancid smorgasbord of Left Eclecticism? No doubt there are many factors that go into answering these questions. One answer, we believe, involves the institutionalization of the radicalism of the 1960s. After all, the race-class-gender brigade now ruling in the humanities and social sciences is patently a child of the political imperatives of that unlovely decade. But of course one could pose the question again: Why were faculties so susceptible to that brand of emancipationist rhetoric?
    -- Notes & Comments March 2004 by

    No Evidence, Just a Half-Ton of Fertilizer for the Tomatos on the Window Sill
    Explosive material found in terror raids

    LONDON (Reuters) - Police have seized a large amount of explosive material and arrested eight men across London and southeast England in Britain's largest anti-terror operation for years.

    Peter Clarke, head of the anti-terror branch, told a news conference on Tuesday more than half a tonne of ammonium nitrate fertiliser was discovered in a six-foot (two-metre) high plastic bag in west London.

    "Part of the investigation will focus on the purchase, storage and intended use of that material," Clarke said.

    An anti-terror source said the fertiliser was similar to explosive materials used in the 2002 Bali bombings, although there was no evidence that a bombing was planned or any possible target.

    That would be the British version of the Richard Clarke School of Anti-terror.

    Life in a Jar
    There's a must-read article out today by Ronald Kotulak from which I've condensed the juicy parts below. Kotulak quotes scientists who say they are finally ready to try their hand at creating life. "It's certainly true that we are tinkering with something very powerful here," said artificial-life researcher Steen Rasmussen of Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. "But there's no difference between what we do here and what humans have always done when we invented fire, transistors and ways to split the atom. The more powerful technology you unleash, the more careful you have to be."

    Kotulak notes more than 100 laboratories study processes involved in the creation of life, and scientists say for the first time that they have just about all the pieces they need to begin making inanimate chemicals come alive. "The ability to make new forms of life from scratch--molecular living systems from chemicals we get from a chemical supply store--is going to have a profound impact on society, much of it positive, but some of it potentially negative," said Mark Bedau, editor-in-chief of the Artificial Life Journal.
    -- SciScoop || And The Scientists Said, Let There Be Life

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 30, 2004 7:39 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Calling Out

    by William Louis-Dreyfus

    It's Early Spring. The sheep will have their young.
    The flock then fills with lambs a few weeks old,
    Anonymous dots until each mother's call
    Brings each lamb back to get its feeding done.

    The ewes call out, and by each mother's sound,
    Repeated like an echo round the field,
    They and the lambs, wherever is the need,
    Each by their own are by that calling found.

    If you keep sheep and mean to do it well,
    You'll try to sell the lambs for Easter night
    And get your price and give the flock its blend.

    The ewes remaining in the flock don't know
    Their lambs are gone and keep on calling out
    For three full days; and then the calling ends

    -- New Criterion

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 30, 2004 6:19 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    One of My Favorite Things....

    THAT LINKFEST LALLAPALOOZA growabrain has just racked up 1,000,000 visitors , and asks, "Won' t you tell everybody you know about Grow-a-Brain?"

    Okay, I just did.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 30, 2004 6:06 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Koan of the Day

    "Q: Why does Donald Duck wear a towel when getting out of the shower when he usually doesn't even wear pants?"

    -- Disney Online Guest Services

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 30, 2004 5:32 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Fritterware® Chronicles

    The Five Stages of Warcraft

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 30, 2004 11:36 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    He's Got A Not-So-Little List

    IF YOU LIKE BLOGS, you'll love Jon Garfunkel's funny-because-its-true Bloggers from the A-List to the Z-List @ Civilities

    There's been a lot of talk about the "A-List" in the blogosphere-- the top bloggers who et all the attention-- and this often inspires speculation about parallel B-lists and C-lists. What many people don't know is that the designations go all the way to Z.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 30, 2004 11:09 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Highest Paid Blogger on Earth -- Per Word

    Kaus: Blogging @ $200/$100/$50/$5/$2.50/$.25 per word?

    "Don't be jealous of the glamorous "blogger" lifestyle! It's not all AARP glitz. Behind the facade is a lot of napping."
    -- Blogging--It's Not All Glamour! Mickey Kaus

    I HAVE NO IDEA HOW MUCH SALARIED BLOGGER Mickey Kaus of Kausfiles @ Slate/Washington Post is being paid, but on a per-word basis it has got to be sweeeeeet. Here's his total output for Tuesday, March 29: "Jesse Jackson, pro-tubist."

    Gives a whole new meaning to the line from A Thousand Clowns: "Get rich, sleep til noon, screw 'em all."

    Don't get me wrong. I like Mickey Kaus, but I'd love his job.

    UPDATE: Kaus is back today with an earth-shattering 190 word (Whew!) item on a lunch given in Hollywood yesterday by the AARP for various aging Hollywood types. The point seems to be that the LAT (still) doesn't have the gossip column he told them to get last month. More on this Kausian Quest as it grinds on. But it does bring his two-day Blogging Average up to 97 words per day.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 30, 2004 10:08 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Self-Parody of Academe: Exhibit A

    Is there someone with a wicked sense of humor at Columbia University Press? We had to wonder when one of their new titles, Portrait of Jacques Derrida as a Young Jewish Saint, crossed our desk. It is a work of homage, or hagiography, by the doyenne of French feminists, Hlne Cixous. It is a short book, but potent, perhaps the single most emetic exercise in academic sentimentality we have ever encountered. Consider this passage from the prefatory Authors Note:

    But how to paint or sketch such a genius at substitution? One must, one can only catch him, portray him in flight, live, even as he slips away from us. In these sketches we shall catch glimpses of the books young hero rushing past from East to West, -- in appearance both familiar and mythical: here he is for a start sporting the cap of Jackie Derrida Koogan, as Kid, I translate: lamb-child, the sacrificed, the Jewish baby destined to the renowned Circumcision scene. They steal his foreskin for the wedding with God, in those days he was too young to sign, he could only bleed. This is the origin of the immense theme that runs through his work, behind the words signature, countersignature, breast [sein], seing (contract signed but not countersigned), saint --cutting, stitching -- indecisions -- Let us continue.

    Lets not.

    This is one of those books that should come with its own air-sickness bag.

    -- New Criterions Notes & Comments March 2004 by

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 30, 2004 9:38 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    MSM Consortium Announces Don Henley Benefit Concert in PINELLAS PARK

    "Is the head dead yet?"

    RECOGNIZING THE INTENSE suffering and deprivation the Terri Schiavo Death Watch assignment has brought to hundreds of reporters, cameramen, and assorted support staff, NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, CNN and Fox News announced today the rock star Don Henley will play a benefit for Pinellas Media workers. "With the falling ratings as Mrs.Schiavo failed to die," a MSM spokesman said this morning, "we're looking for ways to boost morale among those of us who were forced, by America's Right-To-Know, to be away from their families over Easter."


    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 30, 2004 9:31 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Hey, Who Do You Have to Be to Get a Feeding Tube Around Here? The Pope?

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 30, 2004 9:09 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    What's Just-So-Wrong With This Picture?

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 30, 2004 8:31 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    "When do the unmanned flying drone dogfights begin?"
    JOEL JOHNSON at Gizmodo -- Sporting such charming names as 'Birdy,' 'Mosquito,' and 'Spy There,' Israel Aircraft Industries has shown four new models of mini- and micro-drone UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) for use by Israel's military in "low intensity conflict." Small enough to be worn on a soldier's backpack and to be navigated through open windows, the Mosquito [at right] is only 13 inches wide with a weight of 9 ounces. There is something disconcerting about military equipment that looks and performs almost exactly like the paper gliders we used to make in school to simulate full-sized military aircraft. When do the unmanned flying drone dogfights begin? -- Israeli Micro UAVs

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 30, 2004 8:15 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Secret of Bananas Is...


    Yes, another one of my simple pleasures (See below) can be found via this educational video at The Sneeze.

    Watch it and learn something new about bananas.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 30, 2004 12:32 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Walks Like an Elephant, Sounds Like a Truck

    I'M A MAN OF SIMPLE PLEASURES, such as listening to an elephant do an impression of a truck. You might mock that, but did you ever hear a truck do an impression of an elephant? I thought not.

    Researchers have recorded two African elephants (Loxodonta africana) that are adept mimics. One does a decent impression of an Asian elephant, and another is, remarkably, a dead ringer for a passing truck. The skilful impressions are far from the traditional grunts of an average African elephant....

    The two elephants in question are Mlaika, an adolescent female living in a semi-captive group in Kenya, and Calimero, an adult male who lived for 18 years with two Asian elephants at a Swiss zoo. Calimero, perhaps unsurprisingly, mimics the typical chirp noises of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). "But Mlaika seemed to be making noises like a truck, of all things," Tyack recalls....

    Tyack and his team think Mlaika's habit is due to her upbringing, which was within earshot of a road....

    "In both of these cases it seems that they were deprived of proper role models," says elephant expert Katharine Payne of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

    -- Elephants do impressions -- Mimicry of trucks and zoo-mates shows range of vocal repertoire.

    Well, we all know how important rolling Peterbilt role models can be to elephants. Here's the recording.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 30, 2004 12:00 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Need to Know

    Living La Vida Robot
    "How four underdogs from the mean streets of Phoenix took on the best from M.I.T. in the national underwater bot championship."
    Harvest Mouldering Business Intelligence
    "Where do you find all the bits and pieces that comprise your business intelligence? Some of the more interesting snippets are probably trapped in thousands of e-mails languishing in cluttered inboxes or in archived instant messages that no one will ever read..."
    Long Tail Meme of the Moment Gets More Jargon Attached
    "Functions that have this characteristic are said to exhibit self-similarity at multiple scales. I speculated that this was indeed the case in many industries, and that the Long Tail is in fact made up of many "minitails" (below), all adding up to the powerlaw ("Pareto") shape we know so well."
    Become a Human Lie Detector
    "When someone's telling the truth, her words, her face and her body language are all congruent. For example, if a person is honestly saying that she likes you, her face is usually relaxed, offering a gentle smile and warm eyes. Her body is calm and open. But when she's lying, something is usually inconsistent. In the most obvious case, she may be saying she likes you, but she's not smiling. She may even have a clenched fist. Better liars can muster a smile, but it doesn't look natural. Even better liars can put on a convincing smile, but their eyes aren't smiling. Still better liars can control their entire face, but their bodies seem closed or cold. Look for mismatches between words and body language."
    Hacker's Heart Macs and It Matters
    "Who cares if hackers like Apple again? How big is the hacker market, after all? Quite small, but important out of proportion to its size. When it comes to computers, what hackers are doing now, everyone will be doing in ten years."
    Do It Yourself iPod stand
    "You could go shell out for a third-party stand, but I imagine you'd rather spend that hard-earned cash on music to fill your 'pod. Get the template here."
    What's Talking Head David Byrne listening to today? Some fine music. Stream along with him.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 29, 2004 4:38 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Very News

    IN HIS LOW-KEY WAY, Joshua Schachter, creator of issues big news @ [delicious-discuss]

    After seeing my little project go from a small hobby to a large one and then consume all my waking hours, I've decided to quit my job and work on full time.

    I've given a lot of thought to how to make this happen, and ultimately decided that the best way forward is to take on some outside investment.

    I wish him all the best investors.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 29, 2004 4:23 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    "Say 'Adios,' Dan." "Adios Dan"

    FILE UNDER: Calling Elvis --

    [Dan] Rather sounds almost, well, laid-back on his new voice-mail message. It begins, "Howdy, this is Dan Rather," and ends, "For now, adios." -- Rather says shift from anchor was easier than predicted

    [ Note: Site requires registration. Try Email: / Password: password ]

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 29, 2004 9:32 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    SPORTS: Juiced - Jose Canseco vs. Mark McGwire + Jason Stark Turns into Sergeant Shultz

    by CHRIS LYNCH , @ A Large Regular

    "Subtract the steroids and Mark McGwire is nothing more than a Jack Clark or a Dave Kingman."

    I'M NOT A PSYCHOLOGIST And I don't play one on TV, but you don't be a shrink to recognize that one of the driving motivations behind Jose Canseco's Juiced was both his jealousy of Mark McGwire, and his feeling of being screwed over by a double standard a sport that has one set of criteria for white players and a second set for players of color.


    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 28, 2004 5:26 PM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Lovecraft Family Circus

    More @ The Nameless Dread

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 28, 2004 4:41 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Kerry Campaign in A Snapshot

    The Insight of Allah Strikes Again.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 28, 2004 4:14 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Number of Atheists In Wheelchairs Declining
    Demonstrating in her wheelchair with a "Feed Terri" sign in Florida this week, Eleanor Smith -- a self-described lesbian, liberal and agnostic -- told Reuters: "At this point I would rather have a right-wing Christian decide my fate than an ACLU member." -- - 'I Want to Live!'

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 28, 2004 11:06 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Quick Clicks

    "Cruiser 9670" - The Stewards of Gay Washington

    "Gay, gay, gay," Officer Joe Morquecho says. "Why does everything have to be gay?"

    "Gee, I don't know, Joe," Parson says, "maybe because we're the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit?"

    Sgt. Brett Parson rides in his cruiser, groggy and unshaven, gripping a chai latte between his kneecaps. He will crisscross the city several times before the night is over. More sociological than geographical, his beat is gay Washington.

    "Cruiser 9670, request assistance," the dispatcher calls.

    Topsy Turvy Upside Down Tomato, Flower and Vegetable Planter
    Feeding and watering is easy. You just pour it in to the top funnel while standing up.

    You don't have to worry about tomato cages or stakes because the plants grow upside down with gravity. Plants grown upside down will curl upward, looking for the sun.

    D*I*Y Planner 2.0 Released
    D*I*Y Planner version 2.0 has finally been released.

    The D*I*Y Planner is a set of free do-it-yourself templates, covers, documentation and other gear for creating your own highly customised and tweakable paper planner system. Some highlights:

    Over 50 different templates and forms spanning everything from calendars to finances, from project management to reference lists, from notetaking to specialised subjects like web design and story writing.

    Let the truth be told -- MGM vs Grokster
    "We are a digital company that is platform agnostic. Bits are bits. We dont care how they are distributed, just that they are. We want our content to get to the customer in the way the customer wants to receive it, when they want to receive it, at a price that is of value to them. Simple business.

    Unless Grokster loses to MGM in front of the Supreme Court. If Grokster loses, technological innovation might not die, but it will have such a significant price tag associated with it, it will be the domain of the big corporations only."

    The HTML Hell Page
    "Hell is other websmiths." You can read this page or just go to,, or and see all the junk in action.

    Paper Airplanes - the best origami paper planes to fold and fly.
    These are paper aircraft made by folding paper in the style of Japanese origami yet they all fly.

    The Road to Windows Longhorn 2005
    What takes longer than driving a herd of one-legged cows from Texas to Kansas? Bringing Longhorn to market.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 28, 2004 10:25 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Want Real Energy Independence? Bag Solar. Bag Wind. Go Nuclear.

    HUBER AND MILLS at City Journal note that "our solitary New Yorker on the Upper West Side as a 1,400-watt bulb that never sleeps—that's the national per-capita average demand for electric power from homes, factories, businesses, the lot." It's going up and they cast a cold-eye on where all this new energy is going to have to come from:


    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 28, 2004 9:40 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Autumn of the Mid-East Process Queens:

    Restating the Goal in Isreal and Palestine

    In a morally hamstrung article replowing Hannah Arendts banality of evil turf, LA Times Op-Ed Editor Nicholas Goldberg writes of The Subtle Shades of Villainy. Caught between reality and the Lefts fantasy ideology and world view, Goldbergs conclusion is a question:

    I don't feel sympathy for Yassin. He was a soldier in a war of his own choosing, and it killed him. But the cause of peace is not served by provocative, macho and arguably illegal moves, and it's hard to see how Yassin's assassination qualifies as anything else. Peace may seem distant, but it is still the goal, isn't it?
    Goldberg means that to be a rhetorical question but it seems to me it becomes more interesting if the rhetorical is stripped out.

    It is comforting to assume that peace is the goal in the Israel/Palestinian struggle. Indeed, all voices -- right, left, sincere, insincere, Israeli, Palestinian -- speak, as they have spoken for decades now, of "the peace process." This is a process that we are always within, a process that like some sick mobius strip loops infinitely in only one dimension. We are either moving the peace process forward or retarding the peace process. The peace process is moribund or the peace process is revitalized. There are dozens of ways to parse the peace process, and we have heard them all in heavy rotation for some time. All of this assumes that through the peace process peace is still the goal, isnt it?

    The last week and the stated policy of Isreal to kill the Hamas leadership seems to me to signal that while peace may still be the goal, it is the peace process that has been abandoned. Rightly so and a bit late, but abandoned still.

    It seems to me that the new goal is not peace through process, but peace through victory; a clear acknowledgement that Israel will no longer play a role in the neverending story of the peace process which only emeshes it in the neverending war. Isreal seems at last prepared, reluctantly, to seek peace in the manner that all wars become peace -- military victory.

    Israel, through the years of the Intifada, has finally been brought to that point where the Big Promise of the Global Palestinian Ad Campaign -- A Palestinian State Will Be Peaceful -- is no longer bought. What Israel now understands, and is preparing to act on, is the proposition that only victory through unconditional surrender will bring peace and the possibility of a Palestinian state along with the survival of Isreal itself.

    Over the years, the Process Queens who strut on the runway of the International Arena have made successful and comfortable careers out of The Peace Process. As long as there is a process the vast establishment in the middle east and Europe and the United States that battens of the Neverending Peace Story has secure jobs and access to the fountain of funding from various sources. A Peace Settlement would close this showroom of Process Queens overnight and their next jobs would neither be as lucrative nor as fulfilling. There has been little worry over this as long as the goal has been Peace Through Process. Since any peace achieved in this manner would be one that included the obliteration of Israel -- never a secret and glaringly obvious over the last two years -- the Peace Process never had to end.

    The Belmont Club notes the state of disarray among the Process Queens today when he remarks in The Smell of Fear:

    Neither Europe's old game of triangulation -- a grand name for unscrupulous scavenging -- nor the Middle Eastern ploy of making America both guarantor and enemy can be continued for much longer. Even if Sharon is ousted from the Israeli leadership, developments since September 11 have doomed the ancien regime. The old elite is out of moves. Even more suicide bombings will represent a continuation of the same old failed policies, a deepening of the pit rather than a way out. They may hope that a John Kerry victory in November will reset the clock to balmy years of Bill Clinton, but perhaps even that will prove too late to stem the tide.
    That tide turned on one announcement and a few missiles last week. Israel has changed the goal to one of Peace Through Victory, military victory.

    This may be why, in a larger sense, police leaves have been canceled throughout Israel and the army remains at a high state of mobilization. Or, it may just be a sane level of high alert as the Palestinians send in their frogmen, their axe-men, their retarded teenagers, and whatever other items from Hells shopping list they have left in Gaza General Store.

    The new stated goal of Peace Through Victory also explains why Hamas was in such a lather last week to retract, again and again, the initial threats to take revenge against the United States for the killing of Yassin. If you ask yourself what it would take for Israels Peace Through Victory program to start towards the goal posts, the answer is clear: another terror attack on the United States linked in any way to Hamas. And any attack would, like the force of gravity, link all terrorist organizations into one in the mind of the United States. One attack on US soil would mean that Israel would be free to move against its enemies in any manner and at any level it chose. The United States would be busy elsewhere and welcome the company.

    There could be many other incidents that would trigger this, but an attack on the US would be a clear Go-Point for a full mobilization of the Israeli Armed Forces, full military operations in the Palestinian Territories, Syria and the Bekka Valley. This would be the start of the next Middle-East War, and it would not stop until the new goal, victory, has been reached. And not just within Israel. Once that goal has been scored, and peace achieved, the stage would be set for a whole new kind of process in the area to begin. One that does not have the obliteration of Isreal as part of "the peace process."

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 28, 2004 9:31 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    An Agreeable Person Is One Who Agrees With Me.... Sooner or Later

    THE SHARP-EYED ACE OF SPADES has made what is, to me at least, an interesting catch and comparison:

    Compare the quotes. And compare the dates.


    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 28, 2004 8:00 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    What's Just-So-Wrong With This Picture?


    Okay, let's review:
    The three most useless things in aviation are:
    1) Air in the fuel tank.
    2) Runway behind.
    3) Altitude above.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 27, 2004 1:25 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Summing Both Sides Up in One Sentence
    Ms. Terri Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, were unable to convince Michael Schiavo to allow his wife the sacrament of communion during the holiest day of the Catholic year. -- - Parents' Legal Battle Ends In Terri Schiavo Case


    ...[T]he woman's parents claimed one Easter victory: Schiavo's husband, Michael, allowed her to receive communion wine.

    As her brother, sister and brother-in-law watched, the Rev. Thaddeus Malanowski held Terri's right hand as he and the hospice priest, the Rev. Joseph Braun, placed the droplet on her tongue. Malanowski also anointed her with holy oil, offered a blessing and absolved her of sin.

    "She received the blood of Christ," said Malanowski, adding he could not give her a fleck of communion bread because her tongue was too dry.
    -- ABC News: Schiavo Receives Last Rites, Communion

    Devoto, in the comments here, notes that this is part and parcel of the husband's pattern: "I recall that after the tube was taken out, Michael took her parents off the list of authorized visitors, only to change his mind a few hours later - much the same as seems to have happened here, the ugly decision followed by a turnaround."

    In all this, my mind keeps returning to the chilling quote from Eliot's Four Quartets:

    The whole earth is our hospital
    Endowed by the ruined millionaire,
    Wherein, if we do well, we shall
    Die of the absolute paternal care
    That will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere.
    "... but prevents us everywhere." I am aware of the large and somewhat sensible faction that rails against the intrusion of Congress into this affair, citing the 'Oh-My-God! It's melting, melting!' of the Republican Party as the price paid for the Party's leap into "Really Big Government." Will the Republican Party crack up, crash and burn? It seems to me to be a rather hysterical conclusion. There are times one needs "Really Big Government" if one hopes to check and balance "A Really Big Judiciary " determined to give us all "the absolute paternal care."

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 27, 2004 1:12 PM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Evil Bush Plot to Increase Home Ownership

    It will be interesting to see the Democrat's demolish Bush's current action's and plans to put more Americans into their own home.

    Our nation's 68 percent homeownership rate is the highest ever, and our government is taking steps to make owning a home a reality for more Americans, especially minorities and those with low incomes. In June 2002, I set the goal of adding 5.5 million new minority home owners in America by the end of this decade. Since then, more than 1.5 million minority families have moved into houses of their own. And for the first time, most minorities own their own home.

    We are building on this progress. I have signed into law the American Dream Down Payment Act, which will help low-income Americans to afford the down payment and closing costs on their first home. I'm asking Congress to provide an annual $200 million for this program. That additional money would help an estimated 40,000 low-income families every year become first-time homeowners. I'm proposing that we make zero down payment loans available to first-time buyers whose mortgages are guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration. And this will help about 150,000 families buy homes in the first year alone.

    Another obstacle to homeownership is the often complicated process of buying a home and getting a loan. My budget for 2005 would more than double funding for housing counseling services from 2001 levels.

    A house and a mortgage represent a big personal commitment, and we want to prepare more Americans to make that commitment with confidence. To make homeownership attainable for more of our citizens, I have asked Congress to create a tax credit to encourage the construction of affordable homes. Under my proposal, builders will have an incentive to provide an additional 200,000 affordable homes over five years for families with low incomes.
    --- President Bush's Weekly Radio Address Emphasis Added

    Let's see.
    1) Add 5.5 million new minority home owners. 1.5 million already done.
    2) Aid on down payment and closing costs. Add $200 million to the fund. Net increase of 40,000 minority or low income home owners per year.
    3) Zero down-payment loans to first-time buyers backed by the FHA. 150,000 families in their own home in first year.
    4) Double the funding for home-buying counseling services
    5) Tax incentives to create 40,000 low income homes per year.

    What will be the Kerry campaign response to this? Perhaps he can spin in a promise to so increase taxes on those earning more than $200,000 a year to buy everybody making under $40,000 a year a new house.

    It would be an upgrade on the 'chicken in every pot' promise. "Elect Kerry and it will be new houses on the house."

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 27, 2004 12:54 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    80 Extra Reasons to Despair Over Marc Andreessen

    Ex-Netscape-Loud-Cloud "visionary" Marc Andreessen has, ah, with words a way (i.e. "The valley is going to save the valley" ), but his choice of stored video is more dubious:

    Q FCC Chairman Michael Powell calls TiVo ``God's machine.'' What's your equivalent?

    Andreessen: I have four Replay machines. Each has 360 hours of storage and they are plugged into my home LAN (local area network). I have 1,400 hours of video storage. What's on it? All kinds of stuff, like the last 80 episodes of Charlie Rose.

    Well, we were thinking about going long on a lot of open source companies, but now we might just short the whole segment.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 27, 2004 12:38 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    It's Not Over Until the Fat Man Sings
    London, March 27: Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was captured by US forces after he was betrayed by a relative, who was one of his closest bodyguards.

    "After eight months on the run, the hiding place of the ousted Iraqi leader was given away by an aide known as 'the fat man'," the BBC reported.
    -- Saddam betrayed by his own bodyguard

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 27, 2004 10:26 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Right Man for the Right Job

    It's nice to see the great legal minds of France working on something that will help their international reputation:

    PARIS March 27 -- A French lawyer, known for defending terrorists and a Nazi leader, said Saturday he will defend Saddam Hussein.

    Jacques Verges told France-Inter radio he had received a letter from Saddam's family requesting him to defend the former Iraqi leader in court.

    The letter read: "In my capacity as nephew of President Saddam Hussein, I commission you officially by this letter to assure the defense of my uncle," Verges said. He did not name the person who sent the letter.

    Verges has defended Venezuelan terrorist Carlos the Jackal, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez. He gained international notoriety during the Cold War for staging a string of deadly bombings, assassinations and hostage seizures.

    The French lawyer also defended, Klaus Barbie, a Nazi Gestapo chief in France in World War II, who was convicted of crimes against humanity in Lyon, France.
    --French Lawyer Says He Will Defend Saddam

    Will he call Chirac, Penn, Anan and a host of others as character witnesses?

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 27, 2004 10:12 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    First Our Objects Were Unidentified, Then Our Crops Were Circled, Then Our Cattle Were Bored, and Now We're Being "Chemtrailed!"

    FILE UNDER: "Mixed Nuts of America"

    "A week or so ago I saw 12 different trails making an * rather than an X. One jet went straight and then turned exactly on one of the lines and paralleled it. If these were commercial flights, I would be really nervous to have so many planes converging on one central axis. I was driving at the time and til I got back they had blended into one grey scummy cloud. I was really sorry I missed that shot.

    I'm not convinced they are deliberately trying to spread disease or affect our health, could be a by-product or not happening at all...then again.....
    -- BELLACIAO - Conversations on Chemtrails- The truth about what is happening in America - Collective Bellaciao

    Then again, perhaps alien octopi are walking along your ceiling hoping for a ghost squid sandwich. Dilute! Ciao!

    [HT: THE STEEL DEAL, who really gets around. Check him out.]

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 25, 2004 8:35 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Busting the Identity Thieves -- A True Story

    This morning, I found out that thousands of dollars of charges had been made on two of my credit cards in the past two days. Now, the identity thieves are sitting in jail. This is how it happened. It involves identity theft, a careless thief, one pissed-off Ovid and lots of luck....
    -- publius_ovidius: Don't f**k with Ovid -- the long version

    A fascinating minute by minute account.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 25, 2004 6:30 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    "Higher Beings" Schiavo Countdown

    TUESDAY (SEEMS LIKE MONTHS AGO) I TOOK A LOOK AT HOW The "Higher Beings" were covering the Schiavo issue. Today we thought we'd take another look, via The Blogosphere Ecosystem as the end of Schiavo's life approaches. This time we'll count down from number 10 (BoingBoing) to number 1 (Instapundit):

    10. Boing Boing , which had been ignoring the BUZZ-HARSHING Schiavo issue in order to continue their non-stop fascination with "Wonderful Things," got off the dime with "Send Frist photos of your ailments for diagnosis"

    Senate Majority Leader and noted jackass Bill Frist is an MD, and he says that he can tell by looking at the Schiavo videos that she's not in a persistent vegetative state. His awesome diagnostic powers demand to be tested, and the interweb provides the perfect means to discover their scope: Take a digital picture or video of your medical problem – tennis elbow, acne, runny nose, hemorrhoids, or whatever ails you - and send it to the doctor in charge of the US Senate and your health care.....
    They also provided visibility and linkage for this item:
    Terri Schiavo status Firefox extension, Daily Show clip
    Boing Boing reader Nik says,
    I wrote a Firefox extension that sits in the status bar of Firefox, and tells you at a glance the morbidity status of Terry Schiavo.

    Also, the Daily Show ran a superb segment tonight poking fun at the extreme media weirdness around the Schiavo case.

    Those items pretty much tell you all you need to know about Cory and the Kids at BoingBoing.
    9. Ed at Captain's Quarters continues in his previous position.
    I find the forced death by dehydration of a disabled, non-terminal patient at the insistence of an estranged spouse with no support except for the hearsay of a couple of offhand comments heard by the husband and his relatives abhorrent. It smacks of euthanasia and sets a terrible precedent, apart from the inhumanity of forcing Terri's family to watch her die when they've repeatedly requested to be allowed to care for her. It's sadistic, if not to Terri, then to those who love her.

    But we have to draw a line here, and that line is the law.

    By which he means that the Governor simply cannot walk in and take Schiavo into protective custody.


    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 25, 2004 4:08 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Scrappleface Headlines We'd Like to See


    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 25, 2004 11:46 AM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Democratic Dream Team Gets Down and Dreams On at Dream

    The big tickets the Museum Feed, but the Real Action is the After-Party.

    You can tell a lot about a party by where and how it chooses to party and the stars are falling from the heavens tonight in DC. At least thats what they tell us in the New York Times. ( Democrats Arrange Rare Convergence of Partys Stars for Fund-Raiser)

    Carter, Clinton, Gore, Kerry, Dean, Edwards, McCarthy, McGovern -- the list reads like a Who-Was and Who-Wannabes for the Democrats. In short, Le Tout Democrat will be there -- absent Zell Miller, Dennis Kucinich and other Dems on the outs with the party, and the more notable losers, McGovern and Dukakis (...absent due to travel Ahem.)

    The reason? Money, of course, and lots of it:

    Nearly 2,000 high-dollar donors are expected to attend Thursday's dinner at the National Building Museum, paying $1,000 each for all-you-can-eat barbecue on paper plates with plastic utensils. Others are contributing up to $25,000 each. The haul is expected to be the largest brought in by the Democrats in a single event relying only on so-called hard money, which is the limited, regulated money that is the only kind that the national parties can accept under the new campaign finance law. The record is $4.3 million, set in 2000.
    What do you get for $1,000 other than all the ribs you can eat? You get Entertainment Tonight:

    Welcome, Shriners!

    Terry McAuliffe, the party chairman, will introduce Mr. Gore, followed by a video introduction of Mr. Carter, remarks by Mr. Carter, a video introduction of Mr. Clinton, remarks by Mr. Clinton, a video introduction of Mr. Kerry and then Mr. McAuliffe welcoming Mr. Kerry.
    Those who have remained conscious will get to hear John Kerry say something as well as reveal his Fab Five Makeover from his Ski vacation:

    "This'll work.
    It's got to work!"

    But the real action of this night of glittering prizes will come at the After-Party.

    After the dinner, Mr. Clinton, Mr. Carter and others will head to Dream, a Washington nightclub. There, 5,000 people, paying $50 each, will see them and a bevy of performers, including OutKast, Ginuwine, Kenneth (Babyface) Edmonds and Q-Tip.
    Now this is the event worth handy-camming. The Cream of the Dems getting jiggy to the Cream of the Hip Hop.

    I dont know about anybody else, but Id pay real folding money to see Gore, Clinton, Carter and Kerry getting down to such hits as Q-Tips immortal "Higher:"


    I don't know what to make of this
    Funny brothers on my nerves type ridiculous
    I guess I really gotta do it
    Put my game down
    f---in blew it
    Put my name down
    And it seems you f---ed up like a drug deal gone wrong
    Figured out a lot, you won't be that way long
    Plus, you n---as is bush leaguers
    And I bet y'all ain't get no bush either
    Following that stellar performance, Im hoping for a Ladys Choice in which we see the Clintons reunited on the dance floor as they demonstrate the new unity of the Democrats with a waltz to Ginuwines soulful ballad "Sex:"


    I gotta show the other freaky side of me
    Girl i wanna give you every inch you need
    jump up in my truck and let me take you there
    let me ride you thru the night
    I'm a sexaholic and im cool with it
    ....the pleasures all mine
    Finally, although the Times doesnt say, I cant imagine Barbra would miss this hootenanny. Im sure that during the wee hours of the Deam Party somebody is going break out the blunts and talk her into a duet with OutKast. Im hoping for a medley that blends People with Memories with OutKasts stirring anthem to civil rights "Rosa Parks:"


    Ah ha, hush that fuss
    Everybody move to the back of the bus
    Do you wanna bump and slump with us
    We the type of people make the club get crunk...
    This is an evening tailor-made for video tapes offered directly to Karl Rove for cash.

    Frankly, Im jealous of this. Theres no place on Earth Id rather be tonight. I wonder why I wasnt invited. Was it something I said?

    Maybe, if I start now, I can get to Dream in time for its next big party on Saturday. A night with: The XPornStars

    Like I said: "You can tell a lot about a party by where and how it chooses to party."

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 25, 2004 11:42 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Good Question

    MICKEY KAUS STEPS UP with an obvious question:

    Where do you go to sign a living will saying you want them to leave the tube in? I somehow don't think such a document is as readily available in handy preprinted form as the other kind. Nor do I think it would get all that much respect from the courts.
    He's right you know.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 25, 2004 11:25 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Columnist Misplaces Cerebral Cortex. Writes Anyway.

    THE COLUMNIST E. J. Dionne Jr. wraps up a "late-to-the-wake" column in the Washington Post by being the 1,627th person to offer the stunning rationale:

    "What does it mean to be pro-life? As far as I can tell, most of those who would keep Schiavo alive favor the death penalty."
    -- A Thin View of 'Life'

    You see this one offered up about as often as the nerdy guy on TV loses another loan to Ditech. Here though, the loser is the writer who has lost, it would seem, his mind. It takes about 2 nanoseconds of reflection to understand that the first part has to do with keeping an innocent woman alive while the second part has to do with putting a convicted killer to death. We can talk about whether or not the execution of killers is the right thing to do, but being in favor of it in no way means "OH, THE HYPOCRISY!" when it comes to keeping an innocent alive.

    Why the Washington Post would pay people who can't think and type at the same time is beyond me, but it was always so.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 25, 2004 10:23 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Religious War of Easter, 2005

    A LINK TO Alan Sullivan this Good Friday morning, brought this insight to my attention:

    This morning I have one new thought, which has been gestating since I read about Constance Felos** and her antics. This culture clash has been represented as sectarian versus secular. If one looks at the principal characters, however, one finds two religions at war. There is nothing secular about 'Kryon channeling' and the other nonsensical beliefs of Ms. Felos. The very traditional Schindler family and its allies have lost their court battle against the New Age elite that dominates many of the nation's institutions, including the Democratic Party. That elite has supported Michael Schiavo. This schism between families aligns with the greater schism in the nation. But let's step back from the public issues for a moment. What sort of people can celebrate putting a handicapped woman to death on Easter?
    What sort of people indeed?

    **Constance Felos is the wife and co-counsel of Michael Schiavo's lawyer George Felos. Their "religious" beliefs are discussed on this page at Bride of Dracula: George Felos' Wife is Also A "New Age Attorney" , George Felos: Acid Head and Death Lawyer , and George Felos, Lawyer for Michael Schiavo, and Telepath to the Comatose .

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 25, 2004 6:57 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Yet Another Reason to Bid New York Adieu
    Bowling Ball Thrown From Brooklyn High-Rise Nearly Strikes Police

    A Brooklyn man is charged with attempted murder for allegedly dropping a bowling ball from the 17th floor of an apartment building Monday, nearly hitting three police officers.

    The two police officers and a parole officer were walking past a building on Christopher Avenue in Brownsville when a bowling ball crashed onto the street near them. They were not hurt.

    Police arrested a 69-year-old man who lives in the building, Douglas Stiff, and charged him with attempted murder, reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon.

    Sources tell NY1 that Stiff has another ball on his balcony and that he was wearing binoculars. -- NY1 News: Top Stories

    The binoculars are a nice touch. Even money the next person to endeavor to perfect this new New York Mania will use a spotting scope.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 24, 2004 10:34 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Europe Doomed to Real Media Player. Fate Sealed

    I don't know about anyone else, but to me some of the most discouraging words I can read online are: "This Requires RealPlayer." This is a company that has been trying to pick my pocket and ripping time out of my life for years. I don't know what this company's problems are, but they are legion and probably revolved around some founder "not being Bill Gates." At least that's the whiff I get off the site and the app this group produces. That's why it depressed me to see that the EU shakedown of Microsoft was also going to involve the innocent of Europe in even more RealPlayer moments than they have previously had:

    Q. What effect will the verdict have on computer users?

    A. Some analysts have said in Europe it will mean less choice if Microsoft is forced to take its Media Player software out of Windows. Microsoft says it will mean less functionality for many consumers since the vast majority of all PCs are sold with Windows software. MS rivals say it will give consumers the opportunity to review a number of media players that they can download off the Internet before choosing which one they like. - Q&A: Why the EU took on Microsoft - Mar 24, 2004

    Yet another reason to mourn for Europe. Too bad. She had, long ago, some nice ideals.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 24, 2004 2:58 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Long Dive Towards the Magic Number Begins

    Pricewar in NapsterLand! That's what the salvo of: Wal-Mart starts selling 88-cent songs online means.

    Retailing giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. officially entered the increasingly crowded online music market Tuesday with a service that offers songs for 11 cents less each than competitors like Apple Computer Inc.

    Wal-Mart's online division, which is based in Brisbane, has been testing its Music Downloads store since December, selling tunes for 88 cents each or $8.88 per album. Wal-Mart said the test has been successful enough to formally start the service, at, with an expanded selection of 300,000 songs and exclusive tracks from artists like Jessica Simpson, Black Eyed Peas and Tim McGraw.

    It is only the beginning but I suspect something like Moore's Law is about to take hold as the online music industry races down the price curve to the magic number that will enable them to rebound into stunning levels of profitability.

    That number? 25 cents a tune. No more and no less. At that level, everybody, and I mean everybody, will start to amass personal music collections that would sink the Bismark.

    It's simple. Would you rather have 10,000 dollars or 100,000 quarters? Alas, for many studio execs, math is hard.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 24, 2004 1:59 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Okay,okay, okay... make that two aircraft carriers, seven billion dollars. Deal?

    Plus a weekend in Vegas with JayLo.
    The Mrs. here doesn't have to know.

    Ah, the shameful art of diplomacy begins before the dead are even buried.

    MADRID (Reuters) - The United States and Britain bargained with Spain's new prime minister Wednesday over his pledge to pull Spanish troops out of Iraq, hoping to salvage a faltering alliance.

    Secretary of State Colin Powell and British Prime Minister Tony Blair were in Madrid with other world leaders and royalty to mourn the 190 victims of the Madrid train bomb attacks which triggered a voter revolt that brought Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to power.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 24, 2004 12:52 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Guiding Light of Liberal Logic

    FROM STEVE H. COMES THIS Comment on Snatching the Trivial from the Profound

    With the guiding light of liberal logic shining bright in this case, we can now see clearly how to move forward.


    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 24, 2004 12:50 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    BBC Proves Mentally Challenged In Estimate of Python Re-Release

    It what must be the most brain-dead headline of the week. the BBC has announced.... wait for it ....
    BBC NEWS Python film to challenge Passion

    It would seem the boobs at the Beeb have missed the part about Gibson's Passion of the Christ heading towards a world box office of around a billion dollars. Such is their shock that a religious film can suceed they have looked to a ex-comedy team's lamest film as a "Challenger." What can we say but, "Jesus wept?"

    Monty Python's film The Life of Brian is to return to US cinemas next month following the success of The Passion of the Christ.
    That tells us something about the inventory of spirtually uplifting films currently in Hollywood's arsenal. "My God, Jesus is pulling humongous BO! Get something out there. Anything. Who? The Pythons? Don't we have something where they speak American or at least Aramaic?"
    The Biblical satire will be re-released in Los Angeles, New York and other US cities to mark its 25th anniversary.
    Make that two other US cities -- Greenwich Village and Santa Monica.
    Adverts will challenge Mel Gibson's blockbuster with the lines "Mel or Monty?", "The Passion or the Python?"
    Humm, you can spend some time with Jesus, or you can let the studio bozos pick your pocket for a 25 year old movie that last had a copy rented from Blockbuster in the late 20th Century. You decide. Distributor Rainbow said it hoped the film would "serve as an antidote to all the hysteria about Mel's movie"..... Translation: We've got a payment due on the Benz and its going to go to repo if somebody doesn't see this turkey pronto."
    Rainbow president Henry Jaglom said: "We decided this is an important time to re-release this film, to provide some counter-programming to The Passion."
    Ah, the high-minded motives of the maker of tiny movies rises to the surface like froth on a cesspool. Wouldn't it be clearer to say, "We decided to re-release this wheezing pile at this time so we wouldn't get run over by the sixteen biblical epics now in turnaround at every major studio from here to Alpha Centauri.
    He said the surviving members of the Monty Python comedy team "all agreed this was a good time" to bring back the film and would help promote it.
    Let's be clear about this. This film, The Life of Bryan, is a dead parrot. It has passed on. Gone to meet its maker. Joined the choir invisible.... fill in the rest.

    I can't wait to see the "surviving" Pythons nattering on to Charlie Rose about their clapped-out old film and how it "had to be released" in order to quell the Mel-steria. Not a bit about scraping a few more dimes off the eyes of this cinematic dead horse. Nope. I like people who stand in water.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 24, 2004 10:32 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Raines to Rain on the Times' Parade

    The New York Observer has a snippet about the forthcoming core dump concerning his crash-and-burn exit from the NYT titled:"As Howell Raines Readies His Memoir, Times Staff Girds." It is unclear exactly what the staff is girding, but it probably has something to do with installing new surge suppressors in the news room.

    Deposed New York Times executive editor Howell Raines, sidelined and mostly silent after his eviction last June from West 43rd Street, is throwing himself back into the action. On March 24, The Atlantic Monthly will begin allowing the press to get a preview look at the cover story of its May issue, a gargantuan piece by Mr. Raines pondering his former place of employment.

    The piece will check in at something greater than 20,000 words, according to The Atlantic. That's some 2,500 words longer than Ken Auletta's mammoth New Yorker profile of Raines. Or, by Atlantic standards, it means Raines gets to spend one-third as much space picking through the wreckage of his own career as William Langewiesche spent picking through the wreckage of the World Trade Center.

    I've never thought Raines was worth a rivet from the WTC, but, hey, I'm prejudiced against his type.

    The squibblet's writer, Scocca, however, gets top marks for the clueless kicker to his item:

    Meanwhile, the standards of journalistic scandal have been bumped up considerably. Last week, USA Today revealed that its star reporter, Jack Kelley, had invented several Hong Kong movies worth of incident in his dispatches: drowned Cubans, gunned-down Palestinians, bomb-severed heads rolling in the streets.

    Mr. Blairs forged datelines and fake sit-down interviews seem suddenly quaintand Mr. Raines purported white liberal guilt seems unremarkable, as editors biases go.

    Now, its hard to remember exactly why the man got fired.

    Somebody shoud get this guy a computer and teach him to Google. I'm sure bloggers could remind him in about three nanoseconds.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 24, 2004 10:05 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Caught Between Cheeseburgers and Apaches

    Make that three Big Macs, Two Pies, Fries,
    and a supersized Hellfire Missile. To go.

    Doctor "Deathwish Al" Rantissi, the newly appointed head terrorist of the PLO, confirmed that Hamas has now become so demented it views death as a perk.

    Israelis "will know no security", Mr Rantissi told crowds of mourners at Gaza's soccer stadium.

    He said he was not afraid of Israeli attempts to kill him.

    "If it's cardiac arrest or an Apache (helicopter), I prefer to be killed by an Apache," Mr Rantissi told reporters.

    I'm sure there's either an Apache or a Cheeseburger out there with his name on it. If he gets it while coming out of some Gaza Strip cheeseburger palace, I'll know irony is back in God's stand-up routine.

    Now if he could manage it before Deathwish Al sends anymore dynamite-packing 12 year old boys out to kill Jewish children (see below) my joy would be complete.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 24, 2004 9:50 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    It's Official. There Are No Palestinian Men Left

    The death of spiritual leader Ahmed Yassin has, it would seem, put and end to anything that might call itself a man in the Palestinian regions of the Middle East. Teenagers also seem to be in short supply. It would seem that, having gotten to the end of their supply of men, the Palestinians have decided to reach deep down into their diminishing gene pool and send in very young children:

    Soldiers catch Palestinian boy, 12, wearing explosive belt

    Israel Defense Forces paratroopers caught a Palestinian boy, aged 12, wearing an explosive belt at the Hawara roadblock south of Nablus in the West Bank on Wednesday afternoon.

    Yes, for some people there really is no bottom.

    Pointer via LGF

    Not Cool

    by JEREMIAH LEWIS, American Digest Film Editor

    Be Cool:2 out of 5 stars

    Get Shorty was hip. It had an edgy, off-the-cuff, yet leisurely feel about it, like it had nothing to prove but was proving it anyway, just to show you who was boss.

    Be Cool on the other hand, is anything but. With derivative and sub-par jokes, a cast that feels as strained as the story, and muddled direction, it's as if this movie was made to push the line for sequel tolerance. Elmore Leonard, who wrote the original novel Get Shorty, ought to be ashamed of himself for writing such an obvious, yet serially unimaginative novel sequel, in which the shylock hero Chili Palmer (John Travolta) quits the movie biz for the less bureaucratic music industry. Is Chili daft, or just ignorant?


    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 24, 2004 7:54 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Moving Images, 1

    Photo by Rob T at

    4 hands of 3 generations.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 24, 2004 7:25 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    An Actual Majority Do Feel This Way

    Yesterday, Glenn Reynolds ran an interesting bit of email from a reader concerning the attitudes of an editor in an not-to-be-named major media outlet. The original item is here at

    The text of the email goes:

    I realize you generally assume that the vast majority of reporters are praying to their pagan gods for our failure in Iraq and the war against terrorism (I am not one of them), and are now crafting their stories to reflect and facilitate such a thing. While I think you are dead wrong on this, I have to admit I was taken aback by a conversation I had recently with a colleague.

    I work as a freelancer for a major national publication, and was talking to my editor as we were closing a piece last week. It was Thursday, and the reports were coming out of Pakistan that we might have Ayman al-Zawahiri surrounded. I passed this news on to the editor, who was crestfallen: "Oh, no. I don't want anything good to happen for Bush before the election," was the reaction (P.S., this editor does not edit foreign or political stories).

    It was a sickening moment. This is a man responsible for thousands of American deaths. So while I have no desire to see Bush re-elected, and I disagree with our attack on Iraq, to hope for our failure in capturing one of the deadliest people in the world is a moral blindspot.

    Reynolds' comment contained the following statement which set me to thinking
    Yes, it is. And -- based both on reports like this one, and on the obvious slant of some stories -- I don't think that editor is alone, though I doubt an actual majority of his colleagues feel that way. But some clearly do, letting their Bush-hatred trump their patriotism.
    After some reflection I sent the following comment on to the Professor:
    I beg to differ. At the end of the not-very-surprising anecdote about the reporter and his editor, you comment:

    "I don't think that editor is alone, though I doubt an actual majority of his colleagues feel that way. "

    Based on my 30 year career as an editor, writer and literary agent, I'm afraid I'd have to say that you are but hoping in one hand here. I've worked in San Francisco, London, Boston, and New York over those years, and they have all been spent either in publishing magazines or publishing books. In that time, I've known hundreds of editors. Please believe me when I tell you that not only does a majority of editors feel the same way, it is a vast majority.

    Publishing types, such as editors, agents and writers, tend to come out of the same sort of background. (Hey, those English Major degrees have to be good for something.) If they do not, the climb to influence within the publishing houses will bend them into a compatible mind-set. Like promotes like in these institutions and you'd best be a true believer or good at mimicry if you want to thrive.

    I've sat in endless editorial meetings where books have been declined because they didn't seem to have the right political slant even though they promised great financial rewards.

    The code for this is: "It doesn't seem like the kind of title we do." If the same book were to wind its way onto the list at, say, Regnery, and become a best-seller, (as a couple did) the fact that the house passed on it is certainly not sent up the line to the corporate masters.

    In the same manner, I've seen dozens of books published that didn't have a hope of making a penny in profit (a fact that was acknowledged at the time) because they would bring "luster to the house." This was code for invitations to a lot of dinner parties and exclusive events at Harvard Business School or the Kennedy Center.

    I once sat in a meeting where the financials for a book by Jimmy Carter looked very bleak and the "sponsoring" editor was asked to meet with the sales director so that the numbers could be given a "better glow." By the next meeting, this frog had been kissed into a prince and the book went on to lose a small fortune. We did get a visit by Carter and his entourage to the house though. Somewhere I have a photo of this expensive photo-op paid for by the shareholders. This was not a rare incident, but in all fairness neither was it commonplace. It just happened from time to time.

    With rare exceptions, people in publishing, like, I suppose, many in academe, are not in it for the money, but for the status. I've been to Park Avenue dinner parties thrown by the likes of Bob Bernstein, founder of Human Rights Watch, where never is heard a conservative word. Don't get me wrong, Bob's a fine fellow, but you'd no more find any other than carefully vetted liberals at his table than you'd find a magic mushroom in the soup course at the White House. And you have to reflect that for decades, Bob was the head of Random House. Much has changed during the years since he headed the house, but third generation hires directly descended from Bob's reign persist in bringing like-minded souls onto the payroll.

    Ditto during my five years at Houghton Mifflin in Boston. There the axis of liberal interests between Back Bay, Beacon Hill, and Cambridge was as solid and tangled as the Gordian Knot. At these dos backscratchers were as common as bowties. Again, with all the supper parties and summer events I attended in those years, the most conservative person I could cite as ever in attendance would be John Kenneth Galbraith.

    In all those years of publishing or meeting with editors at various houses (and as an Agent you meet a lot of editors) I can perhaps think of one magazine editor that was not, in bone and blood, a liberal. I'm sure there are more and I'm sure that I met them. They were just very careful about giving that sort of information away. Ruins the protective coloration, you know.

    While there may be an impression that overtly conservative tomes are tending up in publishing as a result of the vast sums earned by a few writers, that impression is very shallow indeed. A brief click and browse through the 100 top sellers on Amazon today with an eye towards political titles would confirm this.

    Tonight, when I went back to look at the item, I noted this scary update had been added from the original correspondent.
    A word of thanks for leaving my name out of that post.

    Realized after I sent the email that if my name were posted it might easily make its way back to the editor. I'm barely making enough money at the journalism thing as it is... the last thing I need is to be blacklisted.

    Ah, blacklisting. The last refuge of the liberal scoundrels of our age. We've come a long way, babies.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 24, 2004 12:11 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    These Clowns Set My Teeth On Fire
    Ms. Gorelick said at the hearing Tuesday that information in the documents "would set your hair on fire, and not just George Tenet's hair on fire." Though .... she said that there had been "an extraordinary spike" of intelligence warning about Qaeda attacks ... that "it plateaued at a spike level for months." -- NYTimes

    ...plateaued at a spike level for months...

    Clowns. Why does it always have to be clowns?

    You wake up and there are clowns. You sleep and clowns cavort through your nightmares. The clowns are nattering everywhere, on every channel and on every radio station not utterly given over to gangster rap. The clowns are leaping up out of the newspapers to slap you with a cream pie. They've all agreed on the routine and we have to watch these clowns climb in and out of the little cars for years. That's the politics of the bogus in 2004, folks, clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right...

    Like many others, I've had the current clown show, the 9/11 Hearings, bleating in the middle distance all day. I've been listening for something.

    But although I've heard a lot of oooga-horns and seen a lot of seltzer being sprayed, I'm not hearing what I think I should hear, at least once, to convince me that they are not all, right, left and center, a pack of clowns whacking each other over the head with poo-poo cushions. I'd like to hear what I need to hear, but so far all I hear is the chittering blather of clowns and the vague chink-chink the drinking bird makes as it bobbles over the glass.

    Once, just once, I'd like to hear an exchange like this:

    Committee Clown: "So tell us again why, with all the zillions of chucky-bucks, we were throwing at this problem over the years, we were subjected to September 11. Somebody's gotta get shot out of a cannon for this, you know.

    Witness Clown: Well, I hate to break character here and give you a straight answer instead of just flapping my slapstick against the table, Senator, but if you can spare a moment from pondering that email promising penis enlargement, here's the scoop.

    Nobody, but nobody, outside of about 50 Islam-addled whackjobs high on burning donkey dung, would have been able to believe on September 10, that a cadre of crazed fanatics were going to hijack four airliners and drive them into three buildings and a field.

    Nobody stopped it because nobody could imagine it other than those that did it, and those that ordered it done. It was, and is, an act of sheer evil so large and so outside the ability of a rational and civilized mind to entertain that we just couldn't see it coming. I resent that both of us have to sit here strapped into these drool cups and pretend somebody should have.

    They got us because the were not only more evil than we imagined, they were more evil than we can imagine.

    What we have learned, but obviously not well enough since we are sitting here in our baggy pants and clown makeup with red balls slapped on our noses, is that they will do even worse evil if we don't haul our sorry tails out of this meeting right now and start eliminating them pronto with all the force at our command.

    Am I getting through to you, Senator?

    Am I letting you see the big picture?

    You want the truth? You can't handle the truth.

    Hell, WE can't handle the truth. We're just going to sit here flailing about with pig bladders for the amusement of our blood-enemies watching on CNN until they decide to slaughter another 3,000, 30,000, 300,000 of our citizens at their desks and in their beds.

    And, you know what? About 24 months after that happens -- if they don't manage to kill all of us in Foggy Bottom next time, we'll all be sitting around here in our fright wigs again, and you'll want to know why we didn't see it coming.

    Ive been sitting here watching the ten of you preen and pose for days and frankly, Senator, and other distinguished members of this crapulous panel, my nausea runneth over at this lame blame game.

    Now, if you will excuse me, Senator, I need to slap on some cold cream, lose this clown nose, and get my game face on. It's clobbering time and we'd like to have the hammer back, okay?

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 23, 2004 10:56 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Unfortunate Ad Placement


    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 23, 2004 7:39 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Youth and Age

    If you don't have Victor Hanson on your reading list, you should. His essays for the last three years represent one of the longest runs of excellence in writing and thinking we've seen in many decades.

    Excerpt from "When I Was Young:"

    When I was young, my father used to get me out of bed, in a thick John Kennedy accent, and with perfect Bostonian mimicry order me to start the day with "viga." I think he meant "vigor" in the sense of the new Kennedesque idealism at home and abroad. My isolationist grandfather would sigh and concede that Harry Truman was right after all, in spending all our hard-earned tax dollars in strange places like Greece and Turkey and sending relatives and friends to worse in Korea. There was a sort of guarded idealism of the need to promote democratic values, coupled with the tragic acceptance that such sacrifice would always be misinterpreted and caricatured. But the idea, my grandfather also added, was to make places abroad a little freer so Americans would not have to be attacked here at home by those who hated us.

    And then I grew old and learned that somehow Iraq was not like Panama, or Serbia, or Afghanistan, where without the UN, Congressional approval, and mostly alone we took out dictators and theocrats and left the foundations of democracy in their place. Instead, something that made no real sense in terms of classical economic exploitation was said to be about "blood for oil," or promotion of the Likud party in Israel, or creating a new empire in the Middle East -- all this about a country that we debated publicly a long time about invading, went to the UN, got congressional sanction, and toppled its dictator in three weeks, and then stayed on for another year to ensure the Iraqis had a chance for the only freedom in the Arab Middle East.

    The world has changed. What was once liberal is now illiberal, and the old progressivism has become mean-spirited and opportunistic. What was once idealistic is seen as calculating. When I read about the "Jews" now, it is almost always negative and emanates either from the European left or the so-called liberal university here in the United States. Israel, still democratic and still attacked by autocracies, is now hated rather than respected, not for what it has done, but for what it is. The world snored, for example, this week when suicide bombers were foiled in their attempts at getting at a chemical weapons dump so that they might once more gas Jews. Neither Kofi Annan nor Desmond Tutu, for all their recent media appearances, said a word when Palestinians apologized for murdering a jogger in Jerusalem on the mistaken impression that the poor Arab was a "Jew."

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 23, 2004 7:30 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Hamas Fashion Accessories, The Spring Line

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 23, 2004 5:52 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    On the Prison Production Line

    When you're laid out by a Cruise Ship cold, there's not a lot you can do that's productive. Take me. Feeling low-grade on just about every level. So I decided to put in a shift at the ACME License Plate Maker.

    Here's my output. I'm sure you can craft a few of your own. (Acme, by the way, is owned and operated by Jef Poskanzer, unix wizard and professional curmudgeon. Somebody either buy this man a beer, get him a date, or pop his PayPal button. His needs are infinite.)


    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 23, 2004 4:25 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Philly Daily News Editor Confesses to Stupidity and Tastelessness

    In a moronic effort to disparage the already compromised Pulitzer Prizes, Zack Stalberg establishes himself an someone unfit to be an arbiter of taste at any media organization, much less the Philadelphia Daily News. It seems that Stalberg is still upset that the Pulitzer committee didn't see fit to hand one out to The Onion for its "coverage" of 9/11:

    March 22, 2004) -- Zack Stalberg still remembers the oddest experience he had during his two-year stint as a Pulitzer Prize jurist.

    The longtime editor of The Philadelphia Daily News was on the committee choosing finalists in the commentary category in 2002 when a submission from The Onion, the irreverent humor newspaper, came before the group.

    "As it went around the table, you could see that people were blown away by this work," Stalberg said about the entry, which included the paper's mock Sept. 11 coverage. "But it was a little too different, a little too risky. I voted to make it a finalist, but nobody else did."

    Although it would be surprising to see the Pulitzer Board award its coveted medal to what is essentially a parody of a newspaper, such an incident highlights what some feel is the reverence -- some might say restrictions -- under which the Pulitzer judging operates.
    -- Pulitzer Prizes: Keeping the Little Guys Down?
    Really? Would some? Some who? Perhaps some such as Stalberg or Editor and Publisher's Joel Strupp who penned this little whine. Should the Pulitzer have been awarded to The Onion for bouncing out of the gate on September 26 with copy like this? --
    "Terrorist hijackings, buildings blowing up, thousands of people dying --these are all things I'm accustomed to seeing," said Dan Monahan, 32, who witnessed the fiery destruction of the Twin Towers firsthand from the window of his second-story apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn. "I've seen them all before -- we all have -- on TV and in movies. In movies like Armageddon, it seemed silly and escapist. But this, this doesn't have any scenes where Bruce Willis saves the planet and quips a one-liner as he blows the bad guy up."
    -- The Onion | American Life Turns Into Bad Jerry Bruckheimer Movie
    Not funny then. Less funny now. Don't get us wrong, we like The Onion in its place -- free on the street corner -- but at the same time only an idiot would think this stuff worthy of a Pulitzer. Only an idiot or Zack Stalberg. We report, you decide.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 23, 2004 12:30 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Of Mercy and the Current of Cruelty
    28: After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith,I thirst.

    29: Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.

    30: When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. -- John, 19; 28-30


    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 23, 2004 9:02 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The "Higher Beings" on Schiavo

    HERE'S HOW THE TOP 10 ["HIGHER BEING"] BLOGS of The Truth Laid Bear's Blogosphere Ecosystem stand on the Terri Schiavo issue today. Posted in order of ranking.


    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 22, 2004 4:09 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Michael Schiavo's Song

    NOW THAT I'VE DISCOVERED how Michael Shiavo's lawyer George Felos can achieve telepathic contact with the comatose, I've decided to put myself into a telepathic state and channel Michael Schiavo's thoughts.... Yes, they're starting to come in now.... Just a little clearer... Okay... Hey, it's an old Van Morrison song! Here's the lyrics:

    I gotta go, I gotta go
    And you said, "please stay, I wanna, I wanna,
    I want a drink of water, I want a drink of water,


    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 22, 2004 1:28 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Lull Before the Storm

    Michael Totten's published a thoughtful analysis of the four faces of American foreign policy in Are the Jacksonians Sated? at Tech Central.

    President Bush's Middle East strategy is Wilsonian idealism in Jacksonian costume. Rhetorical flourishes like "good riddance" and "dead or alive" play well among Jacksonians, even as it drives more genteel Wilsonians and Jeffersonians to distraction.

    Jacksonianism is the most publicly reviled of the four traditions. It often comes across as simple-minded, crude, and even brutish to Americans who adhere to one of the other three. It's the Jacksonian tradition European elites have in mind when they carp about gun-boat diplomacy and cowboy unilateralism. Yet without the Jacksonian spirit, America would not have defeated Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, or the Soviet Union. We would not be a super-power at all. It's understandable why so many intellectuals scoff at Jacksonian attitudes as crude and unsophisticated. But Jacksonians aren't supposed to be society's brain. They are its muscle and it guts.

    Mead says their support in foreign policy is absolutely crucial.

    "The United States cannot wage a major international war without Jacksonian support; once engaged, politicians cannot safely end the war except on Jacksonian terms."

    Presidents Jimmy Carter and Lyndon Johnson offended Jacksonians with their half-measures against Iran and North Vietnam. Jacksonians punished George McGovern's anti-war presidential campaign in 1972 by re-electing Richard Nixon in a landslide. The first President Bush lost a great deal of Jacksonian respect when he left Saddam Hussein in power after the Gulf War.

    Now that Saddam Hussein and the Taliban have been routed, the Jacksonians have mellowed. There isn't much of a push to open another front in a third country. They will remain mostly satisfied unless and until another violent event riles them up again. It could be another attack on America or one of our allies. Perhaps the wrong regime will acquire nuclear weapons. Maybe a moderate Muslim government will be overthrown by Islamofascist insurgents.
    ... snip....
    Dovish Wilsonians will have as hard a time winning the Terror War as they'll have winning the hearts and minds of Jacksonians. The armies of a terror-sponsoring state can be contained easily enough. But terrorists themselves can't be contained or deterred. UN resolutions will have no effect whatever on the fascistic political ideologies running rampant in the Middle East that spawn the terror threat in the first place.

    If the dovish Wilsonians carry the argument in the short run, it will only take that much longer for Middle Eastern countries (aside from Iraq) to get the reform they need -- not only for their sake, but for ours. The terror culture in Syria, the West Bank, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan will continue to fester and even grow. The threat to America and our allies will not abate. Then Al Qaeda or some other terrorist gang will hit us again.

    They will probably hit us again either way. Lord knows they're trying. When it happens, Jacksonian rage will crush the dovish wing of Wilsonianism no matter who sits in the White House.

    Enjoy the lull while it lasts. It's the calm before the second storm.

    The entire essay is worth reading as is the longer and more persuasive work by Walter R. Mead, The Jacksonian Tradition.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 22, 2004 1:01 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Coulter/Moore Theorem of Book Promotion

    There's a lot of back and forth blather about the Quisling Flavor of the Day, Dick Clarke (the failed bureaucrat, not the entertainer), but of all the whys and whats, the real reason behind this current tour-de-face on the buy my book circuit is summed up best by Roger Simon

    They say authors are like hookers and will go anywhere and do anything to sell their books. (Who me? Look right!) The latest to shake his booty is Richard Clarke, the "terrorism expert" [What does that mean?--ed. He reads more than one newspaper a day.] who is flogging his new tome called Against All Enemies. Now as any fool who knows the Coulter/Moore Theorem of Basic Book Promotion understands, don't be reasonable, always be as extreme as possible, so Clarke says:

    "FRANKLY, I FIND IT OUTRAGEOUS that the president is running for re-election on the grounds that he's done such great things about terrorism. He ignored it. He ignored terrorism for months, when maybe we could have done something to stop 9/11. Maybe. We'll never know."

    Simon, because he is a sane man, blames neither Clinton or Bush for 911. If only the the government and the prating pundits of plutocracy would do the same. But no chance, no chance at all.

    As for Bush "ignoring terrorism for months," well, even if true we'd say he's more than made up for it at this point. Which, of course, is something else that irritates the Clark cadre.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 22, 2004 12:48 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    BBC to Hamas: Please Don't Hurt Us

    "Scores of Palestinians were inspired by his message to give
    up their lives, and became suicide bombers."

    From a smarm drenched 'homage' to the late "spiritual leader" of the Palestinians by the BBC at: Sheikh Yassin: Life in pictures. This little slide show has to be seen to be believed. And even then, it helps to believe that somewhere in the captions there is some small grain of irony. Then again it may be pure mindlessness.

    Pointer via lgf: A Life in Pictures which showcases reader Ed Moran's take on how the BBC today would have handled the death of Hitler:

    Adolf Hitler, A Life in Pictures

    1 of 8
    Adolf Hitler was beloved by the German people for restoring pride in their Aryan heritage

    2 of 8
    Young Hitler had a deep fascination with the arts.

    3 of 8
    Corporal Hitler was wounded in a gas attack while bravely defending the Fatherland

    4 of 8
    Hitler’s magnetic personality allowed him to galvanize his supporters during the darkest periods of the Depression. Hitler is seen here addressing his followers in a Munich beer hall

    5 of 8
    Adolf Hitler modernized the German highway system.

    6 of 8
    Hitler modernized the German Air Force

    7 of 8
    His dislike of the Jews was well known

    8 of 8
    Nazi support was boosted by its charitable activities and support for Aryans suffering economic hardship

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 22, 2004 12:35 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Gift That Does Not Keep On Giving

    HEADLINE OF THE DAY, SO FAR: From The Age of Australia

    Judge gives Schiavo the right to die

    Pretty much says it all, doesn't it?

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 22, 2004 12:11 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    I Fell In to a Burning Ring of Mire

    by JEREMIAH LEWIS, American Digest Film Editor

    THE RING TWO IS, if nothing else, a referendum on water. If boredom could be measured, there'd be about one thousand gallons of it just pouring from each tepid frame of this lackluster, wholly uninspired sequel to The Ring, itself a mercenary remake of the Japanese horror thriller Ringu.


    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 22, 2004 7:31 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Alomar to the Hall

    by CHRIS LYNCH , American Digest Sports Editor

    LAST WEEKEND ROBERTO ALOMAR made it official and retired. Now the only question is whether is will get the votes necessary to be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

    I say "Yes" and here's why:
    - 12 consecutive All-Star games
    - 10 Gold Gloves in 11 years
    - 4 Silver Slugger awards


    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 22, 2004 6:27 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Reading Habits of Louis L'Amour

    Louis L'Amour, Germany, 1945

    Some fascinating details about the life and reading habits of a fine and underappreciated American writer:

    Other than changing his name from LaMoore, L'Amour arrived at his Romantic formula honestly. He quit school in grade ten for two decades of worldwide "yondering" and an astonishing range of employment and adventure. He was lumberjack, dead-cattle skinner, circus-hand, boxer (51-8 record as a light heavyweight), seaman, and anything else that his hobo travels turned up. His great-great grandfather had been scalped by Sioux Indians, ancestor General Henry Dearborn was friendly with Thomas Jefferson, and for the love of story and the writing career he had planned, L'Amour would seek out oldtimers wherever he went: Dodge City Marshals, Texas Rangers, those who rode with the Dalton Gang or gunbattled Tom Slaughter, a 79 year-old wrangler who had been raised by Apaches and been on war parties with Geronimo, the woman who made Billy the Kid his last meal. His first book came at age forty-two; thereafter came three, four, sometimes six books a year -- all done by two-finger typing, and told by "a troubadour, a village tale-teller, the man in the shadows of the campfire." As prodigious as the writing was L'Amour's reading. In his memoir, Education of a Wandering Man (1989), he says that he read 150 books of non-fiction a year, even in his traveling days. Eventually he would have a library of 17,000 volumes in a room with sixteen-foot-high walls, covered in bookshelf panels that would swing out to reveal another set of sixteen-foot-high bookshelves behind. He prided himself on his research, whether for his novels or for fun -- an interest in genealogy, for example, uncovered the fact that Wild Bill Hickock's ancestors were tenant farmers on land owned by Shakespeare.

    L'Amour kept records of his reading habit, and scoffed at those who said that they didn't have time for it -- one year he read twenty-five books while waiting for people. The memoir is full of anecdote: reading Wilde's "The Ballad of Reading Gaol" on a freight train heading west; reading the 18th century romance, Gil Blas around a campfire of mesquite root after a day skinning dead cattle, and then spending a week after the job was over taking three showers a day in his hotel room and reading The Rise of the Dutch Republic between times; ship-painting and rivet-bucking by day, then sleeping "in empty boxcars, on piles of lumber, anywhere out of the rain and wind" and reading Smollett's The Expedition of Humphrey Clinker; reading by coal-oil lamp from Plutarch's Lives, or of the decline of Hannibal's fortunes after his victory at Cannae, then going out to sit on the porch and listen to the coyotes howling at the moon, ". . . sitting there for a long time, thinking of what I had read and of the many wagons that had passed this way bound for California and Oregon." -- Today in Literature

    L'Amour had what most men today can only dream about -- not "The Good Life," but "The Big Life."

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 22, 2004 12:03 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    "If...." @ Sharp Knife

    is brilliant.

    You will see I do not lie.

    [HT: Eternity Road]

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 21, 2004 9:19 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Bye-Bye Babies of the Blue States

    MARK STEYN. LUCID AND CONCISE AS ALWAYS IN The strange death of the liberal West

    In practice, a culture that thinks Terri Schiavo's life in Florida or the cleft-lipped baby's in Herefordshire has no value winds up ascribing no value to life in general. Hence, the shrivelled fertility rates in Europe and in blue-state America: John Kerry won the 16 states with the lowest birth rates; George W Bush took 25 of the 26 states with the highest.

    The 19th-century Shaker communities were forbidden from breeding and could increase their number only by conversion. The Euro-Canadian-Democratic Party welfare secularists seem to have chosen the same predicament voluntarily, and are likely to meet the same fate. The martyrdom culture of radical Islam is a literal dead end. But so is the slyer death culture of post-Christian radical narcissism. This is the political issue that will determine all the others: it's the demography, stupid.

    If I were a fundamentalist Christian I'd put it another way:
    It seems almost as if God has said to the Republicans: "Be fruitful and multiply," while Satan has winked at the Democrats and said, "Cut it out."

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 21, 2004 8:02 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Video of the Year (So far)

    No, that's not a group hanging of uppity women in Iran,
    but come back tomorrow. You might get lucky.

    CHARLES AT LITTLE GREEN FOOTBALLS DOES IT AGAIN WITH: The Return of the Incredibly Strange Graduation of the Iranian Female Police Cadets.

    It takes awhile to load, but you will be glad, DAMNED GLAD, you waited.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 21, 2004 7:39 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Kerry Campaign Snow Bunny Shocker

    Kerry and Al-Zawahiri Relax from the Stresses of Campaigning in Ketchum

    Kerry Seeks to Lock Up Nomination and Presidency with Surprise Veep Offering

    Sun Mar 21, 4:58 PM ET

    Add World - Reuters to My Yahoo!

    By Simone Cameroon-Morman (Reuters)

    Ketchum, Idaho (Reuters) - During an impromptu press conference at the foot of a Ketchum ski run that stunned both the US Media and the Pakistani Army, John Kerry revealed that his skiing partner for the day and choice for Vice-Presidential Running Mate was none other than Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the famed al-Quyeda CEO previously thought to be surrounded in the Afghanistan mountains.

    Extending his promise to take the fight to the Republicans and the other Brown Shirts of the Bushistas, Kerry introduced the second most wanted man in the world as, a tireless fighter against a corrupt and Godless administration that knows how to blow other candidates away both in real terms and with plastic explosives. Even better, he knows how to be #2.

    For his part, and speaking from within a fetching puce Lands End Parka, Al-Zawahiri promised that from now on his goals and those of al-Quyada and Allah would be one with those of the Democratic Party. Politics, says the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) makes for some strange bedfellows, and that is certainly true about my little visit here with John and his sizzling little pancake of a wife. You might think it odd that I am throwing in my lot with these Americans, but it worked with the Socialists in Spain last week and so whats a little hanky-panky when theres a world to win.

    While John and I may disagree about world domination, weve found plenty of common ground when it comes to hating the Republicans and George W. Bush. Besides, I showed him my receipts for the three $30 million suitcase nukes we bought in Russia last year after our first meeting in Gstaad and he was impressed. He promised to see things our way from the very first day we walked into the Oval Office. For my part, I promised to kill him last.

    Kerry interposed, Yes, those little campaigning suitcase nukes promise to save America and the Democratic Party a lot of money. Our new Democratic platform, as of today, has only one plank: Either Bush resigns or the Democrats and al-Quyeda are prepared to do a little ballot stuffing of our own this time around. Prepare to see some suitcases checked onto the Metroliner and onto MetroNorth along about the end of October. Its a win-win all around for both the Democrats and Allah. Plus it will save American lives abroad and, especially, here at home."

    When asked how Al-Zawahiri could become vice-president when the Constitution forbids the office to those who are not native-born Americans, Kerry nonchalantly referred to the French method of creating the French by simply declaring people French. What do you think we have Ted Kennedy on board for, just to help us disposed of excess Vodka? I expect a proclamation in the Senate declaring this great spiritual leader of an oppressed people a natural-born American by the end of the month.

    Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, right, unveils photos of Demo Dream Team
    -- Kerry, left, and al-Quyada #2 Ayman al-Zawahiri during the annual
    St. Patrick's Day breakfast in Boston, Sunday, March 21, 2004.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 21, 2004 5:50 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Bride of Dracula: George Felos' Wife is Also A "New Age Attorney"

    "Constance Felos, holistic lawyer, is opening The Healing Center of Dunedin. Also an LMT, energy healer, Reiki Master, certified Louise Hay teacher, author and life strategist."


    While attending a New Wave seminar (Kryon channeling) in California last year, I listened as a woman asked a question. She was involved in a bitter legal dispute with a former partner about a real estate deal. She was filled with anger and resentment, fearful that in order to obtain what was rightfully hers, she would have to project that anger at her opponent and engage in unbridled legal warfare. My compassion and empathy for the woman's plight impelled me to write the outline for the book How To Bring a Lawsuit With Love. -- Tampa Bay NEW TIMES - January/February 2001 -- Constance Felos

    How long, oh Lord, how long can we possibly wait until the mere outline of her "How to Bring a Lawsuit with Love" is expanded into a rich and loamy book?


    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 21, 2004 2:03 PM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    What It Would Take -- A Simple Scenario


    SEPTEMBER 16, 2009: FBI agents with bomb-sniffing dogs Wednesday raided the Colorado apartment of an Afghan national linked to Al Qaeda and a plot to attack the New York City subway system.... In the past three days, the NYPD increased its attention to the subway system and its 5.2 million daily riders. Officers were warned to keep an eye out for vans near transportation hubs such as Grand Central, police sources said. The safety zone around subway and commuter stations also was expanded by two blocks, the sources said. -- FBI unit set for more anti-terror raids in Queens; Colorado home raided

    LEADS TO THIS: Written March 13, 2004

    In the wake of the Spanish outrage, an email asks what it would take for the global terrorists to take the next step in the United States.

    It turns out that, as in Spain, it wouldn't take much at all. Here's what you'd need and how it could be done. But it is just one way. There are many.

    The Elements:

    One City: New York

    Three Locations: The Brooklyn Bridge, Union Square, Penn Station

    Terrorists: 4


    Plastique explosives (15 pounds)
    Backpacks: 2
    Ten penny nails and ball bearings: 4 pounds
    Anthrax: 2 Liters
    Machine Guns: 4 (Small) with 2 extra clips each

    Time: Late September to Early November when the weather makes wearing coats common.

    Intellectual Equipment: An understanding of the New York subway and bridge system, an understanding of symbolism in America, a willingness to die.

    The Method:

    For over a year after the Eleventh, I used to think about the nature of the Brooklyn Bridge, and how easy it would be to damage this 19th century structure every time I walked across it -- which was often.

    On the 11th I stood at the Brooklyn end of the bridge handing out water to the ash covered ghosts that came walking across it in endless droves.

    After the 11th it was closed except for emergency vehicles for weeks on end. After that the bridge was guarded and vehicles vetted on a random schedule for months. For all I know this goes on today.

    The Bridge and what it represents and, more importantly, what it controls in the way of access to and from NYC, makes for an exquisite lynchpin for a memorable workday morning in New York City. The way to work this little terrorist scenario is as follows:

    Four dedicated homicide terrorists decide on a date certain to carry out something they have only rehearsed before. (Surely we've still got four sleeping somewhere near the Brooklyn mosque on Atlantic avenue about a half a mile from the bridge. After all, this is America where we hold all forms of religious expression sacred.) Because they are religious in nature and not given to alcohol or drug abuse, they've all held jobs in Manhattan for years and their morning ritual is nothing unusual. If there are any guards or surveillance people at any of the points these men pass through they've been seen thousands of times already. Always at about the same time. They are 'routine.'

    One gets up and takes the A train to Penn Station at about six in the morning on, say, a Tuesday. Gets there and pops out of the entrance at 7th avenue and 31st street, turns right and walks about a half a block to the Starbucks, orders a latte and sits down to read the Times. Backpack/bookbag on the chair beside him. As usual.

    The second one takes an express under the river and gets off at 14th Street/Union Square on the East Side with his off-brand little naughahyde attache. It usually contains his lunch and a selection of papers. Today it contains a couple of modified fire extinguishers -- the kind you can pick up at the local hardware store or, say, the Costco along the Brooklyn waterfront about three miles from the Atlantic Avenue mosque. Just a little something he's bringing to the office 'in case of fire.' You'd have to look carefully to note the seals have been broken.

    He comes out of the subway and bides his time at the McDonalds on Union Square with a fine little Egg McMuffin.

    The third man stops by an apartment building along Atlantic avenue to hook-up with his friend. They always walk together to work across the Brooklyn Bridge. They have for years. His backpack usually has some workout clothes for the gym. Today it contains a small Uzi and extra clips. The fourth has a similar backpack that usually also has some workout clothes. Today, before he leaves the apartment, the fourth man places a sequence of shaped plastique charges with either a cell phone detonator or a dead-man switch into his backpack He's probably armed as well.

    All four have cell phones. All four have set up the speed dial numbers long ago.

    When the last two have reached the stairs that lead up to the pedestrian walkway on the Brooklyn side of the Bridge at, say 7:30, the 3rd man phones the first two and gives them the 10 minute warning.

    The man at Union Square goes down into the Union Square station and stands in the crowds on the platform near the uptown / downtown platforms. The trains have to stop on a curve here and the loading and unloading is always slower. If you stand to the end of the platform you can cover two lines at once. You tend to fade into the crowds coming and going as the morning rush begins to build.

    The man at the 7th Avenue Starbucks goes into the bathroom stall upstairs and, opening his backpack, inserts the detonators into his explosive vest packed with a couple of layers of nails and ball bearings. Checking to make sure it is armed and good to go, he makes his way back to Penn Station. He gets in the back of the long lines waiting to buy rail tickers or subway passes in the midst of hundreds of people milling about.

    The two on the bridge stroll past the security folks that may or may not be at the pedestrian entrance of the bridge. They walk about 150 yards out onto the span to where the cable is just a short little walk across the metal struts from the walkway. Pausing, one takes out his cell phone and gets the other two conferenced in while the other takes the shaped plastique charges from his backpack.

    Now are, at about 7:40 Tuesday morning, all dressed up and with a lot of things to do in a very small amount of time.

    The two listen in on the cell phone as the man on the bridge goes to work while the other stands ready.

    Step one: Remove automatic weapon from backpack and empty a clip or two into the pedestrians, the bike riders and also into the cars below.

    The resulting dead bodies and carnage from the accidents in the cars below essentially bring the bridge to a halt and give his partner some working room.

    Step two: Walk across metal struts to cable with the plastique explosive belt from backpack and sort of loop it around the cable. If your explosives technicians know what they are doing, this is a shaped charge that will, at the very least, damage a main cable if not sever it.

    Step three: Say your prayers to Allah and trigger the device.

    When the cell phone connection to the men on the bridge goes dead, the fellow at 14th Street probably shoots a few people near him to give him some working room, takes the modified fire extinguishers out of his case and unloads a large cloud of anthrax or some other chemical or biological agent into the uptown and downtown tunnels at Union Square. The vast amounts of air pushed by the trains will disperse it quite nicely up and down the line.

    The third man at Penn Station decides he doesn't need a subway pass for the next few instances of eternity, puts the cell phone away, gets to the center of the crowd and triggers his explosive vest. At about quarter to eight in the morning the immediate result is hundreds of shredded, dead, and wounded New Yorkers who never saw it coming.

    Four men. Three cell phones. Maybe about 15 pounds of plastique and a couple of liters of anthrax. That's all it would take. New York would, in a moment, come to a complete halt and stay that way for some time.

    Political result? Hard to say, but it would create a political climate in the United States where the nuclear option would become very, very real. New targeting instructions would be passed to the submarines and the land based missiles within three hours if they were not already there. Muslim round-ups would ramp up into the stratosphere. Voices urging restraint and respect for individual freedoms will be steamrolled into silence. John Kerry would know in an instant that the only thing that will keep him from becoming the Senior Senator from Massachusetts will be Teddy Kennedy and that little alliance will be kaput.

    So, as you can see, the understanding of American symbolism is not lost on our enemies. They love this sort of thing. One might even say "They're just dying to do it."

    Then again, since our security is now first rate, the best that billions can buy, it can't happen here. Can it?

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 13, 2004 8:23 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Apocalypse Afloat

    Just a little poker cruise with the usual suspects.

    Van der Leun (V.O.)
    I've been here six months now. Blogging and waiting for a junket, getting softer.

    Every minute I stay in this room I get weaker. And every minute Pundit posts again and gets stronger.

    Each time I look around the walls move in a little tighter.

    Everyone gets everything he wants.

    I wanted a junket, and for my sins they gave me one.

    Brought it up to me like room service. "

    (Two Editors approach the American Digest office:)

    "Van der Leun ? Are you in there ?"

    Van der Leun

    Van der Leun (v.o.)
    "It was a real choice junket, and when it was
    over, I'd never want another."

    Van der Leun
    "Whaddya want ?"

    "Are you all right Captain ?"

    Van der Leun
    "How does it look like ?"

    "Captain Van der Leun of Laguna Beach,
    assigned SoCal BLOG ?"

    Van der Leun
    "Hey buddy, are you gonna shut the door ?"

    "We have orders to escort you to the Holland America Cruise Ship Ryndam in San Diego."

    Van der Leun
    "What are the charges ?"

    "Sir ?"

    Van der Leun
    "What'll it cost ?"

    "There's no charges, Van der Leun. It is a junket. Full comp. You write about this leg of the World Poker Tour and its fat city for you for a week. You have orders to report to Cox.Net intelligence at Moss Point."

    Van der Leun
    "Does the Cruise Ship have an internet connection?"

    "Thats classified. but Im sure if you can get a connection youll use it. This blogging is the worst addiction Ive ever seen. If not, youll just have to go cold turkey. Come on captain, you still have a few hours to get cleaned up.

    Captain ?

    Dave, give me a hand.

    Come on captain, let's take a shower. We'll gonna take a shower, in we go ..."

    We may or may not be blogging for a week. Have to cover this event, see. Heres the link that tells the story: Poker On the High Seas

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 13, 2004 1:37 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    NASA Hubble Policy Noted in Heavens

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 13, 2004 12:56 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Sharp Sharpton Hoovers $100,000 Out of USA

    The 2004 Democratic Dream Team

    New York Street Hustler Flim-Flams FEC

    Reversing his unbroken chain of losses, Al (The Don't Call Him) Sharpton (for nothing) apparently guilt-tripped Republicans and Democrats alike into giving him what he wants first, last and always -- a fat check for $100,000.

    The Sharpton campaign may have failed to disclose expenses, contributions in the form of hotel rooms, limo rides and air fare. FEC auditors see evidence his campaign co-mingled finances with his non-profit National Action Network, and "NAN may have provided salary and financial support for various campaign consultants and staff."

    As The Post has reported, Sharpton has been staying in swanky spots like the Four Seasons in L.A., the Phoenician in Arizona, the Mansion in Turtle Creek in Dallas and the Mandarin Oriental and the Delano in Miami.

    "Lastly, the [Sharpton campaign] committee may have submitted multiple contributions from the same individual" in applying for matching federal funds, the auditors wrote.

    But, they added, "These alleged violations are not sufficient to withhold certification of the candidate's eligibility for public funds."

    Also apparently insufficient: FEC rules that state a candidate who fails to get 10 percent of the vote in two straight primaries is ineligible for matching funds. Sharpton hasn't drawn 10 percent anywhere.

    Sharpton's money may seem miniscule in the big picture. Paranoid perennial candidate Lyndon Larouche, convicted of election fraud in 1989, has received $5.6 million in matching funds since 1980, and just got another check for $838,848.

    Well, why should Lydon Larouche have all the funds?

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 13, 2004 12:35 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    GIMO: Garbage In, Musubi Out


    DALLAS - (KRT) - The second Waikiki Spam Jam promises plenty of food fun April 23-24 in Honolulu. The kickoff on Friday features the making, unveiling and eating of the world's longest Spam musubi. Organizers hope to break the record of 300 feet, which will take nearly 800 cups of rice, more than 1,300 slices of the canned lunchmeat and almost 600 feet of seaweed wrap. -- Waikiki Spam Jam honors luncheon meat

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 12, 2004 11:44 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Little Men and Europe's Choice

    A deceptively quiet note on recent events at the Belmont Club.

    "The strategic choices facing Europe are stark. They can, like France, continue their policy of appeasement. Yet while the status quo may hold out that hope, it is forlorn. Maybe not this terrorist attack, but the one afterward and those still yet to follow will dash any expectation that a little more money siphoned from depleted coffers or a little more toadying will buy any more years. The months now will come too dear. Rather better, some will say, to face the enemy while some strength remains. Yet there can be no joy even in the most militaristic of hearts for what lies ahead, beside which the horror of the Balkans was but a small foretaste. The battle against Islamofascism will be fought on Europe's borders and Europe's soil.

    In this hour the figures of Schroder and Chirac occupy the same relative positions as Chamberlain and Petain. Little men overwhelmed by events. "

    NB: A democratic nation gets and deserves the leaders it elects.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 12, 2004 5:55 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Okay, this Homeopathy Thing's Gone Too Far

    Yet another sign that western civilization is coming to a screeching halt is this item plucked out of the news stream from Austria: Top doc backs picking your nose and eating it

    Picking your nose and eating it is one of the best ways to stay healthy, according to a top Austrian doctor.

    Innsbruck-based lung specialist Prof Dr Friedrich Bischinger said people who pick their noses with their fingers were healthy, happier and probably better in tune with their bodies.

    He says society should adopt a new approach to nose-picking and encourage children to take it up.

    Dr Bischinger said: "With the finger you can get to places you just can't reach with a handkerchief, keeping your nose far cleaner.

    "And eating the dry remains of what you pull out is a great way of strengthening the body's immune system.

    Those Austrians. Always so "practical." What the doc neglects to mention is that while you may live longer, picking can damage your chances of being able to reproduce.... as we learn in the Holy Book of Seinfeld:
    JERRY: Well every day for the past four days she hasn't returned one call.

    GEORGE: Was it a scratch or a pick?

    JERRY: It was a scratch.

    GEORGE: Hey. It's me.

    JERRY: Don't you think I know the difference between a pick and a scratch?


    JERRY: Yeah?

    ELAINE: (OC) It's me.

    JERRY: Come on up.

    GEORGE: Was there any nostril penetration?

    JERRY: There may have been some incidental penetration. But from her angle she was in no position to make the call.

    GEORGE: So let's say in her mind she witnessed a pick. Okay, so then what?

    JERRY: Is that so unforgivable? Is that like breaking a commandment? Did God say to Moses thou shalt not pick?

    GEORGE: I guarantee you that Moses was a picker. You wander throughh the desert for forty years with that dry air. ... You telling me you're not going to have occasion to clean house a little bit.

    JERRY: Let me ask you something. If you were going out with somebody and if she did that what would, would you do? Would you continue going out with her?

    GEORGE: No. That's disgusting!


    JERRY: An' what if I did do it? Even though I admit to nothing, and never will. What does that make me?

    And I'm not here just defending myself but all those Pickers out there who've been caught.

    Each an' every one of them, who has to suffer the shame and humiliation because of people like you.. (Everyone but Jerry is now in the elevator. Jerry's still addressing them)

    Are we not human?! If we pick, do we not bleed?! (Elevator doors shut. A few people in the hallway are looking at him, he turns and addresses them)

    I am not an animal!
    -- The Pick @ Seinfeld Scripts

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 12, 2004 1:56 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Clear Vision of David Deutsch

    Today, IMFO points to an article by David Deutsch written six weeks after the 911 attacks. She notes:

    I've always enjoyed David Deutsch. He's a brilliant, brilliant man. Wry sense of humor too. I'd read his piece shortly after 9/11 happened and was just reminded about it after looking over at The World. It's worthy of a read, at least once. If not several times.
    She's right about this. Here is an excerpt:

    Richard Dawkins, as usual, talked sense, and made several true and timely points. He praised America as "the principal inheritor, and today's leading exponent, of European scientific and rational civilisation", and he broke a taboo by pointing out that this is "the highest civilisation ever". He took sides: "I want to stand up as a friend of America" -- as do I. But in one important respect, his remarks did not seem to me to reach the heart of the issue. He blames religion, and our convention of "respecting" it. Now, I am no advocate of religion, but religious belief is surely not central to the present disaster. There are plenty of terrorists at large who are not pursuing any religious agenda. There are notorious sponsors of terrorism who are driven by nationalist or socialist ideologies, not religious dogma. And there are plenty of religious zealots who are no danger to anybody (except themselves and their unfortunate wives and children).

    That is not to deny that mainstream Islamic culture has exhibited a major moral failure. It seems to struggle even to find the language and the conceptual framework genuinely to oppose the crimes that are committed in its name. Large numbers of peaceful Muslims find themselves in effect condoning mass murder, and painfully few can bring themselves to side with the victims now exercising their right of self defence. Nevertheless it is not the tenets of Islam that have caused the present violence. This is a political evil we are facing, not a religious one. And it is a modern evil, not an ancient one.

    Moreover, mainstream Western culture has also exhibited a major moral failure: a refusal to distinguish between right and wrong. The unique glories of our civilisation -- self-criticism, tolerance, openness to change and to ideas from other cultures -- have in many people's minds decayed, under this moral failure, into self-hatred, appeasement, and moral relativism.

    The entire essay, WHAT NOW? is more than worth your time. Indeed, it rings more true today than when it was written. His takedown of moral relativists and appeasement specialists is also worth your close attention.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 12, 2004 12:02 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Irish Virus Mutation

    Current page on Symantec:

    Symantec Security Response - Irish Virus hoax

    Irish Virus hoax

    Symantec Security Response encourages you to ignore any messages regarding this hoax. It is harmless and is intended only to cause unwarranted concern.

    Type: Hoax

    The Irish Virus is a hoax and it should be ignored. The following is a sample of the hoax message:
    Greetings, You have just received the "IRISH VIRUS". As we don't have any programming experience, this Virus works on the honour system. Please delete all the files on your hard drive manually and forward this Virus to everyone on your mailing list. Thank you for your cooperation.

    Actually, Symantec has this wrong. What you just read was the Irish-Polish Virus. The Irish Virus, before mutation, instructed you to first send the virus to everyone on your mailing list and then delete all the files from your hard drive. A subtle difference, but a crucial one, if you want to be a successful virus.

    Got it? Okay, get cracking.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 11, 2004 7:11 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    The McCain Perplex

    Is John McCain a spoiler? Could be.

    It goes like this:

    2004 - Kerry + McCain -- A squeaker but those 300 votes in Florida give Kerry-McCain the White House.

    After joy compels him to drink the entire liquor supply of Boston, Ted Kennedy checks into AA.

    2006 -- Kerry muscles through the "Arnold Amendment" which allows people not born in the United States to become President as a "memorial to the late body-building governor who should have known better than to try and bench press the California legislature."

    2008 -- McCain dumped for a consistent bad attitude comparing the Kerry White House to the Hanoi Hilton, "with worse curtains."

    Kerry names wife, Mozambique-born Teresa Heinz Kerry (ne Maria Teresa Thierstein Simoes-Ferreira who has a habit of refering to herself as "African-American"), as his Running Mate -- Coast to coast coalition of Democrats, Hairdressers, Fashion Designers, Interior Decorators, blind African-Americans, and unemployed Howard Dean bloggers deliver a landslide.

    2009 -- The Kerrys become the first Presidential Couple and promise to set the domestic agenda for the next thousand years on a whole new track.

    Working as a team they push through the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Amendment, replacing it with the "What-the-Hell Amendment" legalizing marriage for everyone and everything American.

    Ted Kennedy falls off wagon when his blonde Labrador rejects his proposal woofing, "Stick to your own kind."

    2011 -- John Kerry, citing medical reasons brought on by years of heavy botox abuse, resigns as President leaving his wife as President of the United States.

    President Teresa Heinz-Kerry immediately replaces all the White House window treatments with French fabrics, and appoints New York Senator Hillary Rodham-Clinton as Vice-President.

    Clinton assumes office and divorces William Jefferson Clinton, citing irreconcilable genetic differences.

    Bill joins Teddy nightly at a Cheers franchise they co-own in Hyannisport.

    2012 -- Teresa Heinz Kerry names a divorced Hillary Rodham-Clinton as her Running Mate -- Sweeps 50 states and all possessions except Guantanamo Bay, Home of The Few, The Proud, The Straight.

    2013 -- Teresa Heinz Kerry Divorces John Kerry with a generous settlement.

    John seen hanging out with Bill and standing on Ted nightly at Hyannis Cheers.

    2014 -- President Teresa Heinz-Kerry becomes Mrs. President Teresa Heinz-Kerry-Rodham-Clinton in a Rose Garden ceremony broadcast exclusively on MTV and Bravo.

    World Leaders, confused as to what sort of gift to send to whom, demand Fab Five come out of retirement to remake their administrations.

    2015 -- After signing a $30,000,000 blog-book contact for "What I Saw on My Private White House Webcams -- Illustrated,"John Kerry joins Judge Crater in early retirement.

    Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy restock Cheers in Hyannis and convert it to a private club with two members and their dogs.

    2016 -- Permanently confused American population mistakenly elects the entire House of Saud as President of the United States.

    Ted Kennedy dies falling off bar stool in Cheers, Hyannis. Last words: "My work here is done."

    Bill Clinton, feeling his pain, marries Kennedy's blonde lab in a private Provincetown Pound ceremony. Best man? John McCain.

    2017 -- President His Royal Highness Abdul-al-Wussin retargets all US nuclear warheads onto American soil then boards Air Force One saying, So long, thanks for the Fish. May I have the envelope, please? Allahu Akbar.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 11, 2004 4:10 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    When the War on Terror Goes Wholesale

    Counting the body bags by a train track in Spain.

    The argument used to begin at least a couple of days after. Now it begins when the updates on the body-count are still coming in:

    The Basques did it.
    It was the Arab Resistance.
    No, the Basques!
    Nope, al-Qaida.
    And then, with mind-numbing predictability comes the ever-popular U.S. intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said It's too early to tell. We're not ruling anything out.

    Humm, that idiot, as seems to be the case with US Intelligence officials, has certainly got all his bases covered. I suppose he spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid being revealed as a dumber than your average oxymoron.

    Would it be too much to suggest that, in the future, we all save a lot of keystrokes, bandwidth and mental cycles by stipulating here and now that IT DOESNT MATTER WHO DOES IT!

    What matters is the mindset out of which it is being done. It is the mindset that is the enemy, the mindset that compels, as it did on 9/11, the wanton killing of innocent people by cowardly actions (and suicide, make no mistake, is the ultimate cowardice).

    Ive witnessed firsthand this mindset incinerate 3,000 innocent lives in a few heartbeats. It is a mindset that has no place in this world. It is a mindset that needs to be eradicated from the Earth down to the last jot and tittle of its genetic material. It is a mindset that must be erased whatever it takes --- WHATEVER it takes.

    Of late, Ive encountered the following statement about 9/11 several times: It was evil but it was brilliant. (Or words to that effect.) This statement usually masks a kind of fascinated admiration with the terrorist mindset, a kind of breathless excitement that anyone could do such things, could have such... such commitment. This statement is drivel.

    The terrorist mindset is no more to be admired or suffered to live than the flickering thought patterns that wink and die in the neural networks of a scorpion. Indeed, the scorpion may possess a higher kind of morality than a terrorist. The spider, at least, kills out of a need rather than a twisted compulsion. The spider, at least, does not know what death is.

    The terrorists who slaughter the innocents in Madrid or Iraq or New York know well what death is. They are stimulated by what they do. It, pay attention, turns them on. They are serial killers working without a daily bag limit.

    Terrorists do not kill from necessity or defense as soldiers do in battle. They kill away from battle -- as far away from battle as they can get. They kill because their faith, be it political or spiritual, is too weak and enfeebled to exist by merit alone -- it must be forced on the unwilling by random fear. And the way to create that fear is to kill as many unarmed, innocent and unprepared people as possible at a place and time where there is no warning. If they can escape to kill again, fine. If they cannot, killing themselves is the other prefered way to avoid responsibility.

    The leaders of our countries will say, as Bush and Aznar and others already have, that this will never work; that Terror will never succeed. But they will be wrong.

    Terrorists will succeed. Terrorists have succeeded. Terrorists and Terror will continue to thrive and to live ...until... until there is a stark moment of decision that comes to all the people of the Earth that wish to live lives free from terror.

    At that moment, we will cease hearing from the current crop of bland pap peddlers such as John Kerry and his ilk about the need to understand.

    At that moment, we will no longer credit the pundits and columnists who whine and report on the oppression and despair from which all this springs.

    At that moment, we will begin to see very real and immediate demonstrations, on the home soil of every government on Earth that supports these insects, that there will be a heavy at-home price to pay for indulging or promoting the sick mindset of terrorism.

    At that moment, there will be an abrupt end to this dilly-dallying discussion of Who did what to whom when and why and with what, as if the whole problem were just a night-out at a Clue Party.

    At that moment, the war against terrorism will move out its retail phase and go wholesale.

    Where will that moment occur? It will happen here. In the United States. It will occur in New York, or Washington, or Los Angeles, or San Francisco, or Seattle, or Chicago. Or all of the above. It will be worse than 9/11.

    When will that moment occur? That Spain is about to have an election might give you a hint. What? you say. Before the elections in the United States? When the Democrats have a chance to put in a man who will be kinder and gentler on global terrorists; who will feel their pain and listen to their grievances? Surely these terrorists are not stupid.

    And at that point I would know you have failed to understand, in any manner, the mindset we are dealing with. But I will understand that coming to such an understanding is not an easy task. Nobody can really understand what goes on in the mind of a scorpion. Killing it is the only thing to be done.

    Do I dread the day when the next strike on America happens? I dread it deeply.

    But what really frightens me is what happens on the next day.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 11, 2004 11:27 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Simon Sez: Drain the "Cesspool Under 44th Street"

    New UN Placard

    Roger Simon's been way out in front of the rest of the field (major media included) on the UN Food-For-Oil Scam for months now. Today, full drainage is his position. Let's see how long it takes for major media to catch up:

    "That Kojo Annan, the son of the Caudillo (excuse me, Secretary General) of the United Nations, might be involved in this, as Rosset reports, is actually the least of it. Considering the rest of the deadly consequences of this behavior (starving Iraqis never getting the intended food or medicine), a little nepotism is small change. But it is yet another indication of the depth of the cesspool under 44th Street. It is high time that it be drained."
    Given the geology and history of that particular part of Manhattan, it would not at all be surprising if the cesspools not only exist, but are still functioning.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 11, 2004 9:06 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    "The Enduring, Simple Faith"
    On Faith

    I have seen the unshakable faith of the Mohammedan. And I have seen that faith shattered by the effects of American firepower.

    I have also seen devout Christians become atheists and atheists turn to God in times of crisis. Personal faith is fragile, in the religious sense, anyway. Man's perception of God is a fickle and protean thing.

    But there is no faith so lasting, so innocent, and so pure, as the enduring, simple faith that a Lance Corporal has that the weapon he is nonchalantly pointing at his foot is clear.

    -- from IRAQ NOW ...... We Were Winning When I Left

    Pointer via One Hand Clapping

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 11, 2004 7:54 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Cash-Flow of the Christ

    A half-billion? Well, if I don't see a full 10% in cash, Mel's gonna
    have some 'splaining to do when I come back."

    Martin Grove at does the math for Mel Gibson's work of faith. Bottom line? Mell's looking at about a half-a-billion dollar hit from the money machine. Here's just a part of the picuture:

    Then there are distribution fees to be paid to Newmarket, which has done a spectacular job releasing the film. While we don't know for sure what percentage fee Newmarket is getting, various reports have put it at 10-12 percent. Using a conservative 10 percent here leaves about $135 million. And then there are Icon's marketing costs (prints and advertising) to be recouped. Here, too, no one's telling us exactly what was spent, but some accounts have put "Passion's" opening and pre-opening marketing budget at a relatively modest $15-20 million. If we use the high end of that number to repay Icon's marketing costs, we've got -- well, really, Mel's got -- $115 million.

    Of course, the longer a film plays the more marketing costs it generates since it needs some level of advertising support. As the Easter holiday period approaches it's likely that Icon will need to spend more on television spots and print ads. If the film enjoys the long run it seems to be on track for, those marketing costs along with other overhead costs will keep adding up over time. So let's knock that $115 million down to a mere $100 million in profits to Gibson and/or Icon.

    Needless to say, that's just the tip of the iceberg. If a film grosses $400 million domestically, it could easily do twice that internationally. It could, of course, even do more. "Titanic," for instance, did about $1 billion abroad compared to about $600 million in the U.S. and Canada. "Passion" is likely to do extremely well in parts of the world like Latin America and South America where it will benefit from having a very large core audience of Christians. It could wind up in those territories as the biggest blockbuster of all time. On the other hand, how it performs in Japan and other Asian territories remains to be seen. While there isn't a huge Christian audience base to draw from in the Far East, the curiosity factor combined with global media coverage of the film's mushrooming domestic success could give it strength.
    Something about: "Cast your bread upon the waters and...." seems right here.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 10, 2004 6:25 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Supersized Sanity Eruption in Congress
    House OKs Ban on Fast Food Obesity Suits By JESSE J. HOLLAND

    The GOP-controlled House on Wednesday voted to ban supersized lawsuits that blame the food industry for people's expanding waistlines and health woes, saying such cases could bankrupt fast-food chains and restaurants.

    The 276-139 vote is intended to prevent class action lawsuits that contend food companies and their offerings are responsible for Americans' putting on the pounds and lurching toward obesity.

    Ah, the sweet if brief breeze of sanity in government. Now, if only we could pass a Constitutional Ammendment stating that if you walk into a McDonalds to purchase and hoover 15 happy meals a day, if is you and only you that is putting on the pounds and lurching towards obesity. We note in passing that a "276-139 vote" indicates that non-"GOP controlled House" politicians voted for the bill as well. An advanced bit of mathematics no doubt beyond the ability of Jesse B. Holland, AP.

    Another benefit of this bill is that it will keep

    the Drive Thru Menus of America as permanent parts of our uban landscape.
    UPDATE: On the other hand, just because they can continue serving you the food you like, it doesn't mean they should be above regulation:

    Photos Show Fast-Food Restaurant Workers Bathing In Kitchen Sink
    ADVANCE, N.C. -- State law requires restaurant workers to keep their hands clean. Two employees of a Wendy's in Davie County took it a little further. Health officials said the two workers were photographed bathing in a dishwashing sink at the fast-food restaurant in Advance. The sink has cleaning jets and is normally used to wash pots, pans and other cookware.

    Davie County Health Department Director Barry Bass said photographs of two men in swimsuits taking turns bathing in the large, bubble-filled sink prompted an investigation. Bass said while he's never seen anything like it, the act didn't pose a health hazard.

    Probably not. But the five-foot bong in the bathroom is a different matter.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 10, 2004 5:40 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Today, the Web. Tomorrow, Howard the Duck

    Unable to nail Howard Dean, John Kerry today settled for
    the endorsement of the Webmaster,
    Chuckles. Asked to support the Senator, Chuckles promised
    that s/he would be tireless in working to put the meat
    back in meetup.

    After returning to Washington, Kerry embraced Dean as they met in the hallways of Kerry's new downtown Washington headquarters. Aides said the meeting was cordial and productive, with a formal endorsement expected to come within the next few weeks. -- Reuters

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 10, 2004 4:15 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    There Goes the Neighborhood

    A God's-Eye view of why the commute in the Bay Area gets worse with no end in sight.

    The San Francisco Bay Area is transformed from a series of isolated towns into a sprawling metropolitan area. In this time-lapse sequence, time has been sped up nearly 30 million times, and we can clearly see the ever expanding influx of people and the loss of open spaces. -- Check the Quicktime clip From Quaint to Quagmire

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 10, 2004 1:57 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    So You Want to Be A Large-Animal Vet, Eh?

    This seems to brought good and valuable work of to a screeching halt for the last 24 hours.

    They are in our prayers for a speedy and complete recovery.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 10, 2004 1:37 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Lileks: Beyond the Bleat

    Captain Renault : What in heaven's name brought you to Lileks?
    Rick : Mind-numbing boredom. I came to Lileks for the Fargo.
    Captain Renault : Fargo? Fargo? We're in Orange County.
    Rick : I was misinformed.

    Yes, since my mother's family lives in Fargo, I stumbled across years ago by googling "Fargo." Okay, it was a slow day at work, so what? Towards the end, they were all slow days.

    Still, I was impressed that anyone could take Fargo and make it more interesting than I thought it was. I'd long used my childhood summers in Fargo as a kind of touchstone whenever meetings in New York turned to what "those people" "out there" would buy. (Even though almost everybody in New York is from somewhere else, there's something in the water that makes you forget what somewhere else is like -- unless you have a touchstone)

    If I came for Fargo, I stayed, as so many others have, for 'The Bleat,' a daily journal which sometimes seems as if you're peering over Mark Twain's shoulder as he keeps a diary. Still, grows and develops behind The Bleat, and it rewards intermittent excursions to the Main Menu to see if Lileks has put something up you haven't seen before. Today what was new (to me, okay?) was this:


    Puts that bad hair day in perspective, doesn't it.

    Again, to restate the point: let's imagine how some people -- hell, a lot of people -- would react if the government put posters like this in bus stops and public buildings today. People would shriek as if they were having burned skin peeled off with a straight-edge razor. They would be convinced that the transformation of America into a fascist state was finally complete. But this was FDR's America. Just so we're clear.

    LILEKS (James) WW2 Civil Defense Materials
    I could explain why this particular conjunction of image and caption is arresting and provoking, but you either see it or you don't.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 10, 2004 1:00 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Correction of the Day
    SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - In a March 8 story about encyclopedias in the Internet age, The Associated Press misspelled the name of a Web site geared for children's research. It is FactMonster, not FactsMonster, which is a porn-related site.
    Just the facts, er, fact.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 9, 2004 11:04 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    California Democrats Desperate for Dumber Voters
    SACRAMENTO -- Millions of California teens would become the nation's first to vote under a proposed constitutional amendment introduced Monday by a 71-year-old state senator.

    Sen. John Vasconcellos, D-Santa Clara, proposed the idea alongside three other lawmakers, saying the Internet, cellular phones, multichannel television and a diverse society makes today's teens better informed than generations of their predecessors.

    Coming on the heels of an expected record low turnout among adults in the March 2 election, Vasconcellos would give 16-year- olds a half-vote and 14-year-olds a quarter-vote in state elections beginning in 2006.
    -- Press-Telegram

    Ah, teenagers, the latest potential pool of dumbed-down Democrats. Better than all the others because they own nothing and pay no taxes. "Dude, I'll vote for eleven billion dollars in increased taxes for school bands -- but only if they rock. And because my old man will be really pissed off." Better still because they're exposed to the California Teachers Union on a daily basis. "Dude, don't you know that Mars is all about the oil?!"

    Will they swell turnout? If you stipulate that they can get out of school for election day if they come back with an "I Voted" sticker, you will have lines stretching from here to the dark side of the moon.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 9, 2004 2:26 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Flashlight of the Year
    Could your flashlight cause two 6 ft. 300 pound men in full attack mode to drop to the ground like two 300 lb. sacks of potatoes, curl up in the fetal position and scream for mercy?
    The TigerLight Non-Lethal Defense System Did.
    Could your flashlight incapacitate a driver during a stop in the split second he was pulling up his gun to blow your head off?

    The TigerLight Non-Lethal Defense System Did.
    -- TigerLight: The Light With a Bite!

    When flashlights are outlawed....

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 9, 2004 12:29 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Web Pages We Never Finished Reading
    "Due to popular demand Puppy Plugs TM are back !! and with several improvements. Their predecessor was originally made to be a novelty item only, but it soon became clear that there was a serious desire among puppies everywhere for a tail that could be as comfortable and effective as possible....something that their owners would notice! Many improvements have been made : tails are now larger and longer to allow any pup to better communicate with its owner,...." -- Puppy Tails
    Ah, could we go over those theories about the overarcing value of connecting the whole human race in one warm and caring virtual community one more time? Thank you.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 8, 2004 11:35 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    What's Just-So-Wrong With This Picture?

    Early prototypes in the R&D phase of the Hula Hoop.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 8, 2004 11:18 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    When You Feel the Urge to Exercise...
    Won't go to the gym? Now, the gym will come to you. New York fitness trainer Marc Hupert says he teaches clients how to use bathroom fixtures as gym equipment.

    The loo might be the smallest room in your house, but it could provide a lulu of a workout, one that rivals that of a fancy health club.

    "It's not as crazy as it sounds," say Hupert. "Two reasons people don't work out: Gyms are expensive and filled with beautiful people who only make them feel fatter."

    To begin your toilet training: Sling your legs over the side of the tub and you're ready for stomach crunches. For upper body strength, do push-ups with your hands on the toilet seat and your feet perched on the tub.

    For abs, sit on the commode, grasp the tank behind you and lift both knees to your chest repeatedly.

    Huppert says he's showed his clients how to use kitchens, offices and dens as gyms. What makes a bathroom such a good place to work out? "Simple," he says. "They're easy to clean" --

    You know, it's getting so that whenever you hear someone saying "It's not as crazy as it sounds," you've got to assume they're a barking moonbat.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 7, 2004 1:16 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Smart Mobs Get Smarter

    Ah, humans. So inventive. So clever.

    "When cellphones are outlawed only.... "

    Click HERE for a short video demonstrating the last word in personal, breeze-through-the-checkpoints, security.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 7, 2004 1:03 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    What's Just-So-Wrong With This Picture?

    "Think it over. You'd be perfect for my Vice-President."

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 6, 2004 5:37 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    When Allah Speaks, Worlds Tremble

    Proof: There is no Photoshop God but Allah.

    The First, Last, and Final Word on Martha Stewart.

    PLUS! This special quote from Allah's mail stack:

    Bush Campaign Ad Copy: "On September 11th, 2001, 2900 of our countrymen perished in a vicious attack on our nation. In response we have liberated 29 million humans from tyranny. That's ten thousand men, women and children freed in honor of each lost American. This is my policy and I'm sticking to it."
    Memorize and posterize. There will be a quiz.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 6, 2004 5:04 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Spam of William Burroughs

    William Burroughs, an ancient and honorable beat Junkie now gone to his reward, came in his dotage to the concept of the 'cut-up.' The "Cut-Up" was a literary theory only a junkie or those who admire junkies could love. It held that you could shred up any item of print and, putting the pieces back together at random, wrest meaning out of gibberish.

    And I am here to tell you that, if you were young enough, and had smoked enough dope, this theory was pure gold. It was instant literature for pot heads. Best of all, it took no thought whatsoever. (Always a plus for dope smokers.) Thought was anathema to the cut-up. What it took was a book, a pair of scissors, a pot of paste, and some blank paper. Whammo, snip and clip, cut and paste and art pure of heart and bereft of intent or cognition was yours for the asking.

    Burroughs dined out on this theory for years, but I had thought that the practice and performance of this method had died with him.

    So it was with renewed joy and the knowledge that, in modern art, no bad idea is ever really dead that I noted that The Cut-Up, in theory and practice, has found new life in the most recent incarnation of Spam.

    Yes, as the Spammers grow ever more desperate to get their scams in front of your glazed eyes, they have now resorted to the Burroughsian Cut-Up Method for generating subject lines. A brief dip into my Junk folder today gave me these subject lines, presented verbatim and in order:


    contemporaneous march
    pawnshop bath
    no risk anneal
    lugging combination
    aerobacter insolent

    trait clean
    huntington embassy johns borate
    yogi silhouette
    belittle guerdon chandler

    no waiting room in clinic bulblet
    gush domesday programmer intrude daredevil
    moan saw agile sinter

    An excellent tone poem on the nature of chaos, wouldn't you say? Just break them up a little and they seem as if they almost, but not quite, make sense.

    Sort of the point of cut-ups and Spam actually. I'm looking forward to more of this poetry in the near future. Just before I "Select All" and hit "Delete."

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 6, 2004 4:51 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    I Am the Very Model of A Modern Kerry Democrat

    Kerry :
    I am the very model of a modern Kerry-Democrat,
    I'm an information animal, a medal-dripping technocrat,
    I know the Kennedys of Camelot, and hide my votes historical,
    While my Deaniac supporters consult the Usenet Oracle;
    I'm very well acquainted, too, with matters matrimonial,
    I understand rich heiresses, and lust for figures patrimonial,
    About Republican recessions I'm steaming up my views,
    With many bogus facts about the bad news in the better news.

    ALL :
    With many bogus facts about the bad news in the better news.
    With many bogus facts about the bad news in the better news.
    With many bogus facts about the bad news in the better news.

    Kerry :
    I'm very good at counting up my votes without an abacus;
    My forehead knows the use of chemicals botoxculous:
    In short, in matters bureaucrat , Eurocrat, and plutocrat,
    I am the very model of a modern Kerry-Democrat.

    ALL :
    In short, in matters bureaucrat , Eurocrat, and plutocrat
    He is the very model of a modern Kerry-Democrat.

    Kerry :
    I know our mythic history, Kings Roosevelt and Kennedy;
    I answer softball questions, I humm the Clinton threnody,
    I quote in elegiacs all the crimes of all the Bushes,
    With enough votes in November I can ram them up their tushes;

    I know a place in France where the women wear no pants,
    But if I am elected all CEOS will look askance!
    I promise you Ill can them, be a Democratic zealot,
    And whistle all the songs from that infernal nonsense Camelot.

    ALL :
    And whistle all the songs from that infernal nonsense Camelot.
    And whistle all the songs from that infernal nonsense Camelot.
    And whistle all the songs from that infernal nonsense Camelot.

    Kerry :
    Then I will pass a tax bill rich in Senatorial babble,
    That will only take more money from the richer of this rabble:
    In short, in matters bureaucrat , Eurocrat, and plutocrat,
    I am the very model of a modern Kerry-Democrat.

    ALL :
    In short, in matters bureaucrat , Eurocrat, and plutocrat,
    He is the very model of a modern Kerry-Democrat.

    Kerry :
    When I know what is meant by "blatherin" and "spewin",
    When I can tell at sight Mass Distraction from Destruction,
    When at affairs for fundraising and payoffs I'm aristocrat,
    And when my summer White House will be built in Montserrat,
    When I have dubbed as my VP the GynoClinton Senator,
    And with her help have shown the Bush clan to the door--
    In short, when Im elected as a Democratic President,
    You'll say a better Kerry-Democrat has never been a White House resident.

    ALL :
    You'll say a better Kerry-Democrat has never been a White House resident.
    You'll say a better Kerry-Democrat has never been a White House resident.
    You'll say a better Kerry-Democrat has never been a White House resident.

    Kerry :
    For my military knowledge, though I'm gunshy and NoelCowardly,
    Ill be glad to let the UN rule our Armies most rearwardly;
    In short, in matters bureaucrat , Eurocrat, and plutocrat,
    I am the very model of a modern Kerry-Democrat.

    ALL :
    In short, in matters bureaucrat , Eurocrat, and plutocrat,
    He is the very model of a modern Kerry-Democrat.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 6, 2004 10:11 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Reach Out and Scam Someone

    Ah, yes, the uses of new technology to advance the old technology of lying:

    Cell phone software creates bogus backgrounds

    Pretending to be stuck in traffic during a mobile phone call could become much easier using software that generates fake background noise.

    SoundCover, developed by a Romania phone software company called Simeda, can add artificial traffic and road works to a call at the press of a button. It can mimic a thunderstorm, the dentists drill or even a circus during a call.

    ....The trick involves blending the outgoing voice audio with another looped audio track. Tofan says this is only possible with the latest version of the Symbian mobile phone operating system --New Scientist

    We're looking forward to the release of counter-software, "DetectALoop," so that you can go from "Calling in sick" to "Calling in stupid."

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 6, 2004 9:14 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    "I Just Know There's A Pony in Here Somewhere..."

    Bin Laden spent several hours a day with his children, playing volleyball or encouraging them to read poetry. He awarded them horses when they learned the Quran by heart. -- From a story about a film on the softer side of bin Laden - Mar. 5, 2004

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 6, 2004 9:11 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Anarchy in Gaza? We're Shocked! Shocked!
    EREZ BORDER CROSSING, Gaza Strip (Reuters) - At least six Palestinians were killed on Saturday during a suicide bombing and shooting attack on Israeli soldiers at the main Israel-Gaza border crossing.

    A source in the militant group Hamas said it carried out the operation along with al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, part of President Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction, and Islamic Jihad.

    Such cooperation among the three groups, which have ignored Palestinian Authority calls for a cease-fire with Israel, is likely to fuel U.S. fears that Israel's threatened unilateral pullback in Gaza could fuel anarchy in the area.

    A shame after all those years of calm and ordered self-rule.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 6, 2004 9:05 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    What Makes Ralph Run?
    Bob Woodward : Nader's come in from the cold. Supposedly he's got a laywer with $25,000 in a brown paper bag.

    Deep Throat : Follow the money.

    Bob Woodward : What do you mean? Where?

    Deep Throat : Oh, I can't tell you that.

    Bob Woodward : But you could tell me that.

    Deep Throat : No, I have to do this my way. You tell me what you know, and I'll confirm. I'll keep you in the right direction if I can, but that's all. Just... follow the money.

    "There can be no daily democracy without daily citizenship toward 'a new birth of freedom.'" Ralph Nader, being more than usually incomprehensible. Say that six times swiftly and see if you can discover what it means.

    Seems to me people are too quick to take Ralph Nader at his word -- that he is running for President from an idealistic motive to make the America safe from corporations. His other assertion is that he is in the race to keep real democracy alive.

    People have called him a fool, a spoiler, a saboteur... all these things are correct but they do not explain the Ralph campaign.

    The actual explanation is, as always, the simplest one: Ralph has to run because Ralph needs the money.

    Yes, he needs the money. He always needs money. He needs money because, in very real terms, Ralph does not have a job, he only has organizations. Indeed, Ralph has never held a real job in living memory. He starts organizations and then convinces the credulous to fund them. He also starts scams such as the PIRG and requires people to fund them.

    He might prate about this or that citizen or this or that outrage by the corporate state, but he has little to zero experience of either ordinary citizens or the corporate world. Instead, he has spent his life in the deeps of policywonkiness in Washington. In a real sense, Ralph is the uber-wonk.

    But even uber-wonks have to eat and, as such, Ralph depends on two streams of revenue for his tofu -- the donation stream and speaking fees.

    To keep these two streams flowing a wonk has to be visible -- visible to the donors and visible to the people at colleges and universities who book speakers.

    After many decades at the Washington non-profit trough, Ralph has built up a sizable organization and a sizable organization needs a sizable cash-flow. That flow must be always increasing and a proven way of keeping the cash flowing is for the figurehead to run for President.

    Whats a Presidential Run worth to Ralph over the next four years? Easily in the millions. As Deep Throat knew: Follow the Money

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 6, 2004 9:00 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    If Blogs Have Not Already Made Your Head Explode...

    Take a listen to: radio vox populi: live from the commons

    Radio Vox Populi is a realization of the people's voice, taking the content of the weblogs and broadcasting it back to the world. As weblog authors update their sites their writing is collected, synthesized into speech, and streamed to listeners as an Internet radio station. Live from the commons 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
    That is -- if you fancy hearing a loquacious Stephen Hawking read blogs.

    As of this writing, there are 599 blogs waiting to speak.

    Get in line.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 4, 2004 12:19 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Pictures from An Exhibition

    Photo coverage of the opening of New York Life can be seen at: this online gallery.
    Images by my amazing wife, Sheryl Van der Leun

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 3, 2004 9:58 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Lakes of Mars

    The Area-51 Mars Pictures

    Like the magician who keeps your attention focused on his left hand while his right hand picks your pocket, the much ballyhooed Rover Mars Missions have kept the worlds attention focused on microscopic proof of water while low orbit satellites continue transmit the real Mars on classified wavelengths. As those who have been paying attention know, there are two levels of survey taking place at Mars now. One is centered on the Rovers and brings us Mars from about one foot above the surface. The other, more covert, mission involves a planet wide mapping survey from low orbit. While the signals from the first are in clear and easily obtainable, the latter's transmissions of a bird's-eye view of the planet are encrypted and sent back in burst transmissions in military wavelengths.

    Intercepting, decoding and distributing signals that carry the real truth about Mars is the self-appointed task of Dr. Benway (not his real name). Benway has long been a thorn in the side of the military command charged with security at Area-51, but his passion for secrecy and his technical mastery have kept various agencies from locating him over the past four years he has been active.

    Distributed through moderated UseNet groups, Benways interceptions are infrequent but always earthshaking. The image below is the latest and comes with the notation that it was snagged from the Mars Orbiter data stream within the last week, Pass 247 / South Polar Area.

    Lake Heinlein?

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 3, 2004 8:02 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    What's Just-So-Wrong With This Picture?


    The "Re-Elect Bush" Roadmap.

    This is how it will be. Depend upon it.

    Posted by Vanderleun Mar 3, 2004 7:30 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Okay, Break's Over!


    Okay, okay, okay, okay. I've spent the last two weeks immersed, and I mean up to the lobotomy scar, in preparing an exhibition of my photographs at Harlow's Gallery in Laguna Beach. If you think it is easy to select, print, and install around 200 photographs you've never done it. I'd never done it and I discovered that it doesn't matter how much time you budget or how organized you are, you are still standing on a ladder at two in the morning the night before locating your left thumb with a hammer blow.

    At any rate, the show is up and the opening has passed and now I can get back to making the world a little more incomprehensible one post at a time.

    If you'd like to see a few pictures from the exhibition and the opening, they are at New York Life: Images After the Fall.

    G2E Media GmbH