Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
"The Peace of the Strong Horse"

GRIM @ THE FOURTH RAIL answers "A Question of Victory:" Victory means doing right in Iraq -- standing fast, seeking out ways to embrace the tribes and tie them to democratic Iraq with webs of honor and hospitality, shared victories and gifts. If we do that, we will win. In winning, we shall come to be understood by the Islamic tribes as an honorable and fearless people, a tribe of warriors and true men. In coming to be seen that way, we shall find the peace that comes from being seen that way: the peace of the strong horse, the man no one wishes to trouble.

A wise and masterful essay. You'd be wise to read it all.

Posted by Vanderleun Jun 30, 2004 11:56 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
August 31, 2005

  • BILLION DOLLAR WEB COMPANIES TO NEW ORLEANS, "DROP DEAD." InformationWeek, "Web Reacts To Hurricane Katrina" :


    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 30, 2004 10:40 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
  • Noted While Drinking

    ONE COCKTAIL puts you into low orbit around the Planet Me. Two cocktails degrades that orbit. Three... check for chunks in your wings, you've become the Columbia.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 30, 2004 4:52 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    August 30, 2005

  • A TALE OF TWO VIDEOS from Documentary blog's Lights Camera Protest

    Dorothy Spanos, of The Coffee Station, Crawford, Texas, doesn't mind the protesters at Camp Casey: "What makes America beautiful is that you have your freedom to speak your mind."

    Dennis Kind, Camp Casey organizer, speaks his mind: "Honestly, this [country] is Adolf Hitler's dream."

  • UNDERCOVER @ CAMP CASEY from The Buzz : So the cliche of the "hate America" crowd is indeed true. It is as if the protesters were intellectually bulimic, and having ingested all of the hate America bile, they looked forward to regurgitating it as a show of their steadfastness to their cause of peace and love.

    Cindy Sheehan spent most of her time huddled with VIPS in and air-conditioned trailer. When she ventured out it was for a scripted and often televised moment. She was always trailed by her media people, and they were quick to keep her on point. During one conversation I had with her I tried to ask her a pointed question about how much time she would actually be on the bus tour to Washington (I had discovered she would only be on the tour for two days, and would be away giving speeches during the rest of the trip ... and I wondered if she were being paid for these speeches) Her media person grabbed her arm and led her back to the trailer, and away from me. The message was protected. I was left standing there... alone, and feeling a little less secure about my status at Camp Casey.

    But just a few minutes later, she emerged from the trailer, smiling, and performing for the cameras. Like the chicken at the local carnival that plays tic tac toe, she eagerly performs for any microphone. She is relentless, and professional, well financed and on message. And the message is "All things bad are America's fault".

  • SALON'S PETER DAOU ATTEMPTS TO RECONCILE Left and Right with The Ethics of Iraq: Moral Strength vs. Material Strength, but he gets the premise wrong in the first sentence: "The unbridgeable divide between the left and right’s approach to Iraq and the WoT is, among other things, a disagreement over the value of moral and material strength, with the left placing a premium on the former and the right on the latter."

    Really? I haven't noticed the Left/Liberal side of the political equation holding the moral high ground in this debate. I'll grant you it is a position repeatedly asserted by the Left, but just saying it over and over doesn't make it so anymore than "Bush lied. People died." gives the lie to George Bush.

    The emptiness and vacuity of this false assertion of morality is on display daily at the Cindy Sheehan show in Crawford. The songs, the slogans, the agitprop that we've seen for nearly 40 years are there along with a false piety so tangible it rolls off of Cindy Sheehan faster than her crocodile tears. The whole dreary shebang is coming soon to a 60's Revival Tent show near you with the inevitable announcement of the dour bus tour. This is a good thing since it will allow a lot of Americans, if they care too, to expose themselves to this sorry spectacle.

    At the zenith of the hippie era in the late 60s early 70s there was a rock-n-roll bus tour ("Medicine Ball Caravan," if I recall correctly), that toured the country with the lead bus sporting a sign that said "We Have Come for Your Daughters." About right for that era. Since then we've seen the proliferation of bus tours of all kinds, lately for political purposes outside of an election year. The coming Sheehan bus tour will be the ne plus ultra of these traveling medicine shows, only this time the slogan will read "We have come for your country" since this is the avowed wish of this current devolved species of pacifist carping about a specious morality.

    Orwell, who had a lot of experience in the realm of the bizarre morality that aligns pacifists with fascists, said it best: "Pacifism is objectively pro-Fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, ‘he that is not with me is against me’." Like others who think of themselves as "reasonable and responsible" members of the Left, Daou simply cannot see, or will not see that to be anti-war is to be pro-totalitarianism. It's admirable to set out to "look at life from both sides now," as if we were still in the sylvan summer of The Long Peace, but it begs the question. And that question is, in the argot of my long-lost comrades of the 60s, "What side are you on?"

    Daou is far too quick to hand the Left the moral high ground and lumber the Right with 'Material Strength.' It is more and more evident that the classic split of Left vs. Right no longer holds water. It is actually a split between, with no political overtones implied, a question of right and wrong. And in this instance, the Left/Liberal grouping in America is becoming more wrong and hence more marginalized by the day. They thought they had a winning hand with Howard Dean. Went bust. Then they thought they could bluff their way in with John Kerry. Went bust. Now they think they have a winning hand with Cindy Sheehan's Morbid Mommy Review, but like all tapped-out card sharks they're just bluffing. When you get right down to it, hole cards of Joan Baez and Al Sharpton won't take you past the flop. Still, like every poker pigeon before them, I'm betting they'll go all in.

  • IN OTHER NEWS, MORE THAN HALF OF ALL AMERICANS support The Patriot Act. AP's weasel headline, Poll: Info Shrinks Patriot Act Support might make your think The Patriot Act's in some kind of deep trouble, but the story tells a slightly differnt story : "Fewer than half of those polled, 42 percent, are able to correctly identify the law's main purpose of enhancing surveillance procedures for federal law enforcement agencies, according to the poll conducted by the Center for Survey Research and Analysis at the University of Connecticut. Almost two-thirds of all Americans, 64 percent, said they support the Patriot Act. But support dropped to 57 percent among those who could accurately identify the intent of the legislation."

    As is usual with these stock ham-handed bits of news "analysis," the last sentence tells you there's "a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points," which widens or narrows the range or both. The point seems to be that when respondents were fed details of the legislation, support dropped 8 percent, plus or minus 3.5 percent. Well, may the Baby Jesus open your mind and shut your mouth if you don't think knowing selected details of any omnibus item of Federal legislation doesn't shrink support every time whether its the Patriot Act or a new series of regulations for sexing chicken eggs. What's really interesting here isn't in the slant of the story, but in the numbers. Even knowing all the "bad mojo" of the Patriot Act still gives much more approval from the American people than you need to win the Presidency. Even with a "sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points."

  • MANY SAY THE SAME THING ABOUT THE BIBLE. Most scientific papers are probably wrong : "Most published scientific research papers are wrong, according to a new analysis. Assuming that the new paper is itself correct, problems with experimental and statistical methods mean that there is less than a 50% chance that the results of any randomly chosen scientific paper are true."

  • VILLAGE MOURNS. Judy Garland's Ruby Slippers Stolen From Museum : "The most recognizable pair of shoes in movie history – the sequined ruby slippers Dorothy wore in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ – was reported stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota on Sunday, August 28. " If these turn up on "Queer Eye for the Straight Girl," Hell will seem only semi-tropical

  • CAL ATTORNEY GENERAL IN THE TOILET.American Flag-in-Toilet Art Yanked from Exhibit in Department of Justice building in Sacramento. Attorney General Bill Lockyer puts it in his own office" Yes, you read that correctly. The chief law enforcement official in California now decorates his office with a painting of an American flag in a toilet. Lockyer had better hope Justice is blind along with everyone else who visits his office.

    Lockyear, elected in 2002, is naturally a Democrat and former teacher. When not contemplating the American flag in a toilet, he spends his time keeping voter initiatives off the ballot, and suing snack food manufacturers trying to get warning labels printed on bags of potato chips and french fries. What a man.

  • THE BOMBINGS WILL CONTINUE until tolerance improves! : "Indonesia’s president warned on Monday of possible terrorist attacks in the coming two months, and said he would also take steps to show the country was still a tolerant Muslim nation. "

  • BLAMING THE VICTIM. SOP AT THE NEW YORK TIMES. Nature's Revenge : "The damage caused by a hurricane like Katrina is almost always called a natural disaster. But it is also unnatural, in the sense that much of it is self-inflicted. New Orleans is no exception, and while the city has been spared a direct hit from the storm, its politicians and planners must rethink the bad policies that contributed to the city's vulnerability." Don't build the levees or the skyscrapers too tall, right?

  • SCHUMER UNCLEAR ON "STRATEGIC" Democrat urges use of oil stockpile in hurricane : "Schumer said... 'If there was ever a time for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to be tapped, it would be now.'" Chuck, the reason it's called "the Strategic Petroleum Reserve" is because it is to be withheld until the Nation's critical transportation and energy systems are at high risk. You know, like in the wake of an exchange of nuclear weapons between ________ and the United States. You don't just toss it out there because we think gas is too expensive. Not everything the Government can gets its hands on gets to be doled out like cheap necklaces at a New Orleans Mardi Gras.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 29, 2004 11:54 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
  • Two Minds with but a Single Thought

    "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs."
    -- Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Programme (1875)

    "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."
    -- Hillary Clinton, San Francisco, this day -- on behalf of Sen. Barbara Boxer.

    Michael Moore has one good weekend at the movies, Bill Clinton has a good week cranking out his tome, and the New York Times takes a poll showing their boy falling seven or eight points in a month and says George Bush is losing. I like weeks like this since they embolden. empower, and otherwise encourage the standard bearers of the Democratic Party to open their mouths and tell us what is really in their plans for the country.

    We should do everything we can to draw more statements like Hillary Clinton's out into the light of day. After all, if we are going to have an election based on the issues, and if one of those issues is who has what plans for your money, it helps to know that "We" (Hillary and her ilk) are going to "take things" (and by taking your money, they will be taking things which you might have bought) "away from you" (It was yours and now it is ours because we can) "for the common good." (Ah, the common good. That ancient shibboleth. That fetish of the nanny state.)

    Once upon a time, mommy took things away "for your own good." Now Mommy Dearest has changed. She's going to take things away for "the common good."

    A government system dedicated to taking things away from those that have them "for the common good...." Sounds familiar. Wasn't that tried in the 20th century? And it killed how many millions? It all seems so distant now that we eradicated "the evil empire" decades back, but it seems to me the total death toll was somewhere north of 100 million human beings.

    Nice to know that Hillary Clinton and the rest of her ilk want to bring that back. Makes the choice this year much, much clearer. And easier too.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 29, 2004 10:29 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    August 29, 2005

  • LIVING THE LIE.The Inequality Taboo by Charles Murray: "Elites throughout the West are living a lie, basing the futures of their societies on the assumption that all groups of people are equal in all respects. Lie is a strong word, but justified. It is a lie because so many elite politicians who profess to believe it in public do not believe it in private. It is a lie because so many elite scholars choose to ignore what is already known and choose not to inquire into what they suspect. We enable ourselves to continue to live the lie by establishing a taboo against discussion of group differences."
  • "AMERICANS HAVE NEVER tolerated mockery of battlefield sacrifice, and only morticians have made a successful industry of mourning. The politics of lamentation is not likely to appeal to Americans with a taste for the sunny side of the street. A promise of 'Morning in America' sets off landslides. A lengthening line of Democratic candidates could tell you that 'Mourning in America' is for losers." -- Wesley Pruden
  • If instead of going On The Road, famed Beat writer Jack Kerouac spent the early 1950s as a maverick product development specialist for General Mills, Inc: "Sure, 'Cheerios' sell well. But they're jut just so 1940's, y'dig? Whereas my new 'Daddy-O's!' -- delicious whole grain O's baked through with bits of cannibis and topped with a sweet heroin glaze -- now these would really speak to a new generation, baby"
  • WHEN TERRORISTS TARGET CHILDREN: "... such brutal acts are justified by the perpetrators on ideological grounds because they are part of what is perceived to be a moral struggle. As Antar Soubari, a senior member of Algeria's Armed Islamic Group (GIA), put it: 'I am innocent of those killed because they are associated with those who had to be fought.' In recent times, this sort of argument has found explicit backing among a growing number of Islamist thinkers. They have argued that the prophet Mohammed's prohibition on killing children does not apply if the children being targeted 'knowingly'' participated in combat, or aided the enemy war effort, or even if they only acted to 'encourage'' the enemy."
  • CONFLICT RESOLUTION. Necessary Wars: "Why is this war 'necessary?' Because it prevents World War II in Europe, the Holocaust, and the deaths of tens of millions of people, from the North Sea to the Russian steepe."
  • PETTING ZOE: "Zoe loves when I rub her belly. I call her by name, and she scampers over. She stretches out on the floor, legs up in the air, tail sweeping the ground. Though it feels incredibly corny each time, stroking her fur always puts me in a better mood."
  • IDENTITY THIEF STEALS HOUSE.This Is Not My Beautiful House! This Is Not My Beautiful Identity!: "James Cook left on a business trip to Florida, and his wife Paula went to Oklahoma to care for her sick mother. When the two returned to Frisco, Texas several days later, their keys didn't work. The locks on the house had been changed."
  • CRIME IN MOTION: "The London and Madrid bombings are the most recent examples of attacks on rail and transit systems around the world. Although they represent a frightening escalation, these attacks are only the latest in a criminal history which dates back to the mid-19th century, when railroads in the United States and elsewhere first became attractive targets."
  • ASTRONOMERS, THE PECKING ORDER. When I'm not in prison I'm an astronomer: "There is a weird social hierarchy among astronomers where the more amorphous and abstract the subject, the higher the status of the people who study it. Within the astronomy community the cosmologists rank at the top. Their studies rely almost entirely on mathematics and they rarely bother to look through a telescope because they're too busy trying to use equations to prove the nonexistence of God."
  • THE SCIENCE OF ALIENS : "Scientists, including the Cambridge palaeontologist Simon Conway-Morris, have come up with a number of species including the stinger fan, a plant-like animal, the gulphog, a dinosaur-type predator, and the skywhale, a flying sea monster."
  • MIGHT AS WELL JUMP! World Jump Day: "Join us as we attempt to drive Earth into a new orbit and stop global warming."
  • WHAT COULD BE WORSE THAN A STAR TREK CONVENTION? EschaCon 2005: "the gathering of Eschatonians known as EschaCon."
  • THE HOUSE CAT REPLACEMENT IS HERE. Child-Shaped Robot Set for Debut in Japan: "A child-shaped humanoid robot that can recognize about 10,000 words and work as a house sitter will go on sale in Japan in September."
  • YOU GOTTA HAVE HEART. It's a miracle: mice regrow hearts : "SCIENTISTS have created 'miracle mice' that can regenerate amputated limbs or damaged vital organs, making them able to recover from injuries that would kill or permanently disable normal animals.The experimental animals are unique among mammals in their ability to regrow their heart, toes, joints and tail."
  • THE TIPPING POINT IN THE NEW YORKER : "In another, waiters sharply increased their tips by giving each member of a dining party a piece of candy and then, seemingly spontaneously, offering each person a second piece, too."
  • YES, THE NEW YORKER. Mickey Kaus: "Like many New Yorker policy articles, Gladwell's reads like a lecture to an isolated, ill-informed and somewhat gullible group of highly literate children. They are cheap dates. They won't think of the obvious objections. They won't demand that you 'play Notre Dame,' as my boss Charles Peters used to say, and take on the best arguments for the other side. They just need to be given a bit of intellectual entertainment and pointed off in a comforting anti-Bush direction."
  • CUE TWILIGHT ZONE THEME: Area 51 Panorama taken from Tikaboo Peak on August 7, 2005
  • IT'S ONLY A PAPER TROUT SWIMMING IN A CARDBOARD SEA. Trouts and Seasons of The Mountain Village - Paper Craft 1: "Try to use color paper, paper of stone pattern or wood grain pattern and so on besides white paper if you want to taste different atmosphere."
  • SLEEP? WHY BOTHER? STAY AT WORK FOREVER. Performance and Removal of the Effects of Sleep Deprivation by CX717 in Nonhuman Primates: "CX717 administered to sleep-deprived monkeys produced a striking removal of the behavioral impairment and returned performance to above-normal levels even though animals were sleep deprived."

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 29, 2004 4:29 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
  • Meanwhile

    MEANWHILE, it was thought by many around the Net today that Paul Krugman probably could stoop lower, if he wasn't already snorkeling through the cess pool of his life.

    Meanwhile, Krugman's arch nemisis Michael Ledeen knows "faster" is necessary, but is Bush listening? Doubtful. Nor is it likely the President is paying close attention to the great historian John Keegan as he continues his "American War" series.

    Meanwhile, in Appleland did Kubla Jobs another pleasure OS decree: "It's going to drive the copycats crazy," Jobs said, meaning Microsoft.

    Meanwhile, Orrin Hatch was planning to drive Steve Jobs nuts.

    Meanwhile, other nuts still had jobs and were unlikely to lose them according to:Puffing Professors for Punditry is Profitable

    Meanwhile, it became clear that while war wounds were the original and idealistic challenge, vanity was the payoff as Plastic Surgeons morphed from Heroes to Hustlers.

    Meanwhile, as the days grew longer on Earth, the days on Saturn did the same and nobody could figure out why.

    Meanwhile, variations on Evolution's "smart monkey" theme were creating things like the Son of Pet Rock, or becoming another Art Teacher from Hell, as others were telling you How Polaroid got it's groove before losing it, or how you can hack your SX-70... if you can remember where it is these days.

    Meanwhile, still others were off on a 6 State Tour of Secret Bases because sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't.

    MEANWHILE. . .

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 29, 2004 1:41 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    "The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a law meant to punish pornographers who peddle dirty pictures to Web-surfing kids is probably an unconstitutional muzzle on free speech....

    The majority, led by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, said there may have been important technological advances in the five years since a federal judge blocked the law. And, in a startling departure from tradition, Justice Kennedy sang his decision from the bench in what was reported to be a pleasing contralto:

    Porn free, as free as the Web flows,
    As free as your inbox grows,
    Porn free to follow your spam!

    Porn free, yes, beauty surrounds you!
    The Web still astounds you
    Each time you click on a link!

    Porn free, where no filters deny you!
    You're free as the broadband tide!
    There's no perversion we hide!

    Porn free, online life is worth living,
    But only worth living
    'Cause you've free porn!

    Children, especially adolescents and their aged fans in libraries and AOL chat rooms, were thrilled by the continuing efforts of the Supreme Court to decide not to decide in this matter.

    -- High Court Upholds Block of Web Porn Law

    UPDATE: In an apparent homage to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg's assistance in keeping Porn free across the web, her personal page on shot to the top of's list of mature amateur sites with her "InChambers Cam" gaining an estimated 73,000 new subscribers in the last 24 hours. Although no new retirements were announced at the end of the Court's session, Justice Ginsberg's prospects for comfortable golden years now seem assured.


    In other news, lines were long at the Washington, New York, and Los Angeles airports where 600 ACLU lawyers were taking planes to Havana in order to start the 600 appeals of Guantanamo terrorists through the federal court system. Flight delays multiplied as Federal security agents at the airports suspended their "no-profiling" policy and searched the body cavities of any passenger fitting the description: "lawyer."

    Commander William F. Probity of the LAX detachment commented: "I know we'll catch hell for this from the ACLU, but some of those lawyers could hide a SAM missile inside their orifices and we'd never know the difference if we didn't look."

    Advised of the immanent arrival of 600 ACLU lawyers at the base, commanders promised to find them accommodations suitable for them as well as 600 orange jumpsuits.

    Elsewhere, lawyers in the Justice Department were busy yesterday assembling the various stratagems and paperwork necessary to appeal any adverse findings in the above cases to, well, the Supreme Court.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 29, 2004 9:28 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Demosthenes, On Disagreeable Patriots
    The explanation is the same as at Athens, that the patriots, however much they desire it, cannot sometimes say anything agreeable, for they are obliged to consider the safety of the state; but the others by their very efforts to be agreeable are playing into Philip's hands.

    The patriots demanded a war-subsidy, the others denied its necessity; the patriots bade them fight on and mistrust Philip, the others bade them keep the peace, until they fell into the snare. [64] 

    Not to go into particulars, it is the same tale everywhere, one party speaking to please their audience, the other giving advice that would have ensured their safety. But at the last there were many things that the people were induced to concede, not as before for their own gratification nor through ignorance, but gradually yielding because they thought that their discomfiture was inevitable and complete.

    A fine return the democrats of Eretria have gained for spurning your embassy and capitulating to Clitarchus! They are slaves, doomed to the whipping-post and the scaffold. A fine clemency he showed to the Olynthians, who voted Lasthenes their master of the horse and banished Apollonides! [67] It is folly and cowardice to cherish such hopes, to follow ill counsel and refuse to perform any fraction of your duties, to lend an ear to the advocates of your enemies and imagine that your city is so great that no conceivable danger can befall it.

     Ay, and a disgrace too it is to have to say, when all is over, “Why! who would have thought it? For of course we ought to have done this or that, and not so and so.” Many things could be named by the Olynthians today, which would have saved them from destruction if only they had then foreseen them. Many could be named by the Orites, many by the Phocians, many by every ruined city.

    -- Demosthenes, Third Philippic, 341 B.C.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 27, 2004 5:24 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Demosthenes, On Enemies Far and Near
    Since, however, you all know this, you must take it into account and not let the war pass into your own country; you must not invite catastrophe through keeping your eyes fixed on the simple strategy of your old war with the Lacedaemonians, but arrange your political affairs and your military preparations so that your line of defence may be as far away from Athens as possible, give him no chance of stirring from his base, and never come to close grips with him.

     For so far as a campaign is concerned, provided, men of Athens, we are willing to do what is necessary, we have many natural advantages, such as the nature of his territory, much of which may be harried and devastated, and countless others; but for a pitched battle he is in better training than we are.

    [53] But it is not enough to adopt these suggestions, nor even to oppose him with active military measures, but both from calculation and on principle you must show your hatred of those who speak publicly on his behalf; and you must reflect that it is impossible to defeat the enemies of our city until you have chastised those who within our very walls make themselves their servants.

    And that, as all Heaven is my witness, you will never be able to do; but you have reached such a height of folly or of madness or--I know not what to call it, for this fear too has often haunted me, that some demon is driving you to your doom, that from love of calumny or envy or ribaldry, or whatever your motive may be, you clamor for a speech from these hirelings, some of whom would not even disclaim that title, and you derive amusement from their vituperations.

     This is serious enough, but there is worse to follow; for you have granted to these men more security for the pursuance of their policy than to your own defenders.

    -- Demosthenes, Third Philippic, 341 B.C.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 27, 2004 5:13 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    What's in a Name?


    Is there anything interesting in "My Life" by Bill Clinton? Oh, yes. Page 870.

    The Clintons are in New Zealand and finally get to meet "Sir Edmund Hillary, who had explored the South Pole in the 1950s, was the first man to reach the top of Mount Everest and, most important, was the man Chelsea's mother had been named for."

    Hmm. Edmund Hillary reached the top of Everest in 1953. Hillary Rodham was born in 1947, when Sir Edmund was an obscure New Zealand beekeeper and an unlikely inspiration for two young parents in the Chicago suburbs. I mentioned this in Britain's Sunday Telegraph eight years ago this very week, after this little story was trotted out the first time, but like so many curious anomalies in the Clinton record, it somehow cruises on indestructibly.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 27, 2004 8:06 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    When You Care Enough to Send the Very Breast

    "JUSTGOTEM" is "the world's first and only Breast Augmentation aftercare gift-box E-tailer."

    We suggest you go big, go "Diamond."


    "What do you get a girl who has everything?"
    "More of the same."

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 27, 2004 12:55 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Spam from Beyond the Grave!

    ADMIT IT, you're having one of those "Why didn't I think of that?" moments right now. Just when you thought that it was useless to try and think up a fresh Internet based scam business, here comes: The Last Email : leave email messages for your loved ones.

    The loss of a loved one is a difficult experience. At this complicated, and sometimes unexpected moment, you can bring comfort and strength to those you leave behind by sending them a message of love as you say goodbye.

    That is why The Last Email was created. This site is, after all, a way of celebrating life, memories and all the things that we love most. With our service you will be able to write messages, which will be delivered after your death to the ones you have chosen.

    Although the site assures you that your information is "encrypted," and you can attach all manner of files, it does not explain what happens when somebody clicks "Reply."

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 27, 2004 12:24 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Brand Spanking New Word of the Day



    A momentary interruption in thought that becomes permanent. See: "brain fade"

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 26, 2004 6:56 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    F Word Sets D.C. Abuzz!

    READING THROUGH THE GONE META MOMENT ON THE CHENEY EFFING ERUPTION: Post Editor Explains Decision to Publish Expletive in the Washington Post, we learn .... The Washington Post printed the word yesterday for the first time since publishing the Kenneth Starr report in 1998. And that set the town buzzing.

    A sane man might think that it was the use of the phrase against a man who so richly deserved it that might be the cause of the buzz, but no, it is really all about the Washington Post's ability to float the most overused word in the English language into its august pages. This, of course, means that the whole thing has gone meta inside of one news cycle and we can look forward to at least four more cycles before it fades into oblivion.

    At this rate, the arguments about when the Net will supplant Old Media are now over. The behavior of the Net has utterly entered the host body of Old Media and taken it over. From now on Old Media is just a zombie of the Net and all future news cycles will be merely "typical net.exercises" -- i.e. "It was a typical net.exercise -- a screaming mob pounding on a greasy spot on the pavement, where used to lie the carcass of a dead horse." (Source unknown)

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 26, 2004 9:56 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Misplaced Dental Enthusiasm


    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 25, 2004 6:06 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Merely A Helpful Suggestion

    " This long. If I'm lyin' I'm flyin' "

    FRANKLY THERE'S JUST TOO MUCH OF A MUCHNESS being made of Vice President Cheney's words to Vermont's Senator Leahy during a Senate Luv-Fest yesterday. ( Cheney Curses at Leahy ) I think everybody's got this wrong. I don't think it was an attempt to denigrate the second bull-goose loony Vermont has afflicted us with in recent years, but rather an attempt on the Veep's part to give the Senator a clue. I mean, check him out. Just how lucky do you think he can get without whipping out the MasterCard and speed-dialing an escort service?

    Cheney was simply pointing to the Senator how much easier Leahy's life would be if he practiced some up close and personal self-love. As Woody Allen says, "You don't have to look your best."

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 25, 2004 3:30 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Who Says America Can't Clean Up the Mid-East Cess Pool?
    It was an engineering success on the order of stringing the first cables for the Brooklyn Bridge or coaxing the first glimmer of starlight through some giant telescope to unravel the structure of the universe.

    But when it occurred late last month, the achievement remained cloaked in absolute secrecy, marked only by a quiet celebration among participants who may remain forever unknown to history.

    Raw sewage was treated in Baghdad.

    The stream of treated water that eventually found its way into the Tigris River was hardly more than a trickle, roughly 20 million gallons a day from a city that produces raw sewage at something like 10 times that rate or more. But the accomplishment is all but epoch-making in a city where the sewage plants are in such disrepair that for the last 10 to 15 years, every drop of that muck was poured untreated into the river, fouling everything from boat landings to drinking water systems downstream.

    -- A fascinating account via the New York Times at : It's a Dirty Job, but They Do It, Secretly, in Iraq

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 25, 2004 3:02 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Kerry Narrows VP Selection

    "Three coins in the fountain
    Through the ripples how they shine
    (Just one wish will be granted)
    (One heart will wear a valentine)

    Make it mine!

    Make it mine!
    Make it mine!"

    Via JL, our mole inside the Kerry Karass

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 25, 2004 2:45 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Sounds of Silent Creation

    ON THE INTERNET YOU CAN HEAR THE BIRTH OF THE UNIVERSE: Big Bang Acoustics: Movie and Sound Files

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 25, 2004 10:11 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    We are Just Loving...


    THIS INSIGHTFUL REVIEW OF THE RECENT FIRE IN LONDON that put paid to millions of dollars of really rotten art: via artburn:

    A controversial display of burnt work has divided the world of art into non-identical halves, like a dead bisected animal.

    The exhibition, London Fire Brigade Incident: L05/1143, features more than 100 incinerated conceptual pieces by some of Britain's best-known artists, including Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, Phil and Grant Mitchell, Guto Uhu, Dan Collins, Mark Woods, Alex Johnson and Fanny Ciabatta.

    Some critics have praised the boldness of the show's 'anti-curatorial' approach to contemporary art, which challenges public perceptions of what ash really is, and how much it may be worth, both in terms of cultural meta-narrative and the insurance.

    Others say it could have been an accident, or arson.

    The fire transformed London's Saatchi Warehouse into a searing indictment of ordinary objects, space, form, flammable material and structure. Works lost include The Mitchell Brothers' Glued Airfixion and an embroidered hammock - All The Slags Who Have Slagged Me Off This Week So Fucking Far - by Emin.

    Firefighters on overtime and a postponed 3.5% pay rise struggled for four hours to bring the blaze under control. Many wore breathing apparatus, slashed frocks and transplanted penises.

    A fire brigade spokesman said: "We think the fire started in an adjoining factory unit at about 0400 hours. When we arrive at the scene, however, these first thoughts are displaced by feelings of existential nausea. We seem to be observing a kind of claustrophobic, personal apocalypse. Yet at the same time we cannot avoid a sense that somehow the fire is looking at us..."

    Also on the scene were several specialist units of video installation artists. A selection of short filmed pieces with doleful, confessional voiceovers will be screened later this year in a mini-season at the ICA.

    Darcy Farquear'say of the Creative on Sunday believes the destruction of so many iconic, tinder-dry works of art is made more tragic by a slightly nasty, or comical, sub-text. "Future generations will not now have the opportunity to see for themselves what these pieces were like. It will certainly add to their mystique, as they aren't actually there any more".

    He believes further art fires will follow. "Charles Saatchi is a trend-setter. If he now owns a collection of iconic art reduced to cinders, other collectors will follow. I think - certainly for the purposes of Radio 4's Today programme - we may be witnessing the birth of a new movement. Post-Materialism, possibly. Or something with 'phoenix' in it."

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 24, 2004 3:19 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    "Always Wrong and Ultimately Fatal"

    What do you make of the 9-11 commission?

    Victor Davis Hanson: Nothing like it is all bad or all good. Investigations, if done properly and timed right, are, of course, essential for a democracy. But look at this present politicized charade.

    Televised grandstanding; hearings sometimes held in places like Greenwich Village; former Clintonites who need to be questioned for their own laxity now questioning others (who will police the police?); a jeering gallery; generals summoned from the front to sit and be hectored; and bad timing since we are in the most critical moment in Iraq as the handover nears.

    It all reminds me of the Athenian Assembly during the last phase of the Peloponnesian War when the mob adjudicated critical negotiations and always came to the wrong and ultimately fatal decision.

    The most recent hair-splitting over Saddam and al Qaeda was pathetic. We all know Zarqawi was close to bin Laden and was treated in Baghdad; we all know that al Qaedists were encouraged to attack Kurds in Iraq. Add the still strong possibility that Atta was in Prague and that Saddam knew a great deal about the first World Trade Center, and the statement of the New York Times that there were no "ties" is really shameful. Saying al Qaeda and Saddam had no relations is like saying Milosevic knew nothing about the Kosovar and Bosnian holocausts. Mr. Clinton would have none of it -- and neither should we now in Iraq.

    Again, the New York Times headlines say it all.

    -- Victor Davis Hanson's Private Papers

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 24, 2004 1:32 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Let Freedom Ring


    THE AMERICAN DREAM LIVES AND HAS GROWN STRONGER, with freedom now in first place.

    That's the bottom line to a Roper Report that has been tracking attitudes and beliefs about the American Dream since 1986. For a long time, the most important element of the American Dream was home ownership. But recently this has been overtaken by freedom as the most important component of the dream.

    Perhaps the most significant change in the Dream, however, is that freedom has replaced home ownership as its top-ranked feature. Three in four adults, up 5 points from 2000, say that having “freedom of choice in how to live one’s life” is “very much” a part of the American Dream, edging out “to own a home” by 4 percentage points. In all previous readings, freedom tied with home ownership or was slightly behind.

    On the other hand, freedom for oneself and equality for all are not totally in sync. There has been no similar gain in the share who feel that living “in an open society in which everyone has an equal chance” defines the Dream, although this still ranks third after freedom and owning a home.

    These slight shifts aside, the American Dream is defined much as it has been in the past, more by quality of life than quantity of cash, more by a “rewarding career and family life” and the financial security to retire and to enjoy leisure time than by getting wealthy and being “able to buy all the things one wants.” For more than half, it means having an enjoyable job or moving up the generational ladder by doing “better than one’s parents did.” And for half of adults, the Dream still conjures visions of the ragsto- riches story popularized more than 100 years ago by Horatio Alger Jr.’s novels – i.e., being “able to start a business of one’s own” or rising “from clerk or worker to president of a company.” Not to mention the possibility of becoming president of the country.

    -- Roper Reports, Public Pulse -- June 24, 2004 "The findings in this report are drawn from surveys of adults conducted between October 1986 and February 2004. “The American Dream” 1986 study was conducted for The Wall Street Journal; all succeeding surveys were conducted as part of the Roper Reports service.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 24, 2004 1:12 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Teach Your Terrorist Children Well

    IF YOU THINK OR KNOW ANYONE WHO THINKS that this war will be over soon, you should take a look at the games the next Muslim generation is playing. Here's a video: Muslim Children Play at Beheading a Hostage.

    From Charles at LGF who notes, correctly, that "in order to play-act the decapitation of Nick Berg, these children must have studied the actual video."

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 24, 2004 9:40 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Special Offer

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 24, 2004 8:12 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Fighting Fascism in the American High School

    READ ALL ABOUTOPERATION TIGER CLAW --DEBRIEFING from Protest Warrior. A detail account about how one American teenager explores the meanings and limits of free speech at this high school.

    My name is Bryan Henderson and I am an 18 year old senior attending Princeton Senior High School. Better known as Templar_Crusader on the PW forum, I am the proud leader of the small but growing PHS chapter of ProtestWarrior.

    Operation Tiger Claw was my first attempt at leading a protest against the apathy and leftism running rampant at my school. It all started on Friday, May 14th with a small act of conservative pride. My socialist history teacher was on another kick about how articulate Noam Chomsky was, when I finally reached my limit.....

    At the end of the day, my fellow PW chapter members and I felt it was time to fight back and strike at the public education indoctrination machine that seemed to be running out of control. Our school desperately needed some ideological balance, so we decided that the next day we would up the ante and place 500 signs in the halls of the school.

    I got to a quick start the next morning...

    The rest is well worth reading, and the photographs make this exploration of the small minds teaching your children a special delight.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 23, 2004 4:30 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Gee, they look just like ants.


    Ant City.

    Be gentle.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 23, 2004 3:44 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Don't Like the Stars? Go Out and Make One of Your Own.


    "LODESTAR" -- FROM THE Popular Science | 2004 Design Competition, a synthetic star.

    The designers of the magnificent Tribute in Light memorial for the World Trade Center turned their attention to urban night blindness: the blankness of the city skies. Urban Lodestar is a light-emitting five-pointed star designed to float serenely above a city center and pulse gently at the same rate as a resting heart to calm the city folk below. Lodestar hovers with the aid of helium-filled polymer balloons; propellant tanks and directional boosters attached to a GPS-equipped positioning system keep it from going AWOL. During the day, photovoltaic film panels harness energy from the Sun and store it in batteries; at night, electroluminescent strips in the shape of a star glow with that stored energy. Graphite composite struts provide stability, and a battery-powered xenon strobe creates the pulsing effect. Intermittent green flashes differentiate the Urban Lodestar from natural celestial bodies.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 23, 2004 3:21 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    "You've Got Spam!" 92 Million Times

    YET ANOTHER REASON TO SHORT AOL: AOL Engineer Accused of Stealing Subscriber List

    An America Online software engineer was arrested and charged today with scheming to steal the Internet provider's subscriber list and send ``massive amounts'' of spam to millions of computer users.

    Jason Smathers, a West Virginia man who worked in AOL's Dulles, Virginia, data warehouse, is accused of stealing a list containing 92 million subscriber screen names. Interim U.S. Attorney David Kelley said Smathers, 24, sold the list to another man, Sean Dunaway, who then sold it to two spammers for $52,000. Dunaway was also charged by federal prosecutors in Manhattan.

    The AOL spokestool, Nick Graham, stated that they were reviewing AOL's security procedures. He also assured everyone that although the theft amounts to almost all of AOL's 30 million subscribers, their credit card information was secure because it was stored in a "separate data location."

    Yeah, right. You know, this little bit of bad news is probably news to nobody who thinks about AOL for two nanoseconds. But then again, the 'authorities" have never really been serious about the AOL virus that has been infecting cyberspace for over a decade.

    You want to put a damper on pedophiles preying on children online? Simple, shut down the AOL chat rooms.

    You want to get a handle on spam? Simple, shut down AOL's antiquated "security systems."

    Is any of this going to happen. Nope.

    We'll just be seeing more offers of the first 50,000 hours of AOL free flooding the mailboxes of the world.

    Will it work? Fools login to where fools have logged in before.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 23, 2004 3:03 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Learning from Experience

    THE MODERATE VOICE HAS A 10 POINT CHECKLIST ON What We've Learned From The Beheadings So Far

    "(3)It's all about body count. The terrorists have shifted strategy from a quantitative body count (911; Madrid) to a qualitative body count (symbolic victims such as an American Jewish journalist, an American Jewish businessman, an American mechanic aiding the Saudi Arabian military, and a South Korean on the eve of his country sending more troops to the region).

    "(4)They will likely raise the bar of barbarity to get publicity and continue to shock with the same impact. So far the victims have been males in their 30s and 40s. Will they choose a woman -- or a child? Or a group?"

    A gruesome list, but accurate.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 23, 2004 2:59 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    More on This War of Religions

    THE REV. DONALD SENSING elucidates some fundamental reasons about the religious nature [ See: The War of Two Religions ]of our current struggle in The war of ultimates: Religious war is back in full force

    Islam, not just the radicalized version, teaches that Allah's control over events of the world and human life is total and complete. Pretty much the extent of human free will is either to rebel against Allah or to submit. Yet even rebellion is, somehow, under the controlling purview of Allah. Everything that happens, without exception, is the preordained will of Allah.....

    In Islam, Allah holds all the power marbles. Humanity has no true self will or self power.

    Bin Laden's sort of self-justifying extremism is not the mainstream of Islam, but neither is it as far removed as we might imagine. Fatalism is a characteristic of Islam. There is no human freedom. Human liberty, especially as Americans think of it, is literally a foreign concept to Islam, especially Arab Islam.

    We say that the defining idea of American liberty is "self evident:" Human beings "are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." This claim has no natural fit with Islam. The idea that humans, created by the power of Allah, could inherently possess unalienable rights of their own, which no authority may remove, would require Islam to surrender the idea that Allah enjoys meticulous control over all affairs of nature and humankind. But this notion is lethally dangerous to the defining idea of Islam itself: that Allah has all the power.

    Liberty as we conceive it is at the heart of the conflict. For Muslims, the most desirable state of human society is not one that is free, in the Western sense, but one that is submissive to Allah, according to the dictates of Quran. This state of society is dar al Islam, the world of peace. Anything else is the dar al harb, the "world of war." Societies, peoples or nations are either at war with Allah or at peace (through submission) to Allah.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 23, 2004 2:38 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Microsoft Gets Your Skin in the Game

    I'M PROBABLY FAR FROM ALONE IN THINKING this is the creepiest news out of Microsoft in a long time: Microsoft patents body power

    Microsoft has been awarded a patent for using human skin as a power conduit and data bus.

    United States Patent: 6,754,472, which was published Tuesday, describes a method for transmitting power and data to devices worn on the body and for communication of data between those devices.

    In its filing, Microsoft cites the proliferation of wearable electronic devices, such as wristwatches, pagers, PDAs (worn on people's belts) and small displays that can now be mounted on headgear....

    Microsoft said, the physical resistance offered by the human body could be used to create a virtual keyboard on a patch of skin. And just to make sure it has covered all its bases, the filing concludes with a reference for Fido.

    "It will be apparent," it says, "that the body may be that of a wide variety of living animals and need not be limited to being a body of a human being."

    It is at times like this that I hear that old line from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: "Who are those guys?"

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 23, 2004 1:27 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    It Must Be True, I Saw It On the Internet

    32 Volvos Sold in One Town in One Day and, no, it wasn't Marin.

    "Jung says there is another dimension, if you will, beneath our existence..."

    The Midwich Cuckoo Car "Documentary" at the link above. It would seem that the Michael Moore meaning of "documentary" is catching on.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 23, 2004 12:52 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Berners-Lee: Internet 2 Will Deploy Ahead of Schedule, Winer to Own 1

    "Meet the new boss .... "

    TODAY WE RECEIVED THIS EARTHSHATTERING DISPATCH from the American Digest correspondent in Switzerland:

    Dateline Geneva 6/23/2004, :
    Hale Hubble Reporting

    Today, Tim Berners-Lee (Creator of the World Wide Web) and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) made two startling announcements:

    First, as the result of a crash program begun June of 2004, common carriers and ISPs, working with almost every reader of SlashDot have managed to implement "Internet 2" a decade ahead of schedule.

    The deployment "Internet 2" will bring the equivalent of 10 T-1s to every Internet user making it possible for iTunes to deliver songs faster than you can buy them.

    In a related development, Seagate announced the delivery, by Federal Express, of 10 Terabyte drives to every Internet user free of charge. The drives come preloaded with all songs on the iTunes server and, via a chron job invoking Microsoft's .NET passport, will automatically debit the ATM cards of all Internet users for their entire balance on a monthly basis, making bill paying a seamless snap at last. New content to iTunes will be updated to the drives daily.

    But the real news continues to be the amazing deployment of Internet 2 on a schedule that recalled The Manhattan Project. ( The WWII effort and not the 1986 film of the same name.)

    Because of these Herculean efforts, almost all existing Internet 1 content will be migrated transparently to Internet 2 between 2:28 and 2:30 GMT on June 30 (with the exception of online discussions concerning "American Idol" which will take place from 2:35 to 6:45 GMT on the same day). This migration is made possible thanks to billions of dollars of donations of time, money and equipment by companies like AT&T, Microsoft, Oracle, and Six Apart.

    In the second even more exciting announcement, Tim Berners-Lee said that the old Internet was being given to Dave Winer, of Userland fame. "From this day forward," Berners-Lee said, "Dave will own Internet 1, and all sites therein. Dave will immediately be granted root access to all servers, and will be allowed to decide who can be on his Internet, and what they will be allowed to say. As a provision of this grant, Dave understands that he not be allowed on Internet 2 at all."

    "It was all we could do", Berners-Lee continued in an exclusive interview . "We've be trying to get rid of this guy longer than Bush has been hunting for Bin Laden, but he just won't go away. We finally decided that we'd all just leave instead.".

    Asked if it was unfair that Dave was getting the "old" Internet, Lee replied "Have you seen his sites? They look like someone typed them in on a Selectric, then pasted a newsprint photo to the top of them! He could get by with two 1200-baud modems and a rusty wire, must less the whole old Internet!".

    Winer, who seemed curiously unaware of the Internet 2 announcement, could barely be located, much less contained for a coherant statement. We caught up with him taking his things out of 15 paper boxes on a back street in Queens, where he said "Yes! Yes! Yes! Finally, everything is turning out as it should!"

    Asked about his plans, Winer replied that he'd immediately collect all root passwords, and convert every site to run on Radio Userland, the "blogging" tool which he developed in 1970 and continues to maintain was the "true origin of the Internet".

    Asked if he thought his plans would cause any "disruption," Dave calmly announced that the Internet would be shut down for 2 weeks while he worked on the conversion. We asked if that wouldn't inconvenience any remaining Internet users, and Dave replied "Look, not only have you guys been using it for FREE all this time, but I have some really painful hemorrhoids and can't deal with it any faster.

    "Besides,", he continued, "the whole naming scheme is messed up. I want to get rid of those stupid .com, .edu, etc. crap. I'm going to replace them with RELEVANT stuff, like .davesdaysnotsmoking, .davewatchedthismove, .davesbowelmovement, etc, etc".

    In a related story, both the Israelis and Palestinians have overwhelmingly elected Berners-Lee as their leader. Arial Sharon was quoted as saying "If he could get rid of that schmuck Winer, he can solve anything.". Palestinians expressed similar sentiments, and three blew themselves up on Winer's front lawn in a tribute to Berners-Lee.


    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 23, 2004 11:18 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Speaking of Using the Word "Traitor" as a Functional Part of the Conversation


    I USUALLY LIKE IT WHEN BIG MEDIA picks up on my ideas ( "Exactly when did we stop using the word 'traitor' as a functional part in the American conversation?" ) , but I have to admit I'm less that flattered when big media shows up in the form of Bill O'Reilly.

    At the risk of offending the easily offended, I admit that I can't stand to watch O'Reilly; not because I disagree with him, but because he is such a tool.


    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 23, 2004 7:56 AM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Translating Tina Brown

    Tina in her signature "thoughtful
    pondering hand hiding the double chin"

    Gothamist Interviews: Tina Brown, Editor/Writer/TV Host

    Gothamist: Now you host a talk show on CNBC called "Topic A with Tina Brown." My question to you: Why television, why now?
    Tina Brown: There is no magazine I want to edit now.

    Translation: "After my professional sepuku with Talk Magazine, there is no magazine crazy enough to have me edit it. Most magazines still want to make money. And I have to do something to pass the time until Hillary is elected."

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 22, 2004 6:35 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Gay Marriage is Fine, But This Is Too Much!


    The first case of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard Anas platyrhynchos (Aves: Anatidae)

    On 5 June 1995 an adult male mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) collided with the glass façade of the Natuurmuseum Rotterdam and died. An other drake mallard raped the corpse almost continuously for 75 minutes.

    Pointer from the home of stunning links: growabrain.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 22, 2004 4:10 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Why New York is Hell with Good Restaurants: 9 More Reasons

    AS I READ THE CHILLING Jason's rules for the NYC subway ( it came to me once more how glad I am not to have these issues as part of my daily routine.

    Jason's rules for the NYC subway

    1. Get the hell out of my way, I'm coming through.

    2. Do not stop at the top of the stairs to put your MetroCard back into your purse/wallet. You are between me and my train.

    3. Act more like a particle and less like a wave. When you're weaving all over the platform like a drunken sinusoidal, energetic particles like myself -- who, in keeping with Newton's first law of motion, like to remain in a uniform state of motion until acted upon by an outside force -- cannot easily get past you.

    4. Slower traffic keep to the right.

    5. Yield to persons crossing the platform from the express train to the local train (or vice versa). They need the right-of-way more than you do for that 15 seconds of your existance on this earth.

    6. Have your MetroCard out of its holster before you get to the turnstile. Before.

    7. If you are waiting for your train, suppress the urge to wander the crowded platform aimlessly. Pick a spot and stay exactly there. If you need to move, do so with purpose and well-defined direction.

    8. I'm embarrassed that I even need to mention this one because it's so bloody obvious, but get out of the way and let everyone off the train before you attempt to board. (Calling Malcolm Gladwell...why haven't you written a NYer article that explains the particularly brain dead human behavior of people crowding into subway cars and elevators before people have exited them?)

    9. Get the hell out of my way, I'm coming through.

    And, of course, like all New Yorkers now deep into the fugue of forgetfulness and denial, Kottke left out #10.

    10. If you're going to open up that cannister of Sarin gas or VX fresh from Iraq by way of Syria, please don't do it until after I've left the subway. Thanks for caring before sharing.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 22, 2004 3:40 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Soon Even Beheading the Innocent Will Seem Like A Normal News Cycle

    "Reason will not decide at last; the sword will decide." -- Robinson Jeffers

    HAVING FOUND A SURE THING FOR GETTING THEMSELVES SOME ATTENTION, ISLAMIC SLIME continues to repeat itself: Militants Decapitate South Korean Hostage in Iraq

    "We warned you and you ignored it," one of the men said. "Enough lies. Your army is not here for the sake of Iraqis but for the sake of cursed America."

    A spokesman for the television network said the tape went on to show one of the men cutting off Kim's head with a knife.

    Hours after Kim's body was found, the U.S. military launched its second airstrike in four days against suspected safe houses for Zarqawi's network in Falluja. The attack destroyed a garage and killed four people, locals said.

    "Killed four people...." That's nothing to the inhabitants of Fallujah. Nothing at all. Wouldn't get their attention if air strikes killed four a day for a year. It just isn't enough of a shock to the noble inhabitants of that fabulous vacation paradise.

    Since it does not seem as if the current administration has enough focus and courage to visit some extreme solutions on Fallujah and other outposts of swine throughout the region, perhaps the Koreans themselves can come up something.

    But no. They will not. Instead it will be more of the same for many more weeks and months. The act will be called 'barbaric' and the nations concerned will state that they 'will not negotiate' with terrorists. 'Justice will be sought.' But, really, so what? So what?

    The terrorists do not and never had expected to have any negotiations take place. All they expect is for their captive to die and for the media of the world to run their snuff tapes and for the ghouls of the world to search the web for them and... and.... and so it goes.

    At some point, after an unknown number of innocent people have been killed in a public and barbaric manner, the Islamites involved will find their limit.

    On that day, those people and, alas, tens of thousands of their neighbors -- who may or may not have known, who they were and what they were about will probably be reduced to ash. Perhaps a demonstation of death on a wholesale scale will sate the lust for death that seems to have latched onto the soul of the middle east.

    Until then, heads will continue to roll. And the cameras will roll on in their coverage. And our heads of state will roll out their platitudes. It is all just a period in which the lives of the innocent will continue to be squandered.

    But the middle-east and Islam has been running up a very big butcher's bill over the last few decades. Soon it will come due. Payable. In full.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 22, 2004 2:25 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Forget It, Jake, It's Blogville

    Cheaper Than Therapy Can a woman feel lust for a truck?
    The Anchoress reads carefully and finds "This book is filthy dirty!" Then she reads between the lines.
    Bill Peschel John Cleese undergoes surgery "The good news for all Franz however, is that the infected bit which has been cut out by the surgeon, will be offered for sale on the website in the next few days."
    BlameBush! asks "Would You Hit a Grieving War Mom With Glasses?" [We report, you decide.]
    Achenblog: "I can't help but notice that Science asks us to believe in things we can't see. Quarks? Never seen one. Black holes? Ditto. Circulation of the blood? Seems to me it just pulses in place. Earth spins on its axis? Not that I can tell....."
    Wizbang takes a long, hard look at the new "girly" condoms.
    Radio DavidByrne is currently running a stream of really great hits from the 60s. Impeccable taste.
    Banterist finds Apple guilty of "Homophone neglect, a misdemeanor." But fails to comment on The Penguin Movie. Loss of down.
    Chris Lynch's A Large Regular, -- "stool pigeon."
    badscience, the blog: Ben Goldacre's Bad Science column from the Guardian and More…
    Ace of Spades allows that Elizabeth Edwards now feels a connection to Cindy Sheehan.
    Rober Cadenhead @ Workbench wants Idris Elba cast as the new James Bond, completely ignoring the fact that I am available and will take the call.
    AdScam/The Horror! : "Hunter went off in style yesterday. His ashes were fired from a cannon on top of a 150 foot tower at his compound in Aspen. Celebrating the occasion, guests included Sean Penn, Lyal Lovett, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Johny Depp, who paid for the cannon." [Ed: I would have tossed a buck in the hat to see that too. Years ago.]
    Jarvis sez: "Imagine a local news operation that actually says something." Hard, very hard to do, but Fox may bring it off.
    Porretto is holding a Sheehan Consolidated Fact Fest over at his place.
    ARMOR GEDDON on Army Pilfering and Canister Shot: "This is just the way things are. Everyone knows it, everyone accepts it. The guys who need it most, get it last or not at all."

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 22, 2004 11:03 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    "One Atom to Beam Up"

    SciScoop || Quantum Teleportation Of Matter Demonstrated

    Now the quantum-research branch of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced the first quantum teleportation of ordinary matter - the atoms from which you and I are made.  Their teleportation gizmo is not the Star Trek style transporter quite yet.  Instead of making an atom itself vanish and reappear far away at another place, the latest NIST experiment transfered the quantum properties of an atom  instantaneously to another atom that was already far away.  The far-away atom didn't become a "twin" of the original test atom;  it effectively became the original atom itself, without having to be moved through space.  A subtle distinction, but an important one in a breakthrough experiment on ordinary matter like that all around and within us.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 22, 2004 8:42 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Public Evisceration of Michael Moore

    "Ever wondered if there's a literary equivalent of someone attacking a hanging side of beef with a chain saw? Wonder no more." -- James Lileks

    To describe this film as dishonest and demagogic would almost be to promote those terms to the level of respectability. To describe this film as a piece of crap would be to run the risk of a discourse that would never again rise above the excremental. To describe it as an exercise in facile crowd-pleasing would be too obvious. Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness. It is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of "dissenting" bravery.
    -- Unfairenheit 9/11 - The lies of Michael Moore. By Christopher Hitchens

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 22, 2004 8:13 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Heavenly Bodies but Which Ones?

    Click to enlarge

    AN EMAIL THIS MORNING asked: "Can you guess what this is?"

    The broad "guess" isn't hard if you've been aware that last week we could see, if we lived in the right place, something that no one alive has seen in the heavens: The Transit of Venus.

    But if you lived in exactly the right place during the Transit of Venus, you saw something more, something that, when you think about it, is truly a miracle.

    But what is it that you are seeing in this picture? Take a guess. Answer tomorrow if the comments don't catch it before then.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 22, 2004 7:50 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Andrew Sullivan Mondays Freeze Dried

    FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO JUST DON'T HAVE TIME FOR AndrewSullivan's Daily Dish on Mondays, we've prepared a lite version below. The original weighs in at 2098 words, but we've pared it down to 478. This way you can get the essential Sullivan in one fifth the time:

    RETHINKS: Mike Kinsley kills own editorial -- I remark that my blogging had inconsistent positions and rife with conflicts. Ask for slack. For Kinsley too.
    - 5:35:47 PM
    CALABRESI: Volokh
    - 5:25:54 PM
    BEGALA NOMINEE: "Supreme Court -- Bush /Gore =Mussolini / King of Italy = Hindenburg / Hitler. Bush not Hitler. Bush = Mussolini. Franklin Roosevelt same but elected big." - Calabresi , judge 2nd Circuit Court Appeals.
    - 4:08:13 PM
    ELECTROCUTION? Iraq prison badness "... electrocution genitals, rape and murder -- Saddam's former torture-palace. approved by higher-ups? Rumsfeld? I harangued for continuing to write -- huge deal if torture sanctioned secret + the president, against law. Need to know -- Rumsfeld authorize ? responsible? -- scape-goat underlings -- exonerate Rumsfeld? Supoena, say I.

    BBC EXPOSED: Devastating - true.

    BECAUSE CAN: Child-molesting priests protected by Vatican -- sickening, important --vital.

    GOD'S PARTY: Republicanism = holy war. Karl Rove / Ralph Reed make it. My column -- GOP abusing faith -- political ends -- opposite .

    APPEASEMENT: foreign desk editor-- Lebanon + Syria -- people there -- friends -- Sharkansky sticks boot.
    - 12:21:03 AM
    QUOTE DAY 1: "Conservative -- SF marriages, adoption by same-sex , and NH Episcopal bishop. Gays married + children + church = OK. Next -- school vouchers, boycot HBO + Republican. Arguing not happening w/ conservatives -- formats radio/TV = no debate. Tone not trial of Socrates = Johnnie Cochran to O.J. jury." - P.J. O'Rourke , Atlantic.

    QUOTE DAY 2: "Deborah Solomon: Abu Ghraib okay?

    Trent Lott: Mississippi said: 'America #1.' Interrogation not Sunday-school. No American lives saved withholding pancakes.

    DS: Unleashing killer dogs + naked Iraqis not = withholding pancakes.

    TL: Did dogs bite / assault?" - From NYT Magazine .

    PEACE PROCESS: I amused @ UN: doves of peace, released "dead before dropped like a brick.'" inquiry. Dead dove? Priceless.

    KRAMER VS SULLIVAN: Kramer Reagan = Hitler . I respond = Advocate. I surprised by Goldberg last week -- I not playing to gay = non-endorsement of Bush -- I alienate gay establishment -- against shibboleths. Oppose hate crime; reservations re: non-discrimination; favor Boy Scouts discrimination but deplor discrimination; challenge AIDS orthodoxy: battle victimology endorse Dole Bush over Gore praise drug companies HIV treatment. Very few gay controversial as I -- happens I believe Constitution not place = social policy+ marriage = l right for all not straight ones = I say all audiences. Always.

    BLOGGING CONVENTIONS? Bloggers more statement = not going to infomercials; schmooze-fests for journalists, pundits politicals + corrupting donor parties -- political importance = television shows. New York = fun -- hang outside with left-wing freaks, not inside with right-wing freaks. Rationalizing Ptown? No. You kidding?
    - 12:20:39 AM
    GAY LIFE: List of occupations -- gay applicants -- marriage licenses -- Massachusetts -- Week1: [insert 360+ job descriptions]

    Challenge. Think of straight who does job, tell him/her no marry -- spouse = room mate -- children take away any time. Gay people live this every day; are treated sub-human -- beneath citizenship. Endit.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 21, 2004 4:11 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Bee Seated

    Click to enlarge

    Imagine walking outside to hop on the company bicycle for a trip to the other side of the compound. Just before you plop your bee-hind down on the seat, you stop. "What's that buzzing sound," you wonder. Then, just as you raise your rump, you realize the ruckus is right below you. "Yikes," you yell, as the yellow and black covered bee-hive humms to life. -- Photo of the Week - Naval Safety Center

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 21, 2004 10:03 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Air America and the Lying Liars Who Ran It ... Into the Ground

    TODAY'S WALL STREET JOURNAL covers the debacle of the Liberal/Left Radio experiment "Air America" in excrutiating detail. In a front page story, Inside Air America's Troubles: Optimism and Shaky Finances (Subscription Required), the outline of the "network's" start up days is notable for the long sequence of lies that began at the top and percolated down through the entire organization.

    Of course, Air America's "million-dollar-a-year-man," Al Franken doesn't really see the sordid history of vapor cash at the company as a collection of lies. Franken explains them as: "In a startup, says Mr. Franken, people often exaggerate what they have. Mr. Cohen, he says, "did just that, and somehow got us on the air. For that, I guess I owe him some gratitude." We imagine that Mr. Franken has learned, over the years, how lies can result in profits for himself. Except in this case it would seem Franken himself was shortchanged:

    " Mr. Franken had negotiated a pay package valued at more than $1 million a year, according to a copy of the contract viewed by The Wall Street Journal. On the evening of April 26, Mr. Goodfriend says he was asked by Mr. Cohen to show Mr. Franken a deposit slip that would prove he'd been paid a portion of his salary. Mr. Cohen says he only asked Mr. Goodfriend to negotiate with Mr. Franken.

    "The next day, Mr. Goodfriend went to Mr. Franken's Manhattan apartment to meet Mr. Franken's wife, who manages her husband's finances. Over the Frankens' kitchen table, the two tore open an envelope sent over by Mr. Cohen that they thought was going to contain proof of the payment. All they found was a stack of irrelevant documents. "

    Ooops, no pay slip. One would think that Mr. Franken would have noticed the deposit of a portion of one million dollars into his bank account. Evidently not. Nevertheless, the pattern of one party claiming one thing at Air America and another party denying it seems to be a normal way of doing business. That and short-changing junior staff or just, in the end, stiffing them:
    "On March 30, the night before Air America went on the air, the liberal radio network threw itself a $70,000 party at Manhattan's hip Maritime Hotel....

    "Today several employees say they still haven't been reimbursed for the costs of attending the New York launch. "It was a fun party, until I knew I was paying for it," says Bob Visotcky, Air America's former Los Angeles market manager, who hasn't been reimbursed for his hotel room and flight."

    The primary forces behind the launch of Air America were "Guam-based entrepreneurs Evan M. Cohen and Rex Sorensen." Why, if liberal talk radio was such a hot idea, those wealthy liberals promoting it had to go to a couple of guys from Guam to get it rolling, isn't really clear.

    What is clear is that, for all the talk heard from around the liberal cantons, there weren't really all that many of them ready to open their wallets:

    "Messrs. Walsh and Saade say Mr. Cohen told them that TV producer Norman Lear had given Air America $2 million and pledged another $2 million. They also say Mr. Cohen told them that Laurie David, wife of comedian Larry David, had invested $2 million and pledged another $4 million.

    "Buoyed by the good news, Mr. Walsh told reporters on a March 11 conference call that the network was "well on our way" to raising "upward of $30 million" by its planned March 31 launch.

    In fact, Mr. Lear and Ms. David were approached by Mr. Cohen but didn't invest, their spokespeople say."

    This pattern of claiming investments from wealthy liberal investors was, evidently, part of Cohen and Sorensen's stock and trade. As was stiffing people they had agreed to pay from the small to the large, starting with the couple that had the "big idea" that a liberal radio network was just what the leftist Doctors of America ordered:
    "Air America was conceived by a wealthy Chicago couple, Anita and Sheldon Drobny. Mr. Drobny is a venture capitalist and liberal activist who writes an occasional column for a Web site that has compared Republican control of Congress and the White House to the Nazis' rise to power in Germany. ....

    Mr. Cohen teamed up with Mr. Sorensen, 58, a business partner and the founder of Sorensen Pacific Broadcasting Inc., a network of five radio stations in Guam and Saipan. The two men agreed to buy the concept from the Drobnys for about $1 million, according to four people familiar with the transaction. The Drobnys haven't yet been paid. Messrs. Cohen and Sorensen say payment was based on performance milestones that haven't been met. "

    Performance milestones which, if they existed, now seem never to be met. Still, seeing a turkey coming down the street for miles did not dissuade Cohen and Sorensen from continuing to pretend the glass was half-full when the glass had never even been a quarter full:
    "Many of Air America's investors and executives say they thought the network had raised more than $30 million, based on assurances from its owners, Guam-based entrepreneurs Evan M. Cohen and Rex Sorensen. In fact, Air America had raised only $6 million, Mr. Cohen concedes. Within six weeks of the launch, those funds had been spent and the company owed creditors more than $2 million.

    When the problems came to light, "we realized that we had all been duped," says David Goodfriend, the company's acting chief operating officer. Messrs. Cohen and Sorensen say they didn't mislead anyone about the company's finances. They say they planned to invest more over time but didn't because of cultural differences with other managers"

    Ah, those "cultural differences," which may mean "We don't want to throw good money after bad," but is more likely to mean that they didn't have any money to throw to begin with. It would seem that the primary funders and raisers for Air America were famous in Guam for what they would become famous for in the United States, stiffing people:
    "Joe Calvo, the general manager of Guam's Pacific Telestations Inc., which owns TV and radio stations, says Mr. Cohen's defunct ad agency owes him $20,000. Mark Pangalinan, president of Guam conglomerate M.V. Pangalinan Enterprises, says the same ad company owes his real-estate division four years in rent; it also owes another division several years' worth of employee health-insurance premiums. Mr. Cohen denies owing both companies money. Mr. Goodfriend says he thought Mr. Cohen was a successful businessman and says he was unaware of these disputes. "
    But when the chance to stick it to George Bush is dangled in front of some people, it quickly becomes a case of "Fools rush in where fools have been before. Enter Mark Walsh, a 50-year-old former America Online Inc. executive, had run an e-commerce site called Verticalnet Inc., which was briefly one of the highest-flying dot-com stocks with a peak value of $12.4 billion. More recently, Mr. Walsh headed Internet operations for John Kerry's presidential campaign."
    Of course, Mr. Walsh did not think of himself as a fool. He was a savvy executive and asked to see some proof of net-worth:
    "Mr. Walsh says he asked Mr. Cohen for proof of his assets. The entrepreneur showed Mr. Walsh documents that Mr. Cohen represented as real-estate and cash holdings valued at millions of dollars, Mr. Walsh says. Mr. Cohen denies saying the assets were his alone. He says the documents combined his assets with those of Mr. Sorensen and another business partner, Brooklyn real-estate developer Charles Cara. "
    Obviously oblivious to the extent to which a determined person might use copiers and Kinko's to pad their portfolios, Mr. Walsh bought it all. Or perhaps Mr. Walsh, like so many others attached like remora to Air America, just needed to believe in lies and the lying liars who told them.

    Be that as it may, the fact that Air America was living in The Land of No Money was increasingly evident to creditors of all shapes and sizes:

    "But bills weren't getting paid. Mr. Visotcky, the former Los Angeles market manager, says he discovered in March the company hadn't paid the rent on its office space there. He lost his job later when Air America was kicked off the air in that city. Mr. Cohen says the rent wasn't paid because of a contractual dispute. In April, vendors stopped delivering office supplies because they weren't getting paid and contractors, such as electricians, complained their checks weren't arriving.

    One of the network's on-air personalities, Randi Rhodes, formerly of WJNO in West Palm Beach, Fla., opened her own checkbook when her staff wasn't paid. Ms. Rhodes says she found "a group that was running the place that was absolutely not up to it." The New York studio had no air conditioning and some technical equipment didn't work. In its first few days, the network sometimes sputtered off the air.

    Mr. Cohen concedes the company should have had tighter financial controls and blames the cash crunch on perks such as car services. "

    Ah, yes, those pesky "car services." The last refuge of scoundrels who could not put up or shut up. It wasn't the immense void of advertising interest in Air America that did them in, nor was it the fact that from the moment it was a gleam in the eye of the wealthy but wacky couple from Chicago Air America was stillborn, nor was it the unabashed greed of Al Franken in thinking he could start at one million a year and work up, nor was it a long and now carefully documented tissue of lies, that put Air America on the air with but a wing and a secular prayer. No, it was perks that did them in! The wanton and continuing abuse of 'car services.' Clearly, if Air America really wanted to be a success all it had to do was get the staff to agree to patronize mass transit en masse. After all, that's part of the liberal creed, isn't it?

    In the end, those responsible for the limping liftoff of Air America continued to do what all good liars do. They parse the meaning of what is is and keep right on lying:

    "[The board] asked Messrs. Cohen and Sorensen to resign and hand over voting control of their shares to Mr. Goodfriend, according to three people familiar with the negotiations.

    "After the meeting, Air America executives examined the company's finances. "When we finally gained access to the bank accounts, we realized they were empty," Mr. Saade says. Mr. Cohen denies the bank accounts were empty although he concedes there wasn't much money left."

    The bottom line? There never was much bottom line to Air America and it will now continue to exist only by the kindness of liberal strangers willing to dump excess cash into the drain from now until the elections, if then. But will the lies continue? Not at all. What we will see will be, as Mr. Franken parses it, just a little exagerration from time to time.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 21, 2004 9:47 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    One Small Step for A Kid, One Giant Gingerbread Space Probe for Mankind


    THERE ARE TIMES WHEN YOU REALLY have to question if NASA is spending its budget wisely.

    Gingerbread Cassini

    "Learn about spacecraft parts and then eat them. Education never tasted so good."

    1. Fill the ice cream cone 2/3 full of cake mix. Bake according to the cake mix instructions, just as for a cupcake.

    2. Place a layer of frosting on top of the “cake.”

    3. Fold the licorice in half and poke the ends into the cake. The licorice should make an inverted V sticking out of the cake. This represents the support structure on the interior of Cassini’s high-gain antenna dish.

    4. Using frosting as glue, place two disk candies around the inside of the top of the ice cream cone. These represent the Sun sensors that tell the spacecraft where the Sun is.

    5. Cut a hole in the ice cream cone right under the cake “antenna.” Insert the chocolate wafer into the cone. Using frosting as glue, place a marshmallow on the end of the chocolate wafer. This represents the magnetometer boom.

    6. Holding the cone with the chocolate wafer pointing to the right, take the candy mint and attach it to the side of the cone that is facing you. Use frosting as glue. This represents the Huygens probe.

    -- SSE: Kids: Paper Models

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 20, 2004 11:06 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    What I Got for Father's Day

    JAMES LILEKS, EAT YOUR SHORTS! They say you can get anything on Ebay, but if that's true I would have preferred one with a dust jacket. "Oh, well, you can't have everything. Where would you keep it?"

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 20, 2004 9:22 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Ronald McDonald's Obesity Spree Ends

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 20, 2004 9:05 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    American Values According To Google

    The things Americans were interested in
    during last month as reflected in Google
    search requests. Compiled by
    Google Press Center: Zeitgeist

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 20, 2004 8:52 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Murdered for Being An American


    THIS WAS PAUL JOHNSON, AN AMERICAN, before he was captured by the enemies of our country and our civilization; an enemy that we are still coddling, still endeavoring to "reason with" at home and abroad, an enemy towards whom many among us would like to extend the full range of benefits and rights given to American citizens.

    This was Paul Johnson. He looks a lot like a lot of us, doesn't he?

    If you can bear to look: Here is what was done to Paul Johnson.

    If you cannot bear to look, I will tell you what the pictures show.

    In the first picture, Paul Johnson's head is supported by a knife lodged in his forehead.

    In the second picture, Paul Johnson's head is held by the hair and dangled over the body.

    In the third picture, Paul Johnson's head has been placed on the small of his back.

    The people who did this, and the nations that harbor them, and the religion that supports and condones them are the things that we contend with now.

    What was done to Paul Johnson would be done to any of us, at any time, with relish and with glee, because we are Americans.

    That's the reason and that is the goal.

    Perhaps it is time we got out of the business of pursuing this war on the retail level.

    I think it is long past time to move to the wholesale level in this particular conflict.

    If you do not, how many Paul Johnson's will it take? A dozen, a hundred, a thousand? A city full?

    Pick your number, because sooner or later your number will be up.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 18, 2004 12:24 PM | Comments (17)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Osama's Webmaster

    A Q&A EXCHANGE from Victor Davis Hanson's Private Papers

    Would the United States make better progress in the War Against Terrorism by de-Islamifying their environment, rather than trying to kill or capture individual hedgehogs?

    Hanson: "Perhaps. I wish we would quit the deference to insane things like "not fighting during Ramadan," or allowing us to be shot from mosques, and simply wage an information campaign against these mullahs: to let the world know of their relatives in America; their bank accounts; their criminal records. The American people would like to know how many children, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren are in our universities whose sires are mullahs in Iran, thugs in the West Bank, or corrupt grandees in the Gulf. That would have enormous value in undermining the pretense that the Islamicists want nothing to do with the West. In fact, they are parasitic on it, and exist for it in a strange, very unhealthy way. Osama's webmaster did not learn his decadent Western craft in the Middle East."

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 18, 2004 11:00 AM | QuickLink: Permalink


    OUR MEDIA MOLES AT THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY have recently sent us the soundtrack for the upcoming commercial featuring Al Gore and some of the remarks he plans to make at the The MoveOn National MeetUp in Boston (Otherwise known as "The Democratic National Convention"). The visuals have been sent back for some retouching but we did get the still above as an attached file.

    The MP3 sound file is at the link below. Here's our transcript:


    Goregar speaks.

    Goregar speaks of the ultimate challange, of untold mystery, of the Kerry candidacy and the Clinton Restoration. Goregar ...speaks ... to you.


    The voice of Goregar speaks of a first, of a .... breakthrough, of a feat that will never again know the same significance. Because Goregar speaks. Goregar is the first and only talking version of Al Gore.


    The mighty words of Goregar thunder echoing throughout the Democratic Party and the message is strong and clear: With the advent of Goregar it is no longer Democrat versus Republican, but Humans versus Monsters.


    Goregar speaks of a whole new dimension of politics, of tantalizing excitement and irresistable appeal, of new electoral vote level that have only previously been imagined. Goregar speaks of supremacy --- of a magic that could be created only by a monster that speaks -- only by a monster with a pulsating , beating spleen that fills and pounds with excitement, that urges bash on with every beat, of a monster that comes alive with each Abu Garhib Polaroid.


    Goregar's words speak of challenge, of a challenge that cannot be denied.


    Hear Goregar now at the place where: Goregar Speaks

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 18, 2004 9:51 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Faultline of the World

    Click to Englarge

    I heard they exploded,
    The underground blast,
    What they say's gonna happen,
    Gonna happen at last,
    That's the way it appears.
    They tell me the fault line
    Runs right through here.

    -- John Hartford

    PERHAPS GEOGRAPHY IS DESTINY AFTER ALL, as the subtext for this otherwise bland caption for a startling image indicates:

    The Sinai Peninsula, located between Africa and Asia, is a result of those two continents pulling apart from each other. Earth's crust is cracking, stretching, and lowering along the two northern branches of the Red Sea, namely the Gulf of Suez, seen here on the west (left), and the Gulf of Aqaba, seen to the east (right).
    -- From NASA's Shuttle Radar Topography Mission

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 18, 2004 6:33 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Inside the Insect Minds

    AMERICANS, BRITONS, FILIPINOS, SOUTH AFRICANS, HINDUS, ITALIANS are all fit to be murdered. "We ask Allah to accept this offering from your hands."

    FROM MEMRI: Special Dispatch Series - No. 731

    The 18th issue of the Al-Qa'ida-identified journal 'Sawt Al-Jihad' included an interview with Fawwaz bin Muhammad Al-Nashami, commander of the Al-Quds Brigade that took responsibility for the May 29 attack at Khobar, Saudi Arabia, in which 22 people were killed. The following are excerpts from the interview:

    The First Attack: 'We Tied the Infidel by One Leg [Behind the Car] -- Everyone Watched the Infidel Being Dragged'

    Sawt Al-Jihad: "How did you begin [the operation]?"

    Al-Nashami: "As soon as we entered, we encountered the car of a Briton, the investment director of the company, whom Allah had sent to his death. He is the one whose mobile phone on the seat of his car, with the blood on it, they kept showing [on television]. We left him in the street.

    "We went out, and drove our car. We had tied the infidel by one leg [behind the car]. We left the company [compound] and met the patrols. The first to arrive was the jeep of a patrol, with one soldier, and we killed him. With the rest we exchanged fire, and we got through....

    "The infidel's clothing was torn to shreds, and he was naked in the street. The street was full of people, as this was during work hours, and everyone watched the infidel being dragged, praise and gratitude be to Allah.

    "When we arrived at one of the bridges, we encountered an ambush of jeeps of the Tawaghit dogs [i.e. Saudi government troops] and the guards of the Americans, and we exchanged fire with them. [2] When we crossed the bridge, the rope [by which the Briton was tied] snapped and the body of the infidel fell in the middle of the intersection, between the four stop signs, and everyone who was stopped at the stop signs saw the infidel on the day that he fell from the top of the bridge....

    The Second Attack: 'We Are Mujahideen, and We Want the Americans… We Shot Him In the Head… We Slit His Throat'

    "...[T]he brothers were wonderfully calm and serene, as if they were on a hike.

    "We entered and found youths from the Arabian Peninsula [i.e. Saudi Arabia] wearing the Aramco uniform. They asked, 'What is going on?' We told them, 'Calm down, don't be afraid, we don't want you. We want only the Americans.'

    "We entered one of the companies' [offices], and found there an American infidel who looked like a director of one of the companies. I went into his office and called him. When he turned to me, I shot him in the head, and his head exploded. We entered another office and found one infidel from South Africa, and our brother Hussein slit his throat. We asked Allah to accept [these acts of


    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 17, 2004 11:29 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    "To Where We Belong"


    In an age when bravery itself is suspect and achievement considered a kind of oppression; when every new technology is hedged around with anticipatory restrictions it is wonderful to know that some men at least would like nothing better than to rise on a column of fire toward the beckoning stars. For every successful flight of this nature slips not only the "surly bonds of earth" but also breaks hidebound modes of thinking. It departs not just from a place but from a time. It takes us not from where we ought to be, but to where we belong.
    -- The Belmont Club on SpaceShipOne's Historic Space Launch Attempt Scheduled for June 21

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 17, 2004 10:38 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Feedback's A Bitch

    .... or, as one of my emails said this morning, "Now, THIS is a good use of technology..."

    After Dave Winer killed off 3,000 blogs by taking them down and redirecting their urls to his own stumbling experiment in audioblogging... a NINE MINUTE JESUS WEPT DAVE WINER BLATHERFEST! *** , I saw it as just another in a long line of cries for help from Dave. And, since Dave's cries for help inevitably come to resemble a large carbuncle festering on your prefrontal lobes, I determined to avoid commenting and thus, hopefully, reduce the size of said carbuncle. .

    Still, like carbuncles, you just can't leave some things alone. Then again, what can one say above Uncle Dave that hasn't been said a million times before? Zero. Nada. Niente. Bubkis.

    Alas, as usual, I lack imagination. Fortunately, others do not. It only took a few days for the audio mixes to show up. : Daily Log: Dave Winer Remix Contest

    Yes, in audioblogging it is true that feedback's a bitch. The best example, so far, is Dan Dickinson's mini-masterpiece "I'm Sorry Dave Winer Remix."

    Another one is Brian Dear's People Just Love to Jump Up and Down.

    Heres my transcription which is itself a remix to the two remixes above:

    My feeling is that people just don't read these days...
    So if you want to present a subtle idea,
    that's just not a good way to do it....

    Formats and protocol is just a deadly combination for me....
    Formats and protocol is just a deadly combination for me....

    But what can I do for people...
    (I'm sorry)
    But what can I do for people...
    (I'm sorry)
    But what can I do for people...
    (I'm sorry)

    I understand that people
    Would like to have their site
    But I couldn't work that out....
    (I'm sorry)
    (I'm sorry)

    People just love to jump up and down
    And people just love to jump up and down
    And basically certain things happen
    And people will jump up and down
    And just accept that....

    It was very clear that like smoking cigarettes
    (Hack..... cough)
    I guess what I'm saying is

    Anyway so that's about it.
    That's about it
    That's about it
    That's about it

    Good night.

    Good night, Dave. Sweet Dreams.

    *** For the sake of your sanity, the admirable Jeneane Sessum has actually transcribed Winer's Lament.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 17, 2004 9:57 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Radiance of the Seas

    Click to englarge

    IT IS ALWAYS FASCINATING to see the steps behind making an amazing illustration. Case point: Kevin Hulsey's stunning cutaway of the Radiance of the Seas. As he modestly states: "Size: 36" @ 350 dpi, 640 mb CMYK File with 35 Layers / Illustration Time: 720 hrs."

    Yes, 720 hours. That would be one month. Solid. 24/7. No breaks.

    If he can put in those kind of hours, you can put in the five minutes it takes to read how it was done. Well worth it.

    Detail from Illustration Above

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 17, 2004 8:57 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Advanced Coffee Making Techniques

    NOTE TO SELF: The coffee would probably improve if I removed yesterday's grounds from the machine before adding fresh beans and pushing the "Grind and Brew" button.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 16, 2004 4:33 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Linkblogging Lite

    One of the Benefits AquaMinds' NoteTaker is that you can make endless notebooks of links from web pages you like. One of the curses of AquaMinds' NoteTaker is that those of us interested in the Structuring of a Linkblog can inflict these stacks of notes on our readers. Here's my stack from today.

    Tentacles, Suckers and Slime, Oh My!: New Zealand Sea Creature: Basking Shark or Plesiosaur? -- or simply a chance for an extremely large portion of deep-friend calimari?

    Testosterone Moments: Learn the truth about the Ferrari Enzo and compare it to the truth about the Dodge Ram SRT-10 at Robert Farago's "The Truth About Cars," home of the best hands-on automobile reviews on the web.

    Won't Get Fooled Again: If you've ever been a victim of the many "Crimes of Persuasion" such as Schemes, Scams, Fraud ( investment fraud, consumer rip-offs, senior scams, telemarketing fraud, pyramid schemes, elderly victims, internet email scams, Nigerian fraud, swindles, shonks ). this site will probably have your number.

    Saint Typo is Ours. Who is yours? Choose one or more of The Six Patron Saints of Graphic Design

    Buddhism and Christianity come together in this classic Zen Koan. "Koan" -- as in One Hand Clapping.

    Two, Two, Two Things Are One: The high concept here is that all you need to know about anything can essentially be known if you know The Two Things that are essential to know.

    Get a Whole New Look Out of That Old Black Tee-Shirt: "I'll be your Ninja tonight!"

    Now That You've Given Up Cigars you are probably wondering what to do with that very expensive humidor you got just before the IPO in 1999. Wonder no more is "at your server" [sic]. And if you happen to come across an old Underwood Typewriter here's your chance to get many more years of functionality out of it.

    Photographs Worth Checking Out include AK47's Boxing Boys and Suburban Dreams as well as Barbara Coles's work made by bringing togther a model, diaphenous clothing, a swimming pool and a Polaroid.

    Our Number One Pick for Dumb Comic Book Covers is over on the side bar. But there are still eleven choices left right here.

    Dead Last on Our Amazon Wish List would have to be The Harvard Design School Guide to Shopping.

    Remember Those Revell Airplane Models you were so proud of putting together when you were a kid? One look at Young Park's aluminum airplane models and you'll be glad you blew them up with cherry bombs and airplane glue.

    Help for Psychotic Closets is at Hand via Barbra Horowitz's "closet therapy." She's located in, of course, the one place where people have more money and closets than time -- Los Angeles. Her method: "edit, purge, style." We're not sure what goes on during the "purge" phase.

    We Could Go On, but we're becoming nervous about the whining and grinding noise that keeps coming out of our newly acquired : SimpleTech Hard Drive . Perhaps backing thing up in odd numbered years isn't really that good a plan. Then again, we bought this drive for BackUps. Not thinking we'd need to backup the backup.

    On the other hand, a major hard-disk failure would be strangely liberating. It would give us more time to pursue our new sport of choice: "monkeyfishing " "n. to catch fish by charging water with an electric current then netting the stunned or panicked fish which rise to the surface." There's a very old and very bad joke associated with this, but we will spare you.

    For now.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 15, 2004 3:24 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Saturn: Now and Then

    TWO VIEWS FROM 2004 AND 1655:

    Saturn as seen by Cassini

    "As Cassini coasts into the final month of its nearly seven-year trek, the serene majesty of its destination looms ahead. The spacecraft's cameras are functioning beautifully and continue to return stunning views from Cassini's position, 1.2 billion kilometers (750 million miles) from Earth and now 15.7 million kilometers (9.8 million miles) from Saturn."

    Saturn as seen by Galileo

    "Galileo Galilei. Il Saggiatore nel quale con bilancia esquisita, e giusta siponderano le cose contenuto nella libra astronimica, e filosoficadi Lotario Sarsi Sigensano, scritto in forma di lettera, all%u2019 illustrissimo, e reuerendissimo Monsig. D. Virginio Cesarini Accademico Linceo, maestro di camera di n.s. dal signor Galileo Galilei . . . Bologna : Per gli H. H. del Dozza, 1655."

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 15, 2004 11:45 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    When 3,000 Dead is Still Not Enough to Say "Enough"

    HANSON HINTS THAT AMERICA WILL REQUIRE A GREATER SACRIFICE THAN 9-11 to wake up in: Feeding the Minotaur --Our strange relationship with the terrorists continues.

    Nearly three years after 9/11 we are in the strangest of all paradoxes: a war against fascists that we can easily win but are clearly not ready to fully wage. We have the best 500,000 soldiers in the history of civilization, a resolute president, and an informed citizenry that has already received a terrible preemptive blow that killed thousands.

    Yet what a human comedy it has now all become.

    The billionaire capitalist George Soros -- who grew fabulously wealthy through cold and calculating currency speculation, helping to break many a bank and its poor depositors -- now makes the moral equation between 9/11 and Abu Ghraib. For this ethicist and meticulous accountant, 3,000 murdered in a time of peace are the same as some prisoners abused by renegade soldiers in a time of war.

    Recently in the New York Times I read two articles about the supposedly new irrational insensitivity toward Muslims and saw an ad for a book detailing how the West "constructed" and exaggerated the Islamic menace %u2014 even as the same paper ran a quieter story about a state-sponsored cleric in Saudi Arabia's carefully expounding on the conditions under which Muslims can desecrate the bodies of murdered infidels.

    Aristocratic and very wealthy Democrats -- Al Gore, Ted Kennedy, Howard Dean, and John Kerry -- employ the language of conspiracy to assure us that we had no reason to fight Saddam Hussein. "Lies," "worst," and " betrayed" are the vocabulary of their daily attacks. A jester in stripes like Michael Moore, who cannot tell the truth, is now an artistic icon -- precisely and only because of his own hatred of the president and the inconvenient idea that we are really at war. Our diplomats court the Arab League, which snores when Russians and Sudanese kill hundreds of thousands of Muslims but shrieks when we remove those who kill even more of their own. And a depopulating, entitlement-expanding Europe believes an American president, not bin Laden, is the greatest threat to world peace. Russia, the slayer of tens of thousands of Muslim Chechans and a big-time profiteer from Baathist loot, lectures the United States on its insensitivity to the new democracy in Baghdad.

    Meanwhile, in Europe, Iraq, and the rest of the Middle East, we see the same old bloodcurdling threats, the horrific videos, the bombings, the obligatory pause, the faux negotiations, the lies %u2014 and then, of course, the bloodcurdling threats, the horrific videos, the bombings...

    No, bin Laden is quite sane -- but lately I have grown more worried that we are not.

    Pointer from: The Countertop Chronicles

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 15, 2004 10:28 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Spinsanity Comes to Slate

    SPINSANITY HAS A FISH, BARREL, BANG MOMENT with Slate's Bushisms and the new, cynical, Kerryisms features today. But for all the truth in the item, there's zero chance that the Slatoids involved will back-off. There's simply too much prestige and extra pocket change lurking in the spin-offs from these features to dissuade these two journalistic insects "professionals" from their daily gnaw at the country.

    It doesn't matter that they are wrong, and have been shown consistently to be wrong over the years, what matters is that they are part of the "knowledge worker" elite side of the Elite Civil War admirably sketched out today by David Brooks at the Times in : Bitter at the Top:

    [E]very society has two aristocracies. The members of the aristocracy of mind produce ideas, and pass along knowledge. The members of the aristocracy of money produce products and manage organizations. In our society these two groups happen to be engaged in a bitter conflict about everything from S.U.V.'s to presidents. You can't understand the current bitter political polarization without appreciating how it is inflamed or even driven by the civil war within the educated class.

    Slate's Saletan and Weisberg are members of the first group and don't care if they are right, they just want to win points from their peers. And, of course, they also want the deep cover of "Objectivity and Fairness" while they are at it. That's the primary reason for floating the Kerryism feature; not to make fun of Kerry -- how funny can this man be, really? -- but to provide deniability for the long-running mockery of Bush that has been letting Saletan and Weisberg dine out on plaudits from his pals and advances from book publishers.

    Like the applause for the endless and ever growing falsehoods of Michael Moore, truth is not the issue here. The issue is simply, "Can this misquotation


    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 15, 2004 9:32 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    God Wins on a Technicality

    THE APT HEADLINE FROM THE AP READS: Court Allows 'Under God' on Technicality, but it is obvious that this will not stand and we will be back in this endless loop as quickly as suits can be filed.

    I suggest we just cut to the chase and save everyone the hassle. Let's just have God give up. That's right, He should just give up on this whole sorry nation that feels, at this point in history, compelled to indulge it's fat and overfed legal eagles with debates such as this. Instead, we can simply insitute a new pledge that will give the haters of God what they really desire: A pledge that means so little that it means, well, everything.

    After all, removing God from the Pledge is only the first step to getting rid of the Pledge altogether.

    When this sad and mindless issue took over the courts of this country last year, I suggested the following Way-New Pledge. I put it to you again:

    Just in case they decide that God has no little desk in the classrooms of America any longer, here's a new version of The Pledge of Maybe that we published last July:
    To: The Central Committee to Make America Nice Instead of Evil
    From: Newspeak Central
    Re: The Way Cool New Pledge

    Dudes,Dudettes, and Others Between Genders,

    At your command Newspeak Central has reviewed the "old and in the way" Pledge of Allegiance. After six months of multicultural diversity focus groups this is the new one. We hope you give us hugs for it.

    Original Bad Pledge:
    "I pledge allegiance to the Flag
    of the United States of America,
    and to the Republic for which it stands:
    one Nation under God, indivisible,
    With Liberty and Justice for all.

    Stinky, right? Who can say that with a straight face? Nobody cool, that's for sure. (Our new version is something MTV could make a video of once Justin Timberlake records it.)

    Here's our edit and our thinking:
    "I "
    [ Too narcissistic -- Alter to "One may or may not"]

    "pledge" [ Too binding, implies a commitment to something no matter what may happen to it -- Alter to "hereby loan on a revocable basis"]

    "allegiance" [Just far too antiquated a notion for today's fast time. Change to: "a smidgen of one's attention"]

    "to the Flag" [ The Flag? You've got to be kidding. No symbols drenched in blood, betrayal, slavery, corporate greed, unbridled lust of global domination allowed. Let's change it to "to the rainbow of diversity"]

    "of the United States of America," [ No way! We are not really citizens of the USA. We're citizens of the, dare we say it? United Cool Nations! Strike and replace with "of the United Cool Places of One World of Really Well Meaning Persons" "Nations" had to go. See below.]

    "and to the Republic" [Scratch that. It was the Republican form of government that got Bush elected. The Republic is so over. We'll go for Direct Democracy where we all vote on


    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 15, 2004 8:58 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Signs That This Blogging Thing Is Catching On


    Seen at: Church Signs

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 14, 2004 7:15 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    For Ten Bucks the Whole Castro Thing Could Have Been Avoided

    Click to enlarge

    Letter from Fidel Castro, as a young student, to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1940

    "If you like, give me a ten dollars bill american, in the letter, because never, I have not seen a ten dollars bill green american and I would like to have one of them.

    My address is:
    Sr. Fidel Castro
    Colegio de Delores
    Santiago de Cuba
    Oriente Cuba"

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 13, 2004 12:34 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The 80th Airborne: Bush From Above


    Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush comes in for a landing after performing a tandem parachute jump with Army Golden Knight Sgt. Bryan Schnell, on the grounds of the Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas June 13, 2004. It was the second of two tandem jumps Bush made on Sunday to celebrate his 80th birthday
    -- Yahoo! News

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 13, 2004 12:22 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Very Model of the Metaphor
    The essential paradigm of cyberspace is creating partially situated identities out of actual or potential social reality in terms of canonical forms of human contact, thus renormalizing the phenomenology of narrative space and requiring the naturalization of the intersubjective cognitive strategy, and thereby resolving the dialectics of metaphorical thoughts, each problematic to the other, collectively redefining and reifying the paradigm of the parable of the model of the metaphor.

    -- Chip Morningstar , How to Deconstruct Almost Anything

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 13, 2004 11:04 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Born to Mow

    The Curmudgeon and his "Snapper"

    WHAT MAKES AMERICA GREAT? Aside from the big things which we argue about endlessly, it strikes me the country's greatness is more often seen in the aggregate of little things. We each have our list, but for Francis W. Porretto today it seems to be cup holders on lawn tractors. He's got a point.

    Your Curmudgeon recently found himself "in the chips" sufficiently to indulge in a new lawn tractor. His old Snapper tractor isn't that old -- nine years -- but it's been losing power, which has made cutting his acre of grass more irritating than it ought to be, especially in the spring fast-growth season. Also, it vibrates enough that an hour on it leaves unpleasant after-effects on your Curmudgeon's balance, hearing, vision and grip. So a few weeks ago, he sallied forth and purchased a new unit: a 22 horsepower Cub Cadet 1022, with a 46 inch mower deck.

    Cub has been spoken of as the Cadillac of consumer grade lawn tractors. After a couple of weeks of using this one, it's easy to see why. The frame absorbs nearly all the vibration produced by the engine, transmission and mower blades. The overall design is elegant; everything is easily accessible, both for use and for maintenance. The 22 horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine is equal to any need a noncommercial user might face. The wide deck has reduced the cutting time here at the Fortress of Crankitude from an hour and a half to about forty-five minutes. Last but not least, the lawn looks better, which might just be about the sharpness of new blades, though your Curmudgeon thinks not.

    But let us not pass over the feature that has the C. S. O. hypnotized: the cup holder.

    Cars have had cup holders for half of forever, but lawn tractors? Nevertheless. Cub left a large circular dimple in a convenient place, so that the homeowner can bring his Mai Tai or Pina Colada with him on his journey across his lawn. Not that your Curmudgeon would ever do such a thing. Never drink and mow: you might hit a rock and spill your drink!

    If you think this is silly and frivolous, you have never had a large lawn on your To Do list.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 13, 2004 10:09 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    John Muir on Mt. Ritter

    After scanning its face again and again,
    I began to scale it, picking my holds
    With intense caution. About half-way
    To the top, I was suddenly brought to
    A dead stop, with arms outspread
    Clinging close to the face of the rock
    Unable to move hand or foot
    Either up or down. My doom
    Appeared fixed. I MUST fall.
    There would be a moment of
    Bewilderment, and then,
    A lifeless rumble down the cliff
    To the glacier below.
    My mind seemed to fill with a
    Stifling smoke. This terrible eclipse
    Lasted only a moment, when life blazed
    Forth again with preternatural clearness.
    I seemed suddenly to become possessed
    Of a new sense. My trembling muscles
    Became firm again, every rift and flaw in
    The rock was seen as through a microscope,
    My limbs moved with a positiveness and precision
    With which I seemed to have
    Nothing at all to do.

    -- Gary Snyder

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 12, 2004 10:26 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    2004 SUV Models Announced

    By MasterFarker cranberryzero@yahoocom.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 12, 2004 8:53 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Dennis the Google Doodler

    Transit of Venus

    DENNIS HWANG HAS DECLOAKED HIMSELF as the artist in virtual residence on the hompage of Google: Oodles of Doodles:

    My name is Dennis, and I'm the guy who draws the Google doodles. But the doodle tradition started here before I did. The first doodle was produced by (who else?) Larry and Sergey, who, when they attended the Burning Man festival in summer 1999, put a little stick figure on the home page logo in case the site crashed and someone wanted to know why nobody was answering the phone. By the time I began an internship here in the summer of 2000, the company was producing doodles on a regular basis. At the time I was a Stanford undergrad majoring in art and computer science, and, although I hadn't been hired to do anything remotely related to logo design, I eventually stumbled into my first doodle gig (Bastille Day, July 2000, for which I did a fairly boring flag motif).
    Pointer @ growabrain

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 12, 2004 6:43 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    When "Product Placement" Goes Too Far

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 12, 2004 8:27 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    A Thing Called "Slicer"


    IT DOESN'T HAVE THE PLOT OR PUNCH OF "FINDING NEMO," but RNA Interference Animated will still prove to be one of the more fascinating depictions of cutting edge genetic visualization.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 11, 2004 1:40 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Finishing Touches


    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 11, 2004 11:41 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Okay, Patriotic Break's Over, Everybody Back to Prison

    IT SEEMS LIKE ONLY YESTERDAY DAN RATHER AND HIS ILK were whining about the overbearing coverage of Ronald Reagan. Wait a minute, it was yesterday. But now it seems we can get back to our media's regularly scheduled fornication festival -- "What Makes America Rotten!"

    Today's hot, steaming helping "the badness that is our country" comes to you via the Washington Posts' front page. It's about dogs and the fact that they are scary. Who knew? And 'authorized' scary dogs at that: Use of Dogs to Scare Prisoners Was Authorized ( (Where's the author of "No Bad Dogs" when terrorists need him, I ask you?)

    I'm really pleased to see that the Post and other major media have not been taken too far off their game in the last week. So far I score it:

    Major Media Attention on the Death of Ronald Reagan: 1 week.
    Major Media Attention on scuzzy Iraq Prison Abuse: 6 weeks and counting.

    It's nice to see that these guardians of "the truth," these "professionals," are continuing to pound the citizens of America over the head with their self-inflated poo-poo cushions without the least bit of shame. Yes, they've created a state with their unswerving devotion to the 'public's right to know, to know, to know, to know, to know,' in which we can all say "Two months ago I could not spell 'Abu Gharib,' now I are one."

    It's already the case that the onanistic frenzy over Abu Gharib has reduced at least 60% of sentient Americans to the state of "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." I wonder what the Las Vegas line is on when the media will so saturate the population that 100% would sooner fire one full clip from a nail gun into their foreheads than hear "Abu Gharib" one more time.

    I know I've locked all my power tools up and mailed the key to my maiden aunt in Heaven.

    Today's Pew Study on Public Attitudes Towards the Media pretty clearly shows that traditional media such as the Washington Post and the Network News are heading towards the boneyard of failed businesses at something approaching Warp One. I'm sure they're all sitting around wondering "Why?"

    Nope. I take that back. It's 10 AM here. They're probably all ordering broiled fish, a small salad, and a daring wine spritzer at lunch on the expense account in Washington and New York just about now.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 11, 2004 9:48 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    What He Said


    Now, I could have been a doctor
    Helping the sick
    And I could have been a lawyer
    But you know that ain't my stick
    'coz I feel so bad
    If a patient didn't do well
    And I feel just as bad
    To leave a client in jail

    And that is why
    That's why I chose
    I chose to sing the blues

    Now a man has a lot
    That he could present
    Just to think I could have been
    But I can't understand
    What politicians say
    So I wanna talk to you
    In my own little way

    And that is why (that is why)
    That's why I chose (that's why I chose)
    I chose to sing the blues

    -- Ray Charles, "I Choose to Sing the Blues

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 10, 2004 5:14 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Way of NoteTakerEctoBlogging

    Say it three times swiftly: "NoteTakerEctoBloggingNoteTakerEctoBloggingNoteTakerEctoBlogging"

    KEVIN SHERIDAN goes to the top of my list for living treasures of the internet with his masterful tutorial on blogging via NoteTaker and Ecto:

    But what if blogging could be pursued with a virtual notebook? A notebook that has the power to clip and save items from the Internet? A notebook that allows content searchs of itself? A notebook that could be structured to mirror the organiztion of the user's weblog? A notebook with entries that are transformed into blog postings with the click of a mouse?

    -- Notetaker Blogging

    If you're working with a Mac, Sheridan's tutorial plus AquaMinds' NoteTaker - Product (best Mac Note Software Ever) and the brilliant Ecto , will change your life. It may even enable you to get one.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 10, 2004 3:10 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    YaWoof! Dog Speaks German


    THE WEB STOOD UP on its hindlegs and barked today with the "revelation" that dogs understand speech:

    German researchers have found a border collie named Rico who understands more than 200 words and can learn new ones as quickly as many children.
    -- Dogs Understand Commands
    Why a dog named "Rico" would choose to learn German is beyond us. Perhaps it has something to do with a dog's desire to obey orders.

    The research into Rico's talents evidently took years and consumed God knows how many milkbones.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 10, 2004 12:22 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Dumb Pencil


    -- Pencil Inventions

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 10, 2004 12:01 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Why I Love the Internet


    OKAY, OKAY, Okay, so call me an old softy, but I have to think that Smoove the Worm , starring Natalie "Gnat" Lileks, is simply the best movie you can see in the next two minutes.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 10, 2004 10:21 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Passing of a President, 1865

    Harpers Magazine, June 1865, regarding the The Death of Lincoln:

    "Men and papers who had opposed his policy and vilified him personally, now vied with his adherents and friends in lauding the rare wisdom and goodness which marked his conduct and character."

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 9, 2004 6:05 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    One Year Old Today

    We note in passing that American Digest is now at the one year mark.

    For those interested in numbers, this is article # 1,590 (more or less).

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 9, 2004 4:12 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Ronald Reagan's Last Ride


    THIS WEEK, THE BODY OF RONALD REAGAN will be flown to Washington for a state funeral. Following the ceremonies, the body will be returned to Caifornia. I imagine it has already been discussed and decided one way or the other, but speaking only for myself, I think it would be a fine gesture if Reagan travelled west on Air Force One.

    " Today and tomorrow, Mr. Reagan will lie in repose in the main lobby of his library in Simi Valley, Calif. He will then be flown to Washington with his family aboard the plane usually used as Air Force One. "
    -- Reagan's state funeral

    We note that for an airplane to be officially designated as "Air Force One," the current President of the United States must be aboard.

    UPDATE: Reagan Makes First, Last Flight in Jet He Ordered

    WASHINGTON, June 10, 2004 : The blue-and-white presidential jet that brought the flag-draped coffin of former President Ronald Reagan to Andrews Air Force Base, Md., on June 9 is an aircraft he ordered before he left office - but this was his first ride in it.

    Reagan ordered two identical Boeing 747s to replace the aging presidential Boeing 707s he traveled in as president. First lady Nancy Reagan designed the interior decor of the planes in a style reminiscent of the desert Southwest.

    One plane was delivered shortly after Reagan left office. President George H.W. Bush, in September 1990, was the first leader to fly in one of the new planes.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 8, 2004 4:12 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Elements of a State Funeral


    IT HAS BEEN MORE THAN 30 YEARS SINCE THE LAST STATE FUNERAL, for Lyndon Johnson in 1973. The ritual that will unfold for Ronald Reagan on Thursday will be something, God willing, that we are unlikely to see repeated for some time. It will be marked by dignity, solemnity, and many deeply moving moments. For those who do not remember the Kennedy or Johnson state funerals, here are some of the aspects required by law and tradition.

    Repose - The remains lie in one or more of the selected places for public viewing (e.g. church, presidential library or museum). This also includes appropriate arrival and departure ceremonies.

    Lying in State - The remains lie overnight in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol. Appropriate arrival and departure ceremonies are included.

    Main Funeral Procession - Begins at the Capitol and moves west along Constitution Avenue.

    Casket Transfer - At 16th Street and Constitution Avenue, the remains are transferred from a caisson to a hearse for movement to Washington National Cathedral.

    Composition of Main Funeral Procession (in order of march):

    Police escort

    Troops, including service bands

    Special honor guard
    Honorary pallbearers
    National colors
    Armed Forces body bearers
    Presidential colors
    Caparisoned horse

    As a past commander in chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, former presidents are afforded specific military honors. In accordance with regulation and tradition, these honors include:

    Military Escort For The Immediate Family - The commanding general for the U.S. Army Military District of Washington serves as the military escort for the former president's immediate family from the time of the official announcement of the death until burial. Maj. Gen. Galen B. Jackman is the MDW commanding general and will serve in this capacity.

    Guard Of Honor - An armed forces element that provides a ceremonial presence when the former president lies in repose or state. Guard of Honor members are based in Washington, D.C., and belong to ceremonial detachments for the Army, Marine, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.

    Armed Forces Body Bearers - A nine-person detail that carries the casket during a state funeral.

    21-Gun Salute - A cannon salute of 21 rounds is a traditional military honor for a head of state. During a state funeral, the salute is fired with five-second intervals between rounds.

    Military Clergy - A military chaplain from one of the services is assigned to assist the former president's immediate family.

    Flag-Draped Casket - All military veterans are entitled to have the American flag draped over their casket. The president, as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, is also entitled to this honor.

    Caisson - The Old Guard Caisson Platoon of the Army's 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment will transport the remains during the funeral procession in Washington, D.C. The caisson consists of six horses of the same color, three riders, and a section chief mounted on a separate horse. The caisson itself is a converted transport wagon for a 75mm cannon.

    The Caparisoned Horse - A riderless horse that follows the caisson. A pair of boots are reversed in the stirrups of the empty saddle to symbolize that the warrior will never ride again.

    Military Band - A military band will play appropriate music in honor of the former president during each phase of the funeral. Some traditional selections include:

    Ruffles And Flourishes - Ruffles are played on drums and flourishes on bugles. They are sounded together, once for each star of the general officer being honored or according to the title or office held. Four ruffles and flourishes are the highest honor and are played for presidents.

    Hail To The Chief - Traditional musical honors played for the president of the United States.

    Taps - A bugle call sounded over the grave of a service member that dates back to the Civil War.

    Firing Three Volleys Over A Grave - This practice has its origin in the old custom of halting the fighting to remove the dead from the battlefield. Once the deceased troops were removed, three rifle volleys were fired as a signal that the battle could resume. A military rifle party traditionally fires the volleys. The fact that the firing party consists of seven service members firing three volleys does not constitute a 21-gun salute.

    Excerpted from: State Funeral Steeped In Tradition

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 8, 2004 10:44 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    It Takes A Village of Fanatics

    ORSON SCOTT CARD DISECTS HIS LOCAL NEWSPAPER and notices, surprise, why all the news bias just repeats itself:

    In every case of bias I just cited, the writers would almost certainly be outraged at my accusation that they were doing anything other than reporting the facts as clearly and fairly as possible.

    It doesn't occur to them that they are biased because they live in a box filled with people who share exactly the same bias.

    But that's how we human beings create our working definition of "sanity" -- someone who shares the same world view as his neighbors is "sane," and those who don"t are crazy.

    The Left-wing news media live in a tiny village of people who all think (or pretend to think) exactly alike. Therefore, to them any reporter or media outlet that rejects their premises must be insane or dishonest, and instead of seeking to refute them with actual evidence, they merely call them names and accuse them of venal motives....

    What makes the liberal bias in the mainstream media so pernicious is that they deny that they're biased and insist that their twisted version of events is "reality," and anyone who disagrees with them is either mentally or morally suspect.

    In other words, they're fanatics. And, like all good fanatics, they're utterly convinced that they're in sole possession of virtue and truth.

    -- From: The Fanatics Who Tell Us the News

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 7, 2004 9:33 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Eulogy


    THERE WILL BE A PLETHORA OF EULOGIES TODAY and in the coming weeks, but Peggy Noonan's is really all you need to know:

    He was dying for years and the day came and somehow it came as a blow. Not a loss but a blow. How could this be? Maybe we were all of us more loyal to him, and to the meaning of his life, than we quite meant to be.

    And maybe it's more.

    This was a life with size. It had heft, and meaning. And I am thinking of what Stephen Vincent Benet, a writer whom he quoted, wrote on the death of his friend Scott Fitzgerald. "You can take off your hats now, gentlemen, and I think perhaps you'd better."

    Ronald Reagan was not unappreciated at the end, far from it. But he was at the beginning.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 7, 2004 7:57 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    "I appealed to your best hopes...."
    President Ronald Reagan.jpg
    "Whatever else history may say about me when I'm gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears: to your confidence rather than your doubts. My dream is that you will travel the road ahead with liberty's lamp guiding your steps and opportunity's arm steadying your way."

    -- President Ronald Reagan, 1992

    The spirit of Ronald Reagan, released from the prison of his body,
    this day, 2004.

    "I have fought a good fight,
    I have finished my course,
    I have kept the faith."

    -- Timothy 2:4:7

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 5, 2004 2:53 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Not Camelot, but Hamlet

    "Consider the following hypothetical situation. In September 2005, the president is informed by his CIA director that they have concluded that there is a one in two chance that North Korea will transfer five nuclear bombs to Osama bin Laden within the next month, and that, after the transfer, despite our best efforts, the CIA judges that it is more likely than not that bin Laden will succeed in detonating at least one of them in a major American city, resulting in 1 million to 3 million deaths. Should the president consider taking pre-emptive military action? And let's assume that the president is named John Kerry." --Tony Blankley


    To pre-empt or not to pre-empt:
    that is position paper I must commission.

    Whether tis enhancing for America to suffer
    The fiery loss of Philly or Boston,
    Or to deep fry Syria and Korea
    And by one MIRV strike end them,
    Is to me a serious question
    Worthy of endless reflection
    While the bombs fall in our direction
    Or are snuck in without detection.
    But hold, I shall rap not for I be white.

    To prevaricate, to procrastinate;
    No more; and by a procrastination to say we dither and extend
    The conference, the committee,
    And the thousand congressional quagmires
    That government is heir to, tis a consummation
    Devoutly to be wish'd.

    To waffle, to straddle,
    To flip perchance to flop:
    Ay, there's my nub.
    For in that flip what flops may come
    When three million Americans have shuffled off this mortal coil,
    Must give the Stock Market pause:

    Where's the respect I'm due for wooing France,
    For handing back Iraq back to terrorists?
    Have not I turned my tail enough to these mortal enemies
    Hoping in Kofi and Chirac to keep them calm?

    Why now do they come to kill us in our beds
    When I to the entire Arab League
    Have made apologies, have worshiped Allah,
    And wept the larger tears than Bill,
    And taken from our Pentagon the dough
    To buy even one measly clip?

    Why now do they whip us with a bright Islamic Bomb
    In our fair city? Why do they say that all our law
    Shall be but the law of their harsh Prophet, Allah,
    (Blessed be his name in my White House)?

    Have I not converted with one Executive Order
    The National Cathedral into Mosque?

    Must I with my bodkin bare look on while all our land
    Cowers or converts to the enemies whose caves
    Befuddled all our brass?

    I, who sent our armies home to harsh defeat
    And mustered out all men
    And kept the girls alone for they looked nice in uniform.
    Oh, I must be the Princely President of Peace at Any Price.
    It was the promise made to the mighty MoveOn.

    Thus doth my conscience make cowards of us all
    And what once was our hue of resolution stern
    Now is sicklied o'er with my pale cast of thought
    That enterprises of great pitch and moment
    With my sallow glance are turned to UN pleasing
    And lose the name of action and gain the name of shame

    -- Soft me now!
    The fair Teresa! Nymph, in thy cash flow
    Be all my debts paid off. We shall away
    In Air Force One to France while those
    Who put me here shall in their own blood drown.

    Tomorrow will be time enough for policy.

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 4, 2004 1:20 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Left at Laguna Beach

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 2, 2004 3:04 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink


    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 2, 2004 2:56 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Big Pancake

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 2, 2004 2:53 PM | QuickLink: Permalink


    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 2, 2004 2:13 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Avalon Dawn

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 2, 2004 2:09 PM | QuickLink: Permalink

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 2, 2004 2:06 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Beach Comber


    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 2, 2004 2:04 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    At the Beach

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 2, 2004 2:02 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Koi Dreams

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 2, 2004 1:50 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Sign of the Times

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 2, 2004 1:46 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Why They Hate Us #12,435

    Kaliber10000 :. Wulffmorgenthaler

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 1, 2004 6:32 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Just Because. That's Why.
    But the older I get the more I add to my personal list of things you just do, because you're supposed to. You dress up for church. You wear nice clothes on the airplane. You don't swear in public. You don't kick dogs. You fly the flag on Memorial Day and the Fourth. Is this so hard?
    -- James Lileks, Writer

    Posted by Vanderleun Jun 1, 2004 8:10 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
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