Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun

Mass Distractions

If We Believed in Omens.... Heaven's Gate Opens

Celestial Phenomenon Over Nuremberg, April 14th, 1561

In the morning of April 14, 1561, at daybreak, between 4 and 5 a.m.,

a dreadful apparition occurred on the sun, and then this was seen in the city, before the gates and in the country – by many men and women.

At first there appeared in the middle of the sun two blood-red semi-circular arcs, just like the moon in its last quarter. And in the sun, above and below and on both sides, the color was blood, there stood a round ball of partly dull, partly black ferrous color.

Likewise there stood on both sides and as a torus about the sun such blood-red ones and other balls in large number, about three in a line and four in a square, also some alone.

In between these globes there were visible a few blood-red crosses, between which there were blood-red strips, becoming thicker to the rear and in the front malleable like the rods of reed-grass, which were intermingled, among them two big rods, one on the right, the other to the left, and within the small and big rods there were three, also four and more globes.

These all started to fight among themselves, so that the globes, which were first in the sun, flew out to the ones standing on both sides, thereafter, the globes standing outside the sun, in the small and large rods, flew into the sun. Besides the globes flew back and forth among themselves and fought vehemently with each other for over an hour.

And when the conflict in and again out of the sun was most intense, they became fatigued to such an extent that they all, as said above, fell from the sun down upon the earth ‘as if they all burned’ and they then wasted away on the earth with immense smoke.

After all this there was something like a black spear, very long and thick, sighted; the shaft pointed to the east, the point pointed west.

Whatever such signs mean, God alone knows.

Although we have seen, shortly one after another, many kinds of signs on the heaven, which are sent to us by the almighty God, to bring us to repentance, we still are, unfortunately, so ungrateful that we despise such high signs and miracles of God.

Or we speak of them with ridicule and discard them to the wind, in order that God may send us a frightening punishment on account of our ungratefulness.

After all, the God-fearing will by no means discard these signs, but will take it to heart as a warning of their merciful Father in heaven, will mend their lives and faithfully beg God, that He may avert His wrath, including the well-deserved punishment, on us, so that we may temporarily here and perpetually there, live as his children.

For it, may God grant us his help, Amen.

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Apr 14, 2016 9:05 AM |  Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Notes from the Underground 7


The Silent Crisis | Belmont

The sudden awareness that enemy is ruthless and armed, while the population is largely unarmed and vulnerablecan set one's gizzards to churning. It will prove impossible to oppose the Jihad without questioning the Western political orthodoxy.

This duality explains why resistance to Syrian refugee resettlement in America has taken the form of a 'revolt' against Barack Obama. "Governors across the country are publicly rejecting President Obama's plan to relocate Syrian refugees." There's a growing realization that the Jihadi threat in part rests upon a destructive political agenda in the West which enables it, nurtures it and spreads it because in some perverse way it helps those same Western political forces keep power.

Are Christianity and Science Incompatible? |

The idea of miracles -- far from undermining science -- implicitly assumes that there is a natural order to the universe, albeit one which from time to time is interrupted. Jesus' resurrection from the dead is more impressive because this one event, out of billions of biological phenomena, transgresses the laws of biology. A miracle would not be a miracle if there were no natural laws, or if the human mind could not be relied upon to understand them.

Give Hate a Chance

A Muslim just blew herself up during a raid. The Parisian people I met would blame the police for her death. “Let it be,” as the Beatles say.

I’m not kidding. At one of the memorials, I heard dozens of young people singing “Give Peace a Chance” together. They were also singing Top 40 ballads from the likes of John Legend. They smoked pot and took selfies and provided meaningless gifts to the dead like a Jim Morrison flag with the eyes painted black. Can we have just one hate crime, please? Can one skinhead throw a brick through one window? Can France take a break from pleading and singing and be irrational just for a day?

No-go & safe zones : On this planet, there are no permanent “safe zones,” for Catholics or others of the Christian persuasion. Or anyone.

The idea of retiring from the world, to the monastery or the hermitage, has, approximately, nothing to do with the “no-go” and safe zones demanded by Muslim psychopaths and campus liberals. Those a little acquainted with history will know there is no mountain so high, no desert so wide, to keep off the Devil. He is familiar with our earthly geography, and has that spirit of enterprise that progressive folk so honour. He’s comin’ ta get ya, and only those already got will fail to discern his approach.

Is Your Kid a Weirdo? :America is in the grip of a crisis, namely a shortage of normal people.

Evidence indicates that the population of kooks and freaks is rapidly increasing, and there are simply not enough sane people to keep the weirdos under control. Especially among the under-30 demographic, the United States is struggling to cope with the proliferation of dangerous perverts, drug addicts, psychotics and Ivy League liberal arts majors....

G.K. Chesterton: “My attitude toward progress has passed from antagonism to boredom. I have long ceased to argue with people who prefer Thursday to Wednesday because it is Thursday.”

Why Tom Wolfe is the most important writer of the twenty-first century.

I’ve stopped counting the number of times over the last year that I thought I was living in a Wolfe book. The hysteria and riots provoked by the police killing of Michael Brown, who never said, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” is a replay of Bonfire of the Vanities, published in 1987. The debate over migration, ethnicity, assimilation, and identity roiling the presidential primary was foreshadowed in 2012’s Back to Blood. The spectacle of a television star facing manslaughter charges who announces he’s become a woman—then being lauded for his courage while he says the hardest part of his new gender is “figuring out what to wear”—well, the absurdity of that one is rather without precedent. But no doubt Wolfe agrees that Caitlyn Jenner is great fun.

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Nov 22, 2015 2:03 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Gelded Skies: Here's How It's Going to Happen


Sooner or later, one or more insane Muslim jihadists are going to figure out how to defeat an airport security system at one or more of the hundreds of airports sending flights into the country or inside the country itself.

Once they get on board one or more planes, they will succeed in blowing them out of the sky causing hundreds of innocent deaths. If they are really lucky they will manage to detonate their bombs over a city causing hundreds of more deaths on the ground below.

The gelded child who styles himself as a president will make mewling noises on and off for a week or so, and then will go on a stress induced golfing vacation. The congress will be predictably outraged. There will be funerals and a lot of TV, newspaper, and magazine coverage of the "missing."

Flights will be stopped for a week or so in order to give the appearance that Homeland "Security" actually knows it's ass from its elbow if only because its ass is so gargantuan from the head of the agency down.

Flights will then resume at an even more glacial inspection pace except for those in first class, government class, or with private jets. The rest of us will then be told that in order to board the plane we must strip naked and don bright orange government approved flight sacks complete with relief tubes and Depens.

All except for Muslim men and women and children whose religion will not allow them to participate in such a demeaning measure.

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 30, 2010 5:57 PM |  Comments (17)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Palestinians: Na'vi or Nuts?

Ah, the Palestinians. Always at the cutting edge of victimology studies. Always in the running for "most innocent and oppressed people ever." Always with the "hand full of gimme and mouth full of 'much obliged'." Why just the other day they were out traipsing around in blue trying to garner another dollop of attention with bad costuming.


Palestinians dressed as the Na'vi from the film Avatar stage a protest against Israel's separation barrier
Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 12, 2010 10:50 AM |  Comments (26)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Shocking All White Crime Wave in Brinksville [Updated with alternate ending]

There's no diversity when it comes to threats to home security in Brinksville. These perps and gangstas could snow blind a polar bear. And they're not all that threatening since their MO seems to be "smash a window or a door and FLEE!"

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 10, 2010 2:49 AM |  Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Birther, the Truther, and the Frogger @ LGF: Charles Foster Kane Johnson Pwnd and Pied
Posted by Vanderleun at Sep 27, 2009 10:28 AM |  Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Mr. Pecksniff Meets the Press

Peck·sniff·i·an adj. Hypocritically benevolent; sanctimonious.

Is it my imagination or is Robert Gibbs now so out-front arrogant and condescending that even the whores of the White House Press Corps are beginning to feel insulted every time he opens his mouth?

More and more Gibbs, as can certainly be seen here, is proving to be the very model of that modern Obama apparatchik; a model updated for our era into the very glass and form of a Little Hitler reigning secure in the White House Dwarf Cavern.

We all know the contemporary type of "Little Hitlers." We meet them whenever we have to interact with people whose positions do not rest upon doing a good job but upon pleasing some master above them. Most often we see them in Government bureaucracies where rules are not announced to you until you break them. At which point you are instructed, in the patient smarmy tones reserved for pre-schoolers, to "fill out the proper form" or "obtain the proper documents," and then come back to wait in the longer line in the next building.

This is essentially what we see oozing out of the Gibbs creature in this clip. The same sort of small bureaucrat smarm packaged in one who has ascended to a status far beyond anything he hoped for while pleasuring himself to pictures of Janet and/or Michael Jackson in his adolescence. Instead he can now pleasure himself by

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 2, 2009 5:07 PM |  Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Paid Outrage: AIG Bucks for then Senator Obama


"This whole AIG fiasco shows, once again, why the government shouldn't run anything, because it cannot run anything." -- Lawrence Kudlow

"I don't want to quell the anger!" Obama said today. Okay, let the anger rip.

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 18, 2009 11:59 AM |  Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Gamechanging Question: Boxers, Briefs or Mantyhose?


Miranda Wilding @ the Britannica ponders Glamorous Excess: Men in Tights (as in "Mantyhose")

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 29, 2008 9:51 AM |  Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Fool's Paradise at Apple

I'M A MAC USER and, unless the world ends, I always will be. Since switching to Macs over five years ago I've probably saved months of my life in not having to dick around with Windows issues on a daily basis. I've saved years of time helping my friends dick around with their Windows issues by saying, "Sorry, I don't do Windows."

It is a surprisingly calm and virus/worm/spyware free existence running a Mac. You really never have to so much as think about it. But therein lies the hidden flaw, of course, and since nature always sides with the hidden flaw, it is wise to still stay on your guard.

That's why I tire of the standard Applesque blather when it comes to security problems. The most recent is this emission from a "security expert" just after Apple released an OSX security update with 20 patches.

But, in general, according to Thomas Kristensen, chief technology officer at security firm Secunia, it is unlikely there will be a deluge of viruses targeting the Mac.

"Malware writers love to reach as many people as possible," he said. "They don't want to spend their time creating a virus that targets 1 or 2 percent of users. They prefer Windows, which represents 97 percent of users." -- Apple Patches Mac OS X Security Flaws

Really? Let's look at that logic. Malware slime, as we all know, is generally not in it for the money but for the attention. With every pimply Malware writer working overtime on subverting Windows that leaves the field pretty crowded. How long will it take for one of these people to get the bright idea that by screwing up Windows he's just another slob, but by putting the worm in the Apple he's making history?

So keep an eye on those email attachments .... even if you do own a Mac. We're bound to get a winner someday.

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 4, 2006 7:52 PM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Former President Learns Too Late. Thank God.

BILL CLINTON IN a speech he gave at the Global Business Forum held in Sydney this week. Refering to Tiananmen Square, Clinton remarks:

They said: "Quit denying this. Tell the truth. Turn it around."

And what could have been a cataclysmic epidemic was turned around."

If he knew then what he claims to know now, Al Gore would be President today.

Who say's God does not watch over America?

Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 25, 2006 11:53 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Dirty Screen? Make It Squeaky Clean with a Kitten

Free Screen Cleaning [Be patient. It is, after all, free.]

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 22, 2005 11:59 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Locked and Loaded

Twenty-one subjects so tedious that the mere mention of them makes me want to unwind with a small shooting spree.

1) Barbara Boxer shorts. No more soundbites out of this doughnut. Preaching to the Damned, hoping to be Hillary. Let Satan take her... and her little dog John too.
2) Abu Gharib gotchas. We really, really need some fresh atrocities, folks. Wake me when Americans start attaching explosives to people's chests and setting them off.
3) "There's no mandate for George Bush." Yes. There. Is. Now. Shut. Up.
4) JibJab. Once was funny. The second sponsored-round is just puerile.
5) Careerist Feminists who can't stand a whiff of criticism without an attack of "I had to leave the room" hysteria. I thought we were supposed to be beyond the era of girlish feelings getting hurt, but I guess not.
6) The cost, the ungodly cost!, of the Inauguration. Hey, I'm not carping about the stupefying cost and utter waste of hundreds of millions on that loser-going-in John Kerry, am I? Telling others when and how to reach for their wallets is just odious, so stop it.
7) The Satanic FCC. Over-rated, over-bloated, and just plain over. The Brussels of D.C. They might care about Howard Stern, but why should you?
8) Why PCs are still a better deal than Macs. I'll admit, here and now that they are... if you like being mired in disease daily and self-inoculations that don't seem to take. Enjoy.
9) M______ J______
10) The Future of CNN. It has none. Get off the stage before the lights dim.
11) Dan Rather's denials, deals, dentures. or diapers. Let an old man turn to the wall and die in peace, why don't you?
12) How the Democrats can "win" in 2008. They can't. They won't. Game over. Why? They are drenched with the smell of fear.
13) Guantanamo and the terrible conditions thereof. If it was really that miserable you wouldn't see all the ACLU lawyers lathered up to spend a two days there, followed by two weeks in Havana in the midst of winter.
14) French anything -- including ticklers.
15) Social security is doomed, DOOMED! I tell you.
16) John Kerry vs. Howard Dean vs. Hillary Clinton vs. Barbara Boxer. Sort of like watching Dwarf wrestling in the ICU.
17) The United Nations and its plans to take $195 billion from you over the next few years. I'd pay $1,000 for a front row seat to watch the building blown into the East River. $2,000 if occupied. Above that, I'm out.
18) Any and all award shows involving television, film, or music celebrities. I will make an exception for "The Buffy Awards" in which a golden spike is driven into the hearts of the winners. Runner-ups to be nail-gunned onto "The Walk of Fame."
19) Bill O'Reilly. Unless it is a televised three-way suicide pact involving Geraldo and Barbara Walters.
20) The ticking time-bomb of Muslim demographics in Europe. Their problem. Light fuse and get away.
21) "Citizen-Journalists:" I'll grant you that a lot of our journalists aren't really citizens, but why would a decent person of a clear mind and a pure heart want to lower himself to such a level? Besides, being a "good citizen" and being a journalist seem to be so mutually exclusive these days, don't they?

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 19, 2005 5:28 PM |  Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Then Again, Maybe Western Civilization Really Isn't Worth Saving After All

Models take the catwalk during the Vivienne Westwood Fall/Winter 2005/2006 men's collection, presented in Milan, Italy, Sunday, Jan. 16, 2005. --AP

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 17, 2005 7:50 AM |  Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Ultimate Brain Map

Lion Kimbro helps you get your head together with How to Make a Complete Map of Every Thought you Think

From the introduction:

This book is about how to make a complete map of everything you think for as long as you like.

Whether that's good or not, I don't know- keeping a map of all your thoughts has a freezing effect on the mind. It takes a lot of (albeit pleasurable) work, but produces nothing but SIGHT.

If you do the things described in this book, you will be IMMOBILIZED for the duration of your commitment.The immobilization will come on gradually, but steadily. In the end, you will be incapable of going somewhere without your cache of notes, and will always want a pen and paper w/ you. When you do not have pen and paper, you will rely on complex memory pegging devices, described in "The Memory Book". You will NEVER BE WITHOUT RECORD, and you will ALWAYS RECORD.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 17, 2005 12:18 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
News of Mainstream Media's Death Premature

"The rumors of our death have been greatly exaggerated. Dan Rather, reporting."

Victory laps are being run without surcease across the blogsphere today on the news of Dan Rather's resignation. The heady atmosphere of having "bagged him" is rent with triumphant trumpets and the whoops outnumber the de-doos.

I might suggest that the loudest whoops, most brazen trumpets, and fastest lap times are being turned in by those without the slightest experience of how large media institutions are actually structured. Because no matter what you may think of Dan Rather, he's only the front man for an institutionalized attitude that shows no signs of change other than the most cosmetic.

Indeed, the problem of the media's petrified mind-set goes far beyond the institutional. Just as the Groves of Academe are now vast stands of petrified forest, so the paralysis of the MSM is lodged deep in questions of class, clique, money and status.

The main stream media is not the way it is because of this or that individual at this or that company, but because all those who make their livings in it, and who draw their identities from it, have long ago thrown away any elements of their character that would set them apart and inhibit their advancement. Those that have done so and prospered are careful to vet the young that are allowed entry for a carefully monitored and calibrated set of attitudes. Those that do not exhibit the correct head set never get to the first interview. Those that do almost all have a recommendation in order to elevate their resumes out of the slush pile. It helps to go to the right school, but it helps more to have the right parents with the right connections. This isn't unusual or even wrong, but it is a fact.

Last June Peggy Noonan offered some reflections on the graduating class of 2004:

I have been paying attention to the graduates of Ivy League universities. Every one I see the past few weeks is beautiful. They are tall and handsome and gay-spirited; they are strong and laughing and bright. I ask them what they are going to do now. I am repeatedly told things like, "I want to go into TV." And "I'm going to drama school." And "I'm going to journalism school." It occurs to me that all young people who graduate from elite American universities now want to go into communications. It's a whole generation that wants to communicate.

But what do they want to communicate? They don't seem to have a clue. For this is a question that involves the area of Deeply Held Beliefs, and as far as I can see it the deeply held beliefs of these particular graduates is a uniform leftism whose tenets involve reciting clichs. They believe racial and sexual diversity is good, peace is better than war, religious fanaticism is bad. But they don't want to spout clichs--that's not why they went to Cornell. And they know their work will not draw attention if it is marked by tired and essentially noncontroversial ideas. No one thinks war is sweet, there's no market for racial segregation or male chauvinism.

I see no sign they are going to start thinking anything truly unusual for their time and generation--that religious conversion can be a wholly beneficial and life changing event, for instance, or that breaking with liberal orthodoxy might be the beginning of wisdom.
-- Opinion Journal

What Noonan does not say because it goes, indeed, without saying is that the most assertive of the applicants to media glory from these schools will, indeed, get jobs and that their various masses of received wisdom will play a large role in their acceptance. Plus a bit of grease from their parents or the friends of their parents.

Again, this is the way of the world and I'd expect no less from the various tenured or established adults involved, but it does not make for a meritocracy. Nor does it make for the kind of diversity that would indeed reverse the slide of the mainstream media into irrelevance. That can only come from the top and only across the decades. It took more than 30 years for the media and academe to complete their strategic retreats into the castles of elitism and reaction, and it would take the same time to move out of them. But they don't have that kind of time any longer and besides, who would hire their children if they didn't?

UPDATE: And finally, Scrappleface says it all in one headline --     Bloggers Force Retirement of 73-Year-Old Newsman

Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 23, 2004 12:49 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Go Back to iTunes...

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 6, 2004 12:06 AM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink

Just for the record, and to underscore the fact that the one thing computers are really good for is counting, we note that this is post number 2004 in the year of our Lord 2004.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Random Rantomizer.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 29, 2004 8:34 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Wizbang Kerry Sloganator


Make your own Kerry Plaque courtesy of Wizbang and Pete Holiday.

Posted by Vanderleun at Apr 12, 2004 12:55 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Pundit's Last Post

The Blogsphere imploded today on the news that Alphablogger Glenn (Instapundit) Reynolds had been placed in a rehab center at an undisclosed location for emergency Blog Detox.

After forcing Reynolds to post a final, unalarming message on his site at InstaPundit.Com, stating blandly "OFF ON A FAMILY EASTER TRIP: I expect blogging to be limited at best," he was immediately bundled into an unassuming SUV to be transported to The Langley Center for Recovering Blogaholics somewhere in Virginia.

But Reynolds, it seems, was able to break away from his guards en route and find his way to a public internet connection at a local airport for "Just one more post, honest."

Due to an alarming intelligence failure, the agents in charge had forgotten to take away Reynolds' digital camera which held, not the cows or the local landscapes (the posting of which gave the family their first cause for alarm earlier this month), but what Reynold's later called, "My puddytat, which I tot I taw."

An alert Washington Post reporter, drunk and in recovery from writing sixteen Condi Rice profiles in one day (each of which included no less than three quotes from two 911 widows and Katie Couric,) recognized Reynolds as he was being dragged out of the terminal and stuffed back in the SUV. When last seen, Reynolds had his head out of the window screaming, "I just wanted to fill an important hole in the blogosphere! I had five minutes left on my Starbucks card!"


The result is seen here as the Post's editors, lusting for a chance to put newspapers back on top of the media pyramid, flooded the Blogzone with top assets, assigning such noted scribes as James Olsen and Lois Lane and Al Franken to cover the story.


Posted by Vanderleun at Apr 10, 2004 6:52 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
What Are Friendsters For?

A QuickTime video monologue @ small world.

Posted by Vanderleun at Apr 8, 2004 3:12 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
That Reuters Moment: "Shadows of Vietnam"

How do your get an American General to say "Vietnam? If you're a Reuters' stringer you just throw your poetic license at him.

Q: Luke Baker from Reuters again. General, I wonder if you could give us sort of an estimate of how long you're planning or you expect fighting to go on in Fallujah or Ramadi to bring a -- to pacify those towns, as you put it? And also, your reaction to suggestions that the experiences your forces are going through now in Iraq have shadows of Vietnam?

GEN. SANCHEZ: Shadows of Vietnam -- I don't -- I don't see any shadows of Vietnam here in Iraq. It's two totally different battlefields, and I wouldn't even begin to characterize this as a Vietnam for the American forces.

From today's DoD News: Coalition Provisional Authority Briefing 4/08/2004

Posted by Vanderleun at Apr 8, 2004 11:49 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Fritterware® Chronicles

The Five Stages of Warcraft

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 30, 2004 11:36 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Okay,okay, okay... make that two aircraft carriers, seven billion dollars. Deal?

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

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

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

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

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 24, 2004 12:52 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
On the Prison Production Line

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

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


Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 23, 2004 4:25 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
If Blogs Have Not Already Made Your Head Explode...

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

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

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

Get in line.

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 4, 2004 12:19 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Lakes of Mars

The Area-51 Mars Pictures

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

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

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

Lake Heinlein?

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 3, 2004 8:02 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Rosie? Roseanne?: Even Professors Get Confused

Rosie, Roseanne, Rodan: It's Just That Simple

In a moment of candor Professor Glenn Reynolds issues a retraction and confession at

EUGENE VOLOKH WRITES on animals, perversion, Jerry Falwell, and Rosie O'Donnell.

UPDATE: Sorry - confused Roseanne Barr and Rosie O'Donnell earlier

Little wonder and no shame to that as we learn at: "Cloning Experiments Gone A Wry [sic]

Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 10, 2004 10:31 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
No Bush at the Bowl

To nobody's surprise, least of all MoveOn and PETA, CBS blew off their pleas to be included in the today's Ad Superbowl that will be interrupted from time to time with something resembling a football game. The New York Times reported that, commenting on the decision:

Wes Boyd, a founder of, told The Associated Press that he had no evidence that the ad was rejected because it was anti-Bush, he said, "I worry that it's about ideology."
Poor fretful man. Of course it is about the ideology. And controversial ideologies are clearly proscribed by CBS' long-standing policy. Bush is either very good or very bad, depending. Hence, controversy. But this move by MoveOn was never about actually getting the ad on the tube, it was a cynical effort to get the ad talked about when it DIDN'T get on the tube. Media is always happy to oblige since it clearly thinks that news = something that didn't happen.

In the same vein, the mouth-droolers at PETA pushed their little eating meat= impotence screed forward for the press pickup. They never believed they'd have to write a check. That way they could be outraged on the cheap;

A spokeswoman for PETA, Lisa Lange, told The Associated Press that CBS's policy was inconsistent, because she had seen ads condemning smoking and drunken driving on past Super Bowl telecasts.
Since Ms. Lange obviously suffers from the brain drain that occurs when empathy completely replaces sanity, let me help her out. Lisa, drunken driving is bad. No controversy there except perhaps in New Orleans. Smoking? Bad. Not a lot of disagreement there either. But even you have to know that the jury is still out on meat eating at every McDonalds in the land. Okay? Thanks. Now go cuddle a bunny to death.

CBS's Martin Franks is the only one in this story that's sane.

Antidrug abuse or antismoking ads, on the other hand, he said, do not wade into such controversial waters. "If you can find somebody responsible who is for drug abuse," Mr. Franks said, "or someone responsible who is for teenagers seeking to smoke, then it would be a credible rebuttal of our policy. I don't know anybody who does."

Asked about last year's drug policy advertisement that linked drug sales to international terrorism, Mr. Franks said, "Is it an absolutely perfect system? Absolutely not. On the other hand, the ad wasn't even close. I didn't need to rewind that one in the VCR."

Perhaps MoveOn will attempt to hit up Franks for a $1.00 rewind fee when he ships the tape back.

-- From Ad Rejections by CBS Raise Policy Questions

Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 1, 2004 11:14 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Movies We Never Tire of Watching

Title, verbatim: Another Demonstration of the Cliff-Guibert Fire Horse Reel, Showing a Young Girl Coming from an Office, Detaching Hose, Running with It 60 Feet, and Playing a Stream, All Inside of 30 Seconds (1900)

From: Internet Movie Data Base

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 31, 2004 7:00 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
You Are In A Maze of Twisted Minds, All Alike

Hamlet - The Text Adventure

Your name is Hamlet. Until recently, your life has been great, because you're young, you're good looking, and your family is not only mega-rich, but royal. In fact, you're the Prince of Denmark. You grew up in a big palace in a little town called Elsinore, you were pampered, and you were happy.

But a few weeks ago, things started to go rather badly wrong.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 26, 2004 8:55 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
New York City: "Hell with Good Restaurants"

Or... perhaps... not so good after all.

LE Cirque owner Sirio Maccioni doesn't forget an insult. Heading the restaurateur's list is former New York Times restaurant critic William Grimes, who trashed his sons' Osteria del Circo in January 2002. The one-star review described the rack of lamb as having "all the appeal of a gnarled tree stump" and the osso buco as "a slick, glutinous mass, with surprisingly untender meat concealed within." Interviewed yesterday by Women's Wear Daily on the 30th anniversary of Le Cirque, Maccioni hissed, "When a reviewer has an ugly wife, he can never be very good." Grimes told PAGE SIX's Ian Spiegelman, "It's a contemptible comment, regardless of who he was referring to. I thought he was a gentleman." Maccioni, presumably referring to Le Cirque, also complained: "The New York Times came in and took a star away, then the next year they gave it back." Grimes said he couldn't be the critic in question since, "I took the star away and it has not been given back." Nor could it be Grimes because, "Objectively, my wife is very attractive."
From: Page Six

"Hey, there's always room for "a slick, glutinous mass!"

[Warning: Suckupathon follows -- "More shots of fine food like this can be had by browsing Lileks' Gallery of Regrettable Food and you can even get his wonderful, life-enhancing and stunningly brilliant book of the same title right HERE. Buy one for yourself, one for the little lady, one for your master and one for your dame and ... hell, just buy a couple of cases of this mighty fine and tasty book and hand them out at random on the street."]

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 6, 2004 4:56 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Celebrity Poker Showdown: Not Ready for Hollywood Squares

Don't you know you're supposed
to wash your hands before
returning to work?

When the camera showed you the hole cards, a new Grade C Celebrity Showcase was born.

Yes, for years, the only dependable place you could go to find celebrities nobody knew were still walking around was Hollywood Squares. But, after a few nanoseconds of looking at Whoopi Goldberg in the center you were compelled to click to something more edifying such as the latest Bowie knife being offered on QVC.

The downside of this was that you lost the ability to say: "Didn't they kill him off for good on Dukes of Hazzard in the late 70s?" or "Just how many facelifts does that make for Joan Rivers and do I have to start keeping score with my toes now?"

Fear not. Now Bravo has given you a new chance at tracking celebrity obscurity with Celebrity Poker Showdown!

Yes, this offering that lets you know who the losers are just before they lose, opens up whole new vistas of Celebrities that early in their career have sunk below sonar range.

Admitedly, Celebrity Poker scored in one of their early offerings by pitting the cast of The West Wing against each other, but since The West Wing is in heavy rotation on Bravo, we assume the President

Posted by Vanderleun at Dec 31, 2003 2:45 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Free Nostalgia for Nerds: The Perfect Holiday Gift

Bend, fold and mutilate at will.

jef poskanzer at has an offer you can't refuse for the hardcore nerd on your list. And it is at a price that you can afford: Free Punch Cards

I actually used these things back in the early days of computing. After they became obsolete I continued to use them as note cards and book marks. A few years ago I ran out, and looked around to see if I could find some more. It turns out that a couple companies still make them, for use by legacy systems. The smallest batch they were willing to sell me was 10,000 cards for around $200. I figured, what the hell. So now I have vastly more than a lifetime supply, and I am pleased to give them away.

Note: each card comes complete with CHAD! You have to punch it yourself though.

Details at the link above.

Posted by Vanderleun at Dec 9, 2003 2:35 PM |  Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
We Are All Picasso Now

Homage to Senor P.

Okay, okay, it's a very bad Picasso. But even Picasso had his off days.

You think being Picasso is easy? Take a shot at Ruder Finn's Mr. Picassohead

Posted by Vanderleun at Dec 6, 2003 9:15 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
"The Sleep of Reason Breeds Monsters."

SO READS THE INSCRIPTION on the Goya etching above. And Goya had a lot of first hand information on the monsters created by sleeping reason. Demospophia also has a bit to say about that when discussing the Dean Campaign's welcome to the odious Ted Rall into their "League of Decency" in The Ram Dass Perspective on Ted Rall's Endorsement of Dean

"If we are really willing to give Dean a pass in order to accommodate his near-term political exigencies then what prevents a Napoleon from shape-shifting his way into office? If our short term memories have become so "Memento-like," that a candidate can openly rejoice at the endorsement of a half-literate unabashedly treasonous fellow like Rall, and not pay a political penalty a few months later, then why don't we all just drop acid and join Ram Dass in "being here now?" And why not just forget what happened in September, 2001, while we're at it? It's so 9/12."
What prevents Napoleon? Given the current sleep of our nation's reason as we stumble unprepared through the war that is already upon us, little or nothing it would seem. But should we lose a city to our enemies, we will have our Napoleon soon enough. His name is now unknown, but he shape can be seen in the wings, or looming in the background of Goya's etching above.

And he will be welcomed because he will be seen, at first, as an avenging angel.

Though bent on speed; so here the Arch-Angel paused;
Betwixt the world destroyed and world restored

� � � - John Milton, Paradise Lost

Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 25, 2003 9:11 AM |  Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink

From: Comics We'd Like to See: Doomsbury

Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 7, 2003 12:25 AM |  Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Smoking Dopes of the Democratic Party

Roger Simon, that Hollywood Hyrcynian is holding a contest on:Who Smoked Dope?

Now, as most would agree, the best smoking partners were either very attractive members of the opposite sex (or same, if you were gay) or people who were really and truly funny. So that made answering the question last night for me relatively simple. And the winner is:
You'll have to go there to know.

But for me the more interesting question is not who smoked it then, but what are they smoking now? What ever it is, they're obviously down to seeds and stems. Why doesn't somebody take them into a small, dark room and give them all a couple of bit hits from the ClueBong?

Oh, that's scheduled for November 12, 2004? My bad.

Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 5, 2003 9:02 AM |  Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Now is the end, perish the world..."

Don't ask. Just click:

The End of the World

Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 3, 2003 3:51 PM |  Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Most Dangerous Site on the Web

Alas, clicking will not enlarge to 92"

Don't touch that "Buy" button.

With an insidiously Apple-esque site, Libermann, Inc has launched a major assault on every geek and gadget-hound's pocketbook. Let's start with their Hollywood Laptop. Looking suspiciously like a Powerbook, this thing sports a 17" WXGA display ( 1440X900), 3.2Ghz... [Michael's Web]

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 29, 2003 10:00 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
To-Do List for A Better Life

1. At lunch time, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hair dryer at passing cars. See if they slow down.

2. Page yourself over the intercom. Don't disguise your voice.

3. Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want fries with that.
4. Put your garbage can on your desk and label it "In".

5. Put decaf in the coffee maker for 3 weeks. Once everyone has gotten over their caffeine addictions, switch to espresso.

6. In the memo field of all your checks, write "for very personal favors".

7. Finish all your paragraphs with, "in accordance with the prophecy."

8. Dontuseanypunctuationmarksorpsacesbetweenwords

9. As often as possible, skip rather than walk.

10. Ask people what the time is. Laugh hysterically after they answer.

11. Specify that your drive-through order is "to go".

12. Sing along at the opera.

13. Go to a poetry recital and ask why the poems don't rhyme.

14. Put mosquito netting around your work area. Play a tape of jungle sounds all day.

15. Five days in advance, tell your friends you can't attend their party because you're not in the mood.

16. Have your coworkers address you by your wrestling name, Rock Hard Kim.

17. When the money comes out the ATM, scream "I won!", "I won!" "3rd time this week!!!!!"

18. When leaving the zoo, start running towards the parking lot, yelling "run for your lives, they're loose!!"

19. Tell your children over dinner, "Due to the economy, we are going to have to let one of you go."

From Donald Sensing's One Hand Clapping

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 17, 2003 3:40 PM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Yummy, but One Orbit Later...

Chinese Astronaut Says Space Food Tastes 'Great'

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's first man in space told his wife and son Wednesday that the bite-size food he took along for his 21-hour journey around Earth tasted "great."

"Daddy, have you eaten rice yet? What did you eat?" eight-year-old Yang Ningkang asked his astronaut father in a conversation broadcast on state television.

"I've already eaten, ate space food," said Yang Liwei, 38, during his eighth orbit around Earth. "It tastes great."

And he didn't gain a pound.

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 15, 2003 8:47 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
"Emergent democracy is not the same as direct democracy" -- Wanna bet?

Joi Ito, current transnational poster child for the "virtual community" set (Remember that one?), is powering his non-stop trans-global conventioneering by spreading the "meme" (Remember that one) of "emergent democracy" (Remember that one? No? It used to be called "direct democracy," but if Ito called it that he'd have no central schtick.)

But like all other tired and discredited ideas that tag something "emergent" in order to get a fresh lap around the track of credulous minds, Ito has a bit of a problem telling anyone the way in which "emergent democracy" is all that different from 'direct democracy." His effort today amounts to:

Emergent democracy IS NOT [Note: the use of all caps at the beginning of a definition of what something isn't is usually a pretty good clue that it is. -- ed] the same as using technology to scale direct democracy. Emergent democracy is about leadership through giving up control, activating the people to engage through deliberation and action, and allowing emergent order to grow from the grass roots. [I have a sneaking suspicion that this used to be called Anarchism before it got a bad name by starting the First World War -- ed ] It's the difference between a couch potato clicking the vote button and a group of people starting their own Dean coalition group.[So that means that clicking a remote is different from clicking a link, right? Why? Because "the people' make the links? Who makes the TV channels? -- ed ]

That's the difference between the Dean Campaign and what just happened in California. They may both be symptoms of people unhappy with the current regime, but they are very different types of democracy.

[Joi Ito's Web]
And that difference would be... would be... that in the California election 10 million people got out of their chairs, went to a polling place, stood in line and cast their ballots, while in the Dean Campaign some tens of thousands (maybe) clicked around and made Paypal contributions while slamming up cloned web sites. Then they went to a rally.

Call us old-fashioned but the California election seems to be a lot more meaningful in terms of Democracy than a bunch of nerds sitting around typing, cutting and pasting for Dean.

Ito seems to be a pleasant enough chap -- full of enthusiasm for his "new ideas," and possessed of a couple of pallets of charm. He puts lots of pictures of "Nerds with the Need to Know," up on his site and seems to spend a lot of time just hanging with the semi-big dogs. But as far as his intellectual weight goes, it strikes us as being a 2003 do-over of the stuff John Perry Barlow used to afflict the world with. The main difference is that Barlow was a much more entertaining lunatic, and you had to go deeper to find out just how shallow he was.

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 13, 2003 3:20 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Desperate Measures from a Desperate Brand

In their ongoing campaign to make their customers hate them, AOL announced this week:AOL Instant Messenger to Run TV-Like Ads

America Online plans to launch a new ad offering in November on its AOL Instant Messenger service that will let marketers deliver creative executions that resemble TV commercials.
You've got to admire a company that is so consistent in identifying what its customers like and then mucking it up. It isn't enough that logging onto AOL most resembles the 30 minutes of ads and previews that come before the movie you've paid to see. It isn't enough that they've covered the earth three times over with their discs. And it isn't enough that their chats rooms spawn more teenage sexual encounters than puberty itself.

No. Now it seems that the mighty brain trust at AOL has decided that the one thing you need to see more of on AIM is .... television commercials! Yes, that is the one thing that America demands in 2003 -- "Give us MORE! television commercials! Especially when we're talking with our friends."

It seems that the craven money grubbing AOL does have its form of corporate shame. The article in ADweek notes that they are just a wee bit nervous that the 30 million users of AIM might contain more than a few people that would react in negative numbers to this new innovation. A spokesclone for AOL claimed that "will run only two of these ads during a 24-hour period and will block the same one from appearing in the same day, " [Only at the beginning, of course...] and that ""We've encouraged our partners to be very creative and go beyond the re-purposed [TV] spot," said Bernstein.

Oh, yes, yes, yes! The "Be Creative" angle... that's sure to cover up the fact that your AIM is being videospammed. It's clear that AOL views the AIM users as possessed of something south of a three digit IQ.

Bernstein remarks he expects advertisers to be attracted to AIM's "bipolar demographic." Bipolar? Too many TV ads in your IM and you'll become bipolar -- if you aren't already there.

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 11, 2003 9:17 PM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Why the Democratic Party Gets a Hall Pass From the Daily Show

The USA Today profile of Jon Stewart -- Fans like their dose of 'Daily' news -- has this nice little squib:

A favorite target is the Fox News Channel, but Stewart says that's not liberal bias: Republicans -- and conservative-leaning news outlets -- are simply richer comic territory. ''What makes them successful is also what makes them mockable, and that is they have the clearest point of view of any of the networks. It's harder to mock something that doesn't know what it is.''
True enough. Imagine the problems in trying to book the 10... er.. 9 ... er...8? Democratic candidates for President on the same show. Humm.... on the other hand.

Posted by Van der Leun at Oct 7, 2003 12:53 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Ask But Don't Tell

AS USUAL, Glenn Reynolds gets to the nub of the Wilson Scandal in SECRET SOURCES

If, as some claim, government officials deliberately broke a secret agents cover out of spite, then those responsible should be sacked, and perhaps even prosecuted as it may, depending on circumstances, even be a felony. At the moment, however, we really dont know what happened.

And thats the interesting thing. Because this is all about leaks to reporters, remember quite a few reporters do know what happened, but arent talking, because they dont want to give up their sources who are, presumably, the leaker or leakers. So as the press runs around in a frenzy about the need to get to the bottom of a major national security story, the press, in fact, already knows the answer, but wont tell.

Posted by Van der Leun at Oct 2, 2003 8:25 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
3 Spies at Gitmo vs. 2 Leakers at the White House?

With the nation's glazed eyes being held hostage by the CIA airball tossed around DC and the "responsible" media, the spy score at Gitmo kicks up another notch:

A physician working for the U.S. prison camp for terrorists in Cuba is facing charges Tuesday in Massachusetts.

NewsCenter 5's Gail Huff reported that Ahmed Mehalba was stopped at Logan International Airport Monday when customs agents noticed documents that may have come from the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay. Customs officials said that Mehalba was acting nervous, so they decided to turn Mehalba over to FBI agents for questioning after flying in from Cairo, Egypt. Documents and CD ROMs that appeared to contain classified information were found, according to officials. Federal authorities brought him to court to face charges of making false statements to FBI agents at the airport. Mehalba has been working as a translator at the prison camp, where suspected terrorists are being detained. [Pointer via Regnum Crucis]

The Belmont Club comments:

Dan Darling at Regnum Crucis wonders about the comparatively high percentage of suspected traitors at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. "We now have at least three moles at Gitmo (which isn't all that large a facility), I don't think it's all that implausible to suspect that they might have been working together"  -- that is, two translators and one Muslim chaplain. To put that number in perspective, there are 80 translators at Guantanamo and 12 Muslim chaplains in the US Armed Services. Although the high percentage of suspects among chaplains (as compared to translators) is affected by the small sample size and the unfortunate choice of the institutions chosen to supply the chaplains,  the situation among the translators is also disturbing given that one of the suspects was already "a supply clerk before being pressed into service as a translator at Guantanamo Bay". And there may be more. Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, "we don't presume that the two we know about is all there is to it".


All the suspects were American citizens; the chaplain native born and a graduate of the United States Military Academy. None were obviously oppressed or disadvantaged by the United States. Their presence in the sanctum sanctorum of the War on Terror, which may represent only the tip of the iceberg, should make everyone hope that the Syrians are "the enemy".

Posted by Van der Leun at Oct 1, 2003 11:01 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Down the K-Hole of K-Street

And the star of our show is....

I was late to the party when it came to K-Street, the new HBO Pseudo-Reality show that ventures inside the world of powerful political consultants--a world that few people ever experience first-hand. Viewers that experience this show at first hand will find themselves wanting to wash those hands at the end of the program.

So far, the chief achievement of this bit of cultural blight seems to have been feeding Howard Dean a line from the show for use in real life. Or the reverse. Or the inverse. I wasnt paying attention, but it had something to do with Dean.

It seemed strange to me that all the effort that goes into putting anything on the air would come down to slipping a stinger into a politicians stump speech, but, hey, George Clooneys gotta do something with his free time. Still, after watching K-Streets erstwhile cast bumble through a half-hour episode last night my first thought was, At least it isnt an hour even though it seems like three. But why did it seem like three? Then it struck me. K-Street had slipped some K into my caffeine-free Diet Coke and I had fallen into the K-Hole.

Ive never taken Ketamine ( K) but from what Ive read the effects are similar to what we see on K-Street. An online guide to drugs lists the effects of K as: Users may babble or speak gibberish. They may believe that their mind has separated from their body or that they are outside themselves and watching their own actions. In the case of K-Street players, not only have the minds separated from the bodies, but the morals as well.

I yield to nobody in my cynical view of professional politics as practiced in the US, but it is stunning to watch an entire a chunk of people playing themselves (more or less) that comes up with a show that is about as edifying as watching remoras look for places to attach themselves to sharks.

The role of the "political consultant"

Last nights episode dealt with the James Carville trying to find a way to suck some money out of the RIAA by helping it in its quest to arrest children and ruin their families financially. Carville snaps and snarls about in a meeting room. He slaps in some down-home insults to his staff and glowers at them like some oversized ferret with not enough fiber in his diet. Others in the room are silenced, confused or contrite. This stumbling state continues in and out of the room for the rest of the program. Muffled sound competes with cheap video tricks (That blue tint to the scene -- so edgy -- in 1993.). Actors or real people acting as themselves. (Curb your enthusiasm, congresspern!) lurch about the offices and various Starbucks of DC with enough issues to render them utterly incomprehensible. This show seems to be about a meeting and a pitch for money for nothing. The meeting doesnt come off and theyll have to get money for more nothing somewhere else. A focus group of kids gives us some insight into just how lame the adults are, but other than that the show has the staying power of a Post-It doused with WD-40.

Unless you are treated to another view of the powerful political consultants poster boy for their reptile theme park, James Carville.

It isnt news that Carville revels in his standing as Lizard King of DC. What is shocking is discovering that he is actually looking more and more like a lizard with every passing year. The camera isnt doing the shaved head look any favors, and of his on-screen persona the less said... well, suffice it to say that it is little wonder that his wife, Mary Matalin, spends a lot of time away from home. Even if that means she has to hang with career Republicans.

Be that as it may, it is more than evident that the show is suffering from a deep moral disconnect. Check that. It is more than obvious that this show portrays the entire political profession is suffering from a deep moral disconnect. Theres not an instant in this show that has an iota of elevation associated with it. It is almost as if the producers have a policy that anything that even hints of idealism or real service to the public be ruthlessly chopped out. I imagine that they believe that bringing the actual venal aspects of politics to the attention of the American people is somehow worthy in and of itself.

From my couch, however, it just looked like another parade of self-impressed actors and assorted ego-maniacs preening and preparing for a close-up that will forever elude them. It is as if the HBO pitch meeting for K-Street centered around the premise: Well show them the ugly process of making the sausage of politics. It will be really ugly. It will star James Carville. What do you say?

I say that if I want to see sausage made Ill wait for the rerun of the Hormel Pork Packing Factory on Industry on Parade.

Posted by Vanderleun at Sep 22, 2003 11:47 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Faster Pussycats Ring! Ring!

Yes, in the future, the very near future, like this afternoon we will all be multitasking so fast we won't have any idea of what we're saying, doing, or thinking.

Cellphones speeding up cities?

As a result of the extra telephone-enabled work accomplished while commuting or moving from place to place within a city, Townsend believes the pace of urban life is quickening. "As every person completes more tasks, communicates with more people, coordinates activities among more social networks in the same amount of time, the aggregate effect is an acceleration of the urban metabolism." If Townsend is right, today's New York minute will seem too leisurely for tomorrow's crowds of hypercoordinated and autoscheduled city-dwellers. One key challenge to civic leaders and urban planners is to create more public spaces that attract transient communities of wireless urban...
Posted by Vanderleun at Sep 19, 2003 11:46 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Maureen Dowd: The Jimmy Olson of the New York Times

Mo Dowd in "The Return of Jimmy Olson"

In Gunsmoke and Mirrors the Time's eternal schoolgirl intern with an attitude, Maureen Dowd, muses:

This is how bad things are for George W. Bush: He's back in a dead heat with Al Gore.

(And this is how bad things are for Al Gore: He's back in a dead heat with George W. Bush.)

One terrorist attack, two wars, three tax cuts, four months of guerrilla mayhem in Iraq, five silly colors on a terror alert chart, nine nattering Democratic candidates, 10 Iraqi cops killed by Americans, $87 billion in Pentagon illusions, a gazillion boastful Osama tapes, zero Saddam and zilch W.M.D.

[And a partridge in a pear tree!]
have left America split evenly between the president and former vice president.

"More than two and a half years after the 2000 election and we are back where we started," marveled John Zogby, who conducted the poll.

Yes, we can just hear, like the chiming of a crystal bell, the tone of Zogby's awed marvel in the quote above. Perhaps he started off with a "Can you believe it, Maureen, can you believe it? Who'd a thought it?" -- which Ms. Dowd cut in order to give herself a little stretching room for the long chain of flat quips and lame plays on words that have more and more become the weak reeds she is forced to rely on twice a week or so.(Ill call this one Gunsmoke and Mirrors, thinks La Dowd, and end it with the stunning zinger His gunsmoke has gone up in smoke. -- wink, wink, nudge, nudge.)

We feel, at times, sorry for the Times. Here it is, stuck with having one its prime column slots filled up with recycled tripe week after week simply because there's no editor or publisher strong enough to get rid of the Dowd two-fer. The publisher's core dinner party guests simply wouldn't stand for it. The nattering nabobs of NOW wouldn't stand for it. The Democrats on the Upper West Side wouldn't stand for it. Nope, the Times is stuck with her for the duration.

The decline of Dowd into dotage has been painful to watch. At first, many years ago, she could easily match such comic giants as Bill Maher quip for quip. And she had the added advantage, unlike Maher, of actually being an attractive person. But the years and the unrelenting stress of -- can you imagine? -- 1200 words a week for six figures a year has taken a toll even Botox cannot burnish. And while this toll can be hidden behind the flattering picture that has been consciously not updated for years, it cannot be hidden from those readers in search of something, anything, that signals Ms. Dowd is on the cutting edge of anything other than the shared spleen of the disenfranchised.

Today's effort is, alas, not yet the spark on the horizon that signals brilliance rising beyond.

We note that she has taken refuge in that elephants' graveyard of columniists -- "What would happen if the election were held today?" In Dowd's column it seems to be the case that she is saying that if the election were held today it would be the last election of 2000 with Gore and Bush in a dead heat. There's just no heat in this dead idea, however, since the real election -- as one never tires of pointing out -- will be held over a year from now. The whole hook on which the column is, literally, hung is about as irrelevant to today as some black and white scene from the newsroom of the Daily Planet in the original Superman TV series.

Indeed, if her work over the last few years is any indication, Ms. Dowd, instead of being in line for yet another Pulitzer, seems to be angling to become the new Jimmy Olson, Cub Reporter, in the Times newsroom. (With optional Prada accessory kit.) Like Jimmy, her overall tone has turned breezy and bootless. It is as if, in the very recent past, she discovered that her loyal readers and dinner-party companions liked her best when she just rolled out the Bash-Bush Welcome Wagon and started handing out a party favor per paragraph. A few choice examples can come, these days, from just one column since they are all the same column:

"The Bush administration thought it could use scientific superiority to impose its will on alien tribal cultures. But we're spending hundreds of billions subduing two backward countries without subduing them."
Just because the rebuilding of Iraq doesn't proceed with the rapidity of a shopping spree at Barney's is disappointing to this unseasoned reporter.
"Secretary Pangloss at Defense and Wolfie the Naif are terminally enchanted by their own descriptions of the world. They know how to use their minds, but it's not clear they know how to use their eyes."
Let's face it, this is cub reporter prose of the first water. It would be more at home in some free San Francisco weekly wedged between the ads for breast enlargements and paid companions in search of others who share their love of goats. Old-time Times hands have to shudder when sentences like this cross the copy desk. Unless, as appears to be the case, Ms. Dowd has been given a "Get out of editing free" card by Pinch."Mocking all our high-priced, know-nothing intelligence, Osama is back in the studio making his rock videos.

The cadaverous caveman has gone more primitive to avoid electronic detection, operating via notes passed by couriers.

We haven't forgotten all Mr. Bush's bullhorn, dead-or-alive pledges." Without even going into the willful boneheadedness evinced by this passage, we would just like to note, and pass on, forever pass on, the leaden strokes of "rock videos" (Get it?), the lilting phrase "cadaverous caveman" (repeat six times swiftly), and the last self-referential insertion of 'bullhorn." As far as we know, President Bush used a bullhorn on only one occasion, where Ms. Dowd cranks one up twice a week.

Would it be too much to hope for a single instance in the future when a Dowd column would have some content other than bile passed so many times through the writer's CPU that it's no more than thin sour gruel?

If only the election for the worst and most jejune of columnists were held tomorrow. Dowd would be in a dead heat with Jimmy Olson. If he had a column.

Posted by Van der Leun at Sep 14, 2003 3:22 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Meet the New Puppet, Same as the Old Puppet

"Okay, I'm the good cop and you're the bad cop, right?"

In the eternal shuffle of Palestinian musical chairs, we will now be forced to endure yet another exercise in duplicity as Arafat's pick agrees to be new Palestinian premier. The new unfortunate lad designated as Arafat's beard will be one "Qureia."

Palestinian parliament speaker Ahmed Qureia agreed on Monday to become his people's new prime minister while insisting he cannot move forward on the U.S.-backed peace plan unless he gets more support from Washington than was given his predecessor.
That phrase "his people's new prime minister" has a rather special bouquet, don't you think? Haughty, a bit spicy and redolent of rich echoes of mendacity and hypocrisy. One the one hand, it is clear that "his people" have had their will expressed by the eternal Arafat alone. On the other, who among "his people" caught up in this reptilian thugocracy would dare to gainsay this appointment? Only those who relish being hanged in the streets of Gaza, and those are few and far between.
Qureia, 65, whose appointment must still be confirmed by Palestinian lawmakers, said he would not set himself up for failure, an apparent reference to outgoing Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, who resigned Saturday.

Abbas quit after losing a power struggle with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and failing to get the White House to put more pressure on Israel to follow through on peace plan provisions.

We note that there is no mention that he also failed to get the demented Hamas to cease killing Israeli civilians, but that seems to play no part in the news reports. Only his failure to induce Washington to pressure Israel to willing commit suicide seems to be a factor here.

Our admiration for Colin Powell's seemingly limitless appetite for listening to the limitless blather pumped out by the Arafat spin factory in order to give Hamas more time to kill more Israelis continues to grow. How can he bear it day after day? Our theory is that Powell must just take the phone call and then plug into his Ipod until the whole thing is over, muttering, 'Yes... of course you can... we'll see ... okay.... wake me when this guy's term is over.... Have a nice day."

Posted by Vanderleun at Sep 9, 2003 5:42 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Most Terrifying Web Offering Ever

Dave Winer continues his plot to destroy a Web that has turned its back on him. When neither tears nor stamping his foot have worked, he decides to destroy it with sheer numbing boredom: Scripting News

All the Lydon interviews through August, in one download. Behrl, Cone, Daily Kos, Dean, Fisk, Gleick, Kinzer, Powell, Preacher, Reynolds, Scarry, Searls, Sifry, Slugger, Toynbee, Volokh, Weinberger, and yours truly. Catch up in a single 203MB download; suitable for beach listening.

Suitable for beach listening if you happen to be buried in the sand up to your neck below the high waterline.

Posted by Van der Leun at Aug 29, 2003 6:19 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Great Timesinks of the Web #128,364

Sumertime and the surfing is easy because here you are just browsing the Web in a completely serendiptious fashion when... suddenly... there it is -- the page for which the Web was made: Virtual Bubblewrap

Bubble Wrap has been a source of fascination for people of all ages since its invention. Now, finally, there is a web page dedicated to this most entertaining packing material.
What else needs to be said? Click the link above and start popping away the next half hour of your life. (Hint: Select "Manic Mode" and be far more productive.)

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 16, 2003 2:09 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Secret Arnold Weblog Revealed

INSTAPUDIT ASKS: "HERE'S ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER'S CAMPAIGN WEBSITE. But where's the campaign blog? They're de rigeur nowadays. On the other hand, he's already got an online contribution button, so he's halfway there. . . . "

No longer. The tireless web weasels at American Digest, by exploiting a back door at the Gold's Gym Web Farm has discovered the secret blog Arnold has been keeping for some weeks. He has hidden it behind (where no one would think to look) and given it the obscure name: ELECTMEORI_LLBEBACK.COM

It would seem that he shares many of the concerns and policies of one Glenn Reynolds.

These are some choice excerpts, and, by the way, somebody get him a web designer pronto!:


WHO DIED AND MADE ME GOVERNOR? That's the question many are asking bioethicists these days, according to a story in Sunday's New York Times. It's a good question. It's not like DAVIS was especially good GOVERNOR (the ENRON MELTDOWN comes to mind as an example of this BOZO's flaws) but nowadays GOVERNORS are increasingly asked to take the place of THE FREE MARKET. And they're not BUSINESSMEN, or ABLE TO ADD TWO AND TWO. They're just officious people with graduate degrees. They've become part of an overarching POLITICAL establishment with no particular claim to legitimacy and with substantial evidence of feathering its own nest at the expense of the PEOPLE it's supposed to protect. This problem isn't unique to GOVERNORS, but they suffer from it as much as any others.

Posted 8/11/2003 11:51:07 PM by ARNOLD

MORE ON THE CONTROVERSIAL BUSTAMANTE: Ronald Bailey joins Virginia Postrel's concerns about the appointment of the highly partisan BUSTAMANTE to head CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATS' "HOLD ON SOMEHOW!" COMMISSION. As mentioned below, I agree. This is like putting NOAM CHOMSKY in charge of a commission on the ethics of INVASION. Will the press focus on BUSTAMANTE'S precommitments on this issue?

Posted 8/11/2003 02:03:37 PM by ARNOLD


SO FAR SO GOOD FOR ME, ARNOLD: Quickie polls show support for MY decision, and I'M getting a pretty substantial degree of support even from conservatives who don't really agree with ME.

Posted 8/10/2003 05:38:20 PM by ARNOLD

WHO IS A JOURNALIST? That's the question raised by MY HANDLERS.

Posted 8/10/2003 01:52:42 PM by ARNOLD
BELABORING THE OBVIOUS: According to the Washington Post, the Centers for Disease Control have released a new study saying that school violence is most common at the beginning of the academic year and in February. This is hardly news, as I HAVE BEEN SAYING THIS TO MYSELF FOR YEARS. Violence is a behavior OR A HIGH PAYING REALLY HOT SCRIPT, not a disease. AS GOVERNOR I'LL MAKE SURE THAT YOUR tax dollars ARE being spent on, say, West Nile Virus, Dengue Fever, AIDS, OR LIFECYCLES FOR THE POOR. Cure those, and let somebody else worry about behavioral problems.

Posted 8/10/2003 10:28:21 AM by ARNOLD



Posted 8/9/2003 09:33:26 PM by ARNOLD


MISSING IN ACTION -- ARGUMENTS AGAINST MY CLONE: It's hard to refute most of the arguments against MY CLONE, because most of them aren't made. Still, there are some common themes that are worth unpacking here:

1. MY CLONE doesn't work well enough. It's too dangerous and is likely to produce deformed babies.

2. MY CLONE will work too well. It will produce so many successful ARNOLDS that it will replace sexual reproduction, leading to a loss of genetic diversity, LIKE THE KENNEDY FAMILY.

3. MY CLONE will produce soulless zombie tools of the corporate power structure. No, it won't.

4. MY CLONE is "playing God." What's that? Heart transplants were once "playing God." Now they're medicine. Ditto with In-Vitro Fertilization and, long ago, vaccination. "Playing God" is a synonym for "ELECT ME NOW." (see below).

5. MY CLONE is against God's will. No, it isn't. So there.

6. MY CLONE IS unnatural. Tell it to an identical twin. LIKE DANNY DEVITO.


There may be a persuasive and well-founded case against MY CLONE, but it hasn't been made yet in THIS ELECTION.

Posted 8/8/2003 10:03:20 PM by ARNOLD

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 12, 2003 5:47 PM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
From My "Vile Email" Folder


This morning these subject lines in the exact order received :

"Ready to ENLARGE your penis?" -- from Roger Patel
"Grow your PENIS 2 inches in 2 days!" -- from Alison Kearney
"Want a king-size PENIS is one week?" -- from Hester Ladnert

I think I'm pleased that Roger, Alison and Hester are so concerned and solicitous, but I'm with Henry David Thoreau when he says: "Distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes."

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 6, 2003 9:15 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Nick Cage and Divorce Made Stupid

Check out Dateline: Hollywood for the latest in Hollywood Dish undisturbed by fact-checking.

Actor Nicolas Cage has launched a preemptive strike on his love life.

You will remember that the Oscar winner divorced Lisa Marie Presley last November. The nasty split came less than four months after their romantic wedding in Hawaii.

It was a short-lived marriage even by Hollywood standards, although not the first to go bad for the actor. He divorced actress Patricia Arquette in 2000. Cage, who just started dating actress Angelina Jolie, filed divorce papers yesterday in a Downtown Los Angeles courtroom. "I want to make sure that when we get married and then quickly get divorced, the paperwork will already be complete," Cage told me yesterday outside the courtroom. "I have a pretty busy shooting schedule. When I get divorced again, I don't want a lot of red tape."

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 29, 2003 7:44 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
More Techno-Porn from Sony: The Qualia 016

MegaPixels / MiniSize / MaxiPrice

This is one of those products skillfully marketed to make most people feel bad that they could never, ever justify buying it. It's the ultimate James Bond digital camera and it sets those with high-tech fever everywhere shuddering just to look at it. Dynamism, a web site devoted to high end object lust sums up the features:

The Sony Qualia 016 is a digital camera measuring 2.72 x 0.66 x 0.94 inches and weighing 50g. In order to eliminate the blur caused by tiny movements of the hand, the 016 takes up to 4 pictures in very rapid succession and then combines them into one image.

The 016 is made from the highest quality alloy, the Bond-like Qualia 016 has a built-in .55" TFT, records in JPG or TIFF, has 4x digital zoom, and uses Sony's MemoryStick Duo to store photos (64mb stick included). The 2mpixel 1/2.7 progressive scan CCD records at 1600x1200. The Qualia 016 is sold as a kit and includes the case, flash unit, timer remote unit, video out unit, telephoto lens, wide angle lens, and battery charger.

QUAL-016 Sony Qualia 016 kit (Special order only - no returns or cancellations accepted): $3,875.00

I am especially fond of the "no returns or cancellations accepted" notion. Just like the "Joke" IRS form popular a few years back: "How much money did you make?"
( ________________ )
Send it in."

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 23, 2003 1:09 PM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Kids, Don't Try This In Chem Lab


Those wild and crazy guys at Popular Science have come up with a method of making ice cream that will satisfy your need for speed. Just be careful that your hands don't shatter into little frozen gobbets, okay?

[1] Besides the liquid nitrogen, no special ingredients were used in this experiment.
[2] The non-cryogenic ingredients were combined in a mixing bowl.
[3] The nitrogen was added a cup at a time. Note the use of heavy cryo glovesthis was not an occasion for oven mitts.
[4] The concoction was stirred thoroughly and continuously to keep an unbreakable crust from forming.
[5] The ice cream was ready to eat when smooth and free of lumps.

(Bottom right)Theodore Gray is a co-founder of Wolfram Research, Inc., maker of the software program Mathematica. In his spare time he plays with elements at Periodic Table

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 16, 2003 11:58 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
When Clinton and Christopher Hitchens Rutted in the Same Quarter of the Forest

Roz Kaveney Delivers the Dish on the Hitchens Clinton Connection

A LiveJournal item by Roz Kaveney heaps up some decades-old dish on Bill Clinton and Christopher Hitchens. Kaveney declares herself no ravening fan of Clinton, but it is also clear that she doesn't currently find Hitchens to her taste at all.

The most interesting part of the long entry is her snapshot of Bill and Christopher during the time they shared Oxford and perhaps more many long years ago.

In 1968, when I arrived at Oxford as a gangling skinny Northerner with serious sexual identity problems, I went to a lot of political meetings. You could hardly not notice Hitchens - he was charismatic, and beautiful, and passionate in his denunciations of the Americans in Vietnam. You also ended up noticing a quiet bearded American called Bill something, who would periodically stand up and oppose the war, while defending his country's better angels. My memory, which may be faulty, is that, on at least one occasion, I heard them speak at the same meeting.

Hitchens has latterly claimed that they probably slept with at least one of the same people - who subsequently became a famous lesbian and feminist activist.

The problem with this is that the most likely candidates - Oxford in the late 60s was not exactly awash with such women - either never slept with one, or never slept with the other, or never slept with either.

One woman, who shared an apartment, and a girlfriend, with Clinton, claims to remember vaguely once necking with Hitchens when she was drunk.

What is the case is that they were having sexual adventures in roughly the same quarter of the forest, with the exception that Clinton was only sleeping with women.

Kaveney's had quite a life and, as she notes, "I somehow seem to know almost everyone." You might want to read the entire entry and then, perhaps, a bit more of her journal.

Found first via Kathryn Cramer.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 13, 2003 6:24 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Midday American News Roundup

Officials Steer Clear of Deadly Fireworks Blast
FOX News - 2 hours ago
BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. Investigators were keeping their distance Thursday from the site of a fireworks blast that killed four people -- out of concern that not all of the $20,000 worth of explosives had detonated.

Said one member of the force, "Hey, you gotta watch out. That stuff could kill somebody."

'Bring 'Em On' Fetches Trouble
CBS News - 2 hours ago
"There are some who feel like that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is bring them on."

Now you know, you just know that stuff like this will twist panties from one end of the Democratic Party to the next. The only answer is... Howard Dean. Humm, perhaps this is another Bush quote that's been Dowdified and taken wildly out of context. Perhaps he actually said, "There are some among the current Democratic Party pack of stone losers who feel like the conditions inside their own hallucinations are such that they think they can attack us on giving everybody in the United States free prescription drugs on demand. My answer is 'Don't give up your day jobs.' John Kerry? Howard Dean? Al Sharpton? Bring them on"

Unrest in Iraq Poses Political Threat to Bush
Hartford Courant - 4 hours ago
The swiftly decided military conflict boosted Bush's standing in polls and strengthened his reelection prospects. But the unsettled postwar situation looms as a potential long-term political threat for the ...

Tweet! Ten yards and loss of down for dribbling down the front of your word processor when writing the news. Nomination for thumbsucker of the week award to Ronald Brownstein for leading with the words "Peace in Iraq is proving more politically dangerous for President Bush than war." Really? We hadn't noticed, Ron. Thanks for the update.

US poised to deploy troops in civil war
Bremerton Sun - 3 hours ago
You gotta love that headline. First time used since 1861.

Judge relocates Malvo trial
Salt Lake Tribune - 7 hours ago
"WASHINGTON -- Citing concerns that pretrial publicity would make it impossible to select an impartial jury, a Virginia judge Wednesday ordered the Washington-area serial sniper murder trial of Lee Boyd Malvo moved 200 miles south to an ..."

200 miles or 200 light years will make no difference in this upcoming smash hit for Court TV. But it will be interesting to see the lawyers and the clueless judge endeavor to find 12 people who never heard of the sniper murders. Perhaps they can import some prisioners in from Guantanamo. They'll have been made citizens by a repentant State Department by then.

Terror Jitters Fuel Subway , Bridge Scare
Newsday - 3 hours ago
Two days before the nation's 227th birthday, terror jitters made a comeback yesterday as two unsettling events initiated by suspected pranksters triggered massive disruptions in lower Manhattan.

Judge: FDNY Cuts Legal
Newsday - 3 hours ago
A judge yesterday upheld the city's right to eliminate six firefighting units, which included the closing of three firehouses. "

Ah yes, the city of New York hard at work reducing the size of the fire department. Got to admire the new midget mayor's dedication to finishing what the Terrorists started.

"No Problem. We've Done This Thousands of Times:" Hacker contest a low threat
Miami Herald - 9 hours ago
A loosely defined Internet challenge daring participants to crash and deface 6,000 websites in six hours has drawn the notice of the Department of Homeland Security and information officers around the country, but the purported contest ...

US fireworks dimmed by budget woes
Forbes - 20 hours ago
CHICAGO (Reuters) - "There will be a little less "rockets' red glare" across the United States this Fourth of July, as some fireworks displays have been canceled or scaled back due to local government budget troubles."

In that case, the citizens of this country will just have to take matters into their own hands, er, stumps...

Dolly Parton Welcomes Injured Eagles to Natl. Zoo
WATE - 2 hours ago
WASHINGTON (AP) -- "Two bald eagles that previously called Tennessee home are now settling in at the National Zoo in Washington."

Dolly Parton? Sort of makes you wonder where these eagles are planning on building a nest.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 3, 2003 10:08 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Midday US News Digest

Tropical Storm Cuts Power to Thousands
Humm, the gulf states must not have seen this coming. Probably why they put power lines back up on the poles year after year after year...

O'Malley Led Sex Abuse Cleanups Elsewhere
What else can you ask from a priest these days?

Letter to Colin Powell on US Bully Tactics Against International Criminal Court

Dear Colin,
Hurts. Make it stop.

US Suspends Military Aid to Nearly 50 Countries
Who says big government can't cut useless spending?

Calif. Begins Fiscal Year With No Budget
Third year in a row's the charm! Perhaps it would be more accurate to say "Calif. Begins Fiscal Year with No Money."

Oh, that darned homosexual agenda
Just where is this fabled to-do list? How can we get a copy? And will it clash with our shoes?

Aimster Injunction Upheld
Courts to American Teenagers - "Download 'em while you can.

Book: John F. Kennedy Jr. and his wife were having marital problems
Yes, no matter how much you hope and how hard you pray, you will never, ever be free of learning the most trivial facts about anybody with the last name 'Kennedy' from now until the last ding-dong of doom. Marriage problems? The Kennedys? Who saw that one coming?

Va. Terror Law Allowed By Judge in Sniper Case
State of Virginia to John Allen Muhammad,yes, killing people with a long range rifle while hiding in the trunk of your car is terrorism. Wake up and smell the lethal injection.

US Doctors Back Defibrillator Use in Children
We're glad they cleared that up. But doesn't it open the door to at home child abuse? "Johnny, clean up your room or we're going to jump start you heart."

Bush Foresees Medicare Accord
Also known as the "Free Drugs for Everybody" Accord.

Wordsmiths get own 'funplex' in revised Merriam-Webster
They've jammed in 10,000 new words. Look for "D'oh," "Yo," and "Ho" to become part of the newer, funner and dumber English language.

Thousands compete to design Trade Center memorial
Great, now we can have a ten year argument about it, instead of the standard five year New York argument. And when we're done, let the lawsuits commence!

Deseret bio tests done on 6000
Nearly 6,000 members of the US military -- more than twice original estimates -- were subjected to chemical and biological warfare tests overseen by Utah's Deseret Test Center in the 1960s and 1970s. The right way, the wrong way, and the very wrong Army way.

Planned Parenthood abortions may continue for now, judge says
And the beat goes on...

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 1, 2003 9:38 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Reports of Our Demise Premature

"Now is the end. Perish the world." - Beyond the Fringe

We tend to sleep through announcements of the end of the world. Our default state is: "Wake us when it's over." As a result we completely missed out on the Niburu flap until it was put to bed by David Morrison at Nasa:

For months, weird stories have circulated on the Internet predicting the close passage by Earth this month of a Planet X sometimes called "Niburu", or in some versions a giant comet. I have even seen it linked to both Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) and Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs), although why either of these is relevant is not clear to me. This news note is for those who may have heard such rumors and wondered if there was any reality to them. The simple answer is that these are lies. There is no such object.
All we can say is "Whew! That was a close one." Still, we'll keep coming back because, as the comedy routine above tells us, "We're sure to get a winner one of these days." The only problem is that it won't be from outer space. It will be homemade.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 26, 2003 9:37 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Let's All Just Give Up and Fly Naked

Airport Security Remains Porous-Screeners Depart, Officials Alarmed

Dulles International Airport already was losing passenger screeners at a rate of at least one a day, Scott McHugh, the airport's federal security director, wrote in an e-mail to colleagues at other East Coast airports. He said that with fewer workers, the airport was able to screen only 57 percent of checked luggage for explosives.

"Up to now we have been able to hide this fact from the public (and any terrorist surveillance teams)," McHugh wrote in a June 6 e-mail obtained by The Washington Post.

Solution:If we could all be convinced to just travel buck naked and allow our bodies to be slapped on the belt and run through the scanners, all this would clear up pronto.

Posted by Van der Leun at Jun 22, 2003 6:11 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Small Satori: Zen Moments for Democrats

Over on Roger Simon's comment boards the thoughtful and articulate Michael Totten is working his way through the current flavor of Democratic Party Angst:

Do I want a Democrat to win the next election? In the abstract, yes, but in the real world, it depends. I've never voted for a Republican president in my life, and it would be physically difficult for me to do it. But I can't vote for a peacenik. If the Democrats pick a peacenik in the primary who wishes Saddam Hussein were still in power, I will have no choice but to vote for Bush. I'm not going to get on the wrong side of this issue. I would rather break party ranks.

I would choose Joe Lieberman or Dick Gephardt over Bush. I would probably pick John Edwards over Bush, too. I will not vote for Howard Dean or John Kerry, and especially not for Al Sharpton.

It's good to hear someone like Totten looking about for a viable Democrat to vote for. I'll be looking too since I too don't know if I want to break a life long voting record of never voting Republican.

Check that. I just lied. I looked into my heart and realized that right now, today, I desperately want to vote for Bush. And I suspect that there are other deep and secret longings among lifelong Democrats like myself. And I suspect that no matter who the Democrats run there will be a goodly number of people who talk the Demo talk but won't walk the Demo walk when the curtains close behind them on election day.

I looked at Totten's list of likely candidates (two) and realized that old and deep truth of electoral politics: "You gotta beat somebody with somebody."

To my mind the Democrats have got Nobody... and they KNOW IT.

Hence, since they still have to beat somebody with somebody, they are trying to beat Bush with Bush.

And that is very, very Zen.

I suspect that a lot of us are going to be having these small satori's from now on.

Posted by Van der Leun at Jun 13, 2003 1:37 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
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