Aug 30, 2007

Those jeans aren't sagging

When you pull your jeans below your buttocks and belt them there, that's not sagging.


I actually hadn't seen this particular style in a couple of years. Then, a couple weeks ago, I saw a grown man (he must have been at least 35) sporting this look. It's one thing for a 15-year-old to adopt this look, but grown men are supposed to know better. And this guy wasn't merely displaying his backside: His trousers were pulled down in the front, too. Perhaps he has bladder trouble and needs to have split-second access to his member?
Following a pattern of past fashion bans, the sagging prohibitions are seen by some as racially motivated because the wearers are young, predominantly African-American men.

Yet, this legislation has been proposed largely by African-American officials. It may speak to a generation gap. Michael Eric Dyson, a professor of sociology at Georgetown University and the author of “Know What I Mean?: Reflections on Hip Hop,” said, “They’ve bought the myth that sagging pants represents an offensive lifestyle which leads to destructive behavior.”

I, for one, don't care about anyone's lifestyle. I just don't want to see his underwear.

Aug 29, 2007


Mutiny on the manifesto: Fractures on the left.

Staying power: When the NYT gets the facts wrong.

Farm aid for Manhattanites.

With great power comes great responsibility: Spiderman suit.

Shakespeare the thinker: Review.

Why didn't they just check it in?

Vatican Air passengers forced to give up holy water they collected at Lourdes.
Many hoped to ferry the water back to sick relatives.

Instead, dozens of plastic containers in the shape of the Madonna were left at security, while one man decided to drink all of his.

Suggestion for Larry Craig

Shamelessly lifted from Radar.

What Black Men Think

Documentary by Janks Morton:
Morton's ultimate message in What Black Men Think is that blacks rely way too much on government to solve their problems; that the permissiveness advocated by baby boomers in the 1960s laid the groundwork for so many black households without fathers; and that there is a widespread misconception, even among black people, about who black men really are.

'Frenchman: Excitable. Wears beard, gesticulates wildly'

John Derbyshire remembers when foreigners were funny.
Why aren’t foreigners funny anymore? The answer is of course: Multiculturalism. When there is a foreign family living in the house next door, and four of the ten people in the office where you work are foreign, it’s hard to crack jokes about foreigners without causing offense. It’s especially hard in a milieu where the ability to take offense instantly and promiscuously, even when plainly no offense was intended, is regarded as a mark of fine and delicate sensibilities, indeed of moral purity.

Aug 28, 2007


Not a job for politicians: Health care.

Gimme: The universal gesture.

World's biggest diamond found.

Not a celebrity, but a symbol: Jenna Bush.

On a wing and a prayer: Vatican charter planes.

Lawyers being lawyers

Via memeorandum.

Stop them before they strike again

The makers of Crocs plan to unveil a clothing line made with the same material as their gruesome plastic shoes.
At a fashion show in Las Vegas this week, Crocs will unveil a range of T-shirts, mens' work shirts and children's shorts, trousers and skirts. The clothes will go on sale in America in October and they will reach British shops next year. Womenswear will follow in 2008 - the spokeswoman said: "Men's and children's clothes are a bit less complicated. Waiting until 2008 allows us to take time over our women's fashion range."
No good can come of this.

Aug 27, 2007

Palestinians ready to give up statehood

For a return to the caliphate. They're joining Hizb ut-Tahrir, the Islamic "liberation" party that wants to unite the Muslim world into a single caliphate. Israel would also be under Muslim rule.
"Any talk about a return to the caliphate, any talk about a return to religious values is something that is attractive to people," said Majid Abu Malah, 55, an Arabic-language teacher who attends regularly.

He, like many others, says he has given up on both Hamas and Fatah, and will not vote in the next election. "I believe in what [Hizb ut-Tahrir] gives."

Via TigerHawk, who finds consolation in the fact that these Palestinians have admitted that "they are not a nationality."

Why choose?

The Sartorialist asks: Who had more style?

Cary Grant?
He didn’t cheat like Fred Astaire who created all kinds of innovations in his legendary collaboration with his Savile Row tailors Anderson & Sheppard or Kilgour, French & Stanbury to facilitate his incomparable movements on the dance floor.

Some of Astaire’s innovations were ridiculously pretentious like the time he tied a scarf instead of a belt around his pants, a substitution that was supposed to make his clothes less constricting. Cary Grant just wore clothes that fit.

Fred Astaire was a one-dimensional talent, a dandy dancer, a leggy technician with a lot of skill, and even more discipline. His girlishly lithe figure made it easier for him to defy gravity than a man of Grant’s more manly size.

or Fred Astaire?
There is more a sense of studied nonchalance about Astaire. Grant looked elegant in white tie and tails, but Astaire looked elegant and comfortable. He wore them like they were pajamas and a tux as though it were a part of his everyday routine, rather than borrowed from some Prussian general. It wasn’t supposed to look perfect, it was supposed to look thrown together in a perfectly natural way. Of course, it wasn’t anything of the sort. It’s what Castiglione in The Book of the Courtier defined as “sprezzatura”, a studied casualness that hides itself in purposeful eccentricity.

The non-smoking lobby

Has grown so powerful that it can now force you to stop smoking
in your own house or garden.

Via David Harsanyi.


10 things: The life list.

When animal lovers attack, via Kathy Shaidle.

A computer network called Internet.

Why? Nude album covers.

Masters of the universe redux.

Aug 26, 2007

Carnival of Maryland XIV

From hill to hill, from creek to creek,
Potomac calls to Chesapeake,
Maryland! My Maryland!


Arts and Music

Kevin Dayhoff discusses the work of artist Edward Hopper "considered by many art historians to be one of the most influential, if not one of the most popular artists of the twentieth century."

Kevin recommends that readers take advantage of the Carroll County Arts Council's September 25 bus trip to the National Gallery of Art to see a retrospective of Hopper's work. He saw the exhibit in Boston and gives it a rave review.

Jon Rochetti previews the Baltimore Antiques Show: "As the largest summer indoor Antiques Show in the country, the 27th annual Baltimore Summer Antiques Show is the place for antique lovers."

Local news

Joyce Dowling points out that a Bowie City building and a school in Greenbelt are using straw as a building material. Joyce also invites readers in Prince George's County to join a freecycle listerv to exchange treasures they no longer use.

Local Politics

Matt Johnston is chafed. Chafed at the machinations of the Baltimore Teachers Union.
Baltimore schools are set to open on Monday and now teachers are being told--don't do anything extra. Working to the rule at a time when extra effort is required, i.e. at the beginning of a school year, is a cheap shot and clearly does not have the best interests of students at heart

Stan Modjesky had a "Gregor Samsa" moment after his mother's car was broken into outside her Dundalk home. "Last week," he reports, "I discovered that some interesting changes have taken place here in Baltimore County. Car theft has been legalized, and we have acquired a fourth branch of government."

Streiff thinks Baltimore Fire Chief William J. Goodwin is a dead man walking and wonders why Baltimore fire trainee Racheal Wilson was even allowed to enter the academy, given her physical condition.

State Politics

Stephanie Dray objects to Governor Martin O'Malley's proposal that anyone arrested be required to submit DNA samples.
The collection of DNA has Fifth Amendment implications that make me uncomfortable and the collection of DNA from everyone who is arrested, even if no case is ever brought against them? That's completely unacceptable. Especially in Baltimore City where the prosecutorial record points to a high percentage of false arrests.

Speaking of O'Malley, Patrick Ostronic, aka the Maryland Conservatarian,
takes on O'Malley's attacks of Bob Ehrlich's record.

National Politics

Michael Swartz finds slim pickings at best when he looks at the GOP presidential and congressional candidates.
There’s no one out there who’s really taking it to the Democrats - instead a lot of the GOP candidates are doing the Democrats’ work for them by infighting and exposing what they consider hypocrisy on some issues. It’s especially true with the frontrunners Romney and Giuliani being attacked by the more socially conservative candidates. We’re all waiting for someone to call out the Democrats on a regular basis - saying in effect to hell with working with them, they are going to work with me and if they don’t I’ll use my bully pulpit to get them out of Congress.

Natural beauty

The green leaves of the Ridger's photos provide a lovely contrast to the weather in Gray Monday. Red and Gray and LBJ provides more local color.

Soccer Dad takes us on a photographic tour of Cunningham falls state park.


In Ouch! Attila finds some consolation for fans in the Orioles' 30-3 defeat by the Rangers.

Aug 24, 2007

Novelist writes case study for Harvard Business Review

Corporate thriller writer Joseph Finder sets the scene, about a brand new CEO who suspects that her predecessor and his cronies were involved in corruption.

It's a fun idea, especially since--for the first time--anyone can submit a solution to the problem.

But it's writers like Joseph Flinder, who give genre fiction a bad name. For one thing, Finder doesn't get to the point until paragraph 27. Instead he sets the stage with a lot of inept description. Note to thriller writers: Unless your name is Tom Wolfe, please don't waste our time with paragraph upon paragraph describing the glamorous world of big business. Particularly if said description consists of one cliché after another. To wit:
Go for it, kiddo, she told herself as she exhaled, then resolutely strode over the threshold and across the antique, jewel-toned Serapi rug. She remembered the moment, a couple of weeks ago, when the chairman of the board had solemnly ushered her in here. He’d stood in awestruck silence, presumably to impress her with the majesty and grandeur of the job they were courting her for.

She’d been impressed, all right. But also secretly appalled. It was obscene: easily four times the size of her office at Boeing, where she’d run the largest division. This wasn’t exactly her style. A peacock’s plumage might impress the peahens, she liked to say, but it was also a flashing neon all-you-can-eat sign for predators.

Floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides, with dazzling panoramic views of Wilshire Boulevard. A private terrace where you could entertain visiting dignitaries. Even a working fireplace with a slate hearth -- what was that all about?
Naturally, Cheryl's legendary, globe-trotting predecessor was "hard-charging." A tall secretary is "regal" and Cheryl has a "flinty exterior," while her chief rival sports "a shock" of white hair. It's a world where brows aren't merely furrowed, but "deeply furrowed."

I would also add that the problem we're asked to address, corruption within the company, is just sort of dropped into the story like an afterthought when Cheryl broaches the topic with her secretary in paragraph 27. It feels like an afterthought. What's this? Cheryl's heard some rumors that company salesmen were offering buyers "certain incentives" ? Does this have anything to do with panoramic vistas and vast black marble slabs of desks?

Via Sarah Weinman.

Reassessing Ike

The American Heritage blog discusses Eisenhower's reputation here, here and here.

Aug 23, 2007

Words that get your panties moist

And not in a good way.Apparently many people--women particularly--cannot stand hearing the word moist. I don't think there's any word that I can't stand. How about you?


Jerusalem's Muslim woman cabdriver.

Assault with a deadly weapon: Cocktail sausage.

Almost famous: Reality TV.

How well are you groomed? Part I and Part II.

A bright new future: The sweet potato.

Watching you swilling vodka naked in front of the TV

For three years may have had something to do with it.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - A woman set fire to her ex-husband's penis as he sat naked watching television and drinking vodka, Moscow police said on Wednesday.

Asked if the man would make a full recovery, a police spokeswoman said it was "difficult to predict".

The attack climaxed three years of acrimonious enforced co-habitation. The couple divorced three years ago but continued to share a small flat, something common in Russia where property costs are very high.

"It was monstrously painful," the wounded ex-husband told Tvoi Den newspaper. "I was burning like a torch. I don't know what I did to deserve this."

Thanks to Lisa for the link.

Aug 22, 2007

Glamorous Team preys on the unemployed

As if losing your job isn't bad enough, now job seekers who replied to an offer to download a "Monster Job Seeker Tool" have been hit with the "worst ever" trojan.
"This is the worst attack I've ever seen," says Jacques Erasmus, Prevx's director of malware research and a former hacker who has proved a worthy opponent for the Glamorous Team. He's spent days trying to help victims like Tom and Mike recover their files.

"We received a first sighting of this around eight hours after it was released via spearphished emails to a targeted audience of people looking for work using the website," says Erasmus. The attack may have used an email list stolen from Monster or a similar job-seeking service.

"[Normally] to get an uptake of 1,000 machines, you'd need to send the email to around 75,000 people. However, because this email was highly targeted, the conversion ratio would be much better. Therefore I believe it was sent to around 10,000 email addresses," says Erasmus. A secondary wave of infection involved pornography and a malicious website in Panama. Only people in the USA were affected, except for one person in Saudi Arabia.

The software was a password-stealer trojan with a new ransomware feature and three functions: encrypting files on the victim's hard disk; stealing browser data and silently sending out stolen information to a website on a shared Yahoo server. No documents were taken - just data from browser sessions - although panicked users who deleted the read_me.txt messages with the randomly generated encryption key lost their files forever.



Used chopsticks.
BEIJING (Reuters) - A Beijing factory recycled used chopsticks and sold up to 100,000 pairs a day without any form of disinfection, a newspaper said on Wednesday, the latest is a string of food and product safety scares.

Much better than love handles

Poignees d'amour.


You Are a Club Sandwich

You are have a big personality. It's hard for anyone to ignore you! You dream big. You think big. And you eat big. Some people consider you high maintenance, but you just know what you want... and when you want it.

Your best friend: The Tuna Fish Sandwich

Your mortal enemy: The Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Via Miriam.


Fallujah: The inside story, via Bill.

All wrong: A Kiwi's take on America.

Almost as good as new: 1929 Model A.

The secret history of the Nazi mascot.

Just a bunch of writing: Books.

'No time to quit'

One of a series of ads being put out by Freedoms Watch in the run up to a vote on the war in Iraq.

Via Don Surber.

There's no such thing as

The universal right to health, says Theodore Dalrymple.
The doctrine of rights, which started out as an attempt to defend the citizen against arbitrary governmental power, has thus been transformed into the locus standi of arbitrary government power. To adapt slightly the words of Dostoyevsky with regard to freedom and despotism, starting from infinite rights we arrive at infinite subjection. In the process - and not entirely coincidentally - absolute power will pass into the hands of an elite of infinitely benevolent administrators.

The nightowls next door

I'm beginning to suspect that my new neighbors are vampires and 2 am is their witching hour. That's the time they chose to move in. Last night they were similarly energized at 2 am.

I awoke to hear talking coming from their doorstep, conveniently located a few feet from my bedroom window. They were evidently saying goodbye to a gentleman caller. The door slammed shut. About 30 seconds later, the door opened and one of them ran outside and endeavored to get the attention of the guy who just left. "Reggie," she repeated over and over again in a cross between a whisper and a shout that resulted in a hissing noise much like, I imagine, the voice of Voldemort when addressing a crowd of his followers. When her entreaties failed to work, she stomped downstairs in her hobnail boots and knocked on his car window. The two then engaged in a loud but unintelligible colloquy conducted in Parseltongue. Then I heard a car door open and the two drove away.

I began to drift back to sleep when the neighbors' door opened again and I was treated to a one-sided conversation conducted in a low murmur. I can only assume that she gets better cell phone reception outside my window than inside her apartment.

Aug 21, 2007

No sizzle

Worst onscreen chemistry: Top 10 Couples.
1. Natalie Portman & Hayden Christensen - Stars Wars: Episode II
2. Jennifer Lopez & Ben Affleck - Gigli
3. Keira Knightley & Orlando Bloom - Pirates of the Caribbean
4. Madonna & Adriano Giannini - Swept Away
5. Catherine Zeta-Jones & Sean Connery - Entrapment
6. Andie MacDowell & Hugh Grant - Four Weddings and a Funeral
7. Kate Bekinsale & Ben Affleck - Pearl Harbor
8. Nicole Kidman & Tom Cruise - Eyes Wide Shut
9. Jake Gyllenhaal & Heath Ledger - Brokeback Mountain
10. Kate Winslet & Leonardo DiCaprio - Titanic
Note that Ben Affleck is a two-time loser and that Madonna, who at one time seemed to believe that she had invented sex, also scores poorly.

So big it has its own zipcode

The new shoe department at Saks Fifth Avenue. And stamps.

Arthur Miller, 'the great American moralist'

Put his son with Down's Syndrome in a state institution and never publicly acknowledged him.
"Arthur was terribly shaken—he used the term 'mongoloid,'" Whitehead recalled. He said, "'I'm going to have to put the baby away.'" A friend of Inge's recalls visiting her at home, in Roxbury, about a week later. "I was sitting at the bottom of the bed, and Inge was propped up, and my memory is that she was holding the baby and she was very, very unhappy," she says. "Inge wanted to keep the baby, but Arthur wasn't going to let her keep him." Inge, this friend recalls, "said that Arthur felt it would be very hard for Rebecca, and for the household," to raise Daniel at home. Another friend remembers that "it was a decision that had Rebecca at the center."

Within days, the child was gone, placed in a home for infants in New York City. When he was about two or three, one friend recalls, Inge tried to bring him home, but Arthur would not have it. Daniel was about four when he was placed at the Southbury Training School. Then one of two Connecticut institutions for the mentally retarded, Southbury was just a 10-minute drive from Roxbury, along shaded country roads. "Inge told me that she went to see him almost every Sunday, and that [Arthur] never wanted to see him," recalls the writer Francine du Plessix Gray. Once he was placed in Southbury, many friends heard nothing more about Daniel. "After a certain period," one friend says, "he was not mentioned at all."
Read the whole thing, which is really a moving tribute to the son, Danny, who managed to make a life for himself despite growing up in an institution that his mother described as "like a Hieronymus Bosch painting."

Via James Kirchick.

"Get your jabs - and not just the botox!

From the WAG's Guide to Travel, an official publication of the UK's Foreign Office. Other tips:
It might sound trivial but you never know when you might break a nail or your extensions turn green in the pool. To stay looking your best even if you are not taking a personal stylist with you, get a number of good local beauticians or check if the hotel has one before you go!

Luggage restrictions are different all the time now and change from airport to airport and carrier to carrier – research what the requirements are and plan carefully what you are taking on the plane and what is going in the hold. (Frank Lampard’s fiancĂ©e Elen Rives delayed a flight because of a dispute over the amount of hand luggage she had!)

Try and stay in pairs or 3’s at the end of the night, even if your mate meets a hunk and yours looks like a skunk, stay together and say you’ve got a headache
Via the Telegraph.


Scientific fact: Girls like pink.

Depressing TV intros: Parts I and II.

Bridget Jones in Saudi Arabia.

Cure for the world's ills: Poker.

To the nines: Brooke Astor.

War and Peace

Two articles in The City Journal that everyone should read: Bruce Bawer's look at peace studies and Victor Davis Hanson on the academy's neglect of the study of war.

Aug 20, 2007


I'm redoing my resume while attempting to watch a Roz Russell film festival on TCM. Naturally, I'm enjoying the latter much more than the former though I can't say I've really been able to devote the kind of concentration to Ms. Russell that I would have liked. Which is a pity because they've shown a number of movies that I've never seen before. And my DVR is broken so I can't save them for later.

I do think, however, that my resume is much better than it was before. It's punchier and chock-full of those action verbs prospective employers are said to like so much.

Aug 17, 2007


The original blonde bombshell.

Let down: Most disappointing tourist attractions.

At least he had good taste in music: Hitler.

LOLpilgrims, via the Manolo.

At the movies: Elvis.

The immovable object

There's a long piece of what looks like dryer lint hanging from the exhaust fan in my bathroom. It's been there for about four or five days. I see it every day while showering. Every day I say to myself: "You've gotta get rid of that thing."

But by the time I finish my ablutions and--dried myself off, applied body lotion, foot lotion, face lotion, deodorant and hair serum--I've forgotten all about it.

Self-righteous prig?

Or crusader for justice? This guy was on the "Today Show" this morning. He runs around New York with a video camera taping cops and other officials who commit traffic infractions.

Aug 16, 2007

Timewaster du jour

celebrity makeover

Me as a redhead with a new celebrity style. Get yours here.


A local chef being interviewed on the radio about fresh produce kept saying, "if you're more adventuresome ..." She must have said it five times. It was driving me crazy. What happened to good old adventurous? I know they're basically the same thing, but it seems I lived my whole life having never heard the word adventuresome spoken until a few years ago and now everybody's saying it. I don't like it.

Another thing I've noticed is that advances--as in advances in medicine--has been almost totally replaced by advancements, which is just plain icky. Who needs that extra syllable?

People used to go into surgery for an operation or a procedure. e.g.: "He had six operations on his knee." Now they go into surgery for for a surgery, e.g.: "She underwent three surgeries before her face looked human again." Have you noticed this evolution?

How about a word analogy: Magazine is to article as blog is to ______?

I see more and more people referring to an item on a blog as a blog, as in: "I wrote a blog last week on the Crimean War." No. No, you didn't. You wrote a post on the Crimean War.

Aug 14, 2007

Holy cow!

Phil Rizzuto dies at 89.
"He was a Yankee all the way," said Indians great Bob Feller, who at 88 became the oldest living Hall of Famer.

"Phil could hit, he could run, he was good on the basepaths and he was a great shortstop. He knew the fundamentals of the game and he got 100 percent out of his ability. He played it hard and he played it fair," he said.

Born in Brooklyn, Rizzuto tried out with the Dodgers and New York Giants when he was 16, but because of his size was dismissed by Dodgers manager Casey Stengel, who told him to "Go get a shoeshine box." He went on to become one of Stengel's most dependable players.


In an age of broadcasters who spout statistics and repeat the obvious, Rizzuto loved to talk about things like his fear of lightning, the style of an umpire's shoes or even the prospect of outfielder Dave Winfield as a candidate for president.

He liked to acknowledge birthdays and anniversaries, read notes from fans, praised the baked delicacies at his favorite restaurant and send messages to old cronies. And if he missed a play, he would scribble "ww" in his scorecard box score. That, he said, meant "wasn't watching."

His popularity was such that at a recent auction a Rizzuto cap embedded with a wad of chewing gum sold for more than $8,000. In the New York area, Rizzuto's antics became a staple for TV ads.

Aug 10, 2007

Not everyone likes a happy ending

The Guardian asks readers for their favorite love stories and Wuthering Heights tops the list.

Norm objects.
What can they (among the 2000 people surveyed) have been thinking of who were responsible for putting Wuthering Heights in first place? This is where I will openly court controversy by saying that a love story cannot be the greatest, in which things go badly wrong and one of the two romantic protagonists ends up merely a ghost. Other things can be said for such a tale, but the greatest of love stories turn out well in the end.

Some people just like the notion of unrequited love. I loved, loved, loved Wuthering Heights at age 13. Now, not so much. Also, there's a certain type of girl who likes bad boys and nobody is badder than Heathcliff.

Besides, Wuthering Heights isn't the only tale of doomed love to make the list.

  • In "Romeo and Juliet," the lovers kill themselves.

  • Rhett Butler leaves Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind.

  • The heroine in The English Patient dies a horrible death.

  • Doctor Zhivago doesn't get Lara.

  • Gatsby dies.

  • Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford break up--I only know the movie version of The Way We Were.

Murder, he wrote

And perhaps committed.
An author leafing through a newspaper comes across tantalising details of a murder so grisly that he becomes obsessed, and imagines the events into a novel. Or a murderer, so self-satisfied with the brilliance of his perfect crime, pens an account to pass off as fiction and enshrine it in literary history.

Where reality ends and fiction begins in the stomach-turning novel Amok is the central task before the jury in Poland’s trial of the decade. Four years after he published his bloody bestseller, Krystian Bala has found himself on trial for the same torture and murder that he detailed in his novel.

Via Sarah Weinman.

Another diet I won't be trying

The Little Black Dress Diet.
Breakfast: A small bowl of oatmeal made with half a cup of oats, half a cup of skim milk and one cup of water -- no salt. One small pot of Yakult, a probiotic drink from Ireland, and a sachet of Beneflora, a food supplement. Both contain beneficial bacteria that aid with digestion.

Translation: The quicker your stomach begins to digest itself, the quicker you'll get rid of that pot-belly.

Lunch: One apple, a generous bunch of grapes, one ripe banana and more hot water with lemon.

Translation: Sucrose + fiber = the runs. See? A flat belly by noontime!

Afternoon snack: Two cups of fennel tea (available in health food stores) and six dates, the semidried variety. Fennel helps eliminate gas and dates are a source of fiber and iron.

Translation: More gas, more bathroom runs.

The perfect wife

TCM ran a Myrna Loy marathon yesterday, starting with all of the Thin Man and ending with The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer. Absolute heaven. The first video below is a series of clips from the Thin Man movies. It's followed by Myrna's most memorable scene from Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, which was not shown last night.


Some assembly required: Prefab houses.

Fashions in food: Red meat.

Waste not, want not: WWII Britain.

What not to name your blog.

Double standards: Israel, via Snoopy.

Nobody suffers from lumbago anymore

Which is a pity, because it's a much better term than lower back pain, funnier too. In the same vein, dipsomaniacs are much funnier than drunks--who are pathetic creatures to be pitied--or alcoholics, who are rather pretentious. And while we're at it, I'd rather have dyspepsia than indigestion or the much-too-clinical term, acid reflux disease, which is no fun at all.

Aug 9, 2007

Is it any wonder she's a mess?

Lindsay Lohan:
DON'T blame Lindsay Lohan for her bad behavior - blame her parents. Lohan's former bodyguard of three years, Tony Almeida, says neither Dina nor Michael Lohan provided any structure for Lindsay when she was growing up and that both were wild, abusive, neglectful partyers who needed to keep their "cash cow" daughter working to pay their bills.
I've always felt kind of sorry for Lindsay. It's tough being the breadwinner of the family at age 12.

Adventures in pandering

Senate ponders bill to give fashion designers copyright protection, led by chief Senate panderer, Chuck Schumer.
“Designers spend countless hours doing and redoing, testing, creating, thinking, and then some counterfeiter comes along and just takes it away,” said Mr. Schumer. “It’s stealing, plain and simple.”

My feminist credentials

You Are 84% Feminist

You are a total feminist. This doesn't mean you're a man hater (in fact, you may be a man). You just think that men and women should be treated equally. It's a simple idea but somehow complicated for the world to put into action.

Via Fausta,

Aug 8, 2007


A caricature of himself? Boris Johnson.

Dangerous roads.

For the love of money: Confessions, via Metafilter.

The coolest president: Teddy Roosevelt.

The united countries of baseball.

Newsflash: Preschoolers prefer McDonald's

The conclusion of a study which showed that kids preferred food wrapped in McDonald's packaging to the same food in generic packaging.
“You see a McDonald’s label and kids start salivating,” said Diane Levin, a childhood development specialist who campaigns against advertising to kids. She had no role in the research.

Levin said it was “the first study I know of that has shown so simply and clearly what’s going on with (marketing to) young children.”

Study author Dr. Tom Robinson said the kids’ perception of taste was “physically altered by the branding.” The Stanford University researcher said it was remarkable how children so young were already so influenced by advertising.

Remarkable. Here's a partial list of things preschoolers prefer:

  • Staying up past their bedtime.

  • Eating candy for breakfast.

  • Pushing grocery carts around the store at high speed and without regard to fellow shoppers.

  • Darting out into traffic.

  • Picking up the family cat by its tail.

  • Repeating the same joke over and over again ad nauseum.

  • Not brushing their teeth.

Feel free to add to the list.

Has it only been 6 years?

It seems like longer--and I mean that in a good way. I don't remember when I started reading Glenn, but I know I checked into his blog many times on September 11, along with Drudge and Andrew Sullivan. It seems to me that most bloggers who came after Instapundit were following in his footsteps, not just these guys. I know he influenced me.

In fact, the same-sex partnership of Andrew Sullivan and Glenn Reynolds likely spawned hundreds, if not thousands of blogs. Unfortunately, the relationship ended in acrimony before it could receive the blessing of the state. Hell, it started crumbling even before Massachusetts sanctioned gay marriage. Oh well, at least us kids were spared a long drawn-out battle for custody.



Aug 7, 2007


Hey: Lazy writer's trick.

Circle of life: Comedians.

Unplatonic ideal: Broken friendship.

10 reasons it doesn't pay to be the computer guy, via GeekPress.

No good deed goes unpunished in Saudi Arabia.

I wanna be like Osama

Via Robert, who has more.

Maureen Dowd for free

The New York Times will drop TimesSelect, according to the New York Post.
While other online publications were abandoning subscriptions, the Times took the opposite approach in 2005 and began charging for access to well-known writers, including Maureen Dowd, Frank Rich and Thomas L. Friedman.

The decision, which also walled off access to archives and other content, was controversial almost from the start, with some of the paper's own columnists complaining that it limited their Web readership.

I'll bet.

The Tinkerty Tonk challenge

size 2

The Challenge

Behold the pair of size 2 jeans, not so long ago worn with pride by your esteemed blog mistress. The challenge: To fit in those jeans once again. To that end, I will limit my caloric intake and endeavor--gasp--to take regular exercise.

Please note: The size 2 jeans of today aren't the size 2 jeans of yesteryear, rather size deflation has rendered the size 2 jeans of today to approximately the same dimensions as the size 6 of 20 years ago. This is an important distinction as it lets you know that this is no a pie-in-the-sky goal conceived of by a potential anorexic. Rather it is a reasonable goal that can be met with a modicum of self-restraint and--gasp--the taking of regular exercise. I will not, for instance, be using this product.

This, however, will not exactly be a walk in the park. For example, your blog mistress already has a pair of 21st Century size 6 jeans--formerly known as her fat jeans--that, thanks to the miracle of spandex, she can squeeze into but would probably result in extensive damage to her internal organs if worn for any length of time.

So I can't do this alone, people. Here's where you come in:


The solution

Join the Society for the Restoration and Preservation of Rachel Sawyer's Ass (SRPRSA).

SRPRSA is a charity that allows you, the reader, to express your support for this worthy goal. Your donations will be used to help fund pilates classes, to purchase healthy, fresh produce, to buy exercise gear and/or join a gym. Members will get a complimentary subscription to the SRPRSA newsletter, with frequent updates on how close Rachel Sawyer's Ass is to fitting into those jeans. Bloggers: Do your part by downloading the SRPRSA seal and displaying it in a prominent place on your blog with a link to this post.

Members who are interested in starting a local chapter of SRPRSA, please contact me for informational and promotional materials. Want to do more? Organize an SRPRSA walkathon, the money raised can go directly to the Restoration and Preservation of Rachel Sawyer's Ass, while the miles walked will directly benefit your ass. It's a win/win situation.

When Rachel Sawyer's Ass fits comfortably in the above pair of size 2 jeans members will receive a photo of Rachel Sawyer's Ass in said jeans, suitable for framing, to commemorate this great occasion. But SRPRSA will not disband once this goal is reached. Remember this is a society for the Preservation as well as the Restoration of Rachel Sawyer's Ass so the society will not disband until that Ass is defunct. This is a long-term project. Consider including SRPRSA in your will or estate plan.

Disclaimer: We here at SRPRSA believe in following a holistic approach to the problem of Rachel Sawyer's Ass. As such, your donations may also go towards items not directly related to the Restoration and Preservation of Rachel Sawyer's Ass. These may include, but are not limited to: vehicle repairs, a stranded Rachel Sawyer's Ass is not a happy Rachel Sawyer's Ass; life-affirming pedicures; jeans to cover Rachel Sawyer's Ass in the interim; and other items or services as needed.

Aug 4, 2007

Insomnia sucks

I was up until 4 last night and up again before 8. After tossing and turning for about an hour, I get up to make coffee. Grind the beans, boil the water, pour over grounds, wait for coffee to drip. But it didn't drip. Apparently, in my stupor, I'd ground the beans to something resembling a paste. Pick up coffeepot, manage to spill grounds and boiling water all over the floor, dump pot in sink, manage to pour boiling water/grounds combination on my hand, burning my right thumb from the base of the fingernail down to the wrist. Hurts. Hurts like hell. Run cold water over wound, smear on cortisone cream, suddenly remember I have a leftover prescription for vicodin. Take pill, lie down hoping to retreat into the arms of Morpheus. Toss and turn for three hours. Get up, make more coffee. Son enters room. I describe my mishap. Get a lecture on how I ingest too much caffeine. Manage not to strangle son. Drive son to work. And now I'm too tired to sleep.

Aug 3, 2007

The New Elizabethan Age

I see Cate Blanchett will be playing Elizabeth I again in the upcoming Elizabeth, The Golden Age. This comes on the heels of Helen Mirren's HBO series and Showtime's series, "The Tudors," which is actually about Henry VIII, Elizabeth's father.

I haven't seen either of those shows, but will probably do so eventually--though I've got to say that the guy playing Henry VIII looks a little too lean and dark for the part. (This review says the actor is better suited to play "a scheming courtier or pining poet than an extroverted royal peacock.") But I do like me some Tudors, especially Elizabeth.

I saw Blanchett's first Elizabeth film and liked it very much. It wasn't exactly historically accurate, but that doesn't bother me overmuch. Elizabeth was such a fascinating character that I always find it interesting to see how others view her. Though I hold no truck with those who sympathize with Mary, Queen of Scotts. Mary Stuart was a royal pain in the ass and Elizabeth allowed her to stick around for far too long. The new movie, I see, will touch on that. Here's the trailer:

And here, just for kicks, is a rundown of movies about Elizabeth with pictures.

As it happens, I'm enjoying an Elizabethan renaissance myself. I've been watching "Elizabeth R," the BBC series starring Glenda Jackson, who really embodies Elizabeth--in my humble opinion. I first watched the series a gazillion years ago when it first aired on "Masterpiece Theater." I loved it then and kind of wondered how it held up. It did. Jackson is superb, as is the supporting cast, the costumes are terrific and the makeup is great. Here are some photos of Jackson being made up as Elizabeth.

I'm also reading Paul Johnson's book, Elizabeth I: A Study in Power and Intellect, which was published in 1974 before, I think, Johnson became famous over here. It's not really an authoritative biography-Johnson skips around a lot, which can get kind of confusing--but I'm enjoying it. I like Johnson's brisk style. And I like that he quotes a lot from primary sources. He portrays Elizabeth as a conservative who, though desperate for cash, was reluctant to raise money through taxes.
It was not a method of raising money she exploited but rather, to her mind, a monarchical privilege which was to be used sparingly. Direct taxation cost her popularity, and employing it had therefore to be balanced against the necessity to furnish the Exchequer. She was as reluctant to raise money as to spend it. Whenever possible, she turned to other methods. ... In 1591 there was a more bizarre effort: negotiations with Edward Kelly, a medium ... [who] had been experimenting in the transmutation of base metal into gold ... ELizabeth was skepical of Kelly's powers, but determined, if they existed, that they should be used in the service of England ...

If sometimes, as Ralegh complained, she underfinanced her war policies, she maintained political solidarity and economic expansion by keeping the English the lowest-taxed nation in Europe, a fact to which Bacon paid tribute: 'He that shall look into other countries and consider the taxes, and tallages, and impositions, and assizes and the like that are everywhere in use, will find that the Englishman is most master of his own valuation and the least bitten in purse of any nation in Europe.'

But Elizabeth was no neocon; she didn't seek out war, but was forced into it by circumstances, as when she--after much prodding by her advisors--sent then-favorite Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester to the low countries to defend Protestant interests. War could be very expensive.
Even by the somewhat bizarre standards of sixteenth-century warfare, Leicester's personal entourage gave his army a top-heavy appearance. We possess a list of over 1,100 persons forming what was called his 'train'. ... Moreover, Leicester himself was surrounded by a household a monarch might have envied: his personal suite comprised 99 gentlemen-officers, yeomen and their servants and over 70 lords, knights and gentlemen; he had a steward, 4 secretaries, 2 engineers, pages, grooms, trumpeters, footmen, chaplains, physicians and a whole company of actors. The vast quantities of baggage included no less than 44 beds for the kitchen staff alone.

Poor George

No matter how you feel about George Steinbrenner, you've got to admit that it's sad to think of him shambling around in bedroom slippers in the middle of the day like this. More here. But let's remember happier times:

Liar, liar pants on fire

Thomas Scott Beauchamp.
fter a thorough investigation that lasted nearly a week the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division has concluded that the allegations made by Private Thomas Scott Beauchamp, the "Baghdad Diarist", have been

"refuted by members of his platoon and proven to be false"

The official investigation the 4th IBCT Public Affairs Office qualified as "thorough and professional" concluded late August 1st. Officials would not speculate on the possibility of further action against Private Beauchamp, nor would they confirm his current whereabouts or status.

Sergeant First Class Robert Timmons, the acting public affairs official of the 4th IBCT, 1st ID, in the absence of Major Luke Luedeke, remarked that despite the high level of attention this case received in the American media, soldiers at the 4th IBCT, 1st Inf. Div, a "surge" Brigade, have not been distracted from their missions.

Thanks to Andy for the link.

Chaz as you've never known him

Ladies and gentlemen: The Normblog profile of Charles G. Hill.

Aug 2, 2007


Defense ministry logos around the world, via Kevin.

No big deal: Planning a wedding.

Lolcats of death.

The real Harry Potter, via Steve-O.

Animated breasts.

Why are the people of Bel Air, MD trying to kill me?

First some geezer pulls on to the right shoulder as I'm crossing the intersection--my light, needless to say, but I'm saying it--and proceeds to drift into my lane just as I got to the other side. Of course, he ignored the horn. He was only inches away when I swerved into the left lane, which was thankfully unoccupied 'cuz I checked. That's just the kind of person I am. I'm afraid my son made some rather rude gestures, but the geezer was oblivious. After all, if you can't see a midsize sedan, how can you possibly take note of a middle finger being waved inside said sedan?

About 30 seconds later, I turned onto a side street that separates two shopping centers when some crazed soccer mom ran through a stop sign in her single-minded frenzy to get from Target to the La-Z-Boy Furniture Showroom. This time she stopped, with only about a foot to spare.

Get your free boobies here matches women who want breast implants with guys who want to help pay for those implants. Actually, maybe it's not so hard to understand what the guys get out of it.
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I'm guessing the "and more" provides a bigger motivation than helping to improve a gal's self esteem and self image. It's kind of like a cross between paying for a hooker and getting one of those life-size blow up dolls.

But enough about the motivations. Let's take a look at the before and after photos, shall we?

  1. Cara is perhaps the only woman I can think of who genuinely needs breast implants. Seriously, this procedure should have been covered by her health insurance.

  2. Chele's plastic surgeon did her a grave disservice (scroll down to after pic #3). Breasts really aren't supposed to look as though you've had firm melons attached to your chest.

  3. Morgan's breast tattoo expanded along with her breasts, which is a good thing, since that panther (?) would have looked lost among that vast expanse of flesh. Actually, I only mention Morgan and her tattoo because of a woman I saw the other day at the doctor's office. She most emphatically did not need breast augmentation. Indeed, her bra and stretchy tank top could barely contain her girls. Like Morgan she had a tattoo on her left breast. It said Wilma, so I was surprised when the nurse summoned Tasha and she responded. You don't suppose her right breast was called Fred?

Aug 1, 2007

Incompatible with my temperament

That's how Terry Teachout sees the work of Ingmar Bergman and I must say I agree, which is why I didn't bother posting about his death earlier. Then I read this column.
Bergman is one of a large category of “important artists” whose defining quality is an almost total absence of public acclamation or popularity. Every art form has its equivalent – think James Joyce or Sir Harrison Birtwistle – but cinema is exceptional in its preponderance of such “important artists”. The latest is Lars von Trier, a maker of terminally dull films that are, nonetheless, lauded by cineastes (they have their own word, signifying that they’re a cut above bog-standard moviegoers).


But much as I think Bergman is overrated, I hold only one thing against him: ruining Woody Allen. Somewhat bizarrely, Allen has long revered Bergman and made a series of films – September, Another Woman and Shadows and Fog – modelled on Bergman’s style. And although he has made some decent films since, Allen’s decline started with the Bergman hommage films. And for that the Swedish director can never be forgiven.
Yes. Yes. Yes. I started souring on both of them when I saw Interiors. It came out nearly 30 years ago and I saw it in the theater. I still regard the time spent there as among the worst two hours in my life.

5 X 5

OGIC recommends five fictional series. She already picked Anthony Powell's Dance to the Music of Time, which would certainly be in my top five, but I'm flexible.
    1. Chronicles of Barset by Anthony Trollope. There are six novels in all: The Warden, Barchester Towers, Doctor Thorne, Framley Parsonage, The Small House at Allington and The Last Chronicle of Barset, which is my favorite. The books mostly revolve around the lives of clergymen in Trollope's invented county of Barset. Any one of them can be read alone, but if you're like me you won't be able to stop there. The tales concern misappropriation of church funds, illegitimacy, theft and the rivalry between the low church followers of Mrs. Proudie--the Bishop's wife, a nasty piece of work, and high church partisans Even if you're not delighted by discussions of how many orphreys should be on a clergyman's chasuble, as I am, you'll love the books for their characters. Quite simply, they live.

    2. The Carl Wilcox mysteries by Harold Adams. Wilcox is a former convict and itinerant sign painter who travels around small towns in 1930s South Dakota trying to sell his services and, inevitably, getting involved in murders. The books are spare, almost terse, and that's a good thing. With a couple of words, Adams brings to life a lost world of farmers on the brink of despair, of steamy nights at dance halls and frigid South Dakota winters.

    3. Another Wilcox, James Wilcox, takes his readers to the fictional town of Tula Springs, Louisiana in a series of books beginning with Modern Baptists, North Gladiola and Mrs. Undine's Living Room--all of which I can recommend without reservation. Wilcox strayed from Tula Springs in one novel, Plain and Simple, which took place in New York City, and he never quite recovered his sparkle thereafter. And although I enjoyed his later works, they don't hold a candle to the first three.

    4. Lee Child's books featuring former Army MP Jack Reacher are my current favorite mysteries. Reacher, a drifter who owns nothing but the clothes on his back and a toothbrush, is 6' 5" and apparently invincible. He's an irresistible hero in the Jack Bauer mode, though Reacher makes Bauer look like a chatterbox and a flibbertigibbet.

    5. In making her list OGIC was giving succor to Harry Potter addicts who have finished the series, so I'll add a dash of children's literature to finish off. I won't go with the obvious choice--the Narnia books--instead I pick the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. There's nothing particularly magical about the life of the Ingalls family. Instead, they spend most of their time trying to eke out a living and they never really succeed. Unlike the insipid TV series, these books are not all sweetness and light. In The Long Winter, the family only manages to avoid starvation by eating their seed corn. Yet the books aren't depressing and they offer a glimpse into a world that's as unlike our current world as anything found in Harry Potter.


Sh*tkicking good: Video, via Ace.

The Jesus light.

The daily grind: Through the eyes of a 6-year-old.

Earth to Parade: Letter to the editor.

22: How walkable is your neighborhood?