Thursday, June 30, 2005

Pretty Thing

Desert Rose
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Lovely Desert Rose from my back yard. This is one of the things I grumble about having to carry into the house when it freezes hard, but it's always worth it when it blooms. Yummy.

I'm Old and Deteriorating Rapidly

I've been having arm, hand, neck and shoulder pain on the left side for a while now, and had a nasty spasm on my left side a couple of months ago. I've had a number of injuries to my neck going back 23 years at least, including the football variety, the head-on and T-bone variants of the bad car wreck, and hundreds of mountain bike, wakeboard and snowboard bell-ringers. And I probably shouldn't have gone on a ride in my friend Mike's Cobra recently, but that car is wicked gorgeous and such a sensory assault it takes a while after you get in before you can think straight. I honestly did think to ask Mike to turn around to get some duct tape to secure my head to the headrest, but I got mesmerized by the overpowering sensation of that monster. The exhaust rumble that vibrates the city block around you and squeezes you as tight as the four-point belts, the invigorating smell of a big American race-prepared motor running perfectly, the completely unchecked wind and blazing exhaust heat pouring in above and below. Not to mention the violence of the assault on the road, and Mike wasn't getting particularly crazy. It's just a super light, seriously tight, overpowered devil car, and I love it.

The MRI I had this Tuesday found a herniated disk on the left side of my C5-6, and this morning I had a cervical epidural injection of Celestone Soluspan and Lidocaine. I've had Dr. Harris of Spine Austin stabbing me with needles so long I have ultimate faith in his ability to not paralyze me, but looking at that diagram give me a touch of the willies. Not much room for error.

So far I feel about 50% better, with occasional nasty twinges, and hope to feel even better tomorrow, so the wife and I can go to my family reunion in the Texas Hill Country Saturday and not be too ruined physically to have fun. Go Celestone Soluspan!

Holy Sh*t Sin City Must Be Frickin' Awesome

Because why else would my sister Nancy and her friend Barbara like it? They've got excellent taste. Ruthless Reviews describes it just the right amount of vividly:

The moment Mickey Rourke (as Marv) put a bullet in a priest's brain while sitting in a confessional, I was hooked. And as Marv's story thread continued, I was privileged to watch him slam axes into cops' skulls, feed Elijah Wood to a rabid dog (after which he sliced off his head), present the head to an important Cardinal (Rutger Hauer), and proceed to butcher that same Cardinal without a moment's hesitation. Marv banged prostitutes, murdered at will, and leered at young tarts while at strip clubs. It was Rourke's most realized performance in years, perhaps ever. Even while sitting in the electric chair, Rourke was nasty, vicious, and charming as hell. Call it his great comeback.

I honestly can't imagine a series of words that would make me more excited about seeing a movie than that one paragraph has me excited to see Sin City. Can't wait to see it, buy the DVD, and have a scene from it tattooed upon me bum. And it's nice to know my sweet little big sister Nan and her homegirl Barb like viddying merzky sex and brutal dratsing and vredding at the movies, and that Sin City is dorogoy to their hearts. Do Pee and Em know about this?

Link to the Nadsat Glossary from A Clockwork Orange. Not-so-interesting note: no words in Anthony Burgess' special language for happy, like or love.

That's Ridiculous, All Right

Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Apparently KISS had triplets and didn't love them enough. Or so I assume based on this pic, #2 in the "Top 10 Most Ridiculous Black Metal Pics of All Time." Generously provided by Double Viking, where they prefer the #3 pic. They're all pretty fantastic.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

If My Wife Read this Blog, She'd Probably Agree with this Guy

Because he hates horses. A lot. My wife had one bad horsey ride and now she's not a fan of the horseflesh. I can't say I trust them, but I don't hate them. Neither does my wife, really, but it's fun to pretend.

From Double Viking.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I Don't Get It

What is this about, anyways? I should think you'd be forgiven for calling your former captors just about anything, but in Australia, calling Iraqi hostage takers "assholes" is apparently a bad thing.

More and funnier
on the topic from Hubris.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Nicely Put

Ace and his commenter Geoff explain one of my pet peeves about liberals. Ace's original post on the subject here.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Tom Cruise is Nuts

The Superficial has the whole story. I kind of like the guy, but he better stop speaking his mind or we're going to have to crucify him.

Groovy, Baby

I had heard about a Major League Baseball player pitching a no-hitter on LSD, but I thought it was Bill Lee, the "Spaceman" of the Boston Red Sox. Turns out it was Dock Ellis of the Pirates, on June 12, 1970. Boingboing links to a great story about it here:

Thirty-five years ago, on June 12, 1970, Pittsburgh Pirate and future Texas Rangers pitcher Dock Ellis found himself in the Los Angeles home of a childhood friend named Al Rambo. Two days earlier, he'd flown with the Pirates to San Diego for a four-game series with the Padres. He immediately rented a car and drove to L.A. to see Rambo and his girlfriend Mitzi. The next 12 hours were a fog of conversation, screwdrivers, marijuana, and, for Ellis, amphetamines. He went to sleep in the early morning, woke up sometime after noon and immediately took a dose of Purple Haze acid. Ellis would frequently drop acid on off days and weekends; he had a room in his basement christened "The Dungeon," in which he'd lock himself and listen to Jimi Hendrix or Iron Butterfly "for days."

A bit later, how long exactly he can't recall, he came across Mitzi flipping through a newspaper. She scanned for a moment, then noticed something.

"Dock," she said. "You're supposed to pitch today."

Ellis focused his mind. No. Friday. He wasn't pitching until Friday. He was sure.

"Baby," she replied. "It is Friday. You slept through Thursday."

Good story. Go read it.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Charlotte Church, the Last Rock Star

Who knew teen "Voice of an Angel" Charlotte Church was such a party animal? Homegirl is hard core and doesn't care who knows it. From

More Delicious Cruelty

And I thought this was mean. Check this and this out if you want to know the true meaning of online cruelty to celebrities. They do kind of deserve it, though. Some more than others:

Punching Cameron Diaz in the face has to be the most gratifying feeling in the world. And now that a precedent has been set, I’m gonna go buy a bunch of long flowing gowns and just kinda walk around where I think she might show up. So, if you guys wanna hang out or something, I'll be the real handsome guy walking around Malibu in a wedding gown with a ten foot train and a kendo stick. And if you look behind me and Cameron Diaz is walking up, cover your ears cause you're about to hear a loud snap. Followed by a bunch of crying.

I'd try award shows if I were him.

Steyn Begins

Mark Steyn has written a lovely column that, after a short Batman Begins movie review (sort of), is about the Boxing Day Tsunami, and how much of the aid well-meaning citizens of the world sent has never gotten to the needy:

A couple of days later I read that Oxfam had paid the best part of a million bucks to Sri Lankan customs officials for the privilege of having 25 four-wheel-drive vehicles allowed into the country to get aid out to remote villages on washed-out roads hit by the Boxing Day tsunami. The Indian-made Mahindras stood idle on the dock in Colombo for a month as Oxfam’s representatives were buried under a tsunami of paperwork. Aside from the ‘tax’, they were charged £2,750 ‘demurrage’ for every day the vehicles sat in port.

This was merely the latest instalment in what’s becoming a vast ongoing Tsunami Tshakedown Of The Day retrospective — you can usually find it at the foot of page 37 in your daily paper, if at all. Fourteen Unicef ambulances sent to Indonesia spent two months sitting on the dock of the bay wasting time, as the late Otis Redding so shrewdly anticipated. Eight 20ft containers of Diageo drinking water shipped via the Red Cross arrived at the Indonesian port of Medan in January and are still there, because the Indonesian Red Cross lost the paperwork. Five hundred containers, representing one quarter of all aid sent to Sri Lanka since the tsunami hit on 26 December, are still sitting in port in Colombo, unclaimed or unprocessed. At Medan 1,500 containers of aid are still sitting on the dock.

The tsunami may have been unprecedented, but what followed was business as usual — the sloth and corruption of government, the feebleness of the brand-name NGOs, the compassion-exhibitionism of the transnational jet set. If we lived in a world where ‘it’s what you do that defines you’, we’d be heaping praise on the US and Australian militaries who in the immediate hours after the tsunami struck dispatched their forces to save lives, distribute food, restore water and power and communications.

Instead, a fellow Quebecker of my acquaintance sneered, ‘Can you believe those Americans? A humanitarian disaster strikes and they send an aircraft carrier!’ Er, well, yes. Because for large-scale humanitarian operations it helps to have a big boat handy. It seemed unlikely to me that even your average European politician would utter anything so fatuous in public, but Clare Short came close. The sight of Washington co-ordinating its disaster relief efforts with Australia, India and Japan outside the approved transnational structures was too much for her. ‘This initiative from America to set up four countries claiming to co-ordinate sounds like yet another attempt to undermine the UN,’ she told the BBC. ‘Only really the UN can do that job. It is the only body that has the moral authority.’

Whether or not it has ‘moral’ authority, the UN certainly can’t do the job. It becomes clearer every week that Western telly viewers threw far more money at tsunami relief than was required and that much of it has been siphoned off by wily customs inspectors and their ilk. If you really wanted to make an effective donation to a humanitarian organisation, you’d send your cheque to the Pentagon or the Royal Australian Navy.

But that would be in a world where we’re defined by ‘what we do’. Instead, on tsunami aid, what matters is what we feel inside, and when it comes to showing what we feel inside on the outside we can only do it through the proper channels — by sending a donation to the Indonesian Customs Inspectors’ Retirement Fund, or by demanding our government double/triple/quadruple/whatever its contribution to the ‘relief effort’, which means a man in a UN office in New York, who’ll hold a press conference announcing they’re sending someone to the region to conduct an ‘assessment’ of the ‘situation’, just as soon as the USAF emergency team have flown in and restored room service to the five-star hotel. The tsunami farrago would be a scandal but, like Western aid piling up on the docks in Indonesia, right now we’ve got more UN scandals than we need — Oil-for-Food, Darfur, child prostitution rings at UN peacekeeping missions.

The passionate hostility of Miss Short and co to action — to getting things done — is remarkable, but understandable. Getting things done requires ships and transport planes and the like, and most Western countries lack the will to maintain armed forces capable of long-range projection. So, when disaster strikes, they can mail a cheque and hold a press conference and form a post-modern ‘Task Force’ which doesn’t have any forces and doesn’t perform any tasks. In extreme circumstances, they can stage an all-star pop concert. And, because this is all most of the Western world is now capable of, ‘taking action’ means little more than taking the approved forms of inaction.

There's much more, and it's most excellent.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Even for me, this is too cruel. That is one brutal anagram, for starters.

Perspective Check

Also from American Digest, a link to Dean Esmay's post about Iraq combat deaths, with graphs, links and some excellent comments below, including this one by Dean:

By almost any measure you'd care to name, there has never been a more successful military operation in American history. Yet most people today actually snort in derision at such a notion--no matter how provably true it is, or what evidence is put before them.

Why? Because a small band of fascists is still setting off bombs over there every day, mostly killing innocent civilians. THAT IS THE SUM TOTAL OF THEIR PROOF. Fascist lunatics are still setting off bombs. Therefore, we're failing.

This is, as others have said, the direct result of the Vietnam generation of radicals who took over the universities and filled every subsequent generation of young journalism students, and students in general, with the notion that America was evil and Woodward and Bernstein were the greatest heroes in journalism history.

The press is no longer on America's side--indeed, they routinely conflate "taking America's side" with "touting the administration line." What more can be done except to point out to these people that the facts simply don't fit their interpretation?

Also some highly reasoned and reasonable anti-Iraq War comments, too. Check it out.

Best Thing You'll See All Day

Awesome. From Gerard at American Digest, who rightly explains it's a long download, but well worth it.

Took You Long Enough

Good boy. Now try not to say anything unbelievably stupid for a whole week. And Lileks is right, as he often is:

Of the Strib's [Minneapolis Star Tribune's] defense of Sen. Durbin I have nothing to say. Any editorial that describes Gitmo as a “hellhole” has no words left for any other actual holes o’hell, unless we’re going to layer hell like Dante, with different tiers for different states. I will note that more elderly people died of the Paris heat than appear to have perished from Gitmo conditions, but of course that doesn’t reflect on Paris, Parisiens, or the ability of the French to make air conditioners cheap and readily available.

UPDATE: Video of Durbin's apology, from the Political Teen, Via Wizbang.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Yea, Verily Patrick Swayze is Our Savior

If you haven't been following Road House Revisited over at Hubris, here's a great place to start. Sure, it's the end, but all 10 of the other chapters are linked. Great stuff.

Also, a fun Sean Penn parody here. From Beautiful Atrocities.

Monday, June 20, 2005

I Heart Gitmo

Well, I don't exactly heart it, but I don't have a problem with it. And neither does Mark Steyn:

I’m not arguing the merits here so much as the politics. There’s certainly a discussion to be had about how to categorize these people. As things stand, they’re not covered by the Geneva Conventions — they’re unlawful combatants, captured fighting in civilian clothes rather than uniform, and, when it comes to name, rank and serial number, they lack at least two thereof, and even the first is often highly variable. As a point of “international law”, their fate is a matter entirely between Washington and the state of which they’re citizens (Saudi Arabia, mostly). I don’t think it’s a good idea to upgrade terrorists into lawful combatants. But if, like my namesake the British jurist Lord Steyn, you feel differently, fine, go ahead and make your case.

Where the anti-Gitmo crowd went wrong was in expanding its objections from the legal status of the prisoners to the treatment they‚re receiving. By any comparison — ie, not just with Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot — they’re getting better than they deserve. It’s the first gulag in history where the torture victims put on weight. Each prisoner released from Guantanamo receives a new copy of the Koran plus a free pair of blue jeans in his new size: the average detainee puts on 13 pounds during his stay, thanks to the “mustard-baked dill fish”, “baked Tandoori chicken breast” and other delicacies. These and other recipes from the gulag’s kitchen have now been collected by some Internet wags and published as The Gitmo Cookbook.

Whatever's going on there, it isn't torture. Calling it that is stupid and counterproductive.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

First Hibiscus Flower of 2005

First Hibiscus Flower of 2005
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
It's a crispy hot day here, 101 by a thermometer ten feet away from this plant and 97 by a local TV station's reckoning. Not at all humid by Austin standards, just 41%. You can tell by the wrinkly edges that I just started watering a little while ago. Thank God for our drip system, a sprinkler would probably kill half the plants we have in sun like this, even at 6:30 p.m.

There are a bunch of other blooms about to pop, and I couldn't be more excited. Gardening is cool.

Hey, Dick Durbin!

Shut the f#ck up.

From Ace.

UPDATE: Another reminder of what real torture is, from the Jawa Report. Link from Beautiful Atrocities.

Funny Business

There's nothing inappropriate about a juror attending a celebration for the guy she recently helped acquit that's being thrown by the accused's family, is there? There is? Hey, that doesn't mean she was biased in his favor, though, does it? It does:

Among the approximately 400 people who arrived at the Chumash Indian Casino was juror Pauline Coccoz. When she walked into the casino and heard Jackson's music playing, Coccoz said, the enormity of what had transpired hit her.

"They were playing 'Beat It,' and I almost started to cry," she said as she waited to enter the showroom.

I vote death penalty for both of them.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Either Pure Genius, or (Even Better) Unintentional Hilarity

Boingboing has a great link to a post about a bootleg copy of Star Wars III: ROTS that is translated to Chinese and then back to English, and the subtitles are understandably hilarious. I've been a fan of Japanese/Chinese to English translations since the first one I ever read. For example, "Revenge of the Sith" is translated as "Backstroke of the West." Awesome.

Move Over, Shocker

Do the Lynndie
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
That was the title of an email sent to me by Scott C. in Chicago, linking to this. It's a collection of people "Doing the Lynndie," posing for pictures in the style of that little she-troll Lynndie England. She will be forever infamous for posing in so many Abu Ghraib pics with naked Iraqis (and other Middle Eastern men, since they were "insurgents" and therefore mostly not Iraqis).

This is a challenge to you camera-wielders out there: get your Lynndie on, and send the results to me so I can post them. Skinny, I'm talking to you.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

UPI: the New Reuters

United Press International dropped a load of dogsh*t on us today, in parts. First this gem:

A former Bush team member during his first administration is now voicing serious doubts about the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9-11. Former chief economist for the Department of Labor during President George W. Bush's first term Morgan Reynolds comments that the official story about the collapse of the WTC is "bogus" and that it is more likely that a controlled demolition destroyed the Twin Towers and adjacent Building No. 7.

Ah, the thoroughly debunked "Bush did it" conspiracy theory. You had to be a complete moron to buy this nonsense when it originally surfaced, and Popular Mechanics was kind enough to do the heavy lifting on it in March. The problem with conspiracy theorists on this type of thing is that they try to reverse engineer "what must have happened" from a unique event and what they think they know about how the world works. If war proves anything, it's that mass destruction is unpredictable and stranger than fiction. Things that shouldn't happen do and things that should happen don't. Trying to prove a conspiracy by arguing that a building collapse looked like a controlled demolition or that not enough plane debris was found is beyond stupid.

But the UPI isn't done yet:

Two years after President George W. Bush proclaimed "mission accomplished" in Iraq, some thoughtful officers are beginning to question who the insurgents actually are. In a recent interview the head of the US 42nd Infantry Division which covers key trouble spots, including Baquba and Samarra Major General Joseph Taluto said he could understand why some ordinary Iraqis would take up arms against U.S. forces because "they're offended by our presence." Taluto added, "If a good, honest person feels having all these Humvees driving on the road, having us moving people out of the way, having us patrol the streets, having car bombs going off, you can understand how they could (want to fight us). There is a sense of a good resistance, or an accepted resistance. They say 'okay, if you shoot a coalition soldier, that's okay, it's not a bad thing but you shouldn't kill other Iraqis.'"

I guess that's why so few Iraqis have been killed by this "resistance." Oh that's right, they've killed far more Iraqis than soldiers, coalition or Iraqi Army. The "insurgents" aren't ordinary Iraqis, as Taluto well knows. I don't doubt that the presence of foreign military units is offensive, but that's a much more complex issue than "America Bad." I wouldn't be surprised if this were taken out of context. I sure hope so.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Allegedly: MJ Gossip

But is still delicious. Datalounge has a many-page discussion of Michael Jackson in which one of his former publicists (supposedly) talks about MJ's weirdness in a very frank and informed way. Allegedly. It goes on for 12 pages, select pages at the bottom and search each one for posts marked "MJ Former Publicist." If the guy's lying, he's got some good inside info anyways.

From the Superficial.

UPDATE: Link only works during off-peak hours unless you're a paying customer, and peak is any time a lot of people are linking to it. Which is likely to be a lot in the next week or so, I should have excerpted some of it because it's very interesting.

Monday, June 13, 2005

The Bad Guys Win Again

Satan Jackson
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
It's no surprise that millions of dollars can buy a not guilty verdict, but I've had it with you, MJ. I don't care if the plaintiffs were money-grubbers, you're still a monster who needs to be incarcerated for the good of the rest of us.

Since that's not going to happen, I just want you to disappear. I don't care if you had a tough childhood, I'm sick of you and your behavior. Go molest some other nation's kids, as you threatened to do before the trial. Kill yourself, move away, fly to the moon, whatever. Just get out of the public eye and leave me alone. I've had enough of your ghoulish face and even more scary habits.

Sweaty Conversational Dynamite

I love Emerald Bile because Noreen and Ball Bag find a way to say what I often feel pretty succinctly while being hilariously profane and offensive. And while I'm not in agreement with much of this post about gay people (I have usually liked the gay people I've gotten to know more than I like most straight people), I do find part of it fairly representative of the way I feel about gay culture:

I also wonder why they think that most straight people they meet are gay. People like me who like rugby and beer and smoking and manly stuff are secretly gay according to gays. Apparently we are trying a little bit too hard to be straight. Does that mean that they are secretly straight? A gay man who wears make-up and enjoys showtunes is trying a little bit too hard to be gay, so therefore must be straight.

I also kind of agree with this part:

I don't understand why they all talk in that strange gay accent they use and why do they call everyone a bitch, even men? It irritates me. Did they always talk in that voice, or did they just start doing it when they realised they were gay?

It's offensive and discriminatory to think such a thing, but I can often identify a gay accent as easily as a french or spanish one, so there must be something to it. I've known some people who spent time in other countries and came back to the US with a permanent accent change (one friend spent a year in Australia and still sounds vaguely Aussie), and I myself tend to adopt the accent of whatever person I'm talking to in an alarmingly short time, so I know a different way of speaking is easy to adopt, but the whole gay accent thing is kind of interesting. Any thoughts, Skinny?

What It's All About

In an era of athletic bad news, it's nice to read a genuinely thrilling, beautiful, touching sports story. From American Digest, where there's a lot of good stuff today.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Check Out the Organ on This Guy

Bear's Breeches Flower Spike
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
This plant is called Bear's Breeches for some strange, unknowable reason, and it's got a flower spike over six feet tall, taller than me. That's one huge sex organ, and it's interesting because the flowers are along most of the spike, not just at the end. They don't smell like anything in particular, but they do look nice.

Every time I see it, I wonder what a bear would look like in pants.

Cool New Snoop/Zep Mashup

Drop It Like It's Hot/Whole Lotta Love. Very cool. From Boingboing.

Friday, June 10, 2005

The NFL All-Criminal Team

Now that's good blogging. From Ace.

Ollie and the Skyflower

Ollie and the Skyflower
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
My wife snapped a piece of a flowering plant off outside of the southernmost Threadgill's in Austin and stuck it in the ground in our back yard a couple of years ago. Now it's five feet tall, four feet across, and covered with sprays of small, sweetly fragrant white flowers. They're purple at Threadgill's, but the soil here is more limestoney so we get white ones. It's called a Skyflower and we love it.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Magically Delicious

As much I appreciate the zaniness at the Huffington Post, Huffington's Toast is much funnier and way more entertaining. Allah's involved, so you know it's good stuff.

6/11/05: Austin's World Naked Bike Ride

The horror. It's "a bike ride protesting oil dependency." And why naked?

Because we feel we are naked before the traffic owing to the drivers’ lack of respect and the apathy of our rulers. Thus we make it visible that our bodywork is fragile. Moreover, we show our body naturally, not feeling ashamed, toppling taboos regarding our physical appearance which are imposed by fashion and the greediness of the textile transnational industry. To sum up, we face urban traffic with our naked body on our bikes as the best way of defending our dignity and of living the social struggle.

So that's the BEST way. Gotcha.

Prepare to Be Enraged

Jeff Jarvis is mightily pissed, and so will you be when you read this. Ground Zero is being turned into a "Why They Hate Us Pavillion" and we're doing it voluntarily, and paying for it. Disgusting.


Lead to the funniest story of the day:

FASHIONABLE wristbands worn by pop stars, actors, top athletes and celebrities to publicise the Make Poverty History campaign are produced in appalling "slave labour" conditions, damning evidence has revealed.

What kind of a moron would believe wearing a wristband changes anything for anyone in any charitable or altruistic way? At least the LiveStrong bracelet money goes to charity. Idjits.

From American Digest.

Best Star Wars III:ROTS Review to Date

From James Lileks, the review I wish I had written. He's easier on it than I am, but it's very good. Neither of us complained enough about the battle with the Wookies, though: they dig trenches and then stand in front of them, with crossbows? Please.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Even Cooler

One of the best blog posts ever, Beautiful Atrocities' Root Causes of Terrorism Timeline. Too awesome for words.

Way Too Cool

Watch what Dave at Garfield Ridge has for us today. Good stuff.

Sally Quinn Drops a Daisy Cutter

Rogers Cadenhead posts a fine piece on Sally Quinn's revelation of alleged sexual assault by late Republican senator John Tower. Quinn writes that "Tower, who was a friend of my father, had attempted to sexually assault me when I was 18 and a college freshman. Embarrassed and ashamed, I had kept this story a closely guarded secret for years." Rogers digs deeper:

Tower, who died in a 1991 plane crash, had a reputation as a drunken womanizer that helped defeat his nomination by the first President Bush to be Defense Secretary -- the first Cabinet choice rejected by the Senate in 30 years.

Tower's never been accused of attempted rape before, based on my search of news accounts. When his treatment of women was scrutinized during the 1989 confirmation process, the public only heard about Benny Hill-style shenanigans like chasing a secretary around a desk. In 1998, Washington Times columnist Suzanne Fields even wrote that he was rejected "because he was seen putting a hand on the knee of a woman under the table at a restaurant."

And I love this bit:

The Senate has had its share of notorious horndogs in recent decades, including Bob Packwood, Strom Thurmond, Gary Hart, and Ted Kennedy. Tower once said of Thurmond, imagining his future funeral, "they'll have to beat his pecker down with a baseball bat to close the coffin lid."

I'm not a fan of decades-later revelations about improper behavior by dead people. Quinn may be entirely justified, but it's impossible to rebut such a claim now, and the ones who suffer are family members and friends, not the accused. And what does "attempted to sexually assault" mean, exactly? If what I gather from movies of the era is at all accurate, men of Tower's generation were a little more forceful about expressing their affections. That certainly doesn't make it OK to rape people, but misinterpreting sexual signals doesn't necessarily mean sexual assault. How many times have you seen a woman in a '40s, '50s or '60s film slap a man who tries to kiss her, only to melt into his arms seconds later when he forces her to do it anyway? Creepy as hell, but apparently common enough to make movies about it. Hell, even The Graduate communicated a clear message that if you just stalk your beloved long enough, she'll come around.

I never had a problem with Bill Clinton being a horndog, I just didn't like that he wasted our time, and especially his, with it. I would have been perfectly happy if he had brought in a sixpack of whores every Thursday and shipped them out Monday, I just didn't want to hear about him fondling civilians. JFK found a way to do it with class, why can't anyone else?

Whoa That's Nutty

I want to believe there's some method to this madness, but outside of making Hillary seem sane by comparison, I can't figure it out.

Link from Instapundit, who I haven't been reading much lately because I'm lazy and can't get excited about hard news lately. Plus I'm pretty busy, so I spend most of my time on the internet looking at gossip and trash. That makes sense, right? Look at me, I'm crazier than Howard Dean.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Rock On Rock

Rock On 9
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
From Double Viking, a neat site by Bill Dan about rock balancing. Very cool.

Amen, Brother pt. 2

Gerard at American Digest is right: lots of good Christian sentiment in news about the War on Terror. But not much for our guys, or our holy book, or even Christianity in general. Oh well.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Oh, THAT Liberal Media


The Least You Can Do on the 61st Anniversary of D-Day

Into the Jaws of Death.jpg
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Is read this, an excerpt from S.L.A. Marshall's "First Wave at Omaha Beach" in the November 1960 edition of The Atlantic (subscription/registration required). It's horrifying, heartbreaking and your duty as a citizen of the world.

Then check out this site, a collection of D-Day memories by the BBC. An excellent source of first-person stuff.

And take a look at this Civil Defense manual from WWII, posted by Lileks. Soldiers weren't the only ones who gave to the war effort.

Finally, take a look at what our current crop of heroes is doing in their spare time. They're right, their voices are the only ones not being heard on the War on Terrorism. And that's a terrible thing.

Revenge of the Shite

I saw Star Wars III:ROTS last week, and at first I thought it was pretty decent. The dialogue sucks, as just about everyone else has pointed out, and everything happens too fast to be believable. But at least it wasn't full of muppets or Jar-Jar Binkses, and it is pretty tragic. So I told myself it was worth the time and money.

But last night I saw Hero with Jet Li, and it was so much more interesting, more beautiful, and above all more believable (even though people could fly and do amazing ninja tricks), that it makes SW seem like a high school production with great CGI. I'm kind of embarrassed for George Lucas, who has once again squandered a fantastic opportunity for writing and acting talent, and doesn't seem to care.

I'm thinking of watching Hero again tonight, that's how much I liked it. Lucas, you're an idiot.

UPDATE, FIVE MINUTES LATER: I can't believe I forgot the parts I hated the most: why do they insist on having giant battle cruisers get ten feet apart before they shoot laser beams at each other? That first space battle was idiotic and totally unrealistic. And what's with all the punching and kicking the Jedi do, or even swordfighting? They can just knock each other around with mind power, why not do that? I hate all the punching and kicking in Star Wars, the Matrix, and everywhere else there are better alternatives. It's stupid.

I know, I know. It looks cool. But it ruins the movie for me, just as fighting huge space battles close enough to a planet that its gravity is a factor does, or big fiery explosions in a vacuum. None of it makes a bit of sense.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

There is No God

Because if there were, he/she/it wouldn't allow this.

From Double Viking.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Sunny Smile

Sunny smile
Originally uploaded by hailun.
I use Flickr as a free picture host, and on Flickr you can see a lot of other people's pictures. One of my favorite photo artists is a young woman from Montreal named Hailun, or maybe Helen, as some of her commenters call her that. Or maybe Helen is the Canada-ized version of Hailun. Either way, she takes unbelievably beautiful pictures, which can be seen here.

I hope she doesn't mind me posting this pic, I probably should have asked permission. It was hard to choose just one from her gorgeous portfolio, but I especially liked this one.

Hailun, you are one artistic chick. Keep 'em coming.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Amnesty International: What a Poobasket

Varifrank gives us some perspective on where the US stands in terms of prison cruelty compared to other nations. A good read.

And on the topic of gulags, he makes the distinction between reality and the ravings of Amnesty International employees clear. Is there any doubt about the difference between the real Gulag system and what is going on at Guantanamo?

If so, here's John Podhoretz (registration required, I've reprinted most of it but if you want the rest use on some differences between the two:

So let's do a few comparisons between Gitmo and the Gulag — the network of Soviet prison camps set up by Stalin in the 1920s.

Number of prisoners at Gitmo: approximately 600.

Number of prisoners in the Gulag: as many as 25 million, according to the peerless Gulag historian Anne Applebaum.

Number of camps at Gitmo: 1

Number of camps in the Gulag: At least 476, according to Applebaum.

Political purpose of Gulag: The suppression of internal dissent inside a totalitarian state.

Political purpose of Gitmo: The suppression of an international terrorist group that had attacked the United States, killing 3,000 people while attempting to decapitate the national government through the hijack of airplanes.

Financial purpose of Gulag: Providing totalitarian economy with millions of slave laborers.

Financial purpose of Gitmo: None.

Seizure of Gulag prisoners: From apartments, homes, street corners inside the Soviet Union.

Seizure of Gitmo prisoners: From battlefield sites in Afghanistan in the midst of war.

Interestingly enough, even the most damaging charge Amnesty International levels against the United States and its conduct at Gitmo — that our government has been guilty of "entrenching the practice of arbitrary and indefinite detention in violation of international law" — bears no relation to the way things worked when it came to the Gulag. Soviet prisoners were charged, tried and convicted in courts of law according to the Soviet legal code.

For this reason, Gulag prisoners like Vladimir Bukovsky and Anatoly Shcharansky (later Natan Sharansky) were able to gum up the Soviet legal works by using the letter of Soviet law against their captors and tormentors.

The problem with the Gulag wasn't that the letter of the law wasn't followed — that the prisoners were given "arbitrary and indefinite" sentences. It's that the charges were trumped up and confessions were coerced.

The situation at Gitmo is entirely different. No one argues that, at the very least, the vast majority of those imprisoned there were, in fact, al Qaeda personnel. The problem, according to those who scream about the unfairness at Gitmo, is that the prisoners aren't being treated as lawful combatants under the terms of the Geneva Convention or as prisoners of war.

They have been handled under special terms because they are stateless — because they granted their allegiance not to a country but to a terrorist group and because their nations of origin wouldn't have wanted them back, would have killed them if they had been returned there or would have foolishly released them to foment further terrorist activity.

The people who work at Amnesty International surely know something of the history of the Gulag. After all, the group was founded in part to serve as a watchdog of Communist human-rights abuse. They surely know that even though they might consider the American camp at Guantanamo Bay a terrible violation of human rights, it is a speck on a speck of a mote of dust compared to the Everest of horror that was the Soviet Gulag.

On the other hand, maybe not. Maybe the people who work at Amnesty International really do think that the imprisonment of 600 certain or suspected terrorists is tantamount to the imprisonment of 25 million slaves.

The case of Amnesty International proves that well-meaning people can make morality their life's work and still be little more than moral idiots.

On the contrary, well-meaning people are often the most dangerous and burdensome among us. There's nothing worse than a crusader with too little information.

I'm As Happy As a Little Girl

Anni's got a secret
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
That I'm going to see Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith today, in less than an hour. I didn't realize it, but I've been waiting for this movie for almost 30 years. My buddy Shay J. saw it last week and is going with me, I imagine I'll see it in the theater a couple of times at least. Rock on Darth Pissy!

On this Date, 33 Years Ago

Pejman was born.

Good Advice

James Lileks' Bleat is always good, but today's has something great. His daughter's school is having a party, and he joins a conversation with fellow parents:

One mom was talking about trying to get a niece to attend the U of W at Madison. What field of study? I inquired. Journalism.

Oh. Hmm. Well – what sort? Print? You know, I’d advise against it. Better to take English classes, learn how to write, then write a lot. It’s not a profession that requires four years of college, let alone a master’s degree.

They looked at me with a certain amount of amused confusion, so I said, apologetically, that was I was actually in the business, and degrees mattered less than clips and skill. J-school taught you how to teach J-school. How to go to think tanks and peer down your nose at the messy scrum of daily papers. Not to say it was a waste of time, heavens no. But journalism per se can be mastered quite quickly, and if it can’t, you don’t have it. If you regard “journalism” to mean “colorful writing that yearns to be recognized by awards committees for its sensitive yet tough portrayal of the life of a 14 year old meth addict,” then English is still the way to go. I look back at the classic papers of the 30s in this town, and marvel; the authors weren’t college men, I suspect, but had the requisite instincts and judgments to make the front page irresistible. You can hone judgment, but you can’t teach instinct. The first question in any J-school application ought to be “do you want to change the world?” And anyone who answers yes gets kindly turned away. Your job is to describe the way the world changes. Not pretend you’re there to nudge it along towards utopia.

If only that last part was enforced we'd be served far better by our news media. Wanting to change the world is exactly what's wrong with the American, and international, press.

Best Blog Post Title Ever


And it's an excellent post, too, as are all Beautiful Atrocities posts even though I'm not always interested in international pop stars or Libyan creepy weirdos.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Slippery Slope

Gerard at American Digest is on the edge of disaster. Glad to hear he's OK; at least it's not fire this time.

Star Wars Fever

I'm going to see Star Wars ROTS tomorrow, and I'm like way excited and stuff. Especially after reading a couple of reviews, one from Emerald Bile here and another that Brian from Peeve Farm found here, which is hilarious even though it's full of spoilers.

My friend Shay J. saw it last week and is going with me to see it again, either because it's so good or because he's a Star Wars freak. Since he has one of those fancy new lightsabers that make cool noises, it's probably the latter, but it might just be both. As long as there are no muppets, I'll be happy.