November 30, 2004

On Your Way Through Texas

Don't miss the mysterious Marfa Lights.

Say It Ain't So Tyler...

Just awful.

November 29, 2004


Originally uploaded by e/ericevans/">eevans24.

Naked Pipers! (Drummers Too!)


Go Yale.

Hillary Opposes South Pole Highway

A South Pole Highway? I'm sure the McDonalds and the Walmart aren't far behind? Perhaps they could open a "Scotty's Burger Barn" on the site of the Scott Expedition's demise.

Maybe There's Hope

Discussing #1 son's education tonite over dinner. My wife, fresh off Dragonslayer yesterday says: "you must teach him The Old Code."

Yes...The Old Code...

A Problem in Fremont

I ain't sending my kid to no weak honky school!

I Love That Man

Walter Cronkite is now, after almost a century, able to own up to some of the most awful moments of his career. And we are the richer for it...

If we're not too busy armchair quaterbacking...

I'd like to insert a reminder on why red states do, in fact, suck.

November 28, 2004

The Other Drew

Washed-up Drew Bledsoe threw three interceptions as the Bills squeaked by the Seahawks, 38-9 today. But there is another Drew stalking the land - Drew Brees in San Diego continues to make a statement. Just to steal a march on Easterbrook: I don't wish to alarm you, but the Chargers are 8-3 and Brees has 19 touchdown passes (same as Favre) and three - count them three - interceptions this season (Favre has 11). His QB rating is 105.6, same as Donovan McNabb.

As you may know, Dr. X has developed his own QB rating metric: Interception-Adjusted Yards-per-Attempt. This is the same as Yards-per-Attempt (which football statisticians believe to be the single best rating metric), but is recalculated after imputing a 50-yard penalty for each interception.

The NFL leaders on this metric as of today (name, YPA, IAYPA):
  1. Peyton Manning, 9.1, 8.1
  2. Daunte Culpepper, 8.3, 7.5
  3. Donovan McNabb, 8.2, 7.4
  4. Trent Green, 8.4, 7.1
  5. Drew Brees, 7.5, 7.0
Tom Brady ranks 11th, Michael Vick 15th, Favre 17th, and Hasselbeck 23rd...

Football Outsiders have their own system, which drops Brees down to 7th.

Upon Further Review

I would pay money to see Jeff George and Terrell Owens on the same team.

Won't They EVER Learn?

Yahoo! Sports - NFL - Source: Bears intend to sign quarterback Jeff George

November 27, 2004

Progress on the Western Front

Tonite we watched My Darling Clementine (two words: Victor Mature), and were pleasantly surprised by Cowboy, in which Glenn Ford and Jack Lemmon are by turns teacher/student, enemies, and buddies. The movie is based on the real-life experiences of Frank Harris, as described in the book My Reminiscences as a Cowboy.

Scientists Cross Humans and Sheep

First examples reporting to the Bush cabinet as we speak...

Basketball Game Breaks Out at Awards Show

Suge Knight up to his old tricks?

November 26, 2004

Great Game

New EA game in stores now!

Christopher Lee Better Get Busy

I think it was last Christmas, sitting around the computer, that we tried to find an actor who had been in more movies than Christopher Lee, and failed.

I finally found one: Walter Brennan was in 210 films in a 50-year career (including 15 from the silent era), and 10 television roles, for a total of 220 credits. Christopher Lee has a total of 223 credits (from 1948 thru 2006), but they include six computer games and 32 television roles. To match Brennan, he needs to land 25 more film roles.

[Minutes after I posted this, I found another actor who almost has to be the all-time champion: 259 film roles over 40 years. Can you guess who it is? Hint: he was in one of the movies Dr. X lists in his post yesterday, as was his son.]

November 25, 2004

Friendly Advice

Experts agree we're overdue to a flu pandemic. The most likely candidate pathogen is bird flu, which is already going around southeast Asia. Bird flu is scary because it kills healthy adults, inducing a cytokine storm in which your own immune system takes you down. Flu vaccine may or not not prevent it.

Believe it or not, there is a medicine that works against bird flu (and most other known strains). It's called Tamiflu, and your doctor can prescribe it. My advice is to get a couple doses for the cupboard.

Cheap insurance.

A Not-Quite-Literal Translation

OK, it's not my best subject, but it looks like the German version of Once Upon a Time in the West is translated as "Play Me the Song of Death". And how does Harmonica get renamed "der Mundharmonikaspieler"?

What do Germans know about death, anyway?

The Man We Need

Now that we live in an illiterate, obese, theocracy, and are pursuing an aggressive cold war against another theocracy, it seems like a good time to get back to basics. And when I get back to basics, I get back to David Hume.

David Hume said: "In all ages of the world, priests have been enemies of liberty."

I don't know if it's good news or bad news that the Hume Society has only 525 members. Better than most other enlightenment philosophers, probably.

A Brief History of the Western

My wife's father has a seen a few westerns and finds them fascinating. So we're watching some westerns together. The question is, which westerns would you show to someone who hasn't seen many of them and wants to learn about the genre?

Here is what we have on the list so far:
  • My Darling Clementine (1946) - One of John Ford's best efforts, Henry Fonda is Wyatt Earp. Victor Mature as Doc Holliday, does Hamlet. Cinematography to die for.
  • Red River (1948) - Howard Hawks directed this early John Wayne vehicle.
  • The Searchers (1956) - John Ford directed one of John Wayne's greatest efforts. Wayne is not just playing John Wayne here, he's angry, unbalanced, dangerous, animal-like - not the protector of order he later became.
  • The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) - A lawyer at my old office said this was his favorite film. Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne do politics, gunfire. Ebert has not formally revied the film that I can find, but has an interesting take.
  • Once Upon a Time in the West (1969) - Incredible to me that this was made in 1969, while Gunsmoke was still on TV and John Wayne was still in full voice. Ebert, in a rare miscalculation, does not regard the move as among the best, and blasphemes by criticizing Claudia Cardinale's performance. I've seen all but one of these films, and for me this is the one that most rewards re-watching, and has the most to say.
  • And I know we have to finish up with Unforgiven (1992) - I've never seen it! Everyone says it's great, as does the Swami.
Which leaves a couple of questions - what were the greatest westerns of the 70's and 80's? And should we include some pre-war films as well? And are we going too heavy here? Maybe we should dig up some Roy Rogers or Lone Ranger TV shows? And what about Shane (Ebert: "he has...issues")?

Why Provoking Iran May Be a Bad Idea

Last Exit Before Gas - by William S. Lind:

"An Iranian riposte in Afghanistan probably would come slowly, in the form of a guerilla war in that country's Shi'ite regions. That might also be Iran's response in Iraq, where it already has Revolutionary Guard troops in Shi'ite areas. But there is another possibility. Under the cover of bad weather, which winter often provides, Iran could strike suddenly into Iraq with several armored divisions. Our forces are scattered throughout Iraq, and they cannot mass rapidly because Iraqi guerillas control the roads. With skill that is not beyond what Iran might manage (the Iranian army is better than Saddam's was) and a bit of luck, they could roll us up before American airpower could get the clear weather it needs to be effective. America would not only lose a war in Iraq; it would lose an army."

November 24, 2004

Far Stranger Than Fiction

In this transcript, Robert Kennedy and Mississippi governor Ross Barnett argue over how to stage the entrance of the first black man to enter Ole Miss':

Robert F. Kennedy: I will send the Marshals that I have available up there in Memphis and there will be about 25 or 30 of them and they will come with Mr. Meredith and they will arrive at wherever the gate is and I will have the head Marshal pull a gun and I will have the rest of them have their hands on their guns and their holsters. And then as I understand it, they will go through and get in and you will make sure that law and order is preserved and that no harm will be done to Mr. McShane and Mr. Meredith.

Ross Barnett: Oh, yes.

RFK: And then I think you will see that�s accomplished?

RB: Yes. Hold just a minute, will you? Hello, General, I was under the impression that they were all going to pull their guns. This could be very embarrassing. We got a big crowd here and if one pulls his gun and we all turn it would be very embarrassing. Isn�t it possible to have them all pull their guns?

RFK: I hate to have them all draw their guns, as I think it could create harsh feelings. Isn't it sufficient if I have one man draw his gun and the others keep their hands on their holsters?

RB: They must all draw their guns. Then they should point their guns at us and then we could step aside. This could be very embarrassing down here for us. It is necessary.

RFK: If they all pull their guns--is that all?

RB: I will have them put their sticks down before that happens. There will be no shooting.

RFK: There will be no problem?

RB: Everyone pull your guns and point them and we will stand aside and you will go right through.

RFK: You will make sure not the Marshals but the State Police will preserve law and order?

RB: There won't be any violence.

Nice Radio

Initially resistant, I now prize the bit of this Canadian radio show I get to hear on the ride home every night. Its virtues:
  • Canadian niceness and decency.
  • Low-budget, yet content-rich.
  • Theme music unchanged (apparently) since the show started in 1968.
Bonus: excellent coverage of the NHL lockout.

"Tell us what you really think of Michael Powell, Tom."

I love a good pan, and Tom Shales is the master of the art. This week, he bitch slaps the FCC chairman:

"Powell belongs at the bottom of the barrel with the lowliest of the bunch [of FCC chairmen]. He is an agenda masquerading as a man, the proverbial pompous ass and, worse, a genuine threat to freedom of speech. But on CNBC, he was playing Santa Claus. 'I am still having fun,' he said merrily, as if that were part of the job. 'There are still things that are really significantly important to me to complete. Right now, I just have no plans of going anywhere.'

That's the problem. If he were looking for places to go, I could suggest one in a snap. But it's a four-letter word and, who knows, I might end up in jail."

Best New Network Series in Years

I don't usually watch a lot of TV (I'm too lazy to push the buttons on the remote), but last night I saw perhaps the best network show I've seen in a long, long time: House, M.D. It's that new doctor show starring Hugh Laurie. Incredible (for TV) writing, and astonishingly good acting (for any medium) by Laurie, of whom I was already a fan, but never realized just how good he is. The only downside is that it follows the medical show trens a little too closely in "treating" the audience to discomfitting medical procedures to demonstrate its "edgyness."

Tom Shales has a great review of the show here.

(SoAM: I think this may be your new favorite show.)

Ted Stevens' New Theory of Spontaneous Legislation

If you're not following the contraversy surrounding the U.S. House appropriations bill, you should be; it's both scary (in that the provision to allow Republicans House leaders to spy on and expose people's tax returns) and hilarious (to hear Republicans try to explain how nobody in particular put the provision in the bill).

Josh Marshall has reported on Uncle Ted's involvement:

"Sen. Ted Stevens on Monday showed reporters a handwritten legislative proposal from an IRS employee that slipped into and nearly stopped the massive appropriations bill passed by Congress this weekend. Stevens said the note proves that neither he nor any other Republican had crafted the potentially privacy-invading language."

Sounds like Ted has proof that nobody did it. That's good enough for me!

November 23, 2004

It's So Evil

Somethingawful posts a fake review of Halo 2 ("the first thing you notice is just how easy the game actually is"), prints the ensuing indignant e-mails, some of which are longer than The Return of the King.

November 22, 2004

The NBA: Put a Fork In It

What I've been meaning to say in our various chit-chats during the past week, but never got around to, is this: I'm done with the NBA.

This was even before the (really more shocking than even I had anticipated) Friday night Pistons-Pacers brawl (video here). I have no problem with a good old-fashioned bench clearing brawl between players, but this was literally a riot.

News From the Gridiron

WSU Cougars Win Apple Cup

The Cougs edge out the Dawgs 28-25. For those who still think the Apple Cup is a come-lately antecedent to the Gyne-Lotrimin Bowl, please see this article on Apple Cup history. (The Apple Cup was first awarded in 1962, but the game, itself, goes back to 1900, when it ended in a 5-5 tie. One of the great Apple Cup heroes of past years has come under fire as of late, but is...

Maybe Not Fading Away So Quickly As Previously Thought

Drew Bledsoe throws tree touchdowns to lead the underdog Bills to a 37-17 win over the Saint Louis Rams. This opens the door for...

The Seahawks Take First Place in the NFC West

This came one play from being "Seahawks Lose At Home to Worst Team in League." With 1:05 remaining a game tied 17-17, Miami had 1st and 10 on the Seahawks 41. Luckily, the pass by Dolphins new starting quarterback A.J. "Touchy" Feeley gets picked by Seahawks rookie strong safety Michael Boulware, and run back for a touchdown. Game. (See my previous Eisengeiste post on Boulware.)

More in this vein here.

November 21, 2004

End of an Era

They're tearing down old K-25 at Oak Ridge, I learn from this article on the worst jobs in science...

Software is Not Dead

Life without Microsoft is not so bad. I looked up today and realized that about the only functionality I'm geeting from Microsoft is the OS on my laptop...

Not exactly new, but back from hiatus and a long tour of Europe and the sub-Continent, the fabulous Fusion 8.0 allows every video store, junk dealer, and hot dog stand to have a presentable website with a minimum of effort.

After two years I continue to enjoy Infoselect, which eliminates the need for Outlook and Outlook Express (which fought a relentless duel for supremacy with one another on our old Dell desktop), and provides Google-like search capabilities for e-mails, calendars, and miscellaneous notes.

With Mozilla pushing Exploder out of the mix, the only Microsoft product I regularly use is Excel, and I'm auditioning a replacement: Quantrix. It is very cool. It's so cool I can't make it do anything yet, except using their demo data, but I can tell it's good. And, as a bonus, I can work on all those old Lotus Improv spreadsheets I have.

November 20, 2004

Googlebar for Firefox 1.0

Googlebar now available for Firefox 1.0.

I was hurtin' for a couple of days there, because the old version wouldn't load when I upgraded to the release version of Firefox.

If you haven't installed it yet: you should try it. It's like the IE version created by Google, only better.

American National Bocialism

It's not that the U.S. Government is an unmitigated fascist empire. It's just that I keep having to look up "fascism" to make the increasingly nuanced distinctions.

Certainly we have um...elections...and uh, constitutional, er, freedoms, and a diverse, well not increasingly diverse, actually the opposite, private economy, and uh no comprehensive ideology of er...censorship, and well, our ambitions of empire are sort of, or were, limited, and well, ok, we definitely have no organized mass genocides. (And that's IMPORTANT, you know.) And we haven't collectivised, within a privately-run capitalist structure, private companies so much as they are collectivising us. So it's ok then.

From Wikipedia:
Fascist movements have historically been composed of small capitalists, low-level bureaucrats, and the middle classes. Fascism also met with great success in rural areas, especially among farmers, peasants, and in the city, the lumpenproletariat. A key feature of fascism is that it uses its mass movement to attack the organizations of the working class - parties of the left and trade unions.

November 19, 2004

My Kind of Biography

There is a new biography of William Shakespeare, entitled Will in the World. It is hugely entertaining, although it adds little to established knowledge of Shakespeare. How did the author, Stephen Greenblatt of famous Harvard University, achieve this? Simple: when the facts are not known, he makes them up.

I'm not kidding. When he runs out of data, he just makes up stories. It's not like a historical novel, where a plot is run through established facts to illustrate and dramatize their coherence. It's the opposite, where the facts are so sparse that a plot (and fresh facts) must be invented to make them coherent.

Needless to say, the reviews have been mixed. Some say this is just a silly exercise in making stuff up. Killjoys. But some consider it "the best one-volume life of Shakespeare yet."

I'm here to tell you, it is both. Much of it is made-up and indefensible. And much of it is full of interesting facts and context that I hadn't known, despite having read several careful, dry, tedious, Shakespeare biographies.

The book addresses the biggest problem of Shakespeare for the reader, which is the maddening dissonance of reading something phenomenal, and saying "who wrote this and why?"...and getting a collective shrug from the English Departments of the world. "Shakespeare wrote it," they say. And you ask who was Shakespeare? And then they feed you some story about how he was gay, or how he got arrested for poaching, or how Francis Bacon actually wrote the plays. Or they say (as they did where I went to school): let the text speak for itself.

But the text is godlike. Who did this?! Greenblatt apparently could stand it no longer, and just goes for it. Key "findings" from one chapter:
  • Falstaff is partly or largely based on the notorious drunk, wit, deadbeat and writer Robert Greene (author of Greene's Groatsworth of Wit: Bought With a Million of Repentance).
  • Shakespeare probably interacted with Greene and learned a few things from this brilliant but dissolute academic. In many ways his relationship might have been like Prince Hal's with Falstaff. In fact, this might have been such a big deal for Shakespeare that the whole Prince Hal / Falstaff thing might have just been about that.
  • Late in life Greene probably asked Shakespeare for money, and Shakespeare probably said no.
  • When Groatsworth came out, friends of the late Greene fell all over themselves to disavow it. Greenblatt assumes Southampton turned the muscle on 'em: "the Earl knows you intended no disrespect...mebbe a little apology is in order." I personally suspect is was more like "say you're sorry, or you'll never work in this town again." Spielberg don't need messengers to deliver the threat, and those guys probably didn't need prompting to get the word out. It was an old game then - Sophocles probably played it.
  • When Greene died he left a will asking his first wife, whom he had abandoned years before, to pay back the people who had nursed him late in life and buried him. Knowing her likely reaction ("fuck off, Mistah!"), this is a breathtaking achievement: (OK, this is my theory, not Greenblatt's) he didn't just bounce checks. He bounced his Will.
  • And Shakespeare's name was...Will!
Get it? It's therapy. Once you get started, you can't stop.

Next week: conclusive evidence that Shakespeare might have known Guy Fawkes...

I Don't Blame Powell for Not Wanting The Job

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Bush administration is building a case against Iran with disclosures of a covert nuclear weapons program that carry echoes of the run-up to the war with Iraq.

Just as the campaign against Saddam Hussein did not draw the support of all U.S. allies and strained trans-Atlantic relations, the administration is at odds with many Europeans on Iran.

Send Money

A worthy organization if ever there was one.

November 18, 2004

A Compelling Reason to Live Beyond Next Week

The all-new Sid Meier's Pirates! will be released next week.

November 15, 2004

Fading Away

2001 - Drew Bledsoe leads the Patriots to the NFC Championship while Tom "Can't Play Hurt" Brady nurses an aggravated hangnail or something.

2004 - The Buffalo Bills (hissssss) pull Drew from a hopelessly lost game, Ron Borges writes the epitaph.

In his prime, Bledsoe was my favorite quarterback ever. He was the only person I ever saw on a football field get into the Larry Bird rhythm, where he was simply untouchable. One other game comes to mind - 1994 vs. the Vikings. Pats trail 20-0. They go no-huddle. Bledsoe goes 45-70 (most attempts and completions in a game in history up to that time),426 yards, 3 TDs. The Patriots won their next seven in a row.

The Hall of Fame observes that "only Manning, Marino, Warren Moon, Drew Bledsoe, Brett Favre, Dan Fouts, Kurt Warner, and Steve Young have passed for 4,000 yards in a season more than once in their careers."

November 14, 2004

Random Thought

Even in the computer business, I know very few highly successful people who care very much about or use computers. The really successful people I know are negotiators, thinkers, networkers...they have the hired help install, maintain, and operate the computers.

November 13, 2004

Hey Sum

I had not heard this tale, which I deeply hope is true. Were you responsible in some way?

Stewart Deconstructs O'Reilly/Bush

Seriously, why does this job fall to a comedian?

Glad he does it.

Ruben Rules

Some data on another Latin American political hero, Ruben Blades, whose resume appears even more annoyingly amazing than Viggo's.

Here is Roger Ebert's review of an early cinematic effort. As usual, he's right.

Good News and Bad News from The Economist

The Good News:
It may look like your country has been taken over by religious zealots, but the reality is more complex.
(warning: must view NYTimes ad to get in)

The Bad News:
Tony Blair (or his animatronic robot clone) thinks the neo-cons are admirable and progressive.

November 12, 2004

Where is Earl Warren Now That We Need Him?

This made me sick.

The hell with George Pataki, and the hell with the Buffalo Bills.

Just a Day's Drive

22 hours, 36 minutes according to the always-reliable Yahoo! hard can it be?

And believe it or not (this just gets more and more amazing to me, the older I get) - they take dollars and speak English there.

November 11, 2004

A Bit late for holloween...

But I can't help but post this lovely bit of cross-genre, culture jamming*.

*That's pretentious-speak for 'satire'

Meanwhile Down at the Times

They're trying to figure out how to make the paper more credible. You know they're serious - there's a Credibility Committee.

Meanwhile, in a Parallel Universe

As my boycott of Hollywood continues, I find myself severely deprived of goofy star gossip. Fortunately, there is a whole blog dedicated to the stars of the TVB network in Hong Kong, giving me everything I need to become the Jackie Harvey of Cantonese TV.

TVB, by the way, is run by the eminent Sir Run Run Shaw, an impressive media tycoon of the old school.

November 10, 2004

Fine Book

Going through Lone Star Swing the second time. Scotsman Duncan McLean gets interested in Bob Wills, wins a literary award, and blows the money on a trip to Texas in search of western swing. There's a lot of very good material on Bob Wills and his cohorts, and, for no extra charge, an almost anthropological take on mid-90's Texas.

He stands at the locked door of a Luby's cafeteria two minutes before opening time on a Sunday morning, and glances out at the parking lot:

"Jesus! Every car had a middle-aged couple in it, and they were all staring right at me, mentally undressing me. They were looking for the mark of Satan burned into my skin...

"There was a clank behind me, and I jumped again. A lady in a pinnie was unlocking the door. Immediately the doors of every car in the lot swung open, and several hundred men, women, and children climbed out, straightened and patted their Sunday best, and marched towards me."

He survives this, and even goes to the Bob Wills Day celebration in Turkey, Texas.

Just thinking...maybe it's time we made our peace with the reddest of the Red States. Maybe we oughta take a road trip out to Turkey, Texas next April and see what all the hootin' and hollerin's about...

A Country That Got it Right

With no military and an outstanding track record on the environment, you might think Costa Rica has an interesting story. It does, and Jose Figueres should be some kind of a hero. Here is an interview with him from 1970.

Latin America has had so few true political heroes - Belaunde is the only other I can think of.

November 09, 2004

Another Map

More in this vein here.

And Now a Few Words from Our Sponsor

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A Simple Plan

It never occured to me that Bush would actually welcome Global Warming. I just thought he didn't give a crap. The light bulb went on when I saw this passage from and article on global warming posted on NewScientist. Call me slow. I could never win at King Maker either.

A warmer Arctic may have many consequences. “It’s a value judgment. For the oil industry it will be an advantage if the ice disappears, increasing access to oil and gas reserves,” notes Prestrud. He says that about 25% of the Earth’s remaining reserves are in the Arctic.

Sorry Everybody

It's the least we can do.

Ding, Dong...

Ashcroft Resigns.

The more things change...

"A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt......If the game runs sometimes against us at home we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake."

--Thomas Jefferson, 1798, after the passage of the Sedition Act.

November 08, 2004

Sorry ...Here it is, courtesy of Courtney.

This Guy's Life Isn't Worth a Plugged Nickel

But I like the speech.


I think we can all symphathize with this poor bastard.

One Year and One Week Ago

I haven't been able to find the text of Clinton's STFU speech, but here is where his thinking was on or about 11/1/03. It's really good.

Republican Country?

I think not.

While many of us (myself included) looked at that big map election night and went "Holy crap! Practically the whole country is red!", the truth is far more complex.

The mistake, looking at that vast sea of red, is to correlate land area with support and red as total support.

So, by way of refuting this, here's a better set of maps.

Yep, big islands of pinko liberals all over the place.

Edward Tufte would be proud.

November 07, 2004

Hawking calls Bush a War Criminal

Just another turbo-genius astrophysicist flying off the handle, or perhaps the considered opinion of the brightest mind on the planet. Stephen Hawking calls Bush a war criminal for the deaths of 100,000 Iraqis.

Sure he was wrong about the preservation of information as mass and light disappears into a black hole - information apparantly now survives and is emitted in the Hawking radiation. The information preserved across the total collapse of matter and time?:

Bush is an asspimple.

Other Suggested Bumper Stickers

This is a Republican No-Nookie Zone

Be A Responsible Pet Owner:
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Cutting Your Boss's Taxes

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Health Care: It's Not for Just Anyone

Revolution? Processing...

Suggested Bumper Sticker

The image “file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Jamie%20%20Bollenbach/Desktop/divided.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
-Courtney Kelly

November 06, 2004

Come to think of it, Yasser did accept the Israeli's "Fried Twinkie of Peace" award last week

Arafat's doctor, Ashraf Kurdi, told the Al Jazeera satellite TV network that, "Arafat's health condition makes poisoning a strong possibility."

It Worked on Al Capone

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A former senior spokesman for the ousted Taliban government in Afghanistan has been arrested for tax evasion.

The Sum of All Monkeys

Please welcome the newest Eisengeister, The Sum of All Monkeys.

He is a member of the Laird's inner circle, my best friend from college.

The First Sea Lord and Dr. X know him as "Doctor O." The Undersecretary knows him as "ScrapperMonkey" (et. al.) from our City of Heroes adventures.

November 05, 2004

Jesus and Money

I wonder if this will inspire our Christian president to give some of his money to the poor.

The Last Piper

I'm listening to a new CD I bought from my instructor/retailer Lynne from the House of Bagpipes. It's called The Last Piper, a tribute to Harry Lunan by four of the world's greatest solo pipers (Gordon Walker, Angus MacColl, Roddy MacLeod, and Stuart Shedden).

Harry Luden died in 1994 at the age of 99. He was the last surviving piper to have played in battle during World War I. From the liner notes:

Harry Lunan joined the Gordon Highlanders in 1913 as a a piper, for which he received one penny a day extra pay. During the First World War he took part in the horrendous carnage of the Battle of the Somme, in 1916, and in which the British Army lost 60,000 men on the first day. At the attack on High Wood, Harry Lunan, armed only with his bagpipe, led a suicidal charge into machine-gun fire to reach the enemy trenches. This is how he described the action, "I just played whatever came in to my head, but I was worried about tripping on the uneven ground, which interrupted my playing. The enemy fire was murderous, the men were falling all around me, I was lucky to survive. Hearing the pipes gave the troops courage."

There Were No Problems With Electronic Voting

OK, maybe one.

A day in the life of Joe

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With his first swallow of coffee, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to insure their safety and that they work as advertised.

All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance -- now Joe, not a union man himself, gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. The shampoo doesn't set off his allergies, because Joe knows what's in the shampoo as his bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents. All because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained. Joe dresses, walks outside
and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for laws to stop industries & govt. from polluting our air. He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation.

Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer pays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to join the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a
worker compensation or unemployment check because some bleeding-heart liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

Its noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some asshole liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.

Joe has to work hard to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration
because bankers didn't want to make rural loans. The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.

He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to.

Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show.

The radio host keeps saying that Democrats are bad and Republican are good.

Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

November 04, 2004

Dick Morris Says I'm Right

But I still think I'm right.

Oops My Bad!

National Guard F-16 fighter plane mistakenly fired off 25 rounds of ammunition at the Little Egg Harbor Intermediate School in South New Jersey on Wednesday night. The pilot was meant to fire the rounds some 3 1/2 miles away at a military target range.

[Here is the FARK comments thread...]

November 03, 2004

Gary Hart it Explains it All For You

Actually for the British, but it's worth a read.

Canadians Say: The Lifeboat is Full

Meanwhile, Down at the DNC

"Americans attempting to escape four more years of President Bush by fleeing to Canada will have to wait in line, just like immigrants from any other country, the Immigration Ministry said Wednesday."

The First Hero of the Second Term

The Republican expected to chair the Senate Judiciary Committee next year bluntly warned newly re-elected President Bush on Wednesday against putting forth Supreme Court nominees who would seek to overturn abortion rights or are otherwise too conservative to win confirmation.

Sen. Arlen Specter, fresh from winning a fifth term in Pennsylvania, also said the current Supreme Court now lacks legal "giants" on the bench.

One Remaining Innocent Question

Why did the exit polls differ so much from the actual results? There will be finger-pointing at the pollsters, of course. But perhaps a look at the results is in order. Our friend at Princeton thinks it was mostly on the up-and-up, but notes that something unusual may have happened in Florida:

"Exit polls were more favorable to Kerry by 3.0 ± 1.5% (median ± SD) than real voting. This is tentative since I do not have the most complete exit polling data. Currently, in FL I have an exit poll margin of Kerry +1 and a real voting margin of Bush +5%; the discrepancy, 6 points, is again somewhat extreme. This is consistent with the discrepancy noted above. In OH I have an exit poll margin of Kerry +1 and a real voting margin of Bush +2; the discrepancy, 3 points, is right in the middle of the range. I don't know why exit polls would differ systematically, though one obvious possibility is the gender gap in respondents."

I don't know if something's rotten, but if it was on a plate I wouldn't risk eating it.

Lessons Learned

Even if Kerry had won Ohio and the presidency, he'd be a lonely man, because the Democrats lost this election, bad. The Elitist Minority GOP has somehow managed to win significant majorities among state governors and senators, and extended its lead in the House. I think there are a few obvious lessons for Dems:
  • The youth vote does not exist.
  • Just because a guy's from the South doesn't mean he should be on the ticket. Edwards delivered nothing but a pretty face and the "trial lawyer" label. The ticket was not competitive anywhere Kerry couldn't have been on his own. Bob Graham (Florida) might have been a better choice.
  • Rich people vote for Democrats (easy victories in NY and California), poor people (Arkansas, Louisiani, Mississippi, West Virginia, etc.) vote for Republicans.
  • Bigger turnout used to favor Democrats, but in the past two elections the GOP get-out the vote efforts have been as strong and successful as the Democrats'.
  • Since 60% of white men are going to vote Republican, you need to win big with women and minorities (not just blacks, but also Asians and Hispanics). Bush stayed close among women (47%), Latinos (42%), and Asians (41% - despite the preponderance of Asians being in New York and California).
  • Ralph Nader is off the hook.

November 02, 2004

Backup Plan

Full info here.

November 01, 2004

Quick, while it's still funny

If Jesus ran as a Democrat.

Need Cockle-Warming?

As of this posting, it's Kerry 298, Bush 231. No polling site has been more volitile in my experience, but it's running out of time to swing, and almost all of the states are off the fence.