Saturday, July 30, 2005

Yahoo Music

Sounds like a decent deal, but has anyone reading this actually tried it?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


39 years ago today my little sister died.

Art For God

Um, you decide: JC with tatoo and boxing gloves.

Not Funny, Just Silly

Mocking Michelle Malkin since March 2005.

In Smarts, She's A Perfect 10

'Pakistan's girl wonder' is likely the youngest certified Microsoft expert.

The Truth

It's a Python Skit, right?

Raging Grannies.

Who Shot JR?

One way or another, it's about all you need to know:

NARAL Oppposes Judge John Roberts.

Heavy Trip

Drink More Diet Soda, Gain More Weight?

Prickly Situation


Cartoon courtesy Cox&Forkum

More On The Story From C&F

Attacked For Their Looks

From today's Star Tribune:

Cheri Pierson Yecke
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Published July 27, 2005

When I was a seventh-grade teacher, I confiscated a note written by a girl named Jennifer. It was titled "Everyone Hates Melissa," and Jennifer was collecting signatures.

Melissa, a quiet and gentle girl who was the smartest in the class, was described as "a nerd,"ugly" and "weird." Her hair, her clothes, her looks were brutally criticized -- but not her demeanor or her academic skill. After all, there was nothing to criticize there.

Too often we see this same seventh-grade behavior among adults. While healthy civic discourse involves disagreement on issues of policy, too often people are prone to bully and harass their opponents with attacks on physical appearances when they are unable to articulate a valid and logical opposing argument.

Consider the criticisms of the president's new nominee to the Supreme Court. John Roberts has impeccable legal credentials, so what can the pundits attack? Why, the clothing of his wife and children, of course. A fashion maven in the Washington Post looked down her nose and mocked the family as "a trio of Easter eggs, a handful of Jelly Bellies, three little Necco wafers." They were then duly admonished with a sniff: "Please select all attire from the commonly accepted styles of this century."

Condoleezza Rice, our dignified secretary of state who started college at age 15 and earned a doctorate in her early 20s, is one of the most powerful women in the world.

Nonetheless, she has been mocked and ridiculed -- not for her intellect or knowledge of international diplomacy, but for her hair. It has been likened to that of June Cleaver, but her critics are not content to stereotype her as a dowdy relic from the supposedly subservient '50s. She has also been criticized as a "dominatrix" who oozes "sex and power" for wearing fashionable boots and a fitted black coat.

Katherine Harris, the Florida secretary of state whose crime was correctly interpreting Florida law in the 2000 election, was described by Time magazine columnist Margaret Carlson as Cruella De Vil. An article about Harris in the New York Times was subtitled "Mascaragate 2000," and the Washington Post suggested that she "applied her makeup with a trowel."

And then there is Linda Tripp, whose appearance became a national joke. She looked like anyone you might bump into at the grocery store, but suddenly her looks and her weight became fodder for late-night comedians.

Her role in revealing President Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky would have made her a villain in the eyes of far-left partisans regardless of what she looked like, but for some reason her lack of a fashion-model appearance gave critics self-permission to attack with a viciousness that should have been a media embarrassment.

The attacks were relentless and clearly demoralizing to Tripp. In one interview she said: "I didn't realize how ugly I was until I saw the pictures. I was horrified as well as the rest of the nation."

Tripp underwent major plastic surgery to remake her physical appearance, only to receive more ridicule. According to one person: "It looks like she's had a head transplant." And that was a friend. Clearly, the stigma of "bad looks" remains even after a physical transformation.

The hateful barbs being hurled at Star Tribune columnist Kathy Kersten from sources such as City Pages fall right into this genre: "Her online mugshot vaguely reassembles the witch from the Wizard of Oz."

Sadly, bullying and belittling by adults is alive and well in Lake Wobegon.

The fact that women fought for many years to be taken seriously in the arenas of government and public policy makes the "lookism" attacks on successful women reveal a deep double standard -- not of men against women, but of women against their own gender.

Where are the feminists? Their silence speaks volumes about their convictions and partisan leanings. After all, it is mainly conservative women who have been the victims of this sort of media slashing. Sad to say, with few exceptions, the circling vultures are left-leaning women.

Has our culture become so shallow, and our sensibilities so numb, that we will accept from adults the sort of vicious behavior that we would never accept from our children?

As for Jennifer, we ran into each other at a football game after she was out of college, and she told me there was something she had wanted to say for years. You see, on that day so long ago, after the rest of the class had left, I had Jennifer read her ugly note aloud -- but I made her substitute "Jennifer" for every time she had written "Melissa."

She told me that this incident was the turning point in her life. From that point forward, she was determined to become a teacher so that she could prevent such bullying as she had once dished out.

In other words, Jennifer grew up. It's a shame so many people in media and politics haven't.

Cheri Pierson Yecke is a fellow at the Center of the American Experiment and a Republican candidate for the U.S. House.


That's right: UGRA - a prideful member of IGRA.

Cowboy Frank explains all.

Show Them How Much You Care

Got a co-worker who deserves an raspberry? How about one of these free lovely certificates from Corporate Dump?


These moms are mad as heck, and they aren't going to take it standing up, anymore: Mothers Against Peeing Standing Up.

Monday, July 25, 2005


I was at home in bed in the wee hours of the morning 19 years ago today, when the phone rang: it was my brother, calling from overseas to tell me my father was having a heart-attack on the front porch of the family home. I called back a few minutes later and was told that Dad had just died. He is buried in South America, where he passed away at 51 years of age.

My Dad suffered a great deal of heart-ache and depression in the years after my sister died on July 28th, 1966, and I'm sure that the stress of her loss contributed to his early death, nearly 20 years to the day after her death. I do still miss him, even today, all these many years later, but even more than merely for myself, I wish Dad could have lived to see his 6 living grand-kids, especially my 2 lovely daughters. He'd be a 70 year-old grandpa today, and I'd like to believe that his grand-kids would have helped in his Golden Years to heal some of the loss he felt during much of his young life.

Look Up, Look Down

From Nasa:

Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Visbible Earth.

Music Monday - #14

Past Music Mondays:

Music Monday - #1Music Monday - #8
Music Monday - #2Music Monday - #9
Music Monday - #3Music Monday - #10
Music Monday - #4Music Monday - #11
Music Monday - #5Music Monday - #12
Music Monday - #6Music Monday - #13
Music Monday - #7


Lyric Of The Week:

Time by Pink Floyd


Free MP3 Downloads of the week:

Wish You Were Here and Us And Them (both live) - by Aussie Floyd (immensely talented Australian Pink Floyd Tribute band)


Eerie but lovely live MP3 cover version of 70's Blue Oyster Cult's hit "Don't Fear The Reaper," by the way-too-recently-departed Elliot Smith.


Psychedelic Christian Radio: Pastor John Rydgren MP3s


Strange and compelling studio MP3 cover version of 8o's Joy Division's classic "Love Will Tear Us Apart," performed by Siberian throat-singers Albert Kuvezin and Yat-Kha


20 year-old newcomer Anna Nalick woos 'em with her powerful first single "Breathe (2 AM)," available for your listening pleasure as streaming audio on her website.


Hillary Clinton Egg Yolk Separator.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


C-90 is a Russian site devoted to, well, let them tell it:

... This page is dedicated to cassette tapes... Here you won't find any kind of scientific research, technical data or things like that... The authors' only message is just to give a visitor something interesting to look at… The era of this particular medium is slowly passing, and here we are trying to turn back time for 60 minutes… or, maybe, for 90...

Indulgent, to be sure - but pretty cool.


Saturday, July 23, 2005

Great Blog

I just saw this blog for the first time today: Calblog.

Whuht Thuh Hay?

Just horsin' around.

It's Summer

And I gotta get the Amazing Fly Gun.


Daughter number one and I went out this AM for a Saturday Morning Adventure, which was to consist of a short bus ride to Dale, brunch and then a quick jaunt across the street to have my eyes examined, and to be fitted for new glasses.

As she and I were munching our chicken fingers at Arby's, AE remarked to me that the sky outside was looking dark. Sure enough, an ominous-looking wall of clouds was moving in from the west. I told her that we needed to get going that very moment or we would likely get very, very wet. Well, as it turned out, we did anyway.

We only just got across the parking lot - and down to the street below where we needed to cross - when the skies opened up not entirely unlike Niagra Falls. I scooped up the nearly fifty pounds of daughter, together with her knapsack and my briefcase, and sprinted the hundred yards to the shelter of the small mall where we were headed, but we were both drenched before we got across the street.

Fortunately, there was a fabric store in the mall, and I was able to buy a yard of cloth on the cheap, along with two white cotten tee-shirts, all for around $10. We were able to dry off enough to be able to make it through the eye-exam and the next couple of hours without being utterly miserable. All in all, in spite of the deluge, it was an enjoyable time, and the girl pronounced it One-Of-The-Best-Adventures-Ever.

To Him That Hath

Every so often I turn to H.L. Mencken for inspiration, and for something to post to my blog. This is one of those times. This piece was originally from The Smart Set, May 1920, pp 33-34, most recently republished in A Mencken Chrestomathy.

Perhaps the most valuable of all human possessions, next to an aloof and sniffish air, is the reputation of being well-to-do. Nothing else so neatly eases one's way through life. There is in 90% all men - and in 99% of all Marxists, who value money far beyond its worth, and are always thinking of it and itching for it - an irresistible impulse to crook the knee to wealth, to defer to the power that it acrrues with it, to see all sorts of superiorities in the man who has it, or is said to have it. True enough, envy goes with the craven neck, but it is envy somehow purged of menace: the inferior man, at bottom, is afraid to do evil to the man with money; he is even afraid to think evil of him - that is, in any patent and offensive way. What stays his natural hatred of his superior, I daresay, is the sneaking hope that he may get some of the money by being polite - that is will pay him better to caress than to strike.

Whatever the psychological process, he always arrives at a great affability. Give out the news that one has just made a killing in the stock market, or robbed some confiding widow of her dower, or swindled the government in some patriotic enterprise, and at once one will discover that one's shabbiness is a charming eccentricity, and one's judgment of wines worth hearing, and one's political hallucinations worthy of attention. The man who is thought to be poor never gets a fair chance. No one wants to listen to him. No one gives a damn what he thinks or knows or feels. No one has any desire for his good opinion. I discovered this principle early in life, and have put it to use ever since. I have got a great deal more of men (and women) by having the name of being a well-heeled fellow than I have ever got by being decent to them, or by dazzling them with my segacity, or by hard industry, or by a personal beauty that is singular and ineffable.

Sounds right to me.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

No Exit

Local TC Cartoonist Andy Singer is a generally-humorless left-wing kook, but I gotta say, this cartoon made me laugh.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Shouting 'water!' in a crowded theatre:

LONDON (AP) -- Mark McGowan went into the tiny backroom kitchen of a south London gallery three weeks ago and flipped on the cold water. He didn't turn it off, and doesn't plan to for an entire year.

"The Running Tap," as it's called, is McGowan's effort to protest against wasted water in London by blatantly letting it go down the drain.

"When you've got the tap on at home, you don't think about it. That's why this is art, because it makes people consider it," the environmentalist said.

The gushing faucet is an expensive exhibition that could waste about 3.9 million gallons of water. It could also land McGowan in a legal battle with Thames Water, the utility company. The circular sink has already swallowed about 193,000 gallons of water during a season declared the driest in London since 1976.

Mark wants you to understand that he's not a kook. He is British, after all. And what's more, he's an artist, you see:

"If it wasn't so serious, my art would be hysterical. But it's not, is it?" McGowan said of the grave consequences of wasting the precious liquid. "I think it's one of my best pieces because it's so simple."

McGowan previously participated in equally audacious exhibitions including sitting in a bathtub of baked beans with french fries in his nose to support the full English breakfast, and pushing a nut with his nose for seven miles to protest student debt.

Sure, Mark. Just turn it off.

More here.

Wonder In Aliceland

Alice chats with Alice.

You can chat with Alice, too.

(List of chatterbots here.)

This Is Just Wrong

I know this isn't new, but I just saw it again today, and thought I should share:

Subservient Chicken.

The Real Suicide Bomb


Cartoon courtesy Cox&Forkum

More On The Story From C&F

We Get Podcasts

We get lots and lots of podcasts:

Podcast #35 - from My Mac.

Roberts Rules

Moving the Supreme Court back toward the center.

Stooped Is As Stooped Does

Doug points out recent stupid posts, suggesting this one takes the biscuit. Michelle agrees, and so do I.

It's A Slang Thing, You Wouldn't Understand

Black Activists Denounce Move Toward Ebonics in Calif. Schools.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

West Nile Virus

Questions and Answers.

(And yes, it has been indentified in humans in Minnesota.)

Holding Court

Introducing John Roberts.

(Oddly enough, Al Franken stated on his radio show today - I know, I shouldn't have been listening, but The Patriot was off-air at the time - that he felt Judge Roberts would have no problem being confirmed. I don't know if this is a diversionary tactic of the left, or if they've just decided this isn't the Confirmation Hill they wish to die on.)

Abort? Retry?

But no Fail?

Akbar Ganji


Cartoon courtesy Cox&Forkum

More On The Story From C&F

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Laina Beasley, Meet Your Siblings

Triplet number three born 13 years after her siblings.

(Picture of the small one here.)

Must See TV?

I've been hearing good buzz about UPN's Veronica Mars but I haven't seen a single episode. And what about Fox's House, MD? Does anyone think either show is worth watching?

A Brief History Of Medicine

Found this on Slashdot, in the comment thread of today's post 'Meet Web Hypochondriacs':

2000 BC: Here, take this root.
1000 AD: That root is for a heathen. Here, say this prayer.
1850 AD: That prayer is superstition. Here, drink this potion.
1940 AD: That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill.
1985 AD: That pill is ineffective. Here take this antibiotic.
2000 AD: That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root.
2005 AD: That root works! Read about it on my blog!


Monday, July 18, 2005

Music Monday - #13

Past Music Mondays:

Music Monday - #1
Music Monday - #2
Music Monday - #3
Music Monday - #4
Music Monday - #5
Music Monday - #6
Music Monday - #7
Music Monday - #8
Music Monday - #9
Music Monday - #10
Music Monday - #11
Music Monday - #12


Lyric Of The Week:

After All These Years by T-Bone Burnett


Free MP3 Downloads of the week:

All Night by Sam Phillips

(Sam Phillips is married to T-Bone Burnett.)


If you love Phil Collins - and really, who doesn't - you'll thrill to the knowledge that Deutschland is a hotbed of Phil Collins Tribute Bands. One of the best is Phil: be sure to download Phil's lovely version of Another Day In Paradise (You're welcome, Jez ; -)


Guest music link post, lifted from Sola-Man at Solablogola:

Elizabeth Fraser, lead singer of the Cocteau Twins needs no introduction. Ms. Fraser has a few MP3s on her site. Just click on the word "Sound" on the left side of the page. Unfortunately, due to download abuse, the Cocteau Twins took down the free MP3s they had on their website.

Sam Phillips - no, not that Sam Phillips, this Sam Phillips - is the wife of T-Bone Burnett. I've been a fan of her music since before she was Sam. Her MP3s are here and also here.

And finally, in my opinion, the best has been saved for last. Karin Bergquist of Over the Rhine is one of my favorite vocalists. She uses her beautifully melancholic voice to wring out every last ounce of emotion from each song. You can find OTRs MP3s here


Live Buzzcocks cut 'Friends', recorded in Detroit, June 26, 2003. (More Buzzcocks here.)

Life As A Thin Person

From New York Magazine:

People like Lisa Marie Sohr, who lose 100 pounds or more with stomach surgery, find that with their new bodies often come new friends, new spouses, new lives. But happiness is not a foregone conclusion.

More here.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Dump And Chase


Cartoon courtesy Cox&Forkum

More On The Story From C&F

When In Berlin

I wanna stay here.

Toby Or Not Toby

Save Toby.

Where Is Toby?

Screw Toby

(Hat Tip to the Musuem Of Hoaxes.)

Throw Them To The Liars

In this week's City Pages - the Twin Cities' own weekly leftist journal of record - staff scribbler Jim Walsh files this piece on a recent trip to Grace Church in Eden Prairie. In his usual ham-fisted writing style, apparently unable to discern the not-so-subtle difference between irony and sarcasm, Walsh appears to have intended to lampoon the sincere faith of the conservative Christians who worship at the suburban mega-church, and to warn the Kenwood and Uptown set that those dangerous Christians are up to no good. But in his zeal to paint with such a broad brush, he betrays his biases and prejudices, and merely puts on display the humorless and sanctimonious priggerdry that characterizes so many of the leftist journalistic pretenders in this town. Mr. Walsh could have written a thoughtful piece on the dangers that beset of people of faith: to wit, believing that God endorses the totality of their very own political world-view, but doing so would have required an open mind, a liberal understanding and a charitable spirit, all things he apparently lacks, utterly. Still, the parishoners at Grace have a higher calling, and an obligation: Matthew 5:44.


No Shirt, No Church Service

Show the world you're serious about your Christian faith with one of these lovely tee-shirts:

- One
- Two
- Three
- Four

More religious sartorial stuff here.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Friday, July 15, 2005


It's free but requires registration: the Arabic-to-English (and vice-versa) website translation service at More on the service here.

Plame Game


Cartoon courtesy Cox&Forkum

More On The Story From C&F

Too Legit To Quit?

These two wild and crazy Minneapolis guys are looking to:

"hire someone to work about 10-15 hrs per week on a $1,500 a week salary plus incentive."

Interested? More here.


Thanks to Doug for pointing to this moving post by The Anchoress.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


Just got back from Keegan's Irish Pub, where Sola-Man, Mondo Cognito and I met after work for a guy's Thursday Night out. It was a nice time. We were served our tasty food and libation by one of the lovely young blonde ladies who wait the tables at that fine establishment, and made sure to leave her a decent tip. But despite the trivia contest being the stated reason for heading down there, we didn't play, and - after reviewing the questions and answers - it's just as well we didn't. We would not have done very well. Sola and I hung around after Mondo left, chatted nigh unto midnite, and then headed home. Like I said, it was a nice time. I gotta do such things more often. (I must say, I don't know if any of the rest of the MOB was there, but I didn't spot anyone I recognized. And BTW, we did try to make up for missing last week. As we were leaving, we put some money in the jar for the Soldier's Angels.)

Knock Knock

Scene from the dinner table:

- Daughter #1: Knock knock.
- Daughter #2: Who's there?
- Daughter #1: Boo.
- Daughter #2: Boo Who?
- Daughter #1: Don't cry, it's ok. It's just me.

Hilarity ensues, as six year-old and two year-old erupt in howls of laughter.

Rinse, repeat.

That's Just A Little Bit More...

...Than The Law Will Allow:

'Cooter' Urges Fans to Skip 'Dukes' Movie.

Max Headroom

Happy Bastille Day, sir. 45 down, a few more to go.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Terrorism Pays


Cartoon courtesy Cox&Forkum

More On The Story From C&F

Live (Journal) On CNN

Bloggers learn the price of telling too much.

(Sadly, when reading the news you gotta learn to sift the wheat from the chaff. The piece linked states that one user 'has put a "friends lock" on his LiveJournal site so only people with a password he supplies can view it.' This is nonsense. Livejournal's 'Friends Only' option allows other users access to restricted LJ only if they are named on a list for that LJ. Users log into Livejournal under their own password(s), and can then - and only then - access Friends-Only LJ's they are authorized for. More here. It's a subtle difference, but CNN still got it wrong. What? No Fact-Checkers at the Clintonista News Network? Gosh. It makes me wonder what else they got wrong in the piece.)

Monday, July 11, 2005

Music Monday - #12

Past Music Mondays:

Music Monday - #1
Music Monday - #2
Music Monday - #3
Music Monday - #4
Music Monday - #5
Music Monday - #6
Music Monday - #7
Music Monday - #8
Music Monday - #9
Music Monday - #10
Music Monday - #11


Lyric Of The Week:

London, London by Caetano Veloso

(While in political exile during the height of the Brazilian military dictatorship in the late 1960's, Brazilian pop superstar Caetano Veloso lived in London, where he learned English, and wrote several songs in his newly-acquired language. While not on par with his Portuguese-language poetic masterpieces, this lyric captures some of the sense of wonder and freedom Caetano felt in London during his hiatus there. I only wish I could make the lovely tune available for download.)


Free MP3 Downloads of the week:

1) - Trailer Trash

This week's first featured download is from a local band, one which I've gotten to know pretty well: Trailer Trash. (One of the members is my nephew's dad.) They play rootsy Americana-styled Rock and Roll, often with a country flavor, and are great crowd pleasers.

Trailer Trash has several MP3's up on their website, but I say download this one, for kicks: a mash of You Really Got Me and the Christmas classic, Do You Hear What I Hear?

Do You Hear What I Hear (You Really Got Me).


2) - BTW, Which One's Pink?

I didn't get to watch any of the Live 8 concerts, but I'm just glad I didn't have to watch the MTV coverage, with the cutaways and blather over the songs. To make up for all that, the always-lovely Michele from A Small Victory links to an MP3 of the recently-reunited Pink Floyd for the Live 8 rendition of a classic tune from The Wall.

Comfortably Numb.


Known in the US primarily for her dreamy hit of two and a half decades ago, Pilot Of The Airwaves, British country-rock songstress Charlie Dore has a gorgeous recently-new CD out, with streaming audio available of each of the album's tracks. It's worth a listen. Really.


Interesting - to me, at least - article on MP3 Blogs, from USA Today.


ASV's Michele posts (8 of the) 13 most overrated songs. (I agree with her on most, and completely agree on the Springsteen thing. Truly cringe-worthy!

Cheesy Mac Post

Interesting post - and equally interesting riposte(s) - on whether to buy a Mac.

New Foundlands

How many countries are there in the world?

(From Cabinet Magazine.)

Have It Your Way

From the good folks at Snopes, a 911 call about a burger: listen to the audio, and read the transcript.

Hearings Impaired


Cartoon courtesy Cox&Forkum

More On The Story From C&F

Is This A Good Idea?

Arizona School To Nix Textbooks, Go All-Wireless.

A Couple Of Minneapolis WIFI Stories

Companies clamor to bring Wi-Fi to Minneapolis.


Minneapolis puts out RFP for citywide broadband network.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Pure Mac

If you use a Mac - and, really, you should - Pure Mac is the best directory of shareware and freeware on the Net.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Moribund: The UN At 60

Zombie Time has the story and photos of a virtual non-event held for a virtual non-entity: 'The United Nations 60th Anniversary Celebration in San Francisco on June 25, 2005.'


To London, With Love

We Are Not Afraid.

Book Stuff

Three new - or new to me, at least - books I just bought this past week, and one I've owned for a few months:

The Renaissance: A Short History
by Paul Johnson

Black Rednecks And White Liberals
by Thomas Sowell

The CEO Of The Sofa
by P.J. O'Rourke

And I'm still working through Victor Davis Hanson's masterful The Soul Of Battle. Highly recommended.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Uncle Sam Makes A Statement

I found this on the Net - I didn't create it - and don't know to whom it should be attributed, but I suspect it speaks for the feelings of alot of Americans right now:


More Hitchens

My favorite recovering Marxist verbally eviscerates talk show host Ron Reagan Jr.

Hitchens Gets It

Reprinted without permission from The Mirror. (Pictures from The Mirror here and here):

8 July 2005


States which shelter these killers will know no peace

By Christopher Hitchens

SOMEWHERE around London at about a quarter to nine yesterday morning, there must have been people turning on their TV and radio sets with a look of wolfish expectation.

I hope and believe that they were disappointed in what they got. There just wasn't quite enough giggle-value for the psychopath.

It must have been infernal underneath King's Cross, but above ground no panic, no screaming, no wailing and beating the air, no yells for vengeance.

I'm writing this in the early aftermath, but I would be willing to bet there will have been little or no bloody foolishness, either: no random attacks on mosques or shops or individuals. After all, devices on our buses and tubes are an open proclamation that the perpetrators don't care if they kill Muslims. Which, of course, is part of the point. When we use the weak and vague word "terrorism" we imply indiscriminate cruelty directed at civilians.

"Sadism" or "fascism" or "nihilism" would do just as nicely: all the venom that lurks just on the sub-human level of the human species.

In a tightly interwoven society, all that this poison has to do is ally itself with a certain low cunning.

People are afraid of plane crashes and of heights: in that sense 9/11 was the perfect strike on the collective unconscious. People are likewise afraid of fire and of crowded or subterranean conditions: the mind of the fascist is naturally attuned to exploit such dreads. I am guessing the planners of this coordinated atrocity hoped for more mayhem than they got, but the casualty figures are in a sense beside the point.

WE all knew this was coming, and that one day a homely and familiar name like Tavistock Square would become a synonym for barbarism. The good old red London bus, a worldwide symbol of our capital, ripped to shards in an instant.

Random and "senseless" though such violence may appear, we also all know it expresses a deadly ideology; indeed that in some ways it is that ideology.

The preachers of this faith have taken care to warn us that they love death more than we love life. Their wager is that this makes them unstoppable. Well, we shall have to see. They certainly cannot prove their point unless we assist them in doing so.

My American friends have been impressed by the composure of the Londoners they have seen on the screen: I bet London Transport runs again rather sooner than US airlines resumed flying after 9/11.

I remember living in London through the Provisional IRA bombing in the 70s. I saw the very first car-bomb explode against the Old Bailey in 1972. There was no warning that time, but after a while a certain etiquette developed.

And, even as I detested the people who might have just as soon have blown me up as anyone else, I was aware there were ancient disputes involved, and that there was a potential political solution.

Nothing of the sort applies in this case. We know very well what the "grievances" of the jihadists are.

The grievance of seeing unveiled women. The grievance of the existence, not of the State of Israel, but of the Jewish people. The grievance of the heresy of democracy, which impedes the imposition of sharia law. The grievance of a work of fiction written by an Indian living in London. The grievance of the existence of black African Muslim farmers, who won't abandon lands in Darfur. The grievance of the existence of homosexuals. The grievance of music, and of most representational art. The grievance of the existence of Hinduism. The grievance of East Timor's liberation from Indonesian rule. All of these have been proclaimed as a licence to kill infidels or apostates, or anyone who just gets in the way.

FOR a few moments yesterday, Londoners received a taste of what life is like for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, whose Muslim faith does not protect them from slaughter at the hands of those who think they are not Muslim enough, or are the wrong Muslim.

It is a big mistake to believe this is an assault on "our" values or "our" way of life. It is, rather, an assault on all civilisation. I know perfectly well there are people thinking, and even saying, that Tony Blair brought this upon us by his alliance with George Bush.

A word of advice to them: try and keep it down, will you? Or wait at least until the funerals are over. And beware of the non-sequitur: you can be as opposed to the Iraq operation as much as you like, but you can't get from that "grievance" to the detonating of explosives at rush hour on London buses and tubes.

Don't even try to connect the two. By George Galloway's logic, British squaddies in Iraq are the root cause of dead bodies at home. How can anyone bear to be so wicked and stupid? How can anyone bear to act as a megaphone for psychotic killers?

The grievances I listed above are unappeasable, one of many reasons why the jihadists will lose.

They demand the impossible - the cessation of all life in favour of prostration before a totalitarian vision. Plainly, we cannot surrender. There is no one with whom to negotiate, let alone capitulate.

We shall track down those responsible. States that shelter them will know no peace. Communities that shelter them do not take forever to discover their mistake. And their sordid love of death is as nothing compared to our love of London, which we will defend as always, and which will survive this with ease.

Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair.

Well said, sir. Indeed.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Soldier's Angels

The Elder reminds me that there is a Soldier's Angels fundraiser at Keegan's tonight, from 8:00 pm till late. It sounds like a worthy cause. If you are unable to go, check out the website and consider making a donation, in any case.

Just Remember

Before there was Al-Qaeda, there was the IRA.

'Al-Qaida in Europe' Claims UK Atrocities

Little Green Footballs has the story.

My Thoughts On 09/11 And 07/07

First off, I wish to offer my sincere expression of condolence and sorrow to the Londoners who've suffered this morning the worst attack of terroristic violence against them since the Nazi bombings of World War II.

While it is perhaps premature to state with certainty which group is responsible for the carnage, we know that Al-Qaeda operatives have already released statements claiming that responsibility for themselves. Certainly such destruction could have been comitted by the IRA or some other domestic terror group, but it seems most likely that this act of barbarism was the work of radical jahidistas.

I maintain that this morning's events of 07/07 are England's own 09/11, and the British will have to decide - as we Americans did - how they will react to this holocaust. Will they bahave in a cowardly fashion, caving to the blackmail of the jihadistas, as did the Spanish electorate, when faced with a similar attack against Madrid's train system in 2004? Or will they take Tony Blair's bold and defiant words to heart, and stiffen their resolve to defeat the forces of terror on every front?

I wrote the following in 2003, around the second anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in this country for a Livejournal posting, and given the horrific events in London this AM, I am re-posting it here today. Obviously the piece does not address the specifics of what happened in the UK, but I believe the sentiment and thoughts expressed are pertinent.

In reflecting on the second anniversary of the 9/11/2001 attacks on the United States I have been reading through several books about the event.

One such book is an oral history of the experiences of several survivors. It's been horrifying for me to relive the tragedy, even if only by proxy, and more than a thousand miles away from where the events took place. Through the words of those who lived that hellish day I'm reminded of the conflagration, the destruction, and most of all, of those several hundred who jumped from the heights of the towers, to their certain deaths. And through it I have relived the horror and helplessness that all civilized people felt, as we watched the towers come down.

Two years later I'm still a bit numb. I wasn't in New York City or Washington that day. I didn't personally know anyone who experienced any of it. I merely watched it all on TV. But on some level I experienced the shock and awe of that day in Real Time, along with the hundreds of millions of others around the world.

There has not been a day go by since that I have not thought about what occurred. I am unable to walk through my downtown without looking up at the skyscrapers and wondering how I'd react if a plane plowed into one of them. And I find myself holding my breath for a moment when a plane passes overhead. Even tonight, as I walked across downtown, a jet airliner passed low above me and I froze for a moment.

And yet for a significant portion of my fellow citizens, life goes on as if nothing happened that fateful day. Worse still, many of them feel the attacks were deserved, that we brought it on ourselves, that we had it coming, that what happened that day served us right.

They - mostly so-called liberals - view what happened as a wake-up call to America, that we must mend our ways vis-a-vis the rest of the world. They claim they love their country, yet they wet themselves in their anxious zeal to blame the United States for every evil in the world.

The night after the WTC attacks a friend made the case that the conflagration in New York was a result of the inequity in the distribution of the world's wealth and resources, that it was a result of American arrogance in its dealings with the third world, that it was the result of the frustration of the powerless in the face of the powerful. No, no, no, she said, she wasn't blaming the victim. After all, it was a victim who'd attacked us.

I was stunned. I was speaking with someone who has a post-graduate degree from a major American University, who ostensibly has a high IQ and is well-read and well-traveled. What could explain her obstinate and rank ignorance, and foolish pronouncements?

All my life I've been amazed at how different people can look at the same sets of facts and come to such radically different conclusions about them. I suppose it comes down to what Dr. Thomas Sowell has called a Vision, a set of bliefs about reality that each of us holds in our heads. We choose how to interpret the facts that come to us by how those facts fit into our Vision.

Truth is, the Leftist Vision of life on this tired planet - and I no longer use the term 'liberal' to refer to most leftists, as they are quite often far removed from anything resembling liberal - cannot account for evil. All the Isms of the left are incapable of understanding the true nature of evil.

Yes, I know there are many so-called liberals who are decent people, and are quite engaging on a one-to-one basis. But they are nearly every one, however, confused and wrong on the subject of evil. While many of them would rightly deny they are socialists or communists, their Vision differs very little from that of their more radical brothers and sisters.

In that Vision, evil, as such, does not truly exist, except in the lives of those who disagree with them. They maintain that when people do evil things - things that most of us might call evil - it's because those persons are under-nourished, or under-appreciated, or un-educated, or lacking some other creature comfort.

Bless their hearts, they do offer solutions. Socialists suggest that a centralized government will be able to efficiently and effectively solve the problems that vex us. Communists/Marxists claim that abolishing the free movement of capital will liberate men and women to be better persons. What is needed, they propose, one and all, is that the government provide this or that for the betterment of society. Ultimately, through programs and education, a different sort of human being will emerge.

The fundamental problem with that Vision is that it doesn't square with reality. Certainly poverty and hunger can grind an individual down. But there are many who are well-fed who engage in heinous crimes, and there are plenty of poor and down-trodden who do not. In fact, there is a little evil in all of us, and it is only by diligence, and grace, and the restraining power of the law that we keep it in check.

The events that transpired on 9/11 happened because evil people committed evil acts. They did not fly airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon because they were under-privileged. Most of the leaders of the 9/11 plot were from well-to-do families, and had received good educations.

The jihidistas did what they did that day because they gave themselves over to evil. They became evil, they were evil, and they committed acts that were heinously evil. When faced with such monstrous evil, civilized peoples can only offer one response: the evil - and those who commit it - must be excised, like a cancerous tumor must be removed from the body.

Those who would commit such acts must be sought out and either detained permanently, or killed. Justice - and the majority of the population that would prefer to live in peace - demands it. That is why we are fighting the war on terror. And this is what the majority of leftists cannot - or will not - ever understand.

We pursued Al Quaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan to deny terrorists a base of operations. We invaded Iraq to put out of business a terrible regime that was hell-bent on sponsoring terror throughout the Middle East, Europe and in the United States. And, if we are unable to use diplomacy to reach a peaceful solution elsewhere, we may yet invade North Korea, Iran and Syria, as they too are sponsors of terror, one and all.

Yet many well-meaning and decent people do not understand this. Like those who wished to appease Hitler, they believe wishful thinking will suffice in this conflict. They march in their Birkenstocks, waving Peace flags and chanting slogans at the gates of power. And they really believe they will make a difference. And they are most decidedly wrong.

I recently had a conversation with a friend, a Brazilian Lutheran minister of German extraction. He is currently living in Switzerland and works in the office of Interfaith Issues of the Worldwide league of Lutherans. He was in town, rang me up and we got together for coffee.

After we'd caught up on how each others' families were doing, our conversation turned to the war and US occupation in Iraq, and to the European view of how the United States is handling world affairs. He pointed out that Europeans are terrified of the US being what they perceive as an out-of-control International Cowboy, taking upon itself the responsibility of policing the world. He shared their concern.

I pointed out to the good Reverend that (in my never-to-be-humble opinion) whether they favored the War in Iraq or not, most Americans want nothing to do with running the world. They want to be left alone, just as they did in the years prior to both World Wars of the 20th century. Americans by and large naively want to ignore the rest of the world, not rule it. (Though I think that's nearly as dangerous, by the way.)

What Europeans - many of whom have living memory of the devastation of war on their own continent - cannot grasp is that the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 were unlike anything that have ever happened on American soil.

Yes, far more people died in the American Civil War than did on 09/11. And I'm not ignoring the atrocities that were committed by the US, in this country, against the Native Americans and African Slaves.

But no other single act of violence has killed as many people in this country at one time, and at no time has another group or nation ever had such an ability to attack us on our own shores. We have for centuries felt ourselves invulnerable to attack. No more.

We were attacked in the heart of New York City. Nearly 3000 people died in one of the most horrific acts of terrorism in the history of modern times. The event changed the psychology of our nation, and it changed how we must respond to terrorism.

We will not allow such atrocities to happen unanswered. The evil people who sponsor and commit such horrific acts must either be captured and detained, or killed. Such bullies cannot not be allowed to continue to terrorize the global neighborhood.

New attacks will likely come - we can't prevent them all - in the US, and I fear, in the heart of Europe, as well. What's more, many of the very Europeans who detest us so for taking the War On Terror to the jihadistas will likely be targets of jihad themselves, in the not-too-distant future.

The jihadistas will strike in novel and ingenious ways against American interests, here and in other countries. And when they do, we will again bring the fight to the organizations and countries that promote, sponsor and condone such behavior, again and again, and again, and again, until those who would do such things are eradicated, or until they lay down their arms.

It is useless to maintain the fiction that such people can be reasoned with. Trying to understand them is of no consequence. Nor is it possible to engage constructively their leftist defenders in the media, or the blogosphere. In all cases, whether rhetorically, at the ballot box or on the battlefield, those who commit and defend such acts must be defeated, utterly. That is the great call to the civilized peoples of this generation around the globe. And, in the end, I must believe that the forces of evil will not prevail.

Psalm 21:11.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

We'll Always Have Paris

Q - Why are Parisians never hungry?

A - Because of all the sand which is there.

Here's Johnny!

I want one of these. (And I'm guessing Mrs. Muzzy does, too.)

The Cotillion Salutes

The Ever-Lovely ladies of The Cotillion Ball paid homage to Independence Day with a 4th of July Gala, offering tribute to their favorite Milbloggers.

The Name Is: Jennifer

Admit it, you've seen the Watson's TV ads and wondered: who in the hay IS that Watson's Girl?

Monday, July 04, 2005

Independence Day


Cartoon courtesy Cox&Forkum

More On The Story From C&F

Music Monday #11

Past Music Mondays:

Music Monday - #1
Music Monday - #2
Music Monday - #3
Music Monday - #4
Music Monday - #5
Music Monday - #6
Music Monday - #7
Music Monday - #8
Music Monday - #9
Music Monday - #10


Lyric Of The Week:

Sweetheart Like You by Bob Dylan


Free MP3 Download of the week:

You may not have heard of David Mansfield, but you've probably have heard his music. He was a member of Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue, worked with T-Bone Burnett in The Alpha Band, collaborated with Mark Heard on various projects, and was a member of Bruce Hornsby And The Range.

He has several free MP3 downloads on his website: give a listen to the lovely instrumental 'Bus Ride Jamboree' for a sample of Mr. Mansfield's fiddle stylings, then check out all his other downloads here.


I told you in an earlier Music Monday that you really should give a listen to streaming audio of four new online tracks from The House Of Love's new CD, but you were too busy, weren't you? Well, there's no time like the present, I say. Go to their record company's website, click on the 'audio' link, at the bottom of the screen, and give the band the next fifteen minutes of your life. I guarantee nothing, but I'm willing to bet you will wonder - as do I - why 'Gotta Be That Way,' isn't all over the radio. (If you really like what you hear, you can download the whole album from Apple's iTunes store.)


I don't have cable TV, plus I was busy all weekend, but The BM Rant blogged the Philly Live 8 show(s), so I wouldn't have to.


Remember Letters To Cleo?. Of course you do. So enjoy this live MP3 of 'Demon Rock,' from the band's own website.


If you've got anything remotely music-related that you'd like to see included in a future Music Monday, please send me an email, or comment. Thanks.


Happy Birthday, America

I wrote this to post on July 4th, but decided to predate it today, on July 1st, so that it's up over the long weekend.


So, am I proud to be an American? No, not really. But I'm not ashamed, either.

Mostly I'm humble and grateful that I have, by birthright, what millions come to America for each year, both legally and illegally: a chance to live in the nation that affords the greatest combination of political and personal freedom - and economic opportunity - on the face of the planet.

Yes, there are nations with greater per capita income (not many) and nations with greater traditions of freedom (very few). There are nations where the people are friendlier, or even healthier. But there are none with the combination of all the above, nor the vast array of opportunity that the United States of America has to offer.


With that said, I don't wish to be misunderstood.

I don't believe the US is the only good place to live, nor do I think that Americans are the best people on earth. I grew up in South America, my father was born in Korea and was raised in Columbia, my wife was born overseas, as well. I have great respect and admiration for peoples of all the earth. We are all one human race.

But I *do* maintain that the United States is the best nation on earth. And I believe it is so precisely because the language insribed on every American Penny, Nickel and Dime: E Pluribus Unum (Out Of Many, One).

We are made up of representatives and descendants from every people group on Earth. It may sound corny to say - and oh-so-politically-correct - but it also happens to be true. We are great as a nation because of the diversity of our population. We come from Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and we are Americans, one and all.

(Most of my ancestors came here from England, Scotland, Ireland, France and the low countries. My wife's people came to both the US and South Africa from Germany, England, Holland and Norway. So that makes us decendants of immigrants, too)

Additionally, we are a product of the Western Enlightenment, and its emphasis on personal freedom and human rights. It was from that stream of thought that our founders crafted our Declaration of Independance, and our Constitution.

That our Constitution's principles were not allowed (initially) to be fully applied to the enslaved Blacks, or to women, does not detract from the wisdom and genius of that document. It was precisely the power and glory of the United States Constitution to which abolitionists like Frederick Douglass and suffragettes like Susan B. Anthony appealed.

And it was the strength of their arguments, buttressed by the clear language of the words of the American Constitution, that carried the moral authority to see the fundamental laws of the land extended and ammended and applied to the formerly disenfranchised.

There are those citizens among us who wish to make the case that the United States is a land of racism and/or discrimination, and they hate their birthplace for it. And, true enough, such does exist in this country. But please name for me a country where discrimination and/or racism is absent. No, I didn't think you could.

I, for my part, can name many dozens of countries where human and economic and political rights and freedoms do not even exist. And in many of those countries, to challange the system in any form is to subject oneself to arrest, torture and even assassination. At least in the US, when illegal discrimination occurs, there is potential recourse, through the courts.

It is to this country's eternal shame that it allowed and cultivated an economic system where slavery was legal. The sin - yes, sin - of slavery has stained the fabric of American society since its abolishment in the 1860's. And the perpetuation of legal discrimination under the Jim Crow laws further exacerbated the condition of the descendants of the slaves.

But, just as it is a blot on the honor and conscience of America that slavery was ever allowed, it is a testament to the majesty and dignity of the American experiment that slavery was abolished, and that legal discrimination was disallowed in the 1960's. The United States, together with England, were the two guiding forces in the abolishment of a system of slavery that still exists in Africa (primarily in the Sudan) to this very day.

Others will add to the list of offenses to be held against the United States that the Native American population was mistreated, lied to and cheated out of its land. True enough - guilty as charged. And it was wrong. But unfortunately, that past can't now be undone.

In the early 1830's, Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville toured the newborn United States and marvelled in his writings at the new breed of citizen he found here. The American, he noted, was full of boundless optimism, unfettered by class consciousness, able to invent and reinvent himself at will. And this freedom is why, to this day, millions of persons each year stream to these shores to try their hand at being American.

To be sure, they bring their own customs and languages with them, which they in turn contribute to the always-evolving collective American culture. And they do not always have an easy time of assimilation. Immigrants encounter a concerted effort by those filled with hate for this great nation (primarily leftists, progressives and proto-marxists) to keep them speaking their native tongue and from learning English, and to thus cut them off from access to the mainstream of American thought.

But they learn English anyway - or at least their children do - and in a generation or two, the recent immigrants from Russia, Somalia, Bosnia and Liberia will dissolve their primary and native identities into the ethnic stew that is the United States, like the Poles, and Italians, and Germans, and Swedes, and Greeks, and so many others did before them. And they will become Americans, just like I am. And I welcome them.

So, Happy Birthday, America. And thank you for taking us in, one and all.