Thursday, June 30, 2005

Iraq and the people who call it home...

got a link to this recently. Worth looking at as a quick reference to surviving in a society with starkly different values than our own...
Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Carnival of the Optimists #11: Friends from afar


Hi there! The Carnival will be up tonight, but I have to skedaddle, because a buddy has come in unexpectedly from out of town, and I need to drink his health. In the meantime, check out this week's Progress+Bootstraps Combo: the RealAge Test. Absolutely spot-on ways to slow aging and increase sheer physical quality of life.

Oh. And here's a picture of a cute and fluffy kitten. See you in a bit...



UPDATE: Whee, that was fun...
Okay, where were we... well, since we're going in sort of backwards order this evening, Todd MacMillan, a self-described "avid reader," (I have an avid reader? Wow...) sends along another confirmation that there are cancer-munching viruses out there, and they seem to be perfectly harmless to us, to boot.

Okay, what's the good news out there? Well, Soldiers' Angel asks, "What Do The FBI, a Harley Davidson Woman's Club, Soldiers Angels and Minimus Have in Common?" Something pretty cool...

And Autumn, of Janus Gate, couldn't get a full post up time, but points out some good news, indeed... some folks out in Arizona just got real lucky, when the Hand of God(tm) seemed to reach out to stop wildfires from burning their homes.

And, Bootstraps for Clever Spouses... who loves headaches? Who loves not having them any longer? Well, Bad Example has figured out "what to do when the heating pads go belly up... pretty damned clever. Even more clever than Technogypsy's lovely wife, who is a pediatrician and uses cheap bags of frozen veggies as cold pads... but truly, figuring out the hot version is a stroke of genius.

Okay, well, this has been all backwards, so... hello!

Take THAT, Mr. Souter..

(hat tip, Winds of Change)

Justice Souter's getting KELO'd. All the gentleman who'd like to build the hotel needs is the approval of three out of five local officials...

Monday, June 27, 2005

Oh, it's about to get interesting...

Here's the Supreme Court Nomination blog, a sister element of SCOTUSblog.

Why am I posting this? Because rumblings coming down the pipe off RealClearPolitics have suggested that it will be Sandra Day O'Connor, not Reinquist, who starts the retirement/replacement circus in motion. It true, it means

a) a HUGE political fight (and one for which the Democrats, paradoxically are itching, even though a fight of this magnitude plays directly into Replublican mid-term election hands. Court nominees are a serious motivator for the Republican base, and a big reason for why Daschle got tossed out. There is no conceivable better way of guaranteeing an increase in the Senate for the Republicans than a SCOTUS fight).
b) the potential for the traditional 5-4 balance to finally go away in favor of a 6-3 stable court, which hasn't existed for most of my lifetime. You have to go back to the stable days of the Warren court for that.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Comedy from the Front...

Eason says:

Good Morning.

I have another funny story to relate and this one happened right here in Tikrit. We got reports of a mob of VBIEDs that have been moved into Tikrit and have been very much on our toes for the last 2 days. Yesterday, we get a radio report of a VBIED that has been
captured. Well good news for all involved. Then we heard the details of HOW it got captured and were rolling. The Suicide driver had targeted a VIP from the Ministry of Oil. He had staked out a road this guy had to drive on to get to work and when he came by he tried to ram his vehicle
into the VIPs convoy and kill him. Well, he missed the VIPs SUV and smaked into a light pole. He wasn't wearing a seatbelt and received a massive head trauma. The crash also knocked all the wiring loose on the bomb so it didn't go off. When the US patrol got there, this guy was
still trying to cross the wires to get the bomb to work, but was actually wiring up 2 wires from the car stereo (his head trauma had him seeing triple) and the Iraqi Police figured it would be cruel to stop as he seemed so intent. The bomber died from his wounds at the hospital after having to put up with numerous jokes about whether or not this would get him his virgins in heaven.

Oh my God my heart! **thud**

Thomas Friedman, in the NYT, actually comes out in favor of something Bush is doing.

(Link may require registration.)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Awww, poor kitty! Heh heh heh.

Cojones, defined. Now you know what to do if attacked by a large, predatory cat...

Yet another example...

that helps to explain my vitriolic hatred of the world-class liars and hypocrites known as PETA:

"In 2003, PETA euthanized over 85 percent of the animals it took in," said a press release from the lobby, "finding adoptive homes for just 14 percent. By comparison, the Norfolk (Va.) SPCA found adoptive homes for 73 percent of its animals and Virginia Beach SPCA adopted out 66 percent."

There's more, and plenty of it, from Debra Saunders out in SF, not that far away (by Texas standards) from the latest PETA animal slaughter.

You know...

it's stories like these that make me just how apropos the word "evil" can be.

Flypaper for asshats...

Over at Impearls, an interesting article: BBC confirms the flypaper strategy.

This has long been suspected, of course. It's what the soldiers speak of when they talk about how it's better to play "an away game" than a "home game."

But for the Beeb to come up with it is pretty neat. Here's a spiffy quote from David Warren, which gives an idea...

"It is the Islamist analogy to the way young socialists, anarchists, and adventurers from across Europe were drawn to Spain during its Civil War in the 1930s. "

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Carnival of the Optimists #10

So I'm in a house with three beautiful women, one of whom sent me lovely orchids, another is my wife, and the third I've gotten into feltmaking for no other reason than I worked on it and she got hooked. I'm back from a funeral, I have new nephews and nieces, got to see nine out of ten of my great-aunts and great-uncles, and I managed to survive a serious round of questioning by one of my academic-article editors. Obviously... it's Carnival Time....

Okay, I'm classifying this under "Bootstraps..." because it's a real lemonaid-out-of-lemons kind of deal. BIG lemons. This guy is the coolest trucker you've never seen before over at Soldier's Angel. Because I guarantee you, if you had seen him, you'd know.

The next one, from Steve Pavlina, is all about the classic interaction of attitude and results. Worth reading.

Not fitting into any category except plain old Good Things... Northstar has a photo of his Dad, circa 1955... If there's anything that's more important than family, it's an awfully short list.

So, what's Progress this week?

It's not a cure for cancer... but it's a treatment, and a good one. Check it out.

That's it, folks. Keep those positive attitudes coming...

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Carnival of the Optimists #9: The Water's Fine!

So, what's good this week? On the home front, we've rescued the kittens yet again from a horrible starvey death... wonderful fragile things, stray kittens are...

The Carnival of the Optimists is alive and back onto its regular schedule.

So what's good news this week?

Let's start with Willisms, and Quotational Therapy #18. And why, no matter what political party you are, there are grounds for thinking that maybe Reagan had a clue after all. Great quote. I'd love to have a blog as spiffy as this guy's...

Technogypsy is thrilled at the continuing joys of Dad-hood, which includes plinking at lunch. I think that this kid is definitely not worried about Squirrelly Wrath...

Dubious Profundity shares one of the simple joys in life... in particular, a back porch, and the benefits that come with it...

Only one Bootstrap this week... and it's serious political news.

AtlasShrugs2000 has a roundup of the news concerning Islamic women's struggles to obtain something resembling the rights we take for granted in America... and while it's not all roses, it's still definitely grounds for hope. Several links, all worth reading. Remember, only the pessimist is an idealist: the Optimist stares reality right in the face before saying "I can clean that up..."

And finally, here's Progress for this week. See that cute little sucker? That's a Kemp's Ridley sea turtle.
I call him Pokey. Mostly because, when the park rangers at Padre Island let them all go, Zippy hit the waves like he was born to run, and Pokey... well, he wakes up like I do. Thus, he gets to be a rock star for a half-hour on the beach...



Y'see, a while back, we realized that too many plastic bags was a factor that was doing in the sea turtles. So they raised a bunch of Kemps Ridley's up to maturity, and cut them loose on the beach, figuring that they'd remember this new nesting site and make it their own. Sure enough, the KR Boyz are back up to around 3000 turtles, and so far this year, 43 hatchings have happened... a bit burst over last year's 40 total, and enough, at this rate, to be optimistic about these guys getting off the endangered list. Which is good for warming our hearts -- and eating those jellyfish.

Have a good one, y'all!

Spread the Good News. Posted by Hello

Careful Phrasing

When you're an outsider without a doctorate, and you step into the most widely-discussed battle of the most widely-discussed war in medieval military history, and you intend to tell the entire discipline that it has come to its conclusions based on badly flawed, illegitimately-abstracted methodology...

write several drafts and make sure your text says exactly what you mean it to.

Rough Draft Numero Uno coming up this week...

Monday, June 13, 2005

Morales, the new Guevara

Meet the new asshole, same as the old asshole.

Of course, with the MSM focused on Deep Throat, Gitmo, and whether or not Michael Jackson's a weirdo, it's no surprise if you're one of the folks who haven't heard that La Paz is under siege as we speak.

No, I'm not being too harsh. Chavez' buddy in Bolivia is doing in that country's fragile little democracy in classic style, combining Marxist demagoguery and every ounce of identity-politics-turned-violent that can be scraped together, in order to level everything and seize power. Call it the "Castro Method" for getting onto the Fortune 500 lists.

Perhaps I'm being unfair. Unlike Guevara, so far as we know, Morales hasn't had a hungry little peasant girl shot in the face for stealing food. Though no doubt Morales is about to become the darling of the cheerfully murderous left as they go into yet another round of self-righteous ideological preening, facts and the fates of actual people be damned.

THIS is why we have a Second Amendment, boys and girls. A Demagogue is nothing but a Tyrant waiting to enter into the chrysalis of power.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Well ain't this just cute as daisies?


Man, you gotta watch out for them ghetto chicks... Posted by Hello

Hrm...

Following upon another conversation elsewhere, if I said that traditional Japanese swordsmanship was crude and clumsy, and offered a standard wager of a thousand dollars cash for the winner of a duel with sharps to first blood...

How many perspectiveless nihonjutsu-wannabes would feel honor-bound to give me their money, and how long would I have to stay in jail?

Perhaps the real question is, how many of them would hang around for beer afterwards...

Mercantilism

Forbes has an editorial up. Worth reading.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

From the "Oh God my Eyes!" Department.

I have now seen everything, including the B-frame boob.
Get a bra that fits, woman!

Boobs should not elicit pity.

Rotten Fruit on the Vine

Wow, is their finger not on the pulse of America.

There is a certain stage when we say that a culture is decadent. As in, not necessarily evil, but literally decaying. Who on earth would celebrate this business? Why does wearing one's pants on backwards suddenly indicate the rise of a New Man? Besides, of course, these folks' utter inability to comprehend real masculinity, which has standards beyond the sterile pursuit of pleasure. Not that pursuing pleasure is bad, mind you: the LongSufferingWife would be seriously worried if yours truly didn't take his coffee and research into the tub for an hour and a half sometimes... but REAL men's pleasure is generative. Real men aren't afraid of having kids. And this isn't some divide-and-conquer bullshit about gay vs. straight, or masculine men vs. men god made androgynous, either. Real gay men don't scorn "breeders." They kick ass and take names and run businesses and create art, and all that other jazz, just like regular guys do. Real men's hobbies and pleasures lead to something, give rise to something, create something, or have some purpose more exalting than being an easy synonym for a Philip K. Dick wirehead.

People are naturally generative. We're made for more in life than to experience orgasms and take up space. This bold new manifesto takes sybaritism to a level that begins to resemble Mewling Cabbage more than New Man. People who are not generative in some aspect of their lives are failed human beings. Pity and contempt is all they rate, and the pity portion is only out of a lingering sense of charity and hope that at least some of them will come to their senses.

And the other thing real men do is have the balls to call a spade a spade. We need to get back to using certain terms as the insults they truly are. Virginia, decadent doesn't mean "really good chocolate."

This afternoon, it'll be party cloudy, with a

rain of frogs. Locusts and broken seals on Thursday...

(I'm not sure I'm much heartened by the scientific explanation, either.... )

Monday, June 06, 2005

Control, Control, we must learn Control!

(Apologies to Yoda)

So, I got a knee brace ordered for Isquibibble. Did you know that it's possible to blow out somebody's knee using only your shin and inner thigh, while they're kicking you?

Neither did I... Thursday, that is... the boss says she threw herself right into a classic lock on the way out and threw herself... but whether I popped it directly or she did herself dirty while we disengaged, or a combination of both... it's both cool and daunting to get to a point where you start inventing techniques on the fly -- and they work!

But it's another thing entirely to control something like that, since by definition you haven't had a chance to play with the leverages and timing involved...

Dolor amicus meus est, desperatia domina mea.

I hate to say "I told you so..."

but who am I kidding. I've got an ego the size of Nebraska. I love to say "I told you so." If this blog hadn't exploded, I'd even provide the link where I did so...

Apparently, Dean has figured out that the way to run a decent campaign in 2008 is to break the Reagan coalition by emphasizing "70s Republican values," and drawing out the (small-l) libertarians among the party. At least, during the campaign.

Though I shudder to think of what a contemporary Democrat means by "fiscal responsibility," since it's very clearly not tax cuts for working schmucks like you and me, it's definitely a step in the right direction.

Oh, and JCY, will you please just submit the damned thing already, so I can run my mouth?

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Carnival of the Optimists #8: Back from the dead.

And, look, a spiffy new layout!

No trackback yet or anything fancy. And my mouse-control program is acting funky, to boot. Bear with me if there are typos... they are almost certainly remnants of text that were supposed to live somewhere else in this post...

Yes, the old "we love Ascii" version died: imploded, collapsed, folded, bit it, took an eternal celestial dirt-nap, suffered irreversible orbit decay.... According to Blogger, it actually got formally deleted. I like to think I'm not *that* clumsy with a keyboard... but part of optimism is recognizing that bad things bring opportunities, and that those opportunities are frequently profound.

Let's dwell on that for a second, and ponder what I like to call "the moral ironies of history."

The Romans were a bunch of right bastards: but because of their grand imperial designs, Carthaginian first-born children were not routinely sacrificed by being thrown into flaming ovens after the conquest. The nation that didn't callously squander its people proved to be the more competent and lasting empire... just as in our current era, even the tyrants are slowly coming to realize that they must either loosen the chains of their subjects, or else become permanently unable to compete against their foes.

Trianon was an ugly, ugly treaty. My wife's nation was literally cut into a third of its previous size: like taking the US and giving everything but the midwest to Canada and Mexico. Villages were literally cut in half and separated from their water source, churches, etcetera. Hungary was carved up as a hecatomb to the principal of "the self-determination of peoples. And without that principle having been put forcibly into effect (to the great advantage of the Slovak and Croatian peoples, and continuous conflict in Transylvania), well, the folks in East Timor, Kosovo, Ukraine, and Iraq wouldn't have stood a chance.

From bad, Good. From the spatter of human evil, the light moral Progress. From need and distress, Invention. Optimism is no starry-eyed idealism, but rather the immensely practical and realistic understanding of what it is that we humans do.

So, what do we have to offer you? (In no particular order this week, as they don't fit my pre-conceived categories all that well... but they're all good.)

Steve Pavlina has a truly kick-ass solution for one of my specific problems: how to become an early riser, and sleep better to boot. If you're a night-owl like me who'dver like to get better at functioning in the a.m., this is definitely worth your time.

For Northstar over at the People's Republic of Seabrook, it's all about decisions and consequences -- and his great pride at seeing a lad truly mature.

Drew Vogel slips in one of the best engagement surprises I've ever heard of, as he gets ready to begin his new life with Wendy. Congrats to both of you, and go read it! Wow.

Shiloh Musings lets rip with one of those odd strings of fortunate coincidences that are hard to believe happen to people... until "people" happens to be defined as "you." Nice.

That's going to be all for this week, because, frankly, these are overdue. Thanks for the encouragement and bearing with the delay.

-B.A.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Well, I'm back up and running...

though only at about 50%.

Trying to figure out the finer points of body coding, but at the moment, generic and minimalist may be the order of the day...

UPDATES:
1. Carnival of the Optimists should come out, though rather belatedly, tonight. I still have submissions. Sadly, the old posts are still toast.
2. Since, photoblogging aside, I tend to be text-heavy, I'm reformatting to accomodate my vast bloviation. This is optimized for a 1280-wide display, which I think accomodates a standard flat-screen. If anybody knows how to recode this with ratios to allow for window-resizing, that'd be a lot friendlier on readers, and I'd appreciate it.

You know, as long as I have to rebuild this blog from scratch...

I wonder if I could get Chris to host a couple images so I can give the sucker a fancy background...

Boxing Alcibiades has imploded.

We are having technical difficulties, and will return as soon as possible...