Monday, May 29, 2006

It's a visual

Must see - the Anatomy of a Republican.

There's something weird about this homepage

Here's Aljazeera's English-language homepage. Study it carefully, because something is missing. Figure it out yet? (see comments for answer.)

Happy Memorial Day

In my dad's family, there's a story of the Caesar brothers - these were my dad's uncles (great-uncles) and they were all named for the emperors. Dad had an Uncle Julius, an Uncle August and an Uncle Octavius.

Anyway, Uncle August wanted to join the Union Army during the Civil War but he was too young - not sixteen yet. His folks said he had to stay and work on the farm. So one day he went out, hoed to the end of one row, and then took off - he'd apparently stashed his travelling gear in the hedgerow at the other end of the field.

In my family now, 'hoeing to the end of your row' means doing all the stuff you don't want to do to get to do the stuff you do want to do.

That's about all I know about Uncle August, that and the fact that he survived to come home.

Oh, no.

A Few Years, and Then Another Bush? No, no, no, no, no.

Just... no.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Speaker for the Theocracy

Unconfirmed gossip from TVNewser:

Unconfirmed: FNC's Greg Burke To Become Vatican Spokesperson? Scott in Wisconsin sent TVNewser this e-mail yesterday:

"EWTN, the global Catholic network, reported on Saturday during Pope Benedict's journey through Poland that Fox News reporter Greg Burke will become the new Vatican spokesperson. [They said to] look for that announcement to come right after the Pope returns to Rome. The current Papal spokesperson, who is a holdover from Pope John Paul's regime, has submitted a letter of resignation. Raymond Arroyo and Joan Lewis are the EWTN people who were speaking about this on Saturday."

A Fox News spokesperson said he could not confirm the report on Sunday...

Fox News - training ground for the speakers for the world's theocracies since 2005.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Pentacle issue

From Nevada:

Over the years, families have used religious symbols such as the Jewish Star of David, the Christian cross and the Islamic crescent and star to honor their loved ones on headstones and markers. For Sgt. Patrick Stewart's family, the symbol of choice was also from his religion: the Wiccan pentacle.

But of all the symbols and faiths recognized by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Wicca and its emblem — a circle around a five-pointed star — are not among them.

The department is reviewing a request to include the symbol, but when a decision will come is unclear.

Neo-pagans have been trying to get the pentacle approved for over a decade now. Originally, the VA claimed that they would consider the request 'if the head of Wicca' requested it. This is kind of a way to say, 'hell, no - never', because of course there is no 'head of Wicca'. Since there's no 'head of Buddhism' or 'head of Christianity' per se, the only possible reason for demanding such an impossibility was to prevent Wiccan veterans (and others for whom the pentacle is their sacred symbol) from having their grave appropriately marked. Let's hope saner heads prevail this time.

Important news from the world of philosophy

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? has been answered at last.

Wow. First Fermat's Last Theorem and now the egg thing. Whatever next? The "If God's so powerful, can he create a boulder so big even he can't lift it?" conundrum?

Friday, May 26, 2006

Dispatches from the Edge

I just finished reading Anderson Cooper's Dispatches From the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival. One-line review: Just when I thought I couldn't love him any more....


Buy it:

Note: if you get the audiobook, he reads it to you. He does accents. Awww.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Pern: the Movie!

The entire nineteen book Dragonriders of Pern series has been optioned by Canadian production company Copperheart Entertainment. Fangirl squeal - eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Great Catch-a-Sniper Spell

Since the snipers are back in the news, being tried now in Montgomery County after being found guilty in Virginia, I thought I'd share a little story about how instrumental I was in their capture.

It's just hard to describe what happened to the DC area during the time the Sniper (we didn't know there were two) was at large. He hit Montgomery County in the north, as far south as Fredericksburg, and all around - we found out after the guys were caught that they'd actually cashed a check in Leesburg a few blocks from my store during that period.

You know what happens to retail when there's a sniper on the loose? It stops. There were days when the only people who came into our store were other merchants wondering if we'd seen anyone that day. And just doing chores - the sniper had shot a guy at a service station, so just gassing up your car had you looking all around for suspicious vehicles. There were rumors of a White Van so everyone was on the lookout for it - turns out there are a hell of a lot of white vans out there.

Anyway, after a couple weeks of this, Lilly and I had had enough. We were going to bring an end to this whole situation by forcing the Sniper to turn himself in. So we devised a Catch a Sniper spell.

You have to remember Lilly's a Methodist and I'm pretty agnostic. But we're certainly willing to try anything, so we went to the Reference Books and looked up all the attributes and things. I can't now recall all the ingredients of our Great Working - I know salt was involved, and tourmaline (powerful protection stone!) and as many of the protective and redemption herbs as we had in stock. And we got two candles, one white female figure and one black male figure.

At the time, everyone figured the sniper was a lone wolf and a white guy - a Tim McVeigh kind of nutcase; we just picked the figures to be the feminine and masculine principles, and also good versus evil, since the sniper was almost certainly male. So we set everything up on a map of Leesburg from the tourist bureau, heh, and lit the candles and let it go to work...

I kept going to check on the candles and it was pretty hilarious, because something about the way the figures were designed made the male figure burn down faster than the female. He's losing his HEAD while she's still barely down to her hairline, and his whole BUTT was falling off and she was barely burnt down at all... Soon she was standing in a puddle of black wax, and we figured Our Work Here was done.

Well, that night they picked up a couple guys... the wrong guys. Remember when they briefly thought they'd caught the sniper and it turned out to be some day laborers hanging around an unofficial job pickup site?

The next day, we say 'Hmm. Almost.' So we decided to do it again, once more with feeling, as it were. But we were out of white female candles, in fact out of female candles at ALL, so we decided to double up on the black male candles, being so impressed with how well that one had dissolved and figured if one could catch a couple day laborers, two would surely catch a sniper.

And that night they caught the two in a rest stop. And there were two of them. And they were both black. [insert Twilight Zone theme here]

We took a vow, then, to only use our Awesome Powers for Good, and not for Evil. But I sure wouldn't say no to a little personal gain. (Tip - don't buy a small business during a Republican administration. If you can afford it, buy an oil company or a government contractor. Otherwise, just sit it out.)

Monday, May 22, 2006

Quick! Look over there!

So before I left the house to come to the store today, I'm setting up my VCR to tape the news as usual. (Yeah, I tape the news. Wanna make something of it? I'm often at the store quite late. YEAH, I STILL USE A VCR... Wanna buy me a DVR?? Shut. Up.)

Ahem. Anyway, I'm on CNN, also as usual, when I see an ad for something called Censure Carter. Man, I wonder, what's Jimmy been up to thus to aggravate the easily aggravated wingnuts? So in a spare moment, I go over to their website to see what their beef is.

What fresh outrages has our 39th prez committed? Well. None, apparently. There's the same ol', same ol' - terrorist coddling, treason-spewing and other rantings of Anne-Coulter-clones. But nothing new.

So why on earth is this pathetic little band buying time on CNN? Doesn't have anything to do with the trouble their own Great White Hope is in, you think?


Friday, May 19, 2006

A way with words

John Aravosis at Americablog always has the best headlines: GOP Senator Pat Roberts is a big girl

Well, that's a relief

Apes Shown to Be Able to Plan Ahead

Too bad we can't.

This can't be true?

UPDATE: Well, well, well... seems like someone is trying to stir the pot WRT Iran. I wonder who? Things that make you go 'hmmm'. I should have done with my first instinct, that this was just too perfect an analogy to be true.

Can it?

Human rights groups are raising alarms over a new law passed by the Iranian parliament that would require the country's Jews and Christians to wear coloured badges to identify them and other religious minorities as non-Muslims.
For someone who claims to believe the Holocaust never happened, their little nut seems to have picked up some pointers from somewhere, is all I'm saying.

And why is it only in Canadian, Israeli and Australian newspapers?

Cats. In Sinks.

Forget about those snakes on a plane. It's really all about Cats. in Sinks.


What is going ON over there?

Thursday's clash happened in a medium-security section of the camp, called Gitmo for short, as guards were responding to the fourth attempted suicide of the day at the detention center on the U.S. Navy base, Cmdr. Robert Durand said.
When is Congress going to apply a little oversight here?


Coolest knife block ever.

From Liz via Ted.

Greeted as liberators

Sigh. Heckuvajob.

In the latest indication of the crushing hardships weighing on the lives of Iraqis, increasing portions of the middle class seem to be doing everything they can to leave the country. In the last 10 months, the state has issued new passports to 1.85 million Iraqis, 7 percent of the population and a quarter of the country's estimated middle class.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Suck Up Watch

Via Wonkette:

In the past year, Bush received $17,316 in personal gifts and Cheney netted $39,722 worth…
Cheney is clearly much better liked that Bush. No, wait...

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Bully Pulpit

Now, you know me. I'm not one to try to force my views on anyone. But something has come to my attention that is just too important not to lobby for.

I have recently learned that there's a contest underway to decide what fans of Snakes on a Plane should be called. And right now, the boring entries are winning.

I mean, come on. Snakesonaplaniacs? Ho-hum. Motherfuckers? Better but so open to misinterpretation. SoaP Scum? Please. Just... no.

The only possible selection for the true Snakes on a Plane connoisseur is... Aeroherpetologists.

So please, visit Snakes on a Blog and cast your vote today for Aeroherpetologists

Vote early, vote often. Buy Diebold if you have to.

What is the MATTER with these guys?

I mean, seriously?

Debate over how the Bush administration spies on U.S. citizens in the war on terror may actually help the president's sagging ratings, a report says.

With his popularity hovering at an all-time low, Time magazine reports in its Monday edition that more people may support Bush's spy programs than civil libertarians and Capitol Hill critics acknowledge.

They want to write the 'Come Back' story sooo bad. WHY???

My Mom

My mom died in '99, but she was kind of interesting. She married my dad when he was a widower with two little kids, my half-sibs. Mom was raised in one of these hell-fire Republican homes where FDR and Eleanor were the devils incarnate. Daddy was a yellow-dog Democrat (someone who would vote for 'a yellow dog' before he'd vote for a Republican).

So early on in their marriage, Mom said something disparaging about democrats and Dad said this wouldn't do; she wasn't going to indoctrinate HIS kids, but to be fair, he wouldn't either, so politics was a banned topic among the 'rents when we were little.

My Mom thought Nixon was an INJURED INNOCENT! If he had only tossed those guys to the wolves, all would have been well. The fact that he was behind everything? Nonsense. He just had Bad Staff.

In the absence of parental influence, sad for Mom, we all grew up in to hippie-liberals.

The fun part starts in '92, when Mom was staying with my sister during the GOP national convention in Houston. Remember that? (Those of you who were old enough, anyway.) It was a real HateFest. Marilyn Quayle, Pat Buchanan, everyone getting up there and SPEWING hate and superiority. Apparently Mom and Joyce were glued to the TV for the duration, and the GOP scared Mom so much that she RE-registered to vote in her hometown as a Dem! (And my hometown was a GOP stronghold too.) We were soooo proud.

She adored Bill Clinton. He was Her Boy. Even Monica couldn't faze her. She was a dirty girl who wanted it and who did it hurt anyway? They should ASSIGN someone to take care of Her Bill. She lived long enough to see him acquitted in the House, thank god. And I can pretty much guess what she'd think about GW.

Miss you, Mom.

One way of coping

Laura Bush has her own methods:

First lady Laura Bush said on Sunday she does not believe opinion polls showing her husband's approval ratings at record low levels.

nterviewed on Fox News Sunday, Laura Bush said she did not think people were losing confidence in President George W. Bush, despite a series of polls showing support for him at its lowest point in his five-year presidency and among the lowest for any president in the past 50 years.

I guess if she woke up to reality, she'd have to slash her wrists or move into an ashram.

Things I sometimes think about

So I'm writing this article about neti pots... what, you've never heard of neti pots? They're these little teapot-like things with long snouts that you use clean out your nasal passages. Yes, you pour water into one nostril and let it drip thru and out the other one. It's supposed to be great for allergies and all manner of ENT things. People on the Indian subcontinent irrigate their noses as often as Americans brush their teeth.

Anyway, it just struck me as weird that you have two holes in the front of your face that meet back inside your nose. Why two? Why not just one big one? Is it just the whole bilateral symmetry thing?

I mean, two eyes are a definite advantage - they give us two views of the same objects and thus stereoscopic vision, aka depth perception. Two ears give us enough parallax on a sound so that we can tell what direction it's coming from.

Are two nostrils supposed to help us tell where a smell is coming from? Can dogs tell?

Sitting under a tinfoil pyramid

So I'm reading this USAToday story. And here's a couple of sections:


One major telecommunications company declined to participate in the program: Qwest.

According to sources familiar with the events, Qwest's CEO at the time, Joe Nacchio, was deeply troubled by the NSA's assertion that Qwest didn't need a court order - or approval under FISA - to proceed. Adding to the tension, Qwest was unclear about who, exactly, would have access to its customers' information and how that information might be used.


Trying to put pressure on Qwest, NSA representatives pointedly told Qwest that it was the lone holdout among the big telecommunications companies. It also tried appealing to Qwest's patriotic side: In one meeting, an NSA representative suggested that Qwest's refusal to contribute to the database could compromise national security, one person recalled.

In addition, the agency suggested that Qwest's foot-dragging might affect its ability to get future classified work with the government. Like other big telecommunications companies, Qwest already had classified contracts and hoped to get more.



In June 2002, Nacchio resigned amid allegations that he had misled investors about Qwest's financial health. But Qwest's legal questions about the NSA request remained.
Now I try not to get wrapped too tightly in tinfoil, so I'm not going to suggest that Section B is a direct result of Section A. I'm just saying that if this were a Robert Ludlam novel, it would be.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Some Maverick!

When can we stop calling John McCain 'independent' and a 'maverick' and start calling him a lickspittle and asskisser?

Upside Down Day

Some things come along and shatter your preconceived notions. For instance:

A Democratic Holocaust Denier


Mel Gibson calls Bush a fear-monger.

But just when you can't decide if you're on your head or your heels, along comes Fox News to put everything right side up again.

Whew. Thanks, Fox News.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Now Spying on Americans

From Americablog's John-in-DC, new tees and things with the logo: NSA - Now Spying on Americans. Wish I'd thought of it first. Go buy some.

Putting the OC in Special PrOseCutor

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is an advantage to a Special Prosecutor. In personal relationships? Not so much.

The former federal prosecutor who succeeded Kenneth Starr as independent counsel in the Whitewater investigation turned himself in yesterday on a charge of stalking a former companion, the police said. The man, Robert W. Ray, 46, of Long Branch, N.J., surrendered to the police in Manhattan.
Thanks for the find, Wonkette(s).

Hell, Yeah!

Is the country ready for a governor named Kinky?

W. T. F???

Oh, this is appropriate...

An Elgin pastor for two months regularly spanked a 13-year-old girl with a wooden stick to punish her for claiming she had been sexually abused by a relative, police said Thursday, a day after arresting the clergyman on a charge of battery.
For two months? I suggest they add a charge of sexual abuse to that of battery. There's no way he wasn't getting his jollies here.


Demolition finally begins in hard-hit St. Bernard's Parish. It is expected to take almost a year.

Like a rock

Bush cracks the thirty barrier, hits 29% in new poll. John of Americablog is serving champagne. Atrios has Mars. And a pony.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

If this is true...

... it's fucking outrageous. Sandia National Labs hosts seminar claiming earth is 6,000 years old

And it appears to be true.

The Gods are Pleased

Went to the grocery store today and found the perfect objet du still life. And I wasn't even looking for something to paint - wasn't even thinking about painting.

But there, in the produce section, were bamboo shoots! I've never seen bamboo shoots that weren't in a can or already incorporated into a dish before. They're lovely. They're also expensive - 4.99/lb. Three shoots cost me 13 bucks.

I think I'd team them up with some leeks I have in the refrigerator and call it "East meets Welsh". Heh.


Heh. I don't think I've ever felt the need to link to a post from Gawker before, but this one is too funny: CNN Answers Its Own Question


Heh. Josh is teh funny:

HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson has now come forward to say how sorry he is that in a public speech he told a story about how he kills government contracts if the owners of the companies in question don't support President Bush. Now he admits that it never happened. It wasn't true. And in fact he never lets politics interfere with HUD contracting decisions.

This reminds me of the time I walked into a bank and told them I'd stolen a bunch of their money even though I hadn't. I really regretted that.

Or the time I told a good friend I'd slept with his girlfriend even though I hadn't. I really regretted that too.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Lying Defense

Oh, this is great. He was LYING when he said he committed a crime. He's telling the truth now. Honest.

Friday, May 05, 2006


Come on, people. Calling the burgeoning 'hospitality suites and hookers' scandal (which just claimed its first victim) 'Hookergate' just shows a lack of imagination. I vote for WatergateGate. It's positively Meta!

Thursday, May 04, 2006


So we've had our little show trial of 'the only person to stand trial for 9/11' and what do we get? A loser wannabe. And the guys in charge of the show?

Talk on last night's 360:

COOPER: Peter, you talk about this testimony that they did point to, testimony from other higher-level terrorists, who are in custody in undisclosed locations. Any chance that they are going to be brought to court?

BERGEN: Well, to me, the real tragedy here is that I think it's very unlikely that the people really responsible for 9/11, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh, who were the operational planners -- it was their idea, their execution -- they're in American custody, and I don't think they're ever going to see the inside of an American courtroom.

I think most Americans would be surprised by that. Why will they not be put inside -- why will they not see inside an American courtroom? Very possibly because they have been treated in such a way that their evidence would be inadmissible. "The New York Times" said that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed has been water-boarded, which is technique that is somewhere between abuse and torture, where you make somebody put -- you put somebody's head into the water, and you make them think they're drowning.

And I -- I wonder what Jeff's opinion is here in terms of why they won't be inside an American courtroom.

COOPER: Yes, Jeff, I mean, will these guys just be sort of disappeared?

TOOBIN: I -- I think they are going to be disappeared. I think they will never return to American soil, for just the reasons Peter was suggesting, that, you know, the -- the protections of civil liberties that are enshrined in our system are not something that have been honored in these cases.

And maybe they should not have been honored. Maybe the circumstances called for it. But these -- the -- the treatment is indefensible. The evidence was collected in a way that comported with military and intelligence procedures, but not with criminal justice procedures, and our government would prefer not to deal with them.

So to get the evidence on loser Moussaoui, we blow any chance of ever trying the guys who were responsible, but of course can never let them go or anything, so they'll have to be conveniently... disappeared.

I'm still thinking about this. We managed to bring all of Hitler's henchmen to trial without having to waterboard anyone. Not sure what I think about living in a country where our enemies are ... disappeared.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Now can we impeach him?

A nation outraged! National Anthem sung in Spanish! At Bush's first inaugural!

Via Atrios

I'm a genius

You know it's true. I've just come up with a solution to our illegal immigration problem. Ready?

Annex Mexico.

Simple and direct. Take the whole thing. All Mexicans are immediately US citizens. Think about it. We can steal all their oil, and no one said we'd have to, like, fix their problems or anything - look how much we're doing in the Gulf States (hint, nada).

It would perhaps satisfy the Naked Emperor's thirst for conquest for a while, until we can get rid of him. He can wear a Banana Republican Dictator's uniform and strut around wearing medals he awards himself.

Then the whole language thing becomes cute, like the way those old-timers in Maine talk, a-yup and all. Who ever told them to 'learn English'? No, we like regional variations when it's within the US. So... We just extend the US.

Problem solved.

Monday, May 01, 2006


Today's CNN 'entertainment' poll:

Does anyone, anywhere, still think this is about immigration, legal or otherwise? It's about hatred and distrust of The Other.

Here's a poll question for you - what gave us the right to usurp a perfectly good drinking song, dedicated to the Greek poet Anacreon, and turn it into a tribal ritual of our own? and then act like we invented it?

Anacreon is spinning.


I'm not sure what I think should be done about the millions of illegal immigrants already in the US, but I am sure about one thing. People who say this is about 'national security' or the economy are lying.

The whole debate rather reminds me of the way bigots pounced on AIDS when it first appeared. HERE was a whole new reason to justify their hatred of gays. People were using AIDS to justify keeping gays out of the military, discriminate against them in jobs and housing, you name it. Made me nuts. I was like: "Come on. You're not kidding anyone. If AIDS didn't exist, you'd still want to keep them out of the military, jobs, schools, and houses. AIDS is just something you think you can use to make your irrational hatred of gays appear rational."

Similarly, many people seem to have grabbed hold of the 'but they're breaking the law just being here' argument as cover for the fact that they are afraid of Hispanics.

If illegals spoke perfect English, blended seamlessly into the society and did not congregate in neighborhoods visibly different from White Suburbia, who would care? It's all about White Fright for some people.

If this were about the economy, why are people getting so hysterical about a Spanish language version of the national anthem? If this is about national security, why aren't the 'minutemen' (*gag*) at the ports inspecting cargo containers?