Wednesday, April 30, 2003

I can live with it
What Capt. Sonny Perdue has joined, let no one rip asunder�
Here's the Chamber-of-Commerce bumper sticker we predict in the coming campaign: A picture of Franklin's flag, with the slogan, "It's what Robert E. Lee would have wanted."

Oh, yeah, it's a cute line. But it doesn't belong in a straight news story.

The reason I link to it at all is that the article contains the full text of Rep. Bobby Franklin's speech in which he suggested the compromise Georgia flag. It's reminiscent of the pre-1956 flag, but it isn't. (I never understood why that flag, as is, was considered inappropriate.) It isn't the dog's breakfast of a flag shoved through by Gov. Barnes (that, by some accounts, cost him re-election). I would prefer the words "In God We Trust" had been omitted (not on moral grounds--it's in my pocket on our money right now--but because you don't put words on flags), and some reports I've seen indicate that the words were dropped. But it's a simple, elegant flag with (some) historical roots.

That'll do.
Oh, man, I wanted to be Larry

you are bob. the leader. the responsible one. most everyone likes you.

Take the test, by Emily.

Monday, April 28, 2003

Eerie? Vanish?
Yahoo! News - Eerie Silence in Hollywood as Anti-War Stars Vanish? Isn't that overstating the case? Seems like Reuters is trying to make this sound a lot more sinister than it is. Not much point in protesting a war after it's over. Even Mike Farrell (organizer of "Artists United to Win Without War") acknowledges this--in his way.
"What's the point of me saying anything right now, while they're in the end zone doing the dance and spiking the football?" Farrell said. "They are going to do the thing they are going to do, but we'll be heard from when it's appropriate and in the manner that is appropriate."

Ah. Appropriate. Like that. It is, after all, just a game. It's not like anybody actually died or anything.
"We'll never know now what could have been achieved through peaceful means."

"We" did have twelve years of hints, though.
[Janeane] Garofalo, working hard on her upcoming ABC sitcom, did not respond to interview requests for this story. But she told the Washington Post last week that her anti-war stance had been a "positive" experience that had helped her career.
"Before this I was a moderately well-known character actress," she told the paper. "Now, I'm almost famous."

Oh, that's clever. Tasteful, too. One might even say, appropriate.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

The personals
The Friday Five:
1. What was the last TV show you watched?

A Braves game.

2. What was the last thing you complained about?

My son was supposed to start supper while I ran an errand. He didn't.

3. Who was the last person you complimented and what did you say?

Hm. I don't remember. That's distressing.

4. What was the last thing you threw away?

A half-pound of melted butter that had set out at room temperature all weekend.

5. What was the last website (besides this one) that you visited?

The Thursday Threesome (see below).
The personals
Thursday Threesome: View From Afar.
Onesome: View-- What is your favorite scenic site, either around your place, where you've traveled, or just that one special picture (like that Ansel Adams "Half Dome" shot)?

Gosh. I guess it would be the Atlanta skyline as seen from I-20 west of town, just beyond Six Flags.

Twosome: From-- How far is it from home to work? Are you a long distance commuter or do you just schlep on into the dining room/office?

It's about a thirty to forty minute drive under the best of conditions.

Threesome: Afar-- for the travelers out there, just how far have you gone? I mean, is the trip to Grandma's about it? ...or have you made it farther abroad?

The furthest I've traveled is Newark, New Jersey. I flew.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

The fine line between patriotism and pandering
Indulging in the career-jogger of choice for the young and beautiful celebrity, The Dixie Chicks strip for the cover of Entertainment Weekly.

Well, at least they're not pretending Natalie Maines didn't say it. And they're learning the difference between rational, respectful dissent and casual insult. That's something.

But wrapping a stupid, thoughtless comment in "freedom of speech" is also disrespectful, no matter which end of the spectrum it comes from.
Is this Reuters or Jerry Springer?
Yahoo! News - Rapid Divorce for 'Gross Infidelity' The 19-year-old woman married the 25-year-old army sergeant on Dec. 21. On Christmas Day she left him to live with a man she had met five days before getting married.

If I was taking this seriously, I'd still have to laugh at the timing of leaving your husband on Christmas Day.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

"That's where the money is" - Earth Day becomes victim of corporate takeover
Earth Day, which began 33 years ago today as a nationwide rally to clean up the planet, has become the latest victim of the corporate takeover.
From Houston to Hong Kong, companies are seeking to polish their green image by sponsoring Earth Day events, which grass-roots groups and cities struggle to fund.
This year, garbage haulers, coffee companies and even missile manufacturers are underwriting Earth Day festivities, a public relations strategy that has divided environmentalists and led to protests of Earth Day itself.
...Even Earth Day Network is guilty of dipping into corporate coffers. The organization is working with Office Depot to provide water testing kits to schools. And for three weeks around Earth Day, its logo with the question "Who says you can't change the world?" will be wrapped around every Starbucks coffee cup.
"When it comes down to it, the money has to come from somewhere," said Sara Doss, the administrative director of the Citizens' Environmental Coalition. "They are trying to change the way they do business."

"Welcome to the planet Maturia. We have much to teach you here."
I thought it was about ______ (fill in the blank, make your own joke)
Yahoo! News - 'Talentless' Woman Proves Any Publicity Is Good
"I want a well-paid job. I have no imagination, I am anti-social, uncreative and untalented," read an advertisement posted by Angelika Wedberg, 30, in the regional daily Goteborgs-Posten on Sunday.
Her phone started ringing incessantly and job offers poured in, Wedberg told the Internet edition of the daily Expressen.

Free to do what?
Yahoo! News - World Photos - AP
Iraqi Shiite pilgrims slash open their heads with swords as they march and chant in front of Imam Hussein Shrine in Karbala, Iraq Tuesday April 22, 2003. For the first time in decades, Shiite Muslims in Iraq are able to perform this ritual done to mark the killing of one of their most important saints, Imam Hussein. During the rule of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, such rituals were banned.

A peaceful people celebrating their heritage. *Shudder* As horrifying as this picture is, I'm hard pressed to say what, if anything, "America" should do about it. I wonder what they'd make of the baptism scene in "O Brother, Where Art Thou".
Who's next?
Yahoo! News - Entertainment Photos - AFP
Iranian actress Gowhar Kharandish received a suspended sentence of 74 lashes after kissing a director during an awards ceremony.

Sounds like someone at AFP news has his own ideas of where the U.S. should go now that we've "straightened out" Iraq. Is the news here that the sentence was suspended, or that she was sentenced in the first place?

Sunday, April 20, 2003

There is evil in my backyard. It's in a cooler.
What's in the cooler? God knows. But it's been there since last summer! (From Straight Dope Message Board.)

Friday, April 18, 2003

The personals
The Friday Five:
1. Who is your favorite celebrity?

What is a celebrity? I could name plenty of people who are well-known in their chosen fields, but of whom you probably haven't heard. Are they celebrities? Which medium do you have to be famous in? (Oh, all right... Julia Sawalha. Happy?)

2. Who is your least favorite?

Oh, the competition is stiff on that one. There are a lot of people who are famous for no apparent reason, people whose talents elude me. On that basis, the first name that pops into my head is Rosie O'Donnell.

3. Have you ever met or seen any celebrities in real life?

Several, thanks to my association with the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company. Most recently, John Rhys-Davies. But as I said last week, I don't have any great desire to meet famous people.

4. Would you want to be famous? Why or why not?

That would depend on why I was famous. I mean, Saddam Hussein is famous, but I wouldn't want to be him, particularly not right now. Some modest kind of fame that comes with some money and not too much invasion of privacy would be nice. You know, famous like Garrison Keillor is famous.

5. If you had to trade places with a celebrity for a day, who would you choose and why?

It might be interesting to find out if Hugh Hefner's life is anything like it's rumored to be, but the question doesn't keep me up nights.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

The personals
Thursday Threesome: Family Waffle & Grill.
Onesome: Family-- Hmmm... It seems like this weekend is a get together time for some people. How about you? Do you have a family gig to attend this weekend? Hosting one? ...or are you spending the weekend doing weekend things?

For me, it's just another weekend. For my lovely wife, it's a week wherein she occasionally comes home to change clothes between church services. There will be no get-together otherwise.

Twosome: Waffle-- Okay, here's the tough one: Waffles or Pancakes? You should hear the discussions in some households! ...and what about those Belgian things? Inquiring minds want to know!

"Some households" have entirely too much free time. 'Scuse me while I go heat up a microwave pizza.

Threesome: & Grill-- The outdoor cooking season is close at hand! For those who live large outdoors, are we talking grilling or barbecuing? If you enjoy cooking outside, what is your specialty? ...and for the indoor crowd: do you cook anything reminiscent of outdoor cookery?

No, no, and no.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

And this is different from normal aerobics how?
Yahoo! News - 'Slavercize'
Students at 'Slavercise', a class combining sadomasochism and exercise, get a physical workout by 'submitting' to the orders and whims of the dominatrix who tells them, 'If you don't keep up, you get punished'.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Tired of the same old thing?
At least you won't look up from Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter and ask yourself, "Is that Meg Ryan, Ashley Judd, or Jennifer Lopez?"
National Museum of Iraq
Tricksy: Ninevaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!
This post, and the unbelievable comments thereafter, rather graphically illustrate a facet of the Rabid LeftTM that I simply have never noticed before: Things are vastly more important than people.
Think about it, the extremes they go to over spotted owls, ancient redwoods, archaeological treasures...the breast-beating, hair-tearing, hand-wringing, all over things that are not people. Why are people unworthy of their tears?

Yes, I mourned when I heard about the looting and burning of the museum. Yes, it is probably fated to be mentioned in the same breath as the destruction of the library at Alexandria.

But people are more important than things. It only (only!) took a house fire to make me see that with crystal clarity. I lost a lot of stuff I'd really like to have saved--but my family is OK. I'll take that trade. Admittedly, I didn't lose any Mesopotamian artifacts -- but I'd like to think my answer would be the same if I had.

And the Iraqis did, lets not forget, destroy the museum themselves. Rumsfeld didn't break down the door. Franks didn't light the match. You can't anticipate everything.

(By the way, "Tricksy" is the new home of Stacy Tabb, previously seen at Blogatelle. Happy moving day!)

Monday, April 14, 2003

Don't you know there's a war on?
Reuters - Media Watchdog Concerned CNN Had Armed Guard
A media watchdog expressed concern on Sunday that a CNN team reporting from Iraq (news - web sites) was traveling with an armed guard, saying it set a "dangerous precedent" that could imperil other journalists.
Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) made the comments after an incident in the northern Iraqi town of Tikrit in which a security guard hired by CNN fired his machinegun at a checkpoint when the CNN convoy came under gunfire.
..."CNN appears to be going too far. This could come back to haunt them and other journalists. Journalists should not be traveling around with armed guards," [RSF spokesman Jean-Francois Julliard] added.

I'd hate for the international symbol for "journalist" to become a bullseye. I wonder if RSF considers the embedded reporters traveling with coalition military units to have an "armed guard". If it isn't, nothing is.
News flash for M. Julliard: Reporters are not God. You could get killed out there. CNN, of all agencies, has reason to know that. (See earlier NYT op-ed by Eason Jordan.)
Do they love their children too?
Newsweek - The Secret War
Every Iraqi school searched�more than 100�contained a weapons depot. In one Baghdad school, Marines unearthed scores of black leather vests stuffed with explosives and ball bearings. Empty hangers suggested that some of the lethal vests were on the backs of would-be suicide bombers.

Schools. Every school.

Okay, "every school searched." I'm skeptical enough to notice that. They could have picked their search targets based on the probability of finding weapons. If their resources were limited, I rather hope they did.

But I'm parent enough not to care. One school-as-weapons-depot is one too many.

Saturday, April 12, 2003

Conspiracy theories
I'm so glad that IndyMedia is around to tell us that the photos of the falling of that Saddam statue are faked. In light of the misrepresentation of Iraqi life that CNN has confessed to (see below), I can't see them cooperating in a fraud like this. But people think what they want to.
The French launch their first Moon colony...
The next best thing to winning the Caption of the Day contest is when Dodd creates an award for you.
To our embedded war correspondents
The story you were sent to Iraq to cover is not about you. It's about the young men and women whose uniform you wear and on whose protection you depend.

As you're marvelling that it didn't actually kill you to sleep in their bunks and eat their food, kindly keep in mind that it is killing some of them. While you're congratulating each other on having endured the assignment, reflect that you have a satellite link home at your disposal, and they don't. You can quit whenever you want to: They can't. You only get shot at by accident: They get it on purpose.

And you're better paid than they are, too.
CNN knew
The News We Kept to Ourselves
For example, in the mid-1990's one of our Iraqi cameramen was abducted. For weeks he was beaten and subjected to electroshock torture in the basement of a secret police headquarters because he refused to confirm the government's ludicrous suspicion that I was the Central Intelligence Agency's Iraq station chief.

The article, by CNN's Eason Jordan, goes on for six more horrifying paragraphs before expressing relief that such stories can now be told freely.

I guess it's not supposed to occur to me that, had CNN told these stories when they happened, there might have been fewer of them to tell. But at some point they decided that having a bureau in Baghdad was worth keeping quiet about these incidents.

What else is CNN not telling us? What did CNN know, and when did it know it?

(Heard about it from Little Green Footballs and InstaPundit.)

Friday, April 11, 2003

Don't you just hate when that happens?
Yahoo! News - Woman Found Alive as Murder Trial Opens
An Australian teenager who disappeared nearly five years ago turned up alive just as an alleged serial killer was standing trial for her murder.
That's not funny, tee hee
Backfence: Wired! Saddam manages the war
A few days into the war, an Iraqi official gathers all the Saddam impersonators into a room.
"All right, men: I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that the boss is still alive, so you all have jobs. The bad news is that he lost a leg."
The personals
The Friday Five:
1. What was the first band you saw in concert?

Hm. I don't think I've ever seen a band in concert. I'm not much of a concert-goer. I think the first artist I saw perform live must have been Oliver. (You know, "Good Morning, Starshine" Oliver? "Glibby glop gloopy, nibby naba nooby, la la la lo lo"? They don't write lyrics like that anymore. It comes up on the oldies stations every now and again.)

2. Who is your favorite artist/band now?

Alison Krauss. But Nanci Griffith is gaining fast.

3. What's your favorite song?

"I'm Going to Go Back There Someday", sung by Gonzo (Dave Goelz) in "The Muppet Movie". Even "a ...thing, whatever Gonzo is" (as Kermit called him) can dream.

4. If you could play any instrument, what would it be?

Piano. Which, as it happens, I can play, sufficient for my own amusement.

5. If you could meet any musical icon (past or present), who would it be and why?

"Icon"? I can't just meet a musician, it has to be an Icon? I'd say it has to be Rupert Holmes, writer of "Escape (the Pina Colada song)", "Remember WENN" and "The Mystery of Edwin Drood". I already know from mutual acquaintances that we have interests in common.
But, actually, I don't have any great desire to meet famous people. I'm a shy person, and I'd be tongue-tied.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

The personals
Thursday Threesome: It's Daylight Savings Time Again.
Onesome: Time to. Are you a punctual person, always on time? Or do people have to tell you that everything starts an hour earlier than it really does, just so you'll be on time? Or are you somewhere in between?

Left to my own devices, with nobody to worry about but myself, I am usually on time. Unfortunately, this is rarely true -- and after all this time I still don't have the hang of managing social obligations for a family.

Twosome: Spring. After a long week, what puts a spring in your step? How do you spend your downtime?

Nothing I can tell you about in any detail here.

Threesome: Forward. As we enter Daylight Savings Time and the clocks spring forward, do you like having that "extra" hour of daylight or would you rather just not mess with it? Or do you live in an area that doesn't follow DST?

I'd really rather not mess with it. I've heard no convincing arguments that Daylight Saving Time does anybody any good whatsoever. It's a significant pain in the whatchamacallit twice a year, and an ongoing disruption for days, sometimes weeks thereafter.

I haven't decided if I'm going to answer these ongoing, but just this once, an extra set of questions:
3XThursday 4/03/2k3: The West Wing
1. There is a very real possibility that the White House will decide not to run the Vice President for re-election due to health reasons. Who do you think they should pick for the VP of the GOP ticket in 2004?

Condoleeza Rice, just to watch the Democrats go into apoplexy trying to figure how to run against her. However, realistically, I understand they have to pick someone who has a realistic chance of winning the Presidency in 2008. Hm. How does Powell-Rice in 2008 sound?

2. The Democrats are gearing up to start their big campaign push. Who do you think is going to get the DNC nomination for President and why?

The Democratic nomination process promises to be a sad, sad affair. I think they're going to do their damndest to nominate "Candidate to be Named Later", since that's the only popular choice they seem to have.
There's no real mystery here. If the junior senator from New York wants the nomination, it's hers. Otherwise, the favorite will be Mr Gore.

3. So do you think there will ever be a female or minority in the Oval Office? Why and who?

I can think of no reason why not. However, none of the current Democratic minority candidates have a shot at it: They are too extreme, too polarizing. If it isn't obvious why Jesse Jackson will never be President, I can't explain it. See question 1.

Bonus Question for Comments: If you could have any job in the White House what would you be good at and why?

Why the hell would I want a job in the White House? I think my only hope would be the I.T. department.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

What happened to the links?
I'm sure you're frantic over the abrupt disappearance of those hundred or so oddly sorted links in the left-hand column. They haven't vanished completely, but they have moved to the archive page for my own convenience.

What can I tell you? They were beginning to dominate the page. Much as I love 'em, this blog is about me, gol-darn it, not them. They can get their own blogs. No, wait, they already are. Well, you know what I meant.
There are rich and poor everywhere
Yahoo! News - Plush palace is 'sickening'
Soldiers from the Army's 3rd Infantry Division took over Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s original palace Monday and found themselves more angered by its opulence than the pathetic few gunmen guarding the site.

This article does not fill me with national pride. Neither do photos of US troops lounging in Saddam's armchairs. An American reporter could visit the homes of the Bush, Clinton, or Gates families (pick one based on your own politics, my point won't change) and do the same story. "How dare they be rich when so many people live in poverty?"

I like to think there is a difference between Iraq and the United States. (Drinkable running water being perhaps one of the most important and least obvious.) This article doesn't reassure me that that is true. I wonder if it is meant to.

Monday, April 07, 2003

The dreaded spaghetti weevil
Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes of All Time
#1: The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest
In 1957 the respected BBC news show Panorama announced that thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. It accompanied this announcement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees.

I saw that! I think the clip ran on Today one year, although it must have been later than 1957 or I wouldn't remember it. Dave Garroway introduced the clip, and he never acknowledged that it was an April Fools joke, but I was rolling on the floor.

Sunday, April 06, 2003

Child fails to shock parents: film at eleven
Yahoo! News - Nonsequitur
It's going to be hard for my teenaged daughter to shake me off this way. "Oh, really? What's the URL? I'll crosslink from mine!"
This is the grill, that is the scanner
ThinkGeek :: George Foreman USB iGrill
The low-fat, high-bandwidth solution to your networked cooking needs is finally here. The George Foreman USB iGrill conveniently connects to your home or office PC using USB 2.0 technology, and provides a sophisticated web-based cooking interface.

BWAH HAH HAH! Help... can't... breathe... HA HA HA!

Saturday, April 05, 2003

Life ain't fair
Why is there a page for Squirrel Girl and not one for the sexiest woman in comics, Sue Dibny?

(Okay, she's mentioned in a sites devoted to her husband, Ralph...)

Friday, April 04, 2003

The personals
The Friday Five:
1. How many houses/apartments have you lived in throughout your life?

Not counting college dorms, five.

2. Which was your favorite and why?

This one, I guess, the one I'm in now. But I really don't form sentimental attachments to houses.

3. Do you find moving house more exciting or stressful? Why?

There is nothing pleasant about moving.

4. What's more important, location or price?

That depends on how desperate you are--but generally, location is more important. Location is a decision you stare in the face every darned day.

5. What features does your dream house have (pool, spa bath, big yard, etc.)?

Bookshelves, Japanese-style baths, and outdoor privacy (preferably via isolation, but woods will do).
The personals
Thursday Threesome:
Onesome: April Showers. What the heck? Snow again in the East (and other places) over the weekend? How are the heck are we supposed to get out into the garden? What's the forecast for this weekend where you are?

Gosh, I don't know. Where's the Weather Channel? Scattered thunderstorms, highs in the low 70s, lows around 60. Blessed warmth.

Twosome: Bring. Bring in the clowns! Yeah, do you get any help around the garden (house/apartment)? ...or when it comes to flowers, are you the Lone Arranger?

You are proceeding from a false assumption. I don't do flowers. I'm the guy who wants to pave the yard and paint it green rather than mow it.

Threesome: May Flowers. Ah, yes, posies and pretties for everyone to enjoy... How about you? What is your favorite flower? ...and not only to receive: what do you enjoy growing at your place?

Favorite flour? I like White Lily Bread Machine Flour... Oh, that's not what you meant.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Where do they get young men like this?
L.T. Smash has a story that will make you proud.

As to where such men come from... They volunteer. They appear when they're needed. They always have: They always will.

UPDATE: That'll teach me to check Snopes first. It didn't happen. The management regrets the error.
Photoshopped news
Yahoo! News - LA Times sacks photographer for manipulating war photo
The Los Angeles Times, one of the most respected US daily newspapers, said it had sacked a staff photographer working in Iraq (news - web sites) for altering a war photo.
The Times said in an editor's note that it had fired Brian Walski after he admitted electronically manipulating a picture showing a British soldier directing Iraqi civilians to take cover from a firefight.
The altering of images is strictly forbidden under of code of journalistic ethics.
"After publication, it was noticed that several civilians in the background appear twice," the paper said.

Oh, yeah, I'm sure it was done with honest intent. The end image was undoubtedly true in essence.

That doesn't matter. Just as well to put a clown nose on President Bush. (Probably a bad example: Some people think that's appropriate.) A faked picture is a faked picture, and each one casts doubt on all news photographs, and all reporting. If you have no faith in what you see in the newspaper, it becomes no more than a fish wrapper. Why, next thing you know, reporters will be claiming to be someplace they weren't.

Here are the photos in question.

Speaking of photos, here is Instapundit's collection of links to satellite images of Baghdad from Space Imaging Eurasia.