Wednesday, December 24, 2003

The last threshold at the last minute

Next-to-last-minute Christmas shopping all afternoon Tuesday, probably more Wednesday, and housecleaning in between. It looks like blogging may get a bit thin the next couple of days.

I do want to thank you all for having been here, and for contributing to the now-six-digit hit counter reading. (Of course, I know it's those nude calendars that most of you are actually here to see.)

If I do miss a few days, I won't be gone long. Help yourself to the eggnog.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Those wacky PETAns

BBC | Give leather the boot, India urged
An animal welfare group is urging Indians to steer clear of wearing leather with an advertising campaign featuring singing cows.

"Do I make myself clear? Keep your hands off my rear!" croons a cow in the 30-second TV advert.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) hopes the lip-synched bovines will persuade Indians to boycott leather products.
I suppose this is no sillier than Chik-Fil-A's cows. But I thought cows were already sacred in India?

Oh, it's not just India? Well, I feel better now. (And this is ancient news that I'm just now hearing about. *Turns to the cow logo upper left* Is there anything you'd like to share?)

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Clues

Fox News | Albright: Bin Laden Comments Were 'Tongue-in-Cheek'
Albright was in the Fox News studio's green room waiting to appear on an evening program when she made the remark.

"She said, 'Do you suppose that the Bush administration has Usama bin Laden hidden away somewhere and will bring him out before the election?'" said Fox News analyst and Roll Call executive editor Mort Kondracke.
Is this how Democrats think?

Does this mean that she'd would have done exactly that if she were still in office?

Friday, December 19, 2003

Tell Mom she's a slut too

Your Mommy Kills Animals PDF
Boston Herald | Fur flies over flier: PETA targets ‘Nutcracker’ kids
Animal rights advocates will single out small children at performances of "The Nutcracker'' in the next few weeks by handing out fliers saying "Your Mommy Kills Animals'' to youngsters whose mothers are wearing fur.

"Children can't look up to a mom in a battered-raccoon hat or a crushed coyote collar,'' said Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. "Maybe when they're confronted by their own children's hurt looks, fur-wearers' cold hearts will melt.''

The fliers include a color drawing of a woman plunging a large bloody knife into the belly of a terrified rabbit. The fliers urge kids to "ask your mommy how many dead animals she killed to make her fur clothes."
I heard this on the radio and assumed it was a parody. But the image at right comes from PETA's own "FurIsDead.com" website. The "comic" (actually a single-sheet handout) ends with this sentence: "Keep your doggie or kitty friends away from mommy—she’s an animal killer!"

PETA is brought to you by your friends on the political left, the party of compassion and tolerance.

That movie

Why in the name of Rosebud are reviewers playing coy about spoiling the end of The Return of the King? The book has been sitting on the shelves for fifty years. It's the most famous fantasy novel ever written. I think it's safe to say that anybody who cares already knows how the story ends. (Interminably.)

The Friday Five

This week's questions:
1. List your five favorite beverages.

Iced tea (Luzianne decaf); hot tea (the same); hot chocolate (Swiss Miss sugar-free); milk (these days it has to be 2%, sigh); 7-up.

2. List your five favorite websites.

9 Chickweed Lane; James Lileks; InstaPundit; Arlo 'n' Janis; the Obscure Store.

3. List your five favorite snack foods.

Cheez-Its White Cheddar; popcorn; Hot Tamales; Pringles original; Fritos Bar-B-Q Corn Chips.

4. List your five favorite board and/or card games.

Backgammon; Scrabble (when I have the concentration to play it)... Sorry, I play games so seldom...

5. List your five favorite computer and/or game system games.

Backgammon; Spider solitaire...

The Thursday Threesome

:: The Christmas Song, Part II ::
Onesome: Chestnuts - Okay, just which Christmas food won't you touch? I mean, even when Auntie Sarah is serving it up with a big smile!

Fruitcake. As dessert, it makes a great doorstop.

Twosome: Roasting - Then again, which Christmas food are you willing to risk life and limb for, even when Uncle George is between you and the platter?

Can't think of anything. I mean, I love Grandmother's chess pie, but in order to get it now I have to make it myself.

Threesome: on an open fire - Heh. This line reminds me of a joke! Do you have a favorite bit of holiday humor? How about it?

Bumper sticker on the back of Santa's sleigh: "If you don't like the way I drive, stay off the roof."

Runner-up: Disclaimer heard at the beginning of a Christmas pageant: "The part of the baby Jesus will be played by a 40-watt light bulb."

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Is it still news if CNN doesn't cover it?

Isntapundit | A Pretty Picture
Let the record show that on December 10, when thousands of Iraqis marched in the streets, demanding an end to Ba'athist terror, there was no coverage whatsoever on CNN's website. Even after two days of enthusiastic reaction and animated discussion at web logs throughout the political spectrum, CNN still did not take notice of the story.
Healing Iraq | A great day for Iraq
The rallies today proved to be a major success. I didn't expect anything even close to this. It was probably the largest demonstration in Baghdad for months. It wasn't just against terrorism. It was against Arab media, against the interference of neighbouring countries, against dictatorships, against Wahhabism, against oppression, and of course against the Ba'ath and Saddam.

We started at Al-Fatih square in front of the Iraqi national theatre at 10 am. IP were all over the place. At 12 pm people started marching towards Fardus square through Karradah. All political parties represented in the GC participated. But the other parties, organizations, unions, tribal leaders, clerics, school children, college students, and typical everyday Iraqis made up most of the crowd. Al-Jazeera estimated the size of the crowd as over ten thousand people.

You can find a list of some of the parties that we noticed there at Omar's blog. At one point it struck me that our many differences as an Iraqi people meant nothing. Here we were all together shouting in different languages the same slogans "NO NO to terrorism, YES YES for peace".

I spent most of the time taking pictures. heh, I really enjoyed playing the role of a journalist. Everyone was tugging at my sleeves asking me to take their photos mistaking me for a foreign reporter. Some people recognized a reporter from Al-Arabiyah station and they started taunting him. One old man shouted to him "For once, speak the truth".
Of course, for all we know this happens every day in Iraq...

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Homework

(You know, MediaRevolution, that URL field is intended for your URL, not a press release. HREF links do work within comments. But it's nothing to me, however you want to use it is fine. I'm used to seeing people who want to see the US lose the war not giving their real names.)

Homework? Certainly. I'll do some homework.
BBC | 12-23-98 | Oil-for-food scheme no cure-all
As United Nations humanitarian staff go back to work in Iraq after the US-led air strikes, serious questions hang over the UN oil-for-food programme which funds the distribution of desperately needed aid to millions of ordinary Iraqis.

...Under the programme, which began in December 1996, Iraq has been allowed to sell oil worth $5.2bn every six months to buy essential supplies for its people. About a third of the proceeds go towards the UN weapons inspection programme and a compensation fund for the damage caused by the Gulf War.

The programme's aim is to offset the shortages and suffering caused by UN trade sanctions which have been in place against Iraq since the Gulf War, pending the destruction by Baghdad of all banned weapons.

But the arrangement faces a number of problems:

* Because of a slump in oil prices, proceeds from sales have amounted to only about 3bn dollars in the past six months, well short of the 5.2bn dollar limit.

* In response to this, the US has proposed increasing the amount of oil Iraq can sell if there is assessed to be a humanitarian need for more food. But because of the poor state of Iraq's petrochemical industry, there are doubts as to whether Iraq would be able to produce more oil for export even if it were allowed to.

* In spite of the programme, serious deprivation and malnourishment are a reality in Iraq. A Unicef report in 1997 estimated that nearly one million Iraqi children were chronically malnourished.
Yes, I see how heartless the US is, allowing the UN to line its own pockets with Iranian oil money, and even proposing that the program be expanded to produce enough aid that it might actually get to the Iragi people, rather than insisting that the UN not skim a third off the top. Darn our enabling hides.

Yes, I are deeply ashamed of US complicity in UN operations. But, at least, it appears we have learned from our mistakes.

I wonder where Saddam got his ready cash. Upkeep on presidential palaces is, you should excuse the expression, murder.
The Iraq Foundation | 10-7-2002 | U.N. Oil-for-Food Program Is A Windfall For Saddam
Mother's-milky though it sounds, the oil-for-food program has enough graft, mismanagement, and Saddam-strengthening patronage to turn one permanently against both oil and food. A real critique could occupy volumes -- and does, in fact, occupy much of an exhaustive analysis, titled Sources of Revenue for Saddam and Sons, recently issued by the Washington-based Coalition for International Justice, a group that monitors human-rights abuses around the world.
Ah. I see.
CBS | 11-21-2003 | U.N.'s Iraq Oil-For-Food Plan Ends
The United Nations oil-for-food program officially ends on Friday, seven years after the unique enterprise began feeding the majority of Iraqis. The U.S.-led coalition will take over the multi-billion dollar operation and continue supplying Iraqis with food until June.

Oil-for-food was the only humanitarian program funded entirely from resources belonging to the country it was designed to help, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said Thursday.
You mean, they're billing the people least able to pay for it? And they're proud of that?

"Are there no prisons?'' asked Scrooge. "And the Union workhouses? Are they still in operation? The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then? I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course. I'm very glad to hear it.''

And now the US will run it directly? Seems appropriate: We've been paying the UN's bills all along, the food may as well have our name on it, not theirs.

But it appears, then, that the UN is closing the program not because the need is met, but in order to transfer its expense directly to the US in punitive retaliation for "starting" the war. That's OK. We can afford it. If we have to cut back, maybe we'll start with our UN dues.

Thanks for the suggestion: This "homework" has been enlightening. Not only is the UN ineffectual and obstructive, but they've actually been paying their own administrative expenses with Iraqi oil money--and, intentionally or not, paying off Saddam Hussein under the table as well.

"United" is just a name, it doesn't mean anything

AFP | Iraqi minister tells UN to stop sniping, start helping
UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - Iraq's foreign minister told the UN Security Council to stop bickering over the war that brought down Saddam Hussein and come together to help rebuild his shattered nation.

In a pointed address delivered with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on hand, Hoshyar Zebari said the United Nations had failed to stand up to Saddam to defend the Iraqi people, and called for a swift UN return to the country.

"One year ago, the Security Council was divided between those who wanted to appease Saddam Hussein and those who wanted to hold him accountable," Zebari told the 15-nation council, which was sharply divided over the war.

"The UN as an organisation failed to help rescue the Iraqi people from a murderous tyranny of 35 years," he said. "The UN must not fail the Iraqi people again."

Annan, who publicly opposed the US decision to launch the war after failing to win the support of the Security Council, said it was "no time to pin blame and point fingers" over the past.

"I think the UN has done as much as it can for Iraq," Annan told reporters. "So quite honestly I don't think today is the time to hurl accusations."
Then when would be a good time, Mr Secretary? There's some harsh words that need sayin', and you need to hear them. You let a lot of Iraqi people die over the last twelve years while you frowned sternly.

I swear, for two cents I'd break your lease and let you go looking for office space in Baghdad.

Meanwhile, as noted at Instapundit, the fact that the Iraqi Foreign Minister spoke to the UN at all passed beneath the notice of the BBC.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

More self promotion

Not that the Nude Calendar Watch page really needs any promotion, since most of my visitors were searching for information on one or another of them... But I've just posted a very special update: The first calendar I'm aware of from the Atlanta area. Here's the report from the AJC (which will probably disappear any day now).

Monday, December 15, 2003

Out of hand

(This was appended to the comment below: I just made it a separate entry. Sorry for any confusion I may have created.)

I didn't bother making an explicit response to the preceding comment because it never occurred to me that there could be more than one.

I'll say it: Hooray!

But it appears that a surprising number of people are sorry Saddam was captured. And not just the Palestinians. (Numerous bloggers report earlier drafts of that article contain this sentence: "The former Iraqi ruler was a hero to many Palestinians for his stand against Israel and its U.S. ally, as well as for helping families of Palestinians dead in an uprising." It took Reuters a few more paragraphs to acknowledge that those "Palestinian dead" were dead by their own hand--that is, suicide bombers.) Democratic Underground is at it too, but damned if I'll link to it. We can count our blessings that Indymedia is in the middle of a server upgrade and isn't allowing postings at the moment, but that can't last forever. (I wonder if they'll conclude there was a conspiracy to capture Saddam when they were unable to comment on it?)

And many who will not say they're sorry are coming up with ever more inventive ways to say it doesn't matter, Bush is the real evil.

Or is it Howard Dean? Ask Joe Lieberman:
If Howard Dean had his way, Saddam Hussein would still be in power today, not in prison, and the world would be a more dangerous place.
And the BBC reporters' log reminds us whose side they're on:
The prime minister has just delivered a speech which he's wanted to give for a long time. Tony Blair is pleased not just with what's happened-Saddam's capture-but also how. We all imagined that if the Americans got a tip off they would just bomb somewhere off the face of the earth.

But he was captured without a shot being fired. He's looking healthy, he's not been tortured, he's being handed over to Iraqi justice.
LATER: I had completely disregarded the references to the Democratic National Committee's official...well, whatever it is. I've seen it described as a blog, but it's more of a message board. It isn't difficult to extract a quote out of context and paint a whole group (or party) with it, left or right, and I like to think I have better things to do.

Anyway, it is called Kicking Ass and the following comment, mentioned by Taranto at WSJ's Best of the Web, is not an isolated out-of-context quote, but actually reasonably typical:
Well, tha capture of Sadaam takes the 'failure to capture' issue off the table.

Now that the economy is picking up (mall was packed yesterday), Iraq is getting better, prescription drugs on the way, education spending at an all-time high, no further terrorist attacks——what is left?

Oh, yes, the capture of Bin Laden.

If that happens, we are completely sunk.
Don't believe me? Here are some more bon mots that'll make your jaw drop (or your skin crawl), from the same page:
I personally don't care too much that Hussein was caught - he never did anything to me, but a friend of mine died in 9/11 attack.

They are making the capture of Hussein into a big deal - but it still doesn't mean all that much to me.

You are right. Hussein's capture doesn't mean that much to me either. I know the Iraqi's must be breathing a sigh of relief though. It doesn't change that much of the real terrorism threat since he was contained to being a threat only to his own people.

Now if we can do something about GWB and remove that threat from the world, we will have accomplished something. I know I need to be patient until next November for that. The impeach Bush movement is rolling but unless they impeach his whole regime, we'll go from the frying pan into the fire with Cheney.
I have never been as confident that the Republicans will win an election as I am after reading what the Democrats have to say about this one.

Friday, December 12, 2003

The Friday Five

This week's questions:
1. Do you enjoy the cold weather and snow for the holidays?

No. I'm cold year-round these days and I'm sick of it.

2. What is your ideal holiday celebration? How, where, with whom would you celebrate to make things perfect?

I can't tell you that. This is a family blog.

3. Do you do have any holiday traditions?

I don't think so.

4. Do you do anything to help the needy?

Yes, but I don't advertise it.

5. What one gift would you like for yourself?

I want a PDA and a keyboard for it. (It would be handy taking ARTC minutes next year and much cheaper than a laptop.) There are a handful of other things I'd like, none of which I expect to get, but you said "one".

Thursday, December 11, 2003

The Thursday Threesome

:: The Christmas Song, Part I ::
Onesome: The - What is the "bestest" Christmas decoration in your mind? You know, the one that says, "This is Christmas!"

For a long time it was Rich's Great Tree. It's location atop Rich's downtown insured that anybody driving through downtown Atlanta would see it.
Now that the Tree is at Lenox Square, I never see it. I'm hard pressed to think of anything.

Twosome: Christmas - What style of Christmas ornaments do you like to see? Are you a glass ball person? ...or how about that bow thing? Maybe Christmas Muppet characters everywhere? Hmm?

Call me unimaginative. Christmas decorations are glass balls.
I'm not fond of the look of a tree full of licensed characters. If it were just me... well, if it were just me, I probably wouldn't have a tree at all. Or I'd make one out of green foil and hang it on the wall with a spotlight on it. But I like the look of a tree with all the decorations, balls and lights, the same color. Or all the balls one color (say, red) and all the lights another (say, white).

Threesome: Song - ...and your favorite Christmas Song? Is there one that just sets the season for you when you hear it? I mean, even when you're in a "Ho-Ho-Humbug" mood?

There are far more songs that put me in a "humbug" mood, songs that remind me of Christmas-as-promotional-tool.
But there are a handful that always lift my spirits. Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" and "Do You Hear What I Hear." Al Jarreau's cover of "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)". The Roches' fall-down-funny Long Island "Winter Wonderland." Jack Cassidy's "The Miracle of Now" (aka "Christmas Far More Glorious Than Grand", from "Mr Magoo's Christmas Carol"). And almost anything from "A Charlie Brown Christmas."

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

It's talk radio's fault

The Newsday | Car Accident Caught on Air
In a frightening moment when reality radio turned all too real yesterday morning, motorist Cheryl Picker of Shoreham was debating the Michael Jackson sexual-abuse case on the air when her sport utility vehicle was hit and rolled over on the William Floyd Parkway.

Picker had just finished telling radio talk-show host Curtis Sliwa, "Maybe those are the parents that are the pedophiles," when listeners to WABC/770 AM heard a loud crash, the sound of crackling glass, tearing metal and then silence.

"Cheryl, are you OK?" co-host Ron Kuby said. "Cheryl? Cheryl?"

A faint voice responded, "Please call the cops."
So what was she doing driving down the road talking to a radio show? She shoulda... No, wait, she was pulled over.

Maybe we could blame it on her SUV? No, her car wasn't moving. Someone else hit her. It's not like a Toyota RAV 4 is hard to see. And, in a dramatic reversal of expectations when normal cars encounter SUVs, the other driver is unhurt.

Suffering for their art

The Red & Black | 'Performance art' hits Wal-Mart
The Oconee County Wal-Mart was under siege Friday night by a guerrilla performance art project staged by University students for their Studio Art 2810 final.

The students, who call their group "Private Agenda," held a rave in the family bathroom and a fashion show in the electronics department before being asked to leave by Wal-Mart staff, who warned participants over the store's public announcement system that they could be arrested.

...The group documented their performance with photographs, video tape and audio recordings, and will put material on a Web Site for their final grade.

"It was an anti-control statement," said Sam Marks, a senior from Atlanta who wore a black dominatrix outfit Friday night.

Marks said her friends have been kicked out of Wal-Mart for things like hacky-sacking in the store.

...When asking students to leave, a Wal-Mart staffer referred to the event as a "feminist protest."

This may have been because of Natalie Gazaway, who wore a tiny white nurse's dress while being pushed through the store in a shopping cart asking people to take surveys.

"Would you try feminism even once?" Gazaway asked Wal-Mart customers with confused looks on their faces.
So, I'm guessing the assignment was, "See how disruptive you can be without actually doing anything you can be arrested for."

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Of course you know this means war

AJC | Lowe's to plant itself in Atlanta's core
The Home Depot store at Lindbergh Plaza will soon have a competitor across the parking lot. Lowe's is planning to build a store where a Kmart now stands.
..."We are at war," [Home Depot chief financial officer Carol] Tome said. "We will do whatever it takes to protect our turf."
"We shall fight on the garden shop. We shall fight on the lumber yards. We shall fight in the parking lot, and in the streets, we shall fight in the peach trees. We shall never surrender."

Monday, December 08, 2003

Ho Ho Ho

As Christmas approaches, I find I have less time to browse for items that inspire me to comment here.

Today, I'll plug the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company's upcoming Christmas show at Stone Mountain Park. We're part of their "Fruitcake Festival" this weekend, appearing at 2pm and 4pm Saturday and Sunday in Memorial Hall (directly in front of the carving, but then most of the park is). If you've seen us at Dragon*Con and said "Gosh, I wish I could get Mom to the convention, she'd love this", this is the show you can bring Mom to.

Friday, December 05, 2003

So that's what was under those helmets


Yes, children, this... is a Cylon.
Wired | Alien Sex! Bombs! Robots! Pathos!
"We realized the only way we could improve on the original is if the Cylons could have sex," quipped co-executive producer David Eick at Tuesday night's Los Angeles premiere. The chrome-domed "walking toasters" from the original TV series are succeeded by -- well, really hot blond chicks, who infiltrate human society to engineer its doom.
(Another story at RedNova.com. Make this image your desktop at the official site.)

Thursday, December 04, 2003

The Thursday Threesome

:: White Christmas ::
Onesome: I'm dreaming of a white Christmas - Are you hoping for a white Christmas this year, or are you somewhere you seldom see snow?

This is Atlanta: We don't generally get snow.

Twosome: With every Christmas card I write - Have you begun the cards? Do you write a personal note in each one, or just sign a generic greeting and your name? Or maybe print out the ol' yearly form letter to let everyone know what's new for you?

Cards? I'm one of those rude antisocial people who never sends Christmas cards.

Threesome: May your days be merry and bright - What do you do for the holidays to ensure they'll be merry?

Do? I'm lost at holiday time. I'm surrounded by people who have strong opinions about what we'll do and when. Not having any myself, all I do is go with the flow.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

I knew you could buy and sell the police

AP | Ga. Police Bobbleheads Sold for Charity
The Covington Police Department is selling bobbleheads — complete with serious faces, shiny blue police uniforms and, of course, bouncy heads that loom over tiny bodies — of its officers to raise money for its Police Who Care Fund to help needy families.
There is absolutely no truth to the rumor that one has been chosen as the new Atlanta chief of police.