Friday, September 30, 2005

Now That's What I Call Music

Boingboing links today to a collection of Van Morrison songs from 1967 that are the product of a single recording session during which Morrison dashed off and performed 31 tunes to satisfy a contractual obligation to his record company, which he appears to hate. They're all about a minute long, and Morrison seems drunk in most of them, notably "Want a Danish," "Blow in Your Nose" and "Nose in Your Blow."

The songs consist of him strumming a few out-of-tune chords over and over again and free associating. Although a masterful singer, Morrison was (then, at least) an indifferent guitarist, and really he just kind of talks most of the time. But it's still fantastic listening. Here's my favorite, "Dum dum George," in which his delivery reminds me a lot of recently deceased standup comic Mitch Hedberg's:

This here's a story about dumb dumb George
came up to Boston one sunny afternoon
he drove up from New York City
and he was freaky
and he wanted to record me
and I said "George, you're dumb."
And he said, "I know. Why do you think I make so much money?
I want to do a record that will make number 1."
Dumb, dumb

Genius. Check it out.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

That's What I Call Politics

My brother-in-law Fringy from Houston sent this awesome interview of the Democratic Party by Fafnir of Fafblog and I love it:

FafBlog: I'm confused.
Harry Reid: The problem is troop levels, Fafnir. The US invaded without enough boots on the ground!
Joe Lieberman: Just another couple hundred thousand soldiers on the ground and hey, we should have this thing wrapped up in no time!
Joe Biden: Just like I told George Bush all along! I told him in the Oval Office, "You're gonna go in without enough troops and you're not gonna plan for the occupation and it's gonna be the biggest mistake of your presidency and I'm gonna vote for it!"
FB: Wow, that all seems so prescient.
Biden: And then Batman jumped in through the window and said "Senator, the Justice League needs you right away!" and I said "Shut up and move, rich boy, we've got a moon to save!"
Hillary Clinton: I have eaten the heart of a gorilla!

It's funny 'cause it's true.

Lost is a Terrible Show

Lost, the ABC show about that won last year's Best Drama Emmy, is seriously crappy. From the very beginning last year, no one on the show acted like a real person who had just survived a plane crash on a deserted island would act. They didn't build a shelter, or find a water source, or try to find food. They let one dickhead confiscate all the goodies from the plane and sell them to other castaways for exorbitant sums of useless money, and put all the water they could find in the wreck in one place and then didn't guard it. No one has a week's more facial hair than they did when they crashed more than a month ago, and the women still have makeup and hair people, apparently.

And that's just the logic issue. The dialogue is more stilted than anything Jean-Claude van Damme has ever done, and the characters are almost all dramatic bitches who still, after 40+ days on the island, act like 2-year-olds when they don't get what they want, which is usually to do something unbelievably stupid. The only likeable people there are the fat guy, the Iraqi, and the crazy knife-strapped dude who was paralyzed from the waist down until the crash and miraculously woke up with full motor control and the strength and stamina to run around saving people and hunting wild boars.

Last night was the second episode of the new season, and we're no closer to understanding why a weird British guy who the morose, overwrought jackass who's the island doctor met in a football stadium years ago has been living in a bomb shelter under the island for what appears to be years. They may drag this cliffhanger out for another three or four shows, but I'll never know, because I'm boycotting that crap.

Bad Journalism

From a guest poster at Ace of Spades, here's what happens when journalists aren't just lazy or careless, but they intentionally change the truth of the matter. Happens all the time, and usually we're none the wiser.

Good Journalism

Hubris shows us an example of good reporting. Example of bad reporting to follow.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Bound to Happen

Stuck on Stupid
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
I should have known the phrase "Let's not get stuck on stupid" would be illustrated. From Slublog, via the Llama Butchers.

God I Hate the F*cking New England Patriots

First the Tuck, now this. There's nothing that ruins sport more than favoritism for the champs. Michael Jordan got away with murder for most of his career because even refs are fans, and now we find that the Pats got 52 seconds they didn't deserve to win the game with a last-second field goal. What a goddamn travesty.

Sure, Randle-El shouldn't have lateralled to a not-looking Hines Ward. But it still sucks. I hope the whole team catches Ebola and then gets run over by a giant lawn mower.

My New Favorite Show

Is Extras, starring Ricky Gervais of UK Office fame. The first episode was hilarious partly because Gervais is one funny mofo and partly because so is Kate Winslet. Hearing her give phone sex advice in a nun's habit is utterly fantastic, especially when she mimics licking her own nipples. See it if you can.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Japan is Weird has a link today to an awful story about a Japanese reality game show in which a man was locked up in an apartment without food or clothing and was forced to send in contest entries on postcards in order to win a certain value in prizes to be released. It took a year and three months and the contestant didn't eat unless he won food in a contest, at times resorting to dog food.

If I hadn't already encountered Japanese game shows before, I'd be horrified. But I've seen footage of a man being woken up by several other men dressed as soldiers who set off a flash-bang grenade next to his bed and then discharged entire magazines of M-16 blanks at him from less than a foot away (you could see where the muzzle blasts were burning holes in the bedding). He was sobbing uncontrollably when they cut away to the next scene, where a man at a dude ranch was lifted, bed and all, into a hallway so a rope tied to a horse could be cinched around his ankles. The horse was smacked on the rump and took off running, jerking the guy out of bed and into a muddy corral, where he was dragged for some time as onlookers cheered and laughed. He too was in a miserable state when the host interviewed him.

I should say I loved every minute of it and wished there were shows like that in the US, and that I love Most Extreme Elimination Challenge (except for the music). Now that Jackass has inspired a generation of numbskulls to torture themselves for our pleasure, I guess we don't need to torture innocent people.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Chewy Cops a Feel

Star Freaks
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
I can't be the only one who wonders what happened next, and what it looked like. I will refrain from any references to '70s bikini area maintenance.

From here, via Boingboing.

Joe Rogan is Deep

On Jim Breuer's Sirius Radio show, Fear Factor host Joe Rogan expounds on a number of subjects I didn't expect him to have an interest in. Funny stuff. Here he is talking about how high he is for most of the Fear Factor tapings.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Actors: The Real Heroes

When What Would Tyler Durden Do? isn't posting pics of inadvertently naked celebrities, they're analyzing pop culture. Today they recognize Michael Douglas for his recent heroism at the UN:

One time, Michael Douglas said words someone wrote for him in a make-believe office in front of a pretend judge in a movie about the President, and he looks a little like Martin Sheen - who has also pretended to be the President - so I think its time we began to listen as they talk about stuff they heard about at a coke party in Malibu. I would have thought that would be obvious, but I guess not. I mean, he rang the peace bell three times, people. Three is a lot, but even still, not all of you are doing peace yet. Does he have to ring it four times. Or five. Its amazing he even had the strength left to make snide and ill-informed remarks about the United States. Screw you fireman and scientists, that guy is the real hero.

Yea, brother.

Fun and Funny

Ann Althouse has come across an interesting movie quiz in which you identify the film from a still that has the actors removed but not their clothing. Spooky . . .

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Did You Know . . .

There's a wacky online sports satire magazine? It's like the Onion had a baby with Sports Illustrated Online. Or something. They've got a funny piece on there about what life without Randy Moss is like for the Vikings:

“I can’t tell you how much different it is around here,” said quarterback Daunte Culpepper. “It’s like a big weight has been lifted from our shoulders ever since Randy left. When he was hear everyone was walking on eggshells. Now we’re just loose and having fun. That game against the Bengals was a blast, man. I'm just having a lot of fun playing the game right now.”

The Vikings have lost their first two games, turning the ball over 12 times in the process. Daunte Culpepper has looked lost, and their new, expensive defense has been a failure. Still, it’s all fun and games in the Vikings clubhouse.

“I never knew it what it felt like to be on a team with good chemistry, a team of guys that really pulls for each other,” said running back Michael Bennett. “I know our offense is terrible right now, and our defense is completely ineffective, but we're not going to worry. If this was last year there would be a lot of tension and finger-pointing. I'm glad that's over, because some of those fingers would probably be pointing at me.”

It's funny because it's true, as Dave at Garfield Ridge wrote when he posted about this earlier today.

Coolest Blog Series Ever

If there's anything I like to read about more than oddball WWII weapons, please tell me what it is and send me some. Something Awful has a great series of articles about wacky weapons (mostly German, of course) here, which include bits on the V3 system, a vertical takeoff/landing interceptor, Nazi night vision, a Tiger tank that shot a 380 mm mortar round, and many more interesting things. I'm as happy as a little girl and I hope dude never stops writing about this stuff.

Link from Peeve Farm.

What Went Right?

Brian at Peeve Farm wants to know how the media will handle the Katrina story, now that the body count in New Orleans is smaller than expected and Mardi Gras is on schedule:

The MSM seems to have internalized some kind of admonishment, gnawing at them like a brain mite, that reporting good news is tantamount to propaganda—that if they were to focus on the positive aspects of a given news story and not the negative, even to just give the positive more prominence than the negative rather than to actually obscure or omit troubling details, means you're filling the shoes of Baghdad Bob. They feel that their role isn't to reassure people, but to remind them of the bleakness of reality. The idea presumably being that reassuring people means lulling them into a false sense of security, convincing themselves that things are going okay, and that change—that big shining concept in the sky, that cornerstone of platitudes from Sesame Street to Market Street—isn't necessary. And that wouldn't do. Change is good, we're taught to repeat until we're incapable of sympathizing with any status quo except the ones that say change is good.

In trying to keep myself focused on the apolitical parts of Katrina, I find myself wondering: would I be doing the same thing if I detested the people in charge? Wouldn't I be looking for an excuse to blame a President I disliked, even if the means by which to pin the aftermath of a horrific natural disaster upon him were ghostly at best? Would I be cheering the MSM's ghoulish coverage, CNN's claiming the right to film bloated bodies, Cindy Sheehan's indirect coining of the term "Occupied New Orleans"? (emphasis Brian's)

In Iraq, the press hangs around the hotel and runs whatever story everyone else is running. During and after Katrina, they hung around the Superdome and a couple of other places in New Orleans. There's nothing special about reporters, they're not experts in anything but being on television. Why do we look to them for information about the world?

Catchphrase for the 21st Century

"Don't get stuck on stupid, reporters." - Lt. General Russell Honore, the guy who's running the New Orleans cleanup. Ace has the best set of links on this here.

If there's one thing I absolutely love, it's when an interviewee turns on a reporter who's asked a dumb question and unleashes the Kraken on him or her. Read it and giggle:

Male reporter: General Honore, we were told that Berman Stadium on the west bank would be another staging area...

Honore: Not to my knowledge. Again, the current place, I just told you one time, is the convention center. Once we complete the plan with the mayor, and is approved by the governor, then we'll start that in the next 12-24 hours. And we understand that there's a problem in getting communications out. That's where we need your help. But let's not confuse the questions with the answers. Buses at the convention center will move our citizens, for whom we have sworn that we will support and defend...and we'll move them on. Let's not get stuck on the last storm. You're asking last storm questions for people who are concerned about the future storm. Don't get stuck on stupid, reporters. We are moving forward. And don't confuse the people please. You are part of the public message. So help us get the message straight. And if you don't understand, maybe you'll confuse it to the people. That's why we like follow-up questions. But right now, it's the convention center, and move on.

Male reporter: General, a little bit more about why that's happening this time, though, and did not have that last time...

Honore: You are stuck on stupid. I'm not going to answer that question. We are going to deal with Rita. This is public information that people are depending on the government to put out. This is the way we've got to do it. So please. I apologize to you, but let's talk about the future. Rita is happening. And right now, we need to get good, clean information out to the people that they can use. And we can have a conversation on the side about the past, in a couple of months.

This now replaces my old favorite from Jim Mora Sr. when he was the head coach of the New Orleans Saints (quelle coincidence, hmm? Maybe the city just brings it out of people), who let a locker room ninny have it thusly (I'm paraphrasing the first sentence, but I think it's correct):

"You don't know what we do to prepare for these games. You think you know, but you don't know and you never will."

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

What You Should Be Buying Me

For my birthday. Simply the "greatest Racing Car of all time," the Porsche 917, in Martini Racing colors here. Its storied racing history can be found here and here.

What a devil car. It's perfect for me, right honey?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Highly Anticipated

The fourth annual Austin City Limits Festival is coming this weekend, and I'm very excited. Mostly because my wife no longer works for the people who run it, and the tension level around here is going to be nonexistent, instead of pegging a month before and lasting until months after, like the last two years. Sadly the wife is probably too pregnant to attend, so she won't know for at least a year what a blast it is to be there when you're not working. Next year, perhaps.

I'm mostly jazzed about Saturday, when Jet and Oasis are playing. Not a huge fan of Oasis, but ever since I saw them do a great show after many days of doing heroic amounts of blow on a tour bus, I've had a healthy respect for their professionalism, ironically enough. And they have some catchy tunes, too.

I sure hope I don't get ACL Lung/Sinus Syndrome again. That was a long-lasting bitch last year. Hopefully the Austin Parks and Rec people won't cover Zilker Park with Amdro the day before the festival starts like they did last year.

I Would Have Guessed Higher

According to the Gay-o-Meter, I'm just 26% gay. I can't tell whether or not some of my answers cancelled each other out, like for example: I'm willing to shave my head, but I rarely get a haircut before people start laughing at me. I guess I'll never know.

From Gorilla Mask.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Punkland, USA

Why are people such weenies these days? Read:

Unemployment has been at 5% for 23 years, and inflation 5% or less -- and we bitch about the terrible economy. We freak at a war that claims 3 lives a day and maybe 6-8% of the Federal budget -- our grandfathers who fought in Okinawa would be ashamed of us. A huge hurricane roars ashore in the Gulf Coast and -- mirabile dictu -- not more than probably a few hundred people are killed, and generally speaking most everyone is being helped and is OK within a week or so, despite the enormous destructive force. But, oh dear, that's some monstrous failure at which fingers must be pointed.

Eh, I tell you, any of our ancestors would be ashamed of our squeaky weeniedom. They hacked out a country from wilderness, natural and human, and wrestled with awful terrible questions, from freeing ourselves from slavery and struggling to erase its lingering consequences, to beating back the poison of fascism of the left and the right across half the civilized world. *And* they went to the Moon, discovered penicillin and heart transplants, invented transistors and sliced bread. Well, I lied about that last one...

What are we leaving our children? What are we daring? Why would anyone a hundred years hence consider calling us a Great Generation? As opposed to one of the most spoiled and whiny generations of Americans ever? I'm hard pressed to say.

Amen brother.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

What Works, and What Doesn't

Cold Fury's got a fine post about government's response to disaster threat, and its longer-term response to the problems of poverty. Good stuff.

Much-Needed Reason

Check out Patterico's post concerning Michael Kinsley's takedown of Bush-blamers in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Excellent stuff on both their parts.

Link from Ace.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Sword Weights

In a post about something I found rather uninteresting, Dean Esmay linked to an interesting article about how much the swords used by Middle Age and Renaissance warriors weighed. I would not have guessed the answer:

Despite frequent claims to the contrary, Medieval swords were indeed light, manageable, and on average weighed less than four pounds. As leading sword expert Ewart Oakeshott unequivocally stated: "Medieval Swords are neither unwieldably heavy nor all alike - the average weight of any one of normal size is between 2.5 lb. and 3.5 lbs. Even the big hand-and-a-half 'war' swords rarely weigh more than 4.5 lbs. Such weights, to men who were trained to use the sword from the age of seven (and who had to be tough specimens to survive that age) , were by no means too great to be practical."

Crazy. Although it makes sense to use a light weapon if you can, I didn't think the technologies of the time would have allowed for such light weight while retaining strength, considering you had to deal with armor. Interesting piece, check it out.

Go Man Go

Hubris is one of my favorite blogs, if only for the ultrafantastic series on Road House that can be accessed in full here. Not to mention encounters with Colin Farrell's penis, his guide to effective internet argument, and his glorious attempt to bring us all together.

On Saturday Hubris was sad, for his relationship had gone awry. He decided to use an old folk remedy to relieve the pain, and recorded the results. Good stuff.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Getting to Know the Real You

If you've never really felt like you fit in with the rest of your family, this link is for you. My brother David sent it yesterday, and I think he's trying to tell me something.

There's a lot of interesting stuff there, look around. I particularly enjoyed this page.

Best Photo Essay I've Ever Seen

Check this out, a photo essay about New Orleans before, during and after Katrina by a Nicaraguan immigrant who worked at a New Orleans hotel. Very interesting comments by the photographer, check it out. From Ace.

I Like It

Check out this backwards bowler, he's almost good enough for the PBA. From Double Viking.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Note to Kanye West: for Your Own Sake, Shut the F*ck Up

Whoever said "better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt" might have been talking about Kanye, who's going to find out real soon what shooting your hate-filled, uninformed mouth off will do to your record sales. I guess he couldn't hear the boos at the NFL game last night because he was live remote. He'll hear them in person soon enough.

Slightly Blurry Hibiscus

Hibiscus 9/8/05
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Too lazy/busy to retake this pic. It's the second flower all year from this plant, which made it through the freeze this last Christmas while the other small ones died.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


If there's anything funnier than Greg Gutfeld's scathing entries in the Huffington Post, it's the ravings of humorless lefties who go completely nuts when they read his posts. Check the comments below this one and marvel at the insanity.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Origins of Words

I very much like the Aubrey/Maturin series of novels, partly because I find the British Navy of Captain Aubrey's era interesting as well as the Royal Society/naturalism bits that concern Dr. Maturin, but just as much because the author writes as if he's of that era as well. This is a good idea for a number of reasons, including authenticity to an extreme and satisfying degree, but it also leads to a lot of fun "origins of words" tidbits, especially since many of the expressions we use today are of British Naval origin (as are a lot of Star Trek references). There are far too many of the common examples to list, but I get a big kick out of catching an obscure one from time to time.

My absolute favorite (and I've read 14 of the 18 books available) has got to be "ass-load." You know, like the amount of a particular thing that a donkey, or ass, can carry. Here's Dr. Maturin talking to the wife of the Governor of some godawful Australian colony:

"It was an exceeding interesting experience, ma'am; we survived, thanks to an intelligent black, and we brought back an ass-load of specimens that will keep us busy for the next twelvemonth and more."

Note the racial bizness, which while offensive in a modern context, was very common at the time. O'Brian doesn't spare his readers the truth of the times for fear of offending some. Good for him.

Anyways, I'm pretty sure people who say assload now don't do so because the word has been passed down by great-grandpa on the farm. But it's nice to know people have been saying it for a long time.

More of this, Please

How did I know Tom Sowell would lay it down for us:

Forty years ago, an electric grid failure plunged New York and other northeastern cities into a long blackout. But law and order prevailed. Ordinary citizens went to intersections to direct traffic. People helped each other. After the blackout was over, this experience left many people with an upbeat spirit about their fellow human beings.

Another blackout in New York, years later, was much uglier. And what has been happening now in New Orleans is uglier still. Is there a trend here?

Fear, grief, desperation or despair would be understandable in people whose lives have been devastated by events beyond their control. Regret might be understandable among those who were warned to evacuate before the hurricane hit but who chose to stay. Yet the word being heard from those on the scene is "angry."

That may be a clue, not only to the breakdown of decency in New Orleans, but to a wider degeneration in American society in recent decades.

Why are people angry? And at whom?

That's an excellent question.

When all is said and done, government is ultimately just human beings -- politicians, judges, bureaucrats. Maybe the reason we are so often disappointed with them is that they have over-promised and we have been gullible enough to believe them.

Government cannot solve all our problems, even in normal times, much less during a catastrophe of nature that reminds man how little he is, despite all his big talk.

The most basic function of government, maintaining law and order, breaks down when floods or blackouts paralyze the system.

During good times or bad, the police cannot police everybody. They can at best control a small segment of society. The vast majority of people have to control themselves.

That is where the great moral traditions of a society come in -- those moral traditions that it is so hip to sneer at, so cute to violate, and that our very schools undermine among the young, telling them that they have to evolve their own standards, rather than following what old fuddy duddies like their parents tell them.

Now we see what those do-it-yourself standards amount to in the ugliness and anarchy of New Orleans.

In a world where people flaunt their "independence," their "right" to disregard moral authority, and sometimes legal authority as well, the tragedy of New Orleans reminds us how utterly dependent each one of us is for our very lives on millions of other people we don't even see.

Thousands of people in New Orleans will be saved because millions of other people they don't even know are moved by moral obligations to come to their rescue from all corners of this country. The things our clever sophisticates sneer at are ultimately all that stand between any of us and utter devastation.

Awesome. Read it all.

Not as Dumb as We Look

Nice to know overwrought nimrods like Keith Olbermann don't make up the American mind about who's responsible for Katrina's deadly effects:

A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll of 609 adults taken September 5-6 shows:

Blame Game -- 13% said George W. Bush is "most responsible for the problems in New Orleans after the hurricane"; 18% said "federal agencies"; 25% said "state and local officials"; 38% said "no one is to blame"; 6% had no opinion. -- 29% said that "top officials in the federal agencies responsible for handling emergencies should be fired"; 63% said they should not; 8% had no opinion.

Say it with me: natural disaster.

Logistics 101

When bad things like Hurricane Katrina happen, good people want solutions, now. The less thoughtful among them will sometimes insist that the absence of immediate solutions is always evidence of incompetence or ill will among government officials. But there's a little thing called logistical reality to contend with:

Suppose you got a brigade worth of troops (5,000 or so) available,. How are you going to support them? How will you transport them? Think organic trans is sufficient? Think again. Even at 100% operational readiness, a typical infantry battalion can only self transport perhaps a company at a time. And if every soldier is bringing a rucksack and a dufflebag, you're really talking about maybe two platoons. And unless you expect the unit to become a drain on local resources, every company is going to take a half truck or more of MREs and a half truck or more of bottled water, along with its own water trailers. I've seen it happen. I've done it. I've been a battalion S4 in combat, an HHC XO for dozens of major moves of a hundred miles or more, and an HHC company commander for six hurricane mobilizations.

Now, you can use busses. But only if you take busses away from the immediate mission of transporting people out of the most severely affected areas of New Orleans. Well, suppose a 44 passenger bus has a round trip of a half day between a National Guard armory in Texas. That bus can not even transport a platoon of soldiers in a single day (and will have to refuel somewhere.) But that same bus, if you keep it in New Orleans, can make as many as 8 or 10 trips back and forth, and evacuate maybe 600 to 800 people, assuming an hour round trip between an affected area and a safe area.

So which do you choose? My money's on the evac.

But suppose you stripped the evac effort dry and got enough busses to support a 5,000 man move. Well, a few hundred of them would show up driving the brigade's vehicles (armed with fuel cards to use at pumps that don't work, so the army would also have to transport in its own bulk fuel).

Well, in order to move 4,400 soldiers by bus in 48 hours, with a 1-day turnaround time, you would need 100 busses. Which is most of the FEMA effort right there. The available truck transportation would be hauling food, water, tents, portable kitchens, and other gear -- not troops.

Well, I think FEMA came up with 140 busses. You want to strip 70 percent of the FEMA effort to bring in National Guard? I didn't think so.

And then when the Brigade got there, it would take them nearly a day to set up. Where are you going to put them? You'd need an entire park or fairground, and you'd need to clear vagrants out of there. That's doable, but it takes time. And meanwhile, you've got 5,000 soldiers on the ground. Where are they going to crap, Ann? Did you consider that question?


So you'd have to contract with portalet providers -- competing for the vendors with bidders from the city, county, churches, and neighboring cities and counties. Portable shower and latrine facilities can be trucked in from all over the country. But that takes time as well. Oh, and you might have to contract with Brown and Root. I can imagine the screeching and howling already.

Trust me. Brown and Root is good at this. If we're not contracting with Brown and Root, we're fools. They're even better if they can hire all Palestinians, Bosnians, and Philippinas.

Well, suppose you've overcome all these hurdles. Congratulations. You've only made it into the BSA.

How are you going to get troops into the flooded areas? Well, most of your truck assets still are loaded with gear for the first two days. That's assuming you don't have to make return trips to go back and get things A pretty tall assumption. Well, last I checked, light infantry doesn't have any boats or rafts in the inventory. In fact, nobody does, except for a few selected engineer units, such as MRBCs. I know of one such company that served in Iraq with us. Great group of soldiers. Except they're in Wisconsin. These boats would have to be trucked in, and would take days to get there at best. (Their prime movers couldn't go much over 50 mph, and even then that's pushing it with a heavy load.)

Would it have been a good idea to keep a mobile bridge company in the Delta area? Sure, in hindsight. But it ain't there now, Ann. And even then, the number of pontoon boats that would be available is pitiful compared to the need.

It's about damned time someone who has some experience with this stuff chimed in. Link from the awesome Baldilocks.


Just when everything seems really icky and depressing, Achewood saves the day. I cannot brook the gossamer bloatee either, Beef. Well played my good man.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Oh That Dastardly Global Warming

I've seen a number of references to this issue and other graphs, but this one in particular shows how silly the whole "not signing Kyoto killed New Orleans" argument is. From this post at Kobayashi Maru, which has a particularly lovely blog format. Link from Instapundit.

It Had to Be Said

Bill Whittle has written another fine essay, and just in time:

Only a few minutes ago, I had the delightful opportunity to read the comment of a fellow who said he wished that white, middle-class, racist, conservative cocksuckers like myself could have been herded into the Superdome Concentration Camp to see how much we like it. Absent, of course, was the fundamental truth of what he plainly does not have the eyes or the imagination to see, namely, that if the Superdome had been filled with white, middle-class, racist, conservative cocksuckers like myself, it would not have been a refinery of horror, but rather a citadel of hope and order and restraint and compassion.

That has nothing to do with me being white. If the blacks and Hispanics and Jews and gays that I work with and associate with were there with me, it would have been that much better. That’s because the people I associate with – my Tribe – consists not of blacks and whites and gays and Hispanics and Asians, but of individuals who do not rape, murder, or steal. My Tribe consists of people who know that sometimes bad things happen, and that these are an opportunity to show ourselves what we are made of. My people go into burning buildings. My Tribe consists of organizers and self-starters, proud and self-reliant people who do not need to be told what to do in a crisis. My Tribe is not fearless; they are something better. They are courageous. My Tribe is honorable, and decent, and kind, and inventive. My Tribe knows how to give orders, and how to follow them. My Tribe knows enough about how the world works to figure out ways to boil water, ration food, repair structures, build and maintain makeshift latrines, and care for the wounded and the dead with respect and compassion.

There are some things my Tribe is not good at at all. My Tribe doesn’t make excuses. My Tribe will analyze failure and assign blame, but that is to make sure that we do better next time, and we never, ever waste valuable energy and time doing so while people are still in danger. My Tribe says, and in their heart completely believes that it’s the other guy that’s the hero. My Tribe does not believe that a single Man can cause, prevent or steer Hurricanes, and my Tribe does not and has never made someone else responsible for their own safety, and that of their loved ones.

My Tribe doesn’t fire on people risking their lives, coming to help us. My Tribe doesn’t curse such people because they arrived on Day Four, when we felt they should have been here before breakfast on Day One. We are grateful, not to say indebted, that they have come at all. My Tribe can’t eat Nike’s and we don’t know how to feed seven by boiling a wide-screen TV. My Tribe doesn’t give a sweet God Damn about what color the looters are, or what color the rescuers are, because we can plainly see before our very eyes that both those Tribes have colors enough to cover everyone in glory or in shame. My Tribe doesn’t see black and white skins. My Tribe only sees black and white hats, and the hat we choose to wear is the most personal decision we can make.

There's a lot more, and it's well worth reading.

Saturday, September 03, 2005


Blogger's been crappy lately, so I have tried to post about how fantastic Gerard of American Digest has been lately, but haven't succeeded. Now you know.

How to Help Katrina Survivors

Well, this probably doesn't help, although there's a lot of it going around. Rogers Cadenhead, who at least made fundraising his second Katrina topic (more than some can say) is among many who deny trying to make political hay from the disaster while doing so vigorously. Here's his comment in response to being accused being among those who would rather complain than solve a problem:

Part of being a grown-up is taking responsibility. President Bush ran on a re-election campaign that heavily emphasized he would make the country safer from disaster than his opponent.

Will anyone in his administration take responsibility for failing to do that this week?

Just once, I'd like to see someone in the Bush White House say directly "I made a mistake," rather than the passive statement "mistakes were made."

The presidency has come a long way since "the buck stops here" leadership of Harry S Truman. Most of it downhill.

I should say I don't believe Rogers would rather complain than solve a problem, and he's done more than many to help Katrina survivors, but I guess I don't see how anyone is helped by Bush saying one thing or another. Then again, if it helps liberals chill the f%ck out while we sort out this disaster then by all means, George, hit them with an apology. We can spend all of 2006 pointing fingers for all I care, but let's keep our eyes on the ball for now.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

A Foretaste of Armageddon

It's got to get better at some point, but for now things on the Gulf Coast are in a miserable state. People are very unhappy about the state of emergency preparedness and in their rage are making another crisis. I understand that many survivors are in a desperate state, but forcing the local authorities to turn their attention to looting and other criminal activity instead of rescuing people and making sure they have food, water and shelter is the opposite of being part of the solution. People say we're never more than a generation away from savagery, but I think it's more like a couple of days.

Lucky for us, the rest of the world sends their sympathy. Well, not Germany. Or Clinton Adviser Sid Blumenthal. And I wouldn't expect an outpouring of foreign donations, exactly. But I'm sure there's some sympathy out there somewhere.

My friend Phillip F. called me a little while ago and said he keeps expecting to see Charlton Heston in the news coverage, wearing a neckerchief and saving lives. I'm sure there a lot of heroes in the area now, and Thank God for that, but I'm guessing neckerchiefs are not the order of the day. More like waders.

Thanks to No Pasaran and Moxie for links.