Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
If you really loved Skinny, you'd buy him this. Honestly, after his many years of hard work hating the Cowboys, this is the least you could do. Let's reward the effort he's expended by giving him this beautiful symbol of his feelings about the Dallas Cowboys and their QB.
While you're at it, a TO jersey with the word "Poopweiner" on the name line would work just as well.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Friday, December 15, 2006
Monday, December 11, 2006
Later you'll get to see how much of it ended up on Mommy!
Sunday, December 10, 2006
What a little treasure she is, I just hugged and hugged her all day and she was delightful to everyone, only objecting to people using her toys a couple of times. And frankly they deserved it.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Monday, December 04, 2006
All parents feel a strong desire to see their child excel, and I've sometimes found myself so wrapped up in wanting her to perform a complex task that I don't even notice that although she usually figures out a new skill immediately and never seems to lose it, she often purposely does things wrong in hundreds of subtly different ways, like she's mapping all of the possibilities so she knows what the right way feels like and what every wrong way feels like too. One of the things that has most impressed me about Sabrina is how much play there is in her learning process. Pure research, I suppose you'd call it.
Anyway, she sure does like the swings, and the slides, and just about everything about the playground. D and I like it too, seeing the other children and how happy Sabrina is when she's there. Even the high-pitched screaming of the older kiddies doesn't bother me, I'm a dad and therefore immune.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Sabrina is so adorable these days, walking and talking and generally being ultra-charming. Today she had been awake for a few minutes when Mommy left the baby's room to get breakfast started. Sabrina played with me and Fred for a while and then headed toward the top of the stairs. Rather than run past her so I could get downstairs from her and catch her if she fell, I decided to stay behind her so she'd have to make the decision herself, and if she went for it I could grab her legs and stop her.
Then Fred walked between her and the top step, turned to her, and growled. He was protecting our little angel from a fall down the steps! Even better, Sabrina seemed to understand and stayed away. And even better than that, when she's about to do something she knows we don't want her to do, she now points at the offending obstacle/activity before she touches it and babbles gibberish at us as if to say "Can I?"
Best of all, when we say no, she doesn't dwell on it. What an amazing little girl.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Friday, November 24, 2006
I couldn't wait to see it, personally, because I remembered something about the way such shows work that apparently few others recalled: the producers hand pick the contestants. Therefore they could load the non-white teams with competent, hardworking team players, rendering any real or imagined disadvantages meaningless.
And by real disadvantages, I mean lack of camping skills. That's pretty much the only thing that really matters on Survivor. Building shelters and fires, finding food and water, and dealing with the necessity to do absolutely everything yourself is a lot easier if you've done it before. In my not terribly educated opinion, I'd expect whitey to do better than the rest because generally on Survivor, more of the whites have been camping. How anyone shows up for a show like this without being able to make a fire escapes me, anyone who watched a single episode understands you need some Boy and Girl Scout skills to get along on a desert island, but by God they do show up unprepared in droves, white or not. But there's always a few good outdoorsmen and -women, and they're almost always honkies.
Anyway, back to my point. I knew the producers would pick contestants carefully, and I suspected that during the segregated portion of the show, the honkies would place third or fourth of the four teams in challenges, and I was right. The Asian team rocked everything and so did the Latin team, and not just because they each had three men and two women while the black and white teams had two men and three women. They just worked harder and better together. I was worried for the black team early because none of the five had done much outdoor stuff, but they mixed up the teams after not too many episodes, and what happened next is pretty much exactly what I suspected: the white people teamed up, acted like jerks, and are now at a major disadvantage.
Fairly early on, the teams were racially mixed up in two tribes when, during one challenge, the chance to mutiny and change teams was offered. A white girl on one team jumped at the chance to get back together with three of her former honky teammates, and the remaining white guy on that team did the same at the last minute. This gave the now-tiny four-person rainbow coalition a serious competitive spark, with which they have won every challenge since, and something even more important: moral superiority. The kind the hero in old Western gets for doing the right thing for the right reason and shutting up about it. At the end of Survivor, the jury of former players votes on a winner, and while backstabbing and double dealing often wins the game, nothing beats being deserving, admired, respected.
None of the white players has anything like respect on the island, or frankly anywhere else. They are dirtbags who deserve beatings, nothing else. Even worse, they ignored the danger signs when it should have been obvious that they were about to have the whole game turned upside down on them. Idiots.
The hilarious part of all this is that the people who were mad about Survivor segregation at the beginning are getting a great holiday season present: the four white people left on Survivor are lazy, stupid, arrogant and dastardly, and they don't trust each other at all. With the exception of the most dastardly one of the four, none of them has even a remote chance at the big prize. How's that for TV racism?
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Daddy never was much good at throwing the ball, but if his daughter works hard she could be the first ambidextrous female starting Super Bowl QB in NFL history. I'd rather she weren't, but if she wants to, be my guest.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Mommy used to do that but she can barely pluck my monobrow any more, or keep an eye out for ear hairs. Plus she figures I should have been able to pick it up myself after seven years. No dice, baby. I'm fashion dyslexic.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Before the deployment, Russell was not exactly known for his heroic attitude. When he was accepted at Annapolis, some of his high school teachers in San Antonio started a pool: How long till they boot the smart-ass? At the Naval Academy, he instinctively cast every step in his career in Us-versus-Them terms: freshmen versus everybody, juniors versus seniors, seniors versus the staff. This rebellious instinct did him no favors in his class standing. But it sure helped when he looked out of the suicide bunker to size up the heavily armed hostiles. He knew that the insurgents were undisciplined. He remembers thinking, There’s no squad leader there directing fire, making sure their shooters don’t get drawn off by the first bright shiny thing that passes by. He made a decision. “Basically,” he says, “I became the bright shiny thing.”
He started pushing back into the vehicle-search area, drawing fire, discovering enemy positions. While Cyparski covered him from behind the bunker, Russell crept forward—a moving target—taking shrapnel in the arms and face and exposing enemy positions. When the volume of fire became, as he put it, “stupid,” he and Cyparski retreated to the bunker and got another idea. During his feint into the vehicle area, he’d located several insurgents. Hey, now’s as good a time as any to try to engage those positions, he thought. So he popped up to shoot and took an AK-47 round to the head. The bullet penetrated his helmet and ricocheted—up.
“It knocked me to my ass and gave me a pretty good concussion, I found out later,” he says. “Regardless, I went down, and at this point I think I’m dead, because the shrapnel that I’d taken to my face started bleeding with the impact. So I go down to a knee and tell Ski, ‘Hey, I’m hit.’ What do you do in that situation? ‘Well…tell my mom I love her’? I don’t know. Basically, you just kind of accept it and wait. But one count, two count, and things aren’t getting dark. I don’t see the great white light. So I’m like, Well, uh, it’s your brain, man. So try thinkin’ something. If you can think, you’re fine. So I tried thinking something, and nothing came. I figured that was fine, too. At least thinking that I wasn’t thinking anything was kind of thinking.” A few
beats later, he popped back up and resumed his command.
Interesting guy. I really like his philosophy:
“You know your Platonic ideals?” First Lieutenant Russell said hesitantly. “War is probably the Platonic ideal of sport—what all sports are trying to become. It’s physical, but it’s as much mental as physical. It’s definitely got its spiritual aspects, you know? And the prize at the end is the ultimate prize imaginable. And I’m not talking about democracy in the Middle East or the end ofthe Great War but your own life. And the lives of your team.”
Thursday, November 16, 2006
One one hand it's the ultimate masturbatory revenge fantasy show: a protagonist unconstrained by anything resembling conventional morality, who acts soft and pushovery and invariably runs afoul of bullies and other monsters, who sometimes need to die. On the other it's a tender story of the emotional reconstruction of a man whose brutal past has rendered him unable to feel. His current girlfriend is so emotionally screwed up herself that he starts to care about her, cracking his own shell in the process.
The cast is excellent. Dexter's played by Michael C. Hall, who did such a great job with David Fisher in Six Feet Under. He's naturally dark and unsettling. I think he has to work overtime to come across as warm and human. I've seen him as a regular cop in Paycheck and it just doesn't work. I don't know any of the rest of them by name although I do recognize some of them vaguely from somewhere, but Dexter's sister is played excellently by Jennifer Carpenter, the girl who played the title character in The Exorcism of Emily Rose, in which she was amazing as well. I can't stand scary movies, but once I started watching it I couldn't look away from this girl. I was amazed that anyone that young, shoot, any actress I could think of, would be willing to make themselves so ugly for the camera, the way she contorted her body and face when acting possessed. It was the perfect way to do it but I've never seen anything like it in my life and it left an impression. I can say the same about her role in Dexter, the most vulnerable, exposed character I've seen in years. Good stuff.
And I should also say that I love 30 Rock, the SNL parody by SNL people and Alec Baldwin. Tina Fey, who I liked on SNL even though Weekend Update usually sucked, is very funny, but Baldwin is friggin' Superman on this show. He kills every second he's onscreen. Five thumbs up.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
The nice thing about Fred is that he's a perfect judge of where your fingers are and how hard he's allowed to bite them. I'd much rather Sabrina learns about biting dogs from getting bitten gently by Fred than have it be a complete surprise when she does get bitten by a dog, which will invariably happen. I got bitten on the eyebrow by a family dachshund when I was small, and I very much deserved it. But the next time a dog snapped at me I was ready for it and got away clean.
Good old Fred. He may be the best dog I've ever known. And I'm glad Sabrina gets to know him too.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Saturday, November 11, 2006
By oldest brother David sent me a link to some of the most amazing pictures I've ever seen. A fellow named Frederik has been tooling around the South Pacific in a yacht and came upon a once-in-a-lifetime sight, the birth of an island. It's an amazing sight and an even better story:
Yesterday we saw the birth of an island, most likely we were the first humans to see the new creation. We have some pictures, but they will have to wait until we have a chance to upload them. So you might have heard about the sailor superstition that you should "never leave on a Friday". Well, we did and the sea turned to stone, it is hard to get a stronger sign than that. It sounds like a bad joke, but just wait until you see the pictures. Floating stones none the less. When you pick them up, it is easy to see that they are really just volcanic ash that compressed into pumice stone. This experience mixed with a close encounter of three whales makes you understand that the ocean is full of surprises.Truly amazing. My favorite pics of the bunch are the ones where it looks like they've run aground because of all the pumice floating on the sea surface, as described in the excerpt above. Looks a lot like being parked on a beach. Good catch, David!
Friday, November 10, 2006
I linked the top 100 Hubble Telescope images page last week or so, and have bookmarked it and visited it many times. I hadn't seen this one before, and now that I have I feel an irresistible craving for hobbit meat.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
A lovely moment, the other night:
I was sitting on the floor in the living room, playing a made-up song on a ukelele in front of the coffee table, and Sabrina was standing in front of me holding on to my right knee with her left hand and to the top side of the ukelele body with her right. She was singing gibberish in time with me pretty softly, watching my fingers and not, as she often does, muting any of the strings with her hands, and as I started playing a solo part she stopped singing for a half a minute, just watching, and then as I started playing faster and moving up the neck she started singing again. And as she sang, still softly, she leaned in to the right side of my face and put her lips on my right cheek, singing and slobbering on me. I was looking down at the neck, really focusing and, if I may say so, shredding (yes, I'm that old - I still call it shredding), so my face didn't move and I didn't look at her, I was pretty glazed over. But she just kept singing and slobbering, rubbing her face right against the right side of my mouth. It literally melted my heart and after a while I stopped and hugged her for as long as she would stand it. Which was a long time, because she's a little angel.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Saturday, November 04, 2006
I read about ten newspapers a day and three newsmagazines a week, and I have my TV tuned to cable news all day, and I still find myself taking notes from The Daily Show.
I'm guessing Dowd's completely oblivious to how dumb and unprofessional that makes her seem. My response to that quote is above, in the title.
Friday, November 03, 2006
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Actually, she had a wonderful time until the moment we tried to take pictures with her cousins Camille and Amber, whereupon she got a little sad about it being past her bedtime. And we hugged her and kissed her and gave her a ride on Daddy's shoulders and then everything was OK.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Monday, October 30, 2006
Sunday, October 29, 2006
I remember thinking all adults were idiots at some fairly early point in my life, and I'm pretty sure Sabrina's already thinking that at times. Get used to it, honeybunch. We ain't getting no more smarter, I declare.
Friday, October 27, 2006
But no blood yet, thank God. I can't imagine what it's like to race to the ER with a bleeding gash in your toddler's head, but just thinking about it is mildly heartbreaking so I hope we don't get to experience that too soon. One day it will happen, as it did to all of my siblings and me, but I'd rather it was later than sooner. She did apparently inherit the Bolduc skull, so when she does hit her head she cries for about a minute or less and then it's as if it never happened.
In this pic she looks mildly amused but not quite convinced. And beautiful, needless to say.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
And my favorite thing about sports is strange statistics. According to ESPN's Stuart Scott on NFL Primetime, last Sunday's Steeler-Falcon game had two things happen that were so rare they had only ever happened twice in the history of the NFL. Ben Roethlisberger and Michael Vick threw three and four touchdowns, respectively, and Hines Ward and Alge Crumpler each caught three touchdowns. Only twice before had opposing quarterbacks throw at least three TDs each, and only twice before had opposing players caught at least three TDs each. To have two such rare events happen in the same game is kind of interesting.
UPDATE: Man did I screw that up. Even as I was hitting the "publish" button I realized that it's impossible that only two sets of opposing QBs had ever thrown three TDs each in a game, I could think of a number of games I've seen this year where that happened. It turns out Scott was talking about it happening in the first half of a game, which makes way more sense. And of course as soon as I figured it out, I tried to change it but Blogger was down. Which is just perfect.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Sunday, October 22, 2006
The average global temp hasn't risen in seven years and is actually down this year; the earth's Southern hemisphere hasn't warmed in 25 years; many areas, including the earth's oceans, are demonstrably cooling; Greenland's ice is growing, as is that of the polar ice caps; and most important of all, those who study the history of the Earth's climate agree that violent temperature changes have been going on for millenia, and will continue to do so. Which means that attributing such changes in our own time, assuming they actually exist, to human activity is just stupid. Spending time, money and effort on reversing such climate changes is even more so.
Link from the lovely and talented Steven den Beste.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
This is the first of three cuttings of trees and debris from our yard, and ours was far better than most others. That's not me in the photo - it's a neighbor who stopped by while I was taking pictures, and I thought the comparison of a "human" with all the stuff might make it clearer.
Good Lord. I've been trying to stay abreast of the recovery process in the areas that Katrina hit hard, but this is astounding. The other day my back fence blew down when a tornado threatened to touch down nearby, and I complained a lot and felt pretty sorry for myself. What a maroon.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
We got her a number of walky toys, things she can hold on to while marching around, much like I used a walker after my back surgery. One of the new toys is a mini ice cream cart, complete with little fake cones, popsicles and little coins. As we suspected, she likes boxes more than the toys that come inside them, but nowadays that's because she can use them to pull herself up to her feet and walk around while pushing them in front of her. The walky toys are good for walking but less so for pulling herself up, and she's learned not to try on a couple of them because it usually ends with her on her back with the walker on top of her. Not painful but embarrassing.
We can't wait for her birthday, which is in a month and a half. Not to mention Halloween! What fun.
Monday, October 16, 2006
I can't wait to watch YouTube get eaten up by copyright infringement. $1.6 billion will buy a lot of lawyers.
UPDATE: What a surprise, the video's no longer available. YouTube just got a lot less interesting, not to mention profitable.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Which leads one to wonder how dangerous these people really are. If I read the consensus view right, the nuclear test earlier this week was not terribly successful, and some have alleged in the past couple of days that a conventional war with North Korea would not be difficult to win as (for example) their soldiers are poorly armed and fed, and their pilots get about two flight hours a month on average. I'm not sure I believe that, but it's an interesting point of view. This seems like a more informed one.
Bulgogi's pretty good, though. Gotta give them that.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
What we saw is a place so steeped in political correctness that it comes close to caricature. Make no mistake: The detainees occupy cells in a high-security facility. But almost every room has an arrow on the floor pointing to Mecca. Signs demanding silence stand ready for prayer time. Korans are cradled in surgical masks. Detainees are interrogated while sitting on sofas or cushioned reclining chairs.
They choose from a halal menu including such home-style treats as dates and baklava. Doctors, dentists and psychiatrists (offering confidential counseling) are on 24-hour call. Good behavior is rewarded with access to board games, books and communal areas, including more time in recreational yards - where we saw a group of detainees chatting around a table, while one of their cohorts nearby, at leisurely speed in the afternoon heat, pedaled an exercise bike.
An officer tells me that earlier this year Guantanamo was buying bottled water that had an American flag on the label. Lest this upset the detainees, base personnel were put to work stripping off the labels.
Oh great. I can't wait to hear again how inhuman and morally wrong it is to keep these terrorist SOBs there, relaxing, gaining weight (they all do, even the ones who stage hunger strikes) and living better than most who share their faith. Thanks to Atlas for the link.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Let's see, GDP growth is strong, productivity is way up, unemployment is low, family incomes are rising, inflation is down, the stock market is up, and the federal deficit is down. Yet polls show that we are about to put more Democrats into both the House and the Senate. That should fix all of these economic problems, real quick.
Every bit of that post is well worth your time, thanks to Big Daddy for the link. Thomas Sowell once wrote that the problem with economic reporting is that so few people (and fewer journalists, I suspect) understand economics. As one who struggled mightily with economics in college, I am acutely aware how counterintuitive many economic concepts can be, and if you believe (as I do) that conventional wisdom is more often wrong than right, you can comfortably assume that most people don't have any idea what's going on with the economy. That's no reason to lie to us, but I don't think the press needs one any more.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
We all want the same thing, pro-choice or pro-life though we may be, or even just disinterested. Nobody wants it to be just another form of birth control. But in the effort to defend what they believe is eternally threatened, pro-choice advocates seem unwilling to concede anything, to even appear to be retreating on any front, and in the end it hurts their arguments. For example:
At a pivotal time in the abortion debate, Ms. magazine is releasing its fall issue next week with a cover story titled "We Had Abortions," accompanied by the names of thousands of women nationwide who signed a petition making that declaration.
Tyffine Jones, 27, of Jackson, Miss., said she had no hesitation about
signing - although she lives in a state where restrictions on abortion are
tough and all but one abortion clinic has been closed. Jones said she got an abortion 10 years ago - enduring harassment from protesters when she entered the
clinic - in order to finish high school. She went on to become the first member
of her family to graduate from college, and hopes at some point to attend law
"I wanted to do something bigger with myself - I didn't want to be
stopped by anything," she said in a telephone interview.
I have to wonder if the reporter who wrote this story realized what an unfortunate quote Ms. Jones gave there, and if not it's a measure of how deranged-sounding parts of the pro-choice argument can sound to the average person. Because if having a child is something that "stops" you, if it's not something "bigger than" yourself, then I don't want you to have a child. But that's not the same as saying I think killing fetuses is a solution to poor reproductive judgment. Isn't it odd that the one kind of empowerment pro-choice activists absolutely refuse to advocate is the kind that would keep you from getting pregnant in the first place? I think it takes a hell of a lot more "empowerment" to get you ready for an abortion than to get you ready to say no to sex, but the latter is deemed impossible by some, to the point that it's not worth talking about in their eyes. Odd.
Monday, October 02, 2006
I've eaten a lot of questionable foods in my time, but not even I will try this. From Skinny Bean in Denvertown, who has seen me eat a lot of weird prefab foods and figured I'd be more than willing to try it. Hell to the no, Timmy!
UPDATE: This thing on the left, on the other hand, I'd eat in a heartbeat: The Krispy Kreme Chicken Sandwich. Comes with a side of honey. Awesome.
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Juan Williams is a certified liberal, but he's not a certifiable liberal. And so he's looked at the numbers -- 70 per cent of black children are born out of wedlock, a higher proportion of black men are in prison than of any other racial group (two statistics that are not unrelated) -- and concluded that the post-civil rights black leadership and its policies are a total bust. For having the impertinence to wander off the Democrat victim-culture plantation, he's been damned as merely this season's "black conservative"; a black man who's no longer authentically black, in the way that Colin Powell and Condi Rice's success within the Republican party in effect negates their race; or, if you like, the latest "Oreo" -- a black man who's white on the inside, like the famous cookies, which were supposedly hurled at Michael Steele, a black Republican candidate in this year's Senate race in Maryland.
The concept of "authenticity" -- that one's skin colour mandates particular behaviours, such as voting Democrat and supporting "affirmative action" -- is, of course, racist. But the peculiar touchiness of the black community on this question recurs again and again in Williams's book. "The defence of gangster rap, with its pride in guns and murder, was that it was all about 'keepin' it real,' " he writes. "In that stunning perversion of black culture, anyone who spoke against the self-destructive core of gangster rap was put down as acting white."
This is a fascinating theme whose significance extends far beyond music -- or, in this case, "music." We're encouraged these days to disdain ethnic stereotypes -- the Scots are stingy, the Germans humourless, etc. -- but, if one were to ascribe certain characteristics to particular ethnic groups, you'd be hard put to burden African-Americans with as many disabling pathologies as are currently touted under the justification of "keepin' it real." "Violence, murder, and self-hatred were marketed as true blackness -- authentic black identity," says Williams. "Keepin' it real" means the rapper Nelly making a video in which he swipes a credit card through his ho's butt. "Keepin' it real" means men are violent and nihilistic, women are "sluts, bobbing chicken heads, and of course bitches." "Keepin' it real," noted the writer Nick Crowe, equates, in effect, to "disempowerment." Because if being black means being a self-destructive self-gratifying criminal rutting machine, and building a career, settling down, getting a nice house in the suburbs, raising a family is acting white, that would seem to hand whitey an awful lot of advantages.
Sounds like a good book. I'm fascinated by the "keepin' it real" thing, I can't think of another culture in the world that tolerates the glorification of ignorance (and I'm talking about American culture, not African-American - see Paris Hilton for an example) and it just seems odd. I think there is an overall trend in Western Culture away from self-criticism and shame, which I think is tied to the disastrous self-esteem-above-all-things movement in education. And believe me, there's nothing worse than someone who has self esteem but hasn't earned it. Jerry Springer would be nothing without them.
I love rap. I love the beats, the melodies (when present) and especially a good rapper, someone who can surprise and excite with both their words and their delivery, like Snoop or Mos Def. But I can't stand how sad and small is the worldview expressed in so many rap lyrics. I find glorifying lawlessness, promiscuity, violence and disrespect toward women just plain juvenile, and it's a wonder to me why the rest of the African-American community doesn't get pissy and change the game. I know why Whitey doesn't try, they wouldn't have the "right" in most eyes, regardless of the race. But I just don't get why only Bill Cosby, and a few black politicians and pundits, is willing to talk about this stuff. Even Cosby hasn't said much since the furor over these two sets of public comments, which are entirely true and defensible in my view. I don't confine Cosby's definition of "dirty laundry" to any race, either, and I doubt he does. But I think he's right in admitting it's a larger problem for the African-American community because there is an even lesser drive than usual to come down on rap culture for fear of being thought disloyal.
There's little worse in my world than not saying what should be said, regardless of feelings being hurt or trouble being stirred up, when people screw up to the level that it affects others negatively. It's moral cowardice to do anything else, but almost nobody is willing to endure the disapproval of others, even strangers, to stand up for what is right and fair. That's a real shame; I think we're going to need that power more and more as time passes.
The muscle and fiber melted from my legs. It was all I could do to remain upright and not dissolve into a gibbering, gutless blob of fear. Too weak to stand, I clung to my static line with both hands. I felt like crying, screaming, killing myself.
What Webster's book does have that others often don't is literary skill, almost poetry, with which he describes what is to be done with a dying German soldier across a river from Webster's platoon in Germany late in the war:
We tiptoed back down the forest path through the bare, black, dripping trees, and stopped behind a two-foot mound that ran along the river's edge. The rope that the patrol had used was still in position. The wounded German lay out of sight on his back near the other end, wwhich was tied to a concrete telephone pole about fifteen yards from us.
He must have heard us coming. For a few moments he held his breath and stopped groaning and gasping and wheezing, evidently hoping that we would not notice him. But he couldn't stay quiet long, and soon the ghastly, sucking wheezes commenced again, loud as ever.
Poor bastard, I thought, listening to him. He's trying to hide from us. He's dying, and he knows we want to kill him. What a fate: to gasp your life out all alone in the mud of a dirty little creek, helpless to hold off the slow death that is inside of you and the quicker death that is walking up on you on the other side of the water. A death without love, a death without hope. God, who invented war?
But if he gets back alive, I may be dead.
"O.K.," Marsh whispered, "let's throw 'em."
We pulled the pins on our hand grenades and arched them across the river at the sound of the wheezing. One of the grenades exploded, the other was a dud. There was no change in the breathing noises. We went into the house, got two more grenades, and tried again, without success. The German continued to moan and wheeze.
"The hell with it," Marsh said. "Let him die. They won't come after him."
We gave up and went to bed.
What a fine microcosm of war: terrifying, awful, pointless, sad, wasteful, but ultimately indistinguishable from any other activity in that people are driven by simple needs and desires. Hunger, fatigue and physical discomfort can trump the seemingly inconquerable drive to survive if the danger is small enough and the rewards of ignoring it are great enough.
Webster survived the war but disappeared from his boat in 1961 while studying sharks. Which is a shame, because I'd love to be able to talk to him.
Oh, wait, that's me in 15 years.
Friday, September 29, 2006
But of course, the Islamists have it exactly backwards: it is their very love of death that is their undoing every time; for men will stand and fight to the death because they love life; but they will not stand and fight at all if all they love is death... for what solace is there in deathwish to give a man courage? A love of death is the mark of despair, not hope.
Because we love life, we revere sacrifice -- but not suicide. Life seeks life, and all those who also love life flock to our shores, desperate to become Americans de jure, as they are already Americans de facto.
And freedom, free-thinking, and individualism have given the world all the great advances in science and technology, in philosophy, in politics, and especially in the art of war. As the aphorism goes, there are no dangerous weapons, only dangerous people.
Islamists are fools with no comprehension of the history of the West: we've butchered far more people than the jihadi's wildest wet dreams. And we did it with style... using industrialization and the market. (Even Hitler and Stalin had to bow to the market in practice, whatever platitudes oozed from their mouths.)
The model of the market shows how millions of individuals making billions of individual decisions will always outthink, outreact, and vastly outperform a command economy driven by totalitarian ideology -- and will outfight them, too. Every innovation in warfare over the past three or four centuries was originated in the West, not the Orient. The very guns they use are European (Kalashnikovs); their tanks and planes are knockoffs of ours; even their damned IEDs are less sophisticated than the Semtex bombs of the verminous IRA.
The jihadis desperately want the final war of Islam vs. the West. And now, as Max Boot so cogently writes in the Los Angeles Times, they're on the road to getting it, good and hard:
"Ever since 9/11, a dark view of Islam has been gaining currency on what might be called the Western street. This view holds that, contrary to the protestations of our political leaders -- who claim that acts of terrorism are being carried out by a minority of extremists -- the real problem lies with Islam itself. In this interpretation, Islam is not a religion of peace but of war, and its 1.2 billion adherents will never rest until all of humanity is either converted, subjugated or simply annihilated..."
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Monday, September 25, 2006
These are kind of nice, and they match as far as I can tell. Which isn't very. Here Sabrina sucks, or really gobbles, her thumb, which is rare. She's not much of a pacifier user, and has pretty much stopped eating her hand in favor of slobbering and gnawing on inanimate objects. So this is a rare sight, and you should appreciate it.
Here she practices getting to her feet and walking after a short crawling session. She's just not that into crawling, although she's quite capable. It's beneath her, I think.
She bashed me in the eyebrow with a TV remote today, kind of threw it really, and when I handed it back to her (yes, like an idiot) she got a better grip and cracked me in the cheekbone even harder. I can't remember if she laughed or just stared at me with sharklike killer's eyes. Then she broke into a beautiful, loving smile like this one. She's quite the ninja.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
I get such a kick out of old,weird advertisements. I can't even remember where I found this link, but man is it good for hours of fun. This self-carving pig ad is probably the least bizarre and offensive one of the group, which includes an ad for Heroin, a Marlboro ad featuring a baby, an ad for "Vibra Finger" (just what it sounds like) that purports to be intended for gum massage, and one that promotes Thorazine as a way to manage "senile agitation." Great stuff.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Monday, September 18, 2006
Mommy says I'm projecting my idea of a good time onto her when I say things like "Sabrina likes freefall" but I believe you're either born that way or you aren't. You sure can't force Sabrina to laugh, she doesn't do anything she doesn't want to do. And she laughs her head off when I put her on top of my head and waltz around the living room. And yes, I'm holding on very tight and watching the floor for dogs and toys when I do that.
The pathetic part of it all is that they've been saying it all along. We just can't quite believe they're serious. How much more proof do we need? I think we may get more than anyone in this country wants before too long.
UPDATE: An excellent essay on a major distinction between Islam and other major religions is here:
For instance, secularists typically use parts of Leviticus, an Old Testament book, to argue that just because a scripture contains violent language or instruction is no reason in and of itself enough to assume that the faith based in part on that scripture will be violent. Fair enough, but that actually doesn’t tell us much because Christianity isn’t based on Leviticus per se. It tells us even less about Islam, for reasons I’ll get to later.
Leviticus forms part of what’s known as the Law (along with Genesis, Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy), and in the Christian way of thinking the civil and ceremonial components of the Law hold no command on our behavior today because the purpose of the Law was fulfilled in Christ. Christians are not bound by the legal commands of the Law, and we do eat pork and do lots of other things that the Law forbids, and likewise we don’t do many things the civil and ceremonial Law commands us to do. I don’t want to get too esoteric here for the non-believers to be able to follow me, but essentially, those parts of the Law are no longer authoritative over the behavior of the Christian believer. They have been abrogated by later acts and writings. That doesn’t mean those five books are without value; far from it. They’re incredibly valuable for many, many reasons. But the civil and ceremonial Law belongs to a set place and time and was abrogated by, among other things, Christ’s death and resurrection and Peter’s vision in Acts 10. The Law’s overall purpose–making humans presentable to a holy God–was fulfilled in Christ. I won’t pretend to speak for Jews as to the authority of Leviticus today, but I suspect they would say much the same thing: It’s an early part of scripture that has been abrogated by later scripture.
. . .
The point is, in the Law there are moral, civil and ceremonial commands, but through the work of Christ the latter two have been abrogated while the first remains in force. So Leviticus is no weapon useful for smiting a Christian, something secularists are ill-equipped to understand. They should look for violent language in the New Testament if they want to argue that Christianity promotes violence. They will look in vain if they do that, though. The most common misunderstanding of the New Testament is to read it as pacifist, not violent.
By contrast, the Islamic Suras quoted by Robert Spencer and others that promote violence by Muslims against non-Muslims come from the second half of the Koran. They have not been abrogated by later scripture, because there is no later scripture. Spencer’s argument is that if any Koranic verses have abrogated any others, then the weight has to be given to the later verses–and they’re the violent ones. But if you don’t understand the principle of abrogation or the fact that not all scriptures hold equal weight in any faith, and it’s clear those who don’t hold to any faith at all probably don’t since they keep quoting Old Testament civil Law to slam Christians, then you’re ill-equipped to make the distinctions that mark Leviticus less authoritative on behavior than the Gospels for the Christian, and earlier verses less authoritative than later ones for the Muslim.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Friday, September 15, 2006
Go read more about her here.
Which is just fine, because she's cute.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
So now I say "Owww" softly and look vaguely unhappy when she scratches my lips off, and she'll get very gentle after that because she's a sweetheart and doesn't want to hurt Daddy. Yet.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Friday, September 08, 2006
The 9/11 "docudrama" (i.e. fictionalized version of historical events) ABC is
planning to air tonight generated a letter from Democratic senators, which John
Aravosis says is a threat to yank their license, and Kos links that interpretation approvingly.
Pull a network off the air. Over an explicitly fictional show that isn't even all that inaccurate, just because it criticizes Democrats. Even the threat of such an action is absolutely appalling in its audacious disregard for the Constitution and free speech. Think about that: not because it incites violence, or discloses national security secrets, or encourages terrorists, but because it has a viewpoint critical of a former administration. This is not a dispute over whether the President's wiretapping of terrorists might make people less free to talk on the phone, or whether calling someone unpatriotic "crushes their dissent," this is directly wielding the power of the government to punish opposing views: these are police state tactics. This is the kind of thing people like Ahmadinejad, Kim Jong Il, and Saddam Hussein do -- and the nutroots couldn't be happier about it, because it serves their ends.
This seems to be a concrete example of what Kos and Co. mean when they talk about being tactical, not ideological: it's a nice way of saying they have no principles whatsoever beneath their partisan lust for power. This is deeply disturbing, much more so than Kos' "screw them" comments, because now they're talking about exercising power, in a way they would be screaming bloody murder over were the situation reversed.
This is exactly the sort of behavior that forces me to vote Republican even when I disagree with half their platform.
Nothing short of criminal. Boycotting ABC, should they go through with such a cowardly move, is one way to start, and since they don't have Monday Night Football any more I'm pretty sure I've been boycotting them since the end of the last NFL season anyway. But what to do about the kind of people who think this is a viable method to get what they want, and think sterilizing the historical record to protect a past and potentially future president is no big deal as long as those evil republicans don't try it?
Thursday, September 07, 2006
She does seem to enjoy happy major chord progressions, which is nice. I'm not ready for her to get all minor chord on us yet. Maybe high school, when she's dressed in black with pale makeup and crucifix earrings.