Thursday, August 31, 2006


Peekaboo 2
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Sabrina cracks us up before dinner. We've been having family dinner at the table since she started sitting in her high chair, and it's a lot of fun watching her eat and drink from her little cup. She drinks water out of grownup cups a lot now and seems to enjoy it a lot.

She also likes being draped over my back upside down, so I'm holding her feet and calves and she's looking down at my lower back. I lean over fairly far so she's on there very solidly and comfortably as I walk around and up and down the stairs. Less comfortable for either of us is the pelvis on Daddy's head/chest and shoulders on Daddy's hands position, but man does she love it. And free fall, especially free fall. She can't get enough of that.


Peekaboo 1
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Sabrina loves peekaboo, as all children probably do, and learned to do it herself some time ago. She also likes being chased around in her mushroom walker, and tonight she was running around it and stopping in front of Mommy for kisses, giggling madly and running around again. What a cutie.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Happy Pappy

Baby Love 1
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
We've been doing the Attachment Parenting thing with Sabrina. The basic idea is that if your child never feels insecure, forgotten, or distressed in any way by Mommy's and/or Daddy's absence, he or she will become independent earlier. My encounters with other Attachment Parenting kids have been almost all pleasant, and Sabrina's always been great, but since I'm out of the house so much and Mommy's at home, she's been far more attached to Mommy.

I figured that at some point she'd break away from Mommy of her own accord and spend more time with me without needing to know Mommy's whereabouts every few minutes, and that time has finally come. One of the things I miss most about her first two months is her sleeping on my chest or lap, boneless and warm in utter confidence that she's in a safe place. During the last six months it's been difficult to hold her for more than 10-15 minutes because she's always scanning for Mommy and wanting to be held by her instead, but during August she started hanging out with me for 30 minutes or more with no apparent concern for Mommy's location. Which is nice.

I know it's nothing personal when she prefers Mommy to Daddy; in fact, I know she'll break my heart a thousand times in the future and not mean a bit of it personally. Having kids is like that. But it sure is nice to hold your daughter on your lap and feel her relax back onto you, content just to be there. It's more than nice. It's the best thing ever.

Disclosure: I started crying at the end of this post. It's overwhelming, this parenting thing. In a great way.

Something Unbelievably Ugly at All Things Beautiful

I sure wish Amnesty International would give a crap about this. I've always been anti-Islamofascism, not anti-Islam, but when your religion authorizes the killing of young girls who've been raped for "crimes against chastity," it's hard not to lump it all together.

There's a Youtube video you should watch. Long but extremely powerful.

Good Times

I get a kick out of movie trailers recut in a way that it changes their genre. Like this one, where Glengarry Glen Ross is remade as a gay love story:

Glengarry Glen Ross is one of my favorite movies, and not just because I'm a realtor. And I haven't seen Brokeback Mountain, despite hearing from people I respect that it's quite good. But I'd see the gay Glengarry just because a better cast has rarely been assembled.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

About Goddamn Time

Christopher Hitchens finally obliterates the fantasy that Valerie Plame was outed by the Bush administration:

I have now presented thousands of words of evidence and argument to the effect that, yes, the Saddam Hussein regime did send an important Iraqi nuclear diplomat to Niger in early 1999. And I have not so far received any rebuttal from any source on this crucial point of contention. But there was always another layer to the Joseph Wilson fantasy. Easy enough as it was to prove that he had completely missed the West African evidence that was staring him in the face, there remained the charge that his nonreport on a real threat had led to a government-sponsored vendetta against him and his wife, Valerie Plame.

In his July 12 column in the Washington Post, Robert Novak had already partly exposed this paranoid myth by stating plainly that nobody had leaked anything, or outed anyone, to him. On the contrary, it was he who approached sources within the administration and the CIA and not the other way around. But now we have the final word on who did disclose the name and occupation of Valerie Plame, and it turns out to be someone whose opposition to the Bush policy in Iraq has—like Robert Novak's—long been a byword in Washington. It is particularly satisfying that this admission comes from two of the journalists—Michael Isikoff and David Corn—who did the most to get the story wrong in the first place and the most to keep it going long beyond the span of its natural life.

As most of us have long suspected, the man who told Novak about Valerie Plame was Richard Armitage, Colin Powell's deputy at the State Department and, with his boss, an assiduous underminer of the president's war policy. (His and Powell's—and George Tenet's—fingerprints are all over Bob Woodward's "insider" accounts of post-9/11 policy planning, which helps clear up another nonmystery: Woodward's revelation several months ago that he had known all along about the Wilson-Plame connection and considered it to be no big deal.) [Links Hitch's]
The chance anyone who made a lot of noise about this nonsense will recant? Zero.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Sweet Lord, No

Hummingbird Hawkmoth
Originally uploaded by janerc.
This is not a hummingbird. It's a moth. I can barely refrain from vomiting when I look at this picture. It's furry, for God's sake. I may never sleep again.

It's a Hummingbird Hawkmoth, and the picture was taken by Jane Cockman of Cambridgeshire, England. I found it on Boingboing, where we're told they ain't no hummingbirds anywhere but the Americas. Suck it, Europe.

Seriously, if this thing brushed up against me I'd die of fright.

Friday, August 25, 2006

She's Not Thrilled

What the
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Here's a picture of unhappy Sabrina. This is what you want to avoid, as it will result in your downfall. I did mention the downfall, didn't I?


Spinach and Corn
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Sabrina likes her veggies. She's having corn and spinach run through a food mill, and every few bites she gets some water from a sippy cup. For some reason it makes her very happy, and she's even happier to use the cup by herself. Not very well at this point, but she's happy and that's all I care about.

Oh yeah. Now is probably a good time to let everyone know that making Sabrina unhappy will result in your downfall.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I'm Not Sure What to Think about This

I can believe Osama Bin Laden wants to bang Whitney Houston, but can it really be true that he likes Van Halen and MacGyver?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Another Hero Passes

Joe Rosenthal died Sunday. Most of the world recognizes that name because of one picture, the one at left. A Pulitzer-winning shot, probably the most recognized photo of any war, and the most reproduced picture in the history of cameras.

Hitting the beach on Iwo Jima was the most dangerous job American fighting men did in World War II. To endure it as a soldier took enormous courage and amazing luck, and to live through it as a medic took even more. Facing that storm of steel and lead without a weapon had to be almost impossibly difficult, but the knowledge that one's presence could mean the difference between life and death for their brothers drove those men to the performance of their duty, heroism being such a commonplace on Iwo that they never thought of it as anything but their duty to do the impossible.

What I don't understand is what makes a photographer, or frankly any correspondent, climb into an Amphtrac or Higgins Boat and ride toward the sound of way too many guns on a hostile beach. I don't think of myself as a pussy, but the world will do just fine without a first-person version of D-Day events. Unless the whole invasion force is killed and captured, you can just ask one of the guys who did it a couple of days later. If no one lives through it to tell you, you're probably better off not having gone either.
More and more, people scoff at the notion of a Greatest Generation. I don't. They don't make many Joe Rosenthals, and when one crosses the river I feel pretty sad about it. These days Michael Yon would have fit right in with Rosenthal and Jerry Joswick, but I can't think of a second. That's probably more a function of my inattention than a solid assessment of the situation, but I do believe a different breed of American man existed then than now.

Great page about the flag raisers here, with pics and some stuff I didn't know despite reading Flags of Our Fathers (an excellent, even essential book that's being made into a movie right now) more than once. And an interesting US Navy interview with flag raiser John Bradley, Navy Cross winner and father of Flags of Our Fathers author James Bradley, is here. Thanks to the Thighmaster for noticing Rosenthal's passing first.


Why hasn't there been much coverage of kidnapped Fox journalist Steve Centanni and cameraman Olaf Wiig? Michelle Malkin wonders. Then lefty journalist Bob Laurence explains:

I'd like to offer a couple of possible reasons for the lack of attention given to the kidnapping of the two guys from Fox:

One is that, sadly, they are far from the first to be kidnapped, injured or killed. They are, alas, only the most recent two of many. The kidnapping or targeting of journalists in Iraq isn't the story it once was.

Second, Fox has deliberately set itself apart from other news media. Starting at the top with Roger Ailes, the Fox sales pitch has been to deride other media, to declare itself the one source of the real truth, the sole source of 'fair and accurate' news reporting. As a result, there's not a reservoir of kinship or good will with Fox on the part of the rest of the news media. You can't keep insulting people and then expect friendship when you need it.

They've made it a policy to keep a distance between themselves and the rest of the media, far beyond the usual competitive spirit, so that's where they are: at a distance.
It doesn't get much more nauseating than that.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I Mean, Hello

Thomas Sowell makes a powerful case for getting our sh*t together immediately :

What kind of people provide a market for videotaped beheadings of innocent hostages? What kind of people would throw an old man in a wheelchair off a cruise liner into the sea, simply because he was Jewish? What kind of people would fly planes into buildings to vent their hate at the cost of their own lives?

These are the kinds of people we are talking about getting nuclear weapons. And what of ourselves?

Do we understand that the world will never be the same after hate-filled fanatics gain the ability to wipe whole American cities off the face of the earth? Do we still imagine that they can be bought off, as Israel was urged to buy them off with "land for peace" -- a peace that has proved to be wholly illusory?

Even ruthless conquerors of the past, from Genghis Khan to Adolf Hitler, wanted some tangible gains for themselves or their nations -- land, wealth, dominion. What Middle East fanatics want is the destruction and humiliation of the west.
Go read Ace's post on this, which is where I stole it.

Can't Say I Disagree Much

Bob Dylan says modern music sucks:

Bob Dylan says the quality of modern recordings is "atrocious," and even the songs on his new album sounded much better in the studio than on disc.

"I don't know anybody who's made a record that sounds decent in the past 20 years, really," the 65-year-old rocker said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine.

Yeah, I'm curmudgeonly. Here's the funny part:

Noting the music industry's complaints that illegal downloading means people are getting their music for free, he said, "Well, why not? It ain't worth nothing anyway."

"You listen to these modern records, they're atrocious, they have sound all over them," he added. "There's no definition of nothing, no vocal, no nothing, just like ... static."
The overriding feeling I have about popular music these days is that it's made by children, and that didn't used to be the case. While there have always some boys and girls working among the men and women of the music biz, there was a progression that was made possible by the mix, a passing of torches. For whatever reason, musical fads come and go so quickly now that there's not nearly as much comingling of rising and falling stars any more, so tradition is something you sample, not something you earn through relationships and hard work. I'm talking about producers too, not just artists, and that's where the real magic is lost.

Same thing with film, TV and even comedy, have you seen any of the Comedy Central roasts lately? It used to be that the host of the event was at least the subject's second or third best friend, and the dais was for people with serious connections only. Now the host is a distant acquaintance and the dais is filled with strangers.

Speaking of comedy, I laughed when I read this:

Two live diamondback rattlesnakes were released in an Arizona movie theater during a showing of the new film "Snakes on a Plane," according to Local 6 News.

I hope everyone's OK, but that's what I call hilarious.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


I find this invigorating:

Some random internet dude. Wacky.

Friday, August 18, 2006


Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Sabrina almost has her top front teeth in, she's been rocking the lowers for a while now and wanted to match. They're quite sharp, and she's got surprising jaw strength. In fact it's kind of amazing how many ways she can hurt you. She's head butted me very painfully more than once and didn't even seem to notice, and she beats the hell out of Mommy on a regular basis with fists, feet and elbows, not to mention finger- and toenails.

She's like a ninja, anything can be a weapon. One of her favorite toys is a tiny maraca, and it's one of the more effective baby maces I've ever seen. It stings nastily when it catches you in the right spot. The dogs have very wisely steered far clear of her, and if she gets much stronger we're going to have to get Mommy some armor.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Speaking Of

This isn't Sabrina's favorite Miles Davis song (that would be "Old Folks" on "Some Day My Prince Will Come"), or even her favorite on "Kind of Blue" (that would be "Freddie Freeloader"), but it's the best YouTube video of Davis I could find in a hurry, and it has some amazing Coltrane work. Watch:

No, Sabrina, they don't make music like that any more. And yes, it's a shame, but the truth is not many people take their work as seriously as Davis took his (check out the intensity in his eyes - you won't see that in Jessica Simpson's, or even marginal intelligence). But all that past greatness is preserved for you, my little sweetheart, and Mommy and Daddy will make sure you get as much as you want.

We're Getting the Band Back Together

Rock Out
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Sabrina and Daddy are having fun here. Daddy's accompanying her keyboard (her hand's right above it) and vocal skills on guitar, and he can tell you that Sabrina's going to be a star. She loves music of all kinds and is especially fond of Miles Davis. What a precious little angel . . .

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Just How Crazy is the American Far Left?

Beyond psychotic, apparently. From a Daily Kos poll about Mike Wallace's creampuff of an interview with the nutty Iranian president:

Mike Wallace was totally rude and a jingoistic idiot - 71 votes - 33 %
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is an idiot - 34 votes - 15 %
George Bush is an Idiot and Mike Wallace his pawn - 13 votes - 6 %
George Bush is an Idiot and Mike Wallace his pawn - 8 votes - 3 %
Mike Wallace, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and George Bush are idiots - 56 votes - 26 %
The interview was great by Wallace - 13 votes - 6 %
Who cares - 20 votes

Even worse are the utterly insane comments, like this:

I used to be against nuclear proliferation, but given what we've done in Iraq I
think the better thing would have been for Hussein to have developed nukes, and
prevented this long-term fiasco. The US seems to invade countries prior to
their going nuclear, in order so that we can continue to control those
countries. That seems to be the distinction between Iraq & North
Korea, and the reason we're pushing on Iran now and not on North Korea.
With the noted exception of the US, no such country (with an egomaniacal
brutal dictator and a land mass to protect) is going to use those weapons except

Or this wonderful sentiment:

I challenge your assumption on this. Iran has no such history of
instability, and is in fact one of the few stable democracies in the mideast -
even though it might not be a form you or I might like, as it's closer to the
religious democracy right-wing Christians would prefer. When only one
antagonistic power in a region has nukes, you can argue that it's an unstable
situation, such as when India had them before Pakistan. Right now, only
Israel has them in the mideast, and has indicated a willingness to use them.
Iran is in a dangerous neighborhood, with 3 antagonistic nuclear powers
within striking range of its territory. And the most dangerous,
aggressive, hostile nuclear power in the world, the US, has made threats against

But whatever you do, don't challenge their patriotism.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Mel vs. the World

My little sister Patsy sent me this, on the topic of Mel Gibson's drunken anti-semitic freakout:

From Newsweek..

"you can't pour vodka on a turnip and have it say anti-Semitic remarks"

Gary J. Malone, chief of psychiatry at Baylor All Saints Medical Hospital in Ft. Worth, in response to Mel Gibson's claim that alcohol was the cause of the anti-Semitic statements he made after being arrested for drunken driving.

Patsy's a smartass and I love her. She's also single, boys, so call me if you'd like a naked picture of her. From 1968, that is.

I have somewhat mixed feelings about the point Dr. Malone makes below (as have a number of columnists and assorted chatterers) because I know from personal experience that true addicts in the extremes of crackheadedness, especially days of it in a row, find a world normal people don't ever see, and it does weird things to your mind that can override your personality. We've all seen people who change drastically under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and it's never easy to reconcile the two personalities, especially when something particularly ugly is done by such people.

I had a couple of episodes long ago that haunt me because I said and did things I'd never, ever do sober or merely drunk. No relation to anything I've ever done, said, thought or even imagined. In vino veritas, sure, but there's a point beyond all that where things get really freaky and it's naughty time.

Now, Mel Gibson may well be Hitler Jr., I can't say what's in his crazy little mind. He seems to share some basic problems with Michael Jackson: paranoia, nuttiness, substance abuse, and generalized detachment from the reality you and I experience. For all I know, antisemitic remarks both have made publicly may reflect real, actual hate. But there's at least a chance that the same self-destructiveness that allows a wealthy, famous, powerful Oscar-winner to piss his health, reputation, family and earning potential away can also manifest itself in a series of ugly public statements made during a DUI arrest. One feels the need to be punished after years of getting away with murder, after all. Saying the ugliest, most reprehensible things you can think of while the cops are videotaping you might just do the trick.

The other thing that occurs to me about all this is that any number of lefty loudmouths have blamed all the world's problems on Israel for years now, but since they weren't drunk I guess it's not the same thing.


I was looking for Youtube video of Marlon Brando in Last Tango in Paris (Skinny Bean just called and told me it's hilarious) and came across this amazing bit of acting history, Burt Reynolds impersonating Marlon Brando on a 1963 Twilight Zone:

Easily the best acting Burt Reynolds ever did. He absolutely is Brando, from facial expression to gesture and voice.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Oh My

This doesn't seem like good news. Any of it.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Al Gore's a doofus, we all knew that. But did you know he's a hypocrite? Read:

Public records reveal that as Gore lectures Americans on excessive consumption, he and his wife Tipper live in two properties: a 10,000-square-foot, 20-room, eight-bathroom home in Nashville, and a 4,000-square-foot home in Arlington, Va. (He also has a third home in Carthage, Tenn.) For someone rallying the planet to pursue a path of extreme personal sacrifice, Gore requires little from himself.

Then there is the troubling matter of his energy use. In the Washington, D.C., area, utility companies offer wind energy as an alternative to traditional energy. In Nashville, similar programs exist. Utility customers must simply pay a few extra pennies per kilowatt hour, and they can continue living their carbon-neutral lifestyles knowing that they are supporting wind energy. Plenty of businesses and institutions have signed up. Even the Bush administration is using green energy for some federal office buildings, as are thousands of area residents.

But according to public records, there is no evidence that Gore has signed up to use green energy in either of his large residences. When contacted Wednesday, Gore's office confirmed as much but said the Gores were looking into making the switch at both homes. Talk about inconvenient truths.

Why do I find this info delicious? Because everyone loves to see a self-righteous blowhard revealed for what he really is, a political opportunist who's still mad at himself for blowing a 20-point lead in 2000 by losing a debate to George W. Bush. Hey, I'd be kicking myself too, but I wouldn't take it out on the general public in the form of endless harangues about approaching manmade doom. There's more:

Gore has held these apocalyptic views about the environment for some time. So why, then, didn't Gore dump his family's large stock holdings in Occidental (Oxy) Petroleum? As executor of his family's trust, over the years Gore has controlled hundreds of thousands of dollars in Oxy stock. Oxy has been mired in controversy over oil drilling in ecologically sensitive areas.

Living carbon-neutral apparently doesn't mean living oil-stock free. Nor does it necessarily mean giving up a mining royalty either.

Humanity might be "sitting on a ticking time bomb," but Gore's home in Carthage is sitting on a zinc mine. Gore receives $20,000 a year in royalties from Pasminco Zinc, which operates a zinc concession on his property. Tennessee has cited the company for adding large quantities of barium, iron and zinc to the nearby Caney Fork River.

Hey Al? Zip it. Go away. You're so not helping it's insane.

Shhh, I'm Talking to Him Right Now

Hold On a Minute, Will You?
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
I posted a pic last month of Sabrina holding this phone, this is from the same couple of minutes. It was slightly upsetting (for me, at least) to see her grab the phone in an adult phone-talking manner because we had hoped to deny her a cell phone until she was at least three, but now it looks like we'll have to get her Bluetooth diapers.

This was the second of three poses, the first being standard next-to-the-head position. Wait until you see the third, where she's screaming into the phone like a frustrated realtor. Oh wait, that was me yesterday.


Halloween Baby
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Sabrina likes shiny things, as we all do. Last month we gave her this glowstick and she couldn't get enough of it. At the time I thought this picture a bit macabre but now I kind of like it.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Too True

Hilarious. From my oldest brother David, who is not easily amused. If you have kids, you'll love this:

Eat your food only; do not eat that which is not food; neither seize the table between your jaws, nor use the raiment of the table to wipe your lips. I say again to you, do not touch it, but leave it as it is.

And though your stick of carrot does indeed resemble a marker, draw not with it upon the table, even in pretend, for we do not do that, that is why. And though the pieces of broccoli are very like small trees, do not stand them upright to make a forest, because we do not do that,that is why.

Sit just as I have told you, and do not lean to one side or the other, nor slide down until you are nearly slid away. Heed me; for if you sit like that, your hair will go into the syrup. And now behold, even as I have said, it has come to pass.

It gets better. Those nutty Catholics!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Makes My Doodoo Twinkle, Man

This is the kind of thing I had hoped for when they said there was a third season of the Chappelle show on the way:

Strong language ahead, don't hit that go button if you don't want to hear it. My favorite line: the title of this post.

For Once, No Smile

Serious Girl
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
So beautiful . . . I just worship this little angel. That's all I can say about this one. I'm the luckiest man in the world.

Picture by Genie, again.

Happy Child

Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Sabrina is starting to range further and further away from Mommy without freaking out these days, and can hang out with Daddy alone for much longer than ever before before demanding Mommy's presence. I never minded that she was Mommy's girl, we're doing the Attachment Parenting thing and I figured she'd eventually acquire the confidence needed to break away on her own soon enough. I didn't think it would be this soon, but I'm happy either way, and it's great to hold her for long periods of time and to see her reaching toward me for a hug. More than great, really. The best thing I've ever felt. Picture courtesy of my sister Genie, by the way.

I found this very sad, to be frank:

The lies started when my eldest son was less than ten months old.

Invitations to attend a child's birthday party or, worse, a singalong session were met with the same refrain: 'I would love to but I just can't spare the time.'

The nanny was dispatched in my place, and almost always returned complaining that my son had been singled out for pitiful stares by the other mothers.

I confess that I was probably ogling the merchandise at Harvey Nichols or having my highlights done instead. Of course I love my children as much as any mother, but the truth is I found such events so boring that I made up any excuse.

I can't say which activity I dreaded more: playing Pass The Parcel at parties with a child who permanently crawled away from the action towards the priceless knick-knacks, or listening to the other mothers go on about such excitements as teething and potty-training. Mind-numbing!

To be honest, I spent much of the early years of my children's lives in a workaholic frenzy because the thought of spending time with them was more stressful than any journalistic assignment I could imagine.

She's catching hell all over about this, and I saw her son (the one on the right in the picture) tell a reporter that if he were a stay-at-home mother, he'd "take to drink." In truth I feel more pity than ire about this, but I couldn't resist leaving this comment beneath the column (which has been deleted, probably for the initial profanity despite my clever disguise):

Boo f#$%ing hoo. If you weren't prepared to sacrifice anything and everything for your children, why did you have any? Too bad for them, I suppose.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I Need a New Wardrobe

Made of this:

Armor Holdings' product is different from all of the above. Developed by Norman Wagner, a professor of chemical engineering at the University of Dela-ware's Center for Composite Materials, it's a mix of polyethylene glycol, a polymer found in laxatives and other consumer products, and nanobits of silica, or purified sand. Together they produce a "sheer-thickening liquid" that stiffens instantly into a shield when hit hard by an object. It reverts to its liquid state just as fast when the energy from the projectile dissipates.

Initially, Wagner and his collaborators envisioned armor that could be spread on a person, almost like peanut butter on bread, says Eric Wetzel, a researcher at the Army Research Laboratory in Aberdeen, Md. But in tests co-sponsored by the Army Lab, they found that the materials worked best when painted on Kevlar in ultrathin coats. By holding the fibers tight like a flexible glue, the compound spreads out the impact of a blow better than fibers alone. "The search in the past has been for stronger and stronger filaments," says Wetzel. "We've tried to change how the fabric interacts with the projectile."

The liquid has other pluses. It's lighter than Kevlar and other widely used fabrics. That means Armor Holdings' new vests, in which the substance would be sandwiched between layers of ballistic fibers, might be lighter than current versions, which weigh four pounds or more. It also should be cheaper to manufacture, says Schiller. The Jacksonville (Fla.) company wants to continue to sell entry-level garments for $500 to $600.

Sweet. Sent by Skinny Bean of Denver, CO.