Saturday, September 30, 2006

That Smarts

Man when Mark Steyn is on, he's unstoppable:

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.

It Takes a Tough Guy to Not Be a Tough Guy

David Kenyon Webster wrote one of the best war memoirs I've ever read (Parachute Infantry) after his experience as one of the 506th PIR of the 101st Airborne "Band of Brothers" memorialized in Stephen Ambrose's book of the same name (and a subsequent HBO miniseries). If you saw the miniseries, Webster is the guy who can't forgive himself for uttering a bad movie cliche when he gets wounded in Holland ("They got me!") and who, upon his return from the replacement depot after the Bulge, gets the cold shoulder from his buddies because they think he took his time getting back to the unit (in fairness, he probably did exactly what he was told, but compared to people like Joe Toye, who escaped from a hospital to join his comrades, he may have been thought of as less than enthusiastic about war, which is perfectly sane). What Webster's book doesn't have that others often do is first-person heroism; he's as candid as any soldier I've ever read about his fears, doubts and moments of weakness. Here's an excerpt from the moments before he takes his first combat jump into Normandy:

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.

Throw Your Hands in the Air

Crawler 3
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Sabrina got to her feet, with the assistance of the coffee table, by herself yesterday. Mommy was facing away from her when she did it and gasped in amazement when she turned around, which Sabrina found slightly worrisome for a moment. Mommy made it all better by praising the little monkey for being so independent and sweet, and gave her a car.

Oh, wait, that's me in 15 years.

Friday, September 29, 2006


The War on Terror is generally portrayed as a failure, bogged down, or otherwise hopeless. I don't feel that way about it, being prepared for a long slog from the beginning, but what you get from the media is not encouraging. Well, there's a lot of positive to the situation, and Daffyd ab Hugh gets it:

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

Coolest Toy Ever

Check out this rig some French dude put together: VR goggles with a gyroscope attached control a camera strapped to an RC plane, so while he flies the plane with regular controls, he can pan and raise/lower the camera just like you'd do if you were actually flying it. Check the video and you'll see what I mean. Too cool.

How It's Going over There

Castle Argghh has some great links here to the heroic tale of Private Johnson Beharry of the 1st Battalion Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, the first Victoria Cross winner since 1965. They're really book excerpts, and thereby quick and fun reads.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Someone's Got Shoes On

Crawler 2
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
I never really understood the whole baby shoe thing. They don't walk much before about a year, but people make baby shoes for much younger kids. I don't get it.

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.

Sweet Smile Baby

Crawler 1
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Sabrina has a fever today, just like yesterday and the day before. I was alarmed and amazed to hear from the nurse that a child's temp can get to 105 before they insist you take her to an ER. I would have thought 103 or something, but apparently not.

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 Think I'm in Love

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

Aha, part 2

I knew I'd seen that kid somewhere before.

Monday, September 18, 2006

You'll Never Guess

Who's got a new blog! One hint: I married her and she had a baby named Sabrina last December. Okay, that was two hints.

Kooky Kitten

Silly Grin
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
When you get Sabrina riled up, rides on your shoulders, flying, freefall, racing around in the stroller, etc., she gets kind of a crazed look on her face. Same thing when you fan her face really fast, she looks a whole lot like this pic. I can't help thinking she's going to be a bit of a daredevil.

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.

You're Getting Very Sleepy

Grabby Angel
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Sabrina is hypnotizing you. She's saying, "Send this blog address to your friends so Daddy can get some decent traffic." Don't disobey her, she'll scratch your eyes out.

QE Motherf@#king D

To borrow a Sam Jackson phrase, I have had it with these motherf#$king Islamofascists on this motherf&%king plane(t). The pope makes a scholarly reference to someone else's belief that violence is incompatible with the meat of the Koran's better bits and in return gets a response that would be funny if it weren't so chilling: "How dare you call us violent and irrational! We'll kill you!"

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.

Good stuff.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Mikey Like

Perez is right; Nelly Furtado and Charlotte Church's version of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" is pretty good stuff:

I still love the original, though. Cee-Lo's voice is amazing, and damn what a video.

Friday, September 15, 2006

See You on the Other Side, Oriana

One of my heroes, Oriana Fallaci, just passed away. Fallaci was a skilled and fearless journalist and, later in life, an even more fearless critic of militant Islam and those in the West who collaborated with it. Europe is in a sad state, and will soon be in a terrible one, because its leaders chose to oppose Fallaci and others who warned of its disastrous fate long ago. There aren't nearly enough like her, and now there is one less. God bless, Oriana, and rest in peace.

Go read more about her here.

A Touch of Blueberry

Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
If you look closely, you'll find blueberry bits on Sabrina's cheeks. And from the looks of those cheeks, there may well be some blueberry inside them as well. She generally fills them up with food before actually swallowing anything.

Which is just fine, because she's cute.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


I had no idea break dancing had gotten so cool.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Richly Deserved

Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
When Sabrina catches you mocking her mad face, this is what comes next. She really can tear your face up pretty well, and will given a chance, so I wasn't really sure what to do the first couple of times. I don't want to freak out when she inadvertently hurts me because I don't want her to be scared or even dismayed by it, not really having the capacity to understand the connection between gouging my eye out and me screaming yet.

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.


Like Father, Like Daughter
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Sabrina has a mad face now, and this is it. I try to imitate but can't quite capture the essence, although it's likely that she picked it up from me in the first place. The mad face is accompanied by sharp intakes and outputs of breath through the nose, which is really more funny than scary. But we act scared anyway, so as not to minimize her feelings.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Never Forget

Best 9/11 tributes I've seen today are at Michelle Malkin's. As many have said, keep scrolling.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Balls on Some People

I've been trying to quantify my unhappiness about Bill Clinton and friends trying to get ABC to pull "The Path to 9/11" off the air because of a small amount of unflattering portrayal therein, but Dean Esmay has done it so well I'll just quote him:

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

Woozy Time

Juiced Up
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
An infant drunkenness joke seems imperative here, but frankly it's been done here more than once. So let's just imagine it's one of those unfortunate candid dancing pics you sometimes see on the intertubes.


Over the Shoulder Cuteness
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
I can't be the only one who finds this picture fascinating. When I see Sabrina pics, I usually imagine her having just said something when the camera snaps. In this one, she just said, "We're never going to make it back to our seats before intermission ends if you don't hurry up and finish that footlong chili dog."

Musical Baby

Ukelele Party 1
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
Like all parents, I long for Sabrina to grow up to be a rave DJ, so we're trying to expose her to as much music as possible now. Guitars and ukeleles are tough to manage as a small child, strumming being harder than it looks after all. She's hell on a whammy bar, but is still working out the kinks on everything else.

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.

I Want One

Now this is cool: a cutting board with an embedded scale.

Oh, crap:

Don't be getting out that credit card just yet; the designers say the technology to build the thing is between one and five years away. The electronic ink display technology will be possible between one and five years from now, the low-current photovoltaics specified as its power source will be practical in one to three years, and the embedded sensor grids are also one to three years away.

Never mind, for now.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Sabrina Shares

Peekaboo 4
Originally uploaded by Uncle Mikey.
If you get close enough during meal times, Sabrina will decorate you. I woke up this morning with grape popsicle (the healty all-fruit kind) in my hair from last night's dinner, which we ate outside on the neighbors' back deck with them, their sons Lincoln and Beckett, and our other neighbor Mike from a few blocks away.

I cooked Primos, which some of you may remember from the now-defunct Mad Dog's on 24th Street near the UT campus. Parts of Richard Linklater's Slacker were filmed in its parking lot/dining area, and I used to eat one or more Primos a week, because they were just so damned good. A Primo is a hamburger with raw bacon, onions and jalapenos mixed in to the ground beef before cooking, which makes a spicy, flavorful burger that is second to none if made correctly.

I've been trying, and failing, to make a Primo correctly for 20 years now, and learned only four or five ago to use a Cuisinart to get the bacon, onion and jalapenos right before mixing in with the beef. Now I'm the Primo master, and none can withstand my power. NONE!

I can't wait to see Sabrina wolf one down ten years from now. As soon as she's done, she'll wipe her hands on my shirt and run off to play.

The Dumbest, Most Offensive Crap Ever

It's not the politics of the "leading academics" who say 9/11 was an inside job that I object to, it's the stupidity involved in believing such nonsense. And it's not Bill Clinton's desire to polish his sad turd of a presidency yet again through intellectually dishonest revisionism that I don't like, it's the attendant lack of a meaningful learning experience that results from falsifying the record thus. The Bush administration, which apparently gets a much more negative portrayal in the ABC 9/11 docudrama that Clinton and his former administration are campaigning to have pulled off the air if it's not redone to their liking, has made no such statement. Only Clinton is such a moral coward that he can't stand to have his idiotic reaction to terrorism examined in public.

Any respect I've ever had for Bill Clinton is now gone. I never had any for Albright, Berger or the other crooked jackasses who worked for him, so that's no loss. Shame on the lot of them.

Monday, September 04, 2006

One of 5,000 Blog Posts Titled "Crikey" today

While I'm sad that Croc Hunter Steve Irwin is dead of a stingray barb to the heart (apparently in an attempt to demystify the stingray in a TV or film shoot), I kind of hope it's a lesson to others to stop messing with dangerous animals just because you can. I never understood what was to be gained by a hefty, overly energetic Australian molesting innocent animals on camera. I do now. RIP, God bless, and luck to the family, Steve.

I suppose this post is in bad taste, but, I mean, it's kind of funny. Not really funny, but kind of. This, on the other hand, is so funny I'm ashamed to post it. Or at least I should be.


Does enjoying this immoderately make me a bad person? It's Rupert Everett writing about how crazy Sharon Stone was. Is. Whatever.

You Got That Right

Mark Steyn, always a great read, says it well here:

Consider, for example, the bizarre behavior of Reuters, the once globally respected news agency now reduced to putting out laughably inept terrorist propaganda. A few days ago, it made a big hoo-ha about the Israelis intentionally firing a missile at its press vehicle and wounding its cameraman Fadel Shana. Shana was posed in an artful sprawl in a blood-spattered shirt. But it had ridden up and underneath his undershirt was spotlessly white, like a summer-stock Julius Caesar revealing the boxers under his toga. What's stunning is not that almost all Western media organizations reporting from the Middle East are reliant on local staff overwhelmingly sympathetic to one side in the conflict -- that's been known for some time -- but the amateurish level of fakery that head office is willing to go along with.

Down at the other end of the news business, meanwhile, one finds items like this snippet from the Sydney Morning Herald:

"A 16-year-old girl was tailed by a car full of men before being dragged inside and assaulted in Sydney's west last night, police say . . .

"The three men involved in the attack were described to police as having dark 'mullet-style' haircuts."

Three men with "mullet-style" hair, huh? Not much to go on there. Bit of a head scratcher. But, as it turned out, the indefatigable Sydney Morning Herald typist had faithfully copied out every salient detail of the police report except one. Here's the statement the coppers themselves issued:

"Police are seeking three men described as being of Middle Eastern/Mediterranean appearance, with dark 'mullet-style' hair cuts."

That additional detail narrows it down a bit, wouldn't you say? The only reason I know that is because the Aussie Internet maestro Tim Blair grew curious about the epidemic of incidents committed by men of no known appearance and decided to look into it.

He began the column by writing about the two Fox journalists converting to Islam in exchange for their freedom, and picks up the thread again for the conclusion:

In the Muslim world, they watch the Centanni/Wiig video and see men so in love with the present, the now, that they will do or say anything to live in the moment. And they draw their own conclusions -- that these men are easier to force into the car than that 16-year-old girl in Sydney was. It doesn't matter how "understandable" Centanni and Wiig's actions are to us, what the target audience understands is quite different: that there is nothing we're willing to die for. And, to the Islamist mind, a society with nothing to die for is already dead.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


First recorded instance of Eddie Van Halen playing "Eruption," somewhere in England 1978:

And then, of course, right into "You Really Got Me." They must have loved it in Merry Olde.

See this one also, more solo goodness.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Real, Actual Artists, for Once

I agree with Gregory at Sippican Cottage that some people are playing at art for the sake of being well-known, while others make it because they're artists. Watch the Youtube video embedded there to get an entertaining education.