Friday, February 29, 2008

Where'd They Come From?

A young woman just came by the office and offered to sell me a Christian cookbook. She's putting herself through Christian college by selling these cookbooks, which are pretty much just like any other cookbook except they've got Christian glurge artfully arrayed between the recipes, little inspirational sayings like Jesus Christ was horribly tortured and died an intensely painful and prolonged death just to give you a get-out-of-hell-free card and the like.

I had to refuse. Then she tried to hit me up for a buck. "That's not too much to ask?" Well, it is when I'm not carrying any cash. Sorry, lady.

I'm not too worried. I'm sure there are plenty of other folks here in the Valley who'll buy one or more books, probably because they feel obliged to ("I don't need it, but it's a Christian cookbook! What else could I have done?") and a single sawbuck wouldn't have bought her much except maybe heart disease from McDonald's.

Still, that's two missionaries from out-of-country who've tried to hit me up in the month of February. What's up with that?

Good Lord

Humorous Pictures
Enter the ICHC online Poker Cats Contest!

Happy Birthday, You Handsome Rascal

You're 38. How does it feel?

(And I do see Kevin sitting on one foot, there.)

At YouTube.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

1 in 4 American Adults Are Evangelicals

Via Pandagon and Pharyngula, I find this New York Times article on a new Pew poll.

A couple of observations. "Evangelical" Christians are 26.3 percent of American adults. That's the largest block in their poll, challenged only by Catholics at 23.9 percent.

The Catholics are followed by Mormons and Jews, both at 1.7%, and we atheists at 1.6%.

The New York Times says that

The rise of the unaffiliated does not mean that Americans are becoming less religious, however. Contrary to assumptions that most of the unaffiliated are atheists or agnostics, most described their religion “as nothing in particular.”

I don't understand how "nothing in particular" is being touted as a win for religion. These are folks who are taking the poll and not wishing to commit to anything, so they opt for option D. None of the above, and the NYT thinks these guys have religion.

Religion is a passion, almost a compulsion, where I come from, and I guess I just can't grok how "Meh" is a religious group.

On the other hand, the evangelicals are crowing their "victory" in the Grand Struggle of Ideas:

“The trend is toward more personal religion, and evangelicals offer that,” said Mr. Prothero, chairman of the religion department at Boston University, who explained that evangelical churches tailor many of their activities for youth. “Those losing out are offering impersonal religion and those winning are offering a smaller scale: mega-churches succeed not because they are mega but because they have smaller ministries inside.”

Many evangelicals offer what seems to be personal religion on the surface, but below that surface it turns out to be a culture of values imposed by leaders upon their followers and enforced by public shaming and nosiness. No thank you. I'm not even going to discuss those folk who lie to their flock about the world.

And I'd like to see what sort of church activities are tailored for the youth. I bet it's all Christian rock and the sort of speakers who act like they've just mainlined twelve pots of coffee, when they aren't condescending to their audience. Getting young people involved in the political process, fine, as long as they aren't used to propagate mean and hateful policies. Gathering them all into a gymnasium for some big-spectacle speeches with little content, I'll pass.

And about those mega-churches: Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon suspects that the draw from the mega-churches is that they can offer services (such as day care) that smaller churches can't, and they also tend to poach from your friendly neighborhood church. The recruitment phenomenon is not limited to mega-churches, but wherever it is found, there is tremendous pressure on the members of the church to bring new faces to the next service. When someone shows up without a new buddy, he or she is subject to lots of disapproval, like something's wrong with him or her.

Even the moderate and friendly evangelicals, like Fred Clark at Slacktivist, see themselves as beggars telling other beggars where they found bread. That's great for them. I just deny that I am a beggar, that's all. I'm not hungry for the bread they are telling me about. All the accomplishments of the human race, the art, the music, the technologies, and the wonders of the natural world, the great burgeoning of life on this planet, are apparently not good enough for them. Those glories, mundane as they may be, are enough for me.

I won't stop the 71.4% of American adults from going to church. I'd just appreciate it if they would stop pressuring me to go, like trying to get me to buy pot from them. They won't ever let it drop, and I've just got to be polite and keep refusing.

Update: I see that Mom sent me this review in an email several days ago. I guess I should check my email more often. Sorry, Mom!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

No Tap-Backs, Huh?

So I have been tapped with a bleearghh meme by me dear ole mum, because (she says)

he’s just getting his feet wet at this blogging thing, and he’s got a decent wit, if I do say so myself.

So here I am in the spotlight. Everyone's expecting me to say something witty, now.

The rules are thus:

1. Pick up the nearest book and look at page 123.
2. Count to the fifth sentence.
3. Post the three sentences immediately following that fifth sentence, but not the fifth sentence itself.

Okay. So. In an apartment that looks like this

in one room and this

in the other, I should be able to hold out a bucket and shout "Here, book!" and a hefty tome of perspicacity and insight would come jumping in, right? Right!

Here book!

Here book!

.... Maybe I need a bigger bucket.

Oh, that's right. I'm a liberal. My books speak French. Duh!

Ici livre!

Sacre bleu! Un nibble!


All right, page 123 ... fifth line ... next three lines:

"Sounded like you meant it to me."
"Perhaps. I was looking back to a time when I was only eight, before I found out what a pain life really is."

Hmmm. Kind of dull, really, but that's the rules. Pity. There are more interesting exchanges in the book, like

"Now, just tha' hold on, Dalziel! No bugger talks to me that way!"
It was there, the old Yorkshire accent, loud and sweet.
Dalziel stood back and said, "Ee bah gum, Art. It's grand to have thee back wi' real folk again."

Phonetics for the win!

Now I'm supposed to tap seven other people. I'm afraid I'm going to have to break the chain, here, because I don't know seven other bloggers well enough to tap them. Mom's already done it, and she's tapped Rabbitswift. I'm supposed to go on Pharyngula or Sadly, No! and demand they do this thing? I'm just a little fish, here.

So I am breaking the chain. Those chain emails you get always promise good things if you forward 'em on to ten people in the next 10 seconds, and dire calamity if you break the chain. I guess I'm screwed, then. I resolve to face my imminent spontaneous combustion and vast impoverishment with a grin and a set jaw in the manner of the two-fisted heroes of the pulps. Bring it on!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

All Comfortable

Spook is measuring her length before the door. Keeps drafts out a treat!

The road conditions don't look too bad. Pretty wet, with temperatures approaching 32 degrees at 8 a.m., so there might be some ice, but only if it hasn't been salted, and the day should be warming up from there. Still, I'll drive careful.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Thursday, February 21, 2008

What the Hell?

So David tells me to contact the Cheyenne Ambulatory Care Center in Oak Ridge to get some records for one of our clients.

I say Okay, and head on over to which doesn't have it.

I scour the Yellow Pages in the phone book, hoping to Magnum, P.I.* up a number. Nope.

I call 411. I have to say "One" twice to get a government or business listing; apparently the robot wasn't listening to me the first time. The droid also fails to bring up a number for it, and dumps me into the wait queue for a live person.

She's very sorry, but there's no listing. Can she help me with another listing today?

So I ask for Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge. That at least is recognized by AT&T.

But I know Cheyenne Ambulatory is there. It's on the Turnpike. I pass it twice each workday. Isabel had her nose job done there. What, didn't they pay their phone bill?


Update the First: All right, it wasn't rhinoplasty, it was surgery to correct a deviated septum. It just amuses me to call it a nose job; however, since it doesn't amuse Isabel I guess that behavior is going to extinguish.

Update the Second: The Cheyenne Ambulatory Care Center is a satellite of Methodist Medical Center. At least I ain't crazy.

Sometimes, I Despair

On February 9, a storefront mosque was burned in Columbia, Tennessee. The three men charged with painting swastikas and white power slogans on the building, then firebombing it with molotov cocktails claim to be part of the Christian Identity movement, which is white supremacist.

There are two Christian Identity orgs in East Tennessee, in Kodak and New Tazewell. Those towns aren't too far from my own front door.

And the first thing anyone says nowadays when accused of being racist, is "You're the racist! You're prejudiced against me!" which is escalation and refuge in audacity rolled into one.

It is not racist to call out racism in others honestly. But if you're using it to deflect criticism or to bolster statements that are racist on their faces, that's disingenuous and weaselly.

I need a beer.

On the other hand, last year the Klan tried to have a rally in Knoxville and a whole bunch of young people got together and counter-protested, to the point that the Klan abandoned its rally and the protestors marched down the street cheering "Whose streets? Our streets!" I wish I'd known ahead of time.

All The Cops In the Donut Shops Go

Way Oh Way Oh

(I hear that song every now and again on the radio. It's kind of semi-permanently stuck in my head.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lord of the Toads

Via Pharyngula, I see that there is a brand new toad in the fossil record. Beelzebufo was a 10-pound amphibian that lived 70 million years ago in what is now Madagascar. PZ Myers is pretty excited about it, and so am I. Finally, the toads get into the megafauna!

Myers glosses its name as "Devil Frog," while a few people in his comments think a more accurate translation is "Lord of the Toads." I tend to prefer the latter, just for aesthetics. It's likely we may find an even bigger relative. Hell, we already have Tyrannosaurus rex, yes? And it's not the largest therapod ever discovered. Calvinosaur is much bigger, you know.

Apparently this amphibian is thought to have been an ambush predator, content to sit in one spot until something wandered along, mouse, insect, some of the smaller dinosaurs and birds; then zap! goes the tongue and that mouth opens wide, wide. Brrrr!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Awfully Cute

Humorous Pictures
moar humorous pics

Via I Can Has Cheezburger. This site is bad for my diet because it makes me go, "Mmmm... cheeseburger!" every time I go there.

But then I hear that there's been a massive beef recall in the last couple of weeks and that kills my appetite.

And there's mercury in our fish and E. coli in our spinach. It's a bad time to have a digestive system.

But the kitten is awfully cute. I believe that's Rule 28, there.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Don't Worry, Mr. Waits!

I'll get you out!

That's Spook and Isabel's Apple speakers. Spook went through a phase when she tried to eat the rubber cushioning the silver speaker dish. I guess the vibrations as it propagated the sound waves were really enticing. Nowadays she's content to ignore 'em, of course.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Boo. Yah.

This makes me excited:

Now if only the Dems on the Hill remember where they put their spines....

Crooks & Liars has the transcript.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

What the Hell?

Via Pandagon, I hear of this book, Skinny Bitch, which seems to be simply an incarnation of every anorexic's inner voice:

You need to exercise, you lazy shit.

Coffee is for pussies.

Don't be a fat pig anymore.

What the hell? Who thought a book written like this was a good idea?

This book is abuse in a hardback cover. They probably think they can get away with it by saying, "Can't you take a joke?" just like every other abuser out there: "Jeez, you're sensitive. Don't hold me accountable! It just makes you look bad."

This book is not representative of veganism or vegetarianism. It hardly has cause to call itself a book.

Go read the Salon article, and the Pandagon post.

They'll print anything these days ::shakes head::

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

For Healthy Marriage!

There's a billboard on the Turnpike I pass on my commute every day, although I can read it only on my way home.

It's currently hosting a large bible under the sentences "IS YOUR MARRIAGE HAPPY? For a healthy marriage with great sex, look here:"

And my thought on seeing that sign is that the bible is just as much a great marriage counseling book as it is a science textbook.

Apparently the key to having a happy marriage is not to spill your seed on the ground, to shun your wife on her period and after childbirth (longer if it's a girl baby), and not to beat her with a stick thicker than your thumb. But maybe I'm just remembering the bad bits of the Old Testament. What does the New Testament say? That the woman is to the man as the church is to Christ: a follower. Christ teaches the man and the man teaches the woman. I don't see how that relationship is balanced.

I think this billboard is a symptom of the growing pressure for marriage amendments in state and federal law. Tennessee doesn't have a marriage amendment yet, but I believe there's one on the ballot for November. I'm safe in saying that the majority of Tennessee's population are Christians ranging from "unless there's football" to fire-breathing evangelicals*, so this is an issue of the tyranny of the majority. If a church doesn't want to perform marriages, fine, that's their choice. But the church mustn't be allowed to prevent or dictate to marriages performed outside of it. That's giving them too much power, and setting a bad precedent. Does the church condemn recreational drug use? Does the church condemn adult beverages? These aren't issues that have them all up in arms like the marriage issue does.

But my only power in this whole thing is at the ballot box. I'm going to make a special effort this year to discover what's on the ballot in November, and make my decision before I show up to vote.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Wheat from Tares

Tip o' the hat to Mom, who turned me onto this article about Ken Ham, racism, and Darwin.

I'm sure that many more intelligent people can make plenty of use of this book, but I wanted to start with this particular quote of a quote:

Ham said he came to the topic because he was upset by the unfair treatment of aboriginal tribes in his native Australia and the racism he saw in the United States when he arrived here in the 1970s. He said he experienced a backlash from some church groups after he wrote an article critical of biblical-based arguments against interracial marriage, which made him even more determined to tackle the issue.

"I got more what I would call hate mail from people, supposedly Christians in the church, than for any other article I've ever written," Ham said. "So to me I just had a real burden that I wanted to educate the church on this matter."

The first thing he's doing wrong here is separating the wheat from the tares, to use biblical language. It's not his place to say who's a Christian and who isn't, it's not my place to say who's a liberal and who isn't, and responding to arguments against your thesis by saying your opponents aren't qualified is not the nuclear bomb of discourse and won't win you the argument.

His larger argument, that "Darwinists" are racist, is just an attempt to discredit them with guilt by association. Lucianne Goldberg's darling baby boy just tried that with liberals and Nazis, and this pap from Ham is just more of the same.

Unfortunately, his argument is going to be widely spread and recommended from pulpits across the country, because in this largest Christian country in the world, Christians Are Thrown to Lions for the amusement of we godless liberals. That's right, we who are concerned with social injustice are actually just interested in seeing Christian blood spilled, because everything is an example Great Divide and a battlefield for! Our! Very! Survival!


So Ken Ham doesn't actually have any good arguments to support his contention that the world was created (last Thursday?) so he's reduced to trying to discredit and silence the folks who argue that the world formed slowly over time. That isn't to say he's got no arguments. He's got plenty, from the misconception of the Second Law of Thermodynamics to "why are there still monkeys?" but if he doesn't have to use them because no one is listening to us anymore, that's all the better for him.

Spiny Norman

Mood: Anemic.

I have been to the doctor's, this fine day, early in the morning. I hear you now:

What's this? You had a doctor's appointment? And you didn't say when last we spake?

Yes, O my readers and O the delight of mine een, I did have a 'pointment with yon physician this very morn, at three-quarters of an hour past the seventh ante meridian.

Dam' good thing I remembered it at 7:40, then.

So, long story longer, I'm up, dressed and abluted within two minutes, out the door and down the street in another two, and am no more than 5 minutes late to the doctor's office. After I sign in, I decide that I really can't pull off the Einstein look so I hop into the restroom to comb my hair. Once I have got it tamed and put away the chair and whip, I find a seat as far from CNN In the A.M. as possible and pull out my book. I've barely flipped it open before they're calling my name.

All right, this is gonna be short and sweet. So after the ritual humiliation with the scale and the sliding weights that keep moving to the right, I am shown to a room to get my arm squeezed. My blood pressure is deemed "fine," and I am told to wait for the physician. I don't bother with my book, she'll be right in.

Maybe I should have got my book out again.

Finally, around 8:30, the doctor breezes in. I don't have to worry about being sleepy and depressed about my weight and being up at going on half past 8 without brekky, the doc's got enough energy and pep for both of us.

After inquiries into my toilet circumstances, and discussion of my larger situation and Isabel's, the doctor declares no major changes right now and breezes out again with a promise of playing Vampire later.

So I've got five minutes to wait for the fleba, phlembe, blood-taker woman and her devil needles. Joy. If my heels got any cooler they'd superconduct.

So the nurse wheels in the torture device and informs me I'm to be strapped down, or at least that's the only reason I can discern why she tied the rubber band on. I've still got a mark right round my bicep.

And then the poking and prodding, all in vein, and I'm smelling alcohol and making a fist and trying to think of small fuzzy animals like puppies and kittens and did you know the male platypus has a poisonous sting! Are we done yet?

"I'm not getting anything," she says, and pulls out. So we go through the whole thing again on the other side of the elbow and she gets a trickle, like the blood is bashful. Five minutes later she's got half a phial and whatever wellspring she tapped is reminded of its Bartleby and goes on strike.

"That's enough for your C-peptides, let me check if we need any more." Out she goes, leaving me holding the gauze on the needle wound, which is now treating me to its impersonation of Old Faithful. And another nurse comes in, gets out a bigger needle, and rolls up my left sleeve. She decides that her best shot is on the outside edge of the left elbow, over there with all the nerves. "Big pinch!" she chirps, and I'm not ready, where are my hamsters and squirrels and why does the male platypus have such a venomous sting? That didn't help, time for the big guns: CANDY BAR CANDY BAR GONNA GET A CANDY BAR what? All done?

Great. I gotta hold the gusher in my right elbow with my left hand and the trickle in my left elbow with my right hand. The paperwork goes between the middle and ring fingers of my right hand and my plaid overshirt between the opposite fingers. I have to pick up my coat in my teeth, and I stand up and nearly fall over on my way to the checkout desk, where at least I have the relief of not being charged $Iseemtobehavingtremendousdifficultywithmylifestyle-load right then, I'll be billed for it later.

So I go home and tuck into two bowls of corn flakes before dressing for work and using Isabel's car because she's going to take mine to get that funny squeak in the brakes looked at (I guess the hamsters under the hood are on strike in solidarity with the WGA).

So all in all I feel like I've just been savaged by Spiny Norman. Which means I need to post this:

Copyright infringement be damned.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sunday Saturday Blogging

I meant to post something for Caturday, but things got away from me.

Isabel got a call from her part-time employer. His two daughters are taking him to Mexico near the end of February, so it looks like Isabel's going to babysit his job for him.

He also invited us to come on over and pick through all the effluvia of his suburban life because he's going to move to a smaller house. So we went over around 2 and we spent about half an hour visiting and looking through his stuff. We came away with a comfortable-sized frying pan, a set of four blue plates, a cookie sheet that fits in our elfin stove, and one of those chopper things that has four blades connected to a shaft on a spring and you put vegetables inside the jar and go fapfapfapfapfap and it's all chopped. No more garlic sticky hands for me! No more onion-sprayed eyes! Whooptie!!

So then Isabel asked if I wanted to go rent us up some video games because it was Saturday and all. She wanted to go to this specific Blockbuster, and I said I knew how to get there from Bill's house without making two legs of a triangle.

So we got lost.

We ended up out by the CompUSA on the west end of K-town. They'd paid some poor fellow to stand out on the street corner with a giant GOING OUT OF BUSINESS EVERYTHING 30 TO 50% OFF BUY BUY BUY. So Isabel recalled that Linda had wanted to buy a new Macintosh because her old one was going the way of all flesh and the iMac Daria gave her wasn't on speaking terms with keyboards. She called Linda and told her about CompUSA's sale. This store is the only one for miles around, so Linda asked us (or we offered, I can't recall) to stop in and price some Macs.

So we did.

I had been hopeful that I could find a nicely-priced graphics card because my eMachines on which I am typing this rightthisverymoment just has an integrated card on the motherboard. It runs programs just fine but whines about it an awful lot. So while Isabel was trying to find the last three Macs they had in the store, I went to find graphics cards. They had three left, two for $60 and one for $fuckload before the 30% off. So I grabbed one and tried to find a guy in a red shirt to ask if it would talk to Vista (gone are my days of impulse purchasing! Ooh, that's pretty...!) This worked out well because Isabel had found the last three iBooks in the store and needed someone to unbolt the one labeled LAST ONE that she and Linda had conferred on.

So I walk past the giant big-screen teevees showing the Transformers movie from last summer (poor Sam Witwicki. You thought you were in another teen movie, get the car, get the girl, you know the drill, and now your Camaro's following you and that cop car is chasing you and you're in Christine instead of She's All That, you poor sod) and waited in line for one of the two red-shirted customer service guys to notice me. So then he had to go find the right kind of screwdriver to unbolt it, and then the box to stuff it all in. I managed to ask him about the video card and he said I don't know man if it doesn't say Vista on it then it probably doesn't work which wasn't a lot of help. So I went back to see if there was anything else. I really didn't want to pay $fuckload, even $fuckload 30% off, so I reluctantly put it back and decided to go do research using the Series of Tubes (R).

So I found Isabel waiting for the guy to box up the Mac and watching the Transformers movie, which was in the middle of a bit of 'splode as the Army plot thread moved forward (and people thought it bashed the army. The black soldier lives through the whole movie!!!) and showed off all of the air power that $200 billion a year buys us. Just about the end of that scene, the guy comes out and hands us the boxed-up laptop and we check out.

So. Finally. We drive back into Oak Ridge and deliver Linda her new laptop. I thought it came with an iPod, but it was just a remote control (they apparently expect you to watch this computer from your couch if you're doing a slide show or playing a DVD). After I figured out how the battery goes in (Linda: Does it go in this way first? Isabel: No, it goes in the other way. Linda: But that end won't stay down. Me: ::reaches out and pushes that end down, sticks a thumbnail in the little slot beside the battery port, and turns, just on a whim. Click!::) we booted up the laptop and started to explore it. Safari? Check! DVD player? Check! Word processor? Well, there's TypePad... So Isabel started to worry that she'd gotten a defective one and by the time everybody started to snap at each other it was obvious that we all needed to go home (or, well, we did, Linda was already home) and get supper.

So after supper Linda called us up and said that she didn't think Apple shipped AppleWorks with their computers anymore and she'd have to buy it separate and she might decide to get Office 2008 instead (what, does she have a thing about pain?). So Isabel felt better about getting the cheaper laptop.

And this all kind of drove every thought of this blog out of my mind. So, here's your cat pic:

Spook wants to go out. She wants to go out so badly that we're going to have to sand and varnish the doorframe when we move out because she's endangering our security deposit. We gave her a cat tree, dammit! So anyway, to stop her clawing at the door we usually give in and let her out onto the porch. Within 5 minutes in this kind of weather she wants back in, and she's taken to doing a Garfield imitation on the screen door. It never occurs to her to ask. We might not hear her, anyway. So we get up for the second time in five minutes to let her in, at which point she threatens to call the SPCA if we throw her out in that freezing forty-degree weather one more time.

Then she checks her food bowl. If it's not full of succulent, yummy gooshy food she wants back out. I think she believes it's a food-bowl reset button.

Friday, February 8, 2008

A Quick Note

Note to Self:

It is always vital to include the "O" when typing "County."

Most especially before turning it in to the Court for approval.



Friday Final Fantasy

The first full-motion video intro in the franchise:

And they made a new version about two years ago to show off the PS3's chops:

I'm still not sure the difference is worth $600. This wasn't game play, this was a movie, and the PS2 is perfectly capable of playing DVDs.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Can't Win for Losing

Lance Mannion had a piece on how Clinton is going to lose.

Now Dave Price at Dean's World says Obama didn't do so well either, and that's going to tear the Democratic Party to pieces oh woe is they blah blah blah blah.

Meanwhile, McCain just barely squeaks ahead and that means he's in command and authoritative and he'll make those other pipsqueaks drink from the spittoon oh how Bruce Wayne of him yadda yadda.

And people wonder why other people don't listen to mainstream news anymore.


The tornadoes that tore up parts of Western Tennessee had become merely strong thunderstorms by the time they hit the Valley and swept up the eastern leg of our particular rebel river. They woke the Falconer household up about 4:30 or so with thunder and intense rain. The winds weren't even that strong; we'd opened up the house to enjoy the warm February evening, and the only window I had to close was behind the television and above a powerstrip (a puddle of water carrying electric current would be a horrible morning greeting).

I didn't even realize at the time that this storm had already killed people.

Via Digby, I see that Monkeyfister is all over this. My readership is nil, at this point, but Monkey asked Blogphalia at large to give this some love. How could I not, when tornadoes terrify me as much as they do Monkeyfister?

I got $5 for the Red Cross. I see that you can specify that your gift goes to the southern tornadoes on Feb. 5-6. Please give at least once

United Way of the Mid-South accepts donations via telephone. I haven't given to them yet, but I will.

$5 from one person isn't very much, but if thousands of people pitch in it mounts up. And I'm not going to give just once, but at least once a month from now on.

I'm glad to support Monkeyfister and my fellow Southrons in this.

Clinton Hating

The Rabid Right have smeared Bill and Hillary Clinton since the '91 general election campaign. It takes a smarter blogger than yours truly to really comprehend and analyze what's behind it, but if it won't turn you off I'll share something that hit me this morning, around the second cup of coffee.

I was reading this article on Sadly, No! while I sipped my coffee and wished madly that I could keep up my proletariat street cred and buy a cappuccino machine.

I know that this sort of thing will never stop. They'll tear apart Hillary Clinton until the sun expands and consumes the Earth, and just generally lie and spin and obfuscate as hard as their little (bitter, hard) hearts can take, but they'll never care about the truth or listen to any defense from us here in Islamocommufasciblogistan because this is what gives their lives meaning.

They still can't believe they lost in '91.

Look, look!
they cry.
Bill Clinton is a dope fiend! He admitted it! That means he's also a murderer, thief and comsympinko! And he charges money for speaking! Money that he keeps and gives to Hillary so she can cut everyone's testicles off and make us all lesbians!!!

Dudes, it didn't work in '91 or '95; Bill Clinton got elected to two consecutive terms of office. That's something you thought your darling cowboy couldn't do without a little help from the Supreme Court and the Ohio Commissioner of Elections.

Cranking it up to 11 and repeating it ad nauseum is not going to torpedo Clinton. You haven't been able to do it before now, what makes you think you can do it now?

Why are you scared to argue against her on the merits of the issues? Is the emotional appeal that much easier and more seductive? Is thinking so hard? I can do it, and I'm not particularly bright.

Your tantrums aren't appealing anymore. Cranking up the volume doesn't make them cool again.

Update: Via The Daily Howler, I see that Maureen Dowd thinks that Hillary Clinton is delusional and thinks she's best adapted to absorb the hate from the right. MoDo (tm and (C) Bartcop) apparently thinks that the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy and all this Hillary hate is just in the candidate's head, and furthermore that if/when Clinton gets into the Oval Office it will all go quietly away.

I wish I were that naive.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A Little Bit of Cool

Via Wikipedia, I see that in 2000, or l'an deux mille as we say in Fascist America, the British Film Institute produced a list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes of all time.

The Year 2000?
I hear you say.

Ladies and gentlemen, being behind the curve is as much second nature to us here at the Gyre as being behind the sofa.

For your edification, I present to you the top 10 from their list:

1. Fawlty Towers
2. Cathy Come Home (The Wednesday Play)
3. Doctor Who
4. The Naked Civil Servant
5. Monty Python's Flying Circus

I would quibble with the exact order here (I'm not sure Cleese and Connie Booth are a heck of a lot funnier than Cleese, Gilliam, Palin, Jones, Idle, and Chapman), but for all I know the difference between each of these was on the order of single votes, or ties, or something.

I am slightly proud through no accomplishment of my own to have watched and loved three of the top 5 British shows evar. I will now preen overweeningly.

Other BBC shows on this list include I, Claudius (#12), Blackadder Goes Forth (#16), Absolutely Fabulous (#17), Inspector Morse (#42), Quatermass and the Pit (#75), Michael Moore's TV Nation (#90), Teletubbies (#97), and Pride and Prejudice (#99).

Incidentally, their featured article of the day is Thoughts on the Education of Daughters by Mary Wollstonecraft (not Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, her daughter).

Monday, February 4, 2008

White & Nerdy

And a music video to inaugurate a category:

Timey Wimey Stuff

A couple of YouTubes to inaugurate the blog:

Aaand the other half of the conversation:


So, I've finally decided to hold my nose and jump into the community pool that is the blogosphere. I do this knowing full well that the pool is full of nice people who'll let me ride their inflatable orca and toss the beach ball with me, as well as jerks who think it's great fun to grab the string of your swim trunks and pull as hard as they can. And the lifeguards are all off necking in cars parked just across the woods from the hospital for violent psychotics.

So I'm plunging in, and I'm going to watch the bubbles and swim down to the bottom and see if I can find any pretty rocks among the concrete chips. If anyone tries to pants me, I'll just have to stand up for myself since those aforementioned lifeguards aren't anywhere around.

A few words about why it's the Falcon's Gyre. As W. B. Yeats famously starts one of his poems, the falcon turns in a widening gyre, taking in everything below it but not lingering overlong on any one thing (and that's pretty much the only parallel between my maunderings here and Yeats' dark poem).

That's pretty much my Mission Statement, there. I'll put up my thoughts on matters diverse and sundry, from the profound to the silly, the divine to the mundane, whatever falls under my falcon eye as long as this thermal lasts.

I'm really cutting new paths of bloggerdom here, ain't I?

I really can't promise good insights, just my two cents. I don't think I'll ever be a Big Dog. Certainly the Kos phenomenon is a rare and frightening thing.

But I'll keep doing this as long as inspiration strikes. Maybe I'll strike it big, maybe not. We'll just have to see.

This ought to be fun.