Friday, March 31, 2006

Little or no blogging this weekend

Due to fun events entirely within my control, I will be doing little or no blogging this weekend. Have a great weekend and see y'all on Monday!

KT

The Feline Theocracy Imparts Wisdom and More

The Feline Theocracy is spreading far and wide. Its message of good deeds and tuna is reaching the multitudes.


Yesterday's column by our very own Most Faithful Ambassador to the Court of the Mainstream Media is filled with wisdom. She talks about teaching an appreciation for America to our new immigrants that they might be better citizens.

We fought a war to free slaves. We sent millions of white men to battle and destroyed a portion of our nation to free millions of black men. What kind of nation does this? We went to Europe, fought, died and won, and then taxed ourselves to save our enemies with the Marshall Plan. What kind of nation does this? Soviet communism stalked the world and we were the ones who steeled ourselves and taxed ourselves to stop it. Again: What kind of nation does this?

Only a very great one. Maybe the greatest of all.
Brother Jacob, disperse the catnip incense that we might all meditate better on her luminous words.


It is also time to grant another truth-seeker a position in the Theocracy. In all three of our World of Good posts, one blog has consistently led the weary multitudes to our site. For her unending devotion to the cause of the Theocracy and good deeds in general, The Anchoress is hereby named...The Anchoress of the Feline Theocracy.

It's an obscure title, I know, but after doing some research, I have discovered some information that she might find interesting.

In the middle ages an Anchoress was a woman who lived in a small, sealed room inside a church;she would have visual access to the Sanctuary and to Holy Communion. Usually there was also a small side window at which she could converse with visitors, receive foods, etc. Usually an Anchorite was rather a mystical and wise sort of person, steeped in prayer.
Some people have asked me, "K T, how can you be so imaginative all the time? I'm constantly amazed by your inventiveness!" All I can say is that I must be blessed in that way.

More blessings from the Theocracy will be coming soon. For those who have linked to this blog and tithed 10% of their traffic, our blessings are upon you. For those that have not, the tuna mines await!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Thursday 13, What I've Learned Blogging

1. The world is filled with intelligent, creative people. The people I’ve met from blogging have been unique and interesting. The woman who makes yarn animals is just amazing.

2. There is more consensus in the country than one might expect. I’ve posted three times on what I thought to be sensitive racial issues and have yet to receive an inflammatory comment. I shopped the link around to a variety of blogs with differing political views and haven’t seen a flame war erupt yet.

3. Blogs form strange communities. I don’t know how it happened, but in addition to others, my blogging community consists of a policeman, a graphic artist, a fellow in the Air Force, a college student and a bunch of cat lovers. I never would have met them otherwise and I’m glad I did.

4. Blogs give you a ringside seat at almost any event in the world. Imagine trying to follow the French students’ rioting without No Pasaran.

5. Blogging is a lot like email in that it is easy to post things you later regret. Most of my writing is stream of consciousness and some of it is way too harsh. I gave poor Joy Jones a severe wire brushing and then watched as well over a hundred people read that post. Their first introduction to me was to see me relentlessly criticize someone I had never met.

6. The French Revolution provides some great lessons for the blogosphere. Now that we’ve established our power, will we spend our time attacking each other?

7. The government census data is a great source of information. The government breaks down its data all kinds of strange ways. The sample sizes are in the millions, so statistical tests can be quite conclusive.

8. The CIA Factbook is another great source of information. If you want to debate how one country or another is doing, the Factbook gives you a great thumbnail sketch of the country.

9. Oil is just oil. Doctors may think they are very important people, but when you want a salad, a doctor is worthless. Similarly, oil is only important until you need a flowerpot, a broom or paper to write on. The OPEC countries are not as powerful as the press they get. Just look at their per capita incomes. By comparison, America's is over $41,000.

10. Argentina looks like a cool country.

11. Ireland will be a dominant force in Europe for years to come. They’re the only ones who’ve got a grasp of economics and who know who they are culturally.

12. The media is pixelating into finer and finer subject areas and they don’t know how to deal with it. There is less and less demand for the work of the generalist and more for that of the specialist. The New York Times is losing money. Their income is less than their expenses. They are losing readers, so they can’t raise advertising rates. The only way to make money is to cut costs. That will require a different way of producing their product.

13. I love blogging.

Other Thursday 13 Sites

I don't know what I ever did to deserve meeting her, but Momma M is the coolest.
Wystful lists the movies she would watch again.
Lady Rose mentions jobs she's had.
Caryn has a list of things she'll do someday.
Elle gives us 13 things from her to-do list.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Wednesday, March 29, 2006

French Students Still Revolting

It's time to recycle the old joke.

De Villepin: Jacques, the students are revolting!
Chiraq: I'll say they are!

The French students are still rioting in opposition to capitalism. I posted something funny about it before.

Perhaps this is the best argument for reforming the public education system that there is. An entire generation of the French, fresh from the classroom, is protesting in favor of an economic system that has been proven to be a failure with statistical certainty. Common Folk has a good post about this, too.

Where to begin on this one? What kind of education did these students get that history, mathematics and economics all failed to teach them about socialism? Any one of those subjects should have been enough to convince them. These aren't dimwits, either. These are college students, so they've had years of French education to prepare them for this.

Mark Steyn convincingly argues that demographics will be the downfall of Europe. I would suggest that even without the millstone of an aging population, the place is in big trouble. Passing this very mild reform to allow employers to fire people in the first two years of employment won't solve much of the problem. The problem is that the French still believe in socialism. They vote for it, they riot for it, they preach it. It's a deeply-held belief. Imagine what it will take to convince them otherwise.

Ouch.

Unrelated Subjects

Prayers and sympathy for Glenn Reynolds on the passing of his grandmother. It was an unexpected death which makes it doubly hard.

Haloscan is awful. I'm trying to post trackbacks to No Pasaran and the Haloscan window won't pop up on hs trackback link. Argh!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

ACLU Flexibility

From stoptheaclu:
The U.S. government has agreed to release disputed pictures showing American soldiers tormenting Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison.

An American Civil Liberties Union spokeswoman said today that an agreement was reached between the ACLU and the government and was submitted to a federal judge.
And

Anthony D. Romero, ACLU executive director, said the civil rights group “will press on with its lawsuit to hold high-level officials accountable for creating policies that resulted in the abuse of detainees.”
Sigh. Where to start? Well, let’s say something nice about the ACLU. They are complicated thinkers. The intellectual flexibility required to connect high-level policies to the acts of porn-crazed soldiers can only come from years of mental yoga. They must believe that Rube Goldberg devices really work.

Somehow, the President’s signature on some document or other somewhere was translated through a series of distant and intricate interactions into a pyramid of naked terrorists playing Hollywood Squares with a pack of knuckle-dragging dingbats.

Law school must be less demanding than we thought.

World of Good Blogburst, Katrina Style

Thanks to A Tic in the Mind's Eye, it's time for another World of Good Blogburst!

Our previous entries were the Aussies and the Navy helping out after the Asian tsunami. This week we focus on the volunteers who helped out after Katrina.

I'll be honest, I found the post-Katrina controversy to be staggeringly boring. Think about what everyone was doing in the week following Katrina. Medical teams were working day and night rescuing people from flooded buildings. Private citizens were driving in from all over, towing their boats to motor out and rescue stranded survivors. The Army Corps of Engineers was fighting tooth and nail to drain an entire city! This was the real story, not the finger pointing of the politicians.

I was originally going to do this post on the Army Corps of Engineers. Then I stumbled across photos from the nola.com website. Apparently a group of students from Daniel Gross Catholic High School in Omaha, Nebraska made the trip down south to help. Dang! Did any of you know that?

This is a very small tribute those students.

Here's some of the text from nola.com that accompanies the photos.

A group of high school students from Daniel Gross Catholic in Omaha, Nebraska have been New Orleans since Sunday gutting houses, clearing debris, and touring the city.










I'm at a loss for an epilogue. Finding this was totally cool.

The world is filled with great people.

If You Call Him, the People Will Come

Throughout time, the lefties have fought for the people.

When Stalin thought that impoverished farmers were hiding bags of gold in their hovels they were there.

That was a dismal failure, but when Mao thought you could make hardened steel in your back yard by melting down your pig iron tools they were there.

That was an unmitigated disaster, but when Pol Pot decided to have everyone farm with pointed sticks they were there.

That was an apocalyptic catastrophe, but now they’ve got it right. The lefties are ready for the fight and they need someone who can bring the crowds.

The Christian fascists have the country by the throat. Only the lefty protests stand between them and a theocracy. Nothing says “we’re winners” like marching in circles, chanting and waving crude signs. But times are hard and protests are shrinking.

It’s time to make The Call. To the one man who can save the day.

Make The Call.

A special thanks to San Diego's very own White Noise for providing the background music.

The Alliance suggested it, but Justin asked for it.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Marriage is for White People?

Joy Jones writes to tell us “Jump on in, the water’s fine!” as the sharks circle closer and closer. How nice. In her essay “Marriage is for White People” she manages to make some terrific, if unintended, points.

First of all, let’s agree on the facts. On the whole, unmarried black women with children are tremendously economically disadvantaged. That’s irrefutable. Black children growing up in fatherless households are similarly troubled. Drug use, education, crime, it’s worse for these kids. These are just statistical facts. With sample sizes in the millions and standard deviations small in comparison to the differences between groups, only the math-challenged would argue otherwise.

Joy, however, writes a column almost completely untroubled by facts. With analysis of the quality shown in her article, she might just as well claim that unmarried black women rise from the sea at dawn, tentacles waving in the air, to menace Tokyo.

Joy’s article describes the results of interviews with unmarried black women who claim that being married is worse. In this, Joy demonstrates a complete lack of basic analytical skills. Allow me to explain.

Statistics describe trends. Interviews describe mechanisms. It is possible to be struck by lightning. We can interview the people who were hit and discover how the event occurred. However, it is not true to say that it is more common to die from a lightning strike than a heart attack.

Even if you interview four people who were hit by lightning, it is still less common than a heart attack. What Joy has done is common in journalism. Perhaps reporters are frightened by equations and hope that by ignoring them, they’ll just go away. Alas, they do not. Journalists typically substitute interviews for analysis. They carefully choose their interviews to leave you with a certain impression.

In Joy’s case, she wants us all to believe that the apple that hit Sir Isaac Newton was an anomaly, the one that managed to fall down rather than join it’s brethren that were hurling themselves at the sun. Of course, dear. How nice. Why don’t you have a cool drink and lie down for a while? You’ll feel ever so much better.

While Joy takes a much-needed rest, let’s examine her essay in detail.

She was raised in an intact family and wanted one of her own. She never married.

For years, I wondered why not. And then some 12-year-olds enlightened me.

"Marriage is for white people."
Despite their earnestness, 12 year olds have very little to teach us about marriage.

After demonstrating that she has some grasp of real numbers and statistics, she panics and runs away from them, falling into the comforting arms of the interview. Startled by the fact that antebellum blacks were more likely to be married than 21st century blacks, she confuses cause and effect.

It's hard to know "what normal looks like" when it comes to courtship, marriage and parenthood. Sex, love and childbearing have become a la carte choices rather than a package deal that comes with marriage. Moreover, in an era of brothers on the "down low," the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and the decline of the stable blue-collar jobs that black men used to hold, linking one's fate to a man makes marriage a risky business for a black woman.

"A woman who takes that step is bold and brave," one young single mother told me. "Women don't want to marry because they don't want to lose their freedom."
This is totally at odds with statistics. Married black women have more than double the household income of unmarried ones and unless the single ones have become unstuck in time like Laurence Simon was this weekend, they have more to do and less time to do it in. When less time and less money equals more freedom, you know you have left Earth far behind.

Others have convincingly argued that the brothers are on the down low because they have no responsibilities other than taking care of themselves. Husbands joke about doing what they’re supposed to because the wife will get mad if they don’t, but there’s a basic truth behind it. Women civilize men. If you’re men aren’t civilized, look in the mirror. You’re only worth as much as you cost. You haven’t demanded civilized behavior.

If they were good husbands when they were starving and being whipped and they’re bad ones now, then the trouble must be you. That is, external forces were far worse before, so external forces cannot be responsible for increased failure now. She goes on.

My observation is that black women in their twenties and early thirties want to marry and commit at a time when black men their age are more likely to enjoy playing the field.
And that field consists of what? The field is you and your friends. When your culture lionizes pimps, don’t be surprised that you’ve got a lot of pimps on your hands. Pimps are of limited social value. Only a total idiot would mistake a pimp for a good husband. Who made them pimps? What other profession is required for a pimp to operate?

Perhaps Joy really is unstuck in time. Dig this:

In the past, marriage was primarily just such a business deal. Among wealthy families, it solidified political alliances or expanded land holdings. For poorer people, it was a means of managing the farm or operating a household.
In what past? The 1700s? Do any of you know anyone who arranged political marriages for their children?

She finally gets to the real heart of the article. The article is all about her peers: educated, successful, career-minded black women.

Most single black women over the age of 30 whom I know would not mind getting married, but acknowledge … they are not desperate enough to simply accept any situation just to have a man.
Joy’s article simply dissolves at this point. She uses group statistics and then argues from the point of view of a subgroup that is completely anomalous in her overall statistics. She’s examining mortality causes at a lightning victims’ convention.

Near the end, she finally talks to a man who can tell her what it’s like to pick up the pieces left by the destruction of marriage.

He has worked with troubled adolescents, and has observed that "the girls who are in the most trouble and who are abused the most -- the father is absent. And the same is true for the boys, too."
For Joy and her friends, society is everyone else. She hears this and clucks her tongue at the sadness of it all and then looks out for number one while wrapping up her dreadful statistical analysis and a rationale for marriage from the Renaissance.

Her conclusion? All the single guys she knows suck.
…if marriage is to flourish…it will have to offer an individual woman something more than a business alliance…As one woman said, "If it weren't for the intangibles, the allure of the lovey-dovey stuff, I wouldn't have gotten married. The benefits of marriage are his character and his caring."

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Girl's Got Game

Some have insinutated that my blogging partner and Maximum Leader, KT Cat, has reached middle age, has let herself go and can no longer bring it on the field.

Ha! Dig these action-filled soccer photos.




Oh yeah. The girl's got game. She can still lay on the bed and listen for the sound of treats with the best. Someone opening a can of tuna? Think you can get there first? I don't think so.

A Model for Pro Athletes

As you may have surmised from hints left in previous entries, I am a huge New Orleans Saints Fan. I’ve spent exactly one day and one night in New Orleans, so it’s not because I was raised there. It’s a long and silly story, but there you have it. I love the Saints.

I watch their games whenever they’re on here in San Diego and I subscribe to NFL Field Pass so I can listen to them on the Internet when they’re not on TV. I read the message boards, read the newspapers on the web and otherwise behave like any other fanatic.

New Orleans has had one playoff win in their entire existence. Winning seasons are almost unheard of. Saints fans are like Cubs fans, loyal to the point of madness. Last year, Katrina wrecked the city, the Saints played elsewhere, the owner threatened to move the team permanently and the team went 3-13. Even by the Saints’ standards, this was a horrible year. The fans were desperate for some hope that the team would stay and that the head coach and QB would be replaced.

We got all three.

The San Diego Chargers decided to release their quarterback, Drew Brees and go with his younger understudy, Phillip Rivers. It seems to have had more to do with power struggles within the Chargers’ front office than football. Drew Brees is considered to be one of the NFL’s top 10 QBs. The Saints had planned to draft a QB, but when Drew became available, they signed him immediately.

There was great rejoicing in New Orleans. They rejoiced until Drew took out this full-page ad in the New Orleans Times-Picayune.


Then they went insane. Here’s a man who has just signed a very lucrative contract and who has no need to court the fans. He has been a Pro Bowl QB and has led the Chargers to one of their best seasons ever. He is highly regarded and is coming to one of the NFL’s most blighted teams. The fans just wanted a good QB and a competitive team. What they got was a top-flight player, a man with a reputation for leadership and someone who cares about the fans.

How often do big name free agents sign with teams and then make public, personal commitments to the fans like this? For my first time ever as a Saints fan, I can honestly say, “The rest of you should be so lucky.”

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Blogging to the Sound of the Tumbrels

In a previous post, I compared the downfall of the Main Stream Media (MSM) to the French Revolution. Centrifugal forces spun the old order apart. It was a financial crisis in France that catalyzed the newly empowered middle class and led to a complete change in government. In the MSM, it has been arrogance, hubris and dreadfully poor performance that catalyzed a waiting group of novice reporters to blog.

In France, the new order cannibalized itself to some extent as equilibrium was reached. In the case of the blogs, the hysteresis effect is not yet complete. We are still carting people off in tumbrels to behead them. The mob is still rioting when some new offense occurs.

Ed Morrissey, Glenn Reynolds and others fret that Mme Guillotine seems to be working overtime. Alas, my friends, I believe it still has quite a ways to go. Such is life in revolutionary times.

When Dan Rather was brought down, bloggers gloated at the perfection they had attained. We were a self-policing group and that Army of Davids awaited us all to mete out punishment on the inaccurate or libelous. For a time, the Directory in revolutionary France thought they had attained perfection, too. Napoleon proved otherwise.

In time, the distribution of power in the media, both new and old, will strike a balance between large-scale enterprises like the AP and entertaining and sometimes vicious sources like the blogs. Meanwhile, I think that Ed, Glenn and all the rest need to put on their seatbelts and enjoy the ride.

Old Friends Who Just Met

The kids and I watched The Muppet Movie last night. I hadn’t seen it in years and they had never seen it at all. It’s a unique movie in that it is child-like without being childish and innocent without being maudlin. I felt like I was looking into Jim Henson’s soul as I watched it.

Elsewhere on the web there’s a site that commemorates an event by a group of women. It looks like it was a road trip or vacation they all took together. One of them posted the lyrics from a song in The Muppet Movie as their theme song. They were nice enough to share the lyrics and I thought I’d post them here, too. The song is very complex for a family movie, yet fitting. The lyrics capture the essence of this film.

This looks familiar,
Vaguely familiar,
Almost unreal, yet ...
It's too soon to feel, yet ...
Close to my soul,
And, yet, so far away ...
I'm going to go back there someday.

Sun rises.
Night falls.
Sometimes, the sky calls.
Is that a song there?
And do I belong there?
I've never been there,
But I know the way ...
I'm going to go back there someday.

Come and go with me,
It's more fun to share.
We'll both be completely,
At home in mid-air.
We're flyin', not walking
On featherless wings.
We can hold onto love
Like invisible strings.

There's not a word yet,
For old friends who've just met ...
Part Heaven
Part Space
Or have I found my place ...
You can just visit,
But I plan to stay.
I'm going to go back there someday.

I'm going to go back there someday.

It’s a G-rated movie with a cast of puppets and eloquent, reflective poetry in its songs. Unique indeed.

Another fellow on the net interviewed Paul Williams who co-wrote the songs for the movie. This question stands out.

MS: Is there any one song of yours that stands out as a personal favorite?

PW: "Rainbow Connection."…"Rainbow Connection" is ultimately my favorite song. Kenny Asher and I wrote it for "The Muppet Movie" and I think it's got as much hope in it as anything I've ever written. It's a song about the mystery of life. Another song in the film is a close runner up, maybe an equal. It's a song called, "I'm Going To Go Back There Someday." "There's not a word yet for old friends who just met" may be as good a line as I've ever written.
After reading it, I began to think that watching The Muppet Movie is really looking into the souls of many of the people who worked on it. There seems to have been a tremendous synergy of feeling, as if the cast and crew shared a religion of hope and friendship and they were trying to evangelize us.

The songs are sung by Jim Henson and Frank Oz and the rest of the Muppet creators with a morning shower singing quality, like they were housemates and great friends of ours and didn’t mind if we heard them singing a little off-key. The whole movie has that feel, as if the cast and crew poured their hearts out for us, as naturally as they would pour us a cup of coffee or get us a soda during a football game. “Old friends who just met” captures it perfectly.

My daughter picked up some wonderful symbolism at the very end of the movie that I had missed all these years. I’ll try to describe it without spoilers. At the end, the Muppets are all together in a building and something happens where part of the roof gives way. After it does, a rainbow comes in through the gap in the roof and ends right in the grouped Muppets as they sing the finale with the lyrics, “Life’s like a movie, write your own ending, keep believing, keep pretending...” I’ve always loved those lyrics, but with the camera far away from the singers in the scene, the image seems to say that the pieces of gold at the end of the rainbow are the friends we make in life.

As I write this, I’m realizing that the symbolism was far deeper than that. In the end, the tangible rewards of the characters’ hard work are clearly not as important as you, their old friends they just met.

Some movie reviewers like Michael Medved write about the unnecessary insertion of vulgarity into our movies. He also persuasively argues that family movies are more often profitable than R-rated movies. If I were to ask Hollywood for something, I wouldn’t just ask for less vulgarity and more films I can share with my children. I’d ask for more family movies like this one.

Postscript
Paul Williams has a website devoted to charities and helping people in crisis. Visit it now! The Feline Theocracy commands you!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Transrodental Meditations - MSM Edition

Greetings, fellow travellers on the path to enlightenment! It is I, your Swami of Seeds, Jacob the Syrian Hamster to lead you in the first of a series of Transrodental Meditations.


First, let me instruct you on the basics. In order to achieve Higher Consciousness, you need

Simplicity of Thought,

Purity of Heart and

Buckets of Sunflower Seeds.

Find a quiet place and assume a comfortable position. Clear your mind of active thought and fill your cheeks with pecan pieces. Once you have done this and the winds of clarity have blown the clouds of confusion from your mind, let us contemplate the following mystery:

What's the sound of one MSM reporter confronting people familiar with the subject?

......

That's not a mystery, Jacob. Laura Ingraham took David Gregory out behind the studio and strangled him with his own microphone cord. She was then joined by a host of others who had first-hand experience. It wasn't pretty.



Really?
You bet. It sounded like this. "Iraq Has turned into a nightmare for CENTCOM, a place where there is no rest from ever-increasing violence and despair. A place where American hopes have been dashed on the rocks of reality and insurgents have GOWWWRRRRRKKKK!"



What do you mean it wasn't pretty? That looks like a Renoir to me!
Hmmm. I think you're right. Rock on!


Indeed, fellow truth-seekers. Rock on.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Thursday 13, Music Edition

My favorites playlist on my Rio Karma has 142 songs right now. Here’s 13 of them.

1. The Girl I Knew Somewhere – The Monkees. I can’t hear this one enough. On my favorites playlist I have three versions on it. One live, one with Mike singing lead and the one from the single with Micky singing lead. My favorite is the one with Mike because in the backing vocals near the end of the song Peter’s voice stands out with a really funky quality.
2. For Pete’s Sake – The Monkees. This is my blog’s theme song. I love Micky’s drumming in the background.
3. Little Guitars – Van Halen. Atypical for Van Halen, it has a romantic quality to it.
4. I’m Not Your Steppin’ Stone – The Monkees. Protopunk from the Prefab Four. Someone said The Monkees ought to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame just for Micky’s voice alone. It’s certainly one of the great pop voices of the 1960’s.
5. A Pirate Looks at 40 – Jimmy Buffet. A mid-life crisis where you realize you were born 200 years too late. Bummer.
6. Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season – Jimmy Buffet. “Whitecaps on the ocean and I’m looking for waterspouts” hits me every time I look out my window onto the Pacific. Now I also think of the Arizona Cheeshead!
7. My Old School – Steely Dan. I don’t know why, I just love the tune. I wish the song just kept going on and on.
8. Go Where You Wanna Go – The Mamas and the Papas. You shouldn’t have to name just one Mamas and Papas song, but this is the Thursday 13, not the Thursday 1300. Layered vocals and wistful lyrics.
9. Old Man Harlem – Hoagy Carmichael. It’s from the 1940’s, it’s got a fast beat and it’s about hangovers. What’s the question?
10. Defeat You – Smash Mouth. Hard beat, tough guy lyrics, just a cool song.
11. Revolution Earth – B-52’s. I love the B-52’s. They are fun concert band. Almost every CD has an instrumental and they are always beautiful. That’s the only word that fits them for me. Poetry in sound. This isn’t one of them, but it’s a got that feel with a great mix of their innovative lyrics and poetic sounds.
12. Shake It and Break It – Preservation Hall Jazz Band. You can’t serve your Jambalaya at your New Orleans Saints party without the Preservation Hall Jazz Band playing.
13. Ole Buttermilk Sky – Hoagy Carmichael. In a day and age when “It’s Hard to be a Pimp” wins an Oscar, it’s cleansing to turn on Hoagy’s 1940’s innocent, sweet song about a fella asking his girl to marry him. “Gonna ask her the question, that question, do ya darlin’ do ya do? It’ll be so easy, if I can only count on you. Ole buttermilk sky…”

Other Thursday 13 Sites
Master Enigma
Momma M
Momma Kelly

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Instapundit Visits Grandma

The Alliance! The mere mention of that name sends shock waves through the blogosphere. Like the Oracle at Delphi, its inscrutable utterances are ours to interpret and act upon.

It has spoken!

We scramble about, striving to fulfill its every whim. About Instapundit's family event it asks , “Why did Evil Glenn have so much fun hanging out with his grandmother?”

Our parents and grandparents are inestimable treasures. Filled with insight and years of experience, they can spin yarns and impart wry wisdom all the livelong day. For Glenn, this visit was a chance to engage in a deep, meaningful discussion with grandma wherein he bared his soul to her and told her his most profound thoughts. Through total serendipity, The Scratching Post had a recording device hidden in her house and managed to capture the whole affair. It went something like this.

It went exactly like this, except for the mistakes. (That one’s for you, Peter.)

Grandma: Glenn, I’ve been reading your blog and I’ve got to tell you, I’m impressed. You seem to be so popular with the other bloggers! You must be so well read. I’ve been trying to make sense of this immigration debate. What do you think?

Glenn: Heh.

Grandma: Have you read anything about it?

Glenn: Indeed.

Grandma: Well? Do you favor an immigration policy wherein employers pay for the right to hire migrant workers from another country on a temporary basis?

Glenn: a href=””

Grandma: What on Earth does that mean?

Glenn: Heh?

Grandma: Can you speak English?

Glenn: Indeed.

Grandma: Well, then what do you think of the immigration debate?

Glenn: a href=””

Grandma: Glenn, this is downright disrespectful. I asked you a direct question and you just spout gibberish.

Glenn: Heh.

Grandma: You don’t know a darn thing, do you?

Glenn: Indeed.

Grandma: Well this is a total ^&*@(^#( waste of time, I can’t believe I’m sitting here talking to this @^&*( moron. FESTUS! BRING ME MY BOURBON! I need a drink after trying to make sense of this @#&*() grandson, just sitting there repeating the same words over and over. I tell you, in my day we showed respect for mutter mutter mutter….



Take that, Justin!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Blogger Photo Work Around

One of my blogger friends, Jake Silver, frequently remarks about struggles he has uploading images to blogspot. I have them, too. It took me an hour and a half to upload 8 photos to my World of Good post below. By the time I was done, I was too angry to write a good epilogue. I was more in the mood for a World of Rage post instead.

The last two photos you see never made it to blogger at all. I ended up hosting them at filelodge and referring to them there. It worked immediately. I recommend this to all blogspot users. That's the way I will be doing photos from now on. It takes a little work as you will need to create two photos, a small one to show up in your post and a larger one to show up when the photo is clicked, but it will take far less time than a death struggle with blogspot.

And please, please, please back up your blogspot blog. There have been many stories recently about blogs being hijacked or lost.

World of Good Blogburst, Aussie Style

Thanks to A Tic in the Mind's Eye, we have the World of Good Blogburst. If you like this kind of post, please link to it and let me know!

Last week we highlighted the stellar work the US Navy did helping the vicitms of the Asian tsunami. This week we salute the Royal Australian Navy.

The sailors of the HMAS Kanimbla and their comrades showed how bighearted Australians can be as they came to the aid of people who were homeless and starving. The Aussies worked day and night to help people they didn't know, people who couldn't pay them back. Knowing the Australian Navy, I wouldn't have expected anything less. It's an honor to call you friends.

Members of HMAS Kanimbla ships company and embarked forces assist Indonesian military and civilian relief workers in the offloading of humanitarian aid supplies to the township of Lahewa on the northern coast of the earthquake-affected Indonesian island of Nias.


Residents of the town of Lahewa on the earthquake-affected island of Nias attend a clinic run by the Aero Medical Evacuation Team from HMAS Kanimbla, deployed to support Indonesian Government-led relief operations under Operation Sumatra Assist Phase II.


Stores party brings in supplies while HMAS Kanimbla conducts a three way Replenishment at Sea (RAS) and Vertical Replenishment (Vertrep) with USNS Tippecanoe and USS San Jose.


A Nias islander injured in the 29 March Sumatra earthquake receives treatment in the Primary Casualty Resuscitation Facility (PCRF) on board HMAS Kanimbla.


Victims of the 29 March earthquake on the Indonesian island of Nias are being prepared to be transported to Medan for medical treatment on an Australian C-130J Hercules aircraft for evacuation to Medan.


A little girl who was a victim of the 29 March earthquake on the Indonesian island of Nias waits to be loaded onto the awaiting C-130J Hercules aircraft for evacuation to Medan.


HMAS Kanimbla returns to Sydney from humanitarian operations in Banda Aceh and Nias.


Leading Seaman Bryan Kendall greats his daughter as he steps off the gangway of HMAS Kanimbla.


All photos and accompanying text © Commonwealth of Australia 2005

A special thank you goes out to LCDR Mike Purdy of the Royal Australian Navy for his assistance in assembling this post.

The World of Good would like to publicize your stories of good deeds. I would like to renew my original offer to host stories and photos.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Great Lego- UN Debate

Michelle Malkin has brought to our attention a perfectly innocent poster the UN produced that some reactionaries interpret as an attack on the Danes.


Some benighted fools think that the isolated position and glaring blood-red color of the only recognizable product in the poster, which just happens to be from Denmark, indicates that the UN administrators have wet themselves and have assumed the fetal position in front of the Islamofascists.

Nothing could be further from the truth. As a matter of fact, there has been a very civilized dialog between Lego and Kofi Annan which shows us all how we can get along in the international arena.

Here, Kofi discusses diplomacy with a Danish representative.


The Danish representative makes an excellent point that is not lost on Kofi.


In the end, both sides agree on the finality of the debate.


And that's the way the UN is supposed to work!

Mathematics and Porn

Glenn Reynolds, who, in allegiance to the Alliance, I refuse to grant a link, has a typically terse post today about Australia’s Labor Party considering blocking porn on the Internet. Glenn hopes that people will vote against the Labor party because of it. I totally disagree.

Repeated exposure to something acclimates you to it. My son can now hit 70 mph fastballs because I’ve taken him to the batting cages repeatedly. I can type quickly because I have typed a lot in my life.

In a neural network model, the connections in your brain adjust themselves mathematically to stimuli in order to provide a desired response. Learning is all about exposing yourself to a subject until you understand it. Exposure is the input and understanding is the brain adapting itself to that input.

The brain doesn’t have one set of mechanisms for learning Spanish and another set for viewing porn. It’s all the same. When I see K T Cat, I think of the word “cat”. Repeated exposure to Spanish will help me also associate her with the word “gato.” Mathematically, my mind reconfigures its internal equations to eliminate the barrier I have to associating K T with another word.

In a neural network sense, there is a local minima wherein my brain takes the input of seeing K T and it outputs “cat” and “gato.” It rejects all other alternatives. Learning a new language is the act of altering that rejection process so that yet another word can be associated with K T Cat.

Morality can be described the same way. As a child coming from a Catholic school education, my brain had adapted itself so that a pornographic image was immediately associated with “bad.” Repeated exposure to porn in a positive setting, such as one where pleasure is derived, will change the internal equations of my brain so that porn will be associated with “fun.”

There’s nothing mysterious or political about this at all. Change the subject from porn to trigonometry and you get the same results. Repeated exposure acclimates you to that subject.

Having spent a lot of time studying mathematics, I frequently solve problems using a mathematical toolset. When doing woodworking, I think in terms of angles, radii and tangents. Confronted with a problem in cutting a piece of wood, I solve it with the mental tools with which I am most comfortable.

If confronted with sexual needs and having been repeatedly exposed to pornography, I will have a mental toolset to solve that problem, too. My mind will have formed its connections to accept women as objects for gratification and that’s the way I shall use them.

Porn is a huge industry. Just like cigarette manufacturers tried to hide the connection between cigarettes and cancer, the porn industry tries to hide the connection between exposure to porn and crimes like sexual assault.

A very brief search on the Internet will reveal the correlation between sex crimes and porn. It is statistically undeniable and the mechanism is well known.

What is the cost-benefits trade-off for unfettered access to porn? In exchange for more restrictive censorship, we reduce the stimuli that help make sex crimes more common.

Glenn does no one any good at all by parroting a simplistic libertarian line about censorship and free press and ignoring this trade-off. He ought to know better.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Roulette as a Long Term Investment

Betting on individual numbers in roulette is a sure way to lose money unless you manage to get lucky very early and then quit. Under no circumstances is roulette a good retirement investment. It can be fun if you know when to stop, but it has no long-term advantages.

Many opposed to the war in Iraq have been playing roulette and now the ball is bouncing the wrong way for them. Strident accusations that Saddam had nothing to do with terrorism have been standard fare across the media.

That was fine until you realized that there were mounds and mounds of untranslated Baathist documents captured during the war, any one of which might hold the smoking gun showing how Saddam directly supported terrorists.

Ignore for the moment the growing evidence that the smoking gun is actually a battery of smoking 155mm howitzers. What numbskull would have placed their bets against it?

Saddam hated America. He had lots of money. His military routinely fired surface-to-air missiles at coalition aircraft patrolling the no-fly zones in the years prior to the war. He had the motive, the opportunity and the ability to support the terrorists.

If you were a politician, with reams of documents still untranslated, how in the world would you ever think that claiming Saddam had no links to the terrorists was a good long-term investment?

This is not about politics. This is about abject stupidity. Large numbers of our politicians have bet their future on a roulette wheel.

Assume that there are 100,000 documents. Assume they are statistically independent. Assume that the chance that any document does not show that Saddam supported the terrorists was 99.99%. What are the odds that you would be able to make it through the whole pile without finding hard evidence that Saddam was supporting them?

0.9999^100,000 = 0.005%.

In other words, it was 99.995% certain that at least one would contain hard evidence Saddam had supported the terrorists.

This is buying lottery tickets as a long-term investment. This is running across the freeway. This is diving into the ocean in San Diego and swimming to Hawaii. This is stupid.

I would suggest that the discussions that focus on the hatred of Bush might best be refocused on the utter idiocy of these politicians. Bush isn’t running again. The folks who invested in roulette will be.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

French Economics Classes Must Have Let Out Early

The AP has reported on another wave of student protests quoted below. Marching in the streets! Power to the people! We want…jobs without responsibility!

Hurrah!

Half a million protesters took to the streets across France on Saturday to demand the scrapping of a new law they fear will erode job security, and trade union and student leaders gave the government 48 hours to comply.
Or else they will…sit on their couches and watch daytime TV?

English Language Students Protest Waving badly misspelled signs, French students protest poor English language instruction.

The marches were lighthearted romps.

The marches were mostly festive and peaceful, but dozens of youths pelted police with missiles, set a car ablaze and smashed a shop window at the end of the main protest in Paris. Police cleared them from Nation square with many rounds of tear gas.
Nothing says festive like many rounds of tear gas. At my daughter’s 9-year-old birthday party, we had a terrible time choosing between a piƱata and many rounds of tear gas.

Scattered violence was also reported in Marseille, Rennes and Lille, where police also charged and teargassed crowds.
How festive!

The student protests played right into the strengths of the French government who immediately asked for terms of surrender.

GOVERNMENT OFFERS DIALOGUE
In the government's first reaction, spokesman Jean-Francois Cope said: "Beyond the passions of the moment, don't we all have an interest in a dialogue?"
After moistening his pantaloons, he then …

ducked a television interviewer's question whether the government would withdraw the law.
Having missed all of her economics classes because she slept in too late after long nights hitting the bong, 20-year-old Coralie Huvet said,

"I risk working for two years for nothing, just to be fired at any moment,"
Showing that she had at least managed to pass 3rd grade,

She had "No to the CPE" written on her forehead, a reference to the "First Job Contract" (CPE) the protesters oppose.

Free Public Transportation Here, police officers sympathetic to the students' demands carry one to a job interview.

Now we get to the brains of the group.

Opposition Socialist and Communist politicians also joined the protest
Now there’s a group I want leading me. Proven winners, every one of them.

John Kerry’s alter ego, Dominique de Villepin (who is a man)

has pledged not to give in to street pressure. At the same time, he hinted on Friday evening that he could make some adjustments to the law.
How very nuanced!

Unemployment is the top political issue in France, where the national average is 9.6 percent and youth joblessness is double that. The rate rises to 40-50 percent in some of the poor suburbs hit by several weeks of youth rioting last autumn.
Huzzah! The best way to combat unemployment is to destroy durable goods. Replacing those burned out cars will increase demand and create new jobs. I suggest they create jobs all over France. Start at one end and stop at the other, creating jobs all the way. Go team!

Job Creation French youth across the nation worked with authorities to increase demand for consumer goods.

In a dog-bites-man epilogue, the story notes…

Chirac is himself badly weakened.
No. Really?

Next week in France: How to improve your economic situation by taxing everything that enters your country with rates only possible through the use of scientific calculators.

Postscript
In a very sad post, the Brussels Journal gives a serious look at the situation. My comment: when you decide you're too smart to need God and too smart to acknowledge supply-demand curves, you're pretty much screwed.

Dachshunds and Mallets

David’s Medienkritik has another in a series of great blog posts about the sorry state of affairs in Germany’s attitude towards the U.S. Terribly unfortunate, old boy, but perhaps not as critical as it may appear. Allow me to point out a few facts and make a comparison.

Germany

Birth rate 1.39 children / woman
Median age 42
Unemployment 11.6%
Economic growth 0.8%

Argentina

Birth rate 2.19 children / woman
Median age 29
Unemployment 11.1%
Economic growth 8.2%

Go with the future and not the past. Argentina's population is 13 years younger, has a healthier economy and is out-growing Germany by a factor of 10-1. Ten to one! Mexico and Brazil are winners, too.

Dig this guy's blog.

So the Deutsch dachshund is yapping at us as it's economy goes over Niagara in a barrel. So what? Mr. Dachshund, meet Mr. Croquet Mallet. WHAP! Thank you. Enjoy the rest of your trip. (KT averts her eyes as she hears the barrel hit the bottom saying, “Man, that’s gonna leave a mark.”)

It seems to me that Germany’s going to need everyone else long before the rest of us need them.

One last note, and this goes for France, too. How in the world do you manage to have a modern economy with a shrinking labor force and rising unemployment? Do you realize how fundamentally screwed up you need to be for that to happen?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Cat Blogging Joke

Blogging is a game of...



...cat and mouse!



Hahahahaha! I just crack myself up!



For more cats, go see this week's Carnival!

Why Race and Politics Don't Matter

The census bureau puts out tables of data. You can look up all kinds of things. Things like family income as a function of race and marital status. Here is a summary of the data for 2004.

Black, married households have an average income of $63,934.
Black, single mom households average $28,408.

Source

White, married households average $81,408
White, single mom households average $37,917

Source

Here’s a chart.


That's pretty dramatic, but not surprising to some of us. As a single dad, I can list some of the drawbacks of being a single dad. It’s a pretty long list.

If you were in the media or politics and you wanted to attack the biggest domestic problem, wouldn’t this be it? So what do we hear all day long? The need for government social programs and the problems of racism.

Hmmm.

A Major Announcement from the Theocracy

A Most Propitious Event Yields Another Announcement from the Feline Theocracy.


Unbeknownst to all, that gentle lady of great renown, Peggy Noonan, has performed such selfless and noble acts in bridging the void of ignorance that divides the New Media from the Old that she is hereby admitted to the Holy See of the Feline Theocracy and is named “Most Faithful Ambassador to the Court of the Mainstream Media.”

Let there be seven days of rejoicing in the Theocracy with tuna and catnip for all!

For those in the Theocracy who have taken vows of silence, poverty and/or chastity let this be a period of suspension of your vows that you may celebrate with the faithful. It is instructive for us to recall the immortal words of Abraham Lincoln from the documentary film, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure when he addressed the gathered multitudes saying,


“Be excellent to one another. And…PARTY ON, DUDES!!!!”

So sayeth the Feline Theocracy. All hail the Theocracy!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Further Blessings from the Feline Theocracy

Another Announcement from the Feline Theocracy.



In past announcements, we have granted the titles of Mother Superior of the Holy Order of Ocean Whitefish and Knight-Protector and Defender of Yarn Balls. Now the time has to come to acknowledge and reward others who have reverently served the Feline Theocracy.

Through our doctrine of feline infallibility, we have divined that the following penitents have earned the titles given herein.

The Internet Marketing Novice has graduated from his novitiate and is hereby named “The Grand Almoner of England”. His blog is an act of charity to others who follow in his footsteps, toiling valiantly to learn the business of the Internet. We are grateful for his link to our post on The World of Goodness, Navy Style.

Romeo Cat may now don the title “Abbess of the Priory of Small Princesses”. Her link to Our Most Holy Post on The World of Goodness, Navy Style was an act of heartily welcome devotion.

Lady Jane has behaved as a righteous lady should, unlike that hoary old sinner, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and has earned the title “Sister Jane of Perpetual Purring.”

The Theocracy prayed long and hard over Ogre. It is not in our habit to include ogres into the Theocracy, but his (semi-)meek countenance and (almost-)worshipful attitude have earned him the title "Monsignor of the Breweries.” We understand that this is a potentially dangerous combination, Ogre and breweries, but we feel that he shall show enough self-restraint as to allow us to tidy up his indiscretions with a minimal application of legal maneuvering and brute force.

So sayeth the Feline Theocracy. All Hail the Theocracy!

Eight Ball, Glenn Reynold's Pocket

Glenn Reynolds links to Ann Althouse all the time only because he can’t figure out how to make that “open thread” thing work.

Heh.

Explanation here.

Postscript
How evil can the guy be? All he does is read other people's blogs, link to them and then say "Heh" or "Indeed." He's just not that big of a threat. If he was a member of the ancient Roman pantheon, he'd be Maytag, god of dryer lint.

Ginsburg Batting Practice

I’m sorry. I just can’t help myself. Justice Ginsburg is out on the mound throwing belt-high fastballs over the heart of the plate and it’s absolute batting practice for the blogosphere. If she’s going to groove fastballs, I just have to go out and take her deep, too. It’s too good to pass up.

She went and gave a frightfully earnest speech in South Africa suggesting that it was right and proper to consider foreign laws in domestic courts. Sigh.

If it isn’t Hillary claiming that overseers in the Senate are whipping her, it’s Senator Coleman chastising the executive branch for taking the blindfold off while playing “Pin the Tail on Osama.” Is anyone else just tired of the whole thing? Not only do our lawmakers and judges put their pants on one leg at a time like the rest of us, apparently more often than not they put both feet in one leg and then hop around the bedroom knocking over lamps, flailing their arms and scaring the house pets and then falling to the floor struggling to get the pants on correctly. I’m surprised that major league idiots like Ted Kennedy aren’t wearing skirts.

The mental image that just gave you probably took three years off your life. I’ll notify your insurance company so they can update your actuarial tables. You’re welcome.

Anyway, some lawmakers and judges aren’t just average Joes like the rest of us; they might actually a bit dimmer.

Justice Ginsburg is a twit. Not only that, she, by her own definition, may be a criminal. Let us (wearily) apply her own reasoning to her life and see what we come up with. Have the paddy wagon standing by.

In Canada, citizens may not publicly remove bandages. Sounds like someone owes us a fine!

In Etobicoke, Ontario, it is illegal for a bathtub to contain more than 3.5” of water. With a yardstick and a camera, we can examine the ring in her tub and when we’re done, she best know a lawyer better than herself or she’s in big trouble.

In Kanata, Ontario, it is illegal to have a clothesline in your backyard. How egalitarian of you, Ms. ACLU Ginsburg! Did you know that some people can’t afford dryers? Let me take a wild guess at your reply. “Then let them go to the dry cleaners.” The tumbrel is on it’s way, dear.

In Toronto, it is illegal to drag a dead horse down Yonge Street on Sunday. Just to be on the safe side, it might be best to meet Madeleine Albright there on Saturday instead, hon.

DIGRESSION Louis Prima is the bomb. I’ve got my music on shuffle and Hey Boy, Hey Girl just came up. Here’s a good CD to get. /DIGRESSION

In Wawa, Ontario, it is illegal to show public affection on Sunday. Try to keep your lipstick-smeared Che Guevera poster indoors that day.

In Montreal, the Queen Elizabeth Hotel must feed your horse freely when you rent a room. See note above re: Madeleine Albright.

In England, it is illegal to hang a bed out a window. Can you believe how sexually repressive these laws are? What goes on in a person’s bedroom or directly below the window thereof is protected by the right to privacy as preached by the wiccans dingbats morons lawyers of the ACLU. This is trying, isn’t it, sweetie? You might need to lie down on your bed with a cold washcloth on your forehead. Just try doing it indoors, if you get my drift.

Ruthie baby, did you really know what you were getting yourself into? Of course not. That’s because you’re an idiot. Would you like a little ginger ale in a sippy cup before we continue? There. That’s better.

In York, England, it is legal to shoot a Scotsman with a bow and arrow most days of the week. Can we have a DNA sample from you?

In Scotland it is illegal to be drunk and in possession of a cow. Must I keep reminding you about the risks of hanging out with a certain person whose initials are M. A.?

Jerry Coleman: Ginsburg delivers and KT rips a line drive into left center! That’s going to go all the way to the wall! KT pulls up into second with a stand up double and two more runs score. That cat’s starting to look tired, Ted. Too much running the basepaths today. They’ve got to get Ginsburg out of there, it’s just embarrassing.
In Victoria, Australia, only licensed electricians may change a lightbulb. Being a lawyer, you may never have done this yourself, having never been able to get enough of your kind in the room at the same time to change one.

Finally, just to protect your speechwriter, let me remind you that in Denmark, it is illegal to start your car with someone underneath your vehicle.

Acknowledgements
Shaun Aisbitt has a wonderful web page with the world's wierdest laws. Thanks, Shaun.

Michelle Malkin first brought this to my attention.

Stop the ACLU deals with this, too.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Heavenly Light

I'm going in to work way too early to be coherent, so I will leave you with a cool afternoon photo I took from my deck a few days ago. I've got a follow-up story from my lawyer post for later and hopefully a Thursday 13 post, too. Thanks to everyone who is linking to my World of Good post below.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

World of Good Blogburst, Navy Style

Thanks to A Tic in the Mind’s Eye, we have the World of Good (WOG) Blogburst.

Update - I now have a post that describes the purpose of the WOGs, lists the ones we've done and asks you to help.

After the devastating tsunami in Asia in 2004, the U. S. and Australian Navies provided round-the-clock comfort and support for the devastated areas. Words don’t do justice to the sailors and airmen who worked until they dropped for people who they had never met. It is my hope that in some small way, the pictures posted here give you a sense of the brave, dedicated and resourceful people in the Navy. There’s much more at the Navy website.

Go Navy.


Ahangama, Sri Lanka (Jan. 16, 2005) - Steelworker Constructionman Nikolas Matthews, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Seven (NMCB-7), Air Detachment, stacks roof tiles that were removed from damaged buildings at a primary school in Ahangama, Sri Lanka. The Seabees cleared the debris as part of the humanitarian relief efforts of Operation Unified Assistance, the humanitarian relief effort to aid the victims of the tsunami that struck Southeast Asia. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Greg Bingaman


Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia (Mar. 2 2005) – Cmdr. Karen McDonald, center, a U.S. Navy nurse, is assisted by members of the German military as they carry an Indonesian patient to an awaiting U.S. Navy helicopter for transport to the Military Sealift Command (MSC) hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19). Mercy served as an enabling platform to assist humanitarian operations ashore. Mercy was off the waters of Indonesia in support of Operation Unified Assistance, the humanitarian relief effort to aid the victims of the tsunami that struck Southeast Asia. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Jeffery Russell


Indian Ocean (Mar. 14, 2005) - An elderly Indonesian patient shows her sincere appreciation to a "Project HOPE" volunteer by kissing her hand and saying a prayer for her as she waits for her helicopter flight back to Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia, upon discharge from the Military Sealift Command (MSC) hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19). U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Jeffery Russell


Indian Ocean (Mar. 14, 2005) - U.S. Navy personnel assist an Indonesian patient to a MH-60S Seahawk helicopter during her transfer back to University Hospital in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, following treatment aboard the Military Sealift Command (MSC) hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19). U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Jeffery Russell


Strait of Juan De Fuca, Puget Sound, Wash. (Mar. 4, 2005) - The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) transits the Strait of Juan De Fuca as they prepare to return to Naval Station Everett, Wash., after a deployment to the Western Pacific Ocean. The Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and embarked Carrier Air Wing Two (CVW-2) supported Operation Unified Assistance, the humanitarian relief effort to aid the victims of the tsunami that struck Southeast Asia. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 3rd class Chris Otsen


San Diego, Calif. (June 8, 2005) - Families and friends wait as the Military Sealift Command (MSC) hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) prepares to moor at Naval Station San Diego. Mercy returned from a five-month deployment in support of tsunami relief efforts and humanitarian aide missions to various Southeast Asia nations. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Johansen Laurel

The Navy's been very kind to me, so there's plenty more where this came from. Are the rest of you going to let the Navy show you up? My offer still stands.

U.S. Navy imagery used in illustration without endorsement expressed or implied.

An Announcement from the Feline Theocracy

I, K T Cat, your Maximum Leader, have a grand announcement from the Feline Theocracy.


Because of his brave deeds, noble demeanor and kind offer to leave a plate of tuna out for me, Lawman is hereby named Knight Protector of the Feline Theocracy and Defender of Yarn Balls. Read ye his blog with great regularity.


Go forth now in your endeavors, Sir Knight, with the blessings and prayers of all felines!

As previously noted, the most honorable Empress Kukka-Maria has also been named Mother Superior of the Holy Order of Ocean Whitefish. Read also her blog, for it is great with feline wisdom.


All hail the Feline Theocracy!

Quote from forgotten author: “Cats were once worshipped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this.”

What To Do While Waiting In Court

Yesterday I had the unmistakable pleasure of showing up in court as a witness in a trial. While waiting to be called, I sat next to a middle-aged woman and her very young attorney. She had a harsh, bitter look about her as if she felt she had been done great ill and wanted revenge on everyone. He sat staring off into space. I hypothesized about his past.

He went to law school because he was a crusader. He wanted to change the world and defend the “little people”. He was also materialistic, which was shown by his clothes. He liked the finer things in life and those could be had with enough billable hours, at $240 an hour. He was young enough to be either paying off his first Corvette or saving for the down payment on his first condo in Telluride.

In law school he had learned case history, constitutional law, court procedures and various legal maneuvers for the courtroom. No one had told him that billable hours were just that, hours. Hours spent on uncomfortable plastic chairs in noisy, dirty hallways, waiting to see a judge who was behind schedule and ill tempered. Hours spent signing forms, filling out forms, looking for forms and discovering he had filled out the wrong forms.

Then the best fantasy of all struck me.

He had not been told that those billable hours were hours he was hired by his client to do…anything? As I watched them sit beside me, doing absolutely nothing, I imagined their bank accounts like parts of an hourglass. Hers was on top and his was on bottom and the grains of sand were dollar bills, falling at the rate of one every 15 seconds. She was spending four dollars a minute on him and he was just sitting there, staring off into the ether, imagining his Porsche or next Italian wool suit or airhead mistress.

As old as she was, she should have demanded more for her money than a blank look from a young punk in snappy clothes. I would. Here’s what I came up with as a list of things I want done for me while waiting by someone who is earning $240/hour of my money.

1. Shine my shoes.
2. Tell me stories.
3. Tell me jokes.
4. Make balloon animals for me.
5. Give me a massage.
6. Listen to every frightfully tedious story I have to tell as if it were the finest prose from Charles Dickens.
7. Sort my socks. I’ll bring a bag of them, fresh from my dryer, and you can match and fold them. I hate doing that.
8. Make shadow puppets on the wall and entertain me with a play. Ibsen is right out, so don’t go all highbrow on me just because you went to Yale.
9. Tap dance for me.
10. Do that really funny mime routine the guy at Sea World does as people are walking in for the next sea lion and otter show. You know, the one where the guy follows the lady to her seat and makes mocking, exaggerated sashaying motions with his hips while pursing his lips and making an idiotic face somewhat like hers. When her boyfriend / husband / lawyer catches you and kicks the tar out of you, make amusing noises during and after the beating.

And now a bonus suggestion. My personal favorite. The Lawyer Pit.

11. Fight with the other lawyers waiting for the other trials in an Ultimate Fighting-style match. We’ll set up a pit for you to fight in, with seats all around. We’ll take bets and sell hot dogs and beer. It will be great fun for all. Well, maybe not for you, but certainly for us.

If I’m giving you a new leather sofa every three hours, you had darn well better be earning it, boy, and contemplating the peeling paint on the wall across from you doesn’t qualify as earning anything more than the back of my hand. Imagine how common lawsuits would be if lawyers knew they had to go through this. CALA has some good stories of frivolous lawsuits.

I now open it up to you. What should your lawyer do for you at $240/hour instead of just using up valuable oxygen and taking up space?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Advice to the President on Defeating Terrorists

All hail the Alliance! Here at The Scratching Post we have it’s motto imprinted in our brains!

Sick, Distempered Tyrannosaurus!

Or something like that. Anyway, they have a new Precision Guided Humor assignment. Who could give President Bush good advice on fighting terrorists, and what would they tell him to do?

First, let us examine the problem. Is the problem the way we are fighting terrorists? Do you think we can improve on these guys?




I think that’s a big no. The problem is these guys.




Too many people here in the U. S. listen to them and read what they write. The public becomes convinced that we’re losing or doing bad things. What we need is a way to get fewer people to pay attention to them. I suggest the best people to give President Bush advice on this are the talent agency casting services professionals at Hollywood Pictures dot com.

Reporters seem to be able to believe absolute rubbish at the drop of a hat. With a little encouragement, the fine people at Hollywood Pictures could convince them that “they ought to be in pictures.” A few acting lessons (Matt Damon is proof positive that very few are needed) and off they go into disastrously unpopular movies like Syriana, Brokeback Mountain and Good Night and Good Luck.

Where no one will ever hear from them again.

Muhahahahahaha! They might as well be thrown into a dungeon, they’ll be so totally cut off from the rest of us. It will be sort of like living in The Matrix for them. They’ll think they’re in the real world, but all the time they’ll be living in a bubble, unable to influence anyone who votes.

Oh sure, there will be some people who will go looking for them. A few inquiries at the police station and a private eye or two, but since they’ll only be seen in movie theaters, they’ll never be found! Although they would blame us for violating human rights, even the ACLU wouldn't be able to extricate them from this trap.

MUHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Sorry. I got carried away there.

Once they're out of the way, the American people will turn to other news sources and see the real effects of what America has done for the rest of the world



and patriotism and support for fighting criminal maniacs will never ever weaken again.






Now let me add a brief, serious note. The three pictures above are from the Navy relief effort after the recent, devastating tsunami. We should be very, very proud of the job done by the U. S. and Australian Navies in providing immediate assistance to the victims. Believe me, stories from those crews would make you never again doubt the good we do.