Chris Muir's Day By Day



Monday, March 31, 2008

D'oh!

PEORIA, Ariz., March 31 (UPI) -- Police in suburban Phoenix asked the public to be on the lookout for a police officer's pickup truck, which disappeared with an assault rifle inside.

Peoria police told KPHO-TV, Phoenix, the white 2003 Ford F-350 was parked outside a bar Sunday night when it was apparently stolen.

The officer's two handguns and an AR-15 assault rifle were locked in the vehicle along with plenty of ammunition, badges, uniforms and a bulletproof vest.


I'm curious as to what the officer was doing in the bar, myself, and whether his vehicle was properly secured.

No Joking Please, We're British

LONDON, March 31 (UPI) -- British business owners could be sued by female employees if customers are allowed to flirt or make sex jokes, a new sex discrimination ruling says.

Starting Sunday, bar and restaurant managers could face major lawsuits if they so much as allow a customer to call a waitress "love," The Daily Mail reported Monday.

Bar managers reportedly have been advised to display signs warning that, "harassment is not tolerated."

The new rules were driven by Women and Equalities Minister Harriet Harman, who maintains authority with European law to change regulations relating to discrimination.


Shall we make broad (no pun intended) generalizations about Harriet?

Woman Jailed For False Rape Allegation

A judge branded a woman who falsely accused a soldier of raping her after a one-night stand as "wicked" and "evil" yesterday as he jailed her for a year.

Good. It's always been my contention that a woman who falsely accuses a man of rape should serve jail time, but often the crime is simply ignored.

(The girl's pretty fugly, if that means anything. *laughs*)

h/t Hot Air.

Human Rights Complaint Against Jewish Holidays In Canada

TORONTO, March 31 (UPI) -- Toronto's York University has 21 days to review allegations by the Ontario Human Rights Commission that canceling classes for Jewish holidays is discriminatory.

Investigator Kim Hanson wrote a report seen by the Toronto Star that concludes the practice of canceling three days of classes for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur violates the provincial Human Rights Code's protection against discrimination based on a person's "creed."


Gee, I wonder who complained?

Clay Tablet Is Clue To Biblical Destruction.

A clay tablet found in the ruins of Ninevah is now thought by scientists to be a historical record of an asteroid strike that caused the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.




A clay tablet that has baffled scientists for 150 years has been identified as a witness’s account of the asteroid suspected of being behind the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Researchers who cracked the cuneiform symbols on the Planisphere tablet believe that it recorded an asteroid thought to have been more than half a mile across.

The tablet, found by Henry Layard in the remains of the library in the royal place at Nineveh in the mid-19th century, is thought to be a 700BC copy of notes made by a Sumerian astronomer watching the night sky.

He referred to the asteroid as “white stone bowl approaching” and recorded it as it “vigorously swept along”.

Using computers to recreate the night sky thousands of years ago, scientists have pinpointed his sighting to shortly before dawn on June 29 in the year 3123BC.


Fascinating reading.

No Oysters? Let Them Eat Cake.

A Specialty of Smith Island in Chesapeake Bay.

SMITH ISLAND, Md. — With the blessing of state lawmakers in Annapolis, a sweet blend of flour, butter, eggs and chocolate may provide an economic boost to this small, struggling island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay.

Years of strict limits on crabbing and oyster harvesting have whittled down the work of watermen, the island’s main source of income, leaving an unusual multilayered cake — known as the Smith Island cake — as the new great hope. A bill to designate it Maryland’s official dessert has passed the State Senate and is awaiting final approval in the House.

“Florida has the key lime pie, Massachusetts has the Boston cream pie and, hopefully, Maryland will have the Smith Island cake,” said D. Page Elmore, a Republican who represents the rural lower Eastern Shore. “This is a source of revenue for them — and a source of pride.”

The confection’s origin is uncertain, but some say it can be traced to Welsh and English settlers who came to the island in the late 1600s. The cake originally was four layers, but the women of Smith Island started to stack it higher as a form of competition, and it eventually grew to as many as a dozen layers, said Mary Ada Marshall, a baker here.

Mrs. Marshall, 60, said she learned from her grandmother how to build her own version, an 8 to 10-layer yellow cake, divided by a thin layer of hot fudge icing that is also spread on the top and sides. Cake variations include bananas, strawberries, pineapple, peaches and cream, or figs as filling between each layer.

Hester Smith, who has lived on Smith Island for 66 years, also lamented the economic changes. She has witnessed generations move away to more stable jobs on the mainland. As for the Smith Island cake, she is mixing up her batter.

“It’s a wonderful place to live,” Mrs. Smith said. “We can go to bed or go on vacation and never have to lock our doors. We don’t have to be scared like everybody away from here. All the women just about make cakes. The women will pull together and try to save the island.”


I remember that William Least Heat Moon visited Smith Island in his wonderful travel book Blue Highways. I've been looking at Chesapeake Bay a lot via Google Earth lately, wondering if there's a deserted island that could use a hermit...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Dick Cheney And Life On The Road.

Story here.

Apparently he keeps a green canvas duffel bag full of books and his iPod. He travels mainly on a military C-17 cargo plane rather than Air Force Two, and has a "silver trailer" (Airstream?) in the cargo bay of the plane where he actually "lives."

Good story.

Imagine If The Inventor's Name Was "Biggus Dickus."

A newsreader for BBC Radio had an attack of giggles while reading stories, including a story on the death of US screenwriter Abby Mann.

Charlotte Green's troubles began with a story about the recovery of the world's oldest recording, an 1860 record of a woman singing "Au Clair De La Lune," The Times of London reported. Green broke down when an assistant editor whispered that the sound was like "a bee buzzing in a bottle."

The BBC was deluged with phone calls and e-mails immediately. Some criticized Green for being disrespectful to Mann and she apologized to his family.

"I was completely ambushed by the giggles," she said. "People have been very sweet and everyone has been saying how much it has cheered up their Friday morning."


Sometimes you just can't help yourself. The impulse can strike anyone at anytime. One of the best examples I've seen is the famous scene in Monty Python's Life of Brian in which Pontius Pilate, who has a speech impediment, is interrogating Brian:

Pontius Pilate: I will not have my fwiends widiculed by the common soldiewy. - - Anybody else feel like a little... giggle... when I mention my fwiend... Biggus...
[another guard chuckles]
Pontius Pilate: ... Dickus?

Complicate, Complicate

NATO leaders that meet in Bucharest next week will do so in the second largest building in the world, former Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu's personal palace.

It's one of those structures that megalomaniacs like to build. Ceausescu wrecked the center of Bucharest to make room for it, engaged thousands of workman to build it, and reserved all the stone Romania produced (marble, granite, etc) to build it with.

More here.

Simplify, Simplify

US automobile manufacturers, trying to find the right strategery to become profitable again, have decided to simplify.

DETROIT (Reuters) - Henry Ford, who created the automotive industry's first mass-market hit with the Model T a century ago, was a proponent of radical simplicity.

In fact, Ford became famous for saying his customers could have the $825 Model T in any color -- so long as it was black.

In the century since the first Model T in 1908, Ford's vision of top-down efficiency has been swamped by thousands of feature and color combinations on new cars, trucks and SUVs.

Ford Chief Executive Alan Mulally said he was amazed by the number of variations Ford offered when he arrived at the No. 2 U.S. automaker from Boeing Co in 2006.

"I was looking at the (Lincoln) Navigator console," Mulally said. "We have 128 different options you could choose on the console. That's just the console."

Ford's chief of marketing, Jim Farley, who was hired away from Toyota Motor Co last year, said he was stunned to find that Ford was offering 100,000 combinations of options on its entry-level Focus sedan. Some 80 percent of Ford's sales came from just 4,000 of those combinations, he said.

In response, Ford has cut complexity by reducing the number of "buildable combinations" of the 2008 Focus by 99 percent. On the 2008 Expedition, it has cut combinations by 95 percent.


What are the benefits of simplifying? Paint, for example, doesn't require holding large stocks of materials in colors that won't often be used. Simpler means easier for workers to understand, and if they understand it, they are able to work faster. Simpler makes it easier on the customer, who often times isn't as finicky as the dealer might imagine. The only people it upsets is the minority of finicky people who strive to be unique, and you'll never make money trying to please the minority at the expense of the majority.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Global Warming Story Of The Day.

Deer are freezing in the Maine winter.

"If you had a snow year like this every year in northern Maine, you would not have deer," Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife deer biologist Lee Kantar said.

"Raw Sugarcane On Steroids."

An apple developed in northern Minnesota has been given the name Frostbite in a public contest.

I've been eating a lot of apples lately. I can't eat either of the Delicious varieties, just not enough taste. Mainly I eat Pink Ladies, also known as Cripps' Pink. Whenever I see a variety I haven't yet tried at the market I will buy a few.

Yep, Mooky Needs Killing.

I blogged about my opinion on Mooky (Moqtada al-Sadr) here, and nothing has changed my mind since then; actually, my opinion has been reinforced. We need to make a concerted effort to make Mooky assume room temperature, presuming we can catch him before he runs to his masters in Iran again.

Kiss The Job Goodbye.

A pizza delivery driver shot a robber who was holding a gun to his head.

You shoot the robber and you lose your job. It's tough, but the corporation can't afford a huge lawsuit if an employee shoots someone who didn't need shooting. Hopefully he can find a better job, where he doesn't feel the need to carry a gun to defend himself. An office job where you don't work with the public would be good. Or, hell; just join the military, so you can carry a gun as part of the job.

World's Oldest Cougar On The Prowl?

Lauren Bacall is looking for a man.

Sounds like she's getting into Zsa Zsa Gabor or Mae West territory. Give it up, already, ma'am. There's a time you just have to give up being a sex symbol.

Stupid Leftist Alert.

An idiot living in Romania offered his porch as a "sniper position" via which to shoot down President Bush and UK Prime Minister Brown, in town for a NATO summit.

People that effing stupid should be given a month's jail term for criminal stupidity.

Oops, Sorry About That.

In this post, I mentioned the case of a US Navy-contracted ship firing on a small boat in the Suez Canal, killing one man in the boat.

Well, it turns out that the small boat was just a Port Said bumboat, and President Bush has had to issue an official apology for killing a souvenir salesman.

Sailors seem a mite trigger-happy in that part of the world these days. I am sorry for the accident, but the rules now aren't as they once were, and a minor headline would have been a major headline if that Port Said bumboat had been a terrorist attack like that which damaged the USS Cole.

Decline In Hunting And Fishing Noted

Fishing and hunting, two rural sports that traditionally fund conservation efforts across the US, are on the decline.

Lots of reasons for this. Population growth and migration from rural to urban lifestyles is part of it, as is the advent of video games and other entertainments. Gun control measures and anti-hunting messages have some role, also.

"The Unnamed Dead Are Everywhere."

The unnamed dead are everywhere, so many that they overwhelm police departments' ability to identify them all. Volunteers in the Doe Network are trying to take up the slack.

LIVINGSTON, Tenn. (AP) -- Four days a week Todd Matthews earns $11.50 an hour working for an automotive parts supplier. He punches in at 4:15 a.m., punches out nearly 11 hours later, then drives half a mile to his little beige house on a hill where, in the distance, he can glimpse the Appalachian mountains.

He spends the next seven to eight hours at his desk, beneath shelves lined with miniature plastic skulls, immersed in a very different world.

Their faces seem to float from his computer - morgue photographs, artist sketches, forensic reconstructions - thousands of dead eyes staring from endless Web sites as though crying out for recognition. John and Jane and Baby "Does" whose nameless bodies have never been identified.

His wife, Lori, complains that Matthews spends more time with the dead than he does with the living, including his two sons, Dillan, 16, and Devin, 6.

You need a hobby, she says, or a goal.

I have a goal, he replies, though he describes it as a "calling".

He wants to give "Does" back their names.


It's a long article, but well worth reading. It's sad reading, because when the Doe Network has a success, it means that a family has to give up all hope of finding their lost relative/friend forever. It's still a worthy endeavor, though.

TSA Now Says Visual Piercing Inspection OK.

Not as if you could have shown some common sense and initiative when the subject first came up.

It's a goddamned shame that it takes national headlines and lawyers in order to get the government to act in a common-sense fashion, and for supervisors to act like supervisors and use judgement in a case like this.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Live Leak Under Hacker Attack?

I clicked a link to LiveLeak just now, and they have a banner up indicating that they are working under a DDOS attack. Apparently jihadis or their leftist sympathizers are unhappy that LiveLeak is hosting Geert Wilders' Fitna.

Update: Welcome, Ace of Spades HQ readers!

Update 2: Michelle Malkin reports that LiveLeak has pulled Fitna because of death threats.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Riots Alert!

Stand by for riots, Geert Wilders has posted Fitna on his political party's website.

I expect Islamic Rage Boy to be prominently featured.

Update: Link to the video here.

Update 2 It's atrocity footage interspersed with scenes of imams preaching, the film and text is Dutch. Music by Tchaikovsky and Grieg.

Update 3. Wilders didn't pull any punches at all, this is incendiary.

Update 4. Film credited to Geert Wilders and "The Scarlet Pimpernel."

Welcome, Ace of Spades HQ readers!

Oliver Stone Picks Actors For "W."

James Cromwell as George Herbert Walker Bush, and Ellen Burstyn as Barbara Bush.

Dana Carvey is reported to be "devastated" by the news.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone: Time For You To Go?

The London Times thinks it will happen.

Enough reason for me to actually watch a UK election cycle.

Misleading Reuters Headline Of The Day.

More Californians Back Tax Hikes, Poll Finds.

The problem is that percentage is 42%, less than a majority. So it's more than one, and less than a majority.

*shakes head sadly*

People stupid enough to support a tax increase should receive that very tax, good and hard.

Hitchens: Beware The Orthodox!

Christopher Hitchens, in an interview with Hugh Hewitt, talked of a link between the Russian Government and the Russian Orthodox Church...

Now, in Berlin, a Russian artist who criticized the Russian Orthodox Church has disappeared.

*cue spooky music*

I don't know what more to make of this, myself.

Sounds Recorded Before Edison.

Ever heard of Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville? No? That's ok, because until just now, I hadn't heard of him either. Yet he is important in the history of invention and sound recording, because he did it first:

For more than a century, since he captured the spoken words “Mary had a little lamb” on a sheet of tinfoil, Thomas Edison has been considered the father of recorded sound. But researchers say they have unearthed a recording of the human voice, made by a little-known Frenchman, that predates Edison’s invention of the phonograph by nearly two decades.

The 10-second recording of a singer crooning the folk song “Au Clair de la Lune” was discovered earlier this month in an archive in Paris by a group of American audio historians. It was made, the researchers say, on April 9, 1860, on a phonautograph, a machine designed to record sounds visually, not to play them back. But the phonautograph recording, or phonautogram, was made playable — converted from squiggles on paper to sound — by scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif.


This does not mean that Scott's phonautograms get the credit for first artificial sound heard - - that belongs to Edison alone - - but Scott's invention is the first instance of sound being recorded, an important distinction. Think of it this way: The USSR was the first country to actually touch the moon with an earth-made object, a satellite that crash-landed there back in the 60's. But it was the USA that first landed a man on the moon. Big difference.

Update: Welcome, Instapundit readers!

Dumbass Arrested For Defacing Easter Island Statue

Story here.

As soon as I saw the headline I thought, please don't let this be some dumbass American tourist. Second thing I thought was There's no way this could be a Taliban-like Islamotard, could it?

Turns out it was a Finn looking for a souvenir. Well, possibility of a $20,000 fine and seven years in jail.

Dumbass.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

How To Provoke An Afghan "Awakening."

Keep destroying the cell phone towers that they are coming to rely on.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Taliban attacks on telecom towers have prompted cell phone companies to shut down service across southern Afghanistan, angering a quarter million customers who have no other telephones.

Even some Taliban fighters now regret the disruptions and are demanding that service be restored by the companies.


Sounds as if the Taliban haven't learned the basic lesson from Iraq: leave the civilian population alone, you need them to support you instead of hate you.

Richard Widmark, 1915-2008: RIP

The old fellow was 93. I had no idea he was still alive. I remember him in a couple of John Wayne movies; he played Jim Bowie in The Alamo.

A quiet, inordinately shy man, Widmark often portrayed killers, cops and Western gunslingers. But he said he hated guns.

"I know I've made kind of a half-assed career out of violence, but I abhor violence," he remarked in a 1976 Associated Press interview. "I am an ardent supporter of gun control. It seems incredible to me that we are the only civilized nation that does not put some effective control on guns."


Hmm. Well, if you believe in an afterlife, maybe there won't be guns there. Bye.

We Don't Like Your Bottles.

A winemaker will have to spend £30,000 to change over his bottling plant because it doesn't conform with EU regulations.

An award-winning winemaker whose wares are sold at the royal palaces is facing a £30,000 bill after European bureaucrats ruled that he was using the wrong-shaped bottles.

Jerry Schooler, who sells 400,000 bottles of fruit wines and mead a year, has been threatened with prosecution over his determination to use traditional measurements.

The proprietor of the Lurgashall Winery in West Sussex, has been told to halt the sale of beverages such as mead, silver birch wine and bramble liqueur in 75cl and 37.5cl bottles. If he continues to sell them, he could be taken to court under a new EU directive that permits the sale of such products in 70cl, 50cl or 35cl measures only.

The threat from trading standards has concerned Mr Schooler, whose fruit wines and liqueurs have been produced for 24 years and are sold in royal establishments such as Hampton Court and the Tower of London.

Mr Schooler now faces costs of about £30,000 to change his production line. “We are going to have to change all our bottling, the labels, machinery, boxes and maybe the corks as well and it is going to cost me thousands to do it,” he said.

“This has just been imposed on us and all we can do is go along with it. We fly the Union Jack and the cross of St George outside the winery and we are very pleased to do it, but sometimes life is made very difficult. I don’t think I shall be flying the EU flag.”


The faceless bureaucrat is always the worst sort of fascist.

Move, Dummy!

A Russian who lives near within the path of falling rocketry from Russia's space industry is suing for a million rubles.

BARNAUL, Russia (Reuters) - A shepherd is suing Russia's space agency for compensation after he said a 10-foot-long chunk of metal from a space rocket fell into his yard, just missing his outdoor toilet.

Boris Urmatov, who is asking for 1 million roubles ($42,000) from the Roskosmos agency, lives in a small village that lies underneath the flight path of rockets taking off from the Baikonur launchpad Russia leases in nearby Kazakhstan.


Get a clue. If you wake up and there's a used rocket engine in your privy, it's time to move, because you might not live to win your lawsuit.

McCain: It's The Snark.

Neil Gabler of the New York Times analyzes John McCain's relations with the press, decides that he gets along with them because he shares their snarky worldview.

Which seems an oversimplification. I think that if a major crunch came, the snark would drop and McCain would revert to the resolution he showed in POW camps.

Wooly Mammoth Ivory: It's Legal, and Plentiful!

But sadly, it's mostly in Russia.

NOVY URENGOI, Russia — As Viktor Seliverstov works in his makeshift studio in this Siberian town, he is enveloped in a cloud of ivory dust. His electric carving tool whirs over the milky surface of the teeth and tusks, as he whittles them into key fobs, knife handles and scrimshaw figurines.

But these are not whale bones or walrus tusks he is working on. The ivory in this part of the world comes from the remains of extinct woolly mammoths, as their remains emerge from the tundra where they have been frozen for thousands of years. It is a traditional Russian business that had all but gone extinct itself during the Soviet period, but is flourishing now.


The whole article is well worth reading. I'm aware of the stuff from knifemaking friends. Wooly Mammoth ivory makes gorgeous knife handles, and it's generally more stable than elephant or whale ivory, not cracking as much due to the long stabilizing process in the permafrost.

Ah, So! We Eat Hamburgers, Get Big Diks!

Why the Japanese turned to Western food.

IN New York or Los Angeles, fans of Japanese cuisine can rattle off orders for uni and o-toro, or urbanely express a preference for soba over udon. But what about “Napolitan,” cooked spaghetti that is rinsed in cold water, then stir-fried with vegetables in ketchup? Or “menchi katsu,” hamburger covered in bread crumbs and deep-fried? Or “omu rice,” an omelet lying over a mound of ketchup-flavored rice?

At once familiar and alien, these dishes may make Americans feel, with some justification, that they have wandered into a parallel culinary universe. All are standards of a style of Japanese cuisine known as yoshoku, or “Western food,” in which European or American dishes were imported and, in true Japanese fashion, shaped and reshaped to fit local tastes.

Yoshoku was born during Japan’s Meiji Restoration, the period that followed this isolationist country’s forced opening by America’s so-called Black Ships in 1854. Japanese were dispatched to Europe and America to learn about Western laws, weapons and industry. They also brought back the cuisine. Shocked to discover how much shorter they were than Westerners, Japanese determined that they would catch up not only economically and militarily but also physically, by eating their food.

That desire survived at least until the 1970’s, when a businessman named Den Fujita established McDonald’s in Japan and claimed that its menu would make Japanese as tall and attractive as Americans.

“Japanese are poorly built because they eat rice,” he said at the time. “We’ll change that with hamburgers. After eating hamburgers for a thousand years, Japanese will even have blond hair.”


Crever people!

I Delivered A Short Sharp Shock.

Unable to deal with a drunk on a Qantas flight, the flight crew called for reinforcements:

PERTH, Australia, March 25 (UPI) -- Members of a South African rugby team say they forcibly quieted an obnoxious drunk on an airline flight at the request of the crew.

Three lads from the Stormers stepped in Sunday during a flight from Sydney to a match in Perth, Australia, and gave the allegedly aggressive passenger a solid smack on the head that set him straight for the rest of the trip.


Bonus points for anyone who can identify the quote in the subject line.

South Park: The Website!

Your one-stop shop for potty humor.

NEW YORK, March 25 (UPI) -- The creators of "South Park" have established a Web site offering full episodes and clips from the animated U.S. show's 12 seasons, their studio announced.

The Internet site, which rolled out a beta version last Wednesday, has already received more than 3 million page views, more than 2 million video plays and more than 1 million streams of full episodes.


Trey Parker and Matt Stone added that they were tired of having to download videos of their own shows illegally.

Here's a link to the website.

Update: Damn Those Guns, Always Going Off!

Original post here.

Ok, we have a bit more information, courtesy of my local newspaper, The Charlotte Observer:

The report also revealed that the captain of Flight 1536 from Denver fired the shot as he “was stowing his weapon.” The captain was carrying the 13-shot pistol as part of the Federal Flight Deck Officer program run by the federal Transportation Security Administration.

That program has very detailed procedures for handling and transporting firearms, said Richard Bloom, a professor who teaches aviation security at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Although he didn’t know the details of Saturday’s incident, Bloom said there are a few possible explanations for gun being fired accidentally: impairment by alcohol, drugs or medication, some kind of distraction, or “somebody was just messing around.”

No passengers or flight attendants said they heard the gunshot, the report said. The gun, a Heckler & Koch USP .40-caliber pistol, was turned over to a federal air marshal.

Officials have declined to say why the captain’s weapon wasn’t in his holster or flight bag.


Somebody just messing around sounds pretty conclusive. I'm betting that's the correct answer in this case.

Eine Kleine Nachtblogging

Full of Hooter's wings and poppyseed muffins, let's do a little night-time blogging.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Life With Lava

What it's like having an active volcano in the neighborhood.

KALAPANA, Hawaii (AP) -- As fiery lava pours down Kilauea volcano toward Jean Olson's lonely wooden house, incinerating everything in its path, there's no place she'd rather be.

"Why would I live here if I didn't like it? I have the best view of anyone in town," said Olson, who lives just over a mile from fountains of glowing lava spewing into the ocean. "Either she comes or she doesn't. If she comes, we'll pick up and leave."

Thousands of visitors a day come to nearby Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to watch Kilauea erupt, something it has been doing for a quarter-century. But some residents live with the boiling lava every day and revel in the notion that their homes and lives are subject to the whims of earth's awesome underground forces.

Kilauea has not been the kind of volcano that shoots lava from its summit into the sky, causing widespread destruction for miles around.

Instead, it has been a shield volcano, or one that oozes lava from fissures in its sides, giving residents at least a few hours' warning before it reaches their property. An estimated 8,500 people live in the Pahoa-Kalapana area at the volcano's base on the southeastern section of the Big Island.

In the 25 years of Kilauea's latest eruption, lava has not directly caused any deaths, according to National Park Service rangers, though there have been five fatalities when sightseers fell, got burned or suffered heart attacks.


I guess you could refer to Kilauea as a very civilized volcano. I've often been tempted to just jerk up stakes and go to live there myself.

Mooky Needs Slapped Down Again.

Moqtada-al-Sadr is stirring up trouble again.

BAGHDAD (AFP) - Moqtada al-Sadr's militiamen Tuesday battled troops in four Iraqi cities on Tuesday, including the capital, as the hardline Shiite cleric threatened a countrywide campaign of civil revolt.

Heavy clashes broke out between Sadr's Mahdi Army fighters in the southern oil city of Basra, killing at least seven people and wounding 48, and in Kut and Hilla, both south of Baghdad, officials said.

As evening fell, Mahdi Army fighters fought with Iraqi and US forces in their Sadr City bastion in eastern Baghdad for the first time since last October, a security official and witnesses told AFP.


You'll notice that the fighting first broke out in Basra, where our allies the Brits were in charge of operations. Mission Accomplished, they said, then walked out. Now we'll probably have to go in and fix things up ourselves, if we're given the time.

Bandit Hypnotizes Bank Tellers?

via Drudge.

ROME, Italy -- A mysterious bearded man in Rome is wanted by police for using hypnotism to mesmerize cashiers and bank tellers while he steals thousands of dollars.

Surveillance video from inside a store that aired on CCTV showed the man walking up to a supermarket cashier and apparently mesmerizing her before stealing cash.

The same man is believed to be responsible for robbing banks.

A bank teller said the man approached her, leaned over and told her to "look into my eyes," the report said. The next thing she noticed was her till was empty.


That sounds like a Gilligan's Island episode, "Ring Around Gilligan," in which mad scientist Vito Scotti planned to rob Fort Knox by hypnotizing the castaways into being his accomplices.

I Love You Guys!

A Welsh man who won 2.6 million pounds in a lottery is back at his McDonald's job because he misses his co-workers.

Dude, you can go on cruises and have supermodels be your friends. WTF?

FBI Agents Fired Over Noogies

Story.

BOSTON, March 24 (UPI) -- FBI officials said the bureau has decided to fire three agents after one of them gave a noogie to a female federal prosecutor in Boston in 2006.

The officials said a U.S. Justice Department investigation into the incident led the FBI to conclude that the agent who gave the Three Stooges-style noogie while the two others looked on should be fired, The Boston Globe reported Monday.



Jeebus, lucky they didn't give her an indian burn, they'd be facing jail time.

Michael Totten: Well Done!

Home Run for independent journalist Michael Totten:

WASHINGTON, March 24 (UPI) -- The U.S. military says it is taking steps to alleviate conditions at the Fallujah city jail in Iraq after recent visitors found a filthy, overcrowded facility.

"They are being fed now," Lt. Col. Michael Callanan said of the prisoners, who until recently had to provide their own food or starve. Callanan, the point man for the U.S. military on rule-of-law issues in Anbar province, spoke to United Press International in a phone interview Monday.

Kelly's visit followed a report on conditions at the jail by independent journalist Michael Totten. Totten found a facility built to hold 120 prisoners housing 900 without even minimal provision for sanitation or hygiene.



Well done, Michael. I'm a nobody blogger, but I'll point this out to some of the big names.

Update Welcome, Ace of Spades HQ fans!

Update 2: Michael Totten's original post can be found here.

Maybe Schools Are Worth A Damn, After All.

A 5-year-old boy saved his grandmother from choking with a technique he learned in school.

Five, so that puts him in 1st or 2nd grade. Wow. I wish that the boy could receive some sort of government medal, so he will remember this his entire life. Well done, lad.

Snake On A Plane!

A young Canebreak Rattlesnake from here in North Carolina, in fact.


A smart firefighter froze it to death with a Carbon Dioxide fire extinguisher, after seeing a similar technique on TV. Good thinking.

Navy News: Did We Prevent Another Cole Bombing?

A ship contracted to the US Navy, moving through the Suez Canal, opened fire on a small boat.

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- An American cargo ship under contract to the U.S. Navy opened fire on a small Egyptian boat while moving through the Suez Canal, the U.S. military said Tuesday in a statement. Egyptian authorities said at least one man was killed, but the U.S. said it had no reports of casualties.


Even if it was a false alarm and the man who died was innocent, It gave them to know our intentions was serious, as John Wayne said in True Grit.

Coming Soon To A Men's Room Near You!

George Michael to tour the U.S.

Damn Those Guns, Always Going Off!

First blog post of the morning, what do I see?

Pilot's gun fires on US Airways flight.

Which makes it seem as though the gun has a mind of its own, and didn't have an owner who made a stupid mistake, as is most likely to have happened. Well, what's the alternative? Either the gun is a modern piece, engineered and constructed to be safe, or if it's not, why is the pilot carrying a poorly-designed/constructed gun?

Be nice if there's video to show that the pilot was probably playing with it in some fashion.

My own version of the gun safety rules, as I taught them to my nephew:

1. A GUN IS NOT A TOY!
2. A GUN IS ALWAYS LOADED!
3. DON'T POINT A GUN AT SOMEONE YOU DON'T WANT TO SEE DEAD!


I'll be willing to bet that the pilot was violating Rule 1. He definitely forgot rule 2.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Call It Gumshoe Linux?

The National Security Agency (NSA) has released its own version of Linux.

WASHINGTON, March 24 (UPI) -- The U.S. National Security Agency has released its own version of the open-source computer operating system Linux, which offers enhanced security for users.

The new software was rolled out earlier this month to an e-mail list for users of Linux -- an operating system that many experts believe provides a more secure alternative to the ubiquitous Microsoft Windows. Linux is open-source, which means the core code is available to programmers to improve, as the NSA has done with its latest version of the so-called Security-Enhanced Linux, or SELinux.

The version provides what experts call Mandatory Access Control, which essentially limits the kind of instructions that software packages and users can issue to the computer, helping guard against hackers compromising it. MAC "confine(s) user programs and system servers to the minimum amount of privilege they require to do their jobs," says the agency on its Web site.



When I was in the Navy I worked indirectly for NSA. On Navy ships, Cryptologic Technicians are called "spooks" or "gumshoes," both references to spying/investigation work. The standard joke about NSA is that the letters stand for "No Such Agency."

Paging Bill Murray

Ready to film Caddyshack III?

CALGARY, Alberta, March 24 (UPI) -- A Calgary, Alberta, man fed up with a gopher infestation accidentally started a weekend wildfire that caused more than $200,000 in damages, firefighters said.

Firefighters from four municipalities scrambled to prevent the fire from burning any houses Saturday, but Rocky View Assistant Deputy Fire Chief Jim Pendergast said some barns, sheds and vehicles were damaged or destroyed, the Calgary Herald reported Monday.

The province is undergoing an infestation of gophers, and Pendergast said a group of people had used a new system called the Rodenator on their property. The system blasts oxygen and propane down the hole and then creates explosions that collapse tunnels and kill the rodents by concussion, the report said.



Rodenator, huh? Maybe Ah-nold in a cameo role...

New York Times...

...gets the Chutzpah award of the day for this story on the news media's loss of interest in Iraq.

Zen Chihuahua Prays For...

...nirvana, or just a Scooby Snack? He ain't sayin'.

Back To Work For Fred.

Story here.

That's acting work.

Good luck to you, Fred. Maybe John McCain will offer you a job in his administration, if he wins the White House in November.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

22 Years and 1735 Miles Later...

...a message in a bottle washed up on the shore in western Alaska.

SEATTLE (AP) -- Merle Brandell and his black lab Slapsey were beachcombing along the Bering Sea when he spied a plastic bottle among the Japanese glass floats he often finds along the shore of his tiny Alaskan fishing village.

He walked over and saw an envelope tucked inside. After slicing the bottle open, Brandell found a message from an elementary school student in a suburb of Seattle. The fact that the letter traveled 1,735 miles without any help from the U.S. postal service is unusual, but that's only the beginning of the mystery.

Brandell has a theory about how the bottle ended up on the shore of Nelson Lagoon and how the letter remained so readable after its 21 years in transit. Maybe the bottle didn't spend those years in the water. It might have blown his way quickly and then remained buried in the mud for years.

It was found among some Japanese floats that took a similar journey many years ago. They don't really wash ashore. They extrude out of the mud and into the hands of beachcombers, who sell them on eBay or craft jewelry out of them like Brandell's mother does.



I remember reading years ago about currents in the Pacific Ocean, and tracing of items that float there. In a National Geographic special about the desert Clipperton Island, a researcher inexplicably found plastic army men washed ashore, not just a few, but dozens: Clipperton Island Castaway.

Can You Spell "Incompetent?"

A little girl won't be going to a national spelling bee because her school forgot to register with the spelling bee organization.

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) -- Seventh-grader Morgan Brown thought her dream to compete in the national spelling was about to come true when she won her regional contest.

But her family found out this week that her school was not registered with the Scripps National Spelling Bee, disqualifying her for the May competition in Washington, D.C.



What can you say? Crap like this happens every day, doesn't it?

Again With The "Baby Killers" Crap.

Harassing Marines gets teen banned from WA mall.

SILVERDALE, Wash. (AP) -- An 18-year-old Port Orchard man has been forbidden from visiting the Kitsap Mall in Silverdale after he harassed two off-duty U.S. Marines.

A Kitsap County sheriff's deputy was summoned to the mall on Friday afternoon after security guards called and said the camouflage-clad man had been calling the two off-duty Marines "baby killers."



And guess what? I question his patriotism!

Give 'em Soylent Green!

Convicted criminals in the Vermont prison system who misbehave by throwing feces, urine or semen at guards are fed Nutraloaf as a punishment.

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- When shooting suspect Christopher Williams acted up in prison, he was given nutraloaf - a mixture of cubed whole wheat bread, nondairy cheese, raw carrots, spinach, seedless raisins, beans, vegetable oil, tomato paste, powdered milk and dehydrated potato flakes.

Prison officials call it a complete meal. Inmates say it's so awful they'd rather go hungry.

Prison officials see nutraloaf as a tool for behavior modification.

"It's commonplace in other states as a way of providing nutrition in a mechanism that dissuades inmates from throwing feces, urine, trays and silverware," said Vermont Corrections Commissioner Rob Hofmann.

"It tends to have the desired outcome," Hofmann said. "Once the offender relents, we stop with the nutraloaf. That's our goal, to protect our staff and not have them subjected to behavior that the average Vermonter would find incomprehensible."



The ACLU isn't involved in the present case, but they go on record as disapproving, naturally.

As far as I'm aware, US Navy commanding officers on warships still have the option of putting sailors on a 3-day bread-and-water diet for punishment, so I don't have much sympathy for convicted criminals.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

New BBQ Shack In Town!

Outlaw BBQ Shack. I'll be trying it out next Friday, probably. I haven't had Texas-style brisket in years, and I miss it. North Carolina makes fine barbecue, and Sonny's will always be a sentimental favorite (it started in my home town of Gainesville, FL), but I really like the taste of Texas-style brisket. First place I tasted brisket was at a Luther's, which is a Texas house that expanded into Virginia in the mid-80's before experiencing problems and shrinking back to the Texas area. Luther's has good brisket: custom-sliced before your eyes.

Later I lived briefly in Galveston, Texas, and ate barbecue at several places on the island. There was a place down on the Strand that sold crap barbecue, but further up toward where the Strand ended and residential Galveston began there was a combination butcher shop/barbecue house that sold really great brisket, with the bread home-baked. It was called KC Marketplace, something like that.

Later here in Charlotte we had another Texas-style place open up briefly on Albemarle Road, but it failed. Can't remember the name of that one. Brisket just doesn't sell well in North Carolina. Even the powerhouse Sonny's had to tailor its sauces to Carolina tastes, and the original Sonny's sauce is now only third in popularity after two "sweet" Carolina sauces.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Don't Make Me Mad...

...or I'll jerk your leg off and beat you over the head with it.

NORTH HUNTINGDON, Pa., March 20 (UPI) -- A Pennsylvania woman faces criminal charges after allegedly beating her sister with a prosthetic leg and threatening her neighbors, police said.

She allegedly yanked off her sister's prosthetic leg and attacked her with it while they were arguing about Sturkie-Anthony's alcoholism, police said. Sturkie-Anthony faces charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and harassment for the January incident.



*chuckles softly to self*

Don't Kill Me, Just Let Me Sleep.

LONDON (Reuters) - Terminally-ill patients in the Netherlands increasingly receive drugs to render them unconscious until death, according to a study that suggests people are substituting deep sedation for legal euthanasia.

"The increased use of continuous deep sedation for patients nearing death in the Netherlands and the limited use of palliative consultation suggests that this practice is increasingly considered as part of a regular medical practice," Judith Rietjens of Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam and colleagues wrote.

While euthanasia is regulated by law and carries strict conditions, deep sedation is considered part of regular medical practice and typically used in the last few weeks in life, Rietjens said.

"The practice of sedating medicines is used in other countries not just the Netherlands," she said. "It is used in the last phase of life for people with symptoms that can't be treated."

Further research is needed to learn why people are turning to sedation and whether factors such as increasing media attention or religious views are playing a role, she said.

"The findings really indicate the increase in continuous deep sedation is partly related to a decrease in euthanasia," she said. "There may be some sort of substitution taking place."



This is a step in the right direction, and gets doctors out of a moral dilemma about violating their Hippocratic Oath. If I ever found myself in unending pain leading to death, I hope some compassionate doctor allows me this courtesy.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Marine Responds To Dixie Chicks.

Corporal David Thibodeaux, USMC, has recorded a country music response to the Dixie Chicks song Not Ready To Make Nice, it's called Not Ready To End the Fight.

Cpl. David Thibodeaux was in Iraq with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, when the Dixie Chicks partnered with anti-war group MoveOn.org in 2004. Despite the band making headlines with anti-war views, he didn’t know much about them, he says.

Nevertheless, Thibodeaux now sings “Not Ready to End the Fight,” an “answer song” to the Dixie Chicks’ 2006 anti-war hit, “Not Ready to Make Nice.”

Featuring backing music from members of Toby Keith’s Easy Money Band, the song has been played on radio stations across the country. A music video will be released soon.


That's particularly got to sting, recording with Toby Keith's band, everyone knows how well TK and the Dixie Chicks get along. *laughs*

The Chicks have been laying low for a while, now, too. I guess that, like Michael Corleone, the Chicks will complain about getting dragged back in after working their way out of this...

Bonesack Alert!

Jodie Foster's turning bonesack.

I thought Jodie had more sense.

New 2008 Olympic Event: Squat Toilet Hurdle

If you're not an athlete, journalist or VIP, be prepared to squat if you wish to use the toilet at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

This'll raise a big stink, probably.

Osama Speaks From the Grave, Yet Again.

He don't like the Danish Mohammed cartoons. Well, that's a surprise.

You'd think that the media would display some of the skepticism for which they're supposed to be known when they write these stories, and mention that Osama could be very well dead.

It's Cutting Edge! It's Innovative!

It's a play staged in a Central Park restroom.

NEW YORK (AP) -- For most visitors to Central Park, the public bathrooms are a facility of last resort, visited only in desperation after consuming one too many cups of coffee. They're dark and creepy, filled with spiders, foul odors and puddles of questionable origin.

But for Irish director and playwright Paul Walker, the damp, the chill and even the smell are all part of the experience - the theatergoing experience.

His prize-winning play, "Ladies & Gents," is a noir thriller performed entirely in the covered men's and women's bathrooms in Central Park's Bethesda Terrace.

The action takes place near the sinks and urinals; the audience stands, clustered in front of the row of stalls. Each of the two pieces that comprise the play runs simultaneously in both bathrooms, and it doesn't matter the order in which they are seen; the audience splits in half and switches facilities at intermission.



It's fucking stupid, is what it is.

Paul Scofield, R.I.P.

Paul Scofield, the British actor who starred as Thomas More in A Man For All Seasons, has passed away at age 86.

It was a great movie. I noticed several years ago that men named Thomas who served as Chancellor to English kings named Henry had a low life expectancy: Thomas á Beckett and Henry II; Thomas Wolsey, Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII.

Well, first Clarke, now Scofield. These things come in threes, who's to be the third?

Update: On Ann Althouse's blog, where I broached the "death in threes" thing, Ann reminded me that the third death was Anthony Minghella.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke, 1918-2008: R.I.P.

The last of the great trimvirate of science fiction writers (Clarke, Heinlein, Asimov), Arthur C. Clarke, has passed on.

I'm a huge Heinlein fan, haven't read Clarke except for his Islands In The Sky. Haven't read much Asimov, for that matter. Guess I should remedy that soon.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Mini-Keef!

Pre-orders being taken now for the Keith Richards action figure, priced at $149.99. Shipments anticipated in fall of '08.

WWII Shipwreck HMAS Sydney Found.

She went down with all hands in 1941 in battle against a German Merchant Raider. Just exactly where she went down has been a mystery until now.

CANBERRA (AFP) — The wreck of a lost Australian cruiser sunk in a World War II naval battle more than 66 years ago has been found off the coast of Western Australia, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced Monday.

The discovery of the apparently intact hull of the HMAS Sydney, sunk in a bloody battle with the German raider Kormoran in which all 645 men on the Sydney lost their lives, puts an end to an enduring seven-decade war mystery.

Nick Walden, whose uncle Albert Hollington was an acting leading seaman on the Sydney, said he hoped the discovery would shed light on why there were no survivors from the Australian ship.

"We can't still work out why nobody got off the Sydney, why none of the sailors were able to get into life boats," he said.

"It's the mystery still, we need to find that out."



Note: Merchant Raider is the term used to describe German warships with naval crews, disguised to resemble merchant ships. The equivalent term for Allied ships is Q-Ship.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

How On Earth Did This Happen?

Reuters just published a totally objective article on gun ownership in the US.

Three pages of it.

Excerpt:

DOUGLAS, Arizona (Reuters) - An odd contraption in retired firefighter Alex Black's cluttered garage looks a bit like the hand winch at the top of a well. In fact, it is a machinegun.

"You march in to battle in straight lines against this, and nobody comes back," said Black, standing beside the hefty, carriage-mounted Colt Gatling Gun, which he restored over the course of a decade.

Black, who lives in this sleepy ranching town on the Arizona-Mexico border, is one of millions of gun collectors in the United States, where authorities estimate that there are more than 200 million firearms held in private hands in a country of 300 million people.



Read the whole thing. How did this fair-minded article get past an editor's desk at Reuters? I'm gobsmacked.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

It Must Have Been Well Hidden.

Geologists have discovered a new volcano in Costa Rica:

Just 170 kilometers north of Costa Rica’s capital city of San José, scientists have confirmed the existence of the country’s 250th volcano. Located in the San Carlos canton, the newly found volcano sits at a lofty 2,300 meters above sea level. Its crater measures 200 meters in diameter, about the same size of Irazú and approximately eight times the size of Turrialba Volcano’s active center.


The volcano sits at the Cerro El Porvenir — Porvenir (Future) Mountain — and has been determined to be dormant. Its presence was first discovered in 2006, hidden in the virgin forest of the Parque Nacional del Agua Juan Castro Blanco. A NASA airplane had taken infrared photographs of the area, showing evidence of two geologic faults and some sort of hole or crater at Porvenir’s summit. After seeing the photographic evidence, scientists headed into the national park to investigate by land. Though there is still much to study and scientists look forward to determining the age of the volcano and geological footprint that it has made, the discovery was made official on March 8, 2008.



It's not really new, of course, having been there for milennia, but apparently the jungle is so dense in the area that it wasn't recognized as a volcano.

Always reassuring when even something as obvious as a volcano can go unnoticed for that long.

Und Zen Ve Shoot Ze Joos!

The captain of a British cruise ship is in trouble after warning passengers not to engage in "Germanic behavior."

LONDON, March 10 (UPI) -- The captain of a British cruise ship is facing an inquiry after he asked passengers not to engage in behavior he referred to as "Germanic."

Oceana Capt. Christopher Wells, 52, whose wife is German, made an announcement asking the ship's more than 2,000 passengers not to reserve sun loungers by leaving towels on them, The Daily Telegraph reported Monday.

Passengers said Wells' remarks were prefaced by heated arguments over the loungers that nearly turned violent.

One Of Those Humorous Names.

Christopher Hitchens, in his latest Slate article, mentions a UK military officer with a name right out of Monty Python:

Yet to the chief of the British defense staff, the marvelously named Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, it was somehow self-evident that the lad had to be evacuated from the scene—and with all speed at that—just as soon as Matt Drudge revealed not his whereabouts...

You have to wonder if Sir Jock has ever seen Monty Python's Life of Brian and sympathized:

Pontius Pilate: Stwike him, Centuwion. Stwike him vewy wuffly!
Pontius Pilate: So, yaw fatha was a Woman? Who was he?
Brian: He was a Centurion, in the Jerusalem Garrisons.
Pontius Pilate: Weally? What was his name?
Brian: 'Naughtius Maximus'.
[the Centurion laughs]
Pontius Pilate: Centuwion, do we have anyone of that name in the gawwison?
Centurion: Well, no, sir.
Pontius Pilate: Well, you sound vewy sure. Have you checked?
Centurion: Well, no, sir. Umm, I think it's a joke, sir... like, uh, 'Sillius Soddus' or... 'Biggus Dickus', sir.
Pontius Pilate: [guard chuckles] What's so funny about "Biggus Dickus? "
Centurion: Well, it's a joke name, sir.
Pontius Pilate: I have a vewy gweat fwiend in Wome called 'Biggus Dickus'.
[guard chuckles]
Pontius Pilate: Silence! What is all this insolence? You will find yourself in gladiator school vewy quickly with wotten behaviour like that.
Brian: Can I go now, sir?
[slap]
Brian: Aaah! Eh.
Pontius Pilate: Wait till Biggus Dickus hears of this!
[guard chuckles]
Pontius Pilate: Wight! Take him away!
Centurion: Oh, sir, he - he only...
Pontius Pilate: No, no. I want him fighting wabid, wild animals within a week.
Centurion: Yes, sir. Come on, you.
[takes the guard away as continues laughing histerically]
Pontius Pilate: I will not have my fwiends widiculed by the common soldiewy. - - Anybody else feel like a little... giggle... when I mention my fwiend... Biggus...
[another guard chuckles]
Pontius Pilate: ... Dickus?
[more chuckling]
Pontius Pilate: What about you? Do you find it... wisible... when I say the name... 'Biggus'...
[chuckle]
Pontius Pilate: ... Dickus?
[both guards chuckle]
Pontius Pilate: He has a wife, you know. You know what she's called? She's called... 'Incontinentia'... Incontinentia Buttocks.
Pontius Pilate: [Guards are laughing] Stop! What is all this?
Pontius Pilate: [Laughing continues] I've had enough of this wowdy webel sniggewing behaviour. Silence! Call yourselves Pwaetowian guards? You're not - Seize him! Seize him! Blow your noses and seize him!

Monday, March 10, 2008

NY Governor Spitzer Linked to Prostitution Ring.

NY Times story here.

Drudge has the siren up, as well he should.

Spitzer's holding a press conference shortly. Bet he won't resign, Democrats never resign over sex scandals.

Additional thought: ROVE YOU MAGNIFICENT BASTARD!

Danes to Dutch: Buck Up.

Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, whose cartoon of Islam's prophet Mohammed with a bomb in his turban provoked worldwide rioting by Muslims, is urging the Dutch to show the controversial film by Dutch politician Geert Wilders that is critical of Islam:

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Danish cartoonist behind controversial images of the Prophet Mohammad has urged a Dutch right-wing politician to broadcast a film expected to be critical of the Koran despite fears it might spark violence.

Kurt Westergaard is the author of a series of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed including one showing him with a bomb as a turban which triggered riots in the Muslim world and a boycott of Danish products when they were published in 2006.

Westergaard told the Dutch Volkskrant daily on Monday no Danish politician would dare to suggest blocking the film.

"That would mean political suicide. A Danish politician knows that you should not limit freedom of expression. Wilders must just show his film," he said in an interview.

Westergaard, who said he is about to move to a sixth hiding place and expects to need protection for the rest of his life, said he did not regret drawing the cartoons.

"In Denmark we have criticism of everything: the Queen, politicians, religion ... provoking debate is the job of the newspaper and so also of the cartoonist. Muslims have to accept that," he said.



Big Clanging Brass Balls. Bravo, Kurt Westergaard.

It Once Was Lost, But Now Is Found.

HMS Hunter, a Royal Navy destroyer sunk by the Germans in a Norwegian fjord during WWII, has been located after being lost for all these years:

OSLO (Reuters) - The wreck of a British warship sunk by the Germans during World War Two, killing more than 100 men, has been discovered on the bottom of a deep fjord in the north of Norway, the Norwegian Navy said.

HMS Hunter went down on April 10, 1940, in the Ofot fjord outside of the Arctic port of Narvik during the first of two battles between the British and the Nazis, during which several other ships were sunk and never seen again in the deep inlet.

"We searched the area where HMS Hunter most likely was located and spent around 14 hours before we found the vessel," said lieutenant Tom Thorgrimsen at KNM Tyr, the ship that made the discovery last week.

Iraqi Troops Step Up In Nasiriyah.

via UPI.

NASIRIYAH, Iraq, March 7 (UPI) -- Australian defense officials in southern Iraq say they are experiencing a marked security improvement in the region that they attribute to Iraqi forces.

Lt. Col. Chris Websdane, the commanding officer of the Overwatch Battle Group West, says the security on the ground in Nasiriyah, since recent insurgent violence, has improved. Australian troops are in the southern Iraqi province of Dhi Qar training Iraqi troops and acting as advisers in an overwatch capacity, the Australian Ministry of Defense reported.



Which is what the Iraqis are supposed to have been doing. The last I heard of reports from the south of Iraq, Mooky Sadr's Mahdi Army was running things, and poorly.

The Doomsday Ark

via UPI.

STRASBOURG, France, March 9 (UPI) -- Plans are being made for the installation of an information storage bank on the moon, experts said at a science meeting Strasbourg, France.

The so-called "Doomsday ark" would provide the tools for the reconstruction of the human race in case civilization is ever destroyed, The Sunday London Times reported.


It's supposed to be ready for launch by 2020. Of course, they don't say what will happen if Doomsday comes before 2020.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Leftist Judge Abuses Her Power.

But don't question her patriotism.

SIMI VALLEY - Shawn Sage long dreamed of joining the military, and watching "Full Metal Jacket" last year really sold him on becoming a Marine.

But last fall, a Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner dashed the foster teen's hopes of early enlistment for Marine sniper duty, plus a potential $10,000 signing bonus.

In denying the Royal High School student delayed entry into the Marine Corps, Children's Court Commissioner Marilyn Mackel reportedly told Sage and a recruiter that she didn't approve of the Iraq war, didn't trust recruiters and didn't support the military.



Fucking bitch. All she's done is guarantee that the young man involved in the case, who was going to get a $10,000 signing bonus, probably won't get that money now when he enlists anyway after coming of age.

I'm really starting to wonder if we're focusing on the wrong enemy. Maybe we should stop looking at Al Qaeda and start looking at those faux Americans who hate everything that the US stands for and don't understand the tremendous gift they've been given by being born here.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

*Retch*

Madonna, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rene Zellwegger...

Check out the photos at this link and ask yourself if you'd be willing to have sex with any of these women?

Maybe Madonna because of the past slut factor and the possibility of yoga sex tricks, but otherwise, they're all puke-inducing.

You Don't Want To Anger Nurse Ratched.

The reporters covering Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign have been banished to the men's room.

In an obvious bid for the Ron Paul media conspiracy vote, Sen. Hillary Clinton's Democratic presidential campaign dumped the traveling press corps exactly where many voters believe they belong today -- in the men's room of the Burger Activity Center.

While the New York senator held a town-hall meeting elsewhere in Austin, Texas, pushing hard for every last vote in tomorrow's crucial state primary/caucus, reporters could watch it on television. Then, the candidate came to the center for a rally nearby in the same building.

The reporters, including The Times' Louise Roug, were set up in the toilet with tables right next to the urinals. Their dinner was delivered there too -- tamales piled in the corner and candies served in paper cups. One reporter cried out, "Metaphor alert!"

But a Clinton spokesman Doug Hattaway said: "These accommodations should in no way be taken as a comment on the quality of our media coverage."



*laughs uproariously*

Monday, March 03, 2008

Maximum Nostalgia: What Scared Me Shitless In 1969

When I was a child in Florida, around 1969, I discovered the TV soap opera Dark Shadows. I was hooked from the very first episode I ever saw: this one. It details the death of Reverend Trask, a witch-hunter, at the hands of vampire Barnabas Collins, who bricks him up into a wall alcove á la Poe's story The Cask of Amontillado.

The episode on TV was a half hour, some kind soul has cut it down to its essentials, just over 10 minutes. This scene scared the ever-loving shit out of me, and I've always wanted to see it again. It's comical now; the special effects are amateurish, the dialog stilted; but for 1969 it was pretty good, and quite good enough to scare legions of children. The show was actually taken off the air because of a letter-writing campaign by concerned mothers (and low ratings).

Anyway, here it is: the death of Rev. Trask.



As a bonus, the original theme music for the TV show can be found here. Heavy on the Theremin, I think.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Stood Up.

Had a lunch date for 12:30 today, and the lady never showed, never called, never IM'd, never emailed.

She'll never get a chance to make up for it, either, as I go by the fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me philosophy.

Navy Launches Ship Made With World Trade Center Steel.

Story here.

Apparently the ship was built in Louisiana, which accounts for the presence of corrupt congressman William "Cold Cash" Jefferson (D-LA) at the launching ceremony.

Strangely enough, the story doesn't mention the type or class of the ship, although by reading down you learn it carries sailors, Marines, landing craft and helicopters, which makes it an amphibious ship of the LPD/LSD type. Really, those sort of details should be routine in a news article written for a military news magazine.

The "Arts!"

A leftist playwright indulges in a bit of wish fulfillment by writing a play about the death of former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

What On Earth Is He Thinking?

Jack Nicholson films a TV commercial for Hillary Clinton, using clips from his movies to emphasize his points.

Why would he do this, when Hillary has over and over again been compared to Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest? It will only be a matter of hours until someone makes up a YouTube of that movie with Hillary Clinton's face photoshopped over Louise Fletcher's, and Jack as McMurphy post-lobotomy, with a voiceover saying something like He trusted Hillary Clinton for his healthcare.

I guess he knew that much at least, since he didn't use any clips of McMurphy. It's still a strange thing for him to do, and he waited until it is basically too late to do any good.

Science: Genetic fear of snakes?

Researchers at the University of Virginia have published a study that theorizes that humans are genetically predisposed to fear snakes.