Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Whose Gun Is It, Anyway?

Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) is claiming that the gun found in possession of his aide Phillip Thompson was not the senator's.

At least that's how I read the story. It doesn't seem clear at this point.

The aide can't be stupid enough to take a prison term if it isn't his own pistol. If it's Webb's, how's he going to spin it?

He can count on the media downplaying it, since he's a Democrat, and if he committed an offense so obvious that he'd have to resign, it would throw the Senate to the Republicans.

Fun story....

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sheep, 15% Human.

via The Mail.

Apparently the sheep have political opinions; one of them nibbled on some shrubbery, spat it out, and said, "Bush baaaaaaaaad."

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Question Of The Day

I wonder why we don't have an Emergency Broadcast System for personal computers yet?

Or if we do, could someone point me at a link?

Consumer Protection Journalism - - In China

via Reuters.

Chinese journalists submitted samples of tea purporting to be urine samples to hospitals, and got diagnoses of Urinary Tract Infections in return.

Got that ol' lapsang souchong dripping out of my dong.....

Piano Owned By Chopin Found In UK.

via Reuters.

By Paul Majendie

LONDON (Reuters) - The grand piano Frederic Chopin took on his last concert tour has been found in an English country house thanks to detective work by a Swiss musical scholar.

"It came as a bolt from the blue," said British collector Alec Cobbe after discovering that the piano he bought 20 years ago for 2,000 pounds is a piece of musical history.

For more than 150 years after the composer's death, Chopin's piano vanished until Professor Jean-Jacques Eigeldinger researched the ledgers of French pianomaker Camille Pleyel.

The scholar, who had met Cobbe at a Chopin conference, came to see the collector armed with details of where and to whom all the Pleyel pianos were sold.

By its serial number, he was able to identify Cobbe's piano as the one the Polish-born composer brought to Britain on a farewell tour in 1848.

"There are only three other pianos known to have been possessed by Chopin. One is in Paris and one is in Majorca and neither of those work. The last is in Warsaw," he said.

"Ours works utterly beautifully. It is something very special when you are playing it."

Before leaving Britain to return to Paris after what turned out to be the last tour before his death, Chopin sold the Pleyel to an English aristocrat called Lady Trotter.

Bequeathed to one of her relatives, the piano ended up in a country mansion before being sent to auction and then sold to Cobbe by a dealer in antique pianos.

Chopin's piano is part of the Cobbe collection of musical instruments displayed at Hatchlands, a country house run by Britain's National Trust in the southern English county of Surrey.

It is billed as the world's finest music collection, boasting instruments owned or played by Purcell, Bach, Mozart and Mahler.

Now, after two decades in blissful ignorance, Cobbe can proclaim he possesses a Chopin grand piano.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Rat Laughter.

They have it on video, even.

h/t Instapundit

He Once Was Lost But Now Is Found

The lost NC boy scout, that is.

(AP) A rescue dog led searchers Tuesday to a 12-year-old Boy Scout, who was weak and dehydrated but alive in the rugged North Carolina mountains, about a mile from the camp he had wandered away from four days earlier.

"He was a little disoriented, but he was great," said Misha Marshall, the South Carolina Search and Rescue Dog Association volunteer whose dog, Gandalf, found Michael Auberry on a wooded ridge.

Apparently the boy has read Hatchet by Gary Paulsen:

As a Scout, Michael had had some wilderness training. His father also talked about one of Michael's favorite books when he was younger, a story about a boy whose plane crashes in the wilderness, and how the boy survives on his own.

"I think he's got some of that book in his mind," Auberry said. "They do a great job in the Scouts of educating the kids of what to beware of and tips. I'm hopeful that Michael has taken those to heart."

It's a good book for young adults to learn survival from. I recommend it without reservation.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Kids In Arkansas Find 2.5 Carat Diamond

Two kids at a state park in Arkansas found a 2.5 carat diamond.

"They thought it was a piece of mica. When they learned it was a diamond, there were many 'woo hoos' and high-fives exchanged," said Rachel Engrecht of the Crater of Diamonds State park.

She said the children found the 2.50 carat diamond during the weekend in the park, where visitors are encouraged to prospect for the precious stones.

Another park official, Bill Henderson told AFP on Monday the gem could be worth several thousands of dollars.

Probably more than that, depending on the quality of it.

Damp Squid?

Yah, according to the TimesOnline.

Pretty bad when the Times of London doesn't even know proper usage of a British metaphor.

Roanoke Times Publishes Names, Addresses of Gun Owners

Not only that, but they also compared gun owners to sex offenders.

Pretty sleazy.

h/t PoliPundit

Britney Spears, Puker

Britney Spears is bulimic and bipolar, according to an anonymous source.

Just who is this anonymous source, anyway? How come they are allowed to get away with revealing all this stuff about every celebrity out there without any obvious consequences? I'm guessing this one is from staff at the rehab facility.

It wouldn't surprise me if it's true, though. Hard to keep a smoking body with white-trash eating habits like Britney has unless you're a puker.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Puts His Foot In

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine General Peter Pace, has gone on record as saying that homosexual acts are immoral.

"I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts," Pace said in an interview with the newspaper. "I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is okay to be immoral in any way."

Well, I hope he's ready for the hue and cry that are about to go up, along with the summons to various Congressional committees to be scolded and scorned by the various Democrats who chair those committees. It's even possible he'll be forced to resign. The next few weeks will tell the tale.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Tribute to The Spoiler, Don Jardine

Don Jardine, who wrestled as The Spoiler, died December 16th of last year, age 66, complications of leukemia. He was Canadian by birth, passed away there.

He was one of the two "heels" who most made an impression on me as a youngster, the other being Buddy Colt. Both were soft-spoken and very menacing, not given to shouting or lots of gesticulation/facial contortion. Cold, cold men, scary wrestlers.

The Spoiler was lean and in great shape compared to many wrestlers, and his sense of balace was extraordinary. He was the first wrestler I ever saw walk the top ring rope in perfect balance, no swaying or hesitation, as if he was on the mat below. (I understand he taught The Undertaker this skill). He used an "Iron Claw" as a submission hold. Others used it as well, I remember Pak Song and The Sheik using "Iron Claw," and wrestlers relying on Germanic/Nazi images seemed to particularly specialize in the move: Siegfried Stanke or Fritz von Erich come to mind. (I may be having a memory lapse on these, if I am, forgive me).

Don Jardine wrote some poetry after his retirement; here's one of his poems:


I dream of sun and mountain streams too soon
The ones that flow through my life at noon
They ripple their waves against my sands of time
As if this pleasure was as tasty as gushes of wine

Yes, my dreams sometimes take the low road of shame
But then I escape to a sanctuary of higher up fame
As the wind coils it's life around the unforgiving sea
Only then will I see the meaning of sky blue trees.

I hear the spirit tree of life making a silent scream
Exploring the murky clouds soul searching for my lost dream
When will the sky release it's last snow flake earth-bound
I realize my passionate awakening alarms my sleepless sound

Donald Jardine

Copyright ©2007 Donald Jardine

Donald Jardine, The Spoiler. Rest In Peace.

Texas Rattlesnake Roundup Vs. Ecologists

via Reuters.

It's time for the annual rattlesnake roundups in Sweetwater, Texas, and the ecologists are there to register their formal ecological disapproval:

"There's no glory in rattlesnake hunting," said Lee Fitzgerald, an associate professor and curator of amphibians and reptiles at Texas A&M University.

Hunters scour the arid landscape for snake dens, into which they pump gas fumes to drive them out. Then they snatch them with the tongs.

Hunters say the fumes have minimal ecological impact but many scientists disagree.

"It's an unethical way to hunt and it harms other animals such as scorpions and rodents," said Fitzgerald.

Frankly, I'm not going to be overly concerned with the welfare of rats and scorpions, thanks all the same.

A Few Thoughts On Comic Books

Since the death of Captain America in the most recent issue of that comic book, I have been reflecting on a comment someone made; it was possibly by Joe Quesada, the publisher of Marvel, to the effect that based on letters he received, liberals think Captain America would be joining protesters marching against the Iraq war, and conservatives would want Cap to go to Iraq to kick Saddam's ass. It's another profound example of the political divide in the US right now.

I started wondering: would Marvel, for example, be able to increase its market share and number of comics sold if it catered to both red states and blue states?

Is that a good thing? Would it lead to the hardening of the divisions?

Isn't the same thing happening in the music industry? Country music is divided in red and blue camps now, isn't it?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

World's Hottest Chili Pepper: From India

via CNN.

It's called the Bhut Jolokia, or ghost chili.

On the Scoville units scale, the Bhut Jolokia measures 1,001,304, or twice as hot as the next hottest, the Red Savina. By comparison, the typical Mexican chili measures 1500, and a jalapeƱo comes in at 10,000.

Imagine that one being used in pepper spray for crowd control.

Sincerity and Honesty: I Like That In A Writer.

In an article about the death of Captain America, I happened to glance at the small blurb that the writer, Steve Shives, included in his author profile:

I'm not especially intelligent or eloquent, but I'm honest, independent and prolific, so chances are I'll stumble over an insight here and there. Thanks for reading, and don't be shy with the feedback.

This is self-effacing, sincere and very charming. It makes me happy to see a writer make a statement like that about himself, especially in these days of arrogance and snark.

Thank you, Steve.

Volcanoes On Io, Jupiter's Moon: Extraordinary!

via NASA.

Good article for those interested in volcanoes and space.

There are plumes from two different volcanoes in the photograph, positioned at 9:00 o'clock and 11:00 o'clock.

Apparently the fierce tidal pull of Jupiter and the other moons causes the vulcanism on Io(see animation toward bottom of article).

Friday, March 09, 2007

First Captain America, Now Lassie.

The news isn't good these days. Marvel Comics killed off Captain America, and now I read that Lassie died in a fire while saving her family.

These deaths always happen in threes, you know. Who'll be next? Bozo the Clown? Kermit from Sesame Street?

It gives me the shivers just thinking about it.

New Edged Tool Arrives!

A Bark River Woodland. A2 steel and handle scales of bone, jigged to resemble stag. A2 is a nice old tool steel, it will take a patina and even rust if you don't care for it. Bone jigged to resemble stag is an old cutler's trick, this is one of the better efforts you'll see, it's possible that the Bark River people did it with CNC machines. The sheath is a little too heavy for the knife, and a little too small, too. The knife should slide easily into and out of the sheath; this one must be forced in or out, thus making it damned dangerous. I'm willing to bet that Bark River uses this sheath for all the knives of this pattern, not taking into account diffent handle materials; I'm betting that this knife of mine has thicker handle scales than if it had Micarta scales.

$108.00, all told. Nice knife.

UPDATE: after soaking in water for several hours to soften the leather, I put the knife in the sheath and wet-molded the sheath to the knife. This is the technique used by holstermakers to custom fit guns, and is called boning. I'm happy to say that after the boning, the knife and sheath are better matched now, and I'm much happier with the sheath.

Paging Chicken Little!

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down the DC gun control laws as unconstitutional.

h/t instapundit.

In other news, weather forecasters in Hell are unable to explain the sudden appearance of a blizzard there, attribute it to "infernal cooling."

Ninth Circuit Gets One Right!

They decided that spitting in someone's face is a crime.

Just in time for this event.

Is Michael Newdow Working At The Mint?

Some of the new George Washington Dollar Coins just released from the US mint lack the words IN GOD WE TRUST that are supposed to be stamped on all US coinage.

Sounds like a sinister Michael Newdow plot, if you ask me.

I can see for miles and miles.......from Mt. Hitler!

The mayor of Bad Toelz, Germany, would be happy if Google Earth re-labeled a nearby mountain.

During WWII, the nearby Heigelkopf was known as Adof Hitler Berg (Mt. Hitler). The name was change back to the original form on most maps, but apparently Google Earth still uses the old name for some obscure purpose.

Google said they'd see about fixing this.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

It's Not Enigma, But It's Still A Code.

It's the Waffle House ordering code that allows that restaurant to keep track of dozens of orders simultaneously.

h/t Mary Katharine Ham

Arkin Has Good Column On Libby

William Arkin, the Washington Post columnist who got himself in trouble after calling the US military merceneries, has an even-handed column posted on the Libby trial and outcome.

Muslim US Navy Sailor Arrested For Espionage

Story here.

I think I'd be a bit suspicious of a sailor named Hassan Abujihaad, but that's just me.

I personally think the charges should include treason, and the Navy should seek the death penalty.

Blues Traveler's John Poppers Arrested for Drugs, Guns

Story here.

Poppers had the above arsenal in his Mercedes SUV, all of it hidden in "secret compartments." He also had some drugs, night vision gear, police strobe and siren. Sounds like he's a commando/cop wannabe, or maybe reads too many survivalist magazines.

He was pulled over after his vehicle was stopped for going 111 MPH. If you're going to have an arsenal and drugs in your car, you really need to drive....as if you have an arsenal and drugs in your car.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

NASA fires Loony Female Astronaut

via CBS News.

Only part of the unhappiness she'll have to face. Court, possible jail time and a Dishonorable Discharge from the Navy are waiting in the wings, too.

I feel damned sorry for her.

Edited to add: In truth, she, her astronaut lover, and his other Air Force lover all have acted despicably; two marriages ruined, three careers down the drain, one probably heading for jail. You just have to shake your had at how pathetic it is.

Mullah Mahmood In a Burqa!

via Reuters.

Soon to be in a noose, one hopes.

They Killed Cap? YOU BASTARDS!

via ABC News

Captain America, killed by a sniper. Say it ain't so.

Sounds Like a Chik-Fil-A Ad.

A calf in India is raiding the chicken coops.

The locals, being Hindus and thus viewing cows as sacred, aren't sure what to do.....

Not A Professor, But Still A Know-it-all.

One of Wikipedia's most prolific editors, who passed himself off as a tenured professor, is in fact a 24-year-old layman with no degree whatsoever.

Another black eye for Wikipedia. The kid has been fired, but maintains his friendship with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, who had kind words for the young man, even in disgrace.

It's The World's Newest Endangered Species!

But that's a good thing, because this little bird was supposed to be extinct.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Scooter Libby Guilty On 4 of 5 Counts


It's just the beginning of the process, obviously; appeals will come, and may result in a reversal. Pres. Bush could short-circuit the process at any time with a pardon, also.

I'm surprised. When it wasn't a hung jury I thought he'd get away with a conviction on a single token charge, which would be thrown out on appeal.

Of course, I predicted that the Republicans would keep both houses of Congress back in November, also.

The St. Petersburg Declaration

From the Secular Islam Summit, the St. Petersburg Declaration, which I quote here in full:

Released by the delegates to the Secular Islam Summit, St. Petersburg, Florida on March 5, 2007

We are secular Muslims, and secular persons of Muslim societies. We are believers, doubters, and unbelievers, brought together by a great struggle, not between the West and Islam, but between the free and the unfree.

We affirm the inviolable freedom of the individual conscience. We believe in the equality of all human persons.

We insist upon the separation of religion from state and the observance of universal human rights.

We find traditions of liberty, rationality, and tolerance in the rich histories of pre-Islamic and Islamic societies. These values do not belong to the West or the East; they are the common moral heritage of humankind.

We see no colonialism, racism, or so-called “Islamaphobia” in submitting Islamic practices to criticism or condemnation when they violate human reason or rights.

We call on the governments of the world to

reject Sharia law, fatwa courts, clerical rule, and state-sanctioned religion in all their forms; oppose all penalties for blasphemy and apostacy, in accordance with Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights;

eliminate practices, such as female circumcision, honor killing, forced veiling, and forced marriage, that further the oppression of women; protect sexual and gender minorities from persecution and violence;

reform sectarian education that teaches intolerance and bigotry towards non-Muslims;

and foster an open public sphere in which all matters may be discussed without coercion or intimidation.

We demand the release of Islam from its captivity to the totalitarian ambitions of power-hungry men and the rigid strictures of orthodoxy.

We enjoin academics and thinkers everywhere to embark on a fearless examination of the origins and sources of Islam, and to promulgate the ideals of free scientific and spiritual inquiry through cross-cultural translation, publishing, and the mass media.

We say to Muslim believers: there is a noble future for Islam as a personal faith, not a political doctrine;

to Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Baha’is, and all members of non-Muslim faith communities: we stand with you as free and equal citizens;

and to nonbelievers: we defend your unqualified liberty to question and dissent.

Before any of us is a member of the Umma, the Body of Christ, or the Chosen People, we are all members of the community of conscience, the people who must chose for themselves.

Endorsed by:

Mona Abousenna
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Magdi Allam
Mithal Al-Alusi
Shaker Al-Nabulsi
Nonie Darwish
Afhin Ellian
Tawfik Hamid
Shahriar Kabir
Hasan Mahmud
Raquel Evita Saraswati
Wafa Sultan
Ibn Warraq
Mourad Wahba
Manda Zand Ervin
Bonafsheh Zand-Bonazzi

I totally approve of this statement, and will sign it (there is an option for this at the website).

h/t Jawa Report

Monday, March 05, 2007

VP Cheney Has Blood Clot In Leg Treated.

via NY Times.

One of those Deep Venous Thrombosis clots that air travelers are susceptible to, and which received lots of media attention last year.

They're treating it with blood thinners such as Coumadin, which is the rat poison Warfarin under a more humane name. Wonder how many libs know that fact?

What's with all the blue chicks?

First Ann Althouse, now Ann Coulter. Did they see it on a runway somewhere, or just watch too many old episodes of Star Trek?

He's 75 years old!

I'm talking about Little Richard. I keep seeing him in that Geico commercial, and the man just doesn't look like a man born in 1932. Dick Clark eventually hit that wall and began looking his age; when will Little Richard hit it? The man looks fabulous!



via Guardian.

While an alternative to Wikipedia is desirable because of the accuracy problems that crop up there, a version that is basically an evangelical Christian's version is probably not the answer. Look at these examples:

How they compare:


Wikipedia, logo above

"Vertebrate animals that dominated terrestrial ecosystems for over 160m years, first appearing approximately 230m years ago."


"They are mentioned in numerous places throughout the Good Book. For example, the behemoth in Job and the leviathan in Isaiah are almost certainly references to dinosaurs."

US Democratic party


"The party advocates civil liberties, social freedoms, equal rights, equal opportunity, fiscal responsibility, and a free enterprise system tempered by government intervention."

Conservapedia "The Democrat voting record reveals a true agenda of cowering to terrorism, treasonous anti-Americanism, and contempt for America's founding principles."

Not particularly helpful.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Libby Trial: My Prediction.

Hung jury, split along ideological lines.

So let it be written, so let it be done.


A Hole In The Bottom Of The Sea?

via LiveScience.

Not just a song lyric anymore.

Spain Continues Down The Appeasement Path.

via Reuters.

And the citizenry is beginning to be unhappy with it.


What on earth is ask.com doing using GlobalResearch as a primary news source for its news service? Might as well use 9/11 truthers; the stories that I found on the GlobalResearch site are fairly radical.

Illinois Funeral Director Goes Wacko With GI's Body

story here.

The guy has had his license yanked. Best check to see if he's been molesting other corpses......

Aircraft Carrier USS Kennedy To Stay In Boston?

via Boston Herald.

Seems to be a natural. Contrast this to San Francisco, whose anti-military government rejected having the battleship USS Wisconsin retired there as a tourist attraction.

Modern-Day Stylites?

via Reuters

BERLIN (Reuters) - A German man who spent 10 days in a self-made box atop a 72-foot-tall pole to protest a looming jail term was lured off his perch by his wife -- who sent up a topless picture of herself in his lunch box.

The pole dancer and the pole sitter.

Fred Gregor, 45, was bidding to have his 15-month conviction for fraud overturned by squatting in his tiny cubicle atop a converted television mast.

Fred Gregor. Good German name, that.

His wife Susanne, 25, backed his protest until the former stripper and mother of their five children decided she had had enough.

Or hadn't had enough, depending on how you view it.

Beatles Bass Guitar Turns Up In Montenegro

AFP story here.

Apparently McCartney threw the Hofner Violin Bass into the audience after the neck broke. The fan who caught it kept it all these years.

It's worth a lot now, apparently. Instruments owned by the Beatles have been sold for over half a million dollars in recent years.

Swords Clash In Hilton Head, SC.

AP story here.

To commemorate the occasion, instead of copy/pasting the link, I CUT/pasted it.

Massachusetts Health Insurance Working?

The mandatory health insurance plan put in place by former governor Mitt Romney apparently is bringing prices down already, a USA Today story reports.

They say as little as $175 per month for the average worker, which includes a drug benefit, emergency and outpatient care.

Not bad, and if it works, Romney will benefit.

No More US Navy Torpedomen?

via Navy Times.

Apparently they're being merged into the Gunner's Mate rating. Strange move. Wonder why?

"Feud" Between Rupert Murdoch and Richard Branson

via Guardian.

It'd be more fun if it was one of those Russian face-slapping contests.

Vote for McCain? No, thanks.

An ABC news story discusses McCain. Money quote is from Larry Sabato:

"The age, the temper, he seems to be off the reservation a lot — how would he govern? — are all negatives & but they don't have an alternative. It's a weak field if you're a conservative Republican."

Which I agree with. Sabato doesn't mention McCain-Feingold, however, which is a deal-breaker for many Republicans. Sometimes known sarcastically as the Incumbent Protection Act, McCain-Feingold restricts campaign ads in the last days before an election.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Lunar Eclipse Tonight.

Underway even as we speak, I think. Pardon me while I go outside to take a look.

Update, 7:35 Eastern: Already uncovering. Beautiful night.