Happy Halloween everyone!
Nothing dusts off the brain's cobwebs like a strong dose of Eric Voegelin. (Metaphor alert!)
Gene Callahan offers forth this thoughtful critique of those who insist that our senseless and immoral invasion of Iraq was necessary if we are to "win the clash of civilizations."
Okay, am I the only one who'd like to see The Pope kick the Shi'ite out of a "mullah-to-be-named-later" on Celebrity Deathmatch? Or, at least, I'd like to see him walk out on the balcony of St. Peter's and raise the Super Finger toward Mecca.
Wouldn't the world be a better place if we resolved our religious and other disputes via classic playground methods? Who needs bombs when you can triple-dog-dare your opponent to stick his tongue to a frozen slab of unclean animal?
Remember when David Letterman had Rudy Giuliani get on the Jumbo-Tron in Times Square and say, "My city can kick your city's ass!"? That's what I'm talking about.
It appears that Time Is Running Out.
Why, exactly, is time "running out"? Will he taunt them a second time?
How many BROWN Zune players do you think Microsoft will sell?
Brown - it's the new, uh, Mustard...
I don't know how many times we've brought this up, but Christopher Hitchens kicks ass. Why he would bother going on Bill Maher's show is a difficult question, but his willingness to go on and more than once directly insult the studio audience delights me to no end.
Poochucker and I grabbed a beer yesterday afternoon in San Diego while I was waiting for my flight home, and as we watched pre-teens play in the Little League World Series we also discussed how bad the grown-ups in the National League were playing.
Last time I checked the standings, right before the all-star break, there were only five teams in the entire National League playing above .500. Well, guess what? There are still only five teams in the NL playing above .500, and some barely so. Pitiful.
Am I complaining? Absolutely not. If it weren't for the generally poor NL play, the .504 Arizona Diamondbacks wouldn't be in second place for both the Western Division AND the NL Wildcard. Hurray for mediocrity!
This month's top eMusic Downloads:
1. The Spores - Imagine the Future
2. Hello Radio: The Songs of They Might Be Giants
3. Spoon - Telephono / Soft Effects
4. Neko Case - Blacklisted
5. Billy Bragg - Brewing Up With Billy Bragg
6. The John Doe Thing - For the Best of Us
7. Cat Power - The Covers Record
8. The Jazz Butcher Conspiracy - Rotten Soul
9. Praxis - Metatron (Bill Laswell, Buckethead, and Brain, oh my!!!)
10. Some Girls - Crushing Love (Juliana Hatfield...sigh)
Top CD Purchases:
1. Morrissey - The CD Singles '88-'91 [box]
2. The Wonder Stuff - Hup
3. Concrete Blonde - Concrete Blonde
4. The Clash - From Here to Eternity Live
5. David Sylvian - Dead Bees on a Cake
Well, H.L. has called me out. My last quiz wasn't "nearly snobby enough." Fine, then. It's still all rock and roll, but I'll throw some snobby at you:
1. Best ZTT and/or Trevor Horn-produced album.
2. Best album by a band with a former Bauhaus member.
3. Best all-covers album by a single band.
4. Best album by a group local to the town you were born/raised.
5. Best album from the Cracker/Camper Van Beethoven family.
6. Best album featuring Robert Fripp where Fripp was not a part of the band.
7. Best album featuring former member(s) of King Crimson.
8. Best Smiths 12" Single.
9. Best cover version of a Smiths song.
10. Best album featuring Johnny Marr OTHER than a Smiths album.
Monkey RobbL's answers:
1. Propaganda - A Secret Wish [runner up: (Who's Afraid Of) The Art Of Noise]
2. Tones On Tail - "Pop"
3. Trip Shakespeare - Volt [runner up: Siouxsie and the Banshees - Through The Looking Glass]
4. Gin Blossoms - New Miserable Experience
5. Camper Van Beethoven - Key Lime Pie [runner up: Monks of Doom - Meridian]
6. David Sylvian - Gone To Earth
7. Bruford - Feels Good To Me
8. Panic (b/w "Vicar In A Tutu" and "The Draize Train")
9. The Dream Academy - "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want" [runners-up: Bobby Bare, Jr. - "What Difference Does It Make" and Mikael Erentxun - "Esta Luz Nunca Se Apagara (There Is A Light That Never Goes Out)"]
10. Kirsty MacColl - Kite
1. Favorite Beatles album
2. Favorite Velvet Underground album
3. Favorite Clash album
4. Favorite New Order album
5. Favorite Smiths album
6. Favorite Robyn Hitchcock album
7. Favorite Oingo Boingo album
8. Favorite U2 album
9. Favorite Echo & The Bunnymen album
10. Favorite Pixies (or related) album
Monkey RobbL's choices:
3. London Calling
4. Low Life
5. The Queen is Dead
6. Invisible Hitchcock
7. Good For Your Soul
1. James Lipton or Elvis Mitchell?
2. Fender or Gibson?
3. Elvis or The Beatles?
4. Batman or Superman?
5. Red or green?
6. Red or white?
7. Irish, Scotch, Bourbon or Rye?
8. San Francisco or New York City?
9. AL or NL?
10. Cable or satellite?
1. Elvis Mitchell
3. The Beatles
5. Green and extra spicy
6. Red, preferably from Italy
8. San Francisco
9. NL: If you've got a DH, you're not playing real baseball.
Five "old" technologies that still amaze and mystify me:
1. Vinyl record players
3. Cold reading
Rep. Ron "Dr. No" Paul gives this explanation why he voted against the ridiculous "support Israel" resolution last week. Good for him.
Of course, the loonies in the comments section over at LGF think this makes him an anti-Semite.
Well, I'm off to Hawaii for 5 days. For work, of course.
I will post later of my passionate hatred for this new Townhall.com monstrosity. Right now I'm too frustrated with it to post anything but words that would be removed by Townhall's obscenity filter. I mention it only to say that I FINALLY got part of the podcasting thing to work, and I listened to our pal Hugh's interview with Christopher Hitchens. Hugh spends almost 14 minutes fishing for support on this whole NYT-Swift thing, and Hitch gives him nothing but scraps. I also listened to the Doyle McManus interview, which I had previously read on Radio Blogger, just to see if Hugh's tone was different "in person" than it was "on paper." It wasn't.
Now let's say, just for the sake of argument, that the New York Times WAS wrong to publish information about this program. Even if that was the case, it is completely unfair for Hugh to target the LA Times and completely ignore the Wall Street Journal. The New York Times broke the story. According to Tony Blankley, both the LAT and the WSJ were performing parallel research, and as soon as the NYT announced to the administration that they were going to run with the story, the administration went to BOTH the LAT and the WSJ to make sure they had the full story and published it accurately. Referring to the "Times Two" as jointly responsible for this leak, while leaving the Journal free from criticism, just shows Hugh's shallow and partisan viewpoint.
McManus's interview, if anything, shows that the Los Angeles Times was trying to work with the government in determining the correct balance between national security and the public's right to know. Hugh's continued "quoting" of McManus's "admission" that the story might help terrorists just shows that he's more interested in tarring the Los Angeles Times with the same brush he's using on the New York Times than he is with finding the truth about this story.
This Month's Top 5 eMusic Album Downloads:
1. Frank Black: Fast Man / Raider Man
2. 50 Foot Wave: Golden Ocean
3. Cracker: Greenland
4. Gone: Let's Get Real, Real Gone For A Change
5. John Coltrane: Soultrane (Remastered)
This Month's Top 3 CD Purchases:
1. XTC: Transistor Blast (Box Set)
2. The Dream Academy: A Different Kind of Weather
3. Matthew Sweet: Altered Beast
It was, of course, delightful. First of all, I should point out to JamesPh that the weather was wonderful (never got above 82 degrees, low humidity, no mosquitos) and he's crazy to purposely come here in the winter. Keegan's rules stated that no more than four people may join a team for trivia, and the Fraters bench was full, so I joined some crazy candidate for the state legislature and a guy who works for The Patriot radio stations in Minneapolis. The result? A tie between our team and the Fraters. If "Rocky" taught me anything, it's that a tie is a victory for the challenger, and I performed the appropriate victory dance. Okay, there was no dancing, but there was certainly celebration. Both teams got 24 answers out of 25, and we both missed the same question: What is a "peeler?" The answer? An Irish cop. Whodathunk.
Later in the evening, The Elder and I engaged in a spirited debate about freedom of the press, the aggressive use of force, and just a touch of just war theory. I don't believe either of us changed our minds, but it was a civilized and respectful interaction, particularly considering we just got done drinking at an Irish bar.
Atomizer gave me some smokes, and St. Paul was kind enough to pretend he remembered me after I told him who I was. At the end of the evening, I met several other bloggers from the Minneapolis area, including the friendly folks at Freedom Dogs, who gave me a t-shirt. Thanks, guys!
I'm coming back to Minneapolis in August, during the Minneapolis State Fair. I'll look forward to a trivia rematch at that time. Remember the second fight between Rocky and Apollo, guys. Next time, you're going down!
Oh, I almost forgot: The food and drink were great. Fish and chips were delicious and they had Power's Gold Label and Smithwick's Irish Ale on tap. Mr. and Mrs. Keegan hung out on the porch and chatted with us, and I got a free beer for winning (or, I guess, tying) at trivia. Thanks again to everyone!
Rhino Brian once again comes through with a great story about how British world cup fans are threatening to consume all of the beer in Germany.
Rhino Brian once again comes through with a
I've been thinking about this SWIFT story since it broke, even moreso since David posted about it a couple of days ago. The more I think about it, read about it, and hear about it, the more I support the newspapers' decision to publish.
Chief among my reasons for supporting the papers is the role of the press and government in public life. A free press is essential to real freedom, meaning (among other things) the press can and should go through the government's trash (both literally and metaphorically) and report about whatever it finds. The government should never feel confident that it can conduct ANY program in secret.
At this point, I'm not trying to debate if the program is (probably) or should be (probably not) legal. The question is whether or not a government should be allowed to conduct such a program without public scrutiny, or even knowledge, in the name of "national security." The answer to that question is "no" - and that unequivocally.
Reading the hyperventilations of Heather MacDonald in Bill Kristol's state-worshipping rag only reinforces my support of the fourth estate. Also unsurprising (unfortunately) was our friend Hugh Hewitt's criticism of The (NY and LA) Times. Reading his interaction with Washington bureau chief Doyle MacManus of the Los Angeles Times simultaneously amused and annoyed me. Hewitt's law background is on full display: He asks questions like a prosecutor, intent on making the defendent look guilty to the jury by framing the questions improperly:
"Is it possible, in your view, Doyle McManus, that the story will in fact help terrorists elude capture?"
He asks this question TWICE IN A ROW. Note that he doesn't ask if it is "reasonably likely" - he asks if it's POSSIBLE. As if the mere POSSIBILITY of a negative consequence is enough reason to withhold the story. Hewitt eventually dives head-first into a pool of illogic:
"HH: Did anyone who would go on the record tell you this would have no significant damage to the counter-terrorism effort?"
"DM: I don't believe anyone made that unqualified statement, no."
"HH: Given that you couldn't find anyone to tell you that it wouldn't be damaging, wouldn't the necessary conclusion be that it would be?"
Well no, Hugh, that is not the necessary conclusion at all. And you know better than to ask. The absence of an unqualified, on-the-record statement to the contrary does not even seriously IMPLY, much less NECESSITATE that conclusion.
So raise a glass for the free press. Raise a glass to the weight of freedom we must all bear. As long as stories like this are still being printed, there is still hope that we may again be free.
Looks like VMWare is pretty close to committing to a release for Mac OS X (Intel-only, of course.) This is really great news.
I'm using Parallels Desktop right now, and it works great. Fantastic. But VMWare Workstation does more. Right now, for customer demos of multiple Virtual Machines existing on a virtual network, I still have to use my IBM T41p. This feature alone is enough to get my money for VMWare. I'll almost never have to use my Thinkpad if that happens.
You can't spell "socialist" without "cialis"
I've got a meeting with a customer in Palo Alto tomorrow, so I'm staying downtown at a really old hotel, very close to the Stanford campus. When I say really old hotel, I mean "no air conditioning and an elevator where you open the door yourself" kind of old. But it's got character. Deuce says that should be the slogan above the door: "No air conditioning, but lots of character."
Of course, we're in silicon valley, so of COURSE the hotel has Wi-Fi. No air conditioning, but the wireless internet access has a great signal. I checked in, called my wife and told her how to reach me, and booted up my MacBook to check my e-mail. After I was done (around 9:00pm) I headed next door to the English Pub (The Rose & Crown) I noticed on the way in. Sat down, got comfortable, and ordered a Fullers ESB (on tap!) and the Fish & Chips. But it was not to be - their kitchen closed at 9. NINE O'CLOCK???? I know it's summer, but we're practically across the street from Stanford. No food? That's just crazy talk.
I needed to eat, so I walked across the street to a neat diner/soda fountain. Ordered the Pastrami Reuben. The pastrami was quite good, but the swiss cheese was quite a bit stronger than I like. I'm really not a swiss cheese guy - I rarely order it on anything other than a Reuben. I've had a couple of REALLY good Pastrami Reubens in the last couple of weeks. Last Wednesday, I had a great one at this little New York-style deli near the Orange County airport. The week before, at a Cafe at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas. So, frankly, I was a bit disappointed. I'm guessing the place had a good black & white malted, but once I ate, I was ready for a beer or three, so I headed back to the Rose & Crown.
Oh, I forgot to mention, great Wi-Fi access in the diner, and again at the Rose & Crown. Say what you will about Palo Alto, you won't lack for Internet access. But I have to say I'm kind of ambivalent about the town. Maybe it's just a bad night, but I had higher expectations. Fullers ESB on tap is great, but the bar's kind of a snooze. Staff are clearly American, and when you go to an English or Irish pub, you kind of prefer a first-generation immigrant. Or, at least, I do. And did I mention that the kitchen closes at 9:00pm? What kind of college town is this?
Nothing interesting on the stereo. I've been catching up on podcasts on my iPod Nano. Mostly Penn Jillette and Coverville. I'll do another post some other time about my favorite podcasts, but those two are definitely on the list.
Alright, if anything my awkward prose has conveyed the ambivilence I feel about this town. You're welcome.
Last Tuesday, Rhino Brian and I went and saw the San Diego Padres beat the Dodgers at Petco Park. This completed the "NL West" segment of my informal goal of visiting every Major League ballpark. While watching the game, Brian noted that the Padres' dugout was on the first base line, which was contrary to both of our experience in other parks, at least as far as we could remember.
So, today at lunch with Deuce I was discussing this experience, and he was kind enough to find this page that explains the breakdown. Short version: No rules about it, tradition is split, current AL parks are evenly split in configuration, while the NL is 11:5 in favor of first-base dugouts.
May I have your attention please! Or, should I say, may I have the attention of all of our readers who are in posession of esoteric baseball knowledge? There, that should narrow it down to, oh, one person.
So, nice to meet you. Here's my question: How long has the September "expanded roster" been part of Major League Baseball? I've Googled and Googled and Googled until I can't Google no more, and I can't find anything about the history of this rule. To me, it smacks of late-in-history (i.e. last 20-30 years) "tinkering" to try to make the run-up to the playoffs more exciting for the TV audiences. Is this the case, or is this a long-standing rule with some deeper history and purpose?
Any help would be much appreciated.
Okay, so when Rhino Brian forwarded this story to me, I figured it was just a curiosity about the way law and tradition intersect.
Then I got to the last couple of paragraphs, and it all went bad.
I love my TiVos, I really do. But I am growing very impatient with TiVo, who seem to have taken a cue from Apple in the 80's: Develop a REALLY cool product, then sit back and let everyone else catch up rather than staying ahead of the curve.
About a month ago, TiVo FINALLY released their dual-tuner DVR. Joy! Rapture! I can finally TiVo "Law & Order" and "CSI: NY" at the same time.
Wait? What's that you say? It only has two CABLE tuners? It will only support one input from my satellite boxes?
Cue the Angriest Dog in the World.