Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Just a thought


While I know that humor and intelligence aren't necessarily related, I'm struck by the fact that fairly liberal women have terrific senses of humor, and conservative women are so dreadfully dull.

Another dinosaur


Septuagenarian Charles (Chuck) Grassley (R-1890) is running for the Senate once again this fall and is another legislator who just can't leave the good life of the US Capitol.

The older-than-McCain Iowan made a fool of himself yesterday with his questioning of Elena Kagan regarding gun control. Kagan's countenance of incredulity was priceless, but Grassley showed not only his inanity regarding the issue, but an ignorance of the phraseology of the Declaration of Independence, which is what his question was based on.

"You know what it says," indeed. Oh well. Perhaps the people of Iowa will see the light come November.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010



OK, I know I'm being ridiculously parochial here, but the more I hear about the World Cup, the less excited I get about it. Viz.,
South Africa's police commissioner says seven World Cup replica trophies have been stolen from FIFA headquarters in Johannesburg.

... FIFA said the trophies were taken from a storage room, but there was no sign of a break-in. The trophies, which are usually used as gifts, are about 6 inches tall and worth $256.

... police were looking into the theft and suspected the people responsible were "very familiar with the environment in the FIFA offices."
Great security setup, what?

And this has nothing to do with the fact that the freaking United States of America can't get together a side that can defeat a nation less than a tenth its size.

UPDATES — And, of course, the fact that every team is populated by babies, and FIFA's sanctioning of hideous officiating in what should be the sport's premier event are more reasons to ignore it.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The end of the movies for the Boomers


Mrs. Monocle and I went to a few movies in the early part of this decade as we first experienced the joys of empty nestdom. We saw Gosford Park, Shrek, Ocean's Eleven, and a few more. It was fun while it lasted, but for whatever reason, we just kind of stopped.

It turns out that Kevin Drum explains why:
Did adults abandon movies because movies got juvenile? Or did movies get juvenile because adults abanonded them? I've never come to a firm conclusion about this myself, but I suspect it's more the latter. As a social experience — for dates, for hanging out with your friends, for getting out of the house — movies are as good as they've ever been. And that's a big part of what kids want out of their pastimes. But adults? They mostly just want to relax with a bit of good entertainment, and they have a whole lot of other options for that these days. Options that, from an adult point of view, are generally superior.

So that leaves kids as the primary audience for movies, and moviemakers have responded by making movies for kids. That's too bad for the dwindling number of us who are over 30 but still like going to movies.
Indeed, I have relatives who've taken their grandchildren to the movies recently and watched Shrek Forever After and Toy Story III. That seems to be pretty much what's available these days.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Obama's War






This isn't what I voted for.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Playing the "terrorist" card


Like many others, I continue to boycott BP, and situations like this one don't exactly weaken my resolve.
Last week, Drew Wheelan, the conservation coordinator for the American Birding Association, was filming himself across the street from the BP building/Deepwater Horizon response command in Houma, Louisiana ... [H]e was standing in a field that did not belong to the oil company when a police officer approached him and asked him for ID and "strongly suggest[ed]" that he get lost since "BP doesn't want people filming."
The situation got appreciably worse once Wheelan left and included his being pulled over and having various credentials confiscated.

It turns out that
the cop in question was actually a sheriff's deputy for Terrebonne Parish. The deputy was off official duty at the time, and working in the private employ of BP. Though the deputy failed to include the traffic stop in his incident report, Major Malcolm Wolfe of the sheriff's office says the deputy's pulling someone over in his official vehicle while working for a private company is standard and acceptable practice, because Wheelan was acting suspicious and could have been a terrorist.
Ah, the Bushies strike again: justifying the limiting of civil rights in the name of security.

Let's put it this way: The parties involved in the above episode were a bird watcher and a corporation that has destroyed a large and important portion of the American ecosystem. It's pretty obvious who the terrorist is.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Pitching and defense


... be damned.

And one Mr. Jonathan Papelbon isn't acquitting himself very well in this, the year before he becomes eligible for free agency, is he? It's Lee Smith all over again, and that's not a compliment.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dishing it out


The generation before mine may relate General Stanley McChrystal's recent insubordination concerning Afghanistan to the set-to Harry Truman and the Army's icon, Douglas MacArthur, had in 1951 concerning the Korean conflict.

MacArthur was ultimately fired, and Truman's popularity subsequently hit a low since challenged only by Georgie AWOL. If McChrystal gets the ax, I suspect few people will care for a variety of reasons: McChrystal is hardly the war hero MacArthur was, people may now understand the notion of a chain of command, and it's problematic how many care about Afghanistan in the first place.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The return of the Sox


I was at the Fens last night, where, needless to say, the excitement these days is running at a fever pitch.

At any rate, here we are, on the first day of summer, and the Red Sox are a mere one game out of first place after having caught up to the Rays. A team I truly thought was done for just a few weeks ago has revived itself to the point where they're 23-8 for the last month plus.

I don't know if the emphasis on pitching and defense has come to fruition: Adrien Beltre already has twelve errors this season, and Dice-K and Beckett have been out for a while. The guy who's really doing the job is Buchholz, who I saw pitch last night. He wasn't overpowering, but he toughed it out and ultimately gave up no runs in 6 2/3 innings.

Crazily, with all the emphasis on pitching and defense, it's been the offense that's gotten the Sox to this point. The team is second in the majors in batting average and homers, and first in runs, hits, and slugging percentage. Pedroia's on fire, Youk is is his old reliable self, and Papi and V-Mart got out of their spring funks.

It could be a very interesting rest of the season.

Friday, June 18, 2010

For there is no joy in Mudville


Mighty Koman Couilibaly has struck out.

For the life of me, I can't figure out why FIFA allows referees from soccer hinterlands like Mali to judge World Cup matches. Today's fiasco just strengthens my feeling.

I'm sure I won't be alone in this opinion. (Link has been added.)

Call me parochial


... but I still can't get used to the way soccer announcers, players, and writers talk. Viz., "We're in a very good place right now and confident that Slovenia are a team we can beat," says Landon Donovan.

The notion of referring to a country as a plural noun is just something I'll never be able to do naturally.

The Return of the Sleeping Bear


I've long been a fan of former Connecticut Senator and Governor Lowell Weicker. In the latter position, he singlehandedly saved the state from financial ruin, and in the former he gave one of the great speeches of the 1970s during the Watergate hearings.

He's been keeping a low profile for the last number of years, but yesterday he emerged from hibernation to excoriate Connecticut's political leaders regarding the state's financial woes.

He certainly wasn't kind to Governor Clubwoman, pretty much seeing her as I do:
... she didn't do much," Weicker said. "A governor should be an activist. I just don't see that from the Rell administration. Do I think she's a nice lady? Yes, I certainly do."
Clearly, we see here the difference in the two governors' styles: In standing fast in instituting a state income tax, Weicker didn't care who he irked; MJ just wants everybody to get along—and perhaps have a little macaroni and cheese while they're at it.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Quote of the day


Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.
— H.L. Mencken

I know I suggested a few times in the last ten years that the times were ripe for seeing blood run in the streets, but that was to counteract the hideous policies of the Bushies. Now that the Tea Baggers are espousing revolution, I may be a bit reluctant to espouse such a notion.

On a similar topic, it beggars belief that the nation is even crazier than it was in the first eight years of the decade, but when stuff like this happens, the conclusuion is almost unavoidable. Viz., Alvin Greene, South Carolina's Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate opines, "I am the best candidate for the United States Senate in South Carolina. And I am also the best person to be Time magazine's Man of the Year."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010



There's a reason the Dems are toast in November.

As Kevin Drum says,
This is, by a long way, the most negative reaction I've ever had to an Obama speech. Even on Afghanistan, where I was dubious of his strategy and felt his address at West Point was technocratic and unconvincing, I thought his speech had at least a few redeeming features. But this one? There was just nothing there. I felt better about Obama's response to the spill before the speech than I do now.
And Jason Linkins adds:
I am really not entirely sure what the point to this Oval Office address was! Were you looking for something that resembled a fully-realized action plan, describing a detailed approach to containment and clean up? Or perhaps a definitive statement, severing the command and control that BP has largely enjoyed, in favor of a structured, centralized federal response? Maybe you were looking for a roadmap-slash-timetable for putting America on a path to a clean energy future? Well, this speech was none of those things.

Burning man


Pardon my irreverence, but I find this hilarious.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Latest Poll


Clearly, the Democrats had their chance and blew it.
A new public opinion survey for NPR shows just how difficult it will be for Democrats to avoid big losses in the House this November.

Democrat Stan Greenberg and Republican Glen Bolger conducted the first public battleground poll of this election cycle. They chose the 70 House districts experts regard as most likely to oust incumbents this fall. What they found was grim news for Democrats.
In a nutshell, I think the problem is stated by
Frank Damico Jr., a lawyer from Louisiana, [who] says he wishes the health care bill had been stronger. He wants to see his party fight harder against special interests and against Republicans.

"The Democrats have been afraid, and I wish they would realize who put them in office," Damico said. "I think they are more concerned with placating the right when I don't think they are going to get the right supporting them no matter what they do."
This accuracy of this sentiment seems pretty obvious, but the Dems don't seem to care. With all of BO's promises of change two years ago, the party simply hasn't delivered. Apparently it'll cost them in November.

So, if we think we've seen a legislative morass during the last two years, it's likely that we ain't seen nothing yet.

Handy Dandy


An idea whose time never came.

For what it's worth, I think he (it?) looks like Yosemite Sam.

Between a rock ...


Anyone familiar with this astonishing story may be interested in the Constitution State's latest tale of a death defying escape.
Jon Metz popped some lobster in the microwave June 7 and went down to his basement for what he thought would be 15 minutes of boiler maintenance.

He dropped the vacuum attachment and reached in to retrieve it, but his left arm got stuck. Metz couldn't get it out.

So began nearly three days of horror for Metz, who decided to cut off his blood-choked arm with a saw once it began decaying. He had almost succeeded when police found him in his Taylor Road basement Wednesday afternoon, summoned by a friend who had been puzzled by his unexplained absence.

Calling his story one of survival, a doctor from Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center said Metz, 31, saved his own life. By cutting off most of his arm, he kept its toxins from spreading. He is in good spirits as he continues to recover from an operation Friday to close the wound. Paramedics had to complete the amputation when Metz was rescued; his arm could not be reattached.
It's certainly an amazing story, and its moral may be that friends are invaluable.

Monday, June 14, 2010



Call me parochial, but I just can't get too excited about a sport where the action on the field is such that the fans in the stands have to entertain themselves.

That being said, I got pretty excited when Robert Green made the misplay that made him England's equivalent of Bill Buckner.

Friday, June 11, 2010



And another prominent blogger gets tired of saying the same thing over and over again.

If, as The Atlantic thinks, "the era of browser dominance is coming to a close," it's eminently possible that this type of event will occur more and more frequently.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Who is Boof Bonser, and why is he in major league baseball?

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

One man's opinion


Just voted for the all stars, and I can't say it was particularly exciting this year, what with the Sox trying to keep their heads above water and various other teams not being particularly exciting.

At any rate, here's how I voted:


First Base:Youkilis, K., BOS
Second Base:Cano, R., NYY
Shortstop:Jeter, D., NYY
Third Base:Beltre, A., BOS
Catcher:Mauer, J., MIN
DH:Guerrero, V., TEX
Outfielder:Rios, A., CWS
Outfielder:Suzuki, I., SEA
Outfielder:Swisher, N., NYY


First Base:Pujols, A., STL
Second Base:Prado, M., ATL
Shortstop:Tulowitzki, T., COL
Third Base:Polanco, P., PHI
Catcher:Rodriguez, I., WAS
Outfielder:Braun, R., MIL
Outfielder:Byrd, M., CHC
Outfielder:Ethier, A., LAD

Picking a catcher in the National League was tough, since they all have about the same stats, and they get fewer starts than the other position players. Oh well, I'll be in Maine the night of July 13 and probably won't watch the game anyway.

Our time is coming?


Matt Yglesias opines that, as more and more people retire, they'll become "the killer ap of digital content creation." I think he's being a bit disingenuous, but it's nevertheless nice that he recognizes us old timers at all.

(And the foolish Enfield story continues apace.)

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

I spoke too soon


Give me strength:
The Enfield Board of Education has scheduled a second vote on whether to appeal a federal judge's ruling that blocked the town from holding its two high schools graduations this year at a Bloomfield megachurch.

Attorney Vincent McCarthy, who's representing the school district, says he's prepared to file an appeal with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals immediately after the vote, which is scheduled for Tuesday night.
Apparently, they're going to keep on voting until they get it right.

The Courant fails to mention that Mr. McCarthy is a Senior Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice where he "works to protect the family, the institution of marriage, and the sanctity of human life."

I'd be interested to know if Mr. McCarthy is working pro bono for the Board, or if more thousands of taxpayer dollars are being wasted on this foolish enterprise.

Quote of the Day


"She's running for the Senate now so I'm not going to hold her accountable for anything she did in the past."
— Holy Joe on why he might support Linda Crotchkicker for Senate in the fall
Wow. It doesn't get any stupider than this, although Senator Sanctimony has pretty much explained his own modus operandi: Viz., US Senators don't have to be accountable for their actions—even if they involve sleaze, gratuitous violence, and the excessive use of controlled substances.

He's got to be hoping the state's voters agree with this incredibly fatuous idea when his own turn to run comes up in 2012.

Monday, June 07, 2010

I ain't saying he's a gold digger ...


Here's an interesting rundown of some of the music used in politics wherein it's shown that the law and order Republicans have no compunctions about breaking copyright law when it comes to their own campaigns.

Take that, you freakin' bigots


Being raised by a same-sex couple is no hindrance to healthy psychological development, researchers say as the first generation of children conceived by lesbians through donor insemination is coming of age.

In fact, lesbian mothers rated their 17-year-olds higher in social and academic skills, and lower in rule-breaking and aggression, than did mothers of teenagers who also had a father.

The study, which appears in the journal Pediatrics, is the first to follow children of lesbian couples all the way from conception to adolescence.
Knowing some lesbian couples who have raised (adopted) children with great success, this doesn't surprise me a whit, although it's sure to be repudiated by morons like the Focus on the Family crowd.

More dementia


For the love of God, Helen, call it a career.

BTW — It certainly does look as if the filter has evaporated once again.

UPDATE — No sooner said than done.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

The Enfield story's conclusion


The Enfield Board of Education
voted 5-4 Thursday night not to appeal a preliminary injunction by U.S. District Judge Janet Hall, who ruled Monday that it was unconstitutional for the district's two high schools to hold their commencement ceremonies at a church.
This is a situation where everyone looks like fools, which, I suppose, isn't surprising when the two toxic entities of public education and religion are involved.

At any rate, the (you should pardon the expression) self-righteous Alex Luchenitser, senior litigation counsel for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, expressed his satisfaction:
"We're quite pleased about the vote. The board did the right thing to help the students in the community put this behind them. It allows the schools and the principals to finalize graduation instead having plans up in the air. We want to assure every student can enjoy the graduation without it becoming very divisive.”
On the other hand, the Board chair, not so coincidentally a holy-roller himself, has been an idiot about this from the get-go.

Now that the dust has settled a bit, a somewhat reasoned (though poorly written) analysis appears this morning in the Middletown Press wherein the writer—I'm assuming he's a Roman Catholic—opines that
it is a bit of a stretch to conclude that anyone participating in the graduation ceremony at First Cathedral would have been engaged in an unconstitutional religious event. And only neo-pagans who believe in homeopathic magic could assert with some reason, assuming homeopathic magic is reasonable, that buildings are inherently religious, or that religious objects — crosses on Catholic Church buildings, for instance — possess some magical quality that may bend those who see or touch the objects to a certain purpose. Buildings, by themselves, are not magical edifices, and one need not fear that persons who come in contact with them will be, so to speak, religiously polluted.
Yea, verily.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Catching Up


The filter at "work" has reared its ugly head again, and so I have to blog at home when most of the events of the day have already occurred.

Be that as it may, I still feel bad for Armando Galarraga coming so close to perfection Tuesday night.
It's not hard to see why [umpire Jim] Joyce's Wikipedia page was vandalized within seconds or why sprung [sic] up soon after that.
Galarraga couldn't have been more diplomatic about the whole thing, and Joyce, of course, was beside himself. There's really no decent resolution to the whole thing. One guy was masterful; one guy screwed up royally, and life will go on.

The thing that's been kind of hidden in the fiasco is the fact that this is the third perfecto this season. That's almost 15% of all the perfect games pitched in the entire history of major league baseball! I can't help but wonder if the pitchers have once again gotten appreciably better than the hitters and if major changes to the rules à la 1969 are in order.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Getting the government they deserve


So, who is the most well-known justice on SCOTUS?


Losing patience in Philly


I realize that a number of readers of this blog couldn't be happier that the Philadelphia Phillies have scored all of ten runs in their last nine games and gone 2-7 in that time. (And one of those wins was Roy Halladay's 1-0 perfecto.)

Nevertheless, I have a tie with the Phils and continue to follow them, and so I'm finding it interesting just how bereft Philiies fans are at the team's recent disintegration.
Maybe waking up in second place this morning will be the jolt they need. In the meantime, here are a couple of theories in answer to the question, what in the name of Steve Jeltz is going on here?

The butterfly effect. The Toronto Blue Jays went into Fenway Park with a 27-14 record on May 19, 2009. That night, they faced Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, who shut them down, 2-1.

The Jays went on to lose nine straight and manager Cito Gaston blamed it on his hitter's swings having gotten discombobulated from facing the knuckler.

Well, the Phillies have played seven games now since Wakefield beat them at Citizens Bank Park. But, in the next game, they saw another knuckleballer, R.A. Dickey of the Mets. Does that mean that they will be messed up for twice as long?

Of course, that doesn't explain why Daisuke Matsuzaka had a no-hitter going against them with two outs in the eighth the night before Wakefield took the mound.

Honesty isn't always the best policy. The Phillies were batting .271 as a team and averaging 5.41 runs per game before the Colorado Rockies alleged that bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer was using binoculars to steal the signs and then letting the Phillies hitters know what was coming.

Since then, .237 and 3.33.
This is all apple sauce. The real reason the Phils are dying is that I subscribed to the audiocasts on May 18 for the express purpose of listening to the Phils win the National League East crown.

Christianity's Contamination


A federal judge on Monday ruled that Enfield High School and Enrico Fermi High School will not be able to hold their graduations at First Cathedral, culminating a months-long debate over whether it is unconstitutional to host students' ceremonies at the mega-church.
I blogged about this issue before, and while I was a bit ambivalent about it then, I'm now finding I agree with the judge's decision, but not necessarily for the reason she gave, which is that
"By choosing to hold graduations at First Cathedral, Enfield schools sends the message that it is closely linked with First Cathedral and its religious mission, that it favors the religious over the irreligious and that it prefers Christians over those that subscribe to other faiths, or no faith at all. In addition to the character of the forum, the history and context of the decision to hold the graduations at First Cathedral also support the conclusion that, in doing so, Enfield Public Schools has endorsed religion."
If Judge Hall had come right out and said what the ACLU lawyer did, that "comparable secular facilities are available," the decision might've made a bit more sense, but so be it. I still think it's a bad idea to pay any money for a graduation venue since Enfield's Board of Education has already cut programs and sports and is laying off seventy employees, including 39 teachers.

Not surprisingly,
Vincent McCarthy, lead counsel for Enfield's public schools and senior Northeast counsel for the American Center for Law & Justice, said he will seek "an expedited appeal to the 2nd Circuit in New York."
UPDATE — It occurs to me that the theory of people being proselytized if they're just inside a church is akin to the terrific (and utterly ridiculous) portion of Red, White, and Screwed wherein Lewis Black outlines the dangers of gay marriage:
Maybe there's a group of gay bandidos. They travel from village to dell. And as night falls, they travel to that cul-de-sac, where only one house stands. And in the window, you see a family, just sitting down to their evening meal. And these queers... these queers... don their black hoods, and matching pumps, very tasteful. Sneak up to the house ever so slightly, open the door, and start... FUCKING EACH OTHER IN THE ASS! AND ANOTHER AMERICAN FAMILY... IS DESTROYED!