October 2003 Archives

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October 30, 2003
Quote of the Day

Ann Coulter, on the predictable lefty reaction to the nomination of California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals:

Even Teddy Kennedy, who might be well advised to withhold comment on a woman's position relative to a moving body of water, has described Brown as "out of the mainstream," adding, "Let's just hope this one can swim."
The man parodies himself.

Posted by Russ at 09:48 AM | Comments (3)
October 29, 2003
Severe pain

Since Monday I've been in pain, rapidly escalating to seriously mind-altering amounts of pain. This morning, given the opportunity, I'd have cheerfully removed my own foot with a hacksaw.

The doc says he'll have a definitive answer tomorrow or Friday - but the options are tendonitis, arthritis, or gout.

Gout? Gout?!?!

Blogging will resume when I can put my feet on the floor for more than 5 minutes at a time.

Posted by Russ at 05:28 PM | Comments (6)
October 25, 2003
Peace Creeps

The anti-American peace creeps are at it again.

They call themselves "anti-war." Nothing could be further from the truth.

It cannot be said loudly enough or often enough:

     they are not against the war - they are on the other side.

Go see the commentary from:

Posted by Russ at 09:43 AM
October 24, 2003
It's About Time

I'm glad to see the dot-com stock market is returning to normal.

Posted by Russ at 09:01 AM
October 23, 2003
Without Representation

I am so glad we in North Carolina have a principled voice-of-the-people senator in our own John Edwards. I'm glad to see him taking a stand on pay raises for the Senate.

Oh, wait. He didn't.

This shouldn't be a surprise, given his track record.

Would someone be so good as to tell me how, exactly, taxation with representation is any better than the same without?

Posted by Russ at 05:29 PM | Comments (2)
Annoying Osama

Allegedly from Alan Meiss:

Fifty Ways To Annoy Osama bin Laden If You're Invited To A Dinner Party At His Secret Afghan Lair

[Assuming, of course, that he isn't already a smear of decomposing jelly on a cave floor somewhere....]

1. Point out the lice in his beard to make him feel self-conscious.

2. Pause for a moment, listen carefully, and say, "Doesn't that sound a lot like a B-52?"

3. Ask him if he's looking forward to replacing Hitler as Satan's favorite chew toy in the lowest inferno of Hell.

4. Tell him all about your great vacation to Saudi Arabia, where you went absolutely everywhere and did everything, just stomped all over the place.

5. Use his satellite phone to call the time and weather line in Buenos Aires and leave it off the hook.

6. Tell him how much less you paid for your Kalashnikov rifle.

7. Now that you know the address of his secret cave hideout, fill out magazine subscription cards for him for the Wine Spectator and Penthouse. But do not, under any circumstances, send him Popular Mechanics.

8. Order him ten Domino's pizzas with extra ham topping.

9. Correct him when he ends a sentence with a preposition.

10. Ask whether the Taliban gets cable, because you haven't seen "Sex and the City" for weeks.

11. Yank the end of his turban really hard to make him spin around like a top.

12. Switch all the CD's in the jewel boxes in his CD collection, so that when he reaches for Michael Bolton, he'll actually get the Oak Ridge Boys.

13. Mine his bathroom.

14. Use your dinner fork for your salad, and, if questioned by your host, mutter something about "spots".

15. Leave business cards for the Israeli Mossad in his Rolodex.

16. Take pictures of all his wives and post them on www.amihotornot.com.

17. Ask him if he wears boxers or briefs. Check. Take pictures. Again, post these on www.amihotornot.com.

18. Give him a Hot Chicks of Palestine calendar.

19. Ask him if Paradise is different for each person, and whether in your own paradise you'll get to, "kick his ass every day for eternity."

20. Reset his VCR and leave it blinking 12:00.

21. Refer to him as "Osama-osama-fee-fi-fo-fama bin Laden."

22. Ask whether suicide bombers have to pay union dues.

23. Tell him it's lovely what he's done with his cave, but that it'd look much nicer covered with huge, smoking craters.

24. At dinner, imply that the Northern Alliance has much prettier place settings.

25. Claim you once saw him at a Hooter's in Muncie wearing a yarmulke.

26. Ask him if he wouldn't mind if you opened the door and shined your laser pointer on his forehead for a few minutes.

27. Tell him that this is the worst pajama party you've ever attended.

28. Ask for some pork rinds and a good brew to wash them down.

29. Mix up his Rubik's Cube.

30. Ask him if he provides his employees with a 401K plan.

31. Compliment him on all his poppies outside, but mention that a few day lilies would be a nice accent.

32. Run your finger along his credenza, and say, "tsk, tsk" if there's dust.

33. Ask whether the Taliban is hoping to be bombed ahead into the Stone Age, or perhaps the Iron Age if enough shell casings survive.

34. Explain that America is a land of freedom and opportunity, filled with people of every race, religion, and background, including millions of women strong enough to knock the crap out of him.

35. Claim that they serve much better falafel at the public executions in Sudan.

36. Ask him if he's pursuing the Lesser Jihad, the Greater Jihad, or the "Completely Whacked Out of his Freaking Gourd" Jihad.

37. Swirl your drink thoughtfully and mention, "Just think, in a few weeks you might fit in this glass!"

38. Check to see if Saddam is on his speed-dial list.

39. They have to wait a few years to see current television shows in Afghanistan, so give away the secret of who's having a baby on "Friends."

40. Warn him that you're "in a New York state of mind."

41. Mention that his wives look quite fetching in their burkas, and ask whether they've ever thought of modeling.

42. Ask him, "Say, where do you keep all those Stinger missiles?" just in case he'll be caught off guard and answer correctly.

43. Give him a "noogie" or a "wedgie." If there's actually still a flush toilet left in Afghanistan, give him a "swirlie".*

44. Ask to borrow his hedge trimmer and never give it back.

45. Play a game of Monopoly with him. Make him play the thimble. See if he charges interest. Claim that his properties are your "holy lands" and blow up his hotels.

46. Fish out the secret toy surprises in all his cereal boxes.

47. Offer to take him "clubbing" in Tel Aviv with your friends Saul and Ivan.

48. Ask him which Ninja Turtle is his favorite.

49. Give him your cell phone as a gift and ask him to leave it on for a few days so your friends can call and say hi.

50. When you leave, wave and say, "Shalom!"

Posted by Russ at 01:32 PM
Quote of the Day

Donald Rumsfeld:

Consider some of the countries that are contributing troops in Iraq today: Albania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine. They all have forces in Iraq assisting the coalition. There are others, as well, but I just mention these because those are the nations helping in Iraq today that President Reagan helped to make free.

Why are so many of these nations, many small, most not very wealthy, sending their forces, their young men and women put at risk halfway around the world to help bring freedom to the Iraqi people? I suspect it's because so many of them have just recovered their own freedom, and they're eager, they're proud to help the Iraqi people recover theirs. God bless them all, and God bless Ronald Reagan for what he did to help liberate them.

Speech at the Reagan Library, 10/10/2003

(link via Jay Nordlinger)

Posted by Russ at 10:17 AM
October 22, 2003
Quote of the Day

Wesley J. Smith, in the Weekly Standard:

In a sense, the Schiavo case is a miracle. Because so many people around the country and the world have come to love her, root for her, and yes, pray for her, our country has been given a rare opportunity to look at where we are heading as a culture and reinvigorate a simple moral maxim: When in doubt, choose life.
[Emphasis mine.]

The truly sad thing is that this has to be pointed out at all.

Posted by Russ at 08:31 AM
October 20, 2003
Quote of the Day

Peter Wood:

... I am not among those anthropologists who think all expressions of the human spirit are intrinsically valuable. Some, like human sacrifice, are pretty disagreeable. And the human spirit that expresses itself in rhetorical attempts to dilute the enormity of Stalin's Gulag, to revile President Bush, or to obfuscate the debate on efforts to achieve a colorblind society, is the old familiar one of folly.

Posted by Russ at 01:47 PM
October 19, 2003
Quote of the Day
[P]ublic nudity is like karaoke. The people who are most enthusiastic are least qualified.
Steve H., at Little Tiny Lies

[Fortunately, I have no desire to do either karaoke or public nudity. Or nude karaoke, for that matter. Consider yourselves lucky.]

Posted by Russ at 09:09 PM | Comments (2)
October 17, 2003
Who's looting now?

There's much afoot in blogdom (from much bigger dogs than Yours Truly) about the Democrat-led Senate plan to extract repayment from Iraqis for the help we are giving them.

The Senate -- courtesy of most of the Democrats and a handful of defecting Republicans -- insists on repayment.

The President does not.

Excuse me, but I thought the President was the one who wanted to invade Iraq to seize the output from the oil fields? That's all we seemed to hear from the Left - "no blood for oil," et cetera, ad nauseum.

It seems to me that the Democrats are throwing away a talking point - a false one, but a rhetorically useful one.

Update: A Tony Snow interview of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist on Fox News (sorry, no linkage at this time) leads me to conclude that this provision will die in the House/Senate conference committee. Lefties, you may resume your chanting.

Posted by Russ at 02:25 PM
Quote of the Day

The eminently quotable Victor Davis Hanson:

... Americans must be reminded of more than details. They need to be assured that the war for Iraq is a noble cause, involving clear distinctions between good and evil, between a bright future and a horrendous past, between money and lives pledged for the promise of a civil society and oil profits of the past gleaned from a corrupt dictator. Americans are great souled, and so will rise to the occasion — but only if they are told that their sacrifices transcend the here and now, and will bring freedom for millions in the Middle East and security for themselves at home.
I hope someone at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is reading this guy.

Posted by Russ at 09:56 AM
October 14, 2003
Quote of the Day

The Doggerel Pundit, on journalists:

Suppose my boy, computer wise and reader on the Net,
Says "look here dad the facts are there, he really was a threat."
Your byline crushed the Kay report, please dad what have you done?"
How could I face him then and say, "I haven't read it, son."
If Blogspot permalinks are hosed, just go here.

Posted by Russ at 02:18 PM
October 11, 2003

In 1973, when I was 11 years old, my father (aged 37 - four years younger than I am at this writing) had surgery on his lower back for a disc problem. He was better, but back problems tend to never go away. A number of years later, I had injured a knee and was having surgery of my own, courtesy of Uncle Sam, and Dad told me a story about his own stay in the hospital.

A week or so after his surgery, he became suspicious of his pain medication. He realized that he was looking forward to it a bit too much.

They had been giving him morphine.

He told his doctor, who did the right thing and took him off the morphine. For the next week, my Dad told me, he felt as if he "had been run over by a steamroller" - his exact words. I'll never forget them. He was ever after wary of pain medication.

[His wariness, I believe, may have contributed to his death in 1997 at age 61, but that's a different story, for a different post.]

In 1991, during an Army sports day, I sustained a pretty serious injury. I tore numerous ligaments in my lower back and, worse, herniated a disc. A herniated disc puts pressure on the major nerves, and causes serious pain - in my case, in the lower back and down the legs.

I could no longer do push-ups, sit-ups, or run - three of the many things the Army insists on soldiers being capable of. Had I not been injured, there is a good chance I'd still be in, probably a Sergeant First Class, possibly a Warrant Officer. 20-year retirement would be only three years away.

But the back injury did me in, and forced me out. Even now, 11 years after the original injury, that disc in my spine - such a small thing, really - will periodically and without warning herniate again. When it does, I usually go through four phases of pain and recovery:

  • an hour or so face-down on the floor, unable to move, then
  • bed-ridden for a day or two,
  • walking with pain for a week, and
  • diminishing pain for a month or more.
Since I am extremely reluctant to let anyone near my spine with a knife, the only thing for it is medication. These days, in my case at least, the prescription I usually receive is hydrocodone, often known by the brand-name "Vicodin."

It's an opiate. You know - like morphine. Like heroin. Highly addictive.

I've been lucky - I learned the lesson of my Dad's cautionary tale, and am habitually reluctant to use anything stronger than aspirin. Even when that isn't enough, my injury has never kept me on the hardcore painkillers for more than a week or so. I have the remains of my last prescription in a bottle in front of me. I used it for two days when I rather severely tore some muscles in September. The first day I took it, it made me sick. I have no inclination or desire to use it, even though my back has been a bit sore today. Aspirin will suffice.

By now, of course, you no doubt have figured out that I write this all with regard for the situation Rush Limbaugh has gotten himself into.

I know pain. I know the "bad enough to make a grown man cry" kind of pain. I know the kind of pain Limbaugh has said he experiences.

But I'm lucky: my pain goes away. Rush's apparently does not.

I know other folks (here's one) who can tell their own stories.

Did Rush do wrong by using painkillers without a prescription? Yes, so it would seem. To his credit, he's admitted his error and is taking steps to fix the problem.

Is it understandable? Absolutely. If you've never been there, you'll never know how much a person would do to make the pain go away.

I do know. I'm going to cut the man some slack. I recommend that you do, too.

Posted by Russ at 04:34 PM | Comments (2)
October 10, 2003
Quote of the Year candidate

Eiland's Theory of Compensatory Misery:

As human society gradually solves the problems of basic survival and reduces the amount of other miseries rooted in the reality of the human condition, the fringe elements of that society feel an increasingly strong compulsion to become obsessively angry about ever more trivial causes to recapture the sense that life is a painful struggle.
Simple. Brilliant.

This may be the quote of the year.

Now follow this link and read the entire explanation.

[Update, 28Aug05: the original link has died. Thankfully, we have the Internet Archive Wayback Machine to help us out.

Posted by Russ at 11:56 PM
Boo. Hoo.

According to the International Red Cross, the prisoners at Guantanamo aren't happy:

Wrapping up a two-month visit to the Cuban base, the organization — the only independent group with access to the approximately 650 detainees — said it found "a worrying deterioration" in mental health among many prisoners. It blamed their being held indefinitely without charges or legal counsel.

"They have no idea about their fate and they have no means of recourse at their disposal through any legal mechanism," said Florian Westphal, spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Well, cry me a river.

Unlawful combatants moaning about being treated to three-hots-and-a-cot. Give me a second while I go borrow Misha's Imperial Nano-Violin.

Considering their alternative - being handed over to the Afghan government - they ought to be thrilled to be where they are.

(Hat tip: LGF)

Posted by Russ at 10:15 PM | Comments (1)
Quote of the Day II

Vice President Cheney, in a speech to the Heritage Foundation:

To accept the view that action by America and our allies can be stopped by the objection of foreign governments that may not feel threatened, is to confer undue power on them, while leaving the rest of us powerless to act in our own defense. Yet we continue to hear this attitude in arguments in our own country -- so often, and so conveniently, it amounts to a policy of doing exactly nothing.
The United States is committed to multilateral action wherever possible. Yet this commitment does not require us to stop everything, and neglect our own defense, merely on the say-so of a single foreign government. Ultimately, America must be in charge of her own national security. (Applause.)
Applause, indeed.

A nation that gives up its right or capacity to defend itself whenever and wherever necessary is a conquest waiting to happen.

(Hat tip: Malcolm S. at Occam's Toothbrush)

Posted by Russ at 09:30 PM
Quote of the Day

Tim Blair:

Suppose you’re a fat stupid guy with no great education and not even enough motivation to last more than a single day on a production line. You complain all the time, your appearance is terrible, you struggle with accuracy, and you make enemies easily. You think the government is conspiring against you. Your overall skill-set barely qualifies you for homelessness.

With these talents, where on earth might you expect to become a millionaire?

Good question. Of course, the answer is obvious:
Why, only in the US, which rewards Michael Moore with terrific wealth. His truly is a great American story; blessed only with the ability to bitch and moan and eat, Moore proves by example that even plus-size pullthroughs can make it big. Or, in his case, morbidly obese.
What a great country this is!

Posted by Russ at 02:18 PM
October 09, 2003
Yes, again


Foolish me. As recently as last week, I thought maybe I had this insomnia thing whipped.

I guess not.

Someone medicate me, please.

Posted by Russ at 04:22 AM | Comments (1)
October 07, 2003
Life Imitates Art

Babylon 5... ah, B5.... Do you remember it?

What do you mean, no? It's only the Greatest Television Series Ever Made. That's my opinion, and I'm sticking with it.

In October 1997, the 86th Babylon 5 Episode aired, titled "Endgame."

What do you mean, you haven't seen it? Are you a barbarian? Well, this post contains spoilers, so before reading further, go and watch the first 86 episodes, up to and through "Endgame," then come back and finish reading below....

In Endgame, the forces of Goodness defeat the forces of Badness, putting an end to the reign of the evil President Clark (no relation to the guy mentioned here.) At the very end, the soon-to-be-deposed ruler turns a gun on himself, but not before turning all Earth's weapons on Earth itself. His suicide note: a cryptic message spelling out the words "scorched earth."

That's fiction. (And damned good fiction it is, too.)

In October 2003, the evil (or merely grossly incompetent) Governor Davis, about to be turned out of office, has apparently decided to follow much the same course of action - to do as much harm to the once-great state of California as he can on his way out the door.

He's already signed a number of bills into law that the majority of Californians don't want - fodder for fringe special interest groups. Giving drivers licenses to illegal aliens is the most notorious example of the damage he can do on his way out.

Now come the shredders. At least CA isn't Iraq, where shredders have an entirely different use.

I am so glad I left.

Posted by Russ at 10:29 PM | Comments (1)
Fisk of the Day

Serenity delivers a lethal fisking:

Look pal, are you here to write a novel or are you here to report the news? If you are, in fact, a REPORTER, then stick to the facts and keep your attempts at creative writing inside your Strawberry Shortcake diary at home.
You may want to wear some asbestos underwear, just in case.

Posted by Russ at 02:13 PM
Quote of the Day

A bit of Frank J.'s Bite-Sized Wisdom for today:

When Israel attacked Syria, we should have followed up. It would be just like that scene in Predator when a guy sees the predator and starts firing and, though no one else knows what he's firing at, they fire in the same direction. We should be like that because Israel is our ally, or, in the least, because we like shooting stuff.
OK, either this is actually funny, or my cold meds are really powerful...

Posted by Russ at 01:44 PM
October 05, 2003
Quote of the Day

Dennis Miller:

Let me reiterate, if you’re such a complete zipper-head that you cannot maneuver your way around a chad, then guess what? I don’t want you to vote because you’ll vote stupid and I’m not talking about run of the mill stupidity here either. I’m talking about weapon-grade stupidity.
(hat tip: Betsy)

Posted by Russ at 09:25 PM
October 03, 2003
Not such a surprise

More evidence of French perfidy, courtesy of The Corner.

Can we just declare them an enemy already, and have done with it?

UPDATE: Misha is right - let's allow the 48-hour rule to work on this.

Posted by Russ at 06:35 PM
October 02, 2003

Last year October, my employer was a corporate sponsor of the Food Bank of North Carolina; employees raised something like $250,000 for the charity through a number of events.

One, the Hallowe'en Hair Challenge, was an opportunity for individuals to, in essence, bet their hair against their colleagues' willingness to donate to the Food Bank. Set a target dollar value, and see who'll pay to watch you have your head shaved. On stage. In front of a crowd of hundreds. A dozen folks - including two women - took the challenge, and had their heads shaved.

A year ago, I had hair. It was falling out, but I had hair. The Food Bank got about $450 from my co-workers for me to shave. [For the record, the women raised about $4000. Well done.]

Since then, my young nieces have insisted I leave it as is:


With the beginning of Autumn, though, I am reminded of one of the downsides of being completely (as opposed to partially) bald: cold weather.

You might not think there would be much difference, insulation-wise, between a partial head of hair and a completely shaven scalp, but whether by coincidence or not, I suffered more and worse colds last winter than ever before.

I'm not going to do that again. Besides, my razor-and-shaving-cream bills have skyrocketed.

So, I'm going to stop shaving by the end of the month. It will seem odd to have hair again. I'll have to buy shampoo again. I'll have to re-acquaint myself with my barber.

I lost my comb, too.

It will change my appearance pretty dramatically, I think, having hair again. Maybe something like this:


Well, a guy can hope.

Posted by Russ at 06:45 PM | Comments (4)
Brief Blogroll Stroll

FrankJ gives us his tips on protecting national secrets.

Matt confronts evil... and wins.

Serenity hates the smell of patchouli.

Steve the Doggerelpundit, on Equal Opportunity bakesales.

Steve H. is having problems with spam in his comments. He also has a couple of recipes that don't involve Spam.

Big Arm Woman turns curmudgeonly towards the holidays. With good reason.

Chris has the scoop on all things Space. Read anything or everything there.

Posted by Russ at 05:48 PM
Do as I say

Bill Whittle.


Go. Now.

Posted by Russ at 11:06 AM
Quote of the Day

Once again, Jonah Goldberg, in NRO:

Criticizing someone else's criticism -- even when a government official does it -- isn't an assault on free speech. It is free speech. And leadership does not require saying "thank you sir may I have another" every time some yutz takes an unfair swipe at you. If giving as good as you get intimidates people from speaking their mind, maybe that's a good thing, because it most likely means those people haven't thought through their positions well enough to offer an opinion worth listening to. If that makes you sad, if that makes you want your boo-boo-kitty and a cookie from your mommy, that's fine. But spare me the prattle about how dissenters are being intimidated. Either offer some facts or stop your whining.
[Emphasis mine.]

Posted by Russ at 10:57 AM