May 2005 Archives

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May 30, 2005
Memory - 2005

Some people would say that there is a certain nobility associated with serving in the armed forces, regardless of the service performed. Perhaps this is so. I served, but my contribution in the intel field was mostly technical (though I do have a few good stories.)

But unlike so many of our soldiers today, I never had to charge across the length of a country in chemical protective gear expecting the cry of "gas gas gas" at any moment, nor have I had to patrol the streets of a hostile city, wondering when the crack of a hostile sniper rifle might sound. While there is always a degree of risk associated with military service, I never had to face the possibility of suicide bombings or IEDs.

The troops who have served and are serving in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and in unseen and unknown places around the world are doing a far greater service than I ever did. And many of them have paid for our security with their lives.

There is something fundamentally sacred that attaches to those who have given their lives for this great nation, and consequently I tend to think that Memorial Day is as close to a religious holiday as any secular holiday can possibly be. The appellation "holy day" rarely seems as appropriate. But mere gratitude doesn't seem to me to be enough — to honor those who have fallen, we must truly memorialize them, committing their sacrifices to memory and never ever forgetting them.

[As with last year's holiday, this year I'll be collecting links to all the Memorial Day posts I can find, as well as any Op/Ed pieces I happen to see. And it wouldn't hurt to go look at those links from last year.]

John of Castle Argghhh! gives us Memorial Day 2005, and a collection of links.

Blackfive: Opening the Gates of Heaven.

Mudville Gazette: Memorial Day. In fact, just go to the top, scroll down and read all the Memorial Day posts.

GeorgeMoneo at Babalu reminds us: "It is the soldier."

Mark Steyn reruns last year's column - Memorial Day (but it's as good now as last year.)

Michelle Malkin points us toward Her post has also been updated with some excellent links.

At Powerline, John has a Memorial Day photo, and Scott tells us about Michael Carlson and His Credo.

Florida Cracker has photos, too, here and here.

Jennifer at A Collection of Thoughts posts Memorial Day, a Day of Thanksgiving! by Col Bob Pappas, USMC (ret).

Lee at Right Thinking from the Left Coast has comments, a photo, and an interesting link.

Jim at Smoke on the Water reposts For Love of Country.

Via Indigo Insights, a link to Passing of a Generation.

Brian B at Memento Moron honors his father and grandfather in his Memorial Day post.

At Mostly Cajun, a bit of Kipling.

Stryker Brigade News has a collection of links about Memorial Day.

Austin Bay has the transcript of a speech he gave for Tejanos in Action.

At the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler, Sir George says Remember the Fallen.

Mr. Minority has comments.

At Spatula City, there's a link you should follow.

Citizen Smash, the Indepundit, pays a visit to a national cemetery. This is a must-read.

At the Command Post, a poem and comments.

Three veterans' stories, at Crusader War College.

Kim du Toit reposts one of his classics.

Bill at INDC Journal has a few photos, and must-follow links.

Tim Blair posts a note from reporter Jules Crittenden.

Roger Simon has photos.

At Cold Fury, Mike says a lot in just a few words.

Just one word is all it takes, at Parkway Rest Stop.

Charles Austin has a picture. I am reminded, in part, of that 1963 photo of the young John-John Kennedy saluting as his father's caisson rolled by.

Denita writes about beautiful freedoms at Who Tends the Fires.

Ith of Absinthe & Cookies has a prayer, and a link to photos of the military cemetary at the Presidio of San Francisco where, coincidentally, SGT Russell Lloyd Emerson — my grandfather — is buried.

Cox & Forkum. No words necessary.

DoggerelPundit reposts an excerpt from Elements of Chance. I think you should follow his link and read the whole thing.

Mickey Chandler has a Medal of Honor citation. I really need to learn more about the Vera Cruz campaign....

Cry Freedom posts The Final Inspection. (Link via Billy Budd at American Dinosaur.)

Joel, No Pundit Intended: Memorials.

James at Outside the Beltway has the President's Memorial Day radio address, and a collection of links.

Keeping faith with the fallen of Flanders Field, courtesy of Pirate's Cove.

Denny the Grouchy Old Cripple comments.

A small incident with a lot of meaning, recounted at Redsugar Muse.

Columnist Jeff Jacoby tells the story of Sergeant Rafael Peralta, USMC.

Jim Lacey talks about those who command our troops.

BummerDietz at Scylla & Charybdis recounts the Battle of Midway, with special attention to the sacrifice of the torpedo bomber aviators.

Over at Barking Moonbat, a series of posts: So That Others Might Be Free. Start with Part One... heck, just go to the main page and read them all.

Riverdog posts. Check the comments, too.

Guy S. at Snugg Harbor was once a bugler... I can't imagine how hard it would be to play "Taps."

J. R. at Top of My Head has a Memorial Day Tribute.

Shamalama at Common Folk using Common Sense: Memorial Day 2005.

The Raleigh News & Observer editorial page: In Honored Glory.

Doc Russia at Bloodletting has a few words.

If there's a post you know about (yours, or anyone else's) that I haven't linked, please tell me about it in the comments.

Posted by Russ at 11:59 PM | Comments (6)
May 29, 2005
Memorial Day Movie Classics

The two major cable channels that show "classics", American Movie Classics (AMC) and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) are showing military-themed movies this weekend. Apart from that general topic, the film selections couldn't be more different.

I don't have a list of all the films the two channels have already shown this weekend, but the guide on the digital cable can tell me what's coming up for the rest of today and tomorrow.

Looking at the list of movies below, I get a distinct impression about the attitudes of the two stations as to what constitutes an appropriate film for a Memorial Day marathon.

Coming up on AMC:
Missing in Action 2: The Beginning — awful.
Braddock: Missing in Action III — if the second was awful, how good could the third one be?
G.I. Jane (two showings total) — this is not now, nor will it ever be, a "classic."
MASH (four, count 'em, four showings total, including twice in a row tonight) — the most vastly overrated "war" movie ever made. As a pure comedy, it's so-so.
Battle at Bloody Beach — never heard of it, but it stars Audie Murphy. Maybe I'll DVR it.
Strategic Air Command — OK, this is a classic.
The Green Berets — this, too.
Hamburger Hill (two showings total) — a film memorable only for the quote "Please pass the %$#@&! potatoes."
Apocalypse Now (Redux) (two showings total) — I haven't seen the director's cut. No opinion.

Upcoming on TCM:
Dive Bomber
Hell is for Heroes
They Were Expendable
Blood on the Sun
Run Silent, Run Deep
Tell it to the Marines
Destination Tokyo
Take the High Ground!
A Guy Named Joe
So Proudly We Hail!
The Story of G.I. Joe
Kelly's Heroes
Is Paris Burning?
A Bridge Too Far
God Is My Co-Pilot
Behind The Rising Sun

I own half of this second group of movies on DVD or VHS. Though some are better and some worse, all are genuine classics.

Which roster of movies would you rather own?

Posted by Russ at 02:48 PM | Comments (3)
May 28, 2005
I'm Beat

It's 5 a.m., and I just got home.

I can think of better ways I could have spent my Friday night than moving a data center — 12 racks of servers, routers, switches, battery backups [those suckers are heavy] and cables — from one site to another site five miles down the road.

On the other hand, given the state of my social life, no, I can't think of a better way to have spent my night.

I'm going to have to do something about that.

Posted by Russ at 05:19 AM | Comments (1)
May 26, 2005
Oui, Non... Peut-Être

"The will of the people" be damned:

Turmoil as Chirac plots to disregard 'non' vote

By Philip Webster and Charles Bremner

PRESIDENT CHIRAC of France is preparing to throw Europe into confusion and put Britain on the spot by backing moves to keep the European constitution alive if it is rejected in Sunday’s referendum.

Remarkable. A French leader who refuses to surrender.

[Yo, Wizbang!]

Posted by Russ at 11:33 PM
No Pain, No Gain

While engaged in one of his firearms-related pursuits, John at Castle Argghhh! has had a little accident.

I know what it's like to sacrifice my body for the sake of my art. My incident didn't require stitches, though.

Posted by Russ at 10:09 PM
May 25, 2005

Just in case you were wondering where I might be on the political spectrum....

Your Political Profile

Overall: 95% Conservative, 5% Liberal
Social Issues: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal
Personal Responsibility: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal
Fiscal Issues: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal
Ethics: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal
Defense and Crime: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal

I must have missed one in there somewhere. I guess I'm just an old softy.

You, too, can take the quiz: How Liberal / Conservative Are You?

Posted by Russ at 09:18 PM
Species Reclaimed

Woodworkers of the future — rejoice!

The American chestnut, prized for its timber and its crop of glossy dark nuts, once dominated Eastern forests from Maine to Georgia. The graceful trees were virtually wiped out by blight starting at the turn of the 20th century.

That loss, Case said, "was the greatest environmental disaster in the Western Hemisphere since the Ice Age."

Now, after years of breeding, cloning and crossbreeding, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is ready to reintroduce disease-resistant chestnuts to Eastern forests next year.

Chestnut is one of the all-time great hardwoods; it is, along with woods like cherry and walnut, one of the classic American hardwoods. Ever since the blight finished wiping out the native species, however, woodworkers who have wanted to use it have had to rely on reclaimed stock or imported varieties. That isn't likely to change much for the next 20 years or so, but nevertheless, this is a very good development, a long time coming.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire... I've always wanted to try a hot chestnut. Now, someday I'll be able to.

[Link via Instapundit.]

Posted by Russ at 10:03 AM | Comments (2)
May 24, 2005

I hate getting older.

I was going to refrain from commenting on the fact that today is the anniversary of my birth, but I figure that at the very least, I can take the opportunity this day affords to thank my Mom for bringing me into the world. I wish my Dad was still around so I could thank him, too.

Thanks, Mom, for everything.

I hate getting older, but it's better than the alternative.

Posted by Russ at 12:41 PM | Comments (6)
May 23, 2005
Note to Senator McCain

To: Senator McCain
From: a GOP voter

I don't care how long you spent shackled in a cell in a Vietnamese prison camp. You have now burned up every bit of goodwill your wartime sacrifices might have engendered, and are now operating on a "GOP-karma" deficit.

If this nation should ever be so unfortunate as to have you on the presidential ticket, I will almost certainly vote against you.

No one who spends as much time aggrandizing himself and preening for the media at the expense of the party and principles which got him into office as you do deserves the support of the party or the people who adhere to those principles. No one who so obviously craves attention and acclaim deserves either.

Do your party and its voters a favor, and retire from public life.

Update: Patterico is on the same track. Ace, too.

Posted by Russ at 09:16 PM | Comments (3)

Well, big surprise, eh? And people wonder why the GOP is occasionally referred to as "the stupid party."

For a promise to not filibuster President Bush's judicial nominees except under "extraordinary circumstances," the GOP cowards moderates have agreed not to pull the trigger on the so-called nuclear option during this session of Congress.

Idiots. Morons. Sellouts.

If there's any possible silver lining to this dark-cloud deal made by that batch of chickenshit moderate GOP senators, it is that if the Democrats decide to use the "extraordinary circumstances" excuse to filibuster any judicial nominee similar to Owens, Brown and Pryor, the GOP can call the deal off. If Owens, Brown and Pryor are acceptable to the democrats now, they can hardly claim a similar judge is unacceptable in the future.

But I'd bet money that the GOP senators will be too yellow to call it off. Fools.

Update: Charles Austin uses the perfect word to describe the GOP side of Senate: Republican'ts.

Posted by Russ at 09:02 PM
Quote of the Day

Mark Steyn:

In a way, both the U.S. media and those wacky rioters in the Afghan-Pakistani hinterlands are very similar, two highly parochial and monumentally self-absorbed tribes living in isolation from the rest of the world and prone to fanatical irrational indestructible beliefs. . . .

Read the whole thing.

Posted by Russ at 10:54 AM
May 20, 2005
Cuba Nostalgia

Val Prieto of BabaluBlog is blogging at the Cuba Nostalgia Convention this weekend, today through Sunday, 11am to 11pm. He has already put up a number of posts; my favorite so far is this picture.

Val noted in an email earlier this week:

I will have 8 computers set up for folks to come and read not just my blog, but to read every single blog on my blogroll and then on the blogrolls of those blogs and so on and so on. I want them to read read read and experience first hand just how powerful this freedom to speak your heart and mind is when coupled the power of blogs and the internet.

Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, someone is trying to hack those computers.

I wonder how many of those hack attempts are coming from Cuba, and how many are coming from Castro-loving moonbats right here at home?

Posted by Russ at 06:10 PM
May 19, 2005

Bill Whittle has posted his newest essay, Sanctuary (part 1 and part 2.)

Reality has not been kind to far leftists, historically, as we shall soon see. Like many in the deepest, most pleasant and safe confines of our Sanctuary, they have never had a chance to see – or have chosen not to see -- the reality of human nature up close and personal. Reality told them it was just going to the bathroom, when in point of fact Reality left these Leftists alone at the table without paying the check, and it hasn’t returned their phone calls, either.

I need to read it through a few more times to get the full benefit (and to mine a few more golden Quotes of the Day) but after my first read-through, I can assure you that the time you take to read it (give yourself an hour or so) will be exceptionally well spent.

It's surely kept me up past my bedtime.

Posted by Russ at 01:46 AM
May 18, 2005
Journalistic Overkill

Michelle Malkin has been on top of the case of USMC 2nd Lt. Ilario G. Pantano from the beginning.

The Raleigh News & Observer, as part of the mainstream media that has thus far failed to convict the LT on charges of murder, now suggests that as a fallback position he be disciplined by the Marine Corps for committing "overkill."

Given the media's inclination to commit journalistic overkill in stories that make the military look bad, I'm disinclined to take their suggestion seriously.

Today's edition of the N&O editorializes on the case:

A Camp Lejeune Marine officer who fired repeatedly into the bodies of two Iraqis should be disciplined for poor judgment

I'd love to know which article of the Uniform Code of Military Justice covers "poor judgement."

It would be understandable if the U.S. Marine Corps dismissed murder charges against 2nd Lt. Ilario G. Pantano, based at Camp Lejeune, in the deaths of two Iraqi men last year. It would be a travesty, though, if the matter ended right there.

Only because the press won't otherwise get their pound of flesh out of the case.

Those who fight America's battles around the world must hew to the highest standards of professional military conduct. Right now in Iraq, that's crucial if our armed forces hope to win citizens' hearts and minds away from the insurgents who continue their violent resistance to the American presence and to Iraq's new government. To be of help to that government as it attempts to get organized and establish security, U.S. troops must be seen as the good guys.

I suspect one way to be seen as good guys would be to kill bad guys.

What happened in the Iraqi city of Mahmudiyah on April 15, 2004, hurt America's cause, just as the notorious instances in which U.S. personnel have abused Iraqi prisoners have hurt it.

Frankly, I don't see how. Killing bad guys is rather the whole point, isn't it?

As three dozen Marines moved toward a suspected hideout for insurgents, two men tried to drive away. With rifles, the soldiers disabled the car and ordered the two men out. Pantano feared booby traps so he had the prisoners pull apart the car's seats.

As they went about it, speaking in Arabic, the men are said to have moved in Pantano's direction, which the Marine interpreted as an attack. Pantano opened fire, emptying 80 percent of his ammunition into the bodies.

Eighty percent? If we're talking about an M-16 with a 30-round magazine, that means 24 rounds. Frankly, considering the relative ineffectiveness of the 5.56mm round, if I wanted to kill someone until I was absolutely certain they were dead-dead-dead I'd have considered reloading and shooting some more.

[The same goes if the LT was using the 9mm Beretta sidearm.]

He then posted a sign over them with a Marine slogan: "No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy."

I fail to see a problem. Certainly the terrorists in question didn't care.

After hearing the evidence for and against Pantano, Maj. Mark E. Winn recommended last week that the premeditated murder charges, carrying the death penalty, be dropped against him.

Perhaps that's in part because the charges were prompted by the complaints of a disgruntled subordinate who is probably making the rounds of the Upper West Side "we're-not-against-the-war-we're-on-the-other-side" cocktail circuit.

It was combat, after all, and Pantano followed the rules of engagement -- up to a point.

I'm sure the News&Observer's editorial staff would be happier if 2LT Pantano had called in an airstrike to convert the terrorists into a pink mist... that wouldn't have been "overkill," would it?

Look: dead is dead, regardless of how you get there.

Yet Pantano's own account of his actions, as quoted by The Wilmington Star-News, was damning:

Damning? Only if one is predisposed to damn the Lieutenant, as no doubt the editorialist is. Instead, I say three cheers for 2LT Pantano.

"I had made a decision that when I was firing I was going to send a message to these Iraqis and others that when we say, 'No better friend, no worse enemy,' we mean it."

An auxiliary message might be "when you've been captured by Marines and they tell you to do something, listen and obey."

[I suspect, however, that what the LT was really thinking was more along the lines of "Die, terrorist a**holes!" The quote above sounds like an after-the-fact embellishment.]

Rambo-type behavior

You could tell that was coming, couldn't you?

is unbecoming any American in uniform, particularly one in a leadership position. Emptying a rifle into the bodies of dead men evokes the tactics of the tyrants and terrorists that U.S. forces went to Iraq to oppose.

No, the tactics of the tyrants and terrorists are more along the lines of

  • emptying machineguns into the living bodies of women and children and bulldozing them into mass graves,
  • using chemical weapons against villages,
  • kidnapping and beheading civilians, and
  • driving explosive-laden vehicles into crowds.

To suggest that there is some sort of moral equivalence is both absurd and morally repugnant. The N&O ought to be ashamed of itself.

Marine commanders must send a message to the troops that such behavior won't be tolerated.

It's one thing to, for instance, make necklaces of the ears of dead enemies, but another thing altogether to make those enemies dead in the first place. The former is not to be tolerated. The latter, however it is achieved, is the point of combat, isn't it?

[Bear in mind, also, that illegal combatants have only the "rights" we choose to let them have. That they are not summarily tried and executed is a mercy we grant them, but which we would be technically within our rights to withhold.]

The hearing officer's sensible recommendation is for Pantano to be disciplined for the way he dealt with suspected enemies, rather than be court-martialed for murder. It is Maj. Gen. Richard Huck who must make a call recognizing both the difficult demands on soldiers and the national values they represent.

As an aside, I'd like to note that soldiers are held to higher standards of conduct than members of the press are. Make of that what you will.

A decision of uncommon wisdom is needed.

Which is why the Marine Corps will make the decision, not the staff of the News&Observer.

[Non sequiter: by all means, make Outside the Beltway a regular read.]

Posted by Russ at 06:27 PM | Comments (1)
Justices Delayed

The one thing that irritates me most about the judicial filibuster showdown is the blatant dishonesty of the Democrats.

They aren't being honest about why they oppose Bush's nominees to the various courts, and are prevaricating about the supposed history of Republican use of filibusters against Clinton court nominees.

Anyone with the eyes to see can tell why they are dead-set against Bush's court picks. Having lost all elective political power, they will go to any length to preserve their hold on the courts, thus ensuring additional decades of left-wing judicial activism. Since the Left can't win at the ballot box, they must rely on judges who will legislate from the bench. This much is obvious. [And yes, I am the master of the obvious, thankyouverymuch.] They lie about the nominees, and even go so far as to try to apply the label "activist" to judges whose judicial philosophies and records are demonstrably not activist. Leftist protestations notwithstanding, taking the Constitution to mean exactly what it says is not "judicial activism," conservative or otherwise.

The lying — and that's what it is, in no uncertain terms — about GOP blockage of Clinton nominees is a lie of omission. Harry Reid and Teddy Kennedy can blather and drone on all they want, but they will never mention the essential fact that then, as now, Republicans were in the majority in the Senate, and thus legitimately in the position to approve or disapprove Clinton's nominees.

If the Democrats want to exercise the power to deny Bush his picks to the Federal courts, they should begin by taking their case to the voters and winning elections. Until and unless that happens, they should remember the old adage, "to the victor belongs the spoils."

Posted by Russ at 11:16 AM | Comments (1)
May 17, 2005
How to Relax

The Norwegian Blue prefers kippin' on its back!


I could learn a lesson from the cat.

[Howdy, Carnival visitors! Quick note - the cat's name is Mycah. "Norwegian Blue" refers to the Monty Python "dead parrot" sketch.]

Posted by Russ at 09:26 PM | Comments (4)
May 16, 2005

I've not mentioned the Newsweek fiasco — plenty of other people have done pretty well covering it.

I will note, however, that they have retracted the story. (Link via Michelle Malkin.)

Which brings to mind a question:

Did CBS ever actually retract the Bush/AWOL story which was based on forged memos? I know they apologized for the story, but did they ever actually retract it?

Posted by Russ at 06:26 PM
Quote of the Day

Argus Hamilton:

Mexican President Vicente Fox said Thursday he will formally protest the clampdown on illegal immigration in the United States. He knows the stakes are high. If Mexicans come flooding across the border into Mexico it could overwhelm his schools and hospitals.
Posted by Russ at 11:08 AM | Comments (1)
May 13, 2005
Quote of the Day

Victor Davis Hanson, on World War II historical revisionism:

If there were any justice in the world, we would have the ability to transport our most severe critics across time and space to plop them down on Omaha Beach or put them in an overloaded B-29 taking off from Tinian, with the crew on amphetamines to keep awake for their 15-hour mission over Tokyo.

But alas, we cannot. Instead, the beneficiaries of those who sacrificed now ankle-bite their dead betters. Even more strangely, they have somehow convinced us that in their politically-correct hindsight, they could have done much better in World War II.

Yet from every indication of their own behavior over the last 30 years, we suspect that the generation who came of age in the 1960s would have not just have done far worse but failed entirely.

[Emphasis in the original.]

Posted by Russ at 06:32 PM
May 12, 2005
Off the Rails

Stephen Green at VodkaPundit reviews the post-WW2 historical record and uses it to demolish Pat Buchanan, who is alleged to be smart enough to have a syndicated column, and further alleged to be a conservative. I think neither allegation could be proven in a court of law. With Stephen, I would agree that PB has gone right round the bend. Or rather, I would say that his train has jumped completely off the track.

To reiterate what I said in his comments, I note that Stephen used the expression "the slippery slope from Young Turk conservative columnist to Nazi Apologist troglodyte" which, to me, seems to imply that both states can be found on the same political continuum.

I think that one would have to leave that continuum (I'd label it "Rationality") entirely to become a Jew-hating Nazi apologist, as Buchanan apparently has become, just as one would have to do in order to turn from, say, a "Scoop Jackson" Democrat into a Stalin apologist.

That minor gripe notwithstanding, I agree with Stephen. It is a wish-fulfillment fantasy of the most deluded kind to believe that in the Summer of 1945 the western Allies could have prevented the Soviets from doing exactly however they pleased in the Eastern European nations they had "liberated" from the Nazis. Yes, it would have been technically possible, particularly given America's soon-to-be-revealed atomic weapon capability, but the price would have been far too high to pay.

It's long past time that serious people at any place on the aforementioned Rationality spectrum listened with anything other than revulsion (or at least, disgusted curiosity) to what Buchanan says.

Posted by Russ at 06:10 PM | Comments (1)
May 11, 2005
Quote of the Day
Contrary to all the bloviating jackassery about how conservatives are more dogmatic than liberals we hear these days, the simple fact is that conservatives don’t have a settled dogma. How could they when each faction has a different partial philosophy of life? The beauty of the conservative movement. . . is that we all get along with each other pretty well. The chief reason for this is that we all understand and accept the permanence of contradiction and conflict in life.
Jonah Goldberg, in What Is a “Conservative”?
Posted by Russ at 08:32 PM
May 10, 2005

Why am I cat-blogging? Mainly because for the past several days, I haven't had an original thought that wasn't related to a certain project I'm working on. What remains of my mental bandwidth is, for the nonce, fully consumed.

Other people, however, are not suffering from such a handicap.

Matt at Blogs for Bush reminds John Kerry about a certain promise he made. [Full disclosure: I'm the webmaster at B4B.]

Mr. Minority presents another tragic example of why we need to control our borders.

Dusty over at Castle Argghhh! notices a kerfuffle at the Air Force Academy. The money quote:

Appoint Zell Miller as Air Force Secretary and sic his near-Churchillian ability to verbally smite the anti-American heathens on the political, academic and spiritual Left....

Kevin at Wizbang presents some interesting numbers on Congressional junkets. So why is Tom DeLay the only one under the microscope?

Doc Russia took a little time off from the hospital to do a little shooting. He says he did poorly, but I've seen him shoot (handguns) — his "poor" would put most people to shame.

Steve H. puts the proverbial smack down on Arianna Huffington, John Cusack, and Hunter S. Thompson all in one post. 'Tis a wondrous thing to behold.

Speaking of smackdowns, Emperor Misha I lays one on the New York Times' effort to regain it's credibility (and subscriber base.) [Potty-mouth alert in effect.]

Maybe I'll have something of my own later, but for now, I got nuthin'.

Posted by Russ at 01:44 PM
Moment of Unbearable Cuteness - III

While in the past I have shown off pictures of my sister's cat Bubba, I have been remiss in not posting pictures of Bubba's brother Lou. Perhaps he's just camera-shy, but there just aren't many pictures of the furry little guy.


That would be Lou on the right. Differences in appearance notwithstanding, Bubba and Lou are in fact littermates.

Lou was originally named "Lulu," but when he was discovered to be a he, well, you can figure it out. Yes, the cats were named "Bubba" and "Lulu" — but hey, at least my sister didn't saddle my niece with an awkward name.

[Previous Moments of Unbearable Cuteness here and here.]

Posted by Russ at 12:01 PM | Comments (1)
May 06, 2005

In businesses of all kinds, the expression "cost of doing business" (often abbreviated "CODB") is used to mean the total cost incurred by an organization in the act of providing a good or a service.

If I'm selling widgets at retail, my CODB is more than the wholesale price of the widgets I sell. Warehouse and office spaces, payroll, utility bills and all other operating expenses have to be figured in before I can make a rational attempt at setting my retail price.

[Yes, yes, I'm a computer geek... but for my degree I had to take three semesters of Accounting.]

In the political realm, a $12,000 fine from the FEC seems a trivial addition to the total CODB for an organization that hands out hundreds of thousands of dollars each campaign cycle, particularly if the anticipated "profit" is one or more election victories gained in part by illicit contributions.

If you're in the business of trying to buy elections, it's a very small price to pay, given the stakes involved.

I wonder if they (or any such non-profit outfit) can write off such fines when they file their tax forms?

Posted by Russ at 01:31 AM
May 04, 2005
Movie Manners

Hey, John — us tall people have to sit somewhere. Maybe the theater chains should force you short folks to sit up front.

And shooting babies is just wrong. Stupid parents, though... sign me up.

Posted by Russ at 03:44 PM
May 03, 2005
Real Man

In my life, I have been privileged to know or to meet a number of men I would without reservation call Real Men. Only one was famous, but all had qualities that made them admirable. They all set examples that other men could profit from. More to the point, they were men I respected and admired.

First, of course, was my dad. I have known people who had exceptionally bad fathers, and it makes me all the more grateful that my own father was a good man. More than good — he was the kind of man that other men often want to be like. I never really realized how well-liked he was until he died and I heard from so many of the people who had known and respected him.

I have written briefly about two other men, LTC Whitham and COL Shine, here (contrasting them with a certain politician.) I admired both men greatly, and I hope I learned a thing or two from them. I even met Joe Foss once. He was a "man's man" in every way, and wasn't too self-important to take a few minutes to speak with a young fellow such as I was.

There have been other men I've known who were and are real men, men who, though not famous, leave their marks on the people they meet. One such man was Steve "Airboss" Herod.

Over the course of the last couple of years, I had heard of Steve in a "friend of a friend" sort of way, but had never met or spoken with him. Last November, however, I had the good fortune to meet him and his dear wife Elaine at a social event one evening. At the gathering, it was obvious to me that everyone present admired and respected him, and though I was in large part an outsider at the event and there almost by accident, he made the effort to engage me and make me feel part of the group. That was exactly the kind of thing my dad had always done.

Saturday, I learned that Steve "Airboss" Herod had been felled by a sudden heart attack.

I knew him only briefly, but he was instantly identifiable as a man among men, larger than life, a man who'd seen and done it all; he was one of those men that other men want to be like. I wish I'd gotten to know him better.

Others who did know him better have written more and better than I can do:

Posted by Russ at 12:25 PM
May 01, 2005
No Kidding

From today's on-screen TV guide, we have the following program description for a program on the History Channel, Cannibals:

The topic of human cannibalism causes revulsion in many people.

I do believe that this would qualify for the understatement of the day.

Posted by Russ at 07:01 PM | Comments (4)