July 2005 Archives

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July 31, 2005
Quote of the Day

Nehring reviews the movie Constantine:

When you see dogs sniffing one another, they’re actually checking to make sure the other dog doesn’t have the stench of this film on it. This thing is truly awful. It is a grand, brilliant gem of vile stupidity.

And those are among the nicer words he has to say about the movie.

Posted by Russ at 12:25 PM | Comments (1)
July 29, 2005
Who Said It?

Who said the following?

Wherein you reprove another be unblameable yourself, for example is more prevalent than precepts.

Was it:

  1. King Solomon, Proverbs (King James Bible)
  2. Plato, The Republic
  3. Shakespeare, Taming of the Shrew
  4. George Washington, Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior
  5. Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanac


The answer is George Washington.

Washington, when he was only 14 years old, compiled a list of 110 rules, most of which we could benefit from even today. I find it hard to imagine any teenager today being capable of behaving with such civility, much less writing down the rules.

Some of the Rules deal with conduct in public or in polite company:

When in company put not your hands to any part of the body not usually discovered.

These days we would say "uncovered," I think.

Run not in the streets; neither go too lowly nor with mouth open; go not shaking your arms; kick not the earth with your feet; go not upon the toes nor in a dancing fashion.

Parading moonbats, take heed.

Being set at meat, scratch not; neither spit, cough, or blow your nose, except if there is a necessity for it.

Even if there is a necessity, please refrain from the aforementioned behaviors anyway.

Many of the Rules are directed more towards matters of character:

Show not yourself glad at the misfortune of another, though he were your enemy.

Schadenfreude is best kept to oneself.

When a man does all he can though it succeeds not well, blame not him that did it.

Everyone fails at one time or another, despite their best efforts.

As the old Korean proverb puts it, 원숭이도 나무에서 또로칩니다 – sometimes even monkeys fall out of trees.

Be not hasty to believe flying reports to the disparagement of any.
Associate yourself with men of good quality, if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.
Labour to keep alive in your breast that little celestial fire called conscience.

Preach it, Brother George.

Posted by Russ at 02:55 PM
July 28, 2005
Chances Are...

I might as well unplug everything in the house right now.

The temperature has dropped 25° in the last hour, and do you see that big red spot on the radar?

It's coming to get me.

On the plus side, it's moving through the area pretty quickly.

Posted by Russ at 10:09 PM
Quote of the Day

In today's WaPo, an Aljazeera.net reporter complains about the inconvenience in crossing the line from Palestinean areas into Israel — said inconvenience being entirely due to the Palestinian habit of sending explosive-laden goons into Israel to kill civilians.

Cliff May, in The Corner on NRO, answers:

Apparently, she believes the suffering of a Palestinian mother standing in line is infinitely greater than the suffering of an Israeli mother standing next to a grave.


Posted by Russ at 06:57 PM
July 27, 2005
Wanted Man

Most people, when contacted "out of the blue" by the FBI, might be a bit curious as to why. I certainly was, when I had an e-mail from them this morning. They had apparently heard about me....

They know I'm a linguist, have a military intelligence background, and experience in internetworking.

But I'm afraid that, despite my intrigue at the possibility of being helpful, I'm just too old to become a rookie FBI special agent. They have their standards, and the maximum cutoff age is 36. I sent a polite reply to the recruiter.

Man, it hurts to say "too old" — I must be the world's youngest old codger.

Posted by Russ at 08:19 AM | Comments (4)
July 26, 2005
As If You Didn't Already Know

Because we all know that internet-based quizzes are the root of self esteem:

My computer geek score is greater than 93% of all people in the world! How do you compare? Click here to find out!

I'm disappointed with myself just for taking the quiz in the first place.

[Found via Llama Butchers]

Posted by Russ at 03:42 PM | Comments (1)
Random Observation #6

When the label on the milk carton says "best before such-and-such date," they really mean it.

Posted by Russ at 02:07 PM
Return to Space

Today might be a good day to remember the courage it takes to board a spacecraft... any spacecraft.

If you've never read Bill Whittle's eulogy for the Columbia astronauts, read Courage. If you have read it, do so again.

It may just be the single finest piece of writing ever published on the web.

Posted by Russ at 01:12 PM
Hysterical / Historical

When your cable company provides upwards of three hundred channels, not even a DVR is going to help you find the good stuff on TV... and yes, there are some good things on the air wire.

Historyonics is a BBC production that currently airs on History International, but could just as easily be shown on Comedy Central. It takes a very funny look at some of the major events in English history — the battle of Hastings, the tale of Robin Hood, and so on — while imparting some actual historical knowledge to the viewer.

And when I say it's very funny, I mean it's fall-out-of-your-chair hilarious, if British style humor is your thing. I have the bruised hip to prove it. Examples:

• The Battle of Stamford Bridge rages, set to the song "Everybody was kung-fu fighting...."

• William the Bastard, having just sailed from Normandy across the English Channel with his army, disembarks upon the shores of England; he is about to go through the legal forms required to change his name to William the Conqueror. First, however, he summons his soothsayer to give him the, er, sooth.

William: Bring forth my soothsayer!

Knight: He drowned on ze way over, Sire.

William: As omens go, that's probably a bad one.

If you are fortunate enough to get History International on your cable or satellite system, I urge you to give this program a look. It will probably be listed in your TV Guide as "Almanac." For air times search the H.I. website for "Historyonics."

Posted by Russ at 10:59 AM | Comments (2)
July 23, 2005
Words Mean Things

Ya... what he said.

Posted by Russ at 04:41 PM
Quote of the Day

On the subject of "awareness bracelets" (and the vanity of many of those who wear them):

Like nearly everything else these days, it's all about moi. Here's the trick: While publicly declaring your deep concern via colored ribbons and embossed bracelets, you get to draw attention to yourself. It's not enough to care quietly or to commit private acts of conscience. You have to erect a billboard on your forearm.

Kathleen Parker.

Posted by Russ at 12:35 PM
July 22, 2005

For the last 8 years I've had a 21" Sony Trinitron Multiscan 500PS monitor that I've used for all my desktop computing. It's been a real trooper. I run multiple PCs for Windows and Linux, but rather than use multiple monitors, I've used a KVM switch for the last 6 years or so.

Tonight we had a thunderstorm warning, so I powered everything down, including the monitor, and went downstairs to enjoy my dinner and watch a video (Sharpe's Battle.) When I came back and powered everything back up, I noticed that the monitor would suddenly go out of focus for a few seconds, then pop back into focus. It did this a number of times in succession. It's not doing it now, but I have no reason to believe the problem, whatever it is, isn't just going to go away.

I suspect this particular bit of hardware is about to bite the dust. Fortunately, I have a spare monitor handy, just in case. It's only a 19", but I guess I can live with that. For a while.

If and/or when the monitor dies, I'll be taking the opportunity to tear down and rebuild my home office setup, a task that could take me offline for a while, as there will be furniture modification involved. I suppose I could boot up my ancient laptop if the need arises, but since the wireless LAN here is going to be disabled, there's probably not much point.

So if I happen to suddenly disappear for a couple of days, well, now you know why.

Posted by Russ at 10:10 PM | Comments (1)

Lou, unlike his highly photogenic brother Bubba, has been a bit hard to get on film, except for one time when he was a little little guy.

I don't know why he should have been so camera-shy – he's a pretty handsome fellow.


He must have heard about the whole "dandelion/dandy lion" thing that made Bubba so popular with the ladies.

Posted by Russ at 01:54 PM | Comments (2)
July 21, 2005

In naval parlance from the age of sail, the term "pooped" is used to describe what happens when a ship is struck from the rear by a large wave – travelling faster than the ship itself, obviously – which breaks over the poop of the ship.

Ha-ha-he-said-poop. Grow up, people. Think "poop deck."

In those days of yore, being pooped could be a disastrous occurrence. The wave could break through into the stern galleries (which were usually lightly-built glassed-in enclosures, like this) and flood the ship, doing rather a lot of damage along the way.

Not only could the mass of water damage the stern – invariably the weakest part of the structure of the hull – it could also push the ship's stern sideways, slewing the ship around, leaving it broadside to the next oncoming wave.

This is the deadly part. Since the only time swells or waves were likely to be higher than the stern of the ship was during a storm, the next wave striking the ship broadside had a very good chance of being big enough to actually lay the ship on its side, if not completely capsize it.

With the ship laid over, cannons weighing 5500 pounds or more could break free from their lashings – thus becoming the proverbial "loose cannon" – and severely damage the internal structure of the ship or, more dangerously, punch a hole through the side. If the ship happened to be laid over by a wave and a cannon went out through the side, water would rush in and the ship would be doomed.

Even if the cannons' lashings held, and even if all the other heavy objects aboard stayed in place, the framing and planking of the hull could be sprung loose, allowing seawater to flood through the gaps. The ship would be doomed.

Clearly, being pooped was an exceptionally bad thing.

This is the kind of thing you think about when you've gone all night without a wink of sleep.

Man, I'm pooped.

Update: Wow, it's a regular link-o-rama around here. Be sure to check out all the fine blogs that have tracked back.

Update 2: Welcome, MSNBC visitors – glad to have you here. Stick around, take a look around; lots of good stuff in the blogrolls.

And if you feel compelled to hit the Amazon or PayPal tipjars, I'm not going to stop you.

Addendum: If you'd like to learn a little bit about the "Age of Sail" without cracking open a book, I'd highly recommend giving this movie a viewing.

Posted by Russ at 09:49 AM | Comments (11)
Not Again...

Bombings in London... and my cable box/DVR is busy rebooting on me, so I can't see jack.

Update: Still not getting squat. @#$%&! Time Warner Cable.... I'm getting my news online, starting with Wizbang.

Posted by Russ at 08:40 AM
July 20, 2005
James Doohan, 1920-2005

A major inspiration for a generation of engineers – yours truly included – has passed.

Scotty of 'Star Trek' Dead at 85

James Doohan, the burly chief engineer of the Starship Enterprise in the original "Star Trek" TV series and motion pictures who responded to the command "Beam me up, Scotty," died early Wednesday. He was 85.

On the anniversary of the first Moon landing... it's fitting, somehow.

Less well known about Mr. Doohan is that he was a WW2 veteran:

At 19, James escaped the turmoil at home by joining the Canadian army, becoming a lieutenant in artillery. He was among the Canadian forces that landed on Juno Beach on D-Day. "The sea was rough," he recalled. "We were more afraid of drowning than the Germans."

The Canadians crossed a minefield laid for tanks; the soldiers weren't heavy enough to detonate the bombs. At 11:30 that night, he was machine-gunned, taking six hits: one that took off his middle right finger (he managed to hide the missing finger on the screen), four in his leg and one in the chest. Fortunately the chest bullet was stopped by his silver cigarette case.


My favorite Scotty-ism: "Keyboard. How quaint."

So long, Scotty.

Posted by Russ at 12:36 PM
July 19, 2005
SCOTUS Sexist, Racist

It won't be long before we hear complaints from the feministas and the race hustlers that Bush has chosen a white guy for the Supreme Court.


I'm sure I'm not the only person who thinks it is both sexist and racist to assume that only women or minorities are capable of judging issues related to women and minorities.

Posted by Russ at 09:13 PM | Comments (2)
Roberts for SCOTUS

Bush is announcing his selection of John Roberts of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to replace Sandra Day O'Connor.

Needless to say, I am disappointed. I guess he didn't see that I was willing – and qualified – to take the position.

Plenty on that interloper Roberts from Michelle Malkin. And, of course, from Prof. Reynolds.

Update: In an altogether unsurprising development, Senator Schumer has made clear he won't settle for Roberts receiving the same treatment from the Judiciary Committee that nominees like, say, Ginsberg received. It's gonna be ugly.

Update 2: Even if I knew nothing else about the man, based solely on the groups already lining up to oppose him, I'd support his nomination.

Update 3: Best link collection ever at The Truth Laid Bear.

Posted by Russ at 09:02 PM
July 18, 2005
Finding Acorns

I've made submissions to scads of caption contests, the sum effect of which has been to prove to all and sundry that I have a seriously impaired sense of humor, on the creative end.

But even a blind squirrel will find an acorn once in a while.

Posted by Russ at 10:24 PM | Comments (1)
Quote of the Day
The repetition calms them.

Mental patients often rock back and forth as a means of trying to keep themselves under control. People in great agony rock back and forth and repeat the same movement or sound in an attempt to soothe themselves.

Same idea applies to the liberals, so crushed and distraught. We should be compassionate, and let them wail.

No attribution, but via Pirate's Cove.

Posted by Russ at 06:23 PM
Liar, Liar

Democratic strategist Bob Beckel made an appearance on Fox News Live this morning to discuss Karl Rove and l'affair du Plame. Beckel seems to have divorced himself from reality.

Gregg Jarrett: Bob, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committe said Joe Wilson embellished his role, invented some of his claims, and gave a version of events that were inaccurate, unsubstantiated and misleading. Isn't it a bit hypocritical of Wilson to be ranting about ethics?

Bob Beckel: Well, first of all you've got to assume the description is accurate. [It is unclear from the context exactly what Beckel is referring to here, but I'm pretty sure he isn't talking about Wilson.] The fact of the matter is that what George Bush said in that State of the Union statement about the British intelligence on Niger and Saddam Hussein going after nuclear yellowcake was not true. Bottom line, not true. No matter whether Wilson reported that one way or another.

Jarrett: The British still stand by it. The British still stand by it.

Beckel: No wait, excuse me, the British do not stand by it. They've taken fifteen steps back and punted.

In Washington D.C., that is what passes for reasoned discourse. In the rest of the country we call Beckel's performance lying. Nothing he said there is true; I even doubt the veracity of his use of "and" and "the."

Just to make clear:

• Joe Wilson may have been an ambassador at some point in the past, but he is a liar now.

• Bush did not refer to Niger in his State of the Union speech, he referred to Africa as a whole. "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." Those sixteen famous words were true.

• Per the report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Wilson's own report makes clear that the government of Niger believed that Saddam was seeking uranium ore, as opposed to Niger's other main exports: livestock, cowpeas, and onions.

• Last I heard, the British do still stand by their intelligence.

In an effort to make Karl Rove (and of course, the President) look bad, the Democrats are either willing to openly lie about the facts, or are so blinded by Bush-hatred that they refuse to see the facts for what they are.

One expects partisans of either side to look at facts, and to forcefully present and argue for their opinions about those facts. But no one, not even Bob Beckel, is entitled to his own set of facts.

Posted by Russ at 11:14 AM
July 17, 2005
Uniform of the Day

Cox & Forkum present a sort of moonbat identification visual aid.

Be sure to check out the hat.

Posted by Russ at 11:57 PM | Comments (1)
July 16, 2005
Control of the Internet

To: Syria, Brazil, Ghana, China, et al.
CC: U.N telecommunications ministers

I understand you all would like to take control of the Internet; specifically, by taking the authority to assign top level domains, IP address ranges, etc., from the US-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

When your countries invent and build the Internet, we'll consider it.

Until then, mind your own damned business and keep your damned hands to yourself.

Update, 17Jul05: more from Michelle Malkin here.

Posted by Russ at 12:59 AM
July 15, 2005
Quote of the Day
At the end of the day, lovers of freedom, decency and enlightenment must prove themselves as dedicated to preserving their civilization as the Islamists are to destroying it. Surely a healthy step in that direction would be simply to stop "tolerating the intolerant."

Mona Charen: Can you fight an idea?

Posted by Russ at 06:49 PM
July 14, 2005
New Classic

It seems like it's not often, these days, that a "war movie" can be made without its characters devolving into introspective weepiness, riddled with self-doubt and prone to questioning the point of the conflict. Either that, or the protagonist is an abominable sort of character.

Master And Commander – The Far Side Of The World has no such problems.

Being something of an enthusiast for the whole "Age of Sail" genre — I grew up reading my Dad's Hornblower books — I made a point of seeing M&C in the theaters when it came out in late 2003. I was prepared to be disappointed, but I need not have worried. I was hugely impressed, and as soon as the DVD was available, I snapped up a copy. It may be that a better film about war at sea has been made, but if so, I've not seen it – and I've seen most of them.

Based on the Aubrey/Maturin novels by Patrick O'Brian, and taking its name from the first and tenth books in the series, the movie is a blend of elements of the entire series, rather than just one of the novels put to film. Those familiar with the novels will recognize the general plot outline as being from "The Far Side of the World," with incidents and dialogue (including a fair amount of humor) taken in pieces from the full range of books and blended into a seamless whole.

Over at Llama Butchers yesterday, Robert had the temerity to criticize the casting of Russell Crowe as Captain Jack Aubrey, calling him "broody and moody." I beg to differ. By curious coincidence, I had watched the DVD the night before, and suggested in the comments that

Crowe didn't play Aubrey as originally written (for starters, Aubrey was severely obese....) But more to the point, I can watch the movie over and over, and I never think "that's Russell Crowe" – he completely subordinates himself to the role.

Having watched it again last night, I'll stand by that.

Some further observations:

• The movie is rated PG-13 for intense battle sequences, related images, and brief language. The language is in fact very brief. There are plenty of "damns" to go around, but only one very quick interjection of anything harsher; the use is apt, given the context. If someone had stolen two years of my work and burnt my ship, I'd swear, too.

Master and Commander won two Oscars and was nominated for eight others. [Every one of those eight was won by Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.] The award for cinematography was well-deserved – this film is simply beautiful.

• This is a man's film, about manliness and duty among men at war. There are no women in the featured cast. A few women appear on screen for a few seconds early on, but they are quickly passed and the film continues.

• The role of Dr. Maturin in the film is primarily that of Aubrey's conscience; unexplained in the film is that Maturin is more than Aubrey's best friend, a physician, and a naturalist – he is also an intelligence agent. The character, being a naval neophyte, also occasionally serves a useful purpose when nautical matters need to be explained for the benefit of the viewer, who might not be likely to know what the "weather gage" (for example) might be.

• There is a lot of violence, of course – it's war on the high seas. Blood, a bit. Lots more gritting-of-teeth than actual gore. Mostly, it's violent action without a lot of organs and limbs flying about.

• There is some death, of course; this is a war movie. It's handled very poignantly, however, without the characters getting overly maudlin. Sometimes death cannot be avoided, and may be necessary. After the death of a sailor in an accident that could have been avoided if Aubrey had not been doing his duty as he saw fit, the following exchange takes place:

Aubrey: This is a ship of war, and I will grind whatever grist the mill requires in order to fulfill my duty.

Maturin: Whatever the cost?

Aubrey: Whatever the cost.

• One thing I found particularly impressive was the portrayal of the midshipmen. The film does a astoundingly good job of presenting teenage boys as something other than trash-mouth self-centered whining snivelling little turds. This film should be mandatory viewing for all teenage boys.

• Max Pirkis, as the 12 or 13 year old Midshipman Lord Blakeney, is especially noteworthy. Despite suffering a grievous injury early in the film, his character soldiers on, and in the climactic battle is simply remarkable, demonstrating leadership, initiative and resolve far above the capacity of most people many years older. That Pirkis won two acting awards for his performance is entirely appropriate. That neither of those awards was an Oscar is a shame.

• The musical score is perfect. 'Nuff said.

Master and Commander is destined in years to come to be looked back at as a classic. If you haven't seen it, rent it. If you have seen it and don't own it, buy it.

Posted by Russ at 02:08 PM | Comments (12)
July 12, 2005

Eugene Volokh and Jim Lindgren of the Volokh Conspiracy offer critiques of the term "homicide bomber."

This has irritated me for quite a long while, too.

• "Bomber" by itself implies "homicide," which makes "homicide bomber" redundant. Are there bombings which aren't meant to kill people and/or destroy things?

• The distinguishing characteristic of the attacks Fox News (et al.) call "homicide bombings" is the death of the bomber in the act of carrying out the bombing, making the use of the adjective "suicide" both descriptive and accurate when applied to the noun "bomber."

• Making reporters and news anchors say "homicide bombing" just makes them look stupid.

And now that I think on it, I've posted about this before.

Posted by Russ at 04:07 PM | Comments (1)
Just Because I Can


Say that five times fast. I dare you.

Update: Floccinaucinihilipilification. I double dare you.

Posted by Russ at 02:27 PM | Comments (1)

Wow. I am humbled by the praise.

By training and experience, I'm a network engineer; more to the point, an internetwork engineer. I don't often deal with print servers, mail servers, or servers of any kind. My experience and skills are mainly in routers and routing, wireless LAN infrastructure, wide area networks, and "last mile" technologies. I cut my teeth on modems, advanced to ISDN, and graduated to the bigger stuff. Heck, I've even written two chapters of a book about how some of it works.

Lately, though, I've been doing a lot of work on the side, helping some of my fellow bloggers install software to their sites, do upgrades and plugin installation, and I've even done some site layout and design work. I've tweaked and cleaned up templates for scads of folks.

It started, more or less, with my involvement with the Blogs For Bush website, carried over to the GOP Bloggers site, and now it seems that hardly a week goes by that someone somewhere doesn't ask me for help.

I'm no Sekimori — I can handle Photoshopping and GIMPing other peoples' photos and such, but my "original artwork" skills are sadly pathetic.

I can't help wondering, though, if I could make a go of site design as an entrepreneurial path.

Posted by Russ at 01:57 PM | Comments (2)
July 11, 2005

In some societies, peoples' response to bombing and murder is a bit of vandalism.

In other societies, peoples' response to a bit of vandalism is rioting and murder.

Mote ≠ beam.*

Posted by Russ at 01:01 PM
July 07, 2005
Quotes of the Day - Winston Churchill Edition

Fly the Union Jack today.
If, however, there is to be a war of nerves let us make sure our nerves are strong and are fortified by the deepest convictions of our hearts.
Never give in — never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.
Arm yourselves, and be ye men of valor, and be in readiness for the conflict; for it is better for us to perish in battle than to look upon the outrage of our nation and our altar.
You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory. Victory at all costs. Victory in spite of all terrors. Victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival.

News roundups by Instapundit, Smash, Wizbang.

Posted by Russ at 09:50 AM | Comments (1)
July 06, 2005

[This post was originally published 21Jun05. Due to the topicality today, I thought I'd bump it up.]
[There are updates - see below.]

Neat-o. An actual lefty koolaid drinker, right here on my very own site.

Now, I wouldn't be surprised if someone from the anti-American anti-war camp had found this site accidentally — it happens all the time, and some occasionally drop a turd or two in the comments — but this fellow actually came here from my mini-bio page at BlogsForBush. He came here looking for a fight to pick.

As is so often the case with the anti-American anti-war crowd, he rolled out what he thought would be a rhetorical nuke: the tired and discredited "chickenhawk" argument — questioning my "credentials," my qualification to offer opinions about the war. I guess the obvious military theme here escaped his notice, and I called him on it.

Not content to leave well enough alone, however, he decided to leave another steaming pile in the comments. I figured it deserved an up-front response. I know it will fail utterly to convince him, as he apparently arrived at his current opinions shortly before turning off his brain, but a response is nonetheless warranted.

Read on and, as always, feel free to comment.

My goodness you are defensive.

I can be offensive, if you would prefer. I'm good at it, but I find it distasteful.

Please read the one sentence post again. While it is certainly directed at you personally (no point in not being direct here), it is also "generic"; i.e. please explain to me where the millions of your "fellow right-wing white guy" Bush voters/Iraq war supporters are...now that their country needs them (and needs them precisely because of their political views and voting behavior? (they do not seem to be, unless I am mistaken, "enlisting in droves".

"Droves" are not required. No longer do we deploy tens of thousands of troops lined up shoulder-to-shoulder on the battlefields. Indeed, the military force structure is smaller now than at any time since before WW2.

Have there been recruiting shortfalls? Some, yes. The reserves can't meet their goals if active-duty soldiers are re-upping at rates above the quotas — which they are. The Navy, Marines and Air Force are meeting their goals.

Perhaps, however, if you and your ilk would cease the slanders against our serving troops, young peoples' attitudes towards the Army would be somewhat different. The perpetual shouting of "babykiller" (to take an example from history), despite the transparent falsity of the charge, will eventually make an impression. But I guess that's what the Left wants, isn't it?

As for the "chicken hawk" argument getting "old", it is getting old, again, precisely because you and your fellow right wingers are only too happy to encourage death and destruction, so long as it is someone else who does the dying.

Yes, we encourage death and destruction... specifically, the enemy's death and destruction.

Is there anything so awe inspiring as the "courage of the non-combatant"?

That's mighty brave of you to say from behind that keyboard. When's the last time you took a physical risk for something you believe in? Ever?

I'll bet the answer is "never." Paging John Stuart Mill...

You are a veteran...so what?

I enlisted when the outcome of the Cold War was far from certain. I served in Korea at a time when, had the Norks decided to come south en masse, the result would have been far from predictable, though the results predicted for those of us stationed over there were, euphemistically speaking, not altogether rosy.

I did my time. I took the risks inherent in military service. So now am I qualified to comment on the current war?

Well, guess what? I am no more or less qualified to offer an opinion than you or anyone else. I merely have the advantage of experience, but that's how it works here in America.

Or is it merely that you would rather try to use a discredited rhetorical device to shut up all those who oppose your point of view?

You claim to have a terrible boo-boo that prevents you from serving in the military?

Not just "claim." I assert that I have an injury that keeps me out. If you'd bothered to read a few of the archives here, you'd have known about it.

But I suspect that you'd simply prefer to hurl insults.

I have read recently of American soldiers who, having had limbs blown off, are returning to combat duty with prosthetic limbs. Is your injury worse than this?

No, I wouldn't say so. How can a herniated disk compare to a lost hand or foot? But it was enough to end my career, and is enough to keep me from re-upping, even if I were not already too old.

And even if it is...again I say...what about the "right wing millions"? Where are they? All nursing upper-class tennis elbow?

Thankfully, no. Most are out there making this country run on what is to all intents and purposes a peace-time footing. Austerity? Not hardly. Rationing? Don't need it.

Thankfully, the people who know how to make democratic capitalism work are doing so. I wouldn't be quite so eager to try to run the country's economic engine on patchouli fumes.

As for freedom of speech, your defensive reaction says more than I can. Of course I think you have a right to your "very strange" opinion. And I, in turn, have a right to mine. The difference, of course, is that I don't support "that which I am not willing to do myself". i.e. get my head blown off for...what, exactly?

For what? For what?

How about the end of $25,000 payments to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers? Would that be a good enough start? How about the end of mass executions, the end of the rape rooms, the end of people being fed alive into industrial shredders?

Are you in favor of those things continuing? Or is it just that you are so blinded by your dislike of the Right that you refuse to admit that those things actually happened, are not happening now, and that it is a positive good that they are not?

The real difference, which seems to me to be true of virtually all of your ilk, is that there is nothing whatsoever for which you would risk everything. Look up the word craven sometime.

The war is lost; it was lost before it started.

The millions of ink-stained fingers seen in Iraq this past January thoroughly refute your statement.

It sounds to me not so much that you're against the war — you'd just rather see us lose.

You might want to read, or reread, Halberstam's book about Vietnam. Or Will Durant's observations about "Muslim warriors" (in his "Story of Civilization".)

My reading list is already full. Halberstam? A New York Times reporter who wrote a book on Vietnam — I wouldn't waste my time. I can already predict what he thinks of the whole thing.

I anxiously await your response...so long as it addresses my questions, that is.

My blog, my rules. I address exactly what I choose to. Don't like it? Then leave.

I'd have gone on longer but, as yesterday, my back and shoulder still hurt quite a bit.

And, Bellino: don't let the metaphorical door hit you in the ass on the way out.

Update, 6/22/05: if your tolerance level for a bit of profanity is up to the task, Mad Dog Vinnie has more along the same lines. More accurately, he has more whether you can handle it or not.

Chris Muir gets it, too:


Update, 7/6/05: More folks are getting into the mood of things. See the commentary from Blackfive, Donald Sensing, and Baldilocks.

Iowahawk provides his R-rated take on the matter, from a slightly different perspective. Such a potty-mouth, that Zarqawi....

Posted by Russ at 11:20 AM | Comments (6)
July 05, 2005
You Know (Part 6)

You know it's one of those days when the minute you step out the front door, a bird decides to play "poo-poo bombardier" on your shirt.

Posted by Russ at 06:16 PM | Comments (2)
July 04, 2005
You Knew It Was Coming

Hey, it's the Fourth of July. You ought to have expected this.


Seven pounds of Boston Butt (suitably brined and rubbed) in there.

It's times like this when I really feel sorry for my observant Jewish friends with their proscription against pork. I'd say it was unfair, but for the fact that when G-d speaks, you pretty much have to listen. But y'know, you can smoke beef and poultry, and I recommend it. It's not barbecue, but it is pretty darn good.

About a year ago, I coined the expression "smoking like Mount St. Helens on vacation in Jamaica."

Was I wrong? I think not.

Posted by Russ at 10:13 AM | Comments (1)
Fireworks for the Fourth

The impact portion of NASA's Deep Impact cometary probe mission appears to be a complete success:


"See what free men can do!" — Burt Rutan

Lots more at Speed of Thought.

Posted by Russ at 02:36 AM
July 02, 2005
When Pigs Fly...

... Pink Floyd reunites.

I'd never have thought it would happen. The history of the rancorous split of Roger Waters from the band is fairly well known. I'd have sooner expected John and George to rise from the dead to join Paul and Ringo for a Beatles reunion.

And rancor there certainly was. On the album The Division Bell is the song Lost For Words, which includes what is unmistakeably the recounting of a call for reconciliation, and subsequent rejection:

So I open my door to my enemies
And I ask could we wipe the slate clean
But they tell me to please go **** myself
You know you just can't win

One might be forgiven for thinking it would never happen.

But, live on the Live8 stage in London, there they all are. Older, greyer — but there. For a fan of classic rock music such as I, this is a treat of the highest order.

Update: Whoever at MTV/VH1 thought it would be a good idea to interrupt Comfortably Numb with those dopey prepubescent "veejays" needs to be put up against a Wall and shot.

Update 2: Dopey? Yes, dopey — but insipid, too.

Posted by Russ at 06:17 PM | Comments (2)
July 01, 2005
Why, Oh Why?

Of all the Kennedy brothers, why did this one have to be the one to live to a ripe old age?

The evidence of alcohol's efficacy as a preservative continues to mount....

Posted by Russ at 03:04 PM
Prayer of the Day

Please, God — not another Souter.

Posted by Russ at 02:07 PM
SCOTUS, Minus One

Breaking News:

Justice O'Connor Retires From Supreme Court

WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Justrice Sandra Day O'Connor submitted her retirement notice to President Bush on Friday, setting the stage for a contentious battle over her replacement.

I would once again like to make mention of my availability and suitability for a seat on the Supreme Court.

I haven't received any calls from the White House yet. I'm somewhat disappointed.

Posted by Russ at 10:40 AM