April 2006 Archives

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April 30, 2006
Quote of the Day
On one of our days to come, there will be another test. You'd best have an answer prepared.

Gerard Van der Leun, at American Digest

Posted by Russ at 08:11 PM
April 29, 2006
Not Soon Enough

I'm planning to go see United 93 as soon as I can. I have no doubt that I'll be a wreck afterwards — I already find my heart leaping into my throat when, in the TV ads, I see the passengers rushing into the aisle to begin their charge.

Some people say they're "over it." Others say it's too soon for a film about the attacks of 9/11.

Well, I'm not "over it," I'll never be "over it." The majority of America isn't "over it." And a film of this sort is long overdue.

I am reminded of the 1942 film Wake Island, released less than a year after the valiant but doomed struggle of a Marine battalion, abandoned to their fate because of the inability of the Navy to reinforce or withdraw them. (The cold calculus of war dictated that a battalion of Marines was not worth the risk of losing two aircraft carriers in the weeks following Pearl Harbor; strategically, it was the right choice, but I'm glad it wasn't me that had to make that awful decision.)

In 1942, no one had the complete story of what had happened at the end, only radio reports. The garrison and the island were lost. The film was made anyway — indeed, work on it began before the battle was over — and can rightfully be called a masterpiece of wartime filmmaking.

60+ years later, the story of Flight 93 is much the same as that of Wake Island. We have the cell phone calls, we have the cockpit voice recordings, and from them we can make a good guess what happened on the flight. But we know the result: free Americans stood and fought, and though they lost their lives, they prevented a much greater tragedy. Their efforts and sacrifice must not be forgotten.

In a different time, a film memorializing them would have been in progress before the end of the year. In that different time, Hollywood was on our side.

Varifrank has a terrific piece about his plans to go to see United 93, about survivor's guilt, and about supporting the making of the film.

(via Tanker at Mostly Cajun.)

(Reviews and more from Hot Air.)

Posted by Russ at 12:08 PM
April 27, 2006
With Enemies Like These...

Dang. Looks like Aaron the Liberal Slayer got hacked by followers of the Religion of Peace, Enlightenment and Understanding. Again.

Maybe the Feds will have been watching and waiting for it, and will consequently be able to come up with some JDAM targeting information.

Update: On further reflection: forget the JDAM — precision isn't needed. A bigger footprint kills more roaches.

Update 2: He's back. It's hard to keep a good man down.

Bonus: Scott has a screenshot. (I got one, but it's on my work computer... I knew I forgot to do something before I left the office.)

Update 3, 4/28: And now, of course, the obligatory DDOS attack on warbloggers, Aaron included. It must be in the Koran or something....

Posted by Russ at 08:01 PM | Comments (1)
Asked, Answered - V

Mycah has a unique "take" on radiation:

Let's ask the cats about the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.

Posted by Russ at 01:05 PM
Quote of the Day
Over the last couple of years, I've been trying to see things from a liberal perspective. Unfortunately, I can't get my head that far up my ass. I guess it takes a lot of flexibility to be a liberal. It also takes a considerable lack of backbone.

Mike Adams

Posted by Russ at 11:05 AM | Comments (2)
April 26, 2006
In Case You Didn't Already Know

When I get done with work at night and drive my Evil SUV home, there is usually a CD in the player, but occasionally I switch the radio on. Scanning through the channels one night a couple weeks ago, I tuned in to the show "Coast to Coast AM" with George Noory.

Having listened to the show several times since that first encounter, I've come to a conclusion about the program, its guests, and its callers.

Those people are absolutely, unquestionably and incontrovertably friggin' insane.

Posted by Russ at 11:23 AM | Comments (1)
April 22, 2006
The New McCarthyism

"McCarthyism" has a new definition today:

McCarthyism: efforts by members of a political opposition to subvert the policies of an elected government through the selective illegal release of classified or sensitive government information with the intent of affecting policy, swaying public opinion, damaging an administration, or creating scandal where none exists.*

New definition created in "honor" of Mary O. McCarthy, Democrat appointee at the CIA, fired for leaking classified information to the media.

Rope. Tree. Traitor. Some assembly required.

Coverage at:
Michelle Malkin
Protein Wisdom
Ace of Spades (with more here, here, and here)
Captain's Quarters
Flopping Aces
And of course Emperor Misha I

* Yes, there's some redundancy in there. It's late, I'm tired, and the definition might undergo modification when I've had some sleep.

Posted by Russ at 03:11 AM
April 21, 2006
Nothing Yet

I'm still working on a new design, but it's "behind the scenes."

Perhaps a fortunate* few will eventually be allowed to see it and comment on it so I can tweak it before I roll it out.

Having been a professional website designer/architect in the past, I figure the site development process that worked rather well for a former employer would, if scaled down, probably work well anywhere. Not that it's a huge deal for a site like this... but I do tend to think that useability is a vastly underrated aspect to blog design, and it helps to have a few people look at a site and say "this works" or "that doesn't."

* For varying values of "fortunate."

Posted by Russ at 04:07 PM | Comments (3)
April 17, 2006
Administrative Note

Just a reminder: the site will be undergoing maintenance, upgrades, and redesign for the next couple of days.

The hacking which was responsible for the suddenness of these changes has turned out to be a MoveableType vulnerability, the nature of which apparently has yet to be determined. MT users are advised to lock down the permissions on their sites. See:


During the redesign, please feel free to let me know if you see any weirdness (apart from that inherent in the site owner, who is already quite aware of his own eccentricities, thankyouverymuch.)

Update: the upgrade seems to have gone well. Template re-design awaits... but I'm not sure exactly how different I want to make the new design. We'll see. *

Posted by Russ at 11:10 PM | Comments (2)

Posted by Russ at 12:45 PM
April 16, 2006
Asked, Answered - IV

Where food is involved, Mycah is the cat to ask.

Let's ask the cats about cannibalistic blogging.

Posted by Russ at 10:11 PM
April 15, 2006

Don't forget, today is Buy a Gun Day IV.

If I can find one of these beauties, I'll be on it like ugly on my brother.

Posted by Russ at 04:24 PM | Comments (1)
Houston, We Have A Problem

Fighting a bit of database corruption here - some templates are hosed. I'm working on fixing it... but I have a job that occupies me Saturday and Sunday evenings, so things might not be back up to speed before Monday.

[Update: No, it's not merely database corruption - it's been hacked, and some templates altered. I don't know if my archives are all intact. I'm still trying to find out what damage has been done. Fingers crossed....]

I may also take this opportunity to upgrade my MovableType to 3.2, something I've been meaning to do for a while.

I've also been contemplating a complete site redesign. Two years is long enough for this design, I think.

Posted by Russ at 03:57 PM | Comments (1)
April 14, 2006
Asked, Answered - III

In the latest Ask The Cats, current events are the focus:

Let's ask the cats about Iran claiming to be a nuclear country.

Mycah's answer hasn't appeared yet, but it involves old sneakers and a stink bomb.

[Looks like there's a problem with the linked post.]

Posted by Russ at 01:47 PM
April 12, 2006
No Choice

Having come to the conclusion that, in order to be The Compleat Renaissance Man, I need to learn to play a musical instrument, I set out yesterday to talk to some people I thought might help: music teachers.

I visited three music stores, and as I sort-of expected, there were music teachers present at each one, and I was able to get their opinions, and I've considered them.

The guitar would be difficult, and any other stringed instrument would be impossible without cosmetic surgery on my fingertips to make them smaller and pointier. Given that the size of my fingers is not likely to change quite so drastically, the piano is looking like the way to go. I'm cool with that.

Now I just have to figure out where to get started. Looks like I'll be making another trip across town to the music stores.

Posted by Russ at 08:26 PM | Comments (3)
April 10, 2006
Quoteable Me

Yes, that's me Glenn is quoting.

Posted by Russ at 09:29 AM | Comments (1)
April 09, 2006

I've lately been thinking I need to finally act on my love of music, and take up an instrument. Not with an eye to performing, mind you, but merely for my own enjoyment. As if I need yet another hobby.

I don't know that I have any talent whatsoever, but when listening to good music, I always find myself wishing I were playing rather than just listening.

Piano would be great, as would guitar; both appear to be as simple or as complex as one might want to make them. And perhaps it's uncommon, but I'd love to learn how to play the violin.

I'm not terribly interested in playing brass or woodwind instruments — it's awfully hard to sing when playing those, though I'd not mind learning the bagpipes. Uilleann pipes (The what? Go here and listen to the sample of Track 4 — I think it's magnificent) might be a nice compromise, but I suspect the body of works for them is somewhat limited.

Problem: my hands are approximately the size and shape of bear paws. I think this is going to limit my options, as far as what I might be physically capable of playing.

Percussion would work with my monster mitts, but drums are neither particularly melodic, nor are they something you can pick up, sit back, and relax with. What a pity — I'm always tapping my fingers and toes along with whatever music to which I'm listening.

I need advice... and it's a bit too late for me to go look up the band teacher at my old high school to get said advise. Maybe a trip to the music store to talk to the pros there.

What do you think?

Posted by Russ at 01:56 PM | Comments (4)
April 07, 2006
It's Friday, and That Means...

You guessed it: another glimpse into the life of Mycah.

Because of her diabetes, Mycah's not allowed to have as many treats as she used to get, so each one is more valuable to her. Now when she comes begging, she usually gets two or three minutes of skritches and a mousie chucked across the room.

It's not fooling her one little bit — she knows a treat when she sees one.

Notice, if you will, the laser-like focus she exhibits when she is kept waiting, even for a moment, for her daily treat:

[Click for larger.]

Today being Friday, a visit to The Modulator's Friday Ark would be in order. On Sunday, there'll be the Carnival of the Cats, this week at KT Cat's Scratching Post.

[Update, 9Apr06: the Carnival has arrived!]

On Sunday the 4th of June, I will be hosting the Carnival of the Cats right here. Well, I would be if I didn't have to work Sundays... but I have Mondays and Tuesdays off, so look for a rare weekday appearance of the Carnival, right here, on Monday, the 5th o' June.

Posted by Russ at 03:23 PM | Comments (2)
April 06, 2006
Tartan Day: Why Me?

[This is the second of my 2006 Tartan Day posts. The first can be seen here. It's probably more interesting than this one.]

How, one might be tempted to ask, does a guy without a drop of Scots blood in him (or, if there's a drop, it's diluted to the point of requiring measurement in parts-per-million) have the brass to participate in an event like Tartan Day?

It's easy. Just arrange to be related to someone who served as Prime Minister of Canada.

Simple, really.

Born in 1821 in Amherst, Nova Scotia, Charles Tupper attended the University of Edinburgh and became a physician, serving from 1867 to 1870 as President of the Canadian Medical Association.

He entered into Canadian politics in 1855, winning a seat in the Canadian Parliament. By 1864 he had risen to become the Premier of Nova Scotia. For his efforts to bring Nova Scotia into the Canadian union (previously, Canada had been a motley collection of colonies) he became known as one of the Fathers of Confederation. Thereafter, he served in a variety of ministerial positions: Inland Revenue, Customs, Public Works, Railways & Canals.

Knighted (and tartaned) by Queen Victoria in 1879, he went on to serve as High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Minister of Finance, and as Secretary of State.

In May of 1896, after the resignation of the previous officeholder, he became Prime Minister. Two month later, the elections mandated by his predecessor's resignation turned his party out of power and Sir Charles out of office. He thus became the shortest-serving Prime Minister in Canadian history.

If you've stuck with the story this far, you might at this point be saying to yourself, "so how does a guy named Emerson claim family ties to some old dead guy named Tupper?" What, you never heard of people changing their names? Were it not for an anonymity-seeking ancestor, my name would be Tupper. That's my story, and I'm sticking with it.

No, I'm not a direct descendant. "Cousin" would be more accurate. Nonetheless, tartans belong to families, not individuals, so remote though the relationship may be, I'm claiming it and the tartan that goes with it.

For more in Tartan Day bloggery, visit the fine blogs participating in the Gathering of the Blogs 2006:

Posted by Russ at 07:26 PM | Comments (4)
Asked, Answered - II

In today's edition of Ask The Cats, Laurence addresses an age-old question:

Let's ask the cats about cellphone-snatching monkeys.

Posted by Russ at 12:35 PM
Water of Life

Matt, writer at the Lone Star Times, could not be more wrong when he calls this discovery "God's Liquor Cabinet":

Astronomers say they have spotted a cloud of alcohol in deep space that measures 463 billion kilometres (288 billion miles) across, a finding that could shed light on how giant stars are formed from primordial gas.

The vast bridge-shaped cloud of methyl alcohol has been spotted in a region of our galaxy, the Milky Way, that is called W3(OH), where stars are being formed by the gravitational collapse of concentrations of gas and dust, the discoverers said in a press release.

Methanol, an organic (carbon-based) molecule, is a cousin of ethanol, which is found in alcoholic beverages. Methanol is not suitable for human consumption.

Anyone with an ounce of sense knows that God's liquor cabinet is stocked solely with single malt Scotch whiskies... which, I might mention, are completely suitable for human consumption. They define suitability... but only for those people who can appreciate the very finest usque beatha — the water of life.

As I understand it, The Macallan is the distillation of choice Up Yonder.

The Scots have it right: water of life, indeed.

This has been a Tartan Day post. Be sure to visit all the fine blogs contributing to Tartan Day, and especially be sure to drop by Absinthe & Cookies to thank Ith for another terrific Gathering of the Blogs.

Posted by Russ at 09:48 AM | Comments (1)
April 04, 2006


(Via Beth.)

Posted by Russ at 11:36 AM
April 03, 2006
For the Archives: Asked, Answered - the Prequels

Laurence Simon's Ask the Cats feature, which I mentioned Saturday, is one of the best recurring features in all of blogdom, altered slightly by the addition of reader participation since Edloe's passing last year.

Mycah and my sister's resident furballs Lou and Bubba have made several contributions to ATC, which I'll link here for posterity... and so you can go see what all the cats have had to say on the issues of the day.

Let's ask the cats about the 2012 Olympics — The answers don't always necessarily relate to the questions. That's what you get for asking cats — they'll say whatever they darn well please.

Let's ask the cats about our sex lives — Mycah apparently has a cheesecake fixation.

Let's ask the cats about the pledges so far

Let's ask the cats about the Russian sub — Bubba makes an appearance.

Let's ask the cats about minorities being a majority

Let's ask the cats if they want kitty treats

Let's ask the cats about red light cameras

Let's ask the cats about Yom Kippur

Let's ask the cats about the World Series

Let's ask the cats about not being in the top ten deadliest animals list

Let's ask the cats about lawyers defending Iraqi Ba'athhist leaders getting killed — Lou fills in for Mycah.

Let's ask the cats about the holiday travel rush — (Laurence's Frisky wins.)

Let's ask the cats about British mercenaries shooting civilian vehicles

Let's ask the cats if they've been naughty or nice

Let's ask the cats about catching burglars

Let's ask the cats about secret Portuguese synagogues — Bubba fills in for Mycah.

Let's ask the cats about the trapped miners

Let's ask the cats about obese pets

Let's ask the cats for motivational inspiration — Bubba and Lou team up for "Win - Win," but all the posters are good, particularly "Friendship," featuring Frisky and the late Edloe.

Let's ask the cats about cutting off financial aid to the Palestinian Authority

Let's ask the cats about the Winter Olympics

Let's ask the cats about renaming the 1836

Let's ask the cats about animal diseases threatening humans — Mycah had just been diagnosed with diabetes.

Let's ask the cats about the big announcement from NASA

Posted by Russ at 12:45 PM | Comments (1)
April 01, 2006
Asked, Answered - I

Mycah has made several appearances on Laurence Simon's semi-regular feature, Ask The Cats. I've been remiss in not linking to them.

Here's the latest: Let's ask the cats about a dead white rhino. (Latest, yes, but the photo of Mycah is two years old.)

Posted by Russ at 01:10 PM