Drooling on the Pillow

Saturday, July 09, 2005

This Week I'm The Bearded Lady 

Tomorrow is Sunday and you know what that means, campers. You must toodle on over to Cripes, Suzette for the Carnival of New Jersey Bloggers #8. It's very important that you do this tomorrow because the tent poles for Carnival #9 on July 17th are already being hoisted right here at the Sluggoterium. God knows what a hash I'll make of that. Cripes, what was I thinking? But you are assured of quality entertainment this week from Suzette.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Next Time, Lay Off the Italian Sausage 

This guy, Robby Marchese, had to go home and tell his Little League playing kid how he muffed two home run balls, hit by Alex Rodriguez in the first (left) and Jason Giambi in the second (right). I have to say, though, he did it with better humor than I think I could have managed.


The notion that we have brought events like the London bombings upon ourselves with the war on terror is bizarre. But it is widespread and has become the fallback position for countless otherwise moderate sectors. After the elections in Iraq, the elimination of Libya as a factor in terrorism, the steady democratization of Lebanon, the announcement of elections in Egypt, the increasing marginalization of Syria, the relative calm in Palestine and other evident benefits of President Bush's policies, a dark lining has to be found within these silver clouds.

There are two fundamentally opposed places to start when deciding where responsibility lies.

One: we are at war and have been for decades. It was only after 9/11, however, that our leaders realized it.

Two: Western imperialism and hegemony has victimized Arabs, Muslims and third-worlders in general for centuries. Attacks against us are predictable, preventable and essentially rational.

Everybody can agree we're in a struggle. It is the question of the nature of our opponent that requires clarity on a broader basis.

Listen to Christopher Hitchens (Via Bad Hair Blog) in the Mirror today:

We know very well what the "grievances" of the
jihadists are.

The grievance of seeing unveiled women. The grievance
of the existence, not of the State of Israel, but of the
Jewish people. The grievance of the heresy of democracy,
which impedes the imposition of sharia law. The grievance
of a work of fiction written by an Indian living in London.
The grievance of the existence of black African Muslim
farmers, who won't abandon lands in Darfur. The
grievance of the existence of homosexuals. The grievance
of music, and of most representational art. The grievance
of the existence of Hinduism. The grievance of East
Timor's liberation from Indonesian rule. All of these have
been proclaimed as a license to kill infidels or apostates,
or anyone who just gets in the way.

Mick Hartley links to two letters to the London Time's this morning that starkly illustrate the two points of view.

Events like the London bombing often shock the two sides into a momentary coalition. As TPB, Esq. of Unbillable Hours, points out today, "Red Ken" Livingstone spoke yesterday with a roar reminiscent of Winston Churchill.

But in general, as the war against those who want nothing from us but our deaths continues and succeeds, the stakes for those who oppose it steepen. Galloway, Kos and thousands of smaller voices jump quickly forward with the notion that, as our cause is not just, our suffering is deserved and the only expiation is surrender.

This war began in an attempt to force every idea, individual, and influence of the West out of Saudi Arabia in preparation for a Islamo-chiliastic curtain being drawn over the entire Muslim world. Once that's accomplished the final conversion of the rest of the world can begin. I'm not saying that's going to happen or even that it could happen with our surrender. I'm just characterizing the motives behind this mad scheme. Dirty little men, in dirty little rooms, making dirty little plans. With lots and lots of money.

If we withdraw now, we doom countless lives behind that curtain to a misery from which they might not emerge for centuries. And we doom ourselves to a security situation with no options other than holding losses to a minimum.

It will be long and hard. It will be longer and harder without a broader-based consensus that we're in the right. But we have to fight. First, the despicable notion that there is any justification whatsoever for jihadist attacks. Second, that disengaging at this point will improve our position in the short or long run. And third, the Islamo-fascists themselves. We have no option other than capturing and killing the deluded vermin behind this attack and all the others.

All three fights we have to fight to win.

Evidence That We Will Win 

From Tim Blair, this post by a survivor of 7/7 is reprinted in it's entirety:

An open letter

to the terrorist cunts who tried to kill me today:

Fuck you. You missed me. Better luck next time.

Update: I am coping with the shock as only a Brit (and maybe an Irishman...) knows how - I'm getting well and truly pissed.

Update 2: Thanks for all your thoughts and words, everyone. Going to get a shower, get dressed and then get the tube into work. Life goes on

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Find Them, Kill Them 

Via Tim Blair:
"Rejoice, community of Muslims,” the letter states.
“The heroic mujahedeens today conducted an
attack in London,” it continues. All of Great Britain
is now shaken and shocked, “in the north, the south,
west and east.” “We’ve warned the British
government and the British people time and again,”
the letter adds. “We’ve kept our promise and have
carried out a blessed military operation."

After All, They're Celebrities 

I liked Leslie's observation at Plum Crazy that while Sir Bob was outraged that Joe Chump was auctioning off Live 8 tickets on eBay, he was okey-doke with the $12,000 gift bags that the celebrity performers made off with.

She has the links.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Spirit of '76 

One of the nicest Independence Day pieces I've read is by TPB, Esq. at Unbillable Hours. I agree with him in that my favorite three holidays are July 4th, Thanksgiving and Christmas in that order. The first two because they exist in closest proximity to their original purposes and the third because I love getting presents without adding a year to my age. Also because they represent the three most elusive elements of happiness: pride in something larger, humbleness toward fortune and hope, no matter what, all done in the spirit of celebration.

Vacation Shots 

To the right here is the answer to the question "What happens when you're kicked out of Atlantic City?" If you can't read it, it says "The Nations Only Diving Horse."

Further to the right is an affirmation that we did do some vacation-appropriate activities.

This guy on the right was was an attraction at a kind of seedy/creepy place that I like quite a bit. The Magic Forest in Lake George.

Everything looked like it was designed in the forties, built in the fifties and the money ran out in the seventies. You push a button and he tells you a story. A charming tale of dismemberment and coprophagia.

In truth, the place was sweet, if a little run-down and the horse did dive, reluctantly.

What? And Give Up Show Business? 


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Kyoto Kut-Ups 

This is from James Gleick's book Chaos, page 21.
The modern weather models work with a grid of points
on the order of sixty miles apart, and even so, some
starting data has to be guessed, since ground stations
and satellites cannot see everywhere. But suppose the
earth could be covered with sensors spaced one foot
apart, rising at one-foot intervals all the way to the top
of the atmosphere. Suppose every sensor gives perfectly
accurate readings of temperature, pressure, humidity,
and any other quantity a meteorologist would want.
Precisely at noon an infinitely powerful computer takes
all the data and calculates what will happen at each point
at 12:01, then 12:02, then 12:03 . . .

The computer will still be unable to predict whether
Princeton, New Jersey, will have sun or rain on a day
one month away. At noon the spaces between the
sensors will hide fluctuations that the computer will not
know about, tiny deviations from the average. By 12:01,
those fluctuations will already have created small errors
one foot away. Soon the errors will have multiplied to to
the ten-foot scale, and so on up to the size of the globe.
You don't need to understand fractal geometry or Mandelbrot Sets to understand that, irregardless of computer modeling and doppler radar, when the weather guy tells you it's going to rain tomorrow there'll be a certain number of days when you don't open that umbrella. And when he tells you it'll be sunny three days from now about half the time you'll wish you had that umbrella. And when he tries to tell you the weather five days from now you don't even listen.

That's because the weather is a system so vast and complicated that even if it is not a non-linear system, which many scientists believe it to be, it might as well be because every computer in the world crunching a hypothetically complete set of data cannot tell you with any degree of certainty what the weather will be in Princeton one week from now.

And yet the one of the international agreements that the President is excoriated for 'abandoning' is the Kyoto Protocol.

What it's based on is a weather report. One hundred years from now it's going to be hot. Too hot. With a 100% chance of cataclysm. That's what certain computer models say. So we have to do something.

The absurdity of prescribing a set of protocols with grave political and economic consequences based upon inherently, intractably, intrinsically flawed predictive models is so dumb only an intellectual could sign on.

Certainly, no one in the Senate signed on when they voted 95-0 (a ‘Sense of the Senate resolution) against it in 1997 and Clinton had the common sense not to allow it to be brought to a actual vote.

Now it may or may not be getting warmer. It probably is. That warming may or may not have a little or a lot to do with human activity. It very likely does, to some extent. And, assuming it is and it does, that warming may or may not continue for a hundred years. But nobody knows for sure and anyone who claims to is merely theorizing.

Which is fine. That's what scientists do and God bless them, they should continue with it and send us reports now and again.

But if they're going to ask us to sign on to a system of fundamental restrictions that effects the health and welfare, the wealth and freedom of every living person on the planet and their children's and their children's children's, is it too much to ask that they tell us whether to wear our rubbers in Princeton next week? And be right? Maybe a couple times in a row?


I'm back. Burned, bedraggled and unprepared for work.

I was going to put up some pictures of some of the odd things we did, but the Blogger picture uploading system seems to have crapped out, so I'll try later.

Usually, when we go to the Adirondacks, we do Adirondacky things. Campfires, communing with nature, thinking deep thoughts, etc. I don't think we were ever there in season before and certainly not on a major holiday. This time we went to Great Escape (if you escape with a nickle left, that's great), water parks, downtown Lake George and things like that. We might as well have ridden the Times Square shuttle back and forth all weekend for all the nature we saw. We were shoulder to shoulder with morons the whole time.

First, let me say that this tattoo thing has gotten completely out of control. The personal statement made by tattoos today is "I've never been in the Navy or on a motorcycle, I live at home in the suburbs and this tat didn't freak out my parents nearly as much as I'd hoped."

But we did the things we chose to do and I can't blame anyone else. I tried to blame the Goddess, but she wasn't having it. We could have hightailed it into the woods, I guess, but Grace is having bug issues and I was having laziness issues and we did what we did.

We didn't even see any fireworks.

I did enjoy taking Grace to an arcade in Lake George. She grasped the point right off. It's all about the tickets. The accumulate/exchange/acquire paradigm. I watched her deal with the conflict inherent in playing fun, but relatively non-productive games. She accepts that she has a limited number of tokens to spend and agonizes over using one on a game she likes, but knows will return her only two or three tickets.

I was proud of the way she dealt with the ethical stress involved in abandoned tickets left in one game. She looked at the tickets and then looked at me, asking for guidance. I just stared at her. She looked at the tickets again, asked the kids on either side if the tickets were theirs. When they said no, she snatched them. That's my girl.

When it comes time to exchange the tickets for the worthless gee-gaws offered, the Goddess leaves the room. She can't deal with it. Grace can spend a half an hour deciding between a ball that makes grotesque and disgusting patterns when you squeeze it and a yo-yo with an expected life of half a dozen throws. She went with the ball.

It's good to be back.
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