Sunday, September 30, 2007

(Sorta) Late Nite EIP

I don't watch SNL any longer, but based on this lil clip, perhaps I should...

You might want to watch this twice. It took me two times through to understand most of the lyrics. But then again, I'm kinda slow.

(h/t: Breitbart.tv)

A PSA and Weekend Update

This is interesting…
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This is the first and only time I’ve ever seen a notice of this type on any web site I’ve ever visited, period. So good on the folks at All Things Digital. I’ve known about tracking cookies for quite some time and periodically “clean” my system using Ad-Aware SE (link above, and it’s freeware). But you’d have to clean your system every frickin’ day…or every hour… if you wanted to be truly free of these obnoxious things. I’ve set my preferences, as much as I can, to reject third-party cookies and the like. But every time I clean my system, there they are…by the hundreds.
Just thought all y’all might want to know. Tracking cookies are benign as long as you don’t mind advertisers (and possibly other people) knowing where you go on the ‘net.
Well, yesterday was quite the day for football, eh? I don’t remember another Saturday where so many ranked teams were upset. Let us not talk about the status of the two teams I root for, OK? Both teams are having miserable seasons, but I watch their games (when available) in both good times and bad. That’s what being a fan is all about. It surely hurts, though, when your team isn’t doing well…
And…just for the record, yesterday’s BEST game was the Auburn – Florida tilt, which was a cliff hanger right up to, and including, the final two seconds.
However, Auburn came up big in the closing minutes. Byrum attempted the winning kick, just as (Florida coach) Meyer called timeout. The kick was true, but Byrum had to do it again.
He did, and it was right down the middle.
"I was pretty excited," said Byrum, who missed his only attempt last week against New Mexico State. "I had a rough week last week. I wanted to make sure I came back."
Auburn used the final 4 minutes to set up the kick. Tate ran for 18 yards and Brandon Cox found Rodgeriqus Smith twice for 16 yards.
Byrum did the rest.
"He's got a tremendous leg," Cox said. "I was on the sideline about to throw up. Being a true freshman, after the first time he hit, I was sure he was nervous. To make two of them, that says a lot about him."
What it says… to me, anyway… is that boy has a frickin’ boxcar full of cool. That game could very well be the best game of the year. It’s gonna take a lot of doin’ to beat it.
Speaking of football, yet again…I’m suffering the effects of “too much barley-pop” today. I managed to completely exhaust the beer supply in El Casa Móvil De Pennington during the course of yesterday’s games. Which, of course, was a great good thing while it was happening, but much less so today. Like all uncomfortable things: this, too, shall pass. Thank God for Tylenol.
I sure managed to get it wrong, sorta, when it comes to hockey. I described the Kings as “an unworthy opponent” for the Ducks in yesterday’s NHL season opener and said Kings came out and stomped the Ducks in that game, 4 -1. But the Ducks got their revenge today…by the identical score of 4-1.
LONDON (AP) -- When the gloves came off, the British fans got exactly what they wanted.
A two-man brawl with fists flying midway through the second period drew the biggest cheers and a standing ovation Sunday in the Anaheim Ducks' 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings.
"They liked the physical play," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "They liked the fight."
Me, too. Best part of that particular game, it was. Say what you will: fighting is an integral part of the game, despite all the PC bullshit about eliminating it… one reason being it’s a bad example for our kids, yadda, yadda, yadda. I think taking steroids and running a dog fighting ring just might be worse examples for The Children…but Hey! That’s just my opinion, YMMV. Blogger thoughtfully provides a comment section on these here blog-thingies for those of you who might disagree. If you feel strongly enough to dispute my position on fighting in hockey, then have at me. Drop the gloves!
(photo credit: AP)
The weather continues to suck here in P-Ville. The wind has been unrelenting since Friday but appears to be calming down just a bit this afternoon. I thought the danged RV was going over on its side last evening on a couple of occasions, but then again that might have been alcohol-induced spatial disorientation. There’s a strong possibility…
Anyhoo…if the wind continues to diminish I’ll take Miss Zukiko out for a run later this afternoon. I want to go riding in the worst sort of way…but I refuse to ride in a dust storm. Or something a lot like it.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Gentle Reader.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Saturday's Moment of Zen...

... is here. (with apologies to Jon Stewart, and a hat tip to commenter PeterGunn at Lex's place.)

I'd more than likely achieve serenity with this head, though. ND is down 23 - 0 at the half. They were 21-point underdogs going in. It's gonna be worse, much worse, by the time this is all over (today's "all over," I mean). I don't believe I've seen a Div I-A team this bad in my entire life. Ever.

O, the sheer ignominy.

Update, 1310 hrs: Wonder of wonders: ND has pulled within seven (26 - 19), with eight minutes left in the fourth. It looks like they'll beat the spread, if nothing else. Jeez...hope does spring eternal!

Update, 1332 hrs: It was only hope: Purdue 33, ND 19. But ND did look better today. Small, very small, consolation.

Friday, September 28, 2007

PM Update

It’s not a nice day here in P-Ville. It’s hot and windy… not exactly my favorite weather combination… but it does beat cold and windy, hands down. The wind means I have to keep my awning furled, which, in turn means the direct sun on the side of El Casa Móvil De Pennington ensures the AC runs nearly constantly. The wind also means it’s not a nice day for a ride, either. Miss Zukiko is gonna wait another day before she gets her exercise. Or two, perhaps, given the WX forecast is for “more of the same” tomorrow and tomorrow is Football Day…as well. Priorities, ya know.
Ah, but the laundry—that most odious of chores—is done for another month or so. I’ll never do laundry on a Friday afternoon again. The laundromat was crowded when I got there just after 1300 hrs, which is sorta unusual. I usually do laundry on a Tuesday or Wednesday and I usually have the whole place to myself or share it with one or two other people, at most. Not so today. But, Hey! It’s done, folded, and put away. And I’m none the worse for wear.
Well, almost. My ear is still sorta bent from the guy in the laundromat who insisted on lecturing me on the wonderfulness of California, how much he disliked this part of the world, and how he couldn’t wait to be home. So… leave, already! Get thee GONE! When I asked what he was doing in P-Ville he informed me he’s a musician and he just finished up a world tour. In a ten year old Chevy van parked right outside, I noticed. Interesting vehicle in which to tour the world…but I imagine it’s more economical than air fare. One can’t help but wonder how he managed to cross either ocean (or both) in his chosen mode of transportation.
Laundromats. You meet the most interesting people there.

Starters

I’m sure you’ve seen this dumb-ass ad from Mass Mutual…right?
Well, the premise is fundamentally dumb and what’s more—wrong. Why? Coz there’s not a single nekkid woman in sight. Anywhere. And lest you offer up “Well maybe he’s gay,” Gentle Reader, stop and think. I really don’t think you’d want to see the gay equivalent of nekkid women. We’re talking front of the mind here. Gay or straight, men tend to be the same in this regard.
I was gonna quote that ol’ “seven seconds” thing as proof of my “nekkid women” theory, until I found out it’s not true, assuming you believe a Snopes article written by a woman about how men think. I’m not sure I do. Well, Hell… let us not beat around the bush: No, I don’t believe it. At all. And then there’s this from “Frequently Asked Questions About Men” (which is where I think Mass Mutual got stole the idea):
Q: Why do men only have one thing on their minds?
A: While technically correct, this statement is not strictly true. We may only be able to entertain one idea at a time but we do think of lots of other things besides sex, such as sports and beer. We also get hungry quite often.
The FAQ is technically true. But when it comes to what really lives “in the front of the (male) mind,” I’ll rely on my own personal experience, which is admittedly (a) anecdotal in the extreme and (b) inordinately influenced by the fact I haven’t touched anything soft in so long I’ve…oh, fuhgeddaboutit. You get the idea.
The commercials are still dumb. And wrong.
Speaking of sports… (we were, weren’t we?) the NHL season kicks off on Saturday with the first of two back-to-back (Sat & Sun) games between the reigning Stanley Cup champion Ducks and a less-than-worthy opponent, the LA Kings…in London. Yeah, that London… not the one in New Hampshire or Connecticut, or Rhode Island, or somewhere up there. And the Brits are excited, as well they should be. I’ll miss the opener, as it’s not being televised on any network I get… but that’s OK with me. Saturdays are for football and I don’t need conflict in my life, thank you very much. But Sunday’s game is on teevee (if you get Versus, and I do). You know exactly where I’ll be and what I’ll be doing…even though the game begins at 1000 hrs., my time. So, no beer and no nekkid women. But lots of hockey!
Today’s Pic: I thought we might have a good sunset last night…and it started out well. Alas, the beginning was as good as it got. It began with pastel pinks and blues and then just sorta fizzled out altogether. Don’t get me wrong…this ain’t bad. Not every sunset (or sunrise) is all brilliant golds and reds. I like the pastels, too. This shot was taken directly behind El Casa Móvil De Pennington, looking west-northwest. That’s Eastern New Mexico U’s baseball field in the background, with ENMU married student housing to the left of the field. Not to mention the usual frickin’ wires.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Disrupted, We Are

So. The early arrival of Miss Zukiko kinda knocked life into a cocked hat. Actually, buying Miss Zukiko disrupted life as we know it here at El Casa Móvil De Pennington. I really have a lot of backlogged but mundane stuff to do…like restock the larder, wash the Green Hornet, get a haircut, and that most hated of all chores: laundry. Laundry can and will wait until tomorrow, as I’ve yet to dip into the emergency supply of vintage clothing. But the re-supply run absolutely, positively must occur today. I’m nearly out of coffee and other mission-essential items. I’ve already fired one J-4 because I ran out of one thing or another…I don’t want to have to do that again.
Here’s an interesting lil collection of pictures and a short narrative about the Isle of Man TT races 20 years ago.
It’s not much of an island, really, the Isle of Man. Just 33 miles long and 12½ wide, it lies quietly in the Irish Sea, midway between England and Northern Ireland. But for 100 years now, as May gives way to June, the Isle of Man grows exponentially in stature as it welcomes thousands upon thousands of motorcyclists, there to take part in TT Week, one of the sport’s great happenings.
Twenty years ago, I was one of those thousands, riding a Cagiva 650SS up from the riveted bowels of the ferry ship Lady of Man onto the dockside at Douglas, the Island’s capital city. I was there as part of Cycle World’s assault on the TT, spearheaded by Editor-at-Large Steve Thompson, riding a Suzuki GSX-R750 in the Production race.
I’ve told you before, Gentle Reader, that my absolute PEAK motorcycling experience was when I went to the IoM TT in 1982. If you follow the link you’ll get some small idea of what it’s like to be in the Isle of Man during TT week. There’s nothing else in all the motorcycling world that can compare. Nothing. Don’t even try to tell me Daytona or Sturgis come close, because they don’t. Key difference? Racing speeds up to (and exceeding) 150 mph on winding public roads, through towns, up hills and over dales. Not to mention the fabulous OKell’s…taken with a hearty whiff of bean oil as the racers flash by. Ah, memories. It simply doesn’t get any better than the IoM during TT week. For bikers, anyway.
(Photo credit: Grant and Susan Johnson. More excellent photos and narrative at the link.)
Seen this yet? Way kewl. And addicting. (h/t: A Soldier’s Wife)
I’ll be back after the re-supply run.
Update: Forgot to mention that the IoM government issues a commemorative coin each year for the TT races. I have a couple laying about in the souvenir stash, somewhere. This particular 50-pence coin isn't mine, but it's representative. Click for larger.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen...

...I give you Miss Zukiko, the most beautiful bike in all of Beautiful La Hacienda Trailer Park. Of course there are only two bikes in BLHTP (AFAIK), the other being a garden-variety Hardley-Ableson in a silver-gray sort of color. Miss Zukiko is beautiful, by comparison… although methinks her looks just might be an acquired taste.
Just for comparison's sake, I've thrown in a pic of the late and (un)lamented 'Zuki…which is the last pic in the series.
So. Wendy at Zia Power Sports called this morning just after I’d posted the “Naming the Baby” post below, saying Zukiko was ready to be picked up. Quite unexpected, that call was. Yesterday Wendy told me it would be tomorrow or Friday before the bike was set up and ready to go…and I told her to take her time, I wasn’t in a rush. But Hey! Earlier is much better than later, nu?
First impressions: the motor has ten more horsepower in this incarnation than in the ‘Zuki, i.e., 71 hp vs. 60. And you can really feel it, too. I was a good boy and didn't take it over six grand on the way home, but Boy-Howdy! The roll-on is worlds better than on the ‘Zuki, which always felt somewhat anemic...compared to bikes I've owned in the past.
The riding position is gonna take some getting used to. My wrists were aching after only ten minutes of putting around Clovis, but it's better once you're on the open road. I don’t think I’ll be doing any 500-mile days on this bike for a while. Zukiko is much better at parking lot speeds. I don't think I'll drop her in that situation.
The mirrors on the ‘Zuki were much better than those on Miss Zukiko…as a matter of fact, the ‘Zuki’s mirrors were the best I’d ever seen on a bike. Zukiko’s will take a little bit of “getting used to” but they’re OK.
I’d love to be putting a few more miles on her, rather than writing this post. But the skies are threatening rain and I just don’t feel like getting wet today. There will be more than enough time for rides in future.

Naming the Baby

As you’re well aware, Gentle Reader, I refer to the “not long for my driveway but not quite Dearly Departed” family bike as “The ‘Zuki.” I got to thinking…would it be right and proper to refer to the moto lust-object-in-waiting as The ‘Zuki, as well? Once she arrives, that is. Would she resent being called by the name of my former flame? Even if I added an unwieldy “II” as a suffix? And if she were offended, would she become a passive-aggressive sort and take out her resentment on me in ways too horrible to contemplate? Motorcycles can be temperamental sorts, ya know. It pays to stay on their good side. I know I did something to piss off The ‘Zuki to make her show me her ass on two occasions, but I never figured out exactly what. Digression.
So I decided the new ride must have a new name. I’m kinda attached to ‘Zuki. Since both current and future moto-ladies originated in Toyokawa, Japan they are Nihonjin, by definition. So what would be wrong with calling the new baby “Zukiko?” (Japanese women’s names all end in –ko, as in Junko, Satchiko, etc.) Nothing, I thought…but let’s google it, just to make sure. And I found this (pdf-alert):
Goddesses Of Earth
By DameonUzumaki
Now Zukiko, was rather quiet. She never spoke often, but would when she had to. Her hair was a silky, beaming gray. Zukiko loved music... Lullabe... Pop... or even Ballet. To show her love of music, was a very skilled flute player and wore a shirt that had a line of notes to Beethoven's own "Moonlight Sonata". She was blessed with the gift of the Wind Goddess. She was rather smart, her friends always asked her for answers. Zukiko also played music with the power of her wind.
Now is that serendipitous, or what? Of course, Zukiko is also the name of a Cambodian gay guy in Phnom Penh looking to “make friends”…or, as he puts it “je cherche les mec pour faire des conversasion et surtout faire la relation stable et durable.” Whatever.
“Stable and durable.” That’s the sort of relationship I want with my Zukiko (The Goddess of Wind).
Oh. No bean jokes, please.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Today's Stupidity

I bought one of these this morning, in blue as pictured. It's a Suzuki SV-650S... the sport bike equivalent of what I'm currently riding. You probably knew this was coming, didn't you, Gentle Reader?

The question (if you have to ask) would be "why?" The answer is: I got tired of dropping the existing 'Zuki (twice is two times too many), got tired of the expense of dropping the danged thing, and got tired of the sheer embarrassment of dropping it. The basic problem is the 32-inch seat height simply isn't a good match for a guy with a 30-inch inseam. Or: the bike is just too tall for me. Other than that, I loved the 'Zuki.

Which, of course, is why I'm buying another Suzuki. The new bike has the same motor (which is a veritable jewel of a power plant), but it's cradled in a frame that is much more appropriate for someone of my...um...stature. Or lack of same, you decide.

I can't say I'm enamored with the riding position, but it's not that bad. The best part is I can sit on the bike and my feet rest flat-footed on the ground. And the SV-S doesn't feel nearly as top heavy as the DL does...and therein is the lion's share of the reasons behind today's stupidity. Actually, the stupid piece happened last April. Today's stupidity was simply a long-overdue correction.

I pick her up Thursday or Friday.

Update 1405 hrs: Lou mentioned in the comments that the new bike looks just like the old one. Well, sorta. They're both blue. I posted a pic of the current 'Zuki just so you can compare the two, Gentle Reader. New bike on top, the 'Zuki on the bottom.

I Slept On It

A few “final” words on Ahmadinejad and his appearance yesterday at Columbia… I immediately thought “never say never” after typing those words, but here goes, anyway. First of all, let me apologize for being “All Ahmadinejad, all the time” yesterday. All three of you long-time readers know I’m trying to break myself of being so danged political, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. There was something about this issue that grabbed me, and I’m still not quite sure what it is. I didn’t blog about Dr. Bollinger’s Columbia's decision to invite Ahmadinejad to speak at Columbia when the initial furor broke and that was by design, i.e., part of my effort to be less political. The same goes for the Ahmadinejad – Ground Zero brouhaha. There were plenty of people voicing opposition or otherwise chiming in on both those issues; my voice would have been superfluous, at best. I did, however make a decision to watch Ahmadinejad’s speech at Columbia yesterday after hearing the event would be televised. Little did I know what I was in for, or just how much I would be “taken” by the event.
So. After much listening, watching, and reading of comments, critiques, criticism, praise, bitches, complaints, posturing, and what-have-you about Columbia, its World Leaders Forum, and Ahmadinejad, my bottom line is this:
Columbia did the right thing.
I note with some (if not a lot) dismay that my opinion is in the minority on the right side of the ‘sphere. Some of my daily reads… people whose opinion I respect and often quote… disagree. I expected disagreement from some quarters, but that doesn’t surprise me given the usual and customary tone of the discourse there (if you want to call it that…to me those guys are just right-wing variations on the KosKidz theme). Thankfully, there are also at least two folks— and I’ll name names here: Jules Crittenden and Gerard van der Leun — who think Columbia did the right thing. Those guys put it in words a lot better than I do, so give them a read.
And finally (almost)… the New York Sun has an article on this subject that’s worth your time: “Bollinger Stuns Ahmadinejad With Blunt Rebuke.” And speaking of Dr. Bollinger, spare a moment to view the two vids below. They’re keepers.
Dr. Bollinger’s Remarks, Part I
Dr. Bollinger’s Remarks, Part II
(h/t: Hot Air) The full text of Dr. Bollinger’s remarks is here.
And now I have to hit the shower. I have to be over in the Big(ger) CityTM at 0830 this morning. The ‘Zuki has a doctor’s appointment…
I’ll be back later.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ahmadinejad: Brief Initial Reactions...

There’s a bit of a lag on the ‘net, and that’s to be expected. More will be revealed in due course, but for the moment, here’s Jonah Goldberg’s response to Dr. Bollinger’s introductory remarks, in it's entirety:

Bollinger So Far [Jonah Goldberg]

I was against the invitation, I still am. I am no great fan of Bollinger's. But, I must give credit where due. His opening statement is about as hard-hitting and tough as one could hope for. This may still be a debacle, but there's a possible benefit more plausible than I imagined just minutes before this began. If the video of Bollinger's statement is distributed throughout the Middle East in general and Iran in particular it could have a very positive effect. Time will tell.

Fox News is running reactions, commentary, and clips of Ahmadinejad’s speech as I type.

Speaking of Fox News…I wonder if those on the Left will praise or pan FNC for carrying the introductions, the speech itself, and the question/answer period complete and uninterrupted. I cut to CNN, very briefly, during Ahmadinejad’s speech and saw a “talking” head” pontificating over Ahmadinejad. Not cool.

My initial reactions follow…

Most amazing revelation: “There are no homosexuals in Iran.” Followed up with words to the effect that Iran was unlike the West in this regard… “we don’t have this problem.” (I’m paraphrasing the last.) This from Ahmadinejad, in response to a question about why Iran is executing and otherwise persecuting gays. I almost fell off my chair laughing. This, unfortunately, will probably be the widest and most quoted sound bite of the entire event.

Ahmadinejad’s actual speech was a rambling, disorganized rant for the most part. He equivocated and dodged the hard questions during the Q&A period, as I expected. When asked if his government seeks the destruction of Israel, Ahmadinejad answered with a rambling non-response about how the Palestinians have been suffering for over 60 years. The moderator let him ramble on, then pointedly asked if Ahmadinejad intended to answer the question with a simple “yes” or “no.” Ahmadinejad replied that the moderator was looking for an answer he “wanted to hear.” And still refused to answer…

I was against the very idea of Ahmadinejad being invited to Columbia. I’m not so sure now, but I haven’t had enough time to reflect on this thoroughly, so take this with a grain of salt:

“Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

And sunlight, in this case, was letting this idiot reveal himself for what he IS: a lying, equivocating, tinpot, wanna-be “Head of State.” And Dr. Bollinger’s introduction, assuming his introductory remarks get wide dissemination, took the air out of Ahmadinejad and his “remarks,” at least as far as YrHmblScrb is concerned.

Interesting times, indeed.

Update: C-SPAN has a RealPlayer video of the Ahmadinejad speech and introductory remarks posted on its website. Look for "Iranian Pres. Ahmadinejad Speech at Columbia Univ." Dr. Bollinger's remarks begin at three minutes 50 seconds and end at 19 minutes 15 seconds into the one hour 21 minute clip. I highly recommend you view Dr. Bollinger's remarks. They're very, very good. So good, in fact, that Ahmadinejad spent the first three minutes of his speech extemporaneously responding to the "insults" delivered by Dr. Bollinger. Interesting, indeed...one man's truth is another man's "insult."

Update II: Gerard has a roundup of initial reactions to the Bollinger/Ahmadinejad remarks by the Big Dogs. Samples:

Not Bolllinger's first rodeo, but it certainly was his best.

"Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator."

"Frankly and in all candor, Mr. President, I doubt that you will have the intellectual courage to answer these questions. But your avoiding them will have meaning for us." Bollinger Explains It All for You.

Columbias President Confronts Iranian Leader - City Room - Metro - New York Times Blog

Mr. Bollinger asked Mr. Ahmadinejad: "Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator, and so I ask you, and so I ask you, why have women members of the Bahai faith, homosexuals and so many of our academic colleagues become targets of persecution in your country?"

He asked whether Mr. Ahmadinejad was using a nuclear confrontation with the West to distract from his incompetent leadership at home. He also asked to be allowed to lead a delegation of scholars to Iran to speak freely, as Mr. Ahmadinejad can do today.

He confronted Mr. Ahmadinejad over his description of the Holocaust as "a fabricated legend," calling him either "brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated." He called Columbia a world center of Jewish studies that since the 1930s has provided a home for Jewish refugees. He called the Holocaust "the most documented event in human history."

"Today I feel all the weight of the modern civilized world yearning to express the revulsion at what you stand for," Mr. Bollinger told Mr. Ahmadinejad. "I only wish I could do better."

Masterful.

I'll be looking for the wave of apologies to President Bollinger. Starting with mine for thinking ill of his motives.

UPDATE: Dean Barnett @ Townhall.com is straightforward: "Regardless of how stupid inviting Ahmadenijad to the Columbia was in the first place, let’s give Bollinger credit for standing face-to-face with evil and calling it out. Dean Bollinger, if you want to be fair about things, has either partly or fully rehabilitated his reputation with his speech today. Believe me, I didn’t expect to be typing those words."

Lisa Schiffren at The Corner on National Review Online with what seems to be the emerging line on Bollinger's admirable remarks: "I thought that he was being a tough guy — even though I liked the content of the rhetoric — to compensate for what he had done by inviting Ahmadinajad."

[...]

No retreat for BLACKFIVE: Ahm-a-nuttah-job speech "Bollinger represented his sorry peers in academia better than expected, but you can't fix stupid."

Charles Johnson at LGF holds his line: lgf: Ahmadinejad's Columbia Speech, Thread 2

Lots of readers seem to think Columbia president Lee Bollinger deserves credit for his opening speech. I don't. I think it was an attempt to redeem his reputation and keep the money flowing in from alumni, and does not even begin to make up for the atrocity of giving this creature a podium at one of America's most prestigious schools.

Koz Kids (which Johnson links to in the same item) agree with him, but for slightly different reasons: Daily Kos: Bollinger's Diatribe

As an American, I was stunned and embarrassed by Bollinger's harangue of Ahmedinejad. It was a craven and cowardly capitulation to political pressures, and unworthy of the academic institution that Bollinger represents.

Do go... to Gerard's place, I mean. The KosKidz are being their usual clue-free selves.

DAMN!

C-SPAN just cut away to broadcast the House proceedings, letting me know that C-SPAN3 will continue live coverage of Ahmadinejad. And Dr. Bollinger was on quite a roll, too. I'm amazed at the things he was saying...this is not your typical moral-relativist academic bullshit, it's very real, very appropriate and very pointed...above all else...criticism of Ahmadinejad and his regime.

Thanks for frickin' NOTHING, C-SPAN. I STILL don't get "-3."

Twits.

Update: Fox is carrying the speech.

Delay

Posting will be late today. I'm watching Lee Bollinger, president of Columbia Universtity, introduce Ahmadinejad at Columbia, live on C-SPAN, as we speak.

FWIW, Dr. Bollinger, in his introduction, is verbally kicking Ahmadinejad's ASS, big time. He's saying all the right things on this, the precisely WRONG occasion.

I hope Bollinger's address is captured somewhere and appears on YouTube, because it's incendiary and oh-so-appropriate stuff.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Truth

Don't watch this if you're offended by the F-Bomb, because there are just too many to count. OTOH, the guy's RIGHT.

(h/t: Gerard.)

Daring-Do, On a Few Levels

This will probably be the most blogged-about story today: Snatched: Israeli commandos ‘nuclear’ raid.”

Israel was determined not to take any chances with its neighbour. Following the example set by its raid on an Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak 1981, it drew up plans to bomb the Syrian compound.

But Washington was not satisfied. It demanded clear evidence of nuclear-related activities before giving the operation its blessing. The task of the commandos was to provide it.

Today the site near Dayr az-Zawr lies in ruins after it was pounded by Israeli F15Is on September 6. Before the Israelis issued the order to strike, the commandos had secretly seized samples of nuclear material and taken them back into Israel for examination by scientists, the sources say. A laboratory confirmed that the unspecified material was North Korean in origin. America approved an attack.

While The Times story is a gripping read…more like John Grisham than John Burns…it’s still speculation, and the story will likely remain speculative for the foreseeable future. The Times does provide some interesting details that, woven together, build a believable albeit circumstantial case about the Israeli raid and the motives driving it. I find the North Korean connection the most interesting aspect of this event, not to mention the US government’s official non-reaction… vis-à-vis the Six-Party Talks, which begin again this coming week. There’s apparently a lot more here than meets the eye. And I dunno about you, Gentle Reader, but my eyes don’t like what they see.

Related: Charles Krauthammer wrote a good column on the Israeli strike in Friday’s WaPo, just in case you missed it.

There were some pretty good football games yesterday. Fortunately for me, ABC and ESPN are on adjacent channels here in P-Ville. There was just enough disparity in the timing of the Michigan and Notre Dame games that I was able to successfully watch both, simply by clicking the “Channel Up” and “Channel Down” buttons on my remote…incessantly…which you may read as “after each play.” That’s the sort of behavior that drives women nuts, ya know. I should make it clear: no women were harmed (mentally) while watching football in El Casa Móvil De Pennington yesterday. Mainly coz there were none in attendance.

Notre Dame didn’t suck quite as bad as I expected yesterday, what with two offensive touchdowns (How sad is that? Excited over two TDs?), but they still sucked. It’s now confirmed: The. Worst. Season. Start. Ever.

Michigan, on the other hand, looked pretty impressive against Penn State. I don’t think they’re good enough to win the Big Ten, but the Michigan - Ohio State game should be interesting, at least. And I predict that will be the Big Ten title game, for all intents and purposes. I understand it’s early in the season and stuff happens. But who else is there in the Big Ten? Purdue? Don’t think so. Wisconsin? Not if they continue to play like they did yesterday, barely eking out a win over Iowa. Yep, it’ll be Michigan – OSU.

In the “Save the Best for Last” category… the best game I saw yesterday was Georgia’s overtime win at ‘Bama. That game kept me on the edge of my seat for the duration. I didn’t have (ahem) a Dawg in that fight but since I was born in Georgia, I was rooting for them. Enough of a connection, ain’t it?

Today’s Pic: Cigars! I decided to expand my horizons with my latest cigar order. I bought a sampler of 20 Camacho 1962s in various sizes (Churchill, Corona, Torpedo, Robusto, and Perfecto) instead of another box of my default (and wonderful) Partagas Spanish Rosadas. The Camachos are OK, but they won’t become a regular addition to the humidor once the initial supply is exhausted.

Pictured, from left to right (all Camachos except for the first cigar, which is a Partagas): the Partagas, Churchill, Torpedo, Robusto, and Perfecto. I don’t understand the Perfecto…specifically its size. It’s way too short for a relaxing smoke, and the shortness impacts the flavor of the smoke, making it somewhat harsher. To me, anyway. YMMV.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Long-Delayed Repair


Today’s Pic: A view of El Casa Móvil De Pennington heretofore unseen at EIP. The surroundings and the angle of the view may be familiar, but it’s the awning that was previously unseen. And that’s because I’d never put the old awning down in previous pics, as it was ripped asunder in a storm two years ago. But the old torn and frayed awning was replaced this past Thursday at no small cost, Gentle Reader, which was why it went un-repaired these last two years. Priorities, and all that. But Dang! It’s nice to have the awning (and shade!) back…and my electric bill should reflect substantial savings, too. That shade you see on the side of El Casa Móvil keeps the AC from running full-tilt-boogie on our 90-degree days. Not that we have that many left this year…but, still.
I need to juggle the rolling stock a bit, as the ‘Zuki takes up nearly all the available space under the awning. I’m thinking I’ll move her back to the rear of El Casa Móvil, adjacent to the car-hauler. But that will be tomorrow at the earliest. Because there are other plans for today that will last well into the night.
It’s Saturday. It’s Fall. It’s football!
I might be back in a few. Maybe.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Almost Forgot...


My new neighbor, enjoying a relaxing moment next to her fifth wheel.
Well, OK…not really. But I was surfing some RV park sites last evening and came upon this candid shot depicting “park life.” ALMOST made me want to pack up right then and there and head out. Of course, the thought was “why don’t I have neighbors like this?” I mean, what’s not to like? She’s in my cohort, age-wise; she's not hard to look at; and she’s got a beer in her hand.
It don’t get no better than that, Gentle Reader.

Not Your Father's Air Force...But It IS His Plane.


The caption to the pic above reads:
Retired Maj. Gen. Doug Pearson (left) and Capt. Todd Pearson joke around Sept. 13, 2007 prior to Captain Pearson taking off on the Celestial Eagle remembrance flight at Homestead ARB, Fla. Captain Pearson is a 390th Fighter Squadron pilot from Mountain Home AFB, Idaho. General Pearson flew the exact same F-15 Eagle, now assigned to the Florida Air National Guard 125th Fighter Wing, 22 years ago on the Celestial Eagle flight.
Full article here (pdf). And just how old is that F-15? It flew its maiden flight on Veterans Day in 1977. And it’s still a front-line fighter, at 30 years of age.
This happens all too often these days…sons flying the very same aircraft their father flew. As a matter of fact, nearly every single B-52 is older than the men who fly them, bar none. And the age of the USAF fleet is a problem. A serious, serious problem.
September 21, 2007— The Air Force’s attempts to fund replacement of its aged aircraft fleet by cutting personnel is failing, and if Congress and the White House don’t provide an infusion of cash soon, the service will no longer be able to win wars, Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne declared.
Wynne, speaking at a Washington think tank Sept. 19, said that the service’s stay-within-its-topline bootstrap approach isn’t arresting the aging aircraft problem, and the inventory age is still rising, from 23.9 years today to 26.5 years by 2012.
The Air Force’s older fighters aren’t up to defeating a modern air defense system or modern foreign fighters, Wynne said, and in a fight with Venezuela or Iran, such aircraft would probably be shot down.
“No [USAF] fourth-generation fighter would be allowed into war over Tehran or over Caracas, once they buy what the Russians are selling them,” Wynne said. He noted that as far back as 1999, only stealthy B-2s and F-117s were actually allowed to overfly the murderous air defenses around Belgrade in operation Allied Force, and foreign air defense systems have improved dramatically since then.
As I said: A serious issue.
Shelly has a fun meme going on over at her place. The objective is to put together a sequence of three songs that constitute a “play list (set)” for a radio station, and the theme is “parts of the body I’m attracted to.” After about 30 minutes of thought (and yes, it did hurt…the thinking bit), I came up with the following:
  1. “Going Down” – Jeff Beck Group. An old, obscure, full-tilt boogie number wherein the singer tells us he’s “got my head out the window and my big feets on the ground…” Sample here. (OK, it’s a stretch, this one. I’m attracted to neither feet nor heads…generally. But it’s such a great song and it does reference body parts.)
  2. “Behind Blue Eyes” – The Who. No explanation needed.
  3. “So Alive” – Love and Rockets. “Your legs are long and oh so strong…” Sample here, in case you’ve forgotten.
I’ll be checking in over at Shelly’s every so often to see what others have come up with. This is the sort of meme I like.
I’m still procrastinating, still looking for motivation. And that should be sorta obvious from the timestamp on this post. I think I need to change my routine, which is to say “post first, surf later.” My list of daily reads is getting to the point where it’s nearly unmanageable. But: it’s time well-spent. I cannot, for the life of me, imagine a day without reading the thoughts of my Blog-Buddies. But that's not the problem. The problem is meeting my self-imposed posting deadline. Residual Type-A behavior. It never goes away, really.
Today’s Pic: A blast from the recent past. SN1 (that's his bike in the foreground) and I taking a break in Walden, CO just before The Ride From Hell began to earn it’s name. Up until this point it was all sweetness and light…almost literally. And then it got ugly. Real ugly.
May, this year.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

That Kind of Day

It’s just that kinda day… And, by that, I mean short on motivation and long on procrastination. But there’s one more thing, as well. I stumbled upon a new-to-me blog today while reading comments over at Shelly’s place. And once I began reading I couldn’t stop. I finished reading “Cool, Calm, and Collected…” about a half-hour or so ago and I’m still in a state of wonderment and awe.

Mel, the proprietress of CC&C, is in a living nightmare, a nightmare all too familiar to military people and their families these days: her fiancé was killed in Iraq. Mel is handling her grief with strength and courage, and those facts come out in her writing. So, if you think you’re having a bad day…well, you’re probably not. Not compared to Mel and the others who have lost loved ones.

Drop over by her place and give her a hug. She deserves it.

Google mystery… Just for grins and giggles, and before I began making the day’s rounds this morning, I chased up a Google query that resulted in a visit to EIP. I was amazed to see this (as usual, click for larger).

There are over 91,000 links for this particular query, and EIP is Number One. How does that happen, one wonders? What are the ins-and-outs of Google’s algorithms that determine how a web page gets ranked? I know I’m not the first person to ask such a (stupid) question, but it fascinates me, nonetheless.

Today’s Pic: Sort of a re-run from April of this year… “Interesting Skies, Take Three.”

Right out my back door here in P-Ville.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

EXCELLENT Plane Pr0n...

...but you might want to turn your sound down. The soundtrack ain't exactly everyone's cuppa. But the planes? Everyone will like those. That and the fact they are seriously blowing stuff up.

Note to SNs One and Two: I left the sound UP and kinda liked it, actually. I hope you were sitting down when you read this.
(h/t: Mrs. Greyhawk, posting at Mudville's Milblogs)

(War) Planes, (Steam) Trains and Automobiles Big Yellow Taxis (Not Necessarily in That Order)

Didja know the Troofers hold conventions? I sorta suspected they did, but Sonny Bunch at The Weekly Standard actually went to a couple…and reports on ‘em here.
NY 9/11 Truth held its anniversary celebration, "The 9/11 Truth: Ready for Mainstream," at the Cooper Union in New York City last week. Frequently citing Abraham Lincoln--who forcefully articulated his political philosophy on the same stage 147 years earlier--the Truthers invited to speak seemed less interested in discussing the intricacies of the various plots they claim to have uncovered than in shoehorning 9/11 into causes they supported long before the terrorist atrocities of that day. Tiokasin Ghosthorse, a Lakota radio host, said he wasn't at all surprised by the events of 9/11 because "America [has been] an 'inside job' since 1492." Mya Schone, another staple of liberal talk radio, entitled her speech "9/11 and the Oppressive Apparatus of the Capitalist State."
Attendance was sparse. Despite warnings to get tickets in advance in order to assure a seat, Cooper Union's Great Hall was at perhaps 25 percent of capacity on the first day. Even fewer showed up on the second day. Truthers varied in age, but the uniform of the event seemed to be T-shirts sporting slogans like "9/11 was an inside job!" and "Impeach Bush." Devotees of Lyndon LaRouche were staked outfront of the premises, warning that the ideas contained within the literature were "heavy, important, man." The LaRouchies seemed to realize they weren't welcome at the event, but it's hard to think that the sermon they were preaching was any more outlandish than, say, that of Alfred Webre, who was given 45 minutes to talk on the topics "9/11 as a war crime" and the "development of [an] international tribunal" for the Bush administration. After touching on those subjects (to great applause), he veered off course, arguing that an "artificial intelligence matrix" controlled by the Rothschild family might have caused 9/11, that the cancer rate in Iraq now stands at 30 percent, that AIDS is a biological weapon created to control the population, that global warming is being caused by a black hole 23 light years from Earth, and that the NYPD was employing a supersonic crowd disruption device that was depressing turnout.
And there’s more, much more. This sort of stuff would be funny if it weren’t for the facts that they’re talking about terrorist attacks on America — attacks that caused massive loss of life and untold billions of dollars in destroyed property and lost business income. That, and the fact these frickin’ idiots are delusional and paranoid enough to think our government is behind it all. It’s too bad “stupid” isn’t painful.
They’re beyond redemption. WAY beyond…
OK…I gotta bookmark this blog for those days when I’m either uninspired or lacking something, anything, of substance to write about: “The Conscience of a Liberal.”
Introducing This Blog
“I was born in 1953. Like the rest of my generation, I took the America I grew up in for granted – in fact, like many in my generation I railed against the very real injustices of our society, marched against the bombing of Cambodia, went door to door for liberal candidates. It’s only in retrospect that the political and economic environment of my youth stands revealed as a paradise lost, an exceptional episode in our nation’s history.”
That’s the opening paragraph of my new book, The Conscience of a Liberal. It’s a book about what has happened to the America I grew up in and why, a story that I argue revolves around the politics and economics of inequality.
I’ve given this New York Times blog the same name, because the politics and economics of inequality will, I expect, be central to many of the blog posts – although I also expect to be posting on a lot of other issues, from health care to high-speed Internet access, from productivity to poll analysis.
And Mr. Krugman is still railing, and will continue railing from now until he draws his last breath. I think he got his book title right, though. American Liberals: ALL “conscience” and little-to-no actual thought. Because there’s just SO much wrong and very little right with America, ya know.
Now I just have to remember he exists on those days when I need blog-fodder. Easy pickings.
Speaking of easy pickings…I’m sure you’ve heard TimesSelect is no more. That means Krugman, Dowd, and Rich are available for mocking by the Great Unwashed Masses now. Heh.
Good news, bad news…in The Times (UK):
An accidental explosion in a secret weapons facility in Syria killed dozens of Syrian and Iranian military engineers as they were trying to mount a chemical warhead on a Scud missile in July, a report has claimed.
Fifteen military personnel and “dozens” of Iranian advisers died when the fuel for the missile caught fire and the weapon exploded.
A cloud of chemical and nerve gases, that included the deadly VX and Sarin agents as well as mustard gas, was sent across the facility in the northern city of Aleppo, according to a new report in Jane's Defence Weekly.
The bad news, of course, is that the Iranians and the Syrians apparently have a very active chemical weapons program going in Syria. I’m sure you can figure out what the good part is. And there’s more of note in the linked article… unrelated speculation about that Israeli air strike that everyone and no one is talking about…
The Goddess Sings: Joni Mitchell reworks Big Yellow Taxi; UK exclusive: listen to the singer's new version of the 1970 hit. OK, I’ve had this playing (on loop) for about ten minutes now, and at the risk of being branded a heretic, I think I like it better than the original. Joni hasn’t recorded new stuff in a coon’s age, but she’s back! And sounding just as good as ever. If not better.
I love this woman…
Speaking of women I love… Heather Wilson (R-NM) co-sponsored H. CON. RES. 207: “Recognizing the 60th anniversary of the United States Air Force as an independent military service.” Full text here. Excerpts:
Whereas General Henry H. `Hap' Arnold drew upon the industrial prowess and human resources of the United States to transform the Army Air Corps from a force of 22,400 men and 2,402 aircraft in 1939 to a peak wartime strength of 2.4 million personnel and 79,908 aircraft;
Whereas the standard for courage, flexibility, and intrepidity in combat was established for all Airmen during the first aerial raid in the Pacific Theater on April 18, 1942, when Lieutenant Colonel James `Jimmy' H. Doolittle led 16 North American B-25 Mitchell bombers in a joint operation from the deck of the naval carrier USS Hornet to strike the Japanese mainland in response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor;
[…]
Whereas the Air National Guard was also created by the National Security Act of 1947 and has played a vital role in guarding the United States and defending freedom in nearly every major conflict and contingency since its inception;
Whereas on October 14, 1947, the USAF demonstrated its historic and ongoing commitment to technological innovation when Captain Charles `Chuck' Yeager piloted the X-1 developmental rocket plane to a speed of Mach 1.07, becoming the first flyer to break the sound barrier in a powered aircraft in level flight;
Whereas the USAF Reserve, created April 14, 1948, is comprised of Citizen Airmen who steadfastly sacrifice personal fortune and family comfort in order to serve as unrivaled wingmen of the active duty USAF in every deployment, mission, and battlefield around the globe;
[…]
Whereas in the early years of the Cold War, the USAF's arsenal of bombers, such as the long-range Convair B-58 Hustler and B-36 Peacemaker, and the Boeing B-47 Stratojet and B-52 Stratofortress, under the command of General Curtis LeMay served as the United States' preeminent deterrent against Soviet Union forces and were later augmented by the development and deployment of medium range and intercontinental ballistic missiles, such as the Titan and Minuteman developed by General Bernard A. Schriever;
[…]
Whereas, for 17 consecutive years beginning with 1990, Airmen have been engaged in full-time combat operations ranging from Desert Shield to Iraqi Freedom, and have shown themselves to be an expeditionary air and space force of outstanding capability ready to fight and win wars of the United States when and where Airmen are called upon to do so;
[…]
Whereas during the past 60 years, the USAF has repeatedly proved its value to the Nation, fulfilling its critical role in national defense, and protecting peace, liberty, and freedom throughout the world: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress remembers, honors, and commends the achievements of the United States Air Force in serving and defending the United States on the 60th anniversary of the creation of the United States Air Force as an independent military service.
Thanks, Heather.
Today’s Pic: Is another C&TRR train vid. Details as in yesterday’s post. No dead presidents' faces (or dead comedians, either) this time around.
video

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Sixty! And Counting...



Your United States Air Force celebrates its 60th anniversary today. Blog-Buddy Mike, an AFROTC cadet at Iowa State, has posted the text of a speech he’s giving to commemorate USAF’s anniversary. You should go read…there’s nothing I can add to what he’s said.

Heritage Flight photo (left to right: P-51, F-16, F-4, F-22) from Heritage Flight.org…where there’s more excellent plane pr0n in the same vein.

Steam

Lotsa railroad talk going on over at Lou’s place today. So, in honor of that railroad thing… which is waaay cool, doncha know… here’s a lil two minute vid I shot of the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic railway back in June, 2004. And the video IS little, literally. My camera (like most digital cameras these days) has video capability, but it’s very basic and the output is quite small in size and lacking in quality. But…it works, and this will give you some idea of what the C&TRR is all about. (I’ve posted about the C&TRR before.)

Just a brief aside… Being “of a certain age,” I can lay claim to have ridden as a paying passenger on a steam train. The year was 1968 and the place was Japan. I was en route to Wakkanai Air Station, which is on the extreme northern tip of Hokkaido, the northernmost of the Japanese Home Islands. The normal mode of transport up to Wakkanai was via “Scare America” from Yokota AB direct to Wakkanai. Fortunately for me, Air America was otherwise occupied at the time I had to get to Wakkanai, so the nice folks at Yokota scheduled me on commercial air from Haneda to Sapporo and via train from Sapporo to Wakkanai (there was no commercial air service into Wakkanai back then; there is now). Little did I know that I was going to ride a steam train…

My journey took place in the summer and it was spectacular. Hokkaido is a lot like New England when it comes to topography…mountainous, forested, and green, green, green. Summers are mild and winters brutal up that way, so it’s a very good thing my encounter with steam trains took place in the summer. The trip took about eight hours, if memory serves, and was further enhanced by the fact that one could open the windows up (wide! wide enough to receive repeated warnings from the conductor to quit hanging out of them...) and take in the air. Which was a mixed blessing…what with the cinders and smoke from the engine swirling in constantly. But Hey! That was part of the experience. And what an experience it was…

video

Monday, September 17, 2007

All Over the Map...

Interesting op-ed published in the Houston Chronicle yesterday… “Yellow ribbons on cars don’t measure real support.” Excerpts:

Out of a nation of now 300 million people, who really cares about the young men and women we send into harm's way?

Let's see. Those on active duty obviously care, their families care, veterans care, a small number in the media care, some states like Texas care more than others, and a minute amount of the national population actually cares. But for the vast majority of the rest America, the young men and women who serve on the front lines and protect us from evil are all but invisible. They don't exist in our lives, they occupy no space in our minds, and their sacrifice goes unnoticed and unappreciated.

Many on the far left think those in uniform are fools, puppets or even war criminals. Witness the already controversial ad run in the New York Times last week by MoveOn.org that intimates Gen. David Petraeus — a nonpartisan professional soldier of impeccable reputation — may in fact be "General Betray Us." Is that their "support" for our troops?

Politicians who speak for the far left often say, "I support the troops but not the war." Proudly, liberal Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, often parrots that exact phrase. This is the same man who, while in the terrorist-sponsoring state of Syria, just denounced the Iraq war on Syrian television and praised Syrian President Bashar al-Assad— a dictator who, according to our intelligence agencies, allows and encourages Islamists to cross his border into Iraq to kill U.S. soldiers. Is that "support" as defined by Kucinich?

[…]

What about the far right? What about those who purport to speak for my party? Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith and Steve Cambone were three high-level political appointees in the Rumsfeld Pentagon who were instrumental in planning the Iraq war and wildly underestimating the response. Do they "support" our troops? What price do these, never been in the military, ivory tower academics pay for their gross miscalculations?

As they move forward with their careers and makes hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, what support do they offer to the families of the almost 4,000 killed and 30,000 wounded?

The author, Douglas MacKinnon, used to work for Senator Bob Dole. Mr. MacKinnon makes some excellent points (especially about the media), but I’m not sure I agree with his conclusion. But then again, perhaps I’m just out of touch with mainstream America. Life in a small community with a very visible military presence just might skew my point of view. We here on The High Plains see our Air Force every single day…and we’re thankful for them, too… just as we are proud of, and thankful for, our soldiers, sailors, Marines, and Coasties. We just don’t see those guys as often. That doesn’t mean we’re not thinking about them.

Out of sight is NOT out of mind.

You may have read about that mysterious Israeli air strike on Syria that took place last week. The Times (UK) had an interesting article about it yesterday, but that article didn’t say a whole lot, in the final accounting. TigerHawk, on the other hand, has some very interesting speculation on the subject. I say “speculation” because I’m quite sure he doesn’t really know what happened…and those in a position to know certainly aren’t saying. Be sure to scroll down and read the comments, one of which also appears to be very well-informed. Osirak, redux…indeed. Except this time the Iranians might well be on the receiving end. And that ain’t a bad thing. Not at all.

My bottom line? Thank GOD for the Israelis.

Here’s a follow-up to yesterday’s post rant about that frickin’ Hamsher person…and I use the term “person” quite lightly… “witch,” or a term rhyming with same, just might be more appropriate. But I digress. Darleen Click, posting at Protein Wisdom, has more “greatest hits” from the comments to Hamsher’s post, and they’ll curl your hair. But be sure to go, if only to get a look at the cover of Hamsher’s new romance novel: “Disciplining Elizabeth.” Classic.

(h/t: Lex)

Performance Art I might could enjoy…maybe. And that’s a big maybe. I’ve always laughed at the concept of “performance art” in the past, but that was before (a) there were motorcycles involved in (b) a cause to save an historic building. Both those facts in combination just might change my mind about the concept. Well, that and nekkid women topless cello players. (ed: Did you really say that? Ummm, yep, I did. But I was joking.)

But then again, it’s a “by invitation” performance, and I wasn’t invited. But if I had been invited, the chances are that I, and most everyone else, would enjoy this. Assuming one doesn’t mind a little smoke and more than a little noise. Well, “noise” is in the ear of the beholder, ain’t it? One man's noise is another's music...especially in this case.

(photo credit: New York Times.)

Finally, apropos of not much… I heard this tune… which is new to me… yesterday evening. The lyrics struck a chord, but the music is just so-so, what with being described by RP listeners as reminiscent of Cake and/or Leonard Cohen. LC I like, Cake…not so much. But, as I said: it’s the lyrics. Herewith, lyrics to “The Wonderful Wizard,” by The Guggenheim Grotto.

I have been told
not by one but two of my lovers
that I've got a heart of gold
but I'm unable to share it with others
They call me a poet who'll never have a poem
a tiger with no taste for bone
I'm the wonderful, wonderful wizard of waltzing alone
And I have been told
not by one but two of my brothers
that a solitary soul
is a thorn in the side of all others
Just like a homeless, that hangs around your home
or a mother who'd give away her own
I'm the wonderful, wonderful wizard of waltzing alone
Haven't you been told
one man’s meat is the ruin of another
your Edgar Allen crow
is the very bird that holds me together
They call me a poet who'll never have a poem
a tiger with no taste for bone
I'm the wonderful, wonderful wizard of waltzing alone
We’re all off to see the wizard. The wonderful, wonderful,
wonderful wizard

“A solitary soul is a thorn in the side of all others.” You think that’s true, Gentle Reader? I’m not quite sure why, but I do.

Today’s Pic: SN3 on the bridge of USS Mason (DDG 87). Bobby was six years old. The Mason was pretty much brand-new.

April, 2003.