Tuesday, August 29, 2006


A good thing. Middle East strife makes you want to run down the highway between the cars yelling “Don’t fall asleep!!!” – even as
the pod people do their work in back rooms everywhere.


Put that little pink candle on that notoriously “chocolate” cake, and blow it out with a category 3 (not 5) exhale—it’s one year since Hurricane Katrina whacked and soaked New Orleans.

Wait – I tell a lie, as the Brits say—it’s one year since the wind and waves. But it’s one year less a couple of days since the water actually entered the city. [Remember the revealing photo essay by a young Nicaraguan resident named Alvaro R. Morales Villa? here It showed that the areas which eventually flooded were in fact wet, but navigable by cars and pedestrians, for 48 hours after the storm hit.]

At Jewish World Review Rich Lowry channels Eliot glumly while assessing the wet muck in the corners of the Bush second
term, for which New Orleans is the municipal metaphor. Read it and weep.

Then New Orleans native and pillar of southern Catholic broadcasting, Raymond Arroyo of EWTN, chimes in with an equally dismal assessment of the situation on the all-too-spongy ground.

Important Katrina factoid: there were 350,000 cars abandoned in New Orleans and ruined by the flood. That means 350,000 people had transportation out of town, for themselves and family or friends, and they CHOSE NOT TO TAKE IT. Nobody abandoned them—they just abandoned any semblance of human common sense.

Damn that George Bush!—how did he get to them and convince them to do that?

And damn that American Military-Industrial complex that made it possible for the United States Coast Guard to rescue tens of thousands of people, one and two at a time, starting on Day One of the storm. (check out Jordan’s TOTALLY AWESOME COAST GUARD KATRINA VIDEO HERE-- and more info here)

And who was the Commander-in-Chief of the Coast Guard, the only government agency that did everything right on August 29, 2005 (despite its unfortunate placement as part of the hapless Department o’ Homeland Security)?: George W. Bush. Damn that bastard.

Car footnote: s
ince New Orleans mayor Ray “Schoolbus” Nagin forgot to mandate that all the car owners evacuate the city before it was too late, he could at least have put some cash in the city’s coffers by selling the wrecked cars to “the largest auto crusher east of the Rockies”, K&L Auto Crushers of Tyler, Texas, which “offered to pay the City of New Orleans $100.00 per vehicle, 'as is, where is'… They agreed to bring in 5 to 10 portable crushers, work 6 days per week and complete the job in 15 weeks.”

But Ray said NO--“Mother PLEASE! I’d rather do it MYSELF!!!” (Honk if you’re old enough to remember that commercial.) So New Orleans lost both the chance to get the car debris cleared away quickly by a private company, and the millions of dollars in revenue that company would have paid for the scrap. The city took on the expense itself, a project which is expected to cost New Orleans $23,000,000. (Full story at Snopes.com)

In April of 2006 Nagin was re-elected Mayor, winning a run-off election with 52% of 114,000 votes. Apparently waste, incompetence, and criminal negligence don’t count for much with New Orleans voters when they’re spending other Americans’ money.

It’s too bad that the federal government’s response to Katrina continues to be less than stell
ar, because that’s a legitimate news story-- one that gives the media a chance to neglect the bigger story of Louisianna politicians’ heinous stupidity and corruption, not to mention the "Ripley’s Believe-It-Or-Not" story of how many Americans are prepared to swallow the most idiotic and hateful conspiracy theories about the causes of the disaster-- including niche film director Spike Lee's manifestly dishonest HBO "documentary"-- Free Republic's money quote regarding Lee's pompously titled When the Levees Broke: a Requiem in Four Acts:
Perhaps most sad is that in four hours Lee has nothing positive to say about America and Americans. No mention is made of the $700 million from private citizens and churches that were committed in the first few days of the tragedy. No mention is made of the thousands of homes across the nation that welcomed evacuees. No mention is made of the tens of thousands who have successfully rebuilt their lives.

Spike Lee clearly has little affection for the country that gives him free expression and has made him wealthy. He has produced a self-indulgent, deceitful and exploitive film about a tragedy. His message will give poor blacks more reasons to feel powerless, to feel lost, to feel that others bear responsibility for their lives, to hate, and to stay poor.

For a coupla government-handout bucks they could buy a magazine, or hit an internet café, and read the truth, as exhaustively reported by Popular Mechanics here. It just saves SO much time and B.S.

Amazing Ripley’s Believe-It-Or-Not footnote:
Rumor has it that Hurricane Katrina also hit other parts of Louisianna, as well as Texas
, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida-- and that there may actually have been some damage done there. Wow! Talk about coincidence! Do I smell a story here?


Pennsylvania Congressman, champion backroom pork
-bareller, slanderer and armament-scammer of the U.S. military, honorary nancy-boy to leftist hate-screeching chickwaffe Code Pink, and Abscam unindicted co-conspirator John Murtha [spit*spit] will be running this fall against not only his own resumé of shame but also against hot-looking County Comissioner Diana Irey. She had this to say about her conversations with wounded Iraq War veterans at Washington’s Walter Reed Hospital (where Murtha’s Code Pink girlfriends have harassed vets’ families with mock coffins and attack signs from the street outside):
…the stories go on and on, about how encouraging the troops were to me in my effort. One of them – he was a speaking to a number of soldiers around him, when I was thanking him – “Ma’am, you don’t need to thank us. You just go beat him for us.” That is a motivation that will be on my mind 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until I defeat Mr. Murtha on election day.
The Congressman claims to have a frightening acquaintance with Karl Rove’s private anatomy, having accused him of “sitting in his air-conditioned office on his big fat backside” while sending troops to Iraq, or some such non-sensequitur. (Excellent round-up of Murtha's mental ganglions here.) Last time I checked, Rove’s portfolio didn’t include troop deployment decisions. Whatever.

In a related intelligence failure, aerial reconnaissance photos have only turned up this clearly inadequate data on the size of Murtha’s own backside-- although both the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense have recently, um, weighed in with reliable estimates of their own on the ass question. Or were they talking about some other anatomical feature? But I digress.

There’s lots of significant movement on
the Murtha-Irey contest, with several citizens’ organizations being formed to garner support for Irey, much of it from outside the state (from as far away as Iraq, interestingly—from men and women in uniform). The founder of one such organization described her motivation thus:
I'm a parent of a deployed Iraqi Freedom Soldier, and nothing would give me greater joy than to have Murtha's "big fat backside" handed to him in November. That's why I started Murtha Must Go!!
(It appears that there is some classified intel about Murtha’s ass dimensions after all, to which the rest of us are not privy. COVER-UP !!!!!!!! )

Sidelight: There’s some dirt going around about Diana Irey’s husband’s business affairs, since he was involved in a contract to do Iraq reconstruction with a guy (referred to as “an arms dealer,” though the larger background on him shows this to be a part-slice of the truth), who was murdered in Iraq when he had the poor taste to point out to the
Iraqi Defense Ministry that they were being ripped off.

Murtha has made another one of his “suggestions” (i.e., accusations without evidence) that his opponent is running against him so as to “benefit from the war.” I suppose this would make some sense, provided that taking over Jack Murtha’s office in Congress means that you can al
so take over his defense contractor connections, including his ability to funnel over $20,000,000 worth of business to defense companies represented by his lobbyist brother, Kit Murtha. I believe this episode constitutes an oversized old pot calling a perky little kettle black. Re: the murkiness of Murtha, this month’s American Spectator nails it.

That’s not to say that Robert Irey mig
ht not have his murky side too—I have no idea. The accusations are less an example of Murtha’s own corruption than of his infernal stupidity—he couldn’t possibly be in a less tenable position when attacking anybody for benefiting from war.


Passed through Dallas this weekend and drove out into the environs, but there were no sightings of fugitive TV stars, thereabouts being where the cast of Fox TV’s PRISON BREAK re-assembled in June to shoot season 2. Lucky Wentworth Miller, as Michael Scofield, gets to wear civilian clothes, most of the time covering up the areas where we expect to see the famous all-over tattoo of the Fox River Penitentiary blueprint— thereby sparing himself the five-hour body-paint job necessary when he has to wear a t-shirt.

Everybody on the show acts like this tattoo is some kind of wonder of the world, which I suppose it once would have been, even among inmates. Those of us of baby-boom age remember being brought up to see tattoos as a mark of the ignorant underclass and perhaps criminal element of society—certainly people with short attention-spans and too much time on their hands, not to mention a ki
nd of childish narcissism, shallowness, and self-dissatisfaction. (The prevalence of tattoos among the military was considered to fall pretty much under the “too much time on their hands” category, as well as being visible signs of their world travels and the easy access in distant foreign lands to what was thrillingly taboo back home.)

Somewhere along the way tattoos, like most other fashion trends born on society’s margins (like the white lipstick my father identified with prostitutes which was mass-marketed by Yardley to the Carnaby Street crowd), got mainstreamed.

David Brooks at the New York Times, [subscribers only] takes a good crack at this phenomenon, though with an equanimity I can’t quite share:
Today, fashion trends may originate on Death Row, but it takes about a week and a half for baggy jeans, tramp styles and tattoos to migrate from Death Row to Wal-Mart.

What you get is a culture of trompe l’oeil degeneracy… A cadre of fashion-forward types thought they were doing something to separate themselves from the vanilla middle classes but are now discovering that the signs etched into their skins are absolutely mainstream. They are… learning there is nothing more conformist than displays of individuality, nothing more risk-free than rebellion, nothing more conservative than youth culture.
Well, hell, there goes my plan for a barbed wire bracelet... Actually, my instincts have been somewhat the opposite of those Brooks describes. I have consciously declined to get that fashionable second piercing in one ear-lobe that I was hankering for, because I felt like this would be going over to the dark side and risking being identified with the self-loathing sadist freakazoids who pierce themselves all over just to keep the public contemplating the joys of pain.

But let’s face it—in a world full of tattooed kids, with so many piercings up their ears they look like an old brass-tacked leather sofa, who would notice a second sparkle in my lobe?

Bottom line (complete with lines on your bottom…):

I’ve seen a hundred people in Toronto who make Scofield’s Prison Break tattoo look boring. (One of them was a Catholic seminarian, with Our Lady of Guadalupe and Michael the Archangel, among other things, all over him, in colour. He dropped out in the end—quelle surprise
.) If the Scofield tattoo didn’t have Wentworth Miller’s head on top of it, nobody would notice it.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Blogging hiatus until next week --
Time to baptize the new little mommet! (One down, one teufelpuppy to go!)

(Just let the NSA try to figure out THAT code!!)
Photographer, San Francisco Chronicle
Honorary Marine

An instant in time, a timeless and perfect image.

NOT STAGED, not even a little bit-- let the perennial liars be put on notice about that.

Tributes, current and past, here, here, here, here (film), here, and here.

OO-RAH, Joe.

Semper Fi.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Reservists of the ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCE weigh in

Haaretz publishes the full text of a petition of complaint filed by the "Spearhead Brigade" of the IDF about their recent Sweepus Interruptus campaign in South Lebanon, through which effort the security of Israel from terrorist assault by Hezbollah was NOT achieved.

I provide it here in full, having been so struck by the impression that, with a few substitutions of critical nouns [place names and military titles] I suspect a great many of the rank and file, and of the officer corps, of the American military now or ever in Iraq would readily sign on to the wording of this statement if directed to the office of the Commander-in-Chief and his Secretary of Defense. (The resignation of the latter was just yesterday called for by increasingly independent Senator Joe Lieberman, marginalized Democrat of Connecticut. I concur completely, and, no, it's not too late to do any good.)

The IDF speaks:

The following is the text of a petition signed by IDF reservists who served in the Spearhead Brigade in Lebanon, sent to Defense Minister Amir Peretz and IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz in protest at the handling of the war by the government and senior military officials:
We, fighters and commanders at the Spearhead [Hod Hachanit] Brigade, were called up to enlist under an emergency mobilization order [Tzav 8] on July 30, 2006. Our attendance was complete in all battalions.

As we were signing on the battle equipment and weapons, we knew that we were signing for much more. We left behind wives and children, girlfriends and families. We put aside our jobs and livelihoods; we were prepared to carry out our mission under the most difficult of conditions, in heat, thirst or hunger.

At the back of his mind, each and every one of us knew, that for the just cause of protecting the citizens of Israel, we would even put our lives on the line.

But there was one thing we were not and would not be willing to accept: We were unwilling to accept indecisiveness. The war's aim, which was not defined clearly, was even changed in the course of the fighting.

The indecisiveness manifested itself in inaction, in not carrying out operational plans, and in canceling all the missions we were given during the fighting. This led to prolonged stays in hostile territory, without an operational purpose and out of unprofessional considerations, without seeking to engage in combat with the enemy.

The "cold feet" of the decision-makers were evident everywhere. To us the indecisiveness expressed deep disrespect for our willingness to join the ranks and fight and made us feel as though we had been spat on, since it contradicts the principles and values of warfare upon which we were trained at the Israel Defense Forces.

The heavy feeling that in the echelons above us there is nothing but under-preparation, insincerity, lack of foresight and inability to make rational decisions, leads to the question - were we called up for nothing?

We are now on the day after, and it seems that the immorality and the absence of any shame are the fig-leaves to be used in order to cover up for the blunders. The blunders of the past six years and the under-preparation of the army have been carried on our backs - the backs of the fighters. In order to face the next battle prepared - and this may happen soon - a thorough and fundamental change must take place.

The crisis of confidence between us as fighters and the higher echelons will not be resolved without a thorough and worthy investigative commission under the auspices of the state. When the commission completes its task, conclusions must be drawn both on the level of strategic planning and national security, and on the personal level of the parties involved.

We paid a heavy price in order to fight and come out of the battle victorious, and we feel this has been denied of us. We will all attend calls to enlist in the future for any mission we will be required to complete, but we would like to know that these missions will be part of a clear objective and will be carried out by striving to engage in combat.

As soldiers and citizens we expect a response at your earliest convenience,

We the undersigned

Fighters and officers of the Spearhead Brigade
Israel is a small country in which basically each and every c
itizen is in a "neighbour" relationship with all other citizens, and on the whole they have a crystal clear sense of every minute of their days being taken up in the task of their personal and national survival. America is too big and unwieldy a country and a culture to achieve a similar unity of purpose, and the production of such a statement as that above would be interpreted as simple factionalism, and perhaps unbecoming whining-- or, alternatively, as some kind of earth-shaking revolution and lip-foaming endorsement of mindless pacificism. Neither of these would do anybody a lick of good.

But the statement is food for thought. And I bet you a cookie (as a brilliant but, then, impecunious room-mate of mine used to say, having nothing more valuable to wager) it would taste satisfying, even sweet, on the lips of many a soldier and Marine who has felt the reverberation, and witnessed the carnage, of the IED in the Iraqi sand.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

(Cue sackbuts)
"I saw three ships come sailing in, come sailing in, come sailing in...."

God bless the Welsh-- their national website is right on top of the story as our NATO ally France makes its first contribution to the safe-guarding of its long-time colonial partner, Lebanon.

Story #1, August 16:

World scrambles to keep the Lebanon peace
The international community is scrambling to put together a fortified UN peacekeeping force for southern Lebanon...Nearly a dozen countries have said they could take part in the strengthened force...Many possible contributors appeared to be waiting for France to take the lead. France, which has been in the forefront of the diplomatic push, is demanding a more specific mandate for the 15,000-strong force...
Story #2 -- follow-up, August 19
French troops land in Lebanon

Two small boats carrying French soldiers, the first reinforcement of UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon, went ashore today.

Local TV channels showed live video of two inflatable dinghies motoring ashore from a French warship anchored in the Mediterranean near Naqoura, about three miles from the Israeli border...

The two boats, carrying about five soldiers each, were followed 10 minutes later by a larger boat flying a French flag.

Two cheese-eating co
untries-- can you spot the Surrender-Monkeys?

David Warren passes on two articles which pretty much sum up the disaster quotient on the Israeli/Hezbollocks ceasefire, one by Ari Shavit of Haaretz ["Absolute folly"] and one by Caroline Glick at the Jerusalem Post ["Unimitigated disaster"]. Can't be said any better than these.

These days if you're an anti-semite in America it helps to
be a black liberal instead of a rare Hollywood arch-conservative.

Defeated Congresspugiliste, Cyntha McKinney, Georgia's shame, was accompanied from a recent "I-was-robbed" rally by bodyguard thugs who let the world know that Zionist-Kike-Jew-bastards should quit giving their sugar-mama grief.

Former Atlanta mayor (what is it about Georgians these days?
-- as I heard a transplanted Bostonian say, "They're morons-- they could only HOPE to be idiots") and former UN ambassador, the not-so-honourable Andrew Young, was shilling for Wal-Mart until a couple of days ago when he cited, as a point in Wal-Mart's cut-price favour, that Jewish, Korean, and Arab owners of small corner stores have made a career out of ripping off poor minorities. The story was covered, but Young's name never appears in the headlines (even on Drudge).

As usual, these folks, helped by minority status but even more i
mportantly by liberal Democratic credentials, get a pass from the press that Mel Gibson can only dream about.

CBS senile citizen Mike Wallace gets a similar pass when he spends 60 Minutes [video] doing a Sta-puff Marshmallow interview with Iranian presidential nutjob Mahmoud Ahmadinnerjacket, an encounter so softball that even NPR has reservations about it. Mahmoud, of course, did a cute fairy-dance around his well-known aspiration to exterminate all remaining Jews. Wallace didn't press him on it, and later pronounced the planet's premier anti-Semite "interesting, intelligent, and attractive." E-e-e-e-w-w-w-w.

Larry Elder at Townhall.com commented: "With all due respect, Mr. Wallace, you are in your 61st minute. It's time. "

Back on planet earth, specifically planet Hollywood, the vociferously and vituperatively denounced
Mel Gibson got a tall order to attend AA meetings for a year, curtail his driving for three months, pay a fine, enter rehab, and be subject to three years' probation while doing some sort of public service works. He can start by wiping up from the sidewalk all the spit that missed his face.

David Frum (notorious conservative Jew) had this to say at his
National Review Online blog:
July 30, 2006: Mel's Calling

If a drunken Mel Gibson did indeed call out, "Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," then there can be only one possible place for a man who believes such things: as the next Secretary General of the United Nations.
Good call from the Frumster.

Finally-- Department of Funny Peculiar (and not Funny Ha-Ha):
Separated at birth?

And I mean WA-A-A-Y-Y separated.

Monday, August 14, 2006

All my worldly goods in a clear plastic bag

Just returned from London, filled, as usual, with admiration for the way official Britain acts in the face of terrorism (as opposed to the way they speak of late, which can only be described in Mrs. Thatcher's famous term, as "WET"). All passengers were kept out of the terminal until a couple of hours before their departure time, corralled on a 4th-level parking lot. Folding chairs, marquis tents, free water, sandwiches, and granola bars all provided, as well as four to six highly visible information officers at each door with lists of which flights were operative and had or hadn't been called in yet--all of the representatives of officialdom, by the way, sporting generally pleasant attitudes and good manners.

There were numberless whiners, of course, but that doesn't mean that things weren't being handled reasonably well-- the unpleasantness of the experience did not come close to our worst expectations. And, bottom line, is there anything quite so unpleasant as being blown out of the sky by some freaking jihadist with explosives in his lemonade bottle?????? I'll trade a couple of hours on the sidewalk for that any day. It was not nearly as chaotic and irritating as Toronto's Pearson airport two days after a bunch of flights had been cancelled due to a couple of days of serious thunderstorms.

My capsule assessment of the Israeli/Lebanese mini-war: The Rumsfeld Doctrine [attack of the High-Tech Toys instea
d of massive waves of boots on the ground] FAILS AGAIN.

* * * * *

Very much enjoyed being, on the whole, detached from reality in Oxford and environs for ten days. Would much prefer to think about earlier times when folks had a better notion of what was what, while sitting here:

and being one of these:

We thought we'd be fighting off the students and tourists to sit on these hallowed benches, but the nook was empty and we had it to ourselves.

I have seldom hoisted a pint in better company.

Other Tolkien haunts enjoyed:

--the Oxford Oratory

--Pembroke College
--Holywell Street
--Blackwell's bookstores

and these:

ROLLRIGHT STONES (possible Weathertop?)




WHERE TOLKIEN VISITED [I never read it in a brochure, but you can bet on it] -- a little piece of Normandy in Iffley village, Church of St. Mary, ca. 1170

When reality sucks, try this. Well, this is more real than "reality".

Friday, August 04, 2006


It's a hard-knock life-- I'm just in town and then out again, so blogging takes a back seat to everything. Major gatherings of the clan have passed and are to come-- babies arriving, kids shuttling between continents, all very exciting. Almost enough to take one's mind off the mess and misery which is the Middle East these days, with the especially disheartening sell-out of Israel by the wimps of the world.

Is this one of them?

Also disheartening. I'm working this one over in my mind, and hope to reflect upon it from abroad. (The selection of this photo to accompany Christopher Hitchens's savaging of Gibson at Slate.com (no I'm not linking-- and Hitchens should be grateful) says a lot about the degree of objectivity one can expect to find about the story in the DriveByMedia. It's a good thing Mel wasn't sleeping with little boys at his Neverland Ranch, or hadn't drugged and raped a 13-year-old and then fled prosecution, or hadn't all-but-decapitated his wife and then sped down the L.A. freeways in a white Ford Bronco-- 'cuz if he'd done any of those things, people wouldn't know whether to damn him or hand him the Irving Thalberg Award. but I digress......

Blog Resumption scheduled for August 14, if not before-- refreshed, renewed, returned for re-grooving. (More Firesign Theatre references, for those of us in our declining years.)