Silflay Hraka

6/07/2003


The Reign of Terror. Now with Beads!

Aintnobaddude rather querulously wonders "What the fuck are Mickey Kaus and the journo-bloggers going to write about now that their favorite pinata, Howell Raines, is history? And more importantly, will anyone give a shit?"

The journo-bloggers will turn their attentions to Joseph Lelyveld, of course, and whomever succeeds him. Journo-blogging is what they do, after all. Romenesko is not likely to be suffering from a lack of news just because Howell isn't there to shove around anymore. Some vague memory of a post somewhere suggests to me that Bill Keller might get something of a honeymoon if he's next in the NYT's hot seat, but he probably won't. It's the nature of the NYT editorship now. Whomever has that post is a target, just like whomever is occupying the seats of the President, Attorney General and to a lesser extent the Director's offices at the CIA and FBI is a target.

Some on the blogging left have already started to make noise about Lelyveld and the NYT during Whitewater, so I suspect he'll be attacked from all sides the moment he shows a vulnerable flank. Howell Raines and Trent Lott were just the first people to be knocked off their pedestals thanks in some part to the electronic scribblings of Blogistan. They certainly won't be the last. The mob knows its power now, and is as likely to cease hounding those in the public eye as the Parisian mob of revolutionary France was to cease guillotining them.

I'll be there too, of course, firing off my little popgun and shouting Tallyho! with the rest of the mob, as unquestioning of my role in that milieu as a turn of the century English squire was in his. It's bloody fun, you see, taking potshots at the high and mighty. And if I manage to convince a few others to fire a few shots in the same direction? Well, that's even more fun.

The bigger the mob, the more tempting it is to turn against it, to shout at it, denigrate it, and ultimately try to deflect it to a new path. Opposing the mob is also a bloody fun thing, so I and many others will do that occasionally as well, as unquestioning of our correctness as John Dos Passos at a union rally. It's a dangerous role, in that opposition to the mob makes one feel noble and brave, and those feelings are extremely seductive. Especially when one survives the experience, and the more virtual mobs get, the easier it is to oppose them. Eventually that noble feeling becomes more important than anything else, so one opposes the mob no matter what, even when the mob is right. If you can't think of at least a few people on both sides of the political spectrum who have fallen into this trap, you aren't trying hard enough.

Historically the problem with mobs is that they're stupid. Communications percolate inefficiently through the mass, so critical information like "We are trampling people to death in our effort to get the best seats at this Who concert" takes too long to register if it ever registers at all.

That's no longer necessarily so. Just like everything else, the mob is becoming wired. Individuals within the mob find it easier to make themselves heard by the whole, which gives them some leverage over some portion of the whole for a limited time. Voices still rise and fall, calling out for the ouster of one leader, or shouting out in support of him. Others just scream "Look at my tits" trading leverage for notoriety. Which is fine. The mob is still human, with all of the contradictory and self defeating impulses humans has always possessed. The mob is always going to want to look at a nice pair of tits.

But the mob is not longer as slow of thought as it once was. It can multitask now, something unprecedented in history. "Yes," the mob says, "those are some almighty fine honkers. We can look at them, consider a position on stringer policy at a major metropolitan daily, and debate the sexuality of an animated sponge all at the same time. "

The more people that discover that their voice can be heard, the more targets they will point out, targets as varied as the stars in the sky. Someone will shout the Internet equivalent of "Look at that bastard", and a portion of the crowd will turn its attention that way. Some will take up the cry. Others might oppose it. If enough of the mob agrees, then down whomever it is will come, and the fragment that coalesced in pursuit of that end will dissolve, never to reform again.

The same wave never strikes the shore twice, but the shoreline changes regardless.

Howell Raines and Trent Lott are victims of natural selection. In the eternal power struggle between leader and led, the led have evolved a new strategy. The advantage won't last. The blogosphere may bring down the next NYT editor or the one after that, but it almost certainly won't be able to do what it it did to Howell to the man or woman who holds the same position ten years from now. The NYT will evolve practices that lessen that likelihood in sheer self defense, or there won't be an NYT. Politicians will develop similar mechanisms and the temporary advantages of the maddening crowd will be gone.

Note that the mechanisms won't necessarily be bad. Yes, bread and circuses calm the mob, but openness and accountability prevent it from getting riled up in the first place. Informing the mob, especially as it grows ever smarter, will prove more effective than appeasing it, and cost less to boot.

Openness and accountability are simple solutions, but not preferable ones. Many more of those in a position of power will need a taste of the Internet's lash before those strategies are adopted.

We just need to keep cracking the whip.


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The Third Day

And now, for some stereotype.

Why did the Six-Day War last only six days?

Because Israel's weapons were rented by the week.


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6/06/2003


Grass Before Breakfast

I do believe our honor has been sullied.

I have not forgotten my first visit to Silflay Hraka. I remember it because a big print entry promoting the site proudly patted SH on the back for calling Cynthia McKinney a "nigger." Brian Linse told me that Silfray Hraka is just a tech site and they didn't mean anything by the banner, which was up for at least a month. (link to Brian added)

Just a tech site?!! Just a tech site?!! This calls for pistols at dawn.

Memory's a funny thing. The only thing close to a banner we've ever had on the site is the title one above. Some other site may have had one, I suppose, but we never did. As for the post, there's only one that's ever appeared on the site that contains both the words "McKinney" and "Nigger", and it's about Billy. Judge for yourself.

Update: It turns out that Silver Rights and Mac-a-ro-nies are published by the same person, if the email address listed at each is anything to go by.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. We've a second blog as well, though we don't use it for anything other than html experimentation. It is a little weird, though, and not only grammatically, to see a person refer to themselves in the third person, as in this post;

Chris Lawrence of Signifying Nothing still refuses to hear any evil about the Klansman without the robes known as Judge Charles Pickering. Keeping true to his roots as a privileged white Mississipian, he has apparently refused to read either the earlier revelations about Pickering in Salon and other publications, blog entries by bloggers Atrios, Josh Marshall and Mac Diva, or the famous article in the WaPo last week.

or in this one

*Silver Rights. J.'s entry is "Some logs and a bottle of wine." It is an essay about white privilege viewed through the lens of petty theft.

The only reason I even noticed this is that while Mac Diva has plenty to say about us, well, me at Silver Rights, when she comes here to comment she lists Mac-a-ro-nies as her home page, even when the post she is commenting on deals directly with what she has written at Silver Rights.

That's this very post for those of you keeping score at home.

At no point during her visits here does the Mac Diva identify herself as the publisher of Silver Rights. Now yes, regular readers of Mac-a-ro-nies would know that she has another blog, but presumably she knows her audience well enough to realize that I wasn't part of it.

The practice strikes me as.....sneaky, at the very least. Also cunning, which I approve of, but mostly sneaky.

Which I......also approve of.

But is it acceptable blog etiquette? I'd argue that what fuels discussion in the blogosphere are clear and open flows of information, and by not pointing out that she was the author of the original post, Mac Diva obscures information pertinent to the case at hand. Upon discovery of that fact, the immediate question is "Why would someone do that?" and there's just not a lot of innocent answers to that question.

A Final Update: A collection of links, for context

Zod: And chortling, don't forget the chortling!
I shan't.

The Rittenhouse Review
P.L.A. - A Journal of Politics, Law and Autism
The Watch
Wampum
Ruminate This
Ain'tnobaddude
The Gweilo Diaries


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The Second Day

What was the the motto of the Israeli travel industry during the course of the Six-Day War?

Visit Israel and see the Pyramids.


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Quzzical

Who said the following?

We have been led toward war by a minority of our people. This minority has power. It has influence. It has a loud voice. But it does not represent the American people. During the last several years, I have travelled over this country, from one end to the other. I have talked to many hundreds of men and women, and I have had letters from tens of thousands more, who feel the same way as you and I. Most of these people have no influence or power. Most of them have no means of expressing their convictions, except by their vote which has always been against this war. They are the citizens who have had to work too hard at their daily jobs to organize political meetings. Hitherto, they have relied upon their vote to express their feelings; but now they find that it is hardly remembered except in the oratory of a political campaign. These people--the majority of hard-working American citizens are with us. They are the true strength of our country. And they are beginning to realize, as you and I, that there are times when we must sacrifice our normal interests in life in order to insure the safety and the welfare of our nation.

Leave your guess in the comments, if you like. The answer's here.


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The Seaton Road Curse

Since October there have been two murders in my old neighborhood, a 50 home townhouse complex, one in October and one in January, though the body was recovered just last week. Both of them were in the 25 home section across the street from the section we lived in. Now one of the kids from the same section has been arrested for an attempted armed robbery of the jewelry store where SW and I bought our wedding rings.

Two teens armed with what appeared to be a 9 mm handgun entered the business and attempted to rob it. They ran off without taking anything.

A short time later, Durham police officers and a Durham County sheriff’s deputy spotted two teens matching the descriptions of the suspects near the intersection of Highgate and Audubon Lake drives and took them into custody.

Joshua Hunter, 16, of 1304 Seaton Road, and Adam Mack, 18, of 120 Carlion Court, were each charged with attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon.


We'd kept up our membership dues at the neighborhood pool there; it had a wading pool that Ngnat loved, but we've decided against it this year.


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Coming Soon To A Blockbuster Near You

Some of the games played at Hala Hussein's birthday party, now available on video CD.

Pin the Tail on the Shi'ite - Heated hatpins dipped in ethyl alcohol have never been more exciting! Digital Dolby sound technology means that you won't miss a single gibber, wail, or piteous moan!

Musical Electrical Chairs - In a tingling twist on a classic party activity, not only is one chair removed after each round (with the loser shot in the back of the head by the cutest birthday girl you've ever seen), but one of the remaining is electrified. Watch hapless Marsh Arabs squirm and sweat as the smell of cooked piggie fills the air!

The Eyeball Stomp - Why bother blowing up balloons when there's an endless supply of eyeballs coming in from Baghdad's prisons? Hilarity fills the screen as the participants shoot them across the floor like watermelon seeds!

Blindman's Bluff - Played in conjunction with the eyeball stomp! Any player who recovers both his eyes before they're stomped flat gets a pardon!

Duck Duck Noose - Catch the duck or proceed to the next game; Hangman!, played on a life size gallows made from Legos.

Piñata Party - Every child has one of their own! Played with a 5 iron and the unlucky participants of Hangman; the first child to splatter the audience with organ parts wins an Uzi and a lifetime supply of ammunition!

Gordian Human Knot - Ten Kurds have ten minutes to untangle themselves or sword wielding preteens solve the problem for them. Hilarity abounds when Saddam lets the excited swordbearers go two minutes before the deadline!

Saddam Says - Uh-oh Hala! Daddy didn't say Saddam says! Watch Hala decide which of her little friends she likes the least!

Uday's jewels - Uday has hidden weapons of mass destruction somewhere in the Middle East. Can you find them?

Rock, Paper, Sarin - The classic children's game of elimination, played in a locked gas chamber! Best two out of three wins, and only the winner gets a key!

Kickballs - Last prisoner to grunt in agony wins!

Charades - Hans Blix and Kofi Annan's personal favorite! Filmed in conjunction with Uday's Jewels, Charades is a scavenger hunt played with UN weapons inspectors where the treasures are moved constantly, then finally shipped over the border to safety.

Due to technological problems, Democratic leaders and Labor party activists are unable to see any parts of the cd other than the initial stages of Charades, which is presented as a Public Television documentary narrated by Bill Moyers and Sean Penn.


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Ammitday Eevilway!

You know, I sent Doctor Weevil my two bucks ages ago. Where's my Virro listing?


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Klan Memories

Clubbeaux sticks his neck out on the Klan.

I’d guess there’s an equal number of genuine racists in both the KKK and the Rainbow Coalition, and the rest of them are members because “Well, they’re the ones who stick up for what matters to my daily life, forget the rest of the crap.”

A Klansman once pulled a shotgun on my father while we were playing catch in the front yard of our house. I was about 4. I'll blog about it one day, if I can find his notes from that occasion. It had something something to do with a Vietnam protest his students had organized. He was the "commie preacher who spit on the American flag" if my memory of the quote is correct. When dad ran for town council 12 years or so after that the same guy bought a tape machine and recorded a two-minute phone message about how horrible my father was. We spent most of August dialing it up and playing it for our friends at the pool.

I found out later who he was. His daughter and I had been in the same class since first grade. She was thin, quiet, nervous, and picked last for every team sport. I don't recall her ever having a friend. She was part of the rejected troika; the fat clumsy guy who came out in college, the poor incest victim, who never bathed as a result, and her. She wasn't marked on the outside like the other two, but she was rejected out of hand just the same.

I expect she was just as much a victim of the Klan as any black person with a burning cross in the front yard, but she wasn't as lucky.

When you're black, the Klan eventually leaves you alone.


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6/05/2003


Post of the Night

Phrase of the Day - Traumatized nipples. Nipples that practically shriek in fear and agony when the gaping, drooling maw approaches.

It's not opening! It's not opening! It's not wide enough! Game over man!

Things are getting better, else I'd dare not joke about it. We have come into possession of Soothies, and they have soothed

Beer of the Night - Lindemans Cassis Lambic A Lambic version of a chick beer seems to be the opinion of most of the reviews I've read. It's brewed with black currants, which reduces the expected sourness of a lambic to a surprising degree and gives the beer a dark purplish hue. I don't think it's more cloying as a result, rather that the initially smooth and sweet sensation rapidly overcome by the sour quality of other lambics is allowed to spread and develop in the Lindemans Cassis. It's like having a mouthful of cool silk. The sour notes are still present, mind you, but are more reminiscent of oranges than grapefruit in quality.

Homer would drink a ton of this stuff with porkchops, breaking Duffman's heat in the process.

"Stabbing!...Pain!....In!....Arm!... Time for a.....Duff Light!"

Can't see Moe serving them, though. Too much of a fancy pants aroma around the lambics. Expensive to start off with, and possessing a cork and a bottle to boot. Entire bars would sober up in the time it takes to open the bottle. I have seen the Framboise available on draft, at a little converted movie theatre in Asheville when we were on our honeymoon, but never any of the other Lindemans varieties

Didn't have time for more than pint, well, half pint. 8 ounces is about as much lambic as one gets at a time.

Small portions, another strike against the style. I would have had more, but she had other things on her mind.

The Biltmore Estate, of course.


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The First Day

A joke for Meryl, in honor of the 36th anniversary of the Six-Day War, from my buddy Isaac.

The Syrian government had finally decided to end the tension and wage a preventive war against Israel. On the night before H-hour at dawn, three divisions had lined up at the border, ready for the signal to advance. As they waited, fidgety and tense, a single Israeli soldier walked up the border, submachine gun on his soldier. He looked the line of tanks, artillery and soldiers with surprise.

"Hey," he said, "you men better be careful. You'll get into trouble."

"Get that man," snapped a Syrian officer.

At the command, two men dashed forward after the Israeli soldier, who retreated hastily behind a nearby ridge. After a few moments, the Israeli appeared once more, came forward, and said, "I'm warning you. If you're still here by dawn, you'll be in a heap of trouble."

The Syrian officer swore and gestured quickly. This time a dozen soldiers and a tank pursued the Israeli soldier behind the ridge. There was the sound of shouting and screaming, and then silence fell. The officer smiled, but the smile vanished when the Israeli soldier once again appeared and said, "That does it, you dumbbells. Now you're going to get it."

The Syrian officer's head swam in a red haze of fury. He could wait for H-hour no longer. "Forward," he screamed.

As the entire Syrian fighting front moved into Israeli territory, there emerged from behind the ridge a battered Syrian soldier from the previous fighting force.

He waved desperately and screamed, "Go back! Go back! It's a trap! There's a second Israeli soldier hiding here!"

Update: Thanks to reader MunDane, who pointed out that the joke is a variation on an old Scottish story called Red Rory of the Glen.


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.


Run in Circles, Scream And Shout

The ninth case of SARS in North Carolina hits close to home.

June 3, 2003: North Carolina reported its ninth case of suspected SARS to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The patient is an Orange County man who developed symptoms after returning to North Carolina from a trip to Toronto, Canada. He is being treated as an outpatient and is recovering at home under isolation.

From an email that just went out to the University Faculty and Staff:

We wanted to make you aware that the Orange County Health Department has identified a contract employee working for the University's Energy Services as potentially having Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The diagnosis has not been confirmed. Employees who have been in contact with the individual have been identified and
have received special notification from the Health Department.

According to the Health Department, the contractor last worked here on May 23 and had no symptoms at that time. The incubation period for this disease is 10 days, and we are beyond that period. The potential for transmission of infection without symptoms is very low.


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Leakage

Executive Editor of The Times and Top Deputy Step Down

In front of dozens of reporters, editors, photographers and other newsroom staff members, many of whom sobbed audibly, Mr. Raines, 60, told them: "Remember, when a great story breaks out, go like hell."

Yea, I cry when I'm happy, too.


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A Jam Of Tarts

Having a hard time (giggle, snort) trying to find an online copy of the prostitution tips pamphlet funded by the West Australian government?

Never fear. Our crack staff (nudge, nudge) has found a partial copy of the handout given to novice streetwalkers to help them maintain a regular client base, negotiate safe-sex services and set boundaries, such as mandatory condom use.

The Phoenix Group's Top Tens Ways To Increase Your Customer Base

10. When serving from beneath, try not to comment on how much the ceiling could use a new coat of paint.
9. When serving from above, avoid looking at one's watch, and remember, almost all nail care chores are somewhat off putting to the consumer.
8. Many people have names other than named "John"
7. Not all your customers will be sailors, and some people will actually expect a nice cuppa if it has been offered.
6. Muslim men are used to being dominated.
5. When entertaining a Frenchmen, use a bed with patterned linens and sheets. The white ones tend to go missing.
4. Always ask the customer if they would like to swipe their card through the slot again
3. Shooting Ping Pong balls across the room is all fun and games until someone gets their eye put out.
2. Never question a man's caliber when playing the "This is my rifle, This is my gun" game.

And finally, the Number One way to keep your customers coming back for more

1. Give it away for free


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Hon, There's A Professor Xavier On The Phone?

Well, he's got his father's genitalia.



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6/04/2003


More Skillz Than Me. Also More Patience.

My God. How long did it take to make a recipe rhyme?


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Rosé de Gambrinus

Beer of the night.



Any beer that features a drawing of a naked blonde lady being fondled by what appears to be King Gambrinus or possibly The Gimp in one of his lighter moments deserves a taste. But for God's sake don't buy it at Whole Foods if you can possibly avoid it. Their price on a Lindemans Framboise was three and a half bucks higher than the same bottle at Harris Teeter, so the rest of the beers are also probably overpriced. Goddamn profit-mongering hippies. Come the revolution, I'm going to have them shot by the lawyers.

Michael Jackson, no not that one, the Beerhunter, calls the Rosé "The world's most famous framboise," which is probably on the same level of fame as the world's most famous dobro player. Not counting Curtis Lowe, of course. The brewer, Cantillon, is certainly one of the more sought after brewers of Belgian beers, and one of my favorites. When I saw the Rosé and its three other brethren up on the shelf at the store, I had to suppress an urge to run around shouting "The new phone books are here! The new phone books are here!"

Yes, I'm a dope, but that's the about the level of excitement I experienced. It's all I can do to keep from downing them all in one sitting, though I may try the lambic/white mix that the commenter Eli called a "Sweet Ho", in honor of the naked lady above, of course. I bought a Lindemans Framboise and an Allegash White for that, though. Not going to sully a Cantillon beverage by mixing it with something else. It would be like cutting 25 year old single malt with ginger ale. It doesn't matter what it tastes like, it simply isn't done unless one wishes to be thought an uncultured poltroon.

Framboise is the raspberry variation of a Belgian lambic, a fruit beer brewed only in Belgium's Senne Valley. The wild yeasts in that area are critical to the process of making a lambic, which in consequence is impossible to brew anywhere else. They also taste like no other beer on the planet. Many of the more commercial lambics (Lindemans) have sugar added to the process, which cuts down one the lip puckering sourness of an untouched lambic, but Cantillon, the brewer of the Rosé de Gambrinus and four or five of the other lambics I bought today eschews that practice, so all of their beers are characterized by a very sour fruitiness.

Which the Rosé surely has. The smell is incredibly tangy, and that's coming from a man with hardly a sense of smell at all. It could probably be used as perfume. The color is a deep reddish gold, like a bloody honey As for taste, there's a hint of smooth sweetness at the beginning, one lasting barely a moment before a dry combination of tart cherries and grapefruit smacks the taste buds into next week. The warmer the beer got, the less potent the kick, until at room temperature the sourness was merely a pleasant reminder of what came before. I wish I had another.

But instead I'll have a Ho. Same glass type, I would think, which for lambics is stemmed like a wine or pilsner glass rather than shaped like an English pint or American mixing glass. On the bottle labels produced for the export market the Belgian brewers make a point of practically begging one to use the correct glass. It seems snobby, but what they really want is for the beer to be presented in the best possible manner, so that you'll buy more.

Buying Lambic glasses on Ebay has proven to be an excellent way of annoying the wife, so I make sure to use them, though presumably not using them would be even more annoying. They also need to be hand washed rather than put un the dishwasher. Can't have harsh detergent residue interfering with the bouquet, you know. Also very annoying to the little woman.

The Sweet Ho tastes almost exactly like a Lindemans lambic would by itself. Possibly not quite as sweet. The mix is three-fifths Allegash; I would have expected more of the white ale to come through. The bouquet is definitely reduced from that of a lambic, but that's the only obvious difference.

-----------------------

That last paragraph took 15 minutes. My typing has slowed down, not because of the beer, lambic being notoriously low in alcohol levels, but because of Scotty M, who refuses to sleep for any length of time unless he's being held. He's in what SW calls the "Daddy bed", two pillows on top of my lap, jammed against the computer desk. I hold him in my left arm, and type over him with my right. Ngnat spent hours in the same position when she was small. It's good for surfing, not so much for typing.

And it's hot. The arm holding him sweats, my legs sweat, and my back sweats. Bloody child is like a 6 inch thick heating pad.

He ate every hour on the hour last night, though, from 9 pm to 5 in the morning. SW doesn't wish for that to happen again, so I'm holding him. Silence is golden.

It's also damp.


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.


Excuse Me, Must Dash Off To The Gun Shop

Kill Your Parents. Then, Kill Yourself.


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.


Let's You and Him Fight

Say Uncle also pointed me towards the latest tempest in a teacup to roil blogdom. I'm a bad man, I couldn't help but slow down to watch.

But it reminded me of the last tempest to perturb the waters off Hraka's shores, and what I'd emailed then. I never got around to posting it, but I figure now is as good a time as then.

You can't do anything about how you've been wronged, but you can do something about being in the wrong.  If you don't, then all that's left is sniping at each other, wasting time and energy on blogitics rather than in writing. Apologize to each other, and apologize to everyone else to dragging them into this tar baby of antipathy.

Here's are my rules for blogging, and bloggers.  I'm not saying anyone else should adopt them, and I'm not saying that all should live by them.  They're just my rules, and I try to keep them.

1.  Thou shalt not Fisk thy blogger brethren.  There are plenty of other targets for your truncheons and stilettos out there.

2. If you disagree with another blogger's argument, do so in reasoned tones.  Not everybody knows as much as you, and you get more flies with honey than with vinegar.

3.  If someone attacks you out of the blue, assume that the odds are at least equal that your writing is as much to blame for his reaction as is his pinheaded stupidity.  It not only helps you to be a better writer in future, it prevents an impassioned response that you regret later.  By all means defend yourself, but defend yourself as if your grandmother is watching.  It makes you better.  If your opponent refuses to rise to your level, he's a troll.

4.  Ignore trolls.

5.  Don't blog angry.  Feel free to write angry, but let it sit before you post.  I have a hard time with that one.

6.  Don't fight in public.  People always look like shit after a fight, and there's no point in having a audience that remembers you looking like shit.

I'm sure I'll have occasion to refer back to the above in future. Human nature being what it is, we're assured of a constant supply of catfights and spats in the future. But if one follows the rules, the nice thing is that they'll involve people other than oneself.

How did that sound? Did the pedestal I was standing on make me look fat? 'Cause I have a variety of them to chose from.


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.


Damn The Internet! Full Speed Ahead!

Say Uncle confesses to having a spot of moonshine every now and then. When I first ran across that post, I was all ready to write up the story about my college experience with moonshine, the one I tell at parties when the subject comes up, until I remembered that I'd stolen that entire story from P.J. O'Rourke. I'd changed a few of details, of course; the party was in Ehringhaus, and the liquor came from Pittsboro rather than Darktown, but the essential details were the same.

It was a good story, but the thanks to Google and the nature of blogdom, one I can no longer attribute to myself.

At least not anywhere near a computer with an Internet connection.


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.


Call To Prayer

Omnibus Bill has written a statement of faith for the North State Blogs, The Carolina Barbecue Creed (scroll down if need be, permalinks are blogspotty)

We believe in one Pork,
the shoulder, the rump,
there's no better on heaven or earth;
it's tasty with coleslaw and beans.
We believe in only one style,
shredded or chopped,
cooked for 12 hours and eaten with greens.
Eternally begotten from pigs,
hog from hog, pork from pork,
true swine from Lauch Faircloth,
begotten, not made,
with vinegar sauce from your father.

At Bulllocks, all things are made,
for us and for our domestication.
We believe White Swans came down from heaven,
by the power of the Vinegar Spirit;
Then Stameys became incarnate from the mixed sauce,
and peach cobbler.

For our sake, the pig was smoked over hickory,
he suffered death and was buried (in pepper rub).
After a third of a day, the pig rose again
in accordance with the recipes.
He was pulled with a rake and placed on a plate,
and is seated at the right hand of your father.
The Swine has come in glory to sate the living and raise the dead,
and Bullocks family style will have no end, Amen.

We believe in Swans, with clear sauce; the burning fire of life,
first owned by the Father, now Son;
and Lexington Barbecue 1 is both worshiped and glorified,
it has been spoken about by the barbecue Prophets.

We believe in one holy and apostolic Mountain Smokehouse,
and drink sweet tea 'til we swim;
We shall look for new 'cue wher'er we go,
and get off I-85 for some Jim's.

Amen.


He's surprisingly ecumenical, making a valiant attempt to bridge the gap between Eastern and Lexington style barbecue, which I've always considered a dessert meat rather than a main course. Not that there's anything wrong with that; it's a fine ''cue. It just belongs on the same buffet table as the banana pudding and pecan pie.


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.


The Bizarro News Service

Silly me. Here I was thinking that the AFP I was seeing in some news reports meant Armed Forces Press, when it's actually Agence France-Press.

Quite a difference, isn't it? And I might never have noticed, were it not for this passage from the AFP story on the re-opening of the Baghdad cultural museum.

The theft of Baghdad's cultural heritage as US troops stood by shocked experts around the world and drew stinging criticism of the coalition forces which did protect oil installations.

Weeks after it's been established that reports of looting at the Iraqi National Museum were either overstated or just plain wrong, the meme is still being perpetuated thanks to the self-proclaimed "world's leading news and photo agency." coincedentally based in.....France.

Based in France, eh? Could you describe yourselves?

We are fast, we are balanced; above all, we are accurate.

Well, you've certainly got the smug Gallic indifference to the truth down pat. It's.....dare I say it......Rainesian in scope?

Zut Alors!


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.


Small Grave

It's the grave of laughter.
A grave of tears.
It's the grave of hopes.
Held throughout the years.
There's so much that we share
And it's time we're aware
That the graves were very small.

There is just one moon
And one golden sun,
And a smile meant
nothing to the man with the gun.
Though the mountains divide,
And the oceans are wide,
It's a small grave after all.

It's a small grave after all.
It's a small grave after all.
It's a small grave after all.
It's a small, small grave.


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.


37

The 37th edition of the Carnival of the Vanities is at Drumwaster's Rants this week.

The Carnival offspring Bharateeya Blog Mela is also new today.

Upcoming Carnival stops include;

June 11th Overtaken by Events
June 18th Real Women Online
June 25th Single Southern Guy
July 2nd Amish Tech Support
July 9th Winds Of Change -- The 42nd spot, coveted by hitchhikers across the galaxy.
July 16th Caerdroia
July 23rd DaGoddess
July 30th Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
August 6th Across The Atlantic
August 13th Outside The Beltway
August 20th Right We Are
August 27th Creative Slips
September 3rd The Brazos De Dios Cantina
September 10th Solport
September 17th Silflay Hraka - The One Year Anniversary
September 24th Pathetic Earthlings
October 1st Sasha & Andrew's Roundtable
October 8th Dancing With Dogs

If you'd like to host the Carnival, drop us a line. Information on how to join the Carnival can be found here.


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.

6/03/2003


Feliz Cumpleaños, Mayan Delmont Contreras

Another birth blogger, one en español. The English version is apparently not posted yet, but you can read a Google translation here.


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.


Something To Keep Me Away From The Beer And Skittles

Presenting the The Blogger Blubber-a-thon.

Well, probably not the beer.


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.


#11 - Israelis Insisted On Referring To Bulldozed Buildings As "Araflats"

The Top Ten Hold-Ups To Middle East Peace Talks

I liked #6.

The Muslims kept to their usual tradition of five times a day facing Israel, shaking their fists, and yelling, "The Jews!!"


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.


Mary Magdalene Answers The Phone

You know the Jack Chick God, right? Faceless, but with his own light source? Here's a reminder in case you've forgotten, from the Chick comics greatest hit, This Was Your Life



Well, that was the old God. The new God doesn't just sit up there in heaven, judging the quick and the dead. The new God does business with the quick, and presumably the dead, if the price is right. It's no longer Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, but Kasha, Sophie, and Lana Lee, your Montreal Business Escorts.

In case this post brings up certain....questions, I assure you that I am not planning a trip to Montreal any time soon. I was spammed I tell you, spammed!


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.


The Descent of Verse

First there was Unremitting Verse.
Then there was The Doggerel Pundit.
And now, Graham Lester, creator of the Limerick blog.

So, a limerick in his honor, one explaining why my late night output has fallen so drastically.

There once was a blogger who typed--
one handed. Oh, pity his plight!
Now your thoughts you should curb.
For he wasn't a perv,
He held a wee bairn all day and all night.


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.


North State Blogs

A Toast

Here's to the land of the longleaf pine,
The summer land where the sun doth shine,
Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great,
Here's to "Down Home," the Old North State!

Here's to the land of the cotton bloom white,
Where the scuppernong perfumes the breeze at night,
Where the soft southern moss and jessamine mate,
'Neath the murmuring pines of the Old North State!

Here's to the land where the galax grows,
Where the rhododendron's rosette glows,
Where soars Mount Mitchell's summit great,
In the "Land of the Sky," in the Old North State!

Here's to the land where maidens are fair,
Where friends are true and cold hearts rare,
The near land, the dear land whatever fate,
The best land, the best land, the Old North State!


Trojan Horseshoes has seized administrative control of (read "created and did the work no one else was willing to do") the North Carolina bloggers group, North State blogs. The group's icon is up there on the right.

As will all good groups, there are only a few rules for membership.

1) You must be Born in, or now live in, or once lived in, or would like to live in, North Carolina.
2) You must not be ashamed to admit to #1
3) When using the term Barbecue, it shall only refer to Pork Barbecue cooked in either the Eastern NC or Lexington Styles. This term shall never be used in reference to chicken, beef, other animals, grilling equipment, and under NO circumstances shall it be used as a term for a backyard cookout.
4) Must update your Blog once a month.
5) The North State Blogs shall never collectively take sides on any disputes between members about which is the best College Basketball team or Nascar Racer. (Individual members are encouraged to take their own stands on this view.)
5) All shall affirm that no other doughnuts can compare to those heavenly creations made hot and fresh at Krispy Kreme.
6) All Must be a fan of the Andy Griffith Show.


And you should memorize another verse in the toast. It shouldn't be hard; you all already knew the rest of the toast, right?

Here's to the land where the bloggers dwell,
Where beers are cold, and it's hot as hell,
With their accents thick as armor plate,
You'll say "pardon?" a lot in the Old North State.


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.


The Blog is Dead. Long Live the Blog

The Other Occasional Any Ten Things has been retired, and Must Be Nice has taken its place in the Friends of Hraka blogroll.


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.


Advantage, Hraka!

Hey, we beat Chris Hitchens to the punch! That can't happen very often, I would think. (scroll down to see, but his take on the Muslim lady who wishes to remain veiled on her driver's license is worth reading)


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.


The Task

Should Scott Peterson be charged with the murder of his wife's nearly full term fetus? Of course he should.

Should scientists be allowed to do research using fetal stem cells? Of course they should.

Now according to Newsweek, in an article on fetal rights that suggests Americans are being forced into more nuanced positions on abortion without listing what any of them are, I've just alienated both sides on the abortion issue.

Good for me.

I met a pro-choice vegetarian the other day. She won't eat eggs but she's fine with abortions.

Now for the pro-life crowd: What your god has to say about the practice of abortion doesn't matter in the least. It shouldn't. The mutterings of your deity no place in the public policy debates of a non-sectarian country. What gods have to say matter a great deal in countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Malaysia. Accept that the price for the free practice of your religion is allowing things that are anathema to it to exist, and remove God from the debate on abortion.

Because that's the only way you can win.

My particular stance on abortion, and it shan't change no matter how many aborted fetus photos or coat hanger horror stories people throw at me, so save your efforts, please, is that human rights start at neither conception or at birth, but at viability. If one cannot survive as a human, then rights are somewhat superfluous.

Right now the viability boundary lies between 22 weeks, where no child has survived outside the womb despite the best medical care and technology available, and 25 weeks, with 79 percent of newborns born at that age surviving. A small percentage of infants born as 23 weeks survive, so for the moment I'm opposed to abortions after that time period, and accepting of abortions beforehand, though like most people I am hardly in favor of them.

Note than in 10 years time, it's very likely that the viability boundary will be lower, perhaps at 21 or 22 weeks instead of 23. Also note that all this talk of weeks is shorthand for what is typical in fetal development for a certain time period. Actual viability depends on the physical development of the the fetus, something that can be measured and observed, enough so that any fetus that has reached a set number of developmental goals can be termed viable no matter how many weeks it has progressed.

If the pro-life side of the abortion debate were to adopt viability rather than conception, it could win an strategic victory in the battle over abortion. There's nothing stopping the pro-life movement from continuing to counsel against abortion before fetal viability, but the ever dropping viability line will further restrict the time period in which legal abortion is available with each passing year. The day may eventually come when medical technology ensures viability from the moment of conception, and at that point your battle is won.

I don't expect that the pro-life side will do this any time soon. Compromise is not smiled upon in a religious movement, and the majority of support for the pro-life side of the debate is religious in nature. It would also require an endorsement of science as the solution to abortion, another big stretch for god-botherers in general. As pleasing as the prospect of the Southern Baptist Convention funding biological research is, I don't expect it any time soon.

It's not that the issue cannot finessed religiously. Let's take murder as an example, something scripturally opposed in most religions despite their occasional practice of it. It's also exactly what abortion is according to the pro-life movement.

Suppose God vouchsafed you with a way in which the sin of murder would be vanishingly rare in 100 years, but only if you spend the majority of your efforts in working towards that goal. Some murders may occur between now and then that would not have otherwise, but you have no way of knowing this for sure, even though such sins could probably be assumed. God will deal with those in due time, as he always does, but in the mean time has asked you to work toward a world structured in such a way that the sin is simply unheard of. What problems could you have with that?

Now what if it's just one flavor of murder, and the time period, while not exact, is still finite? What if he asks that?

And don't be too sure he just didn't. I'm pretty sure it's just me, but you can never tell.


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.


Because Sweat-Soaked Down is Lumpy And Smells Somewhat Odd

I've found out what I want for Father's day, besides all that beer ansd the new George R.R. Martin book.

The Chillow.


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.


Traveling With Children

Going on vacation should be one of life's most rewarding ventures. You work hard the rest of the year so that you can enjoy time off, traveling on a whim to fun locations, trying to create traditions and memories for your children..........dear God!!!! Traveling with one did present its difficulties, but traveling with two is incredible. We are at the beach for a week, but you couldn't tell by the looks of our car. It appears to other road warriors that we are relocating the entire family for at least a 3 or 4 month excursion, as we rumble down America's highways. How in the hell did we get so much stuff into the car? One frustrating aspect of this is that once you arrive at your location, you must accept the fact that all that you packed will NEVER go back into the car as neatly or as easily as it did when you first left.

Next, we arrive at the beach, and carry armloads of crap to the sand so that the two year old will have plenty to entertain her..........that lasts all of 20 minutes before she is ready to go back inside and read the books which we have already read countless numbers of times. So, the next day, having learned from the previous day, we only carry a few items to the beach...........needless to say, she wants to stay all day on the beach requiring numerous trips to the condo to retrieve whatever items I so smartly left behind. Still, I guess, a bad day at the beach is better than a good day at work, right? I'm not so sure.

Next, we go to the local touristy trap to get the little one to ride some rides. We buy tickets only to have her decide that she doesn't want to ride them anymore. "Oh, hell yes you do, sweetheart!" After some gentle suggesting, she decides she does want to ride the pink elephants and blue dragons and then cries loudly as we explain how we now have to leave before the park sucks all of the money out of daddy's wallet.

Finally, taking a 5 month old to the beach requires special handling as well. Needless to say, you can't keep him out on the beach all day for a number of reasons. First, he must nap all the time, and second, we don't want his gentle skin to burst into flames. I have gotten more exercise on this vacation than I have had in the past year combined.

All of this brings me to a new level of awareness. Mom and dad, I'm very sorry. I realize how hard it must have been to lug 2 boys all around creation to create memories for us that would last a lifetime. I realize that you made memories too, but your's might not be as pleasant as the ones we tend to romanticize. God bless us parents, everyone.


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.


How Much For A Tinkle? Side View, Clothed, Sound Included, Bonus Given For Every Second Over 30

Super Diary Worries Privacy Activists

A Pentagon project to develop a digital super diary that records heartbeats, travel, Internet chats, everything a person does, also could provide private companies with powerful software to analyze behavior.

That has privacy experts worried.


Privacy experts should worry. They'll be out of a job soon. However, it shouldn't be hard for them to find work. The pronouncements of doom industry is constantly re-inventing itself. Privacy won't die due to some cryptic government program. Privacy will die because people will give large chunks of it away for attention, and larger chunks for money.

If LifeLog ever becomes available, forget about privacy concerns and buy stock in data storage and retrieval companies. Does anyone really think in a world of online porn, cam girls, reality television and blogging that people won't be queuing up by the thousands to buy a LifeLog the day it comes out?

Pick a fetish, any fetish. I'll use peeing as an example. Google lists over 8000 sites for that particular practice alone. How long do you think it would take for someone to start broadcasting to that particular audience once LifeLog is available? A month? Two months? Less than a year, certainly. Add smell to the experience and there will be people whose entire career consists of eating lots of asparagus and drinking a cup of tea every fifteen minutes.

Porn will be among the first off the mark, simply because porn is always an early adopter of technology. But the security industry won't be far behind. If Brinks and ADT can't sell people on a personal or child monitoring system, then it's because they've stopped trying, or because security monitoring will be offered free to every person who agrees to let the system watch them shop.

People already give away all sorts of information with supermarket discount cards to save a dollar or two, because they perceive that their savings are more valuable than the information being passed to the grocery store's database. The price is right.

What LifeLog will do is open up areas of a person's life that are not currently available for sale and expose them to market forces. Once this happens, some will choose not to allow the cameras in, others will completely abandon all sense of privacy in return for notoriety, and still others will negotiate on a daily basis the balance between money and some perception of personal privacy.

And privacy will lose, because everyone has a price. Might as well start considering what it is.

For the above, I figure mine is $20 a shot. I also figure I'll be underbid by millions.


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.


It's A Good Thing

Feds Seek to Indict Martha Stewart

Not that I really care, but I couldn't resist the pale and probably already overused joke. I'm sure I won't be the only one. What little influence Martha Stewart had on my life ceased to exist the day her stuff started appearing in K-mart, because I'm a snob. When it comes to K-mart, there's too much hoi in the polloi for my refined and delicate tastes. It was like finding a Julia Child line of hot dogs "Now with 3% recognizable meats!".

To be blunt, Martha, if the products you produce were any good, why are they in K-mart? That's not even where your target audience shops, for God's sake, unless you've decided that the inhabitants of rented singlewides are your people. Your target audience shops at......Target. Had you just dealt with them to begin with, you could have gotten a better markup, made more money, and not had to start manipulating stock.

Update: Little Tiny Lies in a much more in depth, not to mention easily less snobby, take on Martha.


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.


Polishing the Halo

For those of you who are tired of Yaccs or Enetation, Haloscan has re-opened signups. There's also a hack that allows your page to load quickly when the comments servers are down. No way to import old comments from another system that I know of, though I can't see why it couldn't be done. May be to much for a free service to take on.


Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.


Kilroy Was Here



Postscript: First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself. Also, you're currently at the old site. Fresh Hraka is posted every day at our current location.

6/02/2003


Houseboat For Sale, Cheap At 4.5 Million

The Colossus class carrier HMS Vengeance is for sale.



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You've Failed, Mr. Bond! Or Mr. Creosote Comes To The FCC

Fat, self satisfied looking sumbitch, isn't he? All he needs is a white Persian and a henchman or two, or a bucket.


photo and blurb via yahoo

Federal Communications Chairman Michael Powell listens to remarks during a vote on media ownership rules in Washington, June 2, 2003. U.S. communications regulators narrowly approved sweeping new rules that will allow television broadcasters to expand their reach, despite fears about reducing the diversity of viewpoints.

"I have heard the concerns expressed by the public about excessive consolidation," FCC Chairman Michael Powell said ahead of the vote. "They have introduced a note of caution in the choices we have made."

English Translation: Stop your incessant whining and bend over. We'll tell you what to think afterwards.


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Moving the PSI Up A Notch

The Bush administration continues with its practice of turning up the pressure on the NorK government, with the announcement that U.S. and South Korean forces will be repositioned in a manner that will allow them to attack North Korean military assets at the very beginning of hostilities, rather than suffering through an artillery bombardment.

Once again, Kim Jong Il faces a "use it or lose it" decision, with recent history suggesting that he'll accept the loss of initiative at the beginning of a hypothetical war and try to regain it diplomatically by announcing a further advance in the processing of nuclear material at the Yongban reactor.

The repositioning of forces might also be in response to new intelligence. Assume that North Korea does have the bomb, but currently lacks the ability to deliver it via a missile attack. Nuclear artillery shells are an older, easier method than nuclear missiles, and easier for a shoestrings economy like North Korea's to produce.

If the North Korean military can delivery a nuclear bomb via a No or Taepodong, then moving allied troops back from the border doesn't remove them from the danger of a such an attack. However, if the Kim Jong Il can only launch a nuclear weapons from the barrel of a howitzer, then such a move is eminently sensible.


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Completing Its Domination of the World's Media

BTW, an edited version of the French Military History post that caused so much fuss appears as part of Maxim magazine's salute to the French this month "Vive Le Crossandwich". It's not online, so I can't link to it.

Maxim edited it, but Maxim also paid me for it and gave me a byline. So that was fine.


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Must Be Women's Issues Day, And There's Nothing I Like More Than Discussing Women's Issues

While we're on the subject, let us be the first to call for regime change in Swaziland. It's not just about the pants, mind you, or the political philosophy that died with the Stuart kings. There's also the ritual killings come election time, not to mention the sexual abuse of children.

Save the Children reports widespread sexual abuse of young girls. Status of females is low in this patriarchal society, and violence against women common. Save the Children estimates that 20% of households are child-headed and there are 50000 AIDS orphans. Unlike in SA, there are no social security grants.

Hmm, a patriarchal culture characterized by abuse of women, polygamy and a rejection of modernity. Sound familiar? Take care of it now and maybe we won't have to worry about Swazi acts of terrorism twenty years from now.


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Ne'er the Twain

From the Andrew Marshall Reuter's story; Leave Iraq, Tribesmen and Sacked Troops Tell U.S.

Thousands of sacked Iraqi soldiers threatened Monday to launch suicide attacks against U.S. troops as leaders of the country's squabbling tribes told the Americans they could face war if they did not leave soon.

Seeing as how Iraqi efforts in the previous war were more or less suicide attacks, I fail to see why this should worry us.

"The entire Iraqi people is a time bomb that will blow up in the Americans' face if they don't end their occupation. We refuse to deal with the occupation," tribal leader Riyadh al- Asadi told Reuters after meeting a senior U.S. official for talks on the future of Iraq after Saddam Hussein. (emphasis added)

What is this, "National Iraqi 'Do as I say, not as I do day?'"

"The Iraqi people did not fight the Americans during the war, only Saddam's people did. But if the people decide to fight them now, they are in big trouble."

A correct statement, but confused antecedents.

As tribal leaders were meeting Ambassador Hume Horan of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), more than 3,000 sacked soldiers marched on the U.S-led administration's headquarters vowing violence unless they were paid wages and compensation.

Sacked soldiers vow violence! You angling for that open position at the Post, Andrew?

"All of us will become suicide bombers," said Khairi Jassim, a former warrant officer. "I will turn my six daughters into bombs to kill the Americans."

Yes, there's nothing like a threat of murdering your own children to make the United States give you money. It's worked for well for the Palestinians, you know.

There's your East-West division right there. Given the chance, Khairi will turn his daughters into bombs. Given the chance, Americans will turn them into bombshells.

Ohh, but that would be objectifying them, and objectifying bad, very bad. As if women as martyrs is preferable to women in garters.

Why is it that the people who protest the loudest about the Western objectification of women are so hard to find when it comes to the East's mistreatment of them?


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The Funny Pages Finally Come to The New York Times



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Informative Diagnostic

If most of the pictures below are missing, the UNC network is still down.


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