Saturday, April 30, 2005

Marking the fall...

of Saigon thirty years ago today, I thought that I'd take a different approach than most. In remembering that terrible moment, I'll try to put to rest some of the bullshit surrounding it. IndyMedia marks the "Liberation of Saigon" with an observation:
The war scarred that land, and overspilt into the neighbouring states. A generation of Americans went to war as conscripts, and many of those who returned are still living, as veterans and victims of Hell brought to earth.

There are hundreds of sites on the Vietnam war, its causes, its origins, et cetera- And there are many books and no doubt you have seen a movie. Vietnam remembrance is big business, as so too will be in its time Iraq remembrance
Of course Iraq got jammed up in there, but lets explore another part of this paragraph as it is an important part of the narrative that has been shoved down our pants since we were pups. The breathless sentence "A generation of Americans went to war as conscripts, and many of those who returned are still living, as veterans and victims of Hell brought to earth" brings to mind an entire generation of youth raped of life's experience and placed in the eternal inferno of pointless war. Pretty bleak stuff indeed, and expected but is it true? Thomas Lipscomb, writing in the Chicago Sun-Times points to actual demographics to deflate this portion of the conventional narrative:
As "everyone knows," Vietnam was a war in which the lives of Americans drafted from the lower classes, disproportionately black and Hispanic, were wasted in a failed intervention in a civil war between Vietnamese. Except, as a former secretary of the Navy who served in Vietnam as a Marine officer, James Webb, has pointed out, 67 percent of those who served and 73 percent of those who died were volunteers, not draftees. And blacks ''comprised 13.1 percent of the serving age group, 12.6 percent of the military and 12.2 percent of the casualties.''
And so a large chunk of the prevailing story goes up in smoke. Roughly 27% of the deaths in Viet Nam were 'conscripted'--far from an entire generation. Using my limited spot math skills, that means that about three of every four Americans lost in that conflict volunteered for service, and the body of the military at the time pretty much reflected the American population at large. Lipscomb continues the dissection:
The "civil war between Vietnamese" is a misrepresentation of the Geneva Agreement of 1954 that, among other things, negotiated the removal of the French colonial power and separated North and South Vietnam at the 17th parallel, pending a popular election to be held in 1956 to determine a single government for them both. The majority of the population remained in the communist North, even after several million fled to South Vietnam. Sen. John Kennedy regarded the election as "obviously stacked and subverted in advance."

When, not surprisingly, it did not take place, the war began in the late 1950s with the return of communist cadres to what had now become South Vietnam as a "National Liberation Front" to create an insurgency against the Diem government. Better known as the Viet Cong, the NLF was not an independent political movement of South Vietnamese. According to an editor of the official North Vietnamese People's Daily, "It was set up by our Communist Party." So this was no civil war. North Vietnam began and supported a campaign of Viet Cong subversion of its sovereign southern neighbor.
That "we were simply meddling in another countries' indigenous affairs" seemed to be the accepted story of my youth. As it turns out, there was no independent Communist movement that shot up throught the rice terraces, from the breast of the oppressed Vietnamese worker/farmer. It was a puppet movement directed by the Communist regimes around Vietnam. For that matter, the same can be said about every "workers movement" over the last hundred years. The end result of the "Liberation of Saigon"? Lipscomb writes:
Now, 30 years later, the new "Asian tigers" have standards of living and booming economies that would astonish an old Asia hand like Dulles. Asian prosperity is the wonder of the 21st century and particularly valuable to U.S. trade. In this brilliant company of Asian states, full partners in the global economy, the People's Republic of Vietnam remains mired in irrelevancy. America may have lost a tactical intervention in Vietnam, but the Middle East should be so lucky as to have Iraq turn out to be "another Vietnam."
I would add to that statement: our disgraceful exit from Saigon, which was won by the left at home not lost by our men at war, triggered a blood-letting of biblical scale. Millions upon millions butchered at the hands of communists in S.E. Asia. It's time that we wake up to the reality of the true cost of what the anti-war movement has wrought; the deaths of millions. We now see that not only is it a lie that "a generation of Americans went to war as conscripts", but truly an entire generation in South East Asia was conscripted to mass graves at the hands of the workers' revolution. The "liberation of Saigon" would be more honestly titled the "rape of Saigon".

Friday, April 29, 2005

Shameless plug...

I've posted the entire uncut soundtrack to a short film by Lance Youngberg called "One Day a Year" that I scored, as well as the second song from my EP 'Tronik Dead' called 'Sol Tasto'. A lot of Americana-type stuff with a dissonant edge. It's all over at

Check back for many updates--I've gat a few more films up my sleeve including a soundtrack to an animated fifteen minute short with lots of wacky sounds. There's not any video up yet, but it shall follow soon. Oh and I haven't replaced the hideous pix of my bald dome (sorry).

We Won't Forget Part IV...

Rusty continues his series on the abduction of Roy Hallums and the damage it has done to his family. Go and read it.

Noah! Read this!

I was poking around Roger Simons' always excellent blog yesterday and found a link to this in the Nutsack. Cool stuff is going on in the publishing game.

Also, boys and girl, I've sent an inquiry to the BIG BOYS (Reynolds, Johnson, Powerline, Simon, etc.) concerning their new advertising and news service venture described here. More on that when it comes down the line.

Noah Adds: It’s amazing how technology continues to democratize the media. For the time being, however, I’ll leave Incomplete Works on its lonely blog.

Also, despite popular apathy, I am going to start posting chapters of the novel I am currently working on. It’s called “Uncle Theo” and it’s a tale of corporate greed in America (it really is). Theo has a more traditional narrative form than Incomplete Works did and it's probably going to be more readable for it. Chapter One is here.

One of these days I’ll go ahead and blog my first two novels as well. The very first was The Colonel’s Daughter. It started out as a semi-autobiographical novel but by the end it involved international arms smugglers and South American death squads. It has a character based on Sean and another based on Tom (oddly, Brig got left out) although over time I sliced away many of the characteristics that would have made them recognizable.

My other novel is called “On the Bum” and it involves a law student at UC Hastings who becomes homeless in order to avoid his wife (who he suspects wants a divorce). It is heavily based on my observations of life in San Francisco’s Tenderloin (such as the time I observed a homeless guy with stained underpants on his head screaming like a madman and the time I observed a Willy Brown look-alike taking a crap on the sidewalk as he read the morning paper).

It doesn’t matter if anyone reads them, I’m gonna keep pumping these turds out.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Very Appearance....

George Bush made us look like fools this week, boys. It seems outrageous at this juncture in history that we were treated to this smiley photo-op between the Saudi Crown Douchebag and Bush. Didn't the Bush team consider the political ramifications of this?

Surely we can all grasp how this will play in the ME: Saudi towel-head at the ranch with Bush--all smiles...Was there a pig-free Bar-B-Que involved? Perhaps this was a very public way of letting his electorate know that he is worried about gas prices. If so, I hope they are smart enough to see how this plays into the left's vacuous grassy-knoll logic (no, I'm not saying that we should give a shit about the tin-hat crews' thinking).

We know that the Saudi royal family has a royal pain in the ass in the form of home-grown terrorism and that it threatens the shieks as much as the cowboys. We also know that the Saudis have given us much political and intelligence support throughout the Iraq compaign. That being said, we also are treated on a regular basis to snippets like this from Sheik Saleh Al Luhaidan, chief justice of Saudi Arabia's Supreme Judicial Council:

"If someone knows that he is capable of entering Iraq in order to join the fight, and if his intention is to raise up the word of God, then he is free to do so," says Luhaidan in Arabic on the tape. He warns Iraq is risky because "evil satellites and drone aircraft" watch the borders. But he says going is religiously permissible. "The lawfulness of his action is in fighting an enemy who is fighting Muslims and came for war," says Luhaidan.

This is the appointed Chief Justice of Saudi Arabia, one of the right hand men of the Crown Prince. The direct result? Articles like this that close with comforting words:

In return the Bush administration has softened demands for wide-scale political reform in Saudi Arabia. In briefing reporters Rice and Hadley refused to comment on whether President Bush had pressed Abdullah to release the three dissidents and their lawyer jailed after signing a petition calling for the kingdom to be turned into a constitutional monarchy. While insisting that Washington would continue to call upon the Saudi government to encourage "wider participation" in government, Rice stressed "this is going to be a Saudi process, and something that is going to reflect the approach, history and culture of that country". Meanwhile, US National Security Adviser Hadley praised Riyadh's effort in the fight against terrorist groups, saying the "Saudis had made really good progress in fighting terror". It must have all played like music to the ears of Saudi officials.

The joint statement issued at the end of the summit also pledged Washington's support for Saudi membership of the WTO and announced the formation of a joint foreign ministerial committee to follow up on discussions on strategic issues. The Americans also promised to ease the restrictions that led to a sharp decline in Saudi visitors to the US following the 11 September attacks.
If we are to believe the author, the Saudies will get a pass from the radical reform we are supporting elsewhere in the region because it issued a few statements supporting the removal of Syria from Lebanon. This is not comforting, seeing as Saudi Arabia still sees the occasional honor killing or the occasional stoning of a heretic.

I'm with Victor Davis Hanson when he states:
The next problem we face is not that we have pushed democracy too abruptly in once-hostile lands, but that we have not pushed it enough into so-called friendly territory. It is, of course, dangerous to promote democracy in the Middle East, but more dangerous still to pause in our efforts, and, finally, most dangerous of all to quit before seeing this bold gambit through to its logical end, an end that alone will end the pathologies that led to September 11.
Hansen maintains that the most powerful aspect of Bush's ME policy is its absolutism, and I have to agree. That aspect of his foreign policy has served America well overall. The most recent manifestation of that was the excellent news that Israel is getting bunker-busters from the US (hat tip- Charles and Noah). It just seemed strange that the news came the same week as the pig-less Bar-B-Que.

Perhaps I am asking too much, after all he is the president, not Allah. It would be foolish to flush our entire economy into the toilet by shunning the Saudis. I just think that in this current climate, when the entire world is watching our experiment in the ME, the very appearance of evil should be avoided.

Noah Adds: Don’t worry Sean, I happen to know that they’re just good friends (though with privileges) and that they’re still seeing other people. It’s not serious, although there are rumors that Saudi Crown Douchebag is going to pop the question and ask Bush to join his harem. Whitehouse insiders say that Bush will accept no diamond under five carats and Saudi Crown Douchebag is only willing to go to three. America is safe!

The BBC’s Worst Nightmare: Armed Jews

The BBC reports on the US government plan to sell bunker-busting bombs to Israel:

The US government is proposing a $30m deal selling up to 100 laser-guided bunker-busting bombs to Israel.

The GBU-28 is a 2,000-kg conventional weapon with a powerful warhead that can burrow through six metres (20 feet) of concrete or 30 metres of earth.

The sale has gone ahead despite concern that Israel might use the weapon for a unilateral attack against Iran.

There must have been a transcription error in that last sentence. It should read like this: “The sale has gone ahead in the hope that Israel might use the weapon for a unilateral attack on Iran.”


One again I have been overlooked.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Weeks ago I offered a short defense of television and a harsh attack on the annoying scourge that is anti-television snobbery. Now science has born me out. The Old Gray Nutsack reports that watching television actually makes you smarter.

Also, I don’t know if you are aware of this, but we are now in the middle of TV-Turnoff Week. TV-Turnoff Week is exactly the sort of mushy-minded do-goodery that makes one wish H.L. Mencken were still alive just so he could tear it apart. Instead we have the San Francisco Chronicle’s Tim Goodman.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Aussies in Trouble

I love the Australians. Whenever the crap hits the fan for some English speaking country there’re there. It doesn’t matter whether their vital interests are at stake really, as long as one of their English speaking cousins is in danger they’re with them, shoulder to shoulder. They were there for the two world wars, for Korea, for Vietnam and for both wars in Iraq.

You gotta love ‘em. And, to pay them back, we should send them a few Apaches to help take care of this problem.

The Bookmark Slog

This story from The Onion hits a little too close to home. As I look up at the closest bookcase I realize that there are far too many books there which contain bookmarks that have not advanced in years. I think I finish maybe 70% of the books I start.

The playing card (a six of hearts) marking my place in David Copperfield has been stalled at page 428 since about November of 2002, and the free bookmark from A Clean Well Lighted Place for Books has been stuck on page 382 of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay for even longer.

I abandon my books for a number of reasons. Sometimes I get sick of a writer (I started Kavalier immediately after reading Michael Chabon’s Wonder Boys and A Model World). Other times a book just sucks (the insert card from an issue of National Review will probably remain on page 321 of Dreiser’s An American Tragedy until the last trumpet sounds the call for the apocalypse).

I notice, as I look at my books, that some writers have proven unputdownable. There’s not a bookmark to be seen in any of my seven volumes by Patrick O’Brian; nor are there bookmarks in anything by Roddy Doyle, P.G. Wodehouse, Joseph Epstein, Isaac Bashevis Singer or Richard Russo. There is a scrap of paper marking page 215 of The Complete Stories of Evelyn Waugh, but this does not mean that I got bored or distracted. It simply means that when I got to that page I realized that I had zipped through almost all of Waugh’s fiction, and I couldn’t bear the thought of having nothing new by him to read. There are no bookmarks in any of his novels.

For some of these bookmarks there is still hope. I may very well finish David Copperfield one day. For others, the future looks grim. I have grave doubts, for example, as to whether the movie ticket (Bulletproof Monk) holding tenuously to page 590 of Bertrand Russell’s, The History of Western Philosophy will ever make it to the finish line at page 836. Although, you gotta hand it to the little bugger, I’m surprised it got as far as it did.

We Won't Forget Part III...

Part three in the series of interviews with the family of Roy Hallums (abducted in Iraq in Nov. '04). It's a heartbreaking situation that deserves more light. Why should this Marxist hag get al the pub? Because she is a leftist, of course, which proves our theory here at INFDL that the left is not opposed to slaughter. They are only opposed to the slaughter of leftists.

the school on the hill

Thanks Sean for the graduation congratulations and a big round of applause for Noah. Noah, don't make me and my voucher of your character look bad.

Well, I had to type a 30-page paper (and a 14-page expression of my feelings) to graduate in between Monday and Thursday last week so that I could actually graduate. So, I spent dozens of hours at the U of U law library which reinforced my earlier decision to go to BYU instead of the U. I'm pretty sure that Noah has more books than that library, not to mention that somebody lifted my Wright and Miller Federal Practice and Procedure vol. 7A. It is a fascinating volume, but if you have any information concerning this volume, please contact me at (801) 368-6571.

On an lunch break I decided to peruse the April 19 "Daily Utah Chronicle" and happened upon something disturbing. In the "Calendar!" column [I think that this is a daily feature where the author tries to dress up his outrageous and offensive opinions as witty tie-ins to daily events] the unnamed author first recounts his earlier days in the homophobic Boy Scouts. While you can see my earlier post for my feelings about being labelled homophobic if you are on the wrong side any "gay" issue, the unnamed author dropped all pretenses to civility. He wrote:

The main purpose of the Boy Scouts is to get those snotty bolo-tie-wearing brats ready for military service. While today's military is mostly full of social rejects and rednecks, we're sure it was a good idea back when wars were fought for a purpose.

I guess we can be relieved that not all of our servicemen are social rejects and rednecks. This comment is not funny, nor satirical, it is just ignorant and a bald effort to declare to the world, "Look at me, I'm progressive, I know what our military really is!"

Noah Adds:I love how the folks on the left, who so enjoy screaming “bigot” at conservatives, seem to have no problem tossing around words like “redneck.” The Democratic Party is not the party of inclusion, it is the party of Exclusion. Marc Cooper of the Nation made this point the April Atlantic (subscription required):

You'll remember that when a loose-lipped Howard Dean suggested the dead obvious—that he needed to win the votes of guys who drive pickup trucks with Confederate-flag decals—he was all but lynched by his nurturing, caring, gender-free Democratic colleagues. Oh, no, we don't want those people in our party!

Later he adds:

I've heard liberals, in their post-election malaise, obsess just as much over who they don't want in their ranks, culturally speaking, as over who they'd like to recruit.

The liberals clearly don’t want rednecks in their party. They hate rednecks, and despite all their talk about the joys of toleration they are incapable of tolerating anyone who listens to country music, drives a vehicle with a gun rack or calls a creek a “crick.”

As long as lefties and Democrats disparage rural Americans they’re going to lose elections because rednecks have had the vote since the Jackson Administration and they use it to crush whichever party contains the largest number of panty-waists and hoity-toity caviar-gobbling holier-than-thou snobs. Right now, that’s the Democrats.

P.S. I want my DVD's back . . . Oh, and good job of not flunking out of law school.

Sean Says: I've had it. What the hell is wrong with this world? Where did Beavis and Butthead go? Where the hell did Greg Loyd go? We used to rightly respect our brothers and sisters with shaved sides and tails. Now the children of America know what a GMO is and have no idea how to stalk deer.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Holy Piñata Batman! Er . . . I mean, “Unholy Batman Piñata!”

Over its few months of existence INFDL has dedicated itself to the great issues of the day. On this site we have discussed the protests in Lebanon, the passing of one of the greatest Popes of all time and the historic election in Iraq. I now wish to cast my gauntlet and issue my defiant challenge against one of the most insidious products of our modern age: the pull-string piñata.

My son turns four on Friday, and my wife has organized a fete to honor the much beloved boy. This party will involve a gaggle of neighborhood children, a “bounce house” and a Batman piñata. But the piñata is not the sort that you might expect a Mexican to whack with a broom handle. No, this item of papier-mache has a number of strings dangling from it and children are supposed to pull them one at a time until the right one gets pulled and candy falls out. In short, it is an abomination, and if such a thing had been seen in Chihuahua in 1912 Pancho Villa would have undoubtedly had its maker shot.

The argument for such piñatas is that the old fashioned kind are dangerous. Now, normally when it comes to children’s safety issues I bow to my wife’s expertise. She is a nurse, after all, and she was right about letting our son sled down the stairs in a laundry basket (though, in my defense, the injuries that resulted from that activity were entirely superficial, and the boy himself wanted to get back in the basket as soon as he had stopped crying).

But to neuter the piñata in such a way is unacceptable. I thought I had won this argument last year when my wife purchased a pull-string Buzz Lightyear. “But the boy likes to whack things, Sweet Pea,” I said. And I thought she agreed with me. Little did I know that her silence was not a sign of assent, it was a sign of defiance. Like a viper, she was quietly biding her time and waiting to strike.

We give up too much for the sake of safety. Read Huxley’s Brave New World to see where this sort of rampant nannyism will take mankind if we let it.

Besides, I’ve seen enough of America’s Funniest Home videos to know that children never get hurt when it comes to piñata bashing. It is always dad who takes a bat to the ‘ol fishing tackle. What kind of father would I be if I wasn’t ready to take that kind of risk for my boy?

I intend to sabotage the piñata so that none of the strings open it and it has to be done in the old fashioned way. After all, the lesson of a piñata should be this:

Force rules the world still,
Has ruled it, shall rule it;
Meekness is weakness,
Strength is triumphant,
Over the whole earth
Still is it Thor's-Day!

So, like Thor I issue this challenge to pull-string piñatas:

And thus singled-handed
Unto the combat,
Gauntlet or Gospel,
Here I defy thee!


Sy Hersh Says It's Okay to Lie

Sean took a swipe at Sy Hersh recently; now New York magazine does the same (I've linked to the story as reported in the Weekly Standard because I couldn’t find the original).

Vichy Patriots

The last issue of the New Yorker contained a collection of letters written by the late Saul Bellow to the just-barely-on-time Philip Roth. In one of them, Bellow very succinctly explains the origins of French anti-Americanism (he was living in Paris during the period described):

O.K., the Americans had liberated Paris . . . The city lay under a black depression. The year, if I haven’t said so before, was 1948. The gloom everywhere was heavy and vile. The Seine looked and smelled like some medical mixture. Bread and coal were still being rationed. The French hated us. I had a Jewish explanation for this: bad conscience. Not only had they been overrun by the Germans in three weeks, but they had collaborated. Vichy had made them cynical. They pretended that there was a vast underground throughout the war, but the fact seemed to be that they had spent the war years scrounging for food in the countryside. And these fuckers were also patriots. La France had been humiliated and it was all the fault of their liberators, the Brits and the G.I.s.

I frequently hear people ask, “why do the French hate us? After all, we’ve saved their asses in two world wars.” What we need to realize is that they hate us precisely because we’ve saved their asses in two world wars. We did for them what they were too impotent to do for themselves. This fact drives the proud frogs nuts.

Noah's legit! Brig's legit!

Congrats to renowned author and resident INFDL Poet Laurate Noah on his passing the Bar exam. Also, congrats to Brigham for his graduation this week. Good stuff, boys.

Vengeance is Near

On a dark night in the spring of 1991 (or was it ’90?) I was awakened in the middle of the night by a boot. It was a black-leather item with a hard-rubber sole. It had been manufactured by the Merrell boot company, and was worn by INFDL’s own Sean. The boot did not kick me, it stomped on me. And it didn’t stomp just anywhere, it stomped right on my forehead.

The next morning when I reached civilization and peered into a mirror I saw, to my horror, that I had a series of scabs on my forehead that were in the exact waffle-cone pattern of Sean’s boot tread. (The boot looked a lot like this one.)

Since that dark night I have been planning my revenge, and now, vengeance is near saith the Noey! For I have passed the bar examination and as soon as I figure out how to get around the statute of limitations (which must have run out about a decade ago) I am going to sue Sean’s Irish-Portuguese-Hawaiian ass.

Rob Stander adds: I was there, you sniveling fool, and I will vouch for Sean's story: he was shuffling around camp wearing hush-puppies. It seems that no matter what we did, Noah's forehead was there. He was always running around placing his forehead under some boots (and yes those are a pair of Merrel Wilderness).

Sean Adds: Thanks, Rob. I haven't seen you in years, and I'm not sure if you were even there, but you just may prevent the litigious breakup of INFDL. I would like to add that the waffle-pattern on Noah's forehead matched a pair of boots that was known to be owned by Megan Blaylock. Also, Mr. Brower is willing to testify for my Scottish, Italian , Hawaiian, and Portuguese ass.

Update: Even now, I can only sleep at night because I know that one of those boots was lost in the vast wastes of the Wind River Mountains. But I am still frequently awakened with nightmares where the left and right boot have become reunited in the common goal of my complete and utter annihilation.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Game, set, match for American unilateralism...

First: France has declared solidarity with the oppressed apparatchiks of China, who have been brutalized by the blind lust for power and hegemony of tiny Taiwan (thanks to Instapundit):

During a state visit to China, French Premier Raffarin threw support behind a law allowing China to attack Taiwan and continued to push for a lift of the EU arms embargo.

At the outset of a three-day visit to China, French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said he supported Beijing's "anti-secession" law on Taiwan, and vowed to keep pushing for an end to an EU arms embargo that could open the door for Paris to sell weapons to the Asian giant.
Raffarin also signed or finalized major business deals with Beijing valued at around $3.2 billion (2.4 billion euros).

France isn't even bothering with appearances anymore. I would be able to swallow this if we knew that France was mearly shoring up its sad wine industry, after all, it's only a matter of time before Chile and Argentina pass France as a major player in that industry. Never let it be said that the French 35-hour work week inhibits its capacity to do arms business with unstable communist imperialists (who are we to bitch? Clinton gave them valuable nuclear and missile tech.-ed.).

Second (via Roger Simon): We see the UN trying to sexy-up the resignation of two of the main pillars of the Volker report, which supposedly cleared Kofi Annan of any wrong-doing. Roger has been pushing this story on his own for a month, but now CNN 'breaks' it:

Two investigators looking into allegations of corruption in the United Nations' $60 billion oil-for-food program in Iraq have resigned in what a panel spokeswoman described as a "personal decision."

The investigators, Robert Parton and Miranda Duncan, worked for a panel headed by former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.

Another member of the Volcker panel, Richard Goldstone, discounted a media report that Parton and Duncan resigned to protest conclusions the panel reached about U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Goldstone told CNN that was not his understanding, and that Parton and Duncan had already been set to leave after having completed their work. He said their departure would not affect the investigation.
Roger Simon responds with a flurry that rips the feathers off of Goldstone:

Well, I am sorry Mr. Goldstone but I am actually amazed you would put your name publicly to such nonsense (next time I would advise speaking, as did your female cohort from the committee, on "condition of anonymity" or some such). Why am I so sure this is nonsense? Because I have known personally about Parton's disaffection from the committee for over a month - that is long before the committee made its interim report and therefore long before Parton, Duncan or anyone else had "completed their work." Indeed, I had learned some time ago that somewhere around or about March 11 Parton had already tried to resign, but then was presumably persuaded to stay on or talked out of it by other members of the committee. What promises were made to him at that time about the "thoroughness" of the investigation I do not know, but I strongly suspect they were trashed within weeks or even days after having been made.

And I would be willing to testify about what I do know under oath. How about you, Mr. Goldstone? Oh, I'm sorry again., You were only testifying as to your "understanding." You're safe behind your weasel words. Smear Parton and Duncan. Smear Mouselli. Smear anybody you want to defend kleptocracy at the United Nations. Just don't expect the rest of us to believe you. Or believe your committee's final report. We would be idiots.

My screen nearly melted while reading that. Doesn't the UN know that Simon is mellow until he has to break a few thumbs? Fools! If anybody in Americas newsrooms has a brain, they'd be reading Roger as often as they read Drudge. He might just earn them a Peabody (chuckle, snort).

The third, but by no means the final, case for American unilateralism (known by those who shop at Wild Oats as "Cowboyism"):
THE European Commission's policymaking is almost paralyzed, so concerned is it not to upset French voters ahead of their national referendum on the European Union constitution next month.

Helping the French Government combat the growing "no" vote is a top priority for the commission - albeit an unpublicised one - and it is shelving, downgrading or reversing legislation that may upset the French. A proposed minimum duty on wine has already been deferred.

"France is very sensitive. And we are very sensitive to France," one European commissioner said.

Officials fear that if the commission resorts to similar tactics ahead of sensitive referendums in Britain, The Netherlands, Denmark, Poland and the Czech Republic, the policymaking machinery will be "completely hamstrung" until late next year.
The EU is passing razors over the French referrendum and for good reason. The disintegration of 'New Europe' is a very possible scenario. Mix it with current demographic fact and you have set the stage for a possible classic European bloodbath in the near future. It will take clear thinking and swift action to address the attendant realities on the ground. We are capable of that , if only because of our 'unilateralism', which in this case is a large group of nations headed by the Anglosphere.

Tom adds: in regard to the explanation of France's mighty industrial prowess in the world's markets (its serious 35 hour work week), here's a heart warming story of French justice prevailing for all the world to see and hope for--via a very useful weblog run by American expats in France.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

More on the crisis that, wasn' was...

In a post a few days ago, I pointed to the many conflicting stories about the hostages taken in Madaen. Now the president of Iraq, Jalal Talabani, has said this:

"Terrorists committed crimes there. It is not true to say there were no hostages. There were. They were killed, and they threw the bodies into the Tigris," Talabani said. "We have the full names of those who were killed and those criminals who committed these crimes."

The Iraqi Government says that 50 bodies have been pulled from the Tigris. Meanwhile there were reports of a slaughter at a stadium as well:
In Haditha, taxi drivers Rauf Salih and Ousama Halim said they rushed to the stadium after hearing gunshots and found the bodies lined up against a wall. The reporter and other residents counted 19 bodies and said all appeared to have been shot.

Residents said they believed the victims - all men in civilian clothes - were soldiers abducted by insurgents as they headed home for a holiday marking the birthday of the prophet Muhammad.

The reporter did not see any military identification documents on the bodies and it was not possible to verify the claim, which may have been based on a previous incidents, including one in October when insurgents ambushed and executed about 50 unarmed Iraqi soldiers as they were heading home from a U.S. military training camp northeast of Baghdad.

U.S. forces had no report of any killings at the stadium. Iraqi military officials also had no information on the matter.
Take note of the last sentence. Funky stuff indeed. We'll have to wait and see how it all shakes out, I guess. Yet another reminder of how little we (and the press) know about the reality on the ground over there.

Update: More details from Guardian/South Africa:
Fifty-seven bodies of men, women and children have been recovered from the Tigris river in Iraq, near Suwayrah, about 40km south of Baghdad, police said on Wednesday.

"The decomposing bodies were recovered from the banks of the river between Al-Wahda and Al-Hafriya," a police lieutenant colonel based in Suwayrah said. It was not immediately known how they had died.

"The bodies were buried in a cemetery some 3km west of Suwayrah after police took pictures of the victims," he added.

The area where the bodies were found is about 32km downriver from Madain, where unconfirmed reports last weekend said Shi'ite hostages were taken by rebel Sunnis. Iraqi officials later denied there had been any hostage-taking.
The butchers of Iraq are every bit as lethal and evil (that's right, I used the word) as the SS.

We won't forget Part II...

A continuation of Rusty's interviews with the family of Roy Hallums. This is ground-breaking original reporting over at Jawa and it deserves all the attention it can get.

I really love it when they do this

In an article from "The Hill" today, we learn from George Soros that we need to be patient, but that eventually the left will catch up to the right's entrenched conservative idea mills.

Rob Stein, a veteran of President Bill Clinton’s Commerce Department and of New York investment banking, convened the meeting of venture capitalists, left-leaning moneymen and a select few D.C. strategists on how to seed pro-Democratic think tanks, media outlets and leadership schools to compete with
such entrenched conservative institutions as the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute and the Leadership Institute.

I'll bet you didn't know it, but the reason that Republicans are in the White House is because they are better organizers (p.s. did you know that Hitler was a very good organizer as well?). What do these people consider the Brookings Institution, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and every single college campus in the United States? I can't wait to see what Soros and his 75 millionaire or billionaire friends can come up with. Hopefully it gets him exactly what he got for the $23 million that he spent in the last election cycle.

My afterthought: It sounds like this money is going to flow pretty freely, so Sean can you set us up another blog with a catchy title like "How Carl Rove Tricked Me and Everyone of My Non-Branching Family Tree to Vote Against My Economic Interests." I guarantee we can get some $$ for that. Most of Soros' friends got their money from internet companies, isn't this idea way better than

Rove’s Vatican Machinations

I love the Ratzinger election. I haven’t had so much fun since W trounced John Kerry in November. You know he’s the man for the job when the nuts at the Democratic Underground blame his election on Carl Rove:

I knew he would be named. The rest of the names were just ROVE tricks to throw off everyone. He was placed there by the likes of BushCO. It sends a STRONG signal to the non white people of the world that "WHITE POWER" is the name of the game. It was also a strong signal for WHITES to return to the church and be welcomed with open arms. They don't care about the Hispanics and Africans that are devoting themselves to the church.
(via timblair)

"Now butter your bacon!"

I was kidding yesterday when I said that I was going to ratchet up my sausage consumption. But then I read this story and discovered two things: 1) obesity doesn’t kill nearly as many people as we had formerly been told by the government and the media, and 2) “People who are modestly overweight but not obese have a lower risk of death than people of normal weight.”

Now aside from the fact that the foregoing sentence is patently untrue (everyone has the same risk of death: 100%) I still find that this is exciting news. What the writer was trying to say, I think, was that the slightly portly man lives longer than the thin guy. The health researchers have been even more wrong than I thought. At 5’9” and 170 pounds I figure I can pack on at least another twenty pounds worth of pork-product related girth.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

We wont forget those who have been taken...

Over at Jawa, Rusty Shackleford interviews the family of Roy Hallums, who was abducted in November from his pad in Baghdad. It is part one in a series.

The mother of his children is brutally honest about the situation and express frustration about the stonewalling policy in hostage situations. It is impossible for a family to execute this policy. They naturally want to put a spotlight on their plight. To prevent the enemy from enjoying the fruits of an attempted propaganda victory, the policy of "we don't negotiate with terrorists" aims to isolate the kidnappers.

I still think it's good policy, but a part of me wonders if that would change a bit if a loved one was "disappeared" in Iraq. May Roy make it home yet.

Thank Heavenly Father it's over....

The jazz played their last homegame of the season last night. Before tip-off Larry Miller apologized for the foul stench of jazz basketball this year. Well, he didn't exactly apologize, but that's how it came off.

I know we've been spoiled by 21 consecutive winning seasons but this team really stunk. I don't think it's a problem that can be explained away as a young team who's learning lessons, blah blah blah. There are some deep problems that need to be addressed or this team could easily slip into Clipper-ville. Priority numero uno: a point guard. I would say "Go ye and get Bogut", but that's not going to happen.

So, as we prepare to watch another playoffs without the Jazz, I ask of all at INFDL: what should be done?

Noah has an answer: Sean, I have the answer to all your Jazz problems: become a fair weather fan. This was the policy I chose to adopt back in mid January and it has served me admirably. Think of Jazz fandom as a gangrenous limb. You used to love that leg or arm. You thought you couldn’t live without it. But now you must “cut it off lad and be whole!” If you don’t . . . you could follow in the path of so many Golden State Warrior fans and suffer years and years of relentless shame and humiliation.

You’d be far better off if you skipped watching any games for the next few years (or, who knows, maybe decades). Just check the box scores from time to time and cluck softly, or curse bitterly under your breath. And then, when they begin to win again, go out and buy a ton of Jazz gear, paint your car purple (the true color of the Utah Jazz) and tell everybody how much you suffered through the bad years and how you always knew they’d be back.

This is what I intend to do.

Dude, That's Gay

I was planning on going to a movie with Wyatt tomorrow night, but in light of this hilarious article from the Old Gray Nutsack I’m rethinking it.

(And to think I once wandered through a Yoko Ono exhibit at the San Francisco MOMA with “the Briefquake.”)

(Via Best of the Web)

Sean Says: Noah, you should know better than to use the phrases "man-date" and "nutsack" in the same line of thought. I now feel very uncomfortable. Besides, I took Wyatt out on a man-date and didn't even get so much as a kiss. Good article, though.

And one more thing--I started using the term "Old Gray Nutsack" during the most recent election because of their low-hanging, droopy leftism. It stuck for me, I guess.

"Bacon up that sausage boy!"

Today while driving to work I heard some astonishing news on the radio: moderate wine drinking probably has no health benefits. No health benefits! But we’ve been told for the last four or five years that it isn’t the apples that keep the doctor away, it’s the grape!

Then, when I got to work, I read this story on CNN online about how the FDA has chucked the old food pyramid and adopted a newer one that more accurately reflects how Americans should be eating. I was hoping that they simply reversed the old pyramid so that doughnuts would now form the best dietary base for a strapping young man like myself, but, alas, that was not the route they chose to travel.

And just a few days ago I read a story in the New York Times (sorry, Sean, I mean “The Old Gray Nutsack”) about how drinking lots of water when you exercise can cause your brain to inflate and kill you. Holy mackerel! I’d always been told that you should drink like a fish or you will shrivel up and die. Now it turns out that water is poison! Thank goodness that I neither exercise nor drink water.

What do we learn from all of this? HEALTH EXPERTS ARE ALWAYS WRONG!

I feel like Woody Allen’s character in the Sleeper who wakes up to find that not only does smoking not cause cancer, it cures it.

In light of all this health expert incompetence, I plan to double my sausage consumption, stop cramming broccoli down my unwilling gullet, and, who knows, I might just start smoking.

Monday, April 18, 2005

More Heroics from the Marines

I simply enjoyed this story: Marines 21, Insurgents 0!

More from the Moderate

Here’s what the Democratic Party’s resident moderate has to say about the Terri Schiavo case (from CNN):

This is going to be an issue in 2006, and its going to be an issue in 2008 because we're going to have an ad with a picture of (House Majority Leader) Tom DeLay saying, 'Do you want this guy to decide whether you die or not? Or is that going to be up to your loved ones?"' Dean said in West Hollywood, California.

Dean, answering questions at an Access Now for Gay and Lesbian Equality event on Friday, went on to say: "The issue is: Are we going to live in a theocracy where the highest powers tell us what to do? Or are we going to be allowed to consult our own high powers when we make very difficult decisions?"'

Wait . . . I’m confused. Aren’t the Republicans supposed to be cynical opportunists for “politicizing” the Terri Schiavo case? That was the Democrats big argument from the moment the poor woman’s story hit the national press. What was the whole Martinez memo controversy about anyway? And now Dean is openly saying that his party is going to run on this issue in the next two national elections?

And notice how The Moderate manages to shoehorn the word “theocracy” into his speech. There’s no democratically elected Republican majority, there is only the dreaded theocracy. We’re a half step away from the Spanish Inquisition . . . which we didn’t expect . . . because nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. Bush will soon be ordering people to “stay in the Comfy Chair until lunch time, with only a cup of coffee at eleven.” (I can’t stop!)

I’m not even going to mention the disingenuous way that Dean tries to cast the decision to pull the feeding tube as a struggle between Schiavo’s “loved ones” and that Darth Vader Without the Costume: Tom DeLay.

Brig adds:

This is going to be an issue in 2006, and its going to be an issue in 2008 . . .


Sunday, April 17, 2005

The crisis that wasn't...Or was, er...

This weekend, there was a shocking story out of Iraq that had all the markings of the beginning of the civil war that so many in the West covet. The headlines have shown anywhere from 60 to 150 Shia kidnapped in Madaen south of Baghdad. It sparked a flurry of activity and posturing within factions of the new government. There's only one problem with the story; it may not have happened.

The Old Gray Nutsack puts it like this:

But as the army battalions arrived there, they saw streets full of people calmly going about their business. There were no armed Sunni mobs, no cowering Shiite victims. After hours of careful searches, the soldiers - assisted by air surveillance - arrested some people suspected of being insurgents, but found no evidence of any kidnappings
This would seem to corroborate what Al Qaeda Mesopotamia has claimed:

Even Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the Jordanian terrorist who is Iraq's most wanted man, offered a version of the Madaen developments. His network, Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, issued a statement on Islamist Web sites saying the kidnappings were a fabrication by Iraqi and American authorities. The statement went on to say that it was the Iraqi Army and the police who had rounded people up in Madaen, and that the victims were Sunnis, not Shiites.

It would be strange for a man who is actively trying to create a civil war to deny a hand in this, if it were true. So what is the truth? The Scotsman puts it like this:

"Three brigades have been moved towards the area and this morning there were five from the Iraqi national guard, the ministry of interior and multinational forces," Kassim Daoud, the minister of state for national security, told parliament.

"Three areas where we suspected there were terrorists were raided but no-one was found. There are other areas we will attack soon."
So if you're keeping score, Al Zarqawi is blaming America and Allawi for creating this as an excuse to clean house in the area, certain Shiite politicians have used this as ammunition against Allawi (who handed in his resignation last week), and the Iraqi government seems to have bought into this full-force. The media? They are exposed here for what they are in Iraq and have been from the beginning; bystanders posing as news gatherers. They have been a major element in this affair, acting as a loudspeaker for an event that may have been an urban legend. Updates will be posted as more info comes to light.

Update: Jawa hits this shit and points to Speed of Thought, A nice blog that I have not heard of until now.

Mom, Seymour wants his marbles back!

Tonight, through sheer colonic fortitude, I was able to abide a lengthy mumbling session by Mr. Hirsh that I had promised a while back to poke around. It was given at the Salt Lake Public Library, a lovely facility ,which Brig points to as "the coolest homeless shelter ever devised", on February 5. His appearance was part of the Dewey lecture series. I got the tape yesterday and couldn't dig in until tonight.

Hersh has a storied history of shit-journalism and a flappy mouth to go along with his trophies Mi Lai and to a lesser degree, Abu Ghraib. On this night, he seemed at times to be nearly incoherent. Perhaps he was confused by the election in Iraq the week preceding. Whatever the reason, there weren't many complete sentences to use, so as a matter of disclosure I should say that unless marked otherwise, I am tying together loosely conjoined ideas and words into sentences for him. I have made a concerted effort to convey his meaning rather than my interpretation.

Because of the subject matter and tone, sitting through this speech is a lot like sitting through dinner with Jenean Gerafalo. At the end I wanted my time refunded to me, so I'm just gong to skim through.

Wasting little time, Hersh used his Woody Allen-like clairvoyance to foresee a bleak future:

The fact that people voted is wonderful, but let's not confuse any of this with Democracy. Because it's not. And what's happened now is probably, in a funny way, really going to put him (Bush) in more trouble and, that is, all of us eventually.
He then lists a host of reasons why the Iraqis voted, from Sistani's fatwa to the Shiite's lust for power. Once the votes in Iraq were tallied, Allawi, of course, would be elected prime minister (see Talabani) and we would see "probably civil war"--

There were thirty seven cities, my friends on the inside tell me, thirty seven cities where there was no vote.
Later there comes an admission;

If I was very powerful in the Sunni Government, whether I liked Saddam or not, and these people started busting down doors, I would probably view those people (the U.S.-ed) as my enemy.

I thank Mr. Hirsh for being so frank. We now no longer need to pretend that he supports the young people risking their lives for us over there. This point gets pounded home again:

I think that Guantanamo, when we're done with it, is going to equal Andersonville as a hell, just a horrible place.
At Andersonville, 45,00 Union soldiers were held as POWs. It was open for fourteen months and thirteen thousand men died there. Comparing Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo to such a place shows no respect for the importance of the place and no respect for history. He continues with his "the real boogie-man is the Shia" narrative:

They weren't voting because they believed in democracy, they were voting, if they were Shiites, because they see by voting they would get control.
For Hersh, there are no wild stabs in the dark. All he needs to do is crawl into someone's head and tell you what they are really feeling. This guy's better than the Amazing Kreskin.

To start off the Q&A, some angry clown asked Hersh a question about the American Empire falling:

I hope it happens soon. I hate to say that.

He has some encouraging words for the mullahs too:

Iran is willing to make concessions, they are willing to deal. The Iranians have collected extraordinary wealth. What they are doing is buying stuff. They are getting ready. If America is going to attack, they are not going to back off. So there's a great story there.
And those Baathists? Soft as fuzzy dice:

Traditionally, the Baath party has been very hostile to radicalism.
Right, if you don't consider feeding humans into wood-chippers radical.

Bashar Assad told me with great bitterness about a year ago that when the war began--you have to understand that Syria and his father spent his life fighting radicals and fundamentalism.

No mention of that secular bastion of non-radicalism Hizbollah and the fact that Syria has become a satellite state of the Mullocracy. As a bonus, Hersh treats us to some more of his "inside information" in the form of another prediction:

They'd (the US-ed.) probably mobilized some sort of independent group inside the country (Iran-ed.) that, after Americans hit some targets this summer perhaps, that it will trigger a revolution.
Thankfully, the speech was pretty much over, but not before making something clear:

No matter how you justify it, I don't think getting rid of Saddam justifies what has happened.
To be honest, I was a little let down. I thought that perhaps he'd bring a stronger game, with better execution. As it was, he came across as a run-of-the-mill nostalgic, constantly referencing Mi Lai, Abu Ghraib and Viet Nam, as if these events were inseparable, possibly even the same thing.

He may actually get a few things right, but his insticts are obviously flickering out if he believes things like the Assads 'fighting radicalism and fundamentalism'. If he is relying on people who have been in the national intel game for thirty years, then he is listening to the people who are responsible for 9/11. The old reality simply does not apply any more.

He seems to be going around cashing fat checks for saying the exact same crap that I have heard from the mouths of twenty year old peace-hotties, except that Hersh has "friends on the inside".

Tom adds: here's a good link with good links that stack more shit on top of the Seymour "Abu Ghraib" Hersh "storied history of shit journalism" pile. Read all about "I can certainly fudge what I say." Wtf? Though I've always chosen the New Yorker as toilet teepee anyway, I feel I now have more of a philosophical reason for doing so, and I now understand just why it must be. Zen now abides in my bathroom.

Noah chips in: Guantanamo is going to be equal to Andersonville? The left has lost its mind, and with it, all perspective.

And as for the Baathists being opponents of “radicalism” and “fundamentalism,” you have to understand that for lefties like Hirsh those are tags that are only applied to religious people. Secular leaders like Saddam (or Stalin, Pol Pot, Lenin, etc) can never be extremists because they are not motivated by religion.

This is also why is makes sense to these people when they casually categorize Bush with Al Quaeda or brand conservatives as “the Taliban wing of the Republican party.” It is not what you do, it is why you do it that matters. If you are motivated by religion you are evil, if you are motivated by a naked lust for power . . . you’re not as bad. The left doesn’t understand religion at all, so they fear it. The lust for power on the other hand, that they understand.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Solo Plastic Acrobatics

North Korea is a continual round of parties. At one recent festival, attendees were given the opportunity to listen to a Mongolian “art troupe” sing a song in praise of Kim Jong Il called "General, Please Don’t Travel along the Snow-covered Road in Cold Weather." According to the Korean Central News Agency the performance deeply impressed the audience.

At another party North Koreans were treated to a number of acrobatic displays. I’ll let the KCNA tell the story:

A Chinese acrobat in the number "Piling up chairs on one's head" skillfully performed a breathtaking movement requiring such high technique as concentrating strength on it and balancing oneself while a young Mongolian acrobat in the solo plastic acrobatics "A pearl in a shellfish" presented diverse difficult movements, mesmerizing the spectators. Russian magicians in illusionary juggleries optimistically showcased refined magic techniques with a lot of humor. Chinese acrobats staged "Plastic acrobatics with lamps" to win the applause of the spectators.

Forget the acrobatics. What a feat of translation! (The North Koreans really should have hired the blogger at ChaseMeLadies to teach them English.)

Oh, to live in the worker’s paradise instead of our squalid, money grubbing, violent and militaristic society!

The Dustman Cometh

All today’s stories about the Cape Cod murderer refer to the man as a “trash hauler.” Is that the politically correct way to say “garbage man”? And if it is, don’t you think we can do a little bit better than “trash hauler”? I nominate “rubbish transportation specialist” or perhaps “captain of refuse removal.”

I think even the archaic “dustman” would be better than “trash hauler.”

Sometimes we aren’t ambitious enough in our political correctness. While I was in college I worked as a “bellman.” While that is certainly more PC than “bellboy” it’s not quite as PC as “bellperson.” (This issue is also addressed in my classic post modern novel, Incomplete Works.) We can do better!

I think these are signs that the movement for political correctness is losing imaginative steam. Maybe someday soon my grandpa will be able to live his dream to call Italians "wops" again!

(Sorry about the use of the term “wop” Sean. If I recall correctly, you’ve got a dollop of Italian in your genetic stew.)

Another Meaty Skeleton Tumbles out of Saddam’s Closet

Here’s reason 5,486 why the decision to invade Iraq was the correct one.

Terry, Terry, Terry

I guess thinking like this explains why Terry Jones was always the best of the Pythons at playing women. (I found the link on Tim Blair’s blog).

Give us a break Terry, and go back to playing Dino.

P.S. I know INFDL has no female readers, but, all the same, no offense intended.

Sean: Wow, I'll bet it's fun being a myopic washed up lefty-type. No need for facts or reason, just the emotions of a befuddled schoolgirl. I am so moved as to offer Terry jones a nice heaping helping of INFDLs' famous Spotted Dick. I fart in his general direction!


From Eric Idle concerning the upcoming Python masterpiece:

Tim Curry is going to play King Arthur, David Hyde Pierce is playing Sir Robin (amongst other things) and Hank Azaria is going to give us Sir Lancelot and an hysterical French Taunter.

It is directed by Mike Nichols. Idle says he has been trying to sell a comedy-musical since 1986:

We tried first adapting an old screenplay of mine called The Road to Mars. It was about a couple of comedians on the road in space but the best moments featured a chorus of quite possibly gay Welsh Robots singing to a Diva they adored:

'Do we love Irena Kent?
Yes we do. Yes we do.
Is she down
from heaven sent?
Yes she be. You can bet your sweet butt she be.'

Still the first white gay Negro spiritual. Nobody bought it.

So Idle, with the aproval and cooperation of the entire original Pythondome, finally gets his chance. He has taken some creative licence in a few areas, especially in the way of real women:
I don't know about you, but for me a show isn't a show without leggy girls in spangly tights putting their legs over their heads. And that's just backstage. But in the movie apart from the Witch and the memorable bathroom scene with Zoot and the Maidens who ask Galahad for a spanking, (a Broadway number if ever there was one), it's all guys.
Spamalot shan't be a sausage party, which is good for business. He later tries to explain the reason Python often featured men dressed as women:
"Dennis there's some lovely mud over here!"

But, come on, that has to be a guy doesn't it? It's a classic Terry Jones' ratbag. Pure Panto.

For American readers I should perhaps attempt to explain what Panto is, since all English people grow up with it, and it's probably the most popular form of theater in Britain.Here goes: the Pantomime is a Christmas entertainment in the U.K. where the leading man is the Principal Boy who is played by a Girl, who romances the leading girl in tights, so that two girls kiss on stage, while the step mother of the girl is a man in drag, and her two ugly sisters are both men playing women.

I've lost you haven't I? You think we're weird don't you? Let's face it, your eyes have glossed over and you're wondering how we ever managed to take an Empire. It's hopeless. It's like trying to explain cricket to Americans. It's utterly impossible. Let's just say that Panto is an odd hybrid of Vaudeville, Stand-up, Drag show, Variety, Revue, Broadway Musical and Fairy Tale. It's full of double-entendres and cheap theatrical effects - well Spamalot really.
And besides, what's really all that wrong about full grown men trouncing about together while dressed like their mothers?

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Adam's Curse

I just finished a biography of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow by a guy named Charles C. Calhoun. It was much better than you think a book about Longfellow would be. Calhoun is wrong about a few things critically. In my opinion, for example, trying to defend the poem Song of Hiawatha is like trying to defend the Holocaust (though, admittedly, on a smaller scale).

Still, I like Longfellow’s lyrics and narratives and I appreciate someone sticking up for the venerable old Victorian. With that said, I found the following passage in the book to be perfectly silly:

There was . . . more tragedy to come: Felton, who was in many ways the most dependable, and certainly the most high-spirited, of Longfellow’s close friends from the old days, had become president of wartime Harvard. He died of overwork in 1865.

Let me get this straight. You want me to believe that this Felton guy died of an overdose of college administration? If you’re going to make an absurd assertion like that you’d better back it up. Calhoun provides no autopsy report.

Of course, professors like to pretend that what they’re doing is brutal work worse than anything a Texas chain gang has ever been forced to suffer. College administrators would love to apply Yeats’ silly words on the difficulty of writing poetry to themselves:

I said, 'A line will take us hours maybe;
Yet if it does not seem a moment's thought,
Our stitching and unstitching has been naught.
Better go down upon your marrow-bones
And scrub a kitchen pavement, or break stones
Like an old pauper, in all kinds of weather;
For to articulate sweet sounds together
Is to work harder than all these, and yet
Be thought an idler by the noisy set
Of bankers, schoolmasters, and clergymen
The martyrs call the world.'

(See the complete poem here)

Only a guy who has never gotten down on his “marrow-bones” to scrub the kitchen floor or to break stones would think such a thing. Perhaps we should ask Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who has a great deal of experience with gulag work as well as mental heavy lifting, which type of labor is more difficult.

And, of course, Monty Python has ridiculed the idea that intellectual work is more difficult than hard labor. There is a hilarious sketch on an episode of the Flying Circus where Graham Chapman plays a London playwright who thinks that his coal mining son (Eric Idle) has an easy life and is beginning to put on airs.

I promise I’ll stop quoting poetry and Python some day.

For more of my thoughts on Hiawatha see my classic Post Modern novel, Incomplete Works, where the issue is addressed in an obscure footnote.

The New Neo and the Meaning of Life

The term “neoconservative” was originally coined to describe former leftists who came to their senses and turned conservative. In the 70’s and 80’s it was applied to a group of formerly radical intellectuals (including the likes of Norman Podhoretz and Irving Kristol) who had been repelled by the anti-Americanism and insane Marxism of the left. Back then the term was easy to understand. “Neo” simply means “new” after all. These guys were “new conservatives.”

In the run up to the Iraq War “neoconservative” was used by the press to describe the President’s advisors who were in favor of war. Many of these people were Jewish and by the time tanks rolled into Baghdad the term essentially meant “dirty Jew.” Use of the word was a way a journalist could draw attention to the fact that a particular person was Jewish without fear of being called anti-Semitic. On the far left many believed that the White House had become the center of a vast Zionist plot, and that the president had been effectively reduced to Ariel Sharon’s puppet by his neocon advisors (though this seems to clash a bit with Left’s whole “Second Hitler” theory).

Now, as far as I can tell, “neoconservative” has become a word applied to any more-evil-than-average conservative.

Today while reading the New Yorker’s obituary of the Pope (it’s not online) I came across this usage:

. . . some critics, such as the biographer John Cornwell, have written that the Pope, by not stepping down when he became ill, left power in the hands of Vatican neo-conservatives, who failed to act persuasively on crises ranging from AIDS to sexual abuse by priests.

Vatican neo-conservatives? By what standard is anybody at the Vatican a “neo-conservative?” Well, they’re the more-evil-than-average conservatives at the Vatican who refuse to allow randy Papists to cap the wellsprings of AIDS with jimmy hats and willy wellies. Because we all know that if the Pope had been a well man he would have shouted from the roof of Saint Peter’s “CONDOMS, CODOMS FOR ALL! ANCIENT CATHOLIC DOGMA BE HANGED!”

I’ve gotten off the point here, but as we all know from The Meaning of Life, the use of contraceptives is what separates Catholics from Protestants:

Look at them, bloody Catholics, filling the bloody world up with bloody people they can't afford to bloody feed.

What are we dear?

Protestant, and fiercely proud of it.

Hmm. Well, why do they have so many children?

Because... every time they have sexual intercourse, they have to have a baby.

But it's the same with us, Harry.

What do you mean?

Well, I mean, we've got two children, and we've had sexual intercourse twice.

That's not the point. We could have it any time we wanted.


Oh, yes, and, what's more, because we don't believe in all that Papist claptrap, we can take precautions.

What, you mean... lock the door?

No, no. I mean, because we are members of the Protestant Reformed Church, which successfully challenged the autocratic power of the Papacy in the mid-sixteenth century, we can wear little rubber devices to prevent issue.

What d'you mean?

I could, if I wanted, have sexual intercourse with you,...

Oh, yes, Harry.

...and, by wearing a rubber sheath over my old feller, I could insure... that, when I came off, you would not be impregnated.


That's what being a Protestant's all about. That's why it's the church for me. That's why it's the church for anyone who respects the individual and the individual's right to decide for him or herself. When Martin Luther nailed his protest up to the church door in fifteen-seventeen, he may not have realised the full significance of what he was doing, but four hundred years later, thanks to him, my dear, I can wear whatever I want on my John Thomas,... [sniff] ...and, Protestantism doesn't stop at the simple condom! Oh, no! I can wear French Ticklers if I want.

You what?

French Ticklers. Black Mambos. Crocodile Ribs. Sheaths that are designed not only to protect, but also to enhance the stimulation of sexual congress.

Have you got one?

Have I got one? Uh, well, no, but I can go down the road any time I want and walk into Harry's and hold my head up high and say in a loud, steady voice, 'Harry, I want you to sell me a condom. In fact, today, I think I'll have a French Tickler, for I am a Protestant.'

Sean Mumbles: Once again, Noah points to Monty Python as a voice of sanity. An idea: Python as the original South Park?

My Blogger ate my posts...

Blogger has declared Jihad on my posting. I've lost fully three long-winded posts since switching to cable-internet yesterday. The recover post function does NOT work (hello, GOOGLE!). I'm sick of having three hours of work vaporize and am searching for other INFDL hosting options. Unless, of course, all of the shit that blogger says it can do suddenly happens.

In the meantime, check out Rusty Shacklefords post from yesterday. Good shit in which he uses Tommay as the pointman for his rubbutal of Jay Tea's blogswarm-inducing mind-farts about baptism for the dead.

Tom adds: Koooool. It feels giga-sweet (the new mega-sweet) to be quoted, especially on a great blog like jawa. And I noticed that the trackback function showed it. Good work on the Haloscan, Sean. It makes me wonder if we'd ever been quoted before, but didn't have the means of knowing. Methinks yes. Also, it only took one or two of my posts that Blogger vaporized to begin backing up everything I do (using email) before hitting the post button. Try doing that.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Ahhh spring, that time of year when a young man’s fancy turns to . . . thoughts of how pissed off he is that he has the second worst cubicle in the entire building.

I used to have the worst cubicle. It was on the eighth floor, it was tiny, and it was placed in such a way that it received neither natural nor artificial light. Even worse, it was right next to the office of this jackass who liked to leave his door open and have loud conversations on the speaker phone. “HONEY, I’M THINKING OF GOING TO JOE’S CRABSHACK FOR LUNCH, YOU WANNA GO?” “NO I DON’T LIKE FISH.” “THEY HAVE STUFF BESIDES FISH WOMAN!”

But then I was moved to a large cubicle on the second floor with a sweeping view of the park next door. I enjoyed glancing up from my work to see the local fat karate instructor pretending teach his pupils while surreptitiously ogling any attractive young lady who happened by.

Cubicles suck because they cut you off from all human contact while at the same time they fail to provide even a modicum of privacy. You can’t talk to your coworkers because they are separated from you by a wall, but at the same time you can’t scratch your nuts because you never know when your boss is approaching you from behind.

But this cubicle by the window was shaped perfectly so I could scratch myself without a care.

But then I was moved, without explanation, to my present dungeon. I am nowhere near the window. When I stand up to stretch I can see the trees of the park, blooming now in springtime glory and I think of the lines by Houseman:

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide

But then I remember that I can only see them when I stand (which is rare) and that I can no longer scratch my boys without glancing furtively around to make sure my actions will go unnoticed (even then I wonder if the guy on the other side of the wall can hear the subtle scritch scritch). My new cubicle is on one of the floor’s main arteries and people are constantly approaching me from behind (I just looked over my shoulder to see if there was anyone there now . . . nope, cost was clear). At that point Houseman is replaced by Eliot in my mind:

April is the cruelest month . . .

Ah, cubicle dwellers lead bitter lives.

By the way, I hope I didn’t give the impression that I spend my whole day scratching my nuts. Its 30% of my day tops.

Seeing as children are no longer hip...

many of my lefty buddies have decided to quell the pangs of parenthood by having lots of dogs, so I can relate to Noah's frustration with the dog owners of San Fran, an otherwise lovely town.

Although I've never had the fear of my son being tagged with skidmarks, I have had some run-ins with logs in my time. Most notably, I was jogging in a blizzard last year (no, Brig, I'm not trying to make you feel like a slug). As I was coming down a steep hill, I felt my right foot shoot forward and immediately I was horizontal, sliding downward on my side. As I came to a rest after fifteen or so feet, I realized an unmistakable smell: ripe kibble mixed with vinegar and horse-nuts. Yes, I had a large stripe of poo marking the entire length of my left side.

I hope the hipster who enjoyed a nice stroll with his dog meant it as a practical joke on a random neighbor. Pretty funny stuff, if it was filmed. The thing is, mixed in with the poo on my side was little bits of plastic bag: as if the owner went to the trouble of scooping the poo, but just left it there for some unsuspecting schmoe to surf on.

I read somewhere that in greater Salt Lake, with a population of 1.7 million, there are a half million dogs. That would explain the effervescent fumes alongside almost any sidewalk in the city. No offence to those that enjoy dogs. I'm even cool with the whole "all dog all the time" set who refuse to go to national parks and other places where dogs aren't allowed. In fact, one of my best friends (an outdoorsie type) has stated that she refuses to see Canyonlands, Zion, etc. because of their "oppressive" dog policies. Apparently, she would like to have her 'non-child' child by her side while I go Poo-Boarding in God's creation. She better film the whole thing.

San Francisco Notes

I just got back from San Francisco. It is an absurdly beautiful town.

The cab driver who took us into the city was from Afghanistan. He said that Afghanistan should be adopted as the 51st state. He also said he is considering a visit there (he hasn’t been back since he fled the Soviets in 79). I asked him if he thought it was safe and he said “of course it is. The President let the first lady go there.”

We had our three year old and our two month old with us so we were somewhat limited as to what we could do (I can just imagine the looks if we had dragged them through the MOMA), but we still went hiking in Marin, ate at our favorite Peruvian restaurant and my wife took the kids to the beach at Crissy Field.

I did not go to the beach. I refused, and I’ll tell you why.

When we lived in San Francisco the closest beach to our house was at Crissy Field (which used to be a military installation but is now a stunning bayside park). Three experiences caused me to sour on that unholy strip of sand:

1) One time while we were sitting on the beach, a homeless person dropped his filthy backpack about ten feet from us. We were downwind from him and the smell coming off the guy was not pleasant. Then he began to take off his clothes. It took a while because homeless people wear a lot of layers. He stopped at his boxers (they were probably too sticky to take off) and then he went swimming. Now, I would never begrudge a homeless person a nice refreshing dip in the bay, and he had as much right to be there as we did, but ooooh the stench. He smelled like the fart of a corpse whose last meal had been Indian food.

2) There are always naked kids running around there as well. Now, I know that the human body is a beautiful thing and that a naked child is the very picture of innocence . . . but could you please throw some trunks on your damn kid, you idiot yuppie new-agers? No one wants to see your kid’s ass (insert your own inappropriate Michael Jackson joke here). It was bad enough when they were two or three year olds but one time there was a kid camped out on a towel right next to us who must have been at least six or seven and he was as naked as the day he was born. His name, not surprisingly, was “Arlo.” My boy liked to make big piles of sand and that day we heaped up a mound of Babylonian proportions. When we were done Arlo climbed up on top of it and slid down. As he did so two things happened: a) he gave himself a sand colonic, and b) he made an ass crease down the length of the pile. My boy’s sand pile had been rendered unhygienic and we had to go home.

3) San Francisco has been overrun with dogs, and Crissy Field is no exception. The last time I went to Crissy Field my boy was playing in the water when a dog ran in and took a shit right next to him. There it was, a big brown buoy bobbing up and down, and the dog’s owners pretended that they had seen nothing. One half step to the right and the turd would be sticking to the scion of my family. So we moved down the beach away from the reeking peril and sat down upon the sand once again. About ninety seconds later another dog approached, lifted his leg, and pissed all over our towel.

That was it. If my wife wants to go to Crissy Field she can go by herself.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Fir reals, this time...

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog. To send a ping to another blog, thus notifying them of our post, click on the Haloscan icon below the archives and login with the same info as our Blogger login. Click "manage trackbacks" and follow the instructions. Read the previous post update #2 if you get confused.

I know it's cluncky, but there is no other way with Blogger. Email me if things get funky.

Tech stuff...

Hey, boys. I'm working on implementing a track-back function on Blogger. That way we can inform those who we link to that we are commenting on their stuff. An update will come soon.

Update:Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to the blog. Now we have a way of letting bloggers know we are talking shit.

Update #2: Here's a tutorial on how to use trackback with Haloscan if you didn't know.

Udate # 3: Blogger is being a bitch and making Haloscan disapear repeatedly. Don't know why. I'll keep trying I guess.

Wizbang declares Jihad on a Mormon practice...

Not really, but that is a sexy lead-in, no? Jay Tea has an incredibly simplistic and un-informed opinion on the Mormon practice of baptism for the dead. It has set off a shit-storm on the subject. Rusty Shackleford has a good take on it. Beyond the stupid post, there is a semi-interesting debate on the subject in the comments over at Wizbang.

Tom adds: Good link, nature boy. My input: The Mormon church as an institution does not have alot of control over who turns up on the database of names of deceased. It's mostly done privately by church members themselves. So how is the church itself supposed to completely stop it? Plus, is it just assumed that mormon church members are stealing the names of jews, with no relation to themselves? Right down the street from my folks' house there lives a jewish convert to the mormon church. Yup, him and his whole side of the family were jews who converted to the mormon faith. They're very devout, and like most devout mormons they will do their own geneology and perform this particular practice for them. So if ancestor rights are presumably owned by descendants, then the whole argument concerning "leave my ancestors alone" becomes much more complicated.

A follow up to an earlier post

Bill Clinton is getting in on pointing out Republicans' sexuality.

"... He went to Massachusetts and married his longtime male partner and then he comes back here and announces this," Clinton said at a Harlem news conference.
"I thought, one of two things. Either this guy believes his party is not serious, and is totally Machiavellian in his position, or there's some sort of self-loathing there. I was more sad for him."

Sean says: I'm glad you point this out, Brig. In its new found trend of outing conservatives, the left has taken up the cause of intimidation and discrimination of gay people. How strange times have become indeed.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Damn near got ate...

yesterday while I was running. I've spent a couple of decades poking around the west without seeing a mountain lion. Well, that streak is over now.

I was running the beautiful trail from Ensign Peak (above the capital) to North Salt Lake. It takes you out onto a grassy shoreline that sits two thousand feet above the valley floor. At mile three, I was startled by a half dozen mule deer darting off to the right. Just after that I saw what I thought was a golden retriever rolling around and smelling stuff. As I got within about forty yards, it suddenly stood and gave me the perfect profile of a big male cat. It had spooked the deer and was going wild over the scent of deer-ass.

I was frozen for a few minutes watching this huge beast run back and forth on the bench following deer-smell. As the wind shifted, he took notice of me. He watched me as I backed away slowly over a period of about fifteen minutes. Incredible.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Of all the current headlines...

my least favorite coverage has been of the supposed "mass protests" in Baghdad this week. The LA Times describes it as "Livid Iraq Protesters Tell U.S. to Get Out" :

Once staunch supporters of the U.S. invasion to oust the dictator who ruthlessly suppressed them, many Shiite Arabs in Iraq have grown so frustrated by the lingering military occupation, with its checkpoints, raids and use of force, that they took to the streets to demand a deadline for the withdrawal of troops.
The author Edmund Sanders uses the familiar technique of speaking for an entire people. This has become a common tactic for the MSM recently as the conventional narrative unravels in the region. Here we have one of the lead paragraphs stating how pissed off the Shia are at America. Never mind how the new government is dominated by them and that trend most likely will continue due to simple demographics within Iraq. Without reading two sentences, I (and anybody paying attention for the last two years) knew who was behind this confused display where they were simultaneously burning images of both Bush and Saddam: Chubby Al Sadr, he who looks like Cartmen.

Mr. Sanders then tosses us a bone:

At the same time, the fact that so many protesters were able to gather and voice their opinions without bloodshed or insurgent attacks suggests Iraq is making progress toward establishing a democratic system and creating a strong security force.
Here the reporter exposes himself as just as confused as the tiny minority of Iraqis who support Iraqi Cartmen. The entire article swings wildly from side to side, mirroring the confused facade of the pacifist view. I'm getting queasy now, so I'll shut up soon. The article closes with this little gem:

"With just one word" from the cleric, said Qasim Mohammed, 36, of Sadr City, "we are ready to sacrifice our souls."
This comes from what the author calls "disenfranchised young men" amongst whom Al Sadr is "wildly popular". I wonder if the papers give small bonuses to reporters who can work in PC catch-phrases. "Disenfrachised" has got to be worth a few buck at least, seeing as I've heard the phrase used in everything from election coverage to movie reviews. "Root causes" and "Hegemony" are now so overused as to be worth pennies now.

Funny how words become gray from flaccid recitation. An example is how skewed their collective memory has become of the horrors of the holocaust. Hitler's name is constantly evoked to score points in argument, thus cheapening the suffering of millions. The problem now for the left is this: after crying wolf for three (or is it 30) years, what makes them think that we will ever trust them again? After all, their command of history and language is less than awe-inspiring.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

don't we have an opening at the blog?

Is Andres interested in further explanation of his point? Invite him to add his opinion.

Sean Adds: Yes, Brig. Our arms are open to all.... Except those with fake Opera names.

Ding, Ding, Ding! INFDL's first comment from a delusional leftist!

We here at INFDL mark with joy the many milestones of bloggitude. We jumped with joy at the sight of our first comment. The first time we used the 'F' word is found here. Probably the only recorded instance of the phrase 'shit-wad' in the bloggosphere appears here courtesy of ThommAy.

You see, we are a festive lot. We enjoy watching our little blog unfold and we mark the passing of significant firsts for our future enjoyment. It's sorta like taping the first dollar you make in a business to the counter as a reminder of the hard work it took to start it.

When I started this thing I remember thinking to myself "Geez this could be fun, especially when we get a few eighteen-year-old Marxists pissed". Well, my friends, that special moment has come to us like a piece of poo plopped down from above. In disagreeing with my post that stated my disdain for any amount of credit being foisted upon the Red Clown with the alien-baby tattooed to his face (Gorby), Andres Briano lets this out of his pants:

Dear author,
I do not think that you are right when advertising that Reagan was better than Gorbachev. I think you are deluded or just a typical american who chooses to see the bits of history that allow them to keep alive their fantasy of present and history. If I were you, I would start reading before making and even bigger ass out of myself.

Andres Briano

First off, my fine Italian brother, I can't read nor can my countrymen. We are a proud group of cowfolk with a limited grasp of things logical. In fact, as I am writing this, I am at a Monster Truck rally with my first cousin sitting on my face.

Second, my "fantasy of present and history" is clouded, I must confess, by many years of eating genetically modified corn product. Hell, I sometimes frolic in a bed of GMO cabbage while whipping small brown children as they fashion Wal-Mart merchandise with the sinew of the world's suffering class.

Third, the sentence "If I were you, I would start reading before making and even bigger ass out of myself." is a bit abstract. How does one go about "making and even bigger ass" of one's self? Does one really need to start reading before "making and even bigger ass"?

So, to mark this moment we have an award for this brave and pouty pompadour who is struggling against the endless tide of soulless flat-tops. We offer, as thanks for the occasion, the incredible Floppy Smacker self-defense device. Use it to fend off the invading Americans or as a handy kitchen-tool. (Just send $26.50 plus S&H to the above link).

where are the articles about pro-life democratic consultants?

In a "news story" the New York Times has reported that a "prominent" Republican consultant, Arthur Finkelstein, has married his partner of 40 years in a civil ceremony in Massachusetts. The old gray lady is careful to point out that Mr. Finkelstein had already been outed in 1996 by Boston Magazine. So the NYT's article is not an outing, then what is it? It is what we have come to expect from many newspapers: editorial commentary. The article's author declares (not even bothering to find someone to quote, but blatantly inserting his own opinion): "Still, some conservative friends said Mr. Finkelstein's marriage would roil conservatives and highlight divisions among them over the importance of social issues to their movement." This sounds more like the author is praying: "Please, lord [or managing editor], let the conservatives be divided, and let my work as a reporter contribute to the downfall of this great, misguided coalition. A coalition, which, if its members only thought about how different they are from one another, would surely fall and allow for a regime of social justice and peace to rule on the earth."

a little something from my saturday morning trip to pick up some grout

Since the antenna broke in my car about four months ago the only stations that come in consistently well on my radio are 88.3 and 90.1, both public radio stations. First, this removes any shred of willingness to ever contribute to "public" radio, when they somehow have some money left over from their ridiculous programming to build stations that put even the mighty KBER to shame. Second, I'd like to recap two totally ridiculous stories from the station this morning.

1) A reporter had travelled to Indiana (I'm not sure where, but it for sure wasn't a big city--a fact that further instructs us that all subarbanites and rural dwellers are ignorant and lack meaning in their lives) to do a story on 10-12 people who every weekend protest homosexuality on the road that many Methodists and Baptists take to church. The reporter had one of the protestors read his sign that said, "There are no fags in heaven." The protestor explained that the term homosexual doesn't offend anyone, so he has to get people's attention this way. Getting back to her story, the reporter explained, "Perhaps surprising, but not everybody agrees with the protestors sentiments. There are even some rude gestures." I suppose that she is surprised that people outside of a city can be civil. Or that religious, right-wing fanatics can separate their sincerely held belief that homosexuality is wrong from their desire to treat people well.

2) In some national NPR morning show the host was speaking with a guest about the important issues of the day: the Pope and Iraq. The guest noted that it was the 2-year anniversary of the fall of Bagdad (which I will always remember watching with my roommate Triple (don't let the name make you confuse him with Monroe)). The guest then said, that apparently the pro-Saddam forces were in the street protesting and causing trouble, and then the host had to point out to him that the article actually said that the protestors were calling for an immediate trial of Saddam. This illustrates 2 points: (a) that these people are very serious about finding flaws in Iraq; and (ii) they are totally lazy; they just sit in their studio on Massachussetts Avenue and 8th St., NW in Washington and read the NYT on the air. The guy was just reading through the newspaper or some article on-line. In Bias, Bernie Goldberg makes the argument that television news just gets their stories and arguments directly from the NYT and the print media. Well, I guess NPR does too.