Friday, September 17, 2004

Lindsborg has hit the big time.
My little home town has made the Associated Press for the chess tournament they'll be hosting this weekend. I see that the reporter interviewed a few residents. It's too bad they didn't interview my father. I can see it now:
REPORTER: So is the town excited about having these world-famous chess players in town?

DAD: Oh, yes. I love to play chess. Taught my kids when they were barely old enough to read. Why this is almost as thrilling as the time I was attacked by a horde of Wild Anderson in the Smoky Hill River.

REPORTER: A horde of wild what?

DAD: Andersons! Listen closely. The whole experience is seared - seared in my brain, I tell you. I was in a canoe. I came around a bend and all of the sudden I was ambushed from both sides by a host of my nieces and nephews. They descended upon my craft and tipped me into the water.

REPORTER: Oh, uh huh.

DAD: It was scary! The river is really muddy. I opened my eyes under water and couldn't see a thing. I didn't know up from down. I could fee the current pulling me down the river. I thought I was going to die!

REPORTER: Really? So then what?

DAD: I said to myself, "Well, Marv, you gotta do something". Well, I didn't say it because I was under water, it would have sounded like "Wegggl, Marrrggggvv, yougggg goggga gooo somegggginggg", but I was thinking it.

REPORTER: Uh...

DAD: So I reached my feet out in search of the bottom, for anything to push off, and by luck I happened to reach in the right direction. I felt the mud as it I drifted by, so I planted my feet as best as I could and pushed up with all my might. I was determined to make it to the top!

REPORTER: So you did, I take it?

DAD: Well, sure. I shout out of the water like a cannon, and then I stood. It turns out the water was only two feet deep, barely came to my knees.

REPORTER: Yeah...okay. Well, I'd better be going...

DAD: Hey, do you know what it means to be a good Swede?
The X-Files/Simpsons cross-over
has two of the greatest moments in Simpsons' history. First, Nimoy's introduction. I love that. "And in the end, isn't that the real truth? The answer is: No." The second is Chewbacca singing "Good Morning, Starshine" at the end.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Joe, you Simpsons freak,
you'll like this Leonard Nimoy/Dan Rather connection.
I love Bloom County
and wept when Berke Breathed gave it up. Okay, maybe I didn't weep, but there was much gnashing of teeth. Regardless, either Breathed is an oracle, or Rather just likes to repeat his mistakes. Maybe both.
The alumni should do something about this
plagiarism scandal at Harvard. Joe, get on it.
IMAO on RatherGate:
"It's like crack. I mean, this is the best news story ever!" I think he's experiencing a bit of schadenfreude.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Andrew Sullivan's e-mail of the day
provides a nice example of the consequences stemming from the CBS forgery kerfuffle:
If CBS is willing to not only shred even the pretense of journalistic ethics, but to actually conspire to commit fraud (as I think the evidence of ignoring experts and standing behind such obvious forgeries shows) in a desperate attempt to throw a presidential election and install their candidate, then I must do everything I can to oppose them. This means becoming an active supporter of President Bush. I would never have imagined that would happen, but all I can say is thanks, CBS, for exposing yourself and clearing things up.
I watched the first 10 minutes of the CBS newscast, and naturally Dan Rather said nothing. So I switched over to FOX News, where Brit Hume is talking with his panel. For once, the panelists (conservative, moderate and liberal) all have something on which they can agree: CBS is in deep doo-doo. Of course, the liberal guy (Juan Williams) is giving the "they may be forged but they're still true" line. Bah.

By the way, Charles Krauthammer's upper lip is shaped in such a way that it looks like he has a beak. I find it distracting.

UPDATE: Now they're talking about it on CBS News. They're standing by the memos, saying the backlash is pure politics, and to tune in to 60 Minutes for the rest of the story. Great, it's a ratings game. And be sure to catch CSI where the forensics team investigates President Bush's gambling problem, which he developed years ago while in the National Guard. Be sure to see the chilling scene where Grissom analyzes a tape of Bush, allegedly saying to Cheney, "Baby, you're so money!"
Get your GMail here!
Here's a site that'll get you an invitation to get a GMail account from Google. Just type an existing e-mail address of yours into the text box, hit Enter, and you'll receive the invitation. Pretty sweet.
John Derbyshire is grumpy.
The only positive thing he can say about Hero is that one of its stars is a "total babe". Otherwise, he hated the sword fights, its serious tone, the sets, the coloring, the plot and just about everything else, if there is anything else. I'd Fisk his review, but I'd just end up repeating the same comment: "Lighten up". Based on this review, Derbyshire must have also hated Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Pulp Fiction, The Matrix, The Wizard of Oz and any film even loosely based on an historical event. What a drag he must be.

Now, I know his real problem is that he sees Hero as a call for China to pull Taiwan back into the fold, but still, you can disagree with a film's message and still enjoy it.
I watched Hannity & Colmes
again last night. Cornell West was on. I'm reminded of the description that used to float around Harvard campus while West was still on the faculty there: He's a mile wide and an inch deep. Those who've paid attention to West (or to Harvard) know why he's at Princeton now: Lawrence H. Summers (Harvard's current president) told West to stop cutting rap albums and return to serious scholarship. This was, apparently, an affront to West's ego and he went skimpering away.

In any case, though, I can see why he's a popular teacher. He's damned fun to watch, even if he's spouting various inanities. My favorite exchange was when Hannity asked him to come on his radio show. West cordially agreed, and added (roughly), "I've got arguments that'll knock you to the wall, my brother."

John O'Neill of Swift Vets for the Truth was on, as well. He's such a pleasant person. Really. Calm, collected, modest. He doesn't raise his voice or engage in ad hominem attacks. The best was when Colmes tried to nail him on his apparent confession to Nixon back in the 70's that he'd been in Cambodia, while he currently denies that he was ever in Cambodia. O'Neill calmly told Colmes to read the next sentence in the transcript, where he qualifies himself, saying that he was near the border, not actually in Cambodia. That he said something like, "I was in Cambodia. Well, on the border really." Colmes, to me, anyway, came across as a person utterly lacking in the ability to grasp context.
I wonder if
this will get any play.

Winter Soldiers has already been thoroughly discredited, but this just adds to the fun.
Dan Rather's last stand
as rendered by IMAO. That's my kind of artwork.

One of the comments to the post: "Obviously a forgery of Ted Rall's work." Ha!
There are no coincidences.
First I use a quick, unexplained reference to the "I live in a van down by the river" SNL skits, then a few days later, Right Thinking makes a quick, unexplained reference to the same skits. Cosmic.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

I was sorry to see
this posting on the Day by Day site.



I hope all turns out well with Chris's family, and that he's able to return to cartooning soon.
I haven't commented
on CBS's stupidity with regards to the forged memos yet. Powerline and others have been doing a great job, so anything I say, in terms of writing about the problems with the memos, etc, would be mere repetition.

Though, I would like to say, in a fit of schadenfreude, that I eagerly await the crushing blow CBS News and Dan Rather are going to take when all of this comes to a head.

Rumors are circulating (see the Kerry Spot and CrushKerry) that MoveOn.org may be behind the memos -- that they're essentially a pack of political juveniles when it comes to campaigning, and their blind hatred of Bush brought them to do something incredibly foolish and amateurish. We'll see. CBS is going to be under increasing pressure to say where they got these documents, especially as it becomes impossible for them to stand behind their authenticity while retaining their journalistic credibility.
I work in the securities industry,
and I know (not from personal experience, but by paying attention during compliance meetings) that the NASD can hand down some pretty serious punishments for fudiciary impropriety. Thankfully, this isn't one of the things they can do.
E-commerce is doomed.
Much like Homer's lament about alcohol, it appears mathematics is simultaneously the cause and the cure for all of life's problems:
The whole of e-commerce depends on prime numbers. I have described the primes as atoms: what mathematicians are missing is a kind of mathematical prime spectrometer. Chemists have a machine that, if you give it a molecule, will tell you the atoms that it is built from. Mathematicians haven't invented a mathematical version of this. That is what we are after. If the Riemann hypothesis is true, it won't produce a prime number spectrometer. But the proof should give us more understanding of how the primes work, and therefore the proof might be translated into something that might produce this prime spectrometer. If it does, it will bring the whole of e-commerce to its knees, overnight.
Obviously, the solution is to ban all efforts to prove the Riemann hypothesis.
The plan is working.
The plan to make my little hometown of Lindsborg, KS the chess capitol of the universe, that is. Yes, it's all coming together very nicely...

Monday, September 13, 2004

And Kerry lives in a van down by the river.
My father had long been one of the coaches of the home-town college football team, and one of his responsibilities each week was to find an inspirational speaker for the pre-game meal. Ah, Dad, if only Kerry had been available:
That was clearly on his [Kerry's] mind on a recent evening as he offered a pep talk to the Mansfield Senior High School Tygers. The northwestern Ohio football team had lost its first game of the season, and was heading out on the field for their next contest.

Standing in the golden September light[!], Kerry told the players that sports could teach them a lot about life. "You know the old saying, `When the going gets tough, the tough get going?' This is when you find yourself. You just go out there tonight and pull that little extra something out of here," he said, clutching his fist to his heart.

To win, however, he's going to have to put up more of a fight than the Tygers. After Kerry's pep talk, the team was clobbered by Sandusky High School, 34 to 7.
Ooh, who invited him to speak? As superstitious as football players and coaches can be, you can be sure, that'll never happen again.

And what about "standing in the golden September light"? I guess that's better than crying in the cold November rain, but sheesh, what a line.
This is why I avoid posting any facts.
They're pesky buggers:
When you're a blogger, you present ideas and arguments, and see how they do. You have a reputation, and it matters, but the reputation is for playing it straight with the facts you present, not necessarily the conclusions you reach. And a big part of the reputation's component involves being willing to admit you're wrong when you present wrong facts, and to make a quick and prominent correction.
Seriously, though, you should read the whole thing - a nice analysis on the differences between network news and the blogosphere, and why you may want to trust the latter more than the former.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

VDH cuts to the truth.
As usual (emphasis his):
Some insist that this war is only against a few 'crazy' extremists and that it cannot be won by force. That is half true. In fact, millions of young Middle Easterners are watching Islamic fascists to learn whether to applaud or condemn them - and that decision in places like Najaf, Fallujah, Kandahar, Madrid, Grozny, and Ramallah sadly hinges as much on resolute force as it does on "sensitive" understanding. There are millions we must help, but there are also thousands of wannabe Osama bin Ladens and Mohammed Attas who have neither minds nor hearts that anyone would want to win over.

In a war against such killers, it is the proverbial "Them or Us." Islamic fascists are not crazy - however crazy they sound - but evil, as their evil work confirms. We do not need more lectures about the impossibility of winning a postmodern conflict, about al Qaeda's not following the laws of Clausewitz or being immune to our way of war. In fact, we can and have defeated them. Keep doing that and the "hearts and minds" of others in the region, whom we are already helping, will mysteriously prove more open to dialogue.