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December 30, 2007

Carnival of Maryland -- 23rd edition

The special Eve of New Year's Eve 23rd edition of the Carnival of Maryland is up at Inside Charm City.

The 24th edition is scheduled for Sunday, January 13, to be hosted at Annapolis Politics.

Send your submissions in for Carnival 24 by using the Blog Carnival form.

Click here to read more . . .

Ron Paul chats with his cocker spaniel, Part 4

"Dr. Paul": I'm getting so tired of having to enlighten these ineducable members of the establishment.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": Why can't they see that the assassination of Benazir Bhutto was simply blowback?

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": It never would have happened if we hadn't started a foolish and illegal war in Iraq.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": And propped up Musharraf after September 11.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": Which, by the way, was itself blowback after we stationed our military in Saudi Arabia, which people like Osama bin Laden consider holy land.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": Not to mention our wholly unbalanced support for the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": We had no business fighting with Saddam Hussein in the 1990s, anyway.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": After all, we were supporting him against Iran in the 1980s.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": Because we didn't understand that the Iranians in the American Embassy were simply upset about our support for the Shah.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": I mean, why did we think that installing a foreign leader who didn't have the support of his people was any of our business?

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": That was the same mistake that led to the illegal war in Vietnam.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": And, to a degree, to the illegal war in Korea.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": We somehow got the idea during World War II that foreign intervention was a useful form of domestic policy.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": But there never would have been a Nazi party at all in Germany, nor would there have been a ground for our intervention in World War II, if we hadn't foolishly meddled in World War I, which really had nothing to do with us at all.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": People revere Teddy Roosevelt for some reason, but he made his name in the Spanish-American War in 1898, an incredibly misguided intervention that still reverberates to our detriment in the Philippines today.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": If Abraham Lincoln hadn't tried to take dictatorial power by starting the Civil War, we could have bought all the slaves and freed them, sparing the 600,000 lives squandered in that war.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": And we would not have had 150 years of race problems ever since.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": Blowback.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": And don't even get me started on the War of 1812.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": How mind-bogglingly short-sighted was it for President Madison to ally with the French against the British?

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": We would never have had British troops getting back at us by burning Washington if we had only stayed out of foreign interventions!

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": The way the framers provided in the Constitution.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": Like James Madison.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": You know, it's all blowback.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": Just what you'd expect.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": And you know what's really funny?

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": About the only prominent person who understands this, besides me, is Noam Chomsky.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": Which is sort of ironic.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": Given that "Noam" is such a Zionist Likudnik name.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul":

Cocker Spaniel: So you say. But for us retromingent mammals, the only blowback we care about is a really strong tailwind, if you know what I mean -- which I'm sure you do, given those wet spots I've noticed on your pants.



Ron Paul chats with his cocker spaniel, Part 3

Ron Paul chats with his cocker spaniel, Part 2

Ron Paul chats with his cocker spaniel

Ron Paul goes to the post office


Video at Hot Air

Click here to read more . . .

December 29, 2007

Switching my RSS feed again

UPDATE at bottom.....

If your feed reader has suddenly shown up with about 25 posts, many of which you've already read, here's why:

I've gone back to my Yahoo Pipes RSS feed mash and ditched the standard RSS feed set up by Blogger.

The standard feed has a truly annoying quirk -- if you update a post, it treats that post as having been newly written when updated. So if I took a post from last month and added a new label to it, you would see it in your reader as if it were a new post. Idiotic.

The Yahoo Pipes feed mash solves that problem by treating the date of the post as the original published date, no matter how many times you update it. I realize that, as Soccer Dad has pointed out, with at least some readers, the Yahoo Pipes feed doesn't allow you to get directly to my home page, but I hope my readers will be willing to get there with two clicks. I beg your indulgence.

UPDATE (12/30): Yahoo Pipes seems to need some Drano(TM), so in the meantime, I'm back to the standard RSS feed. My apologies for messing with your feed readers.

Click here to read more . . .

Spinning crime figures in Prince George's

If I lived in Prince George's County, I'd be livid about this.

This report in The Examiner says that the number of murders in the county increased by 4.5% from last year from 134 in 2006 to 140 in 2007 (through yesterday).

And this is how the county police have reacted:

Police downplayed the increase.

"Our numbers are still down compared to the District and Baltimore, though," said Officer Henry Tippett, a spokesman for the Prince George's Police Department. "We haven't seen a significant increase."
We're supposed to believe that the numbers are "down" because they're not as far up as those in Baltimore and Washington. That's totally nuts. The numbers aren't down at all; they're up. Sure, things are worse in Washington, and much, much worse in Baltimore, but apparently you folks who live in Prince George's -- you taxpayers who fund the county police -- shouldn't worry because your murder total is up only 4.5%.

Great. And I thought things were bad in Montgomery County.

Click here to read more . . .

December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

To my Christian friends and readers, Merry Christmas.

The Pillage family sends its greetings from New York City, where we're spending a few days after having visited the cemetery following my father's second yahrzeit, which was on 4 Tevet (Dec. 12-13 this year).

Somehow it seems that saying "Merry Christmas" in blue New York is a political statement, but people still seem to be pleased when I greet them that way. Also, as I mentioned in my original post on the subject, Jews should respect other people's holidays.

And then, go and eat Chinese food.

Click here to read more . . .

December 21, 2007

Rudy Giuliani tunes up his campaign

(Disclaimer: I might actually vote for the guy.)

For links to other photo comics, click here and check the sidebar.

Or start with these:

Bill Clinton evaluates HillaryCare II

Bill Clinton supports Hillary's cleavage

Bill Clinton grabs some contributions for Hillary

Hillary responds to Kate Michelman

Hillary begins a conversation

When Harry dissed Nancy

Click here to read more . . .

December 20, 2007

Let them eat quarters!

Well, after a protracted battle over what's truly important, the District of Columbia is going to have its own quarter (as will all the territories of the United States). The design is still the subject of much contention, but last year, I offered my own design:

Click here to read more . . .

December 19, 2007

The newest global warming villains

According to Professor Sir David King, the U.K.'s Chief Scientific Adviser, governments can't solve climate change themselves. The problem, he said, is to be found elsewhere: women who are attracted to sports-car drivers. "And he singled out women who find supercar drivers 'sexy', adding that they should divert their affections to men who live more environmentally-friendly lives."

See The Jawa Report (not so very SFW)

Via Ace

Click here to read more . . .

December 18, 2007

Dissin' Papa Haydn

One of Pillage Idiot's major contributions to the arts is my think piece "This art really sucks (eggs)!" In it I discuss a puzzling phenomenon: that one can say that certain works by the masters really suck (in music or literature, say) but for some reason one doesn't say that paintings by the great visual artists suck.

I thought about this puzzle again tonight. I was driving home from the Metro with the radio on, and they were playing Haydn's Symphony no. 94 ("Surprise"). The nickname "Surprise" apparently stems from an incident in which Haydn's wife unexpectedly returned home one afternoon while Haydn was in the middle of banging some fortissimo chords in the dominant.

You may be familiar with at least the theme of the slow movement of the symphony, which is so well known that even your kid sister, who thinks the Beach Boys are classical music, would recognize it. It goes like this: Ba ba ba ba ba ba baaa, ba ba ba ba ba ba baaa, ba ba ba ba ba ba baaa, ba ba ba ba baaa baaa.

So, anyway, I was listening to this symphony and thinking the same thing I think whenever I hear Haydn, namely, that he's an excellent technician -- he knows how to put chords and phrases together well -- but that his music simply isn't very interesting. I made this observation to Mrs. Attila, who's a Mozart partisan, and she enthusiastically agreed with me. She thinks that his themes hold together, but that they're not "transcendent," like Mozart's. I'm a Beethoven partisan, myself, and while the Great Man studied with Haydn, he was doing cartwheels around his teacher from the very beginning.

To get back to my point about Haydn: There's a variation in the slow movement of the Surprise Symphony in which Haydn makes an interesting and unexpected chord progression, but he doesn't go anywhere with it, and three or four measures later, he's back hammering home the tonic again. (For the benefit of my less sophisticated readers, the "tonic" is the principal chord in a particular key, the so-called "one" chord. It has little, if anything, to do with alcoholic beverages.)

I'm not trying to say that Haydn's music sucks eggs, although some of it comes pretty close. And besides, he wrote so much of it that one can't possibly make generalizations.

What I'd like to ask from my classically inclined readers is this: Are there any really great works of Haydn that distinctly do not suck eggs? I'm willing to listen. Just don't tell me the Surprise Symphony.

Click here to read more . . .

Summit meeting

Tony and Uncle Junior negotiate Machiavelli with Wolfowitz and Bill Kristol

"Straussian Summit Meeting of Sopranos"

Headline, New York Times, Dec. 18, 2007

Click here to read more . . .

December 17, 2007

Tourism of environmental destruction

If you are a rich liberal -- if you are a right-thinking sort with huge amounts of disposable income -- in short, if you are the classic New York Times demographic, you will naturally have to go to the right places on vacation.

But where? The Hamptons and Martha's Vineyard are fine, but they'll be there next year.

How about those locales that global warming is going to destroy? How about the threatened rain-forests? Now we're talking!

DENNIS and STACIE WOODS, a married couple from Seattle, choose their vacation destinations based on what they fear is fated to destruction.

This month it was a camping and kayaking trip around the Galápagos Islands. Last year, it was a stay at a remote lodge in the Amazon, and before that, an ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro.

“We wanted to see the islands this year,” Mr. Woods, a lawyer, said last week in a hotel lobby here, “because we figured they’re only going to get worse.”

The visit to the Amazon was “to try to see it in its natural state before it was turned into a cattle ranch or logged or burned to the ground,” Mr. Woods said. Kilimanjaro was about seeing the sunrise on the highest peak in Africa before the ice cap melts, as some forecasters say it will within the next dozen years.

Next on their list: the Arctic before the ice is gone.
It's called "Eco-tourism," or, by the more cynical, the "Tourism of Doom."

And you will not be surprised to learn that those who want to explore sites threatened by global warming will be arriving in their less-than-carbon-friendly jets.
Almost all these trips are marketed as environmentally aware and eco-sensitive — they are, after all, a grand tour of the devastating effects of global warming. But the travel industry, some environmentalists say, is preying on the frenzy. This kind of travel, they argue, is hardly green. It’s greedy, requiring airplanes and boats as well as new hotels.

However well intentioned, these trip takers may hasten the destruction of the very places they are trying to see. But the environmental debate is hardly settled. What is clear is that appealing to the human ego remains a terrific sales tool for almost any product.
Nor should you expect that these super-rich liberal travelers will be roughing it at their destinations. As the article notes about travel to the Amazon: "At hundreds of dollars or more a night, people do want hot water and other comforts."

As Jonah Goldberg wrote about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge several years ago, we have a romanticized view of what the wilderness is like. To paraphrase him, it's basically wilderness.

The same holds true for the eco-travelers mentioned in the Times article. One traveler, who spent $22,000 to go the North Pole on an icebreaker, expressed some surprise there still is ice there, after all we've heard about global warming. He agreed that our view of such regions is romanticized, and quipped: "And then there's the reality. It's cold. It's stark. Santa Claus wasn't waiting to greet us."

But for the eco-tourism businesses who get this demographic to pay those kinds of fees for the trips, Santa Claus is visiting every day.

Click here to read more . . .

December 16, 2007

The dangers of externomingent acts, again

Another reason not to do your business outside.

As with our last report on externomingency, some guy was urinating through a hole in a fence in Cambodia when "a happy little puppy on the other side bit onto his penis." (via HotAir) The article does not explain how we know the puppy was happy.

But we know the guy was not happy, and we'll let the article take it from here:

Mr Veasna's puppy/penis misfortune came to light when he turned up at hospital in the Cambodian capital, and regaled them with his tale of mirth and woe.

He was suffering from lacerations to his penis. However, doctors were able to save his organ, and are hopeful that the puppy did him no permanent damage.
The article quotes a doctor as saying, "It's undoubtedly sore now, but luckily it should still be useful to him in the future." And if not, he can keep it in a display case or sell it on eBay.

I'd definitely recommend you click the link for two reasons. First, the accompanying photo of a cute little white pooch has this caption: "A delightful little doggy: probably wants to savage your penis." Second, there are links to two other somewhat related articles: Man in unfortunate saw-mill penis incident and Cambodians warned over DIY penis enlargement.

Because you can never have too many stories of male member mutilation.

Click here to read more . . .

The Inquiring Photographer: What form of torture?

The Inquiring Photographer asks:

If you're elected president in 2008, which one form of torture would you use on our nation's enemies?

That's an outrageous question. I was tortured by the North Vietnamese, and I understand as well as anyone else how the use of torture demeans us as a nation. But if I had to choose, I guess I'd go with the rack. It was pretty effective during the Inquisition.

John McCain, Arizona

Our nation's enemies, the Republicans? I'd just put 'em in adjoining toilet stalls and lower the walls to the floor so they couldn't wave underneath them. That'd drive them nuts.

Joe Biden, Delaware

A jury trial!

John Edwards, North Carolina

Hell fire and damnation!

Mike Huckabee, Arkansas

The premise of the question is wrong. We have no enemies as a nation. We just have disagreements that can be resolved diplomatically if we work together to bridge our differences.

Barack Obama, Illinois

What do you mean one form of torture? Only one? I mean, you can get married more than one time.

Rudy Giuliani, New York

My bare hands.

Fred Thompson, Tennessee


Mitt Romney, Massachusetts

The Constitution says nothing about authorizing torture. We wouldn't feel we need it if we just examined the reasons people are attacking us. If you go back to our ill advised involvement in World War I, the Germans [48 minutes redacted] and the Federal Reserve Board.

Ron Paul, Texas

Haaaaaaaahahahaha!! The nutcracker!

Hillary Clinton, New York

Previous: The Inquiring Photographer: Where will you invade?, The Inquiring Photographer: How did you propose?

Click here to read more . . .

Carnival of Maryland -- 22nd edition

The 22nd edition of the Carnival of Maryland is up at Mike's Nether Land.

The 23rd edition is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 30, at Inside Charm City.

Send your submissions in for Carnival 23 by using the Blog Carnival form.

Click here to read more . . .

December 12, 2007

Wednesday mini-linkfest

1. Headline of the day: "Police say woman pinned boyfriend to wall with buttocks" (via BOTWT)

2. Everything you always wanted to know about "natural" breast enhancement but were afraid to open those spam emails to read about. This is a real article from a real site (featured at MSN). The article is actually written by some chick named Martica Heaner, who claims to have some degrees at something or other. To give her some cred, I'll tell you she is quite a bit less than 100% behind the various techniques. And there are more of them, by the way, than I had ever realized. Exit question: Why did the husband write to Ms. Heaner, instead of the wife, if it's the wife who allegedly wanted enhanced breasts?

3. If you play baseball, you might actually be interested in a cup that will "protect your boys" which, in case you're wondering, does not mean your sons. But even if you don't play baseball, you might just be interested in watching some dude who used to be a pitcher in the majors take a fastball in the nuts (to demonstrate the toughness of the cup he sells). I got the video at HotAir, where I'm sending you to see it. Also, after you watch the video, don't forget to click through to the Nutty Buddy website (which speaks of protecting the boys) and to the Fox News video at the "Update" link.

Click here to read more . . .

December 11, 2007

If Barack Obama were Jewish, instead of the Second Coming of Jesus

Obama (shouting into his cell phone): But Ma . . . Ma . . . Ma . . . but Ma . . . no, Ma . . . Ma . . . Ma, I . . . I said . . . Ma . . . Ma . . . listen to me, Ma . . . Ma . . . wait, Ma . . . you're not . . . Ma . . . you're not lis . . . no, Ma . . . wait, Ma . . . I . . . no . . . I said . . . Maaaa . . .

Click here to read more . . .

December 10, 2007

Turning it on and off

Q. How do make gay fruit flies stop "mincing about town in spotless waistcoats like Oscar Wilde"?

A. You take away their soy.

Or else you manipulate their . . . uh . . . their genes.

(See Jack M. writing at Ace's.)

Click here to read more . . .

December 09, 2007

Stockhausen's death was a great work of art

Call me a boor, but in my entire life, I've listened to exactly one composition of Karlheinz Stockhausen, the avant-garde composer who died the other day. It was about 35 years ago, and I have no recollection which composition it was, as if it makes any difference.

Stockhausen made some waves in the days following 9/11:

Not all of his "theories" deserved respect. Immediately after Sept. 11, 2001, Stockhausen outraged much of the world when he called the attacks "the greatest work of art imaginable for the whole cosmos." "Minds achieving something in an act that we couldn't even dream of in music, people rehearsing like mad for 10 years, preparing fanatically for a concert, and then dying, just imagine what happened there," he elaborated. "You have people who are that focused on a performance and then 5,000 [sic] people are dispatched to the afterlife, in a single moment."
Of course, he said it in German, not in English, but you can read the original here.

I don't exactly care whether it was taken out of context, as Stockhausen claimed. I'm not sure how you could say such a thing, out of context or not.

What's fitting, now, is that Stockhausen has finally performed a limited test of his theory of art. And he's proved that his death is a great work of art, greater by far than the rest of his opus.

Click here to read more . . .

Looking around for a bargain, perhaps?

The Baltimore Sun headline says it: "Wife shopped around for killer, court papers say." (via Fark)

This took place in Kevin Dayhoff's neck of the woods -- Westminster, Maryland.

For weeks, Kevin Gates lived with the fear that his wife was trying to have him killed.

But he feigned ignorance.

"I did my very best to make her think I had no clue, because I wanted to catch her in this," said Gates, 43, of Westminster. "Any fear that I would have had was just [overridden] by anger."

The pretense ended Tuesday, when state police arrested Mary L. Gates, 46, saying she offered to pay an undercover trooper $6,000 to kill her husband.

She had provided a photograph of Kevin Gates, as well as a handwritten note with the UPS deliveryman's schedule and route to work, according to court documents.
The odd thing is that he was still living with the woman, but at least he had a good sense of the person.
Although he hadn't anticipated she would go so far, Kevin Gates said, he wasn't "extremely surprised" by his wife's alleged plotting.

"She's greedy, she's very self-centered, and when she doesn't get her way, she becomes very vindictive," he said. "She's like a little spoiled child."
Here's my marriage tip of the day: If it wouldn't surprise you that your wife was considering hiring a hit man to bump you off, you may be married to Ruthann Aron.

Only kidding. But you have to admit that the guy's got a really large issue in his marriage that counseling probably wouldn't help.

Now, I hope you'll click through to the article, because it begins with a large photo of a large and very scary woman.

And the L. in her name stands for Lucretia, which is perhaps a very apt middle name.

Click here to read more . . .

OK, now it's OUR turn to throw up

Mrs. Attila and I were laughing but also feeling a little ill when she read me this article in the Thursday New York Times called "A Bundle of Joy Isn’t Enough?"

In a more innocent age, new mothers generally considered their babies to be the greatest gift imaginable. Today, they are likely to want some sort of tangible bonus as well.

This bonus goes by various names. Some call it the “baby mama gift.” Others refer to it as the “baby bauble.” But it’s most popularly known as the “push present.”

That’s “push” as in, “I the mother, having been through the wringer and pushed out this blessed event, hereby claim my reward.” Or “push” as in, “I’ve delivered something special and now I’m pushing you, my husband/boyfriend, to follow suit.”
What kind of gift? Well, anything peculiarly expensive, for starters. The guy in the photo gave his wife a sculpture. The guy at the beginning of the article gave his wife a pair of diamond earrings. Which is probably more of a hit with the woman than a sculpture. In fact, the jewelry industry has leapt into this on all fours: "In 2005 the Southeast-based jewelry chain Mayors marketed diamond earrings with the tag line, 'She delivered your first born; now give her twins.'"

Are you throwing up yet?

Well, at least there's one sensible person:
“This isn’t the time to give a $200 piece of jewelry,” said Rhonda Grote, president of, an online gift consulting company in Bradenton, Fla. “I do not think that because a woman has had a baby she requires a Tiffany & Company item. She requires help, love and emotional support.”

Ms. Grote suggested that new fathers should instead consider performing domestic chores, hiring a cleaning service, or otherwise provide extra assistance for the new mother.
Either the husband is attuned to his wife's needs when she's pregnant, or he's not. If he isn't, an expensive present is insulting, because he's just buying her off to leave him alone.

As Ms. Grote says, the husband has to step in take the burden off his wife during her pregnancy and for some time afterwards. He's also got to show appreciation. But this is truly gross: "Michael Toback, a jewelry supplier in Manhattan’s diamond district, traces the practice to a new posture of assertiveness by women. 'You know, "Honey, you wanted this child as much as I did. So I want this,"' he said."

Click here to read more . . .

New hobby for Thai women

A lot of my readers have been complaining that I haven't been keeping them up to date on the latest news in mutilated male members.

Let me just say, "I hear you."

From Thailand, there's an AFP video report (via Ace) that I find very troubling. A British Thai(?)-accented woman, reporting from Thailand, says this: "Penis slashing by Thai women is so common that Thai surgeons have become world-renowned specialists when it comes to penis reattachments."

You really should check out the video, which, I'm sorry to report, doesn't always load. [Try using Firefox.] A Thai surgeon is interviewed, and although his English is hard to understand, quotes him thus: "Sometimes they chop into pieces. In those cases we cannot put it back."

You'll be relieved to know, however, that the surgeon says there'll still hope: "But we build a new one for the patient." He says that the best chance of success is when the detachment occurred within 6 hours. The member is complete, "but we cannot guarantee function."

The female reporter maintains, throughout, her neutral reporter's voice, but you can just tell she's enjoying it: "In this male dominated society, women have few options to assert their rights." She interviews a psychiatrist psychotherapist who says that jilted lovers might kill, "but to kill is not enough for Thai women."

[Also: I forgot to mention that at the end of the video is a scene of a market, in which a woman hesitantly reaches for a bunch of bananas. As George Carlin would say, You don't have to be Fellini to figure that out.]

Not totally related, but close enough: Rebecca Gomez, on Fox Business, interviews a plastic surgeon, Gary Alter, who apparently has a TV show called Dr. 90210. (Alter, by the way, is a classic name for a plastic surgeon.) She asks him what the craziest procedure he's had on his show is. The transcript, courtesy of's Mixed Media (via HotAir):

REBECCA GOMEZ: What is the craziest procedure that you've had on your show so far?

DR. GARY ALTER: Well, on the show, probably it's a man who had a buried -- or hidden -- penis.

GOMEZ: Where was it hiding?

ALTER: Well, it was hiding in his pubic fat...

GOMEZ: Come on!

ALTER: And in his scrotal sack. And he was 49 years old -- never had intercourse.

GOMEZ: No way!
Dr. Alter, of course, was the only guy who knew how to handle this. (Although he doesn't say how the man was able to urinate, which strikes me as a major life activity.)

Gomez and Alter go on to discuss labiaplasty, and Gomez says that if you want to get plastic surgery, you have to "do your homework." She adds: "I mean, it's like stock picking. You gotta do your homework."

Click here to read more . . .

December 05, 2007

Smoke 'n sniff

Compare and contrast.

1. From the AP: "'Toad smoking,' which is a substitute for 'toad licking,' is done by extracting venom from the Sonoran Desert toad of the Colorado River. The toad's venom — which is secreted when the toad gets angry or scared — contains a hallucinogen called bufotenine that can be dried and smoked to produce a buzz."

2. Same article: "While smoking toad venom might sound extreme, an even more disturbing method to get high possibly includes sniffing fermented human waste. Vicky Ward, manager of prevention services at Tri-County Mental Health Services in Kansas City, said she has read e-mail warnings about a drug called jenkem. The drug is made from fermented feces and urine."

Click here to read more . . .

Environmentalists take to their jets

This joke is getting pretty repetitive, except it's not a joke.

According to an article in the Associated Press, those attending the global warming conference in Bali have some 'splainin' to do:

BALI, Indonesia -- Never before have so many people converged to try to save the planet from global warming, with more than 10,000 jetting into this Indonesian resort island, from government ministers to Nobel laureates to drought-stricken farmers.

But critics say they are contributing to the very problem they aim to solve.

"Nobody denies this is an important event, but huge numbers of people are going, and their emissions are probably going to be greater than a small African country," said Chris Goodall, author of the book "How to Live a Low-Carbon Life."

* * * * *

The U.N. estimates 47,000 tons of carbon dioxide and other pollutants will be pumped into the atmosphere during the 12-day conference in Bali, mostly from plane flights but also from waste and electricity used by hotel air conditioners.

If correct, Goodall said, that is equivalent to what a Western city of 1.5 million people, such as Marseilles, France, would emit in a day.

But he believes the real figure will be twice that, more like 100,000 tons, close to what the African country of Chad churns out in a year.
(via Texas Rainmaker, by way of HotAir)

Naturally, the hosts are trying to smooth over this nonsense -- by planting a bunch of trees. But even the AP can't resist mockery: "Yet SUVs, taxis and other cars sit in long lines at the gates to the site, spewing out exhaust as they wait to get through security checkpoints."

And when environmental stupidity is happening, you just know this guy can't be far away.

UPDATE (12/9): The Greenest Hypocrites of 2007 (via HotAir)

Click here to read more . . .

Ron Paul chats with his cocker spaniel, Part 3

"Dr. Paul": Did you see me on Oprah on Monday?

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": No, sorry, I don't mean Oprah.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": What's that other lady named?

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": The one who runs that show, The View, with the three other ladies?

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": Whoopi, what is it, Goldberg? Is that it?

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": Yeah, I think that's it.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": Pretty funny, isn't it?

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": I mean, a black lady named Goldberg.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": Which, I think, is really a Jewish name.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": Like those two spies, Julius and Ethel, who were executed in the early 1950s.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": And Whoopi's a pretty amusing name in itself.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": One of those cushions that when you sit on them they make an embarrassing sound.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": And everyone thinks you just sliced the cheese.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": Anyway, being surrounded by adoring women is nothing new for me.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": After all, I am an OB-GYN.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": But you could tell they really liked me.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": Even though they're liberals.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": Because even though we don't agree on abortion, we really have a lot in common.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": Like opposing the war.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": And what we think of this President.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": Who, by the way, never seems to have enough sovereign nations to invade.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": So he's busy prosecuting a supporter of mine who produces the "Liberty Dollar."

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": You know, the coin that has my picture on it?

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": That's exactly the kind of tyrranical behavior you'd expect from this President.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": Retaliating against a decent, upstanding citizen.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": Just because he thinks the Federal Reserve Board is unconstitutional.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": Which it is, by the way.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": I've known that since I was in third grade.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": During World War II.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": Which was the last time Congress made an explicit declaration of war.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": So that war was actually legal under the Constitution.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": Although in 1943 I still wanted the President to bring the troops home immediately.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": I mean, what business did we have meddling in a dispute between the Germans and the British?

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": People were saying, anyway, that it was the big European money men who were behind it.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": Not that I necessarily agreed with that, but it raised questions that should have been looked into.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": And we really should have examined what we had done that made the Germans hate us.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": You know, I really wish I had raised this with Whoopi.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": Because I'll bet she would've agreed with me.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul": Given her obvious interest in Austrian economics.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Dr. Paul":

Cocker Spaniel: Yeah, whatever. In my experience, no left-wing chick is ever going to be into you if you can't stop Hayek-ing her chainik. If you'll pardon my neocon language.



Ron Paul chats with his cocker spaniel, Part 2

Ron Paul chats with his cocker spaniel

Ron Paul goes to the post office


Excerpts of Ron Paul on The View

Liberty Dollars

Slightly Related:

Other candidates in third grade

Click here to read more . . .

December 04, 2007

Teddy's memoir

There really isn't anything one can express over the huge advance Sen. Kennedy is receiving for his memoir other than disgust.

So let's turn to Fark for a photoshop contest.

Click here to read more . . .

December 03, 2007

Hillary's third-grade essay discovered

News story here.

Click here to read more . . .

December 02, 2007

Sunday linkfest

Tonight's linkfest is divided into categories.

1. Bush Derangement Syndrome.

BDS at the New York Public Library: an exhibit of fake mug shots of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al. (via HotAir)

And BDS in Gene Weingarten's column in the Post, which actually is mildly amusing, for a change.

2. The Muhammed Teddy Bear in the Sudan.

When a British school teacher is put on trial in the Sudan for letting her 7-year-old student name a teddy bear "Muhammed," after himself, and Sudanese Islamist radicals are calling for her death, Amnesty International is nowhere to be seen.

In response, the inventors of "Islamic Rage Boy" come up with some new toys and games. (via Ace)

3. Inventions and patents.

Speaking of inventions, I discovered the InventorSpot blog through a link at HotAir. The link was to a post discussing a patent for a support for men's foreheads over a urinal. If you think I'm kidding, you'd better click that link right now. Personally, I see the need for such a device in airplanes and trains -- especially the latter, which make the business hardly smooth sailing (to mix metaphors). I wonder how much good it would do, however, in a bar.

Also at IS are two other useful inventions. One combines the scent of lavender, pumpkin pie, doughnuts and licorice to perform the function formerly performed by certain well known male potency drugs. (On the other hand, maybe pomegranate juice would be enough.)

The other is a tape-on pad to absorb unpleasant emissions from the southbound end of a northbound human. This one is interesting to me, not simply because I have an odd attraction to flatulence humor but because it relates to the punchline to my first Hillary photo comic -- "Hillary begins a conversation."

Click here to read more . . .

Carnival of Maryland -- 21st edition

It seems like just yesterday that I last hosted the Carnival of Maryland, but it actually was back in September (the 15th edition). Hello, again, and welcome.

This edition is just chock full of good stuff contributed mostly by members of the Maryland Blogger Alliance.

Although Maryland is a very blue state, and we have some liberal members in the Alliance, still a lot of our political writing tends to the right. There's a good deal of it this week, so I'm going to tackle the other subject matters first, to make sure they don't get lost in the blizzard of political writing.

So, without further introduction, let us proceed to the good stuff. We'll start with Miscellany for $200, Alex.


Chester Peake at the Maryland Chesapeake Blog defends the folks who hit the stores early on "Black Friday," the day after Thanksgiving. He sees it as sort of an "event" and manages to have a good time. Me, I'd rather click away at deals on my computer, but then again, I'm a socially defective person.

Meanwhile, mad anthony, on the same subject, blasts an editorialist who attacks people who take advantage of "Black Friday" to get bargains.

Joyce Dowling of Creating a Jubilee County offers some important tips to help you avoiding falling victim to scams and theft, and if that were not enough, provides some links to charities that you can donate to. Joyce thinks the "Happy Thanksgiving" is a little late, but it's never too late to be thankful.

PG Chic says the time has come to have more high-end retail in Prince George's County -- "we want, need, and deserve more!"

Jen says: "Show Your Support to Our Troops Through Text Messaging" at That's What I Think.


At Oriole Post, Maryland Orioles' Fan writes about football, specifically about the murder of Redskins' player Sean Taylor, and is highly critical of Post columnist Michael Wilbon for dismissing Taylor as one who "up in a violent world, embraced it, claimed it, loved to run in it and refused to divorce himself from it." MOF gives a personal account of his own brother's problems and decision to get his life in order.

Local Events

Kevin Dayhoff, former mayor of Westminster, writes at Soundtrack Division of Old Silent Movies about the "Shop with a Cop" event at the Westminster Walmart, which helps needy families enjoy Christmas. Kevin even has a video posted.


The Ridger entices us at The Greenbelt with a series of beautiful photos that show that fall is really here. ("About time, too," she says.) The contrast between the first two photos is amazing.

Local Politics

The Patriot Sharpshooter discusses the need for term limits in his blog Common Sense. I've put this entry in local politics, but it applies to all offices at all levels, I would think. The Supreme Court, unfortunately, has put the kibosh on congressional term limits, even though the Arkansas law it was considering was really a ballot-access measure, not strictly a term limit.

Paul Foer, who runs Annapolis Capital Punishment, describes a meeting about local transportation options at which he spoke from the audience.

State Politics

Dave Wissing at The Hedgehog Report examines one cute little legislative change our friends in the General Assembly were trying to pass in the special session: a bill that would have designated unused gift certificates as abandoned property that would escheat to the state. As Dave says: "So in other words, if you don’t use your gift cards as fast as the State of Maryland would like you to, then as far as the State of Maryland is concerned, you should be forced to give an unsolicited donation of that that money to the State of Maryland."

Mark Newgent, a/k/a The Main Adversary, looks at Gov. O'Malley's Maryland Commission on Climate Change and the web of related organizations behind the Center for Climate Strategies, which the Commission has brought in for policy guidance and management help.

Bruce Godfrey, at Legal Contact, a part of the Crablaw empire, has some comments on the sentencing of former State Senator Thomas L. Bromwell following a guilty plea on corruption charges.

Brian Gill, at Annapolis Politics, regales us with his account of the presentations of Delegates Steve Schuh and James King at the Wednesday Morning Republican Breakfast Club, defending their actions in the special session.

National Politics

Cheryl at The Spewker, one of our Democratic members, writes at length about why she can't support Hillary for President. You really have to click through to the site where she originally posted her piece just to see how hostile the comments were. (Cheryl, I kind of like being called "Idiot" myself, but I guess I can understand why that would bother you.)

Soccer Dad writes about stem cells, and particularly about Charles Krauthammer's column on the announcement that stem cells can be created from ordinary adult skin cells. He notes that a politically charged issue has now become a success for the President.

David at writes about the 60th anniversary of the partition of Palestine and connects the history preceding and following the partition with the current peace efforts, which were going on this week in Annapolis.

Maryland Conservatarian notes that the renegade Republican congressman from Maryland, Wayne Gilchrest, is becoming a national story, with the Club for Growth now taking him on.

At Brian Griffiths, the eponymous author writes about the Second Amendment ("Misfiring on All Cylinders"), and takes on Professor Kenneth Lasson, who considered the topic in the Baltimore Sun.

Rachel, of Tinkerty Tonk fame, discusses the federal employee health benefit plan, which the major Democratic candidates for President all seem to love. She says it's been called the "Rolls Royce" of health plans, but she cites a source that says it's more like a well appointed family sedan. Go Chevrolet!

Mike, at Mike's Nether Land, wonders if people have lost sight of how to deal with the spouse of a possible woman president. Why not just "First Gentleman," to correspond to "First Lady"?

David K. Kyle, who writes at The Candid Truth, wonders where Congress gets the power to dictate what food is served at local public schools. Not to mention why Congress thinks this is an important enough subject matter for it to consider.

Matt Johnston, at Going to the Mat, says that, while he's not a fan of Barack Obama, he respects what Obama says about bare-knuckled politics.


The 22nd edition of the Carnival of Maryland, on Sunday, December 16, is being hosted at Mike's Nether Land. Please submit your articles through the Blog Carnival form here.

Click here to read more . . .

November 29, 2007

Global warming goes wild!

I'm very cautious on the subject of global warming. I think it's unsupportable to say it's a hoax, but I also don't think all the dire predictions that are being made can possibly be accurate.

We have to be careful, because as harmful as ignoring global warming would be if it turned out to be real, it would be perhaps even more harmful to spend massive amounts of money to change our way of life radically if global warming is real but less severe than the Goreites are claiming.

I would also say that any plan to combat global warming can't be taken seriously unless it first deals with the problem of China. And there aren't a lot of proponents who want to go there.

Finally, the most important thing to do about global warming is to keep making fun of the doomsayers. Because if you don't do that, the terrorists will have won.

So I was pleased to see this in the American Thinker (via Ace):

Dr. John Brignell, a British engineering professor, runs a website called numberwatch. He has compiled what has to be the most complete collection of links to media stories ascribing the cause of everything under the sun to global warming. He has already posted more than six-hundred links.
Click on the links here, and you'll see the most extensive listing I've ever seen of global warming's predicted effects.

My favorite is the following pair: hurricanes, hurricane reduction. Followed closely by these: Earth slowing down, Earth spinning out of control, Earth spins faster.

As Ace says, Global Warming Officially Causes Everyf***ingthing.

But an Ace moron found a pretty good one, too: fashion disaster.

You really must click on that last link, or else you won't be able to read an article that starts with this dire prediction:
Climate change could be about to claim a new victim – the fashion industry.

Designers and industry experts fear that the traditional seasonal collections which have formed the backbone of the business may become meaningless due to increasing unpredictability of the weather.
So fight global warming now. Do it for the Earth. Do it for gay men.

Click here to read more . . .

GMail, reimagined as a Microsoft confection

If you're a Hotmail user, like me, you're going to laugh your butt off over this one. (It's old, in internet terms, meaning it's over a week old, but it's a goodie.) Via KesherTalk.

From Google Blogoscoped comes "What If Gmail Had Been Designed by Microsoft?"

One little excerpt, because it's my absolutely favorite Hotmail idiocy: "Another security measurement we’ll add is that you won’t be able to log-in with just username anymore but are required to enter the full"

Why the hell does MS make me sign in with "pillageidiot -at-," instead of just "pillageidiot"? If I'm on a computer where I'm the only user, it doesn't matter much (because I can save my user id), but if I share access, that means I have type the whole thing out each time.

You really have to read the whole shtick, because excerpts can't do it justice.

Click here to read more . . .

November 28, 2007

Three videos

Three videos (four, really) for your viewing pleasure.

1. PSA (sick). (Check here -- scroll down -- for another one that's almost, but not quite, as sick.)

2. Barbie and Ken spend the night?

3. Like, where are the munchies, dude?

Click here to read more . . .

Visitor of the day -- 11/28

Gee, I sure hope not!

Click here to read more . . .

November 27, 2007

Harvard redefines plagiarism

Last time I mentioned 02138 magazine, I made fun of it for crowning Al Gore the number 1 of the so-called "Harvard 100" most influential graduates of that tiresome institution. Ahead of George W. Bush. And gave him a softball interview, to boot.

But I have to say I found interesting and intriguing the article in the current issue of 02138 about research assistants -- a/k/a ghostwriters -- for prominent Harvard professors: "A Million Little Writers."

That image of academia [as concerned with "the provenance of an idea"] may be idealistic, but most scholars still profess allegiance to it, and it is held up to undergraduate and graduate students as the proper way to conduct their own research and writing, reinforced by strict regulations regarding student plagiarism. As the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Student Handbook states, “Students who, for whatever reason, submit work either not their own or without clear attribution to its sources will be subject to disciplinary action, and ordinarily required to withdraw from the College.”

Students — but not professors. Because, in any number of academic offices at Harvard, the relationship between “author” and researcher(s) is a distinctly gray area. A young economics professor hires seven researchers, none yet in graduate school, several of them pulling 70-hour work-weeks; historians farm out their research to teams of graduate students, who prepare meticulously written memos that are closely assimilated into the finished work; law school professors “write” books that acknowledge dozens of research assistants without specifying their contributions. These days, it is practically the norm for tenured professors to have research and writing squads working on their publications, quietly employed at stages of co-authorship ranging from the non-controversial (photocopying) to more authorial labor, such as significant research on topics central to the final work, to what can only be called ghostwriting.
A law professor, Charles Ogletree, was somewhat embarrassed when it turned out his research assistants had included in an article published under Ogletree's name a chunk of text straight out of the work of Yale law professor Jack Balkin. But not to worry: the explanation was readily available. Here's what Ogletree said: “Material from Professor Jack Balkin’s book . . . was inserted . . . by one of my assistants for the purpose of being reviewed, researched, and summarized by another research assistant with proper attribution . . . . Unfortunately, the second assistant, under the pressure of meeting a deadline, inadvertently deleted this attribution and edited the text as though it had been written by me. The second assistant then sent a revised draft to the publisher.”

Depends on what the meaning of plagiarism is, I guess. And here's what Derek Bok, former Harvard president said about it:
“There was no deliberate wrongdoing at all . . . . He marshaled his assistants and parcelled out the work and in the process some quotation marks got lost” — a description that probably sounded flip to any author who has ever been plagiarized. Ogletree was “reprimanded,” but suffered no tangible consequences.
There's much more gossip in this article, and it's all worth reading.

But let's not leave without mentioning one more juicy bit the article reveals:
The Office of Faculty Development and Diversity — created in the wake of the controversy surrounding Lawrence Summers’ comments on women in science — employs a “research assistant” named Mae Clarke whose publicly available job description sounds strikingly like that of a ghostwriter. * * * Clarke is on sabbatical and couldn’t be reached for comment, and — through a spokesperson — Dr. Hammonds declined to comment. In other words, Hammonds used a ghost-speaker to avoid answering a question about her ghostwriter. It’s no wonder some students get cynical about the manner in which they research and write their own work.
Almost makes you feel glad your kids didn't get in, doesn't it?

Click here to read more . . .

Yet another reason to hate Verizon

Another reason to hate Verizon.

I have to assume this is true, by the way, although every version of the story tracks back to a single alleged incident: "Verizon Phone Alerts Intruders You’re Calling 911"

Here's the story at one of the original links:

Carol, who asked that her last name not be used for fear of making herself or her land a target for vandals, called for help recently when she arrived at some vacant property she owns in east Austin and found her security chain gone.

She grabbed her new Casio G’zOne phone from Verizon Wireless, which to her horror made an audible alarm when she called 911.

Fearing vandals were still on the property, she hung up and hid, then put her hand over the earpiece and dialed again to muffle the sounds.

“I was afraid the criminals were down the driveway and they would hear and they would know somebody was doing something and they would come out to stop me,” she said.

The alarm is not ear-splitting, but it is loud enough to be heard at least several yards away.
Verizon puts this "feature" on all its new phones, claiming that it's required by the FCC. The FCC says, "No one here but us chickens." In other words, Verizon is smokin' something.

A tech blogger I ran across says this by way of explanation:
According to Verizon Wireless, the audible tone is required by the Federal Communications Commission. It's another "accessibility" feature that Congress mandated. This is in regards to Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act which requires telecommunications products and services to be accessible to people with disabilities.

Since, as I stated above, the cell phone has to alert the user they have dialed 911, this is the solution for blind people. The loud alert is designed to let blind people know they've dialed 911. But by making it loud, they've created a problem.

It's been confirmed on forums on cell phone-centric websites that this occurs on other cell phones as well, so it looks like the issue is going to become more prevalent. Although Section 255 states there has to be a cue, like most of these regulations, I don't believe it specifies exactly how that cue is given (readers, correct me if I'm wrong).
What I think is that Verizon should stop trying to provide crappy products and go back to what it does best -- its core competencies, or whatever the corporate jargon is -- namely, giving crappy service.

Click here to read more . . .

November 25, 2007

Dave Barry's holiday gift guide -- 2007

Once more, Dave Barry has stopped thinking about boogers just long enough to prepare his 2007 holiday gift guide. I say "holiday" and not "Christmas," because one of the gifts seems peculiarly directed toward the yehoodim.

My personal favorites:

1. The "Pillow Pal" (TM) holster holder, which "might be used to hold your handgun, your stun gun, or a can of aerosol chemical agent." Just don't taze me, bro.

2. Tattoo sleeves so you can decorate your arms a little less painfully.

3. Watermelon-flavored Freud-head lollipops that prove either (a) that your wretched condition is your mother's fault or (b) that psychotherapy sucks. (The site mentioned in the article seems to have crashed; I linked to another vendor's site.)

4. The bra travel bag. The outerwear for underwear.

5. Tailgater hammock that attaches to your trailer hitch.

Click here to read more . . .

November 23, 2007

Heightened incompetence

Family is in from out of town, so I'm off from work today. I just had to tell this story.

My mother uses a bank branch that's within walking distance of her house. The people who work there are very nice, but they have a collective IQ of roughly 85.

I have my mother's power of attorney, and I take care of most of her banking for her. I write some of her checks. I pay most of her bills online. So it's critical to me to have online access to her account. I gave the bank her power of attorney nearly two years ago, but recently the bank was acquired by another bank, and the online access suddenly disappeared.

I asked my mother to go into the branch and get online access set up again. After going in there, she called me to tell me the bank officer wanted my driver's license number and a bunch of other information. This made no sense, so I called him directly. I told him I had my mother's power of attorney on file with them. He said he didn't know that. But he told me he had given my mother the User ID for the account. My mother, when I checked with her, had no idea what he was talking about.

So today, a few days later, I finally tracked the bank officer down again and asked him for the User ID. To understand this story, let's say my mother's name was Martha Washington and mine was George Washington, Jr. Those are anagrams of my real name. (Only kidding.)

The conversation went like this:

Me: This is George Washington, Jr. We recently spoke about getting online access for my mother Martha Washington's account. You told me you gave her the User ID, but she doesn't understand what you mean.

Bank officer: OK, let me give you the User ID directly. Do you have something to write it down on?

Me: Yes.

Bank officer: OK, it's M, as in Mary, W, as in William, A, as in Alice, S, as in . . . [here, he paused to think of a name] as in Sam . . .

Me: It's the last name, right?

Bank officer: Yes, but let me spell it out for you.

Me (impatiently): HINGTON.

Bank officer: Yeah and there's 123 at the end.

Me (gritting my teeth): Thank you very much. (Click.)


My sister asked the best question: Do you think it's safe to keep her money with those people?

Click here to read more . . .

November 22, 2007

Question of the day (yesterday)

From the Washington Post's letters to the editor yesterday:

Instead of the Maryland General Assembly giving us a $1.4 billion tax increase and a referendum on slot machines [front page, Nov. 19], why don't lawmakers just give us the slots and let us vote on the tax increase?


This question answers itself.

Click here to read more . . .

Thinking about my father

I think about my father a lot on Thanksgiving. My father used to read a psalm at the dinner table, and, as I mentioned last year, no one in the family remembers which one it was, and we've instituted a practice of reading Psalm 100 (mizmor l'todah, a psalm of Thanksgiving).

Last year, Thanksgiving was the second-to-last day of saying kaddish for my father, whose first yahrzeit fell on Christmas. (True story: When I asked the assistant rabbi at our shul, who has a dry sense of humor, whether to light the yahrzeit candle before going to mincha-maariv, or after coming home, he looked at me quizzically and asked, "Is it on Shabbat?" I said no, it's on Monday . . . Christmas. He replied, "Well, it's a custom. You can do it either way. Just don't put the candle in the window.")

This year, Thanksgiving is just Thanksgiving. I took advantage of the relatively late starting time (8 a.m.) to go to shacharit. I don't go to morning minyan very often, and this seemed like a good opportunity to become comfortable again in time for my father's yahrzeit, which comes in three weeks. The assistant rabbi, speaking at the end of shacharit, discussed briefly how we know turkey is a kosher bird, even though it's not included in the list of kosher birds in the Torah. (You can read way more than you want to know about the answer here.) Afterwards, I said that I know how we know turkey is kosher: I just bought a turkey at Kosher Mart.

Also, my father is supposed to have said: On Thanksgiving, the Jews have good reason to be thankful, because the Pilgrims arrived in America and didn't find a pig. I don't think I ever heard him say that, myself, but it's a pretty good line.

Click here to read more . . .

November 21, 2007

They eventually found some at the refreshment stand

"Students searched for alcohol at game"

Rockville Gazette, Nov. 21, 2007

Click here to read more . . .

Pre-Thanksgiving linkfest

Things I'm thankful for:

1. That mine don't itch (video).

2. That I've never had to do this while on TV (video).

3. That my wife doesn't have one of these blenders (also check out the video at the end).

Reposts from previous Thanksgivings:

1. PSA: Don't deep-fry your turkey. And you must, you absolutely must, click on the link where it says "Click here to download the movie." In fact, I've pasted it in here to make it easier for you.

2. A bunch of turkeys tried to get on a commuter train at Ramsey, New Jersey.

Click here to read more . . .

November 20, 2007

Some of what she's having

I regret to report that this story appears to be rather questionable. (Content NSFW.)

Click here to read more . . .

Flaunting it and groping it at the airports

Not long after I started Pillage Idiot, I wrote a series of posts on what I called "lawyer groping" at the airports. (Google it; I'm at the top.) A lawyer named Rhonda Gaynier had complained about having been subject to a bra-and-breast exam by TSA screeners at the airport. I concluded: "Brought to you by TSA, whose motto is: Better that 100 innocent lawyers be groped than that one suspicious Arab be inconvenienced."

It turned out that the groping was not limited to lawyers, or even to people who were mistaken for lawyers. In early 2006, a class action suit alleging illegal pat-downs and strip searches of black women at O'Hare International Airport was settled.

Today, we learn through HotAir, that if you're a Canadian newspaper columnist who's "a robust 34 FF," you might be subject to TSA screener groping, too. (Paula Simons: "If my bra is a threat to national security, we're in big trouble.")

Most people would agree that subjecting women who wear bras with underwire support to groping at the airport makes little sense. The TSA ought to be trying to figure out who's suspicious, not who's large-bosomed (which, I admit, is a lot easier). But as I argued in the first series of posts about Ms. Gaynier, we do stupid things precisely in order NOT to profile people. The lesson is that we need to change our approach to airport security through increased profiling and intelligent scrutiny of travelers.

Sadly, Paula Simons learns the wrong lesson. She says: "When we blindly follow rules, when we waste time and energy defending ourselves from imaginary enemies, we actually create the potential for real threats to overtake us." Like the imaginary enemies who flew jets into the World Trade Towers and Pentagon.

When someone is such a total fool, it's very hard to summon any sympathy. Grope away!

Click here to read more . . .

November 19, 2007

More on death and deterrence

For reasons known only to the New York Times, that paper has run major articles on the death penalty for the past two days.

Yesterday, a front-page article explained that "[a]ccording to roughly a dozen recent studies, executions save lives. For each inmate put to death, the studies say, 3 to 18 murders are prevented." This is a remarkable thing to read in the Times. Sure, people contest these studies, saying they're based on "faulty premises, insufficient data and flawed methodologies." But, there they are.

Today, an article discussed efforts in the New Jersey legislature to abolish the death penalty, which one may fairly characterize as moribund, the state having not executed anyone since 1963. The move is symbolic for supporters of abolition, who have a good deal of backing for the measure (including that of Gov. Corzine). Yet, there are those studies again: "But supporters of the death penalty have as ammunition a number of recent academic studies backing one of their principal arguments: that executions do have a deterrent effect on the murder rate."

Yesterday's article quoted an opponent who seems to have been moved by the studies:

"The evidence on whether it has a significant deterrent effect seems sufficiently plausible that the moral issue becomes a difficult one, said Cass R. Sunstein, a law professor at the University of Chicago who has frequently taken liberal positions. "I did shift from being against the death penalty to thinking that if it has a significant deterrent effect it's probably justified."
What makes this pair of articles very strange to me is that I remember writing about this same topic back in June: "Death and deterrence." And everything here is already there in my post, including good old Prof. Sunstein. Just scroll down. (The abolition proposal in New Jersey is new, but I think that's it.) I used my post in June to distinguish between moralists and practicalists on both sides of the death-penalty debate. I argued that moralists on both sides would be largely unmoved by studies on deterrence, no matter what the results.

I'm not sure what's revved up the Times' death-penalty engines, but I'm glad to see the studies on deterrence may be having an effect on others, even if, as a moralist, I don't consider them very relevant to me.

Click here to read more . . .

November 18, 2007

After the Democratic debate

Hillary Clinton laughs along with two undecided
Democratic voters who asked questions
of the candidates at Thursday's debate on CNN.
* * * * *
(See also here, here, and here.)

Click here to read more . . .

Potty mouth

In one of his routines from the 1960s, Bill Cosby asked why women go to the bathroom together. Have you ever been out on a double, triple, or fourple date, he asked, and one woman said, "Let's go to the ladies' room" and they all got up? Men would never do that, he said. If a guy stood up and said, "Let's go to the men's room," they'd say, "No, I think you'd better go by yourself." After he left, they'd say, "What's wrong with that guy, anyway?"

It turns out that if you're in Taiwan, you can go to a restaurant where this scenario never has to occur, no matter how many women are in your date group.

Because now, there are toilets right at your seat. In fact, your seat is a toilet.

And in case you don't like surprises, the restaurant's name is Modern Toilet.

I would have thought this type of themed restaurant would reach Japan first, or certainly Korea (whose toilet situation I discussed last week). But I guess Taiwan is trying hard to avoid reunification with the commies. By any means necessary.

So I'm sure you're wondering how this could have come to, uh, pass. Here's how:

The restaurant's Duty Manager, Wei Duo-Yi, explains how the idea developed:

- It was an ice shop decorated with toilets before. Most of the customers like the decorations so we tried to expand it into a restaurant -.
I remember back in the early 1980s, when I lived in Manhattan's West 70s, there was a restaurant on Broadway called Ernie's, and one of my sisters told me that if you ordered pasta, it was brought to you in a huge, white bowl. She called it "pasta in a potty."

It turns out that Modern Toilet takes this concept all but literally, serving food in toilet-shaped bowls. (Which we'll just have to assume are not real toilets.)
The seats are all made from toilet bowls, tables are glass-topped jumbo bathtubs, customers eat from mini plastic toilet bowls - and the WC themes run through the food and drinks menus.
Mmmmmmmm, appetizing!

Last, no one should finish this story without first checking out this video, at the same link, from ITN, which apparently does not stand for International Toilet News. (Mild content warning: Infantile toilet puns, and a poo-shaped chocolate dessert.)

Click here to read more . . .

Not funny, still

I've noted about professional humor writers how hard it is for them to be consistently funny:

Even a great humor writer, like Dave Barry, is funny about 30% of the time. As in baseball, batting .300 in humor is the sign of a star. Gene Weingarten, on the other hand, is sometimes funny, but he seems to me to hover well below the Mendoza Line.)
Weingarten, whose writing appears in the Post's Sunday Magazine, adds in the "annoying jerk" factor. Even when he's funny, it's often despite the fact that he's an annoying jerk -- possibly because he is.

Fortunately for all of us, we now know why his batting average is so low: "Washington has the worst sense of humor of any big city that is not either located in Germany or currently under military siege." He was talking about Arlen Specter doing stand-up comedy, by the way, but still.

Mario Mendoza has nothing to worry about.

Click here to read more . . .

Carnival of Maryland -- 20th edition

The 20th edition of the Carnival of Maryland is up at Leviathan Montgomery.

The 21st edition, scheduled for Sunday, December 4, will be hosted here at Pillage Idiot, unless someone else volunteers.

Send your submissions in for Carnival 21 by using the Blog Carnival form.

Click here to read more . . .