February 28, 2007

Lost, Season 3, Episode 10

Wednesday, February 28 at 10/9c

Tricia Tanaka Is Dead

Hurley discovers a wrecked car on the island and uses it on a mission of hope.

A wrecked car? Wouldn't the gas have evaporated?

I hope it's got four-wheel drive.

Posted by Linkmeister at 01:32 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Spam supplement

I've had plenty of weird spam in my e-mail, but I just found two of these. (All typos in original)

Hey, I hate to be the one but when people
continueto talk about your weight issue,
we'll it just disgustsme. Whether you know
it by now, people are always chattering
about one another at work but you come up
morethan enough. I wasn't the happiest or
best fit up until a year ago or so but that
changed. Thanks to my dam brother-in-law.
Anyhow, it was for the best. What I am
saying is you need to do something and I
was saved a year ago and maybe I can make
the same difference. Try this stuff out,
I took it on the idea it's just more junk
but it worked great. I see more positive
reviews on it nowadays and makes me feel
even better. So, I am encouraging a change,
not only in the chatter around here but in
you personally.

-Anonymous for now
(using an anonymous email website to send this btw)
When it helps/works just send a memo with the name "Angel"
in it. Then you can take me out to lunch to thank you.

That's followed by an incomplete link to a website.

I guess the assumption is that there are so many overweight people in this country that the odds of this reaching someone who might have coworkers gossiping about his/her weight are pretty good. It's pretty cold, don't you think?

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February 27, 2007

Mundanity becomes terror

Will Bunch, writing about the appearance of the military's death officers:

A doorbell isn’t supposed to be an object of terror. It’s supposed to be mostly a herald of good tidings, when you[r] son’s best friend shows up with a sled, or when the pizza arrives 45 seconds before the kickoff.

Read it and weep.

Via Suburban Guerrilla.

Posted by Linkmeister at 09:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 26, 2007

Just stop

Bah. When the primary season officially opens in 2008 I'll start getting interested in presidential politics. I feel like boycotting all the horse-race crap in the papers until the New Year comes around.

On the other hand, the media loves the horse-race stuff. You even saw it in the Oscar coverage: will Peter O'Toole finally win one after 7 previous nominations? Can the Academy continually ignore Martin Scorsese? Who ran the best Oscar campaign?


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February 25, 2007


In all the writings about Faerie, there's never a mention of any of its citizens folding laundry.

Pity, that.

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February 24, 2007

Spring fever

Pitchers and catchers have reported to Spring Training, and March Madness is a few weeks away.

Who's gonna be this year's George Mason?

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February 23, 2007

Conservapedia destroyed

Have you heard of this project yet? It's supposedly a Wikipedia for all right-thinking (read: conservative) people, since Wikipedia is overrun with liberal editors and encyclopedic entries. Apparently this is its mission:

Conservapedia is a much-needed alternative to Wikipedia, which is increasingly anti-Christian and anti-American. On Wikipedia, many of the dates are provided in the anti-Christian “C.E.” instead of “A.D.”, which Conservapedia uses.

Here's the entry on Fidel Castro (from the ML comments):

Fidel Castro overthrew Fulgenico Batista in 1959 and became dictator of Cuba. Liberals in America promoted Castro as a hero, but the conservatives believed he would become a ruthless and dangerous dictator. Sure enough, Castro soon began to rule the country cruelly, seizing private property and ending free speech. Under Castro's rule, Cuba has changed from being one of the richest nations to being one of the poorest.

The folks at Making Light are having great fun demolishing it.

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February 22, 2007


You know how renewed credit cards occasionally have "customer since" along with a year embossed on the front of the new card? I got a Chevron card in the mail yesterday.

Right there on the bottom front it says "Customer for 25 years."

Posted by Linkmeister at 02:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 21, 2007

Lost, Season 3, Episode 9

Entitled "Stranger in a Strange Land," the teaser says it's back to where they left off in Episode 7, with Jack performing surgery on Ben while Kate and Sawyer paddle to the "home" island.

Here's a link to Ryan's place again. He's already had a few comments from East Coasters who've seen it, even though it doesn't air here for another 1:15.

Update: Um, the promos said three big questions would be answered in this episode. I didn't catch any answers, unless 8-10 minutes of screen time on the origins of Jack's tattoos was one of them. What the hell was that all about?

Posted by Linkmeister at 07:46 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


I don't ordinarily copy/paste entire articles, but this editorial from the NYT is going to fall behind the archive firewall shortly, and it needs to be read.

A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of night. So it was with a provision quietly tucked into the enormous defense budget bill at the Bush administration’s behest that makes it easier for a president to override local control of law enforcement and declare martial law.

The provision, signed into law in October, weakens two obscure but important bulwarks of liberty. One is the doctrine that bars military forces, including a federalized National Guard, from engaging in law enforcement. Called posse comitatus, it was enshrined in law after the Civil War to preserve the line between civil government and the military. The other is the Insurrection Act of 1807, which provides the major exemptions to posse comitatus. It essentially limits a president’s use of the military in law enforcement to putting down lawlessness, insurrection and rebellion, where a state is violating federal law or depriving people of constitutional rights.

The newly enacted provisions upset this careful balance. They shift the focus from making sure that federal laws are enforced to restoring public order. Beyond cases of actual insurrection, the president may now use military troops as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, a disease outbreak, terrorist attack or to any “other condition.”

Changes of this magnitude should be made only after a thorough public airing. But these new presidential powers were slipped into the law without hearings or public debate. The president made no mention of the changes when he signed the measure, and neither the White House nor Congress consulted in advance with the nation’s governors.

There is a bipartisan bill, introduced by Senators Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, and Christopher Bond, Republican of Missouri, and backed unanimously by the nation’s governors, that would repeal the stealthy revisions. Congress should pass it. If changes of this kind are proposed in the future, they must get a full and open debate.

Nice democracy you've got there, people. Be a shame if anything happened to it.

I think it's worth sending mail to your Senators asking/demanding that they get on board with Leahy's and Dodd's bill. It's S. 513; pertinent text here.

Posted by Linkmeister at 10:09 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

February 20, 2007

That's cold, man

Seen in Kevin Drum's comments, during a discussion of the heroic Labrador dog at Mount Hood:

I think your [sic] confusing labs (who were bred to pull ropes in frigid waters for Portuguese galleons and fishermen, and subsequently used for hunting and helping handicapped people) for Golden Retrievers (who were bred to make ugly families more photogenic.)

Posted by Linkmeister at 10:58 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 19, 2007

Scanning the past

I bought Mom a multi-function scanner/printer/copier (here) for Christmas, and I finally got around to setting it up today. That was easy enough, I have to say.

I wanted a scanner because we have at least 30 photo albums, all full. If we had a fire, trying to grab them all would be purt near impossible, so we thought "if we scan the contents and burn them to CD, we could put the CDs into the safe deposit box and know they're safe."

To test it, I scanned one 3x5 photo at 300dpi. Wow. At that resolution, the single picture became a 404kb .jpg file.

Has anyone embarked on a project like this? If so, what's the ideal scanning resolution for basic 3x5 family snapshots?

Posted by Linkmeister at 02:41 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 18, 2007

Hawaiian Contemporary Music

Want some pretty harmonies? Try this. I particularly like "Rhythm of the Ocean." It's the latest (September 2006) from a three-person group called Na Leo.

Posted by Linkmeister at 02:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Comforting the returning soldier

Shakespeare's Sister links to a horrific article from today's WaPo regarding the treatment of post-op soldiers and Marines at Walter Reed. She's got extensive quotations from it, so I'm not going to repeat them. I'll quote Melissa, though, since she expresses her anger so well:

Honestly, this should rightly be regarded as yet another planning failure. The architects of this war thought it was going to be a cakewalk; they didn't in their wildest dreams consider the war would last this long, and thusly failed utterly to prepare contingency plans, as has been acknowledged even by the administration. The military healthcare system isn't designed to manage a constant influx of wounded soldiers, and I would bet that not a modicum of thought was given to readying it for that possibility. The war was going to last six weeks, remember? But instead, the war became "a long hard slog," as Donald Rumsfeld described it in November 2003, and now "Three times a week, school buses painted white and fitted with stretchers and blackened windows stream down Georgia Avenue. Sirens blaring, they deliver soldiers groggy from a pain-relief cocktail at the end of their long trip from Iraq via Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany and Andrews Air Force Base." The Pentagon numbers the wounded from Iraq and Afghanistan at 23,000, as of January.

Go read her, then read the article she quotes.

Update: In case clicking through needs to be reinforced, here's the lead paragraph from the WaPo article:

Behind the door of Army Spec. Jeremy Duncan's room, part of the wall is torn and hangs in the air, weighted down with black mold. When the wounded combat engineer stands in his shower and looks up, he can see the bathtub on the floor above through a rotted hole. The entire building, constructed between the world wars, often smells like greasy carry-out. Signs of neglect are everywhere: mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses.

People ask me why I don't use VA facilities here; these horror stories are part of the reason.

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February 17, 2007

Profiles in (small c ) courage

I don't want to award Presidential Medals of Freedom (have those things lost their value, after being given to the likes of Paul Bremer, Tommy Franks, and George Tenet?) to these Senators, but at least they showed a little guts today in voting against Bush's escalation. Yeah, we fell four votes short, but seven Republicans switched to our side: Senators John W. Warner of Virginia, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Gordon H. Smith of Oregon, Norm Coleman of Minnesota, and Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins, both of Maine.

I suspect it's no coincidence that Coleman's up for re-election in 2008. So are Warner and Collins, but in their case I think it was conviction which caused them to vote the way they did.

It's interesting that McCain was campaigning in Iowa and missed the vote (by design? Probably). Three of the Democratic Senators who had been campaigning managed to make it back in time to cast ballots in favor (Clinton, Obama, and Biden).

Posted by Linkmeister at 07:53 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

February 16, 2007

Word provenance

I just read a description of a character which included the word "tharn," meaning stupefied; paralyzed by fear. The book properly attributed the word's origin. Can you? Extra points if you can do it without Google.

Posted by Linkmeister at 02:54 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

February 15, 2007


As I was wandering through the house this afternoon after buying new tires so I could pass the damned safety inspection, I saw a caption on MSNBC's version of news/commentary suggesting that Bush was delusional. As I recall there was a question mark after the word, but nonetheless I found it interesting that one of the cable channels would actually raise the question, not in some commentator's glib phrase, but actually as a subtext on the screen.

If you meant it, then welcome to the reality-based community, MSNBC.

Posted by Linkmeister at 08:19 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 14, 2007

Lost, Season 3, Episode 8

Desmond may be the most sympathetic character we've yet seen on this show. At least so far he's not been shown to be a murderer or con man in his previous life. But is he having prequels?

Here's a link to Ryan's place, where I have no doubt there will soon be a post attempting to figure out what the hell's going on with the poor Scotsman.

Posted by Linkmeister at 10:11 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Shady stuff

We own a couple of table lampshades whose lining had been coming down for months, and then we had a period a week or two ago when the wind was really howling through the louvers, and that finished one of them entirely. It was the one I have in my bedroom that got wrecked, so replacing it was imperative if I wanted to read at night. The shade had a very big bell shape; it was 19" tall. Finding a ready-made shade of that height proved to be impossible online, and there turned out to be only one place in town that could provide one that came close. It's the classic hole-in-the-wall shop: aisles no wider than my hips, shades piled 12-high and teetering above your head. In fact, when Mom and I went down there they had to bring the shades out to the driveway for us to look at; if you bring your own lamp to test possible replacements, there's simply no room to fully display the shade inside.

Anyway, there we were. The shop didn't have any 19" shades either, but we managed to find one that we like. After trying to read using a spare lamp with a beige shade, this is a welcome fix.

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February 11, 2007


I wonder who was more pleased, Joan Baez at being asked to introduce the Dixie Chicks, or the Chicks that Baez would introduce them?

Update: I posted that right after their appearance opening the show. Little did I know what was in store for the song and the album later on down the road.

Posted by Linkmeister at 07:24 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Reality bites

From an op-ed in today's WaPo:

Second, to expect any Iraqi leader who can hold his country together to be pro-American, or to share American goals, is to abandon common sense. It took the United States more than a century to get over its hostility toward British occupation. (In 1914, a majority of the public favored supporting Germany against Britain.) Every month of the U.S. occupation, polls have recorded Iraqis' rising animosity toward the United States. Even supporters of an American military presence say that it is acceptable temporarily and only to prevent either of the warring sides in Iraq from winning. Today the Iraqi government survives only because its senior members and their families live within the heavily guarded Green Zone, which houses the U.S. Embassy and military command.

That's retired General William Odom. He lists four myths he says Congress has to get over:

  • We must continue the war to prevent the terrible aftermath that will occur if our forces are withdrawn soon.
  • We must continue the war to prevent Iran's influence from growing in Iraq.
  • We must prevent the emergence of a new haven for al-Qaeda in Iraq.
  • We must continue to fight in order to "support the troops."

He calmly refutes all four, then offers several suggestions on how to proceed.

  • Fighting on merely prolongs our losses, so stop
  • Recognize that the US alone cannot stabilize the Middle East
  • Most of our polices right now destabilize the region
  • The region must be stabilized, with or without a democratic Iraq

This is old-fashioned Realpolitik, but it's a damn sight better than the neocon fantasies we've been pursuing.

Posted by Linkmeister at 01:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 10, 2007

More from the Land of the Southern Slavs

A Serbian wedding song, performed in Kosovo (the YouTube poster says).

Posted by Linkmeister at 08:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Yeah, yeah, that's so 90s. But all during the most recent Balkan wars I kept seeing Rebecca West's Black Lamb and Grey Falcon mentioned as one of the definitive works on the area, so I put it on my to-be-read-at-some-point list. I've finally gotten around to it.

It's a journal/travelogue/series of essays about her travels around the country in 1937, and it's fascinating. She seems to have loved the people while recognizing their darker natures. She attributes much of the latter to their history of being invaded and occupied by Turks, Italians, Austrians, and the odd barbarians for roughly 1800 years. I'm only about one-third through, so I haven't even hit the section about the Serbs yet; I'm predisposed not to like them due to Milosevic and his nationalist warmaking. It'll be interesting to see if she can persuade me I'm wrong.

Even though it's 70 years old, it's still topical. I recommend it to anyone interested in the region. For a longer review, try this.

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Last word on the Pelosi plane

Heard on "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" today:

Any plane which can lift Denny Hastert oughtta be good enough for Nancy Pelosi.

Posted by Linkmeister at 11:51 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 08, 2007

Another piece of music

Neddie Jingo, while awaiting hip replacement surgery, arranged and performed a lovely version of the Beach Boys' "In My Room." You can listen to it here.

Posted by Linkmeister at 08:59 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

New music

I heard a band playing the breaks in NPR's "Says You" today, and I thought I'd go look it up, because I liked its brand of guitars and banjo together. It's called Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band. Go, listen.

Posted by Linkmeister at 04:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 07, 2007

Lost, Season 3, Episode 7

I've got commitment issues. Do I really want to be saddled with spending the next 16 Wednesday nights from 9:00pm - 10:00 pm watching this infuriating and exasperating television show?

For Ryan's discussion of tonight's episode "Not in Portland," head over here. Unlike me, he stays up late to write blog posts about the show immediately after it airs.

Update: Well, I watched. It was a pretty good episode, I thought. Yes, that was a Honolulu City Bus. Did the Dharma folks somehow manage to manipulate it to eliminate the ex-husband? That was certainly the impression I was left with.

Posted by Linkmeister at 08:13 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 06, 2007

Return of the spoils system

Paul Krugman has taken note of the latest Executive Order dictating that all Federal agencies must be led by political appointees (see here) and dug a little deeper. He's learned, among other things, that this has been a goal since the beginning of the Bush Administration back in 2001, and that it was based on a Heritage Foundation policy paper (read it here).

The blueprint for Bush-era governance was laid out in a January 2001 manifesto from the Heritage Foundation, titled “Taking Charge of Federal Personnel.” The manifesto’s message, in brief, was that the professional civil service should be regarded as the enemy of the new administration’s conservative agenda. And there’s no question that Heritage’s thinking reflected that of many people on the Bush team.

How should the civil service be defeated? First and foremost, Heritage demanded that politics take precedence over know-how: the new administration “must make appointment decisions based on loyalty first and expertise second.”

Second, Heritage called for a big increase in outsourcing — “contracting out as a management strategy.” This would supposedly reduce costs, but it would also have the desirable effect of reducing the total number of civil servants.

Well, we've seen how well that turned out. Contractors run amok in Iraq, no competitive bidding for those contracts, political hacks at the top of FEMA...need I go on?

Krugman concludes this way:

The modern civil service system dates back more than a century; in just six years the Bush administration has managed to undo many of that system’s achievements. And the administration still has two years to go.

These clowns have done more damage to our form of government in six years than I'd have imagined possible.

Posted by Linkmeister at 08:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 05, 2007


Listening to all the nonsense spouted today about the President's budget, I began to wonder what the burnout rate is for the poor low-level staffers who have to produce it. Think about it. Year after year you work your tail off trying to fit square pegs (Iraq won't cost a dime past 2009!) into the round holes of reality, and you've got to know your projections are nonsense. It must get really tiresome after a while.

As for the OMB director himself, when he stands up and presents this $2.9 trillion monstrosity which cuts federal programs everywhere else in order to pay for the military and the border patrol, do you think he can stand to look himself in the eye in his mirror when he gets home?

We know the Alternative Minimum Tax is biting deeper and deeper into the middle class and at some point that group is going to stand up and say "no more!", but is there any provision for reducing the amount of revenue it's expected to produce? Nah. Similarly, the Senate is not going to allow $101 billion to be cut from Medicare and Medicaid over the next five years by reducing payments to docs and hospitals and by means-testing recipients. Even a Republican Senate wouldn't buy that last year. But by golly, there it is in the budget.

What a charade.

Posted by Linkmeister at 07:57 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 04, 2007

Let down again

I don't know about you, but by halftime it felt to me and to those I was watching the game with that the Colts were up by at least two touchdowns and were going to win going away.

Grossman's two interceptions at the end were the worst two passes I've seen a pro quarterback throw in years. They looked like volleyball bump hits.

Posted by Linkmeister at 05:37 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 03, 2007

Super Bowl XLI

Ok, here we go again. Never miss with a winner, so I'm going with the tried-and-true dip:

  • 6 oz. can crab
  • 8 oz. block cream cheese
  • 10.5 oz. can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • .5 cup mayonaisse
  • Garnish with something green

Heat cream cheese, soup and gelatin, mixing till fully combined. Stir in balance of ingredients and chill.

As to the game itself, I dunno. Ursines v. equines. If Nature dictated, I'd bet on the Bears, but then Colts can run away from 'em in their natural habitats. Whaddaya think?

Posted by Linkmeister at 11:21 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 02, 2007

Coming soon to a town near you

Okay, iTunes users, this one's for you (via Scott): iConcertCal. It's "a free iTunes plug-in that monitors your music library and generates a personalized calendar of upcoming concerts in your city. It is available for both Windows and Mac OS X."

Posted by Linkmeister at 10:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 01, 2007

A little guts here, please

You know, if the Democrats let themselves be rolled over again and allow this maniac to go to war with Iran, they deserve to be dumped on the ashheap of history once and for all.

President Bush’s national security advisers have ordered a delay in publication of evidence intended to support Washington’s contention that Iran supplies lethal technology and other aid to militias in Iraq, senior administration officials said Thursday.

The decision was described by officials who were struggling to explain why American officials in Baghdad have twice canceled plans to present the evidence, delays that have raised questions about the quality of the intelligence.

Some administration officials said there was a continuing debate about how well the information proved the Bush administration’s case.

Well, no kidding. When has there ever been intelligence this Administration used that wasn't flawed and meant only to press its case, rather than be used to accurately assess threats?

And this is priceless:

“We don’t want to create the impression that we are steaming toward confrontation,” said one senior State Department official familiar with the debate. “Some people are worried about how quickly the rhetoric has ratcheted up.”

Once again, it seems the State Department isn't on the same page as the White House. The latter wants a confrontation, just like four years ago. Condi, your boys just aren't with the program.

Good grief. Can we survive two more years with these lunatics in charge?

Posted by Linkmeister at 08:10 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack