Saturday, January 31, 2009

Controlling A-holes

Asked at Barry Ritholtz's bar and grille:

Since when should an entire economy be so dependent on a limited bunch of controlling, arrogant a-holes that conduct their global business within a few blocks of each other?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Bill Joel -- White Rap Pioneer

William "Guillaume" Joel gives the White Rap Power salute.

DaveNoon at Lawyers, Guns and Money reminds us of the deep contusions and psychic scars we all still suffer from even thinking for a millisecond about Bill Joel's White Rap Opus: We Didn't Start the Fire:

"When I teach historiography and methods every other year, I typically devote about ten minutes on the first day to this particular crime against history. By now, most students are young enough to have no memories of the song; I, by contrast, had to share a dorm suite with a guy who thought it was the greatest thing he'd ever heard until he got hooked on that unendurable Skid Row album.

"Leaving aside the inscrutable chorus, the topical stupidity of the song is boundless (e.g., Why mention Malekov and not Khrushchev? Are the "rock and roller cola wars" really the final straw, provoking Joel to shake his fist and declare that "I can't take it anymore?") But I think the song's essential malignance is summed up by one line: "JFK, blown away -- what else do I have to say?" Because, of course, nothing is quite as historically self-explanatory as the fucking Kennedy assassination.

"God I want to punch someone right now."

Some wonder why REM get off the hook for their White Rap fave, "It's the End of the World As We Know It."

REM gets away with this because they do not take their silly ditty as something Deadly Serious, unlike Bill of Joel, who believes he is "rapping" for the History Channel with a vocal that evokes the spiritual depth Tom Cruise brings to "Cocktail."

[Here's a clue: when REM says, "Leonard Bernstein," they don't mean it as a teaching moment.]

Another person asks Mr. DaveNoon why he spares the Eagles' "Hotel California" from the scorn he heaps upon the Long Island Railroad Rappereth of White.

This is easily answered. The lyrical and thematic compass of "Hotel California" did not compel the Eagles to deploy Secret Weapon: White Rapper. This stylistic decision alone grants them several quatloos of post-career life points.

Second, and more important, the lyrical and thematic content of the album "Hotel California" is about the decay and rotting and death of the Hippy 1960s. "Hotel California" is an appropriately sardonic and mawkish Mongolian Lament of the 1960s as they putrified into the 1970s, with all of the requisite drug overdoses, bad breath, glancing bullet wounds, suspended prison sentences and car keys lost forever. And Providence, the one in Rhode Island. And "Victim of Love."

In contrast, Joel of Bill's "We Didn't Start the Fire" sounds like a DeMolay inductee clipping headlines from a stack of black and white Life magazines in their Scoutmaster's attic and trying to make the words rhyme the way those "hip spades" do. But listen to the "sung" chorus:

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it.

This says we (presumably Americans) have never done anything wrong, because everything that has ever been done wrong has always been done wrong since the "world's been turnin."

Which means archaeobacteria did it.

But not us.

So fuck them.

Or as Joel of Bill says in Line 4,769:

Communist bloc.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Diapers to Red State: Stat !!!

Graphic by Brendan Keefe.

The most underreported story of 2009 might be the calm, measured response to the promise of a new president from the wordsmiths at RedState :

1. Head Red Erick Erickson strikes a centrist, "can-do" pose, thoughtfully noting:

Obama's Dangerous Game Starts the Process Toward Our Deaths.

Barack Obama, with his orders to shut down Gitmo and bar enhanced interrogation techniques, is already headed toward Lady MacBeth syndrome (or should that be Pontius Pilate Syndrome). Within the next several years he is going to be repeated having to wash American blood off his hands because of his actions.

2. In "My Conservative Pledge," Aglanon waxes in his own wistful, Bobby Goldsboro-esque way:

For eight years I’ve seen hatred, loathing, anger, ignorance, violence, suppression, oppression, blacklisting and all together a bunch of meanies. I’ve seen Bush called a Nazi. I’ve BEEN called a Nazi. I’ve been told that I support blood for oil, that my beliefs are archaic and that I’m a racist. I’ve seen my God spit upon. My beliefs mocked. My heroes destroyed and my integrity impugned. I’ve seen my country’s soldiers used and spit out for political gain. I’ve seen marches and been told that dissent is the highest form of patriotism. I’ve been told that everything I stand for and believe in is murder, greed and fascism.

3. Unlike Erick and Aglanon, Adamsweb has picked himself up, dusted himself off and is pitching his new Ben Stein vehicle, Waiting to Exhume:

Now, if conservatives are smart, we’ll see more films that feature labor unions as the bad guys. Such an effort would produce a situation where people would think, “So you work for the mafia?” when they introduce themselves as a leader of a union.

4. "Bill" wonders why Sarah Palin is the only person who makes any sense anymore:

Sure a lot was dumped on her during the campaign and there were some mistakes made. Let’s not forget the ratings generated by her convention speech and debate performance. Let’s also not forget the massive crowds she drew everywhere she went. The American people fell in love with Sarah Palin once and they will do so again on her terms, not those of a septuagenarian liberal & media sycophant going through the motions of his last gasp for the presidency.

5. "Kowalski" is very concerned that like Al Gore, Barack Obama is fat:

Those 1.8 million visitors left one heck of a carbon footprint, and by golly, they’re all going to pay for it in the next four years!

6. "Pilgrim" reminds us that Barack Obama is an American only because he has some white relatives and that all black people are jerks:

President Obama is the first American President ever whose brothers, sister, aunts, uncles, and grandmother are not citizens of the United States. They are citizens of Kenya. Nobody reporting on the inauguration of President Obama bothers to point out this first based on nationality of blood relatives. Instead of nationality they focus on race, and they ignore a very important fact about race. They ignore how it was the American side of Barack’s parents who cared for him, raised and nurtured him, and gave him the opportunity to one day become President of the United States. These were white Americans who did the right thing. The African side of Barack’s parents abandoned him as a baby. This was a black African.

6. Mike "Defeat is" DeVine is not surprised that Tuesday's inauguration was uneventful and bland, given that Obama's election campaign was so boring he was barely elected by an insurmountable landslide:

The tepid response to Obama’s speech was the continuation of a trend that dates back to weeks and months before the election, interrupted only by the orgasmic reaction to his Election Night acceptance speech. This is the effect of a two year campaign filled with vacuous, meaningless hope and change rhetoric and human nature’s tendency to boredom with the same old, same old.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

George Mitchell, Ireland, Barack Obama, Israel and Palestine

Irish musician Bob Geldof, Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern, US Senator George Mitchell, Irish broadcaster Marian Finucane, and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair meet in Dublin meet in Dublin Castle to mark the tenth anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in Dublin, Ireland on April 11, 2008. (Getty Images)

It is amazing that after only 24 hours in office, Barack Obama has asked former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell of Waterville, Maine (our fair city), a Lebanese-American, to be peace broker between the Israelis and Palestinians. Sen. Mitchell has accepted. At age 75.

This is something Chimpy McDrunkface was unable to do for the last 8 years because the White House didn't have Mitchell's phone number and he didn't hate the gays enuf. Allegedly.

It's also funny because Bill "Loser" Clinton asked Sen. George Mitchell to be the peace broker in the 800 year conflict between Ireland and England\ and Sen. Mitchell was instrumental in achieving peace in Northern Ireland -- a peace that most people thought would never occur in our lifetime.

It strikes me as SOMEWHAT AMAZING that the only dedicated U.S. efforts to help create lasting peace in Northern Ireland and Palestine during my lifetime have been conducted by Democratic U.S. Presidents -- and they have largely succeeded. Republican U.S. presidents have not even tried, seeing greater political opportunity in continued ethnic discord and senseless death.

M.J. Rosenberg goes into detail at TPM. Well worth reading.

Torture is Illegal, says Obama

It's very good that Obama is moving to stop the US from using torture, but I find it depressing that it's very controversial to do it. -- a person.

If you are going to be depressed over victories, then you are going to be very very very depressed.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Herman Melville, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer and Barack Obama

1. Barack Obama’s description of the U.S. is eerily similar to that of Herman Melville's description of the crew of the Pequod in Moby Dick:

“We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace."

But unlike Captain Ahab, Barack Obama is not an insane Nantucket Quaker dying from leg stump gangrene near the Marquesas Islands in 1837.*

2. Barack Obama quotes from the folk song "Pick Myself Up" by Jerome Kerns and Dorothy Fields, re-written and re-imagined by Peter Tosh.

"Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America."

3. In Obama's benediction, the Rev. Lowery quotes from the scripture which forms the song "Fig Tree" by Neville Livingston, ie. Bunny Wailer, ie. 1/3 of the Wailers:

"When every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid; when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream."

So there's a Herman Melville and two thirds of the Wailers in one Inaugural Afternoon.

Can I get a Wow?

Full speech text.

* Jennifer at Sadly No! has informed me that Moby Dick is Barack Obama's favorite book. Who knew?

Sununu !!!

Putting Away Childish Things

"When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." First Corinthians 13:11.

"We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things." President Barack Hussein Obama.

I love good sermons. I appreciate good sermons as high social art. Solo spoken oration is dying out. It still exists in its best sense as a sermon. When you give a sermon you're casting your fate to the wind. There's no middle ground. You either hit the bulls-eye or flail around hoping someone puts you out of your misery. As does the congregation. Giving a sermon takes cojones. It is not for the meek or easily slighted. Most sermons suck.

The cadence and pauses and diminuendo and crescendo and largo and rubato of a good sermon are as well defined as any orchestral score. The spoken voice has definite pitch; and good sermons have a pitched melody that you can score. They have rests and whole notes and dotted eighths and triplets. The spoken human voice is more like a pitched drum than an oboe. It is mostly percussion with a dash of pitch. It's all about timing and negative space. A good sermon is alive with alliteration. Praise the Angles, Saxons and Jutes from whom the English language obtained the alliterative. Beowulf the change you believe in.

Lots of folks were hoping Barack would give us an ethereal balls to the walls Wagnerian Robesonian whoop de doop Sermon on the Mall.

But M.C. Hussein did us all one better and for the better-- he played against expectation, caught us by surprise and in doing so, pulled off a true and real performance win.

Obama started out with a somewhat clunky, warty and unpolished tone, as if to say: "All this pomp and Aretha's propellor are the shizzle, no question, but have you all checked to see how fucked this jackass over here has left us?"

Obama refused to give the crowd what it wanted -- the soaring, sky high, Blue Angels, majestic ObamaVision version of "Secular Humanist Mission Accomplished" -- because as he said in quoting First Corinthians -- it is time to put away such childish things. No analog to codpiece. No flight jacket. No aircraft carrier. No insipid self-unaware Alfred E. Neuman spewing smirk and false sincerity over acres of dead and maimed and crippled human bodies. No string section, fake or real. No applause lines. No shit.

No. Obama hid his Solomonic sermonic virtuosity under a bushel and gave the assembled 2 billion parishioners a dry and hard dose of Olde Time Calvinism that would make Increase Mather, William Bradford and Daniel Gookins proud of the big-eared kid from the big-shouldered city along the lake the Ojibwa call Michigan:

"What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task."

Pass the ice cold shower, hard tack and hair shirts !!!

Pennsylvania Ave. pain sticks at Zero Dark Thirty !!!

Yowza !!!

This ain't no Country Club Presidency.

But this train is bound for glory.


Hang-Wringing about Racial Prejudice

This essay and this essay at Talking Points Memo make me think:

Here's an idea that's never been tried: stop all the hand-wringing and actually enforce all of the federal and state civil rights statutes on the books.

Racism is like water pollution. And for water pollution we have a Clean Water Act. It's a very powerful and well-written law -- but only works when it is enforced. The problem is that it is rarely enforced. Hence, we still have lots and lots of dirty polluted water.

Our civil rights laws are the Clean Water Act for racial discrimination. They are powerful and well-written laws -- but they only work when they are enforced. The problem is that they are rarely enforced. Hence, we still have lots of lots of racial discrimination of the type that is barred by statute.

Segregated communities today are largely the legacy of the Republican administrations' hostility to the very concept of using the law to stop discrimination in public and private spheres. You can't knock these laws because in fact they have almost never been tried. Republicans since Nixon have been using racism as an electoral wedge and actually encouraging the public to ridicule and demean the entire concept of racial equality. You can't pour this type of corrosive acid on the body politic for 40 years and be surprised that lots of whites and blacks don't trust each other and don't want to live near one another.

Aggressively enforce the civil rights laws on the books. And then, if that is not working, feel free to hand-wring.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sad Clown on Inauguration Day

Bush's Letter to Obama:

Yo! 44! I keep a bottle of Wild Turkey, some Hustlers, and a quarter bag in the cabinet in the First Shitter. Enjoy! All those dude leather mags are Rove's.



John Gillnitz wrote this.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Czechoslovakia 1976 v. United States, 2000-2008

"An exhausted society quickly got used to the fact that everything once thought impossible was now possible again, and that an often unmasked and ridiculed absurdity could rule once more. People withdrew from themselves and stopped taking an interest in public affairs. An era of apathy and widespread demoralization began, an era of gray, everyday totalitarian consumerism."

-- Vaclav Havel, 1986.

Kennebec Journal calls for gay marriage to be made legal in Maine.

No one should be denied equal right to marry.

-- Kennebec Journal, Augusta, Maine. 1/19/2008.

And I guess the most embarrassing statement by a Maine resident on this subject on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day has to go to good old "JJ" from almost my very most favorite spot in Maine, the tiny once-benzene soaked Super Fund Site East Branch Sebasticook River town of Corinna which will have sea-run alewives in its downtown in 90 days for the first time in 170 years.

So take it away JJ !!!

"JJ of Corinna, ME
Jan 19, 2009 1:42 PM

The gay marriage issue is about legalizing a minority’s value system at the expense of the established, majority value systems. This is a not passive issue of ‘laissez faire’, (i.e. it couldn’t possibly harm you, so let it alone), but an encroachment.

Gay sex used to be a closet issue, but now it is de rigueur to ‘celebrate’ it publicly. My value system abhors this because of the trickle down effect it will have on children and society in general. (I don’t want a school curriculum that encourages ‘two mommies’ as being normal.)

Shame used to be a sociological guardrail, but it is a fact that activist gays demonstrate no shame. This is a crumbling of society’s value system, and it does not come without cost.

To those who want to debate what ‘normal’ is, let me say it is the opposite of abnormal. Gay sex and (especially gay marriage) is abnormal, but gays show no tolerance for other’s value systems that find it shameful.

In fact, gays don’t give a damn about any value system but their own, and now they are in the process of legislation to protect and elevate their values above those of anyone else.

We’ve already seen how gay marriage advocates savage the established morals and values of everyone else with the many posts on this board: If one protests via religion, we hear about the Crusades, separation of church & state, etc. If one sites their moral cultural upbringing, they are pilloried for being raised by bigoted monsters. If one cites their simple personal preference as not being pro-gay, they are hounded for being closed-minded freaks. According to the gay marriage crowd, all values but their own are outdated, Philistine, reactionary, and without consequence. To them, values need to be an ever-changing code of ethics that suits the moment.

Legalizing gay marriage legalizes a code of ethics and morals that is diametrically at odds with society’s value system, and there is no reason to condone it."

Wingnut Zeitgeist

I found this rant somewhere but cannot remember where --

And why are wingnuts always so angry? Is it because all the contradictory and nonsensical beliefs they cherish are piled up, like the world's worst-made house of cards, in their determinedly undeveloped brains- constantly in danger of collapse? Where would they be then? Their understanding of the world can't change- it can only survive, or collapse. Every idea that threatens their worldview threatens their existential core, such as it is. And of course almost everyone cherishes the notion that they are good people- how horrible if the light of objective proof were to reveal otherwise, as it almost certainly would. No wonder they're as grumpy as bears.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Why do Republicans want so badly to torture human beings?

Today, an exasperated Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas begged Attorney General nominee Eric Holder, Jr. to put on a Klan Hood and agree that torturing children and other human beings is kool and fun:


HOLDER: I think your hypothetical assumes a premise that I’m not willing to concede.

CORNYN: I know you don’t like my hypothetical.

HOLDER: No, the hypothetical’s fine; the premise that underlies it I’m not willing to accept, and that is that waterboarding is the only way that I could get that information from those people.

CORNYN: Assume that it was.

HOLDER: [Laughs] Given the knowledge that I have about other techniques and what I’ve heard from retired admirals and generals and FBI agents, there are other ways in a timely fashion that you can get information out of people that is accurate and will produce useable intelligence. And so it’s hard for me to accept or to answer your hypothetical without accepting your premise. And in fact, I don’t think I can do that.


Most frustrating for Sen. Cornyn is that he got his kryptonite-proof supermagickal logic from a fictional, comic-book teevee show with a name so short and bereft of letters that even former members of the Texas Supreme Court can remember it: "24."

And who can argue with the total, undeniable truth of fiction? After all, in that Republican Classique of a bodice-ripper, The Fountainhead, forcible rape is a rilly kool first date !!!

In this daylight exchange without boiling oil pots being poured from Gargoyles' mouths, Sen. "Jock" Cornyn demands that Uppity Mulatto Eric Holder, Jr. accept a premise no different from the Inquisition and the Klan (let us assume as fact that brutal torture is the only way to obtain the truth, even though it is fun to watch them beg and squirm in pain until they die).

And Cornyn is astounded that Comrade Holder will not accept the "Let's Assume Burning Joan of Arc at The Stake Will Save The Children" as a valid argument in a U.S. Senate confirmation hearing for United States Attorney General.

Tres gauche !!! Mon dieu !!! Ou est mon pomme frites de freedom??

Cornyn so desperately wants Holder to concede there are some situations where it is okey dokey and kool for children* or their parents to be brutally tortured and for the torturers and accomplices to be considered noble and caring in doing so.

This is Deathconservatism in its essence. They want Tough Love legislated down to the length and stiffness of the cane. They want someone normal to assure them their bizarre, secret sadistic desire to see pain inflicted on helpless, imprisoned, shackled people is somehow gritty, brave and noble. They want to tell us that we are too weak to do what needs to be done. It's the worship of the abusive dad wrapping the buckled belt around his fist and saying, "I'm doing this for your own good. This will hurt me more than it hurts you."

Talk about going to the Abuse Confessional Backwards. These folks are fetishizing a War Crimes Trial where the martyrs are the ones lighting the torches and administering the eye-gouging spikes.

Why do Republicans so badly want to torture human beings?


*Cornyn's argument necessarily implies that children of any age can and should be brutally tortured to obtain information. U.S. torture proponents in Congress and the Bush Administration have never excluded children of any age from their claims for justifiable torture and indefinite imprisonment. A 14 year old boy from Chad has been imprisoned incommunicado in the Guantanamo Gulag since 2002. He is now 21 and still incommunicado.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Jim Rice -- Baseball Hall of Famer

Boston Red Sox outfield at Winterhaven, Florida:
Jim Rice, Fred Lynn, Dwight Evans.

For me and a lot of Massachusetts kids, Jim Rice was our Babe Ruth, our Jim Thorpe, our Jesse Owens, our Satchel Paige, our Lou Gehrig, our Ken Norton, our Louis Sockalexis.

Jim Rice was the most powerful hitter we had ever seen.

Jim Rice began playing for the Boston Red Sox when hatred of black people in Massachusetts was at its peak -- when Federal Judge W. Arthur Garrity, Jr. ended in 1974 the Boston School Committee's century old policy of keeping black Boston children from attending white Boston schools. As my brother said, "You turned on the news and there were white grownups in South Boston throwing bricks at little black kids in school busses."

Boston school kids coached by their parents to hate black kids, protesting against black kids being allowed to attend their schools. Boston, Mass. 1974.

This was the atmosphere Jim Rice entered in his rookie year in Boston:

Jim Rice was a supremely talented black man in a city that could not decide if it should hate him for his skin color or love him for his talent. Jim Rice declined to play the media game with Boston's sports reporters and focussed on improving his fielding and hitting. Carl Yastrzemski taught Rice how to play the dents in the Green Monster and took up first base so Rice could inherit his (and Ted Williams) hallowed position in Fenway's left field. Johnny Pesky became Rice's career-long mentor. Williams to Yaz to Rice.

This was a non atypical line score from Jim Rice in the late 1970s:

1977: In an 8-7 loss to Oakland at Fenway Park, Jim Rice hits a homer in the 2nd, 3rd and 6th innings; he would also get a single in the 4th inning.

For me, a young skinny white kid from a podunk falling down forgotten farm town in the swamps south of Boston, Jim Rice was a role model. We were the last crop of Massachusetts kids to play baseball in cow pastures, unorganized by any adults. The parking lot of the North Easton Railroad Station across Sullivan Avenue from Shovelshop Pond was our Landsdowne Street.

Jim Rice was not a Louis Armstrong type of baseball player. Jim Rice was a John Coltrane type of baseball player. Intense, private, deep and powerful. Jim Rice was the Lee Van Cleef of baseball players. All he needed was a toothpick out the side of his mouth. Jim Rice with a baseball bat was like Jimi Hendrix with a guitar -- but Jim Rice didn't die. It's said some managers would rather walk Jim Rice with the bases loaded than pitch to him; and Whitey Herzog put his third baseman in left field when Rice came up.

I saw the scary, distant and aloof edge in Rice's demeanor -- and liked it. It's nice to have the toughest, baddest guy in town -- the guy everyone fears and no one dares challenge -- on your side.

In one summer game at Fenway, a very young boy in the seats got clocked by a sharp line drive. Jim Rice came out from the dugout and into the stands and carried the young boy in his arms to a doctor. Red Sox GM Theo Epstein was at that game, as a boy:

Photo by Ted Gartland.

"Jim Rice was my favorite player growing up," Theo Epstein said. "I was at the game when the kid got smoked by the line drive by the first base dugout. We were in the grandstand. No one knew what to do. Out popped Rice. He climbed through the stands. He got him" – Epstein flexed his arms as if cradling a child – "and brought him down to the doctor. For a young kid, that made a real impression."

Theo Epstein says it well. Jim Rice made a massive impression on an entire generation of young boys across New England, at a time when there were few black male role models in our state. Going into the stands to care for a tiny kid smacked by a line drive was not required by Major League rules. But by Jim Rice's rules, it had to be done.

Not many kids get to see the baseball equivalent of Jack Johnson in his prime. Or Marvin Hagler in his prime. Myself and Theo Epstein and lots of other kids did. We saw Jim Rice in his prime. And we will never forget.

Because of the great weight given to career stats, Hall of Fame selection favors players with long tenure who patiently and tenaciously compile the numbers. The system favors the actuarial over the mercurial. Jim Rice was dogged with injuries and stopped playing at 36. Rice had to sit-out the1975 Red Sox v. Reds World Series because his wrist had been broken by a late season pitch. Had Rice been able to play in October 1975, his bat might have put the Sox over the top (think of 2004 without Manny or Ortiz). The Epic Fail of 1978 deprived the world of seeing Rice in the post-season during his most astonishing year of play.

Yes, this is playing "what if" -- but the entire Hall of Fame voting system requires voters to play what if. Reggie Jackson's reputation as Mr. October was dependent on him being on a team that could get to October. Had Jackson not been traded to the Yankees, his Hall of Fame luster would be many degrees duller, even though Reggie was always the same guy, the same hitter, the same talent. These are the intangibles that transcend statistics. Carl Yastrzemski toiled for a not too good Red Sox team for many years, as did Teddy Ballgame. But both Yaz and Williams transcended their teams seasonal shortcomings and became singular talents of their times.

Jim Rice tangled with some of the best teams and players in baseball history. In 1978, Rice barely edged Ron Guidry for American League MVP, the year Guidry was the scariest pitcher in baseball and Rice the scariest hitter. In any other year, either would have won MVP handily. Guidry was to Rice as Bob Gibson was to Yaz -- except Rice had to face Guidry all season. During Rice's prime, the Sox played battled against some of the best Yankee teams in Yankee history. Without a wild card. And without the wild card, the Sox would not have a 2004 World Series Flag.

The Red Sox nemesis, Goose Gossage, the scariest relief pitcher of his time, was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2008. Rice said he called Gossage as soon as he got the news of his induction. Rice said, "[Goose] said he thought we were both going to be inducted last year and he was wishing me the best, so that’s another guy I called.”

I don't know why I am so happy that Jim Rice has finally been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. All I know is that when I heard the news this afternoon I started crying. Perhaps because I thought that Jim Rice would not make this year's ballot, and this year was his last chance. After eight years of never-ending bad news, this was unadulterated, unalloyed, unspoilable good news.

As an 11 year old kid growing up in Easton, Mass. in 1975, Jim Rice was to all of the kids in the neighborhood our own Clint Eastwood. He was the coolest, strongest, most implacable guy we ever saw. We were in awe of him and wanted to be him. Jim Rice let us forget for a moment, despite all the racist shit we heard everyday at home, that even though we were white and he was black, it didn't matter. When Jim Rice stood up to bat you felt sorry for the ball.

Jim Rice's induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame is the ultimate karmic revenge for that horrible day in 1978 when Bucky Dent blooped a fly ball over the dented old metal Green Monster and you could hear a penny bouncing down Linden Street that afternoon because everyone not at work was glued to their fuzzy TV set -- watching Yaz hit that painfully slow last flyball to end Jim Rice's incredible 1978 season:

46 home runs. 139 RBIs. 213 hits. .600 slugging. 15 triples. .315 avg. 406 total bases.

At last, a sane antidote to the "loony left"

I’d love to let Hitler give them the love he showed the Jews. I say give every stinking arab, right after a protest march, a Zyclon B shower. “Love Long Hi….t…le…..errrrrrrr……ugh!! Saves on towels!!


When will we admit that the crusades are not over? Whether we want to admit it or not , we Are at war with Islam , if for no other reason than they are at war with us, Pc BS will kill westertn culture if we dont wake up.


We have these creeps in Orlando FL too. I guess they’re all over. This is insanity. They are the antithesis of everything that liberals say they stand for and yet the liberals defend their actions. This is not a free speech issue because if a group of white Americans of European descent held a rally and said the exact same things they would be taken off to jail no questions asked. In fact the libs would applaud it. Now I am NOT a white supremacist but it is not hard to see how someone could be driven to it. But maybe that’s what the libs want. You know “Divide and conquer”.


If Obama really wants to emulate FDR he should set about rounding up all the muslimes and put them into detention camps, much as was done to the Japanese during WW II. Only this time, as has been proven, the terrorist cells that do exist would be neutralized. Oh, wait! My bad. That’s too un-PC for the libs to stomach, not to mention the closet-muslim-in-chief.


Yum Yum.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

All Good Christians "hate the faggots"

It's well known that most good Christians celebrate when their young boys tell total strangers that they hate Barack Obama as much as they hate "the faggots":

"My kids had the following conversation at the store yesterday, very loudly, and within ear shot of several other customers:

John (4 years old): Barack Obama, and the devil, and the government are worser than anything else in the world.

Isaac (5 years old): Mom, John actually told me that he thinks Barack Obama is worse than the faggots.

Ah, precious moments!

By the way, don't bother writing me angry comments about teaching my children to hate homosexuals. The public school system sure doesn't seem to think kids their age are too young for this kind of subject matter when they have them reading books like this one, this, or countless others. The tiny children's library in our city has an entire section on homosexuality with 12 books on the subject (needless to say, all positive), free and open for all children to check out and read. If more moms like me stood up to these freaks and perverts, especially in public, maybe they'd go back in the closet.

In every account that the Bible gives of them, sodomites are violating others. My kids won't grow up with a soft-spot for people who want nothing more than to hurt others and to win them over to their disgusting lifestyle, one that will condemn them eternally to hell. If you think I am strange for being disgusted by the worst sin mentioned in the Bible, and one that even unbelievers have hated throughout centuries up until recent years, then so be it."

---- And some comments:

"Hah! They are so young and yet they know more than many of the liberals of today :) I'm glad you teach them to hate homos and that Obama is a devil :)"


"I am very vocal about my dislike of the homosextuals and my very pro family beliefs to anyone who will listen. As you said I fear no one because God is protecting me and my family. I think my son needs to learn to stand his ground and not let these liberal nuts a chance to spread their evil ideals."


If only people would just let a good Christian housewife say "i hate fags" in peace:

"Of course, fags like to prey on little kids, which is why they like to have babies via IVF. Tell that to all the supposed Christians who run to the fertility clinic because after popping the pill their whole life they are shocked if they can't get pregnant suddenly on their own timetable. Thank you for supporting and financing the medical science that goes into giving gays access to innocent victims.

No comments on this post. I don't care what all you fag-loving liberals think, I wish you would stop reading my blog anyway."


Oh what the hell, the "faggots" can't have all the fun. So why not a Christmas dose of Hating The Blacks:

"I would like to clarify, once and for all, that Black activists are the real racists. They are the ones who label African-Americans as an abused minority, which they are not. In turn, too many Black kids grow up with a chip on their shoulder, thinking Uncle Sam owes them a living, and viewing white people as the root of all their problems. It is no wonder so many of them grow up to live off government support, which in essence makes them enslaved to the government. Instead, somebody should have taught them that white or black, red or yellow, you have to work hard to make a living, and that griping about what wrong was done to your great-great-grandpa by people who are long dead will not make your life any easier. That instead of fighting the idealistic battle of a Marxist criminal, they would be better off investing time in their families and freeing themselves from dependence on the US government. Merry Christmas everyone !!!"

---- And the comment from Salena:

"Interesting post! I always thought Kwanzaa was a "nation of Islam" holiday. You are absolutely correct about the black activists being the racists. We live in Mississippi. Mississippi has a bad reputation for race relations. Honestly, though, most of the white people are not nearly as racists and hate-filled as the black people. There are exceptions on both sides of course."


And all good Christians hope the President-Elect will die:

"I get so sick of so-called Christians defending the wicked president-elect, Obama, who sees nothing wrong with partial-birth abortions, not to mention so many other issues. This man is evil, twisted, and perverted, and the sooner he drops dead the better."


And all good Christians live in a gated compound with a guard dog and multiple weapons in the bedroom:

"Since my husband is in the alarm business, we have a very extensive alarm system at the house complete with cameras and all the bells and whistles. That is, if they get past the 6 ft wall around our property and the dog. But yes, I have two guns in my bedroom, and have no problem using them.

The other night, we actually had a false alarm, probably from the wind rattling the back door. The siren that it sets off is VERY loud, it could wake the dead. My husband was home that night, but I jumped out of bed and cocked the semiautomatic rifle without even thinking about letting him handle it because it didn't even occur to me. He took the gun from me and checked to make sure nobody was in the house (we didn't think there was, because they would have had to make it past the dog first).

Honestly, I am never scared even when I am home alone. I know that God can protect me no matter what the case. I sleep like a baby."


So with all of this, should we be shocked to learn that Good Christian Mrs. Steven Anderson believes that women should not vote or serve in any public office?

"personally, I would never vote for McCain because of his beliefs, and the fact that the vice president would be a woman. My husband is voting for Chuck Baldwin. I don't vote because I don't think women should vote, but that's a different subject.

As to the voting thing: I do not think that women should be in authority, because the Bible says so. (1Ti 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.) While that verse is speaking about women in church, it is a principle found in the Bible that men are supposed to be the leaders. When this country was started, not only were only men allowed to vote, but they had to own land in order to vote!

I guess a modern-day comparison would be if you tried to vote in a business meeting of a company that you do not own any stock in. You can't do that, because only those who actually own the company will vote in the best interest of it. By allowing every welfare-recipient to vote, they will of course vote for someone like Obama who wants to take money from hard working people and give handouts to the lazy. But I digress.

It's not that women weren't allowed to vote because they are less smart or inferior. The idea was more that the vote went to the head of the household.

Even so, men are better leaders, because women are naturally designed as followers.

The majority of men oppose abortion, yet it is legal because women can vote."


This face-furry mandood concurs, and addz that from a home schoolerly perspective, the baby Jeebus and King David both decree the wimmin must be silent, cowering slaves of Ted Haggard-like men.

How Spartan of them.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Mott Brook -- A Song

Written and recorded 1/8/09.

Woof -- A Song

Written & recorded 1/8/09.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

44 Right Whales Sighted in Gulf of Maine

As reported by NOAA.
Incredible High Res photos here and here.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Killing Poison Ivy -- 1945

Click beetle on poison ivy, Presumpscot River, Westbrook, Maine.

From our friend Alfred C. Hottes' 1001 Garden Questions Answered (1945):

How do I kill poison ivy? -- A.C.F., Framingham, Mass.

"One pound of calcium chlorate in one gallon of water, employed as a spray, does indeed seem to be quite effective against poison ivy. It also kills other grasses and plant materials with which it comes in contact.

Sometimes sodium arsenate is used for the same purpose. Sodium arsenate, however, is a very active poison and it renders the soil sterile for a considerable length of time after it is used. Sodium chlorate is sometimes employed, but the fire hazard is so great with sodium chlorate that I would prefer to use calcium arsenate, even though the chemical is not quite as effective.

Any clothing saturated by the chlorates or any of the wooden portions of spray equipment or anything of that sort, even the dead weeds and grass on which this material may remain, is a potential fire hazard. It is almost like gunpowder. Cases have been known of fires starting as a result of animals running across treated weed patches. But this hazard does not last long, as it is only a question of a short time until the material is all gone through the action of rain, etc. Small patches of poison ivy can be killed by covering them with tarred or other heavy paper that completely excludes light.

The most rapid and surest way to deal with poison ivy is to pull and grub it out down to the last inch of underground runner, but if you're susceptible to poisoning, don't attempt this method. Pull and grub clear to the end of each prolonged underground runner. Burn all pieces. But don't forget the laundry soap after each battle."

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Arsenate of Lead Zeppelin -- 1923

In this 1923 photograph, a 106-foot long U.S. Army Zeppelin soaks the town of Deering, New Hampshire with arsenate of lead during a gypsy moth infestation. According to the photo source, some of the cement used in supporting the control cabin mounted under the Arsenate of Lead Zeppelin loosened during discharge of the first load of insecticide. It could not be repaired and was deflated and returned to Dayton, Ohio. (USDA Forest Service Archive Photo)

Spreading poisonous calcium arsenate by hand on cotton fields to kill boll weevils, c. early 20th century.
Read more.

Killing Ants on Peonies -- 1945

Reading the 1945 book "1001 Garden Questions Answered" by Alfred Carl Hottes is like entering a Dickensian time warp.

Mr. Hottes was a Professor of Horticulture at Ohio State University and a technical advisor for Better Homes and Gardens magazine. The book consists primarily of his answers to questions sent in by readers of Better Homes & Gardens.

Anyone familiar with peonies knows their ripening buds are covered with ants, which lick up the nectar seeping from the swelling bulb. The age-old question has always been: what are the ants doing and is it harmful or beneficial to the peony?

Professor Hottes' answer was: kill 'em all and let the arsenate of lead sort them out.:

"Are ants injurious to Peony buds?"

Professor Hottes: "The black ants which infest your Peony buds will harm them. They are after the sweet fluid which is secreted in the buds. Dr. Whetzel has found that they carry the spores of the bud rot from one plant to another. See page 85 for ant control."

[Hmm ... page 85 ... here it is ...]

How are ants controlled?

Professor Hottes: There are both meat-eating ants and sweet-eating ants which confine their diets rather closely.

(1) Drench their hills with boiling water.
(2) Pour a little carbon bisulphide or gasoline in the holes.
(3) Moisten sponges with molasses, poisoned with arsenate of lead,
(4) Use pieces of meat or fat and when covered with ants, drop them into scalding water.
(5) Use a commercial preparation containing thallium sulfate.
(6) One ant eradicator contains monochloronapthalene, a formidable name but it is a compound similar to moth balls."

In real life, ants don't hurt peonies any more than bees hurt peonies.

The Insanity of Killing Earthworms -- 1945

From the 1945 book "1001 Garden Questions Answered" by Alfred Carl Hottes, Professor of Horticulture at Ohio State University and technical advisor for Better Homes and Gardens magazine. The book consists of his answers to questions sent in by readers of Better Homes & Gardens. Below is my favorite:

"Earthworms have made my lawn a mass of bumps and holes. How can these be killed? -- H.K.S., Ohio.

While earthworms are slightly beneficial in lawns by transposing soil to the deeper layers, they are also a nuisance because they throw up piles of earth. Sprinkle infested ground with solution of corrosive sublimate (bichloride of mercury). Dissolve 3 ounces of corrosive sublimate in a quart or two of hot water and add to 50 gallons of water which should be sprinkled on the infested ground, using one or two gallons to the square yard. After applying, thoroughly water the treated area. Corrosive sublimate powder dissolves readily in hot water. This material acts on metal, and if such must be used, do not let stand in such container. If a sprinkling can is used to apply this solution, do not delay in thoroughly washing after using. Use care in handling corrosive sublimate as it is very poisonous."

UPDATE: Since I wrote this I have discovered there are a large number of U.S. Americans who still believe that earthworms are a menace to their yard and must be killed and poisoned with extreme prejudice. Sad.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Tomato Hornworm Caterpillars

I won't kill them.

Because tomato hornworms become 5 inch wide hawkmoths like this one:

Manduca quinquemaculata

I also now know that the caterpillar overwinters as a pupa in the soil, emerges as the moth in the late spring, mates and lays eggs, which become tomato hornworm caterpillars. They have two generations per summer. The moths are nocturnal.