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Monthly Archives: January 2002

Does This Mean I Have

January 31st, 2002 - 6:39 pm

Does This Mean I Have to Organize My Dry Bar by Dewey Decimal?
An email exchange with a good friend resulted in the question, “You’re a Scotch drinker, so why ‘VodkaPundit’?”

Simple. Just like pairing food with booze, different kinds of writing call for different drinks.

Punditry goes with vodka, natch.
Writing fiction calls for a good single-malt Scotch, preferably Oban or Dalwhinnie
If you’re working on a limerick, you’ll want a beer. Or three. And definately Guiness.
Research paper? You’re a student and can’t afford to drink.
Legal briefs are best served with a gin martini, unless you’re a Bahamian bank lawyer, in which case a gin and tonic with a squeeze.
Trying to finish that epic poem? Mead, baby, mead!
Writers of football team names on their chests should stick with Bud.
And finally, there’s High Verse. Demerol, cocaine, and jug wine all at once. (Dorothy Parker only)

We’ll be taking further suggestions to add to this list right up until last call. Seriously. After that, I’m now considering changing my slogan to “The Somellier of Punditry.”

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We’ll Get Back to Being

January 31st, 2002 - 6:23 pm

We’ll Get Back to Being Vicious After These Important Messages.
One more thing before I sink into TV Mode for a bit. My call for advice and direction yesterday resulted in a flood of emails. I’d like to thank each of you, and I think I managed to reply to all personally. If I didn’t, that’s my bad and so I’m thanking you here.

The consensus seems to be to keep doing what I’m doing, only more of it. Kids, all I can do is try. I’m not sure I can pound out any more words each day than I already do, but… hell, it’s not like I’ve got a wedding and honeymoon and all that to help plan. Oh, wait…

And no, Phil, I will still not be publishing any naked pictures of the VodkaFiance. Get your own.

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And He Didn’t Even Look

January 31st, 2002 - 6:13 pm

And He Didn’t Even Look Up Her Picture This Time
A fantastic angry posting from the lovely and talented Natalija Radic on Samizdata tonight. She tears into the throats of the Eurosocialists who run the show over on the other side of the pond. Natalija, if I might suggest something to you? Try taking on the barbarian “protesters” in New York next time you post. They really need to hear from someone who lives in a country victim to their wishes.

I don’t expect it to do any actual good, but I do expect you to write something pretty damn fun to read. Also, something tells me it’ll have that Brick to the Face effect you can have when you’re angry.

Go for it!

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I Swear to God I

January 31st, 2002 - 6:07 pm

I Swear to God I Watch It Because of Karen’s Chest
Don’t expect much posting tonight, kids. Or half of all the other Thursday nights. I’m a self-confessed junky of the Jack & Karen Show, and wouldn’t dream of missing a fresh episode. Certainly not during February sweeps. I hear this time, Grace might actually catch herself a man. And who knows, Will might, too.

If I could, I’d dictate witty commentary during commercials for my VodkaFlunky to post for me, but this is strictly a low-budget operation. Well, other than the bar tab.

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Down Underhanded The Aussies, like

January 31st, 2002 - 4:24 pm

Down Underhanded
The Aussies, like the Brits, have a ruling class far worse than they deserve. In a new act of cowardice, the Australian Parliament has banned the Dalai Lama from speaking inside their chamber.

I’m no Richard Gere dreamy-land idiot. I know Tibet is most likely doomed. But — to cave into Chinese Communist Party demands to delegitimize a religious and spiritual leader is cowardice at its worst. (OK, second worst. Worst would be if on 9/12, Bush had said, “Sorry, what did we do to make you hate us?”)

Aussies, tell your Parliament to go to hell.

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But He Still Doesn’t Do

January 31st, 2002 - 3:57 pm

But He Still Doesn’t Do Windows
Glenn Reynolds has been out all afternoon, Andrew Sullivan‘s site is down or hacked or something bad. I refuse to read NRO’s “The Corner” (or link to it) until Jonah admits he’s running a blog. What I’m trying to say here is I’d better pick up the pace to take up the slack.

Oh, and I’d also better link to Little Green Footballs like I promised myself I’d do the same day I promised to link Transterrestrial.

Meantime, it’s a slow afternoon for news. So what’s a blogger to do other than update his links?

UPDATE: VodkaPundit, in all his three weeks of amateur web glory, just placed himself in the same league as Sullivan and Reynolds. Arrogant little prick, isn’t he?

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At Least He Doesn’t Forget

January 31st, 2002 - 3:27 pm

At Least He Doesn’t Forget to Put the Toilet Seat Down
My apologies to Rand Simberg, the guy we all need to thank for creating Transterrestrial Musings. I meant to permalink his way ever ago, but it somehow got lost in the shuffle. He does great work and you really ought to make his place a daily visit.

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Stop That, Or I’ll Tell

January 31st, 2002 - 3:15 pm

Stop That, Or I’ll Tell Teacher
Great find by Sean McCray over at Next Right. Read it — could be a sneaky, underhanded, outside-the-law, and absolutely wonderful method of education reform. Not only that, but it’s happening in my old home town.

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And They Want the Burger

January 31st, 2002 - 3:10 pm

And They Want the Burger King to Abdicate in Favor of a Semi-Autonomous Collective
You simply must read Dreher’s column today on the “protestors” in New York, if only for this line: “If Genoa, Seattle, and Melbourne are any guide, urban terrorists gathering in New York this week are going to burn khakis, upend four-dollar frappucinos, and assassinate Mayor McCheese.”

Back to Monty Python for a moment, if we may. These anti-globalization barbarians remind me of John Cleese in the Argument Sketch. Remember it? No matter what Eric Idle says, Cleese just replies, “No it isn’t.” Well, except when Idle says “No it isn’t,” and Cleese says “Yes it is.”

Same with the anti-everything barbarians currently camping out in NYC. Show them anything truly progressive (as in PROGRESS) or beneficial or promoting freedom or commerce — and they automatically gainsay it without a thought.

More on this later. I feel I’m developing a new theme. So now I’m actually going to have to put on my thinking cap. Which, like the Grinch’s heart, is two sizes too small.

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Usually, They Just Think I’m

January 31st, 2002 - 2:40 pm

Usually, They Just Think I’m a Perv
Hello to whichever lovely lady at Bryn Mawr is reading my blog today. Sadly, VodkaPundit had to give up hitting on college girls even before proposing to the VodkaFiance. Yet life after 30 is still pretty damn good.

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They Didn’t Pick Out a

January 31st, 2002 - 2:34 pm

They Didn’t Pick Out a Name After the Ultrasound?
I don’t remember who to thank for sending me the link to this Jeff Jacoby column, but you really ought to read it. Read it very closely if you live in Arabia, and even more closely if there’s a “Saud” in your name.

Hashemite Arabia? Kemalite Arabia? Far East Texas Arabia? Pick one — any would be an improvement over “Saudi.”

FULL DISCLOSURE: It saddens me to say such things about the Saudi government. My father-in-law-to-be has a long-standing business relationship with the Saudi government, and formerly a military one. Through him, I’ve heard many good things about a certain Saudi prince, and many very frustrating things about dealing with others.

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Who Let the Dogs… Oh,

January 31st, 2002 - 2:26 pm

Who Let the Dogs… Oh, Hell, Not Even I Can Say It.
A pack of wild dogs mauled a little boy to death in Norway yesterday. “Should this happen several more times,” said a Norwegian government official who preferred to remain anonymous, “then we will be forced to raise our voice when we say ‘bad doggies,’ and maybe even send a note to Brussels.”

The official concluded with, “I’d rather you didn’t use my name, since taking such a strong stance is frowned on by the PM.”

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Doesn’t Sullivan Have an Award

January 31st, 2002 - 2:00 pm

Doesn’t Sullivan Have an Award for This Sort of Thing?
Interesting but not convincing stuff from Derbyshire today. He argues that Israel will eventually be swallowed up by the Arabs for the same reason he thinks Northern Ireland will be incorporated into Ireland Proper — “democracy is no match for terrorism.”

Oh really, John?

I, too, am a pessimist on Israel’s long-term chances — but only because not even SDI can defend again a suitcase nuke. And the barbarians only have to get lucky once to flatten Tel Aviv.

But saying we’re no match for terrorism, just two nights after Bush’s SOTUA, just four months into this campaign, just weeks into the government we installed in Afghanistan… well. I wonder if after Pearl harbor in 1941 and Kasserine Pass not much later, Derbyshire would have argued that “democracy is no match for fascism.” Or after Task Force Smith that “democracy is no match for Communism.”

Blair caved into the IRA. Israel damned near caved into the PLO in 1999, and was saved only by Arafat’s ill-timed intransigence. But as a Brit — whose George III caved into certain rabble after Yorktown — Derbyshire underestimates his American cousins yet again.

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They Look Good, But They

January 31st, 2002 - 1:41 pm

They Look Good, But They Never Feel Right
Some surprises from the al Qaeda documents recovered by our soldiers in Afghanistan. I’ve excerpted the most important bits for you and collected them here.

“Documents…spotlight the U.S. Capitol, Seattle’s Space Needle and a portion of Los Angeles,” suggesting them as targets. This is further proof that the barbarians just don’t understand America. Let the Greens in Seattle run the show there for a while, and there won’t be any buildings over two stories left. And all built of adobe.

Also found were references to al Qaeda’s “Crack Suicide Squad.” I… I have nothing to add here that the Monty Python troupe didn’t do twenty years ago. I am filled with shame. No, wait — giggles.

Most interesting to Army Intelligence officers were minutes taken from actual al Qaeda meetings. Translations differ, but the consensus goes as follows:

Osama: I swear to Allah, Britney Spears had a boob job.
Omar: No, you’re thinking of that Christina girl. I hear she can be a real bitch.
Osama: You fool — look right here! And take off that fake eyepatch, you’ll never be butch. Anyway, I’d know her face from six miles up. Think I impressed her with that whole airplane thing? Will she answer my letters now?

More details to follow. Developing.

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How does one get de-(un-?)listed

January 31st, 2002 - 1:09 pm

How does one get de-(un-?)listed from Google?

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Also, The Dog Ate His

January 31st, 2002 - 12:45 pm

Also, The Dog Ate His Homework
Forgive the large — even for me — number of typos today. All this week and next, I’m posting during daylight hours from a special location. A location armed with an early Pentium-era computer with no Word, no Excel, no SpellCheck, no nothin’. Oh, and a tiny little keyboard that reminds me of the one from the IBM PCjr. And a 13-inch monitor. And did I mention only a slowband AOL connection to the web?

The fact that I’m still posting 1,000-2,000 words a day is proof enough I love this gig and care deeply about my readers.

So forgive the typos already! I fix’em as soon as I find’em.

UPDATE: Did I mention Explorer has crashed on me three times already today, each time requiring a reboot? Did I also mention that connecting to AOL with this P.O.S. takes, on average, four attempts and three minutes? Did I mention I’m not getting freakin’ PAID for any of this?

And now I have to somehow get myself back in the right mood to say lovely things about Peggy Noonan.

FURTHER UPDATE: How old do I feel, mentioning the IBM PCjr? If someone else remembers that Thing, please let me know. Otherwise, I’m going to go to a mirror with a magnifying glass and start pulling gray hairs.

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If I Were Gay, I’d

January 31st, 2002 - 12:30 pm

If I Were Gay, I’d Kiss Him Right on the Mouth
Hell, I still might.

Read this from Andrew Sullivan today: “I have long found Paul Krugman an insufferably pompous, shrill, Bush-bashing pseudo-populist.” Doesn’t quite have the flow of Goldberg’s “crapweasel,” but it certainly proves that despite their best efforts, English universities still produce some goddamn fine writers.

Thanks, Andrew!

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You Should Hear What He

January 31st, 2002 - 12:03 pm

You Should Hear What He Says About People He Doesn’t Like
Yesterday, Jonah Goldberg at NRO wrote a line that’s become my new chant. So, just because it feels so good, I want you to say it clearly, but not too loudly, right there at your desk at work, the internet cafe, or wherever you are. Ready? Here we go: “Paul Krugman has been an arrogantly hysterical crapweasel.”

Who cares if people are staring at you. Didn’t that feel good?

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Which Little Knobby Thing Makes

January 31st, 2002 - 11:49 am

Which Little Knobby Thing Makes the Wheels Come Out?
In an NYT op-ed but today, Alice Amsden asks, “Why Are Globalizers So Provincial?

She complains that the US appoints the head of the World Bank, and that the modern, Western countries control the IMF and the WTO. Let me tell Ms. Amsden something — no one wants to fly in a plane piloted by the passengers.

We control these things because we’re the ones who can and do make trade work. Put Communist party hacks in charge of a global bank? A tribal leader from a land where the laws of cause and effect are seen as prosaic leading the IMF? The Butcher of Bagdhad working for a level playing field?

This college drop-out expects something a bit smarter from an MIT prof like Amsden.

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It’s Like Being A Little

January 31st, 2002 - 11:19 am

It’s Like Being A Little Bit Pregnent
Bill Safire’s NYT column today is even better than usual — and that’s saying something. As he explains the Bush’s call to go after terror-sponsors North Korea, Iran, and Iraq, something hit me: the importance of finishing wars.

And I’m not talking just about the Current Mess.

1953. Korea. Stalemate. Now North Korea is building nuclear weapons and the long-range missiles to deliver them. If we wait too long to act, then replacing the evil North Korean government could cost us Pearl Harbor. Or Los Angeles.

1979. Iran. Desert One fails. The new Iranian theocracy learns the US can be triffled with. We never teach them any better. Result? Iran is working on WMD and missiles, too. Teaching them otherwise now could cost us Haifa or Tel Aviv.

1991. Iraq. We let Saddam stay in power. And now Saddam supports terror worldwide, including al Qaeda. Might have had a part in both WTC attacks. Only reason we think he doesn’t have nukes is ten years of trade sanctions — sanctions which have ruined our moral authority in the Middle East.

In all three cases, we put off “finishing” the war because it seemed too expensive. In Korea we worried about starting WWIII. In Iran, we feared Soviet intervention, too. In Iraq, we feared taking Bagdhad would lead to a lengthy occupation and Marshall Plan. Well, now we know — acting later is always more expensive than acting now. Compound interest collects on unfinished wars, too.

Thankfully, I think the current President understands that. More thankfully, I think the American people understand it now, too.

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That’s Mr. Baby-Killer to You!

January 31st, 2002 - 10:47 am

That’s Mr. Baby-Killer to You!
Austin Bay, a brilliant man with whom I don’t often disagree, gets it close but not quite about the Gitmo detainees. Austin, this is a fight to the death, not about the moral high ground. We got that on 9/11. We’d be within our treaty rights to shoot any al Qaeda officer on sight. That they’re getting much better than that is a tribue already to our largesse. Granting them POW status is an honor they do not deserve.

Scroll down to see my post on language from last night. It’s civilization vs. barbarians, and barbarians cannot be POWs.

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I’d Hate to See His

January 31st, 2002 - 10:37 am

I’d Hate to See His Underwear from Tuesday Night
In a move puzzling even to Iranians, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said he is “honored” to be targeted as a terrorist by the “Great Satan.” Said one man-on-the-Tehran-street, “It’s like Khamenei has some sort of death wish. Or maybe he’s just got a really nice cave, like that Oswald or Osman guy or whatever his name was.”

“There are some satans in the world, but America indeed is the great Satan,” Khamenei said, flames spewing out his ears and trying to hide his cloven hooves in oversized Gucci loafers.

So kids, who wants to bet VodkaPundit one Absolut Citron Martini that we’re busy programing cruise missiles at government targets in Tehren right now?

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But Does She Get Fries

January 31st, 2002 - 10:25 am

But Does She Get Fries with that Shake?
Also from the Janet Reno story in the Washington Post, “[Dr.] Whitsell could not say whether the fainting spell was related to the former attorney general’s Parkinson’s disease, but dizziness, poor balance and trembling are some of the symptoms of the disease.” Whitsell went on to add, “Other symptoms include burning cultists alive and stealing motherless children at gunpoint so that they might go live in a totalitarian dictatorship.”

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And It’s a Long Way

January 31st, 2002 - 10:22 am

And It’s a Long Way Down from There, Too
I lost the origial link, but Janet Reno collapsed last night, but is doing fine now, according to the latest story. Normally I would make a physical-collapse-as-campaign-chances metaphor here, but I used up my weekly quota with the three-part Godfather joke yesterday

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First Word — the Coffee

January 31st, 2002 - 10:12 am

First Word — the Coffee Hasn’t Kicked In Yet
We’ll get to the emails from yesterday and this morning in a bit. Probably not til this afternoon. In the meantime, this:

Is the VodkaPundit psychic? You be the judge. Just yesterday I called Neil “the Bush family’s Fredo,” then went on to cast W in the Michael Corleone role. And now US News & World report has this header — “Bush should hire the mob.”

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Last Call — Final Post

January 30th, 2002 - 11:39 pm

Last Call — Final Post for the Night
At 11,700 years, an “unassuming bush may be world’s oldest living thing.” Helen Thomas lodges formal protest, claims “at least eight days seniority.”

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A Few Words on Language

January 30th, 2002 - 7:58 pm

A Few Words on Language
The words we use are important. Vocabulary adds context for the listener. That’s why I was so struck when President Bush used the phrase “the civilized world” last night.

Those three simple words imply so much about a worldview that I thought was largely forgotten. I won’t bother trying to explain it — you either already know and agree or disagree, or you’re too out of it for me to bother playing teacher.

That’s why in my last post, I used the word “barbarians” to describe the captors of Daniel Pearl. And I’m going to use that word from now on to describe terrorists and terrorism. You see, those barbarians don’t deserve the stature granted them by being thought of as “-ists” who believe in an “-ism.” They are barbarians, something out of a dark past century, armed with modern conveniences and weapons. But don’t let the veneer of cell phones, web addresses, or electronic detonators fool you; they are no more civilized than a wild proto-man of pre-history who has just learned to bash his neighbor with a stick. They want to destroy civilization, they want to turn back the clock.

Don’t let them even slow the clock down, don’t grant them a title they don’t deserve.

I’ve been far too serious tonight. I promise to get back to being flippant and useless tomorrow.

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Conspiracy Theory Department The Associated

January 30th, 2002 - 7:16 pm

Conspiracy Theory Department
The Associated Press reports that the kidnappers of reporter Daniel Pearl are now threatening to kill him tomorrow if their demands aren’t met. Could this be some sort of left wing plot to gain back some sympathy for the press?

Nope — Pearl works for the Wall Street Journal.

I know I shouldn’t joke about Mr. Pearl’s plight. But the whole situation is so awful that if I don’t joke, then I’m going to cry. A good American, a member in good standing of the Fourth Estate, doing his noble job — this man is taken captive by barbarians who think nothing of his life, or any individual life. While we, we who think so much of life that we make conditions nice, even for captured terrorists who plotted to kill our wives and children, we can do little or nothing to help Daniel Pearl.

Pearl’s job is to bring truth to his readers. The barbarian’s job is to plunge the world into darkness.

If we give in to the barbarian’s demands, then a thousand Americans will be held at gunpoint tomorrow. So we sit and we wait and we hope to develop enough intelligence to rescue Pearl before his captors decide he serves their plans better as a corpse.

I do not beleive in God. I do not pray. But my thoughts tonight are somewhere in Pakistan with Daniel Pearl.

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OK, kids, I’ll beat this

January 30th, 2002 - 6:44 pm

OK, kids, I’ll beat this horse just one more time today, and then you’re off the hook.

First, I’d like to reiterate my thanks for the traffic explosion last week and especially in the last few days. I’m seeing lots of repeat customers, which tells me I might just be doing something right. And the emails have been fantastic. But…

VodkaPundit is only three weeks old, and I’m still feeling my way around. What is it you’d like to see more of? Less of? What am I not doing that I should? And to answer one reader’s suggestion — no, I will not post any naked pictures of the VodkaFiance. Not without first seeing some serious cash.

C’mon, you know you wanna, I’ll even make it easy. For a short time only, a real email link.

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Can We Give Them Back

January 30th, 2002 - 4:09 pm

Can We Give Them Back Egypt, Too?
Read this Barbara Lerner piece from today’s National Review Online. It’s great support for the idea first promulgated (I think) by Glenn Reynolds to return all of Arabia back to the Turks.

Well-reasoned, and well-written with a you-are-there immediacy.

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