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Monthly Archives: November 2003

Judith Childs?

November 30th, 2003 - 10:28 am

I don’t care if it has a little tofu in it — it still sounds awfully good.

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Noel Hell

November 29th, 2003 - 7:03 pm

I’m afraid of heights. Really, that’s my only irrational fear. Heights. And spiders. Heights and spiders and fathering ugly children. OK, so I’m a quivering bundle of irrational neuroses, but that’s not the point. The point is, I’m afraid of heights.

Planes don’t bother me, and neither do rollercoasters, Ferris Wheels, or anything like that. Hell, I love those things. But open heights scare the crap out of me. So how do I deal with it? I do stuff like climb trees and rocks, and (just once) jump out of an airplane.

Or hang Christmas lights.

Next year will be easier. Now that the cup hooks are in place, we should be able to string the lights up with one of those grabby extension pole thingies. But not this time around. Oh, no.

Today was spent on the roof with a cordless drill and two boxes of 3/4″ cup hooks. The plan was to string those white icicle lights along the roofline above the garage, then back under the gutter to the front door, and from there across the north side of the front of the house. Turned out the garage

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50 Things to be Thankful For

November 27th, 2003 - 12:01 am

Morning wood
Beer chilling in the snow
Remembering the beer before the bottles explode
Ribeye steaks, seared and rare
Loud parties
Quiet moments
Drawing yet another breath
Smith & Wesson & ammo
Beethoven’s F

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He’s Earned It

November 26th, 2003 - 1:16 am

Enjoy the break, Lileks. We’ll be here when you get back.

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Feel the Power

November 26th, 2003 - 1:11 am

How does Andy find this stuff?

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A Cry for Help

November 26th, 2003 - 12:56 am

Years ago, I bought a top-flight Sony VCR for one reason: It had a little doohicky called a “cable mouse.”

The mouse was, in essense, a wired remote control. It plugged into the back of the VCR and sat on top of the cable box, so the VCR could change cable box channels. That was a pretty nifty feature, because otherwise you couldn’t tape stuff on HBO without remembering to turn on the cable box and set it to the proper channel.

Now we’re thinking about getting a TiVo. Problem is, I don’t know if there are any models with anything like Sony’s Cable Mouse, and none of my online research has given me any answers.

Any readers here know?

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Alcohol + Tryptophan: Der Napmacher

November 26th, 2003 - 12:51 am

The Other Professor knows what to put next to your turkey tomorrow.

NOTE: Whenever I think of wine/food pairings, I always flash back to an old Robin Williams line. How old? He was still funny. Anyway: “Night Train. Goes with meat, fish, any damn thing it wants to.”

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Lazy Blogging

November 26th, 2003 - 12:42 am

I really, really want to fisk the latest hate-filled crap from Harold Meyerson. But I’ve been drinking wine tonight instead of vodka, and I’m much too into the whole Thanksgiving spirit.

So instead, I’ll give you a little to go on. . .

It’s time again to overeat and commemorate the Pilgrims coming to these shores to build their democratic theocracy and share some grub with the natives. The natives, we all know, didn’t make out so well as the European conquest progressed, but that, at least, was then.

Or was it? In fact, right now, in the opening years of the 21st century, Europeans are still coming here to exploit the American workforce.

The irony is that these European-based global enterprises are the kind of model corporate citizen over there that has all but vanished over here. In Europe, they pay their workers decently, tend to health and safety concerns and actually encourage their employees to unionize.

. . . and let you read the rest and fisk it yourselves.

The bar is open. Click on the Drinks and have at him.

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Bleak Assessment

November 26th, 2003 - 12:35 am

Hey, kids! It’s History Trivia Time!

Wait — come back. The questions are easy and the answers are even provided for you, so everyone can feel all smart and stuff. Today’s topic is Modern Warfare. Here we go:

Q: When did the Civil War end?

A: When the South was burned, occupied, and crying uncle.

Q: When did World War I end?

A: It didn’t really end until World War II ended.

Q: OK, Mr. Smarty Pants, when did WWII end?

A: It ended when Germany was burned, occupied, and crying uncle. And when Japan was burned, occupied, slightly radioactive, and crying uncle.

Q: Well, what about Korea?

A: That war is still on, too.

Q: Oh.

A: Did you have another question?

Q: Yes. When did Vietnam end?

A: It ended when South Vietnam was burned, occupied, and crying uncle.

Q: And Iraq?

A: I’ll get back to you on that one. We didn’t burn a whole lot, and some crazies just don’t know when to cry uncle.

Which leads me to this Dennis Ross op-ed in today’s Washington Post:

While peace is not about to break out between Israelis and Palestinians, there is once again an opening to end the past three years of warfare. Both sides want to end the war, create a period of calm and restore normal life for their publics. Those desires are not sufficient to reestablish faith in the other side’s intentions or to bridge the gaps on how to deal with Jerusalem, borders and refugees. But they may be sufficient to produce a more enduring cease-fire and the resumption of a peace process.


Modern wars don’t seem to end until one side is well and truly beaten. The exception to the rule is “wars of national liberation” (as the Soviets liked to call the actions of their little terrorist buddies), which end when the evil occupying nation gets sick of the whole mess and leaves. And even then the war doesn’t really end, because the victors then turn against each other, like in parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Anyway.

That’s what gets me about the whole peace process — it can’t work.

If you think that the West Bank is an occupied nation, then you naturally think that all Israel has to do is to pull out — and peace will suddenly break out like a pimple the day before Senior Prom. The problem is, the Palestinians, by and large, think that Israel isn’t just occupying the West Bank, it’s occupying, well, all of Israel. So simply pulling back to the Green Line won’t end the war.

And that means that to Israel and Palestine, this is a war of survival.

And that makes this a very modern war, which won’t end until one side or the other is burned, occupied, and crying uncle. Fact is, the Palestinians can’t do that to the Israelis. Another fact is, the Israelis won’t (but could) do it to the Palestinians.

And that is why you almost never see me write anything about the Middle East “peace process.” The only process towards peace is the kind of war one side can’t commit, and the other side won’t.

So stop with the hand-wringing already. It just isn’t going to get any better any time soon.

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(Rim Shot)

November 26th, 2003 - 12:16 am

Czech President Vaclav Klaus

said Europeans are living in a “dream world” of welfare and long vacations and have yet to realize “they are not moving toward some sort of nirvana.”

The Czech Republic is a candidate for European Union membership, but Mr. Klaus, who was elected president in February, made clear in an interview his distaste for the organization.

How long, I wonder, before the EU announces it doesn’t accept Czechs?

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Faker Fakir?

November 25th, 2003 - 1:27 pm

We live in a karmic universe.

There’s matter and anti-matter. Protrons and electrons. There are Democrats and Republicans, Islamofascists and smart bombs. Each and every thing, it seems, has its exact opposite somewhere, somehow.

Now, scientists in India have discovered the anti-VodkaPundit.

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November 25th, 2003 - 9:50 am

And I thought they’d revise it down half a point.

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Now on Fake Newstands

November 24th, 2003 - 1:38 pm

Speaking of sex, posting this little item isn’t going to get me any:

(Click for the full-size pic.)

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November 24th, 2003 - 1:51 am

Milt Rosenberg is one of the giants of talk radio. But did you know he also has a blog?

It’s always good to see a Big Media guy getting into blogging.

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Shop Talk II

November 24th, 2003 - 1:24 am

Robert Samuelson on the Medicare prescription drug benefit:

The test of any replacement is whether it improves upon the status quo for the whole nation, not just retirees. By that test, Congress’s drug benefit fails.

It would actually make a major national problem — paying the baby boom’s retirement benefits — worse. In its first decade, costs are estimated at about $400 billion, which isn’t so much compared with projected total federal spending of $28 trillion. But if a new “blockbuster” drug appears, forget the $400 billion estimate. Spending will explode anyway as baby boomers retire and drug use rises. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, director of the Congressional Budget Office, puts the second decade’s costs between $1.3 trillion and $2 trillion.

Even this may be too low, considering inevitable pressures to expand coverage.

Without getting into too many tricky statistics, here’s how government program spending breaks down:

How much they say it’s gonna cost: LESS.

How much it will really cost: MORE.

That’s hard data, kids, and you can look it up in any GAO report. It also goes by another name — “buying votes.”

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Food Talk

November 24th, 2003 - 1:06 am

Someone emailed me last week, asking how that Ch

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Shop Talk

November 24th, 2003 - 12:46 am

Michael Barone on what ails the Democrats:

The country is closely divided between Republicans and Democrats, but it’s not a symmetrical division. The Republicans are united and the Democrats are divided. Republicans are solidly behind George W. Bush. Democrats are about evenly divided on issues like military action in Iraq and gay marriage (a possible election-year issue given the decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court last week). About a third of all Democrats give Bush a positive job rating.

The Democrats seem divided roughly evenly between Bush haters and people who have mixed feelings about the president.

To be fair, it’s always tougher for the party out of power to remain cohesive, if only because they don’t have a national leader to coalesce around. But in this time of war, Barone argues, the Democrats’ problem runs a little deeper:

Democrats will have a problem either way. If the un-Dean wins, Dean’s enthusiastic supporters will be bitterly disappointed. Some will not want to vote for a Democrat who voted for military action in Iraq. The Green Party nominee, whether Ralph Nader runs or not, could easily exceed the 3 percent Nader won in 2000. That would hurt with the electorate this closely divided. Just ask Al Gore.

The Democrats’ problem will be different if Dean is nominated. Their problem will be with American exceptionalism. That is the idea, shared by most Americans, that this country is unique and special, with unique virtues and special responsibilities–a city on a hill, as John Winthrop and Ronald Reagan put it, with the responsibility to spread freedom and democracy around the world. Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan were all American exceptionalists.

And who is the exceptionalist in today’s field of Democratic nominee wanna-bes?


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Stay Tuned

November 24th, 2003 - 12:23 am

Is al Qaeda defeating itself? Jim Dunnigan looks at the possibility:

Al Qaeda has long preached the use of terror against its enemies, and the September 11, 2001 attacks were held up as a perfect example of that. But the attacks in Turkey have killed mostly Moslems, as have the recent suicide bombings in Saudi Arabia. Al Qaeda is also thought to be behind the suicide bombings in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Do you see a pattern here? Al Qaeda is not following up on September 11, 2001 with more attacks on Western targets, but is killing Moslems. Al Qaeda does have a lot of Moslems on its hit list, particularly Moslems who al Qaeda does not consider Moslem enough. But since al Qaeda recruits from Moslem populations, angering Moslem populations is suicidal to the organization.

As always with Dunnigan, you should read the whole thing — but I do have one worry with his upbeat-ish scenario.

There is nothing rational about Islamic fundamentalism. It is entirely possible (although I don’t know if it’s likely) that continued attacks on Muslems will actually encourage more crazed fundies to join in the fun of killing the slightly-less-holy-than-we-are. Hell, that’s the central tennet of any violently fundamentalist movement. Spain’s Inquisition killed a lot more Catholics than it did Jews, after all. And remember that bin Laden’s first goal isn’t the destruction of America, but the cleansing of Islam.

So, we’ll see.

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Sleep Tight

November 24th, 2003 - 12:08 am

From StrategyPage:

For the second time, scientists have been able to build a virus from scratch, and it took only two weeks. The first time this was done was last year, when the polio virus was recreated in a process that took three years. The key to this bioengineering is having the genome (genetic map) of existing viruses, and more capable equipment and techniques for handling material at the molecular level. This makes biological warfare weapons easier to create, because the genomes of many viruses that attack humans are already known. And each year, more deadly (for humans, or other animals or plants) viruses are sequenced (genetic maps are created.) In the next decade, the equipment, and skills, needed for virus creation will spread. As that happens, it’s only a matter of time before the technology is so widely available that terrorists, or, more likely, nations with evil intent, will be able to attempt the manufacture biological weapons with these techniques. What’s particularly worrisome is that another set of technologies are needed to successfully modify an existing virus map to create a weapon, for it’s easier to screw up this process. There’s a certain amount of trial and error involved here, and the great fear is that bio-weapon engineers could accidentally make a virus that is both very deadly and spreads very fast. This makes the old science fiction scenario of a virus that nearly wipes out the human race that much closer to reality. On the positive side, there is enough variation among humans that no one virus would wipe out everyone, but even a death rate of ten percent would be quite a hit to civilization as we know it.


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Mogadishu, Revisited

November 24th, 2003 - 12:04 am

You’ve probably read this already:

Iraqi teenagers dragged the bloody bodies of two American soldiers from a wrecked vehicle and pummeled them with concrete blocks Sunday, witnesses said, describing a burst of savagery in a city once safe for Americans. Another soldier was killed by a bomb and a U.S.-allied police chief was assassinated.

As Ralph Peters has noted in several columns and articles (collected here), many Arabs fear their culture is simply unready for decent government. It’s a case of cultural low-self esteem — they see the West and all its marvels, while they, for all their oil wealth, can’t compete with even Thailand. Outbursts like yesterday’s barbaric atrocity (let’s not mince words; it was a barbaric atrocity), are manifestations of their fear of failure.

In Iraq, Araby now has a chance to gain a little confidence, a little experience, a little self-esteem. Iraqis have lost their fear of Saddam, but they have yet to lose their fear of failure.

Unfortunately, we’ll see many more events in Iraq (and elsewhere) like yesterday’s, before we see a civil society. If ever.

So would an Iraqi failure to build a decent society mean our invasion was a failure? No, I don’t think so. Our goals, among others, were to get rid of an old enemy, rattle our other enemies, and set the stage for decratization in Iraq and the rest of the Arab world. All we can do is set the stage — they have to put on the play themselves.

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Slip Sliding Away

November 24th, 2003 - 12:00 am

Kate is feeling a little under the weather — damn near literally.

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Pardon the Language

November 23rd, 2003 - 7:17 pm

What we think about sex probably reveals more about us than we’d like to admit – especially more than we’d like to admit to ourselves. And that, perhaps, is why so many people get so damn angry when someone admits, “Hey, I like sex!”

Well, I like sex, too.

I like sex a lot.

And not just doing it, either. I like pretty pictures of pretty girls in (and out of) pretty clothes. I like the little whiff of sex you get from perfectly innocent flirtation. I like teasing emails from my bride. I like songs about sex. I like getting reminded of sex I’ll never have again, when I walk past the counter of some long-forgotten perfume at the department store. Even better, I like the promise of the sex I’ll be having later this week, when I get a whiff of a more recent vintage. I like those random sex thoughts that pop into my head when I’m trying to get some work done.

I like sex as a married man, and I liked sex with women whose last names I wasn’t entirely clear on, and I liked all the sex in between. I like to make love, and sometimes I just like to fuck. I like sex jokes and sex talk and sex sex sex sex sex sex sex.

Now, before you go thinking I’m some oversexed freak (even though you’d be exactly right), there’s a lot of sex stuff I don’t like. I don’t like leers or wolf whistles or grab-ass-without-an-invitation. I don’t enjoy sex as a power game. I don’t like the risk of unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. I don’t like anything dealing with anybody either too young or too drunk to make an informed decision – anything that smacks of rape, really.

And I love women. Girls. Babes. Broads, chicks, skirts, fillies, whatever. I’m a leg man, an ass man, and a breast man. I love that line that runs from just behind her earlobe to just off the center of her collarbone. I love the small of her back and the inside of her wrist and the palm of her hand. Ankles, backs of knees, insides of thighs. Short hair, long hair, curly hair, or straight. The little hairs on her arms that stand up when you touch her just right. And the scents! There’s not a place a clean woman doesn’t smell good (and a healthy, sweaty woman doesn’t smell better) – and no two places on no two women smell quite the same. Or even on the same woman. Variety is the spice of life, and endless variety can be found in just one person – if you know how to look.

I don’t mind men, either. I’m might be straight, but I never could get upset when a guy made a pass at me. Hell, I’m too vain not to be flattered at least a little bit. Besides the cliché about gay bars having the best music (and they usually do), I also found I never got carded in one, way back before my 21st birthday. Thanks, gay guys, for all those free drinks in the late ’80s, and for always understanding that my “no” meant “no.”

But some people don’t like sex. Or at least they don’t like it when unapproved couples are doing it in unapproved ways at unapproved times under unapproved auspices. Those are the folks who sent the InstaPundit a “surprising amount of hatemail” over the weekend.

Glenn always struck me as the kind of blogger who wouldn’t get a whole lot of hatemail – reasoned, calm, and often sympathetic on hotbutton issues. Yet a simple admission that – gasp! – he enjoyed his not-asexual single days gets his inbox filled with angry letters. And I’m not going out on a limb here, guessing that those angry people probably agree with the good professor on a lot of things. Just not about sex.

This brings me back to my original point: What we think about sex reveals a lot of what we think about ourselves.

It’s only natural to get emotional about our own sex lives. What we’re doing – or not doing – reflects directly on our own value systems. If an otherwise-good Catholic vows to nail more hookers for Lent, then, yeah, he should question his goals and get angry with himself for his hypocrisy.

But most single people aren’t celibate – and they aren’t out sport-fucking passed-out debutantes, either. It is possible to have a healthy libido and a clean conscience at the same time – and judging by the emails, some God-fearing people seem to fear that fact more than they fear God, Himself.

Well, joke’em if they can’t take a fuck.

UPDATE: James Joyner probably likes sex, too, but isn’t pundit enough to admit it.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Beth Mauldin, however, is.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Conrad is an ambitious fellow.

ONE MO’ UPDATE: Sean Hackbarth writes:

We don’t have to play pop psychologists with Brooks. We have a pretty good idea what thinks about himself. He thinks he’s a better person because of his marriage. Green thinks he’s a better person because he’s married.

No, Sean, I think I’m a happier person. The mere fact that I’m married doesn’t make me a better person than I was, a better person than you, or even a better person than David Brooks. In fact, the simple act of marriage says nothing about a person, other than they were able to get some other person to marry them.

And it certainly, by itself, doesn’t say a damn thing about sex.

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Mail Bag

November 22nd, 2003 - 9:33 am

Paul Wright sent me this email:

I can

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It’s Alive

November 21st, 2003 - 9:45 am

Tired. Full. Very, very full. But, strangely, not hung over.

More later.

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Birthday Girl

November 20th, 2003 - 12:26 am

Tonight’s Menu:

Amuse Bouche
Tomato Slice with Asparagus Tip and Hollandaise Sauce

Brie en Croute

Mesclun Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette

Champagne Raspberry Sorbet


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Blogger Invades Big Media

November 19th, 2003 - 10:27 am

Diana Hsieh, talking head:

Tonight, I’m slated to discuss animal rights as part of a panel for “Drawing the Line with Reggie Rivers,” a local PBS show (on Channel 12 at 8pm). I’ll be arguing against animal rights along with Ari Armstrong, who was good enough to think of me for this gig.

I’m quite terrified actually, so wish me luck!

Good luck, Diana! Be sure to show up at the studio with a large bucket of KFC and say loudly, “Man, them spotted owls is tasty, but I bought too many again so I’m just gonna throw the rest out.”

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Old School Democrat – Very Old School

November 19th, 2003 - 9:43 am

Howard Dean on free enterprise:

The former Vermont governor said he would reverse the trend toward deregulation pursued by recent presidents — including, in some respects, Bill Clinton — to help restore faith in scandal-plagued U.S. corporations and better protect U.S. workers.

In an interview around midnight Monday on his campaign plane with a small group of reporters, Dean listed likely targets for what he dubbed as his “re-regulation” campaign: utilities, large media companies and any business that offers stock options. Dean did not rule out “re-regulating” the telecommunications industry, too.

No wonder the Clintons want so badly to deny this guy the nomination. He is going to sink the party if he keeps this up.

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Multiple Mea Culpas

November 19th, 2003 - 1:41 am

Bill Safire counts the ways people were (and are) wrong about Iraq. No excerpts, just read it.

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Required Reading

November 19th, 2003 - 12:51 am

What are the stakes of cutting and running from Iraq? Eliot Cohen knows, and that’s what makes him today’s Required Reading.

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My Old School

November 19th, 2003 - 12:36 am

I got kicked out of the same high school, St. Louis Country Day, that one of my childhood movie heroes, Vincent Price, graduated from. No kidding

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