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Monthly Archives: December 2005

1 + 1 = 3

December 28th, 2005 - 4:06 pm

World, meet Preston Davis Green.

Seven pounds, ten ounces, and in perfect health. You can click on his oh-so-adorable! picture for the full-size version. Bigger than life, depending on your monitor.

Given Melissa’s and my genes, the question wasn’t if he would be born with hair. The question was: How would he have it styled?

And he sleeps like a baby.

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Folk Remedies

December 27th, 2005 - 11:15 pm

Castor oil sucks.

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Advantage… Me!

December 27th, 2005 - 7:06 pm

Time Magazine, Virginia Postrel, and the Blogfaddah have all finally discovered BSG.

Of course, those of us who’ve been plugging the show since, er, before it actually aired in America, can only say, “Hey, about frackin’ time!”

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Oops, She Did It Again

December 25th, 2005 - 11:03 pm

Deja vu, geek-style.

In other news, boy or girl, I’m thinking of naming our child Godot.

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Rocky Mountain High

December 25th, 2005 - 9:10 pm

It wasn’t a white Christmas – but I’m not complaining.

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Happy Festivus!

December 23rd, 2005 - 12:57 pm

It’s December 23, which, of course, is Festivus. Here’s the pole, 100% free of tinsel.

Festivus.jpg

Comments are open; let the Airing of Grievances begin! Feel free to continue with the Feats of Strength at your own local celebrations…

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Coming Soon

December 22nd, 2005 - 11:31 am

All the Christmas prep got the best of me these last few days, but they’ve been good ones. And with that lame excuse, I’ll officially begin my Christmas vacation. I’ll check in from time to time over the next five days, if something big enough breaks.

Merry Christmas and a Happy Chanukah to all.

One last thing. Assuming I can get online from the hospital, I’ll be liveblogging the birth sometime in the next four-to-14 days. That is, assuming Melissa doesn’t break all my fingers in the process.

UPDATE: Wow. I figured all you parents out there would know I was joking about the liveblogging. Melissa won’t let me even think about picking up the camera during the delivery – much less the laptop. Then there’s that time-management issue. Of course, I will post pictures at the first opportunity, after we’ve caught up on sleep. So expect to see those sometime around kindergarten.

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I’ve Got A Bad Feeling About This

December 21st, 2005 - 6:07 pm

Just for the record, I’ve got nothing at all against the new Pope.

But I dare you to look at this picture and not imagine him saying, “Your feeble skills are no match for the power of the Dark Side!”

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Notice

December 19th, 2005 - 10:46 pm

Catching up on wrapping tonight. More tomorrow.

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Sitrep

December 19th, 2005 - 12:21 am

The AP headline reads:

Cheney Fields Tough Questions From Troops

Here are both of the “tough questions” from the story:

“From our perspective, we don’t see much as far as gains,” said Marine Cpl. Bradley Warren, the first to question Cheney in a round-table discussion with about 30 military members. “We’re looking at small-picture stuff, not many gains. I was wondering what it looks like from the big side of the mountain

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Techie Talk

December 19th, 2005 - 12:04 am

Has buying a new computer every two or three years become pass

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Mundane Tales

December 18th, 2005 - 11:44 pm

Man, I got nothin’.

Other than waiting for the other baby shoe to drop, there’s not much going on here. OK, that’s not true. There were dinner guests on Friday, preceded – by a few short hours – by a sewage blockage and a visit from Speedy Rooter. Then there was shopping. And the installation of baby car seats, done in such a manner that, one hopes, the baby doesn’t get Corinthian leather imprints on its forehead every time we make a sudden stop.

Oh, and there was the baby swing to assemble. And the party to drop by early Saturday evening. And the party we threw, immediately following the party we dropped in on. And the after-party clean-up. And the napping after the clean-up. And did I mention it’s been snowing here since, it seems, April?

To put it another way, I’m wearing long underwear and still burned 20 or 30 logs in the fireplace today. To put it a third way, we’re doing our bit for energy conservation by turning the thermostat up to “Orlando. In August. You Neocon Bastard.”

Which brings us to the photo portion of tonight’s lame blogging.

This is our Permanent Loaner Cat, Tidbit. He’s as cute as he is stupid. Or the other way around.

Goldens love snow in the exact same way that I’m tired of it already.

If Melissa had known she was getting new jewelry in another couple hours, she would never have made this face at the annual Choliday Party.

Since I don’t have anything else useful to say tonight, how about a True Story

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This Just In

December 18th, 2005 - 11:33 pm

The crack young staff of Hatemonger’s Quarterly has a new address. Adjust your bookmarks accordingly.

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A Resounding Thud

December 18th, 2005 - 6:10 pm

Quick review of Peter Jackson’s new King Kong movie: for God’s sake, somebody introduce this guy to a competent film editor and screenwriter.

Longer version (although not nearly as long as the movie): It’s not very good. Jackson is an incredibly gifted production designer and producer; he has to be to get movies of this scope made at all, but the sad truth is, he’s not a great director. The images are beautiful, but the story, which was stretched thin in the original’s 100 minutes, just can’t hold up to the three-hour torture test.

This “King Kong” is a monument to self-indulgence on Jackson’s part. He and his creative partners weren’t able to ruin “The Lord Of The Rings” with sophomoric screenwriting (although they gave it a hell of a try), but lacking Tolkien to fall back on, every story seam shows in “King Kong.” Making things worse, Jackson falls back on the lazy director’s crutch of slow motion about two dozen too many times in this badly-paced film. There are plenty of sequences to increase the heart rate in “Kong,” but the ‘serious’ scenes are deadly dull, and extended to painful lengths.

Remember the end of “Return of the King,” when it didn’t seem like the damn movie would ever be over? It’s ten times worse here. Not far from me in the theater, somebody said (quietly), “Just fall off the damn building already,” and the big ape lasted another ten minutes after that. I’m not exaggerating by saying that you could cut out an hour from the 180 minute marathon of “King Kong,” and not only wouldn’t the audience miss it, you’d make the movie immensely more entertaining.

Much of the acting is bad (yes, Jack Black, I’m talking to you), and while the big set-piece effects sequences are indeed eye-popping, we’ve already seen most of them before in various “Jurassic Park” features. Certainly, the monsters and scenery are tremendous visually. Jackson’s digital artists are at the top of their game… but like those employed by George Lucas, they’re laboring to pretty up a script written by hacks, and for a director to whom nobody has the power (or nerve) to say, “This is a really weak scene.”

Eh, that’s enough. There’s no point in going on for hundreds of words here. Like I said, it’s just not a very good movie. Rent it for the pretty pictures, but get ready to use that “skip” button early and often.

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Stuff and Things

December 15th, 2005 - 9:14 pm

Amongst other Christmastime chores, I’m busy getting the house in shape for our annual Choliday Party (not a typo), so no blogging.

Meanwhile, does anyone have at least $25,000 they’d like to donate to the VodkaPundit Rec Room?

Thanks to John Lanius for the great find. He knows me all too well.

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Big Time

December 15th, 2005 - 9:14 am

The LA Weekly published blogger Michael Totten’s latest account from Lebanon.

Smart move.

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Strange Days Indeed

December 14th, 2005 - 11:23 pm

I swear to somebody – anybody – that George Will is writing about amorous caribou.

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Just This

December 14th, 2005 - 11:05 pm

The Iraqi people have been through hell the last three years. Before that, the endured a quarter century of totalitarian hell. And before that… well, things have pretty much always sucked in Mesopatamia.

Despite all that, Iraqis are going to the polls. They’re voting. Despite everything, they’re putting their faith in an untried system.

The election won’t be perfect. It might not even be good. But they are trying.

We’re doing what we can, but in the end it’s up to them.

Wish them luck.

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Winning Hearts and Minds – of the MSM*

December 14th, 2005 - 10:13 pm

Marlin Kluvers tells me that Fairbanks News-Miner reporter Margaret Friedenauer is an embed with the 172nd Stryker Brigade in Iraq. Luckily for us, she isn’t just reporting – she’s also blogging. Here’s a little something from her first patrol:

Think about everything you

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Early Handicapping, UK Edition

December 14th, 2005 - 9:48 pm

Are the Tories on the rebound? Maybe:

It seems the new leader of Britain

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Bump It Up

December 14th, 2005 - 9:45 pm

NewsBump.net – it’s like Googlenews, where readers decide what’s important.

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Operational

December 14th, 2005 - 2:18 pm

If we go to war tomorrow, the Raptor will go with us.

That’s from a letter sent today from USAF General Ronald E. Keys to the chief of the Air Force. The F-22A Raptor is now officially operational.

Hats off to Will Collier and all the crew at Lockheed-Martin, and all the other men and women at all the companies who made this thing fly.

UPDATE: Somebody complained that I didn’t post any pretty pictures. John Noonan has them, along with lots of useful links. But click mostly for the pretty pictures.

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Debunking

December 14th, 2005 - 1:20 pm

Jeff Greenfield throws cold water on yet another lame Iraq-Vietnam comparison:

So, combine the memory of Lyndon Johnson as a “prisoner” in the White House, retreating from the public square, with the memory of Johnson visiting informally with troops, and what do you get? A vivid, almost wholly inaccurate “memory” of a Lyndon Johnson vainly trying to rally the public behind his policies at friendly military installations.

Read the whole thing here.

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Required Drinking

December 14th, 2005 - 10:54 am

I’ve never been a big fan of Robert Bork, but he just scored some major points.

UPDATE: Oops! I forgot to credit reader Don Hellwege for sending me the link. Thanks, Don.

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The Last Word

December 13th, 2005 - 11:36 pm

Jeff Goldstein gets his, in the Propaganda Debate:

And what

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Required Reading

December 13th, 2005 - 11:21 pm

Anne Applebaum asks, “What Are the Russians Buying?

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I Wouldn’t Pay a Dollar to See That

December 13th, 2005 - 11:13 pm

In this week’s Entertainment Weekly, Stephen King tells us what’s wrong with Hollywood:

Many of this year’s best movies were really depressing.

(No free link, so I’m not linking at all.)

King goes on to list what he thinks were the best movies (pre-Christmas releases) of 2005. In order:

The Jacket
The Devil’s Rejects
Cinderella Man
The Constant Gardener
War of the Worlds
Crash
Good Night, and Good Luck
Downfall
Capote
The Squid and the Whale

Of these ten movies, King admits right up front that five of them were “bummers.”

Of the ten that weren’t bummers, we have:

The tale of a psychologically-wrecked Gulf War vet.
Yet another boxing movie.
An action-thriller whose destructive Martian invaders were, in the opinion of the screenwriter, meant to symbolize American foreign policy.
A contemporary Los Angeles drama showing us how everybody is racist.
A ’50s period piece showing us how all our politicians are fascist.

Remember, those are the “happy” five-best of the year.

Admittedly, there are some good movies on the list. In fact, most of them are quite good for any year. “Downfall” blew me away when I watched it on DVD, as did “Crash” and “The Devil’s Rejects.” I haven’t yet seen “Capote” or “The Squid and the Whale,” but I’m dying to see both, even though they’re “bummers.”

Yet here’s what King has to say about them:

Capote is also Part 1 of What’s Wrong With the Movies this Year: a great film about a brilliant, repulsive, manipulative, coldhearted bastard whose progress as we watch as scientists might watch microbes mounted on laboratory slide. Murderers Perry Smith and Dick Hickock are ultimately more sympathetic.

[snip]

The Squid and the Whale – What’s Wrong With the Movies This Year, Part 2. About another writer, this one an ego-driven monster who demonizes and nearly breaks his children’s hearts and minds. It will never play the nabes in the heartland. It is

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Crash Landing

December 13th, 2005 - 10:20 pm

Rocket scientist Ed Lambert forwarded this story:

NASA scientists are looking for a nice, soft landing with the Stardust space probe returns to Earth in Utah’s west desert next month.

At the least, they’re hoping for a better landing on Jan. 15 than the 200 mph impact of the Genesis probe in September 2004. That mishap was blamed on gravity sensors having been installed backward.

“We feel very comfortable that we don’t have any errors like the reversed (gravity) sensor for Genesis,” said Thomas Duxbury, project manager for NASA’s Stardust mission.

Stardust, which was launched in 1999, flew through the tail of the Wild 2 comet last year to collect some of the microscopic debris streaming from it.

Ed headlined the story: NASA to Drill Another Hole in the Utah Desert Next Month. Me, I’m hoping for a slightly softer landing.

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Popular Colorado Governor Bill Owens is considered by some to be a Republican presidential contender for 2008. Then again, maybe he’s too thin-skinned for the job:

Today, the governor ordered that we develop new policy prohibiting the use of government computers from being used to post to any such [weblog] sites. Please make certain that all members of your respective staffs are notified that this policy is effective immediately.

Walter in Denver has the full story at the link above.

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Revelation

December 12th, 2005 - 11:38 pm

I just listened to Carlos Kleiber conduct the Vienna Philharmonic perform Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (1975). Forget Leonard Bernstein’s recordings – this is the real deal.

BTW, the 5th is only my fifth-favorite of the Big B’s symphonies. For a real treat, listen to Bernstein (also in Vienna) conduct the Fourth.

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