Saturday, July 30, 2005

Big news!

Chris Muir's Day By Day has a brand-new, fifth character. The truly sad thing is that I know exactly how Zed feels...or, um, I mean that I would if I weren't too happily married for such things to cross my mind. [whew, a close one there]

Unfortunately, I regret to say that the new character is not a crazy East German nanny. Perhaps a sixth character, Chris?...

When is it time to give up?

A sad day for me today. I had to face the fact that a couple of people whom I like personally, and who have done me some tremendous favors, are just not prepared to live in reality. They chronically behave foolishly, and they are going to keep doing it, and they will keep more or less continuously hurting themselves and others. And nothing I can say or do will stop them.

I know that (non-Calvinist) Christianity teaches that, since God won't take back the gift of free will, Hell itself is essentially the place to which people condemn themselves when even God gives up on them. The corollary: you have to recognize that sometimes there's just nothing you can do for people you love, though, since you're not God, your giving up on them is not tantamount to eternal damnation. But you have to hand them to God and walk away. "Love always hopes." Yet there is Hell. Some day I'll resolve the paradox, but tonight I'm too tired.

My friends will one day, I hope, by God's grace, be brought to a place where they can see the things that right now they can't allow themselves to see. But for now, the more I say, the more harm I will do. So I just have to let them go.

Prayer is better than talking, anyway, I suppose. I keep forgetting that I'm really not important except insofar as God can get some use out of me, and He can use my prayers as much as my (self-perceived) eloquence.

But it still makes me sad.

(Or maybe I just shouldn't've had that second beer.)

"But Salzburg Would Be Much Less Crowded" Dept

This is all very well, but do you get the first thirty minutes free?

While we're on the topic of women and Berlin (this has to be the blogosphere's Weakest Segue of the Day), I take this opportunity to express my delight in the fact that an acquaintance sent me an e-mail an hour or so ago that included the phrase "crazy East German nanny." I consider that phrase to be intrinsically delightful and look forward to working it into as many e-mails and blog posts as possible over the next week.

Friday, July 29, 2005

"Then Don't Go to China" Dept

Alden Cruz passes on to me the lament of NBA player Bobby Simmons on his return from Japan: "I don't like Chinese food."

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Why I'm Proud My Dad Was a Teacher

Cheri Pierson Yecke wants to complain about the small-mindedness of those who think that ridiculing people's appearance is fine as long as their husband and father has committed the crime of getting himself nominated to the Supreme Court. I don't object to her political point; I think it's a pretty good one as far as it goes. But I'm much more interested in the personal anecdote with which she frames her story:

When I was a seventh-grade teacher, I confiscated a note written by a girl named Jennifer. It was titled "Everyone Hates Melissa," and Jennifer was collecting signatures.

Melissa, a quiet and gentle girl who was the smartest in the class, was described as "a nerd,"ugly" and "weird." Her hair, her clothes, her looks were brutally criticized -- but not her demeanor or her academic skill. After all, there was nothing to criticize there.


As for Jennifer, we ran into each other at a football game after she was out of college, and she told me there was something she had wanted to say for years. You see, on that day so long ago, after the rest of the class had left, I had Jennifer read her ugly note aloud -- but I made her substitute "Jennifer" for every time she had written "Melissa."

She told me that this incident was the turning point in her life. From that point forward, she was determined to become a teacher so that she could prevent such bullying as she had once dished out.

In other words, Jennifer grew up.

Half a hat tip to Miz Malkin (being Michelle, she was more interested in the liberal-slamming in the middle; so I'm only awarding half the hat)

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The family

Just thought y'all might like a peek at my family. The two Kazakh kids in the middle are our adopted children. The two Kazakh kids at the ends, are two kids we tried very hard to adopt, but there were complications with their family situation that simply couldn't be resolved.

A pretty good-lookin' crew if I do say so myself.

Friday, July 22, 2005

"Why Did I Ever Tell Dessie That Salzburg Was My Favorite European City?" Dept

Because I didn't know the word would get out...

Key quote: "...the [establishment] in Salzburg has been enjoying booming business since the promotion." Nah, ya think?

Hat tip: the one truly indispensable American blog

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

"Backstroke of the West" Dept

A must-see example of what happens when you go low-budget on the translation of your pirated movie's subtitles. In this case, of course, the new subtitles are a very significant improvement, in both entertainment value and coherence, over George Lucas's original dialogue.

I came to this one the long way around (via the Llama Butchers' pointing me to Katolik Shinja's pointing us to Matthew in Beirut who was recreating a post that has unfortunately disappeared from Jeremy's site...Lordy, I do love the internet).

You Keep Using That Word ("Edit") -- I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means

What is the deal with editors these days thinking part of their job is to add invective and slant to news articles without getting the reporter's permission first??!!??

All I can say is, thank God the MSM has professional standards...

"What Would We Do Without Sociologists And Their Studies?" Dept

My friend Liz Murley has drawn my attention to the following results of a new study on how American women feel about their asses. (Margin of error +/- 4%.)

72% -- think their ass is too fat
17% -- think their ass is too skinny
Remaining 11% -- don't care what their ass looks like, he's a good man, they love him and they'd marry him again...

Friday, July 15, 2005

Hey, Terrorists, What's It Like, Fighting Against Supermen?

A single, terse story encapsulates why our military is the greatest -- in every respect, moral as well as tactical -- in the history of mankind.

Army Pfc. Stephen Tschiderer was standing in a Baghdad street, unaware that 25 yards away, a sniper and camera crew had him in their sights. So they shot him square in the chest and knocked him to the ground, and immediately (as you can hear on the videotape the terrorists had rolling) started chanting the pious phrase such men have turned into an obscenity: "Allah aqbar," "God is great," which any day now is going to be extended with an appropriate Arabic idiom to the more completely accurate jihadist chant, "God is great, but we really suck."

But Pfc. Tschiderer was wearing American gear. So the bullet didn't kill him. And Pfc. Tshiderer has an American soldier's training, and American soldier's courage, and an American soldier's coolness under fire. So he promptly bounced up, took cover, and then led a quick assualt that disabled and captured the terrorist quartet, complete with video. At the end of the attack, Pfc. Tshiderer personally put "the wives" (that's Spanish for "the handcuffs" -- not making that up) on the guy who had just shot him.

Oh, and one more thing: Pfc. Tshiderer is an American soldier, with an American soldier's ethics. So having handcuffed his would-be murderer, he promptly treated the man's wounds.

Pfc. Tshiderer, you see, is one of our medics.

Our guys are in a completely different universe than theirs when it comes to equipment. Our guys are in a completely different universe than theirs when it comes to training and valor. And our guys are in a completely different universe than the child-murderers when it comes to morality. Has there ever been a country with more reason to be proud of its military than ours?

Is the very question not absurd on its face?

Hoo-ah on, Pfc. T.

By the way: you must -- absolutely must -- watch the video. I think it's the most disheartening piece of video (for the terrorists) I have ever seen. I've watched it half a dozen times, and I still can't believe it when Pfc. T. pops back up off ground, does a rapid scan of the area to orient himself with regard to where his enemy is, then calmly takes cover and goes to work. Un-freakin'-believable.

Hat-tip: Drudge.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Michael Moore's Minutemen

Or, "Why Simple Justice -- Not to Mention Eugenic Considerations -- Requires Us to Take Michael Moore to Mosul and Make Him Stand in the Square Until the Mujahadeen Kidnap Our Country's Stupidest White Man"

Be warned: this is not a pleasant read. But then we do not live in a pleasant world. Also, let me take this moment to say that if Stupid W had just not invaded Iraq, these people would be peace-loving and harmless men of good will, ready to enter into the worldwide fraternity of tolerance and love for all men. While I'm at it, I can also assure you that Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa have never knowingly made use of steroids.

Of course those of us who have paid the slightest attention to the Middle East (which, in America, ain't a whole bunch of us) have known for twenty years that Islamic terrorists take special pleasure in killing children; which is why we harbored just the teensiest little bit of doubt that Jimmy Carter and the Nobel Committee were making a smart move by trusting the bona fides of that paragon of virtue and peace, Yasser Arafat.

Those of use who have been paying attention to Iraq (by which I mean reading the blogs of native Iraqis as well as milbloggers both home and stationed in Iraq, rather than the worse than useless American papers) have known for a long time that those whom the BBC is ever-so-careful never to call "terrorists" (God forbid that the BBC should be unfair and judgmental!) are deliberately using kids to try to get close to Americans. Michael Yon was already saying back in May that soldiers were telling him they were having to ask kids to stay away from him and his soldiers so that the kids wouldn't be targeted. Yon refers there to an old post from 1 February, where he tersely described an attack the day before the elections:

In a particularly gruesome display of insurgent character, the bomber had grabbed the hand of a girl, about five, and used her for cover to approach the IPs. The explosion occurred just yards away from the roof where I stood with the soldiers. Eight people and that little girl were killed that day.

Michael Yon chooses to admire our soldiers. Michael Moore chooses to admire somebody else. Somebody should tell the Stupid White Man that you are known even more by the heroes, than by the company, you keep.

This Is How You Do It, People

I am so proud of Molly Ivins I could burst. This, people, is how you apologize when you're wrong.

You don't say that you're sorry that other people have misinterpreted your remarks. You don't say that, if (by chance, and miscommunication, and the highly regrettable hypersensitivity of other people) you have offended someone, then you regret the fact that they took offense. You don't say, "Hey, I was only joking; I can't believe you were stupid enough to think I was serious -- Jeez, can't you even take a joke?"

You say, "I was wrong," and, in Molly's exact words, "I am so sorry."

There's hardly a subject in the world on which Molly and I agree, but can we please give a standing ovation to a columnist who, like practically every other columnist and blogger in the country at some point or other, shot her mouth off and made a fool of herself, but who then, unlike all but a very small minority of such offenders, promptly 'fessed up and gave us a real apology? My hat's off to ya, babe.

While we're on the subject, I'd like to illustrate how one does NOT respond to a genuine apology like Molly's. Here, to give an example of the sort of ungraciousness that practically guarantees that anybody who's apologized to you once won't ever bother to apologize to you again, is Michelle Malkin.

Michelle blasted Molly's original post, which deserved every bit of the heat it got. When Molly issued her mea culpa, Michelle had enough honesty to link to that too, but with a snide ungraciousness that does her no credit at all.

A few weeks ago, Arthur Chrenkoff and many other bloggers called attention to Molly Ivins' outrageous claim that America has "killed more Iraqis than Saddam Hussein ever did."

Molly's claim was indeed, I think all reasonable people can agree, stunningly outrageous. I got no problem with this sentence; Michelle has to let people know what she's talking about. But it goes very much downhill from there.

Ivins wrote something even more stunning in her column yesterday--a major correction and apology (hat tip: Ken Waight, Lying in Ponds):

Michelle's not about to miss the chance to imply that liberals are so dishonest and unethical that it's more astonishing to hear a liberal apologize than it is to hear somebody say we've killed more Iraqis than Saddam did. Is there any particular reason for Michelle not to say graciously, "I'm delighted to be able to say that Molly has issued a major correction and apology"? Other than meanness, I mean?

Michelle then quotes a sizable chunk of Molly's apology and then continues with her comments:

Well, good for Molly. This is quite remarkable and welcome.

Again, Michelle can't just say, "This is welcome;" she has to slide in another dig about what a shock it is to hear Molly doing the right thing (as if liberals may in general be assumed to be bereft of human decency -- which is, in fact, a point on which Michelle tends to obsess).

But even this praise rises in Michelle's gorge; she just can't leave it there without going nakedly bitchy:

Now, if she had only been as humble to conservative essayist/author Florence King for her serial plagiarism of King's work...

That is to say, "Apology, schmology, she's a plagiarist and she hasn't apologized for THAT yet and here's the link to show she's still a lying liberal bitch."

In other words, "If you don't apologize, we'll blast you, and if you do apologize, then we'll use that as an opportunity to flame you again about something different." Sorry, Michelle, I'm not impressed. You wanna flame Molly, be my guest. But you could at least have the decency to do it in a different post, leaving just one post in which you respond graciously to Molly's admirable gesture.

In short, when my kids get back from their visit to the grandparents, I'll set them down and have them read two posts. In the first, I'll have them read Molly's apology, so that they will have a very good example of how to go about apologizing when you're wrong. And in the second, I'll have them read Michelle's post -- so that they can know how NOT to go about accepting a sincere apology from somebody else.

UPDATE -- Can't believe I originally forgot the "I was just joking" ploy, one of the all-time favorite ways for macho redneck guys to try to get out of having to be so unmanly as to admit (gasp!) that they had actually done something wrong. But fortunately Gawker reminded me of it by providing a practically untoppable of the tactic. ("Yes, of course it's fake! You idiots!") Ironically, Michelle Malkin is in the mix again, this time as the target of Gawker's and Wonkette's tactically foolish malice and Gawker's even more tactically foolish (given Michelle's willingness to behave ungraciously if you'll just give her a chance) attempt to play the "I was just joking" card. Don't these people realize that nobody buys that and you just make yourself look even stupider and lamer when you try it?

Look, even if Gawker had been joking, she's got to have the mere double-digit IQ that's necessary to realize that nobody other than her mom is going to believe it, and therefore she (or he, I suppose) has to phrase it very carefully. Something along these lines: "You know, I was trying to be funny, but looking back at what I posted I screwed up and came off as totally serious. I apologize very seriously and hope Michelle will forgive my clumsiness and poor judgment." Instead what Gawker says is basically, "All you people who took me seriously are such morons" -- that is, hey, if anybody's offended, they're the ones who screwed up, not me.

And if you play it that way you never win. Here, let's look at the possible situations and how Gawker could have played it.

1. Gawker really was serious, but doesn't want to have to confess to it. So, being dishonest but shrewd, she pretends that she was joking, but she offers a hypocritically humble apology for presenting her "joke" so incompetently. She doesn't defend herself; she just says, "I'm so sorry that I presented that material that I meant to be humorous, so clumsily that it came across as totally serious and was taken seriously by other people. That was terrible and careless writing and I very deeply regret the bad effect it has had on Ms. Malkin..." yadda yadda yadda. By this tactic she would cut the ground out from under Michelle and her defenders (assuming she could write the apology convincingly), and thus stop the bleeding, as it were, without having to admit that she actually was taken in herself and piled gleeful malice on top of moronic stupidity.

2. Gawker really meant the whole thing as a parody and just did a really incompetent job of it, resulting in a post that nobody short of a mind-reader would recognize as parody. She handles this exactly the same way as #1. The results are the same as #1, but in this case she doesn't incur the guilt of dishonesty and hypocrisy.

3. Gawker was taken in, she meant it as a serious attack on Michelle, and she's totally busted -- and she responds by saying on her blog, "I made a fool of myself. I was taken in by an obvious photoshop, and the reason is that I don't like Michelle and was too eager to jump on an excuse to attack her. Whether Michelle was right or wrong to write that column is irrelevant; I have the responsibility to make sure I have my facts straight before I attack somebody's character, and in this case I absolutely did not. I apologize to Michelle without qualification. I was foolish and wrong." By this apology she earns respect from reasonable people from all parts of the political spectrum, and either she totally silences Michelle, or else the next time Michelle says anything snarky about the whole incident, it's Michelle who looks like an ungracious bitch. The high ground is totally seized by Gawker and the only thing Michelle can do is try to join her on the high ground by accepting her apology graciously. (What do you think the odds are that Michelle would respond that way? Yeah, me too. Golden opportunity totally missed by Gawker there, I have to believe.)

4. Gawker was taken in totally -- or she was doing a clumsy parody -- either way, it doesn't matter...but she decides to play it by saying, "Hey, I was obviously joking, and anybody who thinks I was serious must be a total moron." Ta-da! We have a loser. Because nobody's going to buy it; people will still think she was stupid enough to fall for it and malicious enough to try to use it to attack Michelle, and now they'll add to Gawker's list of flaws the "fact" that she's not grown-up enough to apologize and not smart enough to come up with something better than the lame ol' "can't-you-take-a-joke" routine.

Guess which one Gawker chose? [sigh]

Saturday, July 09, 2005

"Iraq, Schmirack, Here Are Some True Liberation Causes" Dept

But for the grace of God there goes my daughter... actually, come to think of it, The Princess has an IQ higher than her dress size, so maybe not. Perhaps The Manolo he could introduce Miss Holmes to Miss Church?

For this one, I can't think of a good enough smart-aleck comment and so will simply link in silence.

Friday, July 08, 2005

"The Manolo He Has Spotted The Fraud" Dept

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Flying the Union Jack...

...metaphorically speaking, for any Brit who might read this. The time my family spent living in London was probably the high point of our life together as a family other than the adoption of Sally and Rusty, and the only city in the world I love more than London is Karaganda.

But I'll tell you this. The lunatics picked the wrong people to try to intimidate. The worst thing you can do to a Brit is bloody his nose. Do al-Qaeda not remember the Blitz? Oh, yeah, THAT worked well...

For Americans who haven't had the great good fortune to spend time with Londoners, I pass on an eyewitness account from the City today. I don't have the link, but somebody mentioned being in a pub and seeing three guys studiously focusing on the football (soccer) news. As the blogger said, "This was not indifference. It was an act of defiance." Tomorrow more people will show up at work in London than any other day this year. People who had triple bypass surgery yesterday will insist on being wheeled to their offices on hospital gurneys just as a way to tell the terrorists to bugger off. That's the mild version, of course, and therefore not the authentic London sentiment. What you would actually get is more along the lines of Tim Worstall's, "F*** off, sunshine," where, as I have only just this moment discovered, he turns out to be making exactly the point I'm making but more eloquently...come to think of it, though, he tells them to bugger off, too. And for true uncensored British eloquence you can follow Tim's link to LNR's Letter to the Terrorists, from London, with begins with, "What the f*** do you think you're doing?", continues through a number of hearteningly pithy points including, "...that's because we're better than you. Everybody is better than you," and winds up with, "So you can pack up your bombs, put them in your a***holes, and get the f*** out of our city." Ah, I do miss London.

Listen, to any Londoners with nothing better to do than read this: Dessie and I were trapped in Heathrow in the aftermath of 9/11, and we won't ever forget the hospitality and support you guys showed us. Wish we were there now to return the favor. Our thoughts and prayers go with you guys.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Steyn on the Supremes

Mark Steyn has produced one of his better efforts. It has to do with the insanity that was the most recent round of Supreme Court decisions. To take just one eminently quotable section, this one having to do with Kelo:

Nonetheless, across the fruited domain, governments reacted to the court decision by sending the bulldozers round to idle expectantly on John Doe's front lawn: In New Jersey, Newark officials moved forward with plans to raze 14 downtown acres and build an upscale condo development; in Missouri, the City of Arnold intends to demolish 30 homes, 14 businesses and the local VFW to make way for a Lowe's Home Improvement store and a strip mall developed by THF Realty.

Get the picture? New Hampshire businessman Logan Darrow Clements did. He wants to build a new hotel in the town of Weare and he's found just the right piece of land: the home of Supreme Court judge David Souter. In compliance with Justice Souter's view of the public interest, Clements' project will generate far more revenue for Weare than Souter's pad ever could. The Lost Liberty Hotel will include the Just Desserts Bar and a museum dedicated to the loss of freedom in America.

I don't know about you, but the last time I was in Weare, N.H., I couldn't help thinking that what this town urgently needs is a good hotel. If it will help the Board of Selectmen in their decision, I personally pledge to take the most expensive suite in the new joint for the first month it's in service....

Read the whole thing; I would have quoted much more broadly, and equally gleefully, except that I am a passionate respecter of copyrights.

"Benefit of Hindsight" Dept

Seen on a business's marquee on the way into work this morning:

"I was married by a judge. In retrospect, I should have insisted on a jury."

"Peut-Être la Crédibilité, Elle Manque" Dept

The International Olympic Committe was no doubt greatly relieved yesterday when, in pleading Paris's case for the 2012 Olympics, Monsieur Integrity Incarnate (otherwise known as Jacques Chirac) assured the IOC's voters, "You can put your trust and faith in France, you can trust the French, you can trust us."

And yet...I couldn't presume to explain why...the IOC still awarded the games to London.

In a related story sure to be found particularly enjoyable by Dessie and the Kengle...oh, right, already blogged that one. At any rate, I gather from M. le Presidente's remarks about whom to trust, that the IOC wouldn't encourage Chirac to open a restaurant anytime soon.

Of course he's right about British food, though...

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

"French, The Language Of Diplomacy" Dept

The story says it all.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Didn't see that moment coming

My wife and kids are off to see my parents for a couple of weeks; I didn't go with them because I can't take off work for that long. I would have just stayed in Houston where I work, but the choir was singing a special arrangement of "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and I'm one of only two first tenors. Of course, since I got the words wrong at one point they probably would've been better off without me (I sang "live" instead of "die," which is a fairly significant mistake). But at any rate, I came back to Austin to sing that number. And am I ever glad I did.

Just before the "Battle Hymn" offertory, we had a special presentation: Evan Cook was back from boot camp, in full uniform, and the church surprised him by presenting him with a special soldier's version of the Prayer Book. When he went back to his seat, the little old lady at the end of his pew stood up to let him in, as the congregation gave him a spontaneous standing ovation -- but before he could get past her, this lady, who was maybe a foot shorter than he was, reached up and grabbed him and gave him a kiss on each cheek.

And then the congregation sat down, and we in the choir stood up, and the organ began to play softly, and we began to sing. We got to the third verse, sung softly and molto rubato, and then the song swelled and soared into the final, "Glory, glory hallelujah!"

And two ladies in the front pew rose to their feet. And then others rose as well. And then in a single massive rush the whole congregation was standing. The organ sang out louder and louder; our voices rose higher and higher. I kept telling myself, "You can't break down; you and the other first tenor have the high note at the end and it has to be there." And somehow I made it through.

I wept my way through most of the rest of the service. Christianity knows, as does no other religion (though Judaism comes close), the meaning of sacrifice, how human suffering is real and bitter and yet there is no suffering that God cannot redeem. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man should lay down his life for his friends." But our soldiers are willingly laying down their lives for people they've never met. All my life I've sung, "As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free," but our soldiers in Iraq are doing literally that, as we speak. And they are doing it willingly -- which I say not just because we have a volunteer military, but even more because our soldiers in Iraq overwhelmingly and passionately insist that they want to stay there and finish the job. Whatever George Bush's motivations for sending our servicemen to Iraq might have been, there is no question that the soldiers on the ground want to free the people of Iraq. You have only to read their blogs; they have come to Iraq; they have met the Iraqis, both bad and good; and they intend to see that the good Iraqis no longer have to live under the tyranny and terror of the bad ones.

My friend Liz and I were talking about this a little while ago. I habitually read several soldiers' blogs, you know, and so I "know" indirectly several soldiers who have been badly wounded, or whose comrades have died. When you go to a soldier's blog to see what his most recent post is, and it opens, "This is Carren writing to tell Chuck's faithful readers that he has been injured, but is in stable condition" -- that's just very different from seeing on CNN, "A bomb explosion yesterday killed two Americans and wounded five others." So I knelt there during the Eucharistic Prayer and wept for Capt. Chuck Ziegenfuss's pain and suffering; I wept for Capt. Ryan Beaupre and his family, for 1st Lieut. Noah Harris and Sgt. Arnold Duplantier.

And I wept for little Farah, and all the other victims of pseudo-Muslim Arab hatred and terror and destruction, for whom our soldiers are fighting and dying. For whom, two thousand years ago, God Himself suffered and died. For whom, even as I type, Chuck and Carren Ziegenfuss and thousands of other soldiers and soldiers' wives and families are filling up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ.

The military would never take me, now, with my back trouble and my decrepit middle age. But Kegan told me the other day that for a long time now he has been attracted to the military. And I told him the truth. I told him that nothing would make me prouder; that the American soldier is the finest soldier history has ever seen, a completely unprecedented combination of deadliness no other nation's soldier can hope to match and yet at the same time self-control and generosity and compassion beyond imagining. I told Kegan that our soldiers are the finest individuals our nation has to offer, and that if he wants to be part of that elite fraternity, he should start now on preparing himself.

I am deeply grieved for the sacrifice our soldiers and their families are making. But I am so inexpressibly proud to belong to the country capable of producing such men and women. It has been a long time since any soldier eating in the same restaurant as myself, has had to pay his own check...far, far too little to offer in gratitude, but all that I can do. And whatever "all I can do" or "all you can do" might be, our soldiers deserve it.

Congratulations, Jisgsha, it's great to have you

Unfortunately you have to register to read Jigsha Desai's account of how she became an American citizen. But on the Fourth of July, isn't it worth the trouble?

Hat tip: Michael Silence

Saturday, July 02, 2005

"Her Diary / His Diary" Dept

Liz Murley provides insight on marital communication:


Friday night I thought he was acting weird. We had made plans to meet at a bar to have a drink. I was shopping with my friend all day long, so I thought he was upset at the fact that I was a bit late, but he made no comment.

Conversation wasn't flowing so I suggested that we go somewhere quiet so we could talk. He agreed but he kept quiet and absent. I asked him what was wrong he said nothing. I asked him if it was my fault that he was upset. He said it had nothing to do with me and not to worry.

On the way home I told him that I loved him, he simply smiled and kept driving. I can't explain his behavior; I don't know why he didn't say I love you too.

When we got home I felt as if I had lost him, as if he wanted nothing to do with me anymore. He just sat there and watched TV. He seemed distant and absent.

Finally I decided to go to bed, about ten minutes later he came to bed and, to my surprise, he responded to my caress and we made love, but I still felt that he was distracted and his thoughts were somewhere else.

I decided that I could not take it anymore, so I decided to confront him with the situation, but he had fallen asleep. I started crying and cried until I too fell asleep. I don't know what to do. I'm almost sure that his thoughts are with someone else. My life is a disaster!



Played a horrible game of golf today!
Shot a 90 - can't putt for s***.
Got laid though.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Holding off on the recommendation (reluctantly)

Have just listened to the first two cuts of my new Bering Strait album (Pages) and am having to resist the urge to tell you to just go buy it. Now. No argument...but I haven't heard it all gritting my teeth...

I'll tell you what, though, their first album showed us quite clearly that here was a great band that had dumbed itself down for Nashville radio. But the first two cuts on the new album come from a great band that has said, "Nashville can go to hell, we're gonna make great music and that's the end of that." THIS is what you knew was lurking behind that first album...

...but I'll reign in my enthusiasm just to make sure the rest of the cuts aren't a major falloff.

UPDATE: Well, they didn't manage to maintain the extraordinarily high level of the first two cuts, but as that would have been all but superhuman, it's neither a big surprise nor a big criticism. This is a very strong album indeed. One or two moderately good cuts that aren't really good enough to be on this album (though they'd be too good for most of the local Austin bands), a passle of very solid numbers indeed, a couple of instrumentals that are first rate...and then those first two haunting, Slavic-country fusions that are blow-you-away awesome.

I won't order you to buy it. But I'll tell you that if you don't, then you're almost certainly making a mistake.

At the very least, download onto your I-Pod "Safe in my Lover's Arms" and "Oy, Moroz, Moroz."

Speaking of "Oy, Moroz, Moroz," here as a public service are the words. Let me just say that this is one of those songs that (like most operas) is better if you don't know what the words mean. It's a traditional old Russian drinking song sung by a guy riding home on his horse in the dead of the vicious Russian winter...but take my word for it, the harmonies and the instrumental setting are heart-stopping, even if the guy's emotional priorities seem somewhat, um, questionable...let's just say he really likes his horse. (Of course, one presumes his horse doesn't have a problem with jealousy.)

I guess I shouldn't be needlessly flippant; it's actually a lonely homesick song from a man longing to be safe and warm at home instead of out alone in the cold, and it's quite gorgeous.

In Cyrillic:

Ой, мороз, мороз, не морозь меня.
Не морозь меня, моего коня.
Не морозь меня, моего коня...

...моего коня, белогривого.
У меня жена, ой, ревнивая.
У меня жена, ой, ревнивая.

У меня жена, ой, красавица,
Ждёт меня домой, ждёт, печалится.
Ждёт меня домой, ждёт, печалится.

Я приду домой на закате дня.
Обниму жену, напою коня.
Ой, обниму жену, напою коня.

Ой, мороз, мороз, не морозь меня.
Не морозь меня, моего коня.
Не морозь меня, моего коня.

In a phonetic transliteration (i.e., not the official letter-for-letter translation, but a translation meant to mimic what it actually sounds like):

Oy, moros, moros, nye moros minya.
Nye moros minya, mayevo kanya.
Nye moros minya, mayevo kanya...

...mayevo kanya byelogrivava.
U minya zhena, oy, rivnivaya.
U minya zhena, oy, rivnivaya.

U minya zhena, oy, krasavitsa.
Zhdyot minya damoy, zhdyot, pichalitsa.
Zhdyot minya damoy, zhdyot, pichalitsa.

Ya pridu damoy na zakatye dnya.
Obnimu zhenu, napayu kanya.
Oy, obnimu zhenu, napayu kanya.

Oy, moros, moros, ne moros minya.
Ne moros minya, mayevo kanya.
Ne moros minya, mayevo kanya.

And in English:

Oh, frost, frost, don't freeze me.
Don't freeze me, or my horse.
Don't freeze me, or my horse... horse, my white-maned horse.
I have a wife...oy, is she ever jealous.
I have a wife...oy, is she ever jealous.

I have a wife...oy, is she ever a beauty.
She's waiting for me at home -- waiting and sorrowing.
She's waiting for me at home -- waiting and sorrowing.

I'll get home at the setting of the day's sun.
I'll embrace my wife, I'll stable my horse.
I'll embrace my wife, I'll stable my horse.

Oy, frost, frost, don't freeze me.
Don't freeze me, or my horse.
Don't freeze me, or my horse.

"How To Impress The Boss" Dept

Years ago, when I was part of a small consulting firm that was just taking off, there came the big day when we got our .com domain and our own mail server. The ISP dude comes to Scott, our president, and says, "We need a default e-mail address where we can forward mail that comes into your domain for a mailbox that doesn't exist." So Scott says, "Well, you can just use mine."

A couple of months later we hired a bright and energetic young man fresh out of college. His none-too-bright (and very easily liquored-up) girlfriend proceeded to send him an insouciantly vivid, enthusiastically detailed, highly pornographic e-mail at his new office e-mail address...and misspelled his name.

So it showed up the next day in the new employee's mailbox, duly forwarded from the company president...

(Scott told me later, "I knew right away that it wasn't for me; I've been married long enough that I never get e-mails like that anymore.")

Happy Fourth of July!

Hat tip: Judi

"Um, Thanks, Pumpkin" Dept

My fellow adoptive dad Jim has a young lady who loves ballet; her favorite TV show is "Angelina Ballerina," and if she's dancing, she's happy.

So a couple of days ago Jim passes the following story on to several of us:

Yesterday my oldest daughter Elaina was asking me why I named her Elaina. I told her it was because we named her after her Grandmother Helen, and that her name means Light. I then told her she is the light of my life. When I think of her, I think of wonderful light.

Her response, when I think of you, I think of a ballerina.

Unfortunately, despite numerous requests, Jim has refused to provide us with pictures of himself in a pink tutu...

"A Politician Accidentally Speaks The Truth" Dept

I won't give away who the politician in question is because I intend to score laughs, not political points...but here's an honest-to-God quote from a prominent national American politician:

[When asked if he had been right about a particular political controversy in which he predicted disaster:] "Well, unfortunately, I probably have been, although Barry Goldwater once said, 'I'd rather be right than president.' I can't tell you how much I disagree with that Barry Goldwater."

Hat tip: The Corner's K. J. Lopez.