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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Bad Day for News

I just dropped by FoxNews to see what’s going on in the world today and was faced with a grim, depressing, brutal reality: today’s news sucks.

  1. It seems like a small thing--and it is in the context of some of the other stories of the day--but Patrick Swayze didn’t deserve the kind of headline that the National Enquirer ran. Jerks, Swayze was never a great actor, but I always like him. He’s done some decent movies, some seriously bad films, a bunch that fall in between, and more than I care to admit that I’ll stop and watch regardless of the category that they go in. Here’s hoping that the Enquirer was wrong about how far advanced the cancer is and that he continues to make the kind of entertainment that somehow rises above conventional standards of good and bad. He always seemed like a good guy to me.
  2. Jajuan Holmes, an 18 year old boy who killed himself in front of his classmates, possibly because he had recently been charged with a robbery. What a horrible waste of a young life--and an example of why we should embrace a faith in redemption. I don’t mean that in a religious way--although that doesn’t hurt--I mean that in a practical way. People need to believe that even when they’ve screwed up they can still go on to find not only forgiveness but meaning in their lives. Some crimes are so beyond the boundaries of civilized society that I wouldn’t be able to offer up much in the way of hope; but this was a robbery charge. Proper punishment for crimes is important, but so is faith in the future.
  3. A father who thought that a clothes drier was a Disney World ride might need a second chance, too. But he should probably get it without the responsibility of kids (a two-year-old girl and a three-year-old boy)--and only after appropriate punishment involving a little time in a jail cell. Obviously, he isn’t a fit parent, and that’s assuming that his story isn’t just something to cover up abuse that resulted in second degree burns on one of the children.
  4. Some of the stories are just stupid people doing stupid things. Not horrific, by any means, but achingly dumb.
  5. This is just a sad, strange story of elderly neglect perpetrated by a 94-year-old woman’s daughter.
  6. And then, in Israel, at least 10 are dead and 35 wounded in an attack on a rabbinical seminary. Hamas, of course, “blessed” the operation and the deaths and threatened more of the same. Some days, I hope for peace; some days it just seems a mountain far too high to climb.

And that’s the news that I see today--almost all of it some unsubtle shade of bad. Tonight would be a good night to drink a beer or five, I think.

Interview at the Pakistani Spectator

I’m not sure how they got my name, I’m not sure why they asked to interview me, but they did. If you’re interested in reading a long-ish interview with me in the Pakistani Spectator, you can find it here.

It’s probably not going to give you any new insights to me, and I doubt that it will wow you with my wisdom, but it is mine. Mine all mine all mine all mine.

Then take a look at some of the other blogger interviews that they’ve had. Quite an impressive variety, really, and most of them don’t talk much about politics.



And while we’re at linking the linkers, I have to thank Shawn Macomber for linking my story about ELF. I’m pretty sure it was the line about the Vast Right Wing Supper Club that he really liked. Thanks, Shawn!

Incidentally, I noticed Shawn’s link when, after reading his new piece on the Heartland Institute’s 2008 International Conference on Climate Change, I checked out the Spectator’s blog. Point being, that global warming piece is what you should be reading right now--far more interesting than my musings on American Idol.

“The political debate is a farce, a puppet show,” Bast said with a wave of his hand. “They’ll all posture as the great savior of humanity. One will promise to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050 and the other will jump in and say, ‘No, I’ll cut 90 percent by 2040.’ They have no power to deliver. No politician is going to pursue policies sure to raise gas prices another one or two dollars a gallon.”

Check it out. Good stuff.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

How Do You Properly Memorialize Gary Gygax?

I’m serious: I don’t know how to do it.

I can’t claim that he was a great man or even a good man--I honestly don’t know much about the man. I don’t know his politics, his religion (or lack thereof), what he was like on a personal level, or even if he liked to kick puppies. But he helped me improperly misspend some good portion of my youth on AD&D, he was wildly creative, and if not for him I might not truly understand what Bender meant when he said “It’s sorta social. Demented and sad, but social.”

And I don’t even mean that in a bad way. I loved wasting time with my friends on AD&D.

The sad news is that Gary Gygax has passed away at age 69--which isn’t young, isn’t old, and certainly seems too soon.

If not for his contributions, video games and geek culture would probably look much different than it does today. Beyond jokes about “d20s” and “saving throws,” D&D’s systems and mythos have spawned many excellent games, including Baldur’s Gate and Planescape: Torment.

Rest in peace.

Read the rest.

Update: And, damnit, I’m not the only one.

Update: This is equal parts amazingly wrong and ridiculously appropriate. As is Robert’s comment on this post.

Another Update: Michelle Malkin, too? Who would have guessed? Ed Driscoll, has a few words and so does Wizbang.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Very Sad Day for Conservatives

I was a little behind on my reading for the morning, so this is likely not news for the majority of you. For me, though, the impact is just settling in: William F. Buckley Jr. has passed away.

I’ve been a reader of National Review since I was just out of high school. It was the first magazine that I ever read--a remarkable discovery--that gave a voice and shape to the political beliefs that I had felt but not completely understood. From all of these influences--my parents, my peers, my friend Chick Eastman, Heinlein, and, to an extant, Ayn Rand--I had begun to find a kind of political framework building in my mind. National Review strengthened that framework and gave me the words to express my political thoughts. And, through the magazine and without even knowing of my existence, Buckley and his writers pushed me toward modern conservatism.

I doubt that I’m unique in that.

He was a brilliant mind, an inspiration for conservatives for generations, and probably responsible for my political beliefs as much as any other figure. Buckley was something special, and--like Ronald Reagan, whose spirit is not only remembered, but coveted by politicians--it is unlikely that I’ll ever see another like him. History simply doesn’t gift us with an overabundance of figures like these, figures who truly change the course of the world.

There is no doubt in my mind that Buckley’s influence on America (and, because of America’s unique position, the world) was greater than most politicians and statesmen. He was as important to winning the Cold War, in his way, as Reagan and Thatcher. In fact, I’m not sure that there would have been a Reagan without the influence of Buckley on the conservative movement. The people that Buckley inspired were the people that supported Reagan, who believed in the power of conservatism as an intellectual and political movement; it was Buckley’s preparation that helped create Reagan’s base.

We on the right will miss him through this election cycle and much of the world will never even realize their loss.

Rest in peace.

Update: Newt Gingrich’s response can be read here.

Before there was Goldwater or Reagan, there was Bill Buckley.

From writing books, to creating, leading and sustaining National Review Magazine, to his 33-year run as the host of Firing Line on television, Bill Buckley became the indispensable intellectual advocate from whose energy, intelligence, wit, and enthusiasm the best of modern conservatism drew its inspiration and encouragement.

Christopher Drew has some links and a funny story. I still vote Republican--largely because I don’t feel that I have much choice--but Joan is asking a good question. Roger Fraley says that the “average American IQ just went down a measurable amount.” Which might be overstating the case, but not by much.

My friend Bob Hayes has a wonderful post remembering Buckley. “For the remainder of Western history, there will be no conservative accomplishment or success that does not in some fashion benefit from the work that William F. Buckley, Jr., performed in his tenure on this planet.”

Michelle Malkin remembers Buckley’s place in her own life and has some great links--including to video of the famous exchange with Gore Vidal. That’s still a bracing little bit of video.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thanks to Shawn, Cheryl, and the NYT

Before we begin this day’s scheduled blogging, let me say thanks to Shawn and RandomCheryl44888862 for linking posts over here. Shawn gets double thanks for linking the story both on his own site and over at the American Spectator’s blog. Then he gets triple thanks for coming up with the headline that I should have come up with…

Lastly, is it just me or is the story about McCain and the lobbyist seriously lacking in meat. Hell, I don’t even think that the NYT article rises to the level of accusation--I’d say it’s more firmly grounded in meaningful insinuation. This was supposed to be the story that knocked him from the hobby horse? I don’t see it.

Unless there are more details (and speculation, insinuation, or actual accusation) in the hopper, I’d say that this story is more about why the hell did they publish it (okay, we already know that answer) than about McCain’s phantom misdeeds. He may well have done something wrong--he’s human after all, and a politician as well--but you wouldn’t be able to tell it from that flaccid little article.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Damnit…

...Thou shalt not use my name in vain. Okay, so that doesn’t work quite right here, but it captures the feel of the moment.

The name is kind of catchy, though, isn’t it?

Do follow the link from Instapundit, though. As always, the Zombietime photo essays are always great.

Update: Okay, since there now is Insta-traffic rolling through, here are a few suggested posts for someone who expected to find something more than a little good natured bitching. Click to read about:

  1. A movie you should watch.
  2. A movie you shouldn’t watch.
  3. “Bill Ritter, You Ignorant Slut”

Friday, February 01, 2008

Take That, Carter!

It’s a good night. I just came back from Borders, it’s snowing outside enough that I have an excuse to practice a little sloth tomorrow morning, I’m watching Magnolia, and I just read Shawn Macomber deliver an eloquent pummeling to my former least favorite former president.

Once again proving why he’s one of my favorite writers, Macomber gives us a great examination of how Carter’s religious faith isn’t, perhaps, what you might have thought it was.

Carter places the miracles of government bureaucracy ahead of those of his own church, yet still wonders why the largest single contingent of Baptists in the country is skeptical of his New Covenant. “I treat theological arguments gingerly but am bolder when it comes to connecting my religious beliefs with life and current events in the world, even when the issues are controversial,” Carter writes in Living Faith. In other words, the details of scripture are uninteresting until they offer a rationale for Carter’s left-wing predilections or somehow justify the four years of tribulation known as his presidency.

Recently, another writer who I admire said something about a sentence that I had written ("Wish I’d had that line for Will in PC.") and it was the kind of compliment that made me feel about as good as you might imagine. I can’t deliver the same kind of compliment--I don’t have the same kind of professional standing as the gentleman who said those words to me--but let me say that I wish I had written that paragraph, and very specifically that last sentence, myself. It pulls together so much of my impression of Carter into one tiny package that I can’t imagine how I would improve upon it.

Go read the rest. Great stuff.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Three Cheers for Jeep

Jeep does its good deed for the day.

Can I get a “Hell, yeah?”

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Not Sure I Get The Point

A post by Mark Steyn on National Review’s Corner links to a post on Dhimmiwatch and I’m not sure I get the point. The posts are about an email sent from Rotterdam district councillor Bouchra Ismaili to one of her constituents. You can find more of the back story here and you can more commentary linked by Dhimmiwatch here. This is the first part of that email:

Listen well, dirty madman, WE’LL STAY HERE, hahahahahahhahah, DROP DEAD. I am a dutch moslem, and I shall stay one until my death. I feel pity with your kind, you must live with hatred, really sad. My father and mother have worked hard to help building this country, and I have nothing to do with what others think or say. You are a miserable devil worshipper!!!

It goes on largely in the same manner for quite a ways. It is, indeed, poorly written, oddly stated, and occasionally a tad offensive ("devil worshipper” isn’t particularly nice, now, is it?). In fact, some of it is inappropriate for a politician at any level. But…

But the entire story doesn’t have anything like context for me to understand why this email was sent. Was it in response to death threats or something even worse? I’m guessing it wasn’t just sent randomly to someone in her district, so it seems likely that there was some provocation. What was that provocation?

While the email is far over the top in some of its personal insults and switches between nearly kind and obviously offensive without stopping for so much as an apostrophe, it also has some interesting things to say about devotion to liberal ideals.

But fortunately, you are few only, and most dutchmen are developped and tolerant.
[...]
But I hear your cry of emergency. I hear your cry for attention. I shall also have time for you, despite of the fact that I’m fully busy to make Holland a more beautiful, clean and safe country, where people can develop and live in freedom and democracy, no matter what colour, origin or faith.

While much of what she says is very obviously anti-something (Freemasons? Christians? I’m not sure.), she also shows a devotion to tolerance (an external acceptance that isn’t marked by agreement) in the political process. In comparison to the email or statement she was responding to, I have to wonder if she didn’t manage to come out looking better.

Again, without context, how am I to know?

I’m not going to say that this is a woman I’d want to share a drink with, but, then, I really don’t want to share space with some of the other commentators from the Google groups. Here’s a charmer:

And thanks a lot jews, who made it possible that their oriental brethren from the arselifter faction have spread in our countries.

And even more thanks to the leftist traitors who have helped them at our expense doing so. And on top of it, we are allowed to be mocked by this subhuman scum.

And is this a threat or just a prediction?

The backlash to this manipulation will be horrendous.  Hitler will look like a boy scout compared to what is in store for Muslims.  Then of course when that happens the Jews will be targeted again because of their interference with our laws.

I’m one of those folks who does happen to believe that a seismic demographic shift in some European countries probably will result in some unpleasant cultural changes. I’m also one of those folks who believes that bad immigration laws and practices make these kinds of racial tensions more likely. But damned if I’m going to get in bed with fascists and racists to condemn the excesses of the people who are compromising the liberal values of Western nations.

This email definitely shows a rep who was wrong: she should never have sent that email and some of her thoughts are repugnant. She also shows a willingness to share space--physical and political space--with people who don’t believe the same things that she does. Somehow, that doesn’t seem to bolster the scary view of Islamic hordes reshaping Western European societies; the contrary opinions, though, make a stronger case for being leery of the racists and potentially violent nativists in the anti-immigration movement.

Just sayin’.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Notes

First, For everyone who has been looking for a way to help Andrew Olmsted’s family, Obsidian Wings has the answer.

How To Help

by hilzoy

A member of Andy Olmsted’s family has just written me to say that if people want to do something in honor of him, they can send donations to a fund that has been set up for the four children of CPT Thomas Casey, who served under Andy and was killed while trying to help him. The address is here:

Capt. Thomas Casey Children’s fund
P.O. Box 1306
Chester, CA 96020

Thanks so much.

There is also an amazing list of posts and articles about his death. I’ll be sending out a check this weekend.

Secondly, Nathan kindly linked the Zomby Insta-Translation Transcript of the Sans-a-Paul Debate from the last weekend (and, yes, as the opportunity presents itself, there will be more of those transcripts in the near future). Nathan gets the day’s hehndeed for his editorializing.

Thirdly, I forgot to link to Mr. Lady’s Factsheet Five post, cause of the adoption of RSong’s own house band. Thanks, Lady!

And, lastly, speaking of house bands (because we were, you know), I have it on good authority that there will be a few more entries later in the day.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Goodbye to One of Our Own

Robin Roberts just left a comment noting the passing of one of Colorado’s bloggers. Major Andrew Olmsted was killed yesterday in Iraq and he will be missed by those of us who knew him (in the most casual way, in my case) and respected him for his thoughts and for his service. He was a great man and he deserves to be remembered for his kindness, his intelligence, and his words.

My deepest condolences go out to his family--and if anyone knows of how we can help them through this time, please email me and let me know. He was undeniably one of the good guys and from the words that his fellow soldiers and friends are leaving, I know that their loss is huge. I wish I had a chance to have known him better.

After he left his own site, he was blogging from the Rocky and you can read his last post here and leave your thoughts. I’ll be joining Andy (in a virtual sense) in a drink to his memory.

Others have their own memories. Jed. Robert Hayes. Walter. Blackfive. Jeff G and Karl. Joe Katzman. Jay. Charles (who has a great picture). Rick Moran. Baldilocks.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Holy Mother of Cold Mornings, It’s Cold This Morning.

Know what I mean?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Psssst…

Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

Put down the keyboard and step away from the blogging. Go enjoy some eggnog. Unless you don’t like eggnog. In which case go find something Christmasy/Hannukah-y/Festivusy/whatever-it-is-you-celebratey and leave the interwebs alone.

Love,

Your Friend,

Zomby

Friday, December 21, 2007

Congratulations to Rob & Kate Sama

Here’s to the newly weds! May they enjoy many years of health, happiness, and Rob’s cooking.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Coming Soon…

AfricaBlog will be re-launching at the beginning of 2008--I’m aiming for New Years day because I need the deadline and because I like the symbolism. This is open to people of all political stripes who are willing to respect other opinions enough to have serious, adult conversations; it won’t be about creating outrage, it will be about honest discussion and debate. I will be reaching out directly to some writers that I respect from other sites and hope to play host to diversity in political opinion, nationality, and cultural backgrounds.

Point being: I will again be aiming for a group blog with people willing to commit to posting at least once a week or so. If you would like to sign on, let me know. If you know someone who should sign on, let them know.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Accepting Suggestions: Christmas Music and Movies

This weekend is the Official Zomby Christmas Tree Raising and Decorating Weekend Spectacular. As such, a number of things are needed to inspire and maintain the proper mood for the evening. In no specific order:

  1. Tree and Ornaments. Handled.
  2. Christmas and Winter Appropriate Booze. Baileys and coffee. Barenjaeger and hot tea. Egg nog. Bottle of wine. I feel reasonably well prepared for this step.
  3. iPod Playlist. Holiday favorites, Christmas obscurities, and bits that tickle my fancy. Hmmm.
  4. A Couple Movies. What Christmas films to enjoy this year?

We’ll listen to the music while we put up the tree and the decorations (my decorating philosophy can be summed up with just a few words: simple, traditional colors and the “hang and nestle” method of ornament placement (I can expand further--and with pictures after this weekend--if anyone requires guidelines for the hang and nestle method)), light a fire, and turn out the lights. We’ll sip our booze and cuddle after I put in one of the movies and I’ll be excited and teasing her because I already know what she’s getting this year.

But here’s the question: what music and what movies? I’ve got a partial list of songs going, but I’m open to suggestions. What do you listen to during the holidays that gets you in the mood? And, then, for movies, what should we watch? Should I go traditional classic (It’s a Wonderful Life, modern classic (Elf, or something surprising? What would you suggest?

I have a few days to pull all the bits together, to make sure that the Barenjaeger is chilled, and to find some decent egg nog (which is a trick in itself). Help me out.

Update: I’m pretty sure that Steve has some of the answers. But he’s holding out on us.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

That’s It: I’m Putting My Sperm on a Leash

Where does this start making sense?

Here’s the sequence of events:

  1. In the late 80’s a doctor donated sperm (we shall call him Doctor Sperm Donor because it amuses me) to a lesbian couple who wanted to have children. He made an agreement that he would have no rights or claims to the child, but then allowed his name to be listed as the father on the birth certificate.
  2. For a number of years after the child was born, Doctor Sperm Donor had regular contact with the child, gave him gifts, and sent cards that he signed “Dad.”
  3. The lesbian couple and the child moved to Oregon in 93.
  4. Since ‘93 the doctor has seen the child once (in 2004) and spoken to him by phone just seven times.
  5. For some reason--not explained in the story--the mother sued for child support.
  6. For some reason--mostly lost to me--he has been found to suddenly have an obligation to financially support the 18 year old boy who is heading off to school.

Some other little tidbits of information: the agreement that he would have neither rights nor responsibilities in reference to the child was an oral agreement. Having a written agreement might not have saved him, though, apparently because of the gifts of money, cards, and the use of the terms “Dad” and “Daddy” nearly 14 years ago. The court also denied a requested paternity test on the grounds that such a test might psychologically damage the child.

I could understand a time limit on challenging paternity, but in a case like this it seems that it would be important in a newly established responsibility for the boy’s welfare. For that matter, it doesn’t sound like a time limit was a concern. I also have to wonder why the boy’s moms would oppose a test unless there was some doubt about paternity.

With both mothers being doctors, I also wonder what great need they have for their old friend’s money. Regardless of the legal questions, it seems awfully bad form for the lesbian couple to have reneged on their previous agreement. It’s a money-grubbing maneuver and a tacit admission of bad parenting: obviously, they failed in some way to provide for their son’s future and are now leaning on Doctor Sperm Donor to make up the gap.

I don’t know them, but I find their behavior despicable. Does it seem like I’m personalizing it a bit? Perhaps. Read the reason after the jump.

Read the Rest...

Apolitical Sunday: I Miss My Vacation

Pretty Picture

Days like these, I miss being on vacation--and, yes, that’s a picture from my last trip.

Although I don’t exactly miss the sound of money draining from my wallet.

Just sayin’.

Update: For the record, it’s almost like she’s on vacation. And I hate her for that. Well, not really, but I am jealous.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Grrr, Part 1

You know what I hate? I hate people who make an appointment to come in for a job interview and then never show up. They don’t send an email, don’t call, and don’t show up.

Wastes my time. Wastes my dry cleaning. Makes me want to be mean to the next applicant.

So, yeah, don’t do that.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Denver Broncos: Coming Together as a Team

It was good to see the Denver Broncos come together as a team today against the Detroit Lions. Unfortunately, it was a brilliant team effort aimed toward losing.

Dropped passes, missed coverage, bad protection, injuries, turnovers, bad passes, anemic running, lackluster effort, odd coaching decisions, and even a missed field goal. About the only person who didn’t do his best to contribute to the loss today was Todd Sauerbrun, whose punting was actually damned good.

The Lions deserved the win and outplayed the Broncos in every way, but the nasty truth is that the score should have been far more lopsided. Against a truly good team--say a Patriots team who really love running up the score--this would have been one of those Nebraska v/ William and Mary of Southwest Missouri’s School for Young Women. The Broncos, as bad as they looked, probably looked better than they should have because Detroit spent most of the first half scoring field goals instead of touchdowns.

How bad are the Broncos? They were having a hard time winning when they had their starting team; now that they have lost a safety, offensive linemen, a couple wide receivers, and, perhaps, a quarterback, the Broncos have little in common with the team from last week much less last year. They have lost talent, leadership, and experience through injuries and off season personnel decisions leaving this team frequently looking lost and confused (especially on defense where they also saw a change in coaching and defensive philosophy).

So, back to the question: how bad are the Broncos? They’ll be fighting with the Raiders for last place this year, and that says an awful lot.

This season is shaping up to be the worst Broncos team that I’ve seen in years and this game is, undoubtedly, one of the worst that I’ve ever seen them play. It’s also a tragic waste of a season for some of the Broncos’ older players (Champ Bailey, for example). It’s become an accidental rebuilding season with very little in the way of promise for next year.

None of which changes the fact that I just had a great freakin’ week of vacation where I enjoyed sun, sand, and far more booze than was healthy. Big thanks to Don and Jerry for posting and keeping the place interesting while I was gone. In fact, it’s probably a more interesting place for my absence, which is about as painful as another Broncos loss.

But well spent vacation time. Yeah, that’s nice for me.

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