Monthly Archives: September 2011

Race To The Top

What’s the worst thing a person can be? No, no, not that. Way worse than that. Oh, that? Not even close. Once upon a time, maybe… What, that??? You’ve got to be kidding. That’s about the best thing you could be, these days. Want to get into college? Want a government job? Want to be […]


I see we’ve just managed to annihilate Anwar al-Awlaki, who was hiding in a compound in Yemen. Good work. I often criticize president Obama, but I’ll gladly give him praise and credit for this, and for having steadfastly maintained the pressure on al-Qaeda throughout his term in office. The same also, of course, to the […]

Straight From The Horse’s Mouth

This is good: a uniquely reliable source has finally got round to calling out Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad for his crackpot 9/11-conspiracy theories. Story here.

He Didn’t Say No

Chris Christie made a speech today at the Reagan Library. Mr. Christie has until now made it quite clear that he will not be running for president in 2012, saying that he isn’t ready yet, and also that he owes it to the electorate in New Jersey to do the job they gave him. Now […]

Any Bags To Check?

I have to admit: this looks like fun. Thanks JK for the link.

Kill The Boer

With a hat tip to Dennis Mangan: the organization Genocide Watch has declared South Africa to be in stage 6, “preparation”, of the progression toward genocide (the last stage — genocide itself — is stage 7). Of course you probably already knew this, because the mainstream media always pay extra-special attention to hate crimes against […]

The Penny Drops

In the wake of new evidence of ISI support for Haqqani attacks in Kabul earlier this month, our official relationship with Pakistan has become very tense indeed. Here’s John Mcreary’s summary, from the September 22nd NightWatch: Pakistan-US: US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mullen said on 22 September that Pakistan is exporting violent extremism […]

Baby Talk

A friend sent us a link to this video clip of twin pre-verbal toddlers having what appears to be a lively conversation: Fabulous. Look at them! Gesturing, listening attentively while the other is “speaking”, with rising and falling inflections and cadences — all the attributes of spoken communication. But what’s their subjective experience? Are they […]

The Other Side Of The COIN

Diana West argues that our COunter-INsurgence strategy in Afghanistan — in which we order our soldiers to dismount from their armored vehicles and mingle with the locals, in the chimerical hope of “winning hearts and minds” — has exacted a terrible toll in blast injuries to the feet, legs, and genitals of our troops. Here. […]

Time Capsule

That last item introduced me to the Prelinger Archives, which I’d never heard of. It looks like a fantastic resource, especially for geriatrics like me who actually remember this stuff when it was new. Here’s a good place to start. Also, there are list of most-downloaded items here and here. Related content from Sphere

Wake Up And Smell It

My friend Danny Fisher over at Wish I Didn’t Know directs us to a montage of harsh moments from vintage coffee commercials.

The Baby With The Bath

Do you have asthma? Do you depend on an over-the-counter inhaler to cope with it? Well, you may want to stock up. (You can keep them in the basement, next to your hoard of incandescent bulbs.) Megan McArdle comments here. Related content from Sphere

You’re Fulfilling Your Destiny, Anakin

Back in May, it looked as if Dmitry “Darth” Medvedev might be so daring as to try to keep the Russian presidency for himself, rather than handing it back over to his Sith overlord at the end of his term. No longer. Related content from Sphere

The View From Mount Megiddo

These are, to put it mildly, worrisome times. The global economy is collapsing before our eyes, the core of Western civilization has rotted to the point that it can no longer stand erect, and the Middle East, that ancient cauldron of strife and woe, is about to boil over once again. The vile, snake-eyed Mahmoud […]


New results from CERN have the boffins scratching their heads. Story here.


When you’re launching a business, or bringing out a new product, one of the most important choices you have to make is what to call it. If, for example, Dodge had named its line of heavy-duty pickup trucks “Daffodil” instead of “Ram”, sales would surely have suffered. A cheesy snack called “Ratbait” will struggle for […]

Strong Stuff

For tonight, here’s a pair of caustic items: Barry Rubin on the Palestinian gambit at the U.N., and a scathing editorial from the National Review on the President’s tax proposal. Comments are open, and readers may rant if they feel the need to, but I’m headed into a busy couple of days and am unlikely […]

Don’t Tell A Soul

U.S. building secret drone bases in Africa, Arabian Peninsula, officials say

Before We Begin…

Here’s a good piece by Sam Harris — who is becoming, these days, something of what the marketing folks call a “brand” — on overcoming one’s fear of public speaking. Related content from Sphere


I just watched this clip again: Gavin Harrison playing Porcupine Tree’s Futile. As one of YouTube’s commenters said: “this is like porn for drummers”.

Memory Hole

A story that attracted some attention a while back, but which seems to have gone quiet, is the curious death of one John P. Wheeler, which we mentioned in this January post. I wonder how that investigation is going. I have a feeling it’s going to be rather like O.J.’s search for the real killers. […]


Another nugget from Eric Hoffer: A discrepancy between trivial motives and weighty consequences is an essential trait of human uniqueness and is particularly pronounced in the creative individual. Not only in the marketplace but also in the world of thought and imagination, men who set their hearts on toys often accomplish great things. — Before […]

There’s One Born Every Minute


Road Trip

Here’s a video of a drive from Seattle to Maine, with a frame taken every 90 seconds.

Let’s Dance

Here’s an amusing remark from Lawrence Auster on conservatism, liberalism, and the Hegelian dialectic process whereby, as the liberal thesis moves leftward, the liberal/conservative synthesis tends to follow: In the Hegelian Mambo, as the left become more left, the right, in defining itself in opposition to the ever-more threatening extremism of the left, and not […]

Weakness Provokes

Speaking of Bill Vallicella’s excellent blog, here’s another fine post of his, just published.

Numbers: Real, Or What?

Our friend Dr. Bill Vallicella, the Maverick Philosopher, has written a post arguing that numbers have an eternal, mind-independent existence as Platonic abstracta. This is of course a respectable and widely held opinion, with an ancient pedigree. I’m leery of it, though: I think numbers are what minds invent to make useful models of certain […]


How To Artificially Inseminate A Rhino. “Shameless Filler” seems about the right category for this one. (HT: Derb.)

Use It Or Lose It

Here’s an encouraging item from Science Daily: Older Musicians Experience Less Age-Related Decline in Hearing Abilities Than Non-Musicians ScienceDaily (Sep. 13, 2011) — A study led by Canadian researchers has found the first evidence that lifelong musicians experience less age-related hearing problems than non-musicians. While hearing studies have already shown that trained musicians have highly […]

A Lean And Hungry Look

Front page of today’s New York Times: Islamists’ Growing Sway Raises Questions for Libya TRIPOLI, Libya — In the emerging post-Qaddafi Libya, the most influential politician may well be Ali Sallabi, who has no formal title but commands broad respect as an Islamic scholar and populist orator who was instrumental in leading the mass uprising. […]

Pot & Kettle

Or perhaps a better title would have been Sauce For The Gander. Here.

It Seeks The Center

This from John McCreary of NightWatch, on yesterday’s Taliban attack in Kabul (my emphasis): Afghanistan: Special comment: The details of the five-hour complex attack in Kabul have been reported all day. An extremely knowledgeable, well-informed and brilliant Reader provided feedback that most of the news coverage is factually wrong, but NightWatch will provide more details […]

Hope And Change

Well, it appears Anthony Weiner’s vacated House seat has gone to Republican Bob Turner, in what various media outlets are calling an “upset” (despite polls consistently having shown Turner as the front-runner). The race was widely seen as a referendum on the Obama presidency, and is sure to foment further dissent within the already restive […]

On Merit

A while back I quoted some passages from the book Before the Sabbath, which is a year-long collection of daily musings by the longshoreman and autodidact Eric Hoffer, written in 1974 and 1975, toward the end of his life. I was reminded of Mr. Hoffer again today, when I ran across an item by Matt […]


This could be trouble, guys.

Ten Years After

Here it is, then: September 11th, 2011. On that black day ten years ago, Nina and I stood on the roof of our Brooklyn home and watched the towers burn, and fall. Our daughter, now in her twenties, was in school at Stuyvesant High, just a couple of blocks from the doomed buildings; we didn’t […]

Beefeater, Very Dry

With a hat tip to our friend David Duff, here’s a pungent English-history lesson from a Yeoman Warder of Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London, and Member of the Sovereign’s Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard Extraordinary. Related content from Sphere

Mission Accomplished

It was the first of two long days for me, and I didn’t get home in time to watch the Speech. I did read it, though. If I understand it correctly, there’s a bill Mr. Obama wants Congress to pass. Right away. If for any reason you don’t think that’s a good idea, you are […]




Well, here we are in Gotham again (my, what a teeming, busy place this is!). Time to start catching up and getting things back to normal around here. Anything happen while we were gone? Related content from Sphere

Breaking The Spell

A reader has sent along a link to a rousing speech given by Geert Wilders in Berlin today. An excerpt: My friends, we need to give political power back to the nation-state, in the name of democracy, in the name of freedom, in the name of human dignity. By defending the nation-states we defend our […]

Guy Stuff


The Crowd

Well, the summer’s winding down on the Outer Cape, and after the terminal Labor Day spasm, it’s going to get a whole lot quieter here in Wellfleet. It’ll get quieter here on our little wooded knoll too, because the lovely Nina and I will be heading back to Gotham ourselves, come Wednesday. It’s been restful […]