Tuesday, December 30, 2008
William Clay Ford, the owner of the Lions for what seems like millenia--long, dark, purgatorial centuries, mind you--is the ownership equivalent of Captain Ahab. Except he's spent the last four decades hunting for a Great White Clue. In his decision to retain as general manager Martin Mayhew, for years the caddy for the National Punchline Matt Millen, he shows that once again he's the Slowest Harpoon In The West. I mean, it's not like Bill Parcells is going to be avai---oops. Never mind. WCF knows what he's doing. If you keep ramming the iceberg, eventually it's going to crack, right?
The fish rots from the head. And this one's been rotting for a generation.
Go ahead, fans of teams with more competent NFL ownership (that would be all of them)--pile on. I can't really care much anymore.
Proceeded by rivers of blood. An emblem of the decay of the Western mind.
Following the "If You Can't Say Something Nice..." adage, here are my thoughts about her:
Part of the problem is that he buried the caveat at the end:
If her husband is a decent man -- if he is not, nothing written here applies
Discuss amongst yourselves.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Nothing profound from this side today. Here's Robert Earl Keene's Merry Christmas From The Family to send you out.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I attempted to have chicken soup last night. Cat was intrigued. I managed to finish. Somehow. She also apparently tried to eat raw cookie dough.
Photos courtesy of CM's iPhone. I'll post Maddie's artsy compositions later. Seriously--I rather like them.
Monday, December 22, 2008
CourageMan arrived (apparently my blats of complaint were unnecessary) Saturday (check your e-mail, Woodrow). We visited the DIA to avoid cabin fever and to exhaust the children, and had great chicken enchiladas for dinner. My M-i-L was visiting and we were playing the kids version of Apples to Apples, a neat word association game.
Heather and Rachel cheat--the force must be strong with them.
CM and my wife heard the knock at the door, and CM graciously answered it.
Garble garble garble. Two of the local kids (at least they were bundled up) were at the door.
CM: "Uh, no, that's not their cat."
He then turned to look at me, executing the handoff.
Kid 1: "We saw this kitten at your door, wanting to get in. It'll freeze if it stays outside."
Me: [Long exhalation, followed by extending my hand to receive the Luckiest Kitten in Michigan.]
Somewhere deep inside, I recognized the Greek-tragic inevitability of what was occurring.
"You're right--I'll take it."
I even mumbled "thanks" for some reason.
Relieved, the kids left, their good deed complete.
He/she/it was a kitten, all right. All of about 3 months old, to my surprise. White with gray spots, golden eyes. In good shape, if underfed.
And delighted to be indoors. At least until Lucy came galumping up to see the visitor at maximum speed.
Then I discovered that the kitten was also fully-clawed.
Must get higher! Must get higher fast!
The disappointed dog was bundled to her cage and after I extracted the cat from my flesh, I sat down with the surprise visitor, who decided it wanted to go hide for a moment. Under the Christmas tree proves to be ideal.
"Oooohhhh...." chorus the children. Except for Louis, whose excited "Eeeeeeeeee!" is his approximation.
Must pet the kitten, who slowly works its way out from under the tree. Maddie insisted on calling it a "she." Heather wonders for a while if it is Spring's Luckiest Cat. No, I knew that for sure--way too small, if similar coloration.
Plus, my child bride confirmed that it is indeed a "she." Lucky was a lad.
Molly watched the proceedings with antarctic hostility. "What fresh Hell..." But she doesn't confront the kitten, nor does she flee the premises. "I'm too old for this..."
Rachel chimed in with a question: "What do we name her?"
As it turns out, Heather has leftover ibuprofen from Louis' birth.
"Don't get attached," warns Canute/Dad.
I got a tin of cat food down and she proceeded to inhale it in two sittings. Explore, flee, clean self, accept petting, repeat. She was introduced to the litter box and is now using it after one encounter with the bath mat.
Ms.-Used-Up-Three-Lives has also learned how to deter the needlessly enthusastic dog with a clawed shot to the latter's nose, who yelped more in shock than pain.
They--those who outnumber me--are calling her "Gladys." Mostly Heather, but Maddie's catching on, too. She's in very good shape overall, although it took her about a half hour to completely shake the cold out of her bones. I think she may have lost some skin on the bridge of her nose, too, but that's small potatoes.
My vote for a name is "Loviatar," given the cold and pain, but that's headed for veto. Maybe I'll split the difference with them. How about "Ice-G"?
Friday, December 19, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Short take: it's very good. I didn't have a problem with the shaky camera, but that's probably because I didn't see it in the theatre. The editing is crucial, as it is what keeps it fresh and moving--you have a sense of "real time" immediacy, but the film covers just shy of seven hours chronologically (in 80 minutes of film time).
Despite the violent subject matter--monster emerges from the sea and decides to trash Manhattan--the film is not gory and keeps the worst matter offscreen or tastefully obscured.
Yes, it owes an obvious debt to Godzilla (the hero of the film just misses going to Japan to avoid the monster, nudgenudge) and plays like that at times. It also strongly reminded me of the sadly-neglected Miracle Mile, which has a similar plot. There are also inescapable nods to 9/11, especially with the destruction of the Woolworth Building and the shockwave of dust which follows. In fact, one of the commentaries admits that Youtubes of 9/11 personal home videos guided the project.
The characters are more types than people: the hero, the damsel in distress, the genuinely funny sidekick, the mother hen, the loner. But they are likeable enough, and the scene where the hero decides to venture into the war zone to rescue his lady love is very well done. The military is depicted as brave and competent, if outmatched, and there's no suggestion of X-Filesish conspiracy here (except in one supposition by the funny sidekick who admits he just wants to hear himself talk).
Well worth a rent.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Jeff is one of those blogosphere guys I've always wanted to meet. Just a couple of hours ago I reloaded my day planner with the business cards I bought from his printing company (which he later sold to take up farming).
It's not right.
Pray for him and his family.
[Update, 12/12/08: See Comment 35: No heart attack after all, and he's going to be coming home. Deo gratias.]
Sir Steven Runciman's Crusade opus.
What Were the Crusades? by Jonathan Riley-Smith. I got this for Heather in 2007. Hers is the brain to pick about it.
The Crusades: A Short History, by Jonathan Riley-Smith.
Atlas of the Crusades, edited by Jonathan Riley-Smith.
Byzantium and the Crusades by Jonathan Harris.
Brief explanation: Sir Steven's classic is a little creaky, but still quite respected. He also tends to be more sympathetic to the Byzantines (especially) and the Muslims. But not a disqualifying bias by any means.
Riley-Smith is probably the best Crusades historian in the field today. Also, he takes a broader view of crusading, looking at wars outside of the Levant. The Atlas is fantastic in showing the breadth of the conflicts. He makes a pretty solid argument that elements of crusading continued into the late 17th Century, with the wars against the Ottomans. Also, he tries to understand the Crusaders at their own level, and not from (presumed) perfect moral hindsight.
Harris' work is a solid survey of the clash, first of worldviews, then of swords, between Eastern and Western Christians, as a result of crusading.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Modus vivendi to you, too.
Attention, residents of metropolitan Toledo: I truly dislike the new I-280 bridge. Oh, it looks fine--striking, really. But the railings wouldn't stop a Segway from going over. Also someone told me that there are structural problems with some of the support mechanisms. Already.
In other words, you have the Zilwaukee Bridge South.
Oh, and I managed to get on the air during a WDFN segment yesterday, during the "No Effin Way!" bit Stoney and Wojo do. It boils down to this: you offer up something entirely unshocking and predictable and the hosts respond with the tagline and dramatic soap opera music worthy of the Dramatic Prairie Dog.
Mine was "Peter King was cliche' during his column this week." The screener chortled and put me on the air. I had the last word for the segment.
I'm gonna live forever...
Monday, December 08, 2008
First, some genuine atonement for Your Moment of Hoff: a link to Celebration, by Kool and the Gang.
Hey, a Michigan sports program that actually rears up and shocks people in a good way. UCLA wasn't a fluke, and Beilein looks like a good coach. I listened to the last 10 minutes or so running my errands Saturday. Fundamentals and free throw shooting. Who'd a thunk it?
Second, the BCS pairings are out. Sorry, Tide fans. I was rooting for you, fwiw. Urban Meyer makes me twitch. I think I'm most intrigued by the Orange Bowl. And since I'm completely free on that day...
Third--the "authors' preferred edition" of Inferno is very good. Yes, there's additional material (and one interesting deletion). Not a lot of new stuff--maybe 1500 words, absolute tops. But it is worthwhile, and in one case, (intentionally) laugh out loud hilarious. Which, given the subject matter, is an achievement.
Also, the authors have appended an afterward which explains the genesis of the book and the rather simple secret of their successful collaborative method. The theological outlook of the book and the sequel are also spelled out, and I'm curious to see how they handle it.
The sequel is eagerly awaited.
Friday, December 05, 2008
The videotape shows Lila Rose, the president of a university pro-life group and a brunette, posing as a blonde 13-year-old girl named "Brianna" and telling the Planned Parenthood nurse at the clinic in Bloomington, Ind., that she is pregnant by a 31-year-old man.
"I am supposed to report [you] to Child Protective Services," says the nurse on the videotape, though assuring "Brianna" she will not do so if she can tell a plausible different story.
"I didn't hear the age. I don't want to know the age," the nurse says at a later point on the tape.
* * *
A city spokesman said Thursday that the Bloomington City Police is not investigating the clinic or the nurse for possibly violating the statutory-rape notification law, but is beefing up security around the facility to protect it from a possible backlash.
"There's no investigation taking place, but they have stepped up patrols around the area," said Danny Lopez, communications director for the City of Bloomington. Patrols have been stepped up in case anybody has a strong reaction to the situation, but he said there have been no problems.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
He wants his mother.
He'll never see her again in this life.
There was no concession, no root cause remedy, no handshake across a negotiating table that would have dissuaded his parents' murderers.
They don't want to share the planet with anyone else, and this wish should be granted as quickly--and ironically--as possible.
Pour encourager les autres.
Monday, December 01, 2008
The emergency room personnel at Mid-Michigan Hospital in Clare are top-notch. He's going to be fine, and no permanent damage. That helps, but not all the way. He's himself, right now roaming through the living room jabbering at an inconvenient blanket.
Other than that, a great time. We had an early Christmas with Mom, Dad and my bro's family. BTW, Doug's been promoted to a supervisory role with Customs and Border Protection. Yes, he's gone over to The Man™, sorry to report. Everyone had a great time and the car-top carrier successfully brought back the loot, which included (for me) the authors' (Niven and Pournelle, not Dante) edition of Inferno, which I will sprint through soon as I get a free moment.
Love it up north. There's no sound like the wind surging through several thousand trees.
Certainly no sound like it in the concrete habitrail, that's for sure.
Hope you and yours had a blessed and happy Thanksgiving.
A thorough critique of a book by one of the more visible of America's soi disant experts and adjunct intellectuals, Tom Nichols. A lec...