Monday, July 12, 2010

How do I mock thee?

Let me count the ways.

Naked? Check. Drunk? Check. Staggering down a public highway? Check. Leg on fire? Check.

From a journalistic angle, I question the use of the words "friends" and "victim" in this context. "Intoxicated yahoo" and "even more intoxicated yahoos" would have worked better. I also think the phrase 'dumb as fungus" needed to be employed somewhere in the report.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Today's satire, tomorrow's reality

New Hampshire Passes Law Forcing Old People To Watch Gays Marry


Just because I love this scene, and it's almost a hundred degrees outside and I wish I were picnicking with the family instead of taking a lunch break at work, and because the Duke is quintessentially awesome.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Old friend, new blog

'm a little tardy in adding Strange Spanners to the sidebar. Lazarus Lupin is a boyhood friend of mine that I reconnected with on Facebook last year. Lazarus introduced me to many of the things I still love, most notably the world of H P Lovecraft. (For which my Lovely and Brilliant Wife may never forgive him.) We became friends because we were among the few kids in Goldendale who both enjoyed Dungeons and Dragons (this was in the early 80s, when the game was new and the preachers were fulminating against it), and he invited me to an ongoing game. Both of us were overly-bright misfits; I was hyperactive and kind of immature for my age, whereas he was almost pathologically shy, rotund and self-conscious about his stutter. Up till then, I had always thought of geekiness as a bad thing. Of all the friends I wish I hadn't lost track of, Lazarus is near the top of the list.

Check out his artwork. He hasn't lost any of his creative touch over the years. Although I don't pretend to understand all of his references any more than I did thirty years ago.

Quote of the Day

From Catholic Überblogger Mark Shea:
White First World Population Planners are perpetually bent on reducing the carbon footprint of impoverished third world countries they deem to have "too many children." They have to fly all over the world on hundreds of jets every year to make sure that some guy burning a few sticks to cook his dinner in Kenya doesn’t suck up all the resources that are rightfully ours.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

An apology from Israel

Turkey is demanding an apology for that savage raid on peaceful Turkish smugglers last month. As a peace-loving citizen of the world, I couldn't agree more. In the interest of international cooperation, I've taken the liberty of drafting an apology for them. Anything to help out, and all that.

To the citizens of Turkey, the Palestinian people, the international press and the entire world, we apologize.

Turkey, we're sorry our great-grandparents pumped millions of dollars into your citizens' pockets back in the 19th century to buy up land in Palestine. It must have been very painful for the Ottoman landlords to be forced to accept money from all over the world, especially at the high prices they had to charge. Why they didn't cast that insulting cash back in those Jews' faces is beyond us. Moreover, we're sorry for expecting Turkey to uphold its end of the sale agreements. In retrospect, it should be obvious that nobody really expected us to move in and take possession. The transactions were just, well, symbolic. We see that now.

Palestinians, we're sorry that our grandfathers went and turned a perfectly lovely wasteland into nasty farmland. If we had only known what dire things were in store after the land became irrigated and productive, we would have left it the way it was. We're sorry that the lives of your people have been disrupted by things like antibiotics and indoor plumbing. We're sorry that your children live beyond infancy, that your water is clean, that your sick are cared for.

Terrorists Freedom fighters of Gaza, we're sorry that you've been forced to expend all those bombs and rockets on us. Our incessant dodging and taking shelter have made this entire business far too costly for you. No wonder you've been forced to import weapons and ammunition. In the future, we undertake to stand perfectly still and not make you waste ordnance.

Egypt, Syria and Jordan, we apologize for our occupation of some of your former territories. We know that if we had just handed them back after the Six-Day War, or even better, just let you win, then you would never have dreamed of using them against us again. We understand that Jews in areas that you control have always been treated with fairness and respect, in contrast to the way we treat Arabs, tempting them with full citizenship and civil rights. Our uppity attitudes must be very galling for you. In the future, we promise to remember our place like good dhimmis.

Finally, to the world, we apologize for all the trouble us sheenies have put you to over the centuries. We're very sorry about that whole crucifixion misunderstanding, and making matzos with Christian blood, and poisoning wells, and the Black Death, and all those things. We deeply regret the amount of expensive Zyklon-B that had to be used to fumigate us. And if you'll just point the way to the nearest gas chamber, we'll stop being such a bother to you all.

Can we be friends now?

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Remembering the Blue Puttees

Forget Canada Day (or Dominion Day, as it used to be called back when Canada was part of something great). No offense, Canada, but the prestige you gain as the home of Gordon Lightfoot and Labatt's is countered by the whole no-free-speech thing.

July 1 is a different sort of commemoration in Newfoundland, which in 1916 had the good fortune not even to be Canadian. It was a minor backwater of the British Empire with a total population half that of Spokane today. It was poor and uneducated, sort of the Appalachia of the Atlantic. So when a thousand young men volunteered for service in the Great War, it was a large investment.

In true Newfie style, their uniforms were improvised. Where other British regiments wore khaki around their legs, the Newfoundlanders had to make do with blue scrap cloth. This led to their nickname of the Blue Puttees.

On the morning of July 1 1916, the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, nearly eight hundred barely-trained soldiers, went "over the top" at Beaumont-Hamel. Half an hour later, there were sixty-eight.

My. God. In. Heaven. Think about that.

Yes, I know that the War To End All Wars set the stage for the bloodiest century in human history. Yes, I know that trench warfare was nothing but an exercise in futility. Yes, I know that world politics is still shaped by the changes ushered in by the First World War. Yes, I know that seven-hundred-odd soldiers didn't make the difference. Of the millions slaughtered, they were a drop in the bucket.

So what? Death comes only one to a customer. The waste of human life is horrific, but not the point here. Fishermen's sons die as readily, and as bravely, as kings' sons. These boys walked into the meat grinder of the Somme for a king who barely knew their island existed. The Newfoundlanders did what they were supposed to do, and they did it with gallantry that shames great nations.

Listen to this while you read about the Blue Puttees here and the action at Beaumont-Hamel here. And gentlemen, read and listen with your hats off.