Archive for August, 2006

The Duke rape case, and today’s articles from Maria

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Witness for the Prosecution? The New York Times is still victimizing innocent Dukies:

The accuser first claimed rape while in the process of being involuntarily committed to a mental-health/drug facility as a danger to herself or others. Soon after her release to the hospital for a rape exam, she recanted the charge. Then she re-recanted and offered a succession of wildly inconsistent stories.

Durham in Wonderland and Liestoppers are covering the case.

Speaking of the NYT, Villanous Company’s on timeswatch

At the blogs
Check or Checkmate? Death by Cop on the Global Stage

Today’s articles from Maria


History Claims Her Artwork, but She Wants It Back

Mark Steyn: Homeland security can’t get over the pump


Kool-Aid drinking Republicans


In a lighter mode:
5 things to like at the Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital
, a.k.a the setting for House, M.D.
1. Hugh Laurie: great actor, looks good when scruffy.
2. Each episode has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
3. The weird medical conditions you fervently wish you’ll never even come near.
4. The local flavor:
Brian Singer must have been reading about the Princeton Hospital‘s move to Plainsboro.
The “hospital” building in the titles is the rear facade of the Frist Student Union on the PU campus.
They show nice views of Lake Carnegie.
5. It’s filmed in LA, so we’re not stuck with traffic delays here in town. Heavens knows we were stuck in traffic when these guys were in town.

The new season starts next Tuesday September 5 at 8PM.

In other showbiz news, Clive Owen‘s on the cover of GQ.
Update More showbiz: All of the sudden I feel old, very old.

The definitive words on three stories:

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

Hitchens: Plame Out

Dorothy Rabinowitz on JonBenet

Sigmund, Carl and Alfred on Hurricane Relief, Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.

Bonus: Maxed-Out-Mama on Violence vs. Reason

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On conversation

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

The hypothesis on why men’s lives are more difficult nowadays post is still bringing comments, and yesterday Rocket Girl said,

this post reminded me of an article in Maclean’s (a Canadian news/current events magazine) a while ago in which the person being interviewed suggested that people like Oprah are responsible for the death of conversation, particularly in terms of the way men and women relate to each other. I think there is more than a little truth to it.

The article is Q&A with essayist and author Stephen Miller, Kenneth Whyte’s interview with Stephen Miller, author of Conversation: A History of a Declining Art.

Miller believes that conversation, not talk, but face-to-face conversation, is good for you. In Hume’s words,

it’s good for your psyche, you’re going to be more stable, steady, and you also get more pleasure out of life.

There are many impediments to good conversation these days:
1. we’re flooded with electronic interruptions
2. families don’t feel it’s necessary to have dinner together, when the dinner table’s the one place where most of us learn how to converse
3. many people can’t seem to differentiate confrontation from conversation
4. we’re all trying to come out ahead rather than listen.

Not that this is new: back in the 18th century, Swift was complaining “Good conversation is not to be expected in much company, because few listen, and there is continual interruption”.

While Miller talks about the “Oprah-ization of conversation”, where

SM: . . . And then people have to get away from this notion that conversation is autobiographical and you support somebody for their view of life. No, it’s not autobiographical. When you go to the conversable world you leave your personal, your inner life, somewhere else. That’s hard for people. We live in a world where everybody is psychological, and so I think a lot of women in particular see conversation as, you say something and then the other person . . . you share something and the other person is supportive.

KW: Supportive, yes. It’s like the Oprah-ization of conversation.
Absolutely. I think it makes conversation impossible, because when people use the word “share” — after all when you share some food with someone the person isn’t supposed to say, “Oh, thanks for giving me this pie, but it’s terrible, I don’t like it” — it just casts a blanket of excessive politeness on the conversation, and then disagreement is seen as a personal attack.

Oprah certainly doesn’t bear the load by herself. Before Oprah there was Sally Jessie, and Donahue, and others. Nowadays we have truly awful programs like Survivor, The Apprentice, The Real World, Big Brother, and The Surreal Life where horrible, dysfunctional people come out ahead by being truly obnoxious. One can even find a horrible person, such as Omarossa, from one program (The Apprentice), in another program (The Surreal Life).

I watched for the first time the Surreal Life on VH1 while on the treadmill yesterday and I needed a shower afterwards, least of all from the excercise – even when I only watched for a few minutes. It is one dirty, awful show. The Omarossa woman treated one of the housemates, named Janice, most despicably. I can only hope the whole thing was staged. That is the kind of programming teen-oriented channels like VH1 are serving nowadays. Update: Just as I was posting, Maria sent this article on MTV’s legacy of glorifying for a young audience the eternal adolescence of the cheap, the vulgar, and the flashy over the good, the true, and the beautiful.

Indeed, programming like that is yet another reason why parents should never give up conversing with their children. In the dreadful-no-man’s (and woman’s) land of “reality TV”, only the Rolloffs stand out as nice people conversing with each other.

Political chat shows have done their part in the desintegration of conversation. I don’t know if many of you remember the old David Brinkley show on ABC on Sunday mornings, but Sam Donaldson, Coky Roberts and George Will managed to converse with each other and with other people week after week without resorting to the verbal WorldWideWrestling-type of abuse one finds in most political programs. Stephanopolous simply doesn’t have the depth of a skill conversationalist.

Which I why I’ve become recently addicted to The Sanity Squad‘s weekly installments. The (Sane) Fab Four (yes, go ahead, groan), Pat Santy, “Siggy” of Sigmund, Carl and Alfred, “Neo” of neo-neocon, and Shrinkwrapped manage to converse about the issues of the week in a way that manages to bring sense to the news.

David Brinkley would approve, even when the (Sane) Fab 4 are not physically in the same room at the same time, and it’s taken four shrinks to come out with a good conversation.

Another thing about a good conversation is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be a long conversation. You can converse for five minutes and enjoy a challenging, pleasant exchange of ideas with an interesting person, and you can be bored into making imaginary to-do lists when talking to a drone that carries on for hours.

One good setting for conversation with new people is a good book group. By good, I mean a group that focuses on discussing the book itself, and not your feelings about a book. With some books, such as Lolita, is it near-impossible not to, but there are many interesting books out there, as long as you stay away from chick-lit.

I’m glad September’s around the corner. Book group’s starting again.

Update, Friday, September 1 Survivor strategy

Ultimately, though, these shows are about more than the tackier aspect of popular entertainment. They are about the surrounding culture. The therapeutic ethos of recent years has encouraged each of us to get every thought off our chest, lest we suffer from the ordeal of civility. Think of all of those college orientation games in which freshmen are urged to be utterly honest about their feelings toward people of other races, religions and sexual orientations; those “trust building” exercises that are supposed to encourage open communication among business colleagues; those tell-all memoirs that dominate the best-seller lists; those day-time talk shows that spew personal family details; those grief counselors who flock to disaster sites and instruct victims to talk about their feelings over and over.

We mock the “repressed” denizens of 1950s America or Victorian England for keeping their feelings to themselves. But as Mr. DeGraff notes, there is a “dark side” to human psyches. We cannot root out the possibility of race-based loyalties from our innermost thoughts. But we need not encourage them either. And we can surely suggest that some things are better left unsaid.

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The bacteria of stupidity, and today’s articles from Maria

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

The bacteria of stupidity

According to the Jerusalem Post yesterday, Mr. Hamad told his fellow Palestinians to dismiss Israel’s responsibility for the growing state of anarchy and lawlessness in the Gaza Strip. He said it was time for the Palestinians to embark on a soul-searching process to see where they erred. “We’re always afraid to talk about our mistakes. We’re used to blaming our mistakes on others. What is the relationship between the chaos, anarchy, lawlessness, indiscriminate murders, theft of land, family rivalries, transgression on public lands and unorganized traffic and the occupation? We are still trapped by the mentality of conspiracy theories — one that has limited our capability to think.”

I pray for this man’s safety after he said such a sensible thing in such a lunatic place. But what takes his comments beyond a brave, local wisdom to a shrewd global insight was his epigrammatic conclusion: “We have all been attacked by the bacteria of stupidity.” “We have lost our sense of direction and we don’t know where we’re headed.”

Dr. Sanity posted on this the other day. Here’s a missive from the infected: Full Text of Pres. Ahmadinejad’s Letter to German Chancellor

I have no intention of arguing about the Holocaust. But, does it not stand to reason that some victorious countries of World War II intended to create an alibi on the basis of which they could continue keeping the defeated nations of World War II indebted to them. Their purpose has been to weaken their morale and their inspiration in order to obstruct their progress and power. In addition to the people of Germany, the peoples of the Middle East have also borne the brunt of the Holocaust. By raising the necessity of settling the survivors of the Holocaust in the land of Palestine, they have created a permanent threat in the Middle East in order to rob the people of the region of the opportunities to achieve progress. The collective conscience of the world is indignant over the daily atrocities by the Zionist occupiers, destruction of homes and farms, killing of children, assassinations and bombardments.

After reading that, one wants for a hot washcloth and lots of antibacterial soap. As Maria put it, “Only Mike WALLACE can truly enjoy reading of this ‘gem’!”

And people wonder why homeschooling is taking root: California’s forced conversions

In case you missed the stunning news, Schwarzenegger has signed a new law that effectively tosses out all sexual moral conduct codes at colleges, private and Christian schools, daycare centers and other so-called educational facilities across the state.

The law requires all businesses and groups receiving any form of state funding – even if it’s a grant for one student – to condone homosexuality, bisexuality, transsexuality and God knows what else.

There are no exceptions – not for other religious beliefs, not for personal moral convictions, not for health reasons, not even for the possession of something increasingly rare in the Golden State, common sense.

Random thoughts on the passing scene, from Dr. Sowell.

The obituary for Vladimir Tretchikoff

John Batchelor’s radio show is going on hiatus. While I very very rarely listened to it since it starts at about the same time I go to bed, it’ll be sorely missed. I hope he guests on Kudlow.

The Math Was Complex, the Intentions, Strikingly Simple to replay 9/11 attacks coverage

What is history for?

At the blogs
A Mom and her blog has a picture of the calm before Ernesto.

The ACLU protests the blessing of a school.

More blogging later.

Winning the anti-American hearts and minds

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

At Al-Jazeera: Winning Arab hearts and minds (emphasis added)

Someone else in the Americas seems to have the secret formula for achieving that goal; much more quickly and cheaply.

Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, found himself at the centre of Middle Eastern politics when he announced that he was withdrawing his most senior diplomat from Israel, the Venezuelan charge d’affaires in Tel Aviv. Not for something Israel did to his country, but for what it does to Palestinians and Lebanese thousands of miles away.

For that, Hugo, the charismatic-leader-helping-the-poor-offering-free-health-care-education-adult-literacy-and-job-training-initiatives-that-help-millions-of [insert country name here]tm du jour, is being awarded his appropriate place in the souvenir shop:

In Gaza and Ramallah in the Palestinian Territories I am told that next to Arafat’s and Che Guevara’s posters, a new poster of Chavez is being added.

At least we’re clear as to what it takes to win some anti-American hearts and minds.

Al-Jazeera knows that anti-Americanism sells and wants you to believe that

This solidarity with Arab causes is widely shared by most Venezuelans, and also by most Latin Americans, especially the poor. Many marched in the streets of Caracas and other cities in Venezuela – as well as in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia and elsewhere – to show solidarity with the Lebanese and Palestinians in their plight

But not so fast:

Whatever the consequence of Chavez’s uncompromising position with Israel, it is evident that it embarrassed Arab leaders, as none of them cut or even downgraded ties with Israel despite all the massacres its army has committed in Lebanon and Palestine.

And then there’s the matter of Hugo’s closeness with a few pesky Persians

They surely do not like his closeness to Iran, which is seen by many as trying to spread its influence over the Middle East.

As indeed it does: last April 15 I quoted Majlis Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel (article from the Islamic Republic News Agengy no longer on line) who,

Pointing to strategic position of Iran and Venezuela in the region, he said, “Venezuela can play a role to link Iran with Latin American states while Iran can also be a good mediator for Venezuela’s more connection with the Islamic world and the Middle East.”

The Al-Jazeera article concludes by saying that Hugo’s popular with the Arab guy-in-the-street and asks “Would there be a “Chavez of Arabia” just like the legendary “Lawrence of Arabia”?”

We’ll find out soon enough.

For now we have to settle with watching Hugo’s billion-dollar grand tour canvassing for Venezuela’s seat on the UN Security Council, where it would definitely impede sanctions against Iran’s soon-to-be available nuclear weapons. Hugo’s just left Malasia (whose former PM was just saying that something has to be done against the United States); terrorist-sponsor Syria‘s the next stop.

Just last week Hugo was visiting Fidel for a second time. As Elephants in Academia said,

A clandestine dash to Havana on the eve of his five-day trip to China with no published photos suggests that Mr. Chavez thought Mr. Castro might well not be alive on his return–and that Mr. Castro was in no condition to be photographed

While mercifully we were spared images such as these, I fully expect Leftists everywhere to blame Castro’s demise on Pres. Bush.

Too bad Hugo doesn’t fly commercial airlines. He’d have enough award miles to buy a complete set of Louis Vuittton luggage.

In another part of the world, government-owned France2 news has been flooding the airwaves with Katrina coverage: for the past three evenings it has dedicated over 1/2 hr of air time to Katrina. Last evening’s was time for Nelle ORLEANS /QUARTIERS PAUVRES (New Orleans: THE POOR NEIGHBORHOODS, in French, 18 mins into the program).

The publisher of Le Monde, Jean-Marie Colombani, who on September 2001 had the “We’re All Americans Now” editorial, has been misquoted repeatedly by those who believe that America squandered the world’s sympathy after the Septembet 11 attack. In that editorial Colombani specifically said But the reality is perhaps also that of an America whose own cynicism has caught up with. . . Might it not then have been America itself that created this demon? The myth of squandered sympathy is simply that: a myth.

France2 in particular is relying on Katrina, a story a year old and 5,000 miles away because:
1. It’s cheap and easy: send a correspondent to drive around the place and use stock footage. It sure beats going to where the action actually is like these three guys have done.
2. It feeds the anti-Bush rethoric. No hurricane ever did any damage until Bush came along.
3. It segues on the global warming angle. Hurricanes didn’t exist prior to global warming.
4. It tells any Frenchmen that might be contemplating leaving France in search of economically greener horizons that the USA is a flooded hell-hole.
5. It diverts attention from serious endemic problems in France, such as

As Fred Barnes said the other day, “The last time the French did right with the US was when Lafayette came over”.

Don’t expect otherwise.

After all, Hugo and Jacques share a common vision, and the French wanted to know the secret to winning seven elections in a row.

Ponder that when you hear news about French troops helping out with the peacekeeping.

Update Please vote for this post at Real Clear Politics.
Thank you.

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Quinceanera’s sorrows

Monday, August 28th, 2006

******* FULL SPOILERS AHEAD *******

Quinceañera is a movie that a lot of people are going to hate, each person for a different reason, while missing the entire cultural subtext altogether:
1. Mexicans would see it as glorifying two teens who’ve made the worst mistakes they could make.
2. Gays won’t like the gay characters.
3. People against illegal immigration will be questioning the immigration status

and at the same time the general public would have missed half the picture. It’s as if Titanic had told the story of how the ship sailed right past the iceberg.

First, the good: Emily Rios as Magdalena and Chalo Gonzalez as her great-uncle Tomas are excellent. Jesse Garcia as Carlos delivers an outstanding, award-worthy performance.

And now for the rest:
The movie’s in English and Spanish with English subtitles. I went to the matinee on a rainy afternoon and not one person in the sparse audience other than myself understood what was going on: they chuckled at inappropriate times. While the subtitles were accurate, the actors’ delivery gave the dialogue meaning, which those not fluent in Spanish missed.

The entire movie takes place in Echo Park, LA, an up and coming area. Like the neighborhood, the Mexican people in the movie – all bilingual – are starting to break through to middle-class status. Magdalena’s boyfriend’s taking advanced placement exams and his parents expect him to go to college. Her cousin Eileen, the first quinceañera in the movie, comes from a family that can afford a beautiful new gown designed and sewn by Emily’s elegant and talented mother, and arrives to her party in a Hummer limo. Magdalena’s great uncle Tomas, who sells chaparrado in the neighborhood, has been living in Echo Park for 28 years on a property that’s sold to a gay couple who are restoring their newly-purchased home.

Magdalena’s father is the pastor of a small community church. He also works as a security guard and her mother wears scrubs so I assume she works as a healthcare worker. The family has only two children.

What this would mean in the real world is that
a. The pastor of a small church like that, along with his family, would be under intense pressure and scrutiny to lead exemplary lives. Magdalena’s pregnancy would have been a disaster because the father would have lost all credibility as pastor. One very important reason why Evangelical churches have taken root in Latin America is that their pastors strive to live exemplary lives: they’re out to show that they are better than the Catholic church. This is not a moot issue.
b. The small family size is a rarity and means that the parents have abstained from having more children, most probably for financial reasons, i.e., so the family can get ahead.
c. Magdalena’s pregnancy would be calamitous from the religious and economic standpoint, but also as a failure of their parenting. Her parents would realize every day that it’d mean that she’s going to drop out of school, possibly never to graduate, working in low-paying jobs forever, struggling to get child support from a man who didn’t even have intercourse with her. The movie doesn’t touch on what a bitter disappointment it would represent in the long term.
There is not one word coming out from Magdalena’s family as to whether the two teens should be forced to marry.

Apparently the movie also has the title Echo Park, and Magdalena’s pregnancy echos that of thousands of single Mexican girls in similar circumstances who are sentencing themselves to lives of penury.

Clearly, while Mexican teenage girls have very high pregnancy rates, Magdalena’s not the average Mexican girl.

Neither is her cousin Carlos, who gets seduced by his great-uncle Tomas’s landlords, Gary and James, both of which wear wedding bands. After Carlos has an affair with Gary, Tomas gets served with an eviction notice. At least the movie shows the calamitous effect this has on Tomas.

Carlos, who sports the tats and clothes of a gang member, apparently dropped the gang when he dropped out of high school (or possibly the gang expelled him for being gay?). The movie shows that Carlos’s father threw him out of their home for being gay, which is exactly what would have happened in real life. While Carlos talks of getting a job in show biz, he loses his real job at the car wash by vandalizing James’s car (the police never show up so one’s led to believe that James never called them – most unlikely, for sure). Carlos’s prospects are as grim as Magdalena’s, and would have been equally dismaying to his successful parents.

To his credit, Jesse Garcia’s outstanding portrayal of Carlos manages to bring out great humanity and depth of feeling to what otherwise would have been a slacker and petty criminal.

Injecting surrealism to the scene, Magdalena doesn’t even get pregnant the usual way, giving ocassion for her religious father’s acceptance of the “miracle”, but also to her boyfriend’s suggestion that “if it’s a boy we can name him Jesus” (a joke that went lost in the audience, since Jesus was pronounced in Spanish), not that that prevented him from skipping town.

The happy ending has Magdalena wearing a new maternity gown, Carlos escorting her, as they promenade out of a Hummer to Magdalena’s quinceanero while the Triumphal March plays on. While the ending couldn’t possibly be more contrived and ironic, the NYT bought the whole multi-culti enchilada

But it believes in its characters enough to leave you feeling that they will not only survive but also flourish.

What I would like to see is Treintañera, with an exhausted, world-weary 30-yr-old Magdalena trying to come up with the resources needed to celebrate her 15-yr-old’s birthday. For now, all that Carlos and Magdalena can celebrate at this point is regaining the acceptance of their parents. Let’s hope that will help them in the future.

Only those blinded by the “dazzling, multicultural diversity of the vibrant, inclusive, robust, colorful” Echo Park neighborhood will buy into the story of how these two intelligent, appealing teens set themselves up to lifetimes of sorrows in spite of their families’ best efforts.

Other links: Official website
Quinceañera: Just Dishonest Propaganda
Quinceanera Quackery
Quinceanera – Poster Boy

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Update: In a lighter vein, Geoffrey Chaucer looks at Serpentes on a Shippe! (spoylerez)

Birds on parade, how-to-videos, and today’s articles from Maria

Monday, August 28th, 2006

Hitchens’s bird
Hitchens Gives the Finger to Maher’s Audience for ‘Frivolous’ Jeering of Bush

More birds: Maynard vlogging
Steve has it.

Way to go, Jack!
Keifer gets the Emmy. Jack’s campaigning.

Via Not Exactly Rocket Science, Gene Simmons hails Israeli soldier

People of taste will have to hire large people in overcoats to stand in front of the ads and block them from view. (h/t: Francis Porretto, who just joined Reform Club)

Today’s articles from Maria:
The Cult of Soros

YouTube, Not me

How to Kill a Westerner

Why Britain Stopped the Terror Plot

Back to the basics: What the modern day feminist movement can learn from the suffragists

Radical feminists have forgotten the roots of feminism. They have distorted the term so much that many young women shy away from it, refusing to label themselves as feminists. They have reduced “women’s issues” to an incessant debate over reproductive rights, complaining about fictional forms of oppression ad nauseam in the process.

Worst of all, throughout all their complaining, the feminist movement ignores the plight of women around the world. Feminists from Hillary Clinton to Code Pink have even gone so far as to say that Iraqi women were better off under Saddam Hussein. Better off under an oppressive dictator? That hardly sounds like a voice of justice and equality for women.

Treat inmates with respect, prison staff are urged…

Soviet Ghosts Haunt the World Council of Churches

First Saint Christopher, now Pluto: Pluto gets the boot

How open borders turn Americans into roadkill

Press release:

My father had a mild form of aphasia: Can she see it in his eyes?

Via Beth, Careers and Marriage

A recipe: Salmon cakes

How-to video time!
Salud! How to make a Balsamic Vinegar Martini
Good manners whie eating bait: How to eat sushi
I can’t have any, but here’s How to make naan bread
Yet another reason to have bare wood floors: How to clean coffee from a carpet

Hurah for Tommy!

Update 2
What, no Katrina post or items?

"The blog is fried" grieving process

Friday, August 25th, 2006

I got up this morning, checked the stats for and found over 7,000 visitors yesterday, a new record, and 300 by 7AM. So I did a post and then when I went to view the blog itself, I found these words of doom:


The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to the site owner reaching his/her bandwidth limit. Please try again later.

Apache/1.3.37 Server at Port80
The grieving process started at exactly 8:15AM:

Denial and shock: At first, it may be difficult for you to accept the death
It can’t be! Just when I’m starting to get good volume! And I had 53 good comments on one post yesterday! No! No!

Anger: During this stage the most common question asked is “why me?”.
Actually, this stage went more like this: AAAARRGHHH!!
$^#&% &%&$*!!! &*%&$* Blogger!!
When given some social support and respect . . .
In a panic, I email several friends who turned out to be at least as clueless as myself. I called another friend who actually makes a living on computer stuff and who turned out to be the same. Then I emailed The Cotillion ladies, and was invited to post there. I reposted the post that got all the traffic this week, A hypotheses on why men’s lives are more difficult nowadays.
. . . you will eventually become less angry and able to move into the next stage of grieving.

Bargaining: Many students try to bargain with some sort of diety.
I emailed blogger. Read through the Blogger site to see
1. what the bandwith limits are
2. how to increase them.
Found absolutely nothing. What kind of idiots are they? Shouldn’t the purpose of a free site be to entice people to actually buy the product? Is Google making so much money they don’t need to SELL??
[See update below]

Guilt: You may find yourself feeling guilty for things you did or didn’t do prior to the loss. Forgive yourself. Accept your humanness.
Went to typepad and opened new blog. Should have done it earlier. Reposted the post I had done on Blogger.

Depression: You may at first experience a sense of great loss.
The whole thing is FRIED! FRIED!

Loneliness: As you go through changes in your social life because of the loss, you may feel lonely and afraid.
And all those visitors will never come back! And my links! And the meter! Noooo!

Acceptance: Acceptance does not mean happiness. Instead you accept and deal with the reality of the situation.
So now I’ll have to tell everybody about the new address. Peachy.

Hope: Eventually you will reach a point where remembering will be less painful and you can begin to look ahead to the future and more good times.
I”ll blog some more. . . on Monday.

(crossposted at The Cotillion)

UPDATE, Saturday August 26: SmadaNek enlightens the clueless:

The bandwidth limit is imposed by your web hosting provider, not Blogger.
They usually impose either hourly and daily limits, depending on how much you signed up to purchase.

Forgive me, Blogger, for I have sinned.

Update: Don’t miss The Carnival

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My brother and The Anchoress

Friday, August 25th, 2006

When my brother and I were little my brother was given one of those toys that safety regulations have relegated to the Antiques Shows of history: a splendid set of carpenters’ tools – real tools, only in 1:2 scale – in a wood case. Among the tools included were a real hammer, chisel and a small wood saw. (In case you’re wondering, we thrived and our fingers and toes remained intact, thank you). We used to live in a house with a front porch, and a few steps bordered by a ledge where Mom planted some flowers, that faced the front lawn.

One day I was playing in the front yard while my brother, who at the time was not old enough to go to school yet, was in the porch sawing a small wood board with his new saw. All of a sudden I tripped, fell down, and busted my upper lip and scraped my face and arm on the ledge. My brother witnessed the whole thing. He got my mom, who immediately got me in the house and summoned iodine, band-aids, ice pack, and comfort. After I stopped crying my mother heard a banging noise coming from the porch. Alarmed (the tool set wasn’t exactly her idea), she ran to the porch and found my brother banging the ledge with his hammer.
She asked him, “Why are you doing that?”
and he replied, “Because it hurt my sister.”

I remembered that incident yesterday when I read The Anchoress’ post Affection for the protector lads and He-men:

in thinking about this 25 year old picture, and men in general, I realized we don’t think of men as “protectors” any more

Men like my brother are born protectors.

The Anchoress’ son Buster, who concurs with my post on men, has been watching TV and

Much of pop culture causes him to get aggrivated, these days, but nothing does so more than the way men are served up to the national psyche by Madison Avenue.

Anyone who’s read a story knows that adversary relationships further the plot, and that sex sells. That’s why we’re still paying good money to go to Shakespeare comedies like Taming of the Shrew and Much Ado About Nothing, whose plots go like:

antagonism -> sexual attraction -> surrender.
Hardly surprising, then, that Madison Avenue and everyone flogging a script injects the first two every time they get a chance. Not being Shakespeare, they tend to omit the third, the result being that we, the public, are bombarded with little (ads) and big (movies, plays, soaps) stories portraying relations between men and women as inherently adversarial.

The ‘women are inherently better than men’ meme gets a lot of mileage because/from that. In either case, the message is that men are wrong in being what they can not help but be: being men.

The Anchoress remarks,

It’s a shame that our society seems interested only in the softer, more feminine sides of a man, or in making a man into a buffoon.

As I was saying the other day, men are not hirsute women with different plumbing. Additionally, men are not bufoons and will resent you and avoid you if that’s what you believe.

Men want to protect women.

Be glad they do.

The Anchoress, whose two sons are definitely protectors, says,

As capable as I am, I am happy to know that I am under their protection, and their father’s.

Amen to that.

My brother and I by the guilty ledge.

Update, Monday, August 28: Visit man-o-pause, “Providing Midlife Men a Place to Breathe”.

Update, Saturday September 9 In honor of three protectors

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The ambulance hoax, and today’s articles from Maria

Friday, August 25th, 2006

As Barcepundit said, “Another piece of propaganda that would have worked perfectly if it weren’t that the traditional media no longer monopolizes access to information”: The Red Cross Ambulance Incident: How the Media Legitimized an Anti-Israel Hoax and Changed the Course of a War

Today’s articles from Maria
Arabs’ last chance

Germans, Spared Until Now, Awaken to Reality of Terror Threat. Spared? What about Munich, 1972?

Time with your kids – the music of life

Dr. Sowell writes on The left and crime (part 1) part 2

More articles later.
Tony Blankley’s asking Are Bush’s critics right?

Intellectually curious George

The pedophile next door

Why the world hates America

A link to the INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES website.

Sigmund Carl and Alfred points the way to The new group therapy for the American male: Lawn Chair Drill Team

Fist Saint Christopher, now Pluto (hat tip Daniel