Monday, October 12, 2009

Eulogy for a smart and loyal dog

Chaffee died, at age 13, on Thursday night, from an auto-immune problem which damaged her spleen. Chaffee was my nephew Baron's dog, but belonged to the entire family: Bruce, Lisa, Courtney, and assorted relatives. I loved Chaffee as much as any dog ever, and am mourning. We all are. Heavy hearts. She was a special, very intelligent dog.

Chaffee on left, and Hoss on right. Chaffee was so named b/c she was the color of the muddy Atchafalaya River.

I missed some signs of her illness. Over a week or more, she had instances of shivering, and also instances of panting. I attributed these to the excitement of being in unfamiliar surroundings, or the excitement of wanting to go out in the truck somewhere. In retrospect, these were signs of illness. The vet told me dogs are stoic. Including as late as 30 hours before her death, Chaffee willingly went each evening for a run and walk, in a park or a field, with me and Hoss. She never whined as if she were in pain, never refused to go out and run, never displayed a lack of energy. I just did not consider that she was ill - until she got sick enough, on Thus, that she did not wish to move around normally.

God designed us to be imperfect, and I have a complaint against God: I do not wish to be imperfect in this fashion. I am angry at God, angry at myself. I ought be able to recognize when a dog is seriously ill. I could recognize it - now - after speaking with the vet, but did not recognize it last week. I apologize, Chaffee. These are my feelings: I suck eggs, the design of existence sucks eggs. It is consolation that Chaffee is in a peaceful place. Still, it's difficult to accept the wide scope of my imperfection.

Chaffee and Hoss are herding dogs. Chaffee was an Australian Cattle Dog known as a Red Heeler. Wikipedia has a description which perfectly describes Chaffee. I've bolded a few things:
"It is a medium-sized short-coated dog with a lot of energy, intelligence and an independent streak. [...] The Australian Cattle Dog ranks 10th in Stanley Coren's The Intelligence of Dogs, being one of the brightest dogs ranked by obedience command trainability.
The Australian Cattle Dog enjoys living with other dogs with whom it is familiar, working well in combination with other Cattle Dogs, Australian Kelpies, and Border Collies. Because of their plucky nature, the establishing of a pecking order can result in a few scuffles and bites.

It is important for an owner to quickly establish a hierarchy in which they are the dog's pack leader, otherwise the young Australian Cattle Dog may bond to a senior dog, rather than to its owner. Once this hierarchy is established however, the dog will bond very closely to its owner, or leader. The bond that this breed can create with its owner is very strong and will leave the dog feeling very protective towards the owner; typically resulting in the dog never being too far from the owner's side. If put in any situation where the dog feels threatened, and/or uncomfortable, it will usually resort to aggressiveness towards other, unknown dogs."

Chaffee was not a threat to bite a human. However, she would be protectively aggressive if other dogs were around. If you think about being a herding dog: when you are herding, if another animal approaches, that other animal 1) probably is a threat to the herd, and 2) probably needs to be attacked by you. When walking, Chaffee and Hoss would often ignore other humans. They were, however, keenly aware of other animals.

Chaffee and Hoss never feared big animals. Once, in Denham Springs, coming with Hoss and Chaffee out of a field, as I was just about to call them to apply leashes, a man came out of his house with a Rottweiler. Since the Rottweiler was unwilling to show deference to Hoss, Hoss quickly attacked. Thankfully, the man had the Rottweiler on one of those chains which bite into the dog's neck, and Hoss survived the encounter.

I doubt that Chaffee and Hoss are great fighters. However, with their understanding of body language: they are likely good at administering intelligent nips and counterbites which induce other dogs to depart the premises. Hoss actually came away from the Rottweiler encounter without a scratch - which is very lucky, but also is maybe testament to his instinctive combat ability: to his instinctive understanding of the body language and of the movements of other animals.

Heelers are evolutionarily designed to handle big animals via combat. Heelers either nip the heels of cattle or latch onto the noses of cattle. Heelers always dominate cattle: always get their way. The cattle never win, and it never occurs to Heelers that the cattle could win. Chaffee and Hoss kind of exhibited that around other dogs. I got the idea Chaffee and Hoss always expected to get their way with other dogs. Always.

Both were generally good around other dogs, but were never deferential. I was always vigilant with them: was always on the lookout for other dogs appearing in the distance. Once, in Denham Springs, when a dog came into their yard, Chaffee delivered a running linebacker hit which sent the other dog rolling.

Chaffee was very protective, and would use friendly combat on humans. She would mother us. Example: Bruce's garage was in back of his house. When Chaffee saw his vehicle coming, she wanted everyone out of the driveway. She would bark us out of the driveway to her satisfaction. If we did not bend to her will, she would grab our hands in her mouth and force us to do her bidding. Not kidding. She would not break the skin of your hand, but, unless you used your free hand to dislodge her mouth, you WOULD end up moving where she wanted you. Without using your free hand to help, you could not pull your bitten hand out of her mouth. I always thought I could do it, and tried, and never could. And she would move me. She was wonderfully independent in this way - like a smart mule, maybe - only a mule resists, and Chaffee's independence had more to do with action. When she saw something which needed doing, she was going to do it.

Chaffee also knew the sounds of different approaching vehicles, and would give a different bark announcing whomever in the family was approaching in a vehicle. When Baron and Courtney were children, Chaffee had specific barks to announce some of the various children who frequented Bruce and Lisa's house for play. Bruce and Lisa - Lisa especially - could often interpret Chaffee's bark and tell you who was approaching their house.

When we walked, Chaffee and Hoss would play about 50-100 yards out ahead of me, and would stay directly in line of where I was walking, and would follow my directions - even from a far distance away - regarding which direction they ought or ought not go.

We sometimes walked where there were no trails, and I would carefully pick my way up or down steepish hills. Chaffee would remain near the hills, to ensure I made it okay. If we walked down an incline and through a creek: Hoss would romp through the creek and be off on his never ending sniff for something to kill; Chaffee would wait to ensure I made it down the incline and through the creek. She knew my body language was not a romp, and that steep inclines and creeks were a comparative challenge for me, and she always kept an eye on me. She was a genius that way. Hoss is a boy: in search of action. Chaffee was a mother.

There are three new dogs next door. I've made friends w/two, the third still growls and barks at me. I would let Chaffee and Hoss out of the yard to load in the truck, and Hoss would be off to the truck. I would stop to pet the two next door dogs, and to try to win over the third dog. Chaffee would stand vigilantly at my side, to make sure I was okay, and would occasionally throw a snarl at the third dog, though she knew I did not approve of her snarls at him. She was a girl: she would not be fully controlled by anybody, she would do certain things which needed doing, and no man would stop her.

I miss her terribly.

All her life: she wanted me to rub her belly, and I refused. After I had yanked her from beside the river, and had clearly envisioned her potentially drowning in that river, I saw no reason to refuse to rub her belly anymore. She was an old dog, and would not be around forever, and I thenceforth rubbed her belly excessively. I'm glad about the belly rubbing. A favor from God.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

CNN's John King believes Washington, D.C. is out of touch with the rest of America

During a conversation about the Obama Administration's decision to overtly take on Fox News, CNN's John King reports - for benefit of persons around Washington - that middle America:
  • Dislikes Obama's principles and policies
  • Especially dislikes Obamacare
When King says "polarization", he is speaking of anger at Obama and at Obamacare:
In your travels, Wolfe - I travel quite a bit - and in your travels, you do get this polarization, and that is what the White House is worried about.

King feels he must report this because Washington area residents believe Fox News, as a ploy to increase ratings, is proactively ginning up opposition to Obama. King feels he must report - to noncomprehending persons in Washington - that middle Americans dislike Obama even before Fox News interjects coverage which CNN and Washingtonians believe is unfairly slanted.

King's assumption - that Washingtonians have no clue about the rest of America (an assumption which likely has merit, btw) - reminds of an American newspaper which spoke of creating a type of foreign correspondent who would cover red state/conservative America, reminds of University of Colorado's campaign to endow a chair in "Conservative Studies", reminds of NYT's stated plan to assign an anonymous reporter to scour the topics which conservative blogs are talking about.



Hollywood's Lionel Chetwynd is an interesting person. He shares interesting opinions. In their PJTV Poliwood series, Chetwynd and Roger Simon discuss Roman Polanski's defenders in context of the disconnect of the elites. PJTV link

Unrelated, yet in some ways more interesting, Chetwynd and Simon discuss why David Letterman believes he can crack some jokes and skate away from his infidelities and hypocrisies. PJTV link

They believe Letterman has faith in the protection of his own edgy personna. Problem: what used to be hip is no longer hip. Simon: "People who are 'edgy' are now square. 'Edgy' is the new square." Chetwynd:
Here's what happens: Hollywood pursues edge. Every time you go to a meeting: "Can you make it a bit edgier?"
Entourage is a very edgy show. But [they want it] to get edgier. So, from where it began, which was kind of interesting ... it's now just strings of bad language, and it's lost any meaning that it may once have had....

That edginess, in which everything gets reduced to a kind of animal behavior, which happens in everything they do in show business - in everything Hollywood does about itself - creates in the audience a sense that everything [i.e. every accomplishment] is about luck.
Edginess for it's own sake is disappearing from television, and the shows that are beginning to succeed are the shows that are more traditional. And that may be a statement of the hard times, or it may be possibly due to [audience] satiation with the smart asses.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Senator Jim DeMint, God bless him, goes to Honduras

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has made a vague claim that U.S. support of Zelaya - which support necessarily amounts to U.S. hostility to Honduras' democratic government and to the Honduran Constitution - is designed to pull the rug from underneath Chavez. Secretary Clinton's rationale explodes Occam's Razor into shreds. I believe Hillary Clinton is lying, and have not seen anyone who believes she is speaking truth.

If she is speaking truth, the policy is still counterproductive. As a matter of principle, as a statement to the world, the United States of America ought not support Hugo Chavez style dictatorship.

I started to write: the United States of America does not support Hugo Chavez style dictatorship. Yet, supporting dictatorship is exactly what the United States policy has been since June. Therefore, we ought not support what we actually have been supporting.

Why does the United States of America support dictatorship in Honduras? Many weeks ago, I agreed with Senator DeMint's current conclusion: President Obama knee jerked a wrongful policy, then would not publicly admit his error, and U.S. policy is now "a mistake in search of a rationale".

However, in ensuing months, the United States has taken proactive steps to oppose Honduran democracy. I conclude I was wrong in assuming an initial, knee jerk error by Pres. Obama, and I conclude Senator DeMint is now wrong in assuming same. If Pres. Obama merely refused to admit error, then Pres. Obama would not now be proactively supporting the budding dictator Zelaya: Pres. Obama would not have revoked U.S. visas which are held by Honduran citizens, Pres. Obama would not have cut off U.S. foreign aid to Honduras. The facts argue for these conclusions:

a. Pres. Obama values talented leadership over constitutional democracy
b. Pres. Obama believes Zelaya is a talented leader who will be good for Honduras.

I cannot read Pres. Obama's mind, and therefore I do not know a & b above to be true. I do assert, based on the facts of Pres. Obama's actions, a & b above represent the likeliest scenario.

I suspect this: President Obama neither understands nor values the way in which freedom inspires the human soul. President Obama believes: if there is an equitable amount of chicken in every pot, then the people will be as happy and as well off as they can be.

President Obama's failure to understand the soul-uplifting importance of freedom is President Obama's failure to understand the magic of the United States of America; is President Obama's failure to understand the meaning of "American exceptionalism"; is the reason - above all others - President Obama ought never have been nominated for or elected to the Presidency. Barack Obama swore to protect and defend a Constitution whose purpose he neither understands nor values. American exceptionalism doesn't mean American people are better than other people. Heck American people ARE other people: our populace is drawn from every region of the world. American exceptionalism means America's constitutional freedoms and protections unleash the spirit and creativity of the American people.

The second likeliest Honduras policy scenario is that Pres. Obama's administration is so FUBAR that President Obama is ignorant of the facts on the ground in Honduras. This scenario is possible, yet is, imo, unlikely.

The third likeliest scenario is that the Honduran government is corrupt, and the Honduran Supreme Court and the Honduran Congress are engaged in a massive conspiracy for purpose of keeping a wealthy ruling class (themselves) in power, for purpose of blocking badly needed reforms which would aid the poorer classes of Honduran people. In this scenario, Zelaya is a visionary and noble reformer who aims to help the downtrodden Honduran people via the device of rewriting the outdated Honduran Constitution (and - if you've any sense at all, and any willingness to consider the facts - via installing himself as President For Life a la Chavez). This scenario is the one believed by the American leftists who support Zelaya and who support Pres. Obama's actions to revoke Honduran visas and to cut off foreign aid to Honduras. This scenario is extremely, extremely unlikely. It would require that Zelaya be the one visionary and noble man, and the entire Honduran Supreme Court and Congress be corrupt and ignoble men. It would require it be happenstance that Zelaya has failed to explain what parts of the Honduran Constitution require reform. The leftists who profess to believe this scenario are dupes and/or hypocrites who favor more power for socialist style governments. These leftists are useful idiots.

If Zelaya and Pres. Obama truly wanted to reform an oppressive Honduran Constitution, then Zelaya and Pres. Obama would proffer examples of where and why the Honduran Constitution is oppressive. They have proffered no examples because significant examples do not exist. Further, the Honduran Constitution is completely flexible and amendable, having only four provisions which cannot be amended (two of these non amendable provisions have to do with Presidential succession), and having been amended over one hundred times in its two+ decades of existence.


Senator Jim DeMint, in WSJ:
After visiting Tegucigalpa last week and meeting with a cross section of leaders from Honduras's government, business community, and civil society, I can report there is no chaos there. There is, however, chaos to spare in the Obama administration's policy toward our poor and loyal allies in Honduras.

That policy was set in a snap decision the day Mr. Zelaya was removed from office, without a full assessment of either the facts or reliable legal analysis of the constitutional provisions at issue. Three months later, it remains in force, despite mounting evidence of its moral and legal incoherence.

While in Honduras, I spoke to dozens of Hondurans, from nonpartisan members of civil society to former Zelaya political allies, from Supreme Court judges to presidential candidates and even personal friends of Mr. Zelaya. Each relayed stories of a man changed and corrupted by power. The evidence of Mr. Zelaya's abuses of presidential power—and his illegal attempts to rewrite the Honduran Constitution, a la Hugo Chávez—is not only overwhelming but uncontroverted.

As all strong democracies do after cleansing themselves of usurpers, Honduras has moved on.

The presidential election is on schedule for Nov. 29. Under Honduras's one-term-limit, Mr. Zelaya could not have sought re-election anyway. Current President Roberto Micheletti—who was installed after Mr. Zelaya's removal, per the Honduran Constitution—is not on the ballot either. The presidential candidates were nominated in primary elections almost a year ago, and all of them—including Mr. Zelaya's former vice president—expect the elections to be free, fair and transparent, as has every Honduran election for a generation.

Indeed, the desire to move beyond the Zelaya era was almost universal in our meetings. Almost.

In a day packed with meetings, we met only one person in Honduras who opposed Mr. Zelaya's ouster, who wishes his return, and who mystifyingly rejects the legitimacy of the November elections: U.S. Ambassador Hugo Llorens.

When I asked Ambassador Llorens why the U.S. government insists on labeling what appears to the entire country to be the constitutional removal of Mr. Zelaya a "coup," he urged me to read the legal opinion drafted by the State Department's top lawyer, Harold Koh. As it happens, I have asked to see Mr. Koh's report before and since my trip, but all requests to publicly disclose it have been denied.

On the other hand, the only thorough examination of the facts to date—conducted by a senior analyst at the Law Library of Congress—confirms the legality and constitutionality of Mr. Zelaya's ouster. (It's on the Internet here.)

Unlike the Obama administration's snap decision after June 28, the Law Library report is grounded in the facts of the case and the intricacies of Honduran constitutional law. So persuasive is the report that after its release, the New Republic's James Kirchick concluded in an Oct. 3 article that President Obama's hastily decided Honduras policy is now "a mistake in search of a rationale."

The Hondurans I met agree. All everyone seemed to want was a chance to make their case, or at least an independent review of the facts.

So far, the Obama administration has ignored these requests and instead has repeatedly doubled down. It's revoked the U.S. travel visas of President Micheletti, his government and private citizens, and refuses to talk to the government in Tegucigalpa. It's frozen desperately needed financial assistance to one of the poorest and friendliest U.S. allies in the region. It won't release the legal basis for its insistence on Mr. Zelaya's restoration to power. Nor has it explained why it's setting aside America's longstanding policy of supporting free elections to settle these kinds of disputes.

But these elections are the only way out—a fact even the Obama administration must see. The Honduran constitution prohibits Zelaya's return to power. The election date is set by law for Nov. 29. The elections will be monitored by international observers and overseen by an apolitical body, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, whose impartiality and independence has been roundly praised, even by Ambassador Llorens.

America's Founding Fathers—like the framers of Honduras's own constitution—believed strong institutions were necessary to defend freedom and democracy from the ambitions of would-be tyrants and dictators. Faced by Mr. Zelaya's attempted usurpations, the institutions of Honduran democracy performed as designed, and as our own Founding Fathers would have hoped.

Hondurans are therefore left scratching their heads. They know why Hugo Chávez, Daniel Ortega and the Castro brothers oppose free elections and the removal of would-be dictators, but they can't understand why the Obama administration does.

They're not the only ones.

Mr. DeMint, a Republican senator from South Carolina, is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.



At NRO, Andy McCarthy asks why "the State Department is stonewalling Congress on the legal reasoning behind the administration's support for Chavez-wannabe, Manuel Zelaya"? McCarthy's answer indicts the State Department's top lawyer, i.e. the author of the mysteriously hidden legal opinion which ostensibly gives reasons for supporting Zelaya: Harold Koh.

As Ed Whelan and I pointed out when Koh was up for confirmation, the former Yale Law School dean is the nation's leading transnationalist. He has zero respect for national constitutions (including ours), preferring a post-sovereign order in which international law profs, transnational organizations, and free-lancing judges will be our overlords. What is happening with Honduras is exactly what anyone who familiarized himself with Koh's record would have predicted. Yet, he was confirmed by a 62-35 margin, with support from the usual GOP suspects: Lugar, Voinovich, Snowe, Collins, and Martinez.

Will these Republicans who helped foist Koh on us now join others demanding that President Transparency release Koh's legal opinion on Honduras?
McCarthy's observations are consistent with my speculation that President Obama fails to understand and to value constitutional freedoms and protections.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Texas Rangers rant

B/c I am a fan - which is to say: a fanatic - I left a largely quixotic comment on a DMN Rangers Blog posting of an Evan Grant online chat with Michael Young, Ian Kinsler, and Marlon Byrd. Quixotic or not, at least the rant helped me vent some frustration, and so was fun in that way. If Michael Young improves his defense in 2010, I'm claiming credit for it.

Posted by gcotharn @ 6:09 PM Fri, Oct 09, 2009

Jon Daniels:
"Kinsler is ... too smart not to make adjustments [to his uppercut swing]."

No, Kinsler is not "too smart", as demonstrated by his apparent blindness to the way his pop up at bats and fly ball at bats hurt the team this season. Rather, Kinsler is not wise enough, in this instance, to correct the problem.

If Kinsler's hitting ever recovers, he will attribute it to "raising my hands about 4 inches, and going to RF more". It's easy to see that is what he needs, even though I am just a stupid fan who doesn't understand the value of an ocean-full of fly ball outs from Ian Kinsler.

All three of the players do a decent job of grinding pitchers and drawing walks, yet they do not do an excellent job, and could all improve. If the team is going to the next level, they ought be leading the way in this area. The younger hitters look to them. These three guys set the tone, and they have not set a tone of excellence in this area. I am disturbed that none seem to show awareness of their lack of excellence in this area. They are good in this area, but are not excellent. For team leaders, for players whom younger players are looking to for guidance: good is not good enough. The Rangers 2009 failure was mostly about inadequate selectivity at the plate. The Rangers 2010 improvement will be mostly about improving the team's selectivity at the plate. Either these guys will set the tone, or the team will fail again. Further, playoff history is littered with free swinging offense which were shut down cold in playoff series. The Oakland A's Bash Brothers teams come to mind. They underachieved in playoff series, and lack of selectivity was the reason.

Re: Kinsler
I suspect the same hardheadedness which got him to the major leagues, which is his great strength and is the source of his mental toughness, is now stifling him. He made it b/c he did it his way when all around him did not believe he could. Now, that same drive is hurting him. He is in denial about the damage his uppercut swing is doing to both his career and to the team.

Finally, if Michael Young is somehow reading this:
on defense, you are too high at the moment the batter makes contact, and it is killing your range. You ought not have to dive horizontally and then vertically car crash to the hard packed dirt. Ouch. Rather, bend your knees in the ready position, get your buttocks lower, and then dive horizontally while only inches from the ground. A defensive dive ought be smooth and comfy, yet your defensive dives are both painful and dangerous (to your ribs). Worse, your defensive dives are ineffective. They hurt the team.

One more: when you wait on throws, you are also too high. You are catching the throw and then lowering your buttocks towards the runner. Your buttocks ought already be down there. The only thing which ought be lowered towards the runner is your glove. But you lower your buttocks after the catch, which wastes time and allows some dead duck runners to become live ducks.

Mine is an arrogant comment. However, I've no other chance, ever, to get word through to Michael Young. Call me Don Quixote.

I know why President Obama won the Nobel Prize

Instapundit reader: “Let’s be fair . . . he did pull off the Beer Summit.”


First, I'm going to describe the reaction which is not my reaction, yet is the reaction of much of the world:
Wha? Barack Obama wins the Nobel Prize? ?!? Bewildering. Up is down. Sky is ground. Black is white. Light is dark. Cats and dogs playing together. Reality is bent. Truth no longer exists.
That reaction is premised on the Nobel Prize being something of legitimacy and value. The premise is invalid, as shown by the Nobel Prize awarded to Jimmy Carter for - and a member of the Nobel Committee admitted this publicly - criticizing U.S. President George W. Bush. Therefore, since I previously had only laughable disdain for the Nobel Committee, my reaction is:
ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha (head into hands, shoulders heaving with laughter) ha ha ha ha ha ha ha (gasping for air) ha ha ha ha ha ha ha (tears of laughter beginning to form) ha ha ha ha ha ha ha (reaching for Kleenex to wipe tears, gasping for breath) ha ha ha ha ha ha ha (gasping for breath) omg! ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha I've got to calm down ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Oh! Stop it! Stop it! ha ha ha ha ha ha ha (etc)
Just writing that brought on a new round of laughter which threatened break out into uncontrollability.

But, I have a theory - which, maybe, will not be written anywhere else in the blogosphere:

This award demonstrates that the Nobel Committee recognizes both President Obama’s fundamental weakness and President Obama’s fundamental narcissism. This award is bestowed in an attempt to flatter President Obama; in an attempt to influence his future actions in directions of which the Nobel Committee approves. It will work. President Obama is just that weak. President Obama is just that narcissistic. Even the Jerry Lewises on the Nobel Prize Committee can see it.



Take it away, 2008 Bill Clinton:
Obama's claims about his accomplishments and his political past, and "the sanitizing coverage of the media": "is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen".

Take it away, Rush Limbaugh (whose thinking parallels my own):
"The Nobel gang just suicide-bombed themselves. [...] They love a weakened, neutered U.S. and this is their way of promoting that concept."

Take it away, Balfegor:
This just reinforces my ongoing impression that we've been living out a satire for the past year or two. We elected a callow nobody as President on the strength of a few vacuous speeches. The healthcare debate -- driving trillions of dollars in anticipated future expenditures -- got turned around by comments someone scrawled on Facebook, and now the Nobel Peace Prize committee has decided to award prizes for good intentions. It's like no one's even serious about anything anymore. None of it matters. It's the Society of the Spectacle.
What Balfegor is closing on understanding: this is what happens when truth is opinion; when intellectual discrimination is castigated as evil "judgment"; when society will not step up and say: this is good, this is bad, this is right, this is wrong. Many in our society will not even step up and say the forcible rape of a 13 year old girl is wrong; will slink in fear of publishing cartoons; will not even step up and condemn Arab terrorists who shot thousands of rockets into Israel from Gaza. Balfegor says: "It's like no one's even serious about anything anymore." That's exactly correct, because our societal principles and standards are fading into mist. Continual assault has weakened them; has cowed the less brave and less hardy amongst us. When principles and standards and moral courage are weakened, what are we left with? "The Society of the Spectacle." Exactly so.

Friday Hot: Sweet Patti Ann Browne

The moniker reminds of:

In "The Big Sleep", which I watched two nights ago, every actress was early to mid 20ish, or maybe actually aged 19 or 20. Therefore, and this is not the fault of the actresses, but: taken as a group, they were a bit boring. A young actress can spice a movie, yet spice is not a main course. I was wishing for one fully mature (read: fully interesting) woman to appear in that movie.

Below, the fully interesting Patti offers fluffy and lightly profanegue meringue. Fine with me, as I'm down with whatever the Notorious PAB offers.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

"The Big Sleep": chiaroscuro, ingenues, labyrinthine plot

chiaroscuro [kee-ahr-uh-skyoor-oh]
interplay of light and shadow; of light and darkness

I just love that word. I like the sound of it: musical and beautiful. The sound is like the sounds of beautiful American Indian names - such as Tawakanee [tuh wah' kah nee], which is another word I love to say, and which I sometimes repeat several times, just for the pleasure of saying it and listening to it: Tawakanee Tawakanee Tawakanee wahkuh wahkuh wahkuh ( wahkuh wahkuh like the Pac Men in the video game).

Last night, watched "The Big Sleep" on YouTube. Lauren Bacall's profile is amazing. The women in the movie are gorgeous, and it's a running joke (or should be a running joke) that every woman is half Bogart's age and yet falls for Bogart's Phillip Marlowe, including:

Bacall's character's sister, played by the drop dead gorgeous Martha Vickers.

Dorothy Malone:

Dorothy Malone had a nice career in Hollywood. If you're my age, you might remember that she played an authoress who was one of Sharon Stone's lovers in Basic Instinct

Even Joy Barlowe, a barely known actress in a tiny, uncredited role, was charming in an American girl way. You can watch Joy at this link, at 7:45 and at 8:45.

Excellent "The Big Sleep" webpage. Identifying photos of all actors.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

My niece the irresistible

A few years ago, a friend saw my niece - Bruce's and Lisa's daughter, Courtney - and said: "WOW, is that your NIECE?! She looks GREAT!"

Until my friend said that, I had certainly noticed my niece was lovely, yet had never fully considered her man-attracting qualifications. So, I exhaled a deep sigh - because, for me, this was kind of a sad moment - and turned back to my niece, and took a new look at her: yep, she had 5'6" of everything a man would be interested in. Oh well, life moves forward. The girl who used to be my little niece was now entering the irresistible zone, i.e. the zone of female life cycle which is designed by God to ensure regeneration of the species. Here's Courtney, having walked from a restaurant to have a couple of quick photos snapped on the beach:

Courtney Cotharn: Supernaturally designed to be irresistible to men

Some weeks ago, Courtney's friend Lee Ann called and said Wrangler was filming a commercial in Baton Rouge, and Courtney should go down there. Courtney went, and found well over 500 girls had assembled. Wrangler selected 10, including Courtney. They put her in a Cowboy hat. She is 3rd girl from the right in this poster:

And they made her the fan girl star of a Wrangler commercial which is playing on CMT (Country Music Television), and also in Cavender's Boot City stores. video link Courtney only appears for two flashing instants, but they do set up the lighting so your eye is drawn to her. First, after the singer jumps down onto the stage, Wrangler flashes a jump cut image of Courtney, in her hat, cheering beatifically upwards. At the very end of the commercial, Wrangler makes Courtney the last fan girl you see. Courtney got $100 and 3 2 pair of Wranglers. Score!

Separately, a week ago, Bruce and Baron and Courtney were visiting family in Arizona, and drove to Las Vegas for a day. The kids went to see magician Criss Angel. Courtney was selected from the audience to go onstage. Criss Angel gave her a stuffed animal, and a kiss, and then disappeared in front of her. Cool. All in a day's work for a girl in the irresistible zone.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

"When you are a radical, what you are thinking of is power"

huxley, commenting at neoneocon's post: "The willingness to believe that two plus two makes five", quotes reformed radical David Horowitz:
It’s all instrumental — that is, when you are a radical, what you are thinking of is power. It’s about power. You adopt this position. You take up that issue, but it’s all to advance the power. They never think about what it’s going to look like or how to put it together.

I can tell you, a radical never spends five seconds on thinking what makes a society work. That’s not the way they work. They want to know, you know, what they can get away with to advance this big agenda, which is you get power and you change everything.
I respect David Horowitz' opinions. He was on the inside of the communist movement in America.


Seeking Power

I'm beginning to think of "left" and "right" as "those who seek power" and "those who seek truth". If a person believes objective truth exists, and if a person is seeking truth, that person is in my tribe. I don’t care where they fall on any social issue, on economics, on foreign policy.

If the person doesn’t believe objective truth exists; if the person believes “truth” amounts to mere opinion; if the person is, in conversation, seeking to win the conversation (as opposed to seeking to find the truth); if the person’s objective, ultimately, is the accumulation of power (for ultimate purpose of creating some type of fundamental change in society or in governance), than that person is not of my tribe. And that’s the way I am thinking about it, more and more.


Radical Priorities

This Horowitz quote:
I can tell you, a radical never spends five seconds on thinking what makes a society work. That’s not the way they work. They want to know, you know, what they can get away with to advance this big agenda, which is you get power and you change everything.
reminded of this Larry Grathwohl video, about his days undercover inside the Weather Underground:

Monday, October 05, 2009

Because Tilda Swinton said so?

Good writing, from Stephen Green:
Here’s a (very) partial list of the celebrities demanding that Roman Polanski be released:
Martin Scorcese, Woody Allen, David Lynch, Wim Wenders, Pedro Almodovar, Tilda Swinton and Monica Bellucci.
What does this group have in common? Well, they’re all very talented. And also batshit crazy. There’s not one person on this list you would trust your child with. [...] Do any of the others seem to have a solid enough connection to reality to keep your kid safe and not somehow set him on fire?
My guess is, that general weirdness is so common among entertainment-types, that it’s easy to overlook a little rape now and then. We see what these folks get away with in broad daylight — what could they possibly be doing when the shades are drawn? And so Whoopi sees Polanski in handcuffs and at some level might think, “There but for the grace of God go I.” And you can probably trace a straight line from Whoopi all the way down through the D-list.

All the above is, of course, pure speculation. But I have a little more of it for you before I set this topic aside — hopefully never to bring it up again.

America was willing to forgive Hollywood’s obscene salaries, comically high divorce rate, the sexual escapades, and all the rest. After all, here in the heartland, we wouldn’t mind having tons more money and sex. Hollywood, like the movie screen, shines with our own desires, embiggened.

But child rape? There’s a line there even hardened criminals won’t cross — and we’re supposed to forgive and forget?

Because Tilda Effing Swinton said so? And who is she again?

Green is onto something: some Hollywoods don't want to make a moral judgment, b/c then they are open to being judged. They prefer: There is no truth, there is only opinion. What right have we to judge the way others live their lives? They are, of course, hypocrites who pass judgments on others in 9000 ways. But they don't see that. What they see, what they tightly embrace, is their rationalization for getting their way, their mantra: There is no truth, there is only opinion. What right have we to judge the way others live their lives? This rationalization is what the Polanski reaction highlights. Some Hollywoods WILL NOT draw a moral line in the sand, even at the rape-rape of a teen.

And it was rape-rape. Roman Polanski drugged a 13 year old girl, used physical force while the incapacitated girl said "No", and raped AND sodomized her. But, hey, what right have we to judge?

And Stephen Green is correct about hardened criminals. In a penitentiary, one thing you especially don't want to be is a child molester. Your peers will have no mercy on you. Even convicts draw that line in the sand, and definitively. Some Hollywoods will not.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

THIS is the way to communicate


An EVEN BETTER way to communicate: Tracy Walsh tells her health care story, and contrasts her care and her healthcare options with those of her Canadian relatives. Tracy's genuineness is compelling. I don't know her, but I know her: I know a thousand women like her.

Something else: contrast Tracy Walsh with the stories President Obama tells in his speeches - stories which, upon investigation in the blogosphere, almost invariably turn out to have been apocryphal. In short: President Obama, again and again and again, has lied to us; has again and again and again referenced individual instances of alleged healthcare hardship which did not happen and were lies. In "town hall" meetings, even some of the persons whom President Obama has called upon to tell their stories have turned out to be liars.

Given that some Americans surely have had difficulties negotiating the American healthcare system: how sloppy and how cynical does the Obama Administration have to be to consistently present the American public with lies? Can't they at least do due diligence to discover Americans who have ACTUALLY had difficulties? Further, if the Obama Administration is this sloppy and this cynical in these instances, what ELSE is the Obama Administration sloppy and cynical about?


Friday, October 02, 2009

Video: Tarzan and Jane

I like athletic women, and there's nothing not to like here. This was pre-code Hollywood, i.e. before the various restrictions:


Winged "Solve the Problem"

I made this poster! At this website:

"I'm not interested in victory. I want to solve the problem."
--President Barack Obama, Sept. 2009
I made this poster merely to learn how to make posters at the web site. I threw it together in 1 minute flat, with hardly a thought, from a photo stored in my picture files.

However, in retrospect, the message of the poster has value. The work of art: "Winged Victory of Samothrace", speaks to the human soul; speaks to our longing for communion with the Supernatural.

Freedom, also, speaks to the human soul. Barack Obama, and many on the worldwide left, do not get that. They think humans want food and shelter. We also want to feed our souls.

This is why Barack, and many on the worldwide left, do not understand the Iranian revolution. Barack thinks: Iranians have many freedoms. Why do they make such a fuss about acquiring a few more freedoms? Barack doesn't get the human craving to feed the soul.

This is why Barack, and many on the worldwide left, continue to believe socialism, and even communism, is a viable model. Barack doesn't get that socialism and communism make little or no room for the desires of the human soul.

So, I'm liking the poster more and more. "Victory" denotes a higher victory which cannot be fully described; can only be experienced in fleeting glimpses. "Solve the problem" denies the soul; denies the craving of the soul for Supernatural communion. The contrast is striking.


Related End Zone: Winged Victory, & Do Your Best

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Afghanistan; Tribes; Victory; Citizenship

Every 4 or 5 months, I begin a blogpost about Afghanistan. I write out a bunch of thoughts and bullet points, and attempt to organize the entire picture: historic, ethical and humane, strategic threat, military capability, costs and benefits, political capability and political circumstance. Each time: the post goes nowhere, is jumbled, and I end up deleting every bit of it. You are grateful.

Which is to say: I recommend this Ed Morrissey interview with Michael Yon. It's better than any of my attempts to wrestle with the subject of Afghanistan. My take-aways:
  • Some Afghan cities are governed. However, in the vast majority of Afghanistan: there is no country to be conquered or governed. There are, instead, multiple regions which are ruled by multiple multiple tribes, and have been for millennia. The people have never been governed; have no concept of "citizen"; only understand tribe; only desire tribe.
  • The U.S. can win, i.e. can induce modernity.
  • It will take 100 years. "Victory" must be redefined.
  • Conditions are turning against the U.S. We have the good will of many Afghans, yet that good will is waning. A year from now, we may have crossed a significant negative threshold in terms of lost good will and lost co-operation. We need to better protect the people. We need to better ingratiate ourselves w/the people. Both objectives require more troops. In this theater, it takes a year to organize and effectively move in troops. Therefore, we face a crucial moment right now: if we want to win, if we want to remain viable and strong, we must act quickly and decisively to approve a troop increase. A further problem: if we don't act now to enable an increase in troops, the international coalition of forces could break up within the next year.

Also, I highly recommend author Stephen Pressfield(The Legend of Baggar Vance; Gates of Fire)'s series of short videos on tribalism. Required viewing. Pressfield, also, believes we can win in Afghanistan; believes, however, Americans have little understanding of how tribalism works and of how strong a force tribalism is; believes Americans understand neither how "victory" in Afghanistan will actually look, nor how many decades it will take.

Should we win in Afghanistan? Is the cost worth the benefit?

The question tortures. Not that my opinion makes much more than the tiniest whit of difference, but: a whit is a still a whit. I'm going to say yes. The world is a dangerous place, and the United States is better off engaged than disengaged. Over 10-20 years, we can bring along the Afghan Army and decrease our troop commitment. Over the long term, we can fight with ever smaller numbers of highly trained professional soldiers, and we can heavily advise Afghan Army officers who will command increasingly larger numbers of forces.

Why will it take so long to create an effective Afghan Army?

Commanders. In any army, it takes years and years to grow effective Captains and Colonels and Generals. An army may have a small number of brilliant commanders who develop quickly (and who are highly susceptible to hubris and rashness). However, you need solid and dependable commanders throughout an organizational structure. It takes years and years to put this into place.

It churns my stomach to say the cost of fighting in Afghanistan is worth the benefit. We individual citizens of this republic are not divorced from our own tiny yet definite pieces of moral responsibility for U.S. actions. And we're not off the moral hook if we oppose U.S. action in Afghanistan. Bloody consequences will ensue from that course of action, as well. Our hands do not get to be clean.

Is my opinion that the cost is worth the benefit influenced by my own hubris and rashness? Maybe. Still: we can win and we ought win. Victory. We are safer, and we do greater things, if we grasp the belt buckle of the enemy and pull ourselves stomach to stomach with him. We are in greater danger if we remain arms length distant and allow the enemy to build momentum for great punches.

What would happen if we pull out and abandon Afghanistan to its fate?

We did this once before, after the Soviets were defeated, and it led directly to 9/11/01. Such might not happen again - or it might.

What would certainly happen, imo, if we withdraw, is that America would suffer from choosing to be less than great. America is best when she is called to greatness. The cause in Afghanistan is worthy of a great nation. The worldwide cause of opposing 6th Century religious fanaticism is a great cause; is worthy of a great nation.

The best argument for withdrawal, imo, is that GWB's aggressive War on Terror scared the bejeebers out of radical Islam, and therefore it will be a while before any coherent and semi powerful (read: targetable) Islamic group launches significant attack against U.S. interests. This is a good argument, and I hope it is true.

A counter argument might be that it's best for America to stay constantly on war footing, and thus constantly (re both domestic politics and militarily) in a state of readiness and alertness. We are the leaders of the West. The Islamists desire to destroy the West, and thus desire to destroy us. Scary new weapons (chemical weapons, biological weapons, et al) are always coming into existence. It is insanity for us to ignore the threat, and to say: "pish, they are no threat to us", and to sleep through another "end of history" decade like the 1990s.

Having said all this: it's my judgment that Barack is laying the political groundwork to justify pulling out of Afghanistan. We shall see. It appears that Barack is planting hints - about pulling out - which act as probes: how will the media and the public react? The media and the public are not reacting not at all. The media want us out of Afghanistan; the public never wants war. The media and public reaction is sealing the deal. I expect we'll be coming out soon.