Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Life imitates art...

Anybody who ever saw the movie Real Genius figured this already happened:


A U.S. Pentagon invention could make air combat resemble a battle scene from the movie 'Star Wars' with a laser so small it can fit on a fighter jet, yet powerful enough to knock down an enemy missile in flight.

. . . .

To date, such lasers have been so bulky because of the need for huge cooling systems to stop them overheating, that they had to be fitted to large aircraft such as jumbo jets, New Scientist magazine reported on Wednesday.

But the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency reckons it has solved the problem by merging liquid and solid state lasers to cut the size and weight by "an order of magnitude", according to its Web site.

Liquid lasers can fire a continuous beam but need large cooling systems, while solid state laser beams are more intense but have to be fired in pulses to stop them overheating.

"We've combined the high energy density of the solid state laser with the thermal management of the liquid laser," New Scientist quoted project manager Don Woodbury as saying.



Also, there's a guy living in Don Woodbury's closet.

But wait! There's more!

Ron Popeil has sold Ronco to a holding company for $55 million dollars to be made in "two easy payments" of "$40 million now and $15 million later."

Friday, August 26, 2005

The Zionists are everywhere....

Evidently some paper cups, contaminated by Israeli cooties, were used in a Saudi Arabian hospital.


“We were shocked and angry,” said an employee. “How can Israeli products be allowed and how did they enter this hospital?” he asked.

. . . .

The paper cups were quickly withdrawn from use but might there not be other, less obvious, Israeli products in our shops and marketplaces?


Boy, I hope not...

A bad name bonanza

I don't know whose name is worse: "Punky Brewster" star Soleil Moon Frye or her newborn daughter -- Poet Sienna Rose Goldberg.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Cindy Sheehan should meet the President

Laurence Simon gets it exactly right.

Read all the way to the end. Trust me.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Great Ad!

Excellent!

Dead Guy In Trunk of Cab Promotes 'Sopranos': "To promote HBO's Sopranos, BBDO . . . placed life-like arms hanging out of a few cabs. New or old, we still think it's a great piece of advertising."

Least Surprising Headline of the Year Award

Today's Washington Post: "Folk Singer Supports Anti-War Protesters."

You're kidding. A folk singer supports the anti-war protesters? I can't believe it?!

News would be David Crosby or someone standing up and saying, "This isn't Vietnam, guys. The '60s are over. There really are bad people out there, and this is going to help."

But they won't. They don't have the guts to take on "the folk man." I know this because I know what happened to my father. My father is a former folk singer, and after he courageously took a stand against the folk establishment and changed his party affiliation to "Republican," we were awakened at 2:30AM by the earth-shoe wearing folk police, who rapped at our door and, brandishing a warrant on recycled, bleach-free paper, seized my father's guitars and served him with a restraining order (this one on paper manufactured from a hemp by-product) forbidding him from going within 50 yards of "The Bitter End."

Now, when we are in the Village, my father, in order to comply, must ensure he is on the south side of Bleecker Street between Thompson and LaGuardia, and although I know it hurts him, he holds his head up high, secure in the knowledge that he has done the right thing, much as it may have cost him.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Lord Haw Haw Redux

British MP George Galloway is apparently the new Lord Haw Haw. MEMRI has excerpts from some interviews and speeches on Arab TV in which he states:


Two of your beautiful daughters are in the hands of foreigners - Jerusalem and Baghdad. The foreigners are doing to your daughters as they will. The daughters are crying for help, and the Arab world is silent. And some of them are collaborating with the rape of these two beautiful Arab daughters. Why? Because they are too weak and too corrupt to do anything about it. So this is what Sykes-Picot will do to the Arabs. Are you ready to have another hundred years like the hundred years you just had?

. . . .

America is losing the war in Iraq, and even the Americans now admit it. Even the puppet ministers and regime in Baghdad know it. The former puppet minister (Iyad) Allawi admitted it three times in the last month. America is losing the war in Iraq. And this will not change. The resistance is getting stronger every day, and the will to remain as an occupier by Britain and America is getting weaker everyday. Therefore, it can be said, truly said, that the Iraqi resistance is not just defending Iraq. They are defending all the Arabs, and they are defending all the people of the world from American hegemony.

. . . .

Most of their resistance are Iraqis resisting the foreign occupation of their country. Most of the operations which they carry out are against the occupying forces and their collaborators, and this is normal in every liberation struggle.


I take it that the anti-war left will now explain that these statements show that Galloway is more, not less, patriotic.

I know a "musical genius"!

One of my best friends, Marc Dinkin, has written a musical that is currently on at the New York Fringe Festival. According to today's New York Post'sPage 6:

SENSE OF HUMOR

HOW funny is the new Fringe Festival show, 'SUV: The Musical?' It's so funny that even an executive at Ford Motor Corp., which is repeatedly ridiculed in the play over its behemoth-sized cars and trucks, called it 'hilarious.' 'My wife and I laughed out loud all night,' said Bill Collins, who works in Ford's New York office. 'The audience had a great time, too, seeing crash test dummies humanized and auto execs demonized.' Collins singled out the work of Kenny Wade Marshall, who plays at least four roles in the play written by The Post's Gersh Kuntzman and musical genius Marc Dinkin.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Awww.

My son turned one a little over a week ago. Can you believe that? Anyway, I was catching up on some blogs I check in with periodically, and there's a great post on Waiter Rant (a blog written by an anonymous waiter in an Italian restaurant in New York City). He tells the story of a patron who comes in right after his wife has their first child (because his wife is now craving Porcini Risotto), and the guy is in the middle of the slight mental breakdown that a new father has:


A quiet minute passes. The guy stares at the floor. He take a deep breath like he's about to say something. He doesn't. The clock ticks. I see moisture in his eyes.

"You'll be fine," I say gently.

The guy wipes his face quickly. "Yeah I know," he says, "but there's so much to worry about. I mean summer camp, private school, college. You know what college is gonna cost in eighteen years?"

"No idea."

"A million bucks!" he explodes.

"That much?" I wonder skeptically.

"And then there's braces, toys, broken arms," New Dad gushes as if a dam burst from within

I recognize what's happening. When New Dad held his baby for the first time the enormity of what's happening hit him. He's trying to process it all at once. I don't have kids of my own but I have friends who do. I've seen how they've handled it. I know what to say. I hope someone says it to me when my time comes.

"It's a lot of stuff but you'll break it down into small steps and it'll come together," I offer quietly.

"I guess," New Dad says.

"Think about everything at once and you'll go nuts," I say, "just remember, one day at a time."

"Your right," New Dad exhales.

"Enjoy your little girl. She's only a baby once."

I finally see a real smile. "She's beautiful," he says.


Whoohoo, do I know what that guy was feeling.

When my wife went into labor, I was so focused on her being OK that I hadn't even really focused on the fact that we were actually going to have a kid. I mean, I knew, in intellectual terms, that there would be a baby, but it wasn't until we had gotten to the hospital (23 hours, incidentally, after her labor began - ouch) and my wife called her mother and cried, "Mommy, I'm going to have a baby!" that the enormity of it hit me.

Holy crap. I'm going to have a son. Forever. Yikes. Privateschoolandcollegeandclothesandwe'llneedtomovesoonandmycaristoosmallandwhenhegetssickwillIbeabletocomforthimandIsuckatsportsandI'llstillhavetoteachhimtocatchahighpopflyaaaaahh! My legs went wobbly but I didn't want my wife to see it (after all, she had the really tough job) so I kind of slumped/leaned against the wall.

And then, right after he was born, they whisked him off to a room to suction all of the assorted gook that accompanies babies into this world, and I, of course, followed him (that was my job -- "FOLLOW THE BABY! DON'T WORRY ABOUT WIFE! OTHER PEOPLE WORRY ABOUT WIFE! BABY NEVER LEAVES YOUR SIGHT!").

So I'm watching them clean and suction and check and weigh and there, after all of this time, was my son.

And nothing else mattered.

Monday, August 15, 2005

"Stop! Or I'll say stop again!"

See, here's the thing I don't get. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, in an apparent response to a comment by President Bush with respect to military force against Iran as a result of Iran's attempts to get nuclear weapons, stated, "Let's take the military option off the table. We have seen it doesn't work."

The military option can never actually be taken off the table. Not because you want to use it, but because that's the whole impetus for negotiating. Diplomacy works because at the end of the day, the implicit threat is there: "If you don't negotiate with me, then I'm going to force you to do the right thing, so you might as well talk now and maybe cut yourself a better deal than you'll get after I defeat you militarily and I make you do everything I want."

Without the implicit possibility of force, there is no reason to negotiate. Why should Iran cease the pursuit of nuclear weapons? Because Germany will be very cross with them? Oh, horror. No, it has to be because in the back of the leaders minds is the possibility, however, remote, that maybe there will be real repercussions if they pursue these weapons.

OK, fine. This is dumb.

Well, it's finally happened. I have found a gadget even I think is a complete waste of money.

Friday, August 12, 2005

David's Foregoing Essay: False? Not false?

David's comment is a perfect example of why I am so proud of my son. Instead of responding with emotional drivel (as I am wont to do), he answers instead with reasoned and intelligent argument. My unbiased, objective opinion is that he is the best!!

False? Not false?

An anonymous commenter to my post about factcheck.org's analysis of NARAL's ad regarding Judge Roberts advises me that "The ad is not false" and directs me to Bitch Ph.D.'s reprint of NARAL's response email.

Unsurprisingly, I find NARAL's defense unpursuasive. For example, NARAL states that Roberts "sided with the bomber" because the SG's office filed an amicus brief and "[t]he filing of an amicus brief is discretionary." Well, firstly, it's discretionary as to whether the SG's OFFICE files an amicus brief. If you work for the SG's office, and the SG says, "file a brief," you file a brief. It's called working for someone. But regardless, I think that in practice, the SG's office rarely files an amicus brief without being requested to do so by the Supreme Court. So I don't think that's a particularly good response.

Besides, the reasoning and arguments (that by filing an amicus brief in a case which happens to include among its defendants a bomber, the filer is "supporting the bomber") could easily be applied to the ACLU arguing for the Nazi's rights to march in Skokie. There are plenty of overriding legal points that are made with disgusting litigants. Ernesto Miranda was a rapist.

But I think the whole thing is overblown. And by that I mean the entire abortion issue. I'm not sure why, but for some reason, the right to abortion has somehow taken on the status for the left as the supreme right that an individual can possess. And as a result of Roe v. Wade, the judicial branch, which should not be the forum for policy disputes, has become embroiled in them. One of NARAL's arguments in their response is that "reproductive health clinics were under siege by anti-choice extremists." So what? That's not a relevant point with respect to the legal arguments being made in that case. It's certainly a valid point when you want to argue before Congress or your state legislator, but it's not a legal argument, nor does it have one iota to do with whether Roberts is qualified to become a Justice.

Why is the right to an abortion the end-all be-all? There are, in my opinion, violations of individuals' rights to life, liberty and property on the part of national, state and local governments on a daily basis. All of them are constitutional, but from a policy standpoint I think they're ridiculous, and the choices that I am prevented from making impact nobody else, potential or otherwise. Abortion is, at the very least, the destruction of a potential human life and as a result there are certainly moral issues that should be debated when it comes to the policies of the state with respect to the practice. Roe hijacked the debate and it's now next to impossible to develop a nuanced policy toward abortion which could really reflect the views of the citizenry.

And I don't think even the most pro-choice idealogue could argue that Roe is a well-written decision, no matter how much they might agree with the outcome, if they're honest. Roe set up a trimester system which has been completely eclipsed by technology. Fetuses are viable much much earlier than they were in 1973, and I think it would be extremely simple to argue that based on the underpinning of Roe (that there is a right to terminate non-viable fetuses but that right diminishes as the potential viability of the fetus increases due to gestational age) abortion could be restricted almost completely in the second trimester at this point.

I'm in favor of the right to terminate a pregnancy. But to pretend that the issue is entirely clear cut and simple is ludicrous. And the fact that the issue has taken on such a status is far out of whack, especially in the case of a Supreme Court nomination, where it occupies such a small percentage of the Court's work.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

NARAL Falsely Accuses Supreme Court Nominee Roberts - FactCheck.org

As I noted below, NARAL seems to really be stretching as to why Judge Roberts shouldn't be nominated. Now, Factcheck.org deconstructs a NARAL ad running in several states and states flatly, "The ad is false."

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

How to Pronounce Zagat

I always wondered the correct pronunciation. According to "Eater", this handy dandy little rhyme will help:

he's big, he's fat
it's warm where he sat
that's tim zagat.


Good to know!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Pro-Bolton Article

A very interesting article about Michael Bolton in National Review by Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest ranking intelligence office to have defected from the Soviet bloc (he was national security advisor to Ceausescu).

According to him:

[Bolton] singlehandedly brought about the repeal of U.N. Resolution 3379 of 1975, which stigmatized Zionism as “a form of racism and racial discrimination.” That resolution was the Soviet bloc’s first major “victory” at the U.N. Soon after it was adopted, the Communists unleashed a vitriolic disinformation campaign portraying the U.S. as a rapacious Zionist country run by a greedy “Council of the Elders of Zion” (a derisive epithet for the U.S. Congress) that was plotting to transform the rest of the world into a Jewish fiefdom.

U.N. Resolution 3379 lasted 16 years — until Bolton came along. In December 1991, this unknown undersecretary of State had the guts to tell the General Assembly of the U.N. that it had been manipulated by the Communists, and to ask its members to wake up. Bolton was so well-armed with documentation, so bold, and so straightforward that he forced the U.N. to repeal its own resolution by the great margin of 111 to 25. Even my native Romania, until then the epitome of Communism, voted with Bolton.

OK, I'm a little worried about ESPN...

Via Dave Barry, an extremely disturbing headline.

(There's no registration, but you have to click the little circle-y thing that says where you're from.)

Spacewalk! (Grunt, scratch.)

Evidence that the Space Shuttle was built, not by men, but by guys, in a headline from today's New York Sun: Astronaut Will Use Duct Tape to Repair Shuttle.

Men use space age resin and injection molded tiling. Guys use duct tape.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

KaufmaNet on The Blogosphere Political Compass Project

We (actually, to be more accurate, I) have been added to The Blogosphere Political Compass Project, which graphs out (in theory, at least) where bloggers map out on the the Political Compass between Libertarian/Authoritarian/Conservative/Liberal.

Just thought you'd be interested...

Monday, August 01, 2005

The Supreme Court decides "What is Golf" (on a T-Shirt)

I just found a very cute CafePress store which has legal quotes and other stuff on T-Shirts -- for example, Justice Scalia's dissent in PGA Tour v. Martin:

It has been rendered the solemn duty of the Supreme Court of the United States . . . to decide What is Golf.


Other good quotes include Learned Hand's opinions on the Income Tax laws, useful Latin legalese terms, and Justice Thomas's supreme understatement in Kelo v. New London:

Something has gone seriously awry with this Court's interpretation of the Constitution.