"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Today's quiz - What's your world view?

And I always thought I was a romantic idealist


You scored as Materialist. Materialism stresses the essence of fundamental particles. Everything that exists is purely physical matter and there is no special force that holds life together. You believe that anything can be explained by breaking it up into its pieces. i.e. the big picture can be understood by its smaller elements.











Cultural Creative






What is Your World View? (updated)
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Thursday, December 15, 2005

What if Ernest Hemmingway had been Clement Clarke Moore?

(stolen without permission from the New Yorker)

A Visit from Saint Nicholas (In the Ernest Hemingway Manner)
by James Thurber
Issue of 1927-12-24
Posted 2003-12-15

This classic New Yorker holiday story, from 1927, appears in the anthology “Christmas at The New Yorker,” which was published by Random House. (And I stole it.)

It was the night before Christmas. The house was very quiet. No creatures were stirring in the house. There weren’t even any mice stirring. The stockings had been hung carefully by the chimney. The children hoped that Saint Nicholas would come and fill them.

The children were in their beds. Their beds were in the room next to ours. Mamma and I were in our beds. Mamma wore a kerchief. I had my cap on. I could hear the children moving. We didn’t move. We wanted the children to think we were asleep.

“Father,” the children said.

There was no answer. He’s there, all right, they thought.

“Father,” they said, and banged on their beds.

“What do you want?” I asked.

“We have visions of sugarplums,” the children said.

“Go to sleep,” said mamma.

“We can’t sleep,” said the children. They stopped talking, but I could hear them moving. They made sounds.

“Can you sleep?” asked the children.

“No,” I said.

“You ought to sleep.”

“I know. I ought to sleep.”

“Can we have some sugarplums?”

“You can’t have any sugarplums,” said mamma.

“We just asked you.”

There was a long silence. I could hear the children moving again.

“Is Saint Nicholas asleep?” asked the children.

“No,” mamma said. “Be quiet.”

“What the hell would he be asleep tonight for?” I asked.

“He might be,” the children said.

“He isn’t,” I said.

“Let’s try to sleep,” said mamma.

The house became quiet once more. I could hear the rustling noises the children made when they moved in their beds.

Out on the lawn a clatter arose. I got out of bed and went to the window. I opened the shutters; then I threw up the sash. The moon shone on the snow. The moon gave the lustre of mid-day to objects in the snow. There was a miniature sleigh in the snow, and eight tiny reindeer. A little man was driving them. He was lively and quick. He whistled and shouted at the reindeer and called them by their names. Their names were Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, and Blitzen.

He told them to dash away to the top of the porch, and then he told them to dash away to the top of the wall. They did. The sleigh was full of toys.

“Who is it?” mamma asked.

“Some guy,” I said. “A little guy.”

I pulled my head in out of the window and listened. I heard the reindeer on the roof. I could hear their hoofs pawing and prancing on the roof. “Shut the window,” said mamma. I stood still and listened.

“What do you hear?”

“Reindeer,” I said. I shut the window and walked about. It was cold. Mamma sat up in the bed and looked at me.

“How would they get on the roof?” mamma asked.

“They fly.”

“Get into bed. You’ll catch cold.”

Mamma lay down in bed. I didn’t get into bed. I kept walking around.

“What do you mean, they fly?” asked mamma.

“Just fly is all.”

Mamma turned away toward the wall. She didn’t say anything.

I went out into the room where the chimney was. The little man came down the chimney and stepped into the room. He was dressed all in fur. His clothes were covered with ashes and soot from the chimney. On his back was a pack like a peddler’s pack. There were toys in it. His cheeks and nose were red and he had dimples. His eyes twinkled. His mouth was little, like a bow, and his beard was very white. Between his teeth was a stumpy pipe. The smoke from the pipe encircled his head in a wreath. He laughed and his belly shook. It shook like a bowl of red jelly. I laughed. He winked his eye, then he gave a twist to his head. He didn’t say anything.

He turned to the chimney and filled the stockings and turned away from the chimney. Laying his finger aside his nose, he gave a nod. Then he went up the chimney. I went to the chimney and looked up. I saw him get into his sleigh. He whistled at his team and the team flew away. The team flew as lightly as thistledown. The driver called out, “Merry Christmas and good night.” I went back to bed.

“What was it?” asked mamma. “Saint Nicholas?” She smiled.

“Yeah,” I said.

She sighed and turned in the bed.

“I saw him,” I said.


“I did see him.”

“Sure you saw him.” She turned farther toward the wall.

“Father,” said the children.

“There you go,” mamma said. “You and your flying reindeer.”

“Go to sleep,” I said.

“Can we see Saint Nicholas when he comes?” the children asked.

“You got to be asleep,” I said. “You got to be asleep when he comes. You can’t see him unless you’re unconscious.”

“Father knows,” mamma said.

I pulled the covers over my mouth. It was warm under the covers. As I went to sleep I wondered if mamma was right.

Merry Fitzmas Conrad Black!

All I want for Christmas is Conrad Black's head on a pike outside the U.S. Justice Department. I love Patrick Fitzgerald. I want to bear his children.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The dumbest thing I've heard anyone say all week
President George W. Bush on Monday:
"I made a tough decision. And knowing what I know today, I'd make the decision again," Bush said. "Removing Saddam Hussein makes this world a better place and America a safer country."

So, knowing that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction, had no ties to Al-Qaida or 9/11, posed no threat to his neighbors or the United States, that U.S. troops would face a hostile populace and dedicated and deadly guerrilla resistance, that he would completely divide the American public, destroy his nation's reputation abroad, ruin the country's finances, inspire a generation of terrorists and that accomplishing all this would cost more than 30,000 civilian lives and 2,200 U.S. soldiers lives George W. Bush would still invade Iraq.

Someone please explain to me how this doesn't make him the stupidest or evilest (or maybe both) man on the planet.

Meddlesome Yankees

Aren't ambassadors supposed to stay out of domestic politics in the countries they are stationed in? And is it just me or does U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins look like Monty Burns? The Liberals ought to send the White House a cheque for all this help in the election, because by bashing Martin for his remarks at the Montreal conference on global warming, Wilkins has probably assured his re-election.

Government vs. Press
This guy is teaching journalism? Let me guess, he hold the Heritage Foundation chair in bending over and taking it.

He briefly bemoans the fact that the Bush regime is bribing journalists to spin stories and paying Iraqi newspapers to print propaganda and then says:

"But the government is not acting in a vacuum. It is reacting to a media environment marked by enormous hostility. Skepticism is healthy, but too many journalists practice reporting informed by a pessimistic cynicism. This corrosive attitude is damaging the news industry; newspaper circulation and TV news viewership continue to decline."

Athenae at First Draft rightfully tears the "professor of journamalism" a new one.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Which historical general are you?
I apparently think like

Julius Caesar
You scored 50 Wisdom, 69 Tactics, 46 Guts, and 43 Ruthlessness!
Roman military and political leader. He was instrumental in the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. His conquest of Gallia Comata extended the Roman world all the way to the Atlantic Ocean, introducing Roman influence into what has become modern France, an accomplishment of which direct consequences are visible to this day. In 55 BC Caesar launched the first Roman invasion of Britain. Caesar fought and won a civil war which left him undisputed master of the Roman world, and began extensive reforms of Roman society and government. He was proclaimed dictator for life, and heavily centralized the already faltering government of the weak Republic. Caesar's friend Marcus Brutus conspired with others to assassinate Caesar in hopes of saving the Republic. The dramatic assassination on the Ides of March was the catalyst for a second set of civil wars, which marked the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire under Caesar's grand-nephew and adopted son Octavian, later known as Caesar Augustus. Caesar's military campaigns are known in detail from his own written Commentaries (Commentarii), and many details of his life are recorded by later historians such as Suetonius, Plutarch, and Cassius Dio.

take the test!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Glasnost is so 1980's
Apparently the U.S. Government is now resorting to Soviet-style tactics to suppress dissent

"Just a goddamn piece of paper"
Capitol Hill Blue has an interesting report on President Bush's views on the Constitution.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Christmas Partytime

This is what I expect to look like by about midnight tonite. The family and I are throwing a holiday wingding here in Tokyo for 100 people. Thank god its mostly potluck - last year I cooked for everyone and it damn near killed me. This year people have the option of bringing food or singing for their supper, so I will be emceeing a cavalcade of traditonal Japanese dance, magic tricks, a small gospel choir, a quiz and haysus knows what else.