Wednesday, March 29, 2006

There are grown-ups in charge of Canada again, con't.

Aid cut to Palestinian Authority
MacKay says decision came after Hamas refused to renounce violence

As Sam in Egypt says, "What is striking about this is that it is Canada who did this. Canada. You know? I guess the conservatives winning the elections had an effect after all."

If Jack Chick was Muslim . . .

. . . brought to you by the Curt Jester. (Who else?)


Dealing with illegal immigration: Two countries, a study in contrasts

Just two news items for your perusal. Read, compare, contrast, as you will.

Canada denies singling out Portuguese in deportation of Toronto-area workers (National Post, Toronto)

Spanish Media Organized Nationwide Mass Protests (, Los Angeles, h/t Mark Shea)

Soccer Mom's "You Know You're Catholic . . ."

Okay, I think everyone's linking to this today . . . I'll post my faves here. Soccer Mom's comments are in parens, mine after, if any.

You know you're a Catholic when...

One of your Crucifixes has five years worth of dried out palms stuck behind it. (*Mine are in little for the kids!) --Meg: Our parish here in Canada has a "trade-in" program the week before Ash Wednesday, to burn your old palms into the parish ashes. I think four is the most I've ever had stuck behind one.

They know you at every Catholic bookstore in the area, and ask you where you've been if you haven't stopped by in a while. --Meg: Oh yes.

You measure your life by number of Popes. --Meg: 4 so far (one very short, one very long).

You have a St. Christopher medal in you car. (*And a Miraculous Medal in one, too.) --Meg: Actually, I have one of those 4-way medals on my keychain . . .

You know more than 15 recipes for preparing tuna fish. --Meg: Canned salmon is inexpensive up here, ask me about my tasty casserole!

You refer to other religions as "Non-Catholic".

You carry prayer cards in your purse or wallet. --Meg: And like half my books.

You know a family whose every daughter has Mary, or every son has John Paul either as the first or middle name. --Meg: My nieces all have the first name Maria. And the first boy I knew named "John Paul" was born in 1980 - pretty quick-like popularity IMO! (Husband and I have discussed "Charles" if God ever sends us a boy, after you-know-who. Especially now that I'm a "-ski".)

Your coworkers point out that you have something on your face and as they go to wipe it off for you, you duck and scream "No, their my ashes!!" (*) --Meg: Oh, what Catholic doesn't just hate that on Ash Wednesday???

You know you're a Gen X Catholic when...

There were more felt banners bearing hippy slogans in your parish church than statues. --Meg: Word.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

BREAKING: Caspar Weinberger dead at 88

MOVED TO TOP (posted at 12:30 p.m. MST)

One of the great and influential figures of my youth has died. Weinberger had a strong influence on me, especially as a longtime Forbes columnist. From the AP article: "'He gave everything to his country, to public office and to his family,' Caspar Weinberger Jr. said." Absolutely. I'll write more later but I wanted to note his passing. May God rest his soul.

Caspar Weinberger Dies at Age 88

Forbes has info up.

(I'll say it now: USS Caspar Weinberger.)

UPDATE: 5:54 p.m. MST Special Weinberger page at
Honoring Caspar Weinberger
Former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger Dies at 88
By Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Service

Info on Vatican, Polish ceremonies for the anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II


Vatican ceremonies mark anniversary of John Paul's death (Subscriber only at the moment - check the front of the website for more info.)

(Really interesting reader note at the bottom of that story . . . you can still read it even if you don't subscribe.)

More smoking revisionism

Dom Bettinelli: How to be an adult

Seriously. Just go read it. (He's reacting to an Ask Metafilter request, via Lifehacker.)

How to be a grown up

Scott Brison and Joe Clark - separated at birth???

No, seriously. Check out this post at Candace's and see if it isn't just downright eerie.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Mark Steyn on the death of "transnationalism" (and the rebirth of sovereignty?)

Enough with the globo-gab
Transnationalism may be on the way out -- and not a moment too soon

Choice extract:

There were two extraordinary aspects to Stephen Harper's Afghan trip. The first extraordinary aspect was that it should seem so extraordinary. . . .

The second extraordinary aspect was the absence in Mr. Harper's remarks of any reference to the usual pieties: peacekeeping, multilateralism, NGOs. There was one token reference to the UN. But, other than that, the Prime Minister framed the Afghan mission in Canadian terms, as a projection of Canadian power (if you'll forgive the expression) in Canada's national interest. Apparently, we still have one.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

NiceCupOfTea: Jaffa Judgement

I adore Jaffa cakes. First ate them as snacks when we visited Britain when I was six, and it was love at first bite. It's that whole orange-chocolate-sponge base-thing. For the longest time, the only kind you could get in the States was the Marie Lu's from France, and then only if you were in a city and knew which shop to go to. Even still, the McVities are hard to find. Not easy to find in Canada, either, though such classics as Digestives and HobNobs are in most groceries here. Anyway, NCOT has a great in-depth report on my favorite non-biscuit biscuit (i.e., cookie). Amusing story at the end about the VAT troubles caused by the cakes' "cake" classification, especially when the U.K. joined the Common Market.

The Basics: McVities Jaffa Cake


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Hey, if HBO likes it, how bad can it be? Or, "Not that there's anything wrong with that," Part Deux

Remember when gay marriage wasn't going to lead to anything else? And we crazy right-wingers were, well, crazy for suggesting polygamy (and polyandry and polyamory and poly-you-name-it) was in the batting circle? Oh, yes.

Polygamy and Me

One of the many articles on the current sitch in the conservative blogosphere, but a particularly good one, by Bill Tucker.

"It is a real opportunity for Apple to tout the features of their operating system and, of course, the fact that it's available now."

Vista delay could add up to Mac sales

At the end:

Still, the company is slated to release Leopard, the next release of OS X, either late this year or early next year. That means it too could conceivably be on new machines before Vista.

I'll try not to gloat. (Have I mentioned lately how much I looooove Tiger?)

From the "duh" file: "A quarter of U.S. employees who work with a computer admit they use it to hunt for a new job on company time"

Yes, of course it's a bad idea. But so many people hate their jobs, and browse at work, of course they're going to wander over to or whatever. (And these are only the folks who admit it.) In fact, I'd bet for some people, part of the thrill would be to do the job search on company time - what better way to say "take this job and shove it"? Anyway, there are links to other interesting articles within this article.

Dissatisfied employees use Web to look for work at work

South Park vs. Scientology

I don't want to get into all the preliminaries. Get Religion has been covering this (among many others). I'm just noting Get Religion's coverage of last night's episode - if you've been following this story at all, you really have to see this. In my comment (not to toot my own horn) I link to You Tube segments of the ep. Seriously - if you know at all what I'm talking about, click the link, then go see the segments. South Park is terribly profane, vulgar, etc., etc., but they are brilliant as well - probably the best current demonstration of the First Amendment I can think of.

Kathy Shaidle, ex-Catholic-Leftist, on the rampage re: ungrateful Christian Peacemaker Teams and Catholic Workers

Shaidle at her best. I'm sure lefties might say, "Uncharitable!", but, remember, folks, it's not uncharitable to speak the truth. And the truth is, she does it with a righteous acerbity that 99% of Catholic Workers only wish they had. Stand back!

Sadly, it comes as no surprise that the Christian Peacemakers would use the rescue (not just "release", but "rescue") of their deeply delusional brethren to launch a predictable, cliche ridden tirade against, not the terrorist kidnappers, but the very people who saved their lives.

(Deborah Gyapong asks: "Why can't they love Americans and British special forces with the same fervor [as they profess to love their kidnappers] -- if they are the enemy, too?")

These guys switched from run of the mill KoolAid to double strength Goofy Grape Funny Face sometime back in the "liberation theology" 80s. Expecting them to even fake a little gratitude to the British Secret Service, just for the sake of the cameras and the poor benighted general public, is expecting far too much. Why, that would be inauthentic. Bourgeois. What would Kirkegaard say? ("Thank you", I imagine. But that's just me).

. . . as years passed I took a closer look at the "heroic" folks that Catholic Workers and their progressive Christian colleagues admire, and came to understand where they got their crappy attitudes.

Catholic Worker founder, Popular Front dupe and Communist fellow traveler Dorothy Day put her indelible temperamental stamp on her followers, making it ok to be a crusty bossy bitch as long as you did it for Jesus. . . .

. . . Were progressive Christians serious about "making a heaven on earth" (which is a heresy anyway), they would abandon their provably false Marxist critiques.

Some of the most vocal critics of the way things are being done, Thomas Sowell observed, are people who have done nothing themselves, and whose only contributions to society are their complaints and moral exhibitionism.

Remember the shrink who told Thomas Merton (another CW hero), "You want to be a monk, but in the middle of Times Square with the word MONK flashing above your head in neon letters"?

Moral exhibitionism is what motivates progressive Christians, past and present. And the selectively outraged Christian Peacemakers are like the oldest strippers in the club. The stale, predictable routine, the barely concealed contempt for the lowly guys in the audience, the best-before-date dancer's arrogant misconception that she's still sexy and powerful and damn it, you'd better think so, too. On days like these, one is compelled to start yelling, "Put it on! Put it on!"

One thing I would say about both Dorothy Day and Catherine Doherty: You can be a saint and still have really unpleasant personal characteristics. The biggest problem of the CW movement, to my view (and Kathy alludes to this) is that members often imitate Miss Day's unpleasant personal characteristics, instead of imitating her heroic virtues, and this is what gives CW its unpleasant and sour appearance to others.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Don't have a shredder yet?

Definitely check this link out. Via Lifehacker, which has some good comments as well. (I love Lifehacker!)

Update: Dom Bettinelli has a post up on this too, with some comments.

Karzai to Harper: Abdul Rahman "will not be persecuted"


Afghanistan President Assures Canadian Prime Minister Christian Convert Will Not be Persecuted
PM assured by Karzai "that respect for human and religious rights will be fully upheld in this case"

More at CaNN (the Anglican Web Elves) (info via Kathy Shaidle, thanks).

Oleg Cassini, Jacqueline Kennedy's American couturier, dead

I always found him a bit boastful, but then I'd think, perhaps that's just the other side of self-assurance. Anyway, he designed lovely clothes (and helped Jackie smuggle in her French originals, too). And, well, I'm a sucker for handsome half-Polish guys.

Oleg Cassini Dead at 92

Windows Vista delayed again

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

"Office Space", starring Saddam Hussein

A lot of folks are writing about the release of now-unclassified files from the Saddam Iraqi government. I'm linking to Jim Geraghty partly because he has a good roundup, and partly because I like his style.

" . . . the entire tone of the meeting [that's transcribed in the document Jim quotes - MQ] suggests that the assembled authorities are in some sort of hellish version of 'Office Space' – 'Yeah, General Amir, if you could get the inspectors out of here by Monday, that would be great… Yeaaaah.'"

Of course, no matter what our differences, one thing that's universal is distrust of the French:

Readers who are not fond of the French will probably relate to his comment by Husayn [a meeting participant - MQ]:

Until now, we have not seen the French change one bit ever, not even a hair. To be truthful before your Excellency, I do not trust the French in their current position; maybe this will change after the election. However, in this current situation sir, by God, I think that they are more distant than the Chinese are, even though the Chinese are very far also. They [French] appear in the Security Council with a yes one time and a no another time. Therefore sir, my personal belief is that they are layered [two-faced] and possibly in coordination with America and in coordination with the world.

Monday, March 20, 2006

One thing I can confidently state about the Belarussian vote . . .

The pro-Alexander vote is definitely all sewn up.

Would you vote for this man? Belarussian president Alexander Lukashenko and mustache.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Texas cheerleader madness

This is one of those "only in Texas" stories. Maybe an outsider might read this and go, what the heck is this doing on the front page of a metropolitan daily? But if you're from Texas, you don't have to ask, you know. And if you are an "outsider" and look at this article and think it sounds like one big honkin' mess, believe me, that's because it's one big honkin' mess. (Honestly! Adding "four incoming seniors" who "hadn't qualified at the tryout"? That is a recipe for disaster.) There's no happy solution here. And you know cheerleader camp is not going to be much fun this year . . .

Parent furor simmers over cheerleader selection
[Annoying free registration req'd. yet again]
Carroll ISD: Trustees to meet [Monday night] on dispute over its ruling on squad

09:33 PM CST on Sunday, March 19, 2006
By LAURIE FOX / The Dallas Morning News
SOUTHLAKE – For the second time in two weeks, Carroll school board members will tackle the increasingly thorny issue of how the high school varsity cheerleading squad should be formed.

Monday night, trustees will consider a grievance that arose from their March 6 decision to cut the squad by more than half and order new tryouts.

This time, parents are saying that the December tryout process for the Carroll Senior High School squad was flawed. They contend the process involved questionable decisions by several district employees.

Amid charges of unfair judging and favoritism, the issue continues to plague the district and distract the community as students and staff return today from spring break.

. . . Most local school districts say they've never had such complaints reach the school board level. Plano, in fact, does not allow tryout complaints to proceed past the campus level.

Hey, I think Belarus could spare some of those international election monitors, we have a situation developing here . . .

Crazy flooding back in the 'hood

How bad is it? It shocked my in-laws in Vancouver! Now that's serious rain, people!

Storms unleash flooding, danger
[Annoying free registration req'd.]
One woman killed after being swept away in Dallas

11:01 PM CST on Sunday, March 19, 2006
By HOLLY HACKER and TONY HARTZEL / The Dallas Morning News
Thunderstorms pounded the Dallas-Fort Worth area Sunday, causing flash flooding in streets, streams and yards. At least one person died Sunday after being swept away in rushing waters.

The National Weather Service in Fort Worth reported that about 7 inches of rain fell Sunday in Arlington, and more than 5 inches fell near downtown Dallas. A late-morning storm moved from Johnson County into Tarrant and Dallas counties, dumping rain at the rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour.

One woman died after being swept away in the swollen Turtle Creek near Wycliff Avenue. [A tony area. Rather shocking.]

. . . Dallas police officers and firefighters responded to hundreds of accidents and calls about high water. They evacuated homes in West Dallas because of rising waters, estimated at up to five feet high.

The rain is expected to stop mid-morning today, with the sun coming out this afternoon and warming things up into the low 70s.

The weekend rain put the Dallas-Fort Worth area above its normal rainfall levels. Prior to Sunday, the area had received almost 7 inches of rain in 2006, an inch above normal, said meteorologist Dan Dixon of the weather service.

On the plus side, it helped douse the wildfires further west and north.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Spring pants: Let's be clear

Gauchos: NO.
Cropped pants: NO.
Other abbreviated pants of any kind between calf and knee: NO.

Capris are pushing it, and are passable only because they are so close to the leg. Look, if a style makes a 5'11", 105 lb. fashion model look like a stomping cow, it's not going to do anything for the rest of us. The only ladies who really look good in split skirts are Andalusian ladies in full kit. Olive gauchos with a camel sweater and an aubergine scarf doesn't say, "altiplano in the city", it says, "big stomping heifer coming this way!" I'm sorry but that's the truth and the sooner women acknowledge this and resist these revivals, the sooner we can all move on.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Things are heating up in Edmonton . . .

. . . it's 39 degrees Fahrenheit! Woo-hoo!

I just opened the window - oh sweet fresh air. How nice.

It'll be back down to 21 for the daytime high on Friday, and then 16 on Saturday, so we'd better enjoy it (weather page says 28F is "normal" daytime high for this time o' year).

Kirby Puckett dead at 45

I thought I didn't care about baseball anymore. And, about baseball *today*, I'm not sure that I do. But I just woke up, couldn't sleep, came in to look at the computer and saw about Kirby Puckett -- and my heart just sank. He was a beautiful player, a joy to watch. Well I remember. Hey - when did I ever watch the Minnesota Twins, for pete's sake? -- Oh, yeah, in the mid-to-late-'80's I would often watch Rangers games, and always when they played really good teams like the (heh) Twins or (heh-heh) Royals. And I watched the playoffs and the World Series no matter who was in it. I'd totally forgotten that. And there were good, talented, interesting, beautiful players from those days, but Kirby Puckett was all of that and more. He obviously had some natural talent and grace, and a strong work ethic. When he hit the ball, he was full of energy; his swing followed through and he ran out every ball that I remember. And (being a girl - we don't remember these baseball things quite as obsessively as boys do) I couldn't quite remember for a moment - was he a right- or left-fielder? Then I remembered: Duh! He was a center-fielder! But he covered his territory so well and thoroughly, and kept his mind in the game and his eye on the ball, that he would often be right at the edge of his territory, the ball coming down, and the other guy just puffing into view (and it's not a patch off the other fielders to say this). He was the kind of player people like George Will have in mind when they go on about grace and beauty in the game -- and the Wills are quite right in a technical sense, but even if Joe in the Grandstand don't know much of what George is on about, he knew there was something about a guy like Kirby. I understand he had another side at home, and this morning I pray for his soul, and I pray for his family and loved ones, but I also thank God for him, and for the great joy he expressed about and through our beloved game, and the wonderful experiences I and millions of others enjoyed just watching him play.

Do they still make players like Kirby Puckett anymore?

God rest him.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Wallace and Gromit Best Film of the Year!

Er, well, "Best Animated Feature Film of the Year". But who cares about the "Best Picture"? I mean, who saw them anyway? Besides W&G, the only film I saw in a theater last year that I liked was another "Best Film", March of the Penguins aka "La marche de l'empereur", which (of course) won "Best Documentary, Features". And Philip Seymour Hoffman won Best Actor, so there is some justice in the universe. Now if only Paul Giamatti could ever win one . . . the Academy picked that man over him? Puh-leeeze!

(Okay, final comment - could you not see Reese Witherspoon coming on? Hello! She won the other, preliminary awards! They liked her! They really, really liked her!)

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Fun things you find while looking on the 'net, part XXII . . .

Lil' People by Bob Flynns
Enjoy this set of icons, based on the Fisher-Price® Little People® figurines and toys that we all grew up with.

I was looking up these adorable "Little People" Mac OSX icons (which somehow disappeared during my upgrade, while I was transferring stuff to my backup drive), and I found this:

little people hanukkah
Little People Hanukkah Play Set by Fisher-Price

Isn't it cute? I think it is. If I was Jewish, I would totally buy one. Apparently it's still available. (But I wouldn't put it on the same shelf as my Lego Danish Embassy playset.)

Friday, March 03, 2006

Even a liberal won't be able to live this down . . .

My only comment - I love how the artist has captured the look on Samuel Alito's face. Like, "Yikes, what should I do? Anything? What do you do when this happens?" - as if this was a typical occurence. (And doesn't Justice Alito as drawn look a lot like Harry Potter with a receding hairline? Hmmmm.) I didn't think David Souter was looking at her at first, but now I'm thinking the artist was getting a moment when they were both looking at her - he seems to be looking at her sideways - "Oh, Ruuuuuuuuth".

Fox News, courtesy World Net Daily

Sorry for sparse posting . . .

. . . we finally bought a nice FireWire drive (no more CD-RW backups!) and also the Tiger Mac OSX upgrade, so I've been busy at home with the actual computer itself, doing an "Erase & Install". (Plus, of course, some migraines - !) It's been worth it, though, Tiger is just that much better than Panther, and the graphics display cleaner and more sharply. The drive we bought is a 160G "mini Pal" from Acomdata, it has the same footprint as a mini and makes a tidy pair with it. We've been pretty "late" switching up to Tiger, but we bought the mini last February, and then Tiger came out in April, just too late to get upgrade discs from Apple. And, frankly, Panther is soooo much better than Windows anyway, I didn't mind for a long time. But all the program updates lately are obviously being written with Tiger in mind, so it was pretty clear it was time to upgrade the OS . . . and I am liking it! Dashboard's okay, but I've already been using Spotlight, that is a fabulous feature. And I'm looking forward to getting into Automator.