Friday, February 25, 2011

In The Air Tonight

What is it that's so haunting about that song?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Godspeed, Discovery

Space Shuttle Discovery launches on its last mission before retirement this afternoon.

Godspeed, Discovery.

Friday, February 18, 2011

It's The Taking

A key graph from a piece well worth reading, by Paul Rahe over at Ricochet:

But what was at issue in 1896 and what will be at issue in 2012 is not sharing: it is taking. It is using coercive force, which is possessed in plenitude by the government, to be generous with other people’s money, and this is a policy recommended not in the Gospels but in the sixteenth chapter of Machiavelli’s Prince. The real choice is between systematic theft and a public policy aimed at encouraging and enabling individuals to earn their own way, and that is the way it should be pitched in 2012.

How Long

Barenaked Ladies, "How Long."
(This needs a music video, but for now, all we've got is the tune. Pretty catchy, no?)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Simple Point

"I will make the simple point that society belongs to everyone: not just to people who can yell, shut down schools, and intimidate."

Monday, February 14, 2011

Just Because

"Because The Night," 10,000 Maniacs. (Do you think they counted them all?)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Frozen Peas

I knew that The Brain from "Pinky and the Brain" was inspired by Orson Welles.

What I didn't know is that this bit...

...was inspired by a real incident!

[Updated] Even James Lileks and the rest of the crowd over at Ricochet is getting into the act...

A Century of Reagan

Today marks the centenary of President Ronald Reagan's birth.

In my estimation, his greatest single accomplishment is this: he gave America its confidence back. After the turmoil of Vietnam, counter-culture rebellion, oil shocks, inflation, Watergate, and Carter - by the middle of his second term America had a gleam in its eye and hope for the future again.

He accomplished this by trusting us - allowing the free market to work, and allowing creators to create. He had a faith in liberty and capitalism when it was under challenge from all sides.

I recommend you visit:

Friday, February 04, 2011


George Strait, "Heartland."

Creatively Awesome

Courtesy of Cdr. Salamander and Neptunus Lex, here's what happens when you apply vintage naval paint schemes to modern US Navy jets:

The Navy is celebrating a century of naval aviation this year, and are painting some of their reserve, test,  & training aircraft to celebrate.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Fly Navy? No, Fly Neptunus

Neptunus Lex, that is.

If you don;t ever stop by, you really should. He's been blogging up a storm lately, and they're well worth the read. Such as:
  •   This piece on the accidental sinking of a Indian Navy frigate by a merchant ship. (We can laugh -and grumble - over this one; fortunately no one was hurt in the mishap.)

    Sayeth Lex: "Merchant ships entering harbor at a flank bell is why we can’t have nice things…"

  •   Or Lex's laconic summary of Western-Islamic relations:
    Anyone who has paid any attention to what’s left of the Ottoman Empire since it faded into dust has realized that the region remains afflicted to a greater or lesser degree by backwardness, economic dysfunction, corruption and political malaise. In fact, apart from Africa, scourged with its own unique diseases, no other region of the world so typifies these characteristics. The question of “what went wrong” to what had- not so very long ago – been one of the world’s most successfully aggressive empires has been asked and (mostly) answered: It will not do for a society desiring the fruits of modernity to, 1) close its mind to science and philosophy, even if it leads in uncongenial directions, 2) idle half its intellectual capital.

    Here, from an admittedly Orientalist point of view, is a ridiculously brief history of the last 1400 years or so:

    1. Who are you lot, and will you mind removing that spear from my side, it hurts.
    2. I’ll bash you for that, and take back the Holy Land as well.
    3. Fine then, have it. But I wouldn’t mind a bit of that algebra and medical science, if it’s all right.
    4. More Holy Land, please and if you don’t like it we’ll see you off.
    5. Fine then, have it.
    6. Wait, the Mediterranean is our ocean.
    7. Fine, have half.
    8. Wait, Constantinople is the capital of our faith.
    9. Fine, have it. (We need bigger ships.)
    10. It’s called “Spain,” not “al Andalus.” And what are you still doing here? Off you go.
    11. Wait, Vienna is a capital of our culture. And no, you can’t have it. No matter how many times you ask.
    12. (Some of those big cannon would go well aboard those ships, don’t you think?)
    13. We’d like the Med back, and are all too willing to take it – see those ships, and all those cannon? There’s a good culture.
    14. My name is Napoleon. Lovely place you have here, Egypt.
    15. Fine, have it back, courtesy of La Perfide Albion. You couldn’t have done it by yourself, you know.
    16. Train your military? Certainly, why not? We’re dreadfully good at industrial scale slaughter; it takes practice. And industry. We’ve got both.
    17. Fight your military? Certainly, why not? Especially when you’re going to ally yourselves with the Hun.
    18. Rather a mess you left behind, old boy. Shall we help you sort it out?
    19. What’s this, oil? Fascinating.
    20. We’ve invented fascism: Have some!
    21. Sorry about that.
    22. We’re busy among ourselves just now, can’t it wait?
    23. What a bother, you lot. Can’t you see we’re tired?
    24. Just call that fellow over there “king,” and we’ll be on our way. Do write.
    25. We’ve invented socialism: Have some!
    26. Sorry about that.
    27. I know you’re rather a mess, but then you always were. Want some expertise to get that oil out of the ground? There’s money in it. Win-win.
    28. I really wish you wouldn’t treat your people that way. More tea?
    29. I REALLY wish you wouldn’t treat our people that way. Stand by for a case of the a**.
    30. With nation building.
    31. Jesus C*****, this is hard!

    All caught up.

  •   And then, in a far more somber vein, is this contemplation of The New York Times' revelations about its role in the Wikileaks scandal.

    There’s obviously a self-serving element in Keller’s description of the events. The NYT and Guardian manage to carefully thread the needle between preserving the public’s right to know while responsibly declining to publish names that might get anyone killed. Directly, I mean. They don’t actually link to the Wikileaks site, containing the unredacted messages.

    They just, you know: Publicize it.

    The distinction helps them sleep at night.

    There's more; read the whole thing.