Friday, May 30, 2003

Hayek on Socialism

"It shows a complete confusion of thought to suggest that, because under any sort of system the majority of people follow the lead of somebody, it makes no difference if everybody has to follow the same lead.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Literary Update

Finished Roverandom. Not a bad little book. A good children's story. Not too much further along in The Road to Serfdom, but I'm still enjoying it. (I confess, I did less reading over the weekend than I originally intended to because I was busy finishing Baldur's Gate II. Spiffy little game, BTW.) Over in the Reading Room they're on Chapter 3 of Book IV of LOTR.

Sorenstam Revisited

I know I'm a few days late with this, but it's worth noting. Annika Sorenstam ended up +5 and only finished above 11 men. She missed the cut rather dramatically and was much further off the lead on the second day than she was on the first. I think this bears out what I was arguing rather well.

Friday, May 23, 2003

Literary Update

Started in on Road to Serfdom by Hayek a couple days ago. Great book so far. I'm definitely going to have to buy my own copy. He does an excellent job of making the case of socialism being incompatible with liberty as well as showing how Nazism and Communism were closely related. I'm about halfway through it. I've also started a book by Richard Reeves on JFK called President Kennedy: Profile of Power. I'm not that far into it, but it's not contradicting the negative impressions I gained of him reading about the Cuban Missile Crisis in Donald Kagan's On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace (which is a wonderful book that I think everyone should read). I'm also going to read Roverandom by Tolkien this weekend I think. It's only 90 pages and it was written for his children, so that shouldn't take more than a couple hours at the outside.

This week is Chapter 2 of Book IV of the Lord of the Rings over at TORN's Reading Room.

Sorenstam? *Yawn*

So Annika Sorenstam is playing with the boys at the Colonial this weekend. She started off with a +1 score of 71 for the first round. The two other players in her group were Aaron Barber who shot 72 and Dean Wilson who shot a 71. She finished behind 34 men and ahead of 27. For me the jury is still out. On the one hand, this is not the crashing triumph that it seems everyone in the media is playing it up to be. Sure, she had a nice round, played decently and has a respectable score. But lost in the hyperbole about how women can hang with the men, is that this is the best woman golfer in the world and she's crashingly average so far playing against men. I'm not convinced that she has what it takes to be able to win on the PGA Tour. I think we'll all have a better idea of that after the cut. Right now she's a stroke off the projected cut of even par.

But even if she does make the cut. Even if she continues to play on the PGA tour. Even if she wins a PGA event somewhere down the road, let's not lose sight of the fact that the Tiger Woods of women's golf is still just kinda average when playing with the men. The reason that the women's tour exists is not a sexist, exclusionary effort by chauvinistic men determined not to let women into their little club. Rather, it's a construct for women because they just can't compete with their male counterparts. Professional sports are big businesses. If George Steinbrenner thought that the Yankees would be helped to another World Series victory by signing a woman, he'd do it in a New York minute. Women don't play professional basketball, football, hockey, soccer or whatever with men because the vast majority (or perhaps all of them in some sports) just can't compete. That's why they have leagues of their own.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003


Finally got through War and Peace. Really got bogged down there again at the end. The whole second half of the epilogue is simply Tolstoy expounding on why he thinks freewill doesn't exist and why a single individual does not therefore influence the course of human events. Kinda dull and rather muddled. At any rate, I'm glad I read it and I can see why it's considered to be one of the best novels of all time. The writing is marvelous and the story threads are kept in hand well across the 1400 pages of narrative. The characters all behave differently and not slightly altered carbon-copies of each other. I don't know that I'll read it again, but I think that it's worth reading once.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

War and Peace

After his [Pierre's] rescue he arrived at Orel and on the third day there, as he was preparing to start for Kiev, he fell ill and was laid up for three months. He had what the doctors termed 'bilious fever'. But in spite of the fact that they treated him, bled him and made him swallow drugs--he recovered.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Vocab Expansion

I was reading an old article by John Derbyshire earlier and learned a couple cool new words. Following are their entries from the OED.

hortatory, a.

Of, pertaining to, or characterized by, exhortation or encouragement; hortative, exhortatory.

1586 A. DAY Eng. Secretary I. (1625) 20 Hortatorie and Dehortatorie. 1612 T. TAYLOR Comm. Titus i. 9 After the doctrinall part followeth the hortatorie. a1784 JOHNSON in Boswell (1831) I. 381 ‘Law's Serious Call’ [he said] was the finest piece of hortatory theology in any language. 1878 W. C. SMITH Hilda (1879) 173 That night he went on, ceaseless, in his hortatory tone.

tmesis, Gram. and Rhet.

The separation of the elements of a compound word by the interposition of another word or words.
(Often a reversion to the earlier uncompounded structure.)

1586 DAY Eng. Secretary II. (1625) 83 Timesis or Diacope, a diuision of a word compound into two parts, as, What might be soeuer vnto a man pleasing,..for, whatsoeuer might be, etc. 1678 PHILLIPS (ed. 4), Tmesis,..a figure of Prosody, wherein a compounded word is, as it were, cut asunder, and divided into two parts by some other word which is interposed, as Septem Subjecta Trioni, for Subjecta Septemtrioni. 1844 Proc. Philol. Soc. I. 265 Though the constituent parts of compound terms may be disjoined by tmesis, the elements of truly simple words never are. 1889 Athenæum 23 Mar. 373/1 Forgive the quaint tmesis of his opening line:How bright the chit and chat!

War and Peace

I'm a bit disappointed. My favourite character from War and Peace bit the dust. Prince Andrei Bolkansky has died of wounds suffered at Borodino. I always find it disappointing when the character that I like most and identify with most dies in a book that I'm reading. On the other hand, it generally makes me appreciate the book a bit more when a favoured character dies. I respect authors that can kill off important and significant characters. I don't know that I could do that if I was writing a novel.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

French Uphold Tradition of Collaboration

According to the Washington Times article here, the French provided documents to help senior Ba'athist Iraqis escape to Syria.

"The passports are regarded as documents of the European Union, because of France's membership in the union, and have helped the Iraqis avoid capture, said officials familiar with intelligence reports.
The French passports allow the wanted Iraqis to move freely among 12 EU countries that are part of the Schengen agreement on unrestricted travel. Britain, Denmark and Ireland are not part of the Schengen pact."

By doing this France places itself in precisely the same place as Syria, as a terrorist-harboring, terrorism-sponsoring state. The implications of this are mind-boggling.

Monday, May 05, 2003

Detroit in 7

I must say, I'm happy about this. It's for a couple of reasons. I don't like basketball players who are too smug and gloating, as Tracy McGrady got to be when his team was up 3 games to 1. And I like watching teams that play good defense, and the Pistons are definitely a very good defensive team. Teams that play solid defense are truly teams because the teamwork is so much more important on the defensive end. Players like McGrady and Allen Iverson can be fun to watch, but their one-man, look-at-me showboating is not something that wins championships. Way to go Pistons!

Sunday, May 04, 2003

More Looting

This looting was not condemned by the UN because, well, they were the ones doing the looting. (Link from the Corner.)

Moscow in Flames

Another nice quotation from War and Peace.

'What's your opinion, Danilo Terentyich? Isn't that there fire in Moscow?' asked one of the footmen.
'They'll put it out, never fear!'
'Who's to put it out?' cried Danilo Terentyich, who had hitherto been silent. His voice was quiet and deliberate. ''Tis Moscow sure enough, lads,' said he. 'Our white-walled Mother Mosc...' His voice faltered and broke into an old man's sob.
And it seemed as though they had all been waiting for this to make them realize the meaning of the red glare they were watching. There were sighs, the murmur of prayer and the sobbing of the old count's valet.

Friday, May 02, 2003

Palestinians vs. Israelis

I've been ruminating a bit lately about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict since it's been in the news a bit more now that things in Iraq are starting to settle down a bit. It seems to me that the Palestinians, as a people, have lost any claim to honour they may have once had. Their entire strategy for gaining land and building a nation is to kill women, children and the defenseless until they have successfully committed genocide against an entire nation and religion. Their "soldiers" only strike when there is a low risk of being killed themselves, unless they commit suicide while trying to kill and maim as many innocents as possible. And this is not limited to the small percentage that take an active terrorist role. Schools, parks, squares and other public places are named after these terrorists. Parents and teachers tell their children that it is good to emulate those that kill women and children. The entire Palestinian "nation" is complicit in the terrorism and murder that the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and others carry out in their name. They support, hide and steadfastly ever refuse to condemn those that wage war against civilians. And not just against civilians, but against civilians exclusively. The Palestinians, and most Arabs it seems, are a people who have forsaken their honor.

I heard the BBC talking about how Jewish and Palestinian moderates were still speaking to each other trying to reach a peace despite the recent terrorist bombing of an Israeli club. In this parlance, a Palestinian moderate is one who is willing to kill only some of the Jews instead of all of them. A Jewish moderate is one who is willing to allow some Jews to be killed instead of none of them. Thus the common ground.

25 artifacts missing!

It seems that the initial estimates of 170,000 artifacts missing from Iraq's museums is a bit high. According to the NY Times (found this link in the Corner) the Iraqis have only so far been able to list 29 items as missing, and 4 of those have been recovered. This is rapidly looking like another Jenin incident. A minor thing blown way out of proportion in order to blame a disfavored group. In Jenin, the Israelis. In Iraq, the Americans. I'm sure UNESCO will still spend far too much money on this.