Friday, August 29, 2003

The Subversive 50's?

Guest writer at NRO makes the case that perhaps the 50's weren't quite the conservative golden decade that people imagine them to have been. I think there's a lot to be said for this view. There's a second part to this article, so there might be an update here in a few minutes when I get done reading it.

"Everybody! Everybody!"

NRO is giving mad props (did I just say that?) to Homestar Runner.

For an interesting interview of the guys behind Homestar, try this.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Hurry, before he notices!

Greg has a "response" up over at the PUNCHBowl. It seems he's at a loss for words. (For once.)
Update
He noticed. He still hasn't responded, but at least he has some sort of explanation up.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

A Nelsonic "Ha-Hah!"

The PUNCH Bowl has a post regarding just the sort of thing that causes my reservations about Christopher Hitchens. It seems Hitch claims that the 10 Commandments are immoral. This is just the sort of dishonest argument that I was talking about here. It'll be interesting to see how this shakes out over at The PUNCH Bowl.

Sleep is a waste of time

Got a couple new games for the old PC. Friend gave me Neverwinter Nights because he was done with it. Awfully nice of him. I'm not terribly impressed with the game. I liked Baldur's Gate II much better. Neverwinter's interface isn't as intuitive to me, it isn't party based (which I find to be a drawback), the plot-line is rather simple and there aren't enough sub-quests. The game is much more linear as well. At least so far. In BG II I could go fight a Red Dragon way before I had a chance of beating him. Neverwinter hasn't given me anything my character couldn't handle yet. It's just one dang thing after another.

Speaking of BGII, I also picked up the expansion ToB this weekend. Haven't gotten around to playing it yet since I lost my completed games of BGII when I had to reinstall XP. Figure I'll play through BGII right quick and then start ToB. The trick to all this is to find a way to sleep less, that way I don't cut into my reading time.

Three outta four ain't bad

Finished the Raymond Chandler Omnibus. The High Window ended nicely, but The Lady in the Lake was a disappointment. It was about 150 pages and I had the whole solution pegged in about 40. Started in on the Nero Wolfe tales. Apparently this is the Five of a Kind Nero Wolfe Omnibus. At any rate, I've read The Rubber Band and In the Best of Families and now there's just Three Doors to Death to go. They've been pretty good so far, though Nero Wolfe reminds me an awful lot of Mycroft Holmes. I'd recommend both writers to any fan of the mystery genre.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Falcon Forum and The Big Sleep

Put up another post in the thread (in the Falcon Forums) that discusses Iraq, WMDs and whether Bush lied. It looks like Brian Emanuels got tired of the debate and is walking away.

Been reading some Raymond Chandler as a change from serious non-fiction. Picked up the Raymond Chandler Omnibus from the library. Read The Big Sleep, Farewell, My Lovely and nearly all of The High Window so far. Just have The Lady in the Lake to go. Nice little mysteries. Snappy 30's wiseguy dialogue. Protaganist is a good-hearted private eye trying to navigate the seamy side of LA. What's not to like? After I finish this I have some Nero Wolfe mysteries to try next.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Now, about that other matter...

In the "Update" to this Greg makes a riposte to my comments on his criticism of the pro-life movement's inclusion of the overtly religious.

Granted, religion is not morality, nor vice versa. But the only logical arguments in favour of morality stem from religious belief. I was disappointed to read "Human rights, equality and compassion are pretty strong arguments, and I'm chagrined when they are diluted by 'It's against God's will.'" Greg, has your religious instruction been so remiss as to not tell you that God's will is "human rights, equality and compassion"? Our Founding Fathers understood this. Recall the words, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness"?

But let that go. Even if one doesn't understand that morality is a crock without God, the key to winning minds on abortion is this. People need to understand that it is murder. And to understand that, they need to understand that the unborn child is a person. That's it. And intelligent pro-lifers understand that is a job for science. Science is on our side. But even that isn't really germane to the topic we disagreed on.

I wanted to know what reason you had for toning down religious display in pro-life demonstrations. And you haven't made a single step in proving that overt religiousness is a detriment to the pro-life cause. Your example of the Oregon euthanasia debate doesn't say that the Catholics dropped out, or that they stopped telling anyone they were Catholic, or anything of the sort. Just that they made allies and broadened their campaign. Which is what pro-lifers are doing, as you noted. None of your examples has anything to do with the religious people involved being less overtly religious in order to succeed. It's simply about having secular allies. You're going to have to come up with a lot better explanations or examples before I'll be convinced that pro-life advocates should check their religion at the door. And I hope you can respect that, Greg.

Wow.

Well, the boys over at the PUNCHBowl have responded here and here. (That second one is pretty long.) It seems, despite Greg finding it funny (as was intended), he took me seriously enough to respond in detail. And at length.

So, though this is probably crossing the line from barely humorous to decidedly un-funny, here's a response to the responses.

First off, I don't care what you link to. This was simply more interesting than dropping you a line to inquire about your political beliefs in more detail than I already knew. As to your reading liberal opinions, there are plenty of good reasons for it, from understanding your opponents, to admiring their strength in their convictions, to simply being informed or even because you need a good laugh now and then. Whatever.

As far as Hitch is concerned, it doesn't much matter to me either. It's nice that he thinks Bush is an all right guy, that he's a Marxist no longer, and I'm pleased he was smart enough to support the war in Iraq. But I still have my own reservations about him. I find it strange and disturbing that he felt compelled to do a kneecap job on Bob Hope shortly after he died. Shows a lack of finer feelings, in my opinion. I've also heard, (though know little about, thus no link) that he's made a practice of knifing Mother Teresa in print every chance he gets as well. Doesn't seem to speak well of him. And I've read several of his pieces where he grossly misrepresents Scripture to push his atheism. And that makes me wonder, if he's willing to misrepresent and deceive to push that point, might he be willing to do it elsewhere as well? But let that go. Write me off as just not liking the guy.

Rush and Al From were tacked on at the last minute to round the joke out. I think Rush is a pompous wind-bag myself, though I do think he's been on the money on most issues I've heard him speak on. He's just too in love with himself. I'm all for giving advice to Democrats to the effect that they should act more like Republicans. The New Deal was too conveniently named to pass up.

Instapundit is a self-described libertarian, I thought. If I'm in error there, I'll be happy to be corrected. I don't want to call him names he wouldn't take to himself. I don't read his blog, so I'm sure you know far more in this area than I do. (In fact, I don't read any blogs on a regular basis other than yours.)

On Andrew Sullivan though, you misunderstood. I wasn't referring to him being homosexual and Republican, or being homosexual and conservative or even to anything political at all. Rather, I was calling him a hypocrite for being homosexual and Catholic. Those two are irreconcilable. (Unlike Episcopalians and homosexuals, it seems.) Frankly, I find it ridiculous and hypocritical that he could claim to be both a good Catholic and an active homosexual. And similar to Hitch, as I mentioned above, this persistant dishonesty (though of a different stripe) in one area of his writing makes me suspicious and distrustful of the rest.

There. Hope that clears that up. Also hope you got a laugh out of that too.

Friday, August 22, 2003

Closet Dem?

Been wondering about Greg lately. Similar to his query to Prince about metrosexualism, I'm wondering if Greg is perhaps a closet Democrat. Let's look at some facts.

Links:
Greg has links to The New Republic, Christopher Hitchens, Romenesko, Howard Kurtz and Slate. Quite a line-up of liberals, liberal media and he's even got a Marxist in there. This is "balanced" by The Weekly Standard, Andrew Sullivan and Instapundit. One conservative publication, one libertarian and one hypocrite. Hum. Wandering down that link bar a little further, we find a link to a "music" site, The New Deal. Coincidence that it's named after FDR's great socialist program? I think not.

Digging a bit more we find that Greg has recently talked up the aforementioned Marxist, advised Dems on how to beat Bush and slammed Rush.

Anything you need to get off your chest, Greg?

Check your religion at the door

Greg, over at the PUNCHBowl has a post up that's nominally about a new business that will take photos of unborn babies for the parents. (Greg for some reason uses the pro-abortion-preferred "fetus" to refer to unborn children.) But then he comments that he's annoyed with people "who can't restrain themselves from talking about abortion in religious terms: "Jesus Saves" signs and Catholic relics being displayed at pro-life marches, for example. You can't win a debate on a contentious public policy issue by quoting Jesus or Moses."

Wait a minute. Most of those in the pro-life camp take that position because of morality and religion. Simply because it doesn't play well in an unsympathetic media, or whatever is no reason to tell people to leave their religion behind. Every law we have in this country is based on morality. Murder, theft, lying (perjury), prostitution, etc. are all outlawed because society at large finds them immoral. The alternatives to a loss of morality among the populace are a loss of freedom and the imposition of a nanny state, a la Europe and utter anarchy.

So, no more marching against abortion and bringing religion into it. What's your basis for prohibiting it then, Greg? Because it makes your conscience uncomfortable? It's not economically feasible? Or is it because it's the murder of children? Wait, can't use that last one, the only reason murder of the unborn is bad is... well, 'cause God said so.

Witness

Finished the bio of Whittaker Chambers. Interesting guy. Tanenhaus did an excellent job of describing his life and covering the salient points well. After reading this, and Witness I'll never know how someone could possibly think Hiss was not a Soviet spy.

Monday, August 18, 2003

Can I get a Witness?

Been reading a biography of Whittaker Chambers (who was really named Jay Vivian, poor guy) by Sam Tannenhaus called (shock! surprise!) Whittaker Chambers: A Biography. Pretty good so far. I'm about halfway done. I've gotten to the point where he starts working for Time magazine and starts a personal crusade against Communism. Go Whittaker! So far it hasn't been too different than Chambers' autobio, Witness. I'm looking forward to seeing how the rest of Chambers' life played out. Especially since he figured that he was leaving the Winning Side for the Losing Side. (Kinda what Tolkien advocated, in a way.) Bottom line, so far a great book about a great man.

Giving ya the finger. (Not that one.)

Took the splint off the finger on Friday. Finger's still bent and can't be straightened. Not good. Noticed that finger is dramatically shorter than corresponding finger on other hand. Also not good. Calling the doctor tomorrow. Still doesn't hurt. Which is good.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Sounds of silence

Probably won't be blogging a whole lot in the near future. It's my week to lead the discussion over in Reading Room. If you're interested in the Lord of the Rings, c'mon over and join us.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Swooning like a school-girl

Greg over at the PUNCHbowl is from being mentioned again over at Instapundit. You'd think he was a teen girl who'd had her hand touched by Justin Timberlake at a concert.

Seriously, many congratulations, Greg. What does this make now? Two mentions at Instapundit and one at the Weekly Standard? Which is not sarcasm. You're well ahead already of where I'll ever be.

Fight! Fight! Fight!

Well, now that Greg has linked to and posted about the blog Perfect..., the proprietress of the blog has responded.

I was hoping for a nice little war, or at least a minor scuffle, but Greg is either ignoring her or hasn't yet noticed. Ah, well. Maybe they'll fight over something else later.

Literary things

Started reading Plato's The Republic. It's not too bad so far. Breezy, easy to understand conversational style. All philosophy should be written this way, insofar as it's possible.

Leading the chapter discussion in the Reading Room over at TORN next week. I'm pretty psyched. I think I'm a little better prepared than last time, but we'll see. I feel like I should have more questions, but I do have about 50 in total, and any more and it seems that participation starts to flag a bit. I haven't been reading as much lately while preparing for this and since my in-laws have been in town.

Monday, August 11, 2003

There be whales!

Finished Moby Dick a week or two ago, but neglected to post anything about it. It was a great yarn, and a decent book. Most of the book is given over to a how-to on whaling and only about a third of it really deals with the story. The story was, however, excellent and kept me reading right along. Even though I knew how it was going to end, it kept me enthralled.

Melville was all over the map in his style. The book begins as a first-person account narrated by Ishmael. But at times throughout the story we're given a look into the minds of different characters to include Captain Ahab, the ship's carpenter and others. He's also not very consistent on certain details and it reads somewhat like it could have used a little more revision or editorial help, but it's still a great novel. Not the greatest, nor my favorite. War and Peace was written more skilfully, but Moby Dick was a more enjoyable story.

Pursuant to nothing.

Talking about LOTR over at TheOneRing.net and the subject of volcanoes came up. While doing a little research on the web, ran across a fascinating article about the eruption of Krakatoa. St. Helens was a hiccough compared to this bad boy.

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Nazi cartoons in US newspapers? Believe it.

Originally saw this linked by the Corner at NRO. Repellant. But important to see. People who aren't very politically minded, but are decent Americans need to be shocked into an awareness of how mainstream hate like this has become. LGF is almost always right on top of the Palestinian terrorist news. How good are they? They're blocked by the "Saudi" Arabian internet provider.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

We're bigger than Rush! Hello? Anyone?

Greg at the PUNCHBowl seems to side with InstaPundit regarding an article in The Hill. After reading the article and Instapundit's two line mock of it, I must say I'm inclined to agree with Dr David Hill, the author of the article.

It will be difficult for blogs like Instapundit to catch Limbaugh in only 15 years. Blogging's potential audience is so much smaller than that of radio. (Far more people own and have access to radios than computers with internet access.) Radio will always be more easily accessible (can you read a blog while driving?). With Blogcount estimating that there are 2 million blogs, the effect of the blogosphere is diluted among many competing voices. Sure, blogging might catch up to Limbaugh, but it will take a while. It took 30 to 40 years to complete the replacement of horses with "auto-MOH-beels". Is then 15 years an unreasonable estimate for blogging to catch up with Limbaugh and talk radio?

Radio dominated during the time it was the premier information disseminating technological innovation. It was eventually superseded by television, which will in turn be superseded by the Internet. But it's not going to happen overnight, and an overestimation of its current status will not help. If bloggers aren't careful with their predictions, they're gonna look like those people from the 1950's who predicted we'd be taking vacations on the moon by the end of the century.

Monday, August 04, 2003

Once more into the breach...

I waded back into the debate over at the Falcon Forum. At least they missed me. I'm not sure whether I'm pleased that the debate has shifted from whether or not it was good to invade Iraq to whether the President lied or not. To anyone that applies a bit of logic, it's obvious the President didn't lie, but dealing with some of the people I do at work I'm not at all confident in my fellow citizens' logical abilities. I'm not much of a political prognosticator, but I think this lying charge won't stick and with the economy picking back up things look good for 2004. Well, now that I've rambled away from my original topic...