Digital cable down

Somehow both the TV and the internet went away at my apartment over the last day and a half, a horrific experience that I hope never to repeat.

Apparently people used to satisfy themselves with the joys of recorded music and the printed word, if you can believe it. I got through about half a crossword puzzle before getting bored. And they had to wait for the next morning to get the day's news. File under "amazing but true".


Quick hits


Friday dog-blogging

More Friday dog-blogging... since the last time was so fun. I don't know how many of you have seen this wonderful painting:

It's called "A Friend in Need", by the artist C. M. Coolidge, from 1903. It appears that the bulldog, who has already folded, is passing his friend to the left (breed unknown) a valuable card, in an underhanded (I guess that would be under-pawed) manner.

A fine evocation of friendship, and, if you're in the market for art, I think you can't go wrong making it an addition to your home gallery.

Act now - you never know when they'll run out.


Never a dull moment in the Mideast

The CIA thinks Bin Laden is now in Iran, the Iranian regime is weaker than anyone thought, and other fascinating insights from Michael Ledeen.

UPDATE: I forgot to cite it before, but I got this too from Publius Pundit.


So we've gotta say goodbye, for the summer...

Well, it looks like the great ones of Candied Ginger are no longer with us. My guess is they'll both be back before long. Well, I hope so. It appears Ginger already is.

In the meantime, in memory let me link to my personal favorite Candied Ginger post - a little musing that was like poetry.

More on the Communism/Fascism thing

Thinking more about my statement that Communism basically is the same as Nazism and Fascism, sharing both common roots and common appearances with just a few necessary changes in slogans, I was reminded of one of my favorite books, F. A. Hayek's "The Road To Serfdom", which covers that topic. I looked it up and found this delightful link: a scanned-in booklet of The Road to Serfdom in cartoon form, from... looks like sometime in the 50's.

Yeah, almost definitely the 50's.

Cedar Revolution goes voting

Anti-Syrian opposition wins 56% majority of Lebanese elections in vote.

And somewhere along the way, Lebanon has turned from a sham democracy into a real one.

The article link engages in the required hedging, which is: the anti-Syrian parties are now in a coalition for tactical reasons with Hezbollah, raising fears that the country will now be hijacked by Islamist theocrats in place of the Ba'athists (which was supposed to happen in Iraq too... whatever happened with that?) I don't buy it: I see military dictatorships and radical Islamism as two sides of the same coin, just like the supposedly-polar-opposites-but-in-practice-pretty-much-the-same-thing Communism and Fascism: justifications for rule by a few that would never withstand the power of the ballot box. Give the people political and economic freedom and they'll quickly reject all of them.


"Follow your heart and intuition"

A very nice commencement address given by Steve Jobs last weekend at Stanford University.

(Via Instapundit)


In gun news

The anti-gun-control position, that more legal guns = safer streets and vice versa, certainly seems to be borne out by the case of the "assault weapons" ban in the U.S. - nine months after it expired,
national homicides are down, for the first time since 1999.

As you may recall, the expiration was met with much impassioned outrage at the time - then-candidate John Kerry said President Bush "chose his powerful friends in the gun lobby over the police officers and the families he promised to protect."

Bush never got a re-authorization bill in front of him, so it was a misleading statement, but in any case looks like there was no need to choose.


And a personal update

Well, I figure I should write something about myself too. That web-programming project I was working on, the betting site, that I think at one point I said would just take a few more weeks, is.. still ongoing. It looks like the project will take closer to a year at the current rate, which is not cause for alarm because the scope has expanded a little and there was a platform change in there too. And it's already been about six months. But I haven't let it fall by the wayside, I'm still very much working on it on weekends and when I get the chance. Who knows what I was thinking when I wrote the "few weeks" thing, though. I must have been on whatever drug that is that also makes you think you can fly.

Also, I am now in fact seeing a girl. I didn't write about it before because there was nothing driving-by-a-car-crash-entertaining about it, unlike some of my previous attempts at relationships. But anyway, now you know.

Site update

It's been a while since I posted - I've been busy with trivia nights and going to see shows and web programming and stuff like that. Nothing all that dramatic.

I changed the tagline to "We Live In Brooklyn", which I think is a little less confrontational than "Tomorrow Belongs To Us" (or maybe not, actually - depends on who's saying it). Also, I added The Corner and Material Squirrel to the links. The new tagline comes from the classic Roy Ayers song of the same name.

Roy Ayers - We Live in Brooklyn, Baby


Lyric of the day

From the Old 97's "Barrier Reef", which is such a snappy song:
The Empty Bottle was half-empty; tide was low and I was thirsty
Saw her sitting at the bar, you know how some girls are,
Always making eyes; well, she wasn't making eyes
So I sidled up beside her settled down and shouted 'Hi there -
My name's Stewart Ransom Miller, I'm a serial ladykiller'
She said 'I'm already dead'; that's exactly what she said.


Quick hits


Gone, just like a train

Ivan Lenin had his guitars stolen on the Lower East Side. Or "liberated to the deserving lower classes", as his namesake might say.

Let me offer as a consolation my own stolen-goods story, involving a $2000 E-flat (sopranino) clarinet in college. Turns out you only have to leave an instrument unlocked in the instrument room over one night for someone to come get it! Also, contrary to what you might think, the smaller instruments actually cost more than their regular-sized counterparts. You'd think it would be on a proportional scale, like mochas at Starbucks, but it's not. Seems like a brazen racket on the part of Messrs. Yamaha et al., but what do I know.

Also there was a bicycle, locked, in friendly Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Feel free to contribute your own sad story, if you have one.


Friday dog-blogging

I've never cat-blogged or dog-blogged before, so it seems I'm well overdue, plus I wanted to pass on this bit of fascinating information. Has anyone heard of the dog breed known as the Rhodesian Ridgeback? Apparently it's a fairly common breed for pets. It was first brought to my attention a few weeks ago.

The fascinating thing about it is that it was originally bred by the British in South Africa (or Zimbabwe, I guess, judging from the name... used to be called Rhodesia) for hunting lions. Yes, lions. Apparently these dogs can taunt and successfully help hunt down the kings of the jungle.

Nevertheless, they're fairly docile as household pets, unlike, say, pit bulls or dobermans. They're calm in repose, but strap on some pith helmets and hunting rifles and head out into the wild and I guess their manly warrior instincts come right back. They're the Hemingway of dogs. Magnificent beast, what what.

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