Cousins-in-law twice removed?

11:09 PM Nov 29, 2003by Rob Ritchie

I have always been puzzled by the term "removed" when discussing cousins. What the heck is a "cousin once removed" and if he's particularly badly behaved, will be be removed a second time?

Then, I found this interesting article by Stan Brown:

Relationship Terms

Love Actually…is quite Conservative

8:44 PM Nov 29, 2003by Rob Ritchie

Donna and I wanted to see a movie this afternoon, after some light shopping, and decided to go see “Love Actually”, the new film by Richard Curtis. From the ads, I had pegged it as a “chick-flick” along the lines of the execrable “Bridget Jones’s Diary, (which was also written by Richard Curtis) but as it starred several actors that I particularly like (Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant et. al.) I agreed to see it, especially since it was showing at a convenient time.

This movie is definitely a post-9/11 romantic comedy (the opening sequence refers to the calls made by passengers on the hijacked planes) in that it celebrates human relationships, the love that is “all around” in the world, in all its forms: the love of a widower for his dead wife; the love of parents and their children; of young married couples; of love unrequited and returned; of the painful love of family duty; and, of course, everyone’s love of Claudia Schiffer.

Curtis, who also wrote the script, has created a film about a number of people more-or-less loosely connected via friendships and family, each of whom has reached some sort of romantic crisis. Several parallel storylines weave in and out as each relationship develops (or disintegrates), culminating in heart-warming satisfaction (or heart-wrenching sadness) for each.

The reason I characterize this file as post-9/11 is that it seems to me very conservative in its depiction of physical relationships. While the language is as trashy as I have come to expect from much modern British film, the characters talk a lot about sex but there is precious little of it done outside of traditional conservative venues. A gorgeous young married couple, one would assume, are busy consummating their brains out, but none of it on-screen. Adultery happens off-screen, and is significant only for its impact on the family, not the individuals. Our heroes and heroines pine away chastely for one another, as family obligation and circumstance conspire to keep them apart.

The only exceptions to this are for humorous effect. One recurring couple work in the film industry as body-doubles in what is probably some sort of soft-porn film. Throughout the movie, we see them hard at work at their simulated sex-acts, politely chatting about the weather and inquiring about each others families until at last they work up the nerve to go out on a date, which barely ends with a kiss. Another buffoonish young character, despairing of ever finding an English girl, resolves to go to America to live out his fantasies about the girls across the Atlantic; all I can say is, Bill, buy a ticket to Milwaukee!

The requirement to bring each relationship to a climatic resolution virtually simultaneously results in some clunky storytelling towards the end of the film. Also, in at attempt to insert a little British patriotism the filmmakers had to insert a Clintonesque Billy-Bob Thornton into the film to play against Grant’s apre-Blair PM, which is both embarrassing and annoying.

Other than these quibbles, I enjoyed the movie and recommend it to anyone who is of appropriate age and inclination. There are sadnesses in this film that will bring tears to the eyes of the softhearted, and joys that will bring hope to the brokenhearted.

3:37 PM Nov 27, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

Fuck Me, Allah?

I say Fuck You!

The president's plane — its lights darkened and windows closed to minimzie chances of making it a target — landed under a crescent moon at Bagdad International Airport.
Get it? Under a crescent moon.

With apologies for the strong language, but sometimes le mot juste is needed - pardon my French.

Hey, Osama!

6:04 PM Nov 25, 2003by Rob Ritchie

Eat this!

I'm tempted to also recommend that the Democratic canditates also munch down...

Just to show I have a sense of humor

4:13 PM Nov 25, 2003by Rob Ritchie

Mr. Ashcroft is spending the day at an elementary school and after the morning session fields questions from the children. Johnny raises his hand. "Mr. Ashcroft," he pipes up, "I have three questions for you: Why haven't we gotten Osama bin Laden yet? Why haven't we gotten Saddam Hussein yet? And doesn't the Patriot Act infringe on our civil liberties?" Before Mr. Ashcroft can answer, the recess bell rings and the children run out to the playground.

When they return and sit back down, Susie raises her hand. "Mr. Ashcroft," she said, "I have five questions for you: Why haven't we gotten Osama bin Laden yet? Why haven't we gotten Saddam Hussein yet? Doesn't the Patriot Act infringe on our civil liberties? Why was recess 20 minutes early today? And where's Johnny?"

1:40 PM Nov 25, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

What morons! I know that's redundant since we're talking about the Klu Klux Klan, but, come on!

Participant at KKK initiation wounded after shots fired into sky

He was shot in the head. Reports indicate that his IQ was unchanged.

Mark Steyn on Johnny Hart

12:04 PM Nov 25, 2003by Rob Ritchie

Although I agreed of course that Islamophobic cartooning was the most pressing issue of the week, in my usual shallow way I'd become distracted by some of the day's more trivial stories - the 11 Hindus burnt alive by a Muslim gang in Bangladesh, the 13 Christian churches torched by Muslim rioters in the Nigerian town of Kazaure, and the 27 Turks and Britons murdered by Muslim terrorists in Istanbul.

No dead Jews in that particular day's headlines, but otherwise a good haul of Hindus, Christians and, of course, Muslims. Every society has its ugly side: in America, the problem is stone-age cartoons; in Nigeria, it's stone-age - or stoning age - reality. But one can't help noticing that polysemic cartooning seems a notably ineffective way of stirring up anti-Muslim feeling, at least when one looks at preliminary statistics for Muslims murdered in America this Ramadan, compared with Muslims murdered in, say, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

It's all equally good, or infuriating, depending, I think, on you.

6:03 PM Nov 24, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

Nancy pointed me to this Lileks column at Newhouse:

The Trouble With Al Gore's Screed on Civil Liberties

One waits for Gore et al to admit that the Republic's greatest peril doesn't come from a man who took the fight to the enemy's stronghold, knocked off two horrid tyrannies AND proposed generous prescription drug benefits in his spare time. One waits for them to be as worried about Osama's heirs as they are worried about John Ashcroft's power to tap the phone of the next Mohamed Atta.

"Hamas spends 90% of its time in hiding"

4:08 PM Nov 24, 2003by Rob Ritchie

Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter told the Cabinet at its weekly meeting Sunday that Hamas leaders are spending 90 percent of their time in hiding and only 10 percent on planning terror attacks against Israel.

I'll be happy when they spend 100% of their time hiding in small, earth-filled holes.

2:05 PM Nov 23, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

Here is an article so important and interesting, I have added it to my links page:

The Real History of the Crusades

Read it all, and if you disagree with it's historical points, then site your sources.

Update: LGF reminded me of a terrific source: The Catholic Encyclopedia on-line. Here's the entry for the "Crusades"

1:52 PM Nov 23, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

al-Qaeda Suspect's son charged with kidnap

The woman, believed to be a Habib family relative, was dragged out of a car parked outside Bankstown TAFE just after midnight on November 5.

The youth held the victim while Hassam wrapped masking tape around her mouth and head, Parramatta Local Court was told.

The youth tied electrical wire around the woman's wrists before he attempted to put her in the car boot.

Hey! Hey! JFK...

7:40 PM Nov 22, 2003by Rob Ritchie

Today's the 40th anniversary of JFK's assassination. I was 19 months old and nowhere near Dallas when it happened.

If ever there was a man who has ascended to heaven and become a secular saint, John Fitzgerald Kennedy is that man.

How would history have been different if he had lived out his term and, perhaps, won a second?

Here's a hint

6:47 PM Nov 21, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

This reads like parody:

50 Cent scored three awards at the inaugural Vibe Awards Thursday night, receiving statuettes for artist of the year, dopest album ("Get Rich or Die Tryin"') and hottest hook ("In Da Club").

"And the Vibe Award for Dopest Album goes to..."

4:15 PM Nov 18, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

Glenn Renyolds has some pretty interesting remarks about the humiliation of occupation and loss.

In fact, of course, the American South knows what it's like to lose a war, and to be occupied, which may possibly explain why the American South is also far more military-minded than other parts of the United States -- or, for that matter, than London. And the American South certainly didn't like being occupied. Reconstruction was very unpopular, and my grandmother can still tell stories that she heard from her grandmother about Union soldiers passing through and stripping the place bare of everything except what they were able to hide, and of the years (decades, really) of privation that followed the war.

But American southerners know something that apparently a lot of other people seem to have trouble with: how to lose a war and not hold a grudge.

I guess he's taken to heart some of the recent criticism about the length of his posts.

12:03 PM Nov 18, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

On the eve of the President's visit to Great Britain and his meeting with Tony Blair, we get to read this:

Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, launched a stinging attack on President George Bush last night, denouncing him as the "greatest threat to life on this planet that we've most probably ever seen".

When the Prime Minister expressed embarassment, Bush replied:

"That's Okay, Tony ol' pal. Let me tell you about Marion Barry...."

God Damn!

11:47 AM Nov 18, 2003by Rob Ritchie

Now we're Really In Trouble!

Smoking Gun

7:45 PM Nov 15, 2003by Rob Ritchie

OSAMA BIN LADEN and Saddam Hussein had an operational relationship from the early 1990s to 2003 that involved training in explosives and weapons of mass destruction, logistical support for terrorist attacks, al Qaeda training camps and safe haven in Iraq, and Iraqi financial support for al Qaeda--perhaps even for Mohamed Atta--according to a top secret U.S. government memorandum obtained by THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

More here and here

Evil Republicans

2:26 PM Nov 15, 2003by Rob Ritchie

Via Andrew Sullivan, I find this interesting bit of information on the Glenn Beck site.

Seems some folks examined income tax returns to determine the ratio of charitable contributions to earned income, thereby generating a percentage of income turned over voluntarily to charities. They then ranked the states in order of generosity.

What the Glenn Beck folks did is superimpose over this chart the results of the 2000 election, showing which states voted for Bush and those that voted for Gore.

Take a Look

Apparently, evil Republican states are more, er, good than those virtuous Democrat states. How can that be?

Must be the influence of those horrible Evangelical Christians!

2:12 PM Nov 15, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

Andrew Sullivan gives us a long, but extremely well-written defense of the president written in the context of his upcoming visit to London and the protests there.

He's brought together all the reasons I support Bush. If you want to understand, read it all.

London Calling: Bush, Ambushed

1:35 PM Nov 15, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

Imagine for a minute that the IRA (a terrorist group that organizes itself around Catholicism) stepped up its murderous activities during the holy time of Lent. It is blasphemous to blow people up in the name of Jesus.

Apparently, Ramadan isn't Lent; and Allah isn't Jesus; and Islam isn't Catholicism.

Car Bombs at Turkey Synagogues Kill 20

The Dangers of Blogging

10:53 AM Nov 13, 2003by Rob Ritchie

One man's story.

Warning...strong language.

4:19 PM Nov 12, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

This is a special message to my undercover brother, deep inside opposing ideological lines, struggling against the waters in which he swims: late one night, after everyone else is asleep. slip from between your sheets, go downstairs and fire up the computer. Then, click here; you'll feel better.

Red Spot and Lady Jaye Got Married!

11:09 AM Nov 11, 2003by Rob Ritchie

Donna and I spent the last few days in Plymouth, Mass., to attend the long-anticipated wedding of my nephew Red Spot to the lovely Lady Jaye.

Since 99.99% of you who are reading this were are the wedding, I needn't go into details. We got home safely, and we loved seeing all of you.

Damn right they aren't!

7:24 PM Nov 6, 2003by Rob Ritchie

L.A. Times Bans 'Resistance Fighters' in Iraq News

They now prefer the terms "insurgents" or "guerrillas."

Healing Iraq

11:43 AM Nov 6, 2003by Rob Ritchie

I've blogged about this guy before, but Zeyad, the Iraqi dentist who writes Healing Iraq from Baghdad has a post up that you must read.

The foreigners have made us impotent!

11:10 AM Nov 6, 2003by Rob Ritchie

The Sudanese penis-panic is amusing to our sensibilities, but Mark Steyn puts it into perspective in this column.

[A] week after the Malaysian Prime Minister told an Islamic summit that their "enemies," the Jews, control the world and got a standing ovation from 56 fellow Muslim leaders, it's useful to be reminded that the International Jewish Conspiracy is comparatively one of the less loopy conspiracies in the Islamic world. That said, they'll probably figure out a way to pin the disappearing penises on some or other agent of Zionism. After all, according to reports in Middle East newspapers, Israel laces Arab chewing gum with secret hormones to make Muslim men hot for Jewish babes who turn out to be Mossad agents.

It is, in that sense, the perfect emblematic tale of Islamic victimhood: The foreigners have made us impotent! It doesn't matter that the foreigners didn't do anything except shake hands. It doesn't matter whether you are, in fact, impotent. You feel impotent, just as -- so we're told -- millions of Muslims from Algerian Islamists to the Bali bombers feel "humiliated" by the Palestinian situation. Whether or not there is a rational basis for their sense of humiliation is irrelevant.

1:48 PM Nov 5, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

Holy jumping Jebus on a gasoline powered pogo stick.

Count me as another former straight-ticket registered Democrat who will never, ever, never vote 'D' again, even for dogcatcher.

These people don't deserve votes. They deserve straightjackets.

This is iowahawk's comment on lgf concerning this story:

Dem Intel Committee Memo Reveals Anti-Bush Plot

Looking forward to Thanksgiving

10:58 AM Nov 5, 2003by Rob Ritchie

But not this....

12:12 PM Nov 4, 2003

by Rob Ritchie

The Grand Prior of the Knights Templar has challenged Osama bin Laden to a duel:

An Open Letter to Osama bin Laden: By Chevalier James R. Reese, Grand Prior of the United States

As lgf points out, it's probably too late, since ObL is a greasy spot somewhere.

I wasn't aware that the Knights Templar were still around, but apparently they are.


1:34 PM Nov 2, 2003by Rob Ritchie

This from the AP:

Israel to Raze With Robot Bulldozers

The giant Caterpillar bulldozer, used by the Israeli military to destroy Palestinian homes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, now comes with a controversial new feature: remote control.
What's controvercial about it? Oh, of course...
Palestinians fear it will lead to more frequent raids using the machines and make the three-year conflict even bloodier.
So, it's controvercial because it doesn't give the Pali's a chance to kill the hated Jews.

Bomb-belts on toddlers, though, that's not controvercial, it's self defence.