Post-Christmas Perambulation

8:45 AM Dec 27, 2004by Rob Ritchie

This morning Mrs. Agnostic and I begin our trip up to Cincinnati* to see my mother and family living there.

It seems pretty unlikely that I'll be posting anything from the road; and equally unlikely that I'll be able to read anyone else's blogs. So, don't any of you folks do anything too interesting until I get back, OK?

Everyone have a safe and merry New Year celebration...and stay off the roads if you can help it.

Until we meet again, this is Pious Agnostic, signing off until 2005.

*Update:  My brother pointed out to me that I had mispelled the name of the city; I am abjectly humiliated, since this is place of my birth.

Christmas Excess

1:15 PM Dec 26, 2004by Rob Ritchie

3:53 PM Dec 25, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

11:40 PM Dec 24, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Season's Greetings to: Kathy the Cake Eater

7:00 PM Dec 24, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

5:08 PM Dec 24, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

1:04 PM Dec 24, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Merry Christmas

I hope all have a wonderful and meaningful Christmas. May the advent of our Savior bring you peace and joy.

12:18 PM Dec 24, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

My favorite historian Victor Davis Hanson makes a good case to Leave Rumsfeld Be.

Donald Rumsfeld is no Les Aspin or William Cohen, but a rare sort of secretary of the caliber of George Marshall. I wish he were more media-savvy and could ape Bill Clinton's lip-biting and furrowed brow. He should, but, alas, cannot. Nevertheless, we will regret it immediately if we drive this proud and honest-speaking visionary out of office, even as his hard work and insight are bringing us ever closer to victory.

Have I mentioned recently how awesome was his book The Soul of Battle?

Update:  Incidently, this is Post #1000 on the Pious Agnostic Blog. Hard to believe that in the 18 months or so I've been doing this that there'd be that many.

12:10 PM Dec 24, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Here's an interesting discussion of Sen. Dianne Feinstein's ludicrous and clearly self-serving proposal to eliminate the Electoral College. Apparently, Feinstein, and other EC-haters, are disappointed that the big population centers (which coincidentaly vote overwhelmingly Democratic by the way) don't have enough influence over the national election.

As Captain Ed points out:

The same exact argument could be made to eliminate the Senate with much better logic. After all, a single vote in North Dakota for Senate comprises 1 in 310,000 -- while the single vote for a Senator in California comprises 1 in 11 million. Does Feinstein also propose eliminating the upper chamber in order to address this gross misrepresentation?

There's more, and it will reward you to read it all.

Update:  Time for me to go back to "college" myself; fixed a laugable misspelling.

5:06 PM Dec 23, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

I guess I'm not the only one feeling spiritual anticipation.

Please say a prayer for Blake Magaoay

Talking dog

4:41 PM Dec 23, 2004by Rob Ritchie

A guy is driving around and he sees a sign in front of a house: "Talking Dog For Sale."

He rings the bell, and the owner tells him the dog is in the backyard. The guy goes around the house and into the backyard and sees a handsome Labrador Retriever sitting there.

"You talk?" he asks.

"Yep," the Lab replies.

"So, what's your story?"

The Lab looks up and says, "Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young, and I wanted to help the government; so I told the CIA about my gift, and in no time at all they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping.

"I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years running. But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn't getting any younger so I wanted to settle down. I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security work, mostly wandering near suspicious characters and listening in. I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a batch of medals.

"I got married, had a mess of puppies, and now I'm just retired."

The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog. "Ten dollars", says the owner.

The guy says, "This dog is amazing! Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?"

"Because he's a liar. He didn't do any of that stuff."

4:28 PM Dec 23, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Michelle Malkin has a must-read article concerning the idiotic practice of painting targets on the foreheads of Federal Air Marshals.

Update:  Captain Ed has some thoughts as well.

1:07 PM Dec 23, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

I saw a recent "Simpsons" episode in syndication, where it is remarked that, with regard to A Christmas Carol, TV writers have been "milking that goat" for years. It's true.

In this hilarious TCS column, the goat is milked even further.

Pious gratitude to: Instapundit

11:31 AM Dec 23, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Orlando has a yearly influx of "Snow Bums", an opportunistic breed who find their ways to sunny climes with more freedom than do any of my Northern relatives. These guys are universally reviled among our home-grown year-round residential bums as interlopers and trouble-makers. At this time of year, every off-ramp has a scruffy guy with a well-worn sign standing with a pitiful look and a dirty hand out.

Give to all who beg from you.

— Luke 6:30

When I see men begging the side of the road, an inner war begins. I am constantly challenged by the above Gospel verse, which is imbedded in the more well-known verse where Jesus commands us to "Love our enemies."

At the same time, my mind runs along the same lines at this thoughtful Fraters post:

I then noticed they were dressed appropriately, even for today's sub-zero temperatures. Hats, gloves, thick jackets with hoods. And they were begging in a relatively nice section of Maplewood. There are no homeless people living on these second ring suburban streets - meaning these guys had the wherewithal to travel.

Is it, as the above post argues, immoral to reward obviously-able-bodied men for begging? Yes, I think it is. It's not moral to give drugs to a drug addict, or booze to an alcoholic; and it's not right to give money to the slothful.

But I also believe that Christ calls upon us to put our trust in the Holy Spirit, that this particular challenge is put in our way for a purpose; that each time we see some tubby "homeless vet" with his hand out at the bottom of an off-ramp, we're being called upon to remember the poor and to do something personally about them, above and beyond any other charitable giving we may do through our church or community "outreach" programs.

I don't always answer that challenging call. I often avoid eye contact and keep the window up, even when it's a balmy 70 degrees out, as it is today. My money is my own money, after all, and he should get a job.

But I don't think this is how the Holy Spirit is prompting me to respond. It isn't given to me knowledge of another's heart and motivations, his past or present or future.

I may suspect that the fiver I hand him will go into his capacious pockets to join a wad of cash given him by his previous marks.

But I can't know this. This person may be the one bum out of a thousand that truly needs my money. I can't know, and I'll never know.

That's where trust in the Holy Spirit comes in. Christ tells me to "give to all who beg," saying, in essence, "You let me worry about whether he's taking your money under false pretenses or not; you just do what your good heart prompts you to do."

I don't think that the Holy Spirit wants me to be a fool, to give my money to lazy con men; and I don't think that He would prompt me to do so. God gave me a working mind for a reason, one of which is to make judgements about how to use my resources to help those in need. And I certainly can't help the poor if I've given all my money to scroungers.

But the Holy Spirit is still calling to me to help those in need. I try to listen to that Voice; I try not to have a hard and fast rule to never give to beggers "because they are all fakes." Some may not be. And the Holy Spirit will tell me who they are, if I allow myself to hear Him.

It helps to turn the radio off at the bottom of off-ramps.

7:18 PM Dec 22, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

An absolutely wonderful post.

"some straights and some homos"

In his book "What's so Amazing about Grace?" Philip Yancey relates this quote from a gay man who came from a Christian background: "I still believe. I would love to go to church, but whenever I've tried, someone spreads a rumor about me and suddenly everyone withdraws. As a gay man, I've found it's easier for me to get sex on the streets than to get a hug in church."

That should just never, ever be.

No, it shouldn't.

Pious gratitude to: The Anchoress

Yes, I really am this immature.

11:01 AM Dec 22, 2004by Rob Ritchie

No doubt she's a lovely woman, but I found this hilarious.

10:54 AM Dec 22, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

You know, when James Lileks gets going, he's an awful lot of fun.

He doesn't respond to his critics very often [the preceding statement is backed up by exactly 0 research, so you may actually find that he responds to his critics much more frequently than I remember], but when he does it's pretty brutal.

He defends a recent Backfence in today's Bleat against the ignorant snipings of James Wolcott (whoever that is).

Hey, I thought he was taking a break!

Joke of the Day

10:09 AM Dec 22, 2004by Rob Ritchie

A man, his wife and mother-in-law went on vacation to the Holy Land. While they were there the mother-in-law passed away.

The undertaker told them, "You can have her shipped home for $5,000, or you can bury her here in the Holy Land for $150."

The man thought about it and told him he would just have her shipped home.

The undertaker asked , "Why? would you spend $5,000 to ship your mother-in-law home, when it would be wonderful to be buried here and spend only $150?"

The man said, "A man died here two thousand years ago, he was buried here and three days later he rose from the dead.

"I just can't take that chance."

11:52 AM Dec 21, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

There's some great analysis of the "Should Rummy stay or should he go" quandary over at Captain's Quarters.

10:54 AM Dec 21, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

The Sitzpinkler Syndrome

The "sitzpinkler" movement, which started in Sweden a few years ago, has moved to Australia and Germany.

"My brother, for example, would not dream of standing up. Among the young, leftish intelligentsia, there is also a view that to stand up is a nasty macho gesture."

I have a nephew who lives is Germany; I wonder if he's encountered this? I suspect not....

When you consider that among many Muslims it is forbidden for a man to stand while urinating (apparently because Mohammed squatted to do his business) I can't help wondering; yet another convergence of Leftist and Islamist thought.

Pious gratitude to: Instapundit

6:56 PM Dec 20, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

4:17 PM Dec 20, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

"That's what Christmas is all about."

Please ignore my post from the other night.

Skeletal Systems

2:10 PM Dec 20, 2004by Rob Ritchie

A character study of 22 present and past cartoon characters.

I decided to take a select few of these popular characters and render their skeletal systems as I imagine they might resemble if one truly had eye sockets half the size of its head, or fingerless-hands, or feet comprising 60% of its body mass.

12:06 PM Dec 20, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Just five years after his invention, he was convicted of torturing two black women by stripping them naked, beating them with electrical cords, placing a hot iron into the mouth of one and mangling the toe of the other in a vice. During the ordeal, he forced them to drink detergent.

What was his invention? Kwanzaa!

Icy fingers of arctic air...

10:27 AM Dec 20, 2004by Rob Ritchie

...are exploring the nether regions of our country.

It's cold out side!

8:11 PM Dec 19, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Over at Florida Cracker's new digs, you can find a great story about the Christmas Spirit, alive and well in Femaville.

Go read it. Great pictures. Hurricane Charley isn't over for many people, as this story reminds us.

6:54 PM Dec 19, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Time Magazine has named Power Line the Blog of the Year!

This year the magazine named the conservative "Power Line" as its first "Blog of the Year." Kelly said blogs, Web sites that often mix news, gossip and opinion, are "here to stay."

Congratulations to some very smart people for a well-deserved honor.

Pious gratitude to: CQ

If you're still wondering what to get me for Christmas....

2:45 PM Dec 19, 2004by Rob Ritchie

The Last Post of the Night

9:48 PM Dec 18, 2004by Rob Ritchie

James R. Rummel tells a tale of subterranean horror.

Thanks, James. Now I'll have nightmares.

8:45 PM Dec 18, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

I don't often link to The Llama Butchers; not because I don't enjoy them (I do! I do!) but because they are so...well...strange that I hesitate to just send folks there willy-nilly. In fact, if they aren't engaged in some sort of duel with a certain Eater of Cake, I rarely mention them at all.

I don't think they would be insulted by my characterization, but everybody likes to be linked now and then.


Of course, I've blog-rolled them to the right there, so you all have an implicit (explicit?) invitation to visit them daily.

However, this post about the Metro Missionary was really, really, good, and doesn't require an immense amount of set-up.

(He said, after typing an immense amount of set-up.)

8:24 PM Dec 18, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Lynn S writes about tea.

I am not much of a hot tea drinker myself. I enjoy a little Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Herb Tea when I'm in an insomnia phase, or on the rare occasions that a hot drink is welcome in the evening (such as when I have a head cold).

Like many people in the South, I drink a lot of iced tea (though I don't like it sweetened, which is an absolute sin to many Southerners). We almost always have a pitcher of Decafinated Luzianne in the refrigerator.

Why do I bring this up? No reason. Just sayin', is all...

What are you reading?

7:58 PM Dec 18, 2004by Rob Ritchie

I was raised in a reading family, and I always have a book or two I'm working on at any given time. Unfortunately, my reading, though steady, is not swift, so it often takes me a while to finish a book.

It is with some pleasure, then, that I report that I am almost done with Victor Davis Hanson's awesome The Soul of Battle. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in military history.

I invite anyone who would like to leave a comment, telling what book they are currently reading, whether they are enjoying it, and whether they recommend it.

Inspired by: Ambra

6:49 PM Dec 18, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

That Adorable Little Rodent the Anchoress presents her own hilarious "vagina monologue":

My Vagina and Me: Politically Incorrect and Lovin' it!

The liberal celebration of mediocrity (in the name of inclusion) continues apace. Rather than exclude untalented actors, there will be no auditions - instead the most politically correct, most committed, the hardest working women for the cause will be "nominated." How pure. So, those women who have so little going on in their lives that they can donate the most time to feminist-victim-whinery will now fight for the right to act, and badly. I hate to tell you this, ladies, but someone is STILL gonna be excluded.

Pious gratitude to: Captain Ed

I'm Beat!

6:06 PM Dec 18, 2004by Rob Ritchie

It's bright and warm here today, and I was out shopping from 10:00 AM - 2:30 PM today. I'm tired!

Another Arctic Blast is headed our way, with temps in the 30's predicted for Sunday night.

Time to hibernate for a while...

The Bush's send their Greetings

6:03 PM Dec 18, 2004by Rob Ritchie

My sister received a Christmas Card from the President and First Lady. As she says, no doubt she's way down on their list, but it's nice to get a card.

How small can we go?

6:41 PM Dec 17, 2004by Rob Ritchie

This is cool!

Getting your terms straight

5:35 PM Dec 17, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Fascism for Idiots

Fascism is an easily defined and understood concept. Its origins are not mysterious. It is easy to distinguish from other political philosophies, as it features a rigid and distinct unifying concept, which Mussolini expressed as “Nothing above the State, nothing outside of the State, and nothing against the State.”

An interesting discussion, and illustrative considering how many idiots (by which, I mean Leftists) continue to get this essential concept entirely mistaken.

The author explains why he wrote this:

All of this was, of course, only a prologue to my true purpose: attacking something that some fool wrote on their blog. Namely, this piece of prime idiocy dumped by The Daily Kos (the Cornucopia of Really Bad Ideas) which argues that the United States is now a Fascist State. This assessment is based on a list of “14 signs of a Fascist society”, which has been floating around the internet like an STD virus at a Green Day Concert:

4:51 PM Dec 17, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Read this story.

Then tell me: do you think the Senators involved will be prosecuted for this?

h/t: lgf

2:11 PM Dec 17, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence
You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well. An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly. You are also good at remembering information and convicing someone of your point of view. A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.

What Kind of Intelligence Do You Have?

2:04 PM Dec 17, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

While I am highlighting only one of Father Jim Tucker's interesting posts, his blog has lots of good stuff.

Mysteries of the Church 2: Hospital Visits

Occasionally people will call their home parishes to say they'll be in the hospital and to request a visit: those parishes are then supposed to call us rather than sending one of their own priests. So, if your own priest doesn't drive outside his parish to come see you when you're sick, realize that he is doing his duty and following the rules. You shouldn't ask for an exception, even if you think you deserve it.

Just click and scroll.

12:54 PM Dec 17, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Want to read an amazing story from Iraq?

I think you do.

Pious gratitude to: James R. Rummel

11:23 AM Dec 17, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Remember Live Aid? Edward B. Driscoll, Jr. does in this interesting piece. He discusses the cause and effect of the Ethiopian famine benefit. Give it a read.

We Are The '80's!

Pious gratitude to: Power Line

6:39 PM Dec 16, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Barbara Streisand said to be 'fine' after prostate surgery.

I'll wait for the movie.

4:58 PM Dec 16, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Jim Geraghty is disinclined to expect the Democratic party to openly embrace religion.

He responds to Peggy Noonan's heartfelt advice to the Party:

It will never happen, Peggy

The Democratic party doesn’t have a reputation as the side hostile to religious faith because its messages have been misinterpreted, or because it has clumsy public relations, or because it can‘t keep up with the GOP “message machine.” It has that reputation because a large number of its members are hostile to religious faith.

4:45 PM Dec 16, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

The Jennifer Vogel crapfest I linked to yesterday is handily dismantled by Mitch today.

Your challenge; read the piece - named "F*CK THE SUBURBS", in a style that means Ms. Vogel has a fine future as a leftyblogger - and tell me you don't think it was written by a particularly petulant college sophomore who hasn't cracked a history book since eight grade.

Very entertaining and highly amusing.

12:55 PM Dec 16, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Unlike Kathy, I don't do this sort of thing very often.

Three names you go by:
Snookie-Pie (but only at home)

Three screennames you have:
Pious Agnostic
Snookie-Pie (but only at home)

Three things you like about yourself:
I’m pretty good at bantering
I’m a darn good programmer
I’m able to fool my wonderful wife into still loving me despite giving her years worth of excuses to stop

Three things you hate/dislike about yourself:
My general indifference to gardening and yard work
My waistline
My hairline (or lack thereof)

Three parts of your heritage:
French Canadian

Three things that scare you:
Being buried alive
Being buried alive by spiders

Three of your everyday essentials:
Diet Cola
Mrs. Agnostic’s kisses

Three things you are wearing right now:
Left sock (also, a right sock)

Three of your favorite bands/artists (at the moment):
Barenaked Ladies
The Roches
Indigo Girls

Three of your favorite songs at present:
Good King Wenceslas
Anything by BNL

Three new things you want to try in the next 12 months:
Burning the mortgage on my house
Sleeping to 7AM every day
Building a new computer from scratch

Three things you want in a relationship (love is a given):
Update: Dependable, challenging nookie!

Two truths and a lie:
My current vehicle is a 1996 Dodge Dakota truck
My wife’s vehicle is a 1991 Mitsubishi Galant
We’re both very, very happy with our vehicles.

Three physical things about the opposite sex (or same) that appeal to you:
Long neck
Bright, intelligent eyes
Narrow back

Three things you just can't do:
Generate any sort of interest in sports
Vote for a Clinton

Three of your favorite hobbies:
Model Rocketry (though I haven’t done this in a l-o-o-o-o-o-n-g time)

Three things you want to do really badly right now:
Finish Christmas Shopping
Go to lunch
Become a “Flappy Bird” (I guess I’m not as resigned as I thought)

Three careers you're considering:
Man of leisure
Private Detective
Quiz show contestant

Three places you want to go on vacation:
Cherry County, Nebraska

Three kids names:
Jennifer Elizabeth
Robert Warren
(no kids, so this is all we came up with)

Three things you want to do before you die:
Forgive all who have wronged me
Gain forgiveness from all I’ve wronged
Drive a Ferrari full of dynamite right off a cliff and onto Osama bin Laden's neck

Update: The links I supplied for the music groups I currently like didn't work, so I removed them.

11:07 AM Dec 16, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Last week's cri du coeur was apparently in vain, so I've decided to embrace my cold-bloodedness:

And of course, there are compensations.

10:46 PM Dec 15, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Michelle Malkin is dissatisfied with's giftwrap option.

2:15 PM Dec 15, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

An example of the sort of loving tenderness we have come to expect from Leftists.

Pious gratitude to: SitD

Update:  Gosh! More love here!

Another update:  Collegiate love!

11:29 PM Dec 14, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Total geeky glee can be found here!

11:59 AM Dec 14, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

In what I hope will be a continuing string of posts inspired by the Christmas Spirit, I share with you the following:

Thanks: Bill!

11:06 AM Dec 14, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

If you are trying to think of a good Christmas gift for the slightly-crazed environmentalist in your life, you could do worse than Michael Crichton's new book "State of Fear".

I haven't read it myself, but according to this entertaining review by Ronald Bailey, it might go a way towards steering your friend back towards a more even keel.

(Please excuse the mixed metaphors.)

6:51 PM Dec 13, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

After a brief hiatus, Jeff Soyer's Weekly Check on media gun bias is available.

6:06 PM Dec 13, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

I believe, and so does Kathy.

10:47 PM Dec 12, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

2:57 PM Dec 12, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Famous Australian blogger Tim Blair has moved.


2:37 PM Dec 12, 2004by Rob Ritchie

"So much for the Pope who stood up to communism; I suppose evil only counts if it enslaves the Poles."

9:35 PM Dec 11, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

A Great Story courtesy of Florida Cracker.

7:59 PM Dec 11, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Sheila writes about Angels in an intensely personal post that leaves me a little bit in love, and totally in awe. I wish I could write as purely as she, and as fearlessly.

Merry Christmas to all!

6:47 PM Dec 11, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Jim Geraghty writes about the Anti-Happy-Holidays Backlash:

Is there any force in life that makes us more motivated than some screeching harpies demanding that we stop doing something because it offends them? Could anything spur folks to make publicly-visible expressions of religious faith on private property than some bullying hyper-sensitive litigious folk demanding a holiday-free zone?

Cautious corporations and advertisers may be quickly replacing their Christmas decorations with generic expressions of “Happy Holidays,” but I suspect ordinary citizens, having been challenged by someone with the audacity to issue fatwas on certain phrases, songs, and symbols, are going to defy this with ever-greater and holiday-specific expressions.

What kind of person is offended to the point of legal action from hearing the word “Christmas”? If you wish me “Happy Kwanzaa”, my reaction will be… “Okay. Back at ya, buddy!”

Certain folks are intolerant to the point where hearing others express their faith fills them with outrage and bitterness. But that’s a topic for their therapist, not for our school board meetings and town hall hearings. Thus, I expect more folks will be wishing others a specific and festive Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, Winter Solstice, Diwali (Hindu New Year) when it falls around this time of year, Eid when it falls around this time of year…

This is precisely what I think. I am amused, when shopping, to respond to a salesperson's tentative "Happy Holidays" with a more confident "Merry Christmas!" Inevitably, the poor soul will relax and say it back to me.

Has anyone else experienced this?

Ents found

4:43 PM Dec 11, 2004by Rob Ritchie

As you may know, I'm a big fan of Tolkien, and was very much amused at all the Hobbit comparisions that emerged when this story about an ancient race of little people emerged earlier this year.

It seems that the mainstreaming of Tolkien continues. Here is Victor Davis Hanson's latest:

The Ents of Europe

Please note:  This article has nothing to do with Tolkien, but you should read it anyway.

Update: Miss O'Hara writes "Bloody hell, it's a very good week when my pastor invokes Chronicles of Narnia, and Victor Davis Hanson, Lord of the Rings."

2:39 PM Dec 10, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

2:15 PM Dec 10, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Miss O'Hara discusses breast implants and body image among teens in this post:

Nip n' Inflate Nation: "More teens see implants as a right"

Very interesting.

Iowahawk's Latest Find

11:39 AM Dec 10, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Experts Tell CBS: Time to Clean Up the Blog Industry

First Amendment attorney Kevin Goldberg called blogs “definitely new territory.”

“Are blogs analogous to a sole person, or are they a media publication?” said Goldberg, a legal counsel to the American Society of Newspaper Editors. "Whatever the courts decide, it is critical that we consider all those sweet billable hours."

11:05 AM Dec 10, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

In LT Smash's An Open Letter to Pablo Paredes, he talks about commitment and ripples.

No man is an island, Pedro. Your actions will have consequences far beyond what you intended. Did you think about that? Is all of this really worth screwing over your fellow sailors? Are you really so self-absorbed?


6:03 PM Dec 9, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Jeff Soyer provides a Memo From the School Superintendent providing new school guidelines. I especially like this one:

7) Since some pupils are not good at athletics, all gym classes will now consist of a large ball placed in the middle of the field or gymnasium. Each pupil will then slowly walk (so as not to harm themselves) over and touch the ball with any part of their body. As each student does this, he will be declared "a winner" by the teacher and all the other students will shout, "Fabulous!"

5:46 PM Dec 9, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Ambra Nykol has a though provoking post over at her blog:

The Sexualization of Black Women (and Men)

For a black person to make a statement of abstinence today is especially counter-culture because we are not thought of in that light. Picture in your mind, the image of the typical "American Virgin". Betcha that person isn't black. This country has yet to release the historical baggage of the black race being portrayed as sexually perverse, deviant, and dirty. And regretfully, I say that white and black people alike are now equally guilty of allowing such a myth to be perpetuated for so long. I've said it many times before: black people cannot afford improper representations. We also can no longer continue to sit by passively as false images are portrayed as real.

5:28 PM Dec 9, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Sheila's Expert Series is off to a fine start, with advice on hangovers, interviewing, puppy bites and cherry-stem tying.

So much to learn, so little time.

Movin' On Up

3:50 PM Dec 9, 2004by Rob Ritchie

Kathy the Cake Eater has new digs over at MuNu.

Go visit her new place!

Update: Tell her Pious Agnostic sent ya!

Floridians Count!

2:14 PM Dec 9, 2004by Rob Ritchie

According to a poll reported here, 9-in-10 Floridians overwhelmingly believe that their votes were properly counted and handled in the 2004 election.

Captain Ed has this to say about the remaining 10% who believe otherwise:

Predictably, this broke out along partisan lines. Only 5% of Republicans expressed a lack of confidence -- but 42% of Democrats felt uneasy about whether their ballot received proper handling. Since all ballots look exactly the same and both parties vote at the same booths, the only explanation for this discrepancy has to be the four-year campaign by Democrats to undermine public confidence in voting whenever and wherever they lost. They've managed to dispirit Democrats, and if they continue their whining, may kill their turnout altogether.

Help Me Evolve!

11:25 AM Dec 9, 2004by Rob Ritchie

I just checked my status in The TTLB Blogosphere Ecosystem and am revolted to find that I'm a Slithering Reptile

Yuck! Who wants to be one of these?

Or one of these:

I don't even want to be one of these!

How can you help? Well, if you have any idea what I'm talking about, you know exactly what to do. I'm not asking for much. I'm content with my current obscurity. Considering the poor quality of my posts, I probably deserve it.

But I don't want to be a loathsome reptile in the vast scheme of things. For my Christmas wish, I'd love to be a Flappy Bird.

Won't you help?

10:19 AM Dec 8, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

In today's Bleat, Lileks is, as usual, all over the place, discussing car repair and football hooliganism and morality and theater criticism.

He quotes at length from Clarence Darrow's defense of a couple of psychopaths, wherein Darrow asserts, basically, that we're all simply pawns in Nature's grip and unable to control our behaviors for good or ill.

Lileks skewers this with a simple arguement that I've never heard before:

But isn't it odd how the sociopath unable to constrain his desires never kills women on the courthouse square, but spirits away hookers in back alleys at 2 AM? It's almost as if he can control himself, isn't it.

4:25 PM Dec 7, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

The Anchoress writes a blog that I'd never visited before I found a link somewhere, but I'll soon be blogrolling her.

In the form of an open letter to Maureen Dowd (a response to MoDo's recent humor-challenged column) she reminds us in stirring terms the tragic fragility of life, and the meaning of the season:

What an awful thing it will be for your family, should your next Christmas be thus spent, to know that they cannot attempt to entertain you with a silly Christmas knick-knack because there are none sophisticated enough to amuse you. They will not be able to watch George Bailey bellow “Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan!” with you and smile, because…well, because they have already learned that you do not wish to share mush and gush with them. They will back off their impulse to sit by your bedside and sing a Christmas song because all you’ve told them in the past is that the whole thing is a tawdry and disturbing, and your family will not wish to disturb you on your deathbed.

Go read the whole thing.

In fact, read her whole blog, where she chronicles her family's journey with her dying brother towards grace and peace. And, say a prayer.

3:53 PM Dec 7, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

You may have read this John Podhoretz column elsewhere, as it's been linked all over the web (such as here and here).

I present it because Podhoretz's first graph makes me think of my staunch Democrat Hollywood friend who thinks Bush is either a moron or a bonehead, as well as "very, very dangerous."

FOR years now, liberals and leftists have been unable to decide whether they dislike George W. Bush because they think he's a doofus or because they think he's evil. So they've come up with a peculiar new political caricature to make sense of the president they simply cannot understand: To them, he's the Evil Doofus.

This about sums up her opinion.

2:48 PM Dec 7, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Thanks: Sheila (I like the new look!)

5:17 PM Dec 6, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

A famous expert on Ancient Egypt sets the record straight:

King Tut was not "born in Arizona."

He did not live in a "condo made of stone-a."

King Tut did not "do the monkey," nor did he "move to Babylonia."

King Tut was not a honky.

He was not "buried in his jammies."

Update: At one point in my teenage life, I fell into a fairly deep depression, over a girl, naturally. I didn't come out for a long time, but I credit Steve Martin's records for showing me the light again. I had several comedy albums, but only Steve Martin's had the combination of humor and, how can I say this, "non-dirtiness" that I needed at that point in my life. I listened to them over and over, and little by little, I was buoyed up. His moronic arrow-through-the head stuff was exactly the prescription the bring me out of a funk that was much deeper than I realized at the time.

I will always be grateful to Steve Martin for helping me out of the darkness and, maybe, saving my life.

2:44 PM Dec 6, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Economist, pundit, movie star and game-show host Ben Stein writes about being a Republican in Malibu:

This is the way it is here. We meet in smoky places. We give the high sign, we nod knowingly. We are like members of the Maquis in Occupied France. Or early Christians emerging from the catacombs in Caligula's Rome. We are the GOP in Hollywood, and on the West Side of L.A. The culture here is so dominantly left-wing, PC, vegan, hate-America that many of us feel we have to behave as if we were underground.

1:19 PM Dec 6, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Captain Ed makes some pretty convincing arguments in favor of a surprising candidate for UN Secretary General.

1:24 PM Dec 5, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

If you are so inclined, you can read here, here and here about these guys cheating on the on-line blog-poll to be found here.

Got all that? To summarize: an on-line blog ranking poll has been hacked by folks at the Daily Kos so that their blog will win. Isn't that juvenile?

One of the Kostiles justifies it by saying that, on-line polls mean nothing anyway (we all know this), and the poll construction was weak (by which he means, easily hacked) so why not?

I suppose this person would enter a Special Olympics competition for similar reasons. Hey, winning is everything, right?

8:54 PM Dec 4, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Terrific post here at Captains Quarters filleting a Minneapolis Star-Tribune editorial critical of Senator Norm Coleman's campaign to investigate the UN's Oil-for-Saddam Food program. Read it all, but it concludes:

In short, the Coleman investigation will reveal the Strib's editorial board to be nothing more than an idiotic, knee-jerk leftist group who will support any corruption as long as it serves the interest of those who oppose Republicans. Coleman isn't the embarrassment here.

6:23 PM Dec 1, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Robert the Llama Butcher takes the high road:

Whatever it is, I abso-mo-lutely refuse to use it as the basis of any kind of joke about getting Axis Sully re-enthusiastic about Neo-Con gunboat diplomacy. Absolutely. Refuse. No such jokes here. Nope. Nothing to see. Move along.

4:21 PM Dec 1, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

Contratulations to The Tensor on completing his Masters degree.

He reminds me of an incident that occurred about 20 years ago (!) when a college friend of mine, Greg, got his Masters degree. He was the only one of a bunch of us who went on for higher degrees, so naturally we called him "Master" for several weeks, as in "Yes, Master" and "No, Master", which we'd intone in what we imagined was a brain-dead zombee sort of way. We were geeks, and he ate it up.

A while later, Greg bought a house and we were helping him put up a fence. He rented one of those gas-powered post-hole diggers for the occasion. We would drill holes for the fence posts, and then put the pole in to see if we'd drilled the hole deep enough.

We decided to use Greg in order to measure whether the hole was deep enough: if the pole was as tall as he was, then we knew that we'd drilled deep enough. So all afternoon we'd drill a hole, put in the pole, Greg would back up to it and we'd eyeball whether we were done or not.

After an hour of this, one of the guys started laughing. "I just realized something," he said. "Greg's not just our master, he's our ruler."

We didn't get too much work done for a while, but then we were a bunch of geeks.

Attack of the Blue State Racists? Doubt it.

11:52 AM Dec 1, 2004by Rob Ritchie

I don't blog about sports, because, quite frankly, I have no interest in it. Never have, never will.

I recognize that this leaves me at a disadvantage. Sports is one of those safe ice-breaking small-talk topics that men use when they are getting to know each other at a party or wherever. I haven't an opinion on anything; when people start talking sports, I start thinking about ponys or something and lose the thread of the conversation. An embarassing silence forms, and I realize that I'm expected to interject something germane. I panic and cry "Ponys!" and drop my drink. Ice everywhere. Can't be helped.

So, why do I mention this? Because the fine folks at Captains Quarters are discussing Notre Dame's firing of their losing coach, and the (somewhat predictible) play of the race card by his defenders.

I know quite a few people with intimate connections to ND, visited the campus a few times, have a dear relative who teaches there (who would be, no doubt, scandalized by the horrendous right-wing nature of my personal blog). I'd love, and am hereby soliciting, their opinions and input. Please leave comments or email me.

For any sports story to interest me in any particular way, there's got to be a personal angle. I guess the personal really is the political.

11:36 AM Dec 1, 2004

by Rob Ritchie

This is not euthanasia.

This is infanticide.

Words mean something.

I hope no one is too surprised by this.