Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Picture Dictionary of the End Times

Can't know the players without a program, folks! Here we go...

Bad Strongman

Good Strongman

Reasonable Iranian

Unreasonable Iranian

Dangerous Adventurer


Hey, Thanks, Minnesota!

As Ed Driscoll says, "Great moments in civilization."

One sign of the irreversible decline of the United States will be if this unfunny clown gets a second term. But in the meantime, enjoy Harry Reid's Senatorial Freak-A-Rama!!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Obama Keeps Getting Hazed by Bullies

Kinda reminds me of somebody….

Hugo Chavez: Hey, Khamenei, look who’s coming! It’s Barrie. Let’s take his lunch money.

Khamenei: What for? We’ve taken it so often he’s now got us set up for direct billing on his checking account.

Hugo: Oh, yeah, that’s right. Well, let’s shove him around a little, anyway, just to keep in practice.

(Hugo and Khamenei block Barrie’s path).

Khamenei: Where ya goin’, jug ears?

Obama: Gulp! Er, hi, guys! What’s up?

Hugo: What’s up? Looks like your antennas are up (gives Obama a good yank on his ears)

Obama: Ow! My personality!

Khamenei: Listen, shrimp, I hear you’ve been bad-mouthing me; saying I’ve been murdering innocent people.

Obama: That’s not true! I never used the word “murder.” Or “innocent.” Why would I do that? I still want to negotiate with you on your nuclear capability.

Khamenei: Yeah, you and what army, chump? What you need to do is mind your own business.

Barrie: Ok, ok! The last thing I want to do is meddle.

Hugo: And what are you and the CIA doing sponsoring coups in Honduras?

Obama: Hey, I condemned the coup!

Khamanei: Oh, you condemned it, did you? (knocks Obama’s books out of his hands). I thought you just said you didn’t want to meddle?

Obama (bending over to pick up his books and receiving a swift kick on the seat of his trousers from Hugo): Ow! I didn’t have anything to do with Zelaya getting overthrown. Besides, Hugo, you said you were against the coup. I was just going along with you.

Hugo: Since when do I need your support, doofus? Here, feel that! (flexes his biceps)

Obama: Ooooo! You’re so big and strong!

Hugo: That’s right, dip-wad. So you’d better just keep your mouth shut and stay out of our way.

Obama: Y-y-yes, sir!

Khamenei: Yeah, stay out of our way – just as soon as you first treat us to an ice-cream cone.

Obama: Well, you see, I’m not carrying any money on me…

Hugo: That’s ok; we’ve got your bank wire information. Let’s go. And carry our gym bags, runt.

Go, Sarah!

I would very much like to see Sarah Palin win the Republican nomination in 2012, not only because I think she’s got more courage, character - and, yes, brains - than any other immediately apparent likely competitor, but because leftists capable of this kind of rebarbative behavior would, under an actual Palin Administration, undoubtedly succumb to a mass synaptic short-out that would leave nothing in its wake but millions of smoking brain stems.

Update: Stacy McCain has an exquisite rant on the subject.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

When Links Are Outlawed...

... only outlaws will link.

I think I like the vibe.

Not Your Everyday Kind of Coup

President (make that ex-President) Zelaya, who attempted to violate the Honduran Constitution by maneuvering to overturn term limits, has been shown the door by the army. Zelaya is part of the Chavez ring of leftist politicians who are all aiming for the coveted title of "President for Life."

I notice that our own President (still limited to a maximum of two terms, for now) moved with alacrity to profess himself "deeply concerned", and further requested "all political and social actors in Honduras to respect democratic norms, the rule of law and the tenets of the Inter-American Democratic Charter." It would be too much to ask from Obama, but I believe it would have been appropriate for him to conclude that statement with "Yeah, that's right, I'm looking at you, Zelaya", since it was this absurd Chavezoid clown who was the first one to diss those "democratic norms" and "rule of law" of which our President spoke.

Zelaya, incidentally, was arrested while wearing his pajamas.

Caliphate Having Trouble Getting Off the Ground

Looks like the Aqsa School in Bridgeview, Illinois got a case of the willies about hosting Hizb ut-Tahrir's Khilafah Conference; I'm sure if you bought tickets, your money will be cheerfully refunded.

The name of the conference, incidentally, was supposed to be "The Fall of Capitalism and the Rise of Islam." While you Caliphate fans may have to wait for awhile, President Obama is still on track helping out with the first part of that equation.

The Will to Win

I know Stacy McCain is a professional writer, but I am still amazed that he finds time to write about so many things. I highly recommend this essay about football and character (which is also a fine tribute to his father).

Update: Of course, the will to win can be carried too far, as seems to be happening with Obama's night of the long knives, and the Inspectors General who are disappearing faster than honest cops in Brian De Palma's Untouchables flick. Stacy has an updated roundup on this issue at Not Tucker Carlson.

The Walking, Talking Lawyer Joke

John Edwards is back in the news - one last time, let us hope, before he takes his proper place at the back of the lowing herd.

Another Celebrity Gone

It seemed as if you couldn't turn on a television without seeing him. The energy, the enthusiasm and the voice were like no one else's, and he combined these attributes into a colossal money-making machine. You either loved him or you hated him; few could honestly say that they were indifferent to this omnipresent celebrity. And now, when we had all assumed that he'd be with us more-or-less forever, he has died at age 50.

What's that? Michael Jackson? No, no, no, not that moon-walking stick-figure of pop culture. I'm talking about Billy Mays. May God bless his soul and comfort his family.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sunday Funny

From the inbox...

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:


When you rearrange the letters:
* * * *

(Seen at both Moonbattery and Are We Lumberjacks?)
* * * *

WWII posters updated (H/T: Captain Heinrichs and The Shadowlands)

What a Lovely Shade of Quisling Green

Eight Republican representatives bought into the Cli-Fi nonsense touted by Obama, Pelosi and Arch Druid Gore and voted in favor of the cap-and-trade legislation (a switch of even four would have doomed the bill’s passage).

I was curious to see whether these folks had anything to say on their official web sites in justification of their support for this economic wrecking-ball. Here’s a sampler.

Mary Bono Mack (California)
Washington, Jun 18 - Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (CA-45) today issued the following statement on climate change legislation, urging the Majority to allow more time for bipartisan negotiations on the bill before it heads to the House floor for a vote:

“Any bill of this magnitude deserves bipartisan consideration and input,” said Bono Mack. “It is clear that Members on both sides of the aisle have deep concerns about multiple issues within this legislation, and I appreciate the Speaker’s willingness to meet with Republicans today to identify these issues as we move forward.

“As I noted in Committee, this climate change bill is far from perfect but sets us on an important path toward a greener, more sustainable energy future. By allowing this legislation to be fully evaluated and incorporating bipartisan input, we can improve this bill for the benefit of Americans across the country.

“I am concerned that bringing the bill to the floor next week is too premature to properly evaluate Members’ concerns and implement needed improvements.”

Apparently, although “too premature to properly evaluate Members’ concerns”, the bill wasn’t too premature to vote on. There is no rationale provided for her vote in favor of the legislation. Ok, she’s Sonny Bono’s widow and she’s from California, so I’m willing to cut her some slack when it comes to my expectations of minimum intellectual firepower; but she’s married to Rep. Connie Mack, a Florida Republican who voted against this bill. Yo, Connie, how about working a little policy discussion into the pillow talk?

Mike Castle (Delaware)
Mike is obviously a guy who is easily bamboozled. Here is a key quote from a press release issued after the vote:
The recent vote in the U.S. House on the American Clean Energy and Security Act was on whether to pursue these new strategies, or hold on to the status quo. I supported the legislation because it is my belief that we cannot turn away from the opportunity to create new jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy. With offshore wind, fuel cells, and solar energy initiatives, Delaware is poised to lead such innovation and create new jobs in these important areas while protecting the tourism industry and our very own coastline.

Translation? I think I can siphon off enough gravy for spending on fruit-loop alternative energy projects to make up for the bill’s initial toxic job shock, so maybe the whole thing will be a wash.

Here’s another comment from this subterranean intellect.
Nations around the world are surging ahead with emission reductions and developing new energy technologies. The United States should be on equal footing, if not leading this effort to remain competitive.

Sure, by all means, the U.S. should strive to be the fastest lemming in that race to the cliff.

David Reichert (Washington)
Energy independence and our national security are critical issues for America. These issues transcend politics. The future of this country is on the line and we can spare no effort when it comes to leading on these issues at a global level.

David Reichert? David Freakin’ Reichert?!? The ex-cop? The guy who spent the better part of his career looking (unsuccessfully) for the Green River Killer? Now the Democrats want to knock off the economy and he’s on their side?

That’s only three, and I’ll be checking out the rest later on, but you see the pattern. These idiots have either fallen for, or are using as a smokescreen, the bogus argument that this bill is about remaining competitive, achieving energy independence (I didn’t see any discussion about expanding drilling for oil, incidentally), and - God help us! – creating new jobs.

Sorry, Republican Party, but if the only difference between the GOP and Democratic Party is the logo, I’ll just hang on to my money and invest it in gold and canned goods.

(Cross-posted at Not One Red Cent)

Rule 5 Saturday

Born in Italy, Alida Valli was a well-known actress in her homeland before coming to the U.S. She gave a riveting performance as the manipulative and passionate murder defendant in Alfred Hitcock’s The Paradine Case (1947), and portrayed a mysterious Czech woman hunted by the Russians in the post-war classic set in Berlin, The Third Man (1949). She returned to Europe in the early ‘50’s and continued her acting career, appearing in her final film in 2002.

Michele Morgan was born in France and became one of the country’s leading actresses, but left France for Hollywood when the Germans invaded in 1940. Her best-known American film is probably Joan of Paris (1942), and she was excellent, as well, in the 1948 movie, The Fallen Idol (based on a Graham Greene story).

It has been said that Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, except backwards and in high heels. Not only a wonderful dancer, she was a fine actress, too, and won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the 1940 film, Kitty Foyle. Added bonus: she was a lifelong and unabashed Republican.

And since she'll always be remembered primarily for her great dance routines with Fred Astaire, here's a clip from Swing Time.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Hard Times

Forget about going "John Galt." At this rate, we'll all be going "Joad family."

Update: A special thanks to those eight Republicans who made the margin of difference in the passage of this horrible bill.

Seabiscuit, the official turtle of Paco Enterprises, registers his disdain (click image to enlarge).

Bloggers' Night Out!

I had the pleasure - and the honor - to join some Washington-area bloggers for happy hour this evening. The attendees were:

1) Track-A-Crat and his lovely bride;

2) The vivacious Monique Stuart;

3) And the great man, himself - Robert Stacy McCain, as witty and convivial a fellow as I've ever clinked a glass with.

The party was hosted by Stacy's gracious and hard-working blog partner, Smitty, and a good time was had by all (and, perhaps, is still being had).

It was a nearly perfect evening. The qualifier arises as a result of an incident that occurred when I returned to my office to collect my things, preparatory to catching the Metro home. Just as I was about to enter the building, a gust of wind lifted my spiffy gray Panama hat off my head, and the thing (the hat, that is, not my head) rolled at high speed down the sidewalk on the edge of the brim like a run-away tire, with me running alongside, executing a series of sporadic chorus-line kicks in an effort to stop it (futile, of course; the hat simply rolled over my shoe). It finally came to a stop of its own accord, and you will all no doubt be relieved to hear that the hat was undamaged (not so, my amour propre, which was considerably bruised).

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Happy Feet Friday

A great clip from the 1941 film, Ball of Fire, featuring Barbara Stanwyck as the chanteuse (Martha Tilton dubbed the vocals), and Gene Krupa. There is a heaping dose of Krupa’s typically frenetic drumming, plus some brief, but hot, solos on tenor and alto sax, and a few bars of smokin’ trumpet work from Roy Eldridge. Watch the encore, as Krupa repeats his performance using matchsticks.

If You're Going to Carry Water for Barrie, You Need a Big Bucket

Obama's chief stooge, Rahm Emanuel, continues to push the notion that his boss's June speech in Cairo is giving Middle Eastern democracy a shot in the arm. In fact, by means of some weird, Obama magic, his June speech even had an impact on a February vote in Iraq.

Update: And make that a very non-transparent bucket, while you're at it. Stacy McCain has the latest on Joe Biden's toy railroad and the sudden retirement of its Inspector General.

Diabolical Democrats

Mark Sanford has sinned, to be sure, even according to his own lights. But at least he didn’t…you know… actually sell his soul.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

From the Shelves of the Paco Library

Colin Thubron, combining the curiosity of the wanderer with the interpretive skills of the historian and the lyrical prose of the novelist, published a fascinating book on the vast and largely desolate region of Eastern Russia entitled In Siberia (HarperCollins, 1999). Accounting for one-seventh of our planet’s land mass, Siberia – a region about which it was said in olden days that “God is far above, and the Czar is far away” - for hundreds of years held a similar place in the Russian imagination as the Western frontier did in the minds of 19th century Americans. It is a land of boundless steppes, forests, lakes and tundra, and was perceived as boundless, as well, in the opportunities it afforded to people, including millions of freed serfs, who were willing to face the myriad dangers and hardships of the region in return for the possibility of freedom and prosperity.

Communism, however, ruins all things, and after the Bolshevik revolution, this enormous territory became the setting for the gulag archipelago, so admirably documented by Solzhenitsyn. Thubron is never far from the ghosts created by the Soviet disaster. Among several observations on the last days of Czar Nicholas II and his family is this recounting of the end of the Romanov dynasty:

“The family waits, as if for a photograph. The empress, ill with sciatica, is seated beside her thirteen-year-old son. The rest are standing – the Czar in front, and the four princesses in the first row, the doctor and the three servants behind. The cellar is less than 13 feet square. In the doorway the execution-squad is packed in three ranks with heavy revolvers, so close that the powder burns their wrists. The Czar is killed instantly, and the empress and her eldest daughter never complete the sign of the cross. The diamonds sewn secretly into the princesses’ corsets send bullets ricocheting round the room. For a moment they seem endowed with a ghastly immortality. The panicking guards empty their revolvers into them, then club and stab everyone still moving. When the smoke clears, the Czarevitch is still clinging to his father’s shirt; and as her body is being dragged away in a sheet, one of the princesses wakes and screams. Perhaps she imagines a nightmare. They bayonet her to death.”

This was only the beginning, of course, and the Reds eventually murdered on a mass scale, regardless of class, nationality and – of course – actual guilt:

“These camps were self-contained states. They evolved in a perverted reflection of the world outside. After Stalin’s pact with Hitler in 1939, the mass of Russian and Ukrainian convicts were joined by tens of thousands of Poles, and as early as 1940 Russian soldiers recaptured from the Germans were incarcerated here as traitors. With the annexation of the Baltic states, the Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians poured in – those who’d fought against Hitler and Stalin indifferently – and by the war’s end Vorkuta’s patchwork of nations embraced Germans, Japanese, Nationalist Chinese, Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, Persians, several French and Americans, even a Tibetan herdsman who had strayed over the Mongolian border.”

But rising from the soil of the taiga like the water that is forced out of the frozen soil during the summer thaw, is the sheer, stubborn survivability of the Russian people. Near the city of Omsk, an Orthodox seminary is being rebuilt, and Thubron joins a religious procession led by the Archbishop, who is going to bless the waters of a pond:

“I fell in line with the pilgrims following. It was oddly comforting. An agnostic among believers, I felt close to them. I too wanted their waters blessed. I wanted that tormented earth quietened, the past acknowledged and shriven. I helped the old woman beside me carry her bottles. My feeling of hypocrisy, of masquerading in others’ faith, evaporated. As I took her arm over the puddles and our procession stretched across the wet grass, Russia’s atheist past seemed no more than an overcast day in the long Orthodox summer, and the whole country appeared to be reverting instinctively, painlessly, to its old nature. This wandering ceremonial, I felt, sprang not from an evangelical revolution but from a simple cultural relapse into the timeless personality of the motherland – the hierarchical, half-magic trust of its forefathers, the natural way to be.”

Thubron talked to a remarkable cross-section of the populace during his travels – hobos, priests, students, scientists, doctors, indestructible babushkas, and even a character who claimed (fairly credibly) to be a descendant of Rasputin. His work always manifests a hunger for genuine understanding, and an admirable determination to view the individuals he meets in the context of their surroundings and history. In Siberia is, above all, a humane book, and offers a unique look at a harsh, but beautiful land, and the long-suffering people who inhabit it.


1) Ace reporter, Stacy McCain, continues pounding the streets and haunting the halls of the powerful in his investigation of the IG scandal (this is the difference between a thinking head and a talking head).

2) More great commentary and juicy links on l'affaire IG from Camp of the Saints.

3) You remember how, in those old movies, when somebody was mortally wounded, the doctor would look at the hovering friend or lover and just shake his head? Well, Pundette prefers to bawl out the prognosis loud and clear in this post on the rapidly-sinking MSM.

4) Obama’s pre-election letter to Khamanei has effectively been returned to sender (in a flaming bag of dog poop left on the front porch of the White House, to the sound of the doorbell ringing and hastily retreating footsteps).

5) One of my favorite bloggers – Jennifer Rubin, at Contentions - wonders how many Democrats are willing to walk the plank in order to support idiotic climate-change legislation.

6) Andrew Sullivan’s opinions have been irrelevant for years, but his various psychological pathologies still continue to fascinate. Christopher Baedeaux applies an extended smackdown to this unbalanced opinion-monger (in a manner vaguely suggestive of the slo-mo violence of a Sam Peckinpah film). (H/T: Captain Heinrichs)

7) Obama apparently is preparing to reestablish normal diplomatic relations with Venezuela, currently being run by giant ground sloth, Hugo Chavez. Anything wrong with that? Oh, no, nothing at all. (H/T: Allahpundit)

Ethics, Shmethics!

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are being investigated by the Office of Congressional Ethics over a junket taken by the former to St. Maarten at the expense of Citigroup. The Congressional Black Caucus's response? "Hey, let's take another look at that ethics resolution!"

The Black Caucus goes on to make the self-serving, but absolutely valid, point that Jack Murtha isn't feeling all that much heat over what are indisputably greater breaches of ethics rules.

Here's my solution: investigate all the bastards.

Hey, Republicans, Since the GOP is Already Having Trouble Getting its Act Together, it Might Be a Good Idea to Keep Mr. Happy on a Leash

First, Senator John Ensign, and now the far more bizarre case of South Carolina governor Mark Sanford.

To quote Talleyrand, this is worse than a crime; it is a blunder. All we need right now, when we’re trying to mobilize against the Red hosts of Democrat nationalization, is to give the donks and the media an opportunity to distract the people from the health care and cap-and-trade disasters.

Update: Then there's John Kerry, whose pecker never gets any extramarital exercise because he's too busy stepping on it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Where Does the Obama Administration Get Its Statistical Data?

C'mon! You know where...

Obama's Recipe for Peace in Iran

Looks like the July 4th invite is still on.

Update: And for you non-carnivores...

(H/T: The People's Cube)

I'll Get Back to You on That

Obama’s Press Conference

“With respect to Iran, I’d like to say that….”

“Oh! Is that the ice cream truck I hear? See you later!?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Rule 5 Early-Bird Special

A blond babe exercising her Second Amendment rights; I love our Constitution!

(A floor-sweeping tip of my Cavalier's hat to George Moneo at Babalu)

Democrat Shoots for Transparency, Scores

At least, this is one of the most transparently blatant instances of special interest favoritism I've seen in connection with the various health care proposals floating around out there. Senator Max Baucus (D [natch]- Montana) is proposing that union members be exempted from taxes on healthcare benefits.

Very interesting - especially considering that only about 15% of Montana's work force is currently unionized, which would make the Montana senator's proposal a pretty raw deal for the majority of his constituents. Maybe not all politics is local, after all.

(H/T: Ericka Andersen at the House Republican Conference)

Update: Glenn in the comments section writes:

"I am a native of Montana, born and reared on the HiLine. When I was on active duty and following retirement, Max was one of my senators. Let me tell you something about him that you may find interesting. Max is heir to the Sieben Ranch, located north of Helena. When my youngest was attending Havre Public HS in the mid nineties, Max came to the school. In a Q&A session, he was asked why he went into politics. The answer was, I couldn't find anything else to do. I guess being a working cowboy is somehow beneath him."

Neanderthals May Have Become Extinct...

...because they were finger-lickin' good

Sunday, June 21, 2009

"Big Barrie" Obama

Stacy McCain has some interesting observations and good links on the subject of a big-city machine politician who now has the honor of being president of the United States. I agree that, at some stage, real reporters (there are still a few), once they smell blood in the water, are going to weigh the value of churning out saccharin puff pieces on Obama against the visceral thrill of actually doing genuine investigative work, and are going to find the former to be wanting.

Emigre with a Digital Cluebat has a superb rap-sheet on the Obama Nostra's Acorn Mob - and don't forget, they'll be helping with the census (what could possibly go wrong?)

Oh, and on the subject of Iran, and Obama's late arrival to the freedom chorus, see Victor Davis Hanson's latest. Don Surber also thinks Obama's comments appear forced and feeble.

A Blog is Born

Dan Collins, late of Protein Wisdom, has set up his own shop, called Piece of Work in Progress. I have always admired Dan's writing - and his thinking - so go on over there and check him out; tell him Paco sent you.

Nurturing Vipers in Our Bosom

A Muslim group is eager to re-establish the Islamic Caliphate. "So," you say, "that's nothing new." Yes, but...they're kicking the thing off in Bridgeview, Illinois.

Hizb ut-Tahrir America, formerly a covert group, is now officially coming out into the open with its invitation to a Caliphate hootenanny, to be held on July 19th in the aforementioned town.

Really, is there no end to the good things coming out of Illinois?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sunday Funny

Hey, Happy Father's Day to all you Dads out there!

If You Like Your Evil 180 Proof and Straight From the Bottle, Then This is for You

Child abuse, from the ROP.

With respect to Iran, Ed Morrissey has plenty of links and commentary, and is constantly updating.

Meanwhile, let's pray that there aren't too many foreign crises over the next few years; otherwise, Obama's going to weigh 300 pounds.

Update: In view of articles like this, one may be forgiven, I hope, for assuming that ex-right-winger Frank Schaeffer is brain dead; it won't affect his career path on the left, however, which is looking up.

Rule 5-A-Rama

I first saw Pier Angeli in the 1953 movie, The Story of Three Loves, a trilogy of stories, each individual tale featuring different actors and actresses. Angeli was paired with Kirk Douglas in the final story, “Equilibrium”, which deals with a suicidal young woman, broken-hearted over the death of her husband, who is plucked out of a river by trapeze-artist Douglas. Her heart-rending sadness is hauntingly portrayed, and I fell in love with her (in a platonic, spiritual, movie-fan sort of way, Mrs. Paco!) She possessed a very delicate beauty and a soft, musical voice that were incomparably beguiling. Angeli also shone as the wife of boxer Rocky Graziano (Paul Newman) in Somebody Up There Likes Me. Unfortunately, the scenario that played out in The Three Loves had its dark parallel in real life. James Dean was reportedly the one, genuine love of her life, but their relationship was broken up by her mother. She was twice married and divorced, and she died from an overdose of barbituates at the age of 39 in 1971.

She had an incredibly long career, turned in many great performances, and played opposite such actors as William Powell, Ray Milland, Robert Mitchum and Randolph Scott, but I will always remember Maureen O’Sullivan as the bright-eyed, diminutive, loving mate of Johnny Weissmuller’s Tarzan, in the six films they made together between 1932 and 1942. This photo, of course, is not from the Tarzan series.

Blond bombshell, Marilyn Maxwell, was a talented singer and actress who appeared in a number of films in the 1940's and 1950's, primarily musicals and comedies. She had a lively personality and, boy, talk about eye candy!

Tim Blair, Law-Giver

Blair’s Law has just been proved for the umpteenth time.

And while we’re on the subject of the Great Blog Father, let’s see what the Blairites are up to these days.

1) Three Beers Later places Charles Gibson and ABC News in context.

2) Mr. Bingley hails a new Florida law.

3) That Florida law comes too late to placate Andrea Harris, who has pulled up stakes and moved to the great Commonwealth of Virginia.

4) An enviro-car that certainly looks the part from Shadowlands.

5) TimT is determined not to be just another face in the crowd.

6) Oops! Sorry about those jihads, everybody. Angus Dei at Tizona reveals a few, er, historical inconsistencies in the Koran.

7) Boy on a Bike continues to make me yearn for a book from him on cycling.

Friday, June 19, 2009

ObamaCare, Vivisected

I hadn't heard of Warner Todd Huston until I came across these quotes and links at Camp of the Saints, but I'm sure going to keep an eye on him from now on.

Dan Riehl has a great roundup of links on this momentous debate, plus a post on the nefarious doings of David Plouffe.

Why Blogging in the Age of Iowahawk Sometimes Makes Me Want to Turn My Face to the Wall

Absolutely the funniest thing I have read in I don’t know how long - from the title all the way to the last line.

Environmental Projects + Unions = Increased Costs

Seems like a pretty solid equation; even the New York Times thinks so, as they point out in this article about unions in California doing the kinds of things that unions do (only, the tactics have been updated, with lawsuits replacing lead pipes and baseball bats).

Barbara Boxer Answers the Question, “How Much Ego Can Be Crammed Into a Pinhead?”

It’s not a huge thing, but it really pisses me off. During a recent hearing, Brigadier General Michael Walsh addressed Boxer as “ma’am”, and was immediately chided for not using the more exalted title, “Senator.”

“You know, do me a favor. Could you say ‘senator’ instead of ‘ma’am? It’s just a thing, I worked so hard to get that title, so I’d appreciate it, yes, thank you.”

It apparently never occurred to the woman - who referred to herself during her initial run for the Senate as “just a grandmother in tennis shoes” - that military personnel spend their entire careers addressing superior officers, and civilians for that matter, as “sir” or “ma’am”. As to working so hard to become a senator, cut me a break, ma’am. You’re a freakin’ liberal Democrat in California; you’d have to burn down an abortion clinic with five gay doctors inside while wearing a General Pinochet t-shirt in order not to get elected. And being a moron is certainly no disadvantage (famous genuine quote: “Those who survived the San Francisco earthquake said, ‘Thank God, I'm still alive.’ But, of course, those who died, their lives will never be the same again.”).

Over at TigerHawk, co-blogger Escort81 is using this as a precedent, and now declares that TigerHawk shall henceforth be addressed as “King of the Jungle”. He has also invited commenters to indicate the titles by which they would like to be addressed. I think that’s a first-rate idea, and I ask my own readers to post their official titles in the comments section here.

As for myself, I shall hereafter be known as Generalissimo Paco, Blog Lord of Occupied Northern Virginia – or, alternatively, Satrap of Blogdom (er, no acronyms, please. Heh.)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Happy Feet Friday

Now, this one’s a bit of a mystery. The singer is Gai Moran, about whom I’ve been able to discover nothing but her name. The male dancer is Danny Hochter (I’ve at least been able to find some info on him; he was a professional dancer and choreographer). The band is completely unknown to me, although I suspect it is a studio orchestra. In any event, it’s a sprightly boogie-woogie “Soundie” from 1941 called "Zig Me, Baby".

Obama's Definitive Waffle

President Obama delivers a televised address from the Oval Office on the situation in Iran

Good evening. Tonight, I wish to speak not simply in my capacity as President of the United States, but as the acknowledged first among equals of the world's leaders. For that reason, I will address you not only as my fellow Americans, but as my fellow Algerians, my fellow Angolans, my fellow Azerbaijanis…

[thirty minutes later]

…and last, but certainly not least, my fellow Zimbabweans.

I have been closely watching events in the aftermath of the Iranian parliamentary elections. My perception, initially one of alarmed optimism, has now changed to deeply disturbed hopefulness. The robust debate underway in Iran over the integrity of the elections is something to which we Americans can especially relate. In 2000 and in 2004, George W. Bush won two closely-contested presidential elections, which millions of my fellow citizens viewed with skepticism – there were many, in fact, who believed, and believe to this day, that one or both elections were stolen. While we will probably never know who really won those elections, I am proud to say that the American people reacted with peaceful resignation to the results of the numerous court hearings and decisions (however tenuously grounded in genuine legal scholarship), and to the vote recounts (however incompetently administered), that ultimately provided two admittedly tarnished victories to my predecessor. It is this same general attitude of the stoic acceptance of the inevitable that I count on, myself, in my day-to-day efforts as President to reshape the partnership between government and the private sector in the United States (which partnership, for the benefit of my foreign viewers, I would define as being like Sears & Roebuck - now known, of course, simply as Sears).

I am gratified to see that The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hoseyni Khamenei (Peace be upon him!), has ordered an official probe of the election. And should the results of this probe indicate that Mr. Ahmadinejad did, in fact, win, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate him in advance. And if it turns out that the other guy won, best of luck to him, too.

In closing, I would like to emphasize that my Administration supports the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people – however they wish to define it over there – and that we all look forward to an end to the violence – whoever it is who’s responsible for it. And finally, let’s not forget the Palestinians who have been sent by Hamas into Iran for the purpose of helping with crowd control; the quicker that peace can be restored in Iran, the sooner the Palestinians can return to their homes, where they will be able to continue working toward the final, er, that is to say, toward a two-state solution.

Thank you for listening, and good night.

Ya Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks

Hey, dis Administration ain’t got nuttin’ against old geezers, see? It’s just dat…well, youse know how it is, a guy gets, whaddaya call it, “long in de tooth”, an’ he starts ta get a little confused.

Now, dis fellah Walpin…tell me honest, whadda we s’posed ta do? He’s practic’lly stickin’ straws in his hair an’ droolin’ on de table - what, we’re gonna wait ‘til he shows up at a board meetin’ wearin’ a wife-beater an’ no pants? Him gettin’ de ax ain’t got nuttin’, nuttin’ at all ta do wit’ him claimin’ ta find some a’ de boys at AmeriCorps bein’ a tad careless wit’ a few hundred large, see? An’ dis Grassley boid is jus’ playin’ politics, like Republicans always do. I mean, c’mon, we get rid a’ IG’s all de time, so Walpin ain’t nobody special.

Nah, dere ain’t nuttin’ ta see here. I t’ink alla’ yez jus’ need ta be movin’ along.

Wait a minute. What’s dat? Ya say dere’s a eyewitness who sawr de whole t’ing? Ah, he’s prolly some old coot, too. Er, youse ain’t got his name an’ address handy, do yez?

Neo-Con Con

Smitty, at The Other McCain, admirably deconstructs an absurd article written by one Gary Kamiya at Salon, which mixes historical metaphors with the whirling frenzy of a KitchenAid 5-quart blender in a confused attempt at dealing with neo-conservatism.

Personally, though, I think I’d rather like to be known as a Visigothic Rasputin (with Victorian overtones).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

From the Shelves of the Paco Library

The Paco Library contains many collections and sub-collections, including a substantial number of dictionaries. Foreign languages, peculiar words, etymologies, church and theological terminology, architecture, biographical dictionaries – these volumes are a great source of instant knowledge, and of the serendipidity of accidentally discovering an interesting word or concept in the course of looking up something else altogether.

The Vulgar Tongue: Buckish Slang and Pickpocket Eloquence, by Francis Grose (edited in a new edition by Alastair Williams), is a collection of slang, colloquialisms and idiomatic expressions that was first published in the late 18th century. This is not the language of Johnson and Burke; the editor points out in his introduction that…

“The soldier, scholar and champion drinker, Francis Gose, published the first recognized dictionary of slang in London in 1785. From Shakespeare onwards the English language had been a riot of linguistic wit and anarchy, and The Vulgar Tongue doesn’t disappoint, presenting us with a fascinating window on the lives of ordinary people at the end of the 18th century. Taking us from the inns to houses of pleasure, from the races to the cock-fighting pit, Francis Grose captures a bawdy culture alive with its own rich language.”

Grose himself pointed out the value of his contribution, thusly, in the preface to the first edition:

“The many vulgar allusions and cant expressions that so frequently occur in our common conversation and periodical publications, make a work of this kind extremely useful, if not absolutely necessary, not only to foreigners, but even to natives resident at a distance from the Metropolis, or who do not mix in the busy world: without some such help, they might hunt through all the ordinary Dictionaries, from Alpha to Omega, in search of the words, ‘black legs, lame duck, a plumb, malingeror, nip cheese, darbies and the new drop’, although these are all terms of well-known import at Newmarket, Exchange-alley, the City, the Parade, Wapping and Newgate.”

It is a great treat to delve into the pages of this volume and retrieve such gems as “bully cock” (“One who foments quarrels in order to rob the persons quarrelling” [Sounds like Democrats! – Paco]), “corporation” (“A large belly. He has a glorious corporation; he has a very prominent belly”), “cork-brained” (“Light-headed; foolish”), and “idea pot” (“the knowledge box, the head”). Aside from the amusement angle, however, there is some interesting history; for example, this definition of “Jibber the Kibber”:

“A method of deceiving seamen, by fixing a candle and lantern round the neck of a horse, one of whose fore feet is tied up; this at night has the appearance of a ship’s light. Ships bearing towards it run on shore, and being wrecked, are plundered by the inhabitants. This diabolical device is, it is said, practiced by the inhabitants of our western coasts.”
[This ploy was certainly used on the North Carolina coast in olden times; hence the name of the town, Nags Head, on the outer banks – Paco]

The Vulgar Tongue is a delightful romp through one of my favorite historical periods.

* * * *

Perhaps you’re unfamiliar with the word, “zzxjoanw”; and, no, it’s not the sound one makes when snoring (well, actually, maybe it is – at least if Mrs. Paco is to be believed). If you possessed The Superior Person’s Book of Words, you’d know that it is a Maori drum.

Peter Bowler has assembled a delightful little volume that is a sort of curio cabinet of odd words, including not only definitions, but witty examples of usage.

Take, for example, “veneficial”:

“…(i) Acting by poison, or poisoning; (ii) acting by, or used in, witchcraft or sorcery, as for instance a witches’ brew; (iii) relating to the doings of Venus, the goddess of love. The three meanings come together when your beloved cooks you a meal for the first time.”

Or “steatopygous”:

“Fat-buttocked. Another excellent word for insulting without offending, especially as the listener is unlikely to be able to remember it long enough to look it up in a dictionary later, and is unlikely in any case to possess a dictionary that includes it.”

If nothing else, this book should help to boost your Scrabble victories.

* * *

Is it “lie” or “lay”? The two words always give me trouble, so I turn for enlightenment to The Dictionary of Confusable Words, by Laurence Urdang, which provides me with what I need to know:

“There seems to be little difficulty with the first word [lie], meaning to ‘prevaricate, fabricate.’ From the table, one can see why the other two cause trouble: the present of lay ‘put down’ is identical to the past of lie ‘be recumbent.’ Unfortunately, there is no simple mnemonic device that can be called upon to help in remembering the differences: they must be memorized.” [Admonition to self: all these dictionaries, and you don’t have a clue as to what ‘mnemonic’ means; look it up, ya putz!]

Seriously, though, the book maps out many of the common linguistic and grammatical minefields through which we (or I, anyhow) maneuver everyday. “Like vs. as”, “that vs. which”, “council vs. counsel”, “typhoid vs. typhus” (hey, I didn’t even know they were separate diseases), “monologue vs. soliloquy” – this is an excellent volume in that informal series, “How Not to Look Like a Dumbass”, which I highly recommend (and would personally benefit from using far more often than I do).

Adulatory Barack Channel

The Blue Room of the White House, June 24, 2009. Charlie Gibson presents the World News Report.

Good evening. This is ABC World News, and I’m Charlie Gibson. Tonight, we are taking the unprecedented step of broadcasting from the White House. But then, we are faced with an unprecedented crisis in our health care system, a crisis that affects every man, woman and child in this country. President Obama has made health care reform the centerpiece of his domestic policy, and he has graciously allowed ABC News to bring to you, directly from the source, his ambitious plans for change in this all-important aspect of our lives.

It is not an easy process. Critics of the President’s plan, not all of them Republicans, have voiced concerns over the potentially astronomical costs…

[Television screens go black; after a few seconds, a message indicating “technical difficulties” is seen. Two minutes later, Gibson is back on the air]

Are we back on? Oh, good. Er, sorry about that. Heh. We were experiencing some temporary technical problems. As I was saying, Republicans and certain special interest groups, including big insurance companies and the American Medical Association, in conjunction with right-wing radio talk-show hosts like Rush Limbaugh, have dragged out their standard complaints about the cost of a major overhaul of the system. But should cost really be an issue in matters of life and death? Tune in later tonight for a special Townhall meeting – also to be telecast from the White House – hosted by Dr. Ezekial Emanuel, a health-care reform activist, who will defend the Administration’s case, and by conservative David Brooks, who will, er, also defend the Administration’s case, only not so much.

And now, for the news. In Iran, the violence continues, as millions of Iranian citizens have channeled their frustration over President’s Ahmadinejad’s failure to fully implement comprehensive health care reform, into massive street demonstrations…

* * *

On the other hand, maybe the telecast will open with something like this...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Crime against Humanity

Ayatollah Khamenei: "Batons, mace, guns...nothing seems to work! We are forced to use our secret weapon!"

"Release the presidential B.O.!"

Advocating Barack’s Con

Is that what ABC stands for? According to Drudge, ABC News will deliver its nightly World News report from the Blue Room of the White House, and present a primetime special called – without a trace of irony – “Prescription for America”. Opposition opinions to Obama’s plan will be excluded. A request from the Republican National Committee to have its own views heard was rejected. Oh, and the talking head for the World News report, of course, will be none other than Charlie Gibson, who is probably best remembered (by conservatives, in any event) for his interview with Sarah Palin (No doubt you will recall that Gibson played the role of a stern schoolmarm, looking down his nose with scorn at Governor Palin, rather as if she had been a slow-witted student explaining that a moose had eaten her homework). The proposed “Townhall” format – pitting the well-oiled propaganda machine of the Administration against… what, perhaps one or two not particularly well-informed critics in the audience? – is a mockery of fairness and objectivity.

Go back, in your mind, to January of 2003, on the eve of the Second Gulf War. Try to picture some kind of alternative universe in which ABC News would have delivered its evening report from the Blue Room, and then essentially handed over its broadcasting to the Bush Administration so that it could lay out its rationale for the war, excluding opposition voices in general, and Democrats in particular. Kind of hard to picture, isn’t it?

Whether or not ABC News would be interested in hearing what we have to say about this in-the-tank, full-body emersion in Obamaganda, I think it’s our duty to make the effort. Here’s the ABC News contact site.

More from the Other McCain and NTCNews.

Update: Ah, that explains it!

Foreign Policy – the Handwringing Option

Most people, when they’re kids, grow up admiring and wanting to emulate some actor – or, to be precise, some actor’s character - that they’ve seen in the movies. In this regard, Obama is like practically everybody else. But who would ever have guessed that he grew up wanting to be ZaSu Pitts?

For the uninitiated, ZaSu Pitts was best known for her comic movie roles in the 1930’s; she specialized in portraying a constantly flustered worrier, who typically responded to each new crisis with a plaintive cry of “Oh, dear!” Our President has put me in mind of Ms. Pitts with his nervous handwringing and tepid observations in connection with the violence in Iran. “Oh, dear!” he seems to whine. “This situation could seriously undermine my ability to charm the mullahs out of their nukes.”

Well, I think it highly unlikely that he was going to succeed in that, anyway, especially given the intransigence of the Iranian theocracy. So he might want to consider taking a different tack: condemning the government’s crackdown on dissent and unequivocally expressing his support for those people in Iran who are desperate for genuine democracy. He could do that much without in any way threatening to physically intervene. Sometimes, as President Reagan demonstrated during the Polish crisis, a bold statement of principle is all that is needed to give hope to the oppressed, and to start a crack running through the weakened façade of a tyrannical government.

Update: Yo, Preshizzle, even France - freakin' France, dude! - has condemned the election as fraudulent.

Frozen Assets

Ex-Congressman William “Cold Cash” Jefferson is finally going to be tried for bribery and money laundering. The Louisiana Democrat got his nickname when federal investigators found $90,000 in his freezer. He also gained a fair amount of notoriety in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when he commandeered a National Guard detachment to escort him to his house.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Courage in Small Packages

A mountain lion - who is sure to be thrown out of the union for this kind of pusillanimity - is held at bay by three toy chihuahuas (H/T: The Hyacinth Girl - who, incidentally, idly wonders elsewhere on her blog why she's not making some of these "Hot Conservative Babes" lists. I'm kinda wondering about that, myself).

The Limits of “Expertise”

My father, Old Paco, once defined an expert as “a son of a bitch with a briefcase from out of town.” Stacy McCain takes a close look at the highly dubious Gnosis of our economic gurus, and comes away distinctly unimpressed. Also unimpressed: the Innocent Bystanders blog and tens of thousands of mom-and-pop GM bondholders.

Oh, and on the theme of comparisons that have been made between Obama and FDR, I find this Roosevelt quote to be a classic of irony: "I should like to have it said of my first administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. . . . I should like to have it said of my second administration that in it these forces met their master." In reality, of course, what the domestic “forces of selfishness and of lust for power” met in Roosevelt’s various administrations was their apotheosis.

Blog Shopping

If you haven’t yet, check out these blog sites:

1) Common Cents

2) Innocent Bystanders

3) Émigré with a Digital Cluebat (particularly recommended: the recent posts on Ted Nugent)

4) Seraphic Secret

5) Hyscience (a special H/T to Hyscience for a new twist on the Blarney Stone)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Is Occam’s Razor Rusting in a Drawer Somewhere?

Nick Cohen has written a long, thoughtful essay on the modern tendency to embrace Byzantine conspiracy theories, the import of which is that conspiracy theorists can wind up doing genuine harm – sometimes, more harm than actual conspirators. Here’s an interesting quote from the article that underscores a point I have made before on the theme of Lionel Trilling’s assertion that we have a moral obligation to consistently apply our intelligence: “Irrationality is both cumulative and contagious. You start by reading your horoscope in the newspaper; then you dabble in chakra balancing or feng shui, saying that it is important to keep an open mind; after a while your mind is so open that your brains fall out, and you read the Protocols of the Elders of Zion without noticing anything amiss."

The simplest explanation may not, of course, always be the correct one, but I believe that convoluted theories which posit a combination of diabolism and competence that are not typically within the grasp of individuals, let alone organizations and bureaucracies, are almost invariably wrong.

Great Pacos in History (A Very Occasional Feature)

How about a Cuban defector who worked for the CIA?

Violence in Iran Continues

Keep checking with Michael Totten. Interesting story: Grand Ayatollah Sanei supposedly has condemned the election results as fraudulent.

Happy Flag Day!

In these times, when our country is besieged as never before by tradition-wreckers, pink philosophes, law-breaking lawyers, arithmetically-challenged budget accountants, university-degreed thugs, eco-friendly sociopaths, egomaniacal ignoramuses, smash-and-grab congressmen, clueless foreign policy dolts and cult-of-personality fabulists, it is important that we show the flag and let them know that we ain't goin' down without a fight.

I was born on Flag Day, so, in a way, the stars and stripes were my swaddling clothes. Three cheers for the colors that never run!

Update: Don't miss this great flag story; outfielder Rick Monday makes the grab of his career.

Update II: More Flag Day goodness from Three Beers Later.

Sunday Funny

As is frequently the case, Are We Lumberjacks? has the Funny this week.

Update: Croatia has a present for Michael Moore.


The blooms just keep comin' here at the Paco Command Center (click on the pictures to enlarge).

This is my favorite color in roses (not sure what you'd call it, exactly; salmon or coral, maybe).

We've also got white...

And - my second favorite color - yellow...

The lilies are still going strong.

In back of the house, we have some eight-foot-high rhododendrons that are finally flowering.

Here's a white-flower hydrangea/pink tea rose combo.

The flowers on the standard hydrangea can be pink or blue, depending on soil conditions. I'm not sure what's going on here, since I've got pink and blue (and also some blending into a kind of lavender color) on the same plants.

The bright red of a geranium is always striking against the background of green shrubbery.

Pitch In

Richard McEnroe is donating the proceeds from his online store to help out conservative activist Deborah Leigh, who has hit a few severe bumps in the road. Let's head on over there and clean out his stock.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Violence in Iran

The excellent Michael Totten is tracking the aftermath of the elections in Iran (be sure to click on those videos!) Ahmadinejad has been declared the winner, but a substantial number of angry people think they've been had (and they're probably right).

More from Hot Air. "'I mean, just look at this! If Ahmadinejad won 25 million votes, which they claim, we should be celebrating, right?’ an onlooker commented.” One would think so, yes.

Update: Donald Douglas at American Power weighs in.

Update II: Great roundup of coverage from NTCNews.

Rule 5 Roundup

We return to the Golden Age of Hollywood this week, in our pursuit of Rule 5 action.

Lupe Velez was born in Mexico and is probably best known for a series of “Mexican Spitfire” comedies she made in the late 1930’s. She was Tarzan’s real-life Jane, marrying Johnny Weismuller in 1933 (the couple divorced in 1938). She led a troubled life, though, and, sadly, committed suicide in 1944.

Another Mexican actress who scored big in Hollywood was Delores del Rio, a beautiful woman whose quiet dignity as an Indian woman in The Fugitive, a 1947 movie based on Graham Greene’s novel, The Power and the Glory, was extremely impressive. Del Rio was successful as a film actress in Mexico and the U.S., and was also active in the theater.

Ella Raines was a brown-haired, blue-eyed beauty who starred in everything from comedies (notably, Preston Sturges’ Hail the Conquering Hero), to Westerns. I especially liked her in Tall in the Saddle, co-starring John Wayne. I’ll tell you this: she sure looked good in chaps!

Update: Check out The Other McCain for the official Rule 5 aggregation.

Friday, June 12, 2009


1) North Korea’s pouffy-haired “Dear Leader”, Kim Jong Il, is pushing his youngest son as successor. Styled “Brilliant Comrade”, his name is Kim Jong Un. What North Korea really needs, of course, is an Un-Kim-Jong.

2) Why didn’t I think of that? A barbecued-potato-chip belt!

3) Although I’m a Catholic, I’m definitely in favor of this divorce.

4) Camp of the Saints takes a look at one of this Administration’s most unendearing qualities (scroll down to “Offers We Can’t Refuse”).

5) Dog Fight at Bankstown has an absolutely fascinating post about the efforts of George “Cloven Hoof” Soros to establish left-wing Catholic front groups.

6) This is why Paco Enterprises is rapidly securitizing and selling off its portfolio of dollar-denominated whoopee-cushion receivables and converting the proceeds into American gold buffalos.

7) From the Department of A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

(H/T: Moonbattery)

8) Kathy Shaidle has the right attitude.

I Can See Him Just Fine

Let me tell yez sump’n about bein’ transparent. Ya know how de dictionary defines dat woid? Well, let’s toin to Mary an’ Webster and see. Ah, here it is; “transparent: havin’ de property of transmittin’ light wit’out appreciable scatterin’ so dat de bodies lyin’ beyond are seen clearly.” Ok, so, any a’ youse goombas havin’ trouble seein’ de body a’ dat Inspector General lyin’ out dere?

Transparent. Dat’s what dis administration is all about.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Happy Feet Friday

Tony Pastor and his band do their version of “Hawaiian War Chant”.

Revved-Up Wright

I dropped by the excellent conservative news site, Not Tucker Carlson, and saw that the Right Reverend Jeremiah "Bullfrog" Wright let his mouth get away from him again. He recently complained that his efforts to win back his famous apostate parishioner were being thwarted by "them Jews." Shortly thereafter, some well-wisher - a deacon, perhaps, or maybe even Chris Matthews - dug him in the ribs and whispered that "them Jews", in addition to being ungrammatical, might well be construed as being anti-Semitic, and therefore, embarrassing to the President. Reverend Wright - this time shrewdly avoiding the minefield of demonstrative adjectives altogether - said simply that what he meant was "Zionists", thus provoking another mass rolling of eyeballs.

Well, don't worry about it, Rev; I'm sure you'll hit upon a happy epithet one of these days. For example, there's still them rootless cosmopolitans.

Right on Cue

The yawping among the Pavlovian dogs of the Left has commenced – not at all unexpected, but tiresome, to say the least. Already, the murder of the security guard at the Holocaust Museum is being linked to everything from the Tea Party protests to the “extremism” of Rush Limbaugh. This makes about as much sense as saying that Keith Olbermann is responsible for the Muslim convert who shot two army recruiters in Arkansas.

Dan Collins shrewdly observes that, based on the known facts, the assassin sounds “rather like Ahmadinejad, except that he’s a White Supremacist rather than an Islamist”. In other words, we conservatives can, and should – and I certainly do, without reservation or qualification - condemn the crime and the criminal, without feeling compelled to publicly take a loyalty oath to the Constitution and the rule of law.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

That Giant, Sucking Sound...

Stacy McCain, possibly temporarily unbalanced from the strain of creating Not Tucker Carlson in three days, has somehow developed the delusion that he sucks.

Now, quite apart from the wound that this would cause to my own amour propre, if true - after all, would Paco Enterprises not be even suckier than The Other McCain for NOT BEING LISTED ON STACY'S BLOG-ROLL? - I think we need to buck up the poor fellow. So, I'm conducting a poll: How many readers believe that Stacy McCain does not suck?

Update: Check here for professional-looking pie graph and map showing geographical distribution of respondents.

From the Shelves of the Paco Library

The 2009 baseball season is well under way, and much to my surprise, my beloved Detroit Tigers are in first place in their division. How long that will last, nobody knows (although, through long experience, I have learned not to get my hopes up too much).

The great thing about baseball is you don’t have to be a walking rule book, or even a fan, to enjoy the history, lore and traditions of the game. Today’s “Shelves” piece highlights three enjoyable books on the national pastime that should have broad appeal.

Fungoes, Floaters and Fork Balls: A Colorful Baseball Dictionary, by Patrick Ercolanao

In this book you will find definitions of baseball terminology, slang and the rules of the game. Ever wondered about those cryptic references to the “infield fly rule” occasionally spouted by sportscasters? Well, here’s what it’s all about:

infield fly rule: n. A rule that declares the batter out when he hits a catchable fly ball into fair territory of the infield and there are less than two outs and first, first and second bases, or first, second and third bases are occupied by runners. In such a situation, an umpire immediately calls the ball an infield fly, thus declaring the batter out and warning the runners that they may advance at their own risk. The rule prevents infielders from purposely dropping a fly ball and then easily forcing the baserunners, who would ordinarily stay at their bases on an infield fly.”

Americans are great practitioners of the art of the metaphor, and baseball offers innumerable opportunities for…er…metaphornicating. Here are a few examples:

chin music: A brushback pitch, usually a fastball that goes “singing” underneath the batters chin.

frozen rope: A straight and sharply hit line drive.

iron hands: The hands of a fielder who frequently allows balls to bounce, or “clang”, off his glove.

The dictionary also has a generous sampler of French baseball terms (used in Canada). Just a taste:

Going, going, gone! = Et elle est partie!

Pinch hitter = frapper auxiliaire

And, of course, since baseball is popular in many Hispanic countries, there is a section on some basic Spanish terminology, too:

Base hit = bola bateada con éxito

Hit a fly ball = pegar una planchita

If you equip yourself with this book, the next time you get into an argument with somebody over the etymology of, say, the ephus pitch or a Baltimore chop, and he says, “G’wan, look it up!”, you’ll be able to do that very thing.
* * * *

The Pitcher, by John Thorn and John B. Holway

Just about everything worth knowing about pitchers and their art is contained within the covers of this book: statistics, the physics of the different kinds of pitches (fastball, curve, screwball and more), and biographical information on men, both great and obscure, who have taken the mound to match wits and ability against the hereditary foe, the batter.

“The pitcher runs the show. He holds the ball and nothing happens until he lets go. He is in control…The pitcher is not simply an athlete; he is an artist in that while his talent shapes the game, he never knows beforehand whether his mysterious gift – his ‘stuff’ – will be with him on a given day. He creates his work of art pitch by pitch, each pitch carrying a part of himself bearing his unique mark. The ball may be released but is still, magically, under his control and, if it is not hit, returns to him. The magic resides in his arm, that best friend and most dreaded enemy, which a pitcher may talk about as if it were detached from his body and going about on its own.”

The book is full of wonderful anecdotes. Here are a few snippets from the section on one of my favorite baseball players, Bobo Newsom.

“Norman Louis Newsom was sometimes called Buck but was usually called Bobo because that was what he called everyone else. A good ol’ boy from South Carolina, Bobo was the Dizzy Dean of the American League.”

“Newsome was given the honor of opening the 1936 season in Washington before President Franklin Roosevelt and a capacity crowd. In the third inning, third baseman Ossie Bluege fielded a bunt and fired to first. Bobo forgot to duck, and the ball caught him on the side of the face. He clutched his face and staggered in agony; manager Bucky Harris told him to sit out for the rest of the game. ‘Naw,’ Newsom said, ‘Ol’ FDR came out to see Bobo, and he’s gonna see him all the way.’ He won the game 1-0. Afterward, they found out his jaw was broken in two places. It had to be wired shut, cutting down on his loquaciousness for a short time anyway.”

“He won twenty-one games in 1940 [with the Detroit Tigers], plus two in the World Series. When Bob Feller received a record salary of $30,000, Bobo topped him with $35,000…With his new wealth, Newsom bought a car with neon lights that spelled ‘Bobo’ and a horn that played ‘Tiger Rag’, and he dined nightly on quail and champagne…”

Excellent for a long read, or just occasional browsing, this book belongs on the shelf of everyone interested in baseball history.
* * * *

The Ultimate Baseball Book, edited by Daniel Okrent and Harris Lewine

This book astonishes by fully living up to its ambitious title. Outstanding articles by Red Smith, Robert Creamer, Wilfred Sheed, and many others, combined with hundreds of rare photographs, provide a chronological history of the game through essays on the great players, teams, games, pennant races and Series.

Here’s a little something from Red Smith to whet your appetite:

“Pepper Martin looked like an outsize bird of prey. When he ran he took flight, wings beating, beak splitting the wind, and when he stole a base he swooped down on it with a predator’s headlong dive. ‘The Wild Horse of the Osage’, he was called by Harrison J. Weaver, trainer of the St. Louis Cardinals, and the sobriquet caught on during the 1931 World Series when this upstart from Oklahoma stole Mickey Cochrane’s drawers in broad daylight.”

If I could only have one book on baseball, this is the one I would choose.

Update: Friend and commenter, Captain Heinrichs, provides a rare look at early baseball in Canada.