Sunday, May 31, 2009

Blair Swarm

Let’s have a look at what Tim Blair’s far flung family is up to…

1) Shadowlands has a link for those who need to find a gift for that…er…special someone.

2) bingbing at Tizona has links to some fascinating videos on North Korea.

3) TimT discusses the average politician’s favorite holiday.

4) Socialism - the fun is catching. But, as Slatts points out, there really isn’t anything fun (or funny) about it.

5) Mr. Bingley takes note of another insult hurled at Albion by the Obama Administration (this time, by that impertinent young tick, Robert Gibbs).

6) More vibrant prose from that philosophical pedal-pusher, Boy on a Bike.

7) Mythusmage finds one of the best quotes concerning climate change that I’ve ever seen.

Note: There are now so many graduates of Tim Blair’s Comment Academy – I continue to come across new ones, or rather, bloggers who are new to me – that linking everybody at one time is becoming a bit unwieldy. I’ll try to link you all a half-dozen or so at a time, going forward.

A Note to the Preshizzle from the UK: Not All of Us Are Sheep

James Delingpole responds to Obama's hapless press secretary, Robert Gibbs, with a stiff upper lip uppercut (H/T: Ed Driscoll).

Obama's patented Personal Awesomeness is failing to impress the world's dictators, and his propensity for ostentatiously cutting the British has, to put it mildly, not gone unnoticed. Throw in his fatuous attempt to strong-arm Israel, and his effort to apply the defibrillator to socialism (which has even prompted some serious tut-tutting from Pravda), and it's difficult to draw any other conclusion but that the President is bound for Jimmy-Carter-like failure.

Watch This Video...

...by Andrew Klavan. It is a five-minute seminar on individual freedom that I wish everyone in the country could see (H/T: Instapundit).

No, no. Don't tell me you don't have time, that you're too busy trying to replace that passport stolen by a parrot. Watch it.

Sunday Funny - Take 2

Coom, now, laddie, is tha' the best excuse ye could make up on short notice?

Scottish visitor to New Zealand claims his passport was stolen by a parrot.

Sunday Funny

Theo Spark has today's Sunday Funny, in which we are invited to consider the crime wave in Argyle, Texas (you'll need to click on the image to enlarge).

Update: Fishersville Mike combines political commentary with classic marketing.

Old Cuba

Gateway Pundit has a video about Cuba made back in the 1930's - before it was "improved" by communism. Probably the only similarity with the Cuba of today is that the same model cars are being driven.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Tyrannical Intransigence, 1; Personal Awesomeness, 0

Mark Steyn has written another pitch-perfect essay on the Obama Administration's dangerous relegation of foreign policy to the back burner.

Money quote: "The president's general line on the geopolitical big picture is: I don't need this in my life right now. He's a domestic transformationalist, working overtime – via the banks, the automobile industry, health care, etc. – to advance statism's death grip on American dynamism. His principal interest in the rest of the world is that he doesn't want anyone nuking America before he's finished turning it into a socialist basket case. This isn't simply a matter of priorities. A United States government currently borrowing 50 cents for every dollar it spends cannot afford its global role, and thus the Obama cuts to missile defense and other programs have a kind of logic: You can't be Scandinavia writ large with a U.S.-sized military."

I am beginning to think that Obama really has come to believe in the political shinola that was applied with such wanton abandon to his campaign persona, not only by his official handlers and operatives, but by the media.



Update: More on Dim Kim's hissy fits from Three Beers Later.

Rule 5 Saturday

We travel back, once again, to the Golden Age of Hollywood in search of our Rule 5 lovelies.

Barbara Stanwyck was not a classic beauty, but her personality and talent enabled her easily to slip into the role of sexy gun-moll (Ball of Fire), entrancing con-artist (The Lady Eve), or seductive murderess (Double Indemnity). She was one of the smartest, hardest-working, and best-liked actresses in Hollywood, with a career that spanned some sixty years.

Don’t miss Seraphic Secret’s fine tribute to this wonderful actress.



Fiery redhead Maureen O’Hara was born in Ireland in 1920, and became a naturalized citizen of the U.S. in 1946. She worked with many fine actors, but, in my opinion, her best performances were those in which she played the (invariably) hot-tempered wife of John Wayne in movies such as The Quiet Man, Red River and McClintock! - although she was also unforgettable as the gypsy girl in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and as the Macy’s employee and cynical divorcee in Miracle on 34th Street.



Lovely, and tragic, Gail Russell died young (age 37) from the alcoholism that grew upon her as she began drinking, early in her career, to help her overcome her extreme stage fright. Her big, beautiful eyes conveyed a vulnerability on screen that was, indeed, only too real. She starred with John Wayne in Angel and the Badman, and with Ray Milland in what I have always considered to be one of the greatest haunted house movies of all time, The Uninvited.



Rule 5 Update: Three Beers Later has a video demonstrating reason #75 why I don't like cats (meddlesome, officious little beasts!)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Hey, each of us is...er...special in his own way

TrogloPundit can't do the math, but he's still a pretty talented guy.

Gitmo Prisoners? Sure, We'll Take 'Em!

Brave little Hardin, Montana says it'll take the prisoners from Guantanamo.

"The medium-security jail was conceived as a holding facility for drunks and other scofflaws, but town leaders said it could be fortified with a couple of guard towers and some more concertina wire."

"The jail's No. 1 promoter, Greg Smith, executive director of Hardin's economic development agency, said the Two Rivers Detention Center could easily be retrofitted to increase security. And while the town hasn't had its own police force since the 1970s, Smith said the jail's well-armed neighbors would constitute an 'unofficial redneck patrol.'"

Praise Allah, Hassan! We are free of the compound!

Yes, my friend. Let us take to our heels.

*Chook-CHOOK* Howdy, boys! Goin' somewhere?

(H/T: Tigerhawk)

Sotomayor Not Cinderella?

Stacy McCain says the bio has been considerably embellished.

Five Guys Not Choosy About Clientele

I love Five Guys Burgers and Fries; delicious hamburgers and home-made french fries that are just dripping with aorta-busting goodness. And if President Obama likes the place, there's at least one thing we agree on.

But to let media people in...I dunno. The restaurant needs to give a little more thought to maintaining the integrity of the brand.

Pretty Soon, Paying Your Mortgage As Agreed May Come to be Viewed as a Charming Eccentricity

According to this article at OpenMarket.Org, the Obama Administration is pouring some $250 billion into mortgage bailouts. But at least it’s egalitarian, because the well-heeled are getting some of that gravy, too.

Perhaps, in the end, the most pernicious thing about the bailouts, the nationalizations (existing and proposed), government health insurance and all the rest is not simply the negative impact on the economy and the deterioration of important services, but the way that government largesse undermines the sense of personal responsibility by removing the means to sustain a reasonably independent way of life while imbuing larger and larger numbers of people with a sense of their own helplessness and “victimhood.” Government intervention on this scale is a primer for tyranny, be it soft or hard, and a necessary step toward the realization of that kind of society H.L. Mencken once described as “a milch cow with 125 million teats” (that would be over 300 million teats, today).

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pictures From the Future



Al Franken: Don't worry, Harry; one of these public-defender lawyers ought to be able to help us beat that vagrancy charge.

Harry Reid: That's what you said when the cops caught us pissing in the Metro station.

A Few Words from the Obama Nostra



Oh, ok, I get it. Youse mugs don’t like Sotomayor ‘cause ya t'ink she’s a racist, is dat it? Well, listen up, wise-guys. She ain’t no racist ‘cause (a) she ain’t a man or a, whaddayacall, a anglo-saxophone, and (2) she’s a woman and a Spanish broad, which makes her a two-fer, see? So what, maybe she ain’t de sharpest tack in de box; a stupid judge is always de kind I preferred, anyhow (especially if yez also get a stupid jury; or at least, a cheap one). An’ so what if she monkeys aroun’ wit’ de Constitution? It’s a livin’, breathin’ document, ain’t it?

An’ livin’ an’ breathin’s kinda important – or don’t ya t’ink so?

Happy Feet Friday

Freddie Slack and Martha Raye in a musical ode to "Pig-Foot Pete".

Hugh Hewitt Exchanges Views with Lawrence "Super-Genius" O'Donnell

Hugh Hewitt had Lawrence O'Donnell of MSNBC on his radio show recently, and the subject was terrorism and torture. By the time Hewitt was through with him, there was no meat left on Larry's bones.

What's next, a poll tax?



Pundit and Pundette note another potential tax source of government revenue, brought to you by the same people who, the last I heard, were going to cut taxes for 95% of Americans.

Update: Don't like the idea of a national sales tax? How about an Email tax? (H/T: Instapundit)

Attention, Australians!

For my readers down under who might not have seen this yet, nilk of Right Wing Death Bogan has started a new blog - Ocean, Sky and Khaki - that shows how to support Australia's men and women in uniform (H/T: Boy on a Bike).

How is it, again, that the French have come to pride themselves on their logical minds?

The title of this news item says it all: ”What could possibly go wrong?” Nearly 200 French prisoners are going to be permitted to cycle around France “watched by scores of guards on bicycles, in the first penal version of the Tour de France.” A priceless quote from one of the inmates: “It’s a kind of escape for us…”

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

From the Shelves of the Paco Library



I’ve got two from the American Civil War, today, both of which I highly recommend.

They Called Him Stonewall, by the eminent Civil War historian Burke Davis, is a comprehensive biography which includes much original research and provides perhaps one of the best overall assessments we have of this brilliant, but undeniably eccentric, Confederate general. He was one of the South’s best tacticians, perhaps best known for the Valley Campaign, during which his army of 17,000 men inflicted five defeats on three separate Union forces totaling over 60,000 troops that had been sent to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia to destroy him.

As to his eccentricity, Davis captures one example immediately:

“He sat, incongruously sucking a lemon, on the outskirts of the village of New Market, Virginia, this spring day in 1862, surrounded by his troops, who rested after a brief noon meal. Wry-faced and pensive, he dealt with his everlasting lemon, evidently oblivious to all else.

No one knew where the fruit came from, but it was always on hand. He spent half his time with one of the yellow skins gleaming in his beard, and his men had been waved into combat with his half-sucked lemons, as if by the baton of some imperial marshal…It was one of the least of his mysteries, vaguely connected with the nervous indigestion and cold feet of which he complained.”

A struggling, but determined, student at West Point, Jackson first saw action during the Mexican War, winning several promotions. After the war, he became an instructor at the Virginia Military Institute (an unpopular one, as a matter of fact), and was present at the execution of radical abolitionist, John Brown. He began the American Civil War as a drill master, and finished as a Lieutenant General. His death by friendly fire after the battle of Chancellorsville deprived the Confederacy of one of its chief military assets, and was a great blow to Southern morale.

* * *

The American Civil War - a two-volume set which includes a history of the war by Ralph Newman and Otto Eisenschimmel (with an introduction by Bruce Catton), entitled The American Iliad, and a monthly calendar of important events for each year of the conflict, in addition to short biographies and photographs of the war’s major military and political leaders, entitled The Picture Chronicle - is a wonderful general introduction and basic reference work. The first volume is largely a collection of first-hand accounts by the people who were there, so there is an immediacy about the book that makes for very compelling reading.

How's That Stimulus Workin' Out, Barrie?

Apparently, not too well.

Help is on the way, though, from Pacozon.com. I'm sending the President a copy of my new book:



Update: The excellent Mr. Bingley at Coalition of the Swilling has a post "celebrating" Obama's awesome economic achievements, to date.

Pictures from the Future



Welcome to the Grand Opening of Paco's Taxidermy Shop!

Joe Biden...

... right again!

Update: Here's the video (the teleprompter joke is at the 20-second mark).



After his speech today, Joe dined at a Chinese restaurant. Upon completing his meal, he was somewhat perplexed at seeing this message in his fortune cookie:

That’s Interesting….

Most of the Chrysler dealerships being closed are owned by people who donated money to…well, to candidates other than Obama. And by the strangest, most unexpected, completely inexplicable coincidence, a big Democratic donor got to keep all of his dealerships.

Here, incidentally, is a list of the people on the President’s automotive task force (the task force is reportedly the entity that is making the decisions on which dealerships to close).

Assortment

1) Joe Biden isn’t often right, and when he is it’s usually by accident, but when he said that Obama would be tested in the first few months of his presidency, he was right as rain (more on the rattling of nutbucket sabers from the Belmont Club and Jennifer Rubin).

2) Links within links: Suzanna Logan has a great roundup of links to some blogs you ought to get to know better (plus a special bouquet for yours truly).

3) Stacy McCain – who has more RINO heads mounted on the wall of his den than anybody else I can think of – is getting some help from American Spectator intern Helen Rittelmeyer.

4) I’m beginning to think that the history of the Left is nine parts irony.

5) Richard McEnroe at Three Beers Later puts Twitter in context.

6) The sweet, sweet sound of GM bondholders giving the board a Bronx cheer.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Excuse me, the Office of What?

Pundit and Pundette draw attention to something called the "Office of Social Innovation".

Here's an innovation for ya, Barrie: how about if you stop trying to use government as a social engineering hammer? Or do you really want voters to pull the lever on the trap door and propel your keester out of the White House and onto Pennsylvania Avenue with a one-way bus ticket to Chicago stuck in your pocket?

Anniversary Response

I wanted to thank everybody who dropped by to say “hi” and extend best wishes. Incidentally, I’m missing some spoons, but Wronwright left his wallet behind, so I’m ahead of the game.

There are several comments I feel a need to respond to, individually.

First, Dminor came by late and announced that he has added another future member to the Paco Enterprises readership, in the form of an 8-pound baby boy. Congratulations, and all the best to you and the baby and the missus (Dmajor?)

Steve Burri has me blogrolled. Drop by and tell him Paco sent you.

That wonderful composer of limericks, Lyle, honored me with not one, but two poems. One day, we are all hoping that he collects these gems in one place.

Skeeter, the Bank of Paraguay thanks you!

Cac wonders about the make-up of my regular readership – how many Australians, how many norteamericanos. Ever since I disarmed Sitemeter, I can no longer track where the hits are coming from, but I’d say I’ve got a good mix from both down under and the United States (and Mikael, from Denmark!)

I also received congrats from “John Doe” (which I strongly suspect to be an alias), who operates the excellent blog, Smash Mouth Politics.

And I was delighted to see comments from folks I haven’t run into for ages: Dr. Alice, Tommy Shanks, P. Frizzle, Griffin, Zoe Brain. Come on back and stay a while!

Hey, Old Tanker and Colonel Milquetoast!

And of course, the Paco Regulars – you know who you are, and I’m writing mainly for you guys, so keep those comments coming!

A Captain of Industry Opines




High atop Paco Tower, the morning sun streamed onto the penthouse porch, bathing the many potted specimens of carnivorous and poisonous plants with life-sustaining warmth. A flock of turkey buzzards, perched on the battlements, dozed lightly, occasionally opening a drowsy eye at the sound of a cooing pigeon or turtle dove, but not yet sufficiently moved by hunger to exert themselves in scaring up breakfast. The Captain of Industry – J. Packington Paco III - sat contentedly in a massive wicker chair, drinking the juice of oranges that had been grown on his plantation in Brazil (after the land had been cleared of non-productive rain forest), and scouring the pages of Newsweek, deriving as much pleasure in identifying new and original instances of unadulterated stupidity as lesser mortals take in browsing through the comics section of a big-city daily.

The almost silent footfalls of Spurgeon the butler – vaguely sensed, in the manner of a ghostly presence, rather than actually heard – approached the tycoon


“Begging your pardon, sir, but that reporter - Mr. Brad Smilo - is here to see you. Are you in, sir?”

“By all means, Spurgeon! Show the gentleman in.”

Brad Smilo entered, trailing in Spurgeon’s wake like some insignificant piece of refuse that had been tossed over the ‘C’ deck stern rail of a stately cruise ship by a thoughtless passenger.

“Good morning, sir. It’s good of you to see me. My editor was thrilled that I had landed another interview.”

“I am always delighted to meet with such a distinguished member of the fourth estate.”

“One might be forgiven for suspecting that your regard for the press is not particularly high, Mr. Paco. Spurgeon allowed me to use the facilities, and I noticed that the toilet paper was made of recycled copies of the New York Times.”

“Well, no one actually reads the Times, anymore, and it seems such a shame not to put it to some use. And its absorbent quality is legendary. May I offer you some coffee?”

“Yes, thank you. Say, I’m surprised to see a copy of Newsweek, here. I wouldn’t think that a man with your vast connections would have anything to learn from a general-interest news magazine.”

“Oh, I have a special use for it.”

Both men took chairs by a glass-topped table. Suddenly, a high-pitched, musical chiming could be heard; it was unmistakably the first few bars of an old tune called “I’m in the Money”. Brad’s perplexity was quickly resolved, as the tycoon removed a gold watch from his vest pocket and checked the time.

“Spurgeon, it is precisely 9:00 am. I think we shall have the morning gun. Please be so good as to unlimber.”

“Very good sir.”

Spurgeon disappeared momentarily, and returned wearing a cut-away gray military jacket and kepi, both with the red chevrons and piping suggestive of a non-commissioned artillery officer in the Confederate army. He wheeled a small brass cannon from behind a tub of bladder trap plants and retrieved the Newsweek magazine from the table, tearing it in half.

“Ball or shot, sir?”

“Are there any windows left?”

Spurgeon looked at the building across the street. “No, sir. They all seem to have been shattered.”

“Then ball, I think.”

“Yes, sir.” Spurgeon proceeded to load the cannon, using the pages of the magazine as wadding, then vigorously applied the ramrod.

Brad, who had been watching, astonished, spluttered “Wait! You’re not going to…”

“You may fire when ready, Spurgeon.”

“Very good, sir.” Spurgeon lit a long match and held the business-end to the touchhole. He was rewarded with a deafening report, a puff of smoke, and, a second or two later, a loud, smacking sound, as the cannon ball chipped a two-foot piece of ledge off the target. The turkey buzzards, now thoroughly awake, departed in a flurry of flapping wings and angry squawks.

The tycoon turned to smile at Brad, but found that he had vacated his chair. Feeling a tug on the cuff of a pants-leg, he glanced down and saw the reporter staring up at him from beneath the glass-topped table with a sheepish grin on his face, resembling a monstrous and somewhat mortified guppy glimpsed through the top of an aquarium. Brad crept out from under the table and resumed his seat, wiping his brow with a handkerchief.

“Mr. Paco…er…I’m sure you must know what you’re doing…but did I just see the butler fire a cannon at that building?”

“Ah, I see the cause of your distress, now, Mr. Smilo. As a matter of fact, that building was condemned last year, and I bought the property for back taxes. I haven’t quite figured out what I’m going to do with it, so I’ve been tearing down the structure at my leisure.” The tycoon turned briefly to the butler. “You may limber up, Spurgeon.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“Now, Mr. Paco, if we can return to the interview, I wanted to focus on an astonishing meeting that was held recently among America's richest people - and what is even more astonishing: the fact that you were not included.”

“Mwahaha! *cough-cough*” [wiping tears of merriment from his eyes] Oh, I say, Mr. Smilo, you are a character, sir! I hope you won’t take offense at my observation that, certainly to you – and to most people, really – a few dozen billions of dollars must seem like great wealth, but, really, my dear fellow, men like Bill Gates and George Soros are upstarts, the merest arrivistes, compared to myself.”

“Nonetheless, sir, when billionaires foregather to plan something, it is, naturally, a matter of interest to my readers.”

“And what were these - *snicker* - titans of commerce proposing to do?”

“As far as we’ve been able to tell, they were talking about charity and need”.

“Then, Mr. Smilo, I should double the guard on the constitution and hang on to my wallet. Whenever the super-rich get together to talk about how they can ‘help’, they invariably mean to propose changes in public policy that will increase the tax burden on, and reduce the liberty of, the average citizen, while not materially touching their own net worth at all.”

“But if these people are smart enough to make billions of dollars, isn’t it likely that they may be smart enough to devise useful public policy?”

“Perhaps, Mr Smilo, you will recall a line from the excellent Orson Welles film, Citizen Kane: ‘Making a lot of money isn’t hard, if making a lot of money is all you want to do.” As long as these wealthy leftists are only interested in making money, they’re on sure ground. It’s when they begin to see themselves as something more than successful businessmen - when they start hallucinating about being philosopher kings – that the threat to our national patrimony becomes genuine and urgent. Warren Buffet is a supporter of Obama and an advocate of higher taxes; there is nothing self-evidently intelligent about either position – quite the opposite, really. Ted Turner is violently anti-Christian; what does he envision, soup kitchens for atheists?”

“I think, Mr. Paco, that they were discussing ways to put their own assets to work.”

“My boy, as eleemosynary as their actions may be, from time to time, none of these well-heeled do-gooders are going to jeopardize their own financial security by giving away an amount that would reduce their opulent lifestyles, or prohibit them from meddling in public policy – for the people’s own good, of course. With regard to this last point, I would entreat you to bear in mind that no one is more solicitous of the welfare and comfort of cattle than the rancher who intends ultimately to deliver them to the slaughterhouse.”

“Well, Mr. Paco, you’ve sure given me plenty to think about.”

“Splendid! Now, how would you like to join us for a little shooting?”

“’Shooting’, sir?”

“Yes, Spurgeon and I are planning on spending an hour or so trying to blast the cornice off of yon building with a couple of Harris .50 caliber rifles. Join us, Mr. Smilo, and make it a threesome.”

“Ahm…you see…I’d love to, but I have a deadline to meet, so, I’ll just be on my way.”

“Some other time, then. You can find your way out, I’m sure. Spurgeon! The rhino guns, chop-chop! ”

Monday, May 25, 2009

Pictures from the Future


"Well, you know how it is, Mahmoud. Presidents-for-life one day, busboys in a Parisian bistro the next..."

What Now?

Komodo dragons are terrorizing Indonesian villages.

The picture that accompanies the story has the following caption: “In this photo taken on April 28, 2009, a Komodo dragon moves out of a toilet at a visitor center on Rinca…” As is well known, Komodo dragons never flush, so I don’t blame the Indonesians for freaking out.

Memorial Day (Continued)

Jules Crittenden has a fine post and several good links.

This video on the last surviving American WWI veteran has been out there for a few days, but I've just seen it. It's quite remarkable:

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Paco Enterprises celebrates its first-year anniversary, today. Join me, now, as we take a stroll down memory lane.

Prelude
I had little awareness of the phenomenon of blogging until the 2004 general election, when I was overjoyed to discover conservative alternatives to the mainstream media. The very first blog I remember visiting was the excellent Captains Quarters, run by Ed Morrisey (Ed has now moved on to Hot Air, where he is one of the principal writers). Due to the exponential power of links, I soon became acquainted with other great blogs, such as Powerline and Protein Wisdom, Babalú and the sites operated by Ed Driscoll and Hugh Hewitt. I follow dozens, now, of which one of the most recent is the fire-eating Stacy McCain, and other members of the growing McCainiac universe such as Suzanna Logan, Monique Stuart, Cynthia Yockey, American Power, Pundit and Pundette, No Sheeples Here, Track-A-Crat, TrogloPundit, and Carol's Closet.

I don’t know where I first heard of Tim Blair, or how I stumbled upon his blog, but the experience was, to employ a much-overused, but still valuable, word, “transformative.” Tim surely needs no introduction as Australia’s liveliest and funniest political blogger, and the comments section of his original site was not unlike a giant pub, where people from around the world gathered to declaim their political theories, discuss current events, bash the unfortunate trolls who occasionally wandered in asking for lemonade, or just exchange pleasantries, commiserations and best wishes (as the individual case required). Tim’s blog administrator, Andrea Harris (a blogger in her own right), kept a close eye on proceedings, and was not shy about using her banning-wand to purge tiresome trolls, or the irremediably stupid, but, for the most part, the place was liberty hall.

Two commenters stuck out as premier examples of the freedom and sheer fun that was to be experienced at Tim’s old place. Richard McEnroe (who now runs his own blog, Three Beers Later) and a fellow who called himself simply “Wronwright” (who, to the best of my knowledge, does not have a blog, but ought to) created a zany parallel universe, in which they crafted numerous adventures featuring themselves as henchmen of Karl Rove, traveling through time and space in the Tardis, and switching easily from confounding Democratic strategists to bootlegging Sumerian mead. McEnroe’s pithy observations and tremendous wit played well with Wronwright’s genius for making his own hilarious cyber-persona the centerpiece of his stories and skits.

I stepped into this funhouse with some trepidation (choosing Paco as my moniker), but was soon accepted as one of the gang. Before long, Tim’s comment section had become the primary outlet for the expression of my own flights of fancy, including the 1940’s-style gumshoe throwback, Detective Paco; an ongoing shtick which posited an octopus-like business empire under the control of the shadowy Paco Enterprises; a bumbling scientist (who donned, as the mood struck him, a white lab coat or “a tweed jacket with intellectual-looking elbow patches”); Che Guevara’s hapless adventures in Bolivia; and the down-to-earth, but courageous and formidably cunning, membership of the Norwegian-American Republican Association (based in the fictional town of Little Oslo, Minnesota).

Tim Blair closed his personal blog last year and set up shop under the umbrella of Australia’s Daily Telegraph. It is still quite an entertaining place, and I comment there from time to time (it is, sadly, practically the only place that I now encounter my old friend Wronwright), but the freewheeling days of instant, unmoderated comments are gone. I realized that if I wanted to continue writing, I’d have to stop freeloading in somebody else’s comment section and start my own blog (I should also mention – and effusively thank - Jules Crittenden, who once, not so much throwing caution to the wind as aiming a leaf-blower at it point blank, invited me to guest blog at his site, which experience showed me that the technological hurdles were not beyond the scope of my abilities).

Paco Enterprises “Incorporates”
A year ago, today, I launched my blog with the post, “ Meeting Called to Order”, in which I invited all of my fictional characters to a conference: Detective Paco and his gorgeous secretary Sheila; the Professor; the Captain of Industry; the man-mountain, Tiny Weiss (a bookie); the anonymous crowd of rowdies from an unnamed country store in the hill country of North Carolina; the Paco Kid and others. I moved that we establish a new blog, to be named “Paco Enterprises”; the motion was carried by acclamation (after which we were all arrested by Wronwright for trespassing).

Originally, I had anticipated using the blog primarily as a dump for my stories; however, as dangerous political undercurrents began making themselves known, culminating in the disastrous recent national election that propelled Barack Obama into the White House, I commenced, early on, to engage in more political commentary than I had ever intended. Most of it has been satire, though, so the mission of Paco Enterprises – “Leave ‘Em Laughing” – has been little altered.

What’s that? You’re asking me about some of my own favorite posts? Well, only too happy to oblige, I’m sure!

Detective Paco
My gumshoe alter ego has come a long way since his first appearance at Tim Blair’s old blog, where he received a visit from a “…five-alarm redhead, with more curves than Bobo Newsome on a good day at Tiger Stadium, all of them wrapped in a tight blue dress that might have passed for a full-body tattoo.” He has picked up a beautiful blond secretary, a couple of occasional partners (in the form of Wronwright and Karl Rove, the latter currently between jobs), and an impressive client list including John Kerry and Al Gore. In the past year, I’ve recycled many of the stories from their debut at Tim’s blog, and I’ve also written several new ones (five or six, I think).

Here’s one I like, because it pits Detective Paco against subversive, multi-culti-style terrorism.

Che Guevara
Alas, I have flogged the poor Che stories to death – to no avail, I’m afraid, because they never gained the notoriety I had hoped for. Nonetheless, I consider “Che’s Bolivian Diary – the Lost Episodes” to represent my best creative work, and, on the outside chance that there’s still anybody out there who (a) hasn’t read them and (b) has any interest in doing so now, these are three of my favorites:

Episode II

Episode IV

Episode V

One-Off Fiction Stories
I have published here a couple of short stories that I entered in competitions. You can take some comfort in the fact that American literature has not entered its final phase of degradation, as evidenced by the failure of these stories to win any prizes.

One, however, came reasonably close; “Button Man” – the tale of a soft-hearted ex-wrestler and newly-minted junior member of Murder, Inc. who accidentally winds up being responsible for the death of the one man the mob wanted to keep alive – made the first three cuts in the American Gem Short Story Contest, but just couldn’t quite break into the winners’ circle.

Here it is (in three parts):

Part I

Part II

Part III

Politics
Political news stories have a very short life span, but the politicians who give rise to them are a source of never-ending inspiration. In this post, I do a riff on Joe Biden’s well-known plagiarism problem – always timely - and in this one I seek to show that our political “messiah” is a poor substitute for the Real McCoy.

Regular Features
When I lived in Richmond, my first house, on the city’s north side, was a pretty old brick colonial with a slate roof that had been built in 1938 (the man who built my house, and most of the other ones in the neighborhood, still lived three houses down from me when I moved in). One of the most attractive features of the house was that it had built-in bookcases in several of the rooms. Over time, I filled them up, and while I can’t say that that was the reason we decided to move, I made sure that the next house we bought – in the Henrico county suburbs – had plenty of shelf space. We built a house which wound up having seven bedrooms (I didn’t ask for them, the house just came that way), and I had a wall of book shelves built in the family room, floor to ceiling, and some shoulder-high shelves built in the living room. Two of the upstairs bedrooms I used for my book cases.

Eventually tiring of the daily commute on AmTrak from Richmond to Washington, Mrs. Paco and I moved to what I refer to as Occupied Northern Virginia – specifically, Fairfax County. The new place had nowhere near the shelf space I needed, so I wound up giving hundreds of books away. Even so, after putting as many as I could on our book cases, I have some 20 boxes full in the basement.

All of which is a lengthy and, frankly, unnecessary, preamble to the statement that I love to read. I have what I would not be surprised to learn is perhaps the largest private collection of 18th century English literature in the state of Virginia, cheek-by-jowl with Edwardian-era adventure novels, Shakespeare, H.L. Mencken, Raymond Chandler, natural history, and the American Civil War. As a public service, and simply because I like to talk about books and authors, I started a weekly post (every Thursday) called “From the Shelves of the Paco Library”, in which I highlight a book or an author or occasionally a series that has appealed to me. This weekly post has generated dividends for me, as commenters have weighed in with their own suggestions and reading experiences, many of which have led me to new authors that I have since read with great pleasure.

The other regular feature that I try to do, without fail, is Happy Feet Friday. I have always loved swing music, and I am mad for the style known as boogie-woogie, so each week I embed a You Tube video. Performers have included such well-known musicians as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Benny Goodman, as well as others not so well known today, but generally very popular in their own time (Freddie Slack, for example, and Ray McKinley). I don’t know that this feature is particularly popular, but I’m aware of at least one person who truly enjoys it – me – and that’s why I’ll keep doing it (I did get a link one time from Maggie’s Farm to a video of Louis Jordan and his band playing “Caledonia”).

Since this is Paco Enterprises’ anniversary, what could be more appropriate than a happy dance, particularly one that represents the best lindy-hop number in movie history? Sure, I’ve linked it before, but it’s always worth another look. From the 1941 film, Hellzapoppin’.



I can’t sign off without saying a few words of thanks to Dogfight at Banks Town (still blogging) and Currency Lad (presently on an extended vacation, but whose return to active status I eagerly await). They were early supporters of this blog, and provided many links, for which I am deeply grateful.

And although, to borrow (and mangle) from the Bible, all readers are equal in the sight of Paco, I will always have a special place in my heart for those friends, supporters and commenters I first encountered at Tim Blair’s old site: Richard McEnroe, Wronwright, Jeff S., Rebecca H., Captain Heinrichs, Mojo, Skeeter, Dminor, Blogstrop, Mehaul, Retread, Wimpy Canadian, TimT, Andy Canuck, Swampie, Infidel Tiger, KC, Grimmy, Carpefraise, El Campeador (a/k/a El Cid) Yojimbo, MarkL, Boy on a Bike, Ash (God rest her soul), Penguin, cac, Salty Dog, Mental Floss, Michael Lonie, kae, nilk, Margo’s Maid, Spot the Dog and company at Tizona, Mr. Bingley, Mild Colonial Boy, Miss Red, Mikael, Daddy Dave and many others. Thanks, guys; I hope you all continue to enjoy the ride.

P.S. Oh, yes. I promised wine and cheese, too, didn’t I? Well, help yourselves!



Call 'em like you see 'em

Stacy McCain has been fighting the good fight against the poltroons in the Republican Party who have drawn the wrong conclusions from the Democratic election victories of recent years. There's nothing wrong with a big tent, but conservatives can't let the best seats go to moderates who frequently give the impression that they just ducked in to get out of the rain and mooch our barbecue. Colin Powell is perfectly free to continue calling himself a Republican - just as I'm perfectly free to call myself, say, the Holy Roman Emperor or Batman. And for the same reason that people would be unwise to expect me to grant them the deed to Malta, or foil a bank robbery while dressed in purple tights, conservatives need demonstrate no reverence for Powell as an avatar of the New and Improved Republican Party.

As McCain points out, "Idiots have the right to free speech, and we have the right to call them idiots."

Memorial Day



Let us honor those who have paid the ultimate price in defense of our liberty.

And let us remember, and help, those who fight today (H/T: Hugh Hewitt).

Update: Three Beers Later has a super National Guard video posted as a Memorial Day tribute.

He Should Have Listened


"Here's a tip, jug ears. I'm wearing this fedora to keep my brain warm, revved-up and ready for action, and if you mess with me - even once - you'll wind up feeling like a fist-sized hunk of gorgonzola after a date with the cheese grater. Capeesh?"

(Photo gratefully pinched from Gateway Pundit)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sunday Funny

How about a little James Lileks? Don't forget to note the "Next Page" feature at the bottom.

"The President in Training Pants"

The above description - coined by Just A Grunt at Jammie Wearing Fool - is the perfect epithet. Check out the link, and see how Obama seems to have contracted a bad case of Bidenitis.

Gorgeous Aussie Sheila Celebrates Anniversary

Kae - a long-time commenter at Tim Blair's old and new sites - celebrates the one-year anniversary of her Bloodnut blog, today.

Nice goin', Kae! We wish you many more!

Rule 5 Goes International!

Today's episode of Rule 5 goes overseas.

Shirley Ann Richards (born in Sydney, Australia, mates!) never made it big in Hollywood, but was outstanding in several important supporting roles. In one of those ironies that characterize the movie industry, she was bumped from the lead in the 1945 film, Love Letters, in favor of Jennifer Jones, but nonetheless gave a great performance in an important secondary part. I was hard-pressed to find any decent photos of her, but finally settled on this one, which really doesn’t do her justice. I don’t know anything about her private life, but her screen persona was unmatched in conveying innocence and devotion, and her eyes were not only among the loveliest I have seen, but certainly the kindest.


A famous actress in France before coming to the U.S., Simone Simone’s career in Hollywood never took off, and she eventually returned to her home country. Nonetheless, she appeared in three American movies that I think are of genuine merit - The Cat People, The Return of the Cat People, and The Devil and Daniel Webster. The first two are modestly-budgeted, but well-made, horror films that have become classics of the genre. The Devil and Daniel Webster is among my favorite movies, and Simone truly shone as the lovely, devious minion of the Devil (the scene in which she makes her first appearance – stoking the fire and glancing around with a big grin at her startled employer and soon-to-be lover) is a simple, but striking, bit of cinematography.


Véra Clouzot, the Brazilian-born French actress, only made three films, but one of them was Les diaboliques (released in the U.S. as Diabolique), a first-rate thriller with (deceptive)supernatural overtones. She is the much-abused wife of the headmaster at a private school (played by the sinister Paul Meurisse), and she plots with his ex-lover (portrayed by Simone Signoret) to kill him. The film has one of the most interesting plot twists you will ever see, and Clouzot is wonderful as the increasingly terrified wife (and she sure looks fine in that semi-translucent nightgown toward the end; don’t get your hopes up too much, boys – emphasis is on “semi”).


Update: Donald Douglas has a terrific roundup of Rule 5 links!

Friday, May 22, 2009

What Do You Call the Guy Who Routinely Pistol-Whips Moderates?

The Moderator? Somehow that doesn't sound right.

Anyhow, Stacy McCain takes time off from thumping David Brooks to focus on the dweebish Rod Dreher.

Update: Florence King nailed Dreher years ago, in her review of his book, Crunchy Cons.

Update II: Friend and commenter, Mild Colonial Boy, points out in the comments that Stacy McCain also reviewed this book.

No, But Andrew Cohen is a Pussy

CBS chief legal analyst asks if Cheney is "just a dick."

The Maximum Hep-Cat Gets Stuck in a Groove

Obama ”vows not to send people to war without cause.”

As opposed to George Bush, who apparently sent people to war just because he thought they needed some exercise. Think what you will of the president’s oratorical and political gifts, his constant potshots at the previous administration ultimately mark him as a small man, a public figure who can’t gain any stature except by climbing atop a caricature of his predecessor. The fact that Obama continues to adopt many of that predecessor’s national security policies also makes him a particularly contemptible form of hypocrite.

Doesn’t matter how smart you are, how well-informed, how well-educated. As Rush Limbaugh always used to say during the Clinton years, ultimately, it’s about character.

Caption Time



Here’s my entry: “Michael Moore was arrested today by Department of Homeland Security investigators for harboring a family of illegal Guatemalan immigrants in his throat.”

(Photo gratefully swiped from Ace)

Important Announcement

Be sure to drop by on Monday for the huge Paco Enterprises First-Year Anniversary Celebration! There'll be some blog history, wanton linking, favorite posts, dancing - maybe even some wine and cheese!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Happy Feet Friday

Harry James cuts loose with “Baby Won’t You Please Come Home”.

Federalism! Let's Do it!

Smitty at The Other McCain links to a post at the Volokh Conspiracy on ten federalism amendments that have been drafted by Randy Barnett.

I have been excited by this idea ever since I first read Barnett's article in the WSJ. We should all do our best to make this a major "distraction" for the Preshizzle.

Hope and Cheney

Just One Minute has the best take on Obama's and Cheney's respective speeches.

Update: Beldar has an interesting perspective on Gitmo.

Update II: The Yahoo News headline reads, "Obama seeks middle ground on Guantanamo". What, he wants to drop the terrorists in the ocean 45 miles south of Key West? Cool, I'm down for that.

Cover Prez

Track-A-Crat charts the evolution of Time's views on Obama from gushy hero-worship to hero-worshiping gushiness.

More on Obama's Health (s)care Plan



Pundette has a video up demonstrating that the Democratic health-care scheme may not mean what people think it means.


"Ok, kid. Here's the con. We make everybody think they've got a choice between private health insurance and government health insurance. Then we use taxpayer subsidies to drive the private insurers out of business. Got it?"

"Got it."

"Oh, and one more thing, Kid."

"Yeah?"

"Lose that tie."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

From the Shelves of the Paco Library



You may feel the urge to don your sea cloak and keep a sharp eye on the horizon when you read The Captain from Connecticut, a novel by C.S. Forester (originally published in 1941) that salutes the young U.S. Navy during the waning days of the War of 1812.

Forester – best known, of course, for his Hornblower series – gives us, here, an exciting fictional account of the commerce raider, Delaware, and her bold Yankee captain, Josiah Peabody, a young man who was rescued from a miserable life as the son of an abusive, alcoholic farmer by an uncle, and provided with an opportunity to go to sea, where his talent for hard work and leadership propel him to a position of substantial authority as the captain of a ship in the tiny U.S. Navy. It is a dangerous and frustrating job, however, because one of the main challenges to U.S. war ships at the time was simply escaping from port through the strong blockade of British ships that ringed the American coastline. The novel opens, in fact, with a daring, and successful, dash from Long Island in the middle of a winter storm:

“[Peabody] stood with his hands behind him, facing into the bitter wind, and making no attempt whatever to shelter from it. Forward he could just hear the voice of the boatswain as he gave the word to the men at the capstan bars. Then he heard the clank-clank of the capstan; it was turning slowly – very slowly. It was hard work to drag the big frigate up to her anchor against that wind. There were men aloft, too; their movements disturbed the snow banked against the rigging, and it was drifting astern in big puffs visible through the snow. Another unexpected noise puzzled Peabody for a moment – it was the crackling of the frozen canvas as it was unrolled. The frozen ropes crackled, too, like a whole succession of pistol shots, as they ran through the sheaves. Little lumps of ice stripped from them came raining down about him, whirled aft by the wind” (Gives me the shivers just to read it!).

Josiah is ably assisted by his first lieutenant, George Hubbard, Midshipman Kidd and assorted old salts, and exasperated by his younger brother, Jonathan, whom he rescued, in his turn, from farm life, but who fails to take to sea life in the way that Josiah has. Adding to Josiah’s occasional fits of melancholy is the fact that U.S. ships are limited, for the most part, to capturing and destroying mercantile vessels, whereas he is champing at the bit to go hull to hull with British warships (he winds up getting several opportunities to do exactly that).

While raiding in the Caribbean, the Deliverance comes across a strange ship flying an unknown flag. Not sure whether it is a privateer, a British merchant ship or something else, Captain Peabody fires a shot across its bow. It heaves to, and Peabody boards her, only to discover, on closer inspection, that the ship’s flag is that of the Bourbons. He learns, to his amazement, that Napoleon has been defeated, and that the House of Bourbon has been restored. He also is informed, to his consternation, that peace has been declared between France and England, which increases the threat to the United States, as more English ships will be available to further tighten the blockade.

All of these thoughts are temporarily driven from his head, as the French captain introduces him to the Marquis de St. Amant de Boixe (the new French governor of the Lesser Antilles), the Marquis’ sister the Comtesse d’Ernée, and his daughter Anne, whose grace and beauty have rather the effect of a poleax on Peabody.

Eventually, Peabody winds up being chased by three British ships, under the command of Captain Davenant, but the impending battle is abruptly shut down by the French governor because the Americans and the British have encountered each other in now-neutral French waters, and under the unusual rules of warfare in existence at the time, the two hostile forces are not permitted to depart for the open sea simultaneously – whichever nationality leaves first, the other cannot not set sail for 24 hours. The balance of the novel is taken up with the Americans and British trying to outfox each other, and their French hosts. Peabody and Davenant maintain a barely civil demeanor to each other, and at the Governor’s party, harsh words are exchanged, and Peabody and Davenant are embroiled in a duel (which is comically foiled by Anne and the Countess).

How does it turn out? Read it and see! Captain from Connecticut is a first-rate novel of the Age of Fighting Sail, which is exactly what we would expect from the great C.S. Forester.

Mike Wallace Gets His Comeuppance...

...courtesy of Rep. Bob Livingstone, with a big assist from his press secretary, Quin Hillyer. The year is 1993, and it is a bitch-slapping par excellence (H/T: Ed Driscoll).

What is it about Joe Klein and the Disabled?

Joe Klein recently made some controversial remarks centering on Dr. Charles Krauthammer’s disability, and his confinement to a wheelchair.

I don’t know what it is about Klein; he just has this…thing about people in wheelchairs. A security camera once caught him having an altercation with the mother of a “Mr. Squealer.”

Cuba Libre

Today is Cuba Solidarity Day (H/T: Babalu; check out the links).

"Paco Khan"...I Like It!

Frank J maps out a viable future for Republicans (H/T: Captain Heinrichs).

I applaud Frank's strategy of luring moderates back into the Party, to be used later as slave labor (or, in extreme situations, as food), but I draw the line at Arlen Specter. In the first place, I don't think you'd be able to get any work out of him, and in the second place, the mere thought of barbecued Specter wings puts me completely off my feed.

Update: Seriously, if the GOP wants a new lease on life, it needs to start boosting the careers of people like Marco Rubio. Check out The Other McCain for a video showing this dynamic and eloquent young man in action.

Update II: In the matter of The People vs. Charlie Crist, the Prosecution rests.

Scissors...Antiseptic...Black & Decker Cordless Drill

The pioneering spirit is still alive in Australia, as a rural doctor innovates.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Front

Courtesy of Miss Red, 84Rules has a quote from American Socialist Norman Thomas that pretty much gives the game away (trouble is, not enough people are paying attention to the Democratic playbook).

Not to Worry, Harry; I Got Your Solution Right Here

Poor Harry Reid seems a little confused about the Gitmo prisoners.

Frankly, if you want to hold them somewhere in the U.S., I've got a great idea. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the British held many of their POW's on old hulks moored on the Thames. Why not revive the practice? I've even got a particular boat in mind. Its owner is frequently away on trips (giving speeches, winning Nobel prizes, testifying before congress), the craft is extremely roomy and it's even environmentally-friendly. Why not put the prisoners on the Bio-Solar One and stick it somewhere in the Everglades?



And you can put the overflow here.

Shut Up and Bail




“Well, well, well. Look what we got here, Mr. Geithner. A group a' disgrumpled Chrysler investors.”

“’Disgruntled’, Mr. Axelrod.”

“Yeh, dat too. So, youse bozos t’ink yer big men, eh? Biggest men in town, maybe? Even bigger dan de president, right? De boss asks ya for one little favor – swallow de equity dilution on yer invesments an’ cut a fat slice for de union boys – and whaddaya do? Ya get all stiff-necked, ya cry like babies what had dere rattles took away from ‘em. Kinda sad, ain’t it, Mr. Geithner?”

“It makes me wanna puke, Mr. Axelrod. I ain’t never seen such greed.”

“Yeh, greed, dat’s what it is. It’s un-American, I’d say.”

“’zactly, Mr. Axelrod. It’s like Natsi Germany or sump’n, jus’ like Rudolph Hitler.”

“Ya hear dat, boys? Tsk-tsk-tsk. Why, a suspicious man might even call yez enemies a’ de State. An ya know de funny t’ing about bein’ enemies a’ de State? Dey tend to have real bad luck. Like, maybe, dey get audited by Mr. Geithner, here, or de SEC finds out dey haven’t filled out some form in tripplecate an’ dey get fined.”

“Or maybe dere wheelchair gets too close to de stairwell, eh, Mr. Axelrod?”

“Heh-heh-heh! Oh, yeh, all kinda t’ings can happen, Mr. Geithner. But we don’t wanna be hasty. De boss is a good Joe. He’s still willin’ to give youse guys a chance to sign on de dotted line. Here… Ya need to borrow my pen?

* * *

(More on Obama's disastrous meddling in the auto industry at The Other McCain)

The Bald-Headed League

What are the talents and special abilities that qualify one to be a bail-out baron? New York Magazine has uncovered the secret.

Atheist More Catholic than the Pope?

Actually, no; however, Allahpundit makes a good point, and I share his disappointment over the tepidness of the Vatican’s response to Obama’s Notre Dame speech.

Si Frumkin, RIP

Richard McEnroe marks the passing of Los Angeles County Republican, Si Frumkin, a long-time activist for Soviet Jews. God rest his soul.

Monday, May 18, 2009

I'm It

The beautiful and great-hearted Suzanna Logan has tagged me with the following meme: “Post eight random things about yourself.” Ok, you asked for it.

1) At the age of five or six, I was once watching an old World War II movie (I do not remember the film title) and saw an actor dressed in a wide-brimmed hat and black robe, portraying a priest. I found his attire to be extremely cool, and shortly thereafter informed Ma Paco that I wanted to be a priest.

“You can’t” she said.

“Why not?” I asked.

“Because we’re Baptists.”

(Many years later, I converted to Catholicism, but had encountered a new hurdle to joining the priesthood: I was married).

2) Also around the age of six, for a brief while, I had this great desire to own a tea plantation. I had seen a movie featuring a plantation owner, and he was wearing a white linen suit and a pith helmet – which was even cooler than the priest’s outfit. Learning that I had to go to India or some such place to be a tea grower extinguished the urge.

3) At the age of ten, I decided that I wanted to be a district attorney when I grew up. I had seen a movie (I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to see a pattern emerging here) in which a dashing young DA was fighting gangsters, and he wore the coolest clothes yet: a pinstriped double-breasted suit and a fedora (see number 7, below, to learn why this idea fizzled out)

4) At the age of twelve, a friend of mine – a notorious trouble-maker – informed me and another henchman of a new house in the neighborhood. It had been sold, but the new homeowner hadn’t moved in yet. On a Sunday evening, under the cover of darkness, we went to the house and peeked in the windows. The house was empty save for a large trunk in the basement. We looked at each other excitedly, because what else could that trunk have held but old Playboy magazines? (I haven’t the foggiest recollection as to why we thought so). We made a few desultory attempts to break in, even whacking at a padlock on a closet in the carport with a crow-bar (I think we had some kind of vague notion that we might be able to get into the attic and drop down inside the house somewhere). We eventually gave up, and as we were walking around behind the house, a dark figure bolted from the woods, shouting invective. It was all pretty hot-tempered and vulgar, but the words that clearly made a lasting impression were “Stop or I’ll shoot!” With the instinct of a wildebeest caught flat-footed at a waterhole by a crafty lion, I turned and ran. A few seconds later I heard the boom! of a gun, and, at that precise instant, tripped over a log. My comrades thought that I had been hit (I heard one of them shout, “Oh, Lord, he got Paco! – although he used my real name, of course, which angered me so much, even in that perilous moment, that I remember damning him under my breath for a loose-lipped fool); however, I quickly jumped up, sprinted in the direction of the deep woods, and made my way home by a roundabout path. I went directly to my room, took out my shoes and polished them, and put on clean slacks, a dress shirt and a tie - bound and determined, in the event that my friends gave me away, to swear that I had just got home from church and that I knew nothing about the incident, whatsoever. As it turned out, my friends had somehow talked their way out of the mess, and they told me later that the fellow who had bought the house was a retired Marine colonel, that he had spotted some vandalism perpetrated a week before at his new house (not by us, incidentally), and that the gun he had used to fire a warning shot was a .44 magnum.

It was about this time that I decided to make new friends.

5) I met the woman who would one day become my bride on a blind date. A couple of mutual friends were trying to set us up, but negotiations almost fell through because I was told initially that the young lady, a refugee from Chile, had fled the Pinochet regime. I vowed that I wanted nothing to do with a communist, but my friends were able to report back, after making a few subtle inquiries, that they had been mistaken, and that the young lady and her family were, in fact, refugees from the Allende government. After that, everything went swimmingly. Well, almost: we had to postpone our first date because she had been knocked unconscious in a traffic accident. But all was absolutely topping once she got out of the emergency room.

6) When I was courting the woman who would one day acquire the dubious distinction of becoming Mrs. Paco, I was sitting at the dinner table one evening, chatting with her and her family. Her mother – a sweet woman of quiet dignity and refined manners – pushed a tray of red pistachio nuts toward me and invited me to have some. Thanking her, I scooped up a handful and popped them into my mouth. It was pretty hard going, I must say. I noticed that the family was watching me with something like amused alarm. The future mother-in-law asked me, in a strangely awed voice, how I liked them. “Oh, swell!” I said. “Just fine. They’re a little crunchy, though.” My bride-to-be leaned in at this point and whispered, “You’re supposed to remove the shells, first.” Thank God they weren’t Brazil nuts!

7) I attended law school at the University of Miami (Coral Gables) for one semester. The reading requirements were extremely onerous, and interfered with my pleasure reading to such an extent that I quit after that one session (“What? Put P.G. Wodehouse aside for three years while I wade through this muck? I think not!”) I was fortified in my decision by something that my father, Old Paco, had once told me. After he retired from the ATF, he set up a garbage company, and was discussing some arcane matter of environmental law with a county official. The official was so impressed by Old Paco’s knowledge of the subject, he said, “Why, I’m surprised you didn’t go to law school! You’d have made a good lawyer.” My father responded with one of his frequent gags – “The only institution of higher learning I ever passed was N.C. State on the way to the liquor store” – and opined that he didn’t need to become a lawyer, since you could always get one pretty cheap if you knew where to look.

8) Readers of my Detective Paco yarns may be surprised to learn that, in the mid-1990’s, I did, in fact, study for and obtain a Virginia private investigator’s license. (You see, I had just finished watching this Humphrey Bogart movie, The Big Sleep...)

Ooohh, y-e-s-s, I almost forgot; I need to tag some other bloggers. Richard McEnroe, Saint, and Pixie Place, you’re it!

Assortment

1) Captain John has somehow gotten hold of the Paco Enterprises handbook on operating procedures.

2) As I’ve said before, the environmentalist ironies just keep piling up (more of the same at Maggie’s Farm).

3) Some of the most vigorous, Menckenesque prose these days is being written by car guys (H/T: Ed Driscoll).

4) A fascinating piece on the circumstances surrounding the death of Leonid Khrushchev (Nikita Khrushchev’s war-hero son), in the context of Putin’s revivified authoritarianism.

5) Hell, Britannia!

6) Stacy McCain highlights an important statistical phenomenon: apparently, if you put typewriters in a room full of monkeys, not only will one of the monkeys eventually type a sentence, but two of them will type the same sentence. Also, don’t miss McCain’s post on the Left’s use of diversity as a weapon.

7) Ted Nugent skins a journalist.

8) Powerline admirably sums up the Shame of Notre Dame.


"Heal, Father! Turn these papists into Unitarians!"

Sunday, May 17, 2009

An Important Birthday

The incredibly amusing and imaginative Shadowlands blog recently celebrated birthday number one. If you haven't already dropped by, do so and make with the best wishes.

The Middle of the Road - Home of Moderate Republicans and Dead Possums

Stacy McCain turns the ack-ack gun on another moderate.

Now, don't get me wrong; I think the GOP is big enough to hold people like Charlie Crist and Mario Rubio. But the leadership has got to stop defaulting to the squishier types like Crist, especially in a situation such as the one in Florida where neither candidate is an incumbent. Let the people decide in the primary, and then the NRSC can offer support to the people's choice.

Let's face it, NRSC; this is not the kind of leadership that is going to turn the Democratic tide...

The Power of the Yawn

It seems that Ron Howard's attempt to create a little controversy in order to boost interest in his new film, Angels and Demons, was something of a bust. The Vatican's newspaper, L'Osservatore, pronounces the movie "harmless...a videogame that first of all sparks curiosity and is also, maybe, a bit of fun."

Haw! Looks like Opie's movie is on its way down to Floyd's barbershop for a revenue haircut.

Update: Shame on Notre Dame, though. I think the Pope ought to cancel its university status and turn it into a Catholic truck-driving school.

Pelosi Explains



Listen, you mugs. When I said that the CIA never briefed me about water-boarding, then said that, well, yeah, they mentioned it, but didn't explain the details, then said, well, actually, they did tell me what it was, but I thought that they hadn't used it yet, but were talking about the future (which, if I found out later it was being used, I would've opposed it, for sure), what I really meant to say was that I have no idea what the CIA told me 'cuz when they were briefing me, they secretly slipped some memory-lapse pills into my cup of green tea.

What's that, wise-ass? How do I know? 'Cuz Valerie Plame told me, that's how I know. Anyway, I don't have time for this distraction anymore; there's real problems I got to work on, like...um...

Oh, look! Over there! A health-care crisis!

Update: Linked by Anorak.

Support ALL the Troops

Right Wing Death Bogan has a way to support the Australian troops. Let's not forget our mates.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

As Dr. Johnson Said, "Comparisons Are Odious"

But they're also fun. Let's see, now. If David Axelrod thinks Carrie Prejean is a dog, then that would mean David Axelrod...


is a...?




Yeah...a warthog seems about right. Or to be exact, the south end of a north-bound warthog.

Sunday Funny

Let's go on a tour of the Clinton Library (better leave the kids at home).


(H/T: Moonbattery)


Not "funny", per se; probably more of a Rule 5, if that photo is accurate. Anyhow, I got twittered by this young lady.

Joe Biden's Run-Away Mouth

Rarities...

The parrot-flower


The Aztec thrush


The black-footed ferret


Signs of intelligence from Joe Biden


(Actually, that last one may be purely mythical, like the unicorn or the basilisk).

Hooray for Hollywood

…and Rule 5, of course!

By popular demand, this week’s episode includes Veronica Lake. The tiny blond star (her height was a shade under 5 feet) was paired with the similarly short Alan Ladd (5’5”) in three noir films, including one of my favorites, This Gun for Hire. She also co-starred with one of my favorite actors, Joel McCrae, in the great Preston Sturges movie, Sullivan’s Travels. The “peekaboo” hairstyle was her trademark. Sadly, she suffered from mental illness and died from the effects of chronic alcoholism in 1973.


Also by popular demand, here is a shot of Olivia De Haviland. She had a very long career, starring with Errol Flynn in several movies in the 1930’s and ‘40’s, including Captain Blood, The Adventures of Robin Hood and They Died With Their Boots On, and portrayed the near-saintly Melanie Hamilton in Gone With the Wind. She won Best Actress Academy Awards for To Each His Own (1946) and The Heiress (1949). She is 93 years old.


Susan Hayward received five Academy Award nominations over a career that extended from 1937 to 1972 (winning for her performance in the 1958 film I Want to Live). I am not as well-acquainted with her movies as I ought to be, but I loved her as the unwed mother in the 1951 Western, Rawhide, co-starring with Tyrone Power.


And not forgetting the ladies, here's a young-looking Clark Gable.