Thursday, May 31, 2012

Vacuous, evil Ken doll's campaign running rings around that of Smartest President Evah

We're still five months from the election, and, as one reads, ad nauseam, we shouldn't get cocky, but, I'm delighted to see that the Romney people seem to be running a competent campaign, so far. Of course, I'm equally delighted to see that Obama's people...aren't.

No liberal bias in legacy news media, says biased liberal newsman to biased liberal news clown

Dan Rather talks the usual balderdash to Jon Stewart.
“I know what — it’s widely believed that CBS, NBC, ABC — chocked full of liberals. Not true. What it is chock full of is people who wanted to give honest news, straightforward news and voted both ways in many elections.
Oh, you mean Walter Cronkite – “the most trusted man in America” – was an exception? And that your own election-year, eleventh hour attempt to do a hit on George Bush, based on transparently fraudulent documents, was just a fluke?

I wonder if even Mrs. Rather pays attention to this guy anymore.

Breakfast room, the Rather apartment in New York. Mrs. Rather (Jean) is sitting at the table, eating oatmeal and reading a newspaper. Dan enters the room.

Dan [leaning down and giving Mrs. Rather a buss on the cheek]: Courage!

Jean: Honestly, Dan! Can’t you just say “good morning” like a normal person? And take off that stupid sweater. We’re almost in June.

Dan: Say, I heard the phone ring a while ago. It wasn’t…uh…

Jean [sighing heavily and folding up her newspaper]: No, it wasn’t Mary Mapes! I told you, I had her number blocked. Ever since her last shot at trying to get you to go after poor Mr. Bush. Remember? The photos of him in his National Guard uniform, snorting coke in the cockpit of that airplane? In the early 70s?

Dan: Listen, I think she was on to something.

Jean: Danny Boy, the photos were taken with a digital camera, and the plane was, if I recall, an F-35 Lightning II – which has only been around since 2006. The pictures were obviously fake.

Dan: Jean, there’s an old saying in the news business: photoshopped, but true.

Jean: Yeah, well, there's an old saying about broken-down newsmen, too.

Dan: What's that?

Jean: "What's the frequency, Kenneth?" Don't make me lay a baseball bat upside your head.

Dan: Ok, ok. Did I get any fan mail yesterday?

Jean: No, why should you? He wrote just last week.

Dan: Boy, how soon people forget!

Jean: Not all of them. People who know who I am still snicker at me behind my back in the checkout line at the supermarket.

Dan [patting his wife affectionately on the head]: Well, I did tell you that those new stretch pants made your butt look big.

Jean: What?!?

Dan: Now, honey...heh...put the bat down. I'm a newsman. I have to tell the truth. [Dashing out the back door] See you later. I have to see a man about a memo!



“All my friends are Jewish” (Part II)

John Tabin takes a look at Obama’s Jewish buddies in Chicago, and finds that they were – surprise! – on the left-most fringe.

Mayor Bloomberg not satisified with pace of emigration

"New York Plans to Ban Big Sizes of Sugary Drinks".

Reason #18 why this indefatigable nanny's political career needs to be contained at the municipal level.

H/T: Drudge

Update: Turning to more serious emigration pressures, it looks like the Egyptian Coptics are increasingly up against it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Donald Douglas takes action

Not content to simply blog about "Kimberlinism", the proprietor of American Power actually marched down to his congressman's office.

Bravo, Professor!

(H/T: Smitty)

Jim Unger, RIP

Jim Unger - the creator of "Herman" - has died. From the linked article:
...the understated genius who pondered the banal and frustrating moments of everyday life — and turned them into daily laugh-out-loud comic strip rituals for millions of readers — died in his sleep at his B.C. home Tuesday. Unger, who left behind two daughters, was 75.

His dry-humoured character, Herman, would become the everyman for readers, who often threw out their daily paper after flipping to the only item that really mattered.
I haven't subscribed to a newspaper for years, but when I did, I never missed Herman. Here is a small sample.

(H/T: Cap'n Heinrichs)

“All my friends are Jewish”

Great orator FAIL.
[Obama] then suggested that he should not be questioned about his commitment to the Jewish state because "all his friends in Chicago were Jewish - and at the beginning of his political career he was accused of being a puppet of the Israel lobby," Haaretz reports.
It is almost inconceivable that Obama could honestly be baffled over the bad reputation he has acquired with respect to Israel - which means he is simply faking his surprise, and not very convincingly.

Update: Of course, if you're looking for real tongue-tied incoherence, it's hard to top the President's mouthpiece, Jay Carney (H/T: The ever-watchful Captain Heinrichs).

God forbid…

…that Paul Krugman is ever diagnosed with dementia. But if he is, how will we be able to tell the difference?

In memoriam

Please sign the petition to get the International Olympic Committee to observe a minute of silence for the memory of the eleven Israeli athletes murdered at the Olympic Games in 1972.

The pursuit of justice

Jeff at Protein Wisdom considers an ominous possibility:
If the courts aren’t interested in justice, then what is left for us?

Answer: not to put our faith — or fate — in an increasingly politicized justice system. And that, my friends, is what’s coming next in this country.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Finally. The Obama campaign settles on a new slogan.

Deep Fried Manatees with the reveal.

(H/T: Steve Burri)

Jeff Greenfield mortally insults Bugs Bunny

Really, Jeff? You see Obama as Bugs Bunny?

Wouldn't want to be in your shoes, bub...

Assortment

Obama campaign finally makes a shrewd decision: Joe Biden is taking the week off.

Consumers not too confident.

The legacy media: crowding into the clown car.

Whose war on women?

There are no small parts, only small players.

Meteorologists attain a new kind of unreliability.

Obama’s not looking as green as he once did (Gawrsh, Mickey, do yuh suppose politics might have sump’n to do with it?)

Barack Obama: Tea Party patriot? The Washington Times has a photo from 1997 of Barry all dolled up in 18th century revolutionary regalia (portraying Crispus Attucks, maybe?).

Flame may not remove the ultimate necessity of flames .

Obama 2.0 might just be the end of America as we know it.

Hey, Mr. Democratic Indiana congressional candidate and Notre Dame graduate, what do you think of your alma mater’s participation in the Catholic lawsuits against the HHS mandate? “Why, I intend to, er, monitor the process.”

Maryland governor Martin O’Malley: “Hey, let’s follow the California model!”

More strange news from Maryland: Aaron Walker reportedly arrested. Free speech in the so-called “Free State” is, if not dead, at least grievously injured (Update - Jim Geraghty on the broader theme: "I think our culture’s ratio of crazy-people-to-non-crazy-people is getting out of whack.")

Democrats: Stiffing private businesses for 65 years. Harry Truman’s paperboy finally gets paid.

Foreign goings-on

In a switch from the normal storyline, a Christian woman has sued the Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank, claiming she was dismissed for refusing to wear a veil.

And the United Nations has named Zimbabwe's dictator, Robert Mugabe, as "international tourism ambassador".

As Conan O'Brien says about Zimbabwe, "You'll come for the country's pristine natural beauty. You'll stay because rogue soldiers have chained you to a burned-out jeep."

(H/T: Captain Heinrichs)

Monday, May 28, 2012

From the shelves of the Paco library


It was one of the greatest pennant races in baseball history, a story of a remarkable comeback that, in late summer and early fall turned into a stomach-churning neck-and-neck run for the finish line, and it ended in the bottom of the 9th inning in the last game of a best-of-three playoff with a dramatic three-run homer. Thomas Kiernan magnificently captured the magic of that season in his book, The Miracle of Coogan’s Bluff, published in 1975. I imagine it’s out of print now, but if you can find it online or in a used bookstore, it’s well worth the money.

Kiernan brings a unique perspective to the story of the 1951 New York Giants and their dogged pursuit of the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was a hopeful tryout, himself, at the beginning of the 1951 season; however, he was underage, and his father seems to have secretly communicated the message to the team that, under no circumstances, would he give his permission for his son to play even if the Giants did offer him a contract, so the boy wasn’t asked back after that first day. Kiernan didn’t immediately find out about his father’s involvement, and when he did, he proved himself a better man than I in being able to forgive him. But the author realized that he never would have been able to consistently hit major league pitching, so he went on to college, as his father wished, and finally settled down to being a fan.

And a fine baseball historian and writer. The Coogan’s Bluff of the title is, of course, a rocky cliff that loomed over the Polo Grounds, the home of the Giants (the cliff is still there, but, sadly, the baseball stadium is long gone). In 1951, the Giants were in their fourth season under the management of the mercurial Leo Durocher, who had originally come over from the Main Enemy, the Brooklyn Dodgers. Durocher had been carefully rebuilding the team, executing a number of strategic moves, including promoting Willie Mays from the minors, and was bragging about 1951 being the year of the Giants. The team promptly lost 12 of its first 14 games, and not only the sportswriters, but even die-hard fans, figured that it was going to be another long, disappointing season.

But the Giants never gave up, and in August they began seriously cutting into the Dodgers’ 13 1/2 -game lead. Day after day, week after week, Durocher’s boys pulled together, rooting for each other, working like a well-oiled machine, constantly peeling another game or half-game off the Dodger lead, until both teams ended the regular season tied. They split the first two games of a three-game playoff – and then came that magical last contest, on October 3. The Dodgers took a 4-1 lead into the bottom of the 9th inning, and saw it whittled down to 4-2, as Whitey Lockman doubled home Alvin Dark. There were now two men on base – including Clint Hartung, who had come in as a pinch runner for the injured Don Mueller.

That’s when Bobby Thomson came to the plate. He had been the goat earlier in the game – unsuccessfully trying to stretch a single into a double, only to find his teammate, Whitey Lockman, standing on second base; he also misplayed a couple of hits as third baseman – but, in a self-described daze, he stepped into the batters box, took the first pitch (right down the middle), and then whacked the second pitch into the lower deck of the left field stands, a home run that came to be known as the “shot heard ‘round the world”.

The first half of the book covers, in absorbing detail, the story of that memorable season, practically game by game; the second half consists of fascinating interviews with many of the principals, including Sal Maglie, Willie Mays and Bobby Thomson. Miracle stands as the definitive book on the 1951 National League pennant race, and is, in my opinion, one of the essential works of baseball history.

Well, back to work

After a three-day weekend, it always seems to feel like this.

Just one of those crazy, unnewsworthy coincidences, I'm sure

Erick Erickson gets SWATted.

Update: Why has NPR's Nina Totenberg completely lost interest in her old friend?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Honoring our heroes


May God bless the souls of our fallen warriors, comfort their friends and families, and forever make America the home of the brave.

Rep. Alan West's remarks, from Memorial Day, 2011.

Today's Monday movie features a clip from Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.



Update: Chris Hayes, cheese dick.

Update II: Check out this post at Gateway Pundit, with the great photo of the Statue of Liberty composed of soldiers.

The "Truth" Team

The Obama campaign is back to its old tricks, trying to turn the whole country into a giant neighborhood watch for reporting ideological crimes.

Here's the site for the Truth Team. Have fun!

Sunday funnies

Party crashers.




Procrastination documented.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Where did Obama get the idea that redistributing wealth was a good thing?

I'm thinking that he got the notion from his years mooching blunts off his fellow pot heads.

"Dude! I'm so wasted!"

Friday, May 25, 2012

Another "horse's ass right-winger" who has no intention of letting Tingles forget

Chris Matthews is tired of people bringing up his Obama-inspired leg joy.
MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews lectured a fellow television reporter when asked about his 2008 comment that a speech from then-candidate Barack Obama sent a "thrill up his leg."

Matthews was taking part in a discussion with C-SPAN host Steve Scully, who asked, "Is the thrill still there?"

Visibly annoyed, Matthews turned to face Scully and offered a detailed defense of his comments before saying, "Perhaps I shouldn't have said so because I've given a lot of jackasses the chance to talk about it."

"I hope that you feel satisfied that you've used the most obvious question that is raised by every horse's ass right-winger I ever bump into," Matthews added.
Ha! I laugh at your impotent rage!



What, does the U.S. Army now believe in giving the enemy a sporting chance?

"The Army has ordered that soldiers may use only government-issued magazines with their M4 carbines, a move that effectively bans one of the most dependable and widely used commercial-made magazines on today’s battlefield."

Read the whole sorry thing, and then contact your congressman (and maybe the Pentagon, too, while you're at it).

Most accident-prone nation

Those wacky North Koreans.
The country used firing squads or staged traffic accidents to execute 30 officials involved in talks to unite North and South Korea, according to the 2012 Amnesty International report released Thursday.
Must have been kind of tough arranging traffic accidents in a country that only has one car – unless they used military vehicles; I understand they have plenty of those.

The Left’s new-fangled guerilla war against free speech

Even in an America that has become morally enervated, to a great extent, as a result of the steady drumbeat of tribal progressivism, it’s difficult to understand how people like this can continue to be at large. Read Patterico, Tiffany Gabbay and Stacy McCain on the ominous doings of Brett Kimberlin and his cabal of enablers (which includes George Soros’ Tides Foundation).

Somewhere, Bill Ayers is weeping bitter tears over a malicious fate that placed him and his revolutionary pretensions in the pre-internet era.

Update: The Nora Desmond of the Left weighs in.

Fourth estate or fifth column?

Yeah, that's right, I'm talking about the legacy media.

Unrelated update: twit tweets.

Happy Feet Friday

Baby, Louis Jordan knows what you're puttin' down.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Surprise winner?

I was off yesterday, going about some personal business, and had the rare opportunity of catching a few minutes of Rush Limbaugh on the radio. As usual, he was engaging in some interesting inside baseball speculation.

Rush was saying that the Republican establishment pushed Romney so hard, not because they thought he had a particularly good chance of beating Obama, but because they figured that Romney would lend strength to “down ticket” candidates at the national and state levels (senatorial candidates, gubernatorial hopefuls, etc.). And now that Romney’s gaining on Obama in key swing states, and it appears that he has a decent chance of winning the election after all, the “experts” seem to have been caught by surprise and are kind of baffled as to how to respond to this serendipitous turn of events.

The lesson to take away from this – or rather the reenforcement of a lesson that we should have learned several times over – is that the Republican establishment is too clever by half, and is in need of serious reform (or perhaps “replacement” is a better term). While it is obvious that advancing in the Senate and House is a vitally important goal, it is not self-evident that nudging along a presidential prospect in whose ultimate victory you have little real confidence is good strategy (the fact that the candidate's chances have improved considerably over time is beside the point). When party leaders have reached the stage where they feel that elections must always be finessed rather than won (or, for that matter, lost) on basic principles, then the party has truly ceased being anything other than an incumbency protection racket. And in the end, the party will not even be able to sustain that mission, for the people - perhaps, at first, fitfully and uncertainly, but finally with the clarity of perception that comes from long observation aided by instinct – will condemn it to the fate of the Whigs.

None of which is intended as a dig at Romney. I support him wholeheartedly in his contest with Obama - or Boondoggle McSteezy, in commenter Rebecca's delightful coinage.

Arkansas native photographed in his natural habitat

Bill Clinton, surrounded by porn stars.

Thank you, Valerie Jarrett

If Obama loses this November, it may well have something to do with his reliance on the bad advice dished out by his closest, and most radical, adviser.

Pleased to make your acquaintance

The top 10 new species (I'm kind of partial to the blue tarantula).

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dog-eating president wants your dog to wear his logo

Really, Barry? Doggie sweaters and cat collars?

I'm thinking some doggie shorts with a strategically-placed cut-out for the "O" in Obama.

BootLegos

From the Department of People Are Just Plain Weird: Wealthy executive arrested for Lego theft.

Explaining Bain

Steve Burri has written the book on the subject.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Do you fear for your life?

Are you afraid of aggressive litterbugs, bizarre ingrates, or felonious progressives?

Then permit me to to recommend the Kimber line, a fine choice for personal defense.

And if you live in a state which sensibly acknowledges the right to bear arms - and if you don't, you should! - check out the laws on concealed carry. I live in Virginia, and getting the concealed-carry permit was as easy as falling off the proverbial log. And NRA's national headquarters, right here in Fairfax, Virgina - not far from the Paco Command Center - offers several outstanding courses in the use of handguns (not to mention the convenience of an excellent indoor firing range).

So, what’s going to become of all that Obama memorabilia when the preshizzle fizzles in November?

Once again, Australia shows the way.
Australian officials wanted to get rid of some commemorative mugs that misspelled President Barack Obama's name. And boy, did they ever.

A Parliament House official told senators on Monday that 198 mugs were smashed and buried under wet concrete at a loading dock behind the building. Sen. John Faulkner called it a "mafia-style execution" for the mugs, which had an extra "r" printed in Obama's first name.
Well, ok, that’ll work for the ceramic stuff. But what about all those t-shirts? Here’s an idea.

(H/T: Mrs. Paco)

Curious

How come we know more about the mission to get Bin Ladin than we do about Obama's college transcripts?

Also, when is someone in the White House press corps going to ask the president's mouthpiece if Obama ever faked his place of birth on a college admissions application?

And, yes, those are rhetorical questions.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pelosi to get her own street

I mean a street named after her, not her own private street (that comes later, maybe).

Just like its namesake's legislation, Pelosi Street has a few holes in it.


Everybody’s doin’ the Cherokee Boogie!

First, Elizabeth Warren; now, the preshizzle, himself.

Well, it is a pretty catchy riff...

Pope vs. Dope

President Obama’s heavy-handed treatment of the Catholic Church, in the matter of mandatory insurance coverage for services and products which the Church condemns, has resulted in a very interesting development: forty-three Catholic institutions have sued the department of Health and Human Services.

Stalin once famously asked how many divisions the Pope had, scorning the concept of the power of moral authority. Obama is destined to learn the hard way that moral authority is real, and doesn’t flow from dishonest political narratives, however carefully crafted by sycophantic minions, however lovingly nurtured by a supine press.

A most loathsome dynasty

Maureen Callhan discusses the real Kennedy curse: their treatment of women.
Let’s just call it what it is: the natural fallout when you’re a member of a family riddled with entitled, underachieving drunks, drug addicts and adulterers, whose treatment of women is historically deplorable.
If nothing else, turning this gaggle of riff raff into a kind of uncrowned American royalty reveals a singularly appalling flaw in the country’s imagination – exacerbated, as always, by the compliant, partisan media.

Although, in truth, I wonder if the family actually qualifies as a dynasty any longer. I believe there are very few Kennedy’s holding office these days, and none whom anyone is seriously talking up as a future figure of national interest. No doubt, a Kennedy can still probably win election in Massachusetts or in some nearby liberal hell-hole with relative ease; however, with respect to national appeal, the brand seems to have been damaged beyond repair. Maybe, one day, a blood member of the family will even turn Republican ( stranger things have happened).

The perfect analogy

New Jersey governor Chris Christie delivered a great line on Saturday to a group of Kentucky Republicans. Here’s his take on Obama: “This is a guy who literally is walking around in a dark room trying to find the light switch of leadership.”

Wish I’d said that.

(H/T: Instapundit)

Monday movie

Edward G. Robinson, former racketeer, goes legit in A Slight Case of Murder.



Bonus video! Raymond Burr goes all noirish in Desperate (I love the effect with the swinging light).



Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday funnies

Dante's nine circles of hell - in LEGOs.

Sure, Australia has aggressive magpies. But Sweden has knife-wielding eagles.

Bacon: making fools out of men since 1894.

"There it is, just beyond those trees: the affirmative action department of Harvard Law School. Now, slip in there and start whooping it up!"

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Little lies, big stink

Roger Simon offers some interesting, and very plausible, speculation on the latest riddle concerning Obama's origins.
My wife Sheryl and I, like Nick and Nora Charles, discussed it over gimlets this evening. We both agreed the mystery lay somewhere in Obama’s college and university years at Occidental, Columbia, and Harvard. We knew, as you do, there must be an explanation for why the court eunuchs of the mainstream media have never bothered even to investigate the scholastic career of the most powerful person in the world.

Because Obama got bad grades? Yawn — so did Bush, Kerry, Biden, Ted Kennedy, and dozens of others who later found themselves making life or death decisions over our lives.

No, it had to be something more significant, more potentially dangerous. What if, we thought, as others have suggested, the reason Obama’s school records have not surfaced is that he enrolled, at one of those institutions at least, as a foreign student — a Kenyan?

But why would he choose to do that? Well, maybe for a grant, a subvention, a scholarship that was available uniquely to students from Africa or similar locales.

Yes, I know that’s not “fair,” in the lexicon of the Lord of Fairness, to have adopted a phony identity and deprived others of an opportunity they may have more richly deserved. But it would certainly fit with Obama’s early need to be recognized as a Kenyan by his agent and, presumably, his publisher. As we all know, it’s not the crime, but the cover-up. (In this case, actually, it’s both.)

As time went on, of course, college drifted away and politics reared its head. The Kenyan identity became less necessary, even a liability, so it was dropped.
So, very much in the same way that Elizabeth Warren borrowed a Cherokee identity to grease the skids of her career, Obama may well have been a pretend-Kenyan for similar reasons.

Oh, and by the way: nice job, legacy media, in vetting this abysmal, dishonest and divisive incompetent back in 2008.

Well, now, that's strange

The skit I did the other day about Obama and Biden and gay marriage seems to have vanished. The post - entitled "Double Entendre" - is still visible on the edit page, but not on the blog viewing pages.

Blogger skullduggery? Government blog drones? Odd, very odd...

Update: Curiouser and curiouser. The post reappeared briefly, then disappeared again.

Ten weird facts about Australia

I mean, of course, weird to us yanks. I'm sure my Australian readers are quite used to all this.

Even the species of beetle that is dying out because the males keep having sex with beer bottles.

Those diabolically clever Israelis

Turkish villagers uncover latest Zionist secret weapon.

A commenter solves the birth riddle

From Deadman, in the comments section of the previous post:
I reckon I’ve now solved the problem of Obama’s birthplace—and I retract my original theory that the Liar in Chief was assembled in a Genevese laboratory.

It is an inescapable, essential feature of modern, enlightened, progressive thinking that adherents must be able to hold two completely contradictory beliefs at the same time: those who oppose killing endangered birds, for instance, simultaneously support costly giant whirligigs which are extremely effective bird killers (though ineffective suppliers of electricity); rich rock-stars and actors rush to tax-havens whilst simultaneously advocating that wealthy people must pay more tax; those who praise tolerance demonise those who disagree with them; supporters of “clean energy” condemn open-cut mines for coal in the developed world but condone devastating, polluted fields for rare earths in China and the like; those who claim to love humanity hate people and say you can’t base arguments on a fallacious consensus of views except when that supposed consensus comes from purported climatologists; etc.

Pres. Obama is the very epitome of seemingly paradoxical, progressive contradictions: he is both amazingly articulate and a stuttering mess, as dumb as a drunken wallaby and the smartest president in the history of the universe, a Christian and a Muslim, a native citizen and foreign-born; he’s a great thinker who can’t reason, a writer of two autobiographies who can neither write without catachreses nor remember his own story, a son of two people who met for the first time when he was four, an uxorious husband who forgets his wife, a democrat and autocrat; he is both an emperor with no clothes and an empty suit, a constitutional expert who hasn’t read the constitution; he is both quintessentially American and supranationally cosmopolitan; running to keep standing still, and playing golf to care for the economy; he is simultaneously always sitting and always lying.

Accordingly, I say, Obama was born in Hawaii and Kenya!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Assortment

Eric Holder and the Fast and Furious disaster denounced by…Van Jones?!?

Left wing tactics – and tacticians - are becoming more odious than ever ( more here on the same theme).

As a matter of fact, it’s not just the economy.

Joe Biden imitates a cow pie.

Richard McEnroe has the bumper sticker of the week.

“Anorexia Envirosa”.

ObamaCare: it’s all really very simple.

Heh: “Was Obama Himself the First Birther?”

Conservatives’ domination in the Twitter wars continues unabated.

Congratulations on your fabulous success. Here are your blinders.

The Elizabeth Warren drama: now with 50% more farce.

French practical jokes

A groom is convinced that he's doing a 50-foot bungee jump - au contraire!

Happy Feet Friday

Louis Prima’s band, featuring Sam Butera on sax, performs “Night Train”.



Thursday, May 17, 2012

Barack Obama hates civilization

Anyway, that's how I read this.

Also of interest: Obama in history, and the inside story of Osama bin Laden's demise.

Finally: I guess $150,000 doesn't go as far as it used to.

Update: Obama faces more primary opposition (H/T: Instapundit).

Double entendre

Joseph Biden sat in a hard wooden chair in a little-used executive office in the White House. The two David's, Axelrod and Plouffe, stood behind him as President Obama paced back and forth in agitated fashion. Although no bright lights or rubber hoses were visible, Biden clearly resembled a hapless suspect who had been subjected to the third degree. His tie was unknotted, two hair plugs had worked loose, beads of sweat glistened on his forehead, and his hands were shaking violently. For the tenth time, he began muttering in a hoarse voice.

"I'm sorry, Mr. President, I didn't mean to jump the gun on the gay marriage issue. I wasn't thinking."

Obama stopped abruptly, placed his hands on his hips and scowled at his VP.

"Of course you weren't thinking! What would you think with? Every time you speak in public you're like a jack-in-the-box. There's no question you're going to pop out with a stupid remark, it's just a question of when. You knew I was planning on holding off until after the election to endorse gay marriage, but you just had to go out there and tell the world you loved the idea. You forced my hand!"

Biden's hands wandered nervously to his head and began patting down his fugitive hair plugs. The sudden, oppressive silence was shattered by the ringing of the telephone on the desk. Obama took the call, answering testily.

Obama: Yes?

Michelle: Hi, baby.

Obama: Oh, hi. What's up? I'm kind of busy right now.

Michelle: Yeah, I know. You've been kind of busy ever since you came out for gay marriage. You've been sort of...you know...distant. Uninterested, if you know what I mean.

[Axelrod, who had been scribbling some notes in a small leather pocket notebook, frowned at his pen and clicked the button a few times, attempting unsuccessfully to resume writing; however, the instrument was out of ink. He asked the President if he had a pen. Obama covered the mouthpiece and said, "There's a box of them in that closet over there."]

Obama: Now, what were you saying?

Michelle: I hear voices. Er...male voices. What's going on?

Obama: What do you mean, "what's going on"? I'm having a meeting.

Michelle: Why aren't you in the Oval Office?

Obama: Well, if you must know, we're in one of the little out-of-the-way offices, giving Joe Biden a good working over.

Michelle: A good working over?

Obama: Yeah. Nothing too rough, though. He's still my main man.

Michelle: And by "main man", you mean...um...?

[Axelrod, who had retrieved a pen, tripped over the rug and fell full length on the floor.]

Michelle: "What was that noise?"

Obama: Oh, that was just Axelrod coming out of the closet.

Michelle [gasping]: David Axelrod?!? You're kidding!

[Axelrod picked himself up, hurried over to the desk and whispered in the President's ear, "Remember, sir, you have a two o'clock appointment."]

Obama: Ok, ok! Stop that, will you?

Michelle: Stop what?

Obama: Not you, Michelle, Axelrod's moustache was tickling my ear.

Michelle: *Sob*...Oh, Barack! *Click*

Obama cast a puzzled look at the phone and shrugged. "Where were we?"

Davod Plouffe spoke up. "Joe was getting ready to tell us about his upcoming speaking engagement."

Biden, who had been sagging like a daffodil in a dry vase, suddenly brightened.

"Yes, yes, I've got a completely non-controversial speaking gig."

"What would that be?" the President asked, eyeing Biden narrowly.

"I'll be addressing Navy personnel in Norfolk aboard the new aircraft carrier, the Gore Vidal.

"Ok, that's it! Plouffe, I think the troops in Afghanistan - the ones in the front lines - could use a little bucking up. Pack him off immediately. So long, Joe. Don't keep your head down on my account."


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pretty much gilding the lily

"A group of clowns plans on taking part in protests in Chicago during this weekend’s NATO Summit."

Obama's surprisingly strong primary challengers

First there was the felon in West Virginia, who won in at least ten counties; now - even more embarrassing - Obama's only seven points ahead of a mere lawyer in Arkansas.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Name dropper

President Obama, once again, has been trying to link his own paltry achievements with the accomplishments of former U.S. presidents.

I have only one thing to say: Stop stealing my material, Barry!

We have the right to bear arms

But we probably wouldn't want to bear these.

Update: This one might be kind of interesting (a little hard to conceal, maybe).

Monday, May 14, 2012

Clueless

Ed Lasky discusses Edward Klein’s new book, The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House.

So, what we long suspected is true: our president is a kind of political idiot savant whose special skill, if any, unfortunately has nothing to do with governing.
One of the motifs that runs throughout the book is Barack Obama's sheer level of incompetency. He has the fatal conceit of many politicians: an overweening ego. That may be a prerequisite for politicians and leaders, but when it is unleavened by a willingness to consider the views of others, it becomes a fatal conceit. And Obama has that trait in abundance.
Anybody else thinking Dunning-Kruger effect? And talk about ingratitude:
Even Oprah Winfrey has been stiff-armed by the Obamas. According to the book, Oprah took a big risk in supporting Obama in 2008 and campaigning for Obama in Iowa, being a big boost in his campaign. The ratings for her show weakened significantly (and her new network has been a huge disappointment). But when she has tried to visit the White House, she has been all but treated as persona non grata. Apparently, Michelle Obama is a possessive person who fears the influence Oprah may have over Barack Obama (more on this below). Oprah blames it on Michelle's anti-obesity campaign. She is quoted as saying, "Michelle hates fat people and doesn't want me waddling around the White House."
So, let’s think about all of this. Obama seems to possess many, if not most, of the following characteristics:

not learning from experience
no sense of responsibility
inability to form meaningful relationships
inability to control impulses
lack of moral sense
chronically antisocial behavior
no change in behavior after punishment
emotional immaturity
lack of guilt
self-centeredness

Well, it’s probably just a coincidence, but that list happens to constitute the basic definition of a sociopath.

On the other hand, maybe it’s not a coincidence. I think we need to get rid of this guy before he kills us.

Strategery

Some interesting inside baseball analysis of the Romney campaign.

Short version: “Whatever McCain did, do the opposite.”

Update: I don't remember ever hearing of Obama engaging in the kind of charitable works that Romney has quietly performed.

Froot Loops

Sorry, but it's the first thing that came to mind when I saw Newsweek's new cover.


Belive! (Er, sic)

Doug Ross has got photos of some typical Obama supporters from the campaign web site.

Of course, while those fools publicize their support for Zero gratis, the smart ones know how to turn their Obamitude into cold, hard cash.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Monday movie

Ian McKellen as a fire and brimstone preacher, rousing up the faithful at the Church of the Quivering Brethren, from Cold Comfort Farm.

The movie is based on the 1932 novel by Stella Gibbons (more about the book, here). Some wag, can't remember who, once characterized the novel as "Jane Austen meets the Beverly Hillbillies". I haven't read the book, but the movie is very good.

Happy Mother's Day!


Carroll Shelby, RIP

Carroll Shelby - yes, that Shelby - has died.

In memoriam

Sunday funnies

Ever wonder why cars never start right away in horror movies? This guy's got it figured out.

Obama has developed a strategy for taking West Virginia.

Photo gratefully lifted from Are We Lumberjacks?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Yo, Raphael!

Rocky lookalike spotted in Renaissance painting.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Anathema

When Satan carried Jesus to the top of the mountain, to show Him all the powers and principalities of the earth, and to offer Him the sovereignty thereof, Our Lord refused him. Apparently, when the devil offered to give Nancy Pelosi power in return for her soul, her response was, “Where do I sign?”

I have to admit that every time she opens her pie hole to assert that the Catholic faith supports what it does, in fact, explicitly condemn, it makes my blood boil. I calm myself, however, by imagining her name in place of Obadiah’s in the Bill of Excommunication that appears in that wonderful hodge-podge of a novel, Tristram Shandy (you may read the document here, if you like; scroll down to 2.IV)

Evolution

Man, the preshizzle’s evolving fast, and in all directions! First, it was gay marriage, now, it’s clean coal.

This rapid pace of development can have a downside, though. For instance, look at what happened to that guy in the classic Outer Limits episode who evolved a million years in just a few days.

Update: Nag, nag, nag!

Obama’s “plumbers”

Looks like Mr. Civility’s fine with targeting private citizens who happen to support the opposition – for example, Frank VanderSloot of Idaho.
Mr. VanderSloot acknowledges that "when I first learned that President Obama's campaign had singled me out on his 'enemies list,' I knew it was like taping a target on my back." But the more he's thought it through, "the public beatings and false accusations that followed are no deterrent. These tactics will not work in America." He's even "contemplating a second donation."

CREEP redux

Happy Feet Friday

Cab Calloway and his band, in “We the Cats Will Hep Ya”.


Important scientific breakthrough

"Scientists may recreate beer from 1840's shipwreck".

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Breaking news: Baby Mitt once pooped in his diapers during a church service. Is his religious faith an imposture?

Why settle for being in the tank for Obama, when you can be the tank, itself?

The Washington Post: Doggedly pursuing relevant news stories (with all the zeal for the chase of a three-legged basset hound with bunions and a head cold).

“Mmmmm! Did somebody mention dog?"

The latest in regulatory outrage

Classical Values details the thuggishness of yet another federal agency, the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Some nations descend into tyranny through the sudden chaos of war or violent revolution; others – like the UK and possibly the USA – seem to be slipping into it gradually through a long period of submission to incrementally larger doses of statist encroachment on individual liberty, the whole process having a narcotic effect on the human will. The domestic enemies of our constitutional freedoms are highly visible ; but we must be equally vigilant in guarding against those faceless foes that go by the names of complacency, apathy and despair. Make the leftists fight for every inch of ground, and never yield anything for fear of censure by “polite” society – it is better to be censured by sheep than censored, and worse, by the wolves that would ultimately displace them.

President Obama sends Stacy McCain an email

In retrospect, and strictly from Obama’s perspective, that was probably not a good idea.

The odyssey of a real Julia

Manon McKinnon compares two Julias: one genuine, one fake.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Rising Democratic star

Legal Insurrection has the fun fact of the day.



Update: Rinardman, in the comments -
My advice to Federal Inmate No. 11593-051: Get out of the Democratic Party, before they corrupt you!

That's "Mr. Rex" to you

Or is it "Mr. T"?

"Man changes name to Tyrannosaurus Rex".

From the shelves of the Paco library


How is it that a footloose, irresponsible, melancholic, promiscuous, heavy-drinking and occasionally buffoonish Scotch laird wound up producing what is still regarded as one of the finest biographies in the English language more than 200 years after its original publication? The explanation, as historian Adam Sisman documents in his fine book, Boswell’s Presumptuous Task: The Making of the Life of Doctor Johnson, lies in the marvelous confluence of serendipitous circumstances and a tremendous natural reservoir of latent genius. Sisman’s book is obviously a labor of love, and his excellent and well-researched work provides a comprehensive and pleasurable overview of the creation of a historical and literary classic, and of the lives of both the biographer and his illustrious subject.

Not having, as yet, had the opportunity to dip into Frederick Pottle’s two-volume biography of James Boswell, much of the background information on Boswell (and Johnson) presented in the book is new to me. For example, I was aware of the troubled relationship that existed between the eccentric and flighty James, and his rather dour and conservative father, from my reading of the first few volumes of the former’s published journals, but did not know that friction between the two nearly led to the younger Boswell being disinherited. Nor did I know the full measure of heartbreak that Samuel Johnson experienced upon the death of Hill Boothby, a young woman toward whom he had formed matrimonial hopes after the death of his first wife, Tetty.

But the principal theme of the book is the friendship between Boswell and Johnson, and how this relationship ultimately led to the creation of the Life. They were an unusual pair: the “literary dictator” of London, an imposing and often intimidating figure (albeit, in personal manners and mannerisms, coarse and ungainly); and the ambitious and flighty lawyer, and self-appointed amanuensis, whose bouts of wanton dissipation hindered practically every endeavor into which he entered. Yet, Boswell’s extraordinary powers of observation, his memory, and his method of recording the many conversations to which he was party, in conjunction with the truly groundbreaking thoroughness of his research, ultimately enabled him to overcome his many personal foibles and produce one of the greatest biographies of his or any other age.

In this task, he was ably assisted by his friends, primarily Edmund Malone, the Shakespearean scholar, who not only helped to edit the Life, but its precursor, A Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides While Boswell was eager to show all sides, not only of Dr. Johnson, but of his extensive acquaintance, Malone succeeded in persuading Boswell to soften some of his observations, in order to avoid certain more outrageous (and possibly libelous) comments that had been made from time to time by his hero. For example:
It was bad enough for the Reverend Kenneth Macaulay (a great-uncle of the historian) to find himself described a a “coarse man” in the published version; but at least this was better than the description Johnson had actually given him: “the most ignorant booby and grossest bastard.”
After Johnson’s death in 1784, Boswell – for whom the loss of his moral anchor left him feeling stunned – was thought by practically all to be the natural biographer of the great man; nonetheless, even when faced with competition from other of Johnson’s friends, including Mrs. Piozzi and Sir John Hawkins, Boswell took over six years to bring the book to press. The delays were not all due to his tendency toward procrastination and dissipation; his wife, Margaret, had been ill from tuberculosis for years, and he was still trying to establish something of a legal career for himself. Adding to his troubles was the necessity of traveling about on the business of his Scottish political patron, Lord Lonsdale, a powerful, selfish and even sadistic man, of exceedingly mercurial temperament (believe me: if you think you’ve ever had a terrible boss, you haven’t seen anything until you read the sections in the book about this fellow). And, as Sisman points out, Boswell was writing a new kind of biography, one that would be supported by exhaustive research – an approach that, while time-consuming, helped turn the Life into the classic that it is.
The Life of Johnson was soon acknowledged as a masterpiece. Boswell had extended the form into new territory, borrowing techniques from the novel, the theatre, and the confessional memoir. With meticulous care, with long-practiced skill, and with a generous imagination, he crafted a character who lived and breathed. He also set new scholarly standards: his verification of every possible detail, which seemed so eccentric to his contemporaries, would become the norm.
As someone who has long been partial to 18th century English literature, I am indebted to Mr. Sisman for helping me to renew what I almost consider to be old friendships, with Johnson, Boswell, Malone and Mrs. Piozzi, and for introducing me to some striking new historical figures who were previously unknown to me. Above all, I am glad to have had the opportunity to view, up close, the making of the glorious Life, and of the inglorious and often tragic, but finally triumphant, life of the man who created it.

The (New) One!

Congratulations to Keith Russell Judd on his strong showing against Barack Obama in the West Virginia Democratic primary.

Keith - known to his landlord as Number 11593-051 - is a prisoner in the federal penitentiary in Beaumont, Texas.
With 96% of the precincts reporting Tuesday night, Keith Judd was holding steady at 41% of the vote and had won ten counties.
H/T: Instapundit

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Two American philosophes opine on the upcoming election

Cher finds the notion of a Romney presidency suffocating.

Charles Barkley wants to bang the drum slowly.

The thing I really look forward to in a Romney victory is the sound of all those liberal heads exploding. Bet it’s going to sound like the Boston Pops playing the 1812 Overture.

About that Native-American connection…

Elizabeth Warren may, indeed, have one, but it’s quite possibly a little different than she had thought.
In what may be the ultimate and cruelest irony, not only is it unlikely that Elizabeth Warren’s great-great-great grandmother was Cherokee, it turns out that Warren’s great-great-great grandfather was a member of a militia unit which participated in the round-up of the Cherokees in the prelude to the Trail of Tears.
Allahpundit quips: “All that’s left now is the inevitable revelation that Scott Brown is part Cherokee and that his ancestors were rounded [up] by Warren’s and this narrative will be wrapped up in a pretty little bow.”

Man, the irony’s so sweet you could pour it over pancakes.

Gunnery Sergeant R. Lee Ermey: Now, more than ever

Smitty has discovered a soundboard app consisting of the, er, mild observations of our favorite sergeant. As the man says, “Download this app NOW maggot!”

From the Paco Botanical Park

Politics can be a drag, but, even under Obamunism, I've still got my snapdragons and peonies (at least, for now).


Those unliberal liberals

What with absurdly restrictive speech codes on some university campuses, the shouting down of guest speakers, the effort to drive Rush Limbaugh from the airwaves, one might start to think that the term "liberal", in the American political context, is grossly misleading.

Lighten up, folks. Their hearts are in the right place, and I'm sure they mean well. They're just genuinely concerned over maintaining civility and human dignity in the marketplace of ideas. Like, for example, an earlier group of well-intentioned, but misguided, do-gooders, who sought to counter the effect of controversial ideas...



Monday, May 7, 2012

Mexicans sure know how to jazz up a political debate

Former Playboy Playmate Julia Orayen handed out the questions at a recent Mexican political debate (see Allahpundit's post at Hot Air for the video).

Can you imagine if this happened at a debate between Obama and Romney? One can almost hear moderator Chris Matthews: "Get that woman off the stage! And Romney, too!"

Assortment

Argentina keeps opting for failure.

La trahison des clercs, for the umpteenth time.

To put it simply, “It don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that swing.”

Pennywise and pound foolish, Secret Service edition.

What, hypocrisy among California’s progressive elite? Who knew?

Never mind Julia; how is her son, Zachary, going to make out in Obama’s brave new world?

Liberty at Stake has a couple of interesting follow-ups on the Julia meme, as well.

“Damn youuuu!!!”

Troglopundit reveals that Australians do social security better than we do.

Massachusetts: leading the way to the eat-your-peas state.

A very thoughtful, and gracious, post by Stacy McCain on Team Mitt.

The consequences of one (or several) too many

Tim Blair follows up on the pinched penguin story.

Monday movie

One of the last significant cavalry charges in history: Australian Lighthorsemen at Beersheba.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

So long, Goob

George Lindsey has died, at 83. RIP, Goober.

Sunday funnies

Iowahawk makes a few changes to the "Julia" meme.

Playing possum, New Zealand style.



A man in Florida was pulled over by police under suspicion of DUI, and they found a monkey in his trunk. I think it was the popular primate security option:


Obama's campaign kickoff (or, "Where's the damn football?")

Stacy McCain reports that Obama's big campaign kickoff seems to lack the messianic quality of his first presidential run.

In fact, the hashtag slogan, #ReadyToGo, may wind up providing more fodder for Republican scorn. Actually, no "may" about it. Try these more appropriate slogans on for size:

#AlmostReadyToGoIllBeOutOfTheBathroomInAMinute

#ReadyToGoNoWaitILeftTheStoveOn

#PullOverIveGotToGo

#ReadyToGoHeyWheresMyGolfClubs?

#ReadyToGoYetMichelle?You'veBeenInThereAnHour

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Obama: "I'm asking you to keep believing in me"

"Just through November 6th, ok?"

Unluckier than the average bear

Now, this is sad: "Bear that fell from tree dies after being hit by car".

Zero tolerance common sense

A six-year-old boy in Colorado is suspended from school for quoting a line from a song ("I'm sexy and I know it").

What's the big deal? If this is the typical modern, progressive school, it probably hands out free condoms, anyway.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Under Obama, might not "Julia" just as easily have been aborted?

Paul Ryan criticizes the assumptions behind the Obama campaign's "creepy" web site, "The Life of Julia".

For those who have somehow missed the story, "Julia" is Obama's idea of Everywoman, a potentially hapless doofus who hasn't got a prayer of making it in this world without the meaty helping hand of the state. And yet, as the title of this post suggests, "Julia" could just as easily have met another fate - and under the modern liberal ethos, that's a perfectly acceptable outcome, too (that's probably why the Obama campaign picks up the thread of "Julia's" life at the age of three).

Communism: the longest deathbed scene in history

No matter the number of variants, iterations, updates and tweaks, communism always winds up being the same old mixture of elitist Gnosticism and state-sponsored violence. Alan Johnson looks at the “new communism”.
The communist idea or “hypothesis” is then placed beyond empirical refutation. “The eternal idea of the [Chinese] Cultural revolution survives its defeat in socio-historical reality,” insists Zizek, while for Badiou, “failure is nothing more than the history of the proof of the hypothesis.” Under scrutiny, it becomes clear that we are not dealing with a communist “hypothesis” at all—that would involve testing and the possibility of falsification—but rather a communist dogma, and the relation of the new communists to that dogma is fundamentally religious, marked by piety and faith, and not at all critical.
One of the threats posed to those of us who still believe in individual freedom and liberal democracy is that the advocates of new communism want to move the doctrine beyond the table talk of faculty-lounge blowhards, and into the streets and the halls of government.
The democratic socialist Eduard Bernstein issued a warning at the turn of the nineteenth century to his fellow Marxists. The danger of a “truly miraculous belief in the creative power of force,” he prophesied, is that you begin by doing violence to reality in theory, and end by doing violence to people in practice. What distinguishes the new communism is that its leading partisans are fully aware of that potential...and embrace its strategy. As Zizek puts it:

"The only 'realistic' prospect is to ground a new political universality by opting for the impossible, fully assuming the place of the exception, with no taboos, no a priori norms ('human rights,' 'democracy'), respect for which would prevent us from 'resignifying' terror, the ruthless exercise of power, the spirit of sacrifice...if this radical choice is decried by some bleeding-heart liberals as Linksfaschismus [left-wing fascism], so be it!"
Idle boast? Johnson doesn’t think so.
This flirtation with the notion of left-fascism helps explain why the new communism needs to be taken seriously. Communism itself, of course, is dead. But when Zizek recommends the “insight” of the 1970s Baader-Meinhof gang that “in an epoch in which the masses are totally immersed in capitalist torpor...only a resort to the real Raw of direct violence...can awaken them,” we should be concerned. Recent history tells us that authoritarian philosophical and political ideas can still find their way to the streets in advanced capitalist societies. The new communist ideas might yet connect with the young, the angry, and the idealistic who are confronted by a profound economic crisis in the context of an exhausted social democracy and a self-loathing intellectual culture. Tempting as it is, we can’t afford to just shake our heads at the new communism and pass on by.
Nor, in my opinion, can we ignore the possibility that cagier philosophes might avoid, altogether, the stale and needlessly provocative Bolshevik rhetoric of the new communists, yet weave the doctrine’s basic assumptions into the fabric of society in such an insidious way that one day we all wake up to find out that many of our basic freedoms are simply…gone.

You have been warned.

Happy Feet Friday

A couple of audios from Benny Goodman and the boys, this morning.

“Swingtime in the Rockies”


“Flat Foot Floogie”

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

You're heard the expression, "lock him up and throw away the keys"?

The DEA seems to have taken the expression a tad literally.

Well, this nixes my plan to pass a Confederate ten spot

Man arrested for trying to pay with a genuine $50 bill.

"Viva Cristo Rey!"

I'm looking forward to seeing the new Andy Garcia movie, For Greater Glory, based on the revolt of Catholics in Mexico against the radical socialist and atheist regime of President Plutarco Elías Calles in the 1920s. Ed Morrissey discusses the film over at Hot Air (check out the trailer there).

Timely. Very timely.

Ok, ok, he can take a mulligan

Florida golfer attacked by alligator, nearly dragged to a watery death.

Dang, golfing in Florida's getting to be as dangerous as bull fighting.

From the shelves of the Paco library

Few, if any, writers of fiction have possessed Charles Dickens’ genius for creating such intriguing original characters and surrounding them with the kind of period detail that brings them so vividly to life. This is as true with his humorous productions as with his dramatic novels, and never more so than in his comic masterpiece, and first novel, The Pickwick Papers.

A “retired man of business”, Mr. Pickwick has formed a club (named after himself), the purpose of which is little more than to poke about the countryside, observing its inhabitants and ways of life. Based on the success of a monograph published by Mr. Pickwick – “Speculations on the Source of the Hampstead Ponds, with some Observations on the Theory of Tittlebats” – our hero decides to extend his travels, and, with three other “Pickwickians” – Mr. Winkle, Mr. Snodgrass and Mr. Tupman – sets off for what turns out to be a long series of extraordinary, but largely unanticipated, adventures.

The humor throughout the book is by turns broad and subtle, but always sure-handed. Take, for example, an incident that occurs early in the book. Mr. Winkle, in a case of mistaken identity, is challenged to a duel by an army doctor. He is utterly baffled as to why he has been called out, but, in order to uphold his honor, he grimly agrees to the challenge, knowing full well that his prospects of escaping serious injury, or even death, are remote. Yet, though his commitment to face this trial is sincere, he hopes that he may avoid the ultimate necessity:
[H]e reflected that if he applied to Mr. Snodgrass to act as his second, and depicted the danger in glowing terms, that gentleman might possibly communicate the intelligence to Mr. Pickwick, who would certainly lose no time in transmitting it to the local authorities, and thus prevent the killing or maiming of his follower.
Mr. Snodgrass, however, maintains a maddening obtuseness when it comes to reading between the lines:
’Snodgrass,’ said Mr. Winkle, when they had turned out of the public street. ‘Snodgrass, my dear fellow, can I rely upon your secrecy?’ As he said this, he most devoutly and earnestly hoped he could not.

‘You can,’ replied Mr. Snodgrass. ‘Hear me swear –‘

‘No, no,’ interrupted Winkle, terrified at the idea of his companion’s unconsciously pledging himself not to give information; ‘don’t swear, don’t swear; it’s quite unnecessary.’

Mr. Snodgrass dropped the hand which he had, in a spirit of poesy, raised towards the clouds as he made the above appeal, and assumed an attitude of attention.

‘I want your assistance, my dear fellow, in an affair of honor,’ said Mr. Winkle.

‘You shall have it,’ replied Mr Snodgrass, clasping his friend’s hand…’I will attend you…’

[Winkle] was astonished, but by no means dismayed. It is extraordinary how cool any party but the principal can be in such cases. Mr. Winkle had forgotten this. He had judged of his friend’s feelings by his own.

‘The consequences may be dreadful,’ said Mr. Winkle.

‘I hope not,’ said Mr. Snodgrass.

‘The doctor, I believe, is a very good shot,’ said Mr. Winkle.

‘Most of these military men are,’ observed Mr. Snodgrass calmly; ‘but so are you, ain’t you?’

Mr. Winkle replied in the affirmative; and perceiving that he had not alarmed his companion sufficiently, he changed his ground.

‘Snodgrass,’ he said, in a voice tremulous with emotion, ‘if I fail, you will find in a packet which I shall place in your hands a note for my – for my father.’

This attack was a failure also. Mr. Snodgrass was affected, but undertook the delivery of the note as readily as if he had been a twopenny postman.

‘If I fall,’ said Mr. Winkle, ‘or if the doctor falls, you, my dear friend, will be tried as an accessory before the fact. Shall I involve my friend in transportation – possibly for life!’

Mr. Snodgrass winced a little at this, but his heroism was invincible. ‘In the cause of friendship,’ he fervently exclaimed, ‘I would brave all dangers.’

How Mr. Winkle cursed his companion’s devoted friendship internally, as they walked silently along, side by side, for some minutes, each immersed in his own meditations! The morning was wearing away; he grew desperate.

‘Snodgrass,’ he said, stopping suddenly, ‘do not let me be balked in this matter – do not give information to the local authorities – do not obtain the assistance of several peace officers, to take either me or Doctor Slammer, of the 97th Regiment, at present quartered in Chatham Barracks, into custody, and thus prevent the duel! – I say, do not.’

Mr. Snodgrass seized his friend’s hand, as he enthusiastically replied, ‘Not for worlds!’
Fortunately, the case of mistaken identity is cleared up before Mr. Winkle is compelled to exchange shots with Doctor Slammer, so the comic aspects of the episode are untainted by innocent blood.

The book is filled with characters, major and minor, and among those that were destined for literary renown was Sam Weller, perhaps second only to Jeeves in the Pantheon of personal servants. A bootblack employed at an inn, Weller so impresses Mr. Pickwick with his solid good sense and cheerfulness, that the latter hires him on the spot to serve as his gentleman’s personal gentleman. Weller’s cockney shrewdness, and undeviating loyalty to his master, are a great boon to the intelligent, but occasionally naïve, Pickwick. Weller’s teasing, yet affectionate, relationship with his father is also one of the many joys of the novel.

The expansive population of the book includes two unflappable con men, Albert Jingle and his companion, Job Trotter, who ultimately get their comeuppance (and a chance at redemption) via incarceration in a debtors’ prison; and two of the sharpest and most unscrupulous lawyers – Dodson and Fogg - to be found anywhere in fiction.

And, last, but not least, there is the omnipresent hero, Mr. Pickwick. He is much buffeted by curious and unforeseeable circumstances - for example, having caught his swooning landlady in his arms, he is subsequently sued by the woman for breach of promise (the courtroom scenes, alone, are worth the price of admission). Yet, sustaining him in his travails, is his firmness of character, his humaneness and charity, his tolerance and good humor. He is rightly respected, and even reverenced, by his friends, and by this reader, as well.

As is typical with Victorian-era comic novels, all is made right in the end; however, Dickens, a great critic of the many social injustices that prevailed at the time, still managed to give us a harrowing look at the institution of the debtors’ prison, and of the tragic lot of those inmates who lacked the means to obtain “extras” (like decent food and warm clothes). And, as is also the case with some of Dicken’s novels, he contrives to work in a few free-standing short stories, related by very minor characters introduced specifically for the purpose (one of the yarns is a supernatural tale, the theme of which faintly foreshadows Dickens’ later classic, A Christmas Carol).

This has been a big, sprawling review, but I suppose it was necessary because it deals with a big, sprawling novel that is, itself, a self-contained world that offers innumerable opportunities for continual discovery, instruction and, above all, laughter. Very highly recommended.




Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Locahontas

Did Elizabeth Warren use her Native-American heritage (mythical or otherwise) to grease the skids on her career advancement? Stacy McCain introduces some speculation on the matter from a correspondent (btw, love the “Dances with Socialists” line!)

Update: Apparently, Warren is 1/32 Cherokee. So, if I’m doing my math right, Barack Obama is 16 times more Caucasian than Elizabeth Warren is Native-American – yet he’s not considered Caucasian. Ergo, I reason, Warren is not, in any meaningful sense, a Native-American.

One thing’s for sure, though: the marriage of politics and ethnicity results in some very curious progeny.

In other words, Obama’s like that device that animals gnaw their legs off to get out of

Michelle Obama and the steel trap meme.

Obama makes completely non-political, non-campaign-related trip to Afghanistan

More spiking the ball on the first anniversary of the bin Laden killing.

That kind of thing can backfire, ya know.


Son of Forward

Ok, last one, I promise.