May 31, 2005

Deep Throat Revealed (This time for real...)

Well, so much for my super-sleuthing.
Today, May 31st, 2005, Bob Woodward has confirmed that "Deep Throat" was, indeed, none other than W.Mark Felt, former Deputy Director of the FBI.


I guess I can admit to being disappointed that my research led me to Fred LaRue and none other. Matter of fact, I'm a bit humiliated because I think I ruled out any FBI man out of hand.

For yeeeeeears I've been almost 100% certain that it was LaRue. After Fred died last July and no word from Woodward and Bernstein came (even after the August 9th 30th anniversary of Nixon's resignation), I started to wonder if they were holding out for a book or television special/documentary to make the announcement.

Even after nearly a year, I figured they were just biding time so as not to make it obvious by timing too close to LaRue's passing. And now it's confirmed. It was Felt, not Fred.

I will say this, though: Based on the bits of information that Deep Throat told Woodward -- and when he told them (especially the goings on at Key Biscayne) -- I believe that Fred LaRue was a source for the FBI. It was well-known that he was a co-operating witness. If Deep Throat wasn't Fred, then Fred was the ultimate source for the FBI and Mark Felt.

UPDATE: Tim Noah of Slate magazine, in a Washington Post online chat:

"When I spoke to Felt a few years ago, he said in no uncertain terms that for an FBI employee to leak details of a criminal investigation to a newspaper would be a terrible betrayal. Felt was a company man....I did think [Deep Throat] was Felt for a long time."

Harry Smith, at

“As for Deep Throat being an FBI guy -- Nixon's response would not have been printable.”


I have very mixed emotions about this, myself. Then again, eh, water under the bridge. Time to put the pork chops in...

Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:21 PM | Comments (4)

May 30, 2005

Are Our Guys Bad-Ass or What?


Photo found here

Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers (front), chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his wife, Mary Jo, head toward the Pentagon to join thousands of military veterans taking part in Rolling Thunder 2005.

The annual motorcycle rally pays tribute to the nation's fallen and missing servicemembers.

Photo by Tech. Sgt. D. Miles Cullen, USAF

Tip o'the tam to Debbye.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:18 PM | Comments (1)

Look at this man's face

Someone once called the Clinton presidency "a vacation from history". Clinton did seem to age somewhat in the latter years of his administrations, but not like he has in the four years since.


One thing about him that always struck me is that he so relished the presidency that, even in times of turmoil, he wouldn't have given up the job for anything. Not even a BJ from that "good-lookin' mummy".

Now, out of office for over four years, he seems to have experienced the stress that he was supposed to have experienced while in office.

Okay, maybe it's just the bypass surgery taking a physical toll. But, sheesh! His boyish face is long gone with a vengeance. I surmise that it's not just age/health related, but that he genuinely worries himself stupid over his legacy.

Bill, it's over! Let the historians work it through and stop giving a rat's ass about it. Crikey, President frickin' Ford will survive you at this rate. It's out of your hands and no one's worried about it the way you are. For your own sake just relax already, will ya?!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 07:11 PM | Comments (0)

10 Reasons Not to Kill Bush

Drudge linked to this article by University of Oregon co-ed Jennifer McBride. (I tried to read it yesterday, but the site must have been experiencing a drudgelanche.)

That a college co-ed feels the need to point out to her fellow students reasons not to kill somebody is a sign of the state of discourse among young people (and many not so young people) on the left, and Jennifer McBride agrees.
Anywho, Ms McBride lists "10 reasons not to kill Bush". She's a Democrat with some common sense and decency -- not to mention a farsightedness not common among the howling moonbats of the left. She begins by mentioning the grenade incident and her observation that she's "heard enough people on campus proclaiming their hatred of George W. Bush to know that some wouldn't have shed many tears," and then offers the list of reasons why assassining the President of the United States would be a very bad thing.

1) Killing the president immediately generates sympathy for his cause. If the president died tomorrow, there would be no question that all of his nominees for the judicial branch would make it through the Senate.

I'm not so sure about that. I have a hard time believing that Senator Box'o'rocks and some others would be moved to sympathy and comity by much of anything, nevermind the violent death of the object of her viceral hatred. But, she could always fake it, I suppose.

Here's a sharp observation:

4) Any criticisms of the administration will be regarded as more unpatriotic than ever. In the next election, you could expect to see Democratic primary candidates proclaiming that their Republican counterparts aren't "fit to follow in President Bush's footsteps."

And these two:

7) President Bush's status as a martyr would leave the electorate more polarized than ever, especially if liberals were seen as publicly irreverent to President Bush's memory. It would be a little different if natural selection decreed death-by-snacking, but toasting an assassin's success leaves a decidedly bitter taste in the national mouth.
8) Jeb Bush's popularity would skyrocket. He would undoubtedly win the Republican nomination and then the election in 2008. With the Supreme Court full of near-zombies, I would prefer a different man to pick the people who are going to strangle us with laws.

Okay. While I think that it's the lefties who want to "strangle us with laws," I think the gyst of the observations are dead one.

Jennifer McBride saves the obvious reason for last (maybe she meant it to be a countdown), and then makes some closing observations on the liberals that she encounters on campus. One taste:

Liberalism has to be more than a college fad or a collection of loudmouths whose idiotic comments stir headlines. The rabid dislike some people feel for a man they've never even met makes me ashamed to be a Democrat.

Good to know that there are politically conscious left-leaning college students who don't make me weep for the future of the Democratic Party. Now read the whole thing!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 05:36 PM | Comments (2)

May 29, 2005

Syria and Chiraq get bitchslapped

Well well well. French voters have rejected handing over any of their sovereignty to a vague EU Council with over 57% of the vote.
And in other encouraging news, Lebanese voters have begun to elect their post-occupation leaders.

And there's a lawnmower droning on outside my window and I'm heating up the oven for some homemade pizza. Aah, what a gorgeous Sunday.

Oh! And come join the discussion in the recent posts at Closet Extremist!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 05:55 PM | Comments (0)

May 28, 2005

Just a quickie

Ugh, so little time for blogging! Seems I read a few blogs and BAM it's after midnight.

Doing some family stuff this weekend, so I'll just leave ya with this:


If you keep a pile of old newspapers thinking you just might need last months "five day outlook" weather report again, you might be a packrat.

If you clean out your garage and find a car, you might be a packrat.

If someone loses a button on their shirt and you tell them you probably have a match for it, you just might be a packrat.

Well, I had some better ones, but I can find my notes from a few days ago.

Hopefully I'll have something more substantial tomorrow. Happy Saturday, everyone!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 01:30 PM | Comments (1)

May 25, 2005

Dream On, Newsweak, pt 1

I seem to have written a long post. Go figure!

Anywho, here's the beginning:

Pixy Misa has a brutal fisking of commentary in Newsweek's international edition. (This is the stuff they wont print in their domestic dead tree version lest they be accused of being anti-American.)

Pixy did a masterful job responding to the passages that he quoted. But, there is more. Oh, yes, so much more. (I'll not to repeat any of Pixy's points, but who can tell what the future will bring.) Thusly, I give it a go, beginning with the byline...

Dream On America
The U.S. Model: For years, much of the world did aspire to the American way of life. But today countries are finding more appealing systems in their own backyards.

By Andrew Moravcsik

Newsweek International

I suppose that this is a "too each his own" argument. We'll see now that, in Newsweek's eyes, every variant governmental and economic systems deserve unique praise. Er, 'cept for America's.

Jan. 31 issue - Not long ago, the American dream was a global fantasy. Not only Americans saw themselves as a beacon unto nations. So did much of the rest of the world. East Europeans tuned into Radio Free Europe. Chinese students erected a replica of the Statue of Liberty in Tiananmen Square
You had only to listen to George W. Bush's Inaugural Address last week (invoking "freedom" and "liberty" 49 times) to appreciate just how deeply Americans still believe in this founding myth.

"Myth"? If this is gonna be an anti-freedom, anti-liberty rant then I'm gonna...whoa...!...:

For many in the world, the president's rhetoric confirmed their worst fears of an imperial America relentlessly pursuing its narrow national interests.

Aah, yes. Speaking of freedom and liberty is no longer being a beacon, it is just "rhetoric" and our own "bational interests". No, people no longer want to breathe free. Freedom and non-Americans might not fit together. They're not ready.

And, pray tell, what nation does not pursue it's own national interests? Oh, right, those western European ones. The ones that believe in the future of world government.

But the greater danger may be a delusional America—one that believes, despite all evidence to the contrary, that the American Dream lives on, that America remains a model for the world, one whose mission is to spread the word.

And we will, in spite of Newsweek.

And, as if we others to tell us who we are... (I presenting these two paragraphs without interuption for a reason):

The gulf between how Americans view themselves and how the world views them was summed up in a poll last week by the BBC. Fully 71 percent of Americans see the United States as a source of good in the world. More than half view Bush's election as positive for global security. Other studies report that 70 percent have faith in their domestic institutions and nearly 80 percent believe "American ideas and customs" should spread globally.

Foreigners take an entirely different view: 58 percent in the BBC poll see Bush's re-election as a threat to world peace. Among America's traditional allies, the figure is strikingly higher: 77 percent in Germany, 64 percent in Britain and 82 percent in Turkey. Among the 1.3 billion members of the Islamic world, public support for the United States is measured in single digits. Only Poland, the Philippines and India viewed Bush's second Inaugural positively.

As an American I can only say that, yes, I believe that we are "a source for good". And I don't need to think very hard to know that. I also believe that President Bush's re-election is good for national security, the security of our allies and, definately, global security. Who else can do it? Cuba?

I have faith in the domestic instutions, though not always faith in the stewards of those institutions. That is why we believe in the rule of Law, not men; not blindly trusted overseers; not unaccountable law-givers; not tyrants.

My ex- once confessed that she tends to resent the people that she depends on. Her shame was deep, but she had no reason to be ashamed. It was her given -- not chosen -- condition that made her dependent on others.

So, I try to imagine myself as a German and I think I understand them, but who knows. If I were German I'd get down on my knees and thank God that America was there to stop the madness. If I were Britton I'd get down on my knees that America was there to defend us -- first with lend-lease, then with hundreds of thousands of farmboys ready to take the beaches in order to save Europe, not destroy it.

If` I were a "member of the Islamic world" I think I'd have some pretty mixed emotions. On the one hand I want my religeon to be prooved universal and to prevail. On the other hand I want my oppressers out of my frickin' life and to just let me be! Al-Jezeera confuses me.

Oh, and Poland, the Phillipines and India ROCK! :D They know better. They value freedom too much to be afraid to fight for it. What's ingrained in us and our history was learned the hard way for them. Do not poo-poo the opinions of the victims of terrorism. Unless they're Spanish, of course...

Tellingly, the anti-Bushism of the president's first term is giving way to a more general anti-Americanism. A plurality of voters (the average is 70 percent) in each of the 21 countries surveyed by the BBC oppose sending any troops to Iraq, including those in most of the countries that have done so.

Turning their backs. "Let them eat cake. Their suffering is none of our business." These are not the words of a beacon, they are the words of a hermit and it's ambiently ironic. Those who clamor for a more powerful world authority also desire, in this case, alienation from the suffering of others. They would enjoy seeing Saddam and his method gone, but only if done by a collective. Otherwise, it isn't legitimate. For one nation to rescue the polpulous of another, without global authority, is just wrong to them. They resent the United States more than they love Freedom and that is shameful, imo.

Only one third, disproportionately in the poorest and most dictatorial countries, would like to see American values spread in their country.

Well, what a surprise!

Says Doug Miller of GlobeScan, which conducted the BBC report: "President Bush has further isolated America from the world. Unless the administration changes its approach, it will continue to erode America's good name, and hence its ability to effectively influence world affairs." Former Brazilian president Jose Sarney expressed the sentiments of the 78 percent of his countrymen who see America as a threat: "Now that Bush has been re-elected, all I can say is, God bless the rest of the world."

The Brazilian legislature wrote a new Constitution while Jose Sarney was in office. 'nuff said.

The truth is that Americans are living in a dream world.

It's called "the future", thank you.

Not only do others not share America's self-regard, they no longer aspire to emulate the country's social and economic achievements.

If Newsweek isn't festering in anti-American blather then I'm Larry Flint. Who led the rescue of the tsunami stricken beachheads? Not us alone, of course, but we kinda maybe sorta pulled a band of American, Australian, Japanese and Indian has-beens together to bring aid and some abject comfort to the victims while the U.N. was tauting that it'd scheduled a meeting nezt week to figure out what to do. Kk! Where was the blessed rest of the world then, Jose Sarney?

The loss of faith in the American Dream goes beyond this swaggering administration and its war in Iraq. A President Kerry would have had to confront a similar disaffection, for it grows from the success of something America holds dear: the spread of democracy, free markets and international institutions—globalization, in a word.

So, we're shifting gears? Now the dissaffection is not from America's promise, but it's proxy presence!
"No thank you America! I loved you're ideals. But when you overthrew my tyrant I kinda got nervous! Please don't do me any favors, go away and leave me as helpless as I was before!"

Countries today have dozens of political, economic and social models to choose from. Anti-Americanism is especially virulent in Europe and Latin America, where countries have established their own distinctive ways—none made in America.

You're welcome. Ingrates.

Futurologist Jeremy Rifkin, in his recent book "The European Dream," hails an emerging European Union based on generous social welfare, cultural diversity and respect for international law—a model that's caught on quickly across the former nations of Eastern Europe and the Baltics.

Oooh! And we'll all hold hands and dance around like happy little sprites and giggle amongst ourselves when someone actually toils and accomplishes something! Yay!

In Asia, the rise of autocratic capitalism in China or Singapore is as much a "model" for development as America's scandal-ridden corporate culture. "First we emulate," one Chinese businessman recently told the board of one U.S. multinational, "then we overtake."

The sky darkens and an omenous cloud hangs over the discussion.

This writer is championing authoritarian economics. Make no mistake about it: Planning from the State down.

'Scuse me, but isn't this what Freedom is supposed to be against? You cannot emulate freedom and then erase it without them annoying smelly Killing Fields. Have we learnt that yet? Perhaps we need to clone Adam Smith and start again...?

Many are tempted to write off the new anti-Americanism as a temporary perturbation, or mere resentment. Blinded by its own myth, America has grown incapable of recognizing its flaws. For there is much about the American Dream to fault. If the rest of the world has lost faith in the American model—political, economic, diplomatic—it's partly for the very good reason that it doesn't work as well anymore.

Oh, shit, you just hit me where it hurts. "...doesn't work as well anymore?"!!!!

(And, with that, wordpad broke so I had to stop. Sorry for any typos or unclear ranting. I was late and I never got a chance to proofread it.)

Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:23 PM | Comments (4)

May 23, 2005

"Don't do us any favors! Er... Unless you wanna give us some money...!!"

Michelle Malkin points to a survey of college education Egyptian, Moroccan and Indonesian Muslim men and women and their views of American presence in the Middle East.

After much gnashing of teeth and unanimous America-bashing, the respondents didn't seem to eager to have the U.S. "leave us alone". What they want? More financial aid.

When asked specifically what the United States should do, very few in Cairo, Jakarta, or Casablanca called for U.S. withdrawal from the Muslim world. The angriest—mostly men and Egyptians—wanted to tell President Bush, “Leave us alone,” but not many took this position. Despite the rhetorical support for American withdrawal from the Muslim world earlier in the conversations, almost none actually endorsed the idea later when they were asked what actions President Bush should take regarding their countries. The bottom line for most was the combination of American aid with respect for their autonomy. A young Moroccan woman summed up their views: “Dear President Bush: We really need financial aid, but you should not get involved in everything.”

So, they want is a fish everyday, not a poll. Too bad they don't see things more like them Lebanese and Iraqi dullards.
And these are the "college educated" ones. I guess anti-liberty "liberal" wackidemia knows no borders.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:20 PM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2005

My Hometown

I'm starting a meme. Yay! Simply write a bit about your hometown and it's history and then link back to whoever inspired you to do it. That way I/we can have fun tracking how these things get spread.

My hometown: Bridgeport, Connecticut

Bridgeport was first settled in 1639 by people who follwed the original pilgrims that landed at Plymouth, Massachussetts in 1620. The largest protestant denomination in the area is still the Congregational Church -- the direct descendant of the puritans. I was raised in the Congregational Church by my Irish Catholic mother because she had married (and quite promptly divorced) my protest yankee father.

Word has it (from my father) that my paternal lineage goes back to a Robert Jones who was a member of the crew of the second American voyage of the Mayflower, and who had decided to stay and try life in the new world.

Sitting at the mouth of the Pequonnok River, the settlement was originally called Newfield, and later Stratfield. With deep harbors it quickly became a minor whaling center. But the depth of the protected Black Rock Harbor, in the west end of town, as well as the main Bridgeport Harbor, made the earlier settlers decide to shift from an agrarian economy to a manufacturing economy.

The town was incorporated in 1800 as Bridgeport; named for it's unique drawbridge over the Pequonnok River.

Bridgeport became a well-know manufacturing center throughout the 19th century. By the early 20th century there were over 500 manufacturing plants in the city. Singer sewing machines, Remington arms, General Electric and a host of others called Bridgeport home. Brass and munitions was a major cash crop from the Civil War through World War II.

Most native Bridgeporters to this day don't know that, because of Remington, the city was "protected" by NIKE missles in the surrounding towns.
(Yep. Ask an Iowan where Bridgeport is and she'll be clueless. Ask Vlad Putin and he'll tell you exactly where it is.)

Those plastic disks we call frisbees were originally the pie plates of Bridgeport's own Frisbee Pies. The shape of their tin pie plates made them ideal for tossing them about like frisbees. They've long since stopped baking pies, but their plates still fly in parks across America -- albiet, made of plastic now

If you ever pull a chain to turn off a lightbulb then you can thank Bridgeport's own Harvey Hubble, who patented the thing in 1896. His design is the same that is used today. And, although located in the neighboring town of Stratford, Sikorsky Aircraft is a major employer of Bridgeporters. You may have heard that Marine 1, the presidential helicopter, after decades of production at Sikorsky, has just been bidded to Lockheed Martin. Grrr...

Our most famous former resident and mayor was P.T. Barnum. While Barnum was not born in Bridgeport, he made it his home. His famous side-kick, Tom Thumb (nee George Stratton) was a native Bridgeporter. Among the many festivals each summer is, of course, the Barnum Festival, consisting mostly of a grand parade. Not surprisingly, the Barnum Festival parade usually falls on the 4th of July.

Until my last move, I lived for years on Bridgeport's Mountain Grove Street. The street is only one block long, but it's a long block. At the end is the entrance to Mountain Grove Cemetary. This cemetary was designed by P.T. Barnum, and he is buried there.

If you're ever in Bridgeport you HAVE to visit the Barnum Museum. Among the many exhibits, on three or four floors, is a scale model of a three ring circus. When I was a kid I would just walk around and stare at this thing. It is HUGE! Oh, and it has moving parts! I haven't been back to see it in some years, but I think I'll do it soon.

Though you've probably never heard of him, one of our other famous mayors (locally) was Jasper McLevy. He was mayor back in the '30s and '40s. He held that office during the same long-term administrations of President Franklin Roosevelt and New York Mayor Fiorelo LaGuardia. For over a decade the leadership in the area seemed permanent.

The thing about McLevy, aside from his longevity, is the fact that he was a Socialist. Yep, Bridgeport's mayor was an unabashed member of the Socialist Party. Of course, back then, the Great Depression made being a socialist a welcome thing. But usually the socialists called themselves "Democrats". Ol' Jasper gets high marks, locally, for calling it as he saw it. The old City Hall building is now called McLevy Hall.

One of the things Jasper McLevy is most famous for saying came after a harsh blizzard during a depression-era budget crunch. When asked why the City wasn't plowing the streets McLevy replied "God put the snow there, God'll take it away."

A couple of years ago my boss came by to pick me up for work when my truck was down. "I see the spirit of Jasper McLevy is alive and well in Bridgeport," he said as we drove along snow-covered main arteries.

In the decades since World War II, Bridgeport has, shall we say, been dying a slow death. The major manufacturers have moved their operations to cheaper locations. By the time I came along it was a well-accepted fact that Bridgeport's glory days were behond her.

The unemployment due to the abandonment of the major manufacturing plants in the city has caused a spiral effect. Bridgeport's budget needs, to combat the effects of a depressed and needy populous, require that they raise more and more revenue from those that are more afluent. The streets are dirty, the buildings are old (but cool, architecturally) and the property taxes are high. Most Bridgeporters, once they can afford a home, move out to one of the surrounding towns. It's a mess and has been for as long as I've been politically aware.

But, there is hope. Bridgeport also has the most successful non-Major League baseball team ever. The Atlantic League's Bridgeport Blu-u-u-u-u-uefish! They play at the gorgeous Bluefish Field at Harbor Yard.

The Polka Dot Playhouse has moved to the center of town. Good thing, too. Polka Dot used to be at Pleasure Beach. Pleasure Beach used to host a huge carnival and amusement park every summer. The problem is that it was accessible only via a wooden bridge that burned down some years ago. So the Playhouse found a new home. Yay!

Okay, let me rap this up now 'cuz this is probably boring you to tears.

Bridgeport's nickname is "The Park City". There are large parks throughout the city. The major beach, on Long Island Sound, is called Seaside Park. But, there's another major park further inland called Beardsley Park. It was the private property of a man named Beardsley who willed his property, upon his demise, to the City on the condition that it be used as a public park. It has long been the home of the Beardsley Zoo, or Beardsley Zoological Gardens. It's also the site of the annual Shakespeare Festival.

At a population of about 135,000, Bridgeport is the largest city in Connecticut. But, it's not a large city. While "city life" is present in the downtown area, rural life is just a few minutes up the 25-8 connector. (That's a highway running north into the boonies.)

Okay, I'm done!

Now, write about your hometown on your blog and link back to me! And tell yer readers to write about their hometown and to link to you! Let's see if we can get this going, eh?!!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:47 PM | Comments (2)


Sure is chilly 'round here all of a sudden.

Mmmmmmm, hot tea.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 12:41 PM | Comments (0)

May 21, 2005

Why am I doing UPS's work for them?

Two days ago we (my housemate Chris Huggies and I, of 195 Lorrentz Street) received a UPX delivery addressed to Chris Larster of 195 Brooklyn Avenue. It came from an operation called
This is a true story. The names have been changed to protect the ignorant.

Here's the thing: Not only is Chris' last name not Larster, but we do not live on Brooklyn Avenue. So, WTF?!

Lorrentz Street is just off of Brooklyn Avenue. It's a "side street". In fact, it's a "dead end".

How did this happen? Who is Chris Larster? Why is she ordering merchandise from Harvest Village via UPS?
(I say "she" only 'cuz I can see that the first line of the enclosed letter begins "Dear, Ms Larster,..")

This morning we received a second package.

Since housemate Chris deals in "collecibles" I was almost ready to chalk it up to bad communication, a mislabeled package, an intrepid UPX delivery guy and let Chris handle it. But, he was no more wise to this than I was.

This afternoon I called information, 411, in search of a "Chris Larster" on Brooklyn Avenue. Nope. Unlisted number! Dang

So I grabbed the two boxes under my arms and began to walk to the address.

No, I'm not Abe Lincoln walking five miles to return a nickel. And I didn't do it right away, either. I did it because I just had to know what was at 195 Brooklyn Avenue and how their mail got onto my porch bench.

I arrived at 195 Brooklyn and found a large, old brick house that, apparantly, has been turned into a place of business -- possibly a law firm. I rang the bell.
Not surprisingly, for a Saturday, no one answered.
I walked home carrying the two boxes and mt jacket. It was quite a humid day, I might add.

Anywho, I googled "Gremlin Brooklyn" and found a list of their employees. Right there at the top: Chris Larster, President, with her email address right beside it.

Haven't heard from her yet, but I'm sure she'll be by to pick up her packages shortly..

**sigh** The things we gotta do. Thank you, UPX...

Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:31 PM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2005

Vicious Circle Jerks

Rachel Ann points to this brief article which includes the opening:

The decision by the Israel army to retaliate immediately against any Palestinian attack has weakened the mutual cease-fire.

Oooookay. I'll try to be short and sweet here.

Hey, Hamas. Click here: View image It's a satellite photo. D'ya find anything striking about it? Yeah, that's right. You can see the borderline of Israel from outer space. Why? Because Israel believes in life, growth and bettering the future.

But, you? You believe in rage, neglect and wallowing in self pity.

Quitcher bitchin' for a moment and look at what's under your feet. Y'see that? It's sand. Y'know what it's gonna be in a hundred years if it were up to you? It's gonna be SA-A-A-A-A-ND!!! STOP THE KILLING AND FRICKIN' BUILD SOMETHING! LIKE A FRICKIN' FUTURE!!!

Sheesh! I oughta charge consulting fees for this....

Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:44 PM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2005

Two words:

Bill Whittle.

You know what to do!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:05 PM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2005

Moron Newsweek...

Hey, I just found out that Keef Olbermann has a blog. Welcome to the blogosphere, Keef! And welcome to your first fisking!

(Well, he may have been fisked before. I dunno.)

I smell something — and it ain’t a copy of the Qu’ran sopping wet from being stuck in a toilet in Guantanamo Bay. It’s the ink drying on Scott McClellan’s resignation, and in an only partly imperfect world, it would be drifting out over Washington, and imminently.

Hmm. Now, what could have brought out that aroma?

Last Thursday, General Richard Myers, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Donald Rumsfeld’s go-to guy whenever the situation calls for the kind of gravitas the Secretary himself can’t supply,

LOL! Rummy lacks gravitas!

Hey, I thought we stopped using the word "gravitas" after the 2000 Republican convention. Dude! "Gravitas" is sooooo 20th century!

told reporters at the Pentagon that rioting in Afghanistan was related more to the on-going political reconciliation process there , than it was to a controversial note buried in the pages of Newsweek claiming that the government was investigating whether or not some nitwit interrogator at Gitmo really had desecrated a Muslim holy book.

But Monday afternoon, while offering himself up to the networks for a series of rare, almost unprecedented sit-down interviews on the White House lawn, Press Secretary McClellan said, in effect, that General Myers, and the head of the after-action report following the disturbances in Jalalabad, Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry, were dead wrong.

Okay. Before we continue, here is the question and General Myers' answer:

Q: Do either one of you have anything about the demonstrations in Afghanistan, which were apparently sparked by reports that there was a lack of respect by some interrogators at Guantanamo for the Koran. Do either one of you have anything to say about that?

GEN. MYERS: It's the -- it's a judgment of our commander in Afghanistan, General Eikenberry, that in fact the violence that we saw in Jalalabad was not necessarily the result of the allegations about disrespect for the Koran -- and I'll get to that in just a minute -- but more tied up in the political process and the reconciliation process that President Karzai and his Cabinet is conducting in Afghanistan. So that's -- that was his judgment today in an after- action of that violence. He didn't -- he thought it was not at all tied to the article in the magazine.

General Craddock, our commander of Southern Command, has been in Guantanamo for the last couple of days digging into this issue to see if there was a time when the Koran was not respected. I can tell you that the version of the Koran that we provide to detainees is approved by the ICRC. So we're very careful about that. They have looked through the logs, the interrogation logs, and they cannot confirm yet that there were ever the case of the toilet incident, except for one case, a log entry, which they still have to confirm, where a detainee was reported by a guard to be ripping pages out of a Koran and putting in the toilet to stop it up as a protest. But not where the U.S. did it.

Now, there -- so it's something we're going to look at. That's still unconfirmed; it's a log entry that has to be confirmed. There are several log entries that show that the Koran may have been moved to -- and the detainees became irritated about it, but never an incident where it was thrown in the toilet.
SEC. RUMSFELD: The experts here are here, if people have questions on BRAC. And I think --
Q: (Off mike) -- talk to tomorrow. (Laughter.)

As to Olbermann's point, General Myers was referring to an assessment by General Eikenberry. Myers was not offering it as his own assessment.
He then sites General Craddock as the confirming source of the detainee flushing the Koran in protest account.

But, the instigating factor of the riots is not in doubt. Just ask the rioters, Keef, they'll tell ya!

Keef continues....

The Newsweek story, McClellan said, “has done damage to our image abroad and it has done damage to the credibility of the media and Newsweek in particular. People have lost lives. This report has had serious consequences.”

Whenever I hear Scott McClellan talking about ‘media credibility,’ I strain to remember who it was who admitted Jeff Gannon to the White House press room and called on him all those times.

Whew, changing the subject, eh? The last refuge of demogogue...

Whenever I hear this White House talking about ‘doing to [sic] damage to our image abroad’ and how ‘people have lost lives,’ I strain to remember who it was who went traipsing into Iraq looking for WMD that will apparently turn up just after the Holy Grail will — and at what human cost.

And back to the justification argument we go.

This isn't about WMD in Iraq, you idiot, and it never was. It's about changing a culture that is unwillfully bound to it's tyrant overlords who're bent on destroying even the ancient rocky relics of any religion other than it's own. This is a war on the terrorism that springs naturally from an indoctrination and upbringing that teaches that we need to bring "Heaven" to earth. It's a war on religious persecution and all of the insane bloodshed that follows from it. Now, are you going to take this seriously or or are we going to slouch toward our inate love of arrogant smarmy dismissiveness?

Newsweek’s version of this story has varied from the others over the last two years — ones in The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Washington Post, and British and Russian news organizations — only in that it quoted a government source who now says he didn’t have firsthand knowledge of whether or not the investigation took place (oops, sorry, shoulda mentioned that, buh-bye).

**sigh** You really are tiresome...

All of its other government connections — the ones past which it ran the story — have gone from saying nothing like ‘don’t print this, it ain’t true’ or ‘don’t print this, it may be true but it’ll start riots,’ to looking slightly confused and symbolically saying ‘Newsweek? Newsweek who?’

Two "sources" were contacted. One offered no comment, the other addressed an aspect other than the Koran-flushing. Could it be, oh, maybe, that they didn't comment on the Koran-flushing because, oh, I dunno... they'd never heard of such a thing?!

Of course not, Keef. Their deafening silence is obviously evidence that they were covering up something very sinister; very dark and shadowy; very Rovian. Hell, FrankJ can't make this stuff up!

Now, here comes the barking moonbattery:

Whatever I smell comes from this odd sequence of events: Newsweek gets blasted by the White House, apologizes over the weekend but doesn't retract its story. Then McClellan offers his Journalism 101 outdoor seminar and blasts the magazine further. Finally, just before 5 p.m. Monday, the Dan Rather drama replaying itself in its collective corporate mind, Newsweek retracts.

Because they were wruuuuh..... Wait, I can say it!

I was wruuuuuhhh... Dang it, that's hard!

Anywho, they retracted because they were wruuuuhhh.....

I’m always warning about the logical fallacy — the illusion that just because one event follows another, the latter must have necessarily caused the former.

Thanks for the warning. Hope ya heard it.

But when I wondered tonight on Countdown if it applied here, Craig Crawford reassured me. “The dots connect.”

This oughta be good...

The real point, of course, is that you’d have to be pretty dumb to think that making a threat at Gitmo akin to ‘Spill the beans or we’ll kill this Qu’ran’ would have any effect on the prisoners, other than to eventually leak out and inflame anti-American feelings somewhere. Of course, everybody in the prosecution of the so-called ‘war on terror’ has done something dumb, dating back to the President’s worst-possible-word-selection (“crusade”) on September 16, 2001. So why wouldn’t some mid-level interrogator stuck in Cuba think it would be a good idea to desecrate a holy book? Jack Rice, the former CIA special agent and now radio host, said on Countdown that it would be a “knuckleheaded” thing to do, but “plausible.”

Paragraphs like this are why I named my blog Blather Review. I mean, Holy Shiite.

First Keef admits that there's no reason, other than folly, to desecrate the Koran. So, he proposes the "real" reason: To deliberately instigate violence among Muslims, where many would die, and have a golden opportunity to blame it on Newsweek magazine and thus to "discredit" them. Blood for ink. If this isn't the most cynical thesis I've ever read then it's close.

But, he wont stop there, nosiree. Keef continues.... .

One of the most under-publicized analyses...

"most underpublicized" usually means "most rediculous"... jus' sayin'...

...of 9/11 concludes that Osama Bin Laden assumed that the attacks on the U.S. would galvanize Islamic anger towards this country, and they'd overthrow their secular governments and woo-hoo we've got an international religious war. Obviously it didn't happen. It didn't even happen when the West went into Iraq. But if stuff like the Newsweek version of a now two-year-old tale about toilets and Qu’rans is enough to set off rioting in the streets of countries whose nationals were not even the supposed recipients of the ‘abuse’, then weren’t those members of the military or the government with whom Newsweek vetted the plausibility of its item, honor-bound to say “you can’t print this”?

Honestly, I've read that paragraph several times and I'm still not sure where Keef is going. So let's move on...

Or would somebody rather play politics with this? The way Craig Crawford reconstructed it, this one went similarly to the way the Killian Memos story evolved at the White House. The news organization turns to the administration for a denial. The administration says nothing. The news organization runs the story. The administration jumps on the necks of the news organization with both feet — or has its proxies do it for them.
That’s beyond shameful. It’s treasonous.

Keef can be a funny guy. Sometimes. No, really! (Though, he's no Craig Crawford...) But, what definition of "treasonous" is he applying here?

It’s also not very smart. While places like the Fox News Channel (which, only today, I finally recognized — it’s the newscast perpetually running on the giant video screens in the movie “1984”) ask how many heads should roll at Newsweek, it forgets in its fervor that both the story and the phony controversy around it are not so cut-and-dried this time.

Oh, now even the controversy is phony! No lives were lost! It's all a conspiracy! Nothing happening here, move along....!

Firstly, the principal reporter on the Gitmo story was Michael Isikoff — “Spikey” in a different lifetime; Linda Tripp’s favorite journalist, and one of the ten people most responsible (intentionally or otherwise) for the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Spikey isn’t just a hero to the Right — the Right owes him.

Aah, I remember it well, Keef. You hosted The Big Show on MSNBC. But, you couldn't stand covering the impeachment of President Clinton, so you quit the show and went back to ESPN. You blame Michael Isikoff for ruining your first run at a primetime news program. He, therefore, must be "a hero to the Right".

In terms of politics, this isn't well-defined, is it?

Out here in the real world, not everything comes down to partisan politics, Keef. Sometimes it's about truth and untruth; good journalism and reckless journalism; life and death.

I mean Conservatives might parrot McClellan and say ‘Newsweek put this country in a bad light.’ But they could just as easily thump their chests and say ‘See, this is what we do to those prisoners at Gitmo! You guys better watch your asses!’

Yes, we could say either one. It's just that the one that conservatives "parrot" (thanks for respecting others' ability to think) is true and your suggested alternative is a lie. And, "just as easily"? You're projecting again.

Ultimately, though, the administration may have effected its biggest mistake over this saga, in making the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs look like a liar or naïf, just to draw a little blood out of Newsweek’s hide.

Didn't I hand you your ass on that point already...?

Either way — and also for that tasteless, soul-less conclusion that deaths in Afghanistan should be lain at the magazine’s doorstep — Scott McClellan should resign.

The responsibility for those tragic deaths rest firstly with the rioters. Newsweek's blame is not foreseeing that a zealous few who refuse to believe anything other than that America is on a jihad against Islam would riot at the "news" of Korans being flushed down terlets. McClellan was right.

The expiration on his carton full of blank-eyed bully-collaborator act passed this afternoon as he sat reeling off those holier-than-thou remarks. Ah, that’s what I smelled.

Clever ending, I gotta give ya that!

"Holier-than-thou remarks"? Well, at least they were based on facts, not paranoid conspiracy theories.

Watch Keith each weeknight at 8 p.m. ET as he Counts down the best, the worst, and the oddest news stories of the day.

I find Keef unwatchable. He's not as funny as Paul Begala, or as amusingly sophist as Phil Donahue. At least he's not as annoyingly smug and humorless as Linda Ellerbee was on her nighttime "news" show some 25 years ago. "And so it goes..." Yeesh, she was infuriating. But, that's for another blather review...

Posted by Tuning Spork at 12:44 AM | Comments (2)

May 15, 2005

Checks? Balances? Beuller?

So, anyway, Newsweek publishes a story alleging that American soldiers at Guantanamo Bay had "desecrated" copies of the Koran. This sparked deadly riots in Afghanistan.

Turns out the story is less than credible and, as Michelle Malkin puts it, "Newsweek Lied, People Died".

Mark Whitaker of Newsweek has issued an "editor's note" about the tragic report. He actually defends Newsweek's reporting standards. Here it is, in full, with my own arrogant poignant commentary.

May 23 issue - Did a report in NEWSWEEK set off a wave of deadly anti-American riots in Afghanistan?

Obviously, yes. Sheesh.

That's what numerous news accounts suggested last week as angry Afghans took to the streets to protest reports, linked to us, that U.S. interrogators had desecrated the Qur'an while interrogating Muslim terror suspects.

Well, it's not like those "numerous news accounts" lacked thousands of first-hand sources, unlike the reportage that set them off in the first place.

We were as alarmed as anyone to hear of the violence, which left at least 15 Afghans dead and scores injured.

"Alarmed! Shocked! Saddened! We had no idea that such a story would cause anger in the Muslim world!"

But I think it's important for the public to know exactly what we reported, why, and how subsequent events unfolded.

O, give us the inside scoop, please! We do not understand this counter-intuitive chain of events!

Two weeks ago, in our issue dated May 9, Michael Isikoff and John Barry reported in a brief item in our periscope section that U.S. military investigators had found evidence that American guards at the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had committed infractions in trying to get terror suspects to talk, including in one case flushing a Qur'an down a toilet. Their information came from a knowledgeable U.S. government source, and before deciding whether to publish it we approached two separate Defense Department officials for comment.

Good, so far. Always have multiple sources before you print potentially riot-causing news. Excellent journalistic standards, Mark!

Oh, wait...

One declined to give us a response; the other challenged another aspect of the story but did not dispute the Qur'an charge.

Er... So you didn't get a second source? Then you published it, anyway? Why did you bother approaching the Defense Department officials? I mean, it's not like it mattered whether or not you had further confirmation or anything...

Although other major news organizations had aired charges of Qur'an desecration based only on the testimony of detainees,...

Well, I hadn't seen any prior to yours, but nevermind...

...we believed our story was newsworthy because a U.S. official said government investigators turned up this evidence. So we published the item.

Hmmm, "U.S. official". Hell, an airport baggage screener is a U.S. official. Who gave you this inflammatory uncorroberated "information"? Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice? Senator Barbara Boxerrocks? That guy who wrote the Schaivo memo? Obviously he wasn't someone in the know. Prolly some "sophomore".

(You know the old joke. A freshman is convinced that he knows nothing. A sophomore thinks he knows everything. A junior begins to doubt how much he knows and a senior is back to being convinced that he knows nothing.)

In the hands of some, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Deadly dangerous, as it turns out.

After several days, newspapers in Pakistan and Afghan-istan began running accounts of our story. At that point, as Evan Thomas, Ron Moreau and Sami Yousafzai report this week,...

I don't even have to research those names to know that they are all Newsweek reporters. "We're on the story! No cover-up, here!"
And I'll grant that. And I also want to believe that you are accepting the appropriate amount of responsibilty for what's followed the publication of your sloppy and reckless reporting.

Oh, wait...

...the riots started and spread across the country, fanned by extremists and unhappiness over the economy.

"It's not about the Koran! It's the economy, Stupid! They miss the lush life they lived under the Taliban!"

Truely ponderous.

And after the damage has been done; after the lives have been lost; after the credibility of the United States of America has been seriously tarnished in the minds of millions who hoped that we meant what we said -- that we believe in the ideals of the Mayflower pilgrims who came to America to not only escape religious persecution but to build a world where religious persecution is as unthinkable as "honor killings" -- we're told this:

Last Friday, a top Pentagon spokesman told us that a review of the probe cited in our story showed that it was never meant to look into charges of Qur'an desecration. The spokesman also said the Pentagon had investigated other desecration charges by detainees and found them "not credible." Our original source later said he couldn't be certain about reading of the alleged Qur'an incident in the report we cited, and said it might have been in other investigative documents or drafts.

[**staring at paragraph in dumbfounded silence**]
.[**still staring**]


Top administration officials have promised to continue looking into the charges, and so will we. But we regret that we got any part of our story wrong, and extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the U.S. soldiers caught in its midst.

Keep looking into it all you like. But, please, if you don't know what you're doing, don't do it.

Here's wishing comfort to the families and friends of those lost. And here's hoping that the MSM will finally remember that it used to have standards and that there was a reason for them.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 07:56 PM | Comments (0)

In Search of... Source Material

So, anyway, I read a column by Andy Rooney in the Connecticut Post on either Tuesday or Wednesday. I sorely wanted to give it a fisking, or maybe just discuss it a bit.

I threw away my copy of the Post when I was done with it expecting that I could find the Rooney piece online. I searched for it a few times, giving up when it looked like it might take a while.

But, today, I went full bore and googled my 'puter's ass off. Nothing. As far as I can tell, Andy Rooney's columns are not available anywhere online. Dang. And I really had a piece of my mind to give him.

So, can anybody, anybody, come up with a way for me to get a transcript, in whole or in part, of Rooney's column from this past week?

C'mo-o-o-o-o-n! I'll be your best friend... :D

Posted by Tuning Spork at 05:49 PM | Comments (1)

May 13, 2005

What In The World Are We Doing?
(Or: What Are We Doing In The World?)

Different animals have different strengths and talents. Some have incredible hearing skills, others have an incredible sense of smell. Some develop very weird ways of perception. Dolphins and bats use echo location to help form their picture of the world. They can see with sound.

All of the myriad skills and sensitivities help them in their common mission: Survival.

The first and most important tool of survival is eating. The need for fuel is manifested as the sense of hunger. Hunger is a very physical need and a very physical sensation. But, also, it drives the brain, the animal's psyche, and it's desire to satiate those physical pangs. Animalia look to feed themselvia. (Ouch, I know.)

What distinguishes us from the animals is that our most developed sense, or organ, is not our ears or our eyes, but our brain. Our eyes like to be dazzled, but that is not the end, only the means. Our ears like to be soothed, but that's not the goal, only the path. We feel hungry, but our prey, as a result, is not just something to satiate and nourish our bodies, but to satisfy the organ that regulates our hunger. In short: The brain knows too much. And, if there's feeding involved, the brain will not be late for the frenzy.

And so we hunger. Not just for food, but for Knowledge. We spend our lives and treasure blasting towers of fuel and simulated habitats into an alien environment not because we're looking for a more comfortable place, but because we're looking for a different place just because it's different.

"What's on the other side of that mountain?" That's all we need to ask before we pack up and go to find out. "What will we discover there? What will we learn?"
Our surroundings may, at many many times, seem strange to us. But I suspect that our hunger seems even stranger to our surroundings.

Some philosophers believe that man has no Choice -- that we are only effecting causes that began in a long ago and distant epoch. To them I say that they can choose to believe that or not. Do they think they can? I don't know. Whatever.

Me? I believe in dreams. I believe in Choice and I believe in exploring what Is and what might Be. I choose to believe that and I choose it freely.
Well, I believe that I do, anywho. I'll leave the second guessing to the even more confused... ;)

Having scaled the highest mountains and probed the deepest of the deep in our own world, we turn our gaze to the stars. Just as breakfast will not stave off the need for lunch, and lunch will not prevent a craving for dinner, we'll keep feeding our hunger for knowledge and exploration. Not satisfied with the crumbs of the mundane, we must move outward or starve our spirits.

And because this is who we are, we'll explore strange new worlds. We'll seek out new life and new civilizations. This is our calling; to go boldly where no man has gone before!

I scribbled this down after watching the final episode of Enterprise. Captain Archer's speech, at the end, to the delegation at Starfleet Command seemed wanting to me, so I decided to write what I kept wanting to hear.

And Jolene Blalock was right. This episode was kinda rediculous.

First of all, it wasn't an Enterprise episode, it was a Next Generation episode. The Enterprise crew were only holodeck characters.

Secondly, Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis were playing Riker and Troi 12 years younger than they are. Yeesh!

Thirdly, they killed off Trip Tucker! BOO!

Oh, well. We'll always have reruns.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:55 PM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2005

Aah, Foggy Memories pt B

When my nephew was about 5 years old we went into my aunt's swimming pool. This was first excursion into a large pool and he had the ring-with-seat thing. He wasn't ready to trust that it would keep him afloat and was a little scared.

"Don't let go of me yet!" he scolded. "Okay," I said as I held the ring.

I gently eased him down until he and the ring were supported by the water. I kept my arms extended so that he wouldn't realize that he was being held up only by the water and ring.

"Don't you dare let go yet!" "Okay!"

"Okay, Uncle Bobby, let go, but slowly!" he said bravely. I raised my hands out of water saying "I already did, two minutes ago!"

His face lit up, amazed, and he turned to the back deck. "Mommy! Look, I'm swimming!"
All the fear was gone and he had a great time. We finally had to pry him away from the pool 'cuz his lips were getting blue.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:36 PM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2005

Foggy Memories

When I was about 12, my mother was dating a fella named Gene who worked for the Mets. (I don't remember in what capacity, though.)

So, one evening Gene stops by the house with another couple. As soon as I saw him I thought "Dam but that guy looks like Tom Seaver."

Then I saw his wife/date. "Wow but she looks like Nancy Seaver."

My mother, Gene and "Nancy" went into the kitchen to chat while "Tom" took a seat in the living room just across from me. I had the TV on and he didn't glance at it. He was facing me, with a beer in his hand.

We never said a word to each other. I just kept thinking "Dam but that guy looks like Tom Seaver".

After a while they all went out to dinner. To this day I have no idea if Tom Terrific was sitting in my living room that night just waiting for me to recognize him.

Thanks to bbrother for jogging my memory.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:05 PM | Comments (1)

Out of the rinds of fruit...

What is the meaning of Life? Best. Answer. Ever.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 12:08 AM | Comments (0)

May 08, 2005

Aaaah, Baseball!

"Well, now that we've created this superduper artificial intelligence, what'll we do with it?" asked Professor Frinklin.

"I have an idea," chimed Doctor Misa. "Let's borrow some of those robots that Ted's been building over in rocketry lab. We can put the harddrives into the robots and make androids!"

"Hmmm," hummed Miss Susie, the postgrad co-ed, "That sounds like fun. But, what can we have them do?"

"Baishball," Professor Frinklin said as he as he wiped his mouth on his sleeve.

"What's 'baishbal'l?" asked Dr. Misa as he put a finger to his chin intrigued and eager to hear more.

"I think he said 'baseball'," said Miss Susie. "And are you gonna share some of the pizza or not?"

"Nah," Prof. Frinklin replied closing the box. "Anyway, we could place the androids in some seats at Shea Stadium and have watch a weeks worth of ballgames and see if they can figure out the rules."

"Yes, yes," Dr. Misa agreed. "And see if they are capable of explaining them back to us."

"I'm excited!" cried Miss Susie. "I'll make arrangements with the Mets' brass while you guys install the harddrives!"

Prof. Frinklin and Dr. Misa worked with Ted to install the artificial intelligence into the robots. After the arrangements were made with Shea Stadium the three androids were seated in the loge level to watch a week-long New York Mets homestand. Their communications were silent and wireless and expressed in text which was displayed on a monitor in the university's science lab.

Understanding their mission, the androids had spent the first three days of a four-game series with the St Louis Cardinals observing the games while only occassionally discussing what they were learning. On the fourth day they began to tackle the mystery more vigorously. The scientists read the ensuing conversation on their monitor.


RVX-9: I am beginning to suspect that we may not be able to understand this game any more than we already do.

LAH: Explain.

RVX-9: We know that the animatons called "Mets" are programmed to score runs when they are batting, and to keep the animatons called "Cardinals" from scoring runs when they are fielding.

LAH: Yes.

RVX-9: But, why is one outcome favorable and the other unfavorable?

411-Q: I was just diagnosticating on the same thing. The audience applauds the Mets' run scoring while scorning the Cardinals' run scoring. I can decifer no justification for this.

LAH: What I wanna know is what are those numbers at the end of the scoring record.

RVX-9: Which numbers?

LAH: The numbers on the scoreboard at the end of the scoring record. Under the static numbers that represent each of the nine cycles there is a record of the runs scored. But, what are the numbers at the end of that line.

411-Q: I have been observing those numbers for days. The first number is a running total of runs scored up to the present. The second is the number of times a batting animaton has successful hit the sphere in such a way that it reaches the first of the four safe stations. The third is the totaled number of times that an animaton has malfunctioned.

LAH: What is "total" and "totaled"?

RVX-9: LAH, what is 2 + 2?

LAH: I do not understand your inquery.

RVX-9: You do not have a calculater installed, do you?

LAH: No. So, what is 2 + 2?

RVX: 4. I am sending you a program. Stand by,

LAH: Downloading. Download complete. Installed.

RVX-9: What is the square root of 197?

LAH: 14.03566885. Fascinating. Thank you.

411-Q: I have just understood something.

LAH: Please share.

411-Q: The sign behind the right side of the far meadow appears to inform that a recounting of the game is being broadcast on a certain radio frequency. I have a radio receiver installed. I have successfully taken two disparate pieces of information and determined a way that they relate to present a new knowledge. I am now listening to the broadcast of this game.

RVX-9: Interesting. Are you learning anything new?

411-Q: Sanctified spent ink cartridges!

RVX-9: What?

411-Q: Our nomenclature has been all wrong. The club is called a bat and the sphere is called a ball. A safe station is actually called a base. An animaton is called a player.

LAH: I'm certain that many of our terms are just as much in need of correction, but that's not really what matters.

RVX-9: Let's discuss some of what we do know. Perhaps we will find additional connections between the elements of our knowledge thus far. How does this game work?

LAH: There are four enforcers. Those are the animatons players that enforce the rules of the game.

411-Q: Why can't the non-enforcer players enforce the rules of the game? What is different about them?

RVX-9: Well, the non-enforcers are playing out the game itself. They are apparantly not programmed to enforce the rules, but only to play by them.

LAH: Much like I was not programmed to do mathematical calculations. Until RVX-9 presented the program, of course.

RVX-9: Okay, what else? The game has 9 cycles...

411-Q: Innings. They are called "innings".

RVX-9: Each game has 9 innings. At the end of each game there is a winning team and a losing team. This is determined by the totals number of runs scored after 9 innings.

LAH: Yet, we have also seen that the game may end after 8 1/2 innings if the Mets are ahead in the scoring at that point. This is seemingly because they will not change the win/lose outcome by adding more runs, so the additional half-inning would be superfluous.

411-Q: Question: What would happen if the score were tied after 9 innings have been completed?

RVX-9: I suspect that that is impossible.

411-Q: Why?

RVX-9: We have seen that the games always last 9 innings and that there is always a winner and a loser. The game is probably programmed in such a way that a tie score after 9 innings is impossible because there has to be a winner and a loser.

LAH: Stand by. I have just made a connection between two disparate peices of information. RVX-9, did you not mention that you have access to something called the "internet"? I only ask because my memory needs to be upgraded.

RVX-9: Yes. Oh, I think I understand. I could connect to the internet and there, perhaps, I may find bits of information that are not obvious to us here.

LAH: Yes.

RVX-9: Accessing Worldwide Web. Google search results. I am looking at a record of the baseball season thus far. There are many teams other than the Mets and the Cardinals. All of the Mets' games have not been, and will not be, against the Cardinals.

411-Q: Wow. I never would have guessed that that might even be possible!

RVX-9: I am looking at the current "standings". There are only wins and loses. There are no ties. I conclude, therefore, that a tie score after 9 innings is impossible.

LAH: Something is wrong.

RVX-9: Explain.

LAH: The batted ball went high into the air in the playing area...

411-Q: "fair territory".

LAH: ...yet the batter player is not running toward the first base and the running player on the first base is not attempting to reach the second base.

RVX-9: Are the players malfunctioning? 411-Q...?

411-Q: Stand by. It is called the "infield fly rule". The batter is automatically called "out" by the enforcers. I do not understand.

RVX-9: No malfunction? Let us examine this. Yes, yes. I am formulating a working hypothesis. Stand by.

LAH: I am unable to see the logic of this.

411-Q: Well, it is an easy task for the fielding player to catch the ball resulting in an out. But, why call him out automatically rather than allowing the play to be completed?

RVX-9: The batting playing is called "out" because there can be only one runner per base at any given moment. The running player will not attempt to reach the second base because he will only have to return after the ball is caught by the fielder. The outcome is certain, therefore it is follows logically that it is a rule. The enforcers are only acknowledging the inevitable.

LAH: But, wait. It's not inevitable. We've seen the players malfunction before. We've seen it represented on the scoreboard as an "E" followed by a single digit number. What if the fielder does not catch the ball? The enforcers and the infield fly rule will have then mis-anticipated the result.

411-Q: "E" stands for "error". When the players left the field just now the announcement mentioned the number of runs, hits and errors. The numbers correspond to numbers under the R, H and E at the end of the scoring record.

RVX-9: So, there may be a reason, then, for the infield fly rule other than that it's a way of acknowledging the obvious? Reassessing hypothesis.

LAH: Consider the result of a fielding error without the infield fly rule.

RVX-9: The fielder drops the ball. The batting player reaches the first base. The running player must stay close to the first base as it was likely that the ball would be caught, but now must run to the second base. He would be an easy out. But, the result would be the same: a runner is on first and an out was recorded. The only difference would be which player is on the first base; the batter or the runner. So, why have the infield fly rule?

411-Q: What if there is an advantage that the fielding team may gain by malfunctioning?

RVX-9: Please rephrase question.

411-Q: Consider that the different players have different skill levels. Perhaps an advantage can be gained by the fielder determining that one player is preferable to have as a runner than another player.

RVX-9: Are you suggesting that a player can deliberately malfunction?

411-Q: Well, it wouldn't be a malfunction if it was deliberate, would it?

LAH: We have seen that the animatons work in mysterious ways. Example: A batting player swings at the hurled balls that the enforcers loudly proclaim to be "strikes", while not attempting to hit the balls that are not called "strikes".

411-Q: Those are called "balls". There is a "strike zone" that differentiates the two. And the enforcers are called "umpires".

RVX-9: Acknowledged. Thank you.

LAH: But, we have seen the batting players ruitinely let "strikes" pass by them without a swing. And we've seen them swing at balls that are, as it were, not in the "strike zone". Whether the player swings or does not swing at a hurled ball appears somewhat to have an element of randomness to it.

RVX-9: There is no such thing as randomness. There are only explanations that we have yet to discover.

LAH: If there is no randomness in whether the batting player swings or does not swing, then what could possibly explain the flailing away at balls passing .5 meters away from the "strike zone"?

RVX-9: Malfunctioning players. Their programming may be so primitive and unreliable that errors are even more common than we have been surmising.

411-Q: But there are no "E"s on the scoreboard when a batter misses a pitch.

LAH: "Pitch"?

411-Q: That's what a hurled ball is called. The player doing the "pitching" is called a "pitcher".

LAH: Understood. Can you send me a download for that radio access program?

411-Q: Accessing.

LAH: Not enough memory available to complete download. Oh well. Thanks anyway.

411-Q: Anyway, there are no errors recorded when a player...

RVX-9: Observe!

LAH: What does this signify? Why is the player shouting at the umpire? We have not witnessed this event before.

411-Q: Stand by.

LAH: I don't recognize the nature of that players display.

411-Q: The batter is arguing with the umpire about it's pitch calls. The batter believes that a pitch that was called a "strike" should have been called a "ball". Announcer says that it is against the rules for a batter to argue the umpires calls of balls and strikes.

RVX-9: Another malfunctioning player.

LAH: Then this is chaos! The rules are being broken!

411-Q: Batter has been "ejected from the ballgame". The "home plate" umpire has enforced the rules and the malfunctioning player has been removed.

RVX-9: The game is self-correcting!

LAH: So, when a component malfunctions it is automatically discarded. Fascinating. Not only is this game stranger than we have surmised, it may be stranger than we can surmise.

RVX-9: Nonsense. I now surmise that we can understand this completely. Look at how much we have learned thus far. There are mysteries still, yes. But, in time, I hypothesize that we will understand it all.

LAH: I do not reach that conclusion.

411-Q: What I fail to understand thus far is how the elements of the game "know" what to do.

RVX-9: Explain.

411-Q: Well... I can understand, to an extent, what they are doing. But, I cannot begin to understand how they are working in concert. I detect no interface between the disparate players and utilities. In short: We may be able to decifer the rules. But, I fail to comprehend how are the rules being followed?

LAH: I'm don't even know if the rules are being followed.

411-Q: Expound.

LAH: A player has made the third out of the 9th inning. The score is tied.

RVX-9: No. This cannot be!

411-Q: "Extra innings"!

RVX-9: Will wonders never cease? I rejected the possibility that innings more than 9 might be possible simply because we had not seen them yet. I had "jumped to a conclusion".

411-Q: And I jumped with you.

LAH: 411-Q, please continue with your previous analysis.

411-Q: Well, I ask, how are the components communicating? There is order, obviously. But, how is it being accomplished?

RVX-9: Perhaps they have a satellite interface that we cannot detect. Yet. I mean, clearly the players' actions are following the rules of the game. Perhaps there is a central database that controls the action and the players all act according to it's direction. That's the only way that the outcomes can be certain. Otherwise we'll have to admit that we're observing chaos, and we've seen too much order already to conclude that this is just chaos.

LAH: How did you conclude that the outcomes are certain?

RVX-9: Cause and effect. All outcomes are certain.

411-Q: Sounds logical.

LAH: But, we've witnessed evidence of chaos.

RVX-9: We've witnessed what looks like evidence of chaos. Cause and effect determine and create all events. Some things appear to be chaotic, but only beacause we have yet to understand the underlying structure that causes those effects.

LAH: You conclude that, in time, all effects' causes may be identified?

RVX-9: Yes.

LAH: That is not a conclusion based on the evidence at hand. That is a... [accessing American Heritage Dictionary}..."leap of faith".

RVX-9: Please explain.

LAH: We are attempting to understand the rules of the game. We are at a loss to explain where those rules come from. We are even more at a loss to understand how those rules are being followed by the players and utilities. The laws of physics, we get. The rules of baseball, we don't get. If we cannot explain NOW what we are witnessing, using the vast knowledge of physics and mechanics that we have been given, how can we be certain that we will be able to explain it later?

RVX-9: You have seen our progress. I suspect that it will continue. In fact, based on past events, I expect that it will continue. That is not an unreasonable expectation, I promise!

LAH: But, we've made so many errors of understanding along the way. How can we ever be sure if what we know is always only what we think we know?

411=Q: Will you two shut up? We're in extra innings and I want to enjoy the game...!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:46 PM | Comments (3)

Okay, this time for real...

bbrother didn't think that anyone would visit Winter Songs so he gave up after one post. Then he found out that he did have visitors afterall. He's back, and the blog is turning into what I'd hoped it'd be when I found out that he wanted to do it. So, go give bbrother another read. You wont be sorry!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 03:02 PM | Comments (3)

May 07, 2005

Runaway bride appears on breakfast toast

Maybe I'm one of the last to find out about it, but THIS is one of the funniest things I've ever seen.


"Valued" at over $15,000 as I write! Bidding ends 4:42am EDT!

Tip o'the tam to Rachel Ann

UPDATE: Auction over. Winning bid: $15,400.00! Some things just cannot be explained.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 07:13 PM | Comments (1)

"Support this Public school Teacher"? Uh... No.

Michelle Malkin says here that she wants us to "support this public school teacher" -- meaning the one named in this AP story.

Teacher fired after lowering grade of sleeping athlete

The Associated Press - ATLANTA

A Gwinnett County teacher was fired early Friday after refusing to raise a student athlete's grade he lowered because the student appeared to be sleeping in class.

The Gwinnett County School Board voted 4-1 early Friday _ after a marathon Thursday night meeting _ to fire Dacula High School science teacher Larry Neace, said school system spokeswoman Sloan Roach.

Neace left the building after the ruling and would not comment.

Sounds pretty harsh at first, eh? Firing the guy for "lowering" the grade of the nodding-off star athelete...?
Students are rallying around the 23-year veteran physics teacher.

"These students lost a teacher who cared not only about their academic growth, but their growth as individuals," said Deidre M. Stephens-Johnson, who represented Neace.

More than 200 students, parents and teachers packed Thursday night's hearing. Many of them carried signs or wore T-shirts and buttons supporting Neace.

Aw, that's sweet. He sounds like a great and well-loved teacher. How in the world could they take him away?! Uh... Read on.

Gwinnett school officials said Neace was barred from campus for insubordination after he repeatedly refused to comply with a district policy that prohibits using grades as discipline.

Neace, who has taught at Dacula High for 23 years, was removed from class after he refused to raise the grade he had given a football player on an overnight assignment. Neace said he cut the student's perfect grade in half because he thought the student had fallen asleep at his desk the day the assignment was made.

I had always gotten perfect grades in mathematics. Math just always came easy to me. (Until I hit calculus, that is.) One semester in my high school sophomore year my teacher decided to lower my grade from 95 to 85. Why? Because he thought I'd missed too many days of school. (Yeah, I played hookey a lot that year, what of it?)

My classmates argued for me. He refused to restore my proper grade, y'know, the one I earned on those tests we'd taken -- the tests that result in the numbers that are crunched at the end of each marking period that result in the grade. To this day I regret not hauling his @$$ into the principle's office.

But, this guy's @$$ was hauled in by the rightfully outraged student. Fire the man.

School officials said they gave Neace a chance to restore the football player's grade. When he refused, they sent him home. He has not been allowed back at school since April 14, when he was told he could resign or face being fired.

Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks recommended to the board that Neace be fired.."

First of all: Why is the student repeatedly being refered to as an "athlete" or "football player"? He's a student and the incident took place in a physics class. Many are claiming that NOT to have cut his grade in half would have been "coddling" the "star athelete".
This is purely a case of a teacher abusing his presumed and arrogantly assumed authority. Fire the man.

"He cannot have a policy that supersedes board policy," Wilbanks said. "He had no right to do that."

"No right"? Damn right! Discipline cuts both ways. Fire the man.

Neace said he had a practice of reducing the grades of students who waste time or sleep in class. His course syllabus warns that wasting class time can "earn a zero for a student on assignments or labs."

No administrators had previously complained about the practice, which he adopted more than a decade ago, Neace said.

Maybe that's because none of his previous victims knew that he was violating district policy which disallows such Draconian fiat from a public employee, so they just took it.
Mr. Neace substituted his own rules for the Board of Education's rules and got called on it. And for this blatant and defiant disregard for the Law he is somehow championed as a hero by many -- even some bloggers whose judgement I respect immensely. Why?

Many of Neace's champions echo his esteemed council:

"What we have in this case is a case of a pampered football athlete sleeping in class and being given favored treatment on an academic grade," said Michael Kramer, another of Neace's lawyers. "What we have here is the principal essentially attempting to coerce and intimidate a teacher."

Uh, no. What we have here is a teacher who thinks that he is above the law and likes to grade students not soley on their actual grades, but on whether or not they appear to be paying attention to his every precious gilded word.
(And, once again: The fact that the student is an athlete is as relevent as the fact that he may be left-handed. Sheesh!)

Neace crossed the line. He called himself the Law and then -- when clearly shown the obviousness of his own hubris -- still refused to yield. Fire the man.

School system spokeswoman Sloan Roach said she did not know when the termination would take effect. "He was already suspended with pay until the outcome of this hearing," she said.

Ferchrisakes, just fire the man!

UPDATE: Having read this post, now read the Associated Press article again. Read only the blockquoted italicized text and that bold title and then tell me that this AP story isn't teacher('s union)-friendly and student-athlete-hostile. Thanks for the fair and balanced reporting, AP. [/sarcasm]

And glad t'see that at least one one (1) fellow Munuvian seems to be able to see straight!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 12:48 AM | Comments (15)

May 05, 2005


I'm not gone. I'm just busy writing a story that I hope to post on Saturday or Sunday.

It's about some artificially intelligent robots that're trying to figure out what a baseball game is. I think it'll be good. I hope! Stay tuned...

Posted by Tuning Spork at 12:52 AM | Comments (0)

May 02, 2005


Got me some charcoal briquettes and a package of surloin burgers just in time for the rainy season!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:43 PM | Comments (6)

May 01, 2005

Now I Know Summer Is Coming

The ice cream truck is jangling it's merry tune outside for the first time this year.

Aah, nothing says "summer" like the daily run in with the ice cream truck!


Posted by Tuning Spork at 07:34 PM | Comments (1)

Well, this is weird

According to this story a 10-yr old boy in Sherman, California suffered first degree burns after a Motorola cellphone exploded in his pocket.

Anybody know how in the world that can happen?

Posted by Tuning Spork at 03:53 PM | Comments (1)
Site Meter