Sunday, July 31, 2005

Breweriana and Cars

Spent Saturday in Cold Spring, MN taking up my cousin's invitation to Hometown Pride Days, which among other things included a car show and breweriana show/swap meet, held fittingly enough at the Gluek Brewery.

I learned a few things while there, the biggest of which is that when going to a swap meet show up early to get a spot in the shade. Even here in the frozen tundra of Minnesota the July sun is not known for its mercy. Which leads to the next lesson, a refresher from the days on the farm which is: wear a damn hat next time. Yes, Virginia, UV penetrates hair if given enough time and I've got the sore scalp to prove it.

A less painful lesson is that at one time Minnesota was the home of a pretty large brewing industry, now mostly gone. Schmidt, Hamm's, North Star, White Star, Hauenstien, Schell's, and many others. Although most of the brewers are gone, some of their work remains in the form of old cans, signs, glasses, mirrors, posters, lights, and other items used to show pride in and advertise their brews. Brands like City Club, Royal Bohemian, Kiewel's, Cold Spring, and many others. The people showing (including cousin Mike) knew a hell of a lot about the history behind the stuff as well. For example, I learned that Pamela Anderson got her start advertising beer. By the way, she was much more fetching before plastic surgery and peroxide, but I digress.

The swap meet amply demonstrated the adage about one person's junk being another's treasure. Beer cans dug out of dumps and refuse piles were being sold from prices of 25 cents to over a hundred dollars for a single can (a Schell's Golden 16 oz can, I think). There has been at least one can auctioned at Ebay that sold for over $5,000. Amazing.

The car show had some gems as well, including a Shelby Mustang, various two seat Thunderbirds, a '59 DeSoto Firesweep, and some '50s vintage trucks tricked out to within an inch of their lives that I could only wish to have the money to own. All in all a well-spent day.

Here's a bonus link to a brief article about some of the family breweries of St. Paul.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Semi-Random Jottings

Now that government has completely entered summer's silly season, the one where the folks in Washington are so starved of anything important that they mistake stuff like John Roberts' membership/non-membership in the Federalist society for something that matters, it's time to look at some other stuff.

Like the incompetent bombers who are now being arrested in London after the failed attacks of 7/21. I hope they sing like canaries. If they are as good at resisting interrogation as they are at making bombs, the British security forces will learn quite a lot from these murderous, idiot fanatics.

The IRA officially giving up the idea (for now, at least) of armed struggle for their goals in Northern Ireland. That would seem to be a worthwhile development - giving up guns for politics. Maybe ol' Chairman Mao was wrong after all.

The Twins giving up hitting for the season. A novel approach to winning pennants, and it ain't workin'. Will there be a deal before the deadline? Only the Shadow (and Terry Ryan) knows... . In the meantime another sign that summer is passing too quickly - Vikings training camp is opening.

Or Hollywood's problems at the box office. Perhaps if the folks there making movies of late would quit making "remake" into a synonym for "original", things would improve. Oh, and leave the comic books alone for a while. Too much of a good thing and all that.

Well, off to the breweriana show tomorrow.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Unfounded Speculation from the Star Tribune

The Strib's editorial board in its unendinq quest to slime the current administration produced this piece of speculative fantasy, starring the Strib's favorite villain, Karl Rove. They paint a picture of St. Joe Wilson bravely exposing the evil deception of the Rove-controlled Bush Administration in getting us into war in Iraq.

I just want to remind people of some of the things the Strib left out. Like the fact that Wilson misrepresented the contents of his CIA report in his NY Times op-ed to imply the opposite of what he had actually reported. Like the way he hinted that he was sent by the vice-president's office when he was not. Moreover, he really was reccommended for the task by his wife. The fact that British Intelligence still stands by their claims about Hussein's government looking to buy uranium ore from African nations. The fact that the CIA director told the President it was a "slam dunk" that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.

There's more! The demand of the press for an investigation into the Plame affair, even though the very same press already knows who gave the data to Novak. If it is so important, reveal the source of the leak instead of insisting on this current farce. Valerie Plame, the 'covert agent' who was well-known to the Washington press (ask Andrea Mitchell, for example). A person who goes to work at CIA headquarters five days a week.

The Star Tribune should just give up their stupid fantasies of Bush administration skullduggery and just do something reasonable for once - wait for U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald to actually finish conducting his investigation before crowing about what its not-yet-reached conclusions are. If the administration broke the law, we'll find out then. Until then this is just partisan fantasizing and vitriol.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A Question for Jonathan Chait

Hey Jonathan - before you call the President an airhead, consider the following. He got elected President of the United States twice. You're a snarky, partisan political writer who is letting his hatred of the guy who was elected drive his writing towards Michael Moore territory. Who do you think has accomplished more in life?

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Why Doesn't Amnesty International Complain about This?

Via Little Green Footballs and Dhimmi Watch, here's another example of the kind of thing that encourages Westerners to view the faith of Islam with suspicion. A money graf:
At this afternoon's meeting, IHEU representative David Littman attempted to deliver a prepared text in the joint names of three international NGOs: the Association for World Education, the Association of World Citizens, and IHEU, but was prevented from doing so by the intervention of Islamic members of the Sub-Commission. After repeated interruptions he was unable to complete his speech. The Islamic members of the Sub-Commission objected to the speech as an attack on Islam. The text however is a report on recent critical comment on Islamist extremism by a number of notable Muslim writers and is a call to the UN Human Rights Commission by the NGOs "to condemn calls to kill, to terrorise or to use violence in the name of God or any religion".
This is the kind of crap that gives Islam a black eye in the West, deserved or not. There is one thing about this stuff I truly don't understand: why aren't the cretins spewing this garbage being taken to school by the majority of Muslims who are not uncivilized barbarians? I mean, these murderous morons are a minority, yes? Why aren't they being shouted down by those who don't fly planes into buildings? Where are the imams issuing fatwas condemning the barbaric acts of that violent, murderous minority? There have been some, but not enough. Where are the people to join these brave souls in protest against murder in the name of God?

Please, don't let the fanatics be the voice of Islam... .

On Wings of Fire

Discovery flies again:

May their journey be safe and successful.

And while I'm at it - NASA, hurry up with the next generation!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Paul Scott, Diversity's Champion

Paul Scott's comment piece expresses his disapproval of new Metro columnist Katherine Kersten. He expresses some of his expectations this way:
When Star Tribune editor Anders Gyllenhaal introduced Katherine Kersten in May as the paper's new metro columnist, he described the résumé of a writer with broad experience in life. Readers of his glowing welcome might have expected to find the work of a curious, critical thinker. Anyone familiar with her previous op-ed work, a page where her opinions seem more well-suited, would be safe to assume her positions would lean to the right. Fair enough. Kersten herself hoped for her column to offer "a diversity of ideas ... a diversity of perspectives on the world." Even better.

Scott is then dismayed that Kersten expresses conservative views. Apparently one just doesn't do that if they have broad experience in life. She even had the temerity to disagree with the bishops when they publically demanded a tax increase. With "conservative boilerplate", even! Somehow the fact that columnists like Nick Coleman, Doug Grow and Kim Ode never express viewpoints other than the liberal ones escapes Mr. Scott. He characterizes the other Metro columnists thusly:
Nick Coleman is a writer in the mold of crusty big-city columnists everywhere: straight-talking, populist and nobody's fool. He may have taken on the conservative bloggers at, but he appears to oppose their pompousness more than their politics. Doug Grow is hardly a Leninist mouthpiece -- he will hunt down inept bureaucrats and he is not above tarring all legislative power players with the same brush. CJ is a gossip columnist in a town with mostly news-anchors for celebrities, and Joe Kimball graciously keeps tabs on Grand Avenue and the Ordway.

It completely escapes him that Coleman and Grow have never been known to advocate any sort of conservative thought, which in Scott's view is OK, but heaven forbid the Strib have a local columnist who looks at things from a more conservative point of view. Coleman a populist? Sure, but only if the populism is that of the Left. He also suffers from a nasty habit of writing fact-challenged columns about people he doesn't like (check out Power Line's archives). Grow's criticism of bureaucrats is a good thing, but does not change the fact that he approaches political topics only from a liberal viewpoint. Has he ever said anything good about conservative political ideas? Not that I can remember. Why doesn't Scott write columns criticising them for their lack of diverse thinking? Because he wouldn't recognize diverse thinking if it walked up and hit him in the face with a creme pie.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Am I being Insensitive

when I refer to Lt. Governor Catherine Baker Knoll of Pennsylvania as a callous, self-absorbed, self-promoting, partisan political whore? To coin a phrase, we report (via GM's Corner) and you decide.

Friday, July 22, 2005

While I've Been Away

this place has evolved to Adorable Little Rodent Status in the Ecosystem. Since I haven't actually written anything for over a week, this suggests that the less I write, the better. Since I have the normal amount of vanity, I don't know whether to enjoy the elevation to rodent status or depressed by the fact that I have increased my traffic by not writing. I have to admit the notion does appeal to the lazy side of my nature. Cracking open an IPA is certainly easier than writing posts. With a route to successful blogging this easy, maybe I could franchise... .

The hasn't been much blogging here of late mostly due to computer problems of a not-so-bad kind. Got a new computer a little while ago and I have been trying to install Linux on it. Unfortunately, the success has been mixed. It works (sort of), but I can't get it to talk to the rest of the world, or get the sound system to work. It looks rather like the beginning of a long march here at the manor to get this working properly.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

On a More Encouraging Note

This seems to be a positive development. Here's the headline:
"The Imam of al-Jabiriyah preached against the Americans and the Worshippers shouted 'O' Allah, make America stronger!",

From the Counterterrorism Blog.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Kersten vs. Keillor

In the last few weeks the Star Tribune has brought on two new commentators. One is new Metro columnist Katherine Kersten, who seems to be a partisan but reasonable conservative. The other is the partisan and unreasonable (but nasty) Old Scout himself, Garrison Keillor of "Prairie Home Companion" fame, who writes on Sundays. I wonder who will draw the most complaints about bias?

Question for Jeremy Iggers

Hey Jeremy, is this the standard to be followed for wry, witty political commentary? I hope not. Here's a sample:

And that is why the Brethren of the Foursquare Gospel of Christ the Republican are intending to spend upwards of $18 million to win confirmation of the president's anointed nominee, and, one assumes, their pagan Visigoth foes will spend almost as much in opposition.

This was not always the case, children. There was a time when nominees posed for a photo with the Pres, sat for an afternoon of genteel questioning by the Senate Judiciary Committee, were confirmed handily and fitted for their robes and given a key to the Supreme restroom, without any mass mailings or newspaper ads. Just as the pope selects cardinals without Catholics massing in St. Peter's Square and waving placards, so the president once chose justices.

Knowing this president as we now do, the man who proposed John Bolton as ambassador to the U.N., one assumes he is considering nominating Dr. James Dobson. Nothing in the Constitution stipulates that a justice must have any legal training -- they have clerks to take care of that stuff. One imagines the president on his knees in the Rectangular Bedroom, asking for the Lord's guidance in the matter, and the Lord guiding him toward Dr. James Dobson.

The president protests: "But Lord -- he is a bully. His mind is rusted shut. He would institute a state religion in America and that would be the end of the Christian faith as we know it. Laura loathes the sight of him. He reeks of cheap cologne." The Lord insists that nobody but Dobson will do. "But Lord, this is going to be an ugly uphill fight in the Senate. I have only 45 or 48 senators who are fully programmed. The others exercise their own judgment and are unreliable."

Anyway, I'd like to address a few remarks to Mr. Keillor while I'm at it, if he ever deigns to stop by this establishment.

Dear Mr. Keillor:

May I call you Garrison? Thanks.

Garrison, might I suggest some context here? You sort of failed to mention the bad faith on your side of the aisle, as exhibited here by Chuck Schumer, who promised a "war" over the President's nominee to the Supreme Court, whomever that person is.

I would also like to point out, Gar, the recent trend of nasty judicial confirmation battles is a legacy of your party. Remember Robert Bork? Clarence Thomas' name ring a bell? Keep in mind that President Clinton's nominees did not face the kind of treatment Democrats have been dishing out to President Bush's nominees. As an example, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was confimed on a 96-3 vote, even though her judicial views are far more liberal than conservatives would approve of. The DFL on the other hand filibusters the nominations of competent judges.

Then there is the basic mean-spiritedness of your remarks. For someone who claims to hold the idea of tolerance in high regard being a liberal and all, you sure seem to get great enjoyment out of mocking the religious beliefs of the President and of a whole lot of Christians. Where did that liberal tolerance for the views of others get to? Did you leave it in the pockets of your other pair of pants or something? It just doesn't sound like the sort of thing a good Lutheran from Minnesota would be saying. As for the idea of nominating Dr. Dobson, are you just fantasizing about your own favorite nightmares or what? Don't worry about it. The most likely outcome is the President will nominate a nice competent judge who believes the Constitution actually means what it says. Nothing to worry about here.

Million Monkeys Typing

Thursday, July 07, 2005

To Our Friends in the UK

I wish for just one day I could be eloquent, but once again words seem to fail me. I just want to offer my condolences and prayers for those killed and injured by today's act of jihadi barbarism in London, as well as the their families and the people of the UK. I've been to London more than once, and am saddened by what has happened to the people of one of the greatest cities of the world.

I think most Americans recognize and value the relationship we have with the UK, and this American will stand with you. We will expect our government to stand with you as well and provide whatever assistance we can, if requested.

I don't pretend to understand what motivates the people who commit these kinds of acts, acts so vile as to be beyond the word criminal. How they can choose to deliberately murder the innocent, the defenseless, people just trying to live their daily lives is beyond my ken. So is the idea that God will praise them for it. I think the rat bastards who did this will find Allah's reaction to their acts a bit disappointing when the reckoning comes due, but I digress. There is a disease in the body Islamic right now, and I think it will be a long time before it burns itself out. We here of the west cannot cure the spiritual sickness manifesting itself in a great religion, that can only be done by the Muslim majority who do not think it appropriate to plant bombs in subways and fly airplanes into buildings. We will however have to learn how to cope with the phenomenon until it burns itself out in futility and failure.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

On Kelo

As an aside on the Kelo decision, I just want to make this observation on Molly Ivins' column on the subject. (link via the Fraters') I too find myself in the strange position of being in agreement with Ivins, and disagreeing with John Hinderaker at Power Line. It feels strange, rather like having too much to drink ( minus the booze ). Anyhow, I couldn't help but notice after reading her column that although she couldn't help taking a cheap shot or two at the president, she was unable to note which wing of the court supported the decision she's complaining about. Well Molly, for the record it was Ginsberg, Souter, Kennedy, Stevens, and Breyer who voted in favor of this decision you so abhor. It was the court's conservatives who joined with O'Connor. You know, the guys you love to hate - Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas, are the justices defending the little guy.

Something to consider, yes?

Deep Impact

Here's a photo of Deep Impact's impactor being run over by comet Tempel 1.

Click thumbnail for a larger image and a caption. The mission site is here.