Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Courtesy of CNN,

we get this nugget of wisdom from Christiane Amanpour:
Each time I go to the Palestinian territory of Gaza, I am shocked by the reality on the ground. On a recent visit, I passed through a short tunnel from the First World in Israel and emerged into the Third World that is Gaza. The poverty there is among the worst in the world.

Hamas officials told me they did not expect to win the election as overwhelmingly as they did. They say their main priority now is to meet the demands of the people for a better life.

But that may be impossible, because Israel and the United States refuse to deal with Hamas and have already cut funding to the new Palestinian government.
Why am I not surprised that she omitted the part about how those Third World conditions she is so shocked by are largely the result of self-inflicted wounds?

Monday, March 27, 2006

Not much to write

I haven't written much of late (not that anyone will notice, given the talent level around here...), mostly because work issues have taken precedence over blogging, and when I started this blog I made the decision not to blog about work or about my employer, mostly because I'm not sure what kind of potential reaction my employer would have to my blogging about them.

What little spare time I've had lately I've used to play Traveller and to start reading the Black Book of Communism. I haven't finished it yet, but judging from what I've read so far, one question comes to mind: given the historic "accomplishments" of communists, why would anyone even consider adopting a Marxist ideology?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

At Miss Kelly's, advice on what to pick out for a home defense weapon for Buy a Gun Day. Personally, I don't have the dough to be buying guns, so one has to make do with the gun(s) one has.

Anyhow, what to choose, the 12ga Benelli autoloader or the Ruger 10/22? The shotgun has the hitting power, but the little Ruger is easy to handle and has greater magazine capacity. Decisions, decisions... .

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Saw the last episode of Project Runway this evening, mostly just to see who the winner was. Chloe won, and I guess I don't have any argument, but none of the 3 collections really impressed me. It could be my fashion ignorance and lack of taste showing, but I was just unimpressed.

Maybe the kind of clothes shown at Fashion Week are not intended to be the sort of thing ordinary guys are supposed to be able to relate to.

About the collections:

Santino: I wonder if the judges penalized him for not being the Santino they expected. It seemed sort of subdued, somehow.

Daniel: Although he said the theme of the collection was invoke a combination of Japanese and military influences, but I couldn't see it and apparently neither could the judges.

Chloe: Shiny, shiny, shiny. I didn't understand it, either.

I wonder if the Project Runway people could have found a way to separate the model contest a bit more from the designers. I guess for the models it was very much a matter of luck, depending on who the winning designer is. Personally, I thought that Daniel's model really should have won.

As far as it's successor show in that time slot, "Top Chef", I watched it a bit out of curiosity and discovered that there is an industry with people even more full of themselves than the fashion industry. The chefs they picked seemed to be a pretty arrogant, nasty bunch. I don't know if this is typical of the industry or the producers selected for cattiness. In any case, I don't think I'll pay attention to this one.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Because of these $#@*!s, our state legislature is considering a bill limiting protests, specifically to ban protests at funerals. I can't say that funerals are out of bounds for that sort of thing, but I'm wary of anything rule that interferes with our rights to speech (even the offensive kind) and I think it's a bad idea.

At the same time, if Phelps and his cronies showed at a funeral for one of my relatives, the temptation to rearrange his face could prove to be overwheming (and you haven't been in a fight in 30 years - ed). Judging from the furor over the protesters, I'd say their actions showed us more about the protesters themselves than the "cause" they represent. They represent a sort of idiotic,petty vileness that comes from something other than the Christianity they claim to profess.

If they really hate homosexuals that much, I understand Al-Qaeda and the Taliban have some open positions these days.

Monday, March 06, 2006

G'bye Kirby

Kirby Puckett died today after suffering a massive stroke yesterday at his home in Arizona. I don't have a lot to say that other people with more talent will be saying in a lot of places, but...

I didn't get to see any of Kirby's big World Series games in either '87 or '91, since I was working nights at the time. I saw the replays later, but what I remember was Gordo's calls when Puckett robbed Ron Gant, and then winning Game 6 in '91 with an 11th inning home run.

I didn't get to see many ballgames while he was playing, so most of what I remember is the games I heard on WCCO, saw on TV, and the stories in the newspapers. What I remember is the guy who hit the ball, threw the ball, caught the ball and looked like he had a great time doing it. Thanks Kirby, wherever you are.

Garrison Keillor, Pop Psychologist

Oh. Yeah. Garrison Keillor wrote an "Impeach Bush" commentary today. (broken link provided by the Star Tribune. It seems that it was on their servers less than a day.) Shocking surprise, right? No?

Garrison has decided that Bush is a torturer,so he must go. Interesting, since the military is punishing those personnel who have been caught mistreating prisoners, and the President has stated over and over again that torture is not acceptable conduct. Bush has also failed to defend the country. But what the hell, we'll just take Gar's word for it, right? He admits the Dems have come up short of doing a bang up (or any type) job of presenting an alternative policy. But Impeach Bush!

Oh, and why else should Bush be impeached? To "bring some focus to this man's life". I don't recall Mr. Keillor recommending that course of treatment for Bill Clinton's focus back in '98.

If we're lucky, this piece will get about as much attention as it (and Keillor) deserves.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Why Nick Coleman Riles

Kate Parry lets us know that columnists who generate strong reactions to their work are good. I think she fails to understand why some folk disapprove of Nick Coleman.
"The reason they're often on the front of the paper or a section is they're often doing some of our best work. The fact that Nick, Doug and Katherine attract a tremendous reaction is a sign they're doing a good job," he added. Coleman's recent trio of columns critical of television commercials supporting the war in Iraq were, to Gyllenhaal, a good example of a columnist "bringing the news home to readers." So was Kersten's rejoinder that she thought criticism of the ads by Democrats was hypocritical. Why does the paper put these columns on pages that otherwise contain news stories? Is there a difference between columnists whose work appears in a news section and columnists who appear on the editorial pages? Gyllenhaal thinks there are many similarities, but the emphases differ: Op-ed columnists tend to write directly about issues; metro columnists often get at issues by telling a story. They have license to push storytelling further than a reporter would and to add their two cents.

[snip stuff about confusing opinion columns with news stories]
"Our columnists are very capable, dedicated reporters. They occasionally make errors, but they're minor, not at the core of the column. Considering the battleground they're working in, their work stands up to tremendous scrutiny," Gyllenhaal said.

I think they both miss the point about Coleman. The problems I have with his work fall into two general categories. First, he has a nasty habit of getting important stuff wrong. He also tends to use his column to make personal attacks on people he doesn't like (mostly conservatives). The second problem is how the Strib seems to protect Nasty Nick. Where criticism of Katherine Kersten's columns often appears as early as the day after one of her columns is printed, critcism of Coleman on the letters page tends to be sparse and late in appearing. Why is that? Doesn't the Strib get reader mail critical of Coleman?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Endangered Blondes?

Yes, natural blondes really do have more fun but are dying out, according to the Times of London. Fortunately, it looks like the Times got taken.