Happy New Year!

Today is not only New Year’s Eve, it’s also the birthday of Civil War General George Gordon Meade, which was celebrated with full Civil War military regalia by reenactors at Philadelphia’s Laurel Hill Cemetery. Representatives from today’s Army, Navy and Marines were all present, and the ceremony included speeches, wreath-laying, and a twenty one gun […]

Detecting the direction of undirected readings

Dennis’s last post reminded me of certain extremely stubborn pieces of primary source historical evidence which won’t go away, because they’re made of metal. C-O-I-N-S. I’ve discussed ancient Roman coins in several posts, particularly the ones which were struck to commemorate victories over the Jews in a place called “Judea” — which of course was […]

Reading as a weapon in the culture war

I was just thinking the other day about the politicization of scholarship and how people who inject their work with an agenda create enemies in the process. For example, I know of a ‘feminist reading’ of a poem by Catullus, published in a major classics journal, the stated goal of which (right there in the […]

Stereotypes are for sheep?

WARNING! This post has been called a “spoiler.” People who don’t want to read about certain details in “Brokeback Mountain” might not want to read any further. Someone at the Childress, Texas Chamber of Commerce isn’t doing a very good job. For a shrinking town of some 6500 people, it seems to be the capital […]

A strange sign

Via Samizdata, I found the perfect sign for my house: Haven’t run it past Coco yet, and it might take a little explaining. But how many dogs devote themselves to fighting coverups, promoting products, and writing in the snow? Or hiding in a trunk? How about hiding behind designer jeans? I’ll let Coco think this […]

Spears won’t kill Piggy’s traffic!

La Shawn Barber’s observations about blogger responsibility are well worth reading: ….[U]nrestrained power coupled with little to no accountability is a dangerous thing. As a blogger who?s been the subject of nasty and false statements made by bloggers and in comment sections by anonymous cowards, I know what people are capable of saying when they […]

Drugs and terror. A nexus of evil?

That last story (about an innocent girl whose imprisonment on phony drug charges resulted from an airport search) highlights a longtime concern I’ve had about the war on terror, and that is that the “War on Drugs” may be its Achilles heel. The problem with giving authorities extraordinary powers to search citizens for bombs is […]

As laughable as a hoax
(Except I’m not laughing….)

The main reason I thought the Little Red Book hoax was so laughable was that I couldn’t believe that federal officers would seriously waste their time on innocuous, universally-available, tacky Communist kitsch. A story in this morning’s Inquirer, however, would be even more laughable if it wasn’t true, which it appears to be. Amazing as […]

Breaking the back of violence and other U.S. “exports”

In what appears to have been a gang-related dispute in Toronto yesterday, a girl was killed and six people were injured in a shootout in a crowded shopping center. Rather than blaming the individuals who did the shooting (or even gang violence), Toronto’s mayor blames guns. And above all, he blames the United States: Mayor […]

The only real Christian is a loud and angry Christian?

History is written by the victors. — Churchill And so is morality. In another reminder of the principle I touched on in the last post (that moral debates are won by those who yell the loudest), Jeff Jarvis links to a very tedious “Culture War” skirmish between the American Family Association and NBC. The AFA […]

Toys ‘Я’ worse than Communism and murder?

What is art? What is speech? What is offensive speech? Such questions leaped from the front page of today’s Philadelphia Inquirer in an article about Sony’s “Playstation kid” graffiti advertising campaign. Local activists who favor political murals but hate corporate ones are in a dither: Sony has conceded that the graffiti ads are not spontaneous […]

Fatally bad manners?

Via Pajamas Media, here’s a tale of road mob psychosis: MILWAUKEE, Dec. 27, 2005 (AP Online delivered by Newstex) — At least 15 young people dragged a motorist out of his car and kicked and punched him, causing severe head trauma, after he honked his horn to get them to move out of a street, […]

The mother of all precursors

In my haste to complain about the crackdown on sudafed sales to Americans with colds, I forgot about something that a lot of people seem to have forgotten about: a substance called phenyl 2 propanone (also known by the abbreviation P2P). Back in the 70s and 80s (a period I remember well) there was at […]

Almost back, but not on track!

Not quite through the Christmas social ramble, so I’m not back to regular posting. But here are couple of pictures I took today. This was near the railroad tracks: And here’s something more festive: (At least, I guess that’s festive…..)

Shrinking common sense

In an earlier post I objected to the medicalization of bias, because I see this as leading towards classfying dissent as disease. However, some of the top minds in the psychiatric community not only continue to insist that bias is a mental illness, but they do so in language revealing such contempt for the distinction […]

Something still smells fishy, and I don’t know what. . .

I’m sorry, but the story about the Little Red Book hoax (and the now disappearing “student”) continues to not make sense: Mr. Hoey, the university spokesman, said the university had been unable to substantiate any of the facts of the story since it first was reported in The Standard-Times on Dec. 17. As to any […]

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Lots of running around today, so blogging will probably be light. But Coco and I wish everyone a Merry Christmas! MORE: “Brokeback Mountain” update here.

NEWSFLASH! Santa has been debunked!
(Oh really? The Devil, you say . . .)">NEWSFLASH! Santa has been debunked!
(Oh really? The Devil, you say . . .)

Whether I agree with them or not, within certain limits I try to respect everyone’s beliefs. This respect might even extend to beliefs I consider childish or ridiculous, depending on the context. Such as the age of the, um, believer, perhaps? Anyway, it’s Christmas Eve and I found myself intrigued and irritated by this story […]

Suffocating Mary

Let me begin with a disclaimer: I consider myself a non-practicing atheist. (i.e., I don’t believe in gods, but I’m not evangelical about.) What follows is only logical. A british artist has pulled one over on the Jesuits at America (a Catholic weekly magazine), buying an ad for a sculpture of the Virgin Mary in […]

Politicizing self hatred?

Reflecting on the “all-gays-must-see-this” hype surrounding the release of “Brokeback Mountain,” Sean Kinsell demonstrates why he’s one of the most honest voices in the blogosphere: …those of us who don’t see our story in it have to be allowed to appreciate it on our own terms and to our own degree, and that’s where I […]