Tuesday, May 31, 2005

May 31, 1924

Like clockwork, I saw the first fireflies of the season tonight.
Happy Birthday, Dad.
I miss you.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Memorial Day

The U.S.S. Arizona Memorial - Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who biddest the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy Word,
Who walked on the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Trinity of love and power!
Our family shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect us wheresoever we go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

-Eternal Father (The Navy Hymn)

Rest easy.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Of Course. It's Florida.

From Friday's Wall Street Journal:

LOTTO LOVE: So, a woman in Orange City, Fla., is suing the father of her child for more of his $35 million lottery winnings, some of which have already been allocated to her sister -- who is the man's ex-wife and also had his child. What's even more astounding in Wednesday's Orlando Sentinel account of the suit is the domestic setup before Robert G. Swofford Jr. made his wife Ann and her sister Mary Lackey leave the house they and the kids all shared with him until 2002. Ms. Lackey claims that the ladies also had to pack up and cart away 40 turkeys, 150 chicks and a goat.

I know what your thinking.
"What's up with the goat?"

Putting On The Dog

Memorial Day weekend is upon us. It's time to replace your stars and stripes and to start thinking again about man's best friend: the hot dog. Yes, it's nature's perfect food (sorry, banana). Hot and spicy with loads of yummy hidden fat, it's the foundation of every truly great summer pastime. The hamburger? Oh sure, it may taste good, but how many ways can you make it? Can you steam a burger in beer? Can you impale a burger on a stick and toast it over a campfire? Can you smother a burger in saurkraut, onions, relish, chili, cheese and mustard and still have something that tastes great? Uh uh. The hot dog is the best garbage food in the world. And some of us take it seriously.

As a kid, my family would often spend time with my mother's side of the family at Breezy Point, just across Sheepshead Bay from Coney Island, home of the great American hot dog. My mother would send me to Trunz, a Brooklyn chain of small food stores, to collect hot dogs. The butcher would take your order and then turn and pull a long string of hot dogs out of the case and snip the link casing arriving expertly at exactly the right weight. Then he would wrap the links up in white paper and send me home with a big dill pickle. Good days.

So do your self a favor today. Find a hot dog and eat it. For America.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Things To Worry About

Sometimes I wonder what's going on in the world close to home, so I reach for my local newspaper, The Richmond Times-Dispatch. It's not like your "regular" newspaper. Oh, sure the T-D has things like "news," and sports and Mark Trail on the comics page, but it's bent is decidedly to the "right" side of of the aisle, making it an oddity in print. But sometimes even the T-D can go too far. I am referencing a T-D editorial from few days back that laments the demise of the English language. Goddamn commies.

Apostrophe Apoplexy
Richmond Times-Dispatch
Friday, May 20, 2005

It is sometimes said that academic disputes are so bitter because so little is at stake, but at the University of Minnesota such is not the case. A battle of galactic import recently concluded, and the forces of darkness have won.

The school is building a new, $4.5-million walkway to honor esteemed individuals. For several weeks debate has percolated over whether its name should be the Scholars' Walk, with an apostrophe, or Scholars Walk, without one. The latter option carried the day -- over the objections of many English teachers, rhetoric professors, and the Apostrophe Preservation Society of England.

This is a travesty.

The rules on the matter are quite clear: Possessives take apostrophes -- John's house, children's wear, drivers' licenses. There are a few exceptions (his, hers, its), but not many. Theodore Bernstein's Careful Writer notes that while "there is a tendency these days to accept the omission of the apostrophe in many instances: teachers college, boys club, parents association, such "forms are not logical."

Indeed not. But then neither are the arguments of those who insisted on the apostrophe's absence. Margaret Carlson, chief executive officer of the alumni association, fought for the punctuation mark's exclusion on the ground that to include it would signify exclusiveness. "We want the Scholars [sic] Walk to be as inclusive as possible, she said. "We want [people] to be proud that they are part of the university even if their name isn't chiseled in granite or etched in glass."

Besides, she said, other examples of apostrophe apostasy exist, such as The Vietnam Veterans Memorial. And adding an apostrophe to Scholars Walk also would necessitate apostrophes on the planned Professors Land and Regents Professors Square -- and, well, "Apostrophes would be out of control!"

This is nothing but a diversion. The real agenda behind the apostrophe omission seems obvious. By attacking the notion of possessives, the you-know-whos on campus hope to undermine property rights and, along with them, the very foundations of capitalism.

It's -- or its, who cares at this point? -- a godless Commie plot, is what it is.

There is nothing insignificant in the world. It all depends on the point of view.
-Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

“My attitude toward punctuation is that it ought to be as conventional as possible. The game of golf would lose a good deal if croquet mallets and billiard cues were allowed on the putting green. You ought to be able to show that you can do it a good deal better than anyone else with the regular tools before you have a license to bring in your own improvements.”
Ernest Hemingway, letter, May 15, 1925

National Punctuation Day is August 22nd.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

No Surprise

From a story in toady's U.K. Times Online about the dwindling prospects for passage of the Euro Constitution:

The mood of pessimism that descended on the French Government after ten successive polls showing the “no” camp leading was echoed by Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, the former French President, who drafted the constitution. He blamed the failures of the “yes” campaign on the half-heartedness of France’s leaders.

“Our current leaders are of course believers in the idea of Europe but in their heart of hearts they are not men and women who are inspired by a European feeling,” he told a French newspaper.

President Chirac will go on television tonight to deliver a last-ditch appeal to his country to resist the temptation to vote “no” and trigger a crisis for the whole European Union.

But the President, who called the referendum in July last year but has done little campaigning, was reported to be pessimistic and telling visitors to the Elysée Palace that he expected a “no”.

M Sarkozy’s outburst came after M Raffarin, who is expected to lose his job in the event of a defeat, told ministers and the leadership of M Chirac’s UMP party that they should avoid defeatism but be prepared to limit the damage from the crisis from a “no”, party sources said.

True colors.


From today's New York Times Corrections page:

The Books of The Times review yesterday, about "Sunday Money," by Jeff MacGregor, misidentified the Nascar racing season chronicled in the book and the site of the Darlington speedway, where races are held. The season was 2002, not 2001; the speedway is in South Carolina, not North Carolina. The review also referred imprecisely to the Formula One racing circuit. It is international, not just European. (Go to Article)

Turkey, maybe, but who do those Euros think they are trying to convince the world that Australia, Malaysia, Bahrain, Canada, Japan, China, Brazil, and the United States are "European?"

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Constitutional Infirmity

Professor Graglia* has a succinct piece on judicial activism in today's Wall Street Journal. I know I will be writing more about this later, particularly in terms of the dormant Commerce Clause and the Civil Rights Act. For now, I recommend that you quietly read Mr. Graglia's opinion and try to keep count of how many times you nod your head in agreement.

A teaser:
The essential irrelevance of the Constitution to contemporary constitutional law should be clear enough from the fact that the great majority of Supreme Court rulings of unconstitutionality involve state, not federal, law; and nearly all of them purport to be based on a single constitutional provision, the 14th Amendment--in fact, on only four words in one sentence of the Amendment, "due process" and "equal protection." The 14th Amendment has to a large extent become a second constitution, replacing the original.

*Make note of his forthcoming book, edited by Justice Dr. Robert Bork.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Science Can Fix Anything

*Translation Tim Toupet, the Singing Hairdresser

I don't know what this means, but I'm sure that it's good news for the ladies.
Or maybe not.

UPDATE: I goofed with the comment settings. Sorry.
Apres moi, le deluge.

The Flying Finn

I haven't had much to say lately (count your blessings), but as anyone who even remotely knows me knows, I am a absolutely nuts about Formula 1 racing. Every other Sunday from March to October you'll find me in front of the big screen, sitting, pacing, gnawing at my fingernails, as I watch the WORLD'S BEST automobile racers drive the WORLD'S BEST automobiles around the WORLD'S BEST racing circuits. It is a world sport that most Americans pay no attention to, preferring instead to watch normally-aspirated Ford Taurus' chase Chevy Monte Carlo's around and around and around some oval for 3 or 4 hours. Please shoot me first.

Anyway, at 7:00 a.m. yesterday I was ready to go, coffee and bunny slippers and the greatest race of them all about to begin, the Grand Prix of Monaco (That's where "Monte Carlo" is, NASCAR fans). Kimi Raikkonen, the young Finn whose unshakable nerve (and seeming inability to crack a smile) has earned him the monicker "Iceman" led pole to pole in a mad dash through the winding streets of the town. Good stuff, this, as I am a fan of the Mercedes-McLaren team for which he drives.

What prompts this post, however, is this news item about how this world reknown race driver got ticketed in his home country for, get this, driving a car and trailer without a proper license.
I kid you not. Not only that, but check out the fine! 30, 000 Euros, which in real money is $37,659.00. That is because Finland charges fines based upon your income.

At first I thought "Goddamn Socialists!" But the more I think about it, I wonder. I mean, if a $10,000 fine for flipping the bird to a fan doesn't faze a professional sports idiot, is a $150 dollar fine for speeding in a school zone going to slow the moron down?* What if instead the court took 10% of the offender's monthly income, minimum $150? Losing 10% of your income would get most people's attention, and discourage behavior that society has determined is potentially dangerous.

What do you think?

* A young school girl was struck and killed by a speeding hit and run driver the other day after getting off her school bus. They caught the driver. She is 19 years old and her life is already over.
Slow the hell down people.

Thursday, May 19, 2005