Other places, other values

I’m down in the Central Valley right now.  Went into a Foster’s Old Fashioned freeze (love their chocolate dipped vanilla cones) and saw, right on the counter, a packet of materials from the local Marine recruiter.  Wouldn’t see that in Marin, that’s for sure.

Still on the road

I’ve been so isolated from the news this weekend I only just discovered that Van Jones withdrew. Of course, at the same time, my NYT reading husband first discovered that Van Jones existed, so I’m still ahead of some curves.

I might blog this morning, but I’m not optimistic. For now, consider this your “Happy Labor Day” open thread.


This has been in the works for a while, so it’s not a surprise to me, but I know it will be a surprise to you.

Effective immediately, I’m switching servers, so my blog will operate at a new address: http://www.bookwormroom.com/

Henceforth, all new posts will be at http://www.bookwormroom.com/

There are still a few glitches at the new site, and I’d appreciate your feedback as we work them out. Overall, though, the new site is, in my eyes at least, beautiful. It will also have features that I couldn’t access on my old site and that will, I think, benefit both me and my readers. From my point of view, it has user registration, which will cut down on the hundreds of spams I get (despite Askimet). I’ll also have an easier time linking videos and uploading images. From your point of view, the user comments can be previewed, which I know a lot of you would like. Also, I happen to like the template, since I think it’s easier to read than my old one. Anyway, check it out: http://www.bookwormroom.com/

A million thanks for this change go to the Web Administrator at Webloggin who was more generous with his time and resources than you can possibly imagine. He is, in the most profound Yiddish sense of the word, a mensch — a righteous, honorable, truly good human being.

By the way, if you have me in your blog roll, I’d very much appreciate it if you would update the link.

The more things change….

I found this in an anthology of humorous stories from 1950:

Quentin Reynolds calls attention to the fact that Montgomery’s campaign in the Near East altered a centuries-old custom of the natives in those parts. “Since time immemorial,” says Reynolds, “Arabian men rode majestically on the family donkey while their wives, laden with all sorts of burdens, trudged patiently behind on foot. After 1942, however, all that was changed. The wife was emancipated. She now walks in front. There are many unexploded lands mines. . . .”

UPDATE: I’ve switched to a new server, so you can feel free to look around here or check out my new site, which not only has the old stuff, but also will move forward into the future with all my new material.

Because they don’t make ’em like they used to

Cab Calloway in 1934:

And Benny Goodman in 1937:

Just asking….

Is it a bad sign if you have Peanut M&Ms for breakfast because they’re the fastest thing to prepare and have lots of instant energy?

Things here should shudder to a halt in a few hours, and I’ll get to some serious writing then (I hope).  For now, I’ll just chug away, knowing that I’m having a better day than either Edwards or Giuliani (sigh).

From the “they deserve each other” department

I’d grown up hearing that it takes two thieves to strike an honest bargain.  That’s sort of true here, with each side ending up with nothing — which is pretty fair, considering what each was offering the other.

“if I am going to die then I would rather die like a man than a dog.”

It’s a truly dreadful story, but with a happy ending, because a man behaved like a man:

A millionaire yesterday told how he fought off three armed burglars who were holding a knife to his daughter’s throat, saying he “would rather die like a man than a dog”.

Bernard Dwyer, 51, was convinced he and his family were about to be killed so he chose to take on the men – hours after they had allegedly killed a restaurant owner, a court heard.

Mr Dwyer came to his 13-year-old daughter Aisling’s rescue after hearing her piercing screams for help, the Old Bailey was told.

Despite being threatened with a gun, stabbed three times in the head and beaten unconscious with a knuckle-duster, Mr Dwyer fought back as one of his attackers screamed “kill the b******”.

He managed to wrestle a gun from one of the masked raiders and chased them from his luxury home in Uxbridge, West London, in November 2006, the jury heard.

Yesterday, Irish-raised Mr Dwyer, a construction boss, faced two of the three men accused of the burglary.

Brothers Michael and Dean Atkins are also on trial for the murder of restaurant owner Helen Chung, 65, the day before the break-in.

A third man, Joseph Carty, committed suicide in his cell last year while on remand for both offences.

The court heard Mr Dwyer, Aisling, now 14, and his son Danny, 19, were asleep when three men burst in.

He said: “I heard people running up the stairs and Aisling screaming ‘Dad’. I had never heard screaming like that before. I knew something was clearly wrong.”

Mr Dwyer said he jumped from his bed and ran towards Aisling’s room but was confronted at the doorway. “There were three guys coming towards me,” he said.

“All masked, all covered with balaclavas, gloves, padded out, forensically aware.

“One man was holding a gun, waving it about, screaming menacingly.”

He said they attacked him after he agreed to show them where his safe was, one with a knuckle-duster.

Mr Dwyer said: “I took quite a few blows at that point.

“I have seen things on television and I have seen violent stuff but I have never seen this level of violence.

“I was being compliant and they were smashing and bashing me.”

Mr Dwyer was knocked unconscious for a few minutes and when he came round one man was holding a knife to Aisling’s throat and screaming: “I am going to cut your f****** daughter”.

Mr Dwyer said: “We were going to die anyway, that’s what I thought. I thought, if I am going to die then I would rather die like a man than a dog.”

Mr Dwyer pushed the weapon away before striking the attacker.

“I hit him several times, I hit him plenty. The man with the knuckleduster screamed ‘He’s fighting back the b******, kill the b******, he’s fighting back.'”

Mr Dwyer said he was stabbed three times in the head but managed to fight the raiders off and shut the bedroom door. But the men tried to push back in and they fought again, he said. “I have never used a weapon in my life and it was a great feeling.”  [Emphasis mine. –ed.]

“I grabbed the gun and bashed it across the knuckle-duster guy. Next thing is they took off and I chased them down the stairs.”

The raiders fled empty-handed, leaving Mr Dwyer with broken ribs and 30 cuts to his body and head.

Freedom — and its opposite measure

Richard Disney has been combing archives for old political films.  He posted this one on YouTube, and it’s really quite amazing, in its understanding of the benefits of America’s unique freedoms and the risks associated with following the European model and handing those freedoms over to the state:

Hat tip:  Captain’s Quarters

It was a dark and stormy night, and day….

Wow! That was one heck of a storm that passed through here. In our neighborhood, debris was everywhere, trees and fences blew down and, as you might have guessed, power went out. We were sent back to the 19th Century for almost 24 hours. The kids kept busy shuttling up and down the street to play with their various friends (we had six kids having a Nerf shootout in our living room for an hour or so), and Mr. Bookworm and I, huddled under mountains of blankets, read a lot. When daylight ended, I assembled a cold meal and we played charades by candle light until the kids’ bedtime. Then, my husband and I struggled to read for a while more with little flashlights until we gave up, around 9:30 and went to bed. It was a very good reminder (not that I needed one) of how blessed we are to live in the modern era. I do think that few of us appreciate what extraordinary control we exert over our environment — light and dark, heat and cold, they’re all ours to command at the touch of a button. It’s only when the button breaks down that you realize that Nature has been hovering over your shoulder all along and that, ultimately, she has the last word.

Anyway, I’m going to spend the day playing catch-up with work and chores that I couldn’t do yesterday, and definitely with some reading. Indeed, it may not be such a bad thing to have had an information-blackout for 24 hours after Iowa, because it will give me a chance to see things after the dust has settled a bit. I do know that the often prescient Richard Baehr is very depressed about Iowa’s outcome vis a vis, not Huck, but Obama, believing it will catapult the latter into the White House. I hope he’s wrong. I can’t believe that, in time of war and economic insecurity, the American people would be foolish enough to elect as President someone with absolutely no experience at anything beyond academics (more than useless), state legislature (almost useless), and one term in the U.S. Senate (equally almost useless). Still, in the last 100 years alone, the American people elected Warren Harding and Jimmy Carter, so they are prone to aberrant behavior.

“Killed him a bear when he was only three”

I assume you recognize the post title as one of the lyrics from the old Davy Crockett song. It turns out that at least one of Davy Crockett’s descendants is living up to that legacy:

While most kindergartners are thrilled by an action-packed afternoon of finger-painting and clay sculpture, an Arkansas 5-year-old is shooting for something a little more dangerous.

Tre Merritt was in a stand with his grandfather when a black bear came from a thicket at the side of the road, Little Rock news station KATV-TV reported. From about 50 yards away, Tre shot the bear with his youth rifle.

The boy’s grandfather, Mike Merritt, told KATV-TV that Tre’s 10th great-grandfather was Davy Crockett, a legendary outdoorsman who killed a bear at just 3 years old, according to folklore.

Mike Merritt taught his grandson how to shoot when the boy was 2 years old and bragged to KATV-TV that he already had killed three deer.

The family plans to get a life-sized mount of the bear but is not sure where they will put it, KATV-TV reported.

They don’t make them like this anymore

The wonderful Ethel Waters, accompanied by Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, singing one of my favorite songs, “Taking a Chance on Love,” in 1943’s Cabin in the Sky:

An update on “Books!”

I am so impressed by the quality and quantity of book recommendations that you all keep leaving here.  Indeed, in terms of quantity, there have been so many, I thought it might be useful to people trying to scan the list if I inserted in the comments some genre help.

The genre identification is still a work in progress, because I’m not sure how specific to get.  However, as things now stand, you can scroll through and see fairly quickly if a comment has books in a genre that piques your interest.  Let me know if this works for you and feel free to add genre information yourself.  It’s pretty simple:  At the top of each comment, in BOLDED ALL CAPS, I’ve used a few common one or two word descriptions to capture the books recommended in the comment.

American spirit and enterprise

A nice antidote has sprung up to the insane Islamic intolerance that’s currently rearing its head in the Sudan. (See this post below for my take on the subject.) Someone has set up a business marketing cute little stuffed bears that wear t-shirts stating “Protect the right to bear names.” The organization marketing the bears promises to distribute one third of any profits to the New Sudan Education Initiative, a charitable group that works within Sudan to use education to try to mend the terrible damage the innocents in that country have had inflicted upon them. It looks like something that is worth checking out.

UPDATE:  Defective link should be fixed now.

Today’s public health message

I really try not to be neurotic about germs.  I understand that, especially with kids, a few bacteria here and there are good for their immune systems.  Indeed, when my kids were little, I read somewhere that kids who grow up in houses where Mom is too aggressive with the antibacterial sprays actually have compromised immune systems.  I do have a few anti-germ rules, though:  wash your hands when you come home; use anti-bacterial gel after handling shopping carts or riding public transportation; and run a bleach load once a week (’cause you don’t really want to know what kind of gross bacteria grow in your washing machine).  I now have a new item to add to the list:  wash your hotel drinking glass really, really well.

A fun development re Project Valour — IT

If you haven’t yet donated to Project Valour IT, which is holding a fund raiser so that it can continue to donate laptop computers to badly injured troops, your procrastination might have paid off. Holly Aho, the Marine Team coordinator writes with this news:

As of today, anyone who donates more than $25 to the fundraiser on behalf of any team will receive a Soldiers’ Angels gold coin as a gift. There are different coins for each service branch. The donor will receive one that matches the branch they donated on behalf of. Donors MUST use the fundraiser donation links/buttons to qualify.

So, if you want that Marine coin, go here and donate.

The only thing I’ll add is that, much as I love and respect the Army, it pains me to see that it’s in the lead and the Marines are trailing!

Project Valour — IT needs your help

I have been shamefully remiss about reminding readers who come here that Project Valour — IT is in the midst of a fund raising drive so that it can deliver computers to severely injured service people.  The numbers at the fund raising drive are slumping, with only a quarter of the hoped for donations having come in, so we really need to put our backs into it.  I’ve signed up with Marine Team (which is still trailing Army, gosh darn it!), but you should feel free to donate to any one of the teams.  Here’s the link.  Go and do good things!

Life is serious, so let’s see some joy

This video has some of the greatest dancing ever captured on film, not to mention Cab Calloway’s hep contribution:

If you don’t recognize them, those fabulous dancing men are The Nicholas Brothers, Fayard and Harold.

Interesting stuff I don’t have time to blog about

I spent so much time looking at Ron Paul, I ran out of time to say anything about other things I found interesting this morning. Here are quick links:

Obsessive health and safety regulations destroy Britain’s 400 year old Guy Fawkes celebrations.

Dennis Prager notes that education does not predictably turn out people who make good citizens and can, in fact, do the opposite.

Clarice Feldman points out media malaise when it comes to the Bush Administration’s important achievement regarding North Korea.

The Captain notes that Israel’s destruction is only one agenda item for Al Qaeda, and is unrelated to its quest to destroy or subjugate the West.

Thomas Sowell deconstructs the mindless phrase “make a difference.”

Obama believes in transparency for thee, but not for me.

Dick Morris translates Hillary-speak.

Christopher Chantrill writes a great article about real sacrifice and the S-CHIP debate.

Matt Sanchez writes about the unfortunate cascade of Republican gay sex scandals and Leftist charges about hypocrisy.

Today’s “Best of the Web Today,” which manages to hit on so many wonderful points, I can’t limit myself to one squiblet.

UPDATE:  I’m highlighting here an article I almost missed:  Mark Steyn on yet another high cost of illegal immigration, which is one of his best, and that’s very good indeed.

Marine fans — the few, the proud, the cheap!?

Okay, it’s time to get serious here.  I just went over to the pledge and information page for the Project Valour — IT fund raiser and discovered to my immense chagrin that the Marines are trailing the Army.  At this moment, all I can do is quote Claude Raines:  “I’m shocked!  Shocked!”

If you’ve been thinking about donating to this wonderful cause, now is the time.  We Marine supporters cannot let it be said that the Army supporters bested us in fund raising, can we?  The optimal outcome, of course, would be for supporters in every branch to raise the desired amount ($60,000 per branch), but, to my mind, the really, really optimal outcome would be for the Marines to get there first!

We’re Number One! (So Far)

I can’t get any of the clever visuals to work in Word Press, but I can tell you that, as of 22:34 p.s.t., the Marines are in the lead on Project Valour – IT. Let’s keep the momentum going. We want all the teams to win, of course, but we want the Marines to win the most of all.

UPDATE 9:47 PST on 10/30Army is ahead.  Marines need to work harder!

I think she’s one of us

I like Elizabeth Lowell’s romantic thrillers. I’m reading her most recent one, Innocent as Sin, about an adventurous, romantic hunt for a cold-blooded arms merchant.  Early on, at a meeting between an information broker and a 60 Minutes style news group negotiating the handover of information about the bad guy, the information broker offers some photos to prove his case.  As it happens, we, the readers, already know that the photos are what they purport to be.  At page 18, this bit of dialog ensues:

“Pictures are easy to fake,” Carson said.  “Remember the CBS National Guard memos.”

Steele laughed out loud.  “Those were badly done counterfeits.  No intelligence agency would have bought them and no self-respecting journalist should have.”

In my thoughts….

I wanted to say here that I haven’t forgotten the fire engulfing Southern California.  I just have nothing intelligent to add.  All I can do is keep the residents in my thoughts and hope that as many as possible return safely to their homes, without suffering anything more than inconvenience.

Things I really don’t want to know

Just as most of us, at least through childhood, like to cling to the comforting belief that we are all products of some type of immaculate virginal conception (“My parents didn’t do that! Yuck!), so too do I prefer that some fictional characters function in a cerebral world devoid of messy sexuality. I therefore really, really didn’t need to know that Albus Dumbledore, amazing headmaster of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter books, is gay. It is, to my mind, too much information.

Update on Harry Reid’s letter to Rush

Just thought you’d like to know that, with a little more than 20 hours left on the bidding, the current high bid on the letter that Reid (along with 41 Democratic Senators) wrote in an effort to censor Rush Limbaugh is $511,100.00, with all proceeds to go to a fund that benefits Marine families. I’ll look forward to seeing the final bid.

UPDATE: And an update to the update here. At a little more than 18 hours to go, the bidding is at $851,100.00. This is exciting!

The most watched video on the internet — and it’s not about sex

This was a surprise.  Read the whole story here.

Why don’t they move away?

The San Francisco Chronicle has a heartrending story about a couple that earns $53,000 a year, but can only afford a small rental in an icky San Francisco neighborhood:

The hard truth is that $53,000 a year doesn’t cut it anymore in the Bay Area. Tens of thousands of working families in the region, even those with what many would consider decent-paying jobs, find a modestly comfortable standard of living is out of their reach.

A family of four in the Bay Area with two working adults must earn $77,069, equaling an hourly wage of $18.53, just to pay for basic necessities, a study released today calculates. If only one adult works, that figure falls to $53,075, largely because the family doesn’t have to pay for child care, according to the report by the California Budget Project, a liberal Sacramento research group. But that one wage-earner must make $25.52 an hour.

And a single parent with two children needs to take in $65,864 annually, at an hourly wage of $31.67, to cover expenses, the Budget Project figures.

Statewide, the two-working-parent family needs an annual income of $72,343 to cover necessities; the family with one working adult must earn $50,383.

That’s in a state with one of the highest minimum hourly wages in the country – $7.50. In San Francisco, the minimum wage is even higher, $9.14. The federal minimum wage is $5.85.

“Most Californians live on less than $50,000,” said Michael Shires, an associate professor of public policy at Pepperdine University.

The Bay Area is by many measures the richest region in the United States. Median household income – the level at which half of households are above and half below – was $62,024 in 2000, the highest in the nation, according to the Census Bureau.

But that means that almost half of all households in the region don’t take in what the Budget Project reckons is needed to make ends meet. Those families often must do without some of the things viewed as essential to middle-class life, such as health insurance or a separate bedroom for the kids.

You have to plough all the way through article’s hard luck stuff to find the proposed solution, which is, of course, more government money:

The project says its findings show a need for public spending on social programs, such as subsidized child care and health coverage. Health spending is at the center of a major policy debate in California, where Gov. Schwarzenegger and state lawmakers are weighing plans for universal coverage.

“Many families may need assistance to make ends meet,” said Ross, the project’s executive director.

I’d like to propose my own solution, which is one that my parents used when they were living in an economically untenable situation:  move somewhere else.  If the Bay Area is so expensive, move someplace cheaper.  That’s what Americans have been doing since the very first settlers.  If they can’t make it in one place, they move to another.  When did it become a Constitutional right to stay in the geographic region of your choice, a right so important that the taxpayers have to cough up the money so that you can do so?

Abba’s “Cassandra”

I blogged a couple of days about an Abba song and just now found a video of them singing that same song. Enjoy the lyrics, the harmony, the underlying disco rhythm, the music’s lyricism, and the great early 1980s look to it all:

You always discover the “thinkos” later….

I wrote a lengthy article about a week ago, and submitted it to the American Thinker. It got published today. In it, I opine at length about the disconnect between the new name liberals have given themselves — “Progressives” — and the actual regressive nature of so many of their views. It’s an okay article, so I won’t be shy about having you read it. The problem for me is that, when there’s that long lag time between writing and publication, when I finally get around to reading the article, I see all sorts of little writing errors, such as using the word “quickly” twice in two sentences. These aren’t “typos,” because they’re not mistakes my fingers made; they’re “thinkos,” because they’re careless writing mistakes my brain made. Sorry.

UPDATE:  Thomas Lifson, who edits American Thinker, and is a gentleman in the best, old-fashioned sense of the word, sent me an email apologizing for his editing mistakes.  Let me state here and now that the mistakes I wrote about above were all mine.  As I noted, there were no obvious typos, which are, in fact, the kind of mistakes it’s helpful to have an editor catch.  Instead, the mistakes were thinking, stylistic mistakes, and rested purely on my shoulders.  The nature of American Thinker is not such that the editor should, or should be expected to, rewrite the lengthy posts that have to go up with such a rapid turnaround time.  Any awkward prose is my responsibility, not his, which is why I apologized here and why he shouldn’t have to.

George Soros — manipulating for money

If you haven’t been reading the Investor’s Business Daily series about George Soros, why the heck not?  It reveals a man without political principles, who is, instead, driven by a greed that recognizes that there is money to be made from chaos — so he creates the chaos.  He has a knack for gathering around him useful idiots who won’t profit from (and may well be hurt by) his nihilistic policies, but who self-righteously follow him down the path to anarchy. 

The most recent article in the series tackles the issue of transparency or, in other words, the way in which Soros uses his money to manipulate the public so that they think they’re seeing brave crusaders or grass roots efforts in action, rather than understanding that this is one man and his fellow travelers using vast amounts of invisible cash to shift national opinion.

It’s as “If” Kipling was speaking to Bush and Petraeus

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!

— Rudyard Kipling

And if you can’t do all this, you’re probably working for or influenced by MoveOn.org, right?

Man’s brilliant best friend

They’re not just loving companions and helpmates, they’re also smart and have been programmed over the generations to read us like books.

Thankfully, the “blessed moment” may not be so soon after all

I’ve got to head off to get the kids, but I wanted to tip you off to a post at The Jawa Report that’s disturbing at so many levels, not least of which is WordPress’s apparently cavalier approach to a blog it was hosting that seems to be intimating another 9/11 style attack against New York.  Of course, in WordPress’s defense, it may have been keeping that site alive specifically so that there was something for the FBI to investigate.  Had they shut it down, the FBI might have had to start hunting all over again.  As it is, the FBI has now gone public with an investigation of a creepy and threatening site.  Anyway, read the post and see what you think about it.