Tarry for the Nonce

December 31, 2005

First Impressions

Filed under: Entertainment — lmwalker @ 10:47 pm

In this world there exists such a thing as a Pride and Prejudice Board Game.

Honest. I’ve seen it. Actually, I participated in an honest-to-goodness game!

I must acquire one. And one for the Sridhar Rao family too.


December 28, 2005

Shall We Sing Again?

Filed under: Uncategorized — lmwalker @ 12:17 pm

Happy Birthday to You!!
Happy Birthday to You!!
Happy Birthday, dear Aunt Lo-ri!!
Happy Birthday to You!!

. . . and many mooooooooooore!

Shall We Sing?

Filed under: Rambles — lmwalker @ 12:16 pm

Happy Birthday to You!!
Happy Birthday to You!!
Happy Birthday, dear Ma-ark!!
Happy Birthday to You!!

. . . and many mooooooooooore!

Guns Kill Canadians Too

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 12:12 pm

Despite Canada’s tight restrictions on handguns, they have seen a surge in gun violence.

Of course, the blame is placed squarely on shoulders of the Americans:

“It’s a sign that the lack of gun laws in the U.S. is allowing guns to flood across the border that are literally being used to kill people in the streets of Toronto,” [Toronto Mayor David] Miller said . . .

“The U.S. is exporting its problem of violence to the streets of Toronto,” he said . . .

Miller said the availability of stolen Canadian guns is another problem, and that poverty in certain Toronto neighborhoods is a root cause.

Gee . . . ya think? If Canada should ban handguns altogether and if the United States should follow suit, what’s to stop the street gangs from obtaining their weapons from Mexico? Or illegally, as they are doing now?

Quite a deep thinker, that Toronto mayor.

When You See the Sun A’Risin’

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 12:04 pm

A daily dose of vitamin D could cut the risk of cancers of the breast, colon and ovary by up to a half, a 40-year review of research has found . . .

A growing body of evidence in recent years has shown that lack of vitamin D may have lethal effects. Heart disease, lung disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis are among the conditions in which it is believed to play a vital role. The vitamin is also essential for bone health and protects against rickets in children and osteoporosis in the elderly.

Egads. Please make sure to ingest your Vitamin D and get some sun. The new recommendation is 25 micrograms a day.

An Unpopular Profession

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 11:55 am

I applaud the anti-abortion attitude of South Dakota:

The last doctor in South Dakota to perform abortions stopped about eight years ago; the consensus in the medical community is that offering the procedure is not worth the stigma of being branded a baby killer . . .

A 17-member abortion task force, made up largely of staunch abortion opponents, issued recommendations to the Legislature this month . . .

[T]he task force recommends requiring that a woman watch an ultrasound of her fetus, that doctors warn women about the psychological and physical dangers of abortion, and that women receive psychological counseling before the abortion, among other measures . . .

State law forbids any public funding for the $450 procedure.

Although requiring a woman to watch an ultrasound of her fetus seems a little pointless, I see nothing extreme about any of these measures. NARAL is displeased, but I don’t see why they should care if a woman receive psychological counseling or be given the information to make a fully informed decision.

The South Dakotans are applying a useful form of peer pressure. North Dakota and Mississippi are also in the position of having only one abortion provider apiece, thanks to the general public stigma. So, bravo. From a libertarian and utilitarian viewpoint, that’s the proper way to do it.

December 27, 2005

Top Ten Christmas Songs

Filed under: Uncategorized — lmwalker @ 12:32 pm

For the past couple years, I’ve made lists of my top ten Christmas Carols (see 2003 and 2004). I always make them without peeking at previous years, but I am surprised at how consistent my taste is.

1. O Holy Night
I don’t know why the 1847 O Holy Night remains my favorite Christmas Carol. I just love everything about it. When done well, the “faaaaaaall . . . on your kneeeeeees” line gives me chills. Interestingly enough, the carol was attacked by some of the French clergy because the music was written by a Jewish man (Adolphe Adam, the composer of Giselle) and the lyrics were written by Placide Cappeau, a social radical.

2. Little Drummer Boy
This 1958 carol has more spoofs than not, but I love the versions by Bing Crosby and Julie Andrews.

3. What Child Is This?
I prefer the 1871 original with the varied chorus. The adapted (simpler) version is bland. Oh, and I think Julie Andrews’s rendition is my favorite.

4. Christmas in Killarney
. . . as only Bing can sing it.

5. Baby, It’s Cold Outside
I have a sentimental attachment to this song and I think my favorite rendition – by far – is the 2003 one by Leon Redbone and Zooey Deschanel.

6. Sleigh Ride
This 1950 carol also has a fairly lame spoof, but I enjoy the imagery. It’s just as winter should be.

7. Winter Wonderland
This 1934 carol has been spoofed as a Chemistry Wonderland, a Computer Wonderland, a Consumer Wonderland, an E-mail Wonderland, Grepping in a ‘^(Unix|Wonderland)$’, Happily Addicted to the Web, and Walking in a Doggie Wonderland. I prefer the original Winter Wonderland by Perry Como and the Andrews Sisters.

8. Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
Despite wikipedia’s ultra-silly attempt to sexualize the song, I think it is sweet and innocent and charming, especially as sung by Dean Martin. It has been spoofed as I Hate Snow, Prove It’s So and The Net is Slow.

9. I’ll Be Home for Christmas
The 1943 carol is excellent – especially when sung by Bing Crosby – and had a special poignancy for me this year. It has been spoofed as I’ll Be Cloned for Christmas.

10. Angels We Have Heard on High
The 1862 Angels We Have Heard on High is also known as Les Anges dans nos Campagnes and even has an alternate version. Does it matter as long as we get to sing the “Glo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ria, in excelsis Deo!”?

And there you have it.

What Media Bias?

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 11:40 am

The Media Research Center has compiled a list of 2005 Notable Quoteables: the 18th Annual Awards for the Year’s Worst Reporting. Among the highlights are . . .

MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews’s obsequious attention to Cindy Sheehan:

Sheehan: “Weíre not going to cure terrorism and spread peace and good will in the Middle East by killing innocent people or ó Iím not even saying our bullets and bombs are killing them. The occupation ó they donít have food, they donít have clean water, they donít have electricity. They donít have medicine, they donít have doctors. We need to get our military presence out of there, and thatís whatís gonna start building good will….I see Iraq as the base for spreading imperialism….”
Matthews: “Are you considering running for Congress, Cindy?”
Sheehan: “No, not this time….”
Matthews: “Okay. Well, I have to tell you, you sound more informed than most U.S. Congresspeople, so maybe you should run.”

Matthews fawning over the ever-despicable Jane Fonda:

Fonda: “From an historical point of view, they were defending their country. If we had been invaded and an invading force came into this country and divided us in half at the Mississippi River…we would understand why people were fighting….We should never have been there [in Vietnam].”
Matthews: “There were a lot of people, Jane, who….canít imagine slipping out of their American skin, their American soul and becoming so objective, as you just were a minute ago….How do you step out of being an American to make such an objective judgment?”

NBC anchor Matt Lauer’s doomed attempt to foist low morale on the soldiers:

Lauer: “Talk to me…about morale here. Weíve heard so much about the insurgent attacks, so much about the uncertainty as to when you folks are going to get to go home. How would you describe morale?”
Chief Warrant Officer Randy Kirgiss: “In my unit morale is pretty good. Every day we go out and do our missions and people are ready to execute their missions. Theyíre excited to be here.”
Lauer: “How much does that uncertainty of [not] knowing how long youíre going to be here impact morale?”|
Specialist Steven Chitterer: “Morale is always high. Soldiers know they have a mission. They like taking on new objectives and taking on the new challenges….”
Lauer: “Donít get me wrong here, I think you are probably telling me the truth, but a lot of people at home are wondering how that could be possible with the conditions youíre facing and with the attacks youíre facing. What would you say to those people who are doubtful that morale can be that high?”
Captain Sherman Powell: “Sir, if I got my news from the newspapers also, Iíd be pretty depressed as well.”

And the rampant ethnocentricity of CNN anchor Carol Lin in her description of French teenagers of Tunisian descent.

“Itís been 11 days since two African-American teenagers were killed, electrocuted during a police chase, which prompted all of this.”

Rampant Hypocrisy

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 11:27 am

The United States refused to take on Kyoto commitments, creating much international bitterness and awkwardness.

Britain and Sweden are the only European countries honouring their Kyoto commitments to cut greenhouse gasses, according to a think-tank report.

. . . 10 out of the 15 European Union signatories – including Ireland, Italy and Spain – will miss their targets without urgent action, the Institute for Public Policy Research found.

France, Greece and Germany are given “amber warnings” and will only achieve the objectives if planned policies are successfully carried out . . .

Recent figures show carbon dioxide emissions increasing in 13 out of the 15 countries, including Britain, the report says . . .

Ministers set themselves the target of reducing CO2 emissions by 12.5 per cent from their 1990 levels by 2012, but Britain’s production of the gas has increased by 9 per cent since 1999.

Perhaps the United States was simply refusing to commit to the impossible.

My Native Habitat

Filed under: Anecdotes — lmwalker @ 11:13 am

I had a great deal of fun this morning building a Yahoo avatar.

Yahoo! Avatars

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