Thursday, April 30, 2009

The hazel wand of chance...

Love this quote:

The universe is supremely complicated to the point that chance can be a practical explanation, if not an ultimate one. Was it chance that sent an asteroid smashing into the Earth 65 million years ago, redirecting the course of reptile and mammal evolution? It's as good a word as "God did it," and conveys exactly as much information. The difference is that "chance" is open to ever deeper investigation, whereas "God did it" is a closed door.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

All Edges Gilt is back

I replaced my scanner, which was not compatible with Windows Vista, and have started scanning vintage book illustrations again. I invite you to browse the images here. Be sure to click on the images for the larger view.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Love across the racial barrier

One of my favorite searches is to go spelunking in Google's news archive. Here's a story I found by keyword searching "negress". It's from The New York Times, in 1911. Heartwrenching...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Deterrent? A deterrent for what?

In the course of reviewing Michael Quinlan's Thinking About Nuclear Weapons, this Times Of London article includes a paragraph which caught my eye:

It is laughable to suggest that, for instance, unilateral British nuclear disarmament would persuade others to follow our virtuous example. Israelis and Pakistanis, and for that matter Iranians, want ultimate deterrents for their own reasons.

Of those three nations, Iran is the only one which does not seek a nuclear "deterrent". Their avowed aim (as the article goes on to state) is not deterrence, but offensive capability, to wipe out the Jews from the Middle East. Indeed, some commentators have claimed that the threat of nuclear retaliation does not scare the mullahs, as it would only amount to a martyrdom which they actively seek, even if only for their own hapless subjects.

Stay tuned

I'm tapering off my anti-depressants. As my highs and lows return, this blog may become more interesting.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Crocs on the way out?

Another clothing fad that I don't have to bother keeping up with, mercifully. Sic transit gloria mundi.

They shall beat their assault rifles into art

I love stories like this. Iraqi art students are turning old munitions into art:

The former Iraqi army soldier approached the students last year and agreed to provide them with a place to work as well as supplies of scrap metal from destroyed Chinese and Russian AK-47s, mortar tubes and grenade launchers.

"These weapons for killing people — I wanted to change them into symbols of love, freedom and life," says the former mine specialist.

"These destroyed guns have a message for all people, that art can bring peace," he adds.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

An unreported cause of poverty

So I was watching The News Hour on PBS tonight, and they had a segment on the working poor. The person they selected was a woman named Scharf (I forget the first name, sorry) who was running to stand still, financially. The segment ticked off a number of misfortunes she was faced with, and how tough it was for her. One cause of her straits that was mentioned but not analyzed was probably the biggest one: she is a single mother. Single motherhood is a sure ticket to financial struggles in America, documented umpty times over, yet there was no discussion of it in Ms. Scharf's case. That would be too insensitive, and also violate the liberal precept that single parenthood is simply one lifestyle choice among many, none better or worse than another.

Monsters vs Aliens

I took my kids to see Monsters vs Aliens today, and while it was fun and everything, I was struck by how many cliches it packed in. The male lead was a heel; the villain had a British accent; the female lead needed men like a fish needs a bicycle; there were unsubtle digs at George W. Bush and the war on terror; and a jarringly overt global warming reference. All aimed at kids, the better to indoctrinate them into liberal orthodoxy, apparently. Except for the bit about the British accent, I suppose. Britain isn't politically incorrect, SFAIK.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


I threw my back out today, in a way I've never even heard of before. I didn't lift anything, nor bend awkwardly. I was sitting in my chair, turned just so, and hiccuped violently. The spasm cramped a back muscle, ow!