Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A list of YouTube firsts

Here's the list I submitted to Listverse, which was not used. Someone may find it interesting anyway, so here it is.

Roundhay Garden Scene: The world's earliest surviving motion-picture film, from 1888. It was directed by inventor Louis Le Prince, and was recorded at 12 frames per second.

The earliest known footage of a live Genesis concert, from The Piper Club, Rome, 18 April 1972.

This is the oldest known footage of a Pope in existence. This film of Pope Leo XIII was created in 1896. The audio portion is the oldest known audio recording of Pope, also of Pope Leo XIII recorded in 1903. The audio is Pope Leo XIII chanting the Ave Maria in Latin.

The 30-second live-action introduction to this Betty Boop cartoon, filmed in 1932, is the earliest known footage of Cab Calloway.

Australia's earliest surviving film -- an 1896 movie known as "Patineur Grotesque" or "Humorous Rollerskater", features a clown on skates.

The earliest known recorded vocal performance of Spanish Catalan operatic soprano Victoria de los √Āngeles was privately recorded in 1942.

This, the oldest surviving color videotape footage, from 1958, features an address by President Dwight Eisenhower.

This 1970 clip of “Border Song” is supposed to be the earliest surviving film of a performance by Elton John.

This game of footie is the earliest footage in existence of a Merseyside derby. The game took place on 27th September 1902 at Goodison Park with Everton winning Liverpool 3-1.

This Muay Thai boxing footage is claimed to be the oldest such still extant. Although it’s supposed to be from the 1920s, it has a narrator and a music track, so eh??? Possibly a ringer, but still plenty old.

The oldest film of the Madina Sharif, the Mosque of the Prophet, in Medina, 1938.

One of a collection of business comedy shorts from 1990; they are supposed to be the earliest performance clips of a then-unknown Stephen Colbert.

Monday, June 28, 2010

I like Listverse!

There are innumerable websites out there devoted to top 10 lists of one sort or another. But Listverse, which I discovered via StumbleUpon, seems to be the most "human" of the ones I've encountered so far. Most others I've seen are repackaged from other sites, or seem artificial in some other way. But Listverse is run by a real person in New Zealand, name of Jamie Frater.

All of which is a lead up to presenting a couple of list I submitted which were used on the site: 10 Notable Apologies From The Past Decade and 10 Generals Who Got In Trouble With Their Chiefs. A third list I submitted was poorly conceived and not used, no loss. I'm working on three other lists now, and hope to whip them into submittable shape in a few weeks. This is fun!

Friday, June 25, 2010

In sympathy...

Our best wishes go out to the family of Protein Wisdom's Jeff Goldstein, on the recent passing of his father. These are some photos from Google's LIFE Magazine archive, keyword search "father".

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

June 22nd 1941, Operation Barbarossa begins...

I Gervinus Rothling have emptied life not from a glass but from a magnum. Have known history as I know my own skin. Have crossed and recrossed Europe like Napoleon's hordes, have seen Salonika burning and the face of an old man floating, smiling in the Grand Canal. I have smelled new wheat in the Carpathians and eaten eel, salt-cold from the Tyrrhenian Sea. I have passed my hands over the stone roses in the cloister at Albi and over a woman's hair in a cellar in Kharkov. A magnum, a Jeroboam, till it was empty. God how we lived! Each terrible year like a hundred ordinary years, like a thousand. He was true to his word. A thousand-year Reich inside each of us, a millennium of remembered life. We have left nothing for those who came after. That's our real crime. They are ghosts, plump ghosts, lean ghosts, the whole generation of them. Not their fault. We left them the cold ash of history, the skin of the grape. But I wouldn't trade. I wouldn't.
-- George Steiner, The Portage to San Cristobal of A. H., 1979

Fun with Google

1. Take a look around you, and pick an object, any object that you see. Then, go to images.google.com and search that object with the world "novelty" in front of it. Novelty computer mouse. Novelty teapot. Novelty ashtray. Anything! A great shopping aid.

2. Take the first name of someone you know. Then go to google and search the phrase "______ is a real piece of work", filling in the blank with the name. Then search "________ is a gem" You can also do this with a relative term, like wife, nephew, sister, etc. For lovers of gossip!

Monday, June 21, 2010

A global warming data point is revised

Yes, that Antarctic glacier is melting faster nowadays. But the Pine Island Glacier melt may not be due to global warming. A submersible research device found that it had been sitting on top of a previously unknown rocky ridge, which had heretofore blocked its progress. Now the glacier has separated from the ridge, and so the glacier is flowing unimpeded, and hence faster, into the sea, and therefore melting faster.

It'll be interesting to see if this finding holds up, and how it is worked into the greater skein of climatology. I wish I understood the math, so I could follow this discipline more attentively.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Deepwater Horizon hasn't finished collapsing yet?

An anonymous but seemingly knowledgeable commenter elseweb says that the worst is yet to come.

All the actions and few tid bits of information all lead to one inescapable conclusion. The well pipes below the sea floor are broken and leaking. Now you have some real data of how BP's actions are evidence of that, as well as some murky statement from "BP officials" confirming the same. [...] To those of us outside the real inside loop, yet still fairly knowledgeable, it was a major confirmation of what many feared. That the system below the sea floor has serious failures of varying magnitude in the complicated chain, and it is breaking down and it will continue to.

What does this mean?

It means they will never cap the gusher after the wellhead. They cannot...the more they try and restrict the oil gushing out the bop?...the more it will transfer to the leaks below. Just like a leaky garden hose with a nozzle on it. When you open up the nozzle?...it doesn't leak so bad, you close the nozzle?...it leaks real bad,
same dynamics. [...]

This down hole leak will undermine the foundation of the seabed in and around the well area. It also weakens the only thing holding up the massive Blow Out Preventer's immense bulk of 450 tons. In fact?...we are beginning to the results of the well's total integrity beginning to fail due to the undermining being caused by the leaking well bore.

The first layer of the sea floor in the gulf is mostly lose material of sand and silt. It doesn't hold up anything and isn't meant to, what holds the entire subsea system of the Bop in place is the well itself. The very large steel connectors of the initial well head "spud" stabbed in to the sea floor. The Bop literally sits on top of the pipe and never touches the sea bed, it wouldn't do anything in way of support if it did. After several tens of feet the seabed does begin to support the well connection laterally (side to side) you couldn't put a 450 ton piece of machinery on top of a 100' tall pipe "in the air" and subject it to the side loads caused by the ocean currents and expect it not to bend over...unless that pipe was very much larger than the machine itself, which you all can see it is not. The well's piping in comparison is actually very much smaller than the Blow Out Preventer and strong as it may be, it relies on some support from the seabed to function and not literally fall over...and it is now showing signs of doing just that....falling over.

Dear God, what a shit-shower this is....

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pigs fly, the underworld freezes, and...

...Dhimmi U. acts against the formerly untouchable Muslim Student Union. For years, the MSU has freely romped all over that campus, engaging in recreational disruption and threats against non-Muslims, especially Jews. But it seems that even the granola gobbling multi-cultists running the University of California-Irvine have had enough now.

In making the suspension recommendation, Lisa Cornish, UC Irvine's director of student housing, found that the Muslim Student Union had "planned, orchestrated and coordinated in advance" an effort to disrupt a speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren on Feb. 8 about U.S.-Israeli relations. The recommendation was made in late May but not made public at that time.

Oren was shouted down repeatedly by Muslim students who stood up and delivered statements such as "Michael Oren, propagating murder is not an expression of free speech." Supporters cheered as the students were escorted away by police, and each time Oren attempted to resume his speech, another student jumped up with another outburst.

Eleven UC Irvine and UC Riverside students were arrested and cited for disturbing a public event, but none have been criminally charged. The Muslim Student Union claimed the disruptions were caused by individuals and were not organized by their group.


Isaac Yerushalmi, former president of Anteaters for Israel, which sponsored Oren's appearance in February, said the Muslim Student Union has been "involved in repeated attempts to silence Jewish voices on campus."

And irony fail:

[Reem Salahi, the students' attorney] said she worried the recommendation could jeopardize Muslim life on campus. Victor Sanchez, president of the systemwide UC Student Assn., said he was outraged. "It's almost impossible not to interpret this as a means of the university to silence dissent," he said.

Remember, class: The West "invades". Islam "spreads". Many if not most Muslim immigrants come here for a better life, and to get away from both the government oppression and the fundamentalist crazies that bedevil their homelands. It's not so different a story from that of innumerable earlier waves of immigration. But their children? The tenured radicals are teaching the Muslim kids to despise America and her works, same as they're teaching our children. But in the Muslim case, there's an alternative to the standard leftist bullet points the faculty pushes. There's the dream of a resurgent caliphate and sharia law, imposed on believer and infidel alike. The wreckage wrought by the Destructive Generation can often be repaired merely by prolonged exposure to the real world, and enough 1040s under one's belt. But when The West Is Evil And Must Be Smashed is proclaimed by your college education and your ancestral faith, then hmmm...???

Harrumphs of approval here and here and of course here.

Thus far, and no farther.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Paypal drops Atlas Shrugs for TOS violation

I don’t much care for Pamela Geller's over-the-cliff manner or ideas. (Like, what is she actually going to do with any Muslims who take her up on the offer of sanctuary for leaving Islam?) And Paypal is a private company, not a government agency. Still, the whole point of protecting freedom of speech is that unpopular speech is included in that protection. The New Black Panther Party is sporting a paypal button, as of tonight.

Maybe Geller will have to hit the lecture circuit, to make ends meet.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is still a remarkable woman...

...and a walking refutation of the Left's more dangerous multi-culti delusions.

"Well, she was black, so they could not dismiss her as a racist; she had lived in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, The Netherlands and the United States, so they could not call her an ignorant provincial hick; she was an avowed atheist, so they could not call her a Christian bigot on a crusade against peaceful Islam; and she was multi-lingual, articulate, and brilliant, so they couldn’t just call her stupid. All the pejoratives they usually apply to people who disagree with them wouldn’t work, and so they were left to confront her ideas, and those ideas stripped them naked, rent their garments of superiority and condescension into tatters at their feet, and left them angry and confused, whining to each other in the corners of the room, unable to say anything to her face. Their favorite weapons, ad hominem name- calling and sneering condescension, were disarmed."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Roundup of Helen Thomas fallout...

Comedy first:
"Everyone with a cell phone thinks they're a photographer. Everyone with a laptop thinks they're a journalist. But they have no training and they have no idea of what we keep to in terms of standards."

More than 25 thousand hate emails have been sent--to the rabbi who busted her.
"These are people that feel very mainstream about anti-Semitism and hate. They feel so proud of it. There is an arrogance about it. There is no shame," Nesenoff said.

An aspiring pundit you've never heard of, who is also a self-described non-observant Jew, uses the kerfluffle for a little self-promotion.

For some, the outragey part of the outrage was the outrage displayed by those outraged by Thomas' comments. Shorter: libs are never very comfortable when the peasants answer back, and often warn of a chilling of free speech, when it happens. Kim Priestap over at Wizbangblog parses one such instance.

What to do with the Helen Thomas Award For Lifetime Achievement? The question awaits the photoshop muse of serr8d or Darleen Click.

Liberal and progressive defenders of Thomas complained that she was taken out of context. Well, imagine this scene: A parcel of land is bought by, say, Wal-Mart. It is graded and prepped for the construction of a store. But, homeless people move in and set up a squatters' camp on the construction site. In the ensuing legal set-to, guess which side the libs & proggs would take, the self-same libs & proggs who want to kick the Jews--oops, the settlers--out of Israel altogether?

Thomas has been a long time hard lefty pretending to be an objective journalist. Throughout the Bush administration, it was hard to tell if Thomas was a White House correspondent or a reporter working for Al Jazeera. Now that she has put herself out to pasture, she can spend her time going to all those far left rallies where she can support illegal immigration, socialism and support Hamas all day long.

Don’t let the door catch your tail on the way out Helen!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Random Rock Bloggage

Everyone's seen this already, but it gets better every time I watch it. So, here it is once again. It isn't displaying properly, so double click it to proceed to its home at YouTube.

Perpetuum Jazzile, Toto, Africa

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Liberals: "Unless the terrorists win, the terrorists will have won"

At a view clip of 100,000 hits in two days, chances are that you've already seen this Pat Condell video.

And if you flipped on the news today, you probably saw this news item:

Two New Jersey men were arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport as they were allegedly trying to board separate flights to Egypt on their way to join the terrorist group Al Shabaab and wage "violent jihad" against people outside the U.S., prosecutors said Sunday.

But possibly you didn't see this opinion piece by Richard Bernstein in the NYT last week.

“Fatwa on your head?” the ad reads, in a message apparently aimed at Muslims who want to convert to another religion or simply not to be Muslims anymore. “Is your family or community threatening you?”

Now, I don't trust histrionic blogger Pamela Geller, who is pushing this ad campaign, for much of anything. She still calls Obama a Muslim, for goodness sakes. Yet, capital punishment for apostate Muslims is no invention of hers. The Rifqa Bary circus was, well, it was a circus. But plenty of young Muslim women, not all of them overseas, have been murdered by male family members for less than whatever she was fleeing.

Read the piece yourself. The author concedes pretty much every salient point. Yes, radical Islam is a murderous plague. Yes, the much-hypothesized moderate Muslims are stubbornly silent about it. Yes, there is a stealth jihad lurking in the mosques of America. Yes, honor killing and capital punishment of apostates are uniquely Muslim horrors. But. But, but, but...Admitting those things, and then drawing conclusions from them, making your synapses fire in the same direction as a disdained Red Stater, well that's just too much, apparently. Much more comforting to fall back into the condescending--and safe--liberal habit of bemoaning the stereotypical "vicious cycle", instead:

If there are more terrorist attempts by Muslims on American soil, there will be more Americans paying for bus ads and other things to express their rage at Islam itself as well as at Muslims in America, and to encourage the idea that America is, or ought to be, its and their enemy.

This of course is exactly what the jihadists want them to do. The more we make all Muslims our enemies, the more enemy Muslims we are going to have.

No. Their attacks on us sprang from their own evil hearts, not from anything we did or said. 9/11 was not a wake-up call for me; Jihadists have been murdering Jews and Americans my whole adult life, long before that September morn. If there are more terrorist attacks on American soil, Muslims will be thanking God that the public's response will be no stronger than bus ads. They as well as libs know full well how religious minorities are treated in Muslim lands, and thus ought to realize the fundamental decency of the American people. But evil needs only the slenderest of excuses to urge itself into motion.

Thus far, and no farther.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Random Rock Bloggage

"Pure and Easy" would be a career high for most bands. For The Who, it's an outtake--a remarkable example of how scary fecund Pete Townshend's muse was at The Who's early 70s peak. I don't normally enjoy cover versions of their songs, but this band--who are they, anyway?--have really caught the spirit, IMHO.

Pack mentality

I'm reading internet guru Jaron Lanier's new book, You Are Not A Gadget. I confess that it's taken me some time to not be put off by Mr. Lanier's appearance: usually, the sight of white guys in dreadlocks holding forth on abstract social issues just sets my eyes rolling. But, I've managed to get past that reaction--he is a columnist in my favorite science magazine, after all--and so I've curled up with the book, respectfully listening to what he has to say. I may attempt a review of it for Amazon, later.

So I was reading along, and encountered this passage:

There are recognizable stages in the degradation of anonymous, fragmentary communication. If no pack has emerged, then individuals start to fight. The is what happens all the time in online settings. A later stage appears once a pecking order is established. Then the members of the pack become sweet and supportive of one another even as they goad one another into ever more intense hatred of nonmembers.

I've been online for fifteen years, and I confess that I am not innocent, in either sense of the word, of this phenomenon. To howl and spray-mark among like-minded peers is one of the attractions of forums on the internet, after all. As I grow older, I like to think that I've become more receptive to engaging people of differing views in a civil way, without turning into one of those apathetic types who just don't care anymore about what happens in the world.

But think of a real life pack, for a moment. Have you ever seen a nature doco, where the top hyena or baboon or whatever gets killed, and then the other beasties squabble for some time afterwards, until a new leader emerges, and then things settle down? Something broadly similar happened to one of my formerly favorite blogs, Little Green Footballs. Only instead of the leader being deposed, it was the pack.

I was banned from LGF about two months ago, details here, if you're interested. I haven't been back since. I don't do the stalker thing, and I couldn't see myself pressing my palms and nose up against the glass of the locked door. I've moved on, though I still miss many of the commenters there, of all political persuasions.

Back to the Lanier passage. The original cohort of commentators at LGF, as it hit the big time in the mid-Aughties, were right-wing anti-jihadists, including me. They grew in number and vehemence as LGF became more prominent. Now, we come to each stage of our lives as apprentices. For a long time, Charles Johnson the proprietor seemed to think it sufficient to feature a disclaimer at the top of the comments, and delete the more egregious comments occasionally.

But then came the now-famous revolution in his attitudes. He became more alarmed & repulsed by some of the people ranged alongside him than by the jihadists opposite him. A careful study of the evidence led him to accept the reality of human-caused global climate change. Didn't really bother me; I had always considered him as a real, thinking person, rather than just an internet brand gone all New Coke-y. But long-time participants started getting banned--the details are familiar to any likely readers of this piece--and the commentariat started shifting leftwards, by attrition and replacement. By the time I was booted, liberals and leftists were coming into the ascendancy, and conservatives were keeping their heads down, when not being banned weekly. The old pack had been dispersed, and a new pack was coalescing.

Sidebar: A certain prominent LGF commenter has acquired a reputation as an enforcer on the comment threads. If she's reading, she may think that I harbor resentment towards her. I do not. She didn't ban me; Charles did. She didn't "out" me; I was never hiding. She may remember the volleys of profanity she hurled at me on a number of occasions, and succumb to the natural tendency of projection, and imagine that I was equally hostile with her. It isn't so. It was quickly obvious that we were never going to be best buddies, she and I, but for all the times we crossed cursors, there were other quite friendly exchanges. If she tries hard, she may even remember instances where I made extra efforts to help her celebrate her new life together with one lizardoid, or to make peace with still another.

"...the members of the pack become sweet and supportive of one another even as they goad one another into ever more intense hatred of nonmembers." As the community stood early this year, most of the LGF commenters were decent folks, appreciative of the chance to engage people of opposing views in a mostly civil, mostly intelligent manner, most of the time. But there were enough of the afore-mentioned "enforcers" to make one feel that this balance was temporary, and unanimity would once again be the insisted-upon norm. Everyone would once again be running with the pack.

New cars, old cars....

I hope Chrysler stays in business and continues employing thousands of American workers. But you know, I wouldn't have another Chrysler vehicle if I won it in a raffle. First one I owned was my parents' hand-me-down Dodge Coronet 500. Loved it, but I crashed it one year shy of when it would've been an official antique. Next was a 1986 Plymouth Voyager. A 4-cylinder, it burned up the head gasket every 18 months. Next was a 1992 Acclaim. I took good care of it, but it fell apart like a Shriners clown car. No more for me. I can't afford cheap cars anymore.

So next I bought a used Ford Taurus. It was an off-rental vehicle. I've had it for twelve years, but for the past five it's been three hundred dollaring me to death. I'd have to say that I've gotten my money's worth out of it, but it's coming to the end of its service life. However, I had to get rid of my quote-unquote "good" vehicle recently, a Taurus wagon. The sedan is just worn out, but the wagon was just never much good in the first place. It was manufactured during a period when Ford was investing its talents into its truck and SUV line, and shirking on the car line. The last straw was when it developed multiple fluid leaks. I spent a fortune to fix it, and then not three days later the catalytic converter died. It would have cost double to fix that. I supposed I could have fought the dealership's service department over it, but I had had enough. I bid the old scow a tear-free farewell just three weeks ago, and breathed a silent wish that whatever jalopy lot buys it at the auto auction will not rip off anyone with it. And that's also the end of my ownership of Fords, for the foreseeable future.

Fortunately for me, Toyota's present woes presented a bottom-feeding opportunity, and I bought a new Camry at a decent price. I still see plenty of fifteen and twenty year old Accords and Camrys on the road. Tauruses and Acclaims and Voyagers of that vintage? Not so much, and it's obvious to me that the people driving those old junk buckets are living on nickels and dimes.

So, even though I have a great new vehicle, I still have to buy a replacement for my older Ford. At 150K+ miles, I don't want to wait for it to die. Later on this year I'll buy another new car. I'm thinking a Hyundai Sonata, equipped with a turbo. A turbo-charged Sonata--five years ago that would have sounded almost ungrammatical, wouldn't it? I'm not savvy enough to find & negotiate a good deal on a quality used car, I'm afraid. My wagon came from Carmax--the transaction was pleasant, as advertised. But I'll remember the trouble it caused me long after I forget the amount of money I saved, if any.

Friday, June 04, 2010


I heard Glenn Beck on the radio the other day, jeering over Al and Tipper Gore's divorce. Cheap, cheap, cheap...I would never wish domestic unhappiness on anyone, no matter what their politics.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

A bit of marriage advice from an unlikely source...

From Eric Knight, Lassie Come Home, 1940

"Just afore we go in, Joe," he said, "I want thee to think on thy mother. Tha's growing up, and tha must try to be like a man to her and understand her."

"Now women, Joe, they're not like men. They have to stay home, women do, and manage as best they can. And what they haven't got--well, they've got to spend time in wishing for."

"And when things don't go right, well, they have to take it out in talk and give a man hot words. But if a man's really got any gumption, he gives 'em that much. For he knows a woman really doesn't mean owt by it when she natters and nags and lets her tongue go. So tha mustn't mind it when thy mother talks hard at me, or if she sometimes snaps at thee. She's got a lot to put with these days, and it tries her patience."

I am the breadwinner for our family, and am very grateful that the children have a stay at home mother. If she worked, we'd just spend it all on childcare anyway, so what's the diff?

But she does feel stifled and frustrated sometimes. She sees things that I do that she feels she could do better. And, as far descended into the vale of years as I am, I still bristle with a thin-skinned flush of adolescent defensiveness when that happens. I've slowly learned to just let her vent, quit congratulating myself for being patient under the birching, & try harder to see things her way. An ongoing struggle, one of the many little trials & triumphs that have bound us together.

A couple of generic Xanax tablets don't hurt either, some days... :\