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Posted by Administrator in Cultural Pessimism, Global Warming, Humor.

Hurricanes are down, with not one of these storms this year making landfall in the US.

While they simply are now down to a 150 year normal average, I note with some real amusement that this season was nothing compared to what the global warming Chicken Littles have been proclaiming all year.

So, I vote for a counter-claim; this year’s hurricane season is indicative of global cooling, and all residents of Upper Minnesota, Michigan and Maine and any other state close to the 49th Parallel (Washington, Montana, North Dakota) need to move south, immediately, before the onslaught of glaciers that are sure to follow this dangerous trend in world weather patterns.

Global cooling, as we all know, is directly related to increased water vapor in the atmosphere, said water vapor emanating from the breath emissions of billions of humans exhaling thousands of gallons of vapor per minute, every day of the year!!!!. World environmental organizations are calling for the mandatory application of vapor-trapping masks that all humans must wear, 24 hours per day (China and India will be exempt for the first five years of the program). Countries that fail to follow Mask Protocol will be expected to show proof of Vapor Abatement in alternative forms, including the application of vigorous euthanasia laws to “encourage” the local national populaces to reduce their vapor emissions by reducing their local national populaces.

Alternatively, the offending countries might abate their Vapor Emissions by holding their collective breath until they turn collectively blue.


My New Hero November 27, 2006

Posted by Administrator in Drama, Humor, Personal, Smart People.

Given my current tendency towards crankiness (see my post on Thanksgiving), this fellow, Gregory House, MD (played with sublime cantankerousness by noted English actor Hugh Laurie) is my new hero. House is a brilliant diagnostician with no patience AT ALL for human idiocy. He is at turns sarcastic, irascible, opinionated, offensive, outrageous, ornery, brilliant, bitterly ironic, cranky, obnoxious, insightful, abusive and very, very funny.

We do not have cable, but we do have a DVD player, and spent some of the otherwise unhappy Thanksgiving holiday watching House tear into every living person around him and solve any number of seemingly impossible medical cases.

Just Take that Champagne Flute and Jam It You Know Where. . . November 25, 2006

Posted by Administrator in Cultural Pessimism, Personal.

Y’know, I usually love Thanksgiving. Good meal, good friends and family, time off from school. . .decent football on the Tube. . .but this one kind of smelled. Three reasons:

  1. My dad’s health has taken a turn for the worse. Lung cancer is a real possibility.
  2. Two very good friends haved decided to divorce. Why? Infidelity? Abuse? Alcoholism? Nothing so prosaic. They simply “don’t love one another anymore.”
  3. Someone who my wife and I are both very close to is a complete, out-of-control alcoholic.

As for #2, this is a source of serious angst for me. This couple has been together 24 years, and have had it so easy as a couple. . .when they find the first hurdle, they throw in the towel. . .saying that it is better in essence to search elsewhere for true love.

Bullshit. They’d already found it. . .but when they discovered that it takes a little bit of work to make it happen, they quit. Any culture that can convince normally sane people like this couple that such behavior is normative deserves to be overrun by the barbarians.

As for #3, this painful behavior was also painfully evident throughout my Thanksgiving . . . to the point that my wife had to make some pointed observations and not-so-nice remarks to get this person to pull his/her head out of his/her rectal orifice and GET HELP, as in yesterday.

But no, like the folks from #2, they all are quite happy in their little worlds of idiocy, living and sleeping in fertilizer of their own making, ignoring the evident and overwhelming stench and calling it paradise on earth, all the while making the popular, modern, relativist claim that what they are doing it right for them, and asking, “Who are you to judge that we’re making wrecks of our lives and asses out of ourselves?”

Yeah, right, whatever. This sort of idiocy is why I cannot go back to educational administration. See, as teacher, I get to work with adolescents, who think and act their age. Maddening, but appropriate, and therefore, I can live with it and even sympathize with it.

But when I come across adults acting like adolescents, such as married couples who would rather quit on a very strong marriage than spend just a bit of effort to revitalize it, or an adult with over 60 years of common sense claim that he/she can “quit anytime I want” while repeatedly stumbling around in the most wretched of alcoholic stupors, claiming to be “in control”, or parents unwilling to discipline the slightest error in the ways of their children. . .well then, folks, I tend to just get a wee bit cranky.

Christmas will be better, I am sure of it. But in the meantime, don’t come near me with a champagne flute unless you crave an appointment with your local proctologist. I ain’t in the mood right now. . .

Scarlett Johansson falls off the map November 22, 2006

Posted by Administrator in Cultural Pessimism, Drama, Liberal self-loathing.
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She is without doubt, one of the actresses most pleasing to the eye in Hollywood right now.

But sad to say, her looks some day will fade. And when they do, it appears she will have little to recommend her.

Not only is her shirt stuffed with casaba melons, but apparently her braincase also contains a casaba melon when it needs a brain.

The Lost in Translation star last month boasted about being so “socially aware” she gets tested for HIV twice a year.

Johansson says, “We are supposed to be liberated in America but if our president had his way, we wouldn’t be educated about sex at all.

“Every woman would have six children and we wouldn’t be able to have abortions.” (LINK)

Well, she’s lost, anyway.

Here’s the ironic part: On the above link, you may scroll down to find “related news.” The first headline?

Scarlett Johansson: ‘I’m Not Promiscuous’

Um, yeah, sister. Whatever.

Local High School Football makes ESPN.com November 19, 2006

Posted by Administrator in Sports.
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Though not in the way they had been hoping to. (LINK)

BOTHELL, Wash. — Two Washington high schools played nine overtimes in the state playoffs Saturday, tying a national record set in 1977.

Luke Jones’ 10-yard touchdown run lifted Bothell to a 43-40 victory over Pasco. The teams were tied at 14 after regulation.

“I’m 41 years old and I’ve played football since I was eight, and I’ve never seen a game like this,” Bothell coach Tom Bainter told The Seattle Times. “I feel heartbroken for [Pasco] and so excited for our kids.”

The last nine-OT prep game was played Sept. 23, 1977 — nearly 30 years ago. Detroit Southeastern beat Detroit Northeastern 42-36.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

Bothell is where I went to grade school. . .many, many moons ago. Pasco is the high school that serves the community in which I work. (It is NOT the high school whose team I root for). Pasco High has over 2500 kids, and is long known for dominating the state sports scene. I must say that I take some small delight in their losing.

Jimmy Stewart was not an “angry man” November 19, 2006

Posted by Administrator in Drama.
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Richard Schickel, film critic for Time Magazine, puts his foot in it when he describes the legendary film actor Jimmy Stewart as “an angry man”, claiming that with roles such as It’s a Wonderful Life, Mr. Smith goes to Washington and most notably, Vertigo (and I would add Rear Window to this list) showed that he was an mad person.

Nonsense. One need not be an angry man to play angry characters. Stewart was a well-rounded actor, capable of playing a fair range of roles, and playing all of them very well. He’s near the top of my favorite actor list (though he’ll never catch Paul Scofield), and there is a fairly good article to follow that provides a decent synopsis. Schickel’s folly is towards the end of it.

Jimmy Stewart: Much to admire, no dirt to find

POSTED: 1:51 p.m. EST, November 17, 2006

var clickExpire = “12/17/2006”;

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) — For biographers seeking to chronicle the misdeeds of mid-century superstars, James Stewart presents a problem: small-town upbringing; major Hollywood figure for decades; decorated war hero; faithful husband and loving father, untouched by scandal.

Celebrity biographer Marc Eliot faces the challenge with “Jimmy Stewart,” a thorough examination of the actor’s life and career, with not a sniff of sensation.

Peter Bogdanovich had written that Stewart had an affair with Kim Novak while they were making “Bell, Book and Candle” and “Vertigo.” Eliot checked it out with Novak.

“She said she had been in love with Richard Quine, the director of ‘Bell, Book and Candle,’ ” Eliot remarked. “She added that Jimmy was married, and there was no way that she would have an affair with a married man.”

Speaking by telephone from New York, Eliot said he had devoted three years to researching and writing “Jimmy Stewart.” He spent a year trying to win over Kelly Stewart Harcourt, one of Stewart’s twin daughters. Finally, she agreed to be interviewed, as long as she would not appear to be authorizing the book.

“I wanted to find out what it was like for Stewart to become a father, and then to have twin daughters, as well as adopting his wife’s two sons,” said Eliot. “As he grew older, he matured, and I think the family was a great help.”

In 1949, after being known for years as Hollywood’s No. 1 bachelor, Stewart married Gloria Hatrick McLean, a beautiful divorcee with connections in East Coast society. He was 41.

Why did Stewart wait so long to marry?

“Jimmy was incredibly shy around women, especially Hollywood women,” Eliot remarked. “Marlene Dietrich all but attacked him, and Ginger Rogers was crazy about him. These were not women who reminded him of his mom and what a family life was all about.”

The author believes that Stewart adored Margaret Sullavan; she had worked with him and Henry Fonda in summer theater. But Sullavan married Fonda. Stewart was grateful to Sullavan for helping his early Hollywood career by insisting on him as co-star in her films.

Making his own way

James Maitland Stewart was born May 28, 1908, in Indiana, Pennsylvania, where his father ran a hardware store. The Stewarts were “a strong, America-based family with a great military heritage,” Eliot said. Jimmy played the accordion, acted in a Boy Scout play and lived a small-town life.

His father, a Princeton University grad, wanted his son to follow him, and Jimmy did. He majored in architecture but got waylaid by a fellow student, Josh Logan, who enlisted him for college dramatics. After graduation, Logan persuaded Stewart to join Sullavan and Fonda at the University Players in Falmouth, Massachusetts.

“Stewart never faded away from the consciousness of the American moviegoing public,” Eliot said. “When you think about the actors of the 1930s, very few of them remained relevant so long in their careers.”

From his film debut in 1935 as a reporter in “The Murder Man,” he quickly rose to stardom and finished the decade with his stirring role in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” (1939. The following year, he won an Academy Award for “Philadelphia Story.”

Drafted into the Army in 1941, he advanced from private to colonel, flying 20 bombing missions over Germany. After the war, he was concerned that his studio, MGM, had no plans for him. Then Frank Capra borrowed him for “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and his career revived.

In the decades that followed, Stewart remained a screen favorite in Hitchcock thrillers, comedies, dramas and an abundance of Westerns. Even when the features dwindled in the 1980s, he remained current with TV appearances on the Johnny Carson, Dean Martin and Carol Burnett shows, as well as the repeated TV screenings of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

“In the history of American movies, James Stewart was probably the purest of actors,” Eliot said. “One reason was that he was not interested in directing, producing or having a film company. He was basically an actor.

“Because of that — and with the guidance around him — he was able to focus on his character, which he developed and played with variations. I think the character he played was closer to him, more so than any other actors who developed lifelong personas.”

Richard Schickel, film historian and reviewer for Time magazine, has a different view of Stewart, one that reflects Stewart’s performances in such films as Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo.”

“This is one angry man,” Schickel said. “Think of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.’ A Stewart performance I admire greatly is in ‘Anatomy of a Murder.’ He’s playing a kind of foxy guy, but when he gets in that courtroom he can really rip and snort.

“Everybody thinks of him as this adorable, aw-shucksy kind of guy. What about the Anthony Mann Westerns; those are really smart, tough performances. I think he was very clever in the conduct of his career in that he set aside the aw-shucksy side of his younger years. As he matured, he became a much tougher figure to be reckoned with.”

Temporary Burn-out November 14, 2006

Posted by Administrator in Blogging, Personal.

Wasted.  Tired.  WAYYY too much going on.  There is the football team doing real well, my wife in Carolina for a few days. . .still have no recovered from that. . .work is INSANE just now. . .Hutch High took a long three days. . .I’m beginning to wonder if I am suffering from SAD. . .the elections have nothing to do with any of this. . .I just have nothing left over to blog just now. . .

An illustration of faith in the sciences. November 4, 2006

Posted by Administrator in Cultural Pessimism, Education, Faith, Science.
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OPENING CAVEAT: I hold no brief and very little interest in whether or not Sasquatch exists. In the end, I really could not care less if the hirsute monster exists or not.
Seems this fellow named Meldrum, a Ph. D in anatomical sciences, has been gathering data on Bigfoot for the past ten years, and has been publishing papers on the creature, has come to the point of claiming that the big guy actually exists.

For the past 10 years, he has added his scholarly sounding research to a field full of sham videos and supermarket tabloid exposes. And he is convinced he has produced a body of evidence that proves there is a Bigfoot.

“It used to be you went to a bookstore and asked for a book on Bigfoot and you’d be directed to the occult section, right between the Bermuda Triangle and UFOs,” Meldrum said. “Now you can find some in the natural science section.”

A number of his colleagues, whom I suspect bear a spiritual resemblance to their philosophical master in foolishness PZ Myers, are rumbling their discontent and suggesting that Meldrum have his tenured position at Idaho State University revoked.

Martin Hackworth, a senior lecturer in the physics department, called Meldrum’s research a “joke.”

“Do I cringe when I see the Discovery Channel and I see Idaho State University, Jeff Meldrum? Yes, I do,” Hackworth said. “He believes he’s taken up the cause of people who have been shut out by the scientific community. He’s lionized there. He’s worshipped. He walks on water. It’s embarrassing.”


. . .many (ISU) scientists are embarrassed by what they call Meldrum’s “pseudo-academic” pursuits and have called on the university to review his work with an eye toward revoking his tenure. One physics professor, D.P. Wells, wonders whether Meldrum plans to research Santa Claus, too.

Despite this, Meldrum has some supporters, including his dean,

“He’s a bona fide scientist,” Kijinski said. “I think he helps this university. He provides a form of open discussion and dissenting viewpoints that may not be popular with the scientific community, but that’s what academics all about.”

and naturalist Jane Goodall,

Her blurb on the jacket of Meldrum’s new book, “Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science,” lauds him for bringing “a much-needed level of scientific analysis” to the Bigfoot debate.

“As a scientist, she’s very curious and she keeps an open mind,” said Goodall spokeswoman Nona Gandelman. “She’s fascinated by it.”

Now, I could well be wrong, but suspect that PZ would be clamoring for the removal of Dr. Meldrum’s tenure in that it does not fit the established mantra of acceptable science. For years, Bigfoot has been equivalent to the Loch Ness monster and the Abominable Snowman; rural legends designed to chill the blood of exurban housewives and gullible schoolchildren.

Yet, Dr. Meldrum has persistently explored this phenomenom based on one incident:

Meldrum said it was a decade ago in Walla Walla, Wash., that he first discovered flat 15-inch footprints in the woods. He said he thought initially that they were a hoax, but noticed locked joints and a narrow arch – traits he came to believe could only belong to Bigfoot.

That’s what set the hook,” Meldrum said. “I resolved at this point, this was a question I’d get to the bottom of.”

This lone discovery, aided I am sure by not a little FAITH in the possibility that the smelly brute exists, caused him to go against the entrenched FAITH of the acceptable scientific community and pursue this line of inquiry.

I’ll admit, I may be wrong in saying that PZ might have no problem with this research; save for this caveat: If I told PZ initially that Meldrum was a Christian, you may well bet that he would dismiss Meldrum’s Bigfoot mania as a direct symptom of his religious gullibility. But if I told Myers that Meldrum was atheist, or even agnostic, Myers would be much more open to Meldrum’s indulgence in this line of inquiry.

Hence, Myers’ own faith would reveal itself.

There is concept in philosophy, known as the Aristotle’s “Three Acts of the Mind.” Science restricts itself-and rightfully- to the third act of the mind, that of what may be known by reason alone. The difficulty is that we have other knowledge that comes about from beyond reason; emotion, hunches, instincts (beyond simple reflexes). Meldrum, in indulging in these hunches, has also used his reason to cause the scientific community to reconsider its notions of truth. But many scientists, and PZ is forefront among them, cling too much to their own faith in the Third Act of the Mind as the sole arbiter of truth, rendering them incapable of interpreting more subtle -and sometimes not so subtle- truths that are right in front of them.

And in hewing to that Third Act as a gospel route to Truth, render their truths immediately suspect. They hold to faith, without ever admitting that faith may exist.

An intellectual oxymoron of breathtaking simplicity, yet powerfully damaging.