Call’em like we see’em

“The House of Representatives packed up and went home for elections, and we can’t say we’re sorry to see the Members go. Senators are lingering for a while longer, but it’d be better if they left too and didn’t return until they’re at least prepared to fulfill constitutional duties, like confirming judges. The best that can be said about the 107th Congress is that it managed to do less damage than usual.” —The Wall Street Journal

National Novel Writing Month

Hmmmmm…..motivation?

November is designated National Novel Writing Month; the object for participants: to write a 50,000-word novel, beginning midnight, November 1, ending midnight, November 30 (actually, midnight would be December 1, but trying to convince people of this is like trying to convince them that the new millennium really began at midnight, January 1, 2001 — which it did, by the way).

As the site states, it’s a kamikaze approach to writing, where quantity reigns over quality. Output is the only thing that matters. Gee, maybe I could write a novel this way. . .

Speaking of slaps to the face…

“Of course, it’s a tragedy that the peace prize was awarded to Carter and not Reagan. I mean, who did more for world peace? Who did a great deal to end the Cold War? Who did a great deal to disarm and dismantle the Soviet Union, that mortal threat to world peace? Who removed the shadow of global annihilation from us, if only temporarily? Who envisioned a shield, not a sword?

“National Review once opined, many years ago, that, every year, the Nobel peace prize should go to the U.S. secretary of defense: The American military is the number-one guarantor of peace in the world. But maybe something like a Nobel freedom prize would be a more appropriate award for Reagan than a peace prize.” —Jay Nordlinger

American “force”

There has been a lot of gnashing of teeth over Bush admininstration foreign policy, that the United States is “forcing” its will on the rest of the world, and rather we should just go along with what other countries have to say and just forget about our sovereignty and national security (read: Daschle). After all, what has America accomplished with force that successful negotiation could not top?

“Name, in the past hundred years, a single important triumph for peace and for liberal democracy that was purchased by the jaw-jawing the Nobellians so admire. No rush, take your time. Now, look at what American war-war (and the threat of American war-war) won: the defeat of the fascist attempt to rule the world; the defeat of the Communist attempt to rule the world; the consequent rebuilding of a Europe protected by American arms into a democratic and peaceful continent for the first time in history; the rebuilding of an American-protected Japan into a democratic and peaceful nation for the first time in history; the emergence of a world in which, for the first time in history, the peaceful values of liberal democracy are the ascendant norm. No, no, it remains unthinkable. To imagine American force was a force for good, one would have to imagine America was a force for good. And this, the Bourbons of Oslo will never, never do.” —Michael Kelly

Don’t need a father, eh Murphy Brown?

“Fathers’ involvement [with their children] seems to be linked to improved verbal and problem-solving skills and higher academic achievement. Several studies found that the presence of the father is one of the determinants of girls’ proficiency in mathematics. And one pioneering study showed that along with paternal strictness, the amount of time fathers spent reading with them was a strong predictor of their daughters’ verbal ability. For sons the results have been equally striking. Studies uncovered a strong relationship between fathers’ involvement and the mathematical abilities of their sons. Other studies found a relationship between paternal nurturing and boys’ verbal intelligence.” —David Popenoe

Why it’s freedom of religion, not freedom from

“Certainly we do not want men to allow their Christianity to flow over into their political life, for the establishment of anything like a really just society would be a major disaster.” —C.S. Lewis (translating the Devil’s words), The Screwtape Letters

Blast from the past

Well, not that far past. October 2001, to be exact, but rather timely since there is new gun regulation being discussed in the wake of the DC metro serial sniper attacks:

“There are so many laws concerning the purchase and use of guns, including background checks, that it is hard to understand why any more are needed. Guns will always fall into the wrong hands, and criminals are not going to be governed by any of the gun laws. The gun laws have but one purpose: to discourage honest citizens from purchasing and owning firearms. No amount of laws will ever prevent someone intent on getting a gun from doing so.” —Dick Boland, nationally syndicated columnist

No more AOL CDs campaign

Jim McKenna and John Lieberman have begun a campaign to send back 1 million CDs to snail mail spammer AOL. Just send Jim and John any AOL CDs you have received (yes, at your own expense), and when they collect 1 million of them, they plan to drive to AOL headquarters and dump the load at the front door.

AOL is not the only ISP that engages in this practice — AT&T and Earthlink are guilty, as well as others — but AOL is by far the worst abuser. Most people who receive the AOL CDs in the mail, or in a magazine, just toss them. The campaign is to simply ask AOL to stop sending out unsolicited CDs and contributing to more waste in landfills. Address info is at the aforementioned site.

Biggest LEGO set ever

Thirty-eight inches long. Twenty-four inches wide. Over 3,100 pieces. Twelve-hour minimum build time. I must have one. Perhaps someone will buy it for me for my birthday or Christmas?

More on the fake Microsoft switcher

John Gruber has uncovered the lies Microsoft is putting forth to cover its previous lie of a Mac user switching to Windows XP.

What’s so hysterical is not that the fake switcher was outed as a publicist working for a Microsoft-hired PR firm, but that she was exposed through examination of a Word document, posted on the original Microsoft switcher page. Yes, “Microsoft’s own crappy file format” is responsible for their being caught in a lie to cover the previous lie. As John says, “Everyone loves a story about people fishing personal data out of Microsoft’s own Word files.” And yet another reason to not use Word for your own, or your company’s, word processing usage. There are alternatives, people. . .