30 June 2006

Quote for the day

"A woman for children, a boy for pleasure, but for real ecstasy, a goat."
A British medical officer to a recruit (in pre-politically correct 1944), quoted in an article about Gurkhas in The Atlantic Monthly.

No wonder they lost the Empire...

20 June 2006

I'm shocked, shocked...

Anyone besides me see the new series Lucky Louie?
I hit the remote button and dropped into the middle of the show last week and my jaw dropped.
Not at what they were saying or doing (well, maybe a little bit), but the fact that they were doing it on something close to 'national television'.
Is the show great? No.
Is it good? Close.
Is it like a train wreck? Well, I can't stop watching it. (Besides, it comes on after Deadwood, and that's a given.)
So, if the notion of watching people say things that even you might never say, but laughing your ass off while they do it, sounds like fun, check it out. HBO, of course.

13 June 2006

Distaff coworkers

To misquote Charles de Gaulle:
"The graveyards are full of indispensible women."

But first you have to work with them...

07 June 2006

A first

A local Persian rug merchant (who actually stocked very nice stuff, but I didn't have the ten grand I needed to buy the carpet I wanted) recently had a going-out-of-business-sale.
The only unusual thing is that they actually went out of business. (I've seen stores in New York still operating a decade after starting their 'last' sale.)

What's next?
Chinese restaurants donating profits to the ASPCA?
(Oh, that's just so wrong...)

Quote for the day

“The truly false values— yes!— are those that value your life in pennies and your death at a thousand pounds.”
from The Thief and the Dogs [al-Liss wa al-Kilab] by Naguib Mahfouz

06 June 2006

Private Ryan had nothing to do with it

For those who don't remember, this is D-Day.
June 6th, 1944.
The Longest Day, according to Cornelius Ryan in his splendid book of the same name. (No relation to the mythical Private of the same name.)
If you must see a movie about the event, see "The Longest Day"; a little hokey, as any movie starring John Wayne must be, but far better history than the one starring Tom Hanks, and no computer-generated effects.
For those upset about the lamentable casualties generated by our presence in Iraq, please note that America had as many dead and wounded on this one day in World War Two as we have in two years in Iraq...

That whirring sound...

...is Lenin spinning in his grave.
While General von Rundstedt's tanks, powered by Daimler-Benz engines, never quite made it into Moscow in 1941, the tri-bladed logo of Mercedes now triumphantly flies over the city.
Amazing what sixty years will change, isn't it?
When I stood in front of the Berlin Wall in 1969, I would have bet you any amount of money that it would not have come down in my lifetime. I'm sure any good Communist would have taken the bet, too...

Quote for the day

"Soldiers, sailors, and airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon the great crusade toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you!"
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander, Allied Forces in Europe, 5 June 1944, on the eve of D-Day

05 June 2006

Screwed again

One of the things that global outsourcing has given us is really crappy products with almost no recourse, either to refuse to buy them or to find an alternative.
A simple example of it that has come home to haunt me of late is, amazingly, the screw.
No, no, the original version, the metal thing you put into wood to hold things together.
I recently had the opportunity to unscrew one that had been made in 1863.
No way of telling how many times it had been taken in and out since then, but it worked perfectly, and remained in exactly the same condition as the day it was made.
On the other hand, I also had the opportunity to take out and put back in some screws made in China in about 2004. Once in, once out, twice in, useless.
The Phillips head slots totally spun out.
I'll have to take them back out with vise grips.
Amazing what we've unlearned in the last 150 years...

04 June 2006

Ain't no such thing...

...as away.

I was reminded this morning of the Great American Delusion of 'away', a mindset that has led us to garbage dumps the size of Staten Island, sinking nuclear submarines in the ocean, and proposing to send nuclear waste into space.
It's not solely an American delusion, of course. Everyone has it, even if it only manifests itself as a desire to throw a cigarette butt or a candy wrapper out the car window.
But we have it in spades, and this is its epitome:
The ladyfriend lives in an older building, and when I opened the medicine cabinet this morning, I finally noticed The Slot.
For those too young to remember it, the "slot" is just that, a molded opening about two inches wide, in the back wall of the metal case of the medicine cabinet.
It's purpose, believe it or not, was to accept razor blades (the old, Gillette kind, with two edges) when they got dull.
Was there some special disposal solution hidden behind the wall? Some high tech grinder, or metal-eating bacteria?
Just a space in the wall between the studs, where the blades, rusting quietly since their last rinse before disappearing into The Slot, lie until the house is remodeled or torn down.
Having done both in my time, I can tell you it is a bizarrely sad sight to rip the metal carcase of the cabinet out of the wall and discover a rust-red pile of years' worth of shaving.
But it's still not 'away', just 'over there, out of sight'.
Just like all the other crap you blindly throw Away, assuming that it actually goes to such a place...

03 June 2006

Quote for the day

"When you’re wounded an’ left on Afghanistan’s plains, An’ the women come out to cut up your remains, Just roll to your rifle an’ blow out your brains, An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier."
Rudyard Kipling, from a poem entitled The Young British Soldier

Fortunately, the women of Afghanistan seem to have given up mutilation as social commentary...

02 June 2006

Quote for the day

“The thing to remember about women is that they’re a lot smarter than men and they don’t play fair.”
Clint Eastwood

01 June 2006

Quote for the day

“To be a womanizer is fine if you love women, but you have to treat them with respect by telling them from the beginning you’ll never be able to be faithful.”
Isabell Adjani

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