Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 11:13 pm

Interview with a World War II bomber pilot

Filed under: Odds 'n' ends — Lex @ 11:13 pm

This may be the only piece of spam I’ve ever acted on, but I’m a WWII history freak — what can I say?

This guy e-mailed me the other day with a link to this interview — text and audio — with a guy who flew the British Lancaster heavy bombers during World War II. I know a certain subset of humanity will find this interesting, if not fascinating — I’m a member of that subset — so I’m linking to it.

Mapping the devastation

Filed under: Geek-related issues — Lex @ 11:01 pm

As a journalist who also is a computer geek, I’ve long been interested in the storytelling capabilities of computerized mapping programs or, as they are more formally known these days, Geographic Information Systems. (An example would be ArcView or ArcGIS, made by ESRI, which we use, albeit not nearly well or often enough, at the N&R.)

But the idea of turning information into graphics long predates the computer era. This link shows a graphic depicting the devastation visited upon Napoleon’s army during its 1812-1813 Moscow campaign. It predates GIS technology by more than a century, but it incorporates most of the basic ideas and principles by which such programs operate and are understood today. (Here are some geek notes on it.)

For me, what elevates it from illustration to art (I’m not really a graphics guy, so my “art threshold” for visuals may be considerably lower than yours) is that its particular dynamic — using the width of a band of black or gray to illustrate how many members of the army were still alive at a given point — evokes the starvation and consequent emaciation the individual soldiers underwent during that horrific campaign. Given the similarly horrific but less linear experience of the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad during World War II, I’m trying to envision how that unit’s experience would graph, but I’ll spare you that bit of nerdiness unless/until I come up with something I can show you.

Music, math and computer graphics

Filed under: Fun,Geek-related issues — Lex @ 10:56 pm

Now I get it.

(Hat tip: Unfogged)

Backyard leaves

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 8:03 am

Backyard leaves

Medium: Original photograph
Platform: Konica/Minolta DiMage Z-10
Settings:  ISO100, F3.2 @  1/600 second
Date:  4:02 p.m. 11/2/2006

Last year’s fall colors weren’t so great. This year’s are, or were, a ton better. This is the maple that grows at the edge of our backyard — there’s a jet taking off from GSO in the background, but I think it got hidden by the leaves.

Sunday, November 26, 2006 10:06 pm

Halloween 2006

Filed under: Hooper,Victoria — Lex @ 10:06 pm

Victoria and Hooper, Halloween 2006

Victoria (Snow Princess) and Hooper (Mr. Incredible) before heading out to shake down the neighbors. (Just got around to dumping my SD card into the PC.)

Medium: Original photograph
Platform: Konica/Minolta DiMage Z-10
Settings: ISO100, F3.3 @ 1/60 sec. with flash, red-eye reduction
Date: 10/31/2006

Quote of the day

Filed under: Quote Of The Day — Lex @ 11:34 am

I read this bit of Ginmar’s last week, then was reminded of it last night while surrounded by many miniskirted denizens of South Elm Street night life:

Telling victims to be responsible is useless. They already are. See, rape doesn’t occur around drunken women. It doesn’t even occur around mini-skirted women. It doesn’t occur around unconscious women. It happens because of the presence of rapists on the scene. Without a rapist, you can have piles and piles of naked women, all drunk out of their minds, and not a single rape.

Is this how Matt Drudge got his start?

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 11:22 am

Sources say that liberal, Redskins-loving but otherwise basically tolerable blogger Oliver Willis and stunning actress Jessica Alba are an item.

Well, one source does, anyway. So let’s see what happens.

Is this how Matt Drudge got his start?

Bridge pr0n

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 11:19 am

I did not know this, but they’re building a bridge across the Colorado River just below Hoover Dam. It will be the longest concrete-arch bridge in the U.S. and the fourth-longest in the world. It’s intended to relieve traffic atop the dam, which backs up tremendously most weekends. Also, since 9/11 the road atop the dam has been closed to truck traffic, and the nearest bridge for trucks is something like 275 miles away.

Lots of pictures, and a little discussion, here.

Friday, November 24, 2006 3:18 pm

Righteous

Filed under: Salute! — Lex @ 3:18 pm

I’m highly ambivalent about unions. But here’s one case where I think the union is absolutely right … and police were, once again, apparently allowed to inflict illegal violence with impunity.

Police have a long history in this country of being involved in the management side of labor disputes, frequently violently so (to say nothing of private security), despite frequently being unionized themselves. Naturally, a lot of people see no problem with that … and probably never will unless/until they get pulled over some day for speeding or having a burned-out taillight and catch a cop’s flashlight upside the head for no good reason. It is their enormous, if unacknowledged, good forture that in this day and age the odds of that happening to these particular people are essentially nil.

UPDATE: Via Amanda at Pandagon:

A reader who was down in Houston supporting the strikers emailed me about her experiences. She was arrested on Wednesday and this is her story:

I was waiting to be frisked on entering the jail, and I was behind some strippers who were part of a vice sting. While they were getting frisked (legs spread, bending over, hands against the wall) there were pairs of male cops standing around watching in the most digusting way you can imagine (and I’m sure you can imagine). Nudging each other, making comments, standing with their legs spread and their arms crossed. When I got frisked, the officer pulled my shirt up high, yanked my breasts out of my bra, and then left the shirt up while she did my bottom half. Humiliating. Horrible. A nice little show for the disgusting pigs who were watching like they were still at the strip club.

That was just the beginning. The police hate us down there and have been harassing us for weeks, and when they had us in jail it just got worse.

They set people’s bail at $888,888 a piece.

Think about that: setting bail for union protesters at $888,888 apiece. And think about it again the next time you hear anyone of comfortable means complain about “class warfare.” Because Warren Buffett was right.

UPDATE: I’ll be darned. Looks like the union won.

Thursday, November 23, 2006 11:21 pm

Feelin’ thankful yet?

Filed under: There but for the grace of God ... — Lex @ 11:21 pm

If not, this will give you at least two good reasons: the quality and character of our military, and the fact that, in all likelihood, your entire family hasn’t been assassinated by insurgents.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006 11:01 pm

Robert Altman, 1925-2006

Filed under: Salute! — Lex @ 11:01 pm

Damn.

My parents — you will not believe this — actually took me to the Manor Theater in Charlotte to see “M*A*S*H” when it came out in 1970 and, having explained to the ticket-seller that, yes, they really did permit their 10-year-old son to see an R-rated movie, left me to it.

Not only did I get a huge kick out of it, I also understood immediately that it was as much about Vietnam — the war some of my friends’ older siblings were then fighting, or dodging — as it was about Korea, my dad’s war. And when I talked about that at school the next day, I felt like the smartest kid on the planet.

Not all Altman films left me feeling that way. Some of them I found just plain puzzling. But for someone who’s a lot more into pop music than film, I’ve tried to make it a point to see Altman’s movies when they’ve come out. I wouldn’t always enjoy them, as we commonly understand that term, but I’d always consider the time well spent.

Probably my favorite Altman film after “M*A*S*H” was “Short Cuts,” although I say that having only seen it the one time. Guess I’ll have to rent it, or buy it, now.

Was the 2006 election hacked?

Filed under: Black-box voting — Lex @ 10:48 pm

Yes, but not enough to affect the outcome, says Rob Kall, relying on research by the Election Defense Alliance. I think the evidence is circumstantial but not, contra Kall, directly probative. Put another way, I am, as I always have been, agnostic on the question.

What’s for sure is that some sort of electronic-voting-machine screwup has landed the 13th Congressional District race in Florida in court.

Monday, November 20, 2006 7:56 am

Panthers 15, Rams 0

Filed under: Panthers — Lex @ 7:56 am

Lest I be construed as churlish, let me say that a win’s a win.

But let it also be said that the Rams had to be the worst 4-5 team in league history. The Panthers tried to give them the game. Fortunately, the Rams wouldn’t take it. That fact, combined with Saints and Falcons losses yesterday, puts the Panthers in a tie with the Saints for tops in the division at 6-4, and the Panthers have an edge at the moment because of their earlier defeat of the Saints.

It helped that the Rams’ run defense was even worse than advertised. Even Deshaun Foster was able to rip off an 18-yard carry at one point and had nine carries for 63 yards before leaving the game with what radio said was a hyperextended elbow. Deangelo Williams finished with 114 yards, and Nick Goings and Brad Hoover had 34 yards. Each. Looks like offensive coordinator Dan Henning decided to reward Hoover for his game-saving touchdown last week against the Bucs, and it looks like Hoover responded.

Delhomme didn’t have a great game, but then he didn’t need to. He threw one dumb interception into double coverage, balanced by a terrific 62-yard TD pass to Steve Smith (who has been making up for fewer yards after the catch this year with some spectacularly acrobatic catches, including this one).

I hope everyone who has been calling for Henning to be less conservative was happy when Keyshawn Johnson took an end-around, then attempted to throw into the end zone and got picked.

On defense, the team looked much improved, but in fairness, with the Rams’ All-Pro left tackle, Orlando Pace, done for the year with a torn triceps, it was a different Rams offense. The Panthers got six sacks, including two by right DE Mike Rucker, one of which went for a safety with a little more than two minutes left in the game. The Rams amassed only 31 rushing yards, and although All-Pro Torry Holt had seven grabs, they went for a combined 68 yards, barely more than two-thirds his average yards-per-catch.

With six games left, the Panthers are where they need to be: in first place and in control of their own destiny. But four of their last six games are on the road, starting with back-to-back games against Washington Sunday and then at Philly the following Monday night before returning to Charlotte to play the Giants. The ugly loss to Dallas will really hurt the team’s wild-card chances if it doesn’t win the division. But more than that, the Panthers left a lot of points on the table Sunday against an awful team. Against the remaining schedule, they will need to cash all those points in.

Friday, November 17, 2006 7:22 am

All-star religion blog

Filed under: Religion — Lex @ 7:22 am

The major national media may be under all kinds of economic pressures, but their names still carry some heft when it comes to lining up talent. If you doubt me, check out On Faith, the new religion blog by the Washington Post’s Sally Quinn and Newsweek’s Jon Meacham. Their guest contributors range from best-selling atheist author Sam Harris to the Dalai Lama.

It should be a fascinating conversation.

(Hat tip: My uncle Frank)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006 10:14 am

Memo to Jail-Me Judy

(This post originally appeared in my blog The Lex Files at News-Record.com, which is no longer available.)

So former New York Times reporter (or Bush-administration mouthpiece) Judith Miller was actually presuming to lecture the rest of us this past weekend on journalism ethics.

It is to laugh.

Now, to be absolutely, positively, scrupulously fair to Miller, she’s quite right about increasing levels of secrecy, and corresponding decreases in the levels of freedom, in this country. In fact, the country’s voters spoke rather loudly last Tuesday to the effect that they get that and want to do something about it.

But I had to laugh at this:

Miller said the American media, however, give the federal government reason to doubt its motives and competence each time it is discovered that an article is plagiarized or gossip is reported as fact.The blurring of entertainment and news and the relaxing of journalistic standards can be seen in online bloggers who are critical of people without giving them an opportunity to respond or who don’t post corrections when they learn that what they have posted is wrong, she said.

“I’m worried about bloggers,” she said. “(A post) starts as a rumor and within 24 hours it’s repeated as fact.”

While she advocates a federal shield law to protect mainstream journalists from divulging their sources, she doesn’t favor extending that to bloggers who don’t follow the standards and ethnics of the journalism industry.

Still, she wouldn’t restrict a blogger’s right to publish online. She said some bloggers have been invaluable in uncovering government flaws.

“I’m glad to welcome them as long as they agree to the standards,” she said.

Tell me, Miss “I was proved f—— right”: What exactly are the standards?:

On September 7, 2002, Miller and Times reporter Michael R. Gordon reported the interception of metal tubes bound for Iraq. Her front page story quoted unnamed “American officials” and “American intelligence experts” who said the tubes were intended to be used to enrich nuclear material, and cited unnamed “Bush administration officials” who claimed that in recent months, Iraq had “stepped up its quest for nuclear weapons and has embarked on a worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb.”[4]Miller added that “Mr. Hussein’s dogged insistence on pursuing his nuclear ambitions, along with what defectors described in interviews as Iraq’s push to improve and expand Baghdad’s chemical and biological arsenals, have brought Iraq and the United States to the brink of war.” Although Miller conceded that some intelligence experts found the information on Iraq’s weapons programs “spotty,” she did not report specific and detailed objections, including a report filed with the US government more than a year before Miller’s article appeared by retired Oak Ridge National Laboratory physicist, Houston G. Wood III, who concluded that the tubes were not meant for centrifuges.

Shortly after Miller’s article was published, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld all appeared on television and pointed to Miller’s story as a partial basis for going to war. Subsequent analyses by various agencies all concluded that there was no way the tubes could have been used for uranium-enrichment centrifuges.

Miller would later claim, based only on second-hand statements from the military unit she was embedded with, that WMDs had been found in Iraq. (NYT; April 21, 2003) This again was widely repeated in the press. “Well, I think they found something more than a smoking gun,” Miller said on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. “What they’ve found is a silver bullet in the form of a person, an Iraqi individual, a scientist, as we’ve called him, who really worked on the programs, who knows them, firsthand, and who has led MET Alpha people to some pretty startling conclusions.” This story also turned out to be false.[5]

On May 26, 2004, a week after the U.S. government apparently severed ties with Ahmed Chalabi, a Times editorial acknowledged that some of that newspaper’s coverage in the run-up to the war had relied too heavily on Chalabi and other Iraqi exiles bent on regime change. It also regretted that “information that was controversial [was] allowed to stand unchallenged.” While the editorial rejected “blame on individual reporters,” others noted that ten of the twelve flawed stories discussed had been written or co-written by Miller.[6]

Miller has reacted angrily to criticism of her pre-war reporting. In a May 27, 2004 article in Salon, published the day after the Times mea culpa, James C. Moore quoted her: “You know what,” she offered angrily. “I was proved f—— right. That’s what happened. People who disagreed with me were saying, ‘There she goes again.’ But I was proved f—— right.” This quotation was originally in relation to another Miller story, wherein she indicated that trailers found in Iraq had been proven to be mobile weapons labs. That too was later shown to be untrue.

So tell us, Judy: Is it OK if the bloggers lie the country into a war, like you did, as long as they correct their misspellings?

Actually, strike that. I’ll tell you what: In the unlikely event we who are still in the business of trying to report stuff instead of making stuff up need your advice, we’ll beat it out of you. Otherwise? Just. Shut. Up. Our jobs are hard enough as it is.

Panthers 24, Buccaneers 10

Filed under: Panthers — Lex @ 7:30 am

OK. We’re livin’.

I went to bed at halftime — out of exhaustion, not frustration — with the Panthers down 7-0 and the uncomfortable feeling that not only were they being outplayed, they also were being outcoached.

In looking at the stats and play-by-play, one thing jumps out at me: In its first two possessions of the second half, both of which covered eight plays and most of the field, the Panthers ran the ball a total of three times. I know John Fox is a run-oriented coach, but when the run isn’t there and you’ve got talented wideouts and a reliable pass-catching fullback, why not pass more?

And for a featured back, Deshaun Foster wasn’t featured all that much. Deangelo Williams and Brad Hoover combined for 12 carries to Foster’s 13. On the down side, Williams didn’t show much. On the up side, Hoover, who has a bit of a history of Monday Night Football heroics, mustered a 5-yard touchdown run.

I’m not gleaning a whole bunch else from the second-half stats other than the obvious, which is that this time, the Panthers figured out how to close the deal. They gave up only one field goal after halftime, and aside from back to back passes of 26 and 19 yards to Joey Galloway early in the fourth quarter, gave up no big plays. The play-by-play sheet says that Mike Minter was in on both plays, but it doesn’t necessarily indicate who had the primary coverage responsibility. That said, can anyone who watched the second half tell me whether they appeared to be throwing at Minter with Galloway?

Other bright spots: Julius Peppers got three sacks to retain his league lead. He also had at least one deflected pass.

Other dim spots: Several really stupid penalties, including a block in the back on a return. For a team that had had 16 days to prepare for this game, the Panthers did not look prepared.
The Panthers are home Sunday against St. Louis, who lost to Seattle Sunday on a last-minute field goal. Stephen Jackson is a more dangerous runner at this point than Cadillac Williams, and Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce remain very dangerous receivers. And once again, a loss likely will mean no trip to the playoffs. But at least for now, the Panthers appear to have recovered their second-half mojo.

Monday, November 13, 2006 6:40 pm

CSI: Greensboro

Hooper: Daddy, I didn’t mean to bite her!

Victoria: Well, then, how do you explain these teeth marks!?!

A man’s got to know his limitations

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 7:53 am

Mark Spittle, having failed to be elected governor of Florida, decides he’ll tackle something more within his reach: the presidency of Russia.

Crisis

Filed under: Panthers — Lex @ 6:33 am

A crisis is, among other things, a turning point. And that’s what tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers represents for the Carolina Panthers.

Division rival. National TV audience. And, almost certainly, the postseason on the line.

The Panthers are 4-4. The other two division rivals, the Falcons and Saints, did their part by losing yesterday. If the Panthers win, they remain tied with the Falcons and remain one game behind the Saints. With second games against the Saints and the Falcons still to play, and a win over the Saints and a loss to the Falcons already under their belts, the Panthers at least are in the position to control whether or not they make the playoffs.

Barring any other losses.

But if the Panthers lose tonight, they fall to third in the division and probably miss the playoffs. That’s a helluva finish for a team picked to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

So how do the Panthers win?

First, they keep their heads in the game. No more special-teams screw-ups. No more dumb*ss penalties. No more crummy clock management.

Second? Defense, baby. The 21st-ranked run defense must step up tonight and match or better its performance in the first Tampa Bay game, when it held the Bucs to 64 total rushing yards. RB Cadillac Williams is averaging 56 yards a game right now, so this isn’t impossible.

With the run stopped, the Bucs will have to turn to Bruce Gradkowski to try to win the game for them. This is the situation in which All-Pro free agent Ken Lucas (if he plays; he’s questionable) and first-round draft pick Chris Gamble have to earn their money: They’ve got to perform well in single coverage so that a linebacker or safety can blitz on almost every pass play (or Richard Marshall must step up so that Lucas or Gamble can blitz).

With the ball, the Panthers must control the ball. If Deshaun Foster can’t move the pile and move the chains, give it to someone who can. DeAngelo Williams isn’t on the injury report anymore, so expect him to get some carries tonight and don’t be surprised if he winds up the starter by game’s end.

The O-line must be at its best. The current lineup, in its first week in the first Tampa Bay game, gave up three sacks, two of which caused fumbles. That cannot happen tonight.

Jake Delhomme must make his reads quickly or throw the ball away.

And Steve Smith and Keyshawn Johnson simply cannot drop any more passes.

It’s the ninth game of the season, but the season itself is on the line. So I’m not looking past tonight. But tonight? I don’t often make predictions, but I think the Panthers understand the situation. And I think they will win by 10.

Sunday, November 12, 2006 1:14 pm

Shawshank redeemed in 2 minutes (in rap)

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 1:14 pm

No, I’m not making this up. But the people who made this up are geniuses. (NSFW: language)

Saturday, November 11, 2006 5:42 pm

Even the people who do it right don’t always do it right

Filed under: There but for the grace of God ... — Lex @ 5:42 pm

Slashdot runs out of area codes, kinda.

(via Brad DeLong)

Middle-class tax cut!

Filed under: Woohoo! — Lex @ 2:27 pm

Woohoo!

Democratic leaders this week vowed to make the alternative minimum tax a centerpiece of next year’s budget debate, saying the levy threatens to unfairly increase tax bills for millions of middle-class families by the end of the decade.

The complex and expensive tax was designed to prevent the super-rich from using deductions, credits and other shelters to avoid paying the Internal Revenue Service. But because of rising incomes, the tax is expected to expand to more than 30 million taxpayers in 2010 from 3.8 million mostly well-off households in 2006.

This will be tough for anyone on either side of the aisle to vote against. That said, I’m not sure why all tax brackets aren’t already indexed for inflation. Seems like we had this conversation during the debate on the 1981 tax cuts, if not even longer ago than that.

Thursday, November 9, 2006 7:58 am

Gato rojo … or ojo rojo?

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 7:58 am

In my monthly e-mail alumni newsletter from Davidson, I recently learned that …

The Wine is Coming! The Wine is Coming! A tasty blend of merlot and cabernet franc bottled exclusively for Davidson College called Gato Rojo will soon be available. The award-winning Round Peak Vineyards in the Yadkin Valley of North Carolina is our vintner.

Now I realize that all Davidson is doing is underwriting the labeling for a wine that Round Peak would be marketing anyway under a different name. The college did not, in other words, commission its own wine. Still, Merlot and cab franc are two of my favorite grapes, so I e-mailed the N&R’s wine columnist, Ed Williams, to alert him to this development. Here’s what he had to say about it (and I probably should point out that Ed went to Carolina):

It’s well suited for Davidson alums.

The grapes were harvested early, still green and about 2,000 pounds of beet juice was added to get sugar levels up and some measure of red coloring to camouflage all the leaves, sticks, and field mice that got ground into the blend.

Then the batch was strained through used coffee filters and allowed to ferment in an old concrete mixer in the blazing sun for about two days.

The bottles may or may not have been pressure cleaned before the wine was bottled.

“May or may not,” huh? Well, I like to live dangerously, so I’m gonna get me some o’ dat.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006 5:06 pm

Memo to Victoria and Hooper

Filed under: Fun,Why, yes, I AM a bad parent. Why do you ask? — Lex @ 5:06 pm

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Tips on election blogging …

Filed under: Y'all go read this — Lex @ 9:37 am

… from one of the best bloggers in the business. No, not me, you philistines! Mr. Sun!

Worst. Domain. Names. Ever.

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 9:01 am

OK, actually they’re pretty funny, but probably not in the way their creators intended.

(hat tip: “Top Posts from Around WordPress.com”)

A little more on Haggard

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 1:04 am

A decade ago, when I was covering religion for the paper in a presidential election year, I did a fairly big takeout on the Guilford County chapter of the Christian Coalition. It was fairly innocuous, which reflected the nature of that particular chapter, although I had some sidebar material on what the state and national groups had been up to as well. The next day, one of my co-workers, having read the sidebar material, asked me, “Geez … why don’t these people just do what Jesus says and treat other people the way they want to be treated?”

I’d heard the same question before, of course, but this time, God, Satan and/or my own subconscious posed a question in response. I didn’t voice it then, and I haven’t often voiced it since because I don’t know nearly enough about psychology to parse the ramifications. But because I don’t know enough about psychology to parse the ramifications, the question has remained with me ever since:

What makes you think they’re NOT treating others the way they want to be treated?

Seriously. We presume that some of the more mean-spirited conservative Christians would never want to be treated the way they treat certain other types of people, that their “problem,” if you will, begins and ends with simple hypocrisy. But we don’t know that. And if that presumption is wrong, some other, more complex possibilities open up for understanding how and why these groups and individuals like Ted Haggard function the way they do.

Put another way, maybe simple hypocrisy ain’t always so simple.

For example, suppose that on some level, quite possibly subconsciously, these folks act as they do because doing so will generate a negative response. Jesus warned his followers they would be cursed and reviled for his sake, but that was in a time and place where his teachings were subversive and were viewed as threatening on any number of levels. If, however, you live in a time and place where your faith is, to a greater or lesser degree, shared by almost all your countrymen, does the lack of being cursed and reviled somehow reflect negatively on you, on your faith? And if it does … or if you think it does … how, then, do you get around that paradox? Perhaps by using your beliefs as a club with which to assault your fellow children of God, knowing, then, that their response will fulfill Jesus’ prophesy.

There’s also the possibility that these folks treat people the way they want to be treated because their self-loathing is so great that they see it as their due. Perhaps their poor self-esteem is because they harbor certain secrets — homosexuality, addiction, whatever — that their faith and background lead them to see as horrible sins, even more horrible than the norm. And so they judge others harshly, knowing (again, perhaps subconsciously) they will be judged harshly in return and believing they deserve no better.

Arthur Dimmesdale, Hester Prynne’s clerical paramour in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, damned himself for a sinner before his flock. He was telling them a literal truth they chose to understand nonliterally, with the result that they praised him all the more. Perhaps if he had damned his congregation instead of himself, he would have received the condemnation he so desperately craved.

A little guilt, like a little ego, can make you better, even save your life. But too much of either will kill you. And Haggard’s spiritual death, metaphoric though it is, is no less devastating to those closest to him. Ironically, for many Americans, doing a little crank and boffing the occasional rentboy are no more sinful than having an overdue library book. But Haggard and many conservative Christians like him appear to suffer from the delusion, or vanity, or narcissism, that their sins are so much worse than everyone else’s that they must do whatever they can to engender condemnation worse than anything anyone else goes through. Problem is, the only one way to engender that level of condemnation involves innocent third parties. How many openly gay Americans might be living happier lives these days if closeted gays like Ted Haggard hadn’t devoted so much time, money and spirit to making their lives less happy so as to conform to their own grotesque parody of Christ’s second great commandment?

Monday, November 6, 2006 7:57 am

Tigers 2, Shakers 0; Tigers 4, Hot Shots 0

Filed under: Tigers — Lex @ 7:57 am

Victoria missed the Sunday game (a makeup of the recent rain-out), but Herb has the quick summary. In short, they finally put it all together for the last two games, playing like the team they’d been capable of being all along. And it’s no disrespect to the Shakers to say that the final in that game should have been more like 6-1 — the Tigers got off some excellent shots that just missed.

V., last night: “Oh, no! No soccer ’til spring! Daddy, what am I gonna do?” (Actually, she’ll be playing in an indoor league for much of the winter … just not with most of the Tigers.)

Sunday, November 5, 2006 5:07 pm

Call CSI

Filed under: Ew. — Lex @ 5:07 pm

I don’t want to talk about the late unpleasantness here at Casa Correr* except to say that, as bad as bleach smells, it’s a definite improvement. But I wouldn’t be the nerd I am if I didn’t mention that in cleaning up one of the bathrooms just now, I saw something that I have never seen before, despite having cleaned way too many bathrooms in my life: splash patterns that are only explainable in terms of Einsteinian physics. Not to put too fine a point on it, if splashback from the toilet bowl were traveling through the person being ill before splattering upon the wall behind him/her, the splash patterns would make sense. Otherwise? Not so much.

Just thought you should know. We now return you to the usual, slightly less sickening, nonsense.

(*”correr” = , in Spanish, “to run,” which, if you drink a couple of beers and squint hard, bears some relationship to this blog’s title and, albeit coincidentally, to the subject of this post)

More housekeeping administrivia

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 2:44 pm

After Fec Stench alerted me that one of my comments had been inadvertently trapped in his spam filter, I thought I’d better do something I hadn’t done since moving over to WordPress: check its spam filter, Akismet, to see if any honest commenters here were being similarly snagged.

Well, any honest commenters within the past 15 days, inasmuch as Akismet automatically deletes everything it flags as spam after 15 days, whether it’s really spam or not.

So, 3,000+ comments later, I can say that 1) no honest comments have been caught; 2) no HUMAN comments have been caught; and 3) I am now the world’s leading expert on porn spam, for which I think I ought to get something nice — a T-shirt, at least.

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