Thursday, May 31, 2007
Today, while again hawking that dangerous book for boys (subtitle: they’re gonna do stupid s*** anyway), Instapundit quoted this article by Christina Hoff Summers:
“Today's boys inhabit a danger-averse world where even old favorites like tag and dodge ball are under a cloud - Too competitive! Someone might get hurt! The National Parent Teacher Association recommends a cooperative alternative to the fiercely competitive ‘tug of war’ called ‘tug of peace.’”
What the hell is ‘tug of peace’? Oh, here it is: “sit in a circle holding onto a rope place inside the circle in front of their feet. The ends of the rope are tied together to make a huge loop. If everyone pulls at the same time, the entire group should be able to come to a standing position.”
Replacing ‘war’ with ‘peace’ in the name is pretty lame all by itself. But still, couldn’t you see a drill sergeant having a ball with this exercise? I could. UP..DOWN..UP..DOWN..
Sounds like a good team-building exercise too, right? Of course so is tug of war…
Anyway, that search also turned up this Ace of Spades post from 2005, which coincidentally also quotes a Summers article (link bad):
“Which games are deemed safe and self-affirming? … Some professionals in physical education advocate activities in which children compete only with themselves, such as juggling, unicycling, pogo sticking, and even ‘learning to ... manipulate wheelchairs with ease.’”
Overprotective? Political correctness gone mad? Creating a nation of weenies? [Ace thought so.] Relax. Tug of war is not ‘fiercely competitive.’ No game is. People are. I may not have been the most athletic kid around (shaddap) but hey, I was ready to go anyway. And these ‘activities’ just need a little tweaking. Juggling? Bet I can do it longer than you. Pogo sticking? Higher than you. Unicycles? You call that a big welt? Take a look at this!
And wheelchairs? Forget about it. Demolition derby time. Obstacle course. And somebody give the nurse a heads-up too.
Nature abhors a vacuum, and if our educational system leaves one the kids’ll find a way to fill it. Even if they need a little help from home. So if your kid comes home one day talking about playing ‘tug of peace’ in gym class, my advice to you is to give this advice to them: as soon as everybody’s halfway up, let go of the rope.
Friday, May 25, 2007
A couple days ago Instapundit linked this, from Bill Quick: "What’s most interesting - and disgusting, and depressing, and disheartening - about reports like these is they demonstrate that the US government at the highest levels . . . knows that Iran is killing our soldiers, publicly admits it, and yet has done nothing effective to stop them from doing it."
The big guy comments: “The Bush Administration's passivity with regard to Iran has puzzled me for some time. And disappointed me.”
I have to agree. The administration seems unwilling to so much as acknowledge new threats, even rhetorical ones. It’s like they’re so focused on the stuff we’re dealing with now that they’d rather just ignore everything else, to say nothing of actually doing anything about it.
It’s a fair criticism. There’s only one problem: you say you want the government to do something about Iran? Okay, any idea what?
Let’s talk about that. As I see it, our options boil down to two. Diplomatic pressure (i.e. sanctions), or military force.
We can’t pressure them by ourselves and hope to be effective, even assuming the help of our more reliable allies. We need the help of the ‘international community,’ embodied, no doubt, by the UN. And will the last person with any faith in the UN kindly hit the lights on your way out the door?
'Nuff said. Unfortunately, that leaves force as our only real option. But given our current commitment level that seems a little less than feasible right now. Putting on my military-expert hat, sure, we could bomb the crap out of them for as long as we want. But unless we have the stomach to go WWII old-school on them, I doubt it’ll do much good in the end. And let’s face it, we don’t have the stomach.
So if we can’t count on diplomacy, and we can’t count on force, what’s left? Nada, unless maybe there’s some under-the-table action going on, some super secret CIA type black-ops special forces stuff which, by definition, the government wouldn’t be able to tell us about, which in turn may cause frustrated reactions in bloggers like us. [And I’m using ‘us’ in a very loose sense here.]
“The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert ‘black’ operation to destabilize the Iranian government, Attention ‘current and former officials in the intelligence community tell the Blotter on ABCNews.com.” Again via Instapundit.
I scrolled down through the first dozen or so comments at the link. Interestingly, they almost all blast ABC for running the story, often calling them traitors. [Or, as the first commenter put it, 'traders.' Way to beat that spellchecker!]
I think their anger is misplaced. My immediate reaction was a little different: attention, ‘current and former officials in the intelligence community,:’ THAT’S NOT HELPING.
On the other hand, is it really hurting us to talk about this in public? Think about it; if the Iranians believe that we’re not planning something, they’re even dumber than they look.
Also from the article: “A CIA spokesperson said, ‘As a matter of course, we do not comment on allegations of covert activity.’” I wish he’d added, “We also do not comment on allegations that North Korea might be next.” I have not forgotten about the poofy-haired roundboy.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Stop me if you've heard this one
A college freshman, on his first day of class, is bewildered by the large campus. Lost, he stops someone on the street: “excuse me, can you tell me where Meadows Hall is at?” The man replies, “you realize its bad grammar to end a sentence with a preposition.” The freshman says “okay, can you tell me where Meadows Hall is at, asshole?”
It has come to my attention that a large percentage of the people I interact with regularly (these days) have never heard this joke, despite its being one of the oldest in existence. Seriously. Way back when language was still being formed someone invented the preposition, then someone decided that a preposition shouldn’t go at the end of a sentence, and then someone else came up with that joke. That’s how old it is. Come on, people. I mean, how about this:
A guy with a broken arm is at the hospital being treated. He asks the doctor, “Doc, will I be able to play the violin?” The doctor assures him he’ll be able to play the violin and the guy says…
A blind man with a seeing-eye dog goes into a department store. When he reaches the center of the store he lifts the dog and begins swinging it over his head in a wide circle. A manager asks him what he’s doing and he says…
A man walks into a doctor’s office with a duck on his head. The doctor says “what can I do for you today?”…
Three self-selecting yet randomly chosen ethnic stereotypes walk into an easily accessible public business...
These are some severely joke-deprived people. Just another example of how our public school system is failing us, if you ask me.
Friday, May 18, 2007
Pretty soon we're gonna need a 'czar czar'
[Standard Disclaimer: if you're coming to Mister Pterodactyl for expert foreign policy analysis, you probably shouldn't have sharp things.]
Last week, President Bush named Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute as the new ‘war czar’ for Iraq and Afghanistan. Except that he didn’t, really. I can't find a single citation of anyone within the government anywhere using that term. I wonder where it came from. I'm guessing it got tossed out in an early news report and just stuck.
The new position is actually called 'assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan policy,' or something like that, and the job is to “…improve the coordination of military and civilian efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan by different parts of the government" and "have the single, full time focus on implementing and executing the recently completed strategic reviews for both Iraq and Afghanistan."
Sounds ok to me. Insofar as it actually means anything.
This article fleshes out the new job, a little: “the Defense and State departments have long struggled over their roles and responsibilities in Iraq, with the White House often forced to referee…the new czar would also have ‘tasking authority,’ or the power to issue directions, over other agencies.” So this official would be able to speak with the authority of the President. Or at least will be relaying the President’s decisions, which seems more likely. I have trouble believing that 3-star Lute is going to be calling the shots for 4-stars Pace and Petraeus.
Not everybody's having that much trouble though. Example: "Jon Soltz, who leads an organization of veterans critical of administration's war policy, said there is already a war czar — Bush."
More Mr. Soltz (same interview, different article): "Whatever the name of the position is, this proves the president is throwing in the towel when it comes to directing the military, and is giving up his constitutional role."
And here's somebody who thinks Lute is "on the White House staff to direct combat operations."
I'm pretty sure they're both wrong, but hey, a czar and all, and "the whole concept of a 'czar' implies a supreme boss." Words have meanings, after all. Still, if the word didn't come from the same place the policy did...
...do you suppose somebody's using that word because they misunderstood the policy, or is the use of the word making somebody think the new job is something it's not?
Based on my surfing (i.e. 'research') 'somebody' is in the minority. Anybody know what CNN's been saying?
Side note: also last week, Wolfowitz quit his post at the World Bank. Wolfie got a raw deal over there. I hope they name John Bolton to replace him.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Free Advice Department
Attention all rally and/or demonstration enthusiasts: if your chosen location has a lot more auto traffic than foot traffic, please bear in mind that passersby will only have seconds to read your signs. Make 'em legible, people.
Why do I bring it up? Truther demo on the corner near my workplace yesterday. Four guys, black and white signs; 'investigate 9-11,' 'it was an inside job,' that kind of thing. One guy had one that looked like 'stop 9-11,' but on my third pass (yeah, I came back around a couple times) I saw it was 'stop spreading 9-11 lies.' This is what I'm talking about.
Another guy was handing something out to cars at the stoplight. I should have gone around to try and get one, just in case they had something interesting to say. I wasn't that curious though.
Too bad I didn't have a camera.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Don't ask me what I was doing when I thought of this
You're on the Starship Enterprise, Next Gen version (or later). All your food comes from the replicator, a device that converts energy into matter. Replicators are apparently ubiquitous in human society; one could theoretically eat from them exclusively. No crops need to be grown, no herds tended (with the exception of old-style specialty restaurants like the Siskos' Cajun place). No phenylalanine or Red Dye No. 7 either.
Here's my question. If those pork chops came from a replicator, and not from an actual pig, are they kosher? Could Ensign Winky Goldstein order up the BLT? Or the shrimp cocktail with cheesy fries? Just wondering.
Friday, May 04, 2007
There was a Republican presidential-candidate debate on TV last night.
I was going to watch it, but then I realized that the election is still EIGHTEEN MONTHS AWAY.
My alarm is set for January. Then I’m hitting the snooze until February. Don’t bug me.