A conservatory of Ldotter blogs.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

A CabanaBoy/blondie production.

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Wildcats Win!

No. 10 Kentucky 73, Indiana 58

One week from today will be a day of official rivalry between this blog and the Cardinal Coalition, as UK takes on Louisville. It's the biggest regular season game of the year for either school. Anyone travelling through the Kentucky next weekend would do well to time their trip with the game, as roads should be virtually empty.

Kentucky is 0 - 2 against Louisville since Rick Pitino took over the Cardinals. Hopefully, that will change this year. Kentucky has the talent. It's just a question of execution.

Whatever the outcome, the intra-state rivalry will end with a handshake. Best of luck, to the folks over at Cardinal Coalition.

The Daou Report. . .

. . .has been gracious enough to give me another link, from which I'm picking up several clicks. Many thanks and a hat tip to Peter Daou, who does a much better job of explaining what his site is all about than I could, right here.

Speaking of pathologies. . .

. . .the one that afflicts so many of my fellow conservative Republicans these days has manifested itself, yet again, in the reaction to Bernard Kerik's withdrawal of his acceptance of the President's nomination to head the Department of Homeland Security. It seems a lot of the GOP faithful are selectively indignant at the very idea that a nomination to a high-level cabinet position could be derailed by something as minor as the legal immigration status and Social Security tax payment on behalf of the nominee's domestic help.

But, it's not like we're breaking new ground here. The truth of the matter is that the GOP were quite happy to raise such issues in the process of confirming Bill Clinton's cabinet nominees. And, if such transgressions are enough to prohibit one from holding the Attorney General's position, it stands to reason that the department of Homeland Security would be at least as off-limits.

To be clear, I'd like to point out that I was very gratified at Kerik's selection right up to the point where he withdrew. And, even then, I was skeptical as to whether or not it was a good thing to allow something like a "Nannygate" problem to dictate who heads a department like Homeland Security. But, with some thought, and a little bit of reading at Lucianne.com, it strikes me that this is essentially an immigration matter, which is a crucial component of the entire concept of Homeland Security.

That's not to say that I'm unconflicted. I do feel some skepticism at the notion that Kerik's apparent failure to pay Social Security taxes on behalf of the hired help somehow reflects on his ability to make the nation safer from terrorists. However, as much as this may seem a side-issue, it isn't. The mere fact that this is just now coming to light is indicative of a lack of either thoroughness, or forthrightness.

That may seem unfair to those who were particularly happy about Mr. Kerik's nomination. But when you consider that Kerik came into prominence in New York politics, which reportedly requires a level of toughness and willingness to fight dirty if need be, you have to conclude that the issue would ultimately prove to be a very big problem for the administration. And given Mr. Kerik's apparent respect for the President, you have to conclude that he didn't withdraw his acceptance out of fear for his own reputation.

There has been some speculation as to whether or not we're hearing the whole story. Some are suggesting that there's much more to it than has been told so far. And that is where I think the issue becomes a matter of the proverbial "politics of personal destruction" -- not in the revelation itself. After all, it was Kerik himself who brought this issue to the public's attention, not some Democratic staffer on a headhunt.

But, if the media go after this with their usual bloodlust, and start digging into every unswept corner of Kerik's life only to produce evidence of questionable conduct -- rather than illegal conduct -- it becomes a matter of not only piling on, but a certain mean-spiritedness that Democrats are keen to attribute to Republicans.

So, unless there are issues in Kerik's past that suggest further contempt, or disregard for the law, there is no reason drag his political corpse down Pennsylvania Avenue. The man has obviously fulfilled his civic responsibilities to the satisfaction of the people of New York, and Rudy Giuliani obviously found him to be an effective police commissioner. What would be the point in cataloging his every personal and professional foible, now that he's given his opposition what they wanted all along -- his job and reputation?

Feeling a little better. . .

. . .after a night of profuse sweating, I'm hopeful that I'll be able to blog about something at some point today. This has been the worst case of the flu I can remember. I mustered the will to make it to class yesterday, but came home at noon with a chill that had me shivering as though I had malaria.

Once I finally got home, I plopped down on the couch, and covered myself in an electric blanket. Approximately two hours later, I awoke covered in perspiration to such a degree that I had to get a towel from the bathroom to dry myself off. This happened again another couple of hours later.

Finally, after six hours of fevered sleep, I got off the couch and had the rest of the chicken soup I made a couple of nights ago. Then, after a brief visit from my sister, I got another chill and crawled back under the electric blanket.

This time, the sleep seems to have been restful, as I'm feeling a little more vital. I still have some chest and nasal congestion, but that seems to be abating -- at least for the time being.

It's been a long time since I've been ill enough to actually be frightened. At several points during this battle, I found myself shaking like Michael Moore's third chin as he chows down on a box of peanut brittle.

Thanks to everyone who has checked in over the past few days, and extra thanks to those who emailed with thoughts, prayers, and suggestions on how to beat this thing. It's been a pretty rough few days, but I'm finally feeling more confident in my eventual recovery.

My advice to anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms: Attack now. Take it on as though you are a mother bear protecting her young. Hit it with everything you have, and borrow whatever you don't. But, whatever you do, don't just assume it's like all the other cases of the flu you've had. This one is a five on the Fujita scale of pathologies.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Again, I apologize. . .

. . .for the lack of content. This bout with the flu is dragging on much longer, and more accutely than I expected. Unless I'm feeling much better tomorrow, I'm going to seek medical attention.

Thanks for your patience.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

One more night. . .

. . .and I hope to be back in the swing of things. This is a pretty nasty bug, but I'm feeling better than I did last night.

Thanks again for stopping by, and the well-wishes and advice are all much appreciated. I'm pretty wiped out tonight, and not feeling up to too much thinking, and tomorrow is a school day.

Besides, if I try to write in this fevered condition, there's a chance I could get a Malkin Award.

RIP Darrell "Dimebag" Abbott

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Hat tip, Society Dweller.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

A CabanaBoy/blondie production.
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Finally, some relief. . .

. . .in my battle against what feels like flu symptoms. I've blown my nose until I finally got a nosebleed, which convinced me to go and get some kind of OTC remedy, if only to stem the blood loss. In conjunction with the chicken soup, there is some periodic relief, but it's of the sort that one gets when the dentist stops to change drill bits.

I have to -- absolutely have to -- go to class tomorrow, as there is a limited number of classroom hours per block that I'm allowed to miss before I'm booted from the program. And, I've already missed the very first day of the block. Luckily, tomorrow is a short day, so I ought to be able to struggle through without slipping into a coma.

Again, I apologize for my posting parsimony, and hope to post something else new before the night is over. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

My cat's pretty big. . .

The Cheat.
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. . .but, DAMN!

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Hat tip, Aussiegirl. Thanks!

Still laboring. . .

. . .under a headcold. My head is so congested that sniffing, and nose blowing causes a delayed high-pitched squeal inside my head, from my sinuses as they decompress. My knees ache. I have to make a conscious effort to eat, as my appetite just seems not to exist. My taste buds are about as keen as Michael Moore's sense of personal hygiene, so nothing even sounds appealing.

There are occasional bouts of drowsiness, and sleep interrupted by intermittent chills and hotflashes. It's not the most miserable I've ever been, but it has been such that I missed class today. I've been completely unable to focus on anything blog-related, preferring to simply sit back and read until the next wave of torpor comes over me, pushing me to once again seek rest in fitful sleep.

I figure another day, and I'll be on the mend. In the meantime, I'll blog as inspiration strikes -- a remote possibility at this point.

Thanks for the well-wishes, to all who sent them. I'll be back. In the meantime, let me leave you with this:

Common Cold

Go hang yourself, you old M.D,!
You shall not sneer at me.
Pick up your hat and stethoscope,
Go wash your mouth with laundry soap;
I contemplate a joy exquisite
In not paying you for your visit.
I did not call you to be told
My malady is a common cold.

By pounding brow and swollen lip;
By fever's hot and scaly grip;
By those two red redundant eyes
That weep like woeful April skies;
By racking snuffle, snort, and sniff;
By handkerchief after handkerchief;
This cold you wave away as naught
Is the damnedest cold man ever caught!

Give ear, you scientific fossil!
Here is the genuine Cold Colossal;
The Cold of which researchers dream,
The Perfect Cold, the Cold Supreme.
This honored system humbly holds
The Super-cold to end all colds;
The Cold Crusading for Democracy;
The F├╝hrer of the Streptococcracy.

Bacilli swarm within my portals
Such as were ne'er conceived by mortals,
But bred by scientists wise and hoary
In some Olympic laboratory;
Bacteria as large as mice,
With feet of fire and heads of ice
Who never interrupt for slumber
Their stamping elephantine rumba.

A common cold, gadzooks, forsooth!
Ah, yes. And Lincoln was jostled by Booth;
Don Juan was a budding gallant,
And Shakespeare's plays show signs of talent;
The Arctic winter is fairly coolish,
And your diagnosis is fairly foolish.
Oh what a derision history holds
For the man who belittled the Cold of Colds!

-- Ogden Nash

In case you missed it. . .

. . .yesterday, The Anchoress has posted a note to Maureen Dowd that is a must-read. She received a link from Captain's Quarters, and no doubt experienced a huge hit spike. And, I don't doubt for a moment that word got back around to Maureen.

For readers who haven't seen the post, do check it out. It's profound, moving, and very satisfying. Speaking on her dear brother's behalf, she begins by asking:

"Do you understand how fragile your life is, or how short? Do you comprehend that this time next year, while the carolers are singing and some tacky and absurd man in the Bronx is stringing thousands of lights upon his house, just for the fun of it, you might be only sinew and bone, pale and weak and fighting for every breath? That you may have to be diapered and spoon-fed, that you will have to endure the terrible weeping of your family, and see their grief, even as they try to hide it? That the simple joy of picking up a book may be beyond your strength, or that your mind will be so exhausted that the news, the arts, the culture for which you used to live, will cease to have meaning or relevance?"

Also, the Conservative Canes Corner has a link to an important article on the War on Terrorism and East Africa as a major source of Jihadist recruitment for Al Qaeda. It's important to remind people of the global nature of this war as it is likely to drag on much longer, and have far more casualties than we've seen so far.

Hat tip, Dr. Joe. The chicken soup is warming up as I write this.

Monday, December 06, 2004

A dispatch from the infirmary:

I'm fighting a bear of a headcold, so blogging will be light tonight. Please come back tomorrow. I will try my best to post something new between now and tomorrow night.

Thanks for checking in.


Sunday, December 05, 2004

I was wondering. . .

. . .when I would finally read something like this from someone other than Robert George, Thomas Sowell, or Walter Williams. Finally, a black journalist at the local level has voiced criticism against the treatment of Condoleezza Rice by white liberals, and her complete abandonment by black liberals. It seemed there for a while that the only people who really gave a damn were bloggers, and a few prominent black conservatives. Now that Joseph H. Brown of the Tampa Tribune has taken the matter up in his column, it could be a sign that the truth is seeing the light of day.

Sooner or later, the double standard will become so obvious that even Jesse Jackson will no longer be able to deny it. When that day comes, we'll see a change for the better.

The blind eyes and deaf ears cast upon this by civil rights so-called leaders is one of the more shameful things I've witnessed since the NAACP used the dragging death of James Bird in an attack ad against then-candidate George W. Bush.

It truly is amazing what liberals are able to compartmentalize in the name of partisan politics.

Is it just me. . .

. . .or is there a bit of a boom in "good-natured ribbing" among Hollywood's leading men these days? I don't watch much television at all, and the few hours I've seen within the past week have featured a lot of slug-in-the-arm type antics between George Clooney and Brad Pitt, plus some brotherly give-and-take between Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.

Did somebody do a focus group?

A MFCB production.
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I hope you won't mind. . .

. . .a little more self-indulgence. It's just that I have certain things that I'm passionate about, and a blog seems like a good place to talk about them.

Obviously, I have a keen interest in politics, as well as music as you can see below. Well, that goes for tobacco, as well. How I got that way is a matter of serendipity.

A while back, I was going through some money woes -- only worse than normal -- and it was just about that time that cigarette prices spiked in Kentucky. Being a dedicated Camel Filters enthusiast, I was filled with proverbial righteous indignation and decided to explore other avenues of satisfying my habit.

I'd heard about "roll-your-own" cigarettes from a frequent poster on Lucianne.com in those days, and decided to do a little research on the subject. This led me to a website called RYOMagazine.com, which is dedicated to the "roll-your-own," or RYO industry. (Some refer to it as "MYO" for "make-your-own," for reasons of anal-retentiveness.) It really is a great site with a wealth of information for anyone who might be interested in trying it out.

Granted, making your own isn't for everyone, but I've been doing it now for three years, or more. I have to say that I wouldn't go back to buying prepackaged cigarettes on a bet, and there are several reasons.

Admittedly, I've talked a couple of people into trying it, and they gave up after a couple of weeks. I didn't ask why, but I suspect that it was just too much of a bother for them to go to the trouble of taking the time out of their day in order to make up a pack to carry with them. And, that's understandable. For some people, it takes a while to get the hang of it. I'm fortunate enough to have fairly deft hands, and can usually fix up a pack's worth in about twenty minutes, which is less time than it takes me to run to the store and back for a pack. So, one of the reasons I make my own is that, in the long run, it's much more convenient for me.

Also, there's the not-so-minor consideration of price. I can get two cartons for about half the price I'd normally pay for one carton of prepackaged cigarettes. Over the course of a year, that adds up to a lot of money. So, I have that extra cash to spend on gasoline, or groceries, or shoes, or whatever I want. I like to think of it as beer money. But that's a subject for another self-indulgent post.

But, the main reason I'll always go the RYO route is quality. It's something you can't really appreciate until you've actually made your own cigarettes for a while, but the taste and texture of the tobacco you get in hand-rolled tobacco is so superior compared to that of the pre-rolled type as to make you wonder whether the two actually come from the same plant. I say this not so much as a criticism of premade cigarettes as a praise of the quality of tobacco you get when you make your own. I smoked Camel Filters for over 15 years before I made the switch, so it's not as though I'm trying to say I'm somehow "too good" for them. I'm just a convert -- more Catholic than the Pope, perhaps.

And, what's even better is the array of tobaccoes from which you have to choose. There are so many different varieties, flavors, and blends out there that to catalogue them here in any detail would require a blog of its own. And even a tin of the finest, most expensive tobacco is roughly half the price one would pay for a carton. Throw in a couple of bucks for a box of cigarette tubes and a little effort to stuff them with the tobacco and you can have a truly enjoyable smoke for the price of a song.

I have a tobacco that I normally smoke, for everyday usage, and from time to time, I'll buy a tin of something else for pure enjoyment, or just to try something new. Granted, not every tobacco is wonderful to my taste, and I quickly learned to avoid the "flavored" tobaccoes -- like vanilla -- no matter how great they might smell in the can. But, there are many styles that make for great, pleasurable smoking.

My everyday tobacco is a brand called McClintock Full Flavor, which is one of the more affordable brands but, in my opinion, some of the best-tasting tobacco available. It's made by a man named Peter Stokkebye, of Denmark, with Kentucky and Virginia leaf (as most all American-style tobaccoes are) and it's full, rich and smooth to a degree that is hard to get across to the uninitiated. One woman friend of mine absolutely loves it, and always has to "bum" one whenever she comes by, or we happen to be in the same place.

At the moment my "coffee break" tobacco is a brand called Jester, which is more of a European-styled shag cut tobacco. I bought the can just to give it a try, and it really is enjoyable. It has a spicy flavor to it that you don't get in American styles, but is a little milder than most of the European-style halfzware shags, which have a richer, fuller, more complex taste -- overpowering to some.

Normally, I'm not one to go for overly sophisticated flavors, but my first encounter with the European-style halfzware shag tobaccoes sold me on them. I guess I'd found the last two pouches of Drum tobacco in existence that were actually made in Holland, by Douwe-Egberts, before the brand was sold to the Sara Lee company. (There is a major difference in the product these days, though Drum is still a fine tobacco.) It was a bit dried out, but still had a great flavor that went so well with black coffee that I was tempted to go on a sleepless binge for two days, until I'd smoked every bit of it with one cup of coffee after another.

My favorite indulgence tobacco, however, has to be Peter Stokkebye's Amsterdam Shag No. 93. If you're a smoker, and you have any appreciation for somewhat exotic flavors, you have to try this tobacco at some point in your life. Compared to other brands, it's a little steep, but still vastly affordable compared to brand-name packaged cigarettes. I used to smoke it as an everyday tobacco, but after a while, the flavor loses its distinctiveness, and you become habituated so that you lose your ability to truly appreciate it. It's best used as a treat to help you relax, unwind and just enjoy a little change of pace now and then. Sort of like an extra dry martini in cigarette form.

So, that's the end of another guitar solo. I hope I haven't bored you too badly with my personal peccadilloes and self-indulgence. Again, I'll return to matters of importance in due course.

Thank you for your time.

Why hast thou forsaken me. . .

. . .Calliope? That seems to be the question among the Hollywood set, as they've come to the conclusion that the only thing that kept John Kerry out of the Oval Office was his lack of a compelling story to sell to the voters. Alas, The benevolent muse has left them bereft of a tale to tell. No mythic heroism. No stirring epics. Just the story of a supposed war hero with presumably authentic medals for being reportedly wounded in an ostensibly fierce firefight.

They must be thinking, "Gimme something to work with here, would ya?"

In any case, Michael does eventually reveal the very basic principles of today's Democratic Party when he has this to say:

"He said while he likes and respects former Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, the senator did not give a clear enough message, did not tell a compelling enough story - nor did he exude the charisma of 'rock star' former Democratic President Bill Clinton."

Is there not a soul in the DNC who is alarmed at the notion that their beliefs are so far out of the mainstream that they need someone with rockstar charisma to sell them? Isn't there someone around that sparkling new building that Terry McAuliffe spent such an obscene amount of money on who is willing to tell the Michael Moores of the party to, "just shut the hell up and let me think!"?

Until Michael Moore ceases to be the most powerful voice among the DNC's varied constituencies, there will be no victories for them. They'll hold on to their enclaves -- like Marin County, but their shrinking pockets of support in the industrial midwest will slowly begin to fade from the map as the GOP makes inroads into its working class base.

You see, Mike, those working stiffs are disgusted by what comes out of Hollywood, by and large. So, you and your pals really need to fade from the picture if you're really interested in doing the DNC any favors. Either that, or come out strong for Nader next time around. That way, people might be fooled into believing there's actually a difference between the Greens and the Democrats. And, there's the added bonus of appearing to be a person with principles.

And by the way, Mike. . .black is slimming, but it's not that slimming. You might try pinstripes.

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