Friday, March 25, 2016

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Baby Doc Rivers Fan Club

The man, the legend, the photo covering up all those Lakers championship banners.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Hunting Down TVD

Greetings to readers of other blogs, who frequently track me to this page wondering what this Van Dyke fellow is all about.

Best to find my latest here, as contributor and putative editor of newreformclub.com. But do scroll down and try the salmon croquettes recipe below. It gets the most traffic here, and for damned good reason. Yum.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Why We Fight

(A version of the following was published by The American Spectator Online in June 2007.)


Via CBS News, what we should come to call The Iraqi Orphanage Nightmare:

Inside the building, a government-run orphanage for special needs children, the soldiers found more emaciated little bodies tied to the cribs. They had been kept this way for more than a month, according to the soldiers called in to rescue the 24 boys.

"I saw children that you could see literally every bone in their body that were so skinny, they had no energy to move whatsoever, no expression on their face," Staff Sgt. Michael Beale said.

"The kids were tied up, naked, covered in their own waste — feces — and there were three people that were cooking themselves food, but nothing for the kids," Lt. Stephen Duperre said.

"I got extremely angry with the caretaker when I got there," Capt. Benjamin Morales said. "It took every muscle in my body to restrain myself from not going after that guy."

"I picked him up and then immediately the kid started smiling, and as I got a little bit closer to the ambulance he just started laughing. It was almost like he completely understood what was going on," Beale said.

Later at the hospital, Lt. Jason Smith brushed teeth and helped clean up the boys. He and his wife are both special education teachers, and he was proud to tell her what the soldiers had done.

"She said that one day was worth my entire deployment," Smith said. "It makes the whole thing worthwhile."


It was even worse than that---this is just an excerpt. Fortunately, CBS News was there, which means it really happened. Do read the whole thing, and remember this in the coming days, which will get worse. Remember.


We here in the fat, relatively happy and somewhat civilized west take order and minimal humanitarian conduct for granted. But we forget that just over sixty years ago, westerners conducted a Holocaust themselves, and worse, it was by intention, not mere neglect.

The Bushies, associated neo-cons, and anti-warriors alike misunderestimated the depths of human depravity when it came (comes) to Iraq. The Cradle of Civilization refuses to cease making our jaws drop in uncomprehension.

CBS News


It was said, and fairly, by our troops in Vietnam that they were the unwilling doing the unnecessary for the ungrateful. That's not the case here. Our troops are willing, doing what is necessary, and every person of good will toward men is grateful.


"I picked him up and then immediately the kid started smiling, and as I got a little bit closer to the ambulance he just started laughing. It was almost like he completely understood what was going on," [Sgt.] Beale said.



We all do, Sgt. Beale, we just want to pretend that we don't, back here at home. I don't blame any of us, because it's only human. But I do not see how we can pull our heroes like you and Benjamin Morales and Jason Smith away from what is manifestly a sacred mission. I just don't. God bless, and Godspeed.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Crab-Salmon Croquettes, or: The Idiot's Guide to Heaven on Earth

For your consideration, in guy-recipe form:


TVD's Crab-Salmon Croquettes

1 big can salmon (drained, reserve liquid)
1 little can crabmeat (ditto)
4 diced celery stalks
1/4 cup minced green onions, onions, or a little dried onion, onion powder, whatever
1 golfball-sized hunk of mayo
3/4 cup smashed crackers or matzo meal, or a combo of both
5 splashes Worcestershire sauce
1 or 2 eggs, whipped up with a fork
Juice of a 1/2 a lemon, or a blast of that ReaLemon® that's been sitting in your fridge for like 12 years


any dried seafood seasoning
lotsa paprika
cayenne pepper
go easy on the salt, if you use any at all


Paradise. Posted by Picasa

(If you don't have crabmeat, just use the salmon and only 1/2 a cup of the cracker crumbs. Tuna fish will do in a pinch, too.)


Mix it all up gently in a bowl, easy does it. We don't want a paste. Add the reserved liquid a little at a time, just enough to keep it medium-wet.

___________________________________________________

**CRITICAL MYSTERY SOLVED** Before cooking, put the mixture in the fridge for an hour first or the freezer for 30 minutes, and your croquettes won't fall apart, leaving you with fried fish dust. This is the secret for all successful croquettes.
___________________________________________________


Make little hockey pucks out of the cooled mixture. Preheat a frying pan with a thin layer of oil (butter's even better), and put your hockey pucks in. DO NOT TOUCH them for at least 12 minutes---they have to set up. You can smush them down a little with the spatula (that's an egg turner thingee). When the bottoms are safely brown, you can turn 'em over and finish them off with another 10 minutes of cooking. Put them on a plate covered by a couple of paper towels.


You can lo-cal them using only a little oil or butter in the pan---just cook 'em under a lower heat for a little longer. The mayo makes 'em creamy, but if they're still a little dry for you, Campbell's Cream of Celery soup (no water) heated up is a great topping sauce. Don't be afraid---even the cookbooks say it's OK.

Put some parsley on top. Civilized people do that.


Makes about 10 hockey pucks. Try 'em with fries, a splash of vinegar, maybe some cole slaw. Now you're stylin'.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Global Warming: What You Can Do

(A version of the following was published by The American Spectator Online in February 2007.)


I've been on the fence about this thing until America's most highly-paid newsman Katie Couric wrote this on her blog:

"And all the experts agree. Well, almost every expert. (There are a handful of scientists -- many of them on the payroll of big oil companies -- who wonder if global warming is a reality.)"


Oil companies. I should have known. They want us all dead so they can have all the oil to themselves. Still, as a Republican, the question I really have to ask is, what's in it for me??

It's another perfect day here in Southern California, a nippy 69 degrees, and the value of my house has doubled in the last 5 years. What if everybody had nice weather, the chilling thought went down my chilled spine. My obscene profit, up in smoke like from the tailpipe of a Hummer. And if it gets as warm as Mexico here, why, they sell land as cheap as dirt!

We have to do something about this, like now. As Al Gore said while snarfing up his well-deserved Oscar, this is a moral issue. Quicker than Gore flunked out of divinity school, I came up with this helpful list. Clip and save:

---Plug in your clocks only when you absolutely have to know what time it is. If you need the alarm, get up five minutes early to set it.

---Al Gore says cigarettes are a significant cause of global warming, so quit smoking and sell him the carbon credits.

---Your kids are useless for pushing your car up to highway speeds, but they can increase your mileage considerably around town. Use your headlights only when there's no moon, and remember, your horn uses less energy than your turn signal.

---Stairs make you huff and puff and expel carbon dioxide. Use the elevator. And sports are carbon-intensive too, so do 'em on your X-box.

---Take as long as you want browsing in the fridge. Leaving the door open cools the world off.

---Down more Slurpees, or better yet, nice frosty margaritas. See, this isn't so bad.

---Lower the thermostat in your Gulfstream jet, and make the help wear sweaters.

---We need our corn for ethanol. Switch from Fritos to pork rinds.

---Do not use a television or radio unless it's bicycle powered, like Gilligan's.

---Turn your computer off right now. Turn it off, get up out of your chair, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

Then sit down quietly. Moving, talking and breathing should be kept to the absolute minimum. Human life is eco-unfriendly, and should be lived as little as possible. It's the moral thing to do.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Nine

9. Mini-sudoku solution, as promised.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

The Left Is Right

Live 8, besides calling for debt relief for Africa, asks for free markets for African products, which cannot compete with European products because of EU subsidies.

The playing field isn't level---African producers get no help from their governments, because their governments are focused on corruption and Swiss bank accounts. How can Africa compete in the poker game of life when France keeps slipping chips into her stack?



Screw you, world poverty, we're all free traders now. Posted by Picasa


Trade makes everyone richer. I can make 20 bottles of wine a week or 2 loaves of bread, my choice. Grapes grow easily where I live, but wheat doesn't do so well. You can make 20 loaves of bread or a bottle of wine for similar reasons. If we trade, we both got bread and wine every night.

But if my government pays me to grow wheat, that's what I'll do. Too bad for you.

That's the trade situation right now for Africa. European nations "protect," no, reward their crappy "wheat-growers," their "farmers," so Africa can go to hell. Live 8 says later for that. Cool.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Universal Health Care, Armageddon, or What?

Caught Christian apocolyptic author Tim LaHaye on Sunday's blab TV. Seems the Book of Revelations sez the anti-Christ isn't some weirdo like Christopher Walken, but someone who's "attractive, intelligent, and articulate." Somebody who isn't seen as bad, but good.

Whew. Great news for our friends on the left---they can stop worrying about the current Republican White House occupant.

Now, the wife thought he looked kinda cute in that flight suit, but "intelligent" is never used in conjunction with "Bush" (unlike his fellow Yale C-student opponent in the last election), and even the president's non-reality-based supporters can't prop up the whopper that he's "articulate."

I mean, there are limits to partisan self-derangement, even for conservatives.


But on the horizon there's only one political figure whom none can deny is "attractive, intelligent, and articulate":



Repent now and avoid the rush? Posted by Hello


The "smartest woman in the world" is also hot. I trust you, the discriminating reader, will examine the evidence closely, because your eternal soul might depend on it. Word up.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The 'Dude Rocketh On

My pal Philosoraptor gave me a generous plug, even though I give him nothing in return but existential grief, pain and suffering. He urges me to rock on, and I can now reveal how wise and knowing he is, in that Kantian sort of way of his.

The humble narrator of this blog has been away to the land of Miami, mastering an album for his all-time favorite band, The Cookies. (As a matter of coincidence, he was a member of that particular band.)

A sneak peek at a couple of the raw tracks is here.

The 'Dude wrote the first one but not the second, did the lead vocals, played bass, and recorded the whole mess with his own bare hands.

The story is kinda cool---this was my favoritest band I was ever in. We broke up, in fine and predictable rock band fashion, but Diamond Jim, the drummer, caught me on a gameshow (yeah, I did OK) and tracked me down through my wife's acting union. I mentioned that I co-owned a recording studio and voila!, the guys were on my doorstep a few months later to make the album we never did get to make.

We're putting it out on vinyl on an esoteric label for esoteric-minded True Lovers of Great Art. I'm told that indy god Robert Pollard thinks it doesn't overly suck.

But now I gotta go buy a turntable. Do they still make 'em?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Whole Truth and Nothing But...

Since Watergate, the press has put itself in opposition to whatever the current administration says, to balance things out. But what if what the administration says never sees the light of day?

Detainees “provide useful information on locations of training compounds and safe houses, terrain features, travel patterns and routes used for smuggling people and equipment, as well as for identifying potential supporters and opponents.” U.S. questioning has “expanded our understanding of the extent of their presence in Europe [and] the United States…”

“Detainees provide information that helps sort out legitimate financial activity from illegitimate terrorist financing operations,” the report says.

One detainee “identified a complex detonation system…that had been used in the Chechen conflict, and now is being used on IEDs [Improvised Explosive Devices] in Iraq, helping U.S. forces to combat this lethal weapon.”

Despite this apparent cooperation, enemy combatants remain viciously anti-American and dedicated to mayhem, even after release.

“I will arrange for the kidnapping and execution of US citizens living in Saudi Arabia,” one detainee threatened, if freed. “They will have their heads cut off.”

“There is no need to ask for forgiveness for killing a Jew,” another said. “Israel should not exist and be removed from Palestine.”

One detainee reportedly warned that “upon his release from GTMO, he would use the Internet to search for the names and faces of MPs so that he could kill them.”

Among 167 detainees freed from Guantanamo, the Pentagon has identified “about 12” who have resumed terrorist operations. Last October, two Chinese engineers were kidnapped in Pakistan. “Former detainee Abdullah Mahsud, their reputed leader, ordered the kidnapping,” the report states.

“Another released detainee assassinated an Afghan judge,” the document continues. “Several former GTMO detainees have been killed in combat with U.S. soldiers and Coalition forces.”
.


Well, that's the administration's story, that this Guantanamo mess has saved many innocent lives. But I for one never heard it until now. Have you?

Nah, I didn't think so. We get the truth, but it's half the truth, which is worse than no truth at all.


Some can't live with moral dilemmas, but we must. The moral dilemma is the probability of depriving an innocent of his freedom vs. the probability of the rest of these maniacs taking innocent human life. You make your best 51-49 call and live with being a moral leper with the other who are down with the 49.

So me, I make my call based on detentions being temporary and death being permanent. I have to live with that, and so does Bush. Anyone who wants to release these guys to preserve the principle of due process has to live with the deaths of who these guys kill. There is no escape from moral dilemmas. That's how this funky world works.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Chimp Vision

Via CUANAS, from Opinion Journal:

"George W. Bush has unleashed a tsunami on this region," a shrewd Kuwaiti merchant who knows the way of his world said to me. The man had no patience with the standard refrain that Arab reform had to come from within, that a foreign power cannot alter the age-old ways of the Arabs.


"Everything here--the borders of these states, the oil explorations that remade the life of this world, the political outcomes that favored the elites now in the saddle--came from the outside. This moment of possibility for the Arabs is no exception." A Jordanian of deep political experience at the highest reaches of Arab political life had no doubt as to why history suddenly broke in Lebanon, and could conceivably change in Syria itself before long. "The people in the streets of Beirut knew that no second Hama is possible; they knew that the rulers were under the gaze of American power, and knew that Bush would not permit a massive crackdown by the men in Damascus."


Wonderful eagle-eye, that Pastorius, and this is inspiring.


Chimpy McHitler, they call him on the internet.



Our postmodern Western world is blind to the universe of possibilities. How the underqualified C-student child-of-privilege George W. Bush became the visionary of the Western World is beyond me. (The less prudent and worldly call it a miracle.)

The phrase "reality-based community" became a self-definition for our friends on the left, in reaction to this quote from an anonymous White House staffer:

"We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality...we'll act again, creating other new realities..."


Now, this was taken as some neo-con psychosis, but how different is it from Bobby Kennedy?

"There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were, and ask 'Why not?'"


Actually, Bush didn't have the vainglory to dream of things that never were; more like he wanted to help the things that already are to blossom. The desire for freedom and to be rid of tyranny goes back to at least the ancient Greeks, and no doubt further. I'm certain our real Vietnam mistake was that the Vietnamese were not offered freedom, only a slightly less abusive tyranny than that of the Viet Cong. All things considered, people go with the locals.

Bush isn't LBJ. And these Straussian neo-cons aren't the paranoid WWII generation who (properly) feared world totalitarianism.

Bush's belief in the "consent of the governed" means that he and his evil advisors have learned the lessons of history. The Cedar Revolution in Lebanon tells us about the universal hunger for freedom.

The idea that Syria hasn't bathed the streets of Beirut with blood to preserve their little empire because they're afraid of George Bush rings true with me.

In 1982, the Syrians killed 25,000 people who hungered for freedom in one night (the "Hama"). The only difference I can see is C-student cowboy George Dubya Chimp on the world stage, being as reality-based as all get-out.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Strausscleaning

Idealist writes:

If I really believed our aims were so altruistic I'd be supportive and I suspect others in the world would be, too. However, I can't see it as anything other than a power grab by cynical Imperialist Straussians. I did read the Report for the 20th century by the Wolfowitz, etc. think tank whose name escapes me and it scared the hell out of me. I don't want to be an imperialistic nation. These guys are egotistical, cynical tyrannical creeps and I don't use those terms losely.



Well, let's look at the record. Much has been said about the philosopher Leo Strauss and his "followers." Little is understood. I assume you refer to this:

"The PNAC website states the group's "fundamental propositions", which are

American leadership is good both for America and for the world

Such leadership requires military strength, diplomatic energy and commitment to moral principle

Too few political leaders today are making the case for global leadership.



Sounds good to me. Weakness is not a strategy, and every nation has paid for theirs with their own blood. Further, the US today is not an imperialist nation. And further, with few exceptions, the rest of the world is corrupt and is incapable of putting moral imperatives into practice.

I'd be interested in anything substantive against the philosopher Leo Strauss besides the "noble lie" canard, which dates to Plato, not him.


It is true that Strauss had extreme difficulty with modern (not 1700-era, which is "classical") liberalism. His own philosophical quest began when as a Jew himself, he was appalled that the modern-liberal Weimar Republic lacked the power or the will to protect the Jews, and saw a fundamental flaw in the philosophy of "tolerance" as a First Principle.

Strauss was correct. The same moral inertia of Weimar persists in modern liberal Europe, and in many of your penpals, I'm afraid. Saddam's open support and reward of Palestinian suicide bombers was enough of an offense against humanity.

Modern Europe, and of course the openly anti-Israel UN, were and are quite content to let the Jews keep dying.

It is indeed no coincidence that many of the neo-cons and "Straussians" are Jews, although many others are Christian. And it is no coincidence that Saddam's support for the murder of Jews was not put forward as a reason to depose him. Europe, and the modern left, frankly don't give a damn.


(I once again recommend the CUANAS blog. The blatant anti-Semitism of the rest of the world goes shockingly unreported in the American media. Not much has changed since the 1930s, when Leo Strauss first sat down to think.)

Friday, May 13, 2005

Nihilism/"Annihilate," Meaning to Bring to Nothing

Complaining about political language is to me a lefty thing, and I have avoided it. Surely there's a basic core of an idea, even an opinion, that doesn't depend on manipulating words. But the media (yes, even FoxHitlerNews and of course Auntie Beeb) calling these homicidal/suicidal maniacs in Iraq "insurgents" has just got on my last nerve.

I understand WWII hero Rodger Young, who gave his life to save his platoon. I understand Japan's kamikazes, fighting for their homeland. I even understand Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove riding his H-Bomb to nuke the Russkies.

But in Iraq (and leave the US/UK military forces out of it), we've got psychotic Muslims killing innocent Muslims. For nothing.

Some sort of consent of the governed, if not democracy, will become the law of the land in Iraq. That's a fact. These guys are not even killing for God. They are dying not for God, but for themselves alone. They are building nothing. They are saving nothing. They are taking many people with them. For nothing. The self is a dead end.

Faithful correspondent Idealist writes:

But then I don't believe in one-sided wars. It's been called imperialism before.


A one-sided war is slaughtering innocents when the "opponent" refuses do the same. The imperialists, the murderers, the Islamofascists in this case, simply kill, with no achievable goal. Even the firebombing of Dresden and the nuking of Nagasaki and Hiroshima had an achievable goal in mind.

"Insurgents" is an insult to all our intelligence. They kill the very people they purport to save because their own self-annihilation is more important than even their fellow Muslims. They are terrorists and murderers, sociopaths. No other words will do.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Stairway to Hell


 Posted by Hello

That's noted satanist Jimmy Page boogie-in' on down at the New York Stock Exchange. It all fits now, doesn't it?

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Happy V-E Day!!!!!!

I'd bet less than half of Americans know what V-E Day is. It means Victory in Europe, and today is the 60th anniversary of the Nazi surrender.

There is some buzz in Europe, but the American media is almost completely silent about the occasion. Not surprising, since there are parallels to today's crises, and none of them suit our media's worldview.

President George Dubya Bush is over at the ceremonies, unabashedly (as is his style) noting that the Americans fought Hitlerism in the cause of freedom. Now it's true that the USSR, locked in a death struggle, did the heavy military lifting in defeating Hitler.

But it's also true that the US (and UK) could have come to an accomodation with Hitler and signed a separate peace, leaving the continent to the Nazis' tender mercies. If they had, Hitler could have turned his full attention to the USSR, which could not have survived.

I see many nations that owe their freedom to the US and UK trying to finesse the threats of today's world seeking some small diplomatic or economic advantage by making separate peaces with today's implacable ememies of freedom. I see many people in those nations whose understandable distaste for military history has caused them to miss its lessons.

Read the Butcher's Bill for the Second World War. The most shocking revelation is that civilian casualties, for perhaps the first time in military history, outnumbered those on the battlefield.

The lesson is that war is no longer some incestuous pastime for the testoterone crowd. We are past the age of border disputes. When the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.

Good men doing nothing is still the biggest threat to freedom, justice and human dignity. There is no diplomatic solution to tyranny. Freedom and dignity are ideas, and your freedom and dignity were bought with blood, your forefathers' blood and willingness to shed it for such impractical ideas.


And so, after having his way in Afghanistan and Iraq, why is Bush still pushing, pushing, pushing? Politicking at WWII memorials, haranguing Putin?

In your heart of hearts, you know why. It's not about oil.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Perfect Result

Blair survives today's election, the Tories are up but their leader Howard's out, and in the biggest surprise of the day, the staunchly anti-Iraq war Lib-Dems pick up the Muslim vote.

Situation normal---status quo, and everybody in Britain's still miserable. I think they like it that way.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Doo-wah, doo-wah, doo-wah, doo-wah, doo-wah, Doo-wah, doo-wah, doo-waaaaaaaaaaah

Went to a university jazz recital last night, and there were quite a few 21st century phenomena. First, midway through the show, there was a power failure and the room plunged into darkness. Fortunately, only the keyboardist was electrified, and he sucked anyway, so the rest of the band kept cranking.

Since next to nobody in Los Angeles smokes anymore, nobody in the crowd had a lighter, but slowly, the stage was bathed in more and more eerie blue light issuing from the audience.


Everybody in LA has a cell phone. It was very cool.


So that was a first, and surely not a last.


I'm not much of a jazz fan, but I've come to appreciate the greats, if not the form itself, over the years. Black jazz critic Stanley Crouch got fired a few years back for saying that these new white kids just don't swing---you know, the thing that makes you tap your foot and sway to the beat. Instead, though they're highly technical and accomplished, the end result is poo-poo.


These freshly scrubbed yuppoids with no cultural connection to the music were attempting to recreate the genius improvisations of mind and soul, of Charlie Parker and John Coltrane, from painstakingly transcribed sheet music! I mean, that defeats the whole purpose of the thing.



The face of 21st Century Jazz. Posted by Hello


Well, I think you see where I'm going with this, if you recognize the folks in the photo from Galaxy Quest, aliens who built their entire reality by reassembling an old Earth TV show. Think of it the next time you hear some music that sounds perfect to the ear and brain, but has a hole in the middle where its heart (and your heart) ought to be.

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing, said The Duke (that's Ellington, for those who came in late), and that's all me and the estimable Mr. Crouch are saying.