30 September 2010 · Comments Off on Apres Le Deluge · Categories: First Looks

My friend heard on the telly vision this afternoon that we have had 16 inches of rain so far this week.

And three to five more inches are predicted for tonight. From the sound of things, the prediction is not far off.

In Wilmington, Delaware, there is a strong Christian Orthodox presence, reflecting the pattern of immigration (you know about immigration; it’s a word that means, “We’re here; you’re not allowed”). Up the road from my old house was a Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

When they held their annual bazaar, you could get pierogies to die for. (For those of you who have never heard of pierogies, they are sort of eastern European raviolis, usually filled with mashed potatoes or mashed potatoes and onions. You boil them up and, for a true treat, simultaneously fry up some onions and finish by browning the pierogies with the onions. You can sometimes find a pale imitation in the freezer section of your grocery store).

We attended it once, because the Pastor was our neighbor two doors up. The service was two hours of beautiful liturgy, much of it spent standing. The most memorable event was that First Son’s girlfriend of the time fainted from all the standing and incense. She went to the Narthex for a breath and, the next thing we knew, an usher was at our pew whispering, “Your daughter has fainted.” Daughter was standing right there . . . process of elimination and all that.

Anyhoo, in the course of a discussion of the place of archangels as opposed to angels (I took the position that angels were, at best, a metaphor, but that, in Christian tradition, archangels were sort of like the sergeants of angels–sergeants run the Army), I stumbled on the Orthodox Page, which discusses the Orders of Angels.

30 September 2010 · Comments Off on Test Your Religious Knowledge · Categories: First Looks

The Pew Survey on Religious knowledge has been in the news lately.

Take the quiz.

I got one wrong, confusing two eastern religions with knowlege based on an extensive reading of Kipling when I was young.

30 September 2010 · Comments Off on Voting Your Pocket Book (Updated) · Categories: Political Theatre

Or not.

Sadhbh Walshe writes of counter-intuitive voting in the Guardian. A nugget:

The Republican party recently unveiled their “Pledge to America” in which they outline their plans to address the economic anxiety of the majority of Americans by awarding a $700bn dollar tax cut extension to the wealthy who are thriving and cutting spending on programmes that benefit the rest of the country who are not. What is surprising about this is not the lack of imagination (or shame) displayed in the GOP’s approach to improving prosperity for all Americans, but that so many people who are not themselves well-off support this generous gift to the rich.


The generally accepted explanation of why many Americans, even those that are poor, are opposed to raising taxes for the rich is the enduring belief in upward social mobility or that they may one day be rich themselves. We still believe America is the land of opportunity. You can be born in the ghetto and rise to super stardom. A welfare recipient from a broken home may become president. But the truth is, for the vast majority of people, these dreams are out of reach and, in fact, the US actually has the lowest social mobility of any industrialised nation.

Follow the link and read the whole thing, especially the penultimate paragraph.


“Penultimate.” Hee-hee.


Via The Booman.

30 September 2010 · Comments Off on Chicago Has the “Magnificent Mile.” Lost Wages Has the “Magnifying Mile.” · Categories: It Is To Laugh

I know how to fix this:

Guests at a new hotel in Las Vegas have complained of receiving severe burns from a ‘death ray’ of sunlight caused by the unique design of the building.

Due to the concave shape of the Vdara hotel, the strong Nevada sun reflects off its all-glass front and directly onto sections of the swimming pool area below.

The result has left some guests with burns from the powerful rays and even plastic bags have been recorded as melting in the heat.

Remember that creepy Southwestern Bell Cingular AT&T commercial?

30 September 2010 · Comments Off on Nothing To Do, Nowhere To Go · Categories: Political Economy

Down three percentage points.

The number of people who signed up for state unemployment benefits fell 16,000 to a total of 453,000 in the latest week, the Labor Department reported Thursday, leaving the level of new claims back where they were at the start of 2010.

Big deal.

30 September 2010 · Comments Off on Condomania · Categories: Give Me a Break

Specifically, the (Virgina) state attorney general’s office alleges that the Cedarwood Condominium Association discriminates against families with children.

It says the association does this by fining them $50 for repeated violations of an association rule against throwing or hitting balls in the common areas, while no residents without children have received complaints or fines, according to the suit filed in Chesapeake earlier this month.

The association has fined three of the neighborhood’s six families with children – out of 82 housing units – for their children playing football, the suit alleges. It also alleges that children playing outside have been harassed, according to the family that brought the complaint, but doesn’t say by whom.

If you live in a condo, pretty much everything outside your door is “common area,” unless you happen to have, say, an small enclosed patio or yard area, as I did when I lived in Fairlington 30 years ago. In other words, children are forbidden to play ball outside. Playing ball inside is not generally recommended.

The local rag’s resident curmudgeon delivers her opinion here. For once, I pretty much agree with her (she bats about .500 on the “agreeing with Frank” scale).

Fortunately, the condo board where I live is pretty laid back. I made a point of complimenting the new chairman on this when I had to call him yesterday. He thanked me and told me that the board was determined not to be like the one just down the road to the right, which the residents refer to as the “clipboard nazis.”

Not to mention bad judgment. (I don’t know how the last line of the story slipped by the editors.)


The Smoking Gun has a picture.

30 September 2010 · Comments Off on QOTD · Categories: QOTD

Paul Valery:

God made everything out of nothing, but the nothingness shows through.

29 September 2010 · Comments Off on Deceptive Perception · Categories: First Looks

One of the aspects of human nature that enables cons to succeed is that persons see what they expect to see. (Actually, without any desire for personal gain, I have taken advantage of this aspect of human nature. It does indeed hold true.)

The Slactivist expands on this principle. A nugget:

Tea partiers tend to revere the U.S. Constitution in much the same way that many American evangelicals revere the Bible, which is to say they read it without comprehension, looking only for ammunition that can be used against their enemies. And since neither text was written for such a purpose, this so-called reverence is an exercise in illiteracy.

Read the whole thing.

29 September 2010 · Comments Off on Close Encounters of the Phillies Kind · Categories: It Is To Laugh

I was returning to my truck after a bit of shopping when a guy walked up to the car next to me.

He looked at my bumper stickers.

With a sour look, he said, “Phillies, eh?”

I said, “Note this: They’ve gone all season without a single player being arrested.”

He lost the sour look.

29 September 2010 · Comments Off on Quagmired? · Categories: First Looks

In 2006, a real estate columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer said that a pretty good sign that we were in a housing bubble was that persons were starting to ask whether or not we were in a housing bubble. (I mentioned it at the time.)

Similarly, a pretty good sign that we are quagmired in Afghanistan is that persons are now arguing that we must stay in Afghanistan because we are in Afghanistan.

29 September 2010 · Comments Off on Wall Street’s Week · Categories: Political Economy

Republican Economics

Via Down with Tyranny. Follow the link and read the post.

29 September 2010 · Comments Off on Brendan Has a Point · Categories: Political Theatre

I disagree with some (not all, especially as regards civil liberties) of his complaints about the Obama administration–last I looked, the Oval Office had rugs, drapes, chairs, and a desk, but no magic wand, but he’s correct about this.

The circular firing squad is getting old.

The issue should be working the vote, not sinking the boat.

29 September 2010 · Comments Off on You Can’t Fight Mother Nature · Categories: First Looks

But Tangier Island is determined to try:

But the islanders’ way of life is threatened by erosion that takes up to 30 feet of shoreline per year and has reduced Tangier’s size from 2,200 to 730 acres, according to figures cited in a form letter distributed to residents recently to mail to federal and state officials.

About 275 people showed up at a July meeting on the island where the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, at the town council’s invitation, presented an overview of the civil works projects process. The letter campaign began in earnest soon after that meeting.

You remember the Army Corps of Engineers. They’re the folks who did such a good job protecting New Orleans.