From Pine View Farm

July, 2007 archive

Which Muppet Are You? 5

You Are Bert

Extremely serious and a little eccentric, people find you loveable – even if you don’t love them!

You are usually feeling: Logical – you rarely let your emotions rule you

You are famous for: Being smart, a total neat freak, and maybe just a little evil

How you life your life: With passion, even if your odd passions (like bottle caps and pigeons) are baffling to others

Via Phillybits and Brendan.


Truth, Justice, and the American Way 0

Stand up for the Constitution.

Via Susie.


Never Let Anyone Touch Your Deck 2

of Tarot cards, that is.

You Are The Moon

You represent the unconscious side of life, what happens in dreams.
You are capable of great genius – but also of great madness.
Emotions tend to be primal for you, both your fears and your fantasies.
Your intuition is always right, listening to it is the difficult part.

Your fortune:

You are about to embark on a very important journey – and a very difficult one.
Some of your deepest dreams will be realized, as well as some of your deepest nightmares.
Follow your creativity and visions; stay away from your weaknesses.
You are taking a voyage to the center of yourself, and you may be pleasantly surprised by what you discover.

Via Phillybits.


Shocked. Shocked! 0

Jon Swift:

The conservative blogosphere was outraged earlier this month when an article appeared in The New Republic that made the shocking claim that war can make soldiers cruel. Has anyone ever heard such a mendacious slander on our military? Who could believe that our military is not killing and torturing only people who really deserve it and with the utmost civility and the best of intentions? And even if there are a few bad apples in the military, doesn’t the media have a duty to hush up their deeds so that it doesn’t reflect badly on the military as a whole and endanger the war effort?

Of course, the conservative blogosphere is frequently outraged when things don’t go their way.

Whoops! Make that perpetually outraged, since things never go their way.

Those who continously deny reality often find things not going their way.


Drinking Liberally 0

Tomorrow, Tangier Restaurant, 18th and Lombard, just behind Jeff, Philadelphia.

I won’t be there, because I have to be at the job site, so hoist one or five for me.


Republican Debates 0

John Cole has some suggested questions that made me chuckle.

And I did indeed need a chuckle today.


Inquiring Minds Want To Know 3

Is Bush better than Kim Jong Il?

Karen explores the question.

I have one thought:

We won’t know until we see whether Bush goes peacefully at the end of his term.


“Arms for Industry, Arms for the Dead” 0

Actually, that’s a line from an old Firesign Theatre album.

Arms for the most unstable region in the world? That’s a line from the latest Bushie desparate attempt to climb out of the pit.

Dana Garrett dissects the insanity.


Bedtime for Gonzo (Updated) 0

There’s an old story about the rich alumnus who is touring his alma mater in the company of the college president, who is trolling for an endowment. At one point the alumnus expresses a desire to see his old dorm room.

The prez and the alum walk into the room, admitted by a very flustered student.

“Ah,” he says, “the same old room.”

Then he opens the door of the closet. There’s a girl hiding behind the clothes.

“Oh my,” he says, “the same old girl.”

“She’s my s-s-s-sister, sir,” stutters the student.

“Ahhhh,” says the alumnus, “and the same old lie.”

I’ve been just too disgusted to say anything about Gonzo.

I guess I’ve got Bush Fatigue.

It’s just the same old lie.

Addendum, 7/29/2007:

Dick Polman analyzes the debacle (emphasis added):

But perhaps Gonzales said it best in his latest testimony. When asked whether he thinks it was appropriate to importune Ashcroft, he replied: “There are no rules governing whether or not General Ashcroft can decide ‘I’m feeling well enough to make this decision.’”

Question: Even when the guy is under sedation?

Gonzales: “There are no rules.”

There are no rules…That’s the Bush administration, in a nutshell. For once, Alberto Gonzales was telling the truth.


Advanced Sleeping, by Ashley 1

I’ve discussed Ashley’s ability to sleep before.

I wish I could sleep like this:

Let sleeping dogs lie

(It’s hard to see for all the fur, but she has both hind legs propped up on the step and then corkscrews around under the entertainment center.)


The Answers 1

The answers to this post are in the first comment.


An Alternative to Conservapedia (Amended) 0

Phillybits has been tracking Conservapedia since it first burst ignorantly on the scene to spread ignorance.

Now comes El Reg with the news that Conservapedia has competitionedia.

Those among you who feel that Conservapedia – the “conservative encyclopedia you can trust” dedicated to countering liberal bias – is not sufficiently tough on Marxist-Leninist dogma are directed forthwith to Metapedia, the “alternative encyclopedia dedicated to the pro-European cultural struggle”.

No, I’m not linking to it. If you want to see what it’s like, follow the link to El Reg.

It’s interesting.

The goal of Wikipedica is to provide a compendium of knowledge, how imperfectly the execution.

The goal of Conservapedia is to slant knowledge. They proceed virtually unnoticed, except by their patrons, because, frankly, what’s another rightwing propaganda outfit when we have Fox News?

The goal of this Metapedia outfit is to push knowledge off a cliff.


Cyber Education 0

Drexel University sets up shop in cyber space:

This online Drexel universe – which gets 100 visitors daily – exists in Second Life, a program created by San Francisco-based Linden Labs in late 2003. Second Life is used for both academic and social endeavors, with more than eight million users worldwide interacting with one another and buying e-property to develop sites for uses from academic settings such as Drexel’s to a museum promoting artwork.

Looks like the Jesuits won’t be far behind:

Jesuit missionaries may soon venture into Second Life, intent on saving virtual people from virtual sins.

Writing in the Italian Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica, whose contents are approved by the Vatican, Father Antonio Spadaro has told fellow Catholics that they shouldn’t be wary of venturing into Second Life’s virtual world, arguing that the online alternate universe might be the perfect place to land converts, Reuters reports.

Pretty soon won’t be much of a life left in First Life.


Who Owns What We See and Hear? 0

Illuminating diagram from The Nation showing who owns what.

Via Susie.


On a Personal Note (Reprise) (Updated) 0

The boat starts.

Tomorrow we shall find out if the boat floats.

The Next Day:

Don’t know if it floats. But the cover kept the rain off it today.


P 0

I realized a little while ago that the three magazines to which I subscribe all have names that start with “P.”

I am not referring to the publications that come as a result of memberships and contributions, such as the AARP rags, the Boat US mags, or the SPLC Intelligence Report. I am referring to publications to which I write a check “payable to the order of.” They are PCMag, Playboy, and Psychology Today.

The most recent issue of Psychology Today (I’ve been waiting a month for this to become available on line–a print subscription allows you to see stuff first) analyzed the candidates’ presentation of themselves.

You can learn a lot about a politician by how they hold their hands—or how much they talk about the future, or their feelings, or themselves. We live in an age of relentless focus-grouping, but a candidate’s unvarnished attitudes and values still peek through in every microexpression and personal pronoun. Content analysis can ferret out aspects of a person’s political agenda and personality based on word and gesture alone. Psychology Today asked a range of experts to scrutinize the 2008 front-runners. They uncovered a great deal, from the messages candidates want voters to know—Giuliani won’t let you forget that he’s a crisis manager, Hillary wants to seem middle-American—to the traits they’d rather hide: a negative worldview, a meandering message, an inability to connect with voters emotionally.


Content analysis, though, has real predictive power. Optimism, for instance, is assessed by examining how people attribute cause and effect in the world, or by tallying their use of positive and negative words. In the 20th century, the most optimistic candidate won 18 out of the first 22 presidential elections, says Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania. Recent elections have been trickier, but in 1996, the sunniest candidate by far was Bill Clinton. This time around, says Seligman, it’s Hillary Clinton who emerges as the most optimistic candidate. (Giuliani is the least.) Hillary also exhibits the emotional tone voters tend to like the most. While it’s still far too early to predict which of the candidates will win, it’s high time we pegged their style.

The candidates selected were Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton, John Edwards, Rudy Guiliani, John McCain, and Mitt Romney. Fred Thompson was still–actually, is still–discussing things with his agent.

The categories analyzed included

  • Rhetorical style
  • Body language
  • Self-definition
  • Emotional tone
  • Political values
  • Universal values

Just for grins and giggles, I will quote below the analysis of rhetorical style for all six candidates. See if you can match the comments to the candidate. Or you can go read the article and find out the answers for yourself.

Answers tomorrow (Fair use: The material below is adapted from a small portion of the article, “Decision ’08: Reading Between the Lines,” Psychology Today, July-August 2007):

1. (He or she) uses more familiar words than any other candidate. (He or she) roams the political landscape and talks about a lot of different things rather than staying on a very narrow track. (He or she’s) not picking one particular argument, or one particular language pattern. It could be that (he or she’s) seeking, trying to define (him- or her)self, and hasn’t quite gotten there yet.

2. Rhetorically as politically, (he or she) is middle of the road. (He or she’s) in the middle of the group on almost all 40 variables of language style—(he or she) employs a cautious, not very distinctive style. In general, (he or she’s) very low profile, rarely referring to (him- or herself) and avoiding overstatements.

3. (He or she) is off the charts on realism (concrete language), insistence (the tendency to stay on script), and certainty. It’s, “We can do these specific things together, and we can do it with great assurance.” It’s a good style for a (party name), because it’s a language of the people, feel-good kind of style.

4. (He or she) has the most distinctive verbal repertoire—(his or her) language is active, assured, and full of references to (him- or herself). (His or her) message is that (he or she’s) going to personally lead you (high activity) and (he or she’s) going in this direction and no other direction (high certainty). It adds up to a take-charge kind of (guy or gal).

5. Compared to the other candidates, (he or she) rarely mentions (his or her) own life experience during policy discussions. (He or she) has a restrained, formal, less folksy style. There’s not a lot there for people to find out who (he or she) is. (He or she) also has the highest space/time ratio—the extent to which a person refers to geographical matters (Iraq, the region, home) compared to references to time (this morning, the future, the ’50s). For (him or her), this campaign is about Iraq and the United States. This stands to reason since (he or she’s) focusing on issues of the homeland.

6. (His or her) hortatory gusto—(his or her) use of adjectives, religious imagery, patriotic language, and references to voters—embodies old-fashioned, all-American, Fourth of July kind of language. It’s most often used by someone without a platform because it gives them something to talk about.


On a Personal Note 3

My first grandchild was born last night, about 800 miles from here.

Everyone is okay.


Good Grief! It’s Only Ones and Zeroes Dept. 2

Nothing to add:

A Navy man who got mad when someone mocked him as a “nerd” over the Internet climbed into his car and drove 1,300 miles from Virginia to Texas to teach the other guy a lesson.

As he made his way toward Texas, Fire Controlman 2nd Class Petty Officer Russell Tavares posted photos online showing the welcome signs at several states’ borders, as if to prove to his Internet friends that he meant business.

When he finally arrived, Tavares burned the guy’s trailer down.


How To Contact Your Congress Person 0

Great website here.

Great place to send your email to impeach Gonzo.

And his evil masters.


No Showers in the Forecast This Morning 6

Water main break halfway down the street. You can see it bubbling up in the bottom picture: