Category Archive 'Uncategorized'
17 Dec 2014

Medieval Scribal Marginalia

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Hat tip to Ratak Monodosico.

17 Dec 2014

Whole Foods Customers

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Nils Parker likes the service and selection of products at Whole Foods. He just can’t stand his fellow customers.

The problem with Whole Foods is their regular customers. They are, across the board, across the country, useless, ignorant, and miserable. They’re worse than miserable, they’re angry. They are quite literally the opposite of every Whole Foods employee I’ve ever encountered. Walk through any store any time of day—but especially 530pm on a weekday or Saturday afternoon during football season—and invariably you will encounter a sneering, disdainful horde of hipster Zombies and entitled 1%ers.

They stand in the middle of the aisles, blocking passage of any other cart, staring intently at the selection asking themselves that critical question: which one of these olive oils makes me seem coolest and most socially conscious, while also making the raw vegetable salad I’m preparing for the monthly condo board meeting seem most rustic and artisanal?

If you are a normal human being, when you come upon a person like this in the aisle you clear your throat or say excuse me, hoping against hope that they catch your drift. They don’t. In fact, they are disgusted by your very existence. The idea that you would violate their personal shopping space—which seems to be the entire store—or deign to request anything of them is so far beyond the pale that most times all they can muster is an “Ugh!”

Over the years I have tried everything to remain civil to these people, but nothing has worked, so I’ve stopped trying. Instead, I walk over to their cart and physically move it to the side for them. Usually, the shock of such an egregious transgression is so great that the “Ugh!” doesn’t happen until I’m around the corner out of sight. Usually, all I get is an incredulous bug-eyed stare. Sometimes I get both though, and when that happens, I look them square in the eye and say “Move. Your. Cart.” I used the same firm tone as Jason Bourne, with the hushed urgency of Jack Bauer and the

uncomfortable proximity of Judge Reinhold. From their reaction you’d think I just committed an armed robbery or a sexual assault. When words fail them, as they often do with passive aggressive Whole Foods zombies, the anger turns inward and they start to vibrate with righteous indignation. Eventually, that pent up energy has to go somewhere, and like solar flares it bursts forth into the universe as paroxysms of rage.

Outside the four walls of a Whole Foods, you might recognize these people as Gawker commenters or Twitter shamers. Inside, they are the breathless, self-important shoppers who just can’t believe!! that it’s taking this long to check out. They are busy, they have somewhere to be. Don’t these people in the other six open checkout lanes that are each 3 shoppers deep understand that, WTF??!?

Read the whole thing.

16 Dec 2014

KSM Told His CIA Interrogator: “Democrats and the Mainstream Media Have My Back!”

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James Mitchell, the CIA interrogator who interviewed Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks who also beheaded Daniel Pearl, told Fox News that KSM predicted what the liberals would do and warned him.

“Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told me personally, ‘Your country will turn on you, the liberal media will turn on you, the people will grow tired of this, they will turn on you, and when they do, you are going to be abandoned.’ ”

16 Dec 2014

Where’s the Outrage?

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Poor Diane Feinstein! Poor Andrew Sullivan!

Left-wing bleeding heart democrats were looking to produce a big stink with the partisan Senate “Torture” report released last week. CIA officers were supposed to be found scrambling for pardons, and Dick Cheney was supposed to be consigned permanently to the dog house.

Instead, the CIA essentially shrugged and Dick Cheney went on television and called the report “crap.”

Today, the Washington Post looks at the latest polling from Pew on national attitudes toward enhanced interrogation and reports that waterboarding & Dick Cheney are a lot more popular than Barack Obama.

Muslim jihadis attacked a school in Peshawar today killing over a hundred people, mostly teachers and children. Normal Americans generally tend to think that waterboarding is actually too good for these kinds of people.


16 Dec 2014

London in Shakespeare’s Time

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Travellers often have the best eyes for the beauties of the cities they visit, and some of the best views of London in the early seventeenth century have been come down to us in the album amicorum of Michael van Meer, a Flemish soldier who lived in London in the years 1614-1615. In this album we find marvelous images of the Tower, London Bridge and Windsor Castle, views Shakespeare and his contemporaries have seen.

The album is now kept at Edinburgh University Library, La. III. 283. It’s extensively discussed in June Schlueter’s The Album Amicorum & The London of Shakespeare’s Time. London, The British Library 2011.

Hat tip to Ratak Monodosico.

15 Dec 2014

Keep That Minotaur On The Job!


The Onion satirizes the enhanced interrogation brouhaha.

15 Dec 2014

Don’t Let’s Be Beastly to al Qaeda

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Laura Ingraham: The popular approval of what Jack Bauer does on television is “as close to a national referendum that it’s O.K. to use tough tactics against high-level Al Qaeda operatives as we’re going to get.”

Meanwhile, the Brits have been forbidden by the politicians in Whitehall from so much as yelling or calling terrorists hard names, reports the Telegraph.

British soldiers have “lost their capability” to interrogate terrorist insurgents because of strict new rules on questioning that even ban shouting in captives’ ears, military chiefs have warned.

The rules — detailed in court papers obtained by The Telegraph — also prevent military intelligence officers from banging their fists on tables or walls, or using “insulting words” when interrogating a suspect.

The regulations replaced a previous policy that had to be withdrawn after a series of legal challenges and the death in custody of Baha Mousa, an Iraqi detainee in Basra.

But there is growing disquiet within the ranks that the latest guidelines, officially called Challenge Direct, are so stringent that it makes interrogation pointless.

There is also concern that the rules can be so easily breached — especially given the pressure under which soldiers are operating — that military personnel will be left exposed to legal claims and possible disciplinary action.


Of course, nothing is new under the sun. Remember Noel Coward mocking similar attitudes on the part of the holier-than-thous back in the 1940s?

15 Dec 2014

P.J. O’Rourke Discovers Lena Dunham

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They forced P.J. O’Rourke to write about “Girls” and Lena Dunham.

I had my 14-year-old daughter, Poppet, instruct me in how to watch an episode of Girls on my computer. (Turns out “content” is not completely “free.”)

Two seconds into the opening credits I was trying to get my daughter out of the room by any means possible. “Poppet! Look in the yard! The puppy’s on fire! Quick! Quick! Run outside and roll him in the snow!”

It turns out Girls is a serialized horror movie—more gruesome, frightening, grim, dark, and disturbing than anything that’s ever occurred to Stephen King.

I have two daughters, Poppet and her 17-year-old sister Muffin. “Girls” is about young people who are only a few years older than my daughters. These young people, portrayed as being representative of typical young people, reside in a dumpy, grubby, woeful part of New York called Brooklyn, where Ms. Dunham should put her clothes back on.

I lived in New York for fifteen years. No one had been to Brooklyn since the Dodgers left in 1957.

The young people in Girls are miserable, peevish, depressed, hate their bodies, themselves, their life, and each other. They occupy apartments with the size and charm of the janitor’s closet, shared by The Abominable Roommate. They dress in clothing from the flophouse lost-and-found and are groomed with a hacksaw and gravel rake. They are tattooed all over with things that don’t even look like things the way a anchor or a mermaid or a heart inscribed “Mom” does, and they’re only a few years older than my daughters.

The characters in Girls take drugs. They “hook up” in a manner that makes the casual sex of the 1960s seem like an arranged marriage in Oman. And they drink and they vomit and they drink and they vomit and they drink and they vomit.

It’s every parent’s nightmare. I had to have a lot to drink before I could get to sleep after watching this show about young people who are only a few years older than my daughters.

Read the whole thing.

15 Dec 2014

Colbert Interviews Smaug

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14 Dec 2014

Streaking, But No Silence, at Harvard

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“Dean of College Rakesh Khurana attempts to gain the attention of the participants of Primal Scream by climbing onto the shoulders of a Primal Scream runner Thursday in Harvard Yard. Other students organized a protest in response to recent police brutality [in Ferguson, Missouri] that attempted to delay the start of the run.”

Primal Scream is a fairly recent (streaking era) Harvard tradition in which, on the last night of reading period, just before final exams start, Harvard students run naked across and then around Harvard Yard.

This year about 30 left-wing holier-than-thous tried to arrange a four-and-a-half minutes of silence prior to the Primal Scream naked run to protest the shooting of poor Michael Brown. Unfortunately, the more typical drunken and unruly Harvard students, bent upon streaking, objected to interference with the naked run, and proceeded to defy them, initiating the run, and chanting “USA!, USA!” while running.

The lefties grew angry and tried to block the naked runners, chanting “Black lives matter!”, while runners responded with obscenities and “USA!”, while ignoring them.

A number of Harvard administrators turned up to assist the protestors (not to run naked), and the best moment of comedy occurred when Harvard College Dean Rakesh Khurana climbed atop the shoulders of a naked young man, bullhorn in hand, tried, but failed, to persuade the crown to bow to the wishes of the leftie bedwetters,

Harvard Crimson:

Members of the protest said that they were upset by the reactions of the student streakers.

Amanda D. Bradley ’15, who helped organize the protest, said that while she did not know the intentions of the primal screamers, she felt disgusted by what they were chanting.

“For people to say black lives matter, and for the crowd to shout back ‘U.S.A.,’ which is upholding a system that is oppressing black people, I think that that is problematic,” she said.

Sasanka N. Jinadasa ’15 said she was appalled by what she called a disrespect both for Khurana and the protestors.

“I think that for many students of color, particularly black students, there’s always a fear of what white retaliation looks like,” she said, citing obscene gestures and language toward protesters.

Keyanna Y. Wigglesworth ’16, another protester, said she was “disturbed” and “angered” by reactions to the protest, especially from those in the front of the crowd of streakers who she believed could hear the calls for silence.

But, never fear, the pinkos at the Crimson were never going to let it be said that the left was defeated by youthful high spirits. It was all really a misunderstanding, you see.

Skip L. Rosamilia ’17, a Primal Scream participant, said that he could not hear or see through the crowd of streakers.

“I’m sad because it…look[ed] like there was one group who was for [the demonstration] and a huge group that wasn’t, and I don’t think that was the case,” he said, calling the interaction between the protest and the streakers a “huge egregious misunderstanding.”

Khurana also said many runners told him that they would have joined the protesting students if they had known about the demonstration.

“I think what it was, is just…a tight physical space and a relatively loosely structured event without actually clear planning,” Khurana said, noting that it was difficult for him mediate between the two groups of people.

Some students voiced similar concerns before the demonstration on the Facebook post for the event, saying that the protest would be disruptive to the College tradition of Primal Scream and potentially would risk student safety. As a result, organizers posted an update on the protest’s Facebook page saying that they had changed the nature of the protest from a die-in to a moment of silence out of safety concerns and in an effort to preserve the Primal Scream tradition.

Though Walker, one of four principal organizers of the protest, acknowledged Thursday afternoon that there “was some confusion as to what was going on and not a lot of individuals knew what was happening,” he said he thought the protest was a success.

“The event was successful because it started a conversation in communities that haven’t been talking about this.”

14 Dec 2014

If the Left Could Learn One Thing…

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Robert Tracinski was challenged to identify one thing the Left could learn from Ayn Rand. Naturally, he felt initially at a loss to restrict the list to one thing. So he thought and thought, and concluded in the end that the left really needed to learn to think critically.

The War on Poverty has spent trillions of dollars over 50 years and has merely fixed poverty into place. Yet if you advocate the expansion of the welfare state, you are regarded as proving how deeply you care about the plight of the poor. Criticize the welfare state, and you are regarded as callous and indifferent to all human suffering.

If your brain is now feeding you a torrent of counter-arguments, half-remembered bits of Paul Krugman columns about how European socialism or the Great Society was really a roaring success—all I’m asking is that you take a few moments to stop that process and really, genuinely consider whether those of us on the right might have a valid point to make about the achievements of capitalism or the shortcomings of the welfare state. Assess how comfortable you are doing this. Assess whether you’re even able to do it, whether you’ve ever bothered to find out enough about our counter-arguments to fairly consider them.

Then ask yourself this. Which big-government regulatory or welfare programs would you choose to eliminate? Realistically, they can’t all be successful. Any task requires a certain amount of trial and error, and certainly there must be some programs where the costs have overwhelmed any conceivable benefit. Can you name such a program? Would you campaign to eliminate it if a politician proposed its repeal?

If you can’t name such a program, if you’ve never really asked yourself the question, ask yourself why.

The gap between the left’s laudatory self-image and the less-than-spectacular results of its programs is widely interpreted on the right as evidence that smug self-congratulation is the real purpose. It doesn’t matter whether a government program actually works, so long as you can pat yourself on the back for being progressive enough to vote for it. But I’m beginning to wonder whether the actual goal is the avoidance of evil thoughts. Ask yourself: how much of your political self-image is tied up in regarding yourself as better and purer than those wicked “deniers” on the right?

Read the whole thing.

14 Dec 2014

An Interesting Woman, 1910

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From Jugend 1910 in the Heidelburg University Collection: A. Weinberger, Munich, “An Interesting Woman”
I have ruined two barons, three officers, and a bank director! Now I conclude with a tenor and then I write my memoirs!

Hat tip to Beautiful Century via Karen L. Myers.

13 Dec 2014

Yale Library Photos


Linonia & Brothers-In-Unity Reading Room in Sterling Library. A small library, inside Sterling, stocked with non-course-related reading material and very comfortable leather chairs. Its name comes from two early Literary & Debating Societies.

The Daily Prep (in multiple postings, just scroll down) tours Yale’s Beinecke Library, the surrounding Hewitt Quadrangle and Wolseley Hall, then goes over to Sterling Memorial Library. A friend of mine used to observe that life after Yale is one constant struggle to live as well as you did when you were a Yale undergraduate, in which nearly all of us fail.

Via Bird Dog.

13 Dec 2014

Over-Rated Guns

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A bit awkward when used as a canoe anchor.

Let’s start a fight. I ran across an amusing column in which this fellow Caleb has a go at identifying “the Five Most Over-Rated Guns of All Time.

The Mosin-Nagant

If I’d written this list 7 years ago, this entry would have gone to the SKS; but as prices have climbed, the SKS is no longer the darling of the TapCo catalog, it’s simply another $250 C&R rifle. The Mosin-Nagant on the other hand? Well it’s now number 5 on this list, because it’s adored by an entire generation of internet fanboys who are too poor to buy a proper rifle, and can’t appreciate a $100 C&R gun for what it is. “If I put $400 worth of crap on my Mosin, it’s just as good as a Ruger American Rifle!” No, you fedora wearing neckbeard, it isn’t. It’s a $100 C&R rifle that’s fought itself in every major war since WW1 and lost every time. But that’s not good enough, because people need to justify their purchases, so instead of just enjoying it, these spazoids have to pretend that they’ve bought a WW2 sniper rifle while they watch Enemy at the Gates for the 3,299th time in their mother’s basement.

I’m not sure what Caleb means by “lost every time.” The Russkies did win WWII, after all, even if it was despite, not because, of using the Mosin-Nagant. I do agree with him that Mosins are ugly, clunky, not terribly accurate rifles with characteristically bad trigger pulls, which bring to mind hordes of sub-human totalitarian slaves making human wave attacks into Nazi machine-gun fire during some of the ugliest moments of human history. In my own view, not even incredibly cheap (corrosive) ammo makes the idea of owning one seem rewarding.

Caleb is right about the Luger, too. The Luger is a cool-looking pistol, but one which is persnikety as all get-out about its ammo, and will jam or even stovepipe rounds at the drop of a hat. One could forgive that problem and just stock up on super-hot 9mm Parabellum cartridges, but insane dealer/collectors have successfully cornered the Pistole 08 market and these old (and usually beat up) pistols are now being offered at the kinds of prices which ought to get you a used car. Lugers are just not worth the money, by an order of magnitude.

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