That Whole Rigamarole

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Time Touches Eternity

More thoughts on living in the present, this time from C. S. Lewis, in chapter 15 of The Screwtape Letters:
The humans live in time but our Enemy [God] destines them to eternity. He therefore, I believe, wants them to attend chiefly to two things, to eternity itself, and to that point of time which they call the Present. For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity. Of the present moment, and of it only, humans have an experience anlogous to the experience which our Enemy has of reality as a whole; in it alone freedom and actuality are offered them.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Being There

Here is something Karl Geis shared with us at last Saturday's aikido clinic:
  • The past is gone
  • The present is reality
  • The future is a fantasy
The context at the time was that aikido technique cannot be accomplished by planning moves out in advance, but of course these same ideas resonate with the Buddhist value of being fully present in the moment. Even two minutes from now is the future.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Answers to the Big Questions

Frank J. wants some answers. Here are mine:


1. Who the hell do you think you are?

  • I'm just a befuddled, middle-aged white man, trying to get by.

2. So, other than blogging, what's your job? Do you work at some fast food joint, dumbass?

  • I lasted all of two weeks in fast food. I'm the quality manager at a manufacturing plant. All the political operative positions are locked up by the northeastern elites, man.

3. Do you have like any experience in journalism, idiot?

  • Like, no. Except for writing a newsletter about beer some years ago. And cranky Letters to the Editor. Do those count?

4. Do you even read newspapers?

  • Sometimes they have a story about local music that I want to read.

5. Do you watch any other news than FOX News propaganda, you ignorant fool?

  • Whatever channel that Laurie Dhue is on. I watch that channel.

6. I bet you're some moron talk radio listener too, huh?

  • I would if I were not working all day.

7. So, do you get a fax from the GOP each day for what to say, you @#$% Republican parrot?

  • No, SMS to my cell phone. CU L8R, KR

8. Why do you and your blogger friends want to silence and fire everyone who disagrees with you, fascist?

  • Everyone just needs to do what we say. That's it.

9. Are you completely ignorant of other countries, or do you actually own a passport?

  • Yes. I mean no. Er, does a passport itself impart knowledge? I still have my Bicentennial special edition with the blue cover. Does that one have special powers?

10. Have you even been to another country, you dumb hick?

  • I have indeed. Canada. German-speaking Europe, with a few days in England. Bahamas. Honduras, Panama. Taiwan, Hong Kong, China. Some for pleasure, some for work. No one goes to Honduras for pleasure, I don't think.

11. If you're so keen on the war, why haven't you signed up, chickenhawk?

  • I was signed up during the previous one, but my name was not called. But I've been considering a comeback as the oldest Captain in the Army. Our situation will have to be considerably more dire for that to make sense.

12. Do you have any idea of the horrors of war? Have you ever reached into a pile of goo that was your best friend's face?

  • Not really. The base camp I was in was shot at once, but I think I slept through it.

13. Have you ever reached into any pile of goo?

  • I have changed a whoooooole bunch of diapers my friend. Have you?

14. Once again, who the hell do you think you are?!

  • I am the Egg Man, I am the Walrus ... etc.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Hot Jobs for Academic Frauds

Instapundit wrote recently about how Ward Churchill got tenured and a department chair, with lots of references to a possible bidding war with other universities for Churchill's services. I got to thinking about what other, comparable universities might have an interest in this guy. I have kind of a failure of imagination about this because I went to a land grant university. One of my cherished chauvinisms is that those schools don't put much store by the kinds of departments in which a Ward Churchill would be at home. I decided to test my theory by visiting the web sites of several Big XII universities and counting what I take to be the candidate departments and programs. Tallied here are deparments or programs with "Studies" and some sort of ethnicity, political identity group, or fuzzy concept in the name. Names with "Sciences" I left out, but "Women's Studies" I left in as part of the political identity group class. Here are the counts I came up with for each school:

Iowa State (4)
One of these is Russian Studies, which I'm pretty sure requires actual scholarship, and another is for "sustainable agriculture" which probably requires a verifiable green thumb.

Missouri (4)
I gotta think the Peace Studies people are going bonkers for the past few years.

Nebraska (9)
Whoa. Heavy ethnicity interest in Lincoln. Plus "Great Plains Studies."

Kansas (6)
I had Kansas pegged for more than this.

Kansas State (4)
... and Kansas State I had figured about right.

Oklahoma (3)
I need to visit Norman one of these days.

Oklahoma State (3)
Very lean, as befits an A&M college. Women's Studies in the Psych department. Hmmmmm.

Colorado (7)
Texas (14)
Wow. I guess this is what happens when oil and semiconductor money come together with a thriving local music scene. I hope some of these groups get a mention in that new Tommy Lee Jones movie with the cheerleaders.

I kind of ran out of gas after UT-Austin, so I never got to the remaining Big XII members, all in Texas. But here's a breakdown of the above counts, anyway:
  • Average count for schools named "State:" 3.67
  • Average count for the others: 7.17
I thereby estimate that your child is 50 percent less likely to experience "Chutch" if he or she heads for Moo U.

One last survey for my friend Matt Barr:

Canisius (2)
Advantage: Jesuits!

Monday, February 21, 2005

Helicopter Crash

Heard about this just now on KRMG. This aircraft is based near to where I live. One of the things that was new to me upon moving to this part of the country are the rural medevac services. They appeal to my libertarian impulses because you can join them (and the ground-based ambulance service, too) as a member and get a discount if you need them. Pray for the crew and their families.

Cosh is a Tease

... but I know his Thompson piece will be good when we finally see it. Colby is good at illuminating the complex in an entertaining way, and appreciating Thompson certainly seems complex to me.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Hunter Thompson Dead 67 years of age. That's younger than I figured him for. A gunshot suicide is not the least bit out of character. For some reason Colby Cosh is the first person I want to hear reaction from.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Aikido Clinic

Tomorrow I am going to OKC for an aikido "clinic" (what I used to call a seminar) with the head of the organization I train with, Karl Geis. I'm really looking forward to seeing a bunch of different aikidoists who are experts in this style. I'm even looking forward to seeing the dojo, which looks to be a very cool building.

UPDATE: The building is a former restaurant, in what might have been called California Steakhouse style. It reminded me of the Parkmoor in St. Louis, if anyone knows that. It makes a good dojo. The training was like nothing I had done before in aikido. Interesting, amusing, confusing. Karl Geis is fairly irascible and obviously a badass. Probably the most application-oriented aikidoist I have run across. I had a good time.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

When I Was a Cadet

...SFC Peebles used to sometimes say, "A Word to the Wise. That means I'm putting out the Word, and you'd be Wiiiiiiiiise to listen to it." (Recruits and cadets can be thick.) And I was reminded of that when I read what the President had to say today about Israel and Iran. This is pretty stark for a press conference:
But clearly, if I was the leader of Israel, and I listened to some of the statements by the Iranian ayatollahs about — that regarded my security of my country, I’d be concerned about Iran having a nuclear weapon, as well. And in that Israel is our ally, and in that we’ve made a very strong commitment to support Israel, we will support Israel if — if there’s a — if their security is threatened.
I don't guess the mullahs are what we would consider super rational, but most of these Axil of Evil types seem to have an instinct for self-preservation. It looks as though the President is trying to get the Word out that the mullahs personally will not survive a decision to deploy a nuclear weapon. We have reason to think that approach worked against Saddam in 1991 with regard to chemical weapons; we have to hope that it will work in 2005 against the mullahs.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Street Fighting Man

Tonight's aikido practice: 8 defenses against knife attacks. Take-away: do not get into knife fights with people. Especially if you do not have a knife.

UPDATE: By the way, I am aware of at least a couple of aikidoists who have survived knife attacks. One is likely to be cut, but aikido does work. Or maybe I should say it can work. The main thing is probably to NOT PANIC, which is why we practice.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

What Am I, Chopped Liver?

God bless Michael Bates. The threatening letter really begs the question of how smart one must be to be a power-broker in Tulsa. Probable answer: not that smart.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Iraq Casualties Update

This is a chart I have been maintaining on Coalition hostile fire deaths since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The counts are for successive seven-day periods, with the most recent one endind 2/10/05.

I apologize for the dodgy appearance of the chart within the blog. I am no kind of web guru. The chart shows that the Coalition is sustaining about 14 hostile fire deaths per week since the initial moves on Fallujah last April. The rate in the initial aftermath of major combat operations was about 4.8 hostile fire deaths per week. There was no statistically significant spike in such KIA during the week of the Iraqi election.

The data come from the database at The chart is a control chart or as I prefer a process behavior chart. Buy the book Understanding Variation at to learn more on this very useful analysis tool.

Instapundit Outsources

This reminds me of "extraordinary rendition." But not nearly so morally repugnant. Ditto for when he sent me here.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Any Reason to Hope

... that a reporter could think logically about a central issue in a story? The front page of today's Tulsa World has a story about tatooing (subscription required.) Oklahoma is the last State in which tattooing is technically illegal and unregulated. Apparently the idea that tattooing could be legalized without accompanying licensing and regulation did not occur to anyone in this area. An important assertion from the story:
Dr. Edward Brandt, chairman of the Council on State Legislation of the Oklahoma State Medical Association, said the likelihood of transmission of hepatitis and other infectious diseases is increased under the unsanitary conditions found in unregulated tattoo parlors.
Really? Got any facts? Well, later in the article, State Health Commissioner Mike Crutcher is cited:
Since 2000, he said, Oklahoma has seen a 78 percent increase in new hepatitis C cases. Crutcher said 34 percent of these individuals reported being tattooed.
At no point does the article indicate that anyone has actually contracted hepatitis in an unregulated tattoo parlor. Is it really too much to expect a reporter to try to find out how much illness the proposed regulations could prevent? I suppose it's possible that hepatitis is spreading this way instead of through intravenous drug use, but given the article's silence on that point, and this CDC statement, I'm guessing it's not likely.