Gnat has become a Wallace & Gromit fan. That’s all she wants to watch. “I want to watch the wobot pants, James,” she said.

“They’re techno-trousers, not robot pants,” I said. “And my name is Daddy, sweetheart.”

She thought a second or two, then said: “Actually, your name is James.”

Not even three. This next year will be wonderful.

Another frant-o-type latenight ramble, pounded out before our houseguest arrives; no time for chin-stroking revisions or careful application of the editorial Exacto knife.

I was looking through my crash logs today, just for fun. Herewith some favorite lines from Code Gone Wild:


You have shamed our family, Compiles-While-Humming! The ghosts of your ancestors have seen your rects, and how you soil them!

#2 0x8fe102d0 in bind_lazy_symbol_reference

Or, Jesse Jackson, accused of embezzlement, asks whether his crime is worse than the Confederate flag flying at a Southern state capitol building.

panic(cpu 0): lockmgr: locking against myself

Say that to any doc, and get a script for Zoloft.

Thread 4:
#0 0x900070a8 in clock_sleep_trap
#1 0x90006dac in nanosleep

That’s the best description of a snooze-alarm loop I’ve ever read: a clock_sleep_trap. And what kind of sleep do you get when you’ve hit the snooze alarm and faded back to slumbers? Nanosleep.

I wish I had more crash logs to report, but I am working on a Mac, you know.


Actually, I had some computer problems tonight. Tried to run SimCity 4. Buggier than a whorehouse mattress. Don’t ask. I don’t want to talk about it right now.

Permit me, if you will, a little ranting on matters political. WAIT WAIT. I know this makes some bail for other sites; I understand. But at least you’ll admit that I try not to be a Lumper. And by that I mean someone who ascribes an interminable litany of beliefs to those who occupiy the other side of the political aisle. A good example of a Lumper would be Ann Coulter. I haven’t had much to say about Treason for two reasons - it’s been ably shredded elsewhere, by Sullivan and Horowitz, and because we are stablemates of a sort. Yes, the editor of The Gallery of Regrettable Foods is the editor of Ann Coulter. AND Jimmy Breslin. AND Bruce McCall, the brilliant illustrator who is firmly on the lefty side of the street. AND Michael Medved. It’s good to be a successful book editor. If nothing else, the lunches and dinners are just fabulous.

Anyway. On the Fourth of July I had a big argument with my oldest & dearest friends about Coulter’s book, and it had to do with Joe McCarthy. They appreciated her Stirring Defense. I regarded that as a losing cause and a waste of time. Yes, the point about CPUSA penetration of various elements of American society is valid and needs more attention to set the historical record straight - so why don’t we concentrate on the message instead of spending our time raising the rusted hulk of the USS McCarthy from the Marinas Trench? Every interview Coulter’s done ends up being about Joe Farking McCarthy, and the subsequent points about the actual extent of Communist activity in America in the late 40s and early 50s gets lost, because the host or hostess cannot BELIEVE she is defending him. All heat, no light. All legs, no walking.

Coulter is a Lumper. Anyone who says “all liberals are . . . “ and follows it with something like genetically driven to oppose the United States is just talking nonsense, and gives the impression that they are actually standing on their hands, and have taught their rectum to pass gas in such a way that forms recognizable phonemes. Yes, there are hard-cases who fit Coulter’s description. But it’s possible to be in favor of all sorts of lefty causes - progressive taxation, affirmative action, abortion, socialized medicine, etc. - and love America. That should be obvious. Otherwise you have to believe that 32 percent of the nation is actively devoted to its eventual destruction. One could say that the consequences of their beliefs might be ruinous - but ruin is not their objective. So to say “left-wingers hate America!” just strikes me as fatuous drivel. If that’s the case, there’s no point in arguing about anything. To the barricades!

Of course some left-wingers hate America. Some right-wingers hate America. For the purposes of this discussion let’s just carve them off like the green part of a hunk of yellow cheese, and continue.

Stephen King appears to be a Lumper. Let me be clear - I have great respect for Mr. King. He's the Dickens of the 20th century. They may talk about Norman Mailer in 2050, but it's King they'll read. He's the most natural storyteller of his time. His success, his ubiquity, and his prolific nature have blinded many critics, but someday it'll be a given: Stephen King belongs with O'Hara, Fitzgerald, and all the others who sought to explain American culture through the medium of the popular novel. But that's another bleat; enough to say for now that I have boundless respect for the man. In Entertainment Weekly this week Mr. King has a review of the latest Harry Potter book, and there’s this line:

“. . . Rowling never preaches. Harry and his friends strike me as real children, not proto-Christian tin gods out of a Sunday-school comic book.”

Well, I’m not sure what that means, having never seen a Sunday-school comic book. And if there was such a thing, I think it would feature Christian children, not proto-Christian ones. But here’s the line:

“Hogwarts School is a long way from Bob Jones University, which is one of the reasons right-wingers decry the books.”

Not some right-wingers. Not fundamentalist Christians. Not some on the religious right. RIGHT-WINGERS. Period. If you believe in a flat rate tax, regard the trial-lawyer lobby with deep suspicion, oppose campus speech codes and favor missile-intercept technology, then naturally you are a Bob Jones U sympathizer who growls unclean! when you pass the stack of Potter books at the Barnes and Noble.

He’s a Lumper. (And of course I just made a lump in that description of right-wing positions, a few of which could be shared by people on the left as well.) That casual remark seems to suggest he cannot
imagine that the Constant Reader doesn’t share his views on taxation, the Second Amendment, school choice and Korea policy, because the Constant Reader is smart and smart people do not hold the contrary view. Perhaps he doesn't care if he blows off large swaths of his audience. I don't know. It certainly doesn't affect whether or not I'll buy his stuff. Of course I will. So I take some comfort here - I can say things that half the Bleat readership will regard as bloviating BS, and you won't flee, unless it's a daily thing. And I appreciate that.


I get some amaaazing hate mail. The Strib ran a couple of my national columns, which contained skeptical opinions about Howard Dean and Hillary Clinton. In the former I actually defended Dean for admitting he didn’t know this or that about military affairs, because in truth presidential candidates are not usually walking repositories of arcana. We elect them knowing they will have platoons of aides to supply the details, and we vote fir them because we think they will do the right thing when the details are put before them. I had some fun with an imagined DNC commercial that might have run had candidate Bush admitted he didn’t need to know the name of the Rwandan ambassador. The responses were, at best, gobsmacked: you don’t hate Bush? At worst, they were bilious. Florida, National Guard, Halliburton, etc. The Hillary column was faulted not for its disrespect of the Senator, but simply because it didn’t take her side - and because it seemed to be somewhat dismissive of the narcissistic fellatio enthusiast whose name she had appended to hers. The consequences of that column would be quite extraordinary - but that’s a story for later this year.

Giving a columnist a good-natured eye-poking is one thing. That’s fine. That’s fun. It’s generally a waste of the letter-writer’s time, but if it makes you feel better, do it. But some of the letters performed Lumping on a macro scale like I’d never seen. I was disinclined to believe Sen. Clinton’s account of the Monica story, and therefore I was one of those planet-raping, baby-starving, Cheney-Wofie dupes who wanted to spread land-mines all over the earth so Nike could outfit the victims with Swoosh-branded stump-stockings. I wasn’t just wrong. I was evil.

Some elements of the right went through this in the 90s. A recent column by Ted Rall darkly suggests that Bush will suspend the 2004 election, claiming national security issues. Uh - right. This reminded me of the guys who called Art Bell at 1:47 AM back in the pre Y2K days, insisting that Clinton would use the global computer crash as a pretext for suspending the Constitution and making us all march to FEMA collection stations to have barcodes tattooed on our necks. The difference is that those guys had ugly web pages with GIANT LETTERS on orange backgrounds, and Rall has a deal with a mainstream syndicate.

This is very long prelude for a very short melody.

It has to do with this Niger Uranium story. I hit Drudge tonight: link to a CBS story about Bush’s lies.

The headline:

Bush Knew Iraq Info Was False

Nut grafs:

CIA officials warned members of the President’s National Security Council staff the intelligence was not good enough to make the flat statement Iraq tried to buy uranium from Africa.

The White House officials responded that a paper issued by the British government contained the unequivocal assertion: “Iraq has ... sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” As long as the statement was attributed to British Intelligence, the White House officials argued, it would be factually accurate. The CIA officials dropped their objections and that’s how it was delivered.

“The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa,” Mr. Bush said.

The statement was technically correct, since it accurately reflected the British paper. But the bottom line is the White House knowingly included in a presidential address information its own CIA had explicitly warned might not be true.

I hate to split hairs here, but there’s a difference between “might not be true” and “knew the info was false.”

I think that’s a misleading headline. At best, it’s sloppy. At worst, it’s deliberate spin.

Call me a tool & stooge if you wish, but remember:

Lump not! Lest ye be lumped.

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