Monday, March 31, 2008
So, much sadness around here today. Ave atque vale, Grandad.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Coming Soon: A moratorium on Musical Interludes for a week or so!
Friday, March 28, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Note, in the image above, the young man in the highlighted portion. He is a fan of the University of Oregon's basketball team. Note that he his flipping not the single, but the feared double bird at Kevin Love of UCLA. Shortly, he will become a sadder and wiser young man.
You see, that photo ran in the print edition of Sports Illustrated, accompanying this article. The father of the young finger-waver is a subscriber. He was, shall we say, less than impressed, and penned the following missive which appeared in a subsequent issue of SI:
- "I was shocked to see, in a photo of the Oregon student section, my son partaking in the harassment of UCLA's Kevin Love. When he came home the following weekend, his car was taken away and he headed back to school on a bus. I am embarrassed and wish to apologize to Kevin and his family." -- Armando Navarro, Clackamas, Ore.
Well done, Mr. Navarro! (Fez tip to Deadspin and andWhammy!)
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
* Runs away *
Ahem, * cough *
Turning to baseball, which also has just begun, wizened Kobold seers have peered into the murky waters of their scrying cauldrons, wherein they beheld the Tigers and Mets in the 2008 World Series. You heard it here first, especially the bit about the Kobold seers. As for the all-important question of the Blue Jays... I honestly have no idea. They're already (still?) a bit banged up, but Wells is due for a return to form, and they're actually fairly deep in both hitting and pitching. We shall see, we shall see...
Update: Don't mess with Estonian soccer...
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
Toxin scare hits mozzarella sales
By David Willey
BBC News, Rome
Sales of mozzarella cheese made from buffalo milk have been hit by a contamination scare.
Eighty buffalo herds in the Naples area have been quarantined on suspicion that their milk may contain dangerous levels of dioxin.
The animals grazed on land where toxic industrial waste may have been illegally dumped by criminals.
The local Mafia - called the Camorra - have been making huge profits by dumping toxic waste in the region.
The article goes on to mention that the situation isn't as bad as it might seem, but still...
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Click to see larger version
That is Peter Paul Rubens' painting of Mars and Rhea Silvia. According to the legend, Mars loved Rhea Silvia, despite the problematic fact that she was a Vestal Virgin by occupation. Out of their union came Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome.
Anyway, in the painting, we see Mars advancing upon his beloved, while a couple of cupids remove his armour. Beside Rhea Silvia is the altar of the Temple of Vesta (I particularly like the sphinxes). On the alter, at the extreme right of the painting, is the Palladium, the statue of Athena that somehow (there are various versions of the story) made its way from Troy to Italy.
Now, there is something a little bit unusual about both Mars and the statue of Athena. Can you spot what it is? The answer is in the comments.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Well, that went horribly badly, didn't it? Yes, it was March 20, 2003, that we (and by "we" I mean the West in general, even those of us who aren't officially directly involved) embarked upon the living, breathing, definition of an illegal war. It was billed, of course, as the necessary removal of a brutal dictator who was conspiring with Osama Bin Laden while constructing stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. We would be greeted as liberators, and everybody would be back home in six months.
Well, we got the "brutal dictator" part right. As for the rest of it? Not so much:
Conspiring with Al-Qaeda? Nope.
Producing weapons of mass destruction? Unh-uh.
Greeted as liberators? Submitted without comment:
And the "home in six months" prediction worked out about as well as it did the last time.
Somehow, unimaginably, we have made Iraq a worse place to live than it was under Saddam Hussein. Mission accomplished, indeed...
So what has this carnival of wrongness cost? Well, let's start with the ungodly number of dead Iraqi civilians. We can then move on to the four million refugees, many of whom have been forced to find not-so-novel ways to earn livelihoods. Compared to that, the four thousand dead American and allied soldiers seem trivial, but that too is a horrendous number. Not to mention the sixty-five thousand wounded who will need medical and/or psychiatric care for the rest of their lives (and I'm not even going to get into the issue of the shoddy treatment of wounded Iraq veterans). Oh yeah, I should mention that you can add "and counting" to all of those numbers. Furthermore, we have the less-quantifiable costs. We have the increased influence and popularity of the people who actually are our enemies. We have the lasting legacy of hatred and despair that will taint that region of the world for generations. And we have the horrendous mental and emotional toll wreaked upon the soldiers sent by their idiot C-in-C to carry out this unspeakable task, on their families, and on the families of those who will not return home.
This, then, is what the increasingly buffoon-ish Dick Cheney described as "a successful endeavor."
So what do we do about it? Iraq has been ruined, and will be decades in the repairing, so it makes little difference at this point when we pull the troops out. Well, my suggestion is this: we remember. In particular, we remember every single politician who ever thought that invading Iraq would be a good idea. Then, having remembered them, we remove them from public office even if, as in the case of Canada, their opinion on the matter was over-ruled. Impeach them, recall them, defeat them in elections, and get them away from the reins of power. Send the message that this sort of thing is NOT ACCEPTABLE, and that finding it acceptable will bring about the end of one's political career. Send the message that this cannot, will not, and must not ever happen again.
March 19th Blogswarm
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Bear convicted of theft
A bear who kept stealing honey from a beekeeper's hives has been convicted of theft and criminal damage in Macedonia.
But the bear was nowhere to be seen as the court in Bitola handed down its judgement, reports the Daily Telegraph.
As is often the case, the best part of this story is saved for last:
The court found the bear guilty and, since it had no owner and belonged to a protected species, ordered the state to pay the £1,700 damage it caused.
And so it all ended happily...
Monday, March 17, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Ah, what the heck! Have a second dose of Joe:
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Click to see larger version
That there is the famous Lion Gate, which was built around 1300 B.C. and provided entrance to the ancient city of Mycenae. Your assignment, this afternoon, is to identify correctly the animals portrayed above the Lion Gate (hint: there's a clue in the name of the gate). Ready? Begin!!
* stares at ceiling *
* examines claws *
* reads People magazine *
Ok, pencils down!! Now, to the tricky matter of grading. If you answered that the animals portrayed above the Lion Gate are:
Panthera Leo, as featured on the Lion Gate at Mycenae
...then "Hooray" for you, and you win a prize:
If, however, you are of the same school of "thought" as one of my poor first-year mythology students, and therefore contrived the notion that those animals are:
Meles Meles, as not featured on the Lion Gate at Mycenae
...well, in that case:
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
- They're excellent. I think I mentioned that.
- They publish the wonderful "Ponoka Police Blotter," written by an RCMP officer who obviously enjoys his/her job quite a lot! This edition is one of my favourites.
Monday, March 10, 2008
However, in considering those matchups, one overlooks the most blindingly obvious suggestion, that being that Yankee Stadium should be closed by...
The New York Rangers.
Now, Yankee Stadium has hosted non-baseball sporting events, in particular football, but also soccer:
Some Brazilian guy at Yankee Stadium
Furthermore, we here in the warrens give a scaly orange thumbs-up to outdoor ice hockey. The Heritage Classic in sub-zero Fahrenheit temperatures in Edmonton, and the game played in a blizzard a couple of months ago in Buffalo were both great fun.
However, this just seems wrong...
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Friday, March 7, 2008
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Kobolds love sports, which is a well-known fact. However, it does not prevent certain people, and they know who they are, from turning up their noses, adopting a supercilious air, and muttering things like "watching a bunch of grown men/women chasing a ball/puck/other around a field/rink/court/&c"* as though that were some sort of crime. On many occasions, such people automatically attribute to the sports fan a low level of literacy and a high level of knuckle-dragging (Kobolds, it should be pointed out, never drag their knuckles - it bruises the scales). And God help the kobold who happens to be apprehended by the anti-sporting type in the act of watching baseball ("Boring! Boring!") or soccer ("Boring! Hooligans! Boring!"). So what is the sports fan to do, when confronted with people of this type?
I should stop here, and point out that I am not ranting about people who don't enjoy sports. It is absolutely one's right to dislike sports, just as it is one's right to dislike certain forms of music, or certain types of food. What I am talking about is the group of people who not only do not enjoy sports, but are offended by the idea that some people do take pleasure from sports. I suspect a certain only level of joylessness on the part of members of this latter group, along with an inherent failure to mind their own business.
However, much as one would like to, one cannot really point out the above to the anti-sports fan, as shouting and hurt feelings will result. In addition, sports fans do, every so often, hurt their own cause ("Hooligans!"). And finally, the outcome of a sporting event is indeed, in the grand scheme of things, fairly insignificant. And so we return to the question of how one handles being looked upon with scorn for being a sports fan. For a long time, I had no answer to that. However, just the other day, I came across a lovely quote from Roger Angell. Who is Roger Angell, you ask? Well, he's a spectacularly good baseball writer for The New Yorker. In 1975, in an essay entitled "Agincourt and After" (reprinted, incidentally, in his book Five Seasons: A Baseball Companion), he wrote:
"It is foolish and childish, on the face of it, to affiliate ourselves with anything so insignificant and patently contrived and commercially exploitive as a professional sports team, and the amused superiority and icy scorn that the non-fan directs at the sports nut (I know this look -- I know it by heart) is understandable and almost unanswerable. Almost. What is left out of this calculation, it seems to me, is the business of caring -- caring deeply and passionately, really caring -- which is a capacity or an emotion that has almost gone out of our lives. And so it seems possible that we have come to a time when it no longer matters so much what the caring is about, how frail or foolish is the object of that concern, as long as the feeling itself can be saved. Naivete -- the infantile and ignoble joy that sends a grown man or woman to dancing and shouting with joy in the middle of the night over the haphazardous flight of a distant ball -- seems a small price to pay for such a gift."
And that, I think, about sums it up!
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Dungeons & Dragons Co-Creator Dies at 69
By EMILY FREDRIX – 7 hours ago
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Gary Gygax, who co-created the fantasy game Dungeons & Dragons and helped start the role-playing phenomenon, died Tuesday morning at his home in Lake Geneva. He was 69.
I shudder to think how much time and money I've spent, since the early 1980s, on that particular hobby. Actually, I don't shudder at all; it's been worth it, and still is. I suspect, if I thought about it, I could probably still remember the names of most of my characters through the years, and I certainly still have most of my original dice (I believe that a ten-sider may have been lost somewhere along the line, but that's about it)!
Am I a geek? Naaaaaaah...
Requiescat Mr. Gygax in pace; the millions of people who have drawn immense and even life-changing enjoyment from the fruits of his labours will miss him, and mourn him. Fortunately, those fruits will remain, providing pleasure, good company, and, it must be said, an inducement to avoid more important things to all who wish to partake of them!
Anyway, getting back on topic:
Packers QB Favre to retire
Three-time MVP calling it quits following 17 seasons
Posted: Tuesday March 4, 2008 9:52AM; Updated: Tuesday March 4, 2008 1:16PM
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- After flirting with retirement for years, Brett Favre means it this time. The Green Bay Packers quarterback quit after a 17-season career in which he dazzled fans with his grit, heart and rocket of an arm.
Sad, but inevitable. At least he got to retire after what can only be described as a stunningly successful season.
And so now, the inevitable question - who's going to be the next Brett Favre? Who, next, is going to show that combination of ability and ebullient on-field running-around-like-a-kid personality. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, while fine quarterbacks both, are disqualified on account of being robots. Donovan McNabb's been injured too much. Phil Rivers and Brady Quinn are apparently creeps (also Carson Palmer, by some accounts). So, who does that leave? JaMarcus Russell (Yes, I know he plays for Oakland, but still)? Drew Brees? Big Ben, in Pittsburgh (I did just wimp out of trying to spell his name, thank you for asking!)? Eli Manning (and it's no accident, methings, that young Elisha played the best football of his career after Jeremy Shockey was removed from the equation, speaking of creeps)? Maybe, but for now, Packers fans can but hope that the answer to that question is "Aaron Rodgers."*
*Edit: I somehow managed to leave Tony Romo off that list. He may, in fact, be the best candidate for "next Brett Favre."
Monday, March 3, 2008
Possibly a Kobold Warren. Possibly not.
* Removes electrodes, pokes blog with stick * "Hey you, wake up!"
Yes, gentle readers, herein you will, all being well, find a shambling Frankenstein's monster of repartee, thought, lack of thought, observation, shortsightedness, permutation, &c. &c. Occasionally, we will touch base with the real world, which should alarm all concerned.
* Goes to the store for more commas *
Anyway, my nom d'internet is Chunklets. Pleased to meetcha, and I hope you'll stop back here again sometime!