The Post-Postmodernist

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Brady Stanton, RIP

My good friend and surrogate little brother died yesterday of pancreatic cancer in Kansas City, leaving behind his wife, Martha, his two very young sons, Henry and Pete, his brothers Todd and Jeff, his mom and dad, and everyone else who loved him (including his dog, Coyote -- pronounced Ki-Yote).

He was just a wonderful guy and one of the most popular people I've ever known -- no surprise since I never saw him once say a bad word about or be intentionally mean to anyone.

Brady was an idea-guy, an ad-guy, a lover of word play and witty repartée, and it took the two of us about two beers before becoming the best of friends when we first met back in Kansas City. He went on to publish a charming children's book with noted illustrator Peter Brunke called The Adventures of Wiki and the Rock People which sparkled with the effortless good humor of his barely submerged inner-child.

Brady was diagnosed well into stage three -- for nearly two years a slipped disc had masked the back pain that is one of the presenting symptoms -- and the tumor had gotten a serious foothold by the time they found it.

In the four months since he was diagnosed, he's shown amazing courage, grace, and wit in his battle, and literally thousands of people in Kansas City and around the globe came together to give their support -- not the least of which were the many messages on his blog, Brady's Page. Just takes a moment to register if you want to read how a man who was a terrific writer, a legendary wit, an eternal optimist, and a real fighter handles a mortal battle like the one he faced. Here's three excerpts:

June 05, 2006 at 12:38 AM CDT

I’ve heard it said by some that, “If your hair doesn’t fall out the Chemo mustn’t be working.” I’m thinking - if the Cancer doesn’t fall out then the Chemo isn’t working.

Regardless of your thoughts on the Hair-theory of cancer, my hair did begin falling out after my shower yesterday (Saturday). It wasn’t a wholesale explosion of hair, but having been blessed with a full head of hair my entire life, it seemed odd to have extra hairs lingering around the sink and on my towel as I dried off. I truly noticed when I had to untangle one that had somehow wrapped around my nose AND my eyelid?! Following this escape, I loosely grabbed a hunk of hair from the side of my head and pulled gently only to find that about 15-20 hairs easily “jumped ship”. I did it one more time on the other side just to be sure it wasn’t some fluke. It wasn’t, and I quit while I was ahead.

Now, even though that Christmas tree sitting in your family room in late January might still look fairly good despite the diminished foliage, it simply has become a fire hazard. I took the same caution with my hair.

I should state for the record (and the photographic evidence should back me on this) that this “high and tight” haircut is the result of a barber named Bud and me and "not" from excessive or patchy hair-loss. Ever since Top Gun the movie came out, I wanted to get one of those haircuts, but never had the guts.

We did know there was a chance that the Chemo I was taking might bring on some hair-loss, and I had decided that if I did start to lose my hair, rather than look like some kid’s Barbie doll with a homemade haircut, I’d streamline the situation. Shaving my hair seemed almost natural; like getting ready for boot camp.

I had been threatening Ed (my life-long barber), for years that I wanted him give me the John Daly “grip it and rip it” haircut (not the John Daly Mullett), but never followed through.

With Ed long retired, I knew I needed someone with excellent hair mowing skills to simply shave the melon. Serge, Fabbio, Turk? But who?

I caught Bud at Corinth as his last guy for the day who quickly and expertly cleaved and shore the balance of my mane leaving behind nigh but a regal stub.

Martha came with me and promised, “I won’t cry.” The importance of this promise stems from a day about 2 years ago when she called me at my office sobbing uncontrollably. I was trying to figure out what had happened. Where the boys okay?! Was she okay!? It has something to do with Pete?! What is it?!! It turns out, she had gotten Pete a buzz haircut and didn’t like how it looked.

Martha likes the way this looks. (So she says). And she didn’t cry. More to come. Our prayers to all of you.

and this one, a month later...

July 14, 2006 at 01:03 AM CDT

What’s in a Number? Well, as it turns out, quite a lot. I got lots of numbers this time – and they were mostly good.

The Cancer Protein Marker went down at a nice rate from the last measurement. The cancer isn’t gone – but it’s taking a few good punches. There is also a liver enzyme they’ve been tracking (the same enzyme that almost kept me out of this protocol and that figure has now been cut virtually in half. This is like golf, where low scores are good.

It’s truly the first piece of positive medical news we’ve received in months! Heck, Dr. Wolff came in, said “You’re doing great. Good results. See you in a few weeks.” And he left. I took that as a very positive sign. In all the other meetings he’s sat down, rubbed his head and closed his eyes and stuck around for 30-60 mins talking and answering our questions. I’m not yet cured – but I am encouraged.

Needless to say, we celebrated with a trip to my favorite burger joint (Southwell’s) before heading back to that infamous Chemo-Club “MD Andy’s” for a little night-cap. It was a lovely mixture of zofran, Dexamethasone and was followed by a bag each of avastin and gemcytobene polished off with a Hepron flush. That’s tasty Chemo!

I’m giving a lot of the credit for the good test result to all of the Prayers and positive thoughts so many of you have offered for me and my family since the beginning of May. We all need to have faith in something. It took me a lot of years to come to terms with my faith and my relationship with God and Jesus, but it began to solidify when I got engaged to Martha and grew through the engagement and wedding. It really got strong as I prayed I would survive her trying to learn to cook meatloaf (it has since been banned from the house – however she is excellent at just about any other dish.) And my faith became unshakeable once we (yes, we) were pregnant with our first son, Henry. Martha and I were making and canning sweet pickles in our Fairway home in 1999 – and for those who’ve never canned there are hours of waiting and then periods of frenzy. Well, during one of those periods of waiting – now, keep it clean – Martha took one of those home pregnancy tests, and it came back POSITIVE! That too was a good test result. About half an hour later, Chris Rodgers called (yes Chris Rodgers of Care Page fame) saying he was in town and wanted to drop by; which he did. He was the first to know and we began to refer to our new developing Angel as “pickles”.

With each child we were blessed with and the miracles that they are and the trials they bring, my faith grew (and grows) stronger. I finally had some idea as to what a part of Life was about. It’s about kids. It’s about being one, and having one (or many), in raising them or helping someone else raise theirs, it’s about growing up yourself but never forgetting we all start as kids and we are all the children of God.

I love my Life, I love my Wife AND her excellent cooking. I love my children and my family and I have discovered that Faith is about the most powerful thing you can tap into as a human. That power is amplified exponentially with the addition of family, friends and caring, loving people of all faiths across the neighborhood, the country and truly around the world praying.

I am so humbled by all of this. And I am so indebted to all of you who have taken the Time and put forth the Energy (both extremely valuable and limited resources) to pray for me and my family. I know that I would not be in such good shape mentally, spiritually and physically (174 lbs! and No Meatloaf) without all of your good actions.

I thank you for helping me and my family in this battle – and for being a part of the GOOD RESULTS! Let’s hope it’s just the beginning of better days and results to come. I have faith it will. Go celebrate at your own personal Southwell’s – you’ve all earned it.

God Bless you all.

Brady, Martha, Henry, Pete and Coyote

And here is his last entry. Note the indomitable spirit -- and the apology to shark lovers! This was a man with not a single mean bone in his body....

August 13, 2006 at 03:44 PM CDT

It’s all about ”Change”
(It’s both Good and potentially Good)

The factually “Good” information is that the Tumor Marker they were tracking once again went down a significant amount (50%), and my blood work is great – including my liver function falling back into normal ranges.

The factually “Different” news comes from the CT scan results. They show that a portion of the tumor has moved to the cells in my belly-fat, and my liver tumors show mixed results with some shrinking and some growing (go figure why my blood tests show normal function).

I also developed my first blood clot in my leg. With my type of cancer and the drugs I’m on, this was a very likely side-effect. We’re treating it with Lovenox (a twice daily injection) which should prevent any further spreading as well as to allow my body to break down any existing blockages.

What it boils down to is we are “likely” going to come OFF of the Protocol and shift to a different treatment procedure to better attack the currently “poorly responding” portion of the disease. It’s a little difficult to explain, but the best analogy we came up with was to imagine my cancer as a “pack of sharks”- some are “reef sharks” and some are “Tigers”. The treatments so far have knocked off some of the sharks, but not all of them. We’re hoping to knock-off the rest of them (apologies to shark lovers – it’s just an analogy).

We are working on many options, however Dr. Wolff strongly recommends one called GTX. It includes gemcytobene (one of the drugs I‘ve been taking) and has proved effective in fighting pancreatic cancer. The other two are new to my system.

The side effects should be similar, however the “T” will cause TOTAL hair loss. This does perhaps support the theory about “Hair loss” and Chemo success. Half of of my hair fell out on the current program as did half of the cancer. If ALL of the hair falls out, so should the rest of the cancer!

We will be making decisions this week as to which route we take, but our preliminary study seems to support Wolff’s recommendation. If we choose this path, we may also be able to do much of the Chemo in KC.

Again, thank you for all of your support and prayers. We believe we are still heading in the right direction and that we will beat this thing. Please continue all of your prayers and good wishes – we couldn’t do this without you.

God Bless you all!

Brady, Martha, Henry, Pete and Coyote

And God bless you, Brady, for all that you brought to all of us. Our thoughts are with you, and with your kids, and with Martha (your "raven-haired beauty" as you often called her). We will miss you deeply, but your laugh lives on.

I'll be back in KC until Sunday, and largely off-line.


Here's Brady's complete obit from the Kansas City Star:

Stanton, Brady Duncan

After a short but courageous battle with pancreatic cancer, Brady Duncan Stanton, 40, of Leawood, Kansas passed away at home on August 26, 2006. He was born April 28, 1966 to Roger and Judith Duncan Stanton. He grew up in Prairie Village, Kansas attending Briarwood Elementary, Meadowbrook Junior High and Shawnee Mission East High School where he was a member of the football team, Chamber Singers, and the Pep Club Executive Committee. He graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in advertising where he was active in campus politics serving as Student Body President. He was a member of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity where he served as director of Rock Chalk Review, writing original music and lyrics for the annual production. He loved watching Royals baseball and was an avid Jayhawk fan. Following graduation he worked for More Than Media Advertising and won several Omni awards for original ads. He began his commercial real estate career with Cohen Esrey and then established his own business Commercial Realty Arts. In 1997, he married Martha Cernich and they have two sons Henry Thomas (6) and Peterson Quinn (5), who meant the world to him and were his inspiration. Brady's passion has always been writing. He has written poetry, essays, several unpublished novels and a published children's book, The Adventures of Wiki and the Rock People. He was accomplished at writing, singing and playing music on the piano or guitar, and creating cartoons. He was a designer and builder of furniture, toys, games, and a home remodeler at heart. His continually expanding vegetable garden was a source of pride. Brady will be remembered for his wonderful ability to make friends who have stayed together and supported him and his family throughout his illness. He was preceded in death by his grandparents Helen and George Stanton, Marysville, Kansas and Dorothy Creason Duncan, Overland Park, Kansas. He is survived by his grandfather Lester L. Duncan, Prairie Village, Kansas; his parents; his wife and 2 sons; brothers Jeffrey Stanton (wife, Sarah and children Kathryn, Duncan, Charlie), Overland Park, Kansas and Todd Stanton, Los Angeles, California; aunts, uncle, cousins and in-laws. Visitation will be Tuesday, August 29 at Old Mission United Methodist Church, Fairway, Kansas from 6-8PM. There will be a memorial service on Wednesday, August 30, at 11 AM at the church with a reception to follow. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations my be sent to the Stanton Children's Memorial Education Fund, in care of Peggy Melton at the Country Club Bank, 2001 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Shawnee Mission, Kansas 66205. We wish to thank the doctors and nurses at M.D. Anderson in Houston, Texas and St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City for their care and support during Brady's treatment. Brady's passing has left a huge hole in our hearts and lives. He will be greatly missed and remembered by his family and friends. To leave a special message for the family, please visit our website at

Published in the Kansas City Star from 8/28/2006 - 8/29/2006.


Sean Hogan was kind enough to send along the eulogy he delivered at Brady's memorial service. Brady would have loved it.

My Eulogy for Brady

Brady loved Music, especially meaningful lyrics:

“Sky Diving”

He said I was in my early forties, with a lot of life before me
And one moment came that stopped me on a dime
I spent most of the next days, looking at the x-rays
Talking bout' the options and talking bout' sweet times.
I asked him when it sank in, that this might really be the real end
How's it hit 'cha when you get that kind of news?
Man what did ya do?
He said...

I went skydiving
I went rocky mountain climbing
I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I'd been denyin'
And he said some day I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dyin'

Those lyrics by Tim McGraw don’t describe how Brady spent the last four months -- they talk about how he approached life.

What you saw in his writings over the past 4 months was not a newly acquired outlook, it was a testament to the man he was, and the way he lived.

Hopefully, you got a chance to read some of the stories he posted.

So rather than get into some “quick hitters” that might incriminate yours truly and many other folks in this room (something about a statute of limitations) permit me to paint a picture that hopefully everyone will be able to relate to, and I will add some approved facts along the way.

I met Brady in the summer of 1984, it was a lifeguarding gig, he was a sub, and it was pouring rain. We closed the pool, but rather than go home, I laid down a challenge – 3 hours, 10 games of gutter-ball and 6 beers later a 10-year living arrangement was born.

At one point, our mothers were concerned that we had a common-law marriage – though we found out later that our 4-month separation when he left me to live in Colorado ended any concerns.


Brady was a proud Jayhawk, he loved the Phi Delt house, but most importantly, he loved his fraternity brothers.

During our 4 years at KU, Brady’s personal hygiene and morning hair styling often came into question.

There were certain weeks where showering and shaving were simply not a top priority. If Brady was substantially unpacked by Christmas vacation, we were most certainly ahead of the game.

Brady claimed to have a wide attention span (translation, easily distracted) – always looking for the fun, the different, the way to stir the pot.

He taught us about the “waffle treatment”, a sadistic form of guy-hazing, I believe passed down from his brother Jeff, to terrorize his younger brother Todd. It involved a hairbrush, a tennis racket, and a bare backside – I will leave it at that.

In class, if Brady didn’t like the questions, he simply re-wrote them. While this didn’t always sit well with his professors, they certainly admired his out-of-the-box thinking.

As KU student body president, he commanded a sizeable budget to spread among the various student organizations; he also commanded a sizeable following of angry crew team members – he never quite understood why they needed so many boats.

When you asked Brady if he wanted to go have a beer, his standard response was… “I don’t see why we shouldn’t.”

After college, he left me and moved to Colorado, I was sad … but then he came back…I was happy!


Brady and I shared our first house with Brent Thompson and Andy Hendricks, over in the Valentine neighborhood of KCMO. We always had lots of visitors, some we invited, others that wandered in off Southwest Trafficway - - Brady knew no strangers, but come on!

The wiring was substandard, the bathroom was in the basement, and the dog ate most of the woodwork -- but we did have a putting green in the backyard (Brady’s first outdoor project, and a good use of his Journalism degree) – We called it home.

Then one day, Brady came home and from the top of the stairs uttered those magic words that we will never forget: “Pack your bags boys, we are moving to Fairway”! It was as if the red sea had parted again. So began the saga of NORWOOD.


To say that our lifestyle on Norwood didn’t present a good role model for the rest of the street was an understatement - but the kids loved us, and we also provided a safe drinking haven for many of the young fathers in the neighborhood.

Norwood was the HQ for every football game and pay-per-view fight from 1990 to 1994. We actually believed the Chiefs were going to the Super Bowl – the naivité of youth.

As a homemaker, Brady would often surprise us with a new dinner dish. One day he called me at work to tell me he had secretly learned the recipe of Romanelli’s fried catfish – I walked in the front door over taken by the odor and followed the smoke to the kitchen where Brady was breading and pan-frying the nasty little critters.

Brady re-engineered the fine country tradition of sitting in folding chairs in the driveway, drinking beer and listening to baseball on the radio, by introducing a 35” color television to the mix. Complete with cable that he tethered over the top of the house – we had to park in the street.

TV was very big in the house; Brady maintained that there was no such thing as a bad movie after 10pm, especially on weeknights.

Game shows were very important to us. We often pondered what the job qualifications were to be security guards on Million-Dollar Chance of a Lifetime.

There was rarely a dull moment around the house; Brady was always looking for a holiday to have a party or at least a gathering: Christmas, Valentines Day, Arbor Day… to borrow a phrase from a popular movie, "every fall the trees were covered in toilet paper, every spring, the toilets exploded."

He had a special gift of bringing people together at parties -- the trash man and his stockbroker -- and made sure they had a wonderful time together.

In Brady’s Home - everyone was welcome


You learn a lot about a person when you spend so much time together:

Brady was the type of guy that generally turned left when the sign said turn right.

He never judged a person by appearance – he was a friend to the Jock the freak, the geek and all mixes in between.

He did not make demands or put expectations on others.

If you needed a favor, the answer was always YES.

He didn’t worry about what other people thought, he simply did.

I learned a lot from my Friend, some things I had forgotten about until recently – but he has once again helped me gain perspective.

Brady was an:



It is easier to be "in the game" than to be forced to "watch from the sidelines."

His greatest sadness was that he did not want any of us to suffer from his illness.

I am going to speak for Brady now:

Remember – life is precious, family are precious, friends are precious. Don’t sit on the bench, get in the game … call an old friend, change the rules, take a left, tell someone you love them just because, go sky diving! It's okay to let Peter Pan come out... enjoy life!

He did! And don’t worry; he will always be there to remind you.

I love you my Brother.

Sean Hogan
Wednesday, August 30th, 2006
Old Mission United Methodist Church
Fairway, Kansas

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Secret (Cheaper) Cappuccino

Why Starbucks doesn't put it on the big menu....

Friday, August 25, 2006

Responsible Drinking

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Thanks A Million

Annoying, yet funny.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Eleanor Rigby died in the church and was buried along with her name

Click to enlarge.

Eleanor Rigby died in the church and was buried along with her name
Nobody came
Father McKenzie wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave
No one was saved

All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?

The tombstone says she died in her sleep. Was she sleeping in church? No wonder God killed her.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A Hundred Years Later, Poincaré's Conjecture...

has been proven to have been solved.

Perelman's first paper, promising "a sketch of an eclectic proof," came as a bolt from the blue when it was posted on the Internet in November 2002. "Nobody knew he was working on the Poincare conjecture," said Michael Anderson of the State University of New York in Stony Brook.

Perelman had already established himself as a master of differential geometry, the study of curves and surfaces, which is essential to, among other things, relativity and string theory. Born in St. Petersburg in 1966, he distinguished himself as a high school student by winning a gold medal with a perfect score in the International Mathematical Olympiad in 1982. After getting a doctorate from St. Petersburg State, he joined the Steklov Institute of Mathematics at St. Petersburg.

In a series of postdoctoral fellowships in the United States in the early 1990s, Perelman impressed his colleagues as "a kind of unworldly person," in the words of Greene of UCLA -- friendly but shy and not interested in material wealth.

"He looked like Rasputin, with long hair and fingernails," Greene said.

Asked about Perelman's pleasures, Anderson said that he talked a lot about hiking in the woods near St. Petersburg looking for mushrooms.

Perelman returned to those woods and the Steklov Institute in 1995, spurning offers from Stanford and Princeton, among others. In 1996 he added to his legend by turning down a prize for young mathematicians from the European Mathematics Society.

Until his papers on Poincare started appearing, some friends thought Perelman had left mathematics. Although they were so technical and abbreviated that few mathematicians could read them, they quickly attracted interest among experts. In the spring of 2003, Perelman came back to the United States to give a series of lectures at Stony Brook and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and also spoke at Columbia, New York University and Princeton.

But once he was back in St. Petersburg, he did not respond to further invitations. The e-mail gradually ceased.

"He came once, he explained things, and that was it," Anderson said. "Anything else was superfluous."

Recently, Perelman is said to have resigned from Steklov. E-mail messages addressed to him and to the Steklov Institute went unanswered.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Hooray for Pallywood

Palestinians staging Israeli aggression with all the competence they show in everything else they do, while a willing Leftist Western press plays along with a wink and a nod and some careful editing -- after all, there are Larger Truths Which Must Be Exposed (and Contradictory Realities Which Must Not Be Exposed).

Essential viewing for anyone who wants to understand what's really going on in Israel and the broader Middle East, where Islamic taqiyyah is part of the broader cultural context ignored by the Marxist media who sympathizes with the Palestinians because they are poorer, weaker and browner than the Israelis.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Do Not Laugh

Melissa Theuriau

...And we're stuck with Katie Couric.

There are, um, other images of la belle Melissa online....

Urinating, Hypmotized 8/16 Woman's Islamic Seduction and Love Letters to Guantanamo

Zombie scoops the world again, tracking down the online history of Cathy Mayo, whose in-air insanity and urination brought Logan Airport and the world to a halt on Wednesday.

Here Cathy (the Catheter?) describes how she was seduced by a Pakistani and was brainwashed learned about the beauty of the Religion of Peace from him:

I have come here by a long strange road. I met Junaid, a Pakistani man, on line before September 11. He is talking about marriage, so I need to get to know him better before I bring him into the US on a fiancé visa. He was refused a visitor visa to the US, so I have come here.

I have already lived through Ramadan, and Eid. I know a lot about his culture, for sure! But now I need to get to know the man. Instant Messenger works well for awhile, but we got to know each other so well that we were arguing all the time.

Seducing and brainwashing ugly girls is not exactly new to espionage.

Here's Cath's loveletter to the poor misunderstood murderers in Guantanamo:

This is all so depressing. I am trying to think of something to say that will give you a cheerful moment in your day. I would like your e-mail addresses, but I know of course that is impossible. I don’t want to talk about the world, because it is only going from bad to worse. The world is still here, all the continents and oceans, and that is good news.

For those of you who have been in Pakistan, I want to let you know about the latest developments. Smoking is now prohibited in public places. By ‘public places’ they don’t mean parks or sidewalks, they just mean inside public places. So I’m really not sure what they are talking about. The police are on a new campaign to get people to drive properly. Right now they are working on getting people to stop at stoplights on the other side of the pedestrian walkways. I think the next project is to forbid U turns, but I don’t know if they will ever get to that.

The rains have started. I guess that’s about it. Oh, and the whole of Pakistan was cut off from the Internet for about 12 hours. A major investigation is underway to figure out why that happened.

Cathy Mayo is an American journalist based in Pakistan

My earlier hypothesis about her odd behavior on that plane
is looking better and better.

UPDATE -- Zombie comments:

I'm getting more and more convinced that she really was involved with Pakistani extremists. Even if her seducer wasn't a jihadi to begin with, once the local al-Qaeda guys saw he had an American woman wrapped around his little finger, he was coerced into letting them get access to her.


This is my theory about Cathy Mayo:

She was sent on a dry run test flight to see if she was ready to do the real thing. Through the haze of her insanity and brainwashing, she realized she had a chance to escape from the influence of her Pakistani handlers, so in her own bizarre way, she tried to get caught. All her actions are the actions of an unbalanced person trying to get the authorities to arrest her, so she could be taken into (protective, in her mind) custody.

A man in a similar situation might have just punched someone in the nose. But Cathy Mayo resorted to dropping extreme "hints" that she was a danger. Peeing in the aisle was her way of saying, "Arrest me already, you idiots!"

Another UPDATE:

Cathy Mayo's brainwashed lunacy, in her own words:

Americans understand, deep down, that they have lost their freedom. They had it once, they remember what it was, but it is gone

by Catherine Mayo
22nd July 2003
The Daily Times (Pakistan)

Plato was the first person to think in words about what it would be like for a human being to be self-governing. His thoughts tended to go around in circles, because he was a man ahead of his time and he didn't have the words. His symbolism of the cave is good, because that is how he felt. He knew the possibility was there, in the dark, but he just couldn't see it.

Self-government is a discipline that we all take for granted now. It means action after careful consideration of our moral principles. It is hard to imagine how the cave man made decisions, because he didn't do anything unless he got the permission from someone else. It takes a long time for a human being to trust his own knowledge about the difference between good and bad. Confidence in our inner connection with God has to be taught to us as children, and we have to teach it to our children.

Americans now are feeling about the same way as their heroes, the troops in Baghdad. They are tired, confused and they see no end to their confusion. Ambushes happen every day, from any quarter, and they haven't figured out who the enemy is. They are putting out so many small brushfires on a daily basis that they don't have time to think things through and plan a strategy. Their leaders are no help, the president ran off to start a road map for peace between Israel and Palestine, and then did a comprehensive political tour of Africa. Now Bush is worried about Iran. North Korea, too, but mostly Iran. North Korea is building up a nuclear arsenal that it will sell to Iran for food, and then Iran will give the bombs to all of its terror groups so they can attack the US.

The decision-makers on the ground in Iraq are not faring any better. They are trying to decide who would be the best people to rule in Iraq in a council form of government, an idea they finally hit upon because they couldn't figure out how to start a democracy.

Like their troops, Americans are plagued by questions about why they are in Iraq. No WMD, no Al Qaeda, no regime change. But they can't admit this to themselves. Never in history has the US made such a bad mistake. Americans are wandering around in the dark, hoping that someone will provide an intelligent explanation soon.

But the moment has passed. They have gone back to the cave man way of thinking. They have forgotten that they know how to be self-governing.

I got a letter from a person in the US arguing that I was misinformed about a lot of things, and that I should remember what it is to be free. He didn't define what he meant by 'free'. I am free, I don't have to remember what it was like, I know it now. I am free to see the difference between right and wrong, and to do the right thing.

I have been trying to compile a definition of 'freedom' or what it means to Americans at present. To them, freedom means doing something about 9/11 so it will never happen again.

But it has not happened again. We are coming up to the second anniversary, and the horror of that day has not been repeated.

So let me try again. To Americans, at this moment in history, freedom means knowing that they can do anything they want, and it will always turn out right in the end. Freedom means believing something is true with such conviction that it is required to come true.

No, now I am not making sense. Americans understand, deep down, that they have lost their freedom. They had it once, they remember what it was, but it is gone.

Plato's ideas about the potential in every human being are written in a style that makes us smile when we read it. Plato had an interesting, off-beat sense of humour. Anyone who has hope, and confidence in himself, has a sense of humour. Even the Iraqis, looting the presidential palaces after the fall of Baghdad, had a sense of humour about themselves. They called themselves 'Ali Babas', and one would scold another to take back the carpet even while he was making off with the chandelier.

But Americans do not have a sense of humour anymore. This is the most telling characteristic now, the biggest cultural difference between them and the rest of the world. They can't laugh at a joke, they don't even understand it.

Cathy Mayo is an American journalist based in Pakistan

Yeah, she's "not making sense" alright...

Fight Science

This looks like true Must-See TV.

The astonishing-seemingly-impossible-but-yet-objectively-real physics behind how ninjas can break cement with their bare hands. The production was year in the making.

This should be really cool. August 20th, 9pm est/pst. Gentlemen, start your Tivos.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

(Not So) Dry Run

According to an affidavit by FBI Special Agent Daniel Choldin filed in U.S. District Court in Boston, flight attendants noticed Mayo about 90 minutes into the flight because she was pushing against the aircraft bulkhead. When the attendant told her to return to her seat, Mayo said she wanted to speak to an air marshal and made statements about knowing that people wanted to see what was in her bag.

FBI spokeswoman Gail Marcinkiewicz confirmed Thursday that authorities found a screwdriver and an unspecified number of cigarette lighters in her bag, items that are banned under new security regulations. Marcinkiewicz also confirmed that matches were found in Mayo's bag.

Since a foiled terror plot surfaced in London last week, airports have tightened security in both the United Kingdom and the U.S. Liquids and gels have been banned from carry-on luggage, and even tighter restrictions are in place in Britain.

Later during the flight, according to the affidavit, Mayo asked a flight attendant: "Is this a training flight for United Flight 93?" The flight attendant didn't know if she made a mistake because the flight was actually Flight 923, or if she was referring to Flight 93, the hijacked plane that crashed in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11.

During that time, she was "biting her fingers, rubbing her feet and in a constant state of movement. She appeared very agitated," the affidavit said.

She wrote in a note and said to flight attendants that she had been in a country illegally, and later said she had photographs of Pakistan. Her U.S. passport indicated that on Aug. 15 she had left Pakistan and entered the United Kingdom, according to the affidavit.

Flight attendants summoned the captain, who spoke to Mayo. During the conversation, she made reference to there being "six steps to building some unspecified thing."

"She made reference to being with people associated with two words. She stated that she could not say what the two words were because the last time that she had said the two words she had been kicked off of a flight in the United Arab Emirates," according to the affidavit.

The captain and purser both believed that she was referring to al- Qaida, Choldin wrote.

About 35 minutes later, when she tried to go to the bathroom, the flight attendants directed her to a different lavatory. Instead, she pulled down her pants and urinated on the floor,
Choldin wrote in the affidavit, which was based on his interviews and those of other federal officials.

At that point, the captain ordered her restrained. Two male passengers helped a flight attendant tackle Mayo and restrain her in plastic cuffs. She remained seated in the galley area of the plane until the flight landed, according to the affidavit.

Who knows, maybe she was hypnotized.

"One of the Most Vile, Stupid, and Repulsive Decisions Ever Made!"

It may seem bad, but I, for one, welcome our new unelected overlord, President Taylor.

...her decision is all the more noteworthy for coming on the heels of the surveillance-driven roll up of the terrorist plot in Britain to blow up U.S.-bound airliners. In this environment, monitoring the communications of our enemies is neither a luxury nor some sinister plot to chill domestic dissent. It is a matter of life and death.
So let's set aside the judge's Star Chamber rhetoric and try to examine her argument, such as it is. Take the Fourth Amendment first. The "unreasonable search and seizure" and warrant requirements of that amendment have their roots in the 18th-century abuses of the British crown. Those abuses involved the search and arrest of the King's political opponents under general and often secret warrants.

Judge Taylor sees an analogy here, but she manages to forget or overlook that no one is being denied his liberty and no evidence is being brought in criminal proceedings based on what the NSA might learn through listening to al Qaeda communications. The wiretapping program is an intelligence operation, not a law-enforcement proceeding. Congress was duly informed, and not a single specific domestic abuse of such a wiretap has yet been even alleged, much less found.

As for the First Amendment, Judge Taylor asserts that the plaintiffs--a group that includes the ACLU and assorted academics, lawyers and journalists who believe their conversations may have been tapped but almost surely weren't--had their free-speech rights violated because al Qaeda types are now afraid to speak to them on the phone.

But the wiretapping program is not preventing anyone from speaking on the phone. Quite the opposite--if the terrorists stopped talking on the phone, there would be nothing to wiretap. Perhaps the plaintiffs should have sued the New York Times, as it was that paper's disclosure of the program that created the "chill" on "free speech" that Judge Taylor laments.

The real nub of this dispute is the Constitution's idea of "inherent powers," although those two pages of her decision are mostly devoted to pouring scorn on the very concept. But jurists of far greater distinction than Judge Taylor have recognized that the Constitution vests the bulk of war-making power with the President. It did so, as the Founders explained in the Federalist Papers, for reasons of energy, dispatch, secrecy and accountability.

Before yesterday, no American court had ever ruled that the President lacked the Constitutional right to conduct such wiretaps. President Carter signed the 1978 FISA statute that established the special court to approve domestic wiretaps even as his Administration declared it was not ceding any Constitutional power. And in the 2002 decision In Re: Sealed Case, the very panel of appellate judges that hears FISA appeals noted that in a previous FISA case (U.S. v. Truong), a federal "court, as did all the other courts to have decided the issue, held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information." We couldn't find Judge Taylor's attempt to grapple with those precedents, perhaps because they'd have interfered with the lilt of her purple prose.

Unlike Judge Taylor, Presidents are accountable to the voters for their war-making decisions, as the current White House occupant has discovered. Judge Taylor can write her opinion and pose for the cameras--and no one can hold her accountable for any Americans who might die as a result.

In a related story, a suitcase full of bombmaking materials has been found in the woods behind some of the 8/16 bombers flats in England.

President Taylor take note: the 8/16 plot, which very likely could have succeeded and resulted in the deaths of 3,000 people minimum, the bankruptcy of the airline and travel business, and a global depression in which lots and lots of poor people would suffer first, was stopped because of 1) Pakistani ISI torture; 2) FISA wiretaps; and 3) SWIFT tracking of international wire transfers... done before the NYT's (latest) treasonous public laundering of national security secrets.

For those of you unfamiliar with the, uh, ending, of Pink Flamingos, I can only hope that you are spared a similar fate thanks to the latest legacy of Dhimmi "Worst President Ever" Carter.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

People Let Me Tell Ya 'Bout My Best Friend

Man Hands

Yet another Al-Qaeda boy caught in a fetching burkha.

When they're not hiding behind women and children, they're dressing like them.

The Left rants about Rummy ignoring the Geneva Conventions. What they mean is the 3rd Geneva Convention. But what they blindly ignore is the 4th, which is the one designed to protect civilians from what results when fighters disguise themselves as civilians (as in, every member of Hamas, Hezb'allah, and Al-Qaeda).

In previous wars, fighters caught pretending to be civilians were shot on sight on the battlefield, without trial.

But that was back when people still were aware of the lessons of history, like the lesson of the battle of Syracuse, as taught by Thucydides...

Try to remember it... it was long, long ago, before the advent of postmodernism... when the hard-wrought knowledge of human nature was considered wisdom and not Eurocentrism.

Monday, August 14, 2006


Great interview by Atlas Shrugs with John Bolton.

Shoulders of Doom

A little English girl's passport photo has been rejected by her government because it shows her exposed shoulders and may offend "people" in Islamic countries who have to look upon it.

A rational conclusion? The dhimmitude of England has insinuated itself into the fabric of their culture exactly the way its Islamic overlords have intended.

Granted, this girl, at 5, is a full year younger than Mohammed's favorite wife at the time of their nuptials.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Like a Good Version of Gattica

Feds test mechanized version of El Al interviews.
At airport security checkpoints in Knoxville, Tenn. this summer, scores of departing passengers were chosen to step behind a curtain, sit in a metallic oval booth and don headphones.

With one hand inserted into a sensor that monitors physical responses, the travelers used the other hand to answer questions on a touch screen about their plans. A machine measured biometric responses -- blood pressure, pulse and sweat levels -- that then were analyzed by software. The idea was to ferret out U.S. officials who were carrying out carefully constructed but make-believe terrorist missions.

The trial of the Israeli-developed system represents an effort by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration to determine whether technology can spot passengers who have "hostile intent." In effect, the screening system attempts to mechanize Israel's vaunted airport-security process by using algorithms, artificial-intelligence software and polygraph principles.

Michael J. Totten Reporting from the Free-Fire Zone

A must-read.

I wanted to know what he thought of the proposed cease-fire, although I suspected already he wasn’t happy with it.

“It’s probably the best we could get under the circumstances,” he said. “We do not have a lot of leverage right now.”

I told him that I’m not usually pessimistic about the outcome of these things, but that to me it didn’t look good. After all that destruction it didn’t look like much was accomplished. I suspected there would be yet another Lebanon war very soon. “Talk me out of it,” I said. “Tell me if I’m wrong.”

He didn’t want to say much. I could tell from the look on his face that he wasn’t happy with the outcome himself. But he’s an official spokesman and has to be careful with what he says on the record.

“Has anything been permanently accomplished up there?” I said.

“Some things, yes,” he said. “We destroyed a lot of their infrastructure. They had more weapons and more underground bunkers and tunnels than we had any idea. People coming out of there say it’s vast.”

“What do you think about the proposal for an international force on the border?” I said.

“The problem with that,” he said, “is that the force could act a shield for Hezbollah. Hezbollah could fire missiles right over the tops of their heads, and it would make it very difficult for us to go in there and stop them. It needs to be a combat force in Lebanon, not a peacekeeping force. It needs to be authorized by UN Article 7, not 6.”

“Hassan Nasrallah declared victory today,” I said. “What do you think about that?”

He laughed. And of course he would laugh. Everyone in the world knew Nasrallah would declare victory no matter what if he was not in a cage and if he still had a pulse. The Arab bar for military victory is set pathetically low. All you have to do is survive. You “win” even if your country is torn to pieces. The very idea of a Pyrrhic victory doesn’t occur to people who start unwinnable wars with the state of Israel.

“Look at Nasrallah today,” Michael said. “In 2000 he did his victory dance in Bint Jbail. He can’t do that this time. His command and control south of Beirut is completely gone. We killed 550 Hezbollah fighters south of the Litani out of an active force of 1250. Nasrallah claimed South Lebanon would be the graveyard of the IDF. But we only lost one tenth of one percent of our soldiers in South Lebanon. The only thing that went according to his plan was their ability to keep firing rockets. If he has enough victories like this one, he’s dead.”

“Have Hezbollah’s fighting techniques evolved or degraded since 2000?” I said.

“They’re the same,” he said. “They’re good. These guys are very experienced. They have been fighting for a long time. But we’ve killed more than 25 percent of their fighting force. I think they’ll break. All armies break. Killing even one percent of a Western army is a disaster. It’s prohibitive.”

The term, "decimate," refers to killing 10% of your enemy. By this account, Hizb'allah has lost that two and a half times over. And then there are the other losses....

A Leftist Jew Comes to Terms With His Own Cognitive Dissonance

Red State Jews
Mugged by Mideast reality.

Sunday, August 13, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT

This is a soul-searching moment for the Jewish left. Actually, for many Jewish liberals, navigating the gloomy politics of the Middle East is like walking with two left feet.

I would know. For six years I was the literary editor of Tikkun magazine, a leading voice for progressive Jewish politics that never avoided subjecting Israel to moral scrutiny. I also teach human rights at a Jesuit university, imparting the lessons of reciprocal grievances and the moral necessity to regard all people with dignity and mutual respect. And I am deeply sensitive to Palestinian pain, and mortified when innocent civilians are used as human shields and then cynically martyred as casualties of war.

Yet, since 9/11 and the second intifada, in which suicide bombings and beheadings have become the calling cards of Arab diplomacy, and with Hamas and Hezbollah emerging as elected entities that, paradoxically, reject the first principles of liberal democracy, I feel a great deal of moral anguish. Perhaps I have been naive all along.

And I am not alone. Many Jews are in my position--the children and grandchildren of labor leaders, socialists, pacifists, humanitarians, antiwar protesters--instinctively leaning left, rejecting war, unwilling to demonize, and insisting that violence only breeds more violence. Most of all we share the profound belief that killing, humiliation and the infliction of unnecessary pain are not Jewish attributes.

However, the world as we know it today--post-Holocaust, post-9/11, post-sanity--is not cooperating. Given the realities of the new Middle East, perhaps it is time for a reality check. For this reason, many Jewish liberals are surrendering to the mindset that there are no solutions other than to allow Israel to defend itself--with whatever means necessary. Unfortunately, the inevitability of Israel coincides with the inevitability of anti-Semitism.

This is what more politically conservative Jews and hardcore Zionists maintained from the outset. And it was this nightmare that the Jewish left always refused to imagine. So we lay awake at night, afraid to sleep. Surely the Arabs were tired, too. Surely they would want to improve their societies and educate their children rather than strap bombs on to them.

If the Palestinians didn't want that for themselves, if building a nation was not their priority, then peace in exchange for territories was nothing but a pipe dream. It was all wish-fulfillment, morally and practically necessary, yet ultimately motivated by a weary Israeli society--the harsh reality of Arab animus, the spiritual toll that the occupation had taken on a Jewish state battered by negative world opinion.

Despite the deep cynicism, however, Israel knew that it must try. It would have to set aside nearly 60 years of hard-won experience, starting from the very first days of its independence, and believe that the Arab world had softened, would become more welcoming neighbors, and would stop chanting: "Not in our backyard--the Middle East is for Arabs only."

It is true that Israel has entered into peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan that have brought some measure of historic stability to the region. But with Israel having withdrawn from Lebanon and Gaza, and with Israeli public opinion virtually united in favor of near-total withdrawal from the West Bank, why are rockets being launched at Israel now, why are their soldiers being kidnapped if the aspirations of the Palestinian people, and the intentions of Hamas and Hezbollah, stand for something other than the total destruction of Israel? And if Palestinians and the Lebanese are electing terrorists and giving them the portfolio of statesmen, then what message is being sent to moderate voices, what incentives are there to negotiate, and how can any of this sobering news be recast in a more favorable light?

The Jewish left is now in shambles. Peace Now advocates have lost their momentum, and, in some sense, their moral clarity. Opinion polls in Israel are showing near unanimous support for stronger incursions into Lebanon. And until kidnapped soldiers are returned and acts of terror curtailed, any further conversations about the future of the West Bank have been set aside.

Not unlike the deep divisions between the values of red- and blue-state America, world Jewry is being forced to reconsider all of its underlying assumptions about peace in the Middle East. The recent disastrous events in Lebanon and Gaza have inadvertently created a newly united Jewish consciousness--bringing right and left together into one deeply cynical red state.

Mr. Rosenbaum, a novelist and professor at Fordham Law School, is author, most recently, of "The Myth of Moral Justice" (HarperCollins, 2004).

Not Your Father's Democratic Party

Primary Colors
What sets Lieberman apart from fellow Democrats is his belief in America.

Sunday, August 13, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT

Sen. Joseph Lieberman's narrow defeat in Connecticut's Democratic primary on Tuesday tells us something important about his party. Mr. Lieberman, who is running in November as an independent, can argue plausibly that his loss represented the judgment of only a sliver of the electorate: Connecticut, where most major-party nominations are decided by party conventions, has a tradition of low participation in primaries, and less than one-sixth of the registered voters took the trouble to cast their ballots in this contest. The winner, Ned Lamont, thus got the votes of less than one-tenth of Connecticut voters.

Still, this was a well-publicized contest, and one in which Sen. Lieberman's opponents had reason, from their point of view, to target him. And not just for his staunch support of the American military action in Iraq. On a number of issues, Mr. Lieberman has been at odds with large constituencies in the Democratic Party.

As an observant Orthodox Jew, he has consistently portrayed himself as a man of religious faith, while one-quarter of John Kerry voters in 2004 described their religion as "other" or "none." He has been a critic of vulgarity and obscenity in television programs and movies, while the Democrats enjoy massive financial and psychic support from Hollywood. He has supported school-choice measures, while one of his party's major organized constituencies is the teachers' unions. And he has been an American exceptionalist--a believer in the idea that this is a special and specially good country--while his party's base is increasingly made up of people with attitudes that are, in professor Samuel Huntington's term, transnational. In their view, our country is no better than any other, and in many ways it's a whole lot worse.

Through most of the 20th century, American exceptionalism has been the creed of both of our major parties. Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy, for all their sophisticated knowledge of foreign cultures, were exceptionalists just as much as Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. Among voters, transnational attitudes were espoused by only a very few, in the odd corners of university faculty clubs, investment-banking firm dining rooms and the councils of shop floor socialist intellectuals.

Now it's different. In 2004, pollster Scott Rasmussen asked two questions relating to American exceptionalism: Is this country generally fair and decent? Would the world be better off if more countries were more like America? About two-thirds of voters answered yes to both questions. About 80% of George W. Bush voters answered yes. John Kerry voters were split down the middle, with yeses outnumbering noes by small margins. That's reminiscent of the story about the Teamster Union business agent who was in the hospital and received a bouquet of flowers with a note that read, "The executive board wishes you a speedy recovery by a vote of 9-6." Not exactly a wholehearted endorsement.

The Connecticut primary reveals that the center of gravity in the Democratic Party has moved, from the lunch-bucket working class that was the dominant constituency up through the 1960s to the secular transnational professional class that was the dominant constituency in the 2004 presidential cycle. You can see the results on the map. Joe Lieberman carried by and large the same cities and towns that John F. Kennedy carried in the 1960 presidential general election.

Ned Lamont carried most of the cities and towns that were carried by Richard Nixon. In Stamford, where Joe Lieberman grew up the son of a liquor-store owner, and where there are still sizeable blue-collar and black communities, Mr. Lieberman won with 55% of the vote. In next-door Greenwich, where Ned Lamont (like former President George H.W. Bush) grew up as the scion of an investment banker family, and where the housing values are now among the highest in the nation, Mr. Lamont won with 68% of the vote. If Mr. Lamont wins in November, he will be just one of several members of a Democratic caucus who have made, inherited or married big money.

The working class Democrats of the mid-20th century voted their interests, and knew that one of their interests was protecting the nation in which they were proud to live. The professional class Democrats of today vote their ideology and, living a life in which they are insulated from adversity, feel free to imagine that America cannot be threatened by implacable enemies. They can vote to validate their lifestyle choices and their transnational attitudes.

In the mid-20th century the core constituencies of both the Democratic and the Republican Parties stood foursquare for America's prosecution of World War II and the Cold War. Today, as the Connecticut results suggest, it's different. The core constituency of the Republican Party stands foursquare for America's prosecution of the global struggle against Islamofascist terrorism--and solidly on the side of Israel in its struggle against the same forces. The core constituency of the Democratic Party wants to stand aside from the global struggle--and, as the presence of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton at Mr. Lamont's side on election night suggests, is not necessarily on the side of Israel. It's not your father's Democratic Party.

Mr. Barone is a senior writer at U.S. News & World Report and coauthor of the Almanac of American Politics (National Journal Group).

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Why We Fight

The most disturbing, detailed account of the Islamist massacre of the schoolchildren of Beslan that you will ever read.

Monday, August 07, 2006

A Year in Antarctica

Six of the most relaxing minutes I've had recently. Enjoy.

Match the Dated Caption with the Reuters Propaganda Photograph Contest!

Mix and Match!
Compare and Contrast!
It's Up to YOU to Decide...
(drumroll please)
(And, yeah, I know one of them technically isn't a Reuters' pic, but play along anyway!) Here we go! Your choices are:

"Journalists are shown by a Hizbollah guerrilla group the damage caused by Israeli attacks on a Hizbollah stronghold in southern Beirut, July 24 2006. (Adnan Hajj/Reuters)"

"A Lebanese woman looks at the sky as she walks past a building flattened during an overnight Israeli air raid on Beirut's suburbs August 5, 2006. (Adnan Hajj/Reuters)"

A Lebanese woman wails after looking at the wreckage of her apartment, in a building, that was demolished by the Israeli attacks in southern Beirut July 22, 2006. REUTERS/Issam Kobeisi (from Yahoo News)

A Lebanese woman reacts at the destruction after she came to inspect her house in the suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2006, after Israeli warplanes repeatedly bombed the area overnight.(AP Photo/Hussein Malla) (from Yahoo News)

Impossible to decide? Confused by the "date-thingies"? Well, MSM photo editors know the feeling!

But one thing's for sure: Pulitzer judges will not be so persnickety!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Reutered to Be Added to Urban Dictionary?

Reutered is under review from the Urban Dictionary's editors, in a process that doesn't seem to exist at Reuters itself.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Best Norwegian Music Video Featuring Major Appliances

Friday, August 04, 2006

Mel Gibson Launching Rockets Into Israel

Busy week for Mel.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Great Music Vid o' the Day

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Effete Thugs Losing Their Immunity

Court OK's Look at Times' Phone Records
Associated Press Writer

Federal prosecutors investigating a leak about a terrorism funding probe can see the phone records of two New York Times reporters, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

A panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned on a 2-1 vote a lower court's ruling that the records were off limits unless prosecutors could show they had exhausted all other means of finding out who spoke to the newspaper.

Here's the money quote, from the dissenting opinion of bleeding heart Judge Robert D. Sack:

"Reporters might find themselves, as a matter of practical necessity, contacting sources the way I understand drug dealers reach theirs _ by use of clandestine cell phones and meetings in darkened doorways."

Sack was close. His quote should have read,

"Reporters might find themselves, as a matter of practical necessity, contacting sources the way I understand spies reach theirs _ by use of clandestine cell phones and meetings in darkened doorways."

New Definition of Knob

Anyone who pays $485.00 for a wooden one is, per se, a knob.

Try removing the bakelite knobs and listen. You will be shocked by this! The signature knobs will have an even greater effect…really amazing! The point here is the micro vibrations created by the volume pots and knobs find their way into the delicate signal path and cause degradation (Bad vibrations equal bad sound). With the signature knobs micro vibrations from the C37 concept of wood, bronze and the lacquer itself compensate for the volume pots and provide (Good Vibrations) our ear/brain combination like to hear…way better sound!!