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Desperado

The blog incarnation of the Desperado mailing list, the voice of the apocryphalypse since 1978.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Checking in, not checking out 


It's been just a little bit too exciting around Rancho Desperado for me to do any more than check in to say ┬┐Que tal?

The little woman, Mrs. Desperado, had a small stroke and is now recovering nicely, we all hope.

So far, the only actually amusing note has been that at the moment it happened, she said, "I think I'm having a stroke." It took the learned doctors two days to come to the same conclusion. Not that amusing, I guess, but she and I had a laugh about it, as we have had millions of laughs over the 46 years we've been together.
posted by Tom  # 2/28/2006 11:20:00 AM
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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Harvard bites man 


The president of Harvard has stepped down. This came as no surprise to careful readers of the Boston Globe, which yesterday printed the following razor slicing by one of his "supporters", political scientist Nancy L. Rosenblum:
At this point the question is not pro or anti. The question is: Is he effective. Can we see any way in which his great gifts can really be used constructively? Or has he become so much the target of discussion on all sides that he's eclipsing Harvard. I can't imagine that he would want that to be the case. This is a man who loves the university.
Group hug and out you go, Lawrence Summers.
posted by Tom  # 2/21/2006 06:08:00 PM
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Friday, February 17, 2006

I take full responsibility 


Since, thankfully, there are no consequences for doing so, I take full responsibility for that guy I shot in the face, the city I drowned, and the war I started against a country that was not about to start a war against me.
posted by Tom  # 2/17/2006 01:36:00 PM
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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Putting the corpus in Corpus Christi 


The fabulous JO submits from somewhere in the newsosphere the headline o' the day:
White House under fire in Cheney shooting accident

posted by Tom  # 2/15/2006 02:16:00 PM
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Field and Stream says there is no such thing as "Texas hunting protocol" 


Field and Stream calls BS on White House spin that Cheney was the victim and the guy he shot in the face was the perpetrator.

Brother Dave passes along the judgment of one hunter, a professional, on another, a rank amateur.
The Cheney Hunting Accident: A Texan's view of the so-called "Texas hunting protocol"

Doug Pike is a Field & Stream contributing editor who covers the outdoors for the Houston Chronicle. Here's what he has to say about reports suggesting that bird hunters in Texas follow different gun safety rules than bird hunters anywhere else.

by Doug Pike

Upland bird hunters everywhere knew exactly what had happened when word spread this past weekend that Vice President Dick Cheney shot a quail-hunting companion in South Texas, but some media reports made it sound as if the victim were to blame.

A quail flushed. Vice President Cheney swung his 28-gauge shotgun on the bird and tugged the trigger. His 78-year-old buddy, Austin attorney Harry Whittington, took a piece of the shot string in the upper body and face. Luckily, they were about 30 yards apart, far enough that pinhead-sized quail shot did minimal damage.

Reports from the owner of the ranch where the VP was hunting that Whittington violated some sort of "Texas protocol" requiring hunters to make formal announcement of their comings and goings in the field were a bit misleading. Everywhere that upland birds are hunted, the drill is pretty much the same. It makes sense to let other hunters know when you're moving to the left or right, or that you're back after visiting a nearby tree, but there's no requirement to do so. The onus is on everyone who carries a gun not to shoot at anyone else.

Cheney shot another hunter. Sooner better than later, he should own up to his mistake.

posted by Tom  # 2/15/2006 01:24:00 PM
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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Okay, then where are the kiwis? 


This, from the Godson via the Matron of Honor, now resident in Oz:
Saw a T-shirt in Vienna that was obviously targeted towards geographically-challenged Americans: it was a road sign with a kangaroo on it with a red circle around and a red bar across it, and the words "Austria: No Kangaroos"

posted by Tom  # 2/14/2006 02:59:00 PM
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Monday, February 13, 2006

Detailed information can take years to get here 


If it happened to me, it would have gone down like this:
Hello, 911? Someone's been shot.
All the rest would have come in its time. If the event or its participants had been newsworthy, it would have attracted attention within the hour.

If there had been someone I should call to tell about it, here's what I would have said:
My pal Dick just accidentally shot our buddy Harry in the face.
They would have understood what I meant.

If it happened to Scott McClellan, on the other hand (excerpts):
MR. MCCLELLAN: Well, I think that the first priority was making sure that Harry Whittington, Mr. Whittington, was getting the medical care that he needed. And I think that's where everybody's attention should have been focused and was focused when the hunting accident took place.

And you know, in terms of here in Washington, there was information that we were continuing to learn about throughout the course of that evening and into early Sunday morning.

The initial report that we received was that there had been a hunting accident. We didn't know who all was involved, but a member of his party was involved in that hunting accident, and then additional details continued to come in overnight. And it's important always to work to make sure you get information out like this as quickly as possible, but it's also important to make sure that the first priority is focused where it should be, and that is, making sure that Mr. Whittington has the care that he needs. And the vice president went to the hospital yesterday to visit him. The vice president was pleased to see that he was doing well and in good spirits, and the president is as well.

. . .

Well, the Vice President's Office was working to make sure information got out. We learned additional information overnight -- throughout the night. We were learning additional information here in Washington.

. . .

The vice president's team was making sure he was getting taken care of and that he got to the hospital and received additional treatment.

. . .

Saturday night I found out that there was a hunting accident. It was late Saturday night. But it was a member in his party. But I did not know who was involved in that hunting accident. It wasn't until very early Sunday morning that I found out that the vice president was involved in this accident.

. . .

There were details coming in throughout that night and into the morning. I mean, there was additional information coming in at 3:00 in the morning and 4:00 in the morning and even after that. So.

. . .

I personally was informed by the Situation Room that there had been a hunting accident and that it was a member of the vice president's hunting party, but I didn't have additional information than that at this point. Obviously, I asked questions about was -- is he okay and who was involved, and they didn't have those facts at that point.

. . .

I said there was additional information coming in later that evening and into the morning hours of Sunday.

. . .

Again, there was additional information coming in that night. The details continued to come in throughout the morning into the Sunday morning time period.

. . .

No, actually, as I pointed out, there was information that was coming in to people back here all the way at 3:00 in the morning and beyond. So additional information was coming to light from what occurred down in the Corpus Christi area of Texas.

. . .

Well, again, Jim, keep in mind two things. One, the very first priority was making sure Mr. Whittington was getting the medical care, and that's where all efforts were focused.

. . .

And then secondary to that is gathering the facts. And so you want to get the facts together, so you can provide that information to the public. And I think that's important to do. And so they gathered facts together, and those facts were coming back to us throughout the evening and into the morning hours of Sunday.

. . .

He was learning additional details into that evening, on Saturday

. . .

Saturday evening, so the president was getting more information about who was involved, and that was in -- that was late Saturday evening.

. . .

It was later that evening when he found out additional information, but we still didn't have all the details at that point. And additional details were coming into Andy Card at even three in the morning and beyond.

. . .

And so what -- so what -- let me finish this because -- what we're trying to do from here, you know, in the course of the night is get more information and find out exactly what occurred.

. . .

Additional details
-- additional information was coming in.

. . .

Again, what's important when it happened was to make sure that medical care was getting to Mr. Whittington.

. . .

Well, I think the initial information is coming from his team on the ground with him, and they're just providing initial report an accident has taken place.

. . .

The vice president went over to him and was making sure that his team was getting to him and taking care of him. That's what the first priority always ought to be.

. . .

I think there was additional details that were coming in, and we were trying to learn.
What additional information they claim was coming in is impossible to imagine. Now we'll have to wait until next Sunday morning's talk shows to hear them chatter about it. Will it all be turned into a joke by then, or will there be additional information? You know, details.

About what? I don't know. Maybe Vice President Cheney performed open-face surgery right on the spot. Maybe the team of crack doctor's he carries around with him include not only cardiologists, but emergency doctors experienced in treating gunshots. Maybe Andrew Card and Cheney and McClellan can tell us what they were talking about at 2 am, 3 am, 4 am, and 5 am before they finally found out that Cheney was involved at 6 am.

Ed's note: Another old Cheney favorite, here, which would be the cursing of the senators incident.
posted by Tom  # 2/13/2006 07:54:00 PM
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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Google will be the making of me yet! 


I came in in fifth place in the Google search "world's nicest butt". If you search here you can indeed find "world's nicest" and also "butt". While you are having this exciting adventure, you may want to continue searching the same archive for feuilletons about Ray Bradbury, Edmund Burke, Nedra Pickler, Assia Weevil the latter two playing an important role in my confessions of a brush cutter.
posted by Tom  # 2/12/2006 12:30:00 PM
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Friday, February 10, 2006

Okay, so I also love screaming guitar solos 


The Travelling Wilburys performed "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" for George Harrison's induction in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame last March with Prince Wilbury (also being inducted that night) taking the guitar part and damn near breaking my heart. Video from You Tube.

Tip o' the Desperado tan galan to Blah3 for the link.
posted by Tom  # 2/10/2006 04:54:00 PM
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At last, a movie that tells their story, and we get it all wrong 


Considering how much they have suffered for their loves, if I were a sheepherder I just might be a little perturbed at all this talk about gay cowboys.
And that's not an easy task, being in bed with a sheep, especially if you make the sheep nervous. I'm not going to go on, if you know what I'm talking about.--Gene Wilder

posted by Tom  # 2/10/2006 04:28:00 PM
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ACLU Pizza 


Special treatment for phone customers, per JO. (sound file).
posted by Tom  # 2/10/2006 03:16:00 PM
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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Tiger Tiger Burning Not Too Bright 


That there is still pornography on the Internet, I blame entirely on the St. Augustine Police Department.
posted by Tom  # 2/09/2006 11:19:00 PM
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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Notes on No Such Agency, Non-specific Anality & Non-specific anxiety 


I saw a .sig this morning:
To ensure continued quality of service, this e-mail is being monitored by the NSA
That reminded someone else of this oldie:
The National Security Agency seeks qualified graduates in math and computer science. To apply: call your mother, and ask for an application."
Which reminded me of my abandoned effort to to beef up my Emacs "spook" file.

The Emacs command Meta-X spook inserts suspicious words into a mail message. I'm not sure whether this spook sample is from my version or the default spook file:
Soviet arrangements Panama Honduras FSF jihad plutonium Delta Force security SDI ammunition BATF munitions DES smuggle
As you can see, I am taking my freedom in my own hands simply by supplying this modest sample.

Just before 9/11, I had begun expanding my spook file with many amusing additions, but I dropped the effort on the theory that explaining the amusing part was not something I wanted to get into.

Here's the description from the GNU Emacs manual, under the title "Distracting the NSA" (irony warning):
M-x spook adds a line of randomly chosen keywords to an outgoing mail message. The keywords are chosen from a list of words that suggest you are discussing something subversive.

The idea behind this feature is the suspicion that the NSA snoops on all electronic mail messages that contain keywords suggesting they might find them interesting. (The NSA says they don't, but that's what they would say.) The idea is that if lots of people add suspicious words to their messages, the NSA will get so busy with spurious input that they will have to give up reading it all.

Here's how to insert spook keywords automatically whenever you start entering an outgoing message:

(add-hook 'mail-setup-hook 'spook)

Whether or not this confuses the NSA, it at least amuses people.
I'm just guessing, but I may have been the first person to issue Meta-X spook in the past 1611 days.
posted by Tom  # 2/08/2006 02:54:00 PM
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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Metaphors, mixed and missed 


CBS Radio correspondent Elaine Cobb reported that although she had been "keeping a low profile", the woman with a face transplant held a press conference yesterday.
posted by Tom  # 2/07/2006 01:15:00 PM
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Desperado with sax: search string of the day 


I'm proud that this lovable web log is the number three result of a search for "desperado with sax".

The honor came from these fine entries on White Rose Petroleum Jelly, my favorite sound, and Illinois Jacquet.

Of course, coming in third to John Tesh takes quite a bit of bloom off the achievement.
posted by Tom  # 2/07/2006 11:36:00 AM
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Monday, February 06, 2006

Everybody's got something to hide except for me and my monkey, and we two would just as soon you didn't know what we don't have to hide 


A common defense of police powers run amuck is that people with nothing to hide have nothing to fear from police powers run amuck. It is not an impressive or persuasive argument.

Putting the shoe on the other foot, however, when the chief law enforcement officer of the country, Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez of Abu Ghraib refuses to testify under oath about the exciting new Constitutionalness of torture, rendition, secret arrests, secret jails, and all the panoply of police powers run amuck, we are entitled to think that the argument about having something to hide just might make sense.

Ed's note: I edited the link to get rid of the ad, but if you want to you can click the link in this sentence and then skip the ad by clicking in the upper righthand corner.
posted by Tom  # 2/06/2006 06:37:00 PM
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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Built like a Swiss mouse 


Maeuse is the plural of mouse in German, whether referencing the input device or the rodent. It would appear from this that the Swiss have a different relationship with their mouses than we inhibited Americans.

Ed's notes: Blogger has untrustworthy umlauts. Item per Brother Dave.
posted by Tom  # 2/01/2006 12:41:00 PM
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