A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Tab Clearing Day

Yes it's that time again!

Leaders Also Demand New Name for County
Craven leaders poised to approve budget -- headline, NewBern (NC) Sun-Journal, June 15 2014

Question... and Answer!
"What's the Purpose of a Literacy Test for Teachers?"--headline,, June 17, 2014
"Uneducated Teachers Shouldn't Be Teaching"--headline, Lodi (Calif.) News Sentinel, Jan. 27, 1983

Neuhaus's Law:
"Where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed."
-- Fr. Richard John Neuhaus

Regarding World Cup play:
Too many American announcers sound like self-loving too-serious IRS accountants loudly explaining minute changes to the tax code while strictly limiting themselves to a vocabulary of 100 words.
-- William Briggs, Statistician to the Stars

Quote of the Day
"The interests of bureaucrats do not always align with those of their purported beneficiaries."
(This is what we might call a corrollary to Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy.)

Really Scary Tree Huggers!
 "While searching around for a quaint picture of Willits," writes Joseph Moore, "I came across the Tree Spirit Project, which evidently is trying to save the planet via having mostly flabby white people get naked in the woods and pose for photographs. Ah, California! Land of my birth! The connections between out of control narcissism getting naked in public and saving the forests/little fury varmints/the planet is one so sublime as to be imperceptible to lesser mortals. But it seems to be universally recognized by Whole Foods shoppers and crystal energized Bodhisattvas who no doubt walked the couple hundred miles up to Willits from Berkeley in sandals woven from organically grown hemp. Maybe it would all become clear with a little chakra adjustment and reflexology? Somebody needs somethin' adjusted, that much is clear."

"[Virginia congressional nominee Dave Brat] questions the federal role in setting education policy--at a time when U.S. schools, by almost any measure, are falling behind."
--Eugene Robinson, Washington Post, June 13

One Thing Follows Another
"US Government Will Finally Make It Easy to See How Your Tax Dollars Are Spent"--headline,, May 12
"World Pork Expo Opens Wednesday"--headline,, June 1

Mrs. Robinson on Display
"Visitors Get Close to Cougars at New Ga. Exhibit"--headline, Associated Press, May 31

Who Knew
"Bad Food in School Cafeterias"--headline, New York Times, June 2

Illinois Ducks to Cost More
"Illinois Ducks Tax Hike (for Now)"--headline,, June 2

You'll Love Obamadiet
"Federal Dietary Panel: Forget the Beef, Eat More Plants and Bugs"--headline,, June 2

Problem... and Solution!
"Drone Attacks Split U.S. Officials"--headline, The Wall Street Journal, June 4
"US Reassembles Key Officials for Iran Nuke Talks"--headline, Associated Press, June 7

Problem... and Solution!
"Urged to Multiply, Iranian Couples Are Dubious"--headline, New York Times, June 8, 2014
"First Step in Learning Math Is Getting Over the Anxiety"--headline, Toronto Star, Oct. 11, 2013

She Says That Like It's a Contradiction
"While Mr. Brat is firmly pro-free market, during the campaign he repeatedly denounced crony capitalism."--Jennifer Steinhauer, New York Times, June 12

How Else Are They Supposed to Do It?
"Too Many Scots Drink to Get Drunk, Say Experts"--headline, Scotsman, June 11

Wait a Minute. Did We Miss Something?
"Pope Will Serve as Bloomington Police Deputy Chief After Benedict Retires, Mayor Kruzan Announces"--headline, Herald-Times (Bloomington, Ind.), June 12

How About if We Use it Now?
The Long Now Foundation is apparently trying to assemble a collection of books that can be used to restart civilization after it collapses.

Cause... and Effect!
"The unions are angry that Switzerland--one of the richest countries in the world--does not have a minimum pay level while neighbouring France and Germany do."--BBC website, May 18

How to Tell
[E]verybody knew that the way to tell the difference between Catholic and Lutheran churches and all the others is that Catholics and Lutherans put a cross on top of their steeples instead of a weather vane...
-- Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, "How I Became the Catholic I Was."

h/t Wall Street Journal Best of the Web for many of the above headlines.


  1. One of the oldest continuously extant jokes in the Western world is about Scots and drinking, and goes back at least to the twelfth century: Quid distat inter sottum et scottum? Tabula tantum. Which translates easily into English: What's the difference between a sot and a Scot? Just the table.

    It really does go back to the twelfth century, by the way; a surprising amount of interesting work has been done on its history. Of course, in the Middle Ages, 'Scotus' could mean either Scots or Irish or Northern English.

    1. No doubt the response on the 12th cent. internet was MOC: "multitudo cachinnonis!"

      What do the Irish call St.Patrick's Day?
      Amateur night at the bar.

      Knowing that the word "whisky" comes from the Irish word "uisce," which means "water," we get the typical Irish response to whether they want a whisky and water. "There's already too much water in the whisky. Why add more?"

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.


Whoa, What's This?

adam amateur theology anthropology aphorisms Aquinas argument from motion Aristotelianism art atheism autumn of the modern ages books brains breaking news captive dreams cartoon charts chieftain clannafhloinn comix commentary counterattack crusades culcha dogheads easton stuff economics eifelheim evolution factoids on parade fake news fallen angels Feeders fir trees in lungs firestar flicks floods flynncestry flynnstuff forecasts forest of time fun facts gandersauce gimlet eye global warming glvwg headlines henchmen high frontier history home front how to lie with statistics humor Hunters Moon hush-hush hypatia in the house of submission irish Iron Shirts irrationalism january dancer jihad journeyman kabuki kool letter lion's mouth lunacon maps mayerling medieval metrology miscellany modern mythology moose zombies music new years nexus odds odds and ends paleofuture passing of the modern age philosophy philosophy math poetry politics potpourri psyched out! public service quality quiet sun quote of the day razor's edge redefinition of marriage religio reviews river of stars scandal science science marches on scientism scrivening shipwrecks of time shroud skiffy skiffy in the news skools slipping masks some people will believe anything stats stories stranger things the auld curmudgeon the madness continues the new fascism the russians are coming the spiral arm the writing life thomism thought for the day thread o' years tofspot topology untergang des abendlandes untergang des morgenlandes up jim river video clips vignettes war on science we get letters we're all gonna die whimsy words at play wuv xmas you can't make this stuff up