Saturday, December 31, 2016

Goodbye To 2016

The last day of 2016 has arrived.  I know that in previous year-end posts, I've mentioned the curse about living "in interesting times", but this year seems to have been as interesting as any since I've started this blog.  And that includes both the ups and the downs.

The year 2016 will be remembered for the deaths of numerous notable celebrities, especially in the fields of music and show business.  The list includes musicians such as Glenn Frey, Paul Kantner, George Michael, Greg Lake and Leon Russell; actors such as Robert Vaughn, Florence Henderson, Gene Wilder and Carrie Fisher; and people such as David Bowie, Prince, Debbie Reynolds and Charmian Carr, who both acted and made music.  There were also sports figures such as Arnold Palmer and Muhammed Ali, and political figures such as John Glenn (who had also been an astronaut) and Nancy Reagan (who at one time was an actress).

In the field of collegiate sports, my Virginia Tech Hokies rebounded to a 10-4 season in football, their best record since 2011.  The season concluded with a 35-24 victory in the Belk Bowl over Arkansas, in which VT overcame a 24-0 deficit.  This success comes in the first year of new head coach Justin Fuente, who so far looks like a worthy successor to the retired Frank Beamer.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Worried About Executive Power?

Here's a little satire from the YouTube user We The Internet.  Trigger Warning: Their stated purpose is "offending pretty much everyone".

The video may also be watched directly on YouTube.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Debbie Reynolds 1932-2016

Debbie Reynolds, the actress, singer, businesswoman and film historian, died earlier today after being rushed from her son Todd Fisher's house to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.  She had reportedly suffered a stroke.  She passed away one day after her daughter Carrie Fisher.

Mary Frances Reynolds was born in 1932 in El Paso, Texas to Raymond Reynolds and the former Maxine Harmon.  The family moved to Burbank, California in 1939.  She graduated high school in 1948 and won the Miss Burbank beauty contest.  She appeared in many movie musicals during the 1950's, most notably Singin' in the Rain, starring Gene Kelly.  In 1957, she starred in Tammy and the Bachelor, and recorded the movie's theme song Tammy, which went to #1 on the Billboard pop charts.

Reynolds was married three times, first to Eddie Fisher, with whom she had her children Todd and Carrie, then to businessman Harry Karl, and finally to real estate developer Richard Hamlett.  She is survived by her son Todd and her granddaughter Billie Lourd (Carrie's daughter).

Read more at TMZ, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Times, Consequence Of Sound and Yahoo Celebrity.

Thomas Sowell Writes His Last Columns

Conservative writer and economist Thomas Sowell has announced his retirement from writing columns.  Long admired by the right side of the blogosphere and by conservatives in general, he has decided to call it a career, writing farewell columns in Creators Syndicate and National Review.

Dr. Sowell's "Random Thought on the Passing Scene" columns were the inspiration for my own sincere attempt to flatter him, my "Random Musings" posts.  Here's some reaction to his retirement:

American Enterprise Institute has 18 quotes from Dr. Sowell.

Michelle Malkin just wants to express her gratitude.

And last but really first, The Daily Caller recalls Sowell's first column, in which he took on the belief, common in the 1970's, that a new ice age was on the way.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Carrie Fisher 1956-2016

Actress and writer Carrie Fisher, famous for portraying Princess Leia in the Star Wars movies, has died at the age of 60, four days after suffering a heart attack while on a flight from London to Los Angeles.  You might say that Leia is now one with the Force.

Carrie Frances Fisher was born in Beverly Hills, California to singer Eddie Fisher and actress/singer Debbie Reynolds, who divorced when Fisher was two years old.  Her first movie role was in the comedy Shampoo in 1975.  She appeared as Princess Leia in Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983).  She reprised the role in The Force Awakens (2015) and completed filming for the as-yet-untitled Episode VIII.  In 1987, she published the novel Postcards from the Edge, loosely based on her own life, which was made into a film in 1990.

Fisher was briefly married to singer Paul Simon, and had a relationship with talent agent Bryan Lourd.  Fisher is survived by her mother, her daughter Billie Lourd, her brother Todd, and her half-sisters Joely and Tricia.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Links For The Feast Of Saint Stephen

According to a certain Christmas carol, "Good King Wenceslaus looked out, on the Feast of Stephen", which is the day after Christmas.  Stephen was one of the Christian church's first deacons, and is regarded as the first Christian martyr, for being stoned to death after being accused of blasphemy.  See Acts of the Apostles, Chapters 6 and 7.

Here are some things going on out there, on this year's Feast of Stephen:

With just a week left, 2016 continues to be sad for musicians and their fans.

However, one noted singer has not left us.

One Trump campaign staffer might have turned down a job in his administration, for allegedly acting like Trump's rival's husband.

In California, get ready for the new traffic laws.

In Tennessee, four inmates escape on Christmas.

In Belgium, an NATO auditor general is shot dead.

In Indonesia, police fatally shoot two suspected terrorists in a floating house.

In Iraq, ISIS is just being ISIS.

In England, some people find treasure in riverside mud.

At the Chiefs-Broncos game, the best tackle was made by a non-player.

Sadly, this is one time I would agree with our lame duck president.

The aforementioned lame duck gets a request from another Illinois politician.

The Israeli ambassador to the United States claims that the Obama administration was behind the U.N. anti-settlement resolution.

Here's the latest thing considered sinful by Muslims.

Donald Trump, in one writer's opinion, is right to acknowledge a connection between terrorism and immigration from terror-spawning countries.

Trump prepares to defend his cabinet picks.

Scientists plan to send greetings to aliens.

And to finish, here's a boy who really got a truck for Christmas.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas And Happy Hanukkah

This year, in a rare coincidence, Christmas and the first full day of Hanukkah both occur today.  (According to the Jewish calendar, Hanukkah started yesterday at sundown.)  While these two holy days commemorate different events, and are celebrated by two different religions, they are still linked.  From the Gospel of John, Chapter 10 (NIV):
22 Then came the Festival of Dedication[b] at Jerusalem. It was winter,
23 and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade.
The footnote [b] is in the original.  To learn what it refers to, click the link and scroll to the bottom.

The baby whose birth is celebrated at Christmas grew up to observe Hanukkah, which recalls the burning of candles for eight nights, when there was only enough oil for one night.  This came after the Jewish Temple had been desecrated by pagan soldiers under the Hellenistic king Antiochus IV, and was later cleaned out and re-dedicated by the Jews.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

"The Sun" Warns About The Sun

According to a British media outlet, the sun let out a flare yesterday that could "wreak havoc" here on Earth.  Who would warn us earthlings about what's happening with the sun?  It's the appropriately named (for this story, anyway) website called The Sun:
EARTH is being blasted by a flare soaring from a hole in the sun's atmosphere – and it's bringing huge geomagnetic storms with it.
The super-fast stream of solar wind hit the Earth’s magnetic field just in time for the winter solstice on Wednesday.
And it's whipped up a "moderately" strong geomagnetic storm that could last for several days, according to the US' National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
There is, however, a bright side:
It's good news for Aurora watchers, as the long nights mean more time to watch the incredible plumes of colour across the northern hemisphere.
If you live in Canada, Alaska, Siberia or northern Europe, and there aren't too many clouds, there could be a show above you tonight.  Meanwhile, read the full story about the sun at The Sun.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Links For The Year's Shortest Day

Today is the first full day of winter.  I think the solstice occurred some time yesterday.  When we say "shortest day", what we really mean is the day with the shortest amount of time between sunrise and sunset.  With that in mind, here are some things going on out there:

From The Times Of Israel, an Israeli aid group is trying to help Yazidi victims of ISIS.

From the Express, a protest breaks out just outside the office of Chancellor Angela Merkel, and an asylum seeker disrupts a nativity play in Austria.

From NPR, the Berlin attack causes European's fears to rise.

From Breitbart London, in Germany, providing for migrants can get expensive.

From FrontpageMag, Europeans have had enough.

From ABC News, North Carolina legislators meet to reconsider the "bathroom bill".

From WGN, the New York police have identified the suspect who stole a pot of gold.

From USA Today, the north pole gets a (relative) heat wave.

From PoliZette, the Census Bureau unveils the population clock.

From Philly(dot)com, Obama's oil pipeline rules might be changed under Trump.

From Legal Insurrection, The Washington Post blames Electoral College for global warming.

From The American First, Trump's campaign manager takes on the guy with the tingle up his leg.

From Reuters, residents of northern China travel to avoid smog.  The Guardian also reports on this story.

From The Washington Post, the prime suspect in the Berlin truck attack had been the target of an earlier investigation.

From Newsgram, those who want Islamic law can go to Syria, Somalia or Nigeria, says a Canadian Muslim.

From Romania-Insider, Romania might soon get a female Muslim prime minister.

From Emirates Woman, it appears that one American celebrity has moved out of America - but not to Canada.

From The Whistler, the results of the recent election have not been accepted by the president - of Gambia.

From Time, the top 25 NCAA football teams, ranked by academics.

And from National Geographic, Ethiopian children learn about healthy living, from a hand puppet.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Presidential Election Produces Unexpected Milestone

Faith Spotted Eagle has never been a presidential candidate.  She is a tribal elder of the Yankton Sioux Tribe.  She has been an opponent of oil pipelines, such as the Dakota Access pipeline.  And due to the actions of one of Hillary Clinton's electors in the state of Washington, Ms. Spotted Eagle, as far as anyone knows, has become the first Native American to receive a vote for president in the Electoral College.

Read more at Seattle PI, KOMO News, The Seattle Times and the Los Angeles Times.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Three Attacks In Three Countries

Today there has been some violent crime, possibly terrorism, in Turkey, Germany and Switzerland.

The Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, was assassinated in Ankara by an off-duty policeman.  During the attack, the assailant reportedly shouted "Don't forget Allepo!" and "Allahu akbar!"   Read more at CNN, The New York Times and Reuters.

In Berlin, Germany, a truck was driven into a Christmas market near the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.  So far, nine people have been killed and over 50 injured.  Read more at the Daily Mail, Politistick and The Guardian.

In Zurich, Switzerland, three people have been shot and wounded near an Islamic center.  Read more at CBS News, ABC News and BBC News.

UPDATE:  The Daily Mail and The Guardian now indicate that 12 people have been killed in the Berlin attack, as does the Evening Standard.

Today's Date In History: House Impeaches President Clinton

Today, the Electoral College votes to officially elect the president.  It is also the anniversary of one of the most momentous votes in recent history.  On December 19, 1998, the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Bill Clinton.

During the two or three months leading up to this vote, I would occasionally put on C-SPAN and watch the proceedings.  On 12/19, which was a Saturday, I watched C-SPAN for an hour or so in the morning, and then went out for a hike that afternoon.  I returned to find out that the vote had been cast and the president impeached.  My reaction was something to the effect of, "They did it.  They actually grew a pair and did it."

On this year's 12/19, if all goes like it's supposed to, another vote will take place, against another Clinton.  But instead of removing her from the White House, it will prevent her from returning to the place where she once was First Lady.

The impeachment of President Bill Clinton is discussed at History(dot)com and The History Place.

An article recalling the impeachment appeared in 2007 in Politico.

Contemporary news stories have been preserved, shall we say, at CNN and The New York Times.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Zsa Zsa Gabor 1917?-2016

Zsa Zsa Gabor, the Hungarian-born actress known for her many marriages and for calling everyone "dahlink", died of heart failure today in Los Angeles.  She was, according to most sources, 99 years old.  (The question mark in this post's title is thus intentional.)

Sári Gábor was born in 1917, 1918 or 1919 in Budapest, Austria-Hungary, to Vilmos and Jolie Gábor.  She was crowned Miss Hungary in 1936.  During the 1940's, she immigrated to the United States, where she was joined by her older sister Magda, her younger sister Eva (of Green Acres fame), and their mother.  Gabor appeared in films and TV shows, starting in 1952 and most recently in 1996.  She had eight or nine husbands, depending on whether you include a marriage that was annulled after one day.  With her second husband Conrad Hilton, she had her only child Constance Francesca Hilton, who died of a stroke in 2015.  In 1989, Gabor slapped a police officer who had stopped her for a traffic violation, for which she spent three days in jail.  Gabor is survived by her last husband, Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt.

Read more at The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Us Weekly, the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times.

Trump Piñata Gets Lynched

In Portland, Oregon, a holiday party included a salute, so to speak, to our next president.  From Willamette Week:
A Portland woman quit her job after attending a company holiday party where she says employees lynched a Trump piñata.
Sarah Mykkanen's quit over a holiday party for Roscoe's, Stein Haus, and Miyamoto Sushi, three Montavilla spots with overlapping ownership.
In an essay she sent to WW, she explains that the party was a "usual holiday party" where it was "kind of awkward to see everyone outside of work," until employees began lynching and striking an effigy of Donald Trump.  [italics in original]
Striking a piñata, to break it open and allow goodies to fall out, is an old Latin American custom (which originated in China, was imported into Europe, and later was brought to the Americas by the Spanish).  Lynching one, however, as far as I know, is not.  On the other hand, lynching an American president in effigy is nothing new.  Just ask George W. Bush and Barrack Obama.  But as for the Trump piñata, read the full story.

In France, No-Go Zones For Women?

In France, the phenomenon of "no-go zones" appears to have taken a disturbing turn.  In Sevran, a suburb of Paris, women are allegedly effectively banned from entering certain bars and cafes.  From The Telegraph:
A quiet Paris bar where men play cards and bet on horses has become the unlikely focus of a national row over alleged no-go zones for women in predominantly Muslim areas.
The bar in the impoverished north-eastern suburb of Sevran is accused of being one of many in France where women are effectively banned.
The neighbourhood, near Charles de Gaulle airport, is notorious as one of France’s leading exporters of jihadists.  
Sevran might not be all that famous, but I'm somewhat acquainted with the place, because eight years ago, I rode a bicycle through it, along the Canal de l'Ourcq.  I remember stopping that morning, along with the tour guide, to get some coffee, but I don't remember precisely where the coffee shop was.  But whether you've been to Sevran or not, read the full story.

Si vous lisez français, lisez plus à L'Express et Agora Vox.

Friday, December 16, 2016

12-Year-Old Boy Allegedly Tried To Bomb His Town

The use of children as suicide bombers has given rise to the phrase "they blow up so fast."  While this might be said as a joke, the sad reality is that terrorists are often not above using children in their nefarious schemes.  Perhaps even worse is where children have been willing to commit acts of terrorism, as was attempted by a 12-year-old German child.  The boy, the son of immigrants from Iraq, allegedly made two attempts to leave bombs in a shopping area in Ludwigshafen, his native town, possibly acting under orders from ISIS.

Read more at Deutsche Welle, The Local DE, EuroNews, Reuters and The Telegraph.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

A Few Stories

Here are a few things in the news:

Mr. Bill's lawyers "blast" his accusers.  (No, this isn't about Hillary's worse half.)

Just another rally in Londonistan.

Interest rates go up - in Mexico.

A female would-be suicide bomber gets interviewed.

A female Muslim, despite warnings from clerics, gets elected mayor.

It looks like my alma mater might be tangentially involved in Wakeyleaks.

Donald Trump appears to have found his press secretary.

Trump also appears to have found a Monica - but she won't be an intern.

The "third gender" movement is "exploding" in the U.S.

And last but not least, Taiwan publicly destroys a smuggled car.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Origin Of The Hajj

In this video posted by YouTube user Ann Mary, David Wood discusses the origin of the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca that Muslims are obligated to make, if they are able, once during their lives.  He also points out some elements of Islamic belief that have origins outside of Islam.

You can also watch the video on YouTube.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Illegal Alien Who Wanted To Shoot Trump Gets Jail Time

Michael Sandford, the 20-year-old British man who tried to steal a policeman's gun in an alleged attempt to shoot then-candidate Donald Trump at a rally in Las Vegas last June, has been sentenced to a year and a day in prison.  Sandford was convicted of being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm and disrupting an official function.  He had already overstayed his visa before his actions at Trump's rally.  He will get credit for time already served.  He also faces three years of supervised release after leaving prison, but is likely to be deported.

Read more at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, The Telegraph, The Guardian, BBC News and the Sun Herald.

Corporate CEO Faces Huge Pay Cut

President-elect Donald Trump has revealed his nominee for Secretary of State.  He has chosen Rex Tillerson, who is currently the CEO of ExxonMobil.  I don't know how much money Tillerson makes in his current position, but it's probably quite a bit more than the $205,700 he would earn as a member of the Cabinet.

Read more at CNN, USA Today, Yahoo News and The New York Times.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Trump Wins Wisconsin - Again

President-elect Donald Trump will remain the president-elect as far as Wisconsin is concerned.  The recount in the state has been completed, with Trump actually gaining a net 162 votes.  One source reports a gain of 131 votes.  Trump's margin of over 22,000 votes has thus been affirmed.

Read more at the Wisconsin State Journal, Breitbart and Fox News.  Breitbart cites the Associated Press as their source.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Coptic Worshipers Killed In Bomb Blast

This morning during Sunday worship, a bomb exploded in the St. Peter and St. Paul Church in Cairo, Egypt.  At least 25 people have reportedly been killed.  The church is adjacent to St. Mark's Cathedral, the seat of the Coptic pope.  The bomb is said to have contained 12 kilograms of TNT.  Whether the bomb had been thrown into the church or had been planted there earlier has not been determined.

Read more at BBC News, RTE, Sky News, Al Jazeera and CNN.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Greg Lake 1947-2016

The year 2016 continues to be sad for rock musicians and their fans.  (I learned about this news yesterday, but I did not want to make two obituary posts in one day.)  Singer-bassist-guitarist-songwriter-producer Greg Lake died in London yesterday at age 69 after a long battle with cancer.

Gregory Stuart Lake was born in Poole, in Dorset County, England.  His parents were Harry Lake, an engineer, and Pearl Lake, a housewife who played piano.  He was 12 years old when he first learned to play guitar.  After playing in various bands, he was invited by fellow Dorset native Robert Fripp to sing and play bass in the first lineup of King Crimson.  Lake appeared on their first two albums.  In 1970, he joined keyboardist Keith Emerson and drummer Carl Palmer to form Emerson, Lake & Palmer, which lasted until 1979.  An attempted reunion during the 1980's resulted in the formation of Emerson, Lake & Powell, in which Palmer was replaced by Cozy Powell on drums.  Lake started recording solo material in 1975.  He also briefly replaced John Wetton in Asia, where he was reunited with Palmer.  

Lake is survived by his wife Regina and their daughter Natasha.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

John Glenn 1921-2016

John Glenn, who became the first American to orbit the Earth, and who later served as a Senator from Ohio for four terms, has died at the age of 95, at the James Cancer Hospital at Ohio State University in Columbus.  His illness, which was not necessarily cancer, has not been disclosed.

John Herschel Glenn Jr. was born in Cambridge, Ohio to John H. Glenn Sr. and the former Teresa Sproat.  He studied engineering at Muskingum College and earned a pilot's licence, but left school to the enter the military.  He enlisted as a Navy aviation cadet, but later was given a chance to transfer to the Marine Corps.  During World War II, he flew 59 combat missions in the South Pacific and patrol missions over China.  He was a flight instructor at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas.  During the Korean War, Glenn flew 63 combat missions in a F9F Panther jet and 27 more in an F-86F Sabre, attracting so much flak that he acquired the nickname "magnet ass".  For a time, his wingman was baseball player Ted Williams.  After the war, he served as a test pilot, including as an armaments officer, where he tested airplanes' guns.

In 1959, Glenn was chosen by NASA to become one of the seven Mercury astronauts.  In 1962, he flew the Friendship 7 mission, on which he became the first American in Earth orbit.  He stayed with NASA until 1964.  He retired from the Marine Corps in 1965 and became an executive for Royal Crown Cola.

In 1974, Glenn was elected Senator, defeating Cleveland Mayor Ralph Perk (R).  He would serve four terms, ending in January 1999, but was caught up in the Keating Five scandal.  While still in the Senate, he returned to space at age 77, on the STS-95 mission aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery, which made him the oldest person to go into space.  (To recognize this, among his other accomplishments, this post gets the "badass" label.)

Glenn is survived by his wife Annie, whom he met when they were just toddlers, and who likewise attended Muskingum College.  They had two children.

Read more at The Columbus Dispatch, CNN, ABC News, Cincinnati(dot)com and Reuters.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A Solemn Anniversary, And Today's News

Today is the 75th anniversary of the "date which will live in infamy", when the Japanese navy attacked Pearl Harbor and Hickam Field in Hawaii.  Early this morning, a moment of silence was observed at Pearl Harbor.  About 4,000 people were expected to attend a commemoration ceremony.  Survivors of the attack attended the ceremony in Hawaii, or a reception in Los Angeles.  As some look back, the attack is said to have "shaped the modern world".
Here are some things going on today:

The Charleston church shooter starts to get his day in court.

When in Spain, beware the fake police.

Donald Trump finds his DHS secretary....

....And maybe his Secretary of State.

Leftists already have problems with another Trump nominee.

Time gives their Person Of The Year award to.......

Responsibility for the plane plane crash in Brazil, which killed 71 people, goes all the way to the top.

A founder of the "alt-right" movement speaks and gets protested.

A deadly earthquake strikes Indonesia.

Indonesians celebrating Christmas get shut down.

A British imam claims that Islam has been distorted.

As Steven Stills sang, "paranoia strikes deep".

The above-mentioned DHS isn't doing so well these days.

If you think Chicago is violent, five other Illinois cities are even worse.

Miami has been wracked by heroin overdosing.

And to finish, the weird ways we've been using Cheetos.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Things I Don't Believe #3

This post goes into the field of science, or possibly pseudo-science (which you might expect from someone who names himself after a creature whose existence is not universally accepted).  There are some interesting but strange ideas out there, some of which I've decided are a bit too strange.

I do not believe:

That there is a planet, often called Nibiru, which is headed for a close encounter with Earth.

This idea seems to be quite popular on YouTube, and is based on the work of Zechariah Sitchin, who in his book The Twelfth Planet, alleges that the solar system includes a planet with a highly elliptical orbit.  About every 3,600 years this planet, called Nibiru or Marduk, passes through the inner solar system.  According to various YouTube users, Nibiru will soon either collide with Earth or pass closely thereto, which either way will be catastrophic.  The trouble is, predictions of this planetary encounter have been going on for over a year, with the predicted times of Nibiru's arrival coming and going without it ever showing up.  Another problem is that the Nibiru theorists don't agree with each other as to the planet's characteristics and trajectory.  Some say that it's coming from the south, which is why nobody in the northern hemisphere can see it.  Others say that it's behind the sun, either directly or off to one side, and show pictures of the sun with a second smaller luminous sphere nearby.  I've also heard that Nibiru has an extremely dark surface that reflects almost no light from the sun, which is why it can't be seen.  Is this object very dark, or does it reflect so much sunlight that it looks like a second sun?  Both can't be true.  For those of you who believe in an imminent encounter with Nibiru, could you please decide what it is, where it is, and how it's moving?

One Two Three [Guitar Chords] Turn It Up

In a story I ran across yesterday, but which was published about two weeks ago, shoppers at a Brooklyn food store were triggered by, of all things, a song.  I know that some people can be oversensitive, but this was so strange that I wonder if a bit of NaCl might be in order.  As David Marcus, who had been shopping with his wife, writes in The Federalist:
After getting our Brazilian Arabica ground for drip (I know, I should really use a French Press), Libby and I walked towards the organic maple syrup. That’s when it started. I suppose there had been music playing in the store, but I hadn’t noticed until a familiar guitar lick pierced the air and a soft voice said, "Turn it up."

Monday, December 5, 2016

Castro's Last Ride Not Without Problems

In what the right side of the blogosphere might call a bit of irony, the funeral procession of Fidel Castro experienced some technical difficulties.  The reportedly Russian-made jeep that was pulling the wagon carrying the late tyrant's ashes broke down and had to be pushed toward his final resting place in St. Ifigenia Cemetery.

Read more at Fox News, Townhall and VOA.  The last link comes via Gateway Pundit.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

To Follow The Cat

As my British blogosphere friend Tim Burton again finds himself in trouble for (gasp!) offending a Muslim, he has decided to recount this strange episode by writing a playlet entitled Liberty and Justice meet Hubris and Nemesis.  In doing so, he has taken the nom de plume 'Follow the Cat'.  The character based on himself is Catstrangler101, which is also his Twitter handle, which means that you can indeed follow the cat.  (It should be noted that Tim has never actually strangled a cat, but has merely produced the sound effect of a cat being strangled when attempting to play the violin.  Fortunately, he has had more success with the guitar.)

Tim has posted the first act of his playlet at the Liberty GB website, and has invited the public join in.
The following playlet entitled "Liberty and Justice meet Hubris and Nemesis" is an imagined account of events surrounding the upcoming Crown Court trial of Liberty GB representative Tim Burton, accused of 'Religiously Aggravated Harassment' of one Fiyaz Mughal, professional Muslim and head of Tell Mama, an organisation of ill-repute.
To enter our competition, all you have to do is write your own alternative version of the ending, or of any act or scene in the play. Submit to Liberty GB at before Friday 23rd December. The lucky winner will earn an honourable mention on the Liberty GB website and an exclusive dual wine presentation box.
Taking up this challenge, I have written a scene for the playlet.  I don't think it's an alternative to any part thereof, but instead could be inserted into wherever Tim thinks it may be used.  This scene was written as a show of support from the North American part of the Anglosphere.  To read it, click on the "read more" link.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Brief Christmas Music Break

'Tis the season for caroling, but here are two songs that you might hear this month, which are not your standard Christmas carols.  The first one ultimately comes from the Dr. Seuss cartoon The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.  The YouTube user Biolleo recorded and posted this heavy metal version of Mr. Grinch.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday Links

As the first weekend of December comes around, here's some of what's going on out there:

From Zero Hedge, while the official unemployment rate has gone down, the number of people not in the work force has hit an all-time high, and on the first day of the recount in Wisconsin, Hillary Clinton (D-NY) gains one vote.

From The Big Story, Trump supporters strike back.

From RealClearPolitics, Donald Trump's campaign manager says that people in the Clinton camp haven't gotten to the acceptance stage.

From The Federalist, a report from a man who served under Trump's nominee for Secretary of Defense, retired General James Mattis.

From MSNBC, General Mattis has a "big legal obstacle" if he is to head the DOD.

From Yahoo News, the effort to name a street in Paris after Steve Jobs has hit some obstacles.

From the Daily Star, a gunman is at large in Paris after taking six hostages.

From FrontpageMag, why left-wing methods of fighting terrorism are unrealistic.

From National Review, beware the bear propaganda.

From WA Today, a Melbourne airport stops the construction of an Islamic school under a flight path leading to one of its runways.  (Since this source is Australian, I think that "WA" might stand for "Western Australia".)

From Watchdog(dot)org, Hampshire College has allowed its flag to return.  The Boston Globe has also covered this.

From Fox News, Israel gets their first whiskey distillery.

From the Belfast Telegraph, support grows for a moon village.

From the New York Post, a woman wants to be a mother, although she was born without a, well, just read the story.

From WQAD, be careful about downloading apps at a car lot.

From CNN, the CEO of the company building the Dakota Access Pipeline puts on a music festival in Cherokee, Texas.  (His last name might be ironic due to the name of that town.)

From Philly(dot)com, ends its probe of an alleged incident in which a student was knocked down by  men yelling "Trump!".

From The Detroit News, terror suspect Sebastian Gregorson gets hit with a new charge.

From The Times Of Israel, a stolen concentration camp gate is found in Norway.

From The New York Times, Gambia's president, in power for 22 years, loses his bid for re-election.

And from ESPN, Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown introduces his alter-ego.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Canadian Cops Unleash The Nickelback

The police in the small Canadian town of Kensington, Prince Edward Island have come up with a new way to make life even more unpleasant for anyone they arrest for drunk driving.  During your trip in the back seat of the police cruiser, if you are arrested on this specific charge, you will be subjected to music by Nickelback.  This might be called "cruel and unusual punishment", except for the fact that Canada, being separate from the United States, does not have the Eighth Amendment.  (It's possible that they have something analogous, but I'm not familiar with their constitution.)  On the other hand, any true fans of Nickelback who get to ride in a Kensington, PEI police car might find their experience temporarily enjoyable.  But in any event, if you've been enjoying Labatt Blue, Molson or Moosehead, take a good break or let someone else drive before you go running around the Maritime Provinces.

Read more at The Verge, CBC News, Quartz, Refinery29 and CNN.

Things I Don't Believe #2

This post will be devoted to a single topic, because of how much I had to write in order to explain what it is that I don't believe, and why I don't believe it.  The topic is the purported death of a certain musical celebrity, of which reports have been greatly exaggerated, as Mark Twain would say.

I do not believe that Paul McCartney was killed in a car accident in 1966, and replaced with a look-alike.

According to this conspiracy theory, the man currently known as Paul McCartney isn't really Paul McCartney.  This is because the original Paul McCartney, who played in a group called the Quarrymen, which later evolved into the Beatles, died in a car accident in late 1966.  The Beatles found a replacement in William Shears Campbell, a Scottish man who (depending on which version of the story you run across) had either won or come in second in a Paul McCartney look-alike contest.  Starting in 1967, the band started passing off Campbell as McCartney, perhaps with the help of some cosmetic surgery.  They also started to incorporate, into their songs and album cover artwork, clues to Paul's alleged death and replacement.  One early example of this would be the lyrics "the one and only Billy Shears" in the title song of their 1967 album Sargeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, allegedly giving a clue to Campbell's identity.  If this theory is true, it would mean that a man named Bill Campbell, after assuming McCartney's identity, married Linda Eastman and later Heather Mills, founded the band Wings, had a long solo career, was knighted, and is still around today.  Meanwhile, the "true" Paul McCartney has been pushing up daisies for fifty years (although no believer in all this, as far as I can tell, has ever tried to point out the location of his grave).

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The ACC Football Coach Of The Year Is....

....drum roll, please....

....Justin Fuente of Virginia Tech.

In just his first year as head coach of Virginia Tech's football team, Justin Fuente has been named Coach of the Year by the Atlantic Coast Conference.  The Hokies have finished the regular 12-game season at 9-3, the best since 2011, in the process winning the Coastal Division.  They will face Atlantic Division winner Clemson in the ACC Championship Game this coming Saturday.  Fuente had previous been the head coach at Memphis.

Read more at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, WDBJ, TechSideline and Hokiesports.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Man Attacks With Car And Knife On OSU Campus

This morning on the campus Ohio State University, a man ran into pedestrians with his car, and then got out and started stabbing people with a butcher knife, before being shot dead by a policeman.  Nine people were injured.  The attack was originally, but wrongly, reported as a shooting, but the only gunshots came from the cop.  The attacker was identified as Abdul Artan, an 18-year-old student of OSU, who was born in Somalia and who had also lived in Pakistan.

Read more at The Columbus Dispatch, NBC News, Cincinnati(dot)com, Reuters and AOL.

Some information on the suspect may be found at Inquistr (who say that Artan was 19) and Heavy.

UPDATE:  This is not the first attack on a college campus by a Muslim using a car as an assault weapon.  Another one happened ten years ago.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Fidel Castro 1926-2016

Fidel Castro, the communist dictator who ruled Cuba from 1959 to 2008, has died at age 90.  Due to his failing health, he had handed over much of his power to his brother Raúl in 2006 and then formally resigned the Cuban presidency two years later.  For much of his time in power, he and his country were in a state of conflict with the United States, with episodes ranging from the Cuban Missile Crisis, which also involved the Soviet Union, to the custody battle over Elián Gonzáles, a young boy who had survived a risky boat voyage to Florida.

Reactions to Castro's death range from tribute to celebration.  I'll provide just one example.  In his article at HotAir, Jazz Shaw points what he thinks "might be the ultimate irony".
In the end, Castro died on Black Friday, arguably the biggest celebration of capitalism on the entire calendar.
Read more at The New York Times, BBC News, Al Jazeera, ABC News and the Miami Herald.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Links For Black Friday

Besides the start of Christmas shopping, here's what else is going on:

In Chicago, Black Friday is for protesting.

The president-elect might be able to learn something from this guy.

One city in Italy keeps getting flooded - by tourists.

Another Italian city has an even worse problem.

I wish these leaders would show the same concern for the people who haven't left their countries.

It looks like this guy will get his day in court.

In their presidential primary, one French candidate says non to multiculturalism.

It looks like President Obama could be returning to the community organizing business.

Missing Friday prayers can cause Muslims to miss quite a bit of time.

Dutch police foil a plot to attack synagogue.

Over 70 pilgrims are killed by a truck bomb in Iraq.  (via here)

In Sweden, migrants burn down art work.

A Canadian imam wants one entire country to be burned down.

The self-destruction of Europe.

Here's an example of what happens when previously deported illegal aliens return.

A Chicago neighborhood puts up the largest lit Santa Claus in the United States.

A Canadian company shoots videos of the earth from space.

And to finish, Florence Henderson, known for her role as Carol Brady of The Brady Bunch, passes away at age 82.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Obama's Last Turkey Pardon

Today, President Obama performed his eighth and final turkey pardon, which could be called a double feature.  The two turkeys, Tater and Tot, were raised and named in Iowa, and each weigh about 40 pounds.  Normally I don't take note of this annual event, but this year, the two birds will be sent to my alma mater, whose Hokiebird mascot has been described as a highly evolved turkey.  They will live out their days at Virginia Tech's "Gobbler's Nest".

The ceremony under which presidents pardon turkeys at Thanksgiving goes back, at least formally, to the first President Bush, but has some antecedents going back to President Lincoln, who spared his son's turkey from being eaten at Christmas.

Read more at NBC News, ABC News, CNN and WTOP.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Two Interesting Articles

Earlier today, I read two articles that I thought were worth passing on.  The first comes via HotAir from Politico, and asserts that the true creators of Trump were the left.  A brief quote:
The general attitude of the left was: Disagree with us? You’re probably racist, xenophobic, sexist, bigoted or all of the above. Indeed, for many liberal Americans, these prejudices have come to be seen as inseparable from identity of the Republican Party itself.  [emphasis in original]
Read the first article.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Things I Don't Believe #1

There are many popular notions out there, some of them called "conspiracy theories", that many people have come to believe, but which I have decided not to believe.  I was hoping to write an essay on these, and make it into a single post, but I seem to have come up with so many things to write about, and so much to write about some of them, that it would be better to spread these things out.  Let me start with some things related to the man who will soon leave our country's highest office.

I do not believe:

That Barack Obama is a Muslim.
As I pointed out in one of my "Random Musings" posts, our soon-to-be-former president drinks beer, eats pork, and has kept at least one dog as a pet, all three of which are not normally permitted under Islam.  This would mean either that he is not Muslim, or that he has somehow carried out a very elaborate deception on behalf of Islam.  Applying Occam's Razor, I would be more likely to believe the former.  While Obama has called himself a Christian, his particular brand thereof appears to be the Black Liberation Theology preached by Pastor Jeremiah Wright.  It is obvious that Obama has a great respect for Islam, perhaps because he sees it as an oppressed culture or a victim of colonialism, but this is distinct from being an adherent of that religion.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Just A Few Things

Just a few things that I've run across, or which have been brought to my attention:

Plans appear already to be in the works for Donald Trump to have dinner with Queen Elizabeth II.

The French "far right" are doing well in the polls.

Another thing I don't remember from the 2012 election is how a fashion designer refused to make dresses for Michelle Obama.

A DOJ attorney who accused current AG-designate Jeff Sessions of racial remarks has had his own legal problems.

To our friends on the left, please practice what you preach.

And in an item brought to my attention by my Canadian friend Kel of Red Fox Blogger, when in Parliament, discussing how your peers regard your province, please do not refer to the breaking of wind.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Remember When?

Remember how badly some people in the Tea Party movement, other Romney supporters, and even children, reacted to the reelection of President Obama four years ago?  For example:

Remember when Tea Partiers assaulted a man they thought had voted for Obama and tried to steal his car?

Remember when pro-Romney high school students in Maryland beat up a fellow student who wore a pro-Obama hat?

Remember how a pro-Romney high school student in Florida punched a classmate for holding up a pro-Obama sign?

Remember when pro-Romney students beat up an 11-year-old boy for voting for Obama in a mock election?

Remember when a Tea Partier even had the audacity to carry a sign that said "Rape Michelle"?

And finally, do you remember the teenagers who acted out a mock assassination of Obama?

Do you remember any of that?  Let's just say....


Disclaimer:  Everyone please note that I'm referring to a hypothetical mock assassination, not a real one.  The actual mock assassination was part of a skit, the "victim" not being the current president.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Various And Sundry

Some various and sundry (or sun-dried) things going on out there:

From the Journal Gazette & Times-Courier, six things in the news.

From National Review, if you want know who "normalized" Donald Trump, look left.

From AOL News, the most powerful female on Trump's team is not who you'd think.

From Politico, Trump's designee for Attorney General is already catching flak.

From USA Today, "Who is Michael Flynn" whom Trump has tapped for National Security Adviser?

From the New York Post, Trump has some other unfinished business to take care of.

From Twitchy, the irony of Trump's predecessor's warning about "fake news".

From The Daily Caller, some of the under-reported attacks on Trump supporters.

From CNN, here's someone who didn't vote, but if he had, would have voted for Trump.

From The Jerusalem Post, Benjamin Netanyahu has some advice for Trump.

From FrontpageMag, what not to do if you want whites to vote for you.

From Gatestone Institute, don't call these guys what they are.

From Reuters, 32 well-off Sri Lankans join ISIS.  (So much for terrorism being driven by economic concerns and poverty.)

From the Daily Mail, Britain's first Muslim female Lord Mayor defends herself in court.

From Warrior, some badassery from the U.S. and U.K. military.

From TechCrunch, can the tech industry solve political problems?

From Fox News, a judge is indicted for giving a gun to a felon.

And from Truth Revolt, a Twitter user exposes their double standard.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Music Break

Now that the election is over a week in the past, I can turn my attention back to music for a bit.  The first number, Crossfire, comes from In Step, the fourth and last album by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble.  It was written by his band-mates Tommy Shannon (bass), Chris Layton (drums) and Reese Wynans (keyboards), along with Bill Carter and Ruth Ellsworth.  The track includes Joe Sublett on sax and Darrell Leonard on trumpet, the two collectively known as the Texicali Horns.  Sadly, after releasing Family Style with his brother Jimmy, Vaughan would die in a helicopter crash after performing at a show in Wisconsin in 1990.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A New Senator John Kennedy (R-LA)?

This coming January, there might be a new Senator named John Kennedy, who is, even with that name, a Republican.  But first, he must win the runoff election in Louisiana.

Read more at Roll Call, Politico, The Times-Picayune and The Hill.

Monday, November 14, 2016

What I'd Like To See From President Trump

You could say that I've waited four years to write this post.  Back in 2012, I was hoping to congratulate Mitt Romney on being elected president, and then set out what I'd like to see from him when he gets into office.  Those hopes, as we all remember, were dashed by the reelection of Barack Obama.  As a result, my experience in writing this type of post consists only of a post which I wrote in 2010 congratulating the GOP for retaking the House of Representatives, when I was a contributor to AndRightlySo.  So then, here are my suggestions for President-elect Donald Trump:

First of all, as Han Solo once said to Luke Skywalker, "Don't get cocky."  I realize that asking any politician, even one whose experience is mostly outside of politics, to reign in his arrogance is a tall order, but it must be done.  You will soon be the most powerful man in the world (which already scares the [bleep] out of the left), and will have responsibilities more grievous than most people would ever want.  If memory serves me correctly, George Bush the Elder once said that there really is nothing that truly prepares you for the presidency.  For that reason alone, a little bit of humility will go a long way.

Pit Bull Elected Mayor

For the fourth time in its history, the small town of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky has elected a dog to be their mayor.  A pit bull named Brynneth Pawltro, or Brynn for short, beat out other dogs, a chicken, a cat, a donkey (a Democrat, maybe?), and a Godzilla figurine.  The previous mayor, a border collie named Lucy Lou who had been in office for eight years, stepped down with all four legs after the election was called.

Read more at The Telegraph, WLWT and The Dodo.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Anti-Trump Prognosticators Fail Miserably

YouTube user Marc Dice has posted a video compilation of politicians and media figures saying either that Donald Trump will not be president, or that he will not be the GOP nominee.  The political people come from both major parties, and include Trump's respective immediate predecessors as president and as GOP nominee.  At the start, however, we get to watch one person who got it right.

The direct link is here.  For those of you on record as predicting that Trump would never be elected president, enjoy eating your crow.

Saturday Links

Here are things going on, as the weekend starts to unfold:

The speculation can now begin.  What kind of administration will President Trump have?

The crybabies are still crying.

An open letter to said crybabies.

I'd call this a good piece of advice to said crybabies.

Our friends to the north can breathe a small sign of relief.
UPDATE:  So can some of our amigos across the Atlantic.

Should we cry this guy a river, or just get out the very small violin?

A college course on Hillary Clinton's life.

Was a hiker's encounter with Clinton staged?

Lego and the Daily Mail will part ways.

Some information on the migration into Europe.

Some of those migrants are drug dealers.

France pays tribute to the victims of the terror attack a year ago.

A space object's orbit might have been affected by Planet Nine.

And to finish with some historical humor, a special snowflake from the past is very upset that Trump won.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Trump's Letter From Nixon

Several media outlets have recently reported about a letter Donald Trump received in 1987 from former President Richard Nixon.  The letter was posted by the National Archives Foundation and mentioned by author Michael D'Antonio in his new biography of the president-elect, entitled Never Enough.

In late December of 1987, former First Lady Pat Nixon was watching Phil Donahue's TV show, on which Trump was a guest, and apparently was rather impressed with the real estate developer.   Mrs. Nixon thought that Trump could be successful in politics, which sentiments Mr. Nixon conveyed to Trump in the letter.  The body of the letter reads:
I did not see the program, but Mrs. Nixon told me you were great on the Donahue show.
As you can imagine, she is an expert on politics and she predicts that whenever you decide to run for office you will be a winner!  [underline in original]
To be sure, the Nixons did not mention any specific public office, much less the presidency.  While this correspondence is not quite, in my opinion, as interesting as the in-person handshake between President John F. Kennedy and a boy from Arkansas named Bill Clinton, it's certainly worth taking note of the connection between the current president-elect and one of his predecessors.

Read more at The Vindicated (part of New York Mag), AOL News, The New York Times and WPVI-TV.

UPDATE:  Here's another blast from the past, of the comical variety.

Some Takeaways From Trump's Victory

Here are some facts and consequences arising from Donald Trump's victory in this year's election:

As I've previously mentioned, Trump is the oldest man ever to be elected president, and this coming January, will be the oldest man to be sworn into the office.  He is also the first twice-divorced person to be elected president.  Due to his vast wealth, if he decides to accept his presidential salary, he will probably still be taking a very large pay cut (or as he would put it, a yuuuuge pay cut).

Trump will not be the only president to have not previously held any other type of civilian government office such as senator (like Obama and Kennedy) or governor (like Clinton and Bush the Younger).  However, most of the others with this distinction, as far as I know, had been military generals (like Eisenhower and Grant) before becoming president.  Thus, Trump will be one of the few presidents, if not the only one, to have no earlier service in any other government office, either civilian or military.

Mrs. Trump, the former Melania Knauss, will become the first First Lady to be born in mainland Europe, specifically Slovenia, and the second born outside the United States (or the antecedent British colonies), after Louisa Adams, who was born in London.   While her attractiveness is obvious, she also has enough smarts to speak five languages.  She will also be the first Slav that I know of to become FLOTUS, something that a part-Slovak part-Pole like myself can be proud of.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Canadian Immigration Site Crashes

It looks like all that talk about moving to Canada was more serious than I thought.  During yesterday's American election, Canada's immigration website crashed.

I haven't run across anything similar with America's other large neighbor, Mexico.  While some people apparently have a problem with president-elect Trump wanting to build a wall on our border with Mexico, as if desiring a secure border is xenophobic, their sympathy with Mexico seems only to be directed toward people trying to leave that country while illegally crossing into the United States.  Making the trip in the opposite direction, on the other hand, doesn't seem to be in their plans.