Carnival of the Vanities #134 years in the making... or felt like it
Here's Carnival of the Vanities #134. My sack of goodies is positively groaning (regular readers will know that's often the case at Zen Manors).
Okay, I did think about a clever format. Really. And what I came up with was exactly the same post I do whenever I round up sites I've visited: a rambling discourse that is much more enjoyable for me than anyone fool enough to read the whole thing. And no pictures. It's so backward round here, it's like mediaeval times. But with computers. There's no clever arrangement of the posts, either. Not even section headings. They're in the order of receipt.
If you can't say Father Luke is your friend, you're missing a blessing. He's my hip priest kamerad, a sobered-up Bukowski with a heart. Hi, It's Miguel is a beautifully judged vignette. Send him comments that say "Write something longer, Father, so we can enjoy you more".
Modern forms of entertainment have not yet reached Durham NC, so they make their own. melinama at Pratie Place had to make her own cartoons as a kid, using a mutoscope, they were that poor. If you think a mutoscope sounds like something Captain Kirk would use to find aliens with, you need to check out her pics.
Often when a person is arrested for a particularly heinous crime, the media interviews his or her neighbours. "He was so quiet. You never would have thought." Why the media bothers is beyond me; this approach never actually gives an insight into what it is like to have the horrible live among us, to be touched by them, to love them, to know them as something other than the crime they go on to commit. But this stunning piece does and richly so: veined with big themes: murder, betrayal, hatred and love. Chris at Creek Running North shines a light into a dark place and anyone who reads this is bettered for it.
Better Living: Thoughts from Mark Daniels does what it says on the tin. Mark thinks you will have a better life if you accept that two thousand years ago a man was hideously tortured because the omipotent, omniscient creator doesn't like that you covet your neighbour's ass. Mike expresses distaste for the pious hypocrites who use religion as a means to an end – going to church to gain the benefits rather than because they truly believe in the tenets of the religion. This is very apt in times when people use God's name to justify the ungodly ends they are chasing – the vicious demagogues currently conning our American friends have never understood that the proscription on taking God's name in vain does not just mean that one shouldn't swear oaths but that one should not use him as a tool. God would not, for instance, want a person to be fought over for 15 years when their life had ended. He is not a life fetishist, as the Bushistas like to make out. He is fond of death. Why else make your life last only three score years and ten and your death the rest of time?
Adam Gurri at Sophistpundit thinks that some commentators are too dismissive of other points of view. As I've said elsewhere, this is a peculiarly American point of view: that everyone should be listened too because it's fair. I share his belief that dogmatism is a bad thing and, of course, I believe that without doubt, learning is impossible. But some people are just plain wrong. "Just plain wrong" means that their beliefs are *so far* from mine that I can't reconcile them; their axioms are different from mine and sufficiently so that I cannot give their views credence. There won't ever be a middle ground between their and my views because the disagreement is too basic. I feel that way about many on the right in the US (which, because I'm a European, is the far right for me -- Americans forget that their political spectrum is considerably rightshifted from ours). They have an axiomatic belief, for instance, that the individual is what matters. I believe that individuals are nothing without their families, their societies, their people. It informs everything I believe in every area of politics, and where, say, Ann Coulter differs from that, I cannot agree with her without changing the very axioms of my belief. And why should I? She simply does not make appeal to a thinking person. She never has a persuasive argument. Demagogues rarely do because they are not seeking to convince the thinking, who are in any case vastly outnumbered by the sheeple.
Barry Welford at BPWrap - A Different Point Of View presents The Long Tail Principle. Well, that's what he says but he didn't say what the principle actually was or discuss it (he's a businessman so I was guessing it would be something along the lines of "make shitloads of money by selling people something they don't need but can be conned into wanting and fuck the consequences"). He did point to Wikipedia's page on the long tail though. It's very interesting. The principle is that if you add together the sales of not very popular things they actually outweigh the sales of very popular things, even though the latter individually sell a great deal. So if you don't have to stock the unpopular things, you can make a great deal of money out of them. More excitingly, as Wikipedia points out, this implies that small businesses that fill niches can in time overcome the big-box businesses because even though each is small they can gain a greater market share than the big boys (work out for yourself why).
Steve Pavlina at Steve Pavlina's Blog discusses levels of consciousness. No, he doesn't mean Saturday night at my house. He means different levels of consciousness that a person can attain. I don't like this simplistic view of how we are, because let's face it, you can run through several of these levels in the course of an evening with JD or a couple of bottles of cab sav (or even an evening of contemplation if that's what you like to do – I have my doubts you'll get beyond "stupor" if you just like to watch the telly though). Still, I'm not knocking it. Whatever gets you where you want to go. Steve is at least trying to make something of himself.
Brat at Six Ways to Say Goodbye always has her own way of getting the point across. Here's Brat on bird flu. Admit it, you laughed.
Keith at Sortapundit is mad and he's not going to take it any more. He asks whether a cameraman who films the insurgents in Iraq isn't as bad as the insurgents themselves. Well no, Keith, your point is entirely bogus. Sorry to have to say it. Here's why. Our side has journos "embedded". They ride with the marines, they go on patrol, blah blah. So basically you're saying that the goose's sauce is no good for the gander. Okay, yes, the marines are on "our" side. But news is supposed not to be partial, right? The Bushistas have been able to kill thousands of thirdworlders largely because the press has not shown the truth. They retain support because the news has been onesided. Keith thinks it will save lives to show only one side of the story. Keith's wrong. On a broader note, our "free" press is not free if it is required to restrain itself. Is "victory" in Iraq worth surrendering our freedoms for? (Irony meter on, Keith.)
Not satisfied with being shot when they venture overseas, Americans like to shoot each other. Zendo Deb at TFS Magnum sure likes the notion. She is angry that those filthy liberals think the law is something to be respected. Apparently, this old geezer was arrested for concealing a weapon, which he used to shoot and kill an assailant. Deb asks what the old man should have done. Well, Deb, he should have just given the kids his money and rung the coppers. So he loses his wallet. Never mind. Get the criminal compensation board to pay him back what he lost. Don't have one? You would if you were a liberal. Human lives will never be worth as little as the contents of your wallet, Deb, not in any place Dr Zen has even the smallest say. I don't care who does the shooting, you or the mugger. The old guy should get life for murder, pure and simple, and idiots like you should cool your boots and learn what really has value in this life.
Dymphna at ShrinkWrapped talks about family values. His approach is interesting: he suggests that to become good parents we should use the image of a perfect family as a template for our parenting. Personally, I think this is the fast lane to disaster. Dymphna thinks most "good enough" parents are close enough to the model to keep dissonance to a minimum, but I think most parents are just not good enough, and setting an "ideal" makes the distance seem ever greater between their poor best and what they really ought to be doing. The notion that there are any such thing as an "ideal" family and "ideal" values to match is the root of a lot of pain in this world and a motor for the worst kind of demagoguery, as regressive hypocrites hold others up to standards they have no intentions themselves of meeting. But hey, he's got the real doctorate, so give him a read and see what you think.
Gaijin Biker at Riding Sun didn't like the Pulitzer-winning photographs. He is rather unhappy that there are no photos of heroic Americans. He asks whether the famous picture of the marines' raising the flag on Iwo Jima would win today. Surprisingly, I find I sympathise with Gaijin Biker. The invasion of Iraq was a Bad Thing. Those in power lied to us and continue to lie. But does that mean we should lie back? I have no sympathy for soldiers. I think you need to be a special kind of arsehole to join the army – whose purpose is to kill and maim other people, let's not forget – and I'm not afraid to say so (not for me the ridiculous kneejerk promilitarism that all Americans must show unless they want to be accused of being a "traitor"). But they have had triumphs. They have been brave. They have been cheered as well as abused. Why honour those who hate them? They are also killers, many of them. As with so many things in this life, it is not black and white and neither should be our depiction of it.
Mark A. Rayner at the Skwib assures me he's not a Yank. Apparently, he's a Canadian. Dude, colour me ignorant, but I've always thought that was just a moose or two away from Yank. You all sound the same (except for that cute "aboat" thing you do) and you all think beer should look and taste like piss mixed with lemonade. Only kidding! And so is Mark, with the tale of Leonard's toenails. As a man with toenails that could scare children myself, I very much enjoyed this piece of whimsy.
Tom at Anatomy of Melancholy is my idea of a very good writer, able to convey a depth of thought many would struggle to think, let alone write. His thoughts on a blind cat in his Greek garden make this post a personal favourite. Sorry, gushing a bit, but I'm a fan of reflective, observational bloggetry and this is it at its best.
Dying is much in the news recently. Everyone's had their rant about it. Most of us have very strong feelings: mine are in part fuelled by watching a beloved grandfather die in desperation from lung cancer. I would have dearly wished to give him his desire to die easy. His life was over. No amount of prating about the sanctity of life would bring him back. Anthony at Rant of the Loon has different views to me on many things, and on this thing in particular, but this simple, gentle post struck a chord with me. It's not brand new but I think it should be read. And do yourself a favour and read the one previous too (because Looney doesn't use page to a post you can see it underneath this one). Looney captures the simplicity of love and the complexity of grief.
Tom the Pooklekufr at hamstermotor thinks fuck the poor. Tom is not poor. If he was, or felt himself in danger of becoming poor, he'd be all for a government that protected the poor as well as the rich. As is so often the case, Tom's "fisking" of progressive ideas is simplistic. Tom says of Roosevelt: 'His concept of rights was one of "positive rights," or the idea that my right to property must be "gained" at the expense of your own property. In the 19th century, you'd be gutted like a catfish for saying something that evil.' Get the fishknife out, Tom, because that is exactly right. Five-sixths of the world is scrabbling in the dirt so that you have the property you are so keen on having protected. It's not quite a zero-sum game but if we had had a level playing field, you guys would be fucked. Keeping it not level is what your protecting your rights amounts to. Anyway, why waste time on this nonsense? If you're a regressive rightist, you'll agree with every word. If you are a humanist or, erm, think, you'll recognise it straight off the bat as the same old antihuman bollocks.
Wayne Hurlbert at Blog Business World is taking on Google's patent application. It's weighty stuff but Wayne has a reputation among the business blognoscenti, I believe, for crisp writing about the rather dull subject of search engine optimisation (hey, I'm number one on the big G for "yeah whatever", number two without the quotes, you can't teach me nuffink), and on this evidence, it's deserved. He's going to be going into detail in future posts (which is cunning, because it should snare readers!) and that'll be worth keeping up with.
Andy at The Charlotte Capitalist is not a fan of Rick Warren. He "fisks" The purpose-driven life in eight (fairly short) parts. I've never been a great fan of "fisking" because I'm a great fan of Robert Fisk, whose intellect and acuity dwarf those of most, if not all, of his detractors. And I wasn't totally convinced that Warren was any more than grazed by Andy's onslaught. You need to punch him with reasoning, Andy, not slap him like a girl. Next time get the robot chick to do it.
Buckley F Williams at The Nose on Your Face is much amused by the appointment by the UN of Sandy Berger as an adviser. I'd have been a lot more amused if Buckley hadn't used a racist stereotype to rip the piss out of Kofi Annan, a man of enormous dignitas and grace.
Ashish has a niti (for those who lack Sanskrit, a vision, strategy) that he is revealing to the world in a series of blogposts. He submitted two of them: one that shows that anarcho-capitalism is unsustainable and one about India as a superpower. Anish, Hobbes answered your first question 300 or so years ago with much the same conclusion you come to. Read Leviathan. As for your second post, I think you need to take care not to read too much into blather about "strategic partnership". India is likely to rise in power alongside China, and possibly Russia. All three will contest dwindling oil resources with the US and will likely joust for power in several theatres. Pakistan is an irrelevance in this context, except as a counterweight to India's aspirations. India will make about as good a "partner" for the US as Russia did in the last century. However, its rise is some way off while China's is already happening, so the neocons are talking India up. Expect Pakistan to become a focus of attention for the US as time goes on though.
Alex Withrow uses About Damn Time to rant about whatever he feels like. He's been doing a lot of ranting recently. Grrr, haircare products, hooray, a pig he dissected in biology class, which, it seems, had a colourful history. He also sent me a post about John Titor but the link was fucked. Pity, it's a fantastic story. Check out the Titor site instead.
Jay at The Zero Boss is best known for hosting the Blogging for Books competition (if you are in the blogboondocks and don't know what that is, check his site out and find out, you'll like it). He also writes very funny posts, including this one, to which I can only say CRACK THE BOX, JAY!
The Glittering Eye turns his gaze on to China's environment, which is in a poor state and poses a threat to the world. It's a good post, which is distinguished by the inanity of its commenters: one thinks democracy is the answer – riiiight! because only commies pollute. Another slags off Kyoto (yes, Kyoto is not perfect but it's symbolic – it says we will try to do something – it's step one, not the end of the road). Another thinks China is "ripe for a break-up" (but what into exactly? And how do you propose to break it up?). Another thinks communists can't succeed at capitalism (he's never heard of Mr Putin, clearly).
Asbestos Dust at the imaginatively named Asbestos Dust doesn't mince his words. No, he grinds them. He pastes them. He slams them, he dunks them. He gives them the battering of their life. He makes them beg for mercy. Dust is a real man. He writes real man's posts. This one is about shopping trolleys. But it's not some pussy nonsense about how the wheels go wonky. Oh no!
Jerry Hall once said a woman should be a goddess in the kitchen and a whore in the bedroom, or something similar, and who am I to argue? I don't know whether PJ at Bouquet Garni can do whore (although she is hot enough to burn the unwary) but she sure is a goddess in the kitchen, as she proves with... well, not this disaster. Not the best advertisement for her cookbook, so if you like to eat, allow me to recommend it to you in the strongest terms.
Mustang 23 is an officer and a gentleman. He's spending his days ridding the world of Iraqi citizens. When he's not doing that, he's amusing us by poking fun at Southerners. Ah me, if only the world could be changed by gentle humour...
Superhawk at Right Wing Nut House is, you guessed it, a rightwing nut. He wrote something about Canadian political corruption – a subject so interesting that it had me making shadow puppets rather than read it. I now know that you can make a moose if you use both hands.
Nick Schweitzer at the The World According to Nick writes about how the US government's social security proposals are all about choice. When I tell you that Nick doesn't know that investing in the government is just as much investing in the "economy" as investing in Micro$oft or GM, you'll understand that his argument is not too sophisticated. Who would I rather trust with my investments? The government or John Q. Fillmepockets, a dealer who would flog you shares in dogshit if he thought he could con you into buying it? Yes, Nick, it's all about choice, and a great one it is too.
Watcher of Weasels watches weasels. No, not the furry, sharptoothed rodent-type things. Judging by this post on the differences between libertarians and conservatives, what he watches is rightwing politics. No shortage of weasels there.
This Blog is Full of Crap is a title that shows refreshing honesty. I won't link the post: just make up your own racist shit that shows absolutely no imagination.
John Beck at INCITE is obsessed with Kofi Annan. He is desperate for Annan to resign. Yes, because of the oil-for-food thing. (*kof* Don't mention the war. You know, the illegal invasion of Iraq that Annan condemned and the UN refused to support, and, as a consequence, your nation has tried furiously to undermine both ever since.) No, John doesn't think that the corruption in Iraq is reason for Bush to resign (even though it went on "under his nose"). Yes, John thinks that it's funny to call other countries' leaders "kleptocrats" but not his own, even though his best mate ran Enron, his VP's company has made millions out of "rebuilding" Iraq and "swindling" the army. *sigh* Well, it was this or a long, equally ill-informed screed about Terri Schiavo, apparently, so I suppose I should be thankful.
Thank the lord for La Shawn. I've blogged about La Shawn before actually (although I can't remember the post name or when, so I can't link to it, sorry), and I like her. Why am I thanking the lord? Because she is not whinging about the UN or libertarians or nasty Europeans who don't like regressive right bastids. No, none of that, she's whinging about other bloggers. I have to say though, La Shawn, that I'm not really in agreement over trackbacks. You might write on the same topic but not reference the other post so a link to it is not really needed. But I suppose it doesn't hurt to put "La Shawn also wrote about this" if you're tracking back. Otherwise, La Shawn is, as ever, smack on the money.
Mark Olson at Pseudo-Polymath has had an expensive education and is not afraid to get it out in public. He compares the Delian League with modern-day geopolitics. Not sure what today's Delian League is (clearly America has to be Athens). I'm not sure that if you were to conquer the world that would end fighting though, unless your superstate were prepared to be truly repressive and go to any lengths to maintain its monopoly on force (lengths that would mean surveilling every part of the earth, spending a huge amount of money on your secret police – not the cosy peacekeeping force Mark imagines, I'm afraid, and having the willingness to destroy opponents before they were able even to look like competitors).
Rob Bernard has a great love of baseball, the game Americans like because they can't understand cricket. Me, I can explain what a googly is and one day will at great length in a post, so I have little interest in juiced-up rounders. Still, for those who do, Rob's post about opening day will doubtless thrill.
Brian at Musings from Brian J. Noggle has spotted a cunning plan on the part of a local council. Before anyone's had the idea of putting up windfarms in their county, they've prepared the tax on them. That's the spirit, boys, encourage innovation!
Beatrix Kiddo at Multiple Mentality joins the parade of intolerance towards naughty pharmacists who won't dispense birth control pills. Round here, if someone won't fill your script, you take it to a different chemist. They prefer laws about this kind of thing in the States though.
Carpe Bonum says he wants an argument not abuse. He scoffs at the gays who have slammed somebody called Feinstein for saying that progress in gay marriage has been too fast. You want an argument against that? Are you a fucking dimwit, dude? Several countries have legislation giving equal rights to gays, some even allowing marriage, and you dinosaurs are debating whether to constitute your nation on the basis of denying them, and you think that's going too fast! The reason you get abuse and not an argument is that your POV just leaves nonAmericans (and many Americans too, of course) dumbfounded. Here's why ultimately: it's absolutely no concern of yours or anyone else's whether your nextdoor neighbours are married, regardless of their gender or sexuality.
John Bambenek likes to rave about things such as filibusters. John thinks the Democrats should be made to do one for the 24 hours. Dude, they'll just wind up Ted Kennedy and let him go.
Jon Hyman at Dodgeblogium blogs about an attack on an MP who was commemorating a V2 raid that killed many Jewish Eastenders. Jon decides the best way to fight antiSemitism is with, erm, antiSemitism. So long as you are having a go at the right Semites, it's okay, apparently. Ho hum.
I'm a regular reader of Pharyngula and for me, it's up there as one of the great blogs. PZ Myers is a voice of reason in a world occasionally mad, a staunch defender of science and what it means to us. But this essay about the depth of our shared human experience is something else. Bloggetry of a level far beyond the mundane stuff that fills this carnival. A post to be proud of. A piece of compelling beauty. Read it! If this doesn't get the hairs on the back of your neck erect, you're beyond help.
Elisson has almost the longest sidebar in history. Clicking his links would take you weeks. Reading his post about Tommy for father and child will only take a few minutes.
Eric at Classical Values wants the culture war to be ended by restoring "classical values". I'm guessing he doesn't include a frank enjoyment of pederasty among those values. He posts something about Walter Cronkite being either a righty or a lefty. I wasn't sure which. Eric can be thankful I applied no quality control to this carnival.
Nick Genes at Blogborygmi takes the piss out of taking the piss. No, really. Learn how Nick was pissed. What a pisser! Am I getting it, Nick?
Charles Hill at dustbury.com notes that Norfolk county council have deprecated the use of "Old Testament" for the part of the Bible of that name, because it makes it sound out of date. No! Fancy, the history and mores of a people written 2000 years ago might have dated? Charles's solution? A contest to rename the testament. I've already taken "The good, the bad and the smitten", you'll have to try again.
mr snitch (or crazy ass nigga Snitch as he's known to his mum) sho is pimpin' his ride. Or something. He has a bizzle in his bonizzle about the word bling, which he insists is oh-to-tha-kizzle. Check it, mah man!
Ferdinand claims to be a Conservative Cat. I've always thought of cats as libertarians, their belief in cutthroat individualism the reason they are not known for their civilisations but need Mommy to open the tin for them. The cat discusses an idea arising from a book called Economic wargames, which someone posited in the comments to something he wrote about subsidies causing inflation (I know, you don't have to tell me, but there's nothing in the rules that says posts have to be standalone). Dude, anyone who "socialises" medicine would be best advised to learn what a price cap is, hey? You completely forgot that us liberals defy the "law" of supply and demand by regulating the market, so even if you were right, we would be able to fix the problem you invented.
John at Discriminations is a student of, you guessed it, discrimination. In his post, he discusses Bob Laird and affirmative action. If I read John right, he is against any sort of discrimination. I think of it like a race. People like John claim that none of the runners should be handicapped, because it isn't fair. They ignore that the race is not waiting to be started but is in progress, and some runners have got many yards ahead of the others. Become colourblind means, in these circumstances, pretend it is coincidental that most of the runners in dark jerseys are yards behind the guys in light jerseys. It's not a million miles from there to Hey, the guys in light jerseys must just be better runners, and must deserve their lead (we can ignore that the guys in dark jerseys were shackled for much of the race and have hurdles in their lanes that are missing from the guys in light jerseys' lanes and that some of the guys in light jerseys seem to be riding bicycles or are even being carried by some guys in a nice shade of purple). Don't let's even start on the guys in pink.
Vik Rubenfeld has The Big Picture. And the picture he paints is of poor, oppressed settlers in Gaza. It's the mystery of the age, he suggests, why they should be forced to move. I have a lot of sympathy for the settlers. They are just pawns and yes, they are going to suffer for someone else's big idea. But Vik, Vik, do you not see how "The homes of the Israelis are to be turned over to the very terrorists who were killing them, for those terrorists to live in" is... well, do you know, it just confirms the prejudices on both sides: people who agree with you will shake their heads and go, the horror! Those on the other will think it is more Zionist bullshit. The truth is, Vik, that most, nearly all, of both sides – Jew and Arab – in Israel–Palestine are ordinary folk living ordinary lives, or trying to. Very few are terrorists or extremists of any kind. Those very few make very many suffer, including the settlers who are losing their homes (and, too, those Arabs who have lost theirs).
Amba at Ambivablog proves those who think that blogs are just wanking wrong. No, what she does is wanking about wanking. And if I go on any more, I'll be wanking about wanking about wanking.
John Ray and I have met before. He Godwinned me but not before I called him a clueless cunt. If I'd known he was a Brisbanite, I probably wouldn't have. It would go without saying. Still, there's plenty of lebensraum for clueless cunts in this carnival, so here's John, suggesting some of his posts you might like to read. You might find them provocative, if you're in need of working yourself into a froth.
Mad Kane sounds like my kind of Saturday night! Woohah! Erm, sorry about that. She's actually a talented songstress/humourist/whatsit, and her Tom DeLay song will only be a disappointment to those who see his name and yodel.
Bussorah has some Wicked Thoughts about Blogger. Let's face it, anyone who uses Blogger has had the odd moment with them. He/she has got to the bottom of the recent Blogger outage. It's all to do with cookies, apparently. People! The only person we accept cookies from is our grandma. We clear?
Jack at The People's Republic of Seabrook thinks people in shops should be nice to him. He's provided some rules for shop assistant types. Something tells me Jack's never worked in a shop. Yes, Jack, you dropped $2800, and Gallery Furniture missed out, but guess what? The people who work for GF don't get even a cent of that anyway. They don't care. It's a lesson for us all to digest: wage slaves have no reason to care.
How often do you have sex? asks Thorney on Taken In Hand. How often do you think old people have sex? More often than I have hot dinners, if Thorney is anything to go by, the old goat.
Coyote Blog has an interesting, if spectacularly wrong idea. He argues that nations are wealthy not because they have resources but because they have freedom of the mind. (Why would he want to believe that? Well, of course because the States has abundant natural resources, and Americans fear that their wealth might not owe to their exceptional nature but to their luck at being born in a rich country.) He offers the Netherlands (small, few resources) and Russia (beeeeg, many resources) as proof. But Coyote, as all regressives must, has ignored the facts that don't fit the theory. Access to resources is the key. The Netherlands is a maritime nation, a hub of European trade throughout the centuries, which grew rich first by trading in goods that it did not produce but was a handy transshipment point for and then essentially by plundering high-value goods from the third world; Russia is a huge continental nation, whose resources are mostly a very long way from its trading centres. Holland had Rotterdam – a junction between the Rhine and the North Sea in effect – and Amsterdam, on the doorstep of the rich trading towns of northern Europe; Russia had Murmansk, iced in for much of the year, and a long sail from anywhere it could trade with, and the Black Sea ports, which it not only had to fight for but which are also a long way from its population and trading centres. But how much simpler it is to insist that the Dutch became rich because they were free to think of cool ways to exploit their position than that their becoming rich was entirely inevitable, and how much more appealing to people who believe that Manifest Destiny is a law of nature rather than a political creed. That's not to say that the mind played no part, just that it is only one piece in a much bigger puzzle.
Sick of the election months ago? Pietro at The SmarterCop isn't. Pietro takes issue with an analysis of the election that shows that Kerry had the advantage of geography. Pietro says it was clear Kerry did not have an advantage because Bush won his states by a broader margin than Kerry won his. Dur. Pietro, that was actually the point! He had an advantage in that he didn't need to do as well as Bush to win – but he failed to, erm, take advantage of the advantage.
Ed Adkins at the imaginatively named edadkins.com is a man of strong opinions and, I wouldn't be surprised, strong drink. He fiercely berates Tom Green for "sucking". A lot. I once saw Tom Green on the Comedy Channel. I would rather smash my face through the loungeroom window than do it again.
If, like me, you thought snakeheads were Chinese human traffickers, you are in need of further education. John Moore at Useful Fools (shouldn't that be idiots?) explains that it is a not much loved but curious fish that needs to be protected before it is gone. However, snakeheads are not natives and are disruptive to the local ecology. Perhaps John just doesn't like other fish much!
Bhutan. The name conjures up magic, doesn't it? Mist over mountains, snows melting into fast streams, the crisp air, crushing repression. Erm. Will Franklin at WILLisms ponders the chances for democratic reforms in Bhutan. Will is sceptical but given that Bhutan is like the black sheep in a flock of not exactly whiter than white nations, any step forward is worth encouraging. Enjoy the scary, not entirely PC, pun he makes out of Wangchuk, too.
Pundit Guy wrote something about Lutherans and gays. Sorry man, by this point I'd ceased to have the will to live, let alone care about their problems. Absolutely no reflection on the post!
That's it. Thanks to everyone who submitted. It's been a genuine pleasure to be exposed to the breadth of intelligence, wit and good writing that fills the blogosphere.
Errors and omissions to the usual address, where you'll possibly be roundly ignored, depending on whether you are sweet or sour. Next week's carnival is at Conservative Dialysis, who will probably be nicer to you regressive types. Best of luck to Nick!