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November 27, 2002

Carnival of the Vanities

The Ten Horned Beast

We're hosting the family Thanksgiving at our house this year. You'd think that would be be a pretty straightforward statement. Not really that much to think about. Cook a little turkey, bake a little pie, watch a little football. The problem is that the actual definition of "family" on my side of the family is pretty amorphous, and depending on the circumstances can stretch to cover pets, friends, and the pets of friends. It drives the accountant wife up a wall, since she can never tell whether she is to prepare herself for a quiet evening with a small circle of relatives, or for something approaching the size of a Catholic wedding party.

I remember a time, back when we were still kids, where the youngest son of the family up the street just "happened" to drop by every night about dinner time. He'd knock on the door, say something like "Ya'll come outside when you're done." We'd ask if he'd eaten yet, and he'd say "no", even though we found out later that wasn't true, and we'd pull up a chair and he'd eat dinner. Eventually Mom just started setting a place for him.

In case you're wondering, he wasn't poor, or abused, or anything like that. He just wanted two dinners.

We've had a "family" beach trip the past two years. This year, the "family" beach trip included a newlywed cousin and his dog and his new wife and their two friends whom we had never met, all of whom showed up the day before we were due to leave. I cooked them scrambled eggs and made sure they had enough beer. Dad regaled them with a story from his childhood where he conned a man into buying a bag of turds for a dime and the wife's head popped off and flew around the room, shrieking imprecations at the heavens.

Well no, not really. It was a close thing, though. Her experience at the cousin's wedding a few months previous certainly didn't help. It was hours away, and held on Ngnat's 2nd birthday weekend, and the directions were vague and imprecise, and they called that the day before the rehearsal dinner to see if we were coming to the rehearsal dinner, even though our invitation had been "lost", and the bride didn't stop by our table to say "Thank you for coming" at the reception, a practice which is apparently de rigueur, which I was unaware of although I had observed it numerous times before;

"At every single wedding I've taken you to." I was informed.

Are they coming to Thanksgiving? Well, they might. We don't know. We haven't heard from the cousin's parents in a week, after they wrote to tell us that they were probably coming, after they had their own dinner at a somewhat unspecified time in a city two hours away. I wrote back at the better half's behest to make sure the dog at least stayed two hours away, and since then there has been silence.

The next day my mother emailed to ask if Ngnat's great-grandmother was coming with the cousin's family, or if they were getting her. As the arrival of the cousin was going to be unknown prior to the collapse of his particular wave function, much like the fate of Schrodinger's cat, I asked them to bring the ancestral matron with them. Whether or not this will actually occur is also unknown. My family doesn't waste electrons confirming things. I also asked if they had heard from my sister.

Yes, she is doing fine. No, she didn't say if she was coming. No she didn't say that if she came, she was going to bring her gay friend with her who comes to all of our family events with or without her anyway. No, she hadn't heard from him.

The next day brother Kehaar wrote and asked if his friend who is a girl, not a girlfriend mind you, but a friend who is a girl, can come.

"I dunno," I said. "I'll have to check."

So I checked.

"Can Kehaar bring a girl?"

"Why are you asking me?"

"Because I told him I had to check."

"That makes me look like a bitch! Why didn't you just tell him she could come?"


"Well, thanks a lot! Is this a girlfriend?"

" It's a friend who's a girl. She wanted to see what the turducken is like."

"I hate that damn thing."

So I brush the singe off my eyebrows and e-mail Kehaar that yes, the girl who is a friend can come.

He writes back. "Ok, good. She thinks she might not have her kids that day, so if she doesn't, she'll come."

Come Thanksgiving, we'll have somewhere between 3 and 12 people showing up for our "family" Thanksgiving.

Wish her luck.

Welcome to the Carnival. New to us this week are;
Bloviating Inanities
The Truth Laid Bear
The Big Vague
Chuck Simmins' Journal
Dissecting Leftism
The Light of Reason
Occam's Toothbrush
Facts of Israel
The Talking Dog
Kesher Talk
The Eclectic Chapbook

Balancing The Humours
tonecluster - Riddles in the Dark - Look. How many times must I explain? An exception isn't a condition unless you make the exception a condition of something unconditional. So if something is unconditional except for some exceptions,that aren't conditions, of 8 or 9 installations, those exceptions do not conditionalize the unconditional agreements. You see? There are no conditions and they can look anywhere they want except for 12 or 13 locations, and we will except any conditions, and that is what makes it unconditional. We make exceptions to all conditions, no condition is to be excepted, except for any and all unconditions, and under no condition are there to be any conditions. The exceptions are unconditional, which still keeps my promise of unconditional inspections. You know, none of this bothers Blixie.. why does this bother you so much?

Bloviating Inanities - Crosstown Traffic - So I'm driving home from work listening to Hannity and he's interviewing Congressman Gary Ackerman. I'm barely paying attention. Then, Hannity says indignantly, 'Have you read the Cox report?'
I am not making this next part up...
Ackerman replies, 'I have read the Cox report.'
And then, no kidding...
'I have also read the Dicks report.'

Blogatta Mondatta
Everything Must Go - Post it and they will come: Confessions of a new blogger - My publishing experience immediately before 9/11 had been as an activist with the local (SF Bay Area) Green Party, subjecting what I wrote to the approval of a left/liberal committee, and believe me, that kind of writing isn't fun. After the Green Party made some repulsive America-bashing statements, I left and discovered Andrew Sullivan, InstaPundit and the rest of you, and after a while I changed my voter registration to Republican. Aside from one close friend, I didn't know anyone who wasn't a liberal, so I had no one to talk politics with except on blogs. I enjoyed commenting on other people's blogs so much that, a week and a half ago, I finally started my own.

The Kitchen Cabinet - The 'Revenge of the Blog Conference' at Yale Law School - After a near-sleepless night of anticipation and self-doubt, I am here at the Revenge of the Blog conference and ready to blog it! Glenn Reynolds is scheduled to begin speaking in about 10 minutes. So far, turnout looks low.
Editor's note: Scroll up from link

Solonor's Ink Well - Solonor's World - Hi, I'm Lester. I'm a 40-year-old geek with nothing better to do than to type stuff (and junk) about his life into a computer. Oh, yeah, and I use my D&D name

The Truth Laid Bear - Open V. Closed Security And Software V. Reality - Jane seems to argue that naturally, the American public in an open effort is better at solving problems than any one group of expert would be. And I think that's likely true. But I would argue that the huge advantage that an open effort has in finding problems does not apply nearly as much when it comes to solving problems -- open is better, but the gulf is not nearly as dramatic as with problem identification.

South Knox Bubba - SKB is back on the air - At some point you will actually start hoping these people coming down the aisle won't stop and ask the same questions you've been asked a hundred times already that day because you know it is another product selection committee from another worldwide mega-conglomerate that isn't going to buy anything in your or their lifetime but are nonetheless on a mission to collect product information from every vendor on the planet as part of their due diligence for The Project that isn't funded and they will ask a lot of stupid questions like will this product shift our paradigm or evolve our line of business infrastructures to align them with our core value proposition or something and then they will go back and have nine months of meetings during which the short-listed Andersen Consulting approved vendors with products that are exactly what they are looking for except they will have to be completely redesigned and rewritten will be strapped to a 767 and flown in to jump through hoops of fire and roll over and sit up and beg until finally a $100 million project is approved that will never get off the ground or if it does it will fail miserably or funding will be cut half-way through and by this time next year they will all be fired and the selected vendor will have all the life sucked out of them by the black hole that was The Project and be out of business when the new product selection committee comes walking down the aisle.

Dogs of War
The Claremont Institute - End Games - On a recent edition of Hardball with Chris Matthews, at the U.S. Air Force Academy, a cadet asked what the U.S. "exit strategy" might be in the event of a war with Iraq. The guests, all retired generals, answered his question, differing from one another only in degree, not in kind. None challenged whether the question was legitimate in the first place.

Helloooo chapter two! - We'll Get Right On That - Worst. Civilization. Ever. Oh thank you, Osama, for making us see the light! You can be certain that I'll get right on that whole setting-up-sharia-in-America thing, just as soon as I stop GUT-LAUGHING, you spoiled little rich brat from Saudi FREAKING Arabia. When we start stoning women for getting raped in the US, I'll be sure to be less sarcastic about this.

Fast Food Nation
The Eleven Day Empire - Whatever Happened to Personal Responsibility? - I'm sorry the plaintiff kids are unhealthy. And I'm sorry they're unhappy. And I'm sorry their parents have spent years not knowing, or not caring, about their diet and their health. But that is not the fault of McDonalds!

Silent Running - 'Merkin Fast Food - Oh god, Popeyes is good! Why don't we have it in Australia and New Zealand? It's essentially Cajun-style crispy chicken, with lovely spicy rice and these utterly amazing things called "biscuits". Now these aren't what Antipodeans like me would call biscuits, our biscuits here would be called "cookies". No, these are delicious hunks of a slightly fried breadlike substance, crisp on the outside and softer on the inside. They are to die for!
And WARNING to New Zealanders and Australians - Do NOT make the chicken recipe Tom Paine published and serve it to an American Southerner and call it "Fried Chicken". A Fight may ensue.

Heartstrings and Hand Grenades
The Big Vague - Politics and Personality - A serious heart condition made her different from other kids. Her skin was actually a bluish color. She was like a blue angel to me, sweet and very funny, but to a few kids at school she was just a freak. So they added to her torment and subtracted from an already short life by taunting her.

JimSpot - Every Morning - I have been taking Ashley to school every day since school started. At first, I would stand with her and wait for the bells to ring, then kiss her and send her inside. In talking with the Nun who runs the school and Ash's teacher, I discovered that they don't really want the parents to do that.

Chuck Simmins' Journal - My Father - Dad quit school in the eighth grade when his father died, and went to work to help support his eight brothers and sisters. Scrambling for money on the mean streets of Jersey City during the Great Depression. People starved, you know. You could then, without really trying. Now, you have to go out of your way to starve in the United States, but not then.

Jack Handey Has a Posse
Philosoblog - John Rawls - Suppose that you knew that in the next moment were going to be reborn as a new baby, such that where you were going to end up on the ladder of wealth and opportunity were going to be a matter of pure chance. If you would say, "Hang on a moment. Can we first put in place the most generous welfare minimum possible? I really don't like gambling," then you do not believe your present society is a just one. You believe the rules of the game are not reasonable or impartial. You don't think the wealthy in your present society do unto the poor as they would have others do unto them if they were poor. You know that only a society with the most generous welfare minimum possible would be just. This is Rawls's argument for an extensive, elaborate, cradle-to-grave welfare state. The rich should give and give to the poor until giving more won't do any more good.

The Road To Surfdom - I'm With Stupid - Individual freedom is inseparable from a secure society in which to be an individual. Thus, the rightist prescriptions of unfettered "free markets", deregulated industries, and businesses whose only interest is "shareholder value" is not only wrong, it is impractical and self-contradictory. Individuality and individual freedom are arguably the products of social relations, not something separate from them. So the hard-right policies are problematic because such practices undermine the conditions--a coherent society--in which our individuality is able to flourish.

Media Bash
ClubBeaux - Empty headlines - If you're like the majority of Americans you stop reading right there, armed with a "fact" to throw in the face of that right-wing nut you work with or your brother-in-law, who maintains that American society is superior to Arabic Islamic society since there has been no anti-Islamic backlash in the United States.

Mondegreen Nation
skippy the bush kangaroo - there's a bathroom on the right
- mrs. skippy's inability to understand the old group the hollies "all i need is the air that i breathe and to love you" is one of our personal favorites. she swears when she was a teeny bopper in the 60's she heard them say "all i need is some lsd and to love you." of course, context is a major factor here.

Money for Nuthin'
Dissecting Leftism - "Reparations" For Slavery -- A Solution - This does of course go against a most basic principle of natural justice -- that people are not liable for the deeds of others -- even if those others happen to be our grandparents. Let us however assume that this case is exceptional and that a doctrine of inherited guilt has to be accepted on this occasion. So who is guilty?

Paging Mr. Orwell
The Light of Reason - Living By Permission, Revisited - It certainly is true that, in terms of the great benefits conferred by technology generally, our lives are infinitely enriched. Nonetheless -- and this is the point that is crucial, and that seems to be ignored -- the fact is that the government has incredible powers over each and every one of us now -- and all that is required for the government to put its already existing machinery into action against you is for some nameless, faceless government bureaucrat to decide to use it. The laws and regulations are already in place for him to do pretty much whatever he wants, should he decide to take advantage of the opportunity.

Heretical Ideas - Living By Right Or Permission? - What does it mean to be living by "right" or by "permission"? In context with the discussion, what it boils down to is the level of control that a person has over their own life. To live by permission is to live in a state in which "everything not compulsory is forbidden." That is, the ultimate control over one's life is dictated by somebody other than oneself. To live by right, then, is to have complete autonomy over personal decisionmaking, so long as you don't interfere with the liberty of others.

Pictures at an Exhibition
Northwest Notes - Lakeshore Photos and Volcanocam - These are from my walk last week in Colman Park by Lake Washington, just southeast of where we live.

Poll Tests
Occam's Toothbrush - Mangy Poll Cats - The margin and the confidence level are usually chosen in advance, at some acceptable level, so the pollster can determine x, the amount of people that he will need in his sample. Trying to get the margin of error down, or the confidence level up, will make x prohibitively large. But the whole thing is a joke, because the pollsters are violating the first rule of statistics, by starting with a sample that is anything but random.

Smiting the Semites
Facts of Israel - Land for War - In 1994, I served as a medic in the IDF (Israel Defense Forces, or Israel's army). I spent a few days near Naharayim, land that was given back to Jordan in return for peace. The land in question was named the "Island of Peace" – allowing regular Israelis and Jordanians to meet near the Jordan River and make peace a reality. Unfortunately, in 1997, a Jordanian soldier opened fire on a bus of Israeli school girls, murdering seven eighth-graders. That pretty much stopped the meetings and the "Island of Peace" is today only remembered as the place where this massacre occurred.

The Talking Dog - La Cosa Nostra di Ramallah - Think of the Palestinians in general (these morons, anyway, who will now set up a shrine to the mass-murderer they had the misfortune to have raised) as comparable to the stupid neighbors of Dapper Don John Gotti, who were so pleased with the Don's Christmas pageants and Fourth of July fireworks that he was regarded as a local hero and civic leader, rather than what he was: a *&&^^%^ criminal, whose minions had dozens of people or more killed in the course of their activities.

Kesher Talk - Pesky Liberal Jews - Republicans need to convince us they will maintain a separation of religion and state. Many of us have personal memories of being forced to pray Christian prayers and sing Christian songs in school, or getting beaten up or ostracized for not doing so. We are acutely aware that large swathes of the Republican religious right still think we are heathens and want to convert us. When missionaries ring our doorbells, we don't think "Democrat."

The Eclectic Chapbook - - The first thing the Jews did was launch a major conspiracy to re-leaf the region as discussed here previously. This was the sinister Tree Conspiracy. The aggressors showed no mercy, buying up land and planting lots and lots of trees. Obviously, the Egyptians were jealous and resentful.

Sports Night
Ipse Dixit - Is The NFL Insane? - Julius Peppers is on his way to being rookie defensive player of the year. He will probably be robbed of the opportunity to achieve that goal - and a considerable amount of his salary - because of a 4-game suspension for ingesting a perfectly legal substance.

This Green and Pleasant Land
Where Worlds Collide - Great Britons? - The BBC have been running a series called Great Britons, with the aim of choosing the greatest Briton of all time. The original 100 names, chosen by 30,000 of the great British public, had some bizarre choices and some notable omissions. There were far too many flavour-of-the- month celebrities like Robbie Williams, David Beckham, and, for Cthulhu's sake, Boy George(!), which goes to show the shallowness of a lot of people's educations.

Turkey Coma
Ravenwood's Universe - It's the end of the world, and I feel fine - One week from today, millions of Americans across the nation will sit down at their dinner table with family and relatives, to celebrate my birthday. I encourage all Americans to feast on turkey, potatoes, and stuffing, while the Cowboys and Lions host their annual football classics, in celebration of the anniversary of my birth.

The Short Strange Trip - Anecdotal Evidence- Ramon, was sort of the village patriarch. He was a wiry, elderly gentleman with grey hair and a goatee. He was also an original BMF (I once saw him shoot a rattlesnake in the head with a .38 from the hip). From previous trips, Dad and Dr. P. had befriended Ramon and they had a pretty amicable relationship. This time Ramon seemed different. Somehow through a mixture of Spanish and sign language he conveyed that he had a bad tooth which had been plaguing him for years. Now, it was reaching critical mass.

Weird Al Has a Posse
Amish Tech Support - Call CDC - SEBASTIAN the Crab, who is no longer a viable property, is about to be cooked for Michael EISNER's boardroom lunch when news of the cruise ship comes over the e-mail system. Sebastian sees an opportunity to save his shell.

MadKane - The Democratic Election Anthem of 2004 - When Liberals Rule (To be sung to "Blue Bayou," by Roy Orbison and Joe Melson)
I feel so bad, I got a worried mind,
I`m so anxious all the time,
Since the Dems were left far behind
And George Bush rules.

The Carnival of the Vanities is published every Wednesday at Silflay Hraka and Blog Critics. Information on how to join the Carnival is available here.

Posted by Bigwig at November 27, 2002 12:24 AM | TrackBack
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