— On a Lighter Note... —

April 9, 2013

So What Shall We Call The Proposed State Bank?

Monique Chartier

That is correct; Kim Kalunian at WPRO reports that a bill

... submitted by Rep. Charlene Lima (D-Cranston) would create a Rhode Island state bank.

The bill would establish a Rhode Island state bank to “protect the financial welfare and economic vitality of the citizens” and create jobs.

The state bank would have the same banking powers as a commercial bank, and could accept deposits, pay interest and make loans. The lending and guaranteeing powers of all state departments and agencies, like the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, would be transferred to the state bank.

Lima submitted the bill at the request of Keven McKenna, a lawyer and former candidate for Attorney General.

You're going to point to the state's long, dubious record in matters of finance, aren't you? Well, that should not enter into your calculations - at least, according to Mr. McKenna.

Following the 38 Studios debacle, McKenna said people cannot be afraid of government and the state’s money management skills.

“You cannot deal with paranoia,” he said. “If you are fearful of government then have the government do nothing at all: no roads, no education, no support for the elderly, nothing.”

Huh. Some of us might view the natural skepticism at such a proposal as more along the lines of open-eyed caution rather than paranoia. But we're glad to be corrected and no one wants to be a party-pooper. So, once more unto the breach, dear friends.

Possible names for our new bank. I'm thinking "RISDIC Savings & Loan". What would you suggest?

March 17, 2013

Sarah Palin Flouts The Nanny

Monique Chartier

A friend remarked yesterday that Sarah Palin made some great points in her CPAC speech. Undoubtedly. But this was my favorite moment. (Apologies for the preceding ad.)

Click here for audience reaction in a double screen shot. Click here for an explanation which, of course, stars New York City's power-mad mayor. And a great rebuttal, involving Dr. Doom's conquering of the world, to the mayor's actions can be found here.

December 20, 2012

Rhode Island Rules the Universe!

Marc Comtois

Cranston's Olivia Culpo is Miss Universe!

October 20, 2012

Mitt Romney at the Al Smith Dinner

Monique Chartier

Video below.

Transcript, courtesy the Chicago Sun Times, here.

Background of the Al Smith Dinner.

One of my favorite lines from Governor Romney's remarks:

I was actually hoping the president would bring Joe Biden along this evening, because he'll laugh at anything.

October 2, 2012

GarbagemanGate Prematurely Terminated By Pesky Facts

Monique Chartier

"Pathetic" and "weak" would be good adjectives for this anti-Romney ad put out by AFSME.

The ad opens this way: “My name is Richard Hayes, and I pick up Mitt Romney’s trash. We’re kind of like the invisible people. He doesn’t realize that the service we provide – if it wasn’t for us, it would be a big health issue, us not picking up trash.”

Now, thanks to The Corner's Charles C. W. Cooke, we can add "inaccurate".

There’s just one problem with this, and it lies on page 251 of Mitt Romney’s book, No Apology:
During my campaign for governor, I decided to spend a day every few weeks doing the jobs of other people in Massachusetts. Among other jobs, I cooked sausages at Fenway Park, worked on asphalt paving crew, stacked bales of hay on a farm, volunteered in an emergency room, served food at a nursing home, and worked as a child-care assistant. I’m often asked which was the hardest job – it’s child care, by a mile.

One day I gathered trash as a garbage collector. I stood on that little platform at the back of the truck, holding on as the driver navigated his way through the narrow streets of Boston. As we pulled up to traffic lights, I noticed that the shoppers and businesspeople who were standing only a few feet from me didn’t even see me. It was as if I was invisible. Perhaps it was because a lot of us don’t think garbage men are worthy of notice; I disagree – anyone who works that hard deserves our respect. – I wasn’t a particularly good garbage collector: at one point, after filling the trough at the back of the truck, I pulled the wrong hydraulic lever. Instead of pushing the load into the truck, I dumped it onto the street. Maybe the suits didn’t notice me, but the guys at the construction site sure did: “Nice job, Mitt,” they called. “Why don’t you find an easier job?” And then they good-naturedly came down and helped me pick up my mess.

Oops. "Invisible". Wasn't that the same word used by the gentleman in the AFSME ad?

The Corner's Eliana Johnson points out that the garbageman ad is just the first in a series. Not sure if she means, a series of ads starring garbagemen or if AFSME will branch out to include Mitt's handyman, his car mechanic, the person who comes to tend his septic system (if he has one), etc. In any case, hopefully, the balance in the series won't be so badly researched or, more importantly, quite so WHINY.

September 21, 2012

Charlie Hall Suggests a Third Alternative for the CD-1 Primary

Monique Chartier

Apologies that this is a little late ...


Courtesy Ocean State Follies and Rhode Island 101

The Parent Rap

Marc Comtois

Let's lighten things up a bit....

The best part is they are totally believable as a couple and family, in all their dorkiness. Well done.

September 6, 2012


Marc Comtois

It's OK, you can break up with him.

Seen Last Night at the Democrat National Convention

Marc Comtois

(H/t Helen Glover for the idea).

August 16, 2012

Re: Not The Most Qualified Pick for Vice-President - More Biden Gems

Monique Chartier

Further to Patrick's post, I cannot resist re-posting what has become one of my favorite political videos, prepared and released earlier this year by the Hinckley for Senate campaign.

July 21, 2012

Iowahawk: "DNC Scientists Disprove Existence of Roberts' Taxon"

Monique Chartier

Abject apologies for utilizing whole cloth Iowahawk's own title for the title of this post. But it perfectly conveys the substance of his brilliant ... er, "announcement" of a couple of weeks ago. ("Brilliant" in part because, like the mechanics of the recent discovery of the Higgs Boson, I don't fully understand it.)

WASHINGTON DC - Jubilant scientists at the DNC's High Speed Word Collider (HSWC) announced today they have conclusively disproven the existence of Roberts' Taxon, the theoretical radioactive Facton particle that some had worried would lead to the implosion of the entire Universal Health Care System.

"I think it's time to pop the champagne corks," said HSWC Director David Plouffe. "Then blaze some choom."

The landmark experiment in Quantum Rhetoric began early this week after legal particle cosmologist John Roberts published a paper in the Quarterly Journal of Tortured Logic that solved the long-debated Pelosi's Paradox in Universal Health Care Theory.

"Pelosi's Paradox states that in order to find out what is in a health care bill, it would have to be passed," explained physicist Steven Hawking. "But in order to be a law it would have to be constitutional, which means someone would have to know what was in it, which would mean it couldn't have been a bill in the first place. Think of Schroedinger's Cat, except with a lobotomy."

To solve the paradox, Roberts proposed the existence of the Taxon - an ephemeral, mysterious facton particle that in theory would allow the Universal Health System to be constitutional, without directly observing what was in it. DNC scientists at first cheered Roberts' findings, but it soon came apparent that it opened an even deadlier dilemma. ...


H/T American Thinker's Thomas Lifson, who terms it

another breathtaking double bank shot, finding what might be humor's god particle in the Chief Justice's ObamaCare decision.

June 24, 2012

Anchor Rising Readers Poll: All In One

Marc Comtois


Thanks to all who have voted so far in the Anchor Rising Readers Poll! There are still a couple days left, so for the sake of convenience I've compiled all the questions together in one post. Read on "after the jump" to see the current results and vote in categories you may have missed. Thanks again to all who have voted!

Continue reading "Anchor Rising Readers Poll: All In One"

June 23, 2012

Anchor Rising Readers Poll: Favorite Local Radio News-Info/Business/Lifestyle/Advice Talk Show?

Marc Comtois


The fifth and final "question" in our Readers Poll deals with favorite Local Radio News/Info/Advice/Lifestyle type talk shows. As I looked for "candidates", I discovered that there was such a broad array of shows that I broke them up into a few categories. Here are the groups with choices (listed alphabetically).

First up is News/Info these are primarily news or current events news shows that also do interviews.

What is your favorite Local Radio News/Info Show?
pollcode.com free polls 

Next are the Business/Investing shows

What is your favorite local Business Talk Show?
pollcode.com free polls 

Next is the Lifestyle/Entertainment category:

What is your favorite Lifestyle/Entertainment Radio Show?
pollcode.com free polls 

What is your favorite Advice show:

What is your favorite Advice Show?
pollcode.com free polls 

Here is the schedule of polls:

Tuesday, June 19th (today) - Favorite Radio Political Talk Show
Wednesday, June 20th - Favorite Political Roundtable Show
Thursday, June 21st - Favorite Local Electronic Media News Team
Friday, June 22nd - Favorite Local Media Investigative Team
Saturday, June 23rd - Favorite Radio News/Info/Lifestyle/Advice Talk Show

All polls will be closed by next Tuesday, June 26th (yes, that means unequal polling time length, but live with it!).

June 22, 2012

Anchor Rising Readers Poll: Favorite Local Media Investigative Team

Marc Comtois


The fourth question in our Readers Poll deals with favorite Local Media Investigative Team. Caveats: 1) had to have statewide coverage; 2) couldn't be from an overtly partisan outlet or advocacy group (that eliminates us at AR as well as folks like RI Future's Bob Plain or that guy Justin Katz over at The Current). Here are the choices* (listed alphabetically):

What is your favorite Local Media Investigative Team?
pollcode.com free polls 

*Note: I didn't include talk show hosts even though they often investigate plenty of stories, too. Names in ( ) are primary personalities associated w/investigative journalism (except w/ProJo - too many to name!).

Here is the schedule of polls:

Tuesday, June 19th (today) - Favorite Radio Political Talk Show
Wednesday, June 20th - Favorite Political Roundtable Show
Thursday, June 21st - Favorite Local Electronic Media News Team
Friday, June 22nd - Favorite Local Media Investigative Team
Saturday, June 23rd - Favorite Radio News and Info Talk Show

All polls will be closed by next Tuesday, June 26th (yes, that means unequal polling time length, but live with it!).

June 21, 2012

Anchor Rising Readers Poll: Favorite Local Electronic Media News Team

Marc Comtois


The third question in our Readers Poll deals with favorite Local Electronic Media News Team.* The requirements for being put on this list were: 1) Had to Rhode Island based; 2) Had to provide local news coverage w/actual in-the-field reporters.** 3) Had to be non-partisan (so no RIFuture or Ocean State Current).

Here are the choices (listed alphabetically):

What is your favorite local electronic media news team?
pollcode.com free polls 

* Why only an "Electronic" Local Media News Team poll? Because the ProJo is the only statewide newspaper and it's kinda/sorta a different animal, IMHO.

** WHJJ AM 920 has regular newsreaders, but no independent reporters. Fox 25 shares their news team with CBS 12.

Here is the schedule of polls:

Tuesday, June 19th (today) - Favorite Radio Political Talk Show
Wednesday, June 20th - Favorite Political Roundtable Show
Thursday, June 21st - Favorite Local Electronic Media News Team
Friday, June 22nd - Favorite Local Media Investigative Team
Saturday, June 23rd - Favorite Radio News and Info Talk Show

All polls will be closed by next Tuesday, June 26th (yes, that means unequal polling time length, but live with it!).

June 20, 2012

Anchor Rising Readers Poll: Favorite Political Roundtable Show

Marc Comtois


The second question in our Readers Poll deals with favorite Political Roundtable Show* (TV & Radio). The requirements for being put on this list were: 1) Had to be a show based in Rhode Island (so no Boston-based shows); 2) Had to focus primarily on news and political analysis with multiple viewpoints represented.

So without further ado, here are the choices (listed alphabetically):

What is your favorite political roundtable show?
pollcode.com free polls 

*Note that RI Public Radio's political roundtable show is actually called Political Roundtable. Clever marketing!

Here is the schedule of polls:

Tuesday, June 19th (today) - Favorite Radio Political Talk Show
Wednesday, June 20th - Favorite Political Roundtable Show
Thursday, June 21st - Favorite Local Electronic Media News Team
Friday, June 22nd - Favorite Local Media Investigative Team
Saturday, June 23rd - Favorite Radio News and Info Talk Show

All polls will be closed by next Tuesday, June 26th (yes, that means unequal polling time length, but live with it!).

ADDENDUM: Most of the above media organizations do a terrible job of highlighting these shows on their websites and often don't even point to the shows even if they have a "Politics" category listed (WSBE did provide a link to their schedule where you can easily find the show). Of course, you sure can find the weather!

June 19, 2012

Anchor Rising Readers Poll: Favorite Radio Political Talk Show

Marc Comtois


This is the first in a series of polls that I'm putting together this week to find out who our readers turn to for their news and political analysis in the Mainstream Media (that means no bloggers or website-based organizations <--I changed my mind in a couple areas...stay tuned).

UPDATED: Here is the schedule of polls:

Tuesday, June 19th (today) - Favorite Radio Political Talk Show
Wednesday, June 20th - Favorite Political Roundtable Show
Thursday, June 21st - Favorite Local Electronic Media News Team
Friday, June 22nd - Favorite Local Media Investigative Team
Saturday, June 23rd - Favorite Radio News and Info Talk Show

All polls will be closed by next Tuesday, June 26th (yes, that means unequal polling time length, but live with it!).

First up are the local radio political talk shows. The requirements for being put on this list were: 1) Had to be a daily show based in Rhode Island (so no Boston-based shows); 2) Had to focus primarily on news and political analysis (WPRO Morning News didn't qualify--they'll be in another category); 3) I had to be able to hear their signal in my car (which eliminated the shows on the Woonsocket Radio station. Sorry guys!).

So without further ado, here is the first poll questions (listed alphabetically by last name):

What is your favorite local political talk radio show?
pollcode.com free polls 

June 3, 2012

Miss USA

Marc Comtois

Congratulations to Cranston's Olivia Culpo, Miss Rhode Island is now Miss USA!

March 31, 2012

Re: Dime Ain't Worth A Dime

Patrick Laverty

I certainly didn't think the post about the cost of creating and distributing coins would create such a stir. But that's great, comment away.

In related news, Canada has decided to stop production of their penny.

In an effort to cut costs, the Canadian government released its 2012 budget Thursday without any money designated to fund the Canadian penny.
According to the article, Canada also pays more than one cent to produce each penny, but yet somehow, they still do it for 0.8 cents cheaper than the US, 1.6 to 2.4. Amazing.

March 28, 2012

A Dime Ain't Worth a Dime Anymore

Patrick Laverty

Well, actually a dime wasn't ever really worth a dime, it's worth less than ten cents. However, the cost to produce a penny and a nickel has more than doubled its own face value.

The cost of making pennies and nickels are about twice the face value of the coins–2.4 cents for a penny and 11.2 cents for a nickel, the Treasury Department said earlier this month. Rising commodity prices have driven higher production costs.
Which when you think about it, the whole thing sounds pretty weird. Originally, we started using precious metals as legal tender and their value was the going rate multiplied by their weight. (Related: Rep. Dan Gordon bill) Not so with our fiat currency. Any of our paper money is really only "worth" about 6 cents, but you can use it in exchange for something else worth the value printed on it. But with nickels or pennies, the value of just the metal is worth more than the face value. Plus, there are also production and distribution costs that need to be figured in.

So where does the mind go when one knows that when you get 100 pennies, you're holding about $2.20 worth of metal? You can't get the $2.20 for them in their penny form, but what if they're melted down into something unrecognizable as a penny? Not so fast:

Under the new rules [as of the 2006 article], it is illegal to melt pennies and nickels. It is also illegal to export the coins for melting.

Violators could spend up to five years in prison and pay as much as $10,000 in fines. Plus, the government will confiscate any coins or metal used in melting schemes.

So there you have it. I don't know anyone else but a government who could really make $2.20 be worth $1.00, but we have accomplished that feat and added fuel for the "Retire the Penny" crowd.

March 19, 2012

Bovine Burglary

Patrick Laverty

Ok, maybe this isn't a lighter note to the owner of the cows, or maybe even to the cows themselves I would suppose, but I'm guessing when you heard of stolen cows, you had the same response. How the heck do you steal cows? It's not like you can just slip one inside your coat, or drop one in a bag, or even take one into the fitting room, remove the tags and walk out with it. Plus, it's not like the thief was the next door neighbor just leading the cows out of their pastures to another field. This is someone who moved them from Tiverton to North Stonington, CT.

The Connecticut man reportedly told authorities that he had sold some cow feed to the Tiverton farmer and had not yet received payment, so he figured it'd make sense to drive to the farm, I'm assuming with a trailer, and steal away with the steer. What he planned to do with them next, I'm not so sure, but apparently, it's not healthy for a dairy cow to not be milked on their proper schedule.

However, the bovine burglar appears to have been properly pinched and is currently under the auspices of the authorities.

March 10, 2012

Tassoni: Pets Need Court Advocates

Monique Chartier

H'mmm, do you suppose if we could get taxpayers reclassified as pets, Senator Tassoni would be a little more concerned about our welfare ...?

A Rhode Island lawmaker says it's unfair that pets and other animals don't get a voice in court when their welfare is at stake.

State Sen. John Tassoni has written legislation that would allow a state veterinarian or a representative of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to act as a court advocate in animal abuse or neglect cases.

The advocate would make recommendations to a judge in cases in which an animal may be removed from a person's custody.

February 23, 2012

Hinckley Welcomes Our V.P. "Road" Scholar

Monique Chartier

Having presumably raked in a campaign haul for Rhode Island's junior senator (which will be especially welcome in view of the senator's latest approval numbers), Vice President Joe Biden has come and gone from Road Rhode Island.

A couple of hours before his arrival, however, senatorial candidate Barry Hinckley released this ... er, "public service" video.

February 10, 2012

Economic Magnetism? Providence Has The Single Ladies

Marc Comtois

Maybe those of us trying to convince our politicians to attract business and people to our state are taking the wrong tack. Instead of using fiscal-centric arguments, how about this: According to Men'sHealth, Providence is the 25th best city to find the SINGLE LADIES.

The best city in New England? #2 overall Portland, Maine (ahem, that's where I met my wife, so I concur!). For the rest of New England, Boston ranked #3 followed by Manchester, NH (#13), Burlington, VT (#15), Providence (#25) and then #49 Bridgeport, CT (Bridgeport? What about New Haven? Stamford?). To come up with this rankings, the magazine examined "data on datable citizens: the ratio of single women to single men, the percentage of college-educated women, the percentage of gainfully employed single women (all from the Census), and the number who work out (Experian Simmons)."

January 21, 2012

Non-Functioning AND AutoReply E-Mail - Are You Sure You Want to Hear From People, Representative?

Monique Chartier

Terry Gorman of RIILE shared the following contradictory reply which he received from Rep Charlene Lima's e-mail.

From: Rep. Lima, Charlene To: riile2 Sent: Friday, January 20, 2012 16:53 Subject: Out of Office AutoReply: Weekly Update: New Poll and Stealing Democracy


Thank you for contacting my office via email. As a state representative, I believe it is very important to hear from concerned citizens about the issues that are facing the State of Rhode Island.

During the legislative session, I receive a tremendous volume of email each day. While that quantity does not lessen the quality of your concerns, I try to respond to constituents concerns first. All responses require an address of the U.S. Postal Service. If you did not include your full name and a postal address with your original message and wish to receive a response, please resend your message with a name and postal address.

Thank you for your patience and please do not hesitate to contact me at any time with your questions or concerns.

Representative Charlene Lima
District 14 Cranston

Contradictory because it simultaneously indicates that it is an "Out of Office AutoReply" yet flags that there is a "Techinical Difficulty" with the e-mail address. If the e-mail has a "Techinical Difficulty", how could it have delivered the "Out of Office AutoReply" (which also incorporates an explicit brush-off to all non-constituents)?

Contradictory also because an e-mail which is either non-functional or an auto reply (so by definition will not be seen by a human being) encourages the correspondent to contact the rep "at any time with your questions or concerns".

One is left, all around, with the impression that the representative's statement

please do not hesitate to contact me at any time with your questions or concerns.

might be more of a non-functioning platitude than a sincere reaching out.

January 20, 2012

Biden Gaffes Again

Patrick Laverty

This should be an interesting weekend in football as we're down to the final four teams trying to become NFL champions. The Patriots will play the Baltimore Ravens and the New York Giants will take on the San Francisco 49ers.

However, yesterday at a campaign fundraiser in San Francisco, Vice President Joe Biden didn't make the local sports fan attendees too happy. After paying who knows how many thousands of dollars for their chicken cordon bleu and to listen to the VP's speech, the donors got to hear Biden announce

The Giants are going to the Super Bowl!
Ok, that's great, but Joe, you're in San Francisco and the Giants are playing against the San Francisco team, so that's probably not too wise a call.

Oh, he later claimed he simply got the teams mixed up and he was thinking of the San Francisco Giants. The team that plays baseball. Ok, so that makes it all better that the baseball team is going to the Super Bowl. Gotcha.

And by the way Joe, you're from Delaware, right? I wonder what all of your constituents think of your support for a team other than the Baltimore Ravens. That can't be sitting too well with the locals back home.

January 14, 2012

Rick "Mr. Consistent" Perry On Venture Capital Funding of Political Campaigns

Monique Chartier

This gem from the Laura Ingraham Show; transcript via Real Clear Politics. (Good interviewing, Laura.)

Ingraham: You know I am going to raise the issue of Texans for Public Justice, their analysis of your campaign contributions since 2000 you have received more than $7 million from private equity firms and private investment firms. Are any of those "vulture" firms?

Perry: Listen, I didn’t paint with a broad brush and say that every private equity firm out there is…

Ingraham: Only Romney’s are vultures? None of your guys, only Romney’s?

Perry: Look, Romney is running for president.

Ingraham: Yeah, you are running for president too and you have benefitted from these firms.

Perry: Correct, and I don’t have a problem with that.

Okay then! Venture capital proceeds for me, not for thee.

Even funnier worse than his quite flexible views about who can and cannot receive campaign contributions from venture capital proceeds, Governor Perry seems to have entirely forgotten what office he is running for. If he ultimately wins the office, will he, round about June, 2013, forget that he's actually ... you know, holding that office???

January 1, 2012

Jim "Color Me Unimpressed" Baron On The Iowa Caucuses

Monique Chartier

The views expressed by Mr. James Baron in tomorrow's Pawtucket Times - about both caucuses and pig farmers - are not necessarily shared by yours truly.

• Finally, the Iowa caucuses are tomorrow. How did it come to be that a bunch of pig farmers who apparently spend every fourth year sitting around in coffee shops with their hats and coats on waiting for longshot presidential candidates to shake their hands get to cull the field for the leader of the free world?

December 31, 2011

Why Barack Obama's College Records Were Sealed

Monique Chartier

Now all is clear.

Andrew D. Basiago, 50, a lawyer in Washington State who served in DARPA’s time travel program Project Pegasus in the 1970’s, and fellow chrononaut William B. Stillings, 44, who was tapped by the Mars program for his technical genius, have publicly confirmed that Obama was enrolled in their Mars training class in 1980 and that each later encountered Obama during visits to rudimentary U.S. facilities on Mars that took place from 1981 to 1983.


Mr. Basiago states that during one of his trips to Mars via “jump room” that took place from 1981 to 1983, he was sitting on a wall beneath an arching roof that covered one of the “jump room” facilities as he watched Mr. Obama walk back to the jump room from across the Martian terrain. When Mr. Obama walked past him and Mr. Basiago acknowledged him, Mr. Obama stated, with some sense of fatalism: “Now we’re here!”

[H/T Dave Barry.]

Mostly unrelated ADDENDUM: Dave Barry's "2011 Year in Review" is now up.

December 24, 2011

Twas the Night Before Christmas

Patrick Laverty

by Clement Clarke Moore
or Henry Livingston

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

October 10, 2011

Even if it's Amazing, It's not fair, so I hate everything

Marc Comtois

Trying to figure out this Occupy thing? Right now, this seems to explain it the best (h/t):

Remember this bit by Louis CK (thanks for reminding me, Will)?

Protest song!

...a sultan and student both have iPhone 4s...it's not fair

Overall, much of the logic seems to go something like this (h/t):

ADDENDUM: I put this is all under our "On a lighter note...." category because there is humor in the unknowns surrounding the Occupy movement. Still, there are serious questions that haven't been answered.

Now, a movement that started with no concrete goals as a simple protest of power must decide what to do with some power of its own. Can a leaderless group that relies on consensus find a way for so many people to agree on what comes next? Can it offer not only objections but also solutions? Can a radical protest evolve into a mainstream movement for change?
Unfortunately, from what I have heard of the solutions, they roughly approximate the tongue-in-cheek poster above. In writing about the recent passing of Steve Jobs, Kevin Williamson illustrated that there is a dichotomy:
The beauty of capitalism — the beauty of the iPhone world as opposed to the world of politics — is that...[w]hatever drove Jobs, it drove him to create superior products, better stuff at better prices. Profits are not deductions from the sum of the public good, but the real measure of the social value a firm creates. Those who talk about the horror of putting profits over people make no sense at all. The phrase is without intellectual content. Perhaps you do not think that Apple, or Goldman Sachs, or a professional sports enterprise, or an Internet pornographer actually creates much social value; but markets are very democratic — everybody gets to decide for himself what he values. That is not the final answer to every question, because economic answers can satisfy only economic questions. But the range of questions requiring economic answers is very broad.

I was down at the Occupy Wall Street protest today, and never has the divide between the iPhone world and the politics world been so clear: I saw a bunch of people very well-served by their computers and telephones (very often Apple products) but undeniably shortchanged by our government-run cartel education system. And the tragedy for them — and for us — is that they will spend their energy trying to expand the sphere of the ineffective, hidebound, rent-seeking, unproductive political world, giving the Barney Franks and Tom DeLays an even stronger whip hand over the Steve Jobses and Henry Fords. And they — and we — will be poorer for it.

And to the kids camped out down on Wall Street: Look at the phone in your hand. Look at the rat-infested subway. Visit the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue, then visit a housing project in the South Bronx. Which world do you want to live in?

August 28, 2011

Oh, The Horror - Iowahawk "Reports" That Gibson Guitars Have Landed In the Hands of Mexican Drug Lords

Monique Chartier

As you may have heard, US Fish and Wildlife have been cracking down on those fiends at Gibson Guitar. (H/T Glenn Beck.)

Federal Agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service raided factories and offices of Gibson Guitar in Memphis and Nashville on Wednesday, seizing wood pallets, electronic files and guitars.

Federal authorities are apparently investigating Gibson for the alleged importation and use of illegal wood. ...

The real issue here seems to be the bureaucratic minutia of federal environmental regulations that increasingly pervade all aspects of American life. Environmental regulations cover your home, your business, and now even your guitar.

Blah blah blah. Who cares about an ever encroaching government (which simultaneously refuses to carry out one of its most vital functions) when, as Iowahawk has "uncovered", such horrible items are not staying within the borders of the US???

Today's uncovering of secret multi-agency program for shipping illegal Gibson guitars to Mexican drug cartels left red-faced officials of the U.S. Department of Justice scrambling for an explanation amid angry calls for a Congressional investigation.

Fortunately, as Iowahawk points out, US DoJ has promised the same level of cooperation that they offered to the investigation of Operation Fast and Furious.

"I have ordered all agency personnel to fully cooperate in any Congressional inquiries, including all reasonable document request, as soon as we can redact them with Sharpie pens and lighter fluid," said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

Iowahawk goes on to "report" some of the disturbing details about the devastation unleashed south of the border by these outlawed guitars; sensitive people are advised to read no further. All I can say is, thank heavens US Fish and Wildlife are aggressively attempting to stem the manufacture of these awful devices.

The secret program came to light early this morning in the border town of Nogales, Arizona, after what was described as a wild battle of the bands between members of the Sinaloa cartel and Los Zetas, two of Mexico's most notorious violent drug gangs.

"Usually these guys are armed with Mexican Strats and Squires, Epiphones, small caliber stuff like that," said Pedro Ochoa, 36, an eye witness to the sonic melee. "This time they were packing the heavy firepower."

The steady barrage of power chords and piercing solo attacks attracted the attention of nearby U.S. Border Patrol agents, who arrived at the scene just as Los Zetas broke into Led Zeppelin's 'Immigrant Song.' By the time the dust had cleared, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Oscar Jimenez was found in a catatonic state of headbanging. He was later flown to University of Arizona Hospitals, where his condition is listed as seriously rawked.

August 23, 2011

Cicilline on the Hunt Trail: A Photo Caption Contest

Monique Chartier

Is it possible that pro-Democrat bias is creeping back into the ProJo's coverage of the race for the First Congressional District?

Photographs of the three declared candidates for RI-1 adorned the front page of today's Providence Journal. In one of them, the candidate is frowning into the sun as he speaks. In the second, the candidate is power-steepling with a skeptical, uninviting expression on his face. In the third (front and center, actually), the candidate is holding a plate of food as he gazes earnestly at a constituent.

Now guess the party affiliation of each candidate?

You are correct! And the unspoken message is, vote for the Democrat. Because the Republicans are gruff and tough. But the Democrat is sweet and nice.

... sweet and nice if you had zero knowledge of the particular Democrat's record and his aversion to honesty. Not the case here.

So. Caption contest of the Cicilline photo.

Here's mine - in part, cribbed from WHJJ's Helen Glover. It's impossible to exclude the Catbert-esque feel of the tableau.

(thought balloon over DC's head) "Purrrr. Listen to my lies. Purrrr. The Republicans will snatch the check from your hand. Purrrr. And the very bread from your mouth. Purrrr ..."

August 10, 2011

Who Owns "Olympics"?

Marc Comtois

I was 10 minutes away from the Redneck Olympics over the weekend (couldn't make it, though). Sounds like about what you'd expect:

In the Tire Beer Trot, contestants ran through two rows of tires with a cup of beer in each hand. Some tripped over the tires. Some made it to the end, where a judge made sure they didn't spill much, which was a disqualification.

If they didn't spill it, they drank one whole cup and ran through the tires again. The first to finish their second beer afterward was the winner. Only 16 were chosen by lottery to play. As they played, Billy Currington's “I'm Pretty Good at Drinking Beer” and George Thorogood's “One Bourbon, One Scotch and One Beer” roared over the loudspeakers.

Near the end, Jeff St. Amand of L-A Music Factory, master of ceremonies for the event, announced that they had a problem. They were out of Budweiser cans for contestants to drink down. Luckily, someone happened by with a few extra cans.

Sounds fun. Rednecks know how to party and laugh at themselves, after all. But the humorless U.S. Olympic Committee isn't laughing.
The Redneck Olympics are facing a legal challenge from the United States Olympic Committee, according to organizer Harold Brooks.

Brooks said he received a phone call Monday from a legal office of the USOC, telling him he needs to change the name of his event in the future or face a lawsuit.

He was told the word “Olympics” is the property of the Olympic Committee. Brooks said it's a case of large group bullying a small businessman.

“I said, 'I'm not basing it on your Olympics, I'm basing it on the Olympics in Greece"...The Olympics has been around for thousands of years.'

It wouldn't be the first time the USOC has threatened to sue someone for using the word “Olympics” in a name. Under the U.S. Amateur Sports Act of 1978, the committee has exclusive rights to the name in the U.S.

A Minnesota band called “The Olympic Hopefuls” was forced to change its name to “The Hopefuls” in 2009. In 1982, an athletic event called the “Gay Olympics” changed its name to the “Gay Games” when the committee threatened a lawsuit.

According to the Special Olympics website, the USOC gave special permission for the Special Olympics to use the word in 1971.

The thing is, there may be no more stubborn entity than a Maine Yankee.
Brooks said he has no plan to change the name. “People told me this is the only Olympics they'll ever go to,” he said. Most of his guests couldn't afford to fly to the real Olympics, he said, and he said no one would ever confuse the two events.

“I'm going to refuse to not use that word,” he said.

July 14, 2011

Iowahawk's Twitter Imponderables for the President

Monique Chartier

Last week, President Obama held (I'm appalled to type the phrase) a Twitter Town Hall.

Below is a sampling of the questions posed to the President by Iowahawk. (Regrettably, the President offered answers to none of them.)

Would you get tougher with Iran if you knew they were working with Scott Walker?

If we reneg on the debt, where's the best place to hide our stuff from the repo men?

If ATMs are so bad, why do you keep treating me like one?

If Eric Holder gets indicted in Operation Fast & Furious, should he get a civilian trial?

If we eat the rich, what do we get for dessert?

if punishing employers results in more employment, can you also punish beer makers?

Not last and certainly not least,

When you create jobs, why do always create them for Texas?

July 13, 2011

My Kinda Starlet

Marc Comtois

I know Mila Kunis from watching a few episodes of That 70's Show and Family Guy (both funny, but I'm not a "fanboy"). In general, she's always struck me as a cute, funny actress with a genuine one-of-the-guys/little sister vibe (hey, I'm over 40 now!). I haven't seen it, but she also gained some critical acclaim for the recent movie, Black Swan. Regardless of her talents, she went up a couple notches in my book when she accepted a Youtube date request from a Marine in Afghanistan.

As seen in the second video, she's been out promoting her new movie Friends with Benefits with co-star Justin Timberlake. She also did a recent interview in GQ where she addressed the concept of "friends with benefits".

GQ: Your new movie is called Friends with Benefits. Ever been in one of those relationships?

Mila Kunis: Oy. I haven't, but I can give you my stance on it: It's like communism—good in theory, in execution it fails....

Agree and agree. So, another couple notches....and by the way, she's also a Trekkie, which may raise her even higher in the estimation of some people around here.

July 9, 2011

Despite it all...

Marc Comtois

...one of the reasons we love this crazy, mixed up state is days like this. So enjoy it!

Have a nice weekend!

July 5, 2011

Looking for One Time Fixes: Any Indian Temples in RI?

Marc Comtois

Just dreaming:

In Southern India a story that sounds like the plot line of a Hollywood adventure film is unfolding. Over the past week, on orders from the country's Supreme Court, a panel has found a treasure estimated to be worth $22 billion in the underground vaults of a Hindu temple in Trivandrum, India.
Anyone checked the Legislative "vaults" lately?

June 12, 2011

Social Hosting Tip: Chief Esserman Might Well Have Benefited If the Sarah Palin E-Mails Had Only Been Released A Couple of Days Earlier

Monique Chartier

Certain members of the msm, demonstrating an interest and a level of energy that they never remotely approached when it came to candidate and then President Barack Obama, have recruited a volunteer army of readers and are currently snuffling through Sarah Palin's gubernatorial e-mails looking for material with which to embarass and/or ridicule her.

The Telegraph's Tony Harnden points out that thirty six hours into the effort, they have not been particularly successful; in fact, rather the opposite as some of the material turns out to be mildly flattering of the governor. As an example, Harnden reports that Governor Palin

sought help from her staff in keeping the alcohol in the governor’s mansion away from young people, stating that it should be boxed up and “removed from the People’s House” – both for practical reasons and as a statement about her administration.

“Here’s my thinking: with so many kids and teens coming and going in that house, esp during this season of celebrations for young people – proms, graduations, etc, I want to send the msg that we can be – and ‘the People’s House’ needs to be – alcohol-free. There’s a lot of booze there – its too accessible and may be too tempting to any number of all those teens coming and going.”

Meanwhile, back in Little Rhody, GoLocalProv reports that, late Friday night, Providence Police Chief Dean Esserman broke up an underage party at his own residence. Now, the issue is, did the chief fall foul of Rhode Island's social hosting law? GoLocal claims to have observed the party in full swing for a couple of hours before the chief sent everyone packing.

If only the chief (not that he is alone in this lapse) had adopted Governor Palin's residential Prohibition, he could have avoided the brouhaha that awaits him.

May 19, 2011

Charlie Hall on the New Beach Parking Fee Schedule

Monique Chartier

Heads up, beach lovers - parking passes for Rhode Island beaches are slated to go up in early June in accordance with the Governor's instruction.


Courtesy Oceanstate Follies.

April 28, 2011

Bringing the Cost-Saving Power of Competition to the Salary Bracket of the Senate Majority Leader's Special Assistant: "Qualified Young Republicans Will Work for Half-Salary"

Monique Chartier

As you know, it has come to light that the salary of the Special Assistant to Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio, Stephen Iannazzi, is $88,000+ a year (presumably not including health care, pension, vacation time, sick days, personal days, May Day, etc). This is a respectable level of remuneration for a position which apparently does not have a job description and does not require a college degree of the occupant.

The public-spirited proposal below, dispatched late this afternoon by Y.R. Chairman Travis Rowley, is self-explanatory and well worth exploring, especially in light of the state's budget difficulties. Travis has assured us that, if hired, none of the applicants will "leave the building" and walk back in again so as to double their salary, as young Mr. Iannazzi did.

After hearing the news that Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio's new 25 year-old staffer, Stephen Iannazzi, who hasn't earned a college degree, is being paid $88,112 annually for a cushy State House job, dozens of Young Republicans want to apply for the post themselves, expressing that they are willing to work for half of Iannazzi's salary.

"I could really use the job right now," said one applicant. "Even at age 27, my college loans from four years at Duke are still pretty hefty." Another applicant said, "It seems like a good job. You know, one of those errand-boy jobs. I have a degree in political science, so I'm sure I can handle all the stress. Plus, I'll be saving the taxpayers some money." Another promising member of the Young Republicans said, "I feel like I have a decent shot at getting the job. I'm a hard worker, and I graduated with a 3.7 GPA from URI. I can make a pretty good cup of coffee, too."

Chairman of the RI Young Republicans Travis Rowley elaborated on the situation, "When word got out about Iannazzi's outrageous salary, I began receiving dozens of resumes from the Young Republican membership, asking me to forward them to Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed on their behalf."

Young Republican board member Patrick Sweeney spoke practically about the situation: "It seems that there are dozens of Young Republicans who are unemployed, well qualified, and more affordable to the taxpayers." Sweeney gathered information from www.salary.com regarding comparative salaries in Providence. He discovered that an Office Services Assistant on average makes $37,559, and an Executive Assistant makes on average $52,998. "If you average those two salaries together, that's $45,287. And that's basically what our members are willing to work for," Sweeney stated.

"Government jobs should always go to the lowest bidder among qualified applicants," Rowley explained. "So this is a no-brainer. Sen. Ruggerio and Sen. Paiva-Weed will have to reconsider Iannazzi's hiring."

When asked about the fact that Stephen Iannazzi is the son of Donald Iannazzi, the business manager for Local 1033 (an affiliate of the Laborers International Union), Rowley expressed only slight concern. "We realize that Senator Ruggerio's 30-year-old son, Charles, works as a lawyer for a union that sustains the Democrats' political power in Rhode Island. But all of our applicants have college degrees, and are willing to work for much less money." Rowley added, "There are also a lot of Young Republicans with law degrees, who will be applying for Charles Ruggerio's job as well. This is a good week for us."

Regarding political influence, Sweeney said, "It's true, very few of our members have fathers who are politically connected labor leaders. But if you look at some of their resumes, it's clear that plenty of our applicants have some pretty solid credentials in that respect as well."

Sifting through stacks of resumes it's evident that Sweeney is correct. Not only do all of the applicants have college degrees from various schools, but many of the resumes make assertions such as "My dad knows your dad" and "My dad voted for your brother's wife." Others boast of job qualifications such as "My dad hired your son, so you should hire me." And perhaps the most convincing qualification found among stacks of resumes was "My grand-pappy was a member of Local 1033."

"Our membership isn't naive," Rowley explained. "Most of them have lived in Rhode Island their entire lives. So they know what type of qualifications State House employers look for. The 'Family and Labor Connections' portion of their resumes may have been beefed up a bit before they were submitted."

April 5, 2011

Charlie Hall on the Cranston Banner

Monique Chartier

(Background of the banner and the latest development.)


Courtesy Oceanstate Follies.

April 2, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Marc Comtois

Gorgeous day today, no? The morning brought front yard raking to ensure that the weeds I cultivate on my front "lawn" have plenty of aerated soil and room to grow. I spent the afternoon cleaning the assorted flotsam and jetsam that accumulated along my stretch of the brook that makes the southern border of my property. Lots of bottles and cans and styrofoam and balls removed.

The biggest challenge, as it is every year, was removing the bamboo stalks that had broken and landed in the brook, thus blocking the free flow of water. To my mind, it is this invasive bamboo that we find throughout the state, even along the interstate and particularly near our waterways, that needs to be fought and vanquished! I do my part every year. I reclaimed a quarter acre in one battle a decade ago and now I allow some plants to grow along the brook bank to help stem erosion. One day, I'll plant more native species that will be up to that task and banish the bamboo to the far side of my mini-Rhine for all eternity!

March 31, 2011

Meet Ron Swanson

Marc Comtois

Ron Swanson is the Director of Parks and Recreation in Pawnee, Indiana. Here's his official bio:

Ron Swanson has been Director of the Pawnee Parks and Recreation Department for six years. Ron believes in the elimination of government waste and has always brought the department in under budget. In 2007, the Parks and Rec department spent zero dollars and sixty cents out of its discretionary fund, still a citywide record. The sixty cents were spent on a soda.

Ron has closed many unnecessary recreational spaces during his tenure, including the Portola Skate Park, the Grice Dog Run, the Morris-Easton Observatory, the Mohanga Native American Heritage Center, and most public drinking fountains.

Ron enjoys woodworking, breakfast meats, and the works of Ayn Rand.

He also gives self-defense tips and, most importantly, offers sage advice via his "Pyramid of Greatness", which include important building blocks such as CAPITALISM (God's way of determining who is smart, and who is poor), PROPERTY RIGHTS (They exist. Do not let them be taken away from you), CURSING (There's only one bad word: Taxes. If any other word is good enough for sailors, it's good enough for you) and an entire row of various PROTEINS (plus ROMANTIC LOVE). Near the top of the Swanson Pyramid are WEAPONS, WOOD WORKING & WELFARE AVOIDANCE. The Pyramid is capped by HONOR (If you need it defined, you don't have it), which stands on the shoulders of AMERICA (The only country that matters. If you want to experience other "cultures", use and atlas or a ham radio) and BUFFETS (Whenever available. Choose quantity over quality).

Ron also has many life lessons and advice he's willing to offer, such as:

I got my first job when I was 9. Worked at a sheet metal factory. In two weeks, I was running the floor. Child labor laws are ruining this country.

The whole point of this country is if you want to eat garbage, balloon up to 600 pounds and die of a heart attack at 43, you can! You are free to do so. To me, that's beautiful.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Don't teach a man to fish, and you feed yourself. He's a grown man. Fishing's not that hard.

He has also won Pawnee's "Woman of the Year Award." Ron Swanson: a man's man and a true American.

ADDENDUM: Some believe that Swanson moonlights as local Jazz legend Duke Silver. I remain unconvinced.

March 18, 2011

A Frivolous Post About Getting Older and Bone Structure

Justin Katz

I've noticed that I haven't contributed to the "On a Lighter Note" category in a while, so here's something: Upon confirming, once again, the beneficial qualities of beer, I've shifted the beneficent beverage into the grocery category of my household budget and, with an adjustment here and there, have managed to open up space for its purchase.

On my way home, this afternoon, I picked up my current preference, a Tröegs variety 12-pack, and I was carded... again. Distributors of alcohol check my identification with some frequency, which (being just about 36) strikes me as odd.

So here's my question: is this common? Could I really pass as a 20-year-old if I wanted? Or is this a common experience among people my age?

It makes me wonder who else might be in my "boyish demeanor" category of facial structure. Perhaps Matt Allen (pictured at the top of the page).

March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Marc Comtois

A beautiful St. Patrick's Day! My girls are Irish Step Dancers and they (and their Mom) have had a busy few days springing and jigging across the state (their "tour" essentially concludes with the Providence St. Patrick's Day Parade on Saturday).

In the spirit of the day, here is Rhode Island's own Tom Lanigan Band playing "Slow and Right" (wink wink).

For myself, though I'm mostly French-Canadian, I'm also Irish-Canadian, with an Irish Grandmother a couple generations back who made her way from Kilrush in County Clare to Quebec during the Potato Famine.

Regardless if you have any Irish or not, may you all step high on this fine day!

March 13, 2011

In Point of Fact, Not Much Good Comes of Losing An Hour

Monique Chartier

... like we did last night when we "sprang forward" at 2 am. The most interesting item in this John J. Miller column of six years ago is that re-setting clocks one hour ahead every year is not beneficial even to the party commonly cited as its impetus: farmers.

... but when the first DST law was making its way through Congress, farmers actually lobbied against it. Dairy farmers were especially upset because their cows refused to accept humanity’s tinkering with the hands of time. The obstinate cud-chewers wanted to be milked every twelve hours, and had absolutely no interest in resetting their biological clocks–even if the local creameries suddenly wanted their milk an hour earlier.

Upon reflection, this bovine indifference to our attempt to artificially redefine the day is perfectly understandable.

Miller also cites a study which found an increase in traffic accidents as a result of daylight savings-related sleep lose. All in all, perhaps its time to reconsider our semi-annual tinkering with time.

And while we're on the subject of pointless rituals which may or may not be vaguely related to nature, it's never too early to start getting psyched for Earth Hour, which this year falls on March 26. Please plan to participate fully by turning on all of the lights and appliances in your house at 8:30 pm in this global effort to drive out evil carbon spirits. (Tip: by turning on both heat and air conditioning, you can get the maximum effect with the minimum of discomfort.)

... Or possibly I am misinformed as to what constitutes officially sanctioned Earth Hour activity.

February 28, 2011

In case you missed it...

Marc Comtois

There were all sorts of developments over the weekend. Apparently someone named Charlie Sheen is now some sort of ambassador or FCC chair or something. He's been in the news a lot lately.

Also, there's been a lot of talk about some speech given by the king this morning.

We have a king?

I guess the speech was in Hollywood, which somewhere along the way became the new capital of the country (as least as far as I can tell by the news coverage). Apparently there is some new legislative body that gathers every now and then, pats itself on the back and hands out a variety of awards. Sounds like pork to me.

Anyway, happy Monday and I hope you're all caught up on the important news, now.

February 17, 2011

Charlie Hall on Bob Watson's Triple "G" Non-Gaffe

Monique Chartier


Courtesy Oceanstate Follies.

February 15, 2011

At Least RI isn't Hawaii (well, in this instance)

Marc Comtois

What state has the most Democrat dominated legislative body? The Hawaii state senate. Byron York explains:

In Hawaii, there are 25 members of the state Senate. Twenty-four are Democrats. And then there is Sam Slom.

Slom, the lone Senate Republican in the state of President Obama's birth, has represented East Honolulu since 1996. He hasn't always been the only GOP senator; in the last session, there were two. But Republicans fared poorly at the polls in November, and Slom was left alone.

Which means that Democratic bills to increase state spending, to impose new regulations and mandates and to create new government departments are often passed on votes of 24-1. "I represent a point of view that would not be represented," the conservative Slom says, "even if it's just one voice."

There are 15 committees in the Senate. Most Democrats serve on three or four. But to make things bipartisan, Slom -- you may call him Mr. Minority Leader -- has to serve on all 15. That means he spends his days racing from one committee meeting to the next, making sure there's at least one question from a conservative point of view.

So cheer up RI Republicans, it could be worse!

February 12, 2011

Kramer/Newman Can Scam Hits Maine

Marc Comtois

Well, sorta:

A memorable "Seinfeld" episode features Kramer and Newman taking thousands of cans and bottles to Michigan so they can get a nickel more per container than they would in New York, but beverage distributors say there's nothing funny when it happens for real.

In Maine, which has a more expansive bottle-redemption law than neighboring states, three people have been accused of illegally cashing in more than 100,000 out-of-state bottles and cans for deposits, the first time criminal charges have been filed in the state over bottle-refund fraud, a prosecutor said.

A couple that runs a Maine redemption center and a Massachusetts man were indicted this week for allegedly redeeming beverage containers in Maine that were bought in other states.

Thomas and Megan Woodard, who run Green Bee Redemption in Kittery, face the more serious charge of allegedly passing off more than 100,000 out-of-state containers - with a value of more than $10,000 - as if they had been purchased in Maine.

Apparently its a big problem and distributors lose millions every year. But this is really about life imitating "art". The Seinfeld episode:
In the 1996 "Seinfeld" episode, Kramer and Newman hatch a plan to drive a truckload of cans and bottles to Michigan, because the redemption fee there was 10 cents, double New York's nickel deposit.

Kramer laments it can't be done. "You overload your inventory and you blow your margins on gasoline," he says at one point. But Newman offers up free space in a mail truck he has to drive to Michigan before Mother's Day - "the mother of all mail days," he calls it - and the pair head off. (They end up aborting the trip while chasing down Jerry's stolen Saab.)

Incidentally, I've got family in Maine if anyone's interested and has a mail truck...

February 5, 2011

Another Winter Impelled Shortcut to Resist: Burning Briquettes Under the Engine Block

Monique Chartier

... to pre-heat the engine oil (even if it is insanely cold out).

Here's one way not to try and start your vehicle in cold weather: Don't place burning charcoal briquettes under the engine.

Workers at the Summit County Landfill found out the hard way Tuesday morning as temperatures were in the minus double digits.

The workers wanted to warm the oil pan of a semi-tractor and put a pan of burning charcoal under the truck. The plan worked too well at heating the engine and caught the truck on fire, said Lake Dillon Fire/Rescue spokesman Steve Lipsher

Firefighters extinguished the blaze, but the truck engine was heavily damaged.


January 23, 2011

Deploying Powder Against Powder?

Monique Chartier

No question, snow removal can be a pain. But tempting as it may be, Abington police ask that you resist ... shortcuts. [H/T Dave Barry's blog.]

An Abington man is being charged with creating bombs at his former address in Abington after police had been told the man was blowing up snow banks to avoid shoveling the snow.

Abington Police Chief David Majenski said Leo J. Powers, 23, with a last known address of 45 Margaret Road, Abington, is being charged with threats to commit a crime and possession of incendiary devices.

After serving Powers with an emergency restraining order at a rooming house he was staying in on Washington Street in Abington, police learned Powers had a box of ammunition and a box with “some sort of powder” in it at his former address, according to Majenski.

According to Majenski, police were told Powers had devised a way to use the materials to blow up snow banks instead of shoveling the snow and had been doing it for some time.

January 20, 2011

Charlie Hall With the Latest from the Chafee Communication Team

Monique Chartier


Courtesy Oceanstate Follies.

December 12, 2010

Charlie Hall on a Critical Question Raised During One of the Gov Candidates' Debate

Monique Chartier

The delay in bringing this "coverage" to your attention was engendered entirely by myself and not by the estimable Mr. Hall, whose observations are invariably timely. I somehow missed a batch of his work from last month and this one was too fun important not to highlight.


Courtesy Ocean State Follies

December 2, 2010

Speaker-elect Boehner Helps the Ladies

Marc Comtois

From Andrew Malcolm:

For some reason it took a male Speaker of the House to accomplish this:

The nearly six dozen female members of the incoming House of Representatives will have a new restroom just as close to the chamber's floor as their male colleagues. A sometimes significant comfort, given legislators' propensity to blather....Until now female members have had to traipse much farther than male colleagues to find restroom facilities, even during these past four years of leadership under the country's first female speaker.

Methinks part of Boehner's sensitivity to this is that he's married with two daughters.

November 12, 2010

A Few Quick Notes

Justin Katz
  • The current issue of Rhode Island Monthly has a one-page review of political blogs in the state, by Ellen Liberman, and Anchor Rising is right at the top of the page. The list isn't alphabetical, but I'm still glad that we began with an A.
  • I had a dinner meeting in Attleboro on Tuesday, and I'm prepared to offer the award for Most Convoluted Detour to the person who laid out the alternate route from Rt. 1 to 95 South through Pawtucket. With strange turns, surprise signs, and one that had been mostly ripped off or shot up, I'm still amazed that I made it home by dawn.
  • Last night, I had a one-on-one meeting in Tiverton, and since I've been beckoned daily by the big sign advertising a pumpkin chai, I requested The Black Goose Café as the location. The chai was unbelievable, and it's repeatedly come to mind throughout the day. Unfortunately, it was also $4.50, which is more than I can justify spending on a 12 oz. beverage even as a special-occasion treat.

November 4, 2010

What the World Needs

Justin Katz

More incongruous rap wars. Here's Hayek versus Keynes:

I think if I were a teacher/professor at some level, I'd seriously consider writing rap wars to illustrate and summarize differences between characters, points of view, and so on.

Yeah. I'd be that guy.


A (very) little bit of digging turned up the video to which the above is a follow-up:

Best line (from the Hayek character, naturally): "If you're livin' high on the cheap-credit hog, don't look for a cure from the hair of the dog." Seems like I've been reading about a Fed plan to buy up government debt to drive interest rates even lower...

Another Assinine, Zero (Horse) Tolerance School Decision; Another Excuse to Post a Python Skit

Monique Chartier

... minus the horses, of course, because, after all, bringing a horse to school is as dangerous as bringing a loaded firearm.

Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School senior Dan Depaolis, 17, was suspended for two days after he rode a horse into the school's parking lot while wearing medieval garb as part of a spirit week stunt, WFXT-TV, Boston, reported Monday.

H/T Michael Graham.

October 31, 2010

A Chill, If Not a Scream

Justin Katz

A year or two ago — Who can tell in the blur of time? — my usual blog skimming brought me across a recording of modern conservative forefather and writer of "ghostly stories" Russell Kirk reading his chilling "There's a Long, Long Trail A-Winding." I listened to the linked audio file while folding the laundry after circumambulating the neighborhood with the kids, trick or treating. Images from the story have invaded my thoughts from time to time, during the intervening months.

October 28, 2010

Charlie Hall on the "Shove Heard 'Round the World" *

Monique Chartier


Courtesy Oceanstate Follies

* Masterfully coined by NBC10's Bill Rappleye; all rights reserved.

September 25, 2010

A Practical Philosophy of Tools

Justin Katz

"All levels lose their accuracy, so buy the cheapest ones you can find." That was among the first bits of tool advice that I received when I started in the trade. In the years since, I've found that carpenters tend to develop what might properly be called a philosophy of tools.

Like other philosophies, the experience of the individual usually turns out to be the determining factor. The builder who preferred cheap levels also suggested that one's first step, upon buying a new tool, should be to beat it up badly enough that nobody would want to buy it stolen. He'd spent his formative years in the business with a temporary tradesman agency — essentially a carpenters' union without the inflated salaries and collective protections. In such an environment, one can hardly expect tools to last, and any that are too overtly desirable are apt to disappear.

On the other end of the spectrum, perhaps, would be the high-end shop carpenter for whom top-of-the-line tools are both an aid for the fine work that he does and part of the machinery by which he builds his reputation. He buys the best equipment, first, because it is best for a reason and, second, because his being able to afford it implies to prospects that previous clients have judged his work worthy of the tools and of the premium paid. Into that premium, he must build a physical demonstration of refined taste and the habitual care made evident by a pristine workshop.

But most of us spend our careers somewhere in between — in somewhat unpredictable environments. Our tools will have to be rushed from rainstorms, from time to time. They'll wind up in the hands of apprentices. They'll be thrown in the truck uncleaned after long, frigid days spent in a mad dash for deadlines, when the irresistible call of home overwhelms the professional habit of maintaining equipment.

The biggest factor behind the tools that one buys has got to be economics. High-end tools are a luxury, and most carpenters whom I've met buy the least expensive brands that they believe will accomplish the tasks for which they're intended. Tools that are too close to the low end will often have to be replaced before they've returned even their small value, partly because they're cheaply made and partly because they won't receive the care that more respectable brands command. Worse still, "homeowner" brands can be a matter of professional embarrassment.

The common practice, of course, is hardly so considered and deliberate. We carpenters buy from among the range of brands that are considered mainstream — Bosch, Makita, Hitachi, Milwaukee, DeWALT, Porter Cable — and make our specific decisions based on limited feature differences, sale price, battery compatibility, or just plain ol' brand loyalty.

Older carpenters emerge from their vans with heavy metal boxes containing tools that feel as if they hardly need any extra protection at all. They bring them to be serviced, or service them themselves, and for the extra effort and expense, the reward is a lifetime with the same saws, drivers, and shapers. The craftsman gains a comfort with and intimate knowledge of his arsenal, the tools carry an unmistakable authority, and local repair shops are able to stay in business.

Younger carpenters have grown up in an era of gadgets and rapid technological advancement. In the long view, high-tech devices are disposable, and nobody laments their loss too much because the latest editions that replace them are always able to do so much more for so much less. Construction tools are a different matter: Try as the big-name companies might to make their older products seem obsolete — adding lasers to miter saws and fancy self-lifting table saw stands — tried and true designs achieved decades ago promise to suffice for decades more. Still, consumers raised in the high-tech culture that has straddled the millennium find it natural that purchased items should be discarded every few years, even if the replacement is pretty much the same as that which it replaces.

There is a wise middle road, here, acknowledging (1) that a philosophy of tools depends on what kinds of carpenters we want to be, (2) that most of us don't figure that out before investing years in the trade, and (3) that tools can be very expensive. After about six months of working in construction full time, I began filling my nights and weekends with side jobs and using the profits to expand my collection. Thousands of dollars later, I had every tool necessary to build a house from start to finish.

I'd still be collecting... and borrowing... and struggling to use the wrong tool for the job in some instances had I not been taught to be practical about my purchases — to see tools as far less than sacred objects. Now, as my first tools fail from the abuse of having been used to train me, as much as to accomplish the tasks for which they were designed, I've a far better sense of what features (and dollar amounts) are appropriate for the work that I actually do.

More importantly, I've a better sense of what investments I'll have to make in order to move my career in the direction that I want to go. Years after my first clumsy cuts with a circular saw, I've learned that the path of disposable levels and deliberately mangled power tools is not the path that I wish to take. I've also discovered that the perfect shop is likely either to be the product of luck or a means of semi-retirement some decades away, several generations of midrange tools down the road.

September 17, 2010

Speaker Pelosi Yesterday: "If I were not in politics, I'd probably be in business"

Monique Chartier

Fred Thompson today:

If she weren't in politics, a LOT of people would be in business.

September 10, 2010

A Man's Passion

Justin Katz

The wife's at a work-related function. The kids are abed. In a moment of weakness, on the way home, today, I splurged on an autumn sampler of Sam Adams beer. So, let me tell you what's really got me excited: My newest tool.

In an uncharacteristic stroke of good luck, I won the flashiest of the door prizes at the Gary Katz Roadshow event (seminar? presentation?) on Wednesday — donated by the event's host, JT's Lumber: a 24" digital Stabila level.

As it happens, of all the various sizes of levels, a two-footer is the one of which I've the least need. A while back, I bought a regular ol' Stabila of that size, and my other levels (all of cheaper brands) have Xs across some of the vials to remind me that they're no longer accurate... at least accurate for the sort of carpenter who frets that gravity naturally prevents an actually straight line. As it also happens, I've specifically pshawed at this series of levels as I've passed them in the store. When you're upset at having to replace a $3 set of scribes (like an art-class compass, for those outside of the trade), a level nearing $200 looks awfully luxurious and unnecessary.

But upon playing with my new toy at home, I discovered what makes it very valuable, indeed: It doesn't just beep with increasing urgency as you near your level line: It tells you how many degrees from level you are, or alternately, how many inches off of level you are over the tool's length. That means pitch.

The day before I won the level, I'd had cause to build a box around a chimney that spanned the ridge of a house that I'm renovating. I knew the pitch of the roof instantly by my usual means: the fear method. Pitch is determined by the number of inches that the roof goes up for every foot that it goes across, so a four pitch roof rises only four inches for every twelve inches of run. You can play Frisbee on such a roof. A six pitch roof is eminently walkable, but you do well to hook your tools on something so they don't take the quick route to the ground. An eight pitch roof can begin to be frightening if you've nothing to grab (especially when it's still covered only in plywood), and a twelve-pitch roof begins to feel like a ramp by which James Bond villains expel people from their zeppelins.

While the fear method is adequate for such tasks as estimating square footage or (more importantly) impressing clients and bosses with your ability to call a pitch on "sight," it doesn't quite get you to the point of knowing what angle to put on your saw when making cuts. I'm sure more-expert (and less self-taught) carpenters than I have better ways of discerning that data, but for me, tasks of such exactitude have required measuring down from the end of a shaking and wobbling level, with the other end touching the roof, and working out some basic arithmetic on a piece of scrap lumber, remembering that saws and squares measure angles at the perpendicular.

My new level, though, will tell me precisely how many degrees it is off from perfectly level. And since saws and squares measure angles at the perpendicular — which means, for example, that an angle of 60-degrees on the protractor reads as 30-degrees on the saw, because zero degrees is actually 90-degrees relative to the edge of a board — the number on the level is exactly the saw setting for a plumb (or vertical) cut.

As if to emphasize my good fortune, on Thursday, I found myself having to install a long trim board to which to attach a handrail. In old practice, the carpenter will measure up to the same height from the edges of stairs at each end of the run, draw a line, and find the angle of the line. Alternately, he could find an average length of each tread (keeping in mind how much it overhands the stair below) and the average height of each step (or riser) and use a framing square to mark out the plumb and level cuts.

With the digital Stabila, things were remarkably easier. I just spanned my six-and-a-half-foot level along the stairs and put my digital level on top of it. The screen informed me that the angle was 43.4 degrees, and I pressed a button that made that the reference angle (the zero). I then held the two levels against the wall and worked them up and down until the beeping told me that I'd achieved the same angle, and I drew my line. The plumb cut at the top of the board, I already knew to be 43.4 degrees, and for the level cut at the bottom, I merely subtracted that from 90 degrees.

In general, I prefer old methods to newfangled, mostly because they allow me to think about the physics and geometry involved. Where most guys will grab a laser level to draw a line around a room, I much prefer a coffee can, a clear 3/8" tube, and a length of ferring to make a water level. Somehow, though, finding angles doesn't have the same ye olde feel; it just feels as if I'm taking too long to accomplish a basic task.

Now, it's simple. Of course, being a conservative, I'm prepared to lament, in advance, that future generations will not have experience with the frustrations and long considerations that bring me to my appreciation of the technology that they'll take for granted.

August 21, 2010

Scott Adams on the Travails of Building a Green House (... for people, not plants)

Monique Chartier

Courtesy the Wall Street Journal.

Let's say you love the Earth. You see an article in a magazine about a guy who built a "green" house using mostly twigs, pinecones and abandoned bird nests. You want to build a green home, too. So you find an architect, show him the magazine and say, "Give me one just like this." ...

August 11, 2010

Anime Take on the First Lady's Recent Vacation

Monique Chartier

Via Breitbart.

Taiwanese TV seems to really enjoy making these anime shorts based on political and cultural issues in the USA. Here is their latest offering.

August 7, 2010

In Case the Concept is Not Sufficiently Repulsing on its Face

Monique Chartier

Today, it's brains, tomorrow pierced tongues. Then the next day, pierced brains.

- Jane Lane

The following is highlighted as a probably mostly unneeded (for A.R. readers) public service message regarding the health hazards of a pierced tongue.

People with tongue piercings risk developing gaps between their front teeth as a result of playing with the stud, US researchers have found.

The University of Buffalo team says that, as well as potentially requiring cosmetic work, people can develop infections and chipped teeth. ...

The researchers said that people with tongue piercings were likely to push the metal stud up against their teeth and consequently cause gaps and other problems to arise.

July 27, 2010

Seriously, It Was a Republican in a Barney Frank Disguise, Right?

Monique Chartier

And then there are those wholly voluntary, real-life incidents more valuable to the opposition than a million dollars in negative ads. If only the congressman had shown one tenth the passion and resistance for the loss of billions of our dollars via Fannie and Freddie that he demonstrated for a single one of his own dollars.

Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank caused a scene when he demanded a $1 senior discount on his ferry fare to Fire Island's popular gay haunt, The Pines, last Friday. Frank was turned down by ticket clerks at the dock in Sayville because he didn't have the required Suffolk County Senior Citizens ID. A witness reports, "Frank made such a drama over the senior rate that I contemplated offering him the dollar to cool down the situation."

July 25, 2010

Looks Like Charlie Hall was In the Room When the Other Gov Candidates Got the Word

Monique Chartier


Courtesy Ocean State Follies

July 17, 2010

It Appears that Paris Hilton is a Pothead. Now Will You Think Better of Her??

Monique Chartier

For the second time in a month, suspicion of cannibis possession has caused Miss Hilton to be detained abroad. Unlike last month in South Africa (ahem, unless the substance and the attendant culpability were quickly and conveniently shifted away from the dilettante ... er, debutante as the South African gendarmerie approached), however, this incident turned up the real thing.

Paris Hilton was briefly detained in Corsica after sniffer dogs detected a "quite small" quantity of marijuana in her bag, a French newspaper reported Saturday.

Corse Matin newspaper said officers at the airport in Figari found about one gram's worth of marijuana. Hilton, who was transiting the French Mediterranean island in a private jet on Friday, was hauled in for questioning and released about 30 minutes later, the report said.

Setting aside the admittedly prejudicial revelation in the AP article that Miss Hilton posts on a website called "TwitLonger", doesn't knowledge of the young lady's relaxed, non-haute couture (alleged) hobby humanize her?

July 4, 2010

I Can't Take It Anymore! Just One Small Post About Al Gore

Monique Chartier

I've been trying to be good, really, I have, and leave commentary about this matter to others; mainly, various of my favorite disrespectful radio personalities.

But while catching up on Andrew Bolt's blog this afternoon (which I visit, let the record show, because it is informative, insightful and 99.9% POLITICAL) in the Herald Sun, naturally, as the former vice president is a political figure, I had to click on Bolt's post Friday about "taking it for the team" and the Portland police re-re-opening the investigation into the masseuse's allegations. And naturally, not wishing to be rude, I perused the comments. They included the following exchange.

Anthony of Ryde requests:

Can I suggest the Al Gore sex allegations stop been covered in this blog. They are unsubstianted allegations made by one person, which after been investigated by police were not pursued further. They are only be reopened because of media coverage. If it turns out there is truth to the allegations, this can be reported but until then they should be taken with a grain of salt.

To which ML replies:

Can I suggest the Al Gore sex global warming allegations stop been covered in this blog. They are unsubstianted allegations made by one person, which after been investigated by police professional, credible, honest scientists were not pursued further proven.

There. Fixed it for you.

June 19, 2010

At Last, Articulation of Etiquette for Cell Phones and I-Thingees

Monique Chartier

Further to my post about the inadvertent rudeness of modern technology, CNET's Jasmine France has put pen to paper ... er, electrons to screen and outlined some "Mobile Manners", starting with the date.

... I can't even begin to tell you how many stories I've read or heard regarding significant others' downright rude use of cell phones, so let's start with the cardinal rule: DON'T pick up your phone when you're out on a date. I don't care if you've been married to the person for 25 years--texting, gaming, surfing the Web, or otherwise engrossing yourself in your device while you're supposed to be enjoying a romantic evening with a real live human is completely unacceptable.

Yikes, this had to be specified??

Her list is fairly comprehensive and addresses the check-out situation I had witnessed at Whole Foods, one probably very familiar to most everyone,

On that same tip, DON'T talk on the phone while purchasing retail items or ordering food and drinks. Be polite to both the person serving you and the people behind you in line and end your call before you reach the counter.

as well as texting while walking down the street - that's a no-no because

We can all do without you running into us, and we'd hate to bear witness to tragedy when your distracted thumb-tapping causes you to meander out into traffic.

While Jasmine concludes with a crazy suggestion about occasionally leaving the device at home (let's not get carried away here), she has, without doubt, performed a major public service with the promulgation of these guidelines.

May 19, 2010

Yawn If You're Interested

Justin Katz

Just because it's interesting:

... According to psychologists and researchers who study such things, yawning has nothing to do with boredom, rudeness, or even fatigue. Quite the contrary. Yawning helps cool down our brains so they function better, explains Andrew Gallup, a researcher who specializes in yawning at New York's University of Binghamton.

"Our brains are like computers," says Gallup, who conducted yawning studies in 2007 with his father, Gordon, of the State University of New York at Albany. "They operate most efficiently when cool. Our research indicates that we yawn in response to increased brain or body temperature."

Apparently, we associate yawning with tiredness because our body temperature is highest just before and just after sleep, but in general, it just means that our brains are overheating and need a boost of cool air.

May 16, 2010

The Haka

Monique Chartier

No, that's not a NY/MA/RI mispronounciation of someone who breaks into your computer. It's the dance (ritual?), lasting about a minute, performed before each game by New Zealand's Rugby team, the All Blacks. It has its roots in a Maori dance tradition, battlefield and other.

There's actually a movement to ban the Haka, for reasons that seem pretty lame. A reference this morning by a travelling BBC World Service reporter led me to discover one enjoyable aspect of a sport that otherwise strikes me (forgive me, rugby aficionados) as eighty minutes of unmitigated, pointless violence.

May 9, 2010

Charlie Hall Checks out the Facebook Page of the C.F. Mayor ...

Monique Chartier


Courtesy Ocean State Follies, where we learn, by the way, that Charlie recently opened a gallery and gift shop in North Providence. In light of this week's events in North Providence, the question naturally arises: did you have to take care of somebody, Charlie, to get your gallery open??

May 1, 2010

As We Swing into Campaign 2010, Some Real Life Comportment "Don'ts" for the Candidate

Monique Chartier

How not to interact with a member of the public.

How not to interact with a member of the media. [Warning: language.]

And an oldie but a goodie in the spirit of bipartisanship: how not to interact with another dignitary.

April 29, 2010

Two Cows: A Contrast of Political and Economic Philosophies

Monique Chartier

One of those trouble makers in East Providence sent me this.

You have 2 cows.
You give one to your neighbor.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and gives you some milk.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and sells you some milk.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and shoots you.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away.

You have two cows.
You sell one and buy a bull.
Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.
You sell them and retire on the income.

You have two giraffes.
The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

You have two cows.
You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.
Later, you hire a consultant to analyze why the cow has dropped dead.

You have two cows.
You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.
The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company.
The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more.
You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows.
No balance sheet provided with the release.
The public then buys your bull.

You have two cows.
You go on strike, organize a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.

Continue reading "Two Cows: A Contrast of Political and Economic Philosophies"

April 26, 2010

"T" for Two? Mark Steyn Addresses Bill Clinton's Fatuous Criticism of the Tea Party

Monique Chartier

In Friday's Orange County Register.

Hence, Bill Clinton energetically on the stump, summoning all his elder statesman's dignity (please, no giggling) in the cause of comparing Tea Partiers to Timothy McVeigh. Oh, c'mon, they've got everything in common. They both want to reduce the size of government, the late Mr. McVeigh through the use of fertilizer bombs, the Tea Partiers through control of federal spending, but these are mere nuanced differences of means, not ends. Also, both "Tim" and "Tea" are three-letter words beginning with "T": Picture him upon your knee, just Tea for Tim and Tim for Tea, you're for him and he's for thee, completely interchangeable.

To lend the point more gravitas, President Clinton packed his reading glasses and affected his scholarly look, with the spectacles pushed down toward the end of his nose, as if he's trying to determine whether that's his 10 a.m. intern shuffling toward him across the broadloom or a rabid armadillo Al Gore brought along for the Earth Day photo op.

March 19, 2010

Announcing Anchor Rising's New Commenter Insurance Program

Marc Comtois

Anchor Rising is pleased to announce our new Commenter Insurance Program. Under this program:

1) All Anchor Rising commenters will be required to pay us $50/year for commenting rights. In return, they will be assured that any negative or boorish replies aimed at them will be edited and the offenders dealt with promptly. We will also reimburse you at an as-yet undetermined rate schedule (trust us).

2) Due to budgetary considerations, the benefits of this policy will not begin until 2014. Once we've received four years worth of fees, we will then cover you for the next 6 years. That will allow us to cover the up-front costs of implementing this program (see #5 below).

3) We guarantee that commenters with pre-existing commenting problems--poor grammar, inability to punctuate properly, lack of coherent thought process--will be allowed. Additionally, if a commenter treats another commenter badly, we will overlook this as per our non-discriminatory policy that requires us to accept and continue to insure anyone no matter what.

4) No.3 does not conflict with elements--implied or otherwise--of No.1. Really.

5) To get this approved by all members of the AR team, the following concessions had to be made (as alluded to in #2)*:
a) Justin will receive $150 worth of carpentry tools and we will subsidize the first year run of his new quarterly magazine The Conservative Carpenter.
b) We've fully funded Andrew's software needs and also gotten him access to the basement files of the State House records so that he can take his wonkishness to a new level.
c) We've replaced several paperback editions of books in Don's conservative library with first editions.
d) We've subsidized Monique's fuel costs so she can continue to criss-cross the state to endure attend various RI GOP functions.
e) We've guaranteed Mac an all-access pass to every Jazz club in the state.
f) I've received season tickets (box seats) to the PawSox.

*Please note that, to coin a phrase, this is just how "you get things done" in such matters.

6) We will take suggestions for ways to improve our program. If we deem them worthy, we'll pass them around and reconcile it later.

7) We reserve the right to charge more or reduce benefits as we see fit.

8) Finally, we hope our commenters will understand that we do this for their own good. We know best what is good for you.

That is all.

March 8, 2010

The Difference an Article Makes

Justin Katz

I'm not going to delve into the subject matter, right now, preferring to save it for another day, but I got a chuckle out of two citations of Anchor Rising related to the same story in different articles. From Ed Fitzpatrick's Sunday column:

And the day after the rally, Lynch's campaign manager questioned Caprio's support for same-sex marriage, citing comments Caprio made in 2009 to the conservative blog Anchor Rising.

And here's a post from the Projo's politics blog, which also appeared in the Political Scene in today's print edition:

Joel Coon, campaign manager for Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch, points to a January 2009 Caprio interview with a blog called Anchor Rising, in which Caprio says with reference to same-sex marriage that while he does not believe in imposing his views on others, his beliefs are consistent with those of the Catholic Church.

Presumably, Randal Edgar, who penned the post, now knows about us and will feel justified in calling Anchor Rising a "the," rather than just some strange entity out there in the blogosphere.

March 5, 2010

Friday Diversion

Marc Comtois

Hold Your Horses! is a French band that apparently includes a few American kids (the progeny of diplomats I read somewhere), so they sing in English (at least what I've heard). I'd put them roughly in the same artistic corner as that inhabited by locals The Low Anthem with maybe a little of The Polyphonic Spree thrown in. Anyway, HYH! has gone viral with this neat video to their song "70 million", which is a campy pastiche of the band members recreating various paintings (here's a list of them), with the men taking a lot of the female roles.

70 Million by Hold Your Horses ! from L'Ogre on Vimeo.

I've now fulfilled by high-culture quota for this month.

February 16, 2010

Asserting Humanity by Little Steps (Literally)

Justin Katz

Even apart from the political point, Mark Steyn's most recent last-page essay for National Review is worth a read for the scene that the anecdote presents.

February 14, 2010

"Touching Base" "Outside the Box" and Other Office Irritations

Monique Chartier

Actually, the Reuters list via Yahoo News is broken down into Top Ten Annoyances and Top Ten Annoying Phrases.

What surprised me about the biggest office annoyance

1. Grumpy or moody colleagues (37 percent)

is that it didn't also include perky or cheerful collegues. In fact, such people don't appear to have made the list at all. Were the grumpy people just too grumpy to speak up when the surveyor called?

And my favorite part: most annoying phrases. Top five below.

1. Thinking outside the box (21 percent)

2. Let's touch base (20)

3. Blue sky thinking (19)

4. Blamestorming (16) (sitting down and working out whose fault something is)

5. Drill down to a more granular level (15) (Look into something in more detail)

(Another omission: how did "Shift the paradigm" get left off entirely?)

February 12, 2010

How Could I Not Chime in on a Tool Discussion?

Justin Katz

Glenn Reynolds promoted a Milwaukee Sawzall, this morning, and late on a Friday, I couldn't do otherwise than offer some notes.

The Milwaukee version of this tool is a satisfying piece of equipment, but the brand isn't but so important, in this subcategory. (I own a Porter Cable Tiger Saw.) There are a couple of notes worth making on all such saws, though:

  1. This is not a finish tool. One of Glenn's correspondents mentions using his sawzall to cut rusted bolts on a toilet seat. That's more daring of a maneuver than it has to be. Any time you need to cut anything near finished surfaces — especially with brittle substances like ceramics — you're better off with some form of circular blade than a reciprocating one. In the case of bolts, and metal in general, it's useful to own a grinder with a couple of metal-cutting discs. You can get a good grinder for much less than you can get a good sawzall; they're smaller to store and to use; and they're better for most of the non-wood applications for which people typically attempt to use sawzalls.
  2. Let the blade do the work. Sawzall blades tend to be relatively inexpensive, and in one of those chicken/egg scenarios, they tend to wear out quickly. The key in all circumstances is to put minimal additional pressure, beyond the weight of the tool, on the saw while cutting. I've cut a 12" high steel I-beam with a decent sawzall blade, and I've also worn out decent sawzall blades on thin metal pipes because I was impatient.
  3. The position of the blade matters. Most sawzalls allow reversal of the blade in the shaft, and for some reason that I've yet to figure out, it does make a difference. Installing the blade downward (teeth on the same side as the trigger) makes for faster, more aggressive cuts, but installing the blade upward typically permits more control.

As an aside, though, I'd like to correct another of Glenn's correspondents, who called the sawzall the "most useful tool ever invented." Assuming we're putting aside obvious victors, like wheels and hammers and screwdrivers and chisels and such, and focusing on more modern power tools, the most useful of the bunch, by far, is the Rotozip. It takes some practice to control them, and they're not ideal for every job (of course), but once mastered, they're the closest thing to being able to look at something and cut it with your eyes.

February 7, 2010

Dave Barry Offers a Frank Assessment of the Host City of today's "Big Game"

Monique Chartier

Courtesy the Miami Herald.

... Miami has been hosting Super Bowls for more than 150 years, and in all that time no harm has ever come to a visitor who didn't do something stupid such as venture outside the hotel. So have fun! Here are some tips to help you make the most of your visit:


Miami has an extensive mass-transit system. Unfortunately, it doesn't go anywhere you need to go, and it sometimes has sharks on it. (You think I'm kidding.) ...

Apparently, there were some objections to his exceedingly honest column. In response, he has written a full retraction, inclusive of a description of game day security measures (which are probably not accurate) and an evaluation of the competency of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano (which probably is).

January 30, 2010

Life as a Preparation for Writing

Justin Katz

The non-political aspect of this advice from Mark Steyn is well worth heeding by anybody with an interest in writing:

Whenever aspiring writers ask me for advice, I usually tell 'em this:

Don't just write there, do something. Learn how to shingle a roof, or tap-dance, or raise sled dogs. Because if you don't do anything, you wind up like Obama and Fineman — men for whom words are props and codes and metaphors but no longer expressive of anything real.

Of course the politicized insight is worth considering, too.

January 22, 2010

The President's New Initiative

Justin Katz

Admit it... we've all known this announcement was coming:

[Press Secretary] ROBERT GIBBS: Tonight at 9 P.M. Eastern time, President Obama will declare a War on Reality. He will call on all branches of government and volunteer organizations to stand together and fight against reality in all of its forms. ...

Q: Turning to the economy, it seems that the trillion-dollar stimulus package passed last year has been a failure. Even using your own White House yardstick of unemployment. Are you contemplating another stimulus?

ROBERT GIBBS: Yes. Of course. The president believes along with his economic team that another round of stimulus spending is crucial.

Q: But isn't that just throwing good money after bad?

ROBERT GIBBS: No, Wendell, it's not. As part of the president's comprehensive War on Reality, our view is that the first stimulus package worked perfectly.

January 19, 2010

Charlie Hall Passes Along an Admonishment from the President ...

Monique Chartier


Courtesy the Ocean State Follies.

January 15, 2010

Pants on the Ground

Marc Comtois

Joe the Plumber....Rick Santelli...."General" Larry Platt? There's something about wannabe American Idol auditioner Larry Platt's song "Pants on the Ground" that is striking a chord.


Pants on the ground
Pants on the ground
Lookin’ like a fool with your pants on the ground

With the gold in your mouth
Hat turned sideways
Pants hit the ground
Call yourself a cool cat
Lookin’ like a fool
Walkin’ downtown with your pants on the ground

Get it up, hey!
Get your pants off the ground
Lookin’ like a fool
Walkin’ talkin’ with your pants on the ground.

Get it up, hey!
Get your pants off the ground
Lookin’ like a fool with your pants on the ground

Funny, yes, but the General's joyful earnestness seems to be resonating with the American public. Both Joe the Plumber and Rick Santelli amplified the economic concerns of average Americans. Could the "General's" simple song do something similar for the cultural concerns of average Americans? Well, that's one way to think about it. Maybe it's just a whimsical opportunity for many of us to have a good-natured "Get off of my lawn!" moment....

January 14, 2010

Doughnut Capital of the World!!

Marc Comtois

Hey, we're number 1!!!!

A recent study by the market-research firm NPD Group Inc. found that the Providence metropolitan area has more doughnut shops per capita than any other region in the Untied States.

NPD said the Providence-Fall River-New Bedford area has 25.3 doughnut shops per 100,000 people. The Boston area ranked second, with 20.4 shops per 100,000 people.

The news should come as no surprise for diehard doughnut lovers, who may remember when NPD delivered the same news five years ago. But the new survey, conducted last fall, confirmed that Rhode Island is a mecca for those bundles of dough – or perhaps the coffee that goes with them.

The top 10 list confirmed the doughnut’s central place in Northeastern cuisine.

After Providence and Boston came the Hartford-New Haven area (16.7 doughnut shops per 100,000 people); Portland, Maine (14); Springfield, Mass. (12.9); Buffalo, N.Y. (10.8); Presque, Maine (10.8); Bangor, Maine (10.5); Albany, N.Y. (9.9); and Rochester, N.Y. (9.8). NPD compiled the list at the request of Providence Business News.

News of the updated list comes as Honey Dew Donuts Inc. prepares to expand its operations in New England. In Rhode Island, the company competes for coffee dollars with other players such as Dunkin’ Donuts, Tim Hortons Inc., Starbucks Corp. and McDonald’s Corp.

Is it the doughnuts or the coffee?

December 24, 2009

Tracking the Man in Red

Marc Comtois

Well, he's already started Down Under (gee, those kids are lucky)! Norad is tracking Santa like they do every year (they've even managed to capture some video!) and St. Nick is working his way around the South Pacific right now. He must be hot in that suit!

December 13, 2009

Dating Tips for the Ladies

Monique Chartier

... circa 1938. H/T Dave Barry.

Here are the first two tips, sans the illustrative photographs - again, circa 1938 - that accompany each tip.

DO YOUR DRESSING in your boudoir to keep your allure. Be ready to go when date arrives; don't keep him waiting. Greet him with a smile!

MEN DON'T LIKE girls who borrow their handkerchief and smudge them with lipstick. Makeup in privacy, not where he sees you.

December 5, 2009

Ordering: A Case of Ginkgo Biloba for the Junior Senator from Rhode Island, Please

Monique Chartier

The term "Bushitler" and assorted variations were a staple of the two terms of the forty third President of the United States. (Possibly the fact that he had the temerity to win a second term fueled its usage.)

Yet in a recording at an unidentified venue, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse purports not to have seen or heard any of this. [Thanks to Will Ricci over at Ocean State Republican for the e-mail tip.]

For example, the president portrayed with a Hitler moustache. I don't recall for eight years President Bush ever being portrayed with a Hitler mustache. Poor President Obama comes in and within his first months, people are running around America, portraying him with a Hitler mustache, because we want to reform health care.

You scoff and possibly snort in disbelief. Ah, not so quickly. Such a statement gains considerable credibility when we remember that they never were able to repair the media feed from Earth to Planet Voomax, which is clearly where Senator Whitehouse spent the eight years of the Bush presidency.

There, now. Don't you feel a little silly for doubting?

December 3, 2009

Random Mutterings

Marc Comtois

Having some kind of head cold nastiness for the better part of a week has left me more befuddled than usual and less able to focus thanks to various apothecary concoctions. Here's what I've been muttering about....

Apparently, Gen. Treasurer Frank Caprio is going to campaign as a right-of-center progressive.

Tiger Woods has garnered a reputation for being in the 99 9/10th percentile when it comes to mental toughness and discipline. It looks like that only extends to his golf game.

Latino leaders calling for a census boycott are only going to end up short-changing themselves and their people. Some think that's a good thing.

Seeing it through in Afghanistan means more troops, according to the experts (Generals). President Obama did the right thing in following their advice, if not exactly. But it is obvious that his heart isn't in it and that ennui is dangerous if translated down the chain of command.

Seeing sleeping cadets/midshipmen at a mid-evening speech by a politician is totally unsurprising to anyone who attended such an institution. Long days full of physical and mental strain cause the body to shutdown when it can. It's only a surprise that more weren't snoozing. The fault lay with the media for focusing on the slumbering in an attempt to convey...what, exactly? That cadets don't respect the CinC? Or that he's boring them? Not sure why they did it, but it was wrong.

Looks like the Patriots are in a rebuilding year. That used to mean a losing season or two; now it's just an early bow-out of the playoffs. I'll take it.

I like visiting other branches of the family for Thanksgiving. But I miss the leftovers.

When did regular exercise start meaning a constant battle against wear and tear injuries? Plantar fasciitis sucks.

It seems hard for a member of the Gen X vanguard like myself to find good music by new artists.

And when did the music of the '80s become oldies?

I think the last two items are related.

Thank God for Nyquil.

Finally, my science-degreed sister (medical technology) had the best Climategate-inspired line of the season: "I could totally prove the existence of Santa Claus, but I seemed to have lost the raw data, so you're just going to have to trust me."

November 29, 2009

Some Helpful "Don't's" for the Holiday Season (and Throughout the Year)

Monique Chartier

What not to bring grocery shopping. [Side note: regrettably, due to England's onerous laws regulating the movement of livestock, it will be six days before the "victim" is reunited with his flock.]

How not to effectuate a get-away should your holiday cash flow necessitate the mugging of an armored car driver.

What not to buy as a gift for that "special" female in your life (even in jest).

What not to say to airport security, no matter how tight the logic may seem. [H/T Dave Barry.]

November 26, 2009

Charlie Hall Stopped by the State House Yesterday ...

Monique Chartier

Courtesy the Hummel Report Ocean State Follies.


November 23, 2009

SNL Parodies Obama's "Wimpy Economics"

Marc Comtois

Saturday Night Live's most recent parody of President Obama (he's finally fair-game, apparently) calls attention to his "Wimpy Economics"--pay now, and we promise you'll receive later. Right.

“I am noticing that each of your plans to save money involves spending even more money.”

Health care "reform" is but the latest example--cuts and taxes will kick in immediately while benefits will start in 2013, for instance. And the promised savings are dubious anyway. For instance, the plan actually shifts Medicare costs onto the states, forcing them to deal with finding additional revenue (tax increases?) to handle the additional burden mandated by the federal health care "reform" plan.

November 20, 2009

The Students Who Say "Meep"

Monique Chartier

A serious level of absurdity has been reached when a real life incident evokes a scene from Python.

H/T Michael Graham, who points out today that an assistant principal at Danvers High School has unsmilingly attempted to extend the fun outside of the school.

November 15, 2009

To Fans of the Original Mercedes Gullwing

Monique Chartier

... who are now sputtering, as I did, that the latest addition to the Mercedes Benz line will require us to tack on a modifier (i.e., "original") when referencing that marvelous vehicle, Dan Neil of the Los Angeles Times offers a little salve inasmuch as he could not keep out of his review of the 2011 SLS AMG Gullwing an accurate - and therefore flattering - look at the 300 SL Gullwing. (Aficionados of the older Aston Martin are specifically advised not to click on the link.)

Semi related item: Birdman of Alcatraz Birdbrain of Texas

November 13, 2009

An Autumn Game

Justin Katz

Oh, happy day! It's been a rough week on a number of fronts, but not only have we made it to Friday, but Ferry Halim has a new game up on his Orisinal site, which is a more rare occurrence than it ought to be.

"Drifting Afternoon," the new game, doesn't have the addictive gameplay of "Winterbells" or "Monkeyslide," and it doesn't have the clear, achievable end that awaits in "High Delivery," "The Runaway Train," "The Bottom of the Sea," or "The Amazing Dare-Dozen," but it's certainly got Halim's trademark sensibility — soothing and somehow meaningful.

October 31, 2009

Trick or Treat Traffic Report: South Kingstown is Off

Monique Chartier

Just back from spending Halloween evening at the best decorated yard and front walk in South County. (Scary branches with lanterns, floating heads, cob webs, lighted jack-o-lanterns, chattering skeletons, organ music, spooky fog, "real" zombies grabbing at ankles as the young guests select candy.) The hostess shook her head throughout the evening at the dearth of trick-or-treaters compared to last year, a trend confirmed by a tween trick-or-treater who stopped by after making the round of the neighborhood and reported "90% fewer kids" over last year.

Was this paralleled around the state (hopefully not)? We speculated about the cause and came to the tentative conclusion that (sigh) fear of H1N1 may have kept people home this year.

October 23, 2009

A Gadget for the Times

Monique Chartier

Several years ago, in the course of antique/curio shopping, I picked up a coin counter. (Note that despite its slightly old fashioned look and manual operation, the attendant zero carbon emissions makes it environmentally au courant.)

Last night, I pulled it out, along with a couple of containers of coins, and began absent-mindly dividing, loading and rolling. (This is not to say that the economic policies of the current presidential administration have placed me in financial straits necessitating a dip into coin assets. That is presumably still to come as the Pay Czar gets around to identifying, one by one, the financial connection of every job in America to the federal government, thus establishing his right to set the salary cap thereof.)

Only several rolls later did I turn the base around and noticed the phrase along the bottom ...


October 19, 2009

The Sweet Irony of Bumper Stickers

Justin Katz

Driving into Providence for a photo shoot in the rain, yesterday, I parked next to the statehouse. Through the streaks in my windshield, when I climbed back into the van, I spotted this antiquated bumper sticker:


The anti-Bush and anti-Republican stickers that also scarred the vehicle confirmed which regime the driver intended, but for a moment, I had to chuckle.

September 22, 2009

Joe Biden's Blueprint to Derail the Agenda of the Obama Adminstration

Monique Chartier

Um, sir, aren't you ... well, second in command?

[H/T the Ocean State Republican which, at long last, is back on line.]

We are sure that didn’t mean it to come out like a paragraph from a Republican National Committee fundraising letter, but...
Vice President Joe Biden said today that if Democrats were to lose 35 House seats they currently hold in traditionally Republican districts, it would mean doomsday for President Obama’s agenda.

Biden said Republicans are pinning their political strategy on flipping these seats.
“If they take them back, this the end of the road for what Barack and I are trying to do,” the vice president said at a fundraiser for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) today in Greenville, Delaware…

Biden said these House seats are Republicans “one shot” at breaking the Obama administration’s agenda. But if Democrats can hold on to those seats, “the dam is going to break,” he said, and a new era of bipartisanship will begin.

September 17, 2009

GQ Ranks Brown U #1 in.....

Marc Comtois

...well, in this case, I'll let GQ explain (warning: impolite terminology ahead):

The question isn't whether you're a douche bag when you go to college. We were all kind of douche bags when we went to college, if we're going to be honest about it. No, the question for America's youth is: What kind of douche bag do you aspire to be? Like, Where can you go if you want to major in Jet Skiing? How about if you're a trust-fund type but are embarrassed about it? What if you want to lord your intelligence over people for the rest of your life, in the form of a bumper sticker? Picking the right school can be daunting. That's why GQ offers up its heavily researched, possibly stereotypey, but still accurate guide. (Hint: If you're an alum of an Ivy League school in Providence, Rhode Island, get ready to cancel your subscription!)
OK, so, why is Brown #1:

Home of: The "Peace Sign on My Mom's 7 Series" Douche
Affectations: A belief that grades, majors, and course requirements are just another form of cultural hegemony; using the word hegemony.
In ten years, will be: Living with your family in an old house that you quit your job to refurbish yourself (by overseeing a contractor) with painstaking historical accuracy in a formerly decaying section of the city that's recently been reclaimed by a small population of white guys in hand-painted T-shirts who are helping you put together a health care fund-raiser for MoveOn.org.
Douchiest course offering: English 200: On Vampires and Violent Vixens: Making the Monster Through Discourses of Gender and Sexuality.
Honorable-mention limousine-liberal institutions: Duke, Reed, Oberlin, Wesleyan, Bard, RISD.
Nice honorable mention by RISD, too!

September 13, 2009

What Rhode Islanders Should Fear

Justin Katz

Here's a Dilbert cartoon from July that certain segments of Rhode Island society should consider:


September 6, 2009

Health News You Can Abuse

Monique Chartier

Buy blueberry futures. (... or do we sell short now that the news has hit the headlines?)

Feeling lazy and stupid? (Hey! Put down the remote, come to the computer and pay attention.) Possibly you've been indulging at the State Fair of Texas.

Not such Smart Choices? Looks like the new food labeling campaign has a serious (Froot) loophole.

Revenge of the social drinker:

At weigh in.

Is the cure worse than the disease?

Be still, my heart.

This one I don't get.

And for those who wish to disregard Justin's sensible advice and obsess in a GPS sort of way about H1N1, iPhone has a (non)killer app for you.

August 17, 2009

White House Shuts Down Snitch Line

Monique Chartier

So we can no longer drop dimes?

After the White House took heat for asking people to report "fishy" information about health care reform, the e-mail address set up for that purpose became inactive Monday.

It's unclear whether the White House pulled the plug on the controversial account, flag@whitehouse.gov, or whether there is a bug in the system.

But the error message that shows up indicates it is a permanent change.

"The email address you just sent a message to is no longer in service," the message says. "We are now accepting your feedback about health insurance reform via: http://www.whitehouse.gov/realitycheck."

But wait! All is not lost. As long as you inform the snitchee ...

Through the "reality check" site, set up last week to address what the White House said were health care reform rumors, the White House is still asking people to send in their "myths" on health care. But that site now includes a warning that says, "please refrain from submitting any individual's personal information, including their e-mail address, without their permission."

August 10, 2009

Hillary Diplomatically Educates a Congolese Student

Monique Chartier

... or possibly an erroneous translator. Thanks to the BBC News/Americas for the heads up that sent me to this YouTube flash of insecurity on the part of our Secretary of State.

August 7, 2009

Putting the Politics to Music

Justin Katz

As a production of serious musicianship, Kathleen Stewart's lyrics are heavy-handed and the music programmed and canned, but for a few moments of light entertainment, she does evoke some chuckles. I particularly liked "Dumbing Down Our Youth":

Preparing kids for failure on the job.
Preparing kids to join the clueless mob.
They'll yield to the state,
'Cuz sheep will never debate.
We gotta help our children learn.
Before the point of no return.

Dumbing down our youth.
You know I'm tellin' the truth.
Instead of education.
Dumbing down our youth.
You know I'm tellin' the truth.
Instead of education.

We should take up a collection to bribe the DJ to play this song at the next Winter Solstice party of the National Education Association Rhode Island. I'm sure Crowley does an impeccable Carmen Miranda.

August 2, 2009

... Did She Move to Rhode Island after Graduating?

Monique Chartier

From the UPI.

A 27-year-old Monroe College graduate is suing the New York school, contending it has done little to help her find a job.

Trina Thompson, who graduated in April with a bachelor's degree, alleges in a Bronx Supreme Court lawsuit that she did not receive adequate employment leads and advice from the school's office of career advancement, the New York Post reported Sunday.

"They have not tried hard enough to help me," the information technology degree graduate alleges in the July 24 suit.

Actually, as I recall, the procedure was to put in a thousand applications, do a thousand interviews, distribute a thousand resumes. Those of us who were not sufficiently motivated or energetic at least had the sense to either keep our mouths shut or limit our whining to a very small group of family or friends. Who knew about Option #3?!

July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

Carroll Andrew Morse

July 2, 2009

One Man Rock Band

Marc Comtois

Gee whiz...what coordination....

'Course, 'Rock Band' ain't music. (Using cranky old man voice) Back in my day, it took hours and hours to learn how to play an instrument, much less multiple instruments. Kids these days!Oh....like this guy?

June 30, 2009

Attention, Boaters

Monique Chartier

A cautionary photo courtesy Dave Barry.


June 15, 2009

Ahhh, The Good Ol' Days

Marc Comtois

In preparation for Father's Day, and homage to what once was....


(Submitted with tongue firmly in cheek....honest!). More old-fashioned stuff HERE.

June 5, 2009

Behind Every Wonk Is a Story

Justin Katz

My closest friend during my fresh-from-high-school year at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh was a small-venue professional wrestler. (Were I inclined to categorize it as a sport, rather than a form of performance, I'd have characterized him as a player in the minor league.) He and his twin brother were a bad-guy tag team of sufficient success to figure prominently in a small budget movie with a wrestling theme. As it happens, he also works closely with the director of a famous B horror movie franchise who was related to his long-time girlfriend.

Some people are attracted to exotic activities out of a need to assert their own differentness, but I think it is most often the case that talents and interests tumble with circumstances to bring some of us — the fortunate among us, in my book — to unique experiences. What could possibly possess a graduate from a top-notch college like CMU to overnight on a field in rural Pennsylvania with a film crew and a bunch of people made up as zombies? Well, the fact that it's cool!

I have a similar reaction to the fact that local left-wing wonk Tom Sgouros was a circus performer before he became a researcher and pundit:

About 20 years ago, when I was earning my keep as a rope-walker and fire-eater, I prevailed on Roger, an old-time circus performer who wintered in Fall River, to give me a lesson in rigging. Roger was a cool guy, and performed atop a 120-foot sway pole that wobbled back and forth while he did handstands and the like way up there. Circus performers all do their own rigging -- because who else would you trust? -- and he turned out to be as expert as any long-term survivor of a career like that.

I went over to his place one day, and Roger showed me the sequined capes and clogs he made his entrance with. I seem to remember a chimpanzee costume, too, though I can't remember how that fit in.

I'd love to know how Mr. Sgouros found his way from (as it were) the kindergarten classroom to the workshop of that high-stakes pole dancer and would find of even more interest the route from fire-eater to rhetorician. Unfortunately, the path that leads to the exotic activity of right-wing opinionating tends to make one an outcast among outsiders, and in conversation, things like the Economic Death and Dismemberment Act seem usually to get in the way. One becomes the noun in the phrase "fraternizing with the enemy."

Whatever the case, you won't find me looking to peculiar backgrounds for a dirty blow in debate. What perspective the tightrope walker — like the wrestler balancing on a turnbuckle — must gain up there! One wonders whether the affinity for ghouls is related or merely coincidental...

June 4, 2009

Not for Nuthin', But the Pizza's Good!

Marc Comtois

According to GQ, Rhode Island can lay claim to 2 of the 25 best pizza's in the U S of A (hat tip ProJo). Number 5 overall was the Spinach-and-Mushroom Pizza at Bobby and Timmy's while #18 was the Grilled Pizza with Roasted Eggplant at Al Forno. Overall, Providence ranked #5 on the list of Top Ten Pizza Cities. The writer, Alan Richman, encountered his share of annoyances along the way:

Overaccessorizing was far from the worst problem I encountered. There is a dark side to the triumph of the American pie.

Pizza has become the gourmet food of the recession, and the men who create these pies consider themselves artists—narcissistic, reclusive artists, at that. I’ve told you about Margherita DOC. These eccentrics specialize in Pizza OCD, bringing obsessive-compulsive disorders to the once simple business of making pies.

They often refuse to take reservations, thus guaranteeing themselves long lines of worshippers. Their primary weirdness, however, is preparing not quite enough dough for the day ahead so they might turn away the last few desperate customers. Even if they are doing this to ensure freshness, as they claim, they could rely on a practice perfected in modern times that would enable them to never run out of dough—it’s known as refrigeration. Or they could prepare more than enough, but that would create the possibility that a ball or two of the dough that they love more than their customers would have to be thrown out.

These guys find multiple ways of being annoying. At Pizzeria Bianco, a friend and I ordered four pies that we shared with the people who had stood in line with us for more than an hour. Still hungry, I tried to order a fifth, but I was cut off like a roaring drunk in an American Legion hall, told that I had reached my limit. At a pizzeria (I do not recommend) in Chicago, I was informed when I called that I had to order ahead of time, although there is no menu on the restaurant Web site and the lady on the telephone refused to tell me what pies were available. Pizzerias now inhabit a space once occupied by snooty French restaurants, and they are smug, too. One pizzeria in Brooklyn (I do not recommend) lets you know that its pork is sustainable, its beef grass-fed, its eggs organic, and its grease converted into biofuel. (If only as much attention had been given to crusts.)

Note that #2 on his list was a "plain pie" (sauce, cheese and a little basil) made in Brooklyn. When done right, a simple pie can still be the best.

June 1, 2009

'Family' is Goode

Marc Comtois

I've been traveling for the last couple weeks, and last Wednesday while doing some work holed up in my hotel room, I stumbled on "The Goode Family". It made me chuckle quite a few times. As described in today's ProJo:

Though it will no doubt be labeled right-wing agitprop by some of its trashed targets, The Goode Family is not really conservative, but something closer to the barbed libertarianism of South Park. What the show is really mocking is groupthink conformity — some of the funniest bits in the opening episode concern the creepy sexual-abstinence group, where teenage girls “marry” their fathers.

But when ridiculing conformity these days in Hollywood, where late-night comics are afraid to tell Obama jokes, most of your targets will necessarily be left of center. And The Goode Family is fearless in firing at them. When Gerald, a college administrator, tells his boss his department needs more funding to improve the percentage of minority employees, the boss replies: “Or we could just fire three white guys. Everybody wins!”

There were many, may one-liners that were laugh-out-loud funny. But the fun poked at the broader mindset--the PC assumptions; the struggle to BE PC, and basically that no idea coming from "the other" could be good (and that goes both ways)--was spot on. The show is the work of Mike Judge, who sent up Texas rednecks in King of the Hill and, before that, slacker headbangers in Beavis and Butthead. I'm not sure if the Goode family will make it, times as they are, but it is worth a watch. (Btw, you can see it online here).

May 23, 2009

Dave Barry's "Commencement Address"

Monique Chartier

In the season of graduation, his column from 2004 doesn't so much contain advice as, perhaps, hold up a mirror to the graduating "audience".

This is your big day -- the day when you jam four years' worth of unlaundered underwear into a Hefty bag and leave college, prepared by your professors to go out into the Real World. The first thing you'll notice is that your professors did not go out there with you. They're not stupid; that's why they're professors. They've figured out that college is a carefree place where the most serious real problem is finding a legal parking space. So your professors are going to stay in college until they die. Even then, they'll go right on teaching classes. This is called ''tenure.'' But you have committed the grave tactical blunder of acquiring enough credits to graduate. So now you're leaving college and embarking upon the greatest adventure -- and the biggest challenge -- of your young lives: moving back in with your parents.

Decades ago, when I graduated from college, my friends and I would rather have undergone a vasectomy with a fondue fork than move back in with our parents. But times have changed, and today many graduates don't want to go straight from college into a harsh and unforgiving world fraught with unbearable hardships, such as no free high-speed Internet. And so many of you will return home, hand your Hefty bag to Mom for processing, and move back into your old room, which is filled with your childhood memories, not to mention the faint aroma of gerbil doots.

Is this a bad thing? Does the fact that you, a grown adult, are moving back in with your parents mean that you're a sponging loser?

Yes. You are SpongeBob LoserPants.

No! Sorry! I mean: No. It's fine! Your parents don't mind! They're thrilled to have you back home! Even from way up here on the podium, I can hear their teeth grinding with joy. ...

May 19, 2009

Stumbling Is Human, and Honest

Justin Katz

Have you ever thought that somebody suspected you of something, and as you offered a relevant explanation, you found yourself drifting into tangents and having to amend things that you'd just said and thought, "he's going to think I'm lying"? Well, research suggests that what appears to be poor lying skills may be the natural expression of honesty:

Kevin Colwell, a psychologist at Southern Connecticut State University, has advised police departments, Pentagon officials and child protection workers, who need to check the veracity of conflicting accounts from parents and children. He says that people concocting a story prepare a script that is tight and lacking in detail.

"It's like when your mom busted you as a kid, and you made really obvious mistakes," Dr. Colwell said. "Well, now you're working to avoid those."

By contrast, people telling the truth have no script, and tend to recall more extraneous details and may even make mistakes. They are sloppier.

May 15, 2009

Friday Afternoon Kudos

Justin Katz

Well into the night last night, early this morning, during my morning 15 minutes, and now at lunch, I've been working on something with the potential to blossom into a pretty big deal, so my stack of topics to address has been growing rather than shrinking.

But the sun's coming out, and it's Friday afternoon, so it may be the perfect time to note a good article in the Sakonnet Times on our friend Matt Allen. The print edition has a short Q&A that doesn't appear to be online, and given our different shades of conservatism, I found this exchange particularly interesting:

Have you ever changed your opinion on a particular subject after hearing from listeners? "Sure. I've gained more respect for people of faith more than anything. I used to think of religion as divisive and archaic and man-made. As you get older you realize how not in control you are of things. If I was ever in a foxhole and I needed somebody to back me up, I'd want somebody of faith sitting next to me because they believe in something bigger than themselves and being accountable to something else."

The rest of the questions are worth reading, as well, if you can get your hands on a copy without making that long, long trip across the state.

April 28, 2009

Not How It's Supposed to Work

Justin Katz

One bullet stuck out in Mark Patinkin's latest scattered-thoughts column:

It doesn't work to seek your kids' sympathy by saying you had a harder day than they did, because as far as they're concerned, you're supposed to.

So true is this that it's typically a mistake to do the hardship tit-for-tat with one's children. Better to turn the emphasis around to encourage in them such fortitude as you display every day as an adult.

If anybody figures out how to do that, please let me know.

April 17, 2009

Raffle Behalf Hillary Clinton: Anything but the Grand Prize, Please

Monique Chartier

From the BBC News.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is offering the chance to spend a day with her husband Bill in exchange for help paying off her campaign debt.

The offer was sent to supporters of Mrs Clinton in an e-mail from her former campaign manager, James Carville.

Mrs Clinton owes $2.3m (£1.5m)from her run for the Democratic Party nomination for the presidency last year.

For a $5 donation, supporters enter a draw for several prizes including a day with the former US president.

The other prizes are tickets to the season finale of the hit US talent show American Idol and lunch in Washington with Mr Carville - a long-time Democratic strategist.

March 28, 2009

Observing Earth Hour - Global Warming Climate Change Style

Monique Chartier

Tonight from 8:30 - 9:30 local time has been designated as Earth Hour.


I myself will participate in Earth Hour but in the manner of AGW advocates. By this philosophy, one is permitted to freely substitute crucial elements of a concept ("climate change" for "global warming", for example) and still assert in all solemnity that the concept has remained intact.

Accordingly, Earth Hour will take place in my house tonight from 1:30 am - 2:30 am. (Sorry, the night light has to stay on.)

Music Literacy on a Saturday

Justin Katz

I'll see Peter Robinson's Gene Krupa "Sing, Sing, Sing" and raise him one Duke Ellington "Cotton Tail," although I prefer the faster-tempo version of the latter that Ellington recorded with Louis Armstrong.

Speaking of Armstrong, Robinson posted an email from a reader who cited a duet of his with Danny Kaye ("When the Saints Go Marching In," I believe) with reference to the literacy that the pair exhibited. One would be hard pressed, I believe, to argue that we haven't dumbed down the popular culture in the decades since those two entertainment giants roamed the Earth. Isolated instances have persisted, of course; Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" comes to mind.

I'm sure there are more recent examples, but my drift toward fogeyism leaves me unable to cite them.

March 22, 2009

A Gracious Invitation to Vice President Biden

Monique Chartier

Further to Vice President Joseph Biden's comments

Looking to strike fear and compliance in the hearts of local officials, Vice President Joe Biden warns that if they use money from the economic stimulus fund to build what he regards as the wrong kind of projects, “I’ll show up in your city and say this was a stupid idea.”

“No swimming pools!” he implored. “No tennis courts!” he begged. “No golf courses!” he pleaded. “No Frisbee parks!” he exhorted.

“This can’t be government as usual,” he told an assemblage of local officials invited to the White House from around the country.

earlier this week, a "New Business" item on the agenda for last Thursday's RIGOP Convention included this resolution. It concludes

We the members of the Rhode Island Republican Party do hereby extend an invitation to the Vice President to come to the City of Pawtucket at his earliest convenience and show that he is a man of his word, that his threats are not idle, and declare to the American public that expending $550,000 of stimulus funds on a skateboard park and renovations to tennis and basketball courts is a "stupid idea".

March 20, 2009

More Famous than Del's and the Big Blue Bug?

Justin Katz

The blog on General Treasurer Frank Caprio's Web site lists the number of references captured by Google for familiar Rhode Island names. As the post admits, results change each day, but the only way I can even come close to duplicating the numbers is to leave off the quotation marks, without which Google will return any page that has every word in any order, for some and include them for others. So, without quotation marks, a search for the Big Blue Bug will tally every page that has the words big, blue, and bug anywhere on them.

Out of curiosity, I've recreated the list using the quotation marks:

  • Rhode Island: 110,000,000
  • State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations: 153,000
  • Rhode Island and Buddy Cianci: 16,800
  • Buddy Cianci: 40,900
  • Roger Willams and Rhode Island: 571
  • Del's Lemonade: 12,400
  • Coffee milk: 394,000
  • Clam cake: 2,990
  • Salty Brine: 48,600
  • Bruce Sundlun: 7,230
  • Big Blue Bug: 7,930
  • Ruth Buzzi: 70,600
  • James Woods: 1,060,000
  • Quahog: 430,000

Anchor Rising, for those keeping score, returns 28,500 results.

Latest on O.S. Follies; Charlie Hall's Latest

Monique Chartier

The Ocean State Follies will be performing at Luigi's tonight.

... okay, okay, I confess! The above plug was an excuse to run one of Charlie Hall's recent cartoons.


March 15, 2009

Matt Labash Is Down on Facebook

Monique Chartier

In contrast to the mild reservations Justin expressed recently in a post, Weekly Standard columnist Matt Labash is fiercely anti-Facebook.

But there is one promise I've made to myself. And that is that no matter how long I live, no matter how much pressure is exerted, no matter how socially isolated I become, I will never, ever join Facebook, the omnipresent online social-networking site that like so many things that have menaced our country (the Unabomber, Love Story, David Gergen) came to us from Harvard but has now worked its insidious hooks into every crevice of society.

For the five or six Amish shut-ins who may not yet have heard of this scourge (your tenacious ignorance is to be admired, and I'd immediately friend you if I was into Facebook and you had electricity), Facebook is an online community where colleagues, friends, long-lost acquaintances, friends of friends or long-lost acquaintances, and perfect strangers find and "friend" each other based on their real or perceived affinity. ...

March 4, 2009

Helen Glover's Nancy Pelosi's "Sweatin' to the Socialists"

Monique Chartier

Is your regular workout not doing the trick on some ... holiday excess?

WHJJ's Helen Glover has found the perfect, high-intensity exercise video to help you shed those last stubborn pounds.

February 25, 2009

Truth in Humor

Marc Comtois

Many have probably already seen this, but it's profound enough to post here:


Here's the Plan

Monique Chartier

We move to Houston.

We collect $3,000 each from their fine city council.

We direct the funds to their prescribed use by paying off our AmEx bills.

We each collect the $300 from AmEx!

(Who says over-the-top bailouts and panicked corporations are a bad thing?)

February 22, 2009

Academy Awards: Mark Steyn Takes a Look at the Man, the Myth

Monique Chartier

... Oscar himself.

He's short. He's muscular. He has no private parts. No, not Tom Cruise. We're talking about one of that select handful of silver screen legends recognised instantly by their first name alone: Brad, Barbra, Arnie... and Oscar. He's Hollywood's most indestructible star, unless your chauffeur accidentally reverses over him in the limo. He has Tinseltown's most consistent year-round tan - a rich golden glow that you can see your face in, and sometimes your name on. ...

Just a Stimulus Bill

Justin Katz

Most Anchor Rising readers are old enough to recall the School House Rocks cartoons that offered young TV viewers a bit of civic education back in the late '70s and early '80s. The one that I remember most clearly was the "I'm Just a Bill" song about how a bill becomes federal law.

Well, Jim Treacher provides an opportunity to reminisce and, separately, updates the song in light of the stimulus bill's precedent:

February 6, 2009

The Physics of Government: The Heaviest Element Known to Science

Donald B. Hawthorne

From a friend of a friend in honor of the Obama/Pelosi/Reid porkulus spending bill:

Lawrence Livermore Laboratories has discovered the heaviest element yet known to science.

The new element, Governmentium (Gv), has one neutron, 25 assistant
neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving
it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are
surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert; however, it can be
detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into
contact. A tiny amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that would
normally take less than a second, to take from 4 days to 4 years to

Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2- 6 years. It does not decay,
but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the
assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.

In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since
each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming

This characteristic of morons promotion leads some scientists to believe
that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical
concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical

January 23, 2009

Gov Blago: They're Impeaching Me to Raise Taxes. (Yeah, that's the ticket ...)

Monique Chartier

Please don't take this guy away too quickly.

From the Chicago Sun Times:

Gov. Blagojevich continued to hammer away at the rules governing his upcoming impeachment trial this morning, saying the "fix is in in" and Illinoisans would be socked with massive tax increases should he be kicked out of office.

"They want to get me out fast so they could put a huge income-tax increase on the people of Illinois," the governor said in a 43-minute interview this morning on WLS-AM 890's Don Wade & Roma show. "It's either going be a 66 percent income-tax increase or a 33 percent income-tax increase. And they want to raise the sales tax on gas.

"They know I'm against those things, and I veto them. If I'm out of the way, they can quietly push this through."

Following upon his refusal to submit a witness list for his upcoming impeachment trial which he termed a "sham", he noted that

I can be soldier in the fight for constitutional rights.

A soldier on the humor supply line, anyway. We're with you all the way, Gov!

January 20, 2009


Carroll Andrew Morse

(I guess I haven't set aside childish things just yet!)

January 11, 2009

Paranoid Thought for the Day: Craigs List

Monique Chartier

Of course, there are tire kickers, not to mention the offering of services which are illegal in most states. But overall, the reviews are very good. Wood chippers, skis, washing machines, cars, on and on - friends and family have enthused about the stuff they've been able to sell or the bargains they've obtained via this free (did I mention free?) classified listing service.

It is difficult, however, not to speculate that there is bad intent behind the offering - gratis - of a good service. Especially as the service is not offered entirely without strings attached. Or more specifically, cookies - cookies that could track all websites visited and do heaven knows what else. Not to mention - cue ominous music - the millions of e-mail and IP addresses harvested.

So who is behind Craigs List and what is their ulterior motive? My own suspicion, based solely on their ruthlessness and demonstrated lack of values, is that it is the Chinese government. And their ultimate goal is world domination. Craigs List alone will not achieve this for them, naturally; it is but one tool in their arsenal box.

But I am open to suggestion on the matter so feel free to posit your own threat or conspiracy.


Commenter Pitcher points out that Craigs List is not free in all market, as it charges for

help wanted ads in three cities, and for apartment rental listings in NYC from apartment brokers

Additionally, dealing a serious blow to my theory that the Chinese government is behind Craigs List, it appears that there is a real Craig - his name is Craig Newmark - and he has a foundation, the Craigslist Foundation.

An unkind characterization of the foundation would be that it is borderline "commie", emphasizing as it does the development of non-profit organizations. (Why are so many people down on profits?) But this deals the fatal blow to my theory. Highly unaverse to profits (even if channelled solely to those in power and their cronies), the Chinese government is communist in name only.

December 31, 2008

Y EZPass?

Monique Chartier

So the point of setting up EZPass on the Newport Pell Bridge is to faciliate the flow of traffic, right? Okay, I'll say what seems to have escaped the attention of the RI Turnpike and Bridge Authority.

This isn't New York or New Jersey. Using tokens, has anyone ever had to wait longer than three minutes to make it through that toll plaza? There isn't enough traffic to warrant the hassle and expense, on the part of both the RITBA and drivers, of EZPass. So can someone explain why we're doing it? Is it now axiomatic that digital is always better than analogue? Was it just because, like Everest, the federal funds were there? Or, worst of all, are we trying inexplicably to ingratiate ourselves with out of state drivers annoyed that their out of state transponders don't work at Rhode Island's only toll plaza?

Further, Charlie Hall has a point about some potential issues of execution.


December 27, 2008

Sage Advice

Marc Comtois

I enjoy Mark Patinkin's "bullet" columns. The headline of today's rings true for many men. "Husbands can be right or happy..." Then there is the wisdom my father-in-law passed on to me on my wedding day: "There are two words that are the key to every successful marriage, 'Yes, Dear.'" Any guy who follows those two pieces of advice will find a certain sort of peace in his life. Bottom line: if she's happy, you're happy!!!

December 25, 2008

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen...

Carroll Andrew Morse

Streaming version
Download version

Midi accompaniment courtesy of the Classical Midi Connection.

December 23, 2008

Some Mid-Week Christmas Cheer

Carroll Andrew Morse

Ye gods.

The weather has disrupted my theory of final-week Christmas shopping density. With Christmas falling on a Thursday and last-minute shoppers having three make-up days to catch up after realizing they can't possibly get it all done on the final weekend, it should have been an easy one this year.

However, with most of the final-weekend-before getting wiped out by the snowstorm, final stage holiday preparation insanity has been pushed to near maximum intensity.

Which means that, this year, George Washington's eggnog recipe may be a better aid than ever for helping you through…

  • One quart cream
  • One quart milk
  • One dozen tablespoons sugar
  • One pint brandy
  • 1/2 pint rye whiskey
  • 1/2 pint Jamaica rum
  • 1/4 pint sherry
Mix liquor first, then separate yolks and whites of eggs, add sugar to beaten yolks, mix well. Add liquor to mixture drop by drop at first, slowly beating. Add milk and cream, slowly beating. Beat whites of eggs until stiff and fold slowly into mixture. Let set in cool place for several days. Taste frequently.
And remember, as always with this recipe, the frequent tasting step should begin only after the final trip out for the evening.

December 21, 2008

They Didn't Intercept Any Toast Points?

Monique Chartier


Part of me thinks that a portion of this haul should be sold (at a discount price to ensure a prompt sale) and the proceeds used to distribute more ... necessary supplies to the targeted recipient organizations and part of me is amused and pleased at the intended disposition of the illicit beluga.

December 13, 2008

If You're Going to Torture, Do It Right

Justin Katz

Mark Patinkin humorously suggests that interrogators using rock/pop audio to soften up their subjects could be more effective if they'd change the soundtrack:

The Associated Press reported this week that the military has been attempting to break down terrorist detainees by blasting music into their cells.

This has created controversy, with some musicians objecting to their work being used to apply pressure. Human rights activists have also protested, saying the practice should be out of bounds.

I don't disagree. I find it a bit much that prisoners are subjected to this for months at a time.

Today, I would like to help with a compromise.

The reason I call the military amateurs is they are using the wrong music.

This sort of thing is actually a hell-week torture in some fraternities: make the pledges carry around a radio playing the same annoying song over and over again. I can tell you from experience that, after a while, the effect just fades away; a painfully repetitive playlist might actually enhance the effect. Recalling my own college days, I'd suggest that the Chipmunks' "Christmas Time Is Here" be included on the list. Even the brainless lead-in is enough to inspire shivers, but the saccharine end result of a commercialized Christian holiday would surely pinch the insecurities of a captive Islamist.

The issue does make me wonder, though, whether foreign enemies — whether state supported or terrorist — have any programs to inure soldiers and spies to the worst of American metal and cheesepop. A bit of creativity and the right attitude, and a master could turn the weapon around on his captors.

In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if there's currently a script in development, somewhere in caverns of American comedy writing, that grants the protagonist an indefatigable (and karaoke-derived) power to enjoy every torture method known to man. After a light day of embarrassments and beatings, he would recline in his cell and belt out "I Think I Love You." As the camera turns toward the moon above the prison, the voice of the head guard would pierce the night: "Would you just shut up?!"

November 25, 2008

Open Thread: The Finale of The Shield

Carroll Andrew Morse

I don't write much about television or sports here, because if I started, I'd be tempted to write too often on those subjects. However, given that within the realm of television, tonight's final episode of The Shield is arguably the most anticipated final episode of a television series since the finale of Seinfeld, I'll bend the rule against no-TV talk ever so slightly, and give anyone interested a chance to comment on whether they think the universe of The Shield, in the words of Lt. Jon Kavanaugh, takes its garbage out tonight, or whether Vic Mackey gets away with it one last time.

November 23, 2008

What kind of bloggers are we?

Marc Comtois

Here's one of those weekend fluff things to do. The "Typealyzer" (h/t) claims to be able to analyze the content and writing of a blog and then categorize its character. Type in the URL of your favorite blog and away you go. Not for nothing, but both Anchor Rising and, er, Not for Nothing come out as "Thinkers":

The logical and analytical type. They are especialy attuned to difficult creative and intellectual challenges and always look for something more complex to dig into. They are great at finding subtle connections between things and imagine far-reaching implications.

They enjoy working with complex things using a lot of concepts and imaginative models of reality. Since they are not very good at seeing and understanding the needs of other people, they might come across as arrogant, impatient and insensitive to people that need some time to understand what they are talking about.

Heh. Anyway, the folks over at RI Future are "Guardians."
The organizing and efficient type. They are especially attuned to setting goals and managing available resources to get the job done. Once they´ve made up their mind on something, it can be quite difficult to convince otherwise. They listen to hard facts and can have a hard time accepting new or innovative ways of doing things.

The Guardians are often happy working in highly structured work environments where everyone knows the rules of the job. They respect authority and are loyal team players.

The future is more of the same!? Local blogs Kmeraka and The Ocean State Republican both are "Mechanics":
The independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned to the demands of the moment are masters of responding to challenges that arise spontaneously. They generally prefer to think things out for themselves and often avoid inter-personal conflicts.

The Mechanics enjoy working together with other independent and highly skilled people and often like seek fun and action both in their work and personal life. They enjoy adventure and risk such as in driving race cars or working as policemen and firefighters.

Blog action heroes? Whoda thunk. Finally, the Libertarian Observer and Antiprotester are "Scientists":
The long-range thinking and individualistic type. They are especially good at looking at almost anything and figuring out a way of improving it - often with a highly creative and imaginative touch. They are intellectually curious and daring, but might be physically hesitant to try new things.

The Scientists enjoy theoretical work that allows them to use their strong minds and bold creativity. Since they tend to be so abstract and theoretical in their communication they often have a problem communicating their visions to other people and need to learn patience and use concrete examples. Since they are extremely good at concentrating they often have no trouble working alone.

As in most general psychological analysis tools, there is a good bit of truth in all of these (cutting both ways).

November 20, 2008

Please Get Your Python Fix from the Official Source

Monique Chartier

Here, to be exact. So sayeth Cleese, Gilliam, Idle, Jones and Palin:

November 19, 2008

Little Guy Finishes First

Marc Comtois

Dan Barbarisi:

All over New England yesterday, the little guy pumped his fist in victory.

The kid who was too small to make the team, the one who was told he didn’t have the arm, or was too slow, now has a reason to go into the backyard and take some more groundballs.

Yesterday, Dustin Pedroia, the biggest little guy in New England, won the American League MVP award and gave an entire generation of those too small, too slow, not-going-to-make-it guys a reason to believe.

Generously listed at 5-foot-9 in the media guide, Boston’s second baseman has been proving his doubters wrong his whole life. After yesterday, he’ll never have to prove anything ever again.

“I’m not the biggest guy in the world, I don’t have that many tools. Looking at me, if I’m walking down the street, you wouldn’t think I’m a baseball player,” Pedroia said after winning. “That’s been the biggest thing in my life — that I have to overcome everything to prove people wrong. And so far I’ve been doing that.”

Pedroia, 25, becomes the third player to win the MVP the year after winning Rookie of the Year, joining Cal Ripken Jr. and Ryan Howard — two of the largest players ever to play their positions. Pedroia hit .326 with 17 home runs and 83 RBI, but his real specialty came in getting to second base and scoring. He led the league with 54 doubles and 118 runs scored.

Way to go Pedey. Now who can inspire us short AND old guys?

November 9, 2008

This Carp Public Service Announcement Brought to You by Several Over-Eager FM Radio Stations

Monique Chartier

It is way too early to be playing Christmas music.

Thank you. We now return you to your regularly scheduled program of slightly more substantive issues and discussions.

October 14, 2008

Joe Biden's Flashbacks

Monique Chartier

... not to a drug incident but to a prior campaign. From Toby Harnden, US Editor of the Telegraph (UK); h/t the Drudge Report.

Joe Biden is enjoying himself so much on the campaign trail that occasionally he gets to thinking he's about to become president. "In a Biden...an Obama-Biden administration," he said during an event at an American Legion hall here in Rochester, New Hampshire this morning, catching himself just in time.

"We know, we know," he responded jovially as the crowd realised what he'd said. "It's hard to get used to. We got his thing the right way."

* * *

Last month at an event in Fort Myers, Florida, he referred to the "Biden administration" before correcting the phrase and adding as he laughed and crossed himself: "Believe me, that wasn't a Freudian slip. Oh Lordy day, I tell ya."

October 8, 2008

A Welcome Idea

Justin Katz

I can't say I've got a problem with this:

So you think junior is a little too lead-footed when he drives the family car? Starting next year, Ford Motor Co. will give you the power to do something about it.

The company will roll out a new feature on many 2010 models that can limit teen drivers to 80 mph, using a computer chip in the key.

Parents also have the option of programming the teen's key to limit the audio system's volume, and to sound continuous alerts if the driver doesn't wear a seat belt.

Of course, nothing beats prior education and trust, but my teenage years were a testament to the case-by-case ineffectuality of that strategy.

October 5, 2008

Surprisingly Accurate SNL Skit about the Financial Mess

Monique Chartier

H/T NewsBusters.

Update: Click on this link to view.

September 24, 2008

(Pop) Psychology of a State

Marc Comtois

FWIW, according the Wall Street Journal, new study has tried to identify regional personality traits. Probably more akin to pop psychology than science, but what the heck...consider this lunchtime reading.

In the past decade, [cross-cultural psychology] has been reinvigorated by the development of a 44-question personality test that evaluates five traits: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness. Some psychologists disagree with this matrix; others would add traits such as honesty. But the assessment, called the Big Five Inventory, has been widely used in scientific research.

Mr. [Peter Jason] Rentfrow [of the University of Cambridge in England] came to the field full of questions gleaned from a life spent hop-scotching across America. Why were his neighbors in Texas so relaxed, so courteous, so obsessed with sports? Why did New Yorkers seem so tense and inward-focused, often brusque to the point of rudeness?

Eager to dig deeper, Mr. Rentfrow turned to a huge collection of psychological tests administered online from 1999 to 2005.

The assessments were linked to each respondent's current residence, so there was no way to tell if a New Yorker was a New Yorker born and bred, or had just moved from Kansas. But that suited Mr. Rentfrow's purposes. He wasn't trying to gauge how life in New York had shaped any one individual. His goal was a psychological snapshot of the state, and for that he needed to include even recent migrants -- who may, after all, have been drawn to New York because the big-city bustle suited their personality.

Mr. Rentfrow said his sample was proportionate to the U.S. population by state and race. Though it underrepresented the extremes of poor and rich, that shouldn't skew the results, he said.

While the findings broadly uphold regional stereotypes, there are more than a few surprises. The flinty pragmatists of New England? They're not as dutiful as they may seem, ranking at the bottom of the "conscientious" scale. High scores for openness to new ideas strongly correlates to liberal social values and Democratic voting habits. But three of the top ten "open" states -- Nevada, Colorado and Virginia -- traditionally vote Republican in presidential politics. (All three are prime battlegrounds this election.)

Anyway, apparently Rhode Islanders stand out even amongst our New England brethren. We are fairly "open" (28th), which can be read as "liberal", are strongly "introverted" (40th in extroversion) and are among the most "disagreeable" (45th in agreeableness), "unconscientious" (48th in conscientiousness) "neurotics" (# 2--Yay!--in neuroticism) in the country. That could explain some things.

Milking It

Marc Comtois

PETA's latest crusade is aimed at those paragon's of ultra-conservative, right-wing, free-market capitalists....Ben and Jerry. What did they do wrong? Well, milk does come from cows and, in the eyes of PETA, Ben and Jerry just aren't towing the ideological line close enough, I suppose. But PETA has a solution!

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a letter to Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, cofounders of Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc., urging them to replace cow's milk they use in their ice cream products with human breast milk, according to a statement recently released by a PETA spokeswoman.
Huh. Let's set aside the, oh-I-don't-know, craziness of it all and imagine what kind of manufacturing reconfiguration, workforce retraining and supply chain modifications this would take.

September 15, 2008

Torn Between Conservatism and Fandom, 2008 Version

Carroll Andrew Morse

'Tis time for my becoming-annual lament: The series between the Red Sox and Rays beginning tonight would be much more exciting in the old two-division system, where a playoff berth would really be on the line. As it is, this is almost like a pre-playoff exhibition tournament.

As a Red Sox fan, of course, I'll take the increased margin for error.

September 1, 2008

Time for Some Campaignin'

Marc Comtois

In the spirit of bipartisanship, I offer this to everyone of any political persuasion for your viewing pleasure (click on the picture to view):


August 9, 2008

Please Do Your Bounding Part to Save the Planet

Monique Chartier

Actually, global warming stopped ten years ago and the planet has entered a cooling trend. But isn't it time we expanded our meat repertoire? [Courtesty BBC online news.]

The methane gas produced by sheep and cows through belching and flatulence is more potent than carbon dioxide in the damage it can cause to the environment.

But kangaroos produce virtually no methane because their digestive systems are different.

Dr George Wilson, of the Australian Wildlife Services, urges farming them.

He says they have a different set of micro-organisms in their guts to cows and sheep.

Sheep and cattle account for 11% of Australia's carbon footprint and over the years, there have been various proposals to deal with the problem.

Now Dr Wilson believes kangaroos might hold the answer.

He said: "It tastes excellent, not unlike venison - only a different flavour."

August 4, 2008

Manny's Gone

Marc Comtois

Manny Ramirez was traded from the Red Sox to the Dodgers last week. Tim Abbott has some thoughts on how to tell the kids.

Emily gave her heart unconditionally to Manny Ramirez.

I haven't yet had the heart to tell her he's gone....

Emily fell for Manny at first sight. How could she not? He was not the silent leader, brilliant behind the plate but woeful beside it. He was not the fleet-footed infielder, that springbok in a herd of wildebeest. No, she loved the class clown, charismatic and cute in his baggy uniform and oh so free and easy. I knew with certainty what every father of a tender-hearted daughter learns; this love would end in heartbreak, and there was nothing I could do to spare her. Perhaps postpone it for a day, but no more....

Will her love turn to loathing, her tender heart tenderized with a 33 oz bat? Will she carry a torch even as he wears the Dodger Blue? Or will she, with the wellsprings of an 8-year-old's empathy, somehow see through the casual clown to the tears within...?

I can tell her that this will pass, and share my own stories of Red Sox hope and heartbreak. I can hope that she falls for that nice kid Pedroia, or wingfooted Ellsbury. None of that will matter. Her heart is her own. It will find its way.

Play ball.

Mine was Carlton Fisk. And Freddie Lynn. But then I learned my lesson and came to acknowledge the Seinfeldian truth that we really just cheer for laundry. At least that's what we like to tell ourselves.

August 3, 2008

A Memory Revisited

Justin Katz

Way back in the early '80s, HBO used to show video shorts between movies, and one of them (which I only recall seeing once) really made an impression on me. So much so that I've found it coming to mind from time to time ever since.

Well, wouldn't you know, YouTube has "Arcade Attack" in both the long and cut to the good part versions. It's clearly outdated, but it still holds up pretty well.

Now if somebody would post episodes of Under the Mountain, perhaps I could start making sense of my childhood...

August 2, 2008

Senator Whitehouse in Action on the Judiciary Committee: Tackling the Important Issues

Monique Chartier

[Starts at minute 4:50]

July 27, 2008

Fair Is Fair

Justin Katz

Wholly with the intention of making light of an increasingly threatening strain in the opposition's demeanor, I offer the following for your chuckling amusement. The sad thing is that the picture isn't doctored. The redeeming thing is that it's thirteen years old. (Fortunately, the hairstyle simply wasn't possible in Rhode Island's Ocean State atmosphere.)

(The Photoshop bonus challenge would be to blend the picture with the source of this post's title, which dates me even more than the picture.)

July 25, 2008

There's More to Life...

Marc Comtois

Yes, politics, wonkery, ideology are part of the AR raison d'etre, but Peter Robinson lends some nice perspective:

Opening my in box just now for the first time in some 30 hours, I found several emails asking if I’d like to comment on Barack Obama’s speech this afternoon. I missed it. When the senator rose in Berlin, I was in Brunswick, Maine, joining my oldest son and daughter on a tour of Bowdoin. A compact, exquisite campus dominated by several elegantly simple brick halls from the late eighteenth century and a series of imposing stone structures from the nineteenth. Oaks on the central green and dark, aromatic pines on the edges of the campus. Lowering skies. Gusting sea breezes. Tablets commemorating Hawthorne and Longfellow, and a fine bronze statue of Joshua Chamberlain, the professor who commanded the 20th Maine at Gettysburg, saving Little Round Top—and the Union. And, through an open window somewhere, the sounds of a violinist practicing for the summer music festival.

As Jeff Hart once remarked, life consists of more, thank God, than politics.

I'm sure this resonated with me because I'm a Maniac myself and spent many-a day on the "campii" of various small Maine colleges attending sports camps (or meetings) of one sort or another while growing up. Of course, as a kid focused on training for a sport, I didn't appreciate the aesthetics then as much as I do now. Politics has its place, but we should be wary of having our lives swing into orbit around a political sun.

July 15, 2008

Fenway: Should You Have to Be This Tall To Get In?

Monique Chartier

Over at Not For Nothing, Ian Donnis raises the critical question of youngsters - real young youngsters - at the ball park.

In the course of a recent discussion of Pink Hats (male and female), some of the hosts on WEEI vented about what they called an excess of babies and toddlers during games at Fenway, as well as too many fans who are utterly oblivious to the game and/or ignorant about Sox history.

N4N had the good fortune to be there yesterday for the 2-1 win that moved Boston into first place, ahead of the Rays. And, yes, there were three toddlers (all under three years old) within about 15 feet of me, causing a stream of anxiety about whether they'd provide a caterwauling soundtrack for Dice-K's start.

To his credit, the 13-month-old to my left tolerated the afternoon heat in RF Box 87 like a champ, without benefit of a few of those $7.50 cups of Sam Adams, and the other kids weren't bad, other than being cute and vying for occasional attention.

Still, let's be real, people. Do children under six really belong at a baseball game? Are they even going to remember it? Are their caretakers going to spend too much time fussing about them instead of mulling Youk's VORP?

Cleaning the Attic

Marc Comtois

Time to clean out the "To do" link "attic" I keep handy. So, before they vanish into the ether, here are some that may be interesting to others.

Part I: Politics and Economy

Obama, Shaman by Michael Knox Beran:

Obama-mania is bound in the end to disappoint. Not only does it teach us to despise our political system’s wise recognition of human imperfection and the pursuit of private happiness; it encourages us to seek for perfection where we will not find it, in politics, in the hero worship of a charismatic shaman, in the speciousness of a secular millennium.
But Obama is for school choice...and for union "card-checks," as Mickey Kaus mentions in his refutation of the same:
It seems to me that a) a tight 90s-style labor market and b) direct government provision of benefits (e.g. health care, OSHA) accomplishes what we want traditional unions to accomplish, but on a broader basis and without encouraging a sclerotic, adversarial bureaucracy that gets in the way of the productive organization of work.

A Newsweek report on the economic feasibility of oil shale.

Megan McCardle
on Sweden, cultural homogeneity and the welfare state.

"A behavioral economist explores the interaction of moral sentiments and self-interest." Surprise! The guy who wrote about the "Invisible Hand" and The Theory of Moral Sentiments was on to something.

Part II: History

A piece on America's "special grace" :

If America has been given a special grace, it is because its founders as well as every generation of its people have taken as the basis of America's legitimacy the Judeo-Christian belief that God loves every individual, and most of all the humblest. Rights under law, from the American vantage point, are sacred, not utilitarian, convenient or consensual. America does not of course honor the sanctity of individual rights at all times and in all circumstances, but the belief that rights are sacred rather than customary or constructed never has been abandoned.

"The Paranoid Style Is American Politics" reminds that conspiracy theories have abounded in American politics since, and including, the American Revolution. Mentions one of my favorites, Bernard Bailyn.

How "luck" is an important, if often overlooked, factor in American History (or any History, for that matter). It's not all about conspiracy or inevitability.

A long and interesting piece on Herodotus and why he wrote his history (from the New Yorker--if you're not banning it or anything...).

Book review of Sean Wilentz's Age of Reagan.

A review of a book about the "Black Death."

Part III: Culture

A "conservative" review of Iron Man (I haven't seen it):

The fantasy wish-fulfillment that makes Iron Man so winning is not being a guy who can fly around and shoot fire from his robot suit. It's being the guy with all the money in the world, the guy who can afford to make that suit.

In "Cleavers to Lohans: The Downhill Slide of the American TV Family", Katherine Berry traces the devolution of "quality family TV" to the reduced importance of parental figures. (Isn't the Lohan show reality tv?).

"Violence and the Video Game Paradox," a fairly recent ProJo op-ed by Dr. Gregory K. Fritz:

...the boom in violent video games correlates with the sharpest decline in youth violence in many decades....The answer to this apparent paradox is that correlation does not prove causation.
But, says Dr. Fritz, parents should still pay attention!

Finally, Where'd Generation X go?

July 4, 2008

Dolphins on the Greens

Monique Chartier

Semi-retired columnist Dave Barry attended the Miami Dolphins' annual charity golf tournament a couple of weeks ago and files a report of sorts on the Dolphins, who apparently did not do so well last season.

I decided to go scout the Miami Dolphins on Monday, to see how they look this year. This is important, because the Dolphins represent South Florida's manhood, and last season we had the same community testosterone level as the audience for a Barbra Streisand concert. The Dolphins lost 15 games and won only one, which I believe was against Princeton.

So there's a lot of pressure on them to not suck so much this year. But the preseason news has been troubling, especially the feud between Jason Taylor and the Big Tuna.

[Click here for the entire column. Courtesy the Miami Herald.]

Happy Independence Day!!!

Marc Comtois

June 20, 2008

Plain Distraction

Justin Katz

I have to admit a passing addiction to a Flash game called Swinging Ball. Simple, and yet somehow intriguing.

Rolling and swinging a simple line-drawing ball around puzzles brings to mind the importance of mechanics. The images could have been anything, really — Spider-man would have been one obvious trapping. I know nothing about game designing, but I wonder whether it's often done with boxes and balls and then fleshed out later, or whether it's just as easy to develop the fancy graphics in tandem with the coding of the gameplay.

May 24, 2008

Hit The Beach

Monique Chartier

Rhode Island beaches open this weekend.

In a couple of cartoons from last year, Charlie Hall reminds us to get our beach passes and warns us about beach ... perils.


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May 9, 2008

Turning the Nanny State to Your Advantage

Marc Comtois

Since it looks like the red light cameras are a go again, I wonder if some local entrepreneurial band will take a cue from Britain's The Get Out Clause and turn nanny-statism to their advantage:

Unable to afford a proper camera crew and equipment, The Get Out Clause, an unsigned band from [Manchester, England], decided to make use of the cameras seen all over British streets.

With an estimated 13 million CCTV cameras in Britain, suitable locations were not hard to come by.

They set up their equipment, drum kit and all, in eighty locations around Manchester – including on a bus – and proceeded to play to the cameras.

Afterwards they wrote to the companies or organisations involved and asked for the footage under the Freedom of Information Act.

"We wanted to produce something that looked good and that wasn't too expensive to do," guitarist Tony Churnside told Sky News.

"We hit upon the idea of going into Manchester and setting up in front of cameras we knew would be filming and then requesting that footage under the Freedom Of Information act."

Only a quarter of the organisations contacted fulfilled their obligation to hand over the footage – perhaps predictably, bigger firms were reluctant, while smaller companies were more helpful – but that still provided enough for a video with 20 locations.

"We had a number of different excuses as to why we weren't given the footage, like they didn't have the footage. They delete after a certain amount of time, so if they procrastinate for long enough, they can claim it's been deleted," Mr Churnside said.

Here's a link to the video. As they say, "good on you" boys.

May 3, 2008

Bracing for Sunday's ProJo

Monique Chartier

... or, more specifically, what's-his-name's column, about which in recent months has been vocalized much disapproval from several quarters.

It appears that Charlie Hall would not disagree.


April 22, 2008

News"flash": 1918 Series Win Tainted?

Marc Comtois

Some recently discovered documents indicate that the Chicago Black Sox of 1919 may have been "inspired" by the Chicago Cubs of 1918. You know, the team that lost to the Boston Red Sox...

[I]n the gambling scandal that never was, the '18 Cubs just might have laid down for that year's A.L. champ, the Red Sox....Now, it cannot be said for certain that gamblers got to the '18 Cubs. But Eddie Cicotte, pitcher and one of the eight White Sox outcasts from the '19 World Series, did say in a newly found affidavit he gave to the 1920 Cook County grand jury that the Cubs influenced the Black Sox. Cicotte said the notion of throwing a World Series first came up when the White Sox were on a train to New York. The team was discussing the previous year's World Series, which had been fixed, according to players. Some members of the Sox tried to figure how many players it would take to throw a Series. From that conversation, Cicotte said, a scandal was born....

The Cubs were 84-45 that year and serious favorites. Cicotte is not alone in suggesting they had been paid off. The lost diary of Charles Comiskey's righthand man, Harry Grabiner, supposedly indicates that the 1918 World Series was fixed. The reporting of baseball columnist Hugh Fullerton -- the man who eventually blew the whistle on baseball's gambling problem -- also suggested that something was afoul in 1918. Fullerton's accounts of those games repeatedly point out bizarre baserunning mistakes and defensive flubs.

The box scores support his descriptions. The Cubs were picked off three times, including twice in the decisive Game 6. That game was lost, 2-1, on a 2-run error by Cubs right fielder Max Flack. Game 4 had been tied, 2-2, in the eighth inning, when Cubs pitcher Shufflin' Phil Douglas gave up a single, followed by a passed ball, followed by an errant throw on a bunt attempt that allowed the winning run to score.

So that Yankee fan "1918" chant may have been wrong. And as for the so-called Curse....

April 19, 2008

A Dilbert Delay

Justin Katz

It's too bad today's Dilbert cartoon wasn't published in closer proximity to the percentage of a percentage debate here on Anchor Rising.

Although, the stink eye is much less effective in the comment sections than in a boardroom.

April 14, 2008

Transformation Complete: Yankees Become Red Sox of Old

Marc Comtois

OK, so a Sox-loving NYer buries a Big Papi shirt in the new Yankee Stadium concrete and fess's up. The NY Post's description of what happened is priceless, especially how new Yanks Boss Hank Steinbrenner "doesn't care".....

But it was the betrayal of his borough that elicited Bronx cheers from many Yankee fans - including the new Boss, Hank Steinbrenner.

"I hope his coworkers kick the s- - - out of him," said George's boy, who now runs the team with his brother Hal.

Hank put no stock in talk of curses or in Castignoli's cruel bid to hex the Yankees' new $1.3 billion home.

A buried jersey, he reassured worried fans, means nothing.

"It's a bunch of bull- - - -," Hank said.

But Castignoli scoffed at the top Yankee honcho's ready dismissal.

"So, then, why is he making such a big stink about it?" asked the would-be hexer. "If it's no big deal, why not let it lay? Apparently, it's bothering him.

"Tell Hank he can come meet me if he wants to try - and tell him to bring [catcher Jorge] Posada, because he's the one Yankee I can't stand."

Meanwhile, Yankee fans attending last night's game at Boston's Fenway Park cheered the find.

"Dig it up, and get it out of there," said Norberto Diaz, 35. "They should give the next guy $156 an hour to dig it up."

Yes, Steinbrenner didn't care to the extent that he had a few guys employ a jackhammer on 3 feet of concrete to remove the jersey. Whose afraid of a "curse" now?

April 1, 2008

Sox Start for Real Tonight

Marc Comtois
OK, technically they've already played two games that count, going 1-1, over in Japan. But the sorta surreal beginning to the season is over and the usual ebb and flow can now begin tonight in Oakland around 10 PM. Ian has more and the ProJo staff makes their picks. Me? They win the division, but they were pretty unscathed last year....I think injuries may play a factor in '08. So playoffs yes. Back to back? Nope. But there will be some summer nights spent with a good brew and the Sox and all will seem right in the world.

March 31, 2008

A New Island State?

Carroll Andrew Morse

New York Newsday columnist Ellis Henican has this to say about the budding movement (who knew?) to make Long Island into its own state…

We have deeply embedded corruption, ancient ethnic rivalries, even an NHL team - what else does a self-respecting state need these days?...

And what about the name? (Has anyone considered Long Island? It's no dumber than Rhode Island. Who's Rhode, anyway?)

2 out of 3 lets us keep our statehood here in RI, right?

March 16, 2008

Keeping Busy Until April 22

Monique Chartier

Writing in the Seacoast Online, "The Source for Seacoast NH and Southern ME", Dr. Electoralitis (Michael McCord) has a suggestion for political-heads who are in primary withdrawal until Pennsylvania.

Start an office pool.

Call it March-April madness and the point is to make sizable, risk-taking bets to revitalize the speculative muscles. The wagers could include:

1) How many ways will Hillary and/or her campaign find to demean states (and the voters in those states) she didn't win to make the Orwellian point that some states are more equal than others? Extra bonus point accrued when the total number of slights reaches more than 100.

2) Will Obama finally show the political courage to reject and denounce his middle name so he won't have to be fearful of Republican attacks if he becomes the nominee?

3) Will Florida and Michigan redo their primaries? Or will Hillary Clinton simply declare herself the winner and award herself all the delegates?

4) Make a futures bet on the combined average of the 1,648 polls that will publish results in the two weeks before the primary.

5) How many times will political talk show host Chris Matthews talk sentimentally about a Philadelphia — the city of brotherly love and fantastically corrupt ward bosses — that no longer exists? The over/under is 912.

6) How will the Pennsylvania Amish vote break?

7) How many times will pundits say "make or break" about Hillary Clinton's latest last stand? The over/under is 1,336,557.

8) Bet on the number of campaign staff members who will say nice things about their opponent — such as: "There is no way Sen. Obama could be a monster" or "Sen. Clinton's stature has nothing to do with being a lucky woman" — and have to resign in the next six weeks.

March 15, 2008

It's a Game; It's a Quiz

Justin Katz

For some light, educational weekend entertainment, give Questionaut a try. Solve simple point-and-click puzzles in a well set world in order to spur the characters to quiz you on various topics so that you may rise to the next level.

Adults should find the questions pretty easy, but be aware that the makers are European, so certain differences may obtain (as, for example, with punctuation).

March 9, 2008

NRO's Double Agent

Justin Katz

If you needed any further evidence that National Review Online's Jonah Goldberg is a left-wing double agent tasked with distracting and immobilizing thirty-something conservatives, look no farther than this post, into which he slyly slips a link to 100 classic Nintendo games playable online.

Well, I suppose it has been awhile since I won CastleVania.

February 20, 2008

If I'm Tearing Up...

Justin Katz

.. it must be the glass that I'm chewing. It certainly couldn't have anything to do with a song about dancing with one's daughter before "the clock strikes midnight."

I pass this along because I'm not sure how many New Englanders allow their radio dials to pause on 91.1FM. It's an "inspirational" station. [Whisper] That means "Christian."

February 14, 2008

Senator Pichardo and the After Hours Dog

Monique Chartier

This is possibly an insignificant incident but too fun to pass up.

"Do you know who I am?"

One of my favorite expressions, often used by an elected official or semi-famous person in a jam or trying to get his or her way. Generally delivered in an imperious rather than a tactful tone, it is a wonderful statement because it instantly conveys something quite different than the speaker intends.

Intended message: "I am an important person. How dare you question or hinder me?"

Received message: "I am a jackass."

This MSNBC link to a Turn to Ten I-Team story does not report whether State Senator Juan Pichardo (D-Pawtucket) actually used that phrase during his attempts to get into a closed hot dog restaurant in Olneyville shortly after 1:00 am last week. But when a New York Systems Wieners' staffer informed Senator Pichardo that he could not be allowed into the restaurant because it was closed, he certainly made it clear who he was, flashing his i.d., emphasizing his elected rank and insisting that he be let in to eat. In his own words:

"I would like to see if I could eat inside," Pichardo said. "He said, 'Well, we're closed.' I said, "Well, there's still some people there.' I said, 'I'm a state senator.'"

It worked, though with attendant commotion. When the Senator was finally inside, restaurant regular Scott Bonelli pointed out to the Senator and then to Jim Taricani that Pichardo was

using his position of authority for an embarrassing reason, to be seated at a hotdog joint at quarter past one [in the morning]

And Greg Stevens, the restaurant's owner, said

I'm not commenting on this incident; but in general, it's inappropriate for politicians to abuse their office.

You know, there are some smart people in Olneyville.

UPDATE - The Pichardo Card

Helen Glover at 920 WHJJ recommends an excellent new product.

(Thanks to Helen's producer Tim Staskiewicz for the heads-up.)

The Baseball Steroid Thing

Marc Comtois

Yeah, I caught quite a bit of the dog-and-pony show that was the Congressional hearing on steroids. On one hand, I agree with those who wonder why Congress is wasting time and money looking into it. On the other, I'm glad they are wasting their time (if not the money) on this and not screwing something else up. As for what we learned? Well, that people lie, some better than others and sometimes liars tell the truth about their lying and sometimes they don't. If you believed Rogahhh or The Accuser going in, you probably felt the same way going out (though most people--and body language experts--think Rogahhh came off bad). The only burning question that remains: How the hell did this become a partisan issue, with all of the Republicans seemingly siding with Rogahhh and the Democrats siding with The Accuser?

February 12, 2008

Snow Storm Arrival - Update

Monique Chartier

They had said it would arrive at 2:00 pm this afternoon. Now it's projected to arrive at 6:00 pm, thereby pre-empting the opportunity for work day mayhem.

Nevertheless, this is the radar loop to track the storm.

And for those of us working until 6:00 or later today, here are DOT highway cameras to keep an on traffic, road conditions and to map our route home via bread-and-milk sources.

February 8, 2008

Looking for a Good Beer?

Marc Comtois

If your looking for a good quality beer sometime over the weekend, Ian may have some pointers for you as he discusses Rhode Island's contributions to the burgeoning craft beer movement. He also places craft beer making (and imbibing) into a wider social and cultural context:

... the craft beer movement represents meritocracy at work, since small brewers — thanks to the quality of their products and the ensuing consumer demand — are succeeding in an industry still dominated by the majors. In this respect, supporting the efforts of small brewers, even if many drinkers might not think of it just so, is a pint-sized vote for variety.
Plus it tastes good. Cheers!

February 7, 2008

Now We're Getting Lost Somewhere

Justin Katz

I think they're managing to bring Lost back from the dead.

That is all.

January 11, 2008

The Political Game

Justin Katz

Think you've got what it takes to win an election? Well, try your hand at a campaign flash game. (It would have been better if the candidates had different attacks...)

January 7, 2008

U.K. to Release U.F.O. Files

Monique Chartier

Rejoice, flying saucer buffs. Following the example of France this past March, the British Ministry of Defense is releasing its U.F.O. files.

The public opening of the MoD archive will expose the once highly classified work of the intelligence branch DI55, whose mission was to investigate UFO reports and whose existence was denied by the government until recently. Reports into about 7,000 UFO sightings investigated by defence officials - every single claim lodged over the past 30 years - are included in the files, whose staged release will begin in spring.

The decision to release Whitehall's full back-catalogue of UFO investigations was taken last month after the Directorate of Air Space Policy, the government agency responsible for filtering sensitive reports, gave its permission to publish the biggest single release of documents in MoD history.

One of the items that will be looked for in these files is the location or disposition of the radar film of this incident:

Another case reported to the intelligence branch DI55 - Britain's version of the 'Men In Black' - chronicles a series of reports sent to RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire, by the crew of a Vulcan bomber on exercise over the Bay of Biscay early on 26 May 1977. According to documents seen by The Observer, five crewmen, including the captain, co-pilot and navigators, watched 'an object' approach their aircraft at 43,000ft above the Atlantic. The mysterious craft then appeared to turn and follow their precise course from a distance of four miles.

Initially, the crew said the object resembled landing lights 'with a long pencil beam of light ahead' but as it turned towards them the lights suddenly went out leaving a diffuse orange glow with a bright fluorescent green spot in its bottom right-hand corner. Then, according to signals sent back to Scampton, the crew noted a mystery object 'leaving from the middle of the glow on a westerly track... climbing at very high speed at an angle of 45 degrees'.

Followers of the U.S. Presidential race will be watching to see if Dennis Kucinich takes time off from campaigning this spring to do some research.

January 4, 2008

One of a Kind in the East Bay

Justin Katz

Nobody who knows him will have any difficulty picking out the quotation from Rocco DiPippo from the Sakonnet Times's "Who said it?" list of "memorable quotes overheard around our cities and towns in 2007":

  1. "I even ate sugared grasshoppers at a Sportsmen's banquet in Maine."
  2. "I had no thoughts in my head except to kill the first guy that got into that car."
  3. "I'm just in love with that girl and my wife is cool with it ... I think."
  4. "I know a little something about this Valentine's Day thing. Every once in a while my wife reminds me that I have to do something."
  5. "God, we give you thanks for both the chicken and the egg."
  6. "I've seen more skin than the public toilet seat!"
  7. "Don't ever — ever — rob a bank. I'm dead serious. Don't even be an accessory, like driving the car."
  8. "The wig, man. I'm sweating."
  9. "People who hated me before are hating me now."
  10. "When you rest, you rust."
  11. "I annoy my boss."
  12. "I hid under my desk. Everybody was gaping at me."
  13. "Please don't take the cows away."

December 31, 2007

A Mythical Rejection Slip

Carroll Andrew Morse

Official Notification of the Contest Judges
December 31, 1987

Dear Mr. Morse:

Thank you for your submission to our "Future of New England" essay contest. Unfortunately, we are unable to include your submission in our final collection. While your extrapolations about New England becoming a world-class leader in the areas of alternative energy (especially wind power), transportation infrastructure, and convenient access to health care are all reasonable in light of the region's noble traditions of progressive development, your predictions that the Red Sox will one day rebound from a 3-0 deficit to defeat the New York Yankees in an American League Championship Series en route to a World Series victory and that the Patriots will have a 16-0 regular season are simply too fantastic to be believed.

Best of luck with your future endeavors.

December 21, 2007

Help for the Last Minute Christmas Shopper Courtesy of George Washington

Carroll Andrew Morse

For the second year in a row, I predict more mayhem than usual for last-minute Christmas shoppers. Christmas this year falls on a Tuesday, meaning that all of the slackers who waited until the last weekend before starting their shopping (I've heard that such people exist) are going to realize within the next 48-hours that they have only Monday as a buffer, if they can't finish up everything they need to do by Sunday. The result will be both more intense shopping activity than usual during the weekend-proper, and an entire sum of week-of-the-holiday shopping desperation packed into a single day before Christmas.

From this point forward, for help in surviving the commercial aspects of the Christmas season, I recommend the eggnog recipe favored by the First President of the United States, George Washington…

  • One quart cream
  • One quart milk
  • One dozen tablespoons sugar
  • One pint brandy
  • 1/2 pint rye whiskey
  • 1/2 pint Jamaica rum
  • 1/4 pint sherry
Mix liquor first, then separate yolks and whites of eggs, add sugar to beaten yolks, mix well. Add liquor to mixture drop by drop at first, slowly beating. Add milk and cream, slowly beating. Beat whites of eggs until stiff and fold slowly into mixture. Let set in cool place for several days. Taste frequently.
Er, after re-reading the recipe, let me be sure to be clear: I am only recommending the frequent tasting of our first President's eggnog recipe after a safe return home from your Christmas shopping!

November 30, 2007

RE: Rhode Island's Literal Depressed Status

Marc Comtois

There may be a reason the state as a whole is so depressed: not enough Republicans!

Republicans are significantly more likely than Democrats or independents to rate their mental health as excellent, according to data from the last four November Gallup Health and Healthcare polls. Fifty-eight percent of Republicans report having excellent mental health, compared to 43% of independents and 38% of Democrats. This relationship between party identification and reports of excellent mental health persists even within categories of income, age, gender, church attendance, and education.


What are the implications of these findings?

Correlation is no proof of causation, of course. The reason the relationship exists between being a Republican and more positive mental health is unknown, and one cannot say whether something about being a Republican causes a person to be more mentally healthy, or whether something about being mentally healthy causes a person to choose to become a Republican (or whether some third variable is responsible for causing both to be parallel).

Previous analysis...shows that a number of variables are related to self-reported mental health -- including, in particular, income. Because Republicans have on average higher incomes than independents or Democrats, part of the explanation for the relationship between being a Republican and having better mental health is a result of this underlying factor. The same is true for several other variables.

But the key finding of the analyses presented here is that being a Republican appears to have an independent relationship on positive mental health above and beyond what can be explained by these types of demographic and lifestyle variables. The exact explanation for this persistent relationship -- as noted -- is unclear.

OK, I can hear the wisecracks coming. But I'll see your "blissfully ignorant" and raise you an "optimistic about the future." Regardless, I think the path to a happier state is clear, don't you?

November 29, 2007

A Place to Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Carroll Andrew Morse

For those of you with a little extra cash to burn, I've found a website where you can put money down on propositions like this one

By the year 2150, over 50% of schools in the USA or Western Europe will require classes in defending against robot attacks.

Continue reading "A Place to Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is"

November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Dinner

Monique Chartier

For those who are hosting (or bringing a dish ... or even just your appetite), Dave Barry has some tips.

Great American Turkeys

Tips for Not Hosting Thanksgiving Next Year

[Heads up: the last one is pretty tasteless.]

Quibbles with The Gobbler

November 19, 2007

Thanksgiving Meal Prep Work

Marc Comtois

In preparation for Thanksgiving (I'm in training right now...), here is some reassurance for those of you (well, me) who tend to over-indulge: Eat as much as you want:

Katherine Flegal and colleagues from the Centers for Disease Control and the National Cancer Institute...used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which is a representative sample of the US population, to find the connections between being underweight, overweight and obese and cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer and many other causes of death. The results are startling since they confound much of the received wisdom about being fat in America.

Flegal discovered that being overweight (BMI's of 25-30) was not responsible for increased mortality. In fact for CVD, cancer and all other causes, being overweight actually increased one's chance of living longer. In total, overweight was associated with a total of 138, 281 fewer deaths. Being overweight is not likely to kill you.

She found that being obese increased the risk of premature death for the most part in only the most obese, that is those with BMI's over 35. In other words, even modest obesity is not a death sentence. For example, those with BMI's of 30-35 aged 25-69 did not have a statistically significant increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Indeed, for cancer the results are even more startling since even those with BMI's in excess of 35 did not have a statistically significant increased risk of dying. And for all other diseases other than CVD and cancer, obesity up to a BMI of 35 was modestly protective -- that is, likely to result in a longer rather than a shorter life.

See, a little cushion is good for you! Now eat more pie, it's for your health, after all!

October 29, 2007

No "Curse" in Sight, This One Was Fun!!!

Marc Comtois



There’s success to go with tradition now, happy endings to replace the failure. Now, instead of wallowing in what went wrong, the fan base is joyous...

For so many years, the franchise was defined by heartbreak, identified with close calls and bad breaks. The agony of defeat was seemingly part of the Red Sox’ DNA.

No longer. Now, they win the closes ones, the big ones, the late-season ones...

Things sure have changed.

If you’re a Red Sox fan, enjoy. And consider yourself lucky. After years of wandering in baseball’s wilderness, the Red Sox have reached the Promised Land.


These, you probably don’t have to be reminded, are the good old days. ~ Sean McAdam

October 27, 2007

Talent Versus Time

Justin Katz

Friday's Dilbert strip is so appropriate to Rhode Island's predicaments (especially from our unique perspective) that I've emailed Scott Adams about making a t-shirt of it.

In context of the particular bit of pith from Dilbert's garbage man, keep an eye out for provisions in the law and in contracts that seek to expand the time of those who run the state (in one capacity or another) and that make it more time-consuming for we regular folk to have a say.


A commenter has corrected me that the other character in the strip is Dilbert's garbage man, not his neighbor, as I had originally guessed, and upon closer inspection, I see that his is opening the garbage can in the first frame and grabbing the bag in the second. Perhaps it was the absence of a truck that threw me off initially.

October 20, 2007

Laffey on for the Indians in the 3rd

Carroll Andrew Morse

This is certainly a career move no one saw coming.

October 17, 2007

Now I Got Ya

Justin Katz

Knowing full well that it may keep you up too late tonight or get you off to a delayed start in the morning, I hereby introduce you to Chat Noir. Click the light circles to turn them dark and trap the cat before it escapes.

Anybody who still has an extra second in the day can calculate the dollar amount that this game will have cost the RI economy.

September 21, 2007

Torn Between Conservatism and Fandom

Carroll Andrew Morse

The crotchety conservative purist in me recognizes how much more exciting the current Major League Baseball pennant race would most likely be this year under the old two-division system. This is what the standings might look like this morning, in the old American League East, where only one of the following three teams could secure a playoff spot…

Club W L GB
Cleveland 9062--
Boston90 631/2
New York88642
The Sox fan in me says thank God for the wild card.

September 20, 2007

Harvard University Doesn't Quite Understand the Concept of a Free Market

Carroll Andrew Morse

According to the Harvard Crimson, the definition of "intellectual property" is running amok at Harvard University (h/t Instapundit)…

Jarret A. Zafran ’09 said he was asked to leave the [Harvard Coop] after writing down the prices of six books required for a junior Social Studies tutorial he hopes to take.

“I’m a junior and every semester I do the same thing. I go and look up the author and the cost and order the ones that are cheaper online and then go back to the Coop to get the rest,” Zafran said….

Coop President Jerry P. Murphy ’73 said that while there is no Coop policy against individual students copying down book information, “we discourage people who are taking down a lot of notes.”

The apparent new policy could be a response to efforts by Crimsonreading.org—an online database that allows students to find the books they need for each course at discounted prices from several online booksellers—from writing down the ISBN identification numbers for books at the Coop and then using that information for their Web site.

Murphy said the Coop considers that information the Coop’s intellectual property.

Obviously, the only rational response to this is to send New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick to the Coop, with a camera he can use to make videotapes of book prices to be broken down and analyzed later (but not during that particular shopping trip).

September 19, 2007


Mac Owens

Just a reminder that today is "Talk LIke a Pirate" day. I model myself on Steve the Pirate from my favorite movie, Dodgeball.

September 9, 2007

Just for a Chuckle

Justin Katz

Has anybody caught that new WPRO promo spot that runs as follows (or pretty close):

Question: Where do bloggers turn for information?

Answer: WPRO 630 AM

So, in a literary sense, does that make us models of the well-informed citizen whom all should emulate? I'm not sure whether to be flattered or frightened. (Although all related emotions must be adjusted to account for the fact that I've apparently been given double vision, too.)

September 6, 2007

Mr. Subliminal Must Have Written the EG Teachers "Open Letter"

Marc Comtois

I know Dan Yorke has been giving this some play this afternoon, but I honestly thought the same thing when I stumbled across this "open letter" from East Greenwich Teachers to the public. Namely, it's not a good idea to imply that you--the teachers--are better at raising the kids than their parents. Especially this part in which I've provided--in honor of Kevin Nealon's Mr. Subliminal--an interpretation of what they're really saying:

We were there when your children forgot their lunch money {because you didn't care enough to double-check} and we made sure they ate {when you'd have let 'em starve}. We were there when your children didn't have a ride home {deadbeats}, and we made certain they were safe {lucky we didn't call DCYF}. We were there when your children called us at 10pm {where the hell were you?} because they didn't know where else to turn for help {because you are unsympathetic and uncaring parents}. We have been here from their first day jitters through their post-graduate plans {more than you, even}.

August 27, 2007

Hasbro Internationalizes A Great American Hero

Marc Comtois

G.I. Joe--"A Real American Hero"--is now based in Brussels. That's what Hasbro and Paramount have decided as they seek to bring a new GI Joe movie to the big screen. (h/t)

Who needs A Real American Hero? Not Paramount or Hasbro it seems. The studio's live-action feature film version of G.I. Joe will no longer revolve around a top-secret U.S. special forces team but rather an international operation.

In a follow-up to their confirmation that Stephen Sommers will direct G.I. Joe, Variety offers this new description of the team: "G.I. Joe is now a Brussels-based outfit that stands for Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity, an international co-ed force of operatives who use hi-tech equipment to battle Cobra, an evil organization headed by a double-crossing Scottish arms dealer. The property is closer in tone to X-Men and James Bond than a war film."

Wow. A Real Globally Integrated Hero! Can we assume that this "double-crossing Scottish arms dealer" is Destro since he was one in the comics? And does that mean there will be no Cobra Commander in it?

So why the changes? Hasbro and Paramount execs recently spoke about the challenges of marketing a film about the U.S. military at a time when the current U.S. administration and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are at a low-point in global polls. When a studio makes a film as expensive as G.I. Joe will likely be, they want to know that as many people as possible around the world will want to see it. In other words, G.I. Joe -- "A Real American Hero" -- is a tough sell.

Gee, you'd think that the Hasbro's Corporate headquarters was in a Blue state...Well, at least this proves that all big corporations are led by evil, money-grubbing conservatives, right?

August 15, 2007

No Need to Worry About Chinese Toys -- but What About the Russians?

Carroll Andrew Morse

But Marc, how are you going to explain it to your daughters when they learn that the North Pole has been recently claimed by the Russians

Two Russian minisubmarines returned safely to the surface at the North Pole on Thursday after diving to the sea bottom to plant a Russian flag and collect geological samples…

The expedition was part of an effort to bolster Russian claims to about 460,000 square miles of sea floor believed to hold lucrative deposits of oil and natural gas. Under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, Russia's claim depends not on dropping the Russian flag, but on proving that its continental shelf extends to the pole.

No Need to Worry About Chinese Toys

Marc Comtois

Upon hearing that Mattel was recalling several toys made in China, including the much-beloved Polly Pockets that can be found living throughout my house, my wife decided to explain the situation to my inquisitive daughters. (Incidentally, they had already noted before that a lot of toys were made in China).

Anyway, my wife explained that some of those toys weren't safe, etc. and the people who made them were "recalling" them for safety reasons. To which my clever daughters replied, "Well, we don't have to worry, then. All of our Polly Pockets came from the North Pole!"

My wife said she didn't tell them that sometimes Santa outsources to China.

{N.B. We don't have any of the unsafe Polly's in our house.}

August 9, 2007

Daily Show "Reports" on Cape Wind Opposition

Marc Comtois

Yeah, Jon Stewart has honed his knives at the expense of many a conservative...but here he takes a stab at some liberal hypocrites.

Via Watthead.

July 28, 2007

A Bit of Light (But Creepy) Entertainment

Justin Katz

I don't often link to videogames around here, although they're in plentiful supply on the Internet, but I've come across one that might be worth some of your idle time (assuming you have some): DayMare Town. It's a puzzle, in essence, and the atmosphere is of a hand-drawn Poe sketch (perhaps best experienced at night).

The genre is "point-and-click," which means that you play the game by clicking things on the screen — sometimes obvious and sometimes requiring you to just move your mouse around until you happen over a hotspot — to do things, to collect items (which you can sometimes combine), to use the items, and so on. Keep an eye out, especially with the pencil sketch illustrations, because it isn't always obvious that a particular squiggle is something more than a squiggle.

If, like me, your idle time amounts to minutes rather than hours, you can find a walkthrough of the solution here. I will tell you this beforehand, though: the goals are to (1) find all the birds so that you can free a prisoner and (2) find and use all of the puzzle pieces to operate a machine that will enable you to escape the town (which somehow made me think of the Artful Dodger and Fagin at the end of the musical version of Oliver Twist). And don't be afraid to retrace your steps, because as you go along, things may appear where they weren't (although it might save you some time to know that the things that thus appear are more obvious than the average item).

July 15, 2007

Amanda, Please! And all that Jazz

Mac Owens

A couple of months ago, I started a series on the” pubs of Newport.” I intend to resume this series soon, but I want to expand on something I mentioned in my piece on the Atlantic Beach Club: Newport jazz and Amanda Carr. Here’s what I wrote in April:

During the non-summer months, the ABC offers quiet jazz on Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons. Surprisingly—given Newport’s reputation as the site of the annual Jazz Festival—the ABC provides one of the few regular jazz venues in the area.

The quality of the music is uniformly excellent. The usual program consists of a trio plus a vocalist. It’s good stuff. The vocalists are mostly local and quite good, but my personal favorite is a true New England treasure: Amanda Carr from Boston (more about her in a later post). In any event, if one wants to spend an evening listening to good jazz over a couple of drinks in a setting where it is still possible to carry on a conversation, the ABC is the place to go.

The DJ is killing live music, but there are still excellent groups out there. In the Newport area, I would single out the Mac Chrupcala trio and Nancy Paolino. Mac is a regular at the ABC, usually performing on Friday nights, even during the summer. He and the members of his trio all have “day jobs” but jazz appears to be a labor of love for them. If you like jazz you will love this group.

Nancy is Mac’s wife. She is a terrific vocalist with great range. I’m no expert, but I love her stuff. Whenever she performs, I always ask her to do her version of the old Temptations song, “Just my Imagination.” There’s nothing like it.

Then there’s Amanda Carr, whom I described as a “true New England treasure.” What more can I say? She is supremely talented (and supremely gorgeous). Although she has her own unique—and exceptional—sound, she reminds me sometimes of a young Ella Fitzgerald and sometimes of Peggy Lee. Her CD, The Tender Trap is magnificent. She has a new one just coming out. Buy it. You'll become a believer. I am.

Her website is here

By all means, see this fabulous entertainer perform. You won’t be sorry. As for me, I’m thinking about becoming an Amanda groupie. I do adore her so.

June 24, 2007

A Reminder That There Are More Important Things in Life

Justin Katz

The real-Earth geography of Middle Earth revealed. Given the necessary changes to the landscape since the Third Age, I'd say this is yet another argument against the Theory of Evolution.

June 15, 2007

Taking A Moment to Appreciate A Man Finding His Greatness

Marc Comtois

OK, Jonah Goldberg at The Corner linked to this performance by a "bloke" named Paul Potts on the UK's "Britain's Got Talent" reality TV show. Usually I don't get into that stuff (which is why I'm probably a little late to this story), but I followed the link. Before reading on, I'd recommend you do the same. Here it is again.

Continue reading "Taking A Moment to Appreciate A Man Finding His Greatness"

June 14, 2007

Gerrymander for Fun!

Marc Comtois

For your lunchtime fun....

The Re-districting Game

Practice Gerrymandering for fun and political profit!

Actually, it's a neat little game that shows the average guy and gal how a lot of elections are pre-determined by legislative redistricting. Have fun!

May 24, 2007

Sanjaya Sullying the Good Name of RISD...

Carroll Andrew Morse

....or is this something Rhode Island School of Design Students would be proud to be associated with, if it were true?

Apparently, there’s no truth to the rumor that American Idol’s Sanjaya was an performance art project created by a student at the Rhode Island School of Design. From KDVR-TV (FOX 31 in Colorado)….

The website, TMZ.com has obtained video that shows America Idol's Sanjaya Malakar explaining that his real name is Bill Vendall, a 25 year-old graduate student at the Rhode Island School of Design.

Sanjaya Malakar/Bill Vendall says he assumed the role of Sanjaya Malakar as part of a "human art project." He goes on to say that people "haven't seen the last of him," and even hints at possibly running for President of the U.S. someday....

At least where Sanjaya is involved, I’m extending my New Year’s Resolution about not posting on the Presidential Election to the year 4000.
....So is Sanjaya's claim on the video true?

Apparently, no.

After Wednesday's American Idol finale in which Jordin Sparks was crowned this year's winner, Sanjaya said of the video "That was just fun, I was just having fun. And I guess people believed me.”

Further debunking comes from a chat session hosted by the Philadelphia Inquirier
Just heard from Jaime Marland, a spokeswoman at the Rhode Island School of Design, and she tells me that there is no student named Bill Vendell.
The question is, is claiming that something is performance art when it isn’t in itself an advanced form of performance art?

May 23, 2007

Scattered Thoughts

Marc Comtois

A few scattered thoughts....

Was anyone surprised to hear that class-warrior John Edwards charged UC Davis $55,000 to give a speech....on poverty?

According to a recent study, the less religious a university professor is, the more likely it is that they'll blame American for the world's problems.

It's Jordin

Hustler porn king Larry Flynt considered the Rev. Jerry Falwell a friend. Writes Flynt, "My mother always told me that no matter how repugnant you find a person, when you meet them face to face you will always find something about them to like." Hm. A lesson for partisans everywhere?

Wood bats over aluminum.

I must not be a true Rhode Islander: I could care less about what's next for Buddy.

April 7, 2007

Pubs of Newport, Continued

Mac Owens

Congressional Democrats have decided to ban the term “war on terror” in the writing of legislation. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has decamped from Syria, where she donned a headscarf and in violation of the intent of the Founders, made nice with the dictator of a state supporter of terrorism, attempting to push what her colleague, Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA)forthrightly—and honestly—calls an alternative Democratic foreign policy. So let’s talk about…more pubs of Newport.

The Atlantic Beach Club (ABC) is actually located in Middletown (just over the Newport line) on the east end of Easton’s Beach, AKA First Beach. The ABC boasts one of the most remarkable vistas on Aquidneck Island. This is especially the case when the weather warms up and the ABC deck opens.

During the summer months, the ABC deck features fine live bands on the weekends. Despite a cover charge, the deck is packed when the bands are playing. The scenery is fabulous (I enjoy looking at the ocean too). Not to be missed is the sight of New York girls in bikinis and high-heels. I’m guessing they’re not there primarily to go to the beach.

The food is quite good. As one might expect, the ABC specializes in seafood. It is not inexpensive, but the prices are in line with those of other seafood restaurants in the Newport area (and on Wednesday evenings, all menu entrees, other than lobster dishes, can be had for $12.95). The service in the dining rooms and at the bar is excellent and friendly. I can say that I have never had a bad meal at the ABC.

During the non-summer months, the ABC offers quiet jazz on Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons. Surprisingly—given Newport’s reputation as the site of the annual Jazz Festival—the ABC provides one of the few regular jazz venues in the area.

The quality of the music is uniformly excellent. The usual program consists of a trio plus a vocalist. It’s good stuff. The vocalists are mostly local and quite good, but my personal favorite is a true New England treasure: Amanda Carr from Boston (more about her in a later post). In any event, if one wants to spend an evening listening to good jazz over a couple of drinks in a setting where it is still possible to carry on a conversation, the ABC is the place to go.

Good food, good drinks, good service, good company, and good jazz: the ABC is my kind of place.

Update: In my last post about Mudville Pub, I managed to misspell the name of my good friend Kevin Stacom (I spelled it Stachem). Sorry Kev. I also mentioned the “very gorgeous Melanie.” A couple of folks have asked me just how gorgeous is she. Well, imagine Scarlett Johannson with black hair. How’s that? And I certainly also should have mentioned the very lovely and fascinating Georgia peach, Anna, AKA Anna Banana (I know, I know, I mixed my fruits here. But is this as bad as mixing metaphors?).

April 5, 2007

Donnis Pitches Up Some Rhody-centric Baseball History

Marc Comtois

For baseball fans, historians and baseball historians, I recommend Ian Donnis' "Play ball, Rhody-style." Here's his All-Rhode Island Team:

First base: PAUL KONERKO (Providence)
Second base: DAVEY LOPES (Providence)
Shortstop: JAMES EDWARD “JIMMY” COONEY (Cranston)
Third base: JOE MULVEY (Providence)
Left field: HUGH DUFFY (Cranston)
Center field: ROCCO BALDELLI (Cumberland)
Right field: NAPOLEON LAJOIE (Woonsocket)
Catcher: GABBY HARTNETT (Woonsocket)
Pitcher: ANDY COAKLEY (Providence)
Relief pitcher: CLEM LABINE (Lincoln/Woonsocket)
Manager: NAPOLEAN LAJOIE (Woonsocket) {player/manager, eh?}
General manager: LOU GORMAN (Providence)
Special adviser: JEREMY KAPSTEIN (Providence)

March 28, 2007

For a New Series: Pubs of Newport

Mac Owens

Anchor Rising is, of course, a political blog. Politics is serious business, but sometimes we need to remember the reason for engaging in politics: to defend what we hold dear. And one of the things I hold dear is a good pub. So with your indulgence, I intend, on occasion, to offer my observations on the pubs and eateries of my hometown, Newport.

I will start with my very favorite place in Newport: the Mudville Pub. The food is excellent, the beer is cold, the bartenders are friendly, and the waitresses are hot. One of the owners is Kevin Stachem, a member of PC's final four basketball team of the mid-70s, who subsequently played for the Celtics. He is always accessible to the patrons and is truly one of the friendliest people alive.

A pub with "Mudville" in its name must have something to do with baseball. Indeed, it is located next to historic Cardines Field across from the Newport Marriott. During the spring and summer, one can sit on the the screened-in deck on the right field line and drink a cold one (or more) while watching some pretty good baseball. Cardines field is the home of the Newport Gulls of the Cape Cod Summer League. Good stuff.

On Wednesday afternoons, the Mudville Pub is also the home of the world famous Mudville Study Group (MSG), an informal gathering of Naval War College students that I have been convening for the last decade and a half. The conversation is wide-ranging and a number of RI luminaries have made appearances, including the Honorable Frank Williams, Chief Justice of the RI Supreme Court, with whom I teach a War College elective on Abraham Lincoln; Jim Taracani of Channel 10; and Dyana Koelsch, a former investigative reporter for Channel 10, who teaches an elective for me at the War College.

Anytime is a good time at Mudville but my favorite times are: Wednesday afternoon/evening with the very gorgeous Melanie, followed by the very funny Mark; Friday evenings with Louie, the embodiment of the Irish bartender and one of the funniest people on earth; and Sunday afternoon with Mo (Maureen), who possesses the loveliest cat eyes and is the mistress of the Bloody Mary.

In fact, today is Wednesday, so I'll soon be off to a meeting of the MSG. Melanie, here I come.

March 9, 2007

What Brings Conservatives and Progressives Together?

Marc Comtois

Those who read Providence Phoenix editor Ian Donnis' Not for Nothing blog have learned that Ian is a certified baseball nut (heck, he made a category for it on N4N). Today, Ian points to a ProJo piece about how some Providence residents are outraged that the city is unilaterally doing away with a baseball field in favor of a dog park. One of those resident is former GOP candidate for Providence Mayor Dave Talan. Ian comments:

Adding insult to injury is how this location is quite close to the place where professional baseball began in Providence.

As a longtime participant in the Providence Coed Softball League, I've been struck by how the condition of Collier Field, near the Bonanza Bus Terminal, hardly corresponds with what might reasonably be expected from Cicilline's improved City Hall. The grass is often overgrown in the summer, the field is poorly maintained, and infield flooding makes it generally unusable for a day or two after a heavy rain. Maybe it's false nostalgia, but veteran umpires say Collier was better kept during the Buddy era. I do know this: the diamonds at Pawtucket's vastly superior Hank Soar Complex are the softball equivalent of playing at Fenway Park, while Collier might be akin to a rock-strewn lot in Cartagena.

Aahhh baseball....it can even bring conservatives and progressives together.