Thursday, May 30, 2002

YOU GOTTA BE IN IT TO WIN IT: Jonah Goldberg raps a few knuckleheads for their inability to engage in critical thinking -- comparing their lust for jihad to winning the lottery. Here's an excerpt:
Because so many Muslims believe as a matter of religious truth that a full-blown, all-out, full-tilt boogie for burkas and beheadings kind of war will, by definition, result in the global "rule of Allah," there's a tendency to see war as a solution to any problem you might be facing. It's sort of like seeing global war as a winning lottery ticket that would solve all your problems. In 1964, for instance, Yasser Arafat believed — and announced — that his failed attack on a water pump in Northern Israel would lead to jihad and the ultimate destruction of Israel.

Osama bin Laden, we all know, believed and hoped that the 9/11 attacks would result in a holy war. Meanwhile, his organization and those associated with it are so high on their crack hookahs they think a holy war will result in Islamic dominion over all or most of India, Russia, and China too.

What's my point? Simple: These people are frickin' nuts. If they were allowed to drink booze, I'd say they were talking with their beer muscles. I know it's fun for these loons to imagine a bunch of Dervishes pouring into downtown Cleveland whirling their scimitars as we fat and spoiled Americans drop our Big Macs and run for our lives, but that will never, ever, happen.

Think of the "best case" scenario for these terrorists: The entire Muslim world rises up for a jihad against the United States. This what they wish for, right? Well, this alone qualifies them as idiots.

I'm no Victor Davis Hanson, but it seems to me that even without nuclear weapons, we could probably defeat all 57 members the Islamic Conference of Nations — combined. We'd need to be convinced that our survival was on the line and be thus committed to total war like we were during WWII or the Civil War. But that's sort of implied when you use phrases like "global holy war," and talk about the mass conversion and/or the mass slaughter of Christendom, right?

Oh sure, we might need to reinstate the draft, cut some fat from the next farm bill, load up on a couple of more air wings and de-mothball a few ships, but it's totally doable when you think about it...

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

THANKS and a tip o' the ol' Home Movies hat to Michael Lopez at Higher Ed Intelligence for his thoughtful amplifications of my lengthy essay from last week. Kudos, also, to Charles G. Hill of for his equally fine taste in bloggerature. I was beginning to wonder if anyone reads this page anymore.

(I know I took a couple of weeks off recently -- but sheesh! -- you slow down to recharge your batteries for half a minute in this blog racket. and everyone starts writing you off as a burn-out! Megan, you de-linked me? Fmeh upon thee!)

ROPE-A-DOPE OR WIMPING OUT? Writing for National Review Online, John O'Sullivan reassures the increasingly pensive blogosphere -- singling out Glenn Reynolds and Andrew Sullivan by name -- that there is little reason to fear that Bush has gone wobbly on Iraq, if for no other reason that "he will not be reelected if Saddam Hussein is still ruling in Baghdad in 2004."

Andrew Sullivan, in particular, went into paroxysms of alarm last week, over Bush's remark to the German press that " there is no plan to invade" on his desk. But how could Sullivan have failed to notice how that disclaimer was parsed in so obviously a Clintonesqe manner? NRO's John O'Sullivan spells it out for him: "His remark that he has no plan on the table to invade Iraq is doubtless literally true — it is still being constructed in the Pentagon." Feeling calmer, Andrew?

MYSTERY DODECAHEDRON: Spotted this prop on a Pop-Up Brady Bunch rerun over the weekend, and squealed "My stereo speakers!" Or at least, they would have been my speakers, if I could have afforded a pair of these when I spotted them hanging from the ceiling in a special-interest record store on Eighth Street circa 1978. Their multi-directional sound was exquisite, and the aesthetic sensibility would have been a sublime compliment to the interlocking foam Puzzle Couch that furnished my first apartment, and the Giant Hand chair that I would have loved to add to the ensemble.

The record store is long gone, put out of business by nearby Tower Records at least ten years ago. And the speakers, I would hazard a guess, are no longer manufactured. But what a kick it would be if they ever turned up on eBay...

(Screen grab thanks to the miracle of TiVo "real-time rewind.")

FIGHTING TO LIVE AS THE TOWERS DIED: Must-read feature article from Sunday's New York Times:
Yes, Stanley Praimnath told the caller from Chicago, he was fine. He had actually evacuated to the lobby of the south tower, but a security guard told him to go back. Now, he was again at his desk at Fuji Bank. "I'm fine," he repeated.

As he would later tell his story, those were his final words before he spotted it.

A gray shape on the horizon. An airplane, flying past the Statue of Liberty. The body of the United Airlines jet grew larger until he could see a red stripe on the fuselage. Then it banked and headed directly toward him.

Another one.

"Lord, you take over!" he remembers yelling, dropping under his metal desk.

At 9:02:54, the nose of the jetliner smashed directly into Mr. Praimnath's floor, about 130 feet from his desk. A fireball ignited. Steel furnishings and aluminum plane parts were torn into white-hot shrapnel. A blast wave hurled computers and desks through windows, and ripped out bundles of arcing electrical cables. Then the south tower seemed to stoop, swinging gradually toward the Hudson River, ferociously testing the steel skeleton before snapping back...