November 01, 2002

Your real favorite albums, these days.

When you think of your favorite albums, the likes of Exile On Main Street, Abbey Road, London Calling and Led Zeppelin IV come to mind. Maybe Born In The U.S.A. or The Joshua Tree, maybe Rust Never Sleeps or Horses. Possibly Nevermind or your older brother’s Highway 61 Revisited.

Now you’re married with three kids and “consult” out of your home office. You rarely if ever listen to those albums – if you still have them in your CD collection. No, given that your criteria are “Can I play it while working?” and “What would someone think who heard it in the background over the phone?” here are your real Top Ten albums:

· Paul Simon’s Graceland – along with Honorable Mentions Bridge Over Troubled Water and Crosby, Stills & Nash and anything by Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Ella Fitzgerald. Nice, pleasant background music to burble away when you’re working, having neighbors in for an evening or the brother who visits once a year.

· Anybody’s Unplugged. Ideal for Sunday family get-togethers.

· The Allman Brothers’ Eat A Peach. You used to drink Jack Daniels and rip a fierce air guitar to Skynyrd’s “Free Bird,” now you set your wine glass down and wiggle your fingers when “Blue Sky” comes on and the kids aren’t watching. Connoisseurs prefer the expanded CD reissue of Live At The Fillmore East, but you find that boring.

· The Dave Brubeck Quartet’s Time Out. This was the first time you realized jazz didn’t totally suck, and led to purchases of The Gold Collection’s cheap John Coltrane and Charlie Parker reissues, as well as a Wynton Marsalis CD or two.

· James Taylor’s Greatest Hits. What you put on when you ask your wife “Whaddya wanna hear?” and she says “Oh, something nice.” Sometimes you put on The Eagles’ Greatest Hits or Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors instead. Sometimes it’s Gordon Lightfoot’s Sundown or Van Morrison’s Moondance – she never really liked Astral Weeks. Maybe even Bruce Cockburn.

· Mozart, for when you’re really working. You generally prefer the value of buying in bulk when it comes to Mozart, such as the London Mozart Double Decker 1995 reissue of Symphonies 25, 29, 38 and 40 with Benjamin Britten and the English Chamber Orchestra. For the sonatas you have the Sony Classical Artist Laureate pressing of Sonatas For Piano & Violin, K. 296, 454. 526 featuring Isaac Stern and Yefim Bronfman. You rotate the three discs, occasionally tossing a Chopin, Shine: The Complete Classics or Pictures At An Exhibition (the Ravel orchestration, not the Emerson, Lake and Palmer one) in the mix.

· Kronos Quartet. You have either their Complete Landmark Sessions or the 1985 Nonesuch début with “Purple Haze.” You don’t have anything by Philip Glass, John Cage, Hindemith or Stockhausen, but you're pretty sure you have a Beethoven CD somewhere, maybe loaned out.

· Neil Young’s Harvest. You’ve never really liked it, but hey, you’ve never really hated it, and it makes a nice anchor for an “All Discs” rotation with Sgt. Pepper, What’s Going On, Time Passages and Pet Sounds. For your “answering e-mail and surfing the Web” CDs you like to rotate Traffic’s Welcome To The Canteen, Lou Reed’s Transformer and Johnny Cash’s American Recordings.

· The Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. You put it where people can see it but you never play it, too screechy. You figure it counterbalances your wife’s Christopher Cross and Prince CDs in the eyes of visitors, like your Garth Brooks and Dwight Yoakam outweigh her Linda Ronstadt and Nancy Griffith. The Dixie Chicks are okay, though.

· The Violent Femmes. There’s a… time about this one, nothing else conjures up your college friends so well as singing along with “Kiss Off” and “Add It Up.” Oh, and you’re pretty sure somebody’s still borrowing your More Fun In the New World.

· Career Moves, by Loudon Wainwright III. You liked his little spots on NPR, so you bought this to see what he’s like in real life. You’re still getting into it, but hey, you’re always up for something new.

· And for the car? When you're by yourself it's Elvis Costello or John Mellencamp, with the family it's Zevon’s Excitable Boy – you still know all the words and the kids like howling along on “Werewolves of London.”

October 31, 2002

Welcome to Richmond, Mark.

It’s a frabjous day in Richmond - we’re getting Mark Steyn in The Richmond Times-Dispatch as a regular columnist.

As uneven as the quality in the rest of the Times-Disgrace is -- the sports page is abysmal -- it does manage to put out a decent editorial page. It runs Thomas Sowell, Molly Ivins, Walter Williams, George Fwill, Ellen Goodman to keep the stupid readers quiet, Kathleen Parker and The Buckman regularly.

Along with Steyn the paper’s adding Peggy Noonan and a couple others, and dropping Bob Greene, Ben Wattenberg, who’s giving up the game, and Maureen Dowd, who seems to have run out of things to say.

This might seem like no big deal to you, but understand the Times-Dispatch still runs Henry in the Sunday comics.

Now if they’d only get decent sports columnists.

October 30, 2002

Thanks to Daily Pundit.

Clubbeaux appreciates all quotes and links, and the latest from the much-read Daily Pundit even comes with an appreciation for Clubbeaux's own brand of invective. Clubbeaux prides himself on his mastery of the lost art of invective, so the compliment from one practitioner to another is gratifying.

Can left-wingers think?

One particularly addled left-wing blog, Counterspin Central, is a perfect example of the leftist smear-but-don’t-answer-the-question tactic in “debate.” Here the subject is Russia’s imperfect yet still remarkably well-handled ending of the Muslim Chechen terrorists’ hostage-taking:

“When they [conservatives] praise a scumbag, like Putin, and say the operation in Moscow went well, despite 117 DEAD hostages (almost all of whom were directly killed by the GOVERNMENT, not the hostage takers!)…”

I haven’t heard any of my fellow conservatives talking about the 117 dead in anything but regretful terms, but we’re pretty sure the Muslim Chechen terrorists are more to blame for their deaths than the Russian state, in the sense that if the Muslim Chechen terrorists hadn’t attacked the theater in the first place they’d all be alive. I don’t hear liberals talking about the six hundred hostages who thanks to Russian security forces walked free and alive out of the heavily-mined deathtrap, however.

“… Some massmurderitarian warbloggers are wondering what I would have done differently than Putin. The honest answer, I’m not sure.”

But my ignorance won’t stop me from criticizing Putin for saving six out of seven hostages, even though I can’t think of a single better option. Hey I'm a leftist liberal, I'm not expected to have workable answers.

“It depends on the facts of the situation [something we still don’t have a ton of at the moment].”

Putin had every obtainable fact at his disposal, this blithering fool has none.

“There were reports that the Chechen terrorists were STILL negotating the relase of foreign hostages at the time of the raid.”

The confirmed facts are that they had started shooting the hostages. A favourite dodge of the ignorant is the mythical unsubstantiated “report” claim, such as his “There were reports…”

“It’s POSSIBLE that a negotiated end to the standoff was achievable.”

Not for anyone who read what the Muslim Chechen terrorists were demanding.

“I just don’t know, however.”

Hey, at least he’s honest about the fact that all he’s doing is farting in your general direction.

“It seem illogical that the terrorists would kill all the hostages, en mass [sic], at the end of the deadline, as they claimed.”

Why? Does killing thousands of people by slamming hijacked planes in the World Trade Center strike you as “logical?” Setting off suicide bombs in Jerusalem? Firebombing Bali nightclubs? These are Muslim terrorists we’re dealing with here, and as the West is learning they’re usually as good as their word when they threaten to kill.

“That would have totally destroyed their political aims.”

Which would be…

“And, remember, they were old-fashioned POLITICAL terrorists, as opposed to Islamic-fascists. It’s possible that they could have been convinced that a peaceful resolution of the crisis would advance their political cause far more than killing over 700 innocent people.”

No, Chechens are Muslims who turn out some of the world's most accomplished terrorists and comprise a significant percentage of al-Qaeda's foot soldiers. And if this ignorant yahoo can come up with some way to convince Muslim terrorists that a peaceful resolution is preferable to violence he wins the next six Nobel Peace Prizes.

There’s no more point in reviling this idiot for not being able to think clearly than there is in reviling a child in a wheelchair for not being able to dunk a basketball. What’s instructive is what a textbook example of the leftist template it is:

· Slander your opponent.
· Either show or admit that you have nothing to say to answer the salient point, but dismiss the inability as irrelevant to the criticism you're spooning up.
· Slander your opponent for offering an option that might work in the real world without revealing to the world your better alternative.
· Express a fond hope that a perfect world will be soon in coming.
· Dish out more slander of your opponent for his not realizing that joining hands and singing on a hilltop is the way to solve world problems.
· End on either condescending or patronizing note congratulating yourself for your enlightened state.
· Final shot of ignorant slander optional but recommended.

Around the blogs: Socialist humour, etc.

Some of you have noticed that I keep a link to the World Socialist Web on this page. Why? It’s hilarious, as I was reminded this morning by Whacking Day:

“If you ever need proof of how socialist thinkers are sorry, humourless nerds with no life, check out the movie reviews section of the World Socialist Website, written by a group of reviewers who really need to get laid,” he says. For example, their review of The Siege back in 1998.

The movie was about a terrorist campaign in New York City, conducted by followers of a Islamic cleric. Muslim-set blasts kill hundreds of people, the U.S. Army occupies Brooklyn, setting up internment camps for young Arab-American men. The WSW pronounced the movie “crude and unconvincing in nearly every aspect.”

They’d be 100% correct, too, were it not for the movie’s almost prophetically accurate depiction of militant Islam. Bear in mind that shortly before the film was made followers of an Islamic cleric tried to blow up the World Trade Center, an act the WSW seems to have missed. The main fault of the movie was not thinking big enough when it came to depicting the evil militant Islam would laughingly inflict on innocent people.

But it’s the last paragraph which really draws the laughs:

Arab-American organizations have criticized Zwick’s film for its reinforcing of “stereotypes of Muslims” and its “linking Islam to terrorism.” (Ibrahim Hooper, national communications director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in an op-ed piece in The New York Times November 10, 1998.) No doubt there’s an element of truth in the accusation. The Siege is ignorant and vulgar in its presentation of Arabs and Islam as it is in virtually everything else. The film, however, is not merely offensive to this or that community, but to anyone who knows anything about the world.

As this piece and the WSW itself proves, it’s those grossly ignorant of the world, not those knowledgeable, who are the most frequently “offended.”

. . .

Thanks to Silflay Hraka and Blogcritics for including Clubbeaux’s “Exxon’s Payphone” in their latest roundup of the best of the blogs.

. . .

We’ve all heard the horror stories about how the liberal media routinely smears intelligent, honest, thoughtful people who say things the P.C.-marinated media doesn’t like, but here’s a first-hand case study in exactly how it happens. You might call it a genuine Texas barbecue. Thanks to Cold Fury for the tip.

. . .

Just found a great blog, Armed Liberal, particularly relevant for anyone trying to make sense of California politics. One reason I don't have more liberals (or those billed as such) linked is that good quality writing is a condition of linkage, and surprisingly few liberals really write intelligently and well about their subjects. Hey I don't have to agree with someone to praise them, but I do have to respect the effort and integrity involved. Armed Liberal wins on all counts.

. . .

Well, PricewaterhouseCoopers’s stupid idea to change their name to Monday wasn’t a total loss, not when you get pirate sites like out of the deal.

For some reason it’s a lot funnier the second time.

October 29, 2002

Coincidence? We think not.

One of my favorite nominations for Stupidest Person Alive so far comes from Kenneth, who writes “Do I actually have to explain why I nominated this guy?”

He nominates Michael Murray of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota who went pheasant hunting with some friends near Morbridge, South Dakota last Saturday.

The group of hunters that had just returned to their vehicles. They put their shotguns on the ground and lined up for a picture when Sonny, Mr. Murray’s year-old English setter pup, stepped on a gun and it went off, shooting Murray in the ankle.

Conspiracy theorists, take note.

Mr. Murray certainly sounds like a worthy candidate, but one wonders if there isn’t more here than meets the eye:

· In 1996 45-year old Phillip Smith is hunting with his dog Rusty near Inez, Kentucky. As Smith is retrieving a bird from Rusty’s mouth the dog steps on a shotgun, blasting Smith in both legs.

· In August 1999 a 51-year old German man is hunting with his dog near the southwestern town of Bad Urach. Later he’s found dead by his car. Police determine the dog pressed the trigger when he jumped on the seat.

· December 2000. Kelly Russell of New Zealand goes hunting wild pigs with his dogs in December of 2000. Russell corners a pig and puts down his loaded shotgun, whereupon his dog Stinky jumps on it, blasting a shot through Russell’s foot.

· October 2001. Michael J. Boyle, 22, of Malaga, Washington is goose hunting in the Columbia River near Wenatchee, Washington. A friend's dog steps on the trigger of a 12-gauge shotgun, striking Boyle in the right knee and lower leg.

Clubbeaux, no fool, does not own a dog.

Stupid People Who May Or May Not Be Alive, But Whom Nevertheless It’s Awful Hard To Feel Sorry For:

A demonstrator's hair catching fire while burning a U.S. flag during a demonstration in the center of Peshawar, Pakistan on Monday, October 8, 2001. (Thanks to Steve Carroll’s wonderful “And Other Stuff In The News...” feature.)

October 28, 2002

Enter Clubbeaux’s Stupidest Person Alive Contest!

Yes, it’s time to kick off Clubbeaux’s first-ever Stupidest Person Alive search. To get the ball rolling here’s an in-house nomination of pro-Saddam Hussein demonstrator and professional idiot Kathy Kelly.

Read an account of her latest jaunt to see her old friends in Baghdad for a little America bashing:

Kathy Kelly, a 49-year-old former Chicago high school English teacher who is a co-founder of Voices in the Wilderness, spoke out against the Bush administration and in defense of positions taken by Mr. Hussein.

At one point, she said she wished that the United States government would follow Mr. Hussein’s example in ordering the emptying of Iraq’s prisons, a move the Iraqi leader made last Sunday, in part to counter Mr. Bush’s descriptions of him as a murdering tyrant.

“I wish people in our country would be willing to show the same spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation to the two million people in our prisons,” she said.

It seems Ms. Kelly and Saddam are old friends:

Ms. Kelly is on her 16th visit to Baghdad, going back to the period of the Persian Gulf war when she and her American companions protesting against the American-led war to drive Iraqi occupation troops from Kuwait camped briefly on the Iraqi side of the desert border between Iraq and Kuwait. In 1996, she helped establish Voices in the Wilderness from her Chicago kitchen for the purpose of campaigning against the United Nations sanctions imposed on Iraq after its invasion of Kuwait.

"When I ask myself who has created the greatest threat to the people of Iraq, my answer is, the United States," Ms. Kelly said

Whew, it’s going to be tough to top that, but please, using the "Contact" link on the right send your nominations for Stupidest Person Alive with a brief explanation of your choice. Winners will be announced as soon as Clubbeaux gets around to it.

Clubbeaux, members of his immediate family and close acquaintances are not eligible.

Performance enhancements?

Tennis players have been known to take performance-enhancing supplements – steroids and the like to improve their game. Clubbeaux thinks it’s time the women’s tour started cracking down on players such as Uzbekistan’s Iroda Tulyaganova abusing silicone.

How does Clubbeaux know? Oh, just a wild guess based on these photos of Iroda in action at the 1999 U.S. Open –

– and in 2002:

Kind of jumps out at you.

Those of us who appreciate not-so-coincidental coincidences found two in the following sentence from a news story about Nathaniel Osbourne, the Jamaican co-owner of the Caprice the D.C. snipers used:

“The car was purchased for $250 from Sure Shot Auto Sales Inc. in Trenton, N.J., on Sept. 10, and Muhammad and Osbourne registered it the next day.”

October 27, 2002

Gross, disgusting racism, Richmond-style.

How do we know racism’s alive and well in the United States? Let me quote verbatim the comments four black residents of Richmond gave to the Richmond Times-Dispatch concerning the fact that the D.C. sniper turns out to be a couple of black guys.

Article appears in the Saturday, October 26 edition, page A6, bottom half of page under the headline “Suspects’ race shocks black community:”

· “Everyone is so surprised. My family in Missouri even called me, shocked. I just couldn’t believe he could be black.” – Vanessa Harris.

· “It’s a shock. You typically expect a serial killer to be a middle-aged Caucasian with glasses.” – Kerry Williams (middle-aged black with glasses, according to photo).

· “I’m not eliminating the possibility, but I’m just surprised that this kind of thing goes on in a black person’s mind.” – Trina Traver.

· “I don’t have much to say about his color. I’m just glad he was caught.” – Tonjia Carter-Wood.

That’s verbatim. Now let’s suppose a white guy’s arrested for carjacking. Times-Dispatch writes a special article probing the depth of shock in the white community that a carjacker would be white. Four whites have their pictures above these quotes:

· “Everyone is so surprised. My family in Connecticut even called me, shocked. I just couldn’t believe he could be white.” – Courtney McArthur.

· “It’s a shock. You typically expect a carjacker to be a teenage black with baggy clothes.” – Hugh Jones.

· “I’m not eliminating the possibility, but I’m just surprised that this kind of thing goes on in a white person’s mind.” – H. Whittington Bell III.

· “I don’t have much to say about his color. I’m just glad he was caught.” – Billy Bob Powers.

Can you imagine that? No, neither can I. Let’s look at some more quotes from the Times-Dispatch article:

· “When they captured him, I didn’t believe they had the right [person],” said Falilou Gueye, Senegalese owner of Awas hair braiding. “But when the evidence was presented I was really surprised, because we tend to think only white people do these things.”

· “You wouldn’t anticipate that level of dysfunction in the black community.” – Mr. Williams, noted above.

· “I knew people would have something to say,” said Zxulu, an on-air personality [for urban radio station 106.5] “People were shocked, and some called in really upset. They just couldn’t believe it was a black man.”

Ever heard any more disgusting, foul racist bilge spewed over the pages of a major American community newspaper in recent memory? I haven’t seen anything more offensively racist in a long time. But I’m white so I don’t count, only anti-black racism is wrong in America, anti-white racism is perfectly acceptable.

Dr. James Alan Fox, dean of the College of Criminal Justice at Northeastern University and coauthor of the felicitously-timed new book Overkill: Mass Murder and Serial Killing Exposed reports that 43 percent of sniper killers, and about 1/3rd of all mass-murderers are black.

Of course to judge from the media coverage and listen to the two-bit charlatans who pass themselves off as criminal “profilers,” you’d think only whites were that “dysfunctional.” But if you acquire your sense of reality from The New York Times or Washington Post, network TV news or NPR you have a distorted view of reality anyway.

Again, let’s see how that would play in an article detailing the white community’s outrage over our mythical white carjacker:

· “When they captured him, I didn’t believe they had the right [person],” said Nigel “Biff” Martindale, British golf pro at the Country Club of Virginia. “But when the evidence was presented I was really surprised, because we tend to think only black people do these things.”

· “You wouldn’t anticipate that level of dysfunction in the white community.” – Mr. Jones, noted above.

· “I knew people would have something to say,” said Big Tex, an on-air personality [for country radio station 96.5] “People were shocked, and some called in really upset. They just couldn’t believe it was a white man.”

One hopes the day is coming soon when blacks are expected to be above racism as whites are expected to be today. That blessed day we’ll be free of this sort of vile racist hatred polluting our newspapers.