Nic, Bupkis and Nichevo

About Nothing, by Nothing, with German-flavored cleavage occasionally thrown in for local color.

Name:
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

You can email me at NicBupkusNichevo at aol dot com. Aren't you excited?

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Squid joke from Himself

In the Blue Ridge Mountains, there was a retired sailor who was reputed to have the best hunting dog ever,a dog by the name of "Chief". Three Admirals went-up into the mountains and wanted to rent him. The old sailor said "good hunting dog, gonna cost ya $50.00 a day." They agreed and three days later came back with the limit. The next year they came back. "Chief" got better, "gonna cost you $75.00 a day." Again they agreed, and 2 days later they came back with the limit.

The third year they came back and told the old sailor they had to have "Chief",even if it cost $100.00 a day. "You can have the worthless mutt for $5.00 a day, and I'm overcharging you. Make it $4.00."

"But we don't understand, what happened to him?"

'Well a crew from the Navy base in Norfolk came up and rented him. One of the idiots called him Master Chief , and he's just been sitting on his ass barkin' ever since."

Friday, January 28, 2005

Welcome Aboard, Ma'am

Citizen Smash has Madame Secretary's first speech to her new department over at State.

Good luck, ma'am, and as everyone is quoting Lileks I'll add to the chorus: please go to Saudia Arabia and give, as your first words off the plane, "I'll drive."

::wince::

The Navy has released the first pictures of the damage to the USS SAN FRANCISCO now that she's in port in Guam. As you may recall, she ran aground on an undersea mountain apparently not listed on any charts. One sailor died and sixty more were injured in the accident. Looking at the damage, I think it says great things about that boat's crew that they were able to bring her home (and about her construction that with even so much of the boat either gone or closed off behind watertight doors she could still be functional).

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Update on "Blue Hat" charity from the Lincoln

Blackfive has posted a rebuttal from an officer on board the Lincoln to the charges made earlier by pseudonymous officer Ed Stanton.

And now you know...the REST of the story.

And I feel better about it all now.

Juarez in the Long Dark of the Night

Via Counterterrorism Blog:

The article that appeared in Today’s Houston Chronicle reported on the fact that on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 the United States Department of State issued a travel advisory to citizens of the United States because of increased violence in the northern regions of Mexico that extends to the border of the United States. The alert stopped short of recommending that Americans not travel to Mexico, but it is certainly incredible that the country that shares our southern border and sends us more illegal aliens than any other country, should be experiencing such extreme levels of violence while the president of that country talks about the need to virtually dismantle the border that separates the United States from Mexico. Additionally, the administration has stated that although Congress has authorized the hiring of an additional 2,000 Border Patrol agents to secure the border, only about 10 percent of that number will be hired. The article can be found at: www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/world/3011137

So here we are, in a time and place where the only thing between us and a world of ever-growing violence and near anarchy (300 dead women in Juarez, anyone?) is a poorly-patrolled river. How is a group of drug thugs less of a threat to our security than Islamist extremists? How is this violence any less of a concern?

Crunchycons!

I like that name. Mebbe that's me. :)

From a letter writer to Andrew Sullivan (scroll down to Email of the Day):

I sort of like it. In any event, part of being a conservative is preserving those things in your culture you like. I do not believe in slavishly holding onto the past, as much of the past was nasty. But being a conservative should mean balancing environment and progress. As I look out my window onto Lake Michigan, I realize that an America without open spaces and barren landscapes and dense forests would not be America.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

From the UMD ARTIFACT listserv

The Library of Congress's American Folklife Center announces a new presentation: The September 11, 2001, Documentary Project, available on the Library's American Memory Web site:
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/911_archive/.

This presentation captures the heartfelt reactions, eyewitness accounts, and diverse opinions of Americans and others in the months that followed the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and United Airlines Flight 93. Patriotism and unity mixed with sadness, anger and insecurity are common themes expressed in the sound and video recordings, written narratives, poetry, photographs and drawings that comprise this online presentation.

The day after the attacks, the American Folklife Center called upon the nation's folklorists and ethnographers to collect, record and document America's reaction. This project is modeled on a similar initiative, conducted sixty years earlier, when folklorist Alan Lomax was serving as "assistant in charge" of the Archive of American Folk Song. On December 8, 1941, Lomax sent a telegram urging folklorists around the United States to collect and record man-on-the-street reactions to the
bombing of Pearl Harbor and the subsequent declaration of war by the United States. These field recordings were sent to the Library of Congress where they were used in a series of radio programs that were distributed to schools and radio stations around the country. This unique documentary collection is still housed at the American Folklife Center and is featured in the American Memory collection: After the Day of Infamy: "Man-on-the-Street" Interviews Following the Attack on Pearl
Harbor: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/afcphhtml/.

The online presentation includes almost 170 audio and video interviews, 41 graphic materials (photographs and drawings), and 21 written narratives and poems. The complete collection, available at the American Folklife Center Reading Room, comprises about 800 audio and video interviews, 421 graphic materials, as well as news clippings, written narratives, and artifacts. The voices of men and women from many cultural, occupational, and ethnic backgrounds are represented. Some of the interviews are from people who were in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon during the attacks. The majority of the interviews, however, are from other parts of the country-from those who first heard the news on television or radio, and from teachers, friends, family, and other members of their communities. In all, materials were received from 27 states and a U.S. military base in Naples, Italy.

The American Folklife Center was created by Congress in 1976 and placed at the Library of Congress to "preserve and present American folklife" through programs of research, documentation, archival presentation, reference service, live performance, exhibition, public programs, and training. The Center includes the Archive of Folk Culture, which was established in 1928 and is now one of the largest collections of
ethnographic material from the United States and around the world.

Please direct any questions you may have using the American Folklife Center Web form available at:
http://www.loc.gov/rr/askalib/ask-folklife2.html


Laura Gottesman
Reference Specialist
Digital Reference Team
The Library of Congress

Evolution or Devolution? From Bush to Reagan in the cause of liberation

Power Line linked to a thoughtful review over at the Claremont Institute, comparing and contrasting the remarkable changes in America foreign policy in regards to regime change as symbolized by the Reagan and Bush doctrines.

By comparison, the Bush Doctrine puts the democratization of once totalitarian, quondam authoritarian, and persistently tribal societies at the center of its objectives. The case of Afghanistan shows, to be sure, that the Reagan Doctrine had its drawbacks. Left to itself, Afghanistan after the Soviets' withdrawal did not resume its former ways, at least not for long, and certainly did not evolve into a democracy. Instead, it succumbed to the Taliban's peculiar Islamic totalitarianism. Nevertheless, the Bush Administration's policy is not merely to expunge the totalitarians there and in Iraq, but to ensure that they never return by reconstructing their societies along democratic lines. Authoritarianism (at least in the Middle East) is no longer acceptable. The U.S. now proposes to liberate these nations from the captivity of their own unhappy traditions.

While I give the current President all the credit in the world for his wish to free the world and bring them around to the democratic way of life (something I think is highly motivated by his deep Christian faith), I worry about the lack of pragmatism highlighted in this article. Even Reagan realized that Winthrop's "shining city" occasionally had to get its hands dirty in the short term in favor of a better long term goal. There's a sense of pragmatism and, yes, compromise that seems entirely missing in Bush's inaugural speech. I wonder if that comes from his evangelical Christianity, too, and worry if our efforts under this goal might send us back to the bad old days of 1960s "innocents abroad", a sort of "Hulk SMASH" approach to foreign policy. And while Secretary Rice is a woman of great intelligence and abilities, I worry that her background in Soviet-era politics will color her approaches to a need for a great deal more subtlety. Waiting for the bad guys to be late to the UN so we can put the photographs of their rockets up in the Security Council isn't going to work anymore.

But read the article and form your own opinion.

Dirndls and other skinny subjects

I'm celebrating the latest step in my weight loss (I'm down to 210# from 235#) by wearing my favorite dirndl today. I have two, both size 16. It's a very snug fit, but I seem to be managing rather well. Because of the way these things are cut across the bosom, however, let's just say that June is busting out all over. Major spillage. Thank the gods I'm wearing a turtleneck under this thing or we'd all be really embarrassed. Of course, Himself always loved it when I wore snug turtlenecks, because they just made my chest look even bigger. I'm up to a DDD, trembling on the verge of a G thanks to an apparent second round of puberty (and every time I gain weight it goes to my chest, but unlike most women when I lose weight it doesn't leave my chest but just settles in for the duration).

One of my coworkers has announced that I looked very festive and European, very German. I pointed out that given my paternal family background it's appropriate (we've been here since the Revolution, but folks fresh off the boat have been marrying in every generation up to WWI). So now my name today is "Heidi" and I'm supposed to sing "Edelweiss" on demand. :/ You really, really don't want me to sing. If one of our employees who is a man of color decided to wear a dashiki, do you think they'd call him Kunta Kinte and insist he sing "The Lion sleeps Tonight"? Yeesh.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Jeff Jarvis has a potty mouth...

...and a point. I guess we're still in the days of "I can't tell you what pornography is, but I know it when I see it."

In the first set of rulings, the FCC seems to bravely decides that "dick" in various forms is OK. Ditto ass, penis, vaginal, nutsack, and a three-way. In the second set, they add the words hell and damn -- as if they were ever in contention as indecent and blaspamous -- as well as breast, nipples, can, pissed, crap, bastard, and bitch. It's the liberalization of America, I tell you, it's the second damned sexual revolution!

Woops, not so fast Jarvis, put away the tie-dyes and scented oils. The FCC explains:

A number of complaints cite isolated uses of the word “dick” or variations thereof. In context and as used in the complained of broadcasts, these were epithets intended to denigrate or criticize their subjects. Their use in this context was not sufficiently explicit or graphic and/or sustained to be patently offensive. Although use of such words may, depending on the nature of the broadcast at issue, contribute to a finding of indecency, their use here was not patently offensive and therefore not indecent. Similarly, we find that the fleeting uses of the words “penis,” “testicle,” “vaginal,” “ass,” “bastard” and “bitch,” uttered in the context of the programs cited in the complaints, do not render the material patently offensive under contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium.

Ah, so I can call the FCC commissioners a bunch of dicks, asses, bastards, and bitches and get away with it. Get me on the air! But if I use those words in a sustained manner...

I'm honestly not sure what's worse: that I laughed so hard I set off the pleurisy and now I can't much breathe, or that there are people on my reading list who occasionally write like this in all seriousness.

From Iowahawk:

We are still revolting because we will not allow another election to be stolen. Don't think Karl Rove and Team Repiglican scripted the outcome? Then you tell me: how exactly did Shrubby "win" Oklahoma, despite scientific exit polls there that showed him trailing both Kerry and Nader? Wake up man, our "democracy" was co-opted. Nowhere was this more evident than in Ohio, where widely-reported GOP firehoses and attack dogs kept Cleveland voter turnout to 91%, 15 points below normal and more than 40 points lower than in similar-sized Milwaukee. Ask your stats T.A. to explain that one.

Getting Old

Glenn Reynolds posted recently about visiting his grandmother in her rehab facility, and one of his readers responded with a story about her own mother's care in such a place. I have two terrors about growing old, neither of which are nearly as warm and fuzzy as Reynold's entry depicts, and they're both wrapped up in growing old alone.

I'm divorced and have no kids. I'm not close to any of the extended family. I've written a very specific living will to cope with my terrors, but unless there's someone around to execute it it's really rather pointless. I am literally shaking-in-my-boots terrified by the idea of aging and/or dying alone. I often joke about being the crazy old lady on the corner with nothing but cats for company, but the truth is that it's not really all that funny. I have visions of turning into lunch meat for the cats until the stench finally drives a neighbor to call the cops. Worse yet is the notion that my already tenuous hold on reality will fail once my family has either died or drifted away. Spending the rest of my days a drooling blob of tissue tied upright in a wheelchair, warehoused, no one giving a damn about "that one over there"...I can't bear the thought. So what do you do if there's no one to protect you? Rely on the state? Yeah, as if.

Need to find something more cheerful to write about. I know, BOOBS!

Snerk of the Day

Tony Blair is being shown around a Scottish hospital. Towards the end of his visit, he is shown into a ward with a number of people with no obvious signs of injury. He goes to speak to the first man he sees and the man pipes up: "Fair fa' yer honest sonsie face, Great chieftain e' the puddin' race! Aboon them a' ye tak your place, painch, tripe, or thairm: Weel are ye wordy o'a grace as lang's my arm." Tony, being somewhat taken aback goes to the next patient and immediately the patient launches into: "Some hae meat, and canna eat, And some wad eat that want it, But we hae meat and we can eat, And sae the Lord be thankit." This continues with the next patient: "Wee sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie, O, what a panic's in thy breastie! Thou need na start awa sae hasty, wi bickering brattle: I wad be laith to rin and chase thee , wi murdering pattle!" Blair turns to the doctor accompanying him on the visit and asks, 'What is this, the
psychiatric ward?'

"No, no," replies the doctor, "it's the Burns unit."

Critiquing the critics of a Lavender Lincoln

Alas, both notions—that Lincoln's sexual orientation is unimportant; and that Tripp's book raises powerful circumstantial evidence to support his claims—are wrong. On the one hand, if it could indeed be shown that Lincoln was "predominantly homosexual," as Tripp puts it (after all, Lincoln was married and had four children), this would be significant. No, it wouldn't directly alter our understanding of his political opinions or actions as president. But it would give us a fuller sense of the private man and thus in indirect ways might revise our understanding of his psychology. Tripp, however, doesn't even begin to make a persuasive case in this tendentious, sloppy, and wholly unpersuasive farrago. In more than 300 pages, he gives us no convincing reason to believe his central claim.

Tripp's major pieces of "evidence" are familiar: that Lincoln shared a bed for four years in his youth with his good friend Joshua Speed, and occasionally in 1862 with David V. Derickson, a member of his bodyguard detail. But as many historians have noted, same-sex bed sharing was common at the time and hardly proof of homosexual activities or feelings. As the Princeton historian Christine Stansell notes in her excellent review of The Intimate World, "Travelers piled in with each other at inns; siblings routinely shared beds; women friends often slept with each other as readily on an overnight visit as they took their tea together in the kitchen—and sometimes displaced husbands to do so. Civil War soldiers 'spooned' for comfort and warmth." And in the cases of both Speed and Derickson, there are more compelling reasons than homosexuality to explain why Lincoln slept with them.


I have to admit that it's been fascinating watching this all shake out. I've said before that based on what's presented I'd judge Lincoln a Kinsey 4, but I'm no scholar of the President. I *am* concerned about the more-personal-than-usual nature of attacks within the scholarly community based on this book, especially since the author's not here to defend himself and his one-time collaborator has gone to a great deal of trouble to since distance himself. Stay tuned.

History News Network reviews wartime inaugurations, past and present

Looking at earlier wartime inaugurations the trend was toward simple ceremonies such as James Madison's in 1813, Abraham Lincoln's in 1865, Woodrow Wilson's in 1917, Franklin Roosevelt's in 1945, and Dwight Eisenhower's in 1953. The simplest of all was Roosevelt's fourth inaugural in 1945 amidst World War II. However, the post World War II era saw inaugural ceremonies becoming increasingly more lavish affairs despite the fact that war or protest was ensuing. Lyndon Johnson's in 1965, and Richard Nixon's two inaugurations in 1969 and 1973 were large showcase affairs. The tradition continues this year with George W. Bush's $40 million inaugural celebration.

If Ike of all people didn't have a problem with big brass in wartime, why do we now? Most of the money for the second Bush inaugural was blown in the balls; Ike spent his parading the troops. What's more appropriate in wartime: tying up needed troops in ceremonial duties, or let them be off fighting the damn war? I suppose Eisenhower could have been making a statement with such a lavish production, about the fact we *could* be so wasteful with uniformed bodies at such a time, but I may just be reading too much into it. I don't know enough about the late general to know just how sneaky he could be. Personally, I've always liked the idea that the inaugurals are *supposed* to be a big party and celebration; especially in wartime, it seems to me, we should be showing the world that "Woo-hoo! We pulled it off again!"

But maybe that's just me.

Well, foo.

Indepundit says that no, really, we're sorry. How dare we bail anyone out, or even try to? How dare we presume? No, really, we won't do it again.

It's a geezer grump, but he makes a good point. Yes, we've screwed up quite a few of our attempts at intervention (United Fruit, anyone? Chile? Bueller?) but we're trying, and that's a helluva lot more than I can say for most.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Because we just can't get enough from Diplomad...

The USG, thus far, has provided $33.5 million in direct humanitarian assistance to Indonesia in response to the disaster-- this is in addition to military assistance and support (which is estimated to cost some $5 million/day.) No other country or organization comes anywhere close to this figure of assistance ACTUALLY provided. With USG support, emergency humanitarian services began Sunday (December 26), immediately following the disaster:

He then goes on to list what we've done. He's got a good point; what exactly *has* the Blue Hat Brigade done? Anyone got any data?

Secretary Powell's Farewell

Every day for the past four years, I have seen you do the hard work of freedom, here in Washington and out on freedom's frontlines across the globe. The lists of honored dead on the memorial plaques in the State Department lobby have grown longer on my watch. Like my predecessors before me, I have had the sad duty of comforting the loved ones of fallen colleagues. I will never truly be able to convey to each of you just how honored I feel to have served as your Secretary.

Posted in its entirety over at Daily Demarche.

I have always found General Secretary Powell to be a man of erudition, grace, and quiet determination. It is not nor has it ever been in his nature or training to publicly air dirty laundry, and he's taken a great deal of criticism for that (as has Ms. Rice, but not any of the white members of the cabinet, hrmmm). I firmly believe it's damn unfair, and I hope that those who snipe at Powell are around in a few years when his reputation is redeemed.

Fair Winds and Following Seas, sir! AIRBORNE!

Er.

Yeah. Old habits die hard.

The View From the Hill

Belmont Club has a lengthy but fascinating piece on the future of Middle Eastern and Islamic democracy, and what the President's second inaugural address has to say about it and our role in its development:

Gerecht relentlessly points out how Khomeini's Iran eventually became the most pro-American country in the region, free of the anti-Americanism of Cairo simply because the Iranians were left to discover for themselves that the 'Koran did not hold all the answers'; at least, not to fixing potholes or delivering electricity. He constrasts it to the elder Bush's decision to support the military junta in Algeria against fundamentalist Islamists, who would by now be discredited or just another party had they been allowed to take over the reins of government. "Assistant Secretary of State for the Near East Edward Djerejian’s famous defense of the first Bush administration’s fear of Islamic extremism -- 'one man, one vote, one time'-- defined clearly Washington’s discomfort with the possibility that free elections could empower Muslim fundamentalists, who could be zealously anti-American and ultimately antidemocratic." That was a mistake, he believes, which George W. Bush is unlikely to repeat.

I really must get this book.

Blue Hat Sensitivity at its finest

....from an admittedly not-exactly-impartial observer on the LINCOLN:

As I went through the breakfast line, I overheard one of the U.N. strap-hangers, a longhaired guy with a beard, make a sarcastic comment to one of our food servers. He said something along the lines of “Nice china, really makes me feel special,” in reference to the fact that we were eating off of paper plates that day. It was all I could do to keep from jerking him off his feet and choking him, because I knew that the reason we were eating off paper plates was to save dishwashing water so that we would have more water to send ashore and save lives. That plus the fact that he had no business being there in the first place.

EDIT: Himself pointed out that the subject line could be confusing and misread as as a mis-identified slam on the white hats and bluejackets of the USN. Not a bit. It's all about pointing out the UN [expletive deleted], baby.

OUCH.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Content, not Color

More on Madame Secretary, from New Orleans:

In September 1963, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the eulogy for three of the four girls killed in the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. What King could not know was that, within earshot of the blast, just blocks away at her father's church, was another little black girl, a friend of the youngest victim, who 42 years later would be on the verge of becoming America's foremost diplomat.

This year, the Martin Luther King holiday, marking what would have been his 76th birthday, falls on Jan. 17. The next day, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee opens hearings on the nomination of Condoleezza Rice to succeed Colin Powell as secretary of state.


Why the surprise that the most powerful people of color in the history of the federal government are conservative? Did anyone really think that someone of, say, Jesse Jackson's political bent and past radicalism would be entrusted by the American mainstream with such power?

What's next, an Aunt Jemima rag?

I know Stern can't possibly be THAT clueless. I believe they owe Ms. Rice, the president and every woman of color a profound apology - and should be forced to read Ain't I a Woman. One wonders at a national press that encourages hysteria over one class of racism, but blithely indulges in another.

EDIT: I'm being whomped by all the people who see not Massa and Mammy but RCA and Nipper. I'll concede the point, but I still find it horribly wrong and degrading.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Via Blackfive

What if domestic news outlets continually fed American readers headlines like: "Bloody Week on U.S. Highways: Some 700 Killed," or "More Than 900 Americans Die Weekly from Obesity-Related Diseases"? Both of these headlines might be true statistically, but do they really represent accurate pictures of the situations? What if you combined all of the negatives to be found in the state of Texas and used them as an indicator of the quality of life for all Texans? Imagine the headlines: "Anti-law Enforcement Elements Spread Robbery, Rape and Murder through Texas Cities." For all intents and purposes, this statement is true for any day of any year in any state. True -- yes, accurate -- yes, but in context with the greater good taking place -- no! After a year or two of headlines like these, more than a few folks back in Texas and the rest of the U.S. probably would be ready to jump off of a building and end it all. So, imagine being an American in Iraq right now.

By LTC Tim Ryan, CO, 2/12 Cav, 1st Cav Div - an excellent essay on the matter I was discussing earlier: selective presentation of someone's truth. Great read.

From Belmont Club

This process of corruption has pulled a curtain of suspicion over all information products. No longer is it possible to rely on the assurance of a brand name. Each item of news must now be sniffed, examined, poked and weighed to determine its authenticity. Collateral confirmation, once the staple of skeptical intelligence analysts, is now the task of every sophisticated newsreader -- at least those who want to avoid being taken for a ride. Once the media itself became an informational battleground the most natural greeting in the dark became 'who goes there?' That skepticism has in part, empowered the blogosphere, which provides some filtering for readers too busy to do it themselves. Yet the blogosphere is not in principle immune from any of the corroding influences of fear, money or influence, as the readers of Armstrong Williams and the Daily Kos discovered to their disillusionment. We are, in James Jesus Angleton's famous phrase, in a 'Wilderness of Mirrors', though he himself had the idea from T. S. Eliot.

So who *do* you trust? And how can you know if they're truly trustworthy? Obviously, there's no such thing as purely neutral speech and reportage. Critical theory (ugh, yuck, ptooie) teaches that the very act of selecting which information to report automatically puts a slant or a spin on that information. How do you choose to believe, say, the guys at Powerline over Juan Cole? Or Jeff Jarvis over Blackfive? How much is your gut, and how much is comparing notes with other sources to figure out which version of events, which truth, is more believable? And, once you've made that decision, do you reconcile the idea that the truth you've chosen is the "right" one, the one that means everyone who doesn't agree with you is wrong? What do you read and absorb that makes you look at a set of data and see voter fraud where someone else, looking at the exact same data, sees instead poor planning?

Oh, Screw THAT!

The officials said the main chart on the submarine, prepared in 1989 and never revised, did not show any potential obstacles within three miles of the crash. They said the incident happened in such a desolate area - 360 miles southeast of Guam - that updating their depiction of the undersea terrain was never considered a priority.

Registration required for the NYT.

The gist of the article is that a sailor lost his life because there wasn't enough money to map effectively, even though the data was available. That's just fargin' wonderful. This Does Not Make Me Happy. Someone very close to me has spent a great deal of time riding subs, and I bloody well am NOT thrilled by the idea that at any time he could have turned into a ketchup smear inside of a wadded-up ball of tinfoil full fathom deep just because someone didn't have the extra $100 to put a mountain on the chart.

Fuck the depth,
Fuck the pressure,
Let's go down
And see the the Thresher!


Gyah.

Ok, a couple of questions: wouldn't passive sonar have picked up something that large in their path (I'm assuming they weren't actively pinging, given their speed)? Or, given their speed, would passive sonar have been deaf, dumb and blind? Also, the captain's being criticized for going that fast in an area with such "spotty" charts. Given a chart that's only 15 years old, wouldn't it be reasonable to assume that it's accurate?

From Archaeology Magazine's E-Update -

January 13, 2005

Welcome to Archaeology's E-update!


New and updated on Archaeology.org:

Seaport Update: No Money for Archaeology
Six months after its board of directors fired seven South Street Seaport Museum employees, the fate of its 2-million-plus artifact collection and its research library and archive remain uncertain.
http://m1e.net/c?2659922-NEAc5JFXrgPAE%40805026-/c9Pyw6RvQ7sI

Interactive Dig: Excavating Hierakonpolis
http://m1e.net/c?2659922-wWfWeSsEkx3tY%40805027-sPbu/2VgEuVgs
Week Two of the stabilization and repair of King Khasekhemwy's Ceremonial Enclosure was recently posted! Stay tuned through February for more reports from the field.
http://m1e.net/c?2659922-igm2XN9q6wj8.%40805028-Mj7j/1JbOaULQ

Museum Review: Great Alexander in New York
Alexander the Great: Treasures from an Epic Era of Hellenism at the Onassis Cultural Center seeks to provide the historical and cultural context of Alexander as established from archaeology.
http://m1e.net/c?2659922-pgBS1A2dEiPHU%40805029-O18GR1tM2Epvs

Television Review: En Route to the Truth
A new archaeological series titled "Digging for the Truth" debuts on the History Channel on January 24. Executive Editor Mark Rose lets you know what he thought of it.
http://m1e.net/c?2659922-l0P3T4zbcS..o%40805030-nVmAU1izJiHGE


Don't forget our archaeological news from around the world, posted by 6pm EST every weekday!
http://m1e.net/c?2659922-l.RVcpczzS/wY%40805031-3/8lfW8/o0HzY


Visit us again at www.archaeology.org.
http://m1e.net/c?2659922-xotYmNaiBeYeo%40805032-msB15Fb.0ZDhA

Amelie Walker
Online Editor/Webmaster
Archaeology.org


Archaeology Magazine
36-36 33rd St., Suite 301
Long Island City, NY 11106

ATTN: EUROPE

Senator Joe Biden in Committee to "Europe", re the election:

"Get over it. Get over it."

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Zorfwaddle

The World's Greatest Ex just started his own Blogger blog. So far it looks like he'll be using it to keep track of his War in the Pacific campaign. I think he said it'll take him almost two years to get through it...

http://zorfwaddle.blogspot.com/

The Chick in the Grey Flannel Suit

I signed up for Google Ads, and I have a confession to make about my decision to do so: I've been dying to see what sort of ads would be generated by my content. It's pretty funny that Google's locked on to the military and spook stuff, but nothing else. Makes me feel like my blog needs a clearance.

Power Up

Thanks to the the World's Greatest Ex-Husband, I now have a new power supply AND CD-burner for the home machine. I'm sure my bosses will be thrilled that I'll be doing more blogging from home and a lot less from my desk.

Hell, I'm just shocked I could swap everything out by myself...

Friday, January 14, 2005

Lingonberries for all!

Iowahawk has a thoughtful roundup of UN contributions in post-tsunami South Asia.

Complete giggle fit!

Leave it to Diplomad:

Dear fellow citizens of our Great Republic, please note that we Americans have nothing to lecture the Brits about when it comes to celebrity dopes; all we can do is compare notes.

That said, we wonder how widespread and loud the outrage would have been had Royal Harry worn a Che Guevara sweatshirt? Dressed up in a KGB Colonel's uniform with a red star? Sported a Mao button? How about if that cigarette he's clutching in the photo had been a Cuban cigar whose purchase supports the Castro brothers? Just wondering . . .

Al Qaeda, Quislings and HumInt

It is difficult to fathom the potentially devastating implications of having Al Qaeda members operating freely in the army of the U.S.' primary ally in Iraq. But America's security is not just threatened by rogue elements in the Pakistani and British armies. America's own military has been penetrated by Islamic extremists.

The Counterterrorism Blog is a daily must read when it comes to the WoT - no matter which side of the fence you sit on. I personally think it performs a national service.

Everybody, lift a Fosters!

Lying in the serene green waters off Banda Aceh, the vessel's tank deck was crammed with trucks, bulldozers and graders. Also on board were 400 army engineers who aim to rebuild the ruined infrastructure of the city.
HMAS Kanimbla's two heavy-lift Sea King helicopters from 817 Squadron in Nowra, New South Wales, will also be on call to aid three smaller Australian army helicopters already flying relief missions to refugees...

The Australian focus would be on restoration of water and power as well as wreckage clearance from Banda Aceh's ruined coastal zone, Brig. Chalmers said. Two LCM-8 landing craft were immediately offloaded on arrival while navy divers and surveyors scouted the seabed for hazards before they began ferrying vehicles and personnel the short distance to shore.

The engineers would move into an abandoned technical college near the main Banda Aceh hospital where Australian military doctors were working and would fan out from there to begin repairs, Brig. Chalmers said.


From Michelle Malkin.

Pardon while I drool...

Swiped straight from the Dept of Anth listserv at the University of Maryland, my (sortof) alma mater (in other words, spelling issues are *not* my fault, thankyouverymuch):

The Library of Congress' s Rare Book & Special Collections Division is pleased to announce the release of a new digital collection, The Kraus Collection of Sir Francis Drake, available on the Library's Global Gateway Web site at: http://international.loc.gov/intldl/drakehtml/.

Sir Francis Drake, English explorer and naval strategist, circumnavigated the globe from 1577-1580. During these travels, Drake visited the Caribbean and the Pacific, claiming a portion of California for Queen Elizabeth and waging battles on the Spanish. His voyages
revealed significant new geographical data about the New World and added greatly to Queen Elizabeth's treasury.

The Kraus Collection comprises important primary and secondary materials about Drake's voyages throughout the then Spanish territory of the Americas. It consists of 60 items--16 manuscripts, 29 books, 8 maps and views, and 7 medals and portraits. The materials range in date
from 1579 to 1765. Texts are in English, Latin, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish and French.

Hans Peter Kraus, one of the foremost booksellers of the second half of the twentieth century, and his wife Hanni assembled the collection. Born
in Austria in 1907, Kraus exhibited a love of collecting from an early age. In 1939, during the Nazi Occupation, Kraus and his family fled Austria for the United States. Within two weeks of his arrival in New York, Kraus met Hanni, his future wife and business partner. The couple established an antiquarian bookselling firm, H. P. Kraus, Inc. in the early 1940s and did not close this legendary firm until Hans Peter's death in 1988.

Hans and Hanni Kraus generously donated their collection of Drake materials to the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress in 1980. The combination of the Library's rich collections from this period and the resources of the neighboring Folger Shakespeare Library make Washington a preeminent center for the study of the Elizabethan era.

This online presentation of The Kraus Collection of Sir Francis Drake joins other world history collections available on the Library of Congress's Global Gateway Web site: http://international.loc.gov/intldl/intldlhome.html. The Kraus Collection of Sir Francis Drake may be found under the heading:
"Individual Digital Collections."

Please direct any questions regarding this collection to the Global Gateway inquiry form at:
http://www.loc.gov/help/contact-international.html.


Laura Gottesman
Reference Specialist
Digital Reference Team
The Library of Congress
101 Independence Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20540-4604

From Andrew Sullivan

EMAIL OF THE DAY II: "I attended a continuing legal education seminar for Army Reserve and National Guard lawyers last weekend. I was struck by one thing: The biggest response from a ballroom full of JAG lawyers was when one dynamic Colonel spoke and said the Army needed to do a better job in handling detainees. He quoted a dispatch from WWII when the commander of a US prisoner of war camp reported back that his camp was under air attack by the German air force, that he could not protect his German prisoners of war, and he had opened the gates and set them all free. This is the standard for the US Army and we need to live up to it. The room cheered. My impression is that the people who have been trained in this stuff (at least the citizen solders) may not be terribly pleased and indeed may be somewhat embarrassed with how this is unfolding. This is also consistent with the JAG lawyers being kept out of the loop." Yep. Good soldiers don't believe in this poison. Alas, their civilian superiors do.

Lord, I wish he'd post the whole thing - and provide a permalink.

My particular research focus in my archaeology is on the WWII PoW camps here in the States, and how the way we treated the prisoners then directly impacted on the relationships we had with Germany, Italy and (to a lesser extent, obviously) Japan after the war. Combine that with my particular military background (Army records in St Louis record me as a 97E1LCZ, or interrogator), and you can understand my horror, repulsion and sense of utter betrayal as all of this unfolds. I cannot, cannot bear it.

WE DON'T DO THIS!! We are better than this! Someone asked me how, as a historian, I could make such a statement and proceeded to trot out a series of examples of times we did. The thing is, those incidents became notorious because they *were* exceptions, not the rule.

I need a shower.

With steel wool and lye.

Hrmmm.

"I haven't dated in 12 million years," she said drily. "I gave up on dating powerful men because they wanted to date women in the service professions. So I decided to date guys in the service professions. But then I found out that kings want to be treated like kings, and consorts want to be treated like kings, too."

I don't normally read Maureen O'Dowd, but I followed the link from Althouse.

In relationships, shouldn't everyone be treated like royalty?

Getting a bit noisy in here

I'm hearing the tornado alarm...must be 11:00 AM on a Friday here in byootiful downtown Indianapolis...

A Girl's Gotta Have a Hobby

Most of my friends* always seem to be surprised when they discover I knit and cross stitch. I'm just one of those people who has to keep my hands busy, even (especially) if I'm watching TV. I like knitting because I can "program" the pattern into my hands and then just let my fingers fly unsupervised; they seem to come to a natural stop the moment there's a mistake. Cross stitching (and yes, I know it's not 'real" embroidery; just ask The G's late great Aunts Weeze and Mudd) appeals to me because of the delicacy of the work and the sheer tactile joy of all that floss, and the visual appeal of all that color.

I had to give up knitting when I developed a repetitive stress injury that made it impossible to keep the grip for long; cross stitching seems to do a lot better in keeping my hands from seizing up. I can tell I've been working pretty hard on a couple of recent projects, though, because I've got pretty consistent pain in the back of my right hand and doing any sort of writing is not exactly comfortable. I suppose this is Himself's way of saying I need to get this last project done (finished last night) and get caught up on the sewing projects pile instead.

I've a pile of clothes I want to make, and a bigger pile that need repair (hems, zippers replaced, dry-rotted polyester lining replaced, etc). The one thing that keeps me plugging away at the needlework instead of the sewing machine is that the way I have to set up my workspace in my shoebox apartment (called the "Arabian" layout by my complex) keeps my back to the TV while I'm working. I have to concentrate too much to, say, play audiobooks in the background, but not enough to keep my brain even remotely solely focused on the task at hand (thus the need for the TV). Hrmf.

Oh, and for the record, the Pattern-a-Day Cross Stitch Desk Calendar suxxorz the Big One. Most of these patterns look like someone let their kid play in Paintbrush and then ran the results through a pattern conversion program with no regard for actual appeal or stitchability. Avoid it at all costs. You Have Been Warned.


*Of course, these are also the same people who were surprised to discover my beloved ex-husband is a quiet, short, geeky guy with a fondness for Brit humor and Neil Young, rather than a Tarzan-type into pickup trucks and Very Large Guns. Not sure where they would get that impression. But then, they also seemed to think I should have a Sex Swing in my bedroom, and if they really knew me they'd know I was WAY too damn klutzy to manage one of those. Also, in The G's defense, he does like Very Large Guns, especially while playing War in the Pacific or DOOM 3. Come to think of it, people who met him first always assumed I should be some little mousy sort who never said "boo". Guess they didn't know him any better than others knew me. :)

Pardon while I drool...

From the Dept of Anth listserv at the University of Maryland my (sortof) alma mater:

The Library of Congress' s Rare Book & Special Collections Division is pleased to announce the release of a new digital collection, The Kraus Collection of Sir Francis Drake, available on the Library's Global Gateway Web site at: http://international.loc.gov/intldl/drakehtml/.

Sir Francis Drake, English explorer and naval strategist, circumnavigated the globe from 1577-1580. During these travels, Drake visited the Caribbean and the Pacific, claiming a portion of California for Queen Elizabeth and waging battles on the Spanish. His voyages revealed significant new geographical data about the New World and added greatly to Queen Elizabeth's treasury.

The Kraus Collection comprises important primary and secondary materials about Drake's voyages throughout the then Spanish territory of the Americas. It consists of 60 items--16 manuscripts, 29 books, 8 maps and views, and 7 medals and portraits. The materials range in date
from 1579 to 1765. Texts are in English, Latin, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish and French.

Hans Peter Kraus, one of the foremost booksellers of the second half of the twentieth century, and his wife Hanni assembled the collection. Born
in Austria in 1907, Kraus exhibited a love of collecting from an early age. In 1939, during the Nazi Occupation, Kraus and his family fled Austria for the United States. Within two weeks of his arrival in New York, Kraus met Hanni, his future wife and business partner. The couple established an antiquarian bookselling firm, H. P. Kraus, Inc. in the early 1940s and did not close this legendary firm until Hans Peter's death in 1988.

Hans and Hanni Kraus generously donated their collection of Drake materials to the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress in 1980. The combination of the Library's rich collections from this period and the resources of the neighboring Folger Shakespeare Library make Washington a preeminent center for the study of the Elizabethan era.

This online presentation of The Kraus Collection of Sir Francis Drake joins other world history collections available on the Library of Congress's Global Gateway Web site: http://international.loc.gov/intldl/intldlhome.html. The Kraus Collection of Sir Francis Drake may be found under the heading:
"Individual Digital Collections."

Please direct any questions regarding this collection to the Global Gateway inquiry form at:
http://www.loc.gov/help/contact-international.html.


Laura Gottesman
Reference Specialist
Digital Reference Team
The Library of Congress
101 Independence Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20540-4604

Thursday, January 13, 2005

From Free Iraqi

Interesting take on the upcoming elections -
One day and as I was getting back home from work I saw some people gathering on the road. Abu Ahmed (a taxi driver I usually go with. He's an old religious She'at with a scarf on his head all the time) slowed down to see what it was and we saw some guy arguing angrily with a police officer who was apparently issuing a ticket for him. The guy was shouting madly and people were trying to calm him. The poor policeman seemed afraid. Such scenes are not uncommon these days and at certain occasions policemen were actually beaten at the hands of some nasty drivers and they didn't dare to use force! It was an annoying scene to me and to Abu Ahmed who shook his head with an unsatisfied look on his face and said, "When are we going to learn how to live in order?"

Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Another historian weighs in on "Lavender Lincoln"...

And this one is a bit more believable than some of the rants (on both sides) on the subject:

Unfortunately, that is merely a way of saying the Gay Lincoln Theory fails any historical test. "Useful history" is always a dubious kind of scholarship. But in its attempt to be useful for gays today, The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln reaches far beyond the merely dubious. The book is a hoax and a fraud: a historical hoax, because the inaccurate parts are all shaded toward a predetermined conclusion, and a literary fraud, because significant portions of the accurate parts are plagiarized--from me, as it happens.

Tripp and I intended to be coauthors of the book, laboring together on the project from 1995 to 2000--when our partnership, already fissured by dueling manuscripts, came to a bitter end. We quarreled constantly over evidence: I said the Gay Lincoln Theory was intriguing but impossible to prove; he said it was stone-cold fact.

More advocate than historian, Tripp massaged favorable indicators (Lincoln's early puberty), buried negative ones (Lincoln's flirtations with women), and papered over holes in his story with inventions (Lincoln's law partner and biographer William Herndon never noticed the homosexuality because he was an extreme heterosexual and thus afflicted with "heterosexual bias").


I think the most valid point that Philip Nobile raises is that without the 16th President being caught physically or documentarily (Is that even a word?) in flagrante delicto, all we can do is speculate. Time and again scholars have made the point that in an era where florid declarations of affection between members of the same gender were the norm and non-sexual, it can be impossible to determine if someone truly "loved" (as we know it today) someone of his or her own gender. How do we know what was simple fraternal affection, or a deeper - so to speak - hiding in plain sight?

I know Andrew Sullivan has convinced himself that Lincoln is a Kinseyian 4, essentially gay-identified bi (he could function with women but saved his true affections and physical desires for men). I can understand the need for the American homosexual community to claim such a leading American cultural icon as "one of their own"; but I just don't think we can say 100% yea or nay if it's true. As Nobile says, the evidence is "tantalizing", but insufficient to make an irrefutable case.

Definitely will have to keep an eye out for more reviews on both sides of the debate.

Budeme videt...

Mmm...Sic 'Em, Diplomad!

Diplomad, one of my all-time favorite blogs, has absolutely had it with the UN and it's so-called relief efforts. Relief for whom? Mercedes dealers and rum distillers?

The UN's performance in this disaster has been a disgrace of epic proportions; it's vastly overfunded and overstaffed agencies, allegedly established to deal with precisely this type of event, are MIA. We are now in day 16 (DAY 16!) of the crisis, and the UN is still not ready to act. It is no wonder affected countries want to deal with the US and not the UN. At a minimum, the UN owes the world an apology; the entire upper echelon of the UN and its bloated agencies should resign.

On HumInt and Linguists: One of the big complaints about combat actions in the Middle East is the extreme paucity of translators and interpreters in the local languages and dialects. In defense of, well, Defense, it ain't easy to come up with an ArabLing in uniform. Arabic, Farsi and their dialects are considered some of the hardest languages for military linguists to pick up (it's a given that anything with a non-Roman or Cyrillic alphabet falls into that category). this means you have to find:

A) Someone who *wants* to be a linguist
B) Someone who wants to be a linguist and manages to pass the required language proficiency test
C) Someone who wants to be a linguist and manages to not only pass the required language proficiency test but scores high enough to qualify for a Grade 4 language
D) AND someone who not only does all of the above but also survives 60+ weeks of very intense language training (*one* *day* is equivalent to a 2-week college-level course).

And all of THAT is before they even start training for the actual job.

Oh, and then you remove the significant percentage of those shiny new linguists who choose SigInt jobs rather than HumInt.

Yes, we could be doing more to recruit native speakers into the military, both as advisors and actual in-uniform linguists, but frankly the vetting process is already backed up beyond belief and "mistakes" slip through (witness the Marine who keeps getting "lost" somewhere between here and Lebanon). You want us to have adequate linguist staff? Start requiring mandatory language training in elementary, junior high and high schools when the human brain is far more flexible on matters of language. Move us beyond Spanish, French and the occasional German to languages that are actually *needed* and useful, including Arabic, Japanese and Chinese. Where do you get these instructors? Retired military linguists encouraged to move into the extant Troops-to-Teachers program.

The point to all of this is that even if DoD and the other intell services *had* had the foresight to see what was coming and start recruiting and training more linguists, the length of time required for even the most basic language training (and trust me, bub, that 60+ weeks is *barely* adequate for basic instruction) means that the turnout can't happen fast enough to keep up with demand.