Alan K. Henderson's Weblog


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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fifth Annual Blogger Costume Party

(Click the animated GIFs to see the original JPEG images.)

Welcome to Hogwarts School of Lawcraft and Barristry, one of the finest secondary boarding schools for young legal talents in the United Kingdom. Headmaster Albus Dumbledore (Stephen Bainbridge) warns of dark forces that have been on the rise.

But don't worry about that - Hogwarts has some of the most powerful magical defences known to the wizarding world. The faculty will not allow evil sorcerers to interrupt the regular flow of classes and extracurricular activities.

Potions are quite useful to the legal profession. The Elixir of Recollection, for instance, is helpful for jogging the foggy memories of one's clients. Professor Severus Snape (Glenn Reynolds) instructs on its preparation.

All is not work at Hogwarts. Professor Minerva McGonagall (Ann Althouse) celebrates a Gryffindor quiddich victory.

You can bet that the Weasley twins know where that sherry is, too.

Outside the school, evil has been spreading across the land. Retired Defence Against the Legal Arts professor Remus Lupin (Walter Olson) is harassed by Dementors, dark beings that spread gloom and despair by encouraging frivolous lawsuits.

Lord Voldelokh (Eugene Volokh) has set a trap for Harry Potter at the Ministry of Law, and Lucius Malfoy (Randy Barnett) reports that the boy wizard has taken the bait.

Will Harry escape Lord Voldelokh's clutches? Will anyone discover the Potions Master's more exotic concoctions? Will Professor Lupin ever get that Warren Zevon song out of his head? Will anyone ever explain why wizarding medicine can regrow lost bones but it can't cure nearsightedness?

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Tale Of Two Instapundit Headlines

This headline...

RON SILVER HAS THOUGHTS on how to get the world to like us.

...brought a question to mind when I scrolled down to this one:

MORE HATE in tolerant, multi-culti Europe.

Should we really care if Europe likes us?

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Heroes - Time Passages

(Episode: The Line. Spoilers ahead.)

Shades of last season - a time-traveller (this time Peter) goes to the future to find a post-apocalyptic New York City. The immediate cause of the desolation is unknown, but a powerful theory arises from Mohinder's fears that experimenting with the Shanti virus could create a strain that a) could cross to the non-mutant population and b) could not be cured.

Since the virus is known to suppress evolved abilities, one might suspect that the Sylar has the virus - but he still has his intuitive aptitude ability, so that theory doesn't hold, unless he was given a strain that suppresses only the "assimilated" abilities.

Peter and Sylar have an interesting parallel this season: each was rescued from near-certain death by forces yet unknown. Peter is investigating his mystery, and Sylar is ignoring his - and the idiot killed the only known witness out of greed for her ability.

A mysterious Adam Monroe is tied to Peter's post-nuclear past. The Company has a file on him, and Adam left a note in the Montreal building that Peter found through his painting.

Hiro's in big trouble now. The moment that has fractured the Japanese timeline is his kiss with Yaeko, which Kensei witnesses. Kensei rejects Hiro's contrition, and has chosen to side with Whitebeard isntead of oppose him. Kensei was to have blocked Whitebeard's plans to bring firearms into Japan and to seek to overthrow the emperor. (The year is 1671; the emperor at the time was Reigen, aka Satohito.) I believe we are about to see the origins of the "Future Hiro" that intervened in the first season.

Bennett and The Haitian have found the six missing Series of Eight paintings, through highly unethical means.

  • Seriously-injured Claire lying on the ground. This already happened; it is a scene from the macabre practical joke that she and West pulled on Debbie the stuckup cheerleader. Probably the second painting.
  • A blonde woman banging on a metal surface. Probably Jessica/Niki, foretelling a future event that will come of her being partnered with Mohinder.
  • Two men in or in front of a jail cell; a biohazard symbol is partly visible. Adds weight to the runaway-Shanti-virus theory. Guy in the foreground looks like Peter, guy in background looks kinda like Rowan Atkinson.
  • A vial of liquid. Probably an experimental strain of the Shanti virus.
  • Painting Six shows Hiro swordfighting Kensei.
  • Painting Seven is Mohinder firing a pistol. Is his target Noah Bennett, the apparent gunshot victim of the eighth painting?

At the Heroes Wiki site, one fan theory about these paintings is that the two people kissing in the final painting are Mohinder and Jessica/Niki, not West and Claire. The theory notes that West is considerably taller than Claire, and the kissers are about the same height. Actually, the guy's posture seems to be a bit bent, so I'm siding with the West/Claire theory. The dress doesn't look like Jessica/Niki's style, anyway. I noticed one more detail: the bloodstain pattern suggests that Bennett is behind a glass window or door.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Blogging the Qur'an: Sura 8, "Booty," verses 1-30

Robert Spencer has the installment here. Much of this sura revolves around Mohammed's victory over the Quraysh tribe at the Battle fo Badr.

Click the "Koran" label to see all my posts on this series.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

New Atheist Logo

Sully has it here. I emailed him this reaction:

The logo brings two other symbols to mind - this one...


and the "anarchy" symbol.

It is an improvement over the previous government-recognized symbol, though:

Now if the people who concocted the "Humanist Emblem of Spirit" could go back to the drawing board...

Note: the official atheist symbol is #16 on the Veterans Affairs webpage.


It's Good To Be King

Bill Clinton wishes his wife a happy birthday - via official Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee mail. Andrew Sullivan places this in proper context:

And so, in the middle of a primary campaign, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sends out a message from a former president touting everything one candidate has accomplished, who happens to be his wife. You think a former president would be using the DCCC to send birthday wishes to any other of the candidates? You think the DCCC would let him? And so our pseudo-monarchy deepens. Imagine the pardons when both of them can dole them out as Queen and Prince Consort.


Blogroll Tweakage

Amy Welborn has retired Open Book, and has a new blog called Charlotte was Both. The blog's name is explained on the "about" page:

It is not often that someone comes along who is both a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.

(E. B. White, the conclusion of Charlotte’s Web.)


Friday, October 26, 2007

Harry Potter And The Leftly Hallows

French philosopher Jean-Claude Milner thinks so, but I can't tell from this article what his rationale is.

He does state that Hogwarts is "a form of opposition to the values of the profit-seeking market economy," but he must be reading some parallel-universe J. K. Rowling. This is the same Hogwarts that served as the proving ground for Fred and George Weasley's joke-shop capitalist venture - for which Harry Potter happened to provide capital.

One has to grasp at straws to find a lot of political messages in the Harry Potter books - although the idea of boarding school children carrying loaded weaponry to class isn't exactly a hallmark of the left...


Capitalists Profit Off Of Che Guevara



Thursday, October 25, 2007

IQ Test

I got the same score as Mr. Dodge.


Bad For Business

Mortuaries and taxi services suffer from the falling death toll in Iraq.


Fact-Checking The News On Jena

Courtesy of the Christian Science Monitor (link via InstaPundit).


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Do Not Pass Go, Collect Six Dollars

Reported for jury duty today. Didn't even make a jury panel - whew.

Next time I get the summons, I'll have to show up in a Volokh Conspiracy sweatshirt to see if that works as a means of staying out of juries :-)

Got any other jury repellant schemes? Send 'em in.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

How The Dinosaurs Died

By full auto.

(Posted by Dave Hardy in this Volokh thread.)

Barney gets lots of firearms abuse on YouTube.

Not sure if this hurts or helps the NRA cause...


Heroes - Welcome To My Nightmare

(Episode: Fight or Flight. Spoilers ahead.)

The elder Parkman appears to have the ability to create hallucinations - and as we see in the examples of Matt, Nathan, and evidently Molly, he can leave an individual trapped in a hallucination even after breaking concentration. This is quite different from Candice's ability; her illusions are visible to all, while Mr. Parkman's attacks target selected individuals. The "illusion" of the torn photo shows that he can reach into more than one mind at a time.

I suspect that Niki/Jessica's attack on Bob was the work of Mr. Parkman and not a relapse of Jessica's uncontrollability.

Looks like my prediction of Micah egging Monica into superhero crimefighting is taking shape, and that Micah's issue of 9th Wonders! will predict key events in her impending career change.

Wonder what that Japanese museum curator will make of those faded letters of Hiro's...

With Candice dead, this season's Woman Who Deserves To Be Bitten By A Pomeranian is Elle. While Candice was smugness and sarcasm on steroids, Elle is just plain evil. Way evil. Her nonchalant attitude toward killing makes her in some ways more disturbing than Sylar. Who's her daddy? Obvious first guess is Bob. Of course, that assumes that her company and his are the same one.

Peter's subplot is indeed on the move. He finally opened the box, knows his full name, that he's from New York, and that he had traveled to Montreal. Peter rediscovers the ability he absorbed from Isaac, and paints a scene at a street intersection. The street signs are in French, suggesting that the location is Montreal, where he will soon travel to look for answers.

Maybe Peter will cross paths with Randi Rhodes :-)

Update: Just had a thought - has Molly been picking up vibes on those death threat photos? Compare her eyes-and-symbol drawings - like this one - to the photos of Kaito and Angela.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

How Did I Miss This?

Eugene Volokh reported an allegedly anti-Muslim poster. A cursory examination of the poster shows that it is mocks anti-Islamofascists, not Muslims. (This compares with the use of the word "Jooooooooooo" - number of o's varies - which mocks anti-Semites and not Jews.)

I suspect that the poster was inspired by an anti-papal illustration from a nineteenth-century textbook (source).

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Day By Day Returns Early

As of Oct 20.


ALLAH Wants You!

Details here.

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"I Don't Think That We Can Trust Opinion Polls Taken In A Police State"

Hot Air displays video of a CNN interview with Garry Kasparov, who is runing for Russian president. Complete transcript is available here.

The title quote is his response to Wolf Blitzer's mention of Putin's 83% approval ratings. In Kasparov's opinion, Russia has been (ahem) rooked by Vladimir Putin:

BLITZER: David Remnick wrote an article about you in The New Yorker magazine, the October 1st issue. I'm going to read a sentence because it jumped out at me when I read that article: "Kasparov, like many others in opposition, is convinced that Putin became a billionaire in office, perhaps the richest man in the country, and has entrusted Russian confederates to shelter his money in foreign banks."

First of all, do you believe that?

KASPAROV: Absolutely. I think we'll find out more when Putin is not in power. That will be one of the worst stories about dictatorships looting and robbing the country. Obviously it will take time.

But when you look at the list of Russia billionaires -- and that's the now second country in the world, ahead of Germany and Japan, just behind the United States, you'll find out that we already have dozens of billionaires. And Putin can imprison all of them in 24 hours.

Do we think that he is poor?

BLITZER: Well, what evidence -- besides your suspicion, but is there any hard evidence that he's stolen billions of Russian dollars?

KASPAROV: Look, Wolf, his cronies are in charge of the most lucrative business in Russia. His closest friends that work with him since the late '80s, and now they are "taking care," quote-unquote, of the most valuable businesses in oil, gas, and other energy sectors. They all are billionaires and that's not a big secret.

Now how about him? He is still poor?

BLITZER: Well, that is the question that...


KASPAROV: Absolutely. Don't worry, the independent -- independent justice in Russia will investigate it when the time comes.

BLITZER: But you are saying he has bank accounts -- Swiss bank accounts or all sorts of secret holdings, is that what you are suggesting?

KASPAROV: Look, you know, we -- what we know, for instance, that there is a mysterious owner of 37 (ph) percent of Surgutneftegaz, which is roughly worth $20 billion at the current market value. And these shares disappeared at the end of the last year from Russian registration, somewhere in the tax havens.

And there are many other similar occasions that might lead only to one person who is in charge. But again, his friends are splitting the country's national budget. They are in control of Gazprom, Rosneft, and the largest so- called state-run corporations.

BLITZER: Well, Russia is clearly making a lot of money now exporting oil with oil at $90 a barrel.

KASPAROV: It is not -- it is not Russia, there are people who are in charge. As we say in Russia, it is a bizarre combination of Karl Marx and Adam Smith. Expenses nationalized and profits privatized.

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Blogging the Qur'an: Sura 7, "The Heights," verses 103-206

Robert Spencer has the installment here. Much of this section retells the story of Moses and Pharaoh.

Click the "Koran" label to see all my posts on this series.

Update: Headline typo now corrected.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Better Run, Better Take Cover

J. F. Beck reports a dire prediction about human colonization of space:

Doctor Toni Johnson-Woods says she and her colleagues found there is a prevailing belief that other planets and their natural resources are there simply to be exploited.

"The focus is on exploitation of the minerals. Basically, it's just Australia all over again," she said.

Link via Tim Blair; in Comment #27 of that post, I offered a prediction of my own:

When the first Australian space colony is established, this will be the first message sent back to Earth:

"Who's 'down under' now, Earthlings? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

Update: I wonder if those lefty academics have ever read the Robert A. Heinlein novel that takes some inspiration from Australia's origins as a penal colony...


Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Mysterious Randi Rhodes Incident

What happened to her? Nobody really knows, including Rhodes herself, apparently. In comments to this post I offer a theory:

Hey, if Rhodes doesn’t even know what happened, maybe she was abducted by a secretive organization and they had her memory erased by a Haitian to hide the event :-)

Anyone look to see if she has syringe marks on her neck? Is she being stalked by a former paper company manager, a megalomaniacal watchmaker, and an Indian geneticist? Has she ever appeared in the “9th Wonders!” comic book?

I wonder if her dog has ever been seen with Mr. Muggles...

Michelle Malkin has a post on the anti-VRWC sentiment that erupted in the wake of the Rhodes news story. In the aforementioned comments thread I questioned whether many conservatives even knew (before now) what she looks like.

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Are Islamic Terrorists Properly Defined As Fascists?

That is the discussion in this comment thread.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Let The Swearing Commence

The Rush Limbaugh Smear Letter was sold for $2,100,100.00 to Betty Casey.

Update: Mrs. Casey chairs the Eugene B. Casey Foundation, named for her late husband, a philanthropist who had worked in the Franklin Roosevelt administration. (The widow of a Democratic appointee bought the Reid letter!) He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery; this is his bio at

Update: A somewhat related musical diversion.

Update: Rush Limbaugh introduces his fans to Mrs. Casey:

She is a trustee of the Eugene B. Casey Foundation. She gives significant sums of money to hospitals, hospices, colleges, and private schools. These include the Eugene B. Casey Diabetes Education Center at Suburban Hospital, the Eugene B. Casey Swim Center, and the Eugene B. Casey Academic Center, and the Casey Home Hospice in Rockville. She has also donated tens of millions from the foundation and her personal funds to the Washington Opera. Betty Casey has been a listener to this program since its interception.


More About Swearing

Regarding yesterday's post, I think the researchers actually discovered something else. Some human language communicates information, and some - which happens to include swear words - communicates emotion. Of course it's good for morale when people have a positive emotional outlet. (And on the flip side, negative emotional outlet is often a healthy outlet for stress and depression.)


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Swearing Is Good For Morale

So says the latest research.

But swearing isn't always happy, as demonstrated here, and in some of the comments here.


Peter Paul vs. Hillary Clinton

This video tells the story.

Link via Paul Breed, a commenter in this thread at Transterrestrial Musings.

Update: has more background on this story.

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Why Is Bill O'Reilly A Journalist?

He appeared recently on Leno, and expressed confusion over the global warming debate. Townhall columnist Amy Ridenour points out that he's more confused than he thinks - he doesn't even know the basic claims of Algore's ideological adversaries.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Death In The Online Family

Chris Muir's sister passed away.

Day by Day will return November 1.


I Feel A Song Coming On

Tim Blair reports the latest in Down Under cuisine: squirrel pancakes.

And now, straight from the Beastly Boys (you read that correctly):

All we really are is Squirrels,
We're being hunted we are Squirrels,
We are appealing we are Squirrels,

We want to gather nuts,
But, people splatter our guts,
When they're on a country drive,
It isn't easy to survive,

Back in the other day,
I saw a squirrel get blown away,
They served him on a dinner tray,
They baked him into a souffle,
Squirrel season opens up today,
If you're a squirrel run away,
I don't know what I should say,
Please call the A.S.P.C.A.

Fur coats from us are made,
Fur is nice but, I like suede,
They scrape our fur off with a blade,
And never bother with first aid,
We squirrels really like to play,
And we like to catch some rays,
Please don't kill us this we pray,
We're cute and harmless anyway,

We're not delicious,
We are not racoons,
Don't live in palm trees,
Or in your bathrooms!

That's all we really are is squirrels,
Isn't it fine I am a squirrel,
Please help us save us,
We are squirrels!,

I wanna whip out my, squirrel!

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Video courtesy of Reason TV.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Heroes - All In The Family

(Episode: The Kindness of Strangers. Spoilers ahead.)

So, Parkman's dad turns out to be Worse Than Sylar and one of The Company's twelve top conspirators (Heroes Wiki article on the Group of Twelve here). That explains how The Company knew to tag Parkman during the first season, and why Angela Petrelli isn't all that shocked about his telepathy.

I'm guessing that Parkman's dad has the ability to possess people, assuming he's the one who attacked Angela Petrelli last week. She said she attacked herself, which may be true - but who was making her claw at herself?

Only seven of the Group of Twelve are identified: Mr. and Mrs. Petrelli, Linderman, Nakamura, Devereux, Parkman, and Bob, the Company's apparent current leader. Two men and three women are unidentified, although one reminds me a bit of Katherine Harris...

Nathan ditched the beard. Good for him.

Claire is an idiot, for not thinking this: West was abducted by this mysterious company when Dad worked for it. Dad is most probably the man in the horn-rimmed glasses that West remembers seeing. West would recognize Dad, and Dad might recognize West even though the abduction incident happened in St. Louis. They live in the same school district now, so they'll probably cross paths sooner or later. That opens the door for all sorts of scenarios - which would be the least disastrous? The answer to that question is a "chance" meeting between boyfriend and Dad when Claire is present to mediate the situation. TV characters are dumber than viewers, though, and this won't happen. Bennett is going to Ukraine, anyway.

Back to the Group of Twelve pic - Mr. Petrelli wears horn-rimmed glasses. This is a long shot, but is it possible that he was the one responsible for West's abduction? Petrelli was alive at the time...

I have a theory about what the painting of Bennet predicts: West finds out about Bennett, confronts him, bloodshed ensues, Claire approaches the scene and West kisses her to keep her from waling in to discover what's going on.

A new evolved human has joined the cast - Micah's cousin Monica Dawson, who has the ability to perfectly reproduce any physical motion she witnesses; she creates a tomato rose and recreates a wrestling maneuver, both of which she originally saw on television programs. If she mentions this new-found talent in front of Micah, odds are his opinions on using "mutant" abilities to fight crime will find voice - will his cuz listen? As a New Orleans resident, she's in a sadly appropriate setting for that sort of thing...

Sylar (now going by his given name Gabriel Gray) gets picked up by Alejandro, Maya and American car thief, and that the Central American twins have abilities. Or ability singular - I theorized two weeks ago that she's the off switch and he's the on switch of the same ability. Car thief discovers the twins are wanted for murder; Sylar warns the twins and shows that he's stolen the keys so they can get away, but doesn't tell that he also murdered the dude.

From the previews, it looks like Peter's subplot will make some actual progress. Let's hope.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

The Mummy Returns

Don Imus is back on the airwaves.


Blogging the Qur'an: Sura 7, "The Heights," verses 1-102

Robert Spencer has the installment here. Topics include Adam and Eve, Satan, Noah, Lot, and some extrabiblical personages.

Click the "Koran" label to see all my posts on this series.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Today's Musical Treat

Via Jen.


Friday, October 12, 2007

Nerd Quiz says I'm a Nerd.  What are you?  Click here!


Not [expletive] Worth A Warm [expletive] Saucer Of [expletive] Spit

Al Gore and the IPCC were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, for perpetrating a scientific fraud that doesn't have to do anything with peace.

Read my 2002 post on the award and its historic irrelevancy to peace.

Update: Tim Blair has more on Gore's fraud.

Update: The Malkinator has links.

Update: Wonder if Gore will promote peace war offsets?

Update: If so, he'll have to buy some of those offsets himself.

Update: Supreme Court reverses the Nobel committee.

Update: Jessee Walker explains how to win a Nobel.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Book Review, The Once and Future King, T. H. White

This classic is actually a compilation of four stories: The Sword in the Stone (1938), The Queen of Air and Darkness (1939), The Ill-Made Knight (1940), The Candle in the Wind (1958).

The first is the most enjoyable, telling of Arthur's boyhood, ending with his fateful encounter with the sword Excalibur that establishes him as the King of England. Merlyn's tutelage of the young Arthur is paramount to the story. The primary lessons involve Arthur being turned into an animal, and all address the issue of Might. He learns of raw predatory power from the fish, rank, protocol and duty from the falcons and hawks, totalitarianism from the ants, cooperative society from the geese, and self-reliance from the badger. This essay touches on these themes.

There is also an adventure in which the boy Arthur and his stepbrother Kay join a quest to rescue several captives from Morgan la fey's enchanted castle, which is made completely of various foodstuffs. The prisoners are lashed to columns made of pork - I'd like to see someone try to pull that off at Guantanamo...

The second recounts several key events. Arthur conceives and implements the Round Table. He defeats the rebellion of King Lot of Lothian and Orkney. Lot's four sons - Gawain, Agravaine, Gaheris, and Gareth - become Arthur's knights after their father's defeat. Their mother Queen Morgause (sister of Morgan la Fey) uses sorcery to seduce Arthur - not knowing him to be his half-brother (Arthur was the product of Uther Pendragon's rape of Morgause's mother) - and conceives Mordred.

The third and fourth tales are a depressing and often plodding read; they fall on my list of Stuff To Read Once And Only Once. Amidst Sir Lancelot's falls from and returns to grace, various feuds develop amongst the knights, the worst involving the Orkneys. They feud with Pellinore after the old knight kills their father in combat. Arthur earns several black marks from the brothers; old Pendragon's sin against their grandmother, Arthur's liaison with Morgause (they never learned that she engineered it), his attempt to cover up his indiscretion by having the baby Mordred killed.

Arthur reforms the criminal code by replacing trial-by-combat with jury trial, but this comes back to bite him when the Orkneys expose the affair between Lancelot and Guenevir. The "ill-made knight" escapes capture while the queen is sentenced to deaths; he rescues her from being burned at the stake, and in the ensuing battle Gaheris and Gareth are killed.

This sets up Mordred's plans for Might; as Arthur has Lance under siege in a French castle, Mordred spreads the lie that the two are dead and usurps the throne. Arthur gives up the siege to war with Mordred, and some days afterward Lancelot learns of the events and leaves to join his king in England to fight Mordred. The story ends with Arthur, on the even of battle, instructing a boy (who is supposed to represent Thomas Malory, the authoritative source on Arthurian legend) to return to his home and to keep alive the tale of King Arthur and the Round Table and the ideals they represent.

I have never liked love-triangle plots - all that selfishness and wasted emotional energy. The Lancelot-Guinevere is especially pathetic. It's bad enough that a bored housewife seeks a little excitement with some dude who fulfills fantasies of flash and excitement. But it's even worse that a man who has the code of chivalry drilled into his soul obsesses over his king's wife. Even when I was a teenager I didn't chase after girls who were dating someone else. You're a hundred times the chick magnet than I am, Lance - get a life and look for someone who's actually available.

No surprise, Arthur and Lancelot are the best-developed characters. Guinevere is not a two-dimensional character, but that third dimension could use a little filling out. Morgause and her knightly sons are fascinating characters. Scarcely anything is said of the Grail quest.

The character I like the most is King Pellinore. He embodies the chivalric code more than any of the others, in my opinion. When he finds the Questing Beast injured, he nurses it back to health rather than nabbing the poor creature and declaring the quest fulfilled. This stands in stark contrast to the Orkneys' quest for a unicorn, which ends with Agravaine killing the creature.

For those interested in Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur, the University of Virginia Library has the entire text online here. No talking owls in that version.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Heroes - You Can't Keep A Good Villain Dead

(Episode: Kindred. Spoilers ahead.)

Sylar is back! Candice rescued him from Kirby Plaza and got his wounds fixed up, but Sylar has lost all the powers he had stolen in the process. He manages to kill her and take her power, but he can't use it. The article on Candice reveals that she really has been killed, so there goes my theory that it was an elaborate illusion set up by Candice to find out how he steals powers.

So who performed the surgery on Sylar? And where is this middle-of-nowhere jungle he's at? I hope he's not stranded on an island with hatches and smoke monsters :-)

Peter helps with the heist and finally gets the box with his identifying personal effects in it - but he doesn't open it. Time to my head against the wall some more.

[bang bang bang bang bang bang bang]

Hiro succeeds in setting Takezo Kensei on his proper course, but decided to stick behind, presumably to make sure everything goes right - or for the sake of curiosity and/or the thrill of getting a front-row seat to an amazing chapter of history. Clever of Hiro to write Ando of his progress in scrolls hidden in the Kensei sword which present-day Ando possesses.

Jessica/Niki is back, and is keeping Micah with Lt. Uhura in New Orleans while she runs to The Company to get her powers removed. But The Company wants something in return...

Maya and Alejandro are close to the US border, but Alejandro idiotically tries to steal a car in broad daylight. He gets arrested, but Maya uses her power to incapacitate inside the little jail - except her brother (I suspect he is immune), who uses his power to revive everyone. The jail's other prisoner, a young American dude, joins the duo and they take off in his car, which appears to be the one stolen from Claire.

Mohinder finds a Mendez painting, panel 8 of a series he painted prior to his death. Last week he and Bennett found the first one, which depicts the murder of Hiro's dad. This one (image here) shows Bennet on the floor, apparently dead on the floor with a gunshot would to the eye, and Claire standing nearby kissing a shadowy figure.

West reveals his flying power to Claire, and as she discovers a wound in his neck, he tells her of an incident in which he lost a day's memory. He remembered seeing a man with horn-rimmed glasses before the lapse; Claire is suddenly suspicious of her father.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Dallas Cowboys 5-0

This is satisfying not just because I'm a fan, but also because it's nice to see the timeout ploy fail.


Monday, October 08, 2007

He Speaks The Truth

But does El Presidente de Mexico realize the full ramifications of what he's saying?

"Let me tell you, I think that the only way to stop migration is to provide to the people opportunities here in Mexico," Calderon said in an exclusive interview with Diane Sawyer.

Oportunidad económica begins with libertad económica, pal - the ball is in your court.

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Blogging the Qur'an: Sura 6, "Cattle," verses 84-165

Robert Spencer has the installment here.

This caught my eye:

Muhammad explained that the "blood of a Muslim…cannot be shed except in three cases: in Qisas [retaliation] for murder, a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims." So adultery, apostasy and revenge are the only justifications for taking a life.

One wonders what cases allow for the shedding of non-Muslim blood...

There's more - read the rest.

Click the "Koran" label to see all my posts on this series.

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Do Not Underestimate The Power Of The Dark Side

Model X-wing fighter bites the dust.


Saturday, October 06, 2007

Standing Up For Rights

If I ever bring a case before the Supreme Court, I'm hiring Rich Heller for legal counsel.

(Link via Pej)

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Bleu State


The map comes from this. Each state is identified with a foreign nation with a nearly equivalent GDP.

Note that Texas (population 20.8 million) has a GDP roughly that of Canada (population 33.0 million). From which of the two shoudl we getting our economic policy inspiration?

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Useless Quiz Time

Courtesy of In The Agora. I took the quiz and wrote about it in the third comment to the post - it won't make sense if you don't take the quiz yourself.

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Today's Health Tip

Four Big Macs supply a full day's supply of calcium and iron.


The Envelope, Please IX

The 2007 Ig Nobel Prizes are out.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Space Age, Fifty Years Old Today

Sputnik 1 was launched on October 4, 1957 at 19:12 UTC, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in what was then the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic.

Rand Simberg has Sputnik links.

I will honor the day by plugging The Iron Giant into the VCR; Sputnik appears in the opening scene.

Update: Sputnik stamp, issued on August 10, 1976 in the Soviet Union (source).

Update: Sputnik knit ball.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Hot For Substitute Teacher

EIA reports:

No Cheesecake Substitute Teachers for NEA This Year. To celebrate American Education Week, NEA has revived its poll asking which public figure you would most like to see teaching for a day. Last year's winner was Jessica Alba, inciting NEA President Reg Weaver into a strained comparison between Ms. Alba and America's substitute teachers.

This year's options avoid such problems: J.K. Rowling, Steven Spielberg, Tiger Woods, Bill Gates, and America Ferrera. Currently Tiger Woods is holding a three-stroke lead over Bill Gates.

Don't tell Weaver about those J. K. Rowling swimsuit pics.

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Rush Limbaugh Interviews Clarence Thomas

Read the whole thing when you have lots of time to spare.


Heroes - Who Was That Masked Man?

(Episode: Lizards. Spoilers ahead.)

Hiro does indeed borrow Takezo Kensei's identity (and armor and sword), and fulfills the historic "Battle of Twelve Swords" in which Kensei rescued Yaeko, the daughter of the swordsmith who forged Kensei's sword. Kensei himself turns out to be a "mutant," displaying Claire-like healing powers after an ambush. Hopefully this is just the encouragement he needs to pursue the heroic role of the Kensei of legend.

Mercifully, the amnesiac Peter already has a clue as to his identity. One of the Irish burglars gathered Peter's ID and other personal effects in a box, and offers to trade the box for assistance in a big heist. If Peter exploded last season, who gave him his clothes, ID, and that helix necklace? Those woudl have exploded with him, except for the necklace, which he never owned before.

Mohinder cures The Haitian of the virus with the serum made with his own blood. Don't remember if the Haitian ever had contact with Molly, the only other character to contract the virus. If not, how did he get it?

I have a theory about the twins Maya and Alejandro: the same ability is split between them - she's the on switch, he's the off switch.

I'm doubting my initial suspicion that Claire's classmate West works for anybody. But his rather sudden friendship seems too coincidental...

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Monday, October 01, 2007

So Long To The NRO Star Trek Weekend

Here's a screen capture of the special feature. The tribbles are a nice touch.

 photo NROTrek.jpg


Good News

US military deaths in Iraq lowest in 14 months

(via Glenn)

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Blogging the Qur'an: Sura 6, "Cattle," verses 1-83

Robert Spencer has the installment here.

One significant topic deals with the sin of shirk, "the association of partners with Allah," which Islam regards as the greatest sin. The definition of shirk is rather complex; this article explains its various categories. Shirk includes trinitarianism, polytheism, atheism, idols and icons, belief in deified humans, directing worship toward something other than God (icons and idols, dead saints, living "holy" individuals), and religious rites intended primarily to impress human bystanders rather than to express genuine worship toward Allah.

Click the "Koran" label to see all my posts on this series.

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