Month: June 2005

Berenstain Bears in the Trunk

The Prince William County woman accused of putting her 5-year-old children in a car trunk finally turned herself in last night. . .

According to city police, an off-duty New Hampshire police officer stopped Parker on Saturday as she was backing out of a parking space at Wal-Mart with her twin boy and girl in the car’s trunk.

A bystander had alerted the officer to the fact that the children had been placed in the trunk.

Police say Parker later told them she put the children in the trunk as punishment for their misbehavior inside the store, but wasn’t going to leave the parking lot before getting them out.

Link. … Read the rest

One of Our Favorite Saintly Anecdotes

In 372, Valens’ zealous Arian servant, Modestus (the “Count of the East”), came to Caesarea and summoned Basil. Basil—emaciated from his asceticism but mentally rigorous—came. Modestus shouted at him: “Basil, how dare you defy our great power? How dare you stand alone? Everyone else has yielded, and you alone refuse to accept the religion commanded by the Emperor.” After Basil showed no recalcitrance, an exchange took place that is recounted in every biography of Basil:

Modestus: What, do you not fear my power?

Basil: What could happen to me? What might I suffer?

Modestus: Any one of the numerous torments which are in my power.

Basil: What are these? Tell me about them.

Modestus: Confiscation, exile, torture, death.

Basil: If you have any other, you can threaten me with it, for there is nothing so far which affects me.

Modestus: Why, what do you mean?

Basil: Well, in truth confiscation means nothing to a man who has nothing, unless you covet these wretched rags, and a few books: that is all I possess. As to exile, that means nothing to me, for I am attached to no particular place. That wherein I live is not mine, and I shall feel at home in any place to which I am sent. Or rather, I regard the whole earth as belonging to God, and I consider myself as a stranger or sojourner wherever I may be. As for torture, how will you apply this? I have not a body capable of bearing it, unless you are thinking of the first blow that you give me, for that will be the only one in your power. As for

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Advertising Gone Wild, Issue 2,908,455

A woman has sold space on her forehead for $10,000. Golden Palace dot com bought the spot, which is now permanently inked. Even the tattooist tried to talk her out of it. It would seem that she’s had a run of very bad luck and some money will make everything all right. Link. Excerpts:

Smith’s ad is a labor of love and actually a positive in her life, something she says her life hasn’t been filled with lately: a failed marriage and deaths of several family members — most recently, her sister in a car crash April 18.

Smith said the money will give her son the education boost she believes he needs after falling behind in school since the accident.

“For the all the sacrifices everyone makes, this is a very small one,” she said. “It’s a small sacrifice to build a better future for my son.” . . .

Bidding reached $999.99 before, an Internet gambling company in the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake, Canada, clicked “buy now,” meeting Smith’s $10,000 asking price and ending the auction two days early.

Smith said she talked to several companies and received multiple offers, but she decided would be the best choice.

“We decided to go with these guys because they work with a lot of charities,” she said. “I want this to mean something.”

Jon Wolf of the company’s marketing department said skin is not an uncommon spot for the casino to advertise: It already has another forehead, more than 100 arms, legs, chests and backs.

Smith is the first woman to have her forehead tattooed with an advertisement, and “we like having

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Scoping the ACLU

Excellent piece at Lew Rockwell this morning about the ACLU and the Scopes trial. Packed with facts and solid analysis. Link. A few excerpts:

We must remember that at this early stage the Russian experiment with Communism seemed to be working – this was years before Stalin’s brutal purges. So groups such as the Communist Party of the USA, the Socialist Party, the Industrial Workers of the World and the Friends of the Soviet Union were actively involved in implementing Socialism in the United States. It was in this environment that the American Civil Liberties Union was conceived. When it was formed in 1920, its board of directors contained many of the prominent members of these organizations and the ACLU shared an office with the Communist Party’s newspaper, New Masses.

The ACLU went out of its way to avoid being perceived as a political organization; even its name was carefully chosen to sound innocuous – after all, who could object to an organization that protected civil liberties? But its founder, Roger Baldwin, let the cat out of the bag with his statement: “Civil liberties, like democracy, are useful only as tools for social change.” The newly formed ACLU needed a high profile case as a vehicle to establish its significance and it thought it had found one when Tennessee passed a law prohibiting the teaching of evolution. So it placed ads in major Tennessee newspapers seeking a volunteer to teach evolution with the promise of free legal protection. . .

Contrary to the “standard version,” Bryan was not a rigid religious fundamentalist who took every word in the Bible literally. In fact, he showed

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Family Substitutes

We reported yesterday that studies in third world countries indicate that family ties help cure mental illness. In a culture with increasingly-severed family ties, products like this aren’t surprising:

Needies are interactive plush dolls inspired by codependent, high-maintenance relationships.

Totally attention-starved, they compete with each other for human affection — or, getting touch, as they like to say.

When you give Needies touch (by hugging and squeezing them), they will return your kindness with songs and shameless flattery.


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Evil Rules

History is brimming with evil leaders you’ve never heard of. Early on, there was Jean-Bedel Bokassa, head of the Central African Republic, who . . . crowned himself emperor in a sumptuous $20 million ceremony that helped bankrupt his country. Though he did find enough money to also kill a hundred students. . . Pretty bad, then then, in the Cs, Bokassa gets some tough competition from Chou, king of China in the 12th century B.C. To please his concubine, Chou built a lake of wine and forced naked men and women to chase one another around it. Also, he strung the forest with human flesh. . . Every letter [of the Encyclopedia Britannica] has at least one truly dark-hearted cretin who somehow ascended to head of state.

Source: The Know-It-All. … Read the rest

Science of the Sun

Not coincidentally (as we sweat away in 100-degree temperatures), summer brings renewed interest in global warming and the sun’s effects. Now this:

A confusing array of new and recent studies reveals that scientists know very little about how much sunlight is absorbed by Earth versus how much the planet reflects, how all this alters temperatures, and why any of it changes from one decade to the next. . .

The bottom line, according to a group of experts not involved in any of these studies: Scientists don’t know much about how sunlight interacts with our planet, and until they understand it, they can’t accurately predict any possible effects of human activity on climate change.

Link. … Read the rest


Another reminder: Eric doesn’t have regular access to his computer this week, so the fare is different and lighter than usual. Regular blog programming will resume in a few days. … Read the rest