Saturday, February 13, 2016

Sermon of the day

At Sense of Events blog: An angry Jesus who wudda thot?

a link to an essay about an art work of angry Jesus cleaning out the temple.

I had a rant here, but moved it to my bitch blog...

Friday, February 12, 2016

Cat item of the day

Climate change causes cats

headsup DaveBarry

and if you want a full list of stuff caused by Climate change, you can find it here.

Headlines below the fold

BBC article on using Carbon 14 to date the earliest copy of the Koran...

handwriting experts dispute the early date.

But the article goes on to explore more problems with the technique, and the controversies (imaginary or real, from Atlantis to the shroud to the Dead sea scrolls) that are associated with these problems.

the problem? The amount of Carbon 14 in the atmosphere varies from year to year...


PJO'Rourke's bbc essay on the US election.
Heh. I'm old enough to remember when he wrote for the Rolling Stone.

Mexico has a huge problem with obesity (no pun intended) and the BBC blames cocacola and other sugar laden drinks.

Myself, I would point out that most Mexicans are Metziso, and that Native Americans also have a high rate of obesity and diabetes. So is it the sugary drinks, or that they no longer risk starvation?

The Pima study, comparing the traditional lifestyles vs the modern diet, shows yes, modern food and having enough of it to eat, does make one obese...but the Mexican tribe living the traditional lifestyle also is shorter and I suspect are poorly nourished.

Ravussin also points out the Pima predisposition to store fat efficiently due to survival mechanisms evolved in the harsh southwestern desert. Read more at

except this doesn't explain the similarly high rate of diabetes in the Chippewa of northern Minnesota, who are traditional farmers and fishermen in a non desert environment.

The clue indeed might be genetic: That the gene for metabolic syndrome predisposes one to live through famines. But famines occur everywhere, but until modern times, the ability of the poorer classes to get enough to eat was not present in all the world. Now they can, so the ones with the gene for metabolic syndrome get fat.

My mom tells the story of one of our aunts, who lived through the post WWI famines of Austria by eating tree bark and wild foods. When the aunt visited home in the 1930's, she came back and said there was going to be another see, the peasants sensed the war was coming, and were deliberately getting fat so they could survive.

and, of course, not doing heavy physical work of walking long distances is part of the problem.

Wikipedia list of severe famines...

strategypage has another backstory on the Sunni Shitte problem of the middle east...
Of course, the problem predates Islam: It goes back to the good old days of Darius the Great.


Flash floods in Saudi Arabia.

38mm of rain doesn't sound like much but when the hard desert soil doesn't absorb water, disaster can follow (as those of us who lived in the deserts of NM and Arizona are well aware).

wikipedia article on the 2009 floods there gives some geological background on the area.


Few soldiers were killed in Gulf War I, but the toll of that war continue, made worse by the inabilty to find a cause of many of the vagues symptoms of "Gulf War Syndrome".

blaming it on PTSS and other pschological reasons let the experts refuse to admit it was probably related to Sarin and other WMD.
or possibly an autoimmue problem after exposure.. the syndrome of toxin induced autoimmune disease is similar to GWS, and this article goes into the physiology:
pdf LINK

Attention conspiracy theorists: it mentions the Garasil problems in the article...

friends of mine who went to that war remember hearing the nerve gas alarms going off during SCUD attacks, but then being told they were false alarms.  The suspicion is that the dose wasn't enough to kill them, but the small doses induced long term autoimmune probblems.

luckily fr r me, female problems requiring surgery and obesity causing hormones made me overweight so I resigned the year before the war...

they were epecting 40 thousand casualties from that war, because of the nerve gas. What probably stopped major use of Sarin was that Dan Quale "made a mistake" and mentioned in public that there were plans to Nuke Baghdad if nerve gas was used.

But of course, small amounts of sarin in the scuds also should have caused similar syndrome in Israelis...and the Kurds, who got major nerve gas attacks, also had evidence of neurological sequella.
well, DUHHHH...

Higher nurse to patient ratios result in fewer deaths.

or you could just cut the amount of paper work they do to please the bureaucrats.

and the most important research article of the day, from Improbable research:

the history of of trained dancing chickens.

In 1941, Skinner, the highly-influential behavioral scientist and father of operant conditioning, began working on Project Pigeon, a classified effort to train pigeons to help guide glide bombs for the Navy, with funding from General Mills, Inc. ...While the Pigeon Project never took off, the Brelands saw the money-making potential of using positive reinforcement to train animals. They bought a small farm in Mound, Minnesota, and began training various animals in their barn. Their company, Animal Behavior Enterprises (ABE), launched in 1943 and among their clients was General Mills. The couple put together a trained chicken show for the company’s farm-feed division, Larro Feed, and trained Larro salespeople on their techniques. The shows were seen at feed stores across the country and were a hit.

science headline of the day

Gravitational waves have been observed.

BBC report.

He said the detection was one of the most important developments in science since the discovery of the Higgs particle, and on a par with the determination of the structure of DNA.
"There is a Nobel Prize in it - there is no doubt," he told the BBC.
"It is the first ever direct detection of gravitational waves; it's the first ever direct detection of black holes and it is a confirmation of General Relativity because the property of these black holes agrees exactly with what Einstein predicted almost exactly 100 years ago."
for later reading: LINK


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Miniseries of the week

did volcanic cool spell predate Justinian plague?

In China, the county pulled itself together after it fell, but the attempt of Justinian to regroup the western part of the Roman empire was stopped by the plague.

Could a volcanic cold spell from Volcanoes have partly caused this?

Archeology magazine notes the cold spell, which is noted in history, has been confirmed from tree rings.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Good bye and thanks for all the puppies

Sigh, Cute Overload has shut down their website.

Evil still exists: it thrives on killing the innocent

GetReligion blog links to a local Pakistan news reports on the victims of Islamic terrorists: The children who are killed or wounded when they attack schools.

Story link:

In December,, the online version of the Pakistani newspaper, launched a groundbreaking project that addresses that very concern.
The project, titled 144 Stories, serves as a virtual memorial to the lives lost on Dec. 16, 2014, when Taliban gunmen attacked a public school in Peshawar. When the rampage ended, 144 were dead – most of them schoolchildren. News reports called it the deadliest Taliban attack in Pakistan’s history....
The reporting for 144 Stories is stellar and, at times, heartbreaking. Readers learn about eighth-grader Uzair Ali, who saw the attackers and leapt to shield his friends by lying on top of them. He was shot 13 times and killed, but he managed to save his companions.
14-year-old Fahad Hussain opened a door so his friends could run out. He stayed behind to make sure everyone was evacuated. The killers gunned him down.
First-grader Khaula Bibi was the youngest victim and the only female. The 6-year-old was killed on her very first day of school. Relatives noted that even at her young age, Khaula championed the right of girls to be educated.

Read it and cry.

and say a prayer for the reporters: their lives are in danger for reporting such things


BBC report (2010) about such murders, not just in Muslim countries but also in southern Thailand...
and how they have widespread and lasting effects on the ability of the locals to educate their children.

this is evil. Killing the innocent is forbidden, but when killing is said to be good by Religious leaders, then it is up to other religious leaders to stop them.

Ah, but the dirty little secret is that the Saudis fund these type to start schools and mosques all over the world. They do this so these leaders don't overthrow the princes who run the place.

and the Saudi funded Madrasses are often the only place for poor kids to get an education: Alas too many of them don't teach useful subjects, only the hateful type religion that makes the poor kids vulnerable to be recruited by terrorists.

However, part of the reason for killing children and burning down schools is not just because they might learn to read and write and learn western ideas: It is because they are soft targets.

kids don't shoot back.

This is why, when I worked in Africa, hospitals and schools and their employees were targets by the communist insurgents funded by the World Council of (christian left wing) Churches.
I should add: usually they didn't kill kids. They merely kidnapped them for recruits.(as the Boko Harum and the "christian" cult LPA do today).

and those enamoured of liberation theology and who correctly lament the US atrocities in VietNam conveniently don't remember the VietCong death squads who killed hundreds of thousands of civilians.

nor do the liberation theology types remember those killed by Narcoterrorist funded leftists in Colombia and now in Mexico.

and of course, the massacre of college aged students in Mexico is one of the major ignored stories in the US news.

But today the terrorists dejour are Islamicists, and the winner of the worst terrorist group is the Boko Harum...They also have killed many students, and burnt down many schools. But are ignored because hey, who reads news about Africa?

of course, benign Americans would never celebrate killing innocent children...

Movie of the week


Headlines below the fold

StrategyPage has a long article on Iran. For later reading.

unlike the US and Europe, who have pretty well ignored the slaughter of their co religionists, Iran sees ISIS and others who slaughter Shiites as a reason to intervene.

HMMM...given that a Saudi Cleric in Mecca is preaching it's good to kill Shiites, there might be a small problem.

the backstory on this is that the Iranian backed Shia militia filled the power vacuum when the Iraqi gov't pushed President Obama to remove US troops.

Now the Iraq government sees the American troops as saviors. At the end of 2015 there were several thousand American troops already in Iraq and more (most of them Special Forces) on the way. The government has apparently made it clear to Iran (which is very hostile to U.S. forces in Iraq) that some American troops are essential. The presence of American troops also makes it less likely that Iran will attempt anything too ambitious (like invading or backing a takeover by Shia militias) and everyone knows that. Most Iraqis are more concerned with Iranian meddling than anything the Americans might do...

has any of this been discussed in the US election "debates" or are they ignoring it, reporting Trump's feud with Fox Bimbo Kelley and telling women to vote for Hillary (or go to hell) because she has two X chromosones? Just wondering...


the old Pertussis vaccine did cause brain damage in a tiny number of kids, so they replaced it was an a less toxic version. The problem? the immune response is weaker, so you need booster shots.

a pretty nasty disease, and mild cases of the illness are probably still around, since two kids in my practice who didn't get their shots (due to other illnesses) got cases, meaning someone gave it to them.

I suspect this is behind a lot of the terrible bronchitis in adults was from this, where you just kept coughing and coughing for weeks.


Just what we need: Robot Cockroaches .

they plan to use it to crawl into debris to save victims after disasters...and presumably could use them to spy on you too.


it's Mardi Gras time!

AH, but the carnival type fiestas are just a way to remember tomorrow is Ash Wednesday.

 it's not big in our town. I mean, we just had the fiesta of Christmas, the Three Kings, the Santo Nino, the AtiAtihan and the Black Nazarene.

A time to celebrate, and a time to repent...

It's election time in the Philippines, and that old leftie Bishop Cruz is asking hard questions...
someone needs to ask this of those running for office at local and federal levels in the USA also.

And not take platitudes for an answer: Real answers that outline real plans.


the WAPO editorial wants to abolish marriage.

what could go wrong?

When Catholics warned against "no fault" divorce in the 1970's, they were ridiculed for being hard hearted, yet the decimation of US society and the destruction of the family can be blamed on these laws.

now marriage is meaningless legally, so maybe we should just get gov't out of the marriage business says Foley at Instapundit.

but of course, this only increase the destruction of family and the chaos of society.
when Confucius saw the chaos of China, the first thing he did was reestablish the sacredness of marriage. Reform the person, reform the family, and the reform of gov't will result.

 "He who thinks the old embankments useless and destroys them, is sure to suffer from the desolation caused by overflowing water; and he who should consider the old rules of propriety useless and abolish them, would be sure to suffer from the calamities of disorder. Thus if the ceremonies of marriage were discontinued, the path of husband and wife would be embittered and there would be many offences of licentiousness and depravity." (Bk. xxiii., 7, 8.)


word of the day: Murmuration


1 : the act of murmuring : the utterance of low continuous sounds or complaining noises in "a murmuration of reporters..."

ah but there is another definition:

 2 of starlings : flock


.... headsup (and check videos on) BBC site.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Audiobook of the week



anyone who has worked in a gov't bureaucracy knows what happened: On paper, the "rescue" was supposed to be by a local group, so outsiders were told to stand down and let the locals take care of the problem...

Similarly, on "Paper", there were no local terrorists, so that the attack had to be spontaneous, and they looked around and found a movie to blame it on.

Why do I think this? Well, because when I worked for the IHS, often we had volunteer docs helping us out, and I would be called by the nurses for backup when they got over their head (e.g. a difficult delivery, or thinking they could care for a critical patient when we didn't have lab or x ray except on call after 5PM).

Why did they call me? Because I would come. Ah, but it was against the rules: I was NOT authorized to help.

The doc in charge of these hospitals were typical bureaucrats: the nurses would call him and he's say: They are doctors. Let them handle it.

Don't dare to admit some docs were not experts in some areas of medicine such as Obstetrics or acute trauma, or that they might not be aware of which hospital was best for certain transfers (e.g. neurosurgery), or if you needed a helicopter for longer transfers. Don't dare let them call for help when you have five critical patients in the ER needing transfer, because you can take care of them just fine.(long story).

But I didn't care if I embarrassed the visiting docs: The patient came first.

needless to say, I sort of got encouraged to leave the two problem hospitals I am talking about.

I should add: not all IHS places were like this, but two of them where I worked were a problem, and a problem made worse because I lived on site, when most of the other docs lived off the res and had to drive in which took time...yet when I came to fill in, often I was reprimanded.

(in contrast, our IHS hospital in Minnesota called everyone on the list when we had a problem: Often I wouldn't wait for the phone call, I would just go when I heard screaming in the parking lot, or a helicopter coming in, knowing it was probably something bad..often they were happy to see me, and that I was at home and could help).

Bureaucrats tend to follow the rules...alas, sometimes following the rules will result in a dead patient (or in Benghazi, a dead Ambassador and a couple more dead heroes).

to paraphrase the old saying:

Stuff around the web

This might explain a lot of UFO sightings:


Author Brian Sibley has a lot of lovely wall posters on his blog today.

when we were kids, we used to buy or steal posters and post on our wals. Do kids still do that?


Freakonomics podcast: How to mend a broken school.

I'm not sure I agree, but it's a start.


no, I didn't watch the superbowl, but I am a Lady Gaga fan...and I do know she is able to sing.

she is beloved here, and there is even graffiti on a nearby wall that says Vote Gaga... ==============

the "WAGD" post of the day: Mayon Volcano due to explode soon.

no, not near us: It's south of Manila and has been popping off and on for the last few years. But it means evacuation of locals and getting hikers off the side of the mountain.
By Tomas Tam, Attribution,

more at Wikipedia

via Presurfer: Who's who on a movie crew

Behold the power of squirrels

©2010-2016 Drack99

Squirrel causes power outage in Tulsa.

headsup Dave Barry

Monday, February 08, 2016

how to watch TV when you have 100 channels all crap

The BBC had an article on how Russians are seeing their latest BBC version of War and Peace.

includes this:

Quite apart from the legal issues of pirating the show, Russians have been logging on to social media sites and giving their views. One special group has been set up on Russia's big social media site, VKontakte. The reviews are mainly positive and many are clearly in awe of the British take on one of the most famous works of Russian literature

well, duh.

I can watch The Walking Dead season 6 and other US shows the same day as the US but the BBC? Hey, Downton Abbey is two seasons behind, not to mention the latest Sherlock hasn't hit here yet.
Why don't you arrange them to be on stations overseas (with commercials) so the rest of the world can enjoy your stuff?

What I especially miss is the nature shows. Lolo as his hearing got worse, tended to watch movies with captions or nature shows. But now, the History channel et al tend to stupid programs: various versions of get out alive, Pawnshop type stuff, or clones of the duck dynasty/fishing is dangerous.

Yes, we have animal planet, but that tends to be: Oh LOOK another bloody predator making another bloody kill.

We do get HBO etc. so I do tend to find recent movies,  or for action films, no problem: They are pirated and sold by vendors in the palenke for 50 pesos, often before they open in Manila.

but for BBC I have to download, either from Youtube for older stuff (e.g. nature) or illegally (for DA or W&P).

I'm not sure if we are getting netflix in the Philippines: A lot of "pay for stuff" movies are not shown here "because of copyright issues". Right.

Ruby often watches stuff streaming video, but I am downstream from the modem and tend to get interrupted streams. I even download music and other stuff from soundcloud and youtube, and then erase them after I watch or listen to them.

so I am waiting for war and peace. Probably will see it next year.

Headlines below the fold

In France "youths" burn cars for the heck of it (and don't dare identify who are the "Youths" or why they do it). Ah, but in Berlin, they are leftists who hate rich people and only burn BMW's or Mercedes.


China's currancy reserve is in trouble.

At $3.23 trillion, China still has the world's biggest reserve of foreign currency holdings.
But that has declined by $420bn over six months and stands at the lowest level since May 2012.
"While the remaining reserves still represent a substantial war chest, the mathematics around this rapid pace of depletion in recent months is simply unsustainable for any length of time," said Rajiv Biswas, Asia Pacific Chief Economist, IHS Global Insig
BAFTA top award went to Brooklyn, an Irish film, for their top movie.

They also have a "blockbuster of the year" award, which went to StarWars. Wonder why the Oscars don't have such a category.

however, the Director's guild gave the evil bear's director the highest award.

has anyone noticed he is a Mexican American and won last year too?

ah, but in the US race baiter's world, he is a "white Hispanic" like Rubio or Cruz so don't tell Spike Lee...

BBC bias in plain site: Republican debate is a "horror story" but the Democratic one was called "five key battles" and a love fest for Hillary.


the bomber who blew himself out of a Somali plane was actually scheduled on another flight on Turkish Airlines, and boarded in Turkey.

I wonder what his seat number was on the original flight...the PAL flight that was bombed in the 1990's didn't crash partly because he put the bomb in the wrong seat (because the plane was an extended version, that seat wasn't over the fuel tank). And it makes me think if the center fuel tank of TWA 800 that exploded "spontaneously"......

UAE may send troops to Syria.

Gargash added that "US leadership on this" would also be a prerequisite for the UAE....
Saudi Arabia, which has targeted ISIL with air strikes since the campaign began in Syria in September 2014, said on Thursday it was ready to provide ground forces to defeat the armed group.
yes, but they will fight Isil while all their money is funding terrorist recruitment Madrasses all over the world.

Philippine peace project goes kaput, because the bad guys massacred policemen trying to arrest some terrorists and pissed off ordinary Pinoys.

Why policemen? Because the military were forbidden to go in the area, and the MILF who was supposed to get them just shrugged.

yes, democracy is a bitch.

and no, it doesn't mention the terrorists who terrorized the majority Christian city of Zamboanga. Terrorizing Christians doesn't count.

A lot of this is about which clan leader controls all the lovely development money.

and the Moros have a long history of fighting everyone who tries to control them...and are not above killing each other, as the Manguindanao massacre proves.


women sign up for selective service? Fake question

the question dejour is if women, like their brothers, should sign up for the "selective service" so they could be drafted like their brothers.

IF they reinstitute the draft.

AS IF all boys sign up. (Does anyone really check this when you get a job or go to college etc as they did in the past:?)

The real question is: Do you want everyone in the USA to be signed up by the government and on a list?

The whole thing is, of course, a fake question. Drafting huge numbers of people for cannon fodder is not the way one fights a modern war. Indeed, it is not the way one fights a war in most of history (I just was reading about the Tang dynasty that decided that professional soldiers should guard the borders, because the draftees were too inefficient...later the rebels proved them right as the rebels cut through the local less professional types who were supposed to guard the city).

In the past, they could grab you for war, but it was the elites who made the war...during the French revolution, and later with Napoleon, things changed, so you had to fight for YOUR country. Hence everyone signed up, or were faced with locals who frowned on your cowardice or turned you in as a traitor.

But today's wars are more mechanized: D Day won't happen again.

The question being asked is: Will putting women into combat increase the efficiency of the military? Ah, but President Obama never served, so he sees the military as something he can make PC on his way to do a fundamental transformation of America. Oppose him and you are forced to leave...(which is why you can ignore all those military leaders who testified in congress. Oppose him and you get shafted and silenced).

 feminists are using this to prove they are equal, yet how many of them signed up to fight? Dirty little secret: In VietNam, it was the rich who got the draft deferments, and in the Civil War, the rich also bought their way out of service, letting the immigrants be drafted. Draft riots of 1863 anyone?

But of course, this is not about the military. This is about President Obama's transformation of the military to a pc army that will not kill people. So we will have token women in combat even if it kills them. Never mind that women's skills could be used elsewhere.

Ironically, some pious types worry their daughters would be corrupted in the military. Well, how do you keep them out of the farm after they've see Paree? as the song goes.

But I was amused.

The poster child for women in the military is not the US feminist who wouldn't be able to shoot a gun if you gave it to them, or even Mrs Palin, who could shoot but never joined up.

This is the poster child for women in the military,at a time when women were on the Front line and dying. (The front line being London, which was bombed constantly).

She was merely a truck driver. But she is the last major head of state in the world who served in WWII... and I wonder how many who are running for president ever had first hand experience. (answer: Two who dropped out: Rick Perry and Lindsey Graham).

FYI: StrategyPage has a long article on how women's skills always have been used in the military and they discuss the pros and cons of the issue.

 Carrying a heavy load was not required. In convoy operations women have also done well, especially when it comes to spotting, and dealing with, IEDs (roadside bombs and ambushes). Going into the 21st century, warfare is becoming more automated and less dependent on muscle and testosterone. That gives women an edge, and they exploit it, just as they have done in so many other fields. What women continue to avoid is traditional infantry jobs, which are less needed but not going away.

The dirty little secret is that combat troops per se are few, and non combat and support jobs are most of the jobs, so in effect you are arguing about the wrong thing.

As for me: I was only NG in the peacetime army, so never was full time military.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

IHS, John Q Public and statues in church

a in the book Outlander, the heroine frequently uses the phrase: "Jesus H Roosevelt Christ".

so the TV show has a lot of folks saying she talks like a slut but her accent and demeanor are of a lady (i.e. upper class woman).

I hadn't heard that expression before.

This discussion group has a comment that notes:

My grandfather says it sometimes.  I think it may be a play on the fact that a lot of people thought FDR was a god in many ways; i know my grandparents think he "saved" the country from the depression - so maybe that's where it' comes from - saved, savior, Jesus.....I dunno.  I'll say it once in a while myself, when I'm really exasperated. that or "cheese and cracker miss agnes" lol. (something my grandmother would say to keep herself from saying "jesus christ.")
AnneAlthouse has a post about out of date expressions like John Q Public and JHC,  noting that the expression "Jesus H Christ" probably came from the "IHS" (the Greek letters for Jesus) and notes Mark Twain commented it's use back in his day.

IHS is a common symbol used by Catholics. I wonder if the kids still learn about all those stories and symbols nowadays.

IHS was one: JMJ was another (Jesus, Mary and Joseph, another "catholic" swear word). INRI, for the scroll above the cross; the greek letters alpha and omega, meaning God is the beginning and the end of all things, and AMDG was another albeit even in my day rarely used (all for the glory of God).

and you learned about faith from stories... in the old days, before the intellectual snobs of Vatican II destroyed them, all churches had statues...each statue had a symbol with it to identify it and to let you know who it meant. Each symbol told a story, and that story let you learn about who God was and our relationship to God.

When I went to church today, I noticed the creche had been taken down. The Christmas season was ended. The priests are now putting the saint of the week on the left side of the alter. Today it is Our Lady Of Lourdes. Here, many people have a Lourdes grotto in their yard, in the same way that in the US we have "bathtub madonnas" in our yards.

Why is she popular? Well in the family oriented Philippines, seeing God and Jesus in the context of being part of the family is how one relates to God.

And behind Mama Mary is the idea that you big rich important people are not going to have the final say in life.

Like Pope Francis (who I criticize but yes in this he has it correct): Mary reminds us that God's mercy is to the humble, and the revolutionary theme of Christianity:

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,and has lifted up the lowly.He has filled the hungry with good things,and the rich he has sent away empty

hence the popularity of a story of a non PC kid seeing a lady in a small cave near a garbage dump, and resulting in a place for pilgrims to be cured in mind and body.

the movie was based on a novel by a non believer  who vowed to write the book if he managed to escape Nazi tyranny...

Stories from around the web

via IrishCentral: Romantic Ireland pre WWI.

Dr. Gilles Baud-Berthier, Director of the Musee Albert Kahn said on the museum’s website, “These were not works of reportage or ethnography, nor an attempt to produce works of art. The aim was simply to record human beings in all their diversity, living humble lives worthy of respect. And from this respect would, Kahn hoped, arise the universal peace to which he aspired.” 

Village wheelwright, County Louth.

(headsup TeaAtTrianon)

Ah yes: Poverty at its finest.

here, they repair tricycles at the side of the street too.
as for women weaving and spinning: Luddites loved those days, but interviews with women who spent half their lives doing this tedious task might give you another opinion. LINK

 (wonder if they asked how many of these folks sent their sons to the UK or US to work and send back money, like we do here in the Philippines).

of course, the happy view is probably more accurate in it's way than the post modern cynical view of Ireland as a wasteland full of drunken idiots.

Somewhere in between, you might find the truth...

Henry VIII was crazy because he suffered from post concussion syndrome.

the disease dujour... but actually historians noted the personality change after his accident.

not to be confused with his megalomania which might have been from neurosyphillis, mercury poisoning (used to cure syphillis) or just because he was a spoiled rotten kid who got his own way in everything.

also from AlJ: There is a growing Muslim fashion industry.
Muslim consumers spend an estimated $230bn on clothing - more than the combined clothing markets of the UK, Germany and India [Yoray Liberman/Getty Images]

Good. Now if it would only become a fad so our daughters don't have to dress like sluts to be fashionable...

No, they don't dress like sluts here in the provinces of the Philippines: the local dress is Jeans (or long shorts) and a tee shirt. Skirts are for old ladies or InC types...the local Muslim women wear the same: pants and shirt, albeit with a veil.

Most of the kiosk owners outside our local grocery store are Muslim women, so I was amused when the clothing section of the grocery store had one of their mannekins wearing a veil (and they sell the long scarves, for veils or for the rest of us to use as a shawl in cool weather).

No, I don't have a problem with a veil. St Paul recommended Christian women wear them too but as the letter to Diogenes notes: early Christians didn't dress differently from their neighbors.

Head coverings make sense from a non religious standpoint however: They keep the head warm, protect it from the sun in hot weather, and when indoors, keep the dust out of the hair (and hair out of the food).

And traditionally, wearing a head covering was a signal that one was an honorable woman and married, so sort of a "hands off me" signal.

Heh. Wonder if this would work in colleges where feminists have their knots in a knicker about being pressured into casual sex.

Head coverings have gone out of fashion in the west, however.

Old order Amish and some Mennonite women still cover their hair to follow the scripture.

Muslim women wearing a scarf to honor God is a good thing, and having more of them in the workplace will do a lot to counteract the severe Islamophobia that I see in the US blogosphere.

Facial coverings, however, are against western culture, demean women, and can be used to hide criminal activity, so I agree they could be banned from businesses if this becomes a problem, in the same way we saw the "no shoes no shirt no service" signs go up in a lot of stores when the hippies started running around barefoot and half naked.

and no, banning face coverings would not be limited to Muslim women, but would include the wearing of similar face coverings, like the skimaks I used to wear in Minnesota when I walked to work when it was 20 below...

Podcast of the week

the latest Mythgard podcast is discussing the Shaping of Middle Earth. (i.e. Vol4 from the History of Middle Earth series).

I have read only a partial series,two I left home but three I actually found here at the used book kiosk. Alas, this volume is not one of them.

and Professor Sherman has another class on LOTR on youtube. His previous classes include LOTR, Harry Potter, and medieval English literature.