Daily Archives: July 11, 2010

The President who won’t rest until the oil spill is contained

Kennebunkport, here I come!

Warms up for his upcoming Maine vacation by going golfing today. Who does he think he is, Tod Laudonia? By the way, has anyone heard from Peter Tesei lately?


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So much for, “I’d like to visit Holland, wooden shoe?

You'll be kissing Iberian ass tonight, fella

The Dutch, the Dutch, the dirty rotten Dutch, they don’t amount to much but they’re a damn sight better than the Irish. But not better than the Spanish, today.


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A World Cup disappointment with a silver lining

I stopped by Arcadia Coffee in the hope of joining the Dutch cheering on their team (my team too, if you consider my French ancestors living there for a century an changing their name from de la Fontaine to Fontyn before moving on to New Amsterdam makes me Dutch) but the place was empty – so many Dutch in town, it turns out, they couldn’t all fit in Arcadia and so they’re at someone’s private residence. So that was too bad, but the three staff members there were watching and, even though the store was closed for the afternoon, they invited me to stay and watch with them and even served me a delicious iced coffee. I suppose one could find that sort of kindness in a big city but it’s far more likely, I suspect, to occur in a small village like Old Greenwich. Very nice.

It’s half time, nil-nil, but to this completely untutored eye, it seemed to me that Spain dominated the first half. I don’t know from time of possession and that sort of thing, but I thought the Dutch were spending more time on defense while Spain exerted a strong offense. And, perhaps because they’re playing to win, rather than yesterday’s consolation game for third place, neither team seems to be playing as loose and with the abandon that Germany and Uruguay did the day before. But I’m sure the experts will have more meaningful commentary than I can provide.

One thing that did strike me: soccer players’ fitness and endurance put other athletes to shame. I played soccer long ago and I know the effort it takes to race up and down that long field, non-stop, for 45 minutes without a break. When I was around 40, and still in reasonable shape, I played in a pick-up game at Binney Park and one long dash would leave me gasping for breath on the sidelines, recovering. These guys aren’t 40 (let alone 57) but still, they just keep going. Maybe some of the professional tennis players could do that, but can you imagine a baseball player accomplishing that feat? Ha! And football players certainly exert themselves at the line of scrimmage, but according to an analysis I read in the WSJ not long ago, the average game has exactly eleven minutes of actual action – the rest of the time the players are waiting for TV ads to end, slapping each other’s fannies and doing whatever else football players do in those huddles.

I’m beginning to like this game. Off to watch the second half.


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Obummer leaves for third vacation since oil disaster

“I’m not going to rest or be satisfied until the leak is stopped at the source, the oil in the Gulf is contained and cleaned up, and the people in the Gulf are able to go back to their lives and their livelihoods.”

Barack Obama
May 14, 2010
Speaking On the Gulf Oil Spill Disaster

Imagine the fuss were he going to Crawford, Texas instead of Maine.

UPDATE: That’s three vacations he’s indulged in in the past 86 days – how many fund-raisers has he flown around the country to attend in the same period – ten? Twenty?


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Darwinism lives!

Weeds out drunks, anyway.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A 47-year-old man’s friends set his prosthetic leg on fire after he lost a drinking bet, causing him to suffer severe burns to his buttocks and lower back. Dona Ana County sheriff’s deputies found the man naked on the side of U.S. Route 70 with his prosthetic leg in flames. Deputies learned that the man and his friends were drinking Monday and bet that whoever drank the least would be set on fire.

The man told investigators that at six beers, he drank the least, and agreed to let his friends set him on fire.

He said his friends ignited his prosthetic leg, and the flames spread to his body.

The sheriff’s office said the man took his clothes off because of the pain and his friends decided to take him to the hospital. But they got nervous and instead dropped him off on the side of the highway.

The man was taken to a Texas burn treatment center.

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It’s obviously a weekend for great ideas

Russian spy I'd most like to interrogate me

Whatever was wrong with me this past week pretty much shut down my brain (actually, a MRI revealed that I have no brain, but a primitive brain stem seems to send just enough dim signals to allow me to function) but the rest must have done it good because now the ideas are flowing. Such as this:

The NYT reports today on the difficulties the Russian sleeper spies can expect now that they’ve been returned to the mother country. It touches on the more spartan material life they’ll encounter, although living conditions and the availability of western goods have greatly increased, but a couple of Russian “experts” say that the thing they’ll probably miss most is their political freedoms. Those too have increased recently but Putin and his henchmen still run the show.

The question is whether the new face of Russia will be enough to allow them to forget the old days. Not everyone is convinced.

“I think that they will still have a lot of discomfort,” said Aleksandr Kolpakidi, an intelligence historian in Moscow. “They lived so many years in America. And we still have a massive number of problems here.”

“So, in the end, I think that they will want to go back. To America.”

Reading that, I was reminded of a picture I saw in Greenwich Time a year or so ago of a Brunswick student, a child of privilege, sporting a Che Guevara tee-shirt. Brunswick’s a fine school but it clearly produces at least some political idiots, just as our local public high school does.

I’m friends with a woman who managed to escape Poland when she was twenty and that country was still under communist rule. She still expresses wonder at the relief she found here, where she could say what she wanted write what she liked with no fear that a neighbor would report her or a government censor would intercept her mail and arrest her. It seems to me that, if I could persuade her to do so, she’d be a fascinating speaker at political science classes at our various high schools. I’d bet that after a single class session, perhaps a short talk, then a question and answer period, even a Brunswick student could figure out why honoring Che is a dumb idea. If nothing else, she’s young enough, and hot enough, to hold the attention of teenaged boys. So I think I’ll first ask her if she’s willing to volunteer and then set about seeing if I can’t interest school administrators in such a one day visit.


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