Friday, May 30, 2008

Lazy Friday Video - Rachmaninov

This one is just plain silly - "Rachmaninov Had Big Hands"

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Karl Rove is Right?

I was shocked to find myself in agreement with Karl Rove’s assessment of Scott McClellan’s new book. I suppose it is theoretically impossible to tell lies 100% of time, so Rove was probably just caught in a moment of careless truth-telling.

McClellan was the Bush press secretary right after the war started, and revealed the stunning news that senior administration officials (gasp!) lied to the public about the Iraq war. He now apparently believes this was a bad thing. Rove had this to say about it:

“If he had these moral qualms, he should have spoken up about them. And frankly I don't remember him speaking up about these things. I don't remember a single word.”

Also, in the article:

McClellan said deception "permeates our national political discourse" and has "become an accepted way of winning the partisan wars for public opinion."

And this:

He also blames the media whose questions he fielded, calling them "complicit enablers" in the White House campaign to manipulate public opinion toward the need for war.

Hold on a minute. Every bit of this is true, but wasn’t it McClellan’s job to mislead and lie to the public? To manipulate the press in order to manipulate public opinion? He may not have been as good at it as Ari Fleischer was, but I’m confused as to why he only now seems to be understanding what the purpose of his job was.

What is it about people in power who are unable to tell the truth until they are out of power?

I know it is easy to sit back and say that someone else should have put their job on the line by speaking truth to power. People generally don’t get into power in the first place by arguing with those with more power - agreeing with them is generally the way to go. And remember that at the time the Bush Administration was acting like the Gambino family, and anyone who disagreed with official policy got whacked out of their careers.

Still. This wasn’t a decision about whether we should hand out $500 bonuses or $750 bonuses at Christmastime. It was about starting a war whose likely result could have been predicted by anyone who had periods of semi-consciousness during the run up to the war. McClellan was in a position to advocate for sanity, and possibly avoid hundreds of thousands of lost lives and trillions of dollars of waste. A entire generation of death and destruction could have been avoided had the Scott McClellans and Colin Powells of the world stood up and said no when they were in a position to do so. If there is ever a time to put your job on the line for moral objections, that would be the time to do it. Geez.

So, while I appreciate McClellan’s willingness to at least set the record straight, I wish someone somewhere will eventually decide to do the right thing when it actually matters, rather than when it is time to cash in on an insider book.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mini Review: Indiana Jones

I saw Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull on Memorial Day with my 9 year old son. It was a lot of fun, in a retro, campy sort of way.

My only complaint is that they didn’t age Indiana Jones enough to match Harrison Ford’s advancing years. I mean, come on, winning a fistfight with an Ivan Drago-like Russian meanie? That only makes sense if Jones had been able to use a cane or a walker to beat the other guy over the head with.

Karen Allen was a delight, back again as Marion Ravenwood. She and Ford lose none of their screen chemistry, and argue and bicker as if they'd been together for the last 20 years.

Overall, it was the 3rd best Indiana Jones Movie. The best, of course, is Raiders of the Lost Ark. My vote for second best is 2004’s National Treasure.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Halbstarke Foreign Policy

This week's Smile Politely column is up: Half-Strong Foreign Policy, where I invoke another German word in a discussion of manliness. Also, I compare George Bush to a drunk, something I've been meaning to do for quite some time.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Lazy Friday Video - Flesh Wound

Dannie Otto told me about this one: Obama and Clinton as King Arthur and The Black Knight from The Holy Grail:

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Search Mania 5

The search terms are piling up, so it's time for another Search Mania post. The list below contains search terms that random people have used in the last few months to reach this blog. For example, someone types in "don’t buy puppies from Mennonite" at Google, and a page from this blog pops up as a search result that they click on, presumably followed quickly by muttering and cursing that this isn't at all what they were looking for.

My favorites this time around are "better than crazy talk" (hey, that would make a great blog name) and "-1" which is probably a software bug in the web tracking tool, but it does make for a good quantification of the quality of this blog.

I've stopped even counting "Mennonite porn" searches. It remains a popular search term, but the joke is getting really old. Also, my pastor misunderstood what I was talking about the last time I did this, and thought I was encouraging people to download porn. What can I say - technology is hard to understand sometimes.

So, here they are. Enjoy.

not invented by myself syndrome
better than crazy talk
anonymous blog comment george clooney –password
silver unitards
mennonite rule guide
what is the building in chicago that the charachters are sliding down in adventures in babysitting
peer pressure is good
charity is selfish does not solve poverty
closeing statements about racial stereotypes
dear jack i want a man who know what love is
right eye strength material
do Mennonites drink
you sing some sappy song and you pray
armed guards service yoder
mennonites torture
money or love
anti mennonite t shirts
mennonite daylight savings time
people found in fourth circle of hell
white male smile
don’t buy puppies from Mennonite
do the receivers of charity hate the giver
terrorism is the new communism shirt
mennonite sex
dead mouse wall stink
dead mouse with black stuff
a panda walks into a cafe interpretation
chief illiniwek bronze statue
pictures of cute mennonite girls
juno quotes you don’t stare at my stomach
how do i find a dead mouse
she left me for jesus
what to wear in bogota in june
terribly nice Mennonite
organized charity just allows people who should be helping themselves to become lazy
mennonite cartoons
mennonite jew
do mennonites like sex
mennonites with cell phone
living conditions for the plantation owner
a list of mennonite stereotypes
black specks in bowel movement
song and she left me for jesus
what about mennonite porn
idolatry of security
mennonite usa teaching on hell
mennonite freedoms
menonite cheese
feed the poor saint communist
mennonites singing angry words song
how did the mennonites survive
antichrist: islam’s awaited messiah
obama Mennonite
what do i do about a dead mouse in my wall
dead Mennonite
corny the Mennonite
mennonite love
how much do sugar plantations cost
mennonite babies pictures of
god playing need
photos of men peeing
mennonite video game
mennonites are stupid
how do i find a stinking dead mouse
stuffed chief illiniwek doll
funny mennonite songs
medieval word for pee
mennonite rituals
mennonites and memorial day speeches
panda with gun
do you agree with terrorist using violence
sample rejection letter for freedom information
main causes of peer pressure in America
mennonite are people good or bad
having power and not using it

The Moral Complexity of Shopping

Suppose you are shopping for bananas and find two that are equal in every way except for price. Which banana would be the morally responsible one to buy?

My answer involves gratuitous references to Boss Hogg in this week's Smile Politely column: The Moral Complexity of Shopping.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The General

I got linked yesterday from Jesus’ General, a sort of Colbertesque mix of religion, manliness and patriotism. Satire is hard to do well and often, and The General has a gift for it. I sent him the sad sitzpinkler preacher post from two weeks ago, and it was a good fit for what he does.

The general also supports Operation Yellow Elephant, which has for years encouraged everyone of draft age who ardently supports the war to enlist in the military. They don’t seem to be making much progress.

It was nice to get a few hundred extra visitors yesterday. I should have combed my hair, put on a tie and cleaned up the place, but they are gone already, so I guess why bother now.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Dubya's New Job

I've long thought that if Dubya had been born in a middle class family, he would have become a semi-successful realtor, or, worst-case, a manager at a Wendy's (not that there is anything wrong with that).

But I had not considered Tom Tomorrow's vision of him as a Home Depot manager, and now feel richer for the experience:

Friday, May 16, 2008

Lazy Friday Video

I saw this about a year ago, but it makes for a good Friday post:

This was fun too:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Rapture Index

This week's Smile Politely column is about The Rapture Index.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Post-Rapture Politics

I'm working on my Smile Politely column for tomorrow, which is about the rapture. I found a picture that won't make it into the column, but it's perfect for a quick blog post.

The electoral colleage after the rapture:

On a total side note, my wife was gone last week, along with one of my daughters. This may explain the preponderance of peeing related posts last week, as I spent a lot of time with my 9 year old son (my daughter who stayed home with us spent most of the week at musical rehearsal, and was unable to overcome the new balance of power in the house). I thought I showed a lot of restraint by not putting up farting preacher videos, but my wife doesn't think so.

Friday, May 09, 2008

The Wall of Manliness

Well, I guess it is sitzpinkler week here at MMM, because I just can’t resist one last entry on the men-peeing-sitting-down phenomenon. I originally thought it was a silly PC thing, then found out it was really a sanitation thing, and then learned that it has become a macho PC insult thing. Finally, I heard this pastor's thoughts on it below, after which I believe I’ll become an enthusiastic sitzpinkler going forward.

There’s so many money quotes in here that it is hard to choose just a few. Here’s the basic logic:

  • “Him that pisseth against the wall” is a phrase used 6 times in the Bible, which is the number of a man. I don’t know if it’s the number of one man or all men. Perhaps it is the number of The Man.

  • There’s a difference between men and women – men piss against the wall, and women don’t.

  • Recent translations of the Bible do not translate this phrase literally. They use “men” instead of “him that pisseth against the wall.” This is apparently a disgrace.

  • His main point, in his own words: “In Germany, they have signs that prohibit men from peeing standing up! … I was told that no man in Germany pees standing up. That’s where we are headed in this country my friends. We have a bunch of pastors who pee sitting down. We have the president of the United States who probably pees sitting down. We got a bunch of pastors and leaders who don’t stand up and pee against the wall like a man. That’s what’s wrong with America. 400 years ago, pastors used to stand up and preach that A MAN NEEDS TO BE A MAN!!!! The editors of the NIV and the new King James all pee sitting down! I’ll tell you something, I’m not going to pee sitting down! I’m going to Germany in about a month, and you’d better know I’m going to stand up everywhere I go!”

Yes, one of the biggest problems we face in America today is that men no longer piss on walls. Poverty, racism, and greed be damned – what God asks of us is to pee like a man. Well, the men anyway. I guess it’s the women’s jobs to handle all those other things, presumably after they clean up after the men.

Since God’s word is literal and unchanging, remind me not to accept any dinner invitations from this guy. I bet his walls at home are pretty disgusting by now.

Note that if we are going to be absolutely literal about it, God didn’t actually say men must pee standing up - just that they must pee against a wall. There’s no indication of direction, so there’s a loophole here. Perhaps you can pee sitting down if you use the wall as back support. Biblical scholars might need to jump in here to interpret, because I don't want to be on the wrong side of such a vitally important theological and patriotic issue.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Politicizing Child Safety

This week's column is up at Smile Politely - How to Politicize the Safety of Children, which is a piece I've been poking at for awhile.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


So, what happened to that weird post on Sitzsprinkling that was here yesterday, you might be wondering, in the highly unlikely case that you check this blog daily.

You know, the one where I claimed Sitzsprinkling was a German movement to encourage men to pee sitting down so as not to flaunt their male privilege of being able to do it standing up. At least that’s how it was explained to me by someone whose ancestry is German and who visits the Ukraine a lot, which is practically the same thing as consulting an encyclopedia.

Well, alerts readers thankfully jumped in and noted that 1) the term is Sitzpinkler, which had I been able to spell it, would have resulted in the internet telling me that 2) it is more of a sanitation movement than anything else. However, the term has become a political one lately, to mean a wimpy, wussy, henpecked man.

As the sole writer, editor, publisher, historian and legal counsel of Musings of a Minor Mennonite, I reserve the right to remove content here that offends me, and it definitely offends my sense of always wanting to be right to have gotten something so wrong. So, I just deleted the post. Obviously, this will have no effect on current readers, who already know how inaccurate I can be, but I hold out hope that I will be able to hide this a little better from future readers of this blog.

I suppose I could comment on the sad state of contemporary gender relations, where men who care about sanitation are deemed wimps, or that to be manly cannot be separated from spraying pee on the floor, but I’m too sitzpinkler on the whole topic at the moment to say much more.

Monday, May 05, 2008

How to Stay in Iraq for 10,000 Years

Hertzberg on McCain via Huffington:

"McCain wants to stay in Iraq until no more Americans are getting killed, no matter how long it takes and how many Americans get killed achieving that goal -- that is, the goal of not getting any more Americans killed. And once that goal is achieved, we'll stay."

So that's how he gets to 10,000 years in Iraq...

Friday, May 02, 2008

The Faces of Colombia

When I was in Colombia, I took a lot of pictures of people. I always find pictures of people doing stuff or being themselves to be far more interesting than pictures of things, even if I have no idea who the people are.

I'm not a great photographer, but I tried to get a sense of the people I saw there. Some of the pictures below are people we met, but most are random Colombians. My camera has a studly zoom on it, so I was able to snap pictures from our mini-bus without most people feeling like I was stealing their souls.

Here are some kids at a park, who were actively campaigning to have their picture taken:

Cute Colombian girl:

Cute Colombian kids:

Our hostess Alba and our driver from church:

A boy working:

A scholarship family:

I assume a Dad and his disgruntled daughter:

The fearless girl to the right liked to ride her skateboard down a very steep hill. I was impressed with her bleeding hand, which you can just barely see. The boy with the skateboard wanted to impress me with a John Cena shirt he had on, but I had no idea who that was. I later learned he is a professional wrestler. Hurray for the export of American culture! Mostly, though, hurray for the enthusiasm of youth.

Some Colombians are fat and plastic and need rollers to move around:
A grizzled old man with a pink umbrella:

Another grizzled man. You might think he was scowling at me, but he wore that expression well before I took the picture:

A young grizzled man:

A young man lost in his thoughts:

A sweet young couple: A pensive young lady:
A woman selling flowers between cars:
Another couple:

An adorable little girl:
A future performance artist:
Time to go home: