February 2015

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Beauty is the only permanence, no matter how short lived it is.

Beauty is the only permanence, no matter how short lived it is. (Click for bigger.)

Your lives may be grey, but ours never will be. We’ve had the privilege of beauty in our lives. An unmatched pleasure. Color is its own reward.

Darwin + 1

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Darwin, Gould, Dawkins. Three icons of evolution who didn’t actually agree on the facts of the matter. A veritable Mount Rushmore of Evolution.

Really tired of left-right Darwin arguments. Tired of the arguments on the left. Tired of the arguments on the right.

One way or the other, absolutely everybody is sanctimonious.

I won’t waste time on the lefties. They’re a bunch of sententious creeps. I’ll direct my ire at the right. Including people I know and ordinarily like. First up, Kevin Williamson, who while seeming to defend Scott Walker, said this:

The relevant scholars in the field do not “believe in” evolution, any more than a physicist “believes in” the proposition that objects subject to earth’s gravity accelerate toward the pavement at 9.8 meters per second squared — they know. As an intellectual matter, Scott Walker’s proclaiming that he “believes in” evolution would be precisely as meaningful as his proclaiming that he doesn’t “believe in” evolution — he has little or no relevant knowledge about the subject, and his choosing the right answer would be as intellectually significant as a chicken playing tic-tac-toe or infinite monkeys banging out Shakespearean sonnets on infinite typewriters.

They know. Sure they do. Proof? George Will.

“Descended from the apes!” exclaimed the wife of the bishop of Worcester. “Let us hope that it is not true, but if it is, let us pray that it will not become generally known.”

An American majority resists such an annoying notion, endorsing the proposition that “God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years.” Still, evolution is a fact, and its mechanism is natural selection: Creatures with variations especially suited to their environmental situation have more descendants than do less well-adapted creatures. [emphasis added]

Sure. Fact exists in the case of 2 + 2 = 4. It does not exist in matters such as the origin of the universe, the origin of life, and the origin of species. Too many variables. (As with climate.) No scientist is prepared to declare the Big Bang a fact, no scientist is prepared even to offer a definitive theory about the origin of life, and yet we have a full-on army of PhDs prepared to lecture us about the origin of species as FACT. Including notable evolutionary biologist George Will.

Kevin Williamson, take note. Real scientists do not know that Darwinian or Neo-Darwinian or even Dawkins’s “Blind Watchmaker” version of evolution is fact. They just “believe” they have the best hypothesis going.

The science question is not simple. It has two parts. But surprise, the question is not the polar choice offered up in politics. It’s not creationism versus the scientific “consensus.” Which is the kind of yes/no, smart/dumb question the leftists among us prefer. It’s subtler than that. Lots of us dumb righties have no problem with micro-evolution, meaning the demonstrated ability of species to mutate in response to changing circumstances. Which is where academic science has concentrated most of its firepower.

Where we have a problem is with macro-evolution. The ability of species to evolve to altogether new species as a result of Darwinian evolution, punctuated equilibrium, or other “blind watchmaker” mechanisms. Doesn’t pass the smell test.

Occam’s Razor. Which makes more sense?

1. A wholly random universe that just happens to be perfectly attuned in terms of its physics for the creation of life like ours — even if we have to posit a multiverse of infinite parallel worlds for which there is no shred of evidence, let alone proof — which has no meaning whatsoever beyond blind chemistry governed by a law of entropy (i.e., falling apart) that nevertheless succeeds in complexifying itself (i.e., falling apart) into intelligent life forms whose artistic and intellectual achievements seem to mean something for which we can find no antecedent or precedent.

2. An intelligent universe (um, er, uh, created universe) that holds within it the capacity for pattern and self awareness consistent with its origin. That is, a demonstration of the principle that there is no something from nothing. If intelligence can arise, it’s only because there was always intelligence. If there can be music, there was always a music of the spheres. If there is morality and a sense of divinity, they were always part of the program. A program we see enacted in what we call evolution, over an incredibly long period of time, no matter how we much we de-engineer the program and pronounce it 19th century mechanical theory (a la Darwin) and deny the existence of an authoring computer and programmer. Where the hell does DNA come from? Made itself up, did it? Occam is screaming.


The other side is SCREAMING!

This is not about Genesis, George, Kevin, and Jonah. It’s not about dummies versus smarties, not even about you, the real intellectuals of the right who think you have not forgotten how to think.

It’s about the biggest questions ever asked, the biggest mysteries ever pursued. Why Isaac Newton did his thing, and Einstein, and everybody you think is just part of the passing scene. Darwin wasn’t right, not in terms of having determined facts. He just laid down the next rung of the ladder we should all be climbing. Where did we come from? How? Why?

I feel like I’m closer to those questions — never mind the answers — than you are. Ignore me. Most do. But I’m probably happier in my quest than you are.

Do I believe in Evolution? Not an unfair question. Undoubtedly, contrary to your protestations, its adherents do. It has become their religion, or we wouldn’t be subjected to the screeching scripture of Richard Dawkins. Do I? Yes, of course. But in nothing like the polar terms you and your opponents insist on.

P.S. Today is Charles Darwin’s birthday plus one. Many happy returns, old chap. I think you might understand me better than your supposed acolytes.


Happy Birthday plus one, Charles. The one is for tomorrow, of which there is always one, when everything can change. It’s called one to grow on.

Muff and Raebert. So different and so much the same. Natural affinity.

Muff and Raebert. So different and so much the same. Natural affinity.

She’s still learning to be touched. He has to be on us all the time.

He’s huge. She’s not so.

She’s smart like a terrier, constant needling. He’s smart like a harpoon in your soul.

He’s a Scot. She’s a Scot.

Apparently that’s enough. She took to him faster than to us. We’re still working on it.

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Betting on us.

Cassie

How old do you have to be to be a a wise old cat?

How old do you have to be to be a wise old cat?

What would she say?

“I’ve lived in the garage a long time. Seen them come and go. Dogs, cats, and always more dogs.

“In the summer it gets hot. In the winter it gets cold.

“You could count on that happening. Nobody bothers me much. I’m a cat who lives in the rafters. Life is… What life is. Running, hiding, lurking. But it will get better. One day.”

She’s fourteen. What does she know?

We've got your back, fella.

We’ve got your back, fella.

This one I owe almost entirely to my wife. I asked her what on earth NBC could do to wriggle out of this PR nightmare. A veteran of decades of corporate nightmares, she had a quick and perfect answer: “Promote him.”

Of course. Get him off the air into a bigger office and a fancier title. Where he can do no more harm. Obvious when you think about it. But I was still troubled about what position you could promote him to. Until I realized the perfect place for him.

Brian Williams, President of the MSNBC Network. I mean, even the NBC parent knows that MSNBC is in need of repair.

How bad was 2014 for MSNBC?

So bad, the left-wing cable news network lost the 2014 ratings war to CNN. Yes, that CNN.

According to Deadline, MSNBC is hemorrhaging viewers, especially in the all-important news demo (viewers aged 25-54)…

Makes sense, doesn’t it? MSNBC is clearly the fiction division of the news business at NBC. And media coverage has already provided hints about the way out of the mess.

And when the looks start to fade, Mia can even steer Brian to an appropriately expensive cosmetic surgeon.

And when the looks start to fade, Mia can even steer Brian to an appropriately expensive — if disastrously incompetent — cosmetic surgeon.

What herself had to say.

Actress Mia Farrow is on Team Brian Williams. Still.

The Broadway Danny Rose star used Twitter to defend the embattled NBC anchor after he apologized for claiming to have flown in a U.S. military helicopter hit by an RPG.

Farrow, mother of low-rated MSNBC anchor Ronan Farrow, claims Williams’ apology should be more than enough…

Which could pave the way, finally, for Chris Matthews to move into the anchor chair at NBC proper.

You see how everything works out if you keep the Big Picture in mind?


Of course you’ll get fooled again. Because you’re fools.

Happily distracted with Brian Williams and Bruce Jenner, are we?

Our anti-Christian Muslim president. Time for you all to learn about the Crusades, medieval times, and the thousand year Muslim jihad.

Nothing new about Jihad.

Nothing new about Jihad.

Jihadis 14, Crusaders 2

Obama Rips Bible, Praises Koran.

Still More of Obama’s Moral Equivalence.

Getting Medieval.

And our anti-Semitic Muslim president, who ordered the congressional black caucus to boycott Netanyahu and diss the Jews while he was having White House meetings with the Muslim Brotherhood to discuss the problem of Islamophobia in America.

Obama told Black Caucus to boycott Netanyahu.

White House Anti-Muslim-Bigotry Meeting.

Our president with a pen and a phone is about to commandeer the Internet and rule our private communications via the FCC.

Get Ready for a Government Takeover of the Internet.

And don’t forget Global Warming, the Holy Grail of the Left.

The Greatest Scientific Scandal ever..

But Brian The Idiot is a beautiful distraction from all that, isn’t he? So nice that he advanced so far without an education, yes?

People get mad at me. But now more than ever I am Instapunk.

Shammadamma.

Coming Home

Her name is Cassie. I met her last week.

Her name is Cassie. I met her last week.

Everyone who reads this site knows that we lost three in a few weeks. But God in his wisdom provides solace and reward for loss. We lost the greyhound Molly, the feral Mickey, and the Bengal Izzie, before we could accept even one of our fatalities.

Funny how everything happens in threes. Everything significant that is. Told you about Mickey, my Main Man. Told you about Penny, the lost girl who finally came inside. Both of them big and beautiful. Every once in a while I’ve mentioned our pet skeleton in the closet, or more accurately, our skeleton in the garage, Cassie. She was the third of three ferals Lady Laird got wished on her 14 years ago. The only one who was able to resist the allure of couches, air-conditioning, and stroking. She preferred to live in the attic space above the garage. In all weathers, temperatures, and times. We fed her on the freezer. She’d wait for food to appear and eat in our absence. If you entered the garage when she was “down there,” she set speed records for getting up into the rafters and out of sight.

Ten years of this.

Suddenly, though, since the three died, she’s moved into the house. Shockingly, amazingly, incredibly, impossibly, she’s bonding with me. She lives under the couch in the living room and waits for the dogs to be fed and then if I go downstairs I hear what I hadn’t heard since Penny: “Yap, yap, yap.”

And there she is. The rara avis of the Laird household, Cassie. Yap. She lets me pet her. Yap. She lets me tease her tail, just like Mickey did. Yap. She lets me hold her in my lap for a minute at a time.

Tiny thing. Mickey and Penny were big. Cassie is the oldest of them. She’s fourteen at least. But still lovely. Though tiny.

It’s like getting a cat without getting a cat. Seems kind of angelic, doesn’t it?

She did save a dance for me. Breaks my heart.

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Which one is Angela Merkel’s ass? Me, I’m thinking both.

Greeks, being Greeks, think all their fiscal problems can be solved by Windex. Germany, being Germany, has sixteen infantry divisions on the Greek border. Windex is good only for ameliorating pimples on the buttocks.

In her first interview since Syriza won the Greek election last weekend, Angela Merkel has made it clear the debt stands but she hopes they stay in the eurozone.

The far-left party stormed to victory last weekend with 36 per cent of the vote, promising to ditch austerity and renegotiate the country’s £180billion bailout from the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund – also known as the troika.

Their finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has said this troika of global institutions is “rotten” and has refused to work with them to renegotiate bailout terms.

Syriza is now beginning to roll back on the austerity measures imposed by the EU on the previous administration in exchange for the loans.

However this morning the German Chancellor said that while Europe will continue to show solidarity with Greece and other nations hit by Europe’s debt crisis, the debts must be repaid in full.

Speaking to Hamburger Abendblatt, she said: “I do not envisage fresh debt cancellation.

“There has already been voluntary debt forgiveness by private creditors, banks have already slashed billions from Greece’s debt.”

I’m good at explaining European politics. I just don’t do it very often.

The Establishment strikes back.

The Establishment strikes back.

Got into it a bit with a follower of Jennifer Rubin, who is the Washington Post version of the NYT’s David Brooks. You know. Conservative in name only.

She called Ted Cruz incoherent. I inserted a comment, which precipitated a spirited discussion with someone named Zach.

Despite the deficiencies of Facebook, I’m hoping you can find her post titled “Ted Cruz needs better answers” and the comment string here. (You have to log in to FB first, then peruse the news feed of Robert Laird. If that doesn’t work, try Jennifer Rubin’s page. You’re looking for a Ted Cruz post with more than 20 comments.)

The lesson is that I was not, as many insist I am, mean. I asked a single question, which was never answered, while responding to all relevant points. No name calling. Just a repeated question that was never answered.

If you can’t answer simple questions, don’t duel with Instapunk. You will lose.

Jeff McGarry, a next generation hope.

Jeff McGarry, a next generation hope.

In my wife’s job, she has to deal with interns. You know, millennials who think the world owes them a living. She puts up with it patiently, the way only a woman with multiple grandchildren can. Occasionally she is impressed.

Like with this McGarry kid. He’s polite, diligent, and poised. If you push, he will admit to playing baseball. Here’s what the sports press has to say about him:

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But here’s the thing. You wouldn’t know any of this from talking to him at work. You’d have to tease it out of him by asking questions in the probing way my wife has. He’s content to be a communications major working hard to give you his best.

Why I say, and continue to insist, that all is not lost in these United States.

Not me. He had talent. I had more than that.

He had talent. I had something like it.

She’s been with me for more than a decade. She’s tired of me pretending that guys are smart. Every time I reach out, she just laughs. “They don’t want to hear it. Did Frank respond? No. He’s one more schlemiel.”

She’s been living with software “geniuses” for more than a quarter century. Her laugh about them is a continued haw-haw-haw. Her message to me is focused: you’re a writer and they’re code freaks; never the twain shall meet.

She thinks smart code guys are, well, idiots. Except for Harvey. But he’d probably agree with her.

Oddly, she thinks I am smart. What are the odds?

Oh. We're supposed to be scared of women. Are not. Sorry.

Oh. We’re supposed to be scared of women. Are not. Sorry.


Life is.

So rich. I’ve done everything. Been everywhere. In all times. Learned everything about all times. Last of a breed.

Never faked a story though. Changed some names to protect the guilty, but that’s all. Everything else I actually did. 50 mph in a Boston whaler in the open sea. 130 mph on Rte 77. Youngest final club president ever. Nearly died in a hurricane at sea. All true.

I have so many stories to tell. You have so little curiosity. I’ve had a wonderful life. And you have such a dreary lack of interest.

Yes. I am awful. Never told you a lie. Why aren’t you interested?

Much worse post to come. Maybe you can live up to it. Or not.

You've got to admit, the man has some nice ties.

You’ve got to admit, the man has some nice ties.

I always figured Brian Williams was Peter Jennings without an education. You do know, don’t you, that the managing editor of NBC News is a high school graduate? But he always looks gooood.

Conservatives are trying not to pile on.

I’m not piling on either. He’s just par for the course. I wrote about network news eight years ago, when Katie Couric became the anchor of CBS News.

Helping Katie.

Note that I spared no one. Not even Fox News. Especially not Fox News.

They’re all in the entertainment business. They don’t report the news. They foster narratives. And flash their personal assets. What just happened to Brian Williams is no surprise. He’s just another casualty of a completely corrupt profession.

Why I write mostly about dogs and cats.

She was standing on a six inch square platform dozens of feet in the air. No one mentioned it.

Standing on a 6″ square platform dozens of feet in the air. No one mentioned it.

I noticed. I’m mentioning it. Think she has more guts than Tom Brady. Even if her pecs aren’t as well developed.

Does she sing too? Can’t say I heard that, but if so, I’m doubly impressed.

The best quarterback ever? How feminized are we?

The best quarterback ever? How feminized are we?

Cognitive dissonance at Breitbart Sports.

Chief editor Daniel Flynn wants to paint the Seahawks as the bad guys.

The New England Patriots, portrayed as the Super Bowl villains by the national media as a result of Deflate-gate, traded their black hat to the Seattle Seahawks at some point during Sunday night’s Super Bowl.

The good guys won, or, if you’re from Baltimore, New York, or any of the 28 other NFL cities and can’t quite admit that, just concede that the bad guys lost.

Rich Tucker from the same site on the same day wants to make us recognize the feminization of America via Super Bowl ads.

The Super Bowl isn’t really a sporting event anymore; it’s a cultural event. As such, it can tell us a lot about where our culture is headed. Based on the ads during Super Bowl XLIX, the feminization of the United States is well advanced.

This year, few of the ads had anything to do with the game, or even seemed to acknowledge there was, indeed, a game. On the field, the football was as violent as ever — witness the Seahawk who intercepted a pass in the first quarter, then was carted off the field with a broken arm.

But the ads that followed that injury tended to be both kinder and gentler.

Consider the nearly identical ads from Toyota and Dove. Both ads centered on the idea that fathers should be nice to their children. Nothing wrong with that, of course.

But what’s the tie-in between dancing with your daughter and driving a Camry? What’s the tie-in between hugging your child and showering? Neither ad seemed to have much to do with selling cars or shampoo.

A generation ago, the ads featured beer bottles playing football (Budweiser) or an “office linebacker” tackling employees (Reebok). The game was the cultural touchpoint. This year, touching seemed to be the only touchpoint.

Super Bowl ads have always been a leading indicator of where things are heading. At the turn of the century, the game was filled with dot-com ads. The ads themselves were often foolish — see the Pets.com sock puppet — but the goal was to encourage you to go to the dot-com website at some point.

This year, though, advertisers almost seemed embarrassed to be trying to peddle a product. In the case of the Dove ad, the product on offer didn’t even appear until the very end of the commercial, leaving viewers at my Super Bowl party wondering what it was an ad for.

Worse, it was Breitbart Sports that probably made the gravest hit on the Patriots as inveterate cheaters in a post yesterday.

Though much of the conversation around Deflategate has centered around whether Brady could throw a deflated football easier, former NFL players have explained that since deflated footballs are easier to grip, players would be less likely to fumble it.

Sharp Analysis also “found that the Patriots performance in wet weather home games mysteriously turned ridiculous starting in 2007.” The Patriots went 0-2 in “home games in wet weather in 2006″ and have “gone 14-1 in those conditions at home since 2007.”

Sharp wondered if the Patriots are “so good that they defy the numbers” or if something else is at play…

Make up your damn mind. The Seahawks are thug tough, sure. How would they have fared against the Oakland Raiders in their heyday? The world is still full of Raiders fans yearning for a return to the days of yesteryear, when quarterbacks were actually football players not beauty models rivaling their beauty model wives. When winning the fight after the game was actually part of the game.

Kenny "the Snake" Stabler. A quarterback I'd bet on ten times out of ten against Tom Brady.

Kenny “the Snake” Stabler. A quarterback I’d bet on ten times out of ten against Brady. And against the wusses who caved at the end yesterday.

The Raiders cheated too. Openly. In your face. Not sneakily. Fred Biletnikoff and his stickum was intimidation, not an under the radar stratagem. Miss those days.

He shows up late and wants his tummy rubbed.

He shows up late and wants his tummy rubbed.

He’s the toughest kid on the block. The only one of our crew who can walk on top of Raebert’s head without ill result. But he waits for Raebert to go to bed, meaning he shows up late and settles in.

He’s also enormous. Nothing saggy about him. He’s some kind of a rock. And he likes me. A lot. That’s a good thing.

He’s beside me right now. What could be better?

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