A Couple of Links

-Brad Workman’s online journal devoted to Haiti seems interesting. He was kind enough to take out a BlogAd here, but his ad is so modest that I suspect many readers will overlook it. Check out his site if you are interested in Haitian affairs.

-Completely unrelated to the above link, Moira Breen posts a superb example of amateur tornado porn from her neighborhood. I am jealous.

Figurative Language & the State

One of my favorite Texanisms is: “He looks like he was rode hard and put up wet.” Sure, it’s repeated often but still makes me smile years after I first heard it. Volokh links to Overlawyered, which describes a $450,000 harassment case settled because a man alluded to that old saying in the presence of two women, who apparently had the minds of pubescent students.

Of course, we need fewer lawyers, more of a sense of humor & a lot more common sense from judges. But we also need a livelier language & wider range of allusions. We shouldn’t wonder that kids coming out of the school system in which these two women work lack style. It’s been killed in them. And, frankly, I’m more worried that such decisions bring us closer to 1984 than the NSA/cookies “scandal.”

Auld Lang Syne

Every year at this time, the newspapers give a recap of the results of the dead pool for the preceding year. I do not feel qualified to deal in such profundities as life and death without the liberal use of scare quotes. Accordingly, here are some of my favorite weblogs that have “died.” Or are “resting.” Or “feeling a little poorly.” If any of the authors of these sites want to point out that they are “not dead yet,” or are “feeling a bit better,” please speak up before the dirt hits your face. Otherwise, I will assume that you have been “nailed to the perch” and have “joined the choir invisible.”

The Dissident Frogman, a rare voice of sanity from the laughing academy that France has become, is missing from our lives. The loss is irreparable. He designs websites and is probably lurking in Samizdata even as we speak. Or write. Or waste time at work. He shows up in the comments of this and other weblogs from time to time. Nevertheless, it would be wonderful to hear his inimiable “ribbit” again.

The Raw Prawn was a business blog with nice graphics and good commentary. It seems to have lapsed when the author moved to another location, but rumor has it that Australia has recently acquired internet access. Perhaps he will avail himself of it.

I wasted nearly a year on Long Island (and believe me, any year on Long Island is wasted) without meeting Michele of A Small Victory. Now I’m back in Massachusetts, and she is only maintaining a photoblog. She mentioned that part of the reason was some ambivalence about the Iraq war. Sorry, but if you don’t feel at least ambivalent about something that makes people dead, you really should see about acquiring a soul.

Right Wing Duck appears to have succumbed to right-wing avian flu. Don’t bother clicking the link – it just leads to one of those sleazy sites that wants to sell you the domain name.

The Dutch Report had a good deal of information about the Netherlands. This was very useful this past year when that country was reacting to the grisly assassination of Theo van Gogh. Some of the writing indicated that the author was not entirely comfortable with English. I hope he will at least continue posting in Dutch, so that the indispensible Zacht Ei (soft-boiled egg, or “softy”) could let us know when something comes up.

Vanished without a trace
Nelson Asher’s Europundits from Brazil;
Amish Tech Support

On “life” support
Bill Whittle has been tapering off. When he does write something, read it. It may not happen very often, though, and seems to be trailing off.
I thought Atlantic Blog was done for, but it seems to have come back. Give William Sjostrom a link, an e-mail, whatever, and help coax him back to life. Sorry, “life.”
Ian Murray didn’t vanish – he graduated.

What did we miss? Please post your keenly-felt losses in the comments.

Update: Kim du Toit was missing for much of the year, but has reappeared with a new site. This was after the mysterious disappearance that elicited this from Mrs. du Toit:

If we could give an explanation we would. Since we can’t, we can’t. It’s sort of the point that we can’t (or we would have). For those who have expressed genuine concern: we’re fine. We’re needing to move to a new chapter in our lives. Our blogs are closed permanently. We’re working to “move” the forum to another guardian/location. We apologize for the suddenness of it and for scaring some folks, but it really could not be helped.

Speculations about black helicopter scenarios and such should be stopped. It is nothing like that.

If there was a way of saying more or giving some sort of explanation, we would, but we can’t.

Thanks to all who played.

Rumors of alien abductions were unfounded.

The Barrel-Chested House

I’ve been trained to connect dots with words, though I wander quite a bit. But objects – that’s another thing. My sister-in-law & niece & friend joyfully, tactfully arrange colors & textures & shapes. This year, I’ve been awed by a decorator who walks through our rooms which have all the coherence of loose baggy novels, rooms confused & pointless. Then, she edits, she connects the dots, finds a pattern. I appreciate what “works” – I think we all do. But I’m not much good at achieving a “look.” (I find myself putting quotes around words that remain mysteries.) It takes a sense of proportion & mine is always unsteady: afraid I’ll either let the old – tradition – swallow us whole or that we will throw away the house’s essence, what it is, in throwing out what it was.

And so, we come to my personal problem. It is not unlike our local school’s attempt to keep the rituals of “old army” as the Corps becomes a smaller and smaller percentage of the students and women outnumber men. How true to this house should we be – how much change can we impose without destroying it, without emasculating it?

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Sometimes You Need Some Straight Talk

The Canadian government has had a great deal of trouble in replacing their obsolete submarine fleet. It came to a head last year when the Canadians purchased four British Upholder class submarines. One of the subs, renamed the HMCS Chicoutimi, suffered from a series of accidents while it was being sailed to Canada from England. One crewman lost his life, and the boat was abandoned and had to be towed back to Britain by American and English vessels.

This has been a very embarrassing episode for the Canadian government and military. The civilian press has questioned the need for a silent service at all, something that appears nothing less than surreal to those of us who pay attention to military affairs. Last time I looked, Canada has more coastline to patrol than any other country in the world. Removing a vital asset such as a submarine fleet from your navy is a sure way to open gaping holes in the national defense.

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