SINCE 1759

Free alert to Candide's Notebooks
Your email:


A picture Marc Riboud would love. Thanks to Jefe at Hart's Big Picture.

Daily Bloggerback
Best of Blogs Round-Up: Tuesday, April 25, 2006


"New York from the air is especially fantastic, with Central Park cutting a huge rectangular swathe out of the centre of the city. But the thing I noticed most about America from the air, the thing that sets it apart and different from any other country I have flown over, were the baseball diamonds. Hundreds of them, thousands, dotted all over the landscape."


Featured Blog, I: Sin Tax
Judas Accounts

Methinks the Anchoress hath been cooped up too long. A drear case of the vapors doth addled her brain and given birth to a vision of judgment of wide condemnation. It's difficult to summarize her latest emission but the gist of it seems to be that those on the liberal left are guilty of a betrayal worse than Judas's. Because he was misguided whereas they, we, are mendacious. He knew not the grievous depths of what he did; we do, and wear a satanic grin as the emblem of our wickedness.

Something like that.

Oh, it makes me long for the quaint old days of 2003 and '04, when antiwar bloggers and Kossacks were compared to Neville Chamberlain and decried as appeasers, traitors, etc. We're still guilty of treason in their obsidian eyes, mind you, but now we're traitors on a metaphysical scale of perfidy that makes Iago look like a two-bit punk.

"Betrayal? That has a componant [sic] of humanity to it, of shame, of honor lost. This other - this mendacity - it quivers and shimmers in a shadowy light, all impression and stealth and slither. It lacks humanity because its DNA is other-encoded, tied to the Father of Lies [Satan presumably, not Cheney], who must be inordinantly pleased with himself to find that truth has become such a changable thing, such a commodity of convenience for the mediating intelligences. Truth is a thing to be constantly revised."

Truth isn't a thing to be constantly revised? Are discoveries in physics, medicine, psychology, astronomy--advances in understanding of law, race, sexual difference, man's relation to animals--to be chucked overboard because they don't conform to the Anchoress's first catechism? Perhaps by truth with a capital T, she's referring to the "eternal verities" of which Faulkner intoned, though I imagine Count No-Count himself couldn't tell you what those eternal verities were no matter how much coffee you poured down his gullet. The truth has always subject to flux and flex, the Bible itself a hotbed of ambiguities and errors of translation.

Like so many of her fellow insufferables on the right, the Anchoress has to grip and wield her nun's ruler of rectitude ever more fiercely now that the war in Iraq has gone so disastrously and Bush's poll numbers are eating through the floorboards. The rhetoric will escalate into the higher rafters of hysteria as they find themselves more and more in the minority, finding it harder and harder to scrape up a lynch mob to go after such dastardly varmints as the Dixie Chicks. Or it will delve deeper into the mire, as the Anchoress leads them into noble battle against the Cult of Mendacity with a crucifix in one hand, a toilet plunger in the other:

"The Cult is execrable - it sleeps in its own feces and calls it a bed of fragrant moss and clover - and too many have become too willing to believe that the squish and stench in which they slog is a pristine pasture rather than an overflowing latrine."

Clearly the Anchoress's attic needs airing out. She's mistaking her own lack of mental hygiene for the sins of others, quite an un-Christian thing to do.


Featured Blog, II: Slipstick Humor
Slide Rule Passion

Hatred of the item below can be a life altering experience.

Does anyone still hate slide rules?

I could only find a couple of people on the Internet who do.

Commenting on Sci Fi writer Jerry Pournelle, this BBS commenter said:

If you can't do math, you'd hate slide rules. I was good in math - and still hated slide rules. Then calculators came onto the market in mass - after I'd already graduated from college.

Slide rule hatred was also expressed at this Mac-related site:

In 1960 (high school for me) we marveled at tiny $100 transistor radios and IBM Selectric electric typewriters, no small personal computers or calculators (we still used and hated sliderules).
But that's about it. No one else seems to hate slide rules. Except me, of course. I hate them with an all-consuming passion. (I'm deadly serious; this is an emotional post to write.)

I never liked math, but I could do all the calculations necessary to get by at Algebra and even Calculus. It was in Chemistry where I met my Waterloo -- in the form of the hated slide rule. I don't know whether the exams have the same kinds of problems today, but I can tell you that I only passed high school chemistry because of an agreement with the teacher. (And even then with a "D" grade.) This was because I had a complete and total mental block with the damned slide rule. I was a slide rule idiot and I never could figure out exactly how to use it. And "exactly" isn't exactly the right word, because there's nothing exact about a slide rule. It uses logarithmic scales to give you a pretty close approximation of the answer. In analog form, not in digital form. You have to use your head to come up with the actual numbers of the answers (and, for that matter, the numerators and denominators). Infuriating. I couldn't learn how to even slide the silly slide or the cursed cursor thingie or where, and I just hated it. I mean really, really hated it.

Knowing the formulas and how to do the problem was not enough in chemistry. It was simply impossible -- and I do mean impossible -- to perform multiplication and long division and get the answers in the amount of time allotted for the exams. I know this, because multiplication and long division were all I could do, and I felt like a total fool. A complete loser. So scratch Chemistry. And Physics. And any hope of ever becoming a doctor. At least, so I thought until 1974. I was thinking about quitting college because all was not going well, when it occurred to me that I might just switch gears and give the hard sciences another try. By then electronic calculators were all the rage, so I bought one, and enrolled in freshman chemistry. This time, I knew it would be a snap, because I really didn't have any problem with the equations or the theory; my only problem was that I hadn't had time to perform the calculations. Read the rest at Classical Values...


Bookmark and Share


Read Pierre’s Latest at

The Latest Comments

Add to Google Reader or Homepage Subscribe in NewsGator Online Subscribe in Rojo   Add to My AOL Subscribe in FeedLounge Add to netvibes Subscribe in Bloglines Add to The Free Dictionary