December 31, 2007

The word that you're looking for is "projection"

I don't normally link to the brain fart that Batshit Crazy< Balloon Juice has become, but every now and then I want to see what the asylum inmates are writing. Today I saw this:

If the Peter Principle were true, George Bush and Bill Kristol would be the street-cleaner and dogcatcher in Crawford, Texas.

Now I have no real use for Bill Kristol and I don't think Bush has been a good president at all, but this level of idiotic, hyperbolic bit of asshattery masquerading as "analysis" provided me with an opportunity to help another blogger say what he really meant to say:

If the Peter Principle were true, I [John Cole] would be licking clean all of the toilets at Grand Central Station.

Now it's fixed. No need to thank me. But the next time you dive head first into a cesspool, it's best not to open your mouth to scream for help.

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Into the dustbin

Microsoft Bob was getting lonely

What was once my favorite browser is now no more. It is an ex-browser. No future improvements to the Netscape browser will be supported.

Mosaic begat Netscape which begat the Mozilla Foundation which begat Firefox. Lots of bastard stepchildren browser begatting. And then eating of the parents. Such is the technological way of like.

Thanks to Dean for the link.

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December 27, 2007

New to the blogroll

Sorry that I've been away, but family gatherings and reaquainting myself with the sin of Gluttony have taken up most of my time recently. In any, event, I stumbled onto a new blog that's worth reading called Back Talk. Thoughful analyses make for an interesting read. Here's an excerpt from an earlier post called What Does Torture Mean?:

What about waterboarding? Arguing about whether or not that interrogation method constitutes torture is like arguing about whether or not a flat rock is a table. The problem is that there are good arguments as to why this technique should not be lumped in with the methods described in al Qaeda's interrogation manual and some good arguments (I guess) as to why it should be. But just as a flat rock does not magically become a table if we force others to suppress their opposition to using the word in that fashion, waterboarding does not magically become torture if we shame everyone into remaining silent about their objections to using the word "torture" for that method of interrogation.
In cases like this, and there are many, there is no right answer. Even so, as a legal matter, the line needs to be drawn. Drawing the legal line is the job of our elected representatives. That's why I consider George Bush to be a serious participant in this debate and consider Democrats to be nonserious hysterics. From the beginning, George Bush has been clear that he supports the use of harsh interrogation techniques like this, that he understands how others could disagree, and that he wants congress to clearly draw the line so that CIA interrogators would know what techniques they could use without placing themselves in legal jeopardy. Until now, however, Democrats were much more interested in pointing the accusing finger at Bush and portraying him as supporting "torture." They wanted to apply the word "torture" to waterboarding so they could then accuse Bush of being "no better than the terrorists." That political game works (i.e., in a time of war, the Democrats have succeeded in their deliberate effort to tarnish their own president in the eyes of the nation and the world), but it is not a serious approach to the problem. This is why I must now applaud the Democrats for finally taking steps to draw the legal line. I disagree with them, but, as I said, drawing the line is one of the reasons why we have elected representatives:

House Passes Bill to Ban CIA's Use of Harsh Interrogation Tactics

The House approved legislation yesterday that would bar the CIA from using waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics, drawing an immediate veto threat from the White House and setting up another political showdown over what constitutes torture.

The measure, approved by a largely party-line vote of 222 to 199, would require U.S. intelligence agencies to follow Army rules adopted last year that explicitly forbid waterboarding. It also would require interrogators to adhere to a strict interpretation of the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war. The rules, required by Congress for all Defense Department personnel, also ban sexual humiliation, "mock" executions and the use of attack dogs, and prohibit the withholding of food and medical care.

This is what the Democrats should be doing. They should also do one more thing that they will never, ever do: define the harshest interrogation techniques that the CIA is permitted to use because they fall short of torture. If they would do that, the Democrats would be completely serious in addressing important issues of national security. But they never will take that step because, the moment they do, they will be accused of condoning torture by the far left elements of their own party. And accusing others -- Republicans in particular -- of condoning torture is an essential part of the liberal experience (which, as a said before, requires a villain).

Bang, zoom. Into the blogroll with ye.

Update: I'm a moron and I'm sure to catch crap from Harvey, but somehow I've managed to NOT add Iowahawk to my blogroll before today. I visit there so often that typing "I" in my browser's address bar automatically fills in the rest. Imagine my surprise when I went over to my blogroll and didn't see a link. Ugh. Anyway, consider that oversight corrected. Not because I'm trying to garner a cabinet position, either. So far as you know, anyway.

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December 20, 2007

Apropos of nothing

Over at Vox's site, I left a comment about what I see are the obvious flaws of the current crop of presidential hopefuls. My final thought was somewhat snarky in nature, but then I thought it through:

  • I was born in this country
  • I'm 35+ years in age.
  • I've never been convicted of any crime, let alone a felony

And I've watched the West Wing and 24 on television, which means that I've absorbed presidential gravitas by osmosis. I'm hereby announcing my candidacy for president. It'll have to be as a write-in candidate, because I don't want to spend any actual money. I realize that Iowahawk's campaign got an earlier start, but frankly, I think that I'd be better for the job. Besides, that Burge dude ignored my request for a cabinet position. Not that I'm bitter, of course. In any event, my stupid, futile and pointless quest for Oval Office is now officially launched. PHYSICS GEEK 2008. Motto: brew and drink your own beer, earn and spend your own money, and kick DC in the gonads.

I eagerly await the returns on election night. Just think how great it will be to see all of the talking heads go WTF?! on every freaking channel.

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Classic science fiction

Something that I did not know until today: John W. Campbell (if you don't know this name, please move along) authored the novella which was the basis for both versions of the movie The Thing. What's more, the entire story is available online for your reading pleasure.

Oh, Campbell link from Cracked.

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I'll burn for this

I laughed out loud at this article over at Cracked. Excerpt:

According to legend, the Wise Men asked La Befana to accompany them to see the infant Jesus. She refused, saying she was too busy. Now there's a lady who doesn't want anyone to get the wrong impression about her.

We're going to see the Baby Jesus be born this very eve.

I have a boyfriend.

That's just fantastic. Would you like to come see the birth of Jesus?

He's as big as 10 wagons.

That sounds nice. Would you like to watch the birth of God?

BELFANA sprays pepper spray in the Wisemen's faces, slams door.

After missing the wondrous sight of his birth, Belfana goes from house to house each year, leaving gifts and looking for the Christ child. Someone should tip her off that J.C. was last spotted in Brazil, being fought over like a fumbled football on top of a speeding train.

Update: There's even an article that Steve would like: Christopher Walken's Twelve Days of Christmas.

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Submitted without comment

Criminal lies about address and moves in with family. This move is enforced by a judge.

I lied. I do have a comment to make:

Wrap your mind around the sublime idiocy of what's inside that article. Someone asked a criminal where he lived and he spouted off an address. No one bothered to check if the criminal was lying. Now he's living in the house of a family with a teenage daughter. This lodging is being enforced by the courts. Were I in this situation, I'd lock the asshole outside and tell the judge to go provide himself with some special self loving.

Actually, I think it's a great idea. There are some wealthy people living in the Richmond area. If I end up in court, I'll give one of their addresses as my own. I need to be smart about it though and make certain that the family I move in with has a butler. I obviously can't be expected to fend for myself.

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December 19, 2007


Helen typed another good Christmastime post, one which I can full understand. Go over and read it.

Merry Christmas, Helen. And I still believe, too.

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Is it the NY Times or is it Memorex?

I've always enjoyed Gregg Easterbrook's football insights in TMQ, but I think that he really excels when he does his non-NFL schtick. Excerpt:

William Jennings Bryan Secretly Behind the Wicked Witch of the West?
Actual correction from last week's New York Times: "A television review in Weekend on Nov. 30 about 'Tin Man,' a mini-series on the Sci Fi Channel based on 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' by L. Frank Baum, referred imprecisely to an interpretation of Baum's having Dorothy wear silver shoes on the yellow-brick road. While the juxtaposition of the colors has been seen by some as indicating Mr. Baum's support for the monetary system of bimetallism, he is not known to have advocated that system."

Here are corrections expected to appear soon in the Times:

  • "A television review about 'Tin Man,' a mini-series on the Sci Fi Channel based on 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' by L. Frank Baum, referred imprecisely to an interpretation of Baum's having the Cowardly Lion wear both whiskers and eye makeup. While the juxtaposition has been seen by some as indicating Mr. Baum's support for bisexuality, his views of gender issues are not known."
  • "A television review about 'Tin Man,' a mini-series on the Sci Fi Channel based on 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' by L. Frank Baum, referred imprecisely to an interpretation of Baum's depicting an animal that is a cross between a bird and a monkey. While the juxtaposition has been seen by some as indicating Mr. Baum's advocacy of stem cell research, he is not known to have taken a position on DNA splicing."
  • "A television review about 'Tin Man,' a mini-series on the Sci Fi Channel based on 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' by L. Frank Baum, referred imprecisely to an interpretation of Baum's having the Emerald City guards wear green and black. While the juxtaposition has been seen by some as indicating Mr. Baum's advocacy of anarcho-primitivism, whose flag is green and black, he is not known to have advocated that system."

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December 18, 2007

A heart-warming Christmas story

I got nuthin'. Sue me.

My Christmas Story

Late last week, I was rushing around trying to get some last minute shopping
done. I was stressed out and not thinking very fondly of the Christmas
season right then. It was dark, cold, and wet in the parking lot as I was
loading my car up with gifts that I felt obligated to buy. I noticed that I
was missing a receipt that I might need later. So mumbling under my breath,
I retraced my steps to the mall entrance.

As I was searching the wet pavement for the lost receipt, I heard a quiet
sobbing. The crying was coming from a poorly dressed boy of about 12 years
old. He was short and thin. He had no coat. He was just wearing a ragged
flannel shirt to protect him from the cold night's chill. Oddly enough, he
was holding a hundred dollar bill in his hand. Thinking that he had gotten
lost from his parents, I asked him what was wrong.

He told me his sad story. He said that he came from a large family. He had
three brothers and two sisters. His father had died when he was nine years
old. His mother was poorly educated and worked two full time jobs. She made
very little to support her large family. Nevertheless, she had managed to
save two hundred dollars to buy her children Christmas presents. The young
boy had been dropped off on the way to her second job. He was to use the
money to buy presents for all his siblings and save just enough to take
the bus home.

He had not even entered the mall, when an older boy grabbed one of the
hundred dollar bills and disappeared into the night.

"Why didn't you scream for help?" I asked. The boy said, "I did." "And
nobody came to help you?" I wondered. The boy stared at the sidewalk and
sadly shook his head. "How loud did you scream?" I inquired. The soft-spoken
boy looked up and meekly whispered, "Help me!"

I realized that absolutely no one could have heard that poor boy cry

So, I grabbed his other hundred and ran to my car.

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The X-mas Files

Don't think of it as leftovers. Instead, think of it as a rerun of a dearly beloved holiday classic.



Mulder: We're too late. It's already been here.

Scully: Mulder, I hope you know what you are doing.

Mulder: Look, Scully, just like the other homes: Douglas fir, truncated, mounted, transformed into some sort of shrine; halls decked with boughs of holly; stockings hung by the chimney, with care.

Scully: You really think someone's been here?

Mulder: Someone or some THING.

Scully: Mulder, over here -- it's fruitcake.

Mulder: Don't touch it! Those things can be lethal.

Scully: It's O.K. There's a note attached: "Gonna find out who's naughty and nice."

Mulder: It's judging them, Scully. It's making a list.

Scully: Who? What are you talking about?

Mulder: Ancient mythology tells of an obese humanoid entity who could travel at great speed in a craft powered by antlered servants. Once each year, near the winter solstice, this creature is said to descend from the heavens to reward its followers and punish its disbelievers with jagged chunks of anthracite.

Scully: But that's legend, Mulder -- a story told by parents to frighten children. Surely, you don't believe it?

Mulder: Something was here tonite, Scully. Check out the bite marks on this gingerbread man. Whatever tore through this plate of cookies was massive -- and in a hurry.

Scully: It left crumbs everywhere. And look, Mulder, this milk glass has been completely drained.

Mulder: It gorged itself, Scully. It fed without remorse.

Scully: But why would they leave it milk and cookies?

Mulder: Appeasement. Tonight is the Eve, and nothing can stop its wilding.

Scully: But if this thing does exist, how did it get in? The doors and windows were locked. There's no sign of forced entry.

Mulder: Unless I miss my guess, it came through the fireplace.

Scully: Wait a minute, Mulder. If you are saying some huge creature landed on the roof and came down the chimney, you're crazy. The flue is barely six inches wide. Nothing could get through there.

Mulder: But what if it could alter its shape, move in all directions.

Scully: You mean, like a bowl full of jelly?

Mulder: Exactly. Scully, I've never told anyone this, but when I was a child my home was visited. I saw the creature. It had long white strips of fur surrounding its ruddy, misshapen head. Its bloated torso was red and white. I'll never forget the horror. I turned away, and when I looked back it had somehow taken on the facial features of my father.

Scully: Impossible.

Mulder: I know what I saw. And that night it read my mind. It brought me a Mr. Potato Head, Scully. IT KNEW I WANTED A MR. POTATO HEAD.

Scully: I'm sorry, Mulder, but you're asking me to disregard the laws of physics. You want me to believe in some supernatural being who soars across the skies and brings gifts to good little girls and boys. Listen to what you are saying. Do you understand the repercussions? If this gets out, they'll close the X-files.

Mulder: Scully, listen to me: It knows when you are sleeping. It knows when you're awake.

Scully: But we have no proof.

Mulder: Last year, on this exact date, S.E.T.I. radio telescopes detected bogeys in the airspace over twenty-seven states. The White House ordered a Condition Red.

Scully: But that was a meteor shower.

Mulder: Officially. Two days ago, eight prized Scandinavian reindeer vanished from the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Nobody - not even the zookeeper - was told about it. The government doesn't want people to know about Project Kringle. They fear that if this thing is proved to exist, then the public would stop spending half its annual income in a holiday shopping frenzy. Retail markets will collapse. Scully,they cannot let the world believe this creature lives. There's too much at stake. They'll do whatever it takes to insure another silent night.

Scully: Mulder, I --

Mulder: Sh-h-h! Do you hear what I hear?

Scully: On the roof. It sounds like . . . a clatter.

Mulder: The truth is up there. Let's see what's the matter.

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And still more holiday images

Lather, rinse, repost.

santa mexican.jpg



And here's one that you won't want to see.


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Caught in the act

Frosty turns out to be a dirty, nasty little grade schooler:


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December 17, 2007


It's a great cause. A really, really great cause.

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December 16, 2007

Christmas info memo

Yeah, it's an oldie, but it's still on my list of favorite holiday repeats.

Archaeologists working in the Holy Land have discovered an ancient
diskette mixed up with the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Here is what they found on the diskette:

Date: Mon, 2 Dec



Subject: Taxes, Census

I decree that all the inhabited world shall be counted and taxed. You must
every one go unto your own city.

Date: Wed, 4 Dec



Subject: Reservations

Please reserve room for two, perhaps three, for December 24 to
January 6.

Date: Fri, 6 Dec



Subject: RE: Reservations

Sorry, no room available. We've got the Hanukkah rush and the census crowd.
Thank heaven Athens beat us out for the Olympics this year! Why not come in
the off-season and get our special rate? Anyway, if you have a forms-capable
browser, you can register for the census and pay your taxes on the Med Wide Web

Date: Sun, 8 Dec



Subject: RE: RE: Reservations

Forms-capable browser? You must be kidding! It'll probably take
Galilee OnLine a couple of thousand years to work out access like
that. Please place us on waiting list for room.

Date: Mon, 23 Dec


From: healthdept@ci.beth.judea

Subject: Temporary Permit

Due to the crush of taxpayers and holiday visitors, you are hereby
granted a permit to use your stable, barn, or any agricultural outbuildings
for temporary lodging or shelter for up to 30 days from this date.

Address any appeals to:
ATTN: Manger Manager

Date: Wed, 25 Dec



Subject: It's a boy!

Unto us a son is born.

Let the family know. He came upon a midnight clear, away in a manger.
Hope to upgrade room.

Love, Joe

Date: Wed, 25 Dec



Subject: Hark!

Tidings of great joy: Unto you is born this day in the city of David
a Saviour.

Date: Wed, 25 Dec



Subject: Praise the Lord ...

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward

Date: Wed, 25 Dec



Subject: ... and Pass the Admonition

If ye do not act now, rates for heavenly hostingWeb sites will go up
January 1. Sign up now to lock in current prices, so ye can make known
abroad (at our famous low rates) the saying which was told you
concerning this child, glorifying and praising God for all the things
that ye have heard and seen, as it was told unto you.

Date: Wed, 25 Dec



Subject: RE: ... and Pass the Admonition

Angels we have heard on high. We'll sign up, but only if you can get
us the domain name we want:

Date: Wed, 25 Dec



Subject: Star sighting

We've seen the light! Heading your way. May take a few days. Caspar wants
to pick up some gold, frankincense, and myrrh before leaving. And for some
reason, everything seems to be closed today. Also, transportation is heavily
booked westward leading, still proceeding. We just got bumped off a caravan
because Balthazar wanted a non-smoking camel. See you January 6 or so.
Sorry we'll miss the bris. So, what are you going to name the kid, anyway?
And his name shall be called Jesus.
That's what this is all about...

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December 15, 2007

Barbie's letter to Santa (repost)

Don't say that I didn't warn you about the Christmas-time repeats....

Barbie's Letter To Santa

Dear Santa,

Listen you fat little troll, I've been helping you out every year,
playing at being the perfect Christmas Present, wearing skimpy bathing
suits in frigid weather, and drowning in fake tea from one too many tea
parties, and I hate to break it to ya Santa, but IT'S DEFINITELY PAY
BACK TIME! There had better be some changes around here this Christmas,
or I'm gonna call for a nationwide meltdown (and trust me, you won't
wanna be around to smell it).

So, here's my holiday wish list for 1998, Santa.

1. A nice, comfy pair of sweat pants and a frumpy, oversized sweatshirt.
I'm sick of looking like a hooker. How much smaller are these bathing
suits gonna get? Do you have any idea what it feels like to have nylon
and velcro up your butt?

2. Real underwear that can be pulled on and off. Preferably white. What
bonehead at Mattel decided to cheap out and MOLD imitation underwear to
my skin?!? It looks like cellulite!

3. A REAL man... maybe GI JOE. Hell, I'd take Tickle-Me-Elmo over that
wimped-out excuse for a boy toy Ken. And what's with that earring anyway?
If I'm gonna have to suffer with him, at least make him (and me)
anatomically correct.

4. Arms that actually bend so I can push the aforementioned Ken-wimp
away once he is anatomically correct.

5. Breast reduction surgery. I don't care whose arm you have to twist,
just get it done.

6. A jog-bra. To wear until I get the surgery.

7. A new career. Pet doctor and school teacher just don't cut it. How
about a systems analyst? Or better yet, a public relations senior
account exec!

8. A new, more 90's persona. Maybe "PMS Barbie", complete with a
miniature container of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and a
bag of chips; "Animal Rights Barbie", with my very own paint gun,
fitted with a fake fur coat, bottle of spray on blood and handcuffs;
or "Stop Smoking Barbie," sporting a Nicotrol patch and equipped with
several packs of gum.

9. No more McDonald's endorsements. The grease is wrecking my vinyl.

10. Mattel stock options. It's been 37 years-I think I deserve it.
Okay Santa, that's it. Considering my valuable contribution to society, I
don't think these requests are out of line. If you disagree, then you can
find yourself a new bitch for next Christmas. It's that simple.

Yours Truly,



Ken's Letter To Santa

Dear Santa,

I understand that one of my colleagues has petitioned you
for changes in her contract, specifically asking for anatomical and
career changes. In addition, it is my understanding that disparaging
remarks were made about me, my ability to please, and some of my
fashion choices. I would like to take this opportunity to inform you
of some issues concerning Ms. Barbie, and some of my own needs and

First of all, I along with several other colleagues feel
Barbie DOES NOT deserve preferential treatment - the bitch has
everything. Along with Joe, Jem, Raggedy Ann & Andy, I DO NOT have
a dream house, corvette, evening gowns, and in some cases the ability
to change our hair style. I personally have only 3 outfits which I am
forced to mix and match at great length.

My decision to accessorize my outfits with an earring was my
decision and reflects my lifestyle choice.

I too would like a change in my career. Have you ever considered
"Decorator Ken", "Beauty Salon Ken", or "Out Of Work Actor Ken"? In
addition, there are several other avenues which could be considered such

"S&M Ken" , "Green Lantern Ken", "Circuit Ken", "Bear Ken", "Master Ken".

These would more accurately reflect my desires and perhaps open up new
markets. And as for Barbie needing bendable arms so she can "push me
away," I need bendable knees so I can kick the bitch to the curb.
Bendable knees would also be helpful for me in other situations - we've
talked about this issue before.

In closing, I would like to point out that any further concessions
to the blond bimbo from hell will result in action be taken by myself and
others. And Barbie can forget about having Joe - he's mine, at least that's
what he said last night.



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Christmas card for my geeky friends

Yes, I posted this last year. There'll be a lot more of that until end of year.

Repeat from last year. Don't say that I didn't warn you.

This, I loved:


Translation to follow upon request.

BTW, here is the Taylor series expansion for the natural log Euler's constant. Behold:

taylor series expansion for natural log.png

Substitute "1" for x and there you have it.

Update: As someone else noticed, the series expansion is for the root used in the natural log: e, also know as Euler's number, Euler's constant(not the Euler-Mascheroni constant), or Napier's constant. Sorry for any confusion.

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December 13, 2007

Request: night before Christmas Star Trek parody?

To any and all who read this: last weekend while out and about, I heard a bit on the radio which I supposed could be called "The Shatner Before Christmas". Actually, I don't know what it was named, I'm just guessing. Anyway, it was a comedian spoofing Shatner's inimitable delivery doing a Star Trek: TOS version of The Night Before Christmas. I've searched around the Intertubes and haven't been able to find the audio yet in any format. Here are some particulars of the bit:

  • "Kirk" does the whole narration, mentiong Uhura, Spock and Bones by name
  • Klingon C(K?)laus makes an appearance
  • Kirk's gift is "a girdle with a message that said 'Just your size'"
  • Kirk then blows Klingon Claus to smithereens with photon torpedoes

No, I can't remember which radio station I was listening to, as I was busy trying to avoid commercials. If I knew which station it was, I could call the station and ask. Anyway, has anyone else heard this? More to the point, does anyone know what it's actually called and where I can find it?

Posted by: Physics Geek at 09:18 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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December 10, 2007

Surrender Dorothy!

Be honest: you thought the exact same thing.

Link via that puppy blending law professor.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 11:39 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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Keep that sense of humor

I've been as tough on Hugh Hewitt as anyone when it comes to what I see as his relentless shilling for the old vanguard GOP types and Mitt Romney. To be fair, I actually like Mitt and understand why you want to pump up your candidate, but when it turns into hero worship, it becomes downright creepy. Anyway, Iowahawk pummeled Hugh in the usual fashion. HH, to his credit, linked to the, umm, parody.

I'll be honest: I thought that Iowahawk had merely transcribed Hugh's former post, but I'll assume that it's a little more over the top than the original.

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