Category Archives: pictures

The Amendment Story

People of my generation will be very familiar with this brilliancy from the writers of the Simpsons:

It would benefit the sitters-in of Congress to take a look, perhaps – no doubt they can lounge back on their pillows, watching on their smartphones while munching all the goodies provided them. For those few of us already here, however, it might help to take a look at the actual Bill of Rights all over again, to see why these principles are too important to trample over in a rush.

At this point, we’ll get an important retort out of the way – “Where were you when this was about the Patriot Act, huh?” The short answer is, I wasn’t blogging yet; I didn’t open Hive 1.0 until late September of 2004. (Post One, for what it’s worth.) The longer answer is, I was in favor of it at the time, though I opposed the Department of Homeland Security and TSA – feeling that those were needless duplications of functions better-handled by the Department of Defense – but as it turns out, the warnings about it look like they’re coming true. I also note, ruefully, that the very people so convinced then of the dangers of such surveillance and infringement are precisely the same people guilty of expanding those abuses; perhaps they knew they wouldn’t be able to control themselves if given such power? And perhaps that explains why they think no legal gun owner can be likewise trusted to his own defense?

To sum up – either you were wrong about PATRIOT, in which case you shouldn’t support this nonsense, or you were right about it, in which case this is exactly what you were warning us about. Now back to our story, below the fold…

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Three is a Magic Number


Amendment Three – No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war but in a manner to be prescribed by Law.

This one, at least, seems to be rather a moot point. We don’t generally have the Marines knocking on our doors looking for a billet. But this was one of the chief complaints of the colonists to the Crown back in 1776:

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world…

I have bolded the phrase and included the context in order to make it more plain why, exactly, this was a big deal to the colonists, and would be to us if it were happening now – this “pretended Legistlation” would obviously be of no import, a dead letter, if it were not enforced. To that end, the armies of King George were called in, and were not only putting punishment behind the hated Acts, but also hindering open trade via their navy, and all while shielded from accountability under the law.

The colonists rightly hated this, so much so that the United States seriously debated whether they should have a standing army at all, or merely that well-regulated Militia to call upon at need.

Further than that, however, remember the thesis that we’ve been developing so far – these Amendments are laid out as a story, building upon one another, setting a scene and then raising the stakes, leading us through complications to a resolution. You can worship as you like, say what you please, not only criticize your elected officials but also gather to protest them, to haul them before the law if need be. If they ignore this, then you have the right to defend yourself and your rights with armed force if you must.

The government, of course, while nominally respecting these rights, can render them a dead letter in much the same way George III did long ago, by having soldiers forever in amongst the people. How can you organize to speak out or defend yourselves with the state’s armed informants sitting at your dining room table and blockading your ports and roads? The witness of dissidents in communist regimes should tell you all you need to know about how that generally works out – silenced, disarmed, herded into work camps, unable from fear to reach out to anyone else, no matter how trustworthy, because you might be overheard.

So, what might a cunning and devious would-be tyrant try next?

My 15 seconds of fame

So after last night’s Islanders win, I was rattling around on the Twitter, half-noticing the postgame show…

Yup, that was me. Shannon Hogan and Butch Goring briefly poked fun at the idea, and then it was gone.

Over at the Lighthouse Hockey online digs, such japes are par for the course. We kid! We kid, because we love! So I hope that Cal won’t mind it too much. Besides, yours truly wouldn’t rate an emergency call-up with this weak ‘stache game.

Hey guys, good game.  How about a Dr Pepper?

Hey guys, good game. How about a Dr Pepper?

Also, I’m fairly certain the Islanders clubhouse doesn’t have an unmade bed and a reading light.

A smile for your afternoon

Katie was lost… and then she was found.

(hat tip to Laura’s sidebar at FM²)

This lives in my house now

He looks really hopeful to be finally let out, doesn't he

Fresh from his travels all around the European leagues

I snapped this picture at a local store, and put the poor fellow back on the shelf.  My wife came along behind, said to herself, “It’s only four bucks,” and bought it.  Then she surprised me with it the night before the lockout ended.

I call him Mottau.

Thank you kindly

New blogroll addee Borepatch has returned the favor.  In addition, it seems to have led to a new commenter.  I thank both of them, and concur with BP’s warning to the readers – I have been known to go on at length.

He also offered a bit of advice.  Well, I hate to disappoint in a friendly request, but since the Mrs. Nightfly is allergic to cats, I have none of my own to post pictures of.  In a neighborly spirit, however, I offer this shot of the Official Dog.

Famous Quotes in History

The Supersonic Rocket Ship is a wonderful place… most of the time.  But even a Department of Practical Jokes has to have a few rules.

Dare to leave the pot empty at Castle Gormogon, and you're liable to find yourself dumped into a dimensional rift.

You see, to be free to create the devastating humor required by The Masters, it’s doubly-vital to define what IS NOT ever a joke. Interfering with the caffeine supply is Guideline Number One, our Prime Directive.

Henceforth, violators will report to our Testing Division.  That is all.

Hm, this could be a problem

Over at Dustbury, friend Charles is rolling unsteadily down memory lane with’s 100 Worst Cars of All Time.

These misbegotten hunks of pre-rusted misery are not exactly your Daddy’s hot rod Lincoln… though they will drive you to drinkin’.  The unloved, the half-assed, and the openly-dangerous are all on display here, some with advert copy that makes one fully believe in the doctrine of the Fall of Man.  How else could such lies be told, and with such impossibly bad grammar?

Fortunately the Insideline folks are providing the quality snark.  For #50, the ’55 Dodge Le Femme, they observe, “Few were sold because, apparently, transvestism isn’t good marketing.”  For #86, the infamous ’90 Chevy Lumina minivan: “Plastic-bodied van with an aardvark nose and dashboard top big enough to host a track meet.”  But their best might be when they just give it to us straight:

#17: 1982 Renault Fuego: Fragile, front-drive French coupe that rusted quickly into dust or burst into flames amid random electrical fires.  Recalled for steering wheels that came off in drivers’ hands.  [emphasis mine]

You know, for that silent movie comedy experience.  They had such fun adventures!  I mean, who doesn’t love Buster Keaton?  A filthy commie, that’s who.  Vivé la Renault!

Good dogs

I’m taking a break from being angsty today.

©2011 Barcroft Media; click for source article

Dear Tara, shown above, is one of the nearly 100 dogs who worked tirelessly amid the rubble of the Pentagon and World Trade Center, attempting to retrieve survivors, and finding only more vicitms.  Dutch photographer Charlotte Dumas travelled to take portraits of these brave dogs to commemorate their role in the recovery efforts.

“The dogs are now old and they will soon pass away. Even during the time it has taken since my first work on the ‘Retrieved’ portraits to now, three of the final 15 have died,” said Charlotte.  “These portraits are about how time passes, and how these dogs and their portraits are offering us a way to deal with the things that happened as well as relying on them for comfort.”

 And they do it for the love of their handlers and owners.  What surprises isn’t just that so many of them followed their masters without hesitation, but that many of our own unassuming pooches have similarly-loyal hearts.  Hug yours if you got one… or a neighbor’s. 

(via Ace)

Guess what today is, mateys?

No, not that.  Well – ok, yeah, THAT, but not just that.  (Scalawags.)

Today is the birthday of this bundle of weapons-grade cute:

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