Monthly Archives: May 2005

iPod uPod weAllPod

I’ve been mulling over an iPod post (iPost?) for a while—I’m a dedicated user.  In their usual irreverant fashion, the IT industry rag Reg (aka The Register) reports the results of their iPod Health Warning contest, see here.

Being such open-source libertarians themselves, I’m sure they won’t sue me for displaying my personal favorite amongst their finalists.  This one is in keeping with my preoccupation with millenarian dispensationists, and comes from Euan Lindsay, both very excellent names.


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Dutch treat

When I arrived in Maastricht, the Netherlands,  on Sunday the 8th, the flight attendant on the small Cityhopper jet excitedly pointed out the Queen’s airplane, parked next door to our spot on the tarmac.  The Maastricht airport is modest.  Besides my flight from Amsterdam, the Queen’s plane was it—a small commercial jet (like a downsized 737) sitting with no guard or other activity around it.

050508_bush_beatrix_hmed_7ahmediumOnce I was off the plane, getting onto the bus to go 100 yards to the "terminal", I noticed a couple of other planes, off in the maintenance area at the far end of the airport.  They were somewhat larger—in fact, two 747s, quite recognizably Air Force 1 and its clone. 

Then I walked to the parking lot with the cab driver, rather than climbing into the cab in front of the terminal.  Then I noticed an unusual number of police in multiple clusters around the place.  Then the snipers out toward the edge of the airport, and the police and soldiers at checkpoints, the soldiers in full camo and automatic weaponry every 100 yards along the adjoining highway.  From anywhere in town, once I got there, I noticed choppers convoying along the presumably secure routes, ready for any kind of gunship activity called for.  The President of the United States was in town.

Turns out the US (that’s us) asked the authorities in the Netherlands to close two major highways two weeks in advance of the 17 hour visit.  They got two or three hours.  Upwards of five thousand police, soldiers, and other security personnel were mobilized.   The only cost estimate I’ve heard or been able to find so far (for the Dutch, or course) was north of 3 million Euros.

BushmaastrichtprotestetUnscientific polling amongst my colleagues during the following week revealed a strong trend in opinion: the level of security for the visit was ridiculous.  You need to know how socially sane the Dutch are (despite recent cracks in the rational plaster) to grasp just how ridiculous this looked to them.

The southerners (Maastricht is practically in either Belgium or Germany, down there in that little southern peninsula of the country) don’t particularly like the Northern, Protestant Queen—but country-wide, they are way less happy about the war in Iraq.  They still appreciate the Allied efforts to rid them of Nazi occupation, which is what the Bushrovers were over there to celebrate. 

But I have to tell you, my fellow citizens, that the military full-court press looked like nothing more than another Fascist occupation.  I was struck by the surmise, which has since proved to be the case as far as I can google the US press, that domestic audiences have no idea what the President traveling looks like to the rest of the world.  He looks like a visiting warlord with his surrounding centurions (even if most of them are rented from the host country). 

I wonder if the day will come when he and his chancellery don’t care whether this appearance is acceptable or not for domestic consumption.  What if—here’s an evil fantasy for sure—there was to be some grievous terrorist incident early in November 2008, in which one or both of the candidates were disabled.  Somehow I can see a Bushrover interregnum ("just until the country is back in order again—and the Supreme Court can certify that fact") accompanied by such military domestic shock and awe.  Maybe I’m overly paranoid, or a hostage to my reading of history, but can anyone doubt the depth of the Bushrovers’ contempt for honest, partisan differences of opinion?  Or their sublime self-confidence that Their Leader is the Lord’s Annointed?  Sound familiar on this anniversary of VE Day?

5/24 Update:
I asked some friends in the Netherlands to see if they could find, in the Dutch press, any other estimates of the cost of Bush’s visit.  One response:

I have no idea what the visit of President Bush did cost us, but today Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands visited Maastricht. She passed our office on her way to the local government. Her chauffeur was driving her in a nice car with a flag on the front. She was wearing a yellow hat and was kindly waving to the people that stood next to the road. She was accompanied by 6 police men on motor bikes and the road was blocked for two minutes.

And guess what, she was not shot, there where no demonstrations and above all. I think I could have paid for the cost of her visit today.


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Don’t know much about history…

How often can we make productive connections between the Far Left of sexuality research and the Far Right of Kansas-style science regulation?  Not too often!

We learn from today’s NYTimes that "the Darwinian logic behind the female orgasm has remained elusive".  This is based on the observation that female orgasm is not required for conception.  (Of course, I don’t need an orgasm when I urinate, and stuff still gets output, so personally, I’m not sure about the Darwinian "logic" of male orgasm, either.) 

But what if the female orgasm is proof more of Intelligent Design?  According to this theory, "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection". 

The thought that G*d created the female orgasm is really delightful.  Think of the activities that this approach would help to classify as sacred!  In fact, to be even more ecumenical by dragging in the Dismal Science (economics) we can postulate after Adam Smith that (at least sometimes) females may be led there, "as if by an invisible hand".

Actually, I’m pretty sure that stuff that feels good to do has evolutionary value if it is directly connected with conception.  But those of you who might feel a touch of the divine during this experience (assuming you fall into the right Kinseyan cohort) may wish to consider that only an intelligent process could have produced such a result. 

Now, perhaps the Kansas school board would like to reconsider not only its position on biological science, but sex education as well…

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