Cincinnati is not normally the kind of city that deals well with weirdness:
The outbreak of swine flu should be renamed “Mexican” influenza in deference to Muslim and Jewish sensitivities over pork, said an Israeli health official Monday.
Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman said the reference to pigs is offensive to both religions and “we should call this Mexican flu and not swine flu,” he told a news conference at a hospital in central Israel.
Both Judaism and Islam consider pigs unclean and forbid the eating of pork products.
I hadn’t realized the kosher proscriptions against pigs extended to evoking them by name to describe an illness for which they are in fact the carriers. Moreover, I would think that calling it “swine flu” would tend to reinforce the whole pigs-as-filthy-beast thing. Indeed, since many people continue to have a medieval understanding of disease, I’d not be surprised to learn that sales of pork products had taken a hit this week, or that plushophiles were jerking off less frequently to old Miss Piggy videos. If I were part of a community that had disparaged a particular species of animal for thousands of years, this is probably exactly the sort of taboo reinforcement for which I’d have waited a lifetime. But since I haven’t been driven insane by my religious beliefs, who cares what I think?
I have some musings on the latest US-Russia spat at the Guardian:CIF. While doing a bit of “research” for the piece, I read the wiki entry on A Taste of Armageddon, the Star Trek episode where two planets have agreed to wage nuclear war without nuclear weapons. Kirk “saves” them from this by essentially breaking the mechanism, and forcing them to talk. I found it interesting that, in the expanded literature, one planet shortly thereafter annihilated the other, losing a third of its population in the process. We have the Prime Directive for a reason, people.
By the way, here’s “Mad” Matt Duss, in yet another of what seems to be an endless string of high profile media appearances:
Thank God I read Lord of the Rings…
There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.
There are currently 10 living Secretaries of State of the United States, active or retired. Unless I’m terribly wrong, this
is a new recordties the old record, set between 1993 and 1994.
Now you know.
If the critic points out that a Frederick or a Bonaparte made mistakes, it does not mean that he would not have made them too. He may even admit that in the situation of these generals he might have made far greater errors. What it does mean is that he can recognize these mistakes from the pattern of events and feels that the commander’s sagacity should have seen them as well.
–Carl Von Clausewitz, On War Book II Chapter V (Critical Analysis)
…ok, so he didn’t actually write that today. But still, seems relevant to… well, something.
I think we can all agree that this is the most disappointing moment so far in the Obama transition. Richardson’s beard-cleansing is a clear sign that the team being assembled President-elect has no intention of bringing genuine change to the executive branch; Obama’s expressions of regret are simply not persuasive but are, rather, merely ironic postures of sincerity that reflect poorly on his ability to treat vital issues with the gravity they deserve. The nomination of Eric Holder for AG was, at the time, a step in the right direction, but it was always doomed to be an unmemorable successor to, say, the modified kaiserbart sported by John Bolton. Obama needed a strong follow-up to Holder. Richardson let him, and us, down.
Only Barack Obama can fix the mess now. It’s been nearly a century since an American president sprouted facial hair; the Curse of Taft has hung over the nation like a poisoned miasma since March 4, 1913. President Obama doesn’t necessarily have to revive the French Fork or the Chin Curtain, but an Old Dutch or a Hulihee would make an enormous difference.
In case you tire of your friends and relatives today, you can always amuse yourself with TIDOS Yankee’s efforts to lift his self-esteem:
My typical day started by taking my older daughter to her elementary school, dropping my infant daughter off at her daycare, and then driving to work on a corporate campus in Research Triangle Park. In none of these locations is concealed carry permitted; if I’d been armed, I would have managed a trifecta of felonies before my first cup of coffee. The 637CT, which I’d planned to carry in the pocket holster with the intimidating Winchester Supreme SXT hollowpoints, stayed at home. Some experiment this was turning out to be!
It was a couple of days later that I finally had a chance to legally carry, when my wife dispatched me to the local pet store chain to pick up various kinds of critter food for the Owens family menagerie. As it turns out, a J-frame revolver with a full grip like that of the 637CT doesn’t fit real well in anything but the large side pockets of the cargo-style shorts I was wearing, so with every step, the 637CT slapped against my thigh. It was annoying, to put it mildly.
Or, even better, you get loaded and watch The Puppy Channel.
Just this evening, the wife and I were discussing possible names for the male fetus who’s currently shoving her internal organs into a tight mound of pain beneath her ribs. We’ve settled on a first name — one that’s sure to induce some major-league ass-kickings — but the middle name has vexed us somewhat. In light of recent political events, and 58 percent in jest, I suggested we call the child “Barack” or perhaps even “Hussein.” (I should note that in 2002, I promised a friend that if I could procure a wealthy benefactor to retire my student loans and provide me with a $10,000 annual stipend, I’d be willing to change my legal name to “Albert Qaeda” for five years, with an option to renegotiate after three. The lesson, I suppose, being that I’m not exactly the best person to consult on thise — or really any — life-shaping question. The Palin Baby Name Generator would offer vastly superior advice.)
It seems that others have been having the same conversation, at least so far as “Barack” is concerned.
Curiously, the last eight years have had no discernible effect on the popularity of the name “George.” Ranked #130 by the Social Security Administration in 2000, it only slipped to 147 by 2007. “Karl,” by contrast, plummeted from 564 to 862, while “Richard” lost ground from 65 to 99.
Meantime, if any LGM readers happen to be wealthy benefactors in search of a good cause, I’m willing to consider naming my kid after John Hinderacker.