Monday, May 16th, 2005

NPR vs. “Anybody else”
The Anybody Else I have chosen for my classical music radio is… not American.  Yup.  Check it out at 103.7 FM on your dial… if you happen to be in Queensland, Australia. Otherwise, stream their entire programming day via 4MBS Classic FM.
One really cool program I’ve missed on the radio stations available here in America’s Third World County™ is “Adventures in Music with Dr. Karl Haas”—a really fun (for me) music history and critique program.  Not all that taxing, but still fun.  Available at 9:00 a.m. Queensland time (work out the time differential to where you may be; for me it’s minus 15 hours from program time there).
If you have broadband and good sound card/speakers, it’s as good as FM radio.
Who needs NPR? (OK, they don’t carry Car Talk, so? 🙂
That these stories appear in the Britpress on the same day is coincidence… isn’t it?
First this story telling of the link between a woman having an abortion and risks to later children she may want to carry to term. “Revealed: how an abortion puts the next baby at risk”.
Now this one describing an interesting phenomenon (or is it just a statistical blip?): children in developing countries beginning puberty at earlier and earlier ages. “Why puberty now begins at seven”.  Huh.
The first seems a case of cosmic justice, the second seems more like a case of cosmic balance of the first.  (But of course, that’s just me doing the human thing: looking for meaning… or creating it where there may be none.)
Story #1: h.t. Carol Liebau.
Story #2: h.t. Harry Irwin, posting at Jerry Pournelle’s Current Mail.
A brief exposition on Matthew 6: 28-29

“Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
Weeds are mostly in the eye (and heart) of the beholder. Let me submit for your consideration the lowly dandelion.  Was there ever a more beautiful yellow, a more deliciously luscious green? What a feast for the eyes!
And yet, our culture considers the dandelion to be a pest plant; not merely useless, but something to be eradicated. *sigh* Useless? Every part (excepting the seed puffball) of the dandelion is edible.  The greens cleaned and steamed or boiled are not only tasty but highly nutritious.  The root, after cleaning, peeling and then blanching, boiling or roasting is also highly nutritious and useful in many ways. And even the yellow bloom is nutritious and a treat for both the eye and the tastebuds in salads.
And what can I say of dandelion wine?
And, as much as our society spends to eradicate this nutritious food and lovely flowering plant, it thrives in spite of all the poisons thown its way.  And have you ever attempted to pull a dandelion to get rid of the “weed”?  Unless you get every last piece of the root, it’s more than likely to simply grow back.
Lilies of the field? Nah. 
“Consider the dandelions how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
No matter how our society’s warped values may deem the dandelion to be an obnoxious weed, children who are as yet unpolluted by the depraved value system that would deem such a radiently bold and beautiful flower a weed, bring their mothers glad bouquets of dandelions every spring.
And you thought I was going to say “Mouthpiece for terrorists,” didn’t you?
This NYT article presents the pouts and whines of LLM’s at NPR concerning CPB monitoring for bias as sensible responses to “editorial interference” in NPR programming. *yawn*  You know, NPR and it’s bastard sister, PBS, could become genuine “Public Media” if both organizations simply went cold turkey and stopped sucking at the taxpayers’ teats.  If they have something the market wants, if there’s a big enough audience to support rtheir political agendas (or even musical tastes), then they’ll succeed.  Otherwise, they can just die on the vine, for all I care.
(I guess I’d miss the silliness—and ocassional usefulness—of Car Talk, but since none of the NPR stations I can get carry “Adventures in Good Music with Dr Karl Haas”—I can listen to him via an Australian station that streams his show, anyway—I can probably even get along without Click and Clack, the one remaining show worth listening to on any NPR station in this region of the country. I can buy better performances of classical music than are featured on NPR, anyway. And anything that’s really good on PBS is either later shown on another—cable—channel or has information duplicated elsewhere, so who needs PBS?)
Cut the government purse strings entirely. Let them compete and live or die by their content.
Hand-in-hand with biblical illiteracy
Diana West writes today of “Replacing duty and honor with ‘South Park’“—and if you don’t go read it right now, I shall order you flogged!  Oh, wait.  I’m not the Supreme Ruler of All, yet.  The flogging will have to be deferred until I ascend my throne.  Heck, I’ll offer you amnesty, if you’ll just go ahead and CLICK Now.
The article describes actions, people whose sense of duty and honor are foreign to our cynical, jaded culture today,
“But such was life before the “Desperate Housewife” and the “South Park” conservative, a time when the cultural mainstream — the all-enveloping mass media — treated duty and honor like dependable anchors rather than balls-and-chains.”
Just go read it.
So, what’s your backup plan?
No, seriously: what is your backup plan?  Social Security… isn’t, as anyone with a calculator can readily see (I was going to say “pencil and paper” but realized that most folks can’t do simple math any more without a calculator *sigh*).  By the most rosy of estimates, it’s only two years until the Social Security system, which congresscritters have raided for years as a fat cash cow, will be paying out more than it takes in, unless the idiots in Washington raise your SS taxes (they are NOT “contributions” to a retirement fund!) a lot more. Your congresscritters aren’t going to fix the problem that they are largely responsible for.
So, what’s your backup plan?
(I have one, but I’ll not post it here.)