Jim Walsh's Big Hairy Weblog Thingy

Friday, December 22, 2006

Life In The Peace Garden State, Pt. XXXVIII

Ah, North Dakota...with politicians straight out of the 1930s. Except for the ones go back even before that:

Legislators are again being asked to do away with a state law that forbids unmarried couples to "openly and notoriously" live together as if they were married.

Freshman state Sen. Tracy Potter, D-Bismarck, said he will sponsor a bill in the 2007 Legislature to repeal the cohabitation law, which officials say is rarely enforced.

Efforts to repeal the law have failed in the last two sessions. Before that, the most recent effort to abolish it was in 1991, when the House voted down a repeal measure by almost a 3-to-1 margin.

Reminds me of an old joke; goes something like this...

"Good evening ladies and gentlemen...this is your pilot speaking. Welcome to Bismarck International Airport where the local temprature is 37 degrees. Please return your seat to its upright position and remain seated until the plane has come to a full stop. And as we are now in North Dakota, please remember to set back your watches one hundred years..."

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Joe Barbera, R.I.P.

What would my childhood have been without Huck, Yogi, Fred, et al...

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Two passing of note this week: Peter Boyle, one of the best character actors ever, and a fellow Philadelphian (his work in Young Frankenstein with Gene Hackman is among the all-time classic movie comedy moments); and Ahmet Ertegun, founder of Atlantic Records and one of rock 'n' roll's founding fathers. Ahmet (along with his brother and Jerry Wexler) are directly responsible for my all-time favorite music: the Atlantic R&B of the fifties and pre-Beatle sixties. Next time you hear, say, the Drifters singing There Goes My Baby, think of Ahmet and thank him for his great "ear"...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Feed The World

UPDATE: The has voted to honor Dr. Borlaug. Thanks to all who made a difference.

If history has taught us anything, it's that one man in the right place at the right time can make all the difference in the world.

Since I am known for pissing on everything like the proverbial barnyard cat, let me take a moment to acknowledge a true hero: Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Norman Borlaug, father of the "Green Revolution," whose work in boosting crop yields has saved countless lives worldwide (No kidding here: Borlaug has literally saved more lives than anyone in history).

In September, the Senate passed legislation giving Borlaug, America's highest civilian award, the Congressional Gold Medal. Next step: the U.S. House.

I have taken the liberty of drawing up a "letter to my congressman" (partially cut 'n' pasted from an article at Reason.com). I urge you to copy and paste this sucker, then go here for the email addy of your Congressman. Help honor the man who fed the world.

Dear Rep. __________

In September, the Senate passed legislation giving Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Norman Borlaug, America's highest civilian award, the Congressional Gold Medal. In the 1960s, Borlaug's work launched the "Green Revolution" that dramatically boosted crop yields, thus averting massive famines and protecting millions of miles of natural landscape from being plowed down by starving farmers. As the commendation passed by the Senate notes:

Dr. Borlaug has saved more lives than anyother person who has ever lived, and likely has saved more lives in the Islamic world than any other human being in history. Due to a lifetime of work that has led to the saving and preservation of an untold amount of lives, Dr. Norman E. Borlaug is deserving of America’s highest civilian award: the congressional gold medal.

I urge you and all members of the House Of Resentatives to vote to let this 92-year old hero know that his country truly appreciates all his hard work at alleviating suffering and hunger in the world.

Thank you for listening.

Sincerely yours,

James A. Walsh

Monday, December 04, 2006

On His Sleeve He Wore A Yellow Crescent

In a time when the overwhelming majority of radio "commentators" take the easy way out by pandering to the proverbial "old people in their underwear" (thanks Jay Sorensen) it's refreshing to hear some truly compelling radio:

D.C. radio host Jerry Klein thought he'd play a hoax on his listeners by suggesting Muslims be identified with "a crescent-shaped tattoo or armband." He made the suggestion, then waited for the phone lines to explode with outrage.Unfortunately, many of his listeners agreed with him.

Hearing what happened next, I became convinced of two things:

1) Jerry Klein is a great broadcaster who knows better than most in the biz how to get a rise out of people in a fresh and original manner.

2) He probably doesn't have much of a future in the chickenshit medium of squawk radio.

Go here for the story and here for some comments.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

This Is Not A Test

A classic Cold War icon has been (you should pardon the expression) nuked...