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Nick Denton chimes in today with a stellar example of cultural arrogance. I'm not talking about his suggestion that Iraq be partitioned - that's just plain old warblogger arrogance. I'm talking about his choice of joke names, 'Saddistan' and 'Shiastan', for the new statelets.

I suppose "stan" has become the suffix of c…


Hot Autocrat Sluts Want To Meet You

French Week, Day 6: Hot autocrat sluts want to meet you!

I've been writing all during French Week about France in relation to America. But if you want to unmask me as yet another America-centric navel gazer, you are out of luck, because tonight's post has nothing to do with America at all. Instead, it's about that other enormous country with the 03.26.2003

Awful Awfuls

The better half and I went out to have dinner today at the Newport Creamery, a Rhode Island institution. Think of it as Friendly's with good ice cream. You know you are in a restaurant of class when some of the menu items have the word "Improved!" right next to them, in bright bold type. It's exciting. It implies some kind of Newport Creame…


Sneaky French Weasels Talk Sense

In today's lead editorial [translation] in the French daily Le Monde, the editors of this "rabidly anti-American" newspaper fully back Donald Rumsfeld in his expression of disgust at the exploitation of American prisoners of war. They also point out the uncomfortable implications of the American d…


TV Binge

It has been rough going here for a couple of days. We don't have television up in Vermont - more specifically, we have a set but nothing comes in except staticky CBS - so whenever I do get near a working TV, I turn into a slavering idiot. Typically this happens at conferences and other such events; but now I am on a kind of working vacation with the better half down in Rhode Island, where th…


Sneaky French Weasels Talk Sense

In today's lead editorial [translation] in the French daily Le Monde, the editors of this "rabidly anti-American" newspaper fully back Donald Rumsfeld in his expression of disgust at the exploitation of American prisoners of war. They also point out the uncomfortable implications of the Americ…


Tongues of Steel

On this, Oscar night, we present the Georges Orwell and H.W. Bush Award for Most Careless Use of the English Language in Connection With a Persian Gulf War:

In third place, Pentagon spokesman General Abizaid, for referring to an American setback as "both tragic and under investigation".

In second place, CNN, for their use of the phrase "pro-war protesters".

And in fir…


Visit Emmanuelle

It looks like I have to delay Day Six of French Week just a little more - my apologies to those whose Saturday plans this ruins.

Instead, I suggest you pay a visit to Emmanuelle Richard's wonderful site, which at some point in the past few months went fully bilingual. In a recent post, she writes about 03.20.2003

French Week: American Revolution

The theme tonight is the American Revolution, and back at the start of French week I thought things would be simple. I would find a few links, show how the Revolution would have failed without active French help, and be in bed by ten thirty.

Showing that France saved the Revolution turns out not to be that tough. France provided pretty much all of the gunpowder for the colonists in th…


Ricin Scare

Not cool at all - traces of ricin found at a Paris train station.…


France and the American Revolution

Tonight on French Week, France and the American Revolution!

And just in case you don't believe that the Founding Fathers are still relevant to today's America, a little remix of our Declaration of Independence, by that notorious francophile Thomas Jefferson. Different George, same old complaints:

He has 03.19.2003

Corn Dog Nuggets

Olivier Travers disputes my rosy view of French school lunches. Apparently Montigny le Bretonneux is an armpit.

My three word rebuttal: Corn dog nuggets!.

(Part of a whole rogue's gallery of 03.16.2003

French Week: On School Lunches

Day four of French Week!

Today's post will be another long one, but we only have a week, and there are very many good things left to say about France, so I hope you will bear with me.

Take a look at these two school lunch menus, both for the week of March 24-28, 2003. The menu on the left [full version] is from a sch…


French Week: Day of the Crêpe

French week plows on, undaunted! Welcome to day three: Day of the Crêpe.

I write to you tonight fortified by a crêpe supper, rich in Béchamel sauce and an undisclosed (but shocking) quantity of butter, and I would like to share the joy.

Crêpes can sound intimidating if you have never made them, but I want to reassure every reader that a crêpe is the perfect bachelor food - easy t…


French Week: On Respect for the Dead

Day two of French week!

French week is supposed to be about wine, food, women, and song, with the occasional exuberant reference to free universal health care. But because this is the American Internet, c. 2003, there is some debunking to take care of, first. Today we take down a particularly vicious little calumny, the claim that the French defeat in World War II was the result of…


French Week: Day One

It's French week here at Idle Words, where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle salute the country that made them great. Every day for the next seven days, the better half and I will be manning the barricades (right next to the 03.10.2003

I Need A Woman

I love Slashdot. There is a great thread up today on decorating your computer room. Martha Stewart, meet your nemesis:

There are presently 16 computers in my 1000 square foot apartment, inculding a fullsized rack, external hotswap RAID…


Alek Tarkowski

Some time ago I wrote about the strange one-way mirror effect of our English-language internet. Most of us aren't aware of websites and weblogs outside our own language, while foreign-language bloggers (even if they don't speak English) are well aware of what goes on over here. Their English-speaking compatriots pick things up an…


OIC Hijinks

Breaking news from the Organization of Islamic Conference [?] emergency summit:

The underlying tensions erupted in the elegant Ritz Carlton hotel ballroom when the vice chairman of Iraq's Revolutionary Command Council, Izzat Ibrahim, told the Kuwaiti minister of state for foreign affairs,…


Two Paintings

The digital camera somehow survived a week in hiding on the front seat of my car, subarctic temperatures be damned. So here are the newly-started pictures I made such a fuss about:

Our bathroom sink:

A little shampoo shelf in the same bathroom:


New Beginnings

A good month for new beginnings. People who know me or who have read the little bio on this site will know that I used to be a painter. The last time I did any painting was on September 11, 2001. Easy to remember. I wish I could say I had been moved by the events of that day to create a

Greatest Hits

The Alameda-Weehawken Burrito Tunnel
The story of America's most awesome infrastructure project.

Argentina on Two Steaks A Day
Eating the happiest cows in the world

Scott and Scurvy
Why did 19th century explorers forget the simple cure for scurvy?

No Evidence of Disease
A cancer story with an unfortunate complication.

Controlled Tango Into Terrain
Trying to learn how to dance in Argentina

Dabblers and Blowhards
Calling out Paul Graham for a silly essay about painting

Attacked By Thugs
Warsaw police hijinks

Dating Without Kundera
Practical alternatives to the Slavic Dave Matthews

A Rocket To Nowhere
A Space Shuttle rant

Best Practices For Time Travelers
The story of John Titor, visitor from the future

100 Years Of Turbulence
The Wright Brothers and the harmful effects of patent law

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