A Hapsburg, LeBron and Martha Stewart Walk Into A Bar…

Carles Puyol (right) who looks like he just stepped out of a Hapsburg family portrait, heads Spain into the World Cup Final. As a descendant of the Hapsburg’s, Puyol will be looking for some payback by cracking some skulls against the Netherlands on Sunday

My guess is that since LeBron James missed not having a signing day presser coming out of high school, he’s making up for lost time with “The Decision”. Great column on the LeBron “saga” that  mercifully ends tonight.

When the folks at NASA aren’t trying to reach out to the Muslim world, they’re conducting valuable research.

Forget Wife Swap, how ’bout an old-fashioned spy swap? Makes me want to re-read The Cardinal of the Kremlin.

So now these “elites” will become embittered and “cling to martini glasses or environmentalism or antipathy towards people who don’t think like them or anti-American sentiment or anti-capitalism sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” Right POTUS?

Unbelievable pictures of Monterrey in the aftermath of Hurricane Alex.

Holy poncho Batman! Martha Stewart had lengua, easily the most underrated “cut” of beef.

Caught this on PBS last night, I might or might not have almost shed a tear because of Jackie’s courage in the face of such bitter hatred.

[Photo Credit: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images Europe]

Totalitarian Democracy

I became fascinated by the small island nation of Iceland in large part to Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising. A tome which probably doesn’t resonate with people who didn’t live during the Cold War, but which is a captivating and thrilling read.

I hope to visit the country at some point in my life, at least to see how they do Mexican food there…


Tabasco’s, a Mexican restaurant in Reykjavik (Photo Credit: Funofthefair)

One of Clancy’s subplots focuses on Iceland, it’s takeover by a Soviet Air Guards division and inevitable (Clancy is American after all) liberation by NATO forces led by U.S. Marines aided by a scrawny Air Force weatherman and his merry band.

So naturally, when I ran across the following article, Is Iceland a Totalitarian State?, I decided to check it out,

  1. Because it’s about Iceland
  2. Totalitarian __________ and Iceland seem incongruous

Needless to say, the article was eye-opening for it’s description of how a seemingly free, liberal even and democratic society can be anything but. And also for its relevancy to the way America is governed.

An excerpt,

Totalitarianism is a political system in which the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life. J.L. Talmon used the term “totalitarian democracy” to refer to a system of government in which lawfully elected representatives maintain the integrity of a nation state whose citizens, while granted the right to vote, have little or no participation in the decision-making process of the government.

It has a certain ring of familiarity to it, no?

Before Bobby Valentine, there was Vladimir Putin

Back in our college days, my friends and I would frequent one of our glorious university’s computer labs. Since we attended college at around the time that chat rooms were beginning to proliferate, our time was spent talking to people we’d never meet.

Naturally, using the anonymity that the ‘Net grants, we’d play all sorts of pranks on each other. Without going into detail, let’s just say that some of them were epic.

This kind of tomfoolery would extend to acquaintances. We knew these 2 guys and on one occurrence we tried to punk them via chat room. They must have caught on because one of them (the spymaster) sent the other on a mission unworthy of Dzerzhinsky.

The fact that our counterespionage efforts uncovered the plot reveals the efficacy of our nemesis’ total lack of subterfuge. After this incident we glossed this guy, “Beano the Spy”.

It is this lack of subterfuge and underhandedness to which I pay tribute to on this day.

Exhibit A is former New York Mets skipper, Bobby Valentine. Bobby was ejected from a game and then came back to the dugout looking like this,
bobby-valentine

Exhibit B, I’m afraid, is anachronistic. At the time the following picture was taken, we didn’t know that the spy in question would later become Russia’s President and more importantly, because of his unfortunate last name, the butt of many Mexicans’ jokes,

putin

Source: Pete Souza

Here’s the story behind the picture:

“Undercover Putin In KGB Reagan Ruse”