I was going to rant about kitchen/home remodeling, seriously. The result of the process seems like a unique individual expression to its owners, a step-by-step adventure into the unknown that they usually relate in grindingly explicit detail, but to the rest of us, the completed assertion of selfhood looks like a kitchen. Snowflakes are also unique, but from a normal viewing distance, they all look the same.
However, there are so many interesting international developments, I feel I must round up, not dwell. Here is a smorgasbord of what's tickling my synapses today.
HT Instapundit. Wizbang explores a recently burgeoning area of democratic discussion. Are cute girls (such as the Lebanese shoulder-sitters) the harbingers of success for a political movement like they are for other organizations or even nightclubs? And if so, is it merely because more males will flock to the chicks or do hot (and therefore usually popular) babes have a bellwether instinct for the right place and right time?
The White House is brushing off Gerry Adams (Sinn Fein's less barbarous brother) as he comes through town for his annual wallet tapping. Making generations-removed sons of Ireland rekindle their melancholic souls enough to fund the IRA's crime empire is one of Adams' main duties, and usually, he gets his brogues spit-shined by Yankee apologists. But not this time, huzzah!
After a particularly heinous, pointless murder (well-capsulated by Mark Steyn in the Chicago Sun-Times below), the victim's sisters and fiancee and much of Northern Ireland is demanding an end to the thugocracy. But as everyone knows, the buck stops here geographically. If America stops funding these horrors from the homelands, they may become weakened enough to fail. This long-since emigrated child of Eire hopes it happens.
Lileks overlaps some of today's interests, but includes a dissing of The Fountainhead. According to his theory, I was simply too old when I read it. I found it overheated crap, and the male and female leads were cardboard. Not able to conceptualize the modern Adam and Eve hiding within the melodramatic, Manichean characters, I failed to drink the Kool-Aid, although I still admire the spirit of skeptical examination and critical thought espoused by Rand adherents. But a peeouuooow stinky novel.
Last one, kay? The Wall Street Journal offers freebie online articles daily. Today, two of the three have a slightly different flavor than usual and concetrate on what we might call "arts and culture" topics. Read these two on partying libertarians and H.P. Lovecraft and see whether you agree that the WSJ is making a serious run at undermining the NYT by mixing its own popular conservative fiscal and defense outlooks with a more fun-loving look at the arts and lifestyle. How can the WSJ capture the many people who were pro-war and voted for Bush but who consider themselves more socially liberal and/or culturally adventurous? Is this the way? You decide.