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July 28, 2004

USA Today notices
Posted by Teresa at 06:39 PM * 95 comments

USA Today had a lamebrained idea for convention coverage: they’d get Ann Coulter to cover the Democrats, and Michael Moore to cover the Republicans. If you don’t care about the actual content, it’s a good way to guarantee you’ll get some colorful writing.

This plan went awry when editors at USA Today noticed that the first column Coulter filed was incoherent, unfunny, and made assumptions contrary to fact. I know that’s her usual riff, but this column was further over the line than usual.

According to thick-as-two-short-planks Human Events Online (which is deeply confused by USA Today’s failure to appreciate the “witty, vivacious” blonde attack dog), Coulter claimed her column was “summarily rejected”. I don’t think that can possibly be correct, though; the version they quote is interspersed with USA Today’s editorial queries. Perhaps Coulter is unfamiliar with the concept, or is incapable of doing a simple rewrite.

Here’s a sample from her column, plus queries as quoted by Coulter:
Here at the Spawn of Satan convention in Boston, conservatives are deploying a series of covert signals to identify one another, much like gay men do. My allies are the ones wearing crosses or American flags. The people sporting shirts emblazoned with the “F-word” are my opponents. Also, as always, the pretty girls and cops are on my side, most of them barely able to conceal their eye-rolling.


Democrats are constantly suing and slandering police as violent, fascist racists — with the exception of Boston’s police, who’ll be lauded as national heroes right up until the Democrats pack up and leave town on Friday, whereupon they’ll revert to their natural state of being fascist, racist pigs.


…As for the pretty girls, I can only guess that its because liberal boys never try to make a move on you without the UN Security Council’s approval. Plus, its no fun riding around in those dinky little hybrid cars. My pretty-girl allies stick out like a sore thumb amongst the corn-fed, no make-up, natural fiber, no-bra needing, sandal-wearing, hirsute, somewhat fragrant hippie chick pie wagons they call “women” at the Democratic National Convention.

I have to wonder whether the editors at USA Today also noticed how many delegates have been wearing variations on the American flag. And in all the hours I’ve been watching, C-SPAN hasn’t picked out a single person wearing the F-word. Perhaps Coulter wrote the column before she got to the convention.

Human Events Online has reported in a follow-up story that Coulter’s gig will be taken over by agent-spawn Jonah Goldberg, who will no doubt provide them with colorful coverage, if fewer opportunities for fantasizing.

Comments on USA Today notices:
#1 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2004, 07:56 PM:

I saw news of this elsewhere originally (unusually), with quoted material beginning with "My pretty-girl allies..."

And all I could think was that there's not even any point in reacting to this, because -- not that I ever believed otherwise, you understand -- Ann Coulter is just not living on planet Earth. She is living on some planet in which well-dressed, Christian, patriotic, and (no doubt most importantly) good-looking people are invariably Republicans.

Of course, she's also living on a planet in which being a skeleton with skin, blonde hair, and tits automatically makes you beautiful, and where being beautiful automatically makes you smart. But rather unfortunately, that seems to be something it has in common with this planet.

#2 ::: Greg Gerrand ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2004, 08:09 PM:

You are being very generous in your description of the editorial queries as being "quoted" by Coulter.

#3 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2004, 08:27 PM:

He said the staff of USA Today was familiar with Coulter's writings; however, he did not explain how the column Coulter submitted differed from her usual columns. Gallagher repeated his assertion that the differences that precluded publication of the column were not based on silencing Coulter but "simply on editorial differences."

I think that's something of a point. It's not radically different than the rest of her rhetoric. I'm not surprised she wrote any of it. It's not as though I picked up the column and thought, "Hey, can you believe Ann Coulter wrote this??"

Speaking of the spawn of Satan, I picked up an awesome shirt at Comic-Con. It reads:

Republicans For Voldemort

I am wearing it to Utah next month, when I fly out for my sister's wedding reception. (I don't actually get to see my sister get married--just the reception. It's because I'm going to vote Democrat!)

#4 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2004, 08:29 PM:

Just noticed the byline--I guess Coulter wrote those two bits for Human Events. Third person whining just ain't pretty.

#5 ::: Kinsley Castle ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2004, 08:31 PM:

So, does this mean Michael Moore gets a free kick at the Repubs in USA Today, if he can write something more coherent and slightly less rabid than Coulter? Oh, the irony.

#6 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2004, 09:15 PM:

Perhaps Coulter wrote the column before she got to the convention.

Such a simple explanation, and yet it makes perfect sense.

And you can get the Republicans for Voldemort shirt online.

#7 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2004, 09:22 PM:

They had Gandalf for President pins running around Con too, but I liked the irony of the Voldemort shirt better.

#8 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2004, 09:40 PM:

While we have Harry Potter references flittering hither, I suggest you compare and contrast:

"Ann Coulter, the witty, vivacious HUMAN EVENTS columnist and best-selling author, ..." Ann Coulter

"Attractive blonde Rita Skeeter, forty-three, whose savage quill has punctured many inflated reputations ..." Rita Skeeter in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, p. 304 (hardcover, U.S. ed.)

#9 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2004, 09:44 PM:

Like Rita, puncturing reputations should begin at home for Ann.

#10 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2004, 09:56 PM:

Is "pretty girls" a code name for "hookers"?

#11 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2004, 11:31 PM:

And the Democratss are the nice people as far as I'm concerned (and ignoring some really vile local ads....). The way the Republicans responded to Farienheit 9-11, I'd expect Michael Moore to be tarred and feathered, and run out of the convention on a rail....

#12 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2004, 11:36 PM:

Run out on a rail, with cameras rolling, no doubt. Michael Moore's dream come true!

#13 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2004, 11:37 PM:

The Nation:

has some really cool Milton Glaser buttons & bumperstickers. In an article in the WashPost, he said all the buttons he'd seen for this election so far were poorly designed, so he designed his own. He had one made just for him:

"The only thing we have to fear is Bush himself."

#14 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 12:25 AM:

Shocking F-words for your Democratic t-shirts: Flag, Freedom, Fairness, frites de libert

(The last is for all the French people who decked themselves out in stars & stripes to honor Lance Armstrong.)

#15 ::: DonBoy ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 01:13 AM:

OK, when I first read the column, with the "USA Today comments", it seemed blindingly obvious that the "comments" were jokes from Coulter, with her intention being to mock USAT for not "getting" anything. Read like that, it's actually pretty funny. But her description doesn't leave much room for that, and nobody else is taking it that way anyway, so I'm probably wrong...or she's decided that getting sued by USAT would be fun.

#16 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 01:23 AM:

Greg Gerrand, I assumed her quotations were self-serving as she understands that concept, and that she was counting on her editor to not go public with a full version of them; but the fact that they exist at all undercuts her story.

Jim, I've been watching the convention, and there are lots of women at it who are prettier than Ann Coulter. I feel a certain sympathy with the theory that she's America's most successful female impersonator.

#17 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 01:24 AM:

Anne Coulter? Didn't she play the Church Lady on Saturday Night Live?


#18 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 01:24 AM:

DonBoy, I figured the comments couldn't be all her own invention. They don't sound like her -- among other things, they make a certain amount of sense -- and at one point she replies to one of them.

#19 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 01:30 AM:

Democrats are constantly suing and slandering police as violent, fascist racists--with the exception of Boston's police, who'll be lauded as national heroes right up until the Democrats pack up and leave town on Friday, whereupon they'll revert to their natural state of being fascist, racist pigs.

Let's leave aside the obvious factual and political quibbles I might have with this sentence. USA Today's editor was entirely right to query it. It suffers from what I usually refer to as "pronoun confusion." What Coulter means to say is that Democrats usually slander the police as racist, etc. but are pretending to like Boston's police.during the convention; that once the delegates leave, they will stop pretending to like Boston's police and revert to calling them racist, fascist etc. However, as the sentence is constructed, it sounds as if once the delegates leave town, "they'll revert to their natural state of being fascist, racist pigs." If she changed the end of her sentence tosomething like "they'll revert to thinking of the Boston cops as fascist, racist pigs once again" it would solve this problem.

As for the first paragraph, i also agree with the editor's query. It's not clear in what sense Coulter means "eye-rolling." This term can have several meanings--it can signify "Oh my God, do you believe it?!"--as, say, Coulter might do if someone were to launch into a spirited defense of Michael Moore. It can also mean a kind of appeal, a sexual come-on, as in the great old Hank Penny/Wynonie Harris song "Don't Roll Those Bloodshot Eyes at Me." So are the cops and pretty girls rolling their eyes at Coulter because she's an attractive woman? Or are they expressing solidarity with her conservative views either because they're familiar with her or because they instinctively sense a kindred spirit who shares their own exasperation with the Democratic tree-huggers and granola girls? It's not clear.

As for the 3rd example, I agree that it's not that funny, but I'd probably leave it alone, assuming one were running a piece by its author.

#20 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 04:09 AM:

The important thing here is that, for the first time, a completely incoherent rightwing gasbag has been called out by a major publication designed to be center-to-right for being an incoherent gasbag.

People are starting to mention that the right-punditocracy is not only naked, but pretty fucking ugly that way.

#21 ::: Greg Gerrand ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 04:29 AM:


You're right. I had thought that Coulter had made the quotes up, but on re-reading they have an aura of weary school teacher who has seen it all before. Rather like I imagine an editor's lot is like some days.

#22 ::: Elese ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 04:29 AM:

Seems rather fitting that the dictionary definition of 'coulter' is a vertical cutting blade.

#23 ::: Mris ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 08:24 AM:

I started reading her little list and thought, well, I like hybrids and corn, and I don't wear make-up....

It's not that it's such an honor to be insulted by Ann Coulter that I have to seek it out. It's just that it's become automatic to assume she means me, someone like me, or someone close to me when she starts talking trash.

#24 ::: Nicole ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 09:02 AM:

Honestly, though -- what in the world did USA Today expect? "Newspaper Hires Unfunny, Incoherent Harpy For Coverage; Is Shocked When Coverage is Unfunny, Incoherent."

#25 ::: Matt ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 09:16 AM:

I think Coulter slipped from A-list to B-list when she accused liberals of 'treason'-- with any luck, this current business will demote her to the 'cranks and shitheads' list and we'll be spared her venom in the future.

#26 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 10:19 AM:

The 'pretty girls' comment reminds me of the bit in The Hill recently, where they listed the 50 most beautiful people on the Hill. Click through, and you'll notice that there are more very conventionally 'pretty' girls on the Republican staffs, and more good looking Democrats in office. Funny, that.

And I fully disagree with their top 2.

#27 ::: Justine ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 10:42 AM:

There's more info on this here by David Weigel an intern at USA Today who fact checked the Coulter piece. (I got to it via Bookslut.)

#28 ::: John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 10:54 AM:

I was at Doyle's in Jamaica Plain on Tuesday where NRO sponsored a little DNC watchers gathering--spoke with Jonah, Rich Lowry--and a lot of NRO readers--few who were sad Coulter had been dropped by USA. Her stock is wearing thin, I think, even among righties. And that's a good thing.

(Besides me, Jonah was the only NR writer drinking hard stuff...the rest were Corona and wine imbibers. Sheesh.)


#29 ::: Jane Augusta ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 11:08 AM:

I remain shocked and amazed that natural fibers have been ceded entirely to the democratic party (or even to its extreme left wing). Being a democrat, I am secure in the knowledge that I may continue to wear silk, cotton, linen and wool to my heart's content.

Imagine the dismay of republicans everywhere on hearing that, henceforth, they may only wear rayon and polyester. I don't actually think it is possible to get a $1000 suit in polyester, but here is to the addled right-wing lobbyist who tries.

#30 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 11:10 AM:

Juan Williams quoted Ann Coulter on Max Cleland today on Morning Edition. I wrote them an email calling for his removal. He's not just biased, he's partisan. Who's he going to interview about Barack Obama, the Grand Dragon of the KKK?

Ann Coulter belongs in Germany in 1938. They'd fatten her up, though.

#31 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 12:09 PM:

"...the definition of 'coulter' is a vertical cutting blade."

Two words: Geoffrey Chaucer.

#32 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 12:45 PM:

Jane, when someone like Coulter uses the phrase "natural fibers", what she means is "hemp and unbleached cotton and other hippy fabrics like that".

Because on Coulter's planet, linen, wool, silk, and treated cotton are not natural fibers, and no Democrat would wear any of them.

I'm feeling an essay coming on, and I haven't written a real one in well over a year. It'll be a semi-comedic piece, entitled "Planetary Features of Key Aliens Among Us".

#33 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 12:57 PM:

Rayon, btw, while not a natural fabric, IS a natural fiber. It's like wood or something.

#34 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 01:22 PM:

Go for it Tina. Anne Coulter is one of the most satirizable people on the planet.

I heartily approve.


#35 ::: Elese ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 01:31 PM:


The Miller's Tale? I get the impression she'd quite approve of attacking all us liberal hippies with red-hot pokers. It does make me wonder if the self-same treatment would shock her into coherence.

#36 ::: ElizabethVomMarlowe ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 01:49 PM:

I have always thought Ann Coulter was undead, it's just that creepy bone showing through skin thing.

And on the police front. Correct me if I'm wrong, but....didn't the police union endorse Kerry? Did she miss that or something?

#37 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 01:50 PM:

I think Coulter is so extreme that she'd be difficult to satirize properly. Ridicule, yes, but there's nothing left to exaggerate.

#38 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 02:03 PM:

Elizabeth, surely you didn't expect facts in an Ann Coulter piece?

#39 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 02:18 PM:

It's as if she has been satirized, only under her own byline. Repeatedly, cumulatively. Maybe she subcontracts it to the Onion.

#40 ::: simbelmyne ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 04:46 PM:

Rayon is indeed wood. Well, to be specific, it is cellulose (main source: wood) that is chemically purified and spun into fibers. It's a rather neat process, but that's about all I remember of it. I haven't had anything to do with my BS in Wood Science since they day they handed me a diploma and I swore I wasn't going back to school again.

#41 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 04:51 PM:

No, the Onion is both original and funny.

I still think the problem is that her original gimmick--"cute blonde conservative in a miniskirt"--wore out, and she never developed the writing or observation skills to replace the gimmick. Instead, she plays to an ever-more competitive field on the far right that cares only about vitriol, and since she's got competition, she has to go further and further Out There to get airtime. (I mean, even David Horowitz has washed his hands of her--that's pretty telling.)

#42 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 05:14 PM:

snort suj kukkk libb liler; loopsy ably dideo daliy. Somdby donsls sqoo!

editor: I don't understand you. Can you please clarify that last bit.

#43 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 06:01 PM:

If your imagination of goodness, of worth, of membership in your tribe, your whole belief in value, rests on the prettiness of youth, becoming middle aged must be several sorts of hell.

It's quite amazing how much of the argument from that saying-what-others-are-thinking end of the Republican party is about looks, and being in, and is completely mediated by social status, expected or implied.

Not a very stable common bond, that; work, common purpose, does a great deal better.

Cleaning up the present mess might produce the most unified generation in American history.

#44 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 07:33 PM:

I wasn't planning on writing the essay in Coulter's style, because I have not a powerful enough microscope to find it.

#45 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 08:25 PM:

Come watch Michael Berube have at Coulter and Thomas!
(Berube: "But I'm not here to talk about poor, pickled Ann...")

Me, I think Coulter ought to be boiled in her own vitriol. It wouldn't move the national dialog forward, but it would be so satisfying.

#46 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 11:34 PM:

Republicans For Voldemort

I have to wonder if Duncan "Atrios" Black is related to Sirius.

#47 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2004, 12:16 AM:

John Meltzer:

"Republicans" and "Voldemort" are too long for the base-36 calculator at

But there's a neat coincidence I've just noticed in the following always being 5 letters (no digits) in 4 consecutive bases:

Base-33 MAWWC
Base-34 JRTCO
Base-35 HMPTX
Base-36 FRODO

Is that the Tolkein equivalent of Arthur C. Clarke's HAL shifted by one letter being IBM?

And if "Gandalf for President" -- what Cabinet post goes to Frodo?

#48 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2004, 12:46 AM:

See, normally (unlike with FRODO) a 5-letter conversion from base-36 gives at least one digit in one of 4 consecutive bases:

Base-33 GA8C6
Base-34 EG4U8
Base-35 CV5DF
Base-36 BILBO

Base-33 NCWKF
Base-34 KPT34
Base-35 IH2AP
Base-36 GIMLI

Base-33 VODGA
Base-34 S5N6E
Base-35 P2W4J
Base-36 MERRY

Base-33 17BDCE
Base-34 11RBUA
Base-35 VUXIY
Base-36 SHIRE

or, for that matter:

Base-33 STUQD
Base-34 PM79G
Base-35 MTJVH
Base-36 KERRY

So what are the odds?

#49 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2004, 01:57 AM:

The odds are high that we're off topic. But while we're here, a short poem:



#50 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2004, 02:23 AM:

Andy Perrin:

Odds are you're right, but I love your verse!

And, sparing you many many near-misses, on the FRODO equation, using 5-letter words from the first 161 pages of J. E. A Tyler's "The Tolkien Companion" plus some hunches:

a solution, the first name of FRODO's father:

Base-33 JGHCO
Base-34 HADIW
Base-35 FEDOY
Base-36 DROGO

FRODO and his father DROGO! What are the odds? Surely Tolkien (I may have misspelled him before) had access to TURING and his decryption device (I avoid saying CODEC)...

another solution, the "lady of the shield-arm":
Base-33 KQMAH
Base-34 IFSWN
Base-35 GFJJM
Base-36 EOWYN

and at last, another solution, a translation of the Elf-sword Orcrist is BEATER or:

Base-33 GAHWO
Base-34 EGDWF
Base-35 CVDWT
Base-36 BITER

Quitting for the night, from a combination of eyestrain, feeling like a character in "Cryptonomicon," and, on asking my son to look at what I found, he asked: "What is Base 36 for NERDY?"

#51 ::: Johnathan Faux Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2004, 02:23 AM:

Andy Perrin:

Interestingly enough, if you translate those syllogogisms (as I coined the phrase when I was having lunch with Mark Clifton just before we settled on "They'd Rather Be Right" as the title for his novel, at the Secondary Uses for Fire Extinguisher Foam Conference held at UCLA) into Zerg/Protoss numbers and rectify the quotidian quota ala my table tennis partner Werner von Braun, you end up with


Now, get out a sextant and get a fix on the current prosition of Earth's sun (should be directly overhead now) and see what my favorite co-author Pope John Paul II once called "the fifth essential sheep factor," which is expressed as 888GHUXXXXHUCFG or, perhaps more clearly, as TBHJSGNHDYNB DY.

And if Hitler wore pajamas, what is Johnathan Frakes doing now?

#52 ::: His Son ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2004, 04:23 AM:

Andy Perrin (among others):

As I already suggested, 39319846 is a very interesting number in relation to this thread. Furthermore I believe 658913378, 1478000979
and 1377158 are equally applicable. However, if you have bothered even further to figure out what I am saying, then 994031614864, 4565962889937912832 29989027451691 108800789304590768 29903936707828 (Most of you may need a better method to crunch those numbers). For those of you who will not bother to decode my cryptic remarks, I instead leave you with this note.

You are obviously among those people involved only at a reasonabe and acceptable level on this blog, and are not among those people I feel are slowly corrupting what out what little training my mother and I had bestowed upon the my father in those years he has been under our merciless control. If you too fall victim to spending ridiculous amounts of time once and a while on such things, know that there is likely an intervention being planned on your behalf to rid you of this vile blaspheomy before you attempt to get intravenous SDSL. If even worse do waste as much time as I have just now, but do so regularly, like my father whom you have all come to know, and who has come to know you all far more so than I wish he had when he could be out doing something I approve of, then I highly suggest you reevaluate the direction of your life. Its going awry if you have any of the following:

More than three mouspads sporting a logo or title of any product from a company I could acquire murchandise from at a Scifi, Gaming, or Comic Convention.

More than two t-shirts you have worn in public of same.

At no point while reading this you felt a pang of guilt at having wasted this long, _again_, on a blog.

Now if you will all excuse me, I have to get to sleep, so I can wake up in time to get Sir Professor/Author/Editor/Rocket Scientist/Mathematician/Physicist/Programmer/Egotist Jonathon Vos (insert further meaningless title here) Post esquire III v2.0 to sit down in his constantly breaking-down, birdshit coated, trash filled, noisy, ugly, old car (having just run _my_ car into the ground), and drive me to campus.


~Andrew Post

P.S. If you could please remind him of how his own son flamed him for his blogging while I needed help with homework on Maxwell's Equations, I would appreciate it. I need all the help I can get dissuading him of this liesurely use of excess of "free" time he has stumbled upon.

#53 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2004, 11:09 AM:

Andrew Post, ROFLMAO! Welcome. Don't go away.

When he posts long mathematical treatises, I suppose we can chide him, saying "Now Jonathan, have you done your (son's) homework?"

#54 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2004, 11:23 AM:

As the person whose comment apparently started this off-topic digression, I apologize to our hostess and my fellow readers. Even though I still don't understand what the hell I did.

#55 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2004, 11:56 AM:

My humble apologies, Andrew Post. I should know better than to encourage him by now. (I'll decode your message later. I'm spozed to work right now. Like that's happening.)

Xopher, you may be onto something.

#56 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2004, 12:21 PM:

Jon Meltzer, as far as I can tell the only thing you did was post a comment on a Particle here instead of in the Open Thread. Ordinarily a minor sin, but it apparently served as a grain of sand in the gigantic time-accelerated hyperactive oyster of JvP's strange but powerful mind, and the bombardment of pearls began.

Not your fault, I'd say, if I were the jury.

Andy Perrin: an idea worth developing, you think? Let's conspire further.

JvP: this is done with fondness, you must realize, even as your son's delightful flame was.

#57 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2004, 01:28 PM:


Absolutely. It gives me a feeling of antiparanoia: there is a vast international conspiracy, reaching into my own home, which is trying to make me a better person.

It appears that, after I went to sleep, my more-clever-than-I son first calculated that
39319846 (base 10) = NERDY (base 36),
658913378 (base 10) = AWASTE (base 36),
1478000979 (base 10) = OFYOUR (base 36),
1377158 (base 10) = TIME (base 36).

And then he wrote and ran a program that converts bases of even larger number.

The very first time that he took the microphone at open mic night at a Hollywood coffee house, he amazed the large audience with his professionalism, irony, and deep sarcasm. Then he recited one of his own poems, to better effect than other readers. He was 12 years old. Now he's 15, a Junior at a nearby University.

Question is: can we convert him to blogging, or will he convert us to other uses of our time? I think the ball's in your court...

#58 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2004, 02:09 PM:

JvP: yeah, but how much has he published? And has he met Samuel R. Delany?

More importantly, did he finish his Maxwell's Equations homework before calculating a NERDY WASTE OFYOUR TIME?

As Calvin's dad said of him, that's one darn sarcastic kid we're raising.

#59 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2004, 02:22 PM:

His Son: However, if you have bothered even further to figure out what I am saying, then 994031614864, 4565962889937912832 29989027451691 108800789304590768 29903936707828 ....

I can't tell whether 108800789304590768 was just a Badenov to be a cryptoespionological reference, or whether it's a typo for 108800789304590764. But what could you mean by 4565962889937912832? 4565962889940629932 is Hammingly nearby, but the sense is more like 4565962889962995973. Please, 2500660720059408197920 91110995576726.

#60 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2004, 02:26 PM:


I guess my post about Republicans for Voldemort gear almost 2 months ago was too subtle to attract any attention...

#61 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2004, 02:43 PM:

JVP: ...And then he wrote and ran a program that converts bases of even larger number.


#62 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2004, 03:43 PM:

I realize that numbers are more pleasant than Ann Coulter (hell, crab lice are more pleasant than Ann Coulter) but what are the chances we could get back on topic? Or are we out of things to say about that chicken wing in human form?

#63 ::: JM Kagan ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2004, 04:46 PM:

I'm not out of things to say about Ann Coulter...I'm just struggling to find a delicate way to explain that the third paragraph quoted contains a vulgarity so shocking that I never thought to see it in print outside of a porn novel. My jaw dropped when I read it on Making Light.

What Ann Coulter thinks "p* wagon" means, I've no idea, but if any one of her "USA Today" editors was in ROTC or was a frat-boy, he knew what it meant and he'd have been even more shocked than I was to see it in print. The copy-editor might well have been too shy to explain his objection to the text to Ann. Easier to reject the whole piece than to explain to her what she'd said.

Since you folks gave me a way to google the mysterious MILF that I've been wondering about lately, I'll explain that Ann Coulter missed the award for attempting to get a major publication to publish an astonishingly obscene phrase by a "hair-".

Teresa: I *love* the "female impersonator" photos of Ann. That'd blow my theory she had no idea what she was saying, though.

#64 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2004, 04:59 PM:

Super Insults says:


"One who has become the poster child for obesity by eating more pastries then one would've thought possible. The kind of person who has no limits and simply can't get enough when it comes to powdered donuts and chocolate cake, and other fattening desserts."

As opposed to a boundless appetite for acrimony, animosity, arrogance, bitterness, brashness, brass, brazenness, cheek, chutzpah, conceit, crust, cynicism, effrontery, haughtiness, hostility, impertinence, impudence, insolence, malevolence, malice, overbearance, pomposity, presumption, rancor, sauciness, self-importance, spite, and venom?

#65 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2004, 05:01 PM:

JM Kagan, all I can find about "pie wagon" is that it means a fat person, i.e. someone who has eaten so much pie that they have become chiefly a transport for same.

In other words, she's engaging in grade-school insult, not frat-boy insult.

IMHO, women with some padding on their bones look a hell of a lot better than the Skeletor-sprayed-blond look Ms. Coulter affects. But I'm a gay guy; what do I know?

#66 ::: His Son ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2004, 05:07 PM:

I get the feeling maladjusted forces are conspiring to entrench me in the mires of sin known as blogging, and I suspect this as an attempt by the guilty to eliminate all those who might cast the first stone. If you had wished me involved, I'm a freyed knot, for I intend to tie up all loose ends on this haywire thread, so that noone is left hanging.

Dan Hoey, you will find that my message is not beyond conversion, as I double checked the output of my program, and although its lack of infinite precision was a hindrance, its not without hope. The same goes for my process in reverse, so I may have your message wrong. What I do have however, I understand to the utmost, for your wanting a clue is quite reasonable. You need a clue for lack of having one if after reading my unparalleledly spectacular speech on the dangers of blogging and interweb hygiene you have not yet cast off your misguided ways in the name of reality.

Xopher, to save readers more interested in crab lice, I will now respond to all of your comments sequentially: thankyou, I cannot stay, three literary and four scientific, it got done.

Andy Perrin, apologies accepted, just don't do it again.

All other reads, for the love of your children, significant others, parents, friends, coworkers, and even humanity itself, forego any further attempt to find meaning, solace, or truth in this medium of the malign. Freedom is only an alt+F4 away!

~Andrew Post

#67 ::: JM Kagan ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2004, 05:39 PM:

Xopher and JvP: Okay, I was clearly too delicate. Google the phrase "ha*r p*e" (swapping in i's for the asterisks) and all will be revealed.

Teresa: I hope I did that so you don't get hits from the porno surfers but, if I didn't, please whack this post.

#68 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2004, 06:05 PM:

Hmmm, JM Kagan,

this leads to such as the song (not clear on author or group):


Dessert is my favourite meal, I eat it every day
A dietary supplement that's certain to stay
It's my favourite recipe and it's easy to follow
Can't wait to get a mouthful, bite down and swallow

It's got the flavour that can't be beat
It's a man's treat
Knee high in ha*r p*e
Knee high in ha*r p*e

A little bit of this and a little bit of that
Connoisseur's dessert is eaten on your back
Add a little honey, maybe some whipped cream
Do it with a friend if you know what I mean

Knee high in ha*r p*e
Knee high in ha*r p*e

Put the batter in the bowl, then begin to stir
Bring it to a lather if you want to be sure
The flavour of this delicacy really can't be beat
It's a man's meal that's more than just a treat

It's got the taste that can't be beat
More than a man's treat
Knee high in ha*r p*e
Knee high in ha*r p*e
Knee high in ha*r p*e
Knee high in ha*r p*e
Knee high in ha*r p*e
Knee high in ha*r p*e


I agree that this is not on our favorate restaurants and recipes thread...

But I can't be sure if that's akin to Ms. Coulter's usage. It's so hard to distinguish between madness, incompetence, and malice, especially when bad taste and ideological fervor are involved.

#69 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2004, 06:33 PM:

For those who wish to be clued in on "ha*r p*e" without longing for the private browsing/identity protection feature coming in OS X Tiger, there's a reasonably mature discussion of the subject here. Also some comments on "pirated" words, words which (some feel) have been wrenched to new and unfortunate meanings.

#70 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2004, 09:27 PM:

I just read the whole column at Human Events Online. She's a nasty piece of work, isn't she?

#71 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2004, 09:36 PM:


They mention "fur pie" in Amelie. Is the other pie the same kind of pie?

#72 ::: Becky ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2004, 12:01 AM:

The oddest part about the "pie wagon" insult is that is comes a mere seven words after the "no bra-needing" insult. Democratic women are all fat and flat-chested? That's quite an achievement.

#73 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2004, 12:41 AM:

Piscus, at the very least I have personally heard both terms to refer to the same thing.

#74 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2004, 02:07 AM:

I choked with not-exactly-disbelief upon reading "Here at the Spawn of Satan convention in Boston". USA Today didn't publish that marvel of purpled fluorescent yellow alleged journalism? How sad, they could have outed the [expletive deleted] completely. hoisting her on her own arrogant self-exterminating petard!

Years ago, there was guerrilla warfare committed against magazine covers with Kate Moss on them--some extremely irritated women had gotten so disgusted and annoyed they created rubber stamps and went around applying "FEED ME!" to those covers. Those pictures of Ann Coulter remind me of the Kate Moss covers. [I didn't engage in the guerrilla warfare but I appreciated it.]

#75 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2004, 02:38 AM:

"Ann Coulter is just not living on planet Earth." But let us not defame the universe. She knows nought of writing. THIS is writing:
La filosofia scritta in questo grandissimo libro
che continuamente ci sta aperto innanzi a gli occhi (io dico l'universo)
ma non si pu intender se prima non s'impara a intender
la lingua e conoscere i caratteri ne' quali scritto.
Egli scritto in lingua matematica e
i caratteri sono triangoli, cerchi, ed altre figure geometriche
senza i quali mezi impossibile a intenderne umanamente parola;
senza questi un aggirarsi vanamente per un oscuro laberinto.

Philosophy is written in this very great book
which always lies open before our eyes (I mean the universe),
but one cannot understand it unless one first learns to understand
the language and recognize the characters in which it is written.
It is written in mathematical language and
the characters are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures;
without these means it is humanly impossible to understand a word of it;
without these there is only clueless scrabbling around in a dark labyrinth.

--- Galileo
The Quest for Omega
by Gregory Chaitin

#76 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2004, 04:47 AM:

Re mythago's comment of Anne Coulter's 'gimmick -- "cute blonde conservative in a miniskirt"'. In an early (first?) series of The West Wing such a one was hired by that, sadly, fictional Democrat administration.

Would that have been before or after Ms Cutting Blade (part of a plough, I think) broke into view?

I know nothing of her career except via similar blog discussions, and am uncertain how long it took us to get West Wing after it started in the USA.

#77 ::: Tracina ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2004, 07:12 AM:

Epacris, this doesn't answer your question regarding timing, but I can say with assurance that the West Wing character was not based on Coulter. The character was literate, accurate, truthful, and willing to change her mind when facts proved her assumptions incorrect. Of course, the writers may have been providing a deliberate contrast.

WW is up to Season Five in the US, if that helps.

#78 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2004, 09:21 AM:

Yes, we await mournfully the next season of WW to grace our screens (4 or 5, we lag). Channel 9 has not been particularly friendly to its fans. When it was on at a reliable time it was "10:30pm" (up to 15 minutes later, but that applies to all their programs after dark), but it got moved around - tho' less than The Sopranos has. It's possible they are waiting for the Olympics to finish to start their next series.

Many dedicated watchers of well-known & popular series (e.g. Star Trek versions are also shoved to 11pm or after, on movable nights) have given up on TV and just get the box DVD sets once they're out - internet & multi-region players keep them more up-to-date than waiting for Oz to catch up.
Hmmm ... I know someone who has WW on DVD, and that lists the original screening dates, so I could check when that blonde arrived ...

#79 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2004, 12:06 PM:

The discussion of ha*r p*e reminds me that no discussion of Coulter is complete without the word "harpie," or more properly, "harpy," as in "USA Today decided to hire vacuous blond harpy..."


#80 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2004, 03:34 PM:

Andrew Post, I can't see how "three literary and four scientific" is an answer to "Has he met Samuel R. Delany?" but there it is.

Seriously, that's pretty impressive. BTW blogging doesn't have to eat your life. Fond as I am of your dad, you're not him.

#81 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2004, 04:17 PM:

Epacris, and the blond conversative from the West Wing is now on CSI: Miami (another WW alum, Jorja Fox, is on CSI).

#82 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2004, 09:10 PM:


Can Ms. Coulter justify Bush's mugging that "we are turning the corner?" Many of my friends have turned the corner and been run over in the Street. Or did Bush mean to say "Prosperity is Just Around the Corner?"

Extra-credit: what parties were first broadcast on live television in what year by what network?

My son should give you, if you ask, the actual titles of his publications. But if you don't ask, he should refrain from my pushy way of wearing my own titles on my long sleeve.

I just gave him a used hardcopy of Scarnes's Guide to Modern Poker. He already is adept at cleaning out other college students at the campus poker tables.

Math Warning:

There are none of those nested Almost-Jonathan Triangular Semiprimes between 1 Trillion and 2 Trillion. And then:

T(T(2015)+1) = T(2031121) = 2062727273881
= 1015561 x 2031121

But since 2015 = T(63) - 1 we have a triple-nesting:

T(T(T(63)-1)+1) = T(2031121) = 2062727273881
= 1015561 x 2031121

I am now using "Factorization using the Elliptic Curve
Method" at:

#83 ::: T.B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2004, 03:00 AM:

I think y'all could be mean to Ann Coulter without being mean to all us other skinny girls. It's not like she doesn't heap your horns o'plenty full with horribleness to chew on. I will continue being baffled by her unrealistic heinousness but, in concert with this, will think to myself, "go to hell, you guys, too," much as I did, I might add, when those good ladies were rubber-stamping poor old Kate Moss back in the day.


#84 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2004, 04:29 AM:

Do I miss Twiggy, or the era she iconized? My wife was one of the first in Edinburgh to wear Twiggy-esque Swinging London gear. You couldn't really be part of The 60s without suspecting that -- in a Philip K. Dickean way -- it is actually STILL the 60s, and there is a vast consensual epistemological ontological hallucination that time has moved on at all.

I mean, if it were still the 60s, we'd be stuck in a losing war that we got into through fraudulent means, under a lawbreaking President who tramples on the Constitution, while the public was under unprecedented attack of their civil rights, during a Space Race with the US planning to send people to the Moon, and a frenzied attempt to replace said President with a very Liberal Democrat, while The Lord of the Rings was a bestseller.... Naaaah, that could never happen again....

#85 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2004, 07:38 AM:

JvP: I think you've got your times a little muddled.

"Man, the sixties were good to you!" (George Carlin, in Outrageous Fortune

#86 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2004, 09:45 AM:

T.B., when I referred to Coulter as "Skeletor sprayed blond," I was referring as much to her vicious grin as to her thinness.

I remember years ago seeing a commercial that began with an extreme closeup of an emaciated girl's face. "Oh, no," I thought, "this is going to be one of those heartbreaking Save The Children ads." I swear that's what I really thought. But it wasn't; it was a Calvin Klein perfume ad, and the "emaciated girl" was Kate Moss, who I'd never before seen.

Kate Moss wasn't just a "skinny girl." She was the beginning* of the "heroin chic" fashion craze -- models were really trying to look like starved and strung-out heroin addicts, and makeup assisted in that effort.

I won't insult you if you're thin. But if you're so underweight that you look preadolescent, or look like a strung-out heroin addict, or you tell me your periods have stopped (and you're not pregnant or on the pill), or if your body fat percentage is below ~7%, I will not only try to get you to eat, I will try to get you to go to the hospital.

'Skinny' =/= 'anorexic'. Kate Moss was a toxic image for women everywhere; Ann Coulter's physical appearance is the almond flavor that covers the cyanide. Therefore we diss both.

*or the middle. I'm not a fashionista and I'm not sure if Moss began or simply epitomized this hideous trend.

#87 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2004, 02:02 PM:

Seconding Xopher, I don't think anybody around here is against naturally thin people. Deliberate bodily mutilation is another issue. (Possible tangent here on the Olsen twins, and whether what's been done to them qualifies as outright child abuse.) Coulter invited comment on her own body by figuratively bashing other people's figures. The least we can do is oblige her.

Ann Coulter's physical appearance is the almond flavor that covers the cyanide.

Damn you, now I won't be able to chomp candied almonds without thinking: Coultergeist!

#88 ::: T.B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2004, 02:41 PM:

I bring it on myself whenever I imagine reasonable people using the Internet. Ta.

#89 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2004, 04:40 PM:

Why, some of us here, including our hostess, have indeed been skinny at various times in our lives.

#90 ::: HP ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2004, 04:42 PM:

Aha! I knew I wasn't imagining it--saw this the other day. "Pie wagon" is a most likely a variant on "pie car." Circus slang. Scroll down or Ctrl-F. Lots of good stuff on this site, which I found via M*fi.

That has nothing to do with Ms. Coulter's usage, but I think we're making a terrible mistake if we assume Coulter is using her own words correctly.

#91 ::: Mongo911 ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 02:07 AM:

The following is satire. If you truly believe the writing below is produced by a reputable news organization, please -- quit your job, sit in the gutter, drink Woolite, and expose yourself for spare change from passersby. Kind of like what Karl Rove does as a hobby.

Justice Department Seeks Coulter Deportation
Columnist Accused Of Decades-Old War Crimes
Is Pundit 'Ilse, She-Wolf Of The SS'?

WASHINGTON, DC(RedStar) The Justice Department's Office Of Special Investigation (OSI), responsible for building cases against suspected war criminals, has released a report recommending the arrest and deportation of Ann Coulter, conservative entertainer and columnist, on grounds of her past membership in the nazi party and Waffen-SS.

Stephen Felter, Chief Investigator for OSI's european team, spoke with reporters at a press conference in Washington yesterday. "We were more than skeptical for a very long time," Felter said. "It seemed inconcievable that Ann Coulter was a much older woman -- and not even an American."

Felter and his team believe thay have produced a chain of evidence proving Coulter is actually Anna Ilse Coulter, a former member of the SS living in the United States. Anna Coulter's name was part of a list of 3300 such ex-nazis handed to the U.S. State Department by Germany's then-Chancellor Helmut Kohl in 1997.

The list indicated which German nationals, residing in the U.S. and receiving pension checks at addresses here, had prior membership in the SS and its auxillary organizations. Membership in the nazi party was pro forma for members of the SS.

According to the summary, Anna Ilse Coulter was born in Munich in 1919, attended university and law school in Berlin, and joined the nazi party in 1930 -- three years before Hitler came to power. In 1934, records indicate Coulter joined the SS with the rank of HauptSturmfuhrer (Captain) and was employed as an administrative law reviewer.

Felter and his team believe that Anna Coulter was one of a group which made specific suggestions about "harvesting" the property of German jews, which became the "Nuremburg Laws" of 1934 and 35.

In 1938, Anna Coulter was transferred to the Waffen (military) SS with the rank of major, and was attached to the staff of Renyard Heydrich, the SS and Gestapo's second-in-command under Heinrich Himmler. Anna Coulter acted as the administrative representative between Heydrich's offices, and the SS Office of Race and Resettlement. Documents were uncovered showing her involvement in the deportation of thousands of "undesirables" to killing centers in occupied Poland.

In a letter dated February of 1942, and addressed to Gestapo and Civil Police commanders in occupied Czechoslovakia, Anna Coulter demanded "more vigilance" in rounding up "elements of the [former] Czech liberal classes and the arts for special action".

"In nazi Germany's bureaucratic language," said Chief Investigator Felter, " 'Special Action' meant liquidation, murder."

On occasion, Coulter would personally visit KZ Lagers in Poland and Germany. One document retrieved by OSI investigators places Coulter at Auschwitz in 1941, when the first mass killings by poison gas were being tested.

Renyard Heydrich was assassinated by British-trained commandos in Prauge in 1942. Apparently, Anna Counter was given logistical responsibility in organizing the destruction of the Czech town of Lydice as a reprisal for Heydrich's death; the residents of Lydice were either killed or shipped to concentration camps.

Anna Coulter was transferred to SS hedquarters in Berlin in 1943, and promoted to OberSturmFuhrer (Lieutenant-Colonel) in 1944. She apparently disappeared in 1945.

Felter's connection between the Anna Ilse Coulter and Ann Coulter began when a survivor of the Czech underground movement watched an episode of "Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher" where Ann Coulter was a panelist.

Albert Marcovic had been a sixteen-year-old workman at Heydrich's headquarters in Prauge, the Hydracny Castle, in 1941, and a member of the Czech underground. Marcovic routinely copied documents from the offices of Heydrich's staff by night, while cleaning their offices by day. As a result, he had seen Anna Coulter at close quarters "daily, for months" until transferred to other duties.

"She even spoke to me, in 1941," Marcovic told OSI investigators. "This woman on the television had the same voice, spoke the same, looked almost the same. I was angry when I saw her."

Felter found that Coulter had been utilized after the war as an intelligence asset against Communist encroachment in Europe. Brought to the United States as part of "Operation Paper Clip", Coulter altered her name, and worked for the fledgling CIA as a contract intelligence analyst. She was granted American citizenship in 1966.

Coulter's name was never placed on the list of former nazis wanted for war crimes, or on any State department 'black list', as she was then considered "too small a fish" for the Nuremburg prosecutions. However, her prior membership in the SS should have barred her from entry to the United States -- "But the government turned the other way," Felter commented.

Coulter apparently had a series of cosmetic surgeries between 1970 and 1998, and paid for intensive speech training to eliminate her accent. "Ann Coulter, conservative activist and commentator," Felter added, "rose up out of the ashes."

The investigative summary has been sent to the Assitant Attorney General for War Crimes prosecution, who will determine if sufficent evidence exists to pursue the case into a deportation hearing.

Otto Zeitler, an attorney representing Ms. Coulter, labelled the Justice Department's report as "an amazing story worthy of science-fiction." Stephen Felter noted in response that "It sounds like a non-denial-denial to me. We weren't called liars. Mr. Zeitler didn't say our report was untrue."

Ann Coulter has refused any comment.

#92 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 10:42 AM:

I bring it on myself whenever I imagine reasonable people using the Internet. Ta.

I'm unclear what this means. I thought I was being very reasonable. In case you missed it, I was partly agreeing with you, too.

#93 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 01:29 PM:

Xopher, I'm with you in wondering where anyone was being unreasonable. I was going to comment on it, but you got there first.

Unless T.B. is one of those people who thinks it isn't possible to be too thin. In which case I understand.

#94 ::: Scott Drone-Silvers ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2004, 11:59 PM:

Mongo - You really need to sell this to The Onion. It's one of the better AC pieces I think I've ever seen. Kudos for a truly inspired post.

#95 ::: Harry Connolly finds comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2004, 07:30 AM:

I'm gonna stop there. It looks like most of this mornings's posts are comment spam, if not all.

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