Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More Visit our
for Hugo, HTML,
poetry and more

TurkeyBlog merchandise!

Better Blogs
Virginia Postrel
Joanne Jacobs
James Lileks
Bjørn Stærk
Fredrik Norman
Andrew Sullivan
Matt Welch
Emmanuelle Richard
Ken Layne
Natalie Solent
U.S.S. Clueless
Dr. Weevil
Common Sense and Wonder
Dreaded Purple Master
Little Green Footballs
Rabbit Blog
Unremitting Verse
A dog's life
Nonsensical Ramblings
Benjamin Kepple
Christian blog:
Martin Roth
For a better link
list,check out

Also visit
LA Examiner
Le Monde
Le Figaro
Crossword Puzzles!

Our Hugo Pages

write the turkey

Terms of Service
Who is the turkey?
Home Depot
Marshall Fields
Search Now:
In Association with
(Want your own ad here? E-mail me for details.)

Old TurkeyBlog

One small voice in the proud tradition of FreeBlogging *

Soon to return to; our host seems to be having some problems. Please note site links aren't working at the moment. Our apologies.

French Elections, 1st round
Second round special page
Second Round Results Map

Friday, February 25, 2005

posted by gbarto at 4:32 PM:
Note: got hijacked by the pricks at, who have been burning through our bandwidth. is down while we figure out how to block them.
* * *

Friday, August 20, 2004

posted by gbarto at 4:15 AM:
Barnes and Noble bias?

I was in a local Barnes and Noble this evening where I learned some interesting things about how the Bay Area B & N ordering works.

If you visit the current events section, you'll find Dowd's Bushworld, Molly Ivins galore and more. But you won't find Unfit for Command. They ordered 15 copies, which are gone, and they're not sure when the next batch is coming in. But, not to worry. They have around a dozen copies of Bushworld, Imperial Hubris and other anti-Bush titles. To be fair, they have around 8 of Hewitt's book and the same number of Dave Bossie's Faces of John Kerry.

And they have displays all over the place with at least 30 copies of My Life. I talked to a bookseller who says he hasn't seen one of them move in days - massive over-ordering: once the book had been discussed on television, nobody seemed to need it anymore.

I asked why there were so many copies of Clinton and so few for Unfit for Command. The bookseller said that both the liberal ordering and the liberal displays (the Current Events highlights rack could have been put together by Terry McAuliffe) reflected, in management's view, the audience in the Bay Area. Which explains everything except why My Life's rotting on the shelf and Unfit is on order. Methinks the management's ordering "strategy" reflects the thinking that "nobody I know is voting for Bush," even if the sales tell another story. Which raises the question: do the more liberal types who go into bookselling (at the local level, anyway) represent another form of media bias? Even if not in ordering, it's certainly evident in the displays around here which assume, among other things, that that Molly Ivins is just a hoot, though in my regular visits to bookshops I rarely hear her latest being discussed and rarely find a copy of her work moved to a different part of the store - interested non-buyers often deposit a book in the wrong place - or with the spine cracked.
* * *
posted by gbarto at 4:11 AM:

I guess you could call this the ITX Design Journal since I'm only here when ITX Design ( isn't working correctly.

Tonight, it's giving me an Apache setup screen. It's also doing the same for at least one of the pages on the list of sites with testimonials for the company.

I don't know if this means someone screwed up, if the latest acquisition didn't work so well after all, or what's going on. I'm just glad most of my content is also living in the blogger database until we find out.

In the past, has been responsive to problems and provided quick solutions. We'll see what's up soon.
* * *

Thursday, September 18, 2003

posted by gbarto at 5:16 AM:
Marcus wonders where the civil libertarians were when black boxes went in cars.
* * *
posted by gbarto at 5:08 AM:
Hmmm. down. So, in fact, is the host company, ITX Design. I'll be curious to see how long it takes them to get back on-line. Glad I'm just selling a few books with them, and not trying to run a big time business.

Anyway, here are French news headlines, to be updated to the main site when it's back up:

Le Monde: Paris and Berlin Take the Initiative In Relaunch. It's their 81st summit and the second joint ministerial conference. On the docket: Economic issues.

Le Figaro: Corsica, Security, Islam, Sarkozy's Truths. So now we know the top three things on the mind of the Interior Minister.

Libération: Air of Regression In Recess - as talk of uniforms, same sex schools, etc., suggests a return to the authoritarian school of yesteryear.

Ouest-France: Local Taxes Going Up - now that the PM is transferring authority from Paris to the provinces.
* * *

Friday, November 01, 2002

posted by gbarto at 1:04 AM:
Web site back up at; in the future if isn't behaving, check here.
* * *
posted by gbarto at 12:44 AM:
French news update:
Le Monde says "Chechnya: Moscow rules out all dialogue."

Le Figaro worries about "All Saints' Day weekend: Dangerous Roads." One hundred people died in traffic accidents during the five-day weekend last year; the weekend traditionally serves as the last chance to take a long vacation before the weather goes to hell, it would seem.

On a particularly morbid note for us Americans worrying about creatures crawling out of their graves this night - wooooooo - Libé is fronting the fear that there's not enough room in Paris cemeteries: "Cemeteries: Overflowing." Says the tag line: "The mayor's office calls into question the permanent sale of certain grounds."
* * *
posted by gbarto at 12:31 AM:
While ITX designs is being down, here's the TurkeyBlog update:
[11/1/2002 12:05:11 AM | Geoffrey Barto]
Arafat Warns Against Iraq Strike
Cautions U.S. on consequences

He didn't say whether it would be as catastrophic as homicide bombings are for the Palestinian people, however.
[11/1/2002 12:03:17 AM | Geoffrey Barto]
Following up from this morning:
22, Mainly Kids, Die in Italian Quake
Nursery school roof collapses in village near Naples during Halloween party

[10/31/2002 12:33:21 PM | Geoffrey Barto]
Israeli Government Holds On, for Now
Sharon scrambles to keep coalition together after Labor pullout

So Sharon has bought some more time. He has to figure out what to do with it. And playing games with Arafat isn't going to be enough, I don't think. Let's hope for a crackdown on the real threats, Hamas, Hezbollah, Al-Aqsa and Islamic Jihad. However, the push for more settlements is a bad idea - in the push to take a few more inches, it may get all of Israel lost. The focus should be on protecting what is clearly, plainly where Israelis by and large live while sending the message that any infringement will have dire consequences.

At the same time, what is unfolding offers a tough lesson for Arafat and the Palestinians. Sharon is courting hardliners because the moderates are deserting him. Which makes the Palestinian use of bombs to try to make inroads into Israel as counterproductive as Israeli settlements: their effort to weaken Israeli resolve is going to increase their hardships. Sharon has been faulted for not doing more to work with the Palestinians, but in the wake of the suicide bombings it is the Palestinians' responsibility to make Israel's political climate safe for peacemaking. So long as the terrorists run their ops, Israel's hardline will always have justification for its actions. Palestinian moderates will have to learn that in the current climate blowing up Israelis isn't going to soften the Israelis at the negotiating table; it's going to render them irrelevant.

[10/31/2002 12:22:42 PM | Geoffrey Barto]
Run DMC's Jam Master Jay Slain
DJ, 37, shot at studio; killer still at large

Five Kids Die in Italian Quake
Nursery school roof collapses in village 50 miles from Naples, trapping 20

[10/31/2002 1:20:02 AM | Geoffrey Barto]
French news round-up:
Le Monde leads with "Life for Bensaid and Belkacem," charged in three bombings in Paris in '95.

A little further down, Le Monde notes "A holiday celebrated by 26% of the French," which children like and merchants love. The holiday, of course, is Halloween, imported from the US about 10 years ago.

Across the top, Le Figaro tells us "How to Save France Telecom." That's the project facing Thierry Breton, new CEO, who has until the start of November to share his plans with the company's largest shareholder, the government of France as represented by PM Raffarin and Econ/Finance Minister Francis Mer.

Libé, meanwhile, tells us that "The Labourites are reclaiming their freedom," said Labourites being part of the coalition government in Israel. Budget talks broke down over the question of West Bank settlements and the group walked, which means Ariel Sharon can either get a new coalition put together fast or see his government fall. Some are already writing the government's obit, though I haven't yet seen any official declaration the government has fallen.

[10/31/2002 1:00:50 AM | Geoffrey Barto]
Powell Says U.N. Can't 'Handcuff' U.S.
Secretary of state says Bush retains authority to use force against Iraq

Translation: I spent a lot of my credibility on the UN and diplomacy; screw me over and I'm turning Bush loose.

[10/31/2002 12:58:35 AM | Geoffrey Barto]
'Greetings From the Dead'
Arizona school killer sent 22-page suicide note to newspaper

1) It's a shame they didn't get this sooner; they might have been able to do something.

2) Didn't he know they always edit down letters to the editor?

[10/30/2002 9:47:52 AM | Geoffrey Barto]
Sharon's Government Facing Collapse
Labor head quits coalition

Let's hope the way can be cleared for a Netanyahu run.

[10/30/2002 9:46:49 AM | Geoffrey Barto]
Ventura May Appoint Independent to Hold Wellstone's Seat

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, upset by what he felt was a partisan tone of a memorial service to honor the late Sen. Paul Wellstone, said he will try to appoint an independent instead of a Democrat to fill Wellstone's seat until a new candidate is certified.
Good for Jesse. Using funerals for partisan rallies has always struck me as rather tacky and I'm glad to see Dems getting their comeuppance. One has to wonder how Mr. Daschle is feeling about the possibility he won't be majority leader the last few months of his term - because his cohorts acted in such a tasteless manner.
[10/30/2002 3:25:52 AM | Geoffrey Barto]
A Dog's Life has the lowdown on the lowest of the low - those using Paul Wellstone's corpse as a campaign prop. Makes you wonder, though, looking at the post below this one... Wellstone was in a tight race and the Dems already know the sympathy factor over a plane crash can give a small margin in tight races...

Of course this is B.S. As much as I dislike Teddy Kennedy, Tom Daschle and the whole crew, I don't think I could stoop to seriously making this charge.

Guess I'm just not the man that Ted Rall is.

* * *

Sunday, January 27, 2002

posted by gbarto at 9:40 PM:
TurkeyBlog has moved to a new home at Hope to see you there.
* * *
posted by gbarto at 8:25 PM:
A few more Hugo poems. So far, they're all from Les Châtiments (the Chastisings) because their political bent is more closely connected to my work on Hugo than his other poetry. Check it out here.
* * *

Thursday, January 24, 2002

posted by gbarto at 9:43 PM:
My other site,, now has a small selection of Victor Hugo poetry, with my commentary on one poem. More poems and commentary to come.
* * *

Monday, January 21, 2002

posted by gbarto at 12:42 PM:
The Rabbit sings far more sweetly than I the praises of blogdom (see two posts down). I think the best point is that we ought to enjoy this while we're enjoying it. If it becomes great, perhaps we'll tell the grandkids; if not, we'll store it away with the other silliness that accompanies life and which is at times fiercely denied, at times greatly savored. Anyway, Franklin's praises notwithstanding, the Rabbit is more clever than the turkey, and should be read.

* * *
posted by gbarto at 9:40 AM:
InstaPundit links to Steven DenBeste on the question of Europe understanding us. What Steve has seen in his correspondence, I and many others have experienced firsthand when in Europe. In 1993, I lived with a French family for five months while studying at the Université de Haute Bretagne. My host mother worked for the Sécurité sociale, an entity encompassing our social security, medicare, medicaid and welfare systems. In the five months, I found a lot of common ground with the family, but never in the realm of politics. I'll explore this further, but for now would like to second Steve's observation: Europeans just don't get the U.S.
* * *

Sunday, January 20, 2002

posted by gbarto at 8:23 PM:
After a couple days away, I've just read Tim Cavanaugh's shots at bloggers. Just to appease, let me state for the record that this blog intends to be neither timely nor newsmaking. In fact, thought-provoking, insightful and coherent have been ruled out. Nonetheless, the blog is an interesting creation which satisfies one of humanity's great desires of the moment: To see one's name and opinions in a format that looks more respectable than is merited. The same phenomenon was seen on a different scale when decent printers and desktop publishing software got cheap enough that every group could have a newsletter - poorly spelled and worded of course but professional looking so long as you didn't bother to read it. This site aims for that same professional veneer, though it probably also is best seen and not read. As for me, I don't know whether anyone else is reading, but I get to see my name in print every time I check to make sure it published correctly, and that is a charm for easily soothed egos.

Incidentally, the point about desktop publishing has no doubt been made elsewhere but I don't have a good link.

A final note on the blogs: No, they won't replace the media. They'll continue to carp at it. They'll also continue to use it as a springboard for commentary. And why not? It's good that someone is finally getting some benefit out of the bloat of big media. At the same time, there are good blogs and bad blogs. I've linked to some of my favorites, chosen because they highlight the news so that I don't have to read the NYT to give the impression I do - it's even better than Kausfiles Skipper service! Further, they do provide original insight from thoughtful people, often of a sort the mainstream media just doesn't offer. Check out the links to see. And for sparse, outdated and recycled commentary, make turkeyblog your site of choice.

* * *

Wednesday, January 16, 2002

posted by gbarto at 11:57 AM:
James Lileks takes on, er, bad art in this column. Loitering here on the fringes of academia, I would assert the existence of a common phenomenon for these two areas (art and academia): prideful automarginalization. I realize that this would sell better if I could correctly insert a descriptor such as Jabermassian; alas, I still read books for the stories and am thus insufficiently clever. In any case, the prideful automarginalizer is the sophisticate's answer to conspiracy theorists. While Ted Rall tells us that if a conspiracy is unlikely enough it's probably true, the prideful automarginalizers have a cryptic catch-phrase of their own: To be great is to be misunderstood. I know the line came from Emerson, but it has been badly twisted. Greatness, it is true, is misunderstood. So too is incoherent rambling. Emerson's remark warned the graduates of a leading institution that where their dreams took them would exceed the imaginings of many of their countrymen. However, lesser lights have concluded that incomprehension is an indicator of greatness, not a consequence. Hence their recipe: Jibber-jabber about trangressing boundaries, throw in some Foucault crap about power, then align yourself with the postmodernists in deeming it all a hodge-podge of oppressive subjectivity. Presto-changeo, you're Tony-the-Tiger greeeeeeeeeat!

The prideful automarginalizer and the conspiracy theorist alike labor in the delusion that they have unique insights beyond the perceptions of the ordinary man (or woman, to be p.c. about it). Dung on the Virgin Mary - you wouldn't get it. Transgressive vampire queer theory - narrow-minds like yours are so insensitive to the oppressed! You couldn't possibly understand. This elitism is ridiculous, vulgar and vile, assuming as it does that ordinary people are something lesser, something nekulturny, to use the old Russkie phrase. But more to the point, it is hollow. These people labor in the delusion that if no one else sees insight it must be unique, if no one else is moved it must be sublime. This self-congratulatory nonsense grates on the nerves, no question, but what it indicates is not arrogance but the last refuge of the mediocre: if your ideas are deemed mediocre when understood, best render them incomprehensible. Such an approach to life, offering neither beauty, nor hope, nor even understanding, is quite simply sad.

Let us offer these people our pity, not our scorn. But most certainly not our tax dollars.

By the way, if you do think unproductive daydreamers deserve a living for their nonsense, there's an Amazon link for me at
* * *
posted by gbarto at 11:02 AM:
For the record, we here at TurkeyBlog like Matt Welch's hat, mourn its passing and think he should get a new one. It reveals an exuberance of spirit that emblematizes the best of what blogging is all about.
* * *

Tuesday, January 15, 2002

posted by gbarto at 1:09 PM:
Time will tell whether the big Enron scandal will go anywhere, but I notice that today's WSJ headline about Enron is that while big donations may get you a hearing, they don't necessarily get you much more. The NYT seems to be focused on the mystery letter to Enron's CEO about accounting problems, while the LA Times (I believe) was still worrying about Bush's fainting spell and bruise. All in all, this seems to indicate an abatement in the scandal: Bush did not appear in any articles with Enron above the fold in any of the majors.

As for the scandal, it seems to me still that the big scandal is to the contrary a tale of how a responsible White House placed its role in the American establishment ahead of the desires of political contributors. Bravo to the Bushies.
* * *

Monday, January 14, 2002

posted by gbarto at 3:27 PM:
InstaPundit has yet more links on the Enron scandal. Just a few things to note. First of all, the Bush administration isin kind of a Catch-22 situation. If they had taken action when Enron came calling, you can bet the you-know-what would really be hitting the fan. But to blame them for taking the calls is to call on government to stop listening to anyone and everyone involved in American society at any level. While it's true that there is a certain strain of liberal anti-Americanism that would heartily cheer this idea on the grounds that bureaucrats know better and that the little people are as idiotic as big corporations are sinister, most would recognize that this won't work in a capitalist democracy.

In my view, the Bush administration has done pretty much what it was supposed to: It took the call and thus got a heads-up about problems to come and presumably steeled itself, even if it didn't implement specific policies. Second, it politely thanked Enron for its contributions and explained that said contributions constitute participating in the political process, not becoming policy makers.

It's good that Mr. Schumer and others are staying quiet; if the majority of the bellowing is left to Waxman, the meta-scandal to which Instapundit refers will descend into a-pox-on-both-their-houses silliness.
* * *

Friday, January 11, 2002

posted by gbarto at 11:44 AM:
Joan Jacobs has a short write-up on Charles Bishop/Bishara, the Florida teen who crashed a plane into a bank building. While the medication, Accutane, has been suggested as a cause, Jacobs reports that suicidal tendencies existed in the family: his parents had a suicide pact at one point.

Suicides leave their families and friends devastated, a sad fact too few of them realize when that sense of meaningless gets too strong. But those that are left behind look for some meaning, any meaning, with the same franticness in order to put their universe back together, though that universe will never be truly whole again.

My heart aches for the Bishops, as it did for Bart Stupak's family when his son committed suicide. At the same time, I've been conflicted because Accutane made my teenage years infinitely better. When I was on the drug, I may occasionally have been moody - I was 15 - but I was delighted to see my skin clear up, and without the too common acne scars. Maybe more research should be done on Accutane and possible depression; at the same time, we should be careful about shutting off a drug that has done so much for so many until we are sure that this isn't just a demographic coincidence (acne and suicide are both predominantly teen phenomena), especially since Accutane users have a lower suicide rate than the overall population.
* * *
posted by gbarto at 10:57 AM:
Glen Reynolds, drawing off Michael Barone (see his item at InstaPundit), points out that the Democrats seem to again be in the mood for a tax hike. I'll leave the economics to others, as well as questions of political jujitsu. What's left? The vulgar elitism of the Democrat party. Reynolds and Barone touch on the sleight of hand employed by Daschle, as well as his recognition that tax increases don't sell. Comes the question: Isn't this supposed to be the party of the working class? Then why don't they trust this working class they exult enough to tell them the truth? The Democrats are stumbling about like dreamy neo-Marxists, distressed that the proletariat hasn't realized it needs to rise up. Recognizing that raising taxes and government spending doesn't increase the overall value of the economy, only change its distribution, one must conclude that the Democrats have drawn the following conclusion about us: 1) We're too stupid to spend our money properly; the government must make sure we spend it wisely by taking it away and redistributing it appropriately. 2) We're too arrogant and foolish to appreciate what's being done for us, so it's best to slip it by us. This is of a piece with the rushing into court to overturn referenda and the use of murky regulations to allow every congressman to be outraged at the way citizens are treated and powerless to stop it.

The President should not only nail Daschle with secretly wanting a tax increase; he should dust off his campaign speeches and remind us again that the Democrats don't trust us with our own money because they think they know better.
* * *

Thursday, January 10, 2002

posted by gbarto at 5:43 PM:
Just now thinking about Natalie Solent's idea for micropayments. In principle, it's a nice idea. But I'm not sure having an automated system for tracking web traffic is a good idea; it opens up new and creative ways for governments to approach taxation of the internet, and one can imagine certain governments demanding receipts to see who was visiting and when. In a lot of ways, of course, this sounds like the ranting of a paranoid libertarian, and I suppose to some extent it is. All the same, I like the idea of using donation buttons, and likewise think that greater automation than the Amazon one-click could be implemented while still allowing visitors to decide about contributions. I'm not a web programmer per se, and certainly haven't set up commercial sites, but I think something could be set up to make micropayments easy enough that people could give, say, a dime or a quarter, something about which fewer people would think.

My other concern is that when it comes to page views, some of us flip back and forth between a few reference sites, and while I'd be delighted to line the pockets of Glenn Reynolds and Matt Welch in appreciation for their excellent links, sending a payment for all 30 drop-bys to go to the next link on Instapundit (linked above) could get expensive.

I do know that there are certainly barriers to giving; when I put a donation button on my other site,, I chose the dollar minimum because I thought twice about donating to Ken Layne's site when I found out the minimum was $5.00, even though I've given more to other sites in $1 increments without a second thought. In sum, Natalie's right that there ought to be a better way, but I'm leery of automatic micropayments.

Update: the newly linked post above touches on a lot of my questions.
* * *
posted by gbarto at 2:51 PM:
Today the debate continues on Stephen Ambrose. InstaPundit, kausfiles and all seem to be providing regular updates. I'll leave to others whether this is plagiarism, sloppy writing or Joshua Micah Marshall's misdemeanor plagiarism. I'm just wondering, isn't this about Ambrose's specialty? Ambrose isn't an academic historian and shouldn't necessarily be playing by their rules. He doesn't present original findings so much as tell movingly what the record seems to show. As such, his violations are not in bad footnoting, but in profiting by the elegant writing and retelling of others; it's less idea theft than reprinting book II of the Iliad in the middle of your poetry volume with a note that Homer inspiredyou. Now, good phrases will linger in the ear; sometimes they'll become your own (Montaigne was right on that score). But Ambrose seems to have crossed a line in here somewhere. Not for his scholarship, but for his art.

All this is horribly unfortunate, for we need more books of the sort Ambrose writes. Academia has gone overboard seeking the original datum or idea, however minute, in lieu of fresh and enlightening presentations of what we are reasonably sure of and may even be able to put to use (we really need both approaches). And it is the Ambroses, not the academics, who inspire new generations of historians to try and figure out where we came from and where we are going, and keep slogging through when the time comes to write term papers and dissertations. Let's hope this doesn't discourage them.
* * *
posted by gbarto at 1:43 PM:
This, then, is the first post. No doubt an occasion less to be remembered than, say, that glorious day that saw the launch of InstaPundit. But it is my first post, so I'd like to try to strike the right tone.

Why Turkey? Why not? It is a noble bird; Ben Franklin preferred it to the eagle as the national bird.

This site, nonetheless, is not about turkeys, any more than Heather Havrilesky's RabbitBlog is about rabbits. I just wanted a name that would be easy to remember.

The site will touch on the thoughts and ideas of an aspiring scholar and doctoral candidate who is having trouble with his thesis for the simple reason that he thinks Victor Hugo was a compassionate conservative and is not sure how to break the news to his committee. Here we will talk about politics, culture, a little French literature, and - since it is my site - whatever else I might post.

Let's start.
* * *

The TurkeyBlog main page contains only the 20 most recent entries. To go further back, check the archive in the right hand bar.

Remember, remember, 11 September,
When madness and malice took wing.
Face darkness and fear
With this memory clear,
And everywhere let Freedom ring!

Geoffrey Barto
(about these lines)


(Dates indicate start of archive; each archive will begin working on the date given)

- 10/24/02 -
- 10/17/02 -
- 10/10/02 -
- 10/03/02 -
- 9/29/02 -
- 9/22/02 -
- 9/15/02 -
- 9/08/02 -
- 9/01/02 -
- 8/25/02 -
- 8/18/02 -
- 8/11/02 -
- 8/04/02 -
- 7/28/02 -
- 7/21/02 -
- 7/14/02 -
- 7/07/02 -
- 6/30/02 -
- 6/23/02 -
- 6/16/02 -
- 6/09/02 -
- 6/02/02 -
- 5/26/02 -
- 5/19/02 -
- 5/12/02 -
- 5/05/02 -
- 4/28/02 -
- 4/21/02 -
- 4/14/02 -
- 4/07/02 -
- 3/31/02 -
- 3/24/02 -
- 3/17/02 -
- 3/10/02 -
- 3/03/02 -
- 2/24/02 -
- 2/17/02 -
- 2/10/02 -
- 2/03/02 -
- 1/27/02 -

main page
* Freeblogging is a term coined by Joanne Jacobs.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?
Help us out, take a second to click if you're interested