30 April 2007

Is It the Last Day, or First Day of April?

Everything about this press release suggests that it should have been released on April 1st instead of April 30th (ok it was really released on April 25th, but Drudge only just now linked to it, and for some reason, I'm not on the David Lynch Foundation mailing list, though maybe now I'll make sure to get on it).

We had transcendental meditation in my kindergarten class, only they called it 'nap time' back then.

Some quotes from the press release (with bracketed comments from the peanut gallery):



The National Institutes of Health has granted more than $24 million to study the benefits of the Transcendental Meditation technique for reducing high levels of stress and anxiety, improving brain functioning, and promoting cardiovascular health.
[Does it really take $24M taxpayer dollars to ascertain that calming and centering oneself has benefits?]
* * *
Lynch will be joined by quantum physicist John Hagelin (What the bleep do we know?!, The Secret), and singer/songwriter Donovan Leitch (Hurdy Gurdy Man, Sunshine Superman, Mellow Yellow).
[Donovan?!? If his daughter was there, I'd be there in a heartbeat, but Donovan?!?]
* * *
Lynch, Hagelin, and Donovan will explore the anti-violence plan in detail during a national student weekend entitled, “Exploring the Frontiers of Brain, Consciousness, and Creativity” at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, over Memorial Day Weekend, from May 25 to 28.
[Maharishi University of Management?!? in Iowa no less?!? Words fail. This fact set exceeds my ability to poke fun. I've been completely disarmed by the sheer ridiculousness of this. My ability to actually ridicule it has failed. If you don't see any post from me for awhile it will be due to the crisis in confidence caused by this disturbing turn of events. Sort of like that South Park episode where Cartman had seen something so funny that he lost the ability to laugh and feared an anhedonic existence for the rest of his days (not to be confused with the Pee Wee Herman inpsired syndrome of 'so funny I forgot to laugh')]


Word of the Day (Media Edition)





Oh, wait, the news that newspaper circulation continues to plummet is actually the opposite of gobsmacking.

What is the opposite of gobsmacking anyway? Gobsatisfying? Gobkissing? Gobcarressing?

Also, somebody with trouble getting "it" quoted in the article
"While newspaper marketing practices continue to focus strongly on sustaining the core readership, newspapers are working hard to leverage the brand power of the core product to attract readers to their print and online publications that serve advertisers," said NAA president John Sturm.


So, Mr. Sturm (is his VP Mr. Drang?) feels the problem is marketing based and not, oh I don't know, maybe have something to do with the content being provided.

Might the downturn have something to do with the general non-news status of many of the news articles that get published and the frequent tendency for "news" stories to mix in the worldview of the editors and journalist who some studies have shown come from a narrow elite of liberal groupthinkers?

The papers that are more "just the facts" are doing better than the ones that try and tell you what to think about what they report as they are reporting it.

I have no objection to paper having an editorial outlook, but that outlook should stick to the editorial page, in the actual articles, they shouldn't frequently distort facts to reflect the bias of the newsroom.

That this distortion is finding a smaller audience over time shouldn't surprise anyone, yet few in the industry seem to think that the real problem is the problem, instead they just have to learn how to talk to younger folks better, and somehow better marketing will make all the structural faults that have crept into newsgathering disappear.

Writing better copy would be a start, if the nakedly biased reporting was also good writing then I would probably still read the paper, but on top of being biased the crap that is written is crap, and if I'm going to be insulted, I expect to at least be entertained.

Less Snacks, More Lipstick

(via Drudge)

Lesbians are twice as likely to be overweight than their straight counterparts, according to a study mentioned in this article.

From the article

“Our findings indicate that lesbian sexual identity is linked to a greater prevalence of overweight and obesity,” the authors wrote in the study, released this week.

They reviewed smaller studies that have suggested a higher prevalence of obesity among lesbians and the possible reasons why.

“The results of these studies indicate that lesbian women have a better body image than do heterosexual women,” they wrote.


Good body image=poor health?

So lesbians should treat each other more like many straight men treat women?

And is there a selection bias going on amongst the small percentage of women who may have been ambivalent sexually and choose the orientation that is favorable to their body type?

Would a comparable study find that gay men are generally less obese than straight men?

Certainly that's the popular myth, so the flip side would be that straight women should treat their men more like gay men treat their men if they want to encourage healthy lifestyles for their mates.

What this study boils down to is that men are pigs, but their piggishness and focusing on physical beauty is actually beneficial to their partners, while women with their willingness to overlook physical flaws are more likely to fail to strongly discourage health problems in their mates.

So the real question is, why do many women insist on trying to outlive their mates?

29 April 2007

Word of the Day (You Call This Journalism? Edition)






The AFP, being unbiased purveyors of the truth . . . ,



or not.



(no by-line, but I wouldn't be surprised if The Goracle himself had written it)

28 April 2007

Word of the Day (Questionable Litigation Edition)




(I got nothing else, I'm seriously and profoundly gobsmacked by this)

27 April 2007

Word of the Day (Time Capsule Edition)




If I really were Judge Kozinski (which I still will neither confirm nor deny), would I really find this story gobsmacking?

I Can Neither Confirm Nor Deny . . .

Could it be that I'm Judge Kozinski anonymously blogging?

26 April 2007

White Flag Fever

Watching the "Debate" between Democratic Presidential candidates. Each candidate seems determined to wave a white flag and the only competition is between which candidate can wave the flag fastest and raise it highest.

If only there were more diplomacy is the frequent refrain followed by a desire to leave Iraqis to Iraqis and let the chips fall where they may (cause that worked out so well in Southeast Asia in the 70s and 80s).

Disgusting. Beyond disgusting. Sen. Gravel is winning the outrage over Iraq battle, so far.

I hope there are a dozen more debates like this, there's no way a Democratic candidate would get elected with many more performances like this.

And remind me why again this couldn't have been on FNC?

UPDATE:

Ooohhhh, I'm watching the "Free Ponies" section 'aka' National Healthcare section. Hillary mentions Hillarycare, "I'm ready to try again", woohoo! Did I mention Free Ponies!! And it won't cost a thing!!!



UPDATE, TOO:




After seeing Rep. Dennis Kucinich's long limbed, red haired and very young wife, I have new and profound respect for the man.

So What's the New Acronym?

Cutting edge identity politics can get a bit tricky. As soon as you start defining what people are, there will be someone who decides that the current definitions are too exclusionary.

For those invested in defining themselves regarding their sexual orientation things are getting a bit out of hand.

Look at this from an Eastern Ontario paper
PFLAG Cornwall, support/discussion group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, transsexual, two-spirited, intersex, queer and questioning people, as well as their friends, families and allies
So gay was too limiting, homosexual too clinical, and even LGBT wasn't enough, now it's LGBTTTIQQ, at least until somebody comes up with a new group identity to throw into the mix.

I think PFLAG is a good thing generally and helps some people through difficult times with their families and themselves, but is it really necessary to name check each and every flavor of orientation when describing your group?

Word of the Day (Important Scientific Inquiry Edition)




Did I say gobsmacking, I meant lipsmacking, math is relevant to everything in life, if they used more examples like this in high school and college, there wouldn't be a fratboy who wasn't a math major.

Posts That Didn't Quite Get Posted Yesterday

I almost wrote a post on what a silly willy Andrew Sullivan was being lately, but decided that was self-evident and deleted it (no link needed, just read any post from the past couple weeks, dude seriously needs to get laid, I think).

I almost wrote a post on how ridiculous Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean was being, and if he thinks things would be better if they just kick out the press, why not leave the voters out of the selection process also, but the Democrats don't want my advice.

I almost wrote a post lamenting my rusty math skills. I should be able to calculate the time it would take to reach that new planet given a few sensible givens. Given one, the spaceship would accelerate and later decelerate at a 1.6g so as to get the crew used to the gravity of their future home. Also, foregoing any exotic new discoveries, I limited the craft to .8c, the closer you get to the speed of light, the amount of energy to move a certain amount of mass grows geometrically, so to it would seem reasonable to limit the speed to something close to the speed of light, but not too close. I think the trip would take something like 60+ years even with all those currently impossible to achieve givens. The other thing to contemplate would be what the perceived passage of time of the passengers would be. Given time dilation, depending on how much of the trip is at the max speed, that effect should shave about 30% of the time spent in transit (from an observer inside the ship, anyway). But these numbers are guesses, I don't remember enough calculus to do the appropriate calculations. Obviously you'd send an unmanned craft at much faster accelerations to shape the world before arriving, plus you have the problem of communications as there'd be a slight (20.5 year) delay between messages, so the colony would have to be fully self-sufficient. This is awfully long for a post that didn't get made isn't it?

The other post that I didn't write was all about how the Lakers would rebound and win four games in a row over the Suns, but even I am having trouble being that optimistic about the Lakers chances right now.

My final unposted post was all about how much better Sean Lennon has been as a singer/songwriter than his father was as a solo artist (and I should have gone to go see him at the Roxy this week, but got lazy). But that's another one that's pretty self-evident.

25 April 2007

Hot Asian Cheerleader Video



There, let's see my sitemeter go through the roof with folks searching for the words in this post's title.

Will that inevitable horde of men be pleased or disappointed after watching the above Vent?

Michelle Malkin knows how to tweak her critics, I'll give her that.

Instapundit also has some links to, and comments about analysis, about how the war is going, and how it will be presented by those in Congress and the Media.

Success is not an option, so long as Pres. Bush is in office, and there are those who will do everything in their power to make sure defeat becomes reality (or at least the perception of defeat becomes pervasive).

There comes a point when opposition isn't just offering a different set of policy choices, but actively rooting for the other side.

(and a request for Michelle, looks like this was shot with an HD camcorder, can you upload a bittorrent of the piece in its original definition, only cause the 'politics' will come through much better in full resolution)

Word of the Day (Not Thinking Things Through Edition)




Though I favor legalizing the stuff, I must admit that habitual use seems to have an adverse effect on decision making.

24 April 2007

Separated At Birth? (Not A New Irregular or Regular Feature)




Steve Jobs, not busy enough running Apple, and influencing Pixar and Disney, tries out for the Blue Man Group.

A Cockles Warming Post

Over at Cult of Mac, the kids of one of the MacCultists hate Macs.

That makes my day.

Word of the Day (Steve Capus Edition)




Almost made it through the day with an unsmacked gob, but then Steve Capus opened his mouth.

I'm not calling for any boycotts of advertisers, or suggest how you receive your news, but I know that I will likely never again watch NBC Nightly News, but then Nightly Newses ceased being a habit personally sometime in the mid 90s (about the same time I started using the internet regularly).

(network Nightly Newses are too slow, too uninformative, too biased to be of any use, I don't need a filter for my news, I'll find the stories on my own, I don't need the likes of Steve Capus deciding what's newsworthy)

Also, I'll refrain from watching Oprah to see the context in which his comments were made, there are somethings I will not do, watching an 'Oprah tackles a serious issue of the moment' episode is one of them.

(dumb self-involved Oprah episodes (like ear piercing, or travels with Gayle) can be fun, these other kind are infuriating).

23 April 2007

Way Beyond Gobsmacking



I don't know what to say. I'm fairly certain this joker isn't joking, and probably is an agent of the North Korean government, or just nuts. It's a fascinatingly muddled and self-contradictory bit of YouTube-ness. Watch it to the end, you won't believe the ending.

Word of the Day (AP Spreading Cuban Propaganda Edition




Will Weissert of the AP is a dupe, an idiot, or a dishonest jerk who lets his blind hatred of the United States cloud his judgement of the truth.

Funny how totalitarian states always have wonderful standards of living, until their dictator is toppled, then we discover that their governments had been manipulating their statistics.

The CIA World Book relies on the statistics provided by each government, so just citing them as a source for a stat doesn't mean that the numbers are honest.

Compare the statistics on the two Koreas. South Korean statistics compared to North Korean numbers are very similar across the board. The one major difference is infant mortality which is 3x higher in North Korea. Why they choose to admit that number and not the others is a mystery, but one doesn't have to look too hard at the two places to come to the quick conclusion that these numbers being so close isn't exactly reality based, and might have a lot to do with lies and propaganda being put forth by a totalitarian dictator.

Just look at the plunge life expectancies took across the former Soviet Union after its fall, some of that was dislocation and an increase in drug and alcohol abuse, but a larger portion of that plunge was also more honest numbers.

I say this story is the worst kind of BS imaginable, the Cuban government is lying, and the AP is either incompetent or untrustworthy, either way, they are not to be believed on stories (more like fables) with regards to Cuba.

22 April 2007

Green Doesn't Rhyme With Hygiene

Being hygienic seems to be antithetical to being a good environmentalist.

Who knew?

First, Sheryl Crow suggests one square might be plenty of toilet paper for personal hygiene needs.

In England 140 councils are switching to fortnightly trash collection, "designed to be a green initiative".

If this what it takes to save the planet, I say screw the planet, I'd prefer to be unsmelly and disease free.

As far as the Sheryl Crow thing, how many times does it have to be pointed out that paper pulp is grown from trees expressly planted to be turned into consumer products, so the more paper you WASTE the more oxygen giving, carbon sequestrating trees get planted. Go ahead and wad up that paper and use as much as your plumbing can stand, that's the green thing to do.

As far as England, I suppose the council leaders responsible for these kind of decisions are hoping for an outbreak of plague, as nothing is better for the environment than wiping out scads of folks.

Earth Day has become anti-human day, it seems. It shouldn't be an "us against the planet" situation, but that seems to be the dichotomy "greens" set up in their strange little fantasies about global degradation.

Not only are these "greens" generally assholes, but judging from Sheryl Crow and "No Impact Man" (remember him ?), they are poorly wiped assholes, and there is no worse kind of asshole than a poorly wiped asshole (or an asshole with poor reasoning skills and a 'green for thee, but not for me' attitude).

And if you really believe this global warming stuff, then the only honest solution that doesn't require economic devastation, or calls for limitations on other people that you have no intention on following yourself, is the building of lots and lots of nuclear power plants (if it's good enough for France . . . ).

Word of the Day (Byurowkraddick Fowl Up's Edishun)




(Also, the Southern Stereotypes Edition of Word of the Day)

20 April 2007

The Only Thing I'll Say On the Subject

Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin seem determined to ensure that their daughter will be a porn actress, stripper, or both.

Just Cause You're A Criminal Mastermind Doesn't Mean You Can't Be Incredibly Stupid

Propane + High Wattage Lighting = Inevitable Results

A more serious discussion about the seeming proliferation of these suburban 'grow houses' would seem to be in order. Most pot users with access to even a small garden or window planter could grow a significant amount of their personal supply on their own land using good old fashioned solar power. Instead you have criminals buying houses in the suburbs and either stealing electricity off the grid (either from neigbhors or straight off the powerlines, either way, extremely dangerous), or as seems possible from the above story, using propane generators to power lights so as not to tip off law enforcement about their facilities.

Criminalizing pot has only profited criminals, and made everyone else less safe in the process.

Besides that, these hydroponic facilities must have grotesque 'carbon footprints' compared to what similarly sized operations of pot being grown in open fields would have.

So legalize weed, not only to take money away from criminals, not only to make neighborhoods safer, not only cause marijuana sales could add to the government's coffers instead of draining them, but do it for the planet.

Legal weed would be 'greener' weed, and 'greener' is alwasy better, right?


UPDATE:


The irony of doing a pot story on 4/20 is completely lost on me.

Word of the Day (Oh! Canada Edition)

Gobsmacking.

(this post could have been alternately titled: Oh! Canada.)

19 April 2007

Word of the Day (Dirty Commie Bastard Scum Edition)

Gobsmacking.

(I'm not sure which causes me to smack my gob harder, that there are still crazed despots who think nationalizing industries is a good idea, or that anyone for even half a second thought that Venezuela would deal fairly with the companies whose assets they're pillaging, or that this isn't bigger news (partly understandable given what's dominating the news cycle at the moment))

NBA Playoff Preview (aka Why I'm Right and Marc Stein Is Wrong)

Marc Stein has put up his NBA Playoff Preview with alarming alacrity, I'll do the same with my inevitable takedown of what he has to say.

You can go over to ESPN.com and absorb what Stein has to say, he's not an idiot, his rankings during the season are entertaining, and they could do worse for analyst, but that won't stop me from disagreeing with just about every one of his picks.

He ranks the matchups in order of "intriguing/wild/watchable", I'm not going to comment on the ranking, just comment on the picks, but to make comparisons easier, I'll use his order of matchups.

1. Chicago (5) v Miami (4)
Stein's Line: Heat in six.
Why he's wrong: Chicago's coach isn't stupid, and Miami is more vulnerable to the Haq-A-Shaq in this playoff series than any of the teams Shaq has been on. It will be ugly, it will be wave after wave of benchwarmers being sent Shaq's way, and Shaq will either sit, or be forced to make his free throws, he'll continue to miss as his form has regressed, and a major weapon for Miami will be nullified. The Bulls will prevail easily in a series of ugly, boring games.
Bulls in five.

2. San Antonio (3) v Denver (6)
Stein's Line: Spurs in six.
Why he's mostly right. The Spurs are good, and will dominate this series through defense. But Denver's pretty damn good, also, and will manage to win a few games through their shooters getting hot and sheer determination by AI. The key to this series will be defense. Will Denver be able to impose it's well and keep the tempo high? Or will San Antonio successfully bring the game to a crawl and turn each possession into a battle? I'm guessing, battle, mostly, with a few flashes of high tempo, the end result . . .
Spurs in six.

3. Phoenix (2) v Los Angeles Lakers (7)
Stein's Line: Phoenix (no number of games given, the only series he doesn't give a prediction on length)
Stein underestimates just how ridiculously good Kobe has been this season. If he gets any support at all, the Lakers will give the Suns a lot of trouble. Defensive intensity has been lacking for the Lakers since the All Star break, and their near plummet out of the playoffs resulted. But, it's the playoffs now, and I think they will all wake up and play with intensity for 48 minutes. Phoenix has some of the most talented players in the league, but they only go 8 deep. At times the Lakers seem to only go 2 or 3 deep, so that seems like it shouldn't be a problem for the Suns, but I think Jackson will figure out a method of throwing guards and small forwards at Nash that will keep him from making the passes he's used to making. Take his playmaking out of the equation and the Suns become suddenly very vulnerable. Also, either Kobe's going to scorch Raja Bell, or they are going to double and triple team Bryant so agressively that the other Lakers are going to eat up the Suns in the paint. Either Kobe will score an insane amount of points, or he'll be a very effective decoy, either way, the Suns won't know what hit them.
Lakers in five.

4. Dallas (1) v Golden State (8)
Stein's Line: Mavs in five.
Dallas has been superb this season. They've were unbeatable in one big stretch of the season, yet they have nothing but trouble against Golden State. Big guards are the Mavericks biggest weakness, and the Warriors have two of the best. Stein dismisses this advantage and figures that the stars on Dallas will step up and negate this, but I disagree. I think Coach Nelson will exploit this weakness, and the Warriors beating the Mavericks will go down as one of the biggest upsets since Man O' War suffered his only loss.
Warriors in five.

5. Toronto (3) v New Jersey (6)
Stein's Line: Nets in six.
Who cares?
Nets in five.

6. Houston (4) v Utah (5)
Stein's Line: Rockets in six.
May resemble a five on five wrestling match more than a basketball game at times. These teams will be throwing lots of bodies at each other. The team with the more skilled bodies will prevail. Also, the losing team may not break 85 points in any of these contests. Utah won't lose at home, but neither will Houston, so expect this to go the full seven games.
Rockets in seven.

7. Cleveland (2) v Washington (7)
Stein's Line: Cavs in four.
Book the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Finals right now. After dispatching an undermanned and overmatched Wizards team, they'll take on whichever crappy team prevails between the Nets and the Raptors. That means only the Pistons or the Bulls will be able to keep LeBron from stinking up the NBA Finals. The Cavs will manage to lose against the Wiz at least once this series, anyway.
Cavs in five.

8. Detroit (1) v Orlando (8)
Stein's Line: Pistons in four.
On paper, a massacre, in reality, a sweep. Dammit, I have to agree with Stein again, oh well.
Pistons in four.

Stein doesn't give his predictions for the rest of the rounds, but I might as well.

2nd round:
Detroit will have trouble with Chicago but prevail.
Cleveland will roll over the Nets without a problem.
LA Lakers will continue their string of upsets and beat San Antonio in a game seven on the road.
Houston will end Golden State's run, the Warriors matched up perfectly against Dallas, against Houston, not so much.

Conference Finals
Cleveland will discover a consistency they lacked all season and beat the Pistons
LA Lakers will be stretched to the limit against Houston, but will manage to pull off a game seven road victory to make another Finals appearance.

NBA Finals
LeBron v Kobe. 23 v 24. Oh, and there'll be some other guys on the court, too. 24 is one more than 23, and the Lakers will win one more game than the Cavs, the Lakers will win yet another championship in a classic 2OT game on the Cavs floor. Three series that make it to game seven, and three road victories by the Lakers. If that won't make Kobe one of the most legendary athletes of all time, nothing will, not to mention this championship run giving Phil his tenth ring. Party on Figueroa Blvd.!!!

18 April 2007

It's An Imperfect World

In a perfect world, things like what happened in Blacksburg, VA would never happen. In a perfect world, guns wouldn't be needed by anyone. But we don't live in a perfect world, and as has been proven again and again, determined people willing to do evil will get there hands on guns, regardless of the local regulations (that's true in the United States, and around the world).

So, given the imperfect nature of the world, it does seem to be the rational choice to make it easier for rational people to have the right to also carry firearms given that crazies and criminals won' t let niceties like laws keep them from arming themselves.

The reaction to this incident seems to be a watershed, maybe it's the internet, maybe it's an acknowledgement of the failures of tightened gun control, or maybe it's a fluke, but I don't think what a Tennessee house panel has done will be an isolated response. (hat tip Instapundit)

On to a different but related subject, the media is performing horribly in this mess. NBC is sowing the seeds of the next incident with their handling of the package they received from "Ismail Ax". I don't object to showing the tape, but I think embedded onto every frame of video should be words of ridicule aimed at this loser. A big LOSER mark should be flashing across his forehead, and on his torso should be a downward arrow followed by the words TINY DICK, and IMPOTENT, and ASSHOLE.

By displaying the tapes unaltered, you are giving this tiny dicked, impotent, loser asshole exactly what he wanted.

Also, the audio for all his tapes should be redubbed with silly, high pitched voices and fart noises thrown in. Do not let this tiny dicked, impotent, loser asshole get to speak 'from the grave' with his own voice. Wipe his voice out of existence. Cho does not get to choose how he will be remembered, we do.

If the next tiny dicked impotent loser asshole would see the kind of treatment I'm suggesting aimed at Cho, it will become perfectly clear that your ridiculous, disgusting and evil behavior may not be stopped, but it will be ridiculed.

These unbalanced assholes crave attention and feel they aren't noticed enough. They assume that an act of spectacular evil will garner a lot of attention and a sick kind of respect. Deny these jerks that respect. Honor the dead, celebrate the lives lost, and destroy, disturb and disrupt the image that these tiny dicked impotent loser assholes try and leave behind.

I single out NBC (no links, you can find the crap on your own) cause they received the tapes first, they should have done the responsible thing and screwed up Cho's attempt to become a media sensation in death. Instead they put his vile output out there, breathlessly, quickly, and far too respectfully.

These tiny dicked impotent loser assholes don't suffer from low self esteem, they suffer from a sense of entitlement for a life void of meaning or accomplishment. Do not give to them in death what they wished for in life, these crazed losers deserve nothing but contempt and ridicule.

Ridicule should be the operative message and the message from the Chos of the world must be torn to shreds and turned into comedy. It's not to lessen the sense of tragedy, it's not to diminish the horrible loss suffered by people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time, instead it's a way to make sure that any future tiny dicked impotent loser asshole knows that they have no hope of controlling the message that gets out after they commit some awful act.

Just cause someone is insane, doesn't mean that there isn't some rationale behind their actions. Cho's rationale involved becoming something big, something great, getting noticed, his paranoia, schizophrenia, and lack of empathy coalesced into a horrible need to kill others before killing himself.

Being mentally ill is no excuse for being evil. There are plenty of people suffering from disorders who don't act out in despicable ways.

Luckily, this confluence of factors rarely come together, but I strongly believe that by ridiculing these tiny dicked impotent loser assholes we will help give pause to any future tiny dicked impotent loser assholes that might be contemplating becoming the next media darling. So if the media won't do it, bloggers should.

UPDATE:

As if this post wasn't already long and rambly enough, I've just read James Lileks' Bleat from tonight and see that he had similar thoughts to my own, but he expresses them infinitely better, so I'll quote his words profusely and admire his skill. I will add that he just passively accepts 'the media's' transmission of the foul materials, while I offer a possible solution and course of action. Here's what he has to say, and needless to say, ditto

I’m at the kitchen table; Nightline is on, and the host, Person Nonkoppel, is talking about the Virginia Tech Shooter’s video message, which he notes “is now going around the world.” Passively, without assist, it seems. From his lips to YouTube’s ears. They’ve cut to John Donvan, standing in a post office in Blacksburg, through which the package presumably moved; it’s a live shot. Perhaps he’ll interview a worker who may have handled the package or spoken to someone who saw it come through. We may even get a shot of the loading dock across which the package traveled on its fateful journey into the media bloodstream.

There is nothing to learn from listening to the killer. From looking at him or reading his writings or poking through his background or sticking mikes in the face of anyone who saw him across a cafeteria. Maybe it’s just me, but when I first heard of the case I thought:
sociopath. A modern word for the man without a soul, the man who either had it stolen by deed or smothered in the womb. I think you can make a sociopath, if you hurt them early enough in a way they can never get their hands around. Others are simply bad seeds from the womb on up, I suspect. No matter what you do, you get a vacant Narcissus with an infinite supply of masks, a clever manniken who cannot apprehend the humanity of others. He could only feel empathy for the object in the mirror, and it’s hardly surprising this example spent his last hours posing for the camera. It was the only thing that understood him, and accepted him for the glorious, tragic creature he knew he was.

Word of the Day (Heavily Tranqed Edition)

Gobsmacking.

(speculative thoughts regarding this, what better excuse to fulfill terms of a possible rider for a certain performer infamous for his appetites than to blame the need for the massive amounts of tranquilizers on 'horses', the drug indicated in the article seems to be used as an adulterant in smack, hmmmmmm)

17 April 2007

Word of the Day (DUCK! Edition)

Gobsmacking.

(Who risks injury and death for a duck? And a duck that isn't even theirs, to boot)

16 April 2007

Cable Channel, and or DTV Secondary Channel That I'd Love to See

Inspired by this Althouse post (which was in turn inspired by my comment at a different post, blogging is so incestuous)

Cable providers and DTV Public Broadcasting System stations should be required to carry one channel that has every moment of CSpan coverage involving their local Congressfolk (both Senate and Congressional variety). Every speech in front of an empty chamber, every rambling moment in front of a committee. Chop it up, so it's just the local Congressfolk (or Congresscritter if you prefer) windbagging away.

It would be the best anti-incumbent measure ever devised.

For example, there's Sen. Byrd, as punishment for electing him once again, all citizens of West Virginia should be forced to view at least 2 hours of his 'greatest hits' each week. It would be their pennance for electing and re-electing their potentate of pork.

I bet if folks watched my local critter, Rep. Henry Waxman might face a real primary challenger for a change. CSpan could facilitate this adopting a YouTube like interface where each hearing has 'tags' coupled with bloggingheads style dings so you can specify exact moments, that way creating these compilations would be a snap, or even automated through an RSS feed.

Of course, the incumbents don't want to make it too easy to watch them make their saussage, it might make them ex-incumbents sooner than they'd like.

If Google is so committed to being mostly not-evil as they claim, they should donate the engineers, time, server capacity, and expertise to CSpan and make this happen as soon as possible.

They've got billions, they can afford to waste a few million on helping us become better watchdogs on our government.

It Will Be So Nice To Watch The Lakers Bounce These Fools In the First Round

Looks like the Lakers v Suns first round rematch is nearly locked in place.

Going to be a fun series. If all the Lakers play well, they can do plenty of damage to a Phoenix team with a shallow bench. It will take more than Kobe scoring 50+ in each game for the Lakers to prevail.

Andrew Bynum is going to have to yank himself out of this late season funk that he's been in. He's young, hopefully his first playoff as a major contributor will wake him up. Also Kwame Brown will need to ignore his gimpiness and contribute again like he did early in the season. Finally, Any combination of Vujacic, Parker and Farmar are going to have to hit their uncontested 3 pointers at a 35-40% connect rate throughout the series for the Lakers to have a chance.

If all those unlikely events combine in four of the games, the Lakers will prevail, if not, it will be another early summer for the Lakers.

Hope springs eternal in Laker land, it's gonna happen I tell ya, it has to happen, losing Phoenix in the first round will suck for ABC/TNT, but gaining Kobe for an extra round or two will be ratings gold (even though Detroit and Dallas have the best records in their respective conferences wrapped up, the current picture for TNT's playoff coverage has Kobe, Nash and LeBron featured). If the Lakers can steal either (or both) of the first two games in Phoenix, the rest of the series will be watched by all the Laker lovers and Laker haters across the country.

I'll save full playoff predictions for when the playoff match-ups are definitely set.

Sadness, Anger, Uneasiness, Sympathy

That's all I've got really, regarding the events at VaTech.

The discussion at Volokh about the validity of using events like this for discussion so soon is interesting.

You have the Brady Campaign jumping on this right away, and most likely the MSM will spin this incident in favor of tighter gun control. You have 2nd amendment advocates like Reynolds, Driscoll and others suggesting that a few armed sheepdogs mixed in with the sheep might have been able to end this slaughter earlier.

And then you have asshats like Jack Thompson (heard him on FNC this afternoon, I'm assuming it's the same guy, not entirely sure, but it fits his profile) putting himself out there as an 'expert' on school shootings. He's salivating at the notion that the shooter (or shooters, still nebulous) was a fan of violent video games. He's got his hammer, and all these incidences are nails with which to hammer home his pet obsession.

Also, Mary Katharine Ham notices that the 3 main Democratic contenders put together words of condolence messages quickly while none of the three Republican contenders had done so as of the time of her post. Do Democrats feel pain quicker? I don't think so, but I'm cynical enough to think that they comprehend that the urge to 'do something' to prevent future occurrences like this one favor their natural impulse to seek government answers for every possible problem. Just as Hildog saw the Imus mess as a perfect fundraising hook, I think all three Democratic candidates will offer 'tough' solutions on how to get guns out of the hands of crazy, determined and suicidal folks bent on doing harm.

The Republicans have a problem there. If they are true to some very basic principles that all three at least pay lip service to, they can't offer the quick easy solution of 'tougher' laws. The only path open to them is the 'pack not a herd' idea, and advocate strongly for less regulations on the law abiding to carry guns. That's a position that will get chewed to bits by the media, the play field on this issue is far from level.

There are no answers, only questions. But hopefully policy makers and school administrators won't lose perspective. Determined nuts can do great harm in a free society. The answer isn't less freedom for non-nuts. Work harder at identifying nuts, greater vigilance in seeing the incipient signs of these attacks (there's always hints, these never happen out of the clear blue), and don't overreact to each unfortunate occurrence.

We may never know all that lead to this event, the only thing we do know for sure is that the perpetrator lost sight of his humanity, and lost sight of the humanity of all his victims. That's not a new phenomenon, it has nothing to do with guns, or colleges, or bad relationships, or video games, or whatever else the press is going to push forward as 'explanations' as to what happen. What went wrong with this asshole will never be known fully, but hopefully (what little hope can be gleaned from this, this isn't a hope that offers solace for those who have to deal with the aftermath of losing someone they know) it will be one more costly data point that will help prevent a future attack of this kind.

If you know a nut that you suspect capable of this, tell somebody about it, if you are an official receiving info on a nut like this, take the warning seriously, if you are a nut contemplating something like this, get counseling, or kill yourself, taking others with you won't make your life any less pointless.

Anybody who does this kind of thing must be humiliated and trashed in every possible way in death. Part of the motivation for future acts is the build up media types give these assholes in death. I'm not blaming the media, but they could do more to ridicule, belittle and put in perspective what massive losers these assholes who do this kind of thing are. For starters, exposing their sure to be tiny genitalia for all to see would be good . . .



UPDATE:

Reading this post at Dan Riehl (hat tip Michelle Malkin) reminds me how suspicious I am of the 'grief counseling' industry. These folks are misery vultures, swooping in on incidents like this one to justify the need for their job title. My hunch is that they prolong, rather than ameliorate the agony of those dealing with their thoughts and emotions in the aftermath of mass killings. Hearing the press push the 'will there be enough grief counselors' angle at the press conference was one of the more darkly stupid moments. And, Katie Couric rushing down to personally interview folks and attend the press conference seems like an ill-advised reaction to the plagarism problems she faced just last week.

Speaking of Tribalism

Louie, Louie v. I Heard It Through the Grapevine?

Which tribe do you belong to?

Tom DeLay Is An Idiot, And Let Rosie Be Rosie

I think Rosie O'Donnell is a windbag, she's unfunny (except unintentionally while blogging, it's beyond satire or ridicule, she's charmingly unself-aware of how stupid she sounds), she's obnoxious, and she's annoying. But there's a market for that it seems, and I don't mind if ABC sees fit to satisfy that market.

Tom DeLay is hoping that a purge of those responsible for insensitive remarks is in the offing and he seems to be suggesting that, "If the Left Takes Imus, We'll Take Rosie" is a good way to go. Tom DeLay is an idiot. This is wrong on so many levels, that I hesitate to know where to begin. But here's all I'll say, Rosie spewing her nonsense on The View unchallenged or barely challenged (sorry Elisabeth Hasselbeck) is good for conservatives and they should fight to keep her on the air.

Her clear support for Truther idiocy should be properly challenged though. That stuff ain't funny, ain't right, and should be challenged in the strongest terms.

As pennance for her idiocy, and to keep the threats of advertiser boycotts away, Barbara Walters should bring on the show the gentlemen at Popular Mechanics who wrote the tome that refutes point by point all this Truther nonsense (that there are folks claiming to refute the refutations adds another layer of stupid to the whole Truther madness, no links, they don't deserve links).

Have it be a sit down with just the authors and Rosie, let her sputter and spew, and let the authors talk sense. Have it be the entire hour, or at least half the show so that the great weight of facts can crash down around Rosie's piddling objections. Promo the hell out of the interview, make a big deal out of it, and if she refuses to come to her senses when exposed to the glare of hard cold facts, then she'll be exposed for the loon and America hating deranged fool that she seems to be.

(You can have BDS and not hate America in general, but it helps, however Truthers universally hate the USA and firmly believe that our government is behind everything awful that's happened over the past 50 years)

I wonder if Pravda is Rosie's favorite paper?

And if you haven't listened to this Glenn and Helen Show podcast with the authors of Debunking 9/11 Myths, you really should.

Vanity

They're talking about me, but I don't know what they're saying. The 'they' in this case are the Bo Bice fans posting at this thread at BoBice.com.

You need to register to see the thread, but the only reason for me to register would be to know what they're saying.

So, i'll just skip it, not register, and wonder.

My only reason to register would be vanity, not cause I need to know more about Bo Bice or fuel my growing devotion to his musical prowess. Not that there's anything wrong with being a Bo Bice fan, I'm just not a 'fan club' kind of guy.

But if you are a registered member of that Bo Bice fansite, treat me kindly, I did say he was the only penis-ful guy to make the final two in any of the Idol seasons, afterall.

The other fansite that noticed my Idol thoughts does let you view comments without registering, and surprisingly folks over there figured out what I was trying to say, and agreed with me.

Strange world, this.

What's Your Tribe?

Is that the question behind almost all human interaction?

Used to be, 30,000 years ago and more (or at least it seems like it used to be, nobody really knows for sure), your tribe was a mix of your genes and location. All members of a tribe shared a basic knowledge set, and were cousins, if not even closer relatives. There may have been some specialization, but for the most part everyone knew how to do every other persons function, or at least that's what the archaelogical record suggests.

At some point, for some unknown reason, someone got the bright idea to specialize. Turns out if you do the same thing enough times and pay attention to what you're doing, you might just get better with time.

Fast forward a thousand generations or so, and now everything is specialized to an astonishing degree. Add to that the internet where every specialization, every quirk, every hobby, every kink, every addiction can be shared, displayed, obsessed over, indulged, and fed.

But what does that have to do with tribes? Folks now can't rely on family bands to offer identity, instead we are constantly defining and redefining ourselves with each person we meet, and in each social circumstance.

Every choice you make becomes an identifier of which tribe(s) you want people to associate you with.

Mac v PC, Sony v Nintendo v Microsoft, Red Sox v Yankees, Trojans v Bruins, Chicago v NY Style (Pizza), Cat Fancier v Dog Lover, Horde v Alliance, Original Trilogy v Prequels (OK, that one doesn't count, that's no contest).

I think a certain degree of xenophobia and xenophilia is inborn in all folks. We are repulsed and attracted to that which is different from how we identify ourselves. There are evolutionary reasons why both might be attractive to a population. On the one hand, a small band with an especially good mutation would be advantaged by only breeding with those like themselves, but bands that have a history of favoring those unlike themselves have the advantage of new blood regularly. That ambivalence might be hardwired. Now that each of us carry identities born not just from who are parents are, or where we were born, or what gods (or non-gods) we worship, or who we choose to rub genitals with, I think we feel the need to both justify our own choices while casting suspicion on those that choose otherwise. It's an impulse from a dark and primordial place. Now that impulse finds expression across a variety of matrices.

It isn't pretty, it isn't rational, it just is.

So, if you love riding cycles, you can't just enjoy cycling, you have to hate folks in cars, if you are proud of making eco-friendly choices in your personal life, you can't just be satisfied with that, you have to despise folks who continue to 'pillage the planet', if you are a non-smoker, any soot-souled and soiled individual who dares to puff around you needs to be ostracized.

Is this something we could change? Is this something we should change? Does this look infected (wrong question, nevermind)?

If you need to blame somebody or something for these ramblings, blame the comments from this week in blogging in the comments at So Quoted. I take responsibility for the thoughts that are my own, and I deflect blame over there (or give credit if you like) for the concepts inspired by that thread.

And speaking of ridiculously specialized skills and how these odd skills are now appreciated more widely than they might have been in the past, I give you Billy Marks Balls (ping pong type).

(alternately you can divide the world into the tribe of folks who believe these tricks are real and the tribe of folks who believe that they were done through computer-aided devilry)




(hat tip throwing things)

Word of the Day (Self-Hating Edition)

Gobsmacking.

(I'm sure a conservative will lead to my feeling the need to smack my own gob, but at this moment the articles of smackitude are coming from the sinistral leaning folks)

(Every Jewish person who is critical of Israel and their influence in U.S. politics isn't a self-hater, but Mr. Soros, walks like a duck, talks like a duck, and hates himself like a self-hating duck, so I say if the duckbill fits, it must be duck season)

Finetune, Newest Blog Feature

While perusing Lileks latest, he mentions finetune.com. This is good stuff. I've signed up, put together my first rather random playlist of 45 hand picked songs, and embedded them up top on the right hand sidebar.

Now you can let me be your DJ.

You could do worse. The list on the sidebar will change, but the link below should always point to this first playlist.

There's only one song by each artist (with one Funky exception) and this playlist has Bangles, Jimmy Witherspoon, William Shatner, Love, Prince, David Sylvian, Bo Bice, Fishbone, Bauhaus, The Monkees, Faith No More, Aretha Franklin, Lily Allen and many, many, more!!!

The songs stream in full, and on the little embedded widget, you can skip or replay tracks as desired (just in case listening to Leonard Nimoy (they mis-identify the artist for that particular classic as the other guy) singing about Bilbo Baggins gets too much for you, or if you have to hear that again and again just to convince yourself that it's not some sort of auditory hallucination).

There are some restrictions on what you can do. Playlists must be at least 45 songs long and no single artist can have more than 3 songs. Also, you can only skip so many songs on a playlist while it's playing. Can't let you have too much control, the RIAA might get mad, afterall.

(oh, and sorry Lileks, my playlist kicks your playlist's ass, assuming playlists have asses, presumably they have no need for such things as they don't have digestive tracks, or ever need to sit, but that aside, working off the assumption that our respective playlists both have asses, my playlist would indeed plant its non-existent foot up your playlists non-existent rear)

UPDATE:

OK, already came up with a second playlist, this one is Just Chicks.

14 April 2007

My Man Crush Flags (Just a Touch)

Sen. Fred Thompson (via Instapundit) opines in the WSJ about taxes. I agree with everything he says, but (and this is a minor 'but' not a damning 'but') he doesn't go quite far enough.

Saying that supply-side economics works is well and good, it's been empirically evident that this is the case for over 40 years (at least since Kennedy's success with tax cuts).

What he didn't say is what slightly deflated my man crush. He didn't say that he'd greatly simplify the tax code. The tax code needs blowing up. It's a bloated contradictory and impenetrable mess. It's full of awful unintended consequences and pet deductions that have myriad deleterious effects on the nation as a whole.

Advocating for lower rates is good, but advocating for a simplified to the point of flat (or super simple 2 or 3 tiered, no deductions) tax would be far better and would turn my slightly flagging crush back in to the rock solid throbbing man crush that it once was.

(should this post be flagged as porn?)

For more on the flat tax, this bit from the Heritage Foundation is an oldie but a goodie.

Also, it's getting more and more obvious that he's going to run, so welcome to Election '08 Sen. Fred Thompson.

Word of the Day (Once Again, Blows To My Gob)

Gobsmacking.

(It should be Hugo Chavez getting smacked, and not my tender gob, but oh well, like Brownfield's response, dislike AP's fawning over Chavez)

13 April 2007

Wrong On So Many Levels

A beaver encasing a computer

(perfect for a computer with a hard drive full of, well, you can finish the joke in the privacy of your own thoughts)

Stories You Don't Expect To Be Followed In Communist China


This is really news in Communist China?!?

(and I love Luke's joke about his father that caps the story)

And just to squelch any rumors right now, I'm also NOT dating Britney Spears.

Slightly crazy female artists of recent vintage I would date are as follows

Mariah Carey (since she went crazy, she's been really, really hot)
Fiona Apple (kind of too young, kind of too thin, kind of too intense, but also kind of really compelling)
Meshell NdegeOcello (if she ever swings towards men again, I'd hope to be the guy she swings with)
Kylie Minogue (does liking her music and finding her really sexy make me kind of gay?)
Alanis Morrisette (wouldn't have been on the list if it wasn't for her Humps video)

Less recent vintage female artists, that nevertheless still compel

Sheila E (she can be my "minister" of love, anytime she wants)
Chrissy Hynde (I couldn't handle her, but one can dream)
Paula Abdul (never liked her music, but hey, ex-Laker girl)
Annabella Lwin (My first and strongest fantasy crush, still a sucker for a woman with a mohawk)
Marie Osmond (She's single again, but the whole doll thing scares me)

Word of the Day (Some Things Change In This World, But Not the Word of the Day)

Gobsmacking.

(or more precisely, buttocks thwacking)

12 April 2007

Since When Was Whitley A "Man on the Street"

During the last segment from today's ABC World News with Charles Gibson about milk, one of the "Man on the Street" interviewees was Jasmine Guy.

W T F ? ! ?

Since when were famous people allowed to be "man on the street" subjects?

(she's still famous, and still pretty hot, call me Jasmine, or at least drop me an email next time you are in L.A.)

Should the Lakers Play for 8th?

The Lakers, after losing most of their front line for a chunk of the season, find themselves in the bottom half of the playoff draw (with a very real chance of slipping out of the playoffs entirely).

Denver's been on a tear lately (including two victories over the Lakers) and look to be solidly in control of the 6th seed.

The Lakers, should they hold on and make the playoffs, will either start off against Phoenix, or Dallas.

This Laker team can give either of those teams trouble, if they play perfectly together. Most likely, the Lakers lack the depth to give Dallas much trouble. Phoenix also lacks depth, so the Lakers, despite all their problems, are in a similar spot as they were last year. If they get Phoenix again, they might be able to finish them off, unlike what happened last season.

They were 26-15 at the half-way point this season, and were one of the better teams in the league, having racked up victories against all the top teams. But since, they've been awful more often than they've been good.

Should they hold on to 7th and prevail over the Suns, then that means a second round against San Antonio most likely (Denver looks good, but not beating the Spurs good), and that's a rough assignment for the Lakers.

Even though the first round match-up against Dallas would be difficult, and most likely impossible for the Lakers to overcome, if somehow they get 4 perfect games out of their team, then it would be clear sailing to the rest of the way.

By dropping to 8th, that means if they somehow succeed (improbable, but not impossible given they have #24 on their team), they get a much easier 2nd round opponent in either a struggling Utah team, or an uneven Houston team. They can beat either of those teams over a seven game series, so long as all their players remember to play defense for a full 48 minutes (something that hasn't happened in awhile).

Then they only have the survivor of the San Antonio-Phoenix battle on the other side of the draw to contend with.

If they hold on for 7th, they are 'rewarded' by having to face a likely road of Phoenix, San Antonio, and Dallas should they advance past each round.

That's a lot rougher road than a likely path of Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.

But the Lakers have been too inconsistent this season and deserve to fall completely out of the playoffs with the way they've played down the stretch.

Who knows, maybe they'll have that one lucky lottery ball and pick up the #1 pick while they are at it.

With all their players healthy, and a #1, they'd immediately become a top tier team in the league again next season.

But looking at the probable Western Conference match-ups, it kind of sucks to be the top 3 teams. Dallas, despite having a magical regular season, could face a Clipper team that matches up well against them, or a Laker team that can give them all sorts of troubles, or a Golden State team that went 3-0 against Dallas this year. Kind of a crappy reward for having one of the best stretches in the history of major league sports in North America. Getting bounced in the first round isn't out of the question.

Likewise, Phoenix played well, but are capable of losing to any of the likely 7 seeds.

San Antonio at 3 does not match-up well against a Denver team that is finally figuring out how to intergrate Anthony and Iverson into the same offense.

It would be shocking if all three top seeds lose, but it's not out of the question. The teams in the bottom draw are all very talented, but they've been inconsistent. Whichever teams are 6, 7 and 8 in the West just need to get suddenly consistent during the playoffs to ruin great regular seasons by some good teams.

So what I'm really saying is that as always, I expect a Lakers-Clippers Western Conference Finals, and a Lakers Championship, even though both teams are missing key parts (and it seems unlikely they will both make the playoffs).

Speaking of Lakers-Clippers, it's their last match-up until the Conference Finals and it's on TNT, so watch it already, both teams need this victory to solidify their shot at the playoffs, should be a fun one.

Improving Idol Voting

Idol voting most likely doesn't need improving, but some folks seem to think so.

A simple reform would be to have each contestant have two numbers flashed beneath their name each week.

One number, would be for folks voting FOR the contestant.
A second number, would be for folks voting AGAINST the contestant.

The positive votes would count +2, the negatives would count -1.

A person like Sanjaya, who polarizes fans, would have a higher bar set for continuing on the show, while a contestant who is solid and broadly popular would enjoy more relative success compared to a marginal singer/performer with a small but rabid fan base.

Seems like the eventual winner in a system like this would also be more likely to build a lasting career.

There are plenty of polarizing figures in pop music, though, so even if Sanjaya were to win it all, they could probably build product around him, at least for a little while.

The "vote for the worst" crowd have pulled a bit of a fast one this year. Vocally wise, Sanjaya mostly sucks, but as a performer he has charisma and strong appeal to a key demographic that cares about this kind of crap. The Stern-ites can claim they've influenced the weekly outcomes all they want, but most likely, it's the little girls obsessing about how much they love a sexually ambiguous kid who are pushing his votes.

The history of Idol shows that having a penis that young women feel has a credible possibility of being used is dangerous. Of the guys who've made it far on the show, only Bo Bice could be said to have been broadly sexually enticing/threatening.

First season, Justin gets farthest, and though attractive, his attraction is a very unthreatening kind of attractiveness. Second season was Ruben v Clay, and even though Ruben was a big huge black man, he was an asexual teddy bear, and Clay, well yeah. Season Three no guys made it too far. Season Four, was the exception that proves the rule. Bo Bice not only had a penis, but he seemed certain to be willing to use it. He seemed to be the first male performer to succeed in Idol appealing to sexually mature women more so than appealing to pre-teens. In the run-up to his showdown with Carrie, it was pretty clear that it was the moms pushing the vote on Bo. Last season, Taylor has about all the sexuality of Elmo (the tickle-me variety), his success is utterly inexplicable from a sex appeal standpoint.

This season, Blake has to be one of the favorites, he stradles the line between penis-ful and penis-less appeal. Sanjaya on the other hand is utterly and totally penis-less, and that's why he makes the young girls cry. Phil and Chris aren't sticking around much longer, so no use talking about them.

If Sanjaya somehow wins it all, there will be many folks who'll go crazy, but should that happen, it will be because he has a strong appeal to a rabid fanbase and he'll just be another in a long line of sexually ambiguous/unthreatening male performers who preteen girls find appealing (until they grow up and realize that guys with penises are preferable).

Countercultural?

The Drudge head at the news of the death of Kurt Vonnegut, "Kurt Vonnegut, Writer of Classics of the American Counterculture, Dies at 84... "

Thing is, who amongst us who graduated high school after 1975 hasn't been assigned Slaughterhouse Five in at least one class before their graduation?

I was assigned that book 3 times between 9th and 12th grade.

It's an anti-war, morally relativistic, generally nihilistic portrayal of the human condition. Those are all MAINSTREAM values since the mid-70s.

When it was written, it could be called 'countercultural', but the 'counterculture' is so deeply entrenched (also tired, reactionary, and conservative in the strictest sense of the word), that to still call his works 'countercultural' is to miss the point of what it means to be 'countercultural'.

I liked Kilgore Trout's novel better than any of Funny Guts works, but that's just me.

Word of the Day (It's Always the Same Word)

Gobsmacking.

(but they have every right to do what they are doing, stupid move publicity-wise, but it's their company)

11 April 2007

Would You Believe . . .



Don Adams, born 1923
Barbara Feldon, born 1932



Steve Carrell, born 1962
Anne Hathaway, born 1982

Progress? Are we really clamoring for another bad remake of an old TV show? Even one as good as Get Smart was from time to time?

And look at Jessica Biel's career (also born in 1982), in her next two films she has Nic Cage (+18 years), and Adam Sandler (+16 years) as love interests. Seriously? Isn't this trend getting a bit worn out by now? I thought cougars were all the rage now?

What's next, Mackenzie Rosman in a Romantic Comedy/Action Thriller along the lines of Romancing the Stone opposite Ewan MacGregor?

(OK, that might be an awesome film, actually, especially if QT helmed it, does she have cute feet?)

Idle Speculation

The following rests on a set of assumptions that may or may not be false.

The first assumption is that President Bill Clinton, is, was, and ever shall be, a horndog.

The second assumption is that no matter how short (or long) of a leash his dear wife keeps him on, this man has plenty of opportunity to indulge his libidinous desires for non-uxorial nookie.

Having these not entirely unreasonable assumptions in place, why hasn't any of the campaigns in opposition to Senator Clinton sent some indiscreet nookie Bill's way yet?

Is it a matter of timing? Are they waiting for just the right moment to damage her? Is it possible that he's changed his ways and from now on will be faithful, dutiful, and committed to their marriage?

Or do people fear that a Bubba Bimbo Eruption would actually help Hillary? A straying husband could humanizing her, give her a chance to dump Bill for good (even as their marriage falls apart Bill would talk up Hillary's campaign). The sympathy she'd raise might outweigh the credibility she'd lose (and she would lose credibility as the cheated upon who turned a blind eye).

So maybe someone within the Clinton camp is just waiting for the right time, and casting the right indiscreet young woman, to "Free Willie".

Hopefully this time it will be something a little more upscale than a Gap dress that provides the 'evidence'. Also, to help Hill with the African American vote, maybe the lass will be from a good Harlem family (where Bill for some reason keeps his office).

Again, all idle speculation, the Clintons marriage is none of the country's business, if they are happy with each other (or their arrangement), then as long as that arrangement doesn't effect national security (like say, Pres. Kennedy's taste in nookie most probably did), then it's really between them and nobody else.

Still, I wouldn't be surprised if one of the campaigns (more likely a Democratic challenger than GOP) might see this as an avenue for an attack.

Thanks For the Advert, Victoria!

Long ago life was clean
Sex was bad and obscene
And the rich were so mean
Stately homes for the lords
Croquet lawns, village greens
Victoria was my queen
Victoria, victoria, victoria, toria

I was born, lucky me
In a land that I love
Though I am poor, I am free
When I grow I shall fight
For this land I shall die
Let her sun never set
Victoria, victoria, victoria, toria
Victoria, victoria, victoria, toria

Land of hope and gloria
Land of my victoria
Land of hope and gloria
Land of my victoria
Victoria, toria
Victoria, victoria, victoria, toria

Canada to india
Australia to cornwall
Singapore to hong kong
From the west to the east
From the rich to the poor
Victoria loved them all
Victoria, victoria, victoria, toria
Victoria, victoria, victoria




Visit Sundries, often. You'd miss out on wonderful posts like this one, or this one, if you don't.

Word of the Day (Will It Ever Be a Different Word?)

Gobsmacking.

(and I was going to link this story for today's smacking of the gob even before I noticed a certain word is quoted within the article)

He Would Have Lived to 110 . . .

. . . if he hadn't been a smoker.

And if you like that sort of thing, the house blends at The Tinder Box are supposed to be good stuff.

(never been a smoker myself, but my father continues to enjoy his pipe tobacco now and again, and has been a Tinder Box customer since before he was legally able to be so)

Don't All Monopoly Games End That Way?

***Sopranos Spoilers Ahead***

You've been warned.

Turn away if you haven't seen Season Seven's premiere.

Many have praised the total awesomeness that was this past Sunday's Sopranos episode. It was all that, and more.

The acting was topnotch, the writing intricate, the direction perfect, and the events built logically from one moment to the next.

It was as perfect as performed drama, in any medium, gets.

However, it wasn't all that entertaining.

That may sound contradictory, but it's not. As a chapter in a whole, it was perfect. As a standalone episode, it would be awful, boring, and inexplicable. The weight of the histories of each character is required to understand each nuance within the episode. This program either doesn't underestimate it's viewers, the Sopranos doesn't assume people won't remember events from a few seasons ago, or won't connect the dots without a visit from "Basil Exposition", that's refreshing, but requires close viewing and a good memory to fully appreciate what's going on (or at least a visit to an active messageboard).

But what I really want to talk about was that game of Monopoly. Monopoly is an evil let loose on this planet by minions of Satan, or possibly Satan himself. No game of Monopoly ever ends well (in the rare instance where a game of Monopoly ends at all). The game punishes skill, rewards luck in a capricious and unfair way, and encourages cheating. It's an object lesson in how folks can convince themselves they are having fun, even while they realize that the activity they mutually engage in is beyond pointless. You might think the sucker punch thrown by Bobby had to do with the insult to his wife, but no, it was purely built from the frustration inherent in submitting oneself to the evils of Monopoly. Had Tony Soprano been thinking more clearly, he would have insisted they play a game less likely to produce a furniture smashing brawl, like say, mumblety peg (though a drunken game of that has it's own potential consequences).

A Woman After My Own Heart

Another famous person has begun reading my blog.

This time it's Camille Paglia who covers territory I've already covered.


Jean Baudrillard recently passed away. Do you have any thoughts or opinions about this influential French thinker. I'm especially interested in your opinion of his idea regarding hyper-reality.
Conor Ryan


I suspect Dante designing his Inferno would have had a very special little hot spot for poststructuralists and postmodernists (see above letter), who distorted language with self-important opacity and who inflated small ideas into giant, groaning bladder-bags.

I never encountered a single sentence by Jean Baudrillard, Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan or Michel Foucault that drew or held my interest. As for Baudrillard's dizzy maunderings about mass media, they made no sense whatever to me as a professor of media studies or as an American who grew up on pop and whose vibrant patron saint was Andy Warhol.

Good riddance to that whole crew!


You Go Girl! But, I expressed contempt for Baudrillard before you did (but I disagree about Foucault, of that group, he's the only one with a brain).

Also, she rips Albertus Goracle a new one with incandescent fury and in surprisingly metaphysical terms (plenty of pokes at the Goracle can be found hereabouts, too many to link)


However, I am a skeptic about what is currently called global warming. I have been highly suspicious for years about the political agenda that has slowly accrued around this issue. As a lapsed Catholic, I detest dogma in any area. Too many of my fellow Democrats seem peculiarly credulous at the moment, as if, having ground down organized religion into nonjudgmental, feel-good therapy, they are hungry for visions of apocalypse. From my perspective, virtually all of the major claims about global warming and its causes still remain to be proved.

Climate change, keyed to solar cycles, is built into Earth's system. Cooling and warming will go on forever. Slowly rising sea levels will at some point doubtless flood lower Manhattan and seaside houses everywhere from Cape Cod to Florida -- as happened to Native American encampments on those very shores. Human habitation is always fragile and provisional. People will migrate for the hills, as they have always done.

Who is impious enough to believe that Earth's contours are permanent? Our eyes are simply too slow to see the shift of tectonic plates that has raised the Himalayas and is dangling Los Angeles over an unstable fault. I began "Sexual Personae" (parodying the New Testament): "In the beginning was nature." And nature will survive us all. Man is too weak to permanently affect nature, which includes infinitely more than this tiny globe.


There's much, much more, but I'll trust your interest is piqued enough to head over to Salon on your own.

One of these days someone famous will link me and admit to being 'inspired' by my ideas. Until then, I'll just have to point out the similar strains of thought after the fact.

(and I heard that *cough* delusional *cough*)

Also, I'm fitting in the stereotype of the rightosphere versus the leftosphere in that I'm ignoring the parts of her Salon answers to letters bit where I vehemently disagree with what she has to say.

Always looking for converts.

10 April 2007

There's No Point . . .

. . . in "Fisking" an article when the author of said article is the man, the myth, the legend his on bad self, Robert Fisk.

(hat tip Drudge, he reads The Independent, so I don't have to)

Word of the Day

Gobsmacking

(who says it has to be a different word each day?)

(hat tip Drudge)

(if only there'd been more dialogue between Jews and German National Socialists in the 30s, then history would have been different, I'm sure)

W T F ? ! ? ! ? (Part II)



I'm pretty sure that's Lily actually singing in this song. If so, WTF?!?!?

UPDATE: I forget, she's a blogger, so I check out her blog, and sure enough, that's really her, it's part of a contest.

The Things You Find When Looking For Something Else . . .

. . . funny how when what you're looking for isn't to be found, sometimes what you do find is far more interesting.

Stumbled upon this YouTube auteur who has a Cary Grant obsession.

Below are two examples, first up, Besame Mucho (sung by the Beatles) playing over multiple scenes of Cary Grant in liplock with various leading ladies.




Next up, The Buckinghams singing Kind of a Drag, with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr from that marriage on the rocks film they did together.




I would have gone with scenes from I Was a Male War Bride (in which he's in drag through a good portion), instead.

But that's me, always looking for the humor.

My Simplified (And Completely Fair) Rules for the Blogosphere

I might as well jump on the bandwagon, too.

Here are my simplified rules for the blogosphere.

1. Whatever I choose to do to others in the blogosphere, is absolutely OK and appropriate.

2. Whatever anyone else does to me that I don't like, should be forbidden.

Does it matter if some actions are OK under rule 1, but forbidden under rule 2?

That's the beauty of this rule set, contradictions only make it more necessary.

08 April 2007

What Sam Zell Should Do . . .

Sam Zell bought the Chicago Tribune empire, but seems most interested in the media portions and plans on dumping the Cubbies (who wouldn't).

He's assured of a tidy profit if a higher offer for the company comes in from the other billionaires interested (mainly Ron Burkle and David Geffen).

Here's how to make sure that higher offer comes in.

Don't touch the Tribune, that isn't the paper Burkle and Geffen want, they are in it for their hometown paper, the LA Times (and possibly also the local CW affiliate, KTLA).

Turn those entities into rabidly right wing/libertarian bastions that would make the Washington Times look like The NY Times.

This wouldn't be done for ideological reasons, but rather to increase the urgency on the part of the liberal billionaires who want the paper.

Watching the LA Times morph into a conservative paper would drive them crazy. They'd throw nearly every penny they have to get the LA Times back if they thought this was going to be a permanent shift in editorial direction.

You could probably sell just the LA Times alone for the price you paid for the entire Chicago Tribune empire. Think of it as a media company version of 'flipping'.

As a bonus, an unabashedly conservative/libertarian LA Times might gain far more readership than it loses if they do so in an entertaining fashion.

LA Times would look great as a Daily Sun or NY Post style tabloid, and given that the main industry here is Hollywood, a tabloid paper makes a lot more sense then some self-serious broadsheet NY Times or Guardian rip-off.

One sure way to make circulation skyrocket would be to have an entertainment section that was actually entertaining. On top of that, make sure you write a lot of nasty pieces about David Geffen, Ron Burkle and their cronies. Be as bad as you can be without being slanderous, that will infuriate them to the point where they'll be willing to pay through the nose to end this new slant.

It's only business, and if Sam Zell is a real businessman, he'll follow my advice.

As an added bonus, we'll have a fun newspaper for 6-12 months out of it.

(and if the circulation and advertising numbers blow up, then you can keep the new monster you created and enjoy the profits)