Thursday, December 25, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
“There are some upon this earth of yours,” returned the Spirit, “who lay claim to know us, and who do their deeds of passion, pride, ill-will, hatred, envy, bigotry, and selfishness in our name, who are as strange to us and all our kith and kin, as if they had never lived. Remember that, and charge their doings on themselves, not us.” -- A Christmas Carol, and my first post on this sad and sorry topicThis space has always been about pointing out ridiculous things, the nonsense that make us collectively dumber just by the act of taking them seriously. As it happens, I take Christmas very seriously, and there's a pretty solid reason for that. Even on the secular "shopping holiday" level, Christmas is (or should be) about what it would be like if people stopped being jerks for a day and concentrated on really enjoying each others' company, about loving friends and family and being loved in return. And of course, getting to the root of things, it's about whose birthday it is, and thinking about what kind of example he set for the rest of us.
So hopefully, you can understand why I reserve some old-fashioned scorn for the foaming-mouth media frenzy surrounding the so-called War on Christmas. Persecuting a door greeter who said "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" is a massive exercise in missing the point.
If you were with me last year, you'll remember Bill O'Reilly (the only news channel noise machine I pay even the slightest bit of attention to these days...which is to say I usually can't be bothered) declared a preemptive victory in the so-called "War on Christmas," and I celebrated the relative quiet with my favorite Christmas record. Of course, it couldn't last. The moment that atheist placard won a spot next to the Nativity in Olympia, Washington, the lid was off the honeypot, and America's "favorite" professional provocateur couldn't keep his paw out. And frankly, if we're depending on Bill O'Reilly to save Christmas, we'll all be celebrating Festivus ten years from now.
This year's tactic in my ultimately futile drive to return my country to sanity is based on what the Internet was designed to do: routing around the damaged section of the network (in this case, the national discourse) and getting back to things of real meaning. And with Christmas, that means the kids.
Take a moment to watch this Sesame Street clip (they turned off embedding, but the Street shouldn't be directly attached something as tawdry as "Christmas wars" anyway). It's another one of those "Kermit and Grover talking to kids" bits, but notice how they answer the Santa questions without having to think about it too hard, even for a second.
Kid: "Then he gets his keys."
Grover: "What keys?"
Kid: "Santa Claus keys."
There you are. On one side of the fight to stop the fighting, the only fight that really matters, there's a lot of fist shaking, noise making, and red-faced fury. On the other side, there's the Santa Claus keys, the ones that open any door as long as you use them sincerely with goodwill. It's not a fight against politicized factions, although that's how the phony war is being framed. It's a fight against our sadder, darker impulses, the ones that either make us too cool or too jaded to care about anything, or make us care about them in ultimately destructive ways.
Enough with making the crazy. Dream big. Let there be peace on Earth.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Anybody could've told him what was about to happen, but some people have to learn these things the hard way: the German Internet dropped on his head like a ton of bricks (along with the press...and Slashdot, of course), forcing him to drop the injunction and eat a plate of crow.
Apart from not being able to predict the oh-so-predictable uproar, Heilmann is a 1.0 thinker in a 2.0 world. Consider this:
- wikipedia.de, the local site that the court injunction pulled, isn't actually the German Wikipedia site, but a search engine which passes you off to the main pages. Technically, it's the only site he could act on, since de.wikipedia.org operates under Florida jurisdiction, just like the rest of the Wikipedia family.
- Any Wikipedian can tell him that you don't kill a negative article through the court system; you kill it by getting an aide to edit it on the sly for you. Apparently Heilmann actually tried that, but the edits were traced directly to the Bundestag building, which is pretty damn weak. What part of the Stasi did you work for again?
- Instead of the expected search page, German users were greeted not only with the bad news, but an invitation to make a monetary donation to Wikimedia Deutschland. As a result, the contributions spiked roughly 500% over the weekend. Great job!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
From The Guardian: "Puppy cam has notched up 2,464,939 views as I write this. But enjoy it while it lasts because Autumn, Ayumi, Amaya, Aki, Akoni and Ando reached their five-week birthday on Tuesday - and that means there's only three weeks before the puppies leave the nest." Which only goes to show, if you can't be amazing at what you do, you can still become Internet-famous by being uncontrollably adorable.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Well, this is a good news/bad news day for you. The good news is that now you have the source. The bad news? You've been had, jerk. But don't feel so bad, bub; MSNBC swallowed it whole, too.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Saturday, November 08, 2008
The best part for bloggers is that all of these were released under a Creative Commons license, so we won't get sued! Whee!
Friday, November 07, 2008
"Whatever scares you the most." Heh. And it's amazing how much better Get Your War On looks in motion.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
And who do we thank? Say it with me, kids...
(Mozilla fans want to kill me now for that BLINK tag...)
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Also, if you're looking at the map in the previous post, you'll notice that my state of North Carolina is still too close to call with 100% reporting, although Obama did take the popular vote by a thin margin. I can't escape the idea that Bob Barr (!) helped flip the Tarheel State for the first time since Carter, and although I've developed an annoying habit of saying "We've Been Here Before" (complete with Meaningful Capitals) whenever something bizarre/amazing/just plain different happens that causes people to run around like crazed animals...well, let's just say that we've never been here before. Not exactly.
And the John McCain we've seen over the past week, easy-rolling, self-kidding, and (especially in last night's concession) gracious...where the hell has this guy been for the past six months? If he had run a campaign to make his grandkids proud instead of going with whatever cynical garbage the ex-Bush 43 campaign team fed him, we might be having a different conversation today. Whether it would be about a different result? I leave that as an exercise for the reader...
This ridiculously overlong two year process is over. The polling, the whispering, the acid campaign messages. They were fun, but it's time to put those toys away. Now comes a very important part that's not terribly sexy but essential to keep the country working, as if the past eight years haven't taught you that: if the new president strays from his promised path, he needs (deserves, even) your feedback. Obama asked for your help, so I'm sure he wouldn't mind hearing your vision of where you want your country to be in the next four years. If you don't think he'll agree with you, you definitely need to let him know. Of course, your Senator or House rep will answer your letter faster, so get to know them, too. Engaging with the system shouldn't end on election day.
And if the Democratic party (the party I most closely identify with, if the picture at the top doesn't clue you in) demonstrates it hasn't learned a thing from the wrong turns of the past eight years, I won't be a bit surprised if we get a second "Gingrich revolution." That's a pretty harsh hammer to drop while we're still basking in the afterglow, but Pelosi and the lot need to remember not to be stupid. This isn't a blank check. The first lesson that we learned from Bush is that blank checks have grave consequences. This is a conditional loan. We're still paying attention.
The only other thing I can come up with right now is the same friendly warning I've always offered the GOP: bridge building doesn't mean making the other side build the bridge to you, then setting up a toll booth on your side and charging them a dollar a head to cross.
Here's the ball. Let's see what you can do.
And seriously, BOB BARR helped flip NC.
Go on. Admit I'm right.
(Edit @ 7:31pm: Henry Blodgett of Clusterstock made an interesting (and, in my mind, fairly realistic) short post about what the "real work" in "now the real work begins" is all about. Standard political blog disclaimer: read the comments at your own peril.)
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Saturday, November 01, 2008
The A.C. Nielsen Company tells us that nearly a third of all American at-home Internet activity happens while the user is watching television, and that net-heads spend more time watching TV daily than non-wired households.
That part I can get behind, but the article goes on to tell us that "as a group, teen girls are the most likely to engage in streaming, 82 percent." Which makes the popularity of 2 Girls 1 Cup that much more alarming.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
That's one Charlie Kauffman movie brought closer to reality. When are we getting the tiny door that lets us take over John Malkovitch's mind?
Friday, August 29, 2008
Secondly, the HillaryIs44ers (who, just as a reminder, represent the Clinton supporter mainstream the way a rabid raccoon would make a great pet for the kids) went above and beyond Hardcase territory into the rarified realm of the crazy street preachers by deciding that the choice of Palin spells complete and utter doom for the Obama campaign. When a group of people that has spent the past several months harping on Obama's lack of experience decides that Sarah Palin, who has even less experience than Obama, who told CNBC a month ago that she didn't even know what a veep does, whose foreign policy bona fides can be summed up in one sentence (and that sentence is "No issue stance yet recorded by OnTheIssues.org.")...sorry, you're just the worst kind of hypocrites, and I'm done with you. You make the Freepers look like the McLaughlin Group.
And if you don't recognize the irony of playing the sexism defense for months on end and then declaring the campaign's over soley because a candidate is running with a woman, and if in fact you don't realize that exposes gender as your one and only issue no matter how hard you deny it, I'd like to recommend you wear a tracking device so we know where you are at all times. Preferably one that glows in the dark.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
The HillaryIs44ers are exhibiting a depressingly predictable state of denial, posting today a transcript of last night's speech that was scrubbed clean of any pro-Obama reference (which, if you'll remember, was supposed to be the entire point of the appearance), then lovingly wrapped in the usual blather that Clinton is the savior of the party, and topped with a heartbreakingly delusional fantasy that somehow, in some way, the party will finally snap to its senses and anoint glorious, marvelous Senator Clinton the true successor to the throne. These are the people that Pat Buchanan was talking about when he said that Hillary doesn't have supporters, Hillary has followers. And no, I refuse to believe for even a moment that the typical 44er resembles in the slightest the average Clinton supporter at the height of the campaign. The 44ers are the Hardcases, operating under a paranoid, inflexible siege mentality that makes Sean Hannity weep tears of joy. At some point, they're just going to have to let go.
Doom will hate me for this (he can't get behind either major party candidate), but from the full transcript, here are a few key points that your friends at the Ministry Of Truth decided not to stress. Remember, I'm breaking your delusions out of hope for a saner future.
I want you to ask yourselves: Were you in this campaign just for me? Or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him? Were you in it for that mom struggling with cancer while raising her kids? Were you in it for that boy and his mom surviving on the minimum wage? Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?This is a warning: if you believe in Clinton so bloody much that you'd throw everything she believed in under the bus--and yes, that includes the Democratic Party as an organization--just to prove a point about Obama, then vote for McCain and see what happens to all of your favorite causes. People get the flag mixed up with what the flag stands for, get wound up about the symbols of democracy to the detriment of democracy itself. So once again, here's the point that you so blithely ignored: Are you in it for Clinton, or Clinton's ideals? Because if you're only in it for the former, if it's Hillary or nothing, if it's Hillary Über Alles, and you can still talk endlessly about the Obama "cult of personality" without a drop of irony or self-recognition, then you deserve to be taken as seriously as the jackass who chanted "9/11 was an inside job" through a bullhorn during last night's Hardball.
We need leaders once again who can tap into that special blend of American confidence and optimism that has enabled generations before us to meet our toughest challenges. Leaders who can help us show ourselves and the world that with our ingenuity, creativity, and innovative spirit, there are no limits to what is possible in America.
This won't be easy. Progress never is. But it will be impossible if we don't fight to put a Democrat in the White House.
We are Americans. We're not big on quitting.
But remember, before we can keep going, we have to get going by electing Barack Obama president.
We don't have a moment to lose or a vote to spare.
Nothing less than the fate of our nation and the future of our children hang in the balance.
I don't deny the power of a true believer, but sometimes you have to make allowances for a Plan B, and if you're so far gone that you can't figure out how to make do with what the fates have handed you, then this isn't about you anymore. The discussion has moved past you, and if you want to shake your fists at the cloud of dust in the distance as the circus parade leaves you behind, that's your choice. It's not too late to turn back from this monomania, to heal your wounds and start planning for HillaryIs45 (somebody got a head start on that point, I see). But if you don't, remember that I didn't marginalize you. The media didn't marginalize you. You did this to yourselves through your words and your works after the rest of the world moved on.
(Edit @ 6:58pm: After Hillary halted the delegate count and handed the keys to the kingdom over to Obama, HillaryIs43.org went over its quota. Here's the Google mirror, if you have to see the *snip* job for yourself.)
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
First, a truly memorable rendition of "Cigareets and Whuskey and Wild, Wild Women."
"I Love You For Seventy Mental Reasons"
From 1960, recreating his big hit "Tim-Tay-Shun" with "Cinderella G. Stump" (Jo Stafford)
And with the legendary June Foray guesting on vocals, "These Durn-Fool Things Remind Me Of You." Don't let the montage fool you, that ain't her picture.
Like more than a few crazy-go-nuts American musical sidebars, you can only get this one through a Bear Family import CD, and not even through regular US Amazon. You're on your own. Good luck.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
"I thought people would be honest enough to see me as a person who was trying to do something good and not as a celebrity," McKinney told the AP. "My mother always taught me, 'Say something good or say nothing at all.'"Yeah, some people get really weird about somebody who jumps bail after being charged in England with abducting a missionary for sex slavery, even if it was 30 years ago. Go figure.
"I think I gave people too much credit," she said.
But the now-57-year-old McKinney said that, as far as she's concerned, the Joyce McKinney of 31 years ago doesn't exist. She maintains her innocence and says the woman of all those years ago is a "figment of the tabloid press. ... I don't want that garbage in with the puppy story."
But hey, PUPPIES! Um, right?
Thursday, August 07, 2008
My first reaction, of course: PUPPIES!!!! And you know that was your first reaction, too...unless you're a cat person.
"Five li'l Boogers"...oy.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Now, for the ethically challenged, let me translate this into a form that will help you realize how bad this could be (and not for Miley Cyrus): some meathead hacked into a cellphone and stole a series of nasty pix of a 15 year-old girl (that is to say, dangerously underage...doubly dangerous if those other pictures are extremely racy, with some form of nudity) and he'll sell 'em to you if the price is right.
It doesn't matter that she's probably the most famous 15 year-old girl in the country at the moment...the law'll hang you up just as easily for selling dirty pictures of a 15 year-old nobody as it will for a 15 year-old superstar. I don't think our l33T h@x0r has thought this plan all the way through. This escapade has "future Dateline NBC sting operation" written all over it. Unless, as one of the counter-rumors goes, they were faked, which just makes him a perv, not a law-breaking perv.
And no, neither of those links go to the pictures in question. This is a frickin' intervention, not a roadmap. Anyway, by the time a man like myself reaches his 30s, silently lusting after high school girls becomes behavior suitable for therapy...and he has to move onto silently lusting after college girls. It's still somewhat pathetic, but not necessarily prosecutable unless you do something stupid like buy them beer.
Sunday, July 06, 2008
And yes, he changed his mind about AIDS...eventually, when he felt the reaper's breath on his shoulder. That probably means something, but doing the right thing in the first place would've been so much better. Whether he ever changed his mind about Martin Luther King and the National Endowment for the Arts is something nobody ever bothered to ask. Considering he made an assheaded attempt in the 90s to make Carol Mosley-Braun cry by singing "Dixie" over and over, I have reasonable doubts that his racial opinions didn't mellow in his old age.
But hey, this is a wake, not an arms race! We should remember the good times...and if you were a liberal during the Helms years, "the good times" include wrapping the man's house in a giant condom.
Of course, if you dig deeply enough into these acts of civil disobedience, you'll eventually run across some spiteful things, like the time Larry Flynt published Helms' home phone number in Hustler as a phone sex line. Gotta take the sour with the sweet, and I suppose that's the big lesson here. It took decades of Jesse Helms' vicious snarl to appreciate the relatively sane approach of someone like Liz Dole. When she took his seat, the silence was profound.
If you were expecting something a bit more nasty and vindictive, this is probably what you were looking for. And maybe this, too.
Monday, June 23, 2008
The HBO special from which I took my model was last year's Life Is Worth Losing, and the first thing that struck me when I saw it was how tired and (gasp) old Carlin looked as he came on stage. "Well, he was in his 30s when Occupation: Foole came out, so it's about to be expected..."
Then he started in on a 20-30 minute riff on The Suicide Channel, and the years just fell away.
Ska: I just have this image of Carlin, George Burns, Mitch Hedburg and Lenny Bruce telling an Aristocrats joke at the pearly gates while millions of souls look on, horrifiedHere's to you, ya bitter old bastard...
Friday, June 20, 2008
Once you've read the story, you'll understand what's going on in this picture (courtesy Zhang Xuesong)...
Friday, June 13, 2008
Godspeed, Tim Russert.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
So here's the scene I just saw in the 9 p.m. hour on MSNBC: Terry McAuliffe walked in a room with no TV monitors and no cellphone or Blackberry reception--completely isolated from the outside world, in other words--and, barely 10 minutes after the network made the projection that Obama was the presumptive nominee for the Democratic side thanks to the delegate math and a steady influx of superdelegates, introduced Hillary Clinton as "the next president of the United States". Then, Hillary made an evasive speech where she mentioned at least once that WE WON...something...then plugged her website one more time (because those bills don't go away just because you didn't win, buster) and possibly left her loyal supporters completely in the dark about what happened. It was such a stunningly wrong moment that it left even Keith Olbermann asking what the hell we just saw. I'll wager that the only non-inner-circle people in that room who were clear about what has actually been achieved tonight and by who were the ones standing in front of TV cameras with microphones.
So those loyal footsoldiers, the ones who knocked on doors, ran the phone banks, and even went into hock for Hillary (and yet it was never enough, dammit! COUGHCOUGHhillaryclinton.com) will go home in the arms of certain knowledge and then turn on the TV or pick up the paper and find out they were strung along. And they'll get angry, they'll get depressed...maybe they'll even get drunk, and then possibly they'll swear off the system (or the party) forever. Of course, I base this conclusion on nothing but my overactive imagination, but that doesn't put a kibosh on where I'm going with this: Thank you so goddamn much, Hillary Clinton, for the most disgustingly deceptive moment in the '08 season yet. I'm saying a prayer tonight that the powers-that-be find a way to keep you off the ticket completely.
I may regret the vitriol of the above later, but never the sentiment. Believe it or not, I have ethical standards about dealing with people, and the Clinton camp violated too many of them one time too many tonight.
Oh, and Obama '08. There, I said it...
(Edit @ 4 a.m. (after some reflection): There's a reason the tag says "incoherent rant". And no, I won't really wish Clinton away to the cornfield if that's what it takes for us to get on with it already, but I'm of the type that believes the way a candidate runs their campaign (the procedural stuff more than the promises) gives clues on both their general character and how they would run their hypothetical presidency. It's a pretty simplistic formula--most armchair political analysis is--but it's worked so well in the past, which is why when I apply it to what Sen. Clinton has been up to over the past several months (again, see the previous two posts), it fills me with a quietly rising alarm. Anyway, the fact that I'm backpedaling on that touch of hyperbole should tell you why I don't make a living as a rabid political attack dog. I'm just a soul whose intentions are good. Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood. Terry McAuliffe can still bite my ass, though.)
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Oh, for those of you who keep track of such nonsense, this is the long version of the ad.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Speaking of love, one problem that recurs more and more frequently these days, in books and plays and movies, is the inability of people to communicate with the people they love: husbands and wives who can't communicate, children who can't communicate with their parents, and so on. And the characters in these books and plays and so on, and in real life, I might add, spend hours bemoaning the fact that they can't communicate. I feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up.Amen, and amen.
I don't know all of the viral video people featured here, which I view as a good thing, but I know most of them, which I view as a bad thing. They couldn't jawbone the Star Wars kid into it, I see...
The album drops on June 3rd! See you
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Last week, Bush kicked off a busman's tour of the Middle East by celebrating the anniversary of Israel with a speech to the Knesset that pissed off the Muslim world...again. Our media was busy concentrating on the part that pissed off Obama, so Americans can be forgiven for tuning out boilerplate "Israel and America are like tight like that" talk, and that he barely mentioned the Palestinians at all. But wait, there's more...
After that--after that, mind you--Bush went hat in hand to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia--a charter member of the Arab League, which (to unavoidably oversimpify things) wants a square deal for Palestinians...oh, and they're still Muslim enough that they make you leave your Bibles at the airport, but that's the way they run their house, and that's what you have to work with. Bush's goal was to try and "jawbone" oil prices down for the second time this year, and surprise, surprise, the King just didn't see it his way.
When you have as much free time as I do, you can twist anything into a straight line, but really, are we connecting dots that aren't there? Has all this "WHAT DID CHAMBERLAIN DO?" talk finally snapped our fragile little minds into five easy pieces? I leave that as an exercise to the reader.
Friday, May 16, 2008
(There's a highlight reel available if you can't tough out the whole segment, by the way...)
Apart from the blatantly obvious (that media bottom-feeders are incapable of answering a straight question with a direct answer), KRLA's Kevin James seems to have a case of what cartoon fans call "cigar mouth". It makes him look (and don't take this the wrong way) like a stroke victim...probably because one side of his face doesn't want any part of what's coming out of the rest of it.
The moral of this exercise is the same as it ever was: in a battle of wits, make sure you're properly armed before entering the arena.
Edit @ 2:00pm: ...and while I've got your attention, here's what Chamberlain did
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
- Via Cartoon Brew: Speed Racer Goes Crazy. It's an edit-machine epic that you'll never forget.
- Again through Cartoon Brew, here's the Journal of Cartoon Over-analyzations. The type of geekgasm bloggy goodness that I dig the hell out of...in small doses.
- And finally, my new what-the-hell project, the 1899 Project, is ready to roll. Enjoy a hard-hearted laugh at my expense as what passed for "light reading" at the end of the 19th century drives me slowly insane. You can even pick the first book for me. G'wan. I dare ya.
Saturday, May 03, 2008
Sunday, April 20, 2008
[our hero is an overweight, bearded, middle-aged man in a dive bar wearing a clearly vintage Steelers jersey.]
You know what this is? This is my new fuckin' haircut. You know what that means? It means I'm gettin' laid tonight. My boys [inset of scene from a Steelers tailgate party], they all got the same haircut, they're all gettin' laid tonight. I'm gonna nail every broad that walks through that door. Broads love my haircut. And if they don't... trailer trash.
[points at camera and repeats from various angles] ... trailer trash. Trailer trash. Trailer trash. Trailer trash.
Yeah I'm wearing my Franco Harris jersey in the middle of April. That's 'cause the Steelers rule and everyone should know it.
I swear to God, one jag-off looks at me the wrong way, I'm startin' a fight. [A man wearing a Browns jersey walks by, earning a glare from our hero.] Yeah, keep walkin', jag-off!
[Cut: Our hero walks into a building carrying a case of Iron City on his shoulder.]
Guy at desk: Sir, you have to check in.
Hero: Not now jag-off, the Stillers game is about to start!
[Back at bar] Yeah, I eat Primanti Brothers sammiches. I eat that shit for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
[in bathroom, looking in mirror, face painted in black and gold] Yeah, it's gametime, we're in control, we're gonna kick some serious Bengal ass. Got my Lipitor... [picks up bottle, notices it's empty] Ma! Ma! Where's my goddamn Lipitor! I told ya to get my refill of Lipitor!
[in bar] Yeah, I grunt when I go lift at the gym. That's 'cause everyone needs to see how much the Steelers rule.
[in gym, on treadmill wearing Steelers jersey and Zubaz pants] Yeah... uh... Yeah... huff... wheeze... yeah.... [steps off, coughing wildly]
[back in bar] Hey buddy, two Iron Cities here!
[cut back to house, screaming each item from different camera shot] PIEROGIES! PRIMANTI BROTHERS! IRON CITY! EXTRA CHEEEEEEEEEEEESE!
[back in bar] Yeah, I'm getting ripped tonight. Gonna drink about five pitchers of Iron City tonight. I fuckin' SHOWER in that shit.
[pointing at camera from different angles and repeating] Iron City! Iron City! Iron City! Iron City! Iron City!
[Cut to hero chugging from remainder of pitcher, somehow not spilling a drop, then slamming it down on the table] Iron City.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
- From Ceruleanst (via metaquotes (via (of course) BoingBoing): Pulp Fiction by William Shakespeare. Or to render it into suitably impressive gibberish:
conceited Comedic Tragedie
By William Shakespeare
& Q. Tarantino
As hath beene acted sundry times publikely,
and in court before Her Maiestie
when nothinge better was availablle
and freshly imprinted with material
from the Director's
true and perfect Coppie.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Some of the entries are interesting for telling you the early history of familar games. (Did you know people used to call tug-of-war "French and English"? Does the French side not pull? Haw haw.) It's also absolutely hilarious how what are now the most popular sports in the world are brutally and dispassionately dispatched. For instance, this is the entire entry for golf (or "bandy ball"):
"This game is played with a bat and a small ball; and the game consists in driving the ball into certain holes made in the ground. Sometimes these holes from first to last, are at the distance of half a mile or even more from each other. There are many intervening holes. Those who drive the ball into the greatest number of holes, of course win the game; but the ball must never be driven beyond a hole without first going into it. If the ball passes in the way beyond a hole, the player is out."
I can't help but think they left something out. Football is in and out in half that space.
Even better, under the catnip-to-kids heading of "Dangerous Games", is the entry for Hopscotch(!):
"This is a silly game. It is calculated to wear out the shoes."
Can't argue with that logic. Mr. Martin also describes a version of follow-the-leader where the kid who trips up is called an "ass" and some other kid is supposed to hop on his back and ride him. If you call a modern kid an "ass", chances are you're about to invent a new type of dangerous game. Especially if he can find something heavy to hit you with.
The section on carpentry (CARPENTRY IS A SPORT! ADMIT I'M RIGHT!) is just breathtaking. The author is good enough to tell what tools you need to stock your workshop and what each is used for. Then, after the boy has begged all this stuff off his folks, when it comes time to put all this stuff to work, the chapter just stops. You turn the page and suddenly the book comes over all OOOOO, LET'S RAISE CHICKENS! CHICKEN FARMING IS A SPORT! ADMIT I'M RIGHT! What to do with all those tools and lumber the book just talked you into? Well, you can't expect it to tell you everything. Figure a few things out for yourself. Can't be a slug all your life.
There's also a section on gardening, which arguably is a national sport in England.
The whole thing makes me wonder if William Martin (or 19th century Britain, for that matter) took a suspicious view of idle amusement. Too much free time, sonny boy? Build us an end table. Instructions? That's a laugh. But you're a bright lad. I'm sure you can figure it out on your own. And if you can't, we'll apprentice you to the man down the road. No tears, now...we'll still see you at Christmas.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Of course, the bloggers can work elsewhere, and they profess a love of the nonstop action and perhaps the chance to create a global media outlet without a major up-front investment. At the same time, some are starting to wonder if something has gone very wrong. In the last few months, two among their ranks have died suddenly.
Of course, with my being slothlike in posting at this here blog, that fate will not be my undoing. But the article does bring up a point about everything being a 24 hour news cycle and how that in itself is vicious to those who blog for a living.
“No one has supported President Bush on Iraq more than I have.” -- John McCain
There we are...short, pithy, suitable for Cafepress t-shirts, bumper stickers, keychains, baby jumpers, and (of course) throwing it back in the candidate's face at inoppurtune moments. Have fun.
Friday, April 04, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
Just like evangelicals in the Republican Party, older women in the Democratic Party have been expected to work for the party, vote, and go away. It's not going to be that simple any more.Pardon me? Is this analogy implying that evangelical Christians don't expect to have a voice in government? That an influential bloc of evangelicals didn't in fact hijack the party and have been exceedingly influential in shaping the rhetoric and policy decisions of the past three decades? Do you seriously think same sex marriage or abortion would be red alert issues if the GOPs weren't thoroughly cowed by the power of God's People, if they expected the Christian community to sit back and take it? Those protests don't happen by themselves, you know. Fundamentalists aren't just working for the Republican party, they're working the party for their own ends. Sometimes the process works better for them than others, but you deny their influence on politics and American life at your own peril.
We want representation, just like evangelicals in the Republican Party do. We're no longer willing to be silent partners who don't expect to have a voice.
I see what this poster was trying to do, but that specific comparison doesn't help your case...if you're talking to liberals, that is, which is the probably the main group that would listen to a "conspiracy of the patriarchy" theory in the first place (full disclosure: I lean to the left, but not that far). This is the reason I usually end up editing my posts several times after they go live; words are all I have here, and they're too valuable to get wrong.
To sum up (and hopefully this will be my final word on this distraction): please let this meme die, because the further away it gets from the source, the dumber it makes us all. Just like the "pubic hair on the Coke can" derailed serious discussion regarding the qualifications and positions of Clarence Thomas, the gender issue is (brace yourself) beside the point when it comes to considering Clinton's qualifications and positions. This is too important an election with too many things at stake (not to mention too many lives on the line overseas and too many livelihoods on the line at home) to turn into a referendum about off-color jokes involving women with power. YOU'RE NOT HELPING.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
There are many reasons I can't stand Senator Clinton and her campaign. None of them have to do with the lack of a Y chromosome. I'll choose a few at random:
- Sen. Clinton planted herself on the wrong side of a few hot-button issues: She was for NAFTA, until it was convenient to be against it (unless she isn't really against it). There was also that speech she made in support of Bush's blank check for Iraq back in '02, which simply won't go away, especially after 4,000 dead soldiers. Yes, a lot of people didn't ask the right questions at the time. No, that doesn't give her a free pass. Especially for a candidate who's been making huge noises in recent weeks about her extensive foreign policy experience.
- The Clinton camp has struck a consistently sour and combative tone not only against Obama but against the parts of the nomination process that didn't automatically favor Hillary (here's a hint: don't say "caucus" when she's in the room). It gives me an uneasy feeling that they're laboring mightily to game the system under the guise of "making every vote count".
- Hillary's speaking style makes me wonder if she's sincere about anything. That probably shouldn't mean anything, but dammit, it does.
- When the Clintonistas go negative, the results make me feel especially unclean. The Geraldine Ferraro comment is a particularly on-the-nose example of this, but I especially can't shake that campaign appearance where she seemingly mocked the concept of hope (and may have burned the bridge to the elusive youth vote, where Obama has been playing especially well).
As for Ms. Bennetts' comment that nothing like the infamous "iron my shirt" heckle would be thrown at Obama (as if nothing bad ever happens to a black man in this country), how soon we forget that during his first Senate campaign the GOPs made the jaw-dropping decision to insert Alan Keyes as Obama's opponent, leaving me with the impression that they thought the electorate was stupid enough to be confused by two black men on the ticket. Of course, it was Alan frickin' Keyes, so the resultant campaign was good for entertainment value, even if the result was never even slightly in doubt.
It would be wonderful to have nuanced discussions about these issues in the media, rather than the shrill squabbles that pass for discussion in the commercial media. Usually NPR is about the only place where you can count on something like that in the course of a day, but sadly Wednesday wasn't the day. Thursday might not be good either, but I'll keep my fingers crossed.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Our own Skaboomizzy--you know, the guy that never posts here, even though he can--has posted to the DailyKos his own personal analysis of what the Jack Murtha endorsement means for the Clinton campaign (tl;dr version: not a lot, really).
Equally enlightening are the tiny handful of comment field counterattacks which take him to task on smears he didn't write; the one implying he's another Karl Rove is wonderfully delusional. It's a damn shame that, given the signal-to-noise ratio of the modern political process, people who want to actually think the Important Things through get squelched by kneejerk reactionaries, who are much sexier to the supporters of the 24-hour news cycle. I can't say this often enough: one of the major enemies of reason is the group of people who tell you what it all means before they have a handle on what "it" actually is.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
WELL, DO YOU?
Screw it, I'm voting Obama...
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Basically, Rep. Couch (Hey kids! A Republican legislator who doesn't understand the Internet! What a novelty!) would like to step on the concerns of whistleblowers, victims of hate crimes and molestation, and other people who genuinely need a shield to preserve their safety in tough times so that he can band-aid the booboos of east Kentucky kids who had somebody be mean to them on the Internet. His brilliant plan to save the children online is by forcing them to attach their real names and addresses to everything they do online. Putting aside the profoundly clueless idea that bullies won't bully you if you know where they live (never stopped real-world bullies in high school), the pedophile lobby must be huge in the Bluegrass State. The men who show up at Chris Hanson stings have wet dreams about a law like this. Also, have you ever run across somebody online who said they'd kick your ass if they could find you? Well, now your address is right there. See you in fifteen minutes, punk!
If I was a Kentucky taxpayer (Drew Curtis, I'm looking at you), I'd be salty as holy hell this is the face your state legislature presents to the world. But back to the Ky. Rep.: good luck enforcing your parochial little statute across state lines. Or internationally. Or even inside Kentucky, really. I guess I'm saying to Rep. Couch that he's coming across as a dangerously ignorant tool of monumental proportions, so take that worthless bill off the floor and fade back into obscurity. If he's not one of Keith Olbermann's Worst People In The World tonight, it'll be like finding out there's no Santa all over again.
(Full disclosure: I'm a North Carolina citizen posting through a service whose main point-of-presence is in California (or is it India? See, sometimes it confuses me, too...). )
Sunday, March 09, 2008
Thursday, March 06, 2008
I thought it was especially important to whip this one out today, since Tuesday night the GOP nomination was handed to Elmer Fudd...
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
It's 3 a.m.
Your children are sleeping.
But in the White House, a phone is ringing.
It's Mike Gravel.
He's lost his pills and is in the bus station.
When that phone rings, don't you want someone who can go pick up a delusional, jabbering Mike Gravel at the Greyhound depot?
Boring ol' credits:
Original title: Назубок ("For A Tooth", if I'm translating the original post right)
Director/script/design: Artem Lukichev
Sound: Dmitri Milovanov
Producer: Alexander Gerasimov
When I stop talking, it takes a little bit of grease on the wheels to get me to start posting again...well folks, this stunt by Michael Musto for the Village Voice did the trick. Hmm, looks like there's an article attached (about semi-naked starlets who don't seem to do much else, and how they all think they're Marilyn Monroe), but somehow, these terrifying photos have erased my ability to read. And still I can type. Weird. Hope somebody will proof this for me...
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Hey, another no-content post! Yay!
Friday, January 18, 2008
Between this and his on-air meltdown after the sub-prime mortgage fiasco last year, it won't be long before Cramer starts recommending heavy investment in canned goods and firearms...with appropriate cartoon sound effects, of course. Still, forewarned is forearmed, as I like to say but never do....
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Sunday, January 13, 2008
As entertaining as her blissed-out Kelly Rippa-style expression and mechanically enthusiastic delivery was, that's not what held my attention. Especially when she leaned into the camera, which she did in almost every shot. And then, they superimposed the toll-free number right at the (ahem) point of interest. Coincidence? I don't know, but I have some theories...
Part of me is trying to rationalize this into a spiel about how the ample cleavage on the pitchwoman is as much of a marketing tool as the testimonials about getting crazy-mad money from those website businesses, that it's all in the snake oil nature of this type of TV pitch. It's more subtle than Paris Hilton in a bikini washing the car with a Carl's Jr. hamburger, but it's cut from the same theory: now that we've got your attention, here's some guy to take your money. I'd even have a crafty allusion to the Bill Hicks routine about the perfect commercial ("More Snickers! More Coke!"), because that's the way I roll when I actually get rolling. Some ad geniuses have already moved into Hicks-land, which would make it an even more reasonable thing to ramble about.
The rest of me hangs my head and says: "I am a lonely, lonely man. I should just call the damn number and get it over with." And that's the type of thinking that keeps me up at 5 in the morning in the first place. It's times like this that I'm glad our daily traffic hovers in the single digits...
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
(And yeah, I was the one who submitted the link to Digg, so I figure I'm allowed to steal my own description...)
Saturday, January 05, 2008
(Edit @ 4:13pm: It's also worth noting that the writers who created all these shows gave up the rights for residuals on their pre-1960 work to get paid from 1960 on. Surrendering the past as a down payment on the future? Something to think about...)