Monday, August 31, 2009

A pretty good line...

...may be found over at Politics of the Peril, where it has been banished because in this case I think it's more partisan than funny -- or, at least, if you share my opinion of the Obamessiah you'll find it a funny bit of snark, but if you're still a True Believer...then probably not. In the latter case you can skip it without dis-ease of conscience, naturally.

Financial Statement Faux Pas of the Day Dept

Jennifer Lowry points us to the following unusually honest entry in the financial statements of publicly traded NZ Farming:

Fairness requires me to link to the company's response. I particularly like the way they refrained from saying, "And then we found the !!#$!@@#$@ !@#$!@ !@#$!@ who left that note on our financials and fired his 1#$!@#$ing #$!#$!#$ of a !#$!#$!ing !#$!@#@," which sentence finds its way into their statement carefully rephrased as, "We have also reviewed our internal processes to establish how the issue arose." Indeed. I bet you did. [chuckling gleefully]

Natasha Borzilova keeping it simple

The version of "Cheap Escape" on Natasha's album Cheap Escape is very nicely produced -- not overly produced by any means, but a nice small-band feel to it. I like it, very much. (There are at least three tracks on the album I like even better, but that's just because it's an excellent album with one strong cut after another.) But if you want to know how good a musician somebody is, as opposed to how good a producer she is, then you take away the band and the background tracks, and you hand her an acoustic guitar and a mike in front of a live audience, and you see what she can do.

I think she does fine, but then I'm predisposed to liking her music because I'm already very familiar with it from her Bering Strait days and from enough playthroughs of Cheap Escape to have long ago lost count.

Political line of the day

I suppose if you are a Woman Of The Left, and you want to say that it was okay for Teddy Kennedy to treat women like something rather less valuable than subsidized farmland in his private life so long as he promoted the appropriate legal policies in Washington, and you want to speculate that perhaps Mary Jo Kopechne "would have thought it was worth it"...okay, I guess if that's the way you weigh a man's character, it's your privilege. But it would be a lot more fun for me if you could phrase your argument the way Mark Steyn recently phrased it on your behalf:

"You can't make an omelet without breaking chicks, right?"

[fondly remembering the spewing of coffee upon first reading]

See, this is EXACTLY why I miss Molly Ivins. It would have been hard to find anybody with whose politics I disagreed more, but even when she was pushing nonsense that I could hardly believe any adult could seriously buy into, she could make me laugh. And when Republicans, as they are wont to do, ran around pushing arrant nonsense like the current "Teddy was a better Catholic than the Pope" idiocy, you knew Molly would give 'em their own "without breaking chicks" moment. Now that Molly's gone, we have, who...Maureen Dowd???? Paul Krugman??? You gotta be kidding me. Looking at the current crop of columnists on the Left now that Molly's gone, I find myself saying, in the words of the Monty Python camel-spotter, "You're no fun anymore."

Which is too bad.

Actually, hang on a minute -- you know what? I guess maybe the problem is I don't watch has just occurred to me that perhaps Jon Stewart has taken over Molly's mantle, but since he's a tv guy rather than a print guy I'm missing out on all the funny Leftwise humor? This is a hypothesis I'm willing to consider seriously. Perhaps I ought to start making the effort to watch The Daily Show. Hmmmm...

UPDATE: For those not familiar with the camel-spotting sketch, allow me to address the lacuna in your cultural education.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

It's county fair time... L.A. I agree with Insty that this is a very funny commercial.

UPDATE: And so is this one, tracked down by Randy "Boudreaux" Guidry:


Put Kasia on a plane to New York a couple of days ago, and it's taken me a bit to blog about it because, you know, I'm very very proud of her, but it was still hard to watch her disappearing past security. I kept moving around to improve the angle and keep a line of sight as long as possible, but, you know, it's not like you can see Queens from Houston. When you're being assaulted by about eighteen years of memories all at once it's pretty hard to keep your composure.

Just got an e-mail from her and she's gotten 27 AP credit hours including six in core courses, making her a sophomore when she stepped off the plane. Did I mention I was proud of her?

A minor anecdote (which is of course much easier for me to write about than are poignant farewells, flippancy being my natural state): while I was talking to Kasia at the airport, there outside the Southwest check-in counter at Hobby, I idly noted a late thirty-something woman with a rather distressed look running past us behind Kasia's back. Mostly I noted it shall I put it...this was not a woman who looks like she runs much. So I casually thought, "Don't look like she does that much," but paid no more attention because I didn't have much time left to talk with Kasia and had no time to spare for distraction.

Then about two minutes later the woman comes back, looking very relieved.

With a two-year-old boy in her arms.

[shaking head silently while imagining the moment in which she turned around from checking in and realized the kid had escaped, as two-year-olds notoriously are apt to do]

We are so dead

As the Sundries Shack puts it, in responding to this story:
Great. So if there is an advanced civilization on Gliese 581d, the very first communication it’ll get from us will be a two-hour long text spam attack. How, exactly, is several billion variations of “u r teh suxxors rofl” and “OMG ur my new BFF aliens!!11!!!” supposed to convince an alien planet that we’re actually intelligent?...The story says that the messages will take about twenty years to arrive. That gives us all about forty years before Earth is destroyed by a planet-annihilating death ray from Gliese 581d in 2049.
Obviously this story is a rich vein for the sarcastically inclined; I've seen several takes on it by way of Instapundit, and I think my favorite is the person (alas, can't remember who and can't hat-tip) who suggests that we include the message, "Txt me 2 ur leader!" [chuckling] Text me get it? "Text me to..." [disgustedly] Oh, never mind.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Random vodka-inspired thought of the day

"Marxism remains popular in areas where people can’t read, and on college campuses filled with people who can’t do anything but read.

I submit that this is not a coincidence."

-- Vodkapundit

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Line of the Day

If I decide to talk seriously about Teddy Kennedy, I'll do so over on the politics blog; but here's the line of the day from somebody disgusted by the Left's instant attempt to exploit Kennedy's death by trying to, you know, name the health care bill after him, stuff like that:

"If they get to talk about Camelot, we get to talk about the Lady in the Lake."

[chortling] Ouch! That's a brilliant line, there. Too bad no less-than-thirty-year-old product of the American public school system gets the joke...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Not That There's Anything Wrong With That Dept

From Failblog:

The Line of the Day...

...comes from Bill Simmons:

"I got rocked by Montezuma's revenge on the way home, which was strange because I am absolutely positive I have never done anything to Montezuma."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sixteen reasons to date a convict...

...may be found here. My daughters are forbidden to follow the link.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Why We Need Guys Dept, Latest Installment

Because otherwise nobody would carry out critical research into mathematical models of outbreaks of zombie infection.

Hat tip: Instapundit.

A gleeful skewering of a particularly dim-witted Talking Points memo...

...may be found here. Democratic friends are advised either to skip it, or else to remember that I have a much higher opinion of private persons who lead productive and admirable private lives but happen, for whatever reason, to be of the liberal persuasion, than I have of professional Democrats -- in exactly the same way that I have a much higher opinion of private persons who lead productive and admirable private lives but happen, for whatever reason, to be true-believer Republicans, than I have of professional Republicans.

Now I have to go read this woman's books

Just ran across a fascinating article about a woman I never heard of before today: Zora Neale Hurston. The article focuses rather heavily on Hurston's political views, and what he says about them (you could sum them up as being ferociously individualistic and adamantly opposed to the self-poison that is self-pity) resonates very nicely with my own. But that doesn't particularly fascinate me -- if I want to hear somebody express those political views, I can always talk to myself. It's the life and work -- the fact that she combined a passionate commitment to the idea that each black person ought to think of himself or herself as an individual first and foremost, with an equally passionate love of black culture quâ black culture, for example. Now there is a person who followed her own intellectual path with a complete disregard for the facile, and generally false, platitudes of the indolently conventional. And what I wouldn't give to resurrect Hurston and Joel Chandler Harris for twenty-four hours, put them in the same room, and tape the conversation!

Seriously, go read the piece, and see whether you don't finish it and find yourself thinking, "I wonder what it would have been like to talk to that woman."

Here's my favorite Hurston quote from the piece: "Sometimes, I feel discriminated against. But it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company!" [The Peril cackles delightedly]

HT: The Corner, where Hurston has apparently been a subject of much discussion recently -- which shows how often I read The Corner these days.

UPDATE: I went back and found one of the old Corner posts, this one by Roger Clegg, and his opening words express EXACTLY my own reaction: "I wish I could have met her. That is the surest conclusion I've drawn after reading Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston by Valerie Boyd (winner of the 2003 Southern Book Critics Circle Award)." Exactly. Meanwhile, he has a couple of other quotes that confirm my impression that Hurston knew the fallacy of hypostasization when she saw it (though she may not have known the technical term for it):
"Races have never done anything," she also wrote. "What seems race achievement is the work of individuals." And "all clumps of people turn out to be individuals on close inspection."

And another anecdote that delights me:
One occurred when she met with her publisher and others at a restaurant, and the waiter was rude, infuriating the rest of her party, but she refused to be bothered: "His whiteness notwithstanding, he was only a waiter, after all; she was the published author."
Yes, yes, as I keep trying to get across to my own kids, to be distressed by another person's rudeness to you or his opinion of you, is to validate his own assumption that he is superior to you and that you require his approval. For example, why should it distress me that my ex-mother-in-law has a low opinion of me (as long as she isn't slandering me behind my back in an attempt to create estrangement between me and my children, or at least as long as my children know both her character and mine well enough not to be taken in by the slander and malice)? I mean, seriously, just consider the source and move on. In the anecodote Clegg relates, the waiter's rudeness said nothing at all about Hurston's value as an individual; it merely revealed his own contemptible nature. Why should she sink herself to his level by bothering to resent the treatment? Why be emotionally enslaved to the good opinions of those whose opinions are, quite literally, worthless?

I wish I could have met her.

Some advice for those feeling the need to confess their sins

If you have a friend whom you can trust, young man, and you have been stupidly involved in three meaningless sexual relationships this summer, and you got in trouble with your parents over it, and you need to talk it out...well, that's a good thing (talking it out, I mean, not having meaningless sexual relationships and getting in trouble with your parents). And it's a good thing to say, out loud, exactly what you did wrong and to ask yourself why you did what you did and what you can do to stop it. If you went to band camp and schtupped a girl about whom the only thing you can remember is, literally, that she wore a purple dress and played the trumpet, then I agree that you should ask questions about what that episode reveals about your own character and should talk over, with a trusted advisor, strategies for ensuring that in the future you make better decisions. And if your feelings on the matter run deep enough that you cannot adequately express them without the occasional, or even frequent, "s---" or "f---", why then I agree that it's a good thing to let it out and face up to the strength and depth of your own self-loathing.

But, dude -- don't do it sitting in a coffee shop where six other customers and two baristas are having to listen to it, in a voice so boomingly penetrating that the guy two seats away (which would be me) can't fully drown you out even with the fourth movement of the "Little Russian" symphony cranked to full volume in his headphones.

I swear, if I didn't occasionally meet young people like Daniela and Daniel and David and Stephanie, Ferris Bueller's maître d' would have nothing on me in the weeping-for-the-future department. I ask you, people of my generation and regional provenance: can you imagine having so little consideration for the persons around you, even in junior high? Can you imagine what our parents would have done? Or, more importantly: if I had pulled a stunt like that when I was this kid's age (approximately 19, I'd say), then every adult in the room would have interrupted to say, "What are you doing having that conversation here? I know your momma taught you better than that, 'cause I know your momma and I know she made sure you know better." Meanwhile I'm sitting here trying to figure out whether I should go over to that table and say, "Guys, I really don't think this an appropriate place to hold this conversation." And as you see, I haven't decided to do anything about it yet -- I'm just blogging it. Which may say as much about me as the fact that these two are having the conversation in this time and place, says about them.

UPDATE: Okay, I was literally just standing up to go talk to them when the girl starts talking about how she wasn't sure that the things she liked about him outweigh the behaviorable problems he has. So (a) this isn't a guy trying to talk through his issues with a helpful friend; it's a boyfriend/girlfriend sexual honesty session, carried out in front of a captive audience. [searches for words, gives up] And (b) there is no way on God's green earth I'm getting involved in this. Call me coward, baby, but I have sat myself right back down and ain't gettin' up again except on tiptoe.

(sigh) Guess the rest of the day belongs to Toby Mac, since volume is now the preeminent consideration in my musical selection.

Cash for Clogs

The problem with this is, aren't you taking money from those who exercised good fashion sense to begin with and giving it to the unfashionable? I can't imagine [name of good friend who loves fashion but hates being blogged about, deleted] being very happy about this program...and personally, I think people should have to live with the consequences of their own disastrous fashion choices. "Moral hazard," people! Look it up!
Manolo says, since the government is giving away the free money to the car buyers, perhaps it is time for the shoe industry to lobby for their own subsidy.

Thus the Manolo proposes the Cash for Clogs program.

Turn in your old Croc for destruction and receive the $10 gift certificate for the purchase of the new pair of beautiful shoes....[read the rest here]

Friday, August 14, 2009

Lines of the day

All having to do with politics, and all falling more or less in line with my own opinions on the topics addressed, but included on this blog instead of over at Politics of the Peril because I'm mostly posting them 'cause I laughed when I read them.

Anonymous "tea party" protestor to the Dishonorable Steny Hoyer (as quoted at Volokh): "Why are you guys trying to stuff a health care bill down our throat in three or four weeks when the President took six months to pick out a dog for his kids?" Pretty much unanswerable, that one. (By the way, I can't remember where I saw it but somebody is proposing that we all call our representatives and demand a pledge that they will refuse to vote on any health care bill until the entire text has been published on-line for public perusal and debate for a minimum of one month. Excellent idea. Never happen.)

Secondly, this has apparently been making the rounds for a while but I only just saw it today, though, alas, I can't remember where and can't do the hat tip thing:

"Political Correctness (n.): a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical, liberal minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media,which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

Look, I know that language is not quite family-friendly, but I never saw it coming and did a full-blown dry spit take (that is to say, thank heaven I wasn't in the middle of a sip of Scotch because I hate to waste Scotch). How did I, redneck that I am, reach the age of 42 without ever having heard that particular metaphor for "that which is manifestly impossible and besides no person with any common sense would want to do it to begin with"? And I would think it was just as funny -- no, really, Jennifer, I promise -- if the set-up had been three lines of equally pompous, look-at-me-the-intellectual six-syllable-word puffery targeting conservatives. That's a perfect example of the art of setting up a punch line for maximum impact. Well done, whoever you are that crafted that one.

Finally, we have Insty's summation of the clumsiness of the Democrats' reaction to the wellspring of opposition to the health care bill, which illustrates Insty's true genius: nobody on earth consistently gets his point across so effectively in so few words. Again, I admire (indeed, am rather in awe of) the craftsmanship even though I frequently disagree with the point he's making. Insty's version of the health care dialogue to date:
Obama: I’m going to turn healthcare upside down. Not sure how.

People: I don’t think I’ll like this.

Obama: Haters!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A post on the Canadian health care (snickering...getting self back under control...okay, moving on) system...

...may be found over at Politics of the Peril, complete with video.

I think my favorite part is when the nurse at the clinic tells Crowder's Canadian friend that the waiting list to get a family doctor is two to three years (I'm not making that up), but that that's okay, because, "You're young, you have time." But the bit where Diane talks about how much better her dog has it in Canada than she does is pretty good too.

Question of the Day: Why are there no dumb brunettes?



Tuesday, August 04, 2009

It's All About the Style