Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Entertaining Great Books Allusion of the Day

Thomas Hobbes, in Leviathan, describing the misery of life in a state of primal anarchy: "In such condition...the life of man [is] solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short."

Theodore Dalrymple, in an essay on how widespread malnutrition is among the welfare poor of Britain in the aftermath of the disintegration of the nuclear family, family dinners and therefore the very art of cooking itself having disappeared entirely from the welfare subculture:
Moreover, unlike the people who spoke so fluently of the food deserts, I had, in the course of my medical duties, visited many homes in the area.... [In homes other than those of recently-immigrated Indian families], cookery meant (at its best) re-heating in a microwave oven, and there was no table round which people could sit together to eat the re-heated food. Meals here were solitary, poor, nasty, British, and short. [From "The Starving Criminal," in Our Culture, What's Left of It]

Friday, August 26, 2011

Don't tell any ladies you know...

...but scientist just found a very large diamond.

HT: Ace's sidebar. (If you come back in a month you won't see the link because it will have been pushed off the sidebar by more recent fun stuff.)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Top Gear: Let's make boats out of cars!!

And as a bonus, here's Extreme Motorhome Racing:

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring...on a very cool instrument

HT: Vodkapundit.

"Amazingly They Keep Losing Money Despite Their Breathtaking Competence" Dept

Here are some of the latest stamps to be released by the competent folks at your U.S. Postal Service (customers' motto: "If it isn't the snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night holding up the mail, what is it?"):

The observant -- such as, for example, Tuesday Morning Quarterback -- will note that the stamp on the left is a picture of the Statue of Liberty...that stands in front of the New York - New York Hotel in Las Vegas.

Last line of this news article detailing the screw-up: "The USPS has previously issued 23 other stamps featuring the Statue of Liberty, and officials said all of them show the actual statue -- they think."

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Peril meets a new poet

David French provided a quote and a link that led me to the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore. I like the lines French originally quoted enough to have seriously considered bumping Tristam Shandy from the top of this blog:

I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
I woke and saw that life was duty.
I acted, and behold, duty was joy.
Which pretty much directly echoes conversations I've been having recently with Merry, Sally and Rusty. But what perfect phrasing!

It turns out that Tagore has quite a bit to say that is well worth saying, and that he says perfectly. Go read the whole thing.

Marcellus Shale HSSE Moment of the Day (a.k.a "Hide Your Womenfolk!")

State Rep. Michael Sturla (D) of Pennsylvania is concerned that natural gas drillers in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale field aren't really doing much for the locals:
Also, aside from building roads so their trucks can get to drill sites and doing a little stream work to mitigate damage from their road building, exactly what are all those things the drillers are doing for the local communities? Patronizing the bars at night? Driving up the cost of rental housing? Spreading sexually transmitted disease amongst the womenfolk?...

I'm not blogging this because I think it was a particularly stupid thing to say (though I certainly enjoyed the phrasing, which was lacking nothing save a reference to sandwiches); he seems to have a valid point so far as it goes. I'm just blogging it because it made me you think the production companies involved are including that particular risk in their safety briefings?

UPDATE: A person to whom I am not allowed refer observes that the best safety tactic in this situation is to "stop all that unauthorized drilling."

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I stand corrected

I have long considered it self-evidently evil for governments to "borrow" money that could only be repaid, in the future, by people too young to have had any say whatsoever in the decision to borrow. "Don't talk to me about taxation without representation," I'd say, "if you support Social Security promises that can only be kept by confiscating money thirty years from now for people who can't vote yet due to not having been, you know, born." But it's always possible that a man is wrong, and when you realize you've been wrong, you have to man up and say so.

And I was wrong, as Frank J. Fleming points out in asking, "What's Wrong with Making Future Generations Pay for Our Debt?" The heart of his argument may be found here:
Rugby, sheep and sex don't mix
Oh, wait, sorry, that wasn't Fleming, that was some folks in New Zealand complaining about various suggestions for how one might show support for the All Blacks (most of whom, despite the name, are not in fact Black, which I find very confusing, but then I'm easily confused). Here is what Fleming has to say:
That leaves only one possible group to pay down the debt: People of the future....The only objection I ever hear to it is that we should feel bad for leaving all this debt to our children and our children’s children. This is also stupid reasoning. Why, you ask?

Because future generations are a bunch of jerks.

Come on; we all know what future generations are like. They’re going to look back at us and say, “Oh, look at those people from 2011 with their backwards morals and primitive scientific knowledge! What a bunch of cavemen!” Yeah, that’s right; they’re going to make fun of us. And while they’re making fun of us, they’ll be playing around with their laser guns and jet packs and robot maids — all of which they’ll completely take for granted. Future generations are a bunch of arrogant, over-privileged punks! I hate them. And I don’t see any reason to feel bad for leaving such awful people tons of debt. Maybe that will wipe those smug smiles off their genetically altered faces.
Some logic simply can't be refuted. I stand humbly corrected. I vote we go for $100 trillion.

HT: I think I got this from an old Taranto piece, though I don't remember which one.

What does it take to kill a Toyota pickup truck?

The Top Gear boys get pretty serious about it:

Part I (from the fact that there is a Part II and a Part III, you'll guess that at first they didn't succeed. But these are persistent fellows, so:

Part II: Time to go for a gravity ride.

Part III: Farewell to a legend.

It's a fun meme and I want in

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Look, I make no apologies for being reasonable...

THE PERIL: Look, I make no apologies for my movie-star good looks and six-pack abs...

I'd like to be able to join in on making fun of Rick Perry, but so far it seems to be mostly his accent that's getting made fun of, and I'm not well-positioned for making fun of that.

On the other hand, while Michele Bachmann hasn't quite promised to drain the oceans and heal the planet (yet), campaign promises like this one give the Peril hope for more unintentional comedy in days to come. She isn't in The One's league (yet), but she seems at least inclined to play His game. Do you think she speaks Austrian? From the way she spells her name, I somehow doubt she speaks French or Italian.

Texas T-shirt of the day

Saw this on a t-shirt today (and, despite the blogpost title, I freely admit this shirt smacks even more of Louisiana than it does of Texas):


should be a convenience store, not a government agency

Because I like wise quotes...

...I'm considering this for my new wallpaper.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Hey, America...

From (not at all family-safe)

Thursday, August 04, 2011

"Catch-2012" -- that's nicely phrased

As is this explanation of Barack Obama's reelection dilemma:

"The only way for Obama to stimulate the enormous private sector job growth needed to ensure Obama’s reelection is for Obama to announce he is not running for reelection, which would unleash a wave of investment and economic activity not seen since the Great Depression."

More specifically, not since private investment exploded in the U.S. within the first two months after FDR's death. (The economic improvement before FDR's death had been primarily the result of defense spending increases, not growth in the private sector, which had gone to the sidelines very early in FDR's first term, as soon as it became obvious that FDR, a failed businessman himself, was bitterly antagonistic to successful businessmen and felt no ethical constraints on the means he was willing to use to attack their success.)

But I wouldn't be too optimistic about 2012 elections if I were a can't vote against Obama without voting for some Republican. And just which Presidential candidate, exactly, do the Republicans intend to offer us? Mitt "Obamneycare" Romney? Really? Mitch Daniels I might go for, or Chris Christie; but they don't seem to be running.

Line of the day...well, of June 16th. (I'm a little behind.)

A while back the lesbian bloggers A Gay Girl in Damascus and the even-more-ironically-titled Lez Get Real both turned out to actually be straight men. James Taranto seized the opportunity by writing a short bit about how much this annoys genuinely lesbian bloggers, ending the bit with the golden sentence:

"And that is why it is so very important to encourage more women to get into traditionally male-dominated occupations like lesbian blogging."