A blog that used to be about things

Friday, December 17, 2010

At least not at Christmastime

Via Stumplane, a "bad Santa" gets control of Harrods's (a department store of some sort, I presume) light display. Is it mandatory they find a Midwestern American to supply the appropriately austere quote:
“Honestly, I am disgusted, ” said Irene Rider, 59, from Gary, Indiana. “I was with my grandchildren. We had just gotten off the bus. I said ‘look everybody’ and pointed up to the lights – but you know what the lights said? They said f**k off. And that is not an appropriate message for a child. At least not at Christmastime.”
Maybe on Easter?


Not to steal BLCKDGRD's gimmick, but it seems that Captain Beefheart has died. IOZ posts Bach, I'll post Beefheart:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Reviewing my notes in preparation of my oft-delayed final, I come across my notes on the beloved Contracts Clause:

Hey, CC! What's going on?
Oh, word? That is cold blooded, CC! You know, my cousin was in a similar situation, where he thought he had a dope job at this warehouse uptown, near the river. It turned out that the whole thing was some front for a slave-prostitution ring! Now, I know my cousin has done some ill shit in his day, so it seems a bit funny that he would have no idea what was actually going down at that place, but I'll believe him when he tells me that he didn't. Anyways, the whole place got shut down. He said he was pulling up to work one day, and saw cops everywhere, arresting people and shit, so he just left.

Friday, December 3, 2010

As above, so below

Our haute couture high-priests at NASA did not discover an alien life-form, or even a life-form that is created from completely alien material, what it found was a life-form that can eat trash.

Formative Years

I believe this was the first issue of Mad Magazine I ever read. I have vague memories of seeing this issue, but I am pretty sure I saw the Batman issue first. September 1989 would indicate that my development in these matters may have been a little slow (I was 8 then), but I suppose I still turned out alright.

Spend more working hours here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Shocked into speech

I thought about even deleting this blog. I should have.

US Marines Shrug Off Afghan Anger at Civilian Killings

Indeed, tribal elders regularly complain to the Marines about the killings. Officials said no investigations would be taken on the basis of the elders complaints, and said the fact that the elders haven’t been killed by the Taliban was “proof” that they were in league with the Taliban and the complaints were a trick.

Proof. It's a fact. Look it up. I don't even like Kids in the Hall, but the horror of this story has thrust them back into my mind.

Friday, November 19, 2010

It's a mad house! A mad house!

John Cole seems to think that Matt Taibbi is the sane one in a mad world because he "looks around him and reacts to evidence and data." If 40% of Taibbi's electorate really are crazy, is it really sane to keep arguing with them?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Funhouse Mirrors

Via the ever amusing Balloon Juice, here is an excerpt from an editorial at Esquire:
The problem is that one side plays by its own rules in a universe of its own devising, with its own physical laws, its unique economics, and its own history and theology, and that universe is now devouring the real one.

*GASP* There is a monster in that mirror!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Most Important Election Ever - The Results Are In!

As predicted, votes were cast and buttons were worn. People on television continue to say things. If you have a job, you probably had to get up and go to work this morning. Maybe not, though. As the most important election ever (yet), the results will have a huge impact on everything from how many people the U.S. will kill today to the price of tea in China:
Reaction across Asia to the U.S. elections on Wednesday was muted . . .

Or, maybe not.

Friday, October 29, 2010

2 + 2 = 5

Why wait until the election is over? Via BLCKDGRD, I see that the nightmare ray is already up and running. Ian Welsh is right, the next four years likely will play out like that, no matter which team is involved. This is not "San Francisco will clown on Texas," it is "Whomever wins the World Series will play at least 35 1/2 innings of baseball."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Spooky Halloween Costume #4 - The World Series Without New York (or similar television markets)

A ghost of a zombified ghoul. Do they even have televisions in Texas? San Francisco? Is that really a city, or just a boogieman created by Ralph Reed? Who could possibly have known that baseball teams existed outside of Boston and New York? Even if you did know, would you want to watch a baseball game that does not prominently feature Taco Bell spokespeople?
BLCKDGRD says "I will be glad when it's next Wednesday." Of course, this could just be the result of a disturbingly cheery outlook of life, or maybe he is just excited about the DVD release of an old made-for-TV movie starring Mr. T, but, given the context of his post, I think I can assume he will is growing weary of being told how important it is he votes on Tuesday, and Wednesday will represent the end of this tirade. It won't. Of course, being told to vote will momentarily subside, but it will be replaced. The chattering classes will not stop, and their parasitic ideas will still infect the brains of seemingly normal people who will become disturbed and terrified by one Republican after another. My prediction: liberals will be upset by one Congressional investigation after another, complaining about how hard it is for poor Mr. Obama to accomplish anything now. "Cognitive dissonance" will became the slightly misunderstood phrase of the day. And nobody will even notice that the Giants beat the Rangers.

Spooky Halloween Costume #3 - Life Under a Republican Congress

Sort of the gorgon sister to the Medusa of our last costume. Can you even imagine what life would be like with a Republican dominated Congress? Among the many horrors we may endure are wars, both overt and covert, increasing government interference with individual liberties, an escalation of deportation, and shitty Batman movies. Truly a nightmare world.

EDIT: Added link.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Spooky Halloween Costume #2 - Guy Without Health Insurance

A modern twist on the centuries-old legend of the vampire, Guy Without Health Insurance is a similar ghoul that presents a charming, almost comforting facade which hides the monstrosity that lurks beneath. Therein lies the true horror of such a creature: they may look and act just like us, but underneath the almost too-human characteristics resides a monster that refuses to work at a menial, soul-crushing position for the benefit of joining some sort of sick lottery that only pays out if you suffer a catastrophic injury or contract some little known disease. Thankfully, a Democratic Congress and President were able to band together and strike back at this beast, and all it took was an even larger increase in the insurance premiums for the rest of us!

Spooky Halloween Costume #1 - Blown Calls in Sporting Events

An ever present nightmare for sports fans around the world, or at least those paid to make noise over radio waves, Blown Calls in Sporting Events represent the perfect storm of our 21st century fears: incompetent authority mixed with a denial of technology. The only method of defeating such a monstrosity is almost too painful to even contemplate: accepting that accidents happen and that IT IS JUST A GAME!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Again with the IOZ:

Somebody at SMBIVA criticizes anarchy, sort of using IOZ (or, at least words that IOZ chose to put on his blog) as a starting point/almost an example, which prompts IOZ to respond, which prompts comments along the lines of both "why are mommy and daddy yelling?" mixed with "why would two people want to spend time exchanging ideas with one another?"

Is this a product of our catering-to-the-individual consumer culture, or has heated discussion always been frowned upon as a "legitimate" pastime?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I'm a wanted man

IOZ is responsible for this, and of course uses the best line as his post title. If anything sums up how I feel on almost a daily basis, it is the final line: "Play Renegade or something, I've got to get myself together."

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Bacon's Man

The 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded to Mario Vargas Llosa. As swine, I am unfamiliar with his work, but Scott Horton just published Bacon's Man on his blog. I am relatively unmoved by prestige of a Nobel Prize, but if the rest of his work is as juicy as that piece, I may have to take a bite.



If I were a mummy I would be very frustrated with the lack of respect I receive. Vampires and werewolves seem to remain popular. Mummy popularity has definitely waned, perhaps to an all-time low. Pharaohs used to be very popular people, which is easy to understand given that they built impossible structures and snake-fought Moses and talked with extraterrestrials. Mummies used to live in what are now museums, and now live in what are museums. People used to travel to see them, and were presumably impressed by what they saw. People now travel to see mummies, and are presumably impressed by what they see. Every time I see a mummified Egyptian I am impressed by how small they are, and also remember hearing that Cleopatra was really not attractive, although that may have been Roman propaganda that has survived the decline of their empire, albeit without the mummies.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Via IOZ (as always), if you think reading a NY Times article about "20-somethings" and the difficulties they face is akin to Viet Cong torture, make sure to avoid the NY Times' 20-something year old kids talking about said article. I mean, Ipads actually make life more complicated, you know? I mean, maybe it is harder being torn between "conservative values" and casual sex than being literally torn apart by robots raining missiles on my village? Maybe it is because I am about to leave my 20-somethings (and really, comparing my situation as a 29 year old to that of a 20 or 21 year old is really ludicrous on its face) that I feel so little sympathy for the closeted and comfortable children of our elites who are looked upon as indicative of an entire age group, but maybe, instead of wasting time and our world's increasingly depleting resources on such inanities the Times could write about something a bit more pertinent? Like, bee beards?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Via ladypoverty, here is Dick Armey's Tea Party Manifesto:

The criteria for membership are straightforward: Stay true to principle even when it proves inconvenient, be assertive but respectful, add value and don't taking credit for other people's work. Our community is built on the Trader Principle: We associate by mutual consent, to further shared goals of restoring fiscal responsibility and constitutionally limited government. These were the principles that enabled the Sept. 12, 2009 taxpayer march on Washington to be one of the largest political protests in the history of our nation's capital.
This is fine and all, and especially appreciated coming from a former political office holder, but why must the Tea Party declare war on English?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Of course, initial reports were misleading, at best:
President Obama has abolished the position in his White House dedicated to transparency and shunted those duties into the portfolio of a partisan ex-lobbyist who is openly antagonistic to the notion of disclosure by government and politicians.
Anyway, BLCKDGRD points me to two posts from The Anti-Moderate. The 2nd, chronologically speaking, says
In other words, if you can find another, better way to publish some idea — publish it that way. And if you have something that can’t be published any other way — before you publish it on your blog make sure you ask yourself if it should be published at all.
Yeah! This internet has too much crap on it! The 1st post details what some stupid blog idea of the author's would contain. Lists! Speaking of lists, IOZ notes this list of overrated authors. Amy Tan! Mary Oliver! Way to take down those sacred cows!

(Could I have found a better way to publish this idea? Is this even an idea? If it is an idea, is the internet even a good place to put ideas?)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Small pleasures for a working stiff

While articles about just how hard it is to get paid well while propping up a dawdling empire (sort of a sociopath Reginald Jeeves) tend to escalate the blood pressure, I am glad for the aesthetic components of sentences like
Norm Eisen, the White House ethics czar, has been nominated as ambassador to the Czech Republic
if nothing else.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Vuvuzela Revolution

Let a thousand vuvuzelas bloom:

When I was 19 or whatever, I bought The Carnival. My reaction was "ok, what?" Then I bought Ghetto Superstar, and did not think The Carnival was that bad any longer. Anyway, Wyclef has made a career making derivative and mundane music that the NPR set can safely digest. See this, for example. Hip-hop is best when it incorporates and transforms existing elements, not when it blandly spits them back out. See:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The 39-year-old, originally from Belgrade, passionately believes units of information – not particles – are the building blocks of humanity and everything that surrounds us.

But fear not: he is "a quantum physicist at the universities of Oxford and Singapore." Rather than some lunatic, of course. Snark aside, I have wrested enjoyment out of many a perfectly miserable day by getting high and reading yet not quite understanding these theoretical explanations of reality. I love how once every 3 months or so "real" scientists occassionally pop into the press and tickle our brains with these sorts of theories. I also love how GoogleMan's statements seem to indicate that we are creating a new InfoGod every few days.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Reading Lessons

Here is a nice, short essay about e. e. cummings. It seems to imply that cummings is somewhat neglected in the literature world. I have no way of verifying this, and even if I agreed I'm sure somebody that disagreed could provide ample evidence contrariwise. Regardless, cummings is one of my favorite poets, and just over the weekend I glanced at a used Complete Works of e. e. cummings. Years ago, I briefly kept a blog about synchronicity. Anyway, IOZ questions the Times' reading comprehension, and wonderfully so.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Scott Horton brings my attention to this article about why a society must be judgmental about certain actions. In the article, Berkowitz laments our lost ability to label an action as right or wrong, using the current President's failure to prosecute the previous administration's torturers, the inability of news outlets to use the word torture lest they appear judgmental and the rise of plea bargains and mandatory sentencing in criminal trials as evidence of this lost ability. While all of these may be regrettable developments, I do not think our society has lost the ability to judge the behavior of others. In fact, these seem to illustrate that society has passed judgment on such behavior: it is OK to get caught up in a nationalistic fervor and torture people in the name of national security, news outlets are to serve as PR machines for the ruling classes and nobody likes to serve on juries. I remain somewhat sympathetic to Berkowitz's point of view, but it strikes me as hopelessly naive. In a culture that demands an exact, scientific approach to children's games, literature appreciation and all other matters that used to enjoy a grey area, it should not be surprising that we demand the same automization of our criminal procedures. Efficiency is key, not results.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lucha in the afternoon #3 Brazos vs. Los Tres Fantasticos

The Brazos (El Brazo, Brazo de Plata and Brazo de Oro) vs. Los Tres Fantasticos (Kung Fu, Black Man, Kato Kung Lee)

Not sure of the date.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

This glowing orb is the lobster-like, deep-sea amphipod Phronima, which produces a barrel-shaped, gelatinous home around itself.
Of course he does. Who wouldn't? Harper's daily Links post led me to some amazing creatures, and a new way of looking at fruit. Phil, at Segunda Caida, seems to have discovered some new cache of old wrestling videos on the internet. If only I could discover some time.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Saviory

Potential good news in the world of vuvuzela acceptance:

Teen sensations Brenda Song and Justin Bieber have reportedly inked a major endorsement deal with an upcoming candy in the works.

The candy the sensational young stars have supposedly agreed to endorse is the tentatively titled, Vuvuzela Balls, which is yet to be released.

The bold was in the original article. Will this be the vuvuzela's Sun City? Probably not. Rather than glibly pass along some stupid news article/press release, I actually followed the story back to its source.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I am fairly certain that some people read an article about a man "hallucinating" clowns attacking his house, and chuckle about people daring to diverge from consensus reality. I read the story and worry about my future. Perhaps the only thing more frightening than clowns attacking your family would be if nobody else could see them.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

BLKDGRD said we live in Moronistan. He is right. If Joan Walsh was really an "editor and a writer," one imagines she would be familiar with comparisons, whether metaphorical or via some other method, and what they are commonly used to express. Instead, she gives us so many words about whether Lebron James is really a slave or not (spoiler: not really, but kind of?). The Big Lead was just lamenting the lack of sports things to talk about at this time of year, seemingly oblivious to the opportunity to exercise silence. Anyway, here's IOZ on the press's role in our lives, and a short review of John Carpenter's They Live.
British Scientists are concerned about shrimp that are ingesting Prozac (or becoming "hooked" on it, according to the headline) and are then unconcerned about avoiding predators. The article does not mention if they are concerned about this behavior in other animals exposed to Prozac.

Monday, July 12, 2010

New World Order - Same as the Old World Order

Some literary website website about books is starting a project to read "difficult" books. Like others, I've never quite understood this idea of reading something that you don't enjoy. I also don't understand the idea of "difficult" books. There are words on a page. Read them. If they do not make sense, read them again. If they continue to not make sense, move on to the next set of words, if they were enjoyable. If they were not enjoyable, put them down and move on with your life.

In other news about people unable to enjoy activities without some ulterior motive, Roy Edroso captures some conservatives' reactions and over-reactions to the recently ended World Cup. I did not think of myself as much of a soccer fan when this began, but then I realized that soccer is fairly boring, and I like boring things. I also love vuvuzelas. Putting aside opinions about soccer itself, is there anything more loathsome and juvenile than sports radio hosts relishing in delight as they explain that they don't pay attention to soccer? These are the same people that cover golf - a game that business men get drunk and make deals over - as if it were the height of athletic endeavors. I understand that their boss probably enjoys it, but they (in this case, certain voices on FM 101.1 WXOX) cover it with a zeal that betrays indifference on their part. Anyway, returning to the question: is there anything more embarrassing than grown men relishing sticking out their tongues and yelling "no" just to get a reaction out of the rest of the world? Yes. It is the city of Cleveland throwing a collective tantrum over a basketball player signing a contract with a new team.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Do not assume you know what the research behind the Dunning-Kruger Effect really shows, lest you prove it true.

The B-Boy King

ESPN's Adam Schefter says Lebron James's press conference tomorrow evening will be one of those "I remember where I was" moments. First, a quick list of "I remember where I was" moments that I have memories of:

The Space Shuttle Challenger exploding

The student demonstrators in Tianenmmen Square

The Berlin Wall falling

The attacks on the World Trade Center

Truly an athlete signing some ridiculous contract belongs in such company. Schefter's regretable comparison could be explained away as a company man trying to drum up ratings for his network (as I presume ESPN will be airing the pronouncement in its entirety. King James, indeed) were it not such a common trope for media weasels of all stripes to use. Similar to facebook's usurpation of actual contact, the media seems to feel that it much easier to tell us that whatever they are meekly relating back to us is "history" (as opposed to the future, I suppose) and we should pay extra close attention to it. I am not sure, so I would have to ask Ted Koppel, but did the Greatest Generation need to be told "listen up, this is important" when they heard Pearl Harbor had been attacked? Now that I think about it, how did they even know it happened without Twitter?

For the Children, of course

Of course vuvuzelas are being used to smuggle drugs. Of course.

Lucha in the afternoon #2 Fishman vs. Mascara Sagrada

Fishman vs. Mascara Sagrada, mascara contra mascara, from August 27, 2000, at the Palacio de los Deportes in Mexico City.


I work in a library. It is the noisiest job I have held. It is probably because I work for peanuts.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Lucha in the afternoon #1 Fishman vs. La Parka

Fishman vs. La Parka (now known as LA Park)

I think this is the February 2, 1996 match, from Queretaro. Fishman's second is Juventud Guerrera, and La Parka's is Rey Mysterio Jr.

Ethan at 6th or 7th captures Digby's satori. In doing so, he references this post at A Tiny Revolution about money and debt-reduction being more important to some than actual human beings. Broadsnark then links to an article about the increasing reliance and enjoyment of drone warfare by roughly the same crowd, or their friends at the very least, with this choice quote:
"Valor to me is not risking your life," the colonel told the reporter. "Valor is doing what is right. Valor is about your motivations and the ends that you seek. It is doing what is right for the right reasons. That to me is valor."

UPDATE: Why not just militarize everybody? Since we have Twitter and Facebook, Afghanistan may as well be next door:

Department of Defense Directive 1404.10, dated January 23, 2009, set up a "Civilian Expeditionary Workforce" that would "be organized, trained, cleared, equipped, and ready to deploy in support of combat operations by the military; contingencies; emergency operations; humanitarian missions; disaster relief; restoration of order; drug interdiction; and stability operations."

For those of you without a calendar handy, Barack Obama took office on January 20, 2009. I guess he quickly got the hang of the job.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Vuvuzelas are banned from UFC 116 this Saturday.

As the world prepares for the greatest heavyweight title fight of the past two decades, the Ultimate Fighting Championship® made a stunning announcement today that will undoubtedly have a global impact.

Undoubtedly, as the rest of the world was apparently unaware that white males without any channels to properly funnel their aggression find vuvuzelas annoying.

Go Brock!


Lessons learned


Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. and the police sergeant who arrested him last July after a confrontation outside his home both missed opportunities to "ratchet down" the situation and end things more calmly, according to a review of the case released Wednesday.

Perhaps Gates simply could not reach the opportunity, as his hands were restrained.

The report suggests that Crowley could have more clearly explained what he was doing and why he was doing it, especially after being shown Gates' license and university ID. For his part, Gates could have used a more respectful tone to address the officer.

Of course! If only people were not so rude to police officers, we would not have an incarceration rate comparable to that of Rura Penthe. For what it's worth, the report is available here, although I cannot fathom a crime horrendous enough to warrant reading this as punishment.

Information Clutter


is exactly what is wrong with our "information culture."
Tyler Cowen, at Marginal Revolution:

I do not see why we are discussing [proposed/rumored cuts in government spending, and correlations with similar government policy moves in the 1930s, as mentioned in this NY Times article] without placing monetary policy at the center of the analysis.

Perhaps I should just link to this article in every post? Perhaps we should also place our government's fondness for expensive jaunts through foreign lands in our discussion, too. Perhaps, and this may be extreme, but perhaps we should finally realize that making stupid decisions in one realm of life may have consequences throughout our entire life.
Reader, Mark Derry is saying that you are not really my friend, at least in the classical sense of the word. He also says that nothing need be tweeted right away. But wait! Here is A.J. Jacobs, about to embark on the journey of actually telling the truth (who does such an abhorrent thing anymore?), and telling us all about it! Trying to reconcile the two: why would I want to tell the truth if nobody knew I did? What Would Jesus Tweet?

I have my qualms about society's need/demand to be constantly connected, but I am a crank. To that end: while I find the ever-connected somewhat vacuous and creepy, the opposite side of the coin, be it neo-conservatives celebrating their "slow-food" meals as a novel concept or Organic-fetishists can be equally abhorrent. I like to think that normal people know that the Internet is primarily a place to waste time while at work, and actually can look their family in the eye when at home. While I cannot provide the news from 100 years ago, I do swear to never be the first to bring anything to your attention!

An Average Bear

At Stop Me Before I Vote Again, Michael Smith posts a story about a bear biting a man in Kentucky, and the resultant nannying of the state. Smith concludes with [spoiler]:

I think the bear was an exceptionally good bear, and ought to get the Ursine Medal Of Honor.

Maybe, but what is his batting average?

Lie Games

Russians living in America were asked to write essays about American politics for the Russian government, but who isn't looking for an excuse to conjure images of Boris & Natasha?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Arthur Sibler has an excellent post on "l'affair Wiegel," in which he links to Marc Ambinder's post on the same subject. All of this is very inside baseball, with a case of characters that would shame the rogue's gallery that is the Baseball Hall of Fame, but Sibler extracts a telling quote from Ambinder's post:

[The listserv in which the entire tryst started is/was a] members-only coffee shop where people who take ideas seriously, who want access to people who take ideas seriously, could test their own ideas before they refined and presented them to the public.

Sibler comments on the obvious delusions of a personality that would say such a thing. I merely pass along this article, which seems to hold similar insights.

The Beginning Part

Here are some other blogs I like to read:

Who Is IOZ?



Segunda Caida

The Cubsfan's Luchablog

This humble blog will attempt to continue the fine tradition of lamenting humanity's humanity, grousing about baseball and enjoying high and low art. My goal is to attract some readers that will both boost my ego and introduce other distractions into my life.