A blog that used to be about things

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.