Sunday, April 20, 2008

Happy Water Blog

The results are in! Apparently, the media all suck big time, and don’t ask substantive questions of candidates! Let’s put on a DVD and not watch news any more!

Barack BooBoo
Gibson to Obama, talking about poor white people in Pennsylvania: “And you said they get bitter, and they cling to guns or they cling to their religion or they cling to antipathy toward people who are not like them.”

Obama’s remarks, made fuzzily, and captured on video in San Francisco, got him in a lot of hot water. The charge of “elitism,” the most horrible charge you can level at a presidential candidate, was hurled at him.

Well now. I grew up in North Dakota. To my mind, there’s nothing that Barack Obama said about poor white rural folks that is untrue.

In a flurry of pandering, Hillary Clinton dashed around Pennsylvania discharging weapons and swapping jello shots with laid-off factory workers.

Flag pin
Where’s your flag pin? Why aren’t you wearing one? Why aren’t you wearing one TODAY? Why are you wearing just ONE flag pin? Why aren’t you wearing fifty flag pins, each one representing a state in our glorious union?

In other news….
Our new cat, Rocky, a splendid orange creature, likes to hurl himself at the shower curtain whenever the Wee Wife and I shower. We call this “Happy Water Time,” because occasionally we indulge in whimsy. Cats induce whimsy.

New marriage game
The Child Bride has decided that I am now “the Commander.” She plans to volunteer inappropriate information about me when meeting new people, such as, “Oh, the Commander doesn’t like tips on his carrots. I have to chop them off or he won’t eat them.” “The Commander doesn’t like fizzy water. I have to let it go stale before he’ll drink it.” “The Commander would never let me watch a movie by myself.” "The Commander likes his socks folded, not stuffeed in a ball." “The Commander doesn’t care for Peru.” Etc.

The Pope
He has a lot of outfits. Does he pack them himself? What the Pope’s garment bag look like? Does he have to take his shoes off at the airport?

Ben Stein has a new documentary, EXPELLED, made in the spirit of Michael Moore, in which he ambles around interviewing believers in Intelligent Design who have been persecuted for their beliefs, and persecuting evolutionists, who are all raving atheists. Along the way, so I’ve read, he intercuts footage of Nazis and Stalin, to indicate that Social Darwinism has something to do with Darwinism. The thing is, though, the Soviet Union’s official stance was anti-evolution. Its “scientific” credo of choice was Lysenkoism which posits, roughly, that a giraffe’s neck grew so it could reach the high branches. In other words, it wasn’t evolution, but revolution.

James Wolcott on Nell Scovell on David Brooks
“Brooks's most recent column, "The Great Forgetting," ruminates on how our aging society is divided into ‘memory haves and have-nots.’ He writes: ‘This divide produces moments of social combat. Some vaguely familiar person will come up to you in the supermarket. “Stan, it's so nice to see you!”’ The smug memory dropper can smell your nominal aphasia and is going to keep first-naming you until you are crushed into submission.

“Brooks clearly thinks ‘aphasia’ is a colorful word for ‘forgetful,’ but anyone who has dealt with aphasia, or read Oliver Sacks's wonderful book The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat--knows that aphasia is a language-and-expression disorder, not a memory disorder, and occurs from damage to portions of the brain, usually after a head injury or stroke.”

Brooks apparently also doesn’t understand Asperger’s syndrome. So if you're looking for a good neurologist, Brooks is not your guy.

It’s alive! It’s alive!
Telegraph UK: “Matthew Hockenberry and Ernesto Arroyo of Creative Synthesis, a non-profit organisation in Cambridge, Massachusetts, have created evolutionary software that alters colours, fonts and hyperlinks of pages in response to what seems to grab the attention of the people who click on the site.”

Evolution, or Revolution?

Popular Mechanics: 10 Genius Inventions We’re Still Waiting For
A sampler:

“Augmented Reality - Kids’ knees and noggins can be protected with padding and helmets—but how do we safeguard their delicate minds? … AR eyeglasses could detect inappropriate sights and remove them from view, while AR-enabled earbuds would delete ambient cursing.”

“Kid OnStar - … Kid OnStar could be packaged into a bracelet or necklace crammed with sensors that monitor location, physiological status and voice stress levels.”

If we invent enough stuff to protect the little buggers, we won’t ever have to pay attention to them again.

Erg Dept.
Another damn list, courtesy of damn Twitter, the Top Ten Made Up Words of Web 3.0, well, Some of Them.

The act of socially conscious and sustainable conversations, interactions and recycled linking.
"Is your blog socialstainable? Mine is" "How can our marketing be more socialsustainable?"

Viral marketing initiatives that are actually useful.
"Not only did Shave Everywhere make me laugh—I was able to configure and purchase my new electric razor online"

The analytical measurement of emotions.
"Yes—we've seen the metrics. But what about the Emotrics? We need to measure emotional engagement!"

A spontaneous burst of laughter caused by interactions on Twitter.
"Oh look who has a case of the Twiggles today"

When you comment on someone's blog, fully grasping what the author is trying to say.
"Thank you for that grokment. You complete me".

When you write catchy lines or clever comments in order to get more traffic on Facebook
"If I want more friends, I really need a Facehook—something to draw them in..."

How do you even pronounce that? And if I ever use the word “grokment” in a sentence, you have my permission to shoot me. Just twiggling.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Barack Obloggo

Been away from the blog for a couple weeks, but now I’m back. Did you miss me, honey?

Where have I been? Perhaps the New York Times provides an answer…

“… 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. Two weeks ago in North Lauderdale, Fla., funeral services were held for Russell Shaw, a prolific blogger on technology subjects who died at 60 of a heart attack. In December, another tech blogger, Marc Orchant, died at 50 of a massive coronary. A third, Om Malik, 41, survived a heart attack in December.”

Typing leads to death. That’s the message I’m getting.

We’ll always have Paris
I’ve been following the Olympic news on the radio. Many seem to be upset that protesters are ruining the Olympics by injecting politics into it. Well, I don’t have a dog in that hunt, really. I have never been anything but indifferent to sports, except for the event where competitors cross country ski and then shoot at something (what’s that called again?). But I remember the black power salutes, the murders at Munich, the protests in Germany way back in the thirties, the steroid scandals…. The Olympics have frequently been fraught, in other words.

The Chinese response to the situation in Tibet has not been very satisfactory, at least in my opinion. Even by despotic standards, the response has been both opaque and heavy-handed. My favorite moments have included hearing Chinese supporters accusing the western media of issuing pro-Tibetan propaganda. This is laughable, since no actual information has been emitted from Tibet. It’s all a big question mark. My other favorite trope is the Chinese attempt to depict the Dalai Lama as a rabble-rouser. But since he’s in exile, and the flow of information in and out of Tibet seems to be pretty much frozen, how exactly is he rousing the rabble?

The coverage of the protests in Paris has been odd. There was much about the torch being extinguished, as if that was some kind of tragic event. I mean, really, doesn’t anybody have a book of matches? Just light it again.

It was been reported, sadly, that the extinguished torch was placed in a bus to keep it out of the hands of protesters. There was an odd anthropomorphism here. I kept seeing the torch as some kind of cartoon Torchy (like the paper clip in Microsoft Word, only a torch!), smoldering and sad, all alone in the bus, a little tear forming on his little scorched face.

Andrew Ferguson, WEEKLY STANDARD
“No one who's wandered through an Obama rally and heard the war whoops and seen the cheerful, vacant gazes would come away thinking, ‘These are the smartest people ever.’ I'm sorry, they just aren't. What is unmistakable is the creepy kind of solipsism and the air of self-congratulation that clings to his campaign.”

Unlike, say, every other political campaign that ever was?

Laggards unite! But not yet.
“’Laggards have a bad rap, but they are crucial in pacing the nature of change,’ said Paul Saffo, a technology forecaster in Silicon Valley. ‘Innovation requires the push of early adopters and the pull of laypeople asking whether something really works. If this was a world in which only early adopters got to choose, we’d all be using CB radios and quadraphonic stereo.’”

I’m just waiting for 8 tracks to make a comeback.

Gossip Dustup.
From TMZ: “Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt - Did they or didn't they tie the knot this weekend? Does it even matter? Think about it. Hollywood marriages usually just equal messy divorces -- but it's not like Angie is going to sue Brad for spousal support. She does pretty well on her own. As for the four kids they have (and Angelina is pregnant again as we speak) they all bear the name Jolie-Pitt, so they have the gravy train coming in from both sides. Why mess with a good thing? Bottom line: they're better off just doing the Kurt and Goldie thing.”

On behalf of Brad and Angelina, thank you, TMZ, from the bottom of our heart for your sound advice. Without your sage counsel, I don’t know how we could go on. I really don’t.

Ann Coulter comes through again!
She writes: “If characters from THE HILLS were to emote about race, I imagine it would sound like B. Hussein Obama's autobiography, DREAMS FROM MY FATHER.”

THE HILLS is a popular television show with young people. It’s on MTV. It’s reality-based. Not being a young person, I’ve never seen it, so I don’t know what Ms. Coulter is going on about. Does she watch it? Why? Why does she refer to Barack Obama as B. “Hussein” Obama? Is that a joke? What’s funny about it? The headline to this particular opinion piece is: OBAMA'S DIMESTORE 'MEIN KAMPF.’

Now I know writers don’t usually create their own headlines, but what exactly is a “dimestore” MEIN KAMPF? Does that mean there’s a Saks Fifth Avenue version of MEIN KAMPF? Does it mean that Obama’s MEIN KAMPF is somehow not as classy as Hitler’s?

Ms. Coulter does say in her article: “Obama is about to be our next president: You might want to take a peek. If only people had read MEIN KAMPF….”

I haven’t read Obama’s autobiography, but I did read MEIN KAMPF some years ago. I understand that much of Obama’s book deals with his occasional discomfort around white people. Hitler did not have this discomfort. He really liked white people. Unless they were Jews or Communists.

And somehow I don’t think that Barack Obama views world events as a life-and-death struggle between Aryans and non-Aryans. I haven’t examined his position papers, but still--

Ann Coulter as torch.
She is kind of torch-like, isn’t she? Let us extinguish her, and put her on a bus.

Let us now turn to Hitchens.
Christopher, that is: “To have accepted Obama's smooth apologetics is to have lowered one's own pre-existing standards for what might constitute a post-racial or a post-racist future. It is to have put that quite sober and realistic hope, meanwhile, into untrustworthy and unscrupulous hands. And it is to have done this, furthermore, in the service of blind faith. Mark my words: This disappointment is only the first of many that are still to come.”

So much for my pre-existing standards for a post-racist future, I guess. Damn. I had them on a Post-it on the fridge.

Under fire.
Hillary Clinton lobbed a grenade into the bunker at Bosnia, then ducked and waited for the explosion that never came. She waited, and waited, but the explosion never came.

New one on me…
Reuters: “Mindset Media, a media company that examines personality traits of different consumers, found that people who buy more than three pairs of sneakers a year are 61 percent more likely to have the qualities of a modern leader.”

Why then, do you never see modern leaders wearing sneakers? They generally wear combat gear or sturdy Florsheims, do they not? What are they doing with these sneakers? Are they piling up in a closet? Are they some kind of talisman?

This last Sunday some guy named Linden Weeks wrote a piece for the Washington Post. First, he evoked a vanished time: “Sentimentality reigned, frequently expressed through ‘the happy ending.’ We laughed together, wept together, said ‘awww’ together when Andy Griffith or June Cleaver gave us a parental talking-to.”

Things are different now, by golly! “The revolt against sincerity -- the Snark Ages, still upon us -- began as a rebellion against corny, over-the-top displays of emotion in movies, songs, TV shows. But the rebellion spiraled out of control, and any public expression of emotion, no matter how sincere, was a target for mockery.”

The Snark Ages? You can just smell the book deal, can’t you?

Mr. Weeks, not one to shy away from gilding a lily, also predicted in his piece that “We are entering the Era of the Cynicmental.” So I guess we have that to look forward to. He cites movies like JUNO, and writers like Dave Eggers.

So how to respond? Is this cynic, or mental?
“[A] Thai luxury hotel group ploughed ahead with a meal it claimed would help bridge the divide between the rich and poor. About 120 guests clad in black-tie finery late Saturday worked their way through 10 gourmet courses, prepared by five chefs flown in from Europe and served in the glittering ballroom of Bangkok's Lebua Hotel. Some guests were flushed -- perhaps from the wine, but also after a day in the sun in a rural Thai village. The visit was the first course of a scheme Lebua dubs ‘emotional tourism,’ but derided by some as ‘poverty tourism.’ Lebua flew about 30 of its top guests to an elephant camp in northern Thailand, with the idea that seeing the beasts and their handlers in miserable conditions would spark an altruistic streak in the food-loving high-rollers.”

Was there pie?