Saturday, April 29, 2006

Is the price of this blog too high?

Snake Oil
Last week, senators kicked around the idea of giving certain taxpayers a hundred bucks, to compensate for high gas prices. My wife says she would prefer a puppy.

A hundred bucks would be nice, but it would be even more nice if our public servants would wake up to the fact that we are running out of oil, and start shaping policy around that.

Like the old proverb says: Drill in the Arctic, we’ll have oil for a week. Teach the Arctic how to drill, and we’ll run out of oil a little bit later.

Other wife news.
This is her group e-mail of last week, headed “I did it so you don’t have to.”

Today I bought and drank a can of new Tab Energy drink. I encourage all of you to avoid doing the same. This stuff tastes like slightly carbonated Robitussin filtered through potpourri.

Another goddam tempest in a teapot.
The National Anthem was translated into Spanish, and sung by somebody, causing an uproar among the usually uproarious.

President Bush was prompted to comment: : "I think the national anthem ought to be sung in English, and I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English and they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English."

Okay, but what’s that got to do with anything?

Mark Krikorian, of the Washington-based Center for Immigration studies told a reporter: “Would the French accept people singing the 'La Marseillaise' in English as a sign of French patriotism? Of course not.”

A Spanish “Star Spangled Banner” is an insult how again? And when the hell did we start caring what the French think?

Cole in our stocking?
John Fund in the Wall Street Journal opined about leftie pundit/historian Juan Cole, under consideration for a job at Yale: “In justifying all the time he spends on his blog, Mr. Cole told the Yale Herald that ‘when you become a public intellectual, it has the effect of dragging you into a lot of mud.’ Mr. Cole has done his share of splattering. He calls Israel ‘the most dangerous regime in the Middle East.’”

This opinion piece was cited on LITTLE GREEN FOOTBALLS, the rightwing blog, and (without attribution) in the New York Sun, among other places.

But, as many have pointed out, Juan Cole apparently never called Israel “the most dangerous regime in the Middle East.”

Part of Juan Cole’s response:
John Fund of the Wall Street Journal editorial page has published a large number of falsehoods about me.

The most egregious is this: “He calls Israel ‘the most dangerous regime in the Middle East.”’

This a lie. I never said that. Try googling it. (All that comes up is the circular allegation I said it, never sourced. It never comes up on my site, because I did not say it, or say or imply anything like it.)

In other news…
This still sticks in my craw. Al Gore never claimed that he invented the Internet. What he actually said was, in an interview: "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet." Which I take to mean that he was an Internet booster. He was enthusiastically in favor of the Internet. He wanted that Internet to happen big time. He talked about the Internet frequently with his fellow members of Congress. At night he dreamed of the Internet, his hands twitching like a dog's paws when it dreams. But he did not ever claim that he invented the fucking Internet.

At any rate, can we dismantle the Internet now? I’m tired of it and want to brood over my empty gas tank in peace. Some aborigines are coming over later to teach me how to make simple tools out of sticks and old iPods. We will burn my television for fuel and roast grubs.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Zombie blog

Taking a break from work, it occurred to me to write this, in a fiery sweat of inspiration! Please, send me money.

Zombie, how many quarts in a gallon?
[Zombie walks into wall, falls over. Buzzer sounds.]
I’m sorry. Your time is up. The correct answer is three. Next category – arts and letters. What famous Latin saying is attributed to Rene Descartes. Please, no prompting from the audience.
[Zombie bites the neck of a cameraman. Blood spouts. Buzzer sounds.]
Again, time is up. The correct answer, of course, is “Lave sus manos.” We have time for one more round—
[Zombie tears arm off game show host, starts to eat it. Game show host falls down screaming, spouting blood. Panic-stricken audience dashes for exits, only to find them blocked by zombie hordes. Mass devouring ensues. Buzzer sounds. Cut to commercial]

Non-zombie-related news.
The name of Tom 'n Katie's baby, Suri, means "Get out of here" in Hebrew.

Even as I write....
Steve Baker, Duck's Breath's manager, just e-mailed me this, (well, more, this just an excerpt) from the London Observer:

"...there is one thing that distinguishes PT-141 from the 4,000 years' worth of recorded medicinal aphrodisiacs that precede it: this one actually works. And it could reach the market in as little as three years. The full range of possible risks and side effects has yet to be determined, but already this much is known: a dose of PT-141 results, in most cases, in a stirring in the loins in as little as 15 minutes. Women, according to one set of results, feel 'genital warmth, tingling and throbbing', not to mention 'a strong desire to have sex'."

Apparently it goes to work directly on the brain, and will be targetted mainly to males with erectile dysfunction. (And when is a punk going to grab that name, I wonder?)

What shall we call it when it comes time for marketing?

Well, Viagra's taken. I suggest--
Ohface 3000.
Yes Juice
Boot Knocker
Mo Moist
Pudding Tang

By the Way
After extensive research in the blogosphere, I have learned that the proper way to refer to a lunatic conservative is "wingnut." A lunatic liberal, on the other hand, is a "moonbat." Please mark this down for future reference.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Gospel of Blog

In the aptly-located Mystic, Connecticut, paranormal researchers are wondering if an historic whaling ship might be “home to the ghost of a long-ago seafarer.”

I’ll go out on a limb here, and guess “No.”

News from Sweden
Swedish linguists have added “W” to the Swedish alphabet.

Swedish authorities rescued a man who had been floating on a raft made of oil barrels and planks in the waters between Denmark and Norway. The man called himself George Williams and claimed to be a “stateless American,” though born in South Africa. He had no identification. He told police he had been thrown from a ship. (If so, how did he get the raft?).

A police spokesman told a Swedish newspaper, “He says he has lived for a long time in the USA, but does not want to say where. He has worked in Europe, but does not want to say where and with what. He is not seeking asylum in Sweden but wants to go to New York."

Maybe he’s a raftmaker.

Liberals are the worst evil that ever ever was, part one.
On The American Digest, a blogger opined: “[T]imed carefully to cash in on the Easter holiday, the ‘serious’ editors of National Geographic chose to release their gleanings from a sheaf of rags and call them THE GOSPEL OF JUDAS. Having risen through the echo chamber of ‘higher’ education and survived the ruthless but quiet vetting process of their ‘profession,’ these editors knew full well that what they were putting out into the world was not a ‘gospel.’ They also knew that calling it a ‘gospel’ would ensure greater attention and greater sales. Beyond that, the editors, secular cultists all, also got a quiet little tingle by having, in their minds, ‘stuck it’ to the Christian church once again.

I thought “gospel” meant “good news.” Wouldn’t THE GOSPEL OF JUDAS be good news to all those Gnostics out there (you know who you are)? I like the sprinkling of scare quotes here, however, and the new information: I had not known that the National Geographic staff was a secular cult plotting to bring down Christianity.

Hey, that’s what the blogosphere is all about!

Inspired by the above, The Anchoress, on her blog, made this argument: “Mere betrayal can be misguided, as I believe Judas was misguided, thus lacking in malevolence. Our age has moved beyond betrayal to embrace a malevolent mendacity that is oddly, gleefully shameless in its ascendancy, and which some are only too quick to clutch to their breasts.”

By “our age,” by the way, she means liberals. She continues: “The Cult [i.e. liberals] is execrable - it sleeps in its own feces and calls it a bed of fragrant moss and clover - and too many have become too willing to believe that the squish and stench in which they slog is a pristine pasture rather than an overflowing latrine.”

Man, that’s some writing! Are we slogging and sleeping at the same time? Or do we do each in shifts? How do you slog in a latrine anyway? Which is it we believe our feces is, the rose bed or pristine pasture?

And what sent her off on this metaphorical roundelay anyway? I followed some of her links, and what got her going, apparently, was the Michelle Malkin/UC Santa Cruz thing.

The Michelle Malkin/UC Santa Cruz Thing, or Liberals are the worst evil that ever ever was, part two.
A student organization in Santa Cruz, called Students Against War, recently protested the presence of military recruiters at a job fair on campus. Fearing for their safety, police escorted the recruiters off-campus. (I’m puzzled why police, administrators, and military recruiters would quail in the face of hippies, but there you go.)

Anyway, those protestors got Ms. Malkin’s knickers in a twist. She posted some photographs of their activities, which included holding up a sign that said, “Fuck the Army.” Another banner was a picture of a banana slug (The UCSC mascot), giving the viewer the finger, with the caption, “Military Welcome to USSC.”

I guess Ms. Malkin is too young to remember the Viet Nam War, when the phrase, “Stop the War Machine” was as common as “Fries with that?” She called the students’ protest “sedition,” and having obtained the organizers’ contact information from their press release, posted it on her blog. (Instead of having a central number, the idiots apparently gave out their personal phone numbers.)

This led to death threats to them, on the phone, at their homes, and on their e-mail. (Sample: “Fucking pansy douchebag, you're lucky one of those recruiters didn't put his foot up your silly little ass. Get cancer, you traitorous shit breath cocksucker.”)

Well, this led to somebody on the “seditious” side posting Michell Malkin’s contact information, and some thrilling messages in her in-box as well. (Sample: “You belong in prison. You are a disgusting waste of oxygen. You WILL burn in hell you disgusting cunt.”)

Talk about your rarefied political discourse! It’s positively Olympian! Though what all this has to do with Judas - or anything - is definitely a head-scratcher.

Beat that, Judas!
The New York Times has revealed that Madeleine Albright can leg-press 400 lbs.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Blog Has Risen!

The Pope
On Good Friday, according to the Times, London, earlier this week: “…[T]he Pope will say that society is in the grip of a kind of ‘anti-Genesis’ described as ‘a diabolical pride aimed at eliminating the family’. He will pray for society to be cleansed of the ‘filth’ that surrounds it and be restored to purity, freed from ‘decadent narcissism’.”

And afterwards - cake and coffee in the narthex! Decadent narcissists welcome.

On Easter, the Pope said:
"If we live in this way, we transform the world. It is a formula contrary to all ideologies of violence, it is a program opposed to corruption and the desire for power and possession."

Once we get those diabolically proud family elimintaors out of the narthex.

What did the Archbishop of Canterbury have to say on Good Friday?
“[I]it was no huge surprise to see a fair bit of coverage given a couple of weeks ago to the discovery of a GOSPEL OF JUDAS which was (naturally) going to shake the foundations of traditional belief by giving an alternative version of the story of the passion and resurrection.

“Never mind that this is a demonstrably late text which simply parallels a large number of quite well-known works from the more eccentric fringes of the early century Church; this is a scoop, the real, 'now it can be told' version of the origins of Christian faith.

“You'll recognise the style, of course, from the saturation coverage of the Da Vinci Code literature.

“We are instantly fascinated by the suggestion of conspiracies and cover-ups; this has become so much the stuff of our imagination these days that it is only natural, it seems, to expect it when we turn to ancient texts, especially biblical texts.

“We treat them as if they were unconvincing press releases from some official source, whose intention is to conceal the real story; and that real story waits for the intrepid investigator to uncover it and share it with the waiting world.”

All this over a few scraps of heresy written a few thousand years ago.

And Father O’Connel told the Catholic News Service:
'To give Judas greater credit," the Jesuit said, the gnostics "portray Jesus giving him secret knowledge.”
“It was a nice try," he said, adding that there is no evidence to support the claim.
"It was junk then and it is junk now," he said.

And there was this guy.
From the Associated Press: "’Christ is still sold, but not any more for 30 coins,’ the Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa said in his Good Friday homily before Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Basilica, referring to Jesus' betrayal by the Apostle Judas before his crucifixion, ‘but to publishers and booksellers for billions of coins’.”

But I think he was talking about SOUTH PARK. Or maybe THE DA VINCI CODE.

And what did Jenny Shimizu have to say?
News of the World: A STUNNING model who seduced Angelina Jolie into her first lesbian fling last night predicted Brad Pitt will NEVER satisfy the Hollywood sex goddess. In an exclusive and astonishingly explicit interview with the News of the World, Calvin Klein beauty Jenny Shimizu told us: ‘Angelina is an unbelievable lesbian lover.’

I always had trouble believing Angelina as a lesbian lover myself.

From Reuters: Some 200 Iranians have volunteered in the past few days to carry out ‘martyrdom missions’ against U.S. and British interests if Iran is attacked over its nuclear program, a hardline group said on Sunday.

Apparently, to join this volunteer group you have to sign your name, pledge to defend the Islamic Republic’s Interests,and sign a document called the "Registration form for martyrdom-seeking operations.'

So Iran has a bureaucracy in charge of monitoring its suicide bombers? I don't think we need-- to worry about their getting The Bomb any time soon.

The Quotation key on my key pad just stopped working!
No more ‘scare quotes’ for a while. Just ‘half’ scare quotes.

"The boos that met Vice President Dick Cheney yesterday as he tossed out the first ball for the Washington Nationals' home opener against the New York Mets may reflect a greater discontent with his off-diamond performance than his pitching form. Cheney walked onto the field flanked by three veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the soldiers' support failed to lift Cheney's ratings - or his pitch - which was more a grounder than a fastball.”

From the video and photos of the event, it appeared that our veep was wearing a bullet-proof vest under his windbreaker, which may have hampered his normally lightning-fast pitch.

We rented the Peter Jackson KING KONG remake this weekend, and I must say I didn’t care for it. The actors were good – especially Naomi Watts, and Andy Serkis, who modeled Kong. But after a series of totally gratuitous backstories, the movie doesn’t even make it to Skull Island for an hour or so. Then, to avoid racism, the natives of Skull Island are no longer black, but some kind of ragtag bunch of bloodthirsty hippies. When Ms. Watts is taken by Kong, and her rescuers pursue, they encounter an environment that’s like Jurassic Park on steroids AND hallucinogens. At one point Kong does battle with not one but THREE T. Rexes. It became a bit wearying, though I did like the fanged penis things in the swamp that ate a guy’s head. That was cool!

And when they finally get to New York, and Kong meets his doom, it’s so much sadder than the original. It’s not beauty that virtually kills the beast in this version, it’s Jack Black, as the maker of the movie inside the movie (that never gets made). So when Kong dies, it’s just as sad as the original death, but there are creepier elements made more explicit.

The exploitation of a beast for profit.

The sadism of watching him get killed, slowly, by faceless men in airplanes.

The idea that millions of dollars were spent just to make you believe in the vitality and personality of this creature, just so you can machine-gun him to death.

I don’t believe Peter Jackson is a cynical man, but movie comes across as cynical, unnecessary, bloated, and long.

Now, time to do my taxes!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

illegal immigrants+Judas+cola+ blog

Charles Krauthammer:
“Forget employer sanctions. Build a barrier. It is simply ridiculous to say it cannot be done. If one fence won't do it, then build a second 100 yards behind it. And then build a road for patrols in between. Put cameras. Put sensors. Put out lots of patrols.

“Can't be done? Israel's border fence has been extraordinarily successful in keeping out potential infiltrators who are far more determined than mere immigrants. Nor have very many North Koreans crossed into South Korea in the last 50 years.

“Of course it will be ugly. So are the concrete barriers to keep truck bombs from driving into the White House. But sometimes necessity trumps aesthetics. And don't tell me that this is our Berlin Wall. When you build a wall to keep people in, that's a prison. When you build a wall to keep people out, that's an expression of sovereignty. The fence around your house is a perfectly legitimate expression of your desire to control who comes into your house to eat, sleep and use the facilities. It imprisons no one.”

Forget employer sanctions? Build an ugly wall, maybe two? Creating a demilitarized zone on a border with an ally is an expression of sovereignty? If so, whither Canada? The United States is a house? Illegal immigrants have truck bombs? Did I miss something?

From Mr. Minority, a conservative blog
“If they want a fight, I say let's take it to them! Even though Calif. is a sewer, full of crazy liberals, it is still part of the US, and it is going to stay that way. What these crazy Nazi-Mexicans don't realize is that Americans have kicked their butts several times, and we can do it again (remember Texas, Pedro?). I have had it with these un-American Mexicans that think we owe them something, or we should bow to their culture because the southwest was once part of Mexico. We don't get that same crap from Fwance [sic] or England, so why should we take it from Mexicans. You lost, we won, and if you don't like, go home to Mexico!!”

Illegal immigrants want a fight? They do? I thought they just wanted to bus dishes at golf clubs for sub-minimum wage without being called a Nazi-Mexican. What part of "their" culture are we bowing to, exactly? I like Chevy's as much as the next guy, but I don't consider it to be a particularly subversive presence. And “Nazi-Mexicans?” What the hell is that all about? “Remember Texas, Pedro?” Is Texas that forgettable? "Crap from Fwance?" Huh? Merde.

From a blog called customerservant (Bringing A Little Humanity To Customer Service)
“What I’d like to know is why these people are being cast as unfortunates when they should be labeled as criminals.”

Unless the lawn needs mowing, in which case let us call them Customer Servants.

From a blog called Pa Pundits
“Tonight, nearly five years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, thousands of illegal aliens will enter the U.S. across our southern border, and we have no idea who they are.”

And yet we will let them change sheets at the finer hotels, pack meat, wash windows, and build houses. Oh, we fools!

Blame Reid.
AP: “President Bush blamed Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid on Saturday for the potentially fatal blow dealt to compromise immigration legislation. The landmark bill, which would offer eventual citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants, fell victim Friday to internal disputes in both parties.”

Well, okay, the Democrats are pandering to the Latino voters, as they see them, and Republicans are afraid of alienating the Latino voters, as they see them. Plus, Republicans are business-friendly, and businesses really like the idea of hiring cheap labor and not paying for insurance and pensions.

So, in my opinion, despite the illegal-bashing and illegal-elevating, Congress will do nothing. There will be no wall, no amnesty, no employer sanctions – and illegal immigrants will continue to arrive here in droves. And we will continue to pay them under the table, only now we’ll sneer at them as they work.

Republicans will probably come off the worse after this – because they’re the ones fomenting the sudden hysteria - but their conservative base will blame Democrats. Oh well. Welcome to America, Pedro. Now forget Texas, and go home. Oh here, take some cash with you. Trim the hedge before you go, will you?

Headless man in topless bar: Drop dead.
From the New York Times: “[N]ews organizations large and small have begun experimenting with tweaking their Web sites for better search engine results. But software bots are not your ordinary readers: They are blazingly fast yet numbingly literal-minded. There are no algorithms for wit, irony, humor or stylish writing. The software is a logical, sequential, left-brain reader, while humans are often right brain.”

So headlines, once a source of liveliness, bad puns, forced humor, hysteria, bad taste, and overeager attention-grabbing, will soon be history, replaced by tags and “search engine optimization.”

Remember “FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD?” Today that would be replaced by “Ford +New York+Default+Federal Aid.” That would get you 50,000 links to stories that all told you the same thing.

“Headless man in topless bar?” “Waitress+decapitate.”

Don’t tell me that a precious piece of American culture will not soon be lost forever! Google is the antichrist!

Judas Christ!
TIME: "[A] 1,700- year-old papyrus copy of a document called the Gospel of Judas… portrays Judas as a favored disciple and says his role in "sacrificing" Jesus' physical being ("the man that clothes me") elevates him above other Apostles.”

This is great heretical stuff! The early Church dined out on this sort of thing, and killed thousands in the process.

The basic idea is: Jesus’ death is preordained; Judas’ role in it is therefore necessary, and he acted in complicity with Jesus himself to accomplish it.

I am reminded of the short story by Borges, “Three Versions of Judas,” in which a (fictitious) theologian, Runeberg, argues that Judas – far from being the betrayer of Christ - was the actual Christ. If Christ died for our sins, Christ must Himself be a sinner. Otherwise, what’s the point? And what greater sin is there than betraying a great and good man? Jesus only spent a day suffering on the cross. Judas had to live the rest of his life with what he had done. If suffering is what Christianity is all about, whose suffering was greater?

Finally: Good news!
An outfit called Ipifini (ugh! retch!) has created a Programmable Liquid Container that allows a consumer to “program” his or her own soft drink.

This is from “Damn Interesting,” a wonderful blog from a guy named Alan Bellows:

“A Programmable Liquid Container looks much like an ordinary drink bottle, but it is filled with a simple ‘cola base,’ and the circumference of its upper half is decorated with six colorful additive compartments. Each compartment might contain one of any number of possible substances, such as flavor syrups, vitamins, herbal supplements, caffeine, fragrances, etc… it is limited only by the cola distributors' imaginations. The consumer can then press one or more of the buttons to create the desired combination of flavors and features.”

See, we have a lot more leisure time than we used to, because illegal immigrants have taken all our jobs, so now we can turn something as mindless as drinking a soda into, well, work.

Sooner or later, however, we will have illegal immigrants program our sodas for us. Or outsource the job to India. I love this country! Every day, in every way, I just get more and more proud.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

April is the cruelest blog.

March come in like lion, stays lion-ish at end.
Braving the nonstop rain last month, and thanks to her working for the San Francisco Symphony, the Designated Spouse and I were privileged to see Elvis Costello perform with that fine group of musicians last week.

The first half was a piece he wrote for a Spanish ballet version of MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, and it was quite lovely. The second half was him in concert, reworking some old tunes with a symphonic arrangement, and premiering some new songs – one of which, “She Handed Me the Mirror,” was commissioned by the Royal Danish Opera, for a proposed opera about Hans Christian Andersen. It was a real stunner. Just beautiful.

Who knew Elvis C. could be such a crooner? The high points (for me) were “Allison” and “Watching the Detectives.” The latter was given a kind of “Peter Gunn” hard-boiled arrangements, which echoed some of the original song – with the violin section aping the little organ fill from the end of the chorus.

He also explained the song in an introduction, clearing up some confusion on my part. I always thought the song was merely opaque and bitter, about some cold-hearted femme fatale with whom he was involved: “I don't know how much more of this I can take. She's filing her nails while they're dragging the lake.”

Well, it turns out it’s really about a girlfriend watching some cop show on television and not paying enough attention to him. How oddly disappointing!

He also said that most of the songs he wrote as a young man were thinly veiled fantasies about wanting to kill somebody. I can relate!

In other personal news…
A friend of the Child Bride was part of a recital today, and after attending same, the Wee Wife and I decided to duck into a cheap diner for some greasy spoon eats. Sitting across from us was a very angry security guard having what looked like Swiss Steak. He was muttering to himself under his breath, and a vein was throbbing on his forehead. The Child Bride could read his name tag: “Troy Copeland.” Watch for this name in the news! Could be today, could be tomorrow, could be a week… but he WILL snap.

The dead are the lucky ones?
From a report to TCS Daily from one Forrest M. Mims III.

“… I watched in amazement as a few hundred members of the Texas Academy of Science rose to their feet and gave a standing ovation to a speech that enthusiastically advocated the elimination of 90 percent of Earth's population by airborne Ebola. The speech was given by Dr. Eric R. Pianka, the University of Texas evolutionary ecologist and lizard expert who the Academy named the 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist.”

“Professor Pianka said the Earth as we know it will not survive without drastic measures . Then, and without presenting any data to justify this number, he asserted that the only feasible solution to saving the Earth is to reduce the population to 10 percent of the present number.

“He then showed solutions for reducing the world's population in the form of a slide depicting the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse . War and famine would not do, he explained. Instead, disease offered the most efficient and fastest way to kill the billions that must soon die if the population crisis is to be solved.

“Pianka then displayed a slide showing rows of human skulls, one of which had red lights flashing from its eye sockets.”

Mr. Mimms III was alarmed by this speech, as was Matt Drudge, and many rightwing bloggers. I’d be alarmed too, except this has the unmistakable whiff of prankery. Jonathan Swift, anybody?

Well, that settles it then.
From UPI:

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says golf fairways would suffer if illegal immigrants were returned to their native country.

"You and I are beneficiaries of these jobs," Bloomberg told his WABC-AM radio co-host, John Gambling. "You and I both play golf; who takes care of the greens and the fairways in your golf course?"

And another problem solved!
If the abortion ban stands in South Dakota, the Oglala Sioux tribe will open a women’s clinic on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

With casino attached?