Friday, January 21, 2011

This is your blog, on drugs.

“There is a saying ‘Only in Tucson,’ when something out of the ordinary happens. Tucson is home to the weird and Tucson needs prayer also. It is no surprise that such a deranged and probably paranoid schizophrenic young man grew up in this grunge city with its most prominent public statue that of the bandido Pancho Villa and its streets lined with tattoo shops, murals reminiscent of Marxist art, bong stores and so on. Tucson celebrates diversity, but rarely does one hear about commonalities.”

If Tucson hadn’t had bongs and murals, none of this unpleasantness would have happened. That’s the message I’m getting.

Tucson thought…
I listened to President Obama’s memorial speech in Tucson. I was struck by the pep rally tone of the proceedings, which many conservative pundits took to be evidence of something unwholesome, and for which (of course) they blamed Obama.

I figure it this way: in America, nobody teaches us how to grieve. But everybody knows how to cheer.

Has FORBES gone insane?

This is from a recent article by Wendy Milling:

“At their core, public safety nets use government force to systematically seize property from some individuals and transfer the loot to others, with the implicit threat of organized government violence against those who resist. Public safety nets are systematized robbery by government proxy.”

Deduct social security from your paycheck, or jackbooted thugs will come to your door and remove it for you!

Not the WIRED editor, Chris Anderson is curator of the Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) conferences.

He blogged, for WIRED Magazine:
“I believe that the arrival of free online video may turn out to be just as significant a media development as the arrival of print. It is creating new global communities, granting their members both the means and the motivation to step up their skills and broaden their imaginations. It is unleashing an unprecedented wave of innovation in thousands of different disciplines: some trivial, some niche in the extreme, some central to solving humanity’s problems. In short, it is boosting the net sum of global talent. It is helping the world get smarter.”

Wasn’t the first book printed, in the West at least, the Bible? What was the “free online video” equivalent?

I do get tired of Web enthusiasts yammering on about the exciting possibilities of new stuff. It will all just turn into some different stuff five years from now (or less), with a new batch of enthusiasts, and an equal lack of evidence that anybody’s getting smarter, much less the world.

Mommy World
Once a year or so, some new book or article shakes Mommy world to its very foundation. This year, it’s BATTLE HYMN OF THE TIGER MOTHER, by Amy Chua.
If you haven’t heard of the book, you haven’t listened to NPR, or the BBC, or listened to talk radio, or watching the morning tv chat shows.

Here’s Judith Warner, introducing the Mom herself in the New York Times: “Chua, who is Chinese-American and a Yale law professor, pushes her children to get straight A’s, forces them to spend hours each day practicing piano and violin; they are not allowed to pursue loser activities like playing the drums…. She refuses them playdates and sleepovers and TV and video games, and she demands unstinting obedience and devotion to family, all of which leads, unsurprisingly, to no small amount of crying, screaming and general tension.”

Reaction to the book comes not from the book itself - which is apparently a memoir, and not a how-to call to arms to mothers everywhere, -but from the most “controversial” portions of the book, published in the Rupert Murdoch-run Wall Street Journal.

Further, of course, the reaction to the book doesn’t even come from the excerpts published in the Wall Street Journal, but from media reactions to them. Who has time to read? Much better to listen to some talk show host read a couple sentences for you, and then throw open the lines.

The better to hook you, guilty Mommy, as you call up the talk show to defend yourself from the onslaught of Chinese mommies who are better mommies than you will ever be, calling the talk show on your handsfree cell phone, as you ferry your kids to ballet, to the Mandarin lesson, to the museum, as they hunch in the backseat, watching Justin Bieber videos on the DVD, and texting their friends on how much they hate you.

Two spacers, unite! Or don’t. Who cares.
In Slate, Farhad Manjoo issued a rant about punctuation, a diatribe against the practice of putting two spaces after a period when typing a document. The author calls this “totally completely, utterly, and inarguably wrong.” He calls practitioners “two-spacers,” jokingly, of course. But maybe not.

He wrote: “Over Thanksgiving dinner last year, I asked people what they considered to be the ‘correct’ number of spaces between sentences. The diners included doctors, computer programmers, and other highly accomplished professionals. Everyone—everyone!—said it was proper to use two spaces. Some people admitted to slipping sometimes and using a single space—but when writing something formal, they were always careful to use two.”

These accomplished professionals won’t be breaking bread with Farhad next Thanksgiving, I’ll bet. Did he invite them all to Thanksgiving to feed them, or to coerce them into being a focus group for his insane obsession? What else was discussed? “Before we serve up the pumpkin pie people, one simple question: do we really need the semicolon? You’ll find pencils and notepads just above your butter knife.”

Animal news!
Back in World War II, a couple in Finland owned a dog. When you commanded, “Hitler,” it would raise its paw in salute. And its bark sounded like “Heil.” Newly unleashed documents, according to the Associated Press, have revealed: “In the months preceding Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union, Berlin's Foreign Office commanded its diplomats in the Nazi-friendly country to gather evidence on the dog and its owner — and even plotted to destroy the owner's pharmaceutical business.”
You’ll be pleased to know that both dog and owners were spared Nazi wrath, and survived the war.

But the story achieves a special resonance in the wake of recent strange animal stories. One of my favorite publications, THE FORTEAN TIMES, which devotes itself to the inexplicable, occult, and the bizarre, had a brief series of articles about monkeys, including one from the Chinese government-run PEOPLE’S DAILY, which claimed that the Taliban is training monkeys to fire machine guns at American troops in Afghanistan. Animal experts are skeptical. While quite adept at flinging their poo at observers in zoos, monkeys are not known for their sniper skills.

The closing days of 2010 also brought news of a series of shark attacks in the Red Sea – Here is Time Magazine. “Over six days, five swimmers were attacked by sharks. That compares to just six attacks over the previous decade in Egypt, according to the Global Shark Attack File, a scientific archive that documents shark attacks worldwide.”

Sharks themselves are rarely sighted in the Red Sea, and investigators have concluded that two of the attacks were by the same shark! A serial killer shark!

Time said: “Local explanations for the shark surge varied wildly in the days following the first attacks, citing everything from climate change to the de rigueur blaming of local calamities on alleged Israeli plots. “

That’s right. The Mossad trained this shark to scare Muslims so they won’t go swimming.

News from Dubai, from The Telegraph

“…[T]he World, the ambitiously-constructed archipelago of islands shaped like the countries of the globe, is sinking back into the sea, according to evidence cited before a property tribunal.
The islands were intended to be developed with tailor-made hotel complexes and luxury villas, and sold to millionaires. They are off the coast of Dubai and accessible by yacht or motor boat.
Now their sands are eroding and the navigational channels between them are silting up…”

Seth Rogen, fresh on the heels of GREEN HORNET’s stunning box office and critical glory, reports that he was in a meeting with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, in which Lucas began holding forth about how the world was going to end in 2012.

He told the Toronto Sun: "I first thought he [Lucas] was joking ... and then I totally realised he was serious and then I started thinking, 'If you're George Lucas and you actually think the world is going to end in a year, there's no way you haven't built a spaceship for yourself ... So I asked him ... 'Can I have a seat on it?'
"He claimed he didn't have a spaceship, but there's no doubt there's a Millennium Falcon in a garage somewhere with a pilot just waiting to go ... It's going to be him and Steven Spielberg and I'll be blown up like the rest of us."

Spokespeople for Lucas, claim that he was joking. But yes, there will be no seat for Seth on the Millennium Falcon. That space is reserved for Chris Rock.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Merle Kessler wrote:
... texting their friends on how much they hate you.

Maybe they won't listen to their parents, but they'd better listen to the jack-booted thugs you hired, from "Rent-a-Jack-Booted-Thug", to make sure they aren't sending any parent-critical texts! Is there any problem that can't be solved and/or caused by JBTs?


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