July 31, 2011
Oddly, many voters prefer the policies of Democrats to the policies of Republicans. They just don’t trust the Democrats to carry out those promises. (link)
"This rag-tag bunch of billionaires is all we have"
It's Tarvaris Jackson
July 29, 2011
QB acquisition flowchart
July 28, 2011
Do the math
Deficit is because...rhymes with tax cuts.
The Speedbird II comes home
Labels: Best of Breed Blues
In praise of the Canon S-95
July 26, 2011
End of the era
Hasselbeck is gone.
July 25, 2011
Sanity Restored in the United States
No, not that... the NFL lockout has ended.
July 24, 2011
Tom Friedman is Really God Damn Fucking Reasonable!
This proposal for the amazon.com of political parties merits this much attention and no more.
I guess it's time for the Ultra-Revolutionary Radical Super-Middling Xtra- Moderate Center-Off with David Brooks, because as any school child knows, when you want to know whether the world is round or flat, the truth is obviously exactly in the middle: a giant lozenge .
May I suggest a jello-wrestling match? It would be appropriate.
July 23, 2011
Debt Deal / NFL Season
Debt Deal / No NFL Season
No Debt Deal, Followed by Economic Catastrophe / NFL Season
No Debt Deal, Followed by Economic Catastrophe / No NFL Season
Place your bets, folks.
Procession of the Catholic League in 1590. I find this painting is rather fascinating.
I note drily that one of the more right-wing organizations in the U.S. is also called the Catholic League, headed by the foamy William Donohue, known among other things for attacking the Irish reports on systematic child abuse by the church's operations.
July 22, 2011
Three endorsements from our expedition members as we crawl across the English landscape:
- If you've traveled much in England, you're familiar with that chilling moment, a week into your journey, when you find out what it's going to cost to do your laundry. A single nice clean shirt facilitated by a London hotel might run you 10 pounds. Small wonder that the country is overrun with American tourists garbed in twice-worn t-shirts and underwear best consigned to the biohazard bin. Unless you happen to be in Stratford-Upon-Avon, where a quick walk to SPARKLEAN LAUNDERETTE (link) solves all your problems. With friendly staff, quick service, and reasonable prices, SPARKLEAN LAUNDERETTE is the answer to the unlaundered traveler's prayers. You can do your own laundry, or they'll do it for you. Either way, the results are fine. Don't settle for just clean, make it SPARKLEAN! And your wallet will thank you, too.
- Charlbury is one of those bewitching Costwold towns. It's the sort of place the English like to keep secret from the rest of us. Pleasant, quiet, and bucolic, the mobs on the tour buses have no inkling it even exists. But an Englishman knows about it and has no trouble getting there, and getting around once he's arrived. Press the accelerator on your Fiat Panda, and Bob's your uncle. But what if you don't have a car in the UK, and being left-handed, absent-minded, and easily-confused, don't fancy your chances at the wheel of a rental? Well, then, you need to call PETE'S TAXIS, on 07854 179673. Pete knows his business. He navigates efficiently, charges you a fair price, and has a sensible driving style that is becoming rarer every day. If Pete's busy, he can put you in touch with Bobby who is also a fine and honest driver. Just call Pete - he'll sort things for you, so you can get on with the business of enjoying yourself.
- Now, who amongst us has not had this problem: you've been on the road for a while, and you're in East Grinstead, and your children have exhausted their reading materials. "Well," you might say, "there are many bookshops in East Grinstead - why not just pop into any old one?" Because it would be a serious mistake, that's why. Choosing the wrong bookshop could risk the intellectual development of your children, and, by putting you in bad temper, spoil what had been (up until your poor decision) a pleasant vacation. Far better to stroll into THE BOOKSHOP on High Street, John Pye, prop. (link). An oasis of learning and astute selectivity in a world of me-too online content, THE BOOKSHOP rises up like a copse of palm trees above the sands. The signal-to-noise ratio at THE BOOKSHOP is off the charts: every volume reflects the knowledge and discriminating tastes of a sophisticated and experienced proprietor. When your family faces those difficult moments of cultural deprivation, look no further than THE BOOKSHOP to deliver fast relief, and great value-for-money.
Just a misunderstanding, really
And the most ridiculous plot line in this story altogether, is that the bumbling, pathetic, forgetful fool who sat there unable to answer any questions about his own company in yesterday's hearing, is the bloke all our governments have been grovelling to for the last 30 years.
July 20, 2011
A hard slider from the Performing Flea
If England has any dignity left in the way of literature, she will forget for ever the pitiful antics of English literature's performing flea. - Sean O'Casey
Lord Vosper became calmer. What a writer of radio drama would have called the moment of madness, sheer madness, passed and Reason returned to her throne. He rebuked himself for having allowed his thoughts to wander in such a dubious direction. He had received his early education at Harrow, and Old Harrovians, he reminded himself, when they have plighted their troth to Girl A, do not go about folding Girl B in their arms. Old Etonians, yes. Old Rugbeians, possibly. But not Old Harrovians. With a sigh and a gesture of resignation he closed the door and returned to the piano. Resuming his seat on the music stool, he began to sing once more.'The sun is dark (tiddle-om) . . . The skies are grey (tiddle-om) . . . since my sweetie (pom) . . .went away,' sang Orlo Vosper, and Gloria Salt, in her bedroom above, clenched her hands as the words came floating in through the open window and stared before her with unseeing eyes.Youth, according to most authorities, is the season for gaeity and happiness, but one glance at this girl would have been enough to show that nobody was likely to sell that idea to her. Her lovely face was twisted with pain, her dark eyes dull with anguish. If she had appeared, looking as she was looking now, in one of the old silent films, there would have been flashed on the screen some such caption as:BUT CAME A DAY WHEN REMORSE GNAWED GLORIA SALT. THINKING OF WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN HER PROUD HEART ACHES.And such a caption would have been roughly correct.
Timeline of Murdoch Scandal
Rupert Murdoch Jokes 1 and 2
1. Aliens: Take us to your leader.
Guy: Here, this is Rupert Murdoch.
Aliens: Take us away from your leader.
2. The Parliment is interviewing Rupert Murdoch when a man comes up and hits him in the face with a pie. The MP goes: "Did that man just hit you in the face with a pie?"
Murdoch goes: "I didn't know anything about that until I read it in The Guardian."
July 18, 2011
Now On Own Recognizance
Here below is the correct photo, of Gerald DeYoung, suspect in 28 gruesome murders in the New York area, shown meeting with James Cameron, Prime Minister of Britain, and ..wait, that' can't be right. No, oh I can't believe this, it's James Murdoch again, NOT the sociopathic murderer of 28 people in the New York State region. I am going to strangle that photo editor.
News Corporation is a American Criminal Enterprise
I'd love to hear an alternative explanation.
July 17, 2011
A few rounds in the wet
There is an old line about the surfer Greg Noll that he was surfing when everyone else was evacuating. Conditions at Royal St. George's never reached HURCON levels, but competitors at the British Open over the past two days might be forgiven for imagining they had.
The weather destroyed contenders like U.S. Open Champion Rory McIlroy ("not my kind of golf"), and unleashed for a time the zombie-champion, 61 year-old Tom Watson, who almost won outright in 2009. Phil Mickelson, who finished in a tie for second, said "if we had weather like we had [Saturday] morning the entire tournament, I don't know who's going to beat Tom Watson. He hits the ball so solid, he plays links golf, he hits a low, penetrating, running shot so well and controls his distance through his trajectory, it's really impressive to watch. He was behind me the first couple days, and I'd watch him hit approach shots because he just knows how to do it."
The Guardian tells the story of winner Darren Clarke, the man who mastered the elements, fended off a late charge from Mickelson, and appended a brilliant signature to an already-successful career.
With a nice lead and Mickelson self-destructing, Clarke played basic golf - no dumb risks, but not too conservative either. As he walked onto the green of the 18th hole, nothing short of complete neurological collapse could take his first major victory away from him. In hushed tones, the BBC announcer mentioned that he had an opportunity to do something no player had ever done - shoot below 70 in every round of the British Open...if he could make a tough eight foot putt. He lined it up perfectly, struck it, and watched it roll to within an inch of the hole. He looked up and grinned at the crowd, then tapped in for the victory - not immortal, after all, just a gifted man finishing up the finest performance of his life.
You call that a house? Now this is a house.
Paraphrasing from a local history: Heythrop Park is a rich man's house. Blenheim Palace is the gift of a grateful nation.
Like Heythrop, the house is not in mint condition (apparently the maintenance of these places is somewhat costly), and the interior exhibits are not all that impressive. The grounds, however, are positively awe-inspiring. 'Capability' Brown is one of those names that, once heard, is never forgotten - but most people have no idea who he was or what he did. Well, he did this and this and this. Rain or shine (and we had both) it is one of the most beautiful landscapes there is.
There's a little train you can ride on, over to the Maze and back. And snacks, and paintings, and reasonably-priced espresso drinks made with fair trade coffee. Heaven on earth? My finding is: PLAUSIBLE.
July 16, 2011
Frankly, I prefer this sort of oligarch to the kind we have now...
My Favorite Soap Opera
I finished watching the first season of Game of Thrones on Monday of last week, and have been thinking about it ever since.
Hanging at the pile
Speaking of Our Collective Mind
Take a Cable Car Down Market Street, ca. 1906
July 15, 2011
July 14, 2011
Epic, brilliant, troll
(Post #6000 coming up!)
FBI: We're in
Church of Flying Spaghetti monster Pastafarian wins right to wear strainer on his head.
July 13, 2011
July 11, 2011
News Corp: Ok, Even I Wouldn't Have Guessed The Ax-Murdering Bit
New York Times is in it late with a goody: Murdoch's best girl, Rebekah Brooks, helped out her pals the likely ax murderers by interfering in the Scotland Yard investigation of them.
Detective Cook said the police had evidence that one of The News of the World’s senior editors, Alex Marunchak, had ordered the illegal surveillance as a favor to two suspects in the case: Sid Fillery and Jonathan Rees, private investigators whose firm had done work for the paper. The lawyer for Mr. Cook, Mark Lewis, said in an interview that the detective believed that Mr. Fillery and Mr. Rees were seeking help in gathering evidence about Detective Cook to derail the murder inquiry.
...“News International was paying people to interfere with police officers and was doing so on behalf of known criminals,” he said.
Murdoch: Where do we start?
First, allow me to rant at how under-reported this story is in the U.S. so far.
Second, here's why the News Corp scandal isn't going away. It's been about a week, and all it took to start it again was Hugh Grant wearing a wire; it's already clear that News Corp has been engaging in a pattern of criminal, and highly offensive, actions, breaking into the voicemails of crime and possibly terror victims. Bribes were paid to the police in a number instances over different stories in different years. PM's communications director was already arrested and interviewed.
Now everyone with a grudge against Rupert Murdoch will be looking for dirt and lawsuits- he's suddenly seriously weak, possibly for the first time. I will hazard a guess this list is rather long, and not limited to underfunded righteous crusaders. His son is likely to be arrested, and every competitor has a strong economic, political, and even moral incentive to take him down.
This is a classic pile-on scandal - each revelation will lead to others, each will weaken News Corp more, and naturally it will be the cover-ups that turned error into crimes. Guessing here, I give them two weeks before there are a series of international police investigations opening, in the U.K., the U.S., and Europe.
Ok, as of now, I'm reading the following mostly referred from The Guardian's live update blog.
1. Anonymous is about to pounce on the Metropolitan Police for taking bribes. We'll see about that.
2. A lawsuit against News Corp has been filed in Delaware by a collection of investment funds and banks for a wide pattern of nepotism, mismanagement, and illegal behavior.
3. The London Times, NOT the tabloid, as well as other News Corp holdings, hacked former PM Brown's voicemail, and medical records, including, amazingly, Murdochs' pet Irish Setter Rebekah Brooks revealing the cystic fibrosis diagnosis of his child to Gordon Brown in a phone call.
4. News Corps shares are dropping fast.
5. The Lib Dem/ Conser Coalition which is keeping David Cameron in power is in serious trouble.
6. There is growing evidence of police bribery from News Corp in many stories over ten years, including Buckingham Palace.
7. The 9/11 victims voicemail hacking/police bribery allegation is not confirmed. It is however, some evidence that News Corp engaged in criminal behavior in the U.S, and prods a possible U.S. investigation from NYC, as well as an SEC investigation related to overseas bribery by a U.S. company.
8. Lawsuits from celebrities, politicians and parents of murder victims - very angry people unlikely to be dissuaded by early settlements - against New Corp can be expected over illegal voicemail hacking and other criminal behavior. Expect a very interesting discovery process.
9. James Murdoch is likely already on the hook.
10. The huge Satellite TV deal is likely over.
11. The Guardians numerous older stories on Murdoch's empire are rapidly being confirmed and connected.
12. It occurs to me that the News of the World staff, now fired, are 200 remorseless journalists with a new target, News Corp, and nothing better to do.
Rupert: Yer in a heap of trouble, boy
July 10, 2011
I was a soldier in that war
The Globe and Mail explains why the Oxford comma is despised, controversial, and endangered.
The only hope, or the despair/ Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre
“The dove descending breaks the air/
With flame of incandescent terror/
Of which the tongues declare/
The only discharge from sin and error/
The only hope, or the despair/
Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre–
To be redeemed from fire by fire.
Who then devised this torment?/
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wave
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fire.”
IV, IV of Four Quartets
I Advise Against Restraint
Murdoch is going down, and I am expecting, at the least, criminal charges against his son. I also expect News Corp's bribery of the UK police and political figures to be widespread, sporting a long track record and not limited to the U.K. Even better, The Guardian is leading the charge, reminding people through action what journalism is.
July 09, 2011
If there are anywhere near 4,000 phone-hacking cases, as one senior detective says, Murdoch could be bleeding slowly for as long as he lives. He no longer enjoys the friendship of the people he bought and has learned the hard way that real power is constrained by the truth. Like some discredited god, all the potency once ascribed to him is evaporating. The paper tiger is on fire.
Today there is the hope, faint but seductive, of change. Public repugnance on this scale is a rare and precious force in a country beset by apathy. It fades very quickly, and must be harnessed and deployed before it does... Murdoch has never been as vulnerable as today and, if allowed to wriggle free, never will be again.
Dr. Z on Murdoch
July 08, 2011
A snapshot of our collective mind
"What else isn't there?"
July 07, 2011
The End for News of the World
Faced with a shameful scandal (even by the standards of British tabloids), and an irreparably damaged brand, Rupert Murdoch shuts down the newspaper that made him what he was, and provided sensational entertainment for millions.
After being questioned by detectives from Operation Weeting – a process that could take several hours – the former rising star of News International is likely to be released on bail conditions that include appearing at court at a later date along with his three former colleagues who have already been arrested: Ian Edmondson, Neville Thurlbeck and James Weatherup.
The arrest will be embarrassing for Cameron, who consistently defended his decision to hire the controversial former journalist amid mounting evidence of his involvement in the hacking scandal.
- "The paper that died of shame" - Daily Mail
- "Goodbye Cruel World" - Daily Telegraph
- "News Int denials 'beggar belief'" - Financial Times
- "World's end" - The Sun (a Murdoch paper)
- "Newspaper 'sacrificed to save one woman'" - The Independent (link)
- "Hacked to Death" - The Times (also owned by Murdoch)
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answered it.
The Disovery of America by you HP Printer Customer Assistance Line
Mother Jones- an infiltration of an Indian call center. In the end, the guy who has been trying to adopt American culture for 15 years is left rootless, without a clear sense of identity or purpose. Congratulations!
July 05, 2011
Significant deposits of adamantium discovered
Scientists believe that old floor varnish in a WV house has been mysteriously transmogrified into the rare and costly element adamantium. Workers on the site were not surprised. “I’ve spent 14 hours sanding these floors and that old varnish just wouldn’t budge. I thought it must be adamantium,” said one tired worker. The frustrated homeowner tried using a high-speed concrete grinder with no success. “I was just about to paint the damn floor with paint stripper,” said a very sweaty Mrs. Marsch. “I guess I’m just lucky that it wasn’t carbonadium or I’d have a hellacious workers’ comp problem from the radioactivity. Still, if I can get McClain’s Metallenfabrikengesammt out to collect the stuff, I might make some real money.”
July 04, 2011
Maria Shriver plea for privacy update
July 02, 2011
"Deeply regret" etc. etc.
Exxon checks another natural wonder off its list.