December 31, 2010

Santa Monica '72

December 30, 2010


Shatner and Nimoy are about to turn eighty.

Why do they hate America?

According to the poll, 61% of Republicans are rooting for Obama's policies to fail. Not even conservatives (51%) or tea partiers (57%) are rooting as strongly for his failure. In contrast, 89% of Democrats and 59% of independents hope President Obama's policies succeed.

Meanwhile, in Sacramento

Extra points for jumping on the scorer's table...

December 27, 2010

A bit more Fry and Laurie

The lads re-unite and discuss old times (part 1 of 5):

'How Shall I Word It?'

I have now read two installments of Beerbohm's And Even Now:  Essays (1922), and if I may use a culturally alien metaphor, he has struck two rising line drives clean over the fence.  The second, a review of letter-writing manuals, includes a few models, or samples, that Beerbohm feels have been omitted from the standard works.  Such as...

Letter to Member of Parliament Unseated at General Election

Dear Mr. Pobsby-Burford,

Though I am myself an ardent Tory, I cannot but rejoice in the crushing defeat you have just suffered in West-Odgetown. There are moments when political conviction is overborne by personal sentiment; and this is one of them. Your loss of the seat that you held is the more striking by reason of the splendid manner in which the northern and eastern divisions of Odgetown have been wrestled from the Liberal Party. The great bulk of the newspaper-reading public will be puzzled by your extinction in the midst of our party’s triumph. But then, the great mass of the newspaper-reading public has not met you. I have. You will probably not remember me. You are the sort of man who would not remember anybody who might not be of some definite use to him. Such, at least, was one of the impressions you made on me when I met you last summer at a dinner given by our friends the Pelhams. Among the other things in you that struck me were the blatant pomposity of your manner, your appalling flow of cheap platitudes, and your hoggish lack of ideas. It is such men as you that lower the tone of public life. And I am sure that in writing to you thus I am but expressing what is felt, without distinction of party, by all who sat with you in the late Parliament.

The one person in whose behalf I regret your withdrawal into private life is your wife, whom I had the pleasure of taking in to the aforesaid dinner. It was evident to me that she was a woman whose spirit was well-nigh broken by her conjunction with you. Such remnants of cheerfulness as were in her I attributed to the Parliamentary duties which kept you out of her sight for so very many hours daily. I do not like to think of the fate to which the free and independent electors of West Odgetown have just condemned her. Only, remember this: chattel of yours though she is, and timid and humble, she despises you in her heart.

I am, dear Mr. Pobsby-Burford,
Yours very truly,
Harold Thistlake.

Beerbohm concludes, after several similarly lucid examples, "But enough!  I never thought I should be so strong in this line.  I had not foreseen such copiousness and fatal fluency.  Never again will I tap these deep dark reservoirs in a character that had always seemed to me, on the whole, so amiable."

We're screwed

Enjoy the last year before the alien attack.

December 24, 2010


A Christmas selection from "Endeavour By J*hn G*lsw*rthy"

From Beerbohm's estimable A Christmas Garland (page images here, info here):

The dawn of Christmas Day found London laid out in a shroud of snow. Like a body wasted by diseases that had triumphed over it at last, London lay stark and still now, beneath a sky that was as the closed leaden shell of a coffin. It was what is called an old-fashioned Christmas.

Nothing seemed to be moving except the Thames, whose embanked waters flowed on sullenly in their eternal act of escape to the sea. All along the wan stretch of Cheyne Walk the thin trees stood exanimate, with not a breath of wind to stir the snow that pied their soot-blackened branches. Here and there on the muffled ground lay a sparrow that had been frozen in the night, its little claws sticking up heavenward. But here and there also those tinier adventurers of the London air, smuts, floated vaguely and came to rest on the snow—signs that in the seeming death of civilisation some housemaids at least survived, and some fires had been lit.

. . . 

Presently Jacynth said: "Adrian, are you sure that we, you and I, for all our theories, and all our efforts, aren't futile?"

"No, dear. Sometimes I am not sure. But—there's a certain comfort in not being sure. To die for what one knows to be true, as many saints have done—that is well. But to live, as many of us do nowadays, in service of what may, for aught we know, be only a half-truth or not true at all—this seems to me nobler still."

"Because it takes more out of us?"

"Because it takes more out of us."

Standing between the live bird and the dead, they gazed across the river, over the snow-covered wharves, over the dim, slender chimneys from which no smoke came, into the grey-black veil of the distance. And it seemed to them that the genius of infinity did not know—perhaps did not even care—whether they were futile or not, nor how much and to what purpose, if to any purpose, they must go on striving.

December 23, 2010

A man cooks chicken with pears

Studying elites

“You have to come in accepting that there will always be poor people in society and there will always be wealthy people in society, and neither of the two reached that status by their own efforts.”

more here

How to talk a computer into self-destructing


Joe Biden is like a bloviating fascist idiot

Unless Joe Biden apologizes to Julian Assange, every journalist on earth, and every victim (and relatives of victims) of actual terrorism, I will not vote for Joe Biden or a ticket of which he is a member, period, end of story, I don't care if Obama is running against Palin/Zombie Mussolini.

December 22, 2010

Did we enjoy it? I can't remember...

BBC:  Ancient humans interbred with us

Must be the end times

Pat Robertson is talking sense...

Mr. Dawg-Django...

Quonset Hut Cluster Discovered in San Carlos

Just when we had given up hope of finding another quonset hut on the Peninsula, we stumbled across no less than four, a short distance apart, just off Old County Road in San Carlos.  Here they are:

QHTP #13

Damonte Plastering, Inc., San Carlos

QHTP #14

Unknown (A), San Carlos

QHTP #15

Unknown (B), San Carlos

QHTP #16

Dino's Auto Body, San Carlos (front)

Side/Rear view here.


December 21, 2010

Stop laughing Chavez, you're next

They are what we thought they were.

That ain't right

The more I think about it, the more it really bothers me. 

An American politician/entertainer goes to Haiti - one of the most benighted countried in the world - for a photo-op.  A Fox News exclusive.

It bothers me.  It's one thing to have fun with the crazy American system.  America loves political theater, and Palin has provided more than any three Republican senators.  But Haiti is not a reality show.  Those are real kids, many of them are orphans.  Some of them aren't going to make it.

What did Palin and her people wish to draw our attention to?  If Haiti's really a priority, why such a quick visit?  Why with just one NGO?  Why so little follow-up?  Unless helping Haitians wasn't the primary intention.  And if it wasn't, what possible justification is there - in the real world - for going at all?

Rick Cohen of The Non-Profit Quarterly has written a brief and thoughtful piece that challenges the logic of the trip.

With the book sales and $100,000 speeches, Sarah Palin has the resources to do plenty of good in Haiti.  With her money and political connections, she could have a genuine positive impact there, if she were so inclined. 

But I've got a sawbuck that says those kids have seen all of her they're ever going to see.

Watch out for the "ACLU DNA"

Who knows what they'll do if we make them judges?

In other news, Scalia will address the Tea Party's first Conservative Constitutional Seminar next month.

So, what's the going rate...

... for a Letter of Marque?

On one hand... Huzzah!

On the other hand, just what we needed: more private industries carrying out "extra governmental" duties.

I'd go off on a long rant, but I'd rather we develop a new standard paragraph that covers the machinations of Large Banks, the FWP, uncomfortable privatizations and the rape of the middle class through large deficits, bubbles, poor quality public education, corporate media and student loans.

Extra credit if it includes robots and adorable kittens too.

December 19, 2010

He is a genius

The Seattle Seahaws.  6-8, with two losses in a row.

Tied for first place, looking good for the playoffs.

December 17, 2010

The tanned, sincere, crocodile

Boehner's tears aren't hard to read. After analyzing hundreds of psychological experiments and sociological studies of weeping, hundreds of accounts of crying in different cultures and different historical periods, thousands of tearful moments in film and fiction and art, I have come to see that, like the mother of the bride, many of us weep because we are overwhelmed by contradictions...

On "60 Minutes," Boehner told Stahl that he couldn't visit schools anymore; that he got too upset, worrying about whether today's schoolchildren will have the same opportunities that he and his generation had. As he spoke, he started to weep. Why?

He does, I believe, worry about the children, and yet his entire political philosophy is devoted to limiting the federal government's ability to help them. He has voted against providing health insurance for children (many times), against student aid, against unemployment benefits, against equal pay, against food safety, against money for teachers, against raising the minimum wage, against tobacco education, mine safety, alternative energy, pollution control, whistle-blower protection, science and technology research. If he were making his decisions based on what government programs might help today's schoolchildren reach their dreams, like the Kennedy- and Johnson-era programs that helped him, his voting record would be very different. It is a deep enough contradiction to make him weep for the future.

New addiction

If you got anything done today, it's probably because you hadn't found this.

Please post URL's for interesting findings in the comments section.

December 16, 2010

Sometimes trying too

Oh, and Tolentino wants his hat back.
A more correct, more tasteful, more visually palatable - but not necessarily better - version is here.

Biggest pussies ever?

Bears to file grievance over having to play outside.

Not even sure why I put a question mark in the headline.

Glen, Tex, The Nicholas Brothers, and Dorothy Dandrige (19)... Milton Berle looks on.  Song was #1 on December 7th, 1941... 

Note that there's a sharp break between the "black" and "white" portions of this and the preceding Kalamazoo post. They'd clip out the 2nd half before showing the movie in the south.   Their loss.

December 14, 2010

Good Terrifying news for the modern man

Personally I can't wait for the Forthcoming Inexpensive Paperback Translation of the Necronomicon of Abdul Alhazred

December 13, 2010

Somehow, we have never mentioned Kalamazoo on Eisengeiste

This problem is hereby rectified:

December 12, 2010

Moral victory

Seahawks outscored the 49ers 52-46 this year...

December 11, 2010

Need a ruling here, Eric

Is this rookie being disrespectful?

Wanking bankers

[Update: Another reason to rent.]

Interrogation II, Leon Golub

Art is not limited to beauty. Nor is it necessarily moral. Artists like the late Leon Golub (Interrogation II, above) rejected pleasing beauty, making aggressive and repulsive images as a part of a moral act- condemning with strange elegance the obscenity of death and torture for power and profit. 

These paintings are huge, painted on raw linen, usually nailed on the wall. 

So ask: which nation is perpetrating the horror shown above? It matters, and not at all. There are so many candidates.

December 10, 2010


I support our President, unequivocally.

I don't care for filibusters.  Waste of money and time, self-indulgent.

Still - you go Bernie!

December 09, 2010

Nature tested him - and found him delicious

"An acclaimed outdoorsman who wrote movingly about testing himself against nature is presumed dead after a crocodile snatched him from his kayak..."

How Much Our Luxuries and Women Cost Us

"By the lowest reckoning, India, Seres (China) and the Arabian peninsula take from our Empire 100 millions of sesterces every year: that is how much our luxuries and women cost us." —Pliny the Elder,  Natural History.
Fascinating sideshow of ancient diplomacy: tendrils of Romano/ Chinese relations -massive empires poking at each other blindly at vast distances. There even some hints of a possible Roman settlement in China.

December 08, 2010

And it shall be named "Kardashian"

Zirconium star discovered.

Helicopter non-crash

How, I don't know...

December 06, 2010

Deep thought

Did God create the Labradoodle?

Oh, now it's our fault

Alaska wildfires to trigger global warming catastrophe.

National Review: The Peasants are revolting!

How dare poor people be poor! We should charge them for negligence for being hungry or something.

More on the latest fuckwittery here.


This life, this lovely, rich earth, may be Paradise, the best of all possible worlds: complex as it is spectacular. So ugliness mixes in beauty, pain in life, cruelty in compassion. So Hell too, stirred in maddeningly- and all changed by us. Why would that not be, if one surrenders the pretty ideas of permanence and metaphysical justice? Eden then is here, a paradise demanding tending, cultivation, and much work

John Paul Stevens on the death penalty


December 05, 2010

Amen to that

Overall, we in the West now live in an atmosphere of security hysteria and obsessive secrecy that would have filled our ancestors with horror.

If the threat of more Wikileaks releases makes this less likely in future, so much the better.

As to the effects on the tender sensibilities of Silvio Berlusconi, Vladimir Putin and Hamid Karzai of private US official opinions of them - well, how very tragic.

The more these people know of how the outside world regards them the better for their countries. From this point of view, Wikileaks might almost be seen as rather a good way for a US administration to pass on candid messages that it could not possibly deliver officially.


December 04, 2010

Nerdiest Law site ever

This wonderful blog is co-authored by two attorneys who write about applying real-world law to comic books.

Recent topics cover what happens after you've been frozen in ice for 40 years (and are presumed dead), why the law frowns on immortal beings and even more esoteric questions like Would the Keene Act (outlawing all costumed vigilantes) be constitutional?

I personally stand in awe.

When the parasites kill the host

We're almost there.

Quonset Huts of the Central Valley, #1

Los Banos


December 01, 2010


I guess the Republican position is that kids will best learn how great mining is, if they're really hungry.

We at Eisengeiste respectfully disagree with the flaming shit-heels who are promulgating this fuckwittery.


The Republican Party is banding together, right now, to end insurance benefits, throwing millions of people to the dogs, and at the same time, without a blink of conscience, moving to stop all legislation unless very wealthy people get tax breaks forever, all while blathering absurdly and falsely about fiscal responsibility. The only conservative philosophy they hold is the philosophy of the con.

None of this is news.

For my part, the conversation with the opposition is over. 

When you elect to argue with a con man, you always lose. Without even basic regard for truth or an ability to agree on basic facts or on a social contract, you merely confer legitimacy on the grifter by treating him as a reasonable person by engaging in some sort of political discussion, a discussion which presumes, incorrectly, that both parties are interested in coming to a mutual agreement and understanding of what is true.

It was the regard for the truth and fairness on the part of everyone to the left of John Wayne- an actor at least capable of feeling guilt - that was very specifically exploited by the orchestrated campaign to discredit climate science - by presenting both sides as reasonable, it created a false equivalency, a balance with the thumb on the scale. 

This strategy is being used for virtually every argument in American political life. For the con man, the foot in the door, the beginning of the con, is always a victory. He doesn't need to prevail every time. He plays a percentage game. And he is backed by enormous huge and powerful companies, who give him the stake and take a cut.

The non-fascist wing of American politics - a substantial majority of the public, by the way, including a large number of registered Republicans, keeps getting rolled because it presumes, correctly, that most people are decent enough, and, incorrectly, that because the right is made of people they are also decent enough.

I don't know what the GOP is except an organization of grifters, working for contemporary grotesques of oil barons and their privileged personal associates. I am, for example, indifferent to the election of Lisa Murkowski vs. Joe Miller in Alaska.  That Miller is a out and out thug would have also made him a less effective tool. Only a few people can look at Miller and see a decent guy - Murkowski can get up and harm the American people every day she goes into work, and still appear to be a good person.

Until they magically grow an ear for truth, or something other than the most obvious forms and exclusive forms of their own group self-interest, I have nothing to say, and no time, for the sideshow barkers that call themselves conservatives. 

PS. I fear I slight side-show barkers. They have the excuse of needing to feed themselves.