April 30, 2012

"I love your work"

Rick Santorum.  Lindsay Lohan.  wtf.


The only people who are obsessed with food are anorexics and the morbidly obese, and that in erotic terms is the Catholic church in a nutshell.  - Stephen Fry

Terrible beauty, cont'd

In a game that defied all logic, the Clippers amazingly defeated the Grizzlies, 99-98, Sunday night at the FedEx Forum in one of the greatest comebacks in NBA postseason history...

The Clippers outscored Memphis 35-13 in the fourth quarter. They ended the game on a 28-3 run.


Here's an interesting article

About highbrow anti-culture in the mid 20th century.
Macdonald, who was educated at Phillips Exeter Academy and Yale and associated with the anti-Stalinist leftists at Partisan Review, still couldn’t bring himself to support the United States against the Nazis in World War II on the grounds that “Europe has its Hitlers, but we have our Rotarians.”

April 29, 2012

The unpunished crime

Finally, the Lehman examiner speaks. It is a travesty that there have been no prosecutions.

(link, more here)

"Too short"

Here are some quick stats for you:

2011 Passing
Andrew Luck - 288/404 (71.3%), 3517 yds. 37 TDs, 10 INTs, IAYPA 7.47

Robert Griffin III - 267/369 (72.4%), 3998 yds. 36 TDs, 6 INTs, IAYPA 10.02

Russell Wilson - 225/309 (72.8%), 3175 yds. 33 TDs, 4 INTs, IAYPA 9.63

The Seahawks picked Wilson in the 3rd round. He was available that low because he's 5'11". Low end: Seneca Wallace. High end: Drew Brees.

Wilson was the starter for 3 years at NC State, but transferred to Wisconsin for his senior year, where he put up those stats. Here's a video of him being chased around by the Seahawks first-round pick, Bruce Irvin, at the 2010 Champs Sports Bowl:

April 28, 2012

Cultural imperialism

A small affirmation

One thing I've been meaning to do - and still plan to do some day - is put up a proper post on Road & Track columnist Peter Egan.  When the magazine comes in the mail I always turn first to Egan's column.  It is, invariably, a pitch-perfect excursion into an interesting light topic, with a beginning and end, and a lot of good decoration along the way.

You could accurately describe him as the finest living American automotive essayist, but that would be leaving it pretty low.  Automotive journalism isn't known for producing fine prose stylists (LJK Setright nowithstanding), so however well-intentioned, the praise rings a bit hollow.  It doesn't help that Egan is almost pathologically self-deprecating:
Who can turn down a spare bent race car frame? Hardly anyone with an ounce of sense. And, to paraphrase Chet Atkins, I have more sense than most people have in their little finger.  (link)
But you don't have to read much Egan to appreciate how dishonest these little asides are.  He dropped out of college and he doesn't write about Mannerism or the Will to Power (not on purpose, anyway), but his work is detailed and carefully made - so much so that it is difficult to name anyone around I think is better.

In "The TR-3 That Was Lee’s" the subject is ostensibly a Triumph sports car, but Egan also supplies a memory photograph of his late friend:
We deposited the TR-3 in their new two-car garage, which was already half full of lawn equipment, so there was once again no room to park either of their family cars indoors. 
“You know, Lee,” I said, “you might think about selling this thing for parts. Chances are it’ll never run again.” 
Lee didn’t say anything, but just looked at me with a sad, doubtful expression, and I felt I’d somehow overstepped the bounds of friendly advice. He was a sentimental person who attached considerable importance to the symbolic objects in his life.

On rare occasions he will raise his voice, as in this column written during the depths of the Great Recession:
Poor Darwin. The cold of heart have always forced a sociological spin on his biological work — from Spencer all the way through Hitler and Stalin — as if humans had no more free will or moral stature than trilobites or the lizards of the Galápagos Islands. Natural selection is a great excuse to ignore those who have not so richly deserved to succeed as you and I. And I'm not so sure about you...
To steal a line from Dylan Thomas, the worst thing to do to Egan would be to select from his works enthusiastically.  It is best to read him indiscriminately.  He is one of the finest columnists, of any stripe, of his generation, and spending a few minutes a month with Side Glances is, like my morning coffee, a small civilization-affirming ritual.

He has been writing since at least the early 80s, so there is plenty to read.  Many of Egan's columns of the past 10 years are here, and a collection of his essays from 2002-06 is available here.

April 27, 2012


On a day Congress grappled with preventing an increase in student-loan interest rates, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney offered a group of college students this advice: If you want to get an education or start a business, borrow money from your parents. 


April 26, 2012

Compassionate cretinism - do it for the kids

Liberal:  National healthcare, tolerance for all lifestyles.
Libertarian:  No national healthcare, porn is not the government's business.
Romney:  No healthcare for you, and our monitoring software will handle the rest.


How can we possibly save these delicate eco-systems?

Scientists baffled as our waters are invaded by giant cannibal shrimp, which are, according to reports, delicious.


This really should be a government program of some kind - a job-creating environmental program that improves needy people's access to high quality seafood products.  I really can't quite get the punchline, though...something like...

  • Fork-ready...!
  • Cash for crustaceans...!
  • It's a new prawn in America...!
Could even get bipartisan with it - after all, it really does prove the virtue of shellfishness.

April 25, 2012

The headline of the paper reads: "Nazi Army Now 75 Miles From Paris"


Ordered? Sure. Demanded? Many times. But asked? Never.

"I've never asked a prime minister for anything." - Rupert Murdoch


April 24, 2012

Would not be nominated today...

This declared indifference, but, as I must think, covert real zeal for the spread of slavery, I cannot but hate. I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world—enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us as hypocrites—causes the real friends of freedom to doubt our sincerity, and especially because it forces so many really good men amongst ourselves into an open war with the very fundamental principles of civil liberty—criticizing the Declaration of Independence, and insisting that there is no right principle of action but self-interest.

- Abraham Lincoln

No flight plan, no landing gear, no problem!

“I don’t want to sound cavalier, but when you’ve been flying as long as I have, you’re going to find situations like this that occur.”


Got one wrong...

...but had a couple lucky guesses.  Elected officials average 44%.


Dizzying intellect

For starters, he can answer one question for the American people: “Gov. Romney, is homosexual behavior healthy or harmful? Yes or no?”


April 22, 2012




[Nungesser's] list of war time injuries reads like a recitation of everything that could go wrong on a body, ever, including but not limited to a skull fracture, a brain concussion, fractures of the upper and lower jaw, dislocation of both knees, bullet wounds in the mouth and ear AND SO ON.


What's it called?

But in a rare unguarded moment in a bar with Scorsese, the clack of pool cues audible in the background, Helm smokes a cigarette as he describes, in an unhurried Delta drawl that’s the precise opposite of Scorsese’s rapid-fire New York patter, the confluence of American music styles in the region of the country he hails from. He sounds shyly prideful as he enumerates the musical giants that have come from the Delta—Carl Perkins, Muddy Waters, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Bo Diddley—and remembers a local show from his childhood called the Midnight Ramble that would include traveling acts like “Walcott’s Rabbit’s-Foot Minstrels.” (Late in his life, the Midnight Ramble would be the name of the combination jam session and musical salon Helm hosted for many years in his Woodstock barn.) “Bluegrass or country music, if it comes down to that area and mixes with the rhythm, and if it dances, then you’ve got a combination of all those different kinds of music,” Helms explains in that soft, scratchy-briar voice that gave every song he sang the time-worn sound of an American traditional. Scorsese, off-screen, wonders: “What’s it called then?” With a surprised laugh and a look that says, ‘isn’t it obvious, man?,’ Helms answers, “Rock and roll.”


The siren song of Everest

Conrad Anker plans to try the West Ridge - unclimbed for 50 years because, well, it's insane.

I've been talking with my sons about Mallory and Irvine, explained to them that they'd found Mallory in 1999, but Irvine is still missing.

#1 son proposed the following theory:  Irvine was a German infilatrator, sent to wreck the expedition.  He killed Mallory, then made good his escape, and that's why no one has ever found him.

It was such a good theory, I didn't have the heart to tell him the Chinese probably found Irvine a long time ago.

April 20, 2012

Not a nice one, either

"We conclude that the web of influence which News Corporation spun in Britain, which effectively bent politicians, police and many others in public life to its will, amounted to a shadow state."


April 18, 2012

Ok...but it needs more Parliament


Dems to Romney: you win


April 17, 2012

Wouldn't that be nice

The core of Romney’s campaign strategy seems to be contempt for the news media (and the voters), the belief that he can say anything and pay no price — which was the way things worked for Bush. But maybe, just maybe, his calculation was wrong, and serial dishonesty will become, justifiably, part of the narrative.


April 10, 2012

The Perfect Family

He:  uses neo-Maoist tactics to purge his enemies
She:  murders uncooperative foreign businessmen
Their son:  goes to Harvard

Putz Mauser?

Well, this is fun.

April 07, 2012

What is the name of this blog? Part 2.

My reaction to "iced zen"is...I can't quite visualize it...

...but that's what brainstorming's all about.  We are coming up, soon, on the 10th anniversary of this project.  The date will be August 29, 2013, and it seems compulsory to me that we take a day off, rent out a disused storefront performance space in the Haight or Spenard, set up a projector and an espresso machine, and read posts to ourselves and selected guests until our nurses track us down and take us back to the Home.

Eisengeiste was originally a reference to Ironminds, which, like almost all things I like, was shut down with almost unseemly haste.  An account of the original (two-minute) naming process appears in these two posts, and the subsequent disputes among the members on details of German grammar remain a matter of public record.  To further complicate matters, the word eisengeiste does appear in German books - well, ONE German book I found, which sort of undercuts the argument that it's not really German.

Other meanings have emerged after the fact.  For example, I enjoy the near-pun on eisegete, a person who projects their own views onto everything they read.  It also turns out that there are lots of Eisens to think about, like photographer Evvy Eisen, and ukiyoe-e print maker Keisai Eisen (渓斎 英泉), not to mention the bald guy who oversaw Operation Overlord.

There are more to track down:
  • There was apparently someone either acquainted with or (more likely) invented by Peter Ustinov named Natalia Lvovna von Eisengeist.
  • There is an EisenGeist kennel in Tacoma.
  • There is a comic book ghost of a steampunk robot named Eisengeist.
As we look forward to the future and treasure our 92719 ranking on Technorati, I do think it is time to reflect back on our accomplishments.  It's one thing to put up a blog on a summer's day in 2003 - but another thing entirely to stay with it as a group for a decade.  

I believe Plato had some thoughts that might be useful in this connection.  I believe that, rather than know it, because I've never read Plato and I copied and pasted the following quote from the Internet.  That said, I think the sentiment fits:
Even during the period for which any living being is said to live and retain his identity - as a man, for example, is called the same man from boyhood to old age - he does not in fact retain the same attributes, although he is called the same person: he is always becoming a new being and undergoing a process of loss and reparation, which affects his hair, his flesh, his bones, his blood and his whole body. And not only his body, but his soul as well. No man's character, habits, opinions desires pleasures pains and fears remain always the same: new ones come into existence and old ones disappear.
So then, as we approach our momentous anniversary, shall we, Pepys-like, finish our project and move on?  Or, having outlasted millions of bloggers who discovered better uses for their time, shall we stir the embers and make ready for another decade, and once more tilt at windmills, Republicans, and each other over matters of consuming importance only to people like us?

April 06, 2012

Restoration of the Natural Order

Thanks to the apparent intervention of the Hindu deity Shakti, who destroys demonic forces and restores order to the universe, things seems to be getting back to normal:
 Griffin made a nice dunk-shot, though.

April 05, 2012

Two good articles in The Baffler

On their site this month:

Maureen Tkacik has some issues with The Atlantic. But will she go there?
And with this sort of triple-threat propaganda triumph in view, the otherwise baffling success of this once reputable magazine grows clear. Of course The Atlantic is a turgid mouthpiece for the plutocracy, a repository of shallow, lazy spin, and regular host of discussion forums during which nothing is discussed. It is, in every formal trait, a CIA front.

Thomas Frank points out what may be obvious to some: you're more likely to be rewarded for playing along than being right.
A résumé filled with grievous errors in the period 1996–2006 is not only a non-problem for further advances in the world of consensus; it is something of a prerequisite. Our intellectual powers that be not only forgive the mistakes; they require them. You must have been wrong back then in order to have a chance to be taken seriously today; only by having gotten things wrong can you demonstrate that you are trustworthy, a member of the team. (Those who got things right all along, on the other hand, might be dubbed “premature market skeptics”—people who doubted the consensus before the consensus acknowledged it was all right to doubt.)

April 04, 2012

You know you're a star when...

...they ban your play 400 years after you wrote it.

Queen Elizabeth knew all about it:  "I am Richard II.  Know ye not that?"

(Note the original sentence for Essex.  Mercifully commuted...to beheading.)

I don't like the answer - may I have another model please?

If you ever wondered why Chicago thought it necessary to re-invent economics - in at least three different ways - here is your answer. The old kind gives bad output.

A look inside How To Sharpen Pencils by David Rees

Original Intent

The Supreme Court's right wing: fine with the police randomly looking up your butt, not ok with Medicaid doctors fixing it if they find something. 

April 03, 2012

About those new uniforms

I agree with the FSL: "Football teams do not have accents, they have colors. The team colors are blue and GREEN." And there isn't enough green.

Still, these uniforms are a vast improvement over the previous ones, if only because they eliminated the desaturated Prussian blue ("Pacific Blue," they named it, no doubt after that stupid TV show) that coated the old uniforms like the paint on a rental car. The new navy blue is not the most exciting color in the world, but I'll take Football Uniform Default Color A over colors chosen along the principles of interior design.

They at least tried to incorporate a (second) Salish art element into the uniform, though in this context it's somewhat abstract: the "feather" pattern used throughout the design. (Shown here on the pants stripe.) The problem is that lack of context can make it appear to be the tire tread I predicted last week. (I understand from the flash presentation on the Seahawks website that the horizontal stripes on the shoulder are inspired by totem pole wings. Could have been bolder, I think.)

As the FSL pointed out a long time ago, having your shirt match your pants looks stupid. I understand the Seahawks team plans to mix-and-match jersey and pants colors, and I hope they do, because having matching pants is a dumb way to have your uniforms be "unique."

Alternate jerseys are gray. Yawn. I predict folks who bought their alternate green jerseys will keep wearing them for years after the gray-blue ones have disappeared from the stands. That fans love green color is, in my view, a cry for help. It's the only color in the post-2001 uniforms they could develop an emotional attachment to. And this is why, as much as it would please me and a lot of long-time fans, the Seahawks can't go back to the old royal blue jerseys: it won't work with the bright green the newer fans have come to love. So instead of going backward, they went forward.

(Man in tasteful navy blue and white uniform, with highlight color, being sacked by a legend clad in awesome.)

Noted with approval

I like what they did here

Later, I'll go into detail why I think this is a good thing.

Spherical Earth Remains But A Theory

"Rick Perry, a vocal spherical earth skeptic, described the FCO's spending on the project as "misdirected". His spokeswoman told the Guardian: "In Texas, we base our policy decisions on sound science and what is ultimately best for our citizens. A spherical earth remains but a theory and one where thousands of scientists remain skeptical. It would be irresponsible to put our entire economy at risk based on unproven science. "

Oh sorry, I mistyped something there.

April 01, 2012

How to fuck up the country, Phase IV, element #26, sub-agenda B

I am in danger of becoming radicalized with respect to the issue of education for the not-extremely-rich.


Very clever

This reminds me of something the Sea Lord would come up with.

Harmonic convergence