Wednesday, October 31, 2007

New blog

Wherein about freakin' time

I created this other blog a couple months back to catalog a bunch of obscure -- or just old -- records that I'm finally getting around to digitizing. Figured it's about time I started using it. I don't have the backlog of ripped vinyl I'd hoped to have and a bunch of waht I've done I'll be redoing since I've improved my process and I'm getting much cleaner copies....But, my idea is to just roll out new material once, maybe twice, a week so why not start.

Since I'm doing a soft grand opening, here's a simple name that song; or should I say gnos sith enam.

Note: while I may link to 45and33, that blog will ignore the existence of this blog. So any reference to soquoted or inference that the proprietor of 45and33 has any connection or knowledge of soquoted will be deleted.

soquoted is run pretty much anonymously. I'll probably send out links to 45and33 to a few people who have no knowledge of this place. People know each other for various reasons, no need to be explicit on the how/where/why of those reasons.

I probably should have mentioned this upfront before I had to delete a comment over there.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Randominity or Randomosity ?

Wherein the wherein is not needed but I've been doing these damn things for close to two years and this doesn't seem like the appropriate instance to stop

  • Trivia:
    Last week: wow, not just historical characters, but historical character who were also in "Bill and Ted." One twist too many.

    This week: Other than lava, I am without guesses.

  • Kind of a strange way to describe toothpaste

  • Digital Daily: Can’t imagine that’s going to change anytime soon, either–no matter how loudly Zucker whines. Apple CEO Steve Jobs would probably rather swallow a Zune whole than be pressured into handing over a percentage of iPod sales to record labels, as Microsoft has done with Zune.

  • Photos: of Georgia Ballet company members. Gorgeous shots of some very talented people.

  • Comment left here, because haloscan wouldn't let me leave a comment there:
    My guess is that the dyes in the icing were the problem.

    I do all the cooking for our house, but my wife usually ends up doing cupcakes for school. She bought a couple of Cakesicle pans and just smears on some frosting (or with the frosting, writes a number or letter). Something about food on a stick, kids tend to eat more of this than a normal cupcake.

  • back to lunch (spinach salad with chopped turkey, cheddar cheese, roma tomatoes, and pecans). Then back to converting some gnarly Word tables into soothing Framemaker. Sorta mindless and repetitive, yet requires a moderate level of detail. Slapping on the headphones and cranking the Muffs to get through the afternoon.

Friday, October 26, 2007

If you're referring to the touching thing, I see it as more of an obstacle than a problem

Wherein questions about my second favorite show on Wednesday. Life is first.

XWL has a question about Pushing Daisies:
Given that the dog hasn't apparently aged in more than a decade, can we assume Chuck won't age until Ned touches her again?

If Ned dies before touching his honey or his dog again, do Chuck and Digby become immortal?

I was wondering about that, too. I think these are all the ground rules we've been given:
  • If Ned touches a dead person/animal/plant it comes alive.
  • If he ever touches the reanimated person/animal/plant again it dies, forever.
  • If he doesn't touch the reanimated with 60 seconds, then something else must die.

Let's look at Digby, the dog. As a child, Ned reanimated Digby. Now 19-20 years in the future Digby is still looking fresh and spry. I think immortality is a fair question.

Another possibility is perhaps if the reanimated being dies again of its own accord (natural causes, car crash, shot during a robbery) and not by Ned's second touch, then Ned is free to reanimate it again.

But it would be an odd sort of immortality if the clock didn't start over. Let's say that Digby first died when he was 5-years old when Ned resurrected him. Then it lived for another 10 years and died of natural causes at 15-years old. If Ned touches it, is he reanimated as a 15-year old dog with all the problems he had when he died? So Digby eeks out another year or so before dying again; Ned touches Digby, again, Digby lives another 6 months; Ned touches him again, he lives 5 months, etc... This quickly becomes really sad and a lotta gross.

So if Digby is a dog of 20+ years, then immortality does seem the more likely answer. Perhaps we'll see a flashback where young Ned tests the lifespans of reanimated flies and give us an answer.

Aside from the immortality question, can Ned reanimate those dying of natural causes? Or just those whose lives were ended prematurely. Die of a unknown birth defect or old age and Ned is of no help. Run over or shot and Ned's there for you. For the next 60 seconds. This might have an easy answer if I could remember how Ned's mother died.

It is also interesting that those were killed by traumatic means are reanimated without feeling any pain. There's the guy who died in a plane crash with giant shards of glass sticking out of his face -- come on, that doesn't hurt? I want at least one episode where someone is brought to life screaming "OH MY GOD WHERE'S MY LEG! OH THE PAIN! COULD SOMEONE PLEASE JUST PUT ME OUT OF MY MISERY!"

Because that would be funny.

Another issue to explore is what is the minimum barrier Ned can employ between himself and the reanimated. We've seen Ned and Chuck kiss with plastic wrap between them, so I'm thinking with a latex suit and condoms sex shouldn't be a problem. Maybe if the show is canceled and then picked up by HBO or Showtime.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

"No one asked you anything, so why don’t whomever’s name is Toby, take a letter opener and stick it in your skull"

Wherein I'd probably just rewrite to avoid using either

From the Language Log is a link to a dissection of the who(m) discussion from The Office, whomever us never actually right:
Toby, however, overlooks that in I want Michael to explain…, it’s not obvious that Michael is a subject. I is the subject of want, and Michael is its direct object, as evidenced by the fact that it can be replaced be him, but not he. On the other hand, Michael seems to be the subject of explain in some sense, as he’s the one who will do the explaining. A lot of syntactic theorizing has taken as its starting point facts like this one, arguing whether Michael is a direct object, or a subject that has been “raised” to become a direct object, or perhaps something else. Even so, Toby’s and Pam’s statements are remarkably accurate, in light of irritatingly common errors like calling He died a sentence in the “passive tense”, or saying that science is a verb. (Props to Oscar, too, for distinguishing dislike of a word from nonexistence of a word.)

Bonus points: moist is offensive to women. Anecdotally I'd also say women have issues with raw chicken. But I don't think there's a correlation.

Match the lyrics to the artist, III

Wherein because this is sooo much fun

I thought about doing something else, but need to see more of an effort on your part.

As before, 1 point for matching artist to lyrics and an additional point for the title of the song. So far justkim is at the head of the leader board with 2 points, with everyone else jostling around in the mud with ZERO.

  1. Well she looked at me, and I, I could see
    That before too long I'd fall in love with her.
    She wouldn't dance with another (whooh)
    When I saw her standing there.
  2. Please, please me, whoa yeah, like I please you.
    Please, please me, whoa yeah, like I please you.
    Please, please me, whoa yeah, like I please you.
  3. All you need is love. All you need is love.
    All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.
  4. I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me.
    She showed me her room, isn't it good, norwegian wood?
  5. Though I know I'll never lose affection,
    for people and things that went before.
    I know I'll often stop and think about them,
    in my life I love you more
  6. Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes.
    There, beneath the blue, suburban skies,
    I sit, and meanwhile back
  7. Eleanor Rigby, picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been,lives in a dream,
    waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door.
  8. Why don't we do it in the road?
    No one will be watching us
    Why don't we do it in the road?
  9. It's been a hard day's night, and I been working like a dog,
    It's been a hard day's night, I should be sleeping like a log,
    But when I get home to you I'll find the things that you do,
    Will make me feel alright
  10. Cry baby cry
    Make your mother sigh
    She's old enough to know better
    So cry baby cry.

  • Beatles
  • Beatles
  • Beatles
  • Beatles
  • Beatles
  • Beatles
  • Beatles
  • Beatles
  • Beatles
  • Beatles

Answers to be given on Sunday.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Short list

Wherein local communities are preparing to take up arms to defend our precious fluids from those down river usurpers in Alabama

Welcome back

Answers are now provided (in the comments) for last week's match the lyrics to the artist. As even I can't match up my own music, this Thursday's quiz will be a little easier.

Tuesday Trivia LXVII. Got another #7 correct. That makes two in a row. Unless I lost count and it's really three. Also had two other correct answers for a not so grand total of three. This week:

  1. Michael Jordan
  2. Confession: I have a horrible time remembering the state capitals. I never had to memorize them and now it's a knowledge pit of darkness. So put me down for "no idea."
  3. Two guessing approaches for this one. Pick a company that makes electric and stringed instruments or pick a World I hero. All I have is Fender.
  4. Gawain
  5. Sir Edmund Hillary
  6. skipping this one
  7. got nothing on this one

Looks like just one.

Monday, October 22, 2007

"They are striving only for melodies, harmony and rhythms which agitate the throbbing emotional resources of this young restless age"

Wherein starting off with the introduction of the program for Paul Whiteman's Aeolian Hall Concert


Three or four years ago Mr. Whiteman was requested by a number of his friends to give a concert of popular music but until now he considered it unwise to make the attempt because he did not feel confident that his organization had become sufficiently well known to be taken seriously by those people who are giving their time and effort to arouse in the present generation and in those to come a deeper appreciation of really good music.

The experiment is to be purely educational. Mr. Whiteman intends to point out, with assistance of his orchestra and associates, the tremendous strides which have been made in popular music from the day of the discordant Jazz, which sprang into existence about ten years ago from nowhere in particular, to the really melodious music of today, which -- for no good reason -- is still called Jazz. Most people who riducule the present so-called Jazz and who refuse to condone it o listen to it seriously, are quarreling with the name Jazz and not with what it represents.

Modern Jazz has invaded countless millions of homes in all parts of the world. It is being played and enjoyed where formerly no music at all was heard.

The greatest single factor in the improvement of American music has been the art of scoring. Paul Whiteman's orchestra was the first organization to especially score each selection and to play it according to the score. since then practically every modern orchestra has its own arranger or staff of arrangers. As a result there are thousands of young people scoring and composing, who otherwise would perhaps never have dreamed of writing music. These same people are creating much of the popular music of today. They are not influenced by any foreign school. They are writing in the spirit of the times. They are striving only for melodies, harmony and rhythms which agitate the throbbing emotional resources of this young restless age.

American composers should be encouraged to not only maintain the present standard, but to strive for bigger and better things. Eventually there may evolve an American school which will equal those of foreign origin or which will at least provide a stepping stone which will it very simple for the masses to understand and therefore enjoy symphony and opera. That is the true purpose of this experiment.

If after the concert you decide that the music of today is worthless and harmful, it is your duty to stamp it down. If it is not, then we welcome anyone eager to assist in its development.

I'll stream the first and next to last numbers played at the concert. Interestingly, "A Rhapsody in Blue" was not the final number; instead it was Elgar "Pomp and Circumstance." In the program notes it is explained that "This selection has been placed on the program because it is familiar to most people. It is hoped that Mr. Whiteman's rendition of it will not be taken too seriously." The music is taken from the digital LP The Birth of Rhapsody in Blue. This 1986 recording is by Maurice Peress as he recreated the entire Aeolian Hall Concert using the original instrumentation and scores. Eventually I'll have all 25 pieces up and all the liner notes.

  1. Livery Stable Blues. From the liner notes:
    Nick LaRocca, the New Orlens cornet player in the Orignal Dixieland Jazz Band, is credited as the composer of the Livery Stable Blues. The 1917 ODJB recording, from which the rendition on this recording was transcribed, has been said to be the first jazz recording ever. It outsold sousa and Caruso, the top money makers of the time. Our recording begins with Walt Levinsky, Alan Dean, Dave Bargeron, Chuck Spies, and Dick Hyman playing clarinet, coronet, trombone, drums, and piano, respectively, in their interpretation of this piece.

  2. Rhapsody in Blue. From the liner notes:
    I began researching the jazz-band orchestration in 1976. Since then, in the process of researching the entire Aeolian Hall Concert, I have had close looks at several original sources. I believe that this recording of the Rhapsody in Blue is the first fully restored edition. It was prepared in the light of current interest in urtext perforamces of classic music, made posible by a collaboration between musicologists and performers who specialize in historic replication: original instrumentation, tempi, size of forces, and expecially perfornace style.

"All the humors of Mormonism"

Wherein Vaudeville, May 1917

From the NY Times archives:
The new musical comedy which arrived with a bang at the Astor Theatre last evening is several times as amusing as the average of its kind, although it has only one song that is simply inescapable and although none of the several comedians enlisted for its company is a star of the first magnitude.

....Then, too, Mormonism is just about the only religion that can be exploited in musical comedy.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

NY Times archive not as great as I'd thought

Wherein set the information free

I was excited that the New York Times had opened their archives back to 1851. There's some fun stuff in there. But in trying to see if a couple of 1924 articles had some material worth quoting, I've hit an odd and annoying wall:
  • Articles in the Public Domain (1851-1922) can be accessed for free.
  • Articles from the period 1923-1986 remain in our paid Archive and are available for purchase as single articles or as article packs.
  • All articles from 1987-Present are free

At $3.95 an article I'm not paying $8 just to see if there's something I can use.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Two paragraphs

Wherein for your pleasure

At the AV Club, during a review of Strange Days, a little Juliette Lewis nonappreciation:
At the risk off being controversial, I am going to very humbly suggest that it may, in fact, have been a miscalculation to cast Juliette Lewis—a thespian who rivals Robin Williams for sheer, consistent annoyingosity—as the most the desirable woman in the world. Lewis and I go together like nails and chalkboard.Fiennes will do anything to relive his memories of life with Lewis. I, on the other hand, would happily pay a modest sum to purge every memory of Lewis and her goat-like bleating from my psyche. Heck, I’d pay fifty bucks just to forget that I ever saw The Other Sister or heard Lewis braying “You look good wita gun Bryyyyyuhhhn!” in the commercials for Kalifornia. If Lewis’ role were played by Jennifer Connelly or Angela Bassett—a stone-cold fox and a smart, uncompromising actress to boot—I’d find the film much less problematic, but this central miscasting goes a long way towards reconciling Strange Days to the purgatory-like nowhere land of interesting failures.

When Fiennes waxes rhapsodic about the seductive allure of Lewis’ voice, I found myself desperately hoping he was being bitterly ironic. It doesn’t help that with her emaciated figure and bright orange-red hair Lewis looks disconcertingly like Ronald McDonald’s crack-whore younger sister. It’s never a promising sign when a film’s ostensible sex symbol takes off her shirt over and over again and your default reaction is “No! God no! Hide your shame, devil woman!”.

The easiest line of work

Wherein go on guess

Clue: like men need a reason

U2 has a concert starting in 17 minutes

Wherein I did not know that Bono could glow in the dark

logic puzzle

Thursday, October 18, 2007

What else can a poor boy do?

Wherein I didn't realize these were covers until just now

Both links go my vox account so you can stream the songs.

  1. Running on Faith. Much better than Eric Clapton
  2. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight. No way can I see little Bobby Dylan singing this.

Not a big fan of her version of Blackbird, everything else though is just right.

Answering questions asked by

Wherein I'm always willing to help

What should generals do if Bush orders a foolish attack on Iran? Slate says "resign, retire, renounce" and I'll go along with that. But forgets the unasked question "What should generals do if Bush orders a smart attack on Iran?" I suggest cake and ice cream followed by an afternoon of bowling.

Why are the biggest fossils found in Patagonia? Because that is where God put them to test our faith.

Could Gore Kill Iowa? Have you seen the size of the guy? He's like Louis Anderson. If he falls over in Dubuque he's taking Waterloo with him.

Why Vote When You Can Bet? Do both.

The man I like is wonderful—but not attractive to me. What should I do? Does he have a better looking best friend? If so, I think you see where I'm going with this. Otherwise, talk him into taking out a large insurance policy before a honeymoon cruise . I hear that late at night those decks get slippery near the railing. wink wink nudge nudge.

What is a criminal? Whatever the fascist police state says. Why are you asking? Do you have something you'd like to tell us?

How much carbon does a forest fire spew into the atmosphere? Is that anything like "if a woodchuck could chuck wood..."; if so, my answer is 7.

Could smaller elementary school classes make kids healthier? Yes. Because putting a bunch of diseased, plague-infested, snot-eating droplings together in one room is a bad idea. They should be raised at home in individual and soundproofed bubbles.

What happens when the government can't re-create the case against you? Dude, it's the government. There are entire departments that do nothing but manufacture fake evidence.

Why have even the environmentalists given up on the Salton Sea? Because they're a bunch of quitters. Oh the earth is dying what am I going to do Bitch bitch moan moan bitch moan whine. How about filling a couple of sandbags to keep the Atlantic ocean off my front lawn, granola boy?

Match the lyrics to the artist, II

Wherein screw you people for not playing along

Songs selected as they appear in random order. Mostly. I might've skipped a couple some a lot because they were too obscure or were without lyrics.
  1. I'm bleeding all over the place
    Bleeding all over the place
    I don't mean to be rude
    I'm in a pretty bad mood
    Just take a look at my face
  2. We were married under cherry trees
    Under blossom we made pour vows
    All the blossoms come sailing down
    Through the streets and through the playgrounds
  3. Don't call it a prairie if you fence it in
    You could call it a pasture but the topsoil's thin
    It just might rain but then again
    It will not make a difference
  4. I don't believe in propagation
    Just to achieve cafe au laition
    Don't offer me immasculation
    I don't believe in deprivation
  5. There's no wrinkle on my brow, Nohow
    But I ain't goin' You hear me sayin'
    If you ain't goin' with you I'm stayin'
  6. Just be my little woman, just be my lover, oh
    I need me somebody, somebody to treat me right, oh
    I need your loving arms to hold me tight
  7. You lied about your status
    You lied about your life
    You never mentioned your three children
    And the fact you have a wife
    Now it's England 2 Colombia nil
    And I know just how those Colombians feel
  8. I cannot stand that noise you're listening to
    Why did I ever get involved with you?
    Hey baby
    Somebody, somebody like you
    Somebody, somebody like you
    Somebody, somebody like you
    I shouldn't be expectin' too much
    from somebody like you
  9. Your skin is cold
    But the sun shines within your hold
    Your hair is gold
    But you see through a goldfish bowl
  10. Don't talk, I will listen
    Don't talk, you keep your distance
    For I'd rather hear some truth tonight than entertain your lies
    So take you poison silently

  • 10,000 Maniacs
  • Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald
  • Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
  • Marshall Crenshaw
  • Kid Creole & the Coconuts
  • Kirsty MacColl
  • Randy Newman
  • Otis Redding
  • Michelle Shocked
  • Rufus Wainwright

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Al Gore, corporate whore!

Wherein it's funny because it rhymes

Here's some interesting articles. I think we can lay to rest the brain-damaged claim that not being impressed with Al Gore is a partisan issue.

Daniel Drezner asks "This is a serious question -- for those non-American readers out there, was Al Gore the reason you began to think about global warming?" In the comments a Joe M. writes:
  • His movie was more self-aggrandizement than it was a serious discussion of climate change. Gore is a propagandist, plain and simple. And I am someone who deeply believes in the need to address climate change, i just think Gore is full of it.

    So when the Nobel Committee gives Gore the prize, it is obviously for publicity, not for accomplishments. There are thousands of people and NGOs who have been working on the ground for decades to make this issue a priority. People who have serious accomplishments to their credit. Even Tony Blair did more in England to lower their carbon emmissions and to set the UK on a green path than Gore's stupid slide show. Or how about Joschka Fischer of the German greens, who forced windmills and environmental policy on the biggest European economy? Or green groups like Friends of the Earth and/or Greenpeace... There are thousands of people who have serious accomplishments. That they gave the award to Gore (I agree with the IPCC part) is a sign that either 1) they did it as a publicity stunt, 2) they are pandering to the USA, or 3) they are complete idiots. I lean toward a hybrid of all three though. It is quite sad indeed.

From Counterpunch (March 3/4, 2007), it's Jeffrey St. Clair with Al Gore, the Origins of a Hypocrite. I love articles like this. Tries to brand Gore as a hypocrite and I leave thinking he's been remarkabley consistent (for a politician). Basically ignores anything he's done since 1993, so calling him a hypocrite for things he voted on 20-25 years ago doesn't impress me.

Just a few highlights:
  • The young congressman picked out safe issues on which to cut a posture. He'd fully digested the lessons of his own masters' thesis, that television had shifted the balance of power from the Congress to the Executive branch. He became a zealous promoter of TV cameras in Congress and contrived matters so that he was the first to speak to those cameras from the House floor.
  • The legislative venue for Gore's grandstanding was the House Commerce Committee's subcommittee on oversight and investigation. Gore had lobbied strongly to be appointed to this subcommittee, correctly assaying its screen-time potential. In short order he developed an inquisitorial style, matched off the floor by his mercilessly abusive treatment of his staff.
  • The AFL-CIO felt confident of victory, but it missed the fact that newly arrived Democrats like Gore felt no loyalty to labor and were intent on advertising that disposition to their business contributors. Gore provided one of the crucial votes that turned back labor's bill.
  • As a House member Gore was virtually a poster boy for the National Rifle Association.
  • He was a relentless supporter of the Hyde amendment, which banned federal funding for abortions for poor women. In one early version of Hyde's bill there was language allowing exceptions to the ban in the case of rape. Gore voted against that.
  • Likewise, in Gore's supposed devotion to the environment there has always been a vast rift between stirring proclamation and legislative reality.
  • Gore was a fanatic defender of the [Clinch River Breeder Reactor], the most ardent of all in the Tennessee House delegation.
  • In 1984, Al Gore took Baker's Senate seat and over the next eight years voted for the nuclear lobby 55 percent of the time. As vice president and author of Earth in the Balance (which stays fairly mute on the topic of nuclear power) Gore, along with HIS FORMER STAFFER Energy Department Assistant Secretary Thomas Grumbly, tried to bring the Clinch River scheme to life again as the Fast Flux Test Facility in the Hanford nuclear reservation in the State of Washington.
  • In fact, the only purposes of the [Tellico Dam] were to line the pockets of the cement producers and construction nabobs of Tennessee and to afford an amenity for the "Timberlake" community being planned by Boeing.
  • Gore was among the leaders in the effort to get this waiver, and in the end Congress exempted the dam from compliance and overturned the Supreme Court's injunction. As the defenders of the snail darter predicted, the path to destruction of the Endangered Species Act now lay open, and first down that path had been none other than Al Gore.
  • After the snail darter came other species and other waivers, the most notorious of them engineered under the auspices of Vice President Gore.
  • But when Watt was gone and Reagan was gone and Bush was gone, the Democratic "greens" came back to power, and they accomplished triumphs that the Republicans had never dared dream possible.
  • Gore's lifetime rating from the League is 64 percent, meaning he was in sync with the [League of Conservation Voters] positions two-thirds of the time. The League's rating of Gore in his House years ran at an average of about 55 percent, with one year seeing him down to 30 percent, putting him in harness with such world-class predators as Don Young of Alaska.
  • Gore didn't make many friends in the House, but his propensity to techno-flatulence (e.g., "The government is just a big software program") soon prompted him to sniff out a kindred soul in the form of a pudgy young Congressman from suburban Atlanta with a marvelous facility for rotund phrase-making on any issue to hand. This might be my favorite sentence in the piece.
  • No, that would be this sentence: "Poor Tipper, hoping for a romantic candle-lit evening with her spouse, would open the door to see the beaming, porcine features of the rising Republican star from Georgia on the doorstep."
  • Gore picked up the lingo quickly enough: "I think it is important to realize that we do have interests in the world that are important enough to defend, to stand up for. And we should not be so burned by the tragedy of Vietnam that we fail to recognize an interest that requires the assertion of force."
  • Gore backed Reagan's disastrous deployment of the US Marines in Lebanon in 1983. He supported the invasion of that puissant Caribbean threat to the United States (population 240 million) by Grenada (population 80,000). He later chided his 1988 Democratic opponents for their failure to embrace this noble enterprise. At a time when many Democrats wanted to restrict the CIA's ability to undertake covert actions, Gore said he wouldn't "hesitate to overthrow a government with covert actions", a posture he ratified with his approval of the CIA's secret war in Afghanistan.

This next one is from Sierra Magazine, July-August, 1997, The great green hope - Vice-President Al Gore's environmental record. This one is more about how either Gore was ineffectual or thrown under the bus by Clinton.
  • He's the most knowledgeable environmentalist ever to reach such a high office. But is that enough? You haven't spoken with Jeffrey St. Clair (above), have you?
  • Vice Presidents Albert Gore may be the first national leader for whom Saturday Night Live was a significant influence. In his book, Earth in the Balance, Gore supplements references to Aristotle and chaos theory with mentions of the comedy show's "Yard-a-pull," a device for launching garbage into the neighbor's yard.
  • Another topic of vice presidential humor is Gore's well-known desire to be president. He likes to dwell on the brief delay in Bill Clinton's second inauguration. "For five minutes I was president of the United States," Gore declares. "It was an important time for me and my family, and, if I may be so bold, for the country . . . " Ok, that's funny
  • The young Gore's legislative record was slight; he was better at raising issues than seeing them through the process. In the Reagan era, he became an expert on nuclear disarmament, mastering the minutiae of throw weight and megatonnage, but never transforming his expertise into legislation.
  • Yet his courage failed when it came to confronting two environmentally disastrous projects of the Tennessee Valley Authority, the quasi-governmental public-power and development agency championed by his father.
  • By Gore's own account, his interest in the environment was focused by tragedy in 1989 after his son, Albert III, was struck by a car and nearly killed; Gore says he started writing Earth in the Balance in the hospital room. The accident, he wrote, "caused me to be increasingly impatient with the status quo, with conventional wisdom, with the lazy assumption that we can always muddle through."
  • In the early days of the [1988 Presidential] campaign, he often spoke out on environmental matters--to the general ridicule of the pundits and his opponents, one of whom famously suggested that he sounded as though he were running for "first scientist."
  • The book is Gore's attempt at a passionate polemic. At times he succeeds, as when he talks about his family or the role of religious faith in shaping a new environmental consciousness. More often, however, in his eagerness to establish his scholarly bona fides ("This phenomenon of interdependency is probably best illustrated by what scientists call positive feedback loops . . ."), his message is obscured.
  • Early on, when Clinton caved in to western governors and senators and backtracked on grazing and mining reform, Gore took the heat from his environmentalist allies. "Remember," he told the troops, "I'm just the vice president."
  • A classic example of Gore at work is the new environmental-diplomacy program at the State Department, unveiled this past Earth Day, which seeks to incorporate environmental health into the country's definition of national security.
  • It would be nice to think that the administration ranked green concerns up there with trade, the economy, and defense, but the White House has thus far rarely expended much political capital on the environment.
  • Even for Gore, says the congressional staffer, "When it comes to a choice between jobs and the environment, or trade and the environment, the environment gets in a lot of trouble real fast."
  • The most troublesome conflict for Gore is, ironically, global warming...."Today the evidence of an ecological Kristallnacht is as clear as the sound of glass shattering in Berlin," he wrote in Earth in the Balance. "How much more evidence is needed by the body politic to justify taking vigorous action?"
  • Environmentalists might well ask that question of the Clinton/Gore administration, whose efforts to slow global climate change have been anything but vigorous.
  • "Gore's vivid language in describing environmental problems is almost never matched by equally passionate advocacy for a solution," writes reporter Timothy Noah in U.S. News and World Report, "particularly when powerful economic interests are at stake. Conservative critics who brand Gore an 'ozone man' have it wrong. On the environment, Gore favors extreme rhetoric but only incremental solutions."
  • Then it was on to China and his famous half toast with Li Peng....the cause for the toasting: a $1.5 billion deal between China and General Motors to produce 100,000 Buick Centurys and Regals for the burgeoning Chinese auto market. One difference between these and American Buicks: the Chinese versions will not have pollution controls.

PBS, On the Record, August 21, 2000. Highlights:
  • Discussing turning a 51 mile section of the Columbia River into a protected preserve; McDaniel and McHugh are upset at the lack of local input
    TOM BEARDEN: Gore's well-established environmental record makes it easy for people to grade his performance.
    RICK LAMONT, Audubon Society: A-plus.
    CARL POPE, Sierra Club: Al Gore, I'd give a B+.
    BRENT BLACKWELDER, Friends of the Earth: I would say probably a C.
    SHANNON McDANIEL (manages the South Columbia irrigation district: I'm going to give him a D.
    AMY McHUGH (listed as a farmer): Probably a D-.
    ANGELA ANTONELLI, Heritage Foundation: An F.
  • I think that the Vice President had an agenda and he came to do it and he did it and left. I don't think that it had anything to do with how complex our irrigation project is, or how it impacts people around our county. It's my opinion that he came in to put on a show. He did his show and left.
  • CHRIS WEST (Northwest Forestry Association): In the last seven years, we've seen a major shift in where consumers are getting their wood products here in the United States. When Clinton and Gore took office, 20 percent of our lumber products came from foreign countries. Today it's well over 40 percent.
  • PROTESTERS: Al Gore, corporate whore! I'm guessing there was an audio-visual clip used here
  • TOM BEARDEN: Even some environmentalists are disappointed with Gore's clean air record. Brent Blackwelder is executive director of Friends of the Earth, a national environmental organization which endorsed Bill Bradley instead of Gore in the presidential primaries.

    BRENT BLACKWELDER: One of the reasons the Friends of the Earth Political Action Committee endorsed Bradley was we thought Bradley got far more legislative results than Gore did when he was in office. And one of our major critiques of Gore was that he knew the issues, but he did not legislate and get results.

    TOM BEARDEN: But Blackwelder does applaud Gore for going to Kyoto.

    BRENT BLACKWELDER: I think Gore gets credit for having been there and gotten that started. And so I think that is a high point for what they did. I think the low point on climate is the failing to actually practice what you preach by not keeping US greenhouse gas emissions down to 1990 levels, instead letting them grow to be 13 percent more by the time we ended the decade.

From Counterpunch, May 31, 2006, it's Joshua Frank with Inconvenient Truths About the Ozone Man:
  • Perhaps Al Gore's greatest blunder during his years as vice president was his allegiance to the conservative Democratic Leadership Council and their erroneous approach to environmental policy. Gore, like Clinton who quipped that "the invisible hand has a green thumb", extolled a free-market attitude toward environmental issues.
  • Then came the first of the Clinton administration's neoliberal wet dreams: NAFTA. After the passage of NAFTA, pollution along the US/Mexico border dramatically increased. And Gore should have known better; NAFTA allowed existing environmental laws in the United States to be undermined.
  • Gore, again, said nothing.
  • Forests under Clinton and Gore's watch didn't fare all that well.
  • And the assault on nature continued with Gore's blessing.
  • So while Al Gore flies a polluting jet around the country and overseas to preach to the masses about the dangerous effects of global warming and its inherent threat to life on Earth -- you may want to ask yourself whether the hypocritical Gores of the world are more a part of the problem than a solution to the dire climate that surrounds us all.

Showing up in Guerrilla News Network, June 5, 2006, it's Joshua Frank with More Inconvenient Truths About Al Gore. Which is the same as the Counterpunch article and was adapted from his book Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush.

Back to Counterpunch, it's Joshua Frank writing about Gore winning the Nobel in A Prime Time Hypocrite. Mostly repeats last year's piece, but he now gives us a conspiracy:
  • As the Center for Public Integrity writes in their book The Buying Of The President 2000, "Personally and professionally the vice president has profited from Occidental largess. To this day he still draws $20,000 a year from a land deal in Tennessee brokered between his father and [former Occidental chairman Armand] Hammer. The total amount is more than $300,000."

    This relationship between Hammer, who was close with Al Gore Sr. as well, matured greatly during the late 1980s while Gore served in the Senate, including Kenneth Lay style trips on Hammer's private plane and monster campaign contributions.

    Oil companies during the 20th Century, reports the Center for Public Integrity, "have tried unsuccessfully to obtain control of two oil fields owned and operated by the federal government: the Teapot Dome field in Casper, Wyoming, and the Elk Hillsfield in Bakersfield, California."

    When Clinton and Gore took office in 1992, that was about to change. Perhaps only outdone by George W. Bush's connections to Big Oil, Al Gore pressed President Clinton to approve handing over these public lands to the oil companies. The land, managed by the Navy, had held emergency oil reserves since 1912.

    It took five years of lobbying on behalf of Big Oil, but Gore and Occidental were victories. In the fall of 1997 the Energy Department sold 47,000 acres of the Elk Hill reserve to Occidental.
  • "The very same day the Elk Hills sale was announced, Gore delivered a speech to the White House Conference on Climate Change on the
    "terrifying prospect" of global warming, a problem he blamed on the unchecked use of fossil fuels such as oil."

This article is also repeated in Dissident Voice and Oil Sands Truth. Looks like a bit of an echo chamber there. Just keep repeating it and hope someone will hear you?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

"The majority contradicted itself and presented outright lies as their justification for conviction"

Wherein Floyd Landis is appealing

Even though Floyd Landis is appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Oscar Pereiro was given the yellow jersey for the 2006 Tour de France. There is the possibility that early next near Landis could win his appeal and be declared the 2006 TdF winner. Again. None of this is fair to Pereiro or Landis, but in their zeal to brand all accused as guilty, WAGA, UCI, and USADA (probably a few more acronyms I forgot) have continuously trampled over their own procedures and the rights of the riders.

As I've been saying for over a year, none of the Landis case has ever made any sense. The system is broken and the keepers of the system are more corrupt than the athletes they're pursuing:
The decisive part of the Landis arbitration was the reliability of the IRMS tests. In the critical seven paragraphs of the award, the majority contradicted itself and presented outright lies as their justification for conviction. In saying the arguments of the Landis experts were "unsound and without any reasonable scientific basis", they have shown the dishonesty and duplicity that the WADA/CAS community will go to to protect their own interests to convict an athlete.

Read the rest of Seven Paragraphs at Trust But Verify for the full breakdown.

It would be funny

Wherein you keep using that word

Came upon the following comment at Reason's Hit and Run: Lots of Republicans are talking about voting in the Democrat primaries for Obama to keep Hillary out and lots of Democrats are talking about voting in the Republican primaries for Ron Paul. It would be funny if the Republicans nominated Obama and the Democrats nominated Ron Paul.

Anyone else laughing out there?
  • Daily Free Press: "I thought It would be funny calling it Rhett Burger, like it was made out of Rhett," Polcik said. "[Then] I just put an apostrophe in Rhett's. . . . I also posted a bunch of derivatives of it like Rhett's Greasy Spoon or Rhett's Diner.
  • The Star: I was told a story about a young female teacher whose students got hold of her email address. She was engaged, and they decided It would be funny to send an email to her fiancé, a confession suggesting she'd been cheating. It was credible enough that it broke up the relationship.
  • Edmonton Sun: "We thought It would be funny ... I didn't mean to offend anyone, certainly not the family of this officer.
  • Irish Independent News: "The Government however seem to think these machines will still be working in 25 years. If the taxpayer wasn't paying for this debacle, It would be funny."
  • Oxford Press: Another female came forward and said the guy carrying the gun was Norton, who told police he and Gentry thought It would be funny to run out of the apartment and pretend to be fighting.
  • Concord MOnitor: Have you ever tried calling them? It would be funny if it weren't so sad. They must stay up nights figuring out how to complicate their phone system to discourage people from calling.

Many of these stories could be cross-referenced with the "hold my beer and watch this" catalog of bad ideas.

Conclusion: Actual humor is rarely involved with the phrase "it would be funny." There is even a decent chance it will be used to describe the aftermath of a tragic event. So if you ever hear yourself saying "Come on, it will be funny," just sit down, close your eyes, and take long, deep breathes. Eventually the impulse will pass and no one will get hurt.

The return of occassional answers and random guesses and the spare "s" or two

Wherein haven't verified any of these

  1. Hamburg?
  2. Moby (guessing based on Melville)
  3. One of the ones starting with a K?
  4. (a) Gesundheit (b) who?
  5. Yellow or orange. I pick yellow.
  6. UFOs.
  7. Canceled and then picked up again? TV shows that started as movies? I know the last two started out as movies and since I have nothing else, I'll go with that.

Monday, October 15, 2007

"But every issue, even the smallest, has to be a war"

Wherein and some people are just bad surfers

Photodude thinks we're heading into a dark tunnel until the elections. I agree.
I truly believe there are lots of honorable people wanting to serve their country, and feel they can best do so by working for the party and/or candidates they believe can best take care of this country. They might only work for them part-time during the local campaign, or they might actually go to DC with the winning candidate and work for them full-time.

I believe there are others that are interested solely in the best short term outcome for their party, often to the exclusion of the country’s long term interests. Many of them work in Congress or elsewhere in DC. I suppose some “graduate” from the first group into this second one.

And I believe there are still others who see a large wave on which they might surf. They don’t even have to necessarily agree with the wave (though they might). Riding it is what’s fun.

Then we apply the 80/20 rule. People in the above groupings have already demonstrated its application, in that 80% (more or less) of people are “passives,” and though they might intellectually agree, they are not the type to actively participate in the above manners.

But I think you can apply that 80/20 rule once again (or 90/10 if you prefer, I won’t quibble). Of those who are supporting a party candidate actively (like, in a blog?) 20% will do so in a knee jerk destructive manner. There is a “hard core” to both parties, who will put their blinders on and offer knee jerk support for even the most incomprehensible political acts. We should remember even Nixon never really fell much below 25% in the approval ratings. Pick the least liked member of either party, and there’s still that 20% who “have their back,” no matter what.

I'll use his article as a jumping off point for referencing my favorite political/conspiracy novel, Interface. Lots of good satire on campaign marketing. Earlier, I excerpted Cy Ogle explaining the Age of scrutiny: We do not have the strength to change the minds of the illiterate multitude. But we do have the wit to exploit their foolishness, to familiarize ourselves with their stunted thought patterns, and to use that knowledge to manipulate them toward the goals that we all know are, quote, right and true, unquote. Here, he's discussing riding the media wave:
"Let me just state one ground rule first," he said. "This conversation is not a business thing."

"It's not?"

"Nope. But it's not a social thing either, because we are total strangers."

"So what is it, Mr. Ogle?"

"Two people talking to each other."

"And what are we exactly are we talking about?"



"Media is like a wave," Ogle said. "It's powerful and uncontrollable. If you're good, you can surf on it for a little bit, get a boost from it. Gary Hart surfed on that wave for a few weeks in 1984, after he won New Hampshire from Mondale. But by the time the Illinois primary came around, he had fallen off the surfboard. The wave broke over him and swamped him. He tried again in 1988 but that time he just plain drowned. Perot rode the wave for a month or in '92, then he lost his nerve."

Ogle turned in his chair and focused in on Mary Catherine now. "You and your family, you've been having a day at the beach. You've been out wading in the shallow waters where everything is warm and safe. But the currents are tricky and suddenly you find that you have been swept far out into the deep black water by a mysterious undertow. And now, great waves are cresting over your heads. You can get up and ride those waves wherever they take you, or you can pretend it's not happening. You can keep treading water, in which case the tsunami will break on top of you and slam you down onto the bottom."

Mary Catherine just kept her mouth shut and stared into her water glass. She was feeling several powerful emotions at once and she knew that if she opened her mouth she'd probably regret it.

There was fear. Fear because she knew that Ogle was exactly right. Resentment because this total stranger was presuming to give her advice. And there was a frightening sense of exhilaration, wild thrilling danger, almost sexual in its power.

Fear, resentment, and exhilaration. She knew that her brother, James was experiencing the same feelings. And she knew that he was ignoring the fear, swallowing the resentment, and giving in to the exhilaration.

She looked at Ogle. Ogle was looking back at her, a little bit sideways, not wanting to confront her directly.

"There's a third outcome you didn't mention," she said.

"What's that?" Ogle said, startled.

"You start riding the wave because you enjoy the thrill of it. But you don't know what you're doing. And you end up getting slammed into the rocks."

Ogle nodded. "Yes, the world is full of bad surfers."

"My brother, James, is a bad surfer. He's a really bad surfer," Mary Catherine said, "but he thinks he's good. And he seems to have located a really big wave."

Ogle nodded.

"Now, I have no idea, still, what it is that you want, or what you are proposing, or what you think you're going to get out of it," Mary Catherine said. "But I can tell you this. James is a problem. And without committing myself or my family to anything financial, let me say that if you can provide some advice in dealing with this problem, it would not be forgotten."

Excuse me, but could you define "biologically important"

Wherein "The Fly" with Geena Davis and that tall guy from the disco movie "Thank God It's Friday" was disgusting

Sorry to get all "partisan," but teleportation is a lot further along than I thought it was. It may be "perfectly feasible to teleport humans without violating any of the fundamental laws of physics." Though it is expected that violating any of the nonfundamental laws will always remain illegal.

But this gives me pause:

"The teleported person would end up slightly different, but not in a biologically important way."

Ok, I guess as long as that doesn't bother Charles Bennett, then I won't let it bother me.

via Techdirt

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sorry to get all "partisan,"

Wherein I moved the comma inside the parentheses because while you can insult me all you want I will not accept British punctuation

...but is anyone else watching Legally Blonde the Musical on MTV tonight? I think it's on at 7pm Eastern Standard, which is, what, 2:30am yesterday on the west coast?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

anyone with half a brain can see (or research) how f'ing stupid bill's comment was

Wherein that was almost as much fun as being called a fame whore. If I had any room I'd add it to my header

From some guy/gal who calls him/herself Heger (like hater?):
Sorry to get all "partisan", but anyone with half a brain can see (or research) how f'ing stupid bill's comment was. Whatever your "feeling" is about global warming, denying Gore's long-time commitment is, well, f'ing retarded. Thanks for bringing the conversation down a level.

If that was a "sign" I'd take a "picture" of it and "submit" to the the "blog" of "unnecessary" quotation marks. We've reached the point where Al Gore has been annointed with infallibility. Kinda like the Pope, Mohammed, and Springsteen. Reasonable people can disagree but there are too many bomb-strapped psychotics running around making most conversations pointless. For the record, thinking Gore was a lukewarm to poor choice for the Nobel Peace Prize doesn't have to have anything to do with global warming, politics, or personal opinion of Al Gore. It might, then again you could be wrong. Talk about group think.

Earlier, I pulled a quote about Bruce Springsteen (no worries, I'm alternating ice and heating pads and should be up in another day). I think it needs some editing:
Al Gore is no longer a politician. He's a belief system. And, like any belief system worth its salt, he brooks no in-between. You're either in or you're out. This has solidified Al's standing with his base, for whom he remains a god of total scientific and political authenticity. But it's killed him with everyone else. To a legion of devout nonbelievers—they're not saying Gore, they're saying Bore—Gore is more a phenomenon akin to Dianetics or Tinkerbell. And so we've reached a strange juncture. About America's last honest politician, it's either Pentecostal enthusiasm or total disdain.

And because it amused me and contains at least a tablespoon or two of truth, Poppy Z. Brite:
It will come as no surprise to anyone that I've not seen An Inconvenient Truth and have no plans to do so, since movies in general are anathema to me. As well, ever since making the horrible, horrible mistake of subjecting myself to Bowling for Columbine in a theater, I will not risk seeing any movie with an even vaguely liberal bent on the big screen. Even though most of my own sociopolitical views tend toward the liberal, I'm afraid the smug, self-satisfied, we're-so-right-and-they're-so-evil audience giggles and commentary will cause me to (A) snap and begin randomly stabbing people or (B) be beaten to death with a raw carrot for my increasingly loud mutterings about tofu, body odor, and the effects of protein deprivation on the human brain. Conservative movies would probably have a similar or worse effect on me, were I to see them with their own sympathetic audiences, and guns are more dangerous than raw carrots. I don't care for party lines of any sort, but what I really hate are propagandists who take for granted -- as Michael Moore seems to -- that all right-thinking people are on their side and everyone else is a tool of Satan.

Back to Mr. Gore: on the one hand, I'm glad someone is apparently calling such major attention to global warming, which seems a real and obvious danger. On the other hand, after seeing the thing, several friends have sent me hysterical e-mails telling me to OMGBBQ GET OUT OF NEW ORLEANS AND MOVE TO A MOUNTAINTOP NOW BEFORE YOU DROWN AIIIIEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!111111one!!!!!!!, which makes me reflexively think of the movie as somewhat "alarmist," since most of these people should know me well enough to know I will never leave New Orleans and would rather drown here than live anywhere else. (Someone out there is muttering, "I hope you do, bitch," but they'll miss me when I'm gone.)

Looks like Kottke had a few people show him their ass:
Man, you folks are testy today. When I say that Gore won a Nobel Prize for a Powerpoint presentation (again, "essentially"), I'm not being derogatory towards Gore. I like Gore...I've written several posts about him. But whatever his other accomplishments regarding the environment, he won the Nobel for An Inconvenient Truth. No movie, no prize. Period. Suppose someone had told you two years ago that someone would win a Nobel Peace Prize for a Hollywood film of a Powerpoint'd have laughed in their face and every other part of their body!

If Gore started a dance craze could we call the algorithm?

Added October 16: Daniel Drezner asks: This is a serious question -- for those non-American readers out there, was Al Gore the reason you began to think about global warming? . In the comments, echoing both XWL and me, a Joe M. writes:

Gore was VP for 8 years and did not make a single significant move to address climate change. Even, the Clinton/Gore administration did not even attempt to pass the Kyoto Protocol and signed the treaty in the dead of night on the last day of their administration. It is totally sickening that Gore is now seen as someone who is effecting the debate, when he was so hollow as VP. As was mentioned above, all he does now is fly in private jets back and forth to his appointments to show his lame slide show. His movie was more self-aggrandizement than it was a serious discussion of climate change. Gore is a propagandist, plain and simple. And I am someone who deeply believes in the need to address climate change, i just think Gore is full of it.

So when the Nobel Committee gives Gore the prize, it is obviously for publicity, not for accomplishments. There are thousands of people and NGOs who have been working on the ground for decades to make this issue a priority. People who have serious accomplishments to their credit. Even Tony Blair did more in England to lower their carbon emmissions and to set the UK on a green path than Gore's stupid slide show. Or how about Joschka Fischer of the German greens, who forced windmills and environmental policy on the biggest European economy? Or green groups like Friends of the Earth and/or Greenpeace... There are thousands of people who have serious accomplishments. That they gave the award to Gore (I agree with the IPCC part) is a sign that either 1) they did it as a publicity stunt, 2) they are pandering to the USA, or 3) they are complete idiots. I lean toward a hybrid of all three though. It is quite sad indeed.


Friday, October 12, 2007

Just coax along flash over substance

Wherein lets get the obvious cheap quote out of the way

quote from Broadcast News:
What do you think the Devil is going to look like if he's around? Nobody is going to be taken in if he has a long, red, pointy tail. No. I'm semi-serious here. He will look attractive and he will be nice and helpful and he will get a job where he influences a great God-fearing nation and he will never do an evil thing... he will just bit by little bit lower standards where they are important. Just coax along flash over substance... Just a tiny bit. And he will talk about all of us really being salesmen. And he'll get all the great women.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Match the lyrics to the artist

Wherein does this help?

Rather than do the usual guess the artist/song quiz, I thought I'd add a little twist. I give you lyrics and I give you the artists. Can you match them? I think there's one, maybe two easy ones, so how many do you need to know before it turns into a logic puzzle?

If you know the song, that's worth an 1/8 point good will that may be redeemable towards warm regards at the next swap meet.

  1. I lick your frozen treasure you cup my furry bees
    But one bee bubbles over your fleshy brimming cup
  2. There goes the train moving down the line
    taking my baby away feels so bad I could cry
  3. I'm full of good intentions
    Like I never was before
  4. Come on and hate me
    If you dare like every mother's son
    Good riddance to you
    All I say it had to be done
  5. Words won't find no right solution
    To the planet earth's pollution
    Say the right word, make a million
  6. Pretty things get in my car
    Take them flying, it's not far
    Take in handsome, take in me
    Look good in my steel machine
  7. I destroyed a bond of friendship and respect
    Between the only people left who'd even look me in the eye
    Now I laugh and make a fortune
    Off the same ones that I tortured
  8. Doctor, ain't there nothin' I can take, I said
    Doctor, to relieve this bellyache, I said
  9. He watches over
    Everything we see
    Into the water
    Into the truth
    In your reflection
  10. You're wondering now,
    What to do, now you know this is the end
    You're wondering how,
    You will pay, for the way you did behave

  • PJ Harvey
  • Robyn Hitchcock
  • The Lion King
  • The Muffs
  • Nilsson
  • Sinead O'Connor
  • The Specials
  • They Might Be Giants
  • Tom Tom Club
  • Valetines

Any unmatched pairs will be revealed on Sunday.

Executive privilege

Wherein Aaron Burr's grand jury for treason

More from Fallen Founder, the life of Aaron Burr:
[Thomas] Jefferson may have lost his objectivity with regard to Burr's case, but he certainly had not lost his desire to win. In the weeks leading the grand jury's May 22 meeting, he redoubled his energies. The federal government sent out agents to find witnesses, collect depositions, and round up anyone who might testify against Burr, whether or not that person was a credible witness. The administration spent nearly $100,000 in the attempt to convict Burr, a sizable sum for a president who had long opposed a strong central government. Jefferson relied on executive privilege when he sent Hay a batch of blank pardons, and urged the prosecutor to give complete immunity to any of Burr's so-called "accomplices" who could be persuaded to testify against him.


Burr was not deterred. He launched into a speech justifying his criticism of the president. "Surely" it is an established principle, sir," he said, "that no government is so high as to be beyond the reach of criticism." In an attempt to destroy a man, vigilance was necessary. Burr went on to cite violations of the law, reminding the court that his "friends had been every where seized by the military authority; a practice truly consonant with European despotisms." Burr's allies in New Orleans had been dragged before tribunals, and forced to give testimony; Burr's own papers and property had been unlawfully seized, and his letters stolen from the post office. Speaking in the third person, Burr went on: An "order had been issued to kill him, as he was descending the Mississippi." All the while the government looked the other way. And now Burr remarked, with undisguised irony, "nothing seemed too extravagant to be forgiven by the amiable morality of this government.


Just as Jefferson had done, Wirt, a future U.S. attorney general, had twisted the rule of law in contending that Burr's guilt was so irrfutable that bringing him to trial was superfluous.

Wickham could hardly believe what he had heard Wirt say. Did he really mean that "the acquittal of Colonel Burr will be a satire on the government"? It was a sad day when the president's handpicked prosecutor confessed "that the character of the government depended on BUrr's guilt."


The court then issued Burr's subpoena to Jefferson. The president complied, up to a point; he gave Hay permission to hand over Wilkinson's letter and any other documents pertaining to Burr's case, though he reserved the right to withhold any information considered confidential.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Group think

Wherein it's always something

Recent comments from a thread about Chuck (the bill is me):
LDP said...
The actor who plays Chuck doesn't look at all like a nerd, or geek, or whatever. He's actually a goodlooking, athletic guy, and putting him in a shortsleeve shirt and bad tie doesn't disguise that -- just shows the limits of the Hollywood imagination, like having Kate Winslet play the "plain" woman in Little Children.

bill said...
Or it shows your preoccupation with stereotypes. Even nerds, geeks, and whatevers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and social interaction abilities.

LDP said...
Right, I'm unfairly stereotyping people who choose to be known as "nerds."

And anyway, my comment was less about them than about Hollywood. There may be a few Chuck-looking men in the Nerd Herds of the real world, but not many. That the producers of this show choose him instead of an average guy is a serious lack of imagination.

Right, Hollywood shows a lack of imagination because they're not reenforcing your stereotypes. Not to defend Hollywood casting -- the majority of actors do seem to be picked from the same tree of blandly attractive -- but recently I've noticed a number of comment threads supporting other kinds of stereotypes that are often just mean-spirited and bigoted.

Let's start with the new show Chuck and the title character played by Zachary Levi Pugh. He's supposedly a poor example for a nerd because he's a "goodlooking, athletic guy" who dresses well. Yes, the portly, greasy haired pocket protector wearing nerd has a basis in reality and serves as a convenient shorthand to denote "geek." I've had good friends who, based on their daily grooming habits, you would think they were dressing up as a nerd for halloween. Still, I've spent the majority of my life in schools and occupations surrounded by uber nerds and geeks who are more attractive, more athletic, and better dressed than the character of Chuck. Walk into any Best Buy, Circuit City, or Fry's -- would Pugh as Chuck look out of place? No. So why the problem with an actor, while not bad looking, isn't even of the male model genre (that would be Dr. Awesome).

I've also read dismay about Missy Peregrym's character in Reaper. She plays a cashier in a Home Depot/Lowes type of store. Apparently she's too attractive because no one of her genetic makeup would ever work in a building supply store. It's true that Home Depot does not equal Supermodel world; just as it's true that Missy Peregrym would be far from the most attractive woman I've ever seen selling toilets. I guess to some people casting good looking people in everyday jobs is typical Hollywood narrowmindedness, while I look at their belief that only ugly people can do those jobs as ignorant bigotry.

Then there's the complaint that TV always pairs up attractive women with fat, schlubby guys. Attractive, skinny women are more likely to get a leading role in a series and it would be nice to see shows cast a wider casting net. I will concede that. However, listen to many of the arguments being made. Most of the time it's about how horrible and unlikely that such a good looking woman would marry/date such a nasty ogre. Could that be anymore insulting? First complain that there aren't enough "normal" people on television, then complain when those normal people are treated as normal. Exactly what is the color of their sky in their hermetically-sealed world? Because in my world I see fat men with skinny women, fat women with skinny men, ugly with beautiful, vice versa, et cetera, ad infinitum. This is also insulting to the actor. If you're calling the character ugly, you're calling the actor ugly. If in real life an attractive woman would never hang out with an ugly guy, then there's no way the actor could ever hang out with someone attractive. If he is, it's just because he's famous.

Earlier this summer when Undeclared was released, a couple different forms of bigotry were expressed. There was the obvious one of the beautiful woman falling for the hideous guy fantasy. Next was the dismay that not only did Heigl's character (Alison) not have an abortion, but that the movie didn't even turn into an abortion debate.

Here's two I kept, though I saw the same issue mentioned in other spots:

  • Ted: The only thing I didn't get about the movie was Heigl's refusal to consider an abortion. I felt like I missed something when she decided to keep the baby. Amber Taylor joked that her version of the movie would have been fifteen minutes long.
  • Sue: I also had trouble with the very little time given to considering the abortion angle. A woman this devoted to her career, who just got a promotion, who lives in her sister's pool house - decided to keep this baby way too easily. I would have liked a few more minutes on her decision.

From Slate, What Knocked Up Gets Wrong About Women:
Allow me to briefly divagate here on the nonexistence of abortion as an option in Knocked Up. This omission smells of the focus group, and it's a disappointment in a movie that otherwise prides itself on its unsentimental honesty about the realities of unplanned parenthood. It's just not believable that, in Alison and Ben's upper-middle-class, secular L.A. milieu, abortion would not be matter-of-factly discussed as a possibility in the case of a pregnancy this accidental. If she doesn't want one, great—obviously, there'd be no movie if she did—but let's hear about why not. Otherwise, her character becomes a cipher, a foil for Ben's epiphanies about growing up, without being allowed any epiphanies of her own. The biggest unanswered question about Heigl's character is one the movie never tiptoes near—why does she decide to keep the baby?

So the assumption -- no, the expectation -- is that young, successful women would automatically jump at an abortion; or, at least, struggle grievously with the possibility? Let's look again:
  • I felt like I missed something when she decided to keep the baby
  • A woman this devoted to her career...decided to keep this baby way too easily
  • It's just not believable that, in Alison and Ben's upper-middle-class, secular L.A. milieu, abortion would not be matter-of-factly discussed as a possibility
  • The biggest unanswered question about Heigl's character is...why does she decide to keep the baby?

Really? Aside from the fact that Alison considering an abortion wasn't the point of the movie, is it so hard to believe that women don't always automatically think about having abortions? Or are these comments reflective of a very insular world view?

Faaact, attractive women don't have abortions every day. Faaact, successful women don't have abortions every day. Sometimes this is a hard decision, sometimes it's an easy decision. The movie presents the abortion argument from the "inconvenienced male" perspective and from the "don't ruin your life" controlling mother perspective. Alison rejects both and goes through with the pregnancy. Happens all the time. So why are all these people angry and perturbed that she didn't consider an abortion? Why does their worldview seem so narrow--It's just not believable--to not include equally likely realities?

Let's review:
  • Attractive men can't sell computers :: nerds can only be unattractive
  • Attractive women don't work at home supply stores :: such stores only employ hags
  • Attractive, successful women have abortions as often as they paint their toenails :: only ugly, loser women have children

Again, World : Sky : Color. I am fascinated by people not only being upset that fiction doesn't reflect their bigoted view of the world, they then turn around and try to support their argument by insulting other groups of people. In arguing for an entertainment world that looks more inclusive, they reveal an even uglier exclusiveness.

Monday, October 08, 2007

As long as he did not violate the public trust by misusing his office, he could continue to insist he was an honest man

Wherein since Hamilton is dead, this will have to do

In the midst of a stirring essay concerning journalistic morals and historical perspective, Callimachus writes to clarify: ...and that private morality was therefore separate from public ethics (it wasn't: just ask Hamilton about Mrs. Reynolds).

Before last week I wouldn't have known who Mrs. Reynolds was. Luckily, I've been reading Fallen Founder by Nancy Isenberg:
It is rather ironic that Hamilton vilified Burr as "unprincipled" in the fall if 1792. For in December of that year, he was forced to defend his own reputation against charges emanating from his private behavior -- charges that would certainly drive any modern politician from office.

Gathering intelligence on behalf of the Republican interest, John Beckley brought the sordid details of the "Reynolds Affair" to light. Beckley had heard rumors, which he conveyed to Senator James Monroe, that Treasury Secretary Hamilton had used priviliged information in a possible speculation scheme that involved one James Reynolds as his agent. In prison at the time for suborning perjury in another case related the Treasury Department, Reynolds released the story about Hamilton in the hope that the secretary would drop the charges against him.

To strengthen Reynolds's hand, and prove Hamilton's wrongdoing, Reynolds's wife, Maria, provided letters indicating that money had changed hands between Hamilton and her husband. Monroe, along with Congressmen Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania and Abraham Venable of Virginia, investigated the charges. On December 15, 1972, they presented the evidence to the treasury secretary. That evening, when Hamilton met with the Republicans, he confessed -- but not to any financial impropriety. He had been having an affair with Maria Reynolds, he said, and paying her husband hush money. The Republican delegation agreed to keep the matter confidential. Hamilton's secret would not be publicly revealed until 1797, well after he had left the Treasury Department.

So in 1792, Hamilton was hardly in a position to censure Burr's moral chaacter. It was Hamilton who was engaged in a low inrigue, maling desperate, clandestine payments to protect his reputation. But as Hamilton saw the situation, extramarital sex could be separated easily from financial impropriety. As long as he did not violate the public trust by misusing his office, he could continue to insist he was an honest man. He did not extend the same courtesy to Burr, exaggerating the significance of his being financially overextended while ignoring the fact that so many of their colleagues were routinely on the verge of debt. Hamilton's political maneuverings and political motives reveal a man whose objectivity could not be trusted -- especially with regard to Burr's personal character. To be perfectly clear, outside of Hamilton and his cronies, no one was criticizing Burr's character in 1792.


In August 1797, Hamilton published a ortured explanation for amorous adventure with Maria Reynolds back in 1792. [James] Monroe begged [James] Madison to carefully examine Hamilton's 95-page "defense pamphlet" and make sure there was nothing insulting about him in it.

...Admitting to his adulterous relationship with maria Reynolds in an effort to defend himself against what he felt was the more serious charge of public (finanical) misconduct, Hamilton misjudged his audience...

Slight of hand was a poor tactic. In believing he could verbally outmanuever his critics, and by treating his adultery as a lesser crime than an illegal speculation scheme, Hamilton failed to portray himself as an innocent man. Instead, he appeared arrogant and unrepentant.

...Republican journalists chastised Hamilton for assuming that his private indiscreation had no bearing on his public character....One member of Hamilton's New York crowd did not hold back when he said, almost with a leer, that the pamphleteer was aiming "to creep under Mrs. R's petticoats. A pretty hiding place for a national leader!" Even Hamilton's most devoted admirer, Robert Troup, acknowledge that the "ill-judged pamphlet has done him incomparable injury."

Sunday, October 07, 2007


Wherein sitting in the lobbies at gymnastics and ballet I thought what a wonderful place for straight teenage boys to hang out with teenage girls, what with all the tight, physique revealing clothes and especially the intimate contact of ballet. Then I also thought that being straight teenage boys, and the struggle for certain mind over body concerns, that intimate contact while also wearing tight, physique revealing clothes could raise occassional issues

  • reader_iam (Done with Mirrors) links to the The Beiderbecke Affair. I'll link to his mix of cover songs that runs the gamut of ironic to earnest, whimsical to serious.
  • Even though the participation in 10 songs in 60 seconds was extremely disappointing, I've posted the answers.
  • In Separated by common visages I've figured out why Chick Fil A isn't open on Sundays.
  • Due to various threads at ALOTT5MA I've resolved to ignore all future posts (there and elsewhere) about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (The Replacements don't even make the nominating ballot? Scew you Cleveland and anyone and anything having to do with this scam) and Bruce Springsteen (being a nonbeliever). From
    Thirty years later, and largely thanks to Landau, Springsteen is no longer a musician. He's a belief system. And, like any belief system worth its salt, he brooks no in-between. You're either in or you're out. This has solidified Bruce's standing with his base, for whom he remains a god of total rock authenticity. But it's killed him with everyone else. To a legion of devout nonbelievers—they're not saying Bruuuce, they're booing—Bruce is more a phenomenon akin to Dianetics or Tinkerbell than "the new Dylan," as the Columbia Records promotions machine once hyped him. And so we've reached a strange juncture. About America's last rock star, it's either Pentecostal enthusiasm or total disdain.

  • Tosy and Cosh has revealed 99 of his top 100 movies.
  • Discussing the Zune scene I'm kinda incomprehensible.
  • I'm sure he's listened to it, so did I miss XWL reviewing the new Prince album or did it suck and he's ignoring it?
  • Saw Stardust, the movie. Loved it. Then read the Neil Gaiman book. Not that good. Every change the movie made improved the story.
  • Boston cops almost as bad as Illinois Nazis. At least as incompetent. Hyperbole much? Maybe a little.
  • Kid Creole & the Coconuts in L.A. (10/03/07). Would have loved to have seen that.
  • Tonight I will probably watch The Next Iron Chef. Michael Ruhlman was one of the judges.
  • Tim Minear's new project:
    "Miracle" -- from 20th Century Fox TV, where Minear and Holland are based with overall deals -- centers on a disgraced former televangelist, a man of no faith, who finds that God is using him to perform real miracles and change lives, starting with his own.

    "It's about losing everything and starting over and finding that there is a higher purpose in life," Minear said. "It's about a man who says, 'I don't know how to be good, but I'll try to be better.'

    Sounds like Steve Martin's ham-handed Leap of Faith. Or at least the final 10 minutes of the movie when it finally became something interesting. (via Instapundit)
  • I think I caught all the typos. Or most of them. This keyboard has always been crappy and most of this was written in the dark. Yes, I'm blaming the keyboard.
  • You light that pipe


Friday, October 05, 2007

Polluting the manly bonds that united the Republican Party

Wherein wondering if the title will lure in a few unsuspecting readers

Reading from Fallen Founder.

Aaron Burr, as presented by Nancy Isenberg, was a gracious and honor bound politician, and one of the few politicians of the age who truly believed in the democratic process. The Hamilton-Burr duel was the outcome of over 20 years of political and professional conflict; mostly because Hamilton was just plain mean and lacking in any morals or scruples. He would promote his own interests over his party (Federalists) or country.

Even though some Federalists perceived him as a potential ally, most attacked Burr because his success in rallying New York Republicans challenged Federalist power on a state and national level.

Burr was also under attack by two factions of his own party, the Republicans. His New York success threatened to overturn the entrenched Republican family, the Clintons. His New York success was also a threat to the Virginian Republicans. Even though Burr's actions were in large part responsible for Jefferson's 1800 election Jefferson was more than happy to sit back and let his Vice President be demagogued.
It was not Burr's sexual relationships with young women but his alleged attractiveness to ambitious young men that conditioned the most virulent attacks against him by men within his own party....James Cheetham...almost single-handedly, orchestrated Burr's fall from political grace....Cheetham...thanks to Burr's assistance, assumed the editorship of the American Citizen. It was the only Republican newspaper in the city at the time. But Cheetham left the Burrite fold in 1801, claiming to have become suspicious of Burr's activities.

Matthew Livingston Davis...contended that the editor's talents were up for sale to the highest bidder; in fact, he was more than willing to slander Jefferson, he told Davis, if Burr and his men agreed to pay him the tidy sum of $2,000. Whatever his motives, Cheetham soon became the indispensable tool of DeWitt Clinton, and embarked on a relentless campaign to exile Burr from the Republican Party leadership.

[The] Burrites decided to establish their own newspaper. The Morning Chronicle would be edited by Dr. Peter Irving [his younger brother, Washington Irving, would also write for the paper]. By October, Cheetham was directly mocking Irving's paper for its lack of "manliness," comparing it to a "Lady's Weekly Museum." He now called Irving a "beau," who was only capable of sputtering "effeminate attacks"; he went so far as to suggest that Irving might be a woman in disguise, whose whing editorials reminded him of one who suffered from a "female complaint."

The intemperate editor was relying on a well-established tradition of political insult. According to eighteenth-century caricature, womanish men were fickle and disloyal, while as men of fashion, dandified politicians could be expected to change party affiliation as easily as they cahnged their clothes. By comparing the Burrites to beaux, dandies, and foppish boys, he associated them with prodigal and sexual indulgence -- the twin vices of luxura and licentia, the antithesis of republican virtue.

Sexual deviance was the most scurrilous charge in Cheetham's grab-bag of insults. Burr's "precious band," as he called this unnatural faction, was "actuated by personal attachment." They idolized Burr, and were "so extremely close" that they formed an emotionally intimate, sexually uncertain alliance. The homosexual overtones were intentional. Cheetham had conjured the specter of a sodomite plot -- a theme popular in the conspiratorial satire of eighteenth-century England -- in which Cataline,, the notorious Roman traitor and seducer of young men, often figured prominently. Burr's ability to court and corrupt young men endangered the entire party system, polluting the manly bonds that united the Republican Party. The oft-manipulated image of Aaron Burr had reached an unprecedented level of exaggeration.

Skipping ahead a few pages:
Whereas Burr's defenders portrayed him as a paragon of masculine accomplishment and public virtue, Cheetham's attacks only became more pornographic. He called the Burrites "strolling players," a euphemism for male prostitutes. Burr's home was likened to a bordello, adorned with mirrors on the bedroom walls; there, the American Citizen charged, the voyeuristic Burr and his minions indulged in the decadent pleasures of fornication and adultery. If he could be portrayed as heir to Cataline, why not take the next step: and so now, Cheetham called Burr a modern-day Sardanapalus and Heliogabalus, two classical figures with notorious reputations: the first had dressed and behaved as a woman, while the second had a taste for young men with large penises. In one pornographic poem, punning on Burr's name, the versifier made crude allusions to male penetration and sodomy. To make matters worse, the Federalists' 1801 attack handbill (featuring the story of Burr populating the city with prostitutes) was once again circulated -- this time by anti-Burr Republicans.

Cheetham could not contain himself. He accused Burr of prostituting himself to a group of black voters by inviting them to his home and supposedly offering them "elegant amusements," that is, exchanging their votes for sexual favors.

Maybe HBO could produce a new series called "Founding Fathers." It would have more profanity and nudity than any other show they've done.

For another side of the founders, read Don't Get Madison by Callimachus. After transcribing a few pages of political attacks concerning various levels of fornication, it cracked me up to read his comment:
Not least of what's impressive about the Founders is their ability to weave together such intricate and wise understandings of faith (personal), religion (public), reason (modern), virtue (classical), and law (national), and to articulate them so well, and to bring them fearlessly into the public debate. It puts to shame the way we talk about these things today.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Hoteling and Hot desking

Wherein it amazing what one can catch in a live animal trap

There's the wiki description.

There's the real world example of how one organization might implement it:
Due to current telecommuting policies and arrangements, we have many offices/cubicles that are vacant anywhere from 20% to 100% of the time. Since we are still paying for 100% occupancy, we will be moving to office sharing arrangements where possible. Therefore, we will be participating in the building consolidation as well as our own office consolidation.

Office sharing is an arrangement, whereby two people share an office but who are not in the office on the same day. This arrangement will apply to people who are already telecommuting three or more days per week. In cases where individuals are normally telecommuting 100%, permanent office space will no longer be provided.

Each cubicle will have the current standard size, workspace, cabinets and drawers that exist today in the office area. Occupants will agree on which cabinets or drawers they each will be assigned. A list of the available cabinets and drawers will be provided in advance so occupants can come to agreement before the move.

Each office will have two telephones, one per each occupant with their current phone number.

What happens if someone has to switch his/her telecommuting day?

If both occupants need the office the same day, the individual normally assigned to the office for that day will use the office. The other person will need to find a vacant office (every cube will be vacant one day per week). In addition, other workspaces will be provided. These workspaces include huddle rooms, conference rooms and training rooms. A list of available alternative locations will be provided prior to the move.

And there's Fedland's hot desking, from Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash:
So there is no paper in a Fed office. All the workstations are the same. You come in in the morning, pick one at random, sit down, and get to work. You could try to favor a particular station, try to sit there every day, but it would get noticed. Generally you pick the unoccupied workstation that's closest to the door. That way, whoever came in earliest sits closest, whoever came in latest is way in the back, for the rest of the day it's obvious at a glance who's on the ball in this office and who is -- as they whisper to each other in the bathrooms -- having problems.