Saturday, November 16, 2002

WHAT ANDREA HARRIS SAID ABOUT the latest inane California peace-protestor stunt is true enough, but even more irritating to me was the ditzy notion that naked women would "shock" the Bush administration into noticing that some people don't want a war in Iraq. Come on, how childish are these people? I'm only 26 years old and I'm savvy enough to know that nobody old enough to be a member of the Bush administration is shocked by the existence of naked women. (No, not even John Ashcroft, although annoyed might be closer to the truth in his case.) Sure, it's fun to tease Republicans for being uptight, but most of us know better than to think that Bush is going to faint at the thought that women took their clothes off somewhere, and after several applications of the smelling salts, he'd finally come to and for the first time in his life realize that maybe not everybody wants a war in Iraq. Similarly with the people out there who honestly believe that Bush is the utter drooling moron that people like to paint him as being.

Frankly, the only thing that might actually shock the Bush administration is if for once, just once, we might see a return to the long-ago example of leftish-leaning college kids as well-dressed, peaceful protestors united behind a single articulate viewpoint. Naked leftist women rolling in the grass = not shocking in the least. Nicely dressed leftist protestors putting forth a coherent agenda in a demonstration noticeably lacking in screamed insults and broken windows = time to break out the smelling salts.
MAN, NO WONDER EUROPEANS DON'T like McDonald's much.

(Wanna bet it's an urban legend? We'll probably never know.)
I GOT CLOSE TO 22 HOURS of sleep from yesterday to today but I've still been tired ever since I finally woke up at around three this afternoon. I hate weekends.

Friday, November 15, 2002

MAD MAGAZINE NAILS it on the head with what's wrong with the Onion, and it's funny to boot. (via Spaulding)
HERE'S A COUPLE OF completely non-warblog-like blogs that have caught my attention in the past week or so. Give, Get, Take, and Have is a blog run by Chicagoan Jay Niemann that's completely devoted to "the sale of unusual vinyl records". He's got some amazing stuff on there, the sort of thing you always hope to see when you find a new dig-through-the-vinyl-in-the-back store and start diving through the stacks in hopes of finding some gems. On the other side of the world, a young Japanese woman named Miyuki is running a photoblog called Refrigerator that's heavily tilted toward photos of food and food packaging. Hey, if there's one thing I like better than food, it's food packaging. So go visit Miyuki and send her butterflies!

(The nearest actual used-vinyl-in-the-back store to me, two subway stops away from here, doesn't have quite the selection you'd hope for, although that is where I bought my Elvis Costello records for a buck or so apiece. It's not as good as that now-defunct place in Baltimore where I picked up a great Duke Ellington rerelease from circa 1960 that only cost me a quarter. Then again, I'm weird; I still frequently listen to that one Average White Band album that I bought in the used-vinyl section of a certain indoor flea market in Roanoke, even though I'm perfectly aware of how wrong I am to enjoy any blue-eyed lite funk from the '70s. Hey man, I spent much of last night with my speakers blasting Zapp & Roger's "More Bounce to the Ounce" and "Computer Love", which has got to earn me back some points, right? Um.... right?)

Thursday, November 14, 2002

BUT DOES HE LOOK BETTER IN GO-GO BOOTS? In frightening news today, I was shopping for ties at Hecht's when a saleslady sidles over to me. "You're the Secretary of Energy, aren't you!" I'm dumbfounded for a minute -- first time I'd been confused for a quasi-celebrity, and I'm searching my head for who the Secretary of Energy is, and the saleslady completes her thought hesitantly, "Spencer Abraham?" I accurately deny it, and I accurately deny ever hearing that comparison before in response to further questioning.

So, not only is the saleslady telling me that I look like a jowly ex-Senator 17 years older than me, but she's effectively rubbing it in my face that she's better at Cabinet Jeopardy! than I am. (In a 200-person American Politics class lecture hall twelve years ago, the professor, telling an anecdote about how Reagan identified his HUD Secretary as "Mr. Mayor," asked if anyone remembered who that cabinet member was. After a moment of silence, I blurted out "Pierce," and then slunk down in my tenth-row seat so I wouldn't be singled out as the flamer who remembered that trivia.)

I still buy some ties from her (ties much more stylish than those Abraham wears), but now I'm worried Moxie won't want to be seen in public with me when we go out for sushi in two weeks.
ANYONE EVER NOTICE THAT Heather Havrilesky has two separate entries for the same blog on InstaPundit?
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON HAS traded in her Lincoln Navigator for a Toyota Prius, and will be producing public-service announcements from the "Got Milk?" people in favor of the concept.
THE REVIEWS FOR THE new Harry Potter movie are crummy, and indicate adaptation troubles that make the movie disjointed, even at 162 minutes, which bodes poorly for the third and fourth books, which were even longer than the second.
I'M LINKING TO THIS piece from the Claremont Institute on the Minnesota election not because it's a special special piece on punditry, but because I'm strangely flattered that they thought sending me a press release would accomplish anything. They'd get more hits if they sent $100 to Moxie, and she looks better in go-go boots than I do.

In other news, the American Lawyer did a big story with a picture spread of Denise Howell because her blog gets 250 hits a day. I, of course, with 350-400 hits a day, am chopped liver, which is why Yale Law School will invite me to attend as a student, but not as a blogger, not that I don't have two pre-existing and mutually interfering, commitments. And I suspect Denise Howell also looks better in go-go boots than I do.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

WHILE CASTING ABOUT FOR information on the horrendously underreported Iranian student demonstrations, I came across an Iranian personals site featuring people from Iran and other Central Asian countries as well as Western countries. Man alive, if those Tehran women are for real, I can see why the mad mullahs think they should be required by law to keep covered up outdoors lest every man on the street suddenly turn into those male Warner Bros. cartoon characters who react to any sighting of a woman's thigh by doubling over with their jaws on the floor, eyes bugging out a half mile and steam coming out of their ears with foghorn sound effects as they do a seal-like flipper dance before baying at the moon. (There are a fair number of Iranians around my neighborhood, so this wasn't exactly a shock to me, but it's always interesting to see your suspicions confirmed. Then again, some of the pictures have the same sort of creepy glamour-shot aspect that you see in ex-Soviet mail-order bride ads.)

Oh, and why do I say "horrendously underreported"? Well, for one thing, the story has lately been either way down at the bottom of the front page on Google News or not on the front page at all, and since Google News's story-ranking algorithm seems based on the number of stories it finds and their placement on its source news sites, that would indicate that traditional news editors aren't putting a whole lot of emphasis on what seems to me to be one of the most important international breaking news stories going at the moment. Right now, the Iran story is showing up quite a ways down on Google's world news page, with just 171 related articles found, compared to more than 1,800 hits for the latest Bush-vs.-Iraq headlines. (And many of the related articles on the Iran issue are focused on what Khatami and the judiciary think of the issue, rather than the ongoing student demonstrations.)
THE WORLD'S UGLIEST CORVETTE. Man, engine block, interior, and everything. Or if that's not your bag, check out the Carthedral. (You probably won't be shocked to learn that the woman who created the Carthedral lives in Berkeley.)

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

THE 13-YEAR-OLD WHO WAS shot by the snipers outside his junior high school in Bowie was released from Children's Hospital on Monday, weeks before doctors had expected he'd be able to be released. It's still a day-to-day struggle to cope with his injuries as he recovers. See the latest from WaPo reporter Tamara Jones, who's pretty much owned this story.
THE LATEST GRAUNIAD DISPATCH from Matthew "The Olive Garden" Engel is a rambling rumination on Oklahoma voters' decision to ban cockfighting, which, Engel laments, is not going to be a prelude to a ban on "shooting" (which I suppose would include hunting with firearms). The reason "shooting" isn't going to be outlawed, we are informed, is because of the extremely rich and powerful gun lobby -- not, of course, because "shooting" is a beloved avocation of vast numbers of Americans. (That sort of dreadful democratic thinking quite simply isn't going to fly with Olive Matt.)

Most of the article, of course, is just the usual sort of smartass choir-aimed preaching -- largely free of any attempt to make the case for those who aren't already persuaded -- that passes for wise current-events commentary in the newspapers of Merrie Olde England. (Mark Steyn, as you probably know, provides the same sort of thing from the other side of the spectrum for The Telegraph.) But there's likely another undercurrent in Engel's ravings partway through the piece about how different states of the U.S. have different laws:
First, in an increasingly homogeneous society, American exceptionalism is somehow comforting. It was curiously pleasing to know that, if I ever did want to see another cockfight, I only had to travel to Oklahoma - just as it is pleasing to know that Oklahoma, like South Carolina, bans tattooing, so if I wake up and don't want to be tattooed, I know where to go too.
I have at least a faint suspicion that this is an attempt by Engel -- banned to the Siberia of being the Grauniad's U.S. correspondent -- to argue by proxy against the British dullards and half-wits who would rather keep some political power somewhere nearby rather than export it all to Brussels. I suspect the Grauniad reader is supposed to chuckle and think: Ah, just like the stupid Americans do in their own hideous country! Being a stupid American, however, I'm likely lacking some discernment in this area, but I'm heartened to note that at least one person in a Land Down Under felt the same way...

Update 13 Nov.: Emily Hawkgirl feels like revoking Engel's visa. I don't think I can support this one, because that'd mean he'd go back to the U.K., which already sometimes seems to have more people like Engel than people like Steve and Cindy and the crew. Over here, we still have enough room to absorb a few more twits like Olive Matt -- such as his pal George Moonbat and maybe even this guy Sirus Frizztail.
GLENN REYNOLDS STILL REFERS TO the ATF as the BATF. In case you didn't know, that's one of them wink-wink-nudge-nudge signifiers, kind of like referring to the Democratic Party as the "Democrat Party".

Monday, November 11, 2002


Sunday, November 10, 2002

YOU KNOW, IT WOULD have been nice for the Washington Post to mention before an election on a $5 billion tax increase to pay for transportation that part of Northern Virginia's traffic problem stems from the failure of local government to retime traffic lights that were last programmed over a decade ago.
WATCHING TOO MUCH late night television lately. Things I noticed:
* Michael Moore on Oprah repeating the Halloween candy story I had been telling people all last week. (When I grew up in Houston, trick-or-treating essentially ended because of a mass scare over poisoned candy, even though the only incident was a father poisoning his son for insurance money.) I hope people don't think I was just parroting Michael Moore. What was really happening was that we were both parroting Barry Glassner's "The Culture of Fear." Glassner was on the show, too; I won't comment on the irony of Oprah having guests complaining about fear-mongering. (And I wonder how many "TV Nation" and "Awful Truth" segments focused on wildly remote environmental risks?)

* Carson Daly is terrible interviewer. He had Ted Danson on. He gave Danson a shirt as a reference to a joke on "Curb Your Enthusiasm." The gag, not that funny to begin with (it was a different shirt for one thing), was sufficiently obscure that even Danson seemed confused, and the audience didn't seem to get it either. The interview itself was painful to watch: Daly gushing like a little fanboy.

* Ted Danson gave a pitch on the show for the Toyota Prius, though. Good for him.

* The opening credits montage of a 1990 rerun of Saturday Night Live had an awkward number of close-to-identical shots of an Empire State Building bedecked in red, white, and blue, which makes one suspect that they were editing out shots of the New York skyline with the World Trade Center. It was far more noticeable than if they hadn't done the Soviet-style re-editing, and it just seemed wrong.

* Speaking of which, why is it that The Powers That Be pulled the "Simpsons" episode where Homer visits the World Trade Center, but not the "Simpsons" episode where a missile collapses a fictional New York City Mad Magazine skyscraper into rubble?