Thursday, January 31, 2013

Adam Carolla Has Never Been Funny

Adam Carolla has never been funny.

The managing editor of Breitbart news:
Either Men Are Funnier Than Women, or Rolling Stone Is Sexist
by Alexander Marlow
What follows is a gotcha of leftistbrainsploding proportions...
Last week, Rolling Stone published their "50 Funniest People Now" list and featured only 12 women out of 52 comics.
I have a number of problems with the article, not limited to but including the fact that a) For a publication that considers itself edgy, the only surprise in the list is that they shoehorned 52 names into a "Top 50" list, b) They audaciously claim Tina Fey's 2008 Sarah Palin sketches were not "mean-spirited," and c) They leave world's most downloaded podcaster, comedian Adam Carolla, off the list entirely. I would bet big money that Carolla is ommitted purely because he doesn't resemble RS's politically correct world view. Still, according to Rolling Stone, the Podcast King and bestselling author is not as funny as Charles Barkley or Joan Rivers.
A) Don't pretend you give a shit about edginess.
B) The Sarah Palin battle is over. She won. She has your money.
C) Adam Carolla has never been funny. Charles Barkley and Joan Rivers are funnier than Adam Carolla.
D) "Ommitted" Mr. Managing Editor?
Yet, the most newsworthy item is the breakdown of 40 men to 12 women on the list.

In June of last year, Carolla was ripped unmercifully in countless media outlets for saying in an interview with the New York Post that "dudes are funnier than chicks." He clarified that he didn't mean that all "dudes" are funnier than all "chicks," but that a greater percentage of men are funny:
The reason why you know more funny dudes than funny chicks is that dudes are funnier than chicks


When it comes to comedy, of course there’s Sarah Silverman, Tina Fey, Kathy Griffin — super-funny chicks. But if you’re playing the odds? No.

If Joy Behar or Sherri Shepherd was a dude, they’d be off TV.
But this was the headline of the Post article: "The man's man Macho laughman Adam Carolla says Tom Cruise is from outer space and women just aren’t funny." Of course, Carolla never said women "aren't funny," he said they're not as funny as men.

Predictably, the media attempted to brand him as a sexist.

Now let's return to the Rolling Stone article, where they list over three times as many men as women in their list of top comedians right now. The only reasonable conclusion to draw from it is that Rolling Stone considers men funnier, and yet, when Carolla said this, he was tarred and feathered.

So which is it, are men funnier than women or is Rolling Stone sexist?
Let's continue with the list theme.

~) Maybe the list IS sexist!
!) Maybe Rolling Stone IS sexist! Go go feminist hero!
@) Maybe you give zero shits either way.
#) Rolling Stone ≠ The Media.
=) One list does not mean that now and forever X is true, however much you think snow disproves global warming.
$) Captain Crunch is really good.
%) There might be reasons beyond comedy why a woman might not want to have co-workers like Adam Carolla.
^) Curse the liberal New York Post for distorting the words of Adam Carolla.
&) Adam Carolla should be used to being ripped unmercifully because he is not funny.
*) As of today Adam Carolla is off TV.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Aw Shucks

Gomer Pyle gets married:
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Jim Nabors, the Hawaii resident well known for his starring role in the 1960s television sitcom "Gomer Pyle, USMC," married his longtime male partner early this month, he told Hawaii News Now Tuesday.

Nabors, 82, said he married his companion of 38 years, Stan Cadwallader, who's 64, in Seattle on Jan. 15.

Quick! I Need a Truckload of Onions!

Foodie nightmares commence:
About 27 tonnes of caramelised brown goat cheese - a delicacy known as Brunost - caught light as it was being driven through the Brattli Tunnel at Tysfjord, northern Norway, last week.

The fire raged for five days and smouldering toxic gases were slowing the recovery operation, officials said.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bastard Bait

If he doesn't have it already the BBBB will soon be enslaved by this:

Monday, January 28, 2013

Theme and Variation

Imənna just be bad and steal this whole goddamned post:
A Feast of Pure Reason
By Fred Schwarz
January 28, 2013 3:17 P.M.

This morning’s New York Times says The New Republic is “the journalism equivalent of high-fiber pasta.” Like much of what I read in the Times, that’s a little too Zen for me, but it got me thinking about what sort of food National Review might correspond to. Here are some possibilities:

A nice big bowl of Lucky Charms. Start with the plain beige cereal part: That represents writers like Ramesh and VDH, whose stuff is tasty and filled with vitamins, establishing a solid base. The marshmallow bits are guys like Lileks and Rob Long, who add color and variety and a bit of crunchiness. And the milk is Rich and the editorial staff, who provide context and hold everything together, hopefully without making it too soggy. Or, returning to the pasta theme...

Farfalle with prosciutto and green peas. Farfalle because of all the conservatives who wear bow ties; prosciutto because with its rich, aged flavor, created using methods that have been passed down for centuries, it represents the accumulated wisdom of the ages; and peas because they go so well with prosciutto.

A peanut-butter sandwich. Because NR’s editors have been quite partial to them over the years.

Chop suey. Back in the mid-20th century, when every Chinese restaurant still had chop suey on the menu, the standard joke about Chinese food was that an hour after eating it, you were hungry again. The same principle applies to the Corner, which keeps its readers coming back to get the latest updates.

Yorkshire pudding. In recognition of the deep and longstanding British influence on NR — though, if you’re borrowing from the Brits, better ideas than food, right?

Don’t know what we’d have for dessert, except maybe a dobostorte with only three layers — because seven would be wasteful (it’s Austrian, after all).
It stands on its own, but I suppose I have to add something for form's sake:

Organic peanut butter and marshmallow creme on soft white bread at Star Provisions, Atlanta

The childhood favorite--peanut butter and marshmallow fluff--gets an all-around upgrade at Anne Quatrano's gourmet-to-go café. They bake a light, pillowy white bread--"the base for any good sandwich is fresh bread," says chef de cuisine Gary Fincer--and make the silky fluff in-house from egg whites and sugar, like a meringue. The peanut butter comes from Big Spoon Roasters, an artisan nut-butter company in North Carolina, which Fincer prefers for its rustic taste. "It's not homogenized, so the oil separates to the top and you have to stir it back in. We like it because it's just really peanutty--there are no additives or sugar, and it's not too processed. It's a grown-up peanut butter," he says. Once assembled, the sandwich is griddled on the flattop, so the finished product is buttery and crisp on the outside and sweet and creamy within.

Star Provision's Fluffernutter
Marshmallow Fluff:
1 cup egg whites
1 1/2 cup plus 1 cup glucose
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups sugar

Whisk egg white with 1 1/2 cup glucose and vanilla on low speed using a whisk attachment. In a saucepan, add sugar, 1 cup water, and 1 cup glucose. Cook until temperature reaches 240 degrees, then add to the egg whites while mixing constantly, until it is fluffy, silky, and smooth.

White Bread
1 egg
1.76 ounces milk
15.9 ounces water
1.76 ounces fresh yeast
2.45 ounces soft butter
1/2 ounce kosher salt
3.5 ounces sugar
2.2 pounds flour

Place the egg, milk, water, yeast, and soft butter in the mixing bowl. Add salt, sugar, and flour. Mix on low until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is smooth and soft, not sticky. Let rest for 90 minutes. Portion at 1 1/2 pounds for a large pullman. Shape, cover with plastic, and let rise until doubled. Bake in convection oven at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool on cooling rack.

Assembly: Toast bread lightly, smear with marshmallow fluff and Big Spoon Roasters peanut butter, and season with salt.

Since it seems HTML Mencken is on a posting jag I suppose I should add more links to Fred Schwarz's text in tribute.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Saturday, January 26, 2013


About 20 km outside Beijing, tourists sitting in tour buses from Beijing north-eastwards towards the Badaling section of the Great Wall can spot the remains of an eerie shell of a castle some distance from the expressway. With concrete spires sticking out above dusty corn fields, the castle remains as a relic of the grandiose ideas of men who’ve long since passed through the grinding mill of elite politics, corruption and prison in China. All around Beijing, architectural artefacts of previous decades remain, many decayed and going to ruin.

This article is a tour through some of the more spectacular wastelands of contemporary Beijing, places that will surely be developed into something entirely different at some point in the future, when the interest groups that control the land and construction finally make a deal they can live with.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Intersection Between Video and Painting

The VAG Ian Wallace exhibition is astoundingly boring, but apparently he was on about the "intersection of painting and photography" which I don't really believe applies to putting a big photograph near a rectangle of colour. But what do I know.

The obvious problem there, labourwise, is that you have to do two things: take the photo and paint the painting. Video, however, will do your paint-swipes for you if your subject is in motion or you have a sufficiently palsied hand.

Voila! A pulse to wipe the slate clean at intervals offset to the loop of the video and you have as many paintings as frames in the loop, which, if you let this run in Quartz Composer or as a screensaver, is about 1865 possible paintings (one of which might be good!) and thus close to two million equivalent words, making me a prolific writer in the bargain. Take that, Wallace!

Sound by robots because they work cheap.

That Ain't Right


I suppose I am allowed to draw no conclusions from French contribution to METAL Fairyland:

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Practical Politics

More stuff from old Smithsonian feeds:
The executioners of the Ottoman Empire were never noted for their mercy; just ask the teenage Sultan Osman II, who in May 1622 suffered an excruciating death by “compression of the testicles”–as contemporary chronicles put it–at the hands of an assassin known as Pehlivan the Oil Wrestler. There was reason for this ruthlessness, however; for much of its history (the most successful bit, in fact), the Ottoman dynasty flourished—ruling over modern Turkey, the Balkans and most of North Africa and the Middle East—thanks in part to the staggering violence it meted out to the highest and mightiest members of society.

Seen from this perspective, it might be argued that the Ottomans’ decline set in early in the 17th century, precisely at the point when they abandoned the policy of ritually murdering a significant proportion of the royal family whenever a sultan died, and substituted the Western notion of simply giving the job to the first-born son instead. Before then, Ottoman succession had been governed by the “law of fratricide” drawn up by Mehmed II in the middle of the 15th century. Under the terms of this remarkable piece of legislation, whichever member of the ruling dynasty succeeded in seizing the throne on the death of the old sultan was not merely permitted, but enjoined, to murder all his brothers (together with any inconvenient uncles and cousins) in order to reduce the risk of subsequent rebellion and civil war. Although it was not invariably applied, Mehmed’s law resulted in the deaths of at least 80 members of the House of Osman over a period of 150 years. These victims included all 19 siblings of Sultan Mehmed III—some of whom were still infants at the breast, but all of whom were strangled with silk handkerchiefs immediately after their brother’s accession in 1595.


For most of the bostancıs’ victims, the sentence was carried out immediately after the serving of the fatal sherbet by a group of five muscular young janissaries, members of the sultan’s elite infantry. For a grand vizier, however, there was still a chance: as soon as the death sentence was passed, the condemned man would be allowed to run as fast as he was able the 300 yards or so from the palace, through the gardens, and down to the Fish Market Gate on the southern side of the palace complex, overlooking the Bosphorus, which was the appointed place of execution. [...]

If the deposed vizier reached the Fish Market Gate before the head gardener, his sentence was commuted to mere banishment. But if the condemned man found the bostanci basha waiting for him at the gate, he was summarily executed and his body hurled into the sea.
Running from office.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Background Noise


But wait, what's that?

That's right crackers, you've gone far enough and it's gun-confiscatin' time.

Being Helpful

Jay Nordlinger:
The AP reported — though “reported” is not the word — “HAWKISH NETANYAHU LIKELY TO BE RE-ELECTED.” The wire service continued, “Israelis, who head to the polls Tuesday, no longer seem to believe that peace with the Palestinians is possible.”

I have two comments on the AP’s spin: First, they have called Netanyahu “hawkish,” and that he is. But I wonder whether they would refer to a dovish leader as “dovish.”
Wonder no more!
Second, it may be that Israelis voting for Netanyahu are realistic: realistic about what it takes to make peace, keep peace, and ensure national survival. Maybe they think that Netanyahu stands between them and annihilation by Iran. Maybe they think that he is the one to look out for Israeli interests when there is a hostile, or semi-hostile, in the Oval Office. Maybe they think that true peace with the Palestinians can be forged only on a realistic basis, not on wishful thinking.
I recommend removal of that last clause.

The Real World is Complicated

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Wheels on the Bus


Anchor and Moon

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Golden Age of Barbarity

Charles C.W. Cooke:
In 1975, New York state had over 80 school districts with rifle teams. In 1984, that had dropped to 65. By 1999 there were just 26. The state’s annual riflery championship was shut down in 1986 for lack of demand. This, sadly, is a familiar story across the country. The clubs are fading from memory, too. A Chicago Tribune report from 2007 notes the astonishment of a Wisconsin mother who discovered that her children’s school had a range on site. “I was surprised, because I never would have suspected to have something like that in my child’s school,” she told the Tribune. The district’s superintendent admitted that it was now a rarity, confessing that he “often gets raised eyebrows” if he mentions the range to other educators. The astonished mother raised her eyebrows — and then led a fight to have the range closed. “Guns and school don’t mix,” she averred. “If you have guns in school, that does away with the whole zero-tolerance policy.”

But how wise is that “zero-tolerance policy”? Until 1989, there were only a few school shootings in which more than two victims were killed. This was despite widespread ownership of — and familiarity with — weapons and an absence of “gun-free zones.” As George Mason University economist Walter E. Williams has observed, for most of American history “private transfers of guns to juveniles were unrestricted. Often a youngster’s 12th or 14th birthday present was a shiny new .22-caliber rifle, given to him by his father.” This was a right of passage, conventional and uncontroversial across the country. “Gee, Dad . . . A Winchester!” read one particularly famous ad. “In Virginia,” Williams writes, “rural areas had a long tradition of high-school students going hunting in the morning before school, and sometimes storing their guns in the trunk of their cars during the school day, parked on the school grounds.” Many of these guns they could buy at almost any hardware store or gas station — or even by mail order. The 1968 Gun Control Act, supported happily by major gun manufacturers who wished to push out their competition, put a stop to this.
Obviously Newtown would have gone completely differently if the first-grade students had been packing.

Bus Project


Sunday, January 20, 2013

More Smithsonian Filler

Kids of the 70s draw the future.


A fan with a thrilling name writes to John Ransom:
Moonbat Exterminator wrote: JR, your assertion that computing a single number for the average temperature of the planet is mathematically impossible is incorrect. It would in fact be a simple, straightforward calculation. In statistics, it's called the mean of sampling means. The weakness of such a statistic is that the enormous variability in the data far exceeds the variability in that number. Even the 90 % confidence interval would be much larger than the variations in that average, making it useless from a practical standpoint.

Dear Moon,

I think we are talking about two different things, but your post actually proves my point.

I live in Colorado where temperatures can vary quite a bit from place to place, even covering only short distances.

I drove about 5 miles yesterday and experienced a temperature difference of about 7 degrees Fahrenheit. And that’s not because of huge altitude differences.

Unless you can account for those differences everywhere, and map them according to the area occupied for each temperature, which you can’t possibly do, there is no real average temperature for the planet. Not one that has any real significance.

The larger point, which I think we both agree on, is that for purposes of global warming, no actual “average” temperature has been calculated that’s meaningful in the debate.
Even if you DO account for every area, you then have to account for HALF that area. So let's imagine we do that. BUT THEN! Yes, my friends, you have to account for half of that area as well.

And this is why John Ransom knows that trying to order a steak cooked the way you like it is impossible.

Stolen from Courtney Gibbons!

Saturday, January 19, 2013


I’m all for helping science. But after I share what I know, my neuroscientist friends thank me by showing me eye-tracking and MRI equipment, and promising that someday such machinery will help make me a better magician.

I have my doubts. Neuroscientists are novices at deception. Magicians have done controlled testing in human perception for thousands of years.

I remember an experiment I did at the age of 11. My test subjects were Cub Scouts. My hypothesis (that nobody would see me sneak a fishbowl under a shawl) proved false and the Scouts pelted me with hard candy. If I could have avoided those welts by visiting an MRI lab, I surely would have.

But magic’s not easy to pick apart with machines, because it’s not really about the mechanics of your senses. Magic’s about understanding—and then manipulating—how viewers digest the sensory information.

I think you’ll see what I mean if I teach you a few principles magicians employ when they want to alter your perceptions.
And more.

Fritz Pfister Doctor Snitch

Fritz Pfister Doctor Snitch

Fritz Pfister Doctor Snitch
Fritz Pfister Doctor Snitch
Fritz Pfister Doctor Snitch
Fritz Pfister Doctor Snitch
Fritz Pfister Doctor Snitch
Fritz Pfister Doctor Snitch
Fritz Pfister Doctor Snitch
Fritz Pfister Doctor Snitch
Fritz Pfister Doctor Snitch
Fritz Pfister Doctor Snitch

Thank you for a lot of fun, sir.
Doctor Snitch* our game is done, sir.

*Fritz Pfister Doctor Snitch is not in fact a doctor but might ably fill the part of snitch.

Friday, January 18, 2013

China's Ten Ugliest Statues

7. “Old man” in Guilin, Guangxi province (244,174 votes)

“Old man” in Guilin
So moving on to the male sexual organ, this particular piece in Guilin (桂林) in Guangxi (广西) province is a real piece of work. Showing two fully naked women carrying a man with his legs pulled up and his member in full view at about head height, the statue has an plaque with the explanation that the woman on the left signifies a wife and the one on the right a daughter-in-law. The intended moral message here is supposed to be harmonious relations between family members, peaceful co-existence and mutual respect. For its sheer and unadulterated farce, this one would probably get my vote as the worst of the lot.
Also from that article, fucking pigs.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Crosseyed and Brainless

Jonah Goldberg:
It took time. In an age when conservative books make millions, it’s hard to imagine how difficult it once was to get a right-of-center book published. Henry L. Regnery, the founder of the publishing house that bears his name, started his venture to break the wall of groupthink censorship surrounding the publishing industry. With a few exceptions, Regnery was the only game in town for decades.

That’s hardly the case anymore. While there’s a higher bar for conservative authors at mainstream publishers (which remain overwhelmingly liberal), profit tends to trump ideology.

And publishing is a lagging indicator. In cable news, think tanks, talk radio, and, of course, the Internet, conservatives have at least rough parity with, and often superiority to, liberals. It’s only in the legacy institutions — newspapers, the broadcast networks, and most especially academia and Hollywood — that conservatism is still largely frozen out. Nonetheless, conservatism is a mass-market enterprise these days, for good and for ill.

The good is obvious. The ill is less understood. For starters, the movement has an unhealthy share of hucksters eager to make money from stirring rage, paranoia, and an ill-defined sense of betrayal with little concern for the real political success that can come only with persuading the unconverted.

What We Talk About When We Talk About MOV

The Museum of Vancouver has a Tobias Wong show:

There are many ways to extract money from rich people, I guess, and if you get to mock them in a pretty way while doing it you have a career.

Other things:

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Cal Thomas:
If laws were enough to deter criminal behavior prisons would be empty.

The latest effort to "control" guns in America is as likely to deter someone intent on breaking the law as outlawing lust would affect one's libido. What's in a heart can't be controlled by restricting what's in a hand.
It's also pretty hard to control what's in someone's stomach.

On the other hand if James Woods didn't have a gun to stick in his guts in the first place fictional characters would be alive now.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Community Standards

Breitbart News:
A socially conservative group wants the state of Utah to stop supporting the Sundance Film Festival, citing its "obscene" films in its 2013 lineup.

The Sutherland Institute called out Sundance-approved films like "Lovelace," a biopic of porn actress Linda Lovelace, as proof the festival doesn't reflect Utah residents' values.
"For the sake of public decency and encouraging a free, moral society, the state of Utah should end its ‘complex relationship’ with the Sundance Film Festival," [The Sutherland Institute's Derek] Monson writes, concluding, "Some things are more important than money."
Somehow some information was left out of the report. PDF here.

Red Light States: Who Buys Online Adult Entertainment?

Magical Underwear Problems

Porn Subscriptions in Utah

Sunday, January 13, 2013

In My Confusion

From the AGO:

Yeah, that's what I'm up to.

Nyan Mitt Romney

Of the Grange Prize artists I liked Emmanuelle Léonard most.


What I expected:
In a blow to the movement's supporters, the U.S. Treasury announced Saturday that it would not mint a $1 trillion platinum coin in order to ensure the nation's creditworthiness should Congress fail to raise the debt ceiling.

”Neither the Treasury Department nor the Federal Reserve believes that the law can or should be used to facilitate the production of platinum coins for the purpose of avoiding an increase in the debt limit,” said Treasury spokesman Anthony Coley in a statement obtained by TPM.
Acknowledging that money is just a tool means you have to explain why money is so poorly distributed. You could mint the trillion and pay it into Social Security and it would be fine. Or pay off mortgages. Or make food stamps. Or subsidize day-care.

It doesn't serve the existing order to prove that the river of money flowing to the assholes is just a game and not divine recognition of worthiness.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Pie is Higher Now

My copy of The Theory of the Leisure Class has an introduction written in 1953.

C. Wright Mills:
The spleen of [Thorstein] Veblen is due to the assumption, in his own words, that "the accumulation of wealth at the upper end of the pecuniary scale implies privation at the lower end of the scale." He tended always to assume that the pie was of a certain size, and that the wealthy class withdraws from the lower classes "as much as it may of the means of sustenance, and so reducing their consumption, and consequently their available energy, to such a point as to make them incapable of the effort required for the learning and adoption of new habits of thought." Again, the moral edge of the phrase, "conspicuous consumption" lies in the fact that it tends "to leave but a scanty subsistence minimum ... to absorb any surplus energy which may be available after the pure physical necessities of life ..." All this, strangely enough, was a sort of survival in Veblen's thought of classic economic conceptions of scarcity, and betrays a lack of confidence in technological abundance which we cannot now accept in the simple terms in which Veblen left it.

Veblen, thinking of the immigrant masses of his time and of the enormously unequal distribution of income and wealth, did not leave enough scope for the economic pie to expand - and what has happened, especially since the second World War, has meant that the majority of the U.S. population can consume conspicuously. In face, in the absence of "lower classes on a scanty subsistence," the term "conspicuous consumption" becomes a somewhat flat description of higher standards of living because the invidious element is lacking. Of course the aesthetics of Veblen's case remain applicable.
Later Mills notes that Veblen's conception of the shamefulness of labour is belied by the fact that many in the upper class are industrious as anyone else in running about and doing things. That humans enjoy being busy is obvious enough, so the leisure class is not quite that (although labour-by-choice is different from mopping up a bathroom). It may have been difficult to imagine in those Fabulous Fifties, though, that some in the not-quite-leisure classes would be so intent on depriving others of that higher pie. It is not enough to have pleasure, others must have misery.


And here comes Michelle Malkin:
From New York to New Mexico and across the dependent plains, welfare recipients are getting sauced on the public dime. Drunk, besotted, bombed. But while politicians pay lip service to cutting government waste, fraud and abuse, they're doing very little in practice to stop the EBT party excesses. Where's the compassion for taxpayers?

You see the signs everywhere: "We accept EBT." Fast-food restaurants do. Clothing retailers do. Auto repair shops, liquor stores and even sushi joints are joining the club. "EBT" stands for the federal government's electronic benefits transfer card, which is intended to provide poor people with food stamps and cash assistance for basic necessities. The two separate programs were combined into one ATM-like card designed to reduce the "stigma" attached to Nanny State dependency, and -- voila! -- an entirely new method of mooching was born.


Excuse-makers for the welfare-takers emphasize that both eligibility fraud and EBT card trafficking fraud are minuscule. But a bottle here, a case there, a pole dance here, a lap dance there, and soon it all starts to add up. With food stamp rolls exploding under both Republican and Democratic administrations while enforcement resources shrink nationwide, EBT has taken on a whole new meaning: Exploitation of Broke Taxpayers. Shame.
I guess if there ain't drinking there's still fighting and fucking, so the sacrifice must be made. Michelle Malkin is, unlike those welfare recipients, broke.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Just an FYI

Wiley is posting things again.


As noted here and elsewhere, the ЗОРБ menace must end.
A thrill-seeker died when the giant inflatable Zorb ball he was riding in with a pal plunged over a cliff.

Married dad-of-two Denis Burakov, 27, broke his neck and spine after the sphere veered off course and began rolling down a mountain.
There's more of this to come.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

When Life Gives You Propaganda, Make Propagandade

Ezra Dulis:
Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" is not only a great film but the greatest display of liberalism in movie theaters this past year.

To those whose blood is boiling or eyes are rolling, I don't use that word to refer to the political left in modern politics. Their use of that word was always illegitimate, and their ownership of it has expired.

Liberalism is exactly what its name suggests: a belief that men and women should be free—and therefore equal. And that is a far more fundamental belief than any racial or political one. The film isn't political at all, though its undertones bring to mind gun control, an issue made salient by a recent national tragedy—and its only coherent reading is that when access to guns is unrestricted, tyranny cannot survive.
The film isn't political at all, but it's the greatest display of liberalism conservative principles in movie theatres this past year, and gun control sure is bad, otherwise how would Django have set the slaves free?
"Django" is about liberalism and tyranny, and the era of American slavery was a perfect illustration of it. There was no law from the government directly limiting the freedom of slaves; it was on a human level—one man telling another, "I own you," and that becoming the established social order.*
And at this point Django shoots Ezra Dulis.

*One may gather from this that unrestricted free markets are bad.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Sufferings of the Heart

Nyan Mitt Romney

Kathryn Jean Lopez interviews another nutty person in an interview entitled God, Man, Sex:
LOPEZ: What do you mean when you say “art is the language of the heart”?

WEST: There are longings of the heart, sufferings of the heart, cries of the heart that need expression. That’s what art is — whether it be music or dance or poetry or sculpture or painting or storytelling or moviemaking or architecture. The more we are in touch with what goes on in our hearts, the more we become the true artists we are meant to be as human beings.

Nyan Mitt Romney


Commerce in Toronto

Monday, January 7, 2013

Not Like the Others

Sunday, January 6, 2013

More Movies

I am back in Vancouver, somehow, and this is the rest of the holiday film roundup; more scheduled posts like this one may follow.

Argo is good, a ridiculous spy story that manages to be gripping and compelling without too many explosions. There's a lot of attention to detail that made me wonder where it was filmed: stock and re-creation worked really well. Shit cars from the 70s, the decayed Hollywood sign, hideous moustaches and icky all worked, and there was a smidge more redemption in it than seemed possible at the outset. There's the standard Hollywood manipulation to be sure, but almost all of it felt close and small and somehow plausible. Science fiction saves lives! Note to Ben: get rid of this lion for the DVD release.

A Late Quartet has Christopher Walken playing a plausibly kind individual with deep feelings for a now-dead wife. Remarkable. The gist of it is that his medical problems set off a chain of responses in the quartet, with various betrayals and measurings of worth leading up to what Walken wants to be his last performance. The quartet's actors all perform well (although the string skillz need work and is Philip Seymour Hoffman a regular jogger?) and the film is good if a little neat at the ending. Presumably I am meant to think that achieving a decent performance of Beethoven's Opus 131 String Quartet in C-sharp minor is worth dedication amounting to insanity; at the end I wondered more about whether the music should be played if it produces people like that (apart from Walken's character, who is, OMG, a swell guy somehow). The worst bit of performance was by Imogen Poots, whose name I really wanted to type, but she gets a plum in the form of a speech blasting someone that I really wanted to hear. Also too it may be worth dedication amounting to insanity to live well in Manhattan.

And back home I took The Lovely Daughter to Rise of the Guardians, which was nowhere near as bad as I expected (though not really worth seeking out in the absence of children) and fairly lovingly animated. Very pretty, good character motion, better than Wreck-It Ralph for sure, and the comedy was not entirely based on whether or not you can get a pop-culture reference. The Lovely Daughter informs me that Ratoncito Pérez made an appearance.

Some History

Via The Smithsonian:
When Madame Restell began her practice, New York State law regarding abortion reflected contemporary folk wisdom, which held that a fetus wasn’t technically alive until “quickening”—the moment when the mother felt it first move inside the womb, usually around the fourth month. An abortion before quickening was legal, but an abortion after quickening was considered to be second-degree manslaughter. Restell tried to determine how far along a patient was in her pregnancy before offering her services; if she intervened too late, she risked a $100 fine and one year in prison.

She had her first major brush with the law in 1840, when a 21-year-old woman named Maria Purdy lay on her deathbed, suffering from tuberculosis. She told her husband she wished to make a confession: While pregnant the previous year, she decided she didn’t want to give birth again; they had a ten-month-old child and she couldn’t handle another so soon. She had visited Restell’s office on Greenwich Street and joined several women waiting in the front parlor. When her turn came, Restell listened to her story and gave her a small vial of yellow medicine in exchange for a dollar.

Purdy took one dose that night and two the next day but then stopped, suddenly worried about the potential consequences. A doctor analyzed the medicine and concluded it contained oil of tansy and spirits of turpentine and advised her to never take it again. She returned to Restell, who told her that for $20 an operation could be performed without pain or inconvenience. Purdy had no cash, and instead offered a pawn ticket for a gold watch chain and a stack of rings, which Restell accepted. She led Purdy behind a curtain to a darkened room, where a strange man—not Restell’s husband—placed his hands on her abdomen and declared she was only three months along (if Purdy was past the first trimester, she didn’t correct him). She had the surgery, and was convinced that her present illness was a result. After hearing her deathbed confession her husband went to the police, who arrested Restell and charged her with “administering to Purdy certain noxious medicine… [and]… procuring her a miscarriage by the use of instruments, the same not being necessary to preserve her life.”
Much more at the link.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Of Possible Interest

Some pre-xmas hype:
That photography is an unreliable witness is certainly not a revelation. How many images have you yourself radically altered in the interest of aesthetics, humor, or plain old deception?

You might, however, find it revelatory to learn that photography has been prevarication-prone nearly from day one of its existence. Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop is a fascinating book, and an associated traveling exhibit, in which the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Mia Fineman presents what may be the first scholarly survey of the history of photographic manipulation prior to digital photography. Fineman traces the history of manipulation from the medium's earliest days* up to the 1990s, when the computer began taking over the medium.

Friday, January 4, 2013

I Had the Venison

Richmond Station prepares Bambi properly.

Sorry, ate in a crazy frenzy and did not photograph the dish.

What You Can Pay the Locals To Do

The future of tourism?
Despite improvements in telepresence, most virtual “traveling” amounts to little more than staring at a screen and listening to headphones. In an effort to provide a more immersive sensory experience, the Ikei Laboratory at the Tokyo Metropolitan University Graduate School of System Design is developing what it calls “virtual body technology.” Unveiled at the Digital Contents Expo 2012 in Tokyo last October, the system claims to use all five senses to provide a virtual experience akin to inhabiting another person’s body.
I wonder if the rental price of someone larger and stronger will be higher. Will we be able to pay someone to go punch someone else out? And of course Rule 34.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Orbs Advance

Are they some form of gastropod?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


For Thundra

The Pileated Woodpecker