Archive for the 'Conundrums' Category

Things shorebird was probably not meant to know

It’s like that part of the movie where the shorebird finds an ATV on the beach, but doesn’t know it’s the possessed ATV — the one that used to be owned by a guy who, after his girlfriend dies of bird flu, summons a demon to take revenge on feathered things everywhere, but, when he changes his mind at the last second, doesn’t succeed in banishing the demon, but only confining it in the ATV, which goes on to kill him while he’s carrying all the down pillows out of his house to dispose of them — and so, even though everyone in the audience shouts “Don’t touch the ATV!”, the helpless shorebird has it’s little bird feet frozen to the steering wheel as the ATV careens through the town knocking over fruit carts until it crashes into a guy on a buffalo and catapults the bird into a dumpster full of chocolate skittles.

Or, at least, that’s what it was supposed to be. In the end, it turned out to be more like the guy’s girlfriend was allergic to down pillows and he tried to cure her with crystals, the shorebird was playing with the starter on the ATV while a ferret was asleep on the accelerator, there aren’t any fruit carts out this time of year, no buffalo have been sighted in the area since the end of the gold standard (don’t ask), and the dumpster was actually filled with some kind of biodegradable packing material. Other than a few ruffled feathers and a slightly punch-drunk ferret there was nothing to see.

Well, nothing, that is, which would require unlocking the cabinet of Lovecraftian adjectives in order to describe the dangers awaiting whatever tender sensibilities are still possessed by 3B readers after the past decade. There is, however, a Swedish women’s choir performing an a cappella version of Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights” in a video that simultaneously evokes an aerobics class, Esther Williams, and Castle Anthrax.

We Are Nowhere And It’s Now

WARNING: OMBUDDY CONTENT.

1. all Resident Oms extend warmest bestest wishes to Pinko and GC, as well as thanks for adding their genetic stew to this roiling world of noise and interest. Sue me, I’m not a poet. The Ombudsman Activity Review Board also approves. Huzzah! all around.

1.(A).  Make sure you ask for a Long Form Birth Certificate.  It’s like a receipt, apparently.  Orly Taitz may be able to advise, as well as clean your teeth.

2. From the looks of things, Mendacious D has returned. This, of course, throws the status of the Ombudsmyriad into question. And turmoil. Speaking only for myself (an unusual step for an Om) I have fear that my position will be summarily terminated, and I will be assigned to WND, or worse, Jonah Goldberg. Look at what they did to Pinko Punko, and he’s on the masthead. As strange and frightening as this place is, I confess I feel comfortable here. Look, I wish to make it plain:  if I need to perform “extracurricular services” in order to retain my position, I will.  I can hook you up with half-smokes.

Not to say, of course, that MenD’s renewed contributions won’t be welcome.  3Bulls readership has a LOT of complaints.  High maintenance.  We love our readers, and wish to minimize their psychotic episodes.

3.  It has been reported that there has been discriminatory, near-hate talk in one of the comment threads.  We shall not name names, as we are not about blame-gaming, but suffice to say all participants should keep their hatred for the non-living under wraps while here.

4.  Jennifer rocks, and any confusion about recent art is solely in Blue Girl’s head.  This may seem a bit judgmental, but after review by a panel of Ombuds and a troop of Girls Scouts, it is the only conclusion possible.  It is possible that bribery could change this decision.  However, Jennifer MAY OR MAY NOT be on Notice for the “Ghosts are always White” colorism.

5.  A recent post was titled “UC Must Be Denounced”.  This is a troubling, accusatory header, and 3Bulls normally avoids this kind of drastic language.  It’s hurtful and UC is a standuppish fellow.  But the lack of irony in the face of Night Rangery does, in fact, indicate a severe lapse in judgment, and in suchlike cases, strong header language is warranted.  The fact that this lapse was preceded by the rejection of the Collins does not ameliorate.  One must always be on guard against Rangery incursions.

6.  THIS was worthy of 3Bulls.  Huzzah for Von!  Way to strike against the forces of entropy and choadism.  Golf claps all around.

7.  The previous post title was not misspelled.

8.  RED.

Clueless

…unh…
…what?…
………where am I?….
who am I?…
So dark in here. Let me just light the candle in this candlestick.
There. [looking around]
I see a painting with a jar of mustard holding a revolver.
Interesting.
Green bowl on the table with some lovely plums. I hope nobody eats them.
There’s a knife, I could cut one up for myself…
Off to the left, I can see, what is that? Oh, a white sink with lettuce in it.
It seems to be leaking. The pipes could use a twist with a wrench. I wonder if there is one of those around here?
[stands up] Uh, my head still spins when I try to stand. Scarlet speckles invade my peripheral vision, almost blacked out. [sits down again]
I should really stay away from the tequila, my head feels like it is stuffed with a peacock.
I have no idea how I got roped into this. [looks down]

OH MY GOD!!!!eleven111!!!iii!

WHO’S PANTS ARE THESE!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Rock Yourself to Sleep Tonight

I promised Thunderpants some negativity. Here it is.

Condensed: A giant solar flare could fry the power grid and while rare, could definitely happen in our lifetimes and will go quite far towards creating Mad Max conditions. Also, the power grid could be hardened nicely for a less than the cost of an NBA arena circa 1994. What are the odds we could make it happen? You know what we love to do- pay later!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I wonder how CEI feels about this. They love sunspots.

Have We Reached Peak Header?

Is the supply of 3B Headers at its peak? Is it possible that we will run out? Or has the drop in demand allowed supply to relax? Should I post this on Facebook so people would actually read it? Do people have goatees on Facebook? Is it like a parallel universe very similar to our own, but filled with Scrabble instead of Tribbles? I almost have a desire to read Americablog or Ann Althouse or Gregg Easterbrook just to feel the sweet vibrancy of annoyance. Maybe not. Or even a hembarrliousingly fad battle rap. What do you want from me?

What do you suppose Gregor Samsa did to them?

While the US is experiencing a first order approximation of political sanity 1)Or has at least reached a state that can be modeled by a renormalized equation — when you integrate over the probability density of insanity you can now get a result between 0% and 100% rather than infinity, conservatism, perhaps due to some previously unknown but undesirable conservation law 2)Given that conservatism, when applied to nearly anything, is not actually conservative, a conservation law of conservatism would seem empirically false, but, as is well known, truths of conservatism (at least in those dynamical theories known as movement conservatism) do not need to extend beyond theory in order to be valid — indeed, if a conservative truth was ever found to be empirically supported, it would most likely be possible to use it to generate a conservative monopole, a type of singularity which is unrealizable under the assumptions of any current empirically supported theory, but is that state toward which conservative systems tend, in much the way ordinary physical systems tend toward maximal entropy, only without the possibility of fluctuations equivalent to local violations of the Second Law of Thermodynamics., has sprouted antipodally:

New Zealanders voted for their first conservative government in nearly a decade on Saturday, ending the rule of one of the world’s longest-serving elected women.

John Key, a 47-year-old multimillionaire former currency trader and leader of the conservative National Party, swept easily to power in the South Pacific country of 4.1 million people, ousting Prime Minister Helen Clark’s Labour Party.

“Today, New Zealand has spoken, in their hundreds of thousands. They have voted for change,” Key said in his victory speech, borrowing a slogan from U.S. President-elect Barack Obama.

There is, however, the possibility of a simple explanation. The New Zealand government felt it necessary to quarantine PupH for quite some time, but seemed to show little concern over Gregor Samsa, who might have been an asymptomatic carrier of political miasmas.

References   [ + ]

1. Or has at least reached a state that can be modeled by a renormalized equation — when you integrate over the probability density of insanity you can now get a result between 0% and 100% rather than infinity
2. Given that conservatism, when applied to nearly anything, is not actually conservative, a conservation law of conservatism would seem empirically false, but, as is well known, truths of conservatism (at least in those dynamical theories known as movement conservatism) do not need to extend beyond theory in order to be valid — indeed, if a conservative truth was ever found to be empirically supported, it would most likely be possible to use it to generate a conservative monopole, a type of singularity which is unrealizable under the assumptions of any current empirically supported theory, but is that state toward which conservative systems tend, in much the way ordinary physical systems tend toward maximal entropy, only without the possibility of fluctuations equivalent to local violations of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

Food For Your Thought

Obama, FISA, and the rest. I agree with Hilzoy here. Actually, I think Hilzoy agrees with me. What I most agree with myself about is that we can’t know what is going on int he backchannels unless someone explicitly provides those details. Everything else is hot air. I’m not convinced that Mr. Barack Obama has all the pull that has been ascribed to him. Therefore I’m kind of not on the train for the inevitable posturing and anger you see in comments here. It’s just red meat for the angry train. We can’t win them all. Bring the pressure to bear. I AM angry, very much so. Just keep up the pressure, give the money where you can.

For Kathleen

In re.

Re.

From John Barth, The Tidewater Tales, 1987, pp 37-8. (Ellipses indicate excised asides which make sense in the context of the novel but are not specifically relevant to the excerpt.)

Continue reading ‘For Kathleen’

Why is it?

That the wallet industry can send a man to the moon but they can’t make a wallet that can withstand my a$$ sweat for longer than one year?

Ann Althouse Out-Swifts Swift

Listen, she an absolute genius. Listen, you can read all you want, but Jon Swift got owneded, because I don’t think Althouse is serious. How I prefer to read this is she’s decided to send up the argument ab totally cunning, calculating super machiavellian genius and or incompetent harpy- the inevitable dichotomy that everyone decides to use when they would like to claim some sort of “dog whistle” is being used to play any number of cards or tap into various rivers or sexism or racism. This statement does not deny that dog whistles exist or that sexism or racism exist. What the statement means is that the arguments of certainty that emanate from usually respectable writers about how hidden truths are oh-so-apparent due to the incredibly smart and/or calculating and careful nature of the speaker and/or deeply incompetent and obtuse nature of the speaker are just so full of it, I can’t take it anymore. Arguments about possible meanings are one thing, arguments about intent via the “calculating super geniusosity” of the said speaker don’t hold any water. Various places where I enjoy thoughtful writing but where I feel I’ve spied such arguments with my little eye include Lawyers, Guns and Money, Shakespeare’s Sister, Feministe and some pretty bad work from Talking Points Memo.

We’ve seen people argue about the dog-whistlery of the Clintons in terms of race, arguing that every word spoken out of Bill or Hillary’s mouth is so carefully and artfully chosen, they simply must mean deep and astonishingly racist things. Some of these very same people are also arguing about how incompetently the Clinton campaign has been run.

We’ve heard people argue about how sexist and condescending Barack Obama is because he is a rhetorical genius so it is clear that the hidden meaning of his words are obviously deeply sexist. Yet I’ve also seen people argue that Obama isn’t a great debater and under pressure sometimes isnt as put together as Hillary. I’m not really into arguing these points. All of the statements bandied about could have been intricately planned and tuned for maximal ist-ism, for which there is zero evidence, save that which one projects onto the debate. All of the statements could have been tinged with subconscious racism or sexism, in which our entire culture is completely marinated. At least in this case we would have the evidence of our actual racist and sexist culture. All of the statements could have been ill chosen but really just misinterpreted, again, it is impossible to know, but the certainty that our off-the-rails blog world finds so apparent simply isn’t there for many of these statements. It makes me so sad.

This is why I salute Ann Emu, because she has perfected the seemingly peerless shtick of Jon Swift. I know she can’t be serious with her pajama-based racist dog whistle. To quote (my emphasis):

Is the campaign responsible for sending out a subliminal message to stimulate racist thoughts in the unsuspecting viewer? It is either deliberate or terribly incompetent. There is no other writing on screen until the very end of the commercial, and if letters appear in any place in a commercial, they should be carefully selected letters. Certainly, each image is artfully composed and shot and intended to deliver an emotional impact. Could this be a mere lapse?

Continuing:

This is either a revolting outrage or shocking incompetence.

Clearly Ann is taking the piss, I mean I find the only possible explanations for her post to be that she has end stage lead poisoning or she’s a deeply artful rhetorical masterworker using hyperbolic satire to shame the horse race obsessed liberal chat-o-pundit cobloggosphere by doing the same thing they do everyday, but on a silent m massive scale.

Look at how many she’s taken in, on both sides of the aisle. First, there’s Kevin Drum, thinking Ann’s post to be entirely stupid. I mean, Kevin would never traffic in such deluded reading of the tea leaves. Nor would he casually fuel any such fires with an idle “I’ll talk about this because other people are” sort of substance-free speculation. Then there’s this deeply classy Obama fan, who first incorrectly identifies the non-partisan Ann Althouse as right wing, then seems to think that a liberal policy would be to toss off about any old rumor. Faithful Progressive I think is my fave. He/She knows Ann Emu personally, yet is still not old or wise enough to discern the real, undeniable genius underlying the surfacey genius that is Ann Althouse. To quote:

As a research assistant for a Dean and a second year, I helped Ann Althouse move her desk the day she arrived after being hired as a professor at UW Law School. Ann Althouse gave me good advice when I started this blog and has honored her word and my right to privacy and kept my identity confidential (if she even remembers it).

Ann Althouse is not bug shit crazy-she is a person of her word and smart as heck. I often disagree with her: but personal attacks on her are far more “bug shit crazy” than her floating the idea of a possible subliminal message. (The whole ad is creepy; and these guys hired Dick Morris, numerous times, for crying out loud!)

Ann is right– this gets to a jury; they are probably not gonna buy it-not sure I do…But Prof. Althouse is just submitting it to the jury of the Internets. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do as bloggers?

I’m sorry, Faithful Progressive, but if your jury were made up of plover bloggers, your blog would be not long for the electric chair. Don’t call MENSA, they’ll call you. Thank you for your principled support for your candidate.

I found some other Obama fans jumping on Ann’s wagon. On the right side of the aisle, most that linked to Ann’s post didn’t really buy it, but some said they wouldn’t put it past Hillary, or that they didn’t buy it but the MSM should still report on the possibility, because as we know, something possibly being true is all the fuel one needs to talk about the ridiculous. Some vile, and photoshoppy personal attacks on Dear Ann here and here. Vile video attacks on Ann the Emeautiful here. I look forward to seeing it at our top sites tomorrow, but only if Drudge runs with it first.

Finally, I will second Bob Somerby, who has been discussing all week the fact that liberal cob loggers have horse raced themselves into a corner by playing footsie with Matt Drudge. People with widely read web logs still think of themselves as shooting the shit by the water cooler, so it is OK to traffic in any old rumor until which time the rumor is declared false, so they just say “oh well, not true” even after they passed the rumor on to hundreds of readers. I’m sure the view is that anything on Drudge is already out there, so merely talking about it is like talking about the weather. Not so. If Drudge reports something, the mere caveat of “if true, then…” does not suffice to keep the slime off. At some level of readership, you aren’t just talking about what someone else is reporting. You are reporting it too. I am sad to state that we see bad examples of this here at LGM, abominable work from the increasingly lazy Kevin Drum– a quote:

Drudge’s piece is ambiguous — who distributed the picture? who did it go to? — but the Clinton campaign, given a chance to deny the charge, rather loudly declined to do so. So apparently they not only sent the picture around, but then issued a statement slamming Obama for complaining about it. Points for chutzpah, I guess, but not much else.

And here at Talking Points Memo. Let me quote:

The Clinton campaign is either terribly inept at dealing with the story or they know or suspect that it’s accurate. In any case, what we try to do is give you the background to the blaring headlines you see and the benefit of what we find out through our own reporting. That’s just what we did in this case.

My emphasis. I’ve heard the same thing from TPM in correspondence regarding smearish stuff they’ve repeated that had been posted on The Politico. TPM reports what is reported, then they follow up and eventually issue an update, usually noting a denial or evidence that the original story is bullshit. Note in my emphasis that we have a “when did you stop publishing vile, malicious, immature, unprofessional and hateful attacks on Ann Althouse” situation created for the Clinton campaign. Let’s pretend they don’t want to get caught with their pants down, and attempt to ascertain due diligence before they issue their blanket denial. Since weren’t on top of the story within the allotted time period they were already declared to be guilty or inept. Drudge’s report is stamped 6:51 am. The TPM original post is 10:08 am. The damning late update is not time stamped, but the post above, stamped 2:59 pm, links to this 2:36 pm Greg Sargent story reporting exactly the denial originally wished for via a conference call from Howard Wolfson of the Clinton campaign.

I don’t love it when Bob Somerby takes the stick to TPM, because a lot of what they do is great. I think they’ve lost the plot a little and their blindspot is growing. I think people think that because they are writing a blog they have outs that they would never allow a journalist or a published pundit. You know what, these outs might be fine if you don’t write for TAPPED, or the Washington Monthly, or aspire for your site to do important journalism. The worst part about a lot of these arguments is that people are already to the mattresses in the first round, so it’s not really a debate, it’s let’s burn the bridge.

Also, read Bob this week on the McCain story. While seemingly everyone else falls for the “being a pundit is fun and consequence free” approach, he’s been on fire.