Friday, November 30, 2007
“Without Writers Guild Members, we would have bad jokes, crap movies…”
Okay, it really isn’t the most important issue of the day, but watching the daily news about the Writers Guild strike is almost as much fun as the video from an ill-advised Britney Spears music awards performance.
Anyway, Shawn captures what must be one of the funniest things spoken by a celebrity during the strike.
The funniest bit, though? This:
Read the rest because, let’s be honest, there aren’t too many funny stories in the news today that go from the phenomenally cute Kristin Davis to a socialist selling copies of 1917: Journal of the International Bolshevik Tendency.
Full disclosure: hidden in the mix is a link to RSong. Thanks, Shawn!
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Why They Continue to Fail
In a sign of phenomenal regional stupidity, the Southern African Development Community--SADC--is forming ranks around Robert Mugabe and threatening to kill off a summit with the EU scheduled to begin next week.
Sadly, I can’t say that this is unprecedented. The truth is that post-colonial African leaders have a long-standing habit of protecting their neighbors from legitimate criticism, preferring to ignore the corruption and misrule in the region partially, I’ve always believed, as a way of ensuring that they themselves never have to face that criticism. I don’t attack you, you don’t attack me.
Or perhaps it simply stems from some strange belief that they are fortifying southern Africa diplomatically against incursions from a hostile Western world. If that is the case, then it goes far in proving that billions of dollars in financial, food, and material aid don’t go far in buying good will; while the West may hold the markets and the purse strings, many African leaders (and their overdeveloped sense of entitlement) insist on setting an agenda that doesn’t include changes in how they govern and how their economies are structures.
If the EU isn’t even allowed to raise the issue of gross negligence in the governing of countries like Zimbabwe, then no honest dialogue about Southern Africa can possibly take place.
But, again, that’s hardly surprise.
My beliefs on aid--and the importance of those Southern African states to the national security interests of the US--don’t necessarily mesh with most of my conservative and libertarian friends, but I think we could agree on this: without continued and aggressive changes to the governance of those states, our aid money is being wasted. Why continue throwing money down a well when there’s somebody at the bottom digging the hole ever deeper? I applaud the European leaders who are boycotting the summit over the inclusion of Mugabe; I wonder what the remaining leaders will do when faced with this very obvious and very hostile maneuver from the SADC?
Regardless, with the SADC putting up this block to a meaningful summit, an accidental message is being sent to the United States, too. When devising future aid packages, we now know that, regardless of some of the more impressive political changes in countries like Mozambique and South Africa, the urge to provide cover for the most corrupt and self-destructive of their members is strong enough to threaten an important summit with the European Union.
And that is one of the biggest reasons that these countries have continued to fail.
Thanks to Robin Roberts for pointing me toward the story.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Somedays… (Part 3)
Somedays, I think, “Ouch. Holy freakin’ ouch.”
Because, c’mon, what else is there to say?
Somedays… (Part 2)
Somedays, I boggle at the thought of competitive texting.
I mean, seriously, people.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Lengthy Post. Sort of.
My longest post in quite some time is actually a comment in the last post.
Man, post-holiday blogging is a hell of a chore.
Hillary Says: I Would Totally Beat Ron Paul, Though
Interesting development tied either to more weakness in the Clinton camp than many expected (I still say that she motivates GOP voters to show up like no one else in the field) or, perhaps, the left’s error in committing to an early campaign run tied to heavily to a bet on continued dramatic failure in Iraq. For that matter, it could just be a blip on the screen and not the beginning of a trend.
Whatever, these are the numbers that Zogby is giving for Hillary v/ the GOP frontrunners.
Even if these numbers are accurate and do indicate the beginning of a soft patch for Hillary (and possibly for the Democrats--who may be seeing their own dismal approval numbers catching up with the public’s obvious disappointment with President Bush and the GOP), remember this: winning votes is important only in that those votes win the key states. I would be interested in seeing a state-by-state breakdown to get a better feeling for how the election could go.
There are a lot of questions about a poll like this, though. Was the Zogby poll reliable and unbiased in its questioning? Is this is still too early to mean much? Will positive trends continue in Iraq? How shallow will this dip in the economy be? Oil prices probably won’t start declining much while the dollar continues to sink--when will the dollar begin a substantial recovery? Will Afghanistan see any setbacks? Will the Democrats ever actually accomplish anything while they have control of congress? Or will they prove to be just as inept as the GOP in an even shorter span of time? What happens to the candidates when the real mud starts splashing around?
It would be stupid to count Hillary out at this stage. She’s smart, she has a team of experienced handlers and campaigners, she’s positioned herself well to the left of the GOP field but nowhere near the far left of other Democrats, and she’s a very good campaign strategist.
But everyone who is ceding the election to the left is making a grave mistake, too. This thing is still open to all comers.
Except Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich. Because America doesn’t have that much of a sense of humor.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Damned, Evil Jellyfish
Hordes of undead jellyfish are terrorizing the Northern Irish salmon industry.
I might have made up the “undead” part. The Mauve Stingers are actually a sort of Gay Mafia jellyfish gang, but that doesn’t work as well with the whole “Damned, Evil” thing.
Sorry for any confusion.
Priest Holmes Retires
He was a great player for so many years and it looked like his return might play an important role in keeping the Chiefs heading in the right direction this year. Unfortunately, injuries have cut short his return and Priest Holmes is retiring.
A great player and, from what I’ve heard, just as strong a citizen, it is a shame he didn’t have one last season in his banged up body. Here’s hoping that whatever life holds for him next will be as rewarding as his NFL career.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Quick Response to Jeremy Lott (Updated)
I was going to leave this as a comment on Jeremy Lott’s site, but, sadly, comments aren’t allowed. Lott, author of the wonderful In Defense of Hypocrisy (a book with a cover I wish I had designed (sorry, graphics geek moment)), linked to my glib prayer of thanks for the writers strike.
It’s not quite fair to say that I’m wild about the strike; I’m a little closer to indifferent. I lived without cable for a few years and got myself hooked up only because I wanted to be able to watch the Avalanche playoffs games. Most of my TV watching is sports related, I catch stuff on the History Channel regularly, and I try to catch House every week. Of course, my fascination with American Idol is widely mocked, so I don’t dare leave that out, too.
My feelings about the strike, though, have little to do with my watching habits.
I have little sympathy for the producers because, frankly, everything that I’ve ever heard about their accounting practices leads me to believe that they do their best to screw writers hard. The writers have only themselves to blame for some of the problems, though: they made a bad deal last time around and completely underestimated the kind of revenue that would be created from DVD sales. Oops.
Here’s the thing, though, I’m not sure how much sympathy I have for the writers, either. If this is right:
We’re not exactly talking about a poorly paid profession, are we? And for writers who aren’t staff writers or who write on spec, well that’s the risk, isn’t it? When I write a handful of articles for paid publication in any given year, I don’t complain that I’m not paid a living wage. I just make sure that I leave the focus on the job that actually pays my bills and realize that what I do on the side is, essentially, a hobby.
I wouldn’t presume to know what a writer deserves to be paid for, say, working on episodes of Cave Man, and I know that writing well--good dialogue, good plotting, believable characters with depth (things not in evidence in Cave Man)--is not a common skill. I hope that the strike is settled quickly and equitably.
But not only will I not much miss the grand majority of the tripe that the TV spews, I have absolutely no idea what equitable looks like and it just isn’t that important to me. I’ll leave the serious writing on the subject to those people who have a vested interest in the subject.
Update: And now you can read Lott’s response to my response. Which makes this one of the longer blog-to-blog conversations that I’ve had in a while. Unfortunately, I don’t really have any further response. Turkey and carb overload seems to have robbed me of my capacity for thought.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Broncos v/ Titans: The Ten Point Review
Tell me about those Broncos. Who are they?
All that aside, could the NFL see two really big record broken this season with the Patriots going unbeaten through the Super Bowl and the sad Miami Dolphins going winless through the end of the season. If you had asked about that at the beginning of the season, I would have said that there was no chance. I’m starting to think that it could happen.
The Patriots this year are devoted not just to winning games but to destroying opponents. They have been amazing and it’s hard to imagine any team beating them (barring injury, that is). Miami, by comparison, looks like they could lose nine of ten to the Raiders, who I thought would be the worst team in the league. Not a good season to be a Dolphins fan.
Whatever. The Broncos, even with all their mistakes and poor play, are back up to .500. They are tied with the Chargers and are leading the AFC West--for now at least. That is much less a comment on the Broncos than it is on the state of the AFC West in 2008.
Grrr, Part 1
You know what I hate? I hate people who make an appointment to come in for a job interview and then never show up. They don’t send an email, don’t call, and don’t show up.
Wastes my time. Wastes my dry cleaning. Makes me want to be mean to the next applicant.
So, yeah, don’t do that.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
God Bless the Writers Strike
I wasn’t sure what I think about the writers strike--mostly because it hadn’t really poked its head into my life in any noticeable way--and I’m not prepared to take sides in the money grab that is going on. I figure it will work itself out without my help.
Now, though, I’m rooting for a long, long strike that paralyzes the Hollywood money machine for years to come. That would be awesome.
Anything that can keep us from idiocy of more Dan Brown-related films makes me feel all tingly inside. Actually, come to think of it, we’d all be better off if Hollywood managed to lose a few like Stealth, Norbit, and Boat Trip. Instead, the strike will probably be over soon and we consumers will be faced with another weekend of Dumb and Dumberer-esque “entertainment.”
Update: Thanks to Shawn for linking this from American Spectator blog.
Another update: The conversation continues here.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Industrial Strength Stupidity Punisher
Okay, some people need to learn the subtleties of the term, “right tool for the job.” Or, maybe they just need to learn the term and start applying it in their own lives.
The most surprising part of this story (to my cynical eyes) was that the man was not intoxicated. That would have explained quite a bit.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Hugo, Hugo, Hugo
Not that there’s anything wrong with that…
(And, no, I don’t know if there is any truth to the rumor. Nor do I care. Chavez will still be a prick either way.)
Harry Reid’s Amazing Devotion to Failure (Updated)
Thank you, Senator Reid. Your devotion to losing is something that we all marvel at.
Nope. No improvement. Not a word about improving situations. Everything seems to be getting worse. Without your will to succumb to our enemies, Senator Reid, I might have mistakenly gotten the impression that a little stiffening of the backbone might be in order. So, yeah, let’s get to losing.
Thank God that Senator Reid is here to show us the way to a proper defeat.
Update: No. Nothing good to see here. Move along.
Texting Gives Kids the Courage to be Cowards
The technology revolution really has changed our world. I no longer have to buy my porn, I have 24 hour access to more music than I ever knew existed, I can order my pizza online, and many of life’s tougher moments can be handled through instant messages and emails.
It’s a better world that we’re creating.
I wonder how this reliance on IMs effects the ability to interact face to face--so much of human communication is non-verbal that it seems that IMs, with clipped dialogue and very little nuance, misses much of what it means to effectively communicate with someone. In fact, it even misses the subtleties captured in a phone conversation. Does over-reliance on text messaging stunt growth in mature and meaningful conversation?
Frankly, asking a girl out is tremendously difficult. Every time a guy does it, he opens himself up to humiliation and ridicule--at least in his own mind. I fully understand the urge to keep the potential for embarrassment as far away as possible. But is it such a bad thing for a kid to learn how to muster up a little courage and do the deed face to face? Learning how to take risks, learning how to handle a little failure, is an important part of growing up. If kids only learn how to take the easy route on everything that they do, where are we going to find the business, technology, and political leaders who will be willing to put themselves on the line for the big things in life.
Maybe I’m just an old guy and too out of touch with the advantages of texting; maybe I’m just missing the point. Entirely possible. But I’m not entirely fond of teaching kids to rely on a technology that makes it easier to be a coward.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Who Doesn’t Love a Cheap Whore?
What is your vote worth? In a story brought to us Politico, we find that students at NYU have a price point that is pretty damned low.
My vote is part of my legacy--a part that no one will ever see but me, but an important part, still. I can’t honestly say that my vote--my single vote--has ever swayed an election. But I do believe that acting in concert with others who share my beliefs and concerns most certainly has. I won’t leave behind children or the great American email, but I’ll leave my many years of votes. That matters to me.
If you offered me an iPod touch to buy my vote or my silence, you’d probably want to duck fast. I don’t like to be insulted. Offer me a free ride through college and I’d laugh in your face. Offer me a million dollars and I’d wish that I had very different sense of ethics. But I still wouldn’t take your money.
Not everyone values the same things that I do--I understand that--but there is something sad about a group of Americans who say that, yes, voting is important, but, yes, you can buy mine on the cheap. I hope that this is a function of youth and that they will grow away from such foolishness. Given the typical voter turnout in any given election year, though, I know that many voters doesn’t even need to be bought off to keep them from the booth.
Update: Allah has a different view.
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