Thursday, November 30, 2006

Minority Report

Today's LA Times features a very sensible editorial by writer John Ridley on Michael Richards, Jesse Jackson and the "N-word." Check it out.

One note. Ridley asks parenthetically "has anyone discussed the irony of Trent Lott becoming the Senate minority whip?" Quite a few, Mr. Ridley.

The first person I saw make the joke (about how Lott will be whipping minorities, or some variation thereof) was Bill Maher on HBO, followed the next day by Amy Poehler on Saturday Night Live.

In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Michael Richards (who's been known to appropriate material) gave it a shot before his act was interrupted.

Schumer screws up

"He's not a typical politician. He really has deep convictions," said Schumer.

Oops. Chuck tells the truth. So Webb is unlike every other senator, say, Hillary, or Obama, or Schumer. (And it goes with out saying Lott, McCain, Cryin' Temporary Tax George Voinovich, ex-Sen. DeWine . . .)

Outsourced to Asia

Lindsey Lohan must have attended public schools, eh?


Timing And Taste

I just saw Infamous. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I wouldn't be a bit surprised. It's a recently-released film based on the years Truman Capote wrote In Cold Blood.

Wait, you're saying, didn't that come out last year? No, that was Capote, an art house hit that won Philip Seymour Hoffman an Oscar in the title role. Apparently, that fulfilled America's appetite for this story, since Infamous flopped.

I think it's better than Capote. I thought Capote was trying too hard to win awards, while Infamous has a lighter, more entertaining tone--it gets the socialite side better without skimping on the drama. And when I watched Hoffman, I saw someone acting, but when I watched Toby Jones, I saw Truman Capote.

Some critics claim Infamous doesn't stick to the facts as closely as Capote. I don't care, these aren't documentaries. I have to wonder how things would have turned out if the films were released in the opposite order.

I'm reminded of the time when two films about long distance runner Steve Prefontaine were released--Prefontaine in 1997 and Without Limits in 1998. The latter version by Robert Towne was definitely superior, but in that case there wasn't a market for even one film on the subejct.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Barone takes note

So Ohio's going to set a new health care standard? He's right. It's a decent bill. But I'll believe these Republican boneheads will pass it when I see it.

Blast From The Past

Remember the good old days when the biggest threat was getting a bomb in your mail? I'm talking about the Unabomber, who was arrested in 1996. What was found in his shack is only now being made available.

I remember years ago reading it was a few messy rooms with a lot of books and writings, as well as enough stuff to make a bomb. Sounded like my place.

The Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, evaded the FBI for 17 years. Ultimately he got a bit cocky and that was his downfall.

He studied math at the University of Michigan. So did I, and I can understand how it would drive you crazy.

Years ago, before he was caught, his Manifesto was published in The New York Times. (The FBI thought that printing it was a good idea and apparently it was, since he was caught soon after.) My book group read it. I didn't want to read it--it didn't sound like an important work of literature--but I was outvoted. We printed out copies.

It was chilling. Not the content, actually, which was mostly third-rate environmentalist chatter, but one particular sentence. He noted that the reader (me!) wouldn't be reading his manifesto if he hadn't been hurting people. I almost dropped the page. He was right. My reading this was the result of his maiming others. To this day I wonder if reading it--and continuing on after that sentence--was an immoral act.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


We've now had 20,000 hits since we started counting.

We at Pajama Guy want to thank all our readers, regular and one-shot (and if this is the first time you've been here, stick around and enjoy the archives, and please come back later). A blog only exists because of its readers. Otherwise, it might as well be a pen-and-paper diary.

We look forward to our next 20,000 hits, and more. And please, as always, feel free to leave your comments.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Nein Part II

ABC just pulled The Nine from its slot following Lost. The critics had loved the show, but it proved to be a ratings disaster.

I'm not surprised. When I first heard about it, I thought it was the worst premise ever. It's about the lives of nine people who were caught in a 52-hour hostage crisis.

Following nine characters who were once thrown together by chance doesn't sound that exciting, so the hook was each week they'd reveal a bit more about those 52 hours. Come again? I'm not gonna wait a whole season, much less several seasons, to find out what happened. I want to plot to be moving forward and taking place in the present, not revealed in dribs and drabs through flashbacks.

The whole concept was so frustrating I gave up after the premiere. I can see I wasn't alone.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

It's Over

Most of my Wolverine friends feel Michigan had its chance. They lost to OSU and don't deserve a rematch.

I think the BCS is a showdown between the two top teams, not the two top teams who haven't faced each other. If Michigan is the second-best, it deserves to be there.

Well, it's academic now. The only other team that deserved a shot (I'm not that impresseed with Florida) was USC, and their manhandling of Notre Dame put them over the top. Assuming they can beat a so-so UCLA (and they can), they'll be facing down OSU in a month and a half.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Richards Redux

So Michael Richards went on a racist rant last week in a comedy club, insulting two African-American audience members.

Now he's apologized to Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. The only rational explanation I can come up with is all black people look alike to him.

Friday, November 24, 2006


In Louis Menand's New Yorker review of Thomas Pynchon's latest, Against The Day, he notes "Bravura Pynchonian paragraphs sometimes seem to be setups for goofy Pynchonian jokes.'

Here's the example he gives. After a lengthy, learned paragraph by Pynchon on how mayonnaise had swept through the cafe culture many years back, we get this:.
..mayonnaises, under some obscure attainder, or on occasion passing as something else, dominated every corner. “How much do you know of La Mayonnaise?” she inquired. He shrugged. “Maybe up to the part that goes ‘Aux armes, citoyens’—”
That's a "Pynchonian joke"? Confusing "mayonnaise" with "Marseillaise" is a Vaudeville wheeze that goes back at least a 100 years. (When the Marx Brothers did this gag in their Napoleon routine, Groucho replied "then the army must be dressing.")

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Turkey Day

Happy Thanksgiving.

As we think of reasons to be grateful, let's not leave the internet off the list. It allows us to express ourselves as never before.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Robert Altman

Robert Altman just died. He was one of the top directors of his day, creating a number of great and near-great films. He also had an instantly recognizable style. Whereas most films put the action front and center, Altman would often have the camera searching the background, picking up stray comments from actors who seemed to be (and sometimes were) making it up on the spot.

Altman kicked around TV for over 20 years, not hitting it big until he made M*A*S*H in 1970 at the age of 45. It was his only huge financial success, but it allowed him to get projects made throughout the 70s.

It was already a quirky time for American cinema, and Altman made it quirkier. In the ten years from M*A*S*H to the flop that almost destroyed his career, Popeye, he made 15 films, including most of his best work, particularly in the first half of the decade.

These film include classics such as McCabe And Mrs. Miller (1971), The Long Goodbye (1973) and California Split (1974). If you want to understand the Altman style, these are the three to start with.

In 1975, he made what might be his most respected film, Nashville. In it, he created a tapestry, using many actors with no clear lead to create a community on film. He'd often repeat this formula, such as A Wedding, Health and more recent films including Short Cuts and Gosford Park.

His films made less and less money so that by 1981 Hollywood wouldn't hire him. So he made smaller films, often little more than glorified stage plays, but he kept working. While this period in the wilderness kept him out of the public consciousness, there are some oddities (O.C. And Stiggs anyone) that are worth looking at.

He made a comeback with Vincent And Theo (1990) and especially The Player (1992), which got him an Oscar nomination for best director. Since then, he'd been making the films he wanted to make. I admit I'm not as partial to his recent work as his great films in the 70s, but they're still worth checking out.

His final film, A Prairie Home Companion, his take on the Garrison Keillor radio show, is not one of his best, but is a suitable finale. It takes place during twilight, almost as if he understood it was his swan song.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Lieberman runs as an independent in 2008? I like that. There is literally no one on the table for the Republicans--McCain? Please. Romney? Yeah, just like Allen--and Big Hill is unstoppable for the Dems.

But Lieberman? I could see that. He can't win, but it just might kill off one of the parties. I dotn'care which, as long as one of them goes.

Mike And Mel

I think the comparison between Michael Richards' tirade and Mel Gibson's is instructive. Richards' statements, as ugly and stupid as they are, were done in a place where insults, racial and otherwise, fly thick and heavy. It's not as if Richards was waiting for an opportunity to insult African-Americans. It could have been any group.

On the other hand, Gibson, out of nowhere, started blaming the Jews. It was something deep inside him.

Comedian Paul Rodriguez stated "Freedom of speech has its limitations and I think Michael Richards found those limitations." Paul, you do a lot of ethnic humor yourself, so you better watch out or those limitations might end your career some day.

Lita Sister Herron of the Youth Advocacy Coalition (who?) said "these kind of comments hurt all of us." I think they mostly hurt Richards. Everyone pretty much understand he's a jerk.

Laugh Factory club owner Jamie Masada said "this is one thing we don't tolerate." Does he mean ugly comments, or someone getting caught at it?

Comedian George Lopez got it right:
The question is you have an actor who is trying to be a comedian who doesn't know what to do when an audience is disruptive. He's an actor whose show has been off the air, he shouldn't ever be on a stand-up gig.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Good news for Democrats

Apparently, anarchy works. Or maybe this is just a variation on the theme that an armed society is a polite society.

Well, Duh

The Pentagon's "closely guarded review" of our options in Iraq boils down to three choices: more troops, less troops or we pull out completely.

Sure you want to go out on a limb like that?

You Think That's Harsh

I recently saw Harsh Times, a (poorly titled) film that's already flopped.

It's a tour de force for Christian Bale, who stars as Jim, a former Army Ranger whose life is messed up. He's trying to pull himself together, but the plot is mostly him and his friend Mike driving around LA and Mexico, screwing up their lives. It's written and directed by David Ayer, who wrote the similarly-themed Training Day.

It's certainly not boring, that's for sure. Lots of violence. But one thing ultimately ruins it. Jim's wounds are pretty much all self-inflicted. There aren't that many obstacles he couldn't overcome if he'd just stop acting like a jerk.

Dramatic characters should have an inner life, but if their problems are all interior, after a while you just want to slap them.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Happy Days Are Here Again

The first thing the Dems do after winning back Congress is deny John Murtha the slot of House majority leader, despite being strong-armed.

Now the 14-year ban on silicon breast implants has been removed.

Keep 'em coming, guys.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Game

I've been planning to write about Michigan versus OSU all week, but somehow, now that Bo has died, I figured I'd just sit back and enjoy the game. I'm not sure if his death puts a damper on the match-up or raises the stakes, but it certainly puts things in perpective.

He was already a legendary coach when I was in college. He'd built up the team to the point that it could do anything except win the Rose Bowl. The Big House was selling out every game, as it's done ever since.

Bo was one of the winningest coaches in college football, but his greatest victory was right at the start of his career as coach of Michigan, beating the #1 Buckeyes 24-12. Unfortunately, he suffered a heart attack just before the Rose Bowl that followed, which brings us back to today.

There'll be a moment of silence before the game. Bo couldn't last forever, but he lived long enough to see his team continue in the glory he created.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Hans Blix sends a letter

Former U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix said Friday that North Korea would one day master nuclear weapons technology despite its apparently less-than-successful atomic test, and he warned that the world must avoid striking a quick disarmament deal that lacks effective verification measures.

Yes, Hans, now's the time to get tough.

"If they didn't succeed this time, how much time will it take them before they perfect it?" he said.

Yes, as I recall, this was exactly the approach he used with Saddam: You hav to take him out, boys, because he'll try again until he gets it. What's that, Maddy? Keep him in his box?

First Milton, now Bo, who's next, John Lennon?

I was a hooker at Michigan, mostly servicing the rugby club, and Schembechler was always good to me and the boys.

Mosquitoes are heavy this year

Didn't Tom Selleck do this alreaedy?

Best line: "It's illogical to send a plane worth $100 million against a suicidal terrorist."


As ColumbusGuy noted yesterday, Milton Friedman, a giant of the 20th century, just died. He was both a brilliant thinker and a great fighter for liberty. Even when his ideas weren't popular, he stuck to them.

One of his great qualities: though a Nobel Prize winner, he could explain economics so anyone (say, me) could understand it.

One of my favorite explanations is the pencil story. Take it away, Milton:
Nobody knows how to make a pencil. There's not a single person in the world who actually knows how to make a pencil. In order to make a pencil, you have to get wood for the barrel. In order to get wood, you have to have logging. You have to have somebody who can manufacture saws. No single person knows how to do all that. What's called lead isn't lead. It's graphite. It comes from some mines in South America. In order to make pencils, you'd have to be able to get the lead. The rubber at the tip isn't really rubber, but it used to be. It comes from Malaysia, although the rubber tree is not native to Malaysia. It was imported into Malaysia by some English botanists. So, in order to make a pencil, you would have to be able to do all of these things. There are probably thousands of people who have cooperated together to make this pencil. Somehow or other, the people in South America who dug out the graphite cooperated with the people in Malaysia who tapped the rubber trees, cooperated with, maybe, people in Oregon who cut down the trees. These thousands of people don't know one another. They speak different languages. They come from different religions. They might hate one another if they met. What is it that enabled them to cooperate together? The answer is the existence of a market. The simple answer is the people in South America were led to dig out the graphite because somebody was willing to pay them. They didn't have to know who was paying them; they didn't have to know what it was going to be used for. All they had to know was somebody was going to pay them. What brought all these people together was an enormously complex structure of prices - the price of graphite, the price of lumber, the price of rubber, the wages paid to the laborer, and so on. It's a marvelous example of how you can get a complex structure of cooperation and coordination which no individual planned. There was nobody who sat in a central office and sent an order out to Malaysia: 'Produce more rubber.' It was the market that coordinated all of this without anybody having to know all of the people involved.
The pencil is a miracle that the market makes a commonplace.

Columbus Guy says: What's a pencil?

Boy, Sony

On my way home I saw a huge line on La Brea, a few blocks from where I live. Borat? Bond? No, Best Buy. They were waiting for the release of PlayStation 3 at midnight.

The game machine costs 600 smackers, yet the run will sell out easily. I'm sure this tells us something about our culture, but all I can say is well done, Sony.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Not since Reagan

Truly a sad day when a great warrior passes.

Another Brick

Lotta talk about the 700-mile wall (along a 1000+ mile border) to keep out illegal immigrants. No matter how you feel about it (and I do think the Vatican goes a bit far in comparing it to the Berlin Wall), one thing is strange.

Here are the two main arguments against the wall: 1) It won't work. 2) It will work.

Have a conference, make up your minds, then get back to us.

All In The Family

I collect bad Family Feud answers. Favorites of the past include when's a good time to end a New Year's party ("midnight") and name a country where they speak English ("France").

Thanks to the wonders of YouTube, I just learned two more.

One family was trying to steal--in other words, they had all the time they needed to come up with an answer. The question was name a country outside the United States that you admire. The whole group agreed the best answer was..."Europe."

Even better, in the money round, a lady was asked in what month of pregnancy does a woman start to look pregnant. Her answer? "September."

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

You say she was smiling?

I'm one to give the executive broad benefit of the doubt during war time, but if this prosecution isn't dismissed within the week, the Patriot Act needs to be repealed or thrown out, either one will do, since it's clear the country isn't at war any longer.

Salad days again

Trent's back. Finally, I feel good about something. It turns out that the primary purpose of the American political system is to serve as an ego sop to idiots. I can't convey how satisfying it is to know there is a purpose; until now, I was starting to think it was purposeless.

Talk about bootstraps

I hadn't paid much attention to Webb, Virginia's new senator, but it turns out the man is a lunatic:

"Furthermore, an unspoken insinuation seems to be inundating our national debate: Certain immigrant groups have the "right genetics" and thus are natural entrants to the "overclass," while others, as well as those who come from stock that has been here for 200 years and have not made it to the top, simply don't possess the necessary attributes."

An "unspoken insinuation" "seems to be" "inundating", scare quotes around "right genetics," a phrase that I can guarantee no one except Webb has used, and yet he quotes it. And "stock that has been here for 200 years and not made it to the top," I wonder what Webb could be talking about?

Talk about hateful thinking. Doesn't the Journal read the pieces it publishes?

Enough Is Enough

I've been checking out NBC's only new hit, Heroes. It's fun in a comic book sort of way, but I have one complaint.

The pilot introduced a bunch of people who, mostly to their surprise, had superpowers. Fine, that's the premise. But since then, every single episode has a new character with superpowers. This makes the original "heroes" less special. You can overdo a good thing.

Stop creating new heroes. Start killing them off.

A Message To You Rudy

So Giuliani wants to be our next President. No surprise. Hey, I might even vote for him.

Just a little advice, Rudy. It's not the same as running for mayor. America is a big country. I know you get that, but do you get this: you have a problem. Well, three.

We're not talking insurmountable, but we're talking serious. See, there are three groups who don't like you, and you'll have to deal with all of them. Who are they? The Right, the Left and the media.

Good luck.

Columbus Guy says: The media? LAGuy, are you on that press bias thing again? All those guys do is report.

LAGuy responds: Once again, we see ColumbusGuy reads newspapers with no editorial page.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Looks like folks are finally starting to figure it out. It's not mainstream media, it's Manhattan media.

"But the majority is not going to return unless the new minority leadership --however it is composed-- resolves to persuade the public, and to be firm in its convictions, not concerned for the praise of the Beltway-Manhattan media machine."

Simple Simon

I recently heard "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover," Paul Simon's only solo #1 hit. It got me thinking.

The title promises us 50 ways. You know how many Simon gives us? A paltry five. It's hardly worth it.

I know, I know, the lyric merely notes "there must be" 50 ways to do it, but couldn't Simon at least have written a second chorus with five new ways?

And some of the Big Five don't even count. "Slip out the back, Jack." Okay, that would work, but "make a new plan, Stan"? Is he serious? We know you need a new plan, be more specific.

"You don't need to be coy, Roy"! Fine, don't be coy, but that's not what I would call a way to leave your lover.

Simon's two other pieces of advice: "hop on a bus" and "drop off the key." Sure, why not. But overall, what a disappointment.

Monday, November 13, 2006


A month ago I posted about Battlestar Galactica and reader Lawrence King noted a plausibility problem: the Cylons killed 99.9999% of all humans and have been attacking them ever since, yet some humans still think they're not so bad.

In the most recent episode, this problem came to the fore. Captain Apollo figured out a tactic that might wipe out the Cylons. He explained it to leaders Roslin and Adama, as well as the lower-ranking Helo.

Everyone thought it was great except Helo, who argued it was genocide. (He's married to Sharon, the "good" Cylon.) That's the whole point. Kill them all if you get the chance, and then have lunch. They're an implacable foe, far more powerful than the humans, and apparently still interested in killing whoever's left. It's insane Helo would have any doubts.

So after stating his strong opposition to their greatest wish, what did the top brains on Galactica do. Did they shoot him because he's so dangerous? Did they lock him up in solitary for a day while the plan is attempted? Did they at least order him not to talk about the plan to anyone, or do anything about it? No. They let him go on his merry way, unattended, back to his wife, and have full run of the ship.

Needless to say, Helo queers the deal. Roslin and Adama are pretty sure he's the one responsible for endangering the continuation of the human species, and what does Adama say? "Let's torture him "? No. "Let's throw him out the airlock?" No. He said he's "closing the book" on this.

Now maybe Adama's lying, but I saw no indication of that. So the biggest saboteur in human history is getting off scot free.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Feels like a train

These guys just don't get it. Hillary Clinton is essentially unstoppable. Warner drops out Feingold drops out, who is there to challenge her? And this idea that she can't win is lunacy. It's based upon the conception that Hillary is a liberal in a world that is operating on conservative principles; the first presumption is voided, and the second is weakening and perhaps gone. The biggest reason she'll win is that she'll be the most conservative candidate in the field. Who's going to challenge her? McCain, the progenitor of the biggest attack on the First Amendment in history? (Well, maybe Alien & Sedition, but still) Not to mention that he's pure bomb. Rudy? She chased him out of the race once, she'll do it again. Races can and do turn quickly, but, folks, you have to have something to put forward, and there is hardly anything being put forward anywhere that isn't based in Democrat philosophy.

Star Power

I just watched Saturday Night Live. You can tell it's still an important institution by the names it can get. The host was Alec Baldwin and the musical guest Christina Aguilera. Decent names and pretty much par for the course on the show.

But in addion, the opening featured SNL alumni Tina Fey and Tracy Morgan. Okay, not such a big deal, especially since they star with Baldwin in an NBC prime time show. But a later scene featured Steve Martin, Martin Short and Paul McCartney. And for good measure, near the end, Tony Bennett appeared. Really, what other show could do that?

Bah, Humbug.

So Wal-Mart will once again allow its greeters to say "Merry Christmas!" Good news, I suppose, for the groups that boycotted the retailer over this issue.

What a silly controversy. Exactly what difference does it make whether you hear an employee say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" when you enter? Regardless of the policy, who gains or loses anything?

In fact, why am I even bothering to write about this?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Let The Lawsuits Begin

When I saw Borat last week, I came out with one question on my mind. With the way he embarrassed all those real people, how good would any release they signed be? I mean, they couldn't possibly have known what was happening to them or the bits wouldn't have worked, so it seems to me any waiver would be null and void.

So I've been waiting for news of a lawsuit, and it finally happened. Some of the frat boys (who come across worse then most) are suing for "humiliation, mental anguish, and emotional and physical distress, loss of reputation, goodwill and standing in the community." That sounds about right. (If your "community" is other frat boys, you gotta be really embarrassed before you sue.)

Now that the movie is a hit, the deeper pockets should attract even more plaintiffs and plaintiffs' lawyers.

P.S. The background to the lawsuit suggests there's more staging involved than the filmmakers let on, but that shouldn't be too big a surprise.

Friday, November 10, 2006

House Cleaning

House is one of my favorite shows, but it has a minor flaw. Just about every episode follows the basic formula of a new patient who, after a few wrong turns, House cures (or at least diagnoses correctly). That's not the flaw, that's why I like the show.

The producers, perhaps fearing a sameness, introduce a major arc into the show each year. The first season had a businessman taking over the hospital and locking horns with House. One had to go, and it was obvious who it had to be. The second season saw the return of an old flame, but that couldn't last. The arcs aren't horrible, but I mostly consider them stuff to get through while waiting for the real show to begin.

This season has House annoying a cop (David Morse) during a clinic check-up. The cop thinks House is a bully and becomes obsessed with taking him down. He arrests him and, at present, has him up on drug possession. In fact, House has so many painkillers stashed the cop wants him for intent.

Now this is a lot like the problem I had with Seinfeld's final episode. Having them on trial for their transgressions went against the whole concept of the show. Same for threatening House with serious charges. We understand the show isn't realistic and make allowances for House's outrages. In real life, the guy would be arrested every month, sued every week and fired every day.

It's as if Conan Doyle wrote a story where Holmes gets picked up by Lestrade for cocaine use.

P.S. I bet you thought from the title this was going to be about the election.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

He's A Pro

In the latest issue of the University Of Chicago Magazine (I sometimes look at it for a minute before tossing it), Elliot J. Favus, MD ’01 writes in to complain that Professor Richard Epstein got off too easy last issue. As Favus puts it:
Epstein has staked out political ground much too far to the right to be capable of a balanced look at any form of government regulation, especially something as important to big business as the FDA [....] I have known the professor since I was a medical student at the University. Make no mistake: he is an unapologetic pro-business spokesman who, given the chance, would reduce the role of the FDA
to a rubber stamp, in much the same way as some would eliminate the U.S. Departments of Education and Energy. I have no doubt that his proposals for FDA reform would increase the number of Vioxx-like cases.
Elliot, it's like this. Epstein isn't pro-busines, he's pro-free market. A lot a businesses like their cozy relationship with governmental agencies, so Epstein's remedies are the last thing they'd want. Get your screed straight.

And this may suprise you, Elliot, but companies, whether or not they're heavily regulated, really hate Vioxx-like cases and will go to great lengths to avoid them.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Read My Lips Redux

Bush lied.

I woke up this morning after a late night of election coverage feeling somewhat optimistic and refreshed. Republicans took a pasting, no doubt, but it was deserved, and there are several, er, points of light that offer, er, hope.

But then I heard Bush's press conference and the announcement of Rumsfeld.

That was a find a bucket and throw up moment, I'll tell you. Just remarkable. Every line in the series, I paraphrase, "al queda should not feel they've won; Iraqis should not feel worried, troops should not feel abandoned," etc., should of course be read, "al queda should celebrate their victory, Iraqis should feel worried, troops should feel abandoned."

I can't complain that the Democrats ran on the platform that Iraq is a disaster and unworthy, or that the New York Times ran a propaganda campaign on the same platform; if that's the path to power, that's the path that will be followed, and that's what the New York Times does. But I can complain that Republicans don't defend their policies every time they're challenged, and, much more significant, when Bush gives up the ghost immediately upon the loss, my goodness. Even if he had waited a month, it would be better. And then, what does he do? He tells a reporter that he just flat out lied because it was a campaign.

Well, of course.

Posner has a great line in "An Affair of State" about the liar whom everyone knows is lying is the most damaging of all, because it undermines the concept of truth.

Conservatives have had to grin and bear Bush from the first moment he said "compassionate conservatism" (to distinguish it from eat-the-children conservatism) because he won with it. Today everyone has their reward. I still have a kernel of my optimism, but the day just got much, much darker.

Here in Columbus, the sun is shining gamely.

There's an understatement

"Dems' Wins in U.S. Races Concern Israel"

Israelis are worried the Democratic power swing in Washington curbing President Bush's power will lead to less decisive action on Iran's nuclear ambitions, which they consider an imminent threat.

Polls and Pols

Can't say it was a big surprise. I told the Republicans two months ago it was time to panic. Not that I'm clairvoyant--the polls have been telling us pretty clearly for some time the Repubs were in trouble.

It's a well-earned rebuke. True, the people were probably rebuking them for the wrong reasons, but a rebuke is a rebuke.

Also as predicted, Joe Lieberman won standing up. How does that fit in to the rebuke?

Then there's the Republican (in name only) man of the hour, our beloved Guv, starring in a sequel. He smashed his opponent so badly that if he were born in Nebraska, he'd be the next President. (Though it's hard to imagine the Terminator without the accent.)

Actually, the vote I was watching most closely was in Michigan--Proposal 2, banning many race and gender preferences. As usual, both parties, showing cowardice above and beyond the call, opposed it. Also, all the big money was against it. They said you might as well be a Klan member if you support it. It passed. As always, when the people are given a clear choice, they say no to judging people by the color of their skin. Too bad it's usually forced on them.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Exercising The Franchise

I walked a half mile in 90 degree weather to my voting place today. You know that's the only thing that'll get my heart racing if you've seen the California ballot.

In any case, it's just about 100% certain my vote won't make a difference. Still, I do believe if you vote, you have no right to complain about what happens afterwards.

The first communist elected today, or the last?

So Daniel Ortega and Jimmy Carter are back. A lot of folks (well, some folks) are hoping that Congress' first order of business will be to impeach Bush. Really, America's first order of business will be an abject apology to Jimmy Carter. Then, instead of invading Brussels, as planned, we'll invade Iraq, hoping to save Saddam.

Here in Ohio, it's raining.

LAGuy exclaims: Communist? The guy supports CAFTA!

Columbus Guy says: Sure. And Hillary Clinton will be the most conservative candidate in 2008. (I'm not kidding. She will be.)

Here in Ohio, it's stopped raining.

Always improving

I found myself lost in her big, brown eyes.

Close Call

Entertainment Today is a Southern California weekly. (I tried to link it, but it doesn't seem to be on the internet.)

Anyway, the present issue has a tribute to Arthur Hill. The actor, maybe best known for his performance in the original Broadway cast of Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?, recently died at the age of 84.

However, the accompanying photograph was of noted director (and acquaintance) Arthur Hiller. Though they don't look a bit alike, the reason for the mistake is obvious. I'm pleased to report that Hiller, 82, is alive and well.


The polls seem to show a tightening of the race. Good. Since I don't care who wins, I'd like it to be an exciting night.

The real fun will come later, when one of the parties brings out their spin doctors to claim they're happy things went so much worse than they were hoping.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Give Me One Good Reason

Here's the New York Times editorial on why they're not recommending a single Republican this election. A major reason: "Republican leaders, particularly in the House, have developed toxic symptoms of an overconfident majority that has been too long in power."

The Republicans have been in power in the House (not the Senate) for 12 straight years. Before then, the Democrats had been in power in the House (not the Senate) for about 40 straight years. If anyone can find the Times making the same argument back then, please send it in.

Columbus Guy says: Geez, LAGuy, are on that press bias thing yet again?

LAGuy responds: Good point, ColumbusGuy. How dare they publish an editorial that takes sides?

And That's Final

I watch Seinfeld reruns occasionally. They're on about four times a day, so it's not hard to catch them. I just saw the hour-long finale. I remember watching it originally with friends--it was the day Frank Sinatra died.

There's no question the show started dropping off near the end of its run, after executive producer Larry David left. The plots and jokes were staler, less inspired. But even then the show was still fun. It's only in the finale--written by David, oddly--where the show jumped the shark.

The plot features Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer being tried for not helping out someone who's being attacked This is already pretty silly, but they'd had silly plots before. However, the prosecutor calls in all sorts of characters from previous episodes to testify as to what rotten people these four are.

This is wrong for several reasons. First, the trouble and expense the prosecutor goes to is ridiculous, even in the world of Seinfeld (or the world of Nifong). Second, half these witnesse can only state at worst these four are rude.

Worst of all, this goes against the whole concept of the series. The idea of this episode was a horrible miscalculation on David's part. The show, as wild as the plots got, is about the little things in life. The four leads may do some nasty things, but they represent us, just trying to make do. This show was about "nothing"--everyday life--not about criminals getting away with it. Saying they should be punished for all the things they thought they got away with makes the series not about real life, but cosmic judgment.

One thing almost saves the finale. The final moments, under the credits, have Jerry in prison jumpsuit doing a hacky routine before the inmates. "So, anyone from Cellblock D? Okay, I'll talk slower." "You suck! I'm gonna cut you." "Hey, I don't come down to where you work, and knock the license plate out of your hand." He's booed off the stage.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

As good an explanation as there is

“I despise the man,” my friend said. “He lied and benefited politically from his lies….He lied about me.”

That's a troop talking about John Kerry. But he could be talking about Bill and Hillarly Clinton, too.

One Good Thing

One good thing about Tuesday's election. All this junk mail I'm getting will finally come to an end. Just yesterday I got seven separate pieces telling me how to vote.

Also, I get at least a call a day (including from Bill Clinton and Clint Eastwood) telling me about various candidates and propositions. I have a rule--if you call me at home, you've lost my vote.

A word to the wise: If you want my vote, send money.

Michigan Beats Ball State In A Nail Biter

Wow. Not too long ago I thought this was a bye week.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Ad It Up

Not long ago I had a post about eggs donor ads at UCLA. I said I couldn't find any offers for sperm, but I spoke too soon.

In a recent edition of The Daily Bruin, I saw this come-on:
$$$ GOT SPERM? $$$ Up to $900/month. Healthy MEN [do they really need to note it's men?], in college, or w/a college degree, wanted for our sperm donor program. APPLY ONLINE:
$900 a month? Let's face it, most guys will give it away for free. In fact, there are some who'd pay to "apply online."

Then there's this ad, set aside in its own box:
KNOWN JEWISH SPERM DONOR World class musician, biology degree, publisher, entertainer. Prefer known donor arrangement. Co-parenting possible. Frozen/fresh.
Wow, sounds like me.

Actually, my favorite classified was this one, and it has nothing to do with sperm or egg:
*FAST TYPIST* Can take dictation, knows grammer, computer skills.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Julian Simon, call your office

Fish stocks aren't dead. They're just naturally fluctuating.

Clifford Geertz, RIP

Clifford Geertz died a few days ago. There's a name I hadn't heard for a while, but thought about quite a bit years ago.

When I studied anthropology in college, Geertz was probably the most-read and discussed name in the field. One of the few things I remember from my cultural anthropology class is his famous essay on Balinese cockfighting. He's great for undergraduates not only because his ideas are stimulating, but--as opposed to the writing of so many academics--he's also quite readable.

Geertz helped change the focus of his discipline. Unlike thinkers such as Claude Levi-Strauss, Geertz emphasized the differences between cultures, not the similarities.

I've revised my views a bit since college. Culture plays a major role in one's life, but I wonder if we didn't pay enough attention to biology. Regardless, Geertz raises interesting points, and his work deserves to be read.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Buckley's last speech: "Resolved: The Democratic Candidates for November 7th Should Withdraw"

A right ray of sunshine

Gloom, doom, and doomer.

"It's pretty scary"

Yes, it certainly is. Here's some dispassionate analysis:

"In Washington, you can’t expect any rationality. I don’t know if he’s in Iraq because God told him to, because his father didn’t do it, or because it’s the next step in his 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous program.”

They've Got A Little List

VH1 is counting down the 100 greatest songs of the 80s. Here are the top ten:

1 Bon Jovi --“Livin’ on a Prayer” 1986
2 Def Leppard --“Pour Some Sugar On Me” 1987
3 Duran Duran --“Hungry Like the Wolf” 1982
4 Michael Jackson --“Billie Jean” 1982
5 Prince -- “When Doves Cry” 1984
6 Hall & Oates --“I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” 1981
7 Guns N’ Roses -- "Sweet Child O’ Mine 1987
8 Madonna -- “Like a Virgin” 1984
9 Run-D.M.C.-- “Walk This Way” 1986
10 AC/DC -- “You Shook Me All Night Long” 1980

Ugh. Can we get a do-over on this decade?

I don't like most of these songs, and I don't love any of them.

The rest of the list, with a few exceptions (for instance, "Burning Down The House," "Love Shack," "Brass In Pocket"), isn't much better. An average top 100 any week circa 1965 would kick the crap out of this list.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

We must be talking about gay sex

"Men and women have sex for different reasons and in different ways in different settings," she said.

I've always wanted to attend the London School of Economics. It never occurred to me what opportunities might await at the London School of Hygiene.

And Tropical Medicine. (Note the useful photo, which will doubtless show up the next time my computer is confiscated.)

Tax voyeur

It's for the children.

Did he threaten to blow her up?

"In my seminar the other day, one of my students remarked that terrorism is probably based on sexual frustration."

I'll say

"Men's testosterone levels declined in last 20 years"

John, John, Is That You Carrying On?

I wasn't too insulted by John Kerry saying you should study hard or else you'll get stuck in Iraq. I'll even buy his claim he was referring to Bush and not our troops. It was a cheap shot to be sure, but just a nasty off-the-cuff comment and not much more.

His response to the ruckus, however, was insulting. He hardly said anything about his feeble attempt at humor and instead went on the attack, repeating talking points about Iraq, saying it was Bush who should apologize.

Yes John, we already know you believe nutty things about the war, you don't have to keep reminding us. You had three choices: keep quiet, rise above yourself and simply apologize, or make an ass of yourself. Why is that last choice always so attractive to you?

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