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  Thursday, April 21, 2005

In his Bavarian birthplace, beer and a brass band

Here in the tiny birthplace of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the townspeople turned out to celebrate his ascension to the helm of the Roman Catholic Church in genuine Bavarian style: with a thumping brass band and frothy glasses of beer.

(Via Hail the Ale!.)

5:28:52 PM    comment []

Ask Mr. Happy Crack

5:26:37 PM    comment []

This review of Friedman's latest is a riot.

Thomas Friedman does not get these things right even by accident. It's not that he occasionally screws up and fails to make his metaphors and images agree. It's that he always screws it up. He has an anti-ear, and it's absolutely infallible; he is a Joyce or a Flaubert in reverse, incapable of rendering even the smallest details without genius. The difference between Friedman and an ordinary bad writer is that an ordinary bad writer will, say, call some businessman a shark and have him say some tired, uninspired piece of dialogue: Friedman will have him spout it. And that's guaranteed, every single time. He never misses.

On an ideological level, Friedman's new book is the worst, most boring kind of middlebrow horseshit. If its literary peculiarities could somehow be removed from the equation, The World Is Flat would appear as no more than an unusually long pamphlet replete with the kind of plug-filled, free-trader leg-humping that passes for thought in this country. It is a tale of a man who walks 10 feet in front of his house armed with a late-model Blackberry and comes back home five minutes later to gush to his wife that hospitals now use the internet to outsource the reading of CAT scans. Man flies on planes, observes the wonders of capitalism, says we're not in Kansas anymore. (He actually says we're not in Kansas anymore.) That's the whole plot right there. If the underlying message is all that interests you, read no further, because that's all there is.

(Via Eschaton.)

5:20:29 PM    comment []


Tomasky is very very good today.

On successive days in mid-November 2002, Tom DeLay was elected House majority leader, replacing the retired Dick Armey, and Nancy Pelosi was chosen as the House Democrats’ leader, succeeding Dick Gephardt. One of those had amassed a capable but relatively quiet record of service in the House of Representatives, stirring controversy only once (by supporting the primary opponent of a longtime congressional incumbent from Michigan). The other had called the Environmental Protection Agency “the Gestapo of government”; had denounced the Nobel Chemistry Prize, after it was given to the discoverers of the link between chloro?uorocarbons and ozone depletion, as the “Nobel Appeasement Prize”; had called CNN the “Communist News Network”; had linked the Columbine High School shootings to birth control and day care; had avoided military service during the height of the Vietnam War in 1969 (reportedly explaining, in 1988, that so many minority youths were going after those well-paying military gigs that there was no room for good folk like himself); had led a fanatical crusade to force votes on articles of impeachment against a president with an approval rating above 70 percent; and had been rebuked (privately) by the House Ethics Committee for attacking a business trade group for daring to hire a former Democratic congressman as its president.

And guess which choice the media said was a calamity?

(Via Eschaton.)

5:09:46 PM    comment []

The Onion: TiVo Wishlist Roulette

The always amusing Onion's own AV club has an interesting new way to goof around with a TiVo: set a random keyword wishlist and automatically record to see what you capture in 24 hours, dubbed TiVo Wishlist Roulette.

They set it to "War" and let it go to town, and in the process it grabbed movies, documentaries, kids cartoons, and even music shows. Any generic term would grab random programs, but this might be the cure for the summer reruns when nothing interesting seems to be on. Just pick a word and run it for a few days to see what you get.

(Via PVRblog.)

3:16:03 PM    comment []

Smoking Poppy is the first Graham Joyce novel I've read, and I'm going to keep an eye out for more. Dan Innes receives the news that his daughter has been jailed in Chang Mai, Thailand, for drug smuggling. They are estranged, he hasn't spoken to her in two years. A package of damaged goods himself, Innes sets off for Thailand accompanied by his Christian son and a frien, but they find when the get to Chang Mai that things are much different than they expected. It's kind of a heart of darkness journey into northern Thailand, Burma in search of his daughter. Told in the first person from the pont of view of Innes, there's a lot of pain in this book, and it takes a lot for Innes to learn the real ways of the world. It's a pretty riveting story, well written, and really gets inside the narrator's head, as it should.

3:02:04 PM    comment []

Be Careful of the Stones you Throw

A tongue can accuse and carry bad news
The seeds of distrust it will sow
But unless you've made no mistakes in your life
Be careful of stones that you throw.

A neighbor was passing my garden one time
She stopped and I knew right away
That it was gossip not flowers she had on her mind
And this is what I heard my neighbor say:

"That girl down the street should be run from our midst
She drinks and she talks quite a lot
She knows not to speak to my child or to me."
My neighbor then smiled and I thought:


A car speeded by and the screamin' of brakes
A sound that made my blood chill
For my neighbor's one child had been pulled from the path
And saved by a girl lying still.

The child was unhurt and my neighbor cried out:
"Oh! who was that brave girl so sweet?"
I covered the crushed, broken body and said:
"The bad girl who lives down the street."


-- Hank Williams

2:45:04 PM    comment []

The Microsoft Cave

Via Pam, John at AmericaBlog has the details on Microsoft's abandonment of gay rights. The software giant used to be a support of an anti-discrimination measure before the Washington state legislature, but has now flip-flopped in the face of pressure from one rightwing minister who threatened to organize a nationwide boycott of Microsoft products. Not only is this shameful behavior on Microsoft's party (see John for more outrage), but it hardly strikes me as a credible threat. Are cultural conservatives going to stop using computers? Switch in bulk not only to Macs running Open Office? Now I'd sort of like to see a mass switchover to the products I see, but it really just doesn't strike me as something that could realistically be done.

(Via matthew.)

1:49:51 PM    comment []

More Profane Than Ever

A scientific analysis demonstrates that the word "fuck" occurs even more frequently in Season Two of Deadwood than it did in Season One. They said it couldn't be done. They were wrong. The same site also provides an episode-by-episode breakdown of the "fuck" to "cocksucker" ratio for the Season Two episodes.

(Via matthew.)

1:40:40 PM    comment []

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