Archive for the ‘Snark’ category

Because It’s The First Friday Of The We Must All Gay Marry Now Epoch

June 28, 2013

Waaaay down at the near-death end of the man-on-grasshopper thread cross-posted at Balloon Juice, someone asked where all the Sesame Street love might be.

Answer:  Onto the cover of The New Yorker.

Someone else in that thread (Different Church Lady, I believe) noted that the art in that post was not exactly the kind of old-mastery stuff y’all have come to expect from round here, so here’s are a couple of possibly appropriately themed pic for those of you hooked on oil paints:

Paul_Cézanne_-_Baigneuses_(St.Petersburg,_Hermitage)

and

Pierre-Auguste_Renoir_025

 

Last, a lagniappe:

Just in case you haven’t exhausted your fowl jokes, here’s perhaps the definitive celebration of duck (and drake!) love:

 

Yup.  It’s Friday.  And did I mention that it is my son’s last day of school (finally!).  Hence these posts.

You’re welcome.

Some Days, It’s Enough That I Don’t Have To Cop To Having Gone To Yale…

December 19, 2012

…because if I had, I’d have to pull up my hoodie and duck my head low to avoid association with this:

this “spring,” Brooks will be bringing his famed self and his less-well-known teaching credentials (?) to our very own campus.

And what’s he teaching? It would only make sense for this course to be called “Humility.” Brooks is not only a real big name in general but also kind of an expert on the topic—a quick Google search reveals that he’s written on it in the NYT and discussed it at the Aspen Ideas Festival—so we can pretty much agree that this is fitting. As if the irony weren’t already enough, this class is also a Global Affairs seminar, so, like, humility, guys. Perfect. Especially recommended if you were tempted by Grand Strategy but really just don’t have the ego for it.

That was in the Yale Bullblog.  The story then was picked up by New York Magazine’s Joe Coscarelli, who noted that the course promises to explore:

“The premise that human beings are blessed with many talents but are also burdened by sinfulness, ignorance, and weakness,” as demonstrated by men such as Moses, Homer, and others,” like maybe Paul Krugman.

It would, perhaps, be unkind for me to note that Mr. Brooks is in fact more qualified to teach this course than it might at first seem. After all, he does have much to be humble about.

Trophime_Bigot_Allegory_Vanity

(Apologies to the apocryphal Winston Churchill, and, I suppose, even more to the real Clement Atlee, who deserves better than to have Brooks mentioned in the same breath.)

But I should surrender pride of place to the invaluable Mr. Charles Pierce, who first led me to this little gem, and to whom I’ll give the last word:

I swear I’d almost pay someone to audit this mess.

Hell, Charlie! Pass the hat.   I’d chip in.

That’s all I got tonight.  The sun is over the yardarm somewhere, so raise a glass to the vision of Yale’s latest adjunct holding forth with all due (overdue) humility.

Image: Trophime Bigot, Allegory of Vanity, before 1650

Some Advice For Mr. Romney

July 25, 2012

Because we are a full service blog, and more, because we are a generous and giving community, it seems only fitting to offer our cyborg brother W. M. Romney some useful counsel on his travels abroad.

Because we are snark-filled sacks of vitriolic sloth, we outsource this task to Oliver Burkman over at the Grauniad‘s shop:

First things first: the statistical probability is that any given member of the public you meet while in Britain will be British. This should make things considerably easier when it comes to your penchant for guessing randomly, and frequently wrongly, the nationalities of people you encounter. (“His favourite guess for nationality is French-Canadian.”) At the Olympic Games opening ceremony, by contrast, you’re likely to encounter many more non-British people. Small-talk topics to avoid with them include: a) whether or not they share an Anglo-Saxon heritage; and b) claiming to be familiar with the culture of their small island nation because you have several hundred million dollars in a bank account there.

There’s more at the link.  Enjoy.

Oh — and I suppose this qualifies for what all you perhaps insufficiently Anglo-Saxon types would call an open thread.

Toodle-oo.

Update: A bonus video to help our  Mitt as attempts to penetrate the mysteries of Anglitude:

Image:  Zhang Lu,  A Traveler Contemplates a Waterfall, between 1500 and 1525.

Welcome to the Romniverse!

March 31, 2012

At last, Mitt Romney explained at the most fundamental level possible:

A bit of context. Before Mitt Romney, those seeking the presidency operated under the laws of so-called classical politics, laws still followed by traditional campaigners like Newt Gingrich. Under these Newtonian principles, a candidate’s position on an issue tends to stay at rest until an outside force — the Tea Party, say, or a six-figure credit line at Tiffany — compels him to alter his stance, at a speed commensurate with the size of the force (usually large) and in inverse proportion to the depth of his beliefs (invariably negligible)….

But the Romney candidacy represents literally a quantum leap forward. It is governed by rules that are bizarre and appear to go against everyday experience and common sense. To be honest, even people like Mr. Fehrnstrom who are experts in Mitt Romney’s reality, or “Romneality,” seem bewildered by its implications; and any person who tells you he or she truly “understands” Mitt Romney is either lying or a corporation.

Exactly so.  There’s even a very helpful Feynman diagram, demonstrating that when a Mitt and an anti-Mitt collide, they annhiliate, leaving behind an electron…and a single $20 bill.

Go read the whole thing to grasp — at last! — the full complexity of the quantum Romney.

(Just as a lagniappe, here’s my favorite of the quantum principles invoked to explain the mysteries of Mitt:

Probability. Mitt Romney’s political viewpoints can be expressed only in terms of likelihood, not certainty. While some views are obviously far less likely than others, no view can be thought of as absolutely impossible. Thus, for instance, there is at any given moment a nonzero chance that Mitt Romney supports child slavery.

Oh.  And a very happy first of April to all of you, too.

Image: Giacinto Gimignani, An Angel and a Devil Fighting for the Soul of a Child, 17 c.

Things You Think About <7 Hours Out From Gum Surgery*

January 6, 2012

Like, what would actually be the theme song that captures  the geist of the Romney campaign.

He’s tried stuff like “Eye of the Tiger” — which is exactly the kind of cliché you’d expect a never-hip cyborg to seize upon.  It instantly dates/ages anyone whose neural circuits flare even momentarily, and it has all the motivational draw of a stack of green stamps.

No…especially after the descriptions of the Mittens/McCain event crater described here, I think that pain and a swollen gum have led me to the perfect Romney signature tune.  What could be better than this:

After all:  no one could deny that the tune delivers precisely the kind of uplifting message any candidate would want to deliver, right?  This version, though, is perfectly adapted for use in the RomneyVerse.   As performed (by soshalist Swedes!), it precisely evokes the feeling induced by any amount of time spent  too close to the RomneyBot:  the nearly uncontrollable urge to gnaw one’s own arm off at the shoulder if that’s what it takes to escape the room.

So here’s the challenge for anyone choosing to comment:  give us your choice tracks (for all the candidates).  And/or consider this an open thread.

*Aging Deteriorating, though better than the alternative, sucks rocks.

Image:  Samuel Coleman, The Edge of Doom, between 1836 and 1838.

Another Sign That The Apocalypse Is Upon Us…

January 5, 2012

….this, presented without further comment, via TPM:

Former New Life Church pastor and self-described “bisexual” Ted Haggard swapped wives with actor and self-described “church” Gary Busey for the ABC reality show Celebrity Wife Swap.

Uh.

What?

Speechless, me.

Really.  The Mayans might just have bee on to something. 2012 could be it for our species, or at least for any culture that could spawn Celebrity Wife Swap. (Which is, I suppose, perhaps the perfect habitat for the guests mentioned above.)

I say we throw in the trowel and await our Vogon overlords.

Image:  Lovis Corinth, In Max Halbes’ Garden, 1899

 

Because I am a Kind Man…

December 12, 2011

…And wish only the best for you all, may I present the Honorable Rick Perry, Governor of the Great (Secessionist) State of Texas, tragically mistaken in his quest for the nearest ZZ Top venue.  (The really good stuff starts around 4:45)

My thanks to Marc Abrahams, best known as the impressario of the IgNobels and the Annals of Improbable Research, for turning me on to this forgotten gem.

(To be fair:  Perry does his job just fine here.  Governating puts all kinds of demands on one’s sense of the surreal, and the man with the hair holds up pretty well.  But still.  It really is a moment of high-camp absurdity.)

Real Americans Don’t Slop Hogs

October 25, 2011

Apropos of Doug’s post over at Balloon-Juice — on Fox’s latest defense of addiction, lung cancer and related afflictions as badges of Real ‘Murkin-ness — here’s a completely pointless appeal to actual data.  I know that this won’t make a dent in the public discourse, but I get so damn sick of being told that my 53 years of coastal life are somehow hopelessly out of the common run.

To recap: the Fox News (sic!–ed.) personage defending the Cain guy’s on-air nicotine jones argued that those living “real lives” (as opposed to my own transparently fake one) embrace the death and destruction that follow the trail of discarded butts.  First on her list of such real Americans were farmers, as opposed to that terrifying scourge, the coastal elites.

I’m a farmer’s nephew.  I have [ineptly] driven a tractor as a summer hand, when that aforesaid uncle sucked it up, made nice to my mum, and allowed me to “help” him during the harvest.  I’ve shoveled grass seed into sacks (equipped with just about the only farm implement I’m actually qualified to wield, a shovel). I got nothing but admiration for those with the gift or the capacity or the sheer stamina to farm for a living.  For myself I’m desperately glad that after my teens, I never had to work that hard with my back and hands.

In which expression of gratitude I am not alone.  The actual farm population — working farmers, not folks who live on (relatively) big patches of ground — amount to a rounding error within the total US tally: one percent or less of American workers are farmers.  Combining wheat or running cattle may be iconic.  It just doesn’t occupy very many people anymore — at least not in any industrialized society.

It’s been that way for a while.  Rural life last claimed half of the US population more than ninety years ago.  By the late 1990s, fewer than one million Americans claimed farming as their principal job.  As of 1997, just 46,000 farms out of over 2 million listed accounted for 50% of all agricultural sales.

That translates into the fact that no one — defined here as very few — actually fits the romantic image of the American family farmer anymore.  That image of a spread large enough to support a family and small enough to be run by one has not entirely vanished into myth.  But assuming, (generously) a 20% margin on sales, farm income at or above the $50,000 level flowed to fewer 10 percent of all farms, again in data from the end of the last century..

All of which is to say, as I did through all that 2008 blather about Sarah Palin’s ability to channel the experience of what was in fact a distinct minority of Americans, that Real Americans live in cities and suburbs. In fact, contra that Foxbot, half of all Americans live in coastal watershed counties.*  We may not all be elite** — but there are a whole lot of us.

Yup:  I am that guy muttering obsessively, “quantum leaps are really small.“***

*To be sure, for the purposes of that calculation, Detroit is a waterfront community.  Remember: Duluth is America’s westernmost Atlantic port.

**Though we are, of course, all above average.

***Don’t even get me started on “decimate.”

Image:  Jan van Goyen, Peasant Huts with a Sweep Well, 1633.

When Romney Meets Perry

August 29, 2011

Thanks to the wonders of my wayback machine, I gained this glimpse of the likely course of the first Romney-Perry exchange in the GOP Presidential primary debates:

You’re welcome.

Send in the Clowns

August 22, 2011

It’s the end game in Tripoli.

From the Guardian’s live feed on events there:

10.45pm: Libyan rebels are now within two miles of the centre of Tripoli, AP reports…

…and this:

11.04pm: Al Jazeera is reporting that two of Gaddafi’s sons, Saif al-Islam and Al-Saadi, have been arrested and another son, Muhammad, has surrendered.

And so on.  All, as commenter Jenny points out in the last thread, without a single US casualty.

Which means that there are some folks who have some ‘splainin’ to do.  Republican folks.  Would-be presidents.  E.g:

Romney (to Hugh Hewitt, March 21, 2011):

America has been feared sometimes, has been respected, but today, that America is seen as being weak.

We’re following the French into Libya.

I appreciate the fact that others are participating in this effort, but I think we look to America to be the leader of the world. You know, the cause of liberty can endure the mistakes that are inevitable consequences of human fallibility. But liberty’s standard can’t prevail if it’s not proudly, decisively and consistently held aloft.

Bachmann, March 30, 2011:

The Minnesota Republican, who’s weighing a run for president in 2012, said had she been in the Oval Office and faced with the choice of intervening militarily in Libya, “I would not have gone in.”

Bachmann, April 16, 2011 (warning:  Politico link):

Michele Bachmann laced into President Barack Obama at a South Carolina tea party rally Saturday, saying his decision to take military action in Libya was “foolish” and that he’s “not on our side anymore.”

Pawlenty, March 29, 2011:

President Obama’s “timid” response to the crisis in Libya made it more difficult to remove Moammar Kadafi from power, former Minnesota Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty charged Tuesday.

Pawlenty, who became the first top-flight Republican to form a presidential exploratory committee last week, said that he supported the U.S. airstrikes against the Libyan dictator, but would have acted sooner when rebel forces had “substantial momentum.”

“Now we’re in this position of having the president of the United States saying Kadafi must go, but we’re not going to necessarily make him go. And that’s untenable,” he said.

(I know that he’s out now — but Pawlenty was still a semi-seriously-taken candidate at the time.)

Rick Santorum (I know, I know…but just for giggles) winning the flip-flop award on March 20, 2011 (warning, another Politico link):

Flip: Santorum led the way among GOP presidential hopefuls in calling for airstrikes on Libya. He invoked Ronald Reagan’s 1986 bombing campaign against military targets in Libya, ordered as retaliation for an attack on a West Berlin nightclub that killed two American servicemen masterminded by the Libyan secret service.

“If you want to be Reaganesque, it seems the path is pretty clear,” he told an Iowa radio station earlier this month.

Flop:  But in a Sunday phone interview from his backyard in Pennsylvania, Santorum said that action made more sense 12 days ago because it looked like “a little nudge and a push” from the United States could tip the scale for the rebels. He’s upset that the U.S. has not been insistent on regime change and faulted the administration for making the comment that it was time for Qadhafi to give up power without continuing to insist on that over the weekend….

The former senator speculated that Obama might have only agreed to go along with the military option under pressure from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“He’s not decisive,” Santorum said of Obama. “He’s being the military for the [United Nations]. The French were the first ones out there. He’s following the lead.”

Backflip:  He expressed fear that rebels inside Libya may not be friendly to the United States.

“Maybe folks have better intel, but I’m not confident I know what the makeup of the rebels are,” he said. “From everything I’ve seen reported, we don’t know that.”

Ooops: And he raised the specter that Qadhafi could survive because of Obama’s early indecisiveness, which would mean potential retaliation against the U.S.

“Under any score, I don’t know how you could play this worse than this president has,” he said…

Except, just to reprise the thought with which we began:

TRIPOLI, Libya — Rebels surged into the Libyan capital Sunday night, meeting little resistance from troops loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and setting off raucous street celebrations by residents hailing the end of his 42 years in power.

And so on.  All, as commenter Jenny points out in the last thread, without a single US casualty.

You can, and many have and will, argue hard about the merits of US action in Libya, or inaction in Syria.* But if you are a Republican — or an actually sane American, for that matter — who believes in both a robust and effective foreign policy, there is not a single clown seeking your vote on the GOP side who would seem to merit your trust.

That community organizer in the White House, though?  Unlike the all-hat-no-cattle types we are increasingly seeing over there, he may take his time, but he does seem to get his man.

Should make for interesting cognitive dissonance over on the dark side. Recall that Qaddafi outlasted Reagan and both Bushes.  Then consider that the chief alternative to crediting Obama’s administration for the crucial support that has enabled the Libyans to come to the point of ending that miserable reign is to praise — wait for it — the French…

…and you have what some might call a jalapeño suppository up your philosophical fundament.

Wouldn’t you say?

*That said, I’m betting Assad is getting a little nervous, just now.  Obama has finally called for his exit, and, as has been demonstrated again, this President may grind slowly, but he seems to do so with a certain…how to say it?…emphasis.

Image: Ernst Ludwig Kirshner, Two acrobats – sculpture, 1932-33.


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