Posted tagged ‘Schadenfreude’

Easy Money

September 21, 2015

Bill Kristol, on August 18, 2015:

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 7.51.15 PM

Me, the next day:

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I should have had a broader view of course.  Any encomium from Bill Kristol is like a touch from Jesus’s dumber younger brother.*  Maybe not the kid’s college fund, but sweet FSM I should have bet the holiday gift money on the under for Walker’s candidacy, fer shure.

Bill Kristol, as reliable as a wrong way weathervane as we can ever hope to see.  Long may he influence the GOP.

Thought we needed more thread.  Beyond schadenfreude, what’s on the agenda tonight?

*The one who made the blind man deaf.

Fables of the Reconstruction: Tom Petty Edition

December 10, 2014

It’s been a while I know, and in the meantime real life has been so agonizingly real that the problems of three (or more) little kitchen appliances don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.

But it’s getting on for evening, and in our house the sun has definitely passed over the yardarm, so perhaps a little renovation schadenfreude might suit y’all just fine.

So here’s the current look:



Those of you familiar with the renovation rhythm will recognize this phase.  We’re really in the end game.  The cabinets are in and … wait for it … almost all the trim has been fitted.  The appliances (all but one)  have been placed — not hooked up, mostly — but placed.  The painters are doing their thing, the electrician is scheduled and … you get the drill.

And yet, inevitably, what I blithely label an ending is not a matter of the number of actual days the different crafts have to do to complete the project.  It is, of course, the number of weeks it will take to get the guys in for the day here and the day there to do all the bits and pieces.

We’ve already been hammered by that.  The key, as everyone who’s done this kind of thing knows deep in the bone, is that first stumble off the neat center line of the project.  Or, to put it into the SNAFU military frame familiar to many here, every renovation reaffirms the eternal truth: no plan survives first contact with the enemy.   That enemy, in these cases, is, of course, the effrontery of wood and stone and flooring and all the other bits that don’t miraculously assemble themselves.

As late as November 5th or so, everyone involved thought we had a reasonable shot at a working kitchen by Thanksgiving.  Now, today, we got a sink plumbed, with the dispose-all to be hooked up Friday, maybe.  As for the rest…

It’ll come.  It’ll all happen.  We’ll likely have ovens on Friday too.  The stove will take longer, as we have a little code problem that will take a bit of carpentry to fix (don’t ask).  And….

Never mind.  Everyone who’s entered renovation hell knows this story, and it’s never an interesting one, no matter how often it can be retold.  This job will likely be actually done, no one coming back, everything in and working, by sometime in January.  Could be February — wouldn’t surprise me.  It’s a minimum of a 50% schedule fail on a four month job.  Par for the course.

When it’s all done, we’ll be able as a family to do what we truly love:   cook and cook and cook and cook for friends and friends and friends and friends.  If in the meantime y’all get a bit of vicarious pleasure at knowing that the eternal verities of construction remain true…so much the better.

Last — and I mean last:  we’ve been pretty good this going-on-for-half-a-year at cooking interesting, enjoyable meals on a hot plate, an electric frying pan, and a gas grill. But we’ve been beaten down.  Tonight was supposed to be spatchcocked chicken roasted on the grill, but it’s pissing down with a steady, penetrating drizzle and it’s cold and it’s late, and f**k it sideways.  We give up:  pizza is on its way.

And I’m not ashamed.

So there.

And really last (no I’m not joking) — the obligatory soundtrack to a post about attending on the arrival of Godot’s scullion:

Why I Love the English Language (and writing)

April 16, 2010

From Nick Mamtas

Carver became a legend on 72 short stories. I just sold my 60th.  But thanks to the handy chart at the back of Carol Sklenicka’s mammoth biography, I know that Carver never sold stories to anthologies with names such as The Walri Project, The Naked Singularity, or Fucking Daphne. Am I doing something wrong?

(h/t Andrew Sullivan.)

I don’t quite know why this tickles me so, except that as a writer, I love reading writer’s rants.  Or perhaps its the fact that I now have some almost-certain-to-be-unreached destinations to which my own work could aspire.


mage: Cover of the pulp magazine Weird Tales (January 1937, vol. 29, no. 1). Covert art by Margaret Brundage.

Oh I Hope This Notion Sticks: Right Wing Self Delusion Watch

November 5, 2008

Update: From the point of view of those of us enjoying the moment, it’s all going to according to plan.  See also Erick’s contribution to the cause; it reads like Jesus’s dumber younger brother planning his resurrection.

From that fount of deep thought, Lisa Schiffren:

…all Republicans who watched their candidate these past few months, must have been struck, as I have been, by the sense that he was holding back. I wondered, too often, how it could be that no one at the campaign could frame and muster the arguments that were clear to all conservative writers here and at the other publications and blogs that share our view.

By this, I suppose she means arguments that include equating support for mildly progressive taxation with socialism, e.g. or this kind of incisive criticism (or grace in defeat).

Seriously, a number of much more attentive watchers of the self-delusions of the right have suggested that the lesson the dead-enders will take from this election is that the GOP was not radically right enough.   I hope they continue to believe this, because the problem with movement conservatism is not the passion with which its beliefs are maintained, but that their catechism is deeply unhinged from reality.

After I recover from this election, and after I clear my now Khumbu Ice Falls-replica inbox, I’m going to post a piece I’ve been working on for a bit on the a- or anti-historicism of the right, the commitment to an axiom based style of argument, that in my opinion has led our friends in places like The Corner to leave the arena of reasoned debate and to enter a self-made hall of mirrors.  They see what is astonishingly clear to them over and over again– and the rest of us can only wonder where they’ve gone.

In other words — conservatism is not in need of repair, IMHO. It can’t be repaired.  It needs to be dismantled by its adherents who in its place need to build a much less revelation-based view of the world.   (I use the epithen in the secular as well as the sacred sense).

For now though, conservatism as it actually exists in the US, as opposed to the way its romantics idealize it — yes, I mean you, Andrew Sullivan — has failed because it no longer meaningfully anchors itself in the understanding of what has happened and what is happening.  Lisa Schiffren’s belief that somehow, the voters did not understand the emptiness of the case she celebrates Palin for making (sic!) is just one among many telltales of this willed self-blindness.   As a partisan, I can only hope she persuades her party of the stirring correctness of her line.

Image:  Hugo Oehmichen, “In Kindergarten,” 1843.

Don’t Play Poker With…

March 16, 2008

JP Morgan.

This not so much science as natural history. Observe the behavior of the fauna in the wild.

Or perhaps this is science, or at least an illustration of the kind of observation on which scientific ideas rest. Consider this quote:

I should premise that I use the term Struggle for Existence in a large
and metaphorical sense, including dependence of one being on another,
and including (which is more important) not only the life of the
individual, but success in leaving progeny. Two canine animals in a
time of dearth, may be truly said to struggle with each other which
shall get food and live.

That Charles Darwin fella kinda had a thought or two in his head.

One Bear goes extinct, and a more lupine creature feasts on its carcase.

File this one variously: The Struggle for Existence (the title of the chapter of The Origin from which the quote above was taken); Homo hominis lupus est, (with a nod to my man Tommy Hobbes); or perhaps in the Gordon Gecko file, under the subhead, “The Rich Get Richer (even the ones that fail).”

And yes, this all pretty much an excuse to link to the ur-Darwin text one more time. It’s never a bad moment to read a little of what the Devil’s chaplain had to say.

Update: I’d temper my snark about wealth immune to risk because while it is certainly true that people like Bear Stearns chairman “Ace” Greenberg have done OK over the years, but there are a lot of folks out there less well cushioned to the blow. They’re grownups, risk is risk, and Wall Street is not for the faint of heart…but still, it’s a very bad day for a lot of folks, and I do not want too dance to hard to other folks’ dirges. (h/t Atrios)

Update 2 (March 24, 2008):  Maybe you can play poker w. JP after all.  Perhaps there was a reason Bear Stearns managed to maintain the third highest average compensation average of the big players on Wall Street as recently as 2006.  (h/t Atrios)

Image: Alfred Wierusz-Kowalski, “Wilki podczas zamieci” [AKA — your guess is as good as mine, unless you have some Polish competence handy], 1910. Source: Wikimedia Commons

A Labor Theory of Value (or why I like John Cole’s Mother)…

March 12, 2008

…See this.

(Truncated posting due to the fact that I have just 6,000 words or so left in my Newton book, and the sucker is due down in NY by the end of next week).

Image: Louis-Léopold Boill, “The Innoculation,” 1807. (I know — small pox innoculation is not surgery — but in 1807, it sure was life-saving. This painting is an image of the cutting edge of medicine at the time; Edward Jenner had first demonstrated the efficacy of the use of cowpox to induce immunity against just nine years before.) Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Update:  Balloon Juice link fixed.