Hello, dears. Just popping my head up above the water to say hello and bring you a quick dump and run of delights.
First, I’m popping out the oldies with Lenny Bernstein’s slick version of Exultate Jubilate. The recording is very Lenny – a big church filled bombastically to the formerets with an orchestra consisting of every single fucking person in Bavaria who can play an instrument (cute violinist alert at 5.04) and a deathly silent audience, stunned into submission by the music and the stark staring terror that they might cough and Lenny would gut them with his baton. However, Arleen Auger’s voice is lovely, and this recording is the one I hear in my head if I happen to think of Lenny. It was playing one night at one of his parties, and he was serving drinks and bopping around like he usually did when he got to hear his own performances, like a drunk bullfrog that has been connected to the mains, and at the height of one particularly spastic conniption he managed to tip an entire jug of margaritas over Nancy Reagan, so it always makes me laugh. The recording of the Great Mass in C minor that goes with this on CD is a cracker, by the way.
Random food blogness: Fat Yu, who apparently IS FAT YU! (and also a tiny little bit racist on the Japanese), but who writes otherwise entertainingly of his eating exploits around Shanghai.
If you like a bit of tentacle in your tale and can “Ïa! ïa! Shub niggurath!” with the best of them, you might enjoy Innsmouth Mazazine. I have been working my way through them very happily, even if they do give me odd dreams.
Last, and then I am off to bed in my upside-down down-under bed, I suggest you go and see the website of sculptor Thomas Doyle to see the coolest things ever.
Goodnight my dears. Sleep well and dream of Ted Cruz slowly slipping down a slavering and drool-bespattered maw. Ïa! ïa! Cthulhu fhtagn!
I’ve been here in Australia for about six weeks, and if it hasn’t been been piss-steamingly hot, it has instead been dumping cockloads of cold rain on my head. I was shat on by a koala that looked more stoned than I did. I had to go to a cocktail party attended by both Rose Fucking Porteus [Youtube] and Gina Bitchface Rinehart. Thankfully they kept them on opposite sides of the ballroom, pointed Rose at the gin buffet and distracted Gina by waving Fairfax share certificates at her. I went to dinner at Parliament House, all done up in my best soup-and-fish, and got stuck next to Christopher Pyne – the stupid person’s idea of a clever poodle. [Also Youtube]
Now there’s going to be an election. In September. Which will be all the media here will talk about for the rest of my stay.
What a fucking country.
Anyhow, I realised that I have fallen down on my duty to you all. It has been a long time since I last fished a gleaming urinal cake of stupid out of the piss trough they call the Corner, and then held it up for your delectation. Thus, I remedy my fault.
For today’s bagetelle, I thought I might use Obamacare Punishes Smokers: Why not the Promiscuous? By Wesley J. Smith, in which Wesley J. Smith responds to an AP story which reports that health insurers will be able to charge higher premiums to smokers buying individual policies.
Living unhealthy lifestyles has become the new Scarlet Letter. That’s what happens with centralized health care. But once we go down that road, it won’t end there. Smokers today, the obese tomorrow.
This financial stick is entirely political. Notice we never hear experts wanting to “punish” the promiscuous for the cost burden they inflict on the health care system. Yet people who sleep around, like smokers and the obese, cost the rest of us plenty–what with promiscuity leading to sexually transmitted diseases, some cancers, HIV, unwanted pregnancies, mental health issues, etc. Why isn’t what is good for the goose also good for the gander?
That won’t happen because society celebrates promiscuity and the popular culture glamorizes licentious lifestyles the way it once extolled smoking. Consider: Girls. We applaud basketball players who sleep with 20,000 women. We ooh, and ah over Reality TV celebrities, with no talent other than living provocatively before the camera, who sleep around and get very publicly pregnant. We even tend to think something is wrong with virgins who are older than 18.
If we are going to outlaw underwriting, it should apply across the board. But if we are going to punish unhealthy lifestyles with higher insurance premiums, that too should apply across the board. After all, “equality” is the new buzz word, right?
Now, the title had promise and, aside from the fact that Wesley J. Smith and I agree that penalty pricing insurance is wrong, there’s a lot of stupid in there to mock. However, most of it boils down to a smug and slightly sweaty man in his basement typing “hoors” over and over again with one palsied hand. Which is disappointing.
However, let us forge ahead, for today, today it is in the comments that the real gold lies. Read the rest of this entry »
Well kiddies, it has been a while. I plead temporary insanity – of our country, not of me.
Endless bleating that Hagel is the suxxors because he hates all Jews everywhere, or because he did and said some stupid shit in the 90s (I remember the 90s, and we all did and said and wore some pretty stupid shit in the 90s) or because he doesn’t have a big D bedazzled onto his vagina.
Endless threads derailed by people who think that the suicide of a gifted yet misguided young man is their opportunity to call him names and gloat hell-fire-and-damnation style about how he deserved to be punished, rather than an opportunity to ask whether punishment should be the sole purpose of our criminal legal system.
We (the blog and the country) seem descended upon by an army of gun nuts and open carry weirdos, wingnuts and no-nuts and just plain-ol’ nuts, godbotherers, trolls, self-appointed rape inspectors, racists and ranters and self-talkers, all bereft of empathy, compassion or good sense. Dickheads everywhere, and the screeching! Jesus.
Never mind. Presents!
First, to get you in the mood, some music:
Next, Wodehouse, always such balm to the soul. I’m linking to a story called Ruth In Exile – a lovely little snip of a thing which will more than repay fifteen minutes of your time. If you have never read beyond Jeeves, then there is a world of joy awaiting you in Wodehouse’s short stories. If you have never read Jeeves? Well, get the fuck away from me until you have. Weirdo.
Then, my obsession for the last weekend – last year’s competition papers from the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad. I do admit that lingusitics puzzles might not be everyone’s idea of fun, but they kept me thinking, or at least cheating and pretending I knew the answer all along, for a good number of hours.
Food – I am going to point you to this caraway seed cake recipe from Hugh Fffernly Whiffingstable in the Guardian. It’s ludicrously easy to make. I tend to leave out the mace, substitute candied peach or apricot for the candied orange peel, and then ice the whole thing with an icing made by stirring together 2 cups of icing sugar, some grated orange rind and a big spoonful of sour cream. It’s a lovely cake – soft but with some weight, a crunchy top and that glorious anise and citrus tang of the caraway.
Finally, if you haven’t read it already, the Kitten Setting in which Mr Scalzi tells us of his inspired manner of dealing with trolls. One can dream.
I do not know what the Democratic Party spent, in toto, on the 2004 election, but what they seem to have gotten for it is Barack Obama. Let us savor.
– Peggy Noonan, “So Much to Savor”, Wall Street Journal, November 4, 2004
And now we dance…
H/t to Mike
Let’s just put these out there again, shall we?
We begin with the three words everyone writing about the election must say: Nobody knows anything. Everyone’s guessing. I spent Sunday morning in Washington with journalists and political hands, one of whom said she feels it’s Obama, the rest of whom said they don’t know. I think it’s Romney. I think he’s stealing in “like a thief with good tools,” in Walker Percy’s old words. While everyone is looking at the polls and the storm, Romney’s slipping into the presidency. He’s quietly rising, and he’s been rising for a while.
We’re going to win by a landslide. It will be the biggest surprise in recent American political history. It will rekindle a whole question as to why the media played this race as a nail-biter, where in fact I think that Romney is going to win by quite a bit. My own view is that Romney is going to carry 325 electoral votes.
Bottom line: Romney 315, Obama 223. That sounds high for Romney. But he could drop Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and still win the election. Fundamentals.
Brian S. Brown:
Romney wins the Electoral College with room to spare — somewhere around 300 electors. All four marriage votes in the deepest of blue states (Washington, Maryland, Minnesota, and Maine) will be won by traditional-marriage supporters. This will happen even though supporters of same-sex marriage have outspent us by gargantuan amounts.
In a fair and just society, political pundits who got things this fucking wrong would never be listened to again. When their names were mentioned, people would mutter embarrassedly and try to change the subject. If they ever tried again to appear on television or write a column about politics, people would point and laugh at their cluelessness until stuff came out their noses. Children would throw turds at them in the street and pin “Kick Me” signs to their backs. The sheer shame engendered by their own stupidity would trap them at home forever, dressed in the tattered rags of their reputations, wearing only one shoe and constantly revisiting the rotted ruins of a table laid with celebratory cake and Romney/Ryan How to Vote cards.
I haven’t posted for a while. Life has been a little complex. Not least, my father (I’m 93, so you can imagine how old he is) fell and tore the quadriceps ligaments in both his legs and is in hospital unable to walk, so I have been dealing with the fallout of that.
However, I need to come out of my temporary exile to remind you that, in addition to some kind of Presidential election, Tuesday also brings votes on gay rights in Minnesota, Maryland, Washington and Maine. Gay rights are human rights, so get out and vote.
I’ll leave the bulk of this post to Chris Kluwe, who becomes sexier and angrier and more erudite with every day. Here he is, with his final posting at the blog of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, condemning the paper’s editorial which claimed to present a neutral view of both sides of the marriage amendment, and railing against lies and bigotry, with the gnashing of the teeth and the lamentation of the women. It is indeed righteous.
How does this piece lie? It lies in statistics. “Some argue that as a practical matter there seems to be less interest by same-sex partners in actually being married than in redefining what marriage is. In Iowa, for instance, Wikipedia reports, that only 815 same-sex couples married in the first year after legalization.” It’s unfortunate that the editorial board does not comment on the fact that the actual link in the Wiki article leads to a page not found.
This is not journalism. This is cherrypicking “facts” you hope no one has the inclination to look up, because if one looks up the actual facts one would see that 815 marriages equates to 20% of the same-sex couples in Iowa choosing to marry that first year, a not insignificant amount. If one looks up actual facts, one would find that 13.6% of all marriages in Iowa in 2010 were same-sex marriages, another not insignificant amount when you consider the gay population of the United States is estimated at only 3.5%.
How does this piece lie? It lies in every mealy mouthed, “Love may be love, but even now there are any number of prohibitions around marriage between consenting (heterosexual) adults.” Name them. Oh that’s right, you didn’t. It lies in every five sentence vote yes argument compared to a one or two sentence vote no stance. It lies by juxtaposing “It is a decision both about what the definition of marriage should be, whether it is about children and the biological family or about consenting adults”, as if gay parents can’t raise children as well and all they want is to have sex with each other.
How does the piece lie? It lies, oh how it lies, when it talks about supporters of traditional marriage being bullied, being painted as victims, weeping and moaning about the “members of the (vote no) movement are aggressive”, wailing and gnashing teeth over “For those who hold traditional beliefs about marriage, increasingly the force of law will be brought to bear on matters of education, speech, and practice”; all the while not mentioning a single gay person denied THEIR right to be treated as a human being, silent on the issue of gay children bullied in school, completely quiet about a gay support group forbidden to march in Anoka.
How does this piece lie? It lies, most simply, in this sentence, “the Pioneer Press is not endorsing one way or another.”
You have made your endorsement, gentlemen. You chose your side. What you did not choose, what you refused to face, was the courage to stand for your convictions, to attach your names to the position your actions claimed. That is why I will no longer associate with you, why I decline to give you page views and ad revenue any longer. The only reason I’m posting this piece here, and not somewhere else, is because I said I would, and I believe that one’s word is not something to be given lightly.
I will not stand for the continual eroding of society. I will not tolerate the presentation of a biased argument under a thin coat of presumed neutrality. I will not contribute to the cheapening of discourse and thought that decays every single news as entertainment outlet in this country. I absolutely will not compromise my ethics and morality, ideals that lead me to treat others with empathy and honesty, to demand truth not only from myself but from those around me.
I reject you, and I encourage others to do the same – to you, and to all others like you. To those who perpetrate deception and fraud. To those willing to hide the truth of their beliefs. To those who value flash over substance, short term gains over long term consequences.
Without honesty, we have nothing.
First a plug for the theHumble ebook Bundle – thirteen books by authors like Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, John Scalzi, Cory Doctorow, Lauren Beukes, Kelly Link, Randall Munroe and (my favourite) Zach Weiner. Choose your own price and how much goes to the authors and to charity. Only available for two more days. Ad ends.
Second, if you haven’t read the Balloon Juice comment thread in the Artists in the Mist thread, then you’re missing out on a treasure trove of interesting stuff. There are dozens of talented writers, musicians, cat whisperers and artists of all kinds. I particularly liked the beautiful image above by commenter Fuck ALL the chickens! (né Studly Pantload, t.e.u.u.), a delightfully odd poem by Aaron Baker and the lovely ceramics by Peter at Acookblog:
I’m also going to plug this song by Applejinx because he asked so nicely, because he has a sexy voice and because I’m hoping some brony will explain to me what the fuck it is about.
I’ve been leading a double life. Some of you know that I blog at Balloon Juice most of the time. Last Saturday night I got a little bit excited and posted a thread over there that was a little bit rude. Well, actually quite rude. I have since then edited the post over there to take out most of the rudeness and linked it to here with a NSFW warning. Here is the unexpurgated version of my original post.
It’s late on Saturday night, and the kiddies should all be in bed, so here (by special request) we go. Let no one ever say this isn’t a full service blog
I like looking at pictures of strapping young men or (on occasion) nubile young women (although you won’t be surprised that my tastes run mainly the other way). I blame my father who had, stashed in his study where the servants and mummy couldn’t find it, a library of porn of all kinds. He had a thing for a little bit of sodomy and the lash – learned first at Rugby where he went to school (he always said that the British Empire was built on a foundation of buggery and lumpy porridge) and perfected in the Araby where he spent several months tying T.E. Lawrence to a chest of drawers and whipping him ’til he cried for his mummy.
I have continued to build on Daddy’s collection throughout the years. I have, for example, discovered, of late, a taste for shopping on eBay for random snapshots. I love the candor, these beautiful young men caught in their prime, now perhaps long dead, but caught forever for my delectation.
The first image above (click most of these images for embiggening) is one for which I was, sadly, outbid. That chest, those little shorts. It makes Grammy feel quite warm.
I am not alone in my devotion. The internet may be 90% porn, but there are some aficionados who bring some class to the dirty picture trade. A particular favourite is Callum James, whose website is a delightful mix of bookish paraphernalia and hot young things, and from whence come the second and third images.
They put the lie to the wingnuts’ fantasies of a long ago more innocent age. The sight of a hint of stocking may have been more alluring than nudity, but the reality is that most of these young people were at it like drunken ferrets whenever they had the chance. Read the rest of this entry »