January 2, 2009 - December 26, 2008
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
THAN THAT. True, we've never done a YouTube Wednesday before, and
never do one again. But for today's edition we're focusing on extremes.
Above, you can hear the world's most extreme bird song. Immediately
below, you can take a ride in the world's most extreme automobile. The
final clip offers the most extreme version of American Revolutionary
history you've ever seen. All of them are safe for work.
The Bugatti Veyron
1776 -- "300" Style
Wasn't that fun?
Shattered Glass, Part
The TNR Masthead at TNR.com is 404 via Google)
Scott Beauchamp played by Giovanni
HOT HOT. Via InstaPundit,
Jean Lopez is asking who will star in the sequel to Shattered
Glass. We always try to oblige. The answers are a cinch. All you need
is one over-the-top actor
who specializes in creepy, one or two elite West Wing alums, and
someone else to play the one who looks exactly like Matt Damon.
Scoblic played by Oliver Platt
Beinart played by Matt Damon
Foer played by Bradley Whitford
All they need now is someone to make up a script. That shouldn't be too
hard. Everyone involved seems pretty darn good at making things up.
A bumptious commenter who styles himself as "Timmy" asks us, "Umm,
isn't that Ricky Gervais in the Peter Scoblic photo?"
Faced with a crude and baseless accusation of this sort, our
editor-in-chief ("His Magnificence") felt compelled to reply:
I can assure you that our division of very well dressed fact-checkers
obtained 100 percent confirmation before the photo was published that
the Ricky Gervais-looking one was really truly for sure Peter Scoblic.
Nevertheless, since you have raised this absurd question, Instapunk.com
has initiated -- consistent with our commitment to the very highest of
contemporary journalistic standards -- a thorough investigation to
reconfirm what we have already ascertained to be fact; namely, that the
person in the disputed photo is
Peter Scoblic. Or someone who looks so much like him that he could only
be played by Ricky Gervais if the much suaver Oliver Platt weren't
I can further assure you that the results of our investigation will be
published as soon as Google ceases its inexcusable stonewalling about
the deceptive procedures it uses in ID'ing the photos which may come up
in a 0.05-second image search. Please note that our dedication to
thoroughness may require weeks of investigation or months. Decades
aren't entirely out of the question. That's how professional we are.
In the meantime, I suggest that you conduct your own investigation of
why this Scoblic person would go to such lengths to make himself look
like Ricky Gervais. And why is it exactly that you know who this Ricky
Gervais is? (Some lowdown dirty leak?) We certainly don't. It's our considered opinion that you
have a hidden agenda in all this. Be warned. Eventually -- perhaps very
eventually -- Instapunk.com will uncover whatever sinister purpose
drove you to impugn our good name.
Ummm, on a more serious note, the TNR masthead seems to
have disappeared from the TNR website. Via Google: Error 404, File Not Found. No text, no images. Anyone know anything about this?
A text-only masthead is still accessible by direct link at the TNR site though Google can no longer find it. A call to TNR
resulted in a denial that Scoblic had been fired. His voicemail is
still playing its recorded message.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
OLD GUARD. One of
the biggest fallacies in politics is that only the
liberals-slash-progressives exhibit the above-it-all superiority of
those who are to the manor born. Indeed, the haughtiness of power-elite
liberals pales in comparison to the educated class who have never been
taken in by such fads as Marxism, atheism, post-modernism, or even
Reaganism. Such people are so aloof they tend to be invisible to
pollsters and political campaigns of every stripe. If Hillary is to be
prevented from capturing the White House, this community of the
not-interested-enough-to-be-involved conservatives must be persuaded to
vote in the next presidential election. I essayed a conversation with
one of them not long ago. The results are not particularly promising.
Here's a transcript.
there any particular Republican candidate who appeals to you?
Refresh my memory. Who's running?
Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Fred
Thompson, and John McCain. Oh, right.
What do you think of them? I
didn't much care for George Romney. Too much slicked back
salt-and-pepper hair. But at least he wasn't named after a baseball
glove. I suppose that's called having a common touch. Just how common
are politicans expected to be these days?
Giuliani? Thompson? McCain?
It's said that persistence is a virtue, but I've always found
persistence more tedious than inspiring. Oh well. Giuliani. He's a
mayor, isn't he? Why would anyone think a mayor is qualified to be
president? Don't they spend most of their time making deals with labor
unions? Rather low, don't you think? I've heard of the McCain fellow.
Didn't he break under torture in Vietnam? Regrettable. One might think
he'd be content to go home and stay there without seeking to excite any
more attention. Under the circumstances, that would seem to be the tactful thing to do.
They say Thompson is somewhat
reminiscent of Reagan. I never much cared for Reagan. His hair
was rather peculiarly orange. He also signed gigantic budgets. And his
funeral was -- how shall I put it? -- overdone.
Don't you care at all? What about the
issues? What about the possibility that Hillary Clinton might be
elected President? She probably will be. It might be
amusing. The Clintons are so hilariously, vulgarly corrupt they
remind me of old-time big city mayors like LaGuardia, Curley, and
Daley. Didn't you say a mayor was running against her? Should be fun.
But her ankles are unfortunately thick. Not much breastage, either.
Sad. The presidency will probably serve as some species of consolation
Have you even heard of the Iraq War?
Certainly. What a bungle. That Bush lad had the right idea, though it's
never been a wise move to trust Andover boys with serious decisions.
They're not up to it. Too
bad he never learned to speak in public. But thumping Iraq was a
creditable notion. Best thing to do with those Arabs is shoot
them all. They won't stop annoying everyone until we do that. But I
never had any use for that Rumsfeld fellow. It's fine to economize on
some things. Like Congress. If we made them all drive Fords, do you
think they'd spend so much money on pure nonsense? But you can't
economize on wars. When you send troops out to do a job, you send as
many as you can find and you keep at it until the enemy is dead or
begging for mercy. Low-budget wars are bad business. Pardon my candor.
Do you have an opinion about abortion?
Yes. It's not done. But some women do it anyway. The law isn't going to
change that. But people seem to like wrangling about it. I prefer
raising coneflowers. And foxgloves. Poison is better when it's pretty.
Is God an issue with you? No.
When he's had enough, he'll do what he has to do. I'll probably be dead
by then. He's pretty patient in my experience. Too damned patient, in
fact. Ask all my dead Celtic ancestors about that. They might have a
bone to pick with God. Or two.
Aren't you afraid of socialism,
Islamic fascism, rampant political corruption, Global Warming, and the
increasing saber-rattling of Russia and China? Afraid? No. Life
is a mess and if you're afraid of it, go ahead and kill yourself.
If you don't want to commit suicide, you adjust to it. Even to
Democrats. They've been socialists since FDR. Thankfully, he died
eventually. The usual fate of stupid do-gooders. Fascism is too crude
to succeed. It has its moments in the early going, as a rule, like
improved efficiency for mass transportation, but when people learn
what else is involved they tend to object, strenuously. In the end,
fascism flunks at everything but gaudy uniforms. Political corruption
is something that's bound to happen when people who used to be mayors
and senators and other ladies of the night get elected to high
office and discover there's money to be had by selling their favors to
right people. I can't speak to the Global Warming thing. I never
trusted scientists any more than I trusted politicians. As far as I'm
concerned, summers have been more or less hot all my life. When winters
get hot enough to require a gin and tonic before five o'clock, I'll let
Russia? China? Now you're
becoming a bore. Name a time when Russia and China weren't being childishly obnoxious
about practically everything. Their whole idea of foreign policy is
infantile. If they step over the line the way they've been threatening
continuously for the last five hundred years or so, we'll have to smack
the presumption out of them. That's what they really want, anyway.
It'll do them good. It's what children want. Counterintuitive? Yes.
Do you make any attempt to keep up with what's going on
in politics, like the stuff that's made a big deal of in The New York
Times and on the network news? No. The lower classes --
especially journalists -- do have to amuse themselves as best they can.
There's no point in obstructing their enthusiasms. Being well bred
means not losing your temper just because the loudest among us insist
on being silly.
So you don't even pay attention to
the war? Not really. I know the journalists want us to lose it,
so I don't read or watch their reports. If the politicians let us win
it, we will. Now that the Princeton boy is out of the picture, I feel
mostly more optimistic. I do feel bad for the families of soldiers
and marines who died. Every generation of my family has had losses like
that, so I -- what's the word? -- empathize. Beyond that, I just wait
them to kick the Arabs back to the seventh century. Nobody beats us
when we're there to win. That part of it is bone simple. Or am I
missing something? Don't mention the Democrats. I'm being ironic. It's
my privilege as an old fart.
Are you going to vote? Yes. Of
For whom? Some Republican, I
expect. Only most of them are
One last question: Did you do anything to prevent FDR from subverting the
American Dream during the Great Depression? Of course not. I
played tennis with him at Groton. Or my father did. Franklin thought he
was the greatest thing
since sliced bread. I'd have hated to burst his bubble. He was
paralyzed. Syphilis is a bitch.
. For those of you who missed it, Andy Reid's
Philadelphia Eagles were leading 16-12 and had the pitiful Chicago Bear
offense pinned to the 3 yard line with no timeouts and less than 1:45 on
the clock. So the Bears marched 97 yards for a game-winning touchdown
with 9 seconds to spare. Game over. At 2 and 4 in a division where
every other team has a winning record, season over.
Last year's incompetent coaching was miraculously rescued by substitute
QB Jeff Garcia, who led the Eagles from ignominy to six straight wins
and the playoffs. Naturally, that required Reid and company to dispose
of Garcia, who is presently leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from
ignominy to a dramatic turnaround season.
There will be no miracle comeback in 2007. The Eagles offense can
move the ball spectacularly between the 20 yard lines, but they can't
score touhdowns. The Eagles defense can mostly stop opposing teams
inside the 20 yard line but let them run free between the 20 yard lines
(a quid pro quo in the name of brotherly love), which leads to a steady
hemorrhage of field goals until the game is really, truly on the line,
when Eagle defenders collapse like the French Army. And
the Eagles special teams are only special in the way special education
is: an ordinary result is so far beyond expectations it's treated as a
triumph. Punt and kick returns earn a sigh of relief when they aren't
muffed or fumbled. Punts and kickoffs are deemed successful if the opposing offense takes the field inside their own territory.
Fortunately, Eagle fans are endlessly resilient. Years ago, they came
together to launch the tradition of the Philadelphia Wingbowl,
a gross little festival the city could enjoy while other NFL burgs were
celebrating the playoffs and the Super Bowl.
Today is therefore the official opening of the Wingbowl pre-season (h/t
WIP Sports Talk).
We can't wait for the big day to arrive.
seemed like half the New York Giants squad (5-2) was in attendance when
Rutgers (5-2) knocked off the No. 2 ranked South Florida Bulls Thursday night (see
"Other Notes" at the link.).
Actually, Philadelphia is closer to Piscataway than New York, but
obviously every single Eagle had more important things to do than watch
a gutty comeback perfomance in a game of football. I'm sure it means
What a ridiculous week this has been. Not just because Congress has
been making a fool of itself, although it has, of course. The highlight
(i.e., lowlight) was yet another anti-Bush, anti-military tirade by a mentally
ill Dem congressman named Pete Stark during the same week when
Harry Reid's letter denouncing Limbaugh for smearing the troops is
racking up scornfully huge bids at eBay.
While the whole right-o-sphere is guffawing at this latest example of
lefty hypocrisy, the Democrat leadership doesn't even have the wit to
disavow Stark's contemptible rant. In fact, Speaker Pelosi even
compounded the foolishness of Reid's attack on Limbaugh by blaming the
defeat of the SChip middle-class entitlement bill on "hate
But Congress aside, the greatest craziness of the week belongs to the
ladies, who have been cha-cha-ing through the news with reckless
abandon as if it were their whole purpose in life to make clear that
the female sex is every bit as lewd, venal, corrupt, stupid, and
immoral as the bad boys they find so irresistible.
The one great cause on which they all agree, for example, is breast cancer,
the second biggest killer among the various cancers (exceeded only by
prostate cancer) and the most ubiquitous and lauded raison d'etre for
charity drives ranging from pink-ribboned bake sales to pink-ribboned
marathons (and this week, pink whistles for football referees!!?), with
the result that the color pink has, in the minds of many, become
instantly evocative not of femininity per se, but mastectomies. Thanks
for that. And now the selling of the cause has entered a perverse new
phase, in which cancer and sexuality are somehow merged. New ways of
"promoting breast cancer awareness" unveiled this week include wet
T-shirt contests and even dry T-shirts that look like this:
"Save 2nd Base." Is it supposed to be
as creepy as it is?
Thank goodness that so far men have had the neanderthal stoicism to die
silently of prostate cancer without making any attempt whatever to
raise awareness of the anatomy of their disease. But what will the
"girls" do next to get more attention? I'm sure it'll be as subtle as a
pair of bazookas. Cha cha cha.
To be fair, there are other accomplices in the squeamifying of the
connotations of pink. A couple of these were also big in the news this
week. The nutty anti-American ladies who call themselves Code Pink
managed to embarrass themselves and the city of Berkeley by getting outnumbered
by counter-protesters at their protest of a Marine recruiting office
near the UCB campus.
Eventually they did. But "home" for Code Pink these days happens to be
Nancy Pelosi's front
lawn. Cha cha cha.
And then there's Britney Spears. Who took time out this week from
defying her family court judge and losing visitation rights with her
two (apparently unwanted) boys to show off her own favorite connotation (NSFW) to more paparazzi.
We all know that Britney used to be a role model for pre-teen girls,
although she isn't anymore. Except for the girls who are having sex at
the age of 11 in middle schools. But they have rights, too. A coalition
of teachers and mothers voted this week to allow a middle school in
Maine to dispense birth control pills to sixth grade girls without
parental notification. Did you get that? Without parental notification.
Yes, we concerned and doting mothers have no need to know if our
children are ingesting powerful hormones that have never been subjected
to long-term testing on 11 year old girls because it would have been
frankly irresponsible and dangerous to do so. Never forget that we
mothers can be as dumb as a box of rocks too, not to mention too morally
retarded to be allowed out in public.
Of course, if we squint in just the right way, we can see their side of
it. What with Britney and Lindsay and Paris, etc, there's absolutely
nothing they can do to prevent their girl children from becoming sleazy
whores within a matter of days after reaching puberty. Who would know
better about that than the sleazy
whores emancipated women who dropped them in the first place?
Cha cha cha.
It will be argued, naturally, that men really shouldn't have any opinion
about this sort of thing because we can never know what it's like to be
a sex-crazed girl, a 21st century woman, or a mother. And especially a
mother. That's why, apparently, the
Hillary Clinton campaign is so confident that the female support
for her will cut right across lines of party, ideological principle,
and moral values. Yes, this is also the week in which we learned that
at least one out of four Republican women will abandon all her
intellectual stands on political issues and vote (with that curious
Mona Lisa smile, no doubt) a Mother-in-Chief boasting zero executive experience into the White House.
Cha cha cha.
Meanwhile, the Great Mother herself is dancing up a storm, effortlessly
and twirling her way around at least five scandals
that would be fatal to the candidacy of any white male politician
(excluding Bill, I admit.)
And then there are all the other old Clinton scandals in which Hillary
has managed to step-step-step around any number of possible indictments
for perjury, obstruction, bribery, and FEC felonies. Could these pop up again to
knock Hillary off balance and maybe even off her pedestal? No. Not so
long as all the mothers regard sheer maternity as an absolute trump
card over the demands of law, reason, and decency.
(btw, please contrast the female icon of America with this truly
brave, accomplished, and principled woman who has quit a life of luxury
and ease to confront the murderously evil forces in her country at
enormous personal risk. She's not dancing. She's marching. Let's hope
she's not alone.)
Cha cha cha.
* EXPLAINING THE GRAPHIC.
The gif file (h/t to Gabriel
at AOS) is a test of whether you're right-brain or left brain dominant.
Here are the originator's
Do you see the dancer turning clockwise
If clockwise, then you use more of the right side of the brain and vice
Most of us would see the dancer turning anti-clockwise though you can
try to focus and change the direction; see if you can do it.
LEFT BRAIN FUNCTIONS
words and language
present and past
math and science
knows object name
RIGHT BRAIN FUNCTIONS
"big picture" oriented
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can "get it" (i.e. meaning)
knows object function
I think it's supposed to be the case that men tend to be left brain
dominant and women right brain dominant, though there will be many
exceptions all round. For the record, I saw the figure rotating
counter-clockwise first, and then it flipped spontaneously into a
clockwise motion. It keeps doing that without any effort on my part. As
I said, there will be many exceptions. One exception I believe will
turn up among the kind of women reviewed in the Follies today is an
entirely different kind of brain organization, illustrated below.
If this is how the gif file looks to you, I wish you only the best and
hope you're happy with Britney, Hillary, and company. You definitely
deserve one another.
Cha cha cha.
Commenter Maggie suggests the Friday Follies should have noted this
as well. But I feel more guilty for failing to mention the new Valerie
Plame book ("Valerie lied, the MSM cried.") and the tortuously
reported saga of Randi
Rhodes and her regrettable but weirdly propagandized collision with
a concrete curb. And the Gorgon reporter
who terrorized a 70-year-old man for defending his life with a gun. And
Ellen's self-absorbed nervous
breakdown on national TV. And Peggy Noonan's truly strange meltdown
but wistful fantasies about Hillary. And Maureen Dowd's odd attempt
at seeming to have a sense of humor by subletting her column to a vandal
court jester who mocked her but smiled so sweetly she didn't
notice. Anyone want to try the brain test on the general population?