May 27, 2009 - May 20, 2009
Saturday, February 02, 2008
Six is a State of
are times when the naif is smarter than the experts. This
might be one of those times. Yesterday, I read comments about McCain at
a leading rightish blog. The battle raged back and forth between those
who swore they'd rather see Hillary in the Oval Office than compromise
their principles and those who argued the philosophically less
glamorous point that half a loaf is better than none.Today I read a
slighly different perspective, notable both for its uncompromising
posture and its primitive approach to politics. It's okay to be
primitive as long as you don't make too much of a virtue of it, and
seems to have a
becoming awareness of the crudeness of her
Let me put that more plainly. Rachel is a 35-year-old woman who is, for
all intents and purposes, six. Here, for example, is an excerpt of her
views on economics
Rupert keeps trying to explain
economics to me; what causes this or that, all the intricacies. But I
think Iíve mentioned before that I just get turned on when he does that
and never remember anything.
She belongs to no political party. Her views are too pure for that:
I really donít like writing about
politics; it gets people too excited and punchy. Plus despite popular
belief, I AM NOT A CONSERVATIVE. I just donít like socialists, itís
really that simple. I donít give a toss about abortion or religion or
gay marriage. All I want is to pay less taxes and to have my guns, and
that does not make me a Republican.
Well, not completely pure. When she decided
to run her dog Sunny
for President (we demurred
by the way), she sounded way less than liberal in her views on abortion:
Sunny believes that you can eradicate
abortion, along with much child abuse and neglect and poverty, with one
simple program: mandatory sterilization before puberty. After much
research and careful consideration, she perceives that this is the most
brilliant goddamn idea of all time.
Of course, we are not running on the Nazi ticket, so it would be
temporary sterilization, reversible upon the individualís attainment of
all of the following:
(1) The age of 25
(2) Completion of a child-rearing course and passing a test on it
(3) An amount of no less than $10,000 in a bank account
(4) An IQ of average or above
(5) An ongoing relationship of no less than 3 years with the potential
So, actually, she's like all of us are when we're not trying to be
completely rational and consistent. She's -- what's the word? --
spontaneous. Which suggests that like a willful child she also has the
ability to cut straight to the heart of the matter on occasion,
unhindered by self-destructive intellectual traps of the sort students
of various sophisticated disciplines fall prey to. If you were six, how
view the current
presidential race? Something like this
†Just what in the hell kind of
crack are Ann Coulter and lots of other conservatives (even the
normally brilliant Michelle Malkin) smoking when they say they wonít
vote for him if heís the Republican nominee? Coulter actually said last night on
Hannity and Colmes that she would campaign for Hillary instead...
[McCain]'s not going to socialize healthcare like Hillary or Obama
would. He actually gives a shit about fighting the war against
towelheads, unlike Hillary or Obama. Heís not going to appoint liberal
activist judges. So what if he thought Alito was too conservative? I
Donít get excited. I donít like a lot of his record, particularly a
long list of quotes heís given about class warfare and taxes. I think
heís nuts to want the Gitmo population put into American prisons. YEAH
RIGHT. I think heís an asshole for things heís said and supported about
And I donít even have enough curse words in my brain to communicate my
opinions about McCain-Feingold. Jesus on a muffin, that is some bad,
Seriously, people. Seriously. Youíd rather have Hillary? Youíd rather
I donít even know you....
Hmph. Honestly, I just donít even want to talk about it anymore,
itís all so pointless. People want some sort of perfect president and
itís never ever going to happen. Personally, I think we should do away
with the position of president altogether; all it is is a popularity
contest anyway. And I donít even want to post this because people are
going to bitch at me in comments. McCain is eeeeevvvillll! Bah. What
politician isnít? Pick your poison, theyíre all gonna make you sick.
Yeah, you can snipe all you want. She's in favor of eugenics and she
conservative. I didn't say she was actually smart. I said she had a
knack for cutting to the heart of the matter, and she does. Here's what
she's got right. And don't any of you forget it.
Politicians are crooked, bought and paid for, every damn one of them.
(Yeah, I, too would like to think that Reagan
was an exception, but I'm old enough to know that if he was, the
exception was partial and mostly a miracle.) Voting for any politician
is a deal with the devil; you're just hoping against hope that the one
you vote for has some tiny remembrance of the idealism he confronts in
the faces of his supporters when they gather to admire him.
When you vote, you're always
choosing the lesser of two evils. And there are degrees of evil. The
corrupt, lying, narcissistic, power-mad idiot you vote for just might
be marginally better than the corrupt, lying, narcissistic, power-mad
idiot he's running against. Especially if one of them is the depraved
wife of a depraved ex-President or a snot-nosed cipher too in love with
himself to realize that two years of national office doesn't qualify
you to run the most powerful nation in the history of the world.
I'm not saying the conservatives shouldn't carp. But Ann Coulter is
being an ass. And so is every other conservative who would rather turn
the country over to Hillary Obama for four or eight years than vote for
a nasty old fart who doesn't hate America as much as every single
Democrat in the United States.
I told you how to prevent
this. You didn't listen. I told you it would come
to this. You didn't listen. I also told you I can't
. Now it's time to be a grownup and quit dreaming about
what might have been. It's time, in short, to cut the crap and be six.
Are you up to that mighty challenge? If Eloise
Rachel can do it,
you sure as hell can.
Friday, February 01, 2008
Escape from Boston and
You can double your Sunday pleasure
How many of you are going to watch the Super Bowl this
weekend even though the prospect of seeing the Patriots cap a
season-long blowout makes you sick to your stomach? All of you?
Come on. Let me remind you there's a whole world full of things to do,
and even on Super Bowl Sunday, most of them are still available.
Take, oh, me, for example. I'm headed to the Baghdad Theater (named
back when the city had the exotic allure of, say, Timbuktu) for a
weekend of Supertrash
If your sad life landed you someplace other than Portland, and you'd
like a taste of the fun I'm going to have (of course you would; I'm
younger, sexier, and happier), do your best to understand this article.
It's written for kids my age, who don't have to interrupt for
clarification of every word. If that's not you, you're welcome to
eavesdrop. I guess.
All these flicks made this list because they're unavailable on DVD, so
downloading them for free is fair game. Therefore, not every movie I
wanted made the cut. Notably, I wanted to put the USA Network classic Gymkata
but wouldn't you know it, someone had the vision to re-release it.
Don't crash Amazon logging on to buy it all at the same time, everybody.
My stiff, half-dead predecessor moved his dried
hand, w/ crooked
pointer finger stuck extended, and waved his arm around the keyboard
enough to post the trailer
which has the basic gist: In the far-flung dystopian future of 2008,
global warming means there's a foot of water everywhere, and there's a
renegade maverick cop who plays by his own rules but gets results.
Rutger Hauer has to defend London OF THE FUTURE against a Predator
-like beast that "has the
DNA of all his victims". Also, Rutger wants revenge against the
creature. It sounds generically bad, but it's exquisitely
bad. The DVD is long
out of print.
It's the Big Trouble in Little China
of the 90s. Two brothers, one white, one Mexican, compete in karate
tournaments in dystopian New Angeles-- L.A. after the big quake. Since
it's 2007, Madonna is married to Tom Arnold, the L.A. river is
flammable, and street gangs RULE THE NIGHT. It's got Robert Patrick,
who by all rights shouldn't have worked after this. Mortal Kombat is
still the Citizen Kane
video game movies.
who. He really shouldn't have
Yeah, the Schwarzenegger flick from the 80s. This one's Donnie Brasco
, with Arnold in the Johnny
Depp role. For some reason it's out of print, so go nuts.
Two men. One has no arms, the other withered legs. They learn kung-fu.
They get the bad guys. The filmmakers used real cripples, a la Tod
Browning. So old and foreign, it's gotta be in the public domain.
And you thought I was kidding.
I wanted to put Three the Hard Way
it's not even available to download. If you ever come across it, snatch
it up immediately. In the meantime, the aggressively awesome Black Samurai,
and the more-highly
regarded Black Belt Jones
both starring the black guy from Enter
, will have to do.
Grizzly Adams in a Santa suit vs. Nazi midgets. If that isn't incentive
enough, you're probably hopeless.
If all the above is Greek to you... well, I'm not going to take the
time to lead you out of the darkness of technological illiteracy. I
will, however, give you some hints in the form of the half-finished
guide below. I have faith you can figure out how to work the Magic Typing
TV if you give it the slow, deliberate thought it needs. Just don't
forget you're learning, you know?
For the Uncle Zoni Awful and Awesome
Movie Party Pack
, you'll need:
- a home computer (try this on your work computer at your own risk).
, which is for
downloading files called torrents
- a DVD burner. If you don't have one and don't want to buy one, follow
to hook up your computer to your TV (you'll still need
to buy some equipment, but it'll be a lot less expensive). Again, if
you're thinking about panicking, don't. Just follow the guide. If you get hung up on a word or term, Google it and look for definitions.
- DVD conversion software, like the bundle offered by VSO
So now there's no need to feel trapped in the great overblown pageant
that's going to put half the country to sleep on Sunday. That's what
I'm here for. Public Service.
The Nanny Paradox
DON'T LISTEN TO ME
If the big picture polls are right, the Democrats are right on
the issues, which means that a majority of you really are
in favor of
what Hillary Obama is calling "Universal Health Care." Apparently, you
adore declarations like this one:
Never mind that eastern Europe's 72 year experiment with central
government control of everything proved that the only thing such
governments excel at is building a huge and powerful military. Which,
if you thought about it, is the one truly massive societal function
that specifically regards the human components of the system as
The whole notion of universal health care is, in fact, one of the
better ways of seeing the danger inherent in government that claims to
care about everyone. Because caring about everyone is not synonymous
with caring about you in particular. That's the paradox of the Nanny
State. Very large bureaucracies are intrinsically incapable of the
simple human function of emotion. In systemic terms, caring has to be
defined mechanically, as "budgeting," "processing," "managing," and
"controlling." Caring can
make it into the private sector, because where there's more than one
provider, quality of service is a competitive factor. But the glorious
term "universal" means "one." It means there is really only one
provider, the government which decides everything for everyone. There is
no alternative source which competes for market share by finding a
better way. And that
all become units to be processed, managed and controlled. If there's
nobody left to care about you in particular, that's tough.
These aren't bland and hazy assertions. Most of the rich, liberal
democracies in the world have committed themselves to a version of the
"universal health care" you seem to want. The United Kingdom -- which
that it now possesses a higher standard of living than the United
States [HA!] -- has had its National Health Service for a generation.
Here's the latest news from them
The elderly should be refused
operations if they are unlikely to live long enough afterwards to enjoy
the benefits, many doctors believe.
A third of medics questioned said the Health Service should think twice
before carrying out hip and knee replacements and other routine
operations on older patients.
Smokers, the obese and heavy drinkers should also be barred from such
lifechanging operations, freeing up millions to spend on younger
patients with healthier lifestyles, the doctors said.
Sounds kind of military, doesn't it? Like battlefield triage. What
governments are good at. When we tell them to care for everyone, we
become conscripts. They get to tell us how to put the least strain on
the system. We grant them the right to lay down the law about what we
can eat, smoke, drink, breathe, drive, and even how we can fornicate.
(No condom, no care for STDs?) Will there still be separation of church
and state when health has become the secular religion?
Is there any theoretical limit when that occurs? If your right to life
depends on avoiding behaviors deemed bad by the state, what will you do
when the beneficent health czars decide not to treat the very people
whose behaviors are most likely to result in specific care needs?
People who listen to loud music aren't entitled to hearing aids. People
with more than "n" speeding tickets aren't entitled to emergency care
after an automobile accident. People who read too much or spend too
many hours at their computers aren't entitled to ophthalmic services.
People with too many prescription medications in their health care
histories aren't entitled to expensive diagnostic services when their
bodies finally crash. People who get cancer aren't entitled to
treatment because holistic studies show either that your genetics or
your "negative" lifestyle choices make you undeserving.
And worse than that. Say, you really do conform all your behaviors to
the risk-averse mandates of your universal health care system. You
survive all the waiting lists in the rationing system that replaced the
bad old days, and you reach the ripe old age of 80, which is the
Parcheesi-style "home" all the nagging is driving us toward. But the
actuarial tables still say there's only a very limited lifespan left to
you. You no longer qualify for medical treatment because the
cost-benefit equation just doesn't add up.
There's the Nanny Paradox writ large. You're not supposed to live
daringly, sensually, adventurously, or unusually in the first place.
And even if you obey all the rules against living, when you become
prosaically and mundanely old, you're so unexceptional that your life
can simply be thrown away to comply with some federal budget cap.
Who will look stupid then? The people who lived like sheep so they
could be slaughtered like sheep? Or the vile and venal rebels who
drank, smoked, speeded, screwed, and ate their way to an early and far
The only thing universal about universal health care is tyranny. Just
try to wrap your head around what the government means when it says,
Got it? No, I suppose you don't. Because how on earth could they ever
fail to care about you
My favorite Paulista informs me that the great winnowing has already
begun. Take a look at this