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Saturday, February 02, 2008


Six is a State of Mind

Listen to EloiseRachel.

C'MON. There 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 Rachel Lucas seems to have a becoming awareness of the crudeness of her judgments.

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 co-parent

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 would you view the current presidential race? Something like this perhaps?

†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 DO, TOO...

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 gun shows.

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, bad stuff.

BUT.

Seriously, people. Seriously. Youíd rather have Hillary? Youíd rather have Obama?

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 thinks Alito is too 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 stand him. 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 EloiseRachel can do it, you sure as hell can.




Friday, February 01, 2008


Escape from Boston and New York

You can double your Sunday pleasure with Double Dragon.

SUPER WHAT? 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 on here, 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.

Split Second

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.

Double Dragon

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 of video game movies.


Guess who. He really shouldn't have worked again.

Raw Deal

Yeah, the Schwarzenegger flick from the 80s. This one's Donnie Brasco meets Commando, with Arnold in the Johnny Depp role. For some reason it's out of print, so go nuts.

Crippled Masters

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.

Blaxploitation

I wanted to put Three the Hard Way here, but 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 the Dragon, will have to do.

Elves

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).

- ÔŅĹTorrent, which is for downloading files called torrents.

- a DVD burner. If you don't have one and don't want to buy one, follow these instructions 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.

TEST





The Nanny Paradox

Universal Paradise.

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 expendable.

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 means we 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 recently boasted 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 more dignified grave?

The only thing universal about universal health care is tyranny. Just try to wrap your head around what the government means when it says, "Everyone."



Got it? No, I suppose you don't. Because how on earth could they ever fail to care about you?

UPDATE. My favorite Paulista informs me that the great winnowing has already begun. Take a look at this.




Wednesday, January 30, 2008


No Republicans Left in the Race



Peggy Noonan didn't write "The Speech." Ronald Reagan did.

I WARNED YOU. The damage control is underway. Glenn Reynolds is already publicizing the term "McCain Derangement Syndrome." Okay. Apparently we're not allowed to criticize the Democrat who's going to win the Republican nomination.

Is it derangement to say I don't like him? My own dad is dead, but I know what he'd have said because he was a lot like McCain, only his straight talk was straighter, which is why I liked him more. I can tell you he would never have trusted McCain. Why? Because my dad would have summed up McCain's whole heroic military career in two words: "He talked."

McCain is a liberal. So is Romney. They've got each other dead to rights on this. Who's the loser? Us.

And, no, I'm not buying Peggy Noonan's choice to blame it on George W. Bush. Unlike his father, George W. never lied to us. He never pretended that he wasn't at heart a Texan who was willing to give his State of the Union speech in two languages. We elected him. If the Republican Party has lost its soul, it's because there aren't enough Republicans left to find, support, nominate, and elect another Ronald Reagan.

Here's what I suspect. The archetypal American today is a single mother. Not too bright. Not moral at all, because women rarely are. They finally have their candidate. "Look what I found in the pantry. Everything. Get in line. Everyone's going to get her share. And if you're really really good, my husband will fuck you in the mud room. Later."

What does "later" mean? It means after he's done fucking Peggy Noonan. She's been waiting for quite a while.

Afterwards, she'll be all breathless and happy. We won't. That's the difference.





2K9


GIVE US A MOMENT. The sophisticated hypercomputer M.A.L.K.I.N. 4700 (affectionately nicknamed "Michelle" by the brilliant team of men and women who built her), searching the entire internet every 3/1000ths of a second, has collated an exhaustive report on "inevitable" GOP nominee John McCain's thorough, if not complete, ideological bankruptcy.† This is not a shotgun blast of slander from cranky, unreasonable right"er"-wingers.† If you think older ideas of government were better, if not perfect, at preserving freedom than what we have to put up with now, you owe it to your ideals to educate yourself about November's likely "conservative" option.

But, like Ron Paul's platform, this is academic.† This Presidential election is, again, an exercise in damage control.† Since there's no candidate to get enthusiastic about, or to even want in the White House at all, it's time to start doing some Radon Math.† Since we're doomed to some amount of poisonous gas, which choice will pump the least into our basement?† Not only that, but how much of said gas can we dissipate by opening windows and doors and fanning?† What respirator masks are available that filter Radon, and what's the limit of said filtration?† Is it safe for kids and adults to make brief trips into the basement, and how brief need those trips be?

Whoever takes the oath next January is going to be toxic to whatever life of your own you might be aiming to cultivate.† The question for every voter is, who is the more manageable disaster (and who is going to foster a political climate more amenable to whatever freedoms you're going to work up the nerve to try to get back).† Dust off those Y2K plans and use them to metaphy how you're going to live your life come 2K9.



The 2KNanny approacheth. Be you ready? Bettabee, baby.




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