February, 2005 Archives

I get very distracted by the fact that a prominent political reporter/cable news talking head from the Washington Post shares a name with a particularly scummy, recently ousted Rhode Island politician; it’s hard to take John Harwood the journalist seriously when all I can think of is John Harwood the douchebag.

Journalist or Douchebag?

I think I’m going to roll out a new category: One-Liners. All the posts will be approximately one line in length. It’s the penultimate expression of “little time”+”blogger” (hopefully we won’t get to the final stage, “blog death by 1,000 non-posting days”). You can add or discuss or whatever, as usual. And Mike, Nightwing, Ultra Laser, etc. are more than welcome to add their own one-liners.

And I’m going to try very very hard to put something up about the incredibly exciting day we had yesterday in the world of Providence development. This blog stuff is hard work. Haaard.

One Liners

I just finished watching an episode of West Wing from last season where Toby fixes Social Security for good. And all in one night! I mean, if it’s that simple, what’s with all the blather we’re hearing now? The teevee said it’s easy, it wouldn’t lie now, would it?

More seriously, though, it’s been pretty interesting to look back at this fictional Democratic administration’s apocalyptic vision of the SS crisis. I vaguely remember Bill C. talking about reform and maybe privatization (right?), but looking at the situation now it doesn’t seem as dire as everyone seems to have thought it was. Now, that reminds me of a certainty that everyone seemed to have about something else, oh, roughly two years ago, but let’s not mix imminently dangerous apples with imminently disastrous oranges.

What’s All the Fuss?

Old people.

I said to Em the other day, upon seeing a full page ad in the Sunday paper where AARP sticks up for Social Security, that being right on SS doesn’t make up for going along with the Medicare bill (to me, at least). Well, between me and now some crazy conservative group, the American Association of Retired People is not so popular with anyone lately. Check this ad out:

gay-loving-troop-hatin' geezers

I think my brain’s just about turned itself inside out at the superlative ridiculousness of calling a lobbying group for the 55+ crowd anti-troop and pro-gay marriage, but tomorrow’s another day and I’m sure the ludicrous well is far from running dry.

Then again, who had heard of these nutjobs before today. Mission accomplished?

The headline was like a punch in the gut, Hunter S. Thompson kills himself. An absolute American original.

Loathing

Since it was in the paper today, I’ll link the article about the book I just happen to be reading right now: Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

I read author Malcolm Gladwell’s previous book last year, which encompassed all manner of social phenomena, from marketing to smoking to crime prevention. His style is engaging, explaining research results as stories rather than statistics. In Blink, he really ties together the storyline via half a dozen interviewees who shed light on the snap judgments we make every day. It really is fascinating stuff, and quick reading to boot.

One lesson from the book that I really like, and I imagine will be very useful in my biting social commentary that you all love ever so much, is the Warren Harding Error. In a sentence, this is the problem that arises when we make assumptions about a certain ability based on other, completely unrelated attributes. Named for one of our Worst. Presidents. Ever., old Warren G., who was so good looking and so tall and commanding of presence, well how could he not be a great President? That’s how the electorate saw him in 19whatever and the nation democratically got what it wanted, good and hard.*

More links to Gladwell here, and here (sports related), and here’s an article indicative of his style about why Heinz Ketchup kicks ass.

Interesting side note, I have a library copy right now (I like library books because even all the money I’m going to rake in from my privatized Social Security account wouldn’t be able to buy all the books I’d like to read). It’s usually pretty hard to get a library copy of a brand spanking new book, and indeed there were 75 people ahead of me in the request queue when I looked it up. But then, right below the catalog listing was the large print edition, with no one waiting for it. Two days later the book arrived from Jamestown. How’s that for fast thinking?

UPDATE: nicely combining the last two posts, I see via trackback that Chuck links this post as a “review” of Blink. You’ll understand the quotes when you see what he wrote up here. He obviously loves you more than I do.

Blink

Since I’ve licked the comment spam problem (seriously, I haven’t had one since the Q), I’ve started to get trackback spam (trackbacks are links from other sites that tell my site they’re talking about me). It hasn’t been nearly as bad, but it’s a pain sometimes. I assumed that it was because of my ingenious circumvention Q, but that might be a case of mistaken post hoc, ergo propter hoc (yes, West Wing reruns on Bravo have run back around to the first season). Since I’m finally catching up on last months blogs, I see that it’s a growing problem. Anyone else have these problems?

And I mean it, I don’t ever want to hear anyone complain about comment spam again, it’s so fixed. I can show you how.

I need a Trackback Q

I also have been listening to Motion City Soundtrack’s I Am the Movie which has made me realize I have no idea whether or not it’s good. All this emo-crossover stuff has ruined everything. Usually I just wait until Nightwing gets around to sorting it out for me (I can wait, I have about 300 songs on my iPod that I’ve honestly never listened to once). So if MCS sucks and proves I am lame, well, sorry, I didn’t know.

Also I can’t really tell the difference anymore between emo and what is considered new alternative music (that’s “new” as in 2004-2005, not a new genre). I was at my dad’s house the other day clicking through his newly installed Cox Digital Crack Cable music channels (“hey Billy, I’m in the 21st century now!“), and the alternative station was all-emo. I haven’t checked in with WBRU in a long time, so could it be that today’s middle school kids will look back on this stuff as the most important music of their lives? I shudder to think. (Yes, I’m sure my 13 year old self was pitied by hair band aficionados.)

(And another aside: I thought “Motion City Soundtrack” was definitely an 80’s band. Listening to the sample of “The Future Freaks Me Out” on iTunes only reassured me, but then there was a line about Will and Grace. It’s a weird world out there.)

One More On Music

I say this as a very peripheral Ani Difranco fan, so I hope no one yells at me. I like her new album Knuckle Down very much. It’s reminiscent of the mid-90s stuff, but not rough and raw. So if you’re into that sort of thing, pick it up.

Knuckle Down

I posted this last week, based on a few small impressions I had. Thanks to James, the first person to comment whom I have never actually met (an after-the-fact, highly-convenient benchmark thank you), I will now uselessly explain the idea I was trying to convey.

So I saw this picture, which came in a giant book of stock images (which Mike H. also got!) and cringed immediately, seeing a woman suspended by what I assumed would be some sort of rope around her neck. Em thought the same thing. James, Matt and my mom all saw a woman jumping. What you saw, I think, may speak volumes about your personality. Now I’ve never read even Psychology for Dummies (does it show?) but I bet there’s a connection. If you ask me, those seeing the suicide are probably just evil. Yup, that’s it. I should show it to my brother, who is actually certified evil, he’d know.

So that’s it. It’s becoming a regular feature here at the c4h, the disappointingly explained observation. It’s like I’m not even trying.

(haha, do you know why the above line is extra funny? There’s no regular anything around here!! HA!)

Or Is It A Vase?

It’s pretty easy to hate Wal-Mart if you want to. Here’s another reason why:

Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer agreed to pay $135,540 to settle federal charges that it violated child labor laws in Connecticut, Arkansas and New Hampshire. As part of the agreement, revealed yesterday after it was secretly signed in January, the Labor Department agreed “to give Wal-Mart 15 days’ notice before the Labor Department investigates any other ‘wage and hour’ accusations, like failure to pay minimum wage or overtime.”

People can disagree on the various economic merits of Walmartism, but it seems pretty clear to me that no one* benefits from this sort of behavior. Even daddy Republicans would agree that you don’t punish someone by giving them special privileges.

*excluding Wal-mart stockholders and anyone else with a big enough campaign contribution budget and a desire to skirt the law, of course.

What is this a picture of?

the yellow shoes
(click for larger)

Leave a comment with the first thing that comes to mind. I’ll talk about it on Friday.

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