18 April 2014

García Márquez Dead

His books, a gooey mix of ghosts, rotten bananas, magic, bean farts and jungle sweat, are beloved by prize committees, middlebrow politicians, left-wing psueds and college girls who wear army boots.

03 March 2014

Potato Futures


I was drinking scotch (Dewar's, rocks) and reading Fruit-Inform (the leading information source on the fruits and vegetable markets of Ukraine, Russia and other Eastern European countries), like I do most afternoons when I wake up, and I noticed the big Potatoes & Vegetables of Ukraine 2014 Conference was scheduled to be held in Kiev this Thursday. I’m no conspiracist, but isn't it curious Ukraine explodes in unrest and the Russians move into Crimea just before this crucial conference?

“I too find it curious,” observed Across Difficult Country's foreign correspondent Ismail Mat Taib. “If I were not so busy patrolling this damned beach on a motorcycle I would go and do some reporting from there. Which reminds me, did I ever tell you about the time a barge that I thought was full of potatoes had —"

Yes, yes you did.

16 February 2014

Tempus Fugit

Exciting developments in Malaysia, where Across Difficult Country foreign correspondent Ismail Mat Taib has once again witnessed a barge wash up on the beach. The Daily Light reports:
A resident of Mempisang Beach, Kampung Jawa, was surprised to see an object lying just off the coast that he initially believed was float logs, but apparently a barge overturned. 
Local resident Ismail Mat Taib, 66, said he believed the barge is upside down due to the relatively strong waves.
"Three days ago I was patrolling the beach on a motorcycle around 4 pm and I saw a large object in the sea.
"At first I thought it was drift logs, but when viewed correctly, apparently it is a barge," he told the Daily Light. 
According to him, to this day no party has come forward to claim ownership of the barge. 
"Some villagers went to look, they look from a distance, to see if there were victims or goods, but they did not find anything," he said. 
Meanwhile, Ismail said, an eerily similar incident occurred five years ago* when he observed two barges materialize in the sea off the coast then wash ashore.
*Actually, it was seven years ago.

13 February 2014

The Spirit of Neologism

Each new accession of an “issue” leads to the demand that we demonstrate our “commitment.” Not coincidentally, the desired commitment invariably involves swelling the bureaucratic class and its power over our lives. 
The spirit of neologism is perhaps best illustrated when it fastens on a word in common use. Note the recent career of the word “diversity.” This term denotes a key conservative theme. As is pointed out by Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn in writings including his classic Leftism (1974), a devotion to diversity arguably distinguishes the Right from the Left. The elements of this devotion are many; consider, for example, respect for regional traditions, the insistence that human beings are not interchangeable, the tendency to think in terms of distinct persons rather than large classes of people, support for various institutions that shield individuals from the State, as well as the related belief in decentralization. We are now expected to restrict the term to one explicit, technical meaning, one that refers to a specific demographic distribution. Not surprisingly, the new usage is explained and enforced by a phalanx of experts. Note also that, in a characteristic tour de force, the term is now compatible, not only with intellectual conformism, but also with the pursuit of economic and political integration on a global scale. 
- Rein Staal, "On Being Reactionary." Modern Age, March 1996.

02 February 2014

Sports & Etertainment Notes


In Women's Team Handball, Vardar SCBT overcame a "problematic start" to defeat Thüringer.

Rearranging the letters of PHILLIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN gives you HEROIN PAYS OFF, HIM LUMP.

From China comes word of a Chinaman who built some heavy (400kg) iron shoes he walks all over in (up to 15 meters each day). His competitors at heavy shoes include Zhang Zhenghui, who wears gold-painted shoes weighing 200kg, and a runner named  Liu Mei, who ties sandbags to his feet.

Next Saturday Dom and Russ from Chance will be rocking the Horseshoe Casino in Cleveland.