22 November 2015

Christmas Books



The Illustrious House of Ramires, by Eça de Queirós. A novel about an ineffectual nobleman writing an historical novel about his heroic ancestors. Queirós has been called the Portuguese Flaubert.

Large Fees and How to Get Them : a book for the private use of physicians, by Albert V. Harmon, M.D. If you practice early 20th medicine and want large fees, this book  is essential reading. If you don’t, there are still lessons in its amusing and unsentimental discussion of various topics, like in the chapter “The Bugbear of Ethics”, where Lyman advises “ethics in its place is a good thing...But there is such a thing as overdoing the ethical proposition”.

Histrionics: Three Plays and Over All the Mountain Tops, by Thomas Bernhard. Bernhard once said “I despise actors, indeed I hate them, for they ally themselves at the least sign of danger with the audience and betray the author and completely identify with stupidity and feeble-mindedness. Actors are the destroyers and exterminators of imagination, not those who bring it to life and they are the true gravediggers of literature.”

The Rim of Morning: Two Tales of Cosmic Horror, by William Sloane. In the 1930’s Sloane wrote two exceptionally inventive and elegant horror novels, then for the rest of his life did other things.

01 November 2015

That Scientific Air

[I]n the popular mind, there is a manifest association of political innovation with scientific advance. It is not uncommon to hear a politician supporting an argument for a radical reform by asserting that this is an Age of Progress, and appealing for proof of the assertion to the railway, the gigantic steamship, the electric light, or the electric telegraph. Now it is quite true that, if Progress be understood with its only intelligible meaning, that is, as the continued production of new ideas, scientific invention and scientific discovery are the great and perennial sources of these ideas. Every fresh conquest of Nature by man, giving him the command of her forces, and every new and successful interpretation of her secrets, generates a number of new ideas, which finally displace the old ones, and occupy their room…[but] experience shows that innovating legislation is connected not so much with science as with the scientific air which certain subjects, not capable of exact scientific treatment, from time to time assume. 
- Sir Henry Sumner Maine, Popular Government.

28 October 2015

20 September 2015

iDols


Sitting in a bar surrounded by people looking at smartphones reminds me the Lilliputians believed Gulliver's pocket watch was “the God that he worships” because “he seldom did any thing without consulting it”.

23 August 2015

Extrapolations

The olden days.

Scientists say millions of years ago canines were unlikable weaselly creatures, and it’s in large part thanks to global warming they evolved into the delightful modern dog-shape we all know and love.

This suggests to me global warming could transform other weaselly creatures, like rats and lawyers, into more pleasing forms (don’t ask why the warming didn’t make weasels themselves less weaselly) . Mention this the the next time someone tells you climate change is an entirely bad thing.

The Story I Heard


People have been asking me to explain a ¡Jeb! Bush mailer depicting him with a black hand (not because I’m a political insider, or a Bush confidante, but because I seem like the kind of guy who would know something about racially anomalous appendages).

The story I heard was that one time when ¡Jeb! was visiting his adopted homeland of Mexico he got bitten on the wrist by a donkey. The bite became infected, and ¡Jeb! was forced to have his hand amputated. Everyone knows Americans will not elect an amputee president, so to save his political career ¡Jeb! paid an impoverished negro refugee from Hurricane Katrina $500 for his left hand, which doctors then transplanted onto ¡Jeb’s! stump. Normally ¡Jeb! disguises the hand’s race with white skin cream, obviously the day that picture was taken he forgot.

17 July 2015

Pilot H227


In the morning I found a mechanical pencil I lost three, maybe four, years ago, it was like running into an old friend.

In the afternoon I ran into an old friend I hadn’t seen in years. We went to a bar and caught up over drinks, while my friend was telling me about his divorce and his children my mind kept drifting back to the pencil.

Coatesballs

I woke up one morning with a minor headache. With each hour the headache grew. I was walking to my job when I saw this girl on her way to class. I looked awful, and she gave me some Advil and kept going. By mid-afternoon I could barely stand. I called my supervisor. When he arrived I lay down in the stockroom, because I had no idea what else to do. I was afraid. I did not understand what was happening. I did not know whom to call. I was lying there simmering, half-awake, hoping to recover. My supervisor knocked on the door. Someone had come to see me. It was her. The girl with the long dreads helped me out and onto the street. She flagged down a cab. Halfway through the ride, I opened the door, with the cab in motion, and vomited in the street. But I remember her holding me there to make sure I didn't fall out and then holding me close when I was done. She took me to that house of humans, which was filled with all manner of love, put me in the bed, put Exodus on the CD player, and turned the volume down to a whisper. She left a bucket by the bed. She left a jug of water. She had to go to class. I slept. When she returned I was back in form. We ate. The girl with the long dreads who slept with whomever she chose, that being her own declaration of control over her body, was there. 
America’s Tolstoy mesmerizingly recounts the struggle between his black body and the influenza virus.
I am standing outside the library debating the Republican takeover of Congress or the place of Wu-Tang Clan in the canon. A dude in a Tribe Vibe T-shirt walks up, gives a pound, and we talk about the black bacchanals of the season…
- A portrait of our preeminent public intellectual as a young man.
The fear lived on in their practiced bop, their slouching denim, their big T- shirts, the calculated angle of their baseball caps, a catalog of behaviors and garments enlisted to inspire the belief that these boys were in firm possession of everything they desired.
- Essential brilliance from essentially the most essential writer in history.

03 May 2015

Slow Burn


A pair of tortoises set fire to a home in Fordingbridge, the Salisbury Journal reports. Remember how we all laughed at the Ugandan policeman who shot and killed a fleeing tortoise, after it aggressively and violently chased him? Maybe we owe him an apology.

14 April 2015

April News Orts


Who was it who said the definition of serendipity is shooting an armadillo and having the bullet ricochet and hit your mother-in-law? Because that happened in Georgia.

It’s been almost a year and the grills are still missing. #BringBackOurGrills.

A half-human, half-chimp humanzee was created in a Nigerian laboratory, reports Humphrey Nakonde. The creature talks and, sadly, has already contracted AIDS.

There are so many wonderful things being invented in Siberia right now, from the practical (a car that runs on pine cones, moose turds and old socks) to the visionary (a kindergarten shaped like a giant cheese that will inspire children to be cheesemakers when they grow up (there may be something to this - I went to a kindergarten shaped like a giant blog)).

07 March 2015

Progress in the UK


The UK Green party wants to give rodents human rights. If the Greenies’ plan is enacted, then cats who kill mice would be charged with murder, creating a market for feline-defense lawyers, which would benefit the economy (if one believes the logic of  Prof. Paul Kroogman et al.). Surely at some point Glasgow U. would rename a building after Ratty the Water Rat. I imagine many other ridiculous things happening as well, they always do.

02 March 2015

Progress in Scotland

Campus buildings named after Adam Smith, James Watt, and various other inconsequential “dead white men” will be renamed after women and blacks, Glasgow University has announced. I don’t know who they will honor, but one deserving black did occur to me: Cotton Watts, a comedic genius some believe is one of James Watt’s distant descendants.


This revisionism is supported by Nicola Sturgeon, a Glasgow U. graduate and current leader of the Scottish National [sic] Party. According to her, the initiative is “hugely important…Women have done great things and fantastic things, but you struggle to find the evidence of that.”

Finding that evidence is a struggle. It’s almost as if it doesn't exist.

17 February 2015

Gimme' That Expensive Spread


Sad news from Roseville, CA, where Sammy’s Rockin’ Island Bar and Grill will close after a mere five months of business. The grill, owned by Sammy ‘The Red Rocker’ Hagar, was a “major part of Roseville’s Downtown Specific Plan”. After the restaurant closes it’s believed Hagar will redirect his focus to making terrible music, while the town of Roseville promises this one setback will not deter it from centering future downtown revitalization plans around projects owned by butt rockers.

10 February 2015

Recent Journalistic Inanity: A Miscellany

“But it was Lindsey Graham who put in the most impressive performance of the conference…Mr. Graham tells me that he is seriously considering a run for the presidency. Why not? The worst that could happen is to expose GOP primary voters to the views of a foreign-policy heavyweight in an era of encroaching global disorder.” - Brett Stephens, The Wall Street Journal.

“Given the obvious motivation for this bit of corporate cooperation—big-budget superhero franchises are all-but-guaranteed moneymakers and studios want to cash in—it would be heartening to see Sony and Marvel take a meaningful risk. Namely, the studios could take advantage of the relative safety that comes with doing a superhero reboot and finally bring a non-white Spider-Man to the big screen…From a PR standpoint, the move could be a huge win for everyone involved if played the right way. More specifically, this is an immense opportunity for Marvel to address growing complaints about diversity and hit the home run Sony missed out on…” - David Sims, The Atlantic.

“I’ve long believed that Matthew Yglesias hit on something really important…” - Paul Krugman, The New York Times.

“Iggy is more talented and more deeply schooled in hip-hop than Vanilla Ice ever was…Iggy has bumbled into some troubling, distinctly American issues. It’s tough watching someone wear your race like a costume and get rewarded for it, especially when there is so much peril in being the genuine article…In Iggy, we see the ultimate in co-opting culture and race, at a time where events in Ferguson, New York, and Cleveland have made us hyper-aware…” - Kashann Kilson, The New Republic.

“Whether or not Olympic legend Bruce Jenner becomes its new champion, the transgender-rights movement is making strides on many fronts…” - David Crary and Lisa Leff, Associated Press.

25 January 2015

Dromaius Novaehollandiae


Doomsaying scientists who believe we are closer to doomsday have reset the Doomsday Clock to Three Minutes till Doom. After learning from a television commercial that people are smearing themselves with grease made from melted-down flightless birds, I wonder if we haven’t passed the Point of Doom already and didn't notice.

22 January 2015

Breaking News

Many believe the robot holocaust has begun after a giant robot savagely attacked a gathering of bus aficionados in Whitby.

Tiny image of Whitbians about to be slaughtered by an 8 ft. mechanical monster courtesy the Whitby Gazette, which apparently has a limited pixel budget.

In other news, gluten free fish and chips are now available in Wetwang.

Imagine the above minus the gluten and there you have what your gluten free Wetwang fish and chips look like, for the most part.

08 January 2015

Current Events

Gnostic societies and their leaders will recognize dangers to their existence when they develop, but such dangers will not be met by appropriate actions in the world of reality. They will rather be met by magic operations in the dream world, such as disapproval, moral condemnation, declarations of intentions, resolutions, appeals to the opinion of mankind, branding of enemies as aggressors, outlawing of war, propaganda for world peace and world government, etc. The intellectual and moral corruption which expresses itself in the aggregate of such magic operations may pervade a society with the weird, ghostly atmosphere of a lunatic asylum, as we experience it in our time in the Western crisis.
 - Eric Voegelin, The New Science of Politics.