Showing posts from January, 2005

Canaans old and new

On the plane to New Canaan (if you recall, old Canaan was a place God (or someone speaking on his behalf, I can’t remember) once notified “the word of the LORD is against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines, I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant) many of my fellow passengers are discussing claims that sexual tactics were used at Guantanamo : Female interrogators tried to break Muslim detainees at the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, with sexual touching, by wearing a miniskirt and thong underwear...The female interrogator…removed her uniform top to expose a tight-fitting T-shirt and began taunting the detainee, touching her breasts, rubbing them against the prisoner's back and commenting on his apparent erection... What this means is that our military has concluded it is useful to subject our worst enemies to the simulated conditions of an ordinary American junior high school. Many are calling for an end to using these methods against ca

Departure: New Canaan

I’m East Coast bound for the funeral of Philip Johnson , one of the world’s oldest enfant terribles until his death, Tuesday, at the age of 98. Johnson was an architect, and inspiration for the Captain Marvel villain Dr. Sivana. He invented the transparent garden shed, an ingenious design which allows one to see from across the lawn what tools are available, without having to walk over and go in the shed. He hoped to revolutionize the entire shed industry and make a fortune, but it failed to catch on, and Johnson was reduced to living in the glass shed with his homosexualist lover. He took revenge upon the world for this rejection by tricking a number of builders into constructing his ugly designs for tall buildings.

It only seems like the same joke everyone else is making

First it was learned professional right-wing negro Armstrong Williams took $240,000 in bribes to opine favorably about the Bush administration, now we learn pundit and non-lesbian Maggie Gallagher received money as well, nearly $40,000. For the record, I haven’t received any filthy lucre from the Bush administration or anyone else to say anything. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I will extol the virtues of any asinine plan the administration wants in exchange for the government picking up my bar tab for a year, making me cheaper than Mr. Williams and slightly more expensive than Mrs. Gallagher.

Thanks a million, Vermillion

I read in the news that : America's second biggest bank, JP Morgan Chase, has made a rare apology for its subsidiaries' involvement in the slave trade 200 years ago, admitting that it accepted slaves as loan collateral and ended up owning several hundred. In the spirit of atonement exemplified by JP Morgan Chase, I would like to apologize to the descendants of anyone who may have suffered a raping or a pillaging at the hands of one of my Viking ancestors. I feel terrible about it. Or I did, before apologizing. Now I feel terrific. I will not, however, apologize to the proprietors or any of the employees of the Super 8 Motel on East Cherry Street in Vermillion, SD, who maliciously claim I caused a variety of incidents during the brief time I stayed there. My policy is that anyone who voluntarily accepts my money in exchange for drinks deserves whatever ensues. Luckily, I discovered the delightful Comfort Inn. I enjoyed my stay there immensely, and if I ever come back I

The lounge at the Comfort Inn on West Cherry Street

Another day brings another example of the pointlessness of modern scientific research (unless the point is to annoy me): Older women who drink a moderate amount of alcohol each day may be helping to keep their minds sharp, according to researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and colleagues. “In our study, older women who drank moderate amounts of alcohol tended to perform better on tests for cognitive function and dementia,” said Mark Espeland, Ph.D., lead researcher. “Most of these women drank one or two drinks per day.” Now every bar I go to is overrun with drunken grannies. Does it not occur to these awful scientists that the old ladies are better off forgetting their pasts? I know I'm better off not having them infesting my preferred drinking establishments. I have no hope the 'researchers' responsible for this situation will be held accountable.

A brief detour into ichthyology

Earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, a tornado, mudslides, an avalanche - these are just some of the ways Nature has chosen to murder us in recent weeks. But apparently killing is not satisfying enough - now Nature is mocking us. I’m referring of course to the discovery of this loathsome creature, a carp with a human face! I can think of no possible adaptive advantage that fish derives from having a human face, he must have evolved it for no reason other than to annoy. I hope he chokes on a worm.

One is an esoteric Straussian, the other went to Yale

"America has never been united by blood or birth or soil. We are bound by ideals that move us beyond our backgrounds, lift us above our interests and teach us what it means to be citizens. Every child must be taught these principles. Every citizen must uphold them; and every immigrant, by embracing these ideals, makes our country more, not less, American." - George W. Bush "America is not only for the whites , but it is for all. Who is the America? The American is you, me and that. When we go to America we will become Americans and there is no a race or nationalism called America and the Americans are those Africans, Indians, Chinese, and Europeans and whoever goes to America will become American...American is for all of us and the whole world had made and created America. All the people all over the world had made America and it shall accordingly be for all of us. I will never feel ashamed when I claim for my right in America and it will not be strange when I raise

A cold reception in Vermillion, SD

My planned excavation of Paha Wakan hill has run into the objections of the local authorities. It seems one can’t dig up Indian sacred sites without getting numerous permits first, now matter how momentous the discovery one is on the verge of (did they make Galileo fill out all the proper forms before he dropped his balls off the roof?). In this new Dark Age the petty whims of the bureaucrat ruling class take precedence over Science. The weather forecast of snow and a high of 0 degrees Fahrenheit for Friday does not help matters much either. Why does anyone live here? Surprisingly, there is an institution of higher learning in this town, the University of South Dakota . I recommend sending your kids to it if you wish to punish them. I foolishly thought some of the scholars at USD would be interested in assisting my archeological endeavors, but they were in fact hostile, and abetted the obstruction of my planned dig. Undoubtedly they could not bear the thought of a clever amateur di

Speaking of pygmies

When I hear the phrase 'celebrate diversity ' I’m tempted to reach for my gun, because the few occasions when I’ve been forced to ‘celebrate diversity’ were not celebrations at all, but attempts at indoctrination. But things were not always so, as this description of an event held at the 1904 Saint Louis World’s Fair reminds us:  Sept. 13, 1904: The Negritos won a fire-making competition against the Ainus of Japan and the African pygmies. The Negritos used friction between bamboo sticks to get a spark in 58 seconds. They had a fire going in less than two minutes. Anthropology Professor Frederick Starr said it was apparent that the Negritos were a more developed race. Doesn’t that sound like fun? It saddens me that such a fascinating and educational competition that illustrates and celebrates real diversity is unthinkable today.

Arrival: Vermillion, SD

When were the Americas first settled? Some archeologists claim to have discovered tools and other evidence of human activity at a site in South Carolina which radiocarbon date to 50,000 years ago. Many scientists dispute this date as far too early, among them anthropological geneticist Spencer Wells . Analyses of genetic markers not only indicate a date closer to 20,000 years ago, but preclude the possibility of a date as early as 50,000 years ago. The genetic evidence is so convincing Wells believes that "It is likely...the 50,000 year old "tools" found there were produced by natural flaking, not human manufacture, and that the charred plant remains resulted from a natural fire" (letters, Discover magazine, Feb. 2005). But what if the authenticity of the tools withstands scrutiny, how could they be reconciled with the genetic evidence? According to Wells "...there is an intriguing, although unlikely, possibility. Given the recent discovery in Flores of a d

Their common mode of life is a system of wretchedness and self-denial

In the essay Observations on Mr. Wordsworth's poem, 'The Excursion’ William Hazlitt wrote: "All country people hate each other. They have so little comfort, that they envy their neighbours the smallest pleasure or advantage, and nearly grudge themselves the necessaries of life. From not being accustomed to enjoyment, they become hardened and averse to it -- stupid, for want of thought -- selfish, for want of society. There is nothing good to be had in the country, or, if there is, they will not let you have it. They had rather injure themselves than oblige any one else. Their common mode of life is a system of wretchedness and self-denial, like what we read of among barbarous tribes. You live out of the world. You cannot get your tea and sugar without sending to the next town for it; you pay double, and have it of the worst quality. The small-beer is sure to be sour -- the milk skimmed -- the meat bad, or spoiled in the cooking. You cannot do a single thing you like; you

At this point uninteresting things would be an improvement

"Royalty is a Government in which the attention of the nation is concentrated on one person doing interesting actions. A Republic is a Government in which that attention is divided between many, who are all doing uninteresting things." - Walter Bagehot

Come on and join our convoy (even if you are an arsonist, a terrorist, an illegal alien or a giant peanut)

Disturbing news from my favorite journalist, Lance Gay : a plan by our government to change current transportation safety rules to allow arsonists and non-citizens to drive "gasoline tankers and trucks loaded with explosives and hazardous materials". It’s obviously not in the remotest interest of American citizens to have pyromaniacs driving gasoline tankers, to have 'refugees' who are really terrorists driving trucks carrying toxic chemicals, or to have Mexicans and other foreigners who can’t read signs in English driving any kind of truck at all. So why are the changes being made? Because (as I have pointed out before) the ugly secret modern democracy is that our government hates us. Once one realizes this, the Transportation Safety Agency's desire to change the law in order to increase the chances an ordinary American dies in a horrific gasoline or chemical explosion on the highway it makes perfect sense (as does the government’s malicious 'war' on

Should his portrait instead be on the three dollar bill?

Abe Lincoln. Was Abraham Lincoln a homosexualist? He was according to a new book by written by C.A. Tripp . Tripp is himself a homosexualist (a coincidence), and at one time was a researcher for the ‘sex scientist’ Alfred Kinsey . Tripp cites as evidence a statement by Lincoln’s stepmother, Sarah Bush Lincoln, that Abe "was not very fond of girls, as he seemed to me". I wonder if Abe’s stepmother had terrible eyesight. Did it not occur to her that girls were not very fond of him ? For history's sake, let’s examine the facts on both sides.  Evidence he wasn't: he fathered four children with wife Mary Todd. Evidence he was: Lincoln shared his bed with the captain of his bodyguards, David Derickson. Lincoln was often seen frequenting a popular public restroom in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington DC. Lincoln loved the theater. Young Lincoln was often referred to as ‘the rail-splitter’ (I don’t know what that means but it sounds queer). For the time bein

A history of the imagination in our time

Guy Davenport has died . His essays and criticism stand on their own as works of art, reading them makes one a more perceptive and better reader (if not a better human being). His translations of Greek are exhilarating , and reconnect the modern with the ancient mind (as does his fiction set in the ancient world). Davenport's criticism repeatedly illuminated and connected authors in surprising ways, as in this essay where he detects the influence of a Wilkie Collins story on a story by Kafka. He elevated authors that conventional opinion underappreciated or misunderstood (Ruskin, O. Henry, Agassiz - so many). His own stylistically unique fiction was underappreciated and misunderstood by conventional opinion. I believe some of his short stories rank among the best of the last century, and I think, unless literature ceases to matter, Davenport will be one of the few recent authors influential and revered a century hence.

Pathos has become bathos

Tsunami relief efforts continue. In Hong Kong, stars including Jackie Chan are recording a Chinese version of We are the World . As I’m sure the people of Sri Lanka would agree, there is no greater consolation in the aftermath of catastrophe than an inane pop song, badly sung in a language one doesn’t understand. Speaking of tidal wave victims in Sri Lanka, the search for the still missing male lover of interior designer and minor television celebrity Nate Berkus continues. As Mr. Berkus tells it, he was happily lying in bed at a Sri Lankan resort, his male lover right behind him when the wave hit. Mr. Berkus survived by clinging to a pole, but "His friend...was torn away from the same pole", which must have surprised both of them. Talk show host and humanitarian Oprah has stopped eating long enough to hire a group of ex-Marines to locate Mr. Berkus buddy, bless her. Despite giving undue attention to this trivial story for some reason the mainstream press has made no men

Andahuaylas Rebellion Update

The affair in Andahuaylas has ended with the surrender of Maj. Antauro Humala. But all is not lost : Toledo said 40 of Humala's supporters were arrested after he was detained and a police officer from the tactical operations unit told Reuters another 90 turned themselves in. "We're scouring the area because we have information some have escaped," said the officer, who declined to be named. Not only have they escaped, but if all is going according to plan the fellows are on their way to Seattle. I'm sure when they finally get there they will have a great time. Andahuaylas was an asinine place to stage a rebellion anyway. There is nothing here, yet people first migrated all the way here thousands of years ago. Who (or what?) was chasing them? In the day time the locals ride around aimlessly on llamas, since they have no work to do. At night they get drunk and have sex with those same llamas. It's quite sad. I'm perpetually baffled as to why

National Review used to be better

Various leftists are excited by an essay that was published in National Review in 1957 that stated in part: It is not easy, and it is unpleasant, to adduce statistics evidencing the cultural superiority of White over Negro: but it is a fact that obtrudes, one that cannot be hidden by ever-so-busy egalitarians and anthropologists....It is more important for the community, anywhere in the world, to affirm and live by civilized standards, than to bow to the demands of the numerical majority. If white leftists truly disagree with the above, why is it in the cities where most of them reside (Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc.) white leftists choose, at great expense, not to live in predominantly black neighborhoods, and if at all possible not to send their children to predominantly black schools? Perhaps white leftists should explain their own incongruous behavior instead of attempting to discredit a magazine based on what it published nearly 50 years ago.

Arrival: Andahuaylas

I've finally reached Andahuaylas, Peru (approximately 560 miles southeast of Lima), site of the rebel hostage crisis . I am working with chief of police Felix Murazzo and (Peruvian) Congressman Michael Martinez to negotiate Maj. Antauro Humala's surrender and exile to Seattle. Chief Murazzo and I agree things are proceeding well, will know more about the Major's intentions by tomorrow's agreed upon deadline to begin surrender (7:30 AM local time).

A feudal lord in the modern world

"Is my deep attachment to tradition the reason why I cannot see the French Revolution's developments as real progress and improvement? The events of 1789 helped dismantle the world's status, bringing the advent of a horrid reign of money and the middle class, with petty shopkeepers' values. The Medici kings had an elevated, grandiose outlook, and although I don't share their authoritarian notion of rule, they indisputably encouraged beauty and preserved the arts...Today's world is an extension of these revolutionary developments. The secular society has forgotten stone, preferring cement and plastic, indestructibly ugly materials and short-lived household goods. It's mankind's tragedy." - Balthus, Vanished Splendors , p. 144.

Arrival: Lima

LIMA, Peru (AP) -- About 150 followers of a retired army major seized a police station in a remote Andean town Saturday, demanding the resignation of President Alejandro Toledo. The lunatic behind this operation, Major Antauro Humala, initially seems the typical Latino insurrectionist (he "wears army fatigues with pistols tucked in his belt ", for some reason the stock costume of South American rebel leaders, both Left and Right). But what I find captivating about Maj. Humala (and what has drawn me to his rebellion) is that he seeks "to establish a xenophobic nationalist indigenous movement modeled on the ancient Inca Empire". This is a brilliant idea, but the mistake Maj. Humala is making is trying to make it happen in Peru. The Peruvian government will never stand for it, the Peruvian Army will arrive in overwhelming numbers, and he and his intrepid men will die in a hail of bullets, an ending as predictable and clich├ęd as Maj. Humala's choice of outfit. So I

Actual Conversations With Strippers, Part. 1

She: Are you a cop? Me: Do I look like a cop? She: No. So, are you a cop? She: I’ve seen you somewhere else. Me: I’ve seen you somewhere else. She: Maybe you saw me driving a bus? Me: What the fuck, you drive a bus? She: No. She: Why do you keep looking over my shoulder when I am telling you about my cat? Me: There’s a naked woman on the stage behind you right now, and I’m trying to watch. She: Is that all you care about? She: My mom’s coming to visit, and she doesn’t know I work here. Me: Tell her you’re a waitress. She: She’ll want to come visit me at work. Me: Tell her you’re an undercover cop. She: That’s pretty good. Me: Do you like what you do here? She: I love my job. Except for the nudity. Me: I hate my job. Except for the nudity. She: Where do work? Me: In an office.

It's supposed to look like that

Before leaving Seattle, I thought I would take them time to marvel at some of her ugly buildings. The EMP , ostensibly a museum (in reality one man’s junk collection) was a 'gift' from billionerd Paul Allen. If I ever meet him I will be sure to give him the thanks he deserves. It should not be too surprising that the tastes of someone like Allen are frozen in adolescence, but did the city have to agree to indulge him simply because he was willing to pay for most of it? The new Seattle library was not the result of philanthropy. Designed by a Dutch flim-flam man named Rem Koolhass, it too, is ugly . The way it bulges out oppressively into the street makes it unpleasant even to walk by. Viewing its unbalanced angles creates a sense of unease. We have lost the ability to create beautiful buildings. We have lost the ability to create tolerable buildings. Our new buildings are a form of aesthetic assault. This is a description of the library by a critic who admires it: The Se