Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Thursday, July 30, 2009


In a chat with my brother-in-law a month of so back I mentioned the birthers. Jo unhesitatingly dismissed the topic as too trivial for reasonable people to waste their time discussing (he has admirably high standards; I am more a We-cannot-live-forever-on-the-heights kind of person - OK, if you insist, a Wow, shiny objects kind of a person. And proud of it!). My response at the time was to say that I was prepared to bet that Obama's eventual assassin would be a birther, thus upping the seriousness count. I didn't actually contemplate that the conspiracy theory would move into the mainstream, or at least into the Republican mainstream, which seems to be happening.

Anyway, the odd thing is that to we outsiders the actual purported offence seems so inoffensive. Truthers, yes; we can agree that if the government had flown planes into tall buildings that would be a very bad thing. If Hilary Clinton had murdered Vince Foster, ditto, to a rather lesser extent. But for somebody born of an American mother who'd lived all his adult life in America to stand for president of America seems perfectly reasonable to any Australian - a minor technical breach at most. There's the Manchurian Candidate element, I suppose, to give sauce to the dish, but surely we need a string of hypothesized coverup murders to make this thing really filmic.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Boys with unpopular, girlish or uncommon names often are ridiculed by peers, come from families of low socioeconomic status and face discrimination in the workforce based on a preconceived bias about their names, according to the study, which analysed more than 15,000 names.

Top 10 bad-boy names

Alec, Ernest, Garland, Ivan, Kareem, Luke, Malcolm, Preston, Tyrell, Walter.

My father was named Alec! My nephew’s called Luke, too. Obviously we’re a family of low socioeconomic status.

Actually, half those names are bog standard respectable. Scots, even. And I simply refuse to believe that there are that many Garlands out there. This whole things sounds suss.

Nine Principles

Rudd put up an Emissions Trading Scheme of sorts. Turnbull "held a telephone hook-up of his front bench yesterday and secured agreement to nine conditions." Penny Wong said that these weren't proper amendments and refused to consider them.
Leaving aside everything to do with the actual merits of Turnbull's nine conditions, it's surely worthy of note that no newspaper or TV show that I can see actually thought we needed to see them. The most we got was from the Australian, which said "If accepted by the government, the conditions would offer extra compensation to coalminers, electricity generators and possibly other heavy industries such as steel, aluminium and cement. And farmers would pay nothing but possibly make money from their emission reduction efforts."

The principles ran to 420 words, not an impossible burden - less if cut. That's apparently though to be too much for us. All that was reported was the political events - dispute, proposal, rejection. All gladiatorial, nothing contemplating that policy could in itself be important.

That said, and maintaining a lack of consideration of the merits, Turnbull's principles were really crap as interventions into the debate. No hint of a connecting narrative, no overarching principles of which these specific points were examples, just a random walk through industry demands with absolutely no persuasive effect at all. I'd call it a wasted opportunity if it wasn't also true that Turnbull obviously picked the operations mode of the Australian media a lot better than I would have. I would have wasted my time trying to get something readable; he knew nobody would have a chance to read it and that all that counted was to be seen to be acting out a role.

The statement isn't even given any special prominence on the Liberal party website.

And of course yes, I would disagree with most of them as being too indulgent to large polluters, but I also disagree with much of the government bill for the same reasons, so I'm not sure how much difference it would make.

For old time's sake

This lovely poem

Monday, July 27, 2009


Of course, it would have been so much better if it had been Venus.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Deep insights (II)

(5) For internal doors that don't demand security or privacy, substituting Velcro on the door jamb for lock fittings is a great convenience. You don't have to turn the handle, you can just push!

Thursday, July 16, 2009


While I remember,

A few weeks ago, coming home on the train, a couple of giggling schoolgirls trying to impress a tubby boy with a discussion of anal sex. "Every hole is a goal," I remember, and "If it's red, take the brown." Not seen exactly as routine, or even firsthand, but well within the universe of discourse in a public space.

And today (different kids)
"and then I went home and had a bath...."
"Eeew. That's weird."
"What's weird about being clean?"
""Well, showers, yes, but just cleaning all the shit off your body and then sitting in there with it..."

Generational markers, both of them.

Or, on reflection, possibly not: I remember my friend Rutherford back in 1967 or thereabouts expressing himself in strong terms on his repugnance for, as he put it, "stewing in your own secretions".

But at the time that was itself seen as a rather weird response.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

And more

A whole series, evidently. From Harding College, which I must look up on Wikipedia.

Actually, nothing on Wiki - but the story (and other links) are here. Joe Hockey, take note.


A 1948 cartoon on the American Way, written to the requirements of the Institute of Public Affairs or Hannoush and remarkably well animated - note the sexy broads. Interesting, too, in that it's ostensibly against Isms - the word 'communism' isn't actually mentioned at any point, and the word 'capitalism' has to be rephrased as 'the capitalistic system' - and it's thus pictured as being initially attractive to tycoons and labour both.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


But so much depends on conventions that we do not share: this, for example,
Afterwards, she said she was absolutely sure Alaska will be better off with Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell, her successor. "I'm extremely happy," she told ABC News. "I know that I know that I know that this is the right thing for Alaska."

is apparently quite a common usage among fundamentalists, to the extent that Governor Daniels used the same phrase only a few days ago:
Everybody's got their own value system, but to me, even if it's a place that I could never go, if I wanted to know that I knew that I knew, if that's more important to me than running for president, that's my prerogative as a human being.

There may be a premillenial explanation for all the odd bits. Which I suppose doesn't make them any less odd - more, perhaps - but does fulfil at least some of the functions of an explanation.


A new list from Yglesias of the top twenty grossing movies, inflation-adjusted:
1. Gone With the Wind
2. Star Wars
3. The Sound of Music
4. E.T.
5. The Ten Commandments
6. Titanic
7. Jaws
8. Doctor Zhivago
9. The Exorcist
10. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
11. 101 Dalmations
12. The Empire Strikes Back
13. Ben-Hur
14. Return of the Jedi
15. The Sting
16. Raiders of the Lost Ark
17. Jurassic Park
18. The Graduate
19. The Phantom Menace
20. Fantasia
As you can see from my title, I think the odd one out is Fantasia, which I always thought was supposed to be a financial disaster for Disney and the cue for a move back to less ambitious projects. And we're obviously talking first release on these, not long-tail rentals, or the Phantom Menace wouldn't feature.

Four Star Wars, three Spielberg, three Disney - between them, half. I'm mildly surprised that Cleopatra doesn't score.

And The Graduate would seem to be a shoo-in for cost/benefit ratio.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Advancing in a New Direction

I suppose I should note the latest gift from Palin, which is certainly among her best, most Dickensian, post-modern self-parodic work.
With the god
This land, blessed with clean air, water, wildlife, minerals, AND oil and gas. It's energy! God gave us energy. We aggressively and responsibly develop our resources because they were created to be used to better our world... to HELP people...

and the
A good point guard drives through a full court press, protecting the ball, keeping her eye on the basket… and she knows exactly when to pass the ball so that the team can WIN. And I’m doing that – keeping our eye [what are we, the Graeae?] on the ball that represents sound priorities – smaller government, energy independence, national security, freedom!

which is one hell of a cluttered political cartoon, and
In fact, this decision comes after much consideration, and finally [push]polling the most important people in my life - my children (where the count was unanimous... well, in response to asking: "Want me to make a positive difference and fight for ALL our children's future from OUTSIDE the Governor's office?" It was four "yes's" [including, surely, one 'Yeth' or even "Goo goo" - Trig isn't one yet] and one "hell yeah!" The "hell yeah" sealed it - and someday I'll talk about the details of that...

Still, I suppose I should count it to her credit that I now know what 'call an audible" means.
I can't follow the logic of the actual resignation, in that all of the proposed explanations - oncoming scandal, freedom to run for president - would seem to work better if she stayed on. But then one doesn't go to Palin for logic, so just enjoy...


At the weekend we take the gang to Wicked, the musical. Leaving me utterly flabbergasted as to how it ever got made at all, let alone was successful and won Tonys and the like. No songs, no acting, no charm.... I would have thought it difficult to devise a riff on the Wizard of Oz that was more shallow and obvious than the original, but Wicked certainly has: and without any of the original's hooks. A waste of life.

Friday, July 03, 2009

I to my perils of cheat and charmer

I catch up, rather late, to a newish Oxford edition of Housman's poems, with a greatly expanded section of light verse. A must-buy, obviously - but

Jasus, Joseph, Mary 'n' FOCK,

The Poems of A. E. Housman (Oxford English Texts) (Hardcover)
A. E. Housman (Author)
Archie Burnett (Editor)
Price: $375.00

Three fucking hundred and seventy fucking five fucking dollars. Fuck me dead.

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