Monday, August 30, 2010

"I Don't Talk Things, Sir. I Talk the Meaning of Things."

Post title courtesy of Faber from Fahrenheit 451, which I'm trying to finish today to put a buffer on my "books read" list between the last group of church books I read and Angels and Demons, which I plan to finish tomorrow.

Lots of stuff changed for me over the weekend. I finished my second qualifying examination (I'll find out in three weeks if I passed them both, so for now I get to imagine I did). My oldest kid was baptized. I filled up the journal I was writing and had to start in a new one. I started another semester of classes today. And I had to go back to the temporary job I had at the beginning of August because they liked me and wanted me back, and I didn't have a good excuse to turn them down anymore.

The point is, I'm back to blogging once a day(ish), and I am a little low on topics right now. So pretend you're in the audience at improv night and start shouting out ideas of what you'd like to see.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

This Is What We Are Now

How long has it been since you spent hours in queue to get your fundamental problems solved? Well, it won't be much longer.

Last week we had people lined up for applications to get on an eight-year waiting list. (To make things easier on you, I'll let you live in my basement in eight years if you want to send me an e-mail to get on the list today.) Now we have a story about people driving all night to stand on line to get a mortgage renegotiated. This is what we are now.

Welcome to the new America.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bang For the Buck

From Bill Easterly's blog:

The other interesting thing about the graph is the summation of total spending $218.737 billion and the creation of 749,142 jobs. Did it occur to them that somebody might divide the first number by the second and come up with the number per job (slightly less the $300K). Did anything think of just paying workers $300K directly, and letting them stay home and read poetry?

Of course, making $300,000 would put these folks in that diabolical "upper five percent" of wage-earners, the ones who get loaded at Illuminati meetings and plan out how to stick it to the rest of us. But I'd agree to read poetry for 300K. (Per annum, not lump sum, mind you.)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"Getting Hassled By the Man"

Passive-aggressiveness has its place. I used it extensively in high school, when it was the only form of aggressiveness available to me. The biggest idiot of all my teachers (the one who told me Gallipoli was obviously fought on the Italian front because the word sounded Italian) I fastidiously called "Sir."

Yes, when I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. However, in the words of Bill McNeal, "When I became a man, I had that child taken out back and shot."

Aside from the mild-mannered-average-man-pursued-by-covert-government-operatives scenario, no self-respecting adult should resort to passive-aggression. If you need to be aggressive, have the plums to practice some active-aggression.

Do you think no one knows the aggression's there? Do you think it preserves the bonhomie of the genial band? Like our shared religious affiliation isn't reason enough for you to not be a [INFORMAL POLL: WOULD IT BE INAPPROPRIATE FOR ME TO USE THE TERM "DICK" HERE?], but it's cool because you've got me completely fooled? Let me tell you, friend, I'm not fooled about any of it. If you don't like the way I do my calling, by all means, take one of my FOUR away and do it for me. I'm not sorry that my number-one priority isn't your menial assignment; I have about 83 more-important things in my life. You'd know that if you ever asked me about anything other than what you want me to do for you. But you, like 90% of this ward, don't care a thing for me or my family. Every week that goes by makes me wish more fervently that we had taken our chance to flee the ward in July.

And to the smart-ass who is itching to leave a comment saying, "It's very passive-aggressive of you to lay into a guy in an anonymous blog post," I say, "Can it, loser. This wasn't aggression because the subject wasn't identified. I'm not complaining behind someone's back to people who know the target. I'm letting off steam. Worlds apart."

Title from the Sublime song "Garden Grove."

Friday, August 20, 2010

"You Deserve a Break Today"

Somebody took that old McDonald's jingle to heart.

Are we to believe that the president plugged the oil spill all on his own, and that he single-handedly "ended" the war in Iraq? That must be why he's taking his 85th vacation of the summer.

That guy has forgotten more vacations than I'll ever take. But it's okay. He's been working so hard lately. And besides, you have to have a job to take a vacation from it, and the number of those people is shrinking weekly.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

All the Time in the Et Cetera

What am I doing with all my free time? Well, besides trying to find a job, studying for two doctoral qualifier exams, and being a dad to my kids? I guess not enough, because last week I got my fourth calling.

  1. Ward Employment Specialist
  2. Activities Committee Member
  3. Membership Clerk
  4. Elders Quorum Instructor

I also got a fourth family to home teach. Because a central tenet of our religion is that everyone will become an alcoholic pornographer with a gambling problem if allowed to have free time.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I'm Living the (Central) American Dream

Here are two blog quotes. Which is from my blog?

  • About 8 years ago, when we took our first ski trip to Italy.
  • I’ve been so poor for so long that today I realized I was fantasizing about owning a Vespa.

The thing is the other blogger was completely guileless about it. He wasn't rubbing anyone's face in anything. He's simply taken so many ski trips to Italy that he has to number them to tell them apart.

Meanwhile, I make wishlists that include the Metropolitan II.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Lies! Damnable Lies!

Last week I was telling a friend the plot of Sister Carrie, until he pointed out to me that I was really telling him the plot of Citizen Kane. Since we disagreed, the loser economist in me immediately turned to our conditional probabilities to see who's right, until I remembered that, on the sliding scale of believability, he's at 85% and I'm only at 30.

In my defense, however, the scene in question is very similar to a particular part towards the end of Sister Carrie. Then again, this is according to me, a veritable Joe Isuzu of the blogging world.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Just Wait 'Til Never

In the past week the Pirates have overtaken the Orioles for the worst record in baseball, and in the process have outperformed even their own illustrious losing tradition. This Pirates team, at 116 games into the season, is the worst Pirates team in the entire 18-year losing streak. They are currently 38 games under .500. A 100-loss season is virtually assured. The Bucs have now set their sights on bigger game: the 110-loss season.

Last year got me excited. I was hoping the club realized that everyone wanted to avoid the losing streak record. Evidently it was everyone aside from management. The fire sale started early last year, with trades beginning in May instead of late July like normal. When the team lost their 82nd game last year, management had a bunch of statements about how it didn't matter to them because they hadn't been there since 1992, so it was all someone else's problem.

The fans have been there since 1992, though. I have been there since 1992. Having management blow me off like that was like getting punched in the gut. And then they come out this year and don't even try to field a major-league team, not even for April and May. There was no fire sale this year at the trade deadline only because no one on the team is worth anything to the other clubs we feed. (Boston is the only team in baseball that gets to have two Triple-A teams: Pawtucket and Pittsburgh.)

Most teams would say, "Wait 'til next year," but Pirates management can't even get the first word out without laughing. Everyone knows their business model doesn't involve ever having a winning season ever again, no matter how many fans they turn off in the process.

"Moths Beat Themselves to Death Against the Light"

This post's title brought to you by the Modest Mouse song "The World at Large." And the content of the post is brought to you by P.G. Wodehouse's book Mike. So basically I've added no value at all, just like the middle-manager I hope to someday be.

There are situations in life which are beyond one. The sensible man realises this, and slides out of such situations, admitting himself beaten. Others try to grapple with them, but it never does any good. When affairs get into a real tangle, it is best to sit still and let them straighten themselves out. Or, if one does not do that, simply to think no more about them. This is Philosophy. The true philosopher is the man who says 'All right,' and goes to sleep in his armchair. One's attitude towards Life's Little Difficulties should be that of the gentleman in the fable, who sat down on an acorn one day, and happened to doze. The warmth of his body caused the acorn to germinate, and it grew so rapidly that, when he awoke, he found himself sitting in the fork of an oak, sixty feet from the ground. He thought he would go home, but, finding this impossible, he altered his plans. 'Well, well,' he said, 'if I cannot compel circumstances to my will, I can at least adapt my will to circumstances. I decide to remain here.' Which he did, and had a not unpleasant time. The oak lacked some of the comforts of home, but the air was splendid and the view excellent.

To-day's Great Thought for Young Readers. Imitate this man.

p. 119

Friday, August 13, 2010

"What's It Like in the Big House, Mickey?"

Time was only criminals had to pay for their crimes. Now we've got law-abiding illegal aliens--wait a minute.

This article bemoans that a quarter of those deported had no criminal record, despite the fact that their being in the country when they were not legally entitled to be in the country is a wonderful basis for beginning a criminal record.

I'm going to try this defense when I get arrested for grand larceny. "But I can't be a criminal; it's never been documented that I've ever stolen before."

Title quote from the cinematic tour de force "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Only Way to Grieve

Everyone get off Michelle Obama's back, all right? She had a very good reason to spend tens of thousands of dollars (some hers, some ours, but then what's ours is really hers, isn't it?) on one of her eight summer vacations: a friend was grieving. And we all know when grief comes in your life, the only way to handle it is to fly to Spain.

That clears everything up. Move along. No reason for outrage here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Everything You Need to Know About Modern America

From this article right here:

  1. Thirty thousand people waited hours outside in Atlanta in August for an application available online here.
  2. Sixty-two people needed medical attention. When I ran the Kansas City Marathon there were not 62 people requiring medical attention.
  3. Officials considered the event a success because no one was arrested and no one was seriously injured. That's what defines a successful event in our country these days?
  4. The reason for the event was that the eight-year waiting list had gotten smaller.
  5. This was only to hand out the applications. They can be turned back in tomorrow.
  6. Some had camped out for two days.
  7. Two small children were trampled when a building was stormed.
  8. Everyone who qualifies for the waiting list has to make less than $16,000 a year.

All this to get an application to get on an eight-year waiting list.

You know that moment of the free crap episode of Oprah when she yells out, "Everyone's GETTING one!" and the ladies shriek like attacking monkeys?

This is what our country has become.

NOTE to GOOGLE READER-TYPE READERS: This post contains an awesome video that doesn't show up in Google Reader. Not that I'm trying to get you to click over; if it were up to me it would work for you, but it doesn't. Just so you know.

I Can't Get Enough of This Video

This video restores my faith in humanity.

Seriously, though, I love that the reporter in this article thinks she has to include the fact that alcohol was involved. Wasn't that a given? I also love that the lady tries to climb through the window before realizing that she's not agile enough for it. And I love that the next car up to the drive-thru pulls up with adroitness. Get that McGriddle!

Rand Paul Has Done Horrible, Horrible Things That I Just Made Up

I was just sitting over here, not blogging, reading economics texts, but the stupidity of the world won't leave me alone. So I'm back with a rash of blog posts.

First of all: Rand Paul's supposed kidnapping of a college student in 1983. It's stupid because no one involved ever thought it was anywhere close to a real kidnapping except for the GQ reporter who was all like, "OMZG! Tea Party darling guilty of felony! I can't get this boner to go away!"

But what's even stupider is this, from GQ Editor-in-Chief Jim Nelson: "We stand by the story, and we gave the Paul campaign every opportunity to refute it. We notice that they have not, in fact, refuted it.”

No, Jim, they haven't refuted it because how are they ever supposed to prove that he never kidnapped someone 27 years ago? It's an impossible task. Jim has set a new standard for libel: nothing is libelous, because nothing can be refuted.

As a rule of thumb, you can tell which conservative candidates are most threatening to the liberal establishment by which they try most disparately to destroy. Rand Paul is going to be a vocal champion of conservative/libertarian principles in the United States Senate, and that will be prove inconvenient to the administration that intends to bankrupt us all (government deficit in just July 2010: $165 billion). So let's say he's a kidnapper, and then let's point out that he hasn't disproved he's a kidnapper. I'm a more responsible journalist than Jim Nelson.

Since Harry Reid Mentioned It...

Of all people in our political scene, I would think Harry Reid would be the one who most wants to stay away from an "I don't know how any [member of group] can be a [member of political party]," if you know what I'm saying. But here he is, asking that very question.

So how would Senator Reid answer a similar question? He is arguably the fourth-highest public official within a political party that advocates the broadest possible access to abortion, that holds the Constitution in contempt as often as it holds it in esteem, that seeks to replace the divinely-bestowed rights of the individual with the bureaucratically-created rights of the group. And why? Because Republicans often fail to have charity?

I grant that's a true charge. The reason there is a split between the "haves" and the "have-nots" is that the "haves" don't have enough of the love of Christ. But when the solution to the problem is to impose charity against the will of the "haves", any religious basis for the choice is completely destroyed. So explain to me and to the other 95% of your co-religionists who feel this way, Senator, on what possible grounds you can be a Democrat.

The way I see it, you can blame either family allegiances from 80 years ago, before the New Deal, you can claim you support forcing "righteousness" on the citizenry, or you can admit that you're just a contrarian. No other explanation accounts for your embrace of a party so committed to abortion, a "living" Constitution, and the removal of individual agency.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Be Careful With That Effluvia

Evidently, giving birth at home is riskier for your baby than killing it.

A recent editorial by the British medical journal The Lancet stated that: "Women have the right to choose how and where to give birth, but they do not have the right to put their baby at risk. There are competing interests that need to be weighed carefully."

And by "competing interests," the writer obviously means "doctors' boat payments." Ladies don't have the right to put their babies at risk, but they DO have the right to kill their babies.

Just so we're clear about this: kill your baby all you want, just don't deliver it somewhere that a doctor isn't getting a cut of the bill.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Out of Commission

Listen, fools, I've got exams to study for, so you can expect not much until the end of the month. Sorry, but that's how things are.