Some Meh Movies That Are Decent Enough
Hollywood doesn't really make good movies anymore, so here are some Meh ones that are decent wastes of your time.
So if you need stuff to watch this Thanksgiving holiday weekend:
Hansel & Gretl: Witch-Hunters. Just pretty much fun from the opening. Good "Troll" make up (or CGI). I honestly just flat-out enjoyed this movie.
Oh by the way: This movie is ridiculously violent. Ridiculously.
It doesn't just have one head being squashed/exploded by powerful force (a troll's fist, a horse's hoof). It has at least two and maybe three.
Non-Stop. Cranky conservatives may whine about the solution to the mystery, but I'd object back that It's just a movie and a movie has to do something different, right?
Well the solution is dumb and really makes no sense if you think about it, but that doesn't detract from the fact that it's fun, tense, involving thriller, and they don't really make thrillers anymore, so.
Another movie I just liked.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. The concept looks awful, the trailers looked like unfunny CGI-overload nonsense, and it seems kind of shitty to use the "Walter Mitty" title to sell a movie that has almost nothing at all to do with Walter Mitty.
But it turns out the movie is reasonably good. Maybe you just have to be in the mood for it. It's one of those Follow Your Dream movies, but it's especially strident about it.
But I got into it.
On the "Walter Mitty" title -- It feels like a script was written that had nothing to do with Walter Mitty at all, except for the basic idea of a daydreamer hero, but the studio decided "Wow we'd have so much more MindSpace if we had the Walter Mitty title, so let's buy the title and slap it on this unrelated movie."
Now even though that's what I think happened here, I'd point out that the unrelated screenplay is still worth shooting a movie from, and if they had to buy the Walter Mitty title to get financing (based on all that additional "MindSpace"), well, who cares.
Understand going in that this movie has nothing to do with Walter Mitty, except for the title, and except for the hero's name. Not even the better dream sequences are used for the movie.
Still, Walter Mitty is unfilmable as a movie so what did you expect? (No character arc, no actual plot movement. It's just the same joke 4 or 5 times, and then "The End.")
And also, if they felt like they needed that Walter Mitty brand name to sell an unrelated, but still worthy, script, eh, who cares. This is Jon Gruber's America, after all. Such minor deceptions aren't worth getting upset about.
The movie can't really decide if it's your typical Zoolander crazy-silliness Ben Stiller movie or a more heartfelt Follow Your Dream adventure, but it still works, mostly.
Basically a travelogue movie with some settings I wasn't expecting and didn't realize would be fun to look at (Greenland, Iceland, and Afghanistan).
Guardians of the Galaxy. Professional enough, and determined to please you like a puppy. Like a puppy, it's kind of dumb and only has three modes (Eat, Poop, and Slobber), but it's okay.
Not really anything like "The modern-day Star Wars" or anything like that. It's just not serious enough to sell you on the idea that this is what Space looks like. Some nonsense is so cheesy that it seems more Flash Gordon (and I mean the 70s movie version) than Star Wars.
The characters are kind of broad and silly... like Muppets. So it's Muppets in Space, but more violent.
Nothing really wrong with it, and I'd definitely rent it. I just don't want anyone's expectation levels to be set anywhere close to high, though. It's just a dumb, silly special effects movie that doesn't offend. Okay, but don't expect something inspired.
Live. Die. Repeat: The Edge of Tomorrow: People are mentioning this Tom Cruise sci-fi movie favorably in the comments. I reviewed it a while back, also very favorably.
The Only Progressive Guide to Thanksgiving Political Arguments You'll Need
From Joe Limey.
In the great progressive spirit, here are a few tips on how to talk to -- and morally improve -- your family this Thanksgiving:
1. Your crazy uncle complains in passing that the construction on Redlands Avenue is limiting the flow of traffic to his hardware store, and wonders if the job could be completed more quickly.
This must not be allowed to stand. Ask your uncle if he's an anarchist and if he has heard of Somalia. If you missed Politics 101 at Oberlin, refer to the Fact Cards that you have printed out from Vox.com and explain patiently that the government is the one thing that we all belong to and that the worry that it is "too big" or "too centralized" or "too slow to achieve basic tasks" has a long association with neo-Confederate causes.
Meanwhile there's this:
Which called to mind this article on progressive bullshit I've been wanting to link for two weeks.
"Bullshit" is American English's assertion, maximally succinct and vigorous, that a contention is factually preposterous or logically absurd. According to philosophy professor Harry Frankfurt, however, the "essence of bullshit is not that it is false but that it is phony." His slender volume devoted to the subject, On Bullshit, invites us to think of a Fourth of July orator "who goes on bombastically about 'our great and blessed country, whose Founding Fathers under divine guidance created a new beginning for mankind.'" The speaker’s point is not "to deceive anyone concerning American history." Rather,what he cares about is what people think of him. He wants them to think of him as a patriot, as someone who has deep thoughts and feelings about the origins and the mission of our country, who appreciates the importance of religion, who is sensitive to our history, whose pride in that history is combined with humility before God, and so on.
It's difficult to banish the glum suspicion that life in the 21st century, for all its economic and technological benefits, necessitates putting up with much more bullshit than our ancestors had to.
What I can't stand is the endless posturing -- it's not that Ezra Klein's statement that this is an "excellent" cover is false, per se. I don't really care one way or the other if it's "excellent."
Though it's not precisely original, if we're going to debate its purported excellence:
No, the problem is that the statement does not invite us to decide whether it is true or false. The truth or falsity of the statement itself is not the point.
The statement in fact is a hollowed-out shell inside which is smuggled the real statement:
That Ezra Klein is bien pensant given to Thinking Serious Thoughts About Race and Such.
That is what drives me crazy about modern discourse. So little of it is actually designed to advance a proposition. So much of it is designed to advance The Speaker.
Modern speech is insanely "performative." Modern speech is marked not by its focus on the statement itself but on the act of making the statement, and how that act (allegedly) credits the speaker.
This shit must be called out until it stops.
We live in a Narcissistic Age. This era's defining vice is Vanity.
And we cannot allow these narcissistic headcases to get away with disguising constant self-flattery as alleged "political" speech about ideas external to them.
Second Take: Schumer's Merely Attempting a Trial Balloon Tactic of Distancing Democrats From Obamacare, While Continuing to Support and Defend It
I thought the Schumer statement -- in which he criticized Obama for pushing Obamacare in 2010, instead of addressing the needs of the And The Middle Class -- was important.
But now I think it's just so much positioning. With Elizabeth Warren now endorsing his statement (!!!), it seems obvious to me that this does not represent a true schism in the Democrat Party, but rather a way to snooker the voters again, to Gruber them anew.
The public has turned against government "solutions," starting with its longheld opposition to Obamacare. And Obama is more personally unpopular than ever.
As John Ekdahl is always saying, at some point the 2016 elections will require Democrats to separate themselves from Obama, at least rhetorically, if not in reality.
Thus Charles Schumer's attempt at what he thinks is a cagey fillip -- he will not actually come out against Obamacare, but attempt to channel the frustration of the voters ("They spent all their time trying to pass this bill which only helps 5% of the population, instead of us, the bruised and battered And The Middle Class") without actually giving an inch on Obamacare.
They did the same thing with Clinton during Impeachment, of course. They would not vote for impeachment (just as they will not vote to repeal Obamacare or alleviate the punishing effects on the And The Middle Class) but they came up with a series of rhetorical posturings -- Clinton's behavior is "simply indefensible," for example -- intended to mimic the public's emotional response to the scandal without actually giving an inch on it in policy terms.
So now Charles Schumer, and Elizabeth Warren (!!!), are complaining that Obama spent too much time and capital and money addressing the concerns of the lower classes without sufficiently addressing the needs of the And The Middle Class.
But will they attempt to actually unburden the And The Middle Class by ending Obamacare's punishing wealth-redistributing taxes on the And The Middle Class?
Of course not.
But Schumer (and Warren, and Hillary too) hope that the And The Middle Class is enough of a cheap date to just accept some emotional grousing, rather than demanding specific action to alleviate their burdens.
The Left's Unending Fascination With Scripts to Browbeat Relatives on Thanksgiving Strongly Resemble... Scripts for Religious Conversion
Think Progress has a guide on "how to argue with your Evangelical uncle" about marriage equality. Vox is advising you on Bill Cosby, Ferguson, and immigration (you're for it as much as possible, of course).
Last year, some of Michael Bloomberg's dollars trickled down to someone who gave you talking points on gun control. Chris Hayes is once again dedicating an hour of his MSNBC show to the cause.
Less combatively, Conor Friedersdorf advises you to adopt his brand of nodding empathy: "Before you focus on any point of disagreement, ask questions of your interlocutor to figure out why they think the way they do about the subject at hand."
These advice columns are becoming a genre unto themselves. The stock villain: crazy right-wing uncle, the jokes about stuffing. But I recognize them by what they unwittingly emulate: guides for religious evangelism. The gentle, righteous self-regard, the slightly orthogonal response guides, the implied urgency to cure your loved ones of their ignorance. Your raging uncle will know the truth, and the truth will set him free.
That's a problem. Our politics are taking on a religious shape. Increasingly we allow politics to form our moral identity and self-conception. We surround ourselves with an invisible community of the "elect" who share our convictions, and convince ourselves that even our closest and beloved relatives are not only wrong, but enemies of goodness itself. And so one of the best, least religious holidays in the calendar becomes a chance to deliver your uncle up as a sinner in the hands of an angry niece.
One thing that interests me about these Bluffers' Guides to Politics:
Supposedly progressives are super-informed and Love Science. Indeed, that's the main "political" argument they're actually arguing for.
So why is it so many of them seem to need these bluffer's guides to explain to them why they believe the things they believe?
It doesn't really make sense, does it? They're anxious because they're going to a Thanksgiving dinner where they won't have an Automatic Affirmation Clap Circle applauding their poses and posturings, but instead might be asked things like "Where are you getting that claim from?"
And this produces in them a terrible anxiety -- an anxiety disclosed by all these articles in their first paragraphs, which note the anxiety and fear before proposing a way to combat it.
But if they believe all these things so terribly fiercely, shouldn't they already sorta know why they believe them?
It's incredible, when you think about it -- they go through the whole year believing in their progressive catechisms zealously but only bother to ask Why do we believe this progressive religious nonsense again? one single day of the year, the one single day of the year where they fear they might be questioned about their religious beliefs.
Wednesday Morning News Dump
- Brand Unawareness
- Obama The Troll
- It's Never Enough For The Left
- Voters Overwhelmingly Oppose Obama's Amnesty
- Dear Media, How Not To Screw Up The Next Ferguson
- Illegal Immigrants Could Receive Social Security, Medicare Under Obama Action
- House Report Says CIA Monitored Arms Shipments To Syria
- Why Did President Obama Appoint Chuck Hagel In The First Place
- Michael Brown Protestors Blocking Ambulances In Boston
- More Evidence That The Left Wants To Get Into Your Bedroom
- Blue Dress Optional
- Dear Conservatives, Enough With The 'Stars'
- More How To Ruin Your Family's Thanksgiving Advice From The Left
- All That's Old Is New Again
Morning Thread (11-26-2014)
Nice work by @GerryDales on sourcing these "spontaneous" protests.
As you'd expect, it's the same old group of anarchists, Marxists, etc. that are behind anti-war protests (expiration date, Jan. 20, 2009), WTO, Occupy, etc., etc. Mike Brown? Never heard of him.
My thoughts on the protesters:
Overnight Open Thread (11-25-2014)
Because I'm tired and lazy tonight.
Someone on AR15.com collected these videos of the riots in progress.
A couple observations/notes:
- Fashion-wise it was still the 80s in 1992.
- Newscasters were even more woefully ignorant of guns then if that's possible.
- It's good to have friends. And armed friends who show up are best of all.
- The female reporter in video 3 is either very brave or very stupid or both.
- There's a gunfight between Korean storeowners and gangbangers starting at about 1:25 in video 3
- Riots are scary as shit (okay I knew this from being caught up in the LA riots but over the 22 years it's faded a bit)
I then opened my door again and used my door to push him backwards, and while I'm doing that I tell him to "get the fuck back," and then I use my door to push him.
He then grabs my door again and shuts my door. At that time is when I saw him coming into my vehicle. His head was higher than the top of my car. And I see him ducking and as he is ducking, his hands are up and he is coming in my vehicle.
I had shielded myself in this type of manner and kind of looked away, so I don't remember seeing him come at me, but I was hit right here in the side of the face with a fist. I don't think it was a full-on swing, I think it was a full-on swing but not a full shot. I think my arm deflected some of it, but there was still a significant amount of contact that was made to my face.
After he hit me then, it stopped for a second. He kind of like, I remember getting hit and he kind of like grabbed and pulled, and then it stopped. When I looked up, if this is my car door, I'm sitting here facing that way, he's here. He turns like this and now the Cigarillos I see in his left hand. He's going like this and he says, "hey, man, hold these."
I tried to hold his right arm and use my left hand to get out to have some type of control and not be trapped in my car any more. And when I grabbed him, the only way I can describe it is I felt like a five-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan.
Hulk Hogan, that's just how big he felt and how small I felt just from grasping his arm.
And as I'm trying to open the door is when, and I can't really get it open because he is standing only maybe 6 inches from my door, but as I was trying to pull the handle, I see his hand coming back around like this and he hit me with this part of his right here, just a full swing all the way back around and hit me right here. (indicating)
After he did that, next thing I remember is how do I get this guy away from me. What do I to not get beaten inside my car.
I considered using my mace, however, I wasn't willing to sacrifice my left hand, which is blocking my face to go for it. I couldn't reach around on my right to get it and if I would have gotten it out, the chances of it being effective were slim to none. His hands were in front of his face, it would have blocked the mace from hitting him in the face and if any of that got on me, I know what it does to me and I would have been out of the game. I wear contacts, if that touches any part of my eyes, then I can't see at all.
Like I said, I don't carry a taser, I considered my asp [expandable baton], but to get that out since I kind of sit on it, I usually have to lean forward and pull myself forward to the steering wheel to get it out. Again, I wasn't willing to let go of the one defense I had against being hit. The whole time, I can't tell you if he was swinging at me or grabbing me or pushing me or what, but there was just stuff going on and I was looking down figuring out what to do.
Also, when I was grabbing my asp, I knew if I did even get it out, I'm not going to be able to expand it inside the car or am I going to be able to make a swing that will be effective in any manner.
Next I considered my flashlight. I keep that on the passenger side of the car. I wasn't going to, again, reach over like this to grab it and then even if I did grab it, would it even be effective. We are so close and confined.
So the only other option I thought I had was my gun. I drew my gun, I turned. It is kind of hard to describe it, I turn and I go like this. He is standing here. I said," get back or I'm going to shoot you."He immediately grabs my gun and says, "you are too much of a pussy to shoot me." [emphasis added--AFB]
Channeling his inner Robert Fisk.
Senior Oliver Friedfeld and his roommate were held at gunpoint and mugged recently. However, the GU student isn't upset. In fact he says he "can hardly blame [his muggers]."
"Not once did I consider our attackers to be 'bad people.' I trust that they weren't trying to hurt me. In fact, if they knew me, I bet they'd think I was okay," wrote Friedfeld in an editorial featured in The Hoya, the university's newspaper. "The fact that these two kids, who appeared younger than I, have even had to entertain these questions suggests their universes are light years away from mine."
Friedfeld claims it is the pronounced inequality gap in Washington, D.C. that has fueled these types of crimes. He also says that as a middle-class man, he does not have the right to judge his muggers."Who am I to stand from my perch of privilege, surrounded by million-dollar homes and paying for a $60,000 education, to condemn these young men as 'thugs?'" asks Friedfeld. "It's precisely this kind of 'otherization' that fuels the problem."
Some people simply lack or have been conditioned over years of education to lose all survival instincts. And they rely on stronger, savvier people to protect them while all the while feeling smugly superior to their protectors.
The arc of Obama's presidency when it comes to who he listens to most, however, appears to be not all that dissimilar from the one he rose to prominence critiquing. It turns out that in politics, keeping your friends close and your enemies (or at least rivals) closer isn't as important as keeping your friends close.
It's Come To This: The WaPo Ran a Fact-check on an SNL Skit Criticizing Obama
So NY Giants receiver Odell Beckham made this catch in Sunday's game against Dallas. What a lucky grab from the air right?
Except that it turns out that he regularly practices making exactly this kind of catch.
Their trademark was cancelled in June by the USPTO and they are fighting to get it back.
A journalist I've known for many years recalls a sordid tale about Cosby in the summer of 1989, when the reporter was working for the National Enquirer.
The supermarket weekly had a solid story about Cosby - whose show was No. 1 in TV ratings and who was viewed as a perfect father figure - "swinging with Sammy Davis Jr. and some showgirls in Las Vegas," the reporter, who didn't want to be named, told me yesterday.
Contacted by the Enquirer for comment, Cosby apparently handed the weekly a story about his then-23-year-old daughter Erinn's battle with drug and alcohol abuse instead."My editor told me that daddy Cosby was the source. He ratted out his flesh and blood," said my source.
These are the mostly-SFW ones.
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Close it up
Media's New Theory: White Officials Deliberately Stoked Riots In Order to Distract from Wilson Verdict
Erin Burnett just trotted this insane theory out on CNN, claiming that there was arguably something to it.
So now even the rioting is also due to White Devil Police Men.
There's just a blame-shifting excuse for everything, huh?
Somehow, there's always an excuse for rioting in Ferguson. Remember the militarization of the police? Back in August, it was allegedly provoking otherwise law-abiding people into acts of mayhem because they were so angered by the sight of military-style equipment. Then, the police backed off and businesses were ransacked anyway. At another point, the authorities supposedly provoked more unrest by releasing video of Michael Brown robbing a store. Now, it is the timing of the announcement that Officer Wilson won’t be charged that we’re told is responsible for all the property damage and arson. Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post had a theory on Morning Joe this morning that the announcement was timed to maximize the rioting so as to distract from the non-indictment.
The same media which engaged in endless Conspiracy Theory Shaming with respect to birtherism is now actually pushing this hyperpartisan fantasia.
New York Times Publishes Darren Wilson's Home Address
Feds Paid $5 Million For Monthly Government-Sponsored Hipster Raves, Featuring Lots of Anti-Conservative Political Agitprop
Ostensibly these Hipster Raves were for the purposes of discouraging an at-risk group (white hipsters) from smoking, because you know how much insecure young people who want to be seen as "cool" respond to government-sponsored anti-drug messaging.
But to get these white slackers to accept that not smoking was "cool," they had to throw in a lot of anti-conservative agitprop as the spoonful of sugar.
Oh by way the National Institutes of Health is spending this $5 million on Pabst Blue Ribbon for hipsters instead of ebola. You're welcome.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is spending nearly $5 million to get hipsters to quit smoking by starting “commune” dance parties in bars across California.
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) are using taxpayer dollars to bring anti-tobacco marketing into bars by selling posters and t-shirts, including those that deride the views of neoconservatives, saying the political philosophy is as bad as world hunger.
The $4,904,466 grant was awarded in 2011, and runs through 2016.
"In our prior research, we identified a high-risk subpopulation of young adults in San Diego, CA: the 'hipster' subculture, a group focused on the alternative music scene, local artists and designers, and eclectic self-expression," the grant explained. "We developed a yearlong pilot social branding intervention to decrease smoking among this group, using social events and social leaders to promote a strong nonsmoking lifestyle."
Pamela Ling, a professor at UCSF School of Medicine, is leading the project. Ling was the "medical student who got her way" in the 1994 season of MTV's "The Real World" before becoming a doctor.
Now Ling wants to help UCSF's Center for Tobacco Control Research create a "smoke-free world" by appealing to hipsters' concerns about "social justice."
"Saying 'Smoking is bad for you' isn't relevant to them," Ling told the University. "But they do care about self-expression and social justice."
The group holds events, known as "Commune Wednesdays," every month at bars in San Diego, San Francisco, and Burlington, Vt., trying to appeal to hipsters through artwork, alternative bands, and Pabst Blue Ribbon.
You can read about the political messaging at the link.
You may already be infuriated, but prepare to be even more infuriated by this rhetorical question:
College-educated "hipsters" are not at particularly high risk of becoming habit smokers, at least not compared to other groups.
Another group much more likely to become habit smokers are non- college educated blue-collar whites.
A group that tends to lean Republican in politics and traditionalist on social issues questions.
Now, given that blue-collar whites are more likely to become habit smokers than hipsters, how many millions do you suppose were spent to attract blue-collar whites to bars to buy them their beers of choice, to hire them the bands they favor, and to try to reach them with political messaging of an anti-progressive, pro-traditionalist bent?
I've got a guess and I'm pretty sure it's not a guess, it's an actual correct answer:
Zero fucking dollars.
Your Leftist Media, Cheerleaders for Rioting
Oh, by the way, you know what the real cause of the Ferguson Riots is? "White rage."
A good recap of the media's lunatic gibberings through all last night.
Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder: Did Governor Jay Nixon Refuse to Deploy the National Guard Because of Pressure from Obama and Holder?
What isn't speculation is that the National Guard was at the town, but did not move in to restore order until this morning, after dozens of businesses had already been looted and/or burned to the ground.
"What the vast majority of Missourians are asking this morning is, 'We see the National Guard rolling in this morning, … where were they last night?' The law-abiding citizens, and businesses owners, and taxpayers of Ferguson and the St. Louis region have the right to ask this governor to answer some questions," Kinder charged in a Fox News interview....
"Why were they not in there at the first sign of an overturned police car, or a smashed police car window, with a show of force that would have stopped this? And here’s my question that the governor must answer: Is the reason that the National Guard was not in there because the Obama administration and the Holder Justice Department leaned on you to keep them out? I cannot imagine any other reason," Kinder said.
Ferguson's mayor did request that the Guard be deployed -- and he was ignored.
Nice Deb makes a good point -- stop referring to violence and arson as "protests."
But that's their favorite trick, isn't it?
Charles Schumer: Passing Obamacare Instead of Dealing With the Recession Was a Mistake
This is surprising. Schumer is a safe senator from deep blue New York and doesn't have -- unless he's insane -- any delusions about one day being president.
He's not actually denouncing Obamacare but this is kind of close to that.
"After passing the stimulus, Democrats should have continued to propose middle-class-oriented programs and built on the partial success of the stimulus, but unfortunately Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them," Schumer said. "We took their mandate and put all of our focus on the wrong problem—health care reform."
The third-ranking Senate Democrat noted that just about 5 percent of registered voters in the United States lacked health insurance before the implementation of the law, arguing that to focus on a problem affecting such "a small percentage of the electoral made no political sense."
The larger problem, affecting most Americans, he said, was a poor economy resulting from the recession. "When Democrats focused on health care, the average middle-class person thought, 'The Democrats aren't paying enough attention to me,' " Schumer said.
The health care law should have come later, Schumer argued, after Democrats had passed legislation to help the middle class weather the recession. Had Democrats pushed economic legislation, he said, "the middle class would have been more receptive to the idea that President Obama wanted to help them" and, in turn, they would have been more receptive to the health care law.
Schumer said he told fellow Democrats in the lead-up to the passage of the Affordable Care Act that it was the wrong time to pass the law.
"People thought—and I understand this—lots of people thought this was the only time to do this, it's very important to do. And we should have done it. We just shouldn't have done it first," he said. "We were in the middle of a recession. People were hurting and saying, 'What about me? I'm losing my job. It's not health care that bothers me. What about me?' … About 85 percent of all Americans were fine with their health care in 2009, mainly because it was paid for by either the government or their employer, private sector. So they weren't clamoring. The average middle-class voter, they weren't opposed to doing health care when it started out, but it wasn't at the top of the agenda."
The Democrat Party can't "help" the middle class, because the middle class is where it gets all that money to redistribute from.
Van Gogh, "Blossoming Almond Branch in a Glass with a Book" (1888)
Tuesday Morning News Dump
- In Case You Hadn't Heard, There Was No Indictment For Officer Wilson
- Protestors Honoring The Memory Of Michael Brown By Looting The Store Brown Robbed Before He Was Shot
- Am I A Bad Person For Enjoying This?
- Yeah, I'm A Terrible Person
- Alternate Reality Headline Of The Day
- Conventional Wisdom
- Oh Yeah, Protestors Not Buying Stuff Friday Will Wreck Our Economy Or Something
- Obama As Good At Stopping Riots As He Is A Picking NCAA Brackets
- Chuck Hagel Is Out As Defense Secretary, So You Know What That Means
- Hotel Denies Hillary's Claim Of Employing Illegals
- The Forgotten Americans
- Did A Texas Jury Send The Right Baby Killer To Death Row
- Japans Youth Fret As Recession Hits
- Yeah, They're Spending Your Tuition Money Wisely
- Feel Good Story Of The Day
Morning Thread (11-25-2014)
Looks like the media got what it wanted in Ferguson; arson, looting ... the works.
Pity the poor people who have to pick up the pieces after they move on.
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Overnight Open Thread (11-24-2014)
So I spent all weekend working and then entertaining business visitors from Japan and more of the same today. Which means all you non-Premium members get la suckage d'ONT.
Properties also consistent with the truth...
And the left is already spreading its poison:
Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said there were "phrases that serve as an excuse for not thinking." One of these phrases that substitute for thought today is one that depicts the current problems of blacks in America as "a legacy of slavery."
...Despite the grand myth that black economic progress began or accelerated with the passage of the Civil Rights laws and "War on Poverty" programs of the 1960s, the cold fact is that the poverty rate among blacks fell from 87 percent in 1940 to 47 percent by 1960. This was before any of those programs began.
Over the next 20 years, the poverty rate among blacks fell another 18 percentage points, compared to the 40-point drop in the previous 20 years. This was the continuation of a previous economic trend, at a slower rate of progress, not the economic grand deliverance proclaimed by liberals and self-serving black "leaders."
Ending the Jim Crow laws was a landmark achievement. But, despite the great proliferation of black political and other "leaders" that resulted from the laws and policies of the 1960s, nothing comparable happened economically. And there were serious retrogressions socially.Nearly a hundred years of the supposed "legacy of slavery" found most black children being raised in two-parent families in 1960. But thirty years after the liberal welfare state found the great majority of black children being raised by a single parent.
You've come a long way baby.
I began my career as a police officer in the mid 1970s. Very few police agencies carried semi-automatic handguns in those days, and the few that were widely available suffered from significant reliability problems. It was an article of faith that revolvers were flawlessly reliable and accurate while semiautomatic handguns weren't, and there was more than a little anecdotal evidence to support this contention.
...Compared to modern handguns, the weapons available to the budding semi-auto fan in the 1970s and early 80s were crude indeed. When I refer to lack of reliability, I mean that it wasn't uncommon to experience at least one malfunction per magazine. My little Browning BDA .380 was absolutely reliable, but others that tried examples of the same gun-or its Beretta sister-had substantial troubles.
A shrill, backstage brawl at "The View" Wednesday left co-host Rosie Perez in tears while panelists Whoopi Goldberg and Rosie O'Donnell battled over how to cover the latest allegations against Bill Cosby and the racially charged upheaval in Ferguson, Mo., sources said.
O'Donnell believed the show - now overseen by ABC News - needed to delve deeper into both controversial subjects, while Goldberg wanted to steer clear of the topics altogether.
Ultimately, both news stories were discussed at length on the air by the panel."There's terrible frustration and there are problems," a source close to the show told the Daily News. "Whoopi didn't want to talk about Cosby and Ferguson, Rosie (O'Donnell) did - how could you not? These are topics that are uncomfortable for everyone, but it's 'The View' and it's their job to talk about topics that might make some people tense."
I think I like the German and UK versions best.
The news that Big Carb doesn't want you to know.
A new study by researchers at Ohio State University found that dramatically increasing the amount of saturated fat in a person's diet did not increase the amount of saturated fat found in their blood. Professor Jeff Volek, the study's senior author, said it "challenges the conventional wisdom that has demonized saturated fat and extends our knowledge of why dietary saturated fat doesn't correlate with disease."
The study also showed that increasing carbohydrates in the diet led to an increase in a particular fatty acid previous studies have linked to heart disease. Volek continued, "People believe 'you are what you eat,' but in reality, you are what you save from what you eat. The point is you don't necessarily save the saturated fat that you eat. And the primary regulator of what you save in terms of fat is the carbohydrate in your diet. Since more than half of Americans show some signs of carb intolerance, it makes more sense to focus on carb restriction than fat restriction."
The Yahoo AoSHQ group - it's got electrolytes.
And my twitter thang.
Tonight's post brought to you by moar roof Koreans:
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Close it up
Verdict In: No Indictment for Daryl Wilson
A white police officer will not face charges for fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager in a case that set off violent protests and racial unrest throughout the nation, an attorney close to the case said Monday night.
A St. Louis County grand jury declined to indict officer Darren Wilson, 28, for firing six shots in an August confrontation that killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, said Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the family. The decision had been long awaited and followed rioting that resembled war-zone news footage in this predominantly black suburb of St. Louis.
"The jury was not inclined to indict on any charges,'' Crump said after being informed of the decision by authorities. Prosecutors scheduled an news conference to announce the decision.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, called for calm after calling up National Guard troops to stand by in case of unrest. Speaking before the decision was announced, he urged that "regardless of the decision, people on all sides show tolerance, mutual respect and restraint.''
Super Awesome Update: Prevaricator In Chief Barack Obama scheduled to address the nation at 10 pm, assumedly with more lies.
Gunshots Heard; Cars Vandalized.
—Dave In Texas
So the Jets are playing the Bills in Motown. Because of this.
It's not the MNF game but they had to find a place to play so they did and that's that.
Monday Night Football is Baltimore at New Orleans which has no snow problems today. So that's nice.
Those are nice too.
Leaked: No Indictment in Michael Brown Shooting
It's what we figured, but Gateway Pundit says they have a source in the prosecutor's office confirming it.
So now we'll have some wonderful, wonderful riots.
Unlike the Media, Mollie Hemingway Bothered to Read the House Select Committee on Intelligence's Report on Benghazi, and Here's What It Says
I have to read it myself one of these days.
Here are points 15 and 16.
15. Did we mention that there was nothing good about the talking points?
Yeah, so, late in the report we learn that "the Administration's initial public narrative on the causes and motivations for the attacks were not fully accurate." You don’t say! Also that "The process and edits made to these talking points was flawed."
And for this, the GOP should be ashamed? Really? It’s almost like a less obsequious press might think something else might be amiss.
Much of the report wishy-washily explains that there is a fog in intel gathering that makes things difficult to assess and that this kind of sort of excuses all the horse manure that was shoveled by the administration during the campaign-season terrorist attack.
Now, earlier in the report we’re told that "[Ansar al Sharia] posted a video on YouTube on September 12, 2012, claiming participation in the attacks" and we know that the head of al Qaeda called for attacks on the U.S. in Libya the day before the attack. We know that the attack took place on September 11, what even the most casual observer might note is a significant date. We're told that the Defense Intelligence Agency said the attacks were pre-planned on September 12.
But you see, man, like a few weeks later the CIA totally thought it just happened to fall on September 11.
Let me be clear, as President Obama might say, if you're a reporter reading this and think this sounds even remotely plausible and you think that this section is anything other than a great explanation of how idiotic the CIA can be, you are an idiot.
Everything about this section is groan-inducing. Such as that when a cable came from Tripoli to the CIA on September 14 that was the "first indication that there may not have been a protest," according to deputy director Mike Morell, he wasn't sure if he'd read it. Nevermind that we later learn that folks in Libya had within hours assessed that there was a lack of protests that day. I just have a hard time believing that the deputy director wouldn't care if a Tripoli intelligence cable came around. Either way, by September 15, he'd gotten an email specifically saying there'd been no protest.
And when did Susan Rice go on television blaming a YouTube video for sparking a protest that somehow magically transformed into this super-effective double-location onslaught that took four American lives including an American Ambassador's? That would be September 16.
That was when she said the actions in Benghazi were a "direct result of a heinous and offensive video that was widely disseminated."
This report that supposedly makes Republicans look bad notes that Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes wrote on September 14 that "one of the goals of Administration public statements should be 'To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.'"
Exactly the opposite, Ben.
Anyway, this report then claims, more or less completely implausibly, that Rice couldn’t have really known until afterwards that her assessments were incorrect. Um, OK. But maybe when you're, I don’t know, trying to "underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy" because you're focusing on campaigning more than truth-telling, you end up underscoring something that isn't true. I don’t care if we have some difficult-to-swallow bureaucratic BS explanation that avoids tough questions and instead pats Susan Rice on the head as if she couldn't be expected to do better. Or, rather, I don’t see why we let certain administrations get away with this type of explanatory defense while nailing other people to the wall for the smallest slight.
16. Wait, what's this about Mike Morell again?
So the same Morell who accidentally didn’t read a memo related to a horrific terror attack and forgot to tell anyone about the cables from Tripoli also was this guy:"Finding 12: Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell made significant changes to the talking points"
Wait, what? Are you kidding me?
But, the report says, it's OK because, um, well, you see, he didn’t know Susan Rice or anyone else in the Administration would use talking points he made. And then the report says something about excellent beachfront property for sale cheap. No, actually it says he "made a large number of edits after a September 15 White House Deputies Committee meeting." Oh dear.
Earlier drafts of the talking points mentioned al Qaeda but by the time Morell was done with them, he didn’t even include "Islamist" in them. Because our CIA is full of people who do not commit intelligence failures but can’t figure out that an al Qaeda attack on September 11 might be related to Islamism.
By the way, the CIA's office of public affairs also stripped language about attacks and changed it to "demonstrations" and I am sure that had nothing whatsoever to do with it being an election year or their bosses allowing a major attack on the anniversary of September 11.
By the way, the report only examined failures by the intelligence agencies -- that is, the CIA -- in Benghazi. It did not examine the White House or State Department or Department of Defense.
Let Them Eat Less: Designer/Aristocrat Declares That If Poor People Can't Afford Pricey Organic Food, They Should Just Eat Less
Dame Vivienne Westwood, the fashion designer, has declared that people who can’t afford to buy organic food should "eat less" and stop getting fat. The millionaire designer made the comments as she delivered a petition to Downing Street protesting about genetically modified food.
When a BBC Radio 5 Live interviewer suggested that "not everybody can afford to eat organic food", Dame Vivienne replied: "Eat less!"
Told that many people in Britain are visiting food banks because they don’t have enough to put on their tables, so "to eat less isn’t an option", Dame Vivienne was dismissive.
"They don’t have any choice – this is the point, isn’t it," she said.
"You’ve got all these processed foods, which is the main reason people are getting fat. They’re not actually good for you - they don't give you strength, they give you weight.
"I eat vegetables and fruit. I don’t eat meat. I believe meat is bad for me so I don’t eat it. It’s also bad for the animals.
"If there was a movement to produce more organic food and less of the horrible food, then organic food would obviously be a good value price, wouldn’t it?"
NY Giant Receiver Odell Beckham Makes Sick Catch
...in losing effort. Of course.
Still, there's that catch.
Now, he was fouled on this play, and drew the flag. I celebrated that. I had no idea he caught the ball. I was happy with the flag.
I didn't imagine it was possible to catch the ball -- it was thrown out of reach, and the Cowbow DB is clearly pulling down on him.
It took me ten seconds to realize he'd f***ing caught the thing. And not even sloppily. No ball movement here. He just catches it.
Turn on the sound for the first clip. Chris Collinsworth's enthusiasm is appropriate to the feat.
OH MY GOD, ODELL BECKHAM. https://t.co/BCoMrT2G0D— Chipper (@19jms) November 24, 2014
Then come the parodies/tributes:
The Odell Beckham catch was certainly pretty… pic.twitter.com/2NLRkqLABI— Chemmy (@felixpotvin) November 24, 2014
Close it up
SNL Runs a Mildly Critical Sketch About Obama, and the Washington Post Rushes In to Fact-Check It
The sketch itself is okay, but it is critical of Obama's lawlessness, which makes it absolutely remarkable for SNL.
The Washington Post has actually endeavored to "Fact Check" the sketch.
Demonstrating that serving as the Palace Guard for Dear Leader is a 24-7-365 enterprise, Zachary A. Goldfarb, policy editor at The Washington Post, somehow felt the need on Sunday morning to critique the Saturday Night Live opening skit which appeared the previous evening.
Twelve hours after the skit was first broadcast, Goldfarb, whose whose full archive going back to August indicates that he has not written a WaPo item for Sunday publication in the past four months, nitpicked a comedy skit for — oh the humanity! — failing to distinguish between an "Executive Order" and "executive action"....
The guess here is that the SNL skit -- and especially its three pushes [of "The Bill" down the Capitol Hill steps] -- really got under the White House's skin, perhaps even to the point where they felt like they had to lean on someone at the Post to play some defense on their behalf. Whether or not any communication actually occurred, it seems clear that the Post's apparently equally thin-skinned Goldfarb felt it necessary to get up on a Sunday morning to critique a fundamentally accurate ... (still having a hard time believing it) ... comedy skit.
Goldfarb's piece isn't particularly hacky. Oh, I think it's pretty ticky-tack in making a distinction between an "executive order" and an "executive action," but it doesn't zealously defend Obama from the charge of unconstitutional action the way that, say, Vox would.
So I wonder: Why publish this embarrassment at all?
All I can figure is that Tom Blumer's guess is right, and that the White House did indeed call them asking for a "Fact Check," so the Washington Post obliged.
If this scenario sounds familiar, your memory is not deceiving you: Back in 2010, Wolf Blitzer presumed to fact-check an SNL sketch that made the point that Obama had no real accomplishments to his name.
Why are only sketches critical of Obama subject to this ridiculous, partisan exercise of "fact" checking? Obviously neither the WaPo nor CNN has ever "fact" checked SNL's dozens of Republican-bashing sketches.
The exercise itself is partisan-- putting people on notice that there is one subject (Barack Hussein Obama) about which there can be no joking whatsoever.
Update: Holy F***ballz: Here's the hacktastic, zealous "fact" checking defense of Obama, courtesy of the Daily Beast.
Ferguson Decision Coming Today, CNN Sources Say
The Ferguson grand jurors had apparently intended to render their decision on Friday, but held back, deciding that they needed to think about it some more. They re-convened today to discuss the case again, and now say they're ready to render their opinion.
Buzzfeed: How to Bury the News that the Iran Talks Failed In Three Easy Steps
Obama Attempts to Defend Imperial Tyranny By, Get This, Lying
Four Pinnochios for the pathological liar's claim that Bush's executive amnesty shielded 1.5 million.
Albert Bierstadt, "Sacramento River Valley" (1872)
The Annual Recipe Exchange -- Texas Chili and Brandy Alexander Pie
It's time for the annual recipe swap with Patheos' Elizabeth Scalia and her readers! Last year she offered these amazing cream puffs and I did these bourbon-berries. Elizabeth noted that she preferred the cream puffs without chocolate sauce, and I'm starting to come around to that view. (Some more experimentation both with and without is needed, to be honest.)
This year Elizabeth sends Brandy Alexander Pie She says it will literally make you happy, and I believe her.
I thought I'd go a bit further afield than Thanksgiving Day proper. Specifically, what about the day before when you'd really rather not spend all day cooking for a meal other than the big show? I know, I know. A bunch of you slackers just order pizza. A better answer: the crock-pot. What could be better than sticking a bunch of yummy things in a pot for hours and walking away?
This is my sister-in-law's simple Texas chili. A feast for any number of people, easy to store and reheat later.
Sis-in-law's Texas Chili
2.5 lb. ground beef
2 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
2 yellow onions, diced
2 chili peppers, diced (remove the seeds)
2 carrots, small diced
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 cup water
Brown the beef in a skillet, breaking it up into small pieces, and drain. Put the beef and the rest of the fixings into the crock-pot and simmer over low heat. Stir every 20-30 minutes or so. Cook for three hours or so.
Easy, perfect, no beans. Eat it with shredded cheddar and sour cream, according to your tastes, over tortilla chips, Fritos, or corn bread.
Alright, more than half the fun of the recipe exchange is to see what the commenters here and at Elizabeth's place will offer. I still get comments about this pumpkin cheesecake dip I stole from commenter Angel Em several years ago, so tell us what ya'll are cooking. Make it good.
BREAKING: Hagel Out As Secretary Of Defense
Get thee under the bus!
Breaking News: Hagel Said to Be Stepping Down as Defense Chief Under Pressure http://t.co/gFypsOONKl— The New York Times (@nytimes) November 24, 2014
We now know the answer to the age old question, "Is there anyone too incompetent for work for Barack Obama?"
Congratulations Chuck, it was clear from the start you were in over your head.
Monday Morning News Dump
- It's My Way Or My Way
- Surprise! Iran Talks Fail
- A Small Man In A Big Office
- The Case For More Congress In American Foreign Policy
- Congress Seems Happy To Have Its Powers Usurped
- It's Not Funny, But At Least SNL Finally Takes A Swing At Obama
- 20 Ways The Media Completely Misread Congress' Weak Sauce Benghazi Report
- Asians Get The Ivy League Jewish Treatment
- It's Time To Exercise The Legislative "Veto"
- Oil Boom Returns To Gulf
- Cornered But Unbound
- Obama Dissolves The Old Republic
- Vancouver Experiments With Prescription Heroin
Remember, if you do your Christmas shopping on Amazon, be sure to use the AoSHQ Amazon widget.
Morning Thread (11-24-2014)
Up and at 'em.
AoSHQ Weekly Podcast | Stitcher | Download | Ask The Blog | Archives
Overnight Open Thread, 11-23-2014 -- Workin' Man Edition
—Damn Dirty RINO
Well, 'Rons n' 'Ettes . . . me again. Apparently there's an epidemic of Cob Flu going around. Seems Maet has developed some mysterious symptoms which cause him to carouse in much the same way that CDR_M has the for past couple of weekends. And I guess the options are growing pretty thin since I find myself charged with filling in for a second consecutive night that would have otherwise been spent in typical sluggardly fashion. But, since it's been raining all day and the ground was already fairly saturated, my chances of getting in a full day at work tomorrow are pretty slim. So, I should be able to catch up on my indolence then. The paycheck will suffer, but hey -- it's that time of year.
Speaking of which, as some of you may recall from one of my earlier ONT contributions, there's been a bit of a shakeup in my life over the past few months as I suddenly found myself in the midst of an unplanned career change. At the time, I'd gone from tending bar at a local watering hole (some dare call it a roadhouse) to working for a friend of mine who owns a couple of poultry farms. Since then, I've found employment working for a company that installs fiber optic lines. The chicken farming job was essentially a favor from my friend to keep me gainfully employed until something more permanent came up. So, despite some turbulence, through it all I remained a workin' man.
The change in working conditions has definitely required some adjustment. After all, I'd spent the better part of the past 25 years working in climate-controlled environments. There's a lot to be said for that, but I have to admit I'd grown softer than Kate Upton's inner thighs in the process. Well, that's all changed now. I've adapted to working in some pretty ugly weather conditions over the past few months, spending the hottest part of the summer working in chicken houses, and now spending the winter months working outdoors. And, with that, I thought I'd share what I've learned about working outdoors and tap into the wisdom of the Horde for suggestions on how to prepare for outdoor working conditions.
The one universal suggestion I've gotten from people with regard to preparing for working in cold weather is: Layers, layers, layers. That's pretty much common knowledge, but what your layers should consist of isn't quite so obvious. As for me, my outer layer of choice is Carhartt insulated bib overalls.
I picked them up about three weeks ago -- the first pair I've ever owned. And, having worn them at work, as well as one day this past week when I went out to take photos in the snow, I wondered why I hadn't bought some years ago. They're one of the best investments I've ever made. Virtually waterproof and seemingly indestructible, I expect I'll be using them for work and leisure in cold weather for years to come. I picked mine up at my local Rural King for $89.99 and consider them a bargain.
For the upper half of my top layer, I picked up a quilt-lined, insulated hooded jacket made by C.E. Schmidt from my local Tractor Supply store.
I didn't get it until a couple of days after the low-teen temperatures had moved out of the area, so I haven't had a chance to see how it performs in frigid weather. But, based on the feel and the relatively cool weather I've worn it in, it strikes me as every bit as rugged as the Carhartt bibs I've been wearing. It, much like the Carhartt bibs, is a bit on the bulky side, so it will limit mobility somewhat. But, I'm not going to be doing any floor exercises in them. And, at the extremely reasonable price of $44.99, I'd say it's at least as much of a bargain as the overalls -- especially compared to the similarly-styled Carhartt jackets I saw at the same store.
Perhaps the most important decision when it comes to working outdoors is what kind of shoes or boots you're going to wear. I was surprised at how many people warned me away from insulated boots, but I wound up following their advice. A lot of people suggested either Red Wing or Justin boots -- mostly the slip-on style. But, I'm a devotee of Dr. Martens lace-ups and wound up buying my third pair of their steel-toed work boots. I opted for the 6" Ironbridge Industrial Grizzly boots, and I swear by them.
I ordered mine through a local Hayes Shoes store, and it took about a week for them to arrive. At roughly $130, they're the most expensive item I've had to buy for work so far, but they're worth every penny. They're well-made, ruggedly built, very water-resistant, and comfortable as hell -- if a bit on the heavy side. Boots, like anything else, are a matter of personal preference, and everyone has their own particular brand loyalty. But, if you haven't tried on a pair of Docs, you owe it to yourself to do so the next time you shop for boots.
And while I was at the store picking up my boots, I picked up a Carhartt acrylic watch hat to keep my head and ears warm. It's thick, comfortable, and very effective.
Since I do a lot of shovel work, I generate a good amount of heat even when the temperature falls below freezing. Usually, I have to remove it several times throughout the day to cool off when I spend a lot of time digging since it holds the heat in so well. Earlier this week, it stood up to the 12-degree temps and single-digit windchill with no trouble at all.
Underneath my coat (when I wear it) and overalls, I have a Covington fleece-lined, insulated denim shirt that's usually warm enough for temperatures in the upper 20's as long as I wear a t-shirt and a lightweight flannel or denim work shirt underneath.
I've owned it for a few years now and am always surprised at how warm it keeps me in fairly cool temperatures. As it gets cooler, I definitely need something a little heavier. But, it's damn-near perfect as the second layer under my bibs on most days.
The worst thing about cold weather is trying to work with cold hands. Every time you try to apply force by hand, it feels like pounding on a concrete pad with a wooden baseball bat. So keeping them warm and dry is a must. Personally, I didn't choose to spend a lot of money on gloves as they're the one item most likely to get lost in the course of a day. Instead, I picked up some cheap ones at Dollar General Store.
The orange ones with the rubberized palm-side were about $4.00 and the brown Jersey gloves were $2.00 for three pairs. I just put them on under the orange ones and swap them out as the day goes if they get wet. I try to keep one pair on the defroster vent in the work truck at all times to dry them out throughout the day, and so far, that seems to be working pretty well.
Of course, working in the cold, dry air and sweating in a pair of gloves wreaks havoc on the hands. The skin will start to crack, split and bleed after a few days, which can make for a pretty miserable workweek. In that case, you really ought to get yourself some of this stuff:
I first heard about it when I was tending bar and my fingers were splitting open from constantly washing glasses, and I can tell you the stuff works like crazy. And, best of all, it doesn't smell like perfume, and doesn't make your hands feel greasy. In fact, it almost feels like it enhances my grip when I use it. And, if your skin is already splitting and you start using it, you should see some noticeable improvement within a week. It really is great stuff.
As for socks, I haven't invested any money in the extra-thick, moisture-wicking ones, yet. So far, just doubling up a pair of regular cotton socks has done the trick, so long as my boots keep the water on the outside -- which they have.
And, finally, no matter what the weather is like, if you're going to be outside doing any kind of construction work, you're going to need a knife at some point. I've recently started carrying two, though I only carried one for about a month.
Construction is hell on blades, and I figure it's best to carry a cheap, essentially throw-away knife around for cutting the kind of stuff you have no business cutting with a knife you intend to keep. But, you also need a knife that you can count on to be sharp when you really need it. The top, dual-blade knife is my throwaway -- it has one standard edge and one serrated edge for cutting through tree roots, fiber optic cable, etc. The other was given to me by my brother, and it has a much better blade that easier to sharpen and holds a good edge. They're both Smith n' Wessons, but they're of vastly different quality.
At any rate, a man needs a good knife, irrespective of what kind of work he does. That's something to keep in mind as Christmas approaches.
So, that's my take on how to dress for working in winter weather. I'm sure the Horde has plenty of advice to offer on the subject, so have at it in the comments. Thanks for indulging me in all my tl;dr glory.
Tonight's ONT is brought to you by Hag.
Close it up
Food Thread: The Last of The Thanksgiving Blather [CBD]
[I have no idea what happened.....but the comments were the most brilliant ever!]
Chez Dildo adheres to a strict schedule for Thanksgiving...roll in around 5:00pm or so, wander around until someone shoves a cocktail into your paws, and then wait around until the cook gets his shit together and serves dinner. Football will be watched, but only because baseball season is over.
Rumor has it that there are other ways to orchestrate the perfect Thanksgiving event. What does the Horde do, and what does it serve that isn't standard fare?
The only interesting thing on my menu this year will be a brussels sprout salad, and in an abundance of caution, I pawned the recipe off on my SIL, so if it is awful, I will gleefully disavow all responsibility.
One day I will subvert the dominant paradigm and serve a main course that I actually like. Turkey is the white paste of the culinary world....yuck. My local market has been selling gorgeously marbled prime rib roasts for not very much money, but I have been informed that it is a non-starter. Eventually I will just take matters into my own hands and make something palatable, but keep it secret.
So....I just made these, and have no idea how they will taste. But they smell great, and look pretty good. All I did was sprinkle grated cheddar on half the dough and fold over to make a layer. I fold five times, so theoretically I should have 31 layers of cheese.
Eat local is a phrase that will immediately raise my hackles. It is a feel-good but nonsensical image that recognizes nothing about the reality of food production and economics. The Locavore's Dilemma isn't new, but I was poking around and found this review. Anyone read it?
"The Locavore's Dilemma" argues that the benefits of eating local have been vastly overstated by food activists and its serious detriments swept under the rug. The tone is distinctly upbeat, no doubt because being a gleeful debunker is fun but also because the two authors are resolutely cheerful about the world's food situation.
Mr. Desrochers and Ms. Shimizu, a married couple who are both professional economists, present a counterintuitive but well-supported case that local self-sufficiency is the worst thing you can do for the environment, since it requires many crops to be grown in the wrong places, with damaging ecological consequences. American farmers, they observe, used to grow wheat locally in the Shenandoah Valley, tilling steep and rocky slope--and unleashing a torrent of soil erosion. With the shift of grain farming to the far more productive and erosion-resistant soils of the Midwest, "more grain is now being produced on fewer acres and, overall, more habitat is available for wildlife." Their study of the history of American agriculture is one of the strongest points of this book.
Famines were common in the past precisely because food security rested on the vagaries of local conditions rather than the resiliency of trade, they observe: "Subsistence farmers periodically starve while commercial agricultural producers who rely on monocultures for their livelihood don't."
I have posted this recipe before (I think), but it is a perfect Thanksgiving starter -- easy to make, tasty, and seasonal!
1 butternut squash, about 2-3 pounds: peeled, seeded and cut into one inch cubes
1 large sweet onion, chopped
2 ounces unsalted butter
1 ounce duck fat (or replace with equivalent butter)
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1 quart Chicken Stock (and make it yourself. It's easy, and much, much better)
half & half to taste.
Salt to taste (but be careful).
Saute the onion in the butter and duck fat over medium-low heat until it softens and just begins to caramelize. Add the thyme and saute for another minute.
Then, toss in all of the squash and mix it around to coat with the butter and onions. Keep cooking for 10 or 15 minutes, continuing to caramelize the onions and starting to soften and caramelize the squash.
Pour in the chicken stock (I told you to use fresh, so don't wimp out on me) and reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes, until the squash is perfectly soft.
Puree thoroughly with a hand blender, or make a huge mess in your kitchen by using an upright blender and spraying soup all over the ceiling.
Taste, and add a bit of salt if needed. If the soup doesn't seem rich enough, a bit of half & half is perfect to smooth it out and add some thickness.
Serve hot with a toasted goat cheese crostini floated in the middle of the bowl, and a drizzle of good olive oil.
Close it up
Gaming Thread 11/22/2014
—Gang of Gaming Morons!
Actually thought of doing a Christmas guide for gaming neckbeards but I said to hell with it (this might come next week depending on how boring Thanksgiving is). And everyone else has done a gaming list on any site you choose so eh.
I'm being lazy and taking a short writeup
Steam sale kicks off this week. Same with Amazon's PC game sale (which frankly has been better then last 5 years or so of Steam sales).
• Here is a new trailer for that Civilization MMO that no one asked for
• And they're apparently still making that Ghost in the Shell shooter
• You wanted story with your Destiny? Well, you're still not getting any
• Also, I really have no thoughts on this other than to laugh
• To go right next to your Lancer in your "Totally Not Gonna Get Laid Again" collection, Triforce is making life sized replicas of the plasma rifle from Halo. Run ya $600.
The big games already came out so it's a quiet week.
Warhammer 40K: Armageddon (PC) - It's a hex based W40K game created by the people behind the awesome Panzer Corps game. Not surprisingly, it's pretty much Panzer Corp with a Warhammer skin and frankly, that's awesome IMO. It's the full Second War for Armageddon spread out between 30 different maps as you fight off the Ork invasion. And it comes with a scenario creator which is pretty cool (hopefully people translate some other campaigns). This is also coming to the iPad sometime next year. I like the games Slitherine publishes and I really like Panzer Corp so I'm very much looking forward to this release.
Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions (PC, PS4, PS3, XBO, 360) - No matter how many times I watch the trailers and gameplay clips, I just cannot hide my disappointment in how this looks. This game looks like trash. No, this series isn't anything like Super Stardust and yet here we are, something that looks like it dripped from between someone's ass cheeks. Go back to your crappy iOS games and Vita Pets DLC, Lucid Games.
Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth (3DS) - Still eh about a dungeon crawler Persona game but the reviews have been outstanding. Can't wait to try it out this week even though I still don't like 3DS games costing $50.
Tales from the Borderlands (PC, PS3, PS4, XBO, 360 & Vita) - So the first episode of Telltale's side project finally coming out (out before the 1st episode of their Game of Thrones). I'm curious in how this property is going to translate to a point & click adventure setup. Wish it was a better property though. Like all Telltale games, can't say it's the wisest decision to pick up one of their games as it launches as you'll still be waiting for it to end come next November. Am curious if they have fixed their legacy save bugs that have plagued their games since they started.
Close it up
Pre Thanksgiving Sunday Football Thread
—Dave In Texas
Y-Not has a panicky Thanksgiving thread below if you want to panic over Thanksgiving. If you want to panic over football this is the place.
Sunday Travel Thread: Over the River and Through the Woods [Y-not]
Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often.
-- Johnny Carson
Sitting here looking out the window watching snow fall... yep, it's November and Thanksgiving is just around the corner.
All done now? Good.
Thanksgiving has become one of my favorite holidays, second only to Christmas (although it's getting closer and closer as the hassle of putting together bundles of gifts and shipping them across country has become wearing). I like the simplicity of Thanksgiving: it's a big meal flanked by time off and lots of football. Hard to go wrong with that.
Well, except for the hassle of traveling.
First, a poll:
Now, a song:
Although this version is designed as a Christmas song, it really was based on a poem about Thanksgiving. Here's a little bit about that famous song:
First published in 1844, "Over the River and Through the Woods" was a poem written by Lydia Marie Child - a poet and novelist (and quite the advocate for emancipation of slaves). Child published the poem in a collection for children titled Flowers for Children, Vol. 2.
The song "Over the River and Through the Woods" is a song about taking a trip to visit grandparents and other family members on Thanksgiving day. The narrative of the lyrics celebrates the long journey there, the snow and the animals the family passes along the way. The narrator seems to be a child, though that's not explicit, and it spends about a dozen verses anticipating the joy and familial communing which will take place around the Thanksgiving table.
Mr Y-not and I were flat broke when we first got married. Between our lousy finances and the nature of our jobs, traveling 800 miles "back East" for the holidays was not an option. Later, when it would have been more feasible, various circumstances conspired against it.
On the couple of occasions when we did travel "home" for Thanksgiving, our trips were unmitigated disasters. (I'm looking at you PEOPLExpress Airline! BTW, did you know they've been resurrecting that monstrosity?)
Really, the only flaw with Thanksgiving in my mind is the travel, especially if you are far enough away that driving is not an option. Even before the days of shoe bombers and horny TSA agents, flying was a hassle, especially if it took us through Newark (one of my least favorite airports and number four on this list of worst airports in North America). These days I do almost anything to avoid flying.
So we just don't do it and, instead, listen with (barely concealed) amusement to the horror stories of our friends and co-workers who go through the torture of travel.* Although it's not Thanksgiving-related, I liked this one:
[T]wo British women were arrested by authorities after they tried to take the body of a dead relative on to a plane at Liverpool's John Lennon Airport. Airport workers became suspicious after the two women got out of a taxi with the corpse of 91-year-old Curt Willi Jarant, who was wearing sunglasses, and tried to check him in for a flight to Berlin. The women -- Jarant's widow and stepdaughter -- explained that they thought the dead man was asleep. Nevertheless, police booked them on suspicion of failing to give notification of a death.
Do you have any good travel stories?
*If you do have to travel, especially with kids in tow, here are some tips to make it go more smoothly. (One thing I've learned to do is to carry individually wrapped Fig Newtons, which I offer to the parents of squirmy kids sitting near me. I'm surprised by how many parents don't seem to have good snacks for their kids when they travel.)
Close it up
Sunday Morning Book Thread 11-23-2014: Politics As Usual [OregonMuse]
Strahov Theological Hall - Prague, Czech Republic
Some Political Books
I could have sworn I had posted this 11 best political books of all time list in some eaflier book thread, but I couldn't find where, so I apologize if it's a repeat. Anyway, it's a mix of fiction and non-fiction, there's a few interesting entries here (All The King's Men, Master of the Senate) and one clunker (The Handmaid's Tale? Really?).
One of the books on the list is This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral - Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking! - in America's Gilded Capital by Mark Leibovich. It's an insider's "tell all" book and according to the Amazon blub, it lays bare
How political reporters are fetishized for their ability to get their names into the predawn e-mail sent out by the city’s most powerful and puzzled-over journalist. How a disgraced Hill aide can overcome ignominy and maybe emerge with a more potent "brand" than many elected members of Congress. And how an administration bent on "changing Washington" can be sucked into the ways of This Town with the same ease with which Tea Party insurgents can, once elected, settle into it like a warm bath.
This last bit is why I'm not very optimistic about the latest election results. Even if we did successfully elect a number of Our Guys and sent them to Washington to clean house, they'll just get corrupted like everyone else, and become part of the problem. I think that's basically what happened with the guys we elected in the Republican rout of 1994. They're soaking in warm bathwater.
Look Out, It's E-Fairness, the Burning Issue of the Age
Local, brick-and-mortar bookstores want online retailers to have to collect state and local sales taxes, just like they do, and are petitioning Congress to make it so:
The Marketplace Fairness Act was passed 69-27 by the Senate in May 2013, requiring "remote" retailers with out-of-state sales of at least $1 million to collect applicable state and local sales tax on all purchases. President Obama has said he would sign the bill into law; many House Republicans and most online retailers, but not Amazon, have fought the bill.
I think I can guess why Amazon isn't fighting this: it's big enough to absorb the regulatory burden the new law would impose on online booksellers, and might put a few of its smaller competitors at a disadvantage.
But Boehner and the GOP leadership have already given the royal razzberry to this proposed legislation:
John Boehner said Monday he would block any attempt to pass e-fairness legislation in the lame-duck session of Congress...[and] it's unlikely that such a bill would pass either chamber when the new Congress, with its Republican majorities, convenes in the new year. Presumed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell voted against the Marketplace Fairness Act.
The "e-fairness" proposal does sound like "let's eat the rich" type of legislation so typical of progressive policy ideas. I think it's silly that somebody in New York would be forced to collect taxes for the state of California, or any other state.
How To Link To The AosHQ Amazon Store: A Primer
There have been several comments in the last couple of weeks from morons wanting to know how they can purchase books from ace's amazon store, so he'll get a few coins thrown his way. Some of this is my fault, I used to provide direct links to ace's store, but lately I've been too damn lazy to do the link conversion. Also, I usually link to the Kindle version, and for whatever reason, the potentates of Amazon have decreed that these sub-stores (or at least ace's) will not be not allowed to sell digital media.
But if it's a dead-tree edition of a book, an ace-friendly link is easy to put together.
Let's say I want to find a link to the Michael Koryta novel 'The Prophet'. Fromm the Amazon main page, I search on the terms Koryta prophet and the book I'm looking for comes up in the search results. The link looks like this:
Copy and paste this entire link into a text editor such as Notepad. I'm assuming a Windows environment here, if you're using a Mac, or a tablet, you're on your own.
That big, long link is quite a mouthful, but fortunately, most of it is fluff. First, you can discard everything starting with '/ref', which will leave you with
That's a pretty reasonable link, and I sometimes use it in book thread links, but you can make it even shorter, like this:
The really important part is the Amazon Information Number (AIN) which comes after the 'dp' and here it's 'B0076DFIRE'.
So, to make an ace-friendly link, first start out with:
...and simply add the AIN to it:
The final '/' is optional. What you have now is the final, ace-friendly link. Copy and paste it into your browser address bar (not the search bar, it there's a separate one) and you'll get the AoSHQ Amazon store page, with this message:
Digital media products such as Amazon MP3s, Amazon Instant Videos, and Kindle content can only be purchased on Amazon.com.
Oops. This is because I chose an AIN that was for the Kindle version of the Koryta novel. The AIN for the paperback is 0316122599, so the AoSHQ store link is this:
So if you buy the paperback from this link, ace will get a few farthings for his Valu-Rite fund.
And I wish we could do this with Kindle books.
From the sidebar earlier this week, I pulled this clever Visual Timeline of the Future Based on Famous Fiction.
It only goes to 802701. What a bunch of pikers. They should have included Olaf Stapledon's Last and First Men, which would have blown it wide open.
Here is a direct link to a larger version of the chart.
"For a long time, I used to go to bed early."
This is the opening sentence of Swann's Way, the first book of Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past, and I think it goes for something like 7 volumes. Anyway, when MuseDaughter was 11 or 12, she told me that due to her excited anticipation, she was going to have trouble getting to sleep on Christmas Eve and would I please give her a book to read? So I thought Proust would be suitably soporific and her reading skills were advanced enough that I knew she could handle it. But later on she complained that it was the most boring book she had ever read, and by "read" she meant "threw away after struggling though a couple of chapters." Oh, long was her complaint and bitter her lament about Swann's Way, the most boringist boring book ever written to bore unwitting readers to a boring death. And this from someone who, later on, read The Trial by Franz Kafka and actually liked it.
I reminded of this old family story because The Trial is on this list of 50 Great Dark Books for the Dark Days of Winter. Lots of unfamiliar books here, but some you will recognize, and I think that any one of them should be enough to smack the happiness right out of you.
I'm surprised that Lord of the Flies didn't make this list. If story of a bunch of savage, murderous schoolboys isn't dark, I don't know what is.
It's such an obvious choice.
As is Huxley's Brave New World.
Also, I never knew Trainspotting was a book adaptation. Really.
Where The Wild Things Are
So I guess most of us have probably seen the movie Into the Wild (an adaptation of the book of the same name by Jon Krakauer), and when the kid died, we thought "what an idiot". We're not supposed to think that, the movie tried to show the life and death of new college grad Chris McCandless as some kind of tragically beautiful thing, but those of us h8rs who could see what he was doing, i.e. trekking off to the wilderness, all by himself, with little or no woodcraft experience, with no backup plan, could see his bizarre and pointless death coming a mile off.
How could he do such a thing? How could anyone be so stupefyingly clueless?
McCandless had seven brothers and sisters, and one of his sisters has just published her own memoir. As you might guess, it puts a different light on things:
In The Wild Truth, Carine McCandless comes forward to set the record straight, revealing the much darker reality of Chris' family life: a violent home in which their father beat and belittled their mother and where both parents manipulated the details of a second family.
Of course, the parents are having none of it:
They released a blanket statement to ABC stating, "After a brief review of its contents and intention, we concluded that this fictionalized writing has absolutely nothing to do with our beloved son, Chris, his journey, or his character. The whole unfortunate event in Chris' life 22 years ago is about Chris and his dreams, not a spiteful, hyped-up, attention-getting story about his family."
I don't know who's right; like most dysfunctional families, it's probably a big, simmering mess of smoldering grudges, hurts, and resentments that have been going on for years. I know and have seen how imperfect and selfish parents can be pretty much oblivious to the damage they've inflicted on the lives of their children, and are genuinely bewildered when confronted by it. So you see a lot of denial, denial, and more denial, and the parents' statement is about what you'd expect.
I still don't think much of the son, however. No matter how many books they write about him.
Books By Morons
A few weeks ago, I mentioned moron WannabeAnglican and his new novel Pilot Point, and he informs me that his gun show/book tour was so successful, he's going to keep it up. So here is his schedule, if any of these are local to you and you want to get in on the fun:
November 22-23: (tentative) Burnet Gun Show - VFW Hall, Burnet, Texas
December 13: Aransas Pass Gun Show – Aransas Pass Civic Center, A.P., Texas
February 28 – March 1, 2015: (tentative) Saxet Gun Show – Robstown Fairgrounds, near Corpus Christi, Texas
So that's all for this week. As always, book thread tips, suggestions, bribes, rumors, threats, and insults may be sent to OregonMuse, Proprietor, AoSHQ Book Thread, at the book thread e-mail address: aoshqbookthread, followed by the 'at' sign, and then 'G' mail, and then dot cee oh emm.
What have you all been reading this week? Hopefully something good, because, as you all know, life is too short to be reading lousy books.
Close it up
Early Morning Thread 11/23/14: Something Borrowed, Something Blue edition [krakatoa]
Happy Sunday, gentle morons.
UPDATE: EMT now fortified with 50% more working links.
We'll get back to this:
Parents of Pro Hockey Defenseman Jack Johnson have borrowed their way into strong consideration for Worst Parents of the Year. Johnson was forced to file for bankruptcy after his loving folks borrowed 15 million dollars against his future earnings from "nonconventional" lenders. My folks were bad with money, but I like to think that if I'd hit on some real income, they'd have had better judgement than to go to a guy named Nicky "Kneecaps" Graziani for a payday loan.
Emperor Qin Shi Huang did it in two dimensions. Or at least his artists did. Han Purple (the color at the top of the post) has some really fascinating traits under 4 degrees Kelvin.
Hope the rest of your day is better than Jack's and warmer than a terracotta warrior in a science lab.