This blog supports Pluto’s status as a real, full-sized planet, not a “dwarf” planet or asteroid or some other newfangled shizzle. And that’s the way it’s going to stay. Bite me, International Astronomical Union. (”International”? I knew it. See what happens when the internationaloids get involved in anything? Something always gets taken away.)
Let it now be admitted that the lyrics to the Who song “Bargain” are the among the most saccharine in rock ‘n’ roll. Oh come on, you know it’s true:
I sit looking ’round
I look at my face in the mirror
I know I’m worth nothing without you
In life one and one don’t make two
One and one make one
And I’m looking for that free ride to me
I’m looking for you
Awww. Don’t you just want to run away with the hippy girl who wears long fringed skirts and cries when she accidentally steps on ants? Gag me with a spoon. Yes, I will destroy your wispy romantic dreams if I come upon them, why do you ask?
(PS: the site had some of the lyrics slightly wrong. I have corrected them here. I grew up hearing the stupid thing being played every other hour on the local rock stations of my childhood so of course I know the song by heart even though I can’t stand it.)
Hi kids! I’m still here, I’ve just been too busy/tired to blog about anything. One thing I did manage to accomplish was the purchase of the desk I’ve been eyeing for a while now. It’s on its way and will be here in two or three weeks. And it was all possible because of your contributions to my little Paypal account. Thank you, everyone! When the desk gets here I’ll post pictures, because of course you are all dying to see my furniture.
I mentioned several posts ago that I’ve been playing around with Movable Type 3.3. I may or may not end up using it, as these new versions seem to be constructed for users with more advanced cases of OCD than I have. For instance, getting comment authentication via the Typekey ID that I’ve had for over two years now was like pulling a station wagon down the road with my tits. And let’s not even mention that the MT/SixApart people never seem to have figured out how to get their wonky software to work properly with Mozilla-based browsers. Where is my MT2 install login, bitches? I had to log into IE to fix some problems over at the blogs I have using MT 2. Software, bleh.
In other personal news, the wind just picked up a while ago and ominous clouds are moving in from the east. I hope it rains — it was cloudy all day yesterday but the rain itself never made an appearance, despite distant rumblings. On the other hand, I wanted to go to the store. The outdoor cat is refusing dry food, and I’m out of bread and a couple of other necessities, and due to an upset stomach yesterday I didn’t do much of anything. I need to get my lazy butt out of the house, but if it’s going to rain I guess I’m stuck, as it looks like one of those things that are accompanied by lots of lightning like we get here in the summer.
To the blogs: this is hilarious. If this young woman wasn’t so delusional she’d be aware that her chances of garnering any respect via her views on politics or any of the other wonderful workings of her “mind” have just taken a nose dive, all because she couldn’t resist boasting and preening about her wonderful self. And this “made ya look!” follow-up post is just the cherry on top of this asshole sundae. Good luck with that high-quality guy search, sweetheart.
Here’s an interesting item: yet another high-placed person of Muslimness spells out for us just what they really want. Every time I hear the argument that the Muslim mob is “justified” in its anger against the West for “colonialism,” “Orientalism,” and supporting dictatorships and corrupt regimes in order to keep the oil business going smoothly, I never hear what the desired outcome is supposed to be in the minds of all these angry people. This is the subject that is never broached, for fear of what the answer will be. We would rather keep fantasizing that most of the people in the Middle East are really Just Like Us, and want the same sort of Western style democracy which enshrines freedom of speech and religion, when the truth is they want nothing of the sort. (An example of this is the astonishment many bloggers expressed when upon the ouster of the Taliban women in Afghanistan didn’t tear off their burkas in the street en masse.) We are just as bad as the colonial masters of old supposedly were, thinking for the Middle Eastern people instead of listening to them. If we did we would hear things that we do not want to hear, which is that for most Muslims the Western form of democracy is anathema to them.
For example, the reason that the Sauds are so despised is not because they are oppressive but because they are perceived as corrupt and compromised by ties with the US. And here’s another, earlier example that no one seems to ever bring up in this context: Iran. Iran under the Shah was supposedly an oppressive government that persecuted its opposition. How much of that is true and how much is just lies put about by the Communists and other opponents of the Shah I don’t know, but I do know that when the Shah was overthrown, it was in favor of a government that was just as if not more oppressive, and was in fact a totalitarian theocracy. When it comes to the persecution of opponents, it’s a case of the uniforms and motivations having changed but not the methods or results. And added to the internal jailing and killing of their own citizenry, we have to deal with all the lovely terrorism with which Iran has thoughtfully gifted the rest of the world, in order to spread its version of peaceful, democratic, Islamic government throughout the Muslim world and eventually, on some halcyon day, the non-Muslim world as well.
But you can’t tell that to the people whose political consciousness consists of a button that, when pressed, emits “all people who are oppressed want freedom.” There is no room in their heads for what these people intend to do when they get that freedom.
Update: no rain, the storm, or whatever it was, blew right over and kept on going north and west. Feh. So I went to the store.
I’m going to start something on my blog called “True Confession Time.” Yeah, I’ve pretty much run out of ideas. Oh, and yeah, everything I have previously said on my blog was a lie. Psych! You suckers. Anyway, here is my first True Confession: I have always thought that U2 was a really stupid name for a band, and that was even when I was deep in the throes of U2 fanitis. I am surprised that it wasn’t included on this list.
Oh well, that’s the first true confession! More to come.
I don’t have any money so this weekend will consist of me sitting around the apartment idly surfing the internet, drinking coffee, and watching the Doctor Who episode I got in the mail from Netflix. I may get adventurous and scratch my ass. But last night I had all the fun I wanted: I was sitting here clicking my mouse and trying not to fall asleep, as it was only 8:30 and it’s against my religion (Church of Saint Insomnia) to go to sleep so early, when I heard my famous Ominous Trickling Noise coming from the closet where the air conditioner lives. The back of the a/c closet abuts on one of the walls of my bedroom closet. I went into the bedroom closet, and sure enough, the carpet in that corner of the closet was sopping wet. So I called the maintenance emergency guy, and in jig time he was over here. He seemed in a real hurry — he was reeking of some awful cologne that left me itching for the rest of the evening (I ended up taking an antihistamine), so I figure he had a big date planned that my call interrupted. Anyway, he zipped in, observed that the floor of the a/c closet was a puddle, zipped out, came back dragging a wet vac, vacuumed up the water, promised to send some guys over with anti-mold spray for the bedroom closet the next day, and zipped out. My cat, in the meanwhile, was having a heart attack, because of the wet vac, and the stranger stomping in. So that was last night.
I’m reading around the blogs and I come upon this entry by Rand Simberg which puzzles me as to its uncharacteristic moany-ness. He starts off with, “We’re already starting to see dire consequences of Israel’s disastrous war. Al Aqsa thinks that it now knows how to defeat Israel,” and goes on to quote the usual Arab boasting. I’m not sure that the fact that Arabs are emitting their characteristic “we will destroy Israel!” blather means anything significant as to their actual chances — from what I have always heard and observed Arabs, and the rest of the Muslim world, are always boasting and bragging about how they are the baddest cats, and that this or that latest little setback (aka every single battle against any Western force which invariably has ended up with them getting their candy asses pasted) is really not a defeat, they’ve actually won, the war even if they lost the battle, etc., etc., and then their many fans and apologists in the West help them along out of misplaced guilt and adherence to the Cult of Victimhood, one of the tenets of which is the West must never be allowed to defeat any of its enemies in battle, because that is just rude. Leaving all of that aside, I must say I just don’t get the thunderous apocalytic language people in the West, supposedly on the anti-terrorist side, have been using against Israel lately, especially as regards the recent Israel vs. Hezbollah scrim. One can argue, of course, that the decision to attack Hezbollah in the way Israel did (with rockets) was a strategic mistake, and that perhaps other means should have been taken, but rightwing critics are running around like chickens without heads, the way they did when Bush nominated Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. And I was under the impression that up to deciding to give in to the whiners and accept a cease fire, Israel was doing pretty good in the destroy-Hezbollah department. But the Hezbollah creeps made sure all their rocket emplacements were surrounded by a nice human shield of kids and grandmas and UN members, which is somehow Israel’s fault. Sometimes I think that Israel would be better off without the so-called “support” of the Western world, which has lost its nerve. It must be like trying to fight a bully with your squeamish girlfriend clutching at you and shrieking “Oh! Oh! Don’t hurt him! I can’t stand the sight of blood!” So you capitulate in disgust, and the bully immediately starts bragging that he’s really cleaned your clock and he’s gonna go finish you off “next time,” and dummies in the audience start thinking the bully really did win something.
I’ve actually heard a lot of people saying that all this battle with the Muslim world is really Israel’s fault, and that all we really have to do to be safe from being terrorist attacks is to quit supporting Israel and basically let them be destroyed by their enemies. I’ve also had it put to me that it is Israelis who are the fanatics, that the creation of Israel was a crime perpetuated upon the helpless victimized Palestinians by Europeans guilty over the Holocaust, and that the United States was likewise guilted into supporting Israel and are kept in this state of guilt-motivated support by the Jews That Control Everthing, and that therefore Osama Bin Laden’s reasons for attacking the US are really quite reasonable, though of course one must deplore his methods (gee, ya think?). This is a somewhat simplistic rendering of the arguments I’ve been hearing, but not much more simplistic than those arguments, which ignore all those nuanced layer things that liberals are always claiming conservatives don’t care about. So I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I have come to this conclusion: we must continue to support Israel because we already have a policy of doing so, and because they are the only real Western democracy in the area (so far — and since the population of the other countries there seem to prefer non-Western systems of law, they will probably still be the only Western democracy in the area). This doesn’t mean we have to agree to everything they say and do, any more than supporting a friend means you wholeheartedly agree to everything he says and does. But you don’t throw that friend to the wolves to save your own skin. If you do that you are dead, spiritually if not physically. A life bought at the expense of your friends’ lives isn’t a life worth living. True, your friends may occasionally be jerks, or do things you think are really stupid. As long as they haven’t turned actively against you, and are willing to listen to you, you stand by them. If you are willing to dump someone out of your own cold self-interest, you never were a friend in the first place.
Of course I run the risk of being labelled simplistic myself for this stance. Well I’m not sweating over it. Of course the relationships of nations aren’t the same as relationships between individuals (I forget who wrote something — Steven Den Beste? — about this), but there is a correlation. As a matter of fact, people rarely show true friendship to each other these days — we are buddies, fuck-buddies, pals, people who “hang out,” people in the same church group, coworkers, and so on, but how many of us really have someone they can count on to go to when things get tough? And this inability to form proper friendships has affected all aspects of society — marriages don’t last, people stab each other in the back for promotions, and the relationships that do last too often become parasitical ones, and so on — and as well to relationships between nations. With our enemies we act like the guilt-ridden girlfriend who goes back to the man who keeps beating her to a pulp, because this time “he might change if only I was nicer to him.” With our allies we are either the uncool kid trying to get into the circle of popular people at high school (we should be more like Europeans, who are much more mature about issues like sex, religion, and politics than we are, is how this usually goes, never mind the fact that like the uncool kid we can’t tell the difference between cynical apathy and maturity), or else we are like the squeamish girlfriend above, who fears not only icky violence, but how being friends with the “different” guy will threaten her standing with the popular kids, who don’t like the “different” guy. We really need to fix our own psychological problems before we start lecturing Israel on how to deal with their own crazy neighbors.
Clair Danes is all grown up. Oh dear.
Side note: I have that same pair of pants. I bought them at Walmart. They don’t look any better on me.
Also: wouldn’t having the last name “Crudup” affect one’s life adversely? I know being named “Andrea” has left me with the lingering sensation that I am really a sinking ship.
(Via David’s Secret Blog.)
What would be the reaction of the literati if Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn gave this speech at Harvard today? Would he be booed, called a “neocon” and a “wingnut”? Then again, the awed respect with which his words were once received by Western intellectuals has proved to be so much polite veneer. Does anyone even read Solzhenitsyn in college anymore, or would that cut into their glomming up incoherent Chomskyisms while organizing marches in support of Hezbollah?
Well, that was fast.
I do understand the thing about needing to be comfortable to blog — or do anything in front of the computer. That’s basically my problem right now. One of the reasons I really haven’t written that much is because I really don’t have a proper desk and I have been moving the laptop all over the apartment trying to find a place where I can type on it in comfort while I am in this deskless state and none of it works. I had my small dining table in the bedroom, and it was fairly comfortable, but awkward — there really isn’t much you can do with a four-legs-plus-top dining table in a bedroom, and what I really need is a real desk with some shelves and drawers and things. Also, a while back I grew tired of living in a slapped-together college dorm environment where everyone makes furniture out of cardboard boxes and plywood and whatever you found out by the dumpster, and have been slowly gathering actual furniture to make my place look like a grownup lives in it. Maybe if I were still living in a 280 square foot studio I’d feel differently, but this is a pretty good-sized one bedroom with dining room so the futon and the tiny two-person dining set and the cheap student desk from Staples that proved to be less sturdy than it looked just wasn’t doing it for me anymore.
Anyway, I have my eye on a couple of desks, though I really can’t make a decision as to which one to get until I have some spare cash, and that’s not going to be for a while as my rent goes up forty bucks in October, when the new lease starts, and I also want to plan on buying a car. (I’ll probably get the desk before I get the car, though.) In the meantime I have been shifting the laptop everywhere (I forgot to mention, the purchase of a new desktop unit has been put off indefinitely), and right now it’s on the coffee table and I’m sitting on floor pillows. But alas, I am no longer of an age that find sitting on the floor on floor pillows comfortable, so I am going to have to move things around again. I wanted to get rid of the small dining table but it looks as if I will be using it for a while longer.
Okay, that’s all I can write now, and my back feels like someone took an axe to it. I need to get up and move around. Later, if I can.
This is just great. Here’s another set-in-stone command of my childhood that has turned out to be so much air: the idea that all children in America not only deserve but are directed by law to get a standard education. Such reasoning was why, when I complained I wasn’t really interested in math or biology but would rather spend all of my school hours reading novels, I was told to shut up and do my homework. If only I had been a little Muslim child.
I’ll bet homeschooling parents across the nation are really pissed at this. After all those years juggling textbooks on subjects they barely remembered themselves, struggling to keep up with the often arcane educational requirements that their home states may impose on families that homeschool, when all they had to do was move to New York City, convert to Islam, enroll their kid — their male ones, anyway — in Koran-memorization school, and sit back secure in the knowledge that no one will say “boo” to them despite the fact that their offspring is being transformed into a Muslim zombie mind-slave who will have no other thought in his head but to “take his parents to heaven,” after becoming a Koran-memorization-trainer themselves and creating, I suppose, more little zombie mindslaves.
Why do I say that these children are being turned into little zombies? Oh, I don’t know, it’s just a feeling I get from reading about how their “schooling” takes five days a week of eight or nine hour days (I don’t know if they get a lunch break or how long it is) — and how convenient that schedule is for mum and dad, incidentally — without summer breaks either, and how very little attention is given to other knowledge, such as math and science and grammar and so on, because of course frivolous subjects like that aren’t as important as memorizing a book in a foreign language without — oh, but here comes my favorite passage:
Making the work even more difficult, the students, for the most part,
do not understand what they are reciting. Muslims believe the Koran was
spoken to the prophet Muhammad by the angel Gabriel in Arabic. Because
it is seen as the literal word of God, the use of translations is
frowned upon. Students know how to pronounce the words but mostly do
not know what they mean.
Isn’t that charming? And how convenient for the teachers, who are this relieved of the need to answer pesky questions from clever kids, unlike the stupid infidels who actually allow their young to learn their religious teachings in their own language. You can just feel the strain the NYT writer was under to keep this story confined to the multiculti-is-cute-and-safe meme, but it isn’t working. The article states that most of the children in this religious school go on to “the city’s best high schools,” but this is a claim made by the parents and the officials of this school, and they don’t say how the students, up to three years behind in their non-Koran learning, do in these “city’s best” high schools. Somehow I think that what most of these students will end up doing is becoming alienated and resentful when it becomes clear that the only world their extra special ability (to recite an old poem in a foreign language they can’t speak or understand) will give them access to is a very narrow and proscribed one. And resentful, alienated males rarely take up peaceful habits like needlepoint or stamp-collecting to work out their rage.
(Via Ann Althouse.)