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February 25, 2007

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'(4) "Marble Boy". Heh.'

I at least found that acutely painful reading. Can't reach the link at the moment but iirc I was a participant in the Billmon thread, saying some balanced things about Tac and tacitus.org before the subsequent blow-up made me look like a fool.

rilkefan: when you are fair-minded and generous, and then the person you've been sticking up for turns out not to deserve it. it's not you who looks like a fool.

'(4) "Marble Boy". Heh.'

I actually prefer the full sobriquet betowed upon him at Sadly, No : I'll leave it unnoted due to posting rules (which I think we should respect, even if their formulator has forgotten them). Kinda sad, in a way: I used to think like rilkefan did: but unfortunately, the more I read of Josh's output, the nastier and pettier it (and he) seems to get. It's too bad to see articulate writing skills like Tac's put to such ignoble use. Oh well....

Any bets on how long it takes for Josh to put in an appearance here in response to "Marble Boy"? What's the over/under.

Tac is undoubtedly the Kibo of the blogosphere. He reliably shows up, attempting to kick -ss and chew bubblegum, any time his mentioned. In that way, he's not completely unlike Asmodeus in my high school-era D&D games.

Back away from the blonde.

I know I could work with this but decided in the interest of good taste to just leave it alone.

The Hersch article is very interesting reading, indeed. Bush is scarsely mentioned at all; the US policy in the Mid-East is all Cheney, all the time.

Cheney isn't just playing Iran-Contra all over again, he's playing Iran-Contra + arming the mujadeen all over again. It's a knotted mess of a cat's cradle. I really wanted to rip my hair out at the "Lessons Learned" meeting they had 2 years ago to review Iran-Contra: the only thing they seem to have 'learned' is to keep these idiotic backdoor deals with terrorist groups secret by not letting anyone outside the VP's office know what's going on.

Cheney's group is taking the Saudis' word for an awful lot. Not letting the CIA or any other normal source of information get involved means there's no one to do a reality check on what the Saudis and Saudi-sponsored groups are telling them. So, on top of Iran-Contra + mujadeens, it's also the pre-war stove-pipe operation all over again.

Please,please,PLEASE let this be the last snow of the season, or at least let it all go away through at least Saturday, when I'm moving. I do not relish having a moving truck loaded or driving it in this weather!

Well, either way, a week from today, I'll be sitting in my own house, and not a rental. Feels nice to say that.

Three things
Re: Japanese culture. You have no idea. A bit not safe for work-ish, but check out the stories at the Mainichi Wai Wai where the bizarre stories (usually centered around sex) from the weekly magazines are noted. I'm sure someone is going to tell me that every country has its share of strange goings-on, but how they manifest themselves here stands out. The current crop is a bit bland, so dig through the archives if you dare. (note that there are two sections, wai wai and the face, wai wai talks about "everyday" people while the face talks about japanese celebrities)

The meltdown of various internet personalities is amazing and frightening to behold, yet concentrating the personality flaws misses the point. The reason the unravelling is occurring now and to such a degree, is that the current situation which was so feverishly supported by those melting down is untenable, so making the argument about themselves and blog goings on is really the only escape route left to them.

Finally, I think the infamous pic was actually a pic of he who must not be named wielding a Japanese katana (samurai sword), so all of the speculations about grown-ups wielding lightsabers is wrong. However, what bothers me most about the pic is not grown men playing with swords (since I do iaido, which is basically playing with a live blade, I am in no position to say anything on that count) but the fact that he's holding it wrong, like a lefty batter. If you are going to get a picture taken of you with a Japanese sword, get someone to tell you how to hold it please.

lj, I was under the impression that Wai Wai was fictional--that it was the Japanese version of batboy & Elvis sighting & 400-pound infant tabloids. Am I mistaken?

Well, you should see what they get up to on Japanese late-night TV talkshows....

And I don't think I ever saw as many grade-Z movies as on Japanese movie channels, complete with perky cute female announcer.

making the argument about themselves and blog goings on is really the only escape route left to them

don't discount how much Sometimes A Guy Really Is Just A Jerk contributes.

Re (3)
Had Iraq gone as swimmingly as the neocons believed, Iran would be acting dramatically differently. With a stable pluralist democracy on their border the Mullahs might find themselves under pressure for reform from within. Also huge US bases right across the border on two sides of the country would lend credibility to US threats, since we'd have a military much less strained than is currently the case.

The problem is that the neocons simply didn't consider the possibility that things might not go as they expected.

No, I think it is true, though I've never actually checked out the info personally. Obviously, the dependence on anonymous source could be hiding some whoppers, but it does seem to have a different texture than the batboy/Elvis stories.

LJ: Finally, I think the infamous pic was actually a pic of he who must not be named wielding a Japanese katana (samurai sword), so all of the speculations about grown-ups wielding lightsabers is wrong.

No, it was a lightsaber. More specifically, it was my lightsaber, which I brought to a dinner the day after his wedding as a gesture of friendship (he and my wife go way back, despite stark political differences). Whatever his past blogging crimes might be, and however careless he might have been in posting his wedding photos online, that this gesture at an entirely apolitical and quite lovely affair is being exploited for a bit of cheap mockery just makes my stomach hurt.

The meltdown of various internet personalities is amazing and frightening to behold, yet concentrating the personality flaws misses the point.

I've been wondering about this, too. It's not just the constant cheerleading in the face of reality. But things like the absurdly slanted POS poll and the out of the blue "attacks are down 70%" to the Victory Caucus to convince themselves that there is a large majority that still supports Bush's um "plan" (this doesn't apply to people who think the surge could work but rather those who eagerly point to 5 days w/o a major bombing and the POS poll as evidence of public support and how we're now winning)

They keep putting off the day of reckoning with reality and the results are going to be ugly. Worse they'll keep it up through '08 at least ensuring that the GOP nominee will be one stuck with stay the course because the one unacceptable option is leaving or reducing troop levels.

It is too bad that Bush didn't recognize what the ISG was telling him: Leave and declare victory. Without Iraq on the daily news and reports of 3 soldiers dead there or 10 wounded here a lot of people might have bought that we actually won.

Instead the cruise control is locked in and Bush is telling his fellow travelers that he just wants to get a closer look at the cliff ahead.

And I didn't even get to the other talk radio litmus tests like "no tax raises, ever - tax cuts forever" (no matter how much spending is cut by the next president s/he'll still have to raise taxes to close the deficit) "global warming doesn't exist" (not that Kyoto won't fix it, or that it is far too harsh) and of course the big question mark Iran (bombs bombs and more bombs)

All said the '08 GOP contenders have quite the reality gauntlet to run to win the nomination. In some ways I think it's going to be even more interesting the the dem primary.

Gromit,
sorry about that, and sorry to bring it up.

hilzoy: when you are fair-minded and generous, and then the person you've been sticking up for turns out not to deserve it. it's not you who looks like a fool.

That's not true; it's just that you're not the most foolish.

Chuchundra: In that way, he's not completely unlike Asmodeus in my high school-era D&D games.

And he does have the facial hair too...

CaseyL: Cheney isn't just playing Iran-Contra all over again, he's playing Iran-Contra + arming the mujadeen all over again.

Actually, I think he's just playing Contra. He probably thinks Saddam was the alien queen and liberals are the scorpion things.

Gromit: Are you serious? I honestly can't tell.

[And fwiw, I think it's stupid to make fun of someone for taking a picture with a lightsaber -- it sounds like something both I and my friends would totally do, in a post-irony would-be-ironic hiplesster kind of way {i.e. dorky} -- when you could, for example, mock the fact that they're genocidal lunatics who need to increase their meds...]

Putting the lightsaber pic up in the first place was dumb, if understandable; keeping it up once Gromit asked that it be taken down was deeply unpleasant. I'm sorry you got dragged into that, Gromit.

Headline of the day: Sharpton's Ancestor Was Owned by Thurmond's.

"Owned"

Is there a body of work out there discussing this word in this context? When I saw the above I felt angry. I sort of want to say the headline ought to read "Sharpton's Ancestor Enslaved by Thurmond's" since a human being cannot be owned. This is probably an emotion-forward response, though.

Question to Liberal Japonicus(while we are at the topic of japanese culture):
I have noticed repeatedly in Japanese movies (old and new) that women (esp. old ones) at spinning wheels turn out to be ghosts/demons/oni/etc. I can't actually remember a single exception. Coincidence or literary topos?

I thought that weaving is the supernatural marker, possibly because Amaterasu, the japanese sun goddess was also in charge of heavenly weaving. There's also a folktale about a hunter who saves a crane who then weaves for him, until he peeks and she has to leave.

However, spinning does appear as a marker for demons or witches. Kurosawa's Throne of Blood, which is a Japanese setting of MacBeth, has a sole witch with a spinning wheel. The Japanese title for Kurosawa's film is Kumonosu jo, which is 'spider web castle' underlining the role of fate trapping someone. Kurosawa said he was also influenced by the Noh play Kurozuka, where the female demon is using a spinning wheel, and Noh dates back to the Muromachi period, the end of which is the first contact with Christianity, so spinning might actually be a Western 'import' (if you can say something from 1500 an 'import') Also, cotton and wool were also foreign imports as Japanese commoners cloth was hemp or linen, and they don't require the same kind of apparatus that cotton or wool do, I think. Silk was reeled rather than spun and the reeler looks quite different from a spinning wheel. Also, googling the noh play Kurozuka (scroll down), the priest who encounters the female demon doesn't know what a spinning wheel is.

However, this is me guessing with Google rather than something that I am really familiar with.

Thank you!
The Kurosawa movie was my first encounter with it (the German title translates as Castle in Spider-Web Forest), followed by Millenium Actress(a demon or a witch), Kwaidan(a ghost), Spirited Away(a witch) and maybe a few others I don't recall at the moment.
Looks like the "spinning of the fate" metaphor in an Asian setting (haven't seen it or something similar in Chinese or Korean movies though).
Could of course have been Kurosawa establishing it as a movie cliche.

Josh: Putting the lightsaber pic up in the first place was dumb, if understandable; keeping it up once Gromit asked that it be taken down was deeply unpleasant. I'm sorry you got dragged into that, Gromit.

Thanks. I speak only for myself, of course, but I can't really be too angry at the poster at Sadly No!, though. Everyone involved is probably justified in feeling aggrieved, it's just that their responses are too often completely inappropriate and counter-productive, since they only serve to perpetuate the vendetta. What probably makes me the most irritated is the pretense, on both sides, of aloofness. No one puts that much energy into something he doesn't really care about.

Anarch: Are you serious? I honestly can't tell.

[And fwiw, I think it's stupid to make fun of someone for taking a picture with a lightsaber -- it sounds like something both I and my friends would totally do, in a post-irony would-be-ironic hiplesster kind of way {i.e. dorky} -- when you could, for example, mock the fact that they're genocidal lunatics who need to increase their meds...]

This is the bitter irony of the whole thing. He'll gladly cop to being a geek (as will I). That particular insult doesn't have any bite. It's the use of photos related to his family life that bugs the hell out of him (as it does me), even if that context isn't readily apparent to an outsider. Of course, pointing out that this bugs the hell out of him only fuels the fire.

I started up a thread at TiO to move any comments out of the spotlight here.

I sort of want to say the headline ought to read "Sharpton's Ancestor Enslaved by Thurmond's" since a human being cannot be owned.

Indeed, if there's any justice, Strom Thurmond is being eternally "owned" in the afterlife as we speak.

Technically speaking, Sharpton's ancestor was owned by a Thurmond with who Strom Thurmond shared a common ancestor. NOT: Strom's ancestor owned Sharpton's ancestor, although at that level of remove it's kind of a quibble.

Indeed, if there's any justice, Strom Thurmond is being eternally "owned" in the afterlife as we speak.

Thanks dude. I just spit a mouthfull of peanut butter sandwhich all over my monitor.

Cats being cats, though, ten minutes later he has forgotten all about it, and is crying to go outside again.

Or he realizes that, hey, you didn't even TRY to open up a trandimensional time-space conduit that would get him to a not-snow door. See The Door Into Summer by the redoubtable Robert Heinlein for in-depth analysis of feline cogitation on this point.

OK, actually it's only a paragraph or two, but the rest of the book is fun too.

"OK, actually it's only a paragraph or two, but the rest of the book is fun too."

But the "cat and the door" was also a metaphor. The fifties were Heinlein at his peak as writer, and maybe as humanist. The Door Into Summer maybe about as much "Science Fiction" as Jack Finney or something, it isn't hard to see what it is really about.

Talking about "Doors into Summer" y'all could head down Texas way, where I am looking at 2 weeks of 70+ and sunshine.

This is a very promising trend:

"Texas power company TXU Corp. said on Monday it agreed to be acquired by a group led by private equity firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Texas Pacific Group for $31.8 billion in the largest leveraged buyout in history. . .

Under the agreement, TXU said it would cut the number of planned coal-fueled generation plants to 3 from 11, and implement 10 percent price cuts that would result in annual savings of about $250 a year for the average household.

TXU said the plan to scale back coal-plant expansion would prevent 56 million tons of annual carbon emissions. The company said it would also invest $400 million in conservation and energy efficiency activities over the next five years."

The ironic part is that is a Leverage Buyout, given LBO's reputation from the 80s. My god ecoterrorists and Wall Street terrorists have joined forces. [/sardonic]

Re: the credit card thing. Umm, no. Admittedly, I'm not a lawyer, only a law student, but procedural due process is for state action, not between private parties. I suppose you could analgize to the cases overturning racially restrictive covenents, where the court decided that enforcement of the covenent was the state action. But I doubt that would carry the day. And I don't have time to do an extensive research set, sorry. :)

The Door Into Summer maybe about as much "Science Fiction" as Jack Finney or something

Robert Heinlein open thread, anyone?

I don't see why Jack Finney ISN'T science-fiction, except that his publisher decided not to market it that way. Lots of mainstream writers do sf covertly. Finney is exceptional only in that his sf was pretty good. Unlike, say, Margaret Atwood's. Anyone who thinks sf is fundamentally unserious and good writing should be reclassified as not-sf just doesn't understand sf.

so, ObWi could really use some more front-pagers, huh?

Japan">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKTiNgp_SVI&mode=related&search=">Japan

Nuff said.

DJIA down 500 or so today. sweet.

"DJIA down 500 or so today. sweet."

Closed down just over 400, but still very large. Why is losing over 3% sweet?

Why is losing over 3% sweet?

:)

looks like i forgot my black humor tags...

"looks like i forgot my black humor tags"

Yah. Are you going to emulate Steely Dan and catch the great men when they dive from the 14th floor?

Are you going to emulate Steely Dan and catch the great men when they dive from the 14th floor?

it's probably a better plan than trying a Don't Take Me Alive. i don't want to hurt no-one.

" Mr. Nils is nothing like so pleased: he wants to go outside, but as soon as I open the door, he gets this appalled look on his face, and begins shaking his paws as if they had snow on them, in anticipation. Then he sadly turns around and walks slowly upstairs and lies down on the couch, looking for all the world as though his heart had broken.

Two years ago we were renting the first floor of a house, with our very indoor cat (carry him outside, and he gets clingy and heart-thumpy). I had gone outside after a big snow to slowly shovel out the driveway. I finally finished, and walked back, only to find the door slightly ajar and little pawprints on the front steps. I was very worried, because - well, that's what I do,worry, but it was dark and bitterly cold; had he run off for some reason, without any experience in outdoor life? Looking closer, though, I realized that the prints led out the door, down the steps, and then right back up - and indeed, he was sitting inside, by the heat vent. My wife says she had been sitting on the sofa when he trotted up and started yammering at her, quite annoyed. It would seem he had met snow, found it quite unsatisfactory, and came back in to complain that, apparently, She had not properly made it summer . . .

(Normally anything that goes wrong would be my fault, including random events and my wife trying to wash him, but it would seem that for something of this magnitude, She must have been involved (and yes, you can hear the capital letter, despite the fact that he doesn't talk . . .)

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