Published on 25 Sep 2014
A battle with the household guardian ends in tragedy.
September 29, 2014
September 19, 2014
Published on 18 Sep 2014
The kingdom may be in peril, but on an adventurer’s day off, why not relax with a game of Humans & Households? The latest Gamers film from Dead Gentlemen, Zombie Orpheus, and Lynnvander!
August 28, 2014
Published on 28 Aug 2014
After protestors in Ferguson, Missouri, were met with a militarized police force, new attention was brought to the Pentagon’s 1033 program, a program that supplies military-grade equipment to local police departments, often for free. Check out a commercial Reason TV has unearthed advertising the program to law enforcement.
Extremely minor quibble: the “tanks” are actually armoured personnel carriers. But as I’ve moaned on about before, everyone in media thinks every tracked vehicle is a tank and every navy vessel that isn’t a submarine or an aircraft carrier is a battleship. (And some even mistake earplugs for rubber bullets…)
August 25, 2014
While I’d prefer to see Scotland stay as part of the United Kingdom, lots of Scots would prefer to be independent of the UK. What I don’t understand is the idea that Scotland needs to be free, independent, and pleading and begging to be accepted into the EU. Isn’t that just trading distant uncaring bureaucrats in London for even more distant, even more uncaring bureaucrats in Brussels?
There are plenty of English cheerleaders for the “no” side, but there are also folks in England who’d prefer to see Scotland go off on its own:
In polite society, the correct opinion to hold about Scottish independence is that the Union must stay together. But I’ve been wondering: might not England thrive, freed from the yoke of those whining, kilted leeches? The more you think about it, the more persuasive the argument seems to be.
I’ve been invited to debate this question — whether or not we long-suffering Sassenachs would be better off without our sponging Caledonian neighbours — in early September, at a debate held by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.
Let’s consider for a moment how Scotland herself might fare. In my view, she would be well served by some time alone to consider who she really is. Historically, Scotland was renowned across the world for entrepreneurial spirit and engineering genius. Both reputations have been lost after a century of Labour government and the overweening arrogance and control freakery of the trades unions.
These days, Scotland is more commonly associated with work-shy dole scroungers and skag-addled prostitutes than with the industriousness of Adam Smith or with its glorious pre-Reformation spirituality. Sorry, no offence, but it’s true.
Returning to England, then, let us imagine a Kingdom relieved of burdensome Scottish misanthropy. Surely it would experience an almost immediate burst of post-divorce gaiety. Think of our city centres, free of garrulous Glaswegian drunks slurping Buckfast tonic wine, or English literary festivals liberated from sour, spiky-haired Caledonian lesbians hawking grim thrillers about child abuse.
And here’s one last, even more delicious prospect: right-on Scottish stand-up comedians permanently banished to Edinburgh, where their ancient jokes about Thatcher or the Pope will make their equally ossified Stalinist audiences laugh so bitterly that Scotland’s famously dedicated healthcare workers will be left mopping up the leakage.
It makes you wonder whether we shouldn’t offer up Liverpool as well, to sweeten the deal. After all, the north of England is in a similarly bad state. What do you reckon of my modest proposal? Would a taste of the Calvinist lash persuade that feckless and conceited community to get off its behind and look for work? Why not let Holyrood underwrite their disability benefits bill for a while, and see what happens?
August 20, 2014
The entire state is oceanside, just like in the video. There are rumors of some vast, undiscovered bogs or swamps or mountains or something out west, but no one would ever go there. LL Bean is in Freeport, and you’re not allowed to be in Maine more than an hour’s drive from there. If we had police, they’d check. Bean’s used to have catalogs filled with shotguns and fishing poles, but now they only sell banana hammock bathing suits for Canadians that go to Old Orchard Beach and think it’s the Riviera, and button-down men’s shirts for ladies to wear.
Maine has various slogans. They used to call it Vacationland, but Mainers couldn’t help themselves, and got to reading the Vacationland road signs while driving to work in the office park in Westbrook, and forgot the signs were for people “From Away” — the charming soubriquet Mainers use when they want to call someone a Masshole, but the guy hasn’t paid his bill yet. Anyway, everyone in Maine went to Disneyworld at the same time, on the same bus, and there was no one left in Maine to direct the tourists from Massachusetts to the best places to icefish in June, or where to find all the huggable bull mooses in rutting season, or how to properly approach a black bear cub. Note: Always get between Mama bear and Baby bear. They love that.
“Maine: The Way Life Should Be,” was another one. It was less of an overt threat than New Hampshire’s motto, it’s true, but it left too much room for rumination on its meaning. I haven’t been to New Hampshire in a while, but if memory serves, their slogan is “Live Free, Or Else,” or something to that effect. Maine’s sounds friendlier, but its ambiguity rankles some. It’s never wise to get the tourists thinking. It smacked a bit of “Your life is bad, and you should feel bad, and we’re here to tell you so.”
Sippican, “Maine Is Totally Like This, Totally”, Sippican Cottage, 2014-02-26
August 8, 2014
So with the Bill of Rights. As adopted by the Fathers of the Republic, it was gross, crude, inelastic, a bit fanciful and transcendental. It specified the rights of a citizen, but it said nothing whatever about his duties. Since then, by the orderly processes of legislative science and by the even more subtle and beautiful devices of juridic art, it has been kneaded and mellowed into a far greater pliability and reasonableness. On the one hand, the citizen still retains the great privilege of membership in the most superb free nation ever witnessed on this earth. On the other hand, as a result of countless shrewd enactments and sagacious decisions, his natural lusts and appetites are held in laudable check, and he is thus kept in order and decorum. No artificial impediment stands in the way of his highest aspiration. He may become anything, including even a policeman. But once a policeman, he is protected by the legislative and judicial arms in the peculiar rights and prerogatives that go with his high office, including especially the right to jug the laity at his will, to sweat and mug them, to subject them to the third degree, and to subdue their resistance by beating out their brains. Those who are unaware of this are simply ignorant of the basic principles of American jurisprudence, as they have been exposed times without number by the courts of first instance and ratified in lofty terms by the Supreme Court of the United States. The one aim of the controlling decisions, magnificently attained, is to safeguard public order and the public security, and to substitute a judicial process for the inchoate and dangerous interaction of discordant egos.
Thus the law, statute, common and case, protects the free American against injustice. It is ignorance of that subtle and perfect process and not any special love of liberty per se that causes radicals of anti-American kidney to rage every time an officer of the gendarmerie, in the simple execution of his duty, knocks a citizen in the head. The gendarme plainly has an inherent and inalienable right to knock him in the head: it is an essential part of his general prerogative as a sworn officer of the public peace and a representative of the sovereign power of the state. He may, true enough, exercise that prerogative in a manner liable to challenge on the ground that it is imprudent and lacking in sound judgment. On such questions reasonable men may differ. But it must be obvious that the sane and decorous way to settle differences of opinion of that sort is not by public outcry and florid appeals to sentimentality, not by ill-disguised playing to class consciousness and anti-social prejudice, but by an orderly resort to the checks and remedies superimposed upon the Bill of Rights by the calm deliberation and austere logic of the courts of equity.
The law protects the citizen. But to get its protection he must show due respect for its wise and delicate processes.
H.L. Mencken, “The Nature of Liberty”, Prejudices, Third Series, 1922.
July 26, 2014
It seems so innocent, but as Brian Willett warns us, it’s the Patriarchy and we’re soaking in it:
Take baseball and fireworks. A symbol of phallic expression and a symbol of phallic completion. Ever wonder why so many teams have fireworks after games or home run?
Grilling out seems like a relatively benign activity (except for the cow that gave its life). But really examine it. A man using yet another extension of himself to poke and prod at something that never even had the opportunity to say no.
Of course, he can only grill out after he’s placated his troglodyte need to smother his lawn in bee colony-destroying pesticides and then destroy it with an emissions-spewing mower. All for the sake of satisfying his id.
Or perhaps we can talk about the beauty of marriage. Or, as some call it, a contract with man and his property. Or do you really still believe that an engagement ring is steeped in loving, Christian tradition?
Canadian lit’rit’cher. An easy target for parody. Too easy:
Every Canadian Novel Ever
1. Will the Cod Return, Or Must We Move to Toronto?
2. Only the Jews Know Montreal
3. The Next Three Chapters Are Set in the 1830s Bush For No Reason But Then We’ll Be Back to This 1970s University Women’s Studies Department
4. She Briefly Considers Moving to the States For Her Career But Then Realizes She Must Stay With Her People
5. O Cabbagetown!
6. I Remember When There Was LOADS of Cod and We Played Scottish Reels to Entertain Ourselves
7. In Which Blondes From Westmount Fail to Sleep With You
8. This Children’s Toy That Holds Great Meaning For You Will Be Broken Like Your Spirit
9. You Thought It Was Me Talking To You, But It’s Been My Sister All Along, I Am Dead Because of a Man
10. Magical Realism But It’s Just Gothic Southern Ontario Having, Like, Two Magical Elements
Actually, some of these sound more interesting than the actual not-technically-mandatory-but-seems-that-way Canadian Content.
July 24, 2014
Hands down, my favourite Star Trek movie was Galaxy Quest:
And now, MTV has the story behind the story:
Galaxy Quest: The Oral History
By Grabthar’s Hammer, the sci-fi comedy classic is turning 15. Here’s the untold story of how it got made.
Galaxy Quest was only a modest success in theaters (pulling in $71 million at the domestic box office). Over time, however, it has become a cult favorite – a film virtually everyone loves, one of those flicks you see when flipping channels and immediately get caught in its tractor beam. (Not that the movie has tractor beams – that would be too close to Star Trek.)
In honor of the almost 15th anniversary of the movie (it was released in December, 1999), MTV News checked back in with the entire cast and creators of Galaxy Quest: Tim Allen as the obnoxious Captain; Alan Rickman as the humiliated thespian relegated to rubber makeup; Sigourney Weaver, an actress given nothing to do but show her cleavage; Daryl “Chill” Mitchell, the former child star. Tony Shalhoub, playing a stoner who is supposed to be the sharp chief engineer; Sam Rockwell as some guy named Guy; and many, many more. What we came away with is, in the cast and crew’s own words, the story of how the crew of the Protector came together – and how things changed as the movie grew to be the phenomenon it is today.
Rockwell: Sigourney Weaver changed with that wig.
Rickman: I remember Sigourney walking around saying that she was experiencing a new world with the blonde wig.
Johnson: Sigourney loved her extenuated bosom and blonde wig. She’d sometimes leave at the end of the day dressed up like that. She’d just go to her hotel with the enhanced breasts and padding and all squeezed in and it was fun.
Weaver: Blondes definitely have more fun. I loved being a starlet. I miss my breasts, I miss my blonde hair, I miss my insecurity.
Rockwell: I wanted to ennoble the coward archetype. I thought of the best cowards in cinematic history, like John Turturro in Miller’s Crossing. When we did the shuttle scene I drank four cups of coffee and downed two Excedrin. I wanted to be so hyped that I would have a nervous breakdown on the shuttle. I don’t know if it worked but I was very hyper and freaking out. I think I had a couple beers to come down.
Mitchell: Sam Rockwell in this movie, man. I die every time. “Did you guys ever WATCH the show?!?”
Johnson: “Did you guys ever WATCH the show?!?” That’s my favorite moment.
Rockwell: Guy is a cheeseball. And a Trekkie geek. But he’s a coward. My template was Bill Paxton in Aliens mixed with Michael Keaton in Night Shift.
July 17, 2014
One of the funniest parody accounts on Twitter disappeared yesterday:
At approximately 5:50 P.M. EST, it became known that Twitter had shut down @Salondotcom, a hilarious parody of Salon run by The Daily Caller‘s opinion editor, Jordan Bloom, and his roommate, Rob Mariani. @Salondotcom constantly tweeted fake headlines that perfectly aped Salon‘s everyone-is-racist-and-Republicans-are-worse-than-Hitler shtick.
If anything, @Salondotcom was too good: more than once I mistook their parody tweet for the real thing. And I was far from alone in that.
It’s not clear exactly why Twitter shut down @Salondotcom, although the social media service has been known to suspend parody accounts. Still, it’s a shame.
The Twitterverse is currently standing in solidarity with @Salondotcom by using #FreeSalondotcom instead.
Update, 18 July: Tim Cavanaugh has more on the disappointing-but-legit shutdown.
The Twitter parody account @salondotcom got the Royal of the Boot Wednesday evening due to an alleged violation of the microblogging giant’s terms of service. The co-creator of the parody account tells National Review Online that Twitter, which requires such accounts to be clearly marked as parodies in order to protect the stupid, shut the account down.
“Technically we’re in violation of their terms of service for not disclaiming that it is a parody account,” Jordan Bloom, who created @salondotcom with Rob Mariani in June, writes in an e-mail. “But where’s the fun in that? We’re stubborn enough that if it takes a quota of social justice snitches reporting us or whatever, by god we’ll make ’em do it. I suppose we’ll appeal and promise that if they give it back we’ll prominently display our jailhouse tattoos.”
(Disclosure: This reporter worked with Bloom at The Daily Caller, where he is the opinion editor, and I consider Bloom to be among the most redoubtable people in Washington. He is also indefatigable and dauntless.)
— Political Math (@politicalmath) July 16, 2014
July 11, 2014
The Privacy Surgeon recently acquired a leaked National Security Agency memo to new staff and contractors:
The intelligence world is a complex place. Think of it as if it was your family (we know the sort of families you come from, so make of that what you will). Here’s a quick international reference guide so you know what to think.
- Just about all African governments arise from at least some orchestrated corruption. Before you target anyone, check with the CIA to see if they were involved. If they were involved, intensify the surveillance and make sure NSA Command has all the data for “diplomatic” purposes (i.e. Beltway diplomacy).
- Anyone in Central or South America is a justifiable target. If they’re in Central America, drugs will be somewhere on the horizon – even if it’s a third generation connection. If they’re further south, most will be US-skeptic. Drugs plus US-Skeptic equals democratic instability, and we’re here to protect democracy.
- The Russian Federation is more complex. At a political level there’s a lot of grandstanding. Operationally though, we share intelligence with Russia on anyone who is a mutual target (and that, ironically, includes most of the Russian Federation). China is our main mutual target because it refuses to share the economic intelligence data it gathers about either Russia or America. All of us, however, have agreed to share intelligence data on the French.
- The Middle East. Just collect it. That data is always useful. Avoid Israel though. We already have a cross-collateralization deal with MOSAD to leverage the value-added of locally intercepted data. And besides, if they catch you snooping on their turf they’ll just endlessly whine about it.
So that’s about it. We hope you have a great time here, and always remember that you now have friends.
H/T to Bruce Schneier for the link.
This Leaked NSA Memo Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity: Okay, it's a parody: The Russian Federation is more … http://t.co/bBQbSo0VvF
— Schneier Blog (@schneierblog) July 11, 2014
July 8, 2014
I disagree with you. I understand where you’re coming from, but I believe you’re mistaken, and I’ll explain why you are wrong.
First of all, the data backs up my point. I have facts out the waz. Your data are flawed, old, biased or incomplete. The people who collected your data are in prison for fraud or took funding from an evil billionaire who lives in a castle on a mountain where there is always lightning. My facts are bulletproof. They were gathered by humble grass roots researchers who love America and hate cancer. You can be forgiven for not having the same information that I do. People on “your side” don’t like to discuss data that annihilate their arguments. […]
More important than the data, though, is that my argument is just. I can see why you made the argument that you did, but you’re forgetting a whole host of injustices, tragedies and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” style flying specters that would be loosed upon millions of people if you had your way. What I’m saying is that the moral arc of the universe bends towards my argument.
History has proved me correct on this point time and time again. From the Bible to the Renaissance to the Depression and WWII, my point was cemented repeatedly by real events and real people who suffered under the regimes of dogmatic fools like you. There are several authors who have made the very point I am making more eloquently than I have, and you can buy their books and read them in your spare time, which I suggest you do, because right now you’re uneducated and just talking out your butt.
Joe Donatelli, “Why You Are Wrong”, The Humor Columnist, 2014-06.
July 2, 2014
June 9, 2014
Nicole Mullen explains why you’re an awful racist if you don’t see the awful racism in the swap of five Taliban prisoners for US Army hero/deserter Bowe Bergdahl:
Treating politics like professional wrestling rivalries comes with its fair share of downfalls though, and this Bergdahl case is a perfect example of such shortcomings. As a leftist myself, I was quick to dismiss any notion of Bergdahl’s traitorous behavior, nor did I take exception to Obama’s decision to circumvent congressional approval when he released five terrorists from Gitmo. I simply read that a trade occurred, googled to find out how the right felt about it, and then blindly argued against every single point that they made. Is Bergdahl a deserter? Of course not, he’s a hero. What evidence do I have of that? None. Who cares? I’m right and you’re wrong.
But, this is where the breakdown occurs, because there’s something my fellow liberals are missing in all of this, and only part of it is to blame on fervent, unquestioning support of the president. It’s odd to me that in a whole industry of race obsessed blowhards collecting freelancing checks, I’m the only one who noticed how racist the Bergdahl trade was.
I want to make it clear that I’m not criticizing the president for his decision to rescue Bergdahl, but there’s something that the white left is afraid to talk about here. When Obama traded five men of color for one white man – he made a very clear statement about race. He let the entire world know that one white life is worth at least five brown ones, and that is incredibly fucked up and gross and problematic.
Think for a second – if Bush had made that trade, is there any doubt that we would be calling him out for how outrageously racist it was? If a white man had traded five brown men for one white man, we would be quick to see it for what it was – an affirmation of white privilege and power. But, because Obama is a man of color himself, it seems as if no one noticed.
I can only imagine the struggle Obama, a man of people of color, must have felt as he authorized that trade. He was betraying himself – the black part of himself – while simultaneously affirming the privilege and power structures inherent in the white part of himself. The courage it took to make that decision is remarkable, and again, I feel like he made the right choice, but we should really look at this situation and use it as a way to reflect on our cultural attitudes to the devaluation and reductive characterization of colorful men that we objectify through cisrace projections of cultural self-worth.
June 4, 2014
A post by David Allen Green from last year that prefigures the political landscape of today:
… all this statutory output is subject to the tiresome jurisdiction of the courts — the High Court will quash delegated legislation and use “human rights” jurisprudence to interpret the word of parliament out of recognition. Something must be done.
So this Act is a modest proposal for our legislators and public officials. Once it is passed, no other legislation will ever be necessary and the meddlesome courts will be neutered. This would be a Good Thing.
Let’s start with Section 1:
“The Crown shall have the power to do anything, and nothing a Minister of the Crown does will be ultra vires.”
That should shut up the High Court for a while with their judicial review decisions.
But adding a second section to the Act will make sure that Ministers will act in the interests of all of us. So for the avoidance of doubt, Section 2 provides:
“The power given by Section 1 of this Act shall include the banning of things by any Minister of the Crown.”
But what things can be banned? Well, here’s Section 3:
“The things to be banned referred to in Section 2 of this Act shall be the things which a Minister of the Crown says are bad for us.”
Which in turn leads us to Section 4:
“What is bad for us for the purposes of Section 3 shall be determined by a Minister of the Crown with regard either to (a) headlines in the tabloid press of the day and/or (b) the headlines the Minister of the Crown would like to see in the tabloid press tomorrow.”
Section 5 will then provide:
(a) voicing opposition to a determination made under Section 4 of this Act; or
(b) acting in breach of a ban made under Section 1 of this Act, shall be deemed to not care about the children and/or to be soft on terrorism.”
The Act should also include the following power at Section 6 so that any emerging issues can be addressed:
“In the event something must be done, a Minister may at his or her discretion choose a thing to do, and the thing chosen shall be deemed as the something that must be done.”
This discretionary power, however, is subject to Section 7:
“The thing chosen under Section 6 shall not have any rational or proportionate relationship to any intended objective.”
The way a lot of ministers carry on, you’d think this act had already been promulgated…