Friday, May 29, 2009

minding your business

here's a New Yorker article about self-control that kind of seems to nail it for me. It seems that there is a connection, even from early childhood, between success and delay of self-gratification. Imagine that.
But Prieur also makes a good point about what he terms "self-driving":
I must be in the top one percent. When I was a kid, it was nothing for me to save my Halloween candy so long that I ended up throwing it out. But I'm also thinking of something Chuck wrote in an email a while back: that the ability to not do what you feel like, which we might call self-restraint, is completely different from the ability to make yourself do what you don't feel like, which we might call self-driving. That's something I've always struggled with. When I was in high school I would actually slap myself in the face, hard, to build the self-driving skill to enable me to do my homework. It took me years to train myself to wash dishes instantly instead of letting them build up in the sink. And the reason I haven't built a cabin yet is that too many of the steps feel more difficult than driving a dull knife through my eyeball.

Now that I think about it, my whole life path follows from very high self-restraint and low self-driving: I've "dropped out" because it's easier for me to be extremely frugal than go to a job every day. I've been mostly single because it's easier for me to go without sex than do all the stuff you normally have to do to get it. And I sometimes get in conflicts with people because I want them to tell me exactly what they want me to do, because I need that communication to motivate me, and they want me to do stuff without being told.

You could argue that both self-restraint and self-driving are coping mechanisms for a society that's badly out of tune with human nature. If we were nomadic forager-hunters, it would make sense to eat everything in front of us and store the excess as fat, rather than carry it with us or count on greater abundance in an unpredictable future. Delayed gratification only becomes valuable in a world with permanent settlements and stable economies. And self-driving would be unnecessary in a society built out of tasks that we find intrinsically enjoyable.

via Ran Prieur, on May 12, 2009.

Andrew Sullivan had a slightly different response: "We all need nuns in childhood. They fuck you up but they make you smart."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

quick question

I dont speak spanish, so can anyone tell me WTF this is? Found using Bloggerplay.

Elizabeth Warren makes sense

So why doesnt anyone listen to her?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Ho ho ho. Funny cartoonist!

Question number 2: Which of the above pose the greatest threat to American Democracy and our way of life?

Same answer!

Or, Question number three: Which of the above is most committed to bringing down the elected leadership of the United States?

This is fun!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Daniel wont be surprised by this, and I suppose I shouldnt be either, but I was looking at some random photos from London and only now have I realized that the Royal Guards, the stiff guys with the funny hats, are packing some serious weaponry. They may act all ceremonial, but I suspect that each and every one of them could kick the ass of most anyone they had to.

Monday, May 25, 2009

ah, technology

Police Slog Through 40,000 Insipid Party Pics To Find Cause Of Dorm Fire

accident report

Had a little "excitement" this weekend. Around 1-ish in the morning on Sunday there was the unmistakable sound of screeching tires and colliding cars. Since we dont live on a very busy street, but do live on one with a lot of parked cars, it was a pretty good bet that somebody hit a car. Twice. I ran outside and sure enough, there was some drunken cowboy trying to push my truck down the road. Neighbors appear also (belonging to first car hit), and soon the occupants of the offending vehicle are sitting on the curb and I'm holding their keys. Eventually, the police came, laughed about the breathalizer results, and hauled the offenders and their four-wheeled carcass away, leaving a mess for me to clean up.
So now, in addition to all my other expenses that I cannot meet, I get to worry about fixing my truck.
Fortunately, the damage wasnt actually all that bad. Most of the damage was to plastic and sheet metal, the only real structural damage seems to be to the bumper, which was shoved up and back a bit.
It's still drivable (or was once I secured the cowl under the bumper back on), though it looks kind of like hell now. I could have been a lot worse.
The irony of the whole incident is that a few months ago I would have been parked in a different space facing a different direction, and would have perhaps been missed altogether. The reason I wasnt: a parking ticket for facing the wrong direction. One guess to how I'm parked today.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

quote for the day

"Your outdated ideas of what terrorism is have been challenged," an unidentified, disembodied voice announces following the video's first 45 minutes of random imagery set to minimalist techno music. "It is not your simple bourgeois notion of destructive explosions and weaponized biochemical agents. True terror lies in the futility of human existence."
Conceptual terrorists. Almost as scary as mimes.
Dont forget the Teletubbies

sunday funny

HEY! That's the same prize I won!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

quote for the day

"More and more I think there's only two possibilities: Either the GOP is in fact in a death spiral and will actually disappear as a national party within the next decade, or the GOP has realized that in a two-party system you don't actually need to say you're sorry; you can just sit back and wait for your opponents to have bad luck, then go crazy once you're back in office. After that incumbency will protect you for a good, long while, and even to the extent it doesn't you can accomplish long-term goals in a very short timespan with party unity, weak opposition, and a compliant, mendacious press."

Gerry Canavan, presenting a chilling thought.
His original post has a bunch of links and a lovely chart showing how the GOP has lost voters in almost every domographic subcatagory. Not incidentally, here he makes a good point about the wet noodle that is Harry Reid.

Friday, May 22, 2009

quote for the day

"But when some craven Republican he-whore exclaims that about the Gitmo detainees "They get better health care than the average American citizen does" and then proudly stands in the way of Americans getting health care coverage, well, what's the real threat to the United States? What and who do we really need to be afraid of? What's an actual national security issue?"
The Rude Pundit, talking about the idiotic "debate" about where to put the detainees from Guantanamo Bay.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

hollowed be thy name

Isnt National Geographic a wonderful thing? The image below is from the series In The Womb: "Extreme" Animal Embryos Revealed ('cause, you know, if it aint extreme, Americans just dont care).
an infestation of WASPS in the American body politic
"As a final insult to the injured host, the caterpillar--apparently brain-addled by the virus--builds a silky blanket over its attackers and defends them against predators until the wasps emerge, fully formed, and take to the skies."
Horrible, yes? It's a description of how parasitic wasp embryos grow and thrive on the bodies of catepillars. It seems somehow familiar, like I've seen this behavior somewhere else...
bzzz bzzz bzzzzzzzzzz
Whoops! Looks like somebody's got a wasp!
Dumbass! So-called socialism IS the revolution, the revolution against the wealthiest anti-taxers who would starve this nation even as they drain its lifeblood for their own profit.  You know what's really sad - this dimwit's from Dallas, where the parasitic aspect of the Rich is more than obvious.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

oh, please

maybe if he would just shut the fuck up, nobody would HAVE to report on his bullshit
So, seems Rush Limbaugh has issued a challenge to MSNBC to go for 30 days without mentioning his name. I'm guessing that the implication is that it's not Rush's fault that's he's getting all the headlines, but the fault of the media. And truly, I'd love to see MSNBC do just that. Problem is, Rush has his own network, and to go for 30 days without mentioning Rush is to give him 30 days in which to work his evil without comment or correction, and that seems unwise since God knows that pretty much everything that comes out of his piehole these days desperately needs a counterbalance. Really, it strikes me as similar to a bank robber saying to the police, "hey, you guys are always chasing me and trying to arrest me; maybe if you didnt watch the banks you'd stop having to chase me all the time".


Keith Olbermann responds:

movie time!

This is just cool

via Jonco

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

quote for the day

Conservative commentator Bill Kristol agrees, "They should do their best not to permit Obama to rush his agenda through this year. They can't allow Obama to make of 2009 what Franklin Roosevelt made of 1933 or Johnson of 1965. Slow down the policy train."

So the Republicans want to warn Americans that President Obama might create programs and policies that are as successful and popular as Social Security and Medicare. Interesting...
Well, we cant have that, can we? Read this, or suffer the consequences.

Okay, no consequences, except that you'll miss out on a good post...

with funny pictures!

Monday, May 18, 2009

monday night at the movies

I've been trying to get the nick-name "Rent-boy Rick" to catch on ('cause, see, he's such a whore for business), but, alas, it doesnt seem to be doing so. And sure, "Governor Goodhair" is pretty funny and all, but you know, you like to see your own succeed, right?

Anyway, here's our Glorious Leader playing to the base and then K.O. explains why it's a stupid fucking idea. Props to Doomsy.


Whoops! Seems he was just joshin' about that sucession stuff. Stupid liberals just dont get teh funny, I guess. Props to Gerry Canavan for the update.

equal time for dogs

We got our dog from the SPCA. Good Boy!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

sunday funny

I dont consider myself to be a cat person or a dog person, but this much I do know:
a dog would never build a time machine.

PVP rocks, by the way.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

there is something very, very wrong with Chris Ware

Quimby The Mouse from This American Life on Vimeo.

I was at UT back when Chris Ware was in college there, and even then there was a very disturbed quality to his comics. Brilliant, but disturbed.

Calling all civic-minded criminals!

Your country needs you.

Please, next time you intend to commit some form of crime, I would suggest that you go to a lawyer first. Not to find out if what you intend to do is legal or not, but in order to get some form of document saying that it is, regardless of how twisted the logic or faulty the reasoning may be.
Then hold onto that document.
Should you, perhaps, be caught later on, and charged with whatever crime you did indeed plan out (and get a document making it "clear" that the act was, in fact, not illegal for), please use said document as part of your defense, and make sure that your defense lawyer gets some juicy media coverage when you do.
Yes, yes, no doubt you'll go to jail afterwards, since you will not have billions of dollars and dozens of think-tanks at your disposal, but think of the service you'll be providing the country. If you're very good, you may even have done service enough to have Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld as a cell-mate. Imagine the possibilities!

Or maybe it'll work. It wouldnt be the first time.

Dare to Dream!


In a completely unrelated post, Samurai Frog made this statement:
According to the fringe right, calling it an “enhanced interrogation technique” means it isn’t torture. If you call it an “enhanced dating technique,” does that still make it rape?
Now, suppose some rapist used this argument in court - would anybody who's been awake the last year or two not understand the subtext? And, equally important, does anyone think that such a defense would work? So why should changing the name work as a defense for torture, especially when one considers that torture is as close as you can get to rape without a penis.

Friday, May 15, 2009

comment a la Poobah

A comment of mine from a post of Pooby's, so I thought I'd put here for the record:

...the Hague wont do anything [about America's war crimes] unless America becomes considerably weaker than it is right now. We’re bigger than the cops, and better armed (literally and metaphorically), so they’re going to let us alone unless we start really misbehaving; simple fact, we have to police ourselves because we’re a gorilla in a room full of chimps, and the only thing keeping us from eating the chimps is decency and the fact that there are a lot of them. I suspect Bush et al knew this, and since they have no common decency, they went ahead and did whatever they felt like doing.
As for policing ourselves, while the gorilla in the room analogy works for world community, within the country we’re more like the cast of the movie “A Bug’s Life”. We, the ants, could overwhelm the grasshoppers who are robbing us blind, but we dont seem to get that. So they keep us distracted and make irrelevant the few voices that try to alert us to things, and so continue to devour the fruits of our sacrifice.

As for Pelosi, she’s been on my shit list since she declared impeachment “off the table”. That, more than anything, signalled to me a deep involvement on her part and other Democrats in any impeachable offenses that the BushCorp may have engaged in, because I could think of no other reason to avoid such an easy political victory.
The rational that they were sparing the nation some sort of divisive spectacle is ridiculous. A thorough, unflinching and timely investigation would have united all but the Truest Believers, with the added advantage that justice would have been served. Instead, we are witness to the slow strangling of democracy, the lack of metaphorical oxygen to America’s brain, and the high probability that the Founder’s Great Experiment will end in failure.

just curious

So, here's a question: Does anyone notice that I frequently have captions "hidden" in most of my images that I use on this blog? Not all, but most.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

kodiak moment

Because although Eating Money was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called."When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you sometimes find that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it."

Okay, so Andrew Sullivan's got this bear market graph which compares four different financial crisis (purely from a stock market perspective, of course). Things could be turning around now, but I'm thinking... no.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

some financial help from Dave

hmph! I know cheapskate, sir, and YOU are no cheapskate
In these times of economic trouble, you may hear the following word (perhaps even in your own head) anytime you suggest that some item which you or others may desire isnt really necessary, or can be purchased in a less expensive form.
The word is...


I, as a public service, will attempt to make you feel better about that epithet. A cheapskate, contrary to popular opinion, is not someone who doesnt like to spend money. A cheapskate is someone who has money, but doesnt like to spend it. If you are unwilling to pay for the most expensive version of something because you have other things to pay for, but cant if you buy the really expensive thing, you are not a cheapskate. On the other hand, if you refuse to buy the most expensive version of something because you hate spending more than 50% of the money that you make, preferring to save it all in a dark vault, you probably are a cheapskate.

So, basically...

A person who will only spend 60% of his income and saves the other 40% is probably a cheapskate.
A person who will only spend 90% of his income and saves the other 10% is probably a a very clever person who will be comfortably ready for retirement or disaster.
A person who will spends 110% of his income and saves nothing may want to consider becoming a cheapskate, at least until they pay off that massive debt which they've no doubt built up. Unless they're counting on some sort of salvation from Congress.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tuesday Matinee

Personally, I prefer Star Trek to Star Wars, but this is still really cool.

props to Boing Boing, from whom I stole this

Sunday, May 10, 2009


As tiresome as it can sometimes be to see people frame matters so that it all comes down to one issue and one issue only, I find myself returning to this one again and again. Whether or not torture is your issue. Or wiretapping. Or indefinite detention. Or signing statements. Or anything, really -- environment, global warming, abortion, health care, taxes, terrorism, the war. No matter what your issue is, at heart, you're dependent on a continuing and consistent respect for the law. Because without it, none of your work on politics and policy is worth anything the moment the White House falls to someone who's not you. You can pass all the environmental laws you like, but if it's accepted as a legitimate tenet of Republican governing philosophy that all of those laws can be safely ignored or otherwise set aside, you'll have gained nothing from your work with a friendly Congress and administration.

And if you can set aside all statutory and constitutional law on something like torture, I'm unsure what barriers you think remain in the way of doing the same on any other issue.

David Waldman

When one listens to O'Reilly, Limbaugh and now Gonzales, speak of the US right to torture, one realises that Rove was not kidding when he sought to portray torture as a "policy difference". That really is the way things are panning out between the two parties. One side says it is illegal and the other side says it is necessary. So, the US has not abandoned the practice of torture, it has simply been put to sleep until the next Republican administration decides whether or not to bring it back.

from Kel, go read the rest.

some religious gentlemen getting important intelligence from a Spanish jew using a simple stress position... not torture at all, no no
And now, it seems, Nancy Pelosi, and no doubt other Democrats, knew that torture was going on. Are any of us really surprised? Naturally she's got some lame excuses to let herself off the hook, but it certainly explains the lack of Congressional will when it comes to investigating and holding accountable members of the Bush Administration for their obviously illegal and immoral acts. After all, if members of Congress knew, then that would make them also culpable, and that wont do if some of those members are Democrats currently in charge, will it?

I've said this before, I'll say it again, this is the most important issue facing America right now, putting the economy and the wars to nothing next to it: Are we a Nation of Laws, where rules are applied equally and democratically to all, or are we a nation where those in power operate under different rules than those who have none? It gets right to the heart of what makes America America, rather than, say, China.
Yes, I know, rules are different for those with money and power, but this is supposed to be an effect of corruption rather than policy. If what's legal is defined soley by those individuals with the power to say something is legal or not (such as a king), rather than by a replacable committee of representatives, then what recourse against arbitrary decisions will there ever be for the ordinary person? Once you allow legal precident to institutionalize the illegal acts of those in power, but not for anyone else, then Democracy and the Rule of Law is finished, and legal becomes defined by the whims of those who already held most of the cards anyway. You might as well be living in dictatorship, unless you think America is the Land of the Free because we can all have cable or go to restaurants or buy whatever cool stuff we want*. Personally, I'd prefer smaller houses, cheaper cars, and the satisfaction that breaking laws leads to punishment for all wrongdoers.

I fear, though, that such is not going to be the case. That Republicans, and their Democratic enablers, will not only get away with their illegal acts, but that as soon as Americans feel like their next trip to Starbucks is threatened by some guy in a headscarf on the other side of the planet, then such acts will occur yet again. And they will, sooner or later. And America, the one that I learned of in school, that America will be dead. And the Great Experiment will truly have been an experiment, but a failed one. And I will weep** for my grandchildren.

too late

Some additional thoughts on the Rule of Law:

-an article by Andrew Sullivan at the Atlantic.
-an article by Ari Melber at the Nation.
- and finally, another quote:
"Here's where we stand as a nation: Right now, it is more likely that someone or some entity will be punished for the split-second exposure of Janet Jackson's naked titty during the 2004 Super Bowl than for authorizing the torture of detainees at our prison in Guantanamo Bay. It is more likely that someone will get fined for Bono exuberantly broguing the word "fucking" as an adverb during a live awards show than for wrecking the American economy."

read the rest at Rude Pundit.

* Assuming those in power have allowed us enough money to do so, of course.
** metaphorically, of course. In reality I'll be trying to figure out how to get them to move somewhere civilized.

Saturday, May 09, 2009


It's a question we've all wrestled with:

What Would Jesus Hate?

This public service question brought to you by the American Council for Evengelical Self-Righteousness.

Friday, May 08, 2009

sundry items

Could somebody remind me again of the reason for the whole civil rights movement? I was under the impression that it was equal rights for all persons.

Please, please, could some Democratic senator at least suggest the "nuclear option" when discussing the next SCOTUS nomination? Just to see what happens?

We're safe from terrorists, all right. Thank God for the Patriot Act!

Wow, any a port in storm; or, the lamest excuse to avoid marriage I think I have ever heard.

props to Pryme and Andrew Sullivan

Thursday, May 07, 2009

film at eleven

Living My Life Faster - 8 years of JK's Daily Photo Project from c71123 on Vimeo.

This is intensely cool. As it says, it's eight years in about a minut or two. It makes me want to do self-portraits again.


I really hope that he keeps this up. Imagine 20 or 30 years worth of this.

quote for the day

"Why do they hate America? They hate us for our freedoms."

Secede, already!

from a comment in the article.


Here is some information regarding what states take in versus what they pay out. Something for folks to think about when they're considering moving out.

- Taxes paid/received per state in 2005, broken down into some categories.
- This one has a map, but only a base amount per.
- Here's a per capita table.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

dont think of IT

rent me for your next party!!!

HA HA HA! Clowns are so funny, arent they?

No, not really.

RNC Clown College photos.
This one's of Rentboy Rick Perry.

Props to Boing Boing

Monday, May 04, 2009

bizarro monday

does this
somebody needs a time-out
lead to this?
somebody needs a horsewhipping

Saturday, May 02, 2009

this seems like a good idea

...and I say that as a father of two girls.

"Written for all teen girls, this insightful book discusses different types of girl-on-girl cruelty, why it happens, and how to deal with it. With details on various forms of abuse common between girls—including betrayal between friends, cyberbullying, hazing, and the silent treatment—this useful guidebook will help teen girls understand why they show aggression to each other, cope with difficult situations, gain confidence, and work together as teams, while also suggesting when to get help from adults when situations get out of hand. It includes quotes and inspirational stories from famous role models who have had firsthand experience with girl meanness, such as Jane Wiedlin, founding member of the Go-Go's; Jenny Conlee, bandmember of The Decemberists; and Tegan, bandmember of Tegan and Sara."

Friday, May 01, 2009

swine stampede

You know how everyone keeps referencing the 1918 Spanish Influenza epidemic when they're making whatever report they're making on how scary all this flu stuff is? Well, turns out that if you look at the numbers, it's not quite so scary as it might at first seem. Yes, a lot of people died, but most didnt, and a whole lot more people didnt even come down with the flu at all, let alone die. It was a terrible thing, but let's try not to get out of control here, okay? Americans spend way too much time worrying about what might happen and not nearly enough worrying about what is.

Addendum: check out this description of "Yellow Journalism", and tell me if it doesnt describe today's MSM perfectly.