Archive for July, 2013
26 Jul 2013

Grim Thought

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La bala que nos va a matar ya ha sido disparada.

Via Ratak Monodosico.

26 Jul 2013

Great Comet of 1843

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Charles Piazzi Smyth, The Great Comet of 1843, 1843, National Maritime Museum, London

Hat tip to Madame Scherzo.

25 Jul 2013

Tweet of the Day

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25 Jul 2013

Photo of the Day

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(how progressives imagine themselves)

Hat tip to HappyAcres via Vanderleun.

25 Jul 2013

Baseless Certitude and Arrogance

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James Taranto tore Obama’s “swerving in the direction of the economy” speech to shreds, and in one short paragraph identified Obama’s most distinguishing personal feature and its historic role in his presidency.

On the other hand, Obama’s certitude about his own superiority, his utter contempt for his political adversaries, even for those whose priorities differ from his–now that’s genuine. It is the central feature of his political character, and the proximate cause of–pardon the cliché–Washington’s current “dysfunction.”

Read the whole thing.

25 Jul 2013

George Clooney/John Malkovich Coffee Machine Commercial

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1:56 video

25 Jul 2013

Seagull Invites Himself In For Dinner

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Hat tip to Siobhan English.

24 Jul 2013

Hometown Neighbor of Mine Makes the News

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I grew up in Shenandoah, which is only a couple of miles north of Gilberton.

I did not know that Gilberton (with its whopping population of 867, as of 2000) was actually a borough. I would have said that it was a patch settlement in Mahanoy Township, but what do I know?

I guess they must have incorporated it as a borough back in 1873 in order to gain some kind of political advantage pertaining to access to the Anthracite coal under the ground nearby.

Anyway, Gilberton is a borough and apparently even has its own police force (which I never knew). And the current police chief, Mark Kessler, has been posting some profanity-laced videos on YouTube, which have the kind of people he refers to as “libtards” at Raw Story decidedly upset.

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Example 1:

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Example 2, in response to libtard reaction to number 1:

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I’m willing to grant that Mr. Kessler’s political commentary seems to fall a little short of Edmund Burke’s, but I am naturally amused, and even a little proud, to find that the political views of a resident of today’s Schuylkill County, which I left over 40 years ago, still when you come right down to it so much resemble my own.

I do think that Police Chief Kessler is additionally a walking advertisement for Radley Balko’s new book on the Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces. That is some expensive ordinance that Police Chief Kessler is playing with in the second video. It was undoubtedly paid for by somebody’s tax dollars. And that kind of firepower, though obviously terrific fun to play with, is absolutely preposterous in relation to the character and levels of crime in as poor and little-populated a settlement as Gilberton.

24 Jul 2013

Progress Means You Mustn’t Stand Your Ground

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Today, in proper and enlightened jurisdictions, Tom Doniphon (John Wayne) could be prosecuted and convicted for failing to retreat from gunslinger Liberty Valence.

Stanley Fish, in the New York Times, tells us, once again, that the frontier has closed, and as Hollywood has testified, the old America of Gary Cooper and John Wayne, of rugged individualism and manly courage, is dead.

We are now a country more appropriately represented cinematically by Alan Alda, in which the feminine aversion to violence and dependence on the Leviathan State to handle our problems for us has triumphed. Personal honor, chivalry, and manhood are all obsolete concepts consigned without regret by our elite intelligentsia to the dust heap of History.

As civilization advances, and the law book replaces the gun… rationales for violence sound increasingly hollow, and more and more westerns are self-consciously elegiac — “High Noon,” “The Gunfighter,” “Ride the High Country,” “The Magnificent Seven,” “Lonely Are the Brave,” “The Wild Bunch,” “Monte Walsh,” “The Big Country,” “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” — caressing the lonely figures at their center even as they say farewell to the values they embody. Outright satirical comedies like “Cat Ballou” (1965) and “Blazing Saddles” (1974) announce loudly and without nuance what the genre as a whole had already implicitly proclaimed: the reign of what Bosley Crowther (in a review of “Shane”) called “legal killers under the frontier code” was over.

Stand Your Ground laws bring it all back. That is what President Obama meant when he said on Friday that such laws seem “designed in such a way that they encourage the kinds of altercations and confrontations … that we saw in the Florida case rather than defuse potential altercations.” Do Stand Your Ground laws, he asked, really contribute to “the kind of peace and security and order that we’d like to see?” The answer is that not everyone wants to see them. There are some who imagine themselves as the modern-day Wyatt Earp or Will Kane or Shane — bravely seeking out malefactors, confronting them in the main street, and shooting them down to the applause and gratitude of less heroic citizens. Stand Your Ground laws are for them.

Hat tip to classmate Richard Smith.


Alan Alda

24 Jul 2013

Times Square Grindhouse, 1955

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“Teenage Devil Dolls” aka “One Way Ticket to Hell” (1955).

From Ratak Monodosico.

24 Jul 2013

Summer Rain

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Scientists recently discovered that chimpanzees can use tools.

Via Push the Movement.

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UPDATE, July 26: Better attribution.

The image was taken by Penkdix Palme in Jember, East Java, in Indonesia. According to the photographer the frog actually angled the leaf towards the rainfall to provide maximum shelter, and remained there for approximately 30 minutes.

23 Jul 2013

Raymond Chandler’s Birthday

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“There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.”

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“There are blonde and blondes and it is almost a joke word nowadays. All blondes have their points, except perhaps the metallic ones who are as blonde as a Zulu under the bleach and as to disposition as soft as a sidewalk. There is the small cute blonde who cheeps and twitters, and the big statuesque blonde who straight-arms you with an ice-blue glare. There is the blonde who gives you the up-from-under look and smells lovely and shimmers and hangs on your arm and is always very, very tired when you take her home. She makes that helpless gesture and has that goddamned headache and you would like to slug her except that you found about the headache before you invested too much time and money and hope in her. Because the headache will always be there, a weapon that never wears out and is as deadly as the bravo’s rapier or Lucrezia’s poison vial.

There is the soft and willing alcoholic blonde who doesn’t care what she wears as long as it is mink or where she goes as long as it is the Starlight Roof and there is plenty of dry champagne. There is the small perky blonde who is a little pale and wants to pay her own way and is full of sunshine and common sense and knows judo from the ground up and can toss a truck driver over her shoulder without missing more than one sentence out of the editorial in the Saturday Review. There is the pale, pale blonde with anemia of some non-fatal but incurable type. She very languid and very shadowy and she speaks softly out of nowhere and you can’t lay a finger on her because in the first place you don’t want to and in the second place she is reading the Wasteland or Dante in the original, or Kafka or Kierkegaard or studying Provencal. She adores music and when the New York Philharmonic is playing Hindesmith she can tell you which one of the six bass viols came in a quarter of a beat too late. I hear Toscanini can also. That makes two of them.

And lastly there is the gorgeous show piece who will outlast three kingpin racketeers and then marry a couple of millionaires at a million a head and end up with a pale rose villa at Cap d’Antibes, and Alfa Romeo town car complete with pilot and co-pilot, and a stable of shopworn aristocrats, all of whom she will treat with the affectionate absentmindedness of an elderly duke saying good night to his butler.”

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“I’m an occasional drinker, the kind of guy who goes out for a beer and wakes up in Singapore with a full beard.”

23 Jul 2013

Last Days of Big Law

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*

The New Republic tells us that hard times are even impacting big law firms. Is nobody safe?

There are currently between 150 and 250 firms in the United States that can claim membership in the club known as Big Law, the group of historically profitable firms that cater to the country’s largest corporations. The overwhelming majority of these still operate according to a business model that assumes, at least implicitly, that clients will insist upon the best legal talent instead of the best bargain for legal talent. That assumption has become rickety. Within the next decade or so, according to one common hypothesis, there will be at most 20 to 25 firms that can operate this way—the firms whose clients have so many billions of dollars riding on their legal work that they can truly spend without limit. The other 200 firms will have to reinvent themselves or disappear.

Read the whole thing.

* A good start.

23 Jul 2013

Tweet of the Day

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