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June 24, 2005

this is materially interfering with my ben stein mockery

Was very excited to read the first item of this post on Wonkette.

During Deep Throat's coming out party of a few weeks ago, Ben Stein morphed from a reasonable conservative economist/television celebrity into batshit whacko Nixonian alternate realist, culminating in his declaration that the Washington Post's use of Deep Throat was the cause of first the death of tens of thousands in Cambodia and ultimately the 9-11 attacks.  Which I took exception to.  As time passed, the "Reductionist Ben Stein Joke" started to take hold.

And the item in the Wonkette post links to a Washington Post column that says that the president is going to use Ben Stein in some of them ultra-successful Social Security Privitization school pageants staged rallies.  But unfortunately the Washington Post is all registration-required, and, I'm sorry, today I just don't feel like registering.

So no info (which still wants to be free, unless you're the one writing it), and then no Ben Stein derision.  Hopefully, some other site will pick up the story, and then it's on.

Speaking of the web presence of national newspapers, anyone noticed the new commercials that play before some New York Times stories?  (I registered there before I got onto this whole "No registration for me" kick.)  Very classy.  Not quite as classy as pop-up ads, but stay tuned.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:45 AM

June 23, 2005

rude pundit

Further to the wedge issue of flag burnin' previously discussed:

Yet another example of "My Thoughts Exactly".

Posted by mrbrent at 1:20 PM

June 22, 2005

now i have to burn a flag

Today the House of Representatives got down to the real business of governance.  They passed a bill to create an amendment to the Constitution to permit the banning burning of the U.S. flag.  You may have seen a quote pulled from the above linked story bandied around -- a rationalization for the need of such a dumb-ass amendment -- but let's reproduce it here, and then beat it with a different stick:
"Ask the men and women who stood on top of the (World) Trade Center," said Rep. Randy (Duke) Cunningham, R-Calif. "Ask them and they will tell you: pass this amendment"

Ooh, flag (if I may say so) on the play -- multiple misuse of parentheses.  Dunno if "(Duke)" signalled a visual approximation of the open paren and close paren when he said, "(World)," or maybe he just whispered it.  More likely he plumb forgot the "World" part and the AP, mindfull that there are Trade Centers scattered all over the globe, threw in the correction as a parenthetical -- much more gentle than nasty style manual-required brackets.  This is the part where I talk about the possibilities being endless.

As far as "(Duke)" goes, I don't know how one registers one's nickname with the press corps, or even if it's possible to maybe have the parentheses removed after the nickname is legitimized, but it smells like a mystery to me.

The only thing funnier than a bunch of politiicians taking a courageous stand against the disturbing national trend of teenage flag-burning is that the politician with the dumbest soundbite is the same politician who is under the pressure a mind-bogglingly transparent influence-peddling scandal.  Don't know if you're read up on it, but it involves (Duke) taking a big old bride in exchange for pushing some Defense Department contracts to the briber.  The bribe was ingeniously disguised as the purchase of a home that (Duke) owned at about twice the assessed value.  That's some shrewd-ass larcency.  To read up on the details, check your local newspaper.  Ha ha!  Only kidding.  TPM is all over it.

And as far as the answer of the victims of 9-11 from beyond the grave to some unasked question about stopping drunken riots of flag-burning goes: that is both the crappiest and most obscene bit of rhetoric to come down the pike in the past, I dunno, day or two.

[UPDATE 6/24/05:  Someone pointed out to me that, somewhere up there, I typed "big old bride" instead of "big old bribe".  It will be left in its original erroneous state for purposes of "oh what a fool am I".]

Posted by mrbrent at 4:05 PM

no one move or the planet gets it

This morning we are greeted with high novelty:
• Search begins for missing solar spacecraft

I thought that "missing solar spacecraft" is something that only happened in the first half hour of a James Bond film.

Just hope they find the little solar guy before Dr. Hoosawhatsis can get his mad evil hands on it, thereby completing stage one of his insidious plan to destroy the world!

Or, otherwise, before it falls on someone.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:42 AM

June 21, 2005

enterprise follow-up

Cardhouse has the follow-up on the Enterprise car rental situation.  Complete with reader mail.  [Scroll down to "05jun19.  Mail.]

Cardhouse makes the excellent point that the mild larceny I was victim of may not be so much corporate policy as it may be the unspoken policy of a specific office of the corporation.  And I was reminded earlier this week that I had an excellent consumer experience with an Enterprise office in Bethlehem, PA. 

So it is in the spirit of conciliation that I say to Enterprise corporate that your North Brooklyn office makes your car rental concern look very, very bad.

Though not as bad as Manhattan Imaging Associates of West 17th Street.

Posted by mrbrent at 5:39 PM

god save the biotech industry

Today the Yahoo! Headline Container gets it wrong again:
• FBI says animal rights extremism a priority

Silly Yahoo! WordBox! A priority?  No no, the priority.  The top priority of domestic terrorism, according to G-Man John Lewis.  And Lewis is the deputy assistant director in charge of counterterrorism -- don't know how close to the top of shit mountain that puts him, but his title does give the impression that he knows of what he speaks.

Which is great news for us!  Finally they'll nail the eco-terrorist bastards who knocked over the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City!

The article generating the headline is an utter piece of garbarge -- a love note to the FBI's valiant defense of the poor, defenseless biotech industry, who are being foiled at every turn by the Animal Liberation Front (of Evil!).  We poor huddled masses surely weep at the prospect of an oligarchy unsettled by, um, vandalism.

The one concrete example of the catastrophic damage being inflicted on big business by the League of Criminal Lefties is a claim that attacks cost Chiron Corp., a California pharmceutical, "at least $2.5 million".  I did a little research.  Took about forty-five seconds.  According to Chiron's own website, Chiron's 2004 revenues were a little over 1.7 billion dollars.  So, yeah, "at least $2.5 million" would be the personal equivalent of someone egging your mailbox.  Chiron probably loses more than $2.5 million in stolen paperclips.

And keep in mind that the official policy of the FBI is now to devote more resources to protecting companies like Chiron than to fighting good old fashioned crime, like your fringe right/separatists, the ones with guns and bombs, the ones who actually kill people.  Guys like this old cooter.  Somewhere in hell, J. Edgar Hoover is having to sit out the next hand of poker with Richard Nixon and Joe McCarthy because he's having a giggle fit.

As far as the likelihood of non-treehugging domestic terrorists goes, David Weinert has much more to say about it.

Posted by mrbrent at 2:05 PM


I don't know who's in charge of these things, but something needs to be done.

The names of this guy and this guy are waaaaaay too similar.

I guess maybe the dayglo video director one is French?

Posted by mrbrent at 9:02 AM

June 20, 2005

note to self 6.20.05

Note to self:

Find out what's up with those interns -- is it me, or are they getting more Stepford every year?  This is work, so stop with the shiny smiling.  This is no fun.  That's why they call it work.


Posted by mrbrent at 11:52 AM

drugs, the anti-parents

Listening to the radio this morning, I heard an advert suggesting that the best way to keep your kids off drugs is to cage them, and then spy on them when they escape.  The spot was produced by The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, which is exactly what it sounds like.  I couldn't find a transcript of the spot, but it contained some simulated exchanges between Timmy or Lisa or something and their parents about how they couldn't go hang out in the park just because all the other kids do.  It's pretty innocuous on the face of it, but I just lurve the idea that your children will become junkies if you let them play unsupervised.  Oh, and also they should wear helmets at all times.  Because they could fall!

I've long had it in for the anti-drug propagandists.  Probably because I fell for the propaganda as a child, which made me insufferable to all of my normal friends.  Of course, it was this same propaganda which shattered once I got to high school and began to accumulate anecdotal evidence that smoking a joint wouldn't make you think you could fly off the roof of a building, tragically plummeting to your death, causing the community to sit in cross-legged circles in the school gym and talk about their feelings.  Plus also, this was around the same time as the "Hugs Not Drugs" campaign started hitting the airwaves/rear bumpers, triggering my lifelong commitment to cynicism.  No matter your opinion on the health issues, even a moron knows that drugs and hugs are not mutually exclusive.

Of course, at the heart of this is some parable that will be told decades from now mixing the insipid condescension of crazed parents who objectify their children into stuffed animals with the hypocritical culture war against selective substances, all masked as a public health issue.  Oh, those crazy post Cold War Americans, with their foolish attempts at societal behavior modification!  Ha!  Ha!

I guess if your organization is called "The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign", there's no way for your work-product not to be gruel-thin crap propaganda.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:29 AM

June 19, 2005


In you're in the mood for some sci-fi, check this out:  Novelist Charles Stross is offering his latest novel, "Accelerando", for download under a Creative Commons license.

I'm not familiar with Mr. Stross' work, but he comes highly recommended, so I'm gonna give it a shot.  (Even though I'm devoutly a paper-reading kind of guy -- I guess this is a free taste from the pusherman.)

[Via Boing Boing]

Posted by mrbrent at 12:36 PM