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August 4, 2006

there must be a pun for blaming the messenger somewhere

Briefly.  A popular sentiment of the past five or so years is that people want to hear good news, and that news outlets just aren't reporting enough good news.  This item here is an example of this sentiment in action.  You may have also heard this in connection with coverage of such Teddy Bear Picnics as the US occupation of Iraq, where the reporters on the ground are accused of ignoring all the good news, like kids playing in fire hydrants, etc.

I think the fallacy of this is that, while people may want more good news than they've been receiving, they do not want it in lieu of the bad news.  Rather, they'd like less bad news to happen.  Talking heads paint these people as reality averse, wanting to have the good news piped into their heads as they are buried in the sand, and this may be the case for the crazified thirty percent, but for everyone else, not so.

On a very basic level, the people who "want more good news" are merely sick of a world fucked up by morons.  So let's stick with blaming the morons and not the New York Times.

I know we all know this.  I just have to type it sometimes to remind myself.

Posted by mrbrent at 12:25 PM

August 3, 2006

i had jury duty; it was hot outside

Yesterday was quiet.  And not because of the heat.  The heat is hot, but it has been hot before.  Some even say it will be hot again!

No, yesterday was quiet because of jury duty, which was, as always, such an honor just to watch the wheels of justice creep along -- the futile complaints of those who cannot bear the responsibility ("I have note from doctor!") and the quiet resignation of those who close their eyes and think of the greater glory of Kings County.  I especially recommend the introductory video they show you first thing in the morning, starring Ed Bradley, Diane Sawyer and the testimonials of New Yorkers just like you and me, whiched really worked us up to a fever pitch.

I was not empanelled.  I was not even called to a voir dire.  I sat for seven hours in a waiting room chair.  I think I'm the only American alive who actually wants to be on a jury, just to fulfill my civic duty.

I'm whining to you because you're the only one that cares.  And because my neck is stiff and can barely move, which make the whining even whinier.

Posted by mrbrent at 12:58 PM

August 1, 2006

why williamsburg sucks

You can call me a cranky old grampaboy.  Sure.  Whatever.  Yeah, I'm stuck in the pepetual nostalgia loop, I remember heinous things (like Breakfast Squares, or the brief paisley resurgence, or the X-Files -- name a decade) fondly.  I miss the days of the bank teller and the newsstand, back before we all started dying of ear cancer.  And ritalin?  Kids are doing ritalin for fun?

But I tell ya, the neighborhood I moved into years ago was pretty damn nice -- until the packs of rabid racoons showed up.

I guess it could be much worse.  I know a certain dude who has a family of skunks living in his (urban!) backyard.

Posted by mrbrent at 5:49 PM

sometimes they come back

If you're like me, you actually have a small conscience.  Which, married to a predilection to mock and deride public and not so public figures in public, makes for some pretty good arguments inside your head.

They go something like this:

ME:  Why you wanna call this dude a cocksucker?

ME:  He's a cocksucker.

ME:  Literally?

ME:  Of course not.  He's a criminal.  He deserves nothing but bad things.

ME:  Like cocksucking?

ME:  It's just a word.

ME:  It's a word that connotes an actual practice.

ME:  Will you shut the fuck up?

ME:  Do you have something against oral sex?

ME:  Of course not.

ME:  Curious choice of disparagement, then.

ME:  Are you shutting the fuck up yet?

Yeah, little rows like that are always waking the kids up, in my head.  And then there's the consideration of consequences, i.e., what if the target actually reads what I'm writing and objects?

They'd never actually read this, would they?  Would they?

[Hello there, Bald old man.  Sorry about Who.]

Posted by mrbrent at 10:45 AM

July 31, 2006

will donald devine google himself?

There is an article in the NYTimes this morning, about how conservatives are growing their children in vats.  Really.  To ensure that the lineage of conservative graft and corruption is unbroken by any generational gappage, wingers have begun to operate "vacation bible schools" "conservative boot camps" for the young and impressionable.  I guess some of the conservative powers-that-be are worried that man's natural tendency towards greed and self-righteousness might someday erode, leaving the throngs of dittoheads greying and de-peopled.

And it's a huge success!  Really!  Take, for example, the underlying economics.  A specific camp referred to in the article, the Ronald Reagan Leadership Academy, has an inaugural class of twenty-six young Hannitys and Noonans, and was made possible be a grant of $2.5 million.  By my reckoning, that roughs out to a cost-effective $90,000 per student.  At that rate it actually would be cheaper to grow the students in a vat.

And let's examine the quality of instruction offered at this attractive price:

Arguing for private property, Mr. [Donald] Devine, the lecturer, noted “there are bums all over here” downtown, and “they sit on public property, not private property.”  He lamented the prosecution of Kenneth Lay, the late Enron executive convicted of fraud, by asking, “Do you think it’s possible for a rich person to get justice in the U.S. today?”

With all the reverence and authority of a stand-up comic, Mr. Devine argues that wealth brings moral infallibility, and the homeless should get back on his lawn.  Devine makes Dennis Miller look like John Kenneth Galbraith, and I don't mean in terms of the respective windows of their souls, if you know what I mean, chachi.

Truly, they are putting the "idiot" back into "ideologue".

(No linkage to NYT -- it is searchable!  Try the old DailyKos.) 

Posted by mrbrent at 9:40 AM