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September 25, 2009

good morning 9.25.09

It's no Panera Bread, but I'm in the Branchport Public Library, where the free wi-fi is.  It's a one-room library, just like they had back in pioneer days.

We're staying on the shores of Keuka Lake, gathered to watch my sister get married.  Been here for 36 hours, and the steep hills that abound up here render every piece of handheld mobile technology useless unless you want to keep a pile of papers from blowing away.  Also: no news at all, which means, as usual, that absolutely nothing is happening.  I should do this more often, for the sake of the news.

And also as usual, the place that I am is the most awesome place to visit ever, though do avoid Bully Hill Winery, whose aggressive mediocrity has been transformed from charming and guileless enthusiasm into aggressive hucksterism and douchebaggery.  Or maybe it was a bad day?

Please keep NYC warm for me, and spare a good thought for my sister and her soon-husband, if you have any spare good thoughts on this good morning.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:09 AM

September 23, 2009

beyond our wildest dreams

This could be a translation/second language problem, or it could be just an unfortunate choice of words:
[Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] says that Tehran "could give those nuclear weapons to terrorists or give them a nuclear umbrella that would bring terrorism beyond our wildest dreams."

I believe that the expression more appropriate would be, "beyond our wildest terrible, terrible, cold-sweat nightmares."  But maybe there's something that I don't know that these old hawks do.

Pardon?  No, I never misspeak.  Why?

Posted by mrbrent at 5:20 PM

huffington post: paranoid idiots like politico

Oops -- bad news, Huffington Post.

In composing the last post, I noticed that HuffPo has employed the same secret Internet robot that Politico has, the one that appends a message onto your clipboard if you cut and paste text from one of their pages.  In HuffPo's case, the message is:

Read more at: [RELEVANT URL]

To belabor the point, this secret Internet robot is a very stupid idea because it assumes that if I am the type to swipe copy from a website in an unattributed fashion then I am dumb enough to alter my behavior because of a reminder inserted on my clipboard.  In fact, that's not the case!  But if it's not very useful at discouraging content-thieves, at least it's very good at pissing off everyone who wouldn't think of not attributing in the first place.

So have some unintended consequences -- I will avoid linking to HuffingtonPost whenever possible, so as not to disturb your IP rights with traffic.  Unless of course it is a story that doesn't actually appear on Huffington Post, but is just a hyperlinked headline and a photo.  Though I guess I'd have to look pretty hard to find one of those stories on the Huffington Post.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:51 AM

palin on rocket science and brain surgery

There's a whole lot to hate on in Sarah Palin's reported speech on economics in China, but since everybody else will also be hating on this eminently hate-able batch of Palinisms (deregulation caused recession! She is qualified to speak on either economics or China!), I call this one as mine:
In an apparent reference to tensions between Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese that have led to riots, Palin mentioned China's ethnic problems, arguing they are "a sign that China lacks mechanisms to deal with regional issues," [tattletale Chris] Palmer said.

The Chinese do indeed have a mechanism to deal with regional issues, and it is called the People's Liberation Army.  But neener-neener anyway, former governor of I-Quit.

And the "tattletale" refers to the fact that press were not permitted to view this speech of wonderfulness, and instead were forced to ask attendees what they remembered.  Which sure worked, keeping it out of the press!

Posted by mrbrent at 10:49 AM

taste of red hook 09

Damn, that day went fast.  And here it tomorrow already, which got here... fast?  But in exchange for a fine evening spent at the Taste of Red Hook, let me come out and say that I have yet to meet a finer local Brooklyn cause than the Red Hook Initiative -- they are putting boots on the ground and they extend their mission to the community as a whole.  Every neighborhood should have one.

As far as the event goes, of all the foods tasted, you (you being those who have circumstance to visit Red Hook, Brooklyn) should be aware that the food of The Good Fork kicked all the ass in the world, and then the food of Red Hook Lobster Pound kicked all the ass that was left.  And everyone else that provided food -- super good job, except for one of you (not sayin'), and except for Fairway, who sent a pasta salad.  Thanks!

Yeah, I woulda liked to get more work done last night, but Red Hook needed to be tasted.

So eat intentionally, support your neighborhood, have a good day.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:22 AM

September 22, 2009

good morning 9.22.09

I dunno if you make a habit of reading the NYTimes (odds are: what's a newspaper?), but for me one of the more uncomfortable moments is when the op-ed editors decide to loosen their ties and publish a little something in a humorous vein, the effect of which is akin to your uncle trying out some skinny jeans, or Morning Edition deciding that the pitch for donations would be funnier if rapped. But this morning, I was "laughing out loud" (as they say) on the Q train:
MR. PATERSON  You know what this reminds me of?  Remember the end of “Lost in Translation,” when Bill Murray’s character whispers into Scarlett Johansson’s ear?

MR. OBAMA  I do, yes.

MR. PATERSON  No one knows what he said, right?  It was a big deal at the time.  But I think I know what he said.

MR. OBAMA  What?

MR. PATERSON  I think he said, “Scarlett, if you ever change your name to David Paterson, make sure you run for governor.”

MR. OBAMA  Why are we still hugging?

Nice job and good morning to Tom Kenney, the author.

There, I'm being nice!  Bring it, day.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:57 AM

September 21, 2009

little kids are now trying to kill everything

It's fun and all to take news events and somehow translate them into a new form of terrorism -- i.e., allege conspiracy among a class of inanimate objects or non-human species against humans -- but sometimes it's a little too close to real and you gotta say whoa, now.  Check this: First, this one got some serious play as a cryptozoological phenomena, but whatever that thing is, little kids killed it with sticks and rocks!

And then on a slow news Saturday this little-seen item popped up: baby ducks saved from taunting little kids.

Trends are supposed to happen in threes, yes, but do we really want to wait around for the other shoe to drop on this one?  Until someone gets to the bottom of this, all little kids should be treated with suspicion.

An old friend of mine (hey, Ricky) has a theory that might explain this.  Just-born humans are filled with the desire to destroy the universe.  (Watch one -- it's true.)  Fortunately, their hand-eye coordination, not to mention their size and strength, is negligible, so the universe is safe.  And as they grow bigger and deadlier, they slowly forget their original purpose.  Life wins again!

It seems that little kids have now found a way to remember.

We're onto you, little kids.  Expect it when you least expect it.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:48 AM

September 20, 2009

good morning 9.21.09

So I take an unusually meandering route to the office this morning and I remembered: hey, that Tim Hortons that I tried to find a few months ago should be open by now.  As a dude with an abiding affection and interest in things Canadian, and as a dude who had what he reckons was his very first epiphany in the parking lot of a Timmy's outside of Brantford, ON when he was 17 years old, why not swing by the sexy NYC location for old times sake and start the week out with a donut?

Boy that was a bad idea.  This Tim Hortons I visited is actually a component of one of the mini-food courts that pepper the current landscape, sharing space with, what was it?  A Pizza Hut?  A Lindy's?  A Burger Chef?  And yes, Tim Hortons is itself a chain of corporately-owned food service establishments and as such should not be immune from the enervating charm of these little holes of hell, but still.

I didn't have to as in my face as that.

And they were out of coffee rolls, so only a blueberry fritter is holding this good morning in the balance.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:48 AM

willard skousen

You might be tempted, from online chatter, or maybe there are still "newsstands" where you live and you see this there, to read the Time magazine cover story on Glenn Beck.  You might even be tempted to so read because, in certain circles, it is not highly regarded.  I read it, in the continuing interest of trying to understand this doughy gasbag who is crying all the way to the bank, and I did not hate it as much as, well, everyone.  Is it florid and overwritten?  Sure, but I own mirrors, and as such will zip it.  But it does have more than a whiff of straw-man equivalency, throwing up the hands and citing "on the other hand" instead of reporting, overly careful of citing a lead-pipe-cinch fact that might attract the attention of Glenn Beck's Twitter stream lest a hundred thousand morons start combing through the author's garbage.

So, no, do not read, unless you are a recent emigre looking to understand our ridiculous and unearthly customs.

Instead, do do do go read this Alexander Zaitchik piece in Salon which reveals that there actually is source material to Glenn Beck's freeform paranoia and incitements, and that the source material is nothing like voices that only Glenn Beck can hear, like it seems.  The material is actually the writings of a man named Willard Skousen, a rabid and discredited anti-Commie pamphlet-writer and attempted Mormon revolutionary.

Skouson's life story is actually very interesting, in a James-Elroy sense, and the delight in this uniquely-American tale of life on the fringe is mitigated only by the fact that the beliefs he espoused are around the bend and sound word-for-word similar to those things that fall out of Glenn Beck's mouth.

So yes, Glenn Beck does indeed have an -ology, and it is as shithouse crazy as he is.

Posted by mrbrent at 8:30 AM