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December 26, 2009

happy boxing day

I dunno if this is the case elsewhere in the world, but down here in the lee of the mountains in Virginia, there is a big old ring around the moon.  Like, half the sky big old ring.

So by all means go take a look and tell me if I'm right, but do bring an umbrella or a go-bag, because — I'm not superstitious or anything — maybe there's a dirty terrorist with a stack of dry newspapers and a Bic lighter up there on the moon and that's the explanation.

Stupid terrorists, always trying to blow up the moon.

Posted by mrbrent at 6:58 PM

December 25, 2009

you would like my hat

So the last post on the Warren Ellis weaponized inspirational piece did happen to be the Merry Christmas post after all.

My brother-in-law's mom just gave me a very grown-up hat — like a waterproof Homburg or something — that I like very much, so I guess I am now grown-up too.  So I will wear this hat and thumb through Jim Walsh's oral history of the Replacements and remark to myself how grown-up I am, and how long I successfully resisted.  How long exactly?  Let's just say that my resistance to grown-up could easily buy a pack of smokes, and could maybe order a beer if it went to the right place and didn't give off that adolescent binge-drink vibe.

Now I just have to develop a taste for scotch, and get me a secretary that can take dictation.

That's my Christmas so far, and I hope you're having a nice one yourself, or a paid day off at the least.

Posted by mrbrent at 1:24 PM

December 22, 2009

warren ellis plays against type

This I'm posting entirely for my own edification.  Yeah, no secret that I'm a fan of Warren Ellis and his works, but this installment of a column he writes for comics news/gossip site Bleeding Cool is pretty fucking inspirational:
The reverberations are felt in Paris, where Jean-Pierre Dionnet is grinning and publishing METAL HURLANT, and Francois Roche is on the street outside, seventeen years old and thinking that he’d like to design buildings for a living and that this one in front of him is pretty nice but would be much more interesting as a vast rotting concrete stomach filled with robot antibodies, and Grant Morrison’s sitting outside the coffee shop down the road, a year older than Roche and a year away from getting published for the first time, head full of Jack Kirby comics, and Skylab swoops overhead, its Raymond Loewy-designed interior empty and abandoned but by God they did it, and David Bowie is singing, at the top of his lungs, “we can be Heroes.”

Which only means, quite simply, that we can do anything.

These days I'm taking inspiration as comfort, and I'm not embarrassed to say that I could use a little more comfort than usual.  Which maybe will bring inspiration!  And which will maybe obviate the need for comfort.

No, this is not the Merry Christmas post, but I do see it over the rise of the hill.

Posted by mrbrent at 4:38 PM

merry christmas

Unwanted corollary effect of the ongoing and so-called War on Christmas:  Every time I wish my Season's Greetings (which is in the form of "Merry Christmas" due to my upbringing), I feel like I'm being a Glenn-Beck-watching retard idiot.

I'm not on that particular boat, you see, and I find nothing offensive about a nativity scene or a bathtub Mary in the same way that I find nothing offensive about a menorah or about hippies playing drums.  But the WoC has infected society so that I feel like if I do say, "Merry Christmas!" to a barista or a hobo, I am being aggressive in the way that a Tea-Partier is being aggressive when he or she says the same thing (though the Tea-Partier then imagines that aggression bravery).

Not that I'm gonna stop invoking Christmas in a general fashion.  I'm just gonna have to get used to feeling icky about it.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:35 AM

December 21, 2009

brendan tobin on unemployed robots

Synchronicity!  Scant seconds after I post the last post, considering manufacturing (and robots, tangentially), my old pal Brendan Tobin posts about robots (and manufacturing, tangentially)!  And I'd excerpt a bit for you, but it is in the form of a comic book page, so I can't.

I think that it might take Brendan a lot longer to generate one of his posts than it takes me, so this might be a synchronicity vibe I caught over the weekend or something.

But: his is much funnier than mine.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:17 AM

i love me some manufacturing

More thinking of the death of American manufacturing from Noam Scheiber:
A lot of people talk about reviving the domestic manufacturing sector, which has shed almost one-third of its manpower over the last eight years.  But some of the people I spoke to asked a slightly different question:  Even if you could reclaim a chunk of those blue-collar jobs, would you have the managers you need to supervise them?

No, Scheiber says, given that MBA programs are churning out young businessmen who focus on finance rather than production, which produces manufacturing execs who see the business not as one that makes tangible things and sells them, but rather as a bunch of assets that can be monetized/securitized/sold.

It may seem an insignificant detail, but if you think about it in the greater context, in the blossoming of finance into a sexy, rockstar field that has vampired capital and prestige from a stodgy old manufacturing culture, it makes perfect sense: manufacturing isn't just disappearing because of global competition in production expenses, it is disappearing because it is last year's model, and it just doesn't make money fast enough for today's go-go generation of salarymen.

And of course, none of this takes into account robots, which as we know will change everything.

[Via BB.]

Posted by mrbrent at 9:57 AM