28 February 2010

Sunday news: not a lot happened edition

It's Sunday morning!  A glorious time when all red-blooded Amer'kins sit around and read their local rag(s), immediately before or just after returning from their massively hypocritical suburban megachurch.  Looks like I do it too, just without the church bit (listen, I make it to a Friends meeting about once a year...).  

Anyway, aside from the latest greatest earthquake (hope everyone you know is ok!), it doesn't look like there's a lot going on this week.  Here's a recap:
  • Absolute tenure corrupts absolutely, but maybe it makes for decent art?  (Seriously, how is that article so long?)
  • There's trouble on Mt. Olympus, as the gods may well be idiots.
  • Nurses:  Is your home entirely surrounded by two feet of snow and you can't for the life of you figure out how to get to work?  Well, fine, be inconsiderate like that, and WHC (across the street from your humble blogger) will fire your ass
  • I still contend that belated justice is better than none at all. 
  • A curious (to put it mildly) development in historic preservation.
  • Time to make another trip to the National Gallery.
  • The U.S. Senate is still dysfunctional.
  • Race is still a major factor in southern politics.  Really?

26 February 2010

Sold exclusively to Tennesseans

How much y'all wanna bet at least one of my relatives will buy this contraption the very second they learn about it? After all, one always needs a shotgun in arms reach of one's bed. There's a terrorist homosexual communist home invader around every corner.

Thanks to Prince Gomolvilas for the tip.

25 February 2010

How did I miss this?

In light of today's pathetic little rumble between our dear president and his nearly departed former adversary, which of course is as meaningless as it is unentertaining, I stumbled upon a little gem while doing my daily homage to my google reader, which had me in hysterics. I realize it came out in September, but I guess I missed it. Anyway, enjoy The World's Most Unruly Parliaments (as discovered on another Passport post about another unruly parliament).

23 February 2010

The NYT loves assimilationist gay theater

Or, one of the stupidest reviews I've ever read.

Apparently, some of the new gay-themed plays this opening this year in New York are somehow "liberated" (and thus better) because they're not overtly political, and nobody dies of AIDS.

What an effing moron.

First, contrary to what one may believe, gay politics consist of much more than marriage, adoption, and being legally allowed to serve as cannon fodder in imperialist wars. It's called systemic discrimination you idiot, and just because a particular playwright didn't beat you over the head with it, it's still there.

Secondly (et quelle surprise), not all gay people have AIDS. Really! I know lots of them! Also, we are perfectly capable of having conflict in our romantic relationships that doesn't center around one of us dying some unspeakable, dreary, slow, agonizing death, like an opera on steroids.

Apparently, these plays are to be applauded for showing gay couples as "just like everybody else." And, in a sense (though not totally -- myriad issues arise that are a product of said systemic discrimination), gay couples are just that. But don't laud the success of stupid political efforts and ridiculously bigoted assumptions about our health by going out and throwing a big party because somebody wrote a play that didn't involve those things.

I'm not a writer or an artist of any kind, but maybe evaluate these gay-themed plays on their artistic merits, rather than their depictions of "normalcy."

Oh, wait, systemic discrimination...

22 February 2010

Just an asteroid miner's daughter

I do just love it with ethics, international law, and totally ridiculous schemes for outer space coalesce to form a nice little nerd loaf. Take, for instance, this discussion on the ethics of mining asteroids. On the one hand, there's enough metal in those things to build star ships. That's right, star ships! Warp speed and what not.

On the other hand, the glut of materials on earth's raw materials market would basically shutter the economies of entire nations, including some pretty big ones. Is warp speed worth mass starvation? Depends on the particular brand of nasty capitalist you speak to.

Still, mining in space... pretty cool. And the legal discussion around it will also give IR people a nice distraction for the next 150 odd years.

21 February 2010

Sunday news: we're all gonna die edition

It's Sunday! That means there's a decent chance I've read the morning papers (as emailed to me). What do I find today? Death, mayhem, poverty, destruction, and no hope of anything ever getting better, ever. And these newspapers wonder why they're losing business.

Here's a recap:
Well now, this was kinda fun. Maybe I'll do it again sometime. ;)

20 February 2010

Nerd worlds colliding

I used to watch the A Team when I'd get home from high school, and now I watch more Star Trek than is healthy. Hope you enjoyed.

Hat tip: Armchair Generalist.

11 February 2010

Y'all be careful saving Darfur and what not

I just read a review of what appears to be a fascinating book on the Darfur conflict, Rob Crilley's Saving Darfur: Everyone's Favourite African War. In it, he apparently takes to task the "save" Darfur movement for wandering around with blinders that prevent them from 1) failing to fully comprehend the complexity of the conflict and 2) thereby thwart efforts to end the conflict. I've added the book to my wish list, and I look forward to your ordering it for me so that I can read it. ;)

Back when I was a starving grad student, I once turned down an internship offer from one of these Darfur "saving" organizations, on the grounds that the organization was led by someone a year younger than me (this is important for someone who is the baby of their grad class). I later kicked myself for that for a bit, as the internship I did take ended up being less than fruitful. However, having since come to realize the deeper implications of what the wonderful ladies at Wronging Rights refer to as "raising awareness" without doing much else, I'm now rather glad to not have been associated with the whole thing.

Hat tip: Texas in Africa.

10 February 2010

Julia Child created life on earth

And she filmed it and put it in the Smithsonian. It included use of a Scientific Pinch Machine. Watch and learn.

09 February 2010

Hilarity alert: The Real World -- African Autocrats

A curious script for a reality TV show if I've ever seen one.

Hat tip: Scarlett Lion.

Are you French enough for the French?

Chances are, the answer is no. And with the lovely new patriotism inspiring, French identity protecting "Prove your Frenchness, you nasty immigrants!" gauntlet that the ever enlightened French government has laid out, your new answer is "really, no."

Way to be oppressive, racist bastards, French government. I assure you that no amount of headscarves will ever threaten your national security or your precious and clearly fragile identity. Besides, isn't religious freedom somewhere in all those French law codes? I'm personally no fan of religious or cultural subjugation myself, but it seems that it'd be more logical and better for all concerns to have a robust legal structure that protects a person's right to wear or not wear religious/cultural clothing. Demanding conformity seems destined to backfire, particularly when it affects populations that are already disgruntled at the severe levels of discrimination they face.

Besides, making school kids sing the national anthem every morning just makes them hate singing it for the rest of their lives. Just ask the Canadians.

08 February 2010

News of the sleaze: televangelists and ethnicity-based elections

You may remember our dear friend Pat "Hurricanes, Tornadoes and Meteor Showers" Robertson, from his recent idiocy related to a certain Haitian pact with Satan (it sort of rhymes!). Now, at the war crimes trial for Charles Taylor -- that's right, the war crimes trial -- it has come out that the good reverend offered to lobby U.S. officials on the venerable Mr. Taylor's behalf. Now which is worse? A national pact with Satan to overthrow systemic slavery (which somehow included paying reparations to the enslaving party), or a personal pact between a real, live, actively-slaughtering-innocent-people war criminal and one of Amer'ca's finest lobbyvangelists?

In other news, the NYT has a decent run-down of the complexities of holding an election in Cote d'Ivoire, wherein one must be a bona fide Ivorian to vote. Of course, determining who is what is clearly a tumultuous and easily corrupted process, quite possible leading to a powder keg.

Hat tip to Chris Blattman for the first piece.

Obligatory DC snowgasm post, live from Park View!

Yesterday I went out and did some shoveling/took some pictures of the end of the world, live and already in progress! It very much felt like digging trenches. Here are a few select shots.

That's knee deep, friends.

Park Place.

Out of boredom, I dug a trench from yonder bush to the corner.

And finally, the snow bunny Elijah made out front.

Finally, for some perspective on the snow, Kent at the Park View blog has some footage of the Knickerbocker Storm of 1922, which of course destroyed the Knickerbocker Theater in my old neighborhood.

02 February 2010

New feature: ridiculous search terms

In an effort to bring more joy to your life, I'm starting an awesome new feature on this blog, entitled "Ridiculous Search Terms Used to Find the Gavel in Your Pants."

I've perused the various search engine entries that have been used for people to get here this month, and have declared a winner.

The most ridiculous search term for January 2010 is [cue drumroll]:

stupid things said about norway

Please discuss at your leisure. I, for one, don't think I've ever discussed Norway.