Freedom from Blog

Don't call it a comeback . . . .

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Prison Lectures

The local university, I can't remember the name, offers an Honors College lecture series, this year on the subject of prison writing. Here's an occasionally interesting sample, offered by a somewhat strange looking character, whose interminable, hour-long lecture on the English radical, John Lilburne, has been charitably edited down to a slightly less painful 23 minutes. TIFWIW.

[Video had been pulled down, so it can move to a more fixed cite. Now updated.]

Monday, February 20, 2012

It's a Micro-Con Wedding!

I don't know which part of this is my favorite--that Bill Kristol's daughter married a contributing editor at the Weekly Standard or . . . heck, I do know. It's that the bridegroom's parents are both government workers!


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Egad, Jihad!

This has been our big local story this week. Clink the link. Seems like Mosque Madness starts earlier every year. Is it just me, or does the bigot in the picture look suspiciously like a pork-refuser? Hope he doesn't meet up with any of our sheriff deputies in a dark alley. I hear they've been trained to shoot jihadis on sight.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Grammy Griping

The Grammys suck. Everybody knows it, and everybody says it, every year. Here's a prime example from this year, courtesy of the NYT. The only thing that sucks more than the Grammys is poseur music critics in the NYT bitching about the Grammys. An annoying gripe, one that seems to long for both hipster cred and a monoculture in which everybody on the planet recognizes the greatness of hipster bands. Which, of course, is exactly when they stop being hipster bands. It would be nice if the critic gave some indication of what his preferred outcome would have been so that we could compare, but no. So his is just an empty whine, and a cliched one at that.

Here's the thing. The Grammys are never really going to be "cool" or cutting edge. It is an industry awards show. It is not the Blender or Pitchfork awards. It is the f'ing Grammys. Do not expect them to go out on a limb and anoint the next Radiohead. At least not every year, because, well, they kind of did that last year when Arcade Fire won record of the year (and deserved it). And lots of people bitched because they had never heard of them. Well, guess what. This year Adele swept. Not really my genre of music. But she sold a ton of records, and why? Because they were awesome f'ing songs and she has killer pipes. Who cares if there is "nothing forward-looking about it"? They were great songs, they were everywhere this year, and they will be around for a long, long time. Great songs don't need to ride some futurist wave, they just are. Like O Brother winning in 2002, or the Dixies in 2007, or Plant and Krauss in 2009. Were those the absolute best records of those years? No. But they were really good records and they made significant cultural impacts, meaning that an all-things-to-all-people/nothing-to-no one industry awards show could have done a lot worse. And what the hell is this complaint about there being no women or minorities at the show? Last I checked, Adele is a woman. LL Cool J hosted, Whitney Houston was the inescapable and recurring theme, Nikki Minaj, Rihanna, Chris Brown, and Jennifer Hudson all sang and/or danced. Yes, the Grammys suck. But they're usually more fun in that guilty-pleasure way than any of the other awards shows. Don't expect them to reflect a fantasy music world that has never nor could ever be.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

One Nation Under a Groove

So the missus and I checked out the George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic show at the 9:30 club last night. And I am very glad we did. It was the rocking-est show I've ever seen, at least since Faith No More-Metallica-Guns-N-Roses, and maybe more so than that one.

Also, that audience was a real slice of "blue" America, minus the union guys. African Americans of all ages, especially middle-aged and up, young urban hipsters, the intelligencia. Or, as P-Funk would say, "One Nation Under a Groove."

No Santorums need apply. No Romneys need to ask.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Warmest Winter on record

in the continental U.S., or, at least, we are on track for such. Plus, the warmest summers/years in history cluster in the last decade or two. But nothing to see, people. Move along. I don't care if your trees and bushes are budding in the first week of February . . . that's not something out of the ordinary.

Btw, here in D.C., basically every tree and bush is budding, if not flowering/blossoming, this week (or last week, or even weeks before). The "winter" has been freakish--with snow in October (!!!), once in January, and maybe this weekend--but mostly unseasonably warm. I think I've run THREE TIMES in running tights. Generally, it's shorts weather.

Today, February 3, just a heavyweight hoodie, and we spent a lot of time outside. (In "classic" terms, my hoodie today would be Michigan in June or September weight.)

(This is an issue for me: Like my dad, I don't get cold that easy, but I do overheat quickly. So even in winter, my normal dress now is short-sleeves, with a layer on top. I generally can't wear sweaters anymore. Almost never inside.)

We are doomed, people.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

U-Shaped Curve

So I taught tax policy to my Public Policy class tonight. It would be great if there were non-shitty arguments for Republican tax proposals. Like eliminating capital gains taxes. Can anyone, with a straight face, endorse letting Mitt Romney get off with ZERO tax liability when he hauled in $22 million? And yet, that is the state of the debate.

See you in the funny papers.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Party's Over

So Newt is promising to turn the next 6-8 months into Mitt's Bataan Death March, only with more crying and worse health care. I don't buy it. Newt's not a "conviction" politician, and while he does nurse an epic grudge, his incomparable instinct for profiting on his wingnut bona fides would seem to mitigate against a lengthy bloodletting. If he stops relatively soon, he'll have a safe gig on the talking head shows 4Evs. He does not want to be the Ralph Nader of the right. Especially when he has no talent for either organizing or fundraising. Give him a few weeks. I feel a "suspension" of his campaign coming sooner rather than later. As much as the media and the Dems fantasize about this party lasting through the summer, I'm afraid the cops just showed up, and they've all got new accounts in the Caymans.