Crossing Over, With Brian J.

As some of you might be surprised to learn, I have crossed over from time to time when it comes to voting, particularly for state races. Actually, “crossing over” is a bit of a misnomer; I tend to vote for Democrats, Libertarians, and Republicans based on a strange algorithm that only I understand.

This year, I cannot cross over to vote for Al Liese (Dem.) for state representative just so I can see which member of the family runs next time when Liese, who replaced his son using very similar signage for his run, gets term limited out. I thought it was a neat trick, but I was a neophyte in that scam even though I saw The Distinguished Gentleman. Now, though, I realize that Missouri politics is a full employment program for the Carnahan family as well as the other microdynasties-they-hope in the Blunt, Loudon, McNary, et al families.

Still, if Katherine Bruckner (her “blog”) somehow gets nominated for state rep, I’d vote for her in a heartbeat. I mean, she’s a Democrat proud she’s got her concealed carry license? That’s tougher than the Republicans vying for the spot on the ballot, word.

Additionally, I’m kicking around voting for Jay Nixon for governor if Kenny Hulshof is elected. I have a new motto: I trust a Missouri Democrat more than a Washington Republican. The difference, of course, lies in that anyone elected to or running for a national office is now a national servant, not the servant of the Missouri people. The money for the race comes from the outlying states, and suddenly the candidate espouses the national party’s opinions. It’s why I could have tolerated a Governor McCaskill but am not too pleased with Senator McCaskill.

Of course, once I start seeing the Jay Nixon ads and he starts making me sick of him, I might end up going Hulshof after all. Reluctantly.

Leftist Thugs On Wheels

Another month, another Critical Mass event includes beating a four wheeler, this time in Seattle:

According to Jamieson, as the Critical Mass group moved down the street, blocking traffic, some riders got in the way of the Subaru and prevented it from leaving. Some bikers sat on the car and were banging on it, he said.

“The driver was pretty fearful that he was about to be assaulted by the bicyclists,” Jamieson said.

The man tried to back up, but bumped into a biker. “This enraged the group,” Jamieson said.

Several of the bikers bashed up the Subaru, shattering the windshield and rear window, Jamieson said.

The driver tried to drive away, but hit another bicyclist, Jamieson said. Still, he drove about a block, to the corner of Aloha and 15th Avenue East, before the Critical Mass riders cornered the car again and started spitting on it and banging against it.

One bicyclist punched the driver through his open window, and another used a knife to slash the Subaru’s tires, Jamieson said.

The driver got out of his car, and was hit in the back of the head, opening a large gash.

Wow, just like San Fransisco.

You know, if they keep at it and this spreads, eventually cities will ban these events. More oppression for the poor, poor bike lovers everywhere, especially the leftist thugs who like any excuse to damage the straights with “cause.”

(Link seen on Ace of Spades HQ.)

Conscious Colors for Interpretive Metrics

In case you didn’t know it, Missouri is almost on par with the third world, or so this dynamic and purposefully frighteningly colored map would have you think.


food insecurity--the new made up scourge

What is food insecurity? Probably something less than distended bellies and dead children in the streets. But it’s a interpretive metric, so those who want more government money in programs designed to combat bad feelings will always have just cause to spend more money. Except, sometimes, I suspect that it’s just ’cause that they have.

One Cup Of Earl Grey, Hot, Away From Jean-Luc Picard

Godwin’s law states that As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.. A lesser known corollary, or maybe something I just made up, states that most disputes can be clarified by using a Picard versus Kirk clarifying analogy.

Therefore, I would posit for your reflection, that Obama is Picard and McCain is Kirk.

Obama lives in a moneyless world where the Federation rules all aspects of its citizens lives, and the military vessel he runs would only use its weapons to make pretty lights as it ferried ambassadors and vaccines all over the galaxy.

McCain, on the other hand, lives in a world where the Federation is an outpost of decency barely clinging on in a galaxy where others would conquer it and it wants to have adventures, dammit. McCain also sings “Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran,” and he might be bluffing….but maybe not. You can see Kirk doing that, but not Picard. That’s my point.

So, friends and three of my four regular readers (excepting my sainted mother, who isn’t geek enough for this post), please, let me know in the comments whether the analogy holds up.

Also, please no obvious Obama is Sisko bits. One, I don’t know if I’ve ever watched a complete episode of Deep Space Nine in my life, and two, any Star Trek series with a number in its acronym is a sissy series (and I include ST:V in this assessment even though V is only a Roman number–however, Obama is Janeway comments might be acceptable.)

Get your geek on!

That’s Just Sad

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch uses the AB-InBev merger as a springboard to launch a series of “damaging” fatuous questions at John McCain, whose wife owns an AB distributorship.

The head of the Washington Bureau “asks”:

John McCain’s Straight Talk Express is far less talkative when it comes to beer.

McCain’s campaign is unwilling to directly address questions flowing from InBev’s purchase of Anheuser-Busch Cos. in light of his wife, Cindy’s, ownership of a large Anheuser-Busch distributorship in Arizona, Hensley and Co.

— For more than 20 years as a legislator, McCain has abstained from taking positions or voting on measures related to alcohol. As president, would he act on beer-related legislation — or continue to abstain, in effect casting a veto?

— InBev does business in Cuba, designated by the United States as a state sponsor of terrorism. As a candidate, McCain has been tough on the Cuban government. Will his wife now sell the products of a company that does business in Cuba — or even expand her business to include InBev’s other products?

McCain’s campaign is unusually tight-lipped on those questions, and wouldn’t say whether the candidate’s wife plans to separate herself from Hensley.

The paper’s really making an effort here to springboard from a rather touchstone local issue into casting aspersions onto McCain’s ethics. Particularly creative is trying to cast his recusing himself from voting on things that would benefit him through his wife’s company and complaining about how a parent company would do business in Cuba. We’re really stretching here.

I mean, for crying out loud, Barack Obama drives a Chrysler 300, and DaimlerChrysler does business in Cuba. Shouldn’t Barack have rented a Ford? And what about his publisher’s parent company, guilty of using Nazi slave labor at one point? Will Barack abstain from signing legislation in favor of slavery or Nazis?

I mean, I’m just a crackpot backwater blog making sarcastic remarks about Obama here, but the story and the leading questions in the paper is from a “credible” periodical with a (declining) metropolitan audience.

Forget this story, Post-Dispatch. If you need to try to gig McCain based on a narrative of local concern, investigate why he’s tight-lipped about trading for a good middle reliever for the Cardinals. Sure, it’s not his job, but you can still blame him for with a couple of bullet points.

(Full disclosure: I am actually a citizen columnist for a sort of sister publication of the Post-Dispatch.)

When Is A Lobbyist Not A Lobbyist?

When he agrees with the journalist’s point of view:

    A rising number of uninsured patients are going without necessary care and are raising medical costs for those who have insurance coverage, according to a report released Tuesday by the Missouri Foundation for Health.

    The report, “The Significance of Missouri’s Uninsured,” took several recent studies from health care think tanks and federal agencies, located data relevant to Missouri and added analysis. The report was prepared by the foundation’s Cover Missouri project, which began earlier this year.

    “I think there is an increasing understanding among Missourians that we’re reaching crisis,” said Ryan Barker, a health policy analyst for the nonprofit foundation, which conducts health research and advocacy. “This is a problem not just of a few people but of almost 800,000 Missourians.

Spending money on health care for the poor? Not when there’s a study to conduct to bolster allocating tax money to a cause!

When it’s a special interest group that the paper likes, it’s not lobbying, it’s advocating, and the special interest group-funded study isn’t suspect, it’s news.

I know, it goes without saying. But I’ll say it anyway because it’s as important to make a mystical chant out of the truth as it is the less-than-true that you want to stick in people’s heads.

Words That Do Not Belong In Country Songs Twofer

Badonkadonk, Donkey Kong, as in Trace Adkins "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk":

    That honkey tonk badonkadonk
    Keepin’ perfect rhythm
    Make ya wanna swing along
    Got it goin’ on
    Like Donkey Kong

Word to the wise: do not refer to an attractive woman as a large gorilla who kidnaps girls and throws barrels, or any other video game character for that matter. Let’s just say that calling a certain beautiful wife “Lara” sort of spoiled the moment, okay?

You can see the video for the Trace Adkins song, along with attendant badonkadonk, here.

Good Book Hunting: July 19, 2008

Well, the one church that ran its classified ad last week actually had its rummage sale (not the northern terminology) this week, and that was the centerpiece of our trip this week. This will probably be our last weekend excursion, friends, as the pickings are so slim and the stage management so onerous as to render the weekly scheduled trips less than pleasant. Worry not, though; from time to time, I’ll sneak into an estate sale and come up with some books, so I won’t starve. Also, my to-read shelves are several thousand volumes, and there’s always the library for historical nonfiction.

Regardless, here’s what we got:



More books
Click for full size

I got:

  • The Middle Ages Volume III, a Books, Inc., publication about the Middle Ages, which in a couple thousand years will no longer be the middle. Hopefully.
  • The Renaissance Volume IV, a Books, Inc., publication about the Renaissance. In Art, maybe. Perhaps I bought two parts of a series here. I don’t know.
  • Aristotle’s Selections, a Books, Inc., publication. Selections of Aristotle, or a volume entitled Selections by Aristotle? Hey, they were a quarter each and matched, so I bought them without knowing.
  • The Travels of Marco Polo, a Books, Inc., publication about the Marco Polo, I hope.
  • Pure Drivel by Steve Martin. Comedy or a novella? I don’t yet have it, so I bought it.
  • The Practical Handbook of Electrical Repairs and The Practical Handbook of Plumbing and Heating. A series of books detailing easy repairs from the 1960s. I haven’t actually finished the one about television repair in a time where you could replace the tubes yourself and run down to the drug store to test them if you didn’t know. So I won’t jump right into reading them probably.
  • How Things Work In Your Home (and what to do when they don’t). I have the How Electronic Things Work book, which looks like a distant relation. I think I’ll run through this book for some basics so I can continue to impress my wife with my mad repair skillz. Actually, impress isn’t the word; she just assumes that I know or can do it. That assumption is more gratifying than her being impressed every time. Also, it’s more pressure. But I have these books!

Also, I got some cassettes of some easy listening stuff and a couple of, get this, design your garden computer program CDs. BECAUSE THEY WERE CHEAP! But you know what would be the killer app? Combining these design your level programs with a first person shooter where you can go in and execute, with a variety of weapons, those damn squirrels who have completely picked your tomato plants clean. Like a 21st century Centipede. I’d pay more than a quarter for that.

Oh, yeah, the wife got some books and cassettes and the Js got some books, but this is my blog, so no loving detail for those acquisitions.

Book Report: The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler (1953, 1986)

I last read this book, I think, about 14 years ago when I got the New American Library complete novels of Chandler set. I’ve seen the movie since, although it took me two years to get through it after hanging up on the extended dance remix argument about impotence between the Wades. The film version took certain, erm, liberties with the story, I could tell based on basic WWRCD instinct. Now that I’ve refreshed my reading, I’m ready to go back to try the film again to set in concrete the reasons why it’s inferior.

A later novel in the Philip Marlowe pantheon, this book deals with Marlowe striking up a friendship with a veteran. When the veteran flees after his wife is murdered, Marlowe helps him out and is drawn into the circle of his friend’s neighbors and their moneyed misdeeds. It’s a typical Chandler sort of plot, for what that’s worth: a little convoluted, perhaps, but at least all the corpses are accounted for this time around.

But the texture of the language. There’s something to it, of course, something that differentiates it from the other pulp writers and other purveyors of paperback sensibilities. MacDonald and McBain dabble in it, but Chandler mastered it. Parker touched it before writing for the talkies ruined him.

Reminds me why I wanted to write this sort of thing.

Books mentioned in this review:


Hulshof Leads In Corrupting Influence

The Post-Dispatch headline is Steelman lags behind Hulshof. What, in votes? No. Projected votes based on a few people reached by phone? No.

    GOP gubernatorial candidate Kenny Hulshof rode a wave of endorsements to fundraising success this quarter, outpacing his primary opponent, Sarah Steelman, by more than a 4-1 ratio.

That is, he’s raised more money than she has. But! Citizen, money is a corrupting influence in politics, which is why (the rationale goes) it must be limited by the government.

But the papers, who cheerlead the limitations because they like all government intervention, especially the ones that increase their influence, report on this as though it’s indicative of anything more than who’s got the friends with the deepest pockets.

We could expect it to be Hulshof, the Washington, D.C., resident running for the job. I’m for Steelman, of course, because I think going to Washington, D.C., is sort of like a British man going to WWI. Dudes, I’m Mrs. Dalloway in this scenario, and I just want to have a little party here without damaged veterans of foreign wars or DC “politics” (self- and party-enrichment) ruining it.

What’s my point, other than I saw the movie of the Woolf novel? Oh, yeah, go Steelman.

Book Report: A Pair of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy (1873, 1986)

It took me three weeks to read this book, which means that it’s probably weaned me off of classical literature for the near future, at least until I can get back to reading a couple of hours each night.

That said, this is certainly my current favorite Hardy book, but all I’ve read is Tess of the D’Urbervilles when I was young (at the university) and Under a Greenwood Tree last year. Therefore, it’s currently one of three.

The book details the affairs of the daughter of a rector in West England, Elfride by name. When a young architect comes to draw up plans for the work on the rectory, she falls for him and he for her; he idealizes her and looks up to her after a fashion. They almost elope, as her father discovers that he is of low birth and refuses to approve the match. The young man goes to India to make his fortune. Meanwhile, his educated mentor meets the woman and she falls for him, too. He, on the other hand, does not look up to her, but celebrates her purity and the fact that he’s first in her heart. When her past attachment is uncovered, the scholar breaks off their engagement.

It’s a simple enough structure, but by presenting the two types of man and how she relates to them, the book delves into male-female relationships well. I thought the ending was a bit of a cop-out, though, but the book is still a heck of a read. The language slows one a bit, but not too much off of the pace you get with current dialogue-laden scripts-with-paragraphs.

The book I read was the Penguin classics edition, though, and it came with a horrid, long introductory essay that I was smart enough not to read before I read the book. I mean, it’s a discussion about the themes within the book and has no place ahead of the material it talks about. Also, the introduction did reassure me that I made the right decision in not pursuing a job in academia. It actually has the sentence, “The drama of the plot of A Pair of Blue Eyes is patriarchal,” and although it does not use the word phallic, it does use bourgeous. Oh, for Pete’s sake. It’s a good story with interesting dwellings on the human condition, and the academics sap that power from the narrative through their readings for their own chestnut points. I squirm when I realize these people have moved out of English programs and into government.

Get yourself a good Barnes and Noble edition or a Walter J. Black printing from somewhere and ignore the pretentious pontifications about it and enjoy the story. As Hardy would have wanted it.

Books mentioned in this review:


Some Book Hunting: July 12, 2008

We hit a couple of garage sales this weekend, in a stunning turn of events. We tried to hit a big church rummage sale, but it was in the paper a week early, so we had to settle for a string of smaller affairs. As I’m learning, the number of books available at these yard sales is growing slimmer and slimmer. Heck, even the estate sales offer fewer pickings, which probably indicates how few readers are left. Soon, we readers will actually have to fight and steal from each other to get secondhand books until one of us has all of them. And you know whom I am betting on.

At any rate, I got:



A few books for the middle of July
Click for full size

I got:

  • A three volume biography of George Washington because I didn’t have one.
  • A copy of Mutiny on the Bounty in case I don’t already have one.
  • Two taste-free comedies, Deuce Bigelow and BASEketball, because they were only fifty cents each for the VHS cassettes and I hadn’t seen them since they were in the theaters.
  • A couple of cassettes because they were cheap.

As I said, slim pickings. But I like to think of this as resting up for the Carondolet Y book fair this year, which will not be at the Carondolet Y.

Brat Favor

Brian’s favored resolutions to the 2008 Brett Favre Crisis:

  • Trade him to New Orleans for Mike McKenzie.
  • Trade him to Atlanta for a couple of Michael Vick’s rescued dogs. They’ll be more loyal and less fickle.
  • Send him to a CFL team, an outdoor one if there’s one available, and let him play in the cold all the time.

Ever since he didn’t file his retirement papers, I thought he wanted a trade. How quickly can I turn on a favorite player? Less quickly than he can turn on his fans. You can go somewhere else, Favre, but you won’t be the Brett Favre you were in Green Bay. You’ll be a rented journeyman quarterback.

Excuse me while I go order my Kampman jersey.