I Just Cannot Read Harper’s Any More

Okay, I am done trying. I have had it at last with Harper’s magazine, and the remainder of my subscription is going straight from the mailbox to the recycle bin.

I tried so very hard to read the August 2003 issue while I was at the gym the other night, but I couldn’t get more than a few paragraphs into anything, and I didn’t try hard, frankly.

Here’s what I read:

  • In the “Letters” section, Iain Murray writes a letter to respond to a snarky piece in a previous Harper’s which I have never read and never will, now. Apparently, the author of the piece savaged the fact that the Competitive Enterprise Institute impugned the science of the National Assessment on Climate Change, using properly-crafted insinuations and ad homenims. Iain’s letter points out that the National Assessment is widely debunked by real scientists. Since the author of the piece gets a chance to get in the final snark, Bryant Urstadt responds to a scientific rebuttal with….Manhattan ad homenims and insinuations.
  • Lewis Lapham, in his monthly column “Notebook”, titles his rant “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and it begins:

    During the eight months prior to the invasion of Iraq, the American news media were content to believe the government’s fairy tale about its reasons for sending the tanks eastward into Eden. The Bush Administration’s buncombe artists could tell any story they pleased about Western civilization being held for ransom by Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, and even when the plot lines were shown to depend upon suborned testimony and counterfeit intelligence, the media vouched for the wisdom of Oz. Why not? What was to be gained by casting doubts? The fairy tale sold newspapers, boosted television ratings, curried favor at the White House and the FCC, drummed up invitations from the Pentagon to attend the military costume party in the Persian Gulf.

    I am pretty sure he goes from there into the common missing trope about Bush lying, la la la. Whatever. Point of order, Mr. Editor. I am getting awfully tired of the misapplication of the term lie (or fairy tale) regarding the build up to war in Iraq.

    You want a lie? Here’s one, Lewey: “I did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” You see, the speaker is uttering something he absolutely knows is true because he has first, uh, hand knowledge of the reality. And he says the opposite. For his own benefit mind you, and thanks to shills around the world, he got benefits from the lie. I know you looked down upon the Arkansas governor, too, Lewey, because I could stomach your weary tone then. But others of your rarefied Manhattan ilk did.

    A little sex of which you have first gland hand knowledge is a little different from the decision to go to war. The decision, and the expression of that decision, is based on facts, assumptions, interpretations, intelligence, and guesses which might be true and gambles made on worst case scenarios. To say that George W. Bush lied, or made a myth or fairy tale, is to belittle the complicated nature of the decision and to say that George W. Bush had first hand knowledge that everything he said was absolutely, irreputably untrue. That’s a hard case to prove unless you’re omniscient. Oh, wait, some of these pinheads think they are.

    Also, Lapham, I hold you ultimately accountable for that condescension bomb called Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting By in America. Cripes, I opened that thing and it blew its classist pitytoric all over, and I am still scraping Ehrenreich off the walls. Thank goodness I bought it in softcover, or the crapnel might have been the end of me.

  • Harper’s Index always contains a few gems that make a point out of a contextless statistic. For example:

    Percentage of South Carolinians prosecuted under the state’s “anti-lynching” law since 1998 who are black
    : 63

    Because, obviously, the law was intended to be marked Whites Only, and blacks cannot do whatever the law prohibits to whites or each other.

  • Finally, to the Readings section, a kind of Snobber’s Digest. First outtake, I mean piece, is entitled “The New Censorship” and it’s by Curtis White, an excerpt from his forthgoing book The Middle Mind : Why Americans Don’t Think for Themselves. I’m already inspired thrilled and that’s just the intro. First paragraph:

    Americans are not much in the habit of poking at the dominant realities of our lives. We’re delicate. We’re used to deferring, though we like to think of ourselves as rebels. What parents, teachers, presidents, and Dan Rather say is usually good enough for us. Even if it is demonstrably false, we submit out of habit and fright over what not submitting might require of us. We sacrifice our lives out of feeling that there is some sort of comfort in deferring.

    Charming. So we should believe instead what Harper’s and its select authors say instead. Bullocks. Good enough for those rebellous thinkers churned from our universities’ liberal arts programs to descend upon New York City and Washington D.C. to live like kings and courtiers in order to better the lot of the common man.

ENOUGH! That’s the first four things in the schnucking magazine. Even the GM ad in the front cover tried to make me feel guilty for driving a car, except that I drove a brand that would put an apologetic ad in an enlightened magazine.

I’ve been a Harper’s subscriber for more than ten years, regularly remitting a portion of my sub-sustenance wage salary to get a slick and remain educated, but no more. I have a couple months of the magazine piled up, and they’re all going out. I have other, more relevant magazines, like FHM to read.

I’ve got seven months left on the subscription I had paid up for three or four years in advance, and that’s it. I’m done until such time as Lapham’s gone and the magazine returns to a more even-handed set of viewpoints.

I’m sure Harper’s won’t miss me. Enough cosmo coastal sycophants will continue to buy the magazine to learn what to think, what vodkas to drink, and that Xandria and the Blowfish catalog both offer creative merchandise for consenting adults. A Midwestern conservative isn’t its target audience anyway, or else they would cover tractor pulls and corn futures more frequently, or whatever stereotypes they’ve developed for everyone west of New Jersey.

So be it. An amicable parting. Except for the screaming and the throwing of the dirty laundry on the front lawn.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Hans Has Slaughtered The Tusken Raiders

Cue the Wagnerian music and get ready for the jump cut, but Hans has slain his tribe of Tusken Raiders on his way to the Dark Side. Allow me to translate for those of you who are not geeks: A developer who’s into Java and, worse than Linux, Macs, has something nice to say about Microsoft, or at least something not fervid about open source:

Novices require simplicity. Microsoft has to dumb down its tools for the novice developer, but the Java community often seems to feel no such compulsion. I’m watching some coworkers struggle to become fluent in Struts. They are rightfully offended by how often they have to learn some little workaround rather than the obvious approach simply working.

I’ve come to realize that with many open source projects, any problem that has a reasonable workaround tends not to get addressed. Just as Microsoft often fails to fix behavioral defects before devoting resources to new features, the bazaar tends to permit usage defects since it’s more rewarding to add new functionality. Can’t we find a happy medium?

The answer is, unfortunately not. Hardcore open sourcers who do that sort of thing for the fun of it are gearheads who would rather debate the merits of the Borg-Warner T5, whether it’s great or whether it sucks. Their esoteric knowledge separates them from the simple novices, and they don’t want to simplify. They want to be gurus.

So come to Microsoft, Hans. Uncle Bill wants to include everyone. Even people who used to have blue hair. Uncle Bill forgives. Uncle Bill loves.

Click Trust Microsoft and let Bob show you the path to simple development and simple user interfaces.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Where Am I In The Ecosystem?

Everyone’s always talking about Truth Laid Bear’s blog ecosystem which ranks blogs by their popularities. Where am I, you ask?

#1581 currently, thanks.

Lower than Instapundit.
Lower than Musings from Domenico Bettinelli.
Lower than both BRIAN’s Culture Blog and BRIAN’s Education Blog.
Lower even than RatBastard.org.

Only people I am not lower than are people who have started their blogs in the last fifteen minutes, werd. I ain’t gonna link to them because that would put them above me.

Ay, me. Whatever will I do?

I think I will post some more.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Improved Hockey Nicknames, Cheap

In today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch, columnist Dan O’Neill, who once deservedly got raked over the coals (deservedly so) for getting several St. Louis Blues players’ names wrong when he covered them (probably while intoxicated), pens a laundry list of hockey nicknames and calls it a column.

I have to admit, I’ve always thought most hockey nicknames were kinda boring. Jamal “Jammer” Mayers? Tyson “Nasher” Nash? Tony “Twister” Twist? Come on, where’s the creativity, the poetry?

So ever since I have been a Blues fan, I’ve applied my own nicknames to the players, from afar, of course, since some of those gentlemen are bigger than I am. So hear they are, for your enjoyment:

Last year’s crew:


Eric Boguniecki


He’s a little guy, and sometimes when he throws a check on a bigger player, he looks
like one.
Petr Cajanek


Rhymes, almost, with Cajanek.
Dallas Drake


A drake’s a male duck. Must I draw a picture?
Reed Low


He has a prominent overbite. Don’t tell him I said so.
Steve Martins


He went there.
Jamal Mayers


Tough and fast.
Scott Mellanby


Mellanby, especially when he’s got his helmet on, looks like the guy from
Buck Rogers
in the 25th Century
Keith Tkachuk


He makes a lot of money.
Barret Jackman


Heavy brows, high forehead, who else could it be?
Alexander Khavonov


Never Khavanov. Come on, it sounds cool.
Chris Pronger

Cap’n Happy

Grant Fuhr started it.
Bryce Salvador


He looks kinda like Kermit the Frog.
Brent Johnson


Roman Turek was “Large.”
Old friends:
Scott Young


Television cameras often caught him gasping and with an eye on the jumbotron, making
him look like a fish.
Scott Pellerin


He looks kinda droopy, even when he smiles.
Tyson Nash


His playing style was to crash from one opponent to the next.
Michal Handzus

The Zusinator

The guy was a machine, and he never smiled.
Lubos Bartecko

The Wolf

Lubos is kinda like lupus, which…. ah, screw it, it’s too scholarly to

Aren’t those much cooler than what the hockey players themselves use? Perhaps the NHLPA can hire me as an official Alternate Collquial Designation Originator or something.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

The Shidoshi of Paranoia Speaks

So my beautiful wife has bought a shredder so that she can get rid of old, possibly sensitive documents from her files. So she’s running credit card statements, bank statements, and other good stuff the bad men want through the shredder before disposing of them.

Unfortunately, it’s becoming fairly easy to reconstruct shredded documents, even ones cut into tiny little pieces (see Church Street Technology for visual cues). Essentially, the bad men (or the government) can scan the shredded documents and then put super computers, like the latest “e-mail only” machine at Best Buy (if not now, then in the next year or so, werd) onto assembling them like puzzle pieces until the little ink smudges make glyphs which then make words or numbers or credit card numbers or evidence that yes, once you did accidentally have a copy of 2600 in the house (but it all was a mistake, sir, I thought it was a magazine about my favorite game console).

Your Shidoshi of Paranoia knows of only one way to truly, effectively, and cheaply dispose of your sensitive documents:


The human body can process, and pass, your documents in an unreadable form, whether by human eye or machine. You can consume several pages of documents a day, enough to easily accommodate the day’s receipts. Processing your document elimination in this way is economic and ultimately the only way you can be sure no one will even want to examine your sensitive information.

You ask, “But Shidoshi, how does one eat these documents?”

I am a master in the realm of document salad. Look at this beauty.

Ingredients, you ask?

Bank statement, laterally torn and then shredded.
Credit card bill, ripped into pieces.
Note to self, minced.

I usually drizzle this with balsamic vinegarette, if you consider 1/2 a cup a “drizzle.” Also, don’t forget to pile on the salt. Goes well with a bottle of Les Bourgeois Riverboat Red wine, particularly if you have had most of the bottle before you start on the salad.

Of course, if you have a higher volume of document destruction needs, you can include them within more of your diet or as part of your family’s overall nutritional plan. Remember, wood pulp contains fiber, and a lot of things are printed with soy-based ink, so that’s got to be good for you, wot?

And on a personal note, it’s during file-cleaning season that I am glad that we have five four cats.

Your Shidoshi has spoken. Pay mind.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Europeans Blame America For Spam

Of course, America is responsible for spam e-mails, European weenies say.

Next, the European Union will also announce its discovery that the United States is also responsible for a host of other ailments, such as impotence, receding gum lines, those times when the moon swallows the mother Sun, the existence of spiders, and using satelite beams to make the neighbor’s dog bark all night.

(Link seen on TechDirt.)

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Homeowners’ Collective Overwhelms an Individual, Again

Drudge linked to this story about a home owner in Florida whose house is being stripped from him because he violated the local home owners’ collective by putting up a flag pole. Now that the court wrangling is done, it’s time for some house rustling to pay for the bills.

Whereas everyone else seems to be focused on the “damn commies took away his flag!” aspect, it might be worthwhile to note the deeper erosion of human rights, that is, a property rights. To quote the self-satisfied snake from the home owner’s collective:

West Palm Beach attorney Steven Selz, who represents the homeowners association, said the ruling makes sense.

“There has to be a way to give the association a right to enforce its claims on the property,” he said.

Remember, the homeowners’ collective only has its freedom to infringe upon a man’s land only until the municipality decides your puny property taxes are no match for big box sales taxes, werd, and then you, too, get to ride the slippery slope from the recognition of individual property rights into statist security.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Steinberg on Magen David Adom

Neil Steinberg, with the Chicago Sun-Times, talks to members of Magen David Adam, the Red Star of David. These are the people who respond to minister to the injured whenever a suicide bomber strikes, and they’re a multiethnicity, multireligious force who the Intersocialist Red Cross won’t let join because they come from Israel.

They have to armor-plate their ambulances. Gentlemen, and ladies, of Magen David Adom, you’ve got galls as big as church bells, and I salute you.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Whatever is She Talking About?

I have no idea what my lovely wife is talking about when she says:

Contrary to the 2600s (not Atari) lying about my house, I’m not part of the hacker culture, and I know little about it – my geekiness is pretty mainstream in the code perspective.

Subversive hacker magazines lying around here? I am shocked, shocked!

Dammit, woman! I paid for those magazines in cash and wore a hat to obscure my features for the hidden cameras to conceal those purchases. Now I shall have to develop a cover story to explain them, perhaps something about “researching a novel….”

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

A Google Search I Could Do Without

Carp! I am #3 on the Google search for file swapping list. I just knew someday the RIAA would learn about this new-fangled “search engine” technology.

Sorry, honey, but they’re coming to take our house for my impudent keyword listing.

Final irony, of course, is the only music I have downloaded is Robynn Ragland‘s “The People You Know” from her Web site. I don’t even let my friends listen to my tapes or CDs for fear of violating my licensing restrictions, and I even forcibly prevent my gym-buffed wife from reading books I purchase for my own private, non-transferable enjoyment.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Hamas Hits the Boogeyman Ceiling

After the last Israeli strike (let’s not call killing a schnucking cancerous criminal killer an assassination for the umpteenth time–learn your etiomology, broadcasters, so perhaps you can stop making yourself look as ignorant as you think we rabble are that you want to educate), Hamas needed something to come out of its mouth when it foamed, so it had to come up with something. So they said:

“Targeting homes is violating all red lines,” the Hamas military wing, Izzedine al Qassam, said in a leaflet distributed in Gaza City. “So the Zionist enemy from today shoulders the responsibility for the targeting of houses and Zionist towers everywhere in occupied Palestine.”

Unfortunately, Hamas has reached the Boogeyman Ceiling. Since Hamas has proven that its capable of killing as many innocent people, especially women and children, as possible and that it likes to do so, it doesn’t have any threats to scare people. After three years of regular-looking unhelpful hardware men spraying ballbearings, fasteners, their fetid entrails, and innocent blood, its probably hard to imagine anything worse than the constant threat of sudden painful death. How does Hamas turn it up a notch? It cannot, it’s the worst possible boogeyman, and the Israelis have nothing to fear but the worst, which is what they’ve had for many years now.

Den Beste shares the sentiments, and says it better. If you’re not reading his every post, you ought to.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

The Tryanny of the Super-Majority

The Missouri Legislature this afternoon voted to override Governor B. Holden‘s veto of its bill to allow Missourians who aren’t fatcats or their defenders to carry firearms for self-defense. Here’s the St. Louis Post-Dispatch story.

Or, as Carol Daniel of KMOX Radio “informed” us during the “news” at four o’clock, the legislature got the bare minimum of the two thirds majority.

That’s right, citizens, a scant two thirds of your elected officials have voted to recognize your right to bear arms and to bag your daily goblin limit. These few mouthbreathing outcasts have used due process of law to ram their agenda through the legislature.

But never fear, your self-appointed broadcasters are looking out for you. Just remember to call them next time someone busts through your patio door at three on a Thursday morning. Our phone lines are open!

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

No Guns, No Consent, Now Just Governed

The British gave up their weapons. Now, they’re going to give up their sovereignty. No vote, just fiat from the prime minister.

The European rulers who ride in their limos, with their entourages, no longer even put on the show of working through the will of their people. Welcome to the 21st century aristocracy, prole, now surrender some of your wages to keep the French elderly cushioned from the horror of their expanding retirement.

(Link seen on Fark. Thanks, Drew, you’ve ruined my day.)

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

We Could Be Tycoons, El Guapo!

Check it out: O’Fallon Brewery is doing a stock offering, selling 140,000 shares at $5 each to raise money to expand. You and me, El Guapo, could be like Anheuser and Busch, getting in on this ground floor opportunity. Sorry, bad example. Still, if you want to invest in a small brewery, send them an e-mail for a prospectus and whatnot. You could get the second name that all caballeros have. You will be Don Guapo y Rico!

Or you’ll have a cool, $500 wallhanging for your eventual bar, werd.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

Hijinks Almost A Felony Now

Here in Casinoport, Missouri, one 15 year old said to a bunch of friends, hey, I just cracked myself over the head with a skateboard and it didn’t hurt, I am invincible (or words to that effect). So he asked his friends to help him prove the point, and unfortunately, one of his buddies found an error in the hypothesis by cracking Mr. Invincible’s skull and putting him in the hospital with a severe brain injury.

Authorities, of course, have charged boy #2.

He’s going to reform school for four years, where they’ll eat up a suburban skateboard kid. That’ll fix him. For just being a stupid kid. Crimeney, some of the things my brother, Him Jim, Dim Jim, and I did when we were young would undoubtedly be capital crimes now or threats to Homeland Security, which nowadays includes more than blowing stuff up. I’d discuss some anecdotes, but I am still in my mother’s will. Too much revelation, and the pets’ or vets’ organizations get my cut.

Also, our nation will be safer when being a teenage boy is a felony, so I urge our lawmakers to outlaw it immediately.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories