Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
It's been linked from about a billion blogs already, but this is a cornucopia just in time for the holidays. Yo Denny, women like to fuck if it's good.
Tom Friedman would've made a wonderful Cold Warrior. He was born too late. He could've risen right to the top at State, given his preternatural ability to look at the Party parade and from it assess the vitality of the enemy. Dazzled by trains, planes, and cell phones, he seems to be ignorant of the fact that a couple of hundred million Chinese live on less than a dollar a day, and that well over a billion of them live in what to an American would seem to be grinding, impossible poverty. A billion! And when I say ignorant of the fact, I don't mean that he turns a blind eye to it. I don't mean that he ignores it because it doesn't fit his model. I mean, he actually does not know that this is the case.
Now Didion once noted that when the ruling class wishes to dismiss the lived experience of the ruled, it does so by calling their lives and worries "anecdotal." Not everything is best understood as a statistical abstract. A mind that can only look at the numbers is a self-limiting intellect. But still: mere anecdote unmoored from context is just bullshit. China is poor, polluted, and has one of the smallest per capita acreages of arable, cultivated land among all the nations on this earth. They have a way yet to go.
Meanwhile, what was the last major technological or scientific innovation to come out of China? This is a serious question. It would be nice if our airports were shinier, our flights less delayed, and if Amtrak ran like the SNCF. On the other hand, it's just not that hard to get from New York to DC. The notion, now bruited about, that infrastructure is destiny has the mythic undertone of a certain Kevin Costner baseball movie. The bulk of technological, medical, biological, etc. progress still occurs in a few wealthy nations, ours included. The now-popular notion that our "best minds" decided to go into finance instead of research is . . . well, you'll pardon me, anecdotal. Most people who work in finance and banking aren't very bright, and the supposed mathematical complexity of their newfangled investment vehicles is hyped and overblown by an innumerate media. Not all successful con men are geniuses--most are just street-smart and improvisatory.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Uh-oh, the Hitler Youth says that gays are destroying the rain forest. He appears to be wearing a dress for the delivery, too. It's all very Village People. People should not get all worked up about this. The Gay is more powerful than the Pope. It is an ineradicable vice because some people love it in the butt so very goddamn much. Many of them work for the Pope, if you knowwaddamsayin.
Meanwhile, I cannot understand the fidelity of smart people to a fancy-dress pageant of liturgical hokum and moral atavism. Is it the stained glass? I think that shit is pretty too, but unlike cock, it doesn't send me to my knees. The Church is a vast edifice of metaphysical gobbledygook and moral hypocrisy. Always has been. The "New Testament Jesus" is a fictional character, and if the Church wants to put him in a fridge and nuke him, that's their prerogative. They own the brand. I swear to you, the Risen Incarnate Son of the Tripartite God is not directing the temporal or spiritual acts of a two-millennia-old confiscatory hierarchy, any more that Yuri Geller really bends spoons with his mind or
Project Weapon X really created the Wolverine.
I spend Christmas Eve and Day with my extended family, but I usually cook Christmas dinner for several friends. This year:
2 1/2 lbs. chuck, cut into 1 1/2" cubes
1/4 lb. dry slab bacon, cut into 1/4" cubes
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
2-3 shallots, finely diced
5-6 cloves of garlic, finely diced
2 cups pearl onions, peeled whole
3/4 lb white or crimini mushrooms, whole
1 large carrot, cut into 1/4" slices
1 piece of celery, cut into 1/4" slices
1 whole canned tomato, hand-crushed
bouquet garni (I use sprigs of thyme, rosemary, and parsley tied in celery leaf)
2 bay leaves (fresh, if you can find them)
fine sea salt
black pepper, freshly ground
1 bottle (750mL) Burgundy red (actually, I use an inexpensive California pinot)
Melt just enough clarified butter to cover the bottom of a Dutch Oven (I use a red Le Creuset 5 1/2 qt. French Oven that I inherited from my mother; it makes a good serving dish too). Do it over low heat. Add the bacon and let the fat begin to render out, still over low heat. Slowly increase the temperature and add the yellow onion, shallots, and garlic, as well as a generous pinch of salt. The goal isn't to caramalize, but to sweat and melt them. When the onions are soft and translucent, remove the onion, shallot, garlic, and bacon, leaving the drippings in the pan.
Dredge the beef in flour that's been lightly seasoned with salt and black pepper. Bring up the heat on the oven to high. Brown the meat in batches.
De-glaze the pan with a cup of wine, then slowly add the rest of the wine, a cup at a time, bringing it to a boil. Put everything in the pot. Simmer for 3 hours. Remove from heat, let cool to room temperature, and put it in the fridge overnight. The next day take it out several hours before serving. Let it come naturally to room temperature, and then slowly heat it over a low flame.
Traditionally served over egg noodles or potatoes, I serve mine over a simple lemon risotto made with chicken stock, shallot, lemon, and fennel seed--the bright, acidic flavors counterpoint the rich, dark flavors of the beef. This year, for a side, I'll serve my dad's roasted root vegetable recipe, which consists of cubed parsnips, rutabagas, celery root, and sweet potato tossed in olive oil and coarse salt, roasted until tender at 350, then for 5 minutes or so at 500 to brown and crisp the outsides. Our salad is a slaw made of grated savoy cabbage, carrots, and red bell peppper, dressed with a sweet citrus and tarragon mustard vinaigrette. Our opening course will be a clarified chicken bouillon garnished with slices of pan-seared chicken liver and cracked green peppercorns.
No. Like all labels they tell you one thing, and one thing only: Where does an individual so identified fit into the food chain, the pecking order? Not ideology or sexual taste, but something much simpler: clout. Not who I fuck or who fucks me, but who will come to the phone when I call, who owes me favors. This is what a label refers to. Now to someone who does not understand this, a homosexual is what I am because I have sex with men, but really this is wrong. A homosexual is somebody who, in 15 years of trying cannot get a pissant anit-discrimination bill through the city council. A homosexual is somebody who knows nobody and who nobody knows. Who has zero clout. Does this sound like me Henry?Dear John, here's what Barack & Co. think about you: or what? You tied your horse to him. What are you gonna do, vote Republican? If you pansy faggots were so concerned, you'd show up at the inauguration in rainbow panties and throw your high heels at him. But you're not, and you won't. Your concern is a fiction and your clout is zero, because under no circumstances will you exact a price for your support. You have no demands. You're nobodies. You're just a bunch of faggots. Get used to it.
-"Roy Cohn," Angels in America
Isn't that OBVIOUS? You got half your kids are out of work and the other half are in jail. Do you see ANY Democrat doing anything about it? Certainly not me! So what're you gonna do, vote Republican? Come on! Come on, you're not gonna vote Republican! Let's call a spade a spade! I mean - come on! You can have a Billion Man March! If you don't put down that malt liquor and chicken wings, and get behind someone other than a running back who stabs his wife, you're NEVER gonna get rid of somebody like me!
-"Jay Billington Bulworth," Bulworth
Now that Obama has tied his horse to Rick Warren, and Warren is now speaking out and accusing gay and lesbian Obama supporters of being hateful, evil, of not being Christians, and of fearing all Christians and apparently Christ himself - mind you, we're told by Obama's pastor friend that we're not really Christian only three days before Christmas - it's time for Barack Obama to answer some questions about the very vocal Mr. Warren.
-John Aravosis, AmericaBlog
Willful abstention from the so-called political process is an honorable choice, but for those who insist so resolutely on remaining in play, who strive so ardently for a place at the table, and who whine so interminably when brushed--again--aside, I've got nothing but contempt. How weak and ineffectual. After a decade of insisting that they're just like the rest of America, thankyaverymuch, Democratic Queerdom discovers that it too is powerless, without influence, and taken, rightly, for granted.
On the one hand, I find the pretexts for rioting and looting in Greece rather slim, but on the other hand, a billion bucks in mostly-insured damage is worth it for what it does to Anne Applebaum.
Monday, December 22, 2008
You know, one does have to lie and cheat to get ahead, insofar as "getting ahead" means what it's popularly assumed to mean. This is a point that Prof Sartwell made a while back, and it bears repeating. The claim that cheating is unethical in a compulsory system is self-refuting. My experience as a student and TA and instructor at an expensive little liberal-arts college with a student-policed and -adjudicated honor code bore this out. In an educational environment where everyone was there by choice, there was very little cheating. In my lousy public high school, on the other hand, despite the fact that there was comparatively little pressure to achieve anything other than bare competence, everyone cheated, from the valedictorian down to kids who still couldn't pass their classes. And now that the whole edifice of public education has been reduced to nothing more than an exercise in producing inputs for arbitrary statistical metrics of success and failure, the world of ideas reduced to a pastiche of post-industrial, Six Sigma, board-of-directors-juking, algebraical legerdemain, any remaining impetus to do one's own work is out the window.
Gas prices in Pittsburgh are down more than 50% from their peak, and since gas stations usually seek to improve margins when prices are trending downward by reducing retail price more slowly than wholesale cost, we can assume the wholesale cost to stations is down even more. Now, the economic downtown has surely reduced global demand for fuel, but it hasn't reduced it that much. I would call this pretty conclusive evidence that boom-time speculation was substantially affecting the fuel market.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Oh-ho! They're gonna give Fred Thompson a radio show, from which he will dispense his own particular brand of cornbread wisdom. If I were a station manager, I'd chop it up and air segments at forty-minute intervals throughout the night, roughly corresponding to the times when his audience has to get up to pee.