URLs du Jour

2009-05-03

  • The lads and lassie at the Right Coast continue to churn out massive amounts of sensibility. Tom Smith garners the coveted Pun Salad Read the Whole Thing award for today, for his political advice to Republicans: "The GOP Should Cowboy Up".

    In many ways, we live in fairly simple times. Obama has clarified things; you have to give him that. He and his supporters in Congress show every sign of seriously pursuing an agenda that stands a good chance of leading to if not economic ruin, at least hard times that go on for a long time. As I have said before, I think it is unfair to Socialism to call the Obama plan socialist. Obamaworld is a lot more like the corporatist capitalism of the 1930's variety, FDR and those Euro- New Dealers who went on to make such a mess of things. Italians. Germans. Japanese. You know whom I mean.

    The GOP has screwed up a lot, but turning themselves into an Obama-Lite party would be even stupider.

    The Transterrestrial Muser has more on the general topic here.

  • The New York Times has an interesting article describing how ecoAmerica, a "nonprofit environmental marketing and messaging firm in Washington" is recommending more effective (by which they mean: obfuscatory) language in environmentalist propaganda. Example:

    Instead of grim warnings about global warming, the firm advises, talk about "our deteriorating atmosphere." Drop discussions of carbon dioxide and bring up "moving away from the dirty fuels of the past." Don't confuse people with cap and trade; use terms like "cap and cash back" or "pollution reduction refund."

    The article tries hard to imply that both sides engage equally in this sort of bullshit creative wordplay. It doesn't seem that way to me, but make your own call; either way, beware of folks who try to sell you a spade by calling it something other than a spade.

  • Up at Bowdoin College, they're doing them some art in the annual "Naked Art Show."

    "We strip naked to distract ourselves from the fact that sexual attraction, innuendo, and cinematic romance exist at the expense of a broader-encompassing love for that unfathomable notion of humanity," [Bowdoin sophomore Bryant Johnson] said.

    No word on whether parents, especially Bryant's, are demanding a tuition refund. Sophomoric Bryant also opined:

    "These bodies are shocking [...] They are the bodies of college students invested in the future, determined to shatter the social coordinates of the privileged class' modes of distinction in a highly choreographed way."

    If you can make it up to Brunswick ME, it's free and open to the public, and it's probably the only way for you to see naked college students without getting arrested, perv. (Via University Diarist.)

  • Famous Bowdoin alumni include Franklin Pierce, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Admiral Robert D. Peary, and DJ Spooky, That Subliminal Kid, although I can't find any evidence of their participation in the Naked Art Show.


Last Modified 2012-10-08 5:37 AM EDT

Driving Like Crazy

[Amazon Link]

Here at Pun Salad World Headquarters, any book P. J. O'Rourke writes is a must-buy-in-hardcover, and it gets plunked right on top of the To-Be-Read Pile.

The subtitle is too small to read in the picture, and deserves quoting in full:

Thirty Years of Vehicular Hell-bending, Celebrating America the Way It's Supposed To Be — With an Oil Well in Every Backyard, a Cadillac Escalade in Every Carport, and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Mowing Our Lawn
It's a collection of P. J.'s automotive journalism, although you don't have to be a Car Guy to enjoy the book; I'm not. Relatively little is actually about the vehicles themselves: most often, the pieces are about the misadventures of taking said vehicles to strange foreign places they really weren't meant to go, driving them in ways they shouldn't be driven, often in the company of people who might or might not be under the influence of substances licit or illicit.

The earliest piece is one I remember reading in the old National Lampoon magazine: "How to Drive Fast on Drugs While Getting Your Wing-Wang Squeezed and Not Spill Your Drink"; it's still guaranteed to send members of MADD, NOW, and DARE into a quick swoon. (In fact, me just typing the title might be a valid entry in R. Stacy McCain's National Offend A Feminist Week link collection, although that's his call.) Better yet, there's a contemporary followup essay on the same issues; the title is even longer, and contains the phrase "the Drugs Are Mostly Lipitor".

Although technically a humor writer, P. J. does not do a lot of jokes, relying on his sharp powers of observation, and his Chandleresque ability to nail colorful metaphors. Michael Nesmith (yes, the ex-Monkee) is a participant in a number of chapters, and he actually gets the best joke in the book, at the end of a story about off-road truck racing in Baja California:

The only thing I couldn't understand is why anyone would do it. "Well," Nesmith said, "I like the big trucks and I like the people. But there's something else. I don't know if you'll know what I'm talking about. But I grew up poor in West Texas. There wasn't much to do. Sometimes one kid would say to another, 'Come on over to my house—we're gonna jump off the roof.'"
In opening and closing chapters, P. J. mulls the demise of the American car industry. He declines blaming the usual suspects (management, unions), instead pointing his finger right at the folks he calls the "Fun Suckers"; and now, of course, the Fun Suckers are in charge.

Last Modified 2012-10-08 5:36 AM EDT

RIP, Jack Kemp

I met him. Just before the New Hampshire Primary in 1988, he and then-Senator Gordon Humphrey were pressing the flesh at the (then) Shop n' Save in Dover. I wished him luck; I think I even voted for him that year. (He came in a distant third, behind winner George H. W. Bush and runner-up Bob Dole.)

Although written in January when Kemp's cancer was discovered, this article from Jeffrey Lord at the American Spectator is a pretty good retrospective.

"When you tax something you get less of it, and when you reward something you get more of it."

With that simple exhortation -- and this is a man born to exhort -- Jack Kemp changed his party, changed his country and, ultimately, changed the world.

If we had more politicians who had even that simple understanding of economics, we'd be in a lot better shape today.

Last Modified 2017-12-04 6:28 PM EST