Archive for May, 2011

Thor

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

One-line summary: A good supply of car explosions, if cars getting wrecked by a giant robot count as car explosions; but no tits. So it barely nets a 50% score on the tits-and-car-explosions test.

A solidly put-together entertainment product. My quibbles are with the content, not the execution. Think I got fooled into watching a chick flick. One guy went shirtless, and then there were no females to watch at all, except a warrior princess and a couple of hipster chicks, all fully clothed.

The special effects were great, the story was on the weak side. The conflict between Richard the Lionheart and King John from any old Robin Hood story, was mashed together with Transformers II and The Good Son, threw in La Femme Nikita for good measure, then they mounted it on the ledge from Tron: Legacy, laced it with some monsters from the Lord of the Rings trilogy and let it fly.

Something should be said about the sets. I want a dining hall in my dream house like what they had. A throne room like Odin’s wouldn’t hurt either.

Ever notice, lately, in these movies that star the puppy-face actors who were born sometime in the 1980′s — the men are all exotic European/Australian types, but the women are super-duper-Yankee-Americanized urban yuppie chicks? That certain voice inflection is really starting to wear on me, I must say. Julia Roberts, Monica Potter, Natalie Portman, Katie Holmes, Jessica Alba, Keira Knightley…they all have it. Just a little too polished and a little too flat. It’s got that “never stepped foot out of an urban metropolis with at least five million people living in it” sound to it.

It’s easy to see what is going on here: The women are hyper-normalized — unremarkable — because that’s what attracts women. “You, too, can lock lips with a hunky long-haired Viking God,” that’s the message.

Well, Anthony Hopkins managed to save it. I suppose I could even recommend it for a theatrical viewing…only because it’s in 3D, and it looks good enough to justify it. The story is weaker than Avatar, which is really saying something…were it not for the stunning visuals, I’d say wait for home rental.

Said stunning visuals, be forewarned, do not include anything having to do with the female form, at all. Except for the warrior chick. She was easy on the eyes. But there’s nothing to see there except a pretty face. We can’t even have any fun debates about “real or silicon,” not that much to see. The visual treats are all for the ladies.

Best comic book adaptation so far? No, I won’t sign up to that. Lately? No, I won’t sign up to that either. This is a solid medium, nothing more. A solid C+.

Six Things They’d Say About Obama if He Was a Republican

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

One of Hawkins‘ finest:

Anyone who follows politics knows that the mainstream media has two sets of rules: one set for conservatives and another set for liberals. Conservatives spend most of their time correcting smears and trying to explain to the public what they really believe. Liberals, on the other hand, can count on the press to hide their unpopular beliefs and put the best spin possible on everything they do. This is why you often hear Republicans say, “Imagine what they’d say if a Democrat had said that,” while you almost never hear Democrats say, “Imagine what they’d say if a Republican had said that.”

Those two separate sets of rules shape how politicians behave, how they’re perceived, and the issues that they spend most of their time talking about. In Barack Obama’s case, the media would be focusing on an entirely different set of issues if he were a Republican.

Of course it’s all speculation, but not very far-fetched as far as speculation goes. See if you don’t agree. The six items:

1) This guy is way too stupid to be President of the United States!
2) Obama’s an amateurish cowboy who’s wrecking our image around the world!
3) Obama’s going to bankrupt the country by giving our money to his corporate cronies!
4) He’s the job-killing, gas-price-raising, economy-wrecking President!
5) Obama’s not an authentic black man.
6) He’s an arrogant jerk who cares about no one but himself!

John Hawkins did forget about one, though: It’s going to take the next President all sorts of time and effort just to clean up all of the messes this one is making.

VLT Timelapse

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Hat tip to Terri.

“The Price of Not Driling”

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Surber:

Canada’s economy grows, while America’s sputters.

The difference?

Drill, baby, drill.

From the Wall Street Journal:

OTTAWA—Canada’s economy expanded at a 3.9% annualized pace in January through March, the fastest clip in a year and more than double the rate in the U.S., as businesses replenished inventories and boosted investment spending and exports rose while consumer and government spending stalled, Statistics Canada said Monday.

Gross domestic product growth was marginally below the consensus call of 4%, and also undershot the Bank of Canada’s 4.2% forecast.

GDP growth accelerated from a downwardly revised 3.1% in the fourth quarter, which was originally reported at 3.3%. The economic performance was the reverse of the U.S. where growth decelerated to 1.8% in the first quarter from 3.1% previously.

From Bloomberg News:

Canada’s current account deficit (on a seasonally adjusted basis) with the rest of the world declined for the second consecutive quarter to reach $8.9 billion in the first quarter, led by a larger goods surplus. The $1.4 billion decline in the current account deficit was largely attributable to strong export volumes of energy products.

In the capital and financial account (unadjusted for seasonal variation), the purchase of Canadian securities by foreign investors slowed in the quarter, but continued to account for most of the inflows to Canada. These purchases, almost equally split between Canadian bonds and stocks, were the lowest recorded in a year.

The overall surplus on the trade in goods widened in the first quarter to $1.7 billion, up $1.3 billion from the previous quarter. Trade with the US accounted for all of the gains, as the goods deficit with other countries increased in the quarter. The goods surplus with the US expanded to its highest level since the third quarter of 2008, notably on much higher exports of energy products.

Canada drills for more oil than it needs, the United States does not drill for enough oil to meet its name.

A world power does not remain a world power long under those conditions.

Much has been said about how this-or-that candidate for the Republican nomination would be a substandard contender because President Barack Obama, with all His debating skill, would mop the floor with ‘em.

But has anyone given any thought to what He Who Walks On Water would actually say? How many issues are there? Every single molehill that was made into a mountain over the last three years…the “Beer Summit,” oil-in-the-gulf, Libya, Egypt, taking a zillion weeks to decide what to do in Afghanistan…and then the stupid issues like gay marriage and legalizing pot. Iran and North Korea, and then you have things like this drill-or-don’t-drill that cut right to the heart of the matter of whether Americans are good enough to have claim to the things we need. Whether we count, whether we matter, whether we should apologize to the rest of the world wherever we go…

What would the transcript to a debate look like, between Obama and X? Correct me if I’m wrong, we’ve not seen Him participate in an old-fashioned, off-the-cuff Reagan/Carter debate have we? I saw him participate in one of those “joint press conferences that are called debates” once three years ago.

Does Obama have the talent to think up, on the spot, an answer to pointed criticism about His own record after He’s been managing something?

And won’t it be tedious listening to ninety solid minutes of “I’m still working on cleaning up George Bush’s mess”…especially in regard to situations, like this one, where that obviously is not true?

Can’t Ignore Weinergate Anymore

Monday, May 30th, 2011

This has to be the dumbest story I’ve ever seen…I’ve been ignoring it because I really don’t care. I haven’t seen the picture, I don’t want to, I don’t care what it looks like, don’t care if it’s real, don’t care if it’s fake, and I really don’t care whether it makes the Congressman look…uh…I’m observing the “eyes up front at the urinal” rule.

I know he’s a die-hard lefty and also an asshole on top of it, and this makes him look silly. I still just wish the story would go away, it’s just dumb.

But Iowahawk gave it a treatment that’s got me in stiches, several times per paragraph. I can’t help it.

Meanwhile, there’s a generous award available to whoever brings the Weiner-Whacker to justice.

Update 5/31/11: Althouse has more thoughts, about what parts of Weiner’s version of events don’t add up, and the glaring double standard at work.

I’m listening to the morning radio as I type this up. All Weiner, all the time…

Spoon Theory

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Christine Miserandino explains what it is like to live with a debilitating disease:

I asked her to count her spoons. She asked why, and I explained that when you are healthy you expect to have a never-ending supply of “spoons”. But when you have to now plan your day, you need to know exactly how many “spoons” you are starting with. It doesn’t guarantee that you might not lose some along the way, but at least it helps to know where you are starting. She counted out 12 spoons. She laughed and said she wanted more. I said no, and I knew right away that this little game would work, when she looked disappointed, and we hadn’t even started yet. I’ve wanted more “spoons” for years and haven’t found a way yet to get more, why should she? I also told her to always be conscious of how many she had, and not to drop them because she can never forget she has Lupus.

Spoon TheoryI asked her to list off the tasks of her day, including the most simple. As, she rattled off daily chores, or just fun things to do; I explained how each one would cost her a spoon. When she jumped right into getting ready for work as her first task of the morning, I cut her off and took away a spoon. I practically jumped down her throat. I said ” No! You don’t just get up. You have to crack open your eyes, and then realize you are late. You didn’t sleep well the night before. You have to crawl out of bed, and then you have to make your self something to eat before you can do anything else, because if you don’t, you can’t take your medicine, and if you don’t take your medicine you might as well give up all your spoons for today and tomorrow too.” I quickly took away a spoon and she realized she hasn’t even gotten dressed yet. Showering cost her spoon, just for washing her hair and shaving her legs. Reaching high and low that early in the morning could actually cost more than one spoon, but I figured I would give her a break; I didn’t want to scare her right away. Getting dressed was worth another spoon. I stopped her and broke down every task to show her how every little detail needs to be thought about. You cannot simply just throw clothes on when you are sick. I explained that I have to see what clothes I can physically put on, if my hands hurt that day buttons are out of the question. If I have bruises that day, I need to wear long sleeves, and if I have a fever I need a sweater to stay warm and so on. If my hair is falling out I need to spend more time to look presentable, and then you need to factor in another 5 minutes for feeling badly that it took you 2 hours to do all this.

I Made a New Word XLIX

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Give•A•Damn (intang. n.)

1. Effort applied to a task that goes well above-and-beyond the level of merely plodding along. Like you give a damn.
2. Evidence of this.
3. Benefits of the successfully completed task that go beyond the initially stated objective, which could not have been delivered if it weren’t for some Give-A-Damn in the effort applied.

Note that these three definitions overlap somewhat.

In business, parenthood and house-shopping I’ve been throwing this word into conversation when it seems there is no other phrase that describes this important concept, and it occurs to me this is one of many places where we hurt ourselves with our choices about what words need inventing and what words don’t. We need to start giving a damn about Give-A-Damn.

I realized I was derelict in my failure to add this to my “make new word” list, when I stumbled across this risible Memorial Day slideshow of “Best and Worst War Movies” over on NY Daily News. I haven’t much of a quibble with the “best” ones, but the “worst” end of the list is…here, I’ll bottom-line it: Pearl Harbor is a “worst” movie, and so is A Bridge Too Far, along with Patton.

Those last two are on our movie shelf because they’re packed chock-full-silly with Give-A-Damn. The Michael Bay monstrosity, not so much…I will never see that one again, much less own it. I know of no effort to describe saliently why it is, exactly, that Pearl Harbor sucks. But I can bottom-line it for you: Aside from the marvelous footage of the bomb dropping on the deck, it’s completely lacking in Give-A-Damn. It doesn’t belong on any list alongside Bridge Too Far or Patton. It isn’t even in the same universe.

As I pointed out on the Hello Kitty of Blogging, the problem with the list is that it was compiled (anonymously) by a damn hipster. I can’t prove it, but I think that’s the issue: Some under-thirty-five hipster, an American Castrati, who understands Give-A-Damn about as well as Mark Twain’s metaphorical pig understands the day of the week. That is my primary complaint against the hipster culture, why we will never have a need for it that will match any trace portion of its vast abundance: The hipster lifestyle does not understand, much less appreciate, Give-A-Damn.

The rest of us are going to have to compensate for their apathy and ignorance. Memorial Day is a great day to take notice of this. It’s Act-Like-You-Give-A-Damn day.

ThatIsAll.

Memorial Day, 2011

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Have a happy one, and spare a thought for those who have sacrificed, and those who still serve.

Update: Cartoon of the day: via Don Surber.

“McCain: Palin Can Beat Obama”

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

The Hill reports on Mac’s remarks, without comment, to get their lefty commenters all riled up and it works beautifully.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has said he thinks Sarah Palin could defeat President Obama in next year’s presidential election, but he’s far from certain that she will actually jump into the race.

The GOP’s standard-bearer in 2008 also shrugged off his former running mate’s poor standing in many polls, saying she would have the opportunity to turn that around if she did make a bid for the White House.

“That’s what campaigns are all about,” McCain said on “Fox News Sunday.”

“I’ve never seen anyone as mercilessly and relentlessly attacked as I have seen Sarah Palin in the last couple of years,” the Arizona senator added. “But she also inspires great passion, particularly among the Republican faithful.”

I find this to be the most agreeable statement coming out of John McCain’s mouth in quite some time.

Can Palin beat Obama? That’s an easy question; the much harder one is will she. It’s up to her to jump in, and then it’s up to Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida to figure out whether they like her better than His Wonderfulness. If it comes down to that, and that’s a big “if,” her odds are much better than average.

Like all other big decisions, the Presidential Election of 2012 can be decided the way Architects decide things or it can be decided the way Medicators decide things. If the voters in the Penn/Ohio/Fla triumvirate think like Architects, she will win, and if they think like Medicators then He will win. And in any free society, that’s going to be a tough call. There are forces at work that naturally position the “front” in such a battle close to the fifty-yard line; that is to say, when either side dominates it labors under a heavy burden of disadvantage.

It’s very similar to the way an old metal alarm bell works. The clapper comes in contact with the bell, a circuit is closed which trips a relay, activating a magnet that pulls the clapper away from the bell. The circuit is then broken, the relay shuts off the magnet and the return spring moves the clapper in contact with the bell again. Think I got that right…some of the details might be flipped around. But the point is, the machinery operates in a perpetual cycle. That’s exactly the way Architect/Medicator conflicts work.

The Architects — those who think their way through life’s problems rather than feeling their way around them, the ones who couldn’t care less what popular consensus is because it has no bearing on what the correct answer is, the Henry Reardens of the world if you will — become dominant when the outlook is bleak. People see their own livelihoods attenuate, and figure out they just can’t afford any more cockeyed decisions. So they delegate the decisions to someone who thinks things through sensibly, who offers solutions based on if-this, then-that. Once the Architects dominate for awhile, things get better because the decision-making process has a natural tendency to evolve intelligently. Whatever is tried, and fails, is pitched overboard because that is what thinking people do. Thinking people also put more stock in decisions that have been shown to be successful.

And so things improve…problems get solved…and, after awhile, the clapper moves away from the bell. People get it in their heads that there are no problems that need to be solved, therefore the point to life, if there is one at all, is to be entertained and happy. And so they start to turn on the Architects and put more faith in the Medicators. Interestingly, they manage to do this without ever acknowledging any problems ever got solved, that anything ever got better. That’s exactly where we were two years ago; we needed Barack Obama to solve “all these problems” that George W. Bush created for us. But the unemployment rate was just beginning to snake upward from the 5.5 percent where it had been for awhile, nosing up through the sevens. That would be a pretty sweet deal now, wouldn’t it? How about gas at a buck sixty-one, any takers?

But we have “all these problems”; nobody can describe them in any great detail, but they’re not too bothered by that because they’re thinking like Medicators. Not too keen on details at the present time. And so you get this happy talky laughey jokey fun-to-watch guy who speaks in vague bromides and looks good in a suit. Makes people feel so good. He must have the answer to “all these problems”! It really doesn’t make much sense when you think about it. But it isn’t being thought about, it’s being felt about.

So we put the laughy-talky-Guy-Smiley in charge of things…and…the relay is tripped. We get a bunch of silly decisions made. But deep down, people feel — feel — like that must be okay. They won’t admit it out loud, but their feeling is that they can afford some foolish decisions now & then. But then, of course, you get to a point where it’s been a very long time since anyone can remember a decision made by the looks-good-in-suit guy, that wasn’t foolish. And that’s where we are now.

What’s the last thing Obama handled sensibly? Alright, let’s go ahead and count the shoot-bin-Laden thing…that decision made lots of sense. Anything else? Anybody? Bueller? Bueller?

Aw that’s okay. Obama looks good in a suit. And THERE’SJUSTSOMETHINGABOUTHIMICAN’TEXPLAINIT!!!

But you know what? The “details will work themselves out because Obama’s awesome” thing is on a steep decline. It’s gotta be that way. People are suffering, they’re having trouble buying enough gas to get to work to earn the paychecks that buy the gas.

Nobody really knows what Obama’s going to decide to do next. His decisions aren’t all completely bad, but it may as well be a random decision-making process. It’s racist if I compare Him to a monkey throwing darts at a dartboard, and it’s racist if I compare Him to a Magic-8 ball. The point is, it’s like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get…uh oh, maybe that’s racist of me too…

But when you’re having trouble getting gas so you can go to work, this “that’s racist” stuff isn’t gonna cut it. The situation becomes one adroitly summed up by my Facebook friend Mike Simone,

If you voted for Obama in ‘08 to prove you’re not a racist, you’ll need to vote for someone else in ‘12 to prove you’re not an idiot.

Clang! We’re having trouble buying gas and food. We can’t do anymore experimenting with these randomly-deciding, feel-good Medicators. It becomes a natural event in the course of the human experiment, that the Medicators are told to take their beer summits and stick ‘em. Just can’t afford the silliness anymore.

Now the people who might be compelled, every now & then, to vote for an Obama will never admit this: But the clapper will meet the bell, it is quite unavoidable. Feeling your way around life’s challenges, as opposed to thinking them through, falls out of fashion. It has to. At a certain point, when things continue to go wrong because there’s too much feeling & not enough thinking, eventually it doesn’t feel good anymore to make these feel-good decisions. And when feel-good decisions don’t feel good, then what’s the point?

Palin-haters sound very silly when they try to deny this. They sound like this guy:

That woman is not going to run for President. She’s just doing her bus tour and movie to raise money to pay for her house in Arizona. I’ll say it again: she’s not running for President. If she was, Faux News would’ve fired her just like the did the other Faux News contributors who were thinking of running for President. She’s an idiot. I can’t say it enough.

“She’s an idiot I can’t say it enough”…reworded only just slightly, and I suspect this re-wording is much closer to the truth…becomes an abject exercise in the purest cognitive dissonance: “Everybody needs to stop mentioning her name I can’t say it enough.” Now, whether you have your biases toward the Architect way of managing things or whether you like the Medicator way of managing things, it’s a cinch that if you’re starting to worry about the refrigerator being bare and the gas tank being empty, you’re probably not going to be all that pleased with the biggest decisions in your economy made by the representative of lunatics like this guy, who thinks with all the clarity of a dog chasing its own tail. Does he even know that “Faux” rhymes with “Dough” and not with “Fox”?

As I’ve said many times before, this is going to be an interesting election, whether Palin jumps in or not. We’re voting on common sense itself. Can life’s most vexing and challenging problems be solved with yet another bacchanal, festooned with phony Greek columns? Or as the situation continues to deteriorate and the price of gas soars past five, six, seven dollars a gallon, does the time come where you have to start thinking like a grown-up?

McCain’s right. She absolutely does have a chance. I’m not pleased at all that it is improved when our country’s buying power and start of living continue to diminish; that is a real tragedy. But it is what it is.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News and Washington Rebel.

“Businesses Can’t Invest Until They Have Fewer Variables”

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

So says Paul Otellini, CEO of Intel. The full excerpt is:

Intel is on pace for what Otellini predicts could be the company’s best year ever but said other businesses are not so lucky. “A lot of companies are sitting on the sidelines right now,” he said, due mainly to a lack of clarity about taxes and regulation.

“Take the uncertainly out. Businesses can’t invest until they have fewer variables and right now there are just too many variables,” he said. [emphasis in original]

Or, as a tire company executive put it some three quarters of a century ago, during a dress rehearsal of what would later become Obamanomics: “[The investor] will not risk financing new ventures if the government take is greater than that of the average gambling house.”

In the interest of full and fair disclosure, I’m an Intel employee.

There is so much good meat in this article that brings us the two quotes above, it’s like a half-year-early serving of TurBaconDuckEn and I don’t know where to start with it. Although BlogUncle Gerard knew exactly what to do. He went after the tastiest morsel on the lovely, juicy, glistening, baconey-goodness salty carcass.

What would happen, if, heaven forfend, Obama actually went into business himself?

Oh my, he had fun lifting & linking that one. Yes, the High Prince of Hope and Change, Birther Zero, Mister Let Me Be Clear, founder of the “Office of the President-Elect.” The Teleprompter King. The very archetype of the non-productive telling the productive what to do, and feeling perfectly entitled to do so…not because He was sworn in on January 20, 2009…but simply because, since childhood, nobody has ever told Him “no.”

What if He was part of an effort to — not sell some stinky piece of legislation that is so pus-filled and rancid that everybody and his dog needs some kind of “waiver” from it — but create a product, bring it to market, and move it along to the consumers who can use it? And at a profit? Unless you’ve been living on Mars for the last six years, you know He has some considerable skills. But are they applicable to useful pursuits? In any way? Any at all? Any mission that has something to do with helping people…in ways other than forcibly taking money from one class of person and giving it to another?

The anecdote about George McGovern suggests the intensity and magnitude of surprise that awaits “Professor” Obama in the Driscoll hypothetical.

But there is more yummy goodness here. Obama manifests great talent at non-productive things, and doesn’t manage to suggest any talent at all in things that would actually create other things. But that, by itself, offers no evidence of any contempt toward the private sector. Notice I said “by itself.” Just because you have a lack of aptitude for tending to a discipline, doesn’t mean you harbor actual disdain against that discipline.

The wifey, Mrs. O, took care of that part:

“We left corporate America, which is a lot of what we’re asking young people to do…Don’t go into corporate America. You know, become teachers. Work for the community. Be social workers. Be a nurse. Those are the careers that we need, and we’re encouraging our young people to do that. But if you make that choice, as we did, to move out of the money-making industry into the helping industry, then your salaries respond.”

But the real problem — what is asphyxiating our economy in the here and now — is perhaps best summarized by another anecdote near the very beginning:

Adolf Berle, Roosevelt’s assistant secretary of state, sounded for all the world like Hank Paulson or Timothy Geithner when he argued in the late 1930s for a “modern financial tool kit.” Tool kit means “let me fiddle around” and not “let us agree together on rules and abide by them, together.” [emphasis Driscoll's]

It’s a quote from Amity Schlaes, author of The Forgotten Man.

What we are to learn from all this, is that investors are people. That sounds like I’m pleading for some kind of sympathy for their benefit, which is where the progressives tune out. That’s the world in which they live — light on the “if this is done, that happens” and extremely heavy on the “it’s so-and-so’s turn to get all the attention, advantages, pity and praise.” But this isn’t about pity or praise, it’s about the other; the if-this-then-that.

Because they are people, and thinking people, they go through a process before they shake loose of the bucks. As Chairman Otellini points out, uncertainty about the outcome, and the variables that contribute to the outcome, affect the decision to shake loose; they’re less willing to do it. That’s just the way sane, reasonable people can be expected to behave.

Statist Puritanism

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

As I thought some more about the Theron Trimble interview, my mind did this sort of a flip-floppy thing like a fish on the bottom of a rowboat right after you caught it — it tends to do that. And I managed to dredge up this quote from H.L. Mencken:

Puritanism: the haunting fear that someone, somewhere is having a good time.

In the years of my youth, when leftists were still in the process of taking over academia, and the grade schools, and the newspapers and the alphabet-soup television networks and anything else that had to do with communicating…this had slowly morphed into something like “conservatism is the nagging fear that someone somewhere is having a good time.”

Post-Reagan, this morphed-Mencken idea might be ripe for another re-think. When it comes to after-tax money kept in a personal wallet or purse, it is consistently our left-leaning friends who are consumed with a quaking, shivering, pulsating, apprehensive fear that someone, somewhere might have cash to spend on having a good time.

No, no, no, they say. Give back to the community. Go ahead and have a good time, as long as it doesn’t involve money that could be going back to Uncle Sam…unless, that is, you’re one of these special people. Anyone with the last name of “Obama,” “Kennedy” or “Clinton” can go ahead and be rich. Warren Buffet and Bill Gates and George Soros can have lots of mney, as long as they say or do things every now & then to help advance leftist causes. Deny global warming, and all bets are off — fork it over.

But I heard that undertone from Theron Trimble yesterday. Florida taxes gently, Florida doesn’t have an income tax…Neal Boortz says “yeah, why do you think I’m here?” And Trimble, very clearly, disapproves…and not just a little bit.

The fear that someone, somewhere is having a good time — with their money. And doesn’t owe anybody anything, nor is looking to anybody to protect them from any imminent, looming threat. Looking forward to making more loot tomorrow, living a happy, independent and secure life.

That is their ultimate nightmare scenario. They have a genuine phobia about it.

Linguistics

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Wisdom, from me, over at Rhymes With Girls and Cars.

I recall seeing somewhere someone made the point this is an aspect of modern leftism: An inordinate fascination with linguistics. Noam Chomsky is a professor of linguistics. To a liberal, if you find ten different ways to say the same thing, you and those around you become ten times more worldly. Naturally, expending the same magnitude of energy pondering ten different things with a single language, would make you an unsophisticated dullard.

Or, thinking about only one thing with one language, with ten times the diligence…maybe succeeding in anticipating some important facet, preventing a disaster.

We’re trying to figure out where this thing came from, where the word basura is used to describe trash. Sonic Charmer says it must be people who think Spanish-speakers are complete idiots. I agree with the logic in his theory, I can’t sign on to the theory itself just because I know better. It’s the danger inherent to all generalizations. My boss, the dead one, started the thing back in the old job of writing “basura” on the cardboard boxes to be discarded, and I know he was just being considerate. Efficient, too, probably. You put some big bulky box where you think it will get pitched, come back in Monday to find it still there, that’s annoying & counterproductive in an office environment.

But no, he didn’t have a condescending or mean bone in his whole body. Unless he thought all kinds of people were idiots and was just really good at hiding it…mmm, hey, waitaminnit…

But I do have to say, Sonic is right. You would have to be a complete imbecile if you spoke Spanish, and you saw something marked “trash” instead of “basura” and didn’t know what it was. I would think, if you’re in another country you should be ready to see some signs put down in a language that is not yours, and also be ready to figure out the easy ones & respond to them.

It raises a distinct possibility that some of our Spanish speakers are guests, are not supposed to be on this side of the border for some reason, and don’t think of themselves as being in another country. Now, that’s a problem. That pushes somewhat out of the field of illegal immigration, and into what could be called an actual invasion. Sort of a lazy, meandering “I don’t think of it as an invasion” invasion.

So no, I don’t agree because I can’t…but I definitely see where he’s going with this. It goes right along with having to Press One For English. We’re having a cold, soft civil war right now, trying to figure out if the United States is an English-speaking country or a multi-language country. It is a muted argument, because when people think of conservative-versus-liberal disagreements they tend to think of abortion and taxes. But this is just as important: Once you teach a child how to count to ten, should the next lesson be about how to add? Or should you go on to counting to ten in Spanish, French, Italian, Greek, Swahili…

Meghan McCain’s Dating Prospects Have Vanished Because Sarah Palin Hasn’t

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

From The Other McCain.

It’s amazing all the freedoms the rest of us get to enjoy, that Governor Palin apparently isn’t supposed to. Existing, breathing oxygen, riding on a bus, making money…

McCain — er, that would be the one whose writing we enjoy, “The Other,” Robert Stacey — goes on to find out about something else that has not vanished: Decent writing at Wonkette. Really! Flawed (two “for” instances in the first sentence), but poignant and flows nicely.

We don’t like Meghan McCain because she is a multi-millionaire and gets writing jobs for which she is utterly unqualified for, not because of her breast size or her butt, neither of which concerns us at all. When you make her “a victim of the Internet” because she posts pictures of her big boobs, which for most women are considered an asset, then you let her off the hook for being an ultra-rich Republican who is taking writing jobs away from talented non-rich people. Even clicking the NYT link is probably forwarding her “writing career,” which exists solely because her dad is a failed presidential candidate from four years ago. Thank you for your co-operation. [New York Times]

Ironically, Meghan McCain is the one writing “Wonkette” style:

I love skulls. I have 10 of them. I love the way they look in my place. I have one on my night stand; one on my desk; crystal ones in my kitchen; one that’s filled with vodka; some with diamond eyes.

Semicolons instead of bangs, but still. Like it’s chopped! Into little pieces! Like sushi!

I wish Wonkette learned to like Ms. McCain…not pleased seeing rancor come out of that corner of the universe. Wonkette, Meghan, they’re like two sides of the same coin. Like the hero & the villain out of a comic book, or pulpy old action movie, “We Are Not So Different, You And I.”

The Meghan/Wonkette duo seems, or seem, to be laboring under a delusion that the continuing existence of the universe depends entirely on some designated object of loathing not getting any attention. Meghan is concerned that there isn’t a news blackout on Palin, and Wonkette is concerned that the same isn’t happening with Meghan. Normal rational people, meanwhile — myself, Robert McCain, Sarah Palin — don’t give a rip, and I notice we are very seldom the ones to bring up these contraband subjects. Meghan McCain talks about Sarah Palin much more often than Sarah talks about Meghan. Meghan talks about Sarah much more often than Sarah talks about Sarah.

What is it like to live like this, with all this concern about what total strangers, whom you have no way of meeting and thus will always be strangers, might be talking about & thinking about? Good heavens. Even real writers manage to dredge up concern only about something vaguely resembling this: Will they think about my latest piece long enough to put some money down on it? And then they move on. The Meghan/Wonkette crowd on the other hand, has made it their own personal migraine to fret away about where the attention of complete strangers should not be going.

Meh. That’s just strange. But no more so than blaming your lack of dating on a former state Governor who currently holds no public position.

Hey, is that why a completely unskilled and unqualified junior Senator got elected to the White House? So the whole country would stop paying any attention to Sarah Palin? Just another promise on which He’s failed to deliver? Come to think of it, has Meghan ever gone on record to say she voted for her Dad? Hmmmmmm……..

Well, I’m not going to be thinking too much of Meghan McCain — but as far as I’m concerned, anybody else can watch or pay attention to whatever they want. The only thing I want to know about Ms. McCain is the one thing she doesn’t seem to want to describe about herself: What is it about the Republican party that makes her want to be in it? Some Republican position on some issue, somewhere? Any at all?

White Tee Shirts

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

But don’t worry about it, because kids’ punishments are confidential.

KION 46, via Treacher, via Instapundit.

“How Liberals Argue About Medicare”

Friday, May 27th, 2011

They don’t, sez Neal Boortz. And the video backs him up on that.

I do think the Republican guy was kind of a dick, but…even with that, it seems a little early for the “take my ball and go home” tactic. You’re essentially saying one plus two make minus-five…you’ve offered absolutely nothing to back this up except “President Obama has submitted a wonderful plan.” Absolutely nothing.

Nothing except — Stop Booing When All I Want is Applause!

These are the people who will be tough to beat in 2012 huh? I just don’t know about that…ever since January of ’09 it’s been all, “You know our plans will work because we’re so wonderful and awesome, or at least our guy-at-the-top is!” America is thoroughly sick and tired of hearing it. Fed-freakin’-up. And they’re still at it, because they have nothing else to say. So they’ll keep this up for…get ready for this, sit down, emphasis on…another year and a half. Eeeyah…seventeen months, and change, of “the square root of three must be googleplex, because Obama’s awesome.”

Christ on a cracker, I wouldn’t wanna be them.

Theron Trimble

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Boortz interviews the author of a newspaper essay that says we should balance the budget by raising taxes on the richest one percent.

If you know Neal Boortz, you know this is going to be entertaining. Mr. Trimble explicitly uses the word “wealthy”; I’m just listening to the first few minutes of it now, I wonder if there will be clarification on exactly what this means. Assets or income? What kind of assets, what kind of income?

Update: Oh…at about 4:00 we get it…one percent per year. Raise taxes each year for the foreseeable future ten years. Wow, yeah that oughtta work well.

The essay is here. Have to read it when I get time.

I see at about 6:15 Boortz has inflicted a gaping flesh wound. Nice to hear.

“Evolution: Not Always a Good Thing”

Friday, May 27th, 2011

From here.

“We Can’t Vote on a Speech”

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Refusing to govern.

A Thousand Lawsuits

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

ADA abuse.

“Dozens of Cars, Spewing Fumes”

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Raise awareness!

Hat tip to Sonic.

Unemployment Claims Jump

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Unexpectedly. And corporate profits fall.

Hat tip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, who asks the pointed question:

Notice how economic news that most Americans could easily predict always seem to catch Reuters by surprise?

Hmmmmmm………

“Targeted by Organised Campaigns of Requests For Data”

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

pesky, pesky data.

Hat tip to William Teach.

“Disputed Several of the Anecdotes”

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Credibility problems.

Hat tip to blogger friend Rick.

“I Always Thought He Would Be Useful”

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Liberated.

Hat tip to Instapundit.

“Listening to Your Own Hateful, Biased Rhetoric For Eternity!”

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Hate mail.

“Full Retreat”

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

What a putz.

In full retreat, a humiliated and somber Ed Schultz opened his MSNBC show on Wednesday night by apologizing to Laura Ingraham for using, on his radio show, “vile and inappropriate language” to describe her, language he did not repeat. On Tuesday, the left-wing host had slimed the conservative talk radio host as a “right-wing slut” and a “radio slut.” (After Schultz’s statement, Thomas Roberts hosted the rest of the hour.)

Schultz pleaded: “I am deeply sorry, and I apologize. It was wrong, uncalled for and I recognize the severity of what I said. I apologize to you, Laura, and ask for your forgiveness.” He added that “I also met with management here at MSNBC, and understanding the severity of the situation and what I said on the radio and how it reflected terribly on this company, I have offered to take myself off the air for an indefinite period of time with no pay.” The official NBC management statement, however, said he had agreed to “one week of unpaid leave.”

But let’s be honest, this wasn’t Tourette syndrome or any involuntary spasm. There are a whole lot of people running around thinking something like — sexism is bad, racism is bad, we should enforce etiquette, we should end careers of people caught saying the wrong things, indeed we need to look for reasons to do so…but if you successfully advance a conservative agenda and you belong to a minority group, or you are a female, then all bets are off.

That’s what this is really about. That’s what it has always been about. Second-class citizens who aren’t entitled to the same things, namely the same expectations of respect, to which “normal” people are entitled. There is this sentiment out there, embraced by large numbers of people — they aren’t all on teevee — that women and minorities carry some special obligation to be liberals. A white male taking up a position somewhere to the political right of Hillary Clinton is a jackass and a jerk and a “teabagger” or something; but a homosexual or a woman or Hispanic or African-American doing the same thing, is to be subjected to the prerational curse of ostracism. You shall be shunned, whoever does not shun you shall be shunned, whoever does not shun he who did not shun you shall likewise be shunned.

In keeping with that, Schultz shunned Ingraham so he wouldn’t be shunned. He had to do it, and with the same events playing out again he’d do it again. We’ll see a whole lot more of this, because that is how it works.

Seems very contrite, very sincere. Just like Sean Penn in Dead Man Walking…but let’s take a look at the original crime.

See, I’m wondering: When Ed Schultz apologizes for using that word and promises never to do it again, does that mean — the Ed Schultz show is going to discuss the issues, the ramifications of doing A versus B? Or at least the ramifications involved of doing A versus not doing A? As opposed to the ritual garbage of attacking “the Republicans” for daring to support something other than ritual leftist dogma? I doubt it. There is symbolism involved in that word “slut,” and what is represented has absolutely nothing to do with being an indiscrete slovenly woman of ill repute. Laura Ingraham was sent down a chute into a refuse pile because she deviated from the expected thought process: Think about your “next-door neighbor,” spend the money, screw the taxpayers, and everything Obama does is wonderful. Anyone who wanders out of that rigid outline is sub-human and that’s all we need to discuss. If a woman or minority wanders out of that rigid outline then it counts double, in fact there’s a virtual perceived bounty to be awarded if you trash-talk them. Just make sure the right people are paying attention when you do it.

I’m glad there’s nothing but a smoking crater where he was standing a short time earlier, but that’s the leafy part of the weed. The root is fully intact, and it is this: Liberals believe in derailing any discussion that becomes thoughtful enough that their own ideas are treated with anything but instant acceptance. They believe in marginalizing the opposition as a primary means of exchanging ideas. They believe in prerationalism. “So, we’re all on board, right?” is the only sentiment they see as valid in any meeting-of-the-minds about anything…they don’t know what to do with dissent and they don’t even know what to do with questions. If they encounter any skepticism at all — even the talk-show dickheads, like Schultz — they pretty much wing it from that point, with far more concern about climbing their own little social ladders than bringing the situation to a beneficial resolution.

And sometimes…a lot of the time…the results are very ugly.

“What Do We Get For Our Money?”

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Hmmm. Well, glad to see this is still making the rounds. Nicely captures the Obama-narcissistic-personality “You Should Be Thanking Me” aspect of the modern leftist movement.

I recently went through my day being mindful of what taxes do for me. I took a shower in clean water. I drove to work over safe, well-maintained streets. I was free to practice a profession of my choosing. I am able to do this work because I got my degree at a California state school and passed the California Board exam to earn my license.

On the way home, I stopped at an FDIC bank to take out some money that I had earned and am allowed to keep to support myself and my family. I stopped at a grocery store and bought safe food to eat due to various government regulations. I took my dog for a walk at a beautiful regional park. I picked up a takeout dinner at a restaurant inspected by state inspectors. And I went to sleep in peace.

Government exists to provide us with tangible things that an individual cannot provide for himself. I am so tired of people complaining about taxes as if they get nothing in return. It takes money to run a government that allows us to live our lives as we do.

So, let’s be grown-up about it and raise taxes to keep California from becoming a third-world country.

Got that? History always began yesterday…and California teeters on the brink of becoming “a third-world country”…because of, oh, nuthin’ in particular, but it needs to raise taxes to pay for more regulation to keep from becoming one.

California does.

Yup.

The “I am able to do this work because I got my degree at a California state school and passed the California Board exam” is particularly snort-worthy. Evidently the author, grown-up Susan Wong who I’m sure is paying extra taxes to reflect the level to which she thinks they should be raised, didn’t think it necessary to write such a letter while she was sitting on an unemployment line waiting for someone to make the key decision: That hiring Ms. Wong was worth the extra time, effort and money involved with meeting regulatory requirements. That part of it just wasn’t worth talking about?

This is precisely the point where it becomes a legitimate discipline of scientific research in the mental health field. Wouldn’t it be more productive to stretch leftist statism over a psychiatrist’s couch, and pepper it with questions about what its parents were like and what its phobias are, than to argue with it interminably over the innernets? The patient seems to have made up its mind to charge on ahead…Taxes! Regulation! …ignorant, or apathetic, or both, of its own goals, whether said goals have something to do with solving a problem, what the nature of the problem might be, how exactly it got here…

…whether the other 49 states are having any better luck dealing with the same problem, or what they might be doing differently. And meanwhile — government, for some reason, simply doesn’t have the capacity to do anything wrong. Corporations, on the other hand, simply don’t have it in their character to ever do anything right.

And by & large, these are exactly the same people who think it’s a good thing that the movie & teevee culture has turned its back on the “classic western” genre or anything anywhere built around straight-up good-versus-evil contests. Better to have these shades-of-gray people to reflect the nuances present in real life. Hooker with the heart of gold. “I have to steal it in order to save it.” He’s got to assassinate the ambassador or the super-duper bad guy will kill his daughter. Sure Anakin turned to the Dark Side, but he did it for love. It’s not the black hats & white hats the offend our liberals, it’s what is represented; they like having a little good in the evil, and a little evil in the good. It makes for a whole bunch of interesting debates. So it’s always too soon for a remake of Gunsmoke, but we can remake everything else…

But when it comes to their own plans, government can be Shane and anything in the private sector can be Jack Wilson. Simplicity is perfectly fine then. When…uh…when we’re talking about real life? The real life that was supposed to be emulated by these movie characters with all these shades of gray they needed to have, to better reflect real life?

An explanation is required. If one is not forthcoming, we need a sound theory. Three possibilities emerge:

1. It’s pure cognitive dissonance, and should be treated as a mental disorder.
2. I’m mistaken. This Susan Wong person who “wrote” the e-mail, or the author who originally wrote it, along with the many leftists who say it speaks for them…they’re different from the people who cringe at the classic western with the white hats and the black hats. There’s no overlap, it’s a figment of my imagination.
3. It’s not so much a conspiracy, more like a primal impulse or a gut instinct — things are generally more satisfying when people are “debating” what goes on in a movie and what it says about the characters, than when they skeptically inspect government policies that actually might have a measurable impact on large numbers of people.

Maybe there should be a fourth option that combines #1 and #3…a certifiable mental illness that calls for endless discourse about issues that bear little actual impact on things, and an “elephant-in-the-room” silent treatment directed toward other issues that bear much greater impact.

I’d lean toward that one.

But whatever the cause, it’s worth inspecting the thought process: Government can’t do anything wrong, or if it ever does, it’s wrong so little of the time that the lack of frequency of the wrong-ness brings the occasion down to the depths of statistical insignificance. Government is the clock in a roomful of clocks, the one that was synchronized down to the second to the official atomic clock a few weeks ago, or that enjoys the reputation of keeping the most accurate time, or is perceived to deserve such a rep because it is the most expensive (!) of all the clocks. There are no unintended consequences of government policies. There’s something about being on the government’s payroll, that makes a person instantly pure, ethical and wise. Government actions always work, or if ever they don’t, the thing to do is to double-down and try it again because you didn’t do enough.

But of course, more than half of the time the United States President happens to be a Republican…at which time, this same government turns wretchedly, abysmally evil. And then, government can’t do anything right. But we are not to think of this when we ponder the implications of having government manage the most intimate aspects of our lives. It’s like a complete non-starter or something.

Why do we allow these people to vote in politicians? And the ones who are politicians, why do we let them write legislation that, once voted in, cannot ever be repealed and just hang around like a fart in an elevator? Why do we give them such power? These people, crazy or not, shouldn’t be allowed to own potted plants or pets.

“Where Dreams Die”

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Victor Davis Hanson sums up life in the Golden State. It isn’t pretty by a damn sight.

Tens of thousands of prisoners are scheduled by a U.S. Supreme Court order to be released. But why this inability to house our criminals when we pay among the highest sales, income, and gas taxes in the nation? Too many criminals? Too few new prisons? Too high costs per prisoner? Too many non-violent crimes that warrant incarceration?
:
Our schools rate just below Mississippi in math and science. Tell me why, given our high taxes and highest paid teachers in the nation? Can the governor or legislature explain? Is the culprit the notoriously therapeutic California curriculum? The inability to fire incompetent teachers? The vast number of non-English speaking students? Derelict parents? How odd that not a single state official can offer any explanation other than: “We need more money.” What is the possible cure for the near worst math and science students in the nation? Yes, I see it now: the California Senate just passed a bill mandating the teaching of homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered history, just the sort of strategy to raise those English composition and vocabulary scores among the linguistic and arithmetic illiterate.

Try driving a California “freeway” lately, say the 101 between Gilroy and San Luis Obispo or the 99 between Modesto and Stockton, or an east-west lateral like the 152 between Casa de Fruita and Gilroy, or the 12 between Napa and Stockton. In other words, just try driving across the state. These stretches are all nightmarish death traps (the concrete divider on the two-lane 12 is a sick joke, a sort of kill-contraption), no improvements from 40 years ago when there were 15 million fewer people and far better drivers. But how did this happen when we pay the highest gasoline taxes in the nation; where did the revenue go? Is there some cruel joke I’m missing — a stash of billions in gas tax money buried somewhere and never used?

That just sums up life in California right there: Is there a big stash somewhere? A big palette of hundred dollar bills being used to level out a table with a shorter leg, or maybe for extra insulation the attic? Otherwise, it doesn’t add up. It’s like handing over your paycheck to your lovely wife, month after month, year after year — but the the bank account is still empty, the bills still show up past-due, every single one of ‘em…and dinner is always liver & onions or ham hock soup. Or that ever-popular modern-American single-income-household cuisine, I-didn’t-feel-like-cooking-let’s-order-out.

VDH is on to us. Our state treasury is a black hole; the astronomical metaphor applies every single way it possibly can. The escape velocity has long ago exceeded c, the speed of light, and nothing in our known universe can escape it. The gravity well only increases with every bit of detritus and flotsam that becomes so ensnared.

It isn’t very happy reading, but it is necessary reading. Especially if you are sharing this state with me. Or rather what’s left of the state.

Hat tip again to Gerard Van der Leun.

Imitation is the Sincerest Form XXXIV

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Quoth me, this weekend, after the supposed end of all Creation:

See, there are two reasons why people might care that you were here once: You got up off your ass and did something, or you were here when it all come to a screeching halt.

Getting up off your ass is hard.

Therefore, we have this perpetual fantasy, going on and on since 1000 AD give or take, that the world is ending. It’s just people who wish to be significant, people who want to matter, but don’t want to be bothered with getting up off their asses.

I don’t know if James Taranto reads my blog. I have always taken it as a given that hardly anybody does. But how else do you explain this gem from Best of the Web yesterday?

Doomsday superstitions seem to fulfill a basic psychological need. On the surface, the thought that God or global warming will destroy the world within our lifetimes is horrifying. But all of us are doomed; within a matter of decades, every person alive will experience the end of his own world. A belief in the hereafter makes the thought of death less terrifying. But so does a disbelief in the here, after. If the world is to end with us–if there is no life for anyone after our death–we are not so insignificant after all.

I’ve been robbed, but I’m not calling the police. I’m quite flattered.

However — it should be pointed out these ruminations on the feeling of comfort, or placation, to be found from embracing the latest world-is-ending merry-go-round…whether borrowed from these unread pages or not…represent just an afterthought after Taranto has made a larger point, which we did not make here:

Why are only religious doomsday cultists subjected to such ridicule? Reuters notes that “[Harold] Camping previously made a failed prediction Jesus Christ would return to Earth in 1994.” Ha ha, you can’t believe anything this guy says! But who jeered at the U.N.’s false prediction that there would be 50 million “climate refugees” by 2010? We did, but not Reuters.

This is an interesting question. At first, it seems the answer is obvious: The U.N. was snookered by peer pressure. I remember all the bullying like it was yesterday, all the “thousands of scientists agree with this and who in the world are you to say otherwise?” Caving in to peer pressure might be a sign of weak intellect, but it certainly isn’t a sign of insanity. If it were, that would mean eighty percent of the people with whom we attended high school, and perhaps more, were nuts. So that’s out. That’s the allure of peer pressure isn’t it? If everyone agrees with you, it doesn’t matter if what you did makes any sense, or not. You must not be nuts. Camping, on the other hand, might very well be clinically insane.

But here we come to another interesting point, a fortunate point into which we have blundered, and we owe this to Taranto. The results are pretty much the same. Coming to the wrong conclusion because you were taken for a ride on the bandwagon; coming to the wrong conclusion because you’re a nutbar. The results are exactly the same. Now, why are we concerned about people being insane, again? Why do we bother to make this differentiation? If it has something to do with the decisions being made, then why do we act like it is of absolutely no consequence, when obviously phony things become ostensibly real — just because lots of people have bought into them?

Come to think of it, are there any stories out there of Harold Camping reacting with sneering condescension to any skeptics out there against his flawed Judgment Day prediction of 5/21/11? Any stories about him working “behind the scenes” to get such skeptics shut down, or rather, shut up? I have yet to read any such thing about him. The global-warming hysterics, on the other hand…

Yikes! XIV

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Over thirty years ago, maybe thirty-five, my late mother got me turned on to James Michener books.

From Centennial, Chapter 12 — the book, not the teevee miniseries:

She was a soft-spoken, gray-haired woman of fifty, carrying a jar of honey. It seemed unlikely that she was lying, for men whispered, “Her husband and sons were hanged. She is thirsty for revenge.”

So a raiding party was organized, with this woman, still holding her jar of honey, serving as cout and Frijoles himself in command. They forayed eastward and the woman led them to a small valley where Colonel Salcedo had been forced to hole up, awaiting reinforcements, and when Frijoles saw that Salcedo was indeed among the troops, he became frenzied and led three suicidal charges into the mouths of the guns, and the federal soldiers were overwhelmed and slain one after another, but Salcedo was kept alive and taken prisoner.

He was a brave man. His thin mustache did not quiver when he faced his mortal adversay, and he stood firm in his polished German boots. Apparently Colonel Frejoles had long anticipated tis moment, for he knew precisely what he wanted to do. With his own hands he stripped Salcedo of all his clothes save the gleaming boots. Then he staked him out on a level piece of ground, where the sun would strike him evenly and roast him to death. Each hand was lashed to its own stake; each ankle tied to its stake, with all ropes pulled taut. He would be dead by nightfall.

But for the woman that was not enough. Into each orifice of the naked man’s body she trickled a thin stream of honey: eyes, ears, nose, mouth, anus — all were smeared so the savage ants of the desert would find them. And then the woman and Frijoles withdrew to watch the sun and the insects go to work, and when the screams were most agonized, Tranquilino asked, “Can I shoot him?” and Frijoles said, “No.”

End of chapter. Like…whoa.

Books is more savage than anything on the teevee, including Quentin Tarantino products. And chicks bring the beatdown with less mercy than dudes, anytime…when the occasion calls for it. Even in real life, where things don’t necessarily have to make sense — has any bereaved husband or father avenged his family in such a way? Makes Charles Bronson’s Death Wish franchise look like a Sunday picnic.