December 2008 minutiae
- Follow-up on last month's observation that the two tickets in
this year's election were composed of Barack Hussein Obama II,
Joseph Robinette Biden Jr., John Sidney McCain III, and Sarah
Palin née Heath, daughter of Sarah Heath: we can actually
keep going in this vein. Obama is succeeding George Walker Bush,
son of George Herbert Walker Bush. Biden is succeeding Richard
Bruce Cheney, son of Richard Herbert Cheney. Bush's opponents in
his runs for the presidency were John Forbes Kerry, son of Richard
John Kerry, and Albert Arnold Gore Jr., who served two terms as vice
president under William Jefferson Blythe III.
- I think I've discovered why I like Scary Go Round a lot less
than I used to — and it's not just that everyone in it now
has a lamentable Pinocchio nose. It's a matter of the balance of the
cast. The main characters used to be dotty Shelley, Amy the brat, Ryan
the buffoon, and Tim the smart competent one whose reach sometimes
exceeded his grasp but who nonetheless functioned as an anchor for the
others. And then John Allison shuffled Tim off to Wales and replaced him
with Desmond Fish-Man, who is basically a toddler in every respect. You
can't have a cast made up of four clowns! That's like trying to write
Gilligan's Island with seven Gilligans.
But then, every time Allison adds a character to serve as the voice of
reason — Riley, Erin — he freaks out and gets
rid of her. Probably because, as the voice of reason, she inevitably
winds up making the extremely reasonable observation that the main
characters are annoying idiots whom she'd prefer to avoid. And so we
end up with a strip in which the tatted-up spoiled art student with
green hair is the grounded one.
- In writing my article on the Whigs I
started in on a paragraph about ostensible democracies dominated by
a single party. The first two that sprang to mind were Mexico and
Japan, so I did a bit of research. First I looked up the PRI, which
controlled the Mexican government from 1928 to 2000 (14 presidencies
in a row). Here is its logo:
That's pretty much what you'd expect from an "Institutional Revolutionary
Party," no? Very solid, very official-looking, very Ingsoc. This is the
sort of logo you can imagine at the bottom of a press release about
adjustments to the chocolate ration.
Then you have the LDP, which has ruled Japan since 1955 except for a
brief blip in 1993/4. This CIA-backed conservative party has supplied
Japan with 23 prime ministers over the past 53 years. Here is its
Oh, Japan. If you ever go totalitarian your image of Big Brother will
be Hello Kitty.
- It's a good thing I keep such weird hours, because if I were trying
to sleep I would probably be really pissed off about the loud music on my
street at 2 am.
- I've noticed that for some reason most of the ads on a lot of big
mainstream web sites are for "IQ tests." They blare that Barack Obama's
IQ or Brett Favre's IQ is some seemingly random number and then ask whether
you can beat that score. Curiosity finally got the better of me and I looked
into what the story here was. Turns out that they ask you a handful of very
simple questions and then ask you to submit your cell phone number to receive
your score — and then of course it turns out that by doing so you're
signing up for some sort of bullshit "word of the day" or "ringtone of the month"
service that costs $50/month. My question is: why did the goons glom onto "IQ
tests" as the hook that would snare millions of suckers? Is there some sort of
deep vein of anxiety about intelligence that they're tapping into? Or do they
simply have a rich sense of irony?
- Whuh? Anna Paquin was naked on HBO and I wasn't informed?
- So after a year or two of peace, there is now once again a rooster crowing
on my street every morning. I can only conclude it was a Christmas present.
Who asks for a rooster for Christmas?
- About eight years ago I put up a post (since removed due to age) about
foods I didn't like in childhood but had come to enjoy between 1990 and 2000:
strawberries, salsa, spinach, broccoli, guacamole, enchiladas, home fries,
zucchini, bell peppers, and pesto. I figured that it was about time for an
update. So, browsing through the index of my cookbooks, I found a fair number
of foods I disliked in 2000 but enjoy today:
Apricots, artichokes, asparagus, brussels sprouts, butternut squash, cauliflower,
chard, corn tortillas, eggplant, leeks, olives, onions, parsley, pistachios,
polenta, raw tomato, sundried tomatoes, tangerines.
I still don't care for: beets, bitter greens, raw carrots, raw celery, most
cheese (blue cheese, goat cheese, sheep cheese, feta, etc.), dark chocolate,
cucumber, dates, East Asian food, endive, figs, pears, plums, portobello
mushrooms, okra, radicchio, radishes, raisins, most root vegetables (parsnips,
turnips, rutabegas), sage in significant quantities, soy products (tofu, tempeh,
seitan, etc.), sunchokes (evil in vegetable form!).
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