Monday, January 28, 2013

This would make me stop watching Glee, if I watched.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Richard Blanco's poem for Obama's second inauguration is awful: exploitatively maudlin ("the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won't explain / the empty desks of twenty children marked absent / today, and forever"); ostentatiously humble ("or ring-up groceries as my mother did / for twenty years, so I could write this poem," "hands / as worn as my father's cutting sugarcane / so my brother and I could have books and shoes"); saccharinely multicultural ("saying: hello, shalom, / buon giorno, howdy, namaste, or buenos días / . . . spoken into one wind carrying our lives / without prejudice"); and more. Much more. Elizabeth Alexander's poem four years ago was bad; this one's worse.

Later: Mark Steyn refers to Blanco as "that poet from hell."

Friday, January 11, 2013

Dave Barry's annual "Year in Review" column is a useful indicator of the state of the nation. When things are good, it's hilarious; in more troublous times, as now, not so much. Still a few laughs.
Jonathan Last on "Japan’s disfigured age structure."
Nicely sardonic, on some of Obamacare's consequences.
Thorium reactors advance. Mostly in China rather than here, unfortunately, but at least it's happening.
Jay Nordlinger defends Mitt Romney, rightly and well.
Thoughts on boys, guns and manly responsibilities.
From Joshua Davis at Wired, a gripping article on John McAfee.
From Lifehacker, a list of free online courses, and where to find many more.
Why raising taxes on the rich doesn't work.
Visual vocabulary quizzes.
Good video interview of a thinker worried about the Singularity.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

On the psychological importance of forgetting.

John Derbyshire:

"If there is hope it lies with the proles," says the hero of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. I feel the same way about the Republican Party that Winston Smith felt about the proles: despair at their leaderless blindness, their meek acceptance of a corrupt system, their gullible swallowing of shallow lies and empty promises, yet awareness that while there is little to hope for from them, there is nothing whatever to hope for from the other party.

So just keep repeating to yourself: "If there is hope it lies with the proles" … and try not to remember how things turned out at last for Winston Smith.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

From IMDb's "Trivia" section for English actor Michael Byrne:

Has played a Nazi foil for Harrison Ford twice, in Force 10 from Navarone (1978) and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). In both movies, his character ends up in a vehicle falling off a cliff.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Funny commercial. Writing, directing, acting, editing all first-rate.