Logan’s Stroll

There are plenty of reasons for avoiding this sniffy Robert J. Samuelson piece in the WaPo, which blames Those Old Folks for the nation’s budget woes. Since Samuelson is sixty-five, I assume he means Those Folks Older Than He Is.

The piece drew some 1200 comments, none weirder than this one, written by “MarkMcDonald”:

Thank you Mr. Samuelson for stating flatly what I have believed for many years: seniors are eating the seed corn of the future and there is no end in sight. I am 54 years old and have made a commitment not to live longer than 70. I will work as long as I can and have no desire to retire at all. We all know that the elderly are by far the wealthiest group of Americans and yet their demands on current and future generations are insatiable: they want to retire earlier and the[y] expect more assistance. Medicare currently subsidizes the purchase of Viagra and the natural decline of the sex drive is not described as a medical condition. The nonsense goes on and on.

I tell you what, I don’t want to be hanging around this guy’s house the day before his 71st birthday, especially in view of the likelihood that he’s spent sixteen years going from blue balls to indigo to ultraviolet. Impending death has a way of, um, temporarily restoring the reproductive urge. And anyway, Viagra will go off-patent next year, meaning that the Medicare subsidy, on a per-patient basis, will diminish.

And just how is he going to make sure he dies at 70? Is he leaving that up to the Death Panels™? Or is he going to just bite through a CFL and inhale a dose of mercury?

Dr. Helen, trying to be generous, says:

It’s easy to say you will do something rash like this when you are not actually 70 but I wonder when the time comes what his thought process will be? And why should anyone else want such a depressing end? I know people who are 70 who can run circles around younger people, why should they be the target of such blatant prejudice and hate?

Because you have to blame someone. It’s required by Federal whining standards enacted late in the second Bush administration and stepped up during the Obama years.

I’m a lot closer to 70 than “Mark” is. I hate to hold myself up as some exemplar of rational behavior, but I want nothing to do with this sort of low-suds martyrdom.

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Around 45 kg

It’s only fifty years old, surely you remember it:

He took a hundred pounds of clay
And then He said, “Hey, listen;
I’m gonna fix this world today
Because I know what’s missin’…”

From early 1961, this was the first we heard from Gene McDaniels, who made it to a solid #3 in Billboard with “A Hundred Pounds of Clay”; he’d continue to chart for the next couple of years with similarly-energetic pop tunes.

His aspirations were higher than that, though, and he resurfaced in the early Seventies with his full first name (yes, it’s Eugene) and the tag “The Left Rev. McD.,” recording two albums that made Black Power Awakened tracks by the likes of Marvin Gaye sound like the Jackson 5. Meanwhile, he was writing soulful jazz, or jazzy soul, on the side: Roberta Flack got a hit out of his “Feel Like Makin’ Love” (not to be confused with the Bad Company song), and Les McCann and Eddie Harris collaborated on a version of McD’s satirical “Compared to What.”

He cut two more albums, thirty years apart, and disappeared into the Maine woods, appearing occasionally on YouTube to let us know what he was thinking.

And, if the spirit moved him, to sing.

McD died Friday at seventy-six, returning to the clay whence he came.

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Paging Major Payne-Diaz

An item for the “Wish I’d Said That” files, from NoOneOfAnyImport:

[I]f my posts have given the impression that I’m a pleasant person, well there’s some serious misrepresentation right there. I’m a major pain in the you-know-what, and I can be more disagreeable than a plague of locusts riding in on a half-mile-wide tornado.

Sheesh. She says that like it’s a bad thing.

(Title swiped from Click and Clack, who have evidently hired many of the Payne-Diaz clan.)

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And the prophet Carrier spake

If you’ve suspected me before of Freonist tendencies, this will ice the deal, so to speak:

Air Conditioning should be a Religion. A violent one, if its existence becomes threatened. We all worship at its altar anyway; we moan with breathless thrill upon entering any room to escape the soul-sucking heat. “Ahhhhhh……” we intone, like monks in an ecstatic trance. And we are saved.

The tenets of our faith are found in the longer working hours and productivity that Air Conditioning provides. Capitalism is our outreach ministry. Come to AC, all you who are sweaty and would find dry, cool pillows on which to rest, and AC will give you sleep. Blessed, restful sleep without the sheets sticking to you.

As you might expect from a religion, there is a designated devil:

Al Gore has built his religion on the side of all that is evil and wrong and hot. He is apostate and must be shunned. SHUN the unbeliever! Shunnnn! Let AC arise and its enemies be scattered!

Even the devil can quote Scripture, so I think we can assume Big Gray Al isn’t sweating in the Tennessee sun.

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Things are looking up

This was billed as “Kate Beckinsale at the Underworld Panel at Comic-Con 2011,” and you might think “underworld” is the location of the camera that got this shot:

Kate Beckinsale at Comic-Con

Actually, Underworld is a film franchise, the fourth installment of which, Underworld: Awakening, is due out in mid-January. Rumors were flying that Beckinsale might have a nude scene in the new film; she said no, but she’s wearing a bodysuit that’s “very flexible — like a giant condom.”

Um, okay. If you say so.

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Donna says she’s enjoying the dating process more now than she did several years ago, and she credits, of all things, demographics:

Men in their early 30′s still want cheerleaders… men in their forties are just grateful for anyone.

Well, not all men in their forties.

Then again, at fifty-seven, I don’t have a whole hell of a lot of room to talk.

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Winning with two pair

Once in a while, the shoe offerings runneth over, so we’re giving these the Modified Certs treatment: two, two, two pairs in one single post. Since the resemblance between them is next to nil, I figure I can get away with that.

Funky K-Swiss shoeThis specimen was found by Teresa at a DSW store. It’s part of the Blade-Light Recover line by K-Swiss, which makes it the antithesis of a running shoe: supposedly, you put these on after a run to rest your tired soles. Zappos has this in several colors, some fairly loud, but they don’t seem to have this particular shade. To swipe some of Teresa’s own description:

[T]hey looked like they might be comfortable. I was right, they are like a great pair of slippers. But I’m gonna look pretty silly wearing them with shorts. No, they won’t go with shorts at all.

And she counsels:

BTW — if anyone is interested in getting their own pair they run really small. I generally wear an 8.5 to 9. I had to get these in a 9.5 for them to fit.

This is consistent with the findings of Zappos customers, half of whom said they felt a half size smaller than marked.

New heels by Calleen Cordero“Trust me when I say you want a pair of these,” tweeted fashion/celeb photographer Emily Perez, and once I got a look at it, I knew I was going to be pestering her for the details. It’s from Calleen Cordero, who specializes in handcrafted shoes and accessories, the sort we’d dub “artisan” today, and apparently it’s from a new collection which will be unveiled Any Day Now. (For comparison, here’s the current collection.) Says Perez, it’s even got an orthopedic sole. If I can contrive some excuse to drop into Gretta Sloane’s at Nichols Hills Plaza, I might even get to see these up close, since nobody I know is likely to be wearing them. (Perez was here in the city earlier this month, and I missed her, which shows you how far out of the loop I really am.)

You’re shaking your head. Allow me to remind you of the words of Teresa: “Remember you can never have too many pairs of shoes.”

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Jeerful givers

Ah, those evil zillionaires and their horrible philanthropy:

It occurs to me that a significant part — probably not the larger part, but definitely present — of the “tax loopholes for rich people” the Left decries would be charitable giving.

That would be the same Left that sneers that our government ought to give more to other countries and do more for the poor in this country, too.

I demur just slightly. Your average statist, who doesn’t necessarily have to be on the political left (remember Mike Huckabee?), objects less to the tax preferences than to the fact that there’s something going on without his supervision, or even his approval. The dreadful 2004 earthquake in the Indian Ocean, which caused major havoc, particularly in Indonesia, brought a $35 million pledge from Washington, which was roundly derided for its inadequacy. The fact that individual Americans had already kicked in several times that figure on their own apparently didn’t count. The government eventually authorized $350 million, not quite a buck and a quarter per American, and that dollar and change was manifestly more important to the statists than, for instance, the somewhat greater sum I sent through a private charity. (Which, incidentally, was deductible.)

Still, this seems pretty inarguable:

[T]hey’re really saying that it’s better to mulct funds from the middle class and have all-wise central planners dole them out (while taking a little something for themselves and their pet Priuses or Lexii) instead of J. Random Millionaire writing a whacking huge check to the Brothers Of The Perpetual Breadline.

Perhaps it’s finally dawned on them that if they taxed JRM and his peers at 100 percent from this day forward, they still couldn’t balance the budget. Assuming, of course, you can get them even to write one.

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A hanging in the twilight canopy

The Adaptive Curmudgeon notes that some of us might have more than one copy of the 5th Dimension’s “Up, Up and Away”:

Somewhere there is a person who has purchased the same rendition … on 33 RPM LP, 8 track, cassette, CD, and now he has it on iTunes. The day when he loses his iPod in a Dubai airport is the day he’ll start fondly dreaming of that big cabinet full of LPs he lugged around in college. Then, ever so slowly, like the setting of the sun, the realization that he’s spent the better part of a car payment on just one song will seep into his bones and kill his soul.

That is the day he’ll stop buying a goddamn thing.

You do not want to know how much I’ve spent on Beatles issues and reissues in the past half-century. (Tony Sheridan and the, um, “Beat Brothers” cut a single of “My Bonnie” — you know, the one who lies over the ocean — in nineteen freaking sixty-one.)

Although I suspect there will be people who will forgive me for that expense and despise me for the $2.28 I’ve spent on Rebecca Black.

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Quote of the week

Greg Gutfeld, host of the Fox News program Red Eye, on a subject near and dear to some of us:

The worst five words you can hear at a party are, “Have you read my blog?” Blogs, really, used to be called diaries, hidden under the pillows by googoo-eyed twelve-year-old girls. They were usually covered with stickers of rainbows and unicorns (and rainbow-colored unicorns). But now everyone has a diary, but they call them blogs and they’re asking all of us to read them. It’s like pulling off a Band-Aid and saying, “I made it myself!”

Blogs are one of the most disgusting, narcissistic, time-wasting developments of the last hundred years (and I’m including racewalking). Nobody read your diary in 1776, so you never did get that opium shot of having some stranger sixteen states away telling you, “You have the soul of a poet.”

From The Bible of Unspeakable Truths (New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2010). Gutfeld blogs at dailygut.com.

Update: Bareheaded in Burleson offers a different take.

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Shifty business

TTAC’s Steven Lang, making a statement calculated to draw Strong Responses:

A fun entry level car with a slushbox hasn’t been made in nearly 20 years.

Every entry level car with a slushbox, from the Cavalier to a Yaris has been an absolute adrenalin depleting disaster. These are commuter scooters. Nothing more. Made to a price point and designed for the open traffic jam. They are appliances without a verve of nerve except when they come with a good five-speed.

Contributing to this unfortunate situation is the fact that a low price point pretty much demands the crummiest automatic available: Toyota is still bolting antediluvian four-speeders into Corollas and such, and while Ford deigns to give you an actual dual-clutch six-speed in the new Focus, almost every review I’ve seen has reviled that transmission: Car and Driver, for instance, complained of “lethargic starts, clunking noises, slow upshifts, and harried downshifts.”

Most TTAC readers came down on the side of the stick shift, though a few guys with bad knees and/or awful commutes spoke up for the slushboxes.

Now I’ve been driving for about 35 years, half stick, half auto. (Nissan quit offering the stick in the I30 after ’99. Guess who has a ’00?) I have noticed this, though: more than a decade after my retreat to the relative boredom of a two-pedal car, I still reach for the stick before coming to a stop. The autonomic nervous system is undoubtedly trying to tell me something.

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Inasmuch as yesterday was Thursday

A dash of show-biz pragmatism:

“I wanted to start building what could be a really great career, but this industry, it’s so unpredictable: you could be the big thing for a month or four months, and then kind of fall off the face of the planet.”

So says Rebecca Black, who first appeared on pop radar, um, four months ago.

In the meantime, although you didn’t ask, it is possible to come up with a tune as infectious and as repetitious as “Friday.” To prove the point, here’s Lara playing “Friday” (with a touch of “My Moment”) and the Nyan Cat song:

Amazing how well they work together. Johann Pachelbel, watch your back.

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How can I leave this behind?

I have to assume that this product wins the Spinal Tap “To 11″ Seal of Approval:

SPANX introduces its cheekiest product yet — the Booty-Booster Short. This style, which gives a whole new meaning to the phrase fanny pack, is best for those who want more junk in their trunk! Now you can achieve the look of a naturally round rump thanks to this highly constructed, booty-enhancing design with optional butt-lets that add a cheek size!

The term that’s new to me is “butt-lets,” which, had I heard it in isolation, would make me think more “supplant” than “supplement”: I’d almost think it was free-standing. (Well, free-sitting, actually.) And you know, you don’t often hear about prosthetic devices designed for people who’ve lost their asses.

(Via Nancy Friedman.)

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Some people can’t take a hint

Screen shot from Yahoo! Answers

On the upside, if he ignores it for long enough, he can go back to riding the bus, where questions of this sort don’t come up quite so often.

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We should get married

No, I don’t mean you and me. (It would never work out.) But that’s the gist of the lyrics to this off-center pop tune by Turkish singer Hadise, who, unlike most Turkish singers, was born in Belgium. In 2003, at seventeen, she tried out for Pop Idool, the Flemish version of [do I really have to tell you?], but was eliminated in the second round. (Stupid Flanders.)

She didn’t actually put out any records in Turkish until 2009, when she released Kahraman, which yielded two singles, one she’d sung for the Eurovision Song Contest, and this tune right here:

“Evlenmeliyiz,” which does in fact mean “we should get married,” made #6 on the official Turkish chart. The video, as you probably noticed, is a single shot in front of a green screen.

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Congratulations are in order

Apparently the news had been embargoed until yesterday, but hey, that was yesterday, so I can tell you that Nathan Gunter, photographer, blogger, PR guy and feature writer, is taking over the Managing Editor’s desk at Oklahoma Today magazine, the official slick of the Sooner State, on the tenth of next month.

And just in time for me to send in my subscription renewal, too. (Maybe I’ll squeeze in that third year after all.)

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