John Barleycorn, nicotine, and the temptations of Eve

In memory of B. B. Cunningham Jr., who delivered this epic rap in 1967. According to legend, all the words were swiped from various billboards the Hombres saw from their tour bus deep in the heart of Texas. Cunningham was working as a security guard at a Memphis apartment complex when he was shot to death last weekend.

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This assignment constitutes 60 percent of your Marx

Greg B reports that one of his humanities classes — he declines to say which one, and I don’t blame him — was assigned this bit of Utopian nonsense:

According to a UN report, 1% of all people own 40% of all wealth, while 50% of all people own 1% of all wealth. Unless something dramatic changes, this grotesque disparity will only get worse over time as the elite continue to reap and sow their investments. All problems that are solvable derive from this maldistribution of wealth. It is the ONE problem that fuels all others, and is, therefore, the single most important target for all who crave freedom, justice, peace, and health for all.

To solve the problem of wealth maldistribution, we need to know its cause, and then how to defeat that cause. My theory is that universities are the cause of wealth maldistribution. Universities empower people to become wealthy, and aspiration for wealth is the primary reason people attend universities. Why study? To get the grades to get the degree to get the job to get the money to become happy. That sequence of motives is the cause of all solvable problems. But it’s not a valid sequence. People aren’t happy, and wealth doesn’t make people happy, and being happy isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. We want true love. But it’s not for sale and doesn’t make anyone happy. All love stories are sad because lovers always part, if not by choice, than by death, and the greater the love the greater the sorrow. To love is to suffer. Yet we want to love, and we pity people who run from it as if they were afraid to suffer. By suffering we discover that we are not who we thought we were. But more of that later.

For now, I suggest we WORK to defeat the fraudulent sequence of motives by changing universities. Let’s start with ours. Why study? To find true love by WORKING for freedom, justice, peace, and health for all. How? By critical thinking, communication, collaboration, initiative, and analysis. Let’s us work together.

I suggest we call ourselves the [city my school is in] Holistic Humanitarians, and I suggest we welcome all students, and their parents, and faculty and alumni. Divide into teams, each analyzing one aspect of our University to show how it a) distracts from true love, b) moves money from the many to the few and c) could be changed to foster true love and, as a consequence, redirect money from the few to the many. Each team will submit short, well-written, well-reasoned, hard-hitting reports that all groups will critically evaluate. Accepted final reports will be saved, and their abstracts published in [professor’s website].

Pick your topic and team. Invite your parents and friends to join. Think critically, collaborate, communicate, take initiative, and submit one index card per team per week. And let’s save the world before it’s too late.

A few questions I might want to ask:

  1. How, precisely, does forced redistribution of wealth contribute in any way to “freedom”?
  2. Does Professor X feel any personal guilt by dint of working for such an Evil Institution as a university?
  3. Is Professor X disdainful of romantic love, or happiness generally, because he has never actually experienced it?
  4. If every student submits a plan acceptable to Professor X, it’s hardly critical thinking, is it?

Well enough is never left alone, so there’s a follow-up as well.

(Via this @AdamKissel tweet.)

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Horning in

After 91 years, Horn Seed Company, just west of the Classen Circle, closed its doors: two intensely bad summers and a fire last winter made it pretty much impossible to keep the business going, and the property was put up for sale.

Classen Point proposed logoThe old garden center, of course, will be scraped off the lot by new owners Classen Point LLC, who paid $1,325,000 for the tract. In its place there will be a “shopping center [which] will have classic Mediterranean architecture.” (There was actually a logo design contest; you’re looking at a reduced version of the winner.) This, of course, follows the first rule of retail design: always make sure you build something that looks like something else, preferably something else instantly recognizable.

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She who smiles beautifully

A rather loose translation, that, of the Indian name “Sushmita,” derived from the Sanskrit for “good smile.” As part of my ongoing quest to bring you That Which Is Not Obvious, here’s a picture — from the October ’12 issue of Cosmopolitan’s India edition — of Bollywood actress and 1994 Miss Universe Sushmita Sen, not smiling at all.

Sushmita Sen in Cosmopolitan India October 2012

In other news, Cosmopolitan has an India edition.

Sen, thirty-six and never married, has two adopted children and hears her biological clock ticking. She is slated to play the title role in a biopic about slain Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto, in which she probably won’t smile much either.

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Failure to adapt

Species that exhibit non-optimal behavior, says Mr Darwin, are on the royal road to extinction. Two or three cars from now, you won’t have to deal with some joker like this anymore:

Today I went to verify that I love the 2013 Nissan Rogue which I got to know as a rental on two long business trips. The salesman thought I’d save a lot of money if I bought the 2012 because it [was] essentially unchanged. I told him no, so he went to retrieve the car I asked for so I could try out the equipment I wanted and he brought back a 2012 for me to test drive.

Perhaps this was his way of proving that the ’13 was not so different from the ’12, inasmuch as he couldn’t tell them apart himself.

But no, that’s giving the fellow too much credit:

I didn’t stay to hash it out because I had to leave when he referred to my fatness. (Yes he did.) (The one absolutely unlivable thing about the Rogue is that it has crappy fabric like a reusable grocery bag on the door handles and console cover when I was explaining that my current car has that and it’s a problem with hand prints and wear, he said something like “Larger people like you and me have special problems and we need a lot of room to maneuver around.” Dude, I might be fat but I’m not so fat that I rub the fabric off of car doors.)

Way to go with the synthetic empathy, chump.

How long do we have before dealer-franchise laws are yanked and the whole house of cards comes tumbling down? Ten, fifteen years?

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The new crusty menstruals

This seems entirely too pat to be what it’s represented to be, based as it is on an ancient joke, but it’s too good to pass by.

A chap left this anguished message on the Facebook page of a British brand of “feminine protection” products:

Hi , as a man I must ask why you have lied to us for all these years . As a child I watched your advertisements with interest as to how at this wonderful time of the month that the female gets to enjoy so many things ,I felt a little jealous. I mean bike riding , rollercoasters, dancing, parachuting, why couldn’t I get to enjoy this time of joy and ‘blue water’ and wings !! Dam my penis!! Then I got a girlfriend, was so happy and couldn’t wait for this joyous adventurous time of the month to happen … lied !! There was no joy , no extreme sports , no blue water spilling over wings and no rocking soundtrack oh no no no. Instead I had to fight against every male urge I had to resist screaming wooaaahhhhh bodddyyyyyyfooorrrmmm bodyformed for youuuuuuu as my lady changed from the loving, gentle, normal skin coloured lady to the little girl from the exorcist with added venom and extra 360 degree head spin. Thanks for setting me up for a fall bodyform , you crafty bugger

The corporate response was properly contrite:

Even if this was all contrived, it’s viral marketing at its very best.

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Irritated avian detected

The Truth About Cars is discussing “Infiniti’s often discussed premium compact model,” illustrated with this shot of the marque’s Etherea concept.

Infiniti Etherea concept

Is this, or is this not, one of the Angry Birds?

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At the end of the day, it is what it is

Lynn thinks that “people talking in catch-phrases” is yet another sign that the culture is on its way to decadence and eventual desuetude:

We all do it but many people over-do it. Going green, moving forward, at the end of the day, it is what it is (I really, seriously hate that one), think outside the box. We hear them all the time and it’s hard not to repeat them when they seem useful but wouldn’t it be more effective to find our own words?

I understand that not everyone can be a linguist. I understand that there are people who are “language challenged” just as there are people who are “math challenged” (and I admit I’m not as good at it as I wish I could be) but when I hear people on TV, in a position that requires (or should require) a person to be educated and articulate, using the wrong words, or less effective or exact words than they could be using, I can’t help but feel our whole culture is in decline. And what really makes me sad is that most people don’t even see this as a problem.

Television today doesn’t require you to be educated or articulate; it requires only that you keep people from changing the channel.

I’m as guilty as anyone of falling back on shtick — don’t even try to count the appearances of “[name] was not available for comment” here — but I suggest that breaking the rules is a trifle more forgivable if you happen to know which rule you’re breaking. (Your mileage may vary.)

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Light in the distance

I wasn’t sure what to think about this year’s Suns, but it appears, based on the evidence presented at tonight’s exhibition game in Tulsa, that the de-Nashing of the team does not necessarily relegate them to the lottery come next spring. The starters got few minutes — only oft-traveled Michael Beasley got more than twelve — so this was an exercise for the Phoenix bench, and while the Suns came out on the losing end, and Jermaine O’Neal was his usual surly self, it appears that they’re not going to be pushovers.

Still, what you wanted to hear about was how the Thunder dominated all over the place en route to a 107-97 win. Well, they didn’t: they led by a single point at the half. But they did a good job keeping the pressure on the Suns, and there were some surprises along the way, including treys from Serge Ibaka (!) and Nick Collison (!!). And Scott Brooks played only ten men tonight, all getting at least 20 minutes except for Hasheem Thabeet (18, only two fouls and a T). Then there was that brief period with all three point guards on the floor. Stuff like this gets you 26 assists in 48 minutes.

Still, Marcin Gortat remains a threat, shooting 3-3 for 7 points in his twelve-minute stint and reeling in three boards. Flank him with Luis Scola, who always seems to find a way to bedevil the Thunder, and I’m saying I’d have felt better if this spread had been a lot more than ten points.

Which, of course, I can also say with regard to the Nuggets, who come to the Roundish House Sunday.

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Gun duly jumped

Well, this was unexpected: Rebecca Black did a guest-host spot on What’s Trending, and in addition to plugging her Current Cause, she gave us a 45-second preview of that new song “In Your Words.” It’s (almost) nothing like what I expected:

No release date yet. I’m kind of hoping this isn’t the final vocal mix.

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Now get out there and make some friends

Somewhere out there is a child who wants to grow up to be Twilight Sparkle.

And then there’s one who is going to grow up to be Twilight Sparkle:

Birth certificate for Twilight Sparkle

Not sure where this is from, though Tennessee has a Vital Records Act of 1977, as referenced on this certificate.

More of a concern: if I’m reading this right, it’s not a filly, but a colt.

(Via NoWayGirl. See also Rainbow Alexsi Dash.)

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The buck finishes here

A Michigan law, effective January 2010, requires a public school system to “implement and maintain a method of compensation for its teachers and school administrators that includes job performance and job accomplishments as a significant factor in determining compensation and additional compensation.”

How much “additional compensation” are we talking? In the case of three districts, somewhere below the level of chump change:

The Davison and Stephenson schools and their unions took that to mean teachers rated as “highly effective” got a $1 bonus. Gladstone teachers rated “highly effective” fared better with $3 a year; “effective” teachers got $2; and a teacher who “meets goals” gets $1.

A majority of Mitten State schools don’t fork over even this much.

Next month, Michigan voters will consider an amendment to the state constitution which will permit collective bargaining agreements to override state law. I’m guessing these districts really, truly hate handing out all these enormous bonuses.

(Via Joanne Jacobs.)

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The most common SPARS code on the CDs I have that use it — new ones don’t bother with it anymore — is AAD, indicating analog recording and mixing, digital mastering.

Here, though, I’m thinking Agnetha, Anna-Frida, and David Lee:

Oh, and you too, Eddie.

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Quote of the week

Roberta X finds no joy in the spectacle of “petty schmucks” engaged in Our So-Called Debates:

The Presidency is really a crappy job: the pay isn’t all that great. You can’t even go buy a damn pushcart hot dog without a dozen Secret Service agents and half the White House Press Corps getting in the way. You have to live over the office, they run tours through the place all day and you’re on 24-hour call. Whatever decision you make, about half the public thinks it was wrong and plenty of them have no qualms about calling, writing, blogging or otherwise carping about it. And it appears to age the President a decade for every four-year term. Still, you’d think that whole, “Leader of the Free World,” dinner with Kings and Popes, fame and fancy living thing would attract a slightly better group of applicants. Or at least guys who could debate each other with more decorum than High School students.

I was a stunningly inept high-school debater, but by gum, I was decorous. Polite, even.

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Peaced off

Joe Sherlock calls the next Nobel Peace Prize, based on current trends:

This year, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the European Union. This seems kinda like awarding the Nobel Prize in Medicine to an abscess.

That muffled explosion you heard was the corpse of Alfred Nobel dynamiting himself in his grave.

Follow this progression of ‘peace’ prize winners:

Yasser Arafat > Kofi Annan > Jimmy Carter > Al Gore > Barack Obama > EU

Therefore, these are my predictions for next year’s Peace Prize finalists: Rubik’s Cube. Alec Baldwin. Monty Python’s Dead Parrot. Hugo Chávez. The Simpsons’ inanimate carbon rod. Sean Penn. Stewie Griffin. And the Oslo telephone directory.

(If it’s November or later, you’ll probably need this link instead of that one.)

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Fark blurb of the week

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