Sunday, October 05, 2014

Quote of the Day: The Strategic Value of Threat Deflation

From a lengthy essay by a professor of national security comes this thought:
... the rhetoric about ISIL has given the group prestige it does not deserve. Washington may inadvertently help ISIL’s recruiting efforts by hyping its capacity for mayhem.   
... The group has already proven adept at propaganda; it does not need our help and we should not give it.  
What say you?

Holy Movie Review Pretending To Be Asinine Commentary, Batman!

Apparently Thomas Friedman is now quoting from The Dark Knight in an attempt to explain ISIS and Boko Haram.  An entire quarter of  his "analysis" is just lines from the movie. Dude, seriously?

Still, here's a retort worth repeating:

Just Another Day's Work For the US Coast Guard

Check out the photo!

Quirky Asia Files: Eating Autumn Leaves in Japan

Yeah, it's a thing.  Those fried leaves look good, though!  I wouldn't mind trying them.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Couch Potato Chronicles: "Walking Dead" Season 5 Premiere Oct.12

So of course I'm busy marathoning the show on Netflix as a way to get ready.  If you've never seen it and don't mind some occasionally gory (but not too gory) zombie action horror thrills, you might give it a try yourself. Maybe one has to be in the mood.  Some days I want Pride and Prejudice, some days I want Parks and Recreation, some days I want Star Trek, some days I want Justified, some days I want Copper, some days I want Doctor Who (but less and less these days because the current season's plotlines kind of suck), and some days I want The Walking Dead.  (Look, I have to have something to watch now that Breaking Bad is over.)

Oh, sure, I would probably last about 3 seconds in an actual zombie apocalypse, and I hate the undead (though Shaun of the Dead is a hilarious movie and World War Z a far better book than flick).  Still, there's a lot to love in a show that has a Korean American pizza delivery guy turned action hero (Steven Yeun), a taciturn African American woman (Danai Gurira) who wields a mean katana (!), and a crossbow-toting, squirrel-hunting redneck who manages to steal the show even though he doesn't get all that much screen time (fan favorite Norman Reedus as Daryl).  The ostensible lead, small-town cop Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), sometimes seems almost beside the point.


The Walking Dead also refreshingly set in a place other than New York and Los Angeles: the show starts off in Atlanta and takes off into other spots in Georgia where it's filmed on location.  So check it out if you're in the mood for a zombie apocalypse, and remember: you have to stab/shoot/bash the zombies IN THE HEAD or else they'll just keep coming.  Also remember: you can never have too much ammo during a zombie invasion, so stock up!

MM in the Kitchen: Apple Tart

It's apple-picking time, so here's one thing you can do when you get home: make a honeycrisp apple and browned-butter tart.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

On the NFL's Behavioral Issues

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Obama, ISIS, and the Bush Doctrine

What say you?

Totally Worth It

Never pass up a chance to hug your grandma, even if you get a yellow card for it.

Photographing the Flight From ISIS

Photojournalist John Stanmeyer brings images of some 66,000 Syrian Kurds fleeing from ISIS and flooding into Turkey yesterday.

Quote of the Day: Campus Speech Codes

Here's a piece of it:
The increased calls for sensitivity-based censorship represent the dark side of what are otherwise several positive developments for human civilization. ... I believe that we are not passing through some temporary phase in which an out-of-touch and hypersensitive elite attempts — and often fails — to impose its speech-restrictive norms on society. It’s worse than that: people all over the globe are coming to expect emotional and intellectual comfort as though it were a right. This is precisely what you would expect when you train a generation to believe that they have a right not to be offended. Eventually, they stop demanding freedom of speech and start demanding freedom from speech.
Campus speech codes are unconstitutional.  You don't give up your First Amendment rights once you step onto a campus, and you have no right to never be offended.

Oh, related link here.  Apparently it's just as bad  on the other side of the pond.

Nerd News: School Lunches From Around the World

Lunch time!  OK, not to cater to national stereotypes, but I gotta call it as I see it: that British lunch looks completely disgusting.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Quote of the Day: Returning Ghosts

Via Samizdata:
But when we look around in Europe today, we see that not only is Europe not whole and free, we see the ghosts from the painful 20th century returning to our midst. Ghosts that we thought we’d never see again, that we had buried deep in history’s trashbin.

Today, when we look around us, we see it all again. The annexation of territory, the violation of borders, religious conservativism pairing with political authoritarianism and imperialist bravado. 80% of Russians support annexation through military aggression in Crimea, where the Anschluss – and I use that term most seriously here – the Anschluss of territory was justified by the presence of co-ethnics. Moreover, there is widespread support for an anti-liberal attack against decadent Western “permissiveness,” be it in freedom of speech or choice of life-partners. Indeed, we see that liberal democracy has not only failed to win the battle of ideas against authoritarianism, it has failed even to prevent the resurrection of that once vanquished demon, fascism. The nationalist fervor east of us is expressed in arts in a way that makes Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will look like a liberal programme – I suggest you look at the video of the so-called “biker show” staged on August 8 this year in Sevastopol. It is on You Tube. It is a genuine Gesamtkunstwerk. Everything is there – music, art, ballet, motorcycle gangs, it’s all there.


- Estonian President Toomas Hendrik (link to speech transcript)

LOL: Remy vs. ISIS (and NFL)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

LOL: Tweets of the Scottish Independence Vote

By the way, the polls have closed in the Scottish referendum, and you can follow the vote-counting live here

"Should I stay or should I go?" - Scotland

UPDATE: Not going anywhere (which is the smart pragmatic move, frankly).

LOL: P.J. O'Rourke and Iowahawk vs. Scottish Independence Vote

The vote on Scottish independence is today, and P.J. O'Rourke casts a characteristically sardonic and hilarious look at the prospect. This is how it starts:
We Irish don’t hate the Scots per se. They’re too much like us Irish, who all hate each other. So we’re just looking for a fine entertainment from across the Irish Sea as Highland Scots have a donnybrook with Lowland Scots, Glaswegians dust up with Edinburghians, and Clan Dewers unsheathes its claymores for battle with Clan Johnny Walker.
Iowahawk, on the hand, doesn't need to bother with writing an actual piece when he can just tweet stuff like this:

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Nerd News: Militarizing Campus Cops

We need mortarboards, not mortars.

Food Fight!

Edible things as racial metaphor. 

Nerd News: A Brit-Bashing Portuguese Professor

Dude's got a position at Imperial College, London, so I personally think it's just a little rich that he's turned right round and published a Brit-bashing book back in Portugal.  For extra entertainment, check out this take by a Frenchwoman:
Brit-bashing is a French pursuit, thank you very much – a national sport that we enjoy safe in the knowledge that whatever we throw at Les Rosbifs, they are more than capable of lobbing back at us Frogs. From Joan of Arc to Waterloo and Mers-el-K├ębir, we have long known where our most beloved enemy stands: 20 miles and a world away from Calais (never to be surrendered again), in lockstep with us in a love-hate dance . Not for nothing is Wellington’s bust at the British Embassy in Paris displayed next to that of Napoleon . Not for nothing is the inscription on your coat of arms in French; or the fact that we celebrate 1066 (and all that) at Bayeux with the finest and oldest of all tapestries.

So who’s this upstart, insinuating himself right at the heart of our family quarrels?