Friday, November 30, 2012

Quote of the Day: Sen. Rand Paul and A New Standard

This is too hilarious not to post even though I should be working:
I will tell you, since I know this record of this debate will be widely read, that I want to make formal objection to the "crazy bastards standard." I don’t really think that if we’re going to have a "crazy bastards standard" that we shouldn’t have a right to trial by jury, because if we’re going to lock up all the crazy bastards, for goodness sakes would you not want if you’re a crazy bastard to have a right to trial by jury?
All right. For using the term "crazy bastard" repeatedly in an actual Congressional debate about terrorism, you get your own blog tag, snarky Rand.

Here's the video:

John Yoo: "Why Aren't Asians Republicans?"

He says he's going to write a book. GOOD. 

I would add that in terms of "Republicans" he should make a distinction between establishment big-spending GOP and the actual principles of minimal government and maximal freedom - i.e., the more libertarian side of things where I (and a lot of my friends) live.  We define the American Dream as success from hard work, good education, and self reliance, not handouts and dependency, for goodness sake.

I hate identity politics, their reductive categorization of individuals according to arbitrary traits, and the tribalistic, divisive "us versus them" mentality it tends to breed, but I've also seen a lot of people who aren't Asian Americans trying to "analyze" Asian Americans in the wake of the election.  Let an actual Asian American have a go, shall we? Go, John, go!

Fiscal Cliff LOL

I do mean an actual LOL. At this point, incredulous, derisive, "you have got to be freaking kidding me" laughter does seem a fitting response to this completely unserious administration.

"The First Thing We Do - We Kill All The ..."

Incredible silliness from a law dean, which is - now that I think of it - not a surprise.

UPDATE: Smackdown. Don't miss the link to responses by recent law school grads.

Friday Fun Video: "Meltdown"

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lessons From a 1956 Sears Catalog

Fascinating, actually!  For instance:
Sears’s lowest-priced 30″ four-burner electric range, with bottom oven, was priced, in 1956, at $129.95.  (You can find this range on page 1049 of the 1956 Sears catalog.)  Home Depot sells a 30″ four-burner electric range, with bottom oven, today for $348.00.

The typical American manufacturing worker in 1956, therefore, had to work 129.95/1.89 – or 69 hours – to buy an ordinary kitchen range.  His or her counterpart today must work 348.00/19.79 – or 18 hours – to buy the same sized ordinary range.
By the way, the numbers use the following: "[For 2012] ... the nominal average hourly earnings of nonsupervisory nonfarm private production workers in the U.S. [is] $19.79 (as of October 2012) ... For 1956 I instead use average hourly manufacturing earnings of production workers. That figure is $1.89."

Land Grabs: Maps and Territorial Disputes

Bring it on!  Well, at least it's better than Apple Maps.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Free Advice: Hey, Beijing, Bullying Is Not a Foreign Policy

In terms of looking at China's foreign policy, consider these also the quotes of the day:
“Chinese assertion has backfired,” says Andrew Carr, an expert on Asia-Pacific security at the Australian National University in Canberra.

“They don’t see the connection between upping the tempo on the maritime operations and the fact that so many countries in the region are moving towards the very counter-containment strategies Beijing doesn’t want,” says Michael Green, former Asia director at the National Security Council ...
Seriously, what do you say about a course of action that makes Japanese rearmament look great even to Japan's neighbors?

Book Review: New Biography of Mao

This one focuses on Mao's ties with Stalin. The bloodiest bromance of the 20th century?

Oh, Those Stoic Singaporeans

"Polls" like this aren't good for much more than a giggle, but here is this ranking that says Singaporeans are the least emotional folks in the world.  Really?

(Now I can't get the "Clearly you've never been to Singapore" line from Pirates of the Caribbean out of my head.)

Dreaming of a Mars Colony

Who's feeling adventurous?

You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream For Edvard Munch

Dude needs a better museum?

Chinese Paper Falls for Onion Joke

You might remember me giggling about the Onion's take on People magazine's annual silliness.  Even funnier?  Two Asian newspapers thought the Onion was real news and in all seriousness published stories about the unbearable hawtness of Kim Jong-Un. I laughed out loud.  The gaffe is now all over the international news whenever you care to look.  Even better: the Onion has amended its original story to include the following:
For more coverage on The Onion's Sexiest Man Alive 2012, Kim Jong-Un, please visit our friends at the People's Daily in China, a proud Communist subsidiary of The Onion, Inc. Exemplary reportage, comrades.
Well played, Onion.  Well played.

UPDATE: Plenty of other people have been fooled by the Onion too.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Holiday Shopping In a Nutshell

This is pretty much what the holiday weekend shopping experience is like - sheer laughable, incomprehensibly chaotic madness, and then you feel the sudden overwhelming urge to punch someone in the face.   You know I'm right.


In case you are reading this piece and wondering, "Hmmm, what did Mad Minerva just say?" here it is.  I believe the exact words of advice to the GOP were "NO JEB BUSH. EVER."

Bernard Lewis and Fouad Ajami on the "Arab Spring"

Two of the most influential scholars of the Middle East weigh in.  Caveat: their analyses culminate in completely different conclusions.

UPDATE: Thanks for the link, Dignified Rant!

Ave atque Vale, Larry Hagman (1931-2012)

Hail and farewell to the actor who will always be defined as J.R. Ewing, one of the best TV villains ever.  What an icon of pop culture.  Gentle readers of a certain age will surely remember this theme song:

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Leftover Recipe Dump

Now that Thanksgiving's over, are you looking at a mountain of leftovers?  Never fear - recipe ideas are here!  I kind of like the turkey pot pie with cheddar biscuit topping myself.  In related news, I'll have you know that there is no shame in eating pumpkin/apple/whatever pie for breakfast for the entire extended holiday weekend - NO SHAME AT ALL.

Morsi in Egypt: Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

Morsi decrees himself to be above judicial oversight and thus basically grabs tyrannical powers.  Meet the new boss pharaoh, same as the old boss pharaoh.  Oh, I'm sure this will turn out just frickin' awesome.

Quote of the Day: Insta-Prof on Communists

The eminent law prof seems rather peppery:
Communists are no better than Nazis. Refusing to hire Communists is on the same moral plane as refusing to hire Nazis. Which is to say: It’s a good and admirable thing, not a sin. Go broke and starve, commies. It’s what you deserve for being eager, willing servants of totalitarianism.
Don't hold back, now.  Tell us what you really think!

One More Thing To Be Thankful For

You are not the New York Jets.

I've watched the video about a dozen times, and I still can't believe that this laugh-out-loud, hilarribly atrocious moment actually happened.  It's not so much a fumble as it is slapstick comedy gold.  So - worst team in the NFL right now or worst team ever?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Movie Review: "Skyfall" (2012)

Skyfall will make you forget the disappointment of Quantum of Solace (2008) as it fulfills the thrilling potential that Casino Royale (2006) presented of a new kind of Bond, and Daniel Craig blows away any lingering doubts that he is the best Bond since the iconic Sean Connery.  Moreover, Skyfall - a movie that was almost never made as critics wondered if the Bond genre had gone extinct - is a triumph that, despite some flaws, resurrects Bond in glory as the box office celebrated.  This is Bond wrapped in elegiac themes and gorgeous visual artistry, Bond a galaxy away from the self-parodic wisecracks of the past, Bond that plumbs the depths and doubts of being Bond.  It is also, as the Cine-Sib said, "a reboot without being a reboot," and the result is riveting. The full review is after the jump, but if you're in a hurry and can't engage right now, at least take a look at the spectacular music video of Grammy-winning Adele (!) singing the Skyfall theme:

Nerd Journal: Meet Lady Krav MaGaga

I've fled Nerdworld for a few days for Thanksgiving, so I'm happily home and catching up with old friends.  One of them has just spent a few months picking up a brand new skill set as a hobby, and it turns out she wasn't needlepointing or gardening or messing with decoupage. Nope, the girl was taking Krav Maga lessons for fitness and fun.  (You do know what Krav Maga is?)  She also just got her first belt, so she'll now be known on this blog as Lady Krav MaGaga.

So we were just hanging out over coffee and she was telling me about her new hobby.

"Oh!" I said. "I heard it isn't very pretty but that it's brutally effective."

"Yeah!" She perked up. "Hey, wanna see?"


Famous last words, right?

"So sneak up behind me and grab my hair," she said, instructing me to be the bad guy.

And then POW!  She pulled her punches and didn't make actual contact, but about ten seconds later I was like, "Uhhhh ... DUDE, HOLY CRAP."

She grinned. 

"So basically if I were a real bad guy, I'd be a puddle on the floor screaming, 'Oh, my balls!'"

"Teehee!  Here, grab my hair again and I'll show you in slo-mo."

Let it be known, potential muggers and assorted scumbags out there, do NOT mess with this chick!  She looks all cute and little, but Lady Krav MaGaga will beat the stuffing out of you and look all adorable while doing it.  And don't think about sneaking up behind me and grabbing me by the hair either.

So what did you think my friends and I do when we're not studying?  Sitting around with glossy fashion magazines and talking about boys and makeup?  Well, OK, sometimes, but not always. 

Headline of the Day: "The Purple Prose of Cairo"

Great wordplay with a movie title, not to mention all too fitting for the content. Here's a blurb from the substance:
In the battle of Gaza, Egypt is the fact-checker. Egypt is the referee. Egypt is the peacemaker.

That’s what Egypt says.  But Egypt is none of these things. What Egypt has done, at best, is to douse a fire that was ignited and fed by Egypt.

According to the New York Times, at a weekend briefing in Cairo, Egyptian officials “sought to blame Israel for the conflict while at the same time maintaining Egypt’s role as an intermediary pressing both sides for peace.” A senior Egyptian official, quoted by the Times, accused the West of “double standards” for embracing Israel’s, but not Gaza’s, right to self-defense. The official said “the blame should be directed toward the occupation,” and he chided Western media for reporting that Hamas had fired “rockets” when in fact Hamas was only launching crude “projectiles.” On Tuesday, Egypt’s state news agency boasted that thanks to the ceaseless diplomatic toil of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, “the farce of Israeli aggression” would soon end.

Oh, yes. Do tell us all about farces, projectiles, aggression, blame, and double standards.

Dear Security Council ...

Here is a fascinating (and grim) look at the multiple letters sent to the Security Council by Israel's ambassador to the UN. Dating from February 27 to November 12 of this year, these missives detail the increasing rocket attacks from Gaza (as well as the Security Council's silence). Yep, nobody cares about people firing rockets into Israel, but heaven forfend the Israelis get sick of it and fight back, so cue now massive scurryings and utterings at the same UN.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What Fresh Hell Is This? Email Privacy

Oh yeah, I'm sure this is going to turn out frickin' awesome:
A Senate proposal touted as protecting Americans' e-mail privacy has been quietly rewritten, giving government agencies more surveillance power than they possess under current law.

CNET has learned that Patrick Leahy, the influential Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, has dramatically reshaped his legislation in response to law enforcement concerns. A vote on his bill, which now authorizes warrantless access to Americans' e-mail, is scheduled for next week.

Leahy's rewritten bill would allow more than 22 agencies -- including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission -- to access Americans' e-mail, Google Docs files, Facebook wall posts, and Twitter direct messages without a search warrant. It also would give the FBI and Homeland Security more authority, in some circumstances, to gain full access to Internet accounts without notifying either the owner or a judge.
UPDATE: Given universal outrage, Leahy backs off. Good.

Headline Hilarity: On Drone Warfare

Some wag at Foreign Policy gave this title to a piece about drones: "Silent but Deadly." *sophomoric snicker*

Thanksgiving Planning Guide!

Logistics, logistics, logistics!

An Open Letter to the GOP Leadership

Vodkapundit Stephen Green has something to say, and I love how he starts out with "Dear Speaker Boehner and Other Assorted Clueless Bozos on Capitol Hill ..." 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Quote of the Day: Conflict and Comprehension

Profoundly simple yet desperately difficult.  Simple is not the same thing as easy.
If you don’t understand the extremism of the enemy, you don’t understand the enemy. And if you don’t understand the enemy, you have no idea of what to do in response. This is precisely the problem of the Western policy toward the Middle East and revolutionary Islamism. 
(Source of quote here.)

Book Review: "Eating Aliens" by Jackson Landers

Hey, this is right up the Insta-Prof's alley: the suggestion that we get rid of invasive animal species by hunting and literally eating them out of existence. Take a look at this nice review of a book by a guy who did just that.

"Just War": History, Thoughts, and Perspectives

I also think people these days bandy about the term "just war" while having almost no idea of what it means aside from "we don't like what Israel is doing." Anyway, do take a look here.  Are you perhaps Jacksonian in your outlook?  Perhaps Clausewitzian?  Thoughts on "proportionality"? (I dare say that's just not "the Chicago Way" ... but do you want to get Capone or not?) 

Monday Therapy: "Twilight"'s Ultimate Hater

La Parisienne and I hate Twilight, and we are pleased that we not alone. Still, one does wonder if the entire Twilight experience has driven Robert Pattinson mad.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

In Soviet Russia, Books Read You!

Geez, the joke becomes reality?

"World of Warcraft" and Israel's Rocket-Hunting Ace

This article from April seems timelier than ever:
While many of the boys in Idan Yahya’s high school class were buffing up and preparing themselves for selection into elite combat units, this gawky teenager was spending “a lot of time” playing Warcraft. ... People in the army describe him variously as a geek and an ace. But the geek who grew up playing Warcraft is now a highly prized soldier on the cutting edge of real war craft. He’s the Israeli army’s top rocket interceptor.

Thoughts on Gaza

So I read this morning in the Jerusalem Post that 75,000 reservists have been OK'd.  That's a lot of reservists.  For what exactly might they be mobilizing?  While we've been distracted by Benghazi, Petraeus's peccadillos, and Twinkie-pocalypse, trouble's been brewing in Gaza as Hamas rockets aim for Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.  

Where Israel's concerned, let's recall what Macbeth said: "If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done quickly" ... i.e., before the UN and everybody else poke their nose in there and tries to stop the Israelis from doing/completing whatever they're now thinking of doing.

Movie Review: "Anna Karenina"

I haven't seen the movie.  I had my doubts right from the beginning when Keira Knightley (why are casting directors so enamored with her, anyway?  I don't get it) was cast as Anna.  After this magnificently critical review, I might not bother going to see this at all.  Here's a bit of it:
Joe Wright’s ornate visuals are easy on the eye, but the wooden, mannered screenplay by verbose playwright Tom Stoppard is jarringly at odds with the neo-realism Tolstoy was aiming for in his novel, a sensation from the day it was published in 1877. His tortured themes of passion, addiction and suicide are now upstaged by lavish sets, costume changes and chandeliers ... Unfortunately, the high-concept approach more closely resembles one of those phony, hysterical, over-produced bores by Baz Luhrmann than anything by Tolstoy. Who, in his right mind, would set out to imitate Baz Luhrmann?
Ouch!  This sounds like the period drama's equivalent of using special effects to overwhelm the story ... like the costume movie's version of Michael Bay!

Robot Apocalypse Update: Trossen Robotics' Hexapod

Good grief!  Something about the way this thing moves just creeps me out. Apparently the only kind of robot even more disturbing than humanoid robots are non-humanoid insectoid/arachnoid ones.  KILL IT WITH FIRE!


Life Imitates Satire: Taliban Accidentally CC's Everybody On Its Mailing List

Hitting "reply all" is apparently a universal office communications hazard, whether you're a mild-mannered software engineer or a bloody-minded evil terrorist.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Nerd News: The Cost of Administrative Bloat

It's worse than ever. Here's a bit of it:
Administrative costs on college campuses are soaring, crowding out instruction at a time of skyrocketing tuition and $1 trillion in outstanding student loans. At Purdue and other U.S. college campuses, bureaucratic growth is pitting professors against administrators and sparking complaints that tight budgets could be spent more efficiently. 
“We’re a public university,” Robinson [J. Paul Robinson, chairman of Purdue University’s faculty senate and a 59-year-old professor of biomedical engineering] said. “We’re here to deliver a high-quality education at as low a price as possible. Why is it that we can’t find any money for more faculty, but there seems to be an almost unlimited budget for administrators?”

Quote of the Day: Fools and the Prince of Fools

Via Smaizdata comes this pithy comment translated from the original Czech (this had appeared in a Prague newspaper):
The danger to America is not Barack Obama, but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools, such as those who made him their president.
Oh, dear.  Is it really that bad? DON'T ANSWER THAT! IT WAS A RHETORICAL QUESTION!

In Photos: the Gaza Conflict

The Atlantic has a striking (and sobering) new photo gallery.

Egypt's Long History of Pro- & Anti-Pyramid Thought

Some background on the current Salafist idea of blowing up the "un-Islamic" pyramids.  It sounds all too much like the Taliban blowing up the Bamiyan Buddhas.  Are these nuts capable of nothing but hate and destruction?  Ugh.

No More Twinkies?

Twinkie-maker Hostess going to close?  Haters will now be reduced to using only "banana" as an insult for Asian Americans.

There's No Way To Say "Turducken" And Sound Dignified

Thanksgiving is coming up fast, so my buddies and I have been, in person and online, been happily obsessing about recipes.  The one that's always both fascinated and horrified me is turducken, so let's just say this is pure madness and a thing that spawns madness too. So here are three takes on this monstrosity:

I.   An actual recipe for the Ultimate Turducken.  Overengineer that sucker to oblivion!


III.  The incomparable Iowahawk mashes up Churchill, Petraeus, Benghazi, and turkey into this hilarity:

Friday Fun Video: Helvetia By Night

Gorgeous Swiss landscapes in time-lapse photography done by Helvetia By Night.  My favorite moment begins around 2:35.  Amazingly beautiful.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The BBC Needs a Geography Lesson

Hmmm, what's wrong with this picture?

At the UN: Birth Control 1, Actual Human Rights 0

The UN is beyond parody these days. 

Satire Alert: The Onion's Sexiest Man Alive for 2012

In a brilliant takedown of People magazine's annual feature (the winner this year is Channing Tatum), the Onion too has chosen its Sexiest Man Alive for 2012.  You'll never guess who it is.


Well, OK, Then

You asked for it.  You literally did.  That sounded pretty much like "Come at me, bro."

Twitter Fight and Real War: The IDF and Hamas

One of the amusing/annoying aspects of Twitter as a social media platform is the way that "Twitter fights" erupt on it constantly with people hurling 140-character insults and zingers at each other.  Yesterday, though, as some friends and I were just discussing, the online Twitter fight and actual warfare slammed together in one of the most surreal, "what is reality?" moments I've ever seen online.  To wit: as the IDF and Hamas were mixing it up on the ground in the Gaza Strip, both parties were also mixing it up on Twitter in real time.  Buzzfeed has coverage, as does Twitchy.  (Seriously, though, I don't get why the IDF now doesn't have a gazillion followers on Twitter.)

Snarky Citizens and Online Petitions

Let me start off by saying that nobody's seriously considering secession (the last time anyone did, we had a little thing known as the American Civil War, right?), but people have also always thrown around the idea of rage-quitting.  A good healthy dose of snark is often a good thing, especially now.  Anyway, there's a White House petition about Texas secession that's made some news because it has over 60,000 signatures on it.  Before every humorless rube who doesn't understand political humor runs off to yell at Texas, though, please to remember that right now snarky citizens have begun secession petitions from every single state in the Union.  Yup, that's all 50 from Alaska to Wyoming.

The White House's online petition feature has proven itself irresistible to snarky, sarcastic folks for a while (for just one example, see this from the wags at, and I think that's good too.  That House should know that Americans are (occasionally rowdy, mouthy) citizens, not (meekly quiet) subjects.  And citizens should speak up, snarkily or not, as they please.  Look, petitions usually don't get results, but it's a chance to pipe up.  

I am now sorely tempted to start a petition requiring every single member of the federal government, beginning with the President and including every member of Congress, to take a college course in introductory economics (both micro and macro, and preferably taught by Professor Greg Mankiw).  Hmmmm.  Or that every single member of Congress must spend 1 day on a dirty job with Mike Rowe. Yeah!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Japanese Athletes and the Beijing Marathon

Really? Really?  Petty, stupid dirtbaggery is petty and stupid.  

Book Review: The Now-Infamous Petraeus Biography

Well, looky here!  Someone actually bothered to read the biography instead of / in addition to getting sucked into the melodramatic quagmire of l'Affaire Petraeus.  Here's an actual book review.  Unfortunately for the author, the reviewer zeroes in on a certain obvious ... ah ... bias in favor of the subject.  I can't help quoting a bit:
This book could have been titled The Agony and the Ecstasy of David Petraeus; it’s tricky to write a hagiography of someone who isn’t dead yet, but Broadwell manages. ... Broadwell’s book — noted for featuring intimate access to its subject — introduces readers to what might as well be the love child of Achilles and Billy Graham. 

LOL: Puppy Text

You know you want to type with puppies.  YOU KNOW YOU DO.

In Flagrante: Scandal and Skulduggery

Having trouble keeping up with all this?  Me too. 4 thoughts:
UPDATE 1: So ... Paula Broadwell, Jill Kelley, David Petraeus, some FBI agent, General John Allen, all muddled up with military and security concerns.  One gloriously snarky wag just quipped: "It's not a love triangle. It's a love Pentagon."

UPDATE 2: The Onion strikes again with this fake headline: "Nation Horrified To Learn About War In Afghanistan While Reading Up On Petraeus Sex Scandal."

UPDATE 3: How bad is this train wreck?  Professor Drezner has gotten sucked in and is watching this mess as if it were a soap opera.  Yup:
Look, let's be blunt -- as a responsible foreign policy blogger, I should be trying to divert your attention away from the tawdriness that is the David Petraeus scandal.  There's no shortage of other interesting stuff happening in the world.  Things like Argentina's slow-moving debt debacle, or the discord between the EU and IMF over Greece, or even the possibility of the United States overtaking Saudi Arabia as the world's top oil producer.  
The thing is, I can't, I just can't.  I'm weak, and the way this scandal has metastasized is friggin' incredible. 
What the hell.  If you're going to watch, you might as well call in some pizza!

FREE ADVICE: Don't send stupid emails. Especially (a) do not send threatening emails to some other girl if you yourself are indulging in some big-time double-adultery, and (b) do not send 30,000 emails to whomever you're carrying on a fling with.  (Still, 30,000 emails?)  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Foreign Policy Chickens Coming Home to Roost

As depressing as it is unsurprising:
... the terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11 should have been a red flag to all who believe this president has invented a successful new model for U.S. leadership. Far from being an aberration, Benghazi was a toxic byproduct of the light footprint approach — and very likely the first in a series of boomerangs.
You don't say!  The entire piece looks at other such "red flags."  Remember, Libya's supposed to be the "success story" of Obama's approach to foreign policy.  Frankly, I'm pessimistic about foreign policy in Obama's second term and getting more pessimistic all the time.

Satire Alert: Fifty Shades of Chicken

For La Parisienne especially, a hilarious spoof of the infamous best-selling book:


Saturday, November 10, 2012

The British Military ... Or What's Left Of It

A gloomy look at massive cuts.

Movie Madness: James Bond Supercut

Here's a neat project done by some James Bond fans: a video consisting of clips from each Bond film in chronological order.  In short:
Approximately five minutes from each of the 22 Eon produced James Bond films have been cut together, in order and in sequence, beginning with the first five minutes of DR. NO (1962) followed by minutes 5-10 of FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE (1963), minutes 10-15 of GOLDFINGER (1964), minutes 15-20 of THUNDERBALL (1965), continuing on through each of the remaining 18 Bond features (accounting for variables in each title’s running time) culminating with the final five minutes of 2008′s QUANTUM OF SOLACE.
It's a fascinating way to look at the history and evolution of James Bond the genre. Cool gadgets, rip-roaring fight scenes, snappy outfits, naughty one-liners, beautiful Bond girls, and Bond himself ... What are  you waiting for?

The Children of China's Communist Elite

Of course, the entire fact that there is such a thing as a "Communist elite" is fodder for jokes.  Now the bigwigs are worrying that their pampered little plutocrat princelings will "devour the revolution."  Yummy, yummy revolution.  Pass the soy sauce.

Haters Gonna Hate on Social Media

What an ugly, hateful display.  I'm glad to see someone of their own party call them out for it.  Thank you, Ms. Goldstein, for being a decent human being and calling on others to be likewise regardless of political party.  Anyway, courtesy and good manners never go out of style, no matter what side of the aisle you are!

MM in the Kitchen: Pumpkin Cranberry Scones

Good stuff with coffee or tea for a weekend breakfast.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Headline Involves "TSA"

Oh, yeah.  I'm sure this will turn out just freakin' awesome.  

On Benghazi and Petraeus Testifying (Or Not)

I get out of an afternoon seminar, and just as I'm breathing a sigh of relief that the weekend's finally here, this mess blows up, and I'm thinking, Really?  In terms of responding, I'm just going to quote an irate Ace of Spades because  it's everything I want to say:
Why Is Petraeus Not Testifying? 
I don't care if he had an affair or not-- you don't get a pass from answering critical questions on a major debacle simply because you also might have done something else wrong in your personal life. 
What the hell is this crap? Who cares if he had an affair? What does that have to do with Benghazi? 
I don't know he should necessarily resign over this -- apart from the security breach (which seems minor, if the FBI already says it's not expecting charges). 
But I sure the hell know he doesn't get a Get Out of Testifying Free Card. 
Testifying before Congress isn't up to your own discretion, when it's convenient for you.
UPDATE: OK, hilarious quip here.

Libertarian or Bust

I know I keep harping on this, but hey, this is my blog, and I'll harp if I want to.  Anyway, Nick Gillespie's latest take on why Romney lost is worth reading.  Never mind that I'm linking to it because it's pretty much what I personally think, but whatevs, right?  Blurb:
... the GOP, despite its endlessly repeated mantra of limited government, is wildly out of touch with the majority of Americans who consistently say they want the government to do less, spend less, and not enforce a single set of values.
Well, DUH!  Maybe the GOP establishment will finally stop looking at libertarians as though we were insane, shiftless loose cannons with no morals at all.  (Or NOT, probably not, but a girl can dream ... and, believe it or not, I actually dream of limited government and individual rights more than I dream of Ryan Gosling and Jensen Ackles.  I'll swear on a stack of Bibles!)

More blurbage after the fold so you can skip it if you're tired of my cheerleading for libertarians, sweetie pie.

Movie Madness: A Primer to the 007 Films

Thank goodness Skyfall opens today so I have some escapist cinema!  Since we're on the subject, AV Club has a neat little guide to Bond flicks.  It does, though, claim that Die Another Day is the worst Bond flick.  Really?  Worse than Moonraker?   (UPDATE: Another review of the whole franchise.)

I can't help adding my two cents: the best Bond ever is Sean Connery without question, but Daniel Craig has won me over in Bond's newest incarnation.  (Casino Royale was a roaring bit of fun.)  I never cared much for Roger Moore, not even in his prime (sorry).  One more thing: casting Dame Judi Dench as M was one of the best decisions the franchise ever made.

Meet Xi Jingping: China's New Leader

The CCP holds its Party Congress and picks a new leader. So neat, so orderly, so ... OPAQUE, OLIGARCHIC, AND UNFREE. 
Beginning Nov. 8, when the Communist Party convenes its 18th Party Congress, and continuing in March 2013, Beijing will in two steps replace about 70 percent of the incumbents in its top communist party, government, and military bodies. China watchers expect Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang to ascend to the most powerful two spots on the Politburo Standing Committee, the country's highest decision-making body, but nobody outside a small circle of insiders knows who will fill the other 5-7 spots -- let alone what those individuals think about how to run the world's second-biggest economy and one of its major military powers.

More Thoughts on Libertarianism

Good stuff by Randy Barnett and Nick Gillespie.  Here's a bit:
The libertarian vote comprises somewhere between 10 percent and 15 percent of votes. It's remarkably reliable and consistent in that it supports candidates who believe the state should not enforce a single set of moral values and should stop doing things that individuals and businesses can handle better. That vote can swing any election and it will cozy up to whatever party takes it seriously. If the Republicans want to win the libertarian vote, all they have to do is ... change a little bit. Ironically, all the party has to do is start pushing what it says it believes in: Individual rights and limited government. ... GOP politicos and analysts have known this for well over a decade-plus, but they have been painfully slow (or maybe just stupid) to acknowledge libertarian sentiments in their party's policies or priorities. 
An entrenched old-school political establishment being unable or unwilling to think even a teensy bit out of the box?  Quelle surprise!

Elections Have Consequences: Layoff-a-palooza

Not a surprise.  More here.

Friday Fun Video: Disney Princess Leia

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Nerd Journal: I Hate Politics

I hate that it distracts me from the true purpose and glory of life in November: planning the most delicious, epic Thanksgiving yet.  So enough of politics.  Until Michelle Obama's food police gendarmerie busts in my door and force me to serve celery sticks for Turkey Day, I'm going to do what I always do: COOK LIKE A DEMON AND SERVE SCRUMPTIOUSLY SINFUL DISHES.  Get an eyeful of the Ultimate Turducken, gentle reader!

Never Too Soon

Last night I was just noting to a friend that Ryan/Rubio 2016 could possibly be the hottest GOP ticket ever.  I was mostly just making a quip (the boys are undeniably cute, though - hey there, female demographic!), but maybe it's not such a bad idea to start thinking ahead.  The GOP old guard has had its shot; it's time for the new generation - my generation - with fresh approaches to have a go.  The 2016 election is in only 1,459 more days, heh.

My Crushing Depression Is Now Complete

First the election debacle, now this?  Ryan robbed again.  

My/his/our theme song should be Bob Seger's "Beautiful Loser."

Disgustingly Cute: One Mom's Beautiful Bento Boxes

Almost too pretty to eat!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

MM in the Kitchen: Paprika-Rosemary Meatballs

Need some yummy comfort food?

LOL: Shoes For an Apex Predator

Who needs (or even wants) kitten heels when you could have T-Rex ones instead?  Can you imagine me wearing these babies to my next Nerdmoot?  I love how you can't see them as they are coming at you.  RAWR!

Here, Read This

Well, last night was bad and I (still!) have a chocolate hangover.  After a day of half-hearted research and trying to avoid obnoxiously gloating Obamacolytes, I'm too tired to write, but some of my favorite wordsmiths weigh in, so do read them:
Well, obviously we have a lot of work to do.  But it's possible. Look, I've said before that it is incomprehensible how the establishment GOP can't seem to reach out effectively to minorities and immigrants, Asians and Hispanics.  I am so freaking hoping that Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz and the young guard can jump-start a fresh approach that's so desperately needed.  

Meanwhile, I still cannot wrap my head around the fact that half the voting populace of the country saw the dismal economy first-hand and the looming wreck of entitlements and debt and still voted for more of the same.  I just can't.  It's like everybody's gone completely insane and can't even do basic math.

Now here's some Frank J. Fleming for a good laugh on a day when we're all licking our election wounds and watching the Dow swan-dive over 300 points today in response to yesterday's shenanigans.  

Yesterday, today ... We can't do anything about that.  But that brings us to:

Post-Vote: We Hate the Status Quo. Let's Have More of It!

Apparently so.  The same president and the same Congress that we've all been sniping about for (literally) years.  The same gridlock, economic mess, debt and deficit, and unserious approach to serious problems.  In fact, the entire debacle reminds me of this scene from Star Trek: Generations (1994):

Calling It A Night

More thoughts tomorrow; I'm exhausted.  I'll just leave you with this.  Some people have said, since we've all seen Obama's first term, the result was the triumph of hope over experience.  I add too that it is the triumph of denial over reality, and of a cold, narrow, bitter and embittering vision of ever-increasing division over a greater, warmer, brighter promise of inclusion.  Nobody seemed to care that the entire country is going to go bankrupt paying for entitlement addiction by spending borrowed money.  The sheer cynicism of the Obama campaign was breathtaking in places, as it quite knowingly decided to discard half the country with contempt, and the rank complicity and corruption of the media reached almost comical proportions.

I'm not going to lie: I'm sorely - sorely - disappointed with the Romney loss.  I honestly thought the whole thing could - no, would, given the dire straits that we're in at home and abroad - go our way.  It's a bad night for conservatives and libertarians, but ... (and I'm reminding myself as much as I'm reminding anyone) we're optimists.  Fundamentally.  Moping does not become us.

As believers in limited government, the American Dream, the boundless potential of the individual, and the power of actual (not crony) capitalism, free markets, and the private sector to create jobs and improve lives, we don't buy that other vision of drab collectivist dependency, that half-defeatist outlook on life, that zero-sum game, that grasping state leviathan distrusting any success (indeed, any activity) it does not somehow control and compel.  

Oh, soon there will be all kinds of "Monday morning quarterbacking" about the Romney campaign, but that's not really the point.  We have to articulate our cause better.  We have to engage still more.  If ever there were a time to be happy warriors, my darlings, it's now.  

UPDATE: Can't sleep.  I'm going to eat a bunch of leftover Halloween chocolate and read a novel that has nothing to do with school, and I'm going to do that until I pass out, probably with all the lights still on.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

7 PM Eastern Time: The First Polls Close, So Cue Crazy Media Coverage in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

Oh, boy!  Here we go!  I think we're in for a loooooooooooooong night, gentle reader.  This could be a real nailbiter.  (PS: I don't give a hoot about which candidate "the world" prefers.  This is OUR election. Get your own!  Though ... I do like this sassy British op-ed.) 

Here's something amusing if you need something to take the edge off as you watch election returns (and loopy journalists) tonight:


Go vote for the candidate of your choice.  Go exercise your right and responsibility as a citizen of this great nation.  (And for goodness sake, if you're in a swing state, you better go vote!  Do it with this in mind too.)

Can I say too: I AM SO FREAKING HAPPY THAT THE CAMPAIGN SEASON IS OVER.  I voted early to avoid the crowds at the polling place, so I intend today to do some work and then tonight to make a lot of popcorn and watch election returns.  I think we might even win this thing ("Ride right through them -they're demoralized as hell "?), but that doesn't mean I won't be on pins and needles all day long.  I'll leave you with one last bit of fun if you're also voting for members of Congress, one of the most reviled political organs ever:

Hope. Change. Whatever.

Satire Alert: One Last Mudslinging Ad for Old Times' Sake

Ah, negative campaign ads.  Haven't we all seen more than enough this election cycle? has been playing with the whole idea by making a series of parodic smears against famous faces, so I give you my favorite.

And It Begins! New Hampshire's Midnight Vote

It's the presidential election equivalent of midnight movie premieres!  New Hampshire has a charming long-standing tradition: two tiny spots in the little Granite State will vote at midnight and cast the first votes in the presidential election.  OK, citizens of Dixville Notch and Hart's Location, GO!  

(And as jaded and weary as I am, I still have to say that it's kind of exciting to see the voting actually and finally begin!)

UPDATE: Oh, boy:
The first presidential election results are in - and it's a tie.  
President Barack Obama and  his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, each received five votes in Dixville Notch,  New Hampshire. 
The people in the town in the state's northeast corner has opened its polls shortly after midnight each election day since 1968 - but today's tie was the first in its history.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Taiwanese News Animators Vs. the Election

Campaign Fatigue: One More Day

It's Guy Fawkes Day today, but the date that we all really care about is Election Day tomorrow.  Thank goodness this campaign season is almost over.  I think we're all exhausted.  I know I'm tired of hearing about campaign this and campaign that on every single communicative medium possible.  

We've reached saturation.  Polls, schmolls.  The only poll that matters is the one we have tomorrow.  Laughter is the best medicine, though, so here are a few things to make this last day a little more bearable:

Monday Therapy: Office Coffee

Ugh, it's Monday. Time to chug a potful of coffee so we can get our work done ... We might as well have some fun with the whole idea of coffee at the office!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Movie Reviews: "Primary Colors" (1998) and "The Ides of March" (2011) - Democratic Dirtbaggery!

In choosing a title for this post, I'm actually not being a partisan hack (this time, anyway), because both the movies I'm reviewing do explicitly state that the politicians in the plot are all Dems.  In fact, each one comes from writing (one a play, the other a book) that arose from their authors' engagement with actual political campaigns (respectively, Howard Dean's in 2004 (Yeeeaaarrrggghhh!) and Bill Clinton's in 1992).

Now I know I've moaned about how sick I am of politics (and I am), but there is a certain perverse amusement in watching these films during a hotly contested presidential election cycle full of skulduggery since both of them are indeed set in such cycles.  Art imitates life and all that, right?  Besides, Ides of March has not one but two bona fide Hollywood heartthrobs in the cast; in fact, as they swan around in smart suits and ties, they're so very pretty you almost forget that they're supposed to be reprehensibly slimy politicians. Well, almost.  So!  let's get to watching and reviewing, shall we?  The grand organizing principle for both?  The loss of innocence and the corruption of youthful, hopeful idealism.  (If you want something more comedic, try The Campaign (2012) with Will Farrell and Zach Galifianakis.)

It'd Be Funnier If It Weren't So True

Lemmings over the fiscal cliff.

China: The Plutocrats vs. the People

The time of autocratic rule has passed for China's Communist Party. At one time it was understood that the people would obey, and everyone would get rich in return. But economic success will no longer suffice. Now the Chinese are demanding freedom and security too.
I remind you that China spends more on internal security than on external.  

The Great Goldfish Invasion

Who knew?

The Delicious Delights of the Oursons Guimauve

The beloved French chocolate-covered marshmallow bears turn 50 this year, and they are as popular as ever ... and about to hit the American market too!  Oh, and there are variations on the shape.  I laughed out loud when I read the name of one: "Les Tetines de la Reine Margot."  Oh, France.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Awesome: Best Political Campaign Ad All Year

Outstanding! I would totally vote for this guy based on the charming sense of humor he displays in this ad. Kudos, sir.  He certainly knew how to stand out from the crowd.

Oh!  Turns out he's a Republican from Massachusetts.  Here is his website.

Like Hormonal Middle Schoolers in Health Class

A sizable percentage of people in the Obama campaign is apparently obsessed with the birds and the bees.  From the DNC's weird morphing into LadyPartsFest and Birth Control-a-Palooza to the Lena Dunham "voting = sex" video to this fresh and completely creepy statement by David Axelrod, the evidence seems (to me, anyway) incontrovertible that these folks are not just crude and vulgar but unserious and desperately immature. What the heck is wrong with these people?  I mean, come on.  Oh, and Axelrod?  Here's some free advice, dude: Never ever say the word "loins" in public.  Like, EVER.

UPDATE: I just had another thought.  You know the term "NSFW" that you usually see attached to ... ah ... rather provocative images?  It applies perfectly to the Obama camp too!  It really is NOT SAFE FOR WORK.  Just look at the economy!  Unemployment figures!