Archive for November, 2013

Questions asked at book stores

Friday, November 29th, 2013

“Attention Powell’s Employees.  If you are aware of a book about Star Trek that concerns cats or a book about cats that concerns Star Trek, please offer your advice at the red desk.  Customers invited too.”

I am trying to parse the meaning of this Intercom message.  Does this person making the request have a book in their mind, hazy memory?  Is this a gift idea — this idea that this person likes Cats and likes Star Trek, so maybe they’d like hybrid of the two?  And, is there a hierarchy here  — should they find a Star Trek book with a cat element in it as well as a cat book with a Star Trek element in it, which would they choose?

UPDATE:  Okay.  I’m guessing this is what they may have in mind.  Your standard cat themed fan fic.  Naturally you can also look up images and see … erm… people putting their cats in Star Trek uniforms.  Scary stuff.

Kennedy and the following Democrats

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Of note, the New Republic chimes in on the great debate — of sorts — to call Kennedy, indeed, a Liberal.  Giving him a reference for his defense as “liberal” against the charge coming from the Nixon campaign, something Dukakis tried and failed to refer to in 1988.

Notable here is the defense of Kennedy lying about a missile gap as not necessarily running to Nixon’s right, any more than Obama’s troop surge in Afghanistan was running to McCain’s right.  To which you can say… er… yes, and no.  Yes and no.  It’s still worth noting the fallacies of the Cold War.

Also worth noting about this article where Clinton and Obama are paying their respects to Kennedy (say… where’s the other living Democrat, Carter?)  —

He has also criticized Mr. Obama’s Syria policy, saying that any president would be a “total fool” to avoid taking action to stem a brutal civil war because of public resistance to foreign engagement.

Hm.  Parse that out and I’m not sure Clinton looks that good.

from “22 Possible Culprits JFK Conspiracy Theorists Have Overlooked”

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

12.  Vaugn Meader.  Everyone knows about how Lenny Bruce took to the stage that night, the audience holding their breath wondering how the ever irreverent and controversial comedian would address the day’s news, and how — after a long dramatic pause — Lenny Bruce opened by saying, “Man.  Poor Vaugn Meader.”  But has it ever occurred to anyone, that maybe, just maybe, Vaugn Meader was looking for an out?  Because Vaugn Meader suffered indignities that other less successful Kennedy Impersonators did not know, and that the Truman and Eisenhower Impersonators that came before him could never even dream of.  When someone approached any of them on the streets, and shouted, “Hey!  Do that Impersonation!” — the equivalent of “Be My Monkey”– they could always say “No.”  But with Vaugn Meader, things were much different.  For Vaugn Meader so duplicated John F Kennedy in appearance and manners, and John F Kennedy was so much the popular culture icon, that he never even had that option.  Vaugn Meader’s very presence was a John F Kennedy Impersonation.  So it was never so much “Be My Monkey”, as it was “You are my Monkey”.  And this was a nightmare that followed Vaugn Meader wherever he went, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  So the small fortune that Vaugn Meader was earning from his Kennedy routine — originally just a way to make the most of a crappy situation — was increasingly only exasperating the desperation — locking Vaugn Meader into this pre-determined identity that had oh so cruelly been foisted upon him, and trapping Vaugn Meader into a one sided dependency.  Because what was Vaugn Meader to John F Kennedy?  Nothing!  And what was John F Kennedy to Vaugn Meader?  Everything!  And for Vaugn Meader, this imbalance was an equation that needed to change.  If there was one lesson from the field of Metaphysics that Vaugn Meader has learned, it was this:  that Vaugn Meader and John F Kennedy could not long co-exist on the same physical plane.  And one or the other was going to have to go.  And it sure as Hell wasn’t going to be Vaugn Meader!  So, as the years rolled on, and the albatross grew tighter and tighter, the ball and chain heavier and heavier, with each White House game of touch football with the Kennedy kids and each game of Nuclear Chicken with Khrushchev twisting that knife in further and further, what had started out as short fleeting thought bursts inched their way into the status of epiphany, and then snow-balled into a concrete plan of action.  What had began as a whisper heard on tour in the corn fields of Iowa, had echoed and swelled into a chorus of voices in states North and South, East and West — voices that could no longer be ignored; no longer be denied, and which arrived at its cacophony and clearest enunciation during the Presidential Caravan in Dallas, Texas.  Voices telling Vaugn Meader, “Yes We Can.”

The next President, the next Prime Minister, the next… huh

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Bernie Sanders is thinking of running for President.  Though it seems unlikely he wants to win.  Unless his “people who’ve wanted to be President since age 12” is a crack at the current occupant, who… there was a minor jab at Obama from Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primaries about a stray news item on the accord.

Rob Ford is making noises about running for Prime Minister in Canada.  Just for more comedic effect, I think.

Kennedy at … er… 50

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

There are any number of new Kennedy books out, due to the 50th anniversary of his death.  I’ve weighed in a bit, and linked to some items, disparaging the premise of the one trying to tie him into the “Conservative”.  Two other books strike me:

A book about Kennedy’s senate career.  Noteworthy in this review, the tagline comparing Kennedy’s senate career to Obama’s senate career.  And if you go back to the political punditing of the time, you will see many a parallel with how both Kennedy’s presidential campaign and his presidency with those of Barack Obama.  (By way of being critical on the “coolness” of their approaches, and thinness of Senate record.)

Tellingly the book on Kennedy’s senate career is pretty thin.  Some 200 pages.  I’m imagining that somewhere in the future, there will be a book out about Obama’s Senate career.  And I’m trying to imagine how long it will be.  30 pages?

The other book, more of interest to actually read (Because you care about Kennedy’s political positioning on the St Lawrence Seaway — why?), Dallas: 1963.  The characters you find in the conspiracy theories, and their places within the Dallas.  No conspiracies alleged, just… here’s what they were doing…

the gettysburg address sucked, and you know it

Friday, November 15th, 2013

This is link-bait.  It’s a retraction from a newspaper that was around in the 1860s, and gave a negative appraisal of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.  I think this may be one of those editorials that’s cited about in accordance with “how people viewed Great Historical Artifacts back then”.    Today they’re just throwing it back up there for, at best, historical musing, and at worst just to get a good deal of web traffic.

The one thing we do get out of it, some hundred and fifty years later, is… today’s neo-confederate sympathizers in the comments section.

Why retract? It was a silly speech. Anyone looking at it critically sees it is a lie.

And then there’s…

wonder if The Patriot News realizes that good old ABE was a Republican? I wonder how this little fact slipped by the powers to be?

Words fail me sometimes.  But the beat moves on.

not wikipedia, at least

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Yes.  This is rich.

The campaign website of a Republican candidate for the United States Senate in North Carolina, Greg Brannon, who Mr. Paul supports, includes descriptions of various policy positions that match those of Mr. Paul’s 2010 campaign website word for word.

Basically his staff cut and pasted Rand Paul’s website for views on this and that.  Which is just as well.  Because it gives the voters of North Carolina a clear choice of what they would be electing if they go for Greg Brannon.

Someone who will rubber stamp all of Rand Paul’s votes.  Lindsey Graham to John McCain.  Mike Lee to Ted Cruz.  We need these duos in the Senate, don’t we?

Read more here:

Ancient Rome Campaign advice from Quintus Tullius Cicero

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

Remember Cotta, that master of campaigning, who said that he would promise everything to anyone, unless some clear obligation prevented him, but only lived up to those promises that benefited him.

He seldom refused anyone, for he said that often a person he made a promise to would end up not needing him or that he himself would have more time available than he thought he would to help.

After all, if a politician made only promises he was sure he could keep, he wouldn’t have many friends. Events are always happening that you didn’t expect or not happening that you did expect. Broken promises are often lost in a cloud of changing circumstances so that anger against you will be minimal.”


“Finally, as regards the Roman masses, be sure to put on a good show. Dignified, yes, but full of the color and spectacle that appeals so much to crowds. It also wouldn’t hurt to remind them of what scoundrels your opponents are and to smear these men at every opportunity with the crimes, sexual scandals, and corruption they have brought on themselves.”

Yeah.  The candidate apparently had plenty to work with.