Archive for December, 2016

frivolous story of the year

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

Facing the inevitable patriarchal backlash… (Groups of people are going to Hell, but only one item.)

This story was considered by USA Today as the biggest news item out of Rhode Island of this last year.  (Oregon’s was the Malheur Refuge Trial, which in my mind, is either or isn’t a bigger deal — I can’t decide.  Depends on what I value at the moment, I suppose.)


I’m somewhat puzzled by the protest.  You have the right to wear Yoga Pants.  You have to right to shake your heads furiously at the wearing of yoga pants.  You have the right to tell the man shaking their heads furiously at the yoga pants to stick it up their craw.  More generously, unless further provoked by the leering head shaker, I’d think tact would require the simple shrug or ignoring.

Organize parades of protest down the house of letter writers to the editors?  Is this going to become a trend that’s coming down the pike in our divided America?

Sure.  This is about more than that one letter to the editor.  It’s the puritanical drive to change the attitude wherever you see the attitude.  So this is about where it irks everyone:

Yoga pants can be adorable on children and young women who have the benefit of nature’s blessing of youth.
However, on mature, adult women there is something bizarre and disturbing about the appearance they make in public.

Which makes it all the more amusing that in the oosphere of the Internet, the story just becomes a place to pin the ogling of 20-something year old women’s stretchy pants.  Write a letter to the editor excoriating topless bikinis, and see if you can provoke a protest.

things to look forward in the coming Trump Administration

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

I have no idea what I should think of this.

It occurred to me in the current embargado, as Donald Trump waits the next month to take the reins of power with a fresh new approach to the government the United States has held at least at arms’ length…

And here that  “First they came for the Mexicans” (or anyone non cis male, I suppose)… idea abounds.

And, given his new fangled relationship with the government of Russia…

The Russian government is in the process of drafting a law to make emo and goth music illegal.
Last month a parliamentary committee was convened to discuss a draft proposal of the Russian government’s Government Strategy In The Sphere Of Spiritual And Ethical Education bill, the details of which were leaked to The Moscow Times. The newspaper subsequently reported that, among other things, the draft bill dubbed the musical movements a “dangerous teen trend” and called for emo and goth websites to be regulated and young people dressing like emos or goths to be banned from entering schools and government buildings.
The newspaper interviewed one of the bill’s authors, Igor Ponkin from the Russian Interior Ministry’s Public Oversight Council. Ponkin called emo a “social danger” and “a threat to national stability” and said the bill is a reaction to teen suicides such as the tragic death of British teenager Hannah Bond.

Of course, that was 2008, and we’re a long ways away.  So the question — When is the War on Emo going to commence? — is stopped by — is there any Emo out there to go to war against?

I don’t know.  Youth Culture Killed My Dog.

butterflies stepped on, or something…

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

S. Newman Darby, a sign painter whose passion for boating led him to invent a sailboard that is widely acknowledged as the first windsurfing craft, died on Dec. 3 at his home in St. Johns, Fla. He was 88.

And so set in place the defeat of John Kerry and the second term of President George W. Bush.

Yeah.  A lot of good that guy did.

classics illustrated, for a younger set

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

I’ve seen books like that.  But not quite those books.

She hasn’t actually read Kerouac’s 320-page, amphetamine-fueled, stream-of-consciousness classic. (Alice is a precocious reader, but not that precocious.) Instead, her father read her a heavily abridged and sanitized illustrated version of “On the Road” designed for six- to 12-year-old children.
“She didn’t love it,” said her father, Kurt Hemmer, an English professor at Harper College and scholar of the Beat Generation, who noted that even some college students failed to appreciate the novel’s subtle spiritual message. “To really grasp it, you need to be a bit more mature.”
“On the Road,” with its recurring references to sex, drugs and domestic violence, might not seem like an ideal bedtime story for a child. But that’s precisely the point of KinderGuides, a new series of books that aims to make challenging adult literary classics accessible to very young readers.

I think I got away with ripping out a Frankenstein adaptation for a middle school book report.  By the time one gets to college, you’re obliged to actually read the real Mary Shelley book.
I don’t know that this Kerouac adaptation for younger kids will get you very far.  (In my case, I recall doing a report on Kerouac for the sake of my Kerouac-hating English teacher.  But then again, Kerouac seems written for 16 year old boys, doesn’t he?)

Along with “On the Road,” KinderGuides recently published picture book versions of Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea” and Truman Capote’s melancholy novella “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” (It skipped over the awkward question of whether Holly Golightly is a prostitute.) In one of its most ambitious and bizarre efforts, it released a cheerful take on Arthur C. Clarke’s opaque, mind-bending science fiction novel, “2001: A Space Odyssey,” an allegory about the evolution of human consciousness that many adult readers find impenetrable.
With their bright illustrations and breezy language — “Sal is ready for an adventure!” pretty much typifies the tone of “On the Road” — the books almost seem like parodies, or the perfect gag gift for the hipster parent who has everything. But the creators of the series, the graphic designer Melissa Medina and her husband, the writer Fredrik Colting, insist they aren’t joking.

Yes you are.  Whether you know it or not.

They’re already working on the next four titles in the series — versions of Paulo Coelho’s best-selling novel “The Alchemist,” Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” J. D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” and Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” (minus the rape charges, Ku Klux Klan rallies and racial slurs).

As, I imagine, Catcher in the Rye is minus the prostitute scene.  And, what — does To Kill a Mockingbird stop before anything actually happens?

This sounds about right.  Except for the part about Amelia Bedalia — you know what I think about her.  (Never saw movie.)

Plundering a great piece of literature for a few concepts and then moving on is in sync with the Common Core state standards for which the federal Education Department shelled out hundreds of millions for the development of tests that assure compliance to this bankrupt approach to literacy.
To be in compliance, schools must emphasize nonfiction, and when allowing time for a novel, take time for just a core idea or two, not the whole thing.
Schools were told to Race to the Top, setting off a competitive mania that has some parents worrying that cuddling with “Pat the Bunny” disadvantages Baby’s chances for success in the global economy. So we get “Moby-Dick” told in 12 words in a baby board book as the first step in the college admission race.

Wouldn’t the next trend to be have 300 page novel versions of, oh, “Goodnight Moon” and such — ala a variation of the Adult Coloring book craze.  (Oddly, everything old is new again — such a thing was in vogue in the early 60s, now out there again.)

rip, celebrity figure of some stature

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

georgemichaelchooselife   The caption writes itself.

But probably shouldn’t.

It’s like the quick bemusement I had at Jerry Garcia’s passing.  “Who’s Grateful Now?”  Then I just wipe the smirk off my face.

Here I suppose it’s “sometimes you have the choice, other times –”

Quick guilty smirk, wipe it off, and proceed.

Curious, though.  Indeed, Michael’s trademark “CHOOSE LIFE” T-shirt — a work of political-firebrand-cum-designer Katharine Hamnett — wasn’t intended to be an antiabortion statement. Rather, it was a willful call to hope in the face of daunting odds.

It’s sort of obvious (I suppose?) he’s not anti-abortion, though he is wading through Thatcher ‘s Great Britain and Ronald Reagan’s America and conservative cross-currents such that you stare at such a thing and wonder… What?  was he trying to sell to a partial a traditional market-place?

Oh.  No.  He (or whatever is behind “Wham”) is reclaiming the message of “Choose Life”.  Or…  And…

No.  No.  George Michael wasn’t about commercialism.  I mean, what of that whole Freedom 90 video , huh?  Huh?  Huh?

El Norte, then and again

Monday, December 26th, 2016

americannationsLyrus Thomas, John Wesley Powell — American Nations, 261-262

Why there is no “Reconquista”.

There is not, however, any chance of Mexico’s annexing El Norte:  Nortenos on both sides of the present border would sooner break off from both countries and form their own republic.  After all, even the Mexican portion of El Norte is three times wealthier than Southern Mexico, where it is forced to export tax dollars.  As Harvard fellow Joan Enriquez has noted, there’s very little binding the region to Mexico City, which doesn’t provide it with technology, basic services, security, or a market for its products.  If El Norte’s Mexican sections — Baja California, Chihuahua, Sonora, and Tamaulipas — had their choice, Enriquez notes, they’d probably prefer some European Union – style relationship with the United States rather than to remain in Mexico; they have more in common with the American section of El Norte than they do with the rest of their own country.  “Southwest Chicanos and Norteno Mexicanos are becoming people again,” University of New Mexico Chicano Studies professor Charles Truxillo told the AP in 2000, adding that the creation of a separate state was inevitable.

…  … … And some terms of history on “why things are as they are” — page 290-291

El Norte experienced a profound agricultural labor shortage during the war as farm and railroad laborers migrated to better paying jobs at the new military plants.  The solution:  a wartime guest worker program by which 250,000 Mexican citizens were allowed into El Norte, setting the foundation for a far larger and less organized postwar program that would tip the balance of power back to nortenos a few decades later.

Whig Party’s restoration taking a while

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

So.  How did the candidates for the Whig Party go over?

Brandon Kirshner did not appear on the ballot.

Trevor O’Grady was apparently running for President, and one thing I know is that a dual run for President and US Senate does not work.  Usually.  (Yeah.  I know Garfield.)

The actual “Modern Whig” endorsed / approved president for President was Democratic hopeful Jim Webb.  He didn’t get very far.