The War Against Christmas Is Not At An End!

Are those Christmas-hating "cosmopolitans" wishing us "Happy New Year" -- or "Happy Jew Year"?

I insinuate, you decide!


Another deplorable battle in the war against Christmas

This guy's probably a little too kosher, if you get my drift.


Isn't It Pretty To Think So

We'll walk in the light, beautiful light,
Come where the dewdrops of mercy are bright
Shine all around us by day and by night
Jesus the light of the world.

(From this.)

The Law of Reverse Caring (or, Goe, Little Pilot)

Tomorrow I get network notes on my pilot. This has been a fairly successful voyage so far because I have applied the Law of Reverse Caring: the project you pour your soul into is the one you can't sell, whereas the one where you're cold and professional, and/or you can't even tell if it's any good, has wonderful luck.

The reasons for this seem obvious to me: the thing you care about probably gains your affection because it's different, or it's what TV needs, etc. etc. The people you're selling to are not passionate about being different for difference's sake; and the odds are low that your assessment of what TV needs will coincide with the TV executives' assessment. (NOTE: this isn't pejorative. A lot of writers have bad ideas to fix TV.)

Whereas when you're cold and professional you're more or less on the same playing field as your client, not trying to "fix" the "mistakes" you perceive your client to be making. So the Law of Reverse Caring (actually more of a rule of thumb) is better for business, but perhaps bad for TV as a whole.

In any case after that the Family Delicious heads for points north and we'll go no more a-blogging this year. Happy merry and so forth.


What is Alessandra Stanley trying to tell us about The New York Times?

No Rookie Now, 'Apprentice' Feeds on Office Tension:

"Even the show's firing ritual is somehow more plausible than people voting each other off islands. It reflects the musical chairs quality of corporate life: top management keeps taking away seats so that only people no one would ever want to work for or with are left."

Patriotism (older generation version)

In a year or so they're going to come for Richard Reeves:

"But I have watched the military closely, and like many reporters of my generation I believe that officers lie as a matter of course -- about death counts, about weapons testing, about torture. They see themselves under siege by naive outsiders, distrusting the press to the point of considering reporters the enemy. "


Just when I thought there'd be no entries today

I saw this at Brad DeLong's, though it's from Marginal Revolution:

" If it is so good that articles are read, why not read another article instead of writing one? Surely not only your articles are worthy of being read.

Reading a good article is so much easier and quicker than writing one.

So you admit my point. You oversupply the writing of articles, relative to a general undersupply of the reading of articles. The same might be said of academia in general.

And surely, Glaucon, we should correct institutional failures, no?"

Now let's see what happens when we subsitute the word "poem" for "article". The argument still holds!


Real Networks sucks

I inadvertently have two RealPlayer accounts. I was on hole for 40+ minutes trying to cancel one, never got through. They play bad hold music interrupted every five seconds -- clearly, to get you to hang up (it finally worked in my case, but only because I was called away. They suck, especially since iTunes is offering better radio, like this awesome stream of offbeat Xmas music.

My new filing technique is unstoppable

I guess everyone loved "Get Your War On," which I never did, but my new filing technique is unstoppable is hilarious. The book is great, too, kept me up late last night laughing.

Makes a funny office-orientated gift!


Washington Note

I've added Steve Clemons' Washington Note to the blogroll to get a little pissed-off reportorial energy up in here.

Mandate revisited

So all it takes to get a Federal appointment these days is a guy crush, huh?

I used to think W., with his narrow religiosity and disregard of rights, was like Charles I. But The New York Times > Washington > maybe he's more like James I:

"Throughout the process, the Republican close to the administration said, everyone at the White House knew that Mr. Bush liked Mr. Kerik, placing him in the special category of 'this guy's our guy.' Mr. Bush admired Mr. Kerik for his service as New York City's police commissioner on Sept. 11, 2001, for his willingness to try to train the police force in Iraq and for campaigning tirelessly for the president's re-election."


What good is sitting alone in your room

I'm off working on my pilot now. This is good, because I'm writing, not pitching. It's also bad, because of the looming possibility of my corporate masters hating the work product, leading to early retirement, sub-Learning Annex teaching gigs, etc.

But in the afternoon of the writing day I can listen to this program on WNYC and I find that to be good indeed. By the way, I have no idea if it's classical-music PC to like this program or not like it; I would believe either argument. But as it happens, I like it.

Henry Blodgett's take on investing.

From Slate. Perhaps apropos of the social security debate?:

"People's natural tendency...is to view the conclusions of behavioral finance theorists as yet another indication of how dumb everyone else is rather than how handicapped we all are as we try to outwit the market and each other. But the biggest lie of the 1990s—the biggest lie of every bull market—is that investing is so easy that anyone can do it, that all you have to do to win is play. The reality, of course, is that only a tiny handful of people are dedicated and talented enough to overcome their DNA, confront the long odds, and come out ahead of the market averages, and they are as rare as world-class athletes. As for the rest of us, we may have fun trying (and this, in and of itself, is enough reason to play), but, alas, we are almost sure to lose."

And this, in and of itself, is enough reason to play? With one's money? No thanks. Delicious treats his money like a draft horse and is conservative, and, while it meant he had to spend 1999 in rooms hearing other comedy writers boast about Qualcomm, it also meant that he had to spend 2001 in rooms hearing other comedy writers bemoan Qualcomm. Either way, he got home late -- which wasn't my original point, but what's a blog for?

Awesome! (Christmas division)

Television's 'Yule Log' Going National:

" Television's 'Yule Log,' a 38-year-old New York holiday tradition featuring a filmed loop of a roaring fireplace set to music, is going national this year on Superstation WGN, parent company Tribune Broadcasting said on Monday.

The yule log, which debuted in 1966 on WPIX Channel 11 in New York City and returned by popular demand in 2001 after a 12-year hiatus, will air again on its home station as a four-hour telecast on Dec. 25.

The holiday video offering has won its time period for WPIX in New York's local Nielsen Media Research ratings each year since its comeback three years ago.

In addition, portions of the commercial-free broadcast will be carried nationally starting at 1:30 a.m. EST on Chicago-based Superstation WGN, which like WPIX is owned by Tribune Broadcasting.

The first yule log broadcast was a 17-second film of the fireplace at Gracie Mansion, then the official residence of New York Mayor John Lindsay. The film was later looped to fill a two-hour broadcast, and has been re-shot a number of times. "

(Emphasis added because it amuses me so.) Of course, some of us want to see the old broadcast so we can laugh at the fashionable fire styles of the 60s. They called those flames?


Actual Scott Peterson related post

Scott Peterson getting the chair reminded me of how Gray Davis was almost fetishistically tough on crime and hoped to execute people, etc. And that made me think of the Digby Thesis.

One kind of limited way you could summarize the Digby Thesis is that even Democrats who tack to the right somehow wind up being branded as wimps. And Gray Davis, tough-on-crime, (semi) tough on deficits Gray Davis, I think, would second that observation. (I don't know what the cure is; in Gray Davis's case, and Kerry's, a little people skills wouldn't have hurt.)

Record week

In terms of visits -- mostly me checking to see how the posts look, but still. Thanks to you, my happy few, Delicious's (half) Dozen!

That's what happens when you post your ass off. Or not my ass, which is ample, but the ass of a skinnier person. I'm posting the ass off of a skinny, aspiring, stringy-haired actress, I think.


Role reversal (a movie idea)

This quote from The Poor Man made me think:

"And I like how we have to rely on career politicians to provide a check on the corruption and idiocy of the media. That's a quite healthy situation, and not at all fucked up. Sleep tight."

You know how in the classic Hollywood press movie it was the plucky journalist fighting the scumbag pols to get the truth to the people? Doesn't it seem like the roles have reversed nowadays? Our movie now has to be about a plucky senator who's willing to forego up to two fundraising dinners in order to get his staffer to write a letter to The New York Times with the truth, dammit!

It should be a good movie and, if it's shot with any Senatorial authenticity, the craft service will be choice.


Word whose horrible overuse I would have complained about two weeks ago, but somehow it only strikes me now


Moral hazard

A stranger writes:

"To the Editor:

I favor Social Security privatization for one reason: I don't want Washington politicians, of either party, to control my retirement security. At 31, I am willing to accept the possible downside of making my own decisions in exchange for full control of my future.

Eric Lahti"

Fine by me. Let us do this: let's free those who renounce the dead hand of the jackbooted, shortsleeved thugs of the Department of the Treasury. If you decide to live with the wolves of Wall Street, you renounce your claim to the safety net of the sheep.

It's simple, really. If you're smarter than the government, you won't need its medical programs. Or food stamps, for that matter. Or its hospitals. Basically I want is insulate my tax dollars from being thrown away on people who gambled in the stock market and lost. Such a permissive attitude cannot but encourage speculation and tax increases, and for the latter of these two reasons, constitutes moral hazard.

One note

The Catholic League, viia Talking Points Memo: :

"Who really cares what Hollywood thinks? All these hacks come out there. Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It's not a secret, OK? And I'm not afraid to say it. That's why they hate this movie. It's about Jesus Christ, and it's about truth. It's about the messiah. Hollywood likes anal sex. They like to see the public square without nativity scenes. I like families. I like children. They like abortions. I believe in traditional values and restraint. They believe in libertinism. We have nothing in common"

This is untrue. The nativity scenes make good places to hide cocaine.


Steven E. Landsburg-o-mat

Based on his latest piece, it has now become evident how Steven Landsburg, the "Everyday Economics" writer for Slate, gets his effects: Things that are bad to us are actually good and refreshing!

This is also how they wrote all the episodes of the Addams Family, and that show ran for years.

Trimmings and trappings

You only see the world through your own experience, of course, and Chez Delicious we have been slow getting out the Xmas stuff -- despite the presence of small(ish) children. So naturally it seems to me that this is a citywide phenomenon. On the other hand, we've only gotten three Xmas cards so far, so maybe it's not just us.

I suspect panic to set in with me and the Mrs. this weekend, which, again, I'm sure will also be citywide.

PS -- I can never remember which is the less religious way of writing "Christmas." I'd assume "Xmas," which is how I think of the secular festival, but something in the backroads by the rivers of my memory says that that's actually more Christian (or Xian), what with the "X" being a cross and all.


I am a son-in-law of the South

So I can only add to Wolcott's plug for the now on-again Oxford American, the magazine by Southerners who also listen to NPR.


Okay, Mr. Schmitt

From The Decembrist :

"[I]t is clear as day that the Republicans have just proposed eliminating the tax deduction for health insurance. That means you, the average hard-working American, are going to lose your health coverage -- I said lose your health coverage -- to finance even more tax cuts for the wealthy."

Actually, per Decembrist, it should go like this:

"[I]t is clear as day that the Republicans have just proposed eliminating the tax deduction for health insurance. That means you, the average hard-working American, are going to lose your health coverage -- I said lose your health coverage -- to finance even more tax cuts for the wealthy."

That's all for now.

Yahoo! News - 1,000 Canadian Airport Uniforms Disappear

"TORONTO - More than 1,000 Canadian airport security uniforms and badges disappeared in the first nine months of the year, prompting a legislator to warn Monday that 'that security can now be breached at a major airport.'

Some of the items were discovered on the online auction site eBay, the CBC News said."


Bummage watch

Yahoo! News - 1,000 Canadian Airport Uniforms Disappear

"TORONTO - More than 1,000 Canadian airport security uniforms and badges disappeared in the first nine months of the year, prompting a legislator to warn Monday that 'that security can now be breached at a major airport.'

Some of the items were discovered on the online auction site eBay, the CBC News said."

Bummage watch

Yahoo! News - 1,000 Canadian Airport Uniforms Disappear

"TORONTO - More than 1,000 Canadian airport security uniforms and badges disappeared in the first nine months of the year, prompting a legislator to warn Monday that 'that security can now be breached at a major airport.'

Some of the items were discovered on the online auction site eBay, the CBC News said."


Baby it's Cold(ish) Outside

Here in the Southland it's in the 30s when one gets up in the morning these days, so LABlogs thought they'd ask a few questions, and I thought I'd answer:

1. Do you own a winter jacket?

I'm a northeastern expat, so yes. But I save it for genuine cold weather.

2. Do you like the winter mountain sports? Skiing, boarding, sledding, snowshoe, etc...

I grew up country, so I like them if they're convenient, in particular X-C skiing. Worth doing, but not worth going to do.

3. Big Bear, Mammoth or other?


4. Favorite hot drink?

Coffee is the revealed preference here. Grog a l'americaine, for a cold; I tried it first because of this Elizabeth Bishop poem, but stayed for the taste.

5. Heater setting?

Lower than Mrs. Delicious's.

6. At night, more blankets, more pajamas, more heater are all of the above?

Blankets, baby.

7. Do you go out and enjoy the cold or bundle up and stay inside?

The two are not mutually exclusive. What is also enjoyable about unseasonal LA coolness is clearness -- driving east on the 10, I see these huge mountains looming behind downtown and I think, damn, I'm in the West.

8. Cold temps. Stay for a while or bring back the 70s?

The 70s will always be with us. Accordingly let us enjoy a cool interim, unless in some way it's a harbinger of catastrophic climate change, in which case let us be scared shitless.


Fight for your left to party

I was directed here, to some Weblog awards thing, by Off Wing, who's in the best Sports Blog category. All the political categories are currently being dominated by right-wing blogs. Left-leaners like myself are urged to speak up and vote (but do it page by page or it takes forever). It also seems like a good way to get to know some blogs you might not otherwise have heard of.

Schwarzenegger Bullshit Watch (3)

KESQ NewsChannel 3 Palm Springs, CA: California revenue could fall short of Schwarzenegger's predictions:

"Five months into the fiscal year, the governor's finance office says California won't likely receive any of the $450 million Schwarzenegger sought from punitive damage awards. The state has also collected less revenue from Indian gaming agreements than expected."

Actually, as an ex-New Yorker, I know that a lot of politicians invent phantom sources of revenue or jack up the numbers to make their budgets. It's just that I didn't think Schwarzengger was trying to govern like David Dinkins.


I don't do nearly as much sports blogging as I do reading about sports, because it's boring, but I did want to second Joe Sheehan's thoughts on steroid use in today's Baseball Prospectus (subscription only):

"...[D]on't we praise players who run into walls, who play hurt, who undergo risky experimental surgeries to mask pain and add stability so that they can take the field in a big game? The differences between a football player downing painkillers to get through Sunday, a pitcher taking a cortisone shot to get through September, and a slugger using THG to be more productive, aren't nearly as clear as they might seem."

Steroid use seems crazy risky to me, but it doesn't seem as clearly immoral as some sportswriters make out to be, and for this reason. Sportswriters moralize an awful lot for people who get that much free food. But then again, so do bishops.