From my e-mail box:

Ticket prices for Los Angeles Kings season tickets holders have been reduced by five percent for the upcoming 2005-06 season and individual game ticket pricing will remain unchanged from the 2003-04 season, it was announced today by Kings President Tim Leiweke.

Boldface mine to point out the dumbassery.

We already know your costs went down 24 percent. We also know that this stupid sport is going to be moribund in the US unless you can grow it, and the price point of individual tickets is not exactly inviting.

Yeah, yeah, they increased the number of cheap tickets up in the upper deck, and they should have, but remember that the upper deck at Staples sits on top of a three story building of suites -- basically, the whole deck gives you a great view of how little you matter to management.

Besides, who cares that Anschutz lost a little money? The whole Staples thing is a real estate play anyway.

Even a nominal cut would have been a nice gesture. Dumbasses.


Still screwing around with the template

Why my blogroll looks like it does, I still can't understand. Perhaps I never will.

Why I am happy I am not a right-wing pundit.

Well, lots of reasons, but one is that I don't have write about how this is a symptom of people's lack of respect for authority and the decline of American civilization and Jesus in general:

"People sought relief wherever they could. To beat the heat, about 100 young adults joined in a water balloon fight at the Jordan Downs housing development in Watts. Police and fire officials were called to the scene, where at least one bystander was injured in the frenzy, said Sgt. R.L. Johnson of the Los Angeles Police Department's Southeast Division.

'Basically, whenever it gets hot, kids come out with water balloons,' Johnson said. 'The Fire Department was bombarded with water balloons also, and of course they didn't think that was funny.'"

There's just something so delicious and junior high about "They didn't think that was funny." Unless you're a right-wing pundit, that is.

Mrs. D weighs in on Stella

I have gotten my wife hooked on Stella, too, and she's watching it with me and says, "These guys are hysterical. Are they Canadian?"

Are they Canadian. What does that say about us as a country?



Moon Day

Via Boing Boing, some folks are celebrating this.

Hiltzik (2)

My man from the LA Times bidness section Michael Hiltzik looks like he's going to blog his ass off over at the Washington Monthly. Check it out.


Rachel Ray, Bruce Jay Friedman, and the Culinary Man on Third

While supposed to be writing I came across this piece on Rachael Ray in Slate. The graf I want to highlight is:

"Ray's marquee program, 30-Minute Meals, relies on countless foodie no-nos. She advocates store-bought shortcuts—'I take a little help where I can get it'—using boxed corn muffin mix for her Cracked Corn and Cheese Squares, and chunky peanut butter in her Thai Salad With Peanut Dressing... [H]er 'homemade' desserts are things like Black Cherry Ice Cream With Chocolate Sauce: Buy the ice cream and top with chocolate sauce and a dash of cherry liqueur (Reddi-Wip is optional). Her dishes rely solely on items available at the local Safeway.."

And it reminded me of Bruce Jay Friedman's Lonely Guy Cookbook, where he introduces the concept of the Culinary Man On Third -- "all you have to do is come in and hit a long fly ball." Spaghetti sauce in a jar, for example, is a Culinary Man on Third. If you add some sauteed garlic, and some fresh basil (e.g.), you've got something better than jarred spaghetti sauce. It's quite handy. And Bruce Jay Friedman is a good writer, somewhat unappreciated, I think. Sample food quote:

“Veal is the quintessential Lonely Guy meat. There's something pale and lonely about it, especially if it doesn't have any veins. It's so wan and Kierkegaardian.”

I don't care that you don't care.

Because I care. The NHL lockout is over!

Off Wing is rounding up hockey blog reaction.

I'll be there, and if they de-exorbitanterize the ticket prices, I'll be there more often.

I could eat a parish priest rubbed with garlic

From the LA Times , a list of French food slang. Samples:

Your rear end is surrounded by noodles (Tu as le cul bordé de nouilles): You're extremely lucky.

Go ahead, tall unhooker of sausages! (Va donc, grand dépendeur d'andouilles!): Go ahead, you big lug! (The guy who unhooks the andouilles from the ceiling must be very tall and not very smart.)

You're turning my blood into blood sausage (Tu me fais tourner le sang en boudin): You're worrying me.

To have two eggs on the plate (avoir deux oeufs sur le plat): To be flat-chested.

She has the banana (Elle a la banane): She's got a big smile.

That puts the butter in the spinach (Ça met du beurre dans les épinards): That's icing on the cake.

You want the butter and the money of the butter (Tu veux le beurre et l'argent du beurre): You can't have your cake and eat it too.

Read the whole thing, then work them into your daily life. That is an order.


The War on Apostrophies continues!

This Michael Ledeen thing (via TAPPED) is insane:

"I do not know if, as some commentators have suggested, the Iranians were involved in the London bombings, but it really does not matter, for Iran is the most potent force in the terror network, from which the killers in London undoubtedly drew succor...

... it is a mistake to microanalyze the London operation... Its real significance should be seen as a further wake-up call to us and our allies. Our enemies know they are at war, and they are attacking us everywhere they can, in every way they can. Do we really know we are at war, and that we cannot win it within the parameters we have set for ourselves?"

Attack Damascus, in other words. Observe the insane thought that it is a mistake to find out the truth, for it doesn't matter. Observe the insane Churchillian diction (I particularly like "succor," and I am also noticing that contractions have not been used, for they are too informal for such an occasion.

I also think it's kind of insane to ask for more traditional-style war for the situation we're in. Do we really think we can lock down the whole area from Morrocco to Pakistan? (Plus Indonesia.) Because if we can't, how can we be sure these guys aren't working away. And we'll have to lock down North America, as well. What do we do for money, in that case?

I dunno. Maybe I'm insane for thinking people take this stuff seriously. It's not like he has access to policymakers...oh, wait.

Baseball notes

1. It's nice that Bud Seilg wants to show off the new parks in the All-Star game. Why not Angels of Anaheim Stadium of Anaheim? It's a nice park, and after its '97 renovation, basically new. I like it. I even like the fake rock-fountain in center field -- fake landscaping being an important element of our Southern California heritage. It also sits in the middle of a parking lot, another important element of etc. etc.

2. I believe the sportscasters have now determined that Kenny Rogers has suffered enough. Look, I'm tolerant of the foibles of the famous, because I've been around some famous people and it's not everyone's cup of tea. (Semi-famous actors, however, are delighted to be recognized, in my limited experience.) But that wasn't a foible, that was a thuggish act.

As I think about it, though, I guess "Kenny-has-suffered-enough" is better than the other extreme, blowhard self-righteousness. Complaint withdrawn.

3. This site is pretty funny. It reminds me of the old National Lampoon, politically incorrect but funny. I particularly like the "Fever Of Baseball: Drink It!" posts, because I am knowing how much of the fun it is to write like the funny foreign persons.


New template

The old one was starting to look pretty bad, so I just used another one of the canned ones. It's marginally better!

TV notes

1. I see where the NY Times didn't like Stella. Check it:

Not to mention the jokes: where are they? Watching "Stella" is even a little alienating, like listening to stoners crack themselves up at the mere thought of bagels or bears.

I, for one, find three grown men in suits -- who are now homeless and wearing rope belts -- slicing up a single bean to be a joke. Perhaps V. Heffernan didn't see a zillion cartoons like I did.

I'm not fuming about the bad review because I can easily see how people won't like it. I love it. There needs to be more comedy like it -- just smart guys being silly with zero emotional depth (but in a good natured way). All comedy doesn't need to be Stella, but some of it does.

2. Doofus Dad. On Friday there was this long post about the Doofus Dad syndrome on TV. Apparently the right-wing thinks its a feminist conspriacy, while others thinks it's an anti-feminist conspiracy -- by making men incompetent babies it shoves all the dirty work to women.

I'd incline to the latter, but really it's just that everyone wants another Raymond. Just the fact that the ideological right thinks that Doofus Dad is a plot against men makes me think that Glenn Reynolds should be hoisting the Humorless Cup over his head.

Personally, I dislike Doofus Dad because it's been done to death and it makes the women hard to write -- they become so finger-wagging. Only a really good actress can pull it off, so you make life harder for yourself in casting. Also, Doofus Dad implies Wise (or Cute) Children. And Wise Children as portrayed by Soon To Be Fucked Up Child Actors are the real soul-sapping threat to the republic.


Post of pessimism

I know, it's the New York Review of Books, and I feel like the earnest WASP mom who's ruining the weekend at your friend's summer house, but I do believe that the following is true. I also tend to believe that it's really too late, this kind of thing does not reverse itself until it's forced to do so voluntarily. But not always.

Bacevich is a graduate of West Point, a Vietnam veteran, and a conservative Catholic who now directs the study of international relations at Boston University. He has thus earned the right to a hearing even in circles typically immune to criticism. What he writes should give them pause. His argument is complex, resting on a close account of changes in the US military since Vietnam, on the militarization of strategic political thinking, and on the role of the military in American culture. But his conclusion is clear. The United States, he writes, is becoming not just a militarized state but a military society: a country where armed power is the measure of national greatness, and war, or planning for war, is the exemplary (and only) common project.

[...] As a former soldier, Bacevich is much troubled by the consequent militarization of American foreign relations, and by the debauching of his country's traditional martial values in wars of conquest and occupation. And it is clear that he has little tolerance for Washington's ideologically driven overseas adventures: the uncertain benefits for the foreign recipients are far outweighed by the moral costs to the US itself. For Bacevich's deepest concern lies closer to home. In a militarized society the range of acceptable opinion inevitably shrinks. Opposition to the "commander in chief" is swiftly characterized as lese-majeste; criticism becomes betrayal. No nation, as Madison wrote in 1795 and Bacevich recalls approvingly, can "preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare." "Full-spectrum dominance" begins as a Pentagon cliche and ends as an executive project.

[...]In March 2005 the US National Defense Strategy openly stated that "our strength as a nation state will continue to be challenged by those who employ a strategy of the weak using international fora, judicial processes, and terrorism." At least that makes clear who and what we regard as our enemies. Yet Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice could declare in the very same month, on March 14, 2005, that "too few in the world...know of the value we place on international institutions and the rule of law." Indeed.

Historians and pundits who leap aboard the bandwagon of American Empire have forgotten a little too quickly that for an empire to be born, a republic has first to die. In the longer run no country can expect to behave imperiallyÂ?brutally, contemptuously, illegallyÂ?abroad while preserving republican values at home. For it is a mistake to suppose that institutions alone will save a republic from the abuses of power to which empire inevitably leads. It is not institutions that make or break republics, it is men. And in the United States today, the men (and women) of the country's political class have failed. Congress appears helpless to impede the concentration of power in the executive branch; indeed, with few exceptions it has contributed actively and even enthusiastically to the process.

The American people have a touching faith in the invulnerability of their republic. It would not occur to most of them even to contemplate the possibility that their country might fall into the hands of a meretricious oligarchy; that, as Andrew Bacevich puts it, their political "system is fundamentally corrupt and functions in ways inconsistent with the spirit of genuine democracy." But the twentieth century has taught most other peoples in the world to be less cocksure. And when foreigners look across the oceans at the US today, what they see is far from reassuring.

Why we need more socialism around here

Because you can't have capitalism without it. (Via Kos):

"Ontario workers are well-trained.

That simple explanation was cited as a main reason why Toyota turned its back on hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies offered from several American states in favour of building a second Ontario plant.[...]

'The level of the workforce in general is so high that the training program you need for people, even for people who have not worked in a Toyota plant before, is minimal compared to what you have to go through in the southeastern United States,' said Gerry Fedchun, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association, whose members will see increased business with the new plant.
Several U.S. states were reportedly prepared to offer more than double that amount of subsidy. But Fedchun said much of that extra money would have been eaten away by higher training costs than are necessary for the Woodstock project.

He said Nissan and Honda have encountered difficulties getting new plants up to full production in recent years in Mississippi and Alabama due to an untrained - and often illiterate - workforce. In Alabama, trainers had to use 'pictorials' to teach some illiterate workers how to use high-tech plant equipment.

'The educational level and the skill level of the people down there is so much lower than it is in Ontario,' Fedchun said.

In addition to lower training costs, Canadian workers are also $4 to $5 cheaper to employ partly thanks to the taxpayer-funded health-care system in Canada, said federal Industry Minister David Emmerson.



I see where the LA Times is re-doing its Opinion section as something called Current.

And yet, it includes Joel Stein who, I am reliably informed, was not even funny in college.

We may expect the current to be moving in a circular direction...

Worst Blog Ad Ever

On Defamer someone's advertising something with "As Seen [sic] On Jane Pauley".

London post

I don't feel like finger-pointing, though I suppose a hand-wringing what-is-to-be-done vibe is in order. For my part, I just want to reassert the undiminished truth that our civilization is excellent, will prevail, and, indeed, prevails now.

(Although it would help if this civilzation were more civilized.)

I do feel that if we were less anxious we would prevail faster. We are poor advertisements for our system when we run around like babies. What would those tough Italians think -- those guys who helped start, and then, fourteen hundred years later, helped revive this civilization?


The poisoned well

This WSJ column is subscription only, but all I can say is, megadittos. The gist is how the Clinton Adminstration's decision to deregulate television production has led to shitty comedy, as networks go in-house for production and independent studios like Carsey-Werner die out.

Money graf:

Since then, the six broadcast networks have increasingly made programming choices primarily based on who owns the show, with a strong preference for buying in-house content, rather than on the quality of the material. Most networks today produce or co-produce half of their own shows, up significantly from five years ago. At a time when the networks are struggling to keep audiences from fleeing to cable and other entertainment outlets, the dearth of independent creative forces isn't a trivial matter.

I like Clinton okay. But he will always be the man who ruined my business, too.


Delicious To Headline Guy: Drop -- Oh.

The guy who wrote "Ford To City: Drop Dead" died.

He is survived by Ford and City, both of which have seen better days, however.


Reed Hundt shows us how to connect with ordinary Americans

At TPMCafe :

"The world is not all a confabulation of skulduggery and huggermugger, fustian and froufrou."

On to victory!