3.25.2006

Peace out

There's no better way to celebrate your fresh unemployment than taking your family to Europe. It's like you're not even spending real money! Consequently the slow trickle of posts ought to dry up completely, unless I'm spending too much time in my room.

I will try to assess the mood of people abroad in re: Ben Domenech.

3.24.2006

A true tale of Los Angeles

Some people Mrs. D. knows got their car stolen. Later that day, one of the thieves (presumably) called them up to tell them that they had thrown the man's prescription glasses out of the car before they drove off. I believe they found them sure enough.

The more you think about it the more gentleman-thief-like the behavior seems. The thieves, or thief, is at the chop shop or wherever, and he thinks, I wonder if that guy saw his glasses on the ground near where I stole his car. I better call him just to make sure.

I myself was mugged many years ago in New York, and the muggers took the money out of my wallet and gave me the wallet back, saving me much inconvenience. Perhaps it was this courtesy that prevented me from turning into one of those post-mugging conservatives.

The thief called him up. Can you imagine?

Black baiting

TAPPED says:

"What's more, look at Brady's response today to Domenech's remark revealing him as a red-baiter willing to smear black icons. "
I hadn't thought of it that way. There sits the Washington Post, in Chocolate City, willing to take on people who can't stand Coretta Scott King. I guess Jim Brady Don't Like Black People

"Blessed are you

... when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for You will be able to get an Op-Ed out of it for the Los Angeles Times."

I guess the writer here is less concerned with having her soul saved and more concerned with being respected by the New York Review of Books. Because, as I believe her religion informs her, you can't have both.

3.23.2006

Heatup Roundup: You're In No Hands Edition

• The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports that the insurance companies won't write policies any more in, for example, Martha's Vineyard. Maybe now they'll let the wind farms up!

• Want to see your beach house innundated by future sea level rise? Try this. (Via World Changing.

• Oh, and that sea level rise may happen faster than you think.

• But Gary Jones thinks we may be okay, although I think he'd like to innundate the New York Times himself.

Work blogging: Shitcanned

I got shitcanned yesterday. The network has "recommended" that the show bring in a yet-to-be-named high-level guy, who will 1) take the network's notes and 2) take the remainder of the writing staff budget.

O well. I feel like I should feel worse, but I don't. Maybe it's because we've wrapped, so there's no appreciable difference in my life now -- I'm not going to work anyway. But I suspect most of it is old-pro-ness: it's not personal, just business.

The real bummer is now I have to go to meetings in April and May. They're not even that excruciating, it's just getting the phoniness out of storage; or, more accurately, it's exchanging my regular everyday casual phoniness for my bright shiny Monday-go-to-meeting phoniness.

3.22.2006

Category mistake

Over at Hullabaloo ,we read this about the Archbishop of Canterbury:

"Now that a widely respected religious leader has bluntly declared creationism bad theology, why do the Dobsons and the LaHayes of the world continue to demand that all good Christians foolishly believe that the Bible is a scientifically accurate textbook?"


Because the Archbishop of Canterbury is not a "widely respected religious leader" to a Dobsonite, but a quasi-papist, and so a cousin to the whore of Babylon, etc. In fact I always marvel at the fact that conservative Catholics get in bed with these Dobsonites; if the fundies had full power (it seems to me), the Catholics would be in trouble. Doesn't anyone around here remember the election of 1928? What has changed in fundamentalism since then? (By definition, nothing.)

LA's biggest prick

Via LAist.

The great thing is how the car simultaneously attracts and repels you from ramming it.

3.21.2006

Heatup Roundup: Micropower! edition

• Will micropower save London? Let a thousand turbines bloom!

• Kit Stolz has been blogging his head off. This post, about how reducing ozone may help us in the arctic, is good, and I also liked this one, The Future Taps Us On The Shoulder, featuring an interview from the Ventura County Reporter with Eugene Linden:

I’m not a survivalist. I compare our situation to that of Europe in World War II. When you think about that history, you wonder: Why on earth did people stay in Europe? But if you look at what happened, once Stalin and Hitler took control, people found there was nowhere to go. If the wheels really do come off, there will be no place to go. Somebody said to me, well, if that happens, the rich will still have their vehicles. But if nobody else has vehicles, the rich won’t be able to keep theirs either.


• The CEO of Shell agrees. (Via Climate Change Action.)

• Smackdown! Can temperature trends in the upper atmosphere and the surface be reconciled? I don't pretend to understand, but I do get rhetoric like "Roger Pielke has completely jumped the shark".

• WIred is starting an interview series about climate change. (Via DeSmog Blog

RealClimate comes out in favor of a hurricane-AGW link.

3.20.2006

Welcome To France

From Chocolate & Zucchin:

"I might note here that it is a bit of a pain to purchase things at Fauchon: you get in line to select your stuff, receive a ticket, cross the entire shop to get to the register and pay, and then come back to the original counter with a different ticket that proves you are not a thief, and are thus allowed to collect your goods and get the hell out of here."

3.17.2006

Mexico 2, USA 1; I blame Bush

We never lost the World Baseball Classic when Clinton was President, is all I'm saying.

3.16.2006

I blame Bush

This never happened when Clinton was President.

I blame Bush

US eliminated from Classic after shock loss to Mexico - Yahoo! News.

This never happened under Clinton.

I blame Bush

We never tanked in the World Baseball Classic when Clinton was President, is all I'm saying.

I'm three-quarters serious

when I say that it was smart of the Bush Administration to launch this big Iraq offensive against the first day of the NCAA Tournament. I can't even bring myself to bitch about it with my politically-like-minded assistant because we'd rather talk about how overrated Seton Hall is. It's like a free Friday night for the Administration.

3.15.2006

1907 Project

Fans of Los Angeles -- and who isn't -- should be informed that the 1947 Project has finished its year chronicling LA in the year 1947 and has moved on to 1907. The link takes you to a video of a horse and buggy going down Spring Street in, confusingly, 1897. But it's a horse and buggy! (Via Franklin Avenue.)

3.14.2006

Heatup Roundup: Bunking and Debunking Edition

Gary Jones forwards two debunking theories re: AGW. Debunking claim 1: MIT scientist's Richard Lindzen's opinion that CO2 is over-rated as a AGW cause. Debunking claim 2: some Russian dude's opinion that the Tunguska comet in 1908 messed with the water vapor in the upper atmosphere and hence caused some global warming. An attempted debunking of debunking claim 1 is done by RealClimate here. (I use weasel words because I am of course not qualified to judge the relative bunkosity of anyone's science.). A short debunking of debunking claim 2 is done by the CIP here.

• Super-depressing post and comments about the once-mighty Polar Ice Cap, now gone the way of telegrams and big band jazz, at the Oil Drum, here. And during March Madness! At least they give us cool (heh heh) polar ice graphics.

Kevin Vranes on hurricanes (I'm sure he's heard that before). Money quote: "... if you're truly worried about damage, it is by now very obvious ...that coastal building and demographics patterns are much more important to hurricane damage trends than AGW likely ever will be."

3.13.2006

Heatup Roundup: That Was The Winter That Was? Edition

• Your Arctic sea ice did hardly no growing this winter. Smoking stunts your growth, apparently.

Ditto Canada. I was reading it, formulating a hockey joke in my mind, then encountered this: "While some Canadians have been delighted by the milder winter, many are disappointed about thinner ice for ice skating and hockey and less snow in the ski resorts." Cross that off my to-do list!

• Not coincidentally, we've set the record for CO2 in the atmosphere. We all contributed, guys!

• Meanwhile, the stratosphere might be cooling. I have no idea what that means.

• Do we know that disasters and climate change are linked? Like, really?

Awful but cheerful, cheerful and awful

Just when I was about to cancel my Sunday subscription to the Los Angeles Times, they go and print a terrific Book Review, including this long piece on James Merrill. (I swear I hadn't seen it before I blogged "The Victor Dog"!) Merrill quote I enjoy: "I believe the secret lies primarily in the nature of poetry — and of science too, for that matter — and that the ability to see both ways at once isn't merely an idiosyncrasy but corresponds to how the world needs to be seen: cheerful and awful, opaque and transparent. The plus and minus of a vast, evolving formula."

"Cheerful and awful," of course, is a shout out to this Elizabeth Bishop poem. But you probably knew that.

Also, while talking litrachur, I have decided to concieve a prejudice against Annie Proulx on the basis of this. It turns out Los Angeles sucks because they won't let you use the bathroom if you get to go to the Oscars.

3.12.2006

The night is cold and fine

I have been out and about -- went to the World Baseball Classic (where Japan got jobbed), Mrs. D and I went ice skating in Culver City -- it's like Paris in the 20s, my life. And I had about three posts I wanted to write today, but I won't, and if experience is any teacher I never will. But since tonight, by local standards, is cold and fine, I can at least cut and paste "The Victor Dog" by James Merrill for you:

Bix to Buxtehude to Boulez,
The little white dog on the Victor label
Listens long and hard as he is able.
It's all in a day's work, whatever plays.

From judgment, it would seem, he has refrained.
He even listens earnestly to Bloch,
Then builds a church upon our acid rock.
He's man's--no--he's the Leiermann's best friend,

Or would be if hearing and listening were the same.
Does he hear?I fancy he rather smells
Those lemon-gold arpeggios in Ravel's
"Les jets d'eau du palais de ceux qui s'aiment."

He ponders the Schumann Concerto's tall willow hit
By lightning, and stays put.When he surmises
Through one of Bach's eternal boxwood mazes
The oboe pungent as a bitch in heat,

Or when the calypso decants its raw bay rum
Or the moon in Wozzeck reddens ripe for murder,
He doesn't sneeze or howl; just listens harder.
Adamant needles bear down on him from

Whirling of outer space, too black, too near--
But he was taught as a puppy not to flinch,
Much less to imitate his bête noire Blanche
Who barked, fat foolish creature, at King Lear.

Still others fought in the road's filth over Jezebel,
Slavered on hearths of horned and pelted barons.
His forebears lacked, to say the least, forebearance.
Can nature change in him?Nothing's impossible.

The last chord fades.The night is cold and fine.
His master's voice rasps through the grooves' bare groves.
Obediently, in silence like the grave's
He sleeps there on the still-warm gramophone

Only to dream he is at the première of a Handel
Opera long thought lost--Il Cane Minore.
Its allegorical subject is his story!
A little dog revolving round a spindle

Gives rise to harmonies beyond belief,
A cast of stars . . . . Is there in Victor's heart
No honey for the vanquished?Art is art.
The life it asks of us is a dog's life.

3.10.2006

A lost art

Watching "Fairly OddParents" with my daughter, I realized it has something contemporary prime-time shows don't have. Well, it also has pace, but what I'm thinking of is that it tells you the premise of the show in the theme song. You can't do that in prime-time, because you don't have time (shows have gotten almost a minute shorter since I started working in network, and I haven't been working in network that long).

A subtle consequence of this is that networks feel that premise-y sitcoms (think "Green Acres" or "Gilligan") don't work, because today's audience won't get it. Today's audience doesn't get it because you don't get the chance to explain it to them. Hence shows that are easy to understand, like a fat guy and his skinny wife.

Of course, if you had a good theme song, that would help to brand your show. But I don't know why networks would want that, either.

3.09.2006

Heatup Roundup: Music! Lights! Edition

Jill Sobule's happy song about global warming. (From Gristmill, I think, but I can't remember.) It's only okay, but what do I know? Also, presenting the first album ever made entirely with renewable energy. And if you don't play it on renewable energy equipment, the artist comes and kills you. Electrocution-style, ironically.

• Is it the end of the beginning of climate science, or is everyone dumber than Roger Pielke Sr.?

Some dude in Britain wants to ban incandescent light bulbs in favor of flourescents. (Website's here.) But what will we do with old Broad Way?

"This whole story needs more attention"

This, I am afraid to say, reminds me of this.

3.08.2006

The uneconomical Prius

I own one. I really like it. I realize that they don't make back their extra costs. But for me it boils down to two things:

1. Lower emissions of CO2
2. Higher emissions of self-satisfaction.

What's not to like?

Comment I was going to leave at Brad DeLong's, but can't because the server''s messed up

Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal: "Whig history. The straight stuff. 200 proof. Very, very good to the taste."

Oh, man, back in the day me and the guys would do Whig History jello shots 24/7! One time Smitty passed out, vomited, then, with bits of regurgitated Macaulay still on his face, pulled three massive Annales School b-hits! Awesome.

UPDATE: I checked Wikipedia to make sure my Annales School reference was right and got this priceless sentence:

An eminent member of this school, Georges Duby, wrote in the forward of his book "Le dimanche de Bouvines" that the history he is teaching "rejected on the sidelines the sensational, was reluctant to the simple acounting of events, strived on the contrary to pose and solve problems and, neglecting the surface trepidations, wanted to observe on the long and medium term the evolution of economy, society and civilisation."
And they said their history was hard to read! I am reluctant to agreeing!

Heatup Roundup: Catchup Edition

• Flying is terrible if you're concerned about climate change. We all do it anyway. Discussion here (Helpfully titled, "We Are All Killers"), here, here, and here.

Atlantic hurricanes may also mean Western droughts. From sea to shining sea! (Note: Unless aerosols are also to blame.)

• Long Amory Lovins thing I haven't read yet on energy independence.

• Finally, these words from William Connoley, taking down a skeptic: "Next, some twaddle, ended by ...contrary to the warnings of the global warming Cassandras. So we can add ignorance of classical myths to his sins: he is apparently unaware that Cassandra was correct but ignored."

Canada 8, US 6

Are we good at nothing, now? Are the Steelers going to get beat by the Ottawa Renegades next?

Defending L.A.

I realize it's not subtle, or even particularly funny, but I still enjoyed this Steve Lopez column where he goes looking for seething racial tension a la "Crash."

Also, enjoy this takedown of out-of-town journalists regurgitating off-the-shelf cliches when they come here. Think Christopher Hitchens, it makes it more fun. Or Maureen Dowd; a fat family of four in their Big Ten T-shirts gawking at Grauman's Chinese has seen more of L.A. than Maureen Dowd does -- judging by her columns, at least. At least (to steal a line from Steve Lopez) go east of Robertson, for crissake!

Thank you. Your premiums will be mailed under separate cover.

Via Martini Republic, a little shout-out Justice Alito gave to the good theocrats at Focus on the Family.

It appears there will be a lot of dispute about what is supposed to be rendered unto whom in the next few years. O what merry mixups those will be!

3.06.2006

Spring is here

Yard Work is back:

"in conclusion, i, commissioner BUDWISE SELIG of the MILWAUKEE PILOTS hereby sentence theee SLAPPY STEINBRENNER to 25 yrs in prison for being a skidmark and for showing 15 times / day that stupid-ass jeter-eats-chair game from the same year YOU LOST TO TEH RED SOX ASSHO. feel free to challenge this sentence via the office of bob loblaw attorney at loblaw. SIKE."

Oscars

• I didn't see Crash but my wife assures me that it is the worst movie ever made. I actually hadn't seen a lot of these movies, owing to babysitter problems during Oscar (read: free movie) season. I am always more interested in the show and I enjoyed its non-four-hourness.

• Jon Stewart was pretty good: modest, almost to a fault. I didn't like his using the podium for his monologue, though I think that's how Carson did it; it's a more kinetic age now. My other kvetch is Stewart's whole self-deprecating thing; that's good on his show -- it helps cut the making-fun-of-politics self-importance -- but here it made him slightly smaller than he needed to be. Carson radiated "I am smarter than all you guys; so much smarter, in fact, that I'm not going to make a big deal of it." Any self-deprecating he did had the feeling of noblesse oblige. Jon Stewart could use more of that, i believe; he's earned it. Once he got into the flow of the show a little bit more of a bigger host persona started to emerge (I'm thinking of "That's how you accept an Oscar.") Dude could stand to have a little more Michael Jordan-like arrogance, is all I'm saying.

• Who knows just how liberal George Clooney really is? I mean, is he for a Canadian-style health-care system, or is he more into just underwriting catastrophic care, the way Kerry proposed? What about Amtrak -- does George Clooney think we should be focusing on regional intercity routes at the expense of a national system or what? These questions aside, if G.C. is the face of Hollywood liberalism that's great; he radiates pleasure -- not license, really, but the pleasure that's out there for someone who wants to be a whole person -- enjoying daylife and nightlife in equal parts. Liberalism is about opportunity and not letting life break people's legs just as they're about to pursue happiness. I feel like Clooney gets that.

3.03.2006

Yacht Rock

I had forgotten about Channel 101, until someone in the room showed us
this. V. funny.

3.01.2006

Small good thing

I can't love the Catholic Church anymore, I don't think, not after it put itself (or, as it thinks of itself, "Itself") ahead of all its victims in the pedophilia scandal. Also, the whole God thing may not be true. But that's not to say it isn't capable of beauty, as this Martini Republic post attests.

Our 30-year plan to maleducate Americans begins to bear fruit

Japanese Cars Rate Highest in Annual Guide - Yahoo! News: "For the first time, all the top picks in Consumer Reports' annual vehicle guide are made by Japanese automakers."