A Venn diagram of the mind

Somehow I think the intersection between "Atrios readers" and "people who fire their guns into the air to celebrate the New Year" is not vast.


"Oh please oh please oh please let this get around"

I didn't even know that conservatives were mad that Senators forced the NFL to show the Pats-Giants game on TV till I read about it at Roy's:

"This leaves it to bloggers and other operatives to tell America how awful it is that politicians violated the sacred rights of corporations so that people could watch a mere football game, and to their commenters to announce how they boycotted the game rather than enable statism. Which will earn them all the respect such a stand is likely to generate."

Annals of capitalism, random reading of Consumerist edition

Insurance: Insurance Company Denies Coverage For 3-Year-Old's Only Source Of Nutrition

Over 17 Million Items Recalled For Lead Contamination in 2007

Coachie dearest

Here's a heartwarming little story from a favorable profile of Georgia coach Marc Richt:

"During another family outing, Richt and his two sisters, each of whom played volleyball in college, were playing beach volleyball against a group of teenagers. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Brad Johnson, who is married to Richt's sister Nicole, also was on their team. When Richt's team lost, he screamed at his sisters. Nicole Johnson left the beach crying."
You can't even measure all the character that got built there -- why, it's the size of a subdivision!

Shorter "There Will Be Blood"

Not only is there no God, but people in the oil business are assholes.

NY Times to hire another neocon opinion generator

This guy called it:

See skulking Truth to her old cavern fled,
Mountains of Casuistry heaped o'er her head!
Philosophy, that leaned on Heaven before,
Shrinks to her second cause, and is no more.
Physic of Metaphysic begs defence,
And Metaphysic calls for aid on Sense !
See Mystery to Mathematics fly!
In vain! they gaze, turn giddy, rave, and die.
Religion blushing veils her sacred fires,
And unawares Morality expires.
Nor public Flame, nor private , dares to shine;
Nor human Spark is left, nor Glimpse divine !
Lo! thy dread Empire, Chaos! is restored;
Light dies before thy uncreating word:
Thy hand, great Anarch! lets the curtain fall;
And universal Darkness buries All.


LA, my town

Not to be too Tom LaBonge, but there's a cool gallery of LA photos from 2007 here.

To reinforce the stereotypes that non-LA people have (that I used to have), here's another one, from the Griffith Park fire:

Happy New Fire Next Time Year, y'all!


I didn't even know it was sick!

Tail O' The Pup is gone? Wow. Mrs. D and I always used to bring friends from New York there. The hot dogs weren't much, though -- esp. compared to Pink's. It's not too early to go to Pink's, is it? Naw.

Why they fight

Via United Hollywood, this interesting bit:

"From Wall Street's perspective, we estimate the impact of accepting the [writers'] proposal is largely negligible," Bear Stearns wrote in a report last week.
The firm estimates that the $120 million figure would carry an average impact of less than 1% on annual earnings per share for the media companies. That does not factor in any concessions by the writers' side (the WGA),
where the principal issue is a desire for a piece of ad dollars from new-media distribution.
The potentially small financial impact suggests that studios (Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers) are more concerned about setting a precedent in new-media revenue sharing. However, Bear Stearns wrote that the writers' forecast for that market "strikes us as fairly aggressive." The firm hinted that studios are looking to the future. They are concerned that a favorable settlement would embolden directors and actors in their coming renegotiations.
I think it's more that the moguls

1) have dreams of a union-free future, just like everyone else in at Herb Allen's in Sun Valley. Steve Jobs doesn't have to deal with unions, just engineers and Chinese prison labor.

2) take offense at writers being, not in the same social class, but a class that's visible from the class they're in. What are writers' children doing at Harvard-Westlake? It's not natural.

3) Just hate writers in general. This actually might be something where the moguls could find common ground with many members of the guild.

UPDATE: Or, as Atrios says about the auto execs:
I really think I have to put this in the "they're just assholes who don't like to be told what to do" category instead of the "rational economic actor" category, though perhaps someone can convince me otherwise...



We like partisanship when it comes to sports, right? What's so bad about it when it comes to politics?

I like politics in general because it's messy. To paraphrase the original Dr. J, nothing is too messy for so messy a creature as man.

Master cleanse

I apologize for the shitty cell-phone photo, but it cracks me up that the Whole Foods has an endcap devoted to the ingredients for the Master Cleanse -- maple syrup, lemon, cayenne pepper, and then, for the Whole Foodsy touch, some mumbo-jumbo vitamins.

I have friends who've done the Master Cleanse and lost tons of weight while feeling energized!, which I attribute not so much to the beneficial results of maple syrup (Grade B, please) and cayenne pepper -- or the salt water you have to drink -- but to the fact that without food or caffeine you wind up sleeping 10 hours a night. The feeling of being well-rested can be a revolutionary one for most modern adults.

Recycled showrunners

A commenter over at Yglesiastalks about consultants:

"It's like coaching - as long as you have run a campaign in the past, they will throw money your way."
But not only consultants and coaches are like that -- showrunners are also. If you've run a show, the studios think you Have What It Takes to run another show, irrespective of 1) results (not fully in a showrunner's control) 2) whether he got the most out of the people he had (totally in his control -- and it is almost always a he, too). In fact, there's no quality control at all as far as I can see, which is funny because these studio executives seem more like business people than showbiz people, so you'd think they would at least be good at business-school stuff like evaluating administrative talent.

Note that I'm not saying all showrunners are bad. I've worked for people who are quite extraordinary. It's just that there's no system in place as far as I can see to identify who would be good at it, and I've also worked for people who were terrible (you'd think they'd know who they are, but they don't).

Strike note

Via TV Decoder (terrible name), this article, one of many, about the changes coming in TV development:

Talk of industry change is dismissed by some writers as spin designed to undermine union resolve on payment for streamed and downloaded distribution. But networks contend the strike has given a new urgency to the need to confront ballooning costs and an evolving marketplace.

"The strike is forcing us to look at the way we all do business and to make choices that were tough when business was as usual," said NBC Universal chief executive Jeff Zucker. "This is allowing us to make the tougher choices."
Well, there's no reason it can't both be spin and true at the same time. The truth is that the development process -- particularly on the comedy side -- is broken. Last season I was told NBC ordered something like 60 comedy pilot scripts (mine among them). They shot eight. They took none. That's crazy for reasons including but not limited to:

1) That's an awful lot of money for nothing.
2) Those 60-odd scripts all come in over the same three-week period and are read by what, four or five guys. That's not a process that's going to lead to discriminating choices.

I mean, I see why it happens, because there's so much mystery in the process -- maybe you buy an idea on the hope that it comes way up on the page, or you go to pilot in the hopes of finding casting magic, but overall hope, as they say, is not a plan.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: I haven't noticed anyone getting force-majured. What happened to that?


A crank speaks

And I use the term with love -- I prefer a certain kind of crank, someone who doesn't give a shit about what anyone thinks of him/her -- although they often don't mind being seen as someone who doesn't give a shit about what anyone thinks of him/her. But people take offense at self-created personae too much nowadays. To me, it adds spice to life -- not enough people have a fondness for spats, say, or a conviction that we are on the last days of the world we know. I am in the former camp (not that I wear spats, I just have a fondness for people who do.) And Stirling Newberry is in the latter:

There will come a point where military conflict will be used by those others to evict the United States from the privileged position of having 6% of the world's population and using 25% of the world's oil. That day is coming and the question now is how many millions of people will die when it arrives. Americans have declined, and will in 2008 decline again, to do anything to stop the arrival of a real world war, to replace this fake made for cable one. There aren't many any chances left. This same was true in the 1840's and 1920's. The real instability is yet to arrive.

When it does arrive there will be several islamic states with atomic weapons and the means to deliver them. They will, as the underdogs in the conflict, have the ability politically to use these weapons, perhaps assymetrically, to bring down an order that they do not need. New York City and London are simply too tempting as targets, and the counter attack against the oil fields would destroy what we need. The arabs do not need our financial centers for much longer, we will need the oil in such a conflict.

There is at this point nothing that will be done about this.
And also:
2004 was the most important election in your lifetime. 2008 is the least important election in your lifetime. Nothing is going to be decide. Nothing. After that? Change is possible, because the pain may well be enough.
Don't read the whole thing, because Stirling Newberry's gift is not for compression. Then there's CIP:

Shaking v. stirring

Others can comment on the news of the day, but this is the piece in the LA Times that caught my eye -- about how it is the done thing, now, to stir your martinis -- shaking either emuslifies the liquor, or causes tiny bubbles, or makes unsightly pieces of ice float on the top. But for those us of, however, who like our martinis Really Fucking Cold, a little emuslification is a small price to pay.

A far cry from yesterday

It's 10 am and both my children are still asleep.



Birth I gave you in a desert
not by chance,
for no king would ever hazard
its expanse.

Seeking you in it, I figure
won't be wise
since its winter cold is bigger
than its size.

As you suck my breast, this vastness,
all this width,
feeds your gaze the human absence
it's filled with.

Grow accustomed to the desert
as to fate,
lest you find it omnipresent
much too late.

Some get toys, in piles and layers,
wrapped or bound.
You, my baby, have to play with
all the sand.

See that star, at terrifying
height, aglow?
Say, this void just helps it, eyeing
you below.

Grow accustomed to the desert.
underfoot, for all it isn't,
it's most firm.

In it, fate rejects a phantom
faint or gross:
one can tell for miles a mountain
by a cross.

Paths one sees here are not really
human paths
but the centuries' which freely
through it pass.

Grow accustomed to the desert:
flesh is not --
as the speck would sigh, wind-pestered --
all you've got.

Keep this secret, child, for later.
That, I guess,
may just help you in a greater

Which is like this one, just ever-
lasting; and
in it love for you shows where
it might end.

Grow accustomed to the desert
and the star
pouing down its incandescent
rays, which are

just a lamp to guide the treasured
child who's late,
lit by someone whom that desert
taught to wait.

-- Joseph Brodsky

"I asked God to send me right away a hundred million moths to eat up my Toronto Maple Leafs sweater"

Via the good folks at Hockey Widgets, here's something a little Christmasy -- the animated short "The Hockey Sweater". It's about 10 minutes. The narrator sounds like the great-uncles I'd see at wakes.


I look forward to more of your incisive humor

So here's this dude in the LA Times who writes:

I am a recovering screenwriter who is now a novelist. By the time I got around to my first book, the movie business had been picked clean like a turkey the day after Thanksgiving. I took a short lateral step and set my novel "The Bones" in the world of sitcoms and stand-up comedy. After exploring shtick and its variegated dysfunctions, I found myself wanting to write about people who make an honest living. This is why I've set my next novel in the world of prostitution.
Get it? Did you see what he did there? Fuck you too, buddy. At least the Thanksgiving-turkey metaphor lends a welcome consistent unfreshness to the paragraph as a whole.

The War on Christmas: What You Can Do

Some conservative tropes I get, like the War on Terror -- I mean, Al Qaeda did destroy two huge skyscrapers, so it's not like the terror threat is non-existent, even if it's not existential. But the existence of the War on Christmas I don't get.

First of all, as I said at Yglesias's place, Christians ought to be rooting for the War on Christmas -- see Luke 6:22. The Christianity of the Gospels is an outsider force -- being esteemed by the government or society at large is a trifle Pharasitical, I think.

But also I wish they'd adduce some actual evidence for the war beside "Happy Holidays" and no creches (graven images, remember) on public squares. I mean, I'd adduce KOST playing soppy Xmas music from the beginning from November as undermining the sacred character of the holiday and making it collapse from within, but that's not what I think the partisans of the war (or "War") are driving at.


Cleaning out my net news wire

I'm off to see "Charlie Wilson's War" but here's some posts of note:

• Via EDSBS, Blue collar attitude meets no-collar web layout (I'm one to talk, I'm sure)

• "As you all know, I hate logo creep and see it as a symptom of a much bigger problem (i.e., the encroachment of advertising into public space).": A thoughtful essay from Uni Watch. The decline of the idea of the public thing is something we are paying for and will continue to, again and again.

This is going to end badly -- I'll try to explain why I think so if I get a chance tonight. The reader is invited to guess until then.


Hey sexy

From the front page of the WSJ online. At least Murdoch's going to make it more entertaining.

Xmas shopping story

While at the Borders on La Cienega I saw a book called, "Historic Photos of Anaheim." Discounted, if you can imagine. And it reminds me of the time I went to a wedding at a fancy country club in Westchester and, being early, killed some time looking at the books in their library, or gun room, or whatever the fuck it was, until I came upon the title, "Waggish Tales of the Czechs."

Now I feel compelled to Google "Waggish Tales of the Czechs," and it turns out to be a fake title for a volume of "smoking room jests or stories" . So I guess that room in that Westchester country club was the smoking room.


From D-squared:

Meanwhile, we're trying to block and censor jihadi forums and blogs in order to stop the internet from being used as a recruiting tool for al-Qaeda. How mad is that? Of course the jihadi sites are going to recruit bored British teenagers into extremist Islamism. Specifically, they're going to recruit the Walter Mittys, halfwits and loose cannons that will end up destroying their movement. I really don't think it's a good idea to put any obstacles in the way of Hizb ut Tahrir's drive to recruit the Mark Colletts of the future.
No, I don't get the reference either, but if we say that, in the West, being a terrorist is kind of a stupid thing to do, then stupid people will tend to do it; and that's why I don't think of terrorism as an existential threat on the same order of climate change (which threatens our water).


Transformational Year For Cable

More blogging from New York Times blogs! This one's from TV Decoder and it talks about how cable TV has gained at the expense of broadcast. I believe it. I worked on a cable show this year, and what really jumped out at me was the close connection the suits had with their audience, and how sensitive they were to something that was written in bad faith -- or that you could claim that their note, if enacted, would be perceived by the audience as bad faith. Because cable networks have very specific brands, all your creative discussions take place in a well-defined space.

Contrast this to network TV where nobody even knows where the goalposts are, so it's very easy for executives to get nervous, and nervous executives are death to comedy. (My line has always been that the comedies would be better if the executives still drank at lunch.)

Sports: Do something with the Presidents' Trophy

One of the nice things about the NY Times' hockey blog is that it gives us a lot of Jeff Z. Klein, with whom I once had a cliche-off at a Rangers game:

"It’s a shame that despite this sterling record, many regard the Wings as a disappointment because they haven’t won a Stanley Cup in this period. (They won their last Cup in 2001-02, six years ago.) That’s a result of the constant denigration of the regular season by commentators, coaches, players, fans and even the league itself. There is no reward for coming in first beyond winning the President’s Trophy and getting an extra home game in the playoffs, and the former is considered a waste of precious effort by the majority of fans in the US and Canada.

Until the league makes winning the regular-season championship a real honor with attendant rewards nearly equal to winning the Stanley Cup itself, people will continue to discount the Red Wings’ perennial October-to-April excllence as an effete, meaningless exercise instead of recognizing it for the amazing achievement it actually is."
I'm all in favor of this -- although it would require North American sports fans to have a more European attitude towards being at the top of the table. But it's worth recognizing the effort of the teams that show up for -- and try to win -- that otherwise meaningless-seeming game in February, which was maybe the only one you could afford to go to all year.

Maybe it's as simple as allowing clubs only to hang banners that commemorate a Cup or a Presidents' Trophy. Flags fly forever, after all.

(N.B. A balanced schedule would be essential if the Prez. Trophy were to be meaningful.)

Walt Disney Studios creates garbage.


I got my screener for "Dan In Real Life" today, which comes with the following message:

"WARNING: You may not copy, publicly perform, loan, rent, sell, upload, post, transmit or give this screener away. We have individually watermarked each screener and can trace any copies back to the authorized recipient."

Wow. That's harsh on one's mom, who would like to see a screener and feel like part of Show Business. I guess I can watch it with her -- that's not expressly prohibited that I can see. Although it is Disney, so they'll probably sue anyway.

Fortunately there's a handy return envelope so they can recycle this or -- wait! There isn't! And I have all the coasters I need. So I guess the landfill and I both win.

A thought I almost put on an Amazon e-card to my niece, but decided not to

"Like you, snowflakes are beautiful, unique, and mostly water."

This Christmas, why not send your true love

...a German hockey jersey? (Via Hockey Widgets, where there's a whole collection.)


I always hated classical music before, but now that you're showing me some cleavage, I guess I'll try it.

Via Alex Ross.


The Big Picture:

"Ultimately, most political and economic extremists collapse under the weight of their own slavish devotion to a universal idea that is inapplicable to a specific situation. Some people call this consistency, but the word 'stupidity' means the same thing, and can be typed with less letters."

Sudden thought about Hilary

If she blows this, it will really be like having Mozart and Salieri in the same marriage.


The very idea!

This image is from the AMPTP site (the real one). This, I guess, is their whole justification for not negotiating -- it's wrong for writers to make as much as doctors. Not so wrong for executives: it's natural for executives to make as much or more than doctors. But writers? Surely we can all agree that writers should be making 0.6doctorincome at most. We don't even do any of that color-coded filing shit.

I always suspected that the studio intransigence comes from those guys being pissed off that writers' kids went to the same schools as their kids, and this just proves it.

P.S. -- note the "working" part. The whole reason we're fighting for residuals is for when we're not working, dumbass. That guy in the picture may be a doctor, but he doesn't have a lot of common sense.

Late P.P.S. -- and of course the contract doesn't even set salaries. It sets script minimums. Salaries are set by the marketplace -- the studios themselves. So they object to the living you can make doing this purely on objective grounds.


Fucking Xmas. Fucking Xmas. And the big membership meeting's tonight! I told a friend of mine to bring a cake in the shape of the internet -- we'll see if she does.

Maybe they'll be more over the next few days now that we're taking a picketing break. Probly not, though.


Then how the reindeer loved him..

One of the things I like about Rudolph, the song, is that it proves to kids that if you don't do popular things, like save Christmas, no one will love you. That's an important message for them to hear at this time of year.

More Nice Guy

I saw this rant -- how you women turned your nice pedestal-placing guy into a cad by blowing them off -- a couple places, but the link is to Lawyers, Guns and Money. The thing I want to tease out is in this graf:

"At the time, you probably joked with your girlfriends about how he was a little puppy dog, always following you around, trying to do things to get you to pay attention to him. They probably teased you because they thought he had a crush on you. Given that his behavior was, admittedly, a little pathetic, you vehemently denied having any romantic feelings for him, and buttressed your position by claiming that you were 'just friends.' Besides, he totally wasn't your type. I mean, he was a little too short, or too bald, or too fat, or too poor, or didn't know how to dress himself, or basically be or do any of the things that your tall, good-looking, fit, rich, stylish boyfriend at the time pulled off with such ease."
Wait, what? Should she really be expected to love a bald fat poor guy? Were you, formerly nice guy, mooning around a fat slobby girl? I doubt it.

What that girl did to you , Nice Guy, was relegate you, just as if you were Derby or Sunderland and she was Man. U. Go after the girls in League One.


Julius Shulman

Just a quick note that the boy and I took a quick tour through the Julius Shulman exhibit at the Central Library, and it's worth the trip downtown, even if you're vacationing at Shutters. Bring your skates and skate in Pershing Square, then enjoy the big gingerbread house at the Biltmore, and then see the photos (I'd never been in the 2nd floor rotunda of the library, it's really cool.)


This really is kind of awesome

I don't think I could have written this as an undergraduate:

"Had they been locked in a house together, Milton Babbitt and Harry Partch would have made a great reality TV show. While the drama over Babbitt's tape reels getting in the way of Partch's lightbulb marimba ensued, their monologues in the confessional would surprise viewers hoping for more disagreements. For while Babbitt would fight for more private time, free from Partch's constant percussion, their ultimate frustration would be shared: the fear of stagnation in modern music, and the importance of radical reform. What follows are some thoughts on how the episodes might go. (Although, it should be said: who cares if you watch?)"

Steroid question

Why are ballplayers who inject steroids in their ass terrible role models, but actresses who inject botox in their face goddesses? Aren't they just both in show business?


Actually just K-EARTH DJ prattle, but it becomes a poem:

I know what I'm doin' tonight
Goin' to the Arclight
Ventura and Sepulveda --
"I Am Legend"
Big Willie Style!
Got your back, buddy.

A height tax?

I'm game. "From each according to his ability to reach stuff off the high shelves" has always been my motto, as is well known.


Why we fight (4)

The Big Picture | Online Ad Spend: $42 Billion by 2011

Personal Best

This is the most posts I've ever had in one day, which proves

1) Maybe I should do more quick Atrios-style posting rather than going for the Theory of Everything, and

2) There is no limit to what man can achieve when he should be doing his Xmas cards.

BREAKING: Holy Shit!

FuturePundit: Sexbots In Our Future.

Remember your "Goodfellas" -- Friday is for the wives, Saturday is for the sexbots.

Against baseball

I love baseball, myself -- but does it make me a bad fan if I don't care about the steroid report? Well, either way, even though I enjoy baseball, I enjoy Orson Swindle's rant against it just as much (warning: dirty). Small excerpt:

"Oh, but the romance! The history! It’s our national pastime, hearkening back to a SAHAHAKEREEGGHGHHKKKFJDmakdfadfkjg. Apologies. That noise was us garroting George Will, W.P. Kinsella, and any of the other bullshit geysers who’ve built up the myth that for some reason, merely because it’s very old and has been around a long time, that there’s some kind of moral or cultural onus to like baseball. (God, that felt good.) No one’s better at pulling a phantom peanut of sublimity from steaming turd of reality than a writer, and in baseball they’ve had a whole open sewer to browse in their quest to make shinola from shit."

Also, Bill Plaschke ("America's Worst Writer!") weighs in as only he can:
Four hundred and nine pages.

Eighty-six players.

One fatal injection into the heart of a national pastime's history.

Baseball will survive the steroid-bloated Mitchell report, which was released today with countless stories of cheating by players, compliance by owners and protection by the union.

Baseball will survive, but Roger Clemens will not.
It's a fatal injection that you can survive. Only in Plaschke World! (Also note that the report has somehow taken steroids -- I can't tell if that's intentional or not.

"We just do not care. We don't."

David Appell:

Today Science has a paper on corals, basically, that there aren't going to be any for much longer. Scientists are calling for "immediate action" to prevent their deaths, but of course that isn't going to happen. We just do not care. We don't. Let's face it.

Here's why I don't think there will be a science debate: science appears nowhere in the top seven topics that people say they care about. People, and the press, seem much more interested in which magic-man-in-the-sky a candidate believes in than anything having to do with the larger forces shaping our world.

These days I think we're just fucked, climate-wise, and am occasionally thankful that my lack of funds is here to distract me.

Not that it matters

but I'm into this dude Sir Charles they have over at Cogitamus. He's a lazy blogger's blogger!

Blue skies and open water. Lots and lots of water.

"The Arctic is often cited as the canary in the coal mine for climate warming. Now as a sign of climate warming, the canary has died. It is time to start getting out of the coal mines."

-- NASA climate scientist Jay Zwally

(Via Gristmill.)


Strike effect?


"According to an article in Mediaweek, “NBC has quietly begun reimbursing advertisers for fourth-quarter prime-time ratings shortfalls, averaging about $500,000 per advertiser, according to media buyers, marking the first time in years a network has taken such a step to compensate marketers for ratings deficiencies.”
My favorite quote, though, is this:
Laura Caraccioli-Davis, an executive vice president at Starcom Entertainment, which specializes in entertainment marketing, told MediaWeek that she and her colleagues were trying to understand NBC’s recent programming moves.
Honey, I've pitched to them for four years straight -- nobody understands what they're doing.

ALSO WILL THE NEW YORK TIMES PLEASE STOP REFERRING TO THE WRITERS GUILD AS "SCREENWRITERS"? It's as if I were to call people who write for the Times "novelists".



From Cogitamus:

"I've been involved in only a handful of strikes over the course of more than twenty years of working in a practice that's almost exclusively devoted to representing unions. At least half of those strikes were deliberately provoked by management in an attempt to abnegate relationships with unions. In other words, few cases could be described as workers asserting themselves to better their lot – rather, the strikes were essentially defensive and reactive in nature."
That's what I think is going on here. The studios are tantalized by their dream of a union-free environment. I don't know what else to think because we're really not asking for all that much money.


War on Christmas: The Inflatable Figurines of the Marne

Via Metroblogging LA. The Valley, of course, but it could have also been my little mill town, so it makes me feel at home.

Dedicated to Maria at Crooked Timber who doesn't feel at home in LA.

Good times, good times

Reading this post (about how even high-income people are about to get burnt on junk mortgages) reminds me of how eager my bank used to be to get me into a home equity line of credit. Distrusting my sales resistance, I finally told them to stop calling, and they did, graciously.

The Tory in me wonders if the attraction of already rich people taking out home equity loans is a reflection on the virtue of the populace. But I try not to listen too much to the Tory in me.

Democrats: they suck too

I used to read Digby fairly regularly, but haven't in a while. However, all are urged to read this post about various union-unfriendly Democrats (see: Clinton, H.R., and Obama, B.).

I guess my they-think-they're too-good-for-us rage is kind of what the below-the-line guys must feel about the writers.


Not the thing itself, but ideas about the thing.

Mr. Ken writes (about M*A*S*H):

"How many television series have books and scholarly papers written about them? Although I must admit, I’ve read these and they’re a joke. They talk about the brilliant symbolism, our deeper philosophical and empirical meanings, the clever use of the Anti-Christ, affectionate homage’s to classic literature – none of that is true. We were just looking to come up with a joke so we could go to lunch or a story beat for Radar so he’d leave us alone."
But I was raised by my father (an English ABD) that authors, in some sense, do not know what their works are about. (Is that called the intentional fallacy? It's too late to look it up.) Or, to put it another way, it's mostly a joke that gets you to lunch, but it also happens that it's a clever use of Anti-Christ. I wouldn't necessarily privilege one over the other -- except that when you're in the room and you hear the crinkle of the arriving lunch bags, well, there is no deeper meaning to a writer.

I might also add that this is one of the irritating things about pitching -- they want to know what your show is about. I describe it as having to pitch your show and the American Studies paper about the show.

Talks break off

Details here.

I honestly think it pisses the studio guys off that writers can live in big houses. None of the other moguls they see at Sun Valley or Davos have this problem.


Now that's a saint

Today is St. Nicholas's day, and here's a highlight from his legend:

"Indeed, even as an unweaned infant, he fasted regularly on Wednesdays and Fridays...."

See? I bet you didn't have what it took as an infant. That's why you'll never be a saint. Also:

Pictures of Nicholas often show three bags of gold next to him, and often these bags have become simply three disks or balls. Nicholas became the patron of an Italian city (I think Bari, which is where his body is now buried) that was a center of the pawnbroking business, and hence a pawnbroking shop traditionally advertises by displaying three gold balls over its front. It is thought that some persons looking at pictures of Nicholas confused the three round objects with human heads. Hence there is a story of a wicked innkeeper who murdered three boys and salted their bodies to serve to his guests, to save on the butcher's bill. Nicholas visited the inn and confronted the innkeeper, who confessed his crime, whereupon Nicholas prayed over the brine-tub and the three boys leaped out unharmed.

Brine for everybody on the feast of St. Nicholas!


You don't say

"John Sides at The Monkey Cage asks whether whites are more likely to support the death penalty when they think black people are being executed, and finds that the answer is yes."

(Via Crooked Timber

Hockey Advent Calendar

The boys at Hockey Widgets have started an Advent calendar. Up first -- Bernie Parent of the hated Flyers.


Why I don't blog more

Not that I'm refreshingly original or anything, but I don't want to write things like this:

ESPN - Chaos doesn't legitimize ignorance or stupidity of flawed systemt: "There will be those who say the unpredictability of this season and of the BCS is what made college football so compelling in 2007. I'd say the BCS is what made this season so embarrassing."
First of all, observe the "Some say/I'd say" structure, without which sports pages could not function. But, really, who's embarrassed here, and in front of whom? I mean, I love college football -- it has the palpable tang of corruption, like a nice cheese -- but I just don't see why this ramshackle BCS structure is kind of a disgrace.

You know who's a disgrace? You are. Because you want a clear-cut champion. You're not willing to live with the ambiguity and uncertainty of the world as it is -- you have to impose your pissant playoff structure on its polymorphous perversity.

Some would say you're a simple minded child. I say you're a sportswriter.

Annals of capitalism

Jared Bernstein:

"The fact that real middle-class income may barely make it back to its 2000 peak stands as the strongest indictment against the current American economy. It’s partly due to the fact that this recovery began with the longest jobless period on record, but the forces of inequality are the main driver of this unfortunate outcome. Globalization, YOYO economics, [You're On Your Own -- ed] and the absence of worker bargaining power have interacted to steer the lion’s share of the economy’s growth to a narrow sliver at the top of the wealth scale."


Yahoo notes

I'm gonna teth to make a push to post more here...

I'm playing with the yahoo go! [sic] thing for my cellphone (a blackberry - yes, I'm an asshole) and I have to say that the bells and whistles sound pleasingly to my ear. It's funny because their new version of their portal stinks.