Only three days left

Of the WKCR Bach Festival. Thanks to The Agonist for reminding me.

And while I'm being politically incorrect

I might as well say that I enjoy the LA Times in its current incarnation as a Southern California-centric paper. I find myself reading it more, because I'm more likely to find articles that I can't get from the NY Times or online. Sports has gone long-form too, away from game-recap stories. All these are good things. The reader is starting to feel that the people on the LAT enjoy living in Southern California and no longer care what their colleagues in New York and Washington think.

The opinion page is still atrocious, however. And I'm sure this is just a snapshot -- as the legacy of all the layoffs works its way through the paper I imagine things will get worse and worse. But for right now it's good -- if they had done this years ago they would be...well, probably they'd be in the same predicament, because the Chandlers bailed and then Tribune bailed.

Obama and smoking

Here's kind of an amusing Op-Ed from an ex-smoker urging Obama not to quit:

The nation is too precariously balanced right now to risk having him burst into tears, or march off in a snit, or take to his bed with the glums.

It would jangle our already fragile national nerves to hear him smashing things offstage at news conferences. Nor do we want to watch him lose his train of thought and begin absent-mindedly lighting matches just to huff the sulfur and watch them burn.
I share this sentiment; it doesn't matter to me if Obama doesn't quit. If smoking helps him through these four to eight years, well, these are the four to eight years we need him the most.

It's just like sending soldiers off to war. At some level we don't care whether they die -- or don't care enough not to get war-fever.

Besides, the more I read about climate change, the more I think that he's not going to want those extra 20 years in the middle of this century.


Guacamole crisis!

Via Aquafornia. Everybody should be reading Aquafornia to see what the future looks like. (Hint: difficult.)


I agree with Sean Paul Kelley.


Dipping a toe back in

After the Harvard Classics thing ends, I'm going to have to start blogging for reals. Here's two things that caught my eye:

1. An interview with LA institution-in-the-making Charles Phoenix. Here's his now-discontinued "Disneyland Tour of Downtown Los Angeles":

And then, completely unrelatedly, here's some quotes from Bagehot's "English Constitution" I came upon during some late-night Wikipedia-ing (which almost sounds like a title to a Monk song):

The American Government calls itself a Government of the supreme people; but at a quick crisis, the time when a sovereign power is most needed, you cannot FIND the supreme people. You have got a Congress elected for one fixed period, going out perhaps by fixed instalments, which cannot be accelerated or retarded - you have a President chosen for a fixed period, and immovable during that period: all the arrangements are for STATED times. There is no ELASTIC element, everything is rigid, specified, dated. Come what may, you can quicken nothing, and can retard nothing. You have bespoken your Government in advance, and whether it suits you or not, whether it works well or works ill, whether it is what you want or not, by law you must keep it.

"The executive is crippled by not getting the laws it needs, and the legislature is spoiled by having to act without responsibility: the executive becomes unfit for its name, since it cannot execute what it decides on; the legislature is demoralized by liberty, by taking decisions of which others (and not itself) will suffer the effects."
I agree with the first more than the second, myself.