1.19.2009

I completely agree

John Fleck quotes Ryan Avent:

"I have become increasingly pessimistic about our ability to address the climate change crisis. The dynamics are simply deadly — the most dangerous effects begin arriving after it’s too late to do anything about them — which leaves as our great hope the chance that a strong enough intellectual argument can be made to convince us all to challenge thousands of entrenched interests (among them our own) and significantly change the path of policy. Frankly, there’s nothing in our history that suggests this is possible. Time and again, slow-burning environmental crises have emerged to devastate civilizations. That we’re smart enough to see it coming and understand the mechanisms involved only renders our failure more tragic."

1.17.2009

Anecdote

From a Nation articleon George Plimpton:

"In 2003, while drinking at the bar of the Brook Club, Plimpton's blood pressure fell, and he collapsed on the floor. The paramedics recognized him and, while slapping his face, yelled, 'Hey, George! Wake up!'--at which point the maitre d' turned to them and declared, 'At the Brook Club, sir, we refer to him as Mr. Plimpton.'"

1.14.2009

I order you

To watch or Tivo this program. I won't say anything more, because enthusiasm destroys the delicate deadpan flower of its comedy.

1.13.2009

Suppertime

I know that the Mastersaid "There is no private house, (said he,) in which people can enjoy themselves so well, as at a capital tavern," and I see the point, but I had a good dinner tonight and sat at the table finishing my wine as my family got up and went about their evenings (or "up and went about their evenings"), and I felt superior to fine dining establishments. I was doing nothing for a moment; and to do nothing at a restaurant is to make a spectacle of yourself.

Orson Swindle up and observes something

Spencer Hall is possibly my favorite writer on the internets:

"One of our favorite grammatical constructions is “Up and [verb] ed.” It implies a sudden burst of wild or unpredictable behavior, like “After two quarters of mediocre football, Tim Tebow up and got the asskick stick out on Oklahoma.” Josh Jarboe just up and opened the Fulmer Cup season.

1.07.2009

A message for you from Patti Smith

Via Kit Stolz:

"How wonderful it is to be alive. So many people fighting to live. So many who won't make it. Not another Christmas. Not another cup of coffee.

What is the point of this missive? Perhaps nothing but a moment of reflection and an opportunity to wish the reader well. And since it is the center of the holidays I raise my cup and wish you all the best. Hard times are undoubtedly ahead but may we all face them with good humor, flexibility and resolve.

As we move into a new year we also move into the Chinese year of the ox. The ox is the sign of fortitude and hard work. Nothing will come easy; no quick returns, no fast cash, no high profile investing, no great losses. Prosperity through work. Work that strengthens the heart.

We can do that. Be oxen."

1.05.2009

Good news

This, honestly, should be on the front page. If solar power, which is still on the upward part of the R&D curve, is becoming as cheap as coal, then the days of "advanced society = digging stuff out of the ground and setting it on fire" are numbered. And if it becomes much cheaper then the things we can do with electricity (such as desalinization) increase.

Sempra solar energy project makes advances in costs - Los Angeles Times:

Sempra Generation, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy in San Diego, just took the wraps off a 10-megawatt solar farm in Nevada. That's small by industry standards, enough to light just 6,400 homes. But the ramifications are potentially huge.

"A veteran analyst has calculated that the facility can produce power at a cost of 7.5 cents a kilowatt-hour, less than the 9-cent benchmark for conventional electricity.

If that's so, it marks a milestone that renewable fans have longed for: 'grid parity,' in which electricity from the sun, wind or other green sources can meet or beat the price performance of such carbon-based fuels as coal and natural gas."

1.04.2009

Theory of comedy I

Much as I love spouting off on the politics, I won't fool myself -- I don't imagine I have anything of value to add, really, outside of my Red Tory instincts that we should massively increase government spending on Latin.

But I have worked in comedy for years so I think I should spout off more on that. So here's a Comedy Postulate:

Actors usually aren't funny until they're at least 25.

Sure, there's exceptions, and notice that I say "actors," not "standups." But I think one takes life very seriously in youth. Even writing a funny character at that age is a challenge if they're not drunks. We need a little mileage to break ourselves in, I think, to develop tendencies which we can then lampoon. Alan King used to say that comedy people had to be smart because you have to know what something is before you can know how to mock it. But that also applies to oneself, and self-knowledge is usually not given to the youthful, all their poems and songs to the contrary.

The other project

Has been has been put to bed. I'm proud of myself for finishing, and also disappointed that it didn't make me a better writer. I guess part of middle age is accepting the fact that this is the writer I am.

Anyway, I'm keeping the link up, because it's still worth a browse -- the classics, don't you know.