Archive for October, 2010

"Shall we play a game?"

October 31, 2010

(Let me say before I go any further that Clint McCance is a reprehensible creature and if there was any justice in the world he’d be wandering the countryside in sackcloth and ashes for the rest of his days. I’d like for that to go without saying, but I don’t want there to be any misconceptions about what I think. Now, with that said…)

“How about a nice game of word substitution?”

It had previously been possible for gun control proponents to wrap their cause in dry euphemism. They framed themselves as defenders of constitutional principle — “states’ rights.” They argued that requiring businesses to serve Americans exercising their right to bear arms violated private property rights.

Why WOULD Leonard Pitts think that was so much different from this?

It had previously been possible for segregationists to wrap their cause in dry euphemism. They framed themselves as defenders of constitutional principle — “states’ rights.” They argued that requiring businesses to serve African-Americans violated private property rights.

 Is there anything really different? I know that being black isn’t a choice, but one could say the same about wanting the best self-defense tools at one’s disposal. One could very well say that not wanting to carry a gun is choosing to suppress your human instinct, no?

Somehow it does not surprise me…

October 31, 2010

…that Jan Jarboe Russell was an acolyte of Molly Ivins:

The columnist Molly Ivins had it right: Perry is in fact Governor Good Hair, and that’s what Texans want. We want the caricature who tells us how exceptional we Texans are — not the realist who tells us that just because the Texas economy has fared better than most states, thanks largely to the high price of oil, the fact that, according to CNBC, we rank 30th in the U.S. in educating our workforce should wake us from our stupor of false superiority.

No doubt Russell thinks merely throwing more money at the schools and “not teaching to the TAKS test” is going to fix everything, just like Bill White does. Never mind, of course, that the TAKS test is a test of basic skills the students should be learning anyway. And never mind that Texas school districts have been shown to prefer to hire education majors (who don’t know basic grammar and who took Creative Writing but don’t have favorite authors because they don’t like to read) as teachers as opposed to those who go through the alternate teacher certification. And never mind that the districts make such decisions on the local level, as opposed to following some sort of edict from the governor. Oh, no, it’s all that EVIL BASTERD RICK PERRYS FAULT ZOMG!!!111one!!! (And yes, that misspelling and lack of apostrophe was completely intentional.) Why doesn’t JJR just go ahead and blame George W. Bush while she’s at it?

Not just the books that are cheap…

October 31, 2010

…but the music, too.

Last Sunday after we went to the Longhorn Cafe, my lovely wife and I took a ride up to Half Price Books on Loop 410 to see what they had. What fun THAT was. I could’ve spent next month’s rent in there, and not just on the books; they had a pretty good selection of used music, on cd AND vinyl! Would that I had a record player; I could’ve gotten out of there with this on vinyl for two bucks. (Not the remaster, of course, but the original.) I did manage to get out of there with a copy of Rush’s Moving Pictures cd for $5.98, where the cheapest I could’ve gotten it new was $7.99 at Best Buy. I’ve heard most of the songs on it and really like them; the only ones I haven’t heard yet are “Witch Hunt” and “The Camera Eye.” And I’m sure you know by now which song I bought that cd for, though I do like the ones I’ve heard…

Oh, and did you know Steve Earle wrote a book? I got that one too.

(this post brought to you by Tam)

More views from the ivory tower…

October 31, 2010

…inhabited by David Brooks:

…Obama needs to redefine his identity. Bill Clinton gave himself a New Democrat label. Obama has never categorized himself so clearly. This ambiguity was useful in 2008 when people could project whatever they wanted onto him. But it has been harmful since.. Obama has never categorized himself so clearly. This ambiguity was useful in 2008 when people could project whatever they wanted onto him. But it has been harmful since.

Over the next two years, Obama will have to show that he is a traditionalist on social matters and a center-left pragmatist on political ones. Culturally, he will have to demonstrate that even though he comes from an unusual background, he is a fervent believer in the old-fashioned bourgeois virtues: order, self-discipline, punctuality and personal responsibility.

I fail to see how Barack Obama is going to redefine his identity without completely reversing himself and in the process lose what little credibility he has left with the American people (as determined by the projected Republican landslide next week). And I don’t see where any sort of ambiguity comes in here either. It ought to be clear to anyone with even a single working brain cell what Barack Obama is by now: a big-government ideologue who does things the Chicago Way. And how that whole projection thing worked I still don’t know, because his voting record should have put the lie to  the contention that Obama was a “blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.” You know, I didn’t think much of Bill Clinton, but I’d certainly give him his due as a politician with razor-sharp instincts. Barack Obama? Not so much. It’s going to be impossible for him to make the public believe he is “a fervent believer” in things like personal responsibility when he isn’t. Of course, he still has the coastal media in his pocket, and I’m sure they’ll be pulling out all the stops to salvage what’s left of Obama’s presidency. It’ll be interesting to see how things turn out.

It IS consolation…

October 30, 2010

…albeit just a little bit, to know that if the food supply and distribution network ever got seriously disrupted, Josh Briggs of the Covington News and those like him would be among the first to starve. Maybe in some alternate universe I’d worry about deer hunting humans, but I’d prefer to live in the real world where humans are at the top of the food chain. “Taking a life should be done only out of necessity.” Uh-huh. Well, it’s sorta necessary for us to eat if we want to survive.

Yes, we eat meat. Chicken. Beef. Fish. Most of it is raised. Some of it (fish) is hunted. But let’s stick to sport hunting for the sake of this argument.

“No, Sparky, you don’t get to define the rules of the game. Dead animal is dead animal. If you’re going to question how we get one kind of meat, you have to question how we get them ALL. If you question hunting, you have to question slaughterhouses, fish farms and everything else. But you like meat so you’re not gonna do that, are you? Chickenshit.”

Is there any such thing…

October 29, 2010

…as a low-powered rifle?

A man already facing theft charges was captured Thursday as a suspect in a series of fatal central Missouri shootings that had prompted police to warn anyone associated with him to flee the area.

Police said the killings were not random but have declined to say why the victims may have been targeted. Bruchsaler has said the gunman used a high-powered rifle and a handgun, and that authorities believed he acted alone.

Sabra and I heard this story discussed on the radio the other day, and the newscaster reported that authorities were telling people to stay in their homes and not go anywhere. I mused aloud, “That’s in Missouri; don’t they have guns there?”

Of course, if the killer was using a rifle I could understand that, especially if he WAS taking out people from the distances of which most hunting rifles are capable of being used. And THAT, of course, leads to the question: Is a bolt-action rifle any less of a danger in capable hands than a semiautomatic? After the hunters throw the semiauto rifle owners under the bus, how long WOULD it take for situations just like this to start the anti clamoring for a “sniper weapon ban”? Not long, I bet.

One down, and how many to go?

October 29, 2010

My email to Ken Hoffman re: this column:

Hi Ken, longtime reader here. You might want to rethink one of your arguments for including Neil Diamond in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:

“ABBA, Louis Armstrong, Chet Atkins, Leonard Cohen, Nat King Cole, Woody Guthrie, the Ink Spots and Brenda Lee are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and they have nothing to do with rock ‘ n’ roll.”

This is true, but you know what? It is precisely for that reason many people (including myself) think the RRHOF has gotten to be a complete joke, to the point that it would almost be a compliment NOT to be inducted into the Hall. Consider this list of who has not been inducted, from the comments to a story from July 2009:

Not Inducted (meeting all criteria): Deep Purple, Bad Company, Cheap Trick, Supertramp, ELP, The Hollies, Badfinger, Blind Faith, The Moody Blues, Squeeze, Peter Frampton, Humble Pie, Little Feat, Kansas, ELO, The Scorpions, Sweet, Boston, The Cars, Nazareth. REO Speedwagon, Sammy Hagar, Steve Winwood, Joan Armatrading, Thin Lizzy, Yes & Judas Priest.

And then, of course, there’s the glaring example of Rush, which has been a huge influence on several subgenres of rock and which has made some of the most thought-provoking and timeless music of ANY genre. “Red Barchetta” all by itself should have been enough to get them in. But you know why they’re not? Because Jann Wenner doesn’t like progressive rock.

So…yeah. The RRHOF is a joke. If Diamond doesn’t get in you shouldn’t consider it that big of an insult.

His response:

The Hollies are in.

Hokay, so I guess my whole point was negated with that.


As an old friend said once upon a time…

October 28, 2010

…an unloaded gun isn’t anything but an expensive club, and you have to replenish the ammunition supply from time to time. (Come on, you do practice regularly, don’t you? I am shamefully out of it…) And the prices are better if you buy a lot at one time, so check Sportsman’s Guide out if you’d like some bulk ammo. A bonus to shopping online is that you avoid idiocy such as what Ambulance Driver encountered recently at one big-box store. (I’m all for upselling, but when the customer knows exactly what he wants, you should go find it for him, eh?)

Another fun meme!

October 28, 2010

I stole this from Facebook, since I am a bit short on blogfodder today…
1) Turn on your music player on your computer.

(2) Go to SHUFFLE songs mode.

(3) Write down the first 15 songs that come up–song title and artist–NO editing/cheating, please.

(4) Choose some people to be tagged. It is generally considered to be in good taste to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I’m betting that your musical selection is entertaining, or at least amusing.

To do this, go to “NOTES” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, enter your 15 Shuffle Songs, Tag people (under the post) then click Publish.

1. Grand Funk Railroad, “Some Kind of Wonderful”
2. Alan Jackson, “A Little Bluer Than That”
3. Brian Burns and Larry Joe Taylor, “Third Coast”
4. Van Halen, “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love”
5. Waylon Jennings, “Rainy Day Woman”
6. Iron Maiden, “Flash of the Blade”
7. Queensryche, “Take Hold of the Flame” (recorded live in LaCrosse, WI, 1991)
8. Merle Haggard, “Mama Tried”
9. Megadeth, “Rust in Peace (Polaris)”
10. Rush, “Red Barchetta”
11. Queensryche, “Another Rainy Night”
12. Evanescence, “Lithium”
13. Pantera, “Cowboys From Hell”
14. Lefty Frizzell, “Long Black Veil”
15. Steve Earle, “Hillbilly Highway”

That’s a pretty good snapshot of my tastes these days. Anyone who wants to play, go ahead…

And once again…

October 28, 2010

…the words of Mike Vanderboegh come to mind:

You may believe weather, lifestyle and attitude are what set San Antonio apart from other large American cities, but a popular New York-based news blog has a different idea.
This city, the Daily Beast says, is dumb.

“Being despised by the despicable is as good as being admired by the admirable.”

Seriously, a publication that employs airheads like Chris Buckley and Meghan McCain is calling San Antonio dumb? I’d take that as a compliment.