Thursday, August 21, 2014

The minor victories of trivia

I play an all-night trivia game twice a year although, frankly, it's really hard to stay up all night.  (After all, I'm not in college anymore.)  But several times during the Williams College Trivia game, there's a sublime little moment that I equate to a surfer catching a perfect wave.  It arrives at that tipping point, that beautiful fulcrum, where you just can't quite remember the answer to a question...but then you can!

There was one game we played where the question was: what fragrance was pitched to Troy McClure on the Simpsons?  I chewed on this then blurted out: "Smellin' of Troy!"

So I really enjoyed this WashPost article about the elite of trivia players: " The coolest, weirdest Internet community you’ll never be able to join."  (We'll see about that...we'll see)
There is zero need to know the kind of information LearnedLeague tests. “There’s also no need to be able to throw a wad of paper into a wastebasket 20 feet away,” says Bushfield, but “it feels awesome when it goes in — in a totally meaningless but still fulfilling way.” The comparison is apt; there are truly few sensations so gratifying as knowing the correct answer to a LearnedLeague stumper.
Yup.  I went 2/8 on the sample quiz, so my victories were few and fleeting.  Still cool.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

My son is off to college

So today I drove a heavily-laden car to New York and dropped off my firstborn at college.  I know I should be happy for him but, well, this is how I feel:

Who is running the show in Philly, Detroit and San Francisco?

In "Who Lost the Cities?" Kevin Williamson drops this tidbit about Nancy Pelosi's hometown:
The more progressive the city, the worse a place it is to be poor and/or black. The most pronounced economic inequality in the United States is not in some Republican redoubt in Texas but in San Francisco, an extraordinarily expensive city in which half of all black households make do with less than $25,000 a year. Blacks in San Francisco are arrested on drug felonies at ten times their share of the general population. At 6 percent of the population, they represent 40 percent of those arrested for homicides. Whether you believe that that is the result of a racially biased criminal-justice system or the result of higher crime incidence related to socioeconomic conditions within black communities (or some combination of those factors) what is undeniable is that results for black Americans are far worse in our most progressive, Democrat-dominated cities than they are elsewhere. The progressives have had the run of things for a generation in these cities, and the results are precisely what you see.
This is the system that race hucksters like Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton wanted.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Lip sync battle

Paul Rudd is great.

Artifacts from flyover country

The Federalist: "Reporter Thought Earplugs Were Rubber Bullets. Does It Matter?"

I'm tempted to scold this so-called journalist for failing to employ simple research skills.  Has he never heard of Google Image Search?  But as Ed Driscoll points out, these East Coast snowflakes wear it as a badge of honor that they don't know anything about otherworldly cultures and don't care to find out.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

In which I predict the future

Me, last Sunday: "Almost certainly, NASCAR will make a rule change that drivers cannot get out of their cars on the track until they get permission from safety crews (unless, of course, there's a fire or some other safety concern.)."

New York Times, today: "Responding to Death on a Track, Nascar Orders Drivers to Stay in Their Cars."  "Robin Pemberton, Nascar’s vice president for competition, announced Friday that drivers would now be required to remain in their racecars after accidents until safety workers arrived, unless they were at risk from fire or smoke."

In related news, Tony Stewart will sit out another race.

The Wal-mart thing again

Matt Walsh vs. a Walmart employee: "I'm spoiled and lazy but Walmart should pay me more money."

Extra - Legal Insurrection looks into the future of the $15 minimum wage.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Swish - purrrrrr

Flashbak: "6 common sounds of yesteryear we no longer hear."  Number 6 is "the rotary dial."

I actually have a rotary and I love that phone.  It weighs about 50 pounds and the ringing bell is clear and sonorous.  And here's the best part: when you're pissed at a caller (e.g. telemarketer) you can slam down the handset with great force and abandon.

Thus always to entitlements

The Washington Post's Robert Samuelson has a great article about how Social Security has been gradually shifted over the years to the point where it now violates the principles that FDR once insisted upon: "Would Roosevelt recognize today's Social Security?"
Roosevelt would surely be proud of this, and yet he might also have reservations. Social Security has evolved into something he never intended and actively opposed.
It has become what was then called “the dole” and is now known as “welfare.” This forgotten history clarifies why America’s budget problems are so intractable.
Social Security's shift from a kind of savings plan to outright generational theft took decades, starting from an override of FDR's veto over payroll taxes.  The shift from Obamacare's always-specious claim of "budget neutrality" was far, far briefer.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Seems legit

The Hill: "Why is Obama returning to Washington?"

This theory seems as good as any.

Inflating the asset bubble for retirement dreams

Zero Hedge: "We're relying on phantom wealth to fund our retirement."  This will not end well: "Perhaps it's time that we face up to the fiscal reality that unprecedented promises can only be paid out of current income and hard assets that can be sold in vast quantities without depressing the price of those assets."

What did Hunter Pence do now?

MLB: "The 11 best signs trolling Hunter Pence."  Example: "Hunter Pence puts ketchup on his hot dog."  Heh.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Vanity of vanities - all is vanity

I've been trying to lay off the Obama-bashing posts because the blogosphere is already thick with posts, such as these:

Hot Air: "Remember when Obama took credit for pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq instead of blaming Maliki for it?"
Twitchy: "Obama counters own claim Iraq troop pullout wasn’t his decision."
Ace of Spades: "Obama Now: It Wasn't My Choice to Pull All Troops Out of Iraq; That Meanwich Stinkburger al-Maliki Made Me
Obama Then: It Was Totes My Decision to Pull All Troops Out of Iraq!!!"

This is why the remainder of Obama's "presidency" is going to be golf and fundraisers: golf is his reward to himself after the dime-store adulation of a fundraiser.  Rinse and repeat.

As public approval of Obama's foreign policy drops into the thirties, you'd think it would invite a little introspection, some self-assessment, maybe a new approach.  Not this guy: he gets a little criticism from his former Secretary of State and he throws a scatological temper tantrum.  This follows a pattern of reaction that Obama usually reserves for Republicans: there is no other valid viewpoint than his and those who oppose him only do so because they're "hatin' all the time."

Everything this guy does is designed to stroke his ego.  Even the vague threat of impeachment is something to be turned into a badge of honor (and - natch - fundraising.)  Instead of viewing his inability to move legislation as a fault, he turns it into a power trip.  Nothing is ever his fault, and he's constantly disappointed by everybody from Putin to the intelligence community.

The midterm elections are often, fairly or not, called a referendum on a President's performance and recent polling indicates it's going to be quite a vote of no-confidence.  But that's not Obama's fault either because, as he never tires of telling his fundraising crowds, Democrats just don't get excited for midterm elections.  Maybe they forgot to get gas for the car.  The football game was on TV.  Something.

Whatever the excuse, it has nothing to do with Obama.  Because he's awesome sauce.

Monday, August 11, 2014

I did not have relations with that foreign policy

Hillary Clinton has an interview in the Atlantic and she wants to make it clear that "‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle."  So the distancing has begun for the former Secretary of State.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Something bad in Baghdad

Twitchy reports early Twitter chatter of a possible coup in Iraq.  Or maybe a coup in the sense that Maliki won't step down from power.  Rumors are flying.

Race track tragedy

This is just an awful story but a young dirt track driver was killed by three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart in a race last night.  Kevin Ward Jr. climbed out of his car to confront Stewart who hit Ward while the field was under caution.

This happens every once in a while in NASCAR where a (wrecked) driver will walk right in front of another driver who done-him-wrong.  In fact, here's an angry Tony Stewart back in 2012 throwing his helmet at Matt Kenseth:

Almost certainly, NASCAR will make a rule change that drivers cannot get out of their cars on the track until they get permission from safety crews (unless, of course, there's a fire or some other safety concern.)  This is not to exonerate Stewart's actions - nobody's quite sure what happened yet - but when tons of metal are on the move, it's probably best to stay out of the way.