Monday, April 30, 2007
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Thursday, April 26, 2007
A tiny man with pointy ears and weird hair -- in short, an elf -- with his arm around the lower waist of a striking redhead who is literally a head taller than he. Is this his daughter? Are we watching a deleted scene from "A Midsummer Night's Dream"? Do we envy the hell out of him?
It turns out that 60 year old 4 foot 9 inch geeky faux-extraterrestrial Dennis Kucinich is married to this 29 year old Amazon. This image stirs such primal feelings: based on no logical, rational reason-- strictly unevolved male emotion -- I find myself re-evaluating Dennis Kucinich solely because of his wife. "Man have hot young wife -- man is powerful alpha!"
But I always had a little nagging sense of unfairness. Could I be wrong? Could this just be my prejudice?
NAH. This month's Psychology Today has an article saying that, in a 2003 study involving 22,000 participants:
People who were conservative at age 23 had been described by their nursery school teachers as easily victimized, easily offended, indecisive, fearful, rigid, inhibited, and vulnerable at age 3. [C]onservatives have less tolerance for ambiguity, a trait they say is exemplified when George Bush says things like, "Look, my job isn't to try to nuance. My job is to tell people what I think," and "I'm the decider." Those who think the world is highly dangerous and those with the greatest fear of death are the most likely to be conservative.
Liberals are higher on openness, which includes intellectual curiosity, excitement-seeking, novelty, creativity for its own sake, and a craving for stimulation like travel, color, art, music, and literature. As kids, liberals had developed close relationships with peers and were rated by their teachers as self-reliant, energetic, impulsive, and resilient.
Until now I hadn’t realized that people actually responded positively to Bush saying, “I’m the decider.”
Posted by Patrick at 12:28
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
This strikes me pretty hard, not only because he was a great writer and reporter, but because I am in the process of reading his book The Fifties, about the decade that made the 60s, 70s, and 80s what they are today. The thesis of the book is that World War II was what we might nowadays call a singularity -- after it, practically everything in America was different. And the 1950s was when those differences began to take hold, and the resistance to those differences began to strengthen.
Posted by Patrick at 00:21
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Of course the Virginia Tech massacre is a uniquely tragic event, and it is vital that we never lose sight of the human tragedy involved. However, we must also consider if this is not also a lesson to us all; a lesson that my political views are correct. Although what is done can never be undone, the fact remains that if the world were organized according to my political views, this tragedy would never have happened.
Many people will use this terrible tragedy as an excuse to put through a political agenda other than my own. This tawdry abuse of human suffering for political gain sickens me to the core of my being. Those people who have different political views from me ought to be ashamed of themselves for thinking of cheap partisan point-scoring at a time like this. In any case, what this tragedy really shows us is that, so far from putting into practice political views other than my own, it is precisely my political agenda which ought to be advanced.
Not only are my political views vindicated by this terrible tragedy, but also the status of my profession. Furthermore, it is only in the context of a national and international tragedy like this that we are reminded of the very special status of my hobby, and its particular claim to legislative protection. My religious and spiritual views also have much to teach us about the appropriate reaction to these truly terrible events.
Countries which I like seem to never suffer such tragedies, while countries which, for one reason or another, I dislike, suffer them all the time. The one common factor which seems to explain this has to do with my political views, and it suggests that my political views should be implemented as a matter of urgency, even though they are, as a matter of fact, not implemented in the countries which I like.
Of course the Virginia Tech massacre is a uniquely tragic event, and it is vital that we never lose sight of the human tragedy involved. But we must also not lose sight of the fact that I am right on every significant moral and political issue, and everybody ought to agree with me. Please, I ask you as fellow human beings, vote for the political party which I support, and ask your legislators to support policies endorsed by me, as a matter of urgency.
It would be a fitting memorial.
Posted by Patrick at 16:20
Monday, April 16, 2007
Sunday, April 15, 2007
This is a trailer for a 1964 "nudie cutie". Nudie Cuties were short (approximately 60 minute -- 5 reel) movies made primarily in the 1960s, as the Production Code was dying. They used zany comedic plots as an excuse to show lots and lots of naked 1960s women cavorting about the screen in glorious color. They cost about $1.98 to make (and they looked it) and so were inherently profitable. They also provided a last gasp for the old baggy pantsed burlesque comedians who hadn't made the transition to nightclubs or television.
Listen very carefully to the narrator of the trailer. Sound familiar? He's disguising using a fake stentorian narrator's bark, but his real voice comes through in the phrase "after all, look at his life". HINT: His most famous role might indeed have been subtitled "Dr. Sex".
And the narrator is.....
Wayne Rogers, Trapper John McIntyre for four seasons on M*A*S*H. As a 30 year old actor he wrote (under the pseudonym Juan Rogerio) and produced the 1964 nudie cutie "Dr. Sex".
Friday, April 13, 2007
The BBC is offering self contained language courses in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Greek, and Portugese!
They're very much geared to the British tourist in a borderless EU -- the classes don't bother with an understanding of the origins of the language, the rules of pronunciation, or even very much with the rules of grammar. They're heavy on repetition of stock phrases and "ecoutez et repetez" rote memorization, hoping that the casual learner will simply remember "Je m'appelle.." without caring to know the meaning of "je" and "me", the congugation of "appeller", or the rules of elision.
Still, lately I've been feeling stuck in a rut. I haven't been reading many new books, I haven't been doing anything creative outside of work. Perhaps becoming tourist-fluent in some new languages is what I need.
I am on my way to becoming a cunning linguist.