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Thanks, Obama!

NBC’s Chuck Todd on Sunday’s Meet the Press, discussing Obama’s closing remarks at Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner:

It did seem, I thought his pot shots joke wise and then the serious stuff about the internet, the rise of the internet media and social media and all that stuff – he hates it. Okay? He hates this part of the media. He really thinks that the sort of the buzzification – this isn’t just about Buzzfeed or Politico and all this stuff – he thinks that sort of coverage of political media has hurt political discourse. He hates it. And I think he was trying to make that clear last night.

Noel Sheppard on Newsbusters, discussing Chuck Todd’s remarks:

Todd was likely quite correct, but chose not to disclose why Obama hates new media. It’s because most of it isn’t in the tank for this President and can’t be controlled by him.

That’s obviously not true of folks such as Todd and his colleagues in the old media who echo the current White House resident’s talking points, mercilessly attack his opponents, and cover for his missteps.

It’s therefore no wonder the President hates “the rise of the internet media and social media,” and although Todd is very active on Twitter, one thinks he also hates this rise because it’s making him and his colleagues less relevant.

Stoaty Weasel, on this blog, right now:

Thank you, Obama. If ever I falter, if ever I waiver, if ever I wonder what I’m doing down here in the ass-end of the internet drawing stuff on people’s faces and cracking dick jokes, I will remember this. I do it because you don’t like it. Because you can’t control it and it isn’t kind to you. Mine is a small, silly, anonymous ‘fuck you’ to you and the whole the ruling class, but it’s mine and it’s persistent and it’s right out in public.

April 30, 2013 — 9:33 pm
Comments: 35


This here contraption weds a camera to a kite for some intriguing low-aerial photography. (Ummm…I was sent the link by email and forgot to ask if I could say by whom). There are some cracking good pictures at the link.

The head photographer and my old art gig requisitioned (and got!) quite a large a remote-control helicopter to use as a photography platform. It didn’t turn out so well. Gear in those days was bulky, remotes were hinky and the camera shake was fierce. On the other hand, he spent weeks playing with a big, expensive toy and got the company to pay for it. So, w00t, really.

Also in my inbox today, also from someone who will remain anonymous because I forgot to ask, this link to an excellent album of some dude playing classical guitar pieces on a ukulele. Two ukes, actually, I think. It works surprisingly well.

You have to sign up at the link to download the album (it’s kind of interesting what they’re trying to do there, but no thanks)…but they’ll let you listen to the whole thing for free.

Me, I’ve got my annual bloodwork tomorrow morning early. I really, really don’t want to go on a statin, but I really, really don’t want to pick a fight with my doctor, either. He’s a crabby sod as it is. So I’ve been living on a diet that includes lots of oat bran, almonds, lecithin granules, apples and niacin. Does this shit really lower cholesterol? I don’t know and, in the bigger scheme of things, I don’t much care. I don’t think they’ve worked out the role of cholesterol yet; I’m just trying to queer the test.

I’m about an hour into my 14-hour fast and I’m feeling a lot of class envy at the moment. You people in the “sure, I’m going to eat dinner tonight” class, you really frost my ass. You know that?

April 29, 2013 — 7:44 pm
Comments: 41

Meer Nederlandse

That’s Queen Bea again, taking the Scout Oath. -=Kidding=-. That’s her and Prince Claus on her Coronation Day in 1980. Then they went off to live in Castle Drakensteyn.

I bet you thought that’s where Scrooge McDuck lives.

Anyway, I don’t have anything meaningful to say today, so I thought I’d tell you my one Dutchman story.

I used to hang out in USENET back in the day and in this one newsgroup there was a particularly obnoxious Dutch guy. You know the type: boring faux-sophisticate European smarty pants always ragging on Americans.

Oh, you Americans and your flag and your pledge and your primitive nationalism and your silly patriotism, always chanting U-S-A…U-S-A. We Europeans have moved beyond such childish notions of blah-blah-blah-blah-blah. I think he lived in a committed threesome with two women and drank a lot of wine. You know what I’m talking.

Well, one day, I made a remark about Queen Beatrice. It wasn’t even particularly rude remark — I think I referred to her as “Queen What’s-her-name” — and the man came unstrung. I mean howling and screaming about respect and my betters. The bulgy eyes and flecks of spittle were implied, as this was in the days of text only.

Um-hm. Because nothing says ‘modernity’ like groveling subservience to royalty.

Have a good weekend, folks!

April 26, 2013 — 10:39 pm
Comments: 17

Tired of mocking the Mexicans. Let’s make fun of the Dutch.

This is Queen Beatrice of the Netherlands. Yes, as far as I can tell, she always has that goofy look on her face. She is abdicating the Dutch throne in favor of her son, Willem. Oh, don’t worry, that’s just how they do it over there.

To commemorate, the crown commissioned a song and — here’s where everything went badly wrong — the songwriter asked the Dutch people to submit verses and concepts to be incorporated. The result was so mind-bendingly stupid, 38,000 signed a petition to “kill it, kill it with fire!” Or, in the original Dutch, “doden, doden met vuur!”

It’s a weird mish-mash about watching over Willem while he sleeps, building a dike with bare hands, wakefully eating stamppot together, a traditional Dutch sausage and potato stew. Also, it breaks into a gentle rap in the middle that invites the Dutch people to make a W with their fingers and wave it around. Oh, it’s a treat.

But that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about how close Dutch is to English. It’s like goofy English. LOLcat English. It’s what somebody who didn’t speak English would make people say in a Warner Brothers cartoon starring people who speak English. Here, check out some random lines from the Koningslied (the King’s Song):

Wij lopen met je mee Door de regen en de wind
We walk with you Through the rain and the wind

Ik behoed je voor de storm
I am saving you from the storm

We staan voor elkaar, niet te breken
We face each other, not to break
Een vlag, twee leeuwen
One flag, two lions

Voor jou, mijn kind
For you, my child
Voor m’n pa, voor m’n ma
For my dad, for my mom
Loop voor jou door de wind en regen
Walk for you through the wind and rain

Ik bouw een dijk met m’n blote handen
I’m building a dike with my bare hands
En hou het water bij jou vandaan Laat me weten wat je droomt
And keep the water away from you Let me know what you dream

Drie vingers in de lucht, kom op, kom op De W van Willem is de W van wij <--- rap, y'all Three fingers in the air, come on, come on The William W of the W we De W van Willem De W van wakker, stamppot eten
The W The W William of waking, eating stew

Only, it sounds more like, blubble-up-a-lubbiddle-up. Like a cartoon drowning man. Which…Holland, I guess. Makes sense.

Anyway, here it is in a Dutch newspaper. In Dutch (link to the song at the bottom). Enjoy!

April 25, 2013 — 10:23 pm
Comments: 32

We set fire to a gypsy. You?

“April is a big month for anti-government and right-wing individuals. There’s the Columbine anniversary, there’s Hitler’s birthday, there’s the Oklahoma City bombing, the assault on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco.”

–NPR’s Dina Temple-Raston, speculating that the Boston Marathon bombers were home grown (before the Tsarnaev brothers started shooting up the place, obviously).

Okay. Wow. Let’s take those in reverse order. “…the assault on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco…” was a really horrible episode in our history, in which a house full of religious nutcases were burned alive by federal agents for no good reason. It did indeed horrify all kinds of people, and someone out on the “here be dragons” fringe of the right did indeed retaliate with the Oklahoma City bombing. Which is a desperate embarrassment to the third or so of the country that is in the mainstream right and has been used as a stick to beat us for twenty years. It is not a day for celebration in any way, shape or form.

But…wait…dear lord, Hitler’s birthday?!? If you turned America upside down and shook her hard, I bet fewer than a hundred genuine neo-Nazis would fall out. A kind of right wing, I guess, because they always say so. But just…really, NPR?

Whoa, hang on, the Columbine anniversary? The hell? Two punk kids shoot up their high school? That’s not even…there’s nothing…that’s not right, left or anything. That’s just. No.

This all happened last week, obviously, when nobody knew nothing. Which is why I didn’t post about it then. I was in no mood.

Is it too much to ask our publicly-funded media not to accuse me of Hitler worship? And they wonder why we talk about defunding them every time we get a majority.

April 24, 2013 — 10:50 pm
Comments: 64

What the hell, Mexico?

The question isn’t what to do with our X million Mexicans. The question is what the hell is the matter with you, Mexico? What the hell is going on when millions of your citizens risk their lives to slip out of your country to do next door’s shittiest jobs for wages so low it would be a crime, if it weren’t already a crime?

And why the hell do we accept that as normal?

Mexico is a big, beautiful country stuffed with natural resources. Miles of coastline, tons of oil. It’s like the world’s fourteenth largest economy. The rich are doing fine. The middle class is getting there.

So why is their economic plan “let the poorest sneak into the neighbors place and raid the fridge”? And why don’t we make a stink about it. To Mexico. Where the problem really lies. It’s like we think it would be rude to point it out.

They say conditions have improved so much that net migration into the US is now zero. I say: prove it. Take these ones back.

April 23, 2013 — 9:44 pm
Comments: 21

Thinks I don’t umberstand

So, this here immigration bill. Are hispanics really for it? I mean, the ones that immigrated legally. The pundits say a) the hispanic population is our fastest-growing demographic and b) they’ll hate the GOP forever if the bill dies. But will they? As a point of solidarity? Because why else would you want to vote in 11 million (or 20 million) more people to compete for your job in a crap economy?

The new incomers won’t vote against us because they can’t; that whole ‘path to citizenship’ thing takes a decades, I think. I mean, they can vote illegally, but they can do that now.

Meanwhile, if it got through, wouldn’t this ultimately hurt the Dems with all the other demographics that will be competing against the newly legal immigrants? The blue collar and entry-level job markets, where I assume most of this influx will be aiming, includes a disproportionate amount of the Democrat base. I mean, you’re desperate to find work, it’s not going to escape your notice who pinched your job and how they got here, is it?

Why is business supposedly for this thing? Once illegal immigrants are legalized, they have to be paid minimum wage and Obamacare and all the rest of it. They’ll be like any other entry-level employee, but with more language and cultural problems. So how is it helpful to have so very many of them?

And finally, if this bill squeaks by in the Senate, it hasn’t a hope in hell of making it through the Republican House without being gutted, so isn’t this all moot? So why has Marco Rubio decided to piss his career down his leg for this?

If only we had a class of professional investigators whose job was to track these things down and explain them to thickos like me.

April 22, 2013 — 10:32 pm
Comments: 28


So, they can do that? The police can just order everyone in a major city to close their businesses and stay home? For how long? What happens if you disobey?

Who are those guys in camo? Do the police have alternate military style uniforms or have the National Guard been brought in? That spooky black humvee has Boston Police stenciled on the front. When did they buy that, and what did they expect to use it for?

Since when did Watertown, MA have a large Russian-speaking community? Why aren’t any journalists asking for details of this unheard of lockdown procedure?

I understand this is a shit-hot manhunt and, when we last saw them, these guys were firing in all directions and throwing grenades around. But the sight of what looks for all the world like troops shaking down house after house in the suburbs of Boston is making me a little queasy.

Have a good weekend. Remember, every twenty minutes or so, get up from the monitor, do a little stretch and look at something in the distance for a minute.

April 19, 2013 — 9:48 pm
Comments: 54

You disappointed Him. Again.

Oh, that was sweet, wasn’t it? That look on Obama’s face at the Gun Control FAIL presser? Oooo…the preznit, he mad.

That was the one bright spot in a pretty rough news week.

April 18, 2013 — 11:10 pm
Comments: 27

Weasel television

So, Wednesdays we have coffee with the neighbors at a local cafe. This morning, first thing when I showed up, more than one of them said, “so, this Boston thing — right wing tax protestors, you think?”

Behold, the insidious evil of the media messaging machine. Bear in mind, my neighbors are mostly farmers and desperately conservative people, but this is the only theory they had heard. And by repeating this speculation each and every time something bad happens, it doesn’t matter that it keeps stubbornly not being true, media accomplishes its mission.

Anyway, that’s not important. This is: one of the ladies in this flock had quintuplets. She’s not in the field, though. She’s in the barn. Resting.

It’s lambing time! Or, rather, lambing time is almost over, and here’s the result. And the weather is getting better. Uncle B snuck up behind me and took this picture today.

Yes. Weather permitting, I play banjo to the newborn lambs.

April 17, 2013 — 10:44 pm
Comments: 34