Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
September 24, 2011 - September 17, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Further Insight on
The Krugman Paradox

Krugman praying to himself. I think I know what the answer is.

REFUTATION AND HONESTY. Brizoni did a nifty little post on Paul Krugman, who is always wrong and always instantly refuted. How can he not know that he's an idiot? Thanks to my better half, I can offer an explanation that explains many other things as well. I know this violates the "fair use" rule, but it's simply too hilarious not to reproduce in considerable detail. Sorry. This from Wiki:

Personally, I love the Cornell connection. Incompetence isn't about being a Neanderthal. It's about being in over your head and not knowing it. Perfect. (And note that I'm not alone in discerning a slight problem among the best and brightest with geography...) Of course, Krugman is at Princeton, which makes him immune. Unless it doesn't.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Raebert Report

The mind of a deerhound

It's not easy being a Scot. You have to be a deep thinker.

DON'T BE GETTING WRONG IDEAS. So he's coming up on a year-and-a-half. Still a puppy. But I haven't reported for a while. He's huge. Gigantic, in fact. But he eats like a girl on a first date. "You won't think I'm being too forward if I take this Cheeto very very carefully from your hand." Greyhounds think every tidbit is a reprieve from starvation rations at a concentration camp. Not deerhounds. They're just as tentative about their own kibble.

For a long time we thought he was going to be smarter than Psmith. We were wrong. Psmith was best friends with Izzie, the 7-pound Bengal cat. Raebert is best friends with Elliott, the 10-pound tabby cat. Elliott even goes so far as to claw Raebert's face (because he's such a fun-loving cuss he accidentally claws everyone, even as he's chirruping his affection). Nothing. Raebert just draws his monster head back and pokes at Elliott with his oak-limb paw, like King Kong playing gently with Fay Raye.

But where were we? The deerhound mind. Thanks to accelerating technology, it is now possible to photograph deerhound consciousness. When he's staring into the distance looking his most nobly brave and Scottish, what is Raebert thinking of? Thanks to Apple's new iMind camera, we now know:

I like cheese curls.

He used to like Herr's pretzels. No more. When he comes upstairs to the media room in the evening, he makes a great show of affection. He kisses the missus (doesn't that sound like a country song title?). He kisses me, licks my hand, and then settles on his huge haunches with a hopeful smile on his face. Because he knows I have a bag of cheese curls at my feet. If you try to give him a pretzel, he takes it with his lips pursed and drops it on the floor. Cheese curls.

I really like cheese curls.

Molly, like most older greyhounds, is getting food aggressive. Raebert doesn't care. He's staking his all on the prize that all deerhounds since Sir Walter Scott's have been waiting for:

I could really use a cheese curl about now.

And here's the cute part. He doesn't grab or snatch even when the cheese curl is offered. He takes it so gently in his impossibly white front teeth that the frail puff is not damaged at all. He drops it on the carpet. Then he lovingly eats it. With that hollow chomping sound and the half-closed eyes of a man eating... well, you get the picture.

Who knew? Maybe all the wars in Scotland from time immemorial could have been avoided.

Don't worry. He only gets two per night. Or three if he's really being a pest. It's his idea of poetry.

Roses are red. And I want a cheese curl.

What else? He weighs a hundred now.  And he's slowly, slowly becoming more than a puppy. But he still doesn't understand the deerhound factor. When we took him to the vet last week, he was completely befuddled by the fact that he was greeted by all the other dog owners as a rock star. "What IS that?" "He's gorgeous." He just wanted to kiss the only other dog he recognized, a hugely overweight pug who was as unintimidated by Raebert as Raebert was anxious to make a new friend. (Our own pug, Eloise, is NOT hugely overweight. Just a little. MY fault.)

Me? I'm thinking the pug had a secret stash of cheese curls. But I've always been a cynic.

Do we love him? Yeah. Achingly. Why do you think I have a bag of Herr's cheese curls at my feet?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

  Hope for Change

DUMBER'N SHIT. Don't know why I watch Imus. He's a ninety year old nine year old, self-obsessed, lewd, nasty, sharp as a bottle of liquid soap, and he's now clearly dying, his jowls growing day by day on new medication while he coughs helplessly, silently into the cough button. Is it vengeance I'm after? Or curiosity to see how low a human being can go without realizing he's not going to the Promised Land because his trophy wife funds a cancer ranch. And who is his beautiful, crazy helpmeet sleeping with? (Hopefully, everybody. Share the misery. And is she genuinely psychotic enough to constitute the hell we all want for him (maybe!)). He alternates kissing ass with lefties -- regular guests like brain-damaged Tom Friedman of the NYT, too smart for all our own good Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone, and prissy little sporty guy Mike Lupica (ugh) of Boston Pravda (Oh Sauxxx, my, my) -- and kissing the ass of somewhat saner people like Kinky Friedman, Chris Christie, and DJ Michael Graham of The Boston John Birch Society. And Chris Wallace, the far and away dumbest anchor-son-of-anchor in all of television network news. (I could explain how a Harvard political science major never has to take a course in economics, but you wouldn't believe me, so I won't)  Imus's questions are almost invariably about himself, except when he screws up. Which he did the other morning. He chanced to ask ABC News White House Correspondent Jake Tapper about Barack Obama's reelection prospects. Why I listen, I guess.

It only took about two minutes, despite Imus's distracting, self-absorbed interruptions. I've made you pay to get this far because I had to pay to hear the best, briefest, most cogent analysis of the 2012 campaign I've yet heard. (I'm nothing if not petty.) Here's the deal. In 2008, Tapper said, everything went Obama's way. He ran the table, including the financial meltdown at the end. But McCain, who ran a "not good" campaign, still got 47 percent of the vote, meaning Obama won by about 3 million votes.

Cut to 2012. Nine percent-plus unemployment. At the very least, Obama turnout won't be what it was. And Republicans are starting from a base of 47 percent. All they have to do is convince two to three million voters that the One is not the Messiah they were hoping for. (He said that more kindly than I just did, but the numbers are the same.) "It's going to be very very tough," Tapper said.

Thing is, Tapper is a reporter. He easily deflected Imus's opening question about Sarah Palin sleeping with a black man (yawn, unless you're nine) and then laid out these numbers. And then he stripped the real question to the bare bones.As a presidential candidate, Obama is a goner. Unless the Republicans go crazy. Which they could do. But rarely have. Usually, they nominate the guy who came in second last time. Which would be Mitt Romney. Who will probably defeat Obama by a landslide.

If any of you care. Because what you probably care about more is vindication. Ron Paul cutting Ben Bernanke's throat on the steps of the capitol. Michelle Bachmann hanging the board of trustees of Planned Parenthood in the White House Rose Garden. You know.Libertarian stuff. Freedom and such. The entire Middle East erupting in a mushroom cloud because, blessedly, we don't care any more.

It's just that if you do care about removing Obama from power, it looks like it's probable. If Republicans don't go stone fucking crazy.


P.S. How long is it going to take under the new reich for middle schoolers to be required to read Atlas Shrugged? Or have it read to them or texted to them on their cellphones. That's what I'm interested in. Because I have the entire constituion tattooed on my back. (The amendments are on the backs of my thighs and on my head, which will become more glaring if I should ever go bald. It could happen.)

It could happen. But it's not likely.

The Hollow Kids

"Mormon bids farewell to a once great nation."

HISTORY ISN'T AUTOMATIC. The Old Man inquires. "All us old guys want to know why everything you believe in is so THIN. Like a slice of skin. The music is tin, the philosophy is graffiti, and the purported passion is shit splattered against the wall."

The answer is similarly thin. Civilization is learned. It can't just be chiseled out like a stone monument and left to stand for thousands of years. It has to be rechisled in the brain and guts of every generation. What you're seeing now is what happens when civilization goes unchiseled. That's why the decline seems so fast to you. You're expecting erosion. Wind and tide and mist on the face of Gibraltar. The truth is we have to grow to be giants, to give our kids shoulders to stand on. Then they have to grow to be giants themselves, and so on. No more giants, no more shoulders. And we all fall down.

Out of the sky / Into the dirt.

Growing up Mormon, one of the sticking points for me was the total lack of the Mesoamerican Jewish nation from the book in the archeological record. There were tiny little clues in secular archeology that academia's narrative of early peoples in the New World was flawed-- toys with wheels dating back to supposedly wheel-less times come to mind-- their world is still gone. No great excavation of any ancient capital that would at least corroborate the Book of Mormon's story of a small Hebrew exiles growing to to mighty civilization. Hell, modern archeology had even discovered Troy, which had existed only in myth for thousands of years. How could a resplendent capital just disappear?

And more than that, how could a once-civilized and pious people so thoroughly devolve, leaving no trace in the "culture" of their descendents other than a word that maybe sounds like hallelujah if you squint your ears?

Simple: Withhold their humanity. CS Lewis (and you, Robert, and many others) said morality has to be learned. It can't just be inherited. The human child won't instinctively gravitate toward the good, any more than naturally gravitate toward a 27-dimensional conception of spacetime. True enough. But that's not true for just morality. History, art, literature, science-- these aren't just things we learn about. We partake in them, and continue them, by learning about them.

Your generation knocked us out of the human race with a one-two punch. Right hook was withholding our history from us. Left haymaker was teaching us to sneer at it, a poor but functional substitute for the pride and fulfilment we would have got from partaking in the human heritage. Teach the degenerate Nephites that bare-handed murder is better than polishing the gold steps of the central pyramid in Zarahemla, and they'll beat their plowshares into swords. And then wonder where all the food went.

This is why we don't exist. In the human sense. There's no instinct for it. There is an instinct for desiring it, which is why some of us are so cranky and abrasive and vile. But that's only some of us. More of us can settle for the quasi-feral Jersey Shore lifestyle. Still more of us enjoy the superiority buttressed by a fortress of bad books, snarky TV, and pastoral urbanity. The rest of us try to get our hearts beating again with a million different patchwork and imiation histories. Some work better than others.

Maybe that's closer to how it should be. Maybe every man should be left to work out his heritage for himself. Or maybe I'm just trying to make the best out of the worst possible situation.

Monday, September 19, 2011

I Hate You All, and I'm
Right to Hate You All

EVEN A BROKEN CLOCK IS RIGHT TWICE A DAY. Shut the fuck up about fucking Netflix. You idiot chickenshit children.

You want to complain about something that matters? You want to know what's really going to rape the ass out of your wallet? This.

Days of Screaming and
Crying for Ice Cream

THE IDIOTS' LATEST TANTRUM. Portland had their big Iraq War protest back in 2003. THAT was a protest. No smattering of 50 impotent trust-fund kids there. We had thousands upon thousands of retards expressing their ignorance and paranoia at the top of their lungs. I marched in it. More as a curious observer than anything, though my politics back then were straight out of Adbusters. I was starting to ask myself some hard questions about my crap beliefs. Cheif among them that day: What is all the parading and chanting and drum-beating supposed to accomplish? For real, in real life?

Was our "show of solidarity" going to send shockwaves all the way to Washington? Did the protesters imagine top CIA operatives hurredly whispering into their James Bond inviso-phones with direct lines to the Pentagon? And after much panicked bustling by men in three-piece suits and many-barred military dress, the call finally goes to the White House.

"Hello? Yes, this is President Bush." And his face turns ashen as he hears the news. "I see."

His aides purposefully and with concern stride to his desk. "Sir, what is it?"

He can't look up at them. "It's Portland. They're..." He can't let himself get choked up. Not in front of his boys. So young. So much ahead of them. Got to be strong. "They're marching."

One of the aides speaks up in a timorous plea. "They're marching... for us, right? To tell the world they support our troops and our cause. Right?" He grabs the lapel of one of his buddies. "RIGHT?"

"I'm afraid not, Billy." The room falls deathly silent.

"Get the... the whatsit. The army guys," Dubya continues. "The military. All of them. Tell them we're calling the whole war off."

Incredibly, it didn't go down like that. Incredibly, that mere show of anger and disapproval didn't motivate the government to take the desired action. Incredibly, merely showing disapproval doesn't inspire others to do what you want. Incredibly, that hasn't worked for anyone since they left the crib.

It's taken me until well into adulthood to see the appeal of protests. "Demonstrations" (fancy academic term for "tantrum") are the old spoiled idiot version of wailing to have one's diaper changed. They got old, but never grew up. That's why they think a mere demonstration is the same as doing something. Like a tiny-ass baby.

But if the latest Day of Rage is any indication, there's fewer spoiled idiots around than there's been in some time. Wouldn't that be nice.

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