February 11, 2012 - February 4, 2012
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
The Four B's of
Whatever you do, pay no attention to
THIS guy. The world's leading spokesman
'neutrals' and 'Everything goes with everything
else.' uh, Wrong.
Since nobody cares about new Obama theories, I'm going to talk
about something important. Men's fashion works in decade cycles. The
1950s were a freak show of beige suits, wide lapels and loud, short
ties. The 1960s were reactionary and far spiffier, lots of dark suits,
narrow lapels and skinny ties that reached almost to the belt. The
1970s were a complete disaster -- double-wide lapels, doubleknit suits,
and a psychotic mixing of patterns among suits, shirts, and ties. The
"greedy" 1980s were another highpoint, a classic Wall Street look of
white shirts and tailored suits with lapels and ties of just the right
width. Then the 1990s came, and the question seemed to be, 'How much
seventies stuff could we get away with now?' Answer: Pretty much
everything except doubleknit, only less with the width, please. Result:
Which brings us to the 2000's. By the book, it should have been a
good-looking decade for menswear. But it wasn't. Isn't. Tailoring,
lapels, and tie width have returned to esthetically correct
proportions, but there's something going on with patterns and colors
that shouldn't be. Men have somehow gotten the idea that everything
goes with everything. It's not true. The fabrics are great, the stripes
and windowpane checks and argyles are all nice enough, but it's
suddenly become the rage to dress like a cuisinart of patterns and
colors. Bright pink ties with busy shirts and gangster-striped suits.
Some of the suits even have four or five buttons, and the firmament is
beginning to collapse. What's going on?
Gayness. Metrosexuality. Herd instinct. Men who need help.
Why I'm offering some rules. I call my prescription the "Four B's."
What does that mean? Beau Brummel and Brooks Brothers. It was Beau Brummel who
laid down the foundation of all modern menswear, postulating that men
are not male birds; their impact should consist of themselves, not
their duds. He counseled black as the default male color, solid,
stolid, and never wrong. Brooks Brothers interpreted Beau Brummel for
the twentieth century: dark blue suits, white shirts, and quietly
elegant ties incapable of distracting from the character of a man's
face. They were right, with a few very minor exceptions. Hence, my
rules for the coming decade, which I can only hope will make the 2000s an
anomaly rather than the beginning of a pernicious new trend.
It's really hard to improve on a white shirt.
Let's face facts. Men aren't any good at dreaming up 'outfits.' Forget
all that metrosexual talk about 'neutrals' and the appropriateness of
mixing stripes, checks, etc, as long as there's some difference of
scale. Men can't do that. We wind up looking as if we'd been dressed by
our wives or girlfriends (best case) or our mothers (worst case). The
only 'neutral' we can or need to understand is a white shirt. The only
thing that forgives us automatically for all our other combining
decisions. And, yeah, I'm deliberately and ostentatiously excluding the
blue shirt and the white collar with some other color shirting (Brit
Hume take note), because as we get older, every deviation from the
utmost simplicity makes us look like we're trying to be younger than we
really are. And when we're young, it's still wrong to put on something
that makes the world think, "He's young enough to get away with it."
Which means we're not really men yet. See? Also: forget the button-down
collars. The one thing Brooks Brothers got consistently wrong. In old
age, William F. Buckley looked like the oldest prep school senior in
2. Avoid suits that cause people to
see the pattern before they see you.
Maybe you want to look like a
racetrack tout from a Damon Runyon story or a gunsel from a Raymond
Chandler novel. Stifle that urge. It's a character defect. Men are not
a package or a fashion statement. If there's anything to them, they're
themselves. The only thing anyone should ever think about your
clothing is that you're well dressed, not dressed up. If they see you
approaching and think, "Wow. The stripes on that suit are killer"
rather than "Here's Bill, looking great again," you've screwed up.
3. Ties are not your natural enemy,
but they sure can be.
Remember that the knot of your tie is just below your face. Women have
labored for thousands of years to get men to look into their eyes
before ogling their breasts. Ties should not be substitute breasts. I
have chuckled for decades about the term 'power ties,' be they yellow,
salmon, or -- as in our day -- poisonous pink. So-called power ties are
nothing but men's cleavage. They're not about power at all; they're
about sexual ego, which should flow not from fabric but the eyes. Women
who display cleavage also make up their eyes to return the attention
where it belongs. Men can't do that. Result: Power ties make you look
like a damn peacock, bird brain highlighted. How to pick a tie? Muted
elegance of pattern, quality of fabric, and -- if you must make a
statement -- a neutral metallic like silver that says you'll learn
nothing about this man unless you meet his eyes and face. Also: Never
pink. An absolutely ironclad rule with no exceptions. Windsor knots
okay with Windsor collars, double Windsors never, under any circumstances.
Finally, the new ego statement of disdaining a tie, like that creep on
the Fox Business Channel, is the biggest loser statement of all. It's
like not wearing pants, the first thing anyone notices about you and a
thing that's bound to catalyze automatic judgments before they see
anything of you as an actual person. It's obnoxious, moronic, and
rightly frowned upon.
4. Don't draw disproportionate
attention to any part of your attire.
This is a follow-on to the previous rule. Wearing a suit with no tie is
an example of this rule. But so is wearing flashy suspenders with no
suit jacket. You are not what you are wearing. Every time the first
thing someone notices about you is what you're wearing or not wearing,
you become a woman, subject to the same arbitrary judgmentalism. When
they move into fashion critique mode, you become an object, not a
person. For the same reason, do not affect Gucci loafers or a Rolex
watch. (Gaudy accessories are always gaudier on men.) They should
always observe that you are nicely appointed, not that here are some
spectacular accessories containing a male of the species.
5. Always err on the side of
I've covered the white shirt part. This is analogous. Don't mix
dramatics. If your suit has a pattern people might notice, wear a solid
color tie. When you dress for business, don't wear any loud or bright
colors. You're not Beyonce and you shouldn't be. If you're casually
dressed up for a party and your slacks have a pattern, wear a blazer
and a solid color tie. If your blazer is camel colored, wear a red tie.
Period. If you feel compelled to wear a red vest with your camel
blazer, wear dark slacks and a tartan tie. Don't mix patterns.People
6. Color rules for men are absolute.
Blue suit? Black shoes. Brown shoes brand you, quite literally, as a
Nazi. (Why did the Nazis have such great uniforms? Because Germans have
the worst color sense of any people in the western world. If you doubt
me, go to Germany. The Frankfurt Airport alone will precipitate
esthetic nausea. Probably why they've been such a problem for the rest
of us.) Don't mix browns or beiges with black. Ever. Don't wear
black suits. (Sorry, Beau). They make you look like an undertaker. If
you wear a black blazer, your tie can be any color but brown or beige.
If you wear black slacks, your shoes and socks must also be black. In
that case your sportcoat can be any color but brown or beige, and your
tie the same. Why? Because if you have a brown tweed sportcoat, why are
you also wearing black shoes? Don't wear pastels. Ever. They're for
7. Don't ever try to be cute or
It always makes you look like an asshole. No matter how you think you
look in some specific context, imagine how you'd look at a 7-11 in the
ghetto. Don't wear corduroys with whales on them. Don't wear prismatic
sportcoats or trousers. If you must wear leather, be prepared to back
it up or don't put it on. Period.
8. Don't ever wear white sneakers.
Men don't do that.
9. Denim is a two-edged sword and time
is not on your side.
Some older men can wear jeans. Most shouldn't. Why? Because men's asses
get flat and awful, and whether you think you're telling the world how
youthful you are or not, the world sees an old guy with a flat ass and
a Viagra prescription.
10. Clothes make the man, but only if
there was a man inside to begin with.
Yeah. You can wear whatever you want -- all my rules aside -- but you
better have a face and eyes to back it all up. I call this one the
Alpha Rule. I wear whatever I
want. Why? Because I mostly follow my own rules AND I never go anywhere
anymore. Because I have nothing left to prove.
Thing is, I know a bunch of you are saying, 'This doesn't apply to me'
because they wear tracksuits everywhere and jeans so huge nobody could
ever mistake them for Beau Brummel, and all I have to say to you is
this: They're ALL judging you, every moment of every day. The same way
you judge women, with the flick of an eye, everyone is also judging
you. Not whether they'd jump in the sack with you or not, but whether
they'd trust you, hire you, or believe in what you have to say. If you
short-circuit their appraisal process by the way you dress, you're
making yourself a loser. Because there's no upside to men's fashion.
It's all downside. Everything they notice about the way you dress is a
distraction from the only thing you have to offer: what's behind those
eyes of yours.
Best example? Barack Obama. Best dressed politician since JFK. What did
he achieve by his wardrobe? Only transparency. His beautiful suits and
faultless taste never became an issue separating us from his character.
A luxury no woman has.
case you think I've been too harsh, here are are two hints, one from my
long departed dad and one from the master of all punks. 1) There's no
such thing as being over-dressed for an occasion; and 2) You can't ever
have enough leather jackets and coats if your preference is denim pants.
If you're a punk, boots and boot chains are also necessary. If you can
pull it off. Which reminds me of the InstaPunk fashion code, one rule
only: Dress like a toff from the waist up and like a biker from the
waist down. It's worked for me since long before most of you were born.
Uncharacteristically, this post was vetted by three longtime
friends and commenters. All of them wanted pictures to illustrate my
points, not that they disagreed with my analysis or my rules. Which is
why I'm soliciting those images from you. Go for it. I'll post an
Addendum if you'll offer up pictures tied to specific parts of the
post. Deal? A couple wanted bad examples from network, cable news, and
sports shows. A third wanted GOOD examples -- how men should look -- from Brooks, J.
Peterman, etc. Do what you will. I'm stunned by how seriously they all
took a post I regarded as a day off. Shows what I know.
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Obama's our very own China Girl.
just playing with ideas here, but I think they're worth some
thought because they offer a different perspective on the
inexplicable activities of the bizarre administration that seems intent
on transforming America into something else. But what else?
That's my starting point. Some questions nobody's explained to my
What's behind the feverish, almost frenzied hatred by the American left for all things
traditional in our history and culture?
The corollary of this question is one I have asked here before: What's
the "liberal" vision no one on the left ever seems able -- or willing
-- to articulate to us backward common folk? You know, the vision that
justifies their seeming disgust with the very existence of human beings, especially self-empowered Christian human beings,
on planet earth. What is it exactly that they don't want to share with
us? And why do they get so exorbitantly offended when commoners like us
describe their economically punitive motives as "socialist" or "marxist"?
I think I know the answer. Fear of the exponentially increasing
uncertainties associated with the progress that flows from free human
enterprise. In the Internet Age they have come to see basic human
freedom as an inevitably implosive anarchy which must be stopped.
Except at the fringes, they're not actually suicidally opposed to their
own species. And it's not that they misunderstand the superior
potentials for change and progress associated with capitalism. Which is
also to say that they are not guilty of the baffling crime of illogic
we usually indict them for: believing that the failed economic models
of Marx and Lenin and Mao and Castro are truly more efficient,
equitable, or conducive to mass prosperity. It's that they have come to
regard prosperity itself as the prime threat to the survival of
humanity on earth. Prosperity propels unlimited innovation,
geometrically increasing change, and the potential for untold
catastrophes through unintended consequences. The motivating human
liberalism by which they all claim to be inspired has made them
With supreme irony, the people who call themselves
progressives fear continued progress as the worst of all dangers to
humanity. Their modestly arrogant (or arrogantly modest) objective is simply to halt progress as most of us define it and convince us that older simpler days were morally superior.
Only they're trying to make this reactionary cultural argument via blog, cellphone, tweet, and podcast. Without blowing their cover as far-seeing, forward-thinking idealists.
That's the reason for the frenzy. They can't cop to a retro pessimism their brave
liberal predecessors would scorn. They're all the boy with his finger
in the dike, trying futilely to hold back the deluge of the future that ordinary human hope,
aspiration, hard work, and determination will unleash like a murderous tsunami on all of us.
Truth is, if you want to see grim pessimism, look first to the self-proclaimed smartest and most thoughtful among us.
[The explanation of why highly educated Jews support Obama despite his unmistakeable anti-Jewish prejudice. Jews are, as always, the archetype of objective, intellectual cognitive dissonance. They're the most fervently anti-Jewish because they know how much they can accomplish in impossibly short increments of time. If you're terrified of the risks of progress, anti-Jew is the only way to go.]
It's also the reason for all the duplicities. Because even their lies
are analogous to their secret truths. Well, maybe they'll concede in
private that they've overstated the threat of Global Warming, but they
had only the best intentions. The accelerating curve of human change
absolutely has to be slowed down, and this was an argument they thought
even the stupid people might accept. AGW is only a symbol of a greater
danger that is (to them) absolutely true and absolutely perilous: Mankind cannot
survive the leaps and bounds of progress of another American Century. Why they show no perceptible guilt
when confronted with their obvious lies.
2. If our president is really a
socialist-Marxist by upbringing, why is he working hand-in-glove with
Wall Street financiers, why do those financiers continue to work
hand-in-glove with him, and why does he sometimes seem to fulfill the
definition of early 20th century European fascist as much as late 20th
century European socialist?
I told you I'm playing with ideas here. But it should be clear by now
that Obama is not Chavez or Castro. He may be redistributing income,
but he is not appropriating capital or blatantly nationalizing
industries in the same way that even the Brit and French socialist
parties once did. That's why it's even possible to make the fascist
argument -- government joins hands with corporate oligarchies to
control the economy even as it pretends to be on the side of the
working man. Yet it doesn't quite work, does it? Fascism tends to be
nationalist. It postulates external enemies and uses its partnerships
with corporate capital to create jobs very directly, usually by pumping
capital assets into manufacturing jobs associated with armaments.
That's how Hitler and Mussolini put their depressed nations back to
work. Why fascism leads inevitably to war. On the other hand, if Obama
is a secret Marixist, why has he connived in the illusions that Wall
Street, Detroit auto companies, and other beneficiaries of the TARP
fiasco are actually repaying their debts and returning to market
competition (uh, not really)? How does it help a Marxist ideologue to promote the idea
that free market capitalism is making a comeback after an unfortunate
but decidedly temporary intervention of government?
These questions are pertinent even if
repayment of TARP funds and the restoration of free market principles
are illusory. The narrative does not support the Marxist argument,
and the specific means and results are not consistent with the fascist
Which brings us back to the frequently leveled charge of incompetence.
Except that the Obama administration has not been particularly
incompetent. The ObamaCare bill alone is one of the most significant
pieces of legislation passed since the Johnson administration, and the
trillion dollar stimulus bill is not far behind it in terms of
consequence. No administration has succeeded in spending so much
taxpayer money or accumulating so much government power, including the
incredibly portentous federalization of student loans, since FDR. And despite broken promises
regarding Guantanamo, Iraq, and income taxes, there is no pundit who can
proclaim with certainty that Obama will not be reelected in 2012.
Furthermore, the Obama administration has been spectacularly diligent
at using federal agencies -- by some means fair but mostly foul-- to
begin bypassing congress and other democratic American institutions in
extending government controls into areas where the legislative and even
the judicial processes have historically failed (1,
If they succeed, the result will be a loss of personal liberty and
legal recourse by individuals unprecedented in American history. Note
that even partial and incomplete successes will stifle American
initiative and the freedom of the individual. If your aim is merely expansion
of government, that's hardly incompetent. It may be sinister,
unconstitutional, and downright terrifying, but it's hardly a
definition of incompetent, which would be "unable to do what you intend
because you lack the skills or intelligence or experience required."
Again, I think I have a possible answer to the contradictions. Contrary
to many of the speculations, including ours, Obama is not an ideologue
in the purely political sense. He is, rather, a post-ideologue, what we
might call a pragmatic messiah.
3. What is the real meaning of Obama's
background, mission, and sense of himself as an anointed savior?
I think I've been asking the right questions all along. (I'll leave it
to you all to make the appropriate citations.) I never thought his goal
was defined in European terms. If he was a muslim child in the far
east, he was also an American visitor in the most heavily populated
region of the world, where the American economic model was
proliferating in ways no one could have foreseen, with one country
after another bursting to life in terms of capitalist economics, technology,
and common aspiration. He was a witness to the unbounded, and
unregulated, consequences of the American Way unleashed on a world that
had long been governed more by tradition than freedom.
As a result, I don't think he is as much an enemy of America as he is
of the American Way leading the world into a technological chaos we're
not prepared for. I don't think he's as much a Marxist as a Luddite. I
don't think he's as much a totalitarian Maoist as a Mandarin.
Running the country in ancient China involved passing
written tests, not Kung Fu.
I do think he's planning to
slow it all down, dumb it all down, knowing full well that his
rockhead putative allies have it in their power -- via stultifying
regulations and stagnating economic policies -- to recreate something
like the old Chinese dynastic cycle, in which a durable professional
bureaucracy staffed by expert "Mandarins" ultimately forced every new emperor
into the mold of his predecessors. Here's an overview
of China and a modernist
interpretation of that country's history he can't, as a student of
Marxism, be wholly unfamiliar with. One trenchant quote.
Naito Torajiro argued that China
reached "modernity" during its mid-Imperial period, centuries before
Europe. He believed that the reform of the civil service into a
meritocratic system and the disappearance of the ancient Chinese
nobility from the bureaucracy constituted a modern society. As noted
above, some world-systems analysts such as Janet Abu-Lughod thought
China invented capitalism during this period with the rise of a monied
economy and the invention of paper currency.
The problem associated with this approach is the subjective use of
"modern" and "capitalist". The old nobility had been in decline since
the Qin dynasty. While the exams were meritocratic, most examinees were
of the gentry background. Expertise in the Confucian classics did not
guarantee competent bureaucrats who could manage public works or
prepare a budget. The early capitalists theory is also unsound in that
merchants were at the bottom of the four occupations due to
Confucianism's hostility to commerce. The social goal was to invest in
land and enter the gentry, ideas more similar to the physiocrats than
that of Adam Smith.
I repeat, it's well documented that Obama's a student of Marxism. Which
means he probably knows more than you do about this:
During a four-year period from 1958 to
1962, Mao Zedong oversaw the deaths of about half of all the people who
died during all of the famines of the twentieth century. In his
haunting new book, Frank Dikötter carefully weighs the available
archival evidence and “conservatively puts the number of premature
deaths at a minimum of 45 million”...
Mao’s famine was a consequence of a fantastical initiative, a “Great
Leap Forward” into Communism, that he believed would turn China into an
economic powerhouse, catapulting over its rivals in the Communist and
In his sickening hubris, Mao had meddled with centuries-old traditions
of Chinese rural livelihood. Like Stalin did in the Ukraine in
1932-1933, he also used terror to exacerbate the suffering. When crop
yields in the communes came up short, local party officials, terrified
of being purged as 3.6 million others were during the Great Leap,
fudged the numbers. Beijing then used these phony stats to determine
how much grain should be expropriated from the farms (for the hungry in
the cities, for impressionable governments in Cuba, Albania and
elsewhere in the developing world, for the feasts that would mark the
tenth anniversary of the Chinese Revolution in 1959, and so on). When
the communes could not produce the food demanded by the state,
rampaging cadres (themselves worried about being purged) were unleashed
to find the grain hidden by those now branded “class enemies.”
Dikötter estimates that 6 to 8 percent of the famine’s victims (at
least 2.5 million people) were tortured to death or summarily killed by
Why he may no longer be a Marxist.
Obama thinks he knows better. He'd prefer being a Mandarin to being
Mao. He's not a communist internationalist. He's an emperor. He thinks
the best way to save America -- much like the equally unclothed Ron Paul -- is to isolate
his nation as much as possible from the world at large, abandoning
overt attempts to control other nations, and reestablish a dynastic
bureaucracy of the kind that used ordinary paperwork to suppress Chinese
innovation for centuries and keep the people safe by only modest
oppression. Obama may be positively inspired by the fact that it was a
dynastic custom of the Chinese census never to report more than 60
million as the population. Stasis is preferable to dangerous change.
He sees himself as Ch'in (builder of the
Great Wall), the oppressor who in a few brutal years laid down the
framework for 2,000 years of stability and relative freedom from
outside interference (Change we can believe in?). I'm thinking that's the real long-term "vision"
of so-called American progressives. They don't really hate us. They just fear
and mistrust our vitality as a contagion that could destroy the world as they want to keep it.
It's the residue of Obama's Marxism we should be skeptical about. The
belief that history and human destiny are still somehow controllable by
the pronouncements of the smartest rationalists. Ch'in equals Mao, except that Mao had every reason to know better what he was doing. The last things Obama
doesn't understand: 1) He can't be Ch'in OR Mao without losing his soul, because no mere man is a messiah, and 2) Just how many of us remain eager for the adventure of
human life, whatever highs and lows it brings. His arrogance is not
that he regards himself as smarter than all human ingenuity and
aspiration, but that we need to be protected from these things by a
dull, depressive bureaucrat of life like him.
can only hope he doesn't intend to bury exact likenesses of American troops with the arid body
of his own damn self.
Clay armies. What a perfect symbol for a messiah with feet of clay.
Worth a thought or two by two or three of you on Pearl Harbor Day?
birthdays that also coincide with Pearl Harbor Day. My grandfather's
(1885) And Tom Waits (1949).
Don't ask why this particular song. The lyrics never know what the
Saturday, December 04, 2010
University Campus. Just because it's a parking garage,
don't be making assumptions that will upset the NCAA. They know.
INTEGRITY OF COLLEGE SPORTS. I wish I understood what this
controversy about Heisman
candidate Cam Newton was all about. But I don't. The record shows that
he's legally registered as a student at Auburn University, where
he has an athletic scholarship. What's the problem, anyone? There's no
unfair recruiting here. Cam Newton had to meet the same admission
criteria as every other Auburn student:
It's a very
demanding admission test. Ask anyone.
If you want verification, write Auburn University, a.k.a. Famous
Alabama Artists School of Matriculation, P.O. Box 1948, Auburn,
Alabama, 123432. The university president, Dr. Knute Lombardi, Phd.,
will be happy to respond to all inquiries personally. He'd like you to
know beforehand, though, that his school's graduates average $2 million
a year in income in such specialties as NFL football, fine art, and,
uh, other kinds of art. Auburn University employs tenured professors in
numbers approaching double digits, and they have published the usual
number of peer-reviewed papers you'd expect in such subjects as middle
linebacking for big bucks, tracing with crayons, waving at mom on
tricking the idiots at the NCAA, and identifying your NFL locker
actually being able to read.
Auburn University also once had a Roads Scholar. Something involving an
armadillo at the Sun Bowl in El Paso.
Finally, the issue with Cam Newton has all been a huge
He is a completely legal and legitimate college athlete under NCAA
rules. His athletic scholarship is valued at precisely the $505,206.45
a year Auburn charges its 70 students for tuition, board, books, and
fees (subject to refunds after the NFL draft). If you've been wondering
why you never met an Auburn graduate at your place of work, wonder no
more. They're above your pay grade.
Any further questions?
Friday, December 03, 2010
What if they were
all smart, logical, and could recognize us individually?
Intelligence is a function of human scientists. You can pretty
much prove that to yourself by the alacrity with which human scientists
have always explained away signs of animal intelligence. Consciousness,
logic, and real problem-solving ability are unique by-products of an
evolutionary accident associated with the only hairless primate. Any
signs of these properties in other species is easily explained away by
projection -- the desire to see ourselves in species we're fond of --
most of whom do not have PhDs from Harvard, Oxford, and Cambridge. QED.
Apes and dogs are skilled imitators, driven wholly by instinct, and
when we think we see signs of reason, love, humor, and even deception
in their behavior, we are imputing to them what are probably
Judeo-Christian delusions designed to reinforce fallacious assumptions
about meaning in the universe. Truth? They're all dumb as rocks. Dogs
lick us the way they lick their private parts, and what they learn they
learn to get their next meal or a better place by the fire.
Unless not all animal intelligence is a function of some desire to
please a human who owns all the available comforts. Exhibits IV through
Crows don't want to be our pets. Evidence suggests they don't like us
very much at all. But if they're this smart, isn't it possible that
smart is a property of life, the universe itself, and the process by
which life comes into being?
No. Of course not. I apologize. Only scientists possess intelligence.
Otherwise, why wouldn't they grant that some humans beside themselves
might possess it also? Since that's a non-starter, it's pretty obvious
they know better, as they have ever since they decided Isaac Newton
himself couldn't hold a candle to their own miraculously superior
insight about the nature of existence.
right. So space travel isn't about NASA anymore. NASA is
about, uh, evolution. Come again? Exhibit
NASA-funded astrobiology research has
changed the fundamental knowledge about what comprises all known life
Researchers conducting tests in the harsh environment of Mono Lake in
California have discovered the first known microorganism on Earth able
to thrive and reproduce using the toxic chemical arsenic. The
microorganism substitutes arsenic for phosphorus in its cell components.
"The definition of life has just expanded," said Ed Weiler, NASA's
associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at the
agency's Headquarters in Washington. "As we pursue our efforts to seek
signs of life in the solar system, we have to think more broadly, more
diversely and consider life as we do not know it."
This finding of an alternative biochemistry makeup will alter biology
textbooks and expand the scope of the search for life beyond Earth. The
research is published in this week's edition of Science Express.
Carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur are the six
basic building blocks of all known forms of life on Earth. Phosphorus
is part of the chemical backbone of DNA and RNA, the structures that
carry genetic instructions for life, and is considered an essential
element for all living cells.
Phosphorus is a central component of the energy-carrying molecule in
all cells (adenosine triphosphate) and also the phospholipids that form
all cell membranes. Arsenic, which is chemically similar to phosphorus,
is poisonous for most life on Earth. Arsenic disrupts metabolic
pathways because chemically it behaves similarly to phosphate.
"We know that some microbes can breathe arsenic, but what we've found
is a microbe doing something new -- building parts of itself out of
arsenic," said Felisa Wolfe-Simon, a NASA Astrobiology Research Fellow
in residence at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, Calif., and
the research team's lead scientist. "If something here on Earth can do
something so unexpected, what else can life do that we haven't seen
So life isn't what they've been telling us it is. That's cool. But
doesn't it make the whole subject a shade less deterministic and
accidental than they've been insisting it is? Like, maybe life will
find a way to be? And what the hell is life anyway? If it actually, uh,
wants to be, independent of
the rigid chemical rules organic chemists have been insisting on for
two centuries, then shouldn't we be looking harder for some kind of
intention or intelligence inside
Nah. I didn't mean to overspeak myself. I'm sure they have a perfect
explanation for any deviations from orthodoxy up their sleeve.
Intelligence cannot, will not, won't ever
be involved in the basic life
process. It's simply an emergent property of a certain freakish kind of
at least scientists in the academy and government are, at
heart, principled altruists. They're here to serve us all, meaning
humanity as a whole, even us dummies, and they would never deliberately
keep us in the dark about what they're doing with all that grant money
and government support. Because if there's anybody anywhere who wants
to protect us from the mindless machinations of the military, it's
The U.S. Air Force's secrecy-shrouded
X-37B unmanned spaceplane returned to Earth early Friday after more
than seven months in orbit on a classified mission, officials said.
The winged craft autonomously landed at at Vandenberg Air Force Base on
the California coast 130 miles northwest of Los Angeles, Vandenburg
spokesman Jeremy Eggers said.
"It's very exciting," Eggers said of the 1:16 a.m. PST landing.
The X-37B was launched by an Atlas 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla.,
on April 22, 2010, with a maximum mission duration of 270 days.
Also known as the Orbital Test Vehicle, the Boeing-built spacecraft was
originally a NASA project before being taken over by the military.
The Air Force has not said whether it carried anything in its cargo
bay, but insists the primary purpose of the mission was to test the
"We are very pleased that the program completed all the on-orbit
objectives for the first mission," program manager Lt. Col. Troy Giese
said in a statement.
"Today's landing culminates a successful mission based on close
teamwork between the 30th Space Wing, Boeing and the Air Force Rapid
Capabilities Office," Giese said.
Eggers said the craft is expected to return to space next year.
"I understand they are looking to do that in the spring of 2011," he
told The Associated Press.
Officials have made public only a general description of the mission
objectives: testing of guidance, navigation, control, thermal
protection and autonomous operation in orbit, re-entry and landing.
However, the ultimate purpose of the X-37B and details about the craft
have longed remained a mystery, though experts said the spacecraft was
intended to speed up development of combat-support systems and weapons
Well, they'd tell us everything if they didn't have a good reason for
keeping us ordinary folks in the dark. You know. There are times when
they just know better. Like with Global Warming and all.
But they'd let us know if it was important. Right?
Washington, DC, is seized with the incredibly complex
dilemma of whether or not to raise taxes on entrepreneurs during the
weakest, most jobless economic recovery since WWII, I've decided to
devote today to our leading candidate for new national religion --
science. Because scientists know so much, and they're so smart and open
and sharing and wise in the ways of nature and social organization. We'll get
through this hard patch because we have them to tell us what to do, how
to do it and why, which is
that they're the only ones we can really trust to know what's what in
this great big universe of ours.
One slight problem is that like our superlatively brilliant president,
they can lose their audience when the facts don't quite measure up to
the condescending lectures. Exhibit
Scams die hard, but eventually they
die, and when they do, nobody wants to get close to the corpse. You can
get all the hotel rooms you want this week in Cancun.
The global-warming caravan has moved on, bound for a destination in
oblivion. The United Nations is hanging the usual lamb chop in the
window this week in Mexico for the U.N.'s Framework Convention on
Climate Change, but the Washington guests are staying home. Nobody
wants to get the smell of the corpse on their clothes.
Everybody who imagined himself anybody raced to Copenhagen last year
for the global-warming summit, renamed "climate change" when the globe
began to cool, as it does from time to time. Some 45,000 delegates,
"activists," business representatives and the usual retinue of
journalists registered for the party in Copenhagen. This year, only
1,234 journalists registered for the Cancun beach party. The only story
there is that there's no story there. The U.N. organizers glumly
concede that Cancun won't amount to anything, even by U.N. standards.
Rep. Henry A. Waxman of California, who wrote and sponsored the
cap-and-trade legislation last year, says he'll be too busy with
congressional business (buying stamps for the Christmas cards and
getting a haircut and a shoeshine) even to think about going to Cancun.
Last year, he joined Speaker Nancy Pelosi and dozens of other
congressmen in taking staffers and spouses to the party in Copenhagen.
The junket cost taxpayers $400,000, but Copenhagen is a friendly town
and a good time was had by all. This year, they're all staying home,
learning to live like lame ducks.
The Senate's California ladies, cheerleaders for the global-warming
scam only yesterday, can't get far enough away from Cancun this year.
Dianne Feinstein says she's not even thinking about the weather. "I
haven't really thought about [Cancun], to be honest with you," she
tells Politico, the Capitol Hill daily. She still loves the scam, but
"no - no, no, no, it's just that I'm not on a committee related to it."
She's grateful for small blessings.
Barbara Boxer, who was proud to make global warming her "signature"
issue only last year, obviously regards that signature now to be a
forgery. She would like to be in Cancun, but she has to stay home to
wash her hair. She's not even sending anyone from her staff, willing as
congressional staffers always are to party on the taxpayer dime. "I'm
sending a statement to Cancun." (Stop the press for that.)
This is another lesson that Washington's swamp fevers inevitably
Well, maybe they can invent some new facts the dummies in the American
populace will like more.The saddest thing is the impact on our sainted
Speaker of the House:
The only global-warming news of this
week was the announcement that the House Select Committee on Global
Warming would die with the 111th Congress. Mrs. Pelosi established the
committee three years ago to beat the eardrums of one and all, a
platform for endless argle-bargle about the causes and effects of
Awww. Our sympathetic requiem for Pelosi's Planet Passion:
With all that silicone in her chest, Globular Warming was the best we could do. She was HOT. Right up until the meltdown. Sad.
Hotair has its own poll up today. Go ahead. Answer it. All the questions are
dumb, but we might as well chime in too. (When they ask about the biggest issue of the past year, they don't even list Health Care as a choice.) They pretend they want to know
which other websites they should listen to. Guess who I said.
. Make no mistake. Without her, there would be no website
called InstaPunk. She is the everything that makes living and hoping
and, yes, writing worthwhile. She's a year older today. My necessary
response is to love her more fiercely every day.
Your assignment is to read these posts about her. None of it is
exaggeration. She really is a queen.
Yeah, there's more than one writer in the family. She's the one who
made me learn about commas. A small thing, you think. It was
transformative. I finally learned what sentence structure was. What writing was. And without her, there
would never have been Psmith
makes me better than I am in every respect. When I contemplate my
sins and my abundant guilt, I have this to rely on: God thought enough
of me to give me Patricia. No greater gift has any man received.